Consensual Hugs

By Theia. 

In France they do a thing called an une bis. That’s when they kiss you on both cheeks to say hello. They do it at informal occasions like parties to people they know or have just been introduced to by a mutual friend. Imagine that you’re in France and for every person you meet, you have to kiss them on both cheeks. Some will have a kick out of this, but for the more shy or reserved people, think how stressful it is to do something so foreign and unnatural.

For me, the midwest is my France. But instead of doing the une bis, they do hugs. Do I put my arms around their waist or over their shoulders? Do I do it sash style where one arm is above the shoulder and one arm is below? How long do you hold the hug? Can there be space between you and the other person? How tight do I squeeze? We’re still hugging? Are they feeling my boobs? Do I put my cheek against theirs? Who releases from the hug first? Do I pat them on the back?

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Snapshot Memory

By Theia. 

“Stupid!”

“Stupid idiot!”

“Stupid idiot imbecile!”

For 12 year old self and my 10 year old brother, these were equivalent to curse words. This was a typical week-night dinner, with my brother and I at the kitchen counter, mostly done eating but still consumed in a fight. Mom already retreated to the barracks (living room). I don’t know how the fight started or ended, most likely because all of our fights blurred into one. The verbal battle consumed me with rage, and it was in this fight I threw a word bomb much bigger than I expected.

“You’re fat!”

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On Singleness, Anxiety and Tomato Sauce Jars

Written by an anonymous guest blogger. 

The first time I cried about being single was a cold Thursday night the fall of my senior year of college. I was in a house I shared with three roommates, all of whom were out for the evening. I was making pasta in the kitchen. I cried because I couldn’t open the jar of tomato sauce.

I tried really hard to open that jar. I wrapped the lid in a dish towel. I ran it under hot water. Eventually I beat it against the countertop in frustration.

And then I cried.

I cried because in that jar of tomato sauce I saw a lifetime of singleness stretching before me. I was 21 years old and had never had a boyfriend. I’d never made out with a boy. I’d never even kissed one. I would graduate from college in a few months and after that, what were my chances of meeting anyone? Surely, I was doomed to a lifetime of loneliness; a lifetime of having no one to open stubborn tomato sauce jars for me.

Was I being overdramatic? Sure. But in every melodramatic breakdown there is a kernel of truth.

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Thoughts about 9/11

By Theia.

I grew up in New Jersey, one of my first memories of Dad bringing me into New York City was when. I was five. Staring at the sky with my arms wide, I twirling in circles and saw two tall towers merging with the sky. They were twins.

One day when I was ten, I left school early because the World Trade Center crashed. I didn’t know what that was. I didn’t know it was the first thing I saw every time I drove by the New York skyline. I didn’t know the Twin Towers was just its nickname. But when serious stuff happens, no one calls you by your nickname.

I sometimes wish I had a great story about the 9/11 that I could pass down to my grandkids, and I am sometimes ashamed that I treated that day like a snow day. That afternoon I made cookies at my neighbor’s house, and we complained how the television stations were all showing the same footage. Even Nickelodeon. I went back into the kitchen and made cookies.

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Coming Clean about Body Image

By Grace O’Malley.

Reflections of an Ex Runner

I used to pride myself on having a superior body image. I loved my body and was pretty confidently more confident then many other girls and women I knew. I had no problem running in spandex and a sports bra—just the opposite: I couldn’t wait to. Everyday that I trained I became a little bit more fit, and I loved my body just a little bit more.

But I was a collegiate athlete who trained six days a week–of course I loved my body. I was working my ass off on the track, in the pool, on the bike, and in the weight room. I was fast, fit, and strong. Of course I loved my body.

And I was missing the point entirely. My “confidence” in my body was entirely dependent on the many hours I spent working out. And although my focus was principally on my performance as a runner, the changes to my body that came with becoming more fit did not go unnoticed. I watched my calves get stronger, my biceps get bigger, my abs become more defined. I took note of all these improvements, studying the slightest changes.

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The Lemonade Stand

Lemonade stand

I was riding my bike home on a neighborhood street when I see five girls at a corner with an easel, a money jar, and a small table holding a pitcher of lemonade and a tray of cookies.

“Do you have change for a dollar?” I ask them?

“Yes!”

It took all five girls to take my single, scavenge for two quarters, pour my lemonade, and place it in my hand. Henry Ford might have critiqued the efficiency of the service, but I could tell they valued their customers.

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Offense vs. Defense

By Theia. 

soccer-goalie-clipart-soccer

This theory is a lot like watching Dr. Phil or Comso’s sex tips: a guilty pleasure. It’s trying to tell you how this socially constructed world works even though there’s no rhyme or reason to how ANYTHING works, but that doesn’t make it any less fun for humanity to rationalize, categorize, and quantify the constant phenomena around us. So with that disclaimer, enjoy the unfounded theory of how guys and gals function. Also remember my positionality is a straight white upper-middleclass girl trying to figure out how straight, mostly white, mostly upper-middle class men work.

The Offense and Defense Theory

Men are on the offense and women are on the defense. Traditionally speaking, men are more likely or more pressured to make the first move. They’re the one that’s supposed to ask the girl to prom, they’re the ones that should be buying the girl a drink, they’re the ones expected to go down on one knee. Traditionally speaking, women are on the defense, they’re the ones that get to say yes or no to the prom, drink, and proposal. For the metaphor, think of the man as the offensive player shooting into the goal, and the girl is guarding the goal. The men, especially the beginners in the sport of Flirt, miss the goal, or it gets deflected. In other words men get rejected. A lot. They put themselves out there with the risk of being completely denied. So when they get rejected, why would they do it again? If they treat like a game, it means it’s ok to lose, it’s ok to fail, it’s not personal it’s just part of the game of Flirt. It’s not who falls down but who gets back up.

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You’re More Than That

“i want to apologize to all the women i have called beautiful
before i’ve called them intelligent or brave
i am sorry i made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is all you have to be proud of
when you have broken mountains with your wit
from now on i will say things like
you are resilient, or you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re beautiful
but because i need you to know
you’re more than that”

-Rupi Kaur

Confessions of a Women’s Soccer Fan: Four Years Ago I Wasn’t Crazy About Abby Wambach

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Abby Wambach celebrates after a goal

Even as I sat on the edge of my chair, screaming as she nailed an insane, bullet-like header into the back of the net to tie the game up in the quarter finals against Brazil in 2011, even as I jumped up to cheer when she did it again in the final against Japan, even as I watched her break Mia Hamm’s scoring record, then discussed her incredible athleticism, marveled at her speed, her precision, and strength, even as I nicknamed my talented teammates after her, I didn’t love Abby Wambach.

But why?

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