Understanding Women for Smarties

'Venus and Mars' by Botticelli

‘Venus and Mars’ by Botticelli

Foreword:
I’m tired. I am sick and tired. I am sick, tired and hungry. Maximum capacity tolerance for men misunderstanding women has been reached!
I am weary of males texting me questions on what to say to a menstruating female.
I’ve become blasé to suggestions on how women should feel.
I have grown bored of the two phrases most commonly said to me by Gen-Y males:
“You girls are crazy” and “You’ve got your period, that’s why you’re mad”.
Well boys, I’m starting to think it’s you – the same way you look in the fridge and can’t see the tomato sauce in front of your face, you’re missing the most obvious characteristics of a woman.
But do not fret. For like any good, caring woman, YSS is here to sew the absurdity and cook any future confusion.

Introduction:
“I’m fine”.

The two syllables that mark the beginning of your journey to understanding women. Whilst surfacing as English in its simplest form, it is estrogenic communication at its common complexity.
Once you appreciate this phrase, you uncover the many basic secrets to female understanding. I urge you; do not take this knowledge for granted. Run for a pen and paper, print screen and stick to the back of your bathroom door, or memorise to an MC Hammer beat. It’s time to make the ladies happy and your tummy happier.

Chapter 1: “I’m fine”.
To the untrained eye these two simple words uncover nothing more than their explicit meaning. However, what you forget is that women are creatures of code.
Quite simply, if she’s telling you she’s fine, she is the absolute opposite; so fix it (even if you don’t know what IT is).

Chapter 2: She whines “I’ve put on weight”.
This is a woman who is feeling insecure, either about her physical appearance, your relationship, or both. She is seeking reassurance that you still consider her attractive. If you’re in a relationship with her, and want a relaxed, happy partner, then do not leave her feeling self conscious. If you’re not regularly telling that girl she’s beautiful, then she won’t think she is (it’s a twisted power you’ve been given).
So if she mentions her weight in an annoying whiney tone (note, different to when genuinely stated in general conversation) let that be an indication that she needs you to reinstill her confidence in the relationship.
If she’s not your partner and she’s whinging about weight, then she’s testing her status with you, investigating whether you’re attracted to her and potentially available for future similar whiney conversations.

Chapter 3: She gets upset when you check out other girls.
Sometimes she points out attractive women for the two of you to appreciate. So why does she get offended when you autonomously check out other girls? Because she thinks your trailing off is an indicator of diminished interest in her presence, and a heightened desire for another babe.
If she hasn’t instigated the mutual appreciation of beauty then she’ll suspect you’re fantasising about another woman.

Chapter 4: Do women want the chase?
There is distinction between the dating behaviours of girls and women. Girls are still immature and enjoy the games, whereas women generally want to cut the bull excrete. Do not play games with a woman; you’ll only push her away.

Chapter 5: Why do girls go to the bathroom in packs?
Boys, it’s time to erase every ridiculous idea you have about why women go to the bathroom with friends. I must apologise in advance, for I am about to destroy your hopes and fantasies. Here it goes: women do this crazy thing where they check if anyone else needs to use the bathroom. Here’s where it climaxes: sometimes someone says yes. Absurd, I know. And if we’re not asking out of consideration, one of us is offering to join for protection (insert black and white film reel and gasping audience).
Now let that sink in for a moment.

Chapter 6: If you want her to do something, say please and thank you.
“Make me a sandwich” won’t get you much further than a slap from a Gen-Y lady. Remind  yourself that this isn’t the archaic period, and she is privy to her own actions and choices. Chances are she’s had a hard day at work and wants YOU to make the sandwich. So if you want something, be respectful enough to show you appreciate it.

Chapter 7: Why does she remember everything I say?
Because women pay attention. We generally don’t have the grade A selective hearing of men. Add the sentimental female nature and you have a beautifully colour-coded transcript of everything you ever did and said, including details on what you both wore and the background music. If she’s a love interest, she will metaphorically read this material regularly and become well-versed in your ways.
Why? She values the memories… They make her feel all fuzzy inside.

Chapter 8: Why does she have an emotional attachment to the idea of sex?
If she is still a virgin, then understand that the first experience will not be a pleasant one. Often, a lady will want to ensure the associated pain and discomfort is endured with someone who cares.
Some women are even morally inclined to take it one step further and wait until marriage, sipping a cocktail of social expectations, upbringing, sentimentality and romance. Don’t try to change this woman’s mind, for she will run (you sleazy critter).
So what about the ones who have surpassed this stage? Why do some expect more after you sleep with them? Because many women still hold value in such physical acts, and continue to attach an emotional element to it. So if you’re only after one thing, and she’s developed an attachment to you, you’ll likely leave her feeling used. Perhaps find a women who lives free of this sentimentality and cement the boundaries first.

