The Fabulous Familiar

Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Vampire/Werewolf Experiment

If you have turned on your television in the last 6 months you are bound to have seen a trailer advertising the rental release of "New Moon" or that "Eclipse" is out in theaters. With the release of such a phenomenon comes the natural tendency for the American audience to divide into two: Team Edward or Team Jacob. Grown women don their Jacob or Edward apparel and head to the theater to support their character--even though we all know who is triumphant in the end.

What is it about us that loves useless teams? I, too, am guilty as charged. The reason I watch "The Bachelorette" and such shows is because I love to get on Facebook and analyze the show and its characters with fellow followers. I think this is what has happened with the Jacob and Edward mania. We always have to be rooting for someone; and perhaps, in the process, we are rooting for ourselves. We pick the character we most identify with and then we shamelessly live vicariously through them.

I decided to humble myself for this one entry and really think about the ridiculousness of it all. I have decided to step away from the madness and the feeling that I must pick a side and contemplate life as it would stand if I really had to choose one or the other. What I have come to find might surprise you. If faced with two strange and very different paths, I may be tempted to walk away from both of them. Why? Because both options are just plain weird. Both would complicate my life. Both would make day-to-day life nearly impossible. Thus, I am wanting to conduct an experiment.

I want to take 5 male volunteers and test my hypothesis that girls really don't want to date deep, dark creatures of the night. They may think they want an Edward or a Jacob, but how would they react to such behavior if it happened in their place of work or at their school?

Experiment 1: The snarl followed by the stomp out -- In true Edward fashion, Male model 1 sits down next to his chemistry lab partner. As they are measuring liquid into their beaker, he looks at her as if she smelled like death. His nose wrinkles up like he has just whiffed a horrendous odor and then he races from the classroom, never to return. If Girl test subject number 1 is incredibly flattered by this and follows Male model 1 out the door to kiss him, my hypothesis is a failure.

Experiment 2: The rip-off-shirt routine -- As Jacob would do in any given situation, Male model 2 will find every opportunity to rip off his shirt in a public place. If he is standing in the line at Starbucks and a girl spills her coffee, he immediately rips off his T-shirt to wipe up the mess. If a girl sneezes, before she can reach for a tissue, his shirt is already being held out for her to take instead. If Girl test subject 2 is incredibly impressed by this gesture and doesn't see the necessity of the nearby napkins and paper towels, my hypothesis is a failure and perhaps girls really do want vain werewolves.

Experiment 3: Sandman the sleep watcher-- Male model 3, in true Edward fashion, makes it his goal to be sitting across the room watching a girl sleep without her knowledge. If Girl test subject 3 wakes up to him staring at her and doesn't immediately scream bloody murder, then my hypothesis has indeed been proven void. Add a line like Edward's, "Sleep, my Bella. Dream happy dreams. You are the only one who has ever touched my heart. It will always be yours. Sleep, my only love" and you have the true test of a female's creepy endurance level.

Experiment 4: Growl and go -- Like Jacob, male model 4 will prove once and for all if girls find bursts of post-anger growling attractive. For this experiment, he will engage Girl test subject 4 in a serious conversation that will eventually become heated. When she finally states her opinion on whether peanut butter or jelly makes the sandwich complete, he will arch his back, get on all fours and growl until the room rumbles beneath their feet. If male model 4 is immediately clenched in a tight lover's embrace, we have a null hypothesis.

Experiment 5: The mind reader -- For this final experiment, male model 5 will take the time, on every date, to read the minds of everyone else around Girl test subject 5. Interestingly enough, though, he will fail to read her social cues. She may hint that she wants to hold hands, but he will ignore it because the man at table 15 is thinking about robbing a bank. Every time a new thought like this comes, he perks up, his eyes widen and he says, "But you don't know what he's thinking like I do." If girl test subject 5 makes it through this entire date and agrees to go on another one, I have once again been proven incorrect.

What this experiment goes to show is that--while girls may get all caught up and have fun picking their little teams--that in reality, neither is a group they want to be a part of. When getting wrapped up in fantasy and literary romance, I try to step back and realize that if real-life guys acted like that I would be considerably turned off. I don't want a guy to spout sappy poetry or leave me heart-broken to "protect me." I don't want him to rip off his shirt in the middle of Wal-Mart. If he watched me sleep from a rocking chair, I think I would punch him.

