The Dating Paper

In my second-to-last semester of college, I’m fulfilling one of my basic requirements by taking the course: Christian Marriage. Not like I’m in a hurry or anything… but relationships, in general, interest me. The way humans form bonds (that sometimes last a lifetime) is comforting, whether those bonds seem fateful and simple or incredibly complex.

This course is discussion-based so there’s a lot of freedom within the classroom. It’s a safe place. We trust each other and there’s no judgment so people tend to talk freely about sexuality, their past relationships, and their perspectives on marriage and religion. In class so far we’ve been discussing the early origins of marriage within religion, what sexuality really means, and we even sat down with two married professors to listen to their love story.

This week, however, was a little different. Our reading was on dating and hook-up culture and our first assignment is to interview 4 friends; two male, two female, on their thoughts on dating. Overall, the task was pretty broad, but I brought specific questions to the table and sat down with some of my closest friends.

Here are my list of prepared questions:

  1. Are you in a relationship currently? / When were you last in a relationship?
  2. How long did this relationship last?
  3. When was your last date?
  4. How was it?
  5. What did you do?
  6. Did you enjoy it? Explain.
  7. What was important to you about the last person you dated? What do you seek in a partner?
  8. Aristotle’s philosophy was that there were 3 specific types of ‘friendship’. Which would you describe your relationship as?
    1. Utility – “I need you.”
    2. Pleasure – “I want you.”
    3. Virtue – “We have the same values.”
  9. Are you religious?
  10. Does/Did sex play a role in your relationship?
  11. What are your thoughts on the dating landscape today?
  12. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about dating?
  13. What does dating mean to you?
  14. Would you ever like to get married?

#1

The first of my friends to be interviewed was probably the most honest – with me and herself. Her most previous relationship of four months ended last March. Her last date was dinner on Valentine’s Day. All was well… because she’d had a few glasses of wine.  I asked her where her head was at that moment in her relationship. “At that moment I was back and forth with myself. I didn’t know what to do.”

“He kept doing things I hated. He answered his phone in the middle of dinner. I remember he said that he doesn’t like wine because he thinks they’re all the same. For some reason that really bothered me. It just screamed immaturity and finally, I was like… Huh. Maybe this really isn’t right.”

As one of her best friends, I can attest to what an asshole he was. He just straight up sucked. They’d argue over their personal politics, he’d talk over and never listen to her, and he was inconsiderate to every feeling she’d ever had within their short-lived ‘relationship’. Describing him in 1 word: arrogance.

The Infamous ‘Talking’ Stage

She started to question her feelings. I then asked her what initially drew her to her past boyfriend. I mean, he had to have a few redeeming qualities that made her fall for him, right? “Well at first, I was attracted to his looks. And, he was really nice to me. He pursued me for a while and went out of his way to talk to me at the bar. He was only focused on me and I wasn’t used to that. We talked for a few weeks and spent some time together. He asked me to his lacrosse formal. I was like, ‘I hate this weird talking stage.’ And he was like, ‘Well, we can just skip that. I really like you. Let’s just date.’ And that’s how it happened.”

Ah, modern romance. How rare is it that one skips the confusing relationship limbo of ‘talking’ that plagues so many of us?

“What do you think about the “talking” phase of a relationship?” A general consensus arose between quickly that the talking phase is important (one friend even said absolutely necessary) at the beginning of a possible relationship simply because you’re not sure if your personalities mesh until you actually spend a little time together. However, extending past a month of “talking” is just an excuse not to commit.

A Greek Philosopher’s Take

I asked about Aristotle’s philosophy, “Aristotle’s distinguishes three characteristics that generate friendship, but he maintains that only the third is the perfect type. The first type is utility. People come together and become friends because they are mutually advantageous to one another. The second type is the friendship of pleasure. Like friendships founded on utility, these relationships are often unstable. (…) The perfect kind of friendship according to Aristotle is friendship founded on virtue. These relationships are stable since they are founded on the person’s character and character does not change quickly or often. (…) Among the most important (characteristics) are: desiring the good of the other, finding pleasure in the other, and being able to completely trust the other.”

When asking this question, I didn’t specify to my friends on which of the three Aristotle deemed the perfect fit. Friend #1 answered, “At first, it was pleasure and then it moved to utility. I lost interest in him and I didn’t realize it until I realized I only kept him around to do things for me.”

Friend #2, when asked replied simply, “pleasure.” And when I further explained each; utility, pleasure, and virtue, she went,

“Oh, yeah, we definitely don’t really have the same values on love. He doesn’t even believe in it. He doesn’t believe in being with one person forever either. Why am I still with him again?”

