Friendzoning versus Girlfriendzoning – An Objective Analysis

So I recently read an article explicating the sexist social plague otherwise known as friendzoning – you’ve all seen the memes, I really shouldn’t have to explain the concept – and how someone on reddit finally flipped the idiocy on its head by pointing out that a guy who was nice to a girl just to get her to go out with him was essentially guilty of having ulterior motives that effectively negated his so-called good intentions. This idea of being nice to a girl solely for a shot to get into her panties has been coined “girlfriendzoning,” a really rather apt label to counteract the increasingly popular notion that a girl is only worth being nice to if she’ll sleep with you.
Now, I am often considered a feminist, and I consider many of my beliefs to be pro – feminism, but that shouldn’t mean that I don’t have a certain amount of understanding of the male side of the equation. In a society in which we eschew rape culture and a woman’s right to dress and behave in any way she chooses without fear of judgment or attack, the idea of checking one’s behavior and the effect that it can have on others is a topic that is still considered a little too sensitive for most people to discuss. However, I am not most people and I’m certainly not sensitive, so here we go.
I need to preface this first by stating that the following arguments are meant to be as gender – neutral as possible, but because the concept of friendzoning is predominantly “done” by women more against men, I’ll be using that setup more often. I’m not trying to single out either side of the equation, because frankly, I think that they’re both full of shit. The whole idea of friendzoning and girlfriendzoning is getting to be a lot of gender generalization and he said/she said nonsense. So instead of trying to place blame for the existence of either notion in the first place, why don’t we stop and think about why either one happens at all.
One of the most unavoidable facts of life is that human choices are driven by two basic necessities: the need for food, and the need for sex. The key ingredients necessary for our survival as a species are nutrition and propagation. It’s just a fact. I didn’t Continue reading

The Measure of Success

As an unfortunate member of Generation Y, my biggest concern about life, and the choices that I’ve made, are where my choices will take me in the future. It goes without saying that my dreams and my income don’t particularly get along. My dream is to buy a beat up old Victorian house and fix it up, a dream that doesn’t exactly seem feasible with a teacher’s salary. In California, no less.
I have spent more than my fair share of time wondering if I’ve made the right decisions, from my choice of degree, to the paths I have walked with it. And in my musings, I’ve come to the understanding that we live in a world where salary is our only indicator of our success, and by extension, of our individual value.
  I read a comic recently, penned by the incomparable Bill Watterson, that sums up the issue more succinctly than I can. About how we as a society measure our success by the amount of money we earn, by the number of our possessions, and by the value of them. And frankly, it’s difficult to not be discouraged by that blaring misinterpretation of what success is. Generation Y suffers from an affliction I lovingly refer to as “Entitle-itis,” in that we have the expectation that we go to college, graduate, and waltz right into a lucrative career; and then we’re positively flabbergasted when we don’t. To add insult to injury, there are plenty of people in our age group for whom that expectation has been fulfilled – I, for example, have a friend not much older than me who pulls in 180k a year as a software development engineer. Another, who graduated from USC at the age of 17, is the youngest person in history to raise a million dollars in startup funding for her tech company, and is only gaining momentum. And then there’s me. I have a degree in English, the only job I’ve managed to land is teaching part time, and I can barely keep my head above water. It’s easy to determine which ones are considered successful, and which one isn’t.
But here’s an important distinction, often overlooked, which equalizes the three of us. And it took me a while to really understand what that was, once I learned to dissuade my definition of success with the one that is so commonly accepted.
I’m pretty happy with my life. I love my job. My coworkers are great, I have a lot of freedom in which to pursue my other passions, I’m actually using my degree and the skills I had developed while pursuing it. Are there times when I wish for more? Of course there are. But I’m blessed in many ways already. My family, my friends, my prospects are always there – they’ll never go away. I make more per hour than my mother did at my age, and my job offers me experience that can only ever help me. I still get caught up in all of my material wants from time to time, but the trick is learning to disassociate material gain with success. I may not have a house or be able to travel as much as I want to, but no one can really argue that I haven’t accomplished a certain amount of success.
So will I ever fulfill my dream of that fixer upper house? Maybe,  maybe not. I’d rather measure my success by the happiness that I’ve achieved, not the objects I’ve obtained. After all, as the great philosopher Jagger once said, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need.”

