Disillusionment, Love Potions, and that Obsession with the Unattainable

Musings/Rants, Relationships and Shit

So I just read this from a NY Times article:

“A few months ago, I read several articles touting the health benefits of writing in a deeply personal way. Studies had shown that writing introspectively on a regular basis can lead to lowered blood pressure, improved liver function and even the accelerated healing of postoperative wounds. The study’s subjects had been told to write for short periods each day about turbulent emotional experiences.”

Interesting. I know from experience that writing in a personal, introspective way can exorcise the darkest of demons, but I didn’t know it has been confirmed by science. That’s encouraging, I guess, because part of me thinks it’s kind of toxic to ponder so deeply and frequently on all the bizarre and bleak truths of life. ANYWAY. That was a passage from the Times’ Modern Love section, which features some of the best essays I have ever read. 1500 words, packed with the optimism of finding love, the relief of losing it, the joys and misery of fighting through it. And those stories – bitter, furious, grateful, and so, so raw – just made me realize that I’d never been in love and never felt anything nearly as beautiful or devastating as they have.

Is that a terrible thing to say? I sure feel a bit guilty writing it down, considering that I’ve had memories and experiences that warranted those feelings. Deserved them. Demanded them, even. But everything is relative, and compared to people who wrote those stories, I really don’t know anything. I thought I did. I thought I knew what love is, how it feels like, and what it could do, but the problem is just you don’t see shit when you’re in the middle of it. It’s hard to know that you’re letting staccato bursts of joy overtake your ability to see how glaringly toxic your relationship really is. And maybe that’s a good thing, because I know that the best is still ahead of me.

Assuming that everyone has some epic love story written into their palm lines ofc. I’m not sure we all do. We speculate on the future with a dizzying mix of dread and excitement. They’re so closely interwoven that it’s hard to define one without mentioning the other. And with them there’s always uncertainty. Am I going to get into Yale? Am I going to make it into the music industry? Am I going to get knocked over by a scooter

Yet when it comes to love, questions don’t start with “am I going to.” Instead you get the 5Ws. What do you look for in a guy/girl? Where do you want to get married at? What kind of person do you see yourself with? Who can make you happy? 

They’re not bad questions, but what right do we have to feel so sure that love is meant for everyone? It’s not even about finding the Harry to your Sally. What if some of us never meet anyone, never fall in love, never know what it feels like to hate someone so fucking much that you’d shove a champagne bottle up your ass and fake your own murder just to ruin his life (yeah, my inner Amy Dunne’s back)? What if we really do die alone?

If that’s the case, do we only have ourselves to blame? Is it because we’re too shallow or too idealistic or too indifferent? It’d be easier if that’s the case because at least we have control over our flaws. I don’t believe it’s all about us. It takes a lot to foster connection and turn spark into fire. Circumstances have to work with you, chance has to work with you, people have to work with you. Not everyone can get all three on his/her side. I certainly can’t. Maybe that’s because I’m awkward as fuck and freak out every time I have to socialize with people.

I’m not saying I’ve given up on pursuing that intoxicating whirlwind romance that everyone should experience at least once per lifetime. I’m going to chase it, and I’m going to believe that it’s still in the cards for me because that’s pretty much all we have. Chasing is living. That briefest moment just before yearning becomes fulfillment is pure euphoria.

But I don’t expect it to happen. I just hope it does.

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Profound Bitchings Part 3: Fear of Commitment vs. Fear of Abandonment

Relationships and Shit

They’re the same thing, if you think it through. It’s a cause and effect relationship centered around this obnoxious, unnecessary, nonexistent phenomenon called love. Fear of Commitment (FoC) is just a fancy term for Fear of Abandonment (FoA). We may think FoC is caused by FoA, but they’re really more intertwined than sequential.

Okay, I’ll drop the big words and confusing syntax and give you an example:

Boy A is ratchet af. Frat parties are his nights, and hangovers are his mornings. He doesn’t do relationships cuz he thinks he’s some hot shit too busy to deal with drama. He doesn’t do love cuz he thinks he’s some tough shit too damaged to ever feel emotionally alive again.

Enter Girl A. (There is no Boy B or Girl B so I honestly don’t know why I’m labeling them that way). Christian. Prude. 40-year-old virgin. Everything he’s not, which obviously makes them soul mates. They meet on Okcupid and fall in love instantly cuz she’s a creepy ass cougar and he’s into creepy ass cougars.

