I vividly remember what my first crush (on an actual boy, as opposed to how I felt watching Aladdin, or Michael Jackson dancing) felt like. It was this heightened awareness of another kid, on par with best girl friends I’d had, but different because of how overwhelmingly appealing the idea of kissing suddenly became. This warm, upbeat feeling in my chest made all the things I’d seen people do in movies “in the name of love” make sense. I think you could actually see the happiness radiating out of me. So while my classmates still made sounds of disgust whenever somebody locked lips in a cartoon, I just sat quietly thinking, “that looks pretty fun, but no open mouths. None of that.” That was the beginning of a long line of crushes that would float in and out of my life, and in my mind, always to the tune of I Can Show You The World (used to be the Brad Kane/Lea Salonga version but as I’ve aged it has sort of evolved into the 90s-tastic stylings of Peabo Bryson that play during the credits. Don’t look at me like that, it’s objectively more mature. They play it on the smooth jazz stations.)
Somehow I entered the wonderful world of crushes thinking that a very important part of having the crush at all was to inform the object of your affection about your feelings. I don’t know where this came from. No one ever said to me, “you HAVE to tell them!” but it just made a lot of sense to me at the time. You can’t fall madly in love with each other unless you bring it up, I reasoned. I was certain that this feeling wouldn’t be there if it didn’t demand some kind of action on my part. So for a long time if the crush was big enough I ALWAYS made my feelings known, but I had a pretty weird way of going about it.
Once I knew I liked a boy, and had at least talked to him/worked alongside him in a class activity/played on his team, I would plan a moment to approach him while he was alone and let him in on the secrets of my heart. It was pretty bold, but not THAT bold. I usually had a few clues to be confident over, like if the boy in question had a) offered me some of his snack at recess b) cast me as the heroine of whatever imaginary game we were playing. In my book that was as good as a proposal.
The moment would eventually arrive, and - heart pounding -I would quickly tell him, whoever he was, that I liked him. Pretty simple. “I just wanted to tell you that I like you.” Of course I wisely left out my wedding plans.
So I would let my news sink in for a beat, then promptly run away as fast as I could. And not in an emotional, I’m-suddenly-overwhelmed-and-frightened-by-my-feelings-so-I’m-distancing-myself kind of way. I literally would run somewhere, without any particular destination in mind, just as long as I was out of sight and out of breath. It was just impossible for me to plan the “response” part, so I cut it out entirely. It was important for me to preserve the moment as a positive thing, and leave any aftermath for later. I didn’t know it was okay to say, “well now you know, feel free to take some time and think it over and get back to me” and make a casual exit. Instead, I abruptly forced the think-it-over-time upon him in the most dramatic way possible and hoped for the best.
This Spill My Guts and Run method didn’t disappear, either. I can remember doing this until I was at least 13, if not older. On the very last day of eighth grade, I walked up to a boy I’d liked for months while he distractedly cleaned out his locker, asked him some unimportant question, then threw in my classic “listen, I just wanted to tell you that I like you.” He stopped messing with his locker then, looked at me, and said “You do?”
"Yeah. Well see ya," I said, then ran away. Technically that time it was more of a slow jog, which is actually worse if you picture it.
The weirdest part is that this technique actually kind of worked. At least, way more often than you would think. I would drop the feelings bomb, hightail it out of there, feel proud of myself, and when I saw the boy again, a surprising number of times he would behave toward me in a way that said, “right back ‘atcha” but way less ridiculous and with way less aerobics. That guy cleaning out his locker? Totally became my first proper boyfriend in high school. It was probably because I became pretty selective about who I approached, rather than the actual running, but it is fun to think the running had something to do with it. Impressed by my graceful gait, they were.
Yes, there were plenty of times where I faced the unrequited crush, but I also never treated those guys to my declare and dash routine. I knew nothing would come of it and I’m not an idiot. Mostly. Like I said, my running thing was reserved for closing the deal when I was fairly sure there was a deal to close.
When I would run what I decided was far away enough, I’d stop and feel the exhilaration of the whole thing. The high of telling a guy how I felt paired with the endorphins of physical exertion was really something. I didn’t give anyone a chance to rain on my bravery parade by waiting for an actual immediate answer. Worrying about the response would be for another day.
That stomach-dropping anticipation of confessing your feelings to someone never goes away, either. If anything it gets worse because everything you’ve come to learn about the social implications of what you’re doing is now riding on top of how this goes. The “risks” only increase, meanwhile the social acceptability of running drops off dramatically.
