why are feelings: current thoughts on love n’ stuff.

I feel like Katie Gregoire whenever I give advice about relationships or talk about relationships because I’m “the relationship guru who’s never been in a relationship.”

What can you do, though, when you’re a girl stuck in a culture where girls initiating anything is “forward” and “flirty,” coffee dates mean proposals, and “I want to get to know your daughter” means “I want your daughter”?

(Just kidding.)  (But not really.)

I was talking to a friend a few months ago about how she’s developing feelings for a guy, even though she’s just in her early teens.  “Why?!” she asked me.  “I’m not ready to be married or date, so why do I like this guy?”

“Because feelings and hormones are stupid,” I told her.  (And that’s the truth.)

We went on to talk about why God might’ve brought the guy into her life or brought the feelings on.  I explained that – although I’m no expert – I thought that God gives us feelings like that to teach us lessons, primarily self-control and patience.

“It’s not our feelings that are the problem,” I told her, “but rather what we do with those feelings that could potentially be a problem.  It’s a waste of time to develop feelings for every other guy you come across – but sometimes it just happens.  You’ve just gotta stay sane and remember that you probably won’t marry any of those guys, so it’s not worthwhile to spend time dreaming about them.  Just give it to God.  Surrender is a daily thing.”  (etc etc)

Like I said before, I’ve never been in a relationship.  But I sure know people who have.

My friend Katelyn and I were talking the other day about how, although we’ve never been in relationships and it feels like we’ll be perpetually single, we’ve been able to observe others.  Their mistakes, their amazingly wonderful choices – all of it.

“We’re Watchers,” she told me.  “We watch the couples around us and learn what works and what doesn’t.  By the time our turn comes around, we’ll be experts.”

I completely agreed, although I doubt I’ll ever be an expert (at anything amiright).  Better to watch and learn than keep your head in the clouds romanticizing about what’ll happen.

I’ve been so content about my relationship status for the last year or so.  No ridiculous pining, no dreaming about my “someday,” blah blah blah.  I’m very content with there being no prospects in my life, no guys even on my horizon.

But the other day, I was watching Friends and a cute Monica/Chandler thing happened and I just started bawling – first because I was happy for them, then because I wanted it so bad. Blame it on stress from school, staying up too late studying, whatever, but when it all came down to it, it was just just a yearning for a relationship like theirs.  (Because Mondler is about as #goals as you can get.)

I had to have a good shower cry and go before God, saying, “Um, I know I’ve been asking for contentment and You’ve given it to me and I haven’t forgotten that, but I’d like to remind You that I do want it.  I want a relationship.  I want a boyfriend.  I want a husband – eventually.  Not tomorrow, not even next month or next year, but I just want it. Sometime.”

So, despite all the above and all the things I’ve learned through observation and the stupid mistakes I’ve made relating to guys… I’m still learning.  I’ve still got those days where I’d just like a boyfriend, if only to get free guy-hugs whenever I want them or to steal his hoodie.  (Well, that and to know that I’m actually likeable.  Because sometimes I feel like the Hulk – like I can crush but I cannot be crushed [on].)

But I’ve made it this far, and I’m holding out hope that it’ll happen someday.

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bad boyz.

(whenever i think of bad boys, i think of this video.  CLASSIC STUDIO C!)

My sister and I have recently gotten into Gilmore Girls.  Mild obsession there, totally justified because it’s just SO. GOOD.  The dialogue is witty and quick, there isn’t a flimsy, undeveloped character in sight, and the story is amazing.  Not to mention the ships.  *clutches heart*  Luke&Lorelai forevahhhh.

If you aren’t familiar with it, the story follows Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter Rory and the ups and downs that go with growing up in a small town and trying to make their way in the world.  With that comes a series of boyfriends for both women, starting with Max for Lorelai and Dean my precious, angry ray of sunshine for Rory.  Everything goes fine for Dean and Rory – they love each other, they’re adorable, they help each other…

Then Jess Mariano comes in town.

jess1

He’s super smart and loves to read, but hates going to school.  In the first episode he’s in, he steals Rory’s book, writes notes in the margins, and gives it back.  He’s dashingly handsome and knows it, rebellious, hates living in Stars Hollow, and basically wants to be anywhere else but where he is – and grouchily lets everybody know it.

My sister – and the entire female population of the show’s viewers, apparently – immediately fell in love.  Understandably, too.  He’s had a super hard life, a rough childhood, and nobody seems to see past his “bad boy” facade and try to figure out who he really is underneath that.  (And my sister didn’t fall in love with him because he was hot, although it was a contributing factor.  She loved him because nobody else seemed to, because she wanted to see him succeed, and because she thought he had potential.  Completely understandable.)

I, on the other hand, didn’t like him.  I liked Dean.  Dean was precious and sweet and may have had some anger problems and was a little controlling, but there was so much LOVE between him and Rory!

If you’ve seen the show, you know what happens.  (And if you haven’t, here be spoilers.)  For some reason, Rory becomes infatuated with this kid.  Dean notices and gets ticked.  Rory tries to keep their relationship going, but she’s too distracted by the new kid.  Eventually, Dean gives up and breaks up with Rory, culminating in one of the most intense throw-downs of all TV history, second only to their massive fight at the end of the third season.  Rory and Jess immediately get together.  Because he doesn’t know how to communicate, they work together, but not as well as they could have.

jess and rory.jpg

To be completely honest, I still don’t really like Jess.  (WHY DOES HE HAVE TO BE SO CUTE, THOUGH?!)  I want him to be redeemed, but I can’t stand how rude he is to Rory.  My sister and I are at the end of the third season, and while I still don’t love him, he’s grown on me a little.  But STILL.  He’s gruff, rude, selfish, and does a lot of irresponsible things to get Rory’s attention.  My sister and I have had a lot of conversations about him and other bad boys.

