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Single Awareness Day Isn’t For Everyone

In Hate, Love, Relationships on February 14, 2011 at 11:10 am
 written by Sway

V-Day is about more than gifts!/bostonherald.com

It’s that time of year folks. Valentine’s Day aka “Single Awareness Day”. Today is the day people around the country will fall into one of these categories. They will:

  •  hate the fact that they don’t have a valentine (or hate Valentine’s Day) so they purposely wear all black and boycott the day and all of its red and pink glitter glory
  • hate the day because they do have a valentine and have been given the duty of  planning the “perfect” romantic day that their significant other won’t forget
  • love the day because they have a valentine and are the recipient of this “perfect” romantic day
  • feel neutral about the day and may or may not have a valentine, but don’t really care because they are treating today like a regular day

I am proud to say that I fall into the last category. I’m also proud to say that I going forward, I am choosing to be in this category every year. I’m not necessarily boycotting Valentine’s Day, I am boycotting what seems to be presented as the most significant part of the day according to flower, card, and chocolate companies alike: the gifting.

I can admit that a lot of single women see this day as the day that points out their relationship status and some don’t like to be reminded of it. The thought of going out on this night with a group of single girlfriends just to be surrounded by lovebirds over populating restaurants and walking down the street hand in hand with PDA on blast, is enough to make them want to stay home. But trust me, this day is a lot harder for people in a relationship. Well, I should say this day can be a lot more stressful. It seems society has made this day especially for the men to prove their undying love and commitment to their S.O. For some its redemption day–the day for them to attempt to  make up for any wrongdoing over the past year.

For others, it’s just another day to browse through Yelp looking for reservations to the highest Zagat rated pricy restaurant, have flowers shipped to their love’s office on last minute, and shell out big bucks giving them a gift that tops last year’s.

And for women in relationships, they hold some responsibility so it seems. Victoria’s Secret stores nationwide probably expect some of their biggest sales around this day as females look for body sprays and lotions with the  words “enchanting” or “sexy” in the title, and scour the racks for the perfect lingerie (or lingeree as I call it) to show off to their man.

Okay, okay, so when it comes to the gender roles on V-Day, maybe I’m generalizing here. But either way, I have come to the conclusion that I, nor my boyfriend, will play a part in any of it. Why you ask? This is all due to a book I read called Waiter’s Rant. This book, written by an anonymous ex-waiter, detailed the ups and downs that he encountered while working at an upscale NYC restaurant. One chapter in particular about Valentine’s Day made me realize something that I think I’ve always felt. Why celebrate a day with my loved one just because the card companies told me so? Why should we fall into yearly gifting and planning of elaborate affairs just because on this same day others are doing it?  Isn’t that what anniversaries, birthdays, and Christmas are for? I guess I feel like for males or females, Valentine’s Day is a just another day to compete against yourself. What kind of gift can you buy for your S.O. this year that will be better than the last? What kind of night can top all the past V-Day’s?

This isn’t a bitter rant everyone, it’s me realizing that I don’t need to be sucked into society’s idea of what this day should be about. I’m just not buying the hype (no pun intended). On this day, I will enjoy myself just by spending quality time with my significant other, and that is a gift good enough for me!

How do you all feel about Valentine’s Day? Yay or nay to celebrating it?

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Empathy & Sympathy Revisited

In Emotions, Love, Relationships on February 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm

written by Swag

Homeless man, Tokyo.

Image via Wikipedia

Sympathy

Situation: Seeing a homeless person that is asking for money on the street while in the dead of winter.

Reaction: You think to yourself. “Wow, I would hate to be in their situation.” You understand the magnitude of the situation in terms of suffering, but you understand it from your own perspective.

Sympathy is the art of understanding the circumstances of someone else’s pain from your own perspective. You are outside looking in, seeing how the pain came to be and realizing its magnitude for the person suffering through it.

Sympathy involves understanding someone’s situation and then imagining your own thoughts, feelings, and actions during those particular circumstances. You can tell when you are sympathizing because most of your thoughts/statements will start with “If that were me…” or ‘if I were in that situation…”

 

Adult Simba from The Lion King II: Simba's Pride

Image via Wikipedia

Empathy

Situation: Mufasa (Simba’s father in the Lion King) falls off a cliff and perishes.

Reaction: You shed a few tears because you understand the feeling of intense loss.

People mistake sympathy with empathy because they unconsciously parallel the thought of being in someone’s situation with the thought actually being that person while in a particular situation.

