Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 In Review

1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
A thousand different things. Traveled by myself for two weeks. Visited Norway. Made the first move with a guy. Interned with Delta Nu*. Lived in the Northeast. Fell in love. Started my first relationship. Lots of fun, intimate things as part of said relationship.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any concrete resolutions last year. Something about reading more classics and reading more books in French. I did read more classic literature, but not very much in French. Oops. This coming year, I want to track my expenditures again and keep a tight budget like I did when I lived in France.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not this year, no.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
A wonderful woman from my church had had Parkinson's for a long time. She died this year.

5. What countries did you visit?
Well. I lived in France and the States. I visited England and Norway.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
A job with a real salary and benefits.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 12. I left my favorite country in the world, and I don't know when I'll be back. :( July 29, first date with the the now-boyfriend. :)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I continued to follow my dreams. Once again I put my happiness above financial security, and it's worked out so incredibly well for me. I have three new best friends, a boyfriend, and an awesome network of connections because of choosing my summer internship over a year-long internship.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not writing more. I had a goal to write 150,000 words this year, but only intentional writing counted. So these blog posts, yes. Emails, no. Fiction, poetry, etc., yes. My personal blog posts (travel writing aside), no. I only hit like, 40,000 words or something sad like that. Granted, it is more than I've ever written before (not counting stuff for school).

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No!!!!! After starting 2010 in the hospital, 2011 was awesome!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Train tickets and plane tickets for traveling.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My twin brother has completely turned his life around, and I couldn't be prouder.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Americans in general...

14. Where did most of your money go?
First part of the year: rent, food, train tickets, hostels, plane tickets. Summer: food, alcohol, gas, clothes, shoes. End of the year: Starbucks, plane tickets, clothes.

Most of my money has gone towards traveling.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Going to Norway for the first time and meeting all my family there!!!

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
This is the first time I've really gotten into Adele, so I'm going to say anything she put out this year. And the Glee mash-up, of course.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier, since I just spent the holidays with my family.
ii. thinner or fatter? About the same, I think.
iii. richer or poorer? About the same as well, except even more on my own and less dependent on my parents (but I still owe them money).

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Writing!!!! Traveling, although I did travel as much as I could afford to do.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Um. Can't think of anything. It was a pretty balanced year.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my family :)

22. Did you fall in love in 2011?
Yes! With the boyfriend. ♥

23. Did your heart break in 2011?
Yes, but I'll always love Mark* as my best friend.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Glee, same as last year.

25. Where were you when 2011 began?
In Montmartre.

26. Who were you with?
A friend of mine and about a gagillion other people.

27. Where will you be when 2011 ends?
Probably at home. Yup, I'm just that cool.

28. Who will you be with when 2011 ends?
My parents and one of my best friends from high school.

29. What was the best book you read?
Just one? Seriously? Either The Help or The Hunger Games trilogy. Oh, wait, or The Picture of Dorian Gray.

30. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I got really into Adele this year.

31. What did you want and get?
An internship with Delta Nu. :D

32. What did you want and not get?
Total financial independence. I'm getting close!

33. What was your favorite film of this year?
Is it sad if I say The Muppets Movie?

34. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I went out to dinner with my co-intern and summer roommate Lauren*. You can probably figure out by now how old I am, but I'm not telling!

35. How many different states did you travel to in 2011?
Um, my home state, the Midwestern state where I was this summer, the three states in-between my home state & the Midwestern state, the Northeastern state where I currently live... So six. French regions? Four, I think. Norwegian regions? Two. Then London. So about thirteen overall. Give or take.

36. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
The same as always. Some combination of bright American casual and dark French sophisticated.

37. What kept you sane?
My besties, my family, my blogs, my followers on twitter, and MY BOYFRIEND. Oh, and Starbucks.

38. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Ummmm, Naya Riviera from Glee. I just couldn't help myself.

39. What political issue stirred you the most?
Gay marriage legalized in New York!!!!!

40. How many concerts did you see in 2011?
Not that many. The Beach Boys this summer!

41. Did you have a favorite concert in 2011?
The Beach Boys this summer!

42. Who was the best new person you met?
My summer besties: Lauren, Hardy, and James*. 'My' kids.


43. Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?

44. What was your most embarrassing moment of 2011?
Nothing comes to mind.

45. What are your plans for 2012?
Move to Canada with my job, move to the Midwest and find a new job, figure out if I want to marry the boyfriend once we're living in the same state (you can't jump into these things, especially via a long-distance relationship), blog more often... Yeah, that's about it.

