Selling out vs selling it: Why makeovers are not evil!

I remember when I got my first weave.

I was in college and I had been regularly wearing my hair in braids, because it was just easier to manage. My hair was natural, African hair (i.e. no relaxer) and I had not quite learned to style it up until that point. I don’t know why I decided to get a weave, but I remember feeling like everyone would know it was a weave and people would make fun of me, or worse, think I was trying to be cute!

Yes, that was a real fear of mine. Looking back, I think that fear came from a deep-seated belief that I just was not cute and if I tried to dress up like I was trying to be, people would expose me for the imposter I was.

Strangely enough, nobody said anything. However, somewhere inside, I was constantly feeling some sense of guilt that I was being complimented for something that really wasn’t reflective of who I considered myself to be.

Now-a-days, I wear weaves on-and-off. Mostly I wear weaves for special occasions like weddings, etc. There definitely is a difference in the way people treat you when you are all “dolled up”. People look at you longer. People listen more. Whether you like it or not, appearance matters!

We talk a lot about transformations here on Ladies Again. We are constantly trying to encourage our readers to give up the baggy jeans and tennis shoes and invest in make up and push up bras! However, we understand why this can be difficult for many women. Some women feel like putting on make up and spending time on their hair is being fake or selling out.

People feel this way for a lot of reasons. For me, it was because I spent so much of my childhood as the wallflower who secretly envied the pretty girls yet was surrounded by negative friends (read: feminists in the making) who were constantly talking smack about those girls. They would say things like:

  • Those girls are stuck up
  • Those girls are not that smart
  • Those girls are mean
  • Those girls don’t make good girlfriends/wives

Yet as time went on, I met and became friends with many beautiful women who were kind, generous, devoted, and loyal wives, sisters, friends and girlfriends. On top of that, many of my male friends who were constantly talking smack about the pretty girls to me, secretly had crushes on many of these girls.

Eventually, I had to get over the lies that I had been fed all those years that those girls were somehow a different caliber of people. Ultimately, I had to get rid of this whole idea that somehow wearing makeup, nice clothes and a cute hairstyle does something to your insides as well.

I mentioned in a previous post that I wanted to talk about how to be universally appealing without selling out. That’s what I hope to do here.

My biggest fear

I’m a Christian, and a very strong one at that. I believe in Jesus, forgiveness and heaven. I believe that the world is full of corruption and a relationship with God is our only hope for salvation. Unfortunately, somehow, in the lessons I learned about being a good Christian, somewhere along the lines I consumed a message that said that “pretty girls like to sin”. It was probably jealous friends who hung out with the frumpy crowd (of which I was among at the time). The fact of the matter is that everyone sins, the Bible even says so; and some of those girls who were hating on the pretty girls were also exploring their fleshly desires in secret corners with horny guys as well.

I would like to express that after all those years hiding my beauty and standing back while the pretty girls got to pick which guy they wanted, I eventually began spending time with some of these beautiful ladies. After getting to know them, I found that many of them were just like me, and that the only difference between pretty girls and ugly girls is the time they spend on their appearance.

Putting it in plainer terms: pretty girls have the same insecurities and feel the same pain that everyone else does. The only difference is that they look really good while they’re experiencing it.

Selling it versus selling out

The issue of selling out who you are to get a date or to fit in with a group of people is a legitimate issue, though. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it isn’t. There are cliques that will literally try to haze you before accepting you as one of them (and acceptance may still not be guaranteed after that).

I want to get one thing straight. This point I’m about to make is so important that I’m going to leave it at that, because if you don’t understand anything else in this article, try your best to understand this. Here it is: repackaging yourself is just so that you can get people to look and you do not have to completely change who you are (eg. values, morals, etc.)

Once you have mastered this, and guys are going out of their way to talk to you, you will be in a better position to get the guy of your dreams, because you’ll have many more guys to choose from!

Want to continue the conversation? Leave a message in the comment box below!

 Read Next: Are you the Person the Person You’re Looking For is Looking For?

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Healthy Again: Should you lower your weight loss expectations?

does-this-dress-make-me-look-fat-white-liesStarting Weight: 223.2
Current Weight: 222.2

So, I lost some weight…

A whopping ONE POUND!

And yes, I’m being sarcastic.

I have a confession to make.

I am very hard on myself, and I believe that is why I am a binge eater.

