What Becomes of the Broken Hearted . . . Male

We’ve all been there, sat with a friend, box of tissues in hand, nodding and making soothing whale noises while they cry, whimper, question, yell and generally mourn the loss of another guy. Another one down the gurgler, for whatever number of reasons – it’s him, it’s me, it’s both, whatever. You suggest ice cream, getting your nails done, watching something tame like 10 Things I Hate About You or getting dressed up, downing some tequila and finding a rebound. Classic scenario right? But only if your friend is female.

What  are you supposed to do if your friend is a guy sad about a girl? What’s the appropriate etiquette in that situation? You can try to be reasonable (if it’s meant to be..), you can try to be positive (it lasted so long…) you can try to tell them to pull it together, but that’s a bit harsh. It’s not really a request for chocolate and Heath Ledger and getting your skank on and drunk sad boys, like drunk sad girls just end up crying. What sort of TLC do your guy friends need in this situation? I’ll venture fourth and say less material ones (although I’ve never bought a guy Halo), maybe this is a situation that OPI nail polish cannot help, now who knew that existed?

I’ll Take That as a Compliment

I have a very distinctive laugh. At a friend’s play, she said she knew exactly where I was sitting in the audience from where the laugh was coming from. I laugh rather loudly and I do it often. Actually laughing is one of my favourite things to do. Despite all the mockery I am sorely tempted to try one of those laughter yoga classes.

We had law school cocktail night this week, which is a yearly function where everyone dresses up in (state the obvious) cocktail attire and pretends to be civilised at a nice bar in town. I was sitting with a group of friends laughing away at a story about one girl’s friend who has an uncanny ability to grow really long nipple hairs (intriguing right?!) when I looked over to the opposite couch and a very cute guy was staring at me, so I dutifully smiled and stared back until he said something. I was hoping for a nice wink or a comment about how cute I was looking but no, what came out of his mouth was, “I’m really enjoying watching you laugh, it’s really entertaining”

Inside my head I was like “WHAT? Is that really what you’re going to say? Seriously. After the whole fourty-five minutes I spent getting ready!” But I actually said, obviously taken aback, “Oh thanks (laugh) I get that all the time.” (CRINGE! but so trying to play it cool)

He said, “I didn’t mean that to be offensive (pause) um it looks like you’re having fun.”

To which I replied, “I am having fun.” He didn’t come up with anything quickly and I was so weirded out that I went back to talking to my friends. He never introduced himself or said anything else to me for the rest of the night.

I’ll take it, don’t worry, even though I’m not quite sure whether it was creepy or flattering, but really, is that all you’ve got?

All the Cool Kids

You hear things around the playground on this topic of coolness. Everyone wants to be cooler. Some people think other people are “too cool,” others are not cool enough. Who decides this mythical quantity that every young person seems to possess?(At drastically varying levels of course).

It would seem that you can buy coolness. Especially when it comes to girls and clothes. I have it on fair authority that although it can be a contributing factor, boys are a little bit more leniant when adding or subtracting ‘cool points’ for attire. Why is it that some people are born with a larger amount of ‘cool’ than others? I propose that much of this comes down to good looks because attractive people are more instantly liked, therefore appear more popular and popularity is one of the defining factors of coolness. Being confident (which can often come from good looks too) can also lead to automatic ‘cool points’. Albeit, there are exceptions, like the person who everyone thinks is a ‘cool kid’ but if they all got together and actually talked about it, they’d realise that none of them like said person, ergo, they’re not that cool.

I have just realised that perhaps my definition of cool is not the same as yours. This is problematic too. In one of my tutoring sessions I asked the kids to tell me who they would trade lives with, if they could. One said that she’d like to be this bogan guy she knew, who was super nice and had heaps and heaps of friends. To me, that guy sounds really cool, I’m focusing on the super nice, heaps of friends bit, (and because of that we can forgive the bogan bit!). I think people who read, laugh, have fun and are creative are cool. I really don’t think sneans are cool.

Basically if everyone stopped worrying about ‘being cool’ and subscribing to this mythical list of qualities that noone seems to actually be able to accurately describe and started doing more of what they liked, they’d find the people who thought they were cool. Therefore, everyone would be cool, therefore noone would have self-esteem issues. Therefore, maybe there would be more happy people on campus.

And to think I’m studying law, have I ever mentioned that maybe I’m in the wrong field?

Ode to Palmerston North

Now that’s a title I never thought I’d write.

What a way to spend a Saturday morning, winding through the roads north of Wellington, the rolling hills, the sheep, the farmsteads, the KFCs. Classic. As was the guy who sat in front of me on the bus who I suspect was kicked out of some threatening gang for dressing too colourfully, nevertheless he had the knuckle tattoos and the nicotine addiction to make me suitably wary. I was so excited to go on my wee adventure that I got to the bus 20 minutes early (apparently that is not what the cool kids do). But cruising on the bus was great because you can’t do anything but eat and listen to your iPod. Of course I took my Law and Economics textbook with me, like I was going to read it anyway.

It was a bright, cold day on the flat plains of Palmy and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. There’s not much there but there’s enough and my old friend and I spent the afternoon taking in the sights of the place (that didn’t take too long) and just chatting away. I got to see the beautiful university campus, they even have a duckpond (take note Victoria Uni) and lots of trees and you can study anything animal related there – even how to look after horses! And they have a crop research centre, how interesting! That’s way cooler than having a commerce building, imagine saying to your mates at lunch “Hey what did you do this morning?” reply, “Oh, you know, just went down to the large animal research centre and took blood from a cow” and being all nonplussed by it, “oh yeah, cool.” I think a couple of cows and some sheep would brighten our campus right up.

