+
upworthy
Joy

10 awkward friendships you probably have — we all have a #9.

Not all friendships are meant to last forever.

friendships, relationships. psychology
via Wait But Why and used with permission

The ten types of friends

When you're a kid, or in high school or college, you usually don't work too hard on your friend situations. Friends just kind of happen.

For a bunch of years, you're in a certain life your parents chose for you, and so are other people, and none of you have that much on your plates, so friendships inevitably form. Then in college, you're in the perfect friend-making environment, one that hits all three ingredients sociologists consider necessary for close friendships to develop: “proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other." More friendships happen.


Maybe they're the right friends, maybe they're not really. But you don't put that much thought into any of it — you're still more of a passive observer.

But once student life ends, the people in your life start to shake themselves into more distinct tiers.

It looks something like this mountain:

casual friends, acquaintances, best friends

Visual interpretation of where friends fall on the mountain of “You."

via Wait But Why post and used with permission.

At the top of your life mountain, in the green zone, you have your Tier 1 friends — the people who feel like brothers and sisters.

These are the people closest to you, the ones you call first when something important happens, the ones you love even when they suck, who make speeches at your wedding, whose best and worst sides you know through and through, and whose relationship with you is eternal; even if you go months or years without hanging out, nothing has changed when you find yourself together again.

Unfortunately, depending on how things went down in your youth, Tier 1 can also contain your worst enemies, the people who can ruin your day with one subtle jab that only they could word so brilliantly hurtfully, the people you feel a burning resentment for, or jealousy of, or competition with. Tier 1 is high stakes.

Below, in the yellow zone, are your Tier 2 friends: your Pretty Good friends.

Pretty Good friends are a much calmer situation than your brothers and sisters on Tier 1. You might be invited to their wedding, but you won't have any responsibilities once you're there. If you live in the same city, you might see them every month or two for dinner and have a great time when you do, but if one of you moves, you might not speak for the next year or two. And if something huge happens in their life, there's a good chance you'll hear it first from someone else.

Toward the bottom of the mountain in the orange zone, you have your Tier 3 friends: your Not Really friends.

You might grab a one-on-one drink with one of them when you move to their city, but then it surprises neither of you when five years pass and drink #2 is still yet to happen. Your relationship tends to exist mostly as part of a bigger group or through the occasional Facebook Like, and it doesn't even really stress you out when you hear that one of them made $5 million last year. You may also try to sleep with one of these people at any given time.

The lowest part of Tier 3 begins to blend indistinguishably into your large group of acquaintances (the pink zone): those people you'd stop and talk to if you saw them on the street or would maybe email for professional purposes but whom you'd never hang out with one-on-one. When you hear that something bad happens to one of these people, you pretend to be sad but you don't actually care.

Finally, acquaintances gradually blend into the endless world of strangers.

And depending on who you are and how things shook out in those first 25 years, the way your particular mountain looks will vary.

For example, there's Walled-Off Wally:

introverts, emotionally stunted, isolation

Some people keep a barrier up between acquaintances.

via Wait But Why post and used with permission.

And Phony Phoebe, who tries to be everyone's best friend and ends up with a lot of people mad at her:

extrovert, social butterfly, partier

The life of the party.

via Wait But Why post and used with permission.

Even Unabomber Ulysses has a mountain:

hermit, loneliness, therapy

Hermits exist.

via Wait But Why post and used with permission.

Whatever your particular mountain looks like, eventually the blur of your youth is behind you, the dust has settled, and there you are living your life.

Then one day, usually around your mid- or late 20s, it hits you: It's not that easy to make friends anymore.

Sure, you'll make new friends in the future — at work, through your spouse, through your kids — but you won't get to that Tier 1 brothers level, or even to Tier 2, with very many of them because people who meet as adults don't tend to get through the 100+ long, lazy hangouts needed to reach a bond of that strength. As time goes on, you start to realize that the 20-year frenzy of not-especially-thought-through haphazard friend-making you just did was the critical process of you making most of your lifelong friends.

And since you matched up with most of them A) by circumstance, and B) before you really knew yourself yet, the result is that your Tier 1 and Tier 2 friends — those closest to you — fall in a very scattered way on what I'll call the Does This Friendship Make Sense graph:

friendship health, loyalty, trauma

The friendship graph.

via Wait But Why post and used with permission.

So, who are all those close friends in the three non-ideal quadrants?

As time goes on, most of us tend to have fewer friends in Quadrants 2 through 4 because A) people mature, and B) people have more self-respect and higher standards for what they'll deal with as they get older. But the fact is, friendships made in the formative years often stick, whether they're ideal or not, leaving most of us with a portion of our Tier 1 and Tier 2 friendships that just don't make that much sense. We'll get to the great, Quadrant 1 friendships later in the post, but in order to treat those relationships properly, we need to take a thorough look at the odd ones first.

Here are 10 common ones:

1. The non-question-asking friend

selfish, compassion, equl

Odd moments that happen between friends.

via Wait But Why post and used with permission.

You'll be having a good day. You'll be having a bad day. You'll be happy at work. You'll quit your job. You'll fall in love. You'll catch your new love cheating on you and murder them both in an act of incredible passion. And it doesn't matter, because none of it will be discussed with The Non-Question-Asking Friend, who never, ever, ever asks you anything about your life. This friend can be explained in one of three ways:

  1. He's extremely self-absorbed and only wants to talk about himself.
  2. He avoids getting close to people and doesn't want to talk about either you or himself or anything personal, just third-party topics.
  3. He thinks you're insufferably self-absorbed and knows if he asks you about your life, you'll talk his ear off about it.

Giving you the benefit of the doubt here, we're left with two possibilities. Possibility #1 isn't fun at all and this person should not be allowed space on Tier 1. The green part of the mountain is sacred territory, and super self-absorbed people shouldn't be permitted to set foot up there. Put him on Tier 2 and just be happy you're not dating him.

Possibility #2 is a pretty dark situation for your friend, but it can actually be fun for you. I have a friend who I've hung out with one-on-one about four times in the last year, and he has no idea Wait But Why exists. I've known him for 14 years and I'm not sure he knows if I have siblings or not. But I actually enjoy the shit out of this friend — sure, there's a limit on how close we'll ever be, but without ever spending time talking about our lives, we actually end up in a lot of fun, interesting conversations.

2. The friend in the group you can't be alone with under any circumstances

awkward moments, texting, social media

Why have relationships when there is a phone around?

via Wait But Why post and used with permission.

In almost every group of friends, there's one pair who can't ever be alone together. It's not that they dislike each other — they might get along great — it's just that they have no individual friendship with each other whatsoever. This leaves both of them petrified of the lumbering elephant that appears in the room anytime they're alone together. They're way too on top of shit to ever end up in the car alone together if a group is going somewhere in multiple cars, but there are smaller dangers afoot — like being the first two to arrive at a restaurant or being in a group of three when the third member goes to the bathroom.