Wanderlust

I’m sure that everyone out there has a list of all of the places that they would like to see or visit. I happen to have a list that could fill a book. And while I’m sure that there are a majority of people who could survive having not done a significant amount of traveling before they die, I am absolutely not one of those people. I need travel like I need oxygen, and that’s something that I know is a fact despite not having done a whole lot of it.
  The problem is that I have no money. No money and traveling are rarely compatible bedfellows. Chalk it up to a degree in English, a decent, but not lucrative job, and several thousand dollars in debt, and you have a recipe for a permanently fixed position. Crappy? Oh, you bet. Impossible to get out of? Not so much. Like so many rules of life, there are rules in the world of travel that are easily bent or broken. It does take a lot of research and even more imagination, but it’s doable. I don’t pretend to be an expert on travel hacking, because I’m just getting started myself. But part of this blog is meant to chronicle my discoveries as they happen, so that people can be privy to my mistakes, as well as my successes.
The first thing that I learned is that you have to be open to opportunities as they happen. The second is that you have to know how to mix business with pleasure. I guess “business” is kind of a misnomer, but it’s the most appropriate term I could think of. What I mean is, take advantage of the trips that are necessary to help you with the trips that aren’t.
  In June, I’ll be flying up to Seattle to visit two of my best friends in the world; one would hardly qualify that as a business trip. But it is a trip with an intention, not one without. Travel for pleasure has no business or intention, and that’s what I mean by take opportunities as they come.  Open ended travel means going just to go, not going because. If the opportunity came up when I booked my flight to Seattle that there was a lengthy stopover in Portland, I wouldn’t scoff at the extra time spent trying to get to my destination. I’d embrace the opportunity to visit a city that I’m especially fond of, or at least have never seen before.
  When I was booking my flight, it occurred to me that it would be wise to take advantage of an oft not taken service – frequent flyer miles programs. People automatically assume that you have to actually fly on planes to accumulate them, but you often don’t. The company that offers the service is often linked to a multitude of other services that you can also use to acquire points without actually flying. Since I was flying Southwest Airlines, I signed up for their Rapid Rewards Program, so the flight racked up a good amount of points that I can use for my next flight. I also noticed that buying from 1-800-Flowers would get me even more points. Since my mother is so fond of buying my grandmother flowers, there’s a little bit of an advantage already. Is it super lucrative?  No, not yet. But I’m hoping that in time, it will be, after I learn more about it. Again, all of the tricks are there. It’s just figuring out how to make the best of them.

Holy Gender Roles, Batman!

Hey, sometimes I feel the need to rant about my personal views on life. M’kay.

So, for those of you who don’t know me (HA!), I was raised to be extremely self-sufficient. My grandmother sometimes tells me she’s worried she’s too hard on me because she’s determined to make sure that I’m smart enough to make my own way in the world. My mother raised me pretty much single-handedly and she only had a high-school education, but she’s certainly not stupid and worked her ass off. So, suffice it to say, there will never be in a time in my life where I will ever need anyone else to support me, and that’s how I think it should be. But I was in the car with a dear friend of mine the other day, and we got onto the topic of her sister-in-law, who is a dear, sweet girl, but ran into a marriage at the first conceivable opportunity, and has never in her entire life supported herself in any way, shape, or form. To preface the remaining bit of this rant, let me just state that I know her life is her own to lead, and her choices are her own cross to bear, and I have no right to pass any judgment on how she lives her life. But women like that just baffle me, and the entire conversation got me thinking about the dichotomy between men and women when it comes to self-sufficiency.

We live in a day and age where a marriage is supposed to be an equal partnership, with no one person supporting the other more than vice versa. At least, that’s the theory, and I have a sneaking suspicion that that’s part of the reason why the divorce rate is so high. But I don’t see that as often as I’d like to. I’d like to think any marriage that I ever get myself into would involve equal support, equal contribution, and that if something should happen, I would never be in a position where I would be screwed out of comfort or the ability to take care of myself. I don’t ever want to need alimony or child support or to take half of his money because I didn’t earn it. Again, this all goes back to how I was raised – a woman makes the choice to marry, to bear the children, and to support herself. If I couldn’t do the latter two on my own, I would certainly not get myself involved with the former. I’ve heard too many stories of women who boast of their husband’s financial status, who live under the impression that he is going to take care of her for the rest of his life, and is absolutely baffled, not to mention royally screwed, when he hits the cliche midlife crisis and runs off with a twenty-year old. All the usual mistakes are made – the man assumes the younger woman loves him for his personality, not his money, the now ill-to-do wife is left with nothing but broken promises and nothing to fend for herself with. There have been women in my life who have never worked a day in their lives because they went straight from their parents’ house to the marriage bed, and when the marriage crumbles, they are left with nothing – no work experience, no ability to maintain their lifestyle, nothing. 

