All posts by Ellie Holt

Ladies, are we discerning enough when it comes to what sorts of media we engage with?

View article posted at Evie Magazine HERE:

Remember when you were a kid and mom would say you were not allowed to watch certain movies? She would say it was because you were not old enough to watch such a scary/violent/inappropriate/(fill in the blank) movie, and that you had to wait until you were older. Up until a certain age mom and dad pretty much monitored whatever it was you were watching on TV or listening to on your Walkman (I am an adult millennial okay?). You probably tried to get away with watching an R rated movie or listening to that one 50 Cent song your mom would always turn off when it was on the radio. Then one day you were free! Somewhere between age 13 and 18, depending on how strict your parents were, the world of entertainment was your oyster! You could read all the Cosmo’s you wanted and watch any movie and listen to any unedited version of a song you wanted! In retrospect your fragile, malleable, pre-pubescent brain was not mature enough to engage with certain content. But as you got older and wised up the assumption became that you were mature and responsible enough to watch scary movies without having to lose a week’s sleep, or you could watch a TV show with sexual content and not be traumatized. 

Yet as we have grown up how often do we ask ourselves whether the media we engage with is toxic to us?  The assumption is that we are mature and responsible enough to make good choices about what we listen to, read and watch, and yet most adults rarely question their own media engagement or call into discussion it’s toxicity. 

I teach dance classes to young children and the other day I played the song “7 Rings” By Arianna Grande for my class to warm up to. One of the girls informed me that while it was one of her favorite songs she was no longer allowed to listen to it. I apologized, turned it off and asked if it was inappropriate, because to my knowledge there was only the muffled use of a bad word or two. She told me that her parents said they did not want her listening to the song because it gloried money and told listeners that money could solve their problems. My initial reaction to her explanation was that yeah she was right and that kids were too malleable to listen to certain messages even if it was just a  fun, catchy tune. Adults, on the other hand are discerning enough to recognize that it is just a fun song and that Arianna is not reallyinsisting that materialism is a solution to our problems or that money can substitute therapy. Right?! And yet as I thought more about the short interaction I began to realize that perhaps the 8 year old girl was imparting a wisdom that most adults were prone to shrug off and ignore because they were over calculating their own maturity. 

The reality is that even though we are supposedly educated, mature adults who have the ability to discern what is good for us and what is toxic, we rarely do it. We often put ourselves in the position as passive consumers of media rather than active ones. All too often we allow ourselves to succumb to the mind-numbing, almost comatose state of turning our brains off and passively absorbing the subliminal messaging all around.   How often do we stop and ask ourselves what the messages are in the songs we listen to and the TV shows we watch? And how often do we ask whether they are uplifting, truthful, and/or helpful to us? 

Back in the day most ads with hypnotic charms were aimed at kids, like sugary cereal ads where the kids would watch TV and then beg their parents for the same cereal at the super market. The media got in trouble for trying to manipulate and target kids who were not mature or intelligent enough to discern that the messages were meant to manipulate and beguile them. And while most people feel that was a triumph against the pervasive messaging of the omnipotent, omnipresent media, that same tactic regularly influences bona fide adults as they too shut their brains off and allow subliminal messaging to trigger deeply rooted emotions like a need to be liked/loved or to feel worthy and valued. 

When asked, most people are quick to admit that the “media” in general is “bad” for us. We are constantly coming into contact with “Fake News” and advertising that over-sexualizes and objectifies women. We continually bemoan the toxicity of mainstream news outlets like Fox and CNN that sensationalize news into a “he said she said” battle where correspondents and commentators see who can talk over one another the loudest about issues that are meant to keep us bickering rather than seek out solutions. We know that social media has a correlation to depression and that most rap songs have horrible messages and yet when do we actually say, “this is bad for me” and turn it off? How often do we truly recognize the intent of the media around us? That is often aimed at getting us to dislike something about ourselves that we are told can be fixed with a purchase. The media’s constant goal is keep us dissatisfied and until we recognize that and take steps to reduce our engagement we remain under it’s stronghold. 

So what types of media should we start analyzing more deeply? What kinds of messages are being perpetuated? There is a huge difference between screening out messages we KNOW are bad for us, and toxic messages that are disguised as empowering, positive messages. 

Music

Everybody knows that most modern, popular music is garbage and yet we listen to it because we are “here for the beats and the not lyrics.” However, what we fails to recognize is that subliminal, subconscious messaging is a very potent form of communication. It is an effective form of propaganda that is often even more powerful because we too callously brush it off as “just a good song.”  But how often do we actually analyze the lyrics of our favorite jams as we sing along on our way to work? 

While we are aware that most rap music is misogynist and objectifying to women, most of our other favorite pop songs carry similar messages of over-sexualizing women, promoting promiscuity, romanticizing alcoholism, condoning violence against women, and worshiping of materialism and consumerism. While most of us are somewhat aware of these messages, we usually write them off without examining how much influence they carry over us and whether these are positive influences in our self-image, relationships, or view on money. For example, we are often unaware at how a song about women using men for money can affect how women are portrayed and how they act towards men. Or how a song glamorizing a breakup can influence our dating habits. 

Magazines

Most glossy women’s magazines run a lot of similar content, something that should be our first tip off that print is no longer pure journalism, the helping hand of democracy, but rather a strong grip in keeping us dissatisfied. Most mainstream women’s magazines pose as “feminist” and “pro-women,” yet they are are more complicit than we realize in keeping us as comatose masses eager to pull out our purses and pursue hedonistic pleasure in the name of empowerment. Most women’s magazine’s perpetuate the idea that self care can be achieved through consumerism, as if a face mask will solve all your problems, or that self care could also be sitting in front of Netflix allowing yourself to be passively influenced and sold ideas. Either way selfish, pleasure-seeking, consumerist behavior has been repackaged and sold to millions of women as “self care.” Whose idea do you think that was? The beauty industry or a therapist? 

Magazines also communicate to women that promiscuity, pleasure seeking, hedonistic behavior is fun and empowering, although it is actually very damaging mentally and emotionally to lots of women. If we take a look at the root of these sorts of messages it makes sense that the media would want to keep women in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction with their lives, continually seeking out novel pleasures and material gratification. It is good for business! It also begs the question of where do most women get their information about feminism? From the media you say? And wouldn’t most women agree that the media is toxic in most forms? So why on earth would we trust the media’s take on feminism, especially if most of the media is owned by white, billionaire men with monopolies on the information we consume? 

Articles glorifying a career over a family and hook up culture over marriage present a singular idea of femininity under the false pretense of “supporting all women.” Moreover these narrow concepts of female empowerment often glamorize climbing the ladder of consumerist, corporate America and pursuing cheap, physical pleasures as “liberating” and “empowering” without offering alternative choices to women or exploring the pros and cons. 

Movies/ TV

Most of us have gotten pretty lax with the types of TV/movies we watch, always self-assured that our adult brains are not influenced by any amount of cursing, sex, or violence we may see on TV. Yet, what if those should not be our foremost worries? Violence and cursing have little to no impact on most women, however things like the way men and women are portrayed on TV/movies are potent indicators of female behavior and attitudes in real life. Most women fail to recognize the way relationships are shown in tv/movies and the effect they might have on how we view real relationships.

For example, most tv/movies positively portray promiscuity and hooking up as glamorous, fun, sexy, exciting and empowering with very little reveal of the emotional or mental consequences of casual sex. Likewise, media often shows a very negative portrayal of married life, as boring and soul-sucking with tropes such as the nagging wife, the lazy husband, marital weight gain, obnoxious children and lackluster (if any) sex lives. Ultimately, marriage is shown as the death of romance, while sex without commitment is fun and empowering.

On the other end of the spectrum movies and TV can also show romance in very idealistic terms that can also put wildly high expectations on dating and romance. We see images of firework first kisses and men as knights in shining armor there to rescue women from the misery of single life, and we become bitter when our real relationships don’t unfold quite like The Notebook or Titanic

Social Media

Yeah yeah yeah we have heard it before, Facebook is bad for us, and our generation is more depressed than ever due to comparisons of false realities on social media where people force us to watch their desperate attempts for attention and validations through “stories” and “posts.” And yet there is more than meets the eye in terms of why social media is toxic. 
I, like most millennial women, follow lots of influencers on social media. Now don’t get me wrong I very much admire the premise of bloggers, who are using social media to become empowered girl boss entrepreneurs. For the most part, most bloggers seem eager to spread beauty and positivity to other women, and yet why do I still always feel like I hate myself after I watch one of their stories about their vacay to Cabo or a post on Botox?

Why do I continue to feel a gnawing anxiety that I am not pretty enough or skinny enough or am failing to have a complex enough skincare routine? Am I suppose to be able to afford a Gucci clutch? Is my health at stake if I don’t have a 6$ green juice from a hip shop in LA? 

I think that while bloggers have mostly good intentions, these get lost in an overall materialistic concentration focused on sales. And unfortunately consumerism’s biggest advocate is a dissatisfaction with the way that we are naturally. Lots of followers are left with the impression that they are not meeting the continual demands for women to be thin and beautiful, in spite of messaging that we are “perfect just the way we are.” It is confusing and it is hypocritical. I am pretty enough, but I am definitely not the prettiest unless I have a new facemask??