If  sympathy is the art of understanding someone’s circumstances, then empathy is the art of understanding someone’s pain. Their emotions and feelings become real as you experience them as your own.

In a relationship, empathy is of much more use than sympathy. When you only sympathize with your partner’s struggles, you end up trying to impose your own will and logic on the situation. It’s a subtle invalidation of their feelings. Sympathy is a relationship killer because it belittles and overlooks the emotions behind the circumstances.

Empathy on the other hand, promotes forgiveness, acceptance and appreciation, all of which help to nourish a relationship. Learn to understand your partners emotions by experiencing them as they have. Appreciating your partner’s heart makes loving him or her that much easier.

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The Power of First Impressions

In Relationships on November 2, 2010 at 2:01 pm
 written by Sway
  
 

When they said first impressions make lasting impressions they were definitely not lying!  There have been some people I’ve met and have been so turned off by their first impression, that I never developed a friendship with them. But to counter that, I can admit to having weird first impressions of some of my now very good friends. It’s ironic because I can think of a couple people that seemed to have bad attitudes upon first meeting them that are now very close friends.

 

So how did they end up becoming my friends after leaving a weird taste in my mouth off the bat? We had several opportunities to get to know each other. Opportunities is the key word. When looking back, I realized that I met all of these friends in a college setting. And this meant everything.  The few years I was in school provided many opportunities for anyone to gradually debunk first thoughts or change my mind on how I initially felt about them. The time gave me a chance to see how they were in different settings, converse with them, and get accustomed to all of their idiosyncrasies. This process made me like them 10 times more than I did when first meeting them.

 
 
 
But after the graduation is over and school becomes something of the past, things become drastically different. You realize you have to work a bit harder to meet new friends. You get a job and may get a bunch of new work buddies which is cool. But meeting  new potential friends outside of your inner circle and co-workers will take more effort, which, in turn, means your first impression is twice as important.

 

I’ve realized that in “adult life” people don’t get many chances to make up for giving a bad first impression. There are so many possible situations where someone will only get that one opportunity to make a great impression because they never know when they will see someone again. For instance, at my job, I meet up to 15 new people a day, so I constantly have to be aware of what impression I am giving off. And because of this, I’ve paid more attention to energy people give me. Looking back at my experiences, I can admit to being less tolerant of dealing with people who have given me a questionable first impression no matter the environment.

When it comes to dating and meeting someone of interest, first impressions can be deal breakers. How you initially present yourself to the opposite sex not only sets the tone for the second encounter, but can determine if there will be a second encounter in the first place.

Be sure to keep these things  in mind for making a memorable, positive impression.

Remember, sometimes you will only get one shot to show someone what you are about!

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Complacency

In Communication, Relationships on October 5, 2010 at 8:00 am

written by Swag  

Lazy Smurf and Gargamel

Don't get lazy in your relationship. Something might creep up on you.

 

 

It’s far to easy to become complacent in a relationship and complacency goes hand in hand with entitlement. When an individual takes their partner for granted, essentially, they believe they are entitled to the benefits they have been receiving. They expect some mandatory level of service. This expectation occurs on a subconscious level so I am not saying anyone is acting maliciously, but there are harmful side effects to believing your partner is supposed to do anything. Love isn’t based on obligation. It’s based on mutual, empathetic consideration.  

As relationships progress, habits form and little by little, the generosity and consideration that was once appreciated and celebrated becomes routine and expected.

Like a cancer, once it has crept into the relationship, complacency is very hard to shake and when it sets in, you may have to put your relationship through chemo just to expunge it. You may have to journey through an uncomfortable, transitional period in order to promote long-term growth.

Dealing With Complacency In Others – Be Honest

The worst thing you can do when you feel like your partner is becoming complacent, is to not say anything, at all. Every habit, that is ever formed, is reinforced both positively and negatively. When you are not communicating to your partner, you allow them to develop their own balance of reinforcement. Imagine a habit your partner has that is beginning to wear on you. Rather than bring it up, you decide to just deal with it. You figure, if things stay the same, it’s not a deal breaker. You believe this is the better route, despite knowing that if things were to change, you would probably be more satisfied with the relationship overall. Not only are you learning the unhealthy habit of appeasement, you are also eliminating an opportunity for your partner to improve themselves. In essence, you are stunting their emotional growth. You aren’t allowing them the chance to love you more fully.

