Breathe, keep breathing. Don't lose your nerve" -

Page 326: On Asking a Guy Out

/ Saturday, December 3, 2016 /

People who know me well know that I can be weird and silly sometimes. Like I can randomly ask them “hey, when you’re on a date, and you have that urge to fart, and you can’t leave the table, which one would you prefer: a stink one or a loud one”. Or when I pretended to be deaf and mute because I got stuck in an angkot when a stranger asked me my number. Or when I ate glue because I was curious.

There are silly challenges I would commit to do for the sake of YOLO, but not asking a guy out. For years, one of my closest friends often tells me to ask guys out if I find them interesting, but I used to think that it’s not..okay. Funny, huh? Neng Tia likes to tell people that she’s a feminist and believes that women should do what they can do because we need to break gender stereotype, but still, when it comes to asking a guy out, she thought that it should come from men.

Maybe because I grew up with older women in my life who kept telling me that “aggressive” women were bad. Even my mom, although she’s independent, smart, and pretty decisive, she played that passive-aggressive strategy to my dad before he asked her out (FYI, my dad was a big nerd who paid attention too much on music and alien, he didn’t even realize that my mom, his own best friend had a crush on him back then).

Yeah, us, woman know that, talk about that once in a while, that asking a guy out is kinda taboo. That you can’t show interest first, that you have to attract them, and wait, like some animal in a pet store. Well, tinder and other dating apps sort of help us to make the first move, but let's admit it, if we could avoid using that card, we would. Because somehow it “defines” our “values”, that we are good enough to be wanted. To be chased.

And I get that. No matter how awesome you think you are, or your friends often tell you that you’re amazing or cool, once in a while you still need some external factor to justify that. And that factor, ladies, are men (or women, depends on your preferences).

It’s nice to be wanted, especially when a guy whom you think is cool, or smart, or hot, or has it all asks your number and asks you out on a date. I get that. Once this hot-successful (I’m talking about a Doctor giving lecturers at Harvard, Berkeley, did amazing projects on urban planning, has his own organization and curated numerous art exhibitions kind of successful) guy told me that I’m attractive and smart and asked me out. In my head I was like “YES, YES, FUCKING YES, OH GAWD DEFINITELY A HUNDRED YESS, SIR YOU HAD ME WHEN YOU MENTIONED YOU HAD A COPY OF CODEX SERAPHINIANUS YES SIR I’M FUCKING YOURS SIR YESS!!!” but of course I simply replied “sure. Yes. Somewhere in SCBD maybe?”. Although it didn’t work out the way I imagined it would be, and it was my friend who finally tapped him, I still think that it’s an accomplishment. Haha.

I digress. Where was I? Oh, yes, asking a man out is kinda taboo. Because we don’t want to be seen that desperate. We don’t want that man to think “are you really that lonely?”. Not until two weeks ago I decided to try asking a man out. I mean..I’m an INTP who’s really bad at flirting, so of course Mr.Spock in my head was telling me to ask a guy that I find interesting out. It’s harmless, it’s just an invitation, and it’s sort of empowering.

image courtesy: here

So last week I asked this guy out. I sent him a simple line, “hey, are you free tomorrow night?” He said yes. An hour before he came I texted my friend and told her that I’m gonna laugh really hard if he shows up with a friend because he thought I was asking for a hanging out session. Laugh or would be like Jane of IT Crowd who suddenly asked people to dance together just to get away from awkward situation. But he came alone, and I had a good time, good conversation, and free food. 

So you know, ladies, it’s okay to ask a guy out. It doesn’t mean that you’re aggressive, even if it makes you look like an aggressive woman, it doesn’t make you a bad person. And trust me, it feels good to finally be able to conquer your own fear of being judged as not wanted or pathetic. If a guy whom you asked thinks that you are, it’s still going to be just fine, it’s not the end of the world. Remember, you’re not some animal in a pet store. 


Page 325: Stories and The Benefit of Doubt

/ Tuesday, November 29, 2016 /
Was it Chbosky who said that some moment will just be another story someday? I know all I have to do to put this curiosity to an end is to google it, but somehow I’m sure he said (or wrote) that line. And I’m sure I agreed with him. Some moment will just be another story. Another thing that will be carved on the surface of some part of your brain that once in a while will appear even when you aren’t trying to recall it.

The line sounds a little bit sad to me, it’s like suppressing the hope that not everything is temporary. But maybe actually everything is, and all we can do is to make peace with that sadness. The kinda sadness that make you go to bed with emotionless face and tired eyes, and chuckle a little bit for nurturing false hope. Nurturing the benefit of doubt. That things will actually get better for the rest of the year.

This is one of the plights of being a human with free will and jaded soul, we nurture that hope that something better from what we have or has happened to us will happen with new experience or experiment. We collect stories, collect memories, add feelings and distort it a little bit so it will comfort us when we read it. Because that’s what we all have. And we try not to get hurt, put patches on our comfort bubble here and there so it won’t collapse or let go of the air that we breathe in. We try not to be suffocated. And try to let the memories be good for those who stay.

