Tuesday, April 14, 2015

An open letter to my future children

I've been coming across slews of articles recently that talk about the changing of our world, society, and culture. How as things become more accessible we are disconnecting from each other. That our relationships are fundamentally changing: sometimes for the better (I can reach whoever I want, whenever I want, in several ways and instantly), sometimes for the worse (public shaming has reached epic proportions as we're able to destroy people's careers over Twitter and Facebook).

And so I want to set out my intentions for my future relationships. Then I want to set out my intentions for my current relationships. I know the world is changing, I study it everyday for a living, about how technology and advancements are changing us. I want to remain human and carry the best parts of humanity with me as we all move forward.

The next few posts will deal with this.

And so this first post is an open letter to my future children, as they will be the most affected by the changes that are already starting and ones I cannot even fathom.

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Hello love(s),

I hope I never have to refer back to this because I'll remember these things as I raise you and watch you grow. But I'm noting it somewhere, just in case I need a reminder, gentle or otherwise, of what I wanted to be, for you, before you were born. My intentions.

The most important thing to me with regards to you is that you are happy, healthy, and know you are loved. I want you to be self-sufficient and successful, but I want it to be on your terms, even if it doesn't fit into what I imagine that to look like. I want you to experience the world happy and fulfilled in exactly the way that resonates with you.

I want us to be open and loving towards each other. That you'll feel able to come to me when you have anything you want to discuss or are curious about. I want you to know you can come to me and I'll be open-minded and patient, no matter how bad the situation. That we'll get through it together and I won't immediately react with anger or shut you down, that I'll listen and understand. I want to be the mother that helps her child/children get through any situation to the best of our abilities. I want to be the person you can come to, for anything.

I know that given my tendencies, personality, and lifestyle, it is likely that at some point I will feel there is not enough time, energy, or brain space to deal with everything you bring to me. That I'll be impatient. And I'm sorry for that. But know that I will always have enough love for you. If you know me well enough please calm me down and find the right moment to approach me in a way that will let me know the gravity of your request. I want to listen and help. I don't want to push you away.

I hope I become the mother to you I intend to be, and with this letter, you know this. I want to raise you to be happy and healthy, self-sufficient, enthusiastic and always curious. For you, I want to be the understanding and patient support you need and appreciate.

These are my intentions.

Forever yours,
Jennifer

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lumbersexuals and other beards

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I enjoy beautifully curated facial hair.

This started as a slight (humorous) obsession with mustaches before I left San Diego (where I threw a Mustache Masquerade and Hipster Farewell Party). The amount of mustache-related items I owned at one time was slightly astounding. Quite a bit of it has dissipated over the years; given away as gifts to others or simply lost in the sands of time...but there are still traces of it in my current home.

So when Somerset House released a photographic exhibit on beards, I was game. I'd seen a few articles talking about it before arrived, and suddenly it was available on my yPlan app. Free exhibit on beards? Absolutely.

Beards. In all their glory.

I took a new friend and we checked it out. Not disappointing.


Gorgeous men with beards. All sorts of beauty.


I noticed mostly their piercing eyes, rich hair color, great style. Nadia, my classmate, only saw the strength of their eyebrows. Apparently she won't date anyone who doesn't have strong, expressive eyebrows. Eyebrows are the window to the soul for her. Hilarious.


And though this exhibit really did bring out a bearded crowd, it is also supposed to promote regular skin checks. Guess someone with a beard still has the same chances of contracting skin cancer as other clean-shaven folk, but it would be infinitely harder to spot under your well-groomed facial follicles. Something to consider.




Notice the black and white photo on the bottom row, second from the right. This is the famous bearded woman, Harnaam Kaur. She has an interesting story about her beard, as it was necessary to keep it natural once she was baptized as a sikh. You can find her and other stories here.

All in all a successful exhibit, one that I heartily wanted to support. Unfortunately their gift shop was closed for filming (Ugh, these movie filmings around town really put a damper on things! Just kidding ^_^). Will need to go back and fulfill my dreams of owning things with beards (the next evolution from owning things with mustaches).

