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September 14, 2011 7:09 pm / takingbacksingle

Should you unfriend your exes on Facebook?

Facebook is a big impediment to getting over your ex, or even that guy who didn’t want to go on a second date with you. Whenever you see him in your newsfeed (which is all the time, since you can’t help but check his profile once a day), you get reminded of him. The paranoia sets in whenever another girl writes on his wall. And when he posts a love poem, you can’t help but wonder if it was meant for you.

While Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with old friends, exes don’t have to be a part of that. I’m a firm believer in that the best way to get over someone is just getting rid of them from your life. While that may sound harsh, after a devastating break up or rejection, you need space.Don’t try to be friends. It usually never works, and if you really insist on keeping him in your life, at least wait until you’re over him. Though even when you’re over someone old feelings are easily remembered.

He might be offended  by you unfriending him, but I bet you were a bit more offended when he broke up with you. And he’ll understand. It’s better for both of you to move on. If you really do want to keep in touch with him, maybe friend him back in a year or two. But don’t be surprised if he takes this as a sign that you’re still into him.

So go ahead, unfriend him. I promise you, there really is some value to “out of sight, out of mind.”

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September 13, 2011 6:48 pm / takingbacksingle

Why size matters

For those of you expecting a steamy post, I apologize in advance, for I’ll be writing about clothing sizes.

Why do we care about what size clothing we are? In our hypersexualized culture, where the only way to be sexy is to be skinny, of course, your heart drops when you go into a store and realize you need to buy a size larger than usual.

In the beginning of high school, I was super skinny, like size 00 skinny. Then puberty hit (yes I was a late bloomer) and I watched my hips fill out. I’m still very skinny, but I’ve got larger hips and a butt. People tend to assume I’m a size 4, but I’m really a size 8 (sometimes 6) in pants. I guess that’s considered a bit strange, because I wear shirts and dresses in size small. But I’ve come to accept that I’m a woman and I love my hips. It took a while of buying the wrong size, of failing to admit what really fit me but I’m here now. Sadly, a lot of women are not on the same page.

A friend of mine, refuses to buy anything larger than a size 4. In reality, she should probably be wearing a size 10. I’ve tried to gently nudge her, but she won’t budge. The worst part is that, the too small size gives her a big muffin top and the zipper will barely close. She would look a hundred times better if she would just buy the correct size. Everytime we go shopping, I can tell she secretly feels good about buying a smaller size than me. I guess she’s deluding herself to think that she’s skinnier than me (which she’s not- not saying that’s bad, but objectively she just weighs more).

Let’s see, guys definitely don’t care about sizes. I doubt any of them even know what is a “normal” size, so that should not be it. I guess part of it is that we women judge ourselves. We don’t want to wear a bigger size than our friends. Why I don’t get. I mean it’s not like you’re going to start wear glasses that are your friends’ prescription. Imagine how ridiculous that would be.

I’ll also point out that wearing one (or many) size too small pants HURTS LIKE HELL! Not only do they give you a muffin top, but they squeeze your stomach (and your internal organs) together and leave your skin with red marks.

So ladies, let’s get rid of the sizing complex once and for all. Wear what fits, and encourage your friends to do the same. Don’t let the size dictate what you can wear or how you feel. It’s just a number after all.

September 11, 2011 8:00 pm / takingbacksingle

Let them eat cake!

 

This post isn’t a commentary on Marie Antoinette’s ignorance regarding the French revolution but rather about eating disorders and body issues that permeate our society.

When I was a child, I ate because I was hungry and I enjoyed the taste of food. But then, at some unidentifiable point in high school, that all changed. Suddenly, all of my friends were fat, or so they told me, girls would skip dessert or maybe lunch in entirety, and the skinnier you were the better. Being naturally skinny, I was the envy of many of my friends. I felt alright, but then suddenly, I realized that I was not skinny enough. It started with cutting out chips and fried foods, and then suddenly, I was counting calories. In a week, I had lost a couple of pounds and I felt great! I didn’t need to eat much, I though.

One day, I felt lethargic and couldn’t concentrate. I saw a bag of chips in the kitchen and couldn’t stop myself. I was starving! And it was then I realized that I couldn’t continue that way. But it wasn’t that easy. Freshman year of college, I was more worried about gaining the Freshman 15 than about grades. I felt proud when my friends went for a post-party snack and I abstained. And I even lost weight my freshman year, both because I didn’t like dining hall food and I was trying very hard to be healthy. I also felt guilty whenever I didn’t go to the gym for a week.