We are continually told that it is the male perversion of beauty and male objectivity of females that keep us chasing unrealistic beauty standards, and yet these are women keeping us trapped in a rat race of dissatisfaction with our appearance. 

from: https://www.laurenslipglossary.com

A lot of blogging is a carefully curated feed made to look perfect, and while we are mostly aware of this, it does not stop us from comparing our own “drab” lives to their “glamorous” ones. The affects of comparison are dissatisfaction, ungratefulness, selfishness and greed. 

SO what? Should I move to a cabin in the woods?

The most important step in getting out from under the media’s iron grip is to first recognize that every message the media sends is mostly about keeping us anxious, dissatisfied, unhappy, and in a continual state of seeking instant gratification, novelty, and pleasure to assuage our “unhappiness.” As soon as we recognize that, we can break free of the shackles. But the work does not end there. We need to focus on no longer being passively entertained by mindless media, and instead stay alert and discerning to messages. It is imperative that we bring into question what said messages are and how they are influencing us. Are they making us happier? Is it only for short bursts of time? Or are they making us feel more miserable in the long run? Are they keeping us glued to TV’s full of negative stereotypes about men and women? Are they keeping us chasing after material possessions in corporate America, but selling it as empowerment? Are they telling us what kind of woman to be and what “empowerment” looks like? Is the news just laundry lists of “bad” stuff going on and arguments meant to keep us distracted with issues that will be old news the next day anyways? 

It is important that we question and dissect the influx of messages around us. For example we should ask ourselves why casual sex is so glorified in almost every media outlet, is it because the media understands our needs, and wants what is best for us, or is it because they know that the constant pursuit of meaningless sex is ultimately dissatisfying and that a dissatisfied person is more likely to be an avid consumer of whatever “antidote” they are selling, whether it be alcohol, new clothes, a boob job, or a fad diet. 

The media has long believed that women were more influenced by pathos-based advertising due to our emotional nature and often uses that against women. This is why I encourage women especially to embrace empowerment not through consumerism and pleasure-seeking(ultimately fool-hardy pursuits), but through discernment and pursuing wisdom. Wisdom in the face of an avalanche of toxic, conflicting messages is the most empowering tool you can gain. True female empowerment comes from strong values rooted in truth and justice and discernment. 

Good luck,

Ellie x

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Is the “get over him” mentality not allowing us to grieve properly??

Relationships are a huge part of our lives no matter how “empowered” we are. And although having a boyfriend or not having one is in no way a reflection of your value, it does not mean that the loss of a relationship does not hurt. 

The days of Ben and Jerry’s binges and long nights crying into a pillow are over. In recent years the idea of the breakup, and how one should treat a breakup, has had a vast makeover. Revenge bodies as inspired by Khloe Kardashian and rebound hotties are the new post-breakup traditions. 
As strong, empowered 21st century women we are not suppose to let men get us down. Men are not suppose to define our identities or our happiness. Sometimes this is taken to far out extremes where we are often taught through vague, innocuous terms that men are disposable. We are suppose to be so empowered that men have no effect on our well-being.  And yet sometimes that is not always an accurate reflection of reality.

The new breakup mentality is to “get over him” as swiftly and seamlessly as possible. Women are no longer suppose to cry over men or experience grief, rather they are encouraged to either shove their feelings under the rug and present a facade of un-bothered chill, or participate in often unhealthy behavior such as using alcohol and partying as a coping mechanism, or hook up as a way to feed a veneer of empowerment. This “get over him” mentality is highly problematic in that it does not allow for, or encourage women to properly grieve, and instead suggests “band-aid fixes” and instant gratification to fill a void. 

I think of lot of this lack of healthy grieving has to do with undefined relationships. With so many relationships in label limbo, ie friends with benefits, hookups and “things” that never really leave the “talking” stage of relationship development, lots of women have trouble justifying their own pain. They feel that because he was not their “real boyfriend” or it was “just sex” that they should not really be sad over him. They convince themselves that because it was not a “legit relationship” that they should be able to just move on quickly and “get over it.” Worse, they think that entering into a similar arrangement with the next guy will fill the void.

These are dangerous messages that many mainstream women’s media outlets promote. Women are repeatedly fed the idea that pleasure seeking and instant gratification are replacements for grief or counseling. Moreover, much of women’s mainstream media perpetuates the idea that empowered women move on quickly and don’t get hung up on feelings. 
“Feelings” in particular are an entity more and more women are looking to avoid in the dating arena. Ironically, what exactly is dating without feelings? Feelings have been labeled a death sentence for the “empowered” women who is not controlled or hindered by emotions or the high price of bonding and becoming vulnerable with someone. To the modern dater, feelings are synonymous with vulnerability and a lack of control of the situation.

Rather women are suppose to engage in casual sex sans feelings, something that is not really a reality for most women. The result is a lot of women who don’t end up feeling “empowered.” Instead they feel depressed, lonely, and unfulfilled. Much of said negative feelings has to do with the fact the relationship or lack there of was not properly grieved when it ended.
Unfortunately the culture does not provide women with the tools to understand why hookup culture leaves them feeling this way. Hookup culture and mainstream media gives women the impression that hooking up is sexy and fun and empowering, and then leaves women confused and insecure when it is not all that it is promised to be. 

Women are often berated and belittled for being the more “emotional” sex. This is the often cited reason for why there has yet to be a female president or why women can’t be in positions of power. While this is an unfair and degrading assessment of womanhood that many female leaders are working to break down, society still maintains the connotation that feelings are “vulnerable” and “weak”. Instead of allowing women to express their femininity and be celebrated for it, we tell women that in order to stand a chance in a man’s world and be taken seriously they have to disavow themselves from being “emotional,” “needy,” “clingy,” or just plain too “romantic” as if those are to be avoided like the plague instead of misunderstood components of the feminine psyche. What if we saw expressing emotions and feelings as wise and empowering instead of weak? How then would our view of women and hookup culture differ? 

Moreover, if “feelings” are the enemy then we are more likely to treat others with inconsideration and a lack of compassion. Teaching ourselves that it isn’t cool to “catch feelings” promotes a dating culture that is unkind, aloof, and unsympathetic, and results in far more heartbreak. Even if it isn’t “cool” that doesn’t make feelings any less legitimate or irrelevant. 
So if men are expendable and feelings are “uncool” we are left with a cold and un-compassionate hookup scene. We are left with a dating world where men are at a huge advantage and women do not have the tools or information to properly grieve relationships no matter what they look like. Does not sound very empowering to me. 

Contrary to mainstream messaging, grief is an integral part of moving on and finding future healthy relationships. We need to be able to allow ourselves the full spectrum of human emotions in order to process and move forward. There is no benefit to bottling things up or seeking out dangerous emotional behavior in the hopes of covering up our hurt. Although the self care industry will have us believe that retail therapy and body scrubs will alleviate stress or unhappiness, the truth is that mental and emotional self care cannot be purchased. Grief is a long, arduous mental process that requires times, patience, and the support of good relationships. 

The first step in the process is recognizing the hurt and legitimizing it. No matter whether it was a fling or a hookup or a one stand stand that has now ended in less than favorable terms, that hurt matters and is legitimate. It should be handled with grace and patience.

Some of the best things you can do for the grief of a relationship is to talk to a friend, exercise, do something fun that does not have to do with partying or alcohol or mind-altering substances, and get lots of sleep. It is important to allow yourself to feel the pain and say to yourself that it is okay to be upset. It is not you who is weak for feeling this way, it is the culture and it’s mentality of “get over it” that is damaging. 

I think this highlights an important trend in our society, that we value emotional stoicism and having the appearance of “having it all together” more so than we do actually doing the work that grief requires of us to get ourselves “together.”

I want to challenge women to help one another to properly grieve relationships, and allow one another to be upset without feeling weak or inferior for doing so. True empowerment comes from supporting and encouraging one another. It is also important to note that it is okay to seek out professional help, our friends cannot always be responsible for helping bear our burdens and sometimes counseling or therapy is necessary. This does not make someone weak, it means they are wise and introspective to seek out help when they need it. 

While the current dating culture is full of misinformation and un-compassionate attitudes, we can seek out positive behavior in ourselves that prioritize growth, wisdom, introspection, forgiveness and healing. It is also imperative that we recognize negative and problematic messages in our culture and take steps to instead seek out truth. When we stop to ask ourselves why the culture might promote certain ideas and whether they are helpful to us is the first step in breaking free from negative influences and learning to be discerning consumers of information. 

Good luck,
Ellie xx

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The Low-Down on Dating Apps

Picture this:

You just got back from dinner with your girlfriends. You had a  great time catching up and hearing about one another’ lives. You sipped wine and giggled about work, boys, and The Bachelor. And yet there is a lingering anxiety in the back of your mind. All of your friends are in great relationships…Except you... One is engaged. The other just started seeing this super cool guy who started his own company. The other girl has a long term boyfriend who is apparently great in bed. You are totally happy for them, and yet you cannot quite put your finger on it, it is sort of an impending worry, quietly hissing at you to get a move on, you’re missing out! 

