Sunday Summary #37

1|  Stop Pretending “Sexy” and “Sexualized” Mean the Same Thing by The Mary Sue

YES, thank you.  There are ways to show and appreciate the human form without resorting to gross objectification.

I repeat: nobody has a problem with you being turned on by people you find attractive. This article is not about how you perceive people; it’s about how they are presented to you…The human body is neutral, not inherently objectified just by virtue of being visible. When Olympic athletes are represented in the media, the photographers, journalists and commentators have a choice: do they show these accomplished professionals doing their thing and allow viewers to decide on their own if they find the competitors attractive, or do they choose close-ups, angles and descriptions which draw attention to attractiveness over performance?

2|  What Travel Did For My Body-Image by Travelettes

I love this piece on how travel helps your body image by shifting your priorities and decreasing your opportunities to obsess over your body.

3|  Alia Shawkat & Aubrey Plaza Will Play Hamilton & Burr in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Drunk History Episode! by The Mary Sue

YESSSS, super excited to see this gender-bending, immigrant-appreciating Drunk History about Hamilton and Burr!

4|  Finally, the Try Guys recreate the Ancient Olympics, and it’s AMAZING, obviously.

How to Flirt with a Total Stranger without being an Asshole

When I think of men flirting with some on the street, I think of catcalling and stalking and rude gestures. I think of feeling uncomfortable at best and unsafe at worst. So when in public, I tend to avoid meeting men’s gazes because I want to minimize those possibilities as much as possible. Imagine my surprise, therefore, when an encounter in Italy, country of notorious womanizers, taught me how to enjoy being flirted with!

In Venice, I stood in a shop waiting for my mother to buy us water taxi tickets. A man walked in a stood next to me, also waiting in line. He was well-dressed, with a button down shirt, khakis, and grown-man shoes. He caught me looking, and as always, I cut my eyes away in order to pretend nothing had happened. But when I glanced back, he was still looking at me. He held eye contact and smiled. I smiled back. He turned to the counter. A few minutes later, he paid for his whatever, and as he walked past me, he made meaningful eye contact again, smiled, and said, “Ciao.” I whispered “bye” after him and was left with a really pleasant heart palpitation. 

That’s how flirting should be!! I was left feeling admired AND empowered, and I thought long and hard about what set this apart from other unwanted male attention. Here are my thoughts. 

  1. He looked like he cared about his appearance. There is some kind of weird power imbalance when schlubby men catcall women in dresses. I’m not saying you’ve got to be hot to flirt with someone, but the attention feels a lot more flattering coming from someone who looks like they understand personal grooming.
  2. He made eye contact. There was no gross lingering looks up my body. He looked at my face. 
  3. He smiled. Smiling is so hot. Yelling or sticking your tongue out is not.
  4. He didn’t expect anything. He left the shop, and we got to have a nice “ooo opposite sex attraction feels!!” moment without making a big thing of it. 

And…that’s it. It’s REALLY that simple. I dream of a world where male/female interactions are characterized by pleasant flirtations more than “oh God is he a rapist?” fears. And I think if everyone follows these four steps, we will be a little closer to getting there!

Let’s Talk About…PRO-LIFE: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG

I will not apologize for the fact that my conversations with Elizabeth frequently revolve around Tom Hiddleston and other men blessed by God’s artistic prowess, but you know.  Sometimes we talk about slightly more important things, like politics, abortion, and social change! 


Tricia:  THIS is our next Obama/Biden bromance!?

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Elizabeth:  NO.
No, because you’re going to help elect Hillary, right?
And then we never have to hear from these idiots again.

Tricia:  Should our next Let’s Talk About be about politics?

Elizabeth:  Hm.  Maybe.  About 80% of my conversations about national politics these days devolve into me ranting about the hypocrisy of the allegedly pro-life party blocking birth control access.  Is that on brand for your blog?
Because it is an OUTRAGE.

Tricia:  Ooo yes!
What’s your definition of pro-life?   Continue reading

One Night Visiting the Streets

Last week, I went downtown to an area where “hotel” is code for “brothel,” and policemen watch men solicit women on the street without caring.

HD partners with an organization that works in two particular blocks – an organization that is mostly one woman.  Olivia (not her real name) has been working and praying in these streets for two and a half years.  She offers daily programs to prostitutes and gives away baby formula, diapers, and food.  She takes women to the hospital when they have been beaten severely or contracted an STD.  She knows and is known by all the prostitutes, pimps, and madams in the area.  She has been trained by Scotland Yard, and she continually impressed me by confidently going wherever she wanted, cooing, “Oh, I just love the girls and I want to help them however I can!” in a sing-songy helpless little girl voice before getting in the car and growling to us, “I wanted to punch him in the face!”

Why was I experiencing this?