Chapter 9: Damage your pride and let go of the ego.
Dirty words, I know, sorry. How dare we expect you stop acting like cave men?!
But we actually hate the ego – get rid of it.
Instead, give this a try: be honest about your feelings, beg her to stay, love her independence, share the paying of bills, accept defeat when warranted… It’ll make you stronger.

Chapter 10: She’s crazy when it’s that time of month.
I’m afraid even women don’t know what to do at this time. Quite frankly, menstruation (that word makes you uncomfortable, doesn’t it) is a difficult period (lol, period) for many of us. The female hormones are raging, emotions are heightened, sensitivity is out of control and we’re often in pain. We want you to love us but we don’t exactly want you anywhere near us. 30 seconds later we might change our mind… twice.
So take the safe road: be attentive and considerate, and armed with chocolate. That way, no one gets hurt.

Chapter 11: Women are attracted to drive and direction.
Contrary to male belief, this is not a reference to 1D. Rather, if you want to be a man, do so by showing that you are hard-working and focussed on what you want. Most women won’t care if you’re a barista, brick-layer or barrister, as long as you’ve got solid goals that you’re working towards.

Chapter 12: She always wants to know everything.
Regardless of whether a female chooses to accept it or not, I liken women to felines. They’re sassy, manipulative, feisty creatures with a pretty exterior and an affection threshold. What else? Well, like they say: Curiosity killed the cat. Women are curious. They want to know if you’re thinking about them, and if so, what it is you’re thinking. They want to be in control of each situation, and often that requires information that delves deeper than your “nothing” response and blank look.
Be warned, deny us the control and we’ll claw your couch… metaphorically.

Chapter 13: You can’t tell if she likes you or not.
Is she confusing the hell out of you? Then I’m afraid that means she’s not that into you. My friend, you are there to simply pass the time until the real deal comes along.
Many women get a little lonely, so they’ll text you when they’re lacking male company.
The truth is, if she’s contacting you sporadically, then you’re just the bench-warmer.

Chapter 14: Never tell her to relax!
RELAX!? AW HELL NO! Telling a woman to relax is like asking you to not criticise your sister while she drives… or chaining you up while she butchers your COD high score… or letting the girlfriend beat you in an argument in front of the boys (feel that blood pressure rise).
The restraint will only make her angrier. So instead, hear her out, listen to the prompts and respond accordingly. Caution: do not smile and nod blindly, for you may agree to take her to your next poker night with the boys.

Chapter 15: She wants you to compliment her.
Yeah yeah, you’re sick of being told how insecure women are. But you’re still reading for a reason, so just sit there and take it.
A girl may doll herself up for a few reasons:
a. To impress you;
b. Because she enjoys looking good;
c. An event requires it.
Regardless of the reasoning, she only wants one result:
a. For her partner to compliment her.
Do not skip on telling her she looks good, for it means so much to know your man is proud of the woman on his arm.

The Summary:
Women are considerate, sentimental, hormonal cats who live with chocolate cravings, insecurity complexes and a secret desire for romance. If she’s “fine”, she’s not.

Afterword:
And so concludes your tutorial on Understanding Women for Smarties. Why are you smarties? Because a man who aims to understand womankind is a very intelligent man indeed (and I can’t afford a copyright law suit).

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#ForeverAlone: Female, Single & Taking Your Time

“May God bring you a good man and a successful marriage, ” taita (Arabic for grandma) prays aloud.
I offer an obligatory thank you.
“When are you going to get married?” she asks.
“Give me 10 years”.
“TEN YEARS?! I’LL BE DEAD IN 10 YEARS” She fires back.

Now well into my early 20s, the world is poking and prodding with the marriage questions. I went from you’re too young for relationships to what are you waiting for in two minutes. But why? Why is the search for companionship so urgent?
Is it a case of being internally programmed to need companionship? Are we afraid of the loud ticking of the biological clock? Or has the prevailing culture molded us to believe that marriage should be aspired to? Perhaps it’s a combination of last night’s left-overs?
A cynic would tell you to forget about it, while a romantic would be too busy seeing her boyfriend to tell you to believe in love.
Regardless, we’re only in our twenties, why the big rush?

Back to conversations with my grandmother:
“Why don’t you get married?” she asks.
“Taita, if I wanted a man I would go out and find one.”