*We're all good on the fake names, fake sorority, right? Awesome. Just checking.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Clarification, because I am nothing if NOT judgmental


I realize in my last post I discussed the whole concept of sexual purity, and how even though it isn't something that concerns me, it is a concept some Christians might want to consider based on their personal beliefs.

A day or two later, I discovered this amazing documentary based on a book called The Purity Myth, and I was like, “Oh, my God, I hope no one thinks this is what I meant.”

I want to take this moment to clarify a few things about my post on sexual purity in case they were not evident.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

So... What If I'm A 'Technical Virgin'?

Something I've tried to emphasize in my blog is that virgins choose to wait for a variety of reasons. For example, Christians generally believe that premarital sex is a sin (although 80% of young, unmarried Christians are still engaging in it). Personally? I don't think it's a sin, but I've still chosen to abstain.

But abstain from what, exactly?

By choosing virginity for personal reasons and not for religious reasons, I also have the privilege of choosing how I define virginity. Since the majority of my experiences have been with men, and I have a boyfriend, not a girlfriend, I've taken a heteronormative view in defining what sex is—or rather, what sex will be—for me. Until I engage in sexual intercourse (with my husband, of course!), I will continue to call myself a virgin. However, I'm totally supportive of fellatio, cunnilingus, and masturbation,* solo or mutual. Just like I don't think premarital sexual intercourse is a sin, I don't think all the fun non-sex sex is a sin either.

That said, most of my virgin friends are saving themselves for religious reasons. They believe that premarital sex is a sin. And here is where the line becomes tricky.

If you're a devout Christian and proud to be a virgin, especially if you're currently in a relationship, then you might not like what I have to say.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Oxymoron: A Virgin's Sex Life

“How was the non-sex sex?”

So began my gchat discussion with my bestie and sorority sister Lauren when I returned home from Thanksgiving with the boyfriend. What followed was a brief overview of our physical relationship and how amazing it is when we're together (although the skype sex is fun too). Of course, then Lauren and I (and her boyfriend, another bestie of mine, Hardy) skyped two nights later, during which I provided a blow-by-blow (pun unintended) account of Thanksgiving with the boyfriend and his family.

Everything from him surprising me with a rose at the airport to showering together to playing board games with his family to falling asleep in his arms to all of us going to see The Muppets.

Of course, the highlight of the weekend was the post-climatic cuddling Thursday night. My head rested on his chest, and he had one arm around me, with his other hand entwined with mine. He told me that he had dreamed about this moment, but in his dream, I told him I loved him.

Why, yes, that sound you heard is my heart bursting out of my chest because I am so in love with him.

I got the biggest smile on my face and said that it had been so so hard not saying it the last few weeks (even if it is all over twitter...), but that I didn't want our first time to be over skype. He agreed with that sentiment. Then I said that I had planned on telling him that day, but didn't know when to say it. He said he didn't mind saying it first. "I'm in love, what can I say?"

Ughhhh, he's so perfect, and I'm so lucky.

Did you know that he's my first boyfriend? That I'm in my 20s, and I've just now fallen in love with my first boyfriend? That I could have had one years ago if I had settled for my best friend Joe? (Which would have pleased both of our families and all of our friends immensely, by the way).

Do you have any idea how challenging it was to find a man who doesn't pressure me about our physical relationship? A man who's assertive in expressing his desire for me, but who also moves at a pace that makes me comfortable? A man who's made the same commitment to waiting for marriage? (And for non-religious reasons, just like I have!)

Most of the time, I enjoyed being single, but the older I got, the more difficult it became. People started acting like there was something wrong with me for having never had a boyfriend. Yes, you're right, I do differ from the majority of the population in a quirky way.

I have standards.


Those standards involve not having sex until marriage, which automatically eliminates the vast majority of folks in their 20s. Couple that with my feminist streak a mile wide, and you can understand my extremely limited dating pool.

But I waited and waited and waited until I met the boyfriend, and he's everything I ever desired in a significant other. When I told my best friend Ryan about the boyfriend, his response summed up everything I've been feeling.

“So happy for you. You kept the faith that you would find someone amazing, you didn't settle, and you have been rewarded.”

The best part about dating a fellow virgin who agrees that premarital sex is not a sin?

Completely losing ourselves in all the non-sex sex. ;)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Can my first time please involve choreography with "Like A Virgin" blasting in the background? No?



I'm a total Gleek and proud of it.