#2

She and her boyfriend have been together for about a year and a half. Their last date was in August because he just recently graduated and they’re trying to make their relationship work long-distance (they’re from different states). They went to dinner, chatted normally, and enjoyed each other’s rare company.

“When we first started talking, he was very different than how he is now. He was very funny, very forward, he would ask to do things with me and hang out a lot. He told me I was beautiful. Now, it’s not really like that.”

And when asked what dating meant to her, she responded ironically, “Dating is figuring out who you want to be with for the rest of your life.” Although stuck between letting go of this relationship and holding onto it by a thread, she also sees dating positively, “I’m definitely optimistic. Hopeful.”

The Man’s Perspective

I got way more out of my girlfriends than my guys, but the men were also really insightful a lot more forthcoming than I expected. Ultimately, they looked for the same things in their significant others as the girls did. They felt sex played a bigger part in their relationships and they both categorized their relationships in the Aristotle’s pleasure category. Not surprising, but still valid.

There was a moment each of my male friends got quite heated and that was when I asked about our dating landscape in today’s society.

“I think people are trying too hard to make dating something it’s not. There’s too much comparison and social media almost makes things awkward. There are so many ways to communicate and a lot out there to misinterpret. Feelings end up getting hurt for no reason and it ends up hurting your relationship.”

Why Did I Even Do That?

“Sometimes I feel guilty about a hookup because I’m like, “why did I even do that?”

The article that helped explain that feeling was one that we’d just been assigned in class: Premarital Sex in America: Data on How Young Emerging Adults Meet, Mate, and Think About Marrying, where the author describes and compares sexual regret among conservative and liberal Americans.

They state, “If you believe pornography and cohabitation and premarital sex are wrong, then you will likely feel guilty when you misstep, but at least you know where you stand. Liberals have a hard time articulating what they, in fact, believe about sex, tending to fall back on a radical tolerance that does not always square well with the emotional weight of the matter.”

Basically, this article is describing ‘loose’ liberals as morally confused – and I can relate. In America, the land of extremes, we’re either preached to about abstinence from the right or told that we can be as sexually free as we feel comfortable with from the left. Both are valid, yet the right’s agenda has a set of rules to follow and guilt that comes with breaking those rules, whereas the left’s doesn’t necessarily. There are no rules when it comes to promiscuity – you have to make them for yourself, so obviously you will misstep and more often than not your own background (religious or otherwise) will have an impact on your production of those rules.

This paper allowed me to examine a lot of what I already knew about the dating landscape of my generation – and I learned a lot about my friends, too. I almost think this assignment did them more good than it did me.

Whether our relationships work out or not, it’s always interesting to dissect the bonds we create to better understand ourselves and our significant others. Sometimes the result turns out better than others… (#2 broke up with her boyfriend shortly after our interview.)

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Environmentally, Consciously Chic: Jaden Smith

Jaden Smith, the ever-evolving, philosophical tweeter, son of Jada and Will, but also a rapper, an actor, fashion designer, and eco-entrepreneur. This past year, Smith began to wow his peers in the rap community (as well as the rest of us) as he dropped Syre, his debut studio album that he described as, “his love letter to the world,” through MSFTSMusic and Roc Nation.

Although seemingly a jack-of-all-trades in entertainment, Smith seems to have a greater mission in mind. For the past 9 years, Smith has been working on JUST Water. JUST Water is just that – packaged natural spring water. It was only two years ago that he publicly admitted his involvement within the business – because, as he told People, “We wanted to organically grow as a company without saying ‘Smith family water’ because it’s really not that – it’s water for the people.”

82% of every bottle is plant-derived – recycled paper and sugarcane act as this water’s sustainable and completely bio-degradable shell and compared to the standard plastic water bottle, there’s a 74% reduction in carbon emission impact. (*Cough* Dasani, Poland Spring, Aquafina, etc.) JUST is a certified B Corporation, USDA Organic, Forest Stewardship Council certified, and Rainforest Alliance Certified.

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The water is sustainably sourced, too. It’s not purified tap water. Purifying tap water is energy intensive and believe it or not, wastes water during the process. JUST water is naturally occurring spring water. It’s simply just water. GEt it

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And I even have a personal link to the brand. JUST partnered with Glens Falls, NY (a community I’ve been to and am very fond of as a lifelong resident of northern NYS). The company bottles excess water the community wouldn’t otherwise need – and they pay 6x the municipal rate for it. The city uses the revenue to make repairs and keep up with renovating aging infrastructure.

