The Art and Etiquette of Sharing Food Tuesday, Aug 10 2010 

If I had it my way, I would have a bite of everything off of a menu.  Usually when I order this wish, the waiter stares at me like I have five heads.  Rather than being a food critic, where I know that I would be much too full to even think about writing after a meal, I am a food sharer.

Sharing food can get messy!

As much as I love sharing plates and opening taste buds to a variety of foods, I understand that there are certain rules of etiquette that must be applied to the art of sharing.

Rule #1.            Must be with close friends or a close family.  (Dad reaching a fork onto your plate without asking does not count).  When it comes to close friends and family, you should be able to determine what each person is going to order before they have decided.  Therefore, you should know with whom it is wise to share food.  Do not yell across the table, but if you happen to be ordering the exact same thing as someone, suggest to share that dish and order something else of shared and complimented interest.  This should be effortless.

You:  Oh, I was also thinking of ordering the fettuccini alfredo.

Choice share-mate:  Okay, you order that and I will give you half of… how does chicken parmesan sound?

Hannah Theuerkauf and I feed each other delicious bites of our meals.

Rule #2.            Must be the right type of food.  Certain restaurants are more share-friendly than others.

Key share-delicacies:

-Fondue

-Sushi

-Sandwich

-Pizza

-Dessert

-Chinese Food at any scale  (most ethnic foods seem to be good share foods actually)

If the occasion calls for food to be shared, than by all means stretch your palette.  Places that serve foods like fondue and pizza are great to share because they are large sizes that suit the majority of diets.  Simply agree on toppings and mixes that multiple people will like and since company is more important than food, please be flexible and do not go crazy.

Cheese fondue is perfect for sharing and has multiple forks to do so.

Sushi happens to be the best way to share food.  Because each roll of sushi is so creatively different from another, it is interesting to select a variety of rolls to share.

Chinese food is an obvious share food because eating an entire carton of chicken and broccoli would not only be boring, but it would be unsatisfying.  (momentary and 2 hour later disappointment). Perhaps because so much of Chinese food is cooked in similar sauce, it is smart to order different meats and vegetables to create a delicious square meal.

Rarely is dessert ordered when going out to eat.  However it is nice to order something special for a birthday or some sort of celebration.  The restaurant pushes sharing since they provide the table with more than one spoon.  Do it.

Rule #3.            Must be the right atmosphere.  Please only share food in appropriate environments.  Stray away from mixing plates around at upscale restaurants and learn to distribute food correctly.

While lunch cafés are a very safe place to trade food like sandwich halves, a dim lit restaurant parlor is not the place to bargain a menu.  (On the practical side, high-end restaurants usually only give a pretty little portion of food, so sharing would be impossible anyway).

When sharing food, nicely ask the waiter for an extra plate before evenly separating the meal.  Then place the other half on the new plate and pass.  Allow compensation for any extra sauces and always be fair.  The extra plate is a must and smoothens the sharing equation.

Last but not least:  Enjoy the delights of food together and having fun in common.  Eat within reason and savor what you have.

Not only does sharing food create a bond, but does it help not overeat while out.  It is enjoyable to try a few things on the menu and fight over what you liked best.

Bite for bite? I can't resist.

Personally, I do not want as much food as long as I am able to try a bite or two of a few interesting dishes.  Perhaps versatile eating is a carefree and adventurous diet of its’ own.  This would explain the phenomenon of tapas bars, which offer several unique appetizers in place of one meal.  Since this is more of an urban cuisine, I must be loyal to the art of sharing.  Bon appetite!

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Learn from not quite perfect dating experiences Thursday, Jul 15 2010 

Hormones, hormones, hormones.  I blame them.  They are the reason we end up in the most awkward situations with the opposite sex, i.e. the date.  The buildup of hormones explains why we feel butterflies in our stomach as well as other feelings that may be too sexually inappropriate for a College Lifestyles blog.  Regardless to the chemical stimulation, we are in college and it is fun and natural for guys to want to be around girls and vise versa.

Hormones, hormones, hormones! This is how we work it.

Pleased to meet you, I am a stuttering estrogen maxed out goof who has a dating experience to make your head spin.  My father is only sane because I inform him that I am joining the convent or going to play bingo every time I walk out the door with a different guy.  From the amateur moments where I learned how to kiss, to the serious and great relationships I have had, there are a few hysterical dates that stand out enough to either make me blush or to simply laugh to tears- but who are we kidding, that could be the progesterone.

