Ladies, your femalolz are a big turn off (apparently)

..a smart, funny woman’s best bet to snag a man may be for her to limit her vocabulary to disyllabic words and giggle vapidly at his jokes.

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I recently read two articles that explained my singlehood to me so beautifully. I’m not single in spite, but because, I’m so frickin’ funny* and smart**.  According to this article in The Atlantic, men want women to laugh at their jokes, not to laugh at women’s jokes. The article further explained that humor correlates to intelligence, so gauging someone’s humor is a fast proxy of their intelligence. A Huffington Post article I found corroborated the first one – men find smart women – particularly women who are smarter than them – less appealing to date.

I have to say, this is the most ego-boosting reason I’ve heard lately for being single. It has nothing to do with my fashion, weird eating habits, or random quirks – men just don’t want to jump funny bones (aha, see what I did there? Whoops probably just lost a few more romantic prospects… Can’t stop this Lolz Train).

I’m torn by this news. I’ve never been so appreciative of not being appreciated, but it’s also annoying that a smart, funny woman’s best bet to snag a man may be for her to limit her vocabulary to disyllabic words and giggle vapidly at his jokes. Yes, I take this a little bit personally, but it’s also the principle of the matter.

But before we women commit ourselves to indignantly blowing the Shofar of Shame and call out men for being insecure pricks, let’s consider several alternative explanations.

  • Maybe men don’t actually think “funny women” are funny

This is hard to handle, but it’s possible that the same jokes that split your girlfriends’ sides are just lamé to the Monsieur Averagé.

  • Maybe self-deprecating humor from females makes men uncomfortable

Men could be horrified that if they laugh too loudly, the woman will suddenly burst into tears or judo chop him for not protesting that her thighs in those tight pants don’t actually remind him of a partially busted can of crescent rolls. This whole scenario might make men so tense they rather just make fun of themselves instead and let the women laugh at their expense.

  • Maybe funny women seem more likely to mock men mercilessly

Waxing poetic and being romantical is already putting men into a position of emotional, sometimes physical, vulnerability. Perhaps the thought of a woman mocking him in her own thoughts, to her girlfriends, or on a public blog post (teehee) makes the potential cost/benefit ratio too unfavorable to even consider.

  • Maybe intelligent women are more likely to be get offended at something random

This is kind of a stretch, but especially women in academia – even if they do have a good sense of humor – seem more likely to go off on a rant about male privilege, act insulted when he tries to hold the door for her… or you know, get riled up by a documentary about bra burners and start refusing to shave her legs.

..I don’t know, really. I’m just trying to be gracious here, and think more creatively. Why don’t you speak for yourselves, men?

Do you consciously find funny/smart females less attractive? If a woman gets too funny do you think to yourself “Oh snapz, she’s funnier than me. Gotta go find someone who is so dull that she’ll find my lamé jokes hilarious.”? Or is it more implicit, and you just happen to think that women who are really smart are also arrogant, nerdy, or annoying? Or is this research just dealing in averages, but YOU’RE no Monsieur Averagé, and actually actively seek out smart and funny women? I mean, I know funny smart married women, so obviously it’s not a huge turn off for all men. But.. did currently married women tone down this part of themselves while they were dating?

I’m genuinely curious – I promise I want to know the truth of the matter and I won’t publicly accuse you of being a jerk-face. Although privately I may make a little voodoo doll and tell it jokes all day just to be spiteful.

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*Mama sez I’m funny.

**Mama sez I’m smart, too.

 

 

I wish you all a life of discomfort and unease

If you are never uncomfortable, your body and soul will shrivel.

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I used to spend a large portion of my life avoiding situations and people who made me feel uncomfortable. For a while I was pretty successful, but I also succeeded at crafting a blank life. Now I don’t exactly enjoy the discomfort, but I accept it. My sage #gallowadvice to you all is to stop avoiding uncomfortable situations. If you are never uncomfortable, your body and soul will shrivel. Here are some examples from my own life.