Enjoy the fun, enjoy the drama, but don't think that's the man you're really rooting for. Root for the guy who will actually sit by you in Chemistry and help you with your homework; root for the guy who may not spout poetry but may be trying his best to tell you how he feels. I am learning quickly in my advancing age (Ok, I'm still young), but I am learning that the spectacular isn't so spectacular anymore. I used to let romantic comedies and movies carry over into my expectations, but I have realized, however, that real men are blissfully average--and that is totally something I am willing to sink my teeth into. (Pun intended).

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ashton's Auction

If you work at a medical facility, x-rays are just an everyday part of the job. You see them, you sign them, you file them. According to the Today show, not all x-rays are created equal. Apparently Marilyn Monroe's x-rays (pictured above) just sold for a whopping $45,000. It doesn't stop there. They featured small, insignificant items owned by celebrities that had been sold to people for numbers in the thousands and millions.

I remember my friend Bliss and I were so jealous that some girl had purchased *NSYNC singer Lance Bass's half-eaten French toast off of eBay when we were kids. Now, with a few bills looming, I can't think of anything more ludicrous than spending your hard-earned money on such frivolous items. Lance Bass is just a guy like Fred across the street; if I gag at the thought of eating Fred's leftover French toast, why would I jump at the chance to pay $100,000 for Lance's?

All of this nonsense got me thinking. What would an auction of my life look like? What would people fight over when I was dead and gone? Let's fast forward a lot of years and pretend we are sitting down in a large gathering watching people childishly fight over my things:

1. The diary collection-- $250,000. An old man collector bought this collection so he could read my innermost thoughts from the age of 10 until I was through college. An extra $2,000 was charged for a translating device that helps him decode all the fake names I gave the boys I had crushes on (I had nosy brothers after all!)

2. The crumbs from the last sandwich-- $20,000. They wanted to sell the whole sandwich for a higher price, but everyone knows Ashton doesn't leave anything when she's eating her daily turkey sandwich. The crumbs from the crust of the bread were enough for some collector though apparently.

3. The karaoke microphone-- $150,000. This microphone has seen many a karaoke session. Whether she was rocking out or singing sad country melodies post break-up, it was a daily part of her life. A prominent businessman bought this and put it on his desk as a daily reminder to live life "the Ashton way."

4. Full rights to social media-- $3.5 million. A known blogger and Facebook status updater, Ashton would consider this one of the golden gems of the auction. The chosen collector is responsible for keeping her wit and charm alive by blogging weekly and Facebook-ing hourly.

5. Her Sonic straw/bag collection--$10,000. As most real collectors know, Ashton lived across the street from Sonic for a few years. In this time, she made continual trips to get Route 44 Diet Dr. Peppers and dollar chicken sandwiches. The bags, gathered from the passenger seat of her car, were sold for $10,000 with proceeds benefiting the Carhops' Kids Scholarship Fund.

Also found at the auction are her living room shoe collection, her unread Textbooks (good as new!) and her 2,500 colorful skirts.

While I know that my material items will remind people of me and the person I was, I hope that people are gathered around discussing matters other than my mismatched socks for $12,500. I want to leave a legacy where people hold me in their hearts and not on their wall.

Going once, going twice, SOLD.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Growing Pains

Tomorrow is my 24th birthday, and I have to say that it's kind of surreal. The real lightning bolt of reality won't hit until next year when I reach the 25-year milestone -- but still, it's hard to believe that I am soon rounding the quarter of a century mark.

As a child, I remember looking at people in their twenties and thinking they were ancient. Like they were the epitome of maturity and wisdom. I couldn't wait to be their age and have the world at my fingertips and the uncontainable knowledge of being a grown-up.

Boy, was I wrong.

While my parents were married and on the road to having me by the time they were my age, I am still placing my bets that they didn't have it all together. They probably felt at times that they were kids playing dress-up, trying to juggle finances, new married life and young children.

I am here to break the silence for all you younger folks. If I had a megaphone, I would shout, "Attention: I am 24, and I have no clue what I am doing!" Relief has flooded my soul at the thought that the secret has now been unleashed.

I have learned a lot in my 24 years, but it was a gradual refining process rather than an enlightenment that came over me when I awoke as a twenty-something. While I am tempted to recount advice like, "Ignore mean girls and bullies; they are just insecure," "Your parents are wiser than you think they are, listen to them," and other such preparation for the younger generation, I realize that it is just something they are going to have to face...and hopefully they will do it with grace.