When you communicate your dislike of anything, you alter how your partner perceives it. But if you want them to change you can not approach them with 100% negative reinforcement (i.e. “I don’t like it when you let the trash overflow”). There must also be some positive reinforcement that works in tandem (i.e. “Thank you so much for taking out the trash). Granted, if the reversal of the bad habit has not yet happened or even started, you may need to generalize your positive reinforcement so they get the hint (i.e. “I love it when you help out around the house”).

Dealing With Being Complacent – Don’t be Disingenuous

The best medicine is always preventative medicine (healthy lifestyle/diet) as opposed to reactive medicine (surgery/antibiotics/chemo). When you begin a relationship, it’s always best to start out as honestly as possible. When I was younger, I believed I would have better chances with girls, if I was romantic, so I catered to those beliefs. I wanted to be prince charming. I wanted to make girls swoon with overwhelming emotion.  Soon, however, I realized that I was being dishonest and when those girls fell in love, they fell hard. I couldn’t keep up the charades and slowly, over time, I stopped most of the romantic activity that had gotten me the girl in the first place.  I am not saying that I am no longer romantic, it just means I am no longer being romantic for the sake of getting someone to react. It reduced the chances of me losing the motivation to continue those acts later on in the relationship.

Complacency occurs when you inadvertently decrease the amount of energy and emotion you are investing in a relationship. It’s possible to set yourself up for complacent failure when you start off a relationship doing things that don’t come naturally just to seal the deal. Once the dotted line is wet with ink, all your contrived actions will slowly dissipate like exhaled breath on a mirror. Soon you begin seeing yourself for who you really are. A romantic fool at best and manipulative at worst. Integrity involves being honest with yourself and it’s important to know how you really feel before communicating those feelings to someone else. Otherwise, you run the risk of falsifying your emotions and relationships are hard enough as it is. You don’t want to have to maintain one while living an emotional lie. Stay true to yourself so that you avoid ending up in a complacent rut.

“If we probed deeper, we might lay witness to pools of disappointments, rippling from stones thrown by our own selfishness.”

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Men being vulnerable

In Emotions, Intimacy, Relationships on October 1, 2010 at 8:00 am

written by Swag  

There is something about intimate relationships that scares the hell out of most men. I read an article the other day that briefly touched on the need for men to be more vulnerable with their partners. Actually, the author was speaking on the male desire to be himself in a relationship. Men aren’t really programmed to want to be vulnerable. It’s viewed as a weakness and it never seems to have any advantages. Personally, I think that being vulnerable with my girl makes me more secure with myself. I am less worried about being Superman and more focused on just being a man.  

  

Having someone who you believe always has your best interest in mind can be very healing, if you allow it to be. The only problem is, many times, relationships don’t provide the opportunity to be intimately vulnerable for men.  

Laughing couple.

Image via Wikipedia

 

I know my female readers are probably shrieking right now.  

“Of course we provide the opportunities to be vulnerable.”  

“We would love for them to talk about their feelings.”  

While this may seem like it’s the case, when a man is truly trusting of his partner (which equates to being vulnerable and secure at the same time), he is able to tell her pretty much everything, given his communication is on par.  

If I can’t be vulnerably honest with you, then I do not believe I am on secure footing in our relationship and on some level I do not trust you. I do not believe you will accept me for who I am.  

If you want your partner to be vulnerable with you. If you want your partner to know he can be himself and not just a forced idea, then take note:  

I may not have the vocabulary. If you believe that I should be able to interpret your needs by the aura you give off, then bear with me as I figure out a better way to tell you how I feel than a grunt or shrug. Since I don’t talk about my feelings as much as you, I may not be as adept at labeling them.  

Stop divulging so much so early on. Just because you tell me everything about yourself doesn’t mean I’m going to do the same. Leave a little mystery and let the intimate details flow more organically. In your rush to have me accept everything about you, I may have interpreted some things you told me as ways I think you won’t accept me. For every secret you tell me without us being securely in a relationship, there is a chance I’m putting a personal detail about into the “Can’t tell her that” bucket. I know it’s an assumption, but since I don’t know you well enough to know otherwise, that’s exactly what I going to do right now…assume.  

Get me drunk. I kid, of course, but a little loose juice never hurt. If you want to know more about me, make me a nice strong drink and ask questions….SLOWLY! Wait for your concoction to work its magic before you start asking about my relationship with my pops. Also, time your investigation. Halftime, during Monday Night Football, is not the proper time to have this conversation (and YES, I will be watching Sportscenter afterwards to catch the highlights of the game I just watched).  

