Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Carmen and the case of the weird PDA

I, like most people, have pet peeves. Some of which are:
-Leaving wet towels/ washcloths in a heap (I have this secret paranoia that it'll start molding. Either way it WILL start smelling)
-People talking to me when I'm writing
-People leaving the lights on when they leave the apartment (who are you leaving them on for? Or are you just doing charity work for the city by raising a ridiculously high power bill?)

-People clipping their nails in public (seriously people?! IN PUBLIC?!) and/or not cleaning them up off of the ground (have y'all ever stepped on a nail that isn't yours? It's disgusting. Don't be that person),
-One uppers (sorry my life isn't as good as yours)
-People doing that mucusy way of clearing their throat/nose
-People touching their eyes *shutters.*

However, all these pet peeves of mine are pretty livable. Yeah they're annoying and, aside from the clipping nails one, I'm able to easily shrug it off and move on with life after I complain to someone or roll my eyes (which no one is allowed to touch anytime ever under any circumstances ever).

That is, except for one. And you probably guessed it from my title.

Public displays of affection (PDA).

PDA makes me uncomfortable. I never know where to look, and I feel this emotion somewhere between annoyance and anger. Yet, like a bad car accident, I can't look away.

I didn't discover this pet peeve of mine (or perhaps I didn't develop it) until I came to BYU; the Holy Land of PDA.

BYU is peppered with an abnormal amount of couples; engaged, married, dating steadily, flings, and so on. So, while not every couple is PDA-ee, seeing couples fondling over each other is inevitable on BYU campus. And I'm not talking hand holding, cuddling, kissing - you know, the normal PDA. I'm talking about extreme PDA.

Let me clarify something for a second: I guess it's more when I'm STUCK with PDA. Sure, passing the average kissing couple or snuggling couple makes me sad and envious, and sitting behind the couple who is cuddling in church is distracting . . . and it's when I'm stuck by the couple who is doing weird PDA that it gets awful.

And it can get really, really weird.

And this, my friends, is the main plot of this blog post:

My encounters with weird PDA couples on campus.

The Nicholas Spark Couple

This encounter took place in the middle of the library on campus. I saw them as soon as I sat down and, in an effort to avoid one of my pet peeves, I immediately began looking for another computer I could sit at that would be out of view from them.

They're probably leaving soon. It looks like they're saying goodbye, I thought.

So I was correct on the assumption that they were saying goodbye. I was very wrong with the assumption that they'd be leaving soon.

The couple was right in front of me, so that whenever I stared at my computer I got a full view of their love and affection too.

They held each other's waists and stared sentimentally at each other. I saw the guy do puppy-dog eyes while doing a comical frown at the girl. She'd stroke his face with both hands like he was a cat and she was smoothing out his fur.

He cradled her head.
She cradled his too.

Long kiss.

At this point I'm like:

I felt so uncomfortable with the love fest taking place in front of me. And again, like a bad car accident, I couldn't look away.

The kiss ended.

Long hug. Their eyes were shut as they rocked back and forth ever so slightly.

I saw their left hands.


The hug ended. They stared at each other again, their eyes huge. They stroked each others cheeks again.

Let me reemphasize this.

They were both stroking each others cheeks with both hands at the same time. 

Finally, he walked away. They held hands as the girl stayed, and when they were finally out of arms reach from each other, their hands lingered in the air.

They continued to stare at each other as they walked away. The girl was looking over her shoulder at him, the guy was walking backwards.

Meanwhile I'm all like:

Well I mean I guess I can focus on my homework now. 

Then, the girl took off in a speed walk, and the guy was running towards her. They threw themselves into a romantic embrace.

Of course. 
Is this some kind of social experiment?

I put my head back to:

Focus on homework focus on homework focus on homework. 

The girl now had her hands on his chest. The guy had his hands on her elbows. He was back to doing the fake, weird, pathetic, possibly trying to be humorous frown. This might've been okay if it weren't for everything else I had just witnessed. 

Back to stroking each others faces. 

Suddenly I got a text from my friend saying, "Not to be a creeper, but I like your shirt." 

I perked up.

I looked up over my computer, past the couple having a Nicholas Sparks moment, and saw my friend peering over her computer across from me. 

Oh, thank goodness.
I trotted over to her and knelt down by her saying, "Have you seen this couple?" 

