PDA: How Much is too Much?

PDA: How Much is too Much?

By Lauren Walsh

As I was sitting on the CATA bus the other day, a couple sitting next to me decided that it was the appropriate time to have a make-out session. Considering that I had just finished taking a terrible exam and felt somewhat under the weather, watching them exchange saliva made me feel as if I was going to regurgitate lunch. It’s understandable that Valentine’s Day has passed months ago, which may have an influence on all this public display of affection, but I also believe that there is a perfect time and place for everything. Whether it is, thanking your girlfriend for that amazing dinner, or showing your boyfriend how grateful you are for that obnoxious red hearted bear, this display of gratitude should have some kind of physical limit in public areas.

This is hard for me to say because I have always been a fan of PDA. I still believe that life is too short to not show somebody your love or affection, but I think that out of respect to the rest of us, there should be some ground rules. It’s as if the person you were sitting next to in class decided to let out flatulence without any warning or remorse; they decided to do it because they felt that it was important to them despite the olfactory damage inflicted. They’re ultimately the kind of person that will do that at a wedding or funeral, and while to some this may be disrespectful and shameful, others take pride in their public display of gas; similar to how others take pride in their PDA.

Although passing gas in public may be considered a funny quality, it exceeds the limit of proper social behavior, like PDA. People should take into consideration that when they’re in public, they can still act like themselves while respecting others. Otherwise we would live in a vulgar society, where people wouldn’t care about their fellow human beings; PDA should still exist, but with boundaries. Such as, how people view food superstitions like the five- second rule, where if their food drops on the floor, they have five seconds to pick it up before it gets contaminated with bacteria. This principle should be applied to PDA in the sense that, people should have a “ten-second rule” of having a make-out session. If I am on a thirty minute bus ride, I sure as hell do not want to see a reenactment of a love scene from the movie The Notebook, on my way home.

“PDA should be displayed appropriately, as if you were a parent in front of your children. Making-out for a long period of time in front of your children is as unsuitable as if you were to do it in front of others,” stated political science student, Leiana Monkman.

If you’re a passionate person, it’s easier to say that you’ll limit your practice of PDA rather than to actually do it. It’s not as if every time you go to kiss your boyfriend or girlfriend you’re going to time that kiss, its more about being aware of where you are at the moment and taking it into consideration. Personally, being passionate is one the best qualities somebody could have, but knowing where and how to display it makes it more admirable. When researching what others thought about PDA, I came across the public display of affection quiz at Gagirl.com and found it to be pretty accurate and amusing; here are some of the questions:

Is it ever okay to PDA in church or synagogue?

  • Never
  • Maybe
  • Every time you go.

At the movies, you sit:

  • In the middle row, in the center to get the best view.
  • Anywhere you can sit together and not get a neck cramp.
  • In the back row, nice and private!

And my favorite…

At a party Saturday night, you two spend how much time “upstairs” together?

  • There was an upstairs?
  • Maybe twenty minutes.
  • There was a party downstairs?

If you answered C to every question, Gagirl.com states, “Think twice before groping each other. You may be making everyone around you feel uncomfortable. Be especially careful in such public spaces as church or businesses, where it is taboo for intense PDA. We suggest you tone it down a few notches.”

So next time you’re in a class or on the bus with your girlfriend or boyfriend and they’re looking especially good that day, try to restrain yourself. Show them a preview and let your partner see the movie in a private place. Like I’ve stated in my previous article, “Patience is a virtue.”

The longer you wait to you let out your passionate side to your loved one, the more exhilarating it will feel when you finally have the right moment.

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Rough Saturday Night? The Day-After Solutions

Rough Saturday Night? The Day-After Solutions

By Lauren Walsh

It seems like you’ve been asleep for days. Waking up on a Sunday morning in your own bed is an admirable achievement and waking up somewhere else is well, surprisingly standard. Although waking up in a foreign place such as your sister’s front yard or best friend’s bed may be typical, it’s foremost unfortunate. Waking up not remembering or regretting what happened the night before leaves an aching feeling of discomfort along with a throbbing headache which acts as a constant reminder of “wtf did I do last night?” In these circumstances, vitamins and fluids may cure the physical aspects of a hangover, but the emotional damage is left untreated and therefore requires immediate remedies.  The following five solutions may help relieve that lingering doubt:

(sxc.hu)

1. Phone a friend, find out what happened. When waking up the next morning having no recollection of the night before, the best way to actually get over it is to first find out what happened. Hopefully those questions will be directed towards friends rather than parents, because there are just some things parents shouldn’t know. Getting the facts of what happened the night before alleviates that sense of anxiety and allows you to learn things about yourself that you thought you were incapable of. Such as taking ten shots of tequila or doing a headstand on the kitchen table. Among these remarkable breakthroughs, you might also discover some downsides of last night such as your wallet being missing or that you broke up with your partner after two years of dating. Regardless if the news is bad, any news at all is good news, and that’s why it’s crucial to find out what happened.

