Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

August 23, 2007

Trooper Takes a Trip

Just wanted to check in to tell you all that I'm leaving this weekend for a much needed vacation. I will bring along my trusty laptop "Cherry" just in case I find myself inspired to drop you all a line. But I'm not promising anything. It is a vacation after all.

I'm taking a cruise to Alaska with my mom. No, don't cringe. It really isn't a bad thing. My mom is actually pretty cool and I know we will have a good time. And if we don't get along, there are certainly plenty of cruise-tastic activities to distract us from one another (we are both first time "cruisers" - meant in the totally innocent sense of the word). If anything, I'll probably cramp her style (particularly if/when she wants to go dancing, something I usually dread). We've both wanted to take this trip for years and finally decided to book the damn thing earlier this year when I was boyfriend-free with no romantic vacations in sight. What better time to take a trip with your mother?

Of course, now it will be hard leaving Wine Guy behind. But he will take good care of my cat and hopefully miss me terribly. I know I will miss him - in between gorging myself in the dining room and soaking in the hot tub of course. He is also supposedly planning a home improvement surprise in my apartment while I'm gone. No complaints here!

Tonight he took my mom and me out to dinner (today is my mom's b-day) and, I must admit, the three of us make a lively pair. I knew they would get along before they even met, but I honestly didn't think they would feel so comfortable around each other so quickly. I know it sounds weird but if the timing had worked, I would have loved to have Wine Guy come along with us. And I think he would have actually wanted to come too. Now that would be a trip chock full of potential blog entries, wouldn't it?!

As I walked my mom to her car tonight she turned to me and said, "You know, [Wine Guy] is really sweet, and very funny." I agreed. He was being his natural, goofy, charming self at dinner and my mom was loving it, as was I. As she opened her car door she turned back to clarify her point further, "He really is quite a character you know."

"Yeah," I said, "But a good one, right?"

"Oh yes, a very good one."

I agree.

If I don't talk at you from Alaska's Inside Passage, enjoy your Labor Day holiday and I'll be back in touch in September!

Dismissed.

August 22, 2007

Edited For Your Pleasure

This blog has served many purposes since I started it earlier this year. When I first started writing, it was mostly just a way for me to vent and share my war stories about the dating battlefield. It was purely a relief to pound out my frustration and utter disbelief at some of the crap I was encountering date after date.

After a few on-line bitch sessions, I discovered yet another benefit. The more I wrote and realized that people were actually reading, the more conscious I became of what I was saying. Suddenly this wasn't just an e-journal where I could babble endlessly, feeling sorry for myself. No, I had to have something to say. It had to make sense. That storytelling aspect of the blog made me realize just how little sense my actual emotions were often making. As my mom always says, "Just because you feel it, doesn't mean it's true." The same goes for writing.

My writing process now begins with me furiously typing out everything that comes to my head. I call this "verbal vomit." Then I go back and read what I wrote as if I were an outsider like you. This comes pretty easily to me, especially if I let a little time lapse between writing and editing. I am able to quickly see exactly where I am simply full of shit. Not that I'm intentionally lying, just basically trying to pull one over on myself. Trying to justify every b.s. emotion that I encounter instead of thinking it through.

We all do this, get caught up in our own emotional crap. That's why shrinks recommend "journaling" to get your emotions out of your head and onto paper. But what they should be recommending is "journaling and EDITING."

When I spot an unnecessary element to the story I'm telling, out it goes. Click, DELETE. And it's not just deleted from my blog entry, but also from my emotional memory of the event. Basically, this blog has became a cheap form of therapy. I have since discovered that after writing, editing and finally hitting the "publish post" button, I feel immediately clearer of mind and just downright more cheerful.

Perhaps that's why I'm writing here tonight, even though I'm so tired from travelling (yet another day trip up north for work). Plus I spent most of the evening crying and in a panic over my never ending money worries and an ant infestation that was the LAST thing I wanted to deal with when I got home from the airport. Tears still on my face, half asleep before I even put the vacuum away from ant sucking, and here I am typing away. And I'm already feeling better.

