Dumb Valentine’s Day Card: Music Video

Valentine’s Day is a colossally dumb holiday. Like a lot of “holidays,” much of Valentine’s Day’s finds meaning in how much you can spend. Supposedly we’re celebrating love and Cupid and being together. That’s nice. There’s chocolate and flowers and restaurants and jewelry. I like that singles call it “Singles Awareness Day”, and that girlfriends go out for Galentine’s. That’s fun.

This commercially dedicated day is framed in a way to appear the only day in a whole year to declare love. Or make some grand gesture of love. You don’t want to miss your chance. But it does seem to be the only day people will wait in line for hours at a decent (or even crappy) restaurant. New couples may get to see an ugly, dark side of their dates as lines stand still; seasoned couples may wonder why they didn’t stay home and cuddle in front of the television. Hello, it’s the Olympics! What’s more romantic than watching people at their peak athleticism and talking about how we’re so much cuter and stronger and, better yet, way more comfortable in our jammies? We (I) do love Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski, who may be the best commentators of any event in the history of humankind.

But it’s only coincidence the 2018 Winter Olympics overlap with Valentine’s day. And that the Winter Games only comes around once every four years, and Dumb Valentine’s Day (yes, that’s the name of the entire proper noun) is every year.

It’s possible not to celebrate Dumb Valentine’s Day, to make that very deliberate choice, but this is also dumb. If I’m being completely honest with myself, despite this holiday being overhyped and spendy and chaotic and commercial and exclusionary, I actually quite love it. Mostly because my love loves it. Reilly really gets into giving me flowers and chocolate and a perfectly written card. And we have fun giving Z little chocolates. I enjoy this overt expression of his deep and abiding love. Throughout the year he does so many little things to support me and brighten my day. Like laundry: for me, folding clothes ranks below going to the dentist, but Reilly speeds through washing and folding loads of laundry without a single complaint. That’s pretty hot, and just thinking about it makes me wanna …

Ahem.

I don’t necessarily expect a sweeping flourish for Valentine’s Day, but I certainly relish the moments where he puts forth a greater effort beyond his daily, loving actions.

We’ve learned not to go out on Dumb Valentine’s Day itself. We might go out sometime this week, but tonight, people be crazy, so we’re staying in. Besides, I like the idea of spending a quiet evening with my family, of celebrating our love doing something non-sparkly. That’s plenty special.

I love hanging out with my family. It doesn’t even matter what we’re doing: Driving without having a place to go (sorry, environment!), watching TV, eating, sitting around. We don’t even have to be talking. It’s nice to read in the living room near (it doesn’t even have to be next to!) my honeyman, while Z plays or reads or spins around.

In true, self-contradicting, Dumb Valentine’s Day fashion, to demonstrate my love for my family, I have a somewhat grand gesture of my own. (Insert evil laugh here.)

I have been listening to Lorde’s first album–PURE HEROINE–a lot lately. Something about the second song really catches my ear, and it was on repeat for hours at a time, several days in a row. It’s a cute little song called “400 Lux,” and it’s about young love realizing it’s evolved into something deep and real. The couple in the song don’t have to be going anywhere to feel like they’re doing something together. They don’t feel unpredictable and uncertain anymore; their love is stable.

I love these roads where the houses don’t change

Where we can talk like there’s something to say

I’m glad that we stopped kissing the tar on the highway

We move in the tree streets

I’d like it if you stayed

That’s where I feel we are.

Many of my guilty pleasures are often cheesy and awkward things that sometimes cross over into being uncomfortable. I like Hallmark and Lifetime movies. I like movies about animals getting lost so they talk to each other telepathically and find their way home. I have a feeling that I would really like This Is Us. Anyway, I edited together some footage of our family hanging out with “400 Lux” as the soundtrack. Dirty windows, cracked lenses, the works. The result is a cheesy, awkward, and possibly uncomfortable video that I hope you (try to) enjoy. I love our little dog and our growing daughter and my always-super-hot husband.

My loves: I like you.

Happy Dumb Valentine’s Day.

Kissing Poll

It’s February, there’s the 14th. I’m still trying to decide if I’m one of those people who embrace the obnoxiousness of Valentine’s Day.

Sometimes I keep my eye open during prayers. I may bow my head for the first few seconds during a group supplication, but then I start looking at people and their earnest faces. They’re really intent on listening to the words of the prayer and I’m impressed and inspired by the collective faith of the group.

Now sometimes I open my eyes during kisses.

