Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Halloween should be freed of adults who use it as an excuse to dress up like hookers.
- Joel Stien
Holidays are for children and conservatives. And the one holiday that is still just for kids -- free of campaigns to replace Santa with creches, painted eggs with crucifixes, fireworks with flag lapel pins -- has been ruined by the rest of the adults. This year, I was invited to six Halloween parties, which would not be strange if it weren't for the fact that I'm older than 12. Meanwhile, I was invited to zero New Year's Eve parties last year. People vastly prefer Halloween parties because New Year's Eve involves dressing up like an adult, whereas Halloween involves dressing up like a slut.
I understand that the masquerade ball is a classic that faded away, and that people need an opportunity to hide behind a mask in order to safely express their hidden selves. It makes sense that once a year I get to peek into your psyche and find out whether you think of yourself as a whore nurse, a whore pirate, a whore angel or a whore whore.
That's fine. But not on the kids' favorite day. It's transforming formerly child-friendly costume shops from fun-creepy into Chris Hansen-creepy.
There's no chance that harrumphing will return Halloween to the innocent and carefree days of threatening neighbors who don't give you candy and vandalizing trees with toilet paper. So we need to invent a separate holiday when adults can get drunk and finally wear that pair of boots that seemed OK in the store but it turns out go up a little higher than you thought.
That's why, after much research and consultation, I have founded our nation's newest holiday: Slut Day.
It will take place the first Saturday of every August, a time both barren of holidays and plenty hot enough for really degrading costumes. Slut Day festivities include costume parties with themed drinks such as the Lindsay Lohan (just whatever in a giant glass) and, if possible, flat-screen TVs showing the latest celebrity sex tapes and select parts of "Meerkat Manor." Or anything else. Flat-screen TVs are just sexy.
In addition to fixing the Halloween problem, Slut Day also can replace the "Pimps N Hos" parties scattered across the calendar, which are racist and sexist, with an event that is only sexist. That's a 50% reduction in offensiveness.
Slut Day rights the wrong that dates to the late '80s, when San Francisco's Exotic Erotic Ball, which takes place on Halloween, went mainstream. Even at liberal-yet-uptight Stanford University, I was dragged with my freshman dorm mates to an Exotic Erotic party, where I wore a red clip-on bow tie and a plastic bag from the campus bookstore that I had punctured for leg holes. It was neither exotic nor erotic. But it did make a point that society has since learned: Neither gender wants men to try to be sexy. Slut Day will embrace that fact by having all men dress like Hef: silk pajamas or bathrobes only. No, those aren't sexy either, but women feel uncomfortable if they're wearing a fishnet bodysuit and their date is wearing chinos and a blue Oxford. Or a bow tie and a bookstore bag.
Conflating sexiness with scariness never made sense to me: It's too Freudian and Puritan and 1980s movie. Now sexiness will be unfettered. We as a nation need one day to vent our nationalism, one to be thankful and one to focus our love of arbors, and it is way past time to give an equal outlet to our incredible sluttiness.
Let the Japanese hide their perversions in creepy clubs; we shall have a day when CBS will broadcast a parade where the grand marshals are Tila Tequila, the Pussycat Dolls and whoever is dating Brandon Davis.
So enjoy your last Slutoween. I've put some calls in to Playboy, asking it to spearhead this movement and drop its yearly Halloween party, its second-biggest annual event. I also beseeched Playboy to channel all its party-planning energy into its biggest annual event: the Midsummer Night's Dream Party, which, it turns out, takes place the first weekend of August. And needs a better name.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Somehow it seems easy to believe that, when a relationship ends in a horribly painful disappointing way, we can close that part of our heart up, lock it up in a box and shove it in a corner to forget about it. Why worry about a bad relationship when you should be thankful that the train wreck it was came to it's inevitable conclusion and things are over? NEXT! Pick yourself up, be thankful for what you have, for who you are, and be grateful that you dodged a bullet. Why shed a tear over someone who did not care enough about you to be decent? Why waste time or energy on someone who has clearly not given the same kind of consideration to you? Many times have I breezed by with a grateful smile, knowing I am better off and declaring, "He does not deserve the air time," "If that's how the relationship was going to be I'm better off without it," "Better to find out what he's made of now than 5 years and 3 kids later!" and always my favourite: "He does not deserve my tears."
The problem is, even if we are in a car wreck, and the metal is burning and the glass is shattered and the sound is ringing and the smell is sickening but you can walk away with no broken bones; you were still in a car wreck. It would be foolish to assume that when the bruises fade, so will the damage from the accident. Because the last thing you want to find out when you're cruising on a brand new street in your favourite new car that you love being in because it is so good to you, is that you have to go to the hospital for internal bleeding that started from a lousy accident you had two years ago.
