Correction: meeting people to date period who aren’t psychopaths/creeps/wackos blows.
If there’s one thing that can be said for the education system, it’s that going to school from pre-K through graduate means that inevitably you’ll be surrounded by a shitload of people for about 8+ hours a day, five days a week. Now you may not like all of these people and most of the time you might just want to run home and hide in a cool and quiet place that isn’t frantically yammering on about so and so hooking up with so and so’s best friend’s third cousin twice removed from Indiana. But the nice thing is that these people typically rotate out the higher up the school ladder you go. Before you know it, you’re in high school with a whole new group of guys and girls, then college, then perhaps even grad school. And no matter what year you are, you’ll definitely meet people that you genuinely like and develop solid friendships and spend some very meaningful drunken moments with.
Beyond the friendship comes the relationship. A very popular (but unproven) statistic roaming on Tumblr states that at the age of 16, 80% of people have met who they’re going to marry. Cutesy. In the real stats category though, lies this bombshell from MSNBC’s ‘Why Men Marry Some Women And Not Others’:
-men who have graduated from high school begin thinking about marriage at the age of 23 and 24
-men who have graduated from college REALLY start thinking about tying the knot at 26
-men who are college grads are likely to propose between the ages of 28-33
-31 and 32 are the tipping point ages for educated men looking to commit - still high but slowly slipping
-37 and 38 are the years where the will to get married decline significantly for men
And so on. Just as women are given creepy deadlines for their uterus’s, so must a man be pegged into the Will Freeman box if he isn’t married by a particular age.
Stats aside, I have always harbored a slight resentment toward people who found their mates in high school/college. Ironically enough, I have some family members who did that. My uncle and aunt met in high school and married shortly afterward. A similar thing went down with my parents who met when they were both in the military together. The resentment is that from where I stand, it seems easy and convenient enough when you’re in school or in a similar establishment that has rooted through the weirdos. Not when you’re in your twenties as a post grad and nobody warns you that from here on out, you’re on the road to blind dates, set-ups from friends, and meeting people online.
Meeting people online to date is rough and I do mean that in the fullest sense. Even that little protective computer screen mask can prove to be a disadvantage because you never quite know if the person behind the screen is just like the way they portray themselves in real life (and it always, always, always sucks when they aren’t.) People online don’t always “get” how to talk to the opposite sex either - no, no brah, none of that “ur hotttt w/a bangin’ bod” mess - did you go to school at all? Is that what wins people over? I feel like I’d need a boatload of daddy issues in order to enjoy that noise.
And then there’s the whole “let’s meet up!” thing with online dating. That in itself is, unbeknownst to the guy, an entirely orchestrated affair on my part. It has to be in a well lit place in an area that I am familiar with, with at least one or two people I know scattered nearby in case the date goes sour. Well, more than just sour, in the event of creeptasticness occurring. My life isn’t about to turn into a real life version of 'Megan is Missing' or have a sudden plot twist laced with Ted Bundy elements. Maybe it does sound paranoid to some degree, but to me it’s smart and I’m certainly thankful that as a teenager I read as much about true crime as I could.
Meanwhile, the blind date and set-up road has 50/50 elements to it. I’ve been on a few successful blind dates (the few, the proud) and more godawful ones (the wigger guy from college, the end.) What makes the blind date work for me is if the guy comes in with confidence and can make me laugh from the get-go. He has to be able to keep my interest. More importantly, he has to be able to keep me from wandering over to the bar and making a new guy bar friend. My ex in college won me over with a joke about cocaine (it did not hurt that we had stupidly high chemistry together either). So… just be confident and funny and willing to challenge me and we should get along just fine for the night.
Oh yeah and there’s that other thing, that whole “I don’t want a long term relationship!” thing that I bring to the table. Just the other night, I was chided via text for leading some dude on for being “too flirty.” Luckily for him, I was three bellinis deep so the text didn’t have its intended effect had I read it straight poker faced but it was a weird message. Who tells a person that being too flirty is a bad thing? And to that end, this is the first time I have ever been referred to as “too flirty.” Well shit son, it really is a new age in my life! Hester Prynne better step off because somebody’s gonna be rocking that scarlet letter “F” with some serious pride.
But let me break down what “I don’t want a long term relationship!” means in the world of Heather Anne Taylor. I know what I want and what I’m looking for and will not budge. This element of expectation has pissed off some of my girlfriends (the super savvy dating ones) who constantly tell me to lower some of my expectations. And I do, occasionally, but those expectations only drop for the short term. The long term is elusive. It’s for somebody I don’t know yet. I haven’t met this person. I know this because the moment I have I will know - or at least as much as I can know. The only feeling I can compare it to will be how I knew what college I would go to. That feeling weighed me down each day but in a pleasant, motivating way. And I do believe the feeling will be mutual on the other side which is also the only way I can have it.
You want someone you can laugh with, fight for, hold up when they’re down, get that comfortable silence with, confide, trust, and believe in and really just feel like ripping all of their clothes off constantly (or is that last bit just me?) Why consider any of that to be too much of a tall order or an expectation? It shouldn’t be and that my friends is what I would want in a long term relationship. Sure, there would be shit days and good ones and unexpected things you just don’t want to happen. But you would be able to weather through that storm and come out on the other side stronger. I think that’s what I envy about couples the most. No matter what the platform you met them on was like, it’s just knowing that there are two people who just get each other so much that together they make each other all the stronger and happier for it.
