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Friday, August 23, 2013

The Bell Curve of Beefy

This summer's season of The Bachelorette ended recently in a flurry of rose petals and tears and bad poetry, so now my Monday nights and my life feel empty and meaningless. (Just kidding. Only my Monday nights.)
Anyway, my froomie Bekah texted a couple of days ago and reminded me that I never posted the promised Bachelorette-inspired post, so here it is. Better late than never, right?

One of the reasons I love the Bachelor franchise is that these shows are like one big ethnographic study. I'm fascinated by the interactions, by the drama, by all the feels the contestants express.

This season, however, I'm seriously tired of seeing abs. And pecs. And huge necks. These guys are either spending way too long in the gym or they're 'roiding big time. Or both.

It is for this reason that I feel the need to explain what I like to call the Bell Curve of Beefy.

This bell curve basically posits that bulking up — pumping iron, getting cut, what have you — will only make you more attractive to a certain point. Pass this point, and it will begin to have the opposite effect. Bulk up too much, and you will look like a meathead. 

Allow me to illustrate the curve with Disney characters:

(I'm pretty sure bell curves are usually for averages, but if the graph fits...)

I first became aware of the principle behind this graph while using the ridiculous rec center at Mizzou. The main weight room there is always full of brawny boys in basketball shorts and cut-off tank tops. The room is thick with the scent of sweat and Axe and protein shakes, and it's walled in glass, which gives outsiders the opportunity to observe the gymrat species in its natural habitat.

Whenever I passed by, I found myself most intrigued by the neck machine. Every time I saw a boy strengthening his neck, I wanted to rap on the glass and ask, "Um, excuse me, are you doing that for me?"

And by "me," I would mean the girls.

Are you boys thickening your necks for us? Or for each other? Because I promise you, I PROMISE YOU, girls do not mind the natural circumference of your neck. You can leave it the way it is.

Is there another, non-appearance-related reason to work out your neck? If so, enlighten me. Please. What do you need to lift with your neck besides your own head?

Maybe your motivation to work out has nothing to do with impressing girls. By all means then, disregard my commentary. Maybe you're bulking up so that you can — I don't know — perform various heroic feats. Or maybe you just like being cut for your own sake. In that case, go for it.

But in case you are working out for us, allow me to provide you with a brief list of things women are more concerned with than your neck/lats/abs/pecs/biceps:

  • Whether you're nice to your mom
  • What you're reading
  • Your work ethic

I know you're not getting this stuff from GQ and Men's Health.

(I actually just Googled "Men's Health cover," and now I am being blown away by their headlines: "17 DAY ABS," "GOLD MEDAL ABS," "SHRED YOUR ABS!" I am genuinely sorry that the media are bombarding you with faulty information about what you need to be. Now I want to start an entire blog series debunking Men's Health articles about "What Women Want!" Hint: It's not your 8-pack abs.)

I'm not saying guys should quit working out altogether. I'm just saying let's find the happy medium, people. The Gaston look isn't good on anybody.

♫ No one's slick as Gaston / No one's quick as Gaston
No one's neck's as incredibly thick as Gaston ♪

Monday, August 19, 2013

ABC Family, you get me every time.

ABC Family has a new show, so, duh, I'm watching it. It has the same plot as basically all of their other shows, which should surprise no one.

Twisted: It's like all of ABC Family's other 
shows but slightly more ethnically diverse.

If something can be criticized as "formulaic," I can almost guarantee you that I will like it. (File this under Reasons I'm Not a Hipster.) This is how I see it: We reuse formulas because those formulas are awesome. They work every time.

The Backstreet Boys, for example, change keys two-thirds of the way through practically every song. And that is always, ALWAYS, the best part of the song. No need to tamper with a formula that works. (Coca-Cola tried once, and we all know how that turned out.)

Twisted, like Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game before it, centers around teenagers who
as they try to solve murders/mysteries involving
  • false accusations,
  • potential framing, and 
  • corrupt/misguided law enforcement
all while navigating typical high school drama such as
  • relationships/love triangles, 
  • pesky principals, and 
  • parents' marital problems.