All of that is benefit enough. But yesterday I discovered yet another value to this blog. But it requires me admitting to you that I've been a bit of an emotional wreck the last few weeks. Money troubles (anyone have ideas for making some extra cash that doesn't involve any form of Internet porn?), health issues that may likely involve some pretty major surgery and long-term rehab (nothing life threatening, just a major inconvenience), and that pesky thing called trying to build a relationship on the shaky foundation that is my faith in men.

Let's just say that Wine Guy is putting up with a lot of Trooper emotion, and I know it's bringing him down. The other night we were lounging on my patio listening to the crickets chirping in the canyon below when he told me how upset he was after getting off the phone with me the previous evening. I was particularly down and overly mopey and he hung up asking himself "Who is this sad girl I'm dating?"

As I began to profusely apologize (ugh, poor guy), he interrupted me saying, "But then I read your blog and I felt better." Huh?

He told me that reading a few entries helped him recall that "funny, happy girl" he has let into his life. He said he could hear my voice while reading my words and that helped him remember who I really am. Not this sad, stressed out girl on the other end of the phone line.

Sure, I'm relieved to know that my genuine voice is coming through in these entries and that this helped Wine Guy overcome a tough night of dealing with me. It also was a pretty harsh realization that I need to start being that funny, happy girl again in real life, not just in a blog. Because I'm pretty sure Wine Guy wouldn't settle for reading me on a Saturday night, if you know what I mean.

So I went back and read a few entries and it helped me remember too.

I like to think that what you are reading is the "real me," but that would probably be a stretch. However, I can say that this is the "real, edited version of me." The person I would be if I could freeze time and edit exactly what I wanted to say and how I wanted to react or behave in real life, in real time. But I guess that would make me a super hero or something, wouldn't it?

By the way, the one thing this blog shouldn't do is serve as a way for my real life friends to "keep in touch" with me. Sure, you'll get the gist of what's going through my mind at that particular moment, but if you really want to know about me beyond a (hopefully) entertaining few paragraphs a couple times a week, I suggest a phone call or email, OK? :-)

Dismissed.

August 17, 2007

What do women want? Click here.

I got back around 6:30 tonight from a daylong work trip up to Northern California. Always a pretty grueling schlep, having to get to the airport by 5:30am and take two painful trips through airport security, round trip in one day.

But tonight is date night so I'm trying to stay somewhat energetic. Wine Guy and I have discovered our favorite thing to do. Friday nights, get buzzed on good wine, eat a nice meal he has prepared, walk around an interesting neighborhood, people watch, and take it all in. I like to think of it as our "evening constitutional." If it doesn't sound as perfect of an evening as it does to us, I'm not offended. That's why I'm dating Wine Guy and you're not ;-)

So, while he cooks behind me right now, I'm typing away. He pretty much can't carry on a conversation when he's cooking anyway (which used I used to take personally, see here) so I usually end up tooling around the web and sharing funny things I come across with him from time to time, whether he pays attention or not.

And it was just this scenario tonight that prompted me, with Wine Guy's permission, to pop onto the blog and share this quick observation.

One of my favorite things to do while Wine Guy hangs around that stovey-thing (he's making Shrimp Ragu, which he pulled from the New York Times recipe page, and he specifically asked me to link to it), is to go to my Google Reader and catch up on my fellow Troopers' recent blog entries. It's like you've kind of become my friends and I actually care what's happening in your lives. Except I'm not obligated to email or call you a couple times a week either. You're like friends, without the guilt.

So, I get to Amore & Vino's recent entry (she's one of my faves, and it doesn't hurt that she is kinda of a Wine Gal too) and I see it. The perfectly simple explanation of what a single woman in her 30s is looking for. I don't know if she intentionally crafted this sentence or not, but I like to think that it was more of an in-the-moment thought she was able to type out before moving on to another one. Either way, it is poignant - at least to me.

So the next time you hear some guy lament, "I just don't get it?! What the heck are women looking for?"

Answer with this quote from our pal a&v:

"Why can't I find someone who is clever and confident and interesting? I don't even require GQ looks or riches..----"

Allow me to interrupt for a second. I think many women would agree (at least the ones I imagine might actually read this blog), with what she's said so far. For the most part. But how you value the rest of her sentence is up to you. I can't quite say exactly where I stand on this issue in principle. But I sure as hell know what I would prefer.

