Saturday, April 19, 2008

We just met; now let's get married.

Ok I really need to share something that troubles me (and that is putting it lightly). The reason mind you, is because I am concerned for others' well-being (I know that might be hard to believe).

Let me explain what I find ridiculous in the past couple of weeks. For those of you who don't know, I am a Mormon and I attend church in a BYU 'singles ward' out here in Utah. A ward is comparable to a parish in the Catholic church, like a local group. Now in the Mormon, or, LDS church we have a lay clergy, meaning everyone has a calling and no one gets paid. One calling in our ward is one that entails creating a weekly newsletter called 'The BYU 57th Ward Weekly.' In the past it has had little interviews with people in the ward in the 'Getting to Know You' section as well as articles about new events and even dating advice columns and cartoons. However, for the past couple of weeks the only stories being printed have been engagements. Not that engagements aren't newsworthy, but the sheer volume is incredible. There have been over the past two weeks 5 announcements. Now I think that is great. For some. But some of the stories frighten me. One such story is as follows:

"Conveniently, Bo Curly's* car broke down. It was convenient because then Barbara Ann* gave him a ride home. He asked for her number and called her. She didn't call him back that night, but he called her the next morning anyway. They started dating, and although Barbara knew "it would work out" within the first several days of their relationship, the two dated for a month and a half before Bo proposed. Courtney Ann, as Barbara's roommate, sister, and sole local representative of the Ann family, sanctioned the marriage before Bo took definitive action. She even got to see the ring first.

Barbara knew Bo was going to propose. She even "stopped strategically" several times on a walk with him one night to give him the opportunity. Finally, when the two got back into the car, she gave up. It was just going to have to wait another day. As she started to walk away, he called her back and proposed."

What I love most out of the article is "although Barbara knew it would work out within the first several days..." To be honest that frightens me. Not that I don't believe it's possible, but highly improbable and possibly a delusional or delirious reaction. I sincerely hope they both find absolute bliss together, but I worry that they jumped the gun, maybe just a smidge. And the article was not the least bit romantic, but pretty robotic (ooolala robot love)...I just hope that was because of the author and not the actual story. But if that weren't enough here's another one:

"On August 22, Kate Rigadoo* and Frank Bebop* will be married in the Portland temple, the same temple where her family was sealed eight years ago. Kate and Frank both work at BYU Laundry. One day she went to the back looking for window cleaning supplies, and she needed help finding them. Frank came to the rescue with a friend of his; during conversation with Kate he learned that she had served a mission. The two struck up a conversation about their missions. Kate was sick for the next week, however, and was unable to attend work; Frank thought she had quit. When she returned to work, he came to find her. They went out that Friday and were exclusive by Sunday. Six weeks later, Kate and Frank were sitting in her apartment, talking and laughing after a long day. He paused in the conversation and asked, "Will you marry me?" "Yes," she replied. He double checked: "Really, you'll marry me?" They kissed, and then he got down on one knee and proposed again in Chinese. The next day, after they had picked a date, he proposed yet again - commitment style this time. "Will you marry me on August 22 at 3:00 p.m. in the Portland temple?" She has said yes every time."

The part I love about this one is "they went out that Friday and were exclusive by Sunday." That is awesome. I mean wow, they were so in sync. There's no way that any other time was needed. It was fate.

If these stories trouble you, then thank you for being reasonable. If you think they are cute and special, I kind of question your sanity and sense of normalcy. At any rate, I wish them all the best, and am sure as hell not going to follow their lead. I know God made the world in 6 days, so marriage in 6 weeks is not a biggie. Not at all. It's not like that decision is going to affect the rest of your life, or as Mormons believe, the rest of eternity. It could be a starter get more experience maybe. Yeah, that's it.

*Names have been changed

Friday, April 18, 2008

The 'Ubersexual' in all of us

Can a man truly consider himself manly if he engages in certain activities? Are there certain things that are just taboo? Where does one draw the line? Let me give an example.

Let's say I know a guy named Fred. He had a floral design class this semester at college. Not only this, but he enjoyed it, and likes arranging flowers. Now, if that were all I'm sure we could easily look over his flower arranging fetish, but he also writes poetry, and even has a poetry blog. And, he likes to cook. he borderline metro? Let's look at the wikipedia definition:

"The typical metrosexual is a young man with money to spend, living in or within easy reach of a metropolis – because that's where all the best shops, clubs, gyms and hairdressers are. He might be officially gay, straight or bisexual, but this is utterly immaterial because he has clearly taken himself as his own love object and pleasure as his sexual preference. Particular professions, such as modeling, waiting tables, media, pop music and, nowadays, sport, seem to attract them but, truth be told, like male vanity products and herpes, they're pretty much everywhere.

For some time now, old-fashioned (re)productive, repressed, unmoisturized heterosexuality has been given the pink slip by consumer capitalism. The stoic, self-denying, modest straight male didn't shop enough (his role was to earn money for his wife to spend), and so he had to be replaced by a new kind of man, one less certain of his identity and much more interested in his image – that's to say, one who was much more interested in being looked at (because that's the only way you can be certain you actually exist). A man, in other words, who is an advertiser's walking wet dream."