Glee is everything I want in a TV series. Singing. Dancing. Lampshading (when a show pokes fun at itself). Characters actually aging and graduating high school.

Beyond that, I love how the characters start out as blatant stereotypes, but become more complex. Although Rachel was originally my favorite character—I totally identified with her—Santana is now my favorite by far. A bitchy, promiscuous cheerleader? Psh, like we haven't seen that before. Except, wait, she's hooking up with her best friend and fellow Cheerio Brittany? Just hot girl-on-girl action, right? Except, no, Santana is secretly a lesbian.

So awesome.

I also love how Glee handles sex, with only a few quibbling remarks. Virginity is addressed in multiple episodes, most notably in “The Power of Madonna,” “Duets,” and, most recently, “The First Time.”

As your foremost expert in virginity, having been one for twenty-something years and counting, I feel qualified to critique the way virginity—and losing virginity—is presented in Glee.

I hate:

That Emma equates female empowerment with having sex. That Will lets her.

That Santana doesn't think it's a big deal to take Finn's virginity. That Brittany doesn't think it's a big deal to take Artie's virginity. That the girls are both using sex as a means to get something.

That Artie thinks Rachel and Blaine are unrealistic as Maria and Tony because they're virgins. That Rachel and Blaine listen to him!

That Rachel is presented as crazy and unrealistic for wanting to wait until she's in her 20s to have sex.

That Rachel tries to prove Finn's special because she's giving him her virginity, a gift she can only give once.

That none of the characters who want their first time to be special wait til marriage.

I love:

That Will recognizes he was an asshole and apologizes to Emma.

That Finn regrets sleeping with Santana. That Brittany feels badly for how she treated Artie.

That choosing to have multiple partners doesn't make Santana and Brittany sluts anymore than Puck is considered a manwhore.

The scene when Rachel turns to the other girls for advice. The different perspectives each of them offer on choosing to have sex.

That Rachel sees her first time as giving her virginity to her boyfriend and not losing it to him.

That Blaine and Kurt's first time receive the same attention as Finn and Rachel's.

That both couples wait until they're in love. That Blaine and Finn don't pressure Kurt and Rachel into doing anything until they're ready. (Blaine's drunken scene aside).

That Blaine casually refers to masturbation as an alternative to his otherwise conservative sex life.

That we'll maybe see Emma and Will's first time be on their wedding night?

I'm not the only one who thinks Glee could have done a few things differently. Therese over at “How to Lose Your Virginity” has a great post on it, although with a fairly different perspective than I present.

I'll end with this. Sometimes sex is a big deal; sometimes it isn't. Sometimes losing your virginity is special and romantic and involves singing & dancing; sometimes it's fumbling in the back of your mom's car. At the end of the day, sex is a personal choice, and no one has the right to tell you otherwise. Overall, I think Glee does a good job of showing that people will try and interfere with your sex life, but at the end of the day, what you choose to do (or not do) with another person (or alone!) is up to you.

Me, I'm waiting til marriage for that final, crowning act, but in the meantime, I'll enjoy a variety of alternatives...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Versatile: A Francophone Feminist Post-grad Sorority Girl, Blogging About Virginity

Versatile: ver-sa-tile [vur-suh-tl] or, especially British, [vur-suh-tahyl]: capable of, or adapted for, turning easily from one to another various tasks, fields of endeavor, etc.: a versatile writer.
Word information source:

Here is how the award works:
1. You thank the person who presented you with the award.
2. You tell 7 things about yourself.
3. You award 15 other newly discovered bloggers.

I was super-excited and totally honored when the beautiful Kristine included me on her list of 15 (more or less) newly discovered bloggers. It's taken me an extremely long time to pass it on, but better late than never, right?

Seven Things About Me... (Didn't I already cover this here?)

  1. Pink is my favorite color, but when I'm shopping for purses, shoes, scarves, or other daily accessories, I usually buy red or purple, both of which I love as colorful neutrals. On an unrelated note, I can't wait to turn 50 and join The Red Hats Society.
  2. I'm obsessed with my sorority, but no, I can't say which one because I interned there. I'm sure y'all will appreciate my research, though. You just won't know it's mine. ;)
  3. My favorite pandora station is based on the artist “Glee Cast.” It's the best mix of classic rock, Broadway showtunes, pop, and country. Plus Glee covers!
  4. I've seen Wicked in both New York City (I was 17) and London (I was 23).
  5. I could happily live in France the rest of my life. Part of the reason I want to be certified to teach high school history & French is to gain the credentials to teach in an American/international high school in France. Like where my cousin teaches. I'm 100% serious.
  6. I'm a good writer, but I'm also a really good editor. If you need someone to look over your history essay/blog post/newspaper column/etc., especially just for grammar/spelling/punctuation, than I am your friend. I also really enjoy editing papers. #nerdconfession
  7. One of my happiest memories of my current au pair job was a few weeks ago. I was driving my kids to school and also dropping off my boss dad at the train station. Adele came on the radio. My youngest started singing, my boy joined in, I added my voice, and then my oldest sang along as well. It illustrates two huge things I love about my job: being comfortable with my bosses and singing all the time with my kids.

