Blog Posts by Mysterious Gryphon

  • A Little Lonely ... A Little Confused: A Reader Tries to Figure Out Friendship as an Adult

    All through high school, college, and grad school, I may not have been "cool" but I was definitely popular - always surrounded by lots of friends and always involved in a wide variety of activities. As I've gotten older (I'm approaching 30) that has changed. I've lost touch with the majority of those old friends, and those with whom I still have contact are scattered all over the globe and/or consumed with careers, spouses, and young families. To compound the issue, last year I moved across the country for my husband's career, which means that I am starting over with no existing social contacts. These facts have created the following quandaries for me:

    1) How do I deal, psychologically, with the fact that I am no longer "popular"? Not so long ago, I was the one everyone called - my arrival at an event signified the beginning of the party. Now, I get a total of about three phone calls per week, and at least two are guaranteed to be my mom. I get that life goes on and things change, but

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  • User post: Children are people too - and they should act like it!

    A recent post looked at a woman suing an airline that failed to control a child whose screaming caused the woman hearing damage. Many of you claim that children are people too, who deserve to be allowed to travel as freely as any other person. I agree!

    Children are people, who need to be held to same standards as all other people. If I, an adult, stood in the aisle and screamed my head off because there was no chocolate milk, I'd probably be arrested as soon as we landed. Children must be taught by their parents how to behave and how to grow up to be responsible adults.

    And here's the really important thing: while I am expected to be ever so kind about your precious little junior, HE is not expected to be ever so kind to me. Kindness goes both ways! Parents, teach your children to be respectful of others. Adults cannot simply do whatever the heck they feel like, just because they feel like it. They must exhibit self-restraint. If I am expected to exhibit self-restraint, then so is

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  • User post: Four-day school weeks are the way to go!

    I just read some brouhaha about four-day school weeks. In some districts that are trying them, it's working wonderfully; in others, not so much. Many of the comments back were complaining that children will learn even less if they spend fewer hours in school, and the global economy requires more education, not less.

    Obviously, to be competitive in a global market, one must possess a significantly higher education level that a few generations ago, and have a much broader area of expertise. However, merely spending more or fewer hours in a school building is not going to contribute to one's knowledge base. What counts is what the student brings to the table. Having a seven-day school week isn't going to do a thing if the kids are sleeping or cutting most of that time.

    The argument that the school districts for whom this has been effective are using is that the kids have more time off to rest, and so they are able to pay more attention in school. The teachers, too, have a much lower

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  • The Internet is Not All It's Cracked up to Be

    When the Internet first came available to the general public, it was a luxury: instant mail and messaging with friends from your home town and abroad, meeting strangers in chat rooms for random discussions on even more random topics, and online shopping that boggled the mind with options.

    However, in 2010, the Internet is more of a necessity than a luxury. Like electricity or telephones, it has taken its place on the list of monthly bills and most of us use it on a daily basis for work as well as pleasure. We're no longer impressed with the friend who has a lightning-fast cable connection - rather, we are frustrated and indignant when there is nothing more than outdated dial-up to be had, and we outright refuse to patronize restaurants nd coffee shops with no public internet connection at all. We take for granted that virtually any piece of information could be discovered almost instantly, such as the latest update from Haiti or the name of the lead actor from an 80s movie.

    But there

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  • What's the big deal with the full-body scanners?

    For the life of me, I cannot figure out why people are so upset about the full-body ("backscatter") scanners. People say it's an invasion of privacy for someone to be able to see what's under their clothes. This is all nonsense. Let me explain why Americans should not care about what kind of scanner are used at the airport - and it has nothing to do with valuing security over privacy.

    First, we are a society that loves taking off its clothes. We put up twenty-foot tall posters of David Beckham and Charlize Theron in Times Square; we show nude sex scenes in all our movies; we have a cultural thirst for pornography that cannot be quenched; we have multiple sexual partners throughout our lives. It's nothing the TSA workers haven't seen before.