Because nothing else really matters when you are in the middle of the storm, someone's assumption that this "isn't the end of the world" is only a response to the fact that this isn't the eye of the hurricane in their life anymore.

But with each stage of life comes new challenges and the feeling of having it all together is just pushed farther back and once again feels unattainable.

This quote would be my another-year-older advice: "The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise."

If we always look to another stage of life for satisfaction and maturity, we will go to our graves trying to get there. Take each stage for what it is, forgive the people who make it hard to handle and stay true to yourself throughout the storm.

Oh, and those bullies and mean girls are just insecure.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Power Gloves

“A father's words are like a thermostat that sets the temperature in the house." - Paul Lewis

I was traveling home from Texas on Father's Day so I didn't get to truly enjoy the company of my dad on this special day. Not that being featured in my blog totally makes up for that, but I do get floods of letters asking to be mentioned in "The Fabulous Familiar" so it is quickly becoming a top gift item according to Hallmark polls.

Ok, so I may have just made most of that up.

But I did want to take a minute and reflect on my relationship with my dad. A lot of times you don't really appreciate your parents until you get older and realize what all they did for you; I know this realization will be even greater when I become a parent myself.

Getting a job and being worn out all the time has brought to my attention the truly special nature of my dad. He taught school all day, had after-school rehearsals but would still come in and get down on all fours and play with us.

I remember how he would put on his "power gloves" which were nothing but gloves he put on to lift weights, and he would wrestle with us on the playroom floor. Our mission was to take the "power gloves" off so that he would immediately lose strength and we could defeat him quite easily. Ryan and I would usually pin him down while scrawny Kelsey would sneak behind and undo the Velcro on the gloves. After the gloves were torn from his hands, he would flop on his back like a fish out of water and we would giggle with delight that the triumphant three had once again been successful.

I didn't think of the significance then, but anytime we were in a body of water I insisted that we play "The Little Mermaid." Even though he knew it was always the same routine, he would listen as I laid out the rules of the game: "Dad, I'm Ariel and you are Ursula." He never complained about his plight; he just smiled as I butchered the "Ahh ahh ahh" song and made him swivel back and forth to get me like he had 8 tentacles.

The imaginary games we put him through were endless, but he still made it a point to spend time with us when he got home. I remember watching him play football and basketball games with my brothers while I donned my mother's old cheerleading outfit and high heels on the sideline.

We haven't always seen eye to eye, but through it all, he has always been a voice of reason and his decisions always had us at heart. Any time he would upset me or if he knew I needed encouragement, I would find a note on my pillow. I found one a while back that addressed a squabble we had about dating at 16. I know I probably huffed and put it in a shoebox at the time, but it really showed me just how understanding he TRIED to be during my early teenage years.

I really do believe that the father is a crucial part of setting the tone for the house. I am fortunate that my father chose to set the tone with laughter, music and stories. I still remember hanging on to his every word as he told us haunted house stories and the famous tale of the boy who was born with a screw in his bellybutton. We knew the ending, but we waited for it every time: "The boy finally found a doctor who would remove the screw." He would wave his hands in the air like he was performing the surgery himself. "The boy got up from the table and shouted, 'The screw is out of my bellybutton! I'm free!'"
...and then his bottom fell off. We would die with laughter and I am smiling now just thinking about the ridiculous stuff that made us roll on the floor.

I think my appreciation can be summed up in the quote, "My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it." I noticed things he probably didn't even realize I was watching (which is the scariest part of being a future parent I think...) One particular moment that all this became apparent to me was when he signed up for the Ozark Trek with me. The man, like me, is not an outdoorsy person. He prefers reading to repelling and instrumentation to insects. Yet he grabbed his hiking ski poles and came along for the adventure to spend more time with me.

He didn't say, "I am doing this to show you I want a relationship with you," but he didn't have to. Just his actions and his good-natured attitude showed me that he was in this for me.

So Happy Father's Day to the man who wasn't too proud to be Ursula, a fairy god mother and a cross-dresser. Power gloves or no power gloves, your strength is evident to your children daily.

All my love, Ashton

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Those of you who know me quite well realize that I am directionally challenged. In saying this, I do not mean that it is simply hard for me to make it to halfway-across-the-United-States destinations; my handicap far surpasses that. Most people have trouble at some point navigating a 36-hour trip. I, however, can follow someone to the restaurant down the street and not be able to find the way back to my house.

