On Graduation

Maybe this is you.

This is probably what your college is doing now.

 

Maybe this is your current situation.

 

You probably feel a little like this.

 

We hope it feels like this.

Please Don’t Ask Me About Jesus

It happens at least once every year. Somebody asks me something about Jesus.

Have you accepted the LORD Jesus Christ as your personal savior?

Can I pray for/with you?

Do you believe in God?

Do you call yourself a Christian?

These are complicated questions. And they’re really personal questions. Sometimes they are asked of me antagonistically, and, like most other people, I resent those kinds of interactions. More often than not, however, I think they’re asked in order to get me to “come home” to God. Or something.

I think I hate these kinds of questions mostly because I don’t have an easy answer for them. And although I happen to think that that’s just fine, the person/people asking never seem to think it is.

Take today, for example. I was approached by a young blonde woman and her two friends. “Hi!” she said, cheerily. I hesitated. I was in my university’s student union and had already been approached by a guy selling candy bars for some club or camp and a girl who was looking for her backpack she claimed she’d left at the table where I was sitting (and I’m pretty sure she thought I nabbed it). I just didn’t want to deal with anyone; I was busy getting work done.

“Hello.”

“My name’s Heather!” she stuck out her hand, and also introduced her two friends, an Asian girl about my height, and a slightly shorter brunette. I shook her hand. I was still hesitating somewhat. What did they want? I didn’t want to donate to something. I don’t make enough as a grad student teaching assistant to afford to donate to anything right now except the “keep Kate sheltered and fed fund.” “What’s your name?” she prompted.

“I’m Kate,” I answered. “Are you…” I paused and scanned their faces, “advertising for something?”

“Well, actually,” said the blonde, “we’re just telling people about our Bible reading club…”

That was when she lost me. I hear “bible,” “Jesus,” “God,” or “Christian,” and I immediately start panicking and looking for a way to get away from whoever has just begun talking to me. It’s nothing personal; it’s just that every religious person who has ever approached me has tried their darndest (and I mean their DARNDEST) to get me to declare my unabashed love for the big JC, or something. I’m never disrespectful, but I’m firm. I just don’t feel it’s necessary to share my own religious insecurities and ponderings with complete strangers, to be perfectly blunt.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my religious identity and for a long time. I was raised Catholic by a mother who converted when I was five and an Episcopalian-turned-atheist/agnostic father. I’m now dating a Jew, and we’ve talked about conversion. I don’t know exactly what possessed me to stop the blonde midsentence with the words, “Oh, I’m Jewish,” but I did it.

Now the accuracy or inaccuracy of that statement is up for grabs. However, I’m headed to temple tomorrow morning, so I think that at least lends some veracity to it. At any rate, it wasn’t anything these girls had said to me up until that point that made or makes me angry. It’s what they followed my statement with.

“Oh, hereditary or practicing?” asked the Asian girl. My brain scrambled. “Both,” I lied. Only about the first half. But really, what kind of question is that? It seems a little personal for a stranger to be asking me what ethnicity and religion, simultaneously, I lay a claim to. What right does she have to even ask? She should have left it at whatever I said and moved on to greener pastures.

But then came the real kicker. “Well, thanks for telling us the truth! Have a nice day!” The blonde was bubbly as ever. I wished them good luck and turned back to my work. It didn’t dawn on me until a few minutes had passed that she was implying I was a liar. So maybe I kind of was. No one I’m blood related to professes Judaism. But I am actively thinking about conversion and I am going to temple tomorrow. So maybe it’s a trade off. Besides, the question caught me utterly off-guard.

BUT STILL. How dare you passively-aggressively imply that I’m a liar?

This isn’t the worst interaction I’ve had with evangelicals. Not even close (one time I ran into a guy who literally would not take no for an answer and followed me down the block. Then he wanted to add me on Facebook. I gave him a fake name: Kate Johnson. He had the audacity to ask whether I was telling him the truth.)

Christians who are forward about their faith don’t have some sort of monopoly on truth-telling. Why imply that everything I say is a lie? And furthermore, even if it is, did it ever occur to y’all to quit asking me incredibly personal questions? Yeah. That’s what I thought.

25 Clues You Aren’t In College Anymore

Congratulations, recent graduate. It’s been either six months or a matter of days since you entered the real world.How’s that treating you? If it’s not seeming like finishing school is all its cracked up to be, never fear.

If you’re feeling reminiscent and often wind up confused–am I still in school? I don’t know… I can’t remember…–here are a few clues you aren’t a co-ed anymore.

1. Large groups of people standing outside the front door of your apartment building cause you to be slightly suspicious and/or uncomfortable.

2. Screaming drunk people on Tuesday nights kind of piss you off. You have to get up at 7am and work tomorrow.

3. When you find out a lot of 18-22 year olds live in an apartment building you’re looking at, your response is a unenthused, “Oh…”

4. Girls with skirts short enough that their asses hang out actually are whores. Like, the real kind that have sex for money.

5. You look at a house with a lot of plastic dishware on the lawn and don’t think, “That must’ve been some rager.” Instead, you think, “Why doesn’t this jerkoff pick up his trash?”