I remember when I had lost 70 pounds 3 years ago. (image of weight loss transformation here: link)

As the weight began creeping back up, I remember thinking, with every pound I gained that everyone was looking at me and thinking about how fat I was and how much weight I was gaining. Obviously, beating myself up in this was has not helped, because I still gained 60 pounds back!

Losing a lot of weight and keeping it off long term is a process that requires mental perseverance. Beating yourself up repeatedly is often more crippling than it is motivating (as I have found). I picked on myself regularly calling everyday “Day One” of my new diet.

It wasn’t until recently (within the past year), that I started hanging out with supportive women who were constantly telling me (in a very sincere way) how attractive I am and consequently, my confidence began to build.

So, OK, I was being sarcastic before. But actually, I think that what I need more than anything right now is to celebrate that small victory. That one pound I lost over the past month. Those faithful days when I braced the cold weather and went running. The times I intentionally chose to eat food items that were consistent with my nutrition commitment. I need to celebrate (Hashtag: partylikeitsmybirthday …as they say in da streetz)!

So, if you’re following me on Twitter, show me some love by sending me a message with the hashtags #onepoundskinnier and/or #sexyclap. I promise I’ll respond and we can celebrate together!

Thanks for your support!

 Read Next: Healthy Again | Day 16

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Healthy Again: Can Your Really Change Your Genetic Destiny?

Genotype-DIET-HOW-TO-LOSE-WEIGHT-30-KILOS-IN-WINTER
image source: http://www.blogaboutwomen.com

So, my healthy again journey is going well.

If you are following me on twitter, you’ll see that since I started the #sexyclap/#fattyslap accountability system, I have been consistent with getting in my morning runs before 9AM. (“Hashtag: winning!” as they say in da streetz)

As for my nutrition commitment, I had not been doing as well,…until now.

I’m starting an interesting new nutrition lifestyle based off of a book by a doctor who claims you can “change your genetic destiny to live the longest, fullest, and healthiest life possible.”

I even created a blog dedicated to the GenoType I was assigned by the book. The site link is below.

On my diet blog, I will be describing my journey to live the lifestyle this doctor recommends and documenting what I notice in terms of health, wellness and ease of adaptability.

Also, depending on how effective it is and how successful I am at maintaining it, I hope to make it a resource unto itself for others with the same GenoType who are seeking empowerment in living the lifestyle. Feel free to check out the blog or follow me on twitter. Links below.

~::*Resources*::~

My GenoType Diet blog: www.gatherergenotype.com

My twitter account: www.twitter.com/fastinggirl

Article about Genotype Diet: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-boblett/what-is-the-genotype-diet_b_813812.html

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Healthy Again: #Bingeconfessions, #fattyslap and accountability

Since my first “Healthy Again” post, I have been running on and off, but not consistently.

Since then I’ve created a hashtag called #bingeconfessions where I have to confess every time I binge.

I want to start other ways to keep myself accountable for my weight loss journey.

I have decided that I’m going to also send out an automatic tweet to my Twitter followers at 9AM everyday reminding them to send me a #fattyslap if they have not seen a tweet from “MapMyWalk” yet saying that I have done some running.

So, the rule is, when you see a tweet that says:

twitterslap“It’s 9AM! You know what that means… #sexyclap or #fattyslap?”

That means that if you’ve seen my running tweet of the day, send me a tweet @fastinggirl on twitter including the hashtag #sexyclap and if there has been no running tweet that day, send me a tweet including the hashtag #fattyslap.

I think it would be cool if more people joined in on this in order to inspire each other to workout and get in the habit of keeping our fitness commitments!

Are you looking for a fitness accountability partner? Leave your twitter handle in the comment section below and let us know how we can help!

Read Next: I’m fat because I have a Job and other Excuses

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Femininity is a Habit (Get like Bey)

beyonce-and-jay-zThere’s a great song by David Banner entitled “Get Like Me” that popularized the phrase “Stuntin is a Habit”.

People on urbandictionary.com define “stuntin” as: showing off (often in an exaggerating manor) especially with jewelry and other status symbols. Many people on urbandictionary feel like those who do the “stuntin” are often lying. So, it is commonly considered to be a deceitful practice.

Along those same lines, Beyonce (AKA Queen Bey) recently popularized the phrase “I woke up like this” in her song Flawless. Those of us who have followed Beyonce’s rise to stardom are well aware that she definitely DID NOT WAKE UP LIKE THAT!