Eventually I was older and there was a guy that I liked a lot (A LOT) so I told him, and I didn’t run away. It was largely because I had matured. It also could have been because we were in his small apartment and I would’ve had to burst out the door and run off into the night or run laps around his coffee table in order to achieve the kind of mileage I was used to. Either way, I didn’t run, and I got my first immediate answer.
It was a very good answer that made me feel more alive than running ever had, and I got to enjoy it right away. So after all the running I did to make sure I felt good about putting myself out there, it turned out the really good stuff came from staying put.
This was a particularly useful revelation, because if I haven’t already said this, the truth is I really, really hate running. Literally.
Somebody please remind me of what year it is. Oh? It’s the year 2012 you say? Are you sure it’s not 1850? Sanitation is a thing already? Oh okay good.
Given what year it is, I was under the impression that society understood how to wash its hands by now, with the primary criteria being washing its hands at all. Instead I’m constantly being proven wrong on this.
I was in a public restroom the other day, and it’s amazing what you can learn about people in there. Anyway I was washing my hands, and some lady flushed the toilet, emerged from her stall, smiled at me in the mirror, and left.
Without washing her hands.
First of all, what the HELL was she smiling about?
And is that supposed to make it okay? Because it doesn’t!
To those of you out there that don’t wash your hands in the bathroom: I don’t know what kind of sick fairy tale you think you’re living in, but washing your hands is pretty freaking important here in the real world. Also I hate you.
Not only do I wash my hands in the restroom, sometimes I even do it beforehand too, if the mood strikes me. I wash my hands before preparing food, before eating, after eating (depending on whether or not I had utensils and how much sauce was involved), before I put in my contacts, after touching money or animals, after church - point is I wash them all the time. You could probably say I wash my hands recreationally, because not only do I do it, I enjoy it. You basically have a free opportunity to take a time-out from life’s craziness and play around with some soap and bubbles. But I know and respect that not everyone is like me. Or as clean.
But for heaven’s sake, you don’t have to love washing your hands as much as I do to know that when you leave the bathroom without washing your hands, you’re spreading some of the worst germs and- let’s call it what it is- you’re spreading evil.
I read fairly recently that with most soaps you aren’t necessarily fighting/killing/murdering germs so much as sliding them off of you with the soap’s slippery-ness. When I learned that, I adjusted my mental image of what happens during hand washing from a Star Wars style lightsaber fight to the scene in Titanic where the boat is nearly vertical and the passengers are just kinda slowly but surely falling off of there. So now I rinse a little bit longer, to get rid of the bacterial Jacks and Roses that are hanging on real tight because they had some intense binary fission in an old steamy car and now they’re deep in bacterial love.
Regardless of what you believe, when you wash your hands, you have less bad news on them than you do otherwise. Yet somehow, there are STILL people that don’t seem to get it, or refuse to.
Side note: I know that plenty of dudes don’t think they need to wash their hands because supposedly peeing standing up gives you some kind of magical free pass. This free pass does not exist, because on a microscopic level, all kinds of stuff can hang out on your junk throughout the day. It’s probably not going to hurt you down there, but passing it around to other places with your hands, such as your eyes, mouth, or other people’s hands and thus THEIR eyes and mouths can be real bad news. THERE IS NO MAGICAL FREE PASS!
I could talk all day about people who don’t believe in medicine or evolution or bras. It amazes me how some feel that The Land Before Time movies are entirely fictional, especially the parts about dinosaurs existing. Is it so wild to think that God could come up with dinosaurs too? But that’s not what this is about today. I think the people that refuse to wash their hands are just on a different level that’s further up in the line of People that Need To Be Yelled At.
For one thing, someone’s choice not to believe in medicine doesn’t really immediately affect me, unless that someone is my diabolical heart surgeon who is also puzzlingly influential enough to get anti-medicine legislation passed. Outside of that scenario, they can just go on their merry way not taking medicine while the rest of us enjoy the heck out of it. When someone doesn’t wash their hands, it affects all of us, and the worst part is we can’t even see it until it’s too late.
There’s already enough bad stuff out there in the world. The absolute LEAST you can do is wash some of it off of your hands so that it doesn’t get onto mine.
I’ve been on enough flights now to know that airline travel is not sexy. Or maybe it is and I’m just doing it wrong.