6. Backpacks suddenly seem… lame.

7. You are now familiar with hangovers. Too familiar. Honeymoon period over.

8. Bad decisions made while intoxicated seem to have much more gravitas.

9. At some point, what used to be forgivable dramatic fuck ups on the part of others are now painted as rude and unnecessary. And likely unprofessional.

10. Kids complaining about their professors/grad student teaching assistants/exams/papers/[insert necessary evils of undergrad here] seem whiny and stupid to you.

11. Rather than writing that shitty freshman seminar paper, you’re grading it. And hating every minute of reading that verbal vomit you know was written between shots of Goldschlager last Saturday night.

12. Suddenly, not everyone around you is wearing the same two colors on Saturday afternoons.

13. You actually have to pay for a gym membership.

14. Suddenly, eating pizza three nights a week sounds awful.

15. You go to coffee shops to drink coffee, not cruise Facebook while pretending you’re doing homework.

16. Your Facebook tagged photos are no longer you making that face you make when you’re drunk. They’re you with your fiancée on vacation or at the office Christmas party (and you’re not drunk enough).

17. Friday is no longer part of the weekend.

18. You go to Happy Hours regularly, but you’re almost always home by midnight.

19. Sweatpants are no longer acceptable to wear anywhere but the gym.

20. Waking up at 10am is actually sleeping in, not “waking up early.”

21. There is no longer any such thing as “winter break.” There are, in fact, no scheduled breaks at all.

22. You have more than just a 30 pack of Busch light in your fridge.

23. Sometimes, on weekends, you cruise websites for home goods.

24. High school students not only seem to be younger than you, but they’re downright babies. (You started high school almost ten years ago.)

25. It’s possible, nay likely, that a dog/cat/fish has replaced your college roommate.

A Friendly Guide To Leggings… Because It’s Obvious You Need One

When I was about four or five, there were leggings. It was 1992 and they had the strap that hooked under your foot to keep them stretched. I hated them because I had overly sensitive feet and didn’t like the strap. We called them “stirrup pants.”

Eighteen years later, we apparently needed to go back to the awful stirrup pants we wore as children when we were cute, small, and it didn’t matter if our underwear and/or diaper showed through our pants. But, let’s face it. We’re adults now and this is no longer acceptable. It’s really not okay for you to be showing off your panties. I don’t care if they have the word “PINK” plastered across your ass. I just don’t want to see it.

There are right and wrong ways to wear leggings. Going to work at the office? Yeah, choose something else to wear. Skin tight cotton “pants” don’t really work here. Work at a dance studio? Perfect! Throw on those leggings. Leggings can also be okay if you’re pairing them with a long sweater or something that doesn’t showcase your rear. The image below, for example, demonstrates an appropriate way of wearing everybody’s favorite un-pants.

As you can see, the long sweater prevents any unnecessary ass-showcasing and saves me from having to read your underwear.

So, let’s get this straight: Good Leggings don’t showcase your butt in weird ways, aren’t translucent, politely conceal your underwear, and don’t look trashy/lazy/frumpy. Got it? Great.

Problem is, I don’t trust you. I know you’re going to go out there and buy an awful pair of leggings, and I’m going to hold myself partially responsible. So, I’m providing you with a simple, easy-to-use guide of What Leggings Not To Wear. Observe:

Pleather/leather leggings are a resounding NO.

Whatever these are… also a no. And put a freakin’ shirt on, lady.

Ripped leggings… Are you homeless? Do you pull your clothes out of the dumpster behind Goodwill? Then stop dressing like you do.

When pleather wasn’t bad enough, they gave us metallic leggings. Unless you’re the bastard leprechaun from Notre Dame, don’t wear these.

AKJSHDKLAJSHFKJASD?!/??!??!?!?! IF YOU ARE PREGNANT, YOU DON’T NEED TO WEAR LEGGINGS. NO!

Hopefully by now you have the tools and know-how to determine for yourself which styles of leggings are appropriate and which are not. So do us all a favor and lay off the bad un-pants.

There’s Nothing Funny About Living With Dudes

The New Girl is a television show airing on FOX, starring the adorable and quirky Zooey Deschanel. The main premise of the show, aside from Deschanel’s epic break-up, is the cute-but-totally-weird-and-awkward girl lives with three dudes, and isn’t that hilarious?!? One girl living with a bunch of guys!! AHHAAAA!

I am going to fill you in, America, there is nothing cute or funny about being the one girl living with a bunch of dudes. Take it from someone who did it: Nothing about it is funny and everything about it sucks.

Five Reasons Not to Move in With Your Guy Friends

1. Everything smells like male body odor and Axe.

Dudes smell. There’s just no way around it. Whether it’s dirty socks lurking in the living room or strange smells wafting into your bedroom from the room across the hall, there’s always a smell of dude sweat when you live with guys. Also, now that we have been blessed with Axe (because Old Spice just wasn’t cutting it for awful pseudo-cologne anymore), every bathroom always smells like a strange combination of cinnamon and musk, causing any person with asthma who enters to immediately have a coughing fit. Awesome.