It’s really quite beautiful if you put it into that perspective.
IN THE MEANTIME, your girl isn’t dumbing down that single life by any means. Go on and get it with your wonderfully awesome single self! Wear that scarlet letter F for flirt with pride! Do that single and mingle thing for what it’s worth! Even if you’d rather build a fort in your bed and watch an episode of Bob’s Burgers while eating gummy bears, motivate yourself to "throw on a skirt, take off [your] underwear, and make your Pop-pop proud!"
And really just be able see every dating mishap as a great story to tell - some of your couple friends cannot say they once went out with a white guy with a gold tooth and a do-rag with his pants hanging off this ass. But you can. Air five to you.
Last week, Disney set the interwebz ablaze by launching a photo of their newest princess, Sofia the First. Sofia is no ordinary princess though. First of all, she doesn’t start off as a princess but in actuality a commoner whose mother (BTW, she has a MOTHER) marries a king (oh lawd, the court gossip must have been on fire with that one). And secondly, Sofia is just a little girl. Not a teenager with the will to rebel (Jasmine, Ariel) or a slightly too old to still be living at home potential grad student in the making (Belle), or a household slave (Cinderella). So there will be no immediate need to see her off and married just yet which means that for once, we’ll be treated to a Disney princess with a fully defined personality that doesn’t rely on a hot dude to come and rescue her.
What’s the problem here? A recent xojane.com article outlined the issues with Sofia the First. Here they are:
-No diversity. Sofia, according to the article, is “another bobble-headed white girl with cute animal friends.”
-Wealthy. A little girl that young ladies in the 99% will surely not relate to.
-Branding and marketing will put even more $$$ in her coffer but you can use this age old excuse with all of the princesses.
And since it seems we are no longer into defending the rights of a princess, it’s up to me to defend little Sofia. Here are my reasons in doing so.
1) Disney isn’t making a movie about Sofia, rather a TV series. A TV series targeted to 2 to 7 year olds. Little kids are the viewers and for once, they are watching an animated show about a child princess. It’s entertainment. It’s cutesy. They probably won’t even like it in two months at the rate the child attention span is today. There’s really no harm in trying it out and watching an episode or two and deciding if you like it instead of immediately telling your child that no, no you can’t watch a fun show about talking animals and little kids. What if my parents had told me that? Do you realize I would have never seen Homeward Bound, Fievel Goes West, or The Pebble and the Penguin that way? What would have become of my childhood?
2) I am a weird one to talk about feminist rights and whatnot because the reality of the situation is that I look like a contradiction to all of it. I’m proud as can be of my independence, drive, and determination to fulfill my dreams and like to encourage girls likewise. On the other hand, I am also girly as a mofo which was a means of cementing my place in a household of boys BUT tumblr is rapidly warping my ideals of “girliness” and overall beauty (I will get to all of that in a later post.) I don’t dream of a wedding, but I do wonder if I’ll ever be in a relationship that goes beyond three months.
All this aside, I grew up playing with Barbies and American Girl dolls and despite the heavily male environment I resided in, I was never compelled to cut their hair or damage them in any way. Nor did I have a mother who told me not to play with dolls and stuff because it was sexist or something. Mothers who do this sort of thing I give my patented Whoopi Goldberg eye stare to. Really. Really? I knew absolutely no one growing up who was denied a doll and upon reading books about mothers who actively refused their children a toy for the first time, I was downright shocked. I see dolls as being playful fun that encourage you to creatively act out a story and serve as companions throughout childhood. There’s no harm in that.
If anything, I’d discourage a future child of mine from having high-tech devices too early on in their lives. I mean, all those pro-ana websites and fine I’ll say it, Tumblr street style photo galleries with bony ass bitches getting too many likes? Far more damaging than a doll is. At least with a toy you know it’s made of plastic.
3) Sofia is getting a lot of flack for her wardrobe already which is supposed to be composed of "plenty of pretty dresses and sparkly shoes." What do you honestly expect a royal princess to wear, hmm? Rags? Humble attire? This show is probably set in a different time period in a kingdom far, far away so a sweeping floor length skirt is the norm. What she wears during a court ceremony will undoubtedly be fancier than her simpler outdoor attire anyway. And it’s cute people, c’mon! Sofia is dressing her age and doing so in a sweet way. I hate it when the first argument people have against a Disney princess is wardrobe based. The wardrobe is literally the best thing about the movies. I guess if you really want to satisfy people, we could do another Lilo and Stitch but really, who wants to go back to that? Lilo was irritating as hell and she bit people. Rude.
4) And speaking of rude, Sofia will undoubtedly have several plotlines about manners and being polite which is something many kids today need in spades. Perhaps there will be an episode about Sofia being reprimanded by her mother for why it is not good to run around a hair salon and behave as though you can pay for a $100+ boar’s hair brush. (LA kids, I swear…)
5) Final defense, as mentioned above. Sofia is a kid. She’s going to have a big, bright personality. She won’t be pining for a prince just yet because no child does that. She’ll get into trouble and have clever moments and maybe not like school or her private tutor and have a hard time making friends but she’ll learn and grow. Give her a chance to before destroying the kid so early on.
And maybe Kate Middleton will be a guest star as like, the cool older sibling cousin from a neighboring kingdom.