There are so many of these “bad boy” characters on the screen today.  Shawn Hunter from Boy Meets World, Dean Winchester from Supernatural*, Moriarty from Sherlock, Jack Harkness from Doctor Who*, Jayne Cobb (and, to an extent, Malcolm Reynolds) from Firefly, Han Solo and Kylo Ren from the Star Wars franchise, Loki from the Marvel movies, half the guys from The Outsiders, and Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter.  (Starred are characters/shows that I’m aware of and know enough about, but don’t watch.  Just fyi.)

These bad boy characters are suave, always have problems with authority, have a devil-may-care attitude about everything, are kind of cocky or disrespectful, usually don’t treat ladies well, get into fights easily, are played by super hot actors, and typically wear leather.  (Does Draco wear leather?  I need to look into this.)

Girls typically swoon over them faster than the “good guys” on the show, or – like me – find themselves inexplicably drawn to this character, regardless of their initial hatred.  I’ve become deeply interested with the bad boy characters because they’re so interesting.  A few of my favorites are Shawn, Mal, and the boys from The Outsiders.  (If you’ve never liked a bad boy character, congratulations.  You’re a special snowflake.)

shawn hunter

So why are bad boys so entrancing?  All of the above characteristics should be immediate turn-offs… shouldn’t they?  Why do girls fall in love with them so quickly?

Well, let’s look at Rory’s situation.  Jess was mysterious.  He had a troubled past.  (They all do, don’t they…)  More than that, he needed her help.  At least, she thought he did.

My theory is that Rory and other female heroines who fall in love with these types of guys have some kind of Superman complex.  If only they could save this guy, he’d be such a catch!  And sometimes they don’t even go that far – he’s just so hot they can’t help but want to save him, regardless of what he does in return.  They pity him because of his troubled past or because “he’s just misunderstood” or because he’s just so smooth and hot and looks good lounging against a street sign when he should be in school.  A friend also suggested that they promise adventure.

kylo

Most of all, women were born with an innate desire to nurture, and sometimes we pick the worst off.  This leads me to always fall in love with and cheer on the underdog.  Show me a slightly pathetic, deserves-everything-yet-has-nothing character and I’ll keep him for forever.  Neville Longbottom, Shawn Hunter, Johnny Cade – those are the kinds of guys my mothering nature leads me to.  For others, that may mean the bad boy character.  If you can heal or help him, you will.

I personally think that the bad boys often have the most potential.  If they can get out of that bad situation, they’ll stop at nothing to keep themselves from going back.  I’ll take a redeemed bad boy over an unchanging good guy any day.

So what do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  Do you fall for bad boys or do you prefer good guys?

a day in the life.

{Now, I know these kinds of things are usually videos, and while I’d love to do vlogs at some point like my amazing friend Rachel, I’m not quite there yet.  We’ll see.  Until I get there, I guess I’ll start out with writing.  Because duh.  Disclaimer: Yep, sometimes my life is this busy, but sometimes it isn’t and, like on Monday, it involves me sitting around reading school books most of the day.  My life is crazy and it will no doubt get crazier, but I’m really enjoying it.}

6:30am – Alarm goes off, snooze button is utilized.

6:45am – Drag myself out of bed.  Dress in a thin sweater and skinny jeans, which feels good for the mildly chilly morning but ends up being a TERRIBLE DECISION IN THE AFTERNOON BECAUSE WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THE GEORGIA HEAT WHAT THE CRAP.  Pack lunch, laptop, school books, coffee, and misc other items for the day.

7:10am – Leave the house with James (my brother), stop at a friend’s house to take care of their pets, mourn the loss of James’s phone (and thus our usual twenty one pilots karaoke hour), soliloquize on the effects of traffic on the mood.

8:20am – Drop James off at his homeschool co-op entirely too late, cursing the traffic the entire time (but not really).  Drive to Starbucks.

8:30am – Make The Phelps Face when I see that there aren’t any tables available.  Find a table outside even though my laptop is dead.  Text friend happy birthday, peruse the Instagram feed, begrudgingly put phone down and start reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for school.  Contemplate just watching The Best Movie Version (or The Other Best Movie Version) instead of reading the book… but decide to read the book anyway because my conscience wouldn’t let me.

9:15am – Friend comes to spend time with me and we talk about our lives and how much has happened since we last talked.  (It sounded like a lot when I spilled it all out on her, but it didn’t feel like much when I was going through it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)

11:02am – Friend leaves (T_T), and I sit inside, power up computer, make The Phelps Face AGAIN when my STUPID LAPTOP won’t connect to the STUPID INTERNET.  Read Huck Finn while rebooting laptop.  Stupid internet still won’t work, so I pack up my things and head to another Starbucks while eating my sandwich lunch.

11:30am – Arrive at second Starbucks.  Watch some Dan&Phil while I get my laptop working again.  Mutter about millennials and their dang wifi-needing-devices never working.