Let me be ultra-direct every once in a while. Sometimes, I just want to tell it exactly as I think it. Yes, there is a such thing as having tact and no, my intentions are never to hurt or demean, but I can feel stifled when I have to censor my words. If you trust that your partner cares for you, then you have to be able to take a little stinger every now and again. When he knows he doesn’t have to pull his verbal punches (given they are genuine and not spiteful) then the more honest, vulnerable and trusting he will become overall. Relationships don’t work unless there is a freedom to discuss the issues that may hurt, yet help, our partners.  

Learn to get around the guy version of the story. Sometimes, before my girlfriend asks me a question, she will prefix it with “Give me the girl version.”  This means she wants details and feelings and descriptions and perspective and ambiance and weather and mood and verbatim quotes and….ARRRGGHHH!!!. Sometimes I don’t know how to do that so the guy version still comes out. If this happens with your partner, learn to ask the right questions. More likely than not, he will give you something  you can dig a little deeper on. Asking him immediately about what you want to know may solicit an “I don’t know” response, so learn to ask him about what he would like to expound upon before delving further.  

I am probably out of practice. Guys may not want to but they certainly need to vent a bit about what affects them.  The truth is, though, most men are out of practice. They are not used to leaning on others for emotional support. It’s not hard to see when your partner is stressed, so make sure to take note of the non-verbal cues he gives off. If he looks tired grab him a beer, let him unwind, non-verbally communicate to him that you have his back without pressuring him to open up (this just amounts to nothing but more pressure). It may make him more inclined to actually talk to you when he has relaxed a little. One of the best things about my girlfriend is her ability to know when not to say anything and let me cool off.  

Just because the world wants to jam men into a tiny, simplistic box, it doesn’t mean they are really that simple. All humans have emotions and every human finds the best way for them to express those emotions. Take a week and observe how your man really works and use some of that information to create better suited opportunities for him to become more vulnerable with you. Neither you or him should expect the other person to express themselves as the other would. If you wanted to date someone exactly like yourself, you would carry a full length mirror around everywhere. It’s not that men can’t communicate their vulnerabilities, it’s that they communicate them in a different manner.  

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Sway’s Sound Off: Leaving My Friends for My Boyfriend?

In Relationships, Sound Off on September 29, 2010 at 9:00 am
 written by Sway

Myyyy girlfriends....there through thick and thin..."

Let me tell you right off the bat, that I am sounding off about myself.  

I am guilty.  

Framed…  

Of what, you ask? It’s hard to admit, but for the purpose of the post I will tell you.  

I am guilty of forgetting about my girlfriends sometimes.  

Yes it is inevitable, that once someone gets into a relationship, they will hang out with their friends a bit less than before (well sometimes).  Instead of having to divide their time to just work/school, family, extracurriculars/responsibilities, and friends, they now have to add their significant other in the mix which. And this usually results in less time allotted to one of the other areas.  

And for me, that area is my friends. I’ve realized over the years that I have a pattern of getting into a relationship and hanging out with and/or calling my girls significantly less than before being attached. It’s not like I cut all ties to them or ignore them, but sometimes I will “think about going” to something they invited me to just in case something  my boyfriend wants to do comes up. I know, I know, it’s no bueno…  

What I’ve noticed is that while this trend happens to both genders (admit it guys, you know you’ve had that feeling of wanting to spend all your free time with your new girl because they excite you and make you feel all giddy inside), females tend to fall victim to it more often.  

When females are single, we attach ourselves to our friends and live for girls nights out at the club. We shop, get mani’s and pedi’s together, plan lunch and dinner dates, and go to happy hours galore.  

Lauren, Audrina, and Lo always carve out "she-time" for each other/stylebakeryteen.com

Then all of a sudden we get a boyfriend and BOOM!…girl-time is now diminished to meeting up when we “have the time”.  

Guys are a different story. Example-when guys are single, they go clubbing, watch ESPN with the boys, play their PS3, and play ball. But what happens when they get a girlfriend?  

Guys always have time in their schedules for "he-time"

They go clubbing, watch ESPN with the boys, play their PS3, and play ball, lol.  

From my experiences, nothing really changes too drastically. I’ve noticed that guys don’t seem to place their friends on the back burner as much as women do once they get into a relationship. I’ve had this conversation with a few of my girlfriends and they all agreed.  

Sadly, I have been guilty of this. And some of my friends have been guilty as well. You ladies may be guilty of it and don’t even realize it (The times when I discover that I hang out with my boyfriend’s friends more than my own is when I think about this).  

But I guess the question is, what is it about getting into relationships that causes us females to detach ourselves from our true blue friends?   

