Sunday, January 20, 2013

Self Obsessed Self Portraits Part Two

Quite awhile back, I posted a blog entitled "Self Obsessed Self Portraits," which can be found here: 

At the time, I was probably dually annoyed and secretively jealous of the self portraits I was frequently viewing on Facebook of pretty girls while I was frequently becoming bigger with an impending birth. Now, almost two years since that post, I still see these Facebook and Instagram "selfless" that regardless of the name change, are none less annoying. However, in the past two years when many of my Facebook friends and Instagram followers have grown and matured as people and internet users, others have not. 

There are a fortunate few that might look back and laugh for posting a fish face of themselves in the bathroom mirror at Marios. Others may not find their past activity quite as entertaining, but may simply not participate in the practice any longer. Either way, I'm pleased and not discussing those persons.

In my previous post, I discussed why not only does this type of self obsession and promotion leave you open to critique, it also makes you look less attractive regardless of what Instagram filter you use. I questioned who these photos were for? The new guy you are dating? The girl you are trying to make hate you? And I really did not come up with a conclusion, just asked politely that people stop participating in this awkwardly annoying trend.

Which brings us to today….A few nights ago, a close friend and I were gossiping late into the night when the subject of a girl we both know and honestly, do not care much for, came up in conversation. Particularly, her 546 daily self portraits that appear on her Instagram. And instead of making fun of her, as we unfortunately would have two years ago, we both became quite sad when we realized that this girl must ultimately be very lonely. 

Desperation is the conclusion I have reached from my post and question two years ago. Point blank period. A need for attention (which I guess one could argue any social media platform is about). 

While I had reached the nirvana of social networking epiphanies, it seems that these other Facebook users and Instagram followers may be older, but none the wiser. In those two years, many have went from their still moderately naive mid twenties to either late twenties and some even thirties. Which makes things all the more sad.

What was once done for a plethora of other ostensible reasons, making a guy want you, making another girl jealous, now just appears painfully sad and gross to see. With the progression of social media and the pushing of boundaries for what is and is not appropriate, these pictures have not only become larger in quantity, but progressively more and more risque. 

A little cleavage in 2011, has turned into full blown nudity with only body parts covering other body parts. So one must ask yourself, other than auditioning for Playboy or some other outlet of the like, for what purpose would a woman post such a private picture for the whole world to see on a Friday night?

I question my need for social media sites daily and the real purpose of them. Why are we so apt to post so much of our privates lives in such an impersonal way? Why are we friends with 529 people, yet only know the middle names of two of them? And this continuing trend is just another reason that I am seriously considering deleting my account. Not only do I feel bad after seeing so many smart, pretty girls post pathetic pictures of themselves daily, I wonder why they are so lonely that they need to reach out to the world with this outcry of desperation.

They need a friend, not Facebook.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Change Up

While driving home from church this past Sunday, my husband and I were discussing his hair length (riveting conversation, I know).

"Please grow it long," I say. "You look so good with it long."

"No, because then I have to grow it super long and I don't like the in between phases," he protests.

"What the hell, it's like you pulled the rug out from under me when we got married," I say sarcastically.

"Well, if I pulled the rug out from under you, you imploded the ground I was standing on when we got married," my husband says with a chuckle.

Argument won. He had me stumped for a witty comeback. I had no choice but to laugh whole heartily for so long that my cheeks began to hurt.

What we are both referring to in our conversation, is what I believe to be a common theme in many relationships. Some of the things we loved so much in the other when we first met, the things that probably hooked us when we first met, are the same things that are no longer true about the other person (superficial things of course.)

For me, it was my husband's long hair. After his butt and striking jaw line, it was the next thing I noticed that really sealed the deal for me. Underneath his backwards hat, those wings just had me hooked. That along with his incessant texting and calling have since faded away, and I am left with a man with short hair who barely ever knows where his phone is. I guess I'll still keep him around.

For him, it was a few more things. My love of whiskey, hockey, football and lack of television watching. My tolerance for alcohol has since plummeted (what can I say, I have been pregnant 12 out of the 21 months we have been together) and I have resorted to only drinking beer. Though, I'd argue that I have always been a horrible drunk and just continued to drink whiskey. Anyways, my love of sports has faded away since I can no longer drink while watching sports and that sort of takes all the fun out of it and since becoming a pregnant housewife, unfortunately the only daytime television available is bad reality shows.  So he's left with a sober pregnant housewife of Pittsburgh, hopefully he still keeps me around.