Like any good, modern woman, you furrow your brow and recite to yourself how much of an empowered woman you are, who does not need a man to complete her and how fulfilled your life already is. And yet….there it is again… the light tap on the back of your shoulder, the worry that you will end up alone with 56 cats and gets excited for TSA to feel you up at airports. You cringe. 

You quietly whisper “fuck it,” under your breath as you pull out you phone and re-download a dating app. 

You swore this was not how it was going to be and that this style of dating was, “totally not for you” and yet you need the reassurance that there are options, possibilities, even hope. You don’t even have to go on any dates. Just chat with a few hotties, even if only to encourage yourself you still got it…

Sound familiar?

Pretty sure if you have been single at all since 2012 you have experienced some form of this scenario. 
In theory, dating apps are great. Who does not want to judge strangers or flirt with hotties all night long without ever putting on pants? And the options… hot damn we have never been provided with so many options before! It is like an all-you-can-eat-Vegas-buffet of dating! 

Yet, once the initial glow of judging random strangers on totally shallow characteristics has worn off, we rarely find ourselves excited by the prospect of tossing up a photo on the internet and hoping complete strangers will not be repulsed by us. Sure the whole swiping thing is fun and feels like a game, but after a while dating apps can start to feel less like innocent fun and more like a last-ditch alternative to dying alone or missing out on love. They certainly are not always the Band Aids to our love lives that they are sold to us as. 

Sometimes dating apps become subtle ego boosters, where we seek them out in the hopes of re-affirming our own attractiveness. We really do not want to spend the evening with a stranger making small talk, but we would not mind some harmless flirty banter just to remind ourselves that we are desirable…

Dating apps effect us each on an individual basis. For some it is Camelot and for others it is the 9th layer of Hell. And yet regardless of our dating preferences, dating apps retain similar consequences for all of us. It really boils down to whether the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa. Are we willing to brave the stormy seas of ghosting and meeting strangers and vulnerability in search of love, or is modern dating the equivalent of the proverbial frog in boiling water? Are we just normalizing a negative dating environment?

So how do dating apps affect us? Are they bad news or modern marvels?

  1. Dating apps can lead to increased anxiety

According to dating expert, Anita Chlipala there is a correlation between increased levels of anxiety and depression. This is due to increased exposure to rejection. While dating apps have increased the sheer volume of interactions, they have also increased the volume of rejections that occur. Other things that can make us feel anxious and/or cynical about our dating prospects are low numbers of matches, excruciatingly long periods between communication, crude messages, and ghosting. While there are compliments and flattery to be exchanged, feelings of rejection or harassment often weigh heavier on participants and can impact self consciousness.  Basically a few hurtful exchanges can spoil the experience.

Another factor that increases anxiety is the sheer amount of conversations and interactions one might be juggling. Sure this might sounds like most single peoples’ dreams, but for women especially this can cause stress to the point of wanting to delete the app. Lots of women experience anxiety at having to maintain several different conversations. Coupled with the fact that most interactions lack humanity (a result of not having met in person), many women come to point where they are both overwhelmed and don’t feel invested anymore and either end the conversations or ghost. 

  1. Low Self esteem

Yes, dating apps have the potential to make us feel like desirable sex goddesses when hoards of matches message you to tell you what a snack you are. On the other hand, large volumes of rejections, ghosting, and lack of matches can do serious damage to our self esteem, especially if we believe( incorrectly) that our peers are having loads of success on dating apps and hopping into bed with every hottie they match with. Please see: Getting It on Millennial Edition.

We start to question what is wrong with us and worry that we are missing a crucial ingredient to our dating life. We are often left under the impression that those on dating apps are hooking up right and left and getting loads of matches and exchanging nudes on the daily. This perception leaves many feeling inadequate or undesirable based on a false comparison. The truth is that most users only use apps sporadically and most people do not engage in random hookups with strangers. Generally most people get ghosted or stood up just as often as their peers.

  1. Easier to become dissatisfied

 It is all about expectations. When there are soooo many possible dates, apps can create feelings of dating abundance. Yet, this often promotes higher expectations for dates and matches. When we assume there could always be someone better this can inspire users to move on quickly from prospects without truly giving them a chance. The idea that there is always someone hotter, smarter, cuter, richer out there keeps us swiping and keeps us continually dissatisfied with results. This is not to say that we have to go out with everyone we match with, only that an attitude of “never good enough” creates unhappiness and excuses us from challenging ourselves to work on our current relationships.

Another consequence of this is dating fatigue, where we become swamped with so many choices, and so many possible choices, that we fail to invest in any of them. Combined with continually unmet expectations, users can become fatigued with dating and either quit or become cynical. 

Ugh so are dating apps a total drag?

Not at all! We all know that engaged couple that met on an app. In fact it is 30% of couples these days….The point is to recognize toxic situations, attitudes, and behaviors and either make changes or get away. If dating apps are making you feel miserable, anxious, insecure or overwhelmed feel free to delete the app. Trust me when I say it is not the necessity to a full dating life that pop culture makes it out to be. You can still meet people IRL. 

It is also important to recognize your dating style. We all date differently. Dating apps work really well for some people and for others they cause crippling anxiety and fear… and that is okay! It is perfectly okay to meet strangers online if that floats your boat, and it is also totally okay to need to get to know people and have some mutual history first. It is okay to feel like dating apps are not for you and to reject them entirely, this sentiment will not make you a Puritan or a prude. The important thing is to recognize this and own it. 

But are there ways to make the dating app experience better?? For sure! 

  1. Don’t try to talk to everyone all at once. Just because you matched or they reached out, don’t feel like you are missing out or have to respond. This is a good way to avoid getting burned out or overwhelmed. 
  2. If people are crass or rude, do not engage. There will always be jerks, but learn to pick your battles. 
  3. Reject any notion that dating apps are the end-all-be-all of your romantic life. They are not a necessity or an indicating factor of whether or not you are hot or desirable or cool or destined for a life of loneliness. 
  4. Remember that most people are experiencing the same frustrations you are. It is a false comparison to feel that you are “failing” at dating while everyone else is banging and going out on cool dates and meeting their soul mate. 
  5. If you do start chatting with someone that peaks your interest above the rest, it is better to meet sooner than later. The sooner you meet in person the sooner that individual becomes a real person and not just an icon on your screen. The sooner you meet up, the quicker you can determine real chemistry or attraction, as opposed to guessing and making assumptions via vague texts and unclear syntax, emojis, tone, etc. 
  6. Meeting strangers for sex might seem like a easy solution to a lackluster dating life, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by the false reality that everyone is doing it. Meeting strangers is always dangerous. And “meaningless” sex with strangers can not only be physically dangerous but also mentally and emotionally. 

So there you have it.

Dating apps have their pros and cons, but the most important take away is that we use the marvels of modern technology as discerning consumers, bearing in mind their effects, influences and implications. 

Dating apps should not feel like a plea-bargain to not be alone any longer, or a desperate attempt to get out of single hell. Dating apps shouldn’t be viewed as a “quick fix” solution to a crotch that might be overgrown with cobwebs. Just because it might seem like anyone and everyone are shacking up these days, does not mean you need to rush into the arms of the first person who gives you attention or “super likes” you. You are wayyyy better than that, and just believing that for yourself is enough to exude the type of confidence to lure in other confident, successful hotties (like yourself) IRL.

Good luck,
Ellie xx

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Dear 2018: Thank u, next

“Thank u, next.” Anyone want to make a bet on how many girls are gonna use this as the caption on their ‘gram tonight????

And while many girls are going to spew Arianna Grande lyrics all night and still end up in the bed of their fuckboi hookup who can’t/won’t commit this New Year’s Eve, you, you reader, are an intellectual. You will not let 2019 beat yo ass the same way 2018 did. You will get real about working out, getting clear skin, leaving behind toxic relationships, being responsible, saving money, paying off debt, and making strides in your career. You know why? Because you, enlightened 20-something-year-old reader are making the life-altering realization that your 20s aren’t just for fucking around/ finding yourself.

Sure there ought to be a bit of that, but don’t let the internet and memes and society lead you astray with the misguided notion that your 20s are a bullet proof time to make mistakes and you are invincible from any real consequences. If you are gonna make mistakes in your 20s they need to be things like starting a business and watching it fail and then being inspired to work harder or realizing you are dating a shit person and then leaving for one that is more fulfilling. When did “finding yourself” go from meaning “self growth and exploration” to trying fuck as many people as possible during your gap year in Eastern Europe? But somewhere along the way everyone confused “your 20s is for making mistakes” to mean that your 20s is to act like an irresponsible moron without consequences. False. Every day my Instagram feed is convoluted with memes that romanticize acting a fool in your 20s and sleeping with fuckbois and blacking out and being poor and making poor choices. If you can really laugh at those sorts of choices without irony or self-deprecating humor you are privileged. Most of us can’t get away with living like that without consequences, it catches up to us.

Our twenties are about setting yourself up to live and have lived an awesome life in your 30s and 40s and 50s and beyond, not making poor choices and hoping they will all just be funny stories in the nursing home. Because the truth is that these choices matter, maybe not a single one, but they add up and a whole decade of living recklessly and irresponsibly is masochistic.