We can all admit to having friends who can’t find a man. Some of us can even admit to being one of those friends. Such ladies tend to fit the following social pattern:
Morose conversations are relayed about where one meets a man. Portraits of disgust are painted when the coupled friends P.D.A. Continuous affirmations of independence are sung. They congratulate their newly engaged friends and then convince themselves that they’re too young to take this step. Other girls are often judged by them for not being attractive enough for their male partners. They fear that all the good men are going to run out. Deals are made with selected friends to marry if still single at 40. Sometimes you may even find a cat or two.

All of these young women are bright, bangin’, boot-scootin’ (disclaimer: may not boot-scoot), driven, likeable personalities who look good and laugh harder. You will often hear them complain that all the good guys are either taken or gay. Then all the good single guys complain that girls complain about their inexistence. Then they all continue meeting immature members of the opposite sex with poor grammar and bad table manners, who were only attractive by comparison to the rest of the room. What a lovely orbit of the sun.

Where am I going with this? I am going for a sweet, steady, slow-paced walk down take your time lane. Care to join me? There’s room on this path for many more…
All I’m saying is there is no need to jump on the relationship bandwagon so soon. You’re Gen Y, you’re not Baby Boomers. Spend time with your family, enjoy youthful shenanigans with mates, study something, flirt with different people, travel the world, save some money, and enjoy emotional stability while you still have it.

Marriage will come when and if it is supposed to.

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CQ

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Circular Quay – the most refreshing train station in the city. The perfect therapy after a day’s work.

Don’t believe me? Ask the other 65 people who captured the same photograph.

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Night Noodle Markets

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Sydney’s Night Noodle Markets 2013 are held at Hyde Park North from October 9 – 26 (excluding Sundays). This is your last week to enjoy the lively summer ambience of this Oriental event.

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Til’ Text Do Us Part

Many things in life infuriate me: war, Human Rights violations, One Direction.
But nothing quite hits me like the stance Gen Y holds towards phone use and driving. It’s an obvious equation: Phone Use + Driving = Dangerous.
Yet, I continue to see selfies being taken on the M4, phone calls answered on George Street and Facebook statuses written on Parramatta Road.
I also see proof every day of the ease in having a car accident, via the news, in front of my eyes and through the experiences of loved ones.

So I ask, why? Why is so much of this generation too ignorant to accept the obvious risks of using phones while driving? Why is it our hearts ache when a loved one is lost driving, yet we can’t learn from their mistakes? Why does the death of a teenage driver leave suburbs or towns in agony for some time, yet we can’t leave our phone untouched for 10 minutes?

I am fed and absolutely full on all kinds of excuses to these questions. Now please allow me to destroy the most common ones.

1. “These things don’t happen to me”
Play with fire and you will get burned.
Run with scissors and someone will get hurt.
Turn your back on the ocean and you will be mauled and assaulted by a 15 foot tidal wave.
My point? Play with your phone whilst directing a moving vehicle surrounded in humans, cars, bicycles, children, trees, fences, gutters, houses and dogs and you will surely cause some damage. It’s that simple.
As difficult as it may be to believe, you are not invincible. Inspire the next Marvel Comics based blockbuster and I may reconsider.

2. “It’ll only take a second”
That’s nice. So will a collision with an oncoming vehicle.
Too harsh? Ok, let me sweeten this up for you. It only takes the moment you look down to pick up your beloved Samsung Galaxy s3 to read a text from MyBabeh’exOh, to miss the Mazda 2 speeding through a red light, serving you a sweet plate of well-done T-bone.
A major mistake made by many young drivers is the failure to recognise the attention to detail required to be a safe entity on the road.
You will more than often survive your sober swerving tendencies (and I pray that you do) but your mother won’t appreciate paying the excess on your insurance.

3. “I’ve been doing this for ages”
So you think that makes you a pro? Reality check: Unlike Need for Speed on your PS3, the roads, surrounding drivers, weather and your energy levels aren’t forever static. Driving conditions change; so no matter how much “practice” you’ve had defying driving laws, you can never prepare yourself for what’s coming your way.

4. “Just don’t worry”
My favourite of all time greatest revealers of ignorance.
When over a third of 20-29 year olds surveyed admit to texting while driving, how do you expect the state to not worry?
When you are selfishly putting the lives of others at risk and teaching younger generations poor practices so you can text mindless dribble to your mates, we will continue to worry.
When I, like so many, have lost a friend to a car accident caused by unlawful driving habits, I will worry.
Using your phone whilst driving is against the law for a reason, so do not tell us not to worry.
It’s time you started to worry a little more.