Strength Training / Running

My body prefers to sit on a soft cushiony couch, in air conditioning. On the other hand, running until I feel like my heart is going to explode or lifting a weight even when my muscles are shaking is suck-y. But it makes me better. It enables me to do the things I really enjoy, like hiking. It helps me help other people, like by helping a friend move. It helps me live longer so I can continue blessing the world with my existence, like by writing brilliant nonsense for 10 people to enjoy each week. Exercise is uncomfortable, but it is confidence boosting, gives me more energy, opens up new opportunities for me to enjoy life, and keeps me around longer (lucky you). Most importantly, it makes me a sleek tigress.

Public Speaking

My anxiety around public speaking used to be really, really severe. When I was in college and the professor of a class wanted us to go around the room and introduce ourselves, I would hide in the bathroom until I was sure enough time had passed that we would have moved on to a different activity. Even now, I get pretty worked up about any speaking engagement, whether it’s to a group of five faculty or giving a guest lecture to 150 bored undergrads. I sweat, listen to Eye of the Tiger, and do push-ups in my office to use up my wild nervous energy. Yet, almost every speaking engagement I’ve had in the past 3 years or so has been really successful. Presentations on my research are good for my career. Leading a discussion or giving a lecture can be confidence boosting. My audiences almost always give me overwhelmingly positive feedback. And sometimes, my presentations are required so that I can check a box and move that much closer to graduation. Public speaking is uncomfortable, but has preceded pretty much every accomplishment or noteworthy success in the past 6 years of my life.

Being friends with leftists

Look y’all, I wish I had the luxury of believing that everyone who disagreed with me was either evil, an idiot, or both. But I don’t. I know super intelligent, kind people – even people who share the same faith as me – who have radically different views on how government should work and what policies promote human flourishing. Knowing this forces me to revisit my own hard-set beliefs, think more deeply about how I came to that conclusion, and identify the assumptions my reasoning is based on – and evaluate whether those are correct or not. It’s irritating. But it’s helped me refine what I believe and become better able to communicate with people who don’t share the same underlying assumptions about life as I do. Being friends with leftists is uncomfortable, but it sharpens me.

Being a Christian in academia

Along the same lines, being a person who believes there is a supernatural reality while pursuing a career in a field that limits reality to whatever is material, observable, and generally repeatable is.. awkward. It has forced me to think about really difficult questions about my faith, from broadly abstract and philosophical to narrowly applied and practical. Sometimes I wish I could live in a community in which everyone has the same baseline assumptions about how the world works, why we’re here, and what comprises reality. But I think that would make me intellectually and spiritually complacent, and I never would have been motivated to seek out answers to really irritating and scary questions. Being a Christian in academia is uncomfortable, but it has actually strengthened my faith overall to know it can hold up under fire.

Having friends and family

People ask things of me. They disrupt my schedule. They want me to eat foods I wouldn’t normally eat at times I wouldn’t normally want to eat. They hurt my feels. They drain my energy, especially when they are going through rough times. They take up my precious time. But a life without those inconveniences is.. empty. Making sacrifices for my friends and family can be uncomfortable, but my friends and family are my support, a large part of my purpose in life, and a large source of my lolz.

**SURPRISE TWIST**

I also hope that I make you uncomfortable. Why? Because in the hyper-offendable culture of the present day, the only  way you can possibly avoid making someone uncomfortable is to stop saying or doing anything. I used to add “of importance,” but people actually get worked up about this blog sometimes, y’all. Thus proving that even the nonsensical of all nonsense can rub someone the wrong way. Not that I go out of my way to offend people, but I also will not delete posts that I believe in (yes, I “believe” even in the silly ones). Doing and saying things makes people uncomfortable, but doing and saying stuff – especially of importance – is worth enduring a little push back.

So my darling readers, I urge you to review your life and notice how discomfort and struggle are the annoying but necessary parents to success, action, depth, and joy. And now with a tear in my eye and love in my heart — I wish you all moderate discomfort, today and forevermore.  ❤

Singles Conference Debunks Grace Myth

“Now, I am free to quickly judge instead of bothering with the drudgery of loving someone who has made mistakes.”

