Saturday, February 26, 2011

What Is Normal?

Apparently I'm a really awkward person. I've always prided myself on my ability to not be awkward. I'm pretty sure I've even used the exact phrase "I just don't have the awkward gene". Well, I still personally don't think I'm awkward, but people seem to think otherwise.

This new realization started yesterday when I had my lunch break from my 8 hour class. It was pouring rain out as I left the school building to grab food. More than pouring. The type of rain that broke my umbrella as I trudged against the heavy wind, juggling my umbrella (which rendered useless) while attempting to keep my computer dry without dropping my cup of coffee (the most important part). 

When I arrived, soaking wet, all of my classmates were crowded around a tiny table eating. I didn't mind sitting alone at one of the many empty tables surrounding them to dry off. I had a bunch of calls to make and emails to send. The whole "sitting and eating alone" incident has happened before. In fact, I do it all the time. Apparently that's weird? I didn't think so, and still don't for that matter. After this incident, my classmates starting saying things to me, such as "too cool". This was pretty early in the semester. Since then, they've spent more time with me and have gotten to know me better.. that phrase hasn't been used since.

So I sit down at the empty table and begin dialing. Before I know it the entire table is turned around laughing at me. Not only are they laughing, but more than one of them has their cell phone out taking pictures of me. The word "loser" was shouted multiple times. So finally, after I finished my calls and such, I moved my chair over to their table (peer pressure is powerful). Here I sat outside of their circle of chairs peering over their shoulders to join in on conversation. This rendered useless so I just leaned back and didn't partake in the conversation at all. I might as well have just been sitting at a different table..

So that was my first sign that my ideas of "normal social behavior" were a little different from the people around me.

Later that night, around 7:30, a friend texted me asking if I wanted to go to dinner with him and some people. I responded that I had already eaten. So apparently it is also weird to eat before 7:30? There are so many rules on how to be normal, I can't keep up. He insisted that I could just get a drink with them and I should come. I then responded that I hadn't planned on going out. So again, apparently it's not normal for a twenty-year-old person to not want to go out on a Friday night. Long story short, I went.

Farther into the dinner conversation, as I cracked joke after joke (obviously), my other friend made a comment about how fun I am to talk to. How nice! Right? Just wait. I responded "because I am so funny?" He corrected me, "You aren't funny at all. You are just really awkward". I thought dinner had been going well. I thought I meshed well with the crowd.. but again, proven wrong.

After the whole night out, when I was thoroughly exhausted and finally going home (at 12:30), somebody texted me asking what I was doing. This is how that conversation went:

person: "I'm at a fun bar with a friend, you should meet up."
me: "I'm exhausted and going home. I'm a loser" [which I had learned earlier that day]
person: "Haha not cool"
me: "I'm sorry for misleading you into thinking I was cool."
person: "No it's ok, I was never misled"

I'm glad it's apparent to everybody just how awkward and uncool I am.  Awesome.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Photoshopped First Impressions

Facebook has completely changed the world of dating. We interact more with other people's facebook pages than we do with the actual people. Now, all that matters is how you look online. Think about it.

You're out, you're drinking, you're meeting people. The night continues, maybe you get lucky, maybe you don't. But for now, let's pretend you do. You hook up, the night is great- best night ever. The person you just got with is so hott. Next day, you wake up, look around. Shit, you're in the same clothes from last night. You were more drunk than you thought--that never happens! But wait.. you hooked up! Last night was awesome! He/she was so hott! Well, you thought she/he was. Let's check..

THIS IS THE MOMENT WHERE WHAT YOU LOOKED LIKE NO LONGER MATTERS. FROM HERE ON ALL WE REMEMBER IS WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE ONLINE. All those five minutes you (guys) spent getting ready just disappeared. Girls, well we won't talk numbers but about half of your day's thoughts just became meaningless (because they had so much meaning before)..

So here is the moment of truth. Even if that person looked amazing last night, if they look gross in their pictures, which do you think you are going to remember more: the way they looked when you were borderline blackout or how they look as you soberly stalk their entire lives?

[This is the reason that so many girls have since changed it so you can't see their photos, guys too. Yeah there are lots of reasons they'll give, but let's be real. Facebook was created so people could look at other people's pictures. What, they made their photos private for jobs? BS. If they're worried about jobs, they wouldn't write/post half of the stuff they do.]

Nobody remembers how you looked in the dark lit club when they were on their seventh shot.

A drunk person will get with anything. A sober person won't text/call anyone.

But to be fair, I said Facebook changed the world of DATING, not whatever we call what people do in "college".

So let's say you have groomed your facebook profile and you look good in it. Great in it. So the next morning, after you wake up and reaffirm last night's escapades, and then after you wait a day or so for the person to get over their ego and text you, you two decide to go on a date.

(If you are in college at any campus school, this no longer applies to you. BUT it could be useful after you leave the bubble of college and have to start talking to the opposite sex soberly. Also, potentially useful regarding a second "hook up".)