The catch: He lives in Scotland and she lives in Ohio. At first they skype and send nudes to each other constantly, then FoC creeps in. Questions attacked them from every angle: Where is this going? How are we ever going to meet? Is there even a chance of me getting laid?

Skepticism piles in. Skype convo taper off into uncomfortable silences. Message threads condensed to one word responses with deminishing interest. But the feelings never faded. They just never got a chance to show their worth.

Keep in mind that I’m using the word “abandonment” in a very broad sense. It could be rejection, heartbreak, failure, not working out. Although long-distance and a lack of physical interaction is a legitimate reason to shun commitment, most of the time FoC comes from a pretty selfish place. It’s more an excuse to be a promiscuous asshole than a defensive mechanism. I’m pretty sure being kicked in the balls feels a bit more like death than some bitch calling out someone else’s name while you were giving it to her. Game of Thrones hurt me more times and more deeply than any man ever has (which, admittedly, is not many because no one can stand my awkward, self-pitying ass).

We can handle it. We’ll walk out of it  battered and bruised and really fucking pissed off, but we’ll recover just fine because we in our hearts we know that failed relationships were meant to fail for the right one to find us. We’re not really afraid to be hurt, but we are afraid to be too invested. Investment means work, and work’s not cool.

Nonchalance is. And that’s what FoC is all about – the fear of losing that nonchalance to love.

K gotta board my plane now. After a 3 hour delay. I’ll may come back and elaborate that ending, but probably not because I don’t even know what I’m talking about.

If Your Wife Wants to Kill You…

Relationships and Shit

You know, the longer I think of it the more convinced I am that I’m going to turn into Amy Dunne when I’m 35. Either that or I’m going to marry an Amy Dunne and get Amy Dunne’d. These are Gone Girl references to illustrate the bleakness of my future. If you’ve seen the movie or read the book, you’ll know that I’m likening myself to a slightly insane, marvelously brilliant, textbook psychopath who faked her own death just to frame her slimy husband because he cheated on her with a much hotter bimbo with big fucking tits (tbh I think Rosamund Pike is a lot more attractive than that other chick, but eh I don’t think with ma dick). If you haven’t read the book…well, get your act together, dude.

Anyway, I don’t think I’m intelligent or diabolical enough to actually pull off a fake murder and then pull off a real murder to get out of the fake murder. I can probably just burn the house down but I don’t really want to sleep in the park. I guess that’s why I worship her so much, because she actually has the talent and the craziness to pull off something many women in crumbling relationships probably dream of doing. And while I don’t have any homicidal tendencies yet, it is fascinating to think about all the different ways marriage can fuck two people up. Sometimes I’d like to be fucked up by marriage just to see how it will transform this demure little maiden into a vindictive, manipulative, psychotic goddess. We need more women in literature like Amy Dunne.

I’m not anti-marriage. I mean, sometimes I do see it as a part of my life…after 40 or 50. Alright, maybe 35, just as long as it stays the fuck away from the best years of my life. It just seems so bloody boring to me. It’s like, you’re both work from 9-6, then you get home for dinner and you talk about what happened at work. Then you probably watch TV for an hour or something. Then you go do your adult thing and then go to sleep and boom the day’s over. For the longest time, I thought that’s just what happens on TV. But then I saw my parents doing it. And then my mom with my stepdad. Of course that doesn’t apply to everyone, and I’m glad there are a lot of happily married chaps out there (whoop congrats), but eh I just don’t care for that shit. And that’s probably because I’m just gonna marry myself at 40.

Masquerade

Relationships and Shit

I made a Tinder.

Okay, my friend and I made one together as a joke. It’s actually a lot of fun stalking and trolling people. I know that sounds creepy, but it’s not like I’m ever gonna meet any of those people, so I don’t really care. In theory Tinder’s a matchmaking app, but most people just use it to find hookups. I certainly have no desire to hook up with anyone I’ve never even talked to before.

To be honest, I think they concept of online dating is complete bullshit. I hope that doesn’t offend anyone because it’s just my worthless opinion. Talking face to face with strangers, especially people you’re attracted to, is hard as hell. You get nervous, you blush, you stutter, you wish you can just fucking kill yourself. I’m sure we’d all love to do the awkward introductions behind our laptops. But who says love is easy? God, that sounds so cheesy. Oh, well. We’re supposed to fight for love, aren’t we? Open our damn hearts and wait for some asshole to rip them apart, then sew them together and wait for them to be torn apart again. Then if we’re lucky, one of these days someone might decide that this heart looks better stitched together than ripped apart. Then and only then can we stop fighting and stop hurting.

