Friday, July 6, 2012

Stanky Left-hand Jimma Jamma: Thug Life

If I were a gangsta, let's be honest, I wouldn't be writing this post. I would be tagging a wall or jacking a car or ballin' in my Escalade.  But let's suspend reality, shall we?

I think, deep down, everyone has an inner gangster that just needs to be unlocked, ya know?  I feel it.  I think I've figured out how.  Here are my top ten things to accomplish before I can be a real G:

1. Get jumped into a gang

I'm not looking forward to this, but it must be done.  Otherwise, I'm a poser.

2. Flash gang signs 

Easy enough.  I guess I need to know what they mean first; I don't wanna get whooped.  

3. Tag something

I think that's doable.

A moving object?? LEGIT. 

4. Kill a man

With a trident? Done. Tear drop tat that. I think I'll lay low for a while . . . 

5. Buy some rims for my ride

This is what it would look like all jacked up.

Sick, right??

6. Get a couple three tats

Too skanky?  Represent!

7. Wear the colors, ice up the bling, lean into the swag

Mmm, sexy

8. Bump Wiz Khalifa and Snoop in my car

Wait, I do that. Check!

9. Gangsta name

According to the Gangsta Name Generator, my gangsta name is Stanky Left-hand Jimma Jamma.  I'm cool wit dat, but I think it's more legit if it comes from an actual cholo . . . so my cholito friend crowned me "Killa Billion." It's got a good ring to it, no?

Sup, Killa B!

10. Rap to a fat beat

You think I'm just a white girl, but I'm gonna Busta some Rhymes. Check it.

11. (Bonus!) Don't get shot

Or maybe do?  Is that more hard core?

You know, it's not easy being a thug, but somebody's gotta do it.  Now put on your Bobby-Ray Bands and do the Cholo YOLO.  Happy g-ing!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Let's Get Some Shoes . . .

I have this theory that you can tell a guy by his shoes.  Rather, you can tell a guy's fashion sense by his shoes; if a man is going to display any semblance of style at all, he will start with his footwear. Shoes are a basic, long-term investment that even the stingiest dude would be willing to spend a little extra on.  Think of it this way: If a guy wears a basic shirt and pants combo but wears some really cool kicks with them, his outfit is instantly more stylish; however, if he wears a really snazzy shirt and pant combo, he'll kill it with ugly, old tennis shoes. Am I right?

So what, exactly, do shoes tell you?  Well, the way a man dresses himself is probably the first thing I notice about him, and shoes are a tell-tale sign of style (or lack thereof).  I'm not sure I can tell you exactly which shoes mean what, but I shall try to formulate an analysis hereafter.

White Tennis Shoes

No.  These are for old men.  Or guys who are only concerned with the "functional." That's fine if that's your style, but I (and several other women I know) are simply not attracted to it.

Weird Leather Shoes

A couple of my friends at work claim that half the guys at BYU wear these shoes, which aren't necessarily bad by themselves, but they pair them with Wrangler jeans and a plain button-up shirt, which combination is less than satisfactory (or fashion-sensible). I wasn't certain of the prevalence of this phenomenon until I decided to look for it.  I was horrified to find that more than half of the boys in my ward were wearing this EXACT OUTFIT.  Leather is classy, but this shoe is not.
Basic Vans

These are classic and easy to wear with many different styles.  I had a friend say that guys who wear Vans only wear them because they've seen other guys wear them. Hm, maybe sometimes.  But I still think Vans look good.  And at least that means they've noticed (at least in some small way) that this shoe has style, even if they don't totally understand it.  Vans are a safe choice.
Basic Converse

I would argue these are even more classic than Vans.  And any choice of shoe becomes (possibly) more awesome when he takes a risk and goes for a shoe with a little extra. Of course, he has to know how to pull it off.

Kicks (especially Nike, and double-especially high tops)

YES. *Drool, drool* I'm sure I'm not the only girl who likes guys in high-top kicks, though they definitely are a preference of mine. Oh, hardcore kids (which I thought were called scene kids, but I guess I was wrong) . . . Taking a risk and pulling it off is always a win, and I feel like wearing cool kicks like these is always a risk.

Hipster's Shoes

Hipster Shoes

These are hard to pin point because they can come in varying shapes and sizes.  The classier hipsters (and by hipsters I don't necessarily mean people who live a legit hipster lifestyle, but people who dress in hipster style) will wear shoes like these: rugged, often leather, earthy, vintage, leaning toward the style of a trendy old man.  Hobo hipsters are a different story.
Girl Shoes

There is something to be said about girl shoes.  Most girls always show their sense of style with shoes, but they don't just invest in that one item; girls use shoes as an accessory to an outfit and not as the only fashionable piece in a combination.  A girl's taste in shoes shows her variety of style rather than just her possession of it. 

