J.Yang has slummed it in the valley with the Wakefield twins; slumber partied with Huey, Dewey and Louie; joined Krakow in stalking Angela; and climbed every mountain with the Von Trapps.

Originally from San Diego, he's lived and traveled the world (okay, not all of it) in pursuit of that most elusive of targets -- inspiration.

He's authored and published a book, written for online and offline publications, and maintained a variety of popular blogs on subjects ranging from movies and technology to personal stories and amateur musings. He's just wrapped up his second book, a fiction novel for teens, and is hard at work on his third one.

You can reach him at digitaljon@SPAMgmail.com. He is BFF with his iPhone so he should answer promptly.

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Everyone Else and You  
Thursday, March 26, 2009 : 6:11 AM : 2 comments

I've been buzzing about this thing for about a week now. Touch Graph is an application for Facebook that shows you how your friends are connected and interconnected visually. I know, I know, another Facebook app, blah blah blah. But this one is seriously cool and kind of useful. At least for me.

Awhile back, Lilly and I had this idea to create a Friend Web that you could carry around with you. It shows who your friends are, how they're connected, and what friend grouping they're in. It cuts down a lot on the "wait, who are we talking about again?" It was also a great idea for parents to know exactly who their kids' friends were. Well, Facebook neatly solved this problem because if you have an Internet capable computer/friend, you could just show people online. But, even then, the missing ingredient was a visual depiction of your friends and how they were related. Hello Touch Graph! We've been waiting for you!

Here's how Touch Graph works. By leveraging the connections that are already embedded in your Facebook information, the program comes up with a giant relational web of your friends. Those who have lots of connections to you and other people in your web are closer to the center. Those with fewer connections are further. Simple right? Keep in mind this doesn't mean those closer to you are your "better" friends, it just shows connectivity.

When you make your friend graph, you can adjust the settings to show however many friends you want. I'd suggest cranking it as high as possible for the best view. I tried smaller sample sizes but it wasn't as interesting. So once you crank your selection pool to the max, all of your friends are ranked, generally in order of how many connections they have to your other friends. But higher ranks are given to friends who are connectors between different cliques. They call this "Betweenness Centrality," which is a metric to measure a person's importance within a social network. Here's a cool article and explanation about that here.

So what's a clique? Different colors are used to show clusters and cliques. All your friends in a particular color are probably friends with each other, but not connected to other people outside of that group. It's really accurate and works quite well. I mean, the colors definitely showed my various cliques of friends, people who were "one-offs (unconnected to anybody except me)," and revealed all sorts of interesting information. You can also choose to organize your friend web by location, thus finding out how many people are in San Diego or New York, for example.

When you switch to pyramid view, it shows you by semi-tiers who's the most important people in your social network. Like who's connected to the most people, or who's the gateway friend for your other friends. This is freaking fascinating isn't it? It's probably not anything you didn't already know about your own friends, but for someone else to look at your graph, it really gives them an idea of your social worlds.

I'm just happy I finally found a good personal use for Facebook. All this time I've been doing it because everyone else in the world does it, but all those hours wasted on it has been repaid by the wonder that is Touch Graph.

What I'd like to see is someone's graph with two or three large dominant cliques. I tend to want to mix as many of my friends together as possible and I really only have one big group of all muxed up friends. When I visit you next, I want to see your Friend Web, thanks. For my settings under "Advanced" I used: Min User Photo (1), Min Edge Photo (0), and Min Network User (5)

While I'm at it. This other Facebook app is interesting too. It's called Socialistics and digs up demographic dirt on your friends in graph format. It's still got a lot of work needed but I was able to find out, for example, that 42% of my (Facebook) friends are married, 14% are engaged, 20% in a relationship, and 21% single. Also, only 11% of my friends are my age, with 56% of my friends being 26-28 years old. Once this thing can tell me how many friends younger than me are married/engaged, then I'll really know how far behind I am. Can't wait!