11:45am – Merciful saints, finally start working on school (all the while telling myself that my conversation with my friend was totally worth it and that the wifi situation was completely out of control).  Listen to the Easy A soundtrack while writing a review of The Problem with Forever – it’s for school, I promise!!!  [EDIT: Even though I only spent two or three hours tops on that review… I got a perfect score on it.  Cheating the system works, guys.  *sunglasses emoji*  Read the stunning, A+ review here.]

1:45pm – Text awesome friends while packing up laptop and books, casually adding my two cents on pretentious hipsters who wear glasses simply because they’re required for hipster.  *adjusts men’s converse glasses*  Order salted caramel mocha frappucino that ends up being outrageously expensive but that I buy anyway because it has caramel and mocha drizzles and WHO CAN TURN THAT DOWN, RIGHT?!  Leave Starbucks with my laptop bag and my frap, feeling like a basic white girl.

2:00pm – Pick up The Bro and rant about annoying wifi.  His phone finally turns on, so we listen to twenty one pilots as I drive him to his piano lesson.

2:15pm – Park at the house where he takes piano lessons, push my seat back as far as it’ll go, and work on review, reading it aloud because apparently that’s what you’re supposed to do???  When that’s finished, I watch an episode of Friends with the commentary (“The One with All the Thanksgivings,” if anybody’s a fan).  Read review again, deciding it’s as good as it’s going to get.

3:30pm – Drive over to the library, where I pick up some school books (Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton and Washington Square by Henry James) and a movie (The Outsiders!).  More twenty one pilots as we drive home.

4:00pm – FINALLY HOME AGAIN.  Submit review, work on other school and then browse Tumblr and Pinterest for too long.  Work on some fanfiction (which you guys may or may not see sometime soon).

6:00pm – Parents go out on a date.  Make dinner for the kiddos – chicken nuggets for the littles and James, salad with grilled chicken for me.  (Being gluten-free will never not be lame.)  Read fanfiction Eva wrote while kids watch a movie, then clean the kitchen.

8:00pm – Put kids to bed.  Fast-forward through a Friends episode, playing all the hilarious Chandler moments to show James how much he’s like Chandler.  Ice cream break.  Watch a Monk episode with James (“Mr. Monk and the Hypnotist”), then finish Definitely, Maybe with Mom (so cute!).

10:45pm – Fall into bed, rationalizing that I can take a shower tomorrow morning because it’s too late to do it now and I’m exhausted.  Walk into Mom’s room to talk about plans for the next day when I suddenly remember that I was supposed to take care of the aforementioned friend’s pets again.  Scramble for keys and a car, drive over there, take care of the pets while listening to Waitress because dark, quiet houses freak me out, drive back home (yawning the entire time).

11:30pm – Collapse into bed again.  Nightly devotions and prayer journaling.

12am – Sleep.  Finally.

my favorite stanley tucci roles.

If you know anything about me, you probably know that, just like literally every other fangirl on the planet, I have a thing for older actors.  Chris Pratt, Chris Evans, Chris Pine (and all the other Chrises), Zachary Levi, Benadryl Cucumberpatch… basically every guy who’s like ten years older than me.  Which totally isn’t weird at all.

(DISCLAIMER: I don’t want to have their babies or anything, I just admire the work the good Lord has done and move on.)

One of my favorite actors is Stanley Tucci.  I have no idea how long I’ve loved him but it’s been a while.  (Now that I think about it, he was in a few of my favorite childhood movies, namely Kit Kittredge, Beethoven, and Robots.  Well, that explains it – my love for him was cemented before I really knew who he was.)

I love his versatility as an actor, the roles he chooses, and just him.  I love the fact that he seems to make every movie better just by being in it, no matter how small his part is.  I love the fact that he can play every part with the same amount of skill, regardless of how sweet or twisted the character is.  And I love that he has other talents than just acting, such as cooking.  My sister actually gave me his cookbook for my birthday and I fangirled. A lot.  (I also have another friend who knows how much I love him – one of the things we initially bonded over was our mutual weirdly passionate love for Stanley – and sometimes sends me random Stanley gifs and pictures via text.  You know who you are and I. Love. You.)

I love every movie I’ve seen him in, but I’d like to highlight my absolute favorites.  In no order, as usual, because I sat here for twenty minutes trying to figure it out and I. just. can’t.  I love the man too much.

All of these movies come with the usual disclaimer, though.  They’re all PG-13 and have the kind of content that’s in a PG-13 movie.  If you’re interested in watching one of these but are hesitant about the content, don’t hesitate to ask me!  (Or look on each specific title’s Parents Guide on IMDb.  SO HELPFUL.)

The Terminal | Frank Dixon

“Okay, so let’s say this bag of potato chips is Krakozhia and this apple is the Liberty Rebels. Okay?  *smashes the bag with the apple, spraying chips all over Viktor*  No more Krakozhia!”

This one’s kind of different for Stanley.  Usually he plays very likeable characters.  This one, not so much.  The Terminal is about a foreign guy (Tom Hanks) whose country falls literally while he’s on the plane.  He’s stuck in JFK until they can get his passport figured out, and Stanley plays the guy who keeps him there.  Essentially, he’s the antagonist.  This is the only movie I’ve ever seen where he’s a bad guy (minus the Kit movie, which, come on, does that even count?), and he’s absolutely riveting.  You understand why he’s so against Tom’s character – he’s just doing his job, after all – but you still dislike him because of other things he does.  So. Good.

