Archive for the ‘Categorically uncategorizable’ Category

Boasting Tillamook and Beecher’s cheeses (plus Dinah’s from Kurtwood Farms) I expected an amazing mac ‘n’ cheese but unfortunately this one fell short.

The serving size was good for sharing across a few people who order entrees. It’s enough for one person as an entree itself, but I wouldn’t recommend it just based on my disappointment and because of the other great stuff on the menu.

It was slightly creamy, slightly gooey but not enough of either. It was a bit grainy, which I’ll attribute to cheddar, which would have been the Tillamook or Beecher’s. I don’t know for sure because the menu didn’t specify and the waitress wasn’t too keen to share the recipe with me (understandably) after I told her I didn’t really like the dish. Cheddar can have great flavor, but it doesn’t melt well and, thus, leads to graininess and poor consistency in mac ‘n’ cheese. The Dinah’s cheese melts gooey, so I’m guessing that contributed the slight gooeyness when combined with the other two cheeses.

The other negative for me was the bland flavor. Sharp, white, aged or smoked cheddar give great flavor to whatever they’re added to, but this cheese sauce was really mild. I’m going to assume, again, that whatever cheddar was used was medium or mild; those lack the flavor of richer cheddars. The Dinah’s cheese is “fatty”, “golden” in color and “full flavored” so I can’t imagine this is the cheese (of the three) responsible for the bland flavor. I almost asked for some salt from the waitress just to give the dish something. (I opted not to, though, and instead ate my other side dish in its entirety and boxed the mac ‘n’ cheese so I could doctor it up at home.)

The mac came in a standard bowl and was topped with breadcrumbs. The top layer of mac and breadcrumbs was slightly crisp, but I’m not sure whether that’s due to sitting under heating lamps or if it was flash baked after putting in the bowl. Regardless, underneath is where the aforementioned slight creaminess and gooeyness was. I definitely found myself digging underneath for bites.

Aannnd after all that, I forgot my mac and cheese leftovers on the table at the restaurant…. doh!

The place: Local 360, Belltown – Seattle
The dish: Mac & Cheese, $16
The ingredients: Kurtwood Farms Dinah’s cheese, Beecher’s cheese, Tillamook cheese, shell pasta, bread crumbs
The verdict: Definitely eat at this great restaurant, just don’t waste your stomach space on the mac ‘n’ cheese.

Anyone who knows me knows my strong feelings about suburbs versus urban city centers. And anyone who knows me also knows that my avoidance of the former (unfortunately most of my close friends in SoCal moved to the burbs with their families) and search for the latter are why I left Santa Monica in November 2017.

The irony is that after leaving my wonderful beach-town life and amazing apartment location in hip, bustling Santa Monica (which was actually quite “urban” within its small bubble), I spent most of the following 13 months in the suburbs.

My mom’s house in the suburbs of Denver was my home base, and I frequently stayed with my sister and her family who live outside the city center (definitely not urban, but hipper and more central than suburbia). What’s more, the majority of my travels in 2018 were domestically to visit friends in their suburban locales. From the suburbs of Long Beach and Orange County to Saint Louis and Austin to Canada’s Ottawa, my friends who have opted for suburban lifestyles are plentiful. I enjoyed the time with my friends, which was the point of each trip – not to sightsee in their sprawling, cookie-cutter, commercial landscapes – and I’m incredibly happy for the beautiful families and lives they have built. But by the end of each trip (often earlier), I definitely had my fill of the burbs.

While visiting these suburban friends often meant my own guest room in their often larger homes, it also meant:

  • little offerings/activities/resources within walking distance
  • no accessible coffee shops for me to work at
  • no bars or restaurants to walk to at night
  • so basically we had to drive everywhere
  • anything within walking distance was a commercial chain
  • access to public transit or Lyft/Uber was limited and expensive

Sure, I could go for a run without being held up by traffic or myriad stoplights, without having to dart through crowds or around homeless people, and without breathing in smells from overflowing dumpsters, streets of ethnic restaurants or exhaust in high volumes. But I otherwise felt pretty isolated and bored.

