Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Why don't men want to get married anymore?

The other night my husband and I got into a discussion about why women have a much stronger desire to get married than men. (Yes, I realize this is a glaring over generalization. But common', think of all eligible single people you know and tell me this isn't generally the case.)

So just to kick this off. I'm going to talk about George. George is the average mid to late twenty something male. He's a collage graduate, he has a job -not amazing pay but no slouch either, he's tall and attractive enough he doesn't immediately repel women. He's got enough going for him he would be considered marriageable material.

We came up with three reasons why George isn't feeling a strong enough need to get married to actually do anything about it. Here they are.

Video Games

This isn't what you think, I'm not trying to point to the many many many mindless hours George spends playing video games. I'm talking about the sense of accomplishment George feels after playing a game. I'm talking about the average first person shooter game where the player has to shoot all the bad guys and saves the world from nuclear detonation.

In our culture George feels pressure to be the best. At anything. At everything. The strongest, the fastest, the smartest, the best worker. Our society is set up to be very competitive specifically for males. And the thing is, there is always going to be someone better than George. That's got to be extremely defeating for him; maybe not even consciously, but subconsciously.   So to enter the world of fantasy where he is hero of the world, hero of the universe even, suddenly has a lot more allure.

The problem with this is that its completely false. While feeling like he has accomplished something when he wins this video game, he hasn't actually. He hasn't made a single contribution to the world.

Why this doesn't hold up for women? Even though statistics show more and more women are playing games, they aren't these kinds of games. They are playing Candy Crush and Farmville. They aren't getting that false sense of accomplishment. In fact, they are experiencing exactly the opposite, but that's another discussion for another day.


This brings us to Television. Speaking of providing a false sense, TV does just that only for companionship. There are multiple studies out there that show that people will turn to TV when they feel lonely. And the problem with this is that in the end, they feel even more lonely because they haven't actually interacted with a real person. So when George feels like he needs a friend, he switches on the TV to watch his favorite comedy. He has a few laughs and it wiles away the evening. So now he has no time left to interact with a real person, cutting him off even more from real companionship. But at the end of the night, he has had just enough to fill the need.

Why doesn't this hold up for women? I'm not sure that it doesn't. This is not based on anything other than my sole opinion. However I believe that women are more social in general. And so even though they are going home and turning on the TV, they're also more likely to talk to a friend, make a phone call, maybe even watch the TV show with someone. But I might be wrong on this one in that women are falsely filling this need with TV too.

Pornography/ Masterbation

Lastly, sex. I'm sure every one has encountered the whole "it is more socially acceptable for women to engage in sexual activity which means sex is more accessible for men, leading to less marriages." However, I want to add another angle on this.

Obviously porn is everywhere. Its on the internet; its free, its accessible, sometimes you get it without even wanting it. Everyone knows about it. (Except apparently Eminem.) So George gets home from work and feels that oh so familiar "need". Instead of having to actively seek out a woman, or even go to the corner market to buy a naughty magazine, he just goes to his computer and takes care of it. Bam, need met.

Why doesn't this hold up for women? While female masterbation is on the rise, women just do not meet this need in this way nearly as much as men. In fact, as my husband and I discussed this, we came to realize what sex and even physical contact is, is completely different for men and women. For men, its just the physical act. Its that moment of release. For women, its not about that at all.

The bottom line is basic needs of accomplishment, companionship, and physical needs that might compel our friend George towards marriage are now being met in other ways. And they aren't even being met perfectly. Like I said, none of these substitutes are nearly as good as the real thing. But they are good enough. And women aren't getting these same substitutes. So it is creating a ever increasingly large disparity between the number of women that want to get married, versus men.

I'd be extremely curious to hear your thoughts! Chime in on the comments below!

Monday, January 26, 2015

5 Things about Seattle that no one talks about 

My husband and I relocated to Seattle from Salt Lake City Utah last summer. My husband received a job offer and we moved within a space of about three weeks. Needless to say, it was quick. Once we realized we were moving, I tried to do some research on Seattle, what living here is like, etc. Of course I found many articles and blogs talking about the rain, the traffic, but now that we've been here for six plus months I feel like no one prepared me for what I'd really find. So before more time passes and I forget just how foreign these things were, I wanted to write these down.

