How to Be in a Romantic Relationship ~ Emily V. Gordon And Ana Hinojosa

http://www.rookiemag.com/2015/10/how-to-be-in-a-romantic-relationship/

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The Terrible Tale Of My Racist One-Night Stand ~ Ella Sackville Adjei

This is the tale of how I accidentally slept with a racist, and the laughably horrible things he said to me while I lay in his bed.

In July I travelled around the Cyclades with two friends, reunited after spending a year apart at different universities, and re-learning who we might have become in the time away. We’d met Australian Sam and his friend in Athens and, excited at seeing a familiar face in a Mykonos club, dragged them across the dance floor. What we took for enthusiasm at mutual recognition turned out to be more prosaic; Australian Sam and co had no memory at all of our previous meeting and clearly thought their irresistible physical magnetism was what made us pluck them out of the crowd. When you’re determined to get over an ex – even if it has been the best part of a year since the breakup – and let’s be real, prove that “still got it!” attractiveness to yourself, bad things can happen.

Tom Humberstone for BuzzFeed

Over his shoulder my friends wiggled their eyebrows and smiled encouragingly, knowing I was accomplishing my “mission”. I remember thinking his blue eyes (not my usual) seemed bright and fun, and though I felt very strongly that he was arrogant, his shoulders were the exact right height for me to wrap my arms around. So we ended up at his hotel on the other side of the island. Feel free to insert your chosen comic-book euphemism here.

I am no expert on the details of hookups. There aren’t a lot of notches on my bedpost but I feel certain casual racism isn’t the norm when it comes to postcoital pillow talk. We were sharing vaguely awkward, but perfectly pleasant, small talk about life in the UK and Australia and he had just demonstrated his predictably bad British accent, featuring all those familiar harmless stereotypes.

Tom Humberstone for BuzzFeed

His “Indian” accent (purely the word “curry” repeated over and over) segued neatly into a generic “Asian” one (where he said words such as “noodles”, “massage”, and “ladyboy”).

It started to dawn on me that this good-looking stranger had deeper character flaws than just a tendency to focus all conversation on himself. Somehow, I’d foolishly assumed that everyone everywhere was now aware of how not OK this kind of shit is. Or at the very least that they would keep it between themselves and their white mates. How did I fuck up so monumentally and end up in a room alone with this jerk? The only consolation was the thought of how grimly hilarious a story it would become.

Tom Humberstone for BuzzFeed

When I pointed out the blatant racism of his comments, Australian Sam told me Australians “just don’t care about that stuff”. Dancing about a half-step away from “I don’t see skin colour” territory, he said: “If someone wants to get offended because their skin colour is mentioned, that’s their fault.” I snorted in disbelief. My “racist radar” had experienced a major malfunction and now here I was in bed with a guy who thought his love for Biggie and 50 Cent negated his total inexperience with the existence of black people as actual human beings with whom he could interact. I was tired and tipsy, and even though I wanted to tell him where he was going, he wasn’t worth any more of my time or breath.

Tom Humberstone for BuzzFeed

As it was, I was clinging to the very edge of the mattress with my body contorted to avoid any physical contact with this person who by now was truly repulsive to me, and trying not to cry, and wondering how I could get the fuck out of there.

Weeks later, seeking solace, I asked various women of colour friends if they’d experienced any similar racism from romantic or sexual partners, and so many had stories to tell: One told me how her ex-boyfriend used to mimic her accent as she spoke Tamil on the phone to her mum. Another – of Indian and Pakistani origin – was asked to “like, sing in Indian while I rap” by one sexual partner and told “you’re quite pretty, and not that hairy, for one of your lot” by another. For every story of “casual racism as flirtation” shared, I have no doubt that hundreds more go unreported except among groups of exhausted women torn between grim amusement and despair.

A classmate I spoke to, who is of mixed black and white Southeast African origin, had slept with a white South African who insisted on discussing apartheid, her “tribe”, and his exhilaration at “breaking the rules”. The rhetoric and mentality of colonialism is so often still painfully present for so many of us – and not just in our institutions and systems. And unfortunately, racists don’t tend to wear badges to identify them: It would be a lot easier to work out who to avoid on a sweaty dance floor if they did, and whose bright blue eyes to ignore.