But as time went on, I forgot about the worries and relaxed. One day, I realized how great it was to not worry about gaining weight. I was still around the same size, because I do enjoy eating healthy, but I didn’t feel guilty when I gave in to a junk food craving then and now.

I feel great now, I really do. I exercise because it makes me feel good. I eat healthy because I like the taste of the food, but I also don’t limit myself from anything.

I feel sad whenever my friends start complaining about how guilty they feel about eating dessert or having french fries at a restaurant. I try to tell them that it’s okay. But there’s nothing really that I can do, you have to make an effort to feel better, and nothing that someone else tells you will really get you to change your behavior.

But it feels so great to eat and enjoy the taste. To not spend hours after dinner agonizing, thinking that you have to eat healthy the next day to “make up” for those extra calories.

You only have one life, do you really want to spend it feeling guilty and worrying? It takes a lot of effort, but you really can’t let those bad thoughts get to you. If your friends are constantly body bashing/ dieting, get new friends because it’s impossible to be confident when no body around you is.

So that’s my story. What’s yours?

September 6, 2011 4:57 pm / takingbacksingle

Men are from Mars: on creepiness

I saw the movie “Crazy, Stupid Love” the other day, and I really liked it. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a romantic comedy that’s a bit more original than usual.
But anyways, so Ryan Gosling plays this playboy type guy, and so he’s in a bar, and he approaches Emma Stone, saying how he’s been staring at her all night, how attractive she is, can he buy her a drink/ take her home.

What a creep, I whispered to my guy friend sitting next to me.
What? He’s so cool, I wish I could do something like that, my slightly nerdy friend said.

It’s not the first time something like this has happened. Another time a creepy guy at a party, leaned towards me, drunkenly telling me he really wanted to “ask me out.” I didn’t even know his name, so I ran away pretty quickly. Another guy friend of mine asked me why I had ran away, and I told him that the guy had asked me out, and he did not get how that had creeped me out.

I don’t think men and women think of creepy in the same way. For me, Ryan Gosling’s character was definitely creepy. He was way too forward and too cocky. If a guy wanted to talk to me at a bar, I’d prefer him just say hi and have a normal conversation, not give me slimy lines he rehearsed in front of his bathroom mirror. Similarly, the guy at the party, should have talked to me, and introduced himself, not just be so direct (him being drunk might have had something to do with it, but still).

When men think of creepy, they imagine the stereotypical needy girl who won’t stop texting them, but it does not get much worse than that. It’s not like they would be uncomfortable being alone with that girl because as guys they are physically stronger, so nothing can really happen.

When I think of creepy, of course there is that guy that thought we were official after the first date, but was harmless once he got the hint. But there’s also the guy who literally follows you around at a party all night, so much that you’re scared to leave your group of friends. Or the one who thinks it’s okay to just grab your hips and start grinding on you. Because some creepy guys could be dangerous, they could be the one slipping something in your drink or taking advantage of you if you drink too much. Guys don’t have to worry about that (now I know there are individual cases of guys being raped, but I’m talking generals here).

Imagine my party scenario if the genders were switched. A guy might be more likely to say yes (because they usually don’t get hit on as often as girls) but if he was not interested he would probably just laugh and say no. This is why my guy friends didn’t get my point, either time. For them a creepy girl is just a turn off, but for girls, a creepy guy can actually be very scary.

August 31, 2011 9:35 pm / takingbacksingle

Why high heels suck

First of all, I want to give props to Courtney Martin at the Frisky for starting the discussion about heels and inspiring me to write this post. Check out her original post here!

I can count the times I’ve worn high heels this year one one hand: to a college career fair (fail- my feet were hurting me and I could not focus on walking around to the different booths), a friend’s sister’s sweet sixteen and at a fancy banquet. You can probably tell I’m not a big fan of heels. While they look cute, I haven’t found a single pair of heels that don’t hurt my feet to some extent. It takes days (sometimes weeks) for my feet to heal from the blisters and overall swollenness that heels cause me.

I also never mastered the art of walking gracefully in heels, I look like a baby giraffe learning to walk, which is NOT sexy!

Heels kind of freak me out because they put my feet in such an unnatural position. It can’t be healthy to entirely modify the angle and what parts of your foot touches the ground. In fact, it isn’t.

