Archive for July, 2010

If you plan to spend your week-long vacation writing, it’s a good idea not to forget your computer at home.  Needless to say, I have no blog post this week, though I do have a question.

Aside from the obvious reasons (neglect, abuse, NASCAR fandom), when is it okay to try to convince a friend not to marry someone?

A friend of mine is troubled by the mean jerk her gal pal is fixin’ to wed and wants to take said pal aside for a serious chat.  I’ve always been a “live and let live” kind of person, assuming no one knows what’s happening inside of a relationship except the two people in it.  I say stay out of it, but…what say you?

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Once upon a time, there was a handsome boy named Mel Gibson.  He was a poor boy with only his dreams to keep him company, until one day on his way to market, a stranger handed him five beans.

“If you plant them overnight,” said the stranger, “by next morning they’ll grow high enough to touch the sky.”

Delighted, Mel ran home and tossed the beans into the garden.  The next morning, he looked out his window and saw a giant stalk stretching up as far as the eye could see.

“Holy smokes,” said Mel.

The little boy climbed and climbed until finally he reached a place called Hollywood , a magical land with castles and twinkling stars on sidewalks.  But Mel was most surprised to find a beautiful maiden standing beside him.

“Young Mel,” said the maiden.  “You shall become a hunky prankster who makes award-winning films and slews of zany, action-packed blockbusters with Joe Pesci.  Some of your movies will be crap, like the one with Goldie Hawn where everyone gets to see how hairy your butt is, but mostly, you shall stay relevant while simultaneously raising a family with a loving wife.”

Oh, how delighted Mel was!

“However,” warned the maiden.  “You must beware the giant who lives in yonder castle.  For he will take all that is yours.”

As the maiden predicted, Mel became a Tinseltown prince and met happiness beyond his wildest dreams.  Nearly everything our fair prince touched made the people of the land shout, “hooray, Mel, hooray!”

Then one day, unbeknownst to his friends in the village, Mel heard the giant call.

“Fee, fi, fo, fum, I smell the blood of a handsome stud.”

Bounding from his castle, the giant bellowed, “Behold, my name is Mental Illness.  I come to force you into impulsive actions and devilish mood swings.  You shall see yourself as a victim of circumstance and show frequent displays of inappropriate anger.  You shall abuse yourself and others, drink yourself into oblivion and completely destroy your relationships.  The lunacy you feel and terror you wreak on those you love will be beyond measure.”

The giant’s wife came frantically from the castle door to offer Mel special pills to make the giant go away, but the poor lad refused to take them.

Mel was sad.  He had all the riches in the world.  But he was lonely way up at the top of his beanstalk without a friend in the world.  Besides, there was a mean old giant chasing him!

Then one day, Mel met a princess.  Alas, he had found a true friend, a love to take care of his wounded heart and comfort his aching soul.

But was she an evil princess who only wanted Mel’s riches or a loving one tangled in the mire of his madness?  Surely, the princess should be saved from Mel’s wrath.  Yet, why was she so happy to tell the people of the land (and TMZ) what a maniacal freak Mel was, even though she was the mother of his newborn child?

Meanwhile, Mel was no longer able to create artistic treasures the villagers enjoyed and they had turned against him long before.  Thus, the giant visited Mel again and again.  But the villagers only laughed, unaware of the giant’s hold on their once beloved prince and without concern for the danger the giant could cause to those who crossed Mel’s path, including a woman and child.

“Let them laugh.”  The giant was pleased.  “No one in the land will know whether you are truly a racist, misogynist, fanatically religious schmuck or whether it is only I who feeds you such ire.  They will laugh at you, and as well they should, because you’re being a friggin’ a-hole.  But they shall never acknowledge the hell it is to live with a giant, nor offer understanding or help to those who do.”

Will Mel slay the giant?  Will he ever again find happiness at the top of his beanstalk?  Or will he slide back down into oblivion?

Stay tuned, kiddies.

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Months back, my friend Corey got a peculiar email from a woman with whom he’d gone on one date.  The email included an invitation to a second meeting, a string of compliments…and a picture of the girl buck naked.

Corey spent the next several days titillated and curious, but mostly confused. What did the Naked Girl, as we named her, hope to achieve with such a move?  If she was offering herself up as a booty call, should he dial her digits?  If she was a damaged soul, how could he make a clean break?  Ultimately, Corey was convinced to put an end to the madness.

I checked in with Corey about the Naked Girl the other day.  He’s still seeing her.

