Trans Love is Love! (or, Thanks, Buzzfeed!)

So, check this out! The GF and I were featured in a Buzzfeed video! 🙂

OK, I gotta say, since this is my blog and blogs are historically where people go to complain and express their insecurities (thanks, LiveJournal), I wish I would’ve thrown on some makeup. Damn. 🙂 But The GF looks gorgeous, so feel free to just stare at her side of the screen the whole time. And I’ve always been low-maintenance – I shouldn’t start apologizing for it now.

But seriously, I’m so glad that Buzzfeed made this video (BIG thanks to Hillary Lauren Levine!), and I’m honored to have been a part of it. It’s so cool to hear the stories of the other couples they interviewed and know that some of them have been together even longer than us, and it’s awesome and inspiring to know that they’ve made it work and are even longer-term than we are and still so happy!

Yay, love!

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New Words For Old Ones

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This weekend was a big deal. There are several things that happened – for example, I took a two-day filmmaking workshop that I’ll be talking about in greater detail here soon – but there was one thing that was the most important, and will (hell, it already has) change the course of my life.

In case you missed it, on Friday I posted an essay at The Mary Sue called “Why Sense8‘s Nomi and Amanita Are Everything (to Me),” wherein I reveal something pretty important:

My partner of two and a half years, about whom I’ve written here at the blog before, is a trans woman! 🙂

You can read a lot about it over at the piece. I’m talking about it here again, because I realized that, since I do write about my personal life here, as well as my professional, that the way that I write about my love life has to change. After all, my love’s name and pronouns have changed. She is a she. As for her name – I don’t really share that in my public writing, because privacy, etc (though if we both end up SUPER-SUCCESSFUL AND FAMOUS in our respective careers, I guess names will come up soon enough!). Usually, if I’m referring to friends, I only use first names (unless they have a public life online as well), and they don’t seem to mind, but I’ve never used my partner’s name. As of right now, she doesn’t put herself out there in that way, and I don’t need to do it for her. Still, she does understand that I write about pretty much everything, and nothing is written in public about her of which she doesn’t approve.

Which is why it’s taken me this long for me to talk about dating a trans woman on my blog. I was respecting her boundaries and her ability to come out in her own time, and on Friday – which was the beginning of Trans Pride here in L.A. – she decided to do just that! 🙂 I was so proud of her, and she’s already gotten so much support from our loved ones! Our close family and friends have known about her being trans since the end of last year, but it feels really amazing for her to be out now to the world. It changes everything in the best way in that, no matter what potential bullshit she might have to deal with in the future (and there may be a lot f bullshit), neither one of us has to be quite so careful what we say anymore.

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If you know me at all, you know it’s extremely difficult for me to keep my mouth shut! 🙂 Hiding feelings and experiences is not something I do well, nor is it something I want to do well. I firmly believe that feelings and experiences are meant to be shared, and that too many problems arise when too many of us aren’t open about what’s going on with us. That’s what leads to feelings of inadequacy and being alone and a weirdo – when we all toil away in our own corners of the world thinking that no one else could possibly “have it as bad,” or “think these thoughts,” or “be like this.” It causes us to turn our anger and insecurity and fear inward, and that’s the worst thing to do. That’s no way to live!

Anyway, I’m getting off track. The point is – she’s out, and I’m thrilled she’s out. As I continue with this blog, and my writing, I realized that the way I wrote about my life had to change. For a long while, when I wrote about my love online, I called her “The Boy.” First, because it was before I knew she was trans. Second, because even after I knew, she wasn’t ready for the world to know. But using that phrase became increasingly difficult the further along she was in her transition. Not only did “The Boy” hurt her, but it also hurt me to use. I hated having to refer to her that way, because I knew it wasn’t true. So, I gradually started trying to not use pronouns at all. I started using phrases like “my partner,” or My Boo, leaving the gender pronouns out entirely.

But hereafter, she will be known as The GF. 🙂 I’ve changed my old “The Boy” tag to reflect this and everything. I was thinking about sticking with My Boo, but being that her coming out is such a huge deal, it seems only fitting that I acknowledge her femininity in my nickname for her – even as I keep it short by using initials, because space.