The JUST website is filled with helpful information, a vivid mission and a vision for a future sustainable planet earth. Their team partners with environmental experts and does business fairly – it’s JUST right. JUST recently came out with a few flavored water options, too. Organic Apple Cinnamon, Organic Tangerine, or Organic Lemon are now offered. A bundle of 24 totals to $44.99 – so each water comes out to about $1.80 which is not bad considering the hefty prices of organic anything these days.

His efforts with JUST Water add to and emphasize his ever-changing ideals and drive as a creator (and decent human-being) in the public eye. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more from Jaden Smith, whether it be changing the world through his music or his eco-efforts. Until then,

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and drink JUST Water.

Images/diagrams sourced from JUSTwater.com.

My Lollapalooza Experience

If you’re unfamiliar, Lollapalooza is an annual music festival held in Grant Park, Chicago, IL. It’s usually held the first weekend of August and is known for huge crowds, delicious food (Chow Town), and above all, incredible headliners. This year’s included big names like Bruno Mars, Travis Scott, Post Malone, Vampire Weekend, Logic, and The Weeknd.

Although it’s a four-day music festival, my friends and I opted for the cheaper route of attending only one day: Friday – and we saw and experienced plenty.

Let’s get into it.

First of all, the weather forecast for Friday, August 3rd in Chicago, Illinois was 95 degrees. Pair the temperature with a million people, add alcohol, and you’re in store for a whole lot of porta-potty lines. Probably TMI, but I spent a lot of time in lines with sweaty people with full bladders.

We took the red line from Molly’s apartment to Grant Park, our bodies varnished in glitter and iridescent fanny packs in tow, arrived around 1:30 and were greeted by a deep pit of people: the line to enter. After 25-30 minutes of waiting and sneaking past unsuspecting Lolla-goers (well, sort of. One person yelled at Brittany. Whatever.), we finally reached bag checks and entry.

Once finally in the park, it was overwhelming. Buckingham Fountain greeted us, as did our friend Jesson (who went to ALL FOUR DAYS. God bless him.) There were thousands upon thousands of people going in every direction. You really had to be careful to not get lost or lose your people. And if you weren’t familiar with the park, finding the artist you wanted to see was a bit of a challenge. Lollapalooza is broken up into eight different stages in Grant Park – and they do supply you with plenty of information on when specific artists are playing and where, plus you can download the app. But I mean, who even remembers the app when the time comes? I don’t.

The hilarious tweet that is this post’s featured photo is absolutely true as well – I truly felt as though at least half of the Lolla-goers were under 18. I almost evaporated.

To be completely honest, the first few hours of Lolla were a blur. I was in complete sensory overload… and I’d had a few drinks. We saw a few songs from each of Bebe Rexha and Lizzo’s sets, then we headed for CHOW TOWN. Chow Town is offered by local food vendors and is actually fairly reasonable in price, but the real attraction for us was the lobster corn dog. Molly brought up that she’d heard about this delicacy and decided it was an essential addition to our Lollapalooza experience. And it was bomb.

After hydrating at one of the many hydration stations (we brought in our own empty water bottles. You’re only allowed an empty water bottle up to 36oz. upon entry), we headed to Post Malone’s hour set. He’s one of the grungiest artists in modern day hip-hop/pop/whatever, but he’s undeniably talented and despite the ‘Always Tired’ tattoos that cover his under-eye area, he brought his all during this performance. After one of his many hits, I Fall Apart, the crowd started chanting ‘F— That B—-“. You go, Austin Post. F That B.

Soon after Post’s set, we headed for Brockhampton and I was truly pumped. We caught all of BLEACH, but ended up leaving shortly after to secure a good spot at Bruno Mars. And we really did. Bruno was phenomenal and at certain points in his performance fireworks went off which made the whole experience really cool. Bruno sang his hits – and one of my favorite songs ever, Just The Way You Are, and when I say it’s one of my favorite songs ever, I mean it. When it came out in 2010, I was thirteen. The song came out during the genesis of my adolescence. I  will always know every word.

Walking the streets after Lollapalooza was officially over (for the day, at least) I felt my whole body collapsing limb by limb from exhaustion. Once I didn’t have the distraction of enormous crowds of tweens, teens, and others, I felt true fatigue. My head, shoulders, knees, and toes were dragging and all I wanted was a shower. But funneling into the streets of Chicago with thousands of other people was almost comforting – everyone was tired, but everyone seemed content and fulfilled. It was nice.

Sweaty, tired, and dirty, we took the train back to Molly’s. In each of our consecutive showers, we each blew our noses and dirt came out. It’s fine. We’re clean now.