Fifteen Blogs I Like! (Not necessarily newly discovered).

  1. Boats And Bowties aka my twitter crush.
  2. Lindsey Leigh of Keep It Classy, Alabama
  3. I Saw Your Nanny (it's an occupational hazard...)

So go find some new blogs! And make your own awards!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Feminist in Love

During Homecoming, I had a chance to hang out and catch up with one of my favorite Delta Nus.* Last time I celebrated Homecoming with her, we were both in Paris... Those were the days.

Megan:* So, tell me the truth, BV. Have you imagined yourself as BV Smith* yet?

Me: (starts laughing) No, of course not!

Megan: What? You're moving to the Midwest next year, and you haven't even thought about it?

Me: Oh, I've daydreamed about marrying him, but it's not as though I'm going to take my husband's name when I get married. What kind of feminist do you think I am?

Megan: (starts laughing) I love you, BV. You're such a badass.

I've never been called a badass before. A priss, a prep, a goody-two-shoes, a role model, a lesbian, a leader, the spirit of Delta Nu, a slut, a teacher's pet, Peter Pan, an overachieving perfectionist, a princess... but never a badass before. I was flattered, to say the least. Pleased enough to relate the conversation to my mom.

Me: And then she called me a badass! Pretty cool, huh, Mom?

Mom: (laughs) You know, while you were telling me your story, I thought to myself, 'Gosh, BV Smith doesn't really have a nice ring to it.' But then immediately I reassured myself, before you even said it, 'Well, it's not like BV will ever take her husband's name anyway.'

My mom knows me so well.

*Does anyone even read the footnotes anymore? Obviously, fake names, fake sorority.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Me & OKC (Part One): A French Fling

I still remember my feeling of slightly judgmental surprise when Susan* told me she had signed up for and

“But we're only juniors!” I said. “You're too young. Maybe one day, like when I'm 30 and desperate, I'll look into online dating...” I realized I was coming off as totally judgmental, so I tried to temper my criticism. “I mean, there's nothing wrong with online dating. A couple from my church met that way, and now they're married with two darling sons. It's just... I feel as though you're prettier and smarter than the townies.”

Susan was one of my roommates junior year. My best friend Rose* was always asleep when I got back to our apartment each night after the library closed, but Susan and Jade* were usually still awake and eager to gossip about the men in our lives. Jade always talked about her boyfriend, I always sighed about my best friend Mark,* but this was the first time Susan had really giggled about a guy. A guy she'd met online.

Jade and I were both dubious. It just seemed... weird. And desperate. And frankly? Not something that beautiful, smart, southern girls did.

Fast forward several years. Not only do I have an account at, but I met my boyfriend (!!!) via OKC.

How the hell did this happen?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Virgin Myths: Virgins Can't Kiss

Cherry graphic via

Today's myth is a little bit different. It has been implied to me in multiple variations, but never as blatantly or as explicitly as Myths One, Two, and Three.

Myth Number Four: Virgins are bad kissers/ Nonvirgins are better kissers/ Good kissers must be nonvirgins/ Etc

I have been told, on more than one occasion, “You don't kiss like a virgin.”

I'm never exactly sure how to respond to that. On the one hand, I know he means it as a compliment, so I'm flattered. Who doesn't want to impress their hook-ups with their awesome kissing skills? On the other hand...

What the fuck does he mean by that?! I don't kiss like a virgin? Okay. Tell me how a virgin kisses. Timidly? Close-mouthed? Not at all? I don't understand how a virgin and nonvirgin kiss all that differently.

You gotta learn to walk before you can run, right? Well, it's the same thing with kissing and sex. Ideally, you perfect your kissing skills before you move on to your sexual prowess. So, no, I haven't had sex yet, but yes, I mastered kissing years ago.

