Tag Archives: independence

Discoveries Through Dating – Online and Otherwise

I have attempted to rewrite this article about my experiences with online dating a couple of times. The first draft sounded like a how-to, which felt dishonest because I haven’t been particularly successful in online dating or dating in general. The second draft was an attempt to be comical because of the plethora of ridiculous experiences I have had. However, this draft started to sound bitter. Noticing the difference between what I attempted to write and the actual tone of the writing allowed me to step back and evaluate.

I couldn’t ignore the feeling that I was avoiding something bigger and truer about my experiences. Did I feel bitter? As I came to realize the reality of my circumstances, I felt my back slump and I could only acknowledge what I had been fighting for so long- I was bitter, and felt defeated. I know this sounds dramatic, but I’ve dated a lot, with a relentless effort to find someone significant. Test-tasting everyone’s advice about dating and rarely turning off my search for the next potential partner was exhausting, and I came to realize that the bitterness stemmed from two areas.

First, was that all my efforts, worries, and work to have a symbol that I was lovable through having someone else in my life came to nothing. Second, was that I dealt with a lot of issues from the men I dated. Issues that weren’t mine to deal with, and so boundaries were often fuzzy. However, another feeling rose to the surface- thankfulness.

The Wonder Years

You see, I was that girl who had a crush on one guy or another throughout high school. When I was over with one crush I would intentionally search for another. It wasn’t so much that I liked a ton of guys at the same time. I was monogamous with even my crushes. I didn’t even like these guys’ characters or want to date them, but I was obsessed with liking guys (like most teenage girls are). Obsessed, I suspect, because I was bored in a small town. I had almost crushed on every guy in my year by the time I graduated high school.

It wasn’t the cute crushing either, where the girl blushes and tries to get the guys attention by smiling all the time. It was the perpetually embarrassing kind. I would blurt out inappropriate things or tell everyone how I had held my crushes hand during community prayer. Like everyone else, I was eternally grateful when high school was over. My crushes during my high school years never developed into anything. I avoided actually dating because it was a world I didn’t fully understand. And my weirdness around guys didn’t really help things.

giphy

It wasn’t until I was 21 years old that I had my first date. I know, a full three years later and still no date. To be fair, as much as I was weird, I was also a little petrified. A deer caught in the headlights to only bolt at the last second- which happened a few too many times- until my date on a train with a guy named Dave. The only reason this even happened was because I never thought that the people I would meet during this ride were going to be anything significant. And the train was moving, it’s not like I could have gone anywhere. He made his interest known and I went a little crazy. But just a little. Not psycho or anything, just borderline obsessive. I thought: this is my chance. He’s educated, good-looking, has strong values, and he rides horses like a cowboy! It had to work. But the relationship didn’t and couldn’t have worked. He lived in Montreal and I lived in Winnipeg. Yet, I couldn’t get past the fact that someone that awesome would like me, and thought I need to seize this opportunity the best I could.

That first date led to more dates with other guys- a lot of other guys. I was living in Winnipeg at the time, a place where (unlike Vancouver or Victoria) men actually ask random girls out on dates. I didn’t need online dating. Almost every weekend I was on a new date with a new guy. I had plenty of guy friends who could have been potentials. It was overwhelming, but I soaked in the attention. It was something I had never had in my life, not because I wasn’t beautiful before, but because I had “I’m too insecure to date” written on my forehead. I ended up dating a guy for three weeks knowing after the first date that he wasn’t a keeper. There was something comforting about knowing it wasn’t going to last with him. I finished things when it got a little too drama-filled. After the breakup, it was the first time I was unmotivated to date or even have a crush. I didn’t think about dating for three months and was quite relaxed about it all. But of course, things change… Continue reading

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Yes For Scotland

Did you know that in a few days, Scotland will vote on becoming an independent nation?

On the 18th of this month, Scots will be flocking to polling stations to vote either “yes” or “no” on becoming a self-governed country, joining in the movement with many areas of Europe, currently campaigning for self-determination (though barring the Catalonians, Scotland’s probably the closest any have yet gotten).

And may that day yet come…

So is this a good thing? We here at CWR say yes. Continue reading

Evan and Gordon Talk: “Super-Independence”

GORDON: Well Comrades, welcome to the Culture War Reporter’s off-grid, self-sustaining commune. Pour yourself some Kool-Aid and make yourself comfortable as Evan and I debate the merits of the movement.

EVAN: While we ended our last segment stating that we were going to discuss the state of the church, starting off tonight we realized a few things.

a) We can’t for the life of us find this phantom comment by Joseph suggesting such a topic [though I swear I read it].

b) We already talked about one of his topics [naps and such] and therefore should give someone else a chance.

c) Hannah has put forth a good handful of them, one of her most recent being the following:

What do you guys think about the new(?) trend back towards super-independence, by which I mean, growing your own food, creating your own textiles, etc (and taking pictures of it to put on your fancy blog….). Is this back to the earth movement a reflection of culture change or just another hippie permutation?

Continue reading

Manly Culture

Even if you haven’t recognized it for what it is, chances are, you’ve seen elements of it. The resurgence of beards, comments on period piece clips like “Why don’t we wear hats anymore?” or “Dang- they knew how to dress back then.” Or perhaps you’ve stumbled across The Art of Manliness or are (like me) a faithful apostle of Ron Swanson.