The flesh that lived and loved will be eaten by plague
So let the memories be good for those who stay

Page 324: Fleabag

/ Monday, November 28, 2016 /

There are two types of sadness that can caused by a movie or a TV show, in my opinion:
1. Classic one. The one that makes you cry, the kind of sadness that’s easier to be understood. The less complicated one.
2. The one that shakes your soul, makes you speechless, haunts you for days, and once in a while makes you think about your life. But there’s no tears, it’s just inexplicable and sort of depressive, just like Darren Aronofsky’s movies.

Fleabag contains the second one, like most dark comedy shows. The final episode from its season 1 made me feel uncomfortable after some mysteries finally have been revealed and the dots have been connected. I read somewhere that Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the writer and creator intentionally put the sad and or shocking scene after a funny one. Because that's the right time to attack the audience with the right amount of bitterness since happiness makes them a little bit fragile. I personally think it’s brilliant. Sick, sort of, ha, but brilliant.

image courtesy: here
image courtesy: here
Fleabag is definitely for people with morbid sense of humor – like me and my friend who recommended it to me; who love to laugh at shitty things that happen in our life since that’s one of our best coping mechanisms; who more often than not, laugh at inappropriate moments; and have fondness for metaphors and irony. But as a single woman in this modern life who sometimes feels the anxiety for knowing that some people in my life expect me to have a life that’s perceived as a normal one, it’s more than just entertaining. It makes me feel normal and not so alone.

I can relate to some of her problems. I can relate to loneliness that makes her more reckless. I can relate to her effort to be an independent woman who's too proud to admit that she needs help sometimes. I understand her weariness for having a big sister who seems to have a normal life. I understand that sometimes, laughing at problems that can make other people cry is your only weapon to make life more bearable and postpone the ache.

image courtesy: here
Fleabag is a not a lovable character. She’s pretty far from delightful, and you can’t say that she has many endearing qualities. Pity her? Yes, maybe. But at some point you might wish she kills herself. But the way she sees life and the way she survives in this life makes her interesting. She’s every fucked up 30(ish) person who is still clueless, silly, (sometimes) childish, with foggy career path and doesn’t seem to make it. She’s the anti-heroine you need to make you feel better about yourself, the martyr that put us on pedestal. 

But she’s also every single middle class girl who sometimes asks herself “what the hell is wrong with me?” or “how did I get here?” for lacking the ability to control herself from repeating the same mistake.

The series also talks about some issues related to woman, for instance, male ego in a changing world where gender equality is rising and they have to share the big cake of privilege and opportunities. (Okay, sorry, spoiler alert) One episode presented this in such a hilarious way. They had this camp to make men "a better man" by allowing them to yell at this sex doll about things that annoy them from women in their life. Like "slut!" or "who did you blow to get that job?". They had female only camp too, which was way weirder. One of the most memorable scenes for me was the speech that fleabag heard in the camp her father sent her to:
Leaving your voice in your head and trapping your heads in your skull. Think of it as a thought prison in your mind. Firstly, we're going to teach you how to breathe. Then we will have a short meditation, then we will find our sanctuary in the partaking of menial tasks all in perfect silence. Principal rules are no talking. If you need to communicate with any of our other superiors, you can write on that board. No matter what happens, a word must not be heard.

It’s like a satire of how women are still, somehow oppressed to not really express their thoughts and be more submissive. You’d find it funny, you might chuckle, but also curse a little bit.

I also liked how fleabag discussed female sexuality and modern dating (and the plight of it). From sexting, hooking up, to instant gratification and complacency. Her comment on anal sex was memorable and the masturbating part was silly yet true (sometimes, you're the only one whom you can count on, right, girls? Ha). After a terrific first season, I wonder what Phoebe Waller-Bridge would bring in the next season – something that I’m excited about.

image courtesy: here

Page 323: She knew

/ Friday, November 25, 2016 /
It was a few minutes before her bedtime when all of a sudden she remembered what her aunt told her about shadow: that it exists to remind us that there's a light somewhere. And shadow can comfort us when the light is too bright, when we feel like it blinds our eyes or burns our skin. Just like life, one minute you're happy, the next you're sad. A right amount of darkness in our life can teach us about balance and humility.

She missed her aunt, the woman who was like her second mom. She cried a little bit, although she knew that it won't change a thing, that it won't turn back the time and allow her to kiss her aunt's cheeks for the last time before she passed away, or allow her to buy more time so she could attend her funeral.

But she cried anyway. Released the storm so she would get the quiet peace of the night after.

Page 322: it's (not) just a pat

/ Thursday, November 24, 2016 /
To be a woman means that every now and then you can have bad days when strangers assault you on the street and you’d still have the strength to yell at them, or punch them in the face, or kick them in the balls.

But there’s a day, like today, when you had a long day, and feel too tired to yell. Too tired to express the anger. Too tired to hold your tears when some stranger on a motorbike squeezed your ass and laughed as he fled. All you want that it never happened. And you just stared at the older man who saw it and told you to stop crying, because “it’s just a pat”. You’re speechless. You’re tired.

Because to him, it’s just a pat or a squeeze. To you, it’s a violation of your personal space, your haven, your approval. To him it’s just a pat or a squeeze. To you it’s a cruel act, telling you that what you wear, how you behave, or do things that make you feel proud of yourself, doesn’t matter that much. Because on the street, you’re just a piece of meat that they can touch whenever they want to feel more powerful.

There’s a day, like today, when I wished I had the power to be invisible.
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