In fact, I'm a virgin who's a better kisser than several of the nonvirgins with whom I've hooked up. I've made out with some guys who I know have slept with many girls, and when we've been done kissing, the main thought running through my head has been, “How the hell did you get so many girls into bed with you?”

They were probably insecure. Or drunk. But that's another post for another day.

Moral of the story. Kissing is a skill just like any other. Some people are naturally good at it. Like me.* ;) Some people need more practice. Everyone can improve with practice and patient, loving feedback. But just because I don't enjoy running doesn't mean I can't comfortably spend hours walking and exploring Paris/London/Vienna/etc.


*I'm not being immodest. Remember my first kiss? He was also my best friend. If my first kiss had been with someone else, naturally, I would have told him. About halfway through our make out session, he stopped and looked at me, with a slightly accusatory look on his face. “I'm not your first kiss, am I,” he said, sounding hurt. It took me several minutes to convince him that he was.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Who I Am: A Story in 10 Parts

Y'all remember that “25 Things” meme that was going around facebook a few years back? You had to write out 25 random things about you and then tag 25 people in your note?

I've decided to do that tonight, albeit an abbreviated version. Although ultimately, all my posts come back to sex/abstinence, not all future subjects will relate so obviously. By sharing with y'all 10 things about me, you'll have a better idea of who I am, why this blog is important to me, and where my ideas are coming from.

Without further ado, and in no particular order, 10 things.

1. I am in my 20s, and I have never been in love. I have never had a boyfriend. Before meeting man friend, I had never even come close to having a boyfriend, although I had had a handful of complicated liaisons. Most people discover this about me, and they are shocked. I am always torn between feeling flattered and insulted. I'm glad that you think I'm awesome enough that you think guys should be throwing themselves at me... but I'm not totally okay with the fact that you feel as though there's something wrong with still being single at my age. Because I don't. I think it means I'm discerning, not that I'm undesirable.

Edit 10/23/2011: As of 10/16/2011, I have had a boyfriend. Man friend officially leveled up. :) 

Edit 01/28/2012: I meant to adjust this earlier. The boyfriend & I first said "I love you" on Thanksgiving 2011.

2. My religious and spiritual beliefs are complicated. I am certain of very few things when it comes to God. One, I believe in an Ultimate Being, my Creator, who I call God, who made me and loves me. Two, I believe God is beyond gender or sex, and we only refer to God with masculine pronouns because of the patriarchal time period in which the Bible was written. Personally, I use feminine pronouns with God because the English language lacks a gender-neutral pronoun worthy of Her. Three, I believe Jesus is the Son of God, He came to Earth to teach us about love, and He died for our sins so that we may one day ascend into heaven.

Beyond that, I have no idea. I feel as though all religions have truth to them. I think the ultimate religion is to love. I think we have to figure out our own moral compasses and abide by our own consciences. What's okay for me might not be okay for you and vice versa. I think it's hypocritical to judge anyone for their actions. What I'm about to say really won't sit well with conservative Christians, but I don't think that Jesus is the only way to heaven. I think accepting Him as your savior is the only surefire way to heaven, but not necessarily the only path available to us. I feel as though I learn just as much about religion and spirituality when I read Susan Cooper, C.S. Lewis, and Madelaine L'Engle as when I read the Bible... if not more. I am constantly seeking what is True, what is Beautiful, what is Good. When I die and meet my Maker, I am confident that I will be able to say I did my best in this life. I faltered, I stumbled, I made mistakes, but I tried, I learned, and most importantly, I loved.

3. As part of my complicated religious and spiritual beliefs, I don't believe that premarital sex is a sin. I have studied the Bible, although I have yet to read it cover-to-cover, and nowhere in the Bible does it state that sex before marriage is a sin. That guideline is an extrapolation from other verses about not committing adultery and not having lust in your heart. Frankly, for most of history the Church didn't care if men had sex. A woman's virginity was valued less for biblical reasons and more because she was property. My choosing to save myself for marriage has nothing to do with my religious beliefs and everything to do with my personal desire to save my virginity as a gift for my husband.

4. Words are important to me. I know I tweet about Words With Friends and Scrabble constantly, but my love of words is more than that. I want to paint you a picture with my words. I want you to see what I see, to feel what I feel.

