I recently parted ways with my boyfriend of five months, over (as far as I can tell) a spaghetti dinner. In any case, shortly after splitting, we met again and promptly hopped into bed. I unwittingly believed that this encounter would mean something to both of us. Apparently I was wrong. I called him up to talk about the situation, and he was completely nonchalant, and became irritated with my repeated question of “is that all you have to talk about?” Anyway, the conversation ended with me being fairly hurt and confused, and him being generally clueless. Was it wrong for me to expect more? Please help me out.
What you have here is Classic Relapse. See, breakups can be right up there with oysters, figs, and The Red Shoe Diaries in terms of their aphrodisiac qualities. It’s like, “Wow, you look great without … commitment.”
So, a Relapse and a Reunion are two entirely different animals. People: safeguard your feelings — and don’t toy with those of others. Either break up or don’t; act accordingly. But if you are going to break up, you might as well be eating spaghetti at the time
Over the past few weeks, Milwaukee teens have seen and and heard promo after promo for the horror film 2028. There’s blood, screaming, creepy lighting, gravelly voice-over, the works. Over time, though, it became clear that these weren’t trailers for a movie, they were trailers for YOUR LIFE. Your life, that is, if you’re young and knocked up. While the first round of previews ended with “in theaters January,” subsequent edits closed on the following message: “Get pregnant as a teen and the next 18 years could be the hardest of your life.” Then, a Web address flashes on screen: BabyCanWait.com. Oh, snap!
According to Broadsheet, this is just one of at least 15 anti-teen pregnancy campaigns presented by the United Way’s Healthy Girls program in Milwaukee. “Past print ads included images of teen boys with pregnant bellies and a baby diaper with a brown “scratch-‘n’-sniff” spot. The ads’ creator says the aim is to offer a contrast to high-profile young mothers like Jamie Lynn Spears and “deglamorize” teen pregnancy…and credits the decline in the state’s teen pregnancy rate in part to their “aggressive and provocative” approach.” Note: BabyCanWait.com provides information about contraception and STD’s. This is not an abstinence-only campaign.
But, as Broadsheet’s Tracy Clark-Flory asks, “Are these shock-and-awe tactics the best way to reach kids?” While I sympathize with the goal, and appreciate the clear and creative commitment to it, something about the trailer didn’t sit well with me.
For one thing, horror movies are “glamorous,” too. (Older) teens — and women — like Saw, say. Not saying it’s aspirational, but the genre itself is seen as a double-dog-dare lark, not a cautionary tale about (say) losing your virginity at summer ca — REE! REE! REE! You know? So there’s that.
There’s also something about it that contributes to an ugly stigma. Teen mothers as screaming bloody victims. The baby as some sort of evil spawn. Or something like that. Ick. Not helpful.
Finally, I don’t think kids are running around getting (people) pregnant because Bristol and Jamie Lynn made it look so, like, cute. Or even just because ADULTS ARE LYING TO THEM ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL, which they are. There are so many naive, misguided, melancholy, ironic reasons that teens want to get pregnant, be parents. They’ve seen their sisters and brothers and friends do it. And it’s hard hard hard. But — based on what’s become normal to them — it’s not a horrorshow. I’m not sure you can convince them it is in a one-minute trailer when the rest of their life says otherwise.
The first press release we got from LeaseTrader.com was mostly just puzzling. The next couple were forgettable, reaching so far for a hook that we’re sure someone injured a rotator cuff. But this one? Notable. Here’s what a fellow recipient had to say about it in an email to BG: “This is a fascinating press release about the many men who face intense pressures from marriage-hungry girls who force them to either change their Facebook status, step up the relationship, or propose on Valentine’s Day, all of which apparently leads to a terrible next-day hangover in which they must give up their sports cars because sports cars are incompatible with the emasculation of commitment to women, and also because there is no room for Ken’s sports car — only the Glamour Camper — in the garage at the BarbieDream House in 1982, which is the only place where the universe depicted in this press release exists.” Behold:
It’s no secret that Valentine’s Day is a big date night, but nobody talks about what many men face the day after. With Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday, this year the day after could provide one heck of a case of the Mondays. Our company (LeaseTrader.com) was needed to help one guy get rid of his sports car after he and his new fiancée had “the talk,” which got us thinking of other situations men face after Valentine’s Day.
