Tag Archives: women and men

A little thrill, a little love, a little lesson

I am going to let you in on a widely known secret: 90% of the time my brain is occupied with romance. How to recognize it (a skill I woefully lack). How to get it (again, not my strong suit). How to define it (yeah, not great there either). How, how, how. I am, without a doubt, a romance addict. A fifteen year-old giggling girl in a thirty-six year-old woman’s body. The thing is, I wasn’t boy crazy at fifteen – that didn’t kick in till I was nearly thirty.

As a romance addict, my latest drug of choice is the Modern Love blog from the New York Times. The other day I read Albert Stern’s essay on his son’s first crush and the girl who stole his heart. A ten minute episode in the life of a two year-old that spoke to the past, the present, and the future of romantic encounters.

Romance is a constant, like prime numbers or Pi. There is a high, then a low that results in either success or failure. Or, as Stern put it: “First you have a little thrill, then a little fun, then a little disappointment, and then come the brain-eating zombies.” How true, how very true.

The muddy paths and March winds tend to bring romance to my door. My most romantic moments have happened in the month of March. This fact has led some of my family and friends to deem March my hottest month. Thus far, there haven’t been any takers in 2013, but we are only thirteen days in so there’s time.

Should romance knock, I’ll be sure to enjoy the ride while keeping an eye out for the brain-eating zombies.

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Heartbeats or heartbreaks?

As I’ve mentioned, last week I spent a lot of time people watching and wondering and realizing. I wondered why some men make clearly unwanted moves. Or why seemingly great guys are unreliable jerks. And how (some) absolute bastards end up being the most gentlemanly of all. Finally, I wondered why so many men choose the path of distant indifference instead of taking a heartfelt chance.

There have been a couple of articles on the death of chivalry and benevolent sexism; I even read about the current hook-up culture. All were interesting and had their useful points, but none really answered my basic question: What is the matter with men? Or, as a work colleague lamented (in a very funny tirade) “Where are the real men?”

But what is a realman? What qualities should he possess? What habits shouldn’t he possess? And what are the guilty pleasures in a man’s behaviour that you really shouldn’t like but can’t help but love?

This past year has been an education for me on what I want, what I need, and what I won’t deal with anymore. The whole thing has been eye-opening. I’ve gone from ‘2012 is the year of the hook-up’ to ‘2012/13 is the year for a sweet guy’. It has closed doors I’d propped open, waiting for that guy to get a clue and realize I’m the one. It has also pushed me to take chances I’d never have taken before with my heart and my pride.

I don’t have the answers yet, but I’d like your opinion…

What qualities does a true man possess? (For me he has to return texts/messages in a timely manner. I hate being left hanging especially when I rarely text/call in the first place.)

What are the most aggravating and stupid habits/qualities/personalities you’ve encountered? (My favorite is still the ex-farmer boy who thought telling me he was ‘horny as a three-legged billy goat’ was going to get him a green light.)

And, if given the opportunity, what wisdom would you like to pass onto men of what a woman needs to be happy? (Tell us we’re pretty or you miss us. So few men ever do.)

Guys, if you have input on us ladies I’m all ears too!

Your answers will help me out greatly. I’ll compile them in a couple of different lists so all input is welcome!

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Hide and seek

I was amazingly, ridiculously, unabashedly obnoxious to a friend this past week. For this I am very sorry…but not exactly repentant. I’ve apologized to him but haven’t gotten a response so, well, I’m pretty sure he’s pissed at me. Why was I such a brat? What set me off? What hidden anger was revealed for me to act out so childishly?

He was hiding. He was afraid of something and instead of standing in the line of fire – a torrent of ‘how are you’s,’ ‘how have things been,’ and ‘we missed you’s’ – he chose to hide. And to me hiding was unacceptable. I got so frustrated and angry at him because he does this all the time. He shows the world a confident, cocky, capable, and accomplished face and whenever you get close enough to see anything else he pushes you away. Actually, he pushes me away…again and again. So this week’s act of failing to show for an event he’d cautiously accepted kind of sent me over the edge. I was disappointed that he didn’t have the strength to be vulnerable.

