Why Developing Serious Relationships in your 20s Matters

For once, not from Thought Catalog.

I know, right?!

Are you in your twenties? Are you an entrepreneur? Have you been told by your friends, your advisors, and your professional peers that now is your time to build your own life and not worry about things like settling down and having children — especially if you’re a female entrepreneur?

It makes sense, right? This is the only time in your life when you have no ties, no mortgage, no kids to support. This is the only time you can really do something ambitious, if you’re being practical. 

And let’s face it, you’re not ready anyway. You’re busy building your company, figuring out who you are, what you want. You get laid on a regular basis; it’s not like you don’t have a love life. A “love” life. 

And everyone around you agrees. Everyone!

Now is the time to live! (By which you mean building the next change-the-world company, of course.) You’ve moved to New York. Or San Francisco. Or Palo Alto. Or Boston. With the express purpose of building something. 

This is a noble cause. There is nothing more professionally satisfying as building something. Something you love. Something you can “get behind.” 

But… 

There was this girl. This guy. 

Eh, fuck it. You’re busy. You have more important things to do. Changing the world is a full-time job and if you don’t do it now, when will you?

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Expanding the target demographic?

I was watching TV while having lunch, not paying too much attention to what was on, when a new (or at least new to me) Tide laundry detergent commercial came on. As far as concepts for commercials about laundry detergent go, it doesn’t seem like there’s much variance. This one used the “Gosh, my kid is so messy and gets stains all the time on his/her clothes. Good thing I use Tide!” – idea, one that I”m sure many are familiar with.

Except something was…different, about this commercial, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at first. But then I realized the parent in this commercial…

…was the father. A laundry detergent commercial with the parent-taking-care-of-messy-child, except the parent was not the woman; it was the man.

Usually it’s always been the mother featured in these commercials, am I not wrong?The nurturer, the homemaker, the mother – that’s usually the market audience for these products, and the target demographic the advertisers have in mind, right? So I’m curious as to why they decided that the father would be featured instead of the mother.

Personally I think it’s great. There’s no need to stereotype gender roles in the home – men should be just as capable of doing laundry as women. Men can be the nurturers in the home at times, too. Why can’t the man be the stay-at-home dad?

Awesome, awesome all around.

*Okay, a quick google search reveals this commercial has been airing since last November or so, but hey, I just now saw it, and it’s still awesome.

**And another edit: apparently the commercial that’s been airing since last fall-ish has two meanings depending on whether you see the short or long version. The short version heralds the stay at home dad, but the long version continues with the father going on about calling himself a dad-mom and stressing how he still does manly things (pullups, or whatever the commercial uses). Basically, men can do laundry, but it’s still women’s work.

Well, that’s not very cool. But the commercial I saw seemed to really make the dad more genuine and nurturing; it wasn’t the early commercial.


American Values

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On Sleazy Blues Dancing

But first, a song I’ve been enjoying lately.

Oh. That vocal vibrato. It makes me melt on the inside.

 

Finally got my blues fix last weekend. I was talking to a friend who adamantly stated she didn’t like blues. “What?! I LOVE blues!” I said, in disbelief. She clarified that she used to really enjoy it. But apparently a lot of the guys in this local scene dance without any sense of personal space. ALL the body rolls. ALL the leaning/leading with the pelvis/crotch area. And it just made her feel extremely uncomfortable, which made her dislike the dance.