Carly rolls her eyes as she recollects dating silly guys.

Let’s start with the, “The Creepy Cuddler.”

The summer before going into college, my family and I lived on Fire Island.  Picture a small beach town with sidewalk roads made only for bicycles and a quaint row of restaurants and bars ready to fulfill ultimate partying and grooving.  It was in the beauty of Fire Island that I met an outgoing and fun blue-eyed guy who we will call, “Elvis,” due to his side burns.

Elvis and I played volleyball at the beach, boogie boarded in the ocean waves, and drank Snapple Apple from the endless supply in his mini fridge since his father worked for Snapple.  Perhaps because we were so active and usually hanging out with groups of friends, I was blind to his ultra- sensitive side.  Don’t get me wrong, emotions are perfectly normal.  But there is a fine line between honest feelings and nauseating behavior.  Nothing prepared me for Elvis’s little cherished hobby.

As he nestled his head on my shoulder to confess his bedtime secret, he shared that he most enjoys snuggling with his mother.  Take into account that Elvis was 19 years old when he confided this information.  This is when I made my speedy escape, and found something more entertaining to do than cuddling.  Even bingo won that time.

Next is, “The date heard around the world.”

Also a summer fling, I met this lumber jack-esque guy through friends.  For kicks, we shall refer to him as Paul Bunyan.  He had a very dry sense of humor and crunched his posture to fit in his too-small car.  The two of us were complete opposites.  When we went bowling he attentively kept score on the computer screen while I moon walked to the lane to inevitably toss the bowling ball into the gutter.  However my friends liked that he could balance my silly behavior.  It turned out that Mr. Bunyan could be even sillier than me.

Paul Bunyan and his Babe. Hopefully the ox will be a better companion than me.

Just as I had mentioned that hormones exist, so does flatulence.  Everyone has a different opinion of what one has the liberty to call, “farting.”  When Dr. Oz said on Oprah that it was “unhealthy” to hold in a fart, men around the world suddenly felt in style.  Since Oprah has not yet farted publicly on the show or among her many media outlets, I can assume that it is still not safe for women to openly fart.  Personally, I let it go with my brothers who will only laugh and then outdo me.  (Seriously, like on command powers.)  Besides not eating corn before a date, it is also unacceptable to fart on a date.  Poor Paul Bunyan was not informed.

As I was making us drinks in my kitchen, he farted.  Loudly.

The aftermath moment was silent and stunning.  But then I just burst into laughter.

He was stone cold and completely ignored his gas blowing stunt.

Rather than join me, he waited for me to contain myself and then proceeded on with, “How about them Yankee’s” conversation.  If he had laughed it off, everything would have been fine.  Instead, all I could hear was that fart when I looked at him and the fling could no longer go on.  Poof! (No pun intended.)

In college and out of college we will deal with weird secrets, farting, and hormones.  The bottom line is that nobody is perfect.  Within this realm of our youth, we are trying to figure out so much, let alone about the opposite sex.  Many of us are enrolled in summer courses to better advance our education to do the best we can upon completion of college.  Yet we still make minute decisions like whether or not we would like to continue dating someone.  Go with your gut instinct.  (But not necessarily his gut).  Realize that we are in the same shoes as classy college co-eds and are hoping to enjoy ourselves today.  Date or not, it is important to acknowledge people for what you like about them.  Standards are fine, but there is no point in focusing on them until truly knowing a person.  Have fun, smile big, and be yourself.

L’Chaim! Exhilarating Israel Wednesday, Jul 7 2010 

Just recently, I traveled to Israel on an organized and spectacular Birthright trip.  Birthright, or in Hebrew, ‘Taglit,’ is a gift to young Jewish people such as myself to visit Israel for 10 days free of expense.  Thanks to my pushy grandmother, I signed up for the trip of a lifetime and received a plane ticket and a packing list in my email inbox.  For weeks, I waited in anticipation for a voyage to the fairy tale land I had heard so much about in Hebrew school.  While friends and relatives were all excited for me to experience a new country as meaningful as Israel, my mother was concerned that I would suddenly become religious, marry an orthodox Israeli, and have too many babies.  Well now I have returned without a ring on my finger, but with an overwhelmingly beautiful experience that I would not trade for one million shequels.  (Israeli currency)

Each Birthright group from the United States and from Canada consists of about 40 Jewish young adults aged 18-26.  Our group was a great mix of guys and girls who shared the same idea about traveling through the New Jersey-size country of Israel.  In order of most popular to least spoken, we all wanted to ride camels, see the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and float in the Dead Sea.  Yes, these exciting activities were fantastic.  My camel’s name was Aladdin, the Western Wall was bone chilling and accepted prayers for our families, and playing in nutritious mud and dancing in the Dead Sea was incredible.  However when I reflect my entire experience in Israel, I have a different opinion of what the trip means to me now.