The next day we woke up and were sore, but happy. I’m not sure if I’d ever go to another music festival again, but who knows. It was an incredible experience – and I’m doubly glad I got to experience it with the people that I did. See you later, Lolla.

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Playlist 3: Oldies

 

  1. Summer Breeze – Seals and Crofts
  2. Rhiannon – Fleetwood Mac
  3. Jolene – Dolly Parton
  4. Blue Bayou – Linda Ronstadt
  5. Happy Together – The Turtles
  6. Photographs and Memories – Jim Croce
  7. Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles
  8. Helplessly Hoping – Crosby, Stills, & Nash
  9. Dedicated To The One I Love – The Mamas & The Papas
  10. Everything I Own – Bread
  11. Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin
  12. Hummingbird – Seals and Crofts
  13. Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver
  14. Ventura Highway – America
  15. White Room – Cream
  16. Tom Sawyer – Rush
  17. Under Pressure – David Bowie
  18. Black Dog – Led Zeppelin
  19. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
  20. Hotel California – Eagles
  21. Call On Me – Big Brother & The Holding Company
  22. Green-Eyed Lady – Sugarloaf
  23. Time In A Bottle – Jim Croce
  24. Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In – The 5th Dimension
  25. That’s What Friends Are For – Dionne Warwick
  26. Easy – Commodores
  27. Ben – Michael Jackson
  28. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – Elton John, Kiki Dee
  29. You Make My Dreams – Daryl Hall & John Oates
  30. A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke
  31. September – Earth, Wind & Fire
  32. The House of the Rising Sun – The Animals
  33. Rescue Me – Fontella Bass
  34. For Once In My Life – Stevie Wonder
  35. (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding
  36. Raindrops Keep Fallin On My Head – BJ Thomas
  37. Manic Monday – The Bangles
  38. Kashmir – Led Zeppelin
  39. Enter Sandman – Metallica
  40. Dancing Queen – ABBA
  41. Kiss – Prince
  42. Day Tripper – The Beatles
  43. The Spirit of Radio – Rush
  44. Superstition – Stevie Wonder
  45. Call Me – Blondie
  46. Crazy On You – Heart
  47. What About Love – Heart
  48. People Are Strange – The Doors
  49. Sunshine Of Your Love – Cream
  50. In The City – Eagles

Listen on Spotify.

Playlist 2: L-O-V-E

This playlist is one I’ve had on my Spotify forever. I often delete old playlists or shuffle music around every month or so, but this playlist remains untouched. I LOVE every one of these love songs.

  1. L-O-V-E Nat King Cole
  2. You’re Still The One – Shania Twain
  3. Love On Top – Beyonce
  4. A Sunday Kind of Love – Etta James
  5. Stand By Me – Ben E. King
  6. Love On The Brain – Rihanna
  7. Make You Feel My Love – Adele
  8. Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley
  9. All of Me – John Legend
  10. Your Song – Elton John
  11. At Last – Etta James
  12. Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
  13. My Girl – The Temptations
  14. Killing Me Softly With His Song – Roberta Flack
  15. Eternal Flame – The Bangles
  16. Dream A Little Dream of Me – The Mamas & the Papas
  17. Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars
  18. Be My Baby – The Ronettes
  19. Michelle – The Beatles
  20. I’ll Be There – The Jackson 5
  21. Put Your Head on my Shoulder – Paul Anka
  22. Love For Sale – Eartha Kitt
  23. Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart) – Diana Ross / Marvin Gaye
  24. The End of the World – Skeeter Davis
  25. Sh-Boom – The Chords
  26. That’s Amore – Dean Martin
  27. My Funny Valentine – Nina Simone
  28. Love Me Tender – Elvis Presley
  29. I’ll Have to Say I Love You In A Song – Jim Croce
  30. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Diana Ross
  31. Who’s Lovin’ You – The Jackson 5
  32. Crazy – Patsy Cline
  33. When A Man Loves A Woman – Percy Sledge
  34. This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) – Natalie Cole

Listen on Spotify.

As Uncomfortable As It Is

I’ve been struggling with sharing my blog. The feeling is akin to revealing my diary containing my deepest, darkest secrets to the world. Scary, right?

I’ve been thinking a lot about improving my online presence but I’m a pretty private person. Not only that, but at times I feel I’m not interesting enough or as though I’d never suffered through or experienced any extreme, life-altering circumstances that would be captivating enough to write about. I grew up in a rural area, in a middle-class family, the daughter of a high-school English teacher. I live a pretty normal life and I’m just trying to live and learn as I go. This thought led to me asking myself in self-depreciating doubt – why would anyone even want to read my blog or take any advice from me?