I’m familiar with the fairy tale about two sufficiently attractive people meeting on a plane, striking up a conversation with Aaron Sorkin-quality banter and hitting it off, but I’m just coming to terms with the fact that for me, this fairy tale is not going to come true. Not even a little bit, and it’s because of what happens when I fall asleep on planes.
Thankfully I have never actually seen myself sleep, and hopefully I will never have to. According to people who HAVE seen me sleep, the only funny sleep habits I have are that I laugh and sometimes speak really fluent gibberish (it’s actually English, but strung together in nonsensical ways. For example, while asleep I might calmly pose the question “Fork carpet ice lamp to wondering?”). Other than that, I don’t have anything terribly embarrassing to worry about, assuming no one has lied to me by omission.
However, that’s just when I’m sleeping on my back, you know, like in a bed or vampire coffin. Like normal. In situations where I’m sitting up…that’s when I get into trouble. When I’m on a flight that’s longer than an hour, I HAVE to fall asleep. I just have to. Same goes for car rides, and I can fall asleep in even less time. Something about moving continuously in a vehicle knocks me right out. I would be the ideal astronaut for a deep space mission because cryosleep comes naturally to me.
That’s all fine and good, except it’s not. I don’t know WHAT causes this. Or maybe I do. It’s probably gravity’s fault. In any case, when I sleep sitting up, say, in an airplane seat, my mouth gets OUT OF CONTROL.
I don’t mean I start spouting offensive whatsits, I mean that I lose muscular control in my jaw and my mouth just sort of falls open. I know it’s not the worst thing in the world (some people COMMIT CRIMES in their sleep!) and it’s still really common, but that doesn’t make it any less unattractive.
In my experience of vertical sleep, I start out strong, with what I hope is a normal looking sleep face. Minutes later I’ll come to, finding that it’s all been shot to hell. No matter how hard I will my mouth to stay closed, it doesn’t happen, and I wake up with the shame of knowing everyone has probably seen my uvula.
So even if the universe does toss an attractive young man at me on a plane, the best thing I can do is tell him goodbye up front because once I’ve fallen asleep, it will all be over between us.
Case in point: yesterday I was on a five hour flight, and I thought maybe, just MAYBE I could pull this one off. Across the aisle was a decent looking guy, around my age-ish, blatantly listening to his CD player even after they had announced to turn off all electrical devices. Clearly he was the rebellious type. Everything was going well, as in I was still awake and cute and pretending not to notice him and whatever. I had even successfully eaten a dry turkey sandwich without the support of any napkins, and didn’t run into any problems. Then, before I knew it, I was waking up with the strong sensation that my mouth was open. Because it was. “Screw it, he’s not that cute” I thought before falling back asleep.
While getting my luggage, I overheard him conversing with another guy, with what was pretty clearly the voice of a nice pleasant gay boy. “Oh, no harm done!” I thought with relief, until I realized my grotesque sleep-mouth antics may have successively turned him gay in the course of our flight. There’s no telling what I’m capable of!
It’s my hope that someday, some dude will love me enough to fly with me somewhere and still want to be with me when we reach our destination. Maybe the real solution is that I just need a shoulder to lean on.
If you’d excuse me for a moment…
It’s the beginning of my senior year of college, which I’m quickly learning is the time when you realize that if you aren’t in a relationship by now, your collegiate romantic career is probably over. I’m a very optimistic person, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that my seemingly pessimistic comments are actually optimistic because they suggest hope in the long run. There just isn’t enough time left to magically fully recover from my most recent venture, meet someone new and fall in love to a degree that will merit continuing a relationship after college. At least I don’t THINK so (yes universe, that’s a dare!) It sounds a lot more depressing than it actually is.
It just means that the story I tell about how I met Him will be, hopefully, a little more interesting than “in college.” It also means that I’ll get to focus more on my friends and my future, and my laundry, and-
Okay it is a little bit disappointing, but at this point I’m honestly convinced that the “we met in college and now we’re married” is not a thing at my school. I’m pretty sure “we met in college and now we’re in a nice long term thing” isn’t even a thing at my school. Serious dating is just not what happens here. Oh, there are the exceptions, but those are either rooted in high school/some place outside of college/some traumatic life-bonding event OR, more commonly, they are temporary and fleeting.
I still haven’t figured out why this is the case, but it’s definitely the reality. College, or at least my college, is not the dating paradise I thought it would be. I consider myself lucky for having had one short but sweet jam on the dance floor of love during my time here, because many people can’t even get the DJ to play the song they requested much less keep up with this metaphor.
