Sunday, April 1, 2018

"What's love got to do with it?"/ Jenna Birch

Feb. 11, 2017 "What's love got to do with it?": Today I found this book review by Carly Lewis in the Globe and Mail.  It's non-fiction and like psychology:

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, two new books encourage readers to question the sentiment

‘A woman alone is spat on,” says Simone de Beauvoir’s The Woman Destroyed, a book written in 1967, as the narrator cascades into madness because the men in her life have left her. How I wish that forlorn spirit (a fictional character, but real enough) could see 2017 – Single Ladies on the radio (and in 2011, the cover of The Atlantic), Tinder dates, no wave-polyamory, food-delivery apps that render personal kitchen appliances useless, the reclamation of embroidery.

We’ve reached a point, in contemporary urban society, at least, where singlehood is fine, and so is being in a relationship, and so is compartmentalizing the whole idea of romance until one has finished doing other things. Even happily married people have come to realize that love may not be magical and have largely stopped hoisting the fable of easy love upon the world.

A new crop of books, released conveniently in time for Valentine’s Day, encourage us to question whether the sentiment of love might be less important to relationships than utilities such as reproduction, personal safety, a double income, chores, lifestyle preference or simply a quest to battle boredom. There is also the question of the point of love at all.

In Carrie Jenkins’s What Love Is, the author, a professor of philosophy at the University of British Columbia, asks, “Which of love’s features belong to its social nature, and which belong to biology?”

Knowing this, Jenkins says, “is essential for understanding what kinds of control we have over the nature of love and what love could become in the future.”

The very suggestion love might be administrable is striking. An upcoming memoir by Mandy Len Catron, called How To Fall in Love with Anyone, continues an exploration that began with her 2015 New York Times piece about a psychologist, Arthur Aron, who concluded people could be drawn together by answering to each other a set of 36 specific, increasingly personal questions. (A pair of Aron’s participants ended up getting married.)

“I first read about the study when I was in the midst of a breakup,” Catron wrote. “Each time I thought of leaving, my heart overruled my brain. I felt stuck. So, like a good academic, I turned to science, hoping there was a way to love smarter.” It would seem that there is.

The ticket, however, is being genuinely honest with oneself, a nearly impossible task that requires intention and mercilessness. “Any kind of ‘love’ that would not survive a long, close look may not be such a wonderful thing to have in your life after all,” Jenkins writes.

“Illusions are unstable things that can crumble for all sorts of reasons and without warning, even if you studiously avoid looking at them.”

Jenkins gets at something I think we all know deep inside but heavily resist, especially when in a relationship. It’s easier to be reasonable about love when you’re out of it.

“The questions reminded me of the infamous boiling frog experiment in which the frog doesn’t feel the water getting hotter until it’s too late,” Catron wrote, of conducting her own version of Aron’s study on a date, with an acquaintance she’d had since university.

(From that night on, they were a couple.) “With us, because the level of vulnerability increased gradually, I didn’t notice we had entered intimate territory until we were already there, a process that can typically take weeks or months.”

In the 1970 book The Dialetic of Sex, Shulamith Firestone wrote that romanticism was “a cultural tool of male power to keep women from knowing their condition.” The same has been said of monogamy itself, and to this list I’ll add the sort of chic pseudo-polyamory that conflates dishonest promiscuity with ethical non-monogamy and seems to propagate my peer group. “With love and with women, there is cultural potency to the idea that mysteriousness is part of what is special about them,” Jenkins writes.

I am reminded of the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds line, “To possess her is therefore not to desire her.” I am also reminded of my mother advising me, circa age 10, to never let a partner love me less than I love them, wisdom I found a little premature to offer a child at the time, but now understand.

“Repeatedly, we’re disappointed, and we’re starting to find that holding out for a longterm love is often not a pragmatic choice,” Sarah Ratchford wrote recently for Flare magazine.

“We no longer expect (or need) those arrangements to last forever. So we’re deprioritizing love, relegating men to utilitarian side dish and investing in our friends instead.” While it’s worth noting friends, too, can break your heart, Ratchford and Jenkins both push for a wholesale remodelling of what a heart is for.

(“It’s astounding, really, to hear what someone admires in you. I don’t know why we don’t go around thoughtfully complimenting one another all the time,” Catron wrote in the Times. But this is what friends do, if you stack your team correctly.)

In the new book American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus, author Lisa Wade puts forward some necessary caveats regarding the current cultural recalibration of love.

One in three students surveyed by Wade cite an experience of trauma in their intimate relationships. In some cases, the resistance of intimacy is predicated on understandable fear, sexual-assault statistics being as high as they are. Simply put: dating, especially within heterosexuality, is dangerous. That said, 28 per cent of women sourced by Wade also said that “romantic love brainwashes women.”