On a side note, one boy told me that he would propose on the spot to any girl who wore these shoes: 

Seriously, what self-respecting woman would wear these?  (These have actually grown on me a little bit, as in I wish I could pull them off, but I'm not admitting that here.)

In a word, how a person decides to present his or herself is very telling about personality and self esteem. Think about it.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Beatnik Rehab: How Do You Express Yourself?

I like poetry, but I don't like people who like poetry.  Do you know what I mean?  No offense.  I feel like poetry attracts some pretty eccentric characters, plus outsiders don't really understand poetry, so the game of rhyming gets an all-around bad rap (pun intended).  Maybe I'm a hypocrite, but I don't think I'm one of the crazies of poetry.  But I guess you can judge for yourself.  There's just a way about it that captures and expresses bits of my soul that nothing else seems to be able to accomplish in the same way.  There are other things besides this that I like to do, but they express a different parts of me.  What's something that you do that makes you just feel like you?  I'm really interested to know.

Some of my favorite poets are Elizabeth Bishop, Walt Whitman, Anne Sexton, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allen Poe, and Robert Frost.  I also love quotes from poets (they know what's up): "Like a piece of ice on a hot stove, a poem must ride on its own melting" (Frost).  

I have recently caught some inspiration to write, which hasn't happened in a long while.  I had a specific sort of setting and imagery that I've been trying to portray in different ways (more specifically, the cityscape), and that's where this series comes from.  I write with the mentality that "[a] poem is a state of perfection at which a poet has arrived by whatever means" (Yvor Winters).  This is a piece of my perfection.  I'll only share two of the poems in this collection.  After that, you can decide whether or not I need to go to beatnik rehab.  

*Disclaimer: To those of you who immediately assume these are autobiographical (or even about YOU, how vain . . . ), know that I severely distort only fragments of reality; the rest I dream up.  

To a boy in the dark, deserted city

Part I

I find myself exhausting memories of you, 
blurring like long exposure distortions;
It feels good to forget, diffuse rather,
The false electricity you pulsed through my thoughts, like tire-splashing puddles and confused yellow lights and skate boarding hips on hands on crack after crack in the dark city where you never lived.
But don't worry; I still drink orange soda
when I pace past the cemetery and
forget how wonderful it never was.

Part IV

To my true love
who wears a button-up sky scraper and matching Metrolinks,
who dresses up at night with street lamps and tail lights
and wears Wet Pavement cologne by Ralph Lauren.
Whose voice is a low ebb and flow of a red-and-white ocean.
I tangle my fingers in the telephone wires
when we dance downtown with the traffic lights
'til the sun never comes up.

When I'm with him, I forget everything I ever remembered about past skylines.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Guys We Fall For

No, I didn’t receive “an embarrassing display of white roses” today (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days--really, Matthew McConaughey?), but I still love Valentine’s Day.  There's so much positivity floating about, plus I get to eat dark chocolate covered cherry Three Musketeers bars. :)

In honor of today, I think it’s time to address the topic of relationships and common experiences many of us have had  in the dating game.  Dating is both fun and aggravating, but where would we be without a little drama?

Recently, my roommates and I made a trip to the mall, and whilst browsing we came across different ads that seemed to capture the essence of the boy drama we’ve each been having lately.  We stared to realize that we’re attracted to (and seem to attract) certain kinds of guys: the Robot, the Douchebag, and the Clinger.  We'll leave it up to you to decide which type belongs to whom.

The Robot

Why we like him: He’s uber smart and can hold very interesting conversations.  He likes us for our minds and not our looks (even when they’re good looks).  He's not just a shallow jerk!

The Problem: Well, he doesn’t really express or feel emotion.  He usually has a disorder like Asperger Syndrome which means he can't really fall in love, so we end up falling in love without reciprocation.  He also, not surprisingly, has a hard time with physical affection, and we all know that’s no fun.

When you post a comment to a blog, it asks you to copy the text box it provides with the caption "Please prove you're not a robot."  We think there needs to be a test like that for these kinds of guys.

The Picture: The Robot is one with his scooter.  He’s totally enjoying the ride (probably busy calculating the trajectory of the moon and the sun or something) more than the presence of this cute girl.  And she, poor thing, is trying so hard to make him notice her.  And it’s not that he minds her being there; no, he enjoys her company, he’s just incapable of feeling anything more than platonic interest.

