Can't live with them, can't live without them. At some point you've probably entertained the idea of staying single; there'd be no one to nag you, or, conversely, to ignore you while continuing to play Call of Duty for what seems like the 12th hour. Everything was fine at first, so is your significant other intentionally trying to get under your skin? Well, not necessarily. Research dating back to the early 90's points to some clear differences between guys and gals, some of which are a byproduct of evolution (or devolution depending on your stance) and the previously unexplored functions of certain parts of the brain. So as much as we know about members of the opposite sex, there's still plenty we don't quite understand -- men are from Mars and women are from Venus after all.
There's been a lot of talk over the years about the ways in which video games are ruining an entire generation of young males. This time consuming pastime is often used as a scapegoat for laziness or anti-social behavior, a sentiment popularized by psychologist and Stanford professor emeritus, Philip Zimbardo. But as it turns out, there's some science behind your boyfriend seeming unable to turn off his Xbox, the most prominent factor being a large release of dopamine in the brain. In 2008, the Standford University School of Medi-cine found that brain activity associated with reward and addiction was much higher in men while playing video games. And as it turns out, dopamine is also responsible for feelings of euphoria, motivation and pleasure so maybe it's not so bad after all.
As a general rule of thumb, you probably shouldn't cheat on your girlfriend, but where does this inkling for infidelity come from? Well, for certain males, it may boil down to genetics. A 2008 Swedish study found that the presence of a gene called Allele 334 can cause men to feel less attached to their partners because it interferes with parts of the brain that promote monogamy. And men with two or more copies of Allele 334 were that much more likely to cheat. Successful long-term relationships were certainly possible; however, men with this genetic variation reported feeling less attached to their partners, and women could sense this as well. That being said, I should stress that this explanation isn't going to save you when your girlfriend catches you cheating. Verify at your own risk.
The Strong Silent Type:
So there's this guy who doesn't say much -- he dresses fairly well, doesn't fiddle in his desk and only speaks when called upon by a teacher. It's a bit strange, really, but there may be a reason for men exhibiting what's generally called a strong, silent type of behavior. As children, girls develop sophisti-cated language skills much faster than boys because they use an area of the brain specifi-cally for language encoding and decoding. On the other hand, boys only use specific areas of the brain depending on if the information is conveyed orally or visually, which leads to slower linguistic develop-ment. This, combined with accepted gender roles, may explain why the guys in your life don't feel like talking much, especially when it comes to their feelings.
Birds and bees the world over are doing it, but for some reason your partner only wants to show you some love after certain condi-tions are met. What gives? As a male, it's completely natural to think about sex more often than your female partner, regardless of her acting in a sexual manner towards you. There's even some science behind your staring at that pretty lady across the street, even when you know it'll send your lady over the edge. As it turns out, the hypothalamus, which is responsible for controlling body temperature, releasing hormones and controlling sexual behavior, is about twice as big in men as in women due to testosterone. Also, Stephan Hamann, a researcher at Emory University conducted a study that showed that the male amygdala, which processes emotions, was more responsive to sexual stimuli than the female amygdala. Indeed, it seems both a blessing and a curse.
Women talk. They talk about their day, clothes, feelings and well, just about every other person that walks by. Gossiping is an inevitable part of life, good or bad, and one that is more often committed by the fairer sex. But as history shows, gossiping has held a functional place in the way women navigate society. David Geary, professor of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri, suggests that this form of relational aggres-sion actually helped women survive at one point in time. In tribal days, women were shuffled into a new tribe after marriage, and having strong language skills was helpful in adapting and settling into a new commu-nity. Research from scientists at Northwest-ern University supports a physiological relation between superior language and communication skills in females. In the days of sticks and stones, men may have had spears and weapons but women had their words.
Do you ever wonder how your girlfriend or mom can always tell when you’re in a bad mood? Whether you like it or not, you know they’ll repeatedly pester you with, “Is everything okay? Are you sure?” Often, your resounding, “I’m fine,” doesn’t get them to lay off but you need to know you can’t fault them; they are only acting on natural instincts. Author Dr. Louann Brizendine suggests that a more active mirror-neuron system is responsible for females greater aptitude to empathize. In action, empathy is the ability to read facial responses and vocal intona-tion. It’s suggested this is a natural evolu-tionary trait that has evolved more strongly in women, stemming from the necessity for a mother to interact with and respond to their young children non-verbally. So in a way, women can read your mind; hence why they always expect you to read theirs.
