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Archive for the ‘Lists’ Category

Although this is posted under my name, the starting idea was actually Bethany’s, and I wanted to make sure y’all knew that.

Thanks to this blog, we have now explored (in no particular order) the secrets of men, a cautionary tale of online dating, and misguided tips to woo a woman. The next logical step might be examining tips on how to woo a gentleman, but this is “Notes From the Sisterhood of Perpetual Singleness”—not Cosmo, Seventeen, or even How to Get a Date Worth Keeping (a book by Henry Cloud that we will be sure to discuss at a later date). You will not find kissing tips, win-your-ex-back tips, or meet-a-hottie-at-the-beach-this-summer! tips here. If we were at all qualified to offer such advice, we probably wouldn’t be writing this blog.

BUT we do know ourselves. Sort of. So instead, we (by which I mean Bethany) thought we’d assemble our own responses to some of the topics we have previously explored. As always, make use of the comments feature if you want to dispute or add to anything we say.

To sum up, an alternate post title might be, Advice We’d Rather See Men Follow Than Some of the Other Cra Stuff You Find on the Internet.

Emily’s Dating Tips
After thinking about it, I decided to do a more personalized version of “how to woo a woman,” because the original article is mostly bad advice with some good elements sprinkled in, and it’s hilarious and an easy target and I’m just kind of cruel that way. For reference, the old post is linked above, and the original article is here.

1. Be Reliable, but not Boring.
It’s already become well-documented, especially in an uncertain social and economic climate, that women’s preferences are gradually moving away from the metrosexual with the flashy job, toward more traditionally masculine men with tried-and-true careers that may be less glamorous (we’re talking plumbers and carpenters here, maybe even blacksmiths).

Why is this? Reliability, stability, and, on some level, trustworthiness. It’s the same with personality, lifestyle, and character. Despite the appeal of whirlwind romances and a gypsy lifestyle, I’m sure most ladies will agree with me that a man who knows what he’s about, what he stands for, and what he wants out of life is very attractive. But because life needs variety, he should also put a little effort into being spontaneous once in a while.

Actually, I just reminded myself of the 1967 movie Barefoot in the Park, starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. The young newlyweds nearly break up because she finds him too much of a dull, rational, stick-in-the-mud, and he thinks she’s overemotional and irresponsible. When Redford’s character leaves her and gets rip-roaringly drunk, Fonda’s character realizes that she doesn’t like him to be irresponsible, unpredictable, and ridiculous—she loves him just as he is.

All together now: AAAAAAAWWWWWWWWW

But see, if he hadn’t broken with the status quo for a little while, she might never have come to that realization!

2. Make her feel special.
There is a fantastic blog floating around the Internet somewhere that I fully intend to find again, about the Nice Guy Syndrome. Because lots of nice guys complain that women like jerks, or “bad boys,” or whatever. One of the reasons it seems that way is because “bad boys” make a girl feel special—they’ll treat everyone like crap, except her. Of course, eventually they’ll treat her like crap, too, which is why a sensible woman with half a brain and an ounce of self-confidence won’t actually want such a man. But the change in behavior, however brief, leaves a girl in no doubt of his interest in her—he treats her differently (i.e., better). Nice guys are nice to everyone, and if he’s equally nice to a girl he’s interested in, that doesn’t help her feel special, or even aware that he’s interested. So nice guys have to be a little more creative, while still adhering to #1 by staying true to themselves and what they believe.

(OK, so maybe nice guys do have it tough.)

3. Take the lead, with respect. Follow the original U.S. Constitution: Write the bill, but give her veto power.

Or, in the words of you non-politics-nerds: Make plans, but let her have final say—be decisive, take charge, but be flexible.

4. Be sincere.
If you’re going to compliment her, mean it. If you really like her, or if you think the relationship is not right or going nowhere, be up-front about it. If you’ve got some crap going on in your life, don’t pretend things couldn’t be better, unless you’re actually that optimistic. If there’s something going on that you’re very happy or excited about, don’t feel that you have to be cool about it. You don’t have to spill your guts about every nuance of life, but be honest, and whatever you do or say, mean it!

