Sunday, June 20, 2010

Let's Hear It for the Boy

"Guys are idiots." How many times have I heard this in my single adult life? How many times have I said it myself (or some variation of it)? Plenty. I've heard it from friends, family, and church leaders. Why do we say this? Why has this become an immediate response when speaking about dating? This is something that has been on my mind, and I'm going to write my thoughts about it, so I hope you don't mind getting a glimpse into my psyche as I elaborate on this. And I think I should state for the record right now: I'm not going to be bashing men, so for any guys who read my posts, continue. I hope you're all right with what I say.

A friend led me to another blog where a girl had written about dating and relationships, and I had mixed feelings about what she wrote. I agreed with some things she said, but I couldn't agree with her when she mentioned this seemingly strange habit that even church leaders have of telling us that guys are idiots. I agree that they say so in order to appease us girls who are barely ever asked on dates, to reassure us that it's not our fault, because of course we girls are simply fabulous. But she further interprets the statement as their way of saying, "You'd better accept it, because you're going to have to settle for one of these idiots." Maybe that's an oversimplification of what she said, but that was the impression I got from what I read.

I don't agree with this portion of her analysis. This is the impression I get when I hear from leaders that guys are idiots: "Lots of guys are idiots, but you don't have to settle for their little-boy antics, because one day a non-idiot will shape up and you will find happiness together." I have never gotten the impression that I have to settle for the idiots who don't even try to date or for the idiots who don't give a girl a second glance just because she happens to be 5'11". Because not all guys will do that. I know this.

I was talking to a couple of guys in my ward this week and the topic naturally strayed to dating and relationships, and one of them said the line about guys and idiocy. He asked me if I concurred. I almost said yes, mainly out of habit, but I stopped to consider before I answered. I don't actually concur, and I said so. I said that if I really believed that all guys are idiots, I would despair completely of ever getting married and I wouldn't even be friends with guys. Why would I willingly associate with people I thought were dumb? With that said, I don't despair of ever getting married, even if occasionally my impatience and lack of knowledge about when it may happen manifest themselves more often than they should in my behavior and conversation. I'm not going to be hypocritical and deny that I've ever said that guys are dumb, because I have said it on more than one occasion; however, I think I need to be more careful about the generalizations I make, because I just don't believe that all guys are idiots.

I believe that all of us are capable of being great, and this in no way excludes guys. I know so many who are simply wonderful, strong, and caring men, within my family, my circle of friends, and among the strangers with whom I come into contact throughout the course of my day. I can't think guys are idiots when I hear from a friend about how she went on a good date with a guy who obviously was trying to make it fun for her, when I talk to my parents and my mother tells me about my dad helping her out in the yard all day, when I go to the temple and see an aged couple, the husband looking at his wife with complete adoration. It gives me hope that it is possible that I will have that some day, too.

This is a favorite quotation from one of my favorite books, and it pretty well describes my thoughts about men. "A man is to me a higher and a completer being than a gentleman.... I take it that 'gentleman' is a term that only describes a person in his relation to others; but when we speak of him as 'a man', we consider him not merely with regard to his fellow-men, but in relation to himself, -to life - to time - to eternity." Maybe we all have different definitions of what "a man" is, but I believe that a man is a "high and complete" being, and is fully capable of being a non-idiot, a being worthy of us girls who are pretty wonderful ourselves. Perhaps more of them need to live up to this expectation, but I know plenty who already do.

Maybe it's appropriate that I write about this on Father's Day, considering one of the biggest non-idiot men I know is my father. He's always been a good example to me, and I really appreciate the time he's taken to be there for me as I've gone through life. I recall both tender moments and snide remarks with him with the same degree of fondness, ironically enough. But I've never doubted my father's love for my mother, for his children, for the Lord. I've never doubted his status as a "true man". Thanks, Dad, for being a good example of what a man can and should be.

Guys, take heart; you're not all idiots. Girls, take heart; not all guys are idiots. We don't need to wait around for the other sex to shape up to make ourselves better right now (this goes both ways), but we don't need to give in to the bitter rhetoric that we're never going to find someone. Because, one day, I know, some non-idiot will come along for me. I can only hope that I will have improved myself enough and worked hard to live up to the name of "woman" as I've waited for my "true man".