I bet you’re wondering “when will she ever stop complaining”. The answer is, now.
I now appeal to all of you to please stop text-driving, and to stop your friends from doing so too.
I’m not the only one. Governments all over the world are legislating against it, with campaigns such as the NSW Government’s Get Your Hands Off It [see video above].
But it is clear that the law isn’t enough to break the phone habits of younger generations. What is required is societal disapproval (or the amputation of telephonic limbs). You wouldn’t drink and drive, nor would you speed through a school zone. So why would you text and drive?

There are a number of things in life that will never be possible: world peace, hole-proof stockings, teaching school kids on trains to stand for adults.
Eradicating phone use and driving doesn’t have to be one of those things.

Drive safe kids.

If you want a refresher on NSW road rules, follow this link: http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/licensing/downloads/gettitestsdrivieduca_dl1.html

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Y Give Up On Grandma

The smell is unchanged, the expressions familiar, despite the new faces.
Some speak English, others do not. Yet they are all waiting for the same thing; their family.

“Hello,” he calls out into the busy corridor of nurses and visitors. None are there for him.
“Hello,” he says again moments later. You’re tempted to wander in.
He’s been calling for days.

It’s undeniable; the hospital is a cold place. Institutionalised. Artworks on the wall failing to disguise what the old white paint has seen.

Walking into your grandmother’s room, you see her alone, though neighboured with three full beds. Neither lady speaks the same language.

“Hi taita (grandma),” her eyes brighten as she praises the arrival of company. Your face is covered with kisses.

Conversations are had, stories are told and emotions released. Eventually, she forgets who you are, despite carrying her name.
You remind her and she cries over her fragile memory.
She is developing dementia.

“Maalesh taita (it’s ok grandma), mat taatleh hum (do not worry), hayde b ji maal umr tawil (this comes with a long life),” you encourage.

Before you know it, visiting hours are over, and you’re uneasily telling grandma that you have to leave. She will sit awake in the dark as others sleep.

With each day it becomes more apparent to you that this woman is losing grasp of her old strengths. It’s a harsh reminder of a journey we all inevitably face. But you’re not sad. You know that your parents worked hard to ensure that you built a strong relationship with your grandmother. So caring for her now, as before, is natural; not guilt-driven obligation. She still has a few years up her sleeve, and you plan on treating her just as valuable as always.

However, not everyone is comforted by this feeling. Many have fallen victim to the self-indulged YOLO lifestyle that endangers the future of intergenerational relationships. For them, many respond by clenching to what ounce of life remains in a loved one, later regretting the time wasted and the memories unformed. Some are forced by parents to make the effort to visit, and show respect when doing so. Others simply do not care at all.

As Generation Y gains the tools to facilitate social and cultural change, it is cause for concern as to what will happen to our elders. Undeniably, society’s shape is transforming simultaneously with the practices of its population, causing diversification through cross-cultural and intergenerational associations. So, it is important to ensure that Gen-Y upholds traditional notions of elder respect.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 9% of Australians were the age of 70 years or older in 2008. Longer life expectancies and decreased birth rates are expected to generate increases to 13% by 2021, and 20% in 2051. As a result, there will be a greater demand on care and support services for older generations.
Do not disregard such information as simple statistics. To the contrary, they represent a generational obligation, substantiated by medical and social contributions. The youth are potential future providers of prolonged life expectancies, and with women in the workplace, lower birth rates. So, it is Gen Y’s duty to facilitate for this ageing population, morally and emotionally. The concern is not with policy or support services, as there is substantial policy initiative driven by government. It is the moral approach to this issue that lacks support. Rest assured, your grandparents prefer a visit from you once a week, over a daily visit from their employed carer. In fact, a study of long-term care facilities found that what elderly residents most wanted was respect, and this determined their quality of life.
Infamous for being the lazy generation, it is absolutely critical that Gen-Y ensures that the aged population is respected and not forgotten, during their years of stability and fragility, by our generation, and those who succeed us, simply because the system will take care of them. This isn’t like your bedroom, your mother can’t clean it for you.

Interestingly, the approach to respecting elders varies by culture. For instance, Lebanese society, like many, observes little reliance on formal measures of aged care, depending heavily on the support of family. It is a custom that has matured through generations of elevated respect for elders and valued affection to all family members.
With ease, the government has absorbed such tradition, as policy-makers hold the view that extended family be the main form of social welfare. Further, as a result of familial bonds, geriatric physicians and primary care are scarce, despite the great quantity of general physicians in Lebanon. Further, the population of approximately 4.2 million Lebanese people is serviced by only 36 nursing homes, most of which are understaffed, further suggesting the minimal external assistance being sought.

