The Many Stages Of Dating As Told By Ross Geller

The Many Stages Of Dating As Told By Ross Geller

"You ate my sandwich!"

Ahh, dating. What a rollercoaster of emotions - most of which happy and loving but there are the occasional moments of "Omg I can't even look at you" and "Why are you so weird?". You go from barely knowing anything about a person to knowing every detail of their lives- likes/dislikes, favorite movies and embarrassing middle school and high school stories. But please remember, there is such thing as too much information... even when you're dating. Getting so close to someone you often find yourself picking up on some of their habits, and it can even feel like you are two halves of the same person. With his three divorces, multiple girlfriends and that unforgettable time that they "were on a break" - yea, okay - Ross has been through all the stages of dating.

1. When you realize you've landed a good looking boyfriend.

2. You've been dating for so long that you know what's on each other's mind.

3. When you accidentally share a little too much with each other... sometimes a little mystery is good.

4. When you get into your first big fight and don't want to say something you'll regret.

5. You guys decide on a restaurant to eat at with limited back and forth of "I don't care, babe, you pick!"

6. You realize that s/he is your person and you're always there for them.

7. And you're both just the right amount of crazy.

8. You spend so much time together you're practically the same person.

9. You get to that stage where you start publicly roasting each other.

10. You love them, but you're definitely not ready to share your food.

11. They get out of bed before you were done cuddling and you try to pretend you're okay with it.

12. You do your best to find the perfect gifts for each other.

13. Halfway through getting dressed, you realize you're putting on their clothes instead of yours.

14. You've learned to keep your mouth shut and just let your girlfriend vent about today's drama.

15. You've picked up on each other's weird and annoying habits.

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.

It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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Mr. Rogers Taught Us That We Are Special

Mr. Rogers, in ways like this, taught everyone that they were capable of being loved and capable of loving, and taught everyone that they were special, and to this day, his legacy still does.

Ryan Fan
Ryan Fan

"Everyone longs to be loved. And the greatest thing we can do is let people know they are loved and capable of loving," Fred Rogers once said.

The above quote comes from a book titled You Are Special: Neighborly Wit And Wisdom From Mister Rogers. The most riveting article I read about Mr. Rogers was written by Tom Junod in a November 1998 issue of Esquire detailed his impact on the world through his daily routine. The article starts with a reference to Mr. Rogers's personal stuffed animal, "Old Rabbit," a stuffed animal that Mr. Rogers loved because "he just did, and the night he threw it out the car window was the night he learned to pray." Mr. Rogers, an ordained Presbyterian minister, prayed "when fear and desperation drove him to it, and the night he threw Old Rabbit into the darkness was the night that set the pattern, the night that set him how." Although the prayer didn't bring Old Rabbit back, it was a "kind of endless frantic summoning" that required a great deal of effort.

One of the most famous quotes that Mr. Rogers told adults was that "you were a child once, too," speaking to doctors and particularly ophthalmologists who had trouble comforting and calming children who came into their offices.

Mr. Rogers had gone swimming nearly every morning of his life, and at seventy years old, standing in a locker room, he spoke to Junod in "the sly voice that sounds adult to the ears of children and childish to the ears of adults," and tells Junod that he has gotten a better glimpse of Rogers and his daily routine that Rogers himself has. The first time the two men met, "he told me a story of how deeply his simple gestures had been felt and received," referring to Mr. Rogers's signature gestures of taking off his jacket, putting on a sweater, taking on his shoes and putting on a pair of sneakers.

One time, Mr. Rogers went to visit Koko, the Gorilla who knew American Sign Language, and learned that Koko watched Television. In particular, Koko watched Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, his shower. Koko hugged Mr. Rogers and as if he was a child and took off his shoes.

An interesting tidbit: "Koko weighted 280 pounds, and Mister Rogers weighed 143. Koko weighed 280 pounds because she is a gorilla, and Mister Rogers weighed 143 pounds...because once upon a time, Mister Rogers stepped on a scale, and the scale told him that Mister Rogers weighs 143 pounds," and for every day of his life, in the 31 years since the article was originally written, Mister Rogers weighed 143 pounds, refusing to do anything that would make his weight change. He maintained his diet and swam to maintain the exact same weight. The number became a gift "a destiny fulfilled" to Mr. Rogers: "the number 143 means 'I love you,'" he said. "It takes one letter to say 'I' and four letters to say 'love' and three letters to say 'you.' One hundred and forty-three. 'I love you.' Isn't that wonderful?"