There are so many exhibits I want to tell you about, but that will have to wait until a later time.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Bozos of recent past

This post is dedicated to my sister, who recently reacquainted me with the word "bozo."

It's such a great word, bozo. It can be used to encompass so many types of people in our lives who end up annoying, inconveniencing, frustrating, or just plain making us laugh with their inconsideration. Bozos are the people who are just too lazy to make it work, don't prioritize you, simply do not care.

And boy oh boy the bozos I've experienced these last few years living abroad. I'd like to think that it's mostly a big-city phenomenon, but I know this isn't true. Bozos are everywhere. Invading your neighborhood, messing up your favorite restaurants, sometimes even trying to infiltrate your good friend group. Oh they're out there. Beware. The Bozone Layer is getting thick in some places.

But the point of this post was to discuss the bozos I've experienced in recent past, in humor. Because I've finally got someone in my life who isn't a bozo, and this makes me happy. This is in small celebration of finding him. The non-bozo.

Let's go chronologically through the history of recent dating bozos, shall we? I believe we can all laugh in bozospection (bozo + retrospection):

New to Don
My first experience of the dating world with Don started with someone I didn't actually date: Specs. He's a coworker and used to work in design (now he works in marketing), and despite all his flirting, he never did anything about it. In fact, when I decided to reciprocate and flirt back, he backed away. I get the impression he's a good looking guy who knows he's good looking, and flirts to get the attention. Over the few months we were friends he made it very clear he was shallow and enjoyed that about himself: he only wants to (and does) date models and actresses. The lesson I learned from him: dating in a really large city gets you a lot of dates with a lot of people who don't care about dating. Bozo level: 7/10. Eg-bozo-tistical.

Soon after that, I joined Internations. You'll remember my accounts of fancy meet and greets and sexy venues, free drinks and extreme networking. The first meeting I met Liono; south Irish extraordinaire. We went out for a few weeks before he stopped responding to my messages. The one great thing I got from my relationship with him: he introduced me to Books (which has become a wonderful friendship). She said she could tell he was bad news from a mile away, so of course my reaction was: "why didn't you tell me?!?" Bozo level: 6/10. Entering the bozosphere.

I continued my Internations kick, having bought a three month membership. I met Ironman (north Irish extraordinaire) while having a good night out with Books and Churches. I happened to be listening to Lana del Rey's album Born to Die and the song "Blue Jeans" reminded me of him. Tall, blonde, blue-eyed, thin, and oh so very cultured. He liked Skagen watches and worked for Rolls Royce as one of their turbine engineers. The man could dress himself, and I loved it. He was sweet enough to take me out to a nice steak dinner. But when our dates continued to revolve around going to Internations events (at first sweet because that's where we'd first met, but then tiresome when I wanted to spend time alone with him), I knew something was up. Why did he want to still meet new people when we were going out? He wasn't seeing anyone else and had made that clear, we'd already talked about both wanting real relationships. I guess in the end what he meant was: I want a relationship, just not with you. Bozo level: 8/10. A regular Bozo 727.


One year with Don
By then Christmas had come and gone and it was a new year with Don. I decided after my several failed relationships the previous year that I would take a break from dating all together. Time to go back to myself and have fun without worrying about dating, relationships, appearances. This was also the time I was successfully and slowly getting off all of my medication. Rhinda got married, I was traveling a lot and turning in my application for UCL...things were busy and I was having a good time being happy on my own again. Sans bozos.

Six months in I met Gary. No nickname was ever given, he has always been just...Gary. Back-end banking software engineer. I'll be perfectly honest: I chose Gary because he is completely inoffensive. British, little awkward. We dated for four months and had many dates. Unfortunately true to stereotype Gary isn't much of a communicator. We didn't talk much and ultimately with our busy schedules, we both found less and less time for one another. The break was mutual and I'd have to say the easiest break up I've ever had. It's nice when everyone agrees that it was worth trying out, but alas, nothing special is happening. We're good friends now and I really enjoy hanging out with him as a friend. Bozo level: 1/10. Genuinely not a bozo. Nozo.