When it comes to confrontation or being wronged, it seems that a woman never forgets. Dr. John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, sites research showing there may be a physi-ological explanation for why a female’s memory is, in fact, stronger than that of a male. The area of the brain that functions as the “memory center” (the hippocampus) is larger and more active in women than men. This area is specifically responsible for converting short-term memories into long-term memories – a good thing to remem-ber for communicating in relationships. So ladies, cut your guy some slack next time he forgets your favorite latte order. And fellas, when your female counterpart brings up the time you bought the wrong laundry detergent three months ago, try to forgive her, she literally can’t help but remember.
Every year around spring, when flowers begin to bloom and the weather becomes bearable, the topic of discussion on campus tends to get a little groovier. Lucky for us, with sunshine and summertime comes an abundance of outdoor music festivals. To get you started off on the right path, here is a guide full of help-ful advice, tips, tricks and resources to help you prepare for your next music festival adventure. Doing some research and deciding what you want out of a music festival is key to ensuring a successful trip. You should be aware and take advantage of everything the event has to offer—you are paying for it, after all.
Choosing the Festival
First thing’s first: find the right festival. Things to consider when making a decision include the date, location, tickets and festival line-up.
To find a festival, try searching online or visiting your favorite artist’s website to see their upcoming tour locations. Websites that provide information on a multitude of upcoming events make finding the festivals that interest you much more convenient. To jump-start your search, try some of these sites:
Once you’ve picked out a few favorites, weigh the pros and cons of each and choose the best option. Are you stuck, or can’t decide between two? Try listening to the set list on a music streaming web-site, you could find some new favorite acts.
Check out the music software Spotify, which allows festival pro-moters to upload playlists that feature music from artists playing at certain events.
Tickets come at a premium, especially for college students. The experience is worth the price, but planning ahead is important. Fes-tivals normally have different ticket price tiers and the earlier edition tickets are usually cheapest.
Volunteering at a festival is one way to off-set costs and possibly even pay for your ticket and entry. But be aware of what you are signing up for, as responsibilities can get in the way of fun time. Some festivals even require a down payment fee from volunteers. At the end of the festival, the money will only be refunded given all volunteer responsibilities are fulfilled.
A typical volunteer program functions as a work exchange pro-gram. If you work for “x” amount of hours during the festival, you are given a ticket and a camping zone (if applicable).
Information about volunteering can be found on music festivals’ websites. Applications are normally only accepted for a limited time so be sure to submit one early. Volunteering hours are an-nounced prior to the festival too, so you have time to decide what acts you want to see.
Once you’ve bought your ticket, the next step is finding transportation. Is the festival across the country or state? Do you want to drive? Is flying there a possibility? Transportation can be the most costly aspect of going to a festival, so finding the most reasonable mode is important. Many travel websites offer plane and train deals that are often paired with a hotel. Arranging a carpool between friends is the easiest way to cut gas costs and add a fun road-trip el-ement to your music festival experience.
Music festivals can take place in dense urban cities or barren, remote fields. Depending on the type of festival you chose, accommodations can vary from tent-pitching to ritzy city hotels. Sites such as couchsurfing.com and airbnb.com are great resources for find-ing free or cheaper local places to stay. Be sure to note if the festival allows for exit and re-entry, too.
What to Bring (or Not Bring)
The memory of my first music festival is still clear in my mind. The summer after my senior year of high school, my best friends and I planned a road trip to the Bonnaroo Music and Art Festival.
We gathered information for weeks, talked with friends who had previously attended and read articles we found online. We thought we had everything covered. Food…check, money…check, gas…check; however, what we were not anticipating was having half of the “fun” things we’d brought thrown away dur-ing a bag check as soon as we entered the grounds.
Festivals normally have strict security policies posted on their websites that you should be familiar with prior to packing. Upon entering most festivals you are subject to a search, which may include, but it is not limited to, your car, bags, coolers, tents and body.