Many times I feel that it would be ungrateful of me to feel sadness over such a wreck. I should be glad that it's over. I should be glad the timing was now and not later, when things were deeper, when stakes were higher...What I've found is that a lot of us are walking around feeling this way. As a consequence, we are surrounded by the injured, and it would break my heart to find that, when we are most happy with our someone new that those old hurts that were simply shoved into a corner, only resurface later and hurt someone who wasn't even at the scene of the crime.
I admire those of you who can express your feelings so freely, with no fear of the consequences. I look to your example and hope for the bravery and courage it requires to trust someone else so completely that I no longer have "always one foot on the ground." If only all of us could fall so completely, so openly, with the immense faith it takes to know that you will fall in order to be caught.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
"Pete, I heard that Violet is having dinner with Allen and I just don't think I can handle that!"
And, like, omigosh! Mary totally said that Johnny said that Alex was holding hands with Jennifer behind the bleachers after 3rd period! But don't tell Jack that Sally told ME!!!
It's an insult to my intelligence to have crappy writing like this drowning our airwaves, when legitimately entertaining and interesting characters and storylines NOT involving promiscuity and infidelity and too much eye-makeup are getting cancelled left and right. I'm just sad for these actors who probably fall asleep before they can even finish reading their own script.
Shows that are GOOD right now:
People who want to look cool will say the British one is better because that indicates they knew about The Office before the rest of North America, but quite frankly, I don't care. I love/cringe for every single character on this show and love every minute of it! Isn't it nice to know there's a show where everyone is nice? Even when they're being pranksters?
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
As frustrating and as painful as inequality may be to recognize, it is the recognition that something needs to change which gives us the opportunity to make a difference. If you are sensitive to something, act on that feeling. Recognize that we are have various levels of awareness when it comes to social need- some gravitate toward justice, others to domestic violence, alcoholism, health care, homes, physical needs, spiritual needs, psychological needs, education...Then there are some who are completely unaware altogether.
We wonder why there's so much unhappiness in our world. What I find interesting is much of this unhappiness is expressed by those of us who have more than enough. While it's easy to look at those less fortunate and pity them or get angry for the inequality of the world, in speaking with people who have survived great hardship, you'll find that many of them are individuals built of incredible strength. I was shocked at how strong the women I met through the Violence Against Women Program at BYU were. These were no longer victims of domestic abuse or rape; they were survivors, and they were speaking out as a force to be reckoned with. These women were strong, they were safe now, and they were not about to let one more woman feel as trapped, insecure, afraid, or helpless in their presence. When asked about her experiences, one woman essentially said, "It has made me stronger, I am sad that it happened like this, but I know what I'm made of now." The bravery, strength and wisdom of these women was an inspiration to me and many others. They were courageous survivors, and they were taking their horrific experiences and using their recovery to help others by educating, speaking out, and living lives as survivors- not victims- thus helping other individuals experiencing the same kind of abuse to recognize that a life in fear was not the only outcome. These survivors serve as an example and inspiration to me and I thank them for their newfound confidence and strength.
When we were in Africa, surrounded by disease and the inescapable weight of poverty, one thing became clear: As horrific as their circumstances were- AIDS, disease, pestilence, death, abandonment, children without parents or homes- the people we worked with and saw on the street found happiness. They found faith. They found joy in one another's success. It was overwhelming to realize that, as Carol said, “How is it that, in a place where they have nothing, everyone believes in God, but yet, in America, where we have everything, people question if God even exists?” I've been in a lot of impoverished countries, but what made Kenya so completely overwhelming was the realization that the culture itself was based on giving. If someone knew the alphabet, she was teaching it to anyone who would listen. If someone had a hut, that hut would inevitably hold as many street children as they could. We saw a people with nothing; they saw every thing they had as a gift they could share.
So where is my solution to the emptiness, the frustration, and the pain of this world? Part of the problem is we've developed into a society that is filled with "things." Even those who are "Christians" have fallen into the culture of consumerism and we've become distracted by things- objects designed to fulfill us and make us feel good. We've hazed into a culture that expects validation and acceptance through consumption of material goods or climbing a ladder to get a title, when really, everything we have to give is already within us. Being self-aware enough to find it through our sensitivities and then finding the inspiration to act on that awareness is a start. The more we give of ourselves, the more we realize that our experiences- even our pain- can make us stronger. Strong enough to help another in need. Recognize this and you will recognize that your life can make a difference- if you are brave enough to give of yourself.
Monday, October 22, 2007
While that attitude of "girls rule, boys drool," served me well in the high-school cafeteria, it seems a bit different as an adult. No offense, Manolo, giant floral accessories, or Vogue (I worship your pages, too), but I don't WANT to have a life where the thing I look forward to most is "girls night out." I don't WANT to discuss the intimate details of my relationship with my sassy smart girlfriends. I don't WANT my relationship to serve as the fodder for cocktail hour. It's PERSONAL. And even if we're all women, there is no reason why my girlfriends need to serve as a soundboard for every little shift in my personal life. Where did all that self-sufficient, independence go, girls? O, that's right. When we said we wanted our independence, we only meant "from men."