Whilst migrants have clutched to tradition when settling abroad in countries such as Australia, integration into new culture proves difficult in avoiding adjustments in children. Naturally, second generation migrant children are faced with conflicts of standards and expectations. For some, the custom of having grandparents live in the family home has continued. Others are separated by a 20 hour flight, turning to weekly long-distance calls. Many more have misplaced their worth for older family members, visiting only on Easter and Christmas.
So what is it that changes in the succession of generations? One explanation is that Generation Y is faced with a greater multitude of diversity than their parents. This includes exposure to the liberal atmosphere boasted by educational campuses, relative decreases in parental supervision and greater peer influence contrary to family traditions. Further, societal constructs placing strain on women to join the work force may be diverting the time that traditionally applied to the care of loved ones. Whilst this provides for traditional changes in migrants, it fails to address personal morality and familial value across all Sydney-siders.

A theory arguably worth noting is one developed by YSS after many train rides, much time spent on social networks, and a keen ear for music. Let’s call it, the iCulture. “I can’t be bothered”, “I don’t care”, “What do I get out of it”, “I have better things to do”; The self-absorbed, shallow and naive mentality that one will only gain from satisfying personal wants. These are the Gen-Ys who believe that their elders are boring, unintelligent, and smell funny. They are the same individuals who have more selfies than family photos, preach the YOLO life over Luther Vandross’ “Dance with My Father Again” and put parties over psyche. They are the ones who conveniently forget that their grandparents babysat and spoiled them as children. These very individuals will raise their children to forget them one day too.

There is something so valuable about those who preceded us, and in order to foster a relationship with them, their worth must not be ignorantly disregarded. Older generations have lived in a time we know nothing about. They have already learnt life’s lessons, and seen the world endure many ups and downs. They are not out of touch, nor are they judgemental. Your grandparents were young once too, and raised your parents when they too were young and reckless. Ask elders about their youth, and you will hear them giggle mischievously. They have seen it all, ultimately becoming the wisest people you will know.

So please, don’t wait until your grandfather is in hospital to see him. Don’t wait until grandma has developed dementia to form a relationship with her. It is important to ensure that you do not forget your elders when they need you most, for you will feel the hurt when they forget you.

If the last 1244 words haven’t convinced you, allow me to try the iCulture approach: imagine yourself as an 80 year old. Now think about how you would wish to be treated by your future children and grand children. So why should your elders deserve any less?

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The Bare Truth.

Destiny’s Child were not just a girl group. They were a voice for the strong and independent women of the millennium searching for a representation of their daily struggles. Grapples with love, money, work and ‘the other woman’ featured heavily in their music, quickly transforming them into the common woman’s theme songs; and their unequivocal 2002 track Nasty Girl was no different. Capturing the “classless” women of their time who incessantly reduce self-respect in exchange for male attention; it was a homage to the integrity of young women their opposite.

Ten years on and it translates fluently to the lingo of the youth of our contemporary Sydney landscape.
Today’s trends?
Girls in booty shorts, micro-mini skirts, see-through fabrics, hip-high splits, super crop tops, lycra tights, and seeping bright coloured underwear.
Irrespective of suburb, culture or high school, the characteristics remain the same – skin-tight, see-through and far from modest.
Spotted in abundance across the city, they are commonly seen at night clubs, the local shops, your strip of restaurants, and even university libraries.
But why are girls starving for male recognition during their daily commutes?

Some may argue that today’s pop culture and soft porn music videos are placing unhealthy pressures on girls to reveal all in a disillusioned bid to be attractive. There is deficiency in embodying a concept of beauty measured by exposure of skin or acts of promiscuity. Our species once idealised the Princess of grace, Grace Kelly, and the enchanting mystery of Sophia Loren. Such allures, being historically natural to men and women, cannot have simply dissipated.
Possibly, the current standard of immodesty developed as a manifestation of female misunderstanding and naivety about what men want. Such an impression can have indirect consequences on today’s young men, as the sexualisation of women alters their expectations of everyday girls. A misconception?

Studies conducted by the Florida State University refer to the concept of “self-objectification” as a result of “social-physique anxiety”. The research delves into the theory that society’s historical and cultural development of contemporary concepts of desirability has impacted the female internal expectations of appearance. Do not condemn me for making young women the subject of this post, for the researchers found that “self-objectification decreases with age”.
These results suggest strong feasibility that our society’s general outlook on attractiveness has changed. Maybe Rihanna’s hip thrusts or Nicki Minaj’s unrealistic curves can be attributed to some level of contribution to this “development”. It comes with little surprise, but great disappointment.