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I'll Be There for You  
Friday, February 20, 2009 : 1:34 AM : 0 comments

You know me, I love lists, categories, and anything that involves names and rankings. Well, here's a project I've been working on for some time. Ever since seeing this NBA Archetype Hierarchy by Upside and Motor, I've been wondering how such a model could apply to friendships.

Even if you don't know much about basketball, it can help to take a look and see how it's set up. There are five tiers, each containing a certain archetype coveted -- or not coveted -- by NBA teams. As you can see, the top tier is an elite point guard or a refined big man. Think Chris Paul and Shaquille O'Neal, respectively. Traditionally, finding a true superstar at either position will set your franchise up for success if you can surround them with the appropriate complementary parts. (Ignore the blue dot that is Lebron James; he's a freak and doesn't really fit into any archetype.) Basically, the NBA Archetype Hierarchy defines the types of players that are available and then orders which ones are more valuable -- and also harder to acquire.

Using those guidelines, I thought it'd be fun to construct a friendship archetype hierarchy. Personally, I've always maintained a strict rule of fives for my friendship pyramids. Five tiers ranging from super close friends to acquaintances. Five "best" friends. Five important people to fill communication routines (in person, phone call, email, text, AIM). I've always tossed around the idea of a hierarchy, we all do, I'm sure. What I haven't done is come up with archetypes, or roles, that my friends fulfill. Well, now I have.

Introducing my Friendship Archetype Hierarchy. Keep in mind that by definition, this would have to be individualized for each person. Mine won't look like yours and vice versa. It's impossible, there is no generic template. Some people have a bigger tier three than a tier two. Some people have a ton of super close friends, some people have a few. It's all dependent on what kind of person you are and how you've structured your social circle.

The point of such an exercise is to figure out what sorts of roles, and support systems, you need in your life. I mean, sometimes when you think something is missing (friendship wise), you can't figure out what it is exactly. You miss a specific person maybe but at the same time, what you're also missing is someone to fill their niche. Not to say that people are replaceable, because they're not, but having a broad view of the sorts of niches you require for maximum happiness should illuminate something about yourself.

I mean, if friends are a huge part of filling up our happiness meter, shouldn't they deserve just as much thought and study as our careers, relationships, and families? After all, friends contribute heavily to our hierarchy of needs don't they?




Lest you think that such an exercise is frivolous and entirely narcissistic, there's a lot of ramifications for figuring out how to create friend hierarchies. Think about the current state of social networking. You may have 300 Facebook friends but wouldn't it be nice for the program to somehow differentiate between tiers? I mean, Facebook gives you a few options to do that (by changing your privacy settings) but someday soon, social networking sites will start to group your friends automatically.

"Current social networks differ from reality on where action is required: In the real world, friendships fade because of inaction: He slowly stops calling and emailing as much, you don't think to invite him to your party. No one is to blame, it happens all the time.

But in the current online world, friendships can only end by action. Someone has to make the decision to actively de-friend the other. This feels intuitively slimy, and it's a waste of effort and attention on someone who by definition you aren't concerned with."
-Friend Decay: Social Networks need passive un-friending-
Also, this blog post from Adaptive Blue talks about a "hierarchy around friendships built on trust across verticals and subject matters: I trust this person on subject matter X, and this person on subject matter Y even though the network might trust Z." That's such an awesome point. There are broad tiers but then entirely different categories and networks.

The online catch all term "friend" will soon be spliced apart into its component parts, just like we do in the real world. That's the next step for social networking sites, once they can figure out how to get around the (admittedly thorny) problem of offending people who think they're closer to someone than they are. I mean, think of the fights that people already had over their MySpace Top Eight and multiply it. Whew, that's not going to be a fun feature to implement. But it'll be more honest, and revealing, wouldn't it?