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Mr. Monk and the Actor | David Ruskin

“And then he said he was tired and asked me to leave.”
“So you left?”
“He has to get up at 6:00.”
“Mr. Monk, that’s your house!”
“Boy, he’s a good actor.”

My siblings and I were on a Monk kick for about two years, and when I saw that Stanley co-starred in an episode, I couldn’t wait to see it!  Turns out, it was absolutely fantastic.  Definitely one of my favorite episodes of the show.  In this episode, a director wants to make a movie about a case Adrian worked on, and Stanley plays the actor hired to play Adrian.  He’s a method actor, and he captures Monk perfectly.  It’s scary how similar they look!  Also, Stanley won an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.”  (No surprise there – he was phenomenal.)

Julie and Julia | Paul Child

“Anyway, so there we were in China, just friends having dinner.  And… and it turned out to be Julia.  It turned out to be Julia all along.  Julia, you are the butter to my bread and the breath to my life.  I love you, darling girl.  Happy Valentine’s Day.”

This is one of my favorite movies, mainly because it involves three of my favorite things – writing, food, and romance.  It’s one of my go-to chick flicks, and it has some of my favorite actors in it, including Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Chris Messina, and, of course, Stanley Tucci.  In this one, Stanley plays Julia Child’s husband, ever the encourager as she learns to cook.  His character is just the most precious man, and it’s blatantly apparent that he loves his wife, which Stanley plays to perfection (and makes me love him even more).

Easy A  | Dill Penderghast

“I’d take a bullet for you, you know that. Right between the eyes. I would slit my throat rather than say something to someone that you didn’t want me to say.  That’s how I am.  That’s how I roll.  That’s how I do.”

OKAY.  This is definitely my favorite movie on this list.  As I said in my “movies i don’t like” post,  my favorite genre is probably rom-com, my favorite actor is Stanley Tucci, and my favorite actress is Emma Stone, which obviously means this is one of my favorite movies of all time because it combines all. three. things.  Plus it’s just good.  The cast is phenomenal, the story is so good, and the humor is fantastic.  Anyway, in this one, Stanley plays the main character’s dad who stands by her as she goes through all of this mess at school.  And he’s just so funny.  The above quote is from one of my favorite scenes, one which I personally find funny because I have adopted black siblings like Olive.  In addition to all that, Dill and Rosemary are just the kind of parents I aspire my husband and I to be.  #LiteralParentGoals. (Gosh, this movie’s so good.  I may have to review it sometime.)

Captain America: The First Avenger | Dr. Abraham Erskine

“Whatever happens tomorrow, you must promise me one thing. That you will stay who you are, not a perfect soldier, but a good man.”

Let’s be honest – who didn’t completely fall in love with Dr. Erskine the second he walked on the screen???  He was obviously typecast as The Death That Would Inspire The Hero, but Stanley brought so much more to the role than most other characters like that – and I’d argue that he’s the best.  He inspires Steve to be more than he thinks he’s capable of, and encourages him to accept the super-soldier serum.  And that speech.  GAH.  Plus, he calls Steve “Steven.”  HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE HIM?!

The Hunger Games | Caesar Flickerman

“But you know what?  [Bleep] that! And [bleep] everybody that had anything to do with it!”
“All right, then. One woman’s opinion.”

My favorite part about Stanley-as-Caesar is just how likeable he is.  It’s apparent that Stanley read the books because that’s, like, the crux of the character in the book.  There are literally paragraphs describing how Caesar brings out the best in all of the tributes, even the incredibly shy ones who have close to nothing to say.  Stanley obviously did his research because that’s exactly how he plays him – a nuanced, larger-than-life TV host who is hungry for the adulation for the crowd and whose effervescence masks his true vulnerability.  Also, I’ve heard that Caesar is one of Stanley’s favorite roles.  Which is just amazing.

The Devil Wears Prada | Nigel Kippling

“You think this is just a magazine, hmm? This is not just a magazine. This is a shining beacon of hope for… oh, I don’t know… let’s say a young boy growing up in Rhode Island with six brothers pretending to go to soccer practice when he was really going to sewing class and reading Runway under the covers at night with a flashlight. You have no idea how many legends have walked these halls. And what’s worse, you don’t care. Because this place, where so many people would die to work you only deign to work. And you want to know why she doesn’t kiss you on the forehead and give you a gold star on your homework at the end of the day. Wake up, sweetheart.”

This movie is about the oftentimes twisted inner workings of the fashion industry and how it changes an intern named Andy Sachs.  Stanley plays Nigel, the somewhat gay editor of Runway Magazine who works with the definition of rhymes-with-witch, Miranda Priestly.  I love Stanley’s role in this movie because he’s just adorable.  He has Andy’s best interests at heart, often giving her that final push when she needs it.  (See the quote above.)  He has so many great scenes – most of which were ad-libbed, if you watch the bloopers, which just attests to Stanley’s absolute genius.  One of my favorite scenes isn’t in the movie.  (Katelyn knows which one I’m talking about.  THE GIRLS, KATELYN.  THE GIRLS.)  Also, this is his second movie with Meryl Streep, and they’re both completely different people in this one, which totally displays their versatility as actors.  Gah, I can’t.)

I’m slooooowly working my way through Stanley’s entire filmography, and some of the movies at the top of my To Watch list are The Pelican Brief, Shall We Dance (because hE DANCES!), The Company You Keep (which my parents watched without me and sent the Netflix DVD back before I could see it and I have no bitterness towards them WHATSOEVER), Spotlight (which also stars Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams), Big Night (Stanley and Tony Shalhoub’s first shared screen), and, of course, Beauty and the Beast (!!!!!!!).