Your girls have always been there for you. They took you out for an all night drinking binge to forget your nasty boss when you got laid off. They were the ones to throw you a surprise party for your birthday. They let you borrow their favorite formal dress when you had nothing to wear for a last-minute gala invite. And when that guy who occupied all your old girl-time for months broke up with you, your friends were at your doorstep with kleenex on hand and shoulders to cry on.  

My own true girlfriends have done so much for me. And while I cherish them, sometimes I feel like I fail to show it. I never want to be that girl who my friends think has “disappeared off the face of the earth” just because I have a man. I never want my friends to feel like they can’t come to me with a problem because I’ll be too busy for them.  

I refuse to be a "friend" like Heidi Montag!

There is a way to balance my-time (time with myself), we-time (time with my boyfriend), and she-time (time with my girls). I am definitely better at it than I was before.  But I’m going to have to take notes from my boyfriend and other males in relationships on this one, and imitate what they do. After all, if they can balance he-time and we-time successfully, then there is no reason why I can’t either.

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The Art in My Dating Past

In Relationships on September 16, 2010 at 8:00 am
written by Swag
 
Who we are, as lovers, is partially dependent upon how we interpret our dating history. Even if someone has hurt us, it’s a detriment to repress our memory of that person. We don’t need to continue communicating with them in order to appreciate what they have done for us (or to us). Our previous partners give us the ability to design better relationship templates, to become Michelangelo and create more inspiring works of art between ourselves and our future loved ones. We are the masters of our love lives, sailing our hearts through seas of tumultuous passion.
Frontispiece of Old Peter's Russian Tales - Pr...

Image via Wikipedia

I am very much aware of how my past girlfriends have affected my current dating choices. In high school, how healthy, aware or communicative a girl could be didn’t matter in the least. Every experience was so new that I just went with the flow. Kiss first and ask questions later. It was so easy to be care free, mainly because I didn’t have the experience needed to make wiser decisions. Wisdom always came later.

I have had three serious relationships (not including my current one) and I have dated a number of women. In my mind, each one was like a detail, chiseled into my ideal. I was a sculptor, refining my masterpiece. Combined, they became my muse, inspiring my greatest achievement. My Sistine Chapel was in its earliest stages, not yet as glorious as my heart intended because my mind had yet to conceive its completion.

Each person I dated was a tool on my workbench. Each girl or woman had a purpose. Changing this color. Modifying that image. Eliminating that idea. Nothing was permanent as I invested myself and my emotions into each relationship with varying degrees.

The Spinning Dancer is a kinetic, bistable opt...

Image via Wikipedia

– One of my first crushes was a track star…I loved those legs, those abs, that physique…check, put athleticism on the list and yes a dancer will do.

– I’ve always dated women who aren’t afraid to be themselves in front of new people. They are the center of attention, not because they needed the attention but because that’s just who they were…extrovert it is then.

– I’ll never again date a girl who tells me everything in order to talk about nothing. I need to know how to love my lady so she must be secure enough with herself to let me in….Self-esteem and security sound like good ingredients

– They say cancer is a water sign, well I like my water still and calm under the night sky. I can’t do the emotional pendulum, swinging from one extreme to the next. We need to be able to argue like adults….Level headedness and effective communication will do.

I believe in the past as an indicator of the future. It’s well written within the halls of yesteryear what I am and am not compatible with. I try to hold dear the idea of my partner as an improvement on the past because if she isn’t, then I probably haven’t learned my lesson yet. Love is an art form not blessed upon the masses. It is given only to those who work at their craft and hone their skills. I hope my dating past helps me compose a sonnet of love that sings for a lifetime.

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She’s not your mother

In Relationships on September 15, 2010 at 10:00 am

written by Swag

Fellas. Do you treat your mom different from the way you treat other women? Do you treat your significant other the same way you treated your mom? Are you the type of guy to deem some woman wholesome and others uhhh…not so wholesome. Eh, well me too. Makes sense right? Everybody shouldn’t be wined and dined unless they are deserving of such a gesture. Some people you respect the same way you respect your mother. Your wife deserves the same treatment your mother deserves right? Ehhh, probably not. Honestly, it’s probably a bad idea to think of your significant other as another mother.

I just don’t know, but it bothers me to think my future wife would play the role of my mother. My girlfriend knows, I hate to be babied– and her trying to take care of me when I’m sick is like pulling teeth. That is  just one of my personal issues! The real question is: to what degree do we expect our significant others to relate to us as if they were our mothers?

