Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It Depends On What Your Definition of "IS" is...

OK Ya’ll,
So a couple of girlfriends and I recently went to see a movie called “The Ugly Truth.” It looked like a cute Friday-night-with-your-ladies type of film that we could all sit back and enjoy as mindless fun for a couple of hours. It was true to the genre of lonely girl meets douchebag with a secret heart of gold. Of course hijinx ensue as we see the douchebag start to fall for lonely girl, and watch lonely girl debate whether to be with the guy she thinks is “safe” or get involved with the guy who acts like a royal dickcheese but she’s certain he just needs a girl who understands. So obviously she goes with the screwed-over douche, only to be rebuffed in a big miscommunication, and her anger at the situation causes a revenge plot that proceeds to win him over after he has an epiphany about his caddish behavior and everyone lives happily ever after. Frankly friends, the only thing “truthful” about this movie was that you knew the whole thing was going to end in a big, fat, UGLY breakup somewhere down the road after the movie is over; after he’s been out drinking with the boys, ogling women and smoking cigars one too many times, while she’s been sitting at home with the damn cat, drinking wine and watching too much Oprah. I mean, come ON! Why does Hollywood insist on continuing to force-feed us bullshit stories like this? Because secretly we want to believe that people are good at their core, that their very nature is not a fucktard in hiding, but a lovely human being waiting for their best intentions to bloom with the right nuturing. That this person you see before you is just putting up a front to weed out the sick and the old, and deep down inside they’re just a scared puppy in need of love and affection. And these movies we watch reinforce these notions. They don’t ever give you the “Ugly Truth,” they give you the “Processed Truth.” The truth is, people lie, they cheat, and they hurt other people. And I don’t think that’s because they have been hurt before, or they have been “misunderstood” or whatever, it’s because people are not good at their core. They are mean, spiteful, and selfish. We act good, we act kind, and we put on a lot of artifice about our innocence, but way down deep we’ve got nothing but our own proud self-centered nature that drives us to do the things we do sometimes. Like my old pal Michael Jackson used to sing: “If they say why, why? Tell ‘em that it’s human nature.” It goes all the way back to Adam and Eve. Eve was sitting around nekkid in the garden minding her own business when she got approached by The Serpent. He offered her something that she thought God wouldn’t give her: an upper-hand. So what did she do? She took it. She took it and ran with it. And got Adam implicated in the deal too. Eve didn’t eat the fruit out of the goodness of her heart, or because she didn’t want to hurt The Serpent’s feelings, or because she wanted to keep him from getting hurt the way she got hurt. She didn’t know about any of that. She did it because she was pulled over to the dark side by her own free will. And therein lies the rub, friends. Who’s to say who the first person was to screw somebody else over? Think about it—you’d have to do some pretty extensive research to trace all the way back to where all this trickeration started. Personally, I have no idea what has made some guys I’ve dated act the way they have except for pure old unadulterated meanness. I know I’ve done some morally reprehensible things in my day for no other reason than selfishness. I wanted what I wanted and I didn’t care who got hurt in the process; I didn’t even give it another thought because I was thinking about me and me only. Selfless, kind, sweet people are not born, they’re made. I am a good person because I have chosen to be a good person, and take my life down a path that is generally upstanding and of moral consequence. I can play dumb, pretend I didn’t know that I had hurt someone’s feelings or stepped over the line when I know good and well that I did it knowingly and in spite of the consequences. Because when the “ugly truth” appears, I’m still bad to the bone.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Highway To The Danger Zone

OK Ya’ll,
So I recently read an article on the msn celebrity gossip site about Jennifer Aniston getting put in the “friend zone” by a co-star she was allegedly dating. That got me thinking about a couple of things—A. how in the world a hottie like Jen Aniston gets put in the “friend zone” is waaaay beyond me, and B. how guys/girls who have plenty to offer get put in the “friend zone.” I came up with a few reasons why one may get relegated to the dreaded “we’re just friends” section of the dating buffet, so I thought I would share.