Now, I'm really not the sort to go blaming the media for our societal degradation, however, I do think it's worth examining when our 20-somethings are behaving like 40-somethings and our 40-somethings are behaving like teens with an American Express. With all this investing in appearances and investing in status, is it any wonder that investing in one another has fallen by the wayside? How many times do we hear people complain of their unhappiness as they attempt to fill the void with more's, more clothes, more shoes, more social events? At some point, we've all done it. Immersion in a capitalistic culture will train you to believe that the upgrade equals success and success equals fulfillment. And for women, when we're finally at a point where we don't need to be dependant upon a man for economic support, stability or prosperity (women of the world, raise your right hand?) It's a brilliant campaign, really; why wait for a man when you can do everything for yourself? Buy your own ring! As for the man, let him be a side-effect, a bonus- if you will- of YOUR successful living! The sad commentary in all of this is that we've fallen for it; brilliant marketing schemes that compliment our strengths by trivializing our partners. Another example of poor form on the playground.
Marriage isn't a solution, it isn't an answer to all of life's problems, and you will be sorely disappointed if you expect a spouse to fulfill all of your needs (so help me if I actually find myself attracted to a man who enjoys musicals and dressing up as much as I do- then I really WILL be Sara Jessica Parker!) Marriage IS however, one of the greatest acts of faith performed in this life. It is the one opportunity for us to put our faith and our future and the lives of our children into the hands of another human being. An Eternal Relationship isn't a side-effect; it is a goal. A goal that cannot be reached alone, no matter how pretty the shoes we're walking toward it may be.
*For the record, I'll be running a full-on sprint for the man who pops out THIS bad boy:
Monday, October 15, 2007
For those of you who haven't been to an Isaac Hayden show yet, I'd describe his music as beautiful, thoughtful, well-crafted lyrics paired with a gritty, soulful, raw vocal sound. I hear many people compare him to Jack Johnson, but I'm more apt to say James Taylor, Sting, Donovan Frankenreiter, or Matt Nathanson. Let's just say...He's totally worth the $7.
Our good friend, Isaac Hayden, has been invited to play Johnny Depp's Viper Room this Tuesday.
Please spread the word and show your support!
The show is at 9 and tickets are only $7.
Here's my qeerie: 25 women fighting for the attention of one man in the desperate attempt at matrimony? How is that a tv show? Have these producers even seen what my ward's Linger Longer sessions are? Or FHE? Or an HB party? Or ANY LDS party, for that matter? How is this any different from REAL life, besides the over-processed hair, excess of plastic surgery, runny mascara, and ill-fitting bikinis? PS- I live in Orange County, so...NOTHING. NOTHING is different here.
What's even more alarming is this: I can see myself in one of these girls. Shocking, I know. In the commercial clip, I rolled my eyes in embarrassment at the girl who hopped up and started dancing in front of "The Bachelor" during a party. But then in the full clip, I saw her- a perky little cheerleader who smiles like an idiot, can't stop giggling, and (when asked to) hops up and performs part of her dance routine for him. I hate to admit it. It shames my soul to know the truth, but...I would totally be That Girl. Do I smile constantly? Yes. Giggle at EVERYTHING...Well- when it's funny. And let's face it. That situation of 25 women showing off their "tricks" (like webbed toes) in order to get attention from a man? Hilarious. And sad. But also- hilarious. And if someone asked me to hop up and dance during a party, well...They don't pay me the big bucks for nothin'.
But please. To pass this off as entertainment? Hits a little close to home, people. And when your real reality becomes akin to a reality tv show, that has got to indicate some serious moral values are in the toilet. Along with self-respect, dignity, and self-esteem. And then when a girl has him use her body as wetbar, following up with a very serious, "I'm a Christian and I believe in old-fashioned moral values," followed up by a lapdance and taking her top off...well...I wish I could say I didn't know anyone like that. But the desperation reeks of reality. Of women who cry because they think the man they've met is the ONLY one they want, or who are convinced this is their last shot (when they're 26), or those who are so desperate for attention that they will do anything to get it- even if that means backbiting, stripping down, making a pass too early in the game, or (fill in the blank).
How is it that, after all these years of progress in the Women's Movement and with Women's Rights, we have come full-circle (albeit with degenerative moral values)? How did it happen that women are still made to feel like they are "competition," desperate for the attention of a man they barely even know more of a profile of? I'd almost love the opportunity to be on a show like this, if only to stand up and say, "No. I cannot, in good faith, accept that rose. Because I think you are a white-bread statue with a lot of money and very little character or personality. And I refuse to be put into a competition for your affection with strippers, alcoholics, and desperate gold-diggers. Thanks for the shrimp cocktail."
