How to Pick Your Life Partner

How to Pick Your Life Partner 

“Dissatisfied single people should actually consider themselves in a neutral, fairly hopeful position, compared to what their situation could be. A single person who would like to find a great relationship is one step away from it, with their to-do list reading, ‘1) Find a great relationship.’ People in unhappy relationships, on the other hand, are three leaps away, with a to-do list of ‘1) Go through a soul-crushing break-up. 2) Emotionally recover. 3) Find a great relationship.’ Not as bad when you look at it that way, right?

All the research on how vastly happiness varies between happy and unhappy marriages makes perfect sense, of course. It’s your life partner.

Thinking about how overwhelmingly important it is to pick the right life partner is like thinking about how huge the universe really is or how terrifying death really is—it’s too intense to internalize the reality of it, so we just don’t think about it that hard and remain in slight denial about the magnitude of the situation.

But unlike death and the universe’s size, picking a life partner is fully in your control, so it’s critical to make yourself entirely clear on how big a deal the decision really is and to thoroughly analyze the most important factors in making it.”

I really, really enjoyed this breakdown of how to choose a partner (and just as important – how NOT to). The whys, the analysis, the personality types, the stick figure drawings… it’s very accessible without being overwhelming. Even as a married person, I find articles like this helpful, because it’s important to reassess yourself every now and again. For you singletons, I hope this leaves you hopeful, because quite frankly, you’re still happier than that miserable married couple.

[link via Jezebel]

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Solitary in Iran Nearly Broke Me. Then I Went Inside America’s Prisons.

Solitary in Iran Nearly Broke Me. Then I Went Inside America’s Prisons.

“Prisoners spend an average of 7.5 years in the Pelican Bay SHU, the only one for which the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has statistics. More than half of the 1,126 prisoners here have been in isolation for at least five years. Eighty-nine have been there for at least 20 years. One has been in solitary for 42 years.

California is just one of many states where inmates can be thrown into solitary confinement on sketchy grounds—though just how many is hard to know. A survey conducted by Mother Jones found that most states had some kind of gang validation process, but implementation varied widely, and a number of states would not disclose their policies at all. Seventeen states said they don’t house inmates in ‘single-celled segregation’ indeterminately. (No state officially uses the term ‘solitary.’)

It’s unclear how many states keep inmates in solitary as long as California does. Texas has 4,748 validated affiliates of ‘security threat groups’ in indefinite solitary—more than California’s prison gang affiliates—and some have been there for more than 20 years. Louisiana has held two Black Panthers in solitary for 40 years. Minnesota is near the opposite end of the spectrum, holding inmates in segregation for an average term of 29 days. At least 12 states review an inmate’s segregation status every 30 days or less; Massachusetts does it weekly.”

This is one of the more horrifying things I’ve read recently. I really have no words to express how hopeless, sad, and angry reading this article made me. I’m still glad I read it. Prison reform isn’t very glamorous, but if we don’t do something soon, about this, about mandatory sentencing, about privately owned prisons… I don’t know what’s going to happen to this country.

The Goldfinch; or, why I haven’t been updating

Status

I really would love to read some articles and share them with you, but I am currently completely engrossed in 771 pages of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. I’m only about 150 pages in and it’s due back to the library in two days. I’ve pretty much resigned myself to paying a fine (it’s new and other people have it on hold, so I can’t renew) but I want to limit that as much as I can ;). It’s a brilliant read, so to be honest it’s not exactly a big sacrifice on my part. More updates in a few days.

ETA: Totally worth the read, but the ending was a disappointment. I wanted to give it 5 stars, but I have to give it 4 1/2.

Ask an Abortion Provider [March 2011]

Ask an Abortion Provider [March 2011]

“Hello! I am a person who is training to become an abortion provider. As you can imagine, it is really f*ing weird to be one of me, especially lately! I think maybe you have some questions?”

This essay has stuck with me since I read it almost 3 years ago. It’s actually the first article I read on The Hairpin, and I’ve been a loyal reader ever since. It’s meaningful because her perspective is one you don’t get every day, even though this is a subject that plenty of people have opinions about. Reading her story actually made me wish I had any interest in the medical field whatsoever, because what this woman is doing is brave and amazing and I kind of want to be doing it too. Check this out regardless of your views, and feel free to let me know what you think.

Picture Books for Grownups: A Conversation With the Author of Are You My Boyfriend?

Picture Books for Grownups: A Conversation With the Author of Are You My Boyfriend?

“One thing that sets this apart from other parodies is that it’s funny, yes, but it’s also meant to do for adult women what kid’s books do for children: provide comfort, reassurance, and the moral of the story message. And empathy, too. Everybody knows these guys. It’s not a male-bashing book, it’s a female empowerment book, but we’ve all dated these guys and dealt with these common themes of unavailability and people who can’t give us what we need. What’s the best way to handle that?”

The Hairpin does wonderful interviews, and this one is no exception. I love, love, love the idea of this book, and I think a lot of women will really connect with the story. Plus, who doesn’t like picture books?

Adventures in Hippopotamus Ranching

Lake Cow Bacon. That’s all you really need to know.

Things I read when I procrastinate

Hilarious and amazing article in Wired-Science: The Crazy, Ingenious Plan to Bring Hippopotamus Ranching to America.

“In the early years of the last century, the U.S. Congress considered a bold and ingenious plan that would simultaneously solve two pressing problems — a national meat shortage and a growing ecological crisis. The plan was this: hippopotamus ranching.

Hippos imported from Africa and raised in the bayous of Louisiana, proponents argued, would provide a delicious new source of protein for a meat-hungry nation. In the process, the animals would gobble up the invasive water hyacinth that was killing fish and choking off waterways. It would be an epic win-win. A bill was introduced in Congress, and newspaper editorials extolled the culinary virtues of ‘lake cow bacon.'”

Long story short: I have a new life plan.

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Portrait of a Porn Star

Portrait of a Porn Star

“’I worked as a waitress as a job for a year in high school and not only did it interfere with my school where I was barely sleeping and wasn’t doing my work, but also I was making $400 a month after taxes. I felt like I was being degraded and treated like s–t. My boss was horrible to me,’ Lauren said. ‘For people to tell me that doing porn and having sex, which I love, is more degrading than being a waitress and being somebody’s servant and picking up after somebody and being treated like a lesser, second-class citizen, that literally makes no sense. To be perfectly honest, I felt more degraded in a minimum wage, blue-collar, low paying, service job than I ever did doing porn.'”

Fascinating dichotomy between the freshman women’s studies and sociology double-major and the successful porn star. Reading this forced me to re-examine my internal belief system. She’s a feminist Republican porn star. Good luck putting her into a box. See the Jezebel article that linked me to this one here.