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There are some great lesson to be learned from this:

1. Perfection doesn’t happen by chance. It is cultivated and nurtured. There is a painstaking process involving the dying of an old version and a rebirth into a newer, better version. Even the process of being feminine does not happen by chance. Having an attractive body, clothes, hair and make up; all take lots of work and understanding the right combinations that are appealing to the people you are interested in.

2. The application of the knowledge of a new skill (such as femininity) takes dedication and diligence. Once you realize what men (especially the men you are attracted to) enjoy, practicing the discipline of “keeping yourself up” will take overcoming psychological and physical obstacles to maintenance of this discipline. I am reminded of an old episode of a show I enjoyed in my youth entitled “A Different World”. The first time I heard Beyonce say “I woke up like this”, I had a sneaking suspicion that she was also a fan of the show as a kid. The following scene explains why:

For a woman to do something like she did in the video she had to be very disciplined and committed to maintaining a certain standard of lifestyle with her husband.

3. Lastly (and perhaps most importantly), femininity must be practiced consistently in order to habituate to living that lifestyle. I know many of us enjoy walking around the house with hair looking a mess, farting and burping like drunken sailors and think we’re “being free”, because it’s “cute when a woman can just be herself”. Well, we need to think again!

I have friends who, every time I enter their car they say “excuse the mess”. After a while, you get tired of hearing that. You get to a point where you’re thinking “there IS NO excuse! Clean it the eff up!” My point is that, these friends have gotten into the habit of leaving their car messy and have somewhere in their minds convinced themselves that it’s OK for other people to see that side of them.

mesmerize him

Furthermore, in my years of yo yo dieting, I have been told that when it comes to avoiding a binge, you have to “practice the drill before the actual fire”. That means that you can’t say, “when I feel like binging, I ‘m going to take a walk around the block” when you’ve never taken a walk around the block a day in your life. Such a thing must be something you are already familiar with if it is to be your “go to” life preserver (or else when you need it, you won’t know how to use it, get it?)

So, ladies, rather than saying “I want the man I’m dating to get used to my ugly side before we get married” or “I just want to know that he loves me for who I am”, let’s take on a new mantra like “I’m going to bring my BEST to the table EVERY TIME I’m with my man!”, because he deserves it; and if he doesn’t deserve it, then you should probably go find someone who does.

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Cat calls are awesome! When did compliments become offensive?!

resized_homophobe-kevin-hart-meme-generator-stop-just-stop-your-stupidity-is-too-much-11432a
Stop it, feminists. You’re upsetting Kevin Hart!

So, word around town is that feminist extremists (who ruin everything about femininity) also want to kill compliments too! Their new agenda is to wipe any memory of the fact that women were once uniquely beautiful in their own special way off the map!

A bunch of them got together and whipped up this stupid ass public service announcement on behalf of ugly women everywhere! Newsflash, butterfaces, I know compliments are not something you’re used to, but get over yourself, OK! Nobody agrees with you!

Compliments are awesome no matter where they’re coming from.

I know it’s not often that these Vampirish women get complimented, but let me offer you a clue: if a man decides to let you know that you look nice, say “thank you”, smile and/or just keep moving. If he didn’t touch you, it’s not harassment!

Furthermore, if you’re afraid to leave your house, carry pepper spray and the number to a psychiatric clinic. It’s just like the femi-nazis to try to convince women everywhere that they’re in constant danger by the bogeymen waiting around the corner!

Oh, and guess what! If you’re wearing booty shorts, men are going to look at your ass! Period. The end. We definitely did not need your hidden camera to reveal that when women reveal their bodies, MEN LOOK!

Seriously?! Nakedness is for sex. Are we really trying to police people’s brains now? If you don’t want men fantasizing about your body, PUT CLOTHES ON!

But, honestly, they’re going to look either way. And they’re going to compliment you. So, here’s another little tip, LEARN SOME FUCKING SOCIAL SKILLS so you know how to fucking handle HUMAN INTERACTIONS!

Not all men want to rape you, my friends. They really don’t. And here’s the trick, sweety, THEY WON’T DO IT IN BROAD DAYLIGHT!

In all sincerity, though. Ladies, just practice general safety if you want to be safe.