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Atlanta, GA – Thousands of Atlanta singles poured into Germinate Georgia Church this weekend to attend a conference on Singlehood, Dating, and Marriage by visiting pastor Rev. Bobby Jehosephat Murray. Intrigued by the enthusiastic tweets that had popped up on my twitter feed (“Revolutionary!” and “Murray on Fire! #SDMConference”), I loitered outside of Germinate Georgia Church on the night of the last session and was able to snag a few attendees for an interview.

Amanda Jackson, who drove all the way from Chattanooga TN to attend the conference, raved “Reverend Murray did an excellent job explaining how romantic relationships fall outside of the overarching message of Christianity. If I hadn’t attended the conference, I never would have understood these special exemptions.” Intrigued, I asked her to expand on this idea. “Well, I was always taught that Jesus’ death, life, and resurrection meant that I didn’t have to live in guilt and shame about my past, but could live in freedom. But Rev. Murray explained that while that’s mostly true for all other types of behaviors that hurt myself and others, there’s no true forgiveness for sexual sin. And, we should make sure that we frequently remind and judge each other for our past mistakes.”

She rolled up her sleeve excitedly, to show freshly inked tattoos that she had felt led to get after a particularly guilt-inducing conference session. I peered closely to read the delicate cursive in neat rows, surprised to find a list of juicy tidbits, such as “Made out in the backseat of C.S.’s car, 04/03/09” and “Allowed E.C. to cop a feel, 03/25/10”. Amanda continued glowingly “I got these to ensure that I never get cocky about where I stand in the family of God. Now if I ever start to feel free, or a good man starts to pursue me, I have an easy reminder of who I really am and how I don’t deserve any blessings.” An additional bonus, she added, was that now her brothers in Christ could quickly read through her past failures and save themselves from being tainted by her waywardness.

Amanda’s friend Dan Bowman, a friend of Amanda’s who attended the conference with her (they drove in separate cars), was particularly approving of his friend’s tattoos. “As a man who has protected himself from impurity my entire life, I was always a little bummed by the mainstream Christian message that my good works are like filthy rags to God– and that some philandering frat boy who literally decided to follow Jesus yesterday would have the same access to God and His blessings as I did. It never sat right with me.” Dan blew out his breath in exasperation. “But Rev. Murray was so encouraging. Now I know that my behavior has earned me the right to a flawless Christian woman as my wife.” He added, “It’s relieving to know that my hard work is worth something.”

Both Dan and Amanda agreed that another enlightening session had really relieved their anxieties about how to treat anyone they dated. “It was always so messy to try to figure out how to honor someone as a human being instead of just looking at them through the lens of their past,” chimed in Amanda. “Now, I am free to quickly judge instead of bothering with the drudgery of loving someone who has made mistakes.” When I asked them about how Rev. Murray explained the role of Mary Magdalene, Rahab the prostitute, Tamar and others, they both replied in unison, “Liberal propaganda.” Dan then offered me a gloved hand – kindly explaining he has a strict rule of no skin-to-skin contact with a female outside of his family – and he and Amanda headed off into the night (Amanda asked me to pointedly note that her Dad was also present).

For more information on this new theology, stay tuned for Rev. Murray’s new book “Sexual Sin: Debunking the grace myth” coming out this Spring.

#galloendorsement

It is not my apathy for conservatism, but my ardent love for it’s purest form, that makes me want Trump to lose with all of my heart

 

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This is my first and last political post of the season. I’m voting (in GA, writing him in) for Evan McMullin. I respect his background, like his policies, and consider him qualified to be commander in chief.

Do I think he will win? No. Do I think he will take votes away from Trump? Yes. Am I wasting my vote? No, because 1) I can look my future grand-nieces and nephews in the eye and justify my voting and 2) future candidates and election teams can take note of how many conservatives rejected this Trump idiocy.*

I still believe that conservative principles and policy are the best way forward for our country. Trump doesn’t support those principles or policies, at least not for more than 1 week at a time. It is not my apathy for conservatism, but my ardent love for it’s purest form, that makes me want Trump to lose with all of my heart— and for this to be a horrible nightmare that we remember and learn from, but move on from.

