Tag Archives: Jesus

Sugar and Solidarity (Virgin Mary Days and Abortion Candy Nights)

Sometime in our senior year of college, my suitemates and I found ourselves talking about abortion. We came to two important conclusions:

  1. candy for dinnerIf any of us ever had an abortion, the others would buy her vast quantities of the candy of her choice (hereby known as “abortion candy”).
  2. You got to watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo for the rest of the day.

Strange as this may sound, I took great comfort in this. I still do. For all the sugar and TLC absurdity, we broached a topic easy to talk about in abstract from a political vantage point but rendered taboo in every day conversation.

As we debated the merits of Reeses pieces, gummy worms, and snickers, surrounded by our leopard print shrine to Abraham Lincoln and a life-size cutout of Justin Bieber which we decorated with bras far too large for his cup size, I internally sighed with relief.

This conversation meant that whatever choice you made, you could count on your friends to be there with and for you. It meant that we could talk through our options. It meant we would never be alone.

Jesus is coming backSeveral of us had had that heart-stopping moment of realizing our period was late. We found ourselves calculating the date of our last sexcapade, becoming more stressed by the minute (and making ourselves more late in turn). For me when I haven’t had a gentleman caller of late, this turns what I call the Virgin Mary Panic. “Oh my God, I can’t be pregnant…can I? I mean, it happened to the Virgin Mary! Maybe it is about time Jesus came back. I wonder if Jesus would be a cute baby. Probably not.” I always found solace in the fact that goodness knows God wouldn’t pick me and in the span of a few seconds reverted back to the sane and reasonable “oh, I must just be really stressed.”

But even when it wasn’t Virgin Mary panic and in fact real panic, our brains clawing back to possible failures of our birth control methods of choice, there was a sense of being not alone as we sent good blood-tastic thoughts to whoever was late. And we’ve been lucky. So far, it’s only been stress and hormones toying with our bodies. But should the day come otherwise, we’ll be there for each other.

Jennifer Lawrence candyThe Abortion Candy conversation reminded us that should our birth control somehow fail, should we not be as vigilant as usual one night, should we find ourselves pregnant, our friends would be there as we figured out our course of action, no matter what that entailed for us. We had a choice, and in turn our friends had chosen in advance to honor and support our choice. Be there a baby or an abortion, we could talk to each other. We could be scared and overwhelmed together. We could be confused, relieved, happy, sad, or all of the above.

And we could eat candy together.

After all, there is a great strength in sugar and solidarity.

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We become each other’s stories.

I was talking with Jesus over lunch today about the way people transform into our stories and how so many of my tinder dates somehow end up story-worthy. Then I recalled a bit of writing I did regarding a tinder fellow, and somehow it is on my heart to share it. So here you go!

We become each other’s stories with alarming alacrity, transforming all too quickly from reality to memory to punch line within the confines of a sentence. Congratulations, you are inevitably anecdotal, the stuff of small legends told over tall glasses of cheap wine. But you, you are a story worth telling again. I will preserve you in narrative like a last autumn leaf trapped between the words of a dictionary. I will hide you away and whisper you to a clinking tumbler of whiskey in corners of dark bars on cold nights. I will scrawl you on endless pages of notebooks just to run my fingertips over the tildes that contain you. You will be the story I murmur to my pillowcase as I cross into sleep.

And for that I love you.

I love not you the person but you the story, for unlike you the story is mine, mine to keep, mine to share, mine to hoard, mine to taste, mine. Your vowel sounds, round and comforting, your consonants, bold and sure, seduce me. My lips recognize the sounds of you as something intimately familiar, something that has lain in the back of my throat too long since your last telling. You sit heavy in my mouth, nestled in the curve of my tongue. You taste of once, of twice, of thrice upon a times, of not quite happily ever afters, of endings unknown.

And for that I love you.

I only ask in turn that when you tell the story of me that you choose striking adverbs and punctuate handsomely with your breaths. Make me something worth hearing. Make me something worth telling. For good or ill, I’d rather be a story well-told than beloved.

