Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
This is not my advice on how you should get skinny. I’m simply telling you, you should be skinny. Everyone has to figure out what sort of diet and exercise plan and tricks and tips works for them. Since I retired from dancing professionally, my weight has been pretty steady – five pounds heavier than it used to be which I’m not happy about but still pretty thin. But, every year around my law school finals, I gain another 5 pounds because I stop exercising as much as I normally do which makes me fatter which makes me more depressed about studying the federal rules of evidence all day which makes me eat more to feel better and so on. But once those hellish few weeks are over twice a year, I fall back into my routine and lose those extra pounds pretty quickly. Right about now, is when I usually feel skinniest and if you think it doesn’t make a difference in your dating life, you’re just kidding yourself. I’m 5’8” and as of this morning was 120 pounds; I’d feel better if I knew I was going to be 115 in two weeks when I’ll be at Coachella but I also feel good enough to look in the mirror naked and feel hot, and as long as this is true, I feel pretty good about my body.
Look, it all sucks. I hate watching what I eat all day and skipping dessert and ordering salads instead of pasta. I hate that the media photographs the skinniest models and we perpetuate this almost unattainable ideal and that girls get eating disorders with terrible consequences. If I could waive a magic wand and add ten pounds to every image of every hot woman in America, I would do it. But until then, men and women will continue to associate that archetypal thin body on the pages of every magazine with the definition of beauty. And let’s face it, women want to feel beautiful. So glorifying the thin female form is part of being human in Western society. I recognize that part of my own body image opinions are informed (or misinformed) by the fact that at one point in my life I signed a contract with a dance company where I agreed not to change my body type, which meant I had a job that depended on me not gaining weight. And let’s face it, if you’re looking for a body image disorder, there’s no faster way to get there than to be a model or a dancer. And as an ex-dancer, it’s hard for me not to compare myself now to the body I had when I was dancing six days a week. But you don’t have to have the body of a supermodel or a dancer to be hot. But you do have to be thin for what your body type is.
If you’re sitting around convinced that you’re a great catch and you just have to find a man who will love you for who you are and you shouldn’t have to feel bad about wearing the same size as the average American woman, you may be a better person than me, but you’re going to either be waiting a really long time or you’re going to have to start dating men that date fat women. You can rail against and disparage this feminine ideal and eat whatever you want and most of you will find men to love you and make it all ok and you’ll accept your body for what it is. And I’m genuinely happy for you that you will have a happy life.
But in a certain pool, a certain class of men, the kind of man that says when I settle down, I want to be with a 10, well that kind of guy wants someone who fits in to his understanding of beauty. And you know what? I don’t begrudge him that, because I’m the same way. Settling down has the word settle in it for a reason. And when I settle down, I don’t want to settle for anything less than a guy who’s a 10. Now this doesn’t mean he’s perfect because of course no one is. But he needs to be a total package and the truth remains, if the guy were perfect for me in every way but he was fat, that’s not good enough for me. So a top quality guy wants to date a thin girl. You can’t change that. You can find someone else to love you. But if you want to date a truly top-tier guy, be realistic. If you’re holding out for a guy with an incredible job, who makes good money, who’s smart and funny and accomplished and well-dressed with good taste who likes to ski and travel and knows how to order good wine and is well read and hot and well-spoken and went to a good school and will give you the life you always dreamed you wanted – guess what?!?! He’s holding out for a girl just as amazing. If you’re not that girl, recognize that you’re competing against girls who are.