Dina has started going downtown with Olivia weekly so that she can get to know the women on the street.  She told the rest of our staff that we would each join her at least once so that we could see where our participants are coming from.  The first to participate, I can whole-heartedly affirm that this was a wonderful idea.  Although nothing unexpected happened, it was still such a shock to my system to realize that this was REAL LIFE to these men and women.  Their everyday experience was walking the streets, propositioning and being propositioned, wondering if someone was going to bash your head against the wall, and dodging the woman with the stick.   Continue reading

#womenaremorethan | LIBBY

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 4.17.48 PMI want to talk about Libby. She was one of my best friends in Dallas, and she constantly amazed me with how intentionally she addressed problems whenever she saw them, whether that was dealing with her past, befriending and caring for her neighbors, or making sure our connection group was loved and unified. She’s crazy smart, and she can see to the heart of a problem before anyone else. She is one of the most hospitable people I know, and I felt so loved every time she let me borrow pajama pants and hang out with her family. I will always cherish the time she told me, “Sounds like you’re trying to earn a gift” and with a single sentence taught me what grace is all about.

She is strong like no one’s business.  While pregnant with her third child, her house burned down, and she and her family had to relocate and start over.  She did this without going insane, which is just about the most impressive thing in the universe.

On top of all that, she is an amazing mother AND a successful entrepreneur. She has two adorable boys and a new baby girl! She started a business all on her own reselling used high-end clothes, purses, and jewelry. She’s a creative businesswoman, a fantastic photographer, and a wonderful friend.

She is definitely #morethan, and I’m so grateful I got to spend three years with her.


Share your own stories about amazing women in your life with the hashtag #womenaremorethan!

Sexual Harassment on the Metro

I’m teaching a class on anger management at HD, which is PERFECT for me, because I desperately need to learn how to express my anger.

I am an emotionally repressed person.  I mean, duh, I’m a Protestant.  We do a lot of things well, but sharing our feelings is not one of them.  And anger might be one of the worst emotions to feel (after lust, of course, but no Protestant experiences lust).  This anger-aversion can be REALLY PROBLEMATIC when situations call for someone to stand up and furiously say, “THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING.”

Case in point: last Saturday.  It was, ironically, the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  Ever since I gained an appreciation for the rhythms of celebrating Holy Week (or at least…the end of it), I try to pretend on those Saturdays that Jesus is super dead.  So five days ago, I stood on the metro platform and thought, “All of life is a horror; there is no hope of anything getting any better.”  (Pro tip: Celebrating the full Easter cycle is a GREAT way to get out your most embarrassingly depressing thoughts.)

So after that cheery sentiment, I got in a car and wandered down a couple seats until I found a relatively empty section.  I sat down catty-corner to an old man and pulled out my Kindle.   Continue reading

Let’s Talk About … Aliens (BONUS CONTENT)

with Elizabeth

And now for something completely different!  LOL just kidding; Elizabeth and Tricia are obviously not yet (and probably never will be) finished talking about aliens.

Fair warning:  If you don’t like curse words that start with “f,” you might want to give this one a pass, since our recurring joke relies on it. Continue reading

HD Update: THE DAY PROGRAM BEGINS TODAY

Six years ago I had a revelation:  In the United States, I can go for months at a time without needing to rely on God.  I know someone will say, “You can’t even BREATHE without relying on God,” and yes, thank you.  But practically, being a privileged person living in a privileged country, I am free to rely on myself to succeed in life.  Prayers become something more like wishes than declarations of God’s provision.  Continue reading

So…I Tried Tinder

I’m (three days away from) 28 now, and still single.  I know that as a society, we’re moving past the idea of online dating as being “desperate” but…I’m desperate.  Not just to find a guy, but to prove to myself that I’m the sort of person who can take risks and step outside her comfort zone.

But why now?  Partly it’s because one of my super cool, super intelligent, super self-possessed friends started using online dating, and I figured I’d be in good company if I did the same.  Plus she shared some really funny conversations, and I’ll be honest – I thought it might make good blog post fodder.  But the second reason was my old boss’s visit.  Chrisette told me that I would be single forever until I was willing to fail.  That felt like a lesson I definitely needed to learn so…I looked into a bunch of different options.

Match, Hinge, and Coffee Meets Bagel were all unavailable in Greece, which is unfortunate because they are the most Relationship Oriented (as opposed to Hook Up Oriented).  Bumble works here, but not many are on it, and within three minutes I had run out of people to swipe left.  I signed up for How About We, an app designed to get people to go out on dates instead of sit around talking all the time.  But you get ZERO information about a person other than their idea of a date, and my hyper-sensitive trust issues were not okay with that.

Elizabeth told me to try Tinder.  I wrote back:

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And also: no, that’s what people use when all they want is sex.  She sent me this article that convinced me to give it a try.  And so, on the 14th of March in the year of our Lord 2016, I signed up for Tinder.   Continue reading

Gender Roles as Taught by a Greek Evangelical Church

It was my worst nightmare.  On February 14th I entered the church and saw that the bulletin announced that the day’s sermon would be on “Εφεσἱοθς 5:21-33.”  Great.  Valentine’s Day AND the Ephesians passage on marriage.  Always theologically paranoid where gender roles are concerned, I prepared myself to be righteously (and selfishly) annoyed.

Although the pastor taught a differentiation between the roles of husbands and wives, he preached a vision closer to egalitarianism than complementarianism.  In the end, the practical application was “both of you put the other first,” although he never quite said that in such explicit terms.  We had two weeks of sermons on this topic (one addressed to husbands, another to wives), and I wrote down some of the ideas that stuck out to me most.  This is a subject near and dear to my heart, and I was fascinated and excited (eventually) to see another culture’s perspective on the issue.

For Husbands   Continue reading