One of the key phrases that gets thrown around is "trust relationships." Fundamentally, social networking is a great idea but currently it's too invasive and broad for some people. We want to have something that allows us to maintain our trust circles while remaining open to the possibility of staying in touch with random people. It's a very hard tightrope to walk. If you go too exclusive, you get Facebook in the earlier days, and not enough users. If you get too inclusive, you get the cluster fuck that is MySpace. Will Facebook find the answer? Will something new?

I hope somebody hires me to think about the dynamics of friendship all day long. Or maybe I should have studied this in school instead of whatever the hell I ended up studying...

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The Book of Revelation: Vol.1  
Saturday, February 14, 2009 : 5:26 AM : 3 comments

Recently, I had a conversation with someone about how she's no longer accepting applications for guy friends. It's either dating (toward a relationship) or nothing. While this may sound a bit draconian, she had a great point. Her friend archetypes are busting at the seams with platonic guy friends; males who are kind of flirty and maybe might make a move while drunk; and gray area friends who have a lot of potential and semi-chemistry but need some time to figure it all out, etc.

As a prudent woman of the recession, she realized that she's filled to the brim with platonic guy friends and has decided to shut down shop. After all, what can one new guy friend do for her that the other twenty five oldies-but-goodies can't? Nothing really. She has her guy friend to chat with on the phone. She has the one to talk about movies and books with. She has the one she calls for computer help. She has her running buddy. She's got a handful of party guys. She's got it all. More guy friends are always nice, but are they necessary?

The answer is "No," unless they are absolutely freaking A-plus amazing. And if they are absolutely freaking A-plus amazing, it's probably worth it to give them a quick date, just to see if there's maybe a spark there. Think about it. If you meet an amazing person now, doesn't your mind already go "Um, could I date this person?" Of course it does. And if it doesn't, you're a liar.

See, this is the logical extension of our increased age and maturity. We need to stop living our lives like it's our early twenties. It's not anymore. Hello, I'm in my early thirties. Nobody has time to waste anymore "waiting it out," seeing if weeds will blossom into flowers, or whatever analogy you want to use. Time is a valuable resource and if we're not using it in a goal orientated way, it's lost. Forever. I'll repeat that: Forever.

Ten years ago, you could sit around and take a few months to build a bond and then maybe lose that bond due to circumstance or lack of interest, no harm done. Now, those months could be spent nurturing your current stable of friends, interacting with the people you already know are supremely valuable and really want to spend time with.

I mean, think of it like this. When you were younger, wouldn't you go into a dinner party and maybe make an effort to meet new people, to try to engage everyone, just give it all a chance? Nowadays it's hardly rude to just go in, hang out with the three friends you came with, and then pick up and leave knowing that you're not likely to meet any of those people ever again. And that's okay because we are now more discerning and focused about who we choose to let into our lives.

Some might contend that it's best to be friends before dating. Hogwash I say. With our shortened time line in relationships, it's a wonder we conceive of any amount of time as being sufficient to find out if he/she is the right one. These days, once you've been seriously dating someone for over a year, those wedding bells will start tolling, even if it's just your phone ringer set to silent and vibrate because your parents won't stop calling to innocently ask, "How are things?!"

If you are in my age group, and especially if you're a girl, we no longer have the luxury of going though a three or four year relationship to find out if this person is The One. We're too jaded, we're too wary, and we're too damn positive that shit can always happen -- even when it seems like shit could never, ever, ever happen. We're not cynical, we're just experienced. We've had our eyes opened, we've seen too much, and we've gotten used to the impossible, for good and for bad.

I mean, really, what will you know about a person as a romantic prospect after being friends with them for a few months that you couldn't find out in six weeks of dating them? Probably nothing. And to be completely honest, it's a near fallacy to assume that the person you bought into as a friend is the same person you'll date. People have their friendship side and their relationship side. It's best to just get in there and figure out what's what before any more time is wasted. The truth must be freed and in romance it can only be freed if you shed the shackles of friendship. That's the current theory anyway.