Ok you hate me for this post. Look I’ve been there, struggling with my weight too. I thought about posting a picture of myself from my freshman year at college to prove to you all how much I’ve been there, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. Obviously, I’m not saying you can only have a happy life if you’re thin. You can add 20 pounds or 100 pounds for that matter and go on to have a great life, a successful life even, with a great career and a wonderful family. But you’re going to have to marry someone who is ok with your extra poundage and I’m telling you, out of the ever-shrinking tiny pool of guys who are 10s, it is a tiny miniscule number of those who don’t care about how hot his girlfriend’s body is. Most of those guys care and have the luxury to care because let’s face it, there are enough girls out there who are accomplished and successful and younger than you and thin, that he can easily afford to be picky. And you’re competing against all of them. If you’re complaining about how there are no guys out there but you refuse to date anyone less than a 10 and you don’t look like the best version of yourself, you have to stop eating as much. End of story. Throw out your junk food. End drunk munchies. Get thin.
If you don’t want one of these “10s” of which I speak because they’re mostly superficial j@ck@$$’s anyway, good for you! Don’t listen to me. You’re probably already eons beyond me in your level of wisdom and enlightenment and you probably date really nice genuine guys all the time. Enjoy your life and leave me to my screwed-up self-absorbed shallow world. The fact is most girls are hypocrites when it comes to this. We come up with the most superficial arbitrary reason not to date someone, like he’s balding or he wears tacky polyester shirts without irony or he has a goatee, but then we tell ourselves he should like us despite the fact that we don’t want to look at ourselves in a bikini. You’re not less superficial, you’re just a hypocrite! Date a step below or make yourself the kind of girl the step above wants to date.
Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting you make yourself into a walking bag of bones either. Being healthy is part of being beautiful and being toned and fit is really what I’m talking about. I don’t suggest girls starve themselves until they lose their curves; most men don’t want to date a girl with the body of an eleven year-old boy, anyway. When I get overly annoying about what I’ll eat my mom usually says Tamara! Men don’t want to date girls who don’t eat! And she’s right – there is such a thing as too skinny. A few bites of dessert won’t make or break your love life. In fact, when I’m 125 pounds, I don’t honestly believe that men who thought I was attractive before suddenly don’t think I’m hot. But I feel different in my own skin. I dress differently. I probably act more confidently and am more willing to take social chances and risks. I feel more comfortable talking to strangers. And all this does effect how men perceive me. I get hit on more when I’m 120 pounds not because I’m noticeably that much hotter but because I’m that much more confident so I put myself out there that much more often. So if you’re starving yourself into some ridiculously low body fat percentage, you don’t need a boyfriend, you need a therapist. Otherwise, figure out how you like to be active (I’m a power yoga devotee) and eat less of everything and once you feel thin, realize you are. You’ll probably notice a few more tight fitting shirts and dresses in your closet and perhaps the next time you see a cute boy and you’re thinking of talking to him, you’ll feel thin and sexy and you just might surprise yourself by going over to say hi. You’ll know that suddenly there’s no man out of your league because you are at the top of the league. So stop letting ten pounds convince you, you’re not. Stop eating so much, buy a tight dress and welcome yourself to a club you know you should be in!
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March 30, 2011 | 6:14 pm
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
Until recently, I thought the idea of “chemistry” was somewhat made up – a term people used ex post facto to justify liking a certain physical aesthetic. Like if a guy went on a date with a brunette and he really just has a thing for blondes, he would say “oh that girl was nice but we just didn’t have any chemistry.” I mean don’t we all just “feel chemistry” with whomever we like at the time? But recently, it’s taken on a new meaning for me. I was telling my roommate about an encounter I had with an ex that had stoked something within me – it’s not that I still have feelings for him or would want to be with him in any way. It’s just that he has the type of personality that will always be compatible with mine. Something about our conversation will always keep me drawn to him a moment longer than I would be with someone else. You guys just have that chemistry, my roommate said.
Some exes are easy to forget. This is acutely obvious when you date someone at your workplace or graduate school. If it doesn’t work out, you inevitably will end up seeing them around and have to deal with the many awkward situations that can arise. I used to think that all of these situations were created equally. But it turns out, not so much.
