20The relative state of dress or undress of the cover models is another coded element of the clinch. Although in the past this code seems to have been stricter than it is today,12 as a rule of thumb we can still assume that the more flesh is visible on the cover, the more sexually explicit the love scenes in the narrative are. The style in which the clinch image is drawn or photographed as well as the fashion and hairstyle worn by the cover models – all of which are cover elements that have been subjected to significant evolutions over the course of last three decades – are yet other coded parameters of the clinch that provide the experienced romance reader with additional information about the individual characteristics of the narrative – in this case, the date of publication. All of these parameters – time of publication, level of sensuality and subgenre – in fact serve to specify and singularize the text in the eyes of the romance reader. They function as important parameters of (narrative) differentiation within the romance genre’s system and thus give the romance reader significant information about the particular qualities of the text.
8. Act toward other people the way you wish they’d act toward you. If you wish your friends would help you find someone to date, see if you can fix up a friend. If you wish people would help you find a job, see if you can help someone else find a job. If you can’t think of a way to help someone you know, do something generous in a more impersonal way. For instance: commit to being an organ donor! When you’re feeling very low, it can be hard to muster the energy to help someone else, but you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel. Do good, feel good; it really works.
Much like yawning and a case of the giggles, happiness really is contagious. One study found that happiness has a waterfall effect among pals (and their pals… and their pals’ pals). When one person’s happy, it spreads to his or her friends and entire social network over the long term. Pretty much the most awesome way to influence other people, right?
We Americans often say that marriage is “hard work.” I’m not sure the Hmong would understand this notion. Life is hard work, of course, and work is very hard work—I’m quite certain they would agree with those statements—but how does marriage become hard work? Here’s how: Marriage becomes hard work once you have poured the entirety of your life’s expectations for happiness into the hands of one mere person. Keeping that going is hard work. A recent survey of young American women found that what women are seeking these days in a husband—more than anything else—is a man who will “inspire” them, which is, by any measure, a tall order. As a point of comparison, young women of the same age, surveyed back in the 1920s, were more likely to choose a partner based on qualities such as “decency,” or “honesty,” or his ability to provide for a family. But that’s not enough anymore. Now we want to be inspired by our spouses! Daily! Step to it, honey!
If you’re a person who doesn’t exercise at all, everything you do will be something different and it will all feel good. If you’re already athletic, you may hate the uncoordinated feeling you get when you try something new. You may see it as a setback, when it’s actually strengthening your weakest link. Free yourself from performance anxiety for forty-five days. You may like it so much that you want to try another variation for another forty-five days, and can keep switching things up, finding new ways to be happy.
It's because of our culture, our programming, the double-standard that we feel even as we know, as you say, Kate, that he could have been doing the same thing as well! The messages for women - and the labels attached to them - are so strong! It's why I always get such resistance when I suggest dating (not sleeping with) a few men at a time. And yet, it's doing exactly this that keeps everything in balance and keeps you from jumping too far ahead with anyone before they've shown you that they're truly worthy of you!
“He died,” she said coolly, and that settled it. Her father had died of death. The way people used to die, I suppose, before we knew very much about why or how. “When he died, we ate the water buffalo at his funeral.” At this memory, her face flashed a complicated array of emotions: sadness at the loss of her father, pleasure at the remembrance of how good the water buffalo had tasted.
Indeed, Mai was from Vietnam, but I realized later she would never have called herself Vietnamese. She was Hmong—a member of a small, proud, isolated ethnic minority (what anthropologists call “an original people”) who inhabit the highest mountain peaks of Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and China. Kurdish-like, the Hmong have never really belonged to any of the countries in which they live. They remain some of the world’s most spectacularly independent people—nomads, storytellers, warriors, natural-born anticonformists, and a terrible bane to any nation that has ever tried to control them.
Chau Vuong, a 33-year-old former equity analyst who specialized in pharmaceutical companies at the investment bank Robertson Stephens, admits he's never kissed a girl. He hopes that one day he'll get married and lose his virginity. "I don't actually date," he explains. "I just research it." With a doctorate in pharmacy and a background in computer science, the self-described "extreme type-A personality" works full time on a desperately personal project: "to solve dating by turning Google into a global dating service."
The Websters’ marriage, therefore, clearly did not launch from a place of passionate, personal, and fevered love—no more than the Hmong grandmother’s marriage had. We might therefore assume, then, that such a union is “a loveless marriage.” But we have to be careful about drawing such assumptions. I know better, at least when it comes to the case of the Websters.
We’re obviously big fans of exercise in general, but making time for a regular fitness session does more than just sculpt a strong physique. While getting your sweat on may not cause happiness, it can certainly contribute to it. Physical activity helps our bodies produce disease-fighting proteins—called antibodies—and our brains release endorphins. While antibodies boost happiness by keeping illness at bay, endorphins are feel-good chemicals that improve your mood while promoting feelings of euphoria. To top it all off, research suggests that regular activity may lead to lasting happiness. Long-term association between leisure-time physical activity and changes in happiness: analysis of the Prospective National Population Health Survey. Wang F, Orpana HM, Morrison H. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2012, Nov.;176(12):1476-6256. So it’s safe to say your gym membership pays off—physically and mentally—in the long run.