1910 Dating Advice: 2016 Edition

Remember when newspapers offered dating advice? Me neither. But sometimes those old-timey “This is what dating is like in the olden days! Weren’t they silly?” things pop up on Pinterest, Facebook, or other various social media platforms usually populated by older people wishing it was like the olden days (Quick question: is “olden” even a word? Seriously?)

But they weren’t the only people who were silly.

For example: hipsters. Everyone thought it was just a phase, but it looks like 1880s chic and something-press coffee is here to stay. I guess none of us should be surprised. There’s a counter-culture to every culture, and a counter-counter-culture to every culture, and millennial hipsters are an odd mixture of both.

I go to a small, private Christian university where hipsterism is alive and well. Before college, I considered myself a hipster, but now, based on the people I’ve met, I’m seriously reassessing. There are some people out there who have read every chapter of the Hipster Playbook. Just because you wear a sweater in 70-degree weather doesn’t mean you’re a hipster. Nope. It’s basically a religion.

How was I supposed to survive in a world of such seasoned hipsters, mid-grade yuppie that I was? I had to learn, and learn quick. Especially at a Christian college where “ring before spring” is not just a fun saying, but a lifestyle. I had to do a little bit of anthropological studying to figure out the mating rituals of these exquisite creatures, but here I am to offer you comprehensive dating advice, old-timey magazine style, of how to flirt like a 2016 millennial hipster.

1. Location. Before you initiate communication with anyone you desire to date, you have to choose the right environment. Your apartment by yourself is not an option, which already puts me at a disadvantage. Find an obscure local band (preferably that has several uses of the word “grassroots” in its Facebook description and a lead singer that blogs) and figure out when they play next. Arrive at venue, dressed in concert chic (not festival chic; there’s a difference). Don’t make contact with anyone at first; just stare down at your phone with furrowed brow until the opening act. Nod appreciatively along to the music of opening act, but don’t seem too invested – you don’t want to make it seem like it’s your first rodeo. After the opening act, say something vague about “their sound” to no one in particular. Someone is bound to hear you and possibly say something in return.

Alternative: If it’s early afternoon and you need to study, find a coffee shop. I cannot stress independently-owned enough. You know who goes to Starbucks? Dirty venture capitalists who are just trying to steal money and Wi-Fi from the little guys. Also, there will inevitably be cute baristas at any given independently-owned coffee shop. Walk up to the counter, give the barista a smile (but not a big one, just a small grin acknowledging their existence – you’re not clingy, you just want a drink) and take a second to look at the menu, even if you know what you want. Those baristas spent a long time writing out that menu on that chalkboard in perfect Times New Roman font. Appreciate the menu as its own work of art. Don’t say anything about the prices – only angry old men and suburban moms do that. Order something pretentious, like a cortado, even if you don’t know what it means, just so you can say the word. Don’t ask what it is; you’re looking to make friends, not enemies. Tip the barista (they spent a long time writing that poem on the tip jar too, so appreciate it). Watch the cute barista make your cortado as if he is making an absolute work of art (because in his mind, he is) and then ask for the Wi-Fi password. Then talk about how you are going to camp out there for the rest of the day and work on your novel (whether this is true or not). Proceed to do so, even if you’re merely scrolling through Pinterest the entire eight hours you remain in the coffee shop.

2. Dress. Dress is almost as important as location. It’s extremely important that before you dress, you know exactly what environment you’ll be entering into. “I-dress-homeless-but-my-parents-pay-for-college” dress is vastly different from “photoshoot in an open field during optimal sunlight” attire. I would recommend the more homeless route for everyday ventures like coffee shop hopping or wandering around the city taking artsy Instagram pictures, and a more “photoshoot” esque wardrobe for events like barista competitions and 16mm film festivals. Don’t be afraid to be picky. Choosing the right wardrobe is like choosing the right band to be your favorite – it has to be so incredibly calculating that it looks authentic. And that’s the baseline for your wardrobe choices as a Hipster. At all costs, it must be authentic. And even if it’s not you have to tell people it is. Remember: At all costs.

Make sure that, if you have a tattoo, your clothes reveal it, but only slightly. You don’t want the full-on tattoo showing like you’re some loose sorority girl on spring break – so tacky, right? No, you simply want a subtle hint at a possible tattoo. It’ll make people look twice, which is exactly what you want in the game of attraction. Make sure you only reveal your minimalist tattoos with vague meanings, not the portrait of your dog you had done on your shoulder after he died (it was very sad and we all understand). Then an attractive hipster will intevitably ask you about what it means. Have a scripted response available.

