Men Will Be Men

Every year I participate in a local pageant. Yes, I have a lot of respect for pageants and the women that are a part of the program. Don't mess with me on pageants.

The biggest part of the pageant is, of course, the interview.

This summer, in preparation for my annual pageant, I found a list of commonly asked interview questions, complete with up-to-date current events and hard questions that can distinguish the airheads from the ones who know what they're talking about. I went through each subject and prepared a brief but direct answer. I was feeling pretty confident about the interview until I stumbled upon one question in particular.

At what point in a girl's life does she become a woman?

Ask me a question about Egypt or gun control or gay Boy Scouts and I could pull the perfect answer right out of my pocket. Zimmerman trial? Nailed it. Obama care? In the bag. I could hit any question on any controversial topic right out of the park with tact and elegance. But girls becoming women was by far the hardest question to answer.

There's the obvious answer. Boys and girls clearly become legally responsible for themselves when they turn 18 and they become adults when they turn 21. But we all know 17-year-old women and we all know 40-year-old boys. So when do they grow up? What makes them men and women?

I considered when a woman moves out for the first time. But no, I know several girls who moved out just days after graduation simply because they wanted to get away from the "restrictions" of living with their parents.

I considered when a woman gets her first credit card, but quickly realized my mistake. Giving a girl that little piece of plastic can often take a few years off the maturity process. 

I figured when a girl tries on her first pair of heels, or something. Just to be funny. But I realized with horror that, by that definition, I had not become a woman yet. No, I needed to fit into the category of being a woman for my answer to sound somewhat professional. 

I thought about it all summer long and never really formed a plausible answer. Thank heavens the judges didn't ask me any tough questions. Then again, imagine my frustration when, after all my hard work and preparation, the hardest question given to me was "if you could be any animal, what would you be?". Honestly? I had the best answer on the Boy Scouts.

But today, I found myself returning to this thought when I heard one of my least favorite phrases in the whole dang world, boys will be boys. 

Obviously, a boy came up with this saying. There's just no other explanation.

Boys will be boys... until they figure out that boys are stupid and men are great.

At what point in a boy's life does he become a man? Strangely enough, this only took seconds for me to answer. A boy becomes a man when he learns to respect women. When a boy realizes it's cool to talk respectfully to his mother. When a boy realizes that it's okay to help a girl without asking her for her number. When a boy learns that he's not the only one in the world.

College has certainly shed a great deal of light on the subject. All of a sudden, I'm surrounded by men. Men who have learned that it's okay to let somebody else do the talking. Men who don't have to bring a copy of their résumé on every date. Men who prepare for women to come to their house by preparing food instead of just throwing something together last minute. The only thing I'm really struggling to find here is a man who can properly ask a woman on a date. Just so we're all aware, texting is not an appropriate form of asking a woman on a date. Ever.

So, when does a girl become a woman? This has become a lot easier now: a boy becomes a man when he learns to respect women and a girl becomes a woman when she learns to respect herself. 

So often we see women who can't respect herself enough to walk with confidence. To love her body. To live without the security of a serious relationship. To walk tall without the crutch of popularity or perfection. To define beauty by what she sees in the mirror and not by what she sees on TV.

Come on, girls. Here I stand, begging the men of the world to step forward. But maybe they just need to see a few more beautiful women.

To the man that stopped me a few days ago, told me I was beautiful, and walked away without asking me for my number or anything, thank you. There's hope.

To the woman that stopped me on Tuesday and handed me a rose from a bouquet of roses she had just been given, I'm sure by some handsome bachelor, thank you. There's hope.

Boys can't "be boys" anymore. Girls can't "be girls" anymore. The excuses stop here. There's no more room in the world for 40-year-old boys and girls.



Despite my homesickness, my natural anti-social tendencies, and my obsession with cookie dough, at least one good thing has come from college.


Honestly, this was the scariest thing about coming to college. The fear that you won't get along with three other girls you will share your space with. What if they're partiers? What if they're scary? What if they always want boys over?

