Sunday, August 12, 2012

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Good, Bad, Worst

I went to the Thursday night show at ComedySportz Provo this week. They do something different every Thursday and this time it was the sketch comedy stylings of the Oppressive Comic Dynasty (OCD for short). It was their second show and they've really hit their stride. The writing is solid, the comic timing was impeccable and I had an amazing time. I've even seen the sketches before when they let me stay after practice to watch one night. Even with knowing some of the punchlines ahead of time I couldn't keep myself from laughing obnoxiously loud. It was one of those shows that feels magic. Everyone was on, the energy was great, and afterward all I wanted to do was recap all of my favorite parts......which makes me even more sad that there was one moment that made me uncomfortable.

Let me clarify that it had nothing to do with any of the performers. What happened was, between some of the sketches some of the performers would come out and do a short improv game. One of the games they played is called "Good, Bad, Worst." They get an advice question from the audience and one of the players gives good advice, the next gives bad advice, and the last guy gives the worst advice. For the second question an audience volunteer put on his douche-hat and asked a dumb question that he obviously thought was really clever and hilarious. He said (gesturing to the person who'd asked the question before him), "Dude,* it sounds like my friend over here is a little gay. How do I tell them that I don't agree with that?"

I thought the performers would have called him out, but they seemed to be uncomfortable too. In the end, the answers were awkward, and that douche got out of it without being reprimanded. When the show was over, I let it fester. All I could think about was what I wanted to say to that guy. So I've put together my own good, bad, and worst answers. But I decided to reverse the order so I could end this post on a good note. So, here is my answer to the question, "How do I tell someone that I don't agree with their gay-ness?" As asked by the douchiest guy in the room.

WORST ADVICE:

By virtue of the fact that you are a white, heterosexual male, your opinions are important and people care about what you think. Don't be shy. Shout about your homophobia from the rooftops. But why stop at the gays? All of your opinions deserve expression. Do you like your bitch in the kitchen? Tell her so. Does it bother you that people from other countries don't speak God's American English when they're here? Call them dirty Mexicans and joke about how much they like tacos and raping white women. After all, it's been scientifically proven that racism, sexism, and any other inequality stuff doesn't exist anymore, because Democracy, right? Everyone will think it's funny and anyone who takes offense just doesn't have a good sense of humor like you do.You're entitled to your opinion, except more so than other people because like I said before, you're a white, heterosexual male. Your opinion on homosexuality doesn't make you seem like a culturally insensitive rube at all. You know best, and women and minorities will recognize that immediately. And hey, who knows, people like Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson got famous sharing whatever diarrhea of the brain that occurred to them. People love those guys.

BAD ADVICE:

So, you want to tell your friend that you don't think it's right that they're gay. First of all, keep in mind that if you don't breach the subject with the right level of disgust and/or self-righteousness, your friend might think that you're gay and try to kiss you or something. A good way to start talking about it is to bring up that it's a sin. The Bible says so. Yeah, sure, there's only one verse in it that says gays should be stoned or something and a few hundred that say God loves everyone, but you're a detail-oriented guy. It says so on your resume. Your gay friend may argue that the over-arching theme of  Jesus' life was that everyone (especially the most down-trodden) are loved and should love each other as he loves us. What the Bible forgets to mention is that this doesn't apply to the gays. Anyone who disagrees is just trying to recruit you to the gay lifestyle (which is similar to a normal lifestyle except there's lots of glitter and everyone has AIDS). The gay person you're talking to probably doesn't even realize that they're going to go to hell. Make sure you let them know. Also, it's obvious that they haven't been praying hard enough. Reiterate this as many times as it takes for them to become un-gayed.

GOOD ADVICE:

Mind your own damn business. If you think for one second that your gay friend hasn't heard the barrage of ignorance, stupidity, hypocrisy and hate you're lovingly about to shovel down their throats, you're even dumber than you look. If you think for one minute they haven't already tried desperately to become "normal" based on what many religions and hetero-normative media deem acceptable you might just be incapable of empathy. You have no idea what they may be going through or reconciling, what they've dealt with in the past or how they feel about themselves. You are a bad friend if you cram your beliefs down their throat. You are not the morality police. Live and let live by minding your own business and keeping your hurtful mouth shut.