In general, you want to follow the basic rules of hipster dress: don’t wear socks unless you’re wearing Chacos, two types of denim is okay, either wear no makeup or a ridiculous amount, etc. My next blog post will be a 1300-word summary of what your eyebrows should look like. If you’re wearing long pants, roll them up to an inch above the ankle, no matter what the weather is like. This isn’t Edwardian England, ladies. We can show our ankles now. If you have time to dye your hair a color that is opposite your own on the color spectrum, add that as a finishing touch.

3. Conversation topics. Remember that hipster conversations occur either on or about social media. If you’re not on social media, you’re talking about it (“Did you see Daveed Diggs’ newest Instagram post?” “Did you see what The Atlantic retweeted?”) However, you might be of that breed of hipsters that goes on Facebook every three months and only follow your aunt and Barack Obama on Instagram because you’re “above that culture.” Whether you are of the first or the second breed, you will eventually have to use hipster buzzwords and phrases, like “doing life” or “Buzzfeed” or “paleo.” You will inevitably also talk about popular fiction, coffee, and architecture, even if you know nothing about any of the above.

Bonus tip: Say “authentic” as often as you can. It’s the icing on the cake, and a buzzword that eligible young men are always listening for. Everyone wants to date the girl whose Twitter bio says “authentic.”

Another bonus tip: People assume that all hipsters like things that “aren’t cool.” However, this is not the case. Hipsters like things that are slightly less cool than other things. They can’t stand Beyonce, but they love Saint Motel. They are all caught up on Game of Thrones, just like everyone else. The only things they read are on the New York Times’ bestseller list, but never the first one. Usually the tenth, because then they sound interesting. Keep this in mind when you go on a search for obscure things to develop an interest in. And speaking of developing interest, stay cool about it. Don’t be extremely passionate about one thing; rather, say that you “dabble” in a lot of things, but you’re still trying to “find yourself” (more buzzwords to add to your hipster dictionary.)

4. Make your move. You’ve found yourself a good environment, you are dressed appropriately, and you’ve struck up a conversation with someone who seems decent and misses the 90s as much as you do. What’s your first move? Do you ask for their number? Of course not. You go home and friend them on Facebook. If they accept you by that evening, they’re interested. If they do the next morning, they thought they had a good conversation with you but aren’t too invested. If it’s a few days, they’re either one of those every-three-months Facebook-checkers I talked about earlier or they’re simply not interested. They might not even remember you, but friend you anyway for “networking” purposes (another buzzword for you). If they friend you, you now have access to all their past information – including high school photos. Proceed with caution.

At this point, I should probably tell you that most hipsters aren’t interested in a relationship. They won’t tell you straight-out, but they’re afraid of commitment. They really just need some time, you know? They can’t settle down just yet. They haven’t quite found themselves. They don’t know what they want. Be prepared; all of the previous statements are things you will hear if you sit down for a good old-fashioned DTR. “I’m just really focusing on my art right now” is another one that might come up. So, you might as well disregard all the advice I just gave you and go back to your apartment and your Netflix original that’s not Narcos or Making A Murderer.

There you have it. A comprehensive, old-timey-style guide to flirting like a 2016 hipster and on your way to inevitably finding yourself in an ambiguous 21st-Century relationship. In fact, in a hipster sense, this entire post is ironic, considering that hipsters rarely read literature longer than a Facebook status.

And on that cheap shot, I’ll leave you to it. Go out there, and find that fish in the sea that belongs to you. Hopefully that fish is wearing a cardigan, even in the middle of August.

 

20 Things That Are Familiar to Every Communications Major

Every college major has its staples. Something, be it a diagram, a picture, a feeling, that’s familiar to all who studied that in college. As a communications major, I’ve noticed a few of these familiar things in my journey so far. Allow me to elaborate:

 

1. This picture. 

diss_img

Ekman’s six universal facial expressions. Because Paul Ekman is king. (https://genevievewanucha.com/2015/06/26/whats-in-a-word/)

2. And probably this picture. 

definition-of-communication

Or a more/less complicated version of it. Actually, a comm major’s life consists mostly of diagrams. (http://www.project-management-skills.com/definition-of-communication.html)

3. “Oh you’re studying communications! You must like talking a lot!” 

Well, no. Not really. *uses the fish in water analogy excessively*

4. “What exactly is communications?”

“What ISN’T communication? It’s math. It’s science. It’s language. It’s ART” 

5. Research on research on research. 

Comm is a great major, but you’re not going to miss all those readers full of studies or those comm research methods classes.

6. Taking Interpersonal Communication and finally realizing why your last relationship went wrong. 

“Oh now I get it…the costs were greater than the rewards, and there was very little self-disclosure.”

7. “You’re such a good listener!” 

Perk of being a comm major: You learn how to listen to people reaaaally well. We know that there’s a step-by-step GUIDE to listening.

8. Being totally prepared for any job interview. 

Definitely true. You know how to persuade people and put yourself out there by using things like the color your wear or the strength of your handshake.

9. “What do you want to do with that?” 