The thing is, sometimes it's not even that these people couldn't have an individual friendship — it's just that they don't, and neither one has the guts to try to make that leap when things have gone on for so long as is.

3. The non-character-breaking friend you have to be “on" with

comedian, intimacy, sarcasm

Controlled intimacy and distancing through language.

via Wait But Why post and used with permission.

This is a friend who's terrified of having an earnest interaction, and as such, your friendship with him is always in some kind of skit you always have to be on when you're interacting.

Sometimes the skit is that you both burst out laughing at everything constantly. He can only exist with you in “This is so fucking hilarious, it's too much!" mode, so you have to be in some kind of joke-telling or sarcastic mode yourself at all times or he'll become socially horrified.

Another version of this is the “always and only ironic" friend, who you really bum out if you ever break that social shell and say something earnest. This type of person hates earnest people because someone being earnest dares him to come out from under his ironic safety blanket and let the sun touch his face, and no fucking thanks.

A third example is the “You're great, I'm great, ugh why is everyone else so terrible and not great like us" friend. Of course, she doesn't really think you're perfectly great at all — if she were with someone else, you'd be one of the voodoo dolls on the table to be dissected and scoffed at. The key here is that the two of you must be on a team at all times while interacting. The only comfortable mode for this person is bonding with you by building a little pedestal for you both to stand on while you criticize everyone else. You can either play along and everything will go smoothly, even though you'll both despise yourselves and each other the whole time, or you can commit the ultimate sin and have the integrity to disagree with the friend or defend a non-present party the friend criticizes. Doing this will shatter the fragile team vibe and make the friend recoil and say something quietly like, “Hm ... yeah ... I guess." The friend now respects you for the first time and will also criticize you extra hard next time she's playing her pedestal game with a different friend.

What these all have in common is the friend has tall walls up, at least toward you, and so she builds a little skit for you two to hang out in to make sure any authentic connection can be avoided. Sometimes that person only does this out of her own social anxiety and can become a great, authentic friend if you can just stomp through the ice. Other times, the person is just hopelessly scared and closed off and there's no hope and you have to get out.

In any case, I can't stand these interactions and am in a full panic the entire time they're happening.

4. The double-obligated friendship

obligation, common ground, 30\u2019s

I think we need a bigger table.

via Wait But Why post and used with permission.

Think of a friend you get together with from time to time, which usually happens after a long and lackluster email or text exchange during which you just can't find a time that works for both of you — and you're never really happy when these plans are being made and not really psyched when you wake up and it's finally on your schedule for that day.

Maybe you're aware that you don't want to be friends with that person, or maybe you're delusional about it — but what you're most likely not aware of is that they probably don't want to see you either.

There are lopsided situations where one person is far more interested in hanging out than the other (we'll get to those later), but in the case we're talking about here, both parties often think it's a lopsided situation without realizing that the other person actually feels the same way — that's why it takes so long to schedule a time. When someone's excited about something, they figure out how to get it into their schedule; when they're not, they figure out ways to push it farther into the future.

Sometimes you don't think hard enough about it to even realize you don't like being friends with the person, and other times you really like the idea or the aesthetic of being friends with that particular person — being friends with them is part of your Story. But even in cases where you're perfectly lucid about your feelings, since neither of you knows the other feels the same way and neither has the guts to just cut things off or move it down a tier, this friendship usually just continues along for eternity.

5. The half-marriage

love, pain, self esteem

An ego boost through controlling the relationship.

via Wait But Why post and used with permission.

Somewhere in your life, you're probably part of a friendship that would be a marriage if only the other person weren't very, very, extremely not interested in that happening. 1 for 2 on yes votes — just one vote away — so close.

You might be on either side of this — and either way, it's one of the least healthy parts of your life. Fun!

If you're on the if only side of things, probably the right move is to get your fucking shit together? Ya know? This friendship is one long, continuous rejection of you as a human being, and you're just wallowing there in your yearning like a sobbing little seal. Plus, duh, if you gather your self-respect and move on with your life, it'll raise their perception of your value and they might actually become interested in you.

If you're on the Oh yeah,definitely not side of the situation, here's what's happening: There's this suffering human in the world, and you know they're suffering, and you fucking love it, because it gives your little ego a succulent sponge bath every time you hang out with them. You enjoy it so much you probably even lead them on intentionally, don't you — you make sure to keep just enough ambiguity in the situation that their bleeding heart continues to lather your ego from head to toe at your whim.

Both of you — go do something else.

6. The historical friend

life long friendship, best friends, childhood

We met in kindergarten.

via Wait But Why post and used with permission.

A Historical Friend is someone you became friends with in the first place because you met when you were little and stayed friends through the years, even though you're a very weird match. Most old friends fall somewhat into this category, but a true Historical Friend is someone you absolutely would not be friends with if you met them today.

You're not especially pleased with who they are, and they feel the same way about you. You're not each other's type one bit. Unfortunately, you're also extremely close friends from when you were four, and you're both just a part of each other's situation forever, sorry.

7. The non-parallel life paths friendship

alcoholism, drug use, parenting

Looking for love in all the wrong places.

via Wait But Why post and used with permission.

Throughout childhood and much of young adulthood, most people your age are in the same life stage as you are. But when it comes to advancing into full adulthood, people do so at widely varying paces, which leads to certain friends suddenly having totally different existences from one another.

Anyone within three years of 30 has a bunch of these going on. It's just a weird time for everyone. Some people have become Future 52-year-olds, while others are super into being Previous 21-year-olds. At some point, things will start to meld together again, but being 30-ish is the friendship equivalent of a kid going through an awkward pubescent stage.

There are darker, more permanent Non-Parallel Life Path situations. Like when Person A starts to become a person who rejects material wealth, partially because she genuinely feels that pursuing an artistic path matters more and partially because she needs a defense mechanism against feeling envious of richer people, and Person B's path makes her scoff at people who pursue creative paths, partially because she genuinely thinks expressing yourself is an inherently narcissistic venture and partially because she needs a defense mechanism against feeling regretful that she never pursued her creative dreams — these two will have problems.

They may still like each other, but they can't be as close as they used to be — each of their lives is a bit of a middle finger at the other's choices, and that's jst awkward for everyone. It's not always that bad — but to survive an Off-Line Life Situation, friends need to be really different people who don't at all want the same things out of life.

8. The frenemy

frenemy, toxic relationships, psychology

This is awful. Taste it.

via Wait But Why post and used with permission.

The Frenemy roots very hard against you. And I'm not talking about the friends that will feel a little twinge of pleasure when they hear your big break didn't pan out after all or that your relationship is in bad shape. I'm not even talking about someone who secretly roots against you when they're not doing so well at some area of life and it hurts them to see you do better. Those are bad emotions, but they can exist in people who are still good friends.