I’ve dated two people at my school and I still continually see them around, have classes with them, and though I try to avoid it, sometimes must interact with socially. But one guy, I don’t even think of as an ex. I forget anything ever happened between us, don’t have any stirring of emotions when he’s with another girl, and the truth is I can’t even really remember what he looked like naked. I actually was sitting a seat away from him yesterday, looking at him and he felt like a stranger – no stirring of emotion bad or good. Just a distant memory without any emotional attachment.
But the other can still get to me. The other wasn’t in class yesterday and I have no idea why I noticed. There is something about his personality that will just always be in sync with mine and so even a casual conversation can fire up the chemistry between us. It’s been two years since we dated and a year since anything happened between us so it’s not like there’s a fresh break-up in my emotional repertoire. And when I’m not around him, I don’t think about him at all, and even when I do see him I could say with one hundred percent surety that I don’t want to be with him. In fact when I really do think about it, I remember all the reasons it didn’t work and get irritated about all the cartoons he would watch and angry with him for things he said to the point that I start to think I should never even say hi to him again. And yet, he has this personality that just clicks with mine. I ran into him two days ago in the cafeteria and inevitably in just a few sentences he is teasing me or making me laugh and I catch myself wanting to carry on the conversation a little longer. I looked him in the eye and I was almost surprised at how familiar it felt to return his gaze.
The thing is, we didn’t have a good break-up. We didn’t have a terrible one either, but when things ended, both times, there were harsh feelings at least on my end. And when I compare him to the guy I’m dating now whom I really like, I’m positive I would never want to be in a relationship with this ex – more than that, the thought of it seems terrible. And yet, and yet, what is it, what happens to my brain that ignites when I talk to him?
The thing is, chemistry is not that hard to come by. You can feel it with a lot of people – in legal speak they would say it’s necessary but not sufficient. As in, it’s not enough to build a relationship on but it’s impossible to have a relationship without it. And of course some exes you end up hating so much, the only chemistry around the two of you is the radioactive waste leftover from the explosion between the two of you. But there will just always be these inexplicable chemical anomalies, these people who can still positively charge some ions in me, but whom I have no desire to be with.
But chemistry is completely beyond our control. Maybe, we shouldn’t even call it chemistry because that implies there’s some scientific explanation for what’s going on between two people. We really should just call it magic because we don’t understand any of it. No scientist can explain why anyone falls for one person over another. And there’s nothing I can do to stamp out the flame that still ignites when I run into this ex as I’m getting my diet soda.
If I remember correctly, (and it’s been a long time), the most fundamental precept in chemistry is the law of conservation of mass, which says that mass or matter cannot be created or destroyed. So nothing in the world can truly be destroyed. It can merely be changed into a different form or different types of particles. So the chemistry you feel with someone, if it really truly exists, can never disappear completely. Perhaps with the first ex, it feels gone because we never really had it in the first place. I thought we did because of certain circumstances, or maybe I wanted so much to believe it was there I pretended I felt something more. But now, it’s easy to see there was really nothing ever between us. And with the exes who truly break your heart, the chemistry gets converted to the anger and pain that consumes all other emotion. But for the exes who didn’t quite break your heart, and for whom you know you felt something for, your left with this untransformed chemistry in the air, lingering between you. Of course the law of conservation of mass only applies in a closed system, a system that is completely isolated, and not to an open system where other types of energy are allowed in. So maybe what finally makes these lingering sparks go away, is when you open the system up and let an unknown enter the system. Maybe letting someone in to rock your world – or system rather – eventually can make all the excess matter, all the vestiges of earlier charges, completely dissipate. And then you’re just left with the strongest chemical charge of all.
March 26, 2011 | 1:50 pm
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
Today, I’ve given my blog entry over to a very special guest, my sister Jenna Kagel. I thought you might enjoy hearing from someone completely out of the scene and in a happy relationship for a change.
I remember being in college and hearing a story of a family friend who had moved across country to stay with her boyfriend. She left her job, her apartment, her friends, and her family on the whim that her relationship would work out if she did so. And I still remember being so horrified at the idea - the idea of sacrificing yourself and your entire life to be with a boyfriend. And I might add, a boyfriend with no commitment or promise of marriage and/or a definite future.