After stretching my legs in what was rightfully Ben Gurion airport, I hopped on the bus with the rest of our group called Young Judaea 22-16.  My trustee deck of cards helped me make friends as we started a poker game using skittles as gambling chips.

The tour bus headed through the desert to the South of Israel.  The first night was in sets of random roommates.  Although we all came on the trip independently, it was funny to see how we knew each other through mutual friends and coincidences.    The guard who accompanies our trip with a protective gun brought out his guitar and played, “The Sultans of Swing,” by The Dire Straights.  Interestingly enough, the clubs and bars throughout Israel play American music.  Out of all the Israeli music we were exposed to, I most liked the band called, “Balkan Beat Box.”  They are a very upbeat brass band with a hint of soul- check them out.

‘Boker Tov,’ which means ‘good morning,’ in Hebrew is the word that most resonates in my memory since we rose quite early every morning.  Personally, I like to start early when traveling to see as much as possible.  Looking back at the nights our group spent hanging out till late hours and rising early makes me wonder how we kept up our energy.  Although the most foreign aspect of our trip was sleep, we all wiped tons of sunscreen on, tied sneakers on our feet, and eagerly went out to hike.

I am glad that our first activity together was a hike because nothing brings people closer than the sticky sweat pouring off our bodies.  We explored the desert which possesses a surreal beauty that is locked in the stillness of endless sandy hills.  As hot as it was, there was always a refreshing breeze and an earthy smell.  On the night of our first hike, our tour guide, Gil, who was incredibly brilliant, walked us to an area away from civilization in the middle of the desert.  Just as he made every place and monument fascinating, he told us to march off into individual paths and sit alone to think.  Of course, my good friend and I could not keep quiet as we discovered a smooth patch of desert we claimed, ‘Camel-lot.’  Upon settling in Camel-lot, we sat down silently to gaze up at a glistening starry sky.  In a desert so full of open space, you almost feel like you are hiding.  Imagine what it feels like to be quiet in the quiet.

Perhaps my goofy side displayed in the desert explains why I get along so well with children.  Israeli children are never told, “Don’t talk to strangers.”  They are in your face and ready to play.  When we were told that we would be volunteering at a school with little children, I was totally psyched.  However, being thrown into a clustered room with children ranging from age 7-12 who do not speak English was quite difficult.  Since I have never been good with rules, I decided to make an escape plan.  As the two sweet girls in front of me were coloring, I drew a picture of a tree and pointed out the window.  Any pictionary amateur would understand that meant, “Let’s go play outside.”  So the girls and I ran outside and started a game of tag, which they called, ‘nefessit’ in the courtyard.  Soon other children joined, and bases were formed.  A few boys brought out a soccer ball and thanks to my clumsiness (Jews like me prove the stereotype that we are not athletic), I wiped out in a pile of mud.  The boys dragged me to their classroom where they all competed in giving me napkins to clean off.

Once I wiped mud away with 12 different napkins, I had to worry about time and run to the bus.  In fact, I was always running to the bus.  It is more than a good thing that Israeli soldiers joined our group, because real Israeli’s are ’15 minute late people’ just like me.  On the third day, eight Israeli soldiers, half boys and half girls, became a part of our group.  In Israel, it is mandatory to join the army called the Israel Defense Forces at age 18.  Both young women and men join the army where they choose a unit that best suits their skills.

The IDF said, “Going through the demands and rigors of army life on a totally egalitarian basis forges a common identity that totally transcends social and economic groupings.”

Girls are obligated to serve for just less than two years while boys must serve three years.  They choose a military program that sometimes helps build a profession later on.

Each soldier must follow four guidelines:

-Set a good example.  By wearing a uniform, one is a representative of their country and must have good values that are followed through with good behavior.

-Comradeship.  A soldier is expected to risk their life for a fellow soldier by not deserting one wounded on the battlefield.

-Avoid politicization.  A soldier must be modest and not accept biased gifts or favors from anyone.