I'm talking about a real Frenemy — someone who really wants bad things for you. Because you're you.

You and the Frenemy usually go way back, have a very deep friendship, and the trouble probably started a long time ago. There's a lot of complex psychology going on in these situations that I don't fully understand, but my hunch is that a Frenemy's resentment is rooted in his own pain, or his own shortcomings, or his own regret — and for some reason, your existence stings them in these places hard.

A little less dark but no less harmful is a bully situation where a friend sees some weakness or vulnerability in you and she enjoys prodding you there either for sadistic reasons or to prop herself up.

A Frenemy knows how to hurt you better than anyone because you're deeply similar in some way and she knows how you're wired. She'll do whatever she can to bring you down any chance she gets, often in such a subtle way it's hard to see that it's happening.

Whatever the reason, if you have a Frenemy in your life, kick her toxic ass off your mountain, or at leastkick her down the mountain — just get her off of Tier 1. A Frenemy has about a 10th of the power to hurt you from Tier 2 as she does from Tier 1.

9. The Facebook celebrity friend

social media, Facebook, Instagram

What’s happening on social media?

via Wait But Why post and used with permission.

This person isn't a celebrity to anyone other than you, you creep. You know exactly who I'm talking about — there are a small handful of people whose Facebook page you're uncomfortably well-acquainted with, and those people have no idea that this is happening. On the plus side, there are people out there you haven't spoken to in seven years who know all about the new thing you're trying with your hair, since it goes both ways.

This is a rare Tier 3 friend, or even an acquaintance, who qualifies as an odd friendship because you found a way to make it unhealthy even though you're not actually friends. Well done.

10. The lopsided friendship

bossy, inequality, bully

Can I make all the decisions... that was rhetorical.

via Wait But Why post and used with permission.

There are a lot of ways a friendship can be lopsided: Someone can be higher on their friend's mountain than vice versa. Someone can want to spend more time with a friend than vice versa. One member can consistently do 90% of the listening and only 10% of the talking, and in situations where most of the talking is about life problems, what's happening is a one-sided therapy situation, with a badly off-balance give-and-take ratio, and that's not much of a friendship — it's someone using someone else.

And then there's the lopsided power friendship. Of course, this is a hideous quality in many not-great couples, but it's also a prominent feature of plenty of friendships.

A near 50/50 friendship is ideal, but anything out to 65/35 is fine and can often be attributed to two different styles of personality. It's when the number gap gets even wider that something less healthy is going on — something that doesn't reflect very well on either party.

There are some obvious ways to assess the nature of a friendship's power dynamic: Does one person cut in and interrupt the other person while they're talking far more than the other way around? Is one person's opinion or preference just kind of understood to carry more weight than the other's? Is one person allowed to be more of a dick to the other than vice versa?

Another interesting litmus test is what I call the “mood determiner test." This comes into play when two friends get together but they're in very different moods — the idea is, whose mood “wins" and determines the mood of the hangout. If Person A is in a bad mood, Person B is in a good mood, and Person B reacts by being timid and respectful of Person A's mood, leaving the vibe down there until Person A snaps out of it on her own — but when the moods are reversed, Person B quickly disregards her own bad mood and acts more cheerful to match Person A's happy mood — and this is how it always goes — then Person A is in a serious power position.

But hey, not all friendships are grim.

In the Does This Friendship Make Sense graph above, the friendships we just discussed are all in Quandrants 2, 3, or 4 — i.e., they're all a bit unenjoyable, unhealthy, or both. That's why this has been depressing. On the bright side, there's also Quadrant 1 — all the friendships that do make sense.

No friendship is perfect, but those in Quadrant 1 are doing what friendships are supposed to do: They're making the lives of both parties better. And when a friendship is both in Quadrant 1 of the graph and on Tier 1 of your mountain, that friendship is a rock in your life.

Rock friendships don't just make us happy — they're the thing (along with rock family and romantic relationships) that makes us happy.

Investing serious time and energy into those is a no-brainer long-term life strategy. But in the case of most people over 25 — at least in New York — I think A) not enough time is carved out as dedicated friend time, and B) the time that is carved out is spread too thin, and too evenly, among the Tier 1 and Tier 2 friendships in all four quadrants. I'm definitely guilty of this myself.

There's something I call the Perpetual Catch-Up Trap. When you haven't seen a good friend in a long time, the first order of business is a big catch-up — you want to know what's going on in their career, with their girlfriend, with their family, etc., and they want to catch up on your life. In theory, once this happens, you can go back to just hanging out, shooting the shit, and actually being in the friendship. The problem is, when you don't make enough time for good friends, seeing them only for a meal and not that often — you end up spending each get-together catching up, and you never actually get to just enjoy the friendship or get far past the surface. That's the Perpetual Catch-Up Trap, and I find myself falling into it with way too many of the rocks in my life.

There are two orders of business right now:

First, think about your friendships, figure out which ones aren't in Quadrant 1, and demote them down the mountain. I'm not suggesting you stop being friends with those people — you still love them and feel loyal to them, and old friends are critical to hold onto — but if the friendships aren't that healthy or enjoyable, they don't really deserve to be in your Tier 1, and you probably shouldn't be in theirs. Most importantly, doing this clears up time to...

Second, dedicate even more time to the Quadrant 1, Tier 1 rocks in your life. If you're in your mid-20s or older, your current rocks are probably the only ones you'll ever have. Your rock friendships don't warrant two times the time you give to your other friends — they warrant five or 10 times!

Your rocks deserve serious, dedicated time so you can stay close. So go make plans with them.


This article was written by Tim Urban and originally published on Wait But Why. It originally appeared here on 03.11.16

Carsten Vollrath/Canva

Imagine watching your four-tier wedding cake hitting the ground before you even get a bite.

It's quite common for people to fantasize about their wedding day—the ceremony, the bridal party, the dress, the cake—and some people spend months or even years meticulously planning every detail. People even spend thousands of dollars hiring wedding planners to make sure that the big day stays fully organized and all the moving parts come together without a hitch.

But no matter how well you plan, sometimes things that simply can't be predicted happen. And how you and your beloved handle the hitches and glitches on your wedding day can say a lot.

Especially when that hitch or glitch is something major…like watching the beautiful, four-tier wedding cake—the one you spent time choosing and lots of money creating to share with your wedding guests—come crashing to the ground right in front of you.


That's what happened to one couple who eagerly watched as the caterers who were carrying their wedding cake tripped on their way into the room, sending their cake to an untimely demise in spectacular fashion.

The video, shared by @the.sarik on Instagram, is only about 10 seconds long, but it tells a whole beautiful love story in the reactions of both the groom and the bride.

