10 Moments That Make A Single Girl Think “I'm Not a Real Person Yet!” & Frances Ha

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The new film Frances Ha, a seemingly whimsical but honest story of a woman (still) becoming a woman, opens with a scene where Frances’ card is declined ( buying dinner for a guy no less) and she hits that all too familiar moment of realizing, “oh, I’m not a real person yet.”

Oh… I’m not the only young female who still feels that way from time to time? 

I guess you could call this more of a film preview, rather than review (since I’m eager to see any film that brings to light the single, twenty-something, life-doesn’t-quite-feel-in-place-yet female perception). While often us single, not yet stable, career women can feel like we’re all on our own, it’s reassuring to discover you’re not the only girl who feels Forever 21 (especially when it’s literally the only place where you can afford to by a an entire outfit.)

While I will have to wait for my next paycheck to come in to stroll over to my local Indie secret garden of a theater, for France Ha to reassure me that I’m not the only one who doesn’t quite feel like an adult, here a little list of reoccurring moments some of you women (and maybe myself) face from time to time, that make you feel like you’re not quite the woman you thought you’d feel like by now.

The 10 Moments Making You Feel Like You’re Not a Real Person, Yet…

  1. Your card declines at Starbucks (even though you’ve finally mastered how to order your drink to save $1.23.)
  2. You’ve attempted more career options in the past 6 year than most 50 year old woman have in their entire lives.
  3. You look at your closet and it finally occurs to you, a tailor would probably be a good investment.
  4. You admit to yourself bedhead hair just might not be appropriate for an every day look.
  5. You realize earning good credit (or credit, period) is something you should consider.
  6. You find you only have 3 of the 13 Essential Closet items InStyle magazine says every woman should own.
  7. Your kitchen dosn’t consist of much more than a cutting board and one decent  sharp knife.
  8. You’re caught by your boss, cluelessly signing a check incorrectly (because you don’t even own any).
  9. You place your sushi takeout “splurge” order and the host’s first response is, “Are you sure one roll is all you want?”.
  10. Your first stop at the mall is still the clearance racks at Urban Outfitters and Pac Sun.

In Sex in the City Carrie Bradshaw asks herself, single, creditless and without a man, “How do you retain a sense of value when you have nothing concrete to show for it?” I have a feeling France Ha may deal with similar misconceptions of value, if she bases it on anything remotely close to what is expected of a “real person” nowadays. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take all of “womanhood” for us to discover nothing concrete will ever equal the value of the women we already are. While in the meantime, I will inevitably face a few more “I’m not a real person” breakdown moments, it’s reassuring to know there are Frances’ in the world who feel just as unreal a person as I do.

14 Reasons to Embrace Being Single After 25

You couldn’t have convinced me in college I would be writing a piece, on Valentine’s Day, about “embracing being single past 25.” There are probably dozens of girls, very much like I was in college and just after, who read this title and either turn their head following some gutting-superstition that knowledge of any such advice will make them more likely to be in my shoes one day, or they read with sympathy for me, praying to God they don’t ever have to face life still single just a few birthdays shy of 30.

Of course by the time any of us single people hit age 25, there are countless simple things you realize you’ve taken for granted and may one day miss when you add a spouse and kids to the picture. While being a single female in any society, in any day or age isn’t always peaches and cream, something about facing it in your late twenties brings you to a new (or honest) appreciation of this rare season of life. If you are having a hard time seeing the bright peaches and sweet cream that can accompany the life of a single women past 25, here are just a few I’ve come to relish…

  1. You learn how to check your car’s fluids and now drive with a little more confidence.
  2. You have no one to answer to for all the money you spend on fru fru Starbucks drinks (if you call Americano’s a girly drink…)
  3. You can move to a new place on a whim and discover a career, you don’t want, without it effecting too many people.
  4. You can drop everything at a moment’s notice and go to a movie like Argo on a late Saturday afternoon. (Just throwing out that film as a random example.)
  5. You have time to discover new strengths, new passions and build on them, even if it means facing many trails and errors.
  6. You can go to the mall and eat Pinkberry for dinner (and maybe even another Starbucks.)
  7. You can chop off all your hair in an Eddie Sedgwick pixie cut and not care whether any man thinks it looks “feminine enough.”
  8. You’ve had time to discover how to eat in a way your enjoy, that makes you feel your healthiest and look your best (hopefully so that one day you don’t have to hound a man with the question “Do I look fat?” After all, what are scales for?)
  9. You can move to a new place… again, for a new job, and again risk launching into an entirely new field and vocation, if you’re passions are leading you to do so.
  10. You can belt out to Taylor Swift and Adele (or Kings of Leon) all the way on those long, inevitable, solo car rides.
  11. You can visit and apply to grad schools in Europe, even if choose not to go.
  12. You can eat a vegetarian menu for days, saving yourself some money while your at it (for… more Pinkberry!)
  13. You can try a variety of man-repelling fashion trends without having to take into account anyone’s cunning remarks.
  14. You can one day be married, knowing fully well that you had every opportunity to do all those thing you wished you would’ve done when you were single.