Alright, now that that's done, I'm officially stepping off of my high horse of soap boxes. I said I wanted to end this post on a good note and the first thing I thought of was the BYU "It Gets Better" video. Just a warning to those who haven't seen it: you might want to make sure the Kleenex is close by before you press play.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ym0jXg-hKCI

*I added the "Dude" for effect. I can't recall if he actually said this word or not, but I included it because I think it conveys his tone so perfectly.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

How Not to Get to Know a Girl on a Dating Site

I guess I'm doing another post about online dating. As I wrote before (I think) I try to respond to everyone that sends me a message, but it's getting really overwhelming and frankly a little impossible with the other things I need to keep up with. You can imagine that responding to so many messages has left me with a few pet-peeves. Recently, I was messaging a guy and I could tell that we weren't going to get along in person. I sent him a message saying I wasn't interested and told him that I hoped he found who he was looking for--the standard dismissal. Sometimes they ask why and  this guy did so I gave him the kindest, shortest version of the truth. It went like this:


"That's fine. Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. I'm just finding it difficult to find common ground with you. Something to talk about that we mutually enjoy and can expand on. I know a lot of people aren't into sharing like that but it's really important to me. You didn't do anything wrong per se, I'm just confident that if we can't have an interesting conversation online where we have the opportunity to think about what we're going to say before we say it, then meeting in person won't fix that"


I thought it was pretty concise without being cruel. I got my point across and I thought he'd be able to sleep well at night knowing it wasn't because I thought he looked weird or that I didn't think he was rich enough or something else trivial or shallow. We just don't mesh. The end. But then he sent me another message that basically said, "We didn't really talk about much, how can you tell?" An honest, and irresistible question. I took the bait. It was too tempting. All I wanted to do up front was be honest and here he was, presenting me with the opportunity for a second time. So, I told him. I don't even know if he's read it yet. Probably not. It's definitely not the most pleasant note I've sent but I thought it out and it comes from an honest place.  The following is my response, copied and pasted, exactly as I sent it to him:


"Okay, here goes: 

First exchange: You say we have a lot in common, but you didn't specifically say what. You don't say what in particular you'd like to talk about based on my profile. I'm left to guess what we might have in common based on reading yours. I read your profile thinking I'll find some clues there. Your profile is sparse on things I can talk to you about, ("So, you're humble and you like eating, eh?") but in spite of that I find college football and you wanting to make documentaries. I didn't mention liking either one of these in my profile, but they're two things we have in common. I ask you a question about documentaries 1) because I enjoy watching documentaries 2) I assume you also enjoy watching them if you want to make them and if you watch them maybe we've seen some of the same ones and 3) I think it's a topic that facilitates honing in on something we may have in common so that we can get to know each other better. 

Second exchange: You sort of answer my question. You give me genres you like but nothing specific. Biography, History and Science are pretty broad topics. I'm sure I've seen a few, but not recently. Now, Guns, Germs & Steel comes to mind (even though I didn't watch the movie I only read the book) but at the time I didn't think of it. I didn't want to ask you again what your favorite documentaries were at the risk of you misunderstanding the question again and either thinking I was stupid or making you feel stupid. When you mentioned that you wanted to do a documentary about innovation & grassroots politics I was like "BINGO." Even though it was still vague it was oddly particular. It made me think you had a subject in mind which piqued my interest. I asked you if you had a particular subject in mind. 

Third exchange: I'm disappointed again that you don't have any subject to clue me in as to who you really are by telling me what you're passionate about. You might be thinking now that you did tell me. You want to be "part of the solution" which you think makes you look like a guy who is kind and cares and is socially responsible, but it doesn't. This doesn't mean you aren't cool, kind, chill, humble, caring, [insert every good adjective here], you still could be, but if you are you're not doing a good job of coming across that way. What it does come across as is kind of naive and socially inept. Keep in mind that you didn't ask me any questions about football, documentaries, accounting, improv, economics, growing up in Texas/Oklahoma, working graves, leaving the church, the singularity, zombies, starting a business (of any kind), or guns, which were mentioned in my profile. You say that you like how I look wholesome but curse occasionally, which was something that I mentioned in my profile but it wasn't something to talk about. It was a statement. There's no real way for me to follow up with that that. So, the impression a girl gets is that you don't want to know what I think and you value (and believe that I value) looks more than other personality traits or interests in my life. I don't think you did it on purpose or to be mean so I blow past it. In a final effort to get you to talk about something, I bring up a topic I don't care about but it could be good because everyone experienced it. I'll admit that I don't really care about Memorial Day (it's not even a step up from talking about the weather), but there was a off-chance you did something nice, or saw a movie you wanted to, or you just love days off when you can hang out around the house in your underwear, or you had to work an you hate that. Anything even remotely specific would have gotten my attention. 