Every day, Mr. Rogers took a nap in the afternoon. Every day, he woke up at 5:30 a.m. to read and study and pray for people who requested his prayers, as an ordained Presbyterian minister. When Tom Junod first went to visit Mr. Rogers, Junod noticed this about Rogers and his character: "there was an energy to him...a fearlessness, an unashamed insistence on intimacy, though I tried to ask him questions about himself, he always turned the questions back on me."

Mr. Rogers asked Junod if he had any special friends, like a toy, puppet, or stuffed animal when he grew up. Junod admitted that he had a stuffed animal named "Old Rabbit," a stuffed animal rabbit, but before he could tell the story and finish it, Mr. Rogers took out a small black camera and said to Junod this:

"Can I take your picture, Tom? I'd like to take your picture. I like to take pictures of all my new friends, so that I can show them to Joanne." Then, Mr. Rogers disappeared.

Junod then tells the story of a 14-year-old kid with cerebral palsy, who Mr. Rogers had an exceptionally strong relationship with. The kid had every reason to be bitter with the world: "some of the people entrusted to take care of him took advantage of him instead and did things to him that made him think that he was a very bad little boy." The kid would often get so mad at himself that he'd punch himself in the face and tell his mother, on a computer he used to communicate, that "he didn't want to live anymore, for he was sure that God didn't like what was inside him any more than he did." But he loved Mr. Rogers and his show, and his mother thought that "Mister Rogers was keeping her son alive."

They lived in California, her son really wanted to meet Mr. Rogers. But the mother knew that he was too disabled to go to Pittsburgh, and she thought he could never meet his hero. One day, however, Mr. Rogers was coming to California for a foundation designed to help disabled children, and the kid's mother learned he was coming to meet her son.

Naturally, the son got anxious, and "so nervous...[that] he got mad at himself and began hating himself and hitting himself, and his mother had to take him to another room and talk to him." Despite Mr. Rogers being there to witness the kid's tantrum, he didn't leave. "He wanted something from the boy, and Mister Rogers never leaves when he wants something from somebody." Mr. Rogers waited for the boy to come back, and then he made a request to the boy and asked if he could have something from him. The boy said yes through his computer, telling him "he would do anything for Mister Rogers, then said, "I would like you to pray for me. Will you pray for me?"

The boy was in awe, "thunderstruck," meaning he completely wasn't able to talk because what happened was sudden and miraculous. "The boy was thunderstruck because nobody had ever asked him for something like that, ever. The boy had always been prayed for." The boy didn't know how to pray for Mr. Rogers, and simply said he'd try. The effects were miraculous: "ever since then he keeps Mister Rogers in his prayers and doesn't talk about wanting to die anymore, because he figures Mister Rogers is close to God, and if Mister Rogers likes him, that must mean God likes him, too."

Although Junod looks at the story as if Mr. Rogers was some sort of hero, Mr. Rogers doesn't see it the same way. Junod told him that he was so smart to ask the boy to pray for him, and Mr. Rogers, perplexed, said: "Oh, heavens no, Tom! I didn't ask him for his prayers for him; I asked for me. I asked him because I think that anyone who has gone through challenges like that must be very close to God. I asked him because I wanted his intercession."

Once, Mr. Rogers went to New York in 1997, shortly after a school shooting in West Paducah, Kentucky that killed three children and wounded five more, to film a week of the Neighborhood to the theme "Little and Big." "He wanted to tell children that what starts out little can sometimes become big, and so that could devote themselves to little dreams without feeling bad about them." When Mr. Rogers first got out of his car on 34th Street, someone shouted upon seeing him, "holy shit! It's Mister Fucking Rogers," and at that moment he turned into Mister Fucking Rogers. As a New Yorker, I know that in New York, "it's not an insult to be called Mister Fucking Anything. In fact, it's an honorific...and the moment Mister Rogers got out of the car, people wouldn't stay the fuck away from him, they respected him so much." People told Mr. Rogers heartfelt sentiments like this:

"Oh, Mister Rogers, thank you for my childhood."

"Oh, Mister Rogers, you're the father I never had."

"Oh, Mister Rogers, would you please just hug me?"

His producer, Margy Whitmer, tried to keep people away from him, and eventually, she just couldn't stop. What people don't understand about Mr. Rogers is that he's greedy for this -- greedy for the grace that people offer him." And the next couple lines are what Mr. Rogers says as an ordained Presbyterian minister: "What is grace? He doesn't even know. He can't define it...all he knows is that he gets it from God, through man."

