Girl, Wash Your Face Review

One of my resolutions this year is to read one book a month. It isn’t a lot, but it’s realistic, so any extra reads will be a great bonus. For January, I chose Girl, Wash Your Face. It was interesting timing because I recently saw a Facebook post in a group going around talking about how Rachel Hollis’ book, GWYF, was close-minded and uptight. I hadn’t read it at the time I saw the argument going on, but I was surprised that so many girls from this group of typically very accepting people had such hard feelings toward the author of GWYF, so I became increasingly curious as to what fired people up about this bestselling author.

My best friend Audrey gave me the audiobook for my birthday last month, and I’ve finally listened to more than half of it. I feel compelled to write about it now, though, because while listening I have had several moments where I want to throw my hands up and scream, “YES. THIS IS HOW I FEEL!” It’s such a joy to find novels, blogs, and television shows that just get you. In a world that feels so incredibly big, it’s always comforting to know there are other people who have things in common with you. Whether it’s your beliefs, sense of humor, hobbies, or interests, knowing that you aren’t alone is so important for every human being.

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Instagram: msrachelhollis

I am sick of the old narrative that says just because someone is living their life a different way than the majority, that they are a judgmental bigot. One of the biggest criticisms I saw floating around was that Hollis wasn’t relatable because her ideas about sex weren’t realistic. Spoiler alert: she waited to have sex until she was with her husband. Something that bothers me is that there is no place in the entertainment world for virgins or people who want to save sex for someone special. Hollis is in no way the names girls called her; she is just different than what the norm of the group posts about.

Just because Rachel held her virginity close to her own heart does not mean she is shaming others for having sex with multiple people. I absolutely hate that women can’t talk about this freely without being criticized for being close-minded or a prude. Women in this typically nonjudgmental group began talking about how the author seemed condescending and high-strung. Honestly, I can see how Girl Wash Your Face might not be relatable to everyone, but I didn’t get this vibe at all. There is a reason this book became a bestseller; there are so many women out there who can relate and feel a lot less alone while consuming Hollis’ words. There is a need for women to speak out about virginity and waiting to have sex because they exist too. Instead of continuing the narrative that these women are boring, uptight, and judgmental, we need to move to a safe middle ground of realizing that sexual preferences do not make a person or dictate what their personality is like. Sex is a verb, it isn’t an adjective that describes what a person is like at their core. 

Hollis actually has an entire chapter about sex and I absolutely loved it. I don’t think anyone would actually keep calling her the names they’ve bestowed upon her after reading it, and her views on being intimate are actually really healthy. She talks about the way she views sex, and she isn’t boring or vanilla in the least. She writes about different seasons through her sex life with her husband and the realistic ebb and flow that most people will experience. This is just another opportunity Hollis takes to talk about something that could be difficult for some of her readers, and help them see that they are — in fact — normal human beings.

Women who choose to keep sex as something for a monogamous relationship or for marriage need to feel less alone too. We have moved to a time in society where we know that you’re not a bad person for sleeping with multiple people. We accept being sexually active as a societal norm, and as long as you’re a normal human being you don’t shame other people for their preferences. This should include the young people who are saving themselves for one person, though. There aren’t many positive examples of people like this in the media. You don’t watch a television show and see a badass virgin who has a likable personality and is someone others look up to. Talking about someone being a virgin in the media is typically not done, and if it is, it is portraying a young girl losing her virginity to “become an woman” or honing in on the storyline of a lack of sex for a nerdy character. You don’t see normal twenty-something virgins in movies or on television — in Hollywood, they don’t exist. In the real world, though, they do. They are normal people who just haven’t done the deed yet, and I think we need to do a better job of acknowledging that you aren’t broken if you haven’t had those experiences yet. Sex is a beautiful thing that shouldn’t be taboo to talk about, but it also should never be used to shame someone for their lack of experience either.

Imagine making fun of someone for running — or not. Picture judging their personality solely on being a runner, not based on anything else like how friendly they are, how kind they are, or how smart they are. Running an activity that people often enjoy or never participate in; it doesn’t dictate what they’re like as a person. Sex is the same concept. You don’t suddenly change drastically because you are sexually active; you just have a new activity in your life. Sex is fun, and an incredible way to connect with someone you love, but it isn’t something that will change the core of your being.

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Instagram: msrachelhollis

If you haven’t read GWYF yet, I highly recommend it. It’s a light read and Rachel is an awesome motivational speaker — it feels like she’s just a friend offering advice. I love her little words of wisdom on Instagram, and am obsessed with this quote she attributes to her therapist,

“Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business.”

I think we can all learn a little lesson from this on fearlessly being ourselves. Many of our biggest fears stem from what other people think about us. This year I’m trying my best to put my blinders on and share my thoughts without worrying about the opinions of others. I think this is going to be the best way to really connect with people, even though I might also reach some people who just don’t understand my heart. Subscribe to my email list to get some extra premium content this year! I have a lot to say and am excited to be sharing more with you all.

Hooking Up Is Easy

Dating is easy, hooking up is easier.