Sure, this is a question most college students are faced with. But what DON’T you want to do with comm?

10. Coffee. 

Coffee.

11. Analyzing all of your current relationships and driving everyone crazy doing it. 

Or analyzing other people’s relationships for them. They LOVE that. (That’s sarcasm, which is hard to communicate in written text.)

12. Being way more clever on social media than anyone else. 

Your social media courses have taught you well. You know that people don’t want to see a status saying you ate a grilled cheese sandwich at 2:25pm, but you can whip out a snappy status like the best of them. In fact, comm people know their way around most social media sites and they’re great at marketing themselves.

13. “You know that feeling when someone stands too close to you on the elevator…” 

Yes. That’s called the Expectancy Violations Theory. Seriously. There’s a theory for everything. *person backs away from you slowly*

14. Finding out your conflict style. 

Are you an aggressive shark or an accommodating teddy bear?

15. Watching an episode of Seinfeld in at least one comm class. 

Or Gilmore Girls. Or Friends. If it was a 90s sitcom, you probably watched it.

16. Ekman is life. 

Ekman is king.

17. “92% of communication is nonverbal.” 

…maybe? Mehrabian is a pretty smart guy, but some comm people aren’t so sure about this one. Whatever the case, you’re gonna hear this a lot.

18. Using more math than you thought you would. 

Remember when you learned about standard deviations in eleventh grade? Yeah, you’ll need that.

19. Speeches. 

Speeches.

20. And last of all, not wanting to trade your major for the world. 

It’s not just the major. It’s the people you meet. It’s the lessons you learn and the opportunities you have. It’s finding more out about yourself. Or, as Pocahontas once said, it’s learning “things you never knew you never knew.”

 

Feeling Uncomfortable.

Have you ever had a sock slip down your ankle while you were wearing a shoe? If you are a human being, you answered yes to this question. Everyone who has ever worn a shoe has encountered this problem.

It’s a small problem – it’s literally a piece of cloth sliding down your foot for one reason or another (it’s probably because it’s an anklet. Anklets are the worst.) but it affects you. You’re always somewhat conscious of it, you can always feel it. It might even change the way you walk – I mean, part of your foot is stepping on soft, cushy, socky goodness, and the other one is just pounding on the cold sole of your shoe. (Maybe your soles are comfortable, but in my experience, they’re cold and kind of rubbery feeling under my heel.)

Bland and long-winded analogy aside, sometimes a situation in life can feel like a sock slipping down your foot. Sometimes, you can have a situation that’s like stepping in something wet when you’re wearing a sock (which is worse. I save that analogy for really bad situations.) But a lot of situations are just like that – slightly uncomfortable, something you’re constantly aware of that’s nagging at the back of your brain, something that you can’t readily fix until you get a good moment (usually in privacy, because it’s kind of weird to dig into your shoe in public.)

Second bland and long-winded analogy aside, life is sometimes uncomfortable. More specifically, situations in life are often uncomfortable. Life as a whole is pretty all right, wouldn’t you say? But sometimes there are things or situations or conflicts that just mess with you. They’re not pressing, they’re not urgent, but they’re there. And you know they’re there, but you can’t readily do anything about it – or you’re putting it off for later, constantly pushing it back. And it’s uncomfortable.

In which case, it will only get worse. Your whole sock will end up bunched up by your toes the more you walk. Which feels like someone jammed a couple oversized cottonballs between your toes. In other words, not a great feeling.

All of these extended analogies to say: there’s probably something like that in your life right now. (There usually is, unless you’re a Disney princess after the credits have rolled, in which case everything’s fine and also you’re not real.) It could be something really small, like calling the doctor to make an appointment. It could be something really big, like buying a house, or something adult-y like that. It could be something emotional that you’ve set aside, but you still have to work through. You have a sock slipping somewhere. You might even have two socks slipping. That’s two more slipping socks than anyone needs. But still, there they are. And they are bunching at your toes.

“So Audrey,” you ask, maybe, “what do I do? You seem to know a lot about footwear. Do I just unravel everything? Pull off my shoes and make the strangely satisfying adjustment to my sock? But that means I have to pause. That means people might realize how bad my feet smell.”

Well, gross. I wasn’t going that direction, but you’re probably right. You’re going to have to stop and fix your sock, and yes, people might smell your feet. That was the most awkward sentence I’ve ever written.

I’m putting the feet analogy away now. Yes. You are going to have to stop and fix your problem eventually. And people might notice that you have problems. I’m not saying press pause on everything (Hey look, an analogy!)

But what I am saying is, you have to deal with it. Before it gets all bunched up and complicated. Then it will just take longer to unravel. It will be more uncomfortable.

And people are going to notice your problems anyway. Congratulations! You’re a human with problems! You are normal! You are not a robot that tags people in Ray-Ban ads on Facebook!