2. Check your inventory; make sure you even have a phone to be able to call that friend. When the events of last night unfold, it’s vital to check every pocket, purse, room, and car to make sure that you have your three essentials: wallet, keys, and phone. These items will not only alleviate that hangover stress but will provide a sense of truth to that feeling of uncertainty. Such as you may wonder why you only have two dollars in your wallet after a fifty withdrawal from the bank. Well, my friend, you may have been very friendly last night and bought your friends (or even strangers) several rounds of drinks. Even though you are now broke, look at the plus side, you have random new numbers in your phone and are ultimately a very giving person, so I applaud you. Also, among those new numbers, you may find those seven digits from that girl or guy that you chatted up to last night. This may be a complete exaggeration but calling strangers never hurt anyone. Nevertheless, having those belongings will help cure that emotional damage of a hangover.

3. Apologize, if necessary. After finding your phone, or commendably having it all along, use it to call anyone that you may have injured or insulted last night. Whether you drunk dialed or ran into your ex-boyfriend and called him an asshole or punched someone in the face because you felt like it, an apology is obligatory. For many people, saying “I am sorry” is like facing the death penalty, but if you know or find that you did wrong to others, be that honest Spartan I know you can be and man up to your mistakes. Not only will this help resolve any issues between you and that person, but will help clear that guilty conscious from last night’s calamities.

4. Do penance. If the apology to your friend didn’t suffice then taking them out to lunch or doing their laundry may get you one step closer to forgiveness. You know this always worked when you got into trouble with your parents, so make up for those mistakes by spoiling your friend a little. If a self-directed apology is necessary because you feel so ashamed of your actions or abuse of alcohol, then go do something for yourself. For example, if you drank too much and decided to shave only part of your head because it was hot outside (unlikely in this Michigan weather), go get a real haircut and maybe a massage while you’re at it. If you drunkenly decided to buy the taco twelve pack from Taco Bell at three AM and felt guilty about it in the morning then go for a run or lift some weights. These resolutions will offer a sense of comfort from the emotional damage of that Saturday night.

5. Get over it, and pretend it didn’t happen. So you worked really hard in trying to remember and find out what happened last night, now try and forget it. After making sure you have your entire inventory, apologized to yourself and others for being a complete waste of existence, and making up for it, now try to forget everything that happened. Don’t confuse forgetting those events from not learning from your mistakes. If you portray yourself as that obnoxious drunk, not only will you continue to have these regrettable hangovers and sense of insecurity, but no one will want to hang out with you.  Even though these five steps along with fluids and vitamins may cure that Saturday night disaster, be honest with yourself and recognize that it’s probably going to happen again. So, if none of these five steps work, slap yourself a little and grab a cocktail.

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How Do You Know If You Can Trust Them?

How Do You Know If You Can Trust Them?

By Lauren Walsh

While break-ups are part of life and guide us for our next relationship, they somewhat restrain us from fully trusting our next potential partner.  This is based on how people try to rationalize their jealous or passive behavior caused by unfortunate experiences in their previous relationships. Trust shouldn’t be based on our previous heartbreaks, but rather should gradually develop with time-and sense of security. Many people begin relationships by immediately telling the other person to “trust them,” and once those words are said, a feeling of paranoia can follow. We begin questioning if we really do trust that person and wonder what exactly makes them trustworthy.

Trust is One of the Hardest Things to Gain in Relationships.

Since winter break has passed and spring break is just ahead, couples may separate from their highly intertwined daily college lives to visit their family or friends. While some return home to their high school friends or old flings, others may head to beaches where they’re surrounded by dental floss sized bikinis. These college breaks briefly turn these typically close proximity relationships into temporarily long distance ones. With this picture in mind, how are you confident that your partner is trustworthy?

“It’s normal for couples to separate during a break because I know that I’ll want to have fun with my friends at the club and I know that the guy I am seeing will want to do the same,” said  accounting junior Ally Waltman.

However, for business sophomore Alex Bergman, cheating in a situation like this would be the ultimate deal breaker.

“If I ever had a girlfriend who cheated on me, it would be the ultimate deal breaker,” Bergman said.

While it does sound practical, when has taking a break from your partner over vacations become the norm instead of spending time together? Has trusting your partner become so difficult that taking a break is like the new way to actually deal with a relationship? If people don’t want to be in a relationship, then they shouldn’t be — no breaks, commas or ellipses.

This is why the expectations of being trustworthy have dwindled in the first place because the definition of being “in a relationship” has changed. If a guy is into a girl and is seeing her exclusively but the girl is seeing other guys, not only will this cause heartbreak and an exchange of offensive words, but health risks could be involved.