    Second, these TSA workers have never seen us before and will probably never see us again. They certainly see too many people in a day to remember you or me or anyone else two minutes after we leave. Why do we care if a perfect stranger sees our

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  • Making Friends as an Adult

    Many, if not most, people have had the experience of moving. It's rough: for kids, it means starting over at a new school, getting lost a lot, and not knowing anyone.. For adults, it means ... starting over at a new job, getting lost a lot, and not knowing anyone.

    I guess it never really gets any easier.

    But when you move as an adult, you don't have the instant, built-in companionship of school. Children are immediately placed in a room bubbling over with people their own age, and offered an endless variety of activities - from school sports to science clubs to Girl Scouts - at which they can meet their classmates with their specific interests.

    What you do have as an adult is a new job and all the office politics and frustrations that go with it. You may or may not have anything in common with your new coworkers except for the signature on your paychecks. And even if you do have some basic interest in common, you may not have the opportunity to meet or spend much time with your

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  • In Praise of the Bachelorette Party

    In today's American culture, we have at once too many and too few initiation rites. There is no clear time when a child becomes an adult. For some groups, a girl becomes a woman at 15 (Hispanics have the quinceanera; Southerners have a debutante ball); for others, it's at 18, when the child can legally be out on his or her own.

    There are religious dates: for Jews, there is a Bat or Bar Mitzvah at age 13, and for many Christians it's Confirmation at some point between 13 and 16. And there are other milestones, such as high school graduation, or, in more affluent communities, college graduation, when a child is expected to get a job and become financially independent.

    For other groups, it is marriage that marks the day when one becomes an adult in the community. As I understand it, the Amish and some Jewish groups only consider a married man to be a man; unmarried men, no matter how old, are not full participants in the society.

    In other places and in other times, the wedding is

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  • User post: French pool bans "burqinis" --and I think they're right!

    I just read an article on Yahoo! News about a public swimming pool in France that has banned the "burquini" - a swimming costume designed to protect the modesty of Islamic women. Of course, there is plenty of outrage over the situation. One woman even called it segregation!

    This is ridiculous. Segregation is keeping people separate because of factors you cannot help or change; your clothes are something about yourself you can change, and easily. A woman chooses to dress one way or another. One woman chooses a string bikini, another chooses a one-piece, and another chooses a burqini. Except that voluminous fabric is prohibited at French pools - as is uncovered hair. It's a hygiene issue.

    The truth is that rules must apply to everyone. Men have to wear tight-fitting trunks. Knee-length, surfer-style trunks are banned. Everyone has to wear a swim cap. If you choose a bathing suit that falls outside the rules, you cannot go in the pool. A woman in a burqini and a man in a pair of loose

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  • Can't stop thinking about getting married!

    Even though we're not yet engaged, I can't seem to stop thinking about planning a wedding.

    On one hand, I'm so excited to have found the man of my dreams, my soulmate, that I feel that we will make it work perfectly regardless of how the wedding shakes out. It's only one day in a lifetime together, right? And surely, with a man like mine, it will have to turn out to be the most beautiful wedding ever.

    And yet, I am also scared to death. There are so many little details to fuss over, from the date to the dress to the location. I know that Andrew and I will figure it out and be happy even if we have to elope to Vegas (what he'd prefer anyway), but I am scared of what my parents will think of every little thing.

    We're thinking of a winter wedding, right before Christmas, but I don't want a Christmas themed wedding. My favorite color is blue, so I want my maid of honor in blue and I want snowflake accents to the decorations. At that time of year, the church will already have nice

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  • Do you keep momentos of past loves?

    I live in an apartment building, and while the walls are thick enough most of the time, tonight I overheard a lot of yelling and even some smashing of items in the next apartment. I turned down the tv and listened in - at first because it sounded so scary I was concerned about someone getting hurt, but eventually because it was a pretty juicy conversation.

    It seems that the couple next door has only been living together the past few months, and yesterday he discovered a few momentos she has kept from a previous relationship, including a sex tape of her with her last boyfriend. I did not infer this; he stated those exact words.

    His perspective is that she brought this and other remnants into their home, effectively polluting it with the past. Hers is that she had a life before she met him and should be allowed to retain her memories.

    I can see both sides of this story. I was with a man for two and a half years before I met my partner, and that former love and I still

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