Now ask yourself a question – how often do you see that with men?

How often is the man the submissive partner in the relationship, who feeds off of his wife’s breadwinnings? How often does the wife dominate in the money-making end of the marriage, and then leave her husband for a younger man when she gets bored with him? Not particularly often. So really, people can talk about equal roles in a relationship, but as far as my observation goes, women are making a pretty poor name for themselves when they get themselves into situations like this knowingly, living under the fairy-tale illusion that marriage equals their permanent protection. That they have no need to protect or support themselves because there’s a man who will be there to do it.

The fuck is this? The fifties? I thought feminism was supposed to have progressed! But these stories are still common. Before, it was my grandmother telling me about an aunt of hers who was so certain of her place in the world because of her husband’s money. When he divorced her and left her with nothing, her certainty didn’t save her. She had no work experience, no savings, and nothing to save herself with. She ended up having to live with her daughter. And now, it’s my friend telling me about her sister in law, who’s over thirty, ran into marriage with a guy she knew for six months who makes a good amount of money that allows him to buy her a house to move from her parents’ place into, and has never worked more than 15 hours a week in her entire freaking life. The writing on the walls is all there. In the beginning of a marriage, all of the intentions are good. But the divorce rate didn’t reach 50% because people kept their promises. It is true that a man should be more faithful to his wife, and his promises, than his need to prove his virility, or whatever the hell the reason is for leaving her for another woman. But a woman has her own role to play in her protection. A woman should be able to work a forty hour a week job. She should be able to get health insurance for herself, and any children they may have. She should have a nest egg, and all the preparations she can get if, for whatever reason, she finds herself without her husband there to save her. All kinds of things happen, besides divorce. He loses all the money in a ponzi scheme, he loses his job and there’s still a mortgage to pay, or, heaven forbid, he dies and there’s no life insurance. What then? What on earth are you gonna do to help yourself? These are all the questions that have been drilled into my head since childhood, and as a result, I find the idea of being dependent on a man absolutely repugnant. It actually made me cringe when the sales clerk at the consignment store made three burly moving guys take my tiny, 20 pound tea table to the car. Something I’m sure they did for insurance reasons, but it doesn’t change the fact that I felt completely repulsed by the notion of someone else doing for me what I could easily do for myself, had I simply made the effort. So maybe, in many ways, I’m lucky that my grandmother was so hard on me. Maybe it did suck a bit of the romance of marriage out of my brain, because I have to look at everything logically and I always have to prepare for the worst, which is not conducive to a romantic outlook. I have difficulties with dating men because so many of them wanted to take care of me, which I don’t want. I want to take care of myself. The idea of being someone like my friend’s sister-in-law makes me physically ill. I’m not trying to hoist myself and my way of thinking onto any kind of pedestal – I know plenty of women married to good men who respect their independence, women who know how to take care of themselves if the worst should happen. Strong women. But it makes me sad that despite all of our advances into gender equality, this is still a one-sided scenario. 

From Humble Beginnings

Starting a blog is often a fruitless endeavor when it comes to me – I have such an uncanny knack for never finishing what I start. I honestly can’t say why I bothered to start up again, except I’m finding myself at the beginning of a great many new adventures in my life, adventures I’d like to chronicle for a change. I’ve tried writing about everything from my personal life to attempts at physical and emotional change, but I lost my interest almost as quickly as I had gained it. So here we are, starting again, but focusing instead on passions that I’ve rather abruptly and strangely fallen into. Funny how a dorky, shy teenaged girl can hit her midtwenties and fall in love with the usual oddities of wine and lingerie, but also the more old-soul world of antiques and travel hacking. And, as the title suggests, I’m still an amateur in all of these things, but my hope is to become less of one as time goes on. 

