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Translations of the female mind

13 Feb

Sometimes it feels like guys and gals are speaking completely different languages. The guys say tomato, the gals say potato, and generally nothing is communicated because one sex is talking about fruits and the other about vegetables. How will we ever overcome these gastronomic obstacles? By translation, dur. And while not as exhaustive as Google Translate (which is actually surprising accurate BTW), here is a list of common phrases used by female kind that might not mean what you think they mean.

  1. He’s interesting – this is the polite way of saying he sucks/ is weird/ not interesting at all. Yes, these are all completely different meanings, but if you listen very closely (UGHHH, doesn’t it always seem like we tell you to listen?) you can tell which one it means based on where the speech-ellipses are. Generally, pause means odd, no pause means sucky.
  2. So what did you think of class – Read: Talk to me! I very much want to have a conversation with you but can think of nothing better to speak about than that INCREDIBLY ENTERTAINING Stat lecture. For the love of G-d give me something!
  3. He’s adorable – He has won the election for mayor of the Friendzone in a landslide. He is not a sexual being in the slightest, and is grouped in the girl’s head with “adorable” baby bunny rabbits and ponies. Note the difference between adorable and cute – cute is very salvageable, and is actually in most cases a very good thing. Adorable – not so much.
  4. What are you doing this weekend – it had better be me.
  5. Hmm, next week looks pretty packed – I can’t find an excuse to not hang out with you. I’m always going to be busy. Always.
  6. I miss you – we need to hang out more, call/text/be in my life more
  7. Have you been to Chocopologie yet? – TAKE ME THERE
  8. Let’s grab a meal sometime – Saved for last because of its many disparate connotations.
    1. I genuinely want to get to know you better and possibly start a relationship with you.
    2. I want to keep our relationship casual, so I am keeping things very open-ended by using the words like grab (very blasé) and meal (very vague).
    3. I want this conversation to end so I am suggesting a meal that I know will never happen

Complicated, isn’t it? Almost unfathomable? Well, that’s women for you. And remember, now that you have this incredibly useful and utterly correct knowledge, you will know that when a girl asks you to pass the potato chips, she’s really asking for tomato chips. Proceed as one would in this situation.

Not single on Valentine’s Day?

12 Feb

Congratulations, you’ve found someone you can call your Valentine. Since we’re no longer in fourth grade, she’s probably going to expect a bit more than just one of those cute paper cards (although we really like those cards with cute animals or movie stars). Anyway, the date is approaching fast (aka Tuesday) so here are a couple last minute ideas about what you can do to make the day a little bit more special (although both of you should show that you appreciate each other on a day-to-day basis and you shouldn’t have to wait until a holiday to do that). Whatever you do will probably be clichéd – the whole day is formulaic, so there’s no point trying to fight it. This is the most clichéd holiday. Ever.

  1. Make a reservation at a nice restaurant. You might want to get a move on that, um, and soon. Because in case you haven’t noticed, a lot of couples go out to diner on Valentine’s. Everyone loves dinner, and this is a perfect excuse to skip a meal at a dining hall.
  2. Gifts – small gifts are nice. Like flowers and chocolate (duh). But also what about her favorite type of tea that she just ran out of? Or a new mug because her roommate broke hers? Or a book that she really wants? A nice piece of jewelry? Small, thoughtful gifts are sometimes better. Cards can be nice, but post-Valentine’s Day, she’s left with the awkward predicament of what to do with the card. Hang it on the wall? Put it in a drawer? Throw it out? If you go the card route, better make sure it’s a good one.
  3. Become a poet and write her a sonnet. Actually, never mind, that’s a bad idea. Unless you’re a really good poet. Because nothing is more awkward for her than pretending that she actually likes your verse when it’s really crap.
  4. Surprise her with a singing Valentine. Except she might be embarrassed if you give her said singing Valentine in the middle of a 400 person lecture.
  5. Have sex.
  6. Put a movie on and don’t watch it. Cuddle.
  7. Build a blanket fort and snuggle all night. Everyone loves a blanket fort.
  8. Just show her that you care about her.

And then of course, you could both have midterms on Wednesday and may feel like celebrating on a different date. That’s ok – taking the time out to celebrate your relationship is always a good thing. You don’t have to set off fireworks in the middle of Old Campus to show her that you care (in fact, that’s probably a bad idea). On the 14th, heartfelt wins over creativity (especially if that creativity potentially endangers the lives of fellow students, re fireworks).

Three Little Words

9 Feb

I love you: Don’t say it unless you mean it. Sometimes you should say it first.

How to Fight Productively

8 Feb

No relationship is perfect. Realistically, you are going to have disagreements once in a while and that is perfectly normal. Couples who agree all the time about everything are just creepy in our opinion. That said, there are a few things you can do to air and discuss your grievances in a way that doesn’t end with the pair of you standing at opposite ends of the room, yelling and ducking to avoid flying shoes.