Still,  it is possible that some persist to venerate traditional notions of agreeability.
Alexander, blogger for both The First Monkey and The Daily Quota gives a male perspective:

Ah yes, us men are smarter than we look.
We’ve sat by while feminism grew and grew to the point where it grew so big that it became self-aware – and since Feminism is most likely female, it then also became self-conscious.
You’ve burnt your bras, we’ve enjoyed the show. You ripped at your clothes in an act of defiance, we’ve enjoyed the show.
Oh you pretty things have walked right into our trap! 

The above is default proof that women are confused. Or perhaps they’re unsure if they’re confused?
Either way, we now have a generation of little women wearing littler apparel – then insisting that we do not look. No, they hadn’t anticipated that the Feminism umbilical cord stretched further than the Venus of Willendorf – where art thou, Fairer of the Sexes?
They seem to be wedged ambivalently between post-feminism, feminism and the Cult of Aphrodite – kind of like the hypothetical M Munroe & Associates.

On the one hand, they are more beautiful than ever. On the other, their new-found independence has taken a bite out of their femininity.
This has resulted in a disfigured hybrid of old and new gender politics, where silicon is on the rise, but for their own self-esteem; they squat and row and Zumba, but purely for health; and they hate when we don’t chase, but also when we do.

Alas, the Fairer of the Sexes is acting very, very unfairly.
I miss women being women, girls being girls. I miss their natural skin and hair, and their inability to hide their body language. I miss their vulnerability, and their appeasement of our egos.
Why quote Wilde when you’ve misplaced your feminine wiles?
Please, restore my view of the word Women – for as it stands, it is woe unto men.

Like The Daily Quota at https://www.facebook.com/thedailyquota

It may be agreed that many young women have misunderstood the feats of feminism and applied it in an disadvantageous way. Whilst a gross generalisation, many young men are consequently asking what ever happened to the passionate woman with the great allure of her self-affirmed natural beauty.

It is difficult to identify the catalyst, or abundance of. But there is no surpassing my final suggestion; mere laziness. Understandably, junk in the trunk can prove squeezing into a pair of jeans to be a difficult task. But ladies, that is no excuse to replace your pants with over-washed, stretched-out and faded remnants of Lycra, also known as tights. As formidable as it may be, your pink Bonds undies do not brighten up anybody’s day, so it’s time to leave the Lycra at home and a little to the imagination. Your Facebook friends can wait while you jean-shop with your mother this weekend.

Whatever the case, if your fake eyelashes are longer than your skirt, if your cleavage resembles the depth of a moon crater, if your gym clothes disappear into bodily crevasses when you walk, if your underwear covers more surface area than your shorts; the bare truth is it’s time to “put some clothes on”. As for the contently humble young ladies that continue to exist, I congratulate you.

Please donate generously to the girls of our generation, as their lack of clothing keeps them cold this time of year.

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To Read or to Write?

Neglect. That’s what happened here.

A blog left outdated, stuck in a stand-still of time, like a CD player with the 2008 Greatest Hits of Summer jammed inside it.
Why did this happen? Life, that’s why.

Usually life is a source of inspiration, particularly for writers. However, it sometimes spills over into an onerous, exhausting and un-enthusing land of artistic tumbleweed. So, among a schedule of work, class, assessments, exercise, cats and other commitments, one must find a sober moment to write.

What moment did I choose? A three-hour law lecture on human protein attended without my spectacles; irrelevance and vision impairment won the right to write.

Now let’s bond over identification of idiosyncrasies in the life of a typical university student.

You’re well into your degree and growing stale from the same classroom walls that surround you. The enthusiasm of first year students irritates you and you pity their naïve dedication. You’ve mapped out the traits of your peers better than Google maps, and formulated mental instructions of who has the coolest style, best notes, healthiest diet, hottest figure, greatest reliability, easiest company, most cigarettes, best study habits, and all the opposites. You walk into a tutorial and know who the repeat offenders of unnecessary classroom comments are, who will distract you, and who will make you look intelligent. You know which bathrooms are cleanest and which are a violation of Human Rights. The café ladies and barristers address you by name and watched you grow up into a premature arthritic, scoliosis ridden, caffeine addicted, cynical law student. You know which café serves the best food, and schedule your day to beat peak hour lunch lines. You argue more with your constantly nagging subconscious, bordering on schizophrenia, than your own parents. You’ve mastered the art of skim reading in the attempt to spend less time with your head in an overpriced 10kg textbook and more time enjoying hobbies. You are faced with the difficult decision of letting grades suffer for the sake of personal interests, or entering hibernation to get a D on your transcript. You approach the campus parking lot like a predator, hunting down the prey of students innocently returning to their cars, only to snatch up the remnants of their existence. Each day you wake up one minute later, and by fourth year, won’t accept anything earlier than an afternoon class. You cannot wait to graduate.

