Thursday, September 29, 2011

Unmuddying the Waters; or Definitions

Picture this:
A friend walks up to you and says, "Hey, I've been talking to this guy lately."

Possible interpretations include:
  • I have been speaking with a boy.
  • I have been flirting outrageously with a boy, hoping he will get the idea.
  • I'm on the brink of entering into a serious, committed relationship with this boy.
  • I married this boy three months ago and I thought you should know about it.
What is at the root of this variety of interpretations? We argue that the answer is definition confusion.

What, really, is the meaning of the word "talking" in this context? Clearly we can debate about this 'til the cows come home, but how can we know, by the end of the conversation, which meaning it held? How can we minimize the problem?

We have noticed that when two people in conversation are using different definitions for the same terms, problems occur. We may or may not have gotten into tiff because of this yesterday (we're all good now), where Kelley used a word with a specific meaning, which Becca interpreted with a different specific meaning. We were both getting frustrated until we stepped back and defined terms. In the end, we weren't actually talking about the same concept, but we were both using the same word to convey that concept.

The second way that definition confusion can arise is when people use different words to talk about the same concept. For example, in the above example "talking" could be a synonym for "starting a relationship." People can end up talking circles around each other, never realizing that they are actually talking about the same idea.

We propose three things:

  • Clarify your terms. Even if you think your meaning is clear, it can be helpful to state exactly what you mean.
  • Provide context when talking to people. Chances are, the more background you provide, the better understood you will be.
  • Keep in mind the context that others are providing when you talk to them. Try to understand the whole movie, not just the snapshot.

So, when describing your upcoming relationship with a boy, you might say, "Hey, I have been talking to this guy lately, and I really like him. I think he is going to ask me out soon, and I am excited to see where this goes." If we all take the time to explain ourselves more fully, we will sidestep many of the miscommunications (and tiffs!) that arise from definition confusion.

Becca and Kelley

"I like you."
"Ok, but do you like me, or do you LIKE me?!"

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mustache Monday: George Clooney

George Clooney, famous for a myriad of things (for example: ER, Ocean's Eleven-Thirteen, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?)

George Clooney, less famous for sporting this mustache.

When looking at this photo, both of our thoughts were, "That mustache is decent..." This is a great refreshment after the last few weeks. We were a little discouraged by LaBeouf's molestache. But hail! A silver fox proudly embracing his salt and pepper stache. The hair is evenly trimmed and the mustache is well defined. The ratio of eyebrow to 'stache to mane is very well balanced. While a little long for our taste, Mr. Clooney is allowed some wiggle room because of the overall grandeur of this facial hair.

George Clooney, the third contender in the quest for the perfect mustache. Let's see how he ranked:

Originality: 3/5

Size: 4/5

Style: 4/5

Overall: Out of a possible 15, Clooney scored an impressive 11.

We do not think we have found the perfect mustache, but we are getting closer.


Becca and Kelley

"If we kiss fire, we'll burn our mustaches off!"

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Fine Art of Compliments

Over our several years, we’ve heard our fair share of awkward guy to girl compliments*:

“Yeah, you’ve got those child-bearing hips.”

“You’re really tall, that makes me jealous.”

“Hey girl, hey!”

With all these awkward compliments, it’s become hard for girls to distinguish sincerity from general creepiness. Due to this fact, we’ve also heard our fair share of ridiculous interpretations.

“He complimented feature X so he must not like feature Y.”

“He told me I looked pretty today, so he must really like me!”

Sometimes girls can even add a sexual interpretation that the boy never intended, or put a negative spin on neutral remarks.

After hearing some of our creepy guy stories, a male friend of ours remarked that guys are often intimidated by the way girls analyze compliments. He pointed out that what may seem creepy to a girl might by uncertainty or nervousness on the guy’s part.

We can see where the imbalance has occurred.
Girls can be very cruel to guys they don’t like, which prompts guys to be more reticent about expressing what they truly mean. And sometimes girls can just twist what guys say so that we have a good story to tell our friends.

But some guys are, in fact, creepy. And even nice guys can be unaware of the effect of an offhand remark or compliment, which prompts girls to be more guarded and suspicious of compliments in general.

Obviously not all guys have the eloquence of Mr. Darcy, and girls need to have realistic expectations for their men. Similarly, we girls say awkward things ourselves sometimes, and it’s best to be charitable and credible when interpreting the compliments we receive.

There is work to be done on both sides. Girls should, in the words of our friend, “take a step back and chill out,” while guys could often benefit from thinking twice about their intentions and wording.

Let’s give and take compliments with grace. But if he asks you to get him a matching cloak so you can make magic together*, he’s probably a creep.