If necessary, peel those socks off. Run barefoot. It will make you more sensitive and you might step on something uncomfortable, but it will also make you more free.

All of this to say: You’re going to feel uncomfortable eventually. It’s all in how you deal with it. You might be a stoic and stick it out – just let that sock bunch up until you lose circulation. (Literally and figuratively would not recommend. But it’s your decision.)

Your sock might be small, like a bootie that people put on babies (the most unnecessary thing I’ve ever seen), or it could be a nice hearty crew sock like your grandpa wears. Whatever kind of sock you’re dealing with, you have to grab hold of it while you still can. It’ll be uncomfortable, but it will be worth it.

So hike up your socks and go on an adventure.

Brownie points if they don’t match.

 

Retail Workers Are People Too: A Memoir

“Excuse me, do you work here?”

Have you ever worn a red shirt to Target? No? You’re lucky. People automatically assume you work there. Since Target employees have the freedom to wear whatever the heck red shirt they want, innocent bystanders are targeted (no pun intended) and sought out by curious customers.

On one particular day, I happened to be wearing a red shirt to Target. A red dress shirt. Who does that? Apparently I do.

And of course, someone thought I worked there. So she said those six words that every retail worker has heard:

“Excuse me, do you work here?”

The next time I heard this phrase, I was a retail worker myself. Innocent, young, red-shirt-wearing me had no idea what the typical retail worker went through on a daily basis. It wasn’t until I started working at Meijer, a local grocery store, that I understood what it truly meant to be an underpayed, overworked individual.

I was wearing a navy-blue shirt that everyone at Meijer had to wear. I was wearing my name tag that said “Audrey – happy to serve you! :D” And khakis. And black, durable shoes in case I dropped glass or hydrochloric acid or whatever all those OSHA videos warned me about. On that particular day, I was walking back to the breakroom.

Someone stopped me and asked,

“Excuse me, do you work here?”

I looked incredulously down at my nametag, my khakis, and my oversized blue shirt which I was apparently just wearing for fun. Every ounce of my being wanted to give the customer a surly look and say, “Duh.” But every retail worker has been meticulously trained to do exactly the opposite no matter what the circumstance. Because we’re not working to serve ourselves. Retail is about grinning and bearing it.

“Yes, I do. How may I help you?”

I have said this before (not on the Internet), but I’ll say it again: everyone should work retail at some point, even if only for a day. Because a day would be plenty for some people. It’s not easy, and that’s probably why some people are demanding retail workers get paid more (I won’t spout my opinion on that; that’s not necessary for this post).

Like the title of this post says: Retail workers are people too. “What?!” exclaims thousands of suburbanites, falling out of their chairs. “Retail workers are actual people?!” Hopefully it’s not that much of a surprise to anyone that the person who is scanning your groceries, pulling the hangers off your clothes, or handing you your mall pretzel is an actual human being, not a weird robot from one of those modern dystopian robot movies. You look in their face and you see that they’re a person.

But do you acknowledge them as a person?

I’m not going to rip on everyone, I promise. Most people are incredibly kind and cordial to retail workers, because they acknowledge that person as a human being with emotions and problems, just like them. I’m addressing the people who are the exact opposite. And usually, these people are like this to everyone they encounter, not just cashiers or service clerks. You probably know someone who works in retail who comes home every night with story after story. Who knew someone would get so hung up over saving fifty cents on a can of soup? People, right??

Right. People.

I  could tell you stories. Customer stories are to cashiers as war stories are to veterans. You never forget them. You tell them to your grandchildren. I’ve watched a couple make out in front of me as I scanned their groceries. I’ve been cussed out over a few coupons. People have had incredibly private conversations right in front of me.

It’s as if when someone puts on a uniform, their humanness becomes invisible, and they become a mere commodity. People don’t see past the nametag to see a person who is struggling through life just as much as they themselves are.

I know that it’s a retail worker’s job to serve a customer, no matter who they are or what they say or how they treat people. It’s their job. But that still leaves room for making connections, for being kind to one another.

The next time you come into contact with a retail worker, look them in the eye. Acknowledge them as a human being first and an employee second. If they’re in a bad mood, empathize with them. Step into their shoes for just one second. Don’t cuss them out. Hopefully they are kind to you in return (they should be; it’s their job no matter what mood they’re in). If something goes wrong, there’s a 90% chance it’s not their fault. Just remember that. They’ll probably (hopefully) apologize all over themselves. Maybe they’re new. Maybe it’s just an off day. Take the time to recognize that. The world’s not going to pass you by if you stop for one second and acknowledge another human.

I hope I’m not preaching. I’m just trying to give you a little perspective. Like I said before, I know most people are empathetic. But some people can’t see past themselves, and those people become the subject of Customer Stories.