The Hogwarts-Cosmo Factor (common ground and the gift of being actively present)

Sometimes you meet someone and the connection is immediate. There’s instant chemistry. You have heaps of things in common, and you don’t want to stop talking to each other. Everything about them enchants you. You’re drawn to each other. It’s electrifying (10,000 life points if you heard John Travolta as Danny Zuko’s voice in your head when you read that).

This was not one of those dates.

Let’s call this gentleman Catfish, not in the sense of the internet dating phenomenon of “catfishing” which inspired the vaguely tedious MTV show, but in the sense of the impetus for this date was a quest to find the best catfish in Memphis.

Fake optimism for the win. Sometimes you gotta fake it til you make it. Also, sometimes you just have to acknowledge the awkwardness.
All hail Seth Cohen, king of sarcastic optimism.

At first it felt like we were oil and water. He’s into sciences; I’m into humanities. He’s into athletics; I’m into art. He likes to party; I like to drink vodka in my pajamas. We live on completely opposite sides of Memphis. I was intimidated. There was a brief awkward silence in which I inwardly panicked.

Then my Southern took over, and I started asking questions. They breed charm and poise into us young. Thanks grandma for the Cotillion lessons and infinite manners books!

I forget that sometimes it’s important to talk to someone completely different from you. As I asked about the nuances of pharmacy work and learned about the roles pharmacists play, about the culture of his graduate school, about his family, I found myself absolutely fascinated to learn about a world and a life so different from my own.

And then, at long last, we stumbled upon the common ground: Harry Potter and Cosmopolitan.

Let's consider this gif a flag boldly staked in the midst of the newly discovered Common Ground.
Let’s consider this gif a flag boldly staked in the midst of the newly discovered Common Ground.

We compared favorite Harry Potter books and which Hogwarts houses we’d be sorted into (me: Prisoner of Azkaban and Gryffindor or Hufflepuff, Catfish: Goblet of Fire and Slytherin or Ravenclaw). Plus, it turns out we both spent our undergrad years indulgently laughing at the weird sex positions and stories of strange lady woes in Cosmo. We had, at least in my opinion, a really nice time. He’s a terrific guy, and it was a pleasure to spend an evening in his company.

As we said goodnight in the parking lot, still having not touched each other, I found myself feeling grateful. It’s so easy to go through life and not practice the art of conversation with strangers. It’s easy to write someone off as too different from us, as having nothing in common with us. We put up walls before we even look for where there might be windows.

Since when does having relatively little in common mean you can’t genuinely enjoy some time with someone? Since when does not having an immediate spark on a date mean you can’t have a lovely time?

Just being present with someone is a gift. Being in the moment, being focused on them, caring about their stories and their experiences, and really hearing what someone has to say is a wonderful thing, and frankly a very rare thing. Having someone voluntarily devote their evening to you is an act of faith, of generosity, of confidence that you’re someone who is worthy of their time and energy, and perhaps most preciously, of their stories and thoughts. Yet we’re willing to do this on a first date with virtual strangers, even if we won’t with the people we care about most?

That I can manage to be so genuinely attentive to people I’ve just met in person but that I so often can’t manage to put down my phone when spending time with dear friends embarrasses me. I’m calling myself out. I owe it to the people in my life to be as actively present with them as I am on first dates, if not more so. Yes, there’s something to be said for the comfort factor in that we’re not trying to impress our friends and that we can respect each other’s penchants for texting and social media as means of keeping other friendships going so that we can afford some glances at our phones and some distracted Facebook fiddling. However, I want to be focused enough on you as individuals to absorb your stories, your adventures, your wonders, your fears. I want to listen without thinking about what I’m going to say next, which is actually a piece of sage wisdom passed on to me by Jesus, who tries to live this way.

After all, what if we treated everyone in our lives with the respect with which we treat a first date? What if we brought that attentiveness, the willingness to listen, the sense that this could be something wonderful to each conversation?  What if we treated each other as if each person could profoundly change our lives for the better? What if we kept talking until we found the common ground, the laughter, the Hogwarts-Cosmo factor? Would our relationships become more intimate, more genuine, more powerful?