The Douchebag

Why we like him:  He’s charming and comfortable giving obvious flattery and attention (which we can’t help but like).  He usually has great style and knows how to dress himself, often drawing attention with bright colors and bold patterns. 

The Problem: Behind that false flattery is an ulterior motive to "hit it and quit it."  They prance around with the mentality that they get what they want, and girls become disposable to them.

The Juice Box (my sister's PG version of Douchebag) is all talk and no action, and will continually tell us he’s going to do something without any intention of actually doing that thing and try to pacify us with more empty promises if we ever call him out on it.  I feel like we ladies generally encounter this kind of boy more often than the other two.

The Picture: The first thing to notice is his style; cute, but it's the first sign of possible douche-baggery; he knows he looks good.  He's in the act of jumping over this girl--just another object for his amusement.

The girl sits there cooly, apparently disinterested, sipping her soda uncaringly.  Well, she cares.  She knows she has to play the game and pretend she doesn't care, but what she's really thinking is, "WHEN ARE YOU COMING DOWN?!"  Which, translated, means, "Are you ever going to man up and actually be as awesome as you think you are?" 

The Clinger

Why we like him: He's really sweet and attentive and makes us the center of his world.  He's always thinking about us, sending thoughtful texts and saying really lovey-dovey things.  He's just a hopeless romantic.

The Problem: He's a little too sappy.  In fact, he drips with sap.  And he doesn't seem to understand when we tell him that we're over it because we've been smothered in sap.  He doesn't stop calling, texting, or asking us out, apparently in complete denial that we are very much not going to go out with him.  Ever.

Now, let me clarify that being romantic is not a bad thing, in moderation.  It's the being smothered part that we don't like.  

The Picture: First notice that the guy has set her up on a pedestal (cute, right?), but then you notice her expression which says, "Really? Again? Didn't you get it last time when I splashed that drink in your face and stained your shirt?" This guy is trying so hard to get her attention with this enormous bouquet, and he doesn't even know he's making it worse.

Now, if you find yourself identifying with the "what we like" sections of the categories, that's not a bad thing.  Know that this is in no way meant to be a generalization of all guys in the world, but despite our best efforts, these kinds of boys seem to keep finding us.  All I gotta say is "I don't want no scrub."

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Men, Do Tell: Long or Short Hair?

My grandpa shared this tidbit of wisdom with me over Skype the other day: “Miss Karlyn,” he said, “let me tell you a secret . . . boys like girls with long hair. It’s a feminine quality. It draws them in.” Thanks, Grandpa. Just because a girl cuts her hair doesn't mean she is trying to be masculine. I actually thought he would disown me when I chopped off all my long hair three years ago. So, what is it with guys and long hair? And is this an old-fashioned ideal, or does it prevail today?

So, I got my hair cut this week, trimmed rather, and my roommate got hers cut the same day. Naturally, being the giddy girls we are, we discussed possible hair cuts. She has pretty long hair, and she was contemplating chopping it off, which I am completely down for, obvi, but she was really unsure. One of the reasons she didn’t want to cut it was because she was afraid GUYS WOULDN’T LIKE HER WITH SHORT HAIR. She is gorgeous! There’s no reason a guy shouldn’t like her! Are guys really dumb enough to snub a beautiful, intelligent girl just because she looks GREAT with short hair? Or do they just stop at the intelligent part? But that’s another blog post . . .

I feel like guys have become a lot more okay with a variety of hair styles, and most I’ve talked to say that it depends on the girl, though their default preference is still long hair. But one (who will remain nameless) told me that if my hair (which is barely to my shoulders) were an inch shorter he would immediately be unattracted. Really? An inch? Okay, I admit, short hair isn't as fun to run your fingers through as long hair, but it can still be sexy. For example, Emma Watson has recently gone with the pixie cut and she looks amazing. Then again, she would look good wearing a meat dress. As a girl I can appreciate the aesthetic beauty of the short do, but at the same time I do recognize that she could be considered more attractive with longer hair. But heck, look how sexy short is on her!

So, guys, I need your help here. I’m perfectly secure with the length of my hair, no problem there, but if a girl wants to cut her hair she shouldn’t have to worry that some guy she might like won’t like her because she rocks a bob. Maybe this is no longer true of the overall male outlook, but even so, we girls still seem to be fed this stereotype. I also have the feeling that a lot of guys have a stigma against girls who dye their hair. Again, with the exception of the extremes where a girl goes with the super trashy-looking bottle blond or other skin-tone-clashing colors. I’m really curious to know where the young male population stands these days. Take my survey below (guys only, please) and let’s find out:

Men, Do Tell: Long or Short Hair?: A survey to dispel the general assumptions . . . or to confirm them.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It Has Begun

Greetings!  I am embarking on a journey to explore things that fascinate, perturb, and excite me.  I hope you will enjoy my musings and feel free to respond with your perspective or suggestions for future posts.