From that moment on, without even thinking about the future of my family friend, I vowed to never move for a boyfriend. I could move for a husband or a family member, but NOT a boyfriend. I think, that while commitment is important, a woman’s personal life and her own personal goals are just as important. That relationships are successful because both partners have a life as a couple and an individual life.
So about six years after this family friend moved and eventually was dumped, I broke my cardinal rule. I moved over 6000 miles away from my life, family, friends, and potential career. Initially, I moved for the arena of love. But as the relationship progressed and I moved out of the arena, I stayed for the potential future that awaited us.
One of easiest things in life is to make rules for yourself relating to dating. Like my rule to never move countries or states for a boyfriend. It is so simple to state clearly what you do not want in a partner, in a relationship, in yourself, or even in a dilemma. But there is also some truth to the saying that when life hits you in the face, you shouldn’t just stand there, you should run with it.
When I met my current boyfriend of two years, I bluntly stated how I would never stay in Argentina for him and that my life awaits me in the states. I also stated how I thought that monogamy was against nature’s laws as we live too long for monogamy to actually seem plausible. I also said that I would never be that housewife who just sits at home and cooks and cleans. And I definitely said that I was not looking for love - I was backpacking South America for peat’s sake! I was looking for FUN!
But as it turns out, I left all my rules behind to actually be in the relationship that was hitting me in the face. I ran with it. And I think that that is the point. We all tend to make these generalized statements that we think define whom we are. Truthfully, in those moments, those statements are defining us, but just in that moment. As we speak about our opinions or our “rules,” we forget how life actually works. Life happens and many times, we leave our words behind.
So I do not know what my future holds with my current relationship. There are no definite commitments. There is talk of the future, but we are not married. So in a way, I am always on rocky waters - living illegally in a foreign country without my family. But I also had to take the chance to be here, to break my rule. I mean, I was always a rule-breaker anyway.
Jenna Kagel is a graduate of New York University and currently living in Argentina, very happily with her boyfriend, Manuel.
March 24, 2011 | 10:57 am
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
I went to the live Radiolab show at UCLA’s Royce Hall, which by the way was an incredible evening, and heard a beautiful story that I cannot stop thinking about. I will paraphrase it for you as best I can, but really I won’t be able to do it justice and I hope you read more about it here or anywhere. But here it goes.
At Plato’s Symposium, Aristophanes told his version of the creation story. He said that in the beginning, the gods had created these humans that were essentially double beings – a round middle with two heads, four arms, and four legs, all spaced evenly about (imagine two humans coming out of a globe) and they lived on earth and sort of cartwheeled about. These beings were made of either two females, two males, or one female and one male, but essentially no one lived alone. Eventually, these beings became victims of their own hubris of course, and climbed the mountains to attack the gods so that they could rule the world themselves. After this failed attempt at insurgency, the gods were so angry, Zeus sent down a lightening bolt to divide the beings in half.
At first these halves wandered about, dying of starvation and essentially unable to connect. But Zeus took pity on them, turned their heads around, and drew their skin tight creating the navel, and turned their sexual organs around so that they could procreate by mating with each other. So now these humans roamed the earth as half of what they were meant to be and the memory of that is what drives the desire for humans to connect with one another. So by extrapolation to modern times, the reason certain relationships or certain loves make us feel “whole” or “complete” is because we were created to be with our other half the whole time. The natural order of things essentially is for us to make that deep lasting connection with someone and without out, we’re just walking around the world incomplete.
My heart melted when I listened to this story (and not just because Zoe Keating was playing the most touching cello piece I’ve ever heard). Part of why this story reaches me so much is that it solves the impracticality of the typical Disney “soul-mate” fairytale. Aristophanes is not saying we all exist to be united with one other person and only then, are we complete. See the connection can be made with truly deep friendships or with different lovers at different times. It’s not that we were all created to be with only one person forever. It’s that we were created to be with someone at all times. I believe him. I’ve felt that connection with people, felt it deep in my bones with friends and lovers.