I’ll admit that I had a bit of a tantrum. No, I didn’t stomp my feet or cry – Instead I organized the near-constant bombardment of text messages to his phone for an hour by three or four people.

We will likely not speak for several months.

But here is where I’m not repentant: As obnoxious as my behaviour may have been, each one of those messages let him know how much he was missed – and that I do not regret.

Strength in vulnerability is a phrase I’ve had rolling around and around in my head lately. Men have it all wrong. They think that being tough and indifferent and cocky shows a woman how strong they are. Actually, at some point men started to work on the premise that indifference was an acceptable approach to women…It isn’t.

You know what shows real strength? Being vulnerable. And you know the most vulnerable things a man could do? To be kind, courteous and well mannered to a woman. Asking to buy a drink, holding a door, offering to carry a box or bag for a woman. It is basic, gentlemanly behavior that is so rarely practiced because we, as women, have been taught to decline. Today when a man offers any of those things he’s more likely to be brushed off and rejected – no matter how unintentionally – than accepted.

I want more men to realize that taking a chance, showing their vulnerability, keeping their promises (no matter how loosely offered), and just plain being nice to a woman shows so much more strength than anything else. And don’t hide – ever. Don’t ever hide from things you fear most. Be strong enough to face the hurt, the embarrassment, the pity and the awkward moments. Nothing changes if you hide. Life doesn’t get easier, just more isolated. Problems don’t get solved, only bigger. Fear doesn’t fade, it magnifies.

Or you may come face to face with a tantrum.

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A theory on shopping…

I had a very strange sort of December. It was stressful (soooo stressful) but everything: every opportunity, every crisis and, yes, every mistake has moved me forward. I have one rather large mistake on my mind while I write this. One mistake that has made me think about men a little differently. Now, I’m going to meander a little so you have to bear with me…

It used to be that when I went shopping for clothes I’d get disgusted and frustrated and walk out of a store with an ugly sweater I was never going to wear and a pair of shoes that looked pretty but I knew were going to cause me pain in the long run. I hated clothes shopping with a passion until I decided to look at it not as a war against my body but a scavenger hunt. You see, when I shop these days I take a carpet bombing strategy. I pick up three different sizes, I grab things I think look ugly on the rack, I grab things I think I’ll love. Pretty much I grab anything I can carry and lumber into the dressing room like a woman overcome by some sort of hoarding psychosis.

The results are often mixed. I find that I’m a size 12 in one thing and a size 16 in another. I realize that the beautiful white tunic makes my ass look huge and the ugly purple stripey cardigan makes my waist look small. I discover the most amazing opportunities while looking in that three-way mirror under flourescent lighting not only about the pieces of clothes I put on but about my idea and image of myself.

So, here’s the thing…I used to pick a man and set my hopes and dreams on him. I used to think that because he looked and sounded wonderful he’d look and sound wonderful for me. Sure, I’d smile at others and entertain them in flirty banter but my heart was set on that one or two fellas I thought were absolutely dreamy. And that played havoc with my love life or, rather, lack there-of.

Today I’m taking the same philosophy I have on clothes shopping and applying it to the men I come across as well. Pretty much I’ll scoop up any man who has the guts and the gusto to ask me out. I don’t care if he’s 450 lbs. or if he’s 5 foot 2. I don’t care if he’s an absolute hunk and 24 years old. My thought is that if you fall into my net I have to try you out (at least for a little while). Now, some are not going to be a good fit and that’s just fine but I’m not going to judge.

Which brings me to the idea of making mistakes. 2012 is the year of making mistakes. I’ve been too worried for too long about making the wrong move that I make no move what so ever…Which sucks by the way…December was my first mistake, he kissed me like I was a Big Mac and he was a starving man (not sexy). But hell, I gave it a whirl and it moved me forward.

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