-Be professional.  Each soldier must grow in their particular course so that they acquire the skills needed for a meaningful task.

My good friend Hemda Ben Zvi, who was a soldier on my Birthright trip told me, “There is a treasured peace among us that we developed being each other’s wingmen and mates during challenges.”

While they bond over life threatening and serious moments, we Americans bond over parties and social groups like a sorority.

As I contemplated the difference between our duties as American youth and the duties of Israeli youth, I had to wonder about fundamentals.

I must also add that despite Israel’s more intense and unified responsibility, they are just like us.  The first question they asked upon joining our Birthright group was, “When can we take our uniforms off?”

They still want to enjoy life, make friends, and be goofy.  After the first initial meeting of the soldiers who joined our group, we forgot that they were any different as we became one big family.

Although the soldiers may have been familiar with Shabbat, many of us were curious and looking forward to spending Shabbat in Israel.  In Judaism, Shabbat begins at sundown on Friday to celebrate the completion of a busy week.  This period of relaxation ends when the three stars can be seen in the sky after sunset on Saturday.  Shabbat was actually my favorite part of the entire trip because we did not have to follow a schedule and we could simply indulge.  During the Shabbat dinner, I sat with a few of our trip’s soldiers who assisted my theft.  Please let me explain.  Other tables in the dining hall were reserved for the different Birthright trips sharing the evening with us.  There was one bottle of red wine on each table until the soldiers and I snuck the other Birthright group’s bottles under our table.  Let’s just say that it is a good thing that Jewish people do not believe in hell.  I’m safe.

Between the adventurous activities and amazing sights we were lucky to breath in, Israel was the greatest trip I have ever taken.  Over what sounds like such a short period of ten days, I made friendships with people that I hope to keep in touch with for years to come.  Not only did we give helping hands up tough hills, but did we spend nights roaming cities with matching bright eyes.  Somehow we felt connected and fell in love with a country that was only developed within the last century.  Israel was and is a place that we as Jewish people can be proud of because of the effortless bond and vivacious admiration that even ten days can inspire.

Greek vs. GDI Little Five Monday, May 3 2010 

Where were you during the Little 500 races?

If you are a member of Greek life, then you were in the stands, with a color to wear and a team to root for.

If you are not in Greek life, then you were roaming the campus, with a cup to fill, and the Villas to fall back on.

Nancy and I debate the difference of experience celebrating Little 500 as a GDI and as a Greek member.

Single and independent is the way to be in college.  In honor of Little Five, I tied sneakers of my feet and hopped from pre-game to porch to bonfire to bar and yes, guiltily- to the Villas.  Throughout the span on the men’s race, a GDI like myself takes 500 shots in support of 500 laps.  An entire week was dedicated to straight-up fun and each day was different.

Having no agenda as an independent during Little Five is like being single in the dating world.  I did not have to stand in bleachers, nor did I have to promise my time to anyone.  The only importance to keep in check is where the party is at; the same way flying solo contends no obligation.  Ironically, a GDI is wanted everywhere except at the bike race just as singles are socially invited anywhere but by that one significant other.

While I was catching a thrill from rain and spontaneity, Nancy was following a traditional routine…

***

Nancy speaking, and trust me, you want to be Greek during Little Five week.

Being Greek during Little Five is like having a boyfriend. Every night you know where you’re supposed to be, who you’re going to be with, and the general theme of the night. Things are a little more predictable than roaming GDI land but the flip side is I’m afforded the confidence that I won’t ever end up at The Villas fighting to keep my swimsuit top on as I wrestle in a tub of pudding. Call me old fashioned, but I like that. My Little Five is ridiculously fun, but I know where my fun will be. I know what colors I am wearing on race day, and I know who I will be next to in the stands. You want to be Greek during Little Five for the same reasons you want that boy/girl-friend, to be wanted.

The consensus is in:  When in Little Five, do as the Greeks do.  Being apart of something is more passionate and gratifying than aimlessly wandering to parties.  Although I enjoyed the spirit of party hopping for a cause that did not truly concern me, please ask me where I was the day of the women’s race.  I was standing right next to Nancy clapping loudly for her sorority’s team.

It is cool to feel wanted in spite of all the adventures a GDI destines to take.  I feel brave and daring as GDI during Little Five just as I do without a boyfriend.  I never know who I am going to meet or where I am going to party whereas Nancy has plans paved and insured.  Either way, our shoulders were back, our spirits were high, and our experiences of Little Five were a blast.