Will this mean Hillary wins? Maybe. Probably. But as others have also said recently, I rather deal with “the enemy” for 4 years than watch the “good guys” become so twisted, confused, and hypocritical that they’re not good anymore.

So there you go. Shake your head in disgust, blame my 9+ years in higher education for liberalizing me — Claire Bear Don’t Care.

#galloswag out.

Evan McMullin for President

*I don’t think everyone who is voting for Trump is an idiot. Or a racist. Or a sexist. Trump though, truly is the most incoherent idiot I have ever seen in any political scene, going all the way down to the student government association at my university.

 

Financial Planning and Social Justice: Tips to help you make financial giving a lifelong habit

I co-wrote this with my amazing friend Scott a year or so ago, but completely forgot about it. Good stuffz.

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Claire Galloway and Scott Santibañez Introduction Last year, in the article Financial Planning and Social Justice: Turning Good Intentions into Actions we recognized that many of us have good inten…

Source: Financial Planning and Social Justice: Tips to help you make financial giving a lifelong habit

Dismounting the activism high horse

It’s like we’re all running for office and have to put out a press-release documenting our official response to all trending topics. Why?? Are you actually in a position of power to change those situations? Do you actually have anything new to add to the conversation, and/or can you actually say something more clearly and eloquently that someone who actually is an expert has not already said?

The world sucks right now, y’all. ISIS is displacing millions of people, race relations in the U.S. seem to be regressing instead of progressing, the next U.S. president will either be an unhinged maniac or a calculating murderess, there are millions of people still trapped in slavery, U.S. veterans are not receiving adequate social, psychological, and economical support when they return from overseas, Blake Shelton’s and Gwen Stefani’s duet is being treated like legitimate music..

What to do? In the past I would feel compelled to read and post as many articles on facebook as I could to raise awareness, give as much money as I could spare to causes that fight against these atrocities.. if necessary, I would even duke it out with a complete stranger on my friend’s posts comment section just to make sure those creepily curious but silent Facebook readers were getting my side of the story. But more recently my online presence has consisted of Seinfeld-esque rambles, intermixed with Instagram shares so people don’t forget how adorbs and amazing I am.

What has happened to ol’ Galloswag? Well, to borrow from Hillary Clinton, I’ve ‘evolved’ recently in how I think about my personal involvement in these really huge, disturbing, meta-issues that are plaguing the world. A few points I’ve realized –

  • Never in any point in history have we had access to so much information. Although it’s great to have the ability to google ‘Sri Lanka government’ and get about 893,000 results in 0.51 seconds, the constant barrage of info is completely overwhelming. Instead of making me a more empathetic, conscious world citizen, it’s numbing me. I simply cannot get worked up about each and every issue. This says nothing about their worthiness of attention, but my own physical and emotional limitations. I would have a mental breakdown if I did.
  • As a PhD student, I recognize that there are experts in everything now… and almost all true answers are “Maybe/probably, but it’s complicated.” Almost all public knowledge is so dumbed down and distorted by various media sources that it’s almost impossible to know the real truth of the matter – especially when it’s a politically contentious issue. Basically, the “truth” comes down to which news source you like and what sort of assumptions you’re bringing into every issue. Now to borrow from Jeb Bush – although I’m not an expert in world or political affairs, “I know what I don’t know.” I’m not descending into moral relativism – I do believe in absolute truth. But I also believe absolutely that I don’t have the time, resources, and intelligence to diligently research and understand the truth of every issue.
  • There might not be any worse place to talk about important issues than on social media. No one logs into Facebook so that their world view can be radically altered. Readers are much more likely to misunderstand the content and tone of posts and tweets, and are more likely to respond with hostility instead of understanding. It’s not shocking that whenever I say “if you want to talk about this more, please private message me,” that no one follows up on that offer. It seems that practically no one wants to have a reasonable conversation. They want to share their thoughts and defend their stance publicly, not learn or be challenged.
  • I can’t speak for everyone, but be honest – are we REALLY ‘grieved’, ‘outraged’, ‘deeply saddened’, etc.  about *every* school shooting, racial riot, tsunami, government overthrow , genocide, terrorist attack — or do we just want to make sure everyone knows that we’re socially conscious people and keyed into relevant issues? It’s like we’re all running for office and have to put out a press-release documenting our official response to all trending topics. Why?? Are you actually in a position of power to change those situations? Do you actually have anything new to add to the conversation, and/or can you actually say something more clearly and eloquently that someone who actually is an expert has not already said?
  • “But Galloswag!”, you protest, “we could always give money toward different causes, right?” Sure.. except do you really have the time to research the integrity and effectiveness of all the organizations you support? I used to think, “I’d rather give money and it be used unwisely than not give money to a worthy cause.” But sometimes throwing money blindly at problems really can cause harm (see Robert Lupton’s Toxic Charity). And not to get all Marxist on y’all, but there are limited resources in the world, which means pouring resources into an ineffective or corrupt organization really is a sort of evil, because you’re stealing from the people, causes, organizations that actually are legit.