Also, a cheaper and less gut-wrench-ing alternative to bringing your $900+ DSLR camera is bringing a few dispos-able cameras and passing them out to your buddies. Document your experi-ence on a whim, and don’t worry about quality of the shots. The ability to be less worried about your camera will help you get that “artsy” angle regardless of your equipment.
Even with all these tips and tricks at your disposal, things may not always go according to your plan. Believe me when I say that looking back on your festival experience, you won’t remem-ber how you missed Kendrick Lamar’s last song, but you will remember when your favorite artist casually waltzed by after his set as you awaited your turn at the port-o-potties. Music festivals tend to attract a wide variety of people but everyone is there for the same rea-son—good music. Embrace the people around you and introduce yourself to your neighbors. You never know, the guy you lent some toilet paper to on the first day may be the same person who saves your tent from blowing away in the wind later on.
Above all, remember the top three rules of music festivals: no matter what you end up planning, where you end up going, or who you end up taking, have fun, don’t stress and expect the unexpected.
DO's & DON'Ts
Once you have decided on a festival, bought tickets and nailed down remaining logistics, it’s time to start familiarizing yourself with some of the do’s and don’ts of music festivals.
Bring cash. Although there are usually ATMs staggered throughout festivals, they are usually crowded and you run the risk of them being out of order. And you have to pay a silly ATM fee. If you know you will be spending a lot of cash, try and have it with you beforehand. You wouldn’t want to miss getting to see your favorite new artists.
Use protection! Sun protection that is. A chaco tan may be cool but red and blistering shoulders won’t be fun to deal with while pushing through a packed crowd. Remember to reapply and use sun-screen with a high SPF. A wide brimmed hat and sunglasses are key items that you shouldn’t forget.
Water, Water, Water. (At least 3 cases) You don’t want to be in a medic tent with an IV in your arm while your friends are watching A$AP Rocky. Here’s a tip—if you buy a case of bottled water and freeze it a few nights before you drive they will keep your food supplies cold.
Food and drinks. There is usually plenty of vendor food, but sold at vendors prices…so bringing your own food might be a good idea.
Alcohol. Different festivals have different policies on this so check their websites.
Toilet Paper (trust me, you don’t want to run out of this and porta johns aren’t known for their reliability).
Prepare for the elements. Bring your rain gear and clothes that will dry easily, festivals don’t stop just because of a little H2O. Tip: Ziploc bags are a great way to protect your valuables.
Clorox wipes. At some music festivals, showering can become, well...optional. Not to mention, a cool and refreshing moist cloth is a great way to cool down during the heat of the day.
Garbage bags. Tip: baby powder deodorizes yourtrash.
Have a plan. Whether it is bad weather or losing your buddy in the crowd, set up specific locations and times to meet up throughout the day to avoid confusion.
Make your campsite or car distinguishable. Finding your tent after an intense day of raving, dancing, singing, and sweating can be a very difficult task, especially when your tent has a backdrop of 75,000 other tents. Make identifying your campsite or vehicle easier by giving it some flare and making it stand out. Building a flagpole of some sort is a common and easy way to go about this.
Also don’t forget to bring fold out chairs and shelter from the sun. Making sure you have a crash zone to power nap is crucial.
- Glow Sticks
- Glass Bottles
- Nice Clothing
- Rely on Cell Phones
By: G&B Staff + Students
I am Interested in: Girls
Do you prefer a boy to man-scape?
Yes, if they don't at least trim I'm out: 15%
Definitely, needs to shave everything: 5%
Doesn't matter to me, natural's cool: 20%
Do you always wait for a guy to make the first move?
"Texting is fine. That's what everyone does these days anyway. But if he calls, I know he's on a more serious level. He gets more points for that."
"If you always wait, you're going to be waiting a long time sister."
What are the signs that a date went well or not?
Responding without hesitation for a second date, talking/texting immediately following, smiley faces in texts
If a guy just got your number, do you prefer they text or call you?
Text then call: 11%
Have you ever participated in a threesome?
"No, but I have been offered and felt awkward when I declined."
I am Interested in: Guys
Do you like girls that play hard to get?
a. Yes: 29%
b. No: 39%
c. Sometimes: 32%
"No, that's obnoxious. Nothing else worth having plays hard to get."