Some friends come into your life and you just feel like the bond of your friendship is on a higher level – a level where you know that no matter you will always be connected to them. I have girlfriends where I just feel this extra ineffable connection with them that supersedes our shared experiences and creates this connection that nothing can ever take away.
Some lovers come into your life in the same way. And maybe you are lucky enough to experience that other-worldly connection with one person forever. But the point isn’t about it being with one person forever – the point is that it happens at all. I have known love like that. The kind of love where it felt like something was binding between us that will exist out there somewhere somehow in the universe forever. But listening to Aristophanes’ story reminded me, I will feel it again. Aristophanes is saying you can believe in a soul-mate and not have to believe that you are in this hopeless search for the one person who was meant to be. Your soul-mate is the person at that moment, that you have achieved that highest level of connection with. I have to admit, I live for those moments. Sometimes it will suddenly hit me, I miss being in love. I miss how crazy it makes you. I miss how I would get so flooded with love that I felt like I was high on the most illegal drug. But I know that one thing I’m good at, is connecting with people. It’s what drives me to pursue creative fields – I can listen to people and empathize and feel their pain and happiness and experiences and through that, I can connect with them. And according to Aristophanes, that’s all it takes to your find soul-mate. And it also explains my drive to find it – to feel it again. And in my case, it also makes it seem ok, that I may never grow out of believing in it.
March 21, 2011 | 12:18 pm
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
Pretty girls get things for free. You may not like this, you may think it’s a terrible superficial tragedy of our society that rewards people for something they don’t deserve. You may think it’s a double standard because men aren’t rewarded based on appearance in the same way as women. But like it or not, it’s true. For no good reason, I’ve gotten my car repaired by a mechanic for free, obscene discounts for services, and extra things I don’t even need like the guy at my bagel place who always gives me two bagels when I buy one, or the carwash guy who keeps throwing in a free wax. The barrista at my local Starbucks has been winking at me for years every time he rings me up for just a latte instead of a soy latte, saving me forty cents.
It’s odd in some way that we’re all so tacitly complicit in this accepted inequity. It’s almost the last immutable characteristic we can discriminate against people for. It’s illegal to discriminate based on race or to not provide accommodations for the handicapped or to fund boys’ sports without funding girls. But if there’s a line to get into a club and the bouncer lets four hot girls in short dresses in the door first and makes everyone wait, no one says anything.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw a man looking at me – like really looking me up and down so intently I could feel lust emanating from him – and it just hit me - so this is the male gaze. I was seventeen at the time and had just recently encountered my pubertal growth spurt so my body had just begun to shed its similarity to an eleven year-old boy. I was dressed in this colorful knee length skirt and a white button down shirt with high heels and walking to someone’s apartment and there was a boy standing in the doorway of a restaurant, adjacent to the apartment building. I looked up at him and he was holding a tray of piled up dirty dishes. As soon as our eyes met, the tray slipped from his hands and though he quickly jumped into action, all the plates slid and it made a terrific crash and I quickly looked away, trying not to embarrass him. I kept walking, preoccupied with the complex life of a high school senior, and not fully processing what I had just seen till slowly it dawned on me…that man just dropped those dishes because of me…because he was looking at me.
I had never felt so powerful. I know some women scoff at the unanticipated attention of men, finding it lewd or inappropriate. And until that moment, I had never really thought about it, probably because I didn’t really understand it. But I didn’t feel like it diminished any of my other talents. It just suddenly gave me a new one. I could do that to a man? Not some high school boy with acne but a grown man? Little old me?
I guess for some women, they find that when the male gaze is turned upon them, they feel objectified. Like their talents and intelligence no longer matter because they are merely a thing to be looked at and not interacted with. But I never felt that. I always felt like it was just one more tool in the toolshed. If you had the talent and smarts to back it up, so what if someone was interested at first only because of the way you looked.