5. Be Confident, not Cocky.
I have no idea why this is so difficult for people to understand, and yet I see it repeated all the time. No, men, we women do not actually like jerks. We like men who are confident in themselves, but treat people well. Astonishingly, the two are not mutually exclusive.

6. Be independent & have your own life. Also, don’t expect her to share all your interests.

I have found that 1) contrary to what many men believe, most women don’t want to share every single interest in common, and 2) even if some of them do, men can be just as bad.

Guess what, guys. I don’t expect y’all to like musicals, politics, and dorky, interactive history museums targeted toward 6th-graders as much as I do. I don’t expect my nonexistent boyfriend to join my all-female version of MST3K when my friends and I get together and watch old-school Beverly Hills 90210. I don’t expect him to be particularly thrilled by Tim Burton’s latest film. Likewise, I shouldn’t have to smile and nod my way through a sports game, or to pretend that I really do want to learn how to play pool, or join in with a session of video games with the boys. Occasionally, yes, of course, we all must make sacrifices. But this list just took a very personal turn, and for that I apologize. Still, individual differences and interests are healthy. There. That was my whole point.

7. Don’t follow how-to dating lists.
Yes, I just erased all my previous advice with that last nugget of wisdom. But everyone is different, and you can’t prejudge people, generalize them, or put them in boxes. Read on, my friends: Not only is Bethany’s list far superior, but it will only prove my point. (Except where I agree with everything she says except for 5. And probably 8. Anyway…)

Bethany’s Dating Tips

1. Speak well of people.
Especially your ex-girlfriend and that boss who was kind of a jerk. Or don’t talk about them at all, at least early in an acquaintance. It really turns me off and makes me think badly of a person when, in our first couple of conversations, I hear how awfully people have treated him (Lizzy Bennet, take notes!). I’m all for being honest and not sugar-coating life, but some things really don’t need to be shared until friendships have deepened. Reserve and discretion are good here, as is charity. Even if people have made mistakes or behaved very badly in the past, it’s no reason to knock them to every person you meet. You know, unless he is an axe murderer and that person is planning a date with him the next day. I do find it great when guys can talk about their ex’s in cordial (not still-love-struck) terms. It is a good feeling to know that this is a person capable of valuing the good qualities of someone who, for whatever reason, is not with him anymore.

2. Ask me questions!
This is probably my neuroses talking, but I really hate boring people (as in – I hate feeling that I am boring people. I actually like “boring people” quite a lot). And the best way for me to feel I’m not boring people is if they ask me questions. Probably even non-neurotic people would agree that it makes you feel special and appreciated when people take a sincere interest in your life and opinions. Of course, this can go too far and one can end up feeling interrogated, but sincere interest, good questions, and listening can be a big plus and, of course, really make the whole conversation thing go a lot better. I guess what I’m saying is, please don’t force me to inflict my life and views on you. Invite me to inflict my life and views on you! Thanks.

3. Be affectionate to your mom and sisters.

I find that—absolutely loveable. (And yes, I am Emily Dickenson, apparently.)

4. Have a poker night.
Or something. I love it when guys spend some of their time doing just-guys things. It’s pleasant and masculine and healthy, I think. This feeds in to the larger issue of having a full and good life even when one doesn’t have a girlfriend or boyfriend. It is a good feeling that the person who is interested in me is not totally dependent on me for entertainment or support – independence is both attractive and mildly relieving.

5. Steal someone’s baby.

Wait, wait! Don’t run off and do that till I explain! What I mean to say is, there are few things more endearing and attractive than a man caring for a child. However, a man with a child of his own is probably in some sort of relationship. So, to have the effect of cute man with child, he’d be forced into theft. Or borrowing a nephew or something.