*All the compliments found in this post are real-life examples from the lives of the authors and their friends.


Becca and Kelley

“Your face is good.”

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mustache Monday: Shia Labeouf

Shia Labeouf, famous for Even Stevens, Transformers, and Disturbia.

Shia Labeouf, about to become infamous for the above picture.

Can we agree that it looks like a 3 year old took finger paint to his face? Emphatic yes. He may be trying to create artistic symmetry by mirroring the shape of his mustache with the ovalness of his mouth in this picture, but we're not buying it! The hair on Mr. Labeouf's mustache grows way past the corners of his mouth -- a big no-no in mustache etiquette -- and then connects with the chin growth, which we frown upon. The split of his mustache is clearly off center. Talk about distutrbia!! [Insert walrus joke]. And although it has nothing to do with his mustache, the expression on his face in this picture makes us fear for his sanity.

Shia Labeouf, the second contender in our quest to find a decent mustache. Let's see how he ranked:

Originality: 2/5
Size: 4/5
Style: 0/5
Overall: Out of a possible 15, Labeouf scored a shockingly impressive 6 (only because of the size).

And another failed attempt.

Becca and Kelley

Thanks to our good pals Arielle Trantham and Caleb Moore for their help this week.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Bermuda Triangle

Ah yes. It’s that time of year again, ladies! Christian women’s conference time! And any Christian women’s conference worth its outrageous advance shipment of Kleenex remains firmly fixed within the three-sided Bermuda Triangle of women’s conference topics…

  1. All the Single Ladies! This conference focuses on the state of singleness (a state here defined as “just about to meet Mr. Right”). At this conference you, the young Christian single woman, will learn all about how it’s okay that you’re single, since the married women will reserve judgment for at least six more months, how young Christian women shouldn’t be single forever, and how God will bring you a husband if you clap your hands. All this and more, weakly supported by Psalm 37:4!
  2. Submit Yourself! Not just for married women, this conference can prepare single women for the relationships they had better begin in the next six months. Hear wise married women talk about submitting to their husbands over the thirty years of their marriages. And even though most of the audience is single…it will definitely come in handy some day, because Christian woman shouldn’t be single forever
  3. Self-Esteem! Let’s not fool ourselves, ladies. When we’ve passed the six month deadline and they’ve run out of married speakers, we all turn back to the first love of Christian women everywhere: positive self-esteem. Usually these events include formal attire and the unnecessary presence of pleasant and attentive men (pointless one night crush complimentary with purchase of conference ticket). After the icebreaker we chat about how we really are beautiful on the outside and the inside, and maybe God’s plan for us is singleness…for the foreseeable next three months. Then again, maybe not. That pleasant waiter is smiling in my direction! It’s meant to be!

While hyperbole is funny, women’s conferences can provide support and encouragement. But they can also become vehicles of popular Christian perspectives, instead of Christ’s truth. First off, we seriously doubt that King David was comforting one of his daughters about her singleness when he wrote what is now Psalm 37:4:“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (NIV) And if there is a verse in the Bible that promises husbands to Christian girls who wish hard enough, we’ve yet to come across it.

Far be it from us to claim all knowledge of submission in marriage, but it is much harder to submit to God. So let’s start with the hard stuff, submitting to God first. Especially those of us who don’t have husbands! Then if God’s plan does include a spouse, appropriate submission will be that much more natural.

Self-esteem. What can we say about self-esteem? Often, boosting self-esteem resembles a drug habit. We put on an unflattering garment, so and so doesn’t look at us, we forget our makeup. So we chant to ourselves that we’re beautiful on the inside and out, inside and out, until we manage to silence our feelings of inadequacy for now. Then we live the same cycles out again. Let’s be radical. Self-esteem is a symptom of sin. The purpose of following Christ is not to feel happy with yourself the way you are. Think about it. Self-esteem, the esteeming of self. In Christ, self-esteem should be completely wiped out of existence. Realistically, we’re not there. But as we grow in relationship with Christ, we come nearer to it. Obviously we do not cease to take care of ourselves, but we move towards dependence on God for our identity.

So here’s to deep, varied Christian conferences that deal with being follower of Christ first, and a woman second. That teach truth instead of opinion, and help us move towards a truer way of living instead of an ephemeral solution.


Becca and Kelley

“You know what they say: no life without wife!”

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mustache Monday: Cary Elwes

Cary Elwes, famous for playing Westley in The Princess Bride and Robin Hood in Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

Cary Elwes, less famous for his rubbish mustache.