So what do you think of my list?  Have you seen any of these movies?  What are your thoughts about them?  Anything to say just about Stanley in general?  (Just letting you know, if you bash him at all, I’ll bash you right back because he is perfection.)

my summer bucket list.

I think summer’s finally here.  It’s hot outside, schools are letting out, and my dad’s summer intern just arrived.  (He’s an old family friend so we’re planning on having a BLAST.)

I haven’t planned anything for the summer yet, and I didn’t think I was going to.  After all, I’m schooling through the summer, so why should I, if I won’t have a ton of free time?

WRONG.  It’s summer, and summer means FUN.  (At least, that’s what I keep telling myself during study breaks.)

summer bucket list instagram.pngSO I’ve decided to make a summer bucket list, full of a bunch of things I want to do this summer. I took a picture of my list and posted it on Instagram (see above) and thought of a few more in addition to all of the above things, such as:

  • Finish a TV show (Boy Meets World, which I’m like six episodes from the end of but have put it off for two. years. because I don’t want it to end *sob*; Gilmore Girls, in preparation for Seasons, DUH; Friends and/or Firefly and/or Downton Abbey)
  • Earn fifteen credits (which I think is gonna happen and that’s AWESOME because I’m SO DONE WITH COLLEGE LOL)
  • Read at least one non-fiction book a month (I read a ton of fiction and thought I’d expand my palate a little this year, starting with Mere Christianity and If You Find This Letter)
  • Finish reading the Old Testament (I was trying to finish this last year and it didn’t get done for whatever reason, and I want to finish it up so I can get back to studying Jesus’s life and Paul’s letters)
  • More screen-free time (my school and writing is all on the computer, not to mention Pinterest and Tumblr and my blog and all of that wonderful time-sucking nonsense, so to say I spend a lot of time on the computer is kind of accurate and I kind of hate it and want to spend more time off it this summer by going on walks and coloring and reading more)
  • Budgeting my time better (I’m nannying two full days during the summer, instead of the usual two half days, so it’s going to be interesting trying to juggle school and the little munchkins.  I had them yesterday and we went to Chick-fil-A and the library and it was so. much. fun… even though I didn’t get any school done.  Oops.)
  • Edit The Art of Letting Go (I just got some really good feedback on it, and I’m really looking forward to working on it again and I’m hoping it’ll be done by the end of the summer!)
  • ENJOY THE SUMMER (It’s already pretty hot here in Georgia, but I’m really enjoying it.  Last week, I sat out on the back porch and tried to get a tan and it was really nice.  I’m looking forward to doing that a little more over the summer.)

What are your summer plans?  Doing Camp NaNo (or some other camp)?  Schooling through the summer like me (*sob*)?  I have three friends who are sisters and are going to Europe over the summer which you know is cool but it’s whatever.  Any big plans like that?  (Actually, if you have big plans, don’t tell me.  I’m too jealous.  Because it’s freaking EUROPE.  Ugh.  Please, somebody tell me you’re schooling through the summer.  PLEASE.)

you, sir, are wrong. {a response to “an open letter to rey”}

you, sir, are wrong.

I made the mistake of reading Nathan Alberson’s article, “An Open Letter to Rey” at Starbucks, around other people.  To say I was livid would be an understatement.  I wanted to punch something.  Thankfully, I read two responses to the article (Mirriam’s and Jennifer’s), and my anger calmed a little.

HOWEVER.  Because I can’t keep my opinions to myself… I’ve decided to write my own response.  Read it or don’t read it, but this is my personal opinion.  If it offends anyone, I’m sorry, but I’m not backing down.

OKAY.

First of all, I completely agree that men and women have different roles, both in society and in God’s eyes.  Usually, the men are the breadwinners and the women are the… oh, I don’t know, helpmeet-stay-at-home moms.  That’s how it was in my homeschool circles, and I thought it was completely right.  (I still kind of do, even though I’ve learned that there are ALWAYS exceptions to the “rule” or stereotype or whatever.)

NEVERTHELESS.  To put men and women in a box like Mr. Alberson did is a travesty and it’s completely and totally wrong.  Like Jennifer said, the lines between masculinity and femininity are rarely black and white.  I know plenty of girls (including myself) who would rather shoot a gun or get their hands dirty than sew anything, just like I know plenty of guys who like to bake and paint and – GASP – dance.

Sure, there are God-ordained roles for men and women to play, but to say that women are the weaker sex and therefore only suitable for the kitchen or taking care of the kids?

UM, HOW ABOUT NO.

The way I see it, men and women are equal.  Because of verses in the Bible that talk about submission, I totally agree that women should submit to their husbands (not all men, though).  But men have to submit to God’s authority, too, or else they’re abusing their God-given right to have authority (but not total authority) over women (which is why so. many. marriages – especially where both husband and wife are Christians – end up in the gutter).  (See Phylicia Masonheimer’s post on why Biblical submission is dangerous.)

Women aren’t meant to be only there for men to save and defer to their much smarter male lead.  Women aren’t meant to be “protection objects” or “damsels in distress.”  Women aren’t put on earth solely to be a man’s wife or have kids.  Women are not less.  A woman’s worth is NOT defined by men.

And if a woman’s worth is wrapped up in what a man thinks about her, she’s got some work to do.