Do you think friends with benefits can work?
Yes, if you set the ground rules: 42%
Never, hit it and quit it: 5%
No, they always get attached: 24%
Yeah, but only for a short period: 29%
After having a one night stand would you ever consider a relationship with that person?
a. Yes: 66%
b. No: 34%
"If the night was so awesome, it's worth having."
Do you ever lie about how many people you've slept with? (Over or under?)
a. Yes, over: 5%
b. Yes, under: 24%
c. No: 71%
What's your definition of "dating?" What's your definition of "a relationship?"
Dating is: casual, hanging out one on one, occasional sex, can see other people.
Relationship is: exclusive, changed Facebook status, calling them your girlfriend.
Feedback from Girls & Guys:
Is the way that someone texts a turn off?
"Yes, not fully typing things out (ghetto type) wut, 2nite, etc. AND THE WORST 'Can I get a picture?"
"ys if dey tlk lik3 diz den i haf 2 seckz dem immediately." "Yes, eye h8 thos gurls."
How long after seeing/ 'talking to' someone should you bring up the possibility of being exclusive?
A couple weeks
"If you're sleeping together or feel that you or he would be hurt if you casually hooked up with another."
When you're interested in a person, what's a dealbreaker?
Bad breath, teeth, shoes, can't make me laugh, unkempt nails, player, STD's, lack of motivation, no job and no reason for not having one (school, military, etc.), being flaky.
Bad teeth, smoking, clingy, unintellectual, had sex with their friends, man hands
What's the weirdest thing a partner has done during sex?
"Pulled the whole 'Oh I didn't know that was your butt, sorry' thing."
"Not during sex but this guy used to lint roll his bed every time after...LOL"
"Pretended to be a European who doesn't speak much English."
By: Khadijah Dennis
Move over Rover, there’s a new coach in town, and he means business. Frank Martin was named USC’s men’s basketball head coach on March 27, 2012, leading the team into their 105th season as a varsity sport. For the past five seasons, he’s managed to lead the Kansas State University Wildcats to the NCAA tournament four times, with a current overall winning record for the season. He’s hoping to lead the Gamecocks in the same direction.
G&B: You talk a lot about the team in many of your press conferences and interviews, how have you made an effort to get to know the players?
Coach Martin: You have to communicate with them. You have to let them get to know you first. I’m the new guy around here; most players have been here before. They understand this better than I did when I got here. For them to be able to open up and accept me, I have to let them understand what I’m about. The beauty of sports is that the season throws some difficult emotions into your relationship [and] those difficult emotions are the ones that allow you to fully understand people because you’re not just going through everything that’s good and great.
G&B: Can students expect any more free food? *crosses fingers*
Coach Martin: [laughs] If you look at the top 10, 12, 15, programs in the country, you also have the best home environments in the country, and with all due respect to the folks that pay a lot of money and make donations to schools, the student body is what gives you the building that becomes special. The student body is who determines the personality that takes place on the court during the game. I’ll do everything I can to thank those students, whether it is shirts, food, or anything I can as a way of thanking them for helping us.
G&B: Are you an iPhone or Android type of guy?
G&B: Before this season is over, what do you want students to know about you as a coach?
Coach Martin: I love people, and I’ve got tremendous passion for people. Some of the most difficult moments for me are when we take to court, and we’ve got those seniors that have gone through the life lessons, the experiences, the negative, the positive, and the raw emotion that 4 years of college brings to you. I know I’m not perfect, so I don’t continue to hold people in judgment as to whether they’re perfect or not. Hopefully, one day, when the players or myself walk onto the court for the last time, we all can know we have made this a better place, a better university because of the passion we have for what we do.
By: Zac Baker
a personal piece
Attempting to eavesdrop, I paced up and down Greene Street, stealing glances at the rainbow-infested booth. Loud conversations spilled over from the flamboyantly decorated Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian Straight Alliance table. Why couldn’t I overcome my hesitation? Long rows of tables corralled students as they walked through the Fall Student Organization Fair on that muggy September day. Did people know? Could people sense my gayness?