I guess heels can make your legs look skinnier and longer, but I’m working on feeling happy the way I look, heels or no heels, so it might not exactly be the best self esteem booster.

I also find it strange that while men can wear sneakers covered in leather (isn’t that basically what men’s dress shoes are?!) to a workplace, while women are supposed to wear heels that put us off balance and make our feet hurt. This reminds me of women having to wear different saddles because ladies only ride slowly and gracefully, while men can sit more comfortably and use the horse to race and hunt. Men’s dress shoes give men this same advantage: being comfortable, being able to walk long distances. On the other hand, heels make women’s legs and butts look better but they hurt a lot and make it harder to walk.

Women can barely wear flats in a formal workplace, let’s not even imagine what happened if a woman came to work in men’s-style dress shoes.

August 26, 2011 3:57 pm / takingbacksingle

When you can’t trust the police

Since I was little, my mom always told me that I can trust the police. If I got lost, they could help me find my way home. I was amazed when I learned about dictatorships all over the world, where the police may arrest you for your political beliefs or for no reason at all.

So I was appalled when I read this New York Times article of how a Manhattan police officer raped a woman at gunpoint last week. Only a couple months ago, there was a case of two cops accused for sexually assaulting a drunk woman. Though I was not quite sure what to make of it, the fact that these accusations are popping up is extremely disturbing!

The fact that women are not safe walking outside at night is already disturbing, but the fact that now the people that are supposed to be protecting the innocent are also perpetuating sexual violence. Of course, not all cops are sexual predators, but the fact that any cases at all are happening is not acceptable. 

If I’m walking down an empty street and saw a man following me I would run. But if I saw a cop, I would feel safe and might even approach him. I assume that the woman assumed the cop was not going to hurt her, so when she saw him, she did not run away.

I’m not sure what needs to be done to solve this problem. Maybe the police department need to have tougher criterion. Maybe there needs to be tougher laws for convicted rapists. Maybe media needs to stop objectifying women all the time, so that young men don’t only think of women as sex objects. I don’t know what needs to happen, but something needs to be done.

August 23, 2011 11:13 pm / takingbacksingle

Studying to be a housewife

The other day, a couple of friends and I were talking about our futures post-college. Personally, I’m not sure about my future yet, but I know I want to see the world, publish a book, make a difference, maybe work in politics. What I found strange was when one girl said she wants to be a housewife. And she was not the only one.

I find it extremely strange that in this day and age in the US, many girls who are going to college  have no ambitions past wanting to raise kids, cook and clean. Now, of course parenting is a huge responsibility which takes tons of time, but at the same time, isn’t it a waste of a college education (and $200,00) to not do anything with it. Are these girls who are all passionate about their field of study just going to drop that passion once a man proposes to them?

I understand cutting down on your hours once you have children- maybe if I have an established career where I could work from home, I would do that. But at the same time, why is it always the mom who has to work part time? Why do we almost never hear about stay at home dads?

Shouldn’t raising the kids, cooking and cleaning be an equal responsibility for both partners?

Also, staying home with the kids does not exactly set a great example for your own kids. The daughters will grow up thinking it’s normal for them not to pursue a career of their own, while the sons will grow up probably expecting their future wives to stay at home.

August 22, 2011 12:44 am / takingbacksingle

Dare to wear: sequins

Background: I enjoy fashion and dressing up, however, in the past I found that I’d often shy away from wearing that hippie skirt or Michael Jackson inspired jacketsbecause I thought guys would find it weird. Instead I would just throw on the classic jeans and tee shirt combo. So dare to wear represents different trends or articles of clothing that I enjoy wearing but that took me some time and courage to wear. I was also inspired by The Manrepeller, an awesome blogger, who bravely wears trends that she loves without caring if men find them hideous.

The trend: sequins. Let me just start off by saying that I love sequins but if not done right they make you look like a disco ball (not good!). There’s the classic sequin dress, which is cute, but only works for really festive occasions. Taylor Swift has made this her signature thing and she always looks cute and sparkly on the red carpet.

Nevertheless, for those of us who aren’t country superstars, there are ways to translate Taylor’s classy glamour into everyday wear.

How to wear it: For daytime use, try to only have one small accessory (such as shoes, belt, or purse) with sequins. Alternately, you can have a small part of a larger article covered with sequins (such as a cardigan or top).

I’m going to show two sequined pieces of clothing that I own and let you know how to wear them.

The first one is this Eileen Fisher army green sequined cardigan.