I'm just extremely thankful that I made it before my friend's platonic cut off date. Yah, I'm in, I'm in!

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Sitting in the Tree  
Saturday, February 7, 2009 : 2:32 PM : 0 comments

"My college students are romance-starved. Some of you may be asking, What has this to do with my students who are in middle or high school? I know this leap is unscientific, but I'm making it anyway: by the time your former students are midway through college and sitting in my classroom, many (dare I say most?) are tired of sex, sex, sex. They're empty, spent, and longing for seriously chaste, old-fashioned romance -- we're talking stargazing and hand-holding, the end -- and they have no idea how to find it. So now is the perfect time to introduce your students to sweet, innocent-yet-sexy romance novels. That way, when they get older, they'll have narrative models to show them how to make simple, romantic gestures (like asking someone out or setting up a first kiss), and they won't end up having a sex-life crisis in college.

Writing a kissing scene is hard. Writing a good kissing scene (or, for that matter, any romantic encounter) is even more difficult. When I was working on my first novel, somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that eventually I would have to write a kissing scene. This was a daunting thought. I blush even now just remembering that I actually wrote one! I think I may have typed it with one hand screening my eyes (you know, like, when you get embarrassed and can't stand to watch). Therefore, I stand in great admiration of any writer who can pull off a romantic scene with flair and ease."
-Donna Freitas, Be Still My Heart: A Shameless Guide to Sweet, Sexy Romance Novels for Teens and Tweens-

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Don't be alone, it might suck  
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 : 2:56 AM : 3 comments

I have bad news for you/us unmarried people. A recent article I read is titled "Together is better? Effects of relationship status and resources on young adults' well-being." It's from the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (possibly my new favorite site/magazine if I can somehow subscribe) and it says that married is better than single. I know, totally revelationary. How'd they come to this stunning conclusion? Allow me to summarize. First, a quote from the beginning of the piece.
"Marital status has long been viewed as an important marker with respect to several measures of well-being. For a variety of reasons, married people tend to have fewer psychological problems, are healthier, and more satisfied with life than the non-married.

The proliferation of alternative living arrangements (e.g., unmarried cohabitation, living apart together, or long term relationship without cohabitation) and the increase in divorce rates have blurred the once clear-cut distinction between married and unmarried adults. Marital status is still used as an indicator of people's relational involvement, although as [a researcher] suggested, this indicator may be inadequate to capture the effects of romantic relationships on subjective well-being in modern societies.

The ambiguity of marital status is particularly apparent for young adults, because young adulthood is 'a demographically dense period'. Young adulthood is a period of life when many transitions occur in a relatively short time span. In addition, given that forming romantic relationships is a primary developmental task, it is a period in which relational experimentation is widespread. Therefore, there is great diversity in relationship types among young adults, particularly in dating and unmarried cohabitation."
-Together is better?-
Through the course of the paper, it's revealed that single people are at the lowest rung of well-being because they don't have as many resources as those who are dating, cohabiting, or married. First, let's talk about what those resources are. There are three broad categories: material, social, and personal. Material resources are things like possessions, income, education, and employment. Basically we're talking money and the things that money can buy. Or resources that will allow you to get more money, such as education. Or quick hands and low morals.

Personal resources include things like self-esteem, optimism, or neuroticism. I've been looking for a definition of neuroticism and theirs is quite good: "Neuroticism can be considered as the lack of the resource of emotional stability." People with low neuroticism are better able to cope with stress and are less negative in general. Thus, personal resources are basically things that allow you to cope with stress and deal with how unfair life is. Neuroticism was measured with the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. I was too impatient to sit through all the questions so I have no idea what my results were. I probably got a C-, probably.

The last resource, social, can be simply explained by measuring a person's social web and social support network. It also includes anything that helps achieve "valued outcomes" in social situations. So if you want to be well liked, social resources can help you do that. Or help you be vilified if that's what you desire. Furthermore, there are two sub-scales for this: emotional support and instrumental support. "Emotional support taps the exchange of emotions of trust, acceptance, love, care, and empathy. Instrumental support focuses on tangible forms of support, like assistance with odd jobs."