A stroke of genius reminded me I had the only set of keys to the room I was sharing with my friends. I dug them out of my pocket as proof but he’d already immediately offered to take me back. Perhaps he had sensed my discomfort, but more likely he felt I had fulfilled my purpose and was no longer necessary.

Tom Humberstone for BuzzFeed

The grimmest circumstances often yield comedy like nothing else: As the bike plodded painfully up a hill, we realised it had a flat tyre. I would have laughed at the farce of it all if I hadn’t wanted to scream into the night at the thought of being trapped in the middle of nowhere with this foolish racist. By some minor miracle, the bike managed to last until the club, where I hopped off and ran awkwardly in my tight “pulling” skirt away into the crowds. I desperately – childishly – hoped his quad bike would give up entirely, leaving him stranded. I never saw Australian Sam again. I left Mykonos two days later. I don’t imagine I’ll ever return.

Tom Humberstone for BuzzFeed

The happy ending is this: I channelled all my hurt and rage into the first iteration of this piece, and began to feel OK again. This didn’t have to scar me, or change my thoughts about sex, or myself. It could just be one experience of many, one sad night of so many happy ones, a valuable life lesson learnt (that lesson being “try not to sleep with awful racist men”). And frankly, getting a piece of writing internationally published is the biggest and best “fuck you” I could have.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/ellasackvillea/the-horrifying-tale-of-my-one-night-stand-with-a-racist#.hrq7yb9PK6

The Hug That Ruined My Son’s Birthday Party ~ The Good Men Project

Photo: Kidstock/Getty Images

By Allison B. Carter

He looked crushed, his open arms falling limply by his side. My son simply refused to hug him.

“Go hug him,” intense words (not from me) followed.

But my child was adamant; he did not want to hug his relative.

I stood firmly rooted in place watching the interaction and feeling uncomfortable. Seeing my son required to hug his relative felt wrong.

Much has been said on this topic already, especially in regards to girls, so I know I am not alone. But as a mom to boys, there is a surprising reason why this bothers me.

The popular, worn argument is that if kids are forced to engage in physical contact they don’t want, even if it is friendly and familiar, they are vulnerable to unwanted physical contact in later years. Leading, perhaps, to their rape and molestation.

CNN reporter Katia Hetter wrote in her powerful article from 2012, “Forcing children to touch people when they don’t want to leaves them vulnerable to sexual abusers, most of whom are people known to the children they abuse, according to Ursula Wagner, a mental health clinician with the FamilyWorks program at Heartland Alliance in Chicago.”

Three years later, this issue is still very much on parents’ minds. Recently Everyday Feminism posted an article I have seen many times in my Facebook feed.  Writer James St. James lists seven reasons why children should never be forced to hug anyone. All of these are striving to keep children’s boundaries and their instinctive nature to protect themselves from sexual predators intact.

While the danger is higher for girls, boys are still sexually molested at a rate of 1 in 20. This scares me. This should scare all of us.

But there is a part to this that no one is talking about, one that tickles the back of my mind in the scary sleepless nights.

I don’t want my sons to learn that it is okay to force physical touch.

Let me put it this way: while I don’t my sons to be vulnerable to sexual molestation later in their lives, I don’t want them to sexually molest anyone either.

Clearly, I couldn’t imagine this actually happening. My sons are six and three. They are sweet, innocent, and honest. But I don’t think any mother anticipates a rape allegation made against her son.

During their formative years, my family and I need to model for my sons how to patiently wait for enthusiastic consent before forcing or coercing contact.

This is hard to digest. Sex and physical touch are tough topics to teach on a good day. There are things we don’t say piled on things we can’t say. There are expectations without any written rules.

In addition to how to say “no” to unwanted sexual contact, my sons must learn to wait for enthusiastic consent before they make advances on someone else. I am not teaching them this if I force them to hug someone against their will. It seems, rather, that I am teaching them that consent doesn’t matter if the physical activity is “the right thing to do.” Or, even worse, because it is “expected.”

It may seem like a far stretch from requiring my children to hug their aunts and uncles to raising sexually forceful men.

But young men are under scrutiny. They are being pushed to new standards of responsibility before they engage in sexual activities. Universities are rushing to redefine what rape means. Women who have spent years silenced are finding the burden of proof in the he-said/she-said game slightly lighter.