Here’s where I’ll pivot somewhat from the bleak and cynical. I’m starting to think that mayyyybbeee we’re given specific skills… put in specific times and places… around specific people… for a reason. Maybe I should focus on helping my lab-mate move to a new apartment, doing good science that actually makes a contribution (however small) to finding a cure for a devastating disease, and supporting local businesses, artists, etc. It’s not that I want to bury my head in the sand and pretend the big scary world doesn’t exist. It’s that I can’t stretch my poor little emotions so thin that I become a self-righteous maniac or a detached psychopath who responds to all evils with a moving fb status update or a disturbingly glib reaction meme, respectively. I’m beginning to think the best way to bring shalom* to my world is a be a good sister, help out in my own community, and save my money, time, and emotional energy for one or two causes/issues that 1) are particularly important to me and 2) are being combated by trustworthy organizations that I’ve taken the time to research.

This is a departure from my usual tongue-in-cheek, bossy-pants posts because I truly don’t know if this is good or right.. but this is where I’m at right now. So I welcome your thoughts. But of course, you can also just silently judge me and I will continue merrily on.

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*Shalom is one of my favorite concepts of all time. It’s a Jewish word that is sort of a synonym for peace, although it’s not just referring to the absence of conflict but the flourishing of a community. ❤

Punch those glums in the jugular

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Let’s be real- the glums (e.g. “bleh.”) or angsties (e.g. “eek!”) can come upon us all.* You’re sitting home alone, eating your third bowl of sprouted corn flakes for that day, and suddenly the absurd nothingness of your life sets in. Do you allow your mind to take that turn down Despair Drive? Or do you grab the wheel and screech triumphantly into Laughter Lane?!

If Laughter Lane is your destination of choice, here are some tried and true (by yours truly, at least) methods for punching those glums in the jugular.

1) Purposely befriend and hang with people who think your problems are lamé

It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s refreshing to be with people who don’t care (beyond how it makes you feel) if all the rats in your experiment die, or your hairline is receding, or your boyfriend’s sister said you dress like a skank. Friends like this help me reorient and realize that many of my issues are pretty isolated and low-impact in the grand scheme of things. #perspective

2) Move dat bodaay!

You’ve probably read somewhere that running and yoga help reduce stress. But while I do both so I can be a Fast and Flexible Fran, I can still mull over my problems and bad feels as I do them. Instead, weight training dispels the glums the best for me.  I can’t think about anything else when I’m training except my form and breathing. That narrow focus is a peaceful Japanese garden compared to my usual wild bramble of thoughts. Plus, weight training gives you the benefit of ‘mirin’ yourself in the mirror afterwards, which has been clinically proven to chase the glums away.

3) Look at perty stuff

Maybe this is more specific to me, but my work ain’t pretty. I dare you to google ‘transcardial rat perfusion’. Now imagine picking up a rat turd with a paper towel. That’s not all I do, PTL, but both of those are a part of my life. After prolonged exposure to this sort of ugliness, my soul begins to shrivel like a humiliated grape. It’s restorative to go look at beautiful houses around the well-to-do neighborhoods in my area, or even wander around some fru-fru store like Pier 1 Imports and let all my senses be assaulted with glitter, bergamot and lavender candles, and plush pillows. Ahh. If you are the manliest of mans and would feel emasculated doing either of those, go to a gun store and admire the beautiful machinery of the newest Kimber or something. Gah!