And to retail workers (myself included), I say this: remember the people you interact with daily are humans too. You only encounter them for a few minutes or even just a few seconds, but acknowledge their humanness too. And be nice. Being rude or stand-offish doesn’t help anyone. Those people aren’t commodities either. They might only say three words to you and handle money, but Customers are people too, rude or otherwise. Take a moment to see the world from their perspective too. And maybe you’ll make a connection.

If all else fails, smile. (“Happy to serve you! :D”)

TL;DR version of this post: be nice to everyone you meet, whether they’re a cashier or Albert Einstein (I hope you don’t meet Albert Einstein; if you do you’d be graverobbing and that’s not very cool). We’re all humans first. Even if we’re wearing a red dress shirt and khakis. Even if we have a nametag that says “Happy to serve you :D” but we have a face that might not say that.

And please, don’t make out in grocery stores. Just don’t. I don’t care who you are.

 

Here’s Another Unsolicited Blog Post About Being Single. You’re Welcome.

You’ve been waiting for this. You clicked on this link because you, your single and desperate self, need more advice on how to make Singleness worthwhile. “What’s wrong with me?” you ask, possibly scarfing chocolate and watching The Notebook. “Why am I still single? I must be doing Singleness wrong. Please, O Internet, tell me how to Single.”

We all know there’s an exact science to Single. You do all the right things and eventually you magically bump into The One. Not intimidating at all, right? You have to get the formula exactly right, or else you’ll end up alone forever. You have to do exactly what those lists on Cosmopolitan and Pinterest blogs tell you to do. You have to read all those Open Letters on the Internet so you know exactly what is wrong with boys who won’t ask you out, girls who always say no, and how to be wonderfully Single in the most perfect way possible.

You could be 15 or 55. Singleness can hurt sometimes. Because (surprise) it’s kinda lonely. If you’re in your twenties like me, everyone and their mother is getting married (well, hopefully their mother is already married). Or they’re in steady relationships – those week-long high-school flings are (most likely) a thing of the past. And you, the Single person, feel like you’ve been left in the dust.

In fact, I was talking about marriage to some friends awhile back, poking fun at the fact that I have “plenty of time” to plan my wedding, and my friend told me, “yeah, marriage usually requires a boyfriend first.”

I’m not going to pretend that didn’t hurt. This friend is in a steady relationship. Several of my friends are. (Don’t worry. This blog post isn’t going to be me complaining about Singleness. My complaining begins and ends here.) That comment wasn’t said to hurt me, but it kinda got me. It caught me by surprise and made me aware of something I didn’t like thinking about – I’m alone. (“You’re not alone!” says people. “You have all these friends!” Not the same thing. Sorry, it’s not. Okay. Complaining over.)

So here you are, Single as you are. I’m not writing an “Open Letter to Single People” or a “Embrace Your Singleness” because most people who write that junk aren’t single anymore. And they forget that it can hurt a lot. Sometimes it was eviscerating. (Am I complaining again? I’m complaining again. Sorry.)

So Singleness, am I right? There’s definitely a Single trope that we’re all aware of. There’s actually a couple. In the movies, we’re the ugly friend. Or we’re the frenemy or nasty person, who’s usually blond. We’re the nerdy, awkward ones. We’re not the Disney princess. We are the cute, fuzzy animal that accompanies her in her musical numbers. Or the second-string princess, like that girl in The Princess and the Frog. You know, not Tiana, but the other one. The one whose name we don’t remember because she wasn’t Tiana.

Am I complaining again? I’m complaining again. Sorry.

You’re just waiting for that magical movie moment where you run into a handsome/beautiful stranger and your life changes forever. Where the camera zooms in on their dilated eyes and then pans to your hands accidentally touching as you both reach to pick up whatever you dropped (because you inevitably dropped something). Because that’s what life has built up to, right? That magical turning point where you finally get your happy ending?!

But that’s not how it works. When you meet someone cute, there’s no magnetizing force that draws you together. At least there hasn’t been yet (because according to all your friends, “you just haven’t found the right person yet,” they say in a sympathetic voice. Am I complaining again?) You just kinda stand there awkwardly and stare at them and imagine what it might be like to say hi to them. But it never happens. And you may or may not beat yourself up for it.

Singleness is a strange monster. One day you can be so freaking psyched that you’re single, the next you can be downright sad. Maybe it’s because (taken) people tell you “Being Single is fun!!!” and you believe them, but you also know that there are parts of it that are very not fun. Your Taken friend is not wrong. Being single is fun sometimes. Friday night “watch (and eat)-whatever-the-heck-I-want” time is a real thing for me and I love it.

Being single is also not fun sometimes.

Because sometimes you come across a moment where you stand there and think, “Gosh. I wish someone was here to experience this with me.” And not just anyone. But Someone. You know what I mean?