I’m not comparing prayer to kisses. I’m just saying there are two examples of when I open my eyes when my eyes are supposed to be closed.

As with prayers (still not comparing), I used to keep my eyes closed during kisses. I’m talking about the romantic ones you see on tv and the movies where the people close their eyes for entire seconds before lips meet. And then their eyes stay closed after the kiss is over. And then the people look into each other’s eyes and smile.

I thought that’s how kissing was supposed to be.

Sometimes it’s that way, but then I discovered that I could open my eyes. And that makes it a different experience. It seems that the instant my lids shut my other senses heighten. As if I’m actually blind, and I can hear/taste/smell/feel everything to an exponentially elevated degree. But how would I know that if I didn’t also try kissing with my eyes open?

Granted, it’s nice to close my eyes and let myself get lost in the moment, to enjoy this physical bond that represents deeper emotions and attachments. But there’s something about keeping my eyes open. I like being able to watch Reilly’s closed eyes.

(Sorry, Reilly. [We are generally very against public displays of affection but this blog post seems to contradict that principle. But really, you’ve only seen us kissing in pictures. And at our wedding. And a quick peck when he drops me off for work. {It’s only ever quick pecks when we’re outside our home.} That’s it. And we don’t kiss on BYU campus because we’re having too much fun laughing at the collective slobber-swapping that goes on over there.])

With my eyes open during a kiss, I like being able to see Reilly enjoy the moment, to focus on the kiss itself, to epitomize present-mindedness. There’s something very Zen about kissing. At least the kind of kissing that I’m talking about. It makes me smile. With the smiling, there’s the sensing of the smile. With the sensing of the smile, there’s the desire to maintain the smile. Which prolongs the kiss. Which I don’t object to.

So . . . I’ve achieved my blush quota for today. Now it’s poll time! Don’t worry, voting is anonymous.

Bon Effing Le St-Valentin

I don’t really have strong feelings either way about Valentine’s Day.  My stomach, however, starts churning vomit whenever I hear horrible pickup lines. We got a sheet of these in French class, so I decided to share them. They sound prettier in French, but are just as corny-cheeseball as they are in English. In parentheses are possible replies. In English. Of course.

-Est-ce que ton père a été un voleur? Parce qu’il a volé les étoiles du ciel pour les mettre dans tes yeux.
(If bad come-ons were a crime, they’d sentence you to an execution. That’s so much worse than my dad.)

-Tu n’as pas eu mal quand tu es tombé du ciel?
(Yes, and I declined first aid from you last time, too.)

-Tu dois être fatiguée parce que tu as trotté dans ma tête toute la journée.
(I am really tired, but it has to do with the sheer guff coming from your mouth right now.)

-Excuse-moi. On dirait que j’ai perdu mon numéro de téléphone… Est-ce que je pourrais emprunter le tien?
(I’ve lost my patience. Go. Now.)

-Est-ce que tu crois au coup de foudre au premier regard ou est-ce que je dois repasser?
(Dude, don’t walk by again. Just keep walking.)

-Excuse-moi. Est-ce que embrasses les inconnus? Non? Donc, je me présente.
(I have kissed strangers, but I don’t kiss friends. So yeah,  I’d love your name, thanks.)

-Tes pied doivent sûrement te faire mal, parce que tu t’es promenée dans mes rêves toute la nuit.
(Funny, my feet do hurt, though I dreamed I was stomping on someone’s heart.)

-Je viens d’arriver dans ta ville. Est-ce que tu pourrais m’indiquer le chemin jusqu’à ton appartement?
(I’d be more than happy to tell you how to get out of my life.)

-Est-ce que tu as un plan? Je me suis perdu dans tes yeux.
(No wonder my glasses are smudged.)

-La seule chose que tes yeux ne me disent pas, c’est ton nom.
(So, you can also see how they’re telling you to go away.  Now.)

This Campus Is So Dang Weird

I passed by this display on my way into the bookstore on Monday, then I turned back around to take a picture:

Yes, it’s blurry, because I was in a hurry to take it. I stood in the way of the student populous rushing into the bookstore to purchase whatever trinkets and baubles and delectables for their romantic interests, wives, crushes, targets of stalking.

I also took this picture on Monday. It’s kind of a miracle, actually, because I happened to be in the market for some Post-Impressionist art. When I walked into the Wilkinson Center after getting off the bus, I walked straight to the community ad board, not very hopeful I’d find any Van Gogh or Cezanne. It’s not often, or ever that I have these sorts of hankerings, but the clouds parted and heaven’s rays shone upon this:

It almost makes me want to cut off my own ear. And the photo before makes me want to rip my beating heart from my chest.