Then there was Writer. A ridiculously young and dorkily beautiful classmate. He's someone who believes in philosophical arguments: changing the world with your thoughts and the merits of absolute honesty as the best policy (with him needing to prove that he's right, 90% of the time). We both learned that honesty does not mean the same things to all people. I also found out that having been burned in a previous relationship where he wanted to commit and the girl didn't, he has now decided that he never wants to be in all-consuming overpowering love. Apparently it's just a distraction and gets in the way of living life. Needless to say we lasted about three weeks before he got really upset over something I thought was understood and broke things off then and there. I believe he wrote an angry poem about me on his blog. All very highschool emo. He smelled like sweet innocence and naivete. It's a very familiar and alluring smell; reminded me of all my high school boyfriends...the scent that ultimately changes once the world dirties you with anxiety and stress. He's now generally taken to ignoring me in classes we have together. Kind of hilarious. Bozo level: 6/10. Naive bozo. But still a bozo. Inconceibozo!

Then there was Banks. I met him on a night out with my classmates and was just having fun singing along to songs and celebrating Halloween in my poorly-done flapper costume (the British for the most part have no idea what flappers are, or so I learned). I caught his eye and true to party-student form I gave him my phone number...my real phone number. He is one of those men you feel should be on tv for his ridiculously decadent lifestyle - tailor-made shirts with his initials on the the cuffs, private drivers that he can summon on command (and which will arrive in less than 5 minutes), betting hundreds of pounds on games of office golf, going clay pigeon shooting with clients on the weekends. I think you get the picture. I've dated rich guys before, but I've not dated a rich guy of this level. My god the extravagance. We went on one very nice date of expensive exclusive cocktails, both messaged that we had good times...and then he disappeared. For four months. I received a message from him several weeks ago, saying, "Hey, sorry I've been away...not cool. I was sent abroad for work. How are you?" Oh my goodness, sent abroad! Did they send you somewhere where phone connections and internet connection still aren't commonplace? How exotic! You know I've been desperately waiting for your reply... No. I swiftly ignored his message, and that was that. Bozo level: 8/10. Bozillionaire.


Two years with Don
It was soon after this that I decided to take things online, as the Bozone levels were getting a little too high a little too regularly. I figured if I could filter the non-bozos from the bozos, I could avoid some unnecessary bozo exposure.

That was only partially true. Like I said, bozos are everywhere.

The best example of this is Nav. That is his actual name. We were chatting on Whatsapp everyday for several weeks. Even got to the point of asynchronous voice messages (those things are great but I'm too old to remember what someone has said if they talk on for more than about a minute). He made no attempts to schedule a meetup though, so when he stopped responding I assumed that was it. You're not interested, fair enough. But to put in so much effort just to leave? Seemed like a waste of time to me, incredibly inefficient. And then he messaged me...three months later. The message was literally, "Hi, long time no talk. How are you?" This I ignored as 1) I had moved on and 2) really? After ignoring him for several days, he sent another message: "I stopped speaking to you because I felt how uncomfortable your voice was when you replied to me. I would hate to make a friend based on fear. Fear as in you wanted to impress. Do you think we can be friends on a relaxed basis?" Oh, sorry, I'll try harder to not be nervous around someone I don't know. Thanks for waiting to talk to me about this, three months has really given me some perspective. This was certainly a first. Bozo level: 8/10. Invisibozo.


Looking back on all these bozos has made me appreciate this new non-bozo so much. Who knew it could be so easy, natural, and wonderful to be with someone who actually wants to be with me and puts in the effort? Several of my close girlfriends have recently found themselves in similar relationships and we've all wondered why we dealt with the bozone layer for such a long time. What were we thinking?!

Even if this doesn't work out in the long run (though I hope that it does), it will be nice to know that there are men out there who aren't bozos. Perhaps we can all avoid the bulk of the bozosphere in the future and breathe fresh air.