I don’t believe in love at first sight or everlasting love, but I do believe that love should be ugly and real. Real is ugly. Real is embarrassing and painful and raw and transformative. Real is not the person we are on the internet. We always want to look good. That’s just human nature. On the internet, we have the luxury to embellish and edit our images without leaving a trail of suspicion. We can take as long as we want to think of a funny catchphrase or build a compelling alter-ego or construct some deep philosophical argument that we don’t actually believe in. That’s why online dating is so phony. Because you never know if you’re getting the person you think you’re getting.

The “M” Word

Musings/Rants, Relationships and Shit

So Facebook informed me today that Ashley Tisdale got married. Of course, that’s none of my fucking business, but hearing that news just made me feel so damn old. It’s been, what, eight years since High School Musical aired? Yet part of me still sees Ashley as Sharpay, and it’s crazy to think that she’s like 29 now. Anyhow, seeing her gorgeous and very expensive-looking wedding photos reminded me what a speed demon time is and that before long my friends and I too will be walking down the aisle of doom. Hell, a few of my closest friends have already set their wedding venues and decided on the guest lists. If it were up to me, I’d pick some shady ass motel in Vegas. Just to fuck with my parents.

Personally, I’m very conflicted about this subject. Part of me cringes at the thought of being tied down to one person for an indefinite number of years, primarily because I’m weak at commitment and particularly susceptible to temptations. Also, if my beloved happens to be a chronic snorer I don’t think I’ll have a choice but to divorce him. Sometimes love just isn’t enough. Yet another, smaller part of me can’t help but wonder what it would be like to wear such an uncomfortable and overpriced dress, have a hundred eyes raining down on you while you attempt not to trip and fall during that ridiculously long walk to your betrothed, and stand for an hour in 5in heels while some random old man monotonously regurgitates a bunch of vows you’re never gonna keep anyway. Oh, the power of love. It’d be a hell of an experience to have.

For the most part marriage scares me. It might be because it didn’t work out between my parents, or many of my friends’ parents, for that matter. I think the magic about marriage is all in the build up, in the uncertainty. Just like with everything else in a relationship – the kiss, the first date, etc. When is he gonna ask me? Is she gonna say yes? How am I supposed to propose? You’re always looking forward to that big event, and all that exhilaration and optimism vanish as soon as it ends. The problem about marriage might be that it’s too perfect. Too beautiful and romantic. You spend so much money and energy to make it the greatest day of your life that you forget you have another 40 years to follow that perfect day. And what if you can never recapture that dizzying high again? What if love can’t grow stronger and life can’t get better than that one night? Getting married is like taking molly or ecstasy or some shit: the buildup and the peak are orgasmic, then you crash hard and it’s the lowest low you’ll ever feel in your life.

Perhaps I’m just too young and immature to understand true love or commitment or whatever, but the way my 19 year old mind sees it, marriage ruins rather than strengthens feelings. Compelling it may be. Lasting? Not so much.

5 Reasons Why Love Triangles are Ruining YA Novels/Teen Dramas

Pop Culture, Relationships and Shit

Remember that awful time in the fall of 2009 when Twilight the movie was released and basically every Forever 21 store in America started selling “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” T-shirts? I think that lasted for about five more years until the 5th and final film was released and the stupid vampire fever finally died down. Anyway, that “iconic” love triangle between Bella, Edward, and Jacob was the spark that made the Twilight saga a global phenomenon. There’s nothing tweens/teens dig more than drama and romance, and nothing weaves those two themes more perfectly than love triangles. FromThe Hunger Games to The Vampire Diaries to The Notebookvery few teen novels or TV dramas are complete without at one love triangle at some stage in the series. They are often the driving force of fandoms on Tumblr and the primary subject of fan-made Youtube videos. But they are also the reason why no intelligent person takes teen fiction seriously, which is a real shame because some of those works are really quite good. Anyway, here are five reasons why I think YA works, dramas and books, are better off without love triangles.

1. They are clichéd. 

My first time watching/reading about a love triangle was a trilling experience. You know from the beginning that she’s going to pick the hot mysterious one, but you still get all excited and shit when he finally kisses her. And then you feel bad for the sweet acne-stained boy who loves her just as much but gets nothing in return. Then you get all giddy again when she marries the cute one and you forget all about the other kid.

The second and third time were pretty awesome, too. But then it just kept happening. Every show I watched there’s always some goddamn drama between the main girl and two very attractive boys. Or an attractive bad boy and a nice nerdy one. Or a vampire and a werewolf. Or a womanizer and a best friend. Before long the magic was lost. Excited giggles turned into groans. Not again. Predictability is the worst thing that can happen to dramatic fiction, and right now nothing is more predictable than love triangles.