These trips helped confirm why I do not want to live in the suburbs, but it also got me thinking about why someone would.

After World War II, people – read: white folk, educated and higher-income earners, and families – flocked to the suburbs in search of space, something new and locales where only the privileged could access. City centers became neglected, while suburbs flourished.

But “as money, education, political influence and emotional connections moved away from urban centers into the suburbs, we created a culture of cars and sprawl with the attendant problems,” explains author Peter Kageyama in his book For the Love of Cities. “We lost a strong sense of civic identity as our suburbs became generic at best, shockingly dull and ugly at their worst. We created vast places not worth caring about.”

He continues: “Sprawling developments that require cars to maneuver reduce our connections to each other, and we make it so much harder to care about anything beyond our front door. Our car has become a prophylactic that prevents us from connecting with our places.”

Meanwhile, “in dense, walkable urban areas, the public realm was more important if for no other reason than the citizens were more connected to it. Public space means very little when you are in your car at 45 mph. It means far more when you are walking through it.”

It was only a coincidence that the book I was reading last year touched on the concept and expansion of suburbs. While things are very different than post-war America, I understand how the suburbs developed and why they may work better for families or people who “need” more space and material things.

Before I left California, I had a mild debate with one of my girl friends about suburbs versus urban city centers, and she was adamant that families (i.e. adults with kids) could not live in the latter. Of course, I challenged that notion: the 1.67 million people living in Manhattan are not all single folk or couples without children. Same goes for all major cities around the world. Whether by necessity or choice, many families live in the “downtowns” of big cities, and they make it work. Heck, I’d wager that many of them enjoy it. Sure, getting groceries for a household of four may not be the easiest, pushing a stroller onto a crowded subway may be annoying and forgoing a backyard to play in isn’t ideal. But having a family in the city is not impossible and, thus, an eventual move to the burbs is by no means necessary let alone destined.

But at this juncture in my life, one where the energy of a bustling city excites me, my belongings are minimal (by choice), and I prefer to have quick access to resources without dependence on a car, the suburbs won’t cut it. Urban city centers have retail stores, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, banks, parks, entertainment and various services at every corner. I can walk, bike or bus to all of them. Meanwhile, my car can stay put, which means less money spent on gas and a smaller carbon imprint on the environment. (Note: I understand that parking is not free in most city centers; fortunately I live in a part of urban Seattle that street parking is free and easy to find close by.)

In fact, I currently work for two families in urban Seattle who don’t even own cars. They always have a kitchen stocked with food, we venture to the Children’s Museum by bus, and we play outside at one of the many nearby parks or the communal rooftop instead of a backyard.

Unfortunately, those aforementioned friends who flocked to the burbs with their expanding families become harder and harder to see given their physical distance from me and their thinner capacities as family members and responsibilities expand in tandem. They rarely come into the city and I don’t have a strong desire to take a road trip to the burbs. Hence, another reason I decided to leave SoCal.

So, after more than enough time in suburban Denver, I finally made my move to the urban city I had decided on and the urban lifestyle I had been dreaming of. Even though my neighborhood in Seattle is almost a mirror image of my beloved neighborhood in Santa Monica, downtown is only a 20-minute walk or a 5-minute bus ride. I have a multitude of shops, restaurants, parks and other resources within close proximity. I bus, bike or walk everywhere, so my car stays parked most days (except for day hikes and road trips). And I’m connecting with and seeing way more of my city than anyone who is buckled behind a glass window going 60 mph down the highway.

Day 63: Considering it’s been two weeks since I’ve written, you’d think that I’m off doing exciting things. That’s only partly true; I’ve just also been really busy with a freelance project that was due last week and consistent nannying gigs. A few notable items from the past two weeks: I joined a flag football league that plays every Saturday near my house, I got back into the dating scene (via Bumble) and went on a few dates, and I took a little two-day road trip over to the Olympic Peninsula, where I stayed in a cute little Victorian beach town and then explored a sliver of Olympic National Park.