Women are loved by God just as much as men, and designed by Him for specific purposes in mind – yes, for helping their husbands to raise godly children and being keepers at home, but if we’re going to tout the Proverbs 31 woman, we also need to acknowledge that she’s able to earn money and buy things that will further her income and be hospitable to people other than her husband and family.

And another thing.  These three paragraphs were especially incorrect.

Men lie to themselves and women about the sort of women they want. Women are gullible and believe the lie and become the women they think men want. Then men reject them because men never wanted those sorts of women in the first place.

How is this the woman’s fault?  I. Don’t. Understand.  Women shouldn’t change themselves for a man (because men aren’t worth it) and men shouldn’t reject women because they’re not “their type.”

And men do reject them. Look at the divorce statistics, look at the TV shows and books and articles by women desperately wondering why it’s so hard to hold on to a man. That’s a bigger problem than the purview of this letter, but you fictional female warriors are part of it.

Men rejecting women because there’s more to a woman than the pleasures of her body or her willingness to submit to his whims is wrong – and it certainly isn’t the woman’s fault.  “Fictional female warriors” are definitely part of it, but certainly not for the reason you imply.  (More on that later.)

So stop it. I’m nobody’s idea of Prince Charming, but let me do my little part to rescue you from yourselves.

SHOCKINGLY ENOUGH, MR. ALBERSON… NOT ALL WOMEN WANT TO BE RESCUED.  Rescued by God, sure, but by a fallen, sinning man?  No thank you.

(And I’m going to stop responding to specific phrases because it’s making me too mad.  I need to take a break.  Brb.)

So what’s Mr. Alberson’s point?  Why does he think that Rey and Katniss and Leia and Black Widow and River Tam have no destiny other than… what???  He doesn’t even give his readers the courtesy to explain what he thinks women in these movies should be doing instead of being the strong heroines that they are.

(The only thing he says is that women are put on earth to be rescued by men and that women having the indecency to be anything more than that “robs men of their dignity.”  How egotistical is that?!  Men and women were put on earth for many more reasons than to simply fulfill one another.  If a man or woman’s identity is wrapped up in what the opposite sex – or anyone else – thinks of them, they have some serious work to do on their true identity.  REVELATION: Maybe – just maybe – that’s why people are so unfulfilled???  Shocking, I know.)

Every. Single. One. of the women were pulled out of their comfortable environments by outside circumstances and into something greater.  Rey wanted to wait for her family to return for her.  Katniss didn’t want to be Reaped.  Leia didn’t want her planet to blow up.  Natasha didn’t want to work for the Soviet Intelligence.  River Tam wanted an education so she could help people.

These women were made stronger because of the complex circumstances they were pulled into.  They weren’t destined for what they wanted – they were destined for making their world a better place, even though they went through struggles and incredibly hard trials.

If Rey hadn’t been pulled into helping Finn escape the Alliance,  she wouldn’t have discovered the truth about her family or saved Finn’s life and helped the Resistance fight against Kylo Ren.  If Katniss hadn’t been Reaped, Panem wouldn’t have escaped the tyrannical rule of President Snow.  If Leia hadn’t been kidnapped by Darth Vader, she wouldn’t have known the truth about her family or met Han Solo or {eventually} become chief commander of the Resistance.  If Natasha hadn’t been tracked down by Clint because of her status as an assassin, the aliens would have overtaken earth and Tony probably would’ve died and so would Steve and Bucky and SHIELD/Hydra’s information would still be secret.  And don’t even get me started on River.

It’s so ironic that Mr. Alberson would pick all of these characters because the stories that they’re involved in would be so different if they were doing what they’d originally wanted to do.  (See the previous paragraph.)  They all pass the Blechdel and Sexy Lamp tests.  They’re strong, well-rounded, and important to the plot.

MUCH LIKE REAL-LIFE WOMEN.

In my opinion, the world needs more characters like this – characters that prove to women that they’re needed, wanted, and important.  This is why I write books with strong female leads.  Too many female characters in books and movies are whiny, one-dimensional, flimsy girls whose only purpose is to further the male lead’s storyline.  (See almost every action film ever, especially the highly-irritating Mission Impossible II.)

That’s what movies are telling girls, Mr. Alberson – that they’re unimportant and only suitable as pretty companions for the uber-ripped male lead.  And when directors make movies that tell girls anything other than that, they should be applauded, not condemned.

So, ladies, keep watching movies with strong female characters.  You weren’t put on earth to define a man’s dignity or satisfy him.  Guys, you could definitely benefit from it, too.  Women aren’t your playthings – they’re precious individuals made by a God who loves them dearly.  JUST LIKE YOU.

Ladies and gentlemen, your worth is found in Christ alone, and not what anyone else thinks about you.  You will never be satisfied until you discover that.

twelve couples i’ll always be in love with.

First of all, Happy Valentine’s Day!

I thought for a good five minutes about what I wanted to write about today.  I usually do a post on contentment and singleness, but I think I’ve said all I need to on the subject.  (See those posts here, here, and here – all of which, I realize after re-reading all of them, bemoan the infamous Valentine’s Day Banquet of ’13 – LOL.  They’re actually pretty decent, too, so if you want to hear my thoughts on contentment, they’re worth a read.)

But today is not about being single.  Today is about relationships.  And if we’re not in relationships, we can at least obsess over those who are, right?