2. They are unrealistic.

If I got a cent for every time someone told me she left her longtime boyfriend for her first love whom she hadn’t seen in ten years but realized she still loved when she randomly bumped into him on the subway while she was visiting NYC for the first time ever, I’d be a fucking millionaire. Or so I wish. I wouldn’t get a fucking cent in a million years because typical plot lines like that don’t happen in real life.

3. They are sexist as hell.

Think about every single love triangle you’ve read about or watched. Now tell me how many of them consist of one guy and two girls. I can’t think of any, and I’ve watched a lot of teen dramas. It’s trendy and romantic and sweet to have two dashing young men fight valiantly for a girl’s affection. But when two passionate, naive young girls fight over a hot dude, they’re usually perceived as desperate and annoying. It’s acceptable and cute if a girl leaves her fiance at the altar and runs away with the guy she’s always been in love with, but if a guy does the same thing to a girl he’d probably be called a fucking asshole, which brings me to the next point….

4. They are stupid.

So, okay, here’s the thing I’ll never understand with this whole love triangle business: if you’re not over your first love, why the fuck would you string along someone else? I mean, why would any sane or ethical person ever agree to marry someone when they clearly know they’re still in love with another person? Shouldn’t we be more responsible than that? Can you really “wholeheartedly” love a person (sorry it’s this is kind of confusing) for years before your first love shows up for about five seconds and you’re all torn and confused and shit? Kind of like How I Met Your Mother, but that’s another story. I guess my point is that love triangles basically encourages us to be totally irresponsible and selfish when it comes to love. Like, just follow your heart and be with whoever makes you happy, even at the expense of someone who’s given you everything they have. Is that just fucking cruel? 

5. They overshadow more meaningful themes in the book/drama. 

This is probably the most problematic issue with love triangles. Granted, romance plays a huge role in most YA books and TV dramas. In fact, I can’t really think of a teen work that’s not driven by romance. Anyhow, any decent book will contain some kind of underlying theme that’s more important and sophisticated than love and betrayal: like the abuse of power/class struggle in The Hunger Games or individuality/collectivism in Divergent. But those more complicated concepts almost always get overshadowed by the trendier and easier to understand theme of relationship drama. It sounds ridiculous but it’s the truth.

I’m not completely against love triangles. They do work when they’re unique and well thought-out, but right now they’re way too high in quantity and way too low in quality.

The Curious Case of “Shippers”

Pop Culture, Relationships and Shit

Anyone familiar with Tumblr will probably be familiar with a whole bunch of terms related to “ships” that have absolutely nothing to do with shipsIn Tumblr-sphere, a “shipper” refers to someone who wants a pair of fictional characters or celebrities (most likely those who collaborated in a project like a MV or a film) to fall in love and get together. It may sound incredibly dumb, but the shipping culture has become more and more popular of late, especially among younger teens. And the fandom is not to be trifled with. Not only do you have to wholeheartedly support your dream couple, you also have to wholeheartedly oppose any other pairing, hence creating what is called a “ship war” in which fans who ship different couples fight and abuse each other on social networks.

That’s not to say shipping is not an intellectually-stimulating activity. Every year, the shipping culture produces a slew of impeccably-edited Youtube videos, clever gifs, and highly graphic fanfic dedicated to their OTP (One True Pair). Some of those fan-made works are so remarkably well-created that I often wonder if the sole reason those fans go to sleep every night is to dream about two actors sharing a fake kiss. And I wonder: why is it so important to these fans that two characters with absolutely no connection to their actual lives become a couple? Why do we care so fucking much?? I mean, it’s understandable if you get excited watching two of your close friends who look absolutely adorable together start to develop feelings for each other. But why do we feel like the whole fucking universe just collapsed when Kate went back to Jack, or when Elena dumped Stefan, or when Robin divorced Barney (THAT SELFISH BITCH)?

Though an ex-shipper of multiple OTPs myself, I don’t really have any solid answer other than the fact that it’s just so exciting to live vicariously through the characters once you get attached to them and their stories. Because, let’s be honest, our love lives will probably never be nearly as romantic or exhilarating or illicit as that between a super hot teacher and a student, two castaways on a deserted island, or a vampire and a werewolf. As cheesy as many of these storylines may seem, it’s just nice to know that sometimes love can work out even in the direst situations. Or maybe we just like rooting for something we can’t openly support in real life. Like pedophilia/necrophilia in Twilight, or statuary rape in Pretty Little Liars. Like seriously, who actually thinks it’s hot that their 16 year-old classmate is hooking up with the fucking English professor. And who the fuck would want their bestie to marry a man-whore who’s fucked over 250 girls? No, I do not feel ashamed of shipping Barney and Robin for six whole seasons (FUCK YOU CREATORS), but I wouldn’t think it’s cool if they were people I knew.