A thin brown haired boy wearing slim jeans smiled and handed me a flyer welcoming me to the first BGLSA meeting. My hand reached out as my heart jumped out of my chest – goodbye heart. “Was that all? Am I ‘gay’ yet,” I remember thinking. “I think I’m ready to come out.”
Four years ago, no one knew. I was excellent at hiding my sexuality and instead, soaked up every church opportunity available: choir, Bible study, Sunday school, camps, mission trips and Vacation Bible School. I absolutely loved it. Church was a second home, but I couldn’t be my true self there. I was hiding because of what I believed the Bible said about “same-sex attraction.” In high school, I initiated conversations with church leaders to help fix me. They reacted in love, directing me towards resources to help me “conquer” these desires. I cried. I prayed. I cried some more, but it didn’t work.
College changed me. Little by little, I learned that it is okay for Christians to have different conclusions about tough biblical topics. What matters most is loving God and loving others. In four years, I have reconciled both my spirituality and my sexuality. My experience may be similar to other LGBTQ people of faith, but in the greater context of the coming out process, each bisexual, lesbian, transgender, queer, or gay individual has a different story to tell.
Time to come out
Coming out as bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender or queer takes thought, courage, integrity and patience. In the greater context of the coming out process though, everyone has their own journey and story to tell.
Love dragged third-year anthropology student, Kenneth Brown, out of the closet. “I started coming out in 9th grade because I met a boy,” Kenneth says.
However, some are still extremely cautious about who they tell. They might live one life at home and another at school. “I haven't come out to family and friends, but I would consider myself out to people around USC,” first-year english student Jessica Davies explains. “I decided over the summer that when I went to college, I wasn't going to hide who I was anymore, and I've been gradually working myself up to telling my parents,” Jessica said.
Many families may assume their loved one’s orientation. Sometimes it makes it easier. Sometimes it makes it awkward. “I came out because my parents already knew and we were just dancing around the topic and avoiding it,” third-year music education student, Caleb Coker, recounts. “I figured I would just clear the air.”
Coming from a supportive family and community, some people no longer feel the need to have a “coming out of the closet” experience. “I will feel the need to ‘come out’ as gay when heterosexuals feel they need to ‘come out’ as straight. Until that day, I have no desire to label my love as something different.” says third-year psychology student and BGLSA President, Mason Lee Branham. A growing trend, being raised in the southern “Bible belt,” there are typically still more hurdles to overcome.
For some, being in the closet feels like you’re playing a character, except you are in character 24/7. Second-year sociology student, Kaitlin Jones, says that managing a double life was exhausting. “I'm a very outspoken person and hiding my true feelings felt almost like a full time job. I don't like lying to my friends and family, either. It took some urging and a series of unfortunate events to get me out of the closet fully.” Kaitlin Jones says.
In the same way, the coming out experience for transgender individuals is also similar to putting on a show. First-year computer science student, Rukia Brooks, explains: “It’s easy for folks to keep their sexuality secret, but if you’re transgender it is much more difficult since your name, your appearance, and the pronouns in which you are referred to are very public things.” Furthermore, Rukia adds, “I basically did “drag” every day growing up... presenting as male. Now, when I wear make up or put on a dress, I’m not out there to perform. I’m out there to be me.”
Sometimes it’s timing that keeps people from coming out, second-year electronic journalism student, Jenny Iler, explains. “My freshman year of high school I broke a really sweet girl's heart, because I wasn't ready for the world to know how I felt about her,” Jenny remembers. “I [recently] just started dating a girl, and we walk around the halls holding hands. That's the biggest statement you can make.”
Needless to say, the scariest part of coming out is admitting it to yourself. Realizing that you’re not like everyone else is quite terrifying. From that moment on, you are trusting people with information that you already know. It’s a process. You begin to understand that although it is not a choice to be gay, it is quite certainly a choice to identify as gay.
Second-year public relations student Chris Rosa says coming out occurs in stages. “I realized the "half-out" stage I experienced my entire freshman year was awkward, difficult, and unsatisfying. I could only truly be myself around maybe five people. Around the rest I had to wear layers. The decision was natural,” Chris says. “I got close to so many people at USC and wanted to share this part of myself, wanted to be free.”