“Relationships can be tricky things to define, and if you’re in one, you want to make sure that both you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to where you stand. You might think you’re only sleeping with each other, but the reality could be very different and very scary.”

The fact that almost twice the amount of women than men thought they were in a relationship is perplexing and unfortunate. What prompted the women to think they are in a relationship? Are they being misled?  Expecting too much?  Did three dates in one week become a “committed relationship?” Did he pick-up the tab, so a “we’re together” status was assumed?  Is it because girls are naturally born “nesters?”  Where is the fine line between dating and being classified as a boyfriend/girlfriend?

The most pragmatic solution is to discuss what the partners expect from their relationship. When a mutual understanding has taken place, then trust will ultimately follow.

Once trust is earned, no longer will flirting with random bodies in bikinis have an effect on your relationship. Besides, guys should have faith that their partner would rather be with them than hooking up with someone else — isn’t that the very least one should expect out of a relationship? On the other hand, it’s completely normal for guys to look at other girls; it is in their DNA, instigated by testosterone levels and the fact that guys are hunters.

However, Paul Newman once said, “Why fool around with hamburger when you can have steak at home?” So girls and guys, just because you may be looking at other attractions doesn’t mean you shouldn’t appreciate what you already have, so don’t make trust, or lack of trust an issue. Besides, you can always show your “better half” how good they have it with you by reminding them about what made you stand out from the others in the first place.

Communication is Key.

Personally, trustworthiness is based on values, morals and whether the other person initiates the relationship. If two people are in the first stage of dating and are waiting to see what the other person expects from them, instead of forcing monogamy, their relationship terms should be agreed upon. Forcing monogamy could create a sense of obligation causing the other person to run in the other direction to date other people.

It’s like being grounded by your parents as a child; you feel forced to do something that was unjust, so you feel like defying their rules and sneaking out. This feeling of rebellion provides you with a rush of adrenaline that causes the behavior to repeat; you get a “high” from being bad. People who cheat obtain the same adrenaline rush because they act out their dissent against something they didn’t agree to. If you force someone to be exclusive or make them feel guilty for not wanting to be, they are more likely to cheat, and you will be less likely trust them.

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Getting Older: Not Always an Advantage

Getting Older: Not Always an Advantage

By Lauren Walsh

As I walked along the Red Cedar River on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, I wondered, “Where are all the guys at MSU?”

It’s not as if I am saying that MSU resembles a girl’s boarding school and it’s impossible to meet a guy, but as a twenty-two year old junior, I feel as if the chances of meeting someone decent before graduation are slim to none.

Unfortunately, most female students find themselves in this situation because as they advance through the university system, their dating pool shrinks while for male students, it expands. When girls enter MSU as freshman, their selection of boyfriends is considerable. Underclassmen, upperclassmen, grad students, grad assistants and even PhD candidates make up the dating pool.

Many senior females feel that it’s somewhat social suicide to be dating a freshman boy, hence the term “boy.”  While these boys feel as if dating someone older is like winning the jackpot; they get a more experienced cougar-like woman. Older females continue to struggle to find that potential boyfriend as they age in a university setting. That “other” campus in Ann Arbor is intertwined with a proper city employing scores of eligible young professional men.

(sxc.hu)

“As a twenty-one year old senior, I feel that my only option is to date senior guys because I am not looking to date someone not old enough to go to the bars with me,” said communications junior Aly Weiner.

On the other hand, twenty-one year old males have no bias towards girls as young as eighteen because having that younger girl on his arm makes him look more masculine and virile. The guy feels more superior with a younger girl because it’s as if they are guiding them through life.  When this kind of relationship dies due to lack of common interests, those young girls yet again find themselves searching for that imaginable soul mate. As semesters pass by as quickly as virtues are lost, girls begin to feel that aching pressure in finding that right guy before graduation.

“By second semester, senior year dating seems pointless…starting a relationship so late in college usually ends in a breakup when we both graduate because we’ll probably be going in separate ways,” said human biology senior Ilana Anders.

When many single girls graduate, their ears are boxed by their parents and friends; interrogative questions about if they’re seeing someone, and if not, what they should do to start and by the time they’re in their late twenties they should be rewarding their parents with grandchildren.

As if the stress of job interviews and applications are not enough, many girls feel pressure to meet the right guy during their years in college. On the contrary, many guys as young as eighteen feel that dating in college should be casual and that if something is meant to work out, it will.

“Dating in college is somewhat unrealistic. Everyone is overwhelmed with school work and when I do meet a cool girl, she becomes too attached to the idea that we’ll be together forever. I am not worried about finding a girlfriend though, three more years is a long time, and there are plenty opportunities to meet new people,” said sophomore Josh Kaplin.