Now whether you’re aware of it or not, there is a growing culture based around this general perspective of “manliness” that supposedly existed from 5,000 BC to 1974 AD. The resurgence in the popularity of the beard, the wave of internet memes centered around being “classy,” our love affair with period pieces- all of this compounded has created the beginnings of a whole new subculture.

Don’t believe me? Just take a look at some of our favorite TV characters.

Don “F***-You, Liver!” Draper

Jack “Even Ayn Rand Thinks I’m Egotistical” Donaghy

Rick “Bad Decisions” Grimes

Walter “Tied with Draper for Making People Love Fedoras” White

Barney “Legen- wait for it… -DARY!” Stinson

Cullen “I Will Punch You For No Particular Reason” Bohannon

Comedy, Drama, Action/Horror, Westerns- this is a pretty broad range, and we’ve got the same strong, dour antihero type in all of them. Men who remind us of our fathers and grandfathers. Tough as nails bastards who came to this country with only a dollar in their pockets- who took a break from their honest 8 to 8 jobs of hitting metal with other pieces of metal to kill Nazis and look dapper doing it.

So what’s this culture all about? As with any group, we can talk about the superfluous or cosmetic elements- in the case of the “manly” group, handshake etiquette, strait-razor whetting, and driving stick- but to really understand ’em, we’re going to need to look at the underlying values in play here.

Independence:

What do all the men shown above have in common? A degree of independence. They’re DIY guys. Men who aren’t reliant on the help or charity of others- in short, dudes who can take care of themselves in most any situation, from car repair to providing for the family to killing the undead. And on that note…

Initiative:

These are all men who don’t allow themselves to be victims. They’re proactive moment-seizing leaders who don’t wait idly by for someone to step up. Good or bad, they’re leading the way- and speaking of bad…

Stoic:

These are guys who tend to lend credence to the stereotype of the unspeaking, unfeeling male. At best, the strong, silent type- at worse, the uncommunicative lout. One way or another, they don’t let the situation get the better of them. That’d be undignified, and if there’s one thing that they’re about, it’s…

Dignity/Pride:

It’s in the way they dress, the way they speak, the way they expected to be treated. A kind of code that prohibits some things and makes others compulsory. You can’t hold your head high, then what’s the point in having one?

Moral Ambiguity:

These men are all, to varying degrees, antiheroes. Guys with their own agendas and a certain degree of moral ambiguity that keeps you on your toes. There’s a level of egotism, self-centeredness, and disregard for others that makes them pretty good at what they do, but what they do not all that good- certainly they don’t fit the traditional mold of the selfless, self-sacrificial hero.

Wealth:

And while it’s not true for all of them, money tends to be a major element of their stories. A drive to be successful, prosperous, and (again) independent. It’s the age-old dream of being your own boss.

So what does all of this boil down to?

Power.

It’s about power. These guys represent everything we, as a generation, aren’t. Independent, wealthy, self-assured, proud. Does that sound like us? Not at all. We’re the casual dressed, globally conscious masses struggling to make it by, and taking whatever miserable, degrading soulless job we can find. We’re not strong like these glamorized images of our grandparents are (having conveniently erased the racism, bigotry, and misogyny).

But we want to be.

And so begins the perpetual motion machine of life-imitating-art and art-imitating-life. Epic Meal Time, Memes, Period Pieces- the list goes on.

So is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Well, there are good and bad elements to every culture (some more bad than good, and vice versa), but let’s list out the positives and negatives.

The positives have been wrapped in bacon

Positive:

  • We can stand to toughen up a bit a lot as a generation. We don’t need to be bending horseshoes with our teeth, but some basic survival skills and a thicker skin when it comes to discomfort and hardship would be nice (battery running out on your phone doesn’t count as suffering).
  • In these tough economic times, be able to do basic repairs to your house and car aren’t just good- they’re necessary. Same goes for any of the thrifty elements of the culture.
  • Even if we don’t have it quite yet, demanding a certain level of dignity in our work and our day to day lives isn’t just good for you as an individual- it improves society on the whole.
  • While we probably shouldn’t worship the fedora or declare the suit to be the only appropriate clothing for a man over the age of twelve, it certainly doesn’t hurt to know how to dress ourselves, or conduct ourselves well in any given situation.

Negatives:

  • The glorification of the past can, as I jokingly mentioned above, lead to the uglier elements of it being glossed over. We hail our grandfathers as being great men, forgetting how easy it is to make a name for yourself when none of the good or prestigious jobs can be given to equally qualified women or non-white men.
  • The culture really doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for women at all, other than the kitchen. This is not to say that all adherents of the culture see it this way, but when you’re trying to espouse 1950s society, that includes 50s traditional gender roles as well.
  • It can’t be denied that there’s a strong conservative appeal in this culture, as well as hints of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism. Glorifying wealth and success, especially when coupled with a “do whatever you need to do” mentality, can lead to the twisted perspective that poor people are poor because they are lazy.
  • This culture, despite the intentions of its adherents, does give a home for sexism. The uglier elements of the masculinity movement, those who view women as belonging in the home and nowhere else will doubtlessly find it a lot easier to fly under the radar in a culture that’s utterly dominated by males.

So what’s the final verdict?


“Manly” culture doesn’t appear to be either helpful or harmful- at least, not yet. The underlying issue being power, it’s going to be faced with the task of walking the thin line between empowerment and megalomania. So long as self-control is kept in mind, they oughta be fine.

Be sure to look for next week’s installment: “Science” Culture.