There are so many things wrong with this facial hair...we don't even know if you can call it hair; more like a growth. He should be arrested for cruelty to animals. Since when have toupees for faces been widely marketed? And paired with that mutated offspring of a goatee and a beard, we begin to question Elwes' sanity and the quality of his mirror. And razor. Since he's clearly on set, perhaps we should cut him some slack, but his agent deserves to be sacked. Promptly. For his next birthday, we plan to send him a tasteful nose hair trimmer, since the growth seems to be originating there. Shudder.

Cary Elwes, the first contender in our quest to find a man with a decent mustache. Let's see how he ranked:

Overall--out of a possible 15, Elwes scored a mere 6.

This doesn't look promising, but it will be entertaining.

Becca and Kelley

We'd All Like to Date Matthew McConaugh-HOT, But...

In the spirit of research, we took to surveying girls about their views of relationships. For the purpose of honesty and transparency, we promised the girls anonymity as they answered the questions, but they know who they are, and we give them mad props for voicing their opinions!

We asked a few girls what the purpose of dating was and most had a healthy perspective, saying such things as:

- "to determine eligibility for marriage,...and to build the relationship on which marriage stands. To get to know a fella!"
- "A relationship where you can serve and glorify God together in a romantic way."
- "To get to know someone further that you feel has the potential to be your future spouse." 

The difficulty comes in translating these ideals into real-life situations. When we think of a man who will be suitable for marriage, we can tend to create these long lists of expectations in our minds. 

"My guy will be 6 and a half feet tall..."
"My hubby will have great wavy hair..."
"My boy will drive a corvette..."
"My man will be as funny as Steve Martin in Father of the Bride..." 

And though this may seem a bit exaggerated, we have known girls (ahem, ourselves included!) whose lists contain very specific requirements. And while this may be a good tool in the struggle towards discovering what a healthy relationship could eventually look like, it might be somewhat limiting as we can tend to measure a man against our list to see if he has potential. 

As I (Becca) was talking to my mother yesterday, she told me that perhaps when I woke up from my nap my prince would be standing there waiting for me, and as much as I wish my mother was a prophetess, the likelihood of that happening is very slim. Where can we go to find a man who will fit the bill set out by these standards? Better yet, should we even have these standards at all?

We are not here to knock down the idea of making a list of what you would like in a man. Indeed, this gives you a better picture of the kind of man that eventually might become your spouse. However, do not be afraid to amend the list. Instead of thinking of the list as a measuring stick, look at it as a guide to help identify potential. So what is he doesn't meet all 63 items on the list? Or what if he does have every quality on your list, then what? 

What matters is this: do you feel God's calling on this relationship? 

If not, then do not be afraid to say no. We know a girl who said yes to a boy because he met her list of standards, but the relationship still fell apart. What do you say to her? In Christian community, there's this misconception that just because both people involved in a relationship are Christian, it must mean it will work out. But there is something so empowering and edifying about being able to assert yourself in saying no when you are certain that it is not what God is calling you to.

So make lists of qualities you'd like in a man (and no, "six pack" doesn't count as a legitimate quality!), but be prepared to change them, add to them, or remove items from the list. At the end of the day, make sure you are giving over these hopes to the Lord, for He is sovereign above our desires and knows how (and if) they will be fulfilled.

Becca and Kelley

P.S. - "It’s like the word 'single' means 'find someone.' " 
Once more, a shout out to the girls who bravely voiced their opinions for us. :)


Friday, September 9, 2011

Welcome to the 21st Century

Friends and loved ones (and no, we do not mean our nonexistent boyfriends),

We bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be for all people:

It's okay to be single.

Read it again. Drink it in.

As two single women active in a Christian community, we've felt the pressure to date anyone with legs and an Adam's apple. At times, we feel we are receiving mixed messages from society, peers, and mentors:
1. Be strong, independent women, because men will only drag you down,
2. Finding a boyfriend is part of the sanctification process.

Both of these are false.
So as two single women active in a Christian community, we're working towards a healthy balance: content with singleness, yet prepared for the relationships God may bring into our lives (romantic or otherwise).

In this blog, we will explore common falsehoods about romance, cultural stereotypes that prevent healthy relationships, and the true essence of purity.
We'll also have plenty of fun--chick flick reviews, mustache Mondays, et. cetera--because relationships are funny business.

Join us in our journey. Take the road less traveled. Dare to dream. Read our blog.
It'll be fantastic...or at least amusing. So grab your t.v. dinners and stay tuned!

Becca and Kelley

"The only difference between dating and courtship is that if you date, you have a boyfriend. If you court, you have a beau. Who even has beaux anymore?" -A friend