*First Date* – Having your first date on Valentine’s Day is already filled with enough anxiety. The next day some men will face the inevitable talk to change their Facebook status. Men used to worry about the blackbook but now it’s all about the Facebook.
*Next Step* – If you’re already in an exclusive relationship on Valentine’s Day expect the “when are we going to finally live together” talk which means it’s time to take that next step. Her talk with you will include changing the décor of your home or commenting on why you’re still driving that ridiculous sports car?
*Engagement *– Every man who proposes to his girlfriend wants the day to be unforgettable for her. For many men this means a Valentine’s Day proposal. Believe it or not, LeaseTrader.com has helped many men ditch the sports car when their brand new fiancées quickly remind them they’ll now be a family man.
We’ve seen, earlier today, the troubling numbers on teen pregnancy. Now we have to ask: how many of those pregnancies were coerced? Not just “unwanted” or “unplanned,” but actually forced? Forced — contrary to cliche — by the men, on the women?
In the first larger quantitative study of its kind, researchers at UC Davis have found (as they have in smaller studies, which BG covered here) that “young women and teenage girls often face efforts by male partners to sabotage their birth control or coerce or pressure them to become pregnant — including by damaging condoms and destroying contraceptives. These behaviors, defined as ‘reproductive coercion,’ are often associated with physical or sexual violence.” The study, published in the January issue of te journal Contraception, also finds that “among women who experienced both reproductive coercion and partner violence, the risk of unintended pregnancy doubled.” [Emphasis added.] Here, I’ll add it again: DOUBLED. This is possibly the clearest link yet established between domestic violence and really, really, really unwanted pregnancy.
The researchers surveyed over 1200 women aged 16-29 (so yeah, not just teens) who sought care at the five family planning clinics in Northern California. More than half the women surveyed reported physical or sexual partner violence. One-third of those who reported partner violence also reported pregnancy coercion or birth control sabotage.
As BG’s alter ego reported here several months ago, based on earlier data: “The problem is so widespread…that public-health advocates are working to cast teen pregnancy in a whole new light: not as a measure of ‘promiscuity,’ or a failure of cluefulness, but rather as a canary in the coal mine of partner violence.” In other words, these girls don’t just need to be reminded of how to put a condom on a banana. They need to be asked whose idea this pregnancy was, and whether they thought it was a good one. Oh, and if anyone at home is hitting them. Or at least lying about pulling out.
What’s going on? In all modern fables, isn’t the girl the one who wants to get the guy to get her pregnant? Well, first of all, no, not all women in relationships are against getting pregnant. But not all of those women are in healthy relationships. And here‘s the guy side: “In one 2007 study, some boys acknowledged outright that they insisted on condomless sex as a way to establish power over female partners. (There is evidence of analogous male-on-male sexual violence, but it hasn’t been studied in depth.) Other research found that some men took a woman’s request for a condom as an accusation of cheating, or an admission that she had slept around or strayed. And for some, yes, the goal is fatherhood — but not so much of the ‘involved’ variety; rather, it’s a desire — as with Janey’s ex — to mark one woman as ‘mine’ forever. Or, [according to one anti-violence advocate] young men in gangs say, ‘I’m not gonna be around forever. I’ve gotta leave my legacy.'”
This is not NEWnews, as a phenomenon; those who work with teens have known about it for years. Only now, finally, is it drawing attention as a serious public health issue. Let’s hope, then, that the real legacy is this: “It doesn’t make sense to talk [at school] about substance abuse use this week and pregnancy next week and STDs the following week and then healthy relationships the week after that,” said UC Davis researcher Elizabeth Miller. “We need to be talking about how they’re all linked together.”
