V-day D-day

Jessica M

Before I met my current boyfriend, I spent 25 years of my life perpetually single, hopping from short fling to dysfunctional fling, to “what the heck is going on here?!” fling, and back again.  And it was fine.  I LOVED being single.  LUURRVED might actually be a better word because I don’t think loved quite cuts it, I enjoyed single life that tremendously (don’t be confused, I LURVE my boyfriend and my new life as part of a duo as well).  That being said, I like to think of myself as a “connoisseur” of single life.  A concierge, a maven, a master, someone who knows what single gal life is really life.  I spent a lot of time hanging out with myself, and it was pretty awesome.  Most days I still consider myself a single gal, even if only in spirit (I am a one man lady).

This time of year is a dreaded time of year for single ladies.  It’s February, the month of

photo via buzzfeed

photo via buzzfeed

love, which means Valentine’s Day is coming up.  I for one have never been a fan of the holiday.  I love hearts, and pink, and chocolate, and puppies, and all other cute things that come along with Valentine’s day.  I loved the fling I had with a waiter around Valentine’s Day 2009 (finally, a college guy that had enough money to buy all my drinks at the bar – because obviously that was important in a partner then, oh the priorities of a 21 year old).  I s  However, I do not love waiting 45 minutes to get a table at a restaurant.  I do not love sitting elbow to elbow in a movie theater.  I do not love hearing about animals that end up in shelters because they were a Valentine’s Day gift that the receiver wasn’t ready for.  I do not love being taken out and spoiled because someone felt OBLIGATED to.  I think that’s most people’s complaint with Valentine’s Day.  You shouldn’t be told to do something nice for your partner, you should just do it.

Anyhow, I digress.  I started this entry with the intention of giving a few pointers on how single gals can enjoy this day (or any day they’re feeling a little lonely, we all get there), despite being surrounded by throngs of cutsie wootsie couples doing cutsie wootsie things.  You can take my advice, I am a single gal maven after all…

1.  Spend it with your pals!  I have some really fond memories of anti-valentine parties with my closest friends (some of whom were in relationships at the time).  Throw a party, go out to dinner, laugh at the couples that are putting so much pressure on having a perfect

photo via HBO/buzzfeed

photo via HBO/buzzfeed

night, have one too many drinks, and celebrate the importance and power of friendship – it is a relationship after all.  I spent several years celebrating Valentine’s Day with one of my best girlfriends, despite our relationship statuses.  The only reason we stopped is it’s now a two hour commute to see each other.

2.  Watch anti-valentine movies.  My recommendations include Annie Hall, 500 Days of Summer, Blue Valentine, Broken Flowers, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Sleepwalk with Me.  Few things will make you feel better on Valentine’s Day than a movie marathon of failed relationships.  Or any horror flick (if that’s more your thing).

3.  Treat yourself girl!  Stuck with a bunch of friends that are going on dates for Valentine’s

photo via Cartoon Network/buzzfeed

photo via Cartoon Network/buzzfeed

Day?  No worries.  This is the perfect opportunity for you to grab the current issue of your favorite magazine/load up your favorite blog/pull out a much loved book, fill up the bathtub, turn on your favorite (soothing) Pandora station, light some candles, and kick back.  It may sound cliche (single girl having a bathtub pampering session on Valentine’s Day) but trust me, cliche or not – it’s awesome.

4. Stay up until midnight (or get up early the 15th) then go to the grocery store and buy the discounted candy.  Chocolate on sale… does this really need justified?

There ya have it.  It’s a made up holiday that makes single ladies feel bad about themselves.  Instead of being bummed you don’t have a lover to spend the day with, spend your time celebrating the most important relationship you’ll ever have – the one with yourself. :)

photo via NBC/buzzfeed

photo via NBC/buzzfeed

The proximety of long distance

Jessica M

There once was a time, not so long ago, when we were forced to go out and meet new people and make new friends.  A time when being in a big enough city (or, if not, making a minor relocation) was enough to get away from a bad breakup.  I can barely remember this time, but I know it used to exist.