2. If you weren’t bargaining for a parade of whores, you should have.

Guys are focused on one thing when they go out: getting chicks to come home with them. Get ready for a parade of different girls who range in attractiveness from the super hot to the painfully ugly tramping around your house at all hours of the night and awkwardly sneaking by so they don’t have to introduce themselves (or be introduced) to you. They (perhaps rightfully) fear your womanly judgment. Also, you will oftentimes find they’ve used the only girly products in the bathroom after they’ve fucked your roommate and took a shower before they did their walk of shame. Thanks, ladies. Much obliged. Additionally, every friend you ever invite over will not only be treated as a house guest, but will often be invited to be one of your roomies’ bed guest as well, because you no longer have friends: you have potential sex partners for your roommates.

3. You will know every song from every video game and the plot to every bad action flick forward and backward.

Your living room is no longer a living room. It is now what is called a “man cave.” That means the staple decorations are empty beer cans, three week old potato chips hiding beneath the rug, dirty dishes, and the lurking stray sock I mentioned before. The TV will only show the following: sports of all kinds (even those as obscure and stupid as curling), first person shooters and sports video games (if you don’t know that first term, live with dudes and it will become VERY familiar), bad action movies or other manly movies, sci-fi series movies–think Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, and other crappy and generally unfunny TV (e.g. Workaholics). Forget ever watching Grey’s Anatomy or Teen Mom or Say Yes to the Dress or Ghost or any Lifetime movie.

4. Your kitchen will always be sticky, dirty, and smell like something died in it.

Dudes generally suck at cooking and/or know nothing about storing food. This results in a lot of food particles and rotting bananas around your kitchen. Between this, sticky beer/alcohol residue, beer cans, and Chinese take out and pizza boxes, it’s basically impossible to navigate, let alone cook in this room. So, that Coq Au Vin recipe you were going to make for your boyfriend for your anniversary? Yeah, forget about it–go out.

5. They don’t see you as a girlfriend/sex partner, and therefore you fit into the same category as their mother.

You have passed from being drooled over as the sex object or chased after as the girlfriend into the friend zone. You aren’t an accessible vagina, and therefore when you ask for something, it’s nagging. Now you’ve entered the mom zone. Once this happens, all bets are off. Get used to being expected to clean up after your dude roomies, retrieve forks from their bedrooms when they all disappear from the kitchen, pick up those dirty socks in the living room, clean the bathroom fixtures, and take care of all the things their mothers have been doing for them for the last twenty two years.

So instead of living with four dudes, you, in the matter of a few weeks, have suddenly birthed quadruplets. Congratulations on being a New Mom!

Beer Pong and Botox, or Why It’s Okay to Age

There’s always been those people who deny the fact that they’re getting older. Whether that meant patting their wrinkly, old faces with lead-based powder in the 1700’s (and ironically making their appearance go downhill faster–lead does *wonders* for your skin) or injecting botox and getting face lifts and tummy tucks at the dawn of the 21st century, there have always been those who fear aging. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really understand the insatiable desire to stay 18 forever (or 20, or 25, or what-have-you). Sure, everyone wants to be “young and beautiful,” and often what is called beauty is really just youth, but I don’t think I would inject my face with botulism or let someone stretch my skin tighter over my skull in order to make people think I’m younger (and/or made of plastic).

What is it about age, other than pure vanity, that scares everyone so much? We value the wisdom and experience we gain as we age, but it seems to be those pesky wrinkles and grey hairs that throw us for a loop. But really, it’s just aesthetics. You are more than how you look, and the sooner we all realize that, the better off we’ll be. All I’m saying is that cutting/poking/prodding/and spending, spending, spending hasn’t gotten anyone very far when it comes to looking younger. However, we do have a lot more women walking around looking like life-size, discarded barbie dolls.

But maybe it’s more than just looks. Maybe everyone’s trying to get back to looking young because they want to go back to being young; perhaps it’s less about aesthetics than it is about a living memory of being 18, or 20, or 25, and being “carefree” and “innocent” and all the cliche terms associated with youth. But why don’t we value our later years? Is pursuing your career, having a family, finding a partner, travelling, learning, and living as an adult really that lamentable? Sure, getting blitzed on Tuesday nights and having no responsibilities and no job (for some of us) and getting with all the hotties (like I said, for some of us) can be great, but I wouldn’t want that to last forever. What about other interests? What about being productive (or reproductive for more eager folks)? What about establishing a life and relationships outside of party buddies?

I’m just saying, maybe we should stop looking at 18-22 or 16-22 or whatever combination/range of years as “the best time” of our lives. Why not assume the best is yet to come and relish in the moment? Find good in being 25, 35, 45, 55, 65, and 95, and all the ages in between. I mean, just think of it this way: if you stayed 18 forever, beer pong would still be the preeminent subject of conversation, along with awkward teenage sex jokes and petty high school arguments of who-did-what-to-whom-and-don’t-you-think-that’s-just-awful??!!.

Consider this a friendly PSA to stop living in the past and embrace your present.