The scary thing about this all of course, is that beauty is fleeting and at some point we’re all old and shriveled up. If you don’t have something in your life more valuable than the momentary flattery a gaze will bring you, i.e. a family, you’re going to be a sad human being in deed. Or addicted to botox and plastic surgery until you start getting unwanted looks for being a freakshow.
But in any case, it’s weird to think that it’s a power we bestow on beautiful young women and then just as arbitrarily we take it away and give it to the younger more beautiful new women. I was thinking about this because this weekend, I went to a friend’s jazz show at Beso, the sceney Hollywood restaurant. The show was upstairs in a separate room and to get there, because of the setup of the room which is long and narrow, you essentially have to walk a runway, straight through the middle of all the tables in the restaurant. I was running late, so I arrived by myself and walked this long catwalk alone to meet up with my friends. In a tight and short dress (it is Hollywood afterall), I could feel every eye turn on me as I passed by the tables. To someone as vainglorious as me, this was validating and exciting, but later in the evening another girl who had arrived by herself commented on how uncomfortable it had made her feel. She felt that the men who were checking her out were tacky and the whole set-up was uncivilized. So should men in a place like that have the right to look? Or should we pretend that they don’t notice, force them to steal furtive glances, and fool ourselves into believing that the reason he came over to talk to us is he could tell from twenty feet away that we’re a nice person on the inside?
As a realist, I tend to believe that as visual sexual creatures, men are always going to look and there’s nothing wrong with that. But the true test for me will come as the looks stop coming my way. Is it slow and gradual or do you just wake up one day and realize a strange man hasn’t hit on you in years? The problem with accepting objectification as a normative behavior implies that I also need to accept when I stop being objectified. And everyone knows, it’s a lot easier to never get special treatment if you never had it in the first place. But if you get used to cutting the line, it stings especially painfully when the privileges get taken away. I guess I just hope that by the time I’m at a stage in my life when the bouncers no longer usher me to the front of the line, I’m happy enough with the people outside the club, that I stop wanting to get inside anyway…
March 18, 2011 | 1:00 pm
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
Men. Sometimes I just don’t even know what to say. Recently my friend turned me onto this site www.hookchasup.com. Basically, a 40 year old guy who looks cute enough and probably at least moderately successful, made a website to offer $10,000 to the person who introduces him to his future wife. It’s actually pretty well done and Chas comes off pretty genuine. You can email him about a friend and of course you only get the money if he actually marries the girl.
On his site, he acknowledges this whole device sounds a little sketchy but he says that he’s tried online dating and hasn’t had any luck and thought why not make a site just for himself. He adds that if $10,000 helps him find his soulmate, it will be worth it. But the most telling part is where he answers the question about how he ended up 40 and still single. He says “thanks to a decade of life coaching and some insightful relationships, I can honestly say I’m ready to start a family. For realz”
Ok here’s my issue. And Chas, you shouldn’t take this personally because there are millions of guys like you and your just honest enough to put it all out there. But look, you’re problem is you should have gotten over yourself a decade ago. I’m so sick of men in their thirties indulging every fear and examining their emotions like a geneticist mapping the human genome project. I hear this all the time from men. They’re not ready for a family, or the responsibility of marriage, or to make a long-term commitment.
Please. No one’s ready! No one knows for sure he or she is finally ready be a parent. No one knows for sure that the commitment he or she is about to make will guarantee happiness. We’re all jumping in blind. I’m pretty sure I’m not ready for any of that either. But guess what? If it happens to me now, I’ll get myself ready. You’re not supposed to finally feel ready and then look for a family. Chas, that is a luxury most people never know. You feel ready now at 40 not because of what your life coach told you, but because you’re late.