I was there for 22 hours and PB and I only stopped talking to sleep for nine hours, needless to say, we caught up. But all in all, the fudge is amazing, the supermarket’s cheap, they still have emos, the ground’s flat and my friend’s there. Being spontaneous was great, I’m going to do more of that.

Surprise Surprise

A wee anecdote to start your Saturday morning, I’m in a bit of a rush you see, in an effort to be more spontaneous I’m off to see my friend in Palmerston North today (two hours away).

Anyway anyway anyway, yesterday morning I was having one of those ‘do I have to function today?’ days. I was making all sorts of deals with myself all morning about how to let myself off the hook. I even told myself that I wasn’t going to go to the gym, even though I secretly knew that at 5pm I’d make myself go. Walked out the door, and there were two parcels for me at the letterbox. One was a box, the other a big cardboard tube. The box was from Mum, it was actually one of her more normal packages (there have been some classics, such as a box full of mandarins, the one that had all the competition entry forms in it and the one with the Freddo frogs put into a snap-lock bag because she’d opened the packet and eaten some). Anyway, it contained honey and vitamin C and lollies. The tube was postmarked to be from the USA, not too strange I have some friends there, but the person who signed off for it was not anyone I know, even stranger.

I opened it up and inside was a poster with the Holstee manifesto on it. (this is it here http://shop.holstee.com/pages/about) It brought a tear to my eye as I read it then raced out the door to arrive in class suitably sweaty but just on time. I rang Mum to say thanks for the package and did she send the poster? No.

I asked RJ who is very close friend to whom I had just complained to about the uselessness of my over-priced education, was it her? No.

Hmmmm so with my Sherlock senses tingling I asked the only other person capable of such a well-timed surprise. And I was right. It was sent by my colocataire (french flatmate) who resides in Melbourne.

The real beauty of this story is that friends are all about timing, saying the right things at the right time, saying the wrong things at the wrong time (to which you crack up), sending you posters which scream at you what you should really be doing with your life. Friends who text you late on a Thursday to ask what you’re doing resulting in a trip to Palmy when there’s study to do, but happiness to be had. I love surprises.

 

Together – Alone

Today I managed to catch two contrasting interviews on the National programme. One was about Don Ritchie, the “angel of the Gap” who talked down as many as 150 suicidals from Sydneys most famous jumping spot, The Gap. Ritchie lived opposite and approached people who appeared to be on the brink to chat to them and invite them in for a cuppa.  What a great guy! What a brave, inspirational man. The other interesting one was about a guy called Chuck somebody who is going off to live on his own in a remote island in Alaska for six months. The interviewer commeneded him for his bravery and asked him all about what he did and what he expected to gain, would he go insane from solitude? What would he eat? What would his hut be made of?

I cannot help but condemn the latter man to the class of crazy. Not just crazy for going out into the wilderness, we all saw Into the Wild and at least that guy had a point, you know, “fuck money and commercialism and standards and shit” but this Chuck dude doesn’t seem to be like that, he’s doing it for the sake of it, to be amongst the beautiful mountains. I understand the need for solitude, I’m partial to a bit myself. But really, what’s the point of being alone? Don Ritchie spent his life proving to people that even in what they thought was their darkest hour, they weren’t alone, that someone would be there for them. Life is just too short to be spent not revelling in human interaction. Six months alone means you could miss it all, death, birth, love, life and it all being shared. I’m also all for proving things to yourself, that’s important too, but I really don’t think we can congratulate a man who chooses to go into the unknown alone. But a man who goes out on a limb to bring others back, now that is someone who sees the isolation and the beauty in life.

For more on Don Ritchie, who is defs one of my new heroes see http://news.sky.com/home/world-news/article/16228184

 

 

Porn – the new fairytales?

A little while ago I read an article in British Elle about how porn is ruining young men’s abilities to form proper sexual relationships because their expectations are marred by what they stream on the internet. It was a very interesting article with input from psychologists, sex counsellors and an excellent quote from everyone’s favourite sleaze, John Mayer (seriously, John, we do love you.) The premise was that guys expectations of sex are so wound up in what they see in porn flicks that the real world will not be sufficient and if anything, any attempts by girlfriends or sexual partners to imitate that is a turn off. Good argument. But I venture fourth another, equally sad one. If guy’s expectations and fantasies about sex are moulded by what they watch, thus making it difficult to face the prospect of real women, haven’t fairytales been doing the same thing for girls since the dawn of the written word?

We are fed these stories of handsome princes, who have money, good looks, charm and generous hearts. We are told that they will rescue us, be all we need and never be selfish, with our interests coming first, culminating in us riding off into the sunset. In these stories, whether they be Cinderella or modern day rom-coms like Notting Hill, we are shown images that are absolutely unrealistic. Here are these men who may be dorky or babe’in but they are somehow perfect and, what’s more, perfectly into you. So here we females go, watching media that we know is idealistic but ultimately feeds our imaginations, thus giving us expectations as unrealistic as girls with perky EE boobs. We expect that we will have ‘foot-popping kisses’ (Princesss Diaries) and that he will chase us through the rain (Four Weddings and a Funeral). How does this compare to our reality of young men who are obsessed with looks, who are intimidated by success and who won’t approach us when we are totally trying to flirt with them in the library?! Maybe if our expectations weren’t so high, our love loves wouldn’t be so constantly disappointing. So complain and condemn porn all you want, but maybe Garry Marshall films are equally to blame.

 

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