4) Be unimpressive 

When I was in undergrad, I became obsessed with “holistic excellence.” Consequently, even my so called “down time” was somehow impressive or admirable, like reading Aristotle or running to break a personal record. Now, I give myself the indulgence of lounging in my pj’s and watching You’ve Got Mail for the 3,547th time. And I don’t feel guilty about it. For you who are already experts at being unimpressive, this point may seem cray. But, if you err on the side of perfectionism, just stop. striving. for a little while.

5) Get artsy-fartsy, but hold the fartsy.  

If you’re already an artist of some sort, then you do you. But if you are like me with practically no artistic ability, here are some ideers- make up a new recipe off the top of your head, color in one of those super elaborate coloring books for adults, write a short fictional story, spray-paint a random object, play with Legos.. whatever. Usually I have this glorious creation in mind, but the end product is so absurdly ugly that it makes me laugh uproariously. So either way.. glums be gone.

6) Love-text 

Similar to drunk texting, except you’re drunk on LOVE and you selectively target your fam and your closest friends, not your exes. I like to text, one by one, everyone I love with “I LOVE YOUUUUU” or *kissy face kissy face kissy face*, or ‘ ❤ ❤ ❤ ‘ .. etc. If that’s a little over the top for your personality, then you can opt for something like “You’re not all bad” or something similarly stoic.  Not only does it give you warm fuzzies, it gives your loved ones warm fuzzies, which make your own fuzzies that much fuzzier. Eh, what? Okay, moving on..

Bonus: In a pinch, watch the YouTube clip of Will Ferrell and Christina Aguilera performing the Tight Pants Song on The Tonight Show. Glum cannot withstand its power.

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

* By glums, I mean a temporary, purely emotional (sometimes hormonal) downshift in mood. These tips aren’t meant to cure long term probs that have psychological &/or spiritual roots. If your problems aren’t temporary and they go deeper than feeling slightly ‘blue’, please make steps to talk to a counselor. For realz.

 

The only reason I haven’t roundhoused my trainer in the face

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Imagine this scenario: A man is staring intently at a woman’s body. After a few seconds, he tells her, “Hey, squeeze your butt.” Should the woman –

  1. Ignore him
  2. Call the po-po
  3. Give him a roundhouse to the face
  4. Nod appreciatively and squeeze her butt

If you’re a fiery woman like myself (#gallofire), you probably immediately chose option c – roundhouse to the face. Especially if it’s the sort of situation where the woman was at work and the man was some leering co-worker. I might choose option b if the woman was walking to her car at night and the man reeked of alcohol or some illicit substance. Option a would probably be best if the woman is walking down the street, and the man is yelling out of his car window. Option d is clearly NEVER the appropriate response.. or is it??

Imagine now a very different environment from all the ones I mentioned above. The man and woman are at a gym, they know each other, and the woman is paying the man to train her to be a magnificent beast of lean, mean muscle. Part of his job involves watching her closely as she performs different exercises, and telling her when she really needs to rev up her glute activation to perform various exercises. Now, in this very different context, not only should she not be offended, fearful, or activate her ninja mode, she should be grateful that he is performing his job correctly.

So look over options a-d again. They are all very different actions, all appropriate at one time or another, to the exact same event. The main factor that determines the appropriateness of each action is the context of the situation.

What helps us use context flexibly, at the millisecond timescale, to figure out the most appropriate action?

hippocampus

Enter one of the most magnificent brain structures of all time, the hippocampus! You actually have two, each one close to your ears, a few millimeters deep in the brain. The hippocampus doesn’t just ‘do’* one thing – it is most known for its role in memory – but one function it is undisputedly crucial for is taking in info about single ‘items’ (the man) or events (the man telling the woman to squeeze her butt), and incorporating them into the context (the workplace, parking lot at night, street, gym). These item-context associations are super important to send along to other brain regions to use to select the appropriate action (roundhouse, call po-po, ignore, nod ‘n squeeze).