With all that laid out, the initial hypothesis and resulting conclusion matched: Single people are sad sad people. See, it's all math. Two is better than one. More material, more personal, and more social resources are had when two people join up. The greater your access to these resources, the better off you'll be. In addition, a partner provides resources that are hard to provide for yourself. Yes, we're talking about sex. But also love and intimacy. You can love yourself but apparently that's not the same thing. After reading through the paper even I was halfway convinced marriage was the answer.

But then I got to thinking. In your previous relationships, has simply combining resources with someone actually made your life better? I mean, things like self-esteem, stress, and social circles can all be negatively affected in a relationship right? Where's the scale that measures the positive or negative effects of being in a relationship or being married. Currently my single friends are pretty evenly divided between the "I'm so happy I'm single" and "I'm depressed, I need someone" camps. The former group generally feels free and unattached, the latter group feels lonely. Clearly, the beauty of singledom is in the eye of the beholder.

While I don't want to discount the research done here, I'm philosophically opposed to its conclusion. Married isn't always better. Maybe for most people it is but some people don't necessarily want to get married. It could be possible to duplicate all of these positive resources in a single lifestyle by strategic use of friends and family right? I'd imagine that the longer someone is single, the more they build a network that provides them with resource sharing. But then again, as my mom likes to remind me, "What happens when all your friends are gone?" Um, I don't know. Buy some more? "With what material resources?" Hum, good point...

What I do like about this study is that it organizes some basic relationship needs into a simple triangle. By thinking about which of these resources you value, which ones you have an abundance of, or which ones you'd like in return, it could help you identify what your current (or future) dating life should be. I mean, I've never cohesively thought about whether or not I'm providing these resources to my partner. If I did, maybe I wouldn't fail so often? So while I must object to the "marriage is better" conclusion, I will take the study to heart and use its framework to find some answers.

Notice that the title of the study includes the phrase "young adult." That's key because this is a study that focused on young people, just like you and me. This was also done in the Netherlands and maybe those enlightened Dutch have different viewpoints than us ("The Dutch culture is rather individualistic and tolerant towards cohabitation.") so that could be a factor. Actually, the article goes through lots of moderating effects and possible flaws and exceptions but I'll gloss over those here. If you're really interested, email me and I'll forward you a copy of the thing for your own reading pleasure. But wouldn't you be better off using that reading time to hit the streets and finding that lucky someone to get married to? Happy happy joy joy...

This paper was provided to me by a friend who is in grad school and working on her fascinating thesis. I can't even talk about it because it's something so top secret and exciting that I don't want to blow up her spot. Let's just say that it's on a topic I'm very intrigued by. I can't wait till it's done. Until then, I hope to keep getting fed this sort of thing. I'll conclude with a few quotes I've recently come across. They kind of say the same thing but from opposite viewpoints.
"Girls aren't cool. They can be pretty or 'cute,' and with some serious dieting, even sexy. They can be nice. Dumb, but nice. But who wants 'nice'? You want interesting people around you. Has a girl ever introduced you to any new music or recommended a book you didn't already read in high school? Anything just slightly outside the mainstream? If so, she got it from an ex, her brother, her father. They just pretend.