Names are important to me. Naming something gives it power, gives it significance. I love my name. I wish I could share it with y'all, but frequent google searches indicate that I am one of three people in this country, possibly the world, with the combination of my first and last name. Any modicum of anonymity I have left would be smashed to smithereens. My name is beautiful. My first name is for my maternal grandmother, my middle name is for my paternal grandmother, and my last name is my father's. When I get married one day, I want to keep my last name. Not only that, but I want my first daughter to take both my first and last name. (Don't worry; I already have an equally beautiful nickname picked out for her so that she can maintain her individuality). Some people think I'm crazy when I say this... but if a man were to say the same thing about his first son, would your reaction be the same? Or completely supportive?

5. Homosexuality is not a sin. Love is love and should never be sullied by hate. If you adamantly disagree with me, fine, I probably won't change your mind. This topic will be its own post one day, so I'll leave you just with this. If you believe homosexuality is a sin, you ought to believe premarital sex is a sin. Odds are, you're engaging in that, so who are you to judge the LGBTQ community?

6. I'm incredibly comfortable with my body and will display it without thinking twice. Sometimes I wish we could all go back to Eden (which I recognize as a creation metaphor, but go with me here) and walk around the garden, naked and unashamed. My body is beautiful, and I don't mind it being appreciated. I do believe there is a difference between appreciation and objectification. I realize that I can't control men's thoughts or actions towards me, but I don't think it's my responsibility to hide who I am to make their lives easier.

My body isn't perfect. I have stretch marks from childhood, one of the few outward signs of Crohn's disease and the weight gain that was beyond my control... and a much better option than slowly starving to death. My stomach has always been curved, even when I was grossly underweight and even when I was in amazing shape. I wear glasses and refuse to even consider contacts. My nose is slightly off-center.

But I've embraced my body. I've embraced my imperfections. I think I'm beautiful because of my flaws, not in spite of them.

7. May 5, 2011 changed my life forever. That was the first time I ever admitted my last deep, dark secret to one of my best friends. I finally openly accepted who I was inside, and the next few days were some of the best, most free days of my life. But the rest of the summer was spent in tears as I tried to figure out how to come to terms with who I am. Because I can't go back to the scared little girl I was before, the one who always felt on the outside of things, the one who used her sweet and innocent facade to survive southern conservatism, the one who could only embrace the socially-acceptable aspects of her incredibly complex personality.

Eleven people know now. Eight of my best friends, one of their boyfriends who's like a brother to me, Ron, and man friend. Careful readers may have figured it out already. ;) I'll probably tell y'all about it... eventually. Another reason why I had to start a separate, anonymous blog/twitter/email. I don't think most of my friends and family will accept me anymore. Sure, they'll still love me, but they'll never look at me the same way again. And that thought kills me inside, daily, as it has for seven years now.

Edit 08/30/2012: As of 07/29/2012, I finally admitted to my blog readers and twitter followers that I'm bisexual. It feels incredibly freeing to write this. I just wish I could tell my family and my friends at home as easily as I told the Internet.

8. I want to make a difference in the world. I want to help people. I want to know that I matter. I want to make people happy. I want to bring a smile to someone's face. I want to inspire, to educate, to lead by example. I know this blog only garners a tiny bit of traffic, but that's okay. If I can reach out to just one person, then I've made a difference. And that will bring a smile to my face.

9. I strongly believe in the five languages of love: gift-giving, words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, and acts of service. For example, I'm words of affirmation, and my college roommate is gift-giving. It's important to learn not just your own, but also the language of the people you love. More on this later.

10. I have grown way too attached to my followers on twitter, although this shouldn't be a surprise. I've had another blog for years, since high school, in fact, and I've developed genuine relationships with people I've 'met' there. Some of them I have had the pleasure of meeting in real life, and, because it truly is a small world, I now live just a few towns over from one of them!

So maybe it sounds crazy or cheesy or insincere, but I've actually come to care about the people with whom I interact on twitter. I like reading y'all's tweets. I love reading y'all's blogs. I'm curious to learn more about y'all.

There you are. 10 things about me. All the cards on the table. I can handle being a walking oxymoron. The question is:

Can you?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Open for Business


I started taking birth control last week. And, of course, my nine-year-old discovered it yesterday when he came with me to my room to grab my new Glee CDs.

Sam*: (picks up my birth control) What's this medicine for?

Me: (trying not to panic visibly) Uhhh, it's something I have to take every day.

Sam: (puts it down without reading the label) Why do you have to take it every day?

Me: (looks wildly around) I take a lot of medicine every day. I take this, this, and this every day too. (points to Pentasa, calcium supplements, and Omega-3 capsules) This when I have a cold, and this when I have a headache. (points to Dayquil, Nyquil, and Tylenol)

Sam: Wow, you take a lot of medicine! How come?

