I Believe Men Can Do Better

One of the hottest topics in the news right now is the Stubenville rape case right now. And I am *so* tired of hearing about it. Not just because I feel that justice has not been served. Not just because I feel that the victim has been completely ignored and the rapists have been given way too much sympathetic attention. But also the outrage that is coming out keeps trying to identify how we must make men pay. Ok, well sure, I agree criminal acts should be punished.

However, the thing that I don’t hear anyone saying is what I want to say here. I have plenty of male friends, colleagues and relatives. Sure I can be snarky and say “oh well we’re all animals when it comes down to it” but do I actually believe that? No. I don’t. I believe that my male counterparts are sensible, smart, considerate human beings who are capable of making good decisions. I believe that my male counterparts can find willing sex partners if they so choose. That being the case, I don’t think there is ever a time when they need to force themselves on another person. This to me is the same as assault and battery. Similar to if i decided to shove my hand up some guy’s anus that was not a willing participant. That is a criminal act. Could I find someone that might find that kinky and awesome? Probably. So why is there so much discussion about rape and victim blaming and letting guys off the hook? I’m sorry, dudes, but it is our job to teach our young people right from wrong. Just because you have a penis doesn’t mean you get to shove it into other people without consequences. Similar to just because you have muscles doesn’t mean you should beat the shit out of the little nerdy dude in the school yard.

So can someone please explain to me when men became such instinctual, animal creatures who cannot control their impulses? Because the men I know are pretty capable of making decisions good and bad and they should be prepared to deal with the consequences of those decisions. Just like all other people. I believe that men can do better. And I think if we hold them accountable they will. But I’m tired of people trying to let them off the hook. And deflecting it toward the woman. The basic point of rape is this dude did a horrible thing, he should be held accountable. Same can be said for a woman who took advantage of a man. Rape goes both ways, you know. Clearly that is less commonly discussed but I think it goes back to how we believe people should be treated. So folks, next time you think about having sex with someone and you question whether they are interested or not (or they are unconscious/cannot put together coherent sentences) that would be a no. See, not that complicated. If you cannot explicitly prove consent, don’t do it. Because honestly, why do you want to have sex with someone who doesn’t want to have sex with you?

A TV Show Should Not Define My Life

However sometimes it does make me question my own thinking. So I was watching “How I Met Your Mother” this evening, let me preface this by saying I’ve never seen it before but it comes highly recommended by my friend, D. So anyway D is always talking about Ted and how much she loves him etc. That’s not really the point. Anyway, as I’m watching this show about Ted who is pretty much just looking for love through this whole show and I wonder how long you can hold on to the hope of meeting someone perfect.

Perhaps it’s some combination of my cynicism coupled with my hopeless romantic side that keeps me in a constant state of being torn over this. I truly believe there is someone out there that is right and it just takes time to find that person. And no matter how many times you break up or how many things go wrong that if it is meant to be it will be. But how do you know which one is right? I’ve seen so many relationships that I would kill myself if I were in it. However, I’ve also had my own fair share of unhealthy. And I’d like to believe that I know better than that but sometimes I question myself. When do you know that someone is right or wrong? How long does it take? And is it ever too late? I get torn by all of these questions because I know couples that are perfect for each other that broke up for years and are either married now or are getting married. And then there are those couples that broke up and should’ve stayed broken up but didn’t or the ones that never should’ve gotten together. How do you know which side you fall on?

I guess the moral of this post is… ok maybe there is no moral and I’m up later than I normally am thinking about things I shouldn’t. That said, cynicism and all my inner hopeless romantic always wins. I do believe that when you know, you just know. And the right person is out there. Sometimes you just have to wait it out and make a lot of mistakes before you get there. At least my life is more interesting for all the chaos that persists in it because of my mistakes.

It’s Complicated Facebook…

So my friend, Deidre (of Decoybetty) was writing about the phenomenon of “relationship status” in a guest post she recently did called You’re A Lot More Than Your Relationship Status and I have to agree with her. I am constantly flabbergasted at all the people who define themselves as single, in a relationship, it’s complicated or whatever. We’re only in our 20’s, whether I’m dating someone or not really doesn’t define me.

If you want to know if I’m single or taken, you should ask because that’s not who I am. If you ask me who I am, I’d still say I’m a renegade physicist even though I haven’t done physics in years. I’d say that I’m a confused 26-year old grad student trying to figure out her consulting gig the best she can and get to where she wants to go on that crazy corporate ladder. I’d say I have a very serious relationship with Grey’s Anatomy and that I could dance all night long. I’d say that I have a penchant for wearing ties but I’ve recently discovered that wearing dresses and fitted clothing is awesome since I’ve worked really hard to get in shape. I’d also say that I love soccer even though I think I suck at it and that I’ll keep going to ballroom classes until I can some day afford to compete (at least as an amateur). I’d say that I’ve had my heart broken but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in love and fairy tales and happily ever after. I’d say that I believe the best in people and am constantly disappointed when I get let down but I never learn that lesson and I like myself for always giving people the benefit of the doubt. I’d say that I am thoughtful and a fierce friend which are the characteristics that I value most in my friends too.