It's like my brain only knows one way somewhere and fails to realize that streets intersect so that you can make a wrong turn and still know where you are headed. I make one wrong turn and it's as if I have entered another state. Neither Searcy nor Paragould are a thriving metropolis, yet to my confused mind, I sometimes feel as if I live in Los Angeles.

I give you this background to say that I decided to take a solo 9-hour trip to visit my grandparents in Texas. This is quite a feat for a girl who gets lost going to the grocery store. But still, I decided this was something that I needed to do for myself; along with the desire to see my family.

So, I put my red suitcase in the trunk, plugged in my GPS and headed on my first driving adventure without my parents and brothers. I didn't make it out of Searcy before I decided I needed some coffee and breakfast. Driving through Burger King was the first traumatic event for Agnus (my GPS; I apologize to anyone who might know a sweet Agnus, but it's a fitting name for my monotone, grumpy GPS voice).

I hadn't so much as ordered a croissant sandwich and she is firmly stating, "Re-calculating! Re-calculating!" She was already grating on my nerves and it hadn't even been 30 minutes.

"Can I not get a sandwich?" I snapped. "Is that a CRIME?"

Once I got on the interstate, it stated that it was like 200+ miles until my next turn so I got to enjoy some peace and quiet without Agnus nagging me about something. By peace and quiet, I mean singing to Journey and Aerosmith at the top of my lungs.

When it became time to start making decisions, I soon realized that Agnus and I have a misunderstanding of the the phrase, "Keep right." We would reach an intersection that literally had 3 choices to turn right; some more straightforward and some a little sharper to the right with a yield sign. On several occasions, I made the wrong choice.

"Agnus! You're going to have to expand a little more than that. I can't see you because I broke the thing that holds you to my windshield so you are going to have to be more straightforward with me."

She would only respond with "Re-calculating, Re-Calculating!" Before I knew it, she would have me on some country road that I sometimes feared was some one's long driveway. Cows looked up from their grazing as if to say, "Aren't you supposed to be on the Interstate, lady?"

I then saw a sign that said, "State funds stop here." What does that even mean, I asked myself. I had barely formed the question in my mind before my poor car was riding the waves of uneven pavement. It is literally like a child was grabbing handfuls of pavement, throwing it sporadically and letting it dry in puddles all over the road.

As I am emerging from this roller coaster ride, with the horses and cows all around me, I noticed something: This place is beautiful. Each side of the road was canopied in large, beautiful trees. There were picturesque barns and sounds of nature that have become foreign to my ears.

This is not to say that I immediately repaired my relationship with Agnus and was glad to be who knows where; but I knew, deep down, that Agnus would indeed get me to my grandparent's house. It might be the long way; it might be down country roads, but I would end up at my destination.

My relationship with Agnus is definitely a love-hate relationship. I most often find that, like my relationship with God, my friendship with Agnus is dependent upon how I feel about MY choices and MY mistakes. When I become angry with her, it is most often because I am frustrated with myself. While she had me turning circles in a LOVE's truck stop parking lot for about five minutes, I soon realized that I was the one being stubborn and ridiculous. Once I began talking to myself and getting myself straight, I realized I would be OK.

She never gets angry with me when I make a wrong turn; she never calls me names or says, "I told you so, stupid." Instead, she steadily states that she is going to re-calculate and take care of the problem. Yet, I find myself incredibly aggravated with her for trying to fix my bad turn.

This sounds eerily familiar to how I am with God. It's like I sort of trust him when he takes me down country roads and leads me on bumpy paths in the middle of nowhere, but not really. There are times that I want to turn him off and just do it my way. It is only when I calm down and enjoy the present that detours aren't so bad. And when one realizes that a majority of your life is made up by detours you didn't see coming, maybe it will make us more inclined to enjoy them and take them for what they are.

I will be the first to admit that I, along with the company of many friends in the same boat, occupy the "limbo stage" right now. I don't know what my future holds when it comes to a job, family or place to live; all of that is my destination. I can't not appreciate life in the present though.

I am trying to find assurance in this stage of life; some days I come out more positive than others. Some days I come out mad at God and Agnus for not being more clear about their path for me. But I know that I have a Heavenly Father whose patience exponentially exceeds dear Agnus. He has told me to "Keep right" my whole life and we've all seen how I do with those directions.

Instead of being angry though, he smiles down on me and kindly says--without the monotone, irritating voice of a virtual human being--

"You may have taken a wrong turn, but I am re-calculating for you. We will get there using another path."