Today is Easter, and my roommate hosted brunch. I ended up making my favorite quiche and inviting my old coworker who lives in Bellevue – my first visitor to the apartment! It was a nice time with six of us and lots of yummy food. I’d given up sweets for Lent, so I was happy to have some of the macarons my friend brought. Afterward, a few of us went to a local brewery and sat outside in the sunshine. I spent the evening watching Netflix and building my nightstand. That’s also something notable from the past two weeks: I finally got bedroom furniture!

Day 64: I got a last-minute babysitting job for today, so I was there from 12-5 pm. Despite the boy being a bit bratty and super undeveloped for a 3 year old, it was an easy enough job. I did some freelance work during his 2.25-hour nap. I got my Global Coffee Report assignments for the Jul/Aug issue, so that work starts up again. I was supposed to have a date with a new guy tonight, but he forgot about some prior commitments so we rescheduled to tomorrow. So instead I got in a good workout running to and from a gym sesh. Then easy dinner and more Netflix while assembling bedroom furniture.

Day 65: Conference call to finish up a freelance project and then most of the day spent assembling my dresser. Man did it take forever! Then a quick run in the nice weather before I had to head out the door for a Bumble date. I met him at a pub in Capitol Hill for trivia, which was a great idea. We had a lot of fun despite coming in very last – worst team earned a Rainier tallboy though! He’s nice, but not sure I see a future with him…

Day 66: Today was a long day of work. Six hours with the boy I normally watch on Tuesdays; another day of sunshine so we walked to the park. After I stopped in my gym nearby for a quick workout and shower, and then caught the bus to a second nannying job for the evening. I was planning on bussing home, but I was tired and didn’t feel like messing with it. This family, which books me weekly, is just a bit too far to make the bus work.

Day 67: Six hours with my normal Thursday boy. We walked to the animal shelter that afternoon because the sun was out, but it got really windy on the way back. His mom encourages me to take him out, so I’m looking forward to get out and about the city with him. I was supposed to have a second date with a Bumble guy from last week, but he forgot about plans with his brother. I was actually happy to have the evening free; I went for a long-ish run around Queen Anne and then ate dinner in front of Netflix. I’ve been binging on the new American Crime Story while building my bedroom furniture.

Day 68: I left my schedule open today so I could assemble the last piece of bedroom furniture and get my room situated. The bed frame and headboard ended up being the easiest of all the furniture to put together. I really like the wood color, but unfortunately it doesn’t match my nightstand and dresser. Doh! Nothing I can do now that everything is assembled… I set up my room, unpacked the rest of my boxes and rearranged my closet. The last thing I have to do is hang up my artwork and decor. I’m excited to be so close to settled into my apartment. I going to hit the gym but the weather was so nice, I went for a run down to Olympic Sculpture park and made up a workout there in the sunshine with a beautiful view of the Sound. Afterward, I caught the bus over to Capitol Hill for a late one-off babysitting job. Again, I didn’t end up messing with the bus after finishing super late, so I ordered a Lyft.

Day 69: I slept late today and then lounged around before doing some chores and getting ready for football. The team we played ended up using subs from the team that beat us last week, which didn’t seem fair. Needless to say we lost, though only by four points after a strong second half. I made two catches, but one was out of bounds in the end zone. Oops! The weather was beautiful before and during the came, but once we finished a storm rolled in and it started raining. I ducked into the grocery store for some much-needed groceries, and the sun was back out on my walk home. While I was in the grocery store, I guess the storm brought some strong winds with it that knocked over a crane on top of a new building in Google’s South Lake Union campus, and it came crashing down onto cars below. Four people died! It made international news and the streets are all closed off down there. I first learned of it simply because I was trying to drive through there on my way to a nannying job in Montlake (the weekly family that lives ever-so-slightly out of the city). I ended up having to drive really far out of the way and showed up late to work, but then later looked online to see what happened. Such a tragic incident!