Social networking makes it so easy to stay in touch with those far away, which is a good thing.  I have friends all over the US, from Buffalo New York, to Honolulu Hawaii (I know, lucky jerk).  I’m thankful that thanks to technology I can keep in touch with them all.  When I was a kid, I don’t remember my mom every talking about her friends from out of town, or taking weekend trips to “meet up with the girls.”  But she wasn’t a homebody.  To this day, she still meets weekly with her girlfriends for drinks, or cards, or movies, etc.  How does she do it?  Without my ever doting boyfriend, my nights would be lonelier than I like to think.  Thanks to Facebook, text messaging, Instagram, email, Gchat, and Facetime I’m able to keep in touch with all my college friends, like we’re still sharing a six bedroom house in our tiny college town. I don’t feel the need to go out and meet new people.  The women I work with are all nice enough, but I have no desire to go out to happy hour or to the Christmas party.  I have a solid group of friends, why would I need more?  Juggling relationships can be hard.  It all sounds so cynical, is this the way we live now?

Just a few days ago, I recieved a text message from a former fling.  We haven’t spoken in over a year, and we didn’t exactly end on good terms (what can I say, I get bored easily – it’s not a bad thing, it’s a sign of intelligence).  Regardless, he asked me to meet up for drinks sometime thinking I lived in his town.  I actually live two hours away, so it was easy to avoid the “well I’m in a serious relationship now, idiot” speech, but I couldn’t help but be flabbergasted.  Are we getting just as lazy with forming romantic relationships asnwe are with friendships?  It’s easier to scroll through a cell phone list of contacts and reach out to an ex (despite how it ended) than it is to get out there and meet someone new.  Facebook makes it even easier now that we can check and see if someone is in a relationship or not before sending that text (my gentleman caller conveniently doesn’t have a Facebook account).  Even Instagram has recently introduced an option for direct messaging.

This all leads me to another question, is it appropriate to keep these failed relationships (both romantic and friendships) available through technology?  Thinking about it, a text message is quite personal.  It’s a private conversation between two people.  It’s sent directly, and it gives senders time to formulate thoughts before sending.  It eliminates the risk of immediate embarassment and opens up an opportunity for more bold conversation.  Should we be blocking exfriends and exlovers from contacting us this way?  Like I mentioned earler, things like this never used to be an issue.  Without these new forms of instant and direct conversation, a two hour gap in between people would be enough to keep an ex at bay.

It’s hard to say if these forms of e-communication are a blessing or a curse.  I’ll take the ability to keep in touch with my lady soulmates (it feels like just yesterday we were still living under the same roof) if it means having to endure awkward conversation with old flames at the same time.  As I type this, I’m sitting in an airport terminal surrounded by people ending their holiday travel.  It looks like even with all these new ways of getting together without actually getting together aren’t a total deterrant for loved ones getting together in person and it’s heartwarming – even for my cold, electronic chatting, heart.

Defending Mr. Boring

Jessica M

I’ve spent the majority of my life as a free-spirited single gal (I think I’ve mentioned this before).  I enjoyed the luxury of doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.  This mostly consisted of girls nights and cocktails.  If I found a man I wanted to start spending time with, I expected sparks and excitement and activities – I can watch Netflix and eat takeout by myself.  I managed to run through quite a few relationships, demanding (subtly) that I needed to be entertained, and exiting through the closest window once things got stale.  I didn’t mind, being a single girl was fun and dating someone long-term would mean consistency and consistency was (gulp) BORING.  As I’m sure you can guess, a lot of jerks weaseled their ways in – what can I say, I must find A-holes exciting.

Just over a year ago I met my match in the form of a “Mr. Boring.”  He preferred nights in to nights out, Netflix to the movie theater, and Chinese takeout on paper plates to a sushi bar.  But you what else he prefers?  Respecting me, getting along with my friends, genuinely making me happy, and loving me and me alone.  There are things a girl doesn’t have to worry about when she’s dating “Mr. Boring.”  He’s doesn’t have a wandering eye.  He doesn’t get mad when you spill something in his apartment.  He doesn’t mind going out of his way to make your life a little easier.  He finds joy in making you smile.