Needless to say, I made it to my grandparents safely. I woke up this morning to a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and cinnamon crust. I reached my destination just like Agnus said I would; she just had some surprises for me along the way.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My Run in Politics

The recent bombardment of our televisions, radios and internet sites definitely signaled that it was political season. From the false dilemmas presented in commercials; the first stating that so-and-so is going to ship all of our jobs overseas and the one immediately following stating that so-and-so is going to save all of our jobs. Unfortunately, this oversimplification often works on our society.

If someone came up to me with two candidates and said, "George here is going to punch you in the face if he wins. David is going to give you a big hug if he wins. Which one are you going to vote for when considering these facts?"

Some people honestly don't look any further than the fact that getting punched in the face doesn't sound pleasant; that must mean that going with the other alternative is the right way to go. It's like we can't see past the fact that this doesn't have to be a false dichotomy. You can do research; you can pick the candidate who mirrors your views and decision-making process, but don't pick based on a commercial that says it's an "either/or" choice. Want to keep your job? Pick Joe. Want to lose your job? Pick Henry.

I am not opposed to the political process; I think voting is a way for people to be a part of the decision-making in our country. I have, however, stepped down quite a few notches from the political machine on the rise that I appeared to be becoming in middle school.

My fourth grade teacher, in the Dole-Clinton election, could not decide who to vote for. Therefore, she issued a challenge. We had to come up with a campaign, make posters and convince her who to vote for and why. I went no further than political animal Charlann Reely. In five minutes, I already had posters, pamphlets, and bumper stickers. I had sarcastic comments to retaliate with that I didn't know the meaning of, and I had a stance on abortion and other touchy subjects.

I found this love for campaigning and even convinced my teacher to vote for my candidate; I beamed with pride that she actually learned something from my presentation. I put my heart into it. Before I knew it, I was going to local political events with my grandmother, and I even got to lead the pledge in front of the Arkansas governmental bodies at a dinner on Harding's campus.

I stayed up all night to watch the results. My candidates lost. I was devastated. My friend called our house phone that night for our usual evening chat, and Mom had to tell her I couldn't talk right now. 'Couldn't talk' was quite an understatement as I was practically inconsolable.

It is then that I realized I was not cut out for politics. The cut throat, get out of bed even when you lose and start all over thing was just not for me. One of my friends is a PR person for a local candidate; they lost, and she was already on Facebook and Twitter the next day endorsing another candidate.

To me, it's more like a boyfriend breaking up with me; it's like I need to stay in bed and mourn for a while; not to mention the tears that would undoubtedly unfold now that I would understand what insults toward me or my candidate actually mean.

I actually had a shirt during that time period that read, "I will be the First Woman President" on it and donned a picture of Margaret from Dennis the Menace holding up her finger to make a point. I wore it proudly and with great assurance that this would one day become a reality.

Now, I can't think of a position I would rather stay away from. The pressure, the flack you have to take and the constant disappointment would be too much for me to handle; I have seen the before and after pictures of Presidents, and let's just say I don't want my wrinkles and fine lines any earlier than I have to have them.

I soon tucked away that dream in the treasure chest that also held the dream of being a dolphin trainer with my best friend Bliss, being a police officer with a K-9 and my short-lived desire to be a WNBA star like Rebecca Lobo.

Every time I see an ad on TV attacking an opponent, I just picture my face on the screen with that horrible voice-over:

"If you vote for Ashton, she will ship your jobs to India. Your children will be hungry, while they are being fed. Your children have no future, while their children are being given a future..."

It is then that I lie back on the couch, and thank God that the trail I'm on--however unsure it may be--is not the campaign trail.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Dismal Day: The Spelling Bee Story

I just read on the news where the word "Fustanella" sent one of this year's Spelling Bee favorites home after that much-dreaded ding of the bell. I only know that Fustanella is a skirt-like garment worn by men in the Balkans because I typed it into Google. Picturing myself as a young child trying to spell a word I've never heard of in my life is just plain scary.

It took me back to the days of the Greene County Spelling Bee. I never aspired to be in the spelling bee and stand in front of my friends and family at a crowded Collins Theater. I wanted to be on that stage performing in "Annie," not trying to find the origin of a word I would never use in everyday conversation.

But still, I somehow won the local spelling bee at my middle school. I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the fact that the vocabulary didn't stem out much from your basic farm animals.