Guys in long term relationships become so lame. They get sucked into this feminine sphere of TV series and nice dinners. They get less and less time to read and listen to music. Eventually they don't even miss it. They end up as understimulated, bourgeois retards."
-Reprise-

"I think marriage is an insurance for the worst years of your life. During your best years you don't need a husband. You do need a man of course every step of the way, and they often are cheaper emotionally and a lot more fun by the dozen."
-Sex and the Single Girl-

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Thump  
Monday, January 5, 2009 : 5:57 PM : 1 comments

"I never had any wild crush on her, and that used to worry me about the long-term future: I used to think -- and given the way we ended up, maybe I still do -- that all relationships need the kind of violent shove that a crush brings, just to get you started and to push you over the humps. And then, when the energy from that shove has gone and you come to something approaching a halt, you have a look around see what you've got. It could be something completely different, it could be something roughly the same, but gentler and calmer, or it could be nothing at all."
-Nick Hornby, High Fidelity-

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Eros  
Monday, December 22, 2008 : 3:43 AM : 0 comments

Earlier this year I introduced the the world to the life timeline. Its purpose was for remembering, analyzing, and just using the power of Excel to get some perspective on your life. Well, it's nearing the end of 2008 and I'm ready to drop another life spreadsheet on you. Introducing the Relationship Worksheet. The idea behind it is dead simple. By now, if you are around my age, you've probably had a few relationships under your belt. If you're exactly me, shit's gone wrong, patterns have emerged, issues have been fixed, then unfixed, and hopefully fixed again, but you're just lacking that overall big picture view. By taking just a few minutes I can solve this problem for you.

Open up a spreadsheet, use the template, and plug in your own answers. Then go take a break and return with fresh eyes. Take a look at your relationship worksheet. Notice any patterns? Do you always date emotionally withdrawn people? There it is, plain as day. Are all your relationships just long enough to last through a full calendar year? Afraid of commitment buddy, just admit it. Do you need to stop dating the nice, sweet, but ultimately boring guy? Been there, done that. Should you try dating older? Um, maybe.

Feel free to drop in some new rows with anything you feel might be relevant. Possibilities can range from things like "Did my friends approve?" to "Did we say 'I love you?'" Use your imagination and tell me if you hit on anything super crucial that should be part of the standard template. You don't even have to constrain this to honest to goodness relationships. Include some semi-serious dates, flings, grey areas, etc. I can't help you define exactly what a "relationship" is but maybe by putting everything down you'll figure it out yourself.

Another huge side benefit of this thing is that it makes it much easier to talk about relationships with your friends. I mean, I've recently completed this with a friend and now we have a fuller picture of each other's relationship histories and we can commence haterade-ing by talking about specifics. No more "Wait, which one was that again? When did you date? And for how long?" Cut that bullshit out and just refer to the spreadsheet. Use your valuable time deconstructing the failed relationship, not constantly rehashing the statistics of it.

I know, freaking genius, someone give me an award. Or just send me your worksheet so we can talk about it.

If you want to get real serious, I've seen this around in bookstores and always sort of want to pick it up: "Love Listography: Your Love Life in Lists." Who doesn't love lists?!

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Hug Yellow People  
Friday, June 27, 2008 : 7:09 AM : 0 comments

"For Asian American men, AznLover feels like a kind of parallel dimension, where their status is inverted: Rather than being exiled to the margins, Asian males are at the center of this particular universe; not just 'accepted,' but revered. 'I love the fact that people on the site acknowledge the beauty in Asian men,' says Harry Li, a Malaysian American member living in Texas. 'Society still makes women feel self-conscious about saying they like Asian features, or particularly, Asian guys, so even if they do, they won't let their attraction out in public. At AznLover, we all know why we're there -- we share a common bond, in that one group has the qualities, physical and otherwise, that the other appreciates.'

...

And objectification, meanwhile, is a two-way street: There's also the question of whether some Asian men who seek to level the romantic playing field are less motivated by racial justice than male entitlement: the desire to jump to the top of the social totem pole by bagging sexual big game. 'I do find it disturbing that some of the more extreme views I've seen are focused less on social equality than on Asian men attaining the same set of privileges as white males, whom they see as having the pick of women,' says [Carmen] Van Kerkhove."
-Opening the Box, Jeff Yang-

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OMG, LOL  
Saturday, April 26, 2008 : 7:44 AM : 0 comments

In a recent article I was reading, Joan Rivers states that "Men find funny women threatening." That's horrible isn't it? If laughter is the best medicine, who wouldn't want a partner who makes you laugh all the time? Well, apparently there's guys out there who find a funny woman too much to handle. Is it mere male insecurity? Or is there something deeper?