I remember reading a poll in a magazine a little while ago that asked people what life rite of passage made them feel like an adult. The options were marriage, having children, moving out of their parents house, getting a job, etc. By a large margin, most Americans chose having children as the event in their lives that made them an adult. The point is not to grow up first, become an adult, and then have kids. Life happens to you and you become an adult by responding to it. The point is, you have faith in yourself, you try to make the best decisions possible, and then are forced to just deal with the cards you’re dealt.
I’m in my late twenties and I can’t imagine the responsibility of having a family now. I love being completely free to get up and go wherever I want on a whim. I’m dying to travel more, I have no idea how I’m going to support myself next year, and I feel like there’s a lot I still have to learn from dating and am in no hurry to stop. However, what I’m not doing is going around telling everyone “I’m not ready.” I’m not closing myself off to any opportunities. I have no idea what life has in store for me. But I believe all options are open. Who knows? Although what I think I want is not to be married for a few years, I recognize that life never works out how I plan and it’s possible I could be married next year.
See Chas, that’s the difference between you and me and the millions of other men out there like you. When did men get so indulgent with their feelings? When did men need life coaching and turning 40 to realize they’re ready for a family. My parents have been married 35 years. My mom loves to tell the story about how my dad didn’t want to get married. She gave him the ultimatum at 23 and so they got engaged. Then, on their wedding day, my dad got cold feet and his father told him he had no choice but to go through with it. I’m not sure if this is really true or just family lore but 35 years later, they’re still married. Sometimes, I look at them and I think to myself, I want the kind of relationship they have. But I really have no idea how to make that happen. And there’s no way to ever really be 100% sure that the person you’re marrying now isn’t going to go through some crazy mid-life crisis, join the church of Scientology, and try to move your family to some commune. You make the best decision you can, and you just hope for the best.
So Chas, I hope it works out for you. But I also hope the generation of men behind you stops coddling their every apprehension. Why are we perpetuating this myth that you have to grow-up first and then deal with life? Chas, you didn’t need some life coach to help examine why you felt scared and why you felt unprepared and to finally help you realize you were mature enough to handle responsibility. You needed a good kick in the ass from your mother to tell yourself to buck up, get over yourself, and just jump. It’s a leap of faith for all of us. But if we spend our entire twenties and thirties telling ourselves we’re not ready and trying to figure out why, we’re just going to end up with a bunch of overindulged spoiled little boys in men’s bodies.
March 17, 2011 | 6:19 pm
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
My beloved NPR is in trouble as the House has voted to cut funding to NPR and CPB. Ron Schiller’s part in this is now well-known – he was NPR’s chief fundraiser and was caught on tape recently by conservative activist James O’Keefe. Not only did he have to resign, not only did NPR call his statements “appalling,” but NPR’s president Victoria Schiller (no-relation) also had to resign and the whole organization has just become a whipping post for the archetypal criticisms of public media that has become de rigeur from the Right.
But I have this to say to NPR – why oh why are you retreating with your head hanging so low? I heard your tapes and you know what I think. Ron Schiller sounds super hot!
Seriously, Ronnie sounds like a great guy and I’m worried I’m falling for him. He says he’s worried that the “the current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people’s personal lives and very fundamental Christian – I wouldn’t even call it Christian. It’s this weird evangelical kind of move.” A liberal who’s concerned about a party he clearly is not involved with. Guess what Ronnie? I also am constantly giving people my unsolicited opinion about other groups of people that have nothing to do with me. Maybe we could do this together?
On the Tea Party, Ronnie says “it’s not just Islamaphoic, but really xenophobic, I mean basically they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-America, gun-toting. I mean, it’s scary. They’re seriously racist, racist people.” Well, Ronnie, I also try to hide my disdain for middle-America but constantly fail and always find it sneaks out from me when I think I’m amongst like-minded friends. Let’s be self-righteous about the majority of our country together!