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So, The GF and I went to Trans Pride this weekend at the L.A. LGBT Center, and it was pretty rad. Amazon’s Transparent was the sponsor, and it was so funny – pretty much everyone there and their mom was in some way related to the show. 🙂 Either they’d been an extra, or an actor in it, or something. Even The GF had worked on a project associated with Transparent! I felt like the only person there who simply watches the show! Anyway, I got there in the evening, but she’d been there all day watching all sorts of entertainment, meeting up with friends, grabbing food, and just enjoying the simple pleasure of being around people like her for once.

When I got there, it was just in time for the Awards Ceremony, and the VarieTy Show, both of which were really moving. The Awards Ceremony acknowledged two long-standing employees of The Center – one cis, one trans, one still alive, one who’d passed away – who’d gone above and beyond for the trans community. After that, the VarieTy Show, where trans singers, dancers, stand-up comics and other performers took to the stage and blew the roof off the place. My favorites? Alexandra Billings (yes, from Transparent!), who did a heartbreaking cover of Radiohead’s “Creep;” D’Lo (was in the project The GF worked on associated with Transparent), an actor who brings theater versions of his family on stage in a hilarious and heartwarming fashion; Ian Harvie (also from Transparent!) a HILARIOUS stand-up comic; and Our Lady J, a fierce musician with mean piano skills. The evening closed with a surprise special guest, Jenifer Lewis (you might know her from Black-ish or as Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray on Broadway, among a million other things). I had no idea that she worked so hard for the LGBT community, and that she was a part of early AIDS activism back in the day. Anyway, she brought the house down with Hairspray‘s “I Know Where I’ve Been,” which resonated with the LGBT crowd, and also because she sang it in honor of the victims of the church shooting in Charleston.

There was more of a party atmosphere later on at the Trans Pride after-party at Arena, a Hollywood night club. We went there for drinks, and to watch our friend HP Loveshaft/Lady Anastasia host her Pangaea Drag King Show. But after the show, the music came on…and was WAY too loud. I had Day 2 of my film workshop the next morning – and The GF and I are pretty much old people – so we didn’t stay long after our friend’s show.

Yes, there were some somber moments, but what I felt more than anything else that night was the high everyone was riding at a time when Laverne Cox is on TV, there’s an entire show centered around a trans woman on Amazon Prime, and one of the Kardashian-Jenners is a trans woman. The theme of the evening was “Our Time Has Come.” It certainly has.

And I’m so glad I get to follow The GF on this journey, wherever it takes us. 🙂

TERESA HOMECOMING 2013: Please, and Thank You

"O Quilt" by Laura McMillian and Kristin Reger at the Museum of Sex in NYC.

“O Quilt” by Laura McMillian and Kristin Reger at the Museum of Sex in NYC.

Apologies for being M.I.A. for the past few weeks, but I was preparing, then on my annual pilgrimage to my first home and true love, New York! There were a couple of reasons for the trip:

  • The wedding of my “little sister,” my friend Joanna, who married the love of her life, Carlos (aka “Chuck”), on October 27th.
  • I can only really afford to go home once a year these days, so this also served as my “holiday visit,” because I likely won’t be able to return in December.

and

  • I was bringing The Boy home for the first time.

This last thing was particularly exciting, because…well…I’ve never had anyone to bring home before. “Take home,” sure. But never “bring home” to meet my family. This was a whole new world of experience for me, and I found myself getting really excited every time The Boy and I were about meet a loved one to whom I hadn’t yet introduced him.

I was proud to show him off!

The Boy and Me at Joanna's wedding.

The Boy and Me at Joanna’s wedding.

And as I knew he would, he passed any and all tests with flying colors! 🙂 My family approved, and my friends approved. I was told several times how “cute” we are (we really are. It’s pretty disgusting.), and the best part was that incorporating him into my New York life seemed like the most natural thing in the world. He belongs there.

He wasn’t the only one being put through paces on this trip, either. I joined him in the D.C. area to visit his family, and while I’d already met his parents when they’ve visited L.A, I was introduced to grandparents and aunts and uncles on this trip, all of whom are really awesome and sweet. His parents greeted me as if they were actually glad to see me again. Crazy, right? 😉

We haven’t even been together a year yet (that milestone is coming next month), but traveling together for three weeks gives you an opportunity to look at your relationship in a way that even living together doesn’t. Because even when you’re living together, you can have space from each other – each of you going to separate rooms for “alone time,” or going about your jobs or other aspects of your lives. On this trip, however, we were constantly in each others’ faces, sitting together on cramped modes of transportation, sleeping in the close quarters of friends of mine who generously let us crash in their apartments. Every meal shared, every experience shared…

And it was exhausting!