One theory I have is that people are living longer, so things like falling in love happen later because “spending the rest of your life” with someone is a lot more time than it used to be, so why rush?
My other theory is that we’re all idiots.
Think about it. In a time where social technology is at an all time high, I still only really know people from the 5 parts of campus where I spend all my time. This is super common. And here we are, feeling like we’ve exhausted our dating pools at a school with dozens of thousands of people.
Is it the end of the world if I don’t meet my soul mate at college? No. Is it a possibility that he has secretly been hanging out in the Gerontology department and thus never crossed my path? I would be surprised, but it would undoubtedly be a pleasant surprise.
Which is why I have a radical suggestion: schools should set up a survey that all seniors take so it can inform them of who is still hiding in plain sight. Then we could at least be sure! I’m surprised the school doesn’t already do this: think of the value couples with the same alma mater offer to a school! Probably a deeper rooted loyalty and willingness to donate funding than the average student that didn’t also receive a lifelong snuggle buddy with their diploma.
Man, if I met Mr. Lifelong Snuggle Buddy somewhere on campus and also became successful in life? You would definitely find a building named after Mr. and Mrs. Lifelong Snuggle Buddy sometime in the future. I’m thinking a counseling center. Or wherever they teach crime forensics. You know, romantic places.
The ironic thing is that even if this service DID exist, college has done too good of a job of telling me that I’m going to graduate single, to the extent that even if my future husband walked up to me right now and announced himself by declaring who he was and tossing a bit of confetti in the air, I don’t think I would believe him. Probably because of the confetti.
Which means he’d just have to try something different. Say, running into me sometime after college. Tossing at me a better sense of what love means, instead of confetti.
And I guess I’m pretty okay with that.
This is coming in a little late, but it’s still in the news, and it still makes me mad, so I’m still gonna talk about it. It’s a little bit amazing to me that this show is still a thing. Then again, that’s the case for a lot of stuff on TV that just won’t die.
Tonight’s focus, however, is on The Bachelorette, specifically the most recent single lady’s televised journey to let dudes compete for the opportunity to put a ring on it.
Now, I TRIED to watch this girl -what is her name anyway? I’m going to look this up right now….ah yes Ashley.
As I was saying, I tried to watch impeccably dressed and primped Ashley organically and genuinely sift through a pile of TV-approved guys to find her true love (isn’t that how everybody’s parents met?). I tried so hard. I really did, but I think it’s safe to say that I must lack some important enzyme that so many women seem to have because honestly, my body can’t handle this show.
Some Bachelor/Bachelorette fans think they know what my beef is, and I’ll address these alleged and incorrect beefs.
1) “Lia, you must not be a very romantic person if you don’t like this show.”
Sorry ma’am, but I think I have a case for being an extremely romantic person. When I fall in love, I fall hard. Bruce Willis-walking-on-glass hard. “But that’s only happened like, twice” you say. Fine! Even when I’m NOT in love I’m still an incredibly romantic person. On Valentine’s Day last year I asked my best friend to be my writing partner in an upcoming class by getting down on one knee and proposing for her hand in writing partnership in front of a room full of people. And she said yes! I have a running list of places to go on dates someday. I hang mistletoe every Christmas and have never been kissed under it, but I do it anyway, just in case. ;) I had my heart totally broken and I STILL believe in love! I’m pretty sure a lack of romantic feeling is not my problem.
2) “You must have an intolerance for ‘cheeseyness’.”
I once ended up kissing a guy while “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” was playing. As in The Lion King. As in the movie was playing and the song came on. And we weren’t little kids, either. Even if that guy secretly wasn’t actually into it, he was at least a really good sport about it, because I was totally into it. Not ashamed. Now tell me I can’t handle cheesey. One. More. Time.
3) “Well then…you must not like men!”
Here’s my real issue with Ashley gushing about how she’s found her soul mate. I’m certain that because I believe so strongly in love, I cannot tolerate the way this show goes about manufacturing it. If it were two people falling in love as they overcome the obstacles that stand in their way, then maybe I’d be on board. What this series does is show a man “fall in love” with a woman while she “falls in love” with him over the course of a season, and the only obstacles they overcome are the 20 other menshe actively dates, makes out with and dumps until that first man outlasts all the others by 10 minutes, at which point they are declared soul mates and get engaged.