"The easiest kind of relationship for me is with ten thousand people. The hardest is with one." -Joan Baez

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Land of the Empire Builders

In fourth grade, we all learn about the history of the state we live in. Yes? Am I mistaken in that belief? I'm pretty sure it's true, even for those poor souls who had to grow up outside of the great state of Oregon. (it was a shock to me to find out that other kids didn't attend outdoor school! do they still do that in oregon? i'm afraid to know the answer, in case the answer is no.)

I don't know about the curriculum in other states and what exactly they learned about, but we didn't learn fun facts or current events or anything. We studied the Oregon Trail. Of course, we'd already had years of experience and practice in regards to the Oregon Trail, thanks to that awesome computer game you all know you played in elementary school.

The point is, I didn't know a lot of the "official" state facts of Oregon until I'd moved out of the state in which I grew up. I didn't even know there was an official state song ("Oregon, my Oregon") until I was 21, although when I said this to my parents at the time, Dad insisted he used to sing it at the border on family vacations. Don't recall that one, Dad. Sorry.

Here are some of my favorite Oregon Official State Facts:

Animal: Beaver


Beverage: Milk
 With all the breweries in Oregon, this pleasantly surprised me.

Flower: Oregon Grape. 
I was slightly confused on this one, because the name doesn't sound like a flower ...

Motto: She Flies With Her Own Wings.

This kind of sounds to me like the phrase, "Walk to a beat of a different drum." For anybody who's been to Eugene, you know that's true.

Tree: Douglas Fir.
I knew my car's name sounded familiar.

Dance: Square.
Huey Lewis was right. It is hip to be square.

Sing it with me: "Hail to thee, Land of Heroes, My Ooooooo-reeeeeeee-gon." (pronounced "gun", NOT "gone")


"I take my children everywhere, but they always find their way back home." -Robert Orben

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Sunshine of My Life

Keeping busy is where it's at. I should know. I've been busy. I can tell it's summer, though, not merely by increasing temperatures (although they took a dip over the weekend), but also by the lethargic feeling I've currently got going in the office. I need a break that's longer than a day! Maybe that will energize me. I realized that I haven't created a summer to-do list like I have the last couple of years, and I must repent that grievous error at once! But moving on to other things.

Last weekend was the Orem Summerfest, which meant, of course, that the weather took a cruddy turn. I found it pretty amusing, actually, when the deluge poured down on us Saturday afternoon twenty minutes after we reached the grounds. While everybody ran for shelter and many left for good, I and my companions stuck out the rain, because darn it all, we might as well! (i'd also already bought tickets for rides, and what a waste that would have been.) So we stuck out the rain, walked around the booths, got a "huge scone" (they should just call it what it is -- an elephant ear!), and once the rain had gone, got our rides that we paid for. Tara came with me on the ferris wheel, which was a fun, albeit wet, experience. Fortunately, my bum is as much an Oregonian as the rest of me, so I sat it out quite cheerfully, if I do say so myself.

That evening, I joined several of my ward friends for the fireworks. Having been there during the day, I was oh-so-knowledgeable in leading some of my friends to the food area before the fireworks started up, which naturally was an important part of the evening. Food always is. And the fireworks were awesome.

Last night, seeing as how the weather went back to being lovely and more summer-like, the ward took a hike to Stewart Falls, which is a beautiful hike up above Sundance. Surprisingly enough, I was the one in front in both directions. Didn't realize that I would be the pace-setter, but I suppose that's all right. I had a good time walking and talking with the girls, some of whom I didn't know at all well before the evening. Huzzah!

In other news, my Seven Brides evening was a stirring success. Everybody that came was eager to watch it, and the one person who hadn't previously seen it sincerely enjoyed it (at least, he did if he wasn't lying). I also appreciated Katie and Whitney bringing some scrumptious caramel corn, considering I burned the microwave popcorn. Something else to put on my "want" list: an air popper.


"Irrigation of the land with seawater desalinated by fusion power is ancient. It's called 'rain'." -Michael McClary

Friday, June 11, 2010

If I Can Learn to Do It

Discovering something new is always fun. Last weekend I discovered the ridiculous thrill that is Bollywood. After Jay succumbed to his curiosity about North and South last month, I thought it was about time that I did the same for Bollywood movies. So, trusting to Jay's judgment, we watched Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. And what did I discover? I loved it! Well, okay, "love" might be too strong a word. I'm not about to spend all my time trying to convert others to Bollywood movies like I have with, ahem, other movies. But I was thoroughly entertained. Brutally awkward pauses, ten-minute-long musical numbers, drawn-out love stories ... yeah, it was pretty fun.