Not your average party invitation Thursday, Apr 29 2010 

Little 500 at IU is the nation’s most pumped up party week.  Interestingly enough, class is in session.  Real Hoosiers don’t skip class, they incorporate it into their celebration schedule.

A good friend of mine named Alec McNees decided to host a party in his classroom.

He created a Facebook event for his fellow statistics (E370) students to play the “Mary Beth Camp Little 5 Drinking Game,” from 1:25-2:15 on Wednesday at Ballentine Hall on campus.

Not only did the majority of the class raise their cups, but did many not even enrolled participate.

The rules posted on the Facebook event are as such:

“Since no one pays attention to Camp during E370 lecture anyways (except Carl), let’s make a drinking game out of it while trying to earn some quiz bowl points. Bring a mixed drink to class on Wednesday and we will drink every time Mary Beth:

-Raises her hand to get us quiet
-Says “gosh”
-Cuts someone off during their answer and shoots them down by saying “No…”
-Says your TA’s name

And most importantly…

-Everytime Carl answers a question. Follow up questions count too!

Let’s have fun but be careful not to get caught. Invite your friends too!”

The initiative was bold, however we can all agree that there is no better way of joining together as college students than by a quiet and harmless revolt.  We do it for Little 5 and we do it because we can.  Go team!

The Sample Gates are Timeless Sunday, Apr 11 2010 

Can you believe it is already April?  Maybe we should stop blinking in between the porch hangouts, the late nights spent with Herman, and the pre-game for the pre-gaming.  Just as months zoom by like weeks, IU alum, Vicki Budreau, is astonished at how her college experience feels like yesterday.  Imagine what it would have been like to walk through the Sample Gates of 1974.

It was the Bobby Knight era where basketball tickets were sold as a lottery system.  Budreau lived the 1976 NCAA championship where students were flipping over cars, throwing people into the water fountain, and parading the streets of Bloomington in celebration.

“It was the craziest thing I have ever been through, but it was fun,” said Budreau who resisted from being tossed into the fountain.

The very attractive and bright eyed IU alum with auburn hair lived with three girlfriends in what was then called, “Pigskin Apartments.”  She was on the gymnastics team, fashioned a Farah Fawcett hairdo, and studied Physical Education and Health.

Currently happily married, she laughed as I asked her to recall the IU dating scene.

Once a year, the Union featured a dating service which paired together students by their most compatible answers to a questionnaire.  She said everyone looked forward to participating.  Budreau and her girlfriend completed the, “favorite hobbies?” and, “outdoorsy preference?” questions and headed over to Foster dormitory to meet their matches.  Budreau turned around and ditched after she saw her name-tagged date flexing his muscles in the mirror while he waited.  Yikes!

She enjoyed living in the Northwest area near the stadium where weekend parties started around 8 p.m. with a cookout.  After grilling burgers and drinking beer with close friends and neighbors, she would bounce around to different house parties where everyone was welcome.

Campus was wet and the drinking age was 21.  To enter her favorite bar, The Regulator, known as, The Reg, she smudged her green Indiana license with eye shadow to instantly age two years.

Today, Budreau is still in contact with many of her friends from IU.  This includes her roommate at Reade dormitory during Freshman year.  Pressure from her 25 year old daughter has motivated her to sign up for Facebook where she “clicks” through researching old friends.

“We were living for the day,” said Budreau about the best part of college, “All we had to do was study and party.”

Whether it is 1974 or 2010, Bloomington is the ultimate environment for going to college.  The town is ours, and there is something to fulfill every person’s interest.

The same way I met Budreau as strangers sitting beside each other on an airplane is no different from IU’s friendly attitude.  For four years, we have the opportunity to learn and grow with the people around us before entering a world of expectations more serious than a bike race.  Once we are a part of a lifestyle without winter and spring breaks, we should be influenced by a great college experience.  For now, I hope that we are all trying our best and having as much fun as possible.

Guilty Admirations Tuesday, Apr 6 2010 

For unexplainable reasons, tall, dark and handsome has never cut it for me. I am not saying that I would turn Bradley Cooper away if he knocked on my door, but my desire is drawn to abnormally interesting characters and traits.

Maybe it is those little brown shorts, but UPS men drive me crazy. They are strong men delivering packages (make the jokes to yourself please) in a dangerous door-less truck. I will not be calling the Ghost Busters.