You see, I’m someone who’s used to traveling alone. I’m used to wandering on my own and doing what I want without having to entertain or be entertained. Now, I had to take someone else’s needs and wants into account. Change is often uncomfortable, but when the result is worth it, you don’t mind so much.

Three weeks is a long time to spend traveling, and there was one point when we were just devastatingly exhausted and sitting in a coffee shop mostly silent over coffee and bagels as the rain poured outside (I’m starting to become an L.A. person in that I hadn’t thought to carry around an umbrella…). I realized that I kind of wished that I could find some moments in which I could be alone. I love The Boy, of course, but…we were just in each other’s grill all the time. I was sure he must have been feeling the same way, so I brought it up to break the silence. I jokingly asked, “So, are you sick of me yet? It’s totally OK if the answer is yes. I mean, we’ve been in each other’s grill all the time, I’d totally understand if you wanted space from me.” To which he replied, “No. I really love spending time with you, I couldn’t get tired of you even though we are, as you say, ‘in each other’s grill’ all the time. Why? Are you?”

And then I felt like the World’s Biggest Asshole.

“Well…?” I replied. And he smiled. I was quick to insist that it had nothing to do with him and everything to do with the fact that I was used to traveling alone and not used to incorporating someone else into my life, etc, etc. “It’s OK,” he said. “I get it. It’s really OK.” And I fell in love with him a little bit more in that moment – because he gets it. Because I can tell him anything and trust that I won’t be misunderstood, because he always understands me even when others don’t. We continued to sit there in grateful, exhausted silence, and I realized that if I was gonna give up pieces of my independence for anybody, it was gonna be for this person, because this person is so worth it.

Communication is key. That sounds so cliche, but that’s because people say it all the time because it’s true. The Boy and I seem to be pretty good at it, and it’s one of the things for which I’m the most grateful. I can tell him anything. He can tell me anything. And it’s OK. No matter what. And we get it. We get each other.

And we take care of each other. I noticed that we’re really nice to each other. Like, super-polite in a way I haven’t noticed in other couples, or even in us toward other people. I mean, we’re both generally polite, and know polite people – it’s just that it seems like we’re trying a little harder with each other.  “Would you please pass me the salt?” at the diner. “Thank you for letting me have the window seat” on the plane. “Would you please hand me my backpack?” “Thank you for taking care of me on this trip.” I feel like we’re trying to be our best selves for each other, and that feels really nice. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of snark, but our relationship isn’t drowned in irony, which is really saying something, considering that it’s become kinda hard for me to verbally express any kind of real emotion without sarcasm or a joke attached to it, because…well…feelings are icky and stupid. 😉 But I do it for him because, again, he’s worth it.

So, as it turns out, as much fun as I had in New York, and as wonderful as it was to see my friends and family, the best part about this trip was realizing how lucky I am to have this person in my life, and what an awesome choice I made in partners. Yay, us! 🙂

/gross, nauseating, obnoxious display of affection (See? Sarcasm.)

SONG OF THE DAY: “MIX TAPE” – STEPHANIE D’ABRUZZO & JOHN TARTAGLIA (FROM AVENUE Q)

So, I’m feeling all sorts of squishy today. Yesterday, The Boy and I celebrated our 6monthiversary over wine and Thai food by watching Before Sunrise, followed by the three episodes of Game of Thrones on which I was behind. Yes, including THAT episode. (Yowza) I also have a certain set of keys to a certain apartment now… (meep!)

Anyway, so to reflect my squishy mood, today’s Song of the Day is “Mix Tape” as performed by Stephanie D’Abruzzo and John Tartaglia as Kate Monster and Princeton from the Tony Award-winning musical, Avenue Q. Enjoy!

** DON’T FORGET THE POUND BY POUND PLEDGE DRIVE –RUNNING APR. 5TH 2013-APR. 5TH 2014 **

SONG OF THE DAY: BIRDS – KATE NASH (and a tangent about Love)

Kate Nash

The great thing about music is that it often come into your life exactly when you need it. Or, it captures things that you might not understand right now, but you will, and you will laugh at yourself for thinking the song so stupid before, because now…you kind of get it.

