Friday, June 12, 2009

Lost That Lovin' Feeling

In the middle of all the rest of the turmoil in my life, my dating status changed. As much fun as it was to meet someone new and as good as it was for me to confirm that there would, indeed, be life after PC - things with Mr. Green have fizzled out. Somewhere at the confluence of my new social life, his increased work schedule, my family situation and my petrifying fear of commitment the flames of attraction sputtered and went out. I could feel it happen gradually: the phone conversations became less fluid, the plans to hang out less inventive, the need to touch less pressing.

Although it's a little sad - the ending of a crush, a possibility - I don't think the timing could have been better. I'm good with dating people and the end of dating. I can very easily develop and maintain a friendship with someone that I've dated, as long as things never got too serious. The other side of the coin is that I'm a terrible ex-girlfriend. Once an actual relationship is over, I have no desire to have any interaction with my ex. Ever. (Unless he totally broke my heart. Then he is welcome to come crawling back to me so that I may accept or reject his entreaties as I choose.) I know that it's cold to want to cut off someone who was once such a large part of my life, but that's just how I roll.

I will still see Mr. Green. We're still going to be on the same kickball team. It was one of the things that we talked about early on - that we wouldn't let our personal relationship get in the way of the team - and it won't be a problem. It could be mildly uncomfortable the first time one of us flirts with someone else in front of the other, but that's a bridge that won't have to be crossed for another month or more.

It was a good thing for me, and I'm glad that I hung out with him. But I knew that there wasn't any real potential there to get serious (nor did I want to be getting serious with anyone again) and I'm glad that it ended before anyone got hurt. I only really regret that I didn't get more Clue jokes out of it while I had the chance.

Lyrics of the Day

"What are you holding out for? What's always in the way? Why so damn absent-minded? Why so scared of romance? This modern love breaks me. This modern love wastes me." Bloc Party This Modern Love

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Downward Spiral

I'm supposed to be happy here. I'm supposed to be building a life here. I'm supposed to be getting as much as I can out of what I have around me. But how can I have a clear conscience about doing all of this while my father is dying?

It's been a hard 5 or 6 days. Last week I got a reality check that I don't think I was fully prepared to face: the remaining time I have with my dad is severely limited. Just how limited is still uncertain, but the feeling is that it would be a minor miracle if he were to survive the year.

It is so hard for me to grasp this. Yet, it's even harder to stop from obsessing about it. Obsessing about the fact that my father will never walk me down the aisle. About the fact that everyone I meet from this point forward may never get to know him. About the fact that he may never get to see the first home that I'm going to buy this year or be able wish me a happy 30th birthday.

Part of me feels like I should pack up and go home. Or at the very least, take my 3 month family medical leave and spend as much time as I can with my parents. The Mother assures me that is not what they want me to do. She says that it's more helpful for them to know that my sister and I are living our lives and doing well and being happy. But it's something that I'm now struggling with every day. Until now, there was always some kind of new hope on the horizon: a doctor that hadn't been seen yet, a completely untested new treatment to try, new supplements to add to the diet. Now, there's really nothing left. And I'm left here, wondering what the best thing to do is. For him. For me. For all of us, really.

Lyrics of the Day

"And you can learn to live without it, but your heart's gonna stay torn. And you can try hard not to need it, but you'll want it more and more. It's like the calm before the storm." Wild Sweet Orange Either/Or

Friday, June 05, 2009

"The Man Plan"

First of all, DO NOT - under any circumstances - buy this book. If your curiosity somehow gets the best of you and you absolutely must read it, either get it from the library or email me your address and I will send you my copy (Seriously. Otherwise it's going to Goodwill). Please don't support this book. It hurts my brain to think that it even got published. At the time, I thought the blurb made it sound like it would actually be useful...

The Man Plan by Whitney Casey

"While it’s great to suggest that a woman shouldn’t have to conform to unreasonable expectations of perfection in order to attract a guy and keep him, the reality in the dating world is somewhat different. Men are tactile, visual, and visceral, and a spectrum of factors—from the way a woman orders wine to the pictures she has next to her bed to how often she shaves—can be enough to turn a guy off…permanently.

With The Man Plan, relationship columnist Whitney Casey shares with women what men really think on a variety of issues, from the way women dress to how they take care of their cars. Including the opinions of a cross section of single men—as well as such notable personalities as Joel Osteen, P. Diddy, and Dr. Laura Berman—The Man Plan helps women identify the little issues that can make a big impression."

Maybe I should have read between the lines. Maybe I should have known what I was in for. But I was less than a week out of a relationship and I was feeling vulnerable and easily sold. So I ordered the book on Amazon (there was no way I would be caught dead buying it in the store) and hoped for some help in re-entering the dating world.