At home, my UPS guy, Greg, and I have a secret handshake. Instead of the rock, paper, scissor routine, we exchange gestures of sign, sealed and delivered into a high-five. Little does Greg know that I am obsessed with him and actually get butterflies when I see the enormous brown truck pull into the driveway.

Two words: Jack Nicholson. He is a wildcat on and off screen and protrudes a magnetic energy that you cannot help but gravitate toward. From playing an edgy free spirit in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” to a ruthless head mobster in “The Departed,” I find him irresistible.

If a magic genie came to me right now permitting me one wish, it would be to spend
an afternoon playing mini golf with Mr. Nicholson. We would probably break all the course rules and putt-putt our way into thrills of laughter.

WANTED: Big blue ox named Babe. Once he is out of the way, Paul Bunyan will be all mine. If the rugged scruffy beard is not enough, he must torment me with the worn-out red flannel that he has been hacking trees in. After creating the Grand Canyon, he is the American version of Greek gods in mythology. Eat my flapjack heart out.

Irregular attractions aside, one’s knight in shining armor is another’s lumberjack in overalls. Basically beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Do not judge me for wanting Jack Nicholson in a brown UPS uniform knocking down redwoods.

I double-dog dare you to try something. Privately, list all of your guilty secrets when picturing your ideal partner. Not only will you crack yourself up, but you will see what you truly want.

Use my equation for an example. UPS men could mean that I want someone reliable that takes control of a situation. Also, being directionally savvy to make up for my blonde-guided and upside-down compass would not hurt.

Jack Nicholson is an outright character that ultimately sets the atmosphere for harmless trouble and adventure. If you can have fun playing something as lifeless as mini golf with someone, then possibilities are endless.

I admire the hard work ethic of Paul Bunyan. His ridiculous muscles and unbelievable skill are impressive. I want someone who can do things.

Even if your fantasies are about Alex Trebek of “Jeopardy” or Miss Piggy of “The Muppets,” you must come clean with yourself and face your inner passions. It is a matter of figuring out what you like before you can make a move.

I kind of pin myself as a girl that would like the traditional alpha male GQ model type, but I took Carly’s challenge and came up with a few eccentric qualities I find devastatingly handsome in the opposite sex that I altogether didn’t realize.

1. Gingers. Why are people always talking about a shock of red hair like it’s a bad thing? If the cutie next to me in class is a redhead, that is going to land him a plus-one in my book, not the other way around.

Take, for instance, Shaun White. He is the two-time Olympic gold medalist snowboarder I swoon over during the half pipe events nicknamed “The Flying Tomato,” and wouldn’t you know it, he has red hair. Another ginger that I bet you find sexy: Prince Harry. You cannot tell me that you would discount this guy if he struck up a conversation with you at Bear’s this weekend simply because of his hair color. Just Google him. He’s beautiful, and the hair definitely makes the man with this guy.

2. Nice guys. Here is another dying breed that is vastly undervalued. Whenever my girlfriends complain about the jerks in their lives and then make fun of the sweet guy who is always there I always want to grab them and yell, “DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND YOU ARE CREATING THE MORONS WHO THINK THEY NEED TO TREAT GIRLS BADLY TO WIN THEM?!” The nice guy: He will probably listen to the responses to the questions he poses, open the door for you on the way in to Starbucks and he won’t make you cry excessively.

Nice Boy, please don’t get discouraged and go the way of the asshole — it just doesn’t work for you, I promise. Stick to what you’re good at, because we all know you could never make a girl cry without shedding a few yourself.

Whew, there they are. A few things I didn’t altogether expect but hey, if you want to date the GQ model, you have to accept the fact that there is one of him and about a zillion girls who want him. But I bet that there is only one nice-guy Jack Nicholson-type with red hair and a lot of flannel who drives a big brown truck, and you are probably the only one who wants him — now those are some odds I could get down with.

‘Friend Zone’ vs. ‘Ladder Theory’ Sunday, Mar 28 2010 

The question to stand the test of time is whether or not men and women can be just friends.

Is there a secret longing for a kiss within a fist pound? Does the sexual tension deter what is fundamentally a friendship?

While girls can manage the integrity within the relationship, are guys actually picturing her naked? Or is it the other way around and guys can build a front against her allure?

Do we suppress feelings about a friend of the opposite sex or do we truly enjoy the other’s company for what it is?