That’s how it is with love songs a lot of the time. We hear saccharine, sappy love songs and we tend to roll our eyes…but then we fall in love and it’s like “Oooooh. That’s what they were singing about. Got it.” Sad songs, too. There are days when you’re happy, or at least content, so a sad song is like “Ugh. Get over it, Radiohead. Jeez.” But then you’re actually depressed and it’s like “WHY DO YOU SPEAK TO MY MELANCHOLY SOUL, RADIOHEAD?!”

What’s great, too, is that songs sometimes capture very specific versions of the big human emotions. Because you can talk about Love until the cows come home, but it’s different for everyone and every relationship. So, it’s nice to come across a song that seems to capture exactly what you’re feeling the way you’re feeling it and the way you’d likely express it.

This happened to me the other day when I was driving around with The Boy. Kate Nash’s “Birds” came on is iPod (and the fact that The Boy even has Kate Nash on his iPod is a definite plus) and even though I’d heard the song before (I also own the album it’s on, Made of Bricks) it was as if I were hearing it for the first time, because suddenly…the lyrics applied.

One of the things I’ve learned over the past few months is that love isn’t always an explosion. It isn’t always this huge production with fireworks and a brass band. Sometimes, love is quiet. Sometimes it sneaks up on you when you least expect it, and all of a sudden you’re looking at this person and you realize, “Uh…of course I love this person. Derf.” And it hits you just like that, like it’s obvious. Like it’s the most natural thing in the world and just makes sense. So you don’t need a big production and fireworks and whatnot, because it’s not something you have to prove to anyone. It’s something you just know.

What’s great about “Birds” is that the casual conversation masking bigger feelings is kind of how it’s unfolded for me:

She said, “Thanks. I like you too.”/He said, “Cool.”

And the inelegant poetry of trying to explain your emotions when you’re better at writing feelings than actually speaking them:

Pretty much…

Yeah…

So, today’s Song of the Day is “Birds” by Kate Nash. Enjoy!

*** DON’T FORGET THE POUND BY POUND PLEDGE DRIVE – RUNNING APR. 5TH 2013-APR. 5TH 2014 ***

“Not Into” It: Why No Relationship Is a Waste Of Time

Justin Long and Ginnifer Goodwin in “He’s Just Not That Into You”

So, I was chatting online with a friend last night, and we got on the topic of her current romantic situation. After giving her a bit of (what I think was some) sound advice (which is hilarious when you consider my own romantic history – it’s always easier to give advice than to take it), I finally came around to the big thing that was really bothering me, and I remembered that I’d written something for an old blog to that effect. So, I’m reprinting it below, because I still stand by every word. Please keep in mind that I wrote this in 2009 just before the film version of He’s Just Not That Into You came out. I’ve since seen the movie, and it’s pretty cute (and not nearly as annoying as the book). I’ve also since bought Kate Nash’s Made of Bricks, and I currently have a boyfriend, both of which are awesome.

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Back in 2004, when Sex and the City was in its heyday and anything said to be like or inspired by it flew off the shelves, a book called He’s Just Not That Into You hit stores and became an instant smash.  (Not so coincidentally one of the book’s authors, Greg Behrendt, was a consultant on Sex and the City, and took inspiration from the episode “Pick-A-Little, Talk-A-Little”)  When the book came out, several of my friends told me about it, claiming that it was a book I had to read.  After much prodding, I finally picked it up at a bookstore and read the first chapter in the store’s cafe.

I hated it instantly.

Proponents of the book would probably say that it rubbed me the wrong way because it “touched a nerve”, “hit too close to home”, or “showed me a truth I didn’t want to acknowledge.”  But, um….no.  I didn’t have a problem with the advice not to continue pursuing or making excuses for a man who is not returning phone calls or asking you out when they’re clearly not interested.  That, I got.  Hell, I had given a lot of my guy friends the same advice!  I have male friends who have sent e-mails back and forth with a girl, the girl would continually find reasons not to go out, and they’d continue in pursuit convinced she was “playing hard to get”.  Eventually, I’d say “You know what?  If a girl is interested, she will go out with you.  I don’t care that she has work the next day.  I don’t care that her favorite TV show is on.  I don’t care that she has a paper to write.  She will make time.”

So, I agreed with the basic message.  It was something I knew without needing a book to teach it to me.  “Letting Someone Down Easy” with an excuse is something boys and girls learn in the beginning of their dating lives.  Yet there was something else about this book that upset me fundamentally.  There was something about this book that felt like nails on a chalkboard and made me want to punch cute kittens in the face.  When I heard that a movie version of the book was being released, all the old irrational anger resurfaced.  Why do I hate this book so much? I thought.  Why does the very thought of this movie being made make me want to start hitting things?