6. Be kind and friendly to everyone.
Don’t just be nice to your friends and the girl you have a crush on. Now, I know guys can take this to extremes and seem to be flirting with pretty much any girl around (note – this is not a good plan – very confusing and not nice), but it leaves a good impression on me when a man can treat men and women with thoughtfulness and respect, when he will behave kindly and friendly-ly when he ends up sitting next to the not-so-pretty sister at the end of the dinner table farthest from the object of his admiration. Again, as relationships grow closer people will certainly communicate their likes and dislikes of people (since people usually don’t like everyone), but treating people well is good. I suppose what I’m saying here is: I really appreciate men who treat all women well, and the object of their affection extra-especially well. And with something that goes beyond kindness to something more intimate.

7. Tease me, but know where the line is.
Good teasing can be so satisfying because it requires both wit and knowledge of the person you’re teasing. I love it when a friend or lover (ha ha, just kidding about that second bit) makes a joke which shows he or she really know your quirks or habits or even pet peeves. On the other hand, too much teasing, or teasing with underlying meanness, can be tiresome and even hurtful. This is a two-way street though, requiring sensitivity on the part of the jokester and the ability to say “enough is enough” from the recipient. And patience from both of them – especially in the muddle-y business of getting to know someone, these things take time.

8. Wear plaid.
Just kidding, just kidding. No, actually not. That is all.

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I found this on the absolutely fascinating blog, TYWKIWDBI (Things You Wouldn’t Know If We Didn’t Blog Incessantly), which definitely lives up to its name. When I saw this in Google Reader this morning, I knew I HAD to feature it here. It seems just like the sort of thing Bethany would do.

marry or not

Do you know who it was? It was, in fact, Charles Darwin’s own to-marry-or-not-to-marry internal debate. The original online source is here, along with the story’s conclusion.

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I don’t know if I’ve ever actually used the phrase “Close, but no cigar,” but it came into my head when I was reading this article about Top 10 Tips to Woo Your Lady Love. Some of the tips sounded good, I’d say they’d work for me, while others bordered on offensive. My reactions ranged from, “Hmm, yeah, I’d agree with that,” to, “Wow … no. What a jerk.”

Let’s just dive into them straightaway, shall we?

1. Be Unpredictable.
Well, right away, we’ve got a tricky one. I would rephrase this to be, “Be Dependable, but Not Boring,” or, “Surprise Her Occasionally.” Being consistently unpredictable (the ultimate oxymoron, I guess) gets old. Fast. I don’t much care for surprises, and I don’t like to guess, but that’s a personal thing (which I get from my mom—HI MOM!). If I went on a date with a guy I hardly know, I’d hate to be surprised, lest he make us both miserable by taking me to a seafood restaurant or a modern art exhibit. Many women, I’m sure, would LOVE a guy who keeps them guessing. All. The time. I think this also depends on where you are in the relationship, because most new romances are already pretty unpredictable, right?

2. Get Physical, Early.
Don’t worry, Passion and Purity friends, he specifically mentions thumb wrestling and hand-holding. As a person whose primary love language is Touch, I’m all for this one (in a non-skanky way) but others may be extremely offended, uncomfortable, or just put off by early demonstration of minor physical affection, so “Know your audience and be respectful” is good accompanying advice. (As well as “Leave room for the Holy Spirit!”) However, the advice’s author adds, Then, remark “Hope you’re not getting ideas, just because we are holding hands”; roll your eyes and say “Women!” Not gonna lie, this would get my hand snatched out of his pretty quickly.

3. Learn to Walk Away.
I have nothing to add to his explanation, as I agree 100%.

4. Lead, Don’t Follow
Here is one of many cases where the advice in general is good, but comes with a poor example. “Hey I’m going to see XYZ movie, at 8 tonight. Wanna tag along?” “Tag along?” I don’t want to tag along to a date, and I resent being asked to do so. But in this case, as with most others, maybe it’s just me. The thing is, this is not good if the guy approaches all dates this way, since most women want to feel like the guy actually had her in mind when he made plans. If this is a night out with a couple other friends, by all means, invite the woman in this manner. But if it’s a date, just the two of them, for crying out loud he needs to at least say something more like, “So we’re on for Saturday? Great! I thought we’d go [insert location] at 7:30 and then [insert additional activity]. Sound good?” Not only did he take charge, but it seems like he put some consideration into it.