In a world that finds sex before it looks for love, we find ourselves settling for mediocracy. I can’t tell you how many young women I have spoken to who feel broken and confused from the dating world. They have tried desperately to find “the one,” but keep getting chewed up and spit out by the vicious cycle that is the hookup culture.

Neither men nor women are solely to blame for what dating has become. We have both played an integral role in shaping this new reality. If you want to have sex, you can download an app. Maybe the first few matches won’t oblige, but there are endless possibilities of people who are looking for the same casual encounters.

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Something that bothers me is the way people don’t have to work for intimacy anymore — at all. You can find someone you’re attracted to and swipe right. If you have a match who is on there for the same reasons, you have a near immediate hookup. People don’t have to court each other or even know each other to use each other to have a few minutes of pleasure. Our generation has been conditioned to want things quickly and with ease. When it comes to sex, we have both of those things. Whether it’s at the tip of our fingertips with porn or a “dating” app, this generation knows that sex is accessible for anyone at any given time.

You know what sucks about all of this? Something that is common and easy to get isn’t special. 

Sex isn’t special anymore because our virginity isn’t something that’s cool to hold onto, and because we’re taught that watching men and women have an intimate moment on a computer screen is normal and okay. We are taught from movies that even the goofiest of comedians who make a living on playing “social outcasts” on the big screen can get in bed with a sultry actress. Instead of alluding to the fact that couples have slept together, we watch it all play out on screen. We watch drunken hookups, naked women prance around the bedroom playfully, and lots and lots of casual sex.

When did this kind of media become the norm? Why does something with a story line as incredible as Game of Thrones feel the need to fill it’s airtime with nudity and excessive sex scenes? Like I’ve said before — it’s because sex sells. People lust over the flawless bodies they see on screen and are desensitized to this being an intimate, special act. Instead of sex being saved for someone you really care about, it’s thought of as a purely physical act of making both parties “feel good” temporarily.

Having sex so available in the world hurts real life relationships. Instead of seeing your partner for how perfectly imperfect she is and having eyes and a heart only for her, other bodies are tossed around like confetti. They are stuck under the glow of faux candlelight, flaunted in front of a captive audience, and teach that it’s okay to look and lust, just not touch.

I strongly believe your body is your own, and you should be able to do what you want with it. I’m not buying the bullshit that casual sex isn’t hurting the greater population, though. I think it leaves us brokenhearted, confused, and hurt more than anything. Casual sex might not be something that you think hurts you until it’s already affected your life. Whether you meet someone you love more than anything and wish you hadn’t given so much of your own body to others before, or you realize that sleeping with someone didn’t fix the problems in the bond you have with someone, regret is often a symptom that comes with casual sex.

I want to encourage you to make decisions for yourself. Don’t buy in to the fact that “everyone” is hooking up, don’t listen to the man who tells you that if you were into him you would want to give him pleasure, and hold tight to your own morals — even if everyone around you appears to be doing the same things. It isn’t easy living differently in such a sex-saturated world. I promise you, though, at the end of the day you will never regret not having a casual encounter with someone, whereas the regret that can come after a hookup can be life-changing. Our hearts are built for love, they’re created to attach, and it’s normal to want to have a personal connection with the person you’re sleeping with. Don’t let society tell you that you’re weird for wanting these things. Sex is such a beautiful thing, but if it’s given away at every fleeting desire, it becomes something that, by definition, isn’t special anymore. How different would life be if we thought more about the really incredible person we are going to end up with, rather than giving in to the temporary desires of our bodies? What would the world be like if instead of saying its “just” sex, we taught the next generation that it’s actually an incredibly intimate and special action that should and does have feelings attached to it? I might be in the minority, but this is something I think we should start teaching our children and encouraging in our peers. Sex is a special thing, and you aren’t wrong in saving it for someone who means something to you.

Let’s Talk About Sex

That’s a headline I’m sure grabbed your attention. I try my best to keep this blog very PG/PG-13. If you know me in person you know this isn’t at all difficult for me. I don’t usually curse (Unless I get frightened, stub my toe, or something bad happens in a competitive game of Mario Kart), and I throw around the word “inappropriate” for a decent amount of the shows you see on TV.

Sex isn’t something that I talk about very often, and although I am happy to speak to friends about it freely, it isn’t something I would typically like to touch on in my little corner of the internet. After logging onto SnapChat for the first time in months, though, I feel like I want to speak out to some of my younger readers. Heck, maybe some of my twentysomething readers will even be able to relate. I was certainly a late bloomer — I didn’t have my first real boyfriend until I was 19 — so if there are any other Krista’s out there, you are not alone.

I’ve been wary to write about sex for a few reasons. First, because just about everyone I know reads this blog — including relatives and people I haven’t spoken with in years. There are people who I would cringe if I knew they read this. The second reason is incredibly selfish, though. I’m afraid of being judged. I don’t want to lose my readers who disagree with me, and I also don’t want people to think that I believe it’s my way or the highway. I have friends and family from all walks of life, and I couldn’t be prouder and happier for each and every one of them, no matter how they’re choosing to go about dating. My Single in The Suburbs family has been one that I’ve grown to love and care about deeply, and I never want to hurt anyone by the words I choose to piece together for a post.