Now granted, many (or all) of the above you probably can and will do once you’re married. (I certainly hope so!) But in the mean time, taking advantage of these moments will only encourage you to have more of them when a man (or lady, for you single guys) comes into the picture.

If you’re home sulking tonight, because it feels like life just hasn’t begun until you have a Valentine on February 14th, heed to some advice of a twenty-something-year-old who’s faced many a-Valentine’s Day single, and do yourself (and your future spouse) a favor and check off a few on this list.

Enjoy this solo season and all the cheesy, little aspects you take for granted. Live you’re life now.

“C’est la vie”

Does Facebook Make "Dating" Way Too Easy for Guys?

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Before Facebook, I could probably count on one hand how many guys asked me out. And this was before Facebook was born, or rather before I was born into the world of Facebook. I was a Junior in College and had just brought my first relationship, and longest (which isn’t saying much,) to an end. At the time I wasn’t able to break up with someone, or better yet, ignore a current boyfriend long enough on a social network for a guy to get the hint. Nope, that’s back in the day when we had to pick up a phone and clearly and awkwardly address the issue. Just the same, a guy didn’t have Facebook to “ask me out.”

Once Facebook quickly evolved as the standard form of communication for our day, I’m sure I wasn’t the only girl a little taken back at how bold (if you want to call it that) guys can be through comments and messages. I’d like to know the logic behind thinking one can “generate a relationship out of thin air” or out of a Facebook contact. Though, judging by my own experience, this has become more the norm, while calling a girl up is considered old-fashioned, which makes the idea of knocking on a girl’s door sound like the Dark Ages. Though, for an age where we’ve learned to love the quick, easy and uninvasive means of building a relationship through social media, do guys know any better? It seems to be that the majority don’t know how to do it any other way.

In the pre-Facebook era, I would like to think that the thicker, more awkard and timid version of myself, that existed in High School (and College…), would’ve been just as much worth asking out as the thinner, slightly more assured version of myself now. But, alas, I guess we all have a bit of a Shallow Hal who is just more motivated by pretty pictures than a real life in motion. And for some reason as Facebook has evolved so has the pursuit of relationships online as our interaction off-line disintegrate.

There may be guys who pursue and genuinely discover the love of their life through Facebook, but in those cases they’re often long distance, friends setting up blind-dates, etc…. let’s just say they’re rare. If one wants to “generate something out of thin air” it might be easier if one was functioning in the same air, at the same time. I could be wrong, but most of us still use cell phones right? If a girl is worth asking out online, I would hope she’s worth maybe calling up or, as far-fetched an idea as it may be, even worth attempting to cross her path.

Without a doubt, Facebook has made meeting new girls, socializing and dating “easier” than ever for guys, or so we think. It all sounds easy when it’s just your macbook and you, sitting across from one another at the table and not another face that can talk back. While things may seem easy now, the messaging, the commenting, even the poking (but really, who even pokes and what is that nonsense for anyway), inevitably a real dating relationship will have more interactions, moments and surprises that Facebook won’t be able to navigate for any man. What happens between a man and a woman when there isn’t Facebook between them is what I would call a relationship, or at least the means to begin one. 

This brings me back to that final scene in The Social Network, when Mark Zuckerberg is sitting in the conference room all by himself. He opens up Facebook, searches for Erica Albright, and requests to be her friend. A small screen pops up reading “Erica will have to confirm that you are friends.” Then he just waits. He hits refresh over, and over and over again… and sits there.

Are Monogamous Relationships Becoming A Minority?

Recently I was listening to an NPR interview (yes, I’m geeky & I know it) and while you may expect it was some snoozy politician, it was the entertaining Lena Dunham, creator of HBO “Girls”. For those of you who haven’t seen the show, I myself have only seen bits and pieces since it aired, but it is no “Gossip Girl” and certainly no “Sex in the City.”  ”Girls” is a much more general and realistic depiction of what it’s like to work as a single woman in New York City, really work, not just shop and brunch, unlike those you see in chick flicks. Life in the city is not all the baubles and sparkles that HBO first lead us to believe it was. While most shows that depict the single life in the City are like different worlds, the one thing they tend to agree on is the lack of monogamous relationships. Seeking for serious relationships in such places is all the more disenchanting. 