But it got me thinking, this is so true of so many past relationships I have been in, as well as relationships I have seen my male and female friends in. The person they thought they were dating, turns out not to be that person at all. Sometimes, it is because of the best version of ourselves that we put forth when we are first getting to know someone we really like and sometimes, its just because we change over the course of that time of getting to know someone. Whether it be that we change for the person we are dating, which can be positive or negative or because we change because it is just a part of growing up.

I have a male friend who met his ex-girlfriend in a strip club. No she was not working there, just hanging out there. They got to know one another and he thought she was a great, nice girl. Whether she was changing for him or pretending to be someone else, it remains unclear. But they continued to date for a short time and she ended up being somewhat of a floozy and he thought she was cheating on her. When my friend came to me in distress about how heartbroken he was over this loss, I wanted to slap him in the face. You met her in a strip club and you are at a loss as to why she turned out to be a slut!? Pull yourself together my friend and take your foggy goggles off, she was pretending to be a nice girl t win the nice guy. Is this only clear to me?

In another situation, that I think it is safe enough to generalize, many men on many nights will meet a girl out at the bar. She'll be nice, coy, share the same interests and there will be a connection of sorts. You may go on to date these women and things will be going swimmingly until you have your first fight. At this point in time, she flips the switch and loses her mind. She suddenly is not acting like that intelligent, rational woman you met at Mario's, but like a crazed lunatic with crazy eyes to boot. She calls incessantly until you answer your phone, she calls your friends, shows up at the bar you are at after unreturned messages and screams at you in public. All the while, you are wondering and stumped as to what happened to that nice girl you met that only allowed you to hold her hand. Dude, that was not the real her. The only thing that happened to that girl, is that the guise came off and her true self appeared. So often, I receive complaints from men about women turning crazy. This is where they are wrong. They were always crazy, you just missed the subtle hints and clues that proved it.

The point is to tread lightly. If you are a person truly interested in finding a mate, whether is be for the short or long term, keep your eyes open. Do not hire a private investigator, but have some common sense. If a man says that he's a non-smoker but change smokes only when he drinks, I'm pretty sure that make him a smoker if he drinks 4 out of 7 days a week. If a woman tells you she really wants to be in a committed relationship, ask her why her previous ones didn't work out (i.e. did she cheat?) You'll be doing yourself a favor, as well as others when you spot the change up and go for the one not misleading you.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Crossroads of Life and Facebook

A friend of mine, or I should I now say, frenemy, recently commented to me that I should have less engagement photos on my Facebook profile and more blog posts regarding single woman dating and it got me thinking about the evolution of people, and of Facebook.

Facebook coincidently began when I was making the transition from high school senior to college freshman. My freshman roommate, Arielle, who was and is still very tech savvy, made me a profile that I kept for a short time, then deleted because I thought it was lame. Even then I was very perceptive and could see the prospective downsides to having a page that anyone could see or comment on during my manizing years. It was the good ‘ol days and I was a loyal community webshots user that could control what flattering photos of myself and others were released, or what unflattering photos were not. However, much to my roommate’s suggestion, I finally hopped back on the bandwagon and made myself a profile. Mind you this was EIGHT years ago….

At that time, Facebook started with just a single profile page that you could post autobiographical information, comments and messages. Shortly thereafter, you could add photo albums and “tag” people. During this commencement of the non-professional photography phenomenon, underage drinking and living on our own for the first time was also commencing. My generation’s freedom and independence simultaneously developed as Facebook did.

As such, with just a quick glance of my 502 tagged photos, one can see the transition I have made as a young, wild college freshman to a more mature mother. Furthermore, with just a quick glance at my wall posts from 2004 until today, you can see there were none back then, since that was not a viable option on Facebook at that time, and now, most consist of comments regarding my son or being a mother.