1.You’re not that cute. I know it sounds harsh, but come on. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—you can only date someone for their personality for so long before things take a big, fat nosedive into “let’s still be friends” territory if there’s no attraction. There has to be some sort of spark to create a connection. Not everybody’s spark plugs are gonna fire up on the first go round. Sometimes it takes a while for the personality to make the looks more of a minor than a major. But sometimes no matter how hard you try, you cannot get past the fact that you’re dating the physical equivalent of Kryptonite. And that’s when you’re just better off “being friends.” And that’s unfortunate, because you and I both know that 9 times out of 10, you don’t end up being friends. You end up being “this guy/girl I used to date.”
2.You’re already friends and dating is going to ruin it. It’s been said that men and women can’t be friends because one person always wants to sleep with the other. There’s a whole monologue delivered by Billy Crystal in “When Harry Met Sally” about that very thing that I highly recommend not only for comedic value, but also for the veracity of the claim. Big E has a few guy friends on the roster, dudes that she became friends with not through their girlfriend or through a dating situation, but guys who I met through my circle of friends or through work, school, etc. And sure, I think they’re attractive, and I may have, at first meeting, attempted to date one or two of them. I may have even done a little more than go on a date with them (*ahem*). I’ve lived to regret it a few times, because it was generally either a move made out of loneliness or curiosity. And when it didn’t work out, I was left more lonely because I had lost not only a free meal, but a friend as well. There are those times you can put someone in the “friends with benefits” category and live with it, as long as you can compartmentalize and not romanticize something that is purely platonic emotionally and down and dirty physically. Those times are rare, and usually end up hurting one party or the other if there are feelings that aren’t being addressed. To that end, I say go for it but know what you’re getting into. It can be crazy fun. As it stands now, the guys that are still in my group are friends and only friends because I like them. And I know that if we ever really and truly dated, we would end up not liking each other at all, either because he was a douche or because I drove him nuts. It’s easier for me to keep them in the “friend zone” and have the benefit of their company without the awkward past relationship in the way. It’s more fun to give somebody a hard time when you know they aren’t going to get all uppity about it.
3.They just aren’t your type. Let’s face it—you may really like someone, you may think they are funny, cute, smart, whatever—but if you don’t see eye to eye on your deal breakers as friends, you will never work out as lov-ahs. I’ve mentioned the “Big E Deal Breakers” in past posts, and though those things are personal ideologies I adhere to, I don’t expect everyone to be like me. But I also don’t date them. I know plenty of great guys who are funny, cute, smart, whatever that I will never date because I know it’s going to end in a giant, fiery disaster like a Die Hard movie. For me, it all depends on which way their moral compass points, and for some of them, it’s South when it oughta be North, know what I’m saying? And that’s ok, because I like them in spite of their tendencies, and they like me in spite of mine. We might even have a healthy debate about these tendencies from time to time. But the line in the sand remains, and it’s there for a reason. And no matter how hard I might want it to move, it just doesn’t. So I keep the friend label firmly affixed and continue my quest for the Guy Who Points North.
4.You aren’t their type. This might sound like repetition, but it’s not. I’ve had the whole problem of dating someone who was just dating me because he didn’t know any better. I know myself pretty well, and I like to think I get to know someone else pretty well before I bequeath “good friend” status upon them. And since I know what I’m like, I don’t want to have another person get themselves into something they shouldn’t. I’ve not always been so good at this, however. A time or two I’ve gone out with someone I knew I was not right for. And what happened? We became friends, started hanging out, started dating, and suddenly I found myself waking up next to someone that I knew was trying his best to make something out of nothing. It wasn’t that he wasn’t a great guy, or that he didn’t have lots of great qualities, but I knew what he needed in a girl wasn’t me. And I let it happen, thinking maybe I was wrong. Hoping maybe he was aware of it and had come to terms with it. But in the end, we both decided it just wasn’t working and it really wasn’t anybody’s fault. We should have just stayed friends. I’m a great friend for a lot of people, but a good girlfriend for very few.
That's it for this week! Give me your thoughts, rants, raves, and comments!