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Yes Nick, it IS acceptable to watch TV all day. photo cred: Fox, tumblr

If anyone keeps up with the Fox program New Girl like I do, you’ll notice that this trend in women going after Mr. Boring is on the upswing.  The main character Jess starts dating Nick – a grumpy guy who (until recently) doesn’t own a cell phone or have a checking account, and works in a bar.  But the great thing about their dynamic on the show, is that the emphasis is placed on their mutual happiness despite the visible “spark” and excitement (also, if you’re not watching New Girl yet – I HIGHLY recommend it).

Now my Mr. Boring and I do go out and do fun activities, it’s so much more of a treat.  Shows are more entertaining, food tastes better, and you genuinely feel better when you’re really treating yourself, rather than just trying to fill in relationship downtime.

So what I guess I’m trying to say is that it’s okay to be a little boring.  It’s about the person you’re spending time with, the activities you’re filling time with.  Just because it’s not constant excitement or constant sparks doesn’t mean it’s not a “good” relationship (whatever the definition of a “good” relationship is).  I guess you can start calling me “Miss Boring.”

I turns out, takeout tastes a little better and Netflix movie marathons are a little funnier, when they’re being shared with someone else.

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And who said Chinese take out was boring? photo cred: amazon.com

When does compromising become compromising?

Jessica M

This week started the national Banned Books Week (a librarian’s favorite holiday) for 2013. In lieu of that, I’ve been thinking a lot about censorship – both in the broad all-encompassing sense of the word and also how it relates to my personal life. We’re expected to make compromises in life, which include the occasional self-censorship. I very well wouldn’t talk to my boyfriend’s mother the same way I talk to my boyfriend. I have a strict separation of clothes in my closet between my “librarian” clothes and everything else. Sure I’m censoring myself, but it’s expected, common practice, and acceptable. I don’t feel any less like myself in the end.

But when does compromising become compromising?

My last post touched on this idea.  Should we accept a job that we’re beyond qualified for, just because it’s in our field?  The response was generally, yes.  But now I’m concerned about something else.  Working on a college campus, I get to talk with a lot of girls in the 18-24 range.  They’re not much younger than we are physically, but attending college can drastically change a person. I enjoy listening in on their conversations (and reminiscing about the silliness that went on when I was in college) with my “new adult” perspective.

ryanreynolds

If you haven’t been able to guess yet, this is a post about boys.

In our fast-track technology driven society we as a society are advancing by leaps and bounds.  I can store and read 328 books on this tiny device?  We can explore the streets of ParisHong Kong, and even Hogwarts from the comfort of our homes.  We can meet people and form relationships without ever actually having to see them in person.

You mean people used to eat meals without their cell phones on and resting on the dinner table?

You mean people used to eat meals without their cell phones on and resting on the dinner table?

I LOVE technology – but this last one concerns me. I support online dating, 100%. But this is just a stepping stone meant to lead to something tangible. So many of us are forming (and ending, yes I have been broken up with over Facebook) relationships through Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging. Where’s the human contact? We’re compromising just for the ease of it. We are accepting Facebook pokes over flowers, e-mails instead of love poems, and text message emoticons instead of public hand holding- all the while planning the most romantic and perfect wedding in the history of time on our Pinterest boards. Then when the time comes to actually spend time with another person, we’re glued to our phones, laptops, and tablets.

Buffy Summers wouldn't have put up with that crap.

Buffy Summers wouldn’t have put up with that crap.

Just because we love being modern and independent, doesn’t mean we need to give up on romance. It’s an old saying but is chivalry finally, truly, dead? We ladies have come so far, and become so jaded, that even if a date does everything right, romance at 110%, we automatically question if he’s being genuine.

So this is where we’re at.  Just when does compromising become compromising?  Is it okay to accept the text message over the phone call, but still expect to be courted?  It’s an issue of self-respect.  You don’t have to live in a Nicholas Sparks novel, but a little romance is nice.

rascalsI’ll tell you lovely twenty something readers the same thing I told the girls – if you’re fine with an electronic courtship then get it girl, full speed ahead.  But if you’re old school like me, and still want to see the effort, don’t setting for anything less.  Most guys don’t change as they get older, but you do.  Now get your fabulous butt out there and demand the world, you deserve it :)