Seattle housing is expensive and very hard to find
When looking at the cost of living calculator, Seattle seemed to be only marginally more expensive than Salt Lake- and the salary my husband was being offered seemed to be adjusted appropriately for the difference. As we were making plans to move, we decided we would just pack all our bags and drive up and stay in a hotel or with friends for a few days until we could find something. We, I, expected this to take a few days. At most. And be no problem.

My husband makes decent money. We both have great credit. We are also pretty frugal meaning we wouldn't even consider living in a place we didn't feel like we could afford; which is always less money than whatever equations are used by landlords to determine what we can afford. In Salt Lake, we could have walked up to almost any rental property and decided if we wanted it or not and it would be done. We probably even were in a strong enough position we could demand lower rents for such outstanding credit. That was not our experience here. I started going through ads and making phone calls. The number of "Sorry, it's already been rented" were unbelievable. Fully half, maybe even two thirds of the calls I made had that response. And these were ads that had only been up a few days. We went to look at one house for rent, and there was already a dozen people there filling out an application, racing to finish first so they would be considered first.

This isn't even taking in to account how expensive it is.  From our condo in Salt Lake to our apartment here, we are paying twice as much and getting half the square footage.

Bottom line- be prepared to pay- out the nose for housing.

The Seattle Freeze
This was another phenomenon that really took me by surprise. And to be fair, I had read about it before we moved here, but no one used the term "Seattle Freeze". In short, people here are so unbelievably nice. I mean, over the top nice. I had a man offer to buy my groceries the other day when he thought I had left my wallet at home. But, just because they are nice, does not mean they are friendly.

My son and I walk through the UW Arboretum pretty regularly. And I feel like people are actually warmer there than anywhere else. A few times I've had a women who was clearly out for a jog slow down and chat with me about raising kids and things to do in the area. And then there is this moment where they suddenly break off the conversation, put the earbuds back in and speed off. Its like this invisible force hanging over our heads that will require them to extend further friendship if they don't hightail it out of there and I mean now!

I was surprised at how isolated and alone I felt. I'm a pretty outgoing and friendly person. Which, ironically enough, actually makes it harder. Seriously. Apparently the biggest turn off for people is someone that is eager to be friends. I was also surprised by people who aren't even from Seattle who have adopted the Seattle Freeze attitude. I feel like the effort I made to make friends was more than I've ever had to make before. And I lived in Eastern Europe for two years.

Bottom line- Be prepared to get involved. The only way I've found to actually make friends has been involvement in various circles: play groups with the kids, church, co-workers, any groups that revolve around a hobby or special interest.

How few hours of daylight there are in the winter
Speaking of the "weather", everyone talks about the rain. Yes, it rains a lot. We moved from Salt Lake City. Almost anywhere we moved in the country gets more rain that there. So maybe it was just about managed expectation, the rain really hasn't bothered us. And to be honest, it really doesn't even rain that much. There's only been a couple days where it rained hard enough to stop us from going on a walk.

But what no one does talk about is how few hours of sun there are in the winter. In December the sun sets just after freaking four pm! FOUR IN THE AFTERNOON! The nights feel like they stretch on forever! I can't believe no one is talking about this! It's so depressing!

Having moved here in July, we didn't get the full Seattle in the summer experience. But the time we did have was very nice. And you have to keep in mind, for as long as it is dark in the winter, it is light in the summer. So I guess that is the compromise.

Bottom line- Most of all, I think just knowing about this is sufficient. But altering your schedule so you can get a walk in during the day and enjoy some sun when its out is absolutely necessary as much as possible.

Everyone is thin and beautiful
My husband and I are very very average American- meaning we are over weight. While we personally know we need to eat better and adopt a more active life style, it never seemed that we were much different from people around us. Until we moved here. Now granted, this is a sweeping generalization, but if you just sit and watch people passing you on the street you will find the proportion of people are not overweight and definitely more attractive.

At first this was rather motivating. We had grand plans to eat well and exercise. Now we have a new plan. Try and drag everyone else to our level. Maybe pour pure butter into the water supply? That will pack on the pounds!

Bottom line- Now might be the time to hit that treadmill, before you relocate to Seattle.

Just how fanatical everyone is about sports
My husband and I are not sports people. We weren't raised in sport-centric homes. Our dads didn't orient their lives around watching the game. I don't know that either one of us has ever sat down and watched a single professional game of any sport that exists- this includes the super bowl. So when we moved up here, we were completely unprepared for the world that revolves around sports up here. Everyone watches the game. Everyone. Everyone follows the Seahawks.