Wife versus mother. The ideas should overlap– but not completely. We as men need to be sure of where to draw this line, least we abuse our significant others by expecting them to provide for us in the exact same manner that our mothers used to.

Crossover
Trust: We trust our mothers and our wives. Trust is a concept that combines vulnerability and security. If you expect to share anything with anyone then you have to trust they will keep it safe. I know, in my own mind, I take pride in being the protector, the vault, the safe place. But I have also realized I can’t play that role all the time and it’s a burden to play that role for myself. I trust both my mother and my significant other because they provide that security everyone so desperately craves (whether they know it or not).

Confrontation: Be they your mom or be they the love of your life, the women in your life will inevitably confront you with some grievance. I remember the days when my mom would yell my name from the bottom of the stairs. It didn’t matter if I was sleep, doing homework, or watching TV….instant adrenaline rush. My heartbeat would increase, waves of sweat would roll down my face, and my mind would cycle through the previous three days wondering what it could possibly be that I did wrong. My girlfriend, on the other hand, has a completely different approach and usually what I did wrong had a more emotional tint. When she confronts me, my heart sinks and I hope whatever I have done isn’t so bad that she believes I don’t respect or appreciate her. While at times I feel like I am on trial, I know that she always trys her hardest to understand the situation from my point of view.

Clearly Drawn Line
Trust: We trust these women at different times in our lives in different ways. Granted you will probably never stop trusting mom dukes but when was the last time you cried in front your mom. I may be pushing the limitations on this one and threatening the masculinity complex this country has, but I believe grown men know how and aren’t afraid to shed a tear once in a while. Believe me when I say there aren’t many other ways to be more vulnerable with your significant other than that. Allowing your wife or significant other the opportunity to be your emotional vault increases intimacy infinitely.

Confrontation: The difference here lies in how we react to confrontation. Imagine being a teenager or a child and your mom is yelling at you for something you have done. You are probably upset, armed crossed and ready to receive your punishment. Anything to get her to, dare we say it (sorry mom)…anything to get her to shut up. You can not act this way with your significant other. This is no parent-child transaction. I have learned that if you actually listen to your significant other and allow her to bear her grievance, there may never even be a punishment (this of course depends on whether you take what she says to heart). And please DO NOT think of her talking to you about what she feels you have done wrong as a form of punishment, that will only make you resent her emotions. Emotions that you may have caused. You have to be an adult and respect her as an adult.

As men, there is much we need from the women in our lives. Trust, security, empathy, and hard-line of discipline when necessary. My mom knew me inside and out because she raised me. The longer I know my girlfriend, the more she knows me because I choose to show her myself, inside and out. It’s very natural to desire the qualities of our mothers in our significant others. This, however, should not be mistaken for the relationship we share with each woman. A mother deserves a son who grows into a man. That man is who a wife or girlfriend deserves to be with.

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The Woman’s Facade: More Than Victoria’s Secret

In Relationships on August 31, 2010 at 12:13 pm

 written by Sway

 

One of my exes told me that you can tell how beautiful a girl is when you see her dressed down in sweats with no make up….

Maybe she's born with it, maybe she's not?/4.bp.blogspot.com

One time I was on the train and I saw a girl sitting near me who at first glance seemed pretty. But as I took second and third looks, I saw that almost everything that made her look pretty was…..not hers. Well, it was hers in the aspect that she owned it (because she bought it) but it wasn’t naturally hers to begin with. I’m talking false eyelashes,weave, acrylic nails, brows drawn in, and make up caked on to perfection.

Listen guys, if you come across a female that needs all of this in order to accept herself then beware because this may may stem from deep insecurities.

Seeing this girl made me think about a lot of things. Firstly, I wondered how much time it took her to get ready that day. As a female, I know that depending on where I’m going, sometimes it can take me forever. This is mostly me trying to figure out what to wear. So, after that and trying to figure out what to do with my hair you can forget it! Secondly, I began thinking about why she felt the need to have all that external falsity. I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt by thinking that maybe it was a one time thing for her. Even though she was dressed down, for all I know, she could have been going to a special event. Thirdly, it made me think about all the methods ladies use to “enhance” their natural beauty. Make up is the most obvious and universal method of course, but what about the more deceptive measures women take? Let’s review: 

Push-up Bras-Remember when girls in middle school stuffed their bra with tissues? Think of push up bras as the adult version of that. Mainly used to lift up cleavage that’s going south, push up bras are one of the greatest tools of illusion. And trust, if worn properly, a great push up bra can make a simple B cup look like C or D.