The word monogamous probably sounds like it’s from the dark ages. It’s hardly used in anyone’s daily vocabulary. Some of you are probably googling it right now so let me help you - monogamous. But for most females, most romantic comedies and beloved pieces of literature, one girl ends up with one boy forever and when a story ends any differently we are typically disappointed. In reality, when one girl ends up with one boy forever, the word seems to ring and echo in most people’s ears as if it’s were a death sentence.  ”Forrrreeeeverrrrr”. While it used to be assumed just men felt this way, it’s safe to say many women’s feelings are mutual. So is it the fear of forever that has caused married couples to be at a record low in our country? Or have the complications that accompany wrapping one’s mind, will and life around “forever” derailed us into more casual and unattached aimless relationships than ever?

I had already watched the premiere of Girls a few months after it had come out and after I seen enough, I turned it off. It was a little too accurate for me I guess. After my short-lived stay in NYC, let me just say, living in the City as a single, slightly naive and job-hungry female, the experience is truly as awkward and rough around the edges as this show feels. Plainly put - the show is not pretty, but it’s pretty accurate.

Somewhere during the “All Things Considered” NPR interview, before the host’s lethargic voice put me into a coma, they played a clip of an episode when Dunham’s character, Hannah decides to confront a casual relationship. Somewhere through her insecure rant she stammers out, “I don’t even want a boyfriend I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time, and thinks I’m the best person in the world, and wants to have sex with only me…” Her words stung me. You could hear they just hurt to speak out loud. Just the first part of the sentence, “…who wants to hang out all the time, and thinks I’m the best person in the world” stings a bit because everyone thinks this and wants this, yet rarely expresses it to the individual they want them from or express it at all. I was taken back when she blurted out “I just want someone… who wants to have sex with only me.” Girls still think this? Girls in the city still want this? If Lea Dunham wrote it for Hannah, I’m assuming Lea desires it. I know down deep we all want this, but women are much more fashioned now to act as if they don’t. Yes men, girls want a monogamous relationship, though they can lead you to believe otherwise. Because what is fun about someone who looks traditional? When is formality in a personality or relationship ever portrayed in magazines or movies as attractive anymore? Girls assume guys don’t want anything to do with what appears to expect commitment. Therefore a lot of girls, who may secretly be hoping for a monogamous relationship, give off the impression that they’re not looking to attract something too serious. It’s changed how women handle relationships. Even still, guys aren’t necessarily the only ones afraid of “forever.”

I never was one to keep up with “Sex In The City”, but… even when Carrie Bradshaw was dating Aidan in, (ok so I managed to catch a few reruns to at least have a good idea of this relationship - give me a break people, this was before Netflix) Carrie could never seem to come to terms with Aidan’s traditional values and desire for a faithful companion. She seems stifled and claustrophobic to the idea.

There are reasons why there is a significant increase in the number of people who choose to live alone rather than marry. Last March when Time Magazine featured “10 Ideas That Are Changing Your Life,” the first was, “Living Alone Is The New Norm.” It was found that currently over 33 million Americans live in solidarity by choice, nearly matching the percentage of childless couples. That’s 28% of the US. While one would think this increase of singledom is also reason for our increase of depression and loneliness, Time’s study with over 300 participants “suggests that people who live alone compensate by becoming more socially active than those who live with others and that cities with high numbers of singletons enjoy a thriving public culture.” Thriving for sure. Which could mean a number of things. It only complicate the already tricky game we call dating. Now for most ladies going out on for a date, following the questions, “does this person live at home with their parents?”, “does this person pay their own car insurance and phone bills?”, it’d be good to ask yourself is this person legit or do they plan on fooling around with some other chick after he pays the check? (If he pays the check.)


Read more from “Living Alone Is The New Norm” here.

BOOKS: Black, White and Grey All Over

The high-fashion, Rachel Zoe look-a-like was reading it at Starbucks. It was the first thing to hit me in Books-A-Million (for all your northerners that’s our version of Barnes & Noble down south.) And it seems to be on just about everyone’s (every woman’s, I should say) “Summer’s Must Read” list. Though when seemingly illiterate fashion blogs (that I frequent, I’ll add) began featuring it, with discussion already in the air about a movie in the making, I started to wonder what all the hype was all about. You’ve probably heard about it, or maybe you’d recognize it by it’s cool and dark Twilight for the grown up looking cover. In fact I even expected fantasy or some vampire drama to be the substance of the story from the looks of it. Boy, was I ever wrong. It’s called 50 Shades of Grey. 