"YES! They're too much!"

We began talking again when she said, "They're doing the staring at each other thing again."

"Oh dear goodness."

"I can't believe this couple. And they're married!" I said.

"I saw that! It's like, relax you'll see each other in a couple hours!"

"This is a public library - he's not getting drafted to war!"

(I texted two friends about the situation and that was both of their responses)

I stared at them as they smiled and stroked each others faces again.

"This is disgusting. This is disgusting."

He began to walk away again, and they stared at each other as they did so . . . and ran back into each others arms.

"I can't. I just can't . . . well you know, this is good for when I'm in a relationship. I'll know what not to do."

"Right? I remind myself that too. I know what my husband and I shouldn't do in public."

In total, they stared, ran, and embraced each other three times before the guy finally left for good. And when he did, the girl whispered "goodbye" and they stared at each other while he walked away.

In which time I wasted 25 minutes staring at this couple.

I blame them for not getting all the homework done that I wanted to.

The couple who knew no one else

This is a short story. I could probably make it a poem but I'm too lazy.

I walked into a building to see BOOM a couple kissing and whispering to each other RIGHT in the doorway.

I squeezed past them, went to class, and spent the rest of the lecture replaying the scenario in my head in which I said to them, "Look - I'm happy you're in love and all, but you're in the way so can you take this love scene somewhere less out of the way?"

The bubbless couple 

This also took place in the library. I would say "maybe I should stop going there" but everywhere at BYU is a trap for PDA.

I legitimately witnessed a girl come to a guy who was sitting at his computer, sit on his lap, stroke his hair/sides of face, and start making out.

And again. They were right in my line of vision.

The Honeymooners

I was in class once and, like the majority of my classes at BYU, my professor asked if anyone had any good news. This translates to, "Anyone got married or engaged or had a baby or got pregnant within the last forty eight hours?"

The couple right in front of me raised their hands and announced that they just got back from their honeymoon.

Oh no.

This meant two things:
1) They have already gotten all the physical contact crap out of the system and have regained their politeness and self awareness.
2) They're like every other average newly wed and are still too in love with each other to care about common courtesy.

Put that awkward fellow behind the couple....


And then we get the different kind of PDA:

The Breaking Up Couples 

Seeing couples break up on campus is also pretty common on campus, though less noticeable. I have, however, had the privilege of stumbling upon a few break ups.

One time this couple walked out of the building I was walking into, and the girl was in HYSTERICS while the guy had her arm wrapped around her while she yelled, "IJUSTFEELSOHURTANDIDON'TGETWHYYOU'REBREAKINGUPWITHME"
Insert random hiccups in between letters.

I definitely did a double take.

Later that day, I was walking through a big open area on campus on my way to class when I spied a couple hugging . . . and hugging . . . and hugging.

I passed them, turned around, and saw that they were still hugging.

. . . and I slowly moonwalked back to them

"Are you okay?" asked the guy.

I heard a muffled sniffle.

"Yeah." said the girl.

"I'm sorry."

"I know."

More sniffles.

Aaaaanad I walked away. When I reached my building (which was a fair distance off), they were still caught up in their embrace. In like, the exact same poisition.

Weird, and different PDA.

I have 3 semesters left at BYU, so I'm sure I'll run into more PDA in the future.

I mean every university has it flaws, and if the main one is the bizarre, annoying, and disturbing PDA? I guess I can live with it.


Have an awkward thanksgiving dinner everyone.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Fall 2016 Dates -- A guide for men on what not to do on a date.

I'm currently taking a "psychology of positive living" class, in which we discuss the science behind happiness.

In one of our classes, we were discussing "maximizers." (Overachievers who set too high of goals and are more likely to be disappointed. They also have a tendency to largely overthink every option before actually making a decision - if they make a decision at all. He brought up that some just sit there and wait for God to make the decision for them.)
The others are "satisfiers;" people who reach a level or set a level of expectancy that is "good enough" for them.

I am a definite satisfier. The majority of the class (and I guess population) are maximizers.

Our teacher asked the maximizers in the class what they tend to overthink and get stuck in. One girl talked about her major, and how she often thinks if she chooses the wrong major, she'll be stuck in a horrible life and be unhappy for most of it.