And how ‘bout this?  My friend Tommy introduced me to his pretty, sweet, kinda quirky new girlfriend at a gritty downtown pub.  We were sharing a plate of nachos when a glob of sour cream plopped onto the table.  Tommy’s girl plunged her finger into the glob then sucked the cream off it.  She ate food off the table. Did Tommy blush or chide her under his breath?  Nope.  He lovingly rolled his eyes then kissed her on the forehead.

Then there’s Jay who just caught his girl lying about dating other dudes online.  A few months before, she’d come home with an STD.  Jay was a wreck last week when I spoke to him about these recent events.  This week?  They’re working it out.

One more.  A chick who works with a friend of mine had a whirlwind, week-long romance with a guy visiting from out of town.  After the week was over, she “surprised” him by showing up at his apartment half-way across the country.  Although the act freaked him out big time, the gal continued to call constantly, send obsessive emails and make surprise visits.  You’d think the guy would move to Mars to avoid such insanity.  But he didn’t.  A few weeks later, he asked her to move in with him.

Boggles the mind.

I feel sorry for all the kind, stable, lovely single gals I know still struggling to find a partner.  The kind of gals who offer humor rather than nudie pics, wit rather than venereal disease.  These are women who don’t have to follow some arbitrary set of rules to land a man, they’re decent people so know them already: be considerate, give a man space if he needs it and love when he’s ready, be yourself but don’t be afraid to be a little dazzling and feminine.

Certainly, everyone deserves love, including the aforementioned females.  But how come so many gals who break every rule in the book are walking hand-in-hand with the apples of their eyes, while ladies with their act together stay solo?  I believe when someone feels a connection, nothing his or her partner does is wrong, including eating nachos off a table.  But I also wonder how many odd situations come together simply because people don’t want to be alone.

Regardless, I’m changing my tune as far as doling out romantic advice goes.  Screw the rules, I say.  Be a slob!  Be a psycho!  Give ‘im the Clap!

Worse case scenario, you suffer some embarrassment.  Best case?  You fall in love.

Want to know how Corey and the Naked Girl first met?  Check out “The Naked Girl.”

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Jack and I had our first romantic interlude on the 4th of July.  Back in college, going out with someone usually meant deciding to end up in the same place, so I wouldn’t have called it a proper date.  We met at Boston’s Charles River Esplanade, watched a couple bands and some fireworks, then Jack leaned over and said, “I dig you.”  The rest was history.

Over the years, I’ve come to believe relationships are meant to teach us how to relate authentically yet continue to be our most genuine selves.  Some folks need to learn selflessness, others intimacy, and some just need to learn to put the toilet seat down.

Kicking off my relationship life on Independence Day with Jack was hardly an insignificant twist of fate.  This first real love set me off on an endless quest to learn the meaning of freedom.  See, Jack already had a girlfriend.  Thus, our year-long liaison was an education in giving someone the space to have his own life outside of our shared life together.  However, I was too naïve to realize “space” might include time with the boys and creative pursuits, but probably shouldn’t include other girlfriends.

After Jack came a mostly happy marriage, until I discovered I’d built my world around someone else.  The whole enchilada was sure to crumble unless I made life more my own.  But the more fulfilled I became as an individual the less this particular person seemed to fit me.  Much as I loved my guy, I had to break free to survive.

After marriage, I wanted nothing even remotely close to a relationship.  I formed flimsy emotional bonds then backed out once things got too close.  To this day, I feel sorry for the poor fella who tried to hold my hand across the table on a dinner date only to have me freak out about feeling trapped.

Of course, I soon started wanting connection again but only came across sexy commitment phobes and men with life agendas that didn’t include me.  The subsequent disappointment always forced me back to self, where I had the choice between blubbering about lost love or making my own world even more interesting.  Choosing the latter may have been lonely.  But it also created a more enticing life for someone else to slip into or one to inhabit solo.

Maybe true love really is unconditional, maybe wanting someone to be fulfilled with or without you is the key.  If your woman or man needs to follow a path you’re not on, why not love ‘em anyway?  If love is real, you couldn’t stop anyway if you tried.  Nothing wrong with hoping the path leads back to you.

I’m thinking it’s not only me who needs to learn this lesson.  Maybe the next step we modern gals need to take is learning to balance drive and self-discovery with connection.  And maybe dudes need to learn to dig women’s independence.  Most importantly, we all have to learn to appreciate how much a relationship benefits from sharing it with someone who’s got a frickin’ life.

Happy Independence Day!

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