The books description was enough for me to realize that I didn’t need to invest anymore time on this book to get the idea of it’s synopsis. Though critics and readers reviews have really varied it hasn’t stopped the book from breaking record sales. Interestingly, many of the comments can be summed up by this one featured on Amazon.com:

          “The books are not written well, incredibly repetitive, there is little
          character development, and the sex scenes are, well, vanilla. Naive college
          girl meets tormented man/boy, man/boy has ‘issues’ which the girl is able to
          help him overcome when his therapist couldn’t, a very predictable threat
          (or two) to their happiness, etc., etc., etc…. ho hum.”

Assuming this commenter may be onto something (with about the 2000 who “feel the same way”) what is it about these books that have drawn such a massive readership of women? Because it turns out that a sweet, little romance between an innocent Bella and vampire Edward, who at least has enough chivalry to contain his thirst for blood, is altogether too sweet a story for the more “mature” women. Apparently across America, and elsewhere, women are hungry for things to get kicked up a notch. Though in quite a “shady,” if I may be so tongue-and-cheeky, unsettling direction.

I haven’t read these books. I don’t intend to. And typically when that’s the case I try to keep a subject at arms length. I hate when people write what they don’t know about. But here I am. Because frankly, I don’t think I’d be writing about it if I was reading it.

If you could judge a book by its cover, this one might have looked more like a deranged Danielle Steele cover for the 21st century Starbucks-drinking, Apple-carrying and fashion-savvy generation. And let’s be honest - likely it would be shelved in the far, dark corner of a book store. But it is apparently “hip” to be reading this erotic and quite unromantic tale right now; a tale that tells the story of an objectifying and dispassionate relationship, that women are eating up like discovering a hot-fudge sundae for the first time.
I don’t blame E. L. James, the author, for how this book will and is certainly influencing the future of fiction and, no doubt, the film industry.  After all, masses of love-starved women are reading and buying this stuff. Though there is a wide-range of opinions on the positive and negative effects of this trilogy, I won’t be so bias as to plainly disregard them all. Yet… the subject matter of this novel, that is referred to as “engrossing” and “addicting”, is turning female sexual hunger over to a glamorized depiction of female subjugation. There were once romantic tales like A Room with a View, The Princess Bride and any Austen novel – though they were fantastical love stories that likely fogged some of our rose-tinted lenses towards romance, this trilogy is a far cry from romantic. But it seems to be what women are soaking up. If it’s in high demand, you know it will be well supplied.

If this is what we are calling romance, how will such material affect our grasp of relationships or our understanding of romance?  Worse, how many girls will become the object a man’s demands and somehow interpret that as romancing or endearing due to the convoluted message such literature sends out – regardless of how this story ends? Already we lack the kind of chivalry or gentleman-like qualities among relationships – men who open doors for a women, ask for a number, patiently wait until being wed to share intimacy ( crazy idea - I know.) This once was thought of as romantic. So since many women don’t have this and there seems to be a lack of a pursuit of women for the sake of companionship, romance and intimacy, instead do we accept this as “romantic?”
With all the materials out there to be read, with all the history, insight and knowledge to be discovered, why this women? When we can enrich our minds, why cloud it up? While we’ve seemed to work so hard to not be objectified and made an “accessory” for a man, it’s slightly humorous how females can be so entertained by it. Though popular now, it’s hard to imagine that 50 Shades of Grey will go down in the books as the next Great Gatsby. There are some trends just not worth investing in. I dare say this one doesn’t deserve your time.



Pancakes & Waffles - Pt. I

BATTLE OF THE SEXES

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   Image from LookbookCookbook.com


As a kid the differences of men and women was often translated to me this way: Women are like pancakes and men like waffles. You pour syrup on a pancake and the syrups just spread everywhere, soaking up everything like a sponge. Waffles compartmentalize. They section and square off the syrup.

Now someone reading this is probably thinking that I’m in need of some very serious counseling after such a distorted and narrow-minded-conditioning in regards to the male and female sex. I’m quite certain this may not apply to every area of men and women (I know far too many “men” all too aware of every thought and emotion - very straight too, I might add) but to some degree this pancake & waffle theory is quite true. While we women would like to deny our inevitable makeup in this feminist-domineering world, there are some traits are hard to defy. One of them being our incessant mouths. Maybe it’s one reason why we’ve yet to  see a Female President. As women, we have a keen awareness that allows us to soak up a lot all at once, also meaning we like to swim in a lot of different  emotions … all at once, also meaning women tend to say a lot all at once. Sometimes a lot (or too much) of nothing.