“You’re so busy” is something I hear often. It’s also not uncommon for me to get a “boo” or sad face emoji when I have to turn down an invite. As long as I’ve been old enough to use a planner, I’ve had a busy schedule. And as long as I’ve been able to tell time, I’ve been squeezing every minute out of every hour.

Most of my close friends know this about me, so it can be mildly irritating when they give me a hard time for being so busy or not being available with fewer than 48 hours notice.

That doesn’t mean I don’t feel guilty, though. It’s a bummer when I miss fun activities or, worse, friends’ life events. But I’m both a planner and a woman of my word, and I also have a legit case of FOMO. So if I want to do something, I’m going to say “yes” to the first invite or I’m going to plan it myself. And once I’ve committed, I’m not going to flake. (Unfortunately some of friends are too comfortable with doing the latter.)

The last time I heard “you’re so busy” my friend then told me to “cancel things” so I wouldn’t be so busy. I was both humored and confused. Why would I want to cancel the things I had planned? It’s not as though these things appeared on my calendar without me knowing. Sure, it can get exhausting, but I took on all of these plans/trips/events/activities/etc. And again, I don’t bail.

So recently when I read an article about shifting the notion of being “busy” to that of being “focused,” I finally felt as though someone understood me. And I started feeling less guilty.

“When we describe ourselves as ‘busy,’ it takes away the intention behind our priorities. ‘Focus,’ on the other hand, puts us back in control of what we want and need to get done.”

A simple word makes the difference between a schedule filled with mundane tasks or meaningless activities and one filled with those that are important to me. My guilt and negative self-talk around being busy aren’t warranted. I need to remind myself that I’m focused on doing things that improve my life, and hopefully others’ around me along the way.

I haven’t yet used the approach when communicating with friends, but I’m hoping it’ll help them understand that my “busyness” is not only self-inflicted, but also purposeful.

“Reminding your friends why you’re so focused can help them better understand that you’ve chosen your schedule for a reason. You’re not just busy fulfilling other people’s demands—you’re working on something that’s important to you.”


Now, at this point in my life, as I make some big life decisions and changes, my calendar is more packed and color coded than ever. I’m focused on accomplishing as much as I can in my last weeks at a company I’ve spent 7.5 years. I’m focused on getting the most I can out of a city I’ve lived for nearly 12. I’m focused on finding a new place to call home as I visit eight cities in three months. I’m focused on making my passion of writing become a full-time reality and sustainable livelihood.

“Put yourself in control of your schedule—in all its hectic glory—and know it’s packed with reason and meaning. It’ll lead to greater satisfaction and more motivation as you choose to keep hustling.”

When i think about what I’m focused on, it reminds me that my schedule is not full of meaningless tasks and activities. There is intention. This is what I have prioritized. I am in control of what I want to do.

It amazes me how intensely people debate on social media and how willing people are to berate friends over status updates and comments. But that’s what our society has become. People can easily hide behind their profiles and argue to the death without having to face their opponents – who may actually be their close friends. And gone are the days of sharing something without hearing an alternate opinion or even pissing someone off.

I was aware of all of this when I recently shared an article on Facebook, and I knowingly opened myself up to opinions and even ridicule by posting it. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t shocked by the level of attention (mostly negative) that it got.

Two weeks ago, a United Airlines passenger was yanked off a full flight that was preparing for takeoff to Louisville, Kentucky. He was the fourth of four passengers who were (mostly) randomly selected among the economy class to disembark and take the next day’s flight to accommodate four flight crew who needed to get to the destination to make a flight they were scheduled to work.

At face value it doesn’t seem right that paying customers were bumped to make room for staff, but ensuring these crew members arrived to the flight destination on time meant avoiding a potential chain reaction of delayed or even cancelled flights – and, thus, hundreds of inconvenienced, pissed off passengers.

I don’t know the procedure for when flight crew call in sick and can’t make it to work. But again, at face value, four fewer people for the connecting flight meant it wasn’t going anywhere.

So, back to the passenger.