What I don’t want to do, though, is keep quiet about a subject that makes so many people feel so alone. I’ve had interesting life experiences that have left me feeling by myself on both sides of the spectrum. I think I understand each twentysomething’s heart, and I’ve felt broken enough that I want to be able to share my experiences to better other people’s lives.


Anyway, back to SnapChat… Most of you probably already know that there are a bunch of pre-followed accounts on your Snap homepage. Some of those include Cosmopolitan, Buzzfeed, Self, and Esquire, to name a few. More than half of the stories that are preloaded on my feed are about sex. Whether it’s something like, “The Drunken Hookups You’re Happy to Forget,” “Bringing Him Home, And Blowing His Mind,” or “how to” instructions, the articles all scream the same thing. Sex is meant to be casual, it’s everywhere you look, and there aren’t any consequences for your one night stand. The pictures to get you to go to the story take everything a step further. This once-PG-app now has women in Victoria’s Secret lingerie sitting on men’s laps or lying in bed with a sultry look on their face — and they’re just dying for you to click on them.

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The media does a beautiful job of making sex look glamorous, carefree, and casual without taking note of the consequences that it can bring. It wants you to think that sex is purely physical, and there aren’t emotional strings that get tied up when you get that intimate with someone.

Friends and Seinfeld are two popular TV shows* a lot of us grew up watching, and though they are pretty mild, they are incredibly casual about the romantic encounters that take place. Jerry has dozens of girlfriends throughout the series, many of which have encounters with him that are later recounted to friends. There is an episode called, “The Virgin,” where the friends all discuss what it must be like for Jerry to be dating someone pretty who he’s not sleeping with. Someone on Reddit decided to count how many people the main characters of the beloved Friends slept with, and the number reaches almost 140.

Then we have shows like Sex And The City, How I Met Your Mother, and even Gossip Girl for young teens. Everything we watch has a common theme: most of the characters are having a lot of casual sex.

“Okay Krista, I get it, we watch sex on television. So what? Why are you so bothered? They’re all consenting adults and it isn’t even real.” This is what I’m imagining many of my friends are screaming back at me. I understand that sex is a very real, everyday part of the world, and I do like television shows I feel like I can connect with. My question for Hollywood, though, is where are the real consequences of casual sex in the shows we consume? Rarely do you see a character on the big screen going to get tested for STDs or worrying about being pregnant, and having the result be a little plus sign that changes their life forever. What about the emotional attachment sex creates with someone? When you really think about it, sex is an incredibly special and interpersonal experience that could actually end up creating a human life. It’s something that I believe connects most people with their partner in a much deeper way anything else in this world.

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I recently heard about a reality television contestant I have always thought seemed cool getting a girl pregnant on a one night stand. He will remain nameless, but he was interviewed about his experience and told us that he was going to try to make things work with the mother so that his child could be raised in a home with a mother and father. Wouldn’t it be so much easier choosing a partner, then creating a baby, rather than the other way around? The thought of marriage and commitment scares a lot of twentysomethings — and rightfully so with the divorce rate pushing 50% in the United States — but raising a child is such a crazy feat that I can’t imagine doing it with a near stranger. Maybe it’s because of all my goofy first date experiences, but seeing just how few people make it to a second, then a third date makes potentially raising a child with one of them an incredibly terrifying thought.

Now, if I haven’t lost you yet, I’d like to leave you with this. What exactly is benefiting us by having such a heavily sex-saturated media? You’ve heard the phrase “Sex Sells” before. The media isn’t our friend, rather they are trying to make a living off of consumption. Sex is such an easy thing to sell, why not integrate it into their business model?

When I worked at Seventeen you would be shocked with some of the questions young girls sent in. The questions wondering about health and safety weren’t always answered, but the interesting ones sure were! Of course, this magazine is one of the “better” ones, since their goal audience is young women and their pledge is to help encourage and strengthen them. Magazines like Cosmopolitan take things a step further to boost sales and increase entertainment value. They don’t care about you as an individual. The media is out for themselves, and they prioritize sales above your health and wellbeing. Instead of putting your faith in the things you read online, find friends and family you trust to have open conversations about your love life.

So, I encourage you if you are young and feel alone in the world to know that not everyone out there is built for casual hookups, and you aren’t the only one who feels too emotionally connected to other human beings to have that as a healthy part of your life. I actually don’t think we’re the minority; I think we are just enormously underrepresented. This is why I decided to finally speak out on the matter, and I will continue to share my viewpoints so that others who feel like the minority will realize that sometimes people are just quiet about their choices if they aren’t what seem popular — you are absolutely not alone


*Friends and Seinfeld are two of my favorite shows on television, but I do cringe at the thought of youngsters watching them and shaping their brains to think that dozens of casual hookups are the norm.