Me: (relaxes) I have Crohn's Disease. I have to take medicine not to be sick.

This is why I shouldn't let my kids in my room. That, and the fact that I insist they keep their rooms clean while I have a pile of laundry in my desk chair, stacks of books on the floor, half-unpacked shopping bags on the floor, and seven pairs of shoes scattered about the room. Hypocritical much?

But, yeah, you're probably thinking that the real hypocrisy is the virgin on birth control. If I'm not planning on having sex, why do I need to be taking even more drugs?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Virgin Myths: Male Virgins are Conservative

Cherries graphic via

I realize that at this point, you probably think I'm, like, the Goddess of Virginity and the Sophia of Abstinence. I understand your misconception (I am an awesome writer, let's be honest, of some pretty sexy and controversial topics), and I'm flattered, really, I am. But it pains me to admit that with all my experience in not having sex, I too have fallen victim to stereotyping virgins. Specifically, virgins of the male variety.

Myth Number Three: Men who save themselves for marriage have other conservative ideas about gender roles.

Out of the fifteen guys (and four girls) I've French-kissed, thirteen were definitely nonvirgins, three were probably nonvirgins, two could have been nonvirgins or virgins, and only one was definitely a virgin.

This in and of itself doesn't mean anything except to indicate the rarity of virgins in their 20s. I'm special and sparkly, like a unicorn, and I'm totally okay with that. ;) But because of this, I also came to accept years ago that it's unrealistic of me to expect to marry another virgin one day. Obviously that would be AWESOME, but I'm looking at pretty slim pickin's if virginity is a non-negotiable for me in a future spouse.

I also (wrongly) assumed that if I were to end up with another virgin, he would be an ultra-conservative, head-of-household, wives submit to your husbands kind of guy. If you haven't figured out by now that I'm a bit of a feminist the way Katy Perry is a bit sexy and J.K. Rowling is a bit of a writer, well, news flash, I am. Don't get me wrong; I'm all about putting other people first, but in a relationship, I want a partnership, not a benevolent monarchy. Based on my undergrad interactions with fellow virgins, most of whom I knew from my on-campus church group, I drew the conclusion that men who saved themselves for marriage also had other traditional views on marriage. Views that would never sit well with me.

Sidenote: This is the origin of stereotypes and generalizations. We take our personal observations about a small sample of a larger group of people and assume that everyone in that group shares characteristics with the small sample. It is very easy to fall into this trap, but very important to avoid it if at all possible.

So. All that said, part of me has always thought I would end up with a nonvirgin because that would be my only chance of marrying a man who would be okay with me keeping my last name and us co-leading our family.

Then I kissed the only definite virgin out of nineteen.

And my entire perspective changed.

Because he's not saving himself for religious reasons either. Because he likes how fiercely independent I am. Because he bought me dinner, but then didn't say a word when I bought our drinks later in the evening.

For the first time in my life, I wasn't the only one setting the pace whilst making out. Don't get me wrong, I've (mostly) made out with gentlemen who didn't push me to go any further than I wanted, and I greatly appreciated their respect for me. But I discovered that it's so much better when I share that with a man. When we have a mutual understanding of how far to go and when to stop. When I'm not the only one stopping, the only one moving hands away, the only one saying “No.”

This is my formal and public apology for any men out there who are proud and intentional virgins. I'm sorry I assumed your values on sex automatically transferred to your beliefs on gender roles. I realize now that just like women save themselves for many reasons, men do too.

P.S. Virgins can be pretty damn good kissers too. ;)


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dating, Sex, & Marriage

A reader asked me if I'd read I Kissed Dating Good-Bye by Joshua Harris. I had to admit, I had not, but I was intrigued by the title. Sadly, my library does not carry this book, but I did read several reviews and summaries of the book. I've passed midterms with less prep work, so I feel slightly prepared to discuss the topic.

According to wikipedia, clearly the ultimate authority on everything, “dating is a form of courtship consisting of social activities done by two persons with the aim of each assessing the other's suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or as a spouse.”

Um, okay. Is that really applicable to the modern world of dating, though? I mean, is that honestly how we treat dates?

Before we go any further, I don't want anyone to form the mistaken conclusion that I am, in any way, shape, or form, an expert on dating. I have been on exactly seven official dates with four guys. (Four of them being with man friend... le sigh). But I am the queen of secondhand experience. Both my guy friends and my girlfriends come to me for relationship advice all the time. I also read a lot. Between the two, I've picked up on a thing or two.

So. Dating. Why do we do it? My first real date was with my best friend's boyfriend's best friend. Yeah. My best friend thought I was too picky when it came to guys, and I guess I was trying to be more open-minded? But the date wasn't about him; it was about me. What could I get out of it? What could I learn? What could I experience?

The whole thing was very self-centered. According to Harris, that's the attitude most people have about dating, and it's the wrong attitude to have. He states, “Every relationship for a Christian is an opportunity to love another person as God has loved us.” We should be putting God first, other people second, and ourselves last. This should be true not just in romantic relationships, but all relationships.

So far I'm totally down with this idea. I think generally I do a good job of balancing my own needs and desires with those of the people I love. I almost always put other people first unless that would negatively impact me. If putting someone else first affects me neutrally, or positively, then I usually do it. I'm not a doormat; I just like to see other people happy.

But... four steps? Casual Friendship – Deeper Friendship – Courtship – Engagement? It's a great idea in theory, but I'm not sure how great that works in practice. How many of my best guy friends have I fallen for? (Five out of eight. Rather hard for one and borderline in love with another). How many of them fell for me? (Just one). Was it mutual? (No, that would be too easy). Clearly forming deep friendships with (mostly) godly men did not lead to courtship for us.

What does Harris say about intimacy?

Again, I've just read through about 100 reviews and summaries of the book, not the book itself. Finding his exact stance on intimacy is not as easy as the aforementioned points. Overall, though, his thesis is that intimacy is the reward of commitment. That you should save intimacy for commitment. That one of our problems today is sharing intimacy with someone without commitment.

I have trouble articulating if I agree or disagree with this. I think that young people jump into sex too quickly. I think they use physical intimacy selfishly. I think the emotional scarring you can suffer by being too intimate too fast with the wrong person can affect your future relationships. So in this sense, I agree. You should save intimacy for commitment.

But. I also feel as though the two go hand in hand. Yes, there are a lot of people I consider my best friends (at last count, I think I hit 27...). But out of the thousands of people I've met in my life? It's a very small number who are rewarded with the best friend title. I click with some people in a special way, on a deeper level. They go on to be my best friends.

It's the same concept with men. I can't commit myself romantically to someone unless we've reached a certain level of intimacy. The reverse is true as well. For true intimacy to occur (aka not just hooking up, which I've done on many an occasion), I need to have a certain level of commitment as well.

I've refrained from blogging about man friend (even if I tweet about him incessantly) since sharing my present private life with the world is just a little more personal than sharing my past private life. But I feel as though a quick overview of my relationship with man friend is a good example of commitment and intimacy happening at the same time. (More detailed stories about us to come at a later date!)

Man friend contacted me via an online dating site. Soon we were emailing each other almost daily. After a few weeks, we met for dinner: our first date. A week later, we had our second date, and I kissed him at the end of the night. After our third date a few days later, we enjoyed a very nice make-out session. After our fourth (and final) date a week later, I stayed the night with him. During this time, we were still emailing and instant messaging constantly. I also saw him several other times that were not dates. My last night in town, he told me that if I were staying, he would ask me to be his girlfriend. I told him if I were staying, I would say yes. Now that it's been a month exactly since I last saw him, and probably still three months away from when I can see him again, I can say that I feel even more strongly about him. I don't even want to go make out with random guys and girls in a club (which is saying a lot for me). I just want to be with him, even in our current undefined long-distance unofficial whatever.

The more I learned about him, the more I liked him. The more I liked him, the more I wanted to kiss him. The more I kissed him, the more I wanted to know about him. See a cycle here? Commitment and intimacy went hand in hand.

At the end of the day, I think we need to be intentional in our relationships. We can't just sit back and let them happen. We need to consider carefully who our friends are and who are significant others are. We need to put love and effort into our relationships. We need to have a conversation with God about what we're doing and where we're going and who's coming with us.

What this looks like is different for everyone. For me and romantic entanglements, I don't have hard and fast rules. I'm careful with my heart, but I also let myself love freely. I have blurred guidelines for physical intimacy, but not black and white lines of yes and no. I talk things out with God, but I also express myself in writing and turn to my friends for advice. I make mistakes, I allow myself to be hurt, but then I learn from my experiences, and I move on.

Purity and goodness are different for everyone. As long as I can look myself in the mirror at night and be proud of my reflection, I'm doing okay.

Edit 05/27/2012: I just found this blog post with a thoughtful criticism of Harris's approach.


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