I'm sure you can tell which image has the woman wearing Spanx.../sisterschoice.typepad.com

Spanx-Spanx are the updated version of the corset. Ranging from footless pantyhose to full body leotards, these undergarments act as “body-shapers” that smooth and even out even the most unsightly bulges in a woman’s silhouette with the help of “tummy control” and mucho elastic. Under clothes Spanx can make a girl’s stomach look like she does crunches daily even when that is far from the truth.

Butt pads-These are pretty much self-explanatory. While some butt pads are found within underwear, I’ve recently seen jeans in stores that come with the pads already sewn in them. We can thank the celebration of  Beyonce’s and J. Lo’s hourglass bodies as inspiration for this enhancement of the backside. 

These are just some of the undergarments out there that ladies use for enhancement. Here are some of the major players women use for external enhancement:

Falsies/fake eyelashes-These are added to real eyelashes to create the illusion of thicker longer lashes. They frame the eyes and make them pop. So guys if you ever wonder why you can’t stop staring at a girls eyes, it’s possibly  because of these in addition to…

Temporary plastic surgery? Kim has claimed the way her make up artist contours her face changes the look of her nose/realitytea.com

Make-up-“Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline.” Guess what guys, nine times out of ten, it’s Maybelline…or Cover Girl, or MAC. I’m sorry to admit it but most people, (including the “flawless”  girl you like) don’t have naturally rosy cheeks and pink glossy lips.  The key word to watch out for when it comes to make-up is contouring. In simple terms, contouring is applying make-up in certain areas of the face to create the  illusion that those features look different than they actually do (i.e. making a big nose look slim, or making eyes look more evenly apart). When they said makeup does wonders they weren’t lying. Contouring a girl’s face can do more than enhancing her “natural” beauty, it can make her look like a completely different person.

Beyonce has some of the best weave in the game/royaltresses.com

Weave/hair extensions-If you can’t tell if the girl you like’s hair is real or not, she may have a great weave. The quality of fake hair is getting better and better these days to the point where one would ever know if a girl has extensions bonded or clipped into her real hair. And within a couple of hours, a girl can go from a chin-length bob to Rapunzel length locks ready for you to climb. Girls not only use fake hair for length but for thickness. And believe it or not hair length and thickness  dramatically changes the way a girl looks, even if her face has little to no make-up. Having great hair automatically makes drab outfits look better and frames the face well. And let’s not lie here guys, sometimes all it takes for you to be hooked notice a girl is for a light wind to kick up as she passes you by while her long locks flow around you in the breeze (hello Pantene Pro-V commercial).

Guys, I kind of feel bad for you, because some girls are so good at pulling off the “natural look”  you may not know how a girl you’re dating really looks until you’re deep in the relationship.

This poor guy has clearly been fooled by Beyonce's facade/ nairaland.com

Think to yourself, if you came across a girl who utilized all of these enhancements would you be able to tell? And if you could, would you still pursue her?

Would you accept Jessica Simpson for who she is?/celebrities.ninemsn.com

It’s one thing for a girl to go all out with her hair, make up, and shapely undergarments every once in a while or for a special occasion, but if she can’t go to the gas station without a full face of make up on then, Houston you have a problem.

If a girl can’t leave the house without make up, or she refuses to let you see her without a weave, then she is clearly not comfortable enough with herself to let you see the real her. She has not come to terms with her natural appearance and may be too worried about fitting what she thinks is a man’s physical fantasy. This speaks volumes to her insecurity level. And as a reuslt, she ends up placing more importance on keeping up with the physical facade she’s created, than coming to terms in accepting what her genes created.

When it comes down to it, it’s so much easier to love and accept a girl who loves and accepts herself. You can love a girl for who she is naturally, but a healthy relationship can’t come about if she doesn’t love herself the same way. Once a girl learns to appreciate herself with the layers of external falsity removed, it is then that she will truly be ready for you to appreciate her too.

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Being Respected

In Love, Relationships on August 30, 2010 at 8:12 am

written by Swag

“I’m over it. We’re done. I’m sick.”

If you are a closet Jersey Shore feen like me then you recognize those three short sentences. Sammi “Sweetheart” goes out of her way to make statements concerning her digest and unwillingness to continue her relationship with Ron. But in the same minute, she will take care of him in all his glorious, drunken stupor. These two are in desperate need of a high dosage, Love|Hate|Relate  (L|H|R) regimen. 