The next place Junod and Mr. Rogers encounter each other is Penn Station, and Mr. Rogers is looking immediately for Junod. With him is a little girl who is holding a blue stuffed bunny, reminding Junod of Old Rabbit, his old stuffed animal, and friend. Except this bunny isn't Old Rabbit, the girl names it "Bunny Wunny." After this exchange, Mr. Rogers goes to an escalator, reaches the street, and looks right at the lens of a camera, and tells it "let's go back to my place," speaking of the Neighborhood. And all Fred Rogers does is walk around New York City, telling us that the whole city, the whole world, is his neighborhood.

Junod's article is long and somewhat exhausting to read through, but nonetheless rewarding to read through, and nonetheless rewarding to even write about. If I could write to Mr. Rogers today, I would ask him to pray for me, and maybe he would write me back asking me to pray for him and thanking me for the grace I showed. I have been in a dark place of despair, and it baffles me like a man like Mr. Rogers once existed.

He once met a boy carrying a sword on his show, a boy who didn't know who Mr. Rogers was. He was a boy who didn't care about who Mr. Rogers was. But Mr. Rogers knelt down and said to the kid: "Oh, my, that's a big sword you have." The boy didn't say anything and his mother nudged him to say, "oh honey, c'mon, that's Mister Rogers." The mother having watched Mr. Rogers as a kid and the son not having watched him, she valued his presence much more than he did. She apologized that his son was probably just tired.

But Mr. Rogers fixed his eyes on the little boy until the boy reciprocated and said, "it's not a sword; it's a death ray." And the mother asked the boy if he wanted to give Mr. Rogers a hug, and the boy said no. Finally, Mr. Rogers knelt down and whispered something in the boy's ear, something that "made the little boy look at Mister Rogers in a new way, with the eyes of a child at last, and nod his head yes." Junod asked Mr. Rogers, at a later point, what he said, and he noted that when a child carries a macho item like a sword, it's to show people they're strong on the outside. Mr. Rogers told him that he was strong, and also told him, "do you know that you're strong on the inside, too?'"

My generation didn't grow up with Mr. Rogers, but what we do remember is the video of him fighting to defend PBS and its budget to the U.S. Senate in 1969. Mr. Rogers told Senator Pastore, the senator trying to cut PBS's budget, that the funding was necessary because the "good feeling of control which I feel that children need to know is there," suggesting that how Mr. Rogers treated kids made them feel like they were in control and made them feel like they could do anything. Whether these kids were disabled, blind, or afflicted in any other way, Mr. Rogers and his manner of treating them led them to believe in themselves in a way they hadn't before.

But what people fail to realize that Mr. Rogers, too, was once a child. One time, he went to the graveyard where his grandfather, grandmother, uncles, and aunts were buried, and he visits graveyards often because Mr. Rogers "loves graveyards," and told Junod this, without any shame or embarrassment: "And now if you don't mind...I have to find a place to relieve myself."

When he was younger, Mr. Rogers wanted to go to heaven, but Fred Rogers, once old and conversing with Junod, came to a realization. "This man...didn't want to go to heaven; he wanted to live in heaven, here, now, in this world." He came to a certain realization, one he shared with Junod.

"The connections we make in the course of a life—maybe that's what heaven is, Tom. We make so many connections here on earth. Look at us—I've just met you, but I'm investing in who you are and who you will be, and I can't help it."

When Junod went to visit Mr. Rogers the next afternoon in Pittsburgh, he encountered Mr. Rogers and a woman named Deb, a minister at his church. Deb spent a lot of time ministering to the sick and dying, and "out of nowhere, [Mr. Rogers] smiled and put his hand over hers, and [asked]: "will you be with me when I die?" She said yes, and then he complimented her on how great of a prayer she was, and asked her for a favor: "Would you lead us? Would you lead us in prayer?"

Deb, although reluctant, was persuaded by Mr. Rogers. Deb prayed for the grace of God, and although Junod can't recall what was said, he does recall that "my heart felt like a spike and then, in that room, it opened and felt like an umbrella. I had never prayed like that before, ever." He realized, then, that this was the moment Mr. Rogers was leading him to this entire time, from answering the thed door of his apartment in his bathrobe and also about when he asked Junod about Old Rabbit.

"Once upon a time, you see, I lost something, and prayed to get it back, but when I lost it the second time, I didn't, and now this was it, the missing word, the unuttered promise, the prayer I'd been waiting to say a very long time."

Mr. Rogers, in ways like this, taught everyone that they were capable of being loved and capable of loving, and taught everyone that they were special, and to this day, his legacy still does.

Ryan Fan
Ryan Fan

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