Watch:

First of all, hope those waiters are OK. But secondly, staying calm and making the most of a bad situation is a huge character plus, and this groom clearly has those qualities in spades. You can see in the bride's face that she knows it, too.

"Her eyes show that she knows she got the right guy," wrote one commenter.

"The way he just called her to eat is just phenomenal," shared another.

"'Cake is still cake.' Yelling at those waiters won't solve anything, but it can ruin their whole lives," wrote another. "They know their mistake, and they can be corrected privately. May the reaction of this man be an inspiration to us all, to care for the feelings of other people more than material things."

"Of all the things that could ruin a wedding day, I'm glad the husband knew this didn't have to be one of them," shared another.

When unpredictable things do happen, it's largely the reaction of the people involved that determines whether they become tragic tales or entertaining stories. If what we saw in the video is any indicator, this couple will be telling their grandkids someday about how the guys carrying their wedding cake tripped and ruined it, and how Grandpa's response won Grandma's heart all over again.


This article originally appeared on 7.27.23

via @behindyourback / Twitter

Maura Quint shares about men responding appropriately.


For anyone who thinks stories of sexual harassment and assault are complicated, writer Maura Quint has a story for you. Actually, she has quite a few.

Quint posted a thread on her Twitter account that quickly went viral in which she talked about a number of real-life encounters with men that started out sexual, involved her expressing disinterest, and the men responding appropriately.


It wasn't an unrealistic hero's tale of men handing over the keys to their autonomy. Rather, Quint's incredible thread made it clear that the only variable in cases of assault vs. non-assault are when a man doesn't respect the autonomy of the woman he's propositioning.

Her thread opens up in an all-too-familiar tone, where we're led to believe it will go to an incredibly dark place:

date rape, Maura Quint, respect

Maybe?

via @behindyourback / Twitter

Instead, Quint says her indifference to his proposition was met in kind with a guy just acting in a basic, non-rapey way:

honorable, educated, respectful

Should be expected.

via @behindyourback / Twitter

She goes on to offer several other examples of being in sexual or potentially sexual situations with men who also managed to not sexually assault her:

women, real men, character

Annoyed but with character.

via @behindyourback / Twitter

responsibility, honorable, equality

Meeting the right instead of wrong person.

via @behindyourback / Twitter

And here's the real kicker, Quint says she has been assaulted. To her, the difference isn't hard to pinpoint:

role models, parenting, raising good people

Difference being whether they were okay with assault.

via @behindyourback / Twitter

Her thread has been re-tweeted nearly 50,000 times and "liked" more than 100,000 times. Other women and some men jumped in with their own tales of drinking, partying and still, somehow, managing to not assault or even harass the women they encountered.

honesty, fairness, behavior

She married him.

via @behindyourback / Twitter

social norms, civic duty, public responsibility

Men avoid abusers too.

via @behindyourback / Twitter

love, kindness, consciousness, respectful

Kind and human.

via @behindyourback / Twitter

It's a stark contrast to the half-baked defenses of Brett Kavanaugh and other men like him. There are incredibly rare exceptions where a man is accused of assault or harassment and he is entirely free of guilt. But for women, or anyone for that matter, who has survived sexual assault or experienced sexual harassment, there is no "gray area."

There's being OK with assault and then there's everything else. Whether or not we're consciously aware of this, we've all chosen a side. But if you're on the wrong side, it doesn't have to be that way forever.


This article originally appeared on 10.02.18

A map of the United States post land-ice melt.


Land ice: We got a lot of it.

Considering the two largest ice sheets on earth — the one on Antarctica and the one on Greenland — extend more than 6 million square miles combined ... yeah, we're talkin' a lot of ice.

But what if it was all just ... gone? Not like gone gone, but melted?


If all of earth's land ice melted, it would be nothing short of disastrous.

And that's putting it lightly.

This video by Business Insider Science (seen below) depicts exactly what our coastlines would look like if all the land ice melted. And spoiler alert: It isn't great.

Lots of European cities like, Brussels and Venice, would be basically underwater.

In Africa and the Middle East? Dakar, Accra, Jeddah — gone.

Millions of people in Asia, in cities like Mumbai, Beijing, and Tokyo, would be uprooted and have to move inland.

South America would say goodbye to cities like Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

And in the U.S., we'd watch places like Houston, San Francisco, and New York City — not to mention the entire state of Florida — slowly disappear into the sea.

All GIFs via Business Insider Science/YouTube.

Business Insider based these visuals off National Geographic's estimation that sea levels will rise 216 feet (!) if all of earth's land ice melted into our oceans.

There's even a tool where you can take a detailed look at how your community could be affected by rising seas, for better or worse.

Although ... looking at these maps, it's hard to imagine "for better" is a likely outcome for many of us.

Much of America's most populated regions would be severely affected by rising sea levels, as you'll notice exploring the map, created by Alex Tingle using data provided by NASA.

Take, for instance, the West Coast. (Goodbye, San Fran!)

Or the East Coast. (See ya, Philly!)

And the Gulf Coast. (RIP, Bourbon Street!)

I bring up the topic not just for funsies, of course, but because the maps above are real possibilities.

How? Climate change.

As we continue to burn fossil fuels for energy and emit carbon into our atmosphere, the planet gets warmer and warmer. And that, ladies and gentlemen, means melted ice.

A study published this past September by researchers in the U.S., U.K., and Germany found that if we don't change our ways, there's definitely enough fossil fuel resources available for us to completely melt the Antarctic ice sheet.

Basically, the self-inflicted disaster you see above is certainly within the realm of possibility.

"This would not happen overnight, but the mind-boggling point is that our actions today are changing the face of planet Earth as we know it and will continue to do so for tens of thousands of years to come," said lead author of the study Ricarda Winkelmann, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

If we want to stop this from happening," she says, "we need to keep coal, gas, and oil in the ground."

The good news? Most of our coastlines are still intact! And they can stay that way, too — if we act now.

World leaders are finallystarting to treat climate change like the global crisis that it is — and you can help get the point across to them, too.

Check out Business Insider's video below:

This article originally appeared on 12.08.15

Identity

One man turned nursing home design on its head when he created this stunning facility

"What if we design an environment that looks like outside?" he said. "What if I can have a sunrise and sunset inside the building?



92-year-old Norma had a strange and heartbreaking routine.

Every night around 5:30 p.m., she stood up and told the staff at her Ohio nursing home that she needed to leave. When they asked why, she said she needed to go home to take care of her mother. Her mom, of course, had long since passed away.

Behavior like Norma's is quite common for older folks suffering from Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. Walter, another man in the same assisted living facility, demanded breakfast from the staff every night around 7:30.