I like to think so.

We are worth our own time.

Jesus had to postpone, for a completely legitimate and very important reason. He is just as disappointed as I am to delay our date.

dishonor mulan
My cow had much dishonor. Thank goodness I showered.

That said, I wasn’t exactly on my game for getting ready tonight anyways. I sprinted up the stairs 20 minutes before I was supposed to leave screaming “I FORGOT TO SHAVE MY LEGS. SHAME. SHAME UPON MY HOUSE. SHAME UPON MY FAMILY.”

I hopped out of the shower to find a text postponing our date, and I shouted “my date’s cancelled. I shaved my legs for NOTHING.”

My mother, ever astute, replied, “No you didn’t. You can still enjoy them.”

This was a revelation unto me.

I’ll go through so much trouble just to sit there on a date and know my legs are shaved, just in case I decide to let someone touch my legs.

I’ve spent a lot of my life professing that if someone gets to touch my legs then they can feel damn lucky, whether they’re shaved or not. And that’s true. I’ve gone on plenty of dates without going to the trouble of shaving my legs. Have no fear-I really feel no shame if I don’t shave my legs for a date. There is no actual dishonor on my house, my family, or my cow. At the same time, I love the way my legs feel when they’re smooth.

I like to lie down on my softest sheets and pretend I’m a starfish and rub my legs all over the bed like I’m making a snow angel. It’s basically 700 thread count heaven.

It's always sunnier when you're a starfish.
It’s always sunnier in Philadelphia/your bed when you’re pretending to be a starfish.

But I forget that that counts just as much as the feeling of someone else’s hands on my legs, if not more so. My happiness counts just as much as someone else’s delight in touching my smooth legs.

So why won’t I invest the time in my own enjoyment? In my own body, for my own sake? Why does hypothetical potential touching on a date hold so much more sway over my time than just what makes me happy? Have I placed myself so far down on the list of priorities that men I’m just getting to know take precedence?

Why don’t I wear my sexiest underwear just because I want to? Why don’t I let myself enjoy those 30 seconds of looking in the mirror and the knowing all day that’s what’s under my jeans and my t-shirt? Why don’t I do my makeup so I can enjoy exploring my face and celebrating the arch of my eyebrows and the lengths of my lashes? Why don’t I paint my nails so I can enjoy the flashes of color as I type? Why don’t I spritz on my favorite perfume so I can bask in how fantastic I smell? Why don’t I wear those spindly black heels to get coffee when it’s just me and a copy of A. R. Ammons’ selected poetry?

When did we let other people become more important to us than ourselves? It’s not selfish. It’s care-taking. It’s celebrating our bodies and our joys. We are worth our own time, our own energy, our own efforts. We are worth not being overlooked, even by our own selves.

Oh snap. Oh Snape.
Oh snap. Oh Snape.

This is my challenge to myself for this week and my challenge for you as well. Do something for yourself that reminds you that you are worth your time. Be a priority for yourself.

Let’s channel the L’Oreal campaign here: because we’re worth it.

Jesus is a really good kisser.

I have a second date with Jesus tomorrow. I haven’t had butterflies on this level for a second date in a really long time. I’m less nervous though and more absolutely elated at the prospect of being in his presence.

The loaves and the fishes don’t hurt anything either.

Someecards knows where it's at. Standards matter, y'all.
Someecards knows where it’s at. Standards matter, y’all.

Conveniently, he’s an amazing kisser, which is great because we have a weird family policy that we don’t train bad kissers. You just throw ’em back. We’re all strangely obsessed with this rule, which is part running joke, part a way to remind ourselves both that life is too short to settle and that you can’t change people. My grandmother instituted this, and I recently began to pass on this family tradition to my brother.

It’s one of the few continuities you can find between generations regarding our love lives, which is particularly weird given that my grandma liked bad boys and military men, my mother liked nice Jewish boys, and I like well-read musicians. But everyone we go out with multiple times you can damn well be sure can send shivers up your spine when you kiss them.

