31 December 2010

"Same Difference?" What does that even mean?

Hannah and I went to this Fireside once, speaking was a guy I knew who was a successful relationship counselor.  It was a YSA fireside so his talk was more like a presentation.  The one thing he really focused on was the differences between men and women- how we think, things we do, things we say, etc. and how they differ from the same in the opposite sex.  How there are so many differences that there should be no way we can co-habitate, but that with a little work, those differences can make a strong, complete relationship, as well as making you into a more complete person.

I've made a few of my own observations about the differences between men and women.  One that I've been reminded of recently is that when women complain they don't want solutions, they want empathy.  For instance, if a guy is complaining about, say, the electrical in his house giving out all the time, the correct response is to say, "Oh, I know a good electrician, here's his number."  Now if a girl makes the same complaint, the appropriate response is, "That sucks really bad, I would really hate having my power go out randomly."  Sometimes I forget this, every now and then one of my female friends will come to me with a problem, and like a guy I start prodding for more information so that I can formulate a solution, but they just want my empathy and understanding.  Usually at some point during the experience I'll be thinking, How am I supposed to help figure this out if... Oh... yeah... 

This goes along with one of the things he said.  Men and women bond in different ways, men do things together, playing catch, helping each other move, watching the game, etc. and that brings us closer together.  Women, on the other hand, talk in order to bond.  If you really think about times you felt closest to your friends or significant other I think you'll find this pretty consistent.  Using this knowledge I've tried to figure out ways Hannah and I can both do what we do at the same time, where we can be doing an activity together that also gives us time to talk.  My first idea was playing catch, I think girls would be surprised how much guy talk goes on in athletics.  Playing baseball from about middle school on it happened a lot.  Between the circle stretch and loosening up it happened almost constantly.  So I started trying to teach Hannah how to play catch, which is easier said than done.  It's still a mystery to me how nearly every girl "throws like a girl."  I don't understand how every girl learns the same wrong way to throw... but that's beside the point.  In the end we figured out a way to play to our strengths.  Hannah played lacrosse in high school so now we play with a lacrosse ball, she uses her stick and I use my glove and throw, it works surprisingly well.

One of the other good activities was cooking.  Now I don't consider myself a chef or anything, but if I have the recipe, I can make it.  I do have some skills though, I used to watch Food Network a lot because I had a big crush on Giada De Laurentiis, so I've learned a few tricks, but not many.  So Hannah and I have cooked a few good meals and dishes together, it's actually a lot of fun, we've even gone to a few free cooking classes together.

Another thing we've attempted are video games.  Now I know most girls aren't into video games, but a lot of guys are, and they're a lot more fun when played with someone you know.  Hannah never really got into the more modern, complex games, but we would pull out the old Nintendo 64 from time to time and play some GoldenEye or Mario Party.

I've think that discovering ways to combine each of your strengths into couple's activities is one of the best things you can do.  I think that if you can find ways to compromise and have your respective strengths compliment each other then your differences themselves become strengths rather than weaknesses.

29 December 2010

The Friends

My friend Eric came over to hang out this morning.  Kind of weird to hang out in the morning, but I work evenings and he works graveyard so it's really the only time we're not busy. 

After he left I started thinking about how odd it is that, other than my three years of high school, my best friends have always been non-Mormon.  I guess "odd" is the wrong word, it's more "intriguing."  To all of my non-Mormon friends I've always been the good, innocent Mormon friend, they mess with me all the time about it, but I know they have my back. 

I have always found it amusing that they like to think I'm such a goody-good, because by Mormon standards I'm more middle of the road.  Eric and I are in the process of moving into a place of our own next month and I'm excited.  So much of my life the last 3-4 months has been absorbed into school, work, and family, I'm excited to have a friend down the hall.  Some people have made concerns known about me living with a non-Mormon.  I think they're afraid that he'll pull me away from the church, or in the least be a bad influence on me.  Sure there will probably be beer in the fridge, and the overall language will probably bump up a movie rating or two, but I am not that easily influenced.

A few years ago I would have been, and I actually was by other friends.  In the end I think my year long rebellious phase proved only that it didn't suit me.  Sure I had my experiences, one or two that I had to speak to the bishop about, but in the end I escaped with the knowledge of what I will do, and what I won't do, for sure.  I experimented, and gained empirical data to form an accurate conclusion.  Who said you'd never use the scientific method outside of class?

In fact I think I've convinced Eric to attend my singles ward with me after we move.  Of course like any good pitch man I told him what he most wanted to know, that there were lots of cute girls there.  Let's face it ladies, you own us, well, we let you own us.  Plus that's where it starts, it took a girl to pull me out of inactivity 3 years ago, who knows, maybe some girls can gain a convert in Eric?  If not at least he'll get thinking, he's not a big fan of the LDS religion, but we've talked enough for me to know that he's confused about religion and looking for answers.

Anywhere else I probably would've sent the missionaries, but I figure that if you've lived in Utah all your life and haven't converted yet, you probably need a more personalized approach.  Look at me scheming, doing my missionary work, Hannah would be proud!

26 December 2010

Props Alex G. Bell

Merry Christmas!

I happened to get exactly what I wanted for Christmas this year!