“Hookups are described by women as sexual liberation itself, but also as a way to protect their ambitious trajectories,” Wade writes. “As recently as the 1980s, college women were ‘mobbed by romance,’ prompted at every turn to find a careerminded boyfriend so that they could quickly get engaged, settle down, and start a family. Schoolwork took a back seat to steady boyfriends, leading women to revise their career ambitions in favour of planning to be a supportive wife. Young women today resist this path.”

So where does that leave us, if not married with children, and if not soaring around the city reapplying saucily titled lipstick (Heat Wave, Brave Red!) in the cab en route from one Tinder match to another? For now, figuring it out.

“Hookup culture also carries with it some of the worst things about the last hundred years. It is still gripped, for example, by the limiting gender stereotypes that emerged during the Industrial Revolution, that fissuring of love and sex that left us thinking that women’s hearts are weak and men’s hearts are hard, that men’s desires are ablaze and women’s barely flicker,”

Wade writes. “…When women of colour are sexual, it’s seen as a racial trait; when poor and working-class women are sexual, it’s read as ‘trashy’; and when middle-class white women are sexual, it’s interpreted, all too often, as just a proxy for relational yearning. And, since hookup culture demands that students seem uninterested in romance lest they seem desperate, this stereotype ensures that women usually lose the competition of who can care less, if only by default.” (My mother was onto something.)

“No pill will cure the problems we have built into love’s social role, but we may be able to manipulate the biology of love more wisely once we appreciate this,” Jenkins says.

In the meantime, then, I’ll defer once more to de Beauvoir: “I want to live for myself a little, after all this time … I have plans by the dozens in my mind.”

Feb. 6, 2018 "Romantic struggle is real": Today I found this article by Lisa Bonos in the Edmonton Journal:

Jenna Birch’s new book sat on my desk for months before I could bear to open it. “The Love Gap: A Radical Plan to Win in Life and Love” is about why smart, successful independent women — the type of women men profess to want — have trouble finding steady relationships. For years my single girlfriends and I have been told by the men we date: You’re everything I’m looking for, but I just don’t feel it. Or: You’re great, but I’m just not ready for a relationship. We’ve heard the same refrains for decades, in breakup talks with men in their 20s, 30s, even their 40s. I didn’t want to open the book because it felt too close to home.

But I’m glad I did. Because in it I found empathy for the women who hear these things and the men who say them. And an explanation for why seemingly good matches fall apart or never come to fruition.

Perplexed by her own dating struggles, Birch dug into research and spoke to about 100 men and women about why it’s so hard to find the relationship they desire. She does more than blame online dating’s flakiness and an abundance of choice — which singles have been living through and reading about for years. Rather, Birch finds an explanation in the enduring pressure men feel to be providers, even in an era when, in about a third of married or cohabiting couples, women bring in half or more of the household’s earnings.
Until men can provide for a family, Birch finds, they don’t feel comfortable dating seriously or making a lifelong commitment. And no matter how much men say they want an equal partner, a woman who’s smart and independent, studies find that such women often make men feel emasculated or inferior.

Birch and I spoke about her book last week; the following interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Lisa Bonos: How did you decide that this was the question you wanted to interrogate?

Jenna Birch: There’s a lot of survey data that said men were really into these smart career women. But I looked around at who was struggling with dating, and they tended to be that type. If this type of woman is the dream girl, then why are they having so many problems? That was a big guiding question from the beginning. And then Lora Park had research that came out in 2015 that showed psychological distance matters a lot. 

Bonos: What does “psychological distance” mean?

Birch: “Psychological distance” has to do with when you’re thinking about something as an abstract concept. For example, there are a lot of pros to smart, independent career women. They have that second paycheck; they’re intellectually in the same plane and they are similarly educated. All things that we know produce good relationship partners. But when it came time to close that distance and men had to interact with these women face-to-face, they started to lose interest.
Bonos: How does that play out in real life?

Birch: I would get on dates where a guy would be so excited about the date, we’d have intellectual sparring and then we’d get there and it started to be a competition. I’ve had guys get into one-upping matches with me on dates. It can be a little bit difficult.

Bonos: Why do men have trouble committing to women who seem to be the whole package, or as you call them: the End Goal?

Birch: Women who are “End Goals” are those who really have their lives together; it might be the partnership that these men ultimately want, but they’re just not there yet, so they can’t commit. I wanted to reassure women that if they were having these problems, not to get a complex about it. Just wait until they find an investment they really want to make or someone who is special.