Sounds dreadful, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. Don’t let me deter you from tertiary studies. Truth is, you will enjoy making friends for life, discovering what you want and growing rich in knowledge.

But for now, let’s get each other over the line.
Does the struggle of a busy life-study-balance sound familiar? Of course it does – you’re only reading this to procrastinate. So to save you reading the YSS chronicles of Gen-Y observations you’re so tired of, I want to hear from you. Please comment, sharing those self-created Man Vs Wild tactics that help you cope with the final stages of university life.

Finally, characteristic of everything, your time at university must eventually come to an end, so appreciate every moment of it, and always be grateful for the opportunity our generation has to gain higher education.

Much love,

A Nerdy YSS in Hiding.

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Your Face Without Facebook.

A piece inspired by a hacker’s intrusion and my resulting time without Facebook.

Imagine a world without Facebook.
Difficult, I know. But strangely a reality that existed only a decade ago.
Whilst our parents never foresaw a world compressed by social media, most Gen Y-ers simply cannot live without it. Today, with sources claiming that there are over 1 billion Facebook users, social media’s redefinition of the way we interact with our world has become unignorable.

So let’s cross over to a parallel universe. One that never encountered the force of Facebook; where the natural evolution of human interactions are uninterrupted by social media, and this juxtaposition warrants assessment of how each affected facet of our lives may have otherwise independently developed.

Friendships

Your circle of friends would be small, and updates would be facilitated by phone calls to those who matter, as opposed to the 638 people on your news feed.
The scary part? Friendships would be built on seeing one another, not Facebook chat. Birthday invites would be sent in the mail to people who know more than your relationship status, languages and sexual orientation. And texting would replace the daily stalk.
What’s that? Real friendships take work?! Who would have thought…?

 Relationships and Romance

Chivalry is dying;
Romance is defunct;
And relationships are fleeting.
What ever happened to the days when a gentleman approached a lady in a park, asked her out on a date, and discussed music and study over a hearty meal?
Parks are now friend requests, dates are now Facebook video chats and getting to know one another is whatever image of yourself you wish to portray.
By the time relationship status’ change to confirm a bond, they’re corrupted by unnecessary Facebook drama.
In another world, maybe the traditional ideals of honesty, trust and privacy would remain requirements of a modern day relationship.

Family

Your family can be two things:
Unwillingly absent, or unnecessarily nosey.
For the latter, Facebook is the perfect tool for competitive cousins to monitor your progress and transgressions.
For those you love but never see, sometimes separated by masses of ocean, Facebook allows for greater communication and reduced periods of silence.
Without social media, the expensive overseas phone rates and irritating time differences will continue to dictate how you communicate with your family, wherever they are in the world.
For some, that’s a blessing, for others, a curse.

Self Worth

We all want to look and feel good, and Facebook helps us pretend to do that. According to MNN, 250 million photos are uploaded to Facebook daily. If only there were statistics telling us how many of those photos were edited, featured a girl posing in a little dress, or a topless gym junkie standing in front of a bathroom mirror. When teamed with check-ins portraying a stealthy social life, a friends list with names you can’t even pronounce, and a keyboard warrior conversational style, you get an individual with an unhealthy facade of who they want to be.
These are the lucky ones, because without social media, they would be forced to develop a real personality, build a back bone and increase their own self confidence. Facebook wouldn’t be there to protect them from facing the world and accepting who they really are.
Believe it or not, the value of a man is not measured by the number of likes on a profile picture, but by the integrity in which they lead their life.

Work and Business

Gen Y has been famously dubbed lazy, unpassionate and ‘generation why bother’.
And with productivity down 1.5% due to time spent on Facebook, it comes at no surprise.
However, many businesses have thrived with social media, utilising it’s qualities as a free marketing tool. In addition, new roles have been introduced to meet the demand of changed communication methods; roles that require those same lazy Gen Y-ers.
Remove these layers and you get an unmoved business landscape, with a greater proportion of Gen Y employees who still know how to impress beyond web 2.0 requirements.

Travel

Exploring the world has forever been a human desire.
Take Captain Cook for example, or the Phoenicians. They set sail for far-off lands and wrote the history we read about in books.
Today, we hop on Facebook and see photos from Abz Kebabz’ holiday to Bali, and Cellulite Sally’s check-ins around Europe.
It’s fantastic to have experiences of the world so accessible. But does it raise expectations to share and impress?
Remove Facebook from the equation and your closest family and friends will see you off at the airport for a long absence of backpacking and cocktails. Then, overwhelmed by joy, you reunite having felt forever separated, with stories to tell and photos to share; instead of one’s Facebook presence making it feel like they never left.