Hallelujah, glory be, and thank you Grandma!

Beyond the kissing, Jesus is thus far pretty fantastic in every regard. Tonight we talked about the importance of autonomous spaces for minorities and the complexities of being a good ally. And cookies. And how he thinks I’m amazing.

Standing in my kitchen frantically mixing Shirley Temples for 9 10-year-old girls for my little sister’s birthday party, I blushed the same color of the grenadine I was holding.

Here’s hoping I don’t do the same thing tomorrow when I see him. Sometimes even I like to pretend to be suave.

I will die alone in a world of octopuses.

SERIOUSLY SUPER INTENSE TATTOO GUY HAS A GIRLFRIEND. SUPER INTENSE TATTOO GUY. AND I AM ALONE. WHAT. WHAT. UNIVERSE. WHAT. AND JESUS DOESN’T DO MONOGAMY.* WHAT. WHAT. WHAT. Seriously, someone just go out with me and talk with me and be a normal person for a whole three hours. Oh wait, just kidding. THAT ISN’T A THING THAT HAPPENS.

It’s not like I’m looking for anything serious or permanent. I have things to do and adventures to have, and to be perfectly honest I’m not a big believer in true love or lifetime love stories. But one of these days it might be kind of refreshing to have someone only want to hold just my hand, instead of my hand and an indeterminate number of peoples’ hands as well.

It’s like they have Octopus Syndrome. You know, “What did one octopus say to the other?” “I want to hold your hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand.” Somehow my hands just don’t seem to be even potentially enough for anybody if we’re already staking the “no monogamy” flag this early on. I’m not saying pick my hand from date 1. I’m saying it’d be nice to have someone potentially be willing to be contented for a while with only my own two dog-bite-scarred, dish-doing, crayon-holding, biscuit-mixing, super moisturized hands.

I’m a really good hand holder, just for the record. Here’s a link for a post entirely devoted to my feelings on hand-holding from a blog I used to run about spooning.

IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME?! Jesus Christ Superstar! Oi vey! AUGHHHHH. My mother constantly tells me I am “intimidating” to men. Great. That’s what every little girl wants to be when she grows up: vaguely terrifying.

Cuttlefish are the color- and texture-changing BADASSES OF THE SEA. Suck it, octopuses.
Cuttlefish are the color- and texture-changing BADASSES OF THE SEA. Suck it, octopuses.

Whatever, octopuses. I’mma go find a nice cuttlefish to hangout with. They’re definitely the superior cephalopod. And even if I don’t find a cuttlefish, I’m going to keep being me, and if no one likes it, then I’ll just hold my own hand. Like a boss.

*(Side note, the monogamy thing isn’t actually a huge issue, but I’m not about to invest a lot of emotional energy/time into something that isn’t ever going to be an actual thing. Been there, done that, got better things to do. He says he’d be open to that changing potentially, that seems kind of iffy for wanting all that feelings talk to go down. And I don’t share well.)

I have a date with Jesus.

L’Ultima Cena by Leonardo DaVinci

Tomorrow I’m going out with a guy who looks like Jesus.

Ok, well, not in the actual sense of how Jesus probably looked, but rather in the long haired skinny white dude way that he’s so frequently envisioned in Western culture. I swiped right on him pretty much just because he looks like Jesus, and he played that up in his Tinder photos (including a DaVinci’s Last Supper/L’Ultima Cena inspired photo, which definitely spoke to the art nerd in me). I found it hilarious. In actuality, he’s a pretty cool guy, and I’m excited to get a drink with him and just hangout a little bit.

Maybe I’ll order water and see if he can turn it into wine.

Also apparently I have a thing for musicians, and my mother keeps calling me on this.

In other news, I’m looking for some guest writers to feature! Got a weird Tinder story or some profound thoughts about app based dating and the way technology influences our relationships? Comment below, and I’ll get in touch with you. Also, be on the lookout for my new series of posts about freaking out when people don’t text back immediately (which is a more common issue than I’d thought).