These newly defined standards are good and, as a woman who attended the University of Virginia and followed the recent rape story closely, I am fully supportive of this change. Yet I think of the impact this will have on my boys.

This American Life had a powerful episode wherein boys at a college fraternity were asking blunt and open questions about what “consent” really means. Posing situations to a trained female professional, the kids were asking for concrete answers as to how this new standard translated to real life situations. They didn’t receive any clarity, though, because what could happen is endless. A man can’t predict everything; he certainly can’t predict another person’s behavior.

My boys may be on a college campus someday, possibly even in a similar fraternity session, confused by the same questions. I actually feel compassion for them. The college boys recorded seemed like good men trying to get answers on a very confusing issue, trying to find a way to ensure they didn’t cross any lines.

“Consent is consent and it should be obvious,” we say. Or we say, “Your answer is to wait for enthusiastic consent.”

But those words seem hollow if we don’t ask these same boys for their consent, enthusiastic or not, during their youth. And yes, that can be as simple as waiting for their enthusiastic consent before they hug the people that love them.

To be clear, I want my boys to hug their relatives. But I want them to do it enthusiastically. I want them to hug because it is a natural extension of their love.

My hope is that this will teach them that waiting for consent is what people who love each other do.

https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/the-hug-that-ruined-my-sons-birthday-party-125962401278.html

16 Myths About Love That Are Totally False ~ Kirsten King & Alex Kasprak

This is Helen Fisher, the chief science adviser for Match.com and an anthropologist who specializes in ~love~.

This is Helen Fisher, the chief science adviser for Match.com and an anthropologist who specializes in ~love~.

TED

Every year, Helen Fisher, Ph.D., conducts a comprehensive study of singles’ attitudes toward dating and sex that surveys over 5,000 Americans. The people surveyed are NOT Match.com members, but are representative of the U.S. population at large. “We queried a representative sample of blacks, whites, Asians and Latinos, young and older, and gays, lesbians and straights from every part of the country and every walk of life,” she told BuzzFeed Science.

The data reveal a number of myths about dating, love, and sex. Here are some common myths about love that could use some debunking:

1. Myth: If you initially don’t find someone attractive, you will never fall in love with them.

16 Myths About Love That Are Totally False
DreamWorks

Reality: 43% of singles have fallen in love with someone they did not initially find attractive.

2. Myth: Partners are curious about your ex early on.

16 Myths About Love That Are Totally False
NBC

Reality: 72% of singles do not want to hear about your past relationships while on a date.

3. Myth: Singles rarely think long term on a first date.

16 Myths About Love That Are Totally False
Fox

Reality: 51% of men and 49% of women have imagined a future together while on the first date.

4. Myth: Romantic love is always triggered by physical attraction first.

16 Myths About Love That Are Totally False

Reality: 54% of singles say they fell in love with someone they didn’t initially find attractive after a great conversation, or when they found they had a lot of common interests.

5. Myth: Love at first sight only exists in the movies.

16 Myths About Love That Are Totally False
The CW

Reality: 34% of singles (41% of men, 29% of women) have experienced love at first sight, while 53% of singles believe in it (59% of men, 49% of women).

6. Myth: Intense, passionate, romantic love lasts no more than a few months.

16 Myths About Love That Are Totally False

Reality: 28% of singles surveyed were intensely in love with their last partner for two to five years, 9% of singles were intensely in love with their last partner for six to ten years, and 18% of singles were intensely in love with their last partner for more than 10 years.

7. Myth: To singles, getting married shows that you really love someone.

16 Myths About Love That Are Totally False
Bravo / Via realitytvgifs.com

Reality: 53% of singles don’t want to get married because they believe that you don’t need marriage to prove you love someone.

8. Myth: Single men want more nights out with friends than women do.

16 Myths About Love That Are Totally False
Paramount Pictures / Via tumblr.com

Reality: Single men are less likely to consider regular nights out with the guys/girls a “must-have” or “very important” (only 55% of men consider it important while 64% of women find it important).

9. Myth: Men like being single.

16 Myths About Love That Are Totally False
NBC / Via virtualteen.org

Reality: Only 12% of single men reported that they don’t want a relationship and would prefer to stay unattached.