Growing up with two brothers has made it very easy for me to be strictly friends with guys. In fact, in my next life I am coming back as a man.  

Life is as simple as sex, sports, beer, food and winning. As much as I would like to explain women, it is impossible and will only leave me frustrated. One minute I am studying journalism and the next I am joining the circus. Oh, it’s FINE.

Therefore, hanging out with guys is as good as letting a fart out in a museum. Simply hysterical. At the same time, I wonder if my guy friends have ever imagined if we could do more than get the basketball in the hoop.

The very first time a guy friend approached these dangerous grounds, I was completely unaware of his intentions. He was one of my best friends in high school, and we spent our afternoons cruising to the playground and going to small punk concerts on the weekends. Like peas and carrots, he taught me how to long board and I taught him how to play ping pong.

One day he claimed he had written a new song on his guitar and needed my opinion. I thought it was corny. His disappointment implied that it was for me and I played dumb.
When he officially asked me to be his girlfriend and confessed the song was for me, I did what any friend would do. I said yes.

Holding hands and kissing in the hallways surprised many, and it only lasted a short
time before we gathered our senses and went back to being buddies. The potential was there, but things were much better as friends.

While I can differentiate between the friend and the lover, Nancy believes in what she calls “The Ladder Theory.”

She theorizes that males have one ladder while females have two. A male places females upon his one ladder ranking how much or how little he wants to have sex with her.  

Females have two ladders: the friend ladder and the potential ladder. If a male who is situated upon the friend ladder attempts to jump onto the potential ladder, he will fall into the great abyss and struggle to climb back onto the friend ladder.  

Basically, a girl initially decides whether or not she wants to befriend or admire a guy.
A guy, on the other hand, decides how much or how little he wants to have sex with a girl. Cut and dry.

As college students, we become closer to the people with whom we spend consistent time. Because girls go out with each other to meet up with guys who went out in the same fashion, establishing a friendship with the opposite sex has a slim chance. A true friendship between the opposite sex is for now, rather than long-term.

At the same time, that friendship might be a joke where you are both driving each other crazy and cannot seem to find a comfortable ground. Ladders aside, there is no valid explanation to the mind-boggling intentions between ladies and gentlemen.

Jack Daniel’s or a Red Dress? Friday, Feb 12 2010 

The difference between how Nancy and I will be spending Valentine’s Day this year, is that I will be drunk, and she will be sober.  Nancy has a boyfriend, and I do not.  While I have the choice of Jim Beam, Johnny Walker, or Jack Daniel’s, Nancy has the choice between a pink or a red dress.

As we discussed our plans together for this upcoming Sunday, we could not help but reminisce upon some embarrassing Valentine’s Day’s from the past.  We can almost taste those disgusting candy hearts now…

Carly’s Collective Calamities:

  • Apparently I am the Karate Kid, because my boyfriend during my senior year of high school, “thought outside the box,” and bought me a bonsai tree.  He was not waxed on that night so he had to wax off.
  • To fulfill my parent’s worst nightmare, I was dating a drug dealer during tenth grade year of high school.  For the romantic occasion, my Keith Richards wannabe generously treated me to psychedelic substances.  Sorry, but acid is not a girl’s best friend.
  • In 3rd grade, I was married to a freckly boy with a pet worm.  It was a glorious reception, and freckle face tried to put the worm around my finger.

Nancy’s Notorious Nostalgia:

  • Freshman year my boyfriend approached me at the end of the school day with a half dozen wilted school fundraiser purchased carnations. They were almost as awkward to look at as he was, but I shouldn’t give him a hard time seeing as I thoughtfully got him a “license to bitch” from Spencer’s and a cat collar. I thought I was being funny. I hope I
    never come to a full realization of how awkward I was because I will never forgive myself.
  • In seventh grade on the blessed day I opened my locker to see folded papers fall to my feet. It was an intensely thought out love poem from “a secret admirer”. I almost got a little excited until I realized one of the analogies looked a little familiar. It read, “your eyes are like a diamond shining up through the sea”. My friend Leslie evidently decided to recycle her work from our poetry unit in English in her cruel v-day joke. Nice try bitch.
  • Last but most awkward Valentine’s Day occasion happened in the most awkward place you can be high school- band rehearsal. The super creepy first chair clarinet sitting next to me had someone leave a single- you guessed it- carnation on my music stand. When I got there and saw it he was conveniently busy away from his seat. There was a note attached requesting a date for the coming week. I managed to thank him for the flower but conveniently forgot to mention my availability.