Is now the time to admit that we didn't even know the Seahawks had won the super bowl the year before? I kept seeing flags with "12" on them everywhere and had no clue what it was about. I got that it had something to do with the Seahawks, I assumed "12" was the star player or something. But it was everywhere. I started to feel a little weird about it. I mean, great that the whole city can rally behind one guy, but what about the other poor players? Don't they deserve a little support? I finally had to look it up on Wikipedia to learn about the 12th man. I was a little embarrassed when I learned what this was.

Bottom line- If you are not a sports person and moving to Seattle. Take a little time doing some research on the professional teams here, their stadiums, their history, their current record, etc. Trust me, it will come up.

The conclusion
In general another aspect of this experience that I was not prepared for is just how different Seattle is culturally. I suppose I thought of Seattle as the same as Salt Lake- just in a different place with a lot more water. I could not have been more wrong. It was like moving to a different country. The language and the currency is the same. But thats just about it. Colin Woodard write a book that explains how the US is really more defined by 11 nations. You can get a good summary of it here. And I wish I would have read this book before moving. Anyone moving to a different part of the country should.

I'm super grateful that we have moved. It has opened our world in a way we never could have experienced if we had stayed in the same state. Not to mention, Washington IS a beautiful state. And I love having water around us every where we go. But next time we move, I'm going to take a little more time to prepare myself for the place we are moving to.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Yup, I'm serious this time

My husband introduced me to a program called "Radio Lab" some time ago. While this program deserves an entire entry dedicated to its existance, I am going to refrain at this time. But I would highly recommend checking it, it is facinating.

I recently listened to an episode entitled "Help". The part the most intriuged me was right at the beginning. You can listen to this section of the program at the following link. (Its about 20 minutes, the entire episode is about an hour.)

Help! On Radio Lab

The story is essentially about this really awesome woman, who had been a huge civil rights and gender equality activist, who had been a smoker for most of her life; a heavy, 2 packs a day, smoker. She had a close friend who also smoked, and they talked about quitting a lot and her friend successfully quits. But this woman can't. Years pass and she is still just smoking away. She talks about quitting, she goes a day without smoking but relapses, but can't really quit. One day her friend says, "you're still smoking?" And it really bothers this woman.

At this point the program talks about the science behind these sitations. In this instance, the woman had many incentives for not smoking, she knew it was bad for her health, stained her teeth, was really expensive, etc etc. But those are all "future" incentives to quit. When experiencing a craving for a cigarette, it was a "right NOW" incentive. So our brains are fighting this "right now" incentive with a "future" incentive so its easy to understand which one is going to win.

So what did this lady do? She made a pact with her friend that if she ever smoked a cigarette again she would donate $10,000 to the Ku Klux Klan. Yes. That's awful. You can't even imagine giving them anything. That's why this is so brilliant. Now all of the sudden she has an immediate "right now" incentive to NOT smoke. And she did. Quit cold turkey from that day, never had a cigarette again.

I listened to this, found it facinating, but didn't think about it much more after that. Well the last couple months... let's say... I have been talking about losing weight. I get a lot of responses like, "You're just fine the way you are" although come to think of it, I am getting those response less and less... hmmm. Anyways, the point is, I really am not "fine" at my current weight. Which is frankly embarrassing that I let myself get to this point.

And I have all these "future incentives" to lose weight. I have an entire wardrobe too small to wear and I can't afford to buy an entire new wardrobe, I can't be as physically active as I like to, it is literally killing me (all the studies showing how obesity affect overall health are pretty much conclusive at this point), and I really don't like the way I look. All that being said, I still can't help myself to that extra "afternoon snack" candy bar from the vending machine at work. I couldn't find the motivation to act. I even remembered this program, but couldn't really come up with something that seemed to fit.

At the end of work today, people were talking about tatoos. And I thought to myself, "yeah right. I would never get a tatoo". And then it hit me! I could make some kind of committment to get a tatoo if I don't live up to my obligations health and eating wise!