Bonos: How have you seen this disconnect in your own dating life?
Birch: I had an ex-boyfriend tell me that I was so sure of myself that I was going to scare guys. I’ve also had situations where, on first dates, men will say things like: “I can’t have a girlfriend right now.” They might be thinking about moving, going to grad school or taking a job out of state. It’s a very psychological thing of: One thing comes before the other.

Men are kind of stuck in that norm, where they have to provide. They put that pressure on themselves. I started to see that a lot in my dating life. The guys who were settled were more interested in pursuing things and seeing where it would go; they had a relationship mind-set. The guys who were not settled or didn’t know where they were going to be, didn’t know if they could provide, were very skittish about making a firm commitment or going in that direction.

Bonos: I’ve seen that definitely. Why does that sense of men wanting to be a provider still exist when so many couples expect that both partners will be working?
Birch: It’s definitely the norm. There was recent Pew research that looked at what men and women thought the societal pressures were for men and women. The vast majority put being a provider and career success at the top for men. Women are showing that we can be that equal provider. But there are still these ingrained gender roles.

There’s studies on how dads interact with their daughters with a lot of complex emotional language, and it helps them be well-rounded; whereas we talk to boys about achievements and being at the top and pride. When it’s impressed upon boys and men subconsciously, I think by the time they get older they’re not even fully aware that these are the pressures they have or where they came from. 

Bonos: If men aren’t fully aware of what’s holding them back, how do men and women date smarter? 

Birch: If you listen closely, men will tell you where they’re at. A lot of them will drop hints about: “I want to settle down”; or “it’d be nice to have a long-term partner.” Whereas somebody who’s in flux will tell you they’re works in progress (which we all are).

Individually, you can kind of decide what’s worth your investment and how to structure your time wisely. There were a lot of women in my book who ended up dating men who all their friends and family said: “Don’t do it. He’s not going to put a label on it. He’s taking forever. He’s so skittish.” But a lot of the women learned that they had to be patient and work through it on an individual level with these guys who were putting so much pressure on themselves to provide, which I thought was really great.

Bonos: How do women know when to invest in a man who’s not quite ready yet? 

Birch: A lot of that comes down to really looking for things that you like in someone and maybe being patient with someone who’s not fully there yet but you see potential there. Does that person have a path to get where they want to go? Or are they kind of stagnant and not sure what they’re going to do yet and there doesn’t seem to be any active movement?

When you’re investing in a partnership, you have to look at the trajectory as a positive one, if they seem to be on their way versus just kind of stagnant and feeling things out. Having that vision of where they want to be — even if they’re a bit behind — is much more attractive. 

Bonos: Did you learn anything while working on this book that can help men and women understand each other better?

Birch: I wanted to arm single women with that knowledge of the pressures that men feel so that they could be patient; that they could know it was not about them, that it wasn’t personal. A lot of times, when a man says “I don’t know if I can commit,” women are told “he’s just not that into you.” That if you were the right person, he would commit.

And I did not find that. I have several friends whose long-term partners or husbands said the same thing to them as they were dating. And lots of friends and family did say: “You need to throw it away. He’s not going to do it.” And they said: “You know, I see such potential in this that I’m going to take a risk. I’m going to wait for him and see if he can figure out how to build a relationship.” A lot of these guys did over time. That was my big advice on relating for women, to have that kind of empathy.

And on the men’s side, I think that they do try to understand women. They ask a lot of questions. If we can keep the lines of communication open about the things that we’re feeling and the struggles we’re having, that’s going to help us get closer and build these relationships we ultimately want to have.

My week:

Mar. 26, 2018 "Anatomy of an internet scam": Today I found this article by Juris Graney in the Edmonton Journal:

It was a woman who friended a guy on Facebook because they had mutual friends.  He was in the military and how he was divorced and didn't have a lot of money.  She sends him money for food.  

Tip: Don't send money to someone you have never met.  Send money to an actual registered charity.

My opinion: It reminded me when I was waiting for the bus at West Ed mall.  This Asian woman asked for $1 to get on the bus.  I gave a her a $1.  Then she asked for another dollar.  I stopped and didn't give her any more money.  Maybe it's the race bias and I'm Asian so I gave her $1.

This was like when I was working at the Soup place.  A 20-something yr old white guy asked fro 25 cents to make a phone call.  Then asked for more.  I gave him 25 cents and this is kind of fuzzy with my memory.  He said he got out of jail and is homeless and needed to make a phone call to get money to get paid from his work.

I told him to go to Hope Mission.  He said he wouldn't go there.  I did see him go straight to a payphone after he got off the bus.

Last yr I was on the #2 bus on my way home from a job interview.  This 40-something yr old black woman got on and sat by me.  