10. Myth: Men are turned off by a successful woman.

16 Myths About Love That Are Totally False
USA

Reality: 87% of single men would date a woman who makes considerably more money, and 44% of single men think it’s important to date someone who has a successful career.

11. Myth: Men are uncomfortable when a woman asks them out.

16 Myths About Love That Are Totally False
Bravo

Reality: 90% of men are comfortable if/when a woman asks them out.

12. Myth: Men feel that proposing marriage is always the man’s job.

16 Myths About Love That Are Totally False
Touchstone Pictures

Reality: 67% of men would be comfortable if a female partner proposed to them.

13. Myth: Men don’t put in much prep time before a date.

16 Myths About Love That Are Totally False
Universal Pictures / Via 1-800-ghost-dance.tumblr.com

Reality: 69% of single men take between 30 minutes and one hour to prepare for a date (vs. 73% of women).

14. Myth: Men don’t want to date smarter women.

16 Myths About Love That Are Totally False
NBC

Reality: 87% of single men would date a woman who is more intellectual than themselves, and 87% would date a woman who is considerably more educated.

15. Myth: Women want to move in together with a new partner sooner than men do.

16 Myths About Love That Are Totally False

Reality: 11% of single men want to live together before six months of dating (vs. 4% of women).

16. Myth: Singles without children avoid dating single parents with children.

16 Myths About Love That Are Totally False
Sony Pictures

Reality: 60% of singles (64% of men, 57% of women) are willing to date a single parent who is living with children.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/kirstenking/myths-about-love-that-are-totally-false

Ice Cream Doesn’t Have Feelings…but you do by Candice Ashley

Here is some food for thought on the matter of skin color, actually on “skin tone”.

Where does one’s skin color/tone preference come from? Is there a difference? This idea of being attracted to a specific tone recently came up in conversation with a friend, let us call her Suzanne. Suzanne likes fair toned girls. When naming the traits Suzanne is looking for in a female she expressed wanting to be with someone fair toned. This ideal girl could be of any race as long as she was fair toned or no more than two shades away from Suzanne’s own fair color.  Upon hearing this I had to ask myself, is this just a different way of saying white is good and black is bad?

Let’s ask the real question which affected me to write this, how does it feel to be on the receiving end of someone else’s preferences? Is it even allowed to say out loud you prefer lighter toned over darker toned or vice versa? Should I have an issue when people say they are not attracted to dark toned people? Should fair toned people have an issue if I say I am not attracted to them? Is this any different from saying I prefer **burly lumber jacks dressed in plaid as opposed to lean jockeys dressed in chevron? Where is the line!

It should be noted that I treat feelings as facts regardless of if they are unfounded or not. I am feeling them, they are here, and they are REAL. With that being stated, I immediately was put off by Suzanne’s comment. Now I am trying to understand why. Is it because I am outside of her ideal tone range? If I was in her ideal tone range would I feel differently?  Why do I care I’m not trying to date Suzanne! Do other people think like this? If so, are guys not choosing to date me because I fall out of their +/- 2 tone range?!

The logical side of me wants to shout out the obvious, PREFERENCES ARE REAL! Preferences for ethnicity, religion, education, financial well being, height and body type, exist. I just have never heard this preference phrased as Suzanne phrased it. It seems to be such an oxymoron, race doesn’t matter but skin tone matters. Personally I think the phrasing is a cover up by person in denial. Either way I came to my conclusion that our reaction to someone else’s preferences will depend on what side of the line we fall. Being the perfect shade of champagne toasted caramel that I am, I fell out of that range and felt some type of way about it. I was in my feelings and did not comprehend the non-inclusiveness of the comment. Ultimately we all have our preferences we just need to realize that those on the opposite side of our preference are people and have feelings too.

The excerpt below is of a g-chat conversation I had with a friend. It sums up everything I feel on this matter.

friend I gchat with: sayyy whattt, she missing out
me: at first i was like.. is that like having a preference in ice cream?! then i thought no ice cream doesn’t have feelings

** It should also be noted that I am color blind in the laws of attraction, and I really do love a burly lumber jack in plaid preferably driving a gas guzzling non-eco friendly truck!