Monday, July 13, 2009

I drink to make you more interesting

OK Ya’ll,
So while I was looking around on the Interwebs the other day, I noticed this article on MSN that was taken from Oprah’s website. In this article, this rabbi named Menschy or Meuly or Goldfein or whatever rabbi name you want to insert here________ was talking about where to meet “nice guys.” Rabbi Rosengoldbergstein recommended church, bookstores, concert halls, poetry readings, weddings, etc. Personally I think meeting guys in those types of venues is about as likely as meeting Liza Minelli at an AA support group, or Lindsay Lohan at a defensive driving class, but what do I know. I write a blog complaining about not meeting guys. However, reading the article did prompt me to ask myself about this alleged “nice guy” scenario. Now, we all know that “nice” guys finish last. But what is it that constitutes being a “nice” guy? What is the definition of “nice” as far as relationships go, and how does a guy get into the “nice” category without completely sacrificing his balls? So I asked a few friends their thoughts. Here’s what they said:
Consideration. Always thinking about other people's (especially your) feelings.
Empathy. Anyone can "walk the walk" for lack of better terms, hold open doors, pull out chairs, but I think it takes empathy towards other humans to be a true "nice guy"
one that treats you great - one that holds doors for old ladies at the store - one that would take his shirt off his back if someone needed it more, etc......
By "nice guy" do you mean that hard to define "vanilla" quality that causes him to finish last?
Lacking in all qualities of the Alpha Male.
I know, I gotta get some better friends or at least start hanging out at bookstores where I know I have a better shot at talking to people who are literate. Kidding! Some of those are great answers. And I know they took thought. However, I thought I would take a stab at defining the word “nice” in the traditional sense, and what I think nice should be. Because I feel like a lot of “nice” guys finish last because they are what people call “too nice” which is really just a euphemism for “doormat.”
Merriam Webster says this:
Nice: (adj.) pleasing, agreeable. Virtuous, respectable. Well-bred.
The Big E says this:
Nice: (adj.) Bland. Boring. Sheep-esque. Pristine sense of humor, if one is present at all. Not argumentative. Watches his language, and uses less crass synonyms, such as “shoot,” “shucks,” and “dang.” Goes to church with his mama every Sunday and has never said a cross word to any member of his family. Virgin. Does not understand dirty jokes, and furrows his brow when you say EFFIN’ HELL! Combs his hair the same way since kindergarten. Irons his clothes, even his jeans and underwear. Usually not very attractive, and could possibly still wear headgear to bed at night. May work in some sort of technology occupation.Alt.: In touch with his feelings and great to talk to but not good looking. Makes you feel better about yourself. You would totally date him if he didn’t look like Steve Buscemi.
So what should nice be, you ask? Here’s what I think:
Nice: (adj.) kind to animals and people alike, but knows where to draw the line with people and only exhibits compassion for those that help themselves. Dirty enough to laugh at 80’s Eddie Murphy or 90’s Dice but not dirty enough to make you search his internet history for porn sites. Pays for dates, purchases gifts, but doesn’t do it to try and prove his worthiness. Confident in his ability to earn a living, play a sport, and stand up for you and to you. Handsome but not arrogant. Shares your beliefs and values and lives as an upstanding citizen but would also steal a lip gloss for you at Wal-mart. Lets you vent about work, your friends, friend’s boyfriends, and mother without cutting you off, but also lets you know when you’ve got to just say EFFIN HELL! and go pour yourself a martini. Willing to compromise on the activities for the weekend, but also has an agenda of his own.