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Today, I’ve decided to write about book and movie couples that are in love and that I am in love with (because that’s way less depressing than dwelling on how single I am, lol).  (Just kidding; I’m actually totally content right now.  So yay.)

These aren’t couples who are just cute together (because I could write about cute fictional couples for dayzzz).  These are couples who have stuck together through thick and thin and love each other despite the trials they go through.  They fight for their relationship and defy the odds.  They may not have fallen in love at first sight, but their relationship lasted because of the circumstances that brought them together and kept them together.

In no particular order (cuz you guys should know by now that I hate picking favorites), here are the twelve fictional couples that have basically defined all of my relationship goals.

Honorable Mentions:
Lulu and Liam {The Little Women Letters}
Mac and Rose {Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom}
Flynn and Rapunzel {Tangled}
Cath and Levi {Fangirl}
Katniss and Peeta {The Hunger Games Trilogy}
Kathleen and Joe {You’ve Got Mail}
Alexander and Eliza {Hamilton and also a real-life couple}
Roy and Dale {the Roy Rogers movies and also a real-life couple}

(And Clintasha would be right at the top but Joss woN’T STOP BLOWING HOLES IN MY SHIPS.  GAH.  *Hulks out*)

Shirtbert {Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe} | Anne of Green Gables

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These two.  GOSH, these two.  Ever since they first met in Anne of Green Gables, I knew they’d fall in love.  Except Anne was so blind to how much Gil loved her (and she was so deluded about what love really is) that it didn’t happen for a while.  *shakes head*  Silly Anne.  I mean, the guy gave up his position at a school for her!  He also saved her in a boat and NUMEROUS other amazing things.  Together, they make such a great couple.

“Anne, you have tricked something out of that imagination of yours that you call romance. Have you forgotten how he gave up the Avonlea school for you so that you could stay here with me? He picked you up everyday in his carriage so that you could study your courses together. Don’t toss it away for some ridiculous ideal that doesn’t exist.”

Copanga {Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence} | Boy Meets World

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OKAY.  I’ve been a huge fan of Boy Meets World for about two and a half years now (although it seems like longer) and their relationship is just so. many. goals.  They were friends for years and years before they got into an official relationship in the second season.  Their relationship withstood high school, the first two years of college, three break-ups (not including Topanga’s parents’ divorce).  Fourteen years later, in Girl Meets World, they’re still together and just as much in love as they were when they first started dating.

“Over half of all marriages fail.  It’s even worse for people our age.”
“Every statistic that you throw at me is going to be about other people.  I don’t care about other people – I care about you and me!  If every marriage failed except one, I’d guarantee that one would be ours.”

Laurie x Jo {Theodore Lawrence and Josephine March} | Little Women

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Okay, this is the only couple in this entire post who didn’t actually end up together.  (Jo and I may agree on everything else, okay, and I’m sorry, but I’ll ship this ’til the day I die.)  From the start, their friendship just screamed “ROMANCE!” and it seriously irked me that they didn’t end up together.  Because they totally should have.  They were so alike in so many ways, and they may have fought a lot, but what couple doesn’t?!  Ugh.  Anyway, I ship them like there’s no tomorrow.

“I have loved you since the moment I clapped eyes on you. What could be more reasonable than to marry you?”  (THAT’S WHAT I SAID.)

Knighthouse {Emma Woodhouse and George Knightley} | Emma

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Emma is my favorite Jane Austen story because the love interests shaped each other more than any other of her couples.  (Did Darcy have the influence on Lizzie that Knightley did on Emma?  NO.  I rest my case.)  I love stories that do this so. much.  Why is a person in your life romantically if not to mold you into someone better?  Food for thought.  If ever a couple was destined to be together, it was Emma and Knightley.  Even though he’s like seventeen years older than her.

“So, tell me, have I no chance of succeeding?  My dearest Emma, for that is what you always have been and you always will be, my most beloved Emma.  I cannot make speeches.  If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more, but you know what I am.  I have lectured you and scolded you and you have born it as no other woman would have.”

(I also desperately love Cher and Josh from Clueless, and their relationship is defined so well and I love them and baby Paul Rudd is just the sweetest little cinnamon roll.)

Julie x Eric // Julia x Paul {Julie and Eric Powell, and Julia and Paul Child} | Julie and Julia

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These two couples are new additions to my stock of Relationship Goals, but I knew they had been added the first time I watched Julie and Julia.  I love the distinction between the two relationships!  Julie and Eric are blissful newlyweds, and Julia and Paul have been married for several years but they’re even more in love than when they first got married.  When I first watched the movie, I told my sister, “Julie and Eric have what I want my newlywed married life to look like, and Julia and Paul have what I want my married-for-thirty-years married life to look like.”  #goals

“You are the butter to my bread and the breath to my life.”

Steggy {Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter} | Captain America: The First Avenger

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Er. mah. gursh.  This is definitely the most tragic couple in my entire list.  They loved each other so much and they didn’t end up together (not married, at least) and that just breaks my heart.  Peggy loved Steve just based on his character, before he was the insanely muscular dude he is halfway through the movie, and if that’s not true love, I don’t know what is.  As soon as Steve said his “I’m waiting for the right partner” line, I was hooked.  (And so was Peggy.)  If ever a couple deserved to be together, it’s Steve and Peggy.

“I’m gonna need a rain check on that dance.”
“All right. A week next Saturday.  At The Stork Club.”
“You’ve got it.”
“Eight o’clock on the dot. Don’t you dare be late. Understood?”
“You know, I still don’t know how to dance.”
“I’ll show you how. Just be there.”