Choose Your Own Adventure:

Last year, Nancy and I celebrated our Valentine’s Day together as two fun and single freshmen in college.  We curled our hair, slipped on bright red dresses, and shared a bottle of red wine, of course.  Our night led us to the villa’s apartments where we danced without a care in the world.

If you had told us then what we would be doing for this upcoming Valentine’s Day, we would have laughed at you in disbelief.

A very good guy has managed the impossible by making Nancy his girlfriend.  I give him credit for handling her sass and hope he can top our hazy night at the villa’s.  As long as he does not give her acid or carnations, he will be fine.

Although separated from my partner in crime, I will also be managing a surprising feat.  Besides last year with Nancy, I have always had a boyfriend to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  This year when I think about this romantic holiday, I wonder if anyone will confess their affections.  However since John Mayer will probably not be throwing rocks at my window, I have made plans to go tubing with friends.

Oh, and get very intoxicated.  Oops, am I repeating myself already?

Whether or not you are in a relationship or not, the trick to enjoying Valentine’s Day is simple.  Spend it with someone that makes you feel good.  Indulge a little just because it is a holiday.  Make love fun and turn the day into an adventure.  Whatever your circumstances, Valentine’s Day is what you make of it.

An Excuse to Wear Knee Highs Sunday, Feb 7 2010 

The pleated and plaid school-girl skirt: easy access, naughty, and irresistible.  No wonder fraternities enjoy being host to these themed parties.  Adding a dress code to a party is a delightful tactic to making fantasies come true.  Big shot CEOs invite all sex-crataries to pull him by his professional tie onto the dance floor.  Then it is time to get down and dirty for a jungle fever party.  A barely existing loin cloth and messy leaf ridden hair is a great way to swing.  Toga parties are classic.  The wonders of a bed sheet transform us all into Aphrodite’s’ and Hercules’.  We are all proud and guilty of getting into the spirit at at least one time or another.

One of my most interesting costumes was inspired by an, ‘Anything But Clothes’ party.  Called ABC parties for short, the object is to literally wear anything ranging from a potato sack to a caution cone.  If taken to the point, then going naked is also an option.  Feeling creative, I sacrificed my Twister board into a skirt.  The top was a bubble tape bustier and I was about the hottest bum around.  Throughout the party, people felt the need to play the actual twister game by putting their hand on my derriere as they apparently spun, “right hand red.” Fun, but wear at your own risk.

Later that night, I discovered that the ABC party theme is better than what any school girl party had to offer.  Tipsy from vats of red jungle juice, my date and I returned home to find that I was stuck in my twister geared costume.  Practically in panic to set me free, he used all his might to rip apart the bubble tape.  The pop-pop-popping sounded like a bullet proof vest was being put to the test.  As amusing as it was, the merciless tearing was a turn on.  Now I know what Ludacris was talking about when he said, “Rip the pants and rip the shirt, ruff sex make it hurt.”

Nancy on a theme:

It is interesting to note that the first time I met Carly in a non-calculus setting, it was at said school girl party. It is also interesting, but not exactly surprising that I watched her skirt fall off at least two times. Luckily she was wearing a conservative pair of white granny panties so no worries on the wardrobe malfunction.

I myself kind of love a theme party. Though I would never have a story about a boy ripping my bubble wrap bustier off in a fit of passion (does this stuff really happen to people?!) I am much more likely to go too far on a theme than not enough. Have you ever noticed that when you feel silly before you leave for a party you always wish you wore just one more layer of random stuff to make it a tiny bit funnier? Rule of theme party dressing: commit! And don’t even look back.

Themed parties are like acting in your own personal movie. You can become whoever you want with enough courage and sheer stupidity. For instance, observe the newest and soon to be oldest phenomenon: the Jersey Shore themed party. I was pretty excited about this so out came the cut up shirt, push up bra, teased hair, sparkly shorts, and yes… spray tan. I told you I commit. The next day one of my sisters told me at lunch that some of the boys we were with that night caught sight pictures and were literally staring at them minutes at a time, in awe of the trashy orange sex kitten I had become that night. I would be hesitant to believe this except for the fact that I literally received texts from one of them commending me on my efforts. How many times have you been approached the day after a party and been given accolades? Thought so. In conclusion, take the costume one step too far and then leap.