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Posts Tagged ‘commitment’

The girl sitting across from me on the subway was an exact replica of me at fourteen years old: chubby face, disobediently curly hair, a slim body struggling to develop and a slightly rowdy innocence that would one day cause some trouble. She looked so much like me I had to do a double take, convinced a miniaturized version of me was within arm’s reach.

I may have gone on without giving the matter much thought, except that there was something even more me-ish about the girl than her plump cheeks. She was pining away over a boy who apparently was giving her the run around. Moreover, she was testing the limits of friendship by giving the pal next to her every minute detail of their last conversation.

Me much?

The boy had told the girl to stop calling him. He didn’t want to talk to anyone right now. He wasn’t replying to any of her texts or returning her calls. Every so often, she’d call late, sometimes after midnight, and was surprised when he wasn’t home.

Fourteen-Year-Old Me was confused. Older Me knew there were only a few causes for such behavior and they all revolved around other girls, lack of interest and overall jerkiness.

“He says he can’t handle a relationship right now,” the girl told her friend. “He’s worried about his mom and he has to get a job.”

The girl lifted her chest and proudly said, “And I was like, ‘you expect me to wait for you?’”

Older Me hoped either the guy fell to her feet in tears or she gave him the grand heave ho.

“’He told me, ‘no.’ So I asked, ‘do you want me to?’”

It took everything in me not to take the girl by the shoulders and shake her senseless. “Get some strength in those knees and stiffen that spine. You cave to this creep and you’ve got years of male crap to put up with. Get out now!”

“Honestly, Mary, I don’t know,” the girl continued. “I was like, ‘I can be your girlfriend and support you through this.’”

No, you can’t, I thought, trying to use mental telepathy to communicate with her. You can’t because he doesn’t want you to. Or someone else is his support. Or he doesn’t have a problem, he’s just making up bull malarkey because he’s afraid to cut the cord.

“I was like, ‘I’ll be waiting for your call.’ He didn’t call me, so I called him.”

You just earned another year of lessons from the Relationship School from Hell.

“He was on the phone with his cousin.”

Yeah, right.

“He kept crying and crying and I was like, ‘I’m right here for you.’”

Man, was this girl tugging at my heart strings. How many times have I begged some big wounded boy to let me love him? In fact, nearly every female I know has blubbered to me about some damaged soul who won’t let her heal his pain. Few things are as confusing to women as men who turn away love and support.

I wasn’t angry at the apple of Fourteen-Year-Old Me’s eye. Sure, guys like him can be selfish and plain mean. But they’re just snot-nosed little boys and it’s up to the women who adore them to cut their losses when the writing’s on the wall.

Unfortunately, it can take decades before a woman learns to stop hanging on to dead end love. I’m embarrassed to admit how long it took me, but will confess to making tons of stupid decisions, dating scads of nincompoops and coming face to face with lots of not so pretty truths about my own inner workings. Most importantly, it took the real love of a couple good men to show me true connection isn’t something you have to beg someone to share with you.

I wanted to tell Fourteen-Year-Old Me to let this cad go and avoid love she has to wrestle to the ground. Spare her the agony of heartbreak or an on/off affair with someone who only kinda likes her. But like every hard lesson, you’ve got to learn it on your own.

All I could do was give her a smile that said, ‘you’ve got a long, hard journey ahead. But you’ll get there.’

She probably didn’t grasp my message. But maybe she will in twenty years, when her own Mini Me sits across from her on a train.

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There are two important truths to glean from this past week’s news: women are slowly taking over the world and movie stars are idiots.

Ladies first.

The University of Texas has released the results of yet another study destined to make women want to heave themselves off the Empire State Building.  Previous research done by the school suggested curvy women never marry and beautiful women cheat.  Now, they’re rehashing the “successful women have fewer mates available to them and thus will end up sad and alone” baloney.

Nowadays, the study says, women far outnumber men in American colleges by 57 and 43 percent respectively.  When they enter the workforce, women also make more money.  This has created a “boy crisis” and an “imbalance that tips relationship power in the direction of the men.  Instead of men competing for women, today women feel like they must compete for men.”  Since all men supposedly want is sex, young gals are offering easily accessible booty to bait them.  Consequently, men aren’t buying the cow when they can get the milk for free.