To be honest, I think the most compelling part about this whole shipping business is the lead-up. The whole “will they or won’t they” moment that sometimes last longer than the relationship itself. In some ways, the lead-up is probably the most realistic part of an onscreen love story. You know, that magical moment when his hand accidentally brushes yours, or that brief instant when you sneak a glance at him and catch him furtively staring at you too (it goes for both guys and girls, but I’m just too lazy to write “him/her”). It’s cheesy as hell, but we still dig it. And if we can’t experience first hand all the time, we might as well soak it all in on the screen. But it’s only so sweet and beautiful until that first kiss happens. Once the ship sails, the magic leaves as well.

So is this whole shipping thing a waste a time? Probably. But it was fun while it lasted.

Am I Cheating??

Relationships and Shit

To my knowledge, there are two established forms of cheating: emotional cheating, and, you know, actual cheating – the one involving tongues and fingers and what not. The former generally leads to the latter; like, you usually start having feelings for another guy before you proceed to do something nasty with that said guy. Sure, relationships are a whole lot more complicated and subtle than that. And certain forms of questionable behavior…like visual undressing, sexting, and whatever else…may not be considered all that serious in some people’s minds. Yet despite all that, I think we can generally agree that all the aforementioned behaviors can be categorized, to varying degrees of severity, as infidelity.

But what about illusory cheating? Right, I believe I did just make up that term. So allow me to explain: what if you’re not actually falling for or hitting on or making out with someone else, but instead you fantasize about all that nasty shit with someone you’re attracted to?

Whilst scaling the formidable Hollywood Hills last Friday, my friend Cassandra and I had a enlightening exchange on this peculiar form of cheating (if it can be considered one). Here’s a snippet of it:

Cass: “Hey, do you think it’s considered cheating if you think about another dude when you’re having sex with your boyfriend?”

Me: “Is that ‘dude’ a hot celebrity or a mutual friend?”

Cass: “I dunno. Both. Either.”

Two things about this exchange stood out to me in particular: my immediate inquiry on the hotness and fame level of this “other dude” and her very specific word choice of “sex” rather than, say, “sexual activity” or “sexual relations” (a more general term that encompasses kissing, fondling, and necking etc.).

Let’s start with Cass’ decision to focus on “sex” rather than something more general and less intimate. I remember playing “Never Have I Ever” with a few friends earlier this summer, and this guy said, “Never have I ever hooked up with more than one person at a party.” My friend Dora immediately demanded that he define “hooked up,” to which he simply answered, “when you have sex with someone.” Over the years, I’ve heard multiple definitions of “hook up” – a few drew the line at french kissing, some said farther than second base (aka fondling), but most said third base (oral, man) or home run. Let’s just think broadly for the moment…if anything less than sex is not considered a “hook up,” does that make it a more acceptable form of cheating? Say, if I imagine making out rather than screwing a guy, is that less awful? Most importantly, what does this say about our young people’s standard for and expectations of a relationship? Are we expecting our partners to emotionally waver and cheat at least once at some point? It’s worth thinking about.

Now let’s move on to my stupid inquiry. I’ve been asking myself this question for the last few days, but I just can’t wrap my head around it. Why does it matter if you’re dream-fucking a celebrity or a friend? Neither is the one you should be wanting to fuck, right? But somehow, wanting to screw some dude you know instead of some dude you worship just seems so much worse. Dora, for example, has this frightening, pathological crush on Eminem. She has no trouble telling her boyfriend that she wants to fuck Eminem’s brains out. But what if she has the same pathological crush on a boy whom she and her boyfriend both know? Would she have still told him? And would he have still laughed so nonchalantly? Anyway, I’m digressing just a little bit. The point is, I still have no idea whether only thinking about something bad should be perceived in the same light as actually doing something bad. Or maybe thinking in itself is doing?

I honestly don’t have an answer to any of the absurd questions I asked, but I just thought it’s an interesting topic to think about. What have our standards of love and commitment become that we can’t even define a single term like hook up and cheating? Are we just inherently horny ass creatures that can’t be tamed into staying true to only one person? I really don’t fucking know.