I've ultimately decided I do need to put a time limit on this. I don't really want it to be a forever thing. And I am giving myself leeway. So the final committment is this:

I Marie Mines Paulsen will not consume more than 2,000 calories in a single day for the next 365 days as of today, March 27 2012, or I will get a tatoo "2,000" (2,000 calories?) that covers my entire back.

I announced my decision to my husband who looked less than excited about this. "I'm not really hot on the idea of you getting a tatoo. Especially one that says '2,000'." "Perfect!" I responded, "You'll be very motivated to help me meet this commitment!"

So there it is. I started today consuming a grand total of 1600 calories which when you think about, it still plenty of nutrition given a sendetary life style. I really am still giving myself plenty of cushion. But I'm so excited about this.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012, here we come!

Well, for anyone reading this, sorry I have been so sporadic in writing. It isn't intentional, but if you know me at all, you know just how ADD I can be.

2012 is looking great. After an incredible Christmas/New Year's Christian and I are settling back in to "normal" life. Its been difficult. We got the chance to go down to Saint George for Christmas, just the two of us. It was tons of fun and a very special first Christmas for us.

Yesterday, we went to the Salt Lake City Downtown Library, or in other words, my favorite building on the planet! I still remember my very first introduction to the library. A good friend of mine, Creighton, gave me a tour. He showed me the ins and outs, the architecture, the nooks, the design, everything, about the place and I fell in love. One of my favoritest things to do is to take people who have never been there and give them the same tour. It really is a remarkable building and we are lucky to have such a place in Salt Lake. I took some pictures which you can view here

Other than that, you can see some of our other adventures below!

Hope all is well and that 2012 is an amazing year for you!

Us as Zion's National Park over Christmas

Going to see a movie with mom and dad, ironically, NOT the Muppets.

My new haircut! :D

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What can happen in one year?

So I just had a sudden realization, maybe any of you may relate to this. i had an event in my life that was tied to a very specific date. Last year, and four days ago to be exact, I flew to New York intending to continue on to Ireland for a vacation with a couple of friends. Alas, a volcano in Iceland erupted and canceled thousands of flights including ours. After coming home prematurely, I ended up going out on my first date with the man who is now my husband. (Yes, for anyone that missed it, I got married. :) See here for details.

Its just crazy to realize that a year ago, while I had met and even befriended Christian, we honestly hadn't really had any romantic goings on at that point, and now he is my husband.

I guess you never know what a year is going to bring.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Oh how time flies

I can't believe how quickly time goes by. Last night I was talking to Christian and my father and I just realized how much has happened in the last twelve months. First and foremost, I have successfully dated a boy for eight whole months! Which, for anyone that knows me, knows this is monumental! And not only have we been dating for eight months, but its a healthy, happy, good relationship with a good man. I am in uncharted territory! ;-) I could go on and on about how amazing he is, but I will save that for another time.

I also purchased a couple large ticket items this year. First, Bucephalus, my motorcycle. And also a new condo! I have been looking for a place to buy for a couple years now. This place came up and it just fit perfectly with everything I was looking for; space, location, price, etc. It all just came together. For now, Christian has moved in and is enjoying being there. We were able to celebrate Christmas there and really enjoyed it.

Christian and I, in front of the fireplace

"Santa" was very generous to both of us. :)

Christian got a new laptop from google! They are coming out with their own laptop that is supposed to be super easy and cheap and they sent him one for free to test out for them!

I was also blessed this year to be able to find a new job that I am really enjoying. I am working at an outdoor clothing company called "Kuhl" (pronounced "cool"). I am working in the customer service department. I was extremely grateful to have found a job that is still in the outdoor industry. Its something I enjoy being around.

As for the rest, I have enjoyed a year full of fun trips/vacations, hiking, camping, and other sorts of adventures. I went on lots of motorcycle rides including a ride up and around Yellowstone with my dad, a houseboat trip down to Lake Powell with my family, an annual camping trip with good friends, a ward campout, and many more.

I got the chance to go up to the Olympic Park in Park City and Luge! Given that probably my top favorite winter activity is sledding, that was pretty awesome, admittedly scary, but awesome.

All in all, 2010 has been a pretty amazing year. I hope you had just as full and enjoyable year as well. Here is to 2011! Cheers!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Crash Landing!

My baby sister just received her driver's license just over a week ago. Last night she was trying to back the car out of the garage and stepped on the gas. Unfortunately for her, the car was in drive and not reverse. Opps! :)