Well I'm pretty sure Fred goes to the gym and uses moisturizer creams, but does this make us question his sexuality? Perhaps not. Perhaps he took the floral design class because he knew the ratio of girls to guys would be 20:1 and he wanted to look more caring, affectionate and get a few more dates. Perhaps he writes poetry to emulate one of the most notorious lady's men of all time, Lord Byron, and perhaps he cooks because he enjoys a good meal every now and then. Hmmm. Even if these justifications were true, it leads one to wonder. Maybe he's just ubersexual. Never heard of it before? Here's the definition:

The word "'übersexual" (from German über = above, superior and Latin sexus = gender) was claimed to be coined by the authors of the book Future of Men (O'Reilly, Matathia, Salzman, 2005). It is a variant of metrosexual. The word seems to have been inspired by the phrase "uber-metrosexual", used by the creator of the metrosexual Mark Simpson to describe David Beckham. Salzman appropriated Simpson's work on the metrosexual in 2002 to sell another book.

Simpson has pointed out that the book contains several deliberate misrepresentations of him, his work, and the history of the metrosexual.

Many of the "top ubersexuals" named by Salzman, such as Bono, Bill Clinton and George Clooney were on her list of "top metrosexuals" in 2003.

The authors of Future of Men argue that the übersexual is not derivative of the metrosexual man.

The future of men, proclaim the authors, is "not to be found in the primped and waxed boy who wowed the world with his nuanced knowledge of tweezers and exfoliating creams. Men, at the end of the day, will have to rely on their intellect and their passion, their erudition and professional success, to be acknowledged and idealised in contemporary society. Called the 'übersexual'—-a degree of greatness and perfection, an acknowledgment that this is an evolved species of man—he is so perfect as to leave little margin for error and fallacy."

Some, including Simpson and Armistead Maupin, have suggested that behind this confused/confusing marketing-speak there was something rather simpler going on: a homophobic attempt to stop the metrosexual being so "gay". Or, as Salzman herself put it proudly, the ubersexual (unlike the metrosexual) "doesn't invite questions about his sexuality".

Simpson has argued that from the beginning the appropriation of the metrosexual concept by American marketers such as Salzman in 2003 was always about trying to straighten him out. His original definition of the metrosexual was sexually ambiguous, or at least went beyond the straight/gay binary; marketers, in contrast, insisted that the metrosexual was always "straight" – they even tried to pretend that he wasn't vain.

However, they failed to convince the public - hence the uber-straight ubersexual.

Despite a large global PR push for their 'new', completely 'non-gay' metrosexual, and a slavishly uncritical press which failed to notice that the list of top ten ubersexuals was largely the same as the one's they'd been printed two years previously for top ten metrosexuals, the 'ubersexual' failed to catch on with the public and was stillborn, as Salzman has admitted herself.

That's it, he's ubersexual. Let's cut to the chase. The author of this blog post is Fred. And on a the occasion of a friend's graduation party from college he dressed up in a very well tailored pin stripe suit, hand-woven silk tie and polished black shoes with Armani cologne. This is when his friend's mother declared him an ubersexual along with her son who had just graduated. Intrigued I of course had to do some research before accepting the title. Then along came wikipedia. I suppose now I must agree.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Potato Fun

As many of you may be aware, I have as of late been on a strict potato diet. And, by strict I don't mean just potatoes although that is generally what 'strict' implies. I have been eating them just about everyday with ranch and BBQ sauce or butter and salt and pepper and it's been a welcome food for many reasons, most of all taste. Potatoes contain iron, vitamin A, C and some Bs as well as protein. They say eating a lot of them will make you fat, but I tend to think the contrary is true. In fact, I think I have lost fat since I went on my potato diet. However, there always is a but. As cheap, delicious and even healthful as potatoes are, they have their drawbacks. And some might know the biggest one. Flatulence. Now I'm sure there are those of you who love flatulence and having the ability to make your own body tuba music, but for those of us who every now and then like to sit down with friends and maybe even go on the occasional date, it's not quite so appealing. I honestly don't know what it is that make potatoes so gas prone, but I know that they are and if you're going to eat them, you must live with the consequences. While of course a gaseous exclamation every now and then certainly can ease your troubles, I prefer to quell the beast whenever possible. But, at least for now, at the current rate of my potato consumption my room mates and friends are probably just going to have to buy more scented candles and incense.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I do not believe in the library.

That's right. I do not believe in the library. I don't care how many times you clap your hands to bring it back to is dead to me. Everyone at BYU has this special love affair with this building chock-full of old dusty volumes and over-sized potted plants. But for me, I am better off at home. I know, I know...studying is so much easier at the library because it is quiet and every resource you could ever want is at your fingertips...but to me it is an austere, cold, callused voluminous beast that swallows peoples' souls. I, of course probably have an advantage. My room mates are hardly ever at home when I need to write big papers or study, so I don't have a whole lot of distractions. That, and I don't mind being distracted, and actually find that I am happier and do better work when I have people to talk to that I know, comfortable couches to sit on, and access to Red Sox games, ESPN and my enormous front window. I feel at home, because, well, I'm at home. Now, I'm not saying that studying at home is the best strategy for everyone, but if you can, do it.