Sam and Ron’s relationship is a cycle of highs and lows, but neither one of them knows how to relate to the other in a healthy manner. I realize they are young and will try to refrain from judging their characters, especially since I can see that a relationship on a reality television show is designed for drama and probably destined for failure. We will only look at their actions.

Everybody in that house knew how strange Sam’s expression of love was. Why did she go out of her way to be hurt by this guy? Why couldn’t she see what everybody else did? Well, for starters, it is a mark of insecurity. In healthy relationships, Love’s resulting feelings don’t trump disrespect. The desire to love someone else should never trump the requirement to love yourself and loving yourself means demanding a baseline of respect…consistent respect. Both Sam and Ronnie have faults and below are some of their most glaring issues explained with past L|H|R articles:

Sam

I Can’t Read Your F’ing Mind – “I suck at tests. That’s why I didn’t go to college. (Ron’s commentary)” Sam tests Ron constantly. She expects him to know how to please her while communicating the exact opposite of her desires. It was not unreasonable to expect him to spend some alone time with her. However, it was unreasonable for her to be upset that he went to the club after she said it was cool. She expected him know better by reading her mind. That’s just an argument waiting to happen.

Holding on to That Thread of Hope – Ron is nowhere near as emotionally invested as Sammi is. After a dramatic, unsuccessful relationship in the first season, she decided to subject herself to the same problems, all over again. Her desire to salvage that decaying thread of hope places her heart in harm’s way once more and it’s up to her to decide to let it go. Ron is looking for something he wants, an easy cuddle. Sam is looking for something she needs, a sense of emotional security. This is the real root of the issue.

Relationship Negotiations – Sammi got swindled. She now owns a garbage relationship and won’t let herself give it up. Since they have history, that means this time around involves a re-negotiation. The terms of the contract should be modified so Sammi can be happier and more satisfied with her purchase but she is all bark and no bite. She is not willing to play hardball and demand Ron treat her like a girlfriend if he wants all the benefits. The relationship is not on her terms, so in the end, Ron can and will do whatever he wants.

Ron

Grass is Greener – It’s obvious Ron wanted to roam. He wanted to enjoy his time in Miami as a single guy. But what he saw was the opportunity to have his cake and eat it too. He realized he could go hard at the club and still come home to Sam. He would get drunk to have an alibi  (I don’t remember) and he would get pissed off every time Sammi and him went out together so he could feel justified (Look how bitchy she is, I don’t deserve this). Not being completely invested changed the way he valued her as a person.

The Cookie Jar – It’s really selfish for Ron to treat Sam like he actually wants to be a responsible mate. She mistakenly puts her heart in his care and he injures it over and over again because he never wanted her heart, he only wanted to smoosh (cuddle/spoon) on command, which is just the Jersey Shore way of saying he wants the cookies (physical intimacy) without the cookie jar (commitment). Deep down he probably knows this, but since the relationship is on his terms, he benefits from the fiasco.

Couple

I Love it When You Yell at Me – Ron and Sam truly do need healthier conflict resolution skills. Their biggest mistake was believing that the conflict could be swept under the rug and they could go back to cuddling again. It’s fine to no longer be angry in the moment but that doesn’t mean the conflict is over. The conflict is over when the rules of the road are enforced. If you establish a boundary (I don’t like it when you do this), you have to also establish a consequence (If you keep doing it, this is what will happen). Sammi never invoked/enforced proper penalties and Ron knew she never would. It’s like a mother telling her child to stop jumping on the couch and the child defiantly saying “Make Me.” Instead of making him, she just repeats her request with more force.

True Love – Love can not be summed up in three words. While it does have associated feelings, True Love is a choice and an action. Ron never loved Sam because he never acted like it, but the real power lies with Sammi. Who’s going to love someone who doesn’t know how to love their self. It’s not that she didn’t deserve it, but if you don’t believe you should get a better deal, you’ll sign the first crappy contract that comes your way. The person who sold you this rust bucket of a relationship is only going to do the bare minimum required to keep you from selling it or sending it to the junkyard.

I wish I could say Ron and Sammi are the exception, but we all know we have had relationships that mimicked some of their dysfunction. Relationships are never about how much we feel for our significant others. They are about how much we are willing to do for them. No feeling lasts forever, even the heart-pounding elation we connect with love. Even though you can feel love, you can’t expect to always feel loving. It must be a choice. Let us allow Sam and Ronnie’s plight to be a quick lesson in establishing healthy relationships as we await the next episode with guilty anticipation.

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