When his unlucky seat number was chosen to take the next day’s flight, he decided he wasn’t moving. So much that a federal officer had to board the flight and remove him … or “reaccommodate” him as United CEO Oscar Munoz put it.

What happened at this point is what caused a social media uproar and frenzy of debates.

Because the passenger vehemently refused to leave his seat, holding tightly to his seat and screaming, the officer “had” – I put had in quotes because I don’t know enough about the law to know if that was standard protocol – to remove him. The passenger hadn’t committed a crime, but the situation quickly escalated to one that didn’t appear too different from someone resisting arrest.

In one of my comments of the many that populated my Facebook post, I likened his behavior to that of a toddler midtantrum, kicking and screaming. I immediately got called out for that. No, I guess I can’t confirm that he was kicking, but he was definitely screaming and resisting with all his might. It is this resistance that made it difficult for the officer to remove him and, ultimately, a contributing factor to his severe injury.

As he resisted and the officer pulled, the passenger ended up falling face-first into the armrest of the seat across the aisle. I think he broke his nose and lost some teeth in the fall.

Because this incident was captured on film, it immediately became a case study for social media mavens and novices alike to dissect. The majority were appalled by United’s behavior – understandably – but there were a decent number of people who demanded the law enforcement agency take some responsibility and an even smaller number who had opinions about the man’s behavior.

Without much to form an opinion on beyond the smartphone videos and initial reports – keep in mind that is all anyone not on the flight had to work with – I placed myself in all three of those aforementioned groups. And in that order as I slowly collected my thoughts on the shocking event.

First: Holy shit, is that how overbookings are handled?! I never want to fly United if that’s how they treat paying customers.

Second: Oh, that officer isn’t a United employee? So who’s crazy directive was he following to engage in such violent measures?

Third: Sure, getting bumped to a much later flight really sucks, but is that appropriate behavior for a grown-ass adult?

Everyone seemed to be shying away from that third point.

I couldn’t help but think about what I would do in this situation. Sure, I would be pissed, maybe throw some verbiage at the United agents, maybe shed a tear. Ok, probably both… in that order… and lots of tears. And United’s 1-800 number would probably hear a lot from me until I received what I considered to be reasonable remuneration for my inconvenience – and that’s after they accommodated me overnight and then on the next available flight.

But what I would also do is stand up and walk myself off the plane because that’s what a federal officer has asked me to do. Sure, I don’t mind breaking the law to stick it to a behemoth corporation (e.g. trying to sneak into Disney World as a late teen in defiance of its outrageous prices). But in a situation of this magnitude and that affects a large number of people, I’m going to obey the law – even if I’m not in the wrong.

I get it, the law is absurd. Actually, what is the law even? And to be honest, sometimes there isn’t even a law being enforced, as we’ve seen unfortunately in numerous recent police brutality cases.

But if a government officer with a badge and a gun is asking me to disembark the plane, I’m going to do it – just like this man and his family did when they found themselves in a similar situation with Delta shortly after the United incident. He stood his ground, stated his rights, complained, reminded the airline he had purchased the seat, even threw out some curse words, but ultimately he decided to get off the plane – and his wife seconded that decision.

Yes, it’s super shitty that airlines are allowed to overbook and then kick paying customers off. It’s even shittier that they can treat these customers like crap. It’s maddening that these companies get away with it and are rarely held accountable – just for an extra buck to pad their billions.

On a greater level, this is so wrong. And on a smaller level, in the Boeing 737 that was leaving Chicago that day, it was so wrong.

While I by no means think this man deserved the brutality he received – even though some of my friends seem to think I do merely because I posted an opinion that wasn’t aligned with the sympathetic majority – he’s earned the award for best dramatic performance in my book. And a gazillion dollars in an out-of-court settlement with United.

As appeared on

At first, it was my friend’s all-caps, double-exclamation-mark Facebook post that motivated me to look closer at the article she was sharing. But then it was the headline that fully pulled me in: “Society is creating a new crop of alpha women who are unable to love.”

Finally, someone had defined the way I felt as an independent, strong (read: bossy) female who has been single exactly seven years this month.