So, back to the end of the quote:

"I don't even require GQ looks or riches...or generous dimensions in his pants."

Dismissed.

August 14, 2007

Pork Me, Please

My mom sent me this article from the New York Times about how women are starting to throw caution to the wind by ordering steaks and other red meat on dates. No more "I'll just have a salad" thank God!

Of course, I've already announced here that one of my primary motivations to date is not for the meat, but for the sushi. No, I'm not choosing raw fish to seem healthy, dainty or more feminine. My reasoning is simply this - sushi is my favorite food and, because of its price and the fact that I like good sushi as opposed to cheap sushi, it is a rare luxury. Sounds terrible I know, but if I'm (very likely) going to suffer through a torturous first date, I might as well eat something good, right?

I was discussing this article with Mendoza tonight and she told me about a date she had a few years back. While they were dining out, she was making conversation and said, "Yeah, I haven't dated in awhile." As she took a bite of her food which she described as "basically everything stinky and garlicky and yummy," he replied while gazing somewhat resentfully at her dish, "Uh, yeah. I can tell." A classic. (Yes, she gave me permission to share that story here, jeesh!)

I'm glad to hear (from the New York Times anyway) that other women are starting to buck the trend of toning down their dining preferences to possibly increase their chances with some guy they barely know.

Wine Guy was recently telling one of my friends about our first date (sushi, of course). I think he said something along the lines of, "When she ordered, I thought she would never stop. 'I'll have the caterpillar roll, spicy tuna roll, soft shell crab roll, two orders of salmon, two orders of tuna...." Yeah, I know. But, like I am at the zoo, I kind of get overly enthusiastic when ordering sushi. But the point here is not to talk about my ability to put away vomit-inducing amounts of food. No, the point is actually supposed to be that I am incapable of depriving myself just to impress a guy on a date.

But I should put an asterisk* on that last sentence because there is one food item I love that I am unable to order on a date (besides the lactose-laden ones that caused my Night of Terror). That food item? Pork.

I love pork in almost all forms (except bacon, for some reason). Pulled, shredded, ribs, chops, dim sum, twice cooked, loins...all are very tasty. Wine Guy and I joke that it's just not a true dining experience with me if no pork is on the table.

But I never order it on dates. Again, it's not because I'm trying to seem a certain way. It's simply because I cannot bring myself to say the word aloud in front of certain company. Pork. It gives me the willies.

Perhaps it's because I'm Jewish, although I'm not kosher and never have been. My mom has fed me pork since I can remember and we both love it. Granted, my grandma would be horrified to know this, but since she was 3,000 miles away in New York while I was growing up, it was just not considered taboo in my house.

I think perhaps it's the word itself and what it evokes in my slightly perverted mind. This is proven by the fact that if I'm sitting at a table with anyone I'm comfortable with (mom, friends, a boyfriend I've had longer than a few weeks), I can say the word to my heart's content. But sitting across the table from a guy where there is any unspoken potential for romantic and/or sexual awkwardness, I can't bring myself to say it. I know, it's juvenile.

Would I ever actually say yes to a date with a guy who was capable of instigating this exchange?
Me: "I'll have the pork loin please."
My date as the waiter takes my menu and leaves the table: "Heh, heh. You said pork. And loin. Heh, heh."

No, I have not dated Butthead or Beavis. But I probably "went steady" with him in middle school and it must still haunt me to this day.

Instead of porking out, I will sit at the table perusing the menu knowing the honey glazed pork chop is, without a doubt, what I want to order. But when that overeager waiter approaches the table, I'll say anything but, "I'll have the pork."

So, until Wine Guy and I were more established, I suffered with beef, chicken, noodles, shrimp, etc. But no pork. These days when Wine Guy and I dine, it's a veritable smorgasbord of pork-related menu items.

But I do still draw the line somewhere. Bacon-wrapped shrimp. Kosher or not, that is just basically giving God the finger as far as I'm concerned.

Dismissed.

August 9, 2007

Stalking Made Easy

The wonders of the Internet are wasted on me. Hopefully on most of us. Because if I were a psycho-stalker chick who wanted to really mess with some guy who screwed me over, I would be in hog heaven on-line.