So why this brief Facebook and personal history? Because as it is with everything in life, someone always wants to complain. I frequently hear people comment that they are so sick of seeing mothers post pictures of their kids, or pictures of weddings. Simultaneously, I also hear those persons being complained of, comment that they are so sick of seeing people post pictures of clubs and drinking, as well as hearing about the hangovers next day. Call me a hypocrite, but in the past year and a half, I have been on both sides of the spectrum.

What is ever so prevalent to me now is that my generation of young adults is at a crossroads in life and on Facebook. Mid twenty-somethings are at the stage in their life where they are figuring out who they are, who they were and who they want to become. I am going to assume that most people my age, by this point in their life, are finished with school and either continuing their education in graduate school, searching for a job, climbing the corporate ladder at their job, dating, becoming engaged, getting married and/or having babies. That is a very wide variant of life activities and options in my opinion.

This all means that on any given day, when I pull up my Facebook newsfeed, I have the option to read about how drunk Sarah was last night and/or see photos of same or hear about how sick Emma’s child was last night and/or see photos of same.

I can distinctly remember a comment I made just prior to me becoming pregnant that went something like, “If I have to hear about the ins and outs of my co-worker’s child’s potty training experiences, my co-worker should not be offended when hearing a story about how slam hammered drunk I intentionally got on the weekend!”

It seems to me that the grass may not always be greener on the other side, but the other side is always complaining that the grass needs maintained. No single, independent, employed partying mid twenty something, living it up on the weekends wants to hear about children and marriage on Facebook, and I don’t know too many married with kids Facebook participants that want to see pictures of sloppy self portraits from Saturday night. And I should know, I have felt both ways at one point or another. Please see the first 402 tagged photos of mine that are of me partying, versus my most recent one.

However, I can honestly say at this point in my life, if I have to listen or read about how drunk you were last night that you threw (which by the way I don’t care) then why shouldn’t you have to listen to or read about how my kid threw up directly in my face yesterday (which by the way, he really did). I see no high horse to either end of the spectrum, I just see the difference and recognize its there. And others should too before ignorantly making brash comments and ever so arrogantly assuming their side is better. It’s not. It’s just different. And so goes the progression of life…. And Facebook. A lot happens in EIGHT years.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Stay Tuned

I have not used or checked Blogger in quite some time now. However, upon finally doing so, I noticed that I still receive several hundred hits per month. In lieu of those still checking in, I will likely be M.I.A for some time, with the exception of updates in regards to my new project.

A Book.

I hope to finish by spring of next year and am currently just enjoying the process. The book will reflect much of what is on this blog, in my usual, ever-so-charming tone and as well as my current life. No, its not an autobiography. I am well aware that no one cares about the particulars of my life.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Modern Mom

So here we are, 7 months since my last pregnancy blog and 3 months since my last entry. Life has certainly changed. And while I had promised to continue writing with some regularity, life has once again interfered with life plans. I should probably just do as my fiance says and not have a plan (or birth plan) because I'm only setting myself up for disappointment when things don't go as planned.

With what little downtime I have had at home, I was recently catching up with friends and blogs online. I was about to x-out of my old favorite website, Thought Catalog (for those of you not familiar, it's a website of blogs submitted by writers such as myself about anything and everything relevant and prevalent to mid-20 somethings). I was becoming quite bored with the website as I noticed most of the recent entries I had missed while birthing and raising my son were regarding binge drinking, dating, going out, and other activities that I'm pretty much completely out of the loop and uninterested in when I came across a writer who is apparently my age and currently unintentionally pregnant.

Obviously this writer peeked my interest and I immediately started reading every blog she had posted to the site. While I must admit that I feel her tone is a little too raw and cynical, it was refreshing to read an accurate honest depiction of what it means to become pregnant, intentionally or unintentionally so. The writer does not describe the butterflies and sugar coated bliss of becoming sperminated, but the conflict that many women my age feel. While I am and was overjoyed at the news of my son, I was also concerned with how I would negotiate who I was and who I was about to become. For me, it was important to maintain my sense of self and identity, while also adding "mom" to the many roles I have.

Prior to becoming a mother, I had hopes and dreams for my career as a writer and travel plans that no longer coincide with my new self. While in a perfect world the "modern woman" can do it all, a bit of yourself changes when you become completely responsible for another human being, and life plans inadvertently change as well. While I would never for any amount of money change having my son or starting a family, it is somewhat difficult and confusing to accept these changes because they happen so subtly regardless if you want them to or not. Is this necessilarly good or bad? No. But it's a reality that is rarely discussed.