This book nearly rolls back the clock to the days of June Cleaver and Laura Petrie. It begins with the idea that all women are stereotypical Girly-Girls with very little sense or sensibility. The first few chapters are a glorified grooming/decorating guide for the completely clueless. Did you know that men like it when we understand basic hygiene and can actually walk in the outfits we've chosen to wear? Me neither! Case in point:

"So, you've got your body under stink control for the manly stink patrol. But wait - there is one factor you may not have factored in the smell wars. What about all that hot air you are putting out there for him to hear and Your breath woman! That's another huge and fierce funky factor for him. If your breath speaks louder than your words, you can kiss everyone kissable good-bye."

More gems like this follow in chapters that explain how to pronounce the names of foods (Like Cabernet - not pronounced "cab-er-net", but rather "cab-er-nay". Just in case you were born in a shoe box and never left it.), which car brands you should be aware of to appease a man (Know the difference between a Miata and a BMW - or at least know better than to say something when you don't know.) and how much you should know about the economy and your own finances. This is one of my favorite passages:

"Four New York City guys are out on the town in Los Angeles. They are far away from their high-powered, high-pressured Wall Street jobs and they are ready to start their high-priced, high-partying night on the town. It's not even an hour into their night before Wayne, Tod, Fred, and RJ meet Marci, Carla, Tiffany, and Tracy - four smoking-hot Orange County girls, 'raring to get down on the town.' As Tod explains: "I don't think these girls had ever met a wallet they didn't like. When I told one I was an investment banker, she said 'Oh, like you work in a a bank teller?"...
... RJ says it best: "These girls were not, but they were so dumb and silly, it was just too annoying." All four of the guys seem bewildered by the absurdity of the previously mentioned dialogue. "I don't get it; women can quote you the exact amount of money they spent last week on that pair of designer shoes, but ask them to quote the exact amount of money Google's stock is selling at, and they look at you like you are speaking in tongues," RJ says. Wayne adds that "women never know about money. They don't know what is happening in the economy, how to save their money, or how to make their money grow. They just know how to spend it."

Honestly, I'm so worked up by how offended I am by the book (don't even get me started on the chapter that tells you how to behave when your man is watching sports), it's hard for me to want to tell you the one thing, aside from this, that I got out of the book. But it did actually change the way I do things, so I feel that it's worth mentioning.

"'Shave with cold water before your shower or bath.' The hot water of your shower/bath makes your legs well just enough to prevent the closest shave possible. Thus, try shaving your legs sitting on the edge of the bathtub using cold water... as cold as you can stand it. You'll get a much closer shave, and your shave will last longer!"

Somehow in my lifetime of grooming and all my previous research, I never happened across this fact. It really does make a difference to shave in cold water and it's actually a really pleasant experience when you live in Florida where it's warm all the time. For those of you in colder parts of the world - have courage!

Unless you've never interacted with a man before or are a complete moron, most of the information in this book is going to sound condescending to you. I felt like it was written assuming that all women are complete idiots and wouldn't be able to find their way out of a Prada handbag without the help of a big, strong man. Even the "celebrity guests" and the oh-so-topical anecdotes that introduce every chapter are extremely weak. If Whitney Casey was ever actually a serious, legitimate journalist, she has fallen far. (Clink on that link. I'm not kidding.)

Lyrics of the Day

"Show him that you care just for him: do the things that he likes to do, wear your hair just for him. 'Cause you won't get him thinking and a-praying, wishing and a-hoping." Dusty Springfield Wishing and Hoping

*There are so many problems with this anecdote, I don't think I can even get into it all. But seriously, the girls are from Orange County. Also, I don't know a single woman who doesn't know at least a little bit about the economy or how to handle money. And I also don't know anyone (outside of a stock broker or investment banker maybe) who can quote the "exact stock price" of Google at any given moment. Obviously these douche bags hang out with the kind of girls that don't know what an investment banker is all the time. That's not the fault of woman-kind.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Fools Rush In

The beginning of my research phase seems to be paying off a little bit already. Last night, I finished a truly terrible "get a man" guide. It contained one relevant piece of wisdom, one chapter that was a little bit of a reality check for me, and a whole load of insanely useless information. I will check back in with a full review (including some of my favorite wonderfully stupid quotes, guaranteed to roll back the clock on feminism) a little later this week. Today, it is the reality check I am interested in discussing.

Without going into book-quoting detail, what happened was that I realized I am completely jumping the gun on being worried about how far things have gone and how far they could go with Mr. Green. It is completely normal for people to date for multiple months before anyone starts hinting at full-on Relationship Status. I realized that my view is completely skewed, because it has been about 5 years since I have had a truly normal dating relationship with anyone. Each of my 3 significant relationships have started like a forest fire, burning suddenly and out of control. The last reasonably-paced dating experience I had was when I dated a classmate from school during the summer of 2004. We dated in a completely fun and civilized way for 3 months before deciding that we weren't compatible enough to continue. I had completely forgotten that that is the way that things are supposed to go.

Mr. Green and I have only been dating for about a month and a half. Our schedules are such that we can really only see each other on weekends. Things are at just about the right place for the situation, as far as I can tell. So I'm going to let this realization ease my mind.

At least that book was good for something.

Lyrics of the Day

"Would you always, maybe sometimes, make it easy. Take your time." Grizzly Bear Two Weeks