Every woman does the whole "Google your date" thing when they first meet a guy they like. Actually, I'm pretty sure guys do it too (or Wine Guy did anyway). These days, it's generally considered acceptable, non-psycho, dating behavior. I think it is anyway (if I'm wrong and it turns out I am a psycho-stalker chick and just didn't know it, please alert me).

I'm a very efficient -- dare I say clever -- Google surfer, so I can find out a lot about a guy before we even have the first date. But for the most part, what you find on Google is pretty standard, public-eye information. I'm not discovering anything that he wouldn't reasonably expect (and be prepared) for someone he barely knows to find. But I better not be stumbling upon some deep, dark secret (bondage anyone??).

I'm a firm believer in "what I don't know won't hurt me" - well, only for the first date or two. If we make it that far, then I'm allowed to start asking the, "So, have you ever been to an S&M show?" questions. But in those first few dates, all you should be worrying about is if you can get away with ordering an appetizer and dessert without looking like a binge eater. I like to postpone the bigger kinds of worries until after I've had at least a little bit of fun.

That being said, I do come to a first or second date (basically whenever I find out his last name) armed with a touch of peripheral background information obtained from 10 minutes on a major search engine. And I expect he has the same kind of dossier on me.

But as far as more proactive background research using crazy spy websites that actually charge money -- no way. Even if that thought ever did cross my mind (which it hasn't, I promise), I wouldn't even know where to start.

Until tonight, when Wine Guy introduced me to Spock.com. It's basically a search engine entirely designed for searching people. Sounds simple, but it really is a fundamentally different way to search, organize and present information -- about you. The potential for mischief is mind blowing.

Before you read any further, if you haven't been there before, stop reading right now and click this link immediately. When you get there, search for your name. I guarantee you'll immediately get sucked in to what you find. It's terribly scary and also brilliant at the same time.

This is what happened to me. First I got the obligatory searches out of the way (myself, the few people I know who have ever done anything that made them slightly close to famous, my current boyfriend, the ex-boyfriend I still think about fondly on occasion, and the other one who smashed my heart to bits). Then I started thinking.

Suddenly she appeared - that scheming, Kirk Cameron-loving, 8th grade girl who looks a lot like a gawkier, frecklier version of me. This girl was a master "social engineer" who liked to mix things up - for Good (matchmaking, befriending the new girl) and Evil (break-ups, fashion critique). True, I grew out of this phase within the first socially devastating week of high school. But it was still kind of nice to see that little pre-teen with the rad asymmetrical hairstyle and the frosty pink lipstick that helped to channel my inner Molly Ringwald (circa Pretty in Pink of course).

Anyway, hopefully by now you've returned from your prolonged stop at Spock.com to finish reading this blog entry. So, hi....what did you think? Do you see how dangerous this could be? Let's pretend I don't have a boyfriend right now (God, could the word 'boyfriend' sound any stupider? C'mon word nerds, let's come up with a better one, shall we?) ...now that I know about a tool like this, would I use it to do date research? Would I abuse it? Would I even want to know what I could find? Do you?

I'm one of those people who's firmly against the "drop by visit" (wasn't that a Seinfeld episode?). Not because I'm being polite, but because I simply do not want to surprise anyone and find out anything I don't want to -- or need to -- know. If I really did "accidentally find myself in your neighborhood," I would still call you from my cell phone around the corner. I don't want any part of "...and the dog was licking the butter off of her naked body when we walked in" urban legends. I don't want to catch your boyfriend going down on you, or even interrupt you in the middle of good cry. Some things are better left private.

And I think this philosophy applies to any behind enemy lines reconnaissance missions leading up to a date. What do you think? What kind of search technology do you use before a date? What are the bare facts you are looking for? What don't you want to know...and how long would you wait until you would want to know?

I know...you're probably thinking, "For someone who says she doesn't want to know anything, she sure is asking me a lot of personal questions!" But what's the worst that can happen? Your answers will either horrify the 34 year old me, or excite the hell out of the 13 year old sitting right here next to me. Either way, it's anonymous. So spill it.

Dismissed.