When the role of the funny guy is upsurped by a female, does it make guys uncomfortable? Does a girl who is too quick with her quips, too dryly sarcastic, too quick to make fun of something (or someone) lose major dateability points?
"[Kate] Sanborn pointed out that women have good reason to keep their one-liners to themselves. 'No man likes to have his story capped by a better and fresher from a lady's lips,' she wrote. 'What woman does not risk being called sarcastic and hateful if she throws the merry dart or engages in a little sharp-shooting. No, no, it's dangerous -- if not fatal."
-Why Women Aren't Funny-
Anecdotal evidence from my many intelligent and accomplished female friends suggest that it's often smart (in the short run) to play dumb in the relationship game and it's apparently also advantageous for women to laugh instead of to create laughs. I addressed the issue of funny girls before [Jan 30, 2004] and the Lil'Ho had confirmed that some women are indeed less funny around men in order to maintain their attractiveness.

Does it truly take a special man to appreciate the loveliness of a sharp tongue or a quick wit? I noticed that on Match.com's list of potential turn-ons and turn-offs, "sarcasm" is listed along with items such as dancing, tattoos, candlelight, thunderstorms, boldness, public displays of affection, and brainiacs. That seemed really odd to me. I mean, maybe a negative attitude combined with sarcasm would be bad, but generally it's good right?

In conclusion, as always, boys are dumb (and girls are funny).

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Settlers of Venus  
Wednesday, April 16, 2008 : 4:38 PM : 0 comments

"When we're holding out for deep romantic love, we have the fantasy that this level of passionate intensity will make us happier. But marrying Mr. Good Enough might be an equally viable option, especially if you're looking for a stable, reliable life companion. Madame Bovary might not see it that way, but if she'd remained single, I'll bet she would have been even more depressed than she was while living with her tedious but caring husband."
-Lori Gottlieb, Marry Him!-
Here's an interesting article for the ladies. The tagline is "The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough." Aaaah. Everyone is familiar with this problem. Single women who have achieved in so many other areas of their lives are faced with that great big molehill: a serious relationship.

The article's advice? Settle. Take the man that kind of fits your needs and priorities and lock him up now so you can get on with it. Holding out for Mr. Right could make your eggs dry up in the process. Nobody can tell you when he'll show up at your door, or in your inbox, and nobody can even assure you that there is a Mr. Right for you. Why wait when you can just get on with life and stop having to be nagged about "So, got a boyfriend?"

The problem is, doesn't settling suck? I mean, it might if you look at it in the ultra-romantic way that we've all been raised into. True love should equal marriage. There's not a lot of fairy tales about the conveniece of Mr. Not Too Bad. The thing is, if you swap out your thinking, you might be able to convince yourself that you're not settling at all (even if all your friends say you are).

I mean, the alternative is to be alone forever. But the upside is that I'll be readily available and always willing to come over and watch a movie or something. After all, as the article points out, men don't have to settle.
"What I didn't realize when I decided, in my 30s, to break up with boyfriends I might otherwise have ended up marrying, is that while settling seems like an enormous act of resignation when you're looking at it from the vantage point of a single person, once you take the plunge and do it, you'll probably be relatively content.

It sounds obvious now, but I didn't fully appreciate back then that what makes for a good marriage isn't necessarily what makes for a good romantic relationship. Once you're married, it's not about whom you want to go on vacation with; it's about whom you want to run a household with. Marriage isn't a passion-fest; it's more like a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane, and often boring nonprofit business. And I mean this in a good way.

I don't mean to say that settling is ideal. I'm simply saying that it might have gotten an undeservedly bad rap."

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