What would happen to our LDS social scene if every woman stood up and did much the same? If we all said, "I'm sorry- I refuse to take part in this social madness you call a party (or linger longer, or ward activity, etc.) and respectfully request that, if you'd like to get to know me and become REAL friends, spend some one-on-one time with me. Don't facebook/myspace/linkup friend me; forge a real, honest-to-goodness rapport with me through conversation and short-term adventures, as you would devote to any friend you find interesting."
Last night I refused to "stop by and hang out" at a guy's house; when the surrounding 6 women expressed shock that I "don't hang out anymore," one of them laughed and said, "So what? You just date?" And I thought for about 1.2 seconds and answered, "Yes. Yes I do. I date ALL my friends now," explaining that, male and female alike, every actual friend of mine gets exclusive time and attention. Why? Because it shows them they matter to me, that I care about their lives, and that they are special individuals. That time alone together- even when it's a 30 minute jog along PCH or a quick trip to the grocery store together- allows me to get to know them better and then, yes- we really ARE friends. And when we go to parties and see each other, we know better. We're don't feel devalued or desperate for attention. We've already elimiated the competition.
Friday, October 12, 2007
It's a mystery.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Why is it "regular people" videos assume that regular people are ugly? I know lots of non-famous people, and they are all attractive. Some are disturbingly photogenic. And those who are regular-looking...well, they're still not this fugly.
Monday, October 8, 2007
I'm slightly uncomfortable with the amount of personal information available online. People posting "I'm in a relationship," or, "My relationship is complicated," or "I'm single again;"it never fails to shock me that people are broadcasting such personal status- possibly because I'm hardly willing to discuss it even within the relationship itself, let alone to everyone in the e-world. It seems a bit extreme.
With all this TMI floating around, it seems like some people are using it to their advantage. Whether it's self-promotion, validation or desperation...I'm never really quite sure. Either way, it seems unnatural and rather unsatisfying. I've had situations where someone perfectly friendly and fascinating online (even ACTUAL friends) seem almost happier to run home in order to continue our discussion via IM or text, and it confuses me. Since when is constant electronic contact more impressive than actual physical contact?
Call me old fashioned, but I'd rather hold your hand before I exchange e-profiles any day.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Monday, October 1, 2007
We're here to stay.
You wonder where I get such a sleek physique? Well, clearly it's genetic. My people have mastered The Pong for centuries. Through focus, dedication, and a fashion-forward attitude, you too, can achieve excellence.
* Soundtrack from OkGo! Don't worry. There's more to come. Much, much more...
The next logical conclusion for my 16-year old self was to share the beauty of poetry with someone- but who? Well, the nicest guy EVER, of course! The one I had not spoken to for 3 years! I came up with the brilliantly, wildly romantic idea of sending him one poem a day for two weeks, leading up to Valentine's Day. Between Lovelace, Wordsworth and The Beatles, I had plenty of great material. I can still remember some of those poems now (they're good. Really, REALLY good.) What's even better about this story is that when our mutual friend discovered I was the secret admirer, she told me that he was in knots trying to figure out who could be sending him song lyrics and poetry. At the end of the two weeks, he somehow discovered that it was me. I had been utterly convinced that he wouldn't even remember who I was, but when he realized his secret admirer was me, he was- to put it mildly- excited. I can barely remember our telephone conversation that day- only feeling embarrassed at finally being discovered and also thrilled that he was so excited to know I remembered him. I promptly lost all interest afterward (he was on the other side of the country, after all!), but have never lost the thrill of lyricism of great poetry OR the thrill of romancing someone else.
Today, I find that I'm less willing to do something that will make me look vulnerable. Why would I put my soul, or heck! even my Tuesday night on the line, and risk giving a hint that I might be interested in someone before he proves that he's interested in me? What happened? When did romantic gestures become silly, impractical, and risky? Why aren't we more expressive, impulsive, and honest about our feelings? Would it be so terrible if people knew we liked them? Appreciated them? Admired them? And maybe even found them kissable? What are we so afraid of? And don't tell me "rejection;" because really, what's the difference between rejection and being ignored or suffering in silence? Either way, you end up without your paramour. At least by acting on your feelings you can share the thrill of potential magic. Magic. Chemistry. Poetry. It all transforms simple elements into something inspiring, uplifting, and beautiful. Maybe the process is more important than the end result. I still remember the thrill of marking my poetry books and finding the best lyrics far more than the thrill of actually talking to the boy I had used as my standard for romance for 3 years. At the risk of appearing reckless, maybe we should simply throw our romantic gestures out there a little more often and see what magic sticks. Because if chemistry can create a really, really bad smell sometimes, at some point, it's bound to make an amazing explosion. And hopefully, one day, we'll create a spark that lasts a lifetime.