After wondering “what had happened to all the guys here at MSU,” I made my way home and realized that maybe I just need to relax. Sure, we might not like dating younger guys and may be getting older, but I feel females should sometimes compare dating to old Chinese proverbs. In this case “Patience is a virtue,” in the sense that to eliminate that pressure, all students should be patient with having a relationship.

Attempting to please our parents, friends or even yourself by jumping into this committed liaison may end in shambles because of pressure buildup and by simply not being ready to completely share yourself with another person. Some of the best relationships begin when people are not even looking—best friends falling in love or lab partners turning a study date into a romantic one. Being patient is important because romance seems to hit people when they least expect it.

Being in a relationship is like opening a book for the first time and finding it filled with boundless dialogue in a foreign language. You may never know if you will end up understanding the context or if the ending will be happy or sad. So, instead of trying to find that book too quickly and then struggling through those pages, females who feel that pressure of finding the right guy when they’re young should be patient.

When you do feel that anxiety and hear those dreaded questions about why you’re still single, use the other functional aspect of that book by whacking that person across the head with it. This will usually get them to be quiet and you’ll probably get a good laugh out of it.

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The Transfer Student Guide to Relationships

The Transfer Student Guide to Relationships

By Lauren Walsh

I transferred from a college of 20,000 to a university with a student body of 45,000 – I should have met somebody by now!  I assumed that sitting at a café or the library may entail a casual conversation with a stranger, but for me and many transfer students, this is not the case.

Instead, transferring to Michigan State University as a sophomore or junior comes with obstacles when trying to obtain any kind of relationship. Unlike freshman students who enter the dorms with an instant connection with their roommates and communal diners, many transfer students come to MSU unfamiliar with the student social life at a large campus.

I’m not alone in my theories – fellow transfer student and communications junior Emily Bunn said, “A big part of starting out at MSU as a freshman is getting to know so many people in the dorms, and I feel like I missed out on that opportunity.”

(sxc.hu)

As I walk among fellow Spartans, my status is imperceptible to those other students, and a simple introduction in class usually doesn’t lead to outside plans. This leaves us to the rare situation found between transfer students and prospective relationships. Having already been here two months, finding instant reliable friends or even someone to date seems inevitable. When attending casual get-togethers, I assume that the chance of meeting that certain somebody would be promising, but most of the guys I meet are completely unaware about how to make an advance toward a girl, and the ones who do already have girlfriends. This disheartening situation should have a section on the MSU Facebook page with the headlines “Relationship status: Complicated.”  On any given night, these feelings of disappointment only persist as I go to different bars or parties.

At least I am not alone in my frustration. “When I moved here I thought I’d meet people instantly, but the students in my classes are completely silent, and meeting someone at a bar seems reckless and unpredictable,” said fellow transfer student and accounting junior Abby Maynard.

Unless you’re a freshman attending common house parties where meeting someone has infinite possibilities, dating for transfer students should come with a “Dummies” handbook. The guide should include a rulebook about where to not meet people in East Lansing, outlining places that have worked for others and ways to have the confidence to actually make that daunting first move that could be the start of something new and exciting. Finding a romantic relationship in college is a common goal of many students, but transfer or not, being single in college seems to be the vast majority. Regardless of those exceptional committed relationships out there, college students will be college students and will play the field.

“I was seeing this guy who is also a transfer student, and thought since we had this common ground that maybe it would last, but after a long weekend of tailgating and parties, I never heard back from him,” said business sophomore, Kelly Atlas.

Photo taken by Kristi Cookinham

Since there are so many choices and interests at a university, many students prefer to stay single and enjoy the “diversity” that MSU has to offer. So, when a transfer student does finally meet that certain somebody, how are they supposed to keep that individual interested? In life, everything is a game; whether it involves competing against others for a job or internship or maintaining a relationship with a potential partner. As difficult as it is to find that possible girl or boyfriend, it is more difficult to make yourself stand out from the rest of the crowd. As Beyoncé sang, “All the single ladies, all the single ladies, I got gloss on my lips, a man on my hips, got me tighter than my Dereon jeans, acting up, drink in my cup, I can care less what you think.” So, take her wise words, put on your favorite jeans, hell, drink tea in that cup, if that’s who you are. All that matters is that you’re being yourself.

As an active participant in this transfer student relationship strategy, I urge all you who transferred or even single romantics to belong to the various societies MSU has to offer. After joining clubs that relate to my major and hobbies, not only did I gain the resume building, but I discovered a new way to meet people that have the same interests and future goals. Whether it’s joining a study group, ethnic dance club, an intramural sport or the Greek system, the more people you meet, the bigger the social group you will gain and discover a further sense of belonging.

So the next time you’re sitting in a café, ask the person next to you what they’re reading or extend a simple smile or “hello.” Being nice never hurts, and it could spur a rewarding relationship or at least a funny story to tell about with your friends.

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