But wait a minute.  There are more women in college than men?  Ladies are the ones bringing home the bacon?  Maybe the hidden gem in this maddening study is that the balance of power has shifted.

I can’t wait to see girls sipping beers and surrounding the dance floor at nightclubs while men dance around hoping to get noticed.  Imagine groups of women describing how their husbands complain about girls’ nights out and spend all their money on Xbox games.  The times they are a’changin’.

The other insignificant but fun piece of news is Ricky Gervais getting into deep doo after making fun of celebs at the Golden Globe Awards.  I didn’t see the show because, frankly, there hasn’t been an interesting star in Hollywood since Clooney made it out of ER.  The last time I watched an award show, Nicole Kidman could still move her forehead.

Oh, how very Gervais of me.  Usually though, I’m against blatant meanness.  But with a few exceptions, I found lots of Gervais’ gibes to be spot on.

Celebrities, and we as their fans, suffer the illusion these people are special.  Indeed, some of them are extraordinarily talented, attractive and sometimes even kind.  But they are not above reproach or even ridicule if, while under our watch, they choose to make fools of themselves, abuse others or do their jobs half-assed.  If you get to make $20 million every time your mug’s in a movie for ninety minutes and we all have to pay $12 to see it, you better work your pretty little tails off to make it a decent flick.  If not, Johnny and Angelina, Ricky Gervais gets to make fun of you.

If you’re a pampered individual with several homes and enough money to take daily baths in champagne, best not be an anti-Semite drunkard who abuses every woman he comes across, from police officers to gold digging wives.  Mel.

Charlie Sheen isn’t some tragic figure trying not to end up on the street while battling an addiction.  He’s a spoiled party boy from Hollywood “royalty” who makes $2 million per episode of his show.  Then he blows it all on thousand-dollar call girls when he hits a rough spot.  Gee, poor Charlie.

How many sad saps out here on unemployment or in soul-crushing jobs, struggling to pay medical bills or put their kids through college, wouldn’t kill to live in multi-million dollar mansions while making a living doing what they love?  I, for one, am tired of superstars shoving their luxuries down our throats, including the luxurious ways in which they suffer and fail.  If they choose to invade our living rooms and our lives, they should show some level of decorum and gratitude considering the great blessings the universe has bestowed upon them.

My guy Gervais, whether intentionally or not, told these folks, “your vanity is offensive.  You’re the most admired people on the planet.  Step it up a notch.”

If Gervais is hosting next year, I just might watch.

[Photos from itsmsnikkitoyou.blogspot.com and tunai.sripengantin.com]

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Monica was this hot mama sex goddess I used to work with serving cocktails in college.  Slinky as a feline, she was nearly six feet tall with curves galore.  She had flawless skin, a magnificent, traffic-stopping face and a personality as colorful as the Bobbi Brown eye shadow she used to drop the cherry on the sundae of her magnetic appeal.  Monica was ravishing enough to date famous athletes, businessmen pulling down six figures and local actors on their way to becoming Hollywood B-listers.  If anyone would’ve ended up sipping daiquiris by the pool of some handsome millionaire’s mansion, it was Monica.

Recently, Monica popped up as a friend of a friend on Facebook, so I clicked on her page.  She was gorgeous as ever and though I wasn’t shocked to discover she hadn’t become some Tinseltown trophy wife, I was surprised to see photos of the man she married.  The guy was goofy looking, a squat little pudgeball.  And no Mr. Moneybags was he, as Monica’s other half apparently lived a quiet though comfortable life as the owner of a small electronics company.  But there was one huge difference about the look in her husband’s eye as he cast his gaze upon my old friend, as opposed to the more extraordinary men I’d once seen her with – this guy completely worshipped her.

Monica is one of a slew of foxy female friends who used to date bad boys, sexy studs and all around pricks until they finally settled down with a man who actually liked them.  Maybe these guys don’t look like movie stars or take their women on masochistic joy rides filled with broken promises and non-commitment.  But they do treat their gals with some semblance of respect.  Seems some good guys get the girl in the end.