5. Compliment Her.
Duh. But unfortunately, here the author again suffers from Bad Example-itis. “I like the way you’re so well co-ordinated” is much better than “You’re so beautiful, are you a model?” True, but a woman is not a sofa set. Nor is this an episode of What Not to Wear. The second “bad” IS bad, because it’s both cheesy and insincere. If any guys out there want to avoid cliched compliments, talk to my cousin. Not only is he vocal about them, but he notices the most random things. He once complimented my earlobes. And was genuine about it. I kid you not. And he’s happily married, to boot! Well, he’s married to Beth, not to boot, but that’s beside the point.

6. Don’t Ease the Tension
By which he means “sexual tension” I think, but his examples are guaranteeing another type of tension: namely, a punch in the face. Ask her if she’s flattering you just so you will go home with her. Be cocky. A good rule-of-thumb is to say all the stuff that women typically tell men. No, actually. Don’t. The general rule is, Confidence: Good, Cocky: Bad. The only exception permissible is Dr. House, and he doesn’t actually exist. You need some moments of no tension so that you’re actually comfortable with each other, right? RIGHT? AM I CRAZY, HERE?

7. Tease Her.
“Know Your Audience!!!” is a vital tip-within-a-tip here. Oh my GOSH, but his example is terrible. I’m just going to post the whole thing here:
Teasing a woman the right way demonstrates confidence and humour. For instance, if she is walking behind you as you enter a restaurant, turn around, look at her sternly and say “Stop following and staring at me!” Then mock about about why women are always in a hurry to tear off your clothes before even knowing you. Interpret anything she does as if she is hitting on you.
I love how he tells guys to tease the “right” way, and then goes on to demonstrate the very WRONG way. At least, early in the dating relationship. This is not a good way to start off, but a couple who’s gotten rather comfortable together might have fun with this. On the first date, however, doing this would get him quickly tossed into the “Never Date Again: Arrogant Jerk” bin. At least for me. I’m sure I’m not alone here. “Interpreting ANYTHING as if she’s hitting on you” sounds like the author got his own advice from the Michael Scott School of Pursuing Women, and even if it’s as a joke, that would get real old, real fast. Me, I’d probably be nervous on a first date, so if my date yelled at me for following him, I’d stop and turn and leave, possibly bursting into tears. But I must also ask, Why is he going first into the restaurant? Because he didn’t hold the door open for her! BAD MOVE. DUMP HIM.

8. Learn How to Be a Great Kisser
Sounds good. But HOW you learn, well, that’s territory I’d rather not wander into.

9. Do the Push-Pull
Without the description, I’d have no idea what he means. So here you go:
Open the door for her, but complain that she walks slower than your granny. Feed her at a restaurant but roll your eyes and mutter about how she’s a baby. While walking on the street, have her walk on the inside to protect her from the traffic; but tease her about how she’s delicate. If you can tease her and still treat her like a lady, chances are, before long, she will be lattoo over you.
If there are any men reading this, I beg you, for the sake of any and all women you may encounter, DO NOT DO THIS. “Be Bipolar” is NOT a good dating tip. I don’t know what “lattoo” means, but if it’s anything positive, it’s a big fat fail.

10. Have a Life!
Indeed! This applies to all healthy human beings, however, of either sex and all ages. I was prepared to give him 100% agreement on this tip, except at the end, when he says, Don’t chase women, attract them. Not only does this reverse one of the basic rules of female dating behavior, it implies that the women don’t really have lives of their own. What the heck? Call me a bluffo traditionalist, but I refuse to do the chasing. Does this bit of advice mean that a man should go hang gliding and then expect women to fall to pieces over him? Too bad—the women are off living their own lives, too! (Or at least, they should be.) So who pursues whom? Well, I tend to favor tradition here.

Once again, you can find the full article here.