  • Don’t follow strangers to strange places.tumblr_lvpausW5sE1qaydnc
  • Don’t get piss drunk or high, especially not alone
  • Don’t walk around in strange neighborhoods alone by yourself

I know some of this sounds harsh, but I want these crackpots to understand how serious the accusations they are making are. Before you know it, somebody will listen to these women and people’s sons and brothers will be in jail or fined for…doing what? Giving compliments?!

MANOSPHERE blogs are right once again when it comes to this issue (see video below)!

Even though I’m a woman, I agree very much with the above video. Especially how he points out that the woman walked down the street and DOZENS of men and women walked passed her and only ONE man mildly slowed down to glance in her direction. That is not harassment, friends. That’s flirting.

(Disclaimer: Although, I’m not a fan of how the guy in the second video seems to feel about lower income communities, he makes an excellent point about how ludicrous these femi-nazis are)

Read Next: What Steve Urkel taught me about becoming a Lady Again

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Men Admit What We All Know: Career Women Suck

Career Woman
Career Woman
Having a powerful career will only make motherhood harder.

Manosphere blog Return of Kings published one of this week’s best articles, titled “Career Women Are Pretending To Be Men.”

The article simply states what all intelligent women already know–career women are terrible, sad misguided individuals who have been brainwashed to prioritize money over their families and children. Who wants to wait until they are 58 to have deformed special needs children? Answer: Career women. Who wants to wake up early to shuttle their infant children to overcrowded daycare centers? Career women. Who thinks they can stay young and fertile forever? Sadly, career women.

Luckily, manosphere writers frequently discuss the myth of the successful career woman. We have a special love of manosphere blogs here at Ladies Again because those are often one of the few places where men speak candidly about love, dating and marriage. Best of all, manosphere writers provide solid feedback that women can grow and learn from. While some of the articles are outlandish and obviously click-bait chum, many articles help feminine women learn more about the male psyche. At the core, manosphere websites agree with some of the same philosophies as blogs written by conservative and feminine writers in that they all argue that today’s “women’s movement” is actually just misandry.

Additionally, manosphere writers agree that the sexual revolution has created a raw deal for women by giving men more power to dictate the terms and conditions of sexual relationships (these men enjoy taking advantage of all of the easy sex). Thanks to feminism, traditional marriage and childbearing are out, while rampant promiscuity is more popular than ever. Thanks a lot feminist.

If you’re new to the manosphere concept, try reading the following articles to start:

Isn’t this snippet from Return of Kings the truth?

Men do not want to marry some tired-out late 30s bossy middle management troll, who’s only a few years shy of menopause and needs $50,000 of IVF treatments just to have a 3-month premature spawn. This is an abuse of technology that should be outlawed. The world is awash with starving children—how can any sane person force their body to have children under the current global circumstances, when they made a life choice to sacrifice their fertile years for a career?

If feminism wanted to do something positive for the world, it would have backed women to have real training from 16-20 in areas of childcare, homemaking and so forth, while encouraging men to knock up young hot wives and build families and communities. A couple of my female friends have diplomas in catering and hospitality and they do a damn fine job as homemakers.

As the man ages he’s less likely to stray, still having a young pretty wife and feeling comfortable in a solid family base, in which both partners are happy and the woman has plenty of time in her later years to find herself a suitable career and avoid the empty nest syndrome or empty call of cougardom. What’s more, her income would give the man the chance to spend more time at home when the kids are older, less childish, and more in need of male authority, as opposed to feminine supervision.

Feminism’s role in the decline

Feminism encourages women to throw away their best years slutting it up in university and some dead-end career she either fails at or winds up compromised in because of children. It demotivates men by watering down the workplace and universities, while giving them little incentive to be successful and build a family and community. There are natural laws that cannot be changed. Instead of trying to compete with men, feminism could have looked for solutions in which all parties win.

You cannot argue with the truth, and the manosphere is just articulating ideas that all traditional women know are true. And we thank them for saying what needs to be said.

Read next: Flexible Jobs for Women

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What Stefan Urquelle taught me about becoming a “lady again”

When I was a kid, I loved Family Matters. The show that starred the lovable and brilliant, Steve Urkel was a hit in the mid-’90s. At the time, it was just entertaining nonsense to me, but now as an adult, I see the genius behind the show.

Steve was a great guy, in his own right. He was funny (in my opinion), loyal, smart and friendly. However, the one woman that he was totally devoted to (the beautiful Laura Winslow) was not reciprocating his romantic advances.

So, what does he do?

He does the smartest thing that anyone can do, and the one thing that most people refuse to do, he becomes the guy that everyone wants to be with. Most people don’t want to make a transformation of any kind, because they feel like it is “selling out” in some way or not being themselves. I want to distinguish between that idea and what Steve did by turning into Stefan Urquelle (his swag-tastic alter ego).

What I believe Steve was doing by transforming into Stefan is what many people in the marketing world do called “rebranding your image.” This does not mean that you are a different person, it only means that you are taking what you’re already offering and repackaging it into something that more people will be willing to try.

The fact of the matter is that if your goal is to get married (for example) and they way you look or behave makes the people you are attracted to not want to even talk to you, then what makes you think they will ever even try to get to know you.

A lot of us lie to ourselves and say that “well, if they don’t want to talk to me because of what I look like, then they don’t like me for who I am and I don’t want to be with them anyway.”

While this is true sometimes, it’s not always true.

cloudsA lot of times, what people really need is for you to be repackaged into something that they are willing to listen to. It’s like Mary Poppins says “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!” What she’s saying is what all women interested in become “ladies again” need to embrace, which is that nobody is going to listen to you if they can’t even look at you.

I hope I can talk more in the future about how to be universally appealing without losing your identity, but for now, I’ll leave you with this message about repackaging the outside so that people will be willing to look inside!

What changes do you think you need to make to become a “Lady Again”? We’d love to hear from you, and we’d love to help! Just leave us a comment.

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Black Hair and Faking it Til You Make It

Black woman's hair

In the first few pages of the bestselling book “Not Your Mother’s Rules: The New Secrets for Dating (The Rules),” authors Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider lay out their blueprint for snagging quality men. The first and most important rule? Grow your hair long. Long and healthy hair, the authors say, is one of the most important components to getting a man’s attention. Men are visual, the book argues, and long hair is one of the best ways to show that you are feminine and take care of your body. The authors encourage women to take steps to get their hair as straight as possible. But what if your hair won’t grow long easily? Or what if straightening the hair is expensive or time-consuming?

As a black woman with naturally curly, thick and sometimes unruly hair, I found the book’s hair rule a bit perplexing (though I loved the book). I don’t doubt the Rules writers for one second–I’ve always understood self-consciously that men everywhere are attracted to long luscious hair. I can certainly feel the difference in the number of men who approach me when I’m wearing a long wig, as opposed to the few men who approach me with I’m wearing my natural hair out. Apparently, there’s an evolutionary rationale for the attraction to long healthy hair: Healthy women have lustrous, shiny hair, whereas the hair of sickly people loses its luster. Furthermore, shoulder-length hair reveals several years of a woman’s health status.

Black hair, particularly course black hair, is not naturally shiny or lustrous, or even long, unless the hair is manipulated, braided or straightened. Naturally course hair is prone to dryness because the natural oils produced by the scalp to lubricate the hair cannot travel all the way down the hair shaft because of the various twists and turns of each curl (black hair, generally has more curls, coils and bends than other hair types). Dry hair is more prone to breakage, so black hair must be handled gently. It is possible to straighten black hair, but it’s a headache in that it can be time-consuming and expensive.

Beyonce wears very natural-looking wigs and weaves.
Beyonce wears very natural-looking wigs and weaves.

So what do women do with hair that naturally grows up toward the sky instead of down? As we talk about being ladies on this blog, we also focus on being desirable and feminine women. A big part of being feminine (within Western culture) is playing the part of the most desired woman even if that means wearing well-fitted clothes, high heels or makeup. In this case, that means sporting hair that fits the cultural desirability mold. I personally have natural black hair, but I wear wigs because I understand that men (of all types) desire women with long, shiny hair. I want to cast my net as wide as possible in the dating market, and I do not want my hair to be an excuse not to connect with a quality man. When it comes to attraction, you have to act within the cultural framework, and that might mean doing what you need to do to get the man you want.

If you have natural black hair, meaning that you do not relax your hair with synthetic lye treatments, you have a few options:

  1. Begin relaxing your hair. If you want the straight look, this is the way to go. During a chemical relaxing procedure of a hydroxide relaxer a process called lanthionization occurs, which is the breaking of disulfide bonds to alter the curl pattern of the hair. The cortex is thus elongated, stretching the original curl pattern. This is an option, but relaxing the hair can be expensive, time-consuming, and painful, depending on the experience-level of your hairdresser (scalp legions and burns are common). There’s also the health risks with applying relaxers as the synthetic ingredients can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. I stopped relaxing my hair after I realized how much I was spending in time and money sitting in a chair paying someone to chemically change my hair structure. Getting a perm felt phony, expensive and dangerous, so I stopped doing it.
  2. Flat iron or press the hair. When I was in college, I decided to stop relaxing my hair, and start strengthening it with a pressing comb. One hairdresser told me that if I straighten my hair enough, I could “train” my hair to grow straight! Well, it took me a while to realize that the “straightening” of the hair was actually heat damage to my hair follicles. The process was expensive, time-consuming and painful (this time, no chemical burns, but heat burns instead). I eventually began to straighten my hair myself after my favorite hairstylist starting losing her vision, which affected her straightening precision. Sure, I was not using a perm to straighten my hair, but at least perms were sort of permanent–pressing my hair didn’t last long at all. One stormy rain shower or humid summer day and my hair was ruined. It was all such a ridiculous process, and I did not realize the insanity of it all until I started dating a non-black man who told me that he wanted to see my natural hair instead. After he said that, I grew out my natural hair for the first time in my life. I have not straightened my hair since then.
  3. Wear wigs. Egyptians wore wigs to shield their shaved, hairless heads from the sun. I just started wearing wigs in the last year, so I’m a relative newbie to the game. And wigs are very popular (just ask Beyonce). Lacefront wigs are relatively easy to apply–simply cornrow your hair down, apply a wig cap and pop that hair hat on top. There are setbacks to wearing wigs–the first being the cost. Then there’s the activities you cannot do with a wig on, such as biking and swimming. I would not wear a wig to the gym for example, but I see other women doing that all the time. Some men are disgusted by the idea of women wearing extensions or wigs. It seems many want their women to have long flowy hair, but they are repulsed by the faker cheats women take to get long hair. I also experience the “ick” factor when I wear wigs from time to time, especially when I pass by someone who is of the same ethnicity as the person who grew the hair I’m wearing. It’s a bit disturbing. There is also the ethical dilemma I face while wearing wigs: It’s not your hair, although there is the benefit of knowing that you are contributing money to women (or men, who knows) desperate enough to sell their hair for money. I justify the wig-wearing by recognizing that most men readily accept other forms of fakery just as easily, such as false eyelashes, high heels and breast implants.
  4. Try extensions and weaves. Hair extensions are the same as wigs, except these hair tools can be sewn in or clipped on. The extensions blend into the hair, so the look is more natural.
  5. Wear braids. Braids are in the same vein as extensions, with weave hair braided into the hair.

I left off dreadlocks from the options list because I do not know much about how men respond to women with dreadlocks. If you have dreadlocks, tell us about your dating experiences below!

Read next: Easy Makeup Strategies for Lazy Women

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Want to Avoid Rape? Try Drinking Safely

Drunk young woman resting head on bar counterHere’s a shocking statistic: Approximately one half of all sexual assault victims report that they were drinking alcohol at the time of the assault, with estimates ranging from 30 to 79 percent. The connection between alcohol consumption and rape cannot be ignored. Imagine if half of all cough syrup takers reported being raped! There are several reasons why alcohol has been linked to sexual assault. First, alcohol has been linked to cognitive impairments that reduce an individual’s ability to evaluate risk. The drug can cause cognitive deficits that contribute to the misperception of the woman’s cues in such a way that the man perceives her as being more sexually encouraging than she really is because of alcohol’s effects on his cognitive functioning.

Second, alcohol in particular can cause motor impairments that reduce the ability to function (or resist) effectively. Third, alcohol is typically consumed in great quantities around strangers. For those reasons, alcohol, it seems, is a rapist’s drug of choice. In fact, predators may even drink themselves silly to justify forcing a woman to have sex with them. One study found that heavy drinkers may routinely use intoxication as an excuse for engaging in socially unacceptable behavior, including sexual assault.