Or so I assumed based on the title of the article.

The article was actually an excerpt from a book accompanied by a video clip from Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” Author Suzanne Venker was being profiled for her controversial tome, The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage, and its idea of the alpha female’s role in a relationship — or lack of, rather.

It’s that latter caveat to which Venker dedicates most of the video and excerpt. It’s also the part that didn’t sit well with me, especially considering I had clicked into an article that seemed to describe me so well in its 14-word headline. In the simplest sense, this woman was basically saying that women need to be the more submissive “betas” and allow men to have control as the natural “alphas.”

“The goal is to get one of each, but if [the female] is bringing alpha energy to the table, and he’s alpha by nature because he has all the testosterone, you’re going to be like two bulls in a China shop,” Venker explained in the Fox News spot. “If you want him to be the more feminine person in the relationship, I guess you could do that, but that usually doesn’t work for most people because women are naturally feminine.”

I immediately thought of all the testosterone-less men I’ve dated over the years, ones who were far from those she described as the norm. I also thought of all the stay-at-home dads that exist today in support of their wives’ career pursuits. While I agree that a relationship needs a balance of opposites, Venker seems convinced that the men are always the alpha and, thus, women can’t and even shouldn’t be.

Venker: Women need to revert to beta status

After women stopped being groomed to be wives and started being groomed to be leaders, which is what’s happening today, Venker says men controlled the relationship: from calling a girl and paying for a meal to even proposing. Although she still claims “almost all relationships start that way” — which seems part delusional and part storybook fantasy in this day and age — she says women soon shift to the alpha mode, which then confuses the men. At that point, problems arise, there is “a lot of contention” and “the relationship starts to deteriorate.” Venker saw this happen between her parents, her mother being the quintessential alpha wife.

“An alpha wife micromanages, delegates and makes most or even all of the decisions. She is, quite simply, the Boss.”

By the time I finished watching the spot and reading the excerpt, I was infuriated. Now I understood my Facebook friend’s all-capped comment with swear words and double exclamation points.

Was this woman living under a rock?! In what day and age do men always make the first call and pay for dates? And in what world are all men testosterone-filled? Does she truly believe, after all we’ve accomplished as women — ability to vote, work, earn executive titles — that women need to revert to being submissive and serving their husbands? It sure sounded like it.

Is my ‘alphaness’ actually the problem?

As much as I was infuriated about her portrayal of strong women and how we are the ones causing problems in relationships, I couldn’t help but think about how I’ve been single for so long and how many of my past relationships didn’t work out because I am so independent and set in my ways. I ended up with guys who saw something in me but ultimately couldn’t handle my need for space, time alone or with other friends (both female and male) and decision-making that didn’t involve them. One after another, I called each of the relationships off.

While I don’t buy into most of Venker’s wild assumptions, accusations and generalizations, I do wonder if my “alphaness” is making it difficult for me to find love. I understand that two alphas may find themselves butting heads, but why did my relationships fail when I often found myself with betas? We had the balance of masculine-feminine energies that Venker spoke of (but with me in the masculine role), yet each one ended sooner than the last.

And why was I ending up with this type in the first place, when their neediness so starkly contrasted my independence and what I wanted out of a significant other?

If I looked to Venker for the answer, she would say I need to get in touch with my feminine side, that I need to change.

“We’re constantly pointing fingers at the men, when we’re the ones who are actually the problem,” she said so matter-of-factly in the news spot. “If you exude positive, feminine energy, they’re very responsive. If you’re coming in with negativity, or hardness rather, they recoil; they don’t want it. The husband needs from the women softness instead of hardness, happiness instead of anger, more compliance and less dictatorial.”

So because I’m an independent, strong female, I’m a negative, hard, angry dictator. Well when you put it like, then I probably do need to change. No wonder my relationships don’t work out!