So, I’m not going to tell you anything new about being single. I’m not going to pretend I’m some sage who knows everything about Singlehood (why the heck is that a word?!) because I spent six months in the Himalayas with a monk walking barefoot on hot coals or whatever (Do people blog about that? They probably do). I’m not going to drop a vague truth bomb on you (“You have to go find yourself first, before you find someone else.”) I’m just going to say something that you can take or leave.

You just have to be okay with it.

You don’t have to be “Yay! I’m single and ready to mingle! ;D” or “I’m gonna die alone! DX” Despite what people/media/culture might tell you. You don’t have to think that just because you’re single, you need to be wild and crazy and party all of the time. You don’t have to think that you’re the odd one out, the weird nerd who can barely talk to a guy/chick. But you do have to be okay with it. Because if you’re not, it’s that much more miserable.

“It’s not your fault you’re single!” some well-meaning people say.

“Just find someone already! You’re not trying!” others say, especially when you hit your 30s.

Who are you supposed to listen to then? Is it your fault, or isn’t it? I’m not trying to complain or down-put people who say these things, but these things hit single people in very specific places in their heart. Very raw places that a lot of people have poked at. Something they might occasionally poke at too. But it’s a place that’s very vulnerable and very real. A feeling that they’re not enough. That dreaded feeling that “something’s wrong” with them.

I’m gonna say it again: You just have to be okay with it. I’m not going to try to begin to understand or explain away the pain that some single people endure almost every day. I know it can hurt a lot and be alienating and isolating. I’m not going to stand up on a soapbox and tell you “If you’re single, this is how you should live. Don’t waste these years.” Whatever that’s supposed to mean.

The only way you could waste your Singleness (I am so fed up with these words and their stupid prefixes) is by not living at all. Like becoming a hermit or something, unless that’s what you really want to do. I wouldn’t blame you. I’m surprised I didn’t move to Iceland after graduating high school. Sometimes the drama just reaches a peak and you need to get away.

So just live. And be okay with where you’re at. You don’t have to be overly happy about it, but neither do you have to be overly sad. You can be right smack-dab in the middle, and that’s okay. You just have to keep waking up every morning and finding new things that excite you, that ignite your passions. I’m not saying that that’s the formula for “finding someone.” But that is the formula for living, whether you’re with someone or not.

I know it hurts. I know there’s fun parts and there’s stupid parts. I know people say stuff about fish in the sea and “your time will come.” I know there’s that spot in your heart that you can’t quite explain, but that’s definitely there and feels raw.

But your life doesn’t revolve around that magical moment where you bump into Mr/Mrs. Right in an extremely unconventional way. You’re not a second-string princess. You’re not a weirdo. Nothing’s wrong with you.

Just keep living that awesome life of yours. And live happily ever after, wherever you end up.

Why Wanting to be a Kid Again is Overrated

Hi, it’s me again. I’ve been dropping super-serious truth bombs on you lately, so let’s lighten the mood a little. I’m not feeling extemporaneous or prosaic today, so we’re gonna do a Buzzfeed-style list for this blog post, only with fewer Zodiac signs. If you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of your time daydreaming about those beautiful, sun-soaked days when you were young. Not Adele-song young, but little-kid young. When you were still innocent and thought babies came from mommies and daddies going to the baby store. When the worst thing a boy could do to you was steal your cerulean crayon (none of us knew how to pronounce it, but we all loved it.) When snacktime meant Dunkaroos (if you’re from my generation) and not a small handful of almonds (all celebrities swear by it). You get the picture. You think about that time in your life a lot, don’t you? I mean hey, there’s a reason we reminisce. It’s because all that stuff is familiar to us.

But GUESS WHAT. You don’t want to be a kid again. Here’s some things you forgot about being a kid.

1.  Remember how short and small you were? You literally couldn’t reach anything. If you wanted something from the freezer, you’d have to ask Dad, and he might not even oblige. This was your life until you were “like 12″ and your growth spurt set in (that’s how it was for me; I was 4’9” until I was in 5th grade). Isn’t it fun to be able to reach everything (most things, I mean. Unless you’re really tall)? Now you can get that ice cream out of the fridge like a champ without having to hear your dad say, “You’ve already had some.”

2. Remember the pRISON OF JUDGMENT known as middle school? I do. I remember my first pimple. I remember those cOLD STARES from thirteen-year-olds who wore mascara and drank frapuccinos and had a cell phone (with a CAMERA), while I thought makeup was satanic and my beverage choices peaked at a can of Coke. If you peaked in middle school, I’m sorry. I’m also not sorry, because that means middle school was easy for you. For the rest of us, it was like having cavities. Which we probably also had a lot of in middle school. Because it’s hard to brush your teeth around braces. BRACES. Mini prisons for your teeth. Let’s face it – middle school was like having a headache for three years.