Now that the film release of He’s Just Not That Into You is upon us, I think I’ve put my finger on it:

I’m Just Not Into Marriage As the Be-All, End-All 

The underlying attitude of every piece of advice in this book is that if a relationship isn’t leading to marriage, it’s a waste of time.  And that’s what rubs me the wrong way.  Marriage has become the thing that women want almost at the expense of the person they’re marrying. So many women want the wedding so badly, they forget that there’s a person attached to the arm holding out the box with the ring in it.  Men become “marriage material.”  Think about it.  Marriage material – the stuff from which you can create a solid marriage.  Not a best friend, not an amazing lover, but material.  So not only does this book smack of faux-feminism – women should be chased and get the men they deserve because they’re worth it, but are still only as valuable as the men they can attract – but men are objectified, too.  People stop being people and start being commodities, and all the while women are told to stop spending time with men who “won’t commit,” (Commit to what?  To spending regular time together and having fun?) because they have to keep their eyes on the prize, and the prize is….marriage.

Why?

Behrendt would probably say it has to do with nature.  In response to women thinking about asking their crush out, he says “Some traditions are born of nature and last through time for a reason.”  I beg to differ.

Today’s norms and social mores having to do with courtship or marriage have nothing to do with nature and everything to do with economics.  Guys paying for dates to show they can provide for a woman?  Economics.  Men chasing women to assert that they are “hunters”?  Economics.  Women racing to get married by a certain time to ensure that they can have children?  Yes, even that has to do with economics.  Life will find a way, and the human race will reproduce one way or another…so, why is it so important that a woman be married to a child’s father?  Once human beings began creating villages, towns, cities, countries, civilizations, both an economic system and a patriarchal society developed. Having children became the way to ensure a family’s social and economic status.  Marrying a virgin of child-bearing age became a priority, because having a child with a virgin ensured that property would be passed down through a reliable lineage that no other man could lay claim to.  A woman getting married and having a child ensured that both she and her child would be well cared for.  Yet, feelings, desires, indeed anything that would constitute nature, weren’t serious considerations.  At best, love was icing on the economically-driven cake.

Now, let’s have a look at nature.  We always think of nature in terms of hunters and gatherers, and when we translate this to discuss human beings, we have the rigid view of men being the hunters and women being the gatherers.  What about lions?  Lionesses are the ones that go out and hunt and bring food back to the pride.  What about wolves?  Male and female wolves hunt side by side and either female or male subordinate wolves can stay behind to watch over cubs.  The same goes for primates, our closest relatives in the wild.  Then there’s the fact that in nature, it is the males who have colorful plumage and need to be attractive to the females as they wait for them to call.  (Explain to me why I need to put on make up and wear heels again?)

Marriage has nothing to do with nature.  Yet today, women kill themselves in pursuit of it and are made to feel like they are “wasting their time” if they don’t obtain it immediately.  Is a 10 year relationship in which the couple isn’t married, but lives together, sharing their lives (and possibly children), being there for each other day in and day out more of a waste of time than a two year marriage?  Is a solid, 2-year relationship that peters out naturally as the two people decide they don’t want to be together anymore a bigger waste of time than a 20-year marriage that was rushed into because a woman’s biological clock was ticking only for her to discover that she didn’t really want to share her life with this man at all?

Every relationship is valuable. Every relationship has something to offer and teach us, but we’ve come to spend so much time focusing on the end goal that we don’t see what’s right in front of us: an amazing friendship, companionship, wonderful sex, having someone to whom we are important, and vice-versa.  Whether it lasts a year, or fifty years; whether there’s a piece of paper saying that you are legally wed, or you spend those fifty years together simply because you never stopped wanting to, it’s a treasure.  Books like He’s Just Not That Into You have us goal-oriented to the point of our own detriment.