Women my age who become mothers loss old friends, gain new ones and have major changes in hobbies and interests. Things I once found funny are no longer (Kat Williams stand up), things I never thought twice about are now disected and judged (MTV morning music videos), my idea of fun has changed, the things I care about have altered and I am no longer the person I was.

In retrospect these things are not so important, but it doesn't make it any less hard to realize that ultimately people I once had strong connections with have grown weakened or finding no joy in things I once so greatly loved. The trade off (my son and the love I have for him) far outweighs these losses but sometimes I just want to voice my frustrations out loud without feeling and looking like a terrible parent. The reality I know and read from the ThoughtCatalog writer is that many women feel this way and shouldn't be judged for same.

So there it is, my mom update. I will try and find some medium that can interest parents and non-parents in the meantime..

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stalking is the New Dating... Apparently.

Stalking is the new dating....or so it would seem. A plethora of websites and articles from credible and non-credible sources will tell us that too much social networking and interacting is bad for children. It negatively affects their developing social skills, provides too much personal information about and from our children and usually results in a less social personality. However, what these sources don’t often cite enough, is how much worse it is for potential new relationships and dating. It negatively affects their developing relationships, provides too much personal information about and from a potential new suitor and usually results in lessening chance of love. Sadly, Facebook activity can often make or break a relationship.” That’s silly,” you say? Yes, but still true.

The scenario I am about to summarize happens often enough for all to be familiar with. Actually I am fairly certain, even while on my holiday from bar social activity on the weekends, that this now overly cliché scene plays out every weekend single males and females go out. Girl meets boy in bar. Girl and boy exchange first and LAST names (this is vital, otherwise it makes for a very frustrating Saturday morning ). Girl and boy presumably hit it off and also exchange phone numbers. Girl and boy part ways and immediately run home to their computers to find out as much information about the other as humanly possible within a reasonable period of time during their Saturday morning hangover routine of eating cold pizza from the night before and perusing Facebook to see what everyone was up to the night before.

This behavior is similar to that of our generation condoning binge drinking. Is it acceptable? Yes. Is it moral or normal? Probably not, but I’ll go ahead and help myself to the 1,287 tagged “Public” photos since no one can see what I am doing. There are hundreds of reasons that distinguished psychologists and jaded potential new lovers, now called “stalkers”, could give to explain why this behavior is unsuccessful in getting to know a new love interest and usually results in failure, but I’ll only cover what I have personally witnessed and deem most significant.

1. Gathering up any and all information regarding the cute boy in the backwards hat from the night before is obsessive and so socially out of order and context. Relationships need to blossom on their own and at their own pace. One needs to find out information from their potential new suitor straight from the source, not from Facebook. When you immediately run home and indulge in the public photos, profile and wall posts, you are creating an image of a person you don’t yet know. The photo viewing will result in jealousy. It will result in you questioning who the blonde bimbo with the bad roots is in his most recent tagged photo and set yourself up to be immediately distrustful and jealous of a person you don’t yet know. (P.S. how stupid do you feel when you find out it’s his cousin?) Moreover, coincidently showing up at a bar or event that said potential new lover has listed as an “event” is not coincidental. It’s creepy and stalker-ish, and he’ll notice. Society is only willing to turn the blind eye to stalking when it’s not done in real life, but at home from behind your computer.

2. Scrolling through all past wall posts from his “friends”, Facebook history and photographs is pathetic in and of itself. But you will create a history of this person, as you already created their image, that is likely not entirely accurate. You will see and know exactly who is ex girlfriend is. Then proceed to give this same girl the stink eye when you are out, whom by the way doesn’t know you nor give a shit about who you are or how in depth your conversation with her ex-boyfriend from 2 years ago was. Jenna Marbles said it best: when you walk into the bar and see ex-girlfriend, “step one, ask yourself, does she have my boyfriend's dick in her mouth? If yes, continue to be mad, if no calm the fuck down.” (sorry for the crudeness, but her verbosity is hilarious.)