Jean Makesh, CEO of Lantern assisted living facilities, says he meets folks with stories like these every day. It's their stories that inspired him to make some changes at Lantern.

"I thought I knew a lot about elderly care. The more and more time I was spending with my clients, that's when I realized, 'Oh my god, I have no clue.'"

Confusion is common in Alzheimer's patients, but Makesh knew there had to be some way to minimize these conflicts.

A big believer in the idea that our environment has an enormous effect on us, he started thinking big — and way outside the box.

"What if we design an environment that looks like outside?" he said. "What if I can have a sunrise and sunset inside the building? What if I'm able to have the moon and stars come out? What if I build a unit that takes residents back to the '30s and '40s?"

And that was just the beginning. He also researched sound therapy. And aromatherapy. And carpet that looked like grass. No idea was off-limits.

What he came up with was a truly unique memory-care facility. And after testing the concept in Lantern's Madison, Ohio, facility, Makesh is opening two new locations this year.

Instead of rooms or units, each resident gets a "home" on a quiet little indoor street reminiscent of the neighborhoods many of them grew up in.

All photos courtesy of Lantern

Instead of a boring panel ceiling, residents look up and see a digital sky, which grows dimmer late in the day to help keep their biological clocks in tune.

Throughout the day, nature sounds and fresh aromas like peppermint or citrus are piped in.

Some studies have shown that this kind of aromatherapy may indeed have some merits for improving cognitive functioning in Alzheimer's patients.

There's even a little "main street" where residents can gather.

For Makesh, this isn't just about making patients comfortable, though. He wants to change how we think about the endgame of severe dementia.

The insides of the rooms aren't too shabby, either.

Makesh said one of the frustrating shortcomings of most nursing facilities is that they create conflicts with unnatural environments and schedules, and they try to solve them by throwing antipsychotic and anti-anxiety medications at patients. In other words, when someone has severe dementia, we often give up on them. From there, they stop getting the engagement their brain needs to thrive.

Of course, we're a long way from a cure for Alzheimer's.

But Makesh's project shows that when we think strategically about altering the environment and focus on helping people relearn essential self-care and hygiene skills, the near-impossible becomes possible.

"In five years, we're going to [be able to] rehabilitate our clients where they can live independently in our environment," he said. "In 10 years, we're going to be able to send them back home."

He knows it's a lofty goal. And whether he'll meet it remains to be seen. But in the meantime, he's proud to own one of the few places that offers something pretty rare in cases of severe dementia: hope.


This article originally appeared on 09.08.16

Pop Culture

6 songs that seem romantic but aren't, and one that seems like it isn't but is

Love songs are where we get our passion, our soul — and most of our worst ideas.

The Beach Boys (1965)

Love songs are where we get our passion, our soul — and most of our worst ideas.


Throughout human history, oceans have been crossed, mountains have been scaled, and great families have blossomed — all because of a few simple chords and a melody that inflamed a heart and propelled it on a noble, romantic mission.


On the other hand, that time you told that girl you just started seeing that you would "catch a grenade" for her? You did that because of a love song. And it wasn't exactly a coincidence that she suddenly decided to "lose your number" and move back to Milwaukee to "figure some stuff out."

Photo by Achim Voss/Flickr.

That time you held that boom box over your head outside your ex's house? You did that because of a love song. And 50 hours of community service later, you're still not back together.

Love songs are great. They make our hearts beat faster. They inspire us to take risks and put our feelings on the line. And they give us terrible, terrible ideas about how actual, real-life human relationships should work.

They're amazing. So amazing. And also terrible.

Here are six love songs that sound romantic but aren't, and one song that doesn't sound romantic but totally is:

1. "God Only Knows," by The Beach Boys

You can keep your "Surfin' Safaris," your "I Get Arounds," and your "Help me Rhondas."

When it comes to The Beach Boys, "God Only Knows" is where it's at. A lush garden of soft horns and breezy melody. A tie-dye swirl of sound. A landscape of haunted innocence with some of the most heartrending lyrics ever committed to the back of a surfboard.

Youth! Youth! Youth! Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

File:The Beach Boys (1965).png - Wikipediaen.m.wikipedia.org

Here's why it sounds romantic:

I may not always love you
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
I'll make you so sure about it
God only knows what I'd be without you

If you're traipsing through a meadow in a sundress with your beloved and not playing "God Only Knows" on your iPod, you should really stop and start over.

If you're lazily bumping a beach ball over a volleyball net and "God Only Knows" isn't playing somewhere in the back of your mind, you need to rethink the choices that got you to this point.

If you're a video editor compiling footage of grainy hippies frolicking in the mud and you're not underscoring it with the opening chords of "God Only Knows," you are doing it wrong.

It's a song that just feels like love. Pure love. Young love. Love with a chill, kelp-y vibe.

What could be wrong with that?

Here's why it's actually really, really unromantic:

There's nothing wrong with loving someone. Sending them flowers. Leaving over-the-top notes in their P.O. boxes. Stroking their hair as they fall asleep while you whisper the complete works of Nicholas Sparks into their ear.

gray asphalt road towards treesPhoto by Nic Y-C on Unsplash

But there is such a thing as loving someone a skosh too much.

If you should ever leave me
Though life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me?

Look, I get it. Breakups suck. There's no getting around that. But good God.

There's a huge difference between saying: "Hey babe, you are my first and foremost everything and I'll be bummed if you go." And saying: "Welp, you accepted that job in Seattle, so I'm just gonna chug a bunch of nightshade and call it a life."

But that's pretty much the gist here. Which makes this line...

God only knows what I'd be without you

...horror-movie creepy. Because the answer, apparently, is: "I'd be a corpse!"

That's not love. That's codependency (to put it mildly). Oh, and hey! Threatening to kill yourself if your partner leaves isn't loving. It's a form of emotional abuse.

Investing all your happiness and sense of self-worth in any relationship — one that, by definition, might one day end — is putting a lot of eggs in one basket. Sure, God may only know what you'd be without her, but God probably also hopes you have, I don't know, some hobbies. Take a yoga class. Google some woodworking videos. Try kite surfing.One person cannot be anyone's be-all and end-all. It's too stressful. And it prevents you from doing you, which is a thing that's gotta be done before you can do anything else.

No wonder she took that job in Seattle.

2. "Treasure," by Bruno Mars

Sure, it's a blatant rip off of every Michael Jackson song you've ever heard. But, we don't have Michael Jackson anymore, and as tribute acts go, you could do a lot worse than Bruno Mars.

Bruno Mars

Photo by Brothers Le/Flick

Here's why the song sounds romantic:

Treasure, that is what you are
Honey, you're my golden star
You know you can make my wish come true
If you let me treasure you
If you let me treasure you

Pass those lyrics to anyone on a used napkin at an eighth-grade make-out party and you'll likely get an instant toll pass on the highway to tongue-town (ew).