Really, doesn't this look like a movie you all would love?

Another discovery made the following day. More like a re-discovery, actually: I really enjoy being a hostess. I invited several people over for dinner, and while I don't know if they all had a really great time, I enjoyed myself. I like making the plans and preparing the food (especially our southwest chicken soup recipe that i adore) and getting people together. People are good. I like people. I'm hosting again tonight for a movie night, and I'm pretty excited to watch Seven Brides, as are several of the people who are coming over to watch it. Go figure.

 Gotta love men who sing and dance. And fight.

A third discovery of the week: I'm not as terrible at the organ as I thought I was going to be! After playing last month in the Tabernacle and observing my talented family (and really talented bro. christianson) play, I determined that I was going to play the organ better. Sure, I've faked it in sacrament meetings and such, but I never played it the way I wished I could. "And what way was that, Megan?" you ask, as well you may. That way was ... WITH PEDALS. So on Tuesday night after helping out with ward building clean-up and Wednesday before ward volleyball, I snuck into the chapel for an hour and practiced using the pedals! I was expecting to be so frustrated with my lack of skill that I would probably pound on the great manual like I do on the piano keyboard when dusting. But I wasn't frustrated! Sure, I was messing up, but I was better than I initially expected! What a wonderful discovery!

What will I discover next week, I wonder?


"There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened." -Douglas Adams

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tell Me the Stories that I Love to Hear

It's an enormous understatement to say I like books, a fact that most of you well know. One of my favorite summer relaxing activities (this is inherited from my dad, i'm pretty sure) is just to sit outside and read a book. (I stress one of my favorite activities, because i like plenty of other activities, too.) And I think I've discovered a pretty good reason as to why some of my favorite books are my favorite books. I relate to different aspects of these characters! Lately, in perusing some of my lovingly worn tomes, I've discovered different quotes that remind me of myself and different situations I have found myself in. Examples follow.

#1 Elizabeth Bennett, Pride and Prejudice
"How earnestly did she then wish that her former opinions had been more reasonable, her expressions more moderate! It would have spared her from explanations and professions which it was exceedingly awkward to give ..."

Now, I've never fallen in love with a guy I formerly professed to abhor and had to retract my previous opinions, but I've definitely had those moments when I've wished I hadn't expressed a negative opinion of something or someone so readily. It doesn't even have to mean that I was wrong or that I've changed my mind; it just means that I wish I'd kept my mouth shut more often.

#2 Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables
"'It's about Diana,' sobbed Anne luxuriously. 'I love Diana so, Marilla. I cannot ever live without her. But I know very well when we grow up that Diana will get married and go away and leave me. And oh, what shall I do? I hate her husband--I just hate him furiously.'"

I think I've managed to not hate my best friends' husbands. They're all decent chaps. In fact, it's quite easy not to hate them. It's harder not to like them, actually. So maybe that last sentence doesn't quite fit my attitude. But it's a humorous addition to a hilarious lamentation on Anne's part that makes even hard-nosed Marilla collapse in laughter. And I must admit, this line ran through my head when Esther told me she was engaged. I can live without her (and have done so for several months, in fact), but I just had that "best friend" sadness that comes along when you feel that your friends "go away and leave" you. They don't, really, but you know what I mean.

#3 Sarene, Elantris
"Unconsciously, she found herself judging his height. He's tall enough for me, she thought offhandedly, if only barely. Then, realizing what she was doing, she rolled her eyes. The entire world was toppling around her, and all she could do was size up the man walking next to her."

I think this one requires no explanation of how I relate to it.

#4 Margaret Hale, North and South
"'Where's the Pearl? Come, Margaret ...'"

" of the girls was stumbling over the apparently simple word 'a', uncertain what to call it. 'A, an indefinite article,' said Margaret, mildly."

Okay, first quote. Pearl? Hello, why do you think I call myself Pearlie Meg? Probably because Megan is a form of Margaret, which means "pearl". Case closed. Second quote. Margaret knows her grammar, and if I didn't know mine, I wouldn't have a job.

Now maybe some of those examples are stretching, but I have honestly thought of myself when reading those particular passages. And if it's true that I really am like these literary heroines, I've got quite the combination of these guys coming my way.

I guess I can live with that.


"From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it." -Groucho Marx