Second-year biology student, Brice Duckworth, reflects on similar feelings, “I didn't really feel like it was something I should keep from my best friends, and eventually from anyone . . . It's just a part of what makes me, me. It doesn't change my personality or how I treat others.”
Although there is no “right” way to come out of the closet, here are some key things to remember:
1) Accept yourself for who you are and not as the person others believe you should be.
2) Surround yourself with friends who will be supportive during your journey.
3) Understand that not all parents will move from unsupportive to affirming in one day. It takes time for hearts and minds to open and sort through the information.
Changing culture, changing Carolina
In 1982, USC’s Gay Student Association sued the university to become an officially recognized student organization. Times have changed.
“Despite being in the heart of the south, we have students, faculty, and even a university president who believes in equality,” says Mason Lee Branham.
10 years ago, BGLSA members received pushback from some students participating in National Coming Out day. In contrast, this past October, participants received nothing but support and affirmation from administrators, faculty, and students.
“I think USC is an accepting place to be out. I feel very comfortable here, despite being in the South. BGLSA has made me feel very at home and comfortable with myself here on campus,” Jessica says. “I know that I've always got a place to go full of people who I can talk to about anything.”
This attitude change on campus may be due in part to a rapidly changing and increasingly accepting culture as well as an evolving political landscape. Each year, more and more states legalize protection and rights for same sex couples. Third-year sociology student, Brandon White, says that the media has also helped move USC, along with our culture, in a more progressive direction.
“As more positive and less stereotypical LGBT figures are seen in the media, such as Ellen DeGeneres, or how LGBT rights and issues are handled on shows such as The New Normal, we are beginning to see a change in the opinions of younger generations, which leads to more acceptance on college campuses,” White explains.
So, it seems that things are relatively good at USC for queer kids, but is there room for improvement? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”
Jessica thinks we have more work to do when it comes to making the transgender community feel just as “at home” on campus than the rest of the LGB community. Kenneth agrees: “I believe that giving attention to things like gender neutral housing, and making the student body more aware of things like LGBTQIA history month could improve student’s perception.”
We still have a long way to go with our transgender community. Trans folks don’t get the advocacy and support they deserve within our community, and slurs and hate speech are still occurring in residence halls. We need to continue responding with an educational approach, teaching about acceptance not just tolerance, and letting all members of the Carolina community interact with people who are different than them.
The good news is that the gender-neutral housing project conversation is happening now with student government and university officials. If approved, this project will provide a safe living space for individuals who might not feel comfortable with a traditional same sex housing assignment.
Passing the torch
As May and the time for graduation draw near, I can’t help but look back at the transformations that have occurred at USC over the past four years. The university created an official LGBT Program and Services department, hired a full time coordinator, and produced an “It Gets Better” video. BGLSA membership has tripled, and is more visible than ever.
Without our predecessors, we would definitely not be where we are today, but the past few years have most certainly brought a tremendous amount of progress. It’s time to pass the torch, and I know BGLSA and USC’s LGBT community will continue to grow and change university culture.
The past four years have changed me as well. I have found a vibrant and welcoming faith community on campus. I am leaving USC a different person. My faith feels deep, my worship is genuine, and I own my beliefs. I focus more on loving others than obsessing about what they think. And most importantly, I’m not hiding anymore. I’m finally me.
I won’t lie, sometimes it is still difficult knowing my parents don't fully support me. While they love me, their disapproval of my choices is clear. But maybe in the end, this is how growing up is supposed to be.
“I never had a horrific experience as a child,” she says, “but my parents and I aren’t close. They don’t pay for me, and when I started dancing, it paid for pretty much everything.”
I'm sitting in Boombox Guy's living room, a place most never see, and everything around me screams stories that I can't seem to write down fast enough.
Metallic Pac-Man cutouts line the walls. A spear gun is suspended from the ceiling. There’s a homemade ball pit and a dresser-turned-TV-stand découpaged with Van Gogh.
Boombox Guy climbs carefully out of the ball pit nestled in the corner by the couch.
“So, tell me about yourself,” I say as he steps over the six boom boxes strewn across his floor.
“You’re welcome to have some Diet Dr Pepper,” he responds instead, and settles on the sofa across from me. “And some cookies too,” he adds.