Pass them to your spouse and, chances are, date night is going to culminate in 47 minutes of chaste-yet-passionate frenching.

Pass them to a cop who pulls you over for running a stop sign, and they will think you're weird — but probably still make out with you.

In fact, Bruno Mars basically has a lifetime pass to make out with America because of this song.

And I'm OK with that.

But, here's why "Treasure" isn't as romantic as it seems:

Everything about "Treasure" is retro. Everything.

Including its attitudes about gender.

Things start to go south right from the very beginning:

Give me your, give me your, give me your attention, baby
I gotta tell you a little something about yourself

Ah yes. Nothing screams "respect" quite like a man lecturing a strange woman on the street about something she "doesn't know about herself."

What could it be? Could it be that her jokes are funny? Could it be that she's got something in her teeth? Could it be that her nonfiction book about early modern German history is extremely detailed and informative?

"Thanks for teaching me all about Martin Luther's bible!"

Photo by Torsten Schleese/Wikimedia Commons.

Spoiler Alert: It's none of those.

You're wonderful, flawless, ooh, you're a sexy lady
But you walk around here like you wanna be someone else

Oh. It's that she's sexy. Cool, bro. Very original.

Word of advice? Regardless of how she's walking, the lady knows she's sexy. Even if she doesn't, it really doesn't affect her day-to-day so much that you, a complete stranger, need to shout it at her (even over a funky disco snare).

So what if she does want to be someone else? I'd love to be someone else! I think being Ryan Gosling would be quite nice. A good way to spend a three-day weekend.

And then later, of course, the narrator can't help himself:

Pretty girl, pretty girl, pretty girl, you should be smiling
A girl like you should never look so blue.

He respects her so much, he's actually straight-up telling her to smile! Much like Mars' character "Uptown Funk," who appears to get off on angrily exhorting girls to "hit [their] hallelujah." Which, you know, I guess everybody's got a thing.

Yes, in the world of "Treasure," a healthy relationship is an unending stream of a man complimenting a strange woman and said woman being so totally flattered that she immediately dispenses "the sex."

He then proceeds to talk to his potential lover like the world's creepiest pirate:

You are my treasure, you are my treasure
You are my treasure, yeah, you, you, you, you are
You are my treasure, you are my treasure
You are my treasure, yeah, you, you, you, you are

By this point, in his mind, she's a literal thing. An object. Which is fitting.

I suppose it could be worse, though. At least she's not just any thing.That's ... something, right?

3. "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," by Bob Dylan

For as long as humans have been dating each other, humans have been breaking up with each other. And "Don't Think Twice" is a portrait of a relationship going down in flames. Glorious, poetic, acoustic flames.

Bob Dylan

commons.wikimedia.org

Here's why it sounds romantic:

Well, it ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe
Even you don't know by now
And it ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe
It'll never do somehow
When your rooster crows at the break of dawn
Look out your window, and I'll be gone
You're the reason I'm a-traveling on
But don't think twice, it's all right.

Boom. Strummed on out of that friends-with-benefits situation like whoa.

"Don't Think Twice" is a raw song. An honest song. A powerful song. It's the song your older sister played on continuous loop for six months after her boyfriend left for college. The song that convinced your Aunt Roslyn to leave her bank-teller job, load her four Australian shepherds into the van, and open a wind chime store in Mendocino. The song your friend's cool dad always wants to play when he invited your high school band over to his apartment to jam.

Sure, it's about the end of a relationship, but it sounds romantic. And at the end of the day, shouldn't that be enough?

Here's why it's actually sooooo messed up:

Relationships end. For a lot of reasons. And while there is no right way to call it quits with someone, when the dust settles, both parties can certainly benefit from a difficult, honest discussion about what went wrong.

In "Don't Think Twice," that discussion basically boils down to: "It's your fault."

Let's review the reasons the dude in "Don't Think Twice" is splitting with his lady friend:

I gave her my heart, but she wanted my soul

Ugh, women, right? You're all like, "Babe, I just have so much unspecified love to give," and she's like, "Take out the trash!" And you're like, "But baaaaaaabe, shouldn't my heart be enough?" And she's like, "No, seriously. I already did the laundry, cleaned the whole house, fed the dog, did the dishes, and made both of our lunches for the week. All I need you to do is take out the trash." And you're like, "You're bumming me out. I'm gonna go play guitar." And then she gets all mad! What did you do? Why is she trying to change you? UGH!

You could have done better, but I don't mind

Yes. You do mind! You mind! You wrote a song about it, you passive-aggressive prick.

You just kinda wasted my precious time

Ah yes. Your time is so precious! Think about all the hours you wasted plumbing the ocean-deep, ecstatic mysteries of human partnership when you could have been futzing around with that home-brew kit.

Photo by Bill Bradford/Flickr.

The minute you start breaking it down, the message of "Don't Think Twice" suddenly starts to seem a lot less romantic. Like your sister's ex-boyfriend, who worked at the Bass Pro Shop in town for a while and now might be in jail. Like your aunt's wind chime store, which would have closed forever ago had she not received that inheritance from her mom in the '80s. Like your friend's cool dad, who wasn't exactly, technically, paying child support.

Oh yeah, and the song's narrator also point-blank refers woman he's leaving as:

A child, I'm told

That's right. In addition to being a run-of-the-mill passive-aggressive jerk — turns out, he's also possibly a pedophile.

Even if we are to accept that this is a metaphor and she's not actually a child — which there's no indication it is, but OK, Bob Dylan — the fact that Commitmentphobe Gunderson here would willingly choose an immature partner reflects way more poorly on him than it does on her.

Breaking up with anyone in such a cruel, dismissive way is a recipe for sticking them with years of therapy bills.

Which, I suppose, may be the point.

4. "Leaving on a Jet Plane," by John Denver

Who has two thumbs and wrote a bittersweet folk song about hurtling through the stratosphere in a giant aluminum tube at 600 miles per hour?

John Denver

Photo by Hughes Television Network/Wikimedia Commons.

Here's why it sounds romantic:

"Leaving on a Jet Plane" is a lovely song. And impressive in its loveliness because jet planes were still kind of new at the time it was written.

'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane

To a modern ear, this would be sort of like singing, "I'm a scoooting away on my hoverboooooard," but in a way that's somehow still folksy and heartbreaking and singable by 9-year-olds at summer camp. Not easy to do!

Oh babe, I hate to go

You see — he hates to go! He just hates it! We know this, because he tells us he hates it. And why would he hate to go if he didn't love his partner just that much?

Photo by Altair78/Wikimedia Commons.

Why indeed?

Here's why it's actually not that romantic at all:

All the plaintive guitar, loping bass line, and twangy, melancholy warbling in the world can only distract so much from the fact that the song's main character is well, kind of a jerkweed.