  1. Don’t fight at night. We know that disagreements are most likely to arise when one or both of you are tired, and that here at Yale, tired is most people’s default setting, but trying to have a serious conversation at 2am is never going to end well.
  2. Don’t fight drunk. Alcohol makes you honest, sometimes a little too honest, or at least a little to blunt. And Culpability of Intoxication only goes so far in convincing her that you don’t actually think she kisses like a seal trying to swallow a trout.
  3. Don’t fight on her period. As much as we might try to deny it, we women really are just an emotional battlefield that week, and you really don’t want to step on a landmine. So it’s probably best just to nod and agree as much as you can and return to the subject at a later, less explosive, date. Also, for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT under any circumstances tell her that she’s overreacting due to PMS, unless you want the relationship equivalent of the H-bomb to explode in your common room.
  4. Don’t be mean. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something you’ll regret and she’ll take to heart. Tempting as it might be to ‘win’ by bringing up that thing you know she’s really sensitive about, don’t. She will remember and she will trust you less because of it.
  5. Don’t interrupt. Try to give each other a fair hearing. Going into a discussion already convinced that the other person has nothing useful to contribute and you already have everything exactly right is never a good idea, especially in relationships. You should both be able to give your view in full and then hopefully:
  6. Compromise! It really is the best thing ever.

Opposites Attract?

7 Feb

So everyone knows that old saying that opposites attract, but what if you and your newest pal seem to be polar opposites? You support the Red Sox and she grew up with the Yankees? You’re part of the Yale College Republicans and she reads the Dems’ emails religiously? You’re a practicing atheist and she’s a devout Wicken? You would rather eat General Tsao’s tofu for the rest of your life than analyze Ulysses and she’s an English major? You spend your weekends reliving FOOT in East Rock and she doesn’t own a pair of shoes without a four-inch heel? Whatever your differences are, we think that you can have a relationship in spite of them (although if she believes in being completely nocturnal and you stick to a more diurnal lifestyle, you might have problems).

So how exactly do you work a relationship where you’re so different? The first thing is not to ignore those difference – talk about them (but remember to be nice and reasonable). Acknowledging the fact that she likes smooth peanut butter and you like chunky makes sure that there’s not elephant in the room whenever you are together. You shouldn’t have to tiptoe around subjects just because you disagree – in order to have a working relationship where you’re on opposite ends of any debate, you need to understand where the other one is coming from.

A great way to avoid any awkwardness is to make a joke out of your differences. You love Hugh Grant movies and she’s a die-hard Bruce Willis fan (pun intended)? Look at you two, defying gender norms! Joking and (gentle) teasing alleviates the need to avoid topics. A solid relationship shouldn’t have taboo subjects, and by giving your great debate a light-hearted tone, you learn to laugh at yourselves. And other people won’t feel as if they have to avoid certain topics when they’re around the pair of you, which helps. Teasing is good for the soul.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you should always listen to what your significant other has to say whenever you’re talking about your divergent issue. Let her explain why exactly she prefers Sterling to Bass and don’t cut her off in the middle. Everyone hates being cut off, so don’t do it. Respond to what she’s saying, don’t just deliver your own point of view (this shows you were listening…but now we feel as if we’re giving instructions on how to participate well in section…but anyway). Conversely, she should listen and respond to you. Yay for civilized discussion! (and debating can be sexy, so hey)

So whatever the matter at hand, whether serious or silly, you can make it work, you’re just going to have to work at it.

Texting Etiquette

5 Feb

Now that you know how to write a text properly, let’s talk about actually sending those texts. People like to text. People like it when their texts get responses. This is something very basic  you should probably have learned by now. We’ve seen a lot of relationships, and we’ve come to the conclusions that most (but certainly not all) men are rather poor communicators, especially when their significant other is not immediately before their eyes. Ok, so you were busy, but it might be nice if you spared five seconds of your time to send her a sweet, thoughtful text that told her that you were thinking about her. Living at college in very close proximity to your significant other means that you should probably have some sort of communication every day. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend four hours together every night, but the very least that you can do is send her a text in the afternoon so that when she gets out of class, she knows that you care.

So what exactly counts as enough? It doesn’t have to be something sappy like, “I haven’t seen you in 10 hours, I miss you.” Just something like a memory, or “I was just thinking about you and wanted to see how you were doing” or “How’s your day going?” or a random observation on your life. Better yet, ask her if she’s free to hang out later so you can actually see each other. A relationship cannot survive on texting alone, and we therefore recommend that you see each other regularly. On the other hand, texting throughout the day demonstrates that you are letting this relationship exist even when you are not together. It is a way of showing that she can be in your life even when you two are apart.