Fourth exchange: You didn't have anything to say about Memorial Day, good or bad. You asked your first question: "How was yours?" I didn't care about my Memorial Day. I worked. I've worked through Christmas for the past 2 years, so Memorial Day doesn't even register as a holiday on my radar. You have to admit, it was a pretty boring conversation at this point. I didn't care to answer the question and I didn't feel like trying to come up with another topic to talk about. 

So, in conclusion: You may have started the conversation (kudos on that-it's not an easy thing to do) but I was doing all of the heavy lifting in it. So, like I said before, if we can't come up with anything to talk about on here when we have time to think and give thoughtful responses, we're not going to be able to come up with anything in person. I don't feel the need to string you along so I told you as soon as I knew."



The thing I come across all the time that I wish I could change is this: Boys telling me outright who they are. They say, "I'm chill, funny, humble, the life of the party, hard-working, adventurous, loyal, etc..." The problem is, that I'm not a very smart girl if I just take your word for it. You know that awkward friend that everyone has that talks about how great she is at singing all the time, but then you hear her and she's really REALLY not? Everybody is like that in some way or another. No one is totally self-aware. So when you say you're humble does that mean all the time or just not right now? When you say you're kind does that mean the exception is when someone else is hitting on your girlfriend or when someone is berating your child? 


No one is anything all of the time and everything is relative. Maybe you were raised by jerks and so compared to everyone else you know, you're nice. Maybe you were raised by auditors and compared to them, you're hilarious.


If you want to endear yourself to anyone you have to share parts of yourself. Stories, obsessions, dislikes, what you really think about your friends and family, what you love about your job, what you hate about it, what you would do if you could do anything, why your favorite band is your favorite. You have to allow other people to put you under their own microscopes and decide for themselves. It's a scarier prospect, but in the end, much more effective. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

CANNONBALL!!!

So, May 20th was the big day. That's the day I put myself back on the market and I wanted to do it in a big way. I've been excited about dating again. Meet new people, get some new stories, maybe (and don't get too excited, Mom) get a nice boyfriend. So, I opened up an account on OkCupid again. If my experience is similar to other girls, then it's true what they say about dating being easier for us than it is for boys. All you have to do is use normal-looking pictures, and some guy, somewhere will express interest.

Tonight, I met up with a guy who tempted me with tickets to a play. He didn't have a photo up or any information filled out on his profile but he boldly messaged me asking to meet up in a public place, and there's a part of me--probably the part that watched too much television as a kid--that believes boldness should be rewarded.

It wasn't as bad as it could have been. We had some things in common and he was actually really cute, but he reminded me of one of the reasons I'm more comfortable in bulky winter clothes than summer fare. I have never EVER had anyone stare at my boobs so unapologetically for so long. He made more eye contact with my breasts than with me. At LEAST 50% of the time he was enraptured by whatever sweet nothings my tits were promising him, while I remained up top attempting to answer questions he didn't really care about. I normally don't get upset about guys looking at them. It happens, and I know they're not small and guys are very visual, and usually it's just a glance, but this guy was beyond rude about it. I wonder what other things he stares at inappropriately. Burn victims? The disabled? Maybe my boobs were distracting to him, but his staring at them was so bad that it was distracting me. He was the sweater-puppy whisperer, fluent in areola and he shared some bond with them that even I couldn't conceive. I thought that if I continued to make eye-contact he would realize that I was paying attention to his eyes and where they were going and he would try to be more conscious not to objectify me so blatantly. Nope. Apparently he isn't well-versed in the secret language of a subtle hint.