And in reality — surprise surprise! — it doesn't actually seem like he hates being away all that much:

There's so many times I've let you down
So many times I've played around
I tell you now, they don't mean a thing

"Babe, I promise! All the movies I watched alone while you were home nursing the quadruplets. All the times I drained our life savings on Zoo Zillionaire. All the random sex I had with other women. Totally meaningless. Certainly fun to do! Really fun. Like, I had a fantastic time. But rest assured — completely empty, in an ontological sense."

Yes, when you break it down, "Leaving on a Jet Plane," is less of a passionate tribute to love overcoming distance and more the deluded ramblings of a guy who needs to convince himself he's "good" despite all evidence to the contrary.

And for all he claims to be broken up about having to part from his one and only, the dude seems pretty excited about the flight. Oh, you're leaving on a jet plane, are you? Are you Zone 1? Gonna humblebrag on Twitter about the "terrible" Cibo express salad you were forced to choke down as you sat waiting to embark on your fun, mysterious adventure?

Photo by Gesalbte/Wikimedia Commons

He continues:

Ev'ry place I go, I'll think of you
Ev'ry song I sing, I'll sing for you

Ah cool. He'll think about her while strumming and making "my love is delicate as the morning dew" eyes at a waif-y grad student in the front row. That pretty much makes up for it all.

Then he demands:

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me

After all the betrayal and heartbreak, after basically revealing himself to be a grade-A sleaze who can't be trusted, he still has the gall to tell her to wait? To wait for him?

And here's the kicker:

When I come back, I'll bring your wedding ring

Ah yes. He'll put a ring on it. Finally.

Unlike all the previous trips, where he's cheated a billion times, drained the family bank account, and just been a general screwup and disappointment.

But yeah. This time he says he'll bring back a wedding ring.

I hope she joins a polyamorous octad and never looks back.

5. "When a Man Loves a Woman," Percy Sledge

When you look up "soul" in the dictionary, the book plays you a recording of this song.

Percy Sledge

Photo by Gene Pugh/Flickr.

Specifically, it plays you the very first line.

Here's why it sound very romantic:

When a man loves a woman

Sure, you can write the lyrics down, but it doesn't even come close to capturing the heartache. The yearning. The delicious, delicious pain-belting:

WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN

Closer ... but still no.

WHEN A MAAAAAAAN. LOVES A WOOOMAN!

Yes! Sing it, Percy Sledge!

It's an elemental lyric.

It's a heart-shattering lyric.

It's a lyric that demands you put your back into it.

It's perfection.

As long as you don't keep listening.

Here's why the song is actually pretty horrifying:

From the opening lines of "When a Man Loves a Woman," we know that, at least on occasion, a man loves a woman.

Which raises the question: What happens when said man loves said woman?

He'd give up all his comforts
And sleep out in the rain
If she said that's the way
It ought to be.

Whoa! OK. No. Back up. A man, no matter how devoted, no matter how selfless, no matter how in love, needs shelter. Otherwise, a man will die of exposure and hypothermia.

Turn his back on his best friend if he put her down.

No! Jeez. No. A man can't put up with that kind of isolating behavior. A man needs friends! Once a man's whole support system erodes out from under him, a man will be bitter, ungrounded, and alone. And a man's mental health will deteriorate.

I gave you everything I have
Tryin' to hold on to your heartless love
Baby, please don't treat me bad.

This is not what happens "when a man loves a woman." It's what happens when a man loves a controlling, manipulative woman. An abusive woman. A woman who, in truth, only loves a woman. Herself.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

And that's not healthy.

Run, Percy Sledge, run! We're here for you.

(Side note: Lest it go unsaid, there is way more than one way for a man to love a woman. Maybe they spend every waking moment cuddling and bopping each other on the nose. Maybe they sleep in separate bedrooms. Maybe they dress up in large, plush cat costumes and refer to each other Mr. and Mrs. Kittyhawk. And when a man loves a man, I imagine it feels much the same. Or when a woman loves a woman. Or when a gender nonconforming person loves a gender nonconforming person.)

Regardless of the depth of commitment, living situation, or combination of genders or sexual orientations, there's no one-size-fits-all love solution. Every relationship is a unique snowflake. Variety is the spice of life. Necessity is the mother of invention. There's more than one way to skin a cat. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. It doesn't matter if it's the right metaphor, as long as it's a metaphor.

Point being: Generalize at your peril, Sledge. And please, seek help! You can do this! And if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, please give these people a call.

Photo by Rosmarie Voegtli/Flickr.

6. "All I Wanna Do is Make Love to You," Heart

Honestly, Heart could sing a list of the most popular AllRecipes ("Jaaaamie's Cranberry Spinach Saaaaalad/World's Best Lasaaaaagna/Sour Creeeeeam Cutouts") and it would make me want to bawl my eyes out in the arms of a tall, dark stranger at the end of a pier.

This song is perfect. You should always be listening to it. If you're not listening to it now, smack yourself in the face and Google it. It's just that important.

I am singing the phone book. You are weeping like a tiny baby. Photo by FatCat125/Wikimedia Commons.

Nancy and Ann Wilson playing at a charity concert

FatCat125/Wikimedia Commons

So much passion. So much pain. So much hair.

Here's why it sounds romantic:

Over pounding drums and a soaring melody, Heart sisters Nancy and Ann Wilson deliver a primal tribute to the one true romantic fantasy shared by every living being on Earth: picking up an unnervingly attractive man for one night of mind-blowing sex and then releasing him back into the wild to bone — but never quite as compellingly ever again.

They sing:

It was a rainy night when he came into sight
Standing by the road, no umbrella, no coat
So I pulled up alongside and I offered him a ride
He accepted with a smile so we drove for a while

I don't have to go on because you know what happens next, and it's awesome.

Now, here's why this song is not romantic at all:

The relationship in "All I Wanna Do" seems too good to be true. And it is. Because it's not an equally loving ,or even equally lusty, pairing at all.

It's a...

It's a...

Well. You know what it is:

For a while, things are humming along just fine, like any wholesome, illicit, anonymous affair should:

I didn't ask him his name, this lonely boy in the rain
Fate, tell me it's right, is this love at first sight?

Sure, many of us might hesitate to pick up a strange leather-jacket-clad man standing on the side of the road for a no-strings-attached screw, but our narrator just has a feeling about this guy, and sometimes, you gotta go with your gut.

I can respect that.

We made magic that night
He did everything right

Great! Seems like it was a good decision. Bonking the hitchhiker is payin' off big time.