For the record? I’m not looking to woo a lady love. Just wanted to make sure that was clear. I am, however, always intensely amused by words of advice given to both men and women to attract the opposite sex. Since my last entry was about an article from men to women, I thought it would be fun to over-analyze and critique this list, from men to men—about women.

Now, this article that I just ripped to shreds IS from the Times of India, so some of my distaste may be just from cultural differences. There might also be translation issues. I’m pretty sure that Bethany and I will disagree (as we so often do!) in our opinions of this list. I think that just goes to show you that maybe we are all so different as human beings that there really ISN’T a sure-fire, fail-safe, other-cliche, top-10 list that will guarantee a man access to a lady’s heart (or a lady into a man’s heart, to be fair).

Still, ladies, I want your input! (And guys too, I guess.) What would you think of a guy who would employ all 10 of these pieces of advice?

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The frivolities that I have to share today have been around for a while now, but they’re still good for some laughs, I think. Kind of like that uncle or cousin everyone has. Anyway, to start we have the obligatory YOUTUBE VIDEO:

And then, because the best (or worst) of them absolutely NEVER get old, I would like to share some of my favorite Christian pick-up lines:

–My parents are in town tonight. Want to come over?

–Excuse me, but I believe one of your ribs belongs to me.

–The Word says, “Give drink to those who are thirsty, and feed the hungry.” So … how about dinner?

–Is it a sin that you stole my heart?

–Want to practice speaking in tongues?

–So, I hear there’s going to be a love offering tonight.

–A friend told me to come talk to you, he said you were a really nice person. I think you know him—Jesus? Yeah, that’s him.

–Hey baby, you wanna take the church van for a spin?

–Hi, my name is Will … God’s Will.

–I never believed in predestination until this moment.

–You put the “cute” in persecution!

And my absolute personal favorite:
–Baby, you are so unblemished, I would sacrifice you.

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Making Lists

I love lists. Grocery lists, to-do lists, reading lists; lists of those to whom I need to send thank-you notes, lists of plans, lists of happy thoughts. Lists of the lists I make. There’s just something about having all that information there in front of you that makes it a bit less overwhelming. And making a list gives one a sense of accomplishment – even though one hasn’t actually accomplished anything yet.

I also like lists because they force me to spell things out. Which is why, several weeks ago, in a rather bad bout of I’M SO SICK OF BEING SINGLE WHY CAN’T I JUST GET MARRIED WHERE IS THE CATOLOGUE OF MAIL ORDER GROOMS?? I decided to make a list. Several lists, actually. The first was entitled “What I like about right now,” and the second “What I think I will like about being married.” The goal was to come up with really specific things that I enjoy about my present life situation (in grad school, living alone, etc.) and then to come up with similar things which I am looking forward to in marriage.

Because the truth is, there are definitely some things which I have now that I’m sure I’ll miss when/if I get married. And there must be some reason why I want to get married. I wanted to get all that straight in my head. So I started writing, and ended up with things like:

What I like about right now:
~Ice-cream in the fridge – my very own ice-cream
~Knowing that I will go to my house over Christmas and not to the in-laws
~Testing recipes out, no stress
~Not feeling (too) guilty about not washing up
~Being able to take off spontaneously for the weekend without worrying about another person’s schedule.
~The sense of possibility – I might meet “that guy” around the next corner

What I think I will like about being married:
~Having someone to help me decide what to have for dinner
~Having someone around in the evenings to chat with
~Sex
~Having someone to feed
~A man in flannel shirts
~Sharing inside jokes

Then I added two more lists, “What I can do for other people” and “What I can do for my relationship with God,” because one of the easiest traps for me (and I’m guessing lots of other people too – it’s always amazing how much we have in common) to fall into is self-pity. So, looking outside myself seemed like a good way to combat that. And it worked! Not that I was immediately cured from self pity. One of the best ideas that came out of this was praying for other single friends, to which Emily added the brilliant idea of praying for the marriages of married friends. Since they have problems too, as marriage doesn’t fix everything. Or at least I hear. Maybe one day I’ll find out – til then, at least I have a better idea of what my expectations are and what’s idiosyncratically delightful about the here and now.

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