Books and films like this have also acted to sabotage women in pursuit of the very things they advocate.  Several guys I’ve begun relationships with end them, because they’re not in the “headspace” to date seriously and they don’t want to “waste my time.”  I call this “Pre-Emptive Commitment Phobia.”  They’re so afraid that a woman will be upset at them for not wanting to commit to a “serious” relationship, that they end it before it has a chance to begin.  Meanwhile, I don’t care about ending up together forever!  I was perfectly willing to just spend time together for a while, get to know each other, and have some fun.  And this isn’t just limited to heterosexual couples!  I have gay and lesbian friends who have had the same pre-emptive commitment phobia affect their relationships, and they can’t even legally marry everywhere!  Now, we’re deprived of companionship because a couple of stupid books and films have society convinced that everyone, deep-down, wants each relationship to be the relationship that leads to marriage, and that anything else is failure.  They don’t, and it isn’t.

I’m Just Not Into the Never-Ending Economic Cycle 

The ultimate proof that marriage has more to do with economics than nature is the fact that a book like He’s Just Not That Into You even exists.  I never feel as lonely, or as bad about being single as I do when I’m in a group of people talking about relationships.  As I go about my day to day life, I’m not agonizing over the boyfriend I don’t have, or the kids I’d better think about popping out soon.  I’m thinking about my life.  Now.

Then, I get together with a group of friends and we start spouting the very things found in these books or films, and suddenly I’m neurotic about what I should be wanting.  Is there something wrong with me?  Maybe I DO need to hurry up and find someone!  Maybe I SHOULDN’T be wasting my time.  Maybe I need to take this more SERIOUSLY.  Suddenly, there is unhappiness and agitation where there wasn’t any before.  Suddenly, I’m neurotic.  Not because I feel lonely or lacking, but because I’m freaked out by other people being so worried about me and my future.  Surely, there must be something to it. Otherwise people wouldn’t be saying all this!

Yet, all there is to it is books and films like these.  Books and films that showcase a single path toward happiness, make people feel inadequate if they aren’t on that path, and offer methods of “self-help” in order to help them get on it.  Methods one has to buy.

BOOKS LIKE THESE MAKE PEOPLE NEED BOOKS LIKE THESE!

Not to mention the fact that the wedding industry is a huge racket even people on a modest budget feel compelled to take part in.  When women hear that a female friend of theirs has gotten engaged, we’re trained to ask “Let me see the ring!” first.  As if the ring’s size or stone were the true determinants of whether or not this guy and this wedding is a good idea.  Even the least expensive bridal gowns cost several hundred dollars.  Whether you rent a venue, or have your wedding in your backyard, there are still catering, flowers, photographs, and music to be considered.  That’s without factoring in a bridal party, for whom things need to be purchased.  The wedding business is a multi-billion dollar industry.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that society fights so hard to make weddings important.  A lot of people would be unemployed if they weren’t.  There would also be significantly fewer books sold.

Believe It Or Not, I AM Into Marriage

I think it might be time to reconsider exactly what marriage means.

I’ll save my feelings about gay marriage, polygyny, and polyandry for another time (though my thinking about and mentioning them at all should give you an indication of how I feel about them), but we have a 50% divorce rate these days for a reason.  I think a large part of it is that we live at a time when we’ve learned to be truer to our individual selves.  We’ve come to expect a certain level of personal happiness in addition to wanting to care for the greater good.  However, we bring that desire for personal happiness into a firmly-established institution that is primarily concerned with economics.  Is it any wonder, then, that money is the largest cause of discord in most marriages?  Fights over who paid for what, who is providing for whom?  People are taught to marry by a certain time and are taught to take finances into consideration, but they aren’t taught that it’s acceptable to wait until you find someone who truly makes you happy.  Marriage as it is now is about contributing to society, not about two people connecting to each other.  It’s about what you should want, and not about what you might actually want.  If people actually do connect, they’re lucky.

Despite all that, I would like to be married someday.  There are several couples in my life that make marriage look good and whose marriages, if I ever find someone I want to marry, I’d want to emulate. There is something beautiful to me about choosing someone forever, promising them that you will be there for them no matter what, and knowing that they offer you the same in return.  I understand the impulse not only to want to make that promise to each other, but share the power of that promise with your loved ones.  I’m not someone who is sour on the entire institution.  I just think that the institution should evolve as much as human beings have.

I want marriage, but I don’t need marriage.  There’s a difference.

So, I won’t be seeing He’s Just Not That Into You.  I never bought (or bought into) the book, and I don’t want to be disappointed by the sight of actresses I enjoy and respect enacting that tripe.  It’s a shame, then, that one of my favorite songs of the moment is Beyonce’s Single Ladies:

If you liked it, then you should’ve put a ring on it

If you liked it then you should’ve put a ring on it….