My 6th grade boyfriend definitely let me know that he was missing the night's NWO wrestling showdown to watch me spell, and my parents bought popcorn with the assumption that they would be there for a while being entertained.

Twelve years later and I am still attesting the fairness of the spelling bee in rural Arkansas. If you are going to have kids spell fairly difficult words, get a moderator who actually uses proper enunciation.

In case anyone is wondering why there aren't any Arkansans in the national spelling bee finals, it's because their moderator probably had them spell "Fusterneller" instead of "Fustanella."

Ok, back to the story.

I'm standing up there, in a cute little dress with my hair in curls no doubt, and I step up to the mike.

Bubba Jo Jenkins leans his little microphone to his mouth and slowly draws out the word:


Gizmo? Why would gizmo be in a spelling competition? Isn't that like a name for a dog or something?

"Please repeat the word," I state, hoping I was misunderstanding him. His voice sounded like molasses to my ears and nothing was making sense or sinking in.


Ok, I guess that's what it is. I'm going for it.

"Gizmo. G-I-Z-M-O." That was easy enough. Way easy. How could I get lucky enough to have such an easy word?

It is then that I hear it: DING.

Ding? What? I got the word right. This is so not fair. I knew I should have just gotten up here and used the spotlight to sing "Tomorrow."

It is then that another moderator, a more English-speaking one, corrected me: "Dismal is spelled d-i-s-m-a-l."

When dismal sounds like gizmo, you know there is a problem.

I was defeated. Even though I didn't want to be there in the first place, I hate losing and I had definitely lost. Not only had I misspelled a word, I had spelled a completely different word. That's like double shame points right there.

As we're walking out of the theater, my dad--always very timely with his jokes--puts his arm around my shoulder and says, "Well, I'm sorry you had such a dismal experience tonight."

Funny, Dad...really funny.

Oddly enough, I am presently the designated speller in my circle of friends and family. I am as far away from artistic as you can get, but I somehow feel a sense of pride when an artistic friend is making a poster and yells, "Hey Ashton, spell 'Congratulations'!"

I'm glad that I was able to recover my dismal day on the stage and become a lover of words. Writing is my passion and it makes me happy. And there is absolutely nothing gizmo about that.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Moody Girl Syndrome

"It was nice to be alone, not to have to smile and look pleased; a relief to stare dejectedly out the window at the sheeting rain and let just a few tears escape." - Bella, Twilight

I am starting to see a new trend in romantic books and movies; a trend that puzzles me to no end. It seems that now, to be the object of any guy's affection, you have to begin by being cold, moody and distant. Something about the combination of these things makes you an irresistible romantic target.

I love Twilight just like any other girl, but it has always fascinated me how a moody girl that never smiles has to make all these romantic decisions and is being tossed from guy to guy. It's like one scowl from her sends their little hearts beating wildly. Even the human guys can't get enough of her. Must be the way her black hoodie brings out her pasty complexion.

Then, you have movie and book releases like, "The Last Song," in which Miley Cyrus plays a punk teenager with a rough exterior. Though you later find the purple streak in her hair and her bad attitude is masking hurt, guys don't know that right off the bat. But still, cute, smart, thoughtful boy can't get enough of her constant rejection and snappy remarks. It's like the more rude she is, the more he pursues her.

This phenomenon fascinates me. What happened to the cute girl with a polka dot dress and blonde curls that used to occupy this role? She has since been replaced with an emotional, depressed girl who sits in a chair looking out the window as the seasons change.

Another reason this confuses me is because I know so many bubbly, sweet girls that have some tough knocks in the dating field. They go out of their way to be friendly and helpful, but receive no attention. What are they to think when they see movies like these and watch TV shows where girls are hateful and mean?

I can only hope that they don't feel they have to be "mysterious" in order for things to go their way. In fact, being "mysterious" is no mystery at all. If you want to be a real mystery, live a godly life, a life that merits questions like, "She has such a kind spirit. I wonder what makes her different."

Galatians 5:22-23 names the fruits of the spirit: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

I feel like these are the qualities that people in general should be attracted to. Love is patient and kind; not an obsession that sends you into a cocoon that guards you from the rest of the world. It should be a love that attracts people to you like a magnet. Instead of sulking in your room because of your love, go out into the world and show it.

It's time that a new trend starts. Take the hoodie off your head indoors and smile at the person next to you. Moody is out and marvelous is in.