A Little "R and R"

I was geeking out this morning listening to my favorite podcast about language and some even geekier person on the show proposed a new word that is apparently catching on. I had to share it since I wrote an entire entry about this very thing - Dating on an Empty Stomach. Let's just say that if I don't eat, I can be considered a public safety hazard (poor Only Child learned that on one of our early dates when I threatened to "start a riot"). I recall many of you responded to this entry, having experienced this affliction as well. So, how do you feel about the word "hangry" - a combination of "hungry" and "angry." I love it!

I also heard another brand-spanking new word that is worth spreading..."newsrotica," defined as excessive media coverage of a salacious news story (Anna Nicole Smith, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton....you get it).

Dismissed.

August 8, 2007

Man, That is One Sexy Organ!

Oh, get your minds out of the gutter, people! I'm talking science here.

I just read this article about some research that demonstrates the human brain "...is the anthropoid equivalent of the peacock's tail. In other words, it is an organ designed to attract the opposite sex."

At first I thought, cool! Perhaps my intelligence might is actually working in my favor (despite all evidence to the contrary, being that I'm 34 and nowhere near happily paired off for life).

But then I got towards the bottom of the article and saw some of the conclusions the researchers made:

"These two studies support the idea, familiar from everyday life, that what women want in a partner is material support while men require self-sacrifice."

It concludes by saying "As the old saw has it, faint heart never won fair lady. On the other hand a soft heart, it appears, wins a gentleman."

Hmmm.....I can't decide if this is a terribly depressing, offensive, or simply a "no duh!" conclusion. Maybe a little bit of everything?

Should I get back into volunteering? I don't recall men knocking down my door when I was mentoring a middle school student. Or raising money for the American Cancer Society. Perhaps I should have been offering to do their laundry instead. That is self-sacrifice I'm not sure I'm interested in. But then again, if there was adequate "material support" maybe I'd consider it! Kidding (I think)!

Dismissed.

August 4, 2007

Bibliography From Hell

Tonight Wine Guy and I are having a "work night." We both have long term projects we've been talking about tackling for months yet never seem to find the time to get started. So we came up with the idea (independently but freakishly at the same time - a good sign methinks) to spend an evening working on our projects, separately but together. So here we are, hanging out at his place, sipping wine while each sitting in separate rooms working. The plan is to work for an hour or two, then meet back up, talk about what we did, bounce ideas off one another, then go back to work. Hopefully it will make us feel slightly accountable to one another and, therefore, less likely to blow things off.

Is it working? I'm not quite sure. I can't tell if it's it a good or bad sign that during this, our first work session, I'm here writing a blog entry. True, the project I'm working on is related to this blog, but it's supposed to be something other than this blog. However, I will not concede that I'm cheating just yet. I originally got on the computer to begin my first assignment - researching what kind of dating books are out there.
One quick search of the word "dating" on Amazon and I was immediately reminded why I call this whole damn thing "warfare" and was inspired to share what I found with my fellow Troopers.

Yes, I have said here that in my warfare analogy, men are not necessarily the enemy, women are not the heroes. It is the situation that makes it warfare, at least for the average person. But after reading the list of books Amazon gave me, I think I might have to revise that original statement just a bit. See for yourself. Here's a selection of titles I found in my first 5 minutes of searching. I won't dignify them with links so if you really want to get more info, you can search them on your own:

  • The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists
  • Seduce Me! What Women Really Want
  • The Layguide: How to Seduce Women More Beautiful Than You Ever Dreamed Possible No Matter What You Look Like or How Much You Make
  • Understanding Women: The Definitive Guide to Meeting, Dating and Dumping, if Necessary (written by a woman no less)
And the one that just about made me choke on my wine...
  • The Professional Bachelor Dating Guide - How to Exploit Her Inner Psycho
Actually, this one made me laugh at first (we all have inner psychos - men and women), but the fact that a man might actually be disgusting enough to seek out training to learn how to "exploit" that? Please tell me it has sold less than 10 copies!

All of these sound absolutely horrific. And, frankly, if I were a man I would be terribly offended that these authors think men can be reduced to nothing but creeps looking for a warm hole to stick their penises (peni?) in (sorry, but this is the image I get when I think of the men who by these books).

