All my lovin', I will give to you

Ben King's nerdy Valentine When Adam and I had been dating for about six months, a friend told me that he wanted the kind of online relationship that my beau and I had. Ladies and gents, I present to you the social media contract we signed when we started dating.

I will leave you notes on your Facebook wall and send you articles I think you would appreciate. I will travel to the ends of the Internet to find witty cat pictures that will make you smile. I will never post the pictures I took of you that time you were sleeping. I mean, what?

I will occasionally post things that make me laugh hysterically but that don't amuse you. Deal with it. If you're nice, I'll offset those posts by making you dinner. If not, I'll carry on posting. Outside of Facebook, you can have your forum memberships if I can stay on Twitter. I don't have that much to say about cars or fashion outside of "Ooo. Pretty!"

If you watch television shows that I do not or cannot, I promise to read summaries so we can discuss the broader points of the show. I will get angry about people posting spoilers even if I'm never, ever going to watch the episodes. I promise to find funny related memes and post them where all our friends can see.

Most importantly, I promise to keep the personal details of our relationship off of social media. Any information I wouldn't freely share with my grandmother does not belong on the Internet. I care for you, and that means respecting your privacy ... even if I start a blog.

Title today comes from one of my favorite Beatles songs, "All My Loving." 

Author's note: Adam and I joke about having signed this type of contract. It's not a literal document.

When love is Savage

savageloveI will preface this post by saying that I'm a huge fan of Dan Savage. When Adam introduced me to his column Savage Love, I blew through seven years' worth of archived columns in just over three weeks. That said, I have a problem with his idea of GGG partners. According to Savage, all partners should be GGG, or good, giving and game in the bedroom and relationship. It's a great idea, but it implies that men and women come into the relationship after the same cultural experience. That doesn't happen often.

The pressure on women to be yielding and compliant starts at an early age. Textbooks are saturated with the long-ingrained ideas of "female" and "male" leadership, sexuality and communication as fundamentally, inherently different. Women are expected to act in nurturing, caring and kind, and if they react to situations strongly or take charge of their desires, labelled as bitches or whores. Indoctrination often begins with the playground roles that girls and boys play.

It's even easier for men to play the guilt card for women with the backing of a sex and love columnist. When you're already conditioned that the way to love, true love, is to be the beautiful damsel in distress à la Disney, it's easy to believe that you're not (adventurous, worthy, beautiful, knowledgeable) enough.

This entry was written after a series of conversations with a good friend on the subject. Thanks, K.

Man, I feel like a woman

I love my friends. Last July, one of my friends linked to this article from The Rumpus about the power of female friendship. After reading it, I sent it to those in my circle who might not have seen it otherwise. Then I sat quietly at my desk with a few tears sneaking out while I stared at a point somewhere behind my monitor. My mind kept circling back to Emily Rapp's description of her realization "how much people diminish and poo-poo the real power and strength of female friendship, especially between women, which is either supposed to descend into some kind of male lesbian love scene porn fantasy or be dismissed as meaningless or be re-written as a story of competition. Here’s the truth: friendships between women are often the deepest and most profound love stories, but they are often discussed as if they are ancillary, “bonus” relationships to the truly important ones."

Even now, this excerpt stops me cold. Growing up, my mom's best friend was like a second mother to me. She taught me how to knit when I was four while her sons were watching "Babes In Toyland" (it's creepy). For the first few years after we moved to Alabama, her house still felt more like home than ours. It was only after reading that article that I truly began to appreciate the scope and scale of the love in their relationship and that which was present in my own life.

A few years ago, I sat with a friend and knitted as she stared into the rosemary bushes in front of her porch. We didn't talk because we didn't need to. As another friend says, "That's what friends do. They sit."

They sit through heart breaks, painful anniversaries, new beginnings, medical diagnoses, grief and anger. They have a beer waiting and introduce you to Cake Wrecks and Hyperbole And A Half on weeks when you invite yourself over because you're about to explode. They laugh and cry with you and call you when they need support. They're family.

Being a woman (or a compassionate human being of any gender) in this society is not easy, but it can be beautiful. Today, women take advantage of opportunities their mothers and grandmothers fought for, even though they have to fight to keep the position once they're there.

We still have a long way to go as a culture. I am amazed that reporters will still seriously ask a female politician about her clothing or a mother about her daughter's fashion sensabilities. It frightens me sometimes that men have so much control over the political process -- with the number of issues that specifically affect women, it just doesn't seem right. I can say, though, that I look forward to seeing and contributing to moving the conversation forward.