How could anyone possibly think that’s a good way to find your soul mate? This process is only okay if you’re trying to decide which flavor of ice cream will be your favorite for the rest of your life: you try all of them, slowly narrow it down by continuing to sample until at last you’ve settled on the right one. Even then, you don’t tell Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough that you’ve been doing taste tests with every other ice cream in the shop at the same time it thought you were falling in love with it! But the guys and gals on the Bachelor/Bachelorette know all along that they’re being sampled along with everybody else! How is that any kind of basis for getting engaged to be married??
If anything, the big season finale should just be about reaching an agreement about exclusivity, at which time they exchange friendship bracelets.
I would give them my blessing.
The story I’m going to tell is completely and entirely true in every way, but if it starts to sound like a metaphor, I definitely noticed that too, which is why I kind of like it. It’s pretty much just an awesome metaphor that my life handed to me in literal form. I just wish it hadn’t been as gross, but then again, life is gross a lot of the time.
Last week started off being one of the worst in awhile, and then at an alarming speed became one of the best. This short story takes place somewhere in the middle.
I was feeling spectacularly average when I remembered that yes, we had raspberries in the fridge. Before I go any further, you have to understand that I LOVE raspberries. I don’t even need them with anything else, just a bowl of plain ol’ raspberries is all I need to be happy. When man asked God for a food that would be healthy, tasty, filling, excellently colored, unbelievably cute in size and make the perfect hat for one’s pinky, God handed over a bunch of raspberries.
So I was excited about the carton of raspberries I pulled out of my refrigerator. They were supposed to be rinsed already, which was corroborated by the little water droplets that winked and said “hey, we’ve been rinsed.”
I opened ‘em up, grabbed a spoon (I don’t know how you do it, but I like eating them with a spoon) and took a trip to Tasty Town. Sitting there with my spoon, I was completely reaffirmed in my love of raspberries. They were so reliably, consistently delicious! I would never have any reason to doubt them. Raspberries and I were made for each other. We could skip off together hand in hand, in all our fruity love, and never look back.
About ¾ of the way through the small carton of raspberries, I noticed one of the tiny seeds was doing a weird little dance. Don’t get me wrong, my relationship with dancing is arguably even more passionate, but this little seed-dance wasn’t a good look. Because raspberry seeds aren’t supposed to move, much less dance provocatively.
I looked closer, and I saw the seed wiggling around and making its way up the side of the carton. What the hell?! Suddenly I was able to see that the remaining raspberries had these same Michael Jackson-possessed seeds all over them, and that wasBAD.
I stopped chewing. Bugs, they were! Tiny tiny brown wormy looking bugs masquerading as seeds. I’m sure the real seeds felt just as betrayed as I did in that moment. They literally looked like wriggling little splinters, and I had been eating them all this time.
I immediately spit out the raspberry that was still in my mouth. I yelled and ran around in horror, pretty much exactly like Kermit the frog does when he’s cheering. Except I wasn’t cheering.
All that time I thought I was in taste bud bliss I had been eating bugs. This revelation was shocking and horrifying and there was very little I could do to take it back, other than GIVE it back but I’m too civilized for that and also I’m scared of throwing up.
I drank two glasses of water, hoping I could maybe drown the little imposters, and then brushed my teeth. Twice. Then I just sat, thinking about what might happen to me. I had eaten a lot of those bugs. I would probably have to throw up against my will, which I also didn’t want. HOW did I not see those bugs!?? I was too busy thinking about how much I love raspberries to notice that there was a problem. And now it was too late, and I was probably going to get sick.
How could raspberries do that to me? I thought we had a good thing! They seemed so delicious. I resigned myself to just let the sickness overtake me.
After a day and a half, it became clear that I was completely fine. I never got sick, not even a little. It could be because bugs are actually full of protein and are quite fibrous. I think I read that somewhere.
Either way, I’m going to consider myself lucky. I realized that the raspberries didn’t WANT to have bugs in them, I wasn’t deceived in any way. The bugs just sort of happened and I was an innocent bystander that happened to love raspberries.
It also doesn’t mean that Tasty Town isn’t a real place (it is, figuratively), or that I’ll never go back again (I will) because the neat thing about raspberries is there are SO MANY OF THEM. Probability insists that this (probably) isn’t the last time I’ll find bugs in my raspberries, but at least I now know to look very, very closely.
As for this particular incident, I don’t regret eating the bugs, because those raspberries WERE delicious and I came out perfectly fine with an interesting story.