And, of course, the amazing hair/wardrobes and the unrealistically articulate and intuitive "teenage" boys are, respectively, the whipped cream and the cherry on top of this delicious dramatic recipe.
Seriously, though.

Only one ABC Family formula has started to bug me, and that is the characters' proclivity for late-night visits to cemeteries/wooded areas/seedy hotels.

Seriously, Pretty Little Liars, will you ever learn to quit going to sketchy places at night alone in four-inch heels?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Get to You

Cannot get over this '80s-tastic new music video from Matt Wertz.
Also cannot get over the song.

Also cannot get over the cameos by Ben Rector and Steve Moakler.
Just cannot get over any of it.

More posts on the docket, people!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I'd kiss job interviewing goodbye.*

Being a grown-up has its perks. When you're a grown-up, you don't have math homework (or math teachers). Your braces are probably long gone, and your skin is probably mostly kind of clear most days. But being a grown-up also has its downsides, like job interviews and realizing you will never be a Disney child star.

Upon leaving a job interview the other day, I had a deja vu moment. I was like, This job interview feeling is familiar. And then I was like, Oh, wait, that's 'cause it feels exactly like a first date. The more interviews I go to, the more similarities I see. For both job interviews and first dates:

1. You can never figure out what to wear.

In my case, this means spending way too long in front of the mirror trying on every combination (permutation?) of the items in my closet. It is like the intro to Sabrina the Teenage Witch up in my room, except that she just has to will her outfit to change, whereas I have to throw all the pieces everywhere.

Should I go with a skirt or pants? When was the last time I washed this top? Where the heck are my shoes!?

2. Some online reconnaissance is expected.

It's stupid to go into a job interview without having done a substantial amount of preliminary research about the company. Similarly, it's stupid to go on a date with a guy without doing your dude diligence.

In recent months, I have scaled back my pre-date internet stalking because I realized how super creepy it is to know random details about a guy due to the fact that you read his Facebook notes from 2008. You do not need to know a guy's (a) preferred Bible translation, (b) cousins' names, and (c) last six Halloween costumes to go on a date with him. (But do go ahead and make sure his favorite movie on Facebook isn't, like, The Texas Chainsaw Exorcism of Austin Powers.)

3. You get all nervous beforehand.


4. The conversation is basically the same.

Where are you from? Where did you go to school? What do you do? Why that field?

The Venn diagram of first date conversation topics and job interview conversation topics is practically a circle. You know it's a great date when conversation diverges from the standard fare.

5. You have to wait for them to call afterward.

Every time I remember that I'm expecting a call from a company, it feels as if my stomach and my lungs have swapped places. Does anyone else know this feeling? It's the same one you get when you remember that a guy said "I'll call you."

6. And the phone conversations are supes awkward.  

I do this awful thing when I try to make pre- or post-date conversation with boys on the phone: I get so afraid of awkward pauses that I talk so fast I forget to breathe. And then I have to disguise the fact that I am literally gasping for air. This also happened the other day when I was on the phone with a company. I was trying to tell this lady about my education, but instead I was hyperventilating.

(This is undoubtedly the most embarrassing revelation included in this list.)

7. Down the road it will either end in commitment, or it will just end.

Early in my job-searching days, I had to turn down a job offer that wasn't the right fit. It felt like a mini break-up. I worried I'd led them on. Taylor Swift is writing a song about it.

8. The only thing worse than going through one is never getting the chance. 

Sometimes you apply for a great job, and the company never even asks you for an interview, and it all feels like such a waste because you would've been perfect for the position.

And sometimes you like a boy, and he never even asks you for a date. And that, too, feels like a waste because you totally wanted the chance to chat with him while you both fiddled self-consciously with the cardboard sleeves around your coffee cups.

9. You never know what they've already read about you on the internet. 

For instance, if any potential employers or suitors (What word would you have used?) have read this blog, I have undoubtedly guaranteed that I will never get a job interview or a first date again. Oops.

10. You've gotta remind yourself that you're a catch.

No matter how nervous I may feel, I know the company that lands me lands a stellar employee. Extrapolate as you will.

*Just kidding, that would be a surefire way to guarantee unemployment.
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