3. One of the most devastating things in the world is not having anyone to play with during recess. Maybe you didn’t have this problem, but sometimes all your friends are sick or gone to Florida (remember how everyone just “went to Florida” randomly?!), or your fair-weather friend doesn’t want to hang out with you, so guess what? You’re left alone on the swings. You’re the loner. You’re already self-conscious without being seen as the loner. If you’re really brave, you could sheepishly walk up to a group of people you sort of know and ask to play with them, but what kid is that brave? And if you ever asked that to a group of boys and you’re a girl, they’ll immediately shun you (Trust me, I learned this the hard way. Boy’s Club isn’t just for CEOs. It starts at a tender young age.)

4. Remember how, for most of your childhood, you were cONFINED TO FOUR WALLS AND A WHITEBOARD for 80% of your day? Yeah, me too. Ok sure, kindergarten through second grade were kinda fun. But there was still math. EVERY DAY. And spelling. SPELLING. And (gasp) cursive. Do you remember those cursive books with their deceptive, colorful covers? Do remember thinking “I’m never going to write a 5 that way”? I do. Now you do too. You might still be confined to four walls in higher education and/or a job, but at least you’re not doing cursive every day.

5. When I think about my blissful childhood years, one reminder always yanks me back to reality: I COULDN’T DRIVE. Remember when your Mom and/or Dad had to truck you around (literally in a truck or a van) everywhere you wanted to go? Want to go to Jimmy’s house? Your desires hinge on the whim of Mom’s fancy. She could easily say “no.” Well go ask dad, you may say, because dad always says yes. Dad’s busy. DAD’S. BUSY. You’re stuck at home. Congratulations. No Jimmy today. Fast forward to sixteen, driver’s license, beat-up car. Want to go to Jimmy’s house? gET IN YOUR CAR AND GO BECAUSE YOU’RE AN ADULT AND YOU CAN. Jimmy has missed you.

6. Remember when you had that thing called an “allowance”? It was that little piggy bank of money that your parents allotted you each week for chores and existing and whatever. Usually that piggy bank peaked at five dollars. Oh, so you want to buy that Barbie cruise ship that’s fifty dollars? You’re gonna have to wait tEN YEARS before you accrue enough allowance to buy it. Or pool your money with your siblings. But that means you have to sHARE THE CRUISE SHIP. Guess what? You’re an adult with an income now. You can buy stuff. You want that cruise ship? You go buy that friggin’ cruise ship. Heck, go on an actual CRUISE because you have mONEY that’s not in a pIGGY BANK. Boom. Adulthood. (I’m not saying that’s a financially wise investment, but it’s a thing you can do. If you want. Because hopefully you have more than five dollars in your bank account.)

7. Remember watching movies as a kid? Neither do I. Because I don’t remember movies from my childhood because I didn’t understand them. You know how terrible it feels when someone is laughing at something you don’t understand?! Like all those double entendres in Disney movies? Aren’t Disney movies more fun to watch when you’re an adult and actually uNDERSTAND WHAT THEY’RE SAYING instead of thinking “oh her dress is pretty and I’m going to marry a prince someday too”? LAME. Disney movies were made for adults. So were all movies.

So here we are. Adults. Doing adult-y stuff. But wishing we weren’t adults. Wishing we were still dunkin’ those roos in whatever frosting stuff that was. Wishing we were still in Playskool and not actual school. Wishing we were still pretending to make dinner with food made out of plastic instead of faced with the daunting task of having to make actual dinner without setting things on fire.

BUT. Keep things in perspective! Remember, childhood wasn’t always perfect. We like to think it is because we like to romanticize the past. We remember the snow days but forget the skinned knees. We relish in memories of going to the zoo but suppress anything having to do with the dentist.

Everything’s got a little good and a little bad. The past, the present, and the future. Today’s been a little good, a little bad. It’s okay to remember the fun parts of being little and cute and stuff (like no pimples, am I right?!) but don’t let that take away from your present. Because there’s plenty of good stuff here too.

Keep going. Keep living that awesome life of yours.

Self-Entitlement and the American College Student

 

I’m going to sound like a mega-grump in this post. Just thought I’d warn you now, so you can back up and switch tabs to the “Which Loaf of Bread are You?” quiz on Buzzfeed. Because that’s probably more important (aren’t we all just carbs on the food pyramid of life?)

What I have to say may not come as a shocker to most people. We all know college students, right? I mean, you must know at least one. Based on the general demographics of the readers of this blog, you probably are one. And for that, I applaud you. You decided to take 4+ years of your life to get a handshake and a piece of paper and maybe a job that relates to that piece of paper. Or maybe a job at McDonald’s. Because does anyone really hire people who got a B.A. in Art History? (Art History majors, I’m sure you’re wonderful people. I’m just using you as an example of the cruelties of this economy.)