You should also appreciate that the brain does this automatically and instantly. When my trainer tells me to squeeze my glutes, I don’t have to pause for 30 seconds, ponder through all the possible range of responses, mindfully take in my context, and then select an action. Instead, I choose option d – nod appreciatively and squeeze my glutes. I’ve never come close to giving him a roundhouse to the face. Amazing.

The real, every-day importance of the hippocampus is especially visible when the hippocampus stops functioning properly, as in Alzheimer’s disease**.  Once the disease progresses so far, people with Alzheimer’s disease are no longer able to respond to individual items and events in a context appropriate way. That may be one reason why they make inappropro innuendo with the voluptuous waitress, or offend the ears of their innocent grand-chillin’ with a string of foul language. Their hippocampi are becoming dysfunctional, and are less able to help them take in the item/event with the context so they can act appropriately.

So don’t take your hippocampus for granted – protect it by eating less brownies, and exercise like a beast. You don’t want to be that person who attacks their trainer for just doing their job. How embarrassing.

Oh hippocampus, thank you for all that you do. ❤

TAKE NOTE: If anyone says anything about squeezing my butt outside of the trainer-at-the-gym context, you WILL get a roundhouse to the face!!!

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*Practically no brain structure ‘does’ one thing, or does it by itself. If you cut out the hippocampus and set it on the table, it wouldn’t ‘remember’ anything. It’s crucially interconnected with a network of other brain regions that it receives info from and sends info to.

**Alzheimer’s disease affects many brain regions, and other brain regions are also involved in appropriate behavior (e.g. prefrontal cortex). But, the hippocampus is one of the first and most severely affected in Alzheimer’s disease, fo’ sho’, and it engages in intimate pillow talks with the other brain regions involved in appropriate behavior as well.

— I AIN’T MAKIN STUFF UP  —

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4179699/

Harry was wrong, and here’s why.

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In one of my favorite rom-coms of all time, When Harry Met Sally, Harry and Sally argue about whether or not men and women can be friends. Harry of course says no, although later he adds a stipulation that they can if one or both are involved in a serious relationship with someone else. Although I love the movie, I hate this answer. Thus, I offer you my own, better answer. (YOU ARE WRONG, HARRY!)

So, can single men and women be friends? I argue YES, but with several limitations.

  • Some women can never be friends with any men
    • This is the flirty, needy type who doesn’t see men as individuals, but as soulless tools of validation. They can’t go to a ball game, go on a hike, or watch a movie and be chill. They have to make sure that the focus is always on them and how adorable they are.
    • How to spot: Refusal to participate in activities that do not highlight their cuteness; confusingly wild laughter at their own ditzy behavior
  • Some men can never be friends with any women
    • This is the guy who constantly infuses romantic advances into every interaction. They can usually trick us women for a while by seeming like that sweet friend who just wants to be a shoulder to cry on, but if you give them an inch they will take a mile. They’re basically loitering around in the pretense of friendship, hoping that the woman will someday rise from her slumber and be filled with overwhelming love and affection for him.
    • How to spot: An overuse of emojis in text messages; awkwardly long hugs; usage of pet names
  • Some men and women can never be friends with each other
    • These are the people who really can generally be friends with the opposite sex, but when it comes to this one particular person, their friend skills wash away in an ocean of attraction. I see this a lot with people who date and then try to be friends afterward. I think it’s just more difficult after you’ve romanticized with someone to spend time and talk with them and not “go there” again. You’ll be laughing over some past experience with an angry waiter or something and then remember, ‘oh yeah, that was the same night we went on a romantic moonlit walk and he told me I was the most beautiful girl he had ever met’. It’s difficult to remember that, rally with a quick Anchorman quote, and proceed casually.
    • How to spot: If you’re ‘just friends’ with someone but would feel a little burned if they started dating someone; if you get irrationally angry with that person for relatively mild disagreements (don’t forget: indifference, not hate, is the opposite of love!)