Now I think I'm one of the most low maintenance people I know.  For some one so admittedly picky when it comes to women, I'm incredibly not picky in anything else.  I will eat anything, in almost any amount, some days I crave specific things but I never get sick of anything; I could, and sometimes do, eat the same thing every day for weeks just because it's more convenient.  I love slightly burnt cookies, I actually thing they taste better when dipped in milk than normal cookies do.  When my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday dinner I told her Lasagna(the store-bought kind) and a Costco cheesecake.  This Christmas when my Mom asked me what I wanted I simply asked for a magazine subscription and whatever else she thought I could use.  You could say the list of things I don't like is microscopic.  Personally I think this makes me the ultimate catch.

Anyway, I got exactly what I wanted today!  For a few minutes I got to hear Hannah's voice and converse with her!  It's funny how even though we haven't said a word to each other in 7 months, or seen each other in 10, that a conversation can be struck up as quickly as if our call had just been disconnected for a few seconds.  I laugh at how we kept interrupting each other because we both had so much we wanted to say.

I think I really needed to hear Hannah's voice again, to hear it hadn't changed.  Ever since I mentioned the Temple Marriage Ultimatum she's been busting my chops on a different area of my religiosity and spirituality about every other letter.  This last week she was "reminding" me that she wanted a Strong Priesthood holder at the head of her future family, which is an honorable goal.  I suppose my spirituality is one aspect in which I have a lot of room to grow, which will come in time I'm sure.  I find it hard to explain how I feel in the written word, trust me, I've tried.  I was up until about 4AM last night trying to figure out how to word them in this weeks response, but to no avail.  I didn't bring it up on the phone because I felt it would be inappropriate to jump into serious matters in such a rare opportunity, so I just gave in and got swept up by the excitement.  Even now I'm further considering what I will respond.

24 December 2010

The Good-enoughs

I've seen it more and more, and I don't like it.  Books, movies, fake TV psychologists.  There seems to be a big trend in telling people they aim too high these days.  I strongly disagree.  Sure I think some people do aim way too high, but usually that seems to me to be a result of an inaccurate sense of self.  I'm a realist, I know anyone CAN'T get anyone else.  When people say someone is "out of your league" I picture  leagues like some sort of caste system, where little movement is tolerated, dating up or down a league is about all that's socially acceptable.  Even so, I don't think any one should "settle" for anyone else, but instead should be more realistic about themselves.

I'm a very picky person, probably why this blog seems to me to be pretty boring and uneventful.  Tonight I ran across THIS blog post by someone who has commented here a few times, and it made me laugh, mostly because if you switch the gender roles of the post I'm WAY too picky.  For example:

  • "You have a height requirement"
    • I do indeed, it's the 5'4" minimum
  •  "Bad Spelling is a dealbreaker"
    • As well as bad grammar and the use of an inordinate amount of typonese
  • "No way you're dating [her] - [She's] the youngest child!"
    • Ok nothing like this, I just find it interesting that every girl I've dated has been a youngest child.
  • "Your future [wife] must have a masters degree too" 
    • Maybe not a Masters, but she'd probably need to have or soon receive an under-grad degree.
  •  "You’ve broken up with someone because their neck hair bothered you (and you didn’t even tell him)"
    • I believe I've mentioned breaking up with Ashley when she got an 18 on the ACT; of course that wasn't the only reason, just the "final straw."
  •  "You tend to do all the rejecting"
    • I've only been dumped once?
  • "You won’t even consider going on a date with [her] because [she] still lives with [her] parents"
    • Ok, this isn't a dealbreaker but I'd definitely worry if she'd never lived away from home.
  • "You have a list, but it tends to eliminate candidates instead of highlight the positive attributes they have that you are seeking "
    • As a matter of fact I think my "list" is crafted specifically to eliminate candidates and highlight their negative attributes, my list since high school has evolved into less of a set of "desires" and more into a group of "can't stands"
 I guess I feel justified.  I don't expect any more out of prospects than I do from myself.  I don't think being picky is bad, being unrealistic considering your own circumstances is, as is holding your dates to higher expectations than you do yourself.  From personal experience, the few dates I've been on where my date seemed to feel too good for me, seemed to not be good enough for me from my perspective.

05 December 2010

... Strikes Back

I got a text from Liz yesterday, to tell my little sister Happy Birthday.  Is that weird?  I mean I will say she and my sister had a connection, even after I started dating Hannah my sister would randomly ask about Liz, or say she missed her.

It's still weird for me, the last time I heard from her was right before I got her wedding announcement, I really never expected to see her name on my phone again, but there it was.  Just like every other time I've spoken to Liz since the break it totally ruined my day, since it was after all of the college games were over there was really no chance of recovery until I woke up this morning.  

Inevitably a short conversation was stuck, the point when she asked me when Hannah came home was like a twist of a knife.  The one girl so far who "got away" who's now happily married, blatantly pointing out how I'm alone.  Luckily last night was Saturday night, which means I finished the day writing Hannah.  It was good, it motivated me to write more than usual, which I'm sure Hannah will appreciate.

Liz was also the second person this week to one way or another ask about the prospects of Hannah and I getting married when she gets home, Hannah's mother being the first.  Sometimes I feel like people who ask expect me to respond, "Yeah, and here's the ring!"  I won't be unrealistic, the prospects are good, if Hannah eventually returns to normal that is.