Seriously, BYU.

Laws of Attractiveness

When I was in high school, I liked math. In 9th grade I took geometry with Ms. Johnson; 10th grade was Algebra II with Mrs. Duke; 11th grade was Trig/Analytic Geometry with Ms. Marlette; and my senior year was Calculus with Mr. Kroft. I earned As in those courses, except for Calculus, where I got a B for the year. I really enjoyed those subjects, especially geometry and algebra. Trig/Analyt was … interesting. I think I might have earned A’s solely on notebook quizzes. Then, I learned enough in calculus to squeak by with a barely-passing score on the AP exam.

Science classes in high school were fun, too. 9th grade was Earth/Space Science with Mr. Gaines; 10th grade was Honors Biology with Mr. Couch; 11th grade was Honors Chemistry with Ms. Thurman; and 12th grade was Anatomy/Physiology with Mr. Laird, and Physics with Mr. Wolf. I received overall A’s in these courses. I might have gotten a B during one quarter in Physics.

I usually didn’t consider myself a very superficial person. When it came to my studies, I focused on the grades. I studied as much as I could, and the classroom environment encouraged a pretty healthy social setting. I made really good friends in high school sometimes just because we ended up in the same classes together. But, I also fell victim to some of the stereotypes adolescence fosters. I made good grades. I took hard classes. I was a nerd/geek/dork/dweeb. By definition, those types of people weren’t very attractive. We were bookish, mousy, homely, unkempt. And we were proud of that. And, anyone who was stylish and “cool” just wasn’t as smart as we were. So there.

This notion carried over into college. The textbooks didn’t help. I remember my biology and math books containing features of the scientists and mathematicians who contributed to the texts. Pictures of big glasses and giant (greasy/frizzy) hair and 70s collars and halfway smiles, and the sickly pallor that could only be explained by extensive exposure to fluorescent lighting and not stepping outdoors for days convinced me that the smarties were not only unattractive, but eccentric and socially aloof. I’ve seen photos of Watson and Crick and Pierre Curie and the editor of my freshman calculus text. Einstein wasn’t exactly an Adonis. I’ve seen Bunsen and Beaker.

This isn’t to say there weren’t exceptions. One of the TAs for freshman biology was quite attractive. I had a classmate in a technical writing class who majored in molecular biology. He was HOTT. I never knew scientists could be so beautiful. I didn’t know brainies could make time for skiing and rock climbing and basketball and music and dating and good hair and smelling like masculinity, even when they’re doing research 80 hours a week. They can and they do. Understanding this was a major breakthrough for me.

Then it became an obsession. I pored through my textbooks like celebrity gossip magazines. I looked at my professors. I looked at my classmates. I took note of the world away from academia. I observed the nerds who stood out and surprisingly, not all of them looked like frumpy hermits. Some of them are cute and have really pleasant personalities. I want to be their friend. Here are some examples:

Brian Greene, physicist. He’s a major promoter of String Theory. Look at his great hair and classic, ribbed sweater. Look, he’s also outdoors, by the coast, soaking in some rays. It’s hard to tell simply by looking at him that his mind is working to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity.

 

Danica McKellar, mathematician. You might have known her as Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years. Interesting thing about this show is that my 8th grade Algebra teacher loved it, especially Ben Stein’s character, and she would talk about him all the time. So I can’t think of this show without thinking about Algebra, and then an actor from its cast is actually quite a reputable, well-known mathie. PhD. She’s published a couple of books about style and math, where she suggests what stilettos and lipstick to wear as well as making math more accessible to teenage girls (and anyone else).

 

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Becky Middleton, rocket scientist. This photo was not taken in a vacuum, but in a simulated vortex, also known as a subway car. After BYU she spent some time working at the Jet Propulsion Lab in California. Her engineering background may very well be her secret to her curly hair. How could that not make sense? This photo doesn’t explain why she’s laughing, but the chances it could be about Excel spreadsheets are pretty high. This picture proclaims nerdiness will never go out of style.

So, my impressions have changed. Scientists are dressing better. They’re getting braces. They’re getting leak-free pens for their shirt pockets. Sometimes I wish I could make that work. They’re smiling; they’re flirting. They’re confronting the world’s problems but not without noticing how attractive you are. And, they’re smooth about it. Science and math have definitely evolved. 20 years ago I would not have guessed they could be so … glamorous? Nerdiness has always been and always will be cool. But now, it happens to check itself in a mirror before leaving for the lab.