Instead let your 20s be the years you build your empire. Have fun, play hard, work hard, and have adventures. Don’t waste your weekends getting drunk and hooking up with losers. Meet people with ambition and goals and self-respect. Be patient with relationships. Leave toxic relationships behind. Don’t waste your best years of health and vitality sitting on the couch eating Kraft Mac n’ cheese watching Netflix. Eat healthy, get a fitness routine, pick up a new sport, try new things, form a skincare routine. Don’t waste prime earning years squandering your money on bullshit like going out and tanning salons. Invest your money. Get a Roth account. Save. Save. Save. Live at home if you must. Live within your means. Stop eating out all the time. Learn to cook. Bring a lunch. Start using coupons. Set aside money for investments like property and stocks. Save money for emergencies. Don’t take our loans unless your ROI is proven. Don’t “buy” things if you can only afford to lease them. Work hard at your job. Show up on time. Grow and develop your professional resume. Network. Always look ahead to your next career move. Set goals. Don’t waste your time seeking instant gratification, instead seek out long term results and fulfillment.

Don’t let age 30 creep up on you while you are still at the bar picking’ up chicks and going home with fuckbois and eating drunk pizza at 2am wondering where your life went and why you didn’t leave the college life behind when you graduated?

Forget the socially-ingrained lie that it is better to not care or to not “give a fuck,” because that is how to keep expectations and unhappiness at bay. In 2019 you should absolutely give a fuck. Care about hobbies and people and your career and your future. Respect this next year as an opportunity to lay a foundation for the next year and the year after that and the year after that, and watch as you lap everyone around you. Cheers!

good luck and happy New Year,

Ellie x

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20 Types of Hookups

 

Unfortunately not all hookups are as sexy as this highly edited, posed photograph…

Hooking up.

Awww yes, the common dating practice of our cultural zeitgeist. Some love it. Some hate it. But whether you like it or not it is happening. Sorry mom and dad.

There is definitely a time and place for “the hookup” and it is generally in your 20’s when you are trying to discover who the hell you are. The hookup is often a catalyst to discovering what you like, what you don’t. What feels good and what feels like garbage. It is also a great space to figure out what you are actually doing. First assignment: find the clit.

It is also an often necessary hurtle in determining that hooking up is actually not sustainable. Sorry folks. The chances are slim that you will still be slamming vaj or sucking a new dick on the reg when you are 45. By that point you will have probably decided that you have been there and done that. But how else are you to know if you have not “been there and fucked that???”

A hot new conquest every month or year is usually only fun during that decade of self exploration we call our twenties. After that we start to wonder if this is it? Or responsibility calls our name away from the frat house basements and weekends spent blacking out and blacking back in mid-coital. You can only head home with blurry memories of a sweaty night in between the sheets so many times before you decide to retire for a life of soccer games and family screaming matches board game night. One day you’ll decide it is time to exchange screaming into your partner’s ear that you are going to cum for screaming at the ref at your child’s t-ball game. But that is ages away, so live in the now and enjoy being horny and in your twenties.

Yet in your 20s is the best time to cut loose and get freaky with a diverse assortment of characters. Some will provide us with titillating memories that we will take to the grave, and others will have you hanging your head in shame wondering what exactly you were smoking. So what types of players can you expect to end up in bed with as you set out on your Carrie Bradshaw-esque expedition???

  1. The friends-with-benefits-whom-you-secretly-love hookup– not to cause an uproar at the use of stereotypes, but this is a pretty common occurrence among females and it is just because of the way our brains and bodies work. We get attached okay??!! Things start out casual and steamy and then heaven forbid those pesky feeling get involved and you start fantasizing about a real bona fide relationship. Unfortunately he or she just isn’t on the same page…

2. The self-esteem boost- this is the person we go to when we want to feel desired. When the fish just aren’t biting and the dating apps have gone cold, we return to old faithful to make us feel less like leftover, soggy fries. This is the person whose bodies we are probably using just to get a self esteem boost. It is nice to feel wanted okay??

3. The “alcohol made me do it’ hookup– if you are in college there is a 10/10 chance you will experience this one. Alcohol makes us both horny and illogical, two powerful aides in the hookup. Alcohol is also a valuable tool of plausible deniability when we don’t want to take responsibility for what we did or who we did.

4. The rebound– breakups are hard, but guess who isn’t thinking about their ex while cumming all over some other girl’s tits???

5. The study abroad hookup– i mean did you even study abroad if you didn’t fuck Paulo and get to sing with him in a live concert while also twinning with his duet partner??? When in Rome…

Not all of us can expect to have as good a time as Lizzie

6. The we-are-never-going-to-see-each-other-again hookup– similar to the study abroad hookup in which the decision to have sex is based primarily off the fact that you will never see this person again, or perhaps not for a long time, and that itself is a catalyst for YOLO and FOMO, better get a move on.

7.  Fuck buddies- all you do is fuck. The word “buddies” is superfluous and unnecessary.

8. Cure the loneliness hookup– Sometimes loneliness lowers our standards in which a desperate beast emerges, clamoring for the dick or pussy, of someone, anyone. Sometimes we are moving on from someone else and just need a good fuck to set us back on the path of logic and confidence.

9. The sober booty call– much less ubiquitous than the drunk counterpart, but hey it happens. Not all hookups have to be at night under the clouds of intoxication. Sometimes we actually like to remember what happened. Sometimes we like to start our mornings with a healthy bang.

10. The dating app hookup – or as I like to call it: The pizza delivery of sex. 90% of people on dating apps are just trying to bang and these people are not worried about “stranger danger.” These can either end in a great story to regale your brunch compatriots with, or with you dead in a ditch with severed limbs. Up to you whether it is worth the gamble.

11. Hate sex– you swore you would never end up with someone like them. You detest their entitled attitude. you loath their arrogance and douchey ways. You disagree with everything they say, in fact you disagree with their very existence. And yet, where did your clothes go???? You know they say that hate and love are actually more closely related than we think.

12. The “ooops i did it again” – Oh no you have woken up to find yourself naked in bed with the same guy whose number you swore up and down to your friends you would block. Well, better fuck him one more time for good measure before you say goodbye… for good this time…

 13. The douche-we all have that one (or more…) sexual experience where we acted like a total douche. Maybe we told someone to leave in the morning or lied to get them in bed…

14.  “somebody fell in love and now it is awkward” – You said you just wanted something casual, and now they are “in love” and “can’t imagine their life without you” and ” think you are God’s gift to them” and blah blah blah… what a drag.

15. The hot stranger- maybe they are in your class, maybe you saw them from across the room at a party. You know next to nothing about each other and that is the way you would like to keep it as you rip each other’s clothes off.

 16. The weird kink– this is the hookup where the person turns out to be a major freak, or in an effort to sound more tolerant and less judgey, they er… have different sexual preferences than you do. Perhaps they wanted you to fuck them in the ass with a dildo during your first sexual encounter. Maybe they have a hundred dolls on their bed all watching you with their beady eyes as you bone. *shivers*

17. The hookup who shall not be named – this hookup is like Voldemort, even just saying their name inspires fear, regret and terror. Perhaps it was a major regret, like sleeping with an ex or a friend’s ex, or just a super freaky/ugly/horrible person whom you never want to remember being naked with. Either way you don’t want to re-live it.

18. The numbers game– the hookup you have just to reach a certain number of sexual conquests.

19. Resume sex– the sex you have just for the story. Perhaps it was to fuck a teacher or to sleep with a cage dancer in Vegas. Or maybe you didn’t have anywhere you sleep one night so you fucked someone for somewhere to stay. It is about forgoing regret and doing something for the sake of how hilarious it will sound being re-told at brunch this weekend.

20. The Everybody-has-done-it– Everyone has had sex with this guy or girl and so you would be an absolute loser to call yourself a promiscuous, sexually liberated individual without having gotten busy with this person. It is sort of a social rite of p(ass)age if you will.

*Bonus #21 The hookup that turns into a real relationship! A hookup as rare as a virgin in the college Greek system, this is one where both parties have sex/fool around/makeout/hand stuff/get naked and then mutually decide they have feelings for one another, and then use words to discuss their feelings and their desires for a committed relationship…and then follow through! But hey just because it is rare does not mean it does not exist or cannot happen!

Some hookups will have you singing from the rooftops with post-coital pleasure while others will have you drowning your miseries in an over-indulgence of Ariana Grande. Thank u, next anyone?? Either way, the hookup is a valuable learning experience meant to de-mystify sex and give you plenty of inappropriate stories to regal your grandchildren with.

I look forward to decades from now when nursing homes are full of millennials reminiscing about Tinder hookups and memes from their youth, while the young nurses shake their heads fondly wishing it was like the old days when people still ghosted and drunkenly had sex with their friends. Awww how romance has died… they will think to themselves.

Good luck,

Ellie xo

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Where did all the “good men” go????

 

So last week I talked about “good girls” and how to spot such “scarce” creatures in the millennial dating world. If you haven’t already read it please see last week’s post: Where did all the “nice girls” go???

The conclusion was that while many a man wonders what happened to the types of women they would not cringe at the thought of taking home to meet mom, the truth is that men are in need of changing their OWN perspective and their dating behavior in order to find higher quality women.

But I am always one for gender equality.

Girls experience the same male-burnout and probably even on a larger scale. They complain about the limited choices of “good men” that treat them right and don’t play games. They bemoan the sparse options of men with good jobs and aspirations to be fathers. Women grumble and whine over being pumped and dumped by yet another loser who “couldn’t commit” and so they find themselves asking,” where did all the good men go?” What happened to the men who asked women on dates instead of to “netflix and chill?” What happened to the men that were respectful and opened doors?

Well, ladies as much as you want to think that men are from mars and women are from venus, you share more than you think with your testosterone counterparts.

The truth is the same for men as it is for women. Jerks exist. They always have and always will. It is womens’ jobs to sift through the unreliable dicks, filter through the loser who just want to fuck, get realistic about their standards, and change their dating behavior. Because there are lots of great guys out there, it is your job to find them. It is also your job to accept that if you have been pumped and dumped a lot (or whatever it is you are sick of), it is not just because men ain’t shit. It is important to recognize that you may also be part of the problem.

If you are wondering where all the “good dudes” went you are probably asking this for 1 of 3 reasons.

1. You are having sex too soon with too many strangers
2. You are only meeting men in the party scene
3. You have seen too many Disney films and your expectations are unfathomably high and unrealistic.

Does this look familiar? That is because men and women are both guilty of the same attitudes and behaviors that invite low quality men and women. So this might sound redundant, but it is absolutely necessary to see how men and women thrust the same unrealistic expectations, coupled with a complete lack of self-responsibility upon one another and then complain when they can’t seem to have any romantic success with the opposite sex. You are responsible for only one person’s behavior and that is your own and so if you want to see changes in your dating pool, and kinds of people you date, hookup with, and get into relationships with, you need to start with yourself.

Let’s get started with a little dating makeover shall we?

1. Have sex. Yes girl, I am a proponent of having sex when you want and with whom you want. Have casual sex. Have one night stands. But if this is not making you happy or fulfilling you, or you are ready for a more committed relationship, it is time to stop having sex right away. Ladies, it is all about filtering. If you want to know that a dude won’t just pump and dump you, don’t have sex with him right away. If he is willing to wait, chances are he is in it for more than just pussy.

But I like sex, I want to have sex. I don’t want to have to suppress my sexuality.

That is fine. I gotchu. Have sex whenever you would like, all I am saying is that if you are no longer finding hookups to be very fulfilling and they keep bringing along jerks, it is time to change your strategy. Stupidity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results right? Jerks gravitate to girls that are willing to have sex right away because it is easy and requires very little masquerading as a “good man.” This is not to say that you can’t find a nice guy hooking up, it is just that the odds are considerably against you. For a lot of women that risk is not one they want to take. Delaying sex also gives you the valuable chance to see what he is all about. You want to test drive before you buy right? Spending time with a guy without sex will show you who he is when he is not just handed what he wants. Delaying sex is not about controlling or manipulating men, it is about filtering men to determine whether they are a worthy investment or not.

2. Ugh. I cannot stress enough how unlikely it is you are going to find a guy who wants to settle down and have five kids and join the PTA with you in the party scene. Ladies please do not expect to meet Prince Charming at a rave. Why? Because those dudes are out for a good time, they are the ones trying to get with fresh pussy, and try new drugs and think they will never EVER settle down. They also probably don’t do their own laundry either. Stop going to bars every weekend looking like a bunch of street walkers and wonder where all the good men went???

3. I am sorry to say that Disney probably left us with some unrealistic expectations about romance. Like the fact that Eric was wiling to marry a naked, mute girl on the beach. Or that abusive, manipulative kidnappers make good lovers. Girls are uber guilty of fantasizing about unrealistically perfect men. They want Christian Grey and The Notebook and Titanic and Peter Kavinsky (sorry had to name drop again) all rolled into one. Too often girls expect to be treated like princesses because duh they are sugar, spice and everything nice right?Well… While women should undoubtedly be treated well, this is an unfair and selfish standard to put on men. Relationships are about reciprocity and mutual respect, not finding a man who will put you on a pedestal and worship the ground you walk on. It is time to get real with yourself and ask yourself whether or not you are putting unfair expectations on romance and men in general. And the truth is that most women only think they want Prince Charming. Do you really want a man who would fall in love at first sight? Doesn’t that mean that he could easily fall in love again with someone else and that you really were not that special? Do you really want a pussy-whipped beta that would willingly submit to you? Nah, me either girl. ladies, it is time to get real about your standards. By all means, hold out for good men and respect and love and kindness, but do not set men up to fail with your unrealistic expectations.

Okay so where are all these good men at that women can supposedly lure in with these new dating mindsets?

1. They are working on themselves. The “good men” you dream about are not sitting on their asses playing video games and they are not out chasing ass (if they are getting ass it’s because ass comes to them). These men are improving themselves, they are working on their careers, getting fit, eating right, socializing with people that build them up, they are getting educated, they are learning new tricks and trades. They are productive and proactive

2. But…they probably are not in college. Those dudes are still in party mode and won’t emerge for a a few years.

3. They probably are not in their early twenties. These guys are like 6th graders with large forearms and cars and bank accounts.

4. They probably are not on dating sites. As I have said, we all know a few couples that met on a dating app and are getting married, but don’t let this lure you into thinking that you too will meet your handsome prince while scrolling through Tinder at 2am, drunk. Those people are the exception not the rule. The truth is that most young dudes on dating apps are looking for hookups. And ladies, please do not deceive yourself into thinking that “but only if he just met me, he would want more than a hookup!”

5. The “good men” are putting themselves and their missions in first place, so they are not out trying to pick up women. They are not slaves to getting laid, eager to manipulate, lie and ooze sleaze in order to sleep with a new woman. And because of this women present themselves. If you want to meet “good men” you need to also put yourself in self-improvement situations like a new class, running a marathon, a career networking community, leadership roles, local government, volunteering, and mentorship roles. This is where you will find men who want to be better versions of themselves, and it also a good opportunity to see them in action. You aren’t going to meet him waiting at home for him to climb up your hair.

 

I get it, after a few years in the Gladiatorial arena of dating we start to feel cynical. Everyone is either a liar, jerk, asshole, manipulator, narcissist, or some lethal combination. And so we become pessimistic about the sorts of choices out there. We emerge with the tatters of our hearts after a few too many broken hearts, and we wonder if we should write men off altogether. Maybe a convent would not be so bad? Or the cool, drunk aunt that always travels and never married?

But often times we forget that we are in charge of our own dating behaviors and the contexts we put ourselves in. We set the standards. We make the rules. We decide who gets a pass into our lives. We filter.

Your attitudes and behaviors invite men that correspond. When you demand more you get more.

If we are tired of a parade of fuckboys, it is time to start re-evaluating where we meet guys and how we engage with them.

We also need to understand the lens through which we view men and determine how that influences our standards. Are we expecting him to ride in on a white steed? Are we hoping for a fairytale and then wondering why we cannot seem to like any guys we go out with? It is also noteworthy to say that if you want a high value man you need to be a high value woman. Be the kind of girlfriend, you think your dream man deserves or is looking for.

Contrary to the seemingly endless supply of fuckboys, good men do exist in the wild, you just have to be willing to ditch the party scene, filter sooner and more throughly and remove the rose tinted glasses. And remember you can’t change the boys, but you can change yourself.

And to all the boys who don’t meet your new and improved criteria.

Thank u, next.

good luck,

Ellie xx

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Where did all the “nice girls” go???

Dear men,

if you and your bros find yourself huddled around Monday Night Football, comparing chest hair, beers in hand, (idk is this how dudes hang out? Somebody verify please) lamenting the bygone era of “good girls,” allow me to enlighten you as to why you find yourself in such a slump and how you might level up to the company of good women.

First you are asking this question for 1 of three reasons

1. You are just trying to fuck
2. Your social life is bound to the party scene
3. You are an entitled prick with unrealistic assumptions about women and what you “deserve” you entitled asshole

Once you can categorize the context of this predicament you can see how you might need to alter your strategy. I have to laugh when I hear men complaining about the lack of quality women out there, and how they are all “hoes,” (it is probably the same feeling of injustice men feel when girls all over Tumblr complain about the lack of “good men”-stay tuned for more on that) because the truth is that you might be more of the problem than you think.

I am not going to spew some justification shit where I claim that all women are perfect, angel princesses with rainbows coming out of their asses, and that men ain’t shit, but a general rule of thumb that I like to gently remind people of is that if you are experiencing reoccurring problems in your dating life, it is probably you. Or can at least can somewhat be chalked up to your own behavior. Please see The Before-You-Date-Checklist. 

There are for sure some low quality women out there. There are women trying to squeeze out your every last dime for child support, alimony and Balenciaga bags. There are women who actually think Amy Schumer is funny. There are women trying to affirm themselves by getting with as many dicks as possible. There are women struggling with low self worth who will act out and throw tantrums to validate themselves. There are women who poke holes in condoms. There are women who think Michael Cera’s movies are actually good. There are narcissistic and vapid women. There are women who will blame you of sexual assault just to manipulate you.

I don’t advise trying to meet potential wives anywhere near these signs…

But there is really no use complaining about the kinds of women who are frankly inevitable. These women have and will always exist. They are nothing new. They are not the product of spontaneous generation, thrust upon the millennials like a Biblical plague.

The only actions you are responsible for are your own, and if you are unhappy with these types of women constantly showing up in your life it is time to make some changes in how and where you meet women, and the sorts of choices you make about who you invest time in.

This advice goes for men on all levels of the dating game, whether that be hooking up, or in relationships to looking to settle down. The point is that even if you are just fucking a girl and nothing more, that is still an investment of your time and if you respect your time you will invest it wisely in the types of women who are enhancing your life, not detracting from it. That is on you, not them.

So who are good women? What do they even look like? Where do you meet these specimens?

1. Good women are a diverse set – I mean it is subjective of course. One man’s trash might be another’s treasure, right? There is no such thing as “the perfect woman” or some gold standard in which to hold women up to. You have to let go of this idea of a single, perfect female out there.

2. I think we all know the kind of woman that men idolize: tall, blonde, long legs, big tits, “ass that will swallow up a g-string” (courtesy of Kanye). Submissive but also smart. Opinionated but also demur. Self sufficient, but is also dependent on her man. Sexually inexperienced, but also a freak in the sheets. Funny, but like not too funny. You get my point? The ideal woman is a set of contractions. She is like Peter Kavinsky, (only girls will get this reference) she does not exist. Let go of your unfathomably unrealistic standards. They are getting in the way of you seeing the everyday goddesses all around you.

3. “Good women” are not bouncing from man to man. You know the type- of course you do, we all do. She is the girl that cannot be alone. She HAS to have a boyfriend and will rebound from one to the next in like 48 hours straight. Too often, the woman most worth your time is the woman who is comfortable being alone and is secure in her identity without a man.

4. These women are not the women you meet as you stare through blurry, drunken eyes around the basement party at 5am when you don’t want to go home alone. True love is probably not the drunk girl slurring her words, with vomit dribbling down her front as she begs her friend to give back her phone so she can text her ex (although perhaps give her a few years to mature and learn to hold her liquor).

5. Be wary of women you meet out partying, or drinking, or at a bar, or similar contexts. Not because only hoes and tramps and girls with daddy issues are out at bars (duh not true) but because the stats are just less in your favor. If she is in the party phase of life, as lots of girls 19-26 are, she is more likely to just be looking for a good time and not for a meaningful relationship. Meaning that while she might be awesome for a night of debauchery, she is less likely or wanting to be a nurturing and supportive girlfriend/wife/life partner/sister wife (whatever you are in the market for).

6. So here is a fun fact about women. We will step into the roles that you give us. Treating a woman like a long term investment will inspire her to act more like a long term investment ( unless of course she does not want that). Treating a woman like a one night stand will keep her as just that (unless she wants that). It is kind of like parenting where if you treat a kid like a misbehaving nuisance, guess what, they will keep being one, but if you treat your child like a responsible child, they will step up to the plate to prove you right.

7. Don’t expect to find true love on a dating app either. Yeah yeah we all have that one friend who met her fiancee on Bumble or whatever, but please understand that they are special snowflakes and you are more likely to find a hot hookup or Friday night plans on a dating app rather than the mother of your children.

8. A good woman will be the woman with a lot of friends- good, long term friends – please see: The Fool Proof Way to see if a Girl is Worth your Time.

9. A good woman will be the woman who can handle conflict with grace and class. She is the woman who chooses her battles. Please see : The Before-You-Date-Checklist     

10. Fear not! Good women are everywhere! You just have to wipe the entitled bullshit from you eyes to find them! They are in the cubicle next to you. They are walking their dog in your neighborhood. They are your friend’s friend. They are shopping for fair trade, Non-GMO quinoa at your local Co-Op. They are your accountant! (don’t be afraid of successful women who are good at math!)

Not to pick on girls who like to go out, or idealize girls who enjoy knitting on Friday nights, but from my experience those “high quality” women that men are lamenting, are usually not out busting a move at the local watering hole every weekend. So please toss out all those bar scene pick up lines. Instead, exchange them for getting to know women on a inter-personal level in an interest-based/commonality context, such as a group setting, a class, the workplace, sports, mutual friends, church, blah blah, basically anything but a situation without the pretense of “this is where people are on the prowl” (okay maybe scratch the Church suggestion). Women will be a) more receptive and less guarded about your intentions and b) less likely to just be looking for a good time and have more serious dating objectives.

would 10/10 recommend a library pick up

So back to my first three questions.

1. You can’t be just trying to fuck and be looking for a “good woman” – the two quests are incompatible. If you are just trying to fuck you are only going to end up with girls who also just want to fuck. They might be totally awesome, empowered women, but since neither of you are expressing interest in a relationship, neither of you are going to demonstrate relationship-material qualities. She probably is not going to treat you the way a girlfriend would treat you, and so you unfairly end up labeling her a ” slutty bitch,” and in the words of the patriarchy, “you asked for it.”

2. As stated above, only meeting women who are out for a night of revelry is only going to introduce you to one type of woman, the party-er. Here is what to know about the party-er a) she is probably only looking for a good time aka not a good man so don’t be surprised if she isn’t picking up what you are putting down b) her social life revolves around drinking and going out so she might be fun, but maybe not much deeper than that (you want someone who has other interests beside mini skirts and vodka right?) c)  strong correlation (not causation) to other vices you might not be fond of, like drugs or binge drinking or drunk texting her ex.

3. Also, as stated above, don’t spend your days jerking off to the idea that someday you are going to take the virginity of a Victoria Secret Angel. Don’t fixate on the ideal woman whom you think you are entitled to because you are a “nice guy.” Being nice does not mean you get to pass “go,” collect $200 and then fuck a demur, virginal, Megan Fox. Neither does being an athlete or a celebrity or being rich or driving a Tesla entitle you to some idealistic fantasy that 0.00000000000001 men will end up with. There is a big difference between men who are confidence and self-respecting and those who are entitled. Men who are entitled think they deserve women, while confident men know that they are good enough to earn a good woman.  Having an entitled attitude about women blinds you to the “good women” that you probably encounter every day without even noticing. Seriously they are everywhere. Whole Foods is full of them. They love the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Your local Cross Fit gym. In line at Chipotle. Perusing the aisles at the library. Signing a down payment for a car at the local dealership because she pays her own bills and has her life together.

The moral of the story is:

Stop your whining. Good women abound. You just need to cast aside the entitlement goggles, update your hangouts, ditch the bar scene, “next” women who are not enhancing your life, widen your gaze to the hotties in line at Trader Joes, and stop jerking off to unrealistic fantasies (*cough cough porn).

Ready. Set. Date.

Good luck,

Ellie xx

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Is hooking up bad for us once we have stopped hooking up???

I am not here to belabor the “sinful repugnance” of hookup culture as our grandparents or parents might. Kids these days…. Nor am I here to bemoan a bygone era of dates to the soda shoppe and nice boys asking permission to court a man’s daughter. They are over and there is no point whining about yesteryear.

Yet, we have to ask ourselves, is hookup culture “bad” for us?

Something like 70% of college students will experience a casual sexual encounter during college. Why? It is fun. It is exciting. It is hip. Who does not want to feel desired?Hookup culture can be empowering. It is a chance to experience a diverse array of sexual situations with many different partners. Casual sex can be a great way to try new things like toys and positions. It is a chance to learn good communication skills and better express ourselves in vulnerable situations. It can increase sexual aptitude. But it can also hurt us when feelings arise and human decency is absent from purely physical encounters.

Sure there are some negative ramifications for those who invest in and participate wholeheartedly in the endless buffet of sexual encounters that permeate college campuses. Yet, there were negative components to dating in 1950 and courting in 1850 and arranged marriages in 1500. It is therefore silly to assume that there are no consequences to whatever mating style we are experiencing this century. But what I want to discuss is how the ghosts of hookup culture follow us out of the dorm rooms and into the adult world. What happens when we are tired of meaningless sexual encounters and actually want real monogamy??? How does the hookup culture influence the dating choices we make long after we have left the frat basements???

Everyone’s sexual experiences are different. For some it is a chance to explore their sexualities in a way that is vulnerable, empowering, and fun. For a lot of millennials, they feel that sex should not always be confined to committed relationships. Sometimes they just want sex. For fun.

Hookup culture does not always create baggage, sometimes we enter hookup culture with our own baggage and that correlation does not equal causation.

However, I am not saying that all hookups are great sexual experiences where both the man and woman orgasm, high five and then get dressed and go on their merry ways, grinning ear to ear with that post sex glow and a sense of liberation. Hookup culture does not always stay in hookup culture, and that sometimes its baggage can follow participants into their next relationships.

  1. There is a strong correlation between hookup culture and women who say “men ain’t shit” 

Sometimes hookup culture breeds a sense of mistrust between genders. Hookup culture is meant to be “carefree” and “easy” and “fun” right? Yet it often ends up turning men and women against each other after the initial thrill wears off and reality starts to set in. Sometimes women learn from hookup culture that all men want is sex and men learn that all women are “hoes.” This carries into later life stages when people actually want to date and marry and settle down, but they find that those feelings of resentment and mistrust still exist. In college, hookup culture is easy because it is assumed that almost everyone is interested in the same thing, meaningless sex, but now that that is no longer the case how can you decipher who wants more and who is still in it for the physical?

Likewise, hookup culture is not really about compassion or respect, it is in fact pretty selfish. It is sometimes about meeting your own needs and getting in and out quickly with very little regard to other people’s feelings. Too often it is a direct negation of feelings and a deliberate effort to diminish and underestimate encounters. Most of the time people get ignored and treated poorly for the sake of maintaining the image that it was all “meaningless.” It is easy to see how these sentiments might breed a sense of mistrust between genders if you spent years of college life, and perhaps beyond, getting treated like a masturbation toy or being ignored by people whom had seen you naked and vulnerable, even if that is what was preferred at the time.

2. Hookup culture is kind of cold…

Hookup culture can antagonize feelings, attachment and even basic human kindness in favor of no-strings attached, meaningless, casual, carefree sex where feelings are the enemy. The logic behind hookup culture goes something like this: if relationships are about mutual respect, kindness, empathy, compassion, meaning and selflessness, in order to make sure that a hookup remains the meaningless antithesis of a relationship it must be devoid of all of those things. In fact just so everyone is clear how meaningless and truly casual a hookup is, it must be disrespectful, unkind, apathetic, disinterested, meaningless, and selfish, lest anyone mistake a hookup for something more. This might work well for those in the college arena who are merely looking for sex and are not interested in a relationship at the time, but let us not believe that this is an attitude that can just be dropped once the diploma is in hand.

Hookup culture can teach and prepare participants to treat sex like NBD and therefore the people they have sex with are NBD. Hookup culture sometimes encourages participants to turn a blind eye to the humanity of the people they get with. They are just mediums of pleasure and nothing more. Men become susceptible to actions and attitudes that objectify and demean women, while women adopt attitudes of suppressing feelings, fearing commitment, not standing up for themselves and treating their partners with aloof indifference. This is a hard cycle to break and I can see why. It is difficult to go from training one’s self to treat sex with a blase approach to experiencing it as a meaningful, loving component to commitment.

3. Hookup culture creates bad habits 

Hook up culture is actually a lot like porn. It is addictive. it is cheap. And most of all it creates unrealistic expectations. I am legitimately worried how I am going to keep the sexual attention of my future husband/monogamous partner knowing that like most of our generation he probably engaged in the hookup culture. How can I, as one woman, possibly keep a man’s interest sexually who spent years of college and young adulthood getting sex from different women. Even if I am 100000x better in bed I still cannot replace the thrill of the chase or the thrill that comes with conquering a “new woman.” How can I expect to hold his attention if the alternative to monogamy and real relationships is the addictive, ever-thrilling pursuit of new pussy that was encouraged of him in his youth?

It is positively daunting and can set up both genders to ultimately fail.  You just cannot replace the excitement of not knowing who you are going to end up in bed with no matter how great the relationship, and that is why so many people in long term relationships seek how to “keep things spicy.” Likewise, women often partake in hookup culture for the thrill of being chosen and desired by many different men, something that is not a component of monogamy. It is an aphrodisiac in itself to be picked out of a crowd of other young, hot people. This element of hooking up can create boredom or anxiety in monogamous relationships later down the road, no matter how great the relationship is.

Also, lots of hookup culture hinges off of comparison in a lot of ways. Men compare the hotness of conquests. Women compare dick size. Men compare how good she gave head. Blah blah blah. When hookup culture enthusiastically encourages as many partners as possible it is impossible for there not to be an element of physical comparison. Especially when sex is meant to be casual and shallow, there is little else to base the encounter off of besides appearance and sexual aptitude.

There is also an external social aspect of hookup culture that happens exclusively between friends in which swapping details of last night’s sordid affair makes for great conversation. It is a part of the culture to sit at brunch with your friends and giggle over what happened and who did who and how good so and so was and hot she was and yaddah yah. Yet, when comparison takes center stage this can be damaging to how individuals view sex later on in life. It can be intimidating to be in bed with a man or women that has been in a lot of other people’s beds. “How will I compare?” or “how will they compare?” becomes a hugely daunting question riddled with insecurity and anxiety.

Likewise, sex is bound to be less enjoyable for someone who has trained their perception of sex to be all about comparison. Someone who has been with a lot of people cannot help but continue to rank and compare and analyze the skills and attributes of the person lying naked next to them, and that can have a negative impact on their sex life even after they are in a relationship and there is no one left to compare to.

So what’s the verdict?

I am not here to rag on hooking up, it is an intrinsic part of our dating/mating culture now and has its merits. In most ways “it is what it is” and there is no point in whining about the good old days. But it is also naive to pretend that it is all good either, or that hooking up is always some milestone of progress for sexual liberation and empowerment. There are a lot of negative aspects and corruption that comes into play when a culture revolves around meeting only your own needs.

I get it Millennials are busy getting their lives together and hooking up seems like an effortless way to meet your own needs while also having fun, but without the rigidity of commitment. Yet, it is important to understand the impact of these seemingly “careless” and ‘carefree” sexual experiences and remember that they can influence us long after the next morning’s hangover.

*Check out this Ted Talk on the “benefits” of hookup culture. I feel like many of the perceived benefits were fleeting, short-termed, misrepresented and did little to outweigh the cons, although she presents the cons as barely more than nuisances (STDs and unwanted pregnancies and broken hearts). I am honestly shocked that some PhD advisor passed this as legit research let alone sound advice to young people.

Good luck,

Ellie xx

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Happy Cuffing Season!

Don’t let yourself get caught single this time of year…

It is that time of year again. Time for pumpkin spice lattes and fall foliage and slutty Halloween Costumes empowered women dressing in ways that exude confidence and feminine sexuality, and of course dropping your summer fling like its hot.

The lazy, hazy days of summer have now passed us. We are now drifting into the time of year when cuddling with bae by an open fire suddenly sounds far more appealing than a steamy hookup after a beach party bacchanal.

For those of us unfamiliar with the dating seasons of the millennial calendar allow me to introduce cuffing season. Summer flings are over and it is time to nail down a partner for the always romantic cooler months of the year. Sure a pumpkin patch with the gals is fun enough, but wouldn’t it better if there was a special someone to hold your mitten-covered hand as you strolled through throngs of preschoolers smashing pumpkins? Wouldn’t the holidays be much more enjoyable with a bae to take to family events so they can stop harassing you about settling down? Who are you going to drink mulled cider with after a long day in the crisp, cool air??? What is NYE without a special person to toast the new year with and enjoy a midnight kiss????

let’s be honest, these holidays were not made for single people, in fact they often mock single people. Mistletoe? Couple Costumes? What the hell am I suppose to be thankful for if I am alone on Thanksgiving???? What is Christmas without an expensive gift from a beau that you can exchange for store credit later on???? Valentines’s Day is often referred to as SAD or Singles Awareness Day….You get my point.

This time of year comes with couplings that change just as quickly as the leaves do and soon those summer hookups are ready to be replaced with their cuddling, monogamous counterparts.Even the baddest bitches and the most serial fuckboys are ready to accept commitment during this time. Something about the changing of the seasons makes us want to settle down and depart from our promiscuous ways even if it is just for a few months.

Now that I have everyone’s hearts beating a bit faster and their cheeks just a little flushed, welcome to cuffing season. It is time to get cuffed to the season’s latest fling for the months of October- March before you dump their ass for a spring fling. But hurry or else all the good ones are going to be taken and you don’t want to still be on the prowl come Veterans Day when everyone else has coupled off to enjoy their 3 day weekend in the warm embrace of their lover and you are left to help mom and dad put up their Christmas lights.

So what is a young millennial to do? How/Where do I find bae? What do you look for in a cuffing mate?

1. Bae doesn’t need to last the year, they just need to suffice for a few months, so don’t set your expectations too high. He just needs to be polite to mom and grandma, know how to decorate a tree and have an affinity for horror films. All other attributes are just bonuses.

2. Fuckbuddies are so last season. Now it is all about cuddlebuddies. If you want to maximize your cuddle experience I recommend the dad bod. He will have more cushion for you to rest your head on and will not guilt you into working out when you should be knocking back eggnog and eating a healthy dozen of grandma’s xmas cookies.

3. The dating apps are a pretty reliable source of eager young beta males ready to hold your hand on Candy Cane Lane and buy you the dreamiest Christmas gifts. He is also willing to do all the sappy, cheesy stuff with you that a fuckboi would have zero interest in. The way to find these desperate betas is easy, namely because most men turn into one this time of year anyways. What can i say the spirit of the holidays is infectious. Ask all your matches if they want to go to a pumpkin patch or a tree lighting ceremony or whatever holiday bullshit. Ugly Christmas Sweater parties are also good. Just remember that while summer was for hookups and one night stands, cuffing season is for mushy activities that last week’s no-strings-attached-fuckbuddy would not be interested in.

4. If you are a guy, avoid the party girls for a while. Don’t worry they will still be there when winter thaws into bikini season and mini skirts start showing up again (okay fine they were there the whole time). In the mean time, cuffing season is about finding “good girls” to bring home to mom so that your parents don’t think you’re a player who will never ever settle down and give them grandchildren. You need to assuage their anxiety for a brief few months with a nice girl who doesn’t hate her dad.

5. Another note for men, this is a good time to get some seasonal work. While the cuddling and Netflix as chestnuts roast on the open fire might sound like a breather for your wallet, expensive holiday events, Christmas presents and Valentines’s Day will be a burden on the ol’ budget. Be sure to not spend too much though. Remember she is gonna be gone by March anyways.

6. For both genders, gifts should stay in the under 20$ range. Don’t waste your money on someone that is gonna be old news by the time President’s Day rolls around. Also, lavish gifts wreak of “catching feelings” and “desperation” something that is to be avoided during this season. Remember, your beau is not meant to be long term, so don’t treat them like a long-term investment. You are just here for the corn mazes and the admiration of pleasantly surprised relatives who thought you were going to die alone.

Best of luck out there! I hope you all find your flannel-adorned hottie to snuggle up with this cuffing season! Most importantly remember to not catch feelings with your temporary fling! While the mistletoe and romantic renditions of “All I want for Christmas is You” might persuade you otherwise, just remember that nobody wants to be attached come bring break and this hoe is only going to hold you back.

Good luck,

Ellie xx

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Do Chicks Dig Jerks Part 2

your cliche “bad boy”

I would like to add a female perspective to the rousing debate of whether or not women really do like bad boys and if so do nice guys in fact finish last??

Allow me to answer this as simplistically and eloquently as possible.

yes.
and yes.

We have zero interest in a push-over of a man who hopes that if he can just call us pretty or get the check at dinner we might bless him with a view of our tits.
Dating should not be a charity case alright?

Nice guys might be “nice” but they are not alluring or exciting or dangerous. Where is the thrill in “nice” ?

Apparently women have masochistic dating tendencies where they would much rather get fucked over by a jerk with a bad attitude than suffer through a date with a man who loves his mother and opens the door for her.

Men often bemoan this illogical predisposition of women. And frankly I get it. I would be frustrated too if I had spent my whole life trying to be nice to women, because duh morals, and then end up finding out that she wants a jerk instead. And what’s worse is that women will complain about the jerk incessantly. She will cry over this guy for years, but still run back to his lying, cheating, bitch- ass over and over again. I would be cynical towards women too if I too thought my two choices in life were to either be “the nice guy” who can’t score, or some sort of despot with zero respect for bitches.

But as a women myself, I feel like this is a cliché that needs some unpacking, not just for men, but for women as well. Because lets be honest, there is some truth to this. Girls do like bad boys and run from the so-called “nice guys.”

What is the problem with being “nice” you ask?

Women don’t really have a problem with guys who are nice, like yes please by all means open doors for me, treat me with respect, give me complements, but that CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be the way that you show initial affection or interest. A guy who shows his interest in a woman by simply being nice is boring as fuck. And we don’t want it. The guy who spends the first date telling you that you look pretty and bringing you flowers is predictable and lacks excitement. Any man can open a door. It is generic. You think you’ve done something meaningful and no other man can offer the same?

Are you following me?

“Niceness” is not the problem. The problem is men who think that being nice is enough. That “niceness” is deserving and entitled to ass or attention. Or that niceness is enough to warrant attraction. Wrong.

What is it about jerks that is so dreamy???

Yet, It is not that we want someone who is gonna treat us like dirt. Obviously I am not a masochist who cant wait to be with a guy that ignores me, cheats on me, is rude to me, and cannot commit. The idea of the bad boy as an aphrodisiac stems from a need for a thrill. Girls want a little bit of an adrenaline rush, hence why we love drama so damn much. Also:

  1. mystery surrounding an enigmatic, rebellious man
  2. confidence is sexy (even though its probably arrogance)
  3. jerks exude charm and charisma to get what they want
  4. knowing what they want and going after a woman is HOTTT
  5. the feeling that any love worth having should be earned
  6. the sexual tension that accompanies trying to beat a player at their own game
  7. the sexual tension that accompanies a man who cant be deciphered
  8. women love a broken man that they can “fix”
  9. a flawed man gives a woman something to work on and pursue
  10. the rush of emotions that accompanies being with a jerk, such as frustration, confusion, and excitement is an addictive thrill

Women like a little bit of the chase that accompanies being with someone that is just out of grasp. We like the drama that comes with “will he, or wont he” and the inevitable thrill of trying to lock down a man who just does not want to be locked now.  At the end of the day we really just want to be pursued by a man whom we thought was unattainable. Yes, we like the drama and the thrill and the rush of emotions that comes with a “bad boy,” yet the thrill does in fact wear off. The truth of the matter is that if you truly are that jerk you might get pussy for a while, but girls won’t stick around forever. At some point we will learn to respect ourselves, get the hell over you and go for someone who treats us better, even if it is a “nice guy”. Do not mistake that arrogance and bullying will land you endless pussy.

Okay, so if being “nice” is a turn off and morals still matter, how should men behave???

If I am being honest i think that many a man has lost the art of the flirt in this generation. Where is the teasing? The witty banter? The rapid-fire back and forth? That is the stuff that stokes the embers of the slow burn! Women want to be teased! That roguish sense of reckless abandon and self- sufficiency is the secret ingredient in the “jerk” or the “bad boy” that gets women hot and bothered, and why women yawn when a man puts all his romantic hopes in opening doors and being merely polite.

Flirting should always error on the opposite side of polite. Polite is boring. Manners are boring. You know what is not? Teasing. Witty banter. Heated discussions. Testing the boundaries that women actually want you to test. We want you to cross the line and say something bold, or act rashly, or take charge. It demonstrates strength. Be a little controversial. Do not ask for permission. A man who acts with unabashed confidence is the one women want.

This is inter-connected with what my friend, Luke explained in his post on the subject. He makes the claim that what girls like about so-called jerks is their strength, both mentally and physically. It is not their sinful ways that get women excited. It is that they go after what they want and are not dependent upon the fickle whims of others to fulfill their needs. They are masculine brutes who do not beg. They do not ask for permission. They do. They act. They look out for themselves and their best interests and they hold their own. Women are interested in men who look out for their own needs and by association her needs, not a man who hopes for handouts.

The thing a woman most desires in a man is his strength, whether that be self-assurance, physical strength, strength of characters, fortitude, confidence, and/or the feelings of security she feels with him. These are the masculine traits in which she is attracted to and ones which her desire for him hinge upon.

When a man puts a woman on a pedestal he relinquishes his power, the one thing a woman is attracted to in him.

This element of strength is what is missing from a man that feels somehow entitled to a woman because he showed some bottom-feeder kindness. When a man acts out of hopeful “niceness” it can wreak of desperation, a scent that women are repulsed by.

Women want to be dominated, not in a cruel, subordinate sort of way, but in a masculine, strong, controlling sort of way that has her best interests at heart. When a man does not demonstrate strength, women subconsciously interpret this as a lack of dominance. They see that he will not dominate them in the way they desire to be. Technically the opposite of dominance in a man is desperation. He is either dominant or desperate. The two are mutually exclusive.

Now for the ladies screaming at their computer screens with indignant rage that I promote such an idea as dominance in any other area besides BDSM, hear me out.

There is a huge difference between a male that dominates women out of controlling, manipulative insecurity and a man who takes charge and demonstrates strength in his relationship and always makes decisions with his woman’s best interests at heart. That is the true difference, it is really whether he had her best interests at heart or not when he takes control. This is what women truly want and are attracted to.

You know that sit-com trope of the nagging wife who bosses her dead beat husband around? Well, pro tip here but that is not a healthy relationship and it is not at all what women are interested in. We want to be able to trust our partners to take control, but to do so in a respectful way that manages our best interests and those of the relationship. We do not want to be the bosses! We do not want to nag or be bossy! Only one person can be dominant at a time in a relationship, and if a woman has to be dominant it means her man is lacking the very qualities that draw her to him.

Treat her well, but DO NOT make her your whole world

Men looking to woo and seduce women, Do: treat her well, with respect and kindness and affection. Do NOT: make her your world. Frankly women do not want to be a man’s world.They just want to exist in it. Women want to be let into your personal, private world. They want to be made privy to a space that you have not let other women into. That is what makes us feel special and unique and desired, but we do not want to be your whole world. We want to cheer for you and encourage you, but making a woman the focal point of your existence is a good way to scare one off. It says to the woman that I have no other life goals or priorities in my life, and her, knowing full well that that is a pathetic life achievement, will become skeptical of your strength and therefore your attractiveness.

This is the secret sauce that jerks know and nice guys fail at. A nice guy is desperate enough to make a woman his whole world, while a so-called jerk never puts all his eggs in the basket of one woman.

So what is the takeaway?

The thing about “jerks” that chicks dig so much is their strength and their confidence, their sense of self that dissuades them from timid gestures and polite conversation and instead emboldens them to take charge and act with entitled recklessness. This is the man that will keep a woman holding on and coming back for more.

Good luck,

Ellie x

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