Here’s the thing, none of what I’ve described above has anything to do with whether I’m in a relationship or not. And perhaps I am a little more fierce about some bits more than others because of the fact that I very recently got my heart broken but I don’t define myself as single. I just happen to not be dating anyone, it is not a defining characteristic of my personality or even remotely who I am. In fact even when I was dating I never thought of myself as being not single. It’s just not something that I identify with. I am my own person and I would hope my partner would be as well. Perhaps when we’ve spent half our lives together I may start to consider my relationship as a defining characteristic of myself but at the moment I think my friends and my family have far more influence on who I am today than anyone I have ever dated has.

I mean I’d say I’m a feminist because I grew up with extremely strong matriarchs in my family and going to a women’s college just ingrained that further in me. I’m a cross-culture kid and I often forget this because at 26 it’s pretty much just who I am and I don’t even think about it anymore. The person I am today is made up of the environment I was brought up in, which was the huge sprawling metropolis of Houston, Texas. It’s in the Bengali that my family speaks at home and the way we flip in and out of this weird mixture between Bengali and English; as if everyone speaks both even though we live in the US. It’s in the conversations with my friends where I talk about how marriage is a “patriarchal construct” and this is “normal” because we went to a women’s college.

Quite frankly the excuse that society puts so much pressure on this is a cop out to me because aren’t we a part of society? I mean I don’t believe that who I do or do not date is really anyone’s business but my own. If I want you to know I’ll tell you, trust me. It’s pretty similar to how I feel about people asking whether I date girls or boys. If I wanted you to know, I’d tell you. I mean I don’t understand why people have this desire to be defined by whether they are in a relationship or not. Actually that’s pretty similar to how I felt in college about everyone making a big deal of coming out. I mean yes I understand it can be an empowering experience and all but there is so much more to who I am than who I date. At this point in my life I define who I am and no one else. Sure there are people who have touched my life and changed me but I’d say that my friends who I’ve known for 8+ years have probably had a more significant impact than any relationship I’ve been in.

I hear so often how we hate how the world views people who are single as if there is a stigma attached. Well, folks, we are part of society, it’s up to us to change it. If you don’t want your relationship status to be a defining characteristic then don’t let it be. I don’t talk about mine. I rarely ever have. I mean recently I was with someone long enough where I did start talking about things in we’s but I’m not there anymore and I’m ok with that. Am I going to let it define who I am? No, certainly not.

So do you like physics? Have you ever watched the sunrise over a river? Can you quote “the little prince”? Do you love 80’s music? Can you two-step (cause I might just fall in love with you in that case)? Who are you? Because I’m sure it’s more than just “single” or “in a relationship” or “married” or “it’s complicated”. At least I certainly hope so.

I Believe…

Well, ok, so I tend to try to keep this blog relatively impersonal but due to my life being a crazy mess at the moment. But this is about things that I think are really, really important to remember.

I believe in love at first sight. I believe in fairy tales. I believe in miracles. And I believe in “meant to be”. I believe in rainbows and fairies and kittens. I believe that life works out for the best even though sometimes it feels like it just can’t get any worse. I believe that sometimes the world just doesn’t know what’s good for you. I believe that the best things in your life could be something that at one point you thought was horribly wrong. I believe that something good can be taken from any situation. I believe in hope. I believe in looking at the sunny side of the street.

I realize that a lot of this sounds ridiculous and excessively perky but it’s how I make it through the hard times. Cynical as I am about the world at large, I have to believe the best in people because otherwise I don’t think I would be able to get out of bed in the morning. I believe that the world is a beautiful magical place and it’s up to us to find the beauty in it. I think that so many people forget that. Especially during the hard times. I know I certainly have struggled with it at times.

In fact, recently I forgot how much these things meant to me, which is why I’m writing them down here. I think that often people overlook the power of positive thought and optimism. Just because you’re an optimist doesn’t mean you aren’t in touch with reality at all. I think I have a pretty decent sense of reality, I just happen to think that taking the good things out of any situation is just far more pleasant than remembering the bad. I guess I just wonder about pessimists because if all you ever notice are how wrong things can go then what is the point of living? For me, I think even in the worst of times there is something out there that can make you happy. And if nothing else there is the hope for the future and all the possibilities that may bring.

And so, I believe. I believe that everything happens for a reason. And that life always works out for the best. I believe in hope and possibility but also in reason and science. I believe that rose colored glasses make life a little more bearable. I’m sure many people will think it’s weird that I consider myself to be a physicist and still say that I believe in miracles but I do. In fact, I think many of the things that physics proves are little miracles and that progress in and of itself is a little miracle. I believe there is magic all around us, if we just keep our eyes open we might just catch a glimpse of it. And I believe that the world is full of love, we just have to open our hearts and you’ll be amazed at what you can find.