This week, the University of Nottingham in the UK proved it by releasing a study on the qualities women value in potential mates.  The research suggests ladies used to dig grit and brawn because men needed to feed and defend the brood.  Nowadays, characteristics like “selflessness and empathy” are valued because women want men who will take an active and caring role in raising children.  I wouldn’t be surprised if our desire to have relationships rooted in mutual understanding and kindness had something to do with what lures us, as well.

The best news is these nice guys aren’t faking it.  The qualities are now part of their genetic makeup.  Score.

I’m starting to get it.  Man, it’s taken me a while, but finally something meaningful has clicked.  I’ve spent years pining for the “magic” of edgier dudes, the fantastic dramas their childish self-absorption wreaks in relationships, the post-rejection desperation I confused for love.

Then along came a man who was able to tear his gaze away from his own reflection long enough to notice me.  A man who cared about and even wanted to meet my needs.  A man who was just plain nice to me.  The sense of wellbeing I felt sharing his life, after years of being an afterthought to other dudes, was like touching solid ground after a ten-hour flight through a hailstorm.  And lucky me, he also happened to be one of the sexiest men I’d met in ages.

When a guy’s the center of his own universe, any lady friend may have trouble finding a cozy place in which to fit alongside him.  As I get older, I notice lots of the sexy flake dudes I’ve known are either hopelessly single or in tragically dysfunctional romances rife with infidelity and confidence-killing cruelty.  Nice guys, at least those with some depth, don’t offer relationships devoid of theatrics and challenges.  They just consider it part and parcel to relating and don’t rush out into the world feeding their own egos with bullshit.

And for that, they totally deserve to get the girl.

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At a party weeks back, my friend Angela fell for a handsome Brit named Al after he charmed her with tales of his off-the-beaten track existence traveling the world. The next evening, they talked life and politics over a steak dinner then agreed to meet again.

Al charmed Angela even more the next afternoon when he canceled plans with his buddies to join her on a trip to Verizon to get her phone fixed. After spending the afternoon and subsequent evening together, Angela thought she’d finally met a mature, baggage-less man with whom she could have a relationship. If only she knew.

During a dinner party the following Friday night, Angela reached for her phone to discover Al had called. Six times. Though a bit ruffled, she decided to make her way to the bar where he was drinking with friends. When she arrived, Al was completely hammered, saying things like, “I shouldn’t have called you, are you angry? It’s just I couldn’t get through and I thought maybe you were avoiding me. You don’t like me, do you? I know you don’t, why would you? You’re too pretty for me and I’m shit as a boyfriend, absolute shit. I don’t want to mess this up with you. I won’t get attached, I won’t get attached!”

Y’know, the kinds of things some guys think but neeeeeeever actually say.

After some reassurance from Angela, Al nixed the heart-on-sleeve talk and continued to enjoy the IV of pilsner stuck into his veins. End of the night at his place, Angela’s attempts at being intimate were interrupted when Al declared, “you’re too sexy. I’m shit in bed, absolute shit,” then passed out. Angela fell asleep beside him and was getting some good REM sleep when the bed started shaking. She woke up, looked across the mattress and…

Al was picking his nose…and eating it…in his sleep.

Unfortunately, Angela was stuck since it was 5 am and she was on the other side of town. The next morning, she made a lame excuse then bolted to my place to tell me the whole story and see if there was any reason to salvage things. Together, we broke it down to what worked and what didn’t. Pros: when he’s sober, he’s smart, funny and kind. Cons: he eats his own snot.

In the midst of our analysis, Al called and said, “I thought maybe you’d like to come over.”

“I’m with my friend,” Angela told him.

“But I thought it’d be nice if you came over.”

“My friend’s not feeling well,” Angela lied. “I should stay with her.”

“Look,” he said angrily. “Are we seeing each other or not?”

But before she could answer, the call dropped.

“Okay,” Angela told me. “This is sooo finished.”