What’s great about this cardigan is that it is subtly glam. The sequins are matte and therefore do not sparkle as much as regular ones, which makes it more appropriate for day wear. It is also very versatile and can be worn with jeans and a white top or over a black dress and tights when it’s colder.

If you want to go a bit more glam, but not quite red carpet, this H&M black long sleeved sequined bolero is for you!

This is a great way to dress up a simple black cocktail dress. Be sure to keep the rest of the outfit simple and neutral to not look like a circus performer. It takes guts to wear something like this bolero but whenever I wear it I always get tons of compliments.

Anyways, while you might not be able to buy these exact pieces I hope you feel more confident about how to wear sequins now. They’re fun and make you the center of attention, so get ready to shine (literally!).

August 19, 2011 11:41 pm / takingbacksingle

Are “nude” shoes racist?

I recently decided to give the whole nude shoes trend a try and bought a pair of nude colored pumps. Fashion magazines have been telling me for a while that they are the new “it” color.

Then I realized something weird. The shoes are called “nude” yet for a lot of women this is not even close to their natural skin color. And I wonder how they feel. As a white woman, I don’t have to deal with the same racism women of color do. I probably don’t notice a lot of things that non whites find racist. But I could not help but wonder why stores and fashion magazines have to call this trend nude. Why not beige, tan, or some other creative name? Imagine going to buy nude shoes only to realize that they are not even close to your skin color.

What if they sold dark brown shoes under the color nude? I’m sure there would be plenty of confusion, ridicule and maybe even outrage. Now, it’s impossible for stores to completely avoid offending people, but why not just do a simple name change?

Calling these shoes nude implies that white (well rather beige) is the natural skin color, normalizing whiteness. There was a similar issue with beige crayons being called “skin color.” But imagine being a little black girl wanting to draw a picture of yourself and reaching and the only acceptable skin color is white. Already, that girl is bound to feel uncomfortable with her race and ultimately herself.

August 16, 2011 12:15 am / takingbacksingle

Learning to love yourself

I can’t stand the body bashing competitions that movies and magazines have turned into a requisite for girls night. A moment stands out to me. Me and my friend R were crashing at our friend E’s house after having gone out. R, a little drunk, started out by complaining about how she is hairier than most girls. I honestly had never noticed this, but when she made us look up close at her chin and stomach, I thought that maybe she was a bit more hirsute than normal. Not that I really ever looked so closely at other’s body hair. Then E said that her torsoe was unproportionally short as compared to her body. “Oh, I never noticed that, but now I can totally see that,” exclaimed R, as if she had been the first one to find the treasure in a hunt. As the night went on, the body flaws became more and more obscure. And I just sat there, listening to their self confidence deteriorating to nothing.

Until my friends pointed out these ridiculous flaws I had never noticed them! In being self confident we are often our own worst enemy.  Because it’s so easy to be unhappy with your body we continue hating. When I was in high school, a friend once told me that I had the “perfect body.” I was baffled, I hated my hips and stomach. How could I be perfect?

But that’s the thing, anyone, no matter how good looking can find flaws with herself. Look at Hollywood, filled with gorgeous girls, yet it seems every other day some celebrity is diagnosed with an eating disorder.

From an early age, we are bombarded with media that tells us that there are countless ways we need to improve our bodies. Curl “taming” shampoos, make up, Spanx, plastic surgery. Seventeen magazine (which I by the way read somewhere is targeted to twelve year olds) features ways for teenagers to minimize their “flaws.”

So it’s not weird that girls find that self confidence wise, the starting point is very low. Maybe we have a good hair day or get a compliment and feel better for a day, but the next day we’re back to square zero, feeling like crap. Our starting point should be feeling good about ourselves, not bad. 

It takes effort for us to get out of this rut. I’m in my twenties, and most of the time, I feel like I’m in the right place. But it does not all come easy. I have to remind myself that I’m not the same person I used to be. I literally have to tell myself that I’m happy with the way I look, to go through my mental gallery of compliments and high confidence moments to last me through the times.

So what can you do to feel more confident?

Tell yourself you’re beautiful. Do it no matter how ridiculous it feels. Say it out loud every morning. Say it to yourself whenever you feel yourself thinking a bad body thought. It takes time, but after a while, it starts working. And when you’re having a bad day, remember the other day you felt good, when you were standing in front of the mirror looking at your body, thinking “Wow I’m hot!” I can guarantee you’ve had at least one of those moments.

Christina got it right with this song!