Anastasia x Dimitri {Anastasia Romanova and Dimitri Sudayev} | Anastasia

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When Anastasia and Dimitri first meet, they’re both really just using each other to accomplish their personal goals.  It’s hate at first sight.  When Anastasia and Dimitri have their first angered exchange (“Do you really think I’m royalty?” “You know I do!” “THEN STOP BOSSING ME AROUND.”) and Anastasia sticks her tongue out at him, I’m always just like, “Ohhhh, you two are gonna have it so bad.”  And they do.  They’re always slightly at odds, but in an endearing way.  In the end, Dimitri sacrifices his ambition to find the lost Russian princess for Anastasia (who, spoiler, is the lost princess) and they end up eloping and it’s just beautiful.

“That, uh, that dress looks really good on you.”
“Do you think so?”
“Yeah. I mean, it looked nice on the hanger but it’s even better on you. Y-you, you should wear it!”
“I am wearing it!”
“Oh, oh yes, I was just, um, trying to give you a… a…”
“Compliment?”
“Yeah.”

Robin x Marian {Robin Hood and Lady Marian Fitzwalter} | Robin Hood (1932)

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I grew up with the 1932 version of Robin Hood (here’s the trailer if you haven’t seen it), and I’ve always loved the relationship that Robin and Marian have.  There’s just something about a classic tale of the love between a knight and his lady that I fall for every time. She’s hesitant at first, and he’s madly in love at first sight.  He wins her love by being the dashing hero he is, and she falls for him.  (And then, in the original tale, he dies.  I like this version better – they ride off into the sunset and it’s wonderful.)  It’s just a classic tale of love and I love it muchly.

“Tell me: when you are in love, is it hard to think of anybody but one person?”
“Yes, indeed, m’lady, and sometimes it’s a bit of trouble sleeping.”
“I know! But it’s a nice kind of not sleeping!”
“Yes. And it affects your appetite, too. Not that I’ve noticed it’s done that to you, ‘cept when he was in the dungeon waiting to be hanged.”
“And does it make you want to be with him all the time?”
“Yes. And when he’s with you, your legs are as weak as water. Now, tell me, m’lady: when he looks at you, do you feel a kind of pricky feeling, like goosey pimples running all up and down your spine?”
{Marian blushes}
“Then there’s not a doubt of it!”
“A doubt of what?”
{Robin swings in through the window where he was eavesdropping} “That you’re in love!”

George x Mary {George Bailey and Mary Hatch} | It’s a Wonderful Life

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I’ve been in love with George and Mary ever since I watched It’s a Wonderful Life for the first time (which was so many years ago that I can’t even remember when it was).  We watch the movie every Christmas Eve and I’ve always loved watching George and Mary’s relationship start to build from their childhood to thirty years (and four kids) later.  They’re still so in love and love each other so much despite all of the hardships they go through.  Their trials bring them closer together and idk but that’s what I want more than anything else.  #actualrelationshipgoals

“What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.”
“I’ll take it. Then what?”
“Well, then you can swallow it, and it’ll all dissolve, see… and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of your hair… am I talking too much?”

Percy x Marguerite {Sir Percival Blakeney and Marguerite St. Just} | The Scarlet Pimpernel

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M’KAY.  The first time I read The Scarlet Pimpernel (and then binge-read most of the other Scarlet Pimpernel books), I knew I’d ship Percy and Marguerite ’til my dying days.  And, honestly, their relationship is one of the most brutal that I’ve ever seen.  Marguerite loves him even when he thinks she betrayed the St. Cyrs.  And then (in the book, at least) he risked his life to save her (just like he does for others *sheds a single tear*), and it always makes me cry so many happy tears.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Sir Percy.”
“This beholder is enchanted.  If I were to tell you that I adore you, would you have me do so stintingly?”
Adore me?”
“Or would you have me declare it as I feel it?  With all my heart?”
“But you can’t be serious – you know nothing about me!”
“Exactly so.  Which is why I yearn to know everything.  You must tell me all about yourself, in every detail, but oh so slowly, so very slowly, so that it takes a very, very long time.”
“I don’t know whether you’re mad or…”
“Desperately in love?  ‘Tis all the same.”

Remadora {Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks} | Harry Potter

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This one’s a new one, too, but it’s impacted me just as much as the others.  When we first meet Remus Lupin, he feels worthless and unlovable.  Tonks thinks otherwise, and loves him despite what he is.  He protests, but she loves him even more.  Remus and Tonks’ love taught me that there will always be someone to love you, despite the circumstances and despite everything you think that’s wrong with you.  *cries many tears*

“You see!” said a strained voice. Tonks was glaring at Lupin. “She still wants to marry him, even though he’s been bitten! She doesn’t care!”
“It’s different,” said Lupin, barely moving his lips and looking suddenly tense. “Bill will not be a full werewolf. The cases are completely-”
“But I don’t care either, I don’t care!” said Tonks, seizing the front of Lupin’s robes and shaking them. “I’ve told you a million times….”
And the meaning of Tonk’s Patronus and her mouse-colored hair, and the reason she had come running to find Dumbledore when she had heard a rumor someone had been attacked by Greyback, all suddenly became clear to Harry; it had not been Sirius that Tonks had fallen in love with after all.

Finally, to all of the above couples, here are some wise words of advice from Josh Dun.