Personally, I love close embrace dances – which is actually somewhat strange if you know me, because for the most part, I shun physical contact with people and friends. It’s not that I don’t like close physical contact – I actually really enjoy it, but the problem lies in a couple of factors that inhibit me from expressing that kind of affection. One is that I have to actually like and trust (<-very important) the person to a certain degree, which I would guess is pretty standard for a lot of people. But maybe I’m slightly more suspicious and skeptical and distrusting than other people are. The other is that people can be so volatile, and some people are more physical than others, so it’s difficult to determine what contexts with what people would be appropriate for touching. So in a dance like blues, it’s understood that my partner and I will be in very close contact with each other – and it’s perfectly okay and acceptable…

…so long as I don’t do anything sleazy, like what my friend was describing. When she told me about her terrible experiences with blues dancing, I was horrified. Embarrassed, even, that other members of my gender group are abusing the dance as a means to rub up on women. And maybe some women are into that sort of thing. Personally, I don’t fall into that category of dancers – when I was just getting my feet wet in the dance, I was dancing with one friend, and she was grinding. all. over. my thigh. SUPER UNCOMFORTABLE. Not to mention very awkward to dance. I mean, blues dancing looks sexy from outside viewers’ perspectives, but the dance isn’t sexual (at least not to me). Despite the appearance that my partner and I are practically hugging each other (which, okay, sometimes does feel that way in close embraces) the genital areas DO NOT TOUCH. There’s still room for baby-hamster-jesus!

Dancing should be fun and safe – people should be able to enjoy themselves and the music and the dance without having their personal space violated by their partners.


Out of my Mind

Man, this track is the tits.


Summertime Sadness (Cedric Gervais remix)

 


Time Passage

Bear no malice for the ones who leave you. The only regret they feel now is the regret of not being able to tell you how they really feel.

From Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead. By Bert V. Royal.

———–

No matter what Time does, it never seems to fully please us.

We’re impatient with it. It never moves fast enough when we want it to. We want the stoplight to turn green already. Why won’t this lecture end. Is it lunchtime yet? When the hell is Sherlock returning. How many more days until the weekend? I wish my food would get here already. Is it 5 o’clock yet?

We want more of it, for those moments and experiences that we wish we could soak in for as long as we’d like. Admiring a burning sunset sink lazily over a lake. Receiving thunderous applause and praise from friends and family after an adrenaline-fueled performance. Watching last night’s lover sleep next to you, wrapped in the cool embrace of dawn.

And it surprises us when we turn around and realize how far it’s carried us along. Sometimes this makes us feel rather cross. You scoundrel, Time – when did you sneak up on us like that?

————

It’s not that I’ve forgotten the date – it’s that I’m realizing it’s taking less and less amount of time for the date to sneak up on me. I felt slightly embarrassed that I practically had to be reminded about Ashleigh’s death anniversary by means of a link sent to me, leading me to her memorial ad in the local online paper.

So maybe I’m starting to lose awareness of when February 3rd approaches. Maybe next year it’ll already be February 3rd and I’ll have just realized its significance to me. And maybe the year after that, or the next one, the day will pass and I’ll have forgotten its meaning all together.

But while I might lose track of the calendar, I do not forget Ashleigh. The gravity of her passing still affects me from time to time, in some way or another. Last spring, my university’s theatre department ran the premiere production of Hidden Manand in one scene the protagonist attempts suicide via hanging. Normally I don’t have issues suspending my disbelief when it comes to violence on stage, but watching this was something else entirely. I was immediately brought out of the performance. I felt ill. I actually buried my face in my hands because I just could not watch this suggested act of suicide, even though I still knew it’s staged, it’s a performance. It bothered me so much that I had to step outside the building during intermission to get some air.

After the show, I felt embarrassed and chided myself. Why do I still let what happened to Ashleigh bother me so much? Why did she even matter to begin with, if the only relationship I had with her was that she babysat me and my siblings when we were younger?

I guess, just by being somewhat prominent in our childhood, she was important. And while time passed and we no longer needed a babysitter, we still remembered her. And when we found out what she had done, it rightfully shocked us.

It was the first time I had to cope with an act of suicide by someone I knew. And by default of being a first, it’s not something I will easily forget.

I’m not entirely sure what I accomplish by writing about it every year. Part of me is skeptical, that maybe I’m trying to draw attention, that I’m just throwing a small pity-party.

But ultimately, I want to think I do it for myself. I want to remember Ashleigh, and trying to spend a little time each year writing a few words happens to be my preferred method.