Then Ronnie says “I think what we all believe is if we don’t have Muslim voices in our schools, on the air… it’s the same thing we faced as a nation when we didn’t have female voices.” I like that when speaking to some very devout Muslims, you tell them that ignoring Islamic voices is similar to when America ignored female voices. While devout Muslims are not necessarily well-known for advocating women’s rights, I like that you don’t shy away from this issue and drop a sort of underhanded reminder about it! I’m always attracted to smart boys.
Ronnie says that NPR “would be better off in the long run without federal funding.” Here, he’s just wrong but the thing is he’s so stubborn about his own opinion, he doesn’t care what the truth is. Another man who can’t admit he’s wrong. While I hate arguing with a man like this, I usually end up attracted to these types of men because I hate pushovers even more. So being doggedly determinedly wrong sort of makes you even hotter.
Ronnie has a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from Cornell University. He’s clearly over-educated and not putting his degree to use which I always fall for (don’t ask how many surfers with masters degrees I know).
He’s gay which means he would be another man in a long line of men emotionally unavailable that I seem to date.
He’s also a bit of a foodie, ordering a risotto for lunch at the Georgetown restaurant, Milano’s. As a foodie myself, I love going out to eat and I feel like perhaps we have the same taste in restaurant. He even goes on and on for five minutes about how he has recently discovered Madeira wine and why it is better than Port or Sherry. Now I’ve been looking for someone for a longtime who is snobbier than me so that I can stop feeling like a snob. Could it be I’ve finally found the one in Ronnie?
All in all, this guy sounds like an emotionally unavailable liberal erudite arrogant jerk and I just don’t date anything else. Call me Ronnie!
March 17, 2011 | 12:59 pm
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
My sister has been in a relationship for two years now and she’s very proud of the fact that she’s let herself go. Not in the traditional sense of becoming unattractive. She’s a gorgeous young twenty something who has probably never weighed more than a hundred pounds and has a great post-New York clothing style. But as a girlfriend, she’s stopped doing those extra feminine things that women do to make themselves more attractive especially when they initially like a guy.
My little sister was in town visiting from Argentina where she’s currently living with her boyfriend and so we were strolling the Malibu Lumber Yard together. When I saw La Perla, the upscale lingerie store, was having a sale, I let some excitement escape. Sis responded with something about how lingerie is a waste of money, her boyfriend doesn’t care what underwear she ever wears, and wouldn’t notice if she did wear lingerie.
It reminded me of my behavior in my first relationship. You get used to someone loving you and so you just get lazy. You stop shaving your legs as often or getting bikini waxes, or bothering with high heels, or even wearing make-up. Now, my sister’s not this bad but her point is, she’s been with her boyfriend for two years, he knows what she looks like and she doesn’t have to trick him into wanting her with accoutrements. He loves her and therefore desires her.
When I got out of that first relationship and found myself single again, I naturally started engaging in all these little behaviors we girls do to make ourselves feel pretty. I actually became strict about always doing them because I suddenly had this mentality, like I had no idea what or whom any single day could bring so I wanted to always be ready in case a White Knight suddenly appeared. I thought I would be annoyed by all the work, especially as months went by and no one touched my exfoliated legs but my yoga teacher, but quite the opposite was true
I realized that while I thought was engaging in these behaviors just for men, I actually felt completely differently about myself when I added all the bells and whistles. I’m not engaging in these behaviors for men, I do it for myself. Some time ago, I read something that suggested one of the most important factors in making a long term relationship work, is ensuring that both parties are equally interested in sex and both partners make efforts to initiate it. I’ve come to realize that shaving my legs and wearing matching underwear is not something a girl should do to keep a man. It’s something she should do so that she feels sexy herself. Because if she doesn’t feel sexy, she’s not going to initiate sex in the relationship and then you’re in the clichéd relationship where the man wants sex with a woman who never does. This certainly cannot be the secret to a successful long-term relationship. So get out your razors, stop telling yourself your boyfriend doesn’t mind your gut, and get to La Perla. So what if he loves you and just wants your lingerie off. It’s about finding out what you want when you’re putting them on…