Now if she sends you a text in the middle of the afternoon, you are expected to respond. Even though there might not be an explicit question in there, you are still expected to respond. And you should do so within an acceptable amount of time. Eight hours to send something back is a bit too much, and she’s probably been checking her phone for the last two of them, hoping for some sign that you are still alive. You don’t have to be an insta-texter (that’s an intant-texter, the kind that replies immediately to any text received. We’re talking like a couple of seconds), but two to four hours is a reasonable stretch. Did she say, “So I was just thinking of the time when we climbed to the top of Phelps” or “The radiators in the L and B room are so annoying” or “My TA is really mean”? These are not random observations. The sub-text is: I want to talk to you about the things that are happening in my life, but since you’re not here with me right now, I thought I would text you instead and it would be nice if you offered an observation/sympathy/condolence/even a ‘haha’ but especially nice if you suggested that we go get coffee later so I can actually see your face. Yup, all of those emotions were in that really short text. Short texts can be a sign that she is being passive aggressive, especially in they end with a period. Did she text, “fine.” in response to a question? That’s not good. In general, longer responses are better. If you are the type that has your phone growing out of your fingertips, she’s probably noticed, and if you fail to respond in a reasonable length of time, she’s going to think that you are purposefully ignoring her. You’re going to have a lot of explaining to do in that case.

Another note on texting is that when you two are together, back away from the phone. Put it down, don’t look at it. Out to dinner with the lady? Keep your phone in your jacket pocket, not on the table, not in your pants pocket (where it will distract you). You’re supposed to be spending time together, so focus your attention on her, not on the people that are interrupting your together-time. Of course, these rules apply to her as well. Take a time out from your smart-phone, Apple-product, Google-laced, Reddit-sponsored lives and experience the real world for just a little bit.

The less-than-fun (but very important) side of sex

2 Feb

While the Yale community may be full of talented and bright individuals, this does not mean that we’re exactly as, um…healthy, as we should be. There are a couple things that you should bear in mind before you embark on any type of sexual adventure:

STI’s: they’re real, they exist and they’re on the Yale campus. (Sexually transmitted infections, for those of you bad at acronyms.) Ok, now that we’ve got that fact out of the way, we can have a more rational discussion. No one wants one, and no one wants anyone else to know that he/she has one. It is your responsibility – and maybe even your duty – to get yourself tested and to make sure that you are clean, so that when she asks you if you are, you can respond honestly. DUH offers free STI testing to all Yale students, even if they’re not part of the Yale Health Plan – so go and get yourself tested, especially if you are sexually active with a variety of people. What could be a better mood-booster during a stressful week than a negative test result? They don’t even show up on your bills, so your parents will never know. You don’t even have to go to DUH to get your test results back – they call you. What could be easier?! Best-case scenario, you know you’re clean and you now deserve to have a little extra spring in your step. Worst-case scenario, there is probably a way to treat whatever you’ve got, it’s ok and don’t be a dumbass in the future. Bacterial STI’s like chlamydia and gonorrhea can be cured while viral infections like hepatitis B and herpes can only be treated (i.e. they’re never going away). Therefore, it’s a good idea to get tested so that you don’t spread it further.

On a further STI note, before having sex with someone for the first time, it’s better to ask BEFORE and not AFTER if he/she is clean. You should also note that you can get an STI even if you don’t have sex. Not only can oral-anal and oral-genital transmission occur, but herpes, genital warts, and hepatitis B are not prevented bycondoms (they’re spread through skin contact so if your partner has a sore outside the area covered by the condom, you can be infected). Before things get R-rated, you might just want to take a breath to ask, “You’re clean, right?” and hopefully she’ll answer, “yes” without hesitation. You can also ask “Have you been tested?” This should get the message across. Similarly, she should ask if you’re clean and you MUST answer honestly. Remember, Hell hath no fury like a woman who just got herpes.

So here’s the good news. There a thing called protection – use it because it works (most of the time). There are multiple types of protection, some of which are more effective than others. Some types protect against STI’s while others protect against pregnancy (we call these contraceptives). Condoms protect against most STI’s and pregnancy, therefore, it is often a good idea to use a condom even if your partner is on birth control. This will protect against the STI’s and ensure that your partner does not end up pregnant. Good news! Condoms are easy to procure at Yale and FREE (hooray!). You can find condoms in College entryways, from Peer Health Educators and from FroCos. Don’t be embarrassed, get over it and ask for the f—ing condoms, you’ll be happy that you did. Sex is great, so what’s the big deal (just don’t be that idiot freshman boy who stockpiles condoms in his room but never uses any of them)? In addition, lubricants, dental dams, and female condoms are available for free at DUH, which means that you have to walk. Same message as before, get over it and walk to the extra 15 minutes to get your supplies: you’ll be happy that you did because those 15 minutes mean better, safer sex.

Also, you people in relationships out there, this applies to you too. Just because you’re having sex with the same person regularly, it doesn’t mean you’re invincible. Getting tested in the early stages of your relationship is a great way to put her mind at rest. If you’re cute like that, you could even make the trip to DUH together. We know that sometimes you don’t realize that you’re out of condoms until you’re “past the point of no return” but suck it up. Just once can be all it takes to turn you from care-free college boy into daddy-to-be. And in case you’re that stupid, THE PULLOUT METHOD ALONE IS NOT AN EFFECTIVE CONTRACEPTIVE.

So now that you’ve been told for probably the millionth time about protection, let’s have a cheer for happy and safe sex!

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