3. Blowing up the wall of a person you just met/could want to have a relationship with will surely end whatever casual acquaintance you previously had before the wall-rape. While you may be doing this for a plethora of reasons (i.e. make ex girlfriend or any other girl he met that night jealous, etc.) those reasons are never empathized. Potential new lover will never return your wall post, phone call or email and may de-friend you.

4. Furthermore, friend-ing potential new love immediately after meeting them and/or with a twenty four hour period of doing same, looks needy, obsessive and quite frankly, you are already off to a wrong start of the marathon that is a relationship. I don’t think I need to comment further as to why.

Have I done all of the above? Mostly. Have we all done all of the above? Probably. And while our society does accept this behavior, past precedent shows me that these stalker-ish actions don’t work. Current relationship status only further proves that doing the opposite of the above mentioned social networking relationship don’ts does work. Fiancé and I knew next to nothing of each other prior to dating and continued to let our relationship grow from there. No Facebook background information investigated. Fiancé no longer has Facebook. And I, well I need to keep my account active for blog research reasons only ;-)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Self Obsessed Self Portraits

There has been a lull in my blog posts recently due to many factors. First and foremost October was a month preoccupied with my birthday, baby shower, engagement and wedding plans. All of which leave little time for idle hands. However, I blame the lull in postings mainly on my lack of content. I am no longer going out, perusing men and observing the drunken sights of comedy produced by men and women dragging themselves along Carson Street in a stupor. I no longer endure awful dates for the sole purpose of sharing them with the world the following day. The days of asking myself “are you seriously going to date him just because he’s cute and ignore the fact that he’s a womanizer?” are long gone. So while I continue to produce short works of fiction and pursue my writing aspirations via other venues, I have writer’s block when it comes to this blog and what was once such a great creative and personal outlet for me and my frustrations with dating in today’s society. As such, I have outsourced my problem and have been presented with several post-worthy blog topics.

Most noteably, a friend of mine voiced his frustrations regarding today’s “women” and their self portraits. I use the term women loosely and in quotes as such that I don’t believe calling the women I am referring to narcissistic floozies to be appropriate. Ladies, if you are in your mid twenties or above and taking self portraits of yourself in mirrors or reverse camera phone, I am thinking narcissist floozy in my head. Furthermore, I fully recommend getting your head out of your own ass and immediately checking yourself in with reality.

While I will admit with the advent of facebook and my discovery of bars and all that goes with the stereotypical coming of age college student trends, I undoubtedly committed this same offense at one time or another. But that was then and this is now.

I do not know how or why a rational twenty something woman would ever want to put herself out there for this sort of critique. Why are you doing this? STOP. You look silly! I understand that everyone wants that perfect default profile pic, but taking a picture of yourself at work in the bathroom mirror or all slobbed up while out on a Saturday night with a stall behind you in plain sight is taking things a bit too far. Taking a photo of your growing belly in a mirror? Ok. Taking a photo of your growing cleavage and diminishing hemline? Not ok.

I have to ask three important questions. First, do girls think these pictures make them look good? If the answer is in the affirmative, what leads one to believe that? Your low cut blouse, your perfect pout or the bathroom attendant at the right hand side of the photo gawking at you? Second, do you think others find this attractive? (i.e. will men see your updated profile picture and drop pant at their computer desk?) I already know the answer to the latter is no. This desperate sort of self promotion, exaggerated by such captions as, “OMG, no makeup!” is irritating, awkward and gives me severe second hand embarrassment. And I am sure I am not alone in my response. Any idiot knows that one would not post an unflattering photo of themselves online for the world to see. Please don’t assume your facebook friends are stupid, that too is offensive. Lastly, do you believe yourself to be a model? If yes, please immediately stop reading this and grab the closest Merriam Webster dictionary. Shockingly, next to the word model, there is a not a self portrait of you. But the definition of someone who gets paid to have others photograph them. Not someone who is paid with compliments by frenemies.

So if not for others, since others are clearly not appreciative of your photography skills and photoshopping abilities, who is this for? If you look good in plain sight, I am positive you will look good without the glare of a mirror. Stop being so self obsessed and wait to be tagged in a photo you look good in like the rest of us do. Don't stage a "candid" photo in the mirror. There is no such thing!

"What then?" you ask. Nothing. Just a gripe I have with society, hoping that one of these women will read this blog and put their camera phone down.