DAMMIT, that song is catchy!  Ah well.  I downloaded it illegally, so I didn’t pay money for it.  Sorry, Beyonce.  If you want to pay for a great song that has a truly positive message about relationships, check out Kate Nash’s Merry Happy:

Chatting on the phone

can’t take back those hours

but I won’t regret

’cause you can grow flowers

from where dirt used to be

And more importantly:
 

I can be alone, yeah

I can watch a sunset on my own

I can be alone, yeah

I can watch a sunset on my own

I can be alone…

Her album, I plan on buying.

Because Boys Deserve Love Songs, Too. A PLAYLIST.

So, the other day I was listening to music, and when the song My Guy came on I had the same thought I always have whenever that song comes on.

God, guys get shitty love songs.

Women are pretty lucky in that department. We get songs like Just the Way You Are (both the Billy Joel song and the Bruno Mars song), or Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours, or even One Direction’s That’s What Makes You Beautiful. Songs that praise us not only for our beauty, but for how special we are in any number of ways. How we brighten someone’s day. How we make someone’s life.

Now think about the song, My Guy. It starts out great: Nothing you could do could make me untrue to My Guy. Nothing you could buy could make me tell a lie to My Guy. OK, cool. That’s awesome. As a matter of opinion, I think he’s tops. As a matter of taste, to be exact, he’s my ideal as a matter of fact. Awww, isn’t that sweet?

Then the song goes off the fucking rails.

No muscle-bound man could take my hand from My Guy. No handsome face could ever take the place of My Guy.

Whoawhoawhoawhoawhoa, Lady. What the hell? It was going so well! Now suddenly you’re all, I don’t want someone handsome! I want YOU. And then THESE are the lines that get repeated in the song!

Gee, thanks. If I were Her Guy, I’d be pissed.

Compare that to the song My Girl: I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May. He’s got honey. He’s got a sweet song. He doesn’t even talk about her looks, like, AT ALL. She’s just ten different kinds of awesome IN GENERAL. When he talks about the stuff he doesn’t want or need, he’s talking about other things he could get apart from her. And he’s not even comparing her to other women, he’s comparing her to OTHER ASPECTS OF LIFE. And SHE WINS.

Take that, Mary Wells.

I started thinking about other songs women sing to men, and it was really easy to come up with songs where women accidentally slight the men they’re singing to even as they’re singing about how great they are. Deniece Williams’ Let’s Hear It For the Boy says: My boy sucks at just about everything, and he’s not that great looking, but I love him anyway. Paula Abdul’s The Way That You Love Me is a little better in that she says that the “way that he loves her” means more than the stuff he buys her or the places he takes her….but it’s not like she’s saying NO to those things, either. And then you’ve got a whole slew of songs that attempt to woo men by tearing down the women they’re currently with or have been with; songs like Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend, or Alicia Keys’ If I Was Your Woman. Ease up on the girl-on-girl hate, Ladies.

What’s interesting is that I think a huge part of feminism that needs examining are the messages men receive as far as “what they’re good for.” If women are told that their value is solely in nurturing, that they’re only as valuable as the sex they provide, or the children to which they give birth, men are told that their value is solely in “providing.” This, of course, means providing financial and physical security. You’d better have a job. You’d better be able to buy me things. You’d better be big and strong and…I don’t know…be able to build me a log cabin, or somesuch bullshit. Is it any wonder, then, that some men might feel a little threatened when their wives/girlfriends make more than they do? It’s like, Well, what now? What’s my purpose? What am I good for if the one thing I was trained to be good for has suddenly become unnecessary? I think we need to talk more about what else men can and should provide. A listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. Understanding. Being there in difficult situations. Being a quality father who spends time with his kids, not just money on them. So much about heterosexual relationships is framed around the idea that guys pay for dates, or pay the bills, etc, that if these things don’t happen, even if a woman loves the guy to death, she might feel “embarrassed.” She often feels the need to explain. When the reality is that she shouldn’t have to, any more than a guy should have to explain when the woman he’s with works long hours, or doesn’t want to have kids. Every relationship has its own balance, and people need to mind their own business and stop comparing relationships to each other. They’re not all supposed to be alike. Because no two people are alike. Never mind who’s paying for what over there, and stop gendering stuff like finances and emotions. Women can pay bills, and men can listen to you vent about your problems. I know – CRAZY.