Despite being taught the necessity of buying and exchanging Valentine’s Day cards (often in bulk) from pre-school on, I have to admit…I have at times, well, forgotten Valentine’s Day. Not very ladylike behavior, I suppose, as Noble writes: “Most women we know either relish or dread February 14th.” But…really? Women are that fixated on Valentine’s Day? And same-sex couples…well, never mind them, I guess? Or, beyond all that, is it really so black and white (and red all over)? Is there room to observe it our own way, because hey, why not, it’s here, it could be nice, without making such a giant cuckoo deal?
I mean, my college crush and I thought ourselves so evolved as to be post-Valentine’s Day. We decided no cards, presents or even candied hearts. Instead we sat in a smoky café with our friends, reading Kierkegaard out loud, dressed in black, sipping lattes. At the time, it was perfect. He loved it. I loved it. There were no false expectations. Now, the odds that I’ll observe the holiday that way today are about the same as that of Hallmark coming out with a card criticizing 19th-century Hegelianism and celebrating the priority of concrete human reality over abstract thinking, but still. It was fun.
So tell us: What are some ways you’ve observed, ignored, or something in between, Valentine’s Day? That is, assuming you even knew the date. 😉
Filed under: News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:11 am
BREAKING: Our friends over at the esteemed Guttmacher Institute report news that’s sadly about as unsurprising as the lamented John Edwards being Quinn’s dad. That is: “For the first time in more than a decade, the nation’s teen pregnancy rate rose 3% in 2006 [the most recent source of data], reflecting increases in teen birth and abortion rates of 4% and 1%, respectively.”
2006: Let’s plot that on a timeline of SURELY UNRELATED events in U.S. history. Aha: Turns out a long-term decline in teen pregnancy — due in part to increased contraceptive use among teens — flattened out and then reversed…what’s this? The decline reversed at the same time that the Bush administration and Congress ramped up funding for rigid abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that are prohibited from discussing the benefits of contraception. Coincidence, or…? Yeah, gotta be coincidence.
“After more than a decade of progress, this reversal is deeply troubling,” says Heather Boonstra, Guttmacher Institute senior public policy associate. “It coincides with an increase in rigid abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, which received major funding boosts under the Bush administration. A strong body of research shows that these programs do not work. Fortunately, the heyday of this failed experiment has come to an end with the enactment of a new teen pregnancy prevention initiative that ensures that programs will be age-appropriate, medically accurate and, most importantly, based on research demonstrating their effectiveness.”
And: “It is clearly time to redouble our efforts to make sure our young people have the information, interpersonal skills and health services they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies and to become sexually healthy adults,” said Lawrence Finer, Guttmacher’s director of domestic research.
For starters, we’ll need to let them read the dictionary.
(Click here (PDF) for the full report, “U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions: National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity,” and click here for Guttmacher’s Facts on American Teens’ Sexual and Reproductive Health. Also, find Guttmacher on Facebook and Twitter to learn more.)
Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:57 am
MSN.com, Match.com, HappenMagazine.com: they’re in a healthy and satisfying 3-way relationship. Meaning that you can find MSN/Match.com’s “Ask Lynn” columns –penned by BG’s alter ego — over at Happen now as well.
This week Lynn advises a woman who fears she may be A Victim of His Past. Everything was going fine in this new relationship, but then
About two weeks ago he started becoming distant and I asked him about it. He said he wasn’t sure what was going on, but he just woke up one morning and felt like things were moving too fast.
How does this happen? Could his recent reservations stem from a previous relationship that ended badly? Read the whole saga at Happen, then come back here to comment!
I have recently moved into a new apartment with a guy, we’ll call him “Brutus,” who I hardly knew. Then the first night we moved in together Brutus and I messed around. Three months have passed since then and I feel like I am pretty much “in love” with him or something quite like it. Problem is, I am quickly falling OUT of love with him due to all of the gross little bodily things that you see everyday when you live with someone. I don’t know how to cool things off with him without going through some big, torrid fiasco and someone moving out — I mean I like being his roommate…but not his girlfriend. I just want to quit messing around with him. Oh yeah, also he always tells me he loves me….uh OH!!!! How can I not hurt him??? Please Advise!!!