Saturday, August 23, 2008

Good Girls using Bad Words

The great Kurt Johnston (the longest-lasting Junior High pastor I've ever even heard of - and an incredible guy at that!) has been commissioned to write a book called "99 Thoughts about Guys... for Girls Eyes Only." He asked for ideas from folks who read his blog. If you get a chance, pop over there and read the comments - some of them are hysterical!

Reading his post prompted me to finally write the following post on Perspectives on Sex (I've been ruminating on this potential post for quite a while now). I write this with the explicit request that you, reader, respond: either for or against or both or ...

Having worked in the restaurant industry of Phoenix for a time, and having been involved with some incredible people as we discussed life, and having read-up some on Pick-Up-Artists and their ways, I have found the following:

  • One of the primary parts/aspects of Relationships is Power. This is often seen as influence.
    - praise God this isn't all there is! There is a problem when this is the dominant factor, though, as seen below.
  • Value is the dominant 'currency' of relationships. Or is it the dominant currency of Power?
  • Boys and Girls spend their Relationship Currency on different stuff, just like Boys and Girls spend their monetary currency on different stuff!!
  • Nobody is satisfied with the amount of Relationship Currency they have, mainly because most everyone has access to most everyone else's Bank Account/Wallet -- that is, our amounts change without us even knowing it (e.g. when someone is surprisingly cold towards me, it's as if they just reached in and too my People Pesos!).
  • Sexuality has power. It's like an exchange rate for relationships. A guy can give me one Relationship Dollar but it's worth a buck-fifty to a girl. Or a girl can write a Relational Check for fifty cents but it shows up in my account as one dollar due to this Gender Exchange Rate (pronounced, grr).

So here's one of my theories out of all this: the word 'sexy.'

1) I'm curious if you have found the following to be true (as I have): when it comes to clothing, girls use the word 'sexy' and 'attractive' as, basically, synonyms.

2) For girls, 'sexy' is the summing of the following ideas: drawing attention, pretty, distinctly feminine (i.e. not masculine)
- for guys, 'sexy' means 'leading to sex' and not much else! +++

I think I'm making the words Sexy and Attractive out to be 'bad words.' If you get that sense from this... I'm not sure what to write here! Perhaps a nice dialog in the comments would be good? Perhaps my understanding of these words has been influenced by the less-than-ideal worlds of Restaurant Workers and PickUp Artists?

Please feel free to stream-of-conscious in the comments.

+++ in this way, guys ARE more utilitarian ('functional,' getting things accomplished, etc.) while girls are more relational, but I am a STRONG opponent to the ideas that girls are more relational in all of their lives for I believe I have met many females who are quite utilitarian and many males who are quite relational. But that's not the point of this post, in my opinion.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm not very pragmatic (duh)

I'm wondering if I'm ever going to be worthwhile...

I am finishing the free lectures from the history class "Modern Physics: From The Atom to Big Science" taught by Dr. Cathryn Carson @ UC Berkeley. It's the history of physics, basically.

The latest class I listened to was on the history of physics education in the U.S. In particular, research. She noted that from the 1940s (when the U.S. really started offering post-graduate physics) to the 1980s, research (both in the classroom and at G.E., Bell Labs, etc.) was on speculative, futurical ideas. Then it all changed and physicists had to accomplish short-term successes (fix this problem in 18 months or create this new technology in 12 months).

Amazingly, without bemoaning the fact, Dr. Carson stated that the U.S. has been, since it's inception, very pragmatic. While we may think of ourselves as "cutting edge" we are only so when it has immediate benefit. The labs at G.E. and others drastically changed when quarterly stock-value became the deciding mark of a successful product.

Then I was talking to a guy who does sales from a company like Cisco where the product is very complex and it usually takes 12 to 18 months for a sale to complete. What is he supposed to do when the Sales Manager says, "Profits were down last quarter, we need to sell more!"? How can he turn even a 12-month sales-cycle into a profit in 4 months?!?!?

So here's where I fear I'm not going to be worthwhile... I'm strongly inclined to see eventual gain. For example, if Home Depot goes back to treating its customers well (which I believe they are trying to do), I think they will eventually gain back much of the market they lost to Lowes.

If more people meet more Christians who aren't fully-obnoxious about their religion, eventually people will have a new understanding of Christians and, even better, of The Christ.
If more people grow up around more Christians who deeply love God and others, eventually this will become 'the norm.'

At least that's what my eyes see.

So what do I do in a country/culture that is so pragmatic? Do I try to 'sell' what I see to those who are pragmatic? Do I try to give them glasses or binoculars? Do I try to change their pragmatism?!? Do I use metaphors I don't really care for like 'being balanced' (balance of pragmatism and long-term investment)?

Even worse, I sometimes see a win-win in which pragmatic decisions are made based on both short- and long-term goals. Is it possible for someone to see the benefit of both-and when they can't (barely) see 'the other' side?

But what pragmatic person is going to even have a conversation about long-range thinking?

Am I in the wrong part of the sandbox?