And in the meantime, I think good guys deserve better love songs! Songs that praise them for being awesome without talking about what they’re not or what they don’t have. I’ve picked out a couple that I think qualify for your listening pleasure…

BRAGGING RIGHTS

When your man is so awesome you have to brag about him to the world!

Beyonce – EGO

I love the way this song not only makes the guy she’s singing to sound like the best thing ever, but makes the singer sound like the best thing ever. 🙂 It’s like, you’re awesome, I’m awesome. We should be awesome together and take over the world. Fuck, yeah.

Christina Aguilera – AIN’T NO OTHER MAN

You got soul, you got class, you got style…you’re badass. BOOM. Point made. 🙂 Also, I love that the song gets deeper than that, saying that Every time I see you everything starts making sense, and You are there when I’m a mess/talk me down from every ledge/give me strength from your love lessons/you’re the only one who’s ever passed every test. This guy “provides” all the important stuff, and has class to boot!

YOU GET ME IN A WAY NO ONE ELSE DOES

When you want your man to know how much you appreciate what he puts up with!

Alanis Morrisette – EVERYTHING

I love this song, because it gets into the nitty-gritty of what’s important in a relationship. You see all my light and know all my dark…and you’re still here. Really knowing someone and loving them flaws and all. If you find a guy who can call you on your crap, but still recognizes all that’s good about you, a guy who sees past all the bullshit defense mechanisms you put up and into everything awesome about you, hold on to him!

Nicki Minaj – RIGHT THRU ME

Nicki Minaj has a couple of great guy-praising songs. I love Your Love, because in addition to talking about a good man, the chorus sounds like it was written by someone who would rather be doing ANYTHING other than singing a sappy love song. 🙂 Super Bass is just fun. But I love this song, because it’s both a commendation and an apology. It’s smack in the middle of a fight, and the guy is mid-calling-on-bullshit, and she knows it. And she respects him for it, because he knows her so well. Guys who pay attention to you enough to know when you’re putting up a front. Guys who know the difference between you actually being okay, and you just saying “I’m fine.” That’s what’s up.

I LIKE SPENDING TIME WITH YOU

When you want your man to know that just being with him is enough!

Eliza Doolittle – MONEYBOX

This song talks about money. Hell, it’s in the title. But I’m including it on this list, because it would apply to someone whether they have money or not. It’s not berating a guy for having money, or for not having it. It’s saying, Money’s not important. Spending time with you is. It can either be making a guy feel better for not having a lot of money, or it can be telling a rich dude that she’s not a gold-digger. Either way, it focuses on quality time with someone who loves the same things you do. I’d highly recommend listening to the album version of this song, but I love this acoustic version, and I couldn’t resist.

Lily Allen – CHINESE

Here’s another Brit! Again, this is a song about the little things about relationships that are often the most important. Getting home to you, getting Chinese, and watching TV. It’s a simple song, but a beautiful one.

YOU’RE HOT

Because you weren’t checking out his “personality” when he walked by.

Carly Rae Jepsen – CALL ME MAYBE

I know. I’m not fifteen. I don’t care. Not only is this song catchy as hell, but it captures something that doesn’t always get captured. Guys are generally expected to make the first move and bear the brunt of rejection. This song has a girl making the first move, because he’s so much more awesome than the other guys chasing her she couldn’t help herself. I love the nervous insecurity of it – and the fact that, for once, it’s not on the guy.

Salt ‘N Pepa – SHOOP

A Woman-Compelled-To-Make-The-First-Move classic! If looks could kill you would be an uzi. You’re so hot, you make me wanna shoop. Whatever that means. 😉

Shakira – OJOS ASI

You knew I had to throw in a song in Spanish, right? 🙂 It’s a cliche – a guy complimenting a woman’s eyes. Well, here Shakira tells a dude that she’s been all over the world and has never seen eyes like his. Sometimes men have amazing eyes, and they need to be praised over a thumping, Lebanese-influenced beat, okay?

Well, that’s it for now! I hope you have a great Valentine’s Day celebrating love in all it’s forms! And if you have any other suggestions for good love songs for guys, hit me with them in the comments below!

Lastly, there’s a guy I’ve been spending quality time with lately who happens to be an amazing person. To him, I say:

I like you. And if you can’t handle it…well you can just fuck off!

🙂

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!