Before the date, your friends want to see who you are going out with. Is he hott? Is she slutty? The usual questions.. so you go to their facebook. And now, for the second or third (girls.. 10th or 11th?) time, "stalk" their profile. By the time you get to the date, you know who they are friends with, where they're from, where they work, their likes and dislikes. What else is there to talk about?

The "first date" has completely changed thanks to Facebook. The purpose of the first date used to be to get a sense of the person, to see if they are worth seeing again. But now, with social networking, we can find out so much about a person's life beforehand. The fact that you actually want to see them in person is a huge step. The first date is now more like a third or fourth date. Maybe that is why this generation is considered so sexually active and "fast".

So here are some guidelines to increasing your chances of an actual date (or second hook up):
1. Make your profile picture some sort of cartoon character and/or baby picture so we can get a sense of you but still have no idea what you actually look like.

2. Make all of your photos hidden.

3. Take all of the time you used to spend in front of the mirror trying to look like you rolled out of bed that way and now use that tactic for your Facebook page.

[There's always the option of not thinking so much about this stuff and maybe spend more time reading the news than stalking people's Facebooks.. but what kind of loser would do that?.. But then again, what kind of person spends his/her time writing a blog post about this stuff.. ]

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Little Monsters

When I was in the fourth grade, a group of girls in my class kept getting in fights with one another. Not fun physical fights, but the annoying girl kind where people cry and it gets emotional. The kind of fight where we are taught to use our words to solve it. Well, little did those teachers know what kind of monsters they were creating. Maybe this is where I was conditioned to find all dramatic people horribly annoying and unnecessary in my life. And this is definitely when I realized that words are the most powerful tool (and/or weapon). If you have an understanding of a person, saying the right thing can hurt more than getting punched in the stomach, or for the guys, a little lower down.
I vividly remember my teacher bringing five of us girls out into the hallway and explaining the best way to solve a fight. She said, always start out with a compliment. Then, tell the person what they are doing that bothers you. For example (and what I immediately thought to myself): Ms. Purdue, I think you are a cool teacher but it really fucking pisses me off when you make me miss my recess to sit in this dumb hallway to listen to crying girls.

After that ridiculous hour of talking about our feelings, I was, and rightly so, not in the best mood. It wasn't about the fact that I had to miss my recess. It was that I had to listen to girls complain and whine and cry. So, just as I sat down for lunch, one of the girls in my class came over and tapped my shoulder. She wanted to talk to me for a second. Worst combination of words in the English language. I hate having to "talk".  She pulled me to the side of the cafeteria and said, "Hannah I really like your shirt today, but it really bothers me when...". Now she continued on to say something but I most definitely didn't hear it because I was LAUGHING too hard. (I know that makes me sound mean, but this girl was actually a huge bitch. So if I was mean, it was well deserved.)

I'm not insulting Ms. Purdue's method because it really does work. Over the years I perfected that method. By the seventh grade, I was a bitch. I'm not proud of it; I'm just being honest. But, only towards my friends and family (my poor mother). How I still have a loving family and good friends is beyond me. Not exaggerating, I still apologize and thank them to this day for staying my friends.

A few weeks ago, a friend told me we needed to "talk". She told me that because we are such good friends, she feels that she can be honest with me. And she is only telling me these things because she has my best interest in mind. She proceeded to tell me that I should stop trying to be someone that I'm not. (A little background on that comment: I just transferred schools, changed my major and for the first time in forever, I am actually happy.) So I would like to thank that friend for having my best interest in mind and being honest with me. I mean, what are friends for? Right?

After that comment, I started thinking about my younger self. I mean, I invented the "I'm just trying to help you" angle. And looking back, all of the mean things I said came from some sort of jealousy or insecurity. But most of all, it came from pretension: the "I'm better than you, so therefore, I can treat you however I want" attitude. The way in which I had no regard for other people's feelings.

The thing about looking back at our younger selves is that we have such a clearer understanding. We see things in ways we wouldn't have been able to comprehend back then. The funniest part about my "pretentious" attitude is that I in no way thought I was better than anybody. I had no confidence in myself. But the best way to cover up insecurities is to seem unbreakable. For guys, they become macho and strong. For a girls, they become mean, with no emotion. Nobody messes with the bully.

So now my sister is in high school. She is dealing with girls who are way meaner than I ever was. Now don't get me wrong, I still could put anybody in his or her place (it's a talent) but I have no interest. Maybe its the Buddhist in me. But high schools are becoming more vicious than I ever remember them being. As an older sister, I used to tell her that all she had to do was survive high school. That once she gets to college, everybody matures and there isn't as much drama. Turns out I was wrong.

So, my friend did open my eyes to something. People will never stop being mean and manipulative. No matter your age, even when you are way too old for petty high school bullshit, there will be somebody trying to put you down. So rather than telling my sister to wait for it to pass. I now tell her this, all you can do in life is focus on yourself. Figure out what you want to do and go for it. There will absolutely be people who tell you that you can't do it, that you're not good enough. Don't waste your time worrying about what other people say. Be who you want to be, try as hard as you fucking can, and ignore everyone else who tries to stop you.

[I know how corny that all sounds. But I do tell her that stuff. Ask her.]