But she didn’t even get the chance to end things. Angela was the dumpee. Sunday morning, Al left a message saying, “hi, um, yesterday’s conversation was discouraging relationship-wise, but you know, it’s hard to find good conversation, so maybe we could stay friends, go for coffee and talk about bollocks, and you know, that would be nice, and, well I’m shit on answering machines, so I’m just going to say goodbye now, so, okay, well, take care.”

The worst part for Angela was getting dumped by a neurotic booze hound who ate his own bodily fluids. The best part was she no longer had to date a neurotic booze hound who ate his own bodily fluids.

In the end, we hoped that Al, as friendly as he was, as funny and generous, wasn’t as much of a neurotic nosepicker as he seemed. In fact, we imagined it was all a game, a bet he made with friends to see who could self-sabotage himself out of a decent relationship in the shortest amount of time:

He’s an illustrator from London who enjoys hiking and badminton, his hobbies include using his inner demons to back himself out of relationships with pretty women and eating boogers. He’s got enough intimacy issues to sink a Russian sea liner, he’s Al, ladies and gentlemen, give him a hand.

Anyway, I’m fairly certain he won.

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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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So, my teacher friend Corey meets this woman named Michelle in a bar.  After a brief chat, the two exchange numbers and email addresses, then meet for drinks a week later.  Fireworks aren’t going off, though Corey finds Michelle attractive and worth a second date, which he lets her know as they part ways at evening’s end.

A couple days later, Corey gets an email from Michelle; she had a great time, he’s a fun guy, all that jazz.  Attached to the email is a photograph of Michelle looking wistfully out her bedroom window…

…naked.

According to Corey, the picture was tasteful, more soft core than Triple-X.  Still, he was baffled by this new development and couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t jumping at the chance to join Michelle at her bedroom window.  Though she may not have elicited the response she sought, Michelle was successful in dominating Corey and my conversations for the next week, thus becoming ‘The Naked Girl.’

“Did you respond to the Naked Girl yet?”  I asked him over drinks.

“I would if I knew what to say.”

Observing Corey navigate the realms of premature nudity was an education in the workings of the male mind.  His first instinct was to ask the gal if she’d seen that week’s episode of Lost without making any reference whatsoever to the photo; a glaring example of how men too often believe completely ignoring the big, naked elephant in the room is better than meeting it head on.  Corey’s avoidance was an attempt to be kind.  What a relief to discover evasion isn’t always a sign a man is a putz.  Made me feel lots better about the times I’ve sent “I love you” or “we really need to talk” texts and gotten messages like, “what did you have for lunch?” in return.

There seemed only two places from which Michelle’s sexy message could have come: either she was a ravenous sex machine who only wanted booty, thus sending the photo was simply cutting to the chase.  Otherwise, she was a psychological mess who, for whatever reason, thought the nude approach was the best way to endear herself to a potential mate.

The whole ordeal had my friend coming up against his own conscience.  Good Corey thought it wrong to take advantage of a woman in whom he had minimal romantic interest.  But Bad Corey wondered if her blatant overture permitted him to “’bleep’ her like the tramp she is.”

Really, the poor fella was at a loss.  If she was a nice but messy lady, he wanted to save her any embarrassment.  If she was hot to trot, he wouldn’t mind keeping the option open.  But if there was any chance of love blooming, he didn’t want this act to be the seed.

“Tell her the truth,” I suggested.

“I don’t know what the truth is,” he said.  “All I know is I’m uncomfortable and don’t know what this means.”

“Say that,” I told him.

Corey learned a lesson that day.  Rather than dodging or joking or disappearing all together, he expressed his true feelings.  What happened was a dialogue opened.  Maybe the whole relationship ends there, but at least they can walk away with their dignity in tact and without questions remaining unanswered.

I learned a lesson, too.  We ladies feel entitled to express in full everything we feel, both love and lust, our anger and overwhelming need.  But when you see it from a man’s perspective, you realize how coming on too strong brings nothing but forced obligation and loads of discomfort.

So maybe men could be a bit more direct and women could take a step back.  Or at least save the nudie pics for the second date.

Want to know what happened to Corey and the Naked Girl?  Check out Naked Girl II (or) Finding Your Soulmate.

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