 So where do we start? Might as well begin with my adventures of the day. San Jose’s Antique Mall has some of the most unique treasures I’ve ever stumbled across, usually in excellent condition. I’m a sucker for eccentric pieces that are unusual and difficult to find. This one in particular caught my eye.

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This pretty little doodad is a gold scale, used by bankers to measure the weight of gold in carats. The damn thing is fully functional, dated 1907, and 295 dollars more than I had readily available. There’s absolutely no reason for me to ever buy it, buuuut, let’s just say I’ve got some spare capital, I’m walking down the street, and I see this thing still at Antiques Colony, well, let’s just say it will be my least practical purchase. But just so damned awesome, once I figure out where on earth I would even put it.

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I have a bit of a dirty confession to make – I’m an absolutely, almost Freudian sucker for locks and keys. There are three things on Planet Earth that I adore more than anything else – teapots, railroad tracks, and antique keys. I’ve collected the former most for three years, and the lattermost for over twenty – the Burbank Antique store was an old favorite haunt of mine when my grandmother was still alive. I’d ride my bike over there with a dollar and find myself a beautiful old brass skeleton key. I accumulated a pretty ridiculous collection of them, a collection which, I’m sad to say, was lost to a lot of moving and family drama. And I hate to say it, but my taste in old keys has evolved the older I’ve gotten – skeleton keys don’t quite “do it” for me, anymore. Now I’m picky about material, the ornateness of the bow, and the detail of the bits – I’ve developed a bit of a partiality towards older gate keys. I own a Georgian-era gate key some two hundred years old that I’m almost ridiculously fond of. But, those aren’t the types that you can just walk into an antique store and find anymore. And because I’ve evolved towards a more practical mindset, I’ve found I prefer a lock to go with that key. Then I found these beauties.
 WHAT WOMAN ON PLANET EARTH WANTS TO DROP HER PANTIES FOR ORNATE DOORKNOBS AND FACEPLATES?! This one, right here. I should probably also mention that a dream of mine is to buy a beat up Victorian house, and I make it a point to look for proper-era accoutrements. Those door knobs/plates with the associated keys and hardware (not pictured, since the store was hiding them) pretty much fulfilled that little fantasy…at least as far as the doors go. Only 225 bucks! And probably ridiculously easy to break in to. I’d be an insurance company’s nightmare/dream.Image

 

I also have to admit I’ve become kind of a silver snob lately. It’s depressing how hard on a champagne taste/beer budget I am. Plus, I’m only 27. I know only one person on earth my age who cares more about having a complete silver service than, say, owning a new car or new clothes, and that person is me.

 Needless to say, a fine silver service is probably the one extravagance I wouldn’t be able to afford, unless I bought every piece one at a time, because a complete sterling silver service would run me well over a grand at the very least. And I’m talking fully silver, not silver-plated. A fork by itself would probably run me almost a hundred dollars. Would it be worth it? Probably. Would it be feasible for me to purchase? Probably not. So frankly, I’m looking at a silver-plated set, which really, isn’t a terrible compromise. The only problem is, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed by now, that I am one of the pickiest people on earth when it comes to long-term purchases. I have to be absolutely in love with whatever it is I’m buying, or I run the risk of getting bored with it. So I found this set while browsing today, and I like it. Do I love it? That’s a work in progress.ImageLast, but not least, since framing devices are often my favorite, and this is definitely an unusual piece, I’m topping off with a lovely little doodad known as a butler valet. Today marks the first time I’ve ever seen one in person, and as usual, it was a few hundred dollars outside of my teacher’s salary. Anyway, butler valets were used in high-class households as a sort of garment hub – an ensemble, down to the shoes and accessories, would be selected, and each piece would have a place on the butler valet, so they were all within vicinity when the decidedly non-wooden (mostly) human valets would dress the gentleman of the house. They had a heydey until the mid 20th century, and now they’re just novelties for weird little nerds like me.

The fact that this is meant for men and I’m decidedly not a man notwithstanding, this is another one of those little oddities that I’d love to take home with me. You know. If I had the cash. Or the space. Or clothes good enough to put on it. Hint hint.

Of course, there were lots of awesome little treasures to be found in today’s hunt, but these four were by and large my favorite. And I suppose that’s a good way to start off a new blog – by talking about old things. Brilliant.