BUT if you don’t fall into any of these categories, and neither does your friend of interest, REJOICE! My guy friends bring such amazing joy and rich perspective to my life. I hope that we can all stop over-sexualizing everything and just enjoy members of the opposite sex as the unique, beautiful unicorns of individuals that they are. ❤

 

An analogy, if you will.

tired-runner

I’m running a marathon. Why? Well, many years ago I earned many accolades for a 5k that I ran, and I do love my accolades. So much so that I decided I should be an ultra-runner. I knew that to do an ultra-run I had to run a marathon first, and so I signed up with much rejoicing.

From mile 1 of this marathon, I started to panic. I wasn’t ready. I had barely trained, and I learned quickly that the strategies to run well in a 5k were not going to work well for a marathon. Even more unsettling, the other racers made it clear within the first mile that they had trained well and were in much better shape than I was. Somehow, I struggled through like a rubbery-legged fawn and made it through the first few miles. Around the halfway point, I even received a little confidence boost from realizing I was still more or less keeping pace with the other runners. Some runners had already dropped out, and I felt a little special that I had decided to stay in.

Miles 13-25 though, were a bit horrific. At several points, I stopped running completely. Once I even ran in the completely wrong direction, until my exasperated marathon trainer grasped me by the shoulders and set me back in the right direction.

Almost every marathon runner considers stopping at some point, but I have considered it multiple times within every mile. I tell you, it is psychological torture. What makes it worse is that some runners that began at the same time as me, or even one to two hours after me, have already joyously crossed the finish line. In the meantime, craggy seasoned runners keep on running up next to me and saying “You feel bad now? Just wait until you begin the ultra-run! This marathon will seem like a light jog to your mailbox!” Others have told me that no one cares how I run this marathon, as long as I cross the finish line. It’s how I run the ultra-run that matters. While I get their point, that’s hardly motivating for me while I’m still dragging myself through this marathon.

You may be thinking, “Poor thing, she probably has a crappy marathon trainer.” But that’s not true. My marathon trainer is amazing. Other runners envy me. He makes me feel guilty because the guy frickin’ loves to run so much, and he really wants me to share that joy. He never asks me to run faster, because he wants me to want to run faster – to experience the pure joy of running. He says he can’t imagine doing anything else besides running.

But I can see myself doing almost anything, including several things that don’t involve running at all. Running isn’t my passion anymore. I don’t know if it ever was. I’m starting to wonder if I just enjoyed winning trophies at the end of my 5k, but I’m not sure if I actually enjoyed the run. I always cringe a little bit when people automatically assume that, because I’m currently running a marathon, my all-consuming passion is running. They like to say stuff like, “But of course you’re an amazing runner! You’re in a marathon!” But that doesn’t really mean anything. You’d be surprised at how relatively easy it is to sign up for a marathon even if you’re not qualified. It really just comes down to who is willing to put themselves through that torture. So please – stop assuming that 1) I love running and 2) I’m good at running. It makes my bad mile-times that much worse. I’m not being modest – I’ve been running for a while and, trust me, I’m not someone for a newbie runner to model their training plan after.

Now I’m on the last mile. People are yelling “Sprint! You can do it!” but all I want to do is crawl to the side, curl up in a ball, and die. I’ve firmly decided I never want to even attempt an ultra-run. I’m happy for those that do, but it’s not for me. I like the general idea of people out there running, and I’m thankful for the fortitude this marathon has given me for whatever I attempt in the future. But, I don’t feel any compulsion whatsoever to be a part of any future runs. If my marathon is really all about the ultra-run anyway, why should I care about finishing this marathon at all? I don’t plan to use any fragment of cardio capacity that I gained through this marathon for anything else I take on. Is it for the trophy, then? I don’t even really want the trophy anymore, because so many other people with this trophy are actually runners who completed this marathon for the joy of running. They trained, they persevered, they deserve it, and they’re rightly an inspiration to others. If people see my trophy, they will assume that I’m one of them, but that’s not really fair. And when I insist otherwise, I’ll just seem demure.

Maybe I should forget about the ultra-run, forget about the trophy, forget about feeling guilty about having no joy in running, and just focus on reaching that next tree. When I get there, I will try to find some lovely rock in the distance to run towards. At this point, the finish line is less about accomplishment and more about looking forward to being done with running. So I WILL finish this damn race, if only for freedom from the race.