I'm sad to say that one of Wine Guy's good friends -- let's call him Kansas Cad -- has become somewhat of a devotee of "The Game" (the first book listed above). He's a good looking, smart, successful guy and I have no idea why he would even need help in the dating department. I can't tell if he really does have trouble getting women and is desperate enough to take any advice he can get, or that he is kind of misogynistic and finds it funny to think of women as "targets" just waiting to be plotted against and seized (this book refers to women as "targets" -really). I suspect the answer is somewhere in the middle - that he's basically immature and hasn't quite gotten past the "catch and kiss" style of elementary school dating. Perhaps he spent too many Kansas winters in his basement playing war games with his dorky friends and not enough time at the school dances learning how to actually talk to girls.

Before I got upset enough to storm into Wine Guy's office just so I could punch him for even being a man, I
decided to turn my search to dating books aimed at women. Unfortunately, what I found was even more repulsive - and certainly more offensive:
  • Men Are Like Fish: What Every Woman Needs to Know About Catching a Man
  • Women Men Love, Women Men Leave: What Makes Men Want to Commit?
  • Love Smart: Find the One You Want--Fix the One You Got (yes, by Dr. Phil. Admit it. How many of you guys knew that already?)
  • Make Every Man Want You (or Make Yours Want You More): How To Be So Damn Irresistible You'll Barely Keep From Dating Yourself!
  • Dating, Inc.: Recruit, Select, and Retain the Right Man for the Relationship
So let me get this straight. Dating is basically boiled down to a woman's ability to attract and keep a man, who is - of course- a wild and free-roaming beast that just needs to be tamed enough so he can be captured and ultimately domesticated. All I need to do to accomplish this is learn how to play games, manipulate, always look attractive, and beat out all the other women who are also trying to do the same thing. In the meantime, the men will just continue their normal lives as oblivious, naive creatures who spend their days looking for food, a safe spot to sleep and crap, and (yes, you guessed it), a warm place to stick their penis every once in awhile.

A few more button clicks and I was able to find some books that should be scary to just about everyone, regardless of gender:


Books by Dr. Henry Cloud with titles like, How to Get a Date Worth Keeping and Boundaries in Dating Participant's Guide (described as "...a wise, biblical path to developing self-control, freedom, and intimacy in the dating process").

And, of course, anything authored by Dr. Neil (e-Harmony) Clark Warren such as Date or Soul Mate?: How to Know if Someone is Worth Pursuing in Two Dates or Less and Finding the Love of Your Life: Ten Principles for Choosing the Right Marriage Partner.

Then there's this one that I'm not quite sure what to make of at all -
Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl-A Woman's Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship. I have to admit, I have noticed that a lot of men tend to go for "bitches." But when I say "bitch" I mean it in the game playing, annoying, overly girly-girl, passive-aggressive way. It never occurred to me that "holding your own" in dating makes you a "bitch." Is that how men see it? No freakin' wonder I'm not married.

I did find a few titles that gave me a little hope - or at least a genuine smile.

  • The Shy Single: A Bold Guide to Dating for the Less-than-Bold Dater
  • I Can't Believe I'm Buying This Book: A Commonsense Guide to Successful Internet Dating
  • Dating, Mating, and Manhandling: The Ornithological Guide to Men

And then there was this one that just plain summed up the entire dating experience:

  • Dead End Dating: A Novel of Vampire Love

Not that I'm buying any of them, I promise.


But if you have, I would love to hear your thoughts or, even better, your reviews. Even if you didn't really buy it, just accidentally "flipped through" it while browsing at the bookstore. (yeah, right).

Dismissed.

August 3, 2007

The Call of the Jerk

Thank God I got over this phase when I was in my mid-20s (a slimy, coke snorting, trust fund boy cured me of it). But just in case you haven't, you might want to check out this article about the allure of dating a jerk.

Dismissed.

August 2, 2007

Cheers and Jeers

Wine Guy and I do lots of fun activities together - hiking, dining, volleyball. We even went ocean kayaking the other day. But I think my favorite activity is by far the simplest - taking early evening strolls around each of our neighborhoods.

We both live in unusually walkable parts of town, with lots of shops, interesting people to watch, and beautiful homes tucked away on quiet canyon streets. The early evening is the best time to go. The air starts to cool, the streets grow quieter as people settle in for dinner, and, as it starts to get dark, the beautiful living rooms light up to allow a sly peek inside as we stroll by and pretend we actually belong there.We never run out of things to look at....and judge.