I recently heard women referred to as leaky faucets. Like a consistent trickling of worries, wants, expectations and frustrations. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. We can talk in circles and not always necessarily make  sense. And on occasion, we women have even been known to nag. I know it may sound harsh, but woman to woman, lets call it what it is. Though the days when we retain some ounce of self-control, rather than letting everyone hear it, it’s likely we save it for those closest to us, you know those your really love, like friends, boyfriends, parents and husbands. But why do we do this? Why do women nag?  It’s no wonder guys can get so easily exhausted in relationships trying to “figure us out” (and no I’m not calling all of  women’s mystery a dead end to meeting expectation - though I’m sure at times it may feel that way.) I see it happen when girls are 25 or 75.  A women’s hopes and anticipation, unspoken or not, carry a lot of weight, too much perhaps. Ever heard the saying “Love deferred makes the heart grow sick.”? I’d say for women, “Expectation deferred makes the heart wither and die.”

Women expect a lot of life. There is a reason why the popular on-going topic is why  “Women still can’t have it all” and not why “Men can’t have it all.” Not because men “want it all” (well, maybe some of you do) but women tend to share a similar expectation not only for their  family and love, but their jobs, their looks, their kitchens, their dates. We tend to want it all at once. We to be model-thin, but still eat bon-bons every night. We want successful jobs with a peaceful work atmosphere, but want co-workers who our are best friends, who we can share our deepest secrets with (sorry,  I just don’t think this ever meshes all too well.) We want to be super-heroic mothers, but to be “career-women”. We want a romantic, adventurous life, but don’t ever want anyone dictating our schedules. We want to have our cake and eat it too. (And we wonder why guys can’t figure us out.) Sometimes a our expectations can so  overwhelm us that we’re not quite sure what we want, and thus the heart withers.  

The structure of a pancake can be hard to determine. Men can’t figure women out because at times we women can’t figure ourselves out. Then again women are expected to have a sweet manner and disposition, unlike men, who we at times expect or anticipate the complete opposite. So when the nagging, the whining, when the dripping begins it’s what one would probably… call a turn off. This is just a feminine trait (sadly) I’ve become more aware of as of late. Sometimes you see things you don’t want, so you have to get down to the core of it. Though I think this one is a bottomless pit. The study of pancake and waffles will continue….

Wove, Twue Wove

 

Unless you’ve watched every rerun of The Princess Bride as some of us have, the above may sound like another language. Remember, "Mawwage iz what bwings us togevah today…"?

The title translated is: Love, true love.

About 2 weeks ago my sister Kara got married. For the past 3 years I’ve watched Rick (the lucky fella) and Kara date and fall quick for each other. They fell into that kind of bashful and giddy love that makes one revert to child-like behavior; in other words, they’re two peas in a pod. Needless to say a wedding was anticipated early on. Leading up to the big day was a crazy, hectic season but, without a doubt, made for one of the most memorable days for my family. Most of us in the bridal party weren’t all too familiar with the wedding scene. And believe me, you could tell from my maid-of-honor instincts (or lack-there-of) that I’m not often involved in weddings. And unfortunately for my sister, I somehow lack that feminine streak to want to be constantly primped or surrounded by frills and lace. But for this occasion it was worth mustering up all the frills and lace I could contain.

I don’t think it really hit me until the day of that this was more than some formality. Standing by, watching this exchange of words between the two made me realize how this scene is becoming more removed from our cultural norms. Love, in the context of marriage, has become foreign to us. When else do we ever create an event to swear our love and commitment for anything? Why would you, when love today (as protrayed through sitcoms, films and music) is convenient, temporary and conditional? While most of us have a need to be bound to one individual emotionally, mentally and physically, it seems to be the one need we find expendable. So why have a wedding? 

The idea that two would choose to bind themselves solely to another, is about as unnatural or bizarre as “mawwage” sounds. The word itself tends to sound off alarm rather than sounds of a celebration. When a ceremony to unite two beings is considered a hassle or unnecessary, our idea of  ”true love” has altered. Kara and Rick’s ceremony held a kind of enchanted sacredness. Their vows, spoken without reservation, seemed to surrender to the moment. Their love was displayed, The ceremony felt so far removed, when our society holds little weight any more to such commitments. I wonder if we will continue to hold vows and wedding ceremonies as necessary to unite ourselves to another? Or will we even consider “true love” would require that much of us?

Let me not to the marriage of true minds 
Admit impediments. Love is not love 
Which alters when it alteration finds, 
Or bends with the remover to remove: 
O no! It is an ever-fixed mark 
That looks on tempests and is never shaken; 

                                      -Shakespeare; Sonnet 116