Then, I thought of all the stupid blogs I see every single day. That people actually read.

I have plenty to share. And just because I haven’t gone through something extreme doesn’t mean that I don’t offer a unique perspective.

I’ve been reading different takes from first-time bloggers and at some point they had similar fears, too. From everything I’ve read, the light at the end of the tunnel seemed to be the connection they made with their followers. And, that sometimes the scariest pieces to write are the pieces that people genuinely connect with.

What I need to remember, though, is that the internet has a long-term memory. The internet’s memory is comparable to a bottlenose dolphin (they can remember their dolphin friends after 20 years apart. Beat that elephants.) That’s the scary part for me. Right now, I’m no one. But in 20 years, who will I be?

Playlist 1: SOUL SONGS

Here’s a peek into one of my personal playlists: Soul Songs. Every song on this playlist speaks to my soul; they’re soothing, passionate, and centered around love. If I’m taking a contemplative car ride, this is what I play.

  1. Butterfly – UMI
  2. Haiku – Nai Palm
  3. February 3rd – Jorja Smith
  4. Best Part (feat. H.E.R.) – Daniel Caesar
  5. Quite Like You – Andy Shauf
  6. Slipping – Eryn Allen Kane
  7. We Find Love – Daniel Caesar
  8. Mystery of Love – Sufjan Stevens
  9. Sweet Creature – Harry Styles
  10. Emotion – Destiny’s Child
  11. Sunrise – Norah Jones
  12. Song Cries and Amens – Grace
  13. Library Magic – The Head and the Heart
  14. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
  15. Streetcar – Daniel Caesar
  16. Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand – Leon Bridges
  17. Village – Cam

Listen on Spotify.

Moodboard: Eartha Kitt

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I don’t have to be wealthy and rich. My spirit is a valuable commodity.”

Eartha Kitt poses in character as Catwoman for the television show "Batman" in 1967.PHOTO: The one and only Eartha Kitt ~ She and that recognizable voice and what a character ~ lived a LONG LONG LIFE!!! Women In Shorts (Maybe) Cause Car CrashEartha Kitt as Catwoman — Batman, Season 3 (1967-68, ABC)

I’m not black and I’m not white and I’m not I’m not pink and I’m not green. Eartha Kitt has no color and that is how barriers are broken.

Eartha Kitt - 1959 Photographic Print by Isaac Sutton at Art.comEartha and daughter Kitt playingEartha Kitt - 1959 Photographic Print by William Lanier at AllPosters.com

Concertos on the G String by Baroque Malone

This past semester, I was in a class called Music Marketing. My professor, Dr. Barretta, taught us the ins-and-outs of the music industry and arranged for us to meet with ‘Rev. Moose‘, the Managing Partner/Co-Founder of Maurader Group, a music marketing firm based in NYC, over Skype. He explained his role within the company and how needs are constantly evolving with the rise of technology. We ended up doing some work for him and some of the bands he represented which ended up being really cool.

What I really liked about this class, though, was our major assignment/project – to re-brand an already existing artist. My group chose the grungy, ever-endearing Post Malone. The first half of our project was to better understand the typical Post Malone fan. First, we had to do a little research on his background and how he ended up a mega-star.

A Syracuse, NY native until he moved to Dallas, TX when he was 10 years old, Post Malone is a musical artist specializing in Hip-Hop, Contemporary R&B, and Rap Rock. He rose to fame on Soundcloud and was soon sought after following the release of White Iverson (2015). He released his first album Stoney in 2016. Now, he’s the 8th most-played artist on Spotify, on Soundcloud he has 63.7 million plays, and utilizes cross-promotion by being active on social media platforms like Facebook (1.7M likes), Twitter (3.09M followers), Instagram (7.4M followers), and Snapchat.

His most important platform, by far, is Twitter. While Twitter is his most used form of social media, it’s also his realest. His unapologetic and uncensored tweets are millennial and Gen-Z crack. People in these categories eat up transparency in the media. More than ever before, fans know more about and are more invested in artists’ lives. He also engages quite a bit with his audience.

Here’s our full analysis of the typical Post Malone fan:

Post Malone: Fan Profile

The second half of our project was a bit trickier. When the time came, Dr. Barretta announced what musical genre we would re-brand our artists as. Post Malone would be a classical Baroque artist. Perfect.

Luckily, my group and I are creative geniuses and made it work. Thus, Baroque Malone was born.

Take a look at our presentation and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Post Malone: Rebrand

My favorite part and my own personal touch that completes the project:

Concertos on the G String by Baroque Malone

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Now that’s a work of art.