Literature

Have you ever read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War? But surely you’ve read the phrase: “If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril”.
How about The Prophet by Khalil Gibran? Yet I bet you’ve heard: “love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation”.
So do I dare ask to what you attribute these? Maybe a status you read last week?
Let’s live in a world where fewer youth dedicate time to recycling snippets from their news feeds, and more time to reading entire collections of classic literature.

Activism

What ever happened to Kony2012? Point made.

Don’t misunderstand me, Facebook isn’t being pinned with the blame – Twitter, Instagram, MySpace; they’re all contributors to today’s social environment. In fact, MySpace was the most visited site in the US in 2006. However Facebook is highly pertinent and its dominance in the contemporary Sydney landscape simply qualifies it as a representative for all social media platforms.

In summation, the moral behind today’s exercise is this:
Consider what your life would be like without Facebook;
Give it a try;
Watch how you approach life differently;
And then decide whether you can live without it.

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New Years You

The 21 milestone has been reached, for you and so many of your friends.
Christmas has sparkled and dimmed once more.
2012 is now a memory, and the new year has begun.
What’s changed? Nothing.
Let’s face it; we blissfully believe that the exordium of a year represents a clean slate and a new start.
We say the problems of last year will be left in the past, and the 365 days ahead will be the best ever.
While it’s nice to be optimistic, the truth cannot be escaped.
Believing that a new year means a new start is nothing but wide-eyed naivety.
You haven’t outgrown your past love-life because you turned 21.
You won’t have deals settled because it’s Christmas day.
Last year’s issues haven’t evaporated because the Harbour Bridge exploded in fireworks.
Everything remains the same. The only thing you can change is your attitude.

Take it from me; a young woman whose year consisted of better and worse, but nonetheless new perspectives on work, education, friendships, family, love and health.
Here it is, some words of guidance.
Attitude reform 101, for the New Years You.

You didn’t reach your school or university goals last year, and now you’re left with a not-so-boast-worthy GPA or ATAR.
The truth is, this topic will be raised for months, maybe even years. So what do you do?
You smile and read Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’.
Then you decide if you want employment, travel or education, and you work your butt off for the next 12 months.

You fell in love, but it just wasn’t enough to make things stick. Now you’re being followed by the repulsive feeling of your broken heart.
Truth is, your string of independence quotes seconding as Facebook statuses won’t convince your wounds to heal, only time will do that.
The initial step: accept that you were hurt. Then channel your energy into new and exciting things: a full social calender, work prospects, a new TV series box set.
At the end of that cocktail, the endless convincing and aimless rebounds lack the substance time has to heal a broken heart.

You hate your job and your boss is cutting your shifts, so the little money you make isn’t even worth it.
It might have worked for Aloe Blacc, but singing ‘I need a dolla’ won’t help.
It’s time to quit complaining and find a new job.
It’s not difficult. Edit your resume and have it checked by a trusted friend or teacher. Start applying in your field of study, or open your mind to trying new things by applying in places you never thought you would. Though, be prepared for many applications and very few responses.

A family member or friend passed away, and you want to leave the memory in the past.
Truth is, death plays a huge part in all of our lives, so we can never really escape it. Try to turn your mourning into a positive energy, to honour those lost, to support those you love, and to embrace the life you live.

You are questioning some relationships as final nerves are had, trust is destroyed, and they begin to drift.
Truth is, ignoring the facts and hoping your friendships return to normality in the new year will only increase disappointment. You need to assess each troubled relationship and the cause of it, and decide whether it’s worth mending. Although it hurts, give them, and yourself, a reality check, and if nothing improves, it’s time to jet.

You or a loved one is sick and lacks the positive livelihood once boasted.
We mustn’t let health consume who we are and deter us from living our lives. Try to relight the spark in your life or that of a loved one by sharing in the small adventures that can make us smile. A trip to the beach, a friendly gathering to watch the sun rise, a day of Playstation and pizza. No one should feel different because they’re unwell, nor should the people around them.
The one thing we all have in common is that we’re still living.

No matter what your concern, the message here is simple.
It’s 2013, and the transition of a few festive days into this new year did not eradicate the reality that we are left with the same problems, same feelings and same obstacles as 2012.
But that doesn’t mean that the good should be forgotten.
The answer to improving your situation is adjusting your attitude to achieve the desired results.
Reflect on your previous years, learn from the bad, savour the great moments, then apply that education to your days ahead.
A Happy New Year, comes from a Happy New Year You.

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