Roommates: you live with them, sleep with them, go to church with them, look at them, smell them, and, occasionally, talk to them. Let me just say, I'm very grateful for these girls. And that they don't party, they don't scare me, and they don't always have boys over.

Most of all, my room-roommate (there's got to be a better name for that). Meet Leanna.

The following 15 reasons are what make Leanna and I work.
  1. She likes to make cookie dough and we both like to eat it.
  2. We both like country music.
  3. We both revere Disney music as somewhat of a fourth meal. A daily necessity. Essential vitamins.
  4. We both love food.
  5. We like to watch movies together every night.
  6. We really kind of do everything together.
  7. We're both clean.
  8. We both fear boys a bit. Okay. A lot.
  9. We're each other's anti-wingwoman, meaning if a guy wants to go out with one of us, the other tags along so he can never get past the friend zone.
  10. Favorite words include sappy, cheesy, antisocial, and chocolate.
  11. We both consider Brad Pitt, Matthew Fox, Chris Evans, Channing Tatum, and Chris Hemsworth, to be the hottest men alive. With an honorary Liam Hemsworth.
  12. We both love the color yellow.
  13. We're both clean!
  14. We love all the same YouTube videos.
  15. Neither of us wears the pants. We both live in sweats and pajamas.
We're both clean. Yes, I know I put it twice. It's important.

Favorite Leanna moments: teasing her about a boy that won't leave her alone, staying up until two just laying in bed and quoting Disney movies, making our very first apple pie together, getting through the entire movie World War Z before realizing that Matthew Fox was in it, watching Studio C all night long, going all the way to the grocery store and loading up our food before I realized I had left my debit card at home, and getting her sick off of sushi.

We actually had a scary moment there where Leanna didn't get a housing contract, so I was alone and she was alone and it was a problem. But we've fixed it. It'll be okay. The nightmares are slowly fading away.

Love this girl. That's just all I have to say.

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Lizzie, who couldn't wait to bring her roommate home to her family for Thanksgiving. Here we come, Utah!


Missing Home

I feel like a little kid the night before Christmas. Except my anticipation won't be relieved for another month and my roommates won't let me listen to Christmas music yet.

I'm so excited! Only twenty-seven days until the best day of my whole life: I get to go home! I get to see my family!

I'm so homesick. 

I kind of anticipated it; I brought along the family yearbooks so I can crack open a page whenever I need to see Esther sticking out her tongue or my mom petting a kangaroo. But Esther has braces now and I just want to hug my mom. A picture isn't enough. 

I miss the way you can hear my dad singing the tenor part from the other side of the chapel in church. I miss the way Matt laughs when you quote his favorite Studio C videos. I miss the way Esther rolls her big, beautiful eyes when you ask her if she has any cute boys in her math class. I miss the way my mom smiles when she's just snuck an M&M from the desk drawer. She thinks she's sneaky but she totally has an M&M smile. Unfortunately, I think she passed that gene on...

I probably miss dinner the most. In college you make your own food with two ingredients, eat by yourself, and wash your own dishes. Not only do I miss meals with three or more ingredients (I know why Spain needed a fast route to get their Indian spices now- I would sail the world for taco seasoning, too), but I miss talking to my mom while she makes it. I miss sitting down and eating with the family. Talking about our day. Quoting our favorite movies a hundred times. The way my dad has to be the one to pour the milk and my mom has to dish the vegetables. The way Matt needs to be the only one talking and Esther just stares at herself in the adjacent window the whole time. No answering the phone. No texting. No eating alone. Everybody laughs.

I miss our evening ritual. After the kids go to bed, Mom and I always curl up by the computer with a carton of Ben and Jerry's to watch our latest show on Netflix. Then Dad gets home and we talk to him. He sits in on the end of our movie. Then I'm supposed to go to bed, but we stay up for another hour discussing politics or something else we don't all agree on.

I'm so grateful for technology. For texting. For phone calls. For camera phones. For Skype. There is no way I'd be able to do this without technology.

Twenty-seven days. You can do this, Lizzie.