Search for balance continues

With all the author’s outrageous talk aside, I’ll admit I may actually struggle with embracing my feminine side. I rarely let a man help me or take care of me, I often shut down their compliments and I’m also quite competitive. I’ve always believed I can take care of myself, and I’d rather do things my way. I am one of those aforementioned females raised by an alpha mother to be a leader, not a wife.

So as I strive to be a leader and do things my way, do I knock down anything that comes in my path, including men who are interested in courting me? Venker quotes Jackie Kennedy in her book: “There are two kinds of women: those who want power in the world, and those who want power in bed.” Am I so focused on my personal power goals that I’m not making room in my life for a powerful relationship?

While I won’t be buying Venker’s self-help book, I appreciate the self-reflection it has incited. And as I put myself out there in the vicious world of dating — that to Venker’s likely surprise mainly involves texting rather than calling — I will definitely be more conscious of the energy I’m putting into a relationship.

So although I’m not going to change who I am for a man just because some deranged “culture critic” says to, I will more willingly contribute to the necessary balance in my future relationships.

Facebook friends shared my outrage after seeing the post on my news feed.

Every 4 seconds a girl speaks her mind to an uniformed guy
Every 6 seconds an uniformed guy is speechless
Every 10 seconds a girl proves something wrong
Every 60 seconds a girl comes to the aid of a girlfriend in need
Every 3 seconds a girl gets the last word
Every 5 seconds a girl gets the last laugh

Every 10 seconds a guy thinks about how to get a girl
Every 7 seconds a guy tries to prove his manhood
Every 30 seconds a guy looks to his friends for advice
Every 12 seconds a guy embarrasses himself in front of a girl
Every 15 seconds a guy wonders why it is always his fault
Every 2 seconds a guy wonders how a girl’s mind works


The five of us sat there. The clamor and excitement surrounding us was deafening, yet as if we were sitting pleasantly, chatting in a peaceful coffee shop. It was obvious none of us were paying attention to what should have been the game of our lives, but we were too enthralled with the debate that was being thrown back and forth across the bleachers. Every once in awhile our “intellectual” conversation was broken by screams and hollers when the timing was right. The fact is, our innocent conversation merely consisted of ideas elders would find inappropriate for “children” of our age to be discussing. But whether or not they wanted to admit it, dating, sex and interest in the opposite sex were topics of our generation. It was that simple.

“You’re too young to be thinking about boys.”

“When I was your age, I didn’t have time to worry about dating.”

These were ever-common phrases heard by my ears time and time again. I hate to break it to everyone, but I think about boys all the time. It is reasonable to say that every girl my age does. How does a guy’s mind work? What do they truly look for in a girl? Questions like these arose in my mind constantly. That was the common factor that led us to delve into the minds of one another, or teenagers in general, that night.

Two girls and three guys, sharing their thoughts. It was perfectly harmless, even with the curious glances coming our way, even with heads tilted, directed to catch a tidbit of our heated controversies. We smiled, we laughed and we gapped in awe at some of the amazing truths we were uncovering. Frankly, we weren’t ashamed or embarrassed of what we said and wanted to know, but were instead intrigued by the knowledge each of us were gaining from one another.

You learn something new every day, the saying goes. Guys actually do look deeper into a girl’s appearance, and as much as I didn’t want to admit it, we are attracted by looks, too. It felt like an episode of Love Line, with all the advice and theories that were being tossed our way. It was as if our good guy friends, staring as “Dr. Love,” knew exactly what us girls were thinking. After that, I questioned my stereotypical opinion on men being chauvinistic pigs who don’t care about anything but food and women, women having the likeness to a piece of meat. I realized that I was blocking out the notion that in my case, a guy would have to appreciate me for who I am personally, rather than for looks, or lack thereof.

That night was great. I learned a lot more about the opposite sex in that fascinating thirty minutes than from months of sitting in a boring health class. Surprisingly, guys and girls think quite alike when considering this touchy topic. As much as as I hate to say it, we all have a lot in common. So, even though my fellow female friend was the lucky one and ended up with what appears to be the blooming of a beautiful relationship, I came out with further understanding of the complicated mind of a being I once knew as having cooties.