Then we got on the most common subject at BYU:

Dating and marriage.

Here we go, I thought.

"I overthink dating ALL the time," one girl said. "I think about his career, what our kids will look like, what our kids will be like, where we'll live, how he'll like my family, everything. Nobody seems perfect enough, and then he ends up not even choosing to date me anyway and I have to start back over."

"That's pretty common among," my professor said. "They look for the perfect person and are disappointed when they realize everyone is a normal human being. Now, are they any satisfiers that don't maximize a choice like dating?"

I raised my hand.

"You don't? That's pretty uncommon - even among satisfiers," he said.

Keeping the same pose as the above picture I said, "Honestly at this point I'm just so desperate. All I want is a guy who is socially competent, normal, my age, and preferably taller than me, which I know is a lot to ask for. I'm willing to sacrifice the taller-than-me thing."

After all, Tina Fey did. And she's one of my inspirations.

But what led to such despair and lack of preferences and hope in my life of men?

This semester.

I've had a lot of ups and downs (mostly downs) with dating this semester. As frustrating as it is, I'm also grateful for the stories they make. I mean for one thing, they make great blog posts and for another thing, my children will be busting up about them someday.

There are three dates in particular that stood out to me this semester, and I'm gonna give you the low down of them. These involved Wesley, Chester, and Wallace.

Fake names, naturally.

The story between me and this kids is at least 5 chapters long. Maybe when it's been a few years and I no longer have contact with him, I will write out the entire story. For now, I will spare you and just post a run down of three of the chapters.

Chapter 2:
I was avoiding him for ages cause I knew he was gonna ask me out. But the inevitable happened. He sat down by me while I was writing.
"You hold your pencil wrong," he said to me.
He's kind of right. I hold my pencil differently than everyone else. Is it wrong? I don't think so. Like, it gets the job done. But I don't know the etiquette of holding a pencil. Or if there is any.
"Yes, I know," I said.
"Here, let me show you," he said while reaching for my pencil WHILE I WAS STILL WRITING.
"No - just let me show you how to do it right."
He reached for it again, and I swatted his hand with the pencil.
"Yeah, well you know what? It's been working really well for me the past 20 years, alright?"

"Okay, but you're holding it wrong-." and he reached for my pencil AGAIN.
I swatted his hand once again with my hand AND pencil and said, "STOP. I'm not even done writing."
"Okay, but after?"

I finished writing, then handed him my pencil.
He maneuvered it in his hand and said, "You hold it like this."
And then he just held his hand there so I could stare at it and observe it.

And I grabbed my pencil again.

Let's fast forward a couple days to Chapter 3

-I saw Wesley in the distance, and I quickly sped walked in the opposite direction
Oh, please no, please no, please no. I prayed quickly in my head.
"HEY CARMEN!" he said yelled

(I kind of aspire to be just like Olivia Benson)

"Hey, Wesley."
"I was wondering if you would like to hang out this weekend."

Dear all men: Buck up and just ask the lady on a date. Don't ask to "hang out" or "get together." Somewhere in there, say the word "date." 

"I'm actually busy this weekend," I said. And that was  NOT a lie.
"Oh - what are you doing?"
I can't remember what I was doing Saturday now, but Friday was the one that came up in the conversation:
"I'm going to a wedding reception," I responded.
"Oh - whose is it?"
"A friend from my mission...."
"How about I go with you?"
. . . did he just invite himself to a wedding reception?

Dear all men: don't do that.

"Well I'm carpooling with two of my friends there."
"Oh, I can meet you there. Where is it?"
"Provo - and honestly I think it'd be awkward because . . . well, I'm going to be hanging out with my friends, and you don't know them."
"But at the wedding reception, people wont ask you why you're not married yet if I come!"
". . . . they already don't ask me that," I said.
And I don't want them asking if WE'RE dating. . . 
"They do at the ones I go to. Anyway - do you want to carpool, or want me to meet you there?" he persisted.
Alright, I'm all for persistence and what not, but this was too much.
"Honestly, I think it would be uncomfortable for  me if you came."
"That's fine - I can meet you there."
Oh dear goodness. 
"No," I reiterated. "I'd feel uncomfortable if you came."
"What?" he asked.
I wasn't sure if he didn't actually hear me, of if he just didn't understand.
". . .It would be uncomfortable if you came. I feel uncomfortable . . . with you."
"Oh, really?"
"Oh, okay. That's fine."
Guilty Carmen came in and I sputtered, "But we can hang out after if you want!"
Dang it. 
Thankfully, he declined.