I am still looking for that guy. To me, that’s one guy who would most certainly not finish last. Well, unless I finish first.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Muskrat Love

OK Ya'll,
So I haven't posted in a while because the Big E has been quite busy getting her party on in celebration of her birthday. It was super festive, with an Official Big E Fanclub Sponsored Luau to commemorate my special day(photo provided) and many other soirees and various get togethers to mark the arrival of several of my other friend's entries into the "30-something" race. And of course I had to take time out to mourn the passing of one of my all time favorite celebrities--the incorrigbly loud Billy Mays. So I've been a lady with an agenda. Unfortunately, that agenda has not included L-O-V-E. Not that I purposely excluded it, but when you're dressed like a hula girl with some Lady Gaga face paint on your pulchritudinous puss, you can't be worrying about how many shots of tequila your boyfriend just took and if he's now harrassing the neighborhood pets, ya feel me? So it seems I have come through the first third of my life relatively unscathed in the dating department. I've not been married (or divorced, remarried, and put forth progeny with one or all of my ex-amours)and I've come out on the other end of some serious relationships for the better, or so I think. Yes, there are some scars, some of which still smart a little when you touch them, but for the most part they've all been buried under a healthy dose of cynical, self-effacing humor and some talk therapy. But herein lies the rub--why haven't I been married? Hell, most people I know have been there, done that, and have the alimony payments to prove it. I, on the other hand, have escaped such a fate, and I think it comes down to one big, fat, bo-hunkin' reason: I am really effin' picky. As in, I don't just subscribe to the 80/20 rule, I have created a whole other stratosphere in which most men could never hope to reside. Now, that's not to say that I haven't gone out with a variety of guys, and it's not to say that I found serious faults with all of them; it's just that some guys I dated at a 60 hoping the other 40 would be half good and half liveable, and some guys I didn't even check the scales on because I wasn't dating them for the conversation. And I have gotten involved with guys who were not good for me, or I tried to make work when the cards just weren't in my favor. And I see people all around me who are in relationships for all the wrong reasons, and I know I don't want to be that person. In my quest to understand my pickiness, I have determined that most people fall into two categories, best summed up in a domestic animal analogy: Dogs and Cats. Here's a list of the qualities I think describe each category.
Dogs: loyal, loving, want to be loved and need attention, crave togetherness, social, fun-loving, outgoing, sweet-natured, fierce protectors of their loved ones, thoughtful.
Cats: Keep you at arms length, want affection but on their own terms, guarded with their feelings, emotions are displayed in private and are usually not displayed often, need alone time, don't mind staying in, loving but aloof.
Basically all the things you think of when you think of these animals can also apply to people. The thing is, in most of my relationships, there has to be an oppositional attraction to best complement the other person's strengths. In general terms, I consider myself Primarily Dog. I know, I know, you're probably thinking to yourself, "you're only a dog in that you act like a bitch most of the time," but really, when I am in a relationship that I am invested in, I am much more canine in my actions. Ergo, I generally need someone more feline (with a hint of Dog for romance and affection) to balance me out. If you get two Dogs together, the schmoopiness can be disgustingly intolerable at best. If you get two Cats together, nobody knows if anyone gives a shit in the first place. So it takes a nice dichotomy to create the best synergy in my opinion. To me, my parents are the prime example of how this works. My dad is very much a Dog--he's very "mushy" and romantic, very sweet and hopelessly devoted to my mother and me. His biggest goal in life is to be the best husband and father he can be and to provide the kind of life for my mother that she wants. And he does a great job at it most of the time. If something were to happen to my mom, I think my dad would be pretty well inconsolable. My mom, on the other hand, is an Uber-Cat. She loves my dad, no doubt, but she is often accused of being "heartless," or "cold." My mother does not feel guilt. She is not easily swayed by romantic gestures. Although she does show my dad affection, sometimes to the point of grodiness, she would probably go to my dad's funeral and then come home and start working on her next craft project. My mom is a great mom, she has always been a very loving mother, but I see this side to her as a woman now and not just a mom, and it sometimes makes me feel sorry for my father. But then I think to myself, there's that balance there that needs to be there, or this whole thing wouldn't have worked as well as it has for the past 34 years. Dad needs the salt to balance his sweet. And he gets just enough sweet to let him know his Dog-ness is appreciated.
So I think that's where my dilemma lies--I haven't found the right Cat to balance out my Dog. I have glimpses of Cat and can Lean Feline, so perhaps it's more that I haven't found someone to be Uber-Dog and bring out the balancing Mini-Cat I know I can be. I know he's out there. Maybe he's just barking up the wrong tree.