And I know he wasn't listening either because he asked every question at least 3 times during the 2 hour conversation. Sometimes he was like, "oh my bad, I asked that before," but for the most part he didn't seem to notice that his question had already been answered. He also kept touching. He'd splay himself across the table and accidentally brush my arm or leg a whole hell of a lot. I asked him why he was so touchy-feely and told him that I wasn't comfortable touching someone I just met. I used those exact words, "I'm not comfortable being touchy-feely with someone I just met." And he did that thing that guys do sometimes: "Oh, why is that weird? You're weird for thinking it's weird.". It's similar to the attempted manipulation that I face at the group home. The clients try to justify and normalize their behaviors to themselves and others to avoid guilt and punishment.

That douche-bag underestimated me.

He opened the door in the most awkward way too. It's difficult to explain, but the way he did it, he stayed in the doorway while he was holding it open and I had to brush either my boobs or my butt up against him a little.

So, after talking for a little while, he asked if I wanted to get something to eat and I said yes. Was it crazy to assume that we'd eat something at the food court we were meeting at? He wanted to go to his favorite Chinese place just up the street in his car. I said I wanted to take separate cars. He kept pressuring me to go in his car and I was like, "no let's take separate. I don't know you and I'm going to want to leave straight from the restaurant anyway." We finally decided to go to Chili's (which was literally across the parking lot) in my car. (If we were watching this in a movie right now, you'd be thinking: FORESHADOWING)

We ate, talked about politics, religion and a little feminism. He brought it up, but I can't remember why. All I remember was that at some point he said, "...but you have to admit, girls are way more emotional than boys." I said, "No, I don't." He tried to explain that boys make decisions based on logic and girls make decisions more based on feelings...blah blah blah. After a few minutes of me explaining what a difference socialization makes he conceded. Jessi FTW!!!

After dinner I drove him back to his car. He told me to park so we could hash out plans to see the play. I was a little annoyed at that because it was past 9 and I'd already told him that's what time I needed to go so I could get to work. The play was on a different week than he thought it was before so he wanted to hang out before then again. I didn't. After another conversation where he tried to pressure me into making more plans with him I finally said I have to go and we can't talk about it later. He leaned over to give me a hug goodbye and right as he got to my face he turned his head and tried to kiss me. I pushed him away and said, "Nope, that's too much. I need to go." He got out of the car, I drove home. I called him when I got there and left a matter-of-fact message saying I wasn't going to go to the play with him and I didn't want to see him in the future.

He called me as I was leaving for work. He was freaking out. "What?! What happened?! I don't understand! I thought you gave people the benefit of the doubt! I thought you gave people second chances!" I was calm and explained what he'd been doing wrong all night. He hung up on me. So much for his macho, logical man-brain.



I feel bad for boys. It's difficult to date anyway, but there are horrible guys like this that ruin it for the good ones. I would be pretty dumb if I didn't learn something from it though. So, a new rule is born: No riding in cars with boys until I feel like it. End of story. If the guy doesn't like it, it might be because he wants to rape-kiss me (or worse) later.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Holy Heart-Disease Batman!

As you may know, I really haven't run since my little elbow-break snafu back in May. Every attempt to get back into it has been thwarted....by my own recently-flabby self. It sucks to start running again and it's cold and stuff. I can't even run for a mile anymore which is really depressing. Anyway, I did run last night and once last week so at least I have the will power for that, but I'm going to need to muster up a lot more if I'm going to get to my 3 mile a day in 30 minutes goal. Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Resolutions and a Non-Denominational Adventure

I love New Year's Resolutions. Heck, I make New Week's Resolutions on occasion! So, I'm going to share with you what I'm hoping to accomplish this year:
http://www.sxc.hu/profile/suzuk1
  1. Do school work for 3 hours per day
  2. Work on muscle tone for my arms and abs especially
  3. Get up to jogging 3 miles per day in 30 minutes (even when I have been able to run the distance in the past I think the fastest I ever got was around a 12 minute mile-speed will be a factor this year)
  4. Volunteer for VITA
  5. Take the H&R Block tax class
  6. Get an internship or entry-level accounting position
  7. Make a chore chart and stick to it this year (instead of waiting til things get unbearably messy)
  8. Aside from the Fiscal Friday posts on my finance blog, I want to consistently blog at least one other time during the week
  9. Become proficient in Teeline Shorthand
  10. Learn how to change a tire and have everything I'd need to do it in my car so I'm prepared
I'm already working on a few of these, like the Teeline Shorthand one and the VITA one. It's gonna be a good year :)

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

In other news, I woke up a lot earlier than I was thought I would today and decided to finally check out the Non-Denominational church here in Provo. It was okay. It was different. I do feel like I should reserve judgement until I've tried it out a few more times though.
http://www.sxc.hu/profile/ba1969

When I walked in the door I smelled coffee. A woman with programs named Geenie (Genie?) greeted me at the door. She was the pastor's wife and she asked me a little about myself and what brought me to the church this morning. I told her I'd seen it while I was driving by several times and I'd always meant to check it out. She introduced me to her husband, Steve (nickname "Mac"), and a girl, Amy. She invited me to get some coffee if I wanted and to look around. In the front area there was essentially a gift shop where you could purchase CDs, Bibles and other Christian literature, even t-shirts. It was foreign to me and I have to say that it didn't seem right at first, but I understand that not every church is has a lot of money like the Mormon church does. Here in Provo, I'm sure many other churches might need to get a little creative with how they raise funds. It wasn't like they were preaching consumerism from the pulpit or pushing a free gift with purchase and they weren't selling miracle water/prayer cloths/manna. It just seemed strange initially but it's not so off-putting when you think about it. I guess you could say that the LDS church sells more and better AND over the pulpit at that. But they do a lot of good and they're able to use it to help a lot of people. Money can be a good thing when it's used as a tool not just as the goal. Anyway, I'm just saying it didn't bother me after I thought about it a little.

I basically went straight back to the church part of the building. There was a stage and a band at the front and a sound booth at the back. As the service was starting, Amy came up and sat next to me. She was sweet and pointed out that she left the house wearing her slippers. The congregation was pretty diverse. There was a family toward the front, a few couples, a man with a big beard toward the back, a guy with gauges, people dressed up and dressed down. The music started and almost everyone stood up. Amy did too and invited me to as well. I was feeling very "when in Rome" so I did. But it did bother me a little. The standing seemed disingenuous because no one really acted like the music had moved them to that extent. There was one woman who was swaying and dancing around and singing the words, but she was it.

The band wasn't my favorite either. I've heard enough Christian rock to know that I don't categorically dislike it. I like plenty of Christian songs not just for the messages but for the music. But this band, to me, almost sounded like a parody of Christian music. Listening to it reminded me of one of my old vocal coaches  calling it 7-11 music because it's the same seven words repeated eleven times and also of the South Park episode where Cartman starts a Christian Rock band. In the episode, Cartman takes regular songs and just replaces words like "baby" with "Jesus" to make them Christian. It wasn't such terrible music that you were embarrassed for the performers or anything like that. They were talented musicians. I was just disappointed that none of the songs spoke to me.

The sermon was alright. You always see these really smarmy, charismatic preachers on TV but it wasn't like that at all. Mac's brother gave it, and he seemed like a pretty normal guy. The message was about examining yourself for salvation. It was a little long and I felt bad toward the end because my lack of sleep caught up with me and I yawned a few times. It did make me miss that in the LDS church 3 different people usually  speak which breaks things up and can make it more interesting. It was a good message though.

My initial reaction is that it doesn't seem like the right fit for me. I don't think it's fair to judge it just based on visiting once though, so I plan on visiting again. What I do want though is to get a Bible that isn't the King James Version. Everybody already knows the Bible has been jacked up enough over the years that the KJV probably isn't going to be any less contradictory that newer translations. I've been wanting to read the Old Testament. Recently, my friend Patrick Kintz let me borrow his copy of an Eric Samuelson play called "The Plan" that focuses on the LDS plan of salvation (of course) but through Old Testament stories with a focus on the perspectives of the women in them. It was an amazing play and I bawled my eyes out almost all the way through. It just made me want to read the Old Testament really bad.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Feminism & Me

http://www.sxc.hu/profile/ywel
I'm still reading East of Eden and I just came across the part that I believe was the genesis of my recent exploration into feminism. It's a conversation between Abra, the sweetheart of Aron Trask who represents Abel in the Biblical metaphor of the book, and Lee who is the Trask's servant and one of my favorite literary characters ever.These lines spoke to me back when I first read them the summer after my senior year of high school and they've been incubating ever since:

"'I'm not being funny. He doesn't think about me. He's made someone up, and it's like he put my skin on her. I'm not like that--not like the made-up one.'


'What's she like?'


'Pure!' said Abra. 'Just absolutely pure. Nothing but pure--never a bad thing. I'm not like that.'


'Nobody is,' said Lee.


'He doesn't know me. He doesn't even want to know me. He wants that--white--ghost.'


Lee rubbled a piece of cracker. 'Don't you like him? You're pretty young, but I don't think that makes any difference.'


'Course I like him. I'm going to be his wife. But I want him to like me too. And how can he, if he doesn't know anything about me?'"


This has been a common theme in many (not all) of my relationships with people who consider themselves to be close to me. These relationships aren't confined to just the romantic ones, but friendly and familial as well. I've always been interested in people. Anyone willing to show me pieces of their humanness is endeared to me forever. It's  never been enough for me just to talk to people, I want to know them. I'm not a perfect listener, in fact, I'm not very good at small talk, but when I see a little piece of a person's soul I'm pretty good at finding the right follow-up questions to get them to share the more closely guarded parts of themselves with me. That, combined with a love of human imperfection has provided me with a few very close friends and many interesting conversations with strangers.

I'm proud of this talent. It's one of the few things I feel I'm really naturally good at and sometimes when I think about how my brain works and how I am I think it must be what I was designed to do. However, it becomes problematic when people (often boys interested in me) discover and like this one quality of mine and invent the rest of my personality in their own heads. I become a caregiver, a sounding board in their minds and not much else. Soon after, they start talking "at" me instead of "to" me. I've actually observed it happening mid-conversation and it kills my soul a little every time. It has been a long, largely unrealized dream of mine that someone will want to know me as much and in the same way as I want to know them. Which is to say, all the way through.

http://www.sxc.hu/profile/roxxannas
After some recent, back-to-back experiences with some of these (unintentionally) careless  people, I've started learning about feminism. Reading about the feminist ideal that women should be portrayed in the media and treated in real life like they are full, complete, complex human beings and not just objects and caricatures whose sole purpose is to interact with men or be a plot device was like coming home. I can relate. There's a common trope in popular media called the "Manic Pixie Dream Girl." She's the character you see in movies where a brooding, sensitive boy finds a pretty girl who's quirky in just the right way to pull him out of his rut and teach him how to enjoy life. Little time is spent developing the Manic Pixie Dream Girl's character by focusing on her motivations or aspirations which , sadly, turns her into just a plot device, or the means by which the male protagonist achieves a higher state of being. This isn't to say that  some movies whose demographic is geared toward women don't objectify men in a similar way. That happens too--I'm looking at you, Twilight series--but I'm talking about me right now and my personal experience dealing with boys who idolize Manic Pixie Dream Girl types.

I'm not saying I've been mistaken for a Manic Pixie Dream Girl myself much (definitely not since I hit 24) but I have been mistaken for being a person I'm not by no dishonesty of my own, just incomplete information. Some questions are hard to answer with just a simple phrase and when people know you'll really listen to them, they're impatient to talk about themselves again. Everyone likes to talk about themselves and I'm no different. Interest in me wanes after they get bored of me just being the wall they talk at or when I turn out not to be the person they invented.

So, I'm working on this speaking up more thing. And I'm taking a break from boys. I've always had an obligatory 6 month between guys rule so I have time to rediscover myself, and issues that went unresolved in the previous relationship don't bleed into the next one. It's good to be single and I enjoy it. It usually takes a little bit of time to remember that though. In the mean time I'm good at keeping myself busy.

P.S.- I started with the John Steinbeck quote because he's a man and could acknowledge that it was an issue. If one man can see it than others could too. There's hope for us ladies yet.