I thought it was over. Done. The End. Boom. He got my point.
Oh, no.

Chapter 4

A few weeks later, he asked me on a date. Like he actually said the word date!
And the word "yes" popped out of my mouth..
I think I was just in shock cause he said "date" instead of "hang out" or "get together." And he had a specific day in mind. So that was a bonus.
So, I agreed. And knew that - if nothing else - this would be a good story.
And it was, mostly cause of one reason:

His art of one-upping.

I hadn't noticed it before this date, but he was totally one upping me. Anything I had done in life, or anything I tried to relate to him with? Oh no, he'd done better.
This is one of my pet peeve, and usually I just shrug it off and let them win.
This time? Oh, no. Because  I could actually BEAT what this guy was saying.

Me: I was pretty tired after my flight home from New York so-
Wesley: Wait - how long was your flight?
Me: 3 hours.
Wesley: HA! Try a 17 hour flight. I had to do that!

Me: . . . I had a 23 hour flight coming back from Singapore.

Me: I hate winter.
Wesley: You hate winter? HA! Try going to the southern hemisphere in January for vacation and having to come back to Utah when it's cold!
Me: . . . I literally did that! With New Zealand. And Australia. And Singapore!

Wesley: I had to paint a house today.
Me: Oh man, that's the worst. When I did that, I -
Wesley: Try doing it in 100 degree weather.
Me: I did that. WITH. HUMIDITY.

Wesley: Anyone who says they don't like Chinese food hasn't had real, authentic Chinese food.
Me: I don't like Chinese food.
Wesley: It's because yo-

Seriously how many times do I have to bring that up?

Most of this took place on the door step scene after he said that women aren't good at science, and have too many insecurities.
But he reassured me that he's a feminist.

I had to excuse myself five times before I finally got into my house, closed the door, and vowed never to go on a date with him again.

Chester and Wallace:

Chester and Wallace came literally two days after my roommates and I decided that all men ages 22-27 were dead or married, which is essentially one in the same.
Chester is 20.
Wallace is 31.

Point proven.


This little fella asked me to "go get food" with him sometime.

This is a step up. But seriously guys, just say the word "date."

Then he suggested we hang out and watch movies at his house.

...Netflix and chill?

Okay now this is something I don't think men think of a lot, or really have to worry about.

I am not going to invite myself to sit in dark, close, personal quarters with a man I do not know because of SAFETY ISSUES.

It's a dangerous world to be a woman in, my friends. And I am one of those overly cautious women out there.

But it's okay cause so is Olivia Benson. Kind of. I guess.

So when he suggested that?

We were swapping stories on the date, and here's how most of his ended.

"So yeah, then we were making out. . ."

"And I guess then this girl and I were making out . . ."

Pause: What do you mean by 'I guess?' Like whoops, how did that happen?

"So we made out and . . . "

Oh buddy, I hope you know that's not going to happen with us. 

He also didn't  pay for me, so I didn't think it was a date, but then he said it was a date and I was like oh. Why didn't either of us pay for the other? Preferably you, but...

Guess I'm old fashioned like that.

This have a less exciting ending with this one. I just slowly disappeared and he forgot about me. I've seen him a few times on campus, and he hasn't noticed me as I sped walked past, looked down, or hid behind another person.

And it's usually early in the morning anyway when everyone's eyes are half shut so...


Wallace was good. He was chill. The date was good.

Only issue is he looked like one of the teachers I had.

Too weird.

I tried. I really, really tried to be interested. But I couldn't get past the whole "you look way too much like my teacher" thing.

I disappeared with him too, but that wasn't too hard cause he texted me / responded to me once every three weeks or so.

Oh, bonus story:


He was a blind date and it was 45 minutes long and I couldn't eat anything at the restaurant and he didn't talk and when he did I couldn't hear him.

The end.

Other boys came and went throughout this semester; first dates, boring dates, blind dates, long dates, short dates, large heart breaks, rejection, no soul mates, all that jazz. And as my adventure of a single college student continues, I can't help but think of one of my favorite lines from Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: