Honestly, I only wanted to go to the Koon’s exhibit to get an amazing picture in front of Balloon Dog. I’ve only heard of Jeff Koon’s work once in my life while researching Asian culture. I have to admit, I may be the superficial American Koons is poking fun at with his art. This exhibit was no Kara Walker and Balloon Dog was not remotely as deep as Mammy Sphinx, but I was still very intrigued because I love avant garde art. I pre-purchased my ticket to avoid waiting on the long line and invited 2-friends to experience this sort of cult-of-koons also known as Retrospective at the Whitney Museum.
We started at the top floor and worked our way down. The first exhibit we visited was called Antiquity which showcased artwork from the ancient world infused with 1950’s pinups girls. We eventually made our way to Popeye and Hulk Elvis before discovering the “nirvana” of the exhibit also known as Balloon Dog and the Play dough structure. I was intrigued by his artwork but to be honest I didn’t understand it. What was the deeper meaning behind his sculptures?
We proceeded to The inflatables, Gazing Ball, and Banality. I enjoyed these exhibits the least. For one, I am not a fan of readymade art. I understand the sexual undertones of the inflatables but it lacked substance. Equilibrium was pretty cool, how he got the basketball to stay afloat in that water was beyond me. Luxury and Degradation was funny. All hail to the Hennessy piece.
Overall, I enjoyed a great night out with my girls. There is something so cool about going to a museum at 1AM. I felt so Sex in the City when Carrie was dating Aleksandr Petrovsky. We eventually found out the Retrospective was in a sense mocking and/or highlighting the tangible things that we value so much in our culture including: sex, athletes, celebrities, alcohol, and play dough among others. Tis’ was a night to remember.
So often we look across the world to experience history and culture and never in our own backyard. This past weekend I decided to visit my friend Brittany in Philadelphia. We spent the first night having careless fun which included fish tacos at a Mexican restaurant and Korean Karaoke. The following day I felt a little under the weather, so we got a bunch of snacks from the grocery store and watched Law & Order Criminal Intent all day. Finally she convinced my sick self to get up and catch a movie which we did and it was awesome.Luckily for me, I got a double deal. We went to see the movie on the UPENN campus and I got to experience life as a Penn ivy leaguer, well sort of. That night, Britt made delish spaghetti and I called it a night unusually early.
The next morning I felt so much better. We got an early start and headed to the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art. I ran up the Rocky Balboa stairs, like I was the champion himself. I had no idea about the significance of those stairs as it related to the movie. I saw people line up just to get a picture with the Rocky statue and I eventually put two and two together. We headed straight to the museum and luckily for me my Penn State credentials granted me access to the museum at a discounted student rate.
The museum was amazing, filled with a lot of antique furniture, portraits of George Washington and breath taking artwork. What captivated me most was the medieval room which was an exhibit filled with military armory from the middle ages. Always assuming that this part of our history was some what fictional, it was a pleasant surprise to see the steel army wardrobe of the past on display.
Outside of the museum was The Oval which is a seasonal local festival. Brittany and I watched performances and drank apple cider while sitting on a haystack. We enjoyed taking in the amazing sights of this beautiful fall afternoon.
I felt fulfilled as I headed back to New York. Who knew that the Philadelphia Museum was the first museum in the United States? I didn’t. Not only did I experience culture, and a lot of history in a short 2-days, but this weekend seemed longer than ever. I was totally ready to head back to work and finally have something great to say when someone asked the quintessential “So how was your weekend?”
To some people, one of the most annoying things about meeting someone new is the process of getting to know them. I have to admit, I used to feel this way but ever since I met my boyfriend, getting to know him is one of the most pivotal (and fun) times in our relationship. In a sense we are setting a foundation for the rest of the relationship by dictating our likes and dislikes, standards, and deal breakers.
I kept my standards high waiting for the moment when my Prince Charming would whisk me off my feet and that kind-of-sort-of happened. He noticed me at a party/concert we both attended and asked if he could put me on his shoulders. I said sure, why not? He picked me up but I landed on his bald head. He asked for a second chance but I told him absolutely not. The whole thing was pretty awkward until he asked for my number and continued on with his night. I did the same.
I thought about him; wondered if he would contact me but didn’t think anything of our exchange. Yes, his approach was like no other. I mean, no one has ever asked me if they could put me on their shoulders which is why he stuck out in my head, but aside from that I wasn’t interested in getting to know someone new. I was sick of the whole dating scene. I just wanted to be single.
He contacted me a couple of days later and I found out he was a special-education teacher, he received his degree from Boston College, his masters from Pace University and he was from Harlem. Although I was open to meeting someone new, I was not excited about it (in spite of his credentials). He was persistent and after a few weeks of texting we talked on the phone and sparks flew. Was this the guy I was waiting for my whole life? Our conversation was effortless. We talked for 3-hours and would’ve talked longer if I didn’t have to jump on a conference call. Every day leading up to our first date was filled with great conversation. Everything was new and fresh and we wanted to know everything about one another.
So we came up with 21 questions for each other. We each thought of random questions to ask one another to illicit conversation. Some of his questions dealt with the future he wanted to build with someone, while mine focused on who he was at his core. These questions proved to be helpful conversation starters but that wasn’t something we had issues with anyway. We enjoyed talking to one another and no question or topic was ever off limits.
In the case of my boyfriend, I don’t mind getting to know him because he’s special and I’m really into him. If I could know everything about his past I would because when you like someone you just want to know everything about their lives.
(Or maybe that’s just me)
Some helpful conversation starters:
- Name, Age, Where did you grow up?
- What are your views on love?
- Do you believe sex before marriage is wrong?
- Are you spiritual? What is your religion?
- Do you want to get married? When?
- What do you fear about commitment?
- What do you love about settling down?
- Do you drink? Smoke?
- Have you ever cheated?
- What led to the demise of your past relationship?
- What kind of relationship do you have with your parents?
- Do you have a lot of friends? Who is your best friend?
- Do you have children? Do you want children?
- Where do you work? Have you discovered what you always wanted to do?
- What are your interests? Passions? hobbies? Typical Friday night for you?
- Do you live alone? with family?
- Where do you go to school?
- How often do you believe date nights should be?
- Do you travel? Where have you traveled to?
- What would you have done differently in your last relationship?
- How important is health and fitness in your life?
My boyfriend kissed me on our first date. It was after brunch, we were walking holding hands, as if we were together for a very long time (in reality I met him a month prior) and as I was about to proceed down the steps of the train station, he pulled me in close for a hug and he kissed me.
I was pleasantly surprised and replied “I usually don’t kiss on the first date”
“Well now you do” he said.
It would take a few weeks before I got completely comfortable with kissing someone I barely even knew. What was the rush? I wanted to get to know him first before we jumped into the affectionate aspect of our promising relationship. One day I went over to his house and shied away from a potential make out session. To be honest, I just wasn’t ready. With time, we would get there but I didn’t want to rush anything I would regret later. He was frustrated and said that I was acting immature and he couldn’t be with someone who lacked affection. I was offended by his comment and went home. He apologized for upsetting me after I brought it to his attention and essentially backed off.
I knew there was something deeper. Why did he need to be validated with a kiss? Why couldn’t he be content with my word when I said I liked everything about him? Over time, as we started getting to know each other more, I realized his need for validation had nothing to do with me but his un-reconciled past with his ex. girlfriend. The more he opens up, the more I am realizing that he stayed with someone for 2-years who just wasn’t that into him nor wanted to be affectionate with him and his insecurity from that relationship is being projected on to me. I resented him for putting that sort of pressure on me, and warned him, that if he didn’t change I would have to move on.
Sure and behold, he listened to my rant, and thanked me for my honesty. He also apologized for his insensitivity and promised he would work on changing for me and I have to admit he did. I also came around to the whole affection thing because I also have issues with being lovey dovey. Finally finding someone I like is a new feeling. I’m so used to being guarded and wanting so desperately to protect my heart that it often makes me stiff and a bit rigid when it comes to intimacy but with him I am starting to feel so free and vulnerable and I am loving every second of it. As time progressed and we both began to peel each others walls, our affection for one another intensified and our initial issues are now an object of the past.
The question immediately made me feel like I didn’t belong, like I was an outsider of some sort. In a lot of ways I was, however it was too soon for my outlier complex to get the best of me.
I progressed into the country club, with a group of elitist African Americans who worked for a prestigious billion-dollar corporation; I was among the best of the best but I was new blood and they could smell it.
I proceeded to the bar, in hopes that a drink would calm my nerve and then to the hors d’oeuvres buffet where I munched on some delicious appetizers before being told to take my place in the dining room.
It felt like everyone was watching me, I wasn’t a part of any of their circles, I wasn’t best friends with their children, I was a guest of a guest, talk about three degrees of separation.
As the night went on, I began to loosen up and even received the chance to interview some of the honorees, yet I felt somewhat unworthy…I know I am super blessed to be among such greats, I knew God put me among these groups of people for a reason that is unbeknownst to me.
I ended the night feeling defeated. I didn’t belong, I would probably never have the country club membership and call executives for a billion dollar company my friends. My heart hurt as I wanted to belong so bad but I felt like an obscure puzzle piece being forced to fit in the wrong puzzle. As far as I was concerned it would never fit.