What’s in a Name?

The title of my blog is “Dancing with Traffic Lights,” which comes from a line in a song called “Alone in the World” (depressing, right?) by Everybody Else.  Actually, this title has a lot of personal meaning—one, I LOVE dancing and I go at LEAST once a week; two, I tend toward the poetic side of language, and this phrase is beautifully crafted with assonance and rhythm (don’t worry, there’s a poetry post to come); and, three, the music from this band just seems to speak to me and reminds me of the adventurer I more-or-less recently discovered in myself. 

So, stay tuned for posts to come, but until then, here is a repost of my first blog entry EVER which debuted on the Garrulous Clan, a blog created by my old friends from high school.  They asked me to address the term “NCMO” because they thought it was just another weird “Mormon thing.”  Here ‘tis: 

There is a culturally unique phenomenon that occurs at BYU (Brigham Young University) when two people of the opposite sex find themselves attracted to each other but not looking for a serious relationship. We call this NCMO (“nick-mo”), or Non-Committal Make Out, fondly referred to as the “Mormon One-Night Stand.” Yes, I am Mormon; no, I’m not a weirdo. But, here at BYU and in the LDS Church, we have a certain set of standards. One of those is that we wait to have sex until marriage. I know that sounds CRAZY CATZ, but I believe it’s actually a good idea. Anyway, that means that the only form of “getting it on” before marriage is making out. Some hook ups are trashier and more fleeting than others, and some BYU-ers shun making out all together, but that’s another story.

The History of the NCMO

Apparently, the term “NCMO” was coined by some BYU students back in the day in a blog. This term spread like wildfire on campus despite the efforts of the faculty to stop it. (They should have known better than to try to stop rampant making out!!!) It has now become a common term in our vernacular, and it’s generally only used by students who are currently attending or who have previously attended BYU. My friend defined a NCMO this way: “Making out with someone without the intent of dating them seriously. As in, they are not a marriage prospect, you just really have the urge to make out with anything that moves and they are feelin' the same!”

My Experience

I’m mostly an observer of this phenomenon, as I am generally a more committed, old-fashioned sort of girl. But let’s be honest, “I believe in kissing, kissing a lot,” as Audrey Hepburn would say. My friend, on the other hand, is crazy into boys and she is always looking for a good NCMO. In fact, she’s been known to hook up with guys in the middle of the dance floor. GET IT GURRRL. I get to live somewhat vicariously through her frivolity, but I don’t quite envy it. Don’t get me wrong, kissing is a favorite past time of mine, but let’s just say I keep it classy.

(Preface to the following story: Contrary to popular belief, the term “ward” does not refer to a wing in a mental hospital. In the LDS community, we are assigned to certain buildings and times to go to church depending on where we live. We call these assigned groups “wards.”)

Recently, a guy friend of mine committed one of the cardinal sins of NCMO: He made out with a girl in his ward. Let me tell you why this is a bad thing. When a girl (or a boy) is physically intimate with someone she doesn’t want to be serious with, she doesn’t usually want to see that person again, and being in the same ward means she would see him at least every Sunday, if not more. The situation is made more awkward because the two had talked about how neither of them wanted a committed relationship, but he just said that to lure her in, and now he’s acting all possessive and needy like they’re a couple. Not cool. And there’s no way to avoid him because he’s in the SAME WARD. That's just a bad move, son. I once heard it described as “peeing in the pool.” Don’t do it, it just makes things awkward. However, it does make good material for telling dramatic boy stories. J

Is this something that happens outside the BYU bubble? I know that people in the outside world have one-night stands all the time, but what about one-night hook ups? Perhaps it is just the term that is unique, I’m not sure. The problem with NCMO, the BYU version or otherwise, is that there’s not really a way to completely cut off your emotional attachment to someone, and though you both might agree that it is “non-committal,” one or the other will inevitably be left wanting more or feeling guilty. But I guess that’s the risk taken when kissing on a whim. Let me be clear, though, that I fundamentally believe that kissing is meant to be a special thing shared between two people who genuinely like and care for each other . . . but, then again, it’s hard to resist a bit of frivolity every once in a while. J

Keep it classy.