Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Just cause you feel it...doesn't mean it's there

The other night, I talked to both of my fake boyfriends right before I went to sleep. First one, then the next, so similar and yet so different. As I fell asleep, it suddenly struck me that it might be weird to have fake boyfriends. Whether we be planning fake future lives together (FB#2) or cautiously avoiding all mention of the subject (FB#1), it still might qualify as a big mess. In spite of all my bluster, I'm an easily persuaded young lady. Is it really such a good idea for me to inhabit these elaborate fantasy relationships (whether they be a conscious fantasy or an inability to let go)?

On the flip side, FB#2 argues that fake relationships function much better for him than any real relationships he's been in recently. And I must admit that each of these fake relationships make me pretty happy, in their own way. If I need to feel attractive, or witty, or even just amused, both are readily available. I don't owe either one of them anything that it's not in my power to give. At the end of the day, both are my dear friends. I guess this all comes back to the old "can women and men Really be friends" question. I'd argue passionately for yes, but most guys I know think that's a fantasy. And the fact that I need to call these friends of mine fake boyfriends, instead of just friends, might prove me false. So, dear Reader, what do you think? Can women and men truly be just friends?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Things that I love

A) On facebook, when you are viewing your own profile, it says at the top, "Beth M's Profile (This is you)." Every time I read that, I have to crack up. Thanks, Mark Zuckerwhatever, because we couldn't all go to Stanford. (This is you) Are you sure that's me? Oh wait, yes it is. Whew. It's like the parentheses make it a subtle reminder to the ever-forgetful viewer. Gentle, sweet facebook. Ever so tactful as you allow for quiet reminders of the fact that all of our friends have more glamorous and fun lives than we do (according to their profile pics).

B) It is 58*F in Kansas City at the moment. At this time last week, I was fighting a cold and 5 inches of snow. I love the Midwest, in spite of myself. I cannot wait to get into the car, put on my sunglasses and some music, and roll down my windows. (Really, just getting out from behind the desk will be nice.)

C) I have two pen pals, one in Asia and one in Europe. Writing back to them makes me almost as happy as I am when I see I have an email from a far-away place. Soon, the ranks will spread to India. I admire these friends, and I love to live a life of privilege that allows me the same opportunities allowed them. A pen pal is a perfect relationship, it its own right. The person, far far away, has all kinds of exotic wisdom to share. You, in their home country, provide a tie to prove that home is still there, and still misses you. Plus, you get to write really long emails about yourself.

D) This morning, I went to Ash Wednesday mass with my dad. We went to the somber, song-free 7:00am service. I had forgotten until he arrived (later than me) that he had busted open the bridge of his nose while playing basketball this week, forcing him to St. Luke's for stitches. He showed up in a big white bandage (to protect the wound from the ashes), and looked like a total thug. The population of the 7:00am mass is usually a majority of solemn older people, and he really shook things up today. Though we did spot Big Joe Neenan in the front row. I'm sure he'll have something to say to Dad about his street injuries.

Thursday, February 8, 2007


There's an article in today's NYTimes that discusses an uproar in the National Book Critics Circle about the nomination of author Bruce Bawer's nomination for an award. People are outraged that Bawer is nominated (for "While Europe Slept"), due to the outspoken "racism" of his material. Bawer criticizes Islam, and examines the possibility for conflict in Europe between those of traditional "Western" culture and those of Islamic.

Bawer's response to the uproar: “Some people think it’s terrific for writers to expose the offenses and perils of religious fundamentalism — just as long as it’s Christian fundamentalism.”

I agree with Bawer in saying that criticism of Christian fundamentalism is welcome to many people in our country. Most people I know won't hesitate to offer the opinion that Christian fundamentalism is an extreme that is both scary and possibly threatening. I could talk for days about the 2004 election, the Christian Right's role in said election, and the disaster that our country has become in the name of "Christian values." Bawer wants to know why it's not OK to do the same for Islam.

Here's what I think: I can't critique Islam in the same way that I can critique Christianity because of where I grew up. I encountered Christianity in every day of my life, whether that be in a school setting, or on TV, or in reading books or newspapers. I grew up in the Catholic Church, and I went to Catholic schools. I feel comfortable in my knowledge of this faith, and so I can expose its weak points. But with Islam, I'm not as well educated. I don't know any Muslims, and my somewhat perfunctory studies of the faith in high school hardly provide a basis for understanding. In my experience, privileged white people (like myself, like my friends) have no room to criticize anyone but themselves. It's an established societal norm that I'm not allowed to critique, say, black people, or Asian people. I can critique women, because I'm a woman, and I can critique dead white men, because everyone can, but with an experiential knowledge so limited, I don't like to voice judgement on people or groups I am naive about.

Is that right? I don't know. But that's how I operate.

(sorry for the rant. work is boring, and i have to keep my mind occupied somehow.)

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

They were always getting, there's just a wedding

I'm developing a love/hate relationship with telling people about My Living Situation.

"Yes, that's right, they're engaged."
"Really soon, actually."
"No, I'm not moving out after they're married."

This is where conversation starts to sour. People, mostly adult people (sorry kids, we don't count as adults yet in my head), look at me as though I just started to drool blood. I hear a lot of, "That first year, wow, that's a tough one." Like I'm in for major Strife.

It usually starts out pretty fun: the look of shock, the raising of eyebrows. I like making jokes about mooching, being adopted, etc etc. However, I'm getting a little tired of the "you wouldn't know, you aren't married face." In fact, I'm getting a little tired of talking about marriage in general. I suppose I can't have my cake and eat it too. Oh wait, yes I can, at the wedding on Saturday! Because then it will all be over, I'll still be unmarried, and my taxes won't be at all complicated to do, because I don't own a home. Life is sweet for the simple single.

Almost as sweet as my new, faux-fur, hunter green coat. For a picture, click here. It promises to be a choatic and well-insulated weekend.