But then, without warning, the song starts to sound less like an all-time great romance and more like a story men's rights activists tell each other as they vape around a campfire:

I told him "I am the flower, you are the seed
We walked in the garden, we planted a tree
Don't try to find me, please don't you dare
Just live in my memory, you'll always be there"

I'm not a poet. Symbolic language often eludes me. But unless "flower," "seed," "garden," and "tree," suddenly mean wildly different things in the context of human reproduction than they have since sex was first invented in the early-1970s, we're talking about a surprise, non-mutually-consensual pregnancy!

HELLO! Photo by Avsar Aras/Wikimedia Commons

Of course, metaphors are opaque, interpretations vary, etc., etc., etc. You might be tempted to think, "Maybe Heart meant something else by that."

To that I say, no, they definitely meant it:

Then it happened one day
We came round the same way
You can imagine his surprise
When he saw his own eyes

There are two possibilities here.

One: The narrator of the song is recently-deceased Jerry Orbach from this creepy New York City subway ad from nine years ago:

Photo by eyedonation.org

Or two: She totally conned a dude into whipping up a baby on the sly.

I said, "Please, please understand

Ah, sure. Yeah. No worries.

I'm in love with another man

Cool, so this all makes sense and is in no way the nightmarish scheme of a deranged sociopath who has now wrecked not one but two lives.

And what he couldn't give me, oh, no
Was the one little thing that you can"

A HUMAN LIFE! A REAL SENTIENT HUMAN LIFE THAT IS NOT INCIDENTAL TO ALL OF THIS!

The best you can say about that is that it's not technically illegal, and that leather-jacket man probably should have been responsible for his own birth control. Or, at the very least, asked more questions .

But ... it's not cute. It's not romantic (even the Wilson sisters themselves agree).

And at the end of the day, the shadiest character in this song is somehow not the rain-soaked hitchhiker wandering to nowhere in the night.

Which... is saying something.

But there is a love song that is truly, madly, deeply perfect. An unassailable track in a sea of problematic faves.

A song that does everything right.

A song that paints a portrait of a healthy partnership built to last.

A song that can double as a manual for the ideal human romantic relationship.

And that song is...

"Candy Shop," by 50 Cent, featuring Olivia

Here's why you might be — OK, almost definitely are — skeptical:

As catchy as "Candy Shop" is, as fun it is to dance to, and as cathartic as it can be to scream in the middle of a crowded fraternity house at 2 a.m., there's no getting around the fact that the song begins like this:

I'll take you to the candy shop
I'll let you lick the lollipop

I'll post that again, in case you missed some of the nuance:

I'll take you to the candy shop
I'll let you lick the lollipop

Way to take one for the team, narrator of "Candy Shop"!

At first glance, "Candy Shop" is nobody's idea of a classic love song.

The lyrics are ... unusually forward. The beat is kinda basic. The hook is like the music they play when Abu Nazir sidles scarily by in "Homeland."

It doesn't get played much anymore. When it does resurface, it feels ... kinda dated. Like watching that DVD of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" on your new Xbox 360.

It's not a song you'd put on a mixtape for your crush. It's not a song you'd play for your spouse when the kids are at home with the babysitter and you've got nine hours to tear up the Piscataway Hampton Inn. It's certainly not a song you'd include on the video photo montage you made for your grandparents' silver anniversary.

It's just not.

But it should be.

So here it is. Here's why "Candy Shop" by 50 Cent, featuring Olivia, is actually the perfect relationship song:

The bass drum hits. The MIDI violins whine. The singer starts filling out his fellatio permission slip. It's only been 20 seconds, and you're already getting ready to hang it up with "Candy Shop."

But then ... over the square thrum and the mewling strings, a miracle occurs — in the form of a female voice joining the track, cutting through the din like a clarion call.

She sings:

I'll take you to the candy shop (yeah)
Boy, one taste of what I got (uh-huh)
I'll have you spendin' all you got (come on)
Keep going 'til you hit the spot, whoa

It's mutual! It's mutual! They're performing oral sex oneach other!

Ring the bells! Bang the drums! Release the doves!

Photo by liz west/Flickr

Go, cunnilingus doves, go!

50 Cent himself may not be the world's greatest partner — for example, according to one of his exes, he's done some pretty unforgivable things.

But the narrator of "Candy Shop"? He gets it:

You could have it your way, how do you want it?

Rather than simply imposing his desires on the person he's with — a la the dude in "God Only Knows ("I'm going to invest my entire sense of self-worth in you!") or the street heckler in "Treasure" ("I'm going to treat you like a chest full of gold doubloons!") or the sociopath in "All I Wanna Do is Make Love to You," ("I'm going to trick you into knocking me up!") — the "Candy Shop" guy actually asks his partner what she wants.

Which, in the world of popular music, is good for about 50,000 trillion points.

And where are they going to do it? The hotel? Back of the rental? The beach? The park?

It's whatever you're into

'Cause consent is sexy!

I ain't finished teaching you 'bout how sprung I got ya

The narrator of "Candy Shop" is certainly ... assertive about his desires.

But here's the key thing: the lady on the receiving end of those desires? She's clearly into it. And we know this because she says so.

The lines of consent in "Candy Shop" are bright red, highlighted, and soldered into the weirdly sticky club floor.

Grim23/Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, Robin Thicke is outside trying to convince the bouncer that his uncle is a lawyer.

Girl what we do ...
And where we do ...
The things we do ...
Are just between me and you

No matter how nasty they freak, it will be intimate. It will be private. There will be no revenge porn (the epilogue to "Blurred Lines," to wit, would definitely be a protracted, emotionally devastating lawsuit).

If you be a nympho, I'll be a nympho

Sexual compatibility is key to the survival of any relationship, whether years, weeks, or (very possibly in the case of "Candy Shop") minutes long.

She may have a high sex drive, but dude is graciously offering to accommodate her. What a gentleman! These crazy kids just might go the distance after all.

And at the end of the day, what is a relationship but two nymphos, sharing health insurance?

Thanks, Obamacare! Photo by Wonderlane/Flickr

It's like it's a race who could get undressed quicker

Again, everybody is having a great time. And, critically, an equally great time.

I touch the right spot at the right time

Of course, it wouldn't be a pop/hip-hop hit without a spot of random braggadocio, but if we're to take him at his word, "Candy Shop" guy is at least as good at "doing everything right" as the anonymous hitchhiker from "All I Wanna Do is Make Love to You" — except without all the creepy surprise baby nonsense.

The "Candy Shop" guy is a keeper. Because he's not a hero or a stranger in the night or a funky, shimmering love god. He's a good partner.

"Candy Shop" is raunchy. It's dirty. It's not your grandmother's love song.

But when you strip away the swagger, the back beat, and the weird strings from "Best of Public Domain Middle Eastern Music 1993," by the end of the song, both people are satisfied. And at the end of the day, isn't that what a healthy relationship is all about?

Yeah.

Uh-huh.

So seductive.


This article originally appeared on 12.21.22