Woman: Hi, I'm about to get kicked out of my apartment.  Do you have $20 so I can pay the rent?
Tracy: No.

I don't have the money right then and there.  Also, I was taken aback.  Here is a woman who is asking for this much amount of money from a stranger.    

Mar. 27, 2018 Lindsay Lohan commercial: I want to add to this.  She is a spokesperson for this company.  It's like any female celebrity being a spokesperson for hair, makeup, skincare products, and perfume.

Male celebrities mainly do razors and shaving products, cologne, and cars.

Celebrities can endorse whatever they want. 

Mar. 28, 2018 "Bride -to- be sent invitation to wrong address, got back note": There was $20 bill inside.
Then she looked closer and saw that the person, who Warren doesn’t know, had scribbled “live long and prosper” on the envelope, a nod to Star Trek.
“We’re kind of Trekkies,” Warren said.
Warren and her fiance, Jesse Jones, 23, have no idea who the mystery note writer is. But they assumed the Star Trek reference was because the person noticed the “fandom” corner of their invitation, which had both a Star Wars light saber and a Harry Potter wand, she said.
“She assumed we’d understand her message,” Warren said. “Which we did.”
My opinion: If I got wrong invitation, I would cross out the address on the envelope and write "No such person lives in this address."

 Mar. 30, 2018 "Advertisers flee Ingraham after tweet": Today I found this article by Kelli Kennedy in the National Post in the Edmonton Journal.  It got me angry:

 Some big name advertisers are dropping Fox News personality Laura Ingraham after she criticized one of the Florida school shooting victims on social media.

Ingraham, a right-wing host who landed a rare one-on-one interview with President Donald Trump last year, wrote on Twitter “David Hogg Rejected by Four Colleges to Which He Applied and Whines About It.”

Hogg, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who filmed students hiding from the gunman in their classrooms, was quick to respond, tweeting a list of a dozen advertisers and encouraging followers to immediately call them and ask them to drop Ingraham. Hogg has faced intense criticism from right-wing conservatives and gun advocates who have falsely called him a crisis actor following the Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland that killed 17.

“Soooo @IngrahamAngle what are your biggest advertisers … Asking for a friend,” he wrote with the hashtag #BoycottIngramAdverts.
The online home goods store Wayfair, travel website TripAdvisor and Rachael Ray’s dog food Nutrish all said they are removing their support from Ingraham.

Wayfair said in a statement that it supports “open dialogue and debate on issues. However, the decision of an adult to personally criticize a high school student who has lost his classmates in an unspeakable tragedy is not consistent with our values. We do not plan to continue advertising on this particular program.”

TripAdvisor says it does not “condone the inappropriate comments made by this broadcaster. In our view, these statements focused on a high school student, cross the line of decency. As such, we have made a decision to stop advertising on that program.”

A telephone message left for Nutrish was not immediately returned but the company tweeted it was in the process of removing ads from Ingraham’s show.
Ingraham apologized Thursday on Twitter, saying, “On reflection, in the spirit of Holy Week, I apologize for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of Parkland.”
Ingraham tweeted that she thought she was the first to feature Hogg on her show after the shooting and added, “he’s welcome to come on my show anytime for a productive discussion.”
Hogg tweeted later Thursday that an apology to save advertisers wasn’t enough and that he’d only accept Ingraham’s apology if she denounced the way Fox News has treated his friends.
“It’s time to love thy neighbour, not mudsling at children,” Hogg wrote.

My opinion: Where do I start?
1. Ingraham is a grown adult woman dissing a teenager.  I felt like the diss she made sounded like something a teen would say about another teen.  It's cyberbullying.

2. That's great David Hogg hit her back by getting her at her money.  Get advertisers to not support her.

3. At least Ingraham apologized.

4. Also if people are reading this, people will learn about being mean to other people online or in real life, that there are consequences that you can't always predict or control.

5. Also you don't know this person, and you are trying to hurt him by dissing about how he was rejected by 4 colleges?  You don't know what colleges you applied to like Harvard and Yale which are really hard to get into.

I have already wrote about this about myself like how I was unable to get into NAIT's TV program (3 different intakes) and NAIT's radio programs (2 different intakes). 

6.  I also hope people learn and are not afraid to try and fail.  You never know until you try.  You should apply to colleges and go to job interviews.  If you give it your best shot, then that's what matters.  If you don't, you will be like: "What if I tried?"

This life coach Sacha Sterling who I listen to in telesummits, she has had 5 stores and after the 2008 recession, they all closed down.  She then became a life coach.

Life is full of peaks and valleys, it's not always going to be easy.  

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