Red White and Blue

This sounds awful, but I never really understood the hype about military families.  

I never “got” the yellow ribbons, the “bring our troops home” bumper stickers, and all the fundraisers and drives to support soldier’s families.
I was not against recruiting in high schools, I was not against invading countries and I was anti drone.
And then my baby brother joined the army.
It started out when he met a recruiter in the high school gym and then faster than a sniper’s bullet he was enlisted and taking the ASVAP. 
Army Rangers, that’s what they want him to be, he told me. 
The news your flesh and blood will be in the military puts you into chaos. 
You are proud, extremely proud, that they want to live for a cause larger than themselves, and you are angry that they would be so reckless as to disregard their safety like that.
Mostly though, you are scared.  
I am not a hippy, I do not believe in world peace and I have no false hopes about the intentions of mankind, but the day my brother left for bootcamp I understood why people desperately hold onto the idea of a positive world. 
I am terrified of getting a call in the middle of the night. 
I am horrified that people somewhere want to kill my brother without even knowing him.
I am disgusted that he will be forced to take lives. 
I am afraid that he will be scared, or unsure and no one will be there to help him.
I am paralyzed by the idea that the military will change him and I cannot stop it.
All I can do now is wait.
I have no idea how people live with two or three generations of their family in the armed forces, the stress is unbelievable. 
I now know why they say “a country goes to war”, not just “the military is at war”; because when a soldier goes into combat so does his whole family. 

Let us Talk About Love

Dating has become such a train wreck of an endeavor for the modern human. Are you talking or just texting, fucking or dating, is that Instagram art or do you just think my tits are great? These questions invade a mind constantly and there is no answer. That is the joke. Dating today is a joke. 

As a practical feminist I hate to admit the puritanical binds that confined women and clearly defined dating were, for the most part, very functional.
You meet, you woo, you date, you marry, you fuck, have children and die.
The End.
So simple, so exact. 
This clinical approach, at first, appears dry and unromantic, but really the best love stories follow this pattern. 
Yes, there are variations that have breakups and drama peppered into the mix, but the result is always the same; pure and beautiful love.
Unfortunately, with women becoming more independent, social behavior becoming increasingly casual, and gender roles evolving there are no more guidelines. 
Dating under modern circumstances has completely perverted the process through which people are supposed to connect their souls.
Today it is constant breakup, betrayal, drama and confusion peppered with brief glances of what could be romance and love; and the end result is never happy. 
I met a boy drunk.
This is not a shocking or even remotely uncommon event, for girls my age.
I met a boy drunk and we thought we were fantastic. 
The problem is, that people meet in these situations and they bare their all under the influence of liquid courage and then it becomes impossible to connect under sobriety. 
You have seen this person at their most uninhibited and then suddenly, you are sharing a pot of coffee and bashful eye contact over eggs and awkward silence. 
You feel you know so much about that person.
I mean you only interact intimately and honestly when you’re both unhindered and the rest of the time you spend in frightened observation; a person is bound to learn things under those circumstances. 

So, while you are gathering observational knowledge, you also have to realize you know absolutely nothing about each other.  

A person knows everything and simultaneously nothing: It is this paradox, and this catch twenty two, that defines dating today. 

To one person this confusing interaction is defined as “fuck buddies.”
To another person this is a slowly moving relationship, where people are taking their time getting to soberly, and honestly, know each other.
It becomes an impossible situation because this “casual hook-up” meets “start crossed lovers” approach to finding a soul mate, then has the archaic rules of dating thrown in when convenient. 
A girl is suddenly a slut for sleeping with a boy, even though that boy is simultaneously seeing other women who are seeing other men!
A boy is expected to buy meals, but it is offensive if he holds the door for the lady.
A girl is expected to be reserved and lady like, but also one of the guys.
A guy is supposed to treat a girl as his equal and also as his trophy.

The change in language only exacerbates this hellish path to agony. 
Once upon a time, “I love you” meant, “I love you!” And then the world changed, and sex didn’t need love as a precursor and love did not need sex as a companion, so the meanings of this once heavy language became hallow and fake. 
“I like you a lot”: archaically, that means a person wants to date, today it usually means that the speaker is lonely and needs a body to warm their bed. 
“I am not seeing other people”: This use to mean, strictly, people were exclusive, but today it translates to the speaker meaning to say, “I haven’t found anyone better, yet.”
“You’re beautiful”: Once this was the highest respect you could pay another person. It is the speaker acknowledging the stunning and artistic features of another’s body and soul with adoration and respect. Nowadays it’s just a more polite way to say, “Fuck me, I’ll flatter you for a bit.”

This knot of a path would be worth it if there was an end, but it’s just a vicious, twisted and violent circle of hurt and broken hopes. 
The end all is not even that the journey is so painful, or that we keep embarking, praying to find a happy ending; it’s that when you have finally had enough, when you are broken and bloody, you are not allowed to be upset. 
As a modern lover, you are supposed to expect pain, loss, agony and emptiness.
It is the mark of a fool, if a person emerges from this war with the expectation of someone validating their emotions. 
All is fair in love and war.
When you are bloody, no one will patch you up.
When you are confused, there are no answers and you should not ask for them.
When you are angry, no one cares.
And when you are sad and empty, people will tell you to get up and fight on. 
People wonder why true love is so hard to find, it is because it no longer exists. 

The act of courting has become the medium for people to break each other and have it be ok.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” 

This is the best dating advice a person can give in the twenty first century.
Give no one your consent.


Tinkling Stars

My older sister gave me one of the most valuable pieces of advice, “No matter how much you have, remember, you are never better than anyone else.”

She delivered this gem over a glass of wine and heaping plates of Thai food, as a response to some bitchy quip I made, probably about the negligent wait staff.

I did not give her advice much weight, it seamed so cliche and irrelevant.

Nearly three years later I find myself working as an intern at a magazine that caters to the hoity toity of the Ocean State.
I love where I intern.
The people I physically work with are lovely; they’re educated, cultured and extremely trendy.
I write about cool topics, am able to dress nicely and I am allowed to feel, for at least two days of the week, that I have a job I love.
It could go to a girl’s head.

The office this magazine is based in keeps all the bathrooms locked. You have to retrieve the key from a set location and then unlock the door. Even though it is a multi stall room, because there is only one key (that I know of), you always end up having the whole bathroom to yourself.
This, obviously, has its advantages.

One day I went to use the restroom and found the door open and custodian cleaning it. He looked at me quickly, apologized and rushed out of the room so I could use it.
Before I told him I had no qualms about peeing in a stall while he cleaned the sink, he had gathered his supplies and scooted off.
It struck me that he was probably use to being treated like shit and looked down on by most people in the building.

I found this extremely funny because as I relieved myself I realized, in my humble opinion, that a person could have a PhD from Oxford, be married to a millionaire, and look like Lana Del Rey, but if I were that janitor and I came back into my clean restroom to find someone had peed on the toilet seat, to me you would just be some dumb bitch who couldn’t take a piss correctly.

With that realization, I finally understood the wisdom in the advice my sister gave me.

So, remember kids:
No matter how high and mighty you think you are, everyone skids the bowl once in a while.