Because we all (probably) know (at least one) college student(s), I think it’s safe to say that the following question has crossed our minds:

Why the heck are college students so dang self-entitled? 

You may or may not have used expletives stronger than mine, depending on your level of feeling for this topic. I’m assuming that if you are in the older demographic, you’re thinking, “College kids think the world is gonna be handed to them. They think they deserve everything that comes to them and if they don’t get what they think they deserve, they complain about it to their parents. Or they Tweet about it. Or they move back to their suburban home and live in their mom’s basement until their 30, just waiting for their career in cartooning to kick off.”

Maybe not those exact words, but close enough.

On the other side of the spectrum, if you’re of the younger demographic (aka an actual college student, or a recent graduate), you might be thinking, “Heck yeah I deserve something. I just spent 4+ years of my life studying graphic design. Where’s my interview with Pixar?”

My cop-out response is that both groups of people are justified. It’s easy to look at a college student and see an entitled brat who drives around the car that Daddy bought for him and actively complains about the dearth of cafeteria food available to him on a daily basis – when he’s one of the few people in the world who eats three meals a day.

Let me put it this way: College students, by nature, invest a lot of time, effort, and money into themselves. They’re probably going to school for the sake of their future, so it’s not hard to become a bit ego-centric when you come to college. Every day is about you – your classes, your job interviews, your activities, your choice of what to watch on Netflix.

(Some of them even blog about these things.)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not justifying the self-entitled college student. No one is entitled to anything. I am not entitled to an education or a job. I’m not entitled to awesome food in the cafeteria or kick-butt student activities. I only deserve these things if I’m willing to work for them. But if I don’t, I shouldn’t rant about how I got cheated by society or the economy or whatever nameless philosophical blob I could blame. It all comes back to me.

How am I using this situation, whether I’m where I want to be or not?

So consider this an open letter to self-entitled college students. Let me offer you some unsolicited advice, since everyone has probably been giving you unsolicited advice at this time in your life.

1) Guess what! The world doesn’t revolve around you. You’re shocked, I know. But I think a lot of times, we young, spunky college students like to think the world is our oyster…and it is, but it also isn’t. Just because it’s our oyster doesn’t mean we deserve the pearl. We gotta work for that pearl. So we can pay for that pearl. And turn it into a fancy necklace. Or an earring. Or an iPhone case. Whatever you dig. 

2) Sometimes people are simply not going to like you. That’s a thing that happens. Just because they don’t like you doesn’t mean a) you’re unlikeable or b) they’re unlikeable. Sometimes professors won’t like you. Sometimes bosses won’t like you. Or that guy who lives down the hall from you and exclusively eats honey-nut Cheerios. And you just have to live with it. Because trying to make people like you is legitimately exhausting. And you already have enough stressing you out. 

3) Complaining is not your friend. Complaining will make you sad and grouchy, like a shriveled-up onion, or something gross like that. Just because the cafeteria is serving chicken for the 14th day in a row (yep, that’s a thing at the school I go to) doesn’t mean you need to go complaining about how “oh my gosh I’m so sick of chicken this is so disgusting why *sad face*.” I’m going to play the guilt-trip-mom card on you: a lot of people in the world don’t get to walk into a cafeteria and eat stuff. So you choke that chicken down. AND YOU ENJOY IT. 

4) Hating on people is also not cool. I usually don’t like using “hate” as a verb, but I think it’s justified here. Seriously. I hear people talk trash about other people a lot. Sometimes I even partake. But it doesn’t do anyone any good. It might make you feel good about yourself to put someone down, but that feeling doesn’t last. Just because you think someone is weird, nerdy, or different from you doesn’t give you the right to say so. That guy who eats the Cheerios? He’s got a full, dynamic life just like you. He just happens to have an affinity for fiber. Get to know people. It’ll help you understand why they do some of the quirky things they do. And usually, those quirky things are really awesome. 

Here comes the part of this post wherein I descend from my soapbox and join reality once again. Like I’ve said before, this blog is my space to try to figure things out, and maybe get some help along the way. I’m simply ruminating on some things that have been rattling around in my head recently. Thanks for letting me ramble on and be cynical about people. And whatever you decide to do with this slew of information I just threw at you, continue living your awesome life. Wake up, drink something caffeinated, step outside, and join the many confused human beings out in the world who are just trying to figure things out along with you. And then take a nap when you’re done, because that is one thing you are entitled to.

Disclaimer: It has been brought to my attention that this post sounds slightly pompous and, upon reading it over again, it does seem like a bratty trend-piece writer wrote this (Who? Me?) I forgot to mention that I myself am a college student and a lot of this stuff is me telling myself to not do stuff like this. Because believe me. I do. So I apologize if I came off as obtuse. Also, this post is categorized under “satire.” Read into that what you will. 

And thank you for understanding my somewhat obtuse and close-minded views on the world.