Woman urinatingFurthermore, rapists tend to troll in bars, parties and clubs where female drinkers are present. Sexually assaultive men tend to describe women who drink in bars as “loose,” immoral women who are appropriate targets for sexual aggression. Sexual assaults involving alcohol are more likely to occur between men and women who do not know each other well (dates, hookups) than among spouses or partners. Furthermore, alcohol-involved sexual assaults tend to occur at parties or in bars, rather than in either person’s home. If there’s a bartender present, you can assume that a sexual predator on the hunt for incoherent victims is in close proximity.

Here’s a truth we all know: Alcohol consumption can put women in positions where they will have a difficult time defending themselves from predatory rapists. That is the reality. I’m not writing this article to blame rape victims, only to discuss ways to minimize the risk of being raped. I first learned about the connection between alcohol consumption and rape during my freshman year of college, when I participated in a trial campus program developed to educate young women on the dangers of binge drinking (I went to a Catholic Jesuit college).

It was in that semester-long program that I learned that alcohol is a rapist’s wet dream, a tool used to coax incoherent and vulnerable women (and sometimes men) into frightening situations. Alcohol provides a double-whammy for rapists—first, the drug impacts an individual’s ability to evaluate risk, and second, the drug causes brain impairments that hinder a victim’s ability to protect themselves (the most prevalent alcohol-associated brain impairments affect visuospatial abilities, which include perceiving and remembering the relative locations of objects in 2- and 3-dimensional space). It’s been years since I participated in the program and I still minimize my drinking while in the presence of strangers to this day.

To be fair, it’s very easy for me to tout the benefits of partying sober, since I hardly ever drink—I drink maybe four times per year, if that. At this point, I’m used to ordering a glass of water at birthday parties and office happy hours. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of the sensation of being drunk and I am actually terrified of getting premature wrinkles from alcohol consumption (Side note: Alcohol is a diuretic that causes the body to lose water. That can contribute to dry skin and dilate blood vessels).

During those rare instances when I do drink alcohol or smoke marijuana, it’s usually in the private home of a trusted friend of family member. So, when I party with friends at nightclubs, I’m ordering a glass of water with lemon. So what if it makes me look like a prude? At least I’m safe.

Ladies: Take the Pledge

I propose that individuals (male or female) take the pledge to avoid drinking in places where strangers are present. Taking a pledge of this sort is not much different than deciding to adhere to other safety precautions, such as locking your home doors or protecting your credit card numbers. Yes, it would be great to live on a planet free from rape, burglary and identify theft, but that is not a reality. The reality of the world is that you must take precautions to protect your survival, and choosing to prioritize your safety by limiting your public drinking is a wise choice to make. It’s not worth the risk to your mental and physical health to drink recklessly in public.

Besides minimizing the chances of rape, there are a few solid benefits to vowing to stay sober in public:

Drink ResponsiblyYou make better decisions. According to the National Institutes of Health, mild-to-moderate drinking can adversely affect cognitive functioning, such as mental activities involving acquiring, storing, retrieving and using information. One of the most frustrating things about watching “Drink Responsibly” advertisements is that the commercials assume that intoxicated individuals have the ability to make careful or intelligent decisions about their well-being. They are drunk! Furthermore, one study conducted by John Hopkins found that in 88 percent of cases, drink responsible messages reinforced promotion of the advertised product.

Sobriety saves you from embarrassment. I am a sloppy, horrible drunk, and I admit it. I am a lightweight female (I’ve always been slightly underweight), and I know that it only takes a small bit of alcohol to make me drunk. With the proliferation of social media and smartphones, it is safe to assume that there are cameras everywhere. If you are sloppy drunk in public at a bar or office party, someone is likely going to record you at some point. Once an embarrassing photo is taken and posted online, it will likely be seen by your family, your friends and your employers (or potential employers). “Isn’t it cute to post a picture of how wasted Dan was last night?” No, no it isn’t.

Drinking is cheaper at home. The average cost of a martini (bought in a hotel) in New York City is $19. Isn’t that crazy! Who wants to pay an arm and a leg to drink around strangers (and potential rapists)? Even when I used to drink frequently at bars, I hated having to paying bartenders exorbitant amounts of money for drinks. Your wallet will thank you if you drink at home.

There are, however, downsides to pledging to stay sober in public, namely wasting money on expensive drinks and shutting yourself out of getting blackout drunk and hooking up with someone who really doesn’t care about you. Oops, it looks like those are not really downsides!

Take the “sober in public” pledge people.

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