The other night on one of our evening constitutionals (I always love that image. It makes me fantasize a little about maybe growing old together and slowly evolving into that graying couple that you spot every night walking the neighborhood, hands clasped), I paid a little more attention to our conversation.

"Look at that house, it is stunning."
"Oh my God, that is the ugliest re-model I've ever seen."
"That front porch is amazing, but those awnings are terrible."

That kind of thing. After about an hour of this (and it was terribly fun), I couldn't help but point out how judgemental we were being. He agreed and after that it became kind of our little joke. We started simplifying our observations to overly enthusiastic cheers directed at the things we liked, "Yay, landscaping!" or total rejection of what we disapproved of, "Boo, patio furniture!"

Leave it to me to take it to the next level by adding my exaggerated cheerleader moves perfected from four years of mocking the cheerleaders during high school football games. Let's just say I probably made a few people peep out their windows wondering what the hell was going on outside...before Wine Guy rushed me away, that is.

It was our best walk yet.

As our stroll wound down, I accidentally stumbled across a possible theory (who doesn't need more of those, right?) on what this whole "coupling up" phenomenon might really be about. Maybe we are just supposed to find that one person we can tolerate attaching ourselves to (and vice versa) so we can go through life aligned as one, cohesive unit - to tackle whatever the world throws at us for the rest of our lives. On a day to day level, this very likely boils down to this - you and your mate are essentially teammates who walk through the world together, judging everything as one.

Good restaurant. Bad movie. Worthwhile friend. Terrible cousin.

Basically, the idea is that you have an ally. Someone that you know will never judge you (hopefully) so you feel safe enough to judge everything else -- together. Aww, how sweet. There is even a term for it coined by Bridget Jones herself (yes, I just quoted goddamn Bridget Jones in this blog. Oy vey.....) a Smug Married.

As Wine Guy and I laughed about this concept, I asked him, "What do you think is the one thing most frequently judged by these smug couples?"

He couldn't venture a guess.

I think my response was frighteningly true. "Single people, of course."

Dismissed.

August 1, 2007

Listen to the Straight Talk

It's very important that the man I date be able to take a compliment. Or at least not reject one. Prior to Naval A-Hole, I didn't mind a humble guy who responded to my "You're wonderfuls" with a bashful, "Aww, shucks...no I'm not."

But Naval A-hole pretty much killed that for me. When he and I were in the thick of our whirlwind, long distance relationship, I was so giddy with his very existence, that I had to tell him as often as possible.

"You are so sweet."
"You are so considerate."
"You are the kindest person."

All that crap. It suited his appearance too. He looked like an angel - blonde hair, blue eyes, innocent chubby cheeks and the polite mannerisms of a Naval officer. He was the Good Samaritan boyfriend I was proud to call my own.

I never paid attention to his protestations at these compliments. They were more direct than "Aww, shucks" actually. More like, "No, really. I'm not as nice as you think I am."

I look back at that now and shudder. He was straight out telling me who he was. I just chose not to hear it.

So now I'm more cautious. It took me a little bit longer to feel so mushy-gushy about Wine Guy. But when I finally started to and told him so, the response I got (several times) felt like a punch in the stomach with an ice cold fist. "No, really. I'm not all that nice."

I let that simmer for a few weeks and last night I finally got the guts to straight out ask him exactly what he meant by that. The answer was nothing shocking. We all don't live up to our own ideals and Wine Guy is no exception. But what really came out of that conversation (yet again) was how heavy my baggage still is. It sucks.

I also think about something my mom has told me a few times over the years. She is a therapist and said she has seen this time and time again with couples in counseling and it never ceases to amaze her. I now take it to heart as it applies not just to Naval A-hole but to Only Child too (who repeatedly told me he was highly doubtful he would ever want to get married and have children - something I chose to not hear for six years).....
Men generally tell you exactly what's going on. Women just choose not to hear it.

So here is my plea to all of my fellow Troopers out there: Start Listening. Even if you don't want to hear it. Better yet, know the questions you need to ask, ask them straight, and be damn well prepared to hear - and act upon- the answer.

Dismissed.