Tags: dating

Heart & Key

Mix Tape

I had an idea. I remember reading a pop science book that when a class had to match a group of students with the top 10 songs on their iPod, they did so with remarkable accuracy. People have always considered music very representatives of themselves.


Since favorite music is a fairly accurate measure of a person, why not make a mix tape of some of your favorite songs, songs from the year you were born, songs from milestones in your life, songs you just have a connection to, whatever for someone you’re just starting to date?


You exchange mixes, listen to them and either call or meet up again to explain why you picked the songs you did. I think it might make dating a little more interesting and, frankly, enjoyable. I had an ex make me a random mix and I discovered several bands I now love that way.


Some of my songs would have to be:


The Only Exception by Paramore

This is a love song for cynics ergo I love it.


Only If For a Night by Florence + the Machine

I love the ethereal sound of this song.


Innocence by Halestorm

I really like this band and this is one of my favorite songs by them. It also comes across slightly better than “Love Bites (But So Do I)"


Awake and Alive by Skillet

I discovered this song at a Caps game when they cut video to it. Plus, it’s just a good song


When She’s On by Chris Young

I love the sentiment of this song plus I can sing along with it rather well if I do say so myself


This City feat. Lupe Fiasco by Patrick Stump

I am a Maryland girl born and bred. There are only 3 ways I’m leaving this state: witness protection, a job is throwing money at me, or a job is throwing money at my husband. I’ve listed this in order of likelihood.


Turning Tables by ADELE

I love songs about broken hearts because all the best ones come from real experience. They have an extra layer of emotion behind them. This one is no exception


These are definitely not the only ones I'd use and are subject to change as time goes by. If I ever try this in real life, I’ll report back.

Reading

Alphabet Challenge Round 17

T is for The Tao of Dating by Dr. Ali Binazir. I got a mini ebook by the same fellow and it hyped that The Tao of Dating was the best selling dating guide on Amazon. I decided to see what he could offer me.


I will start right now by saying this isn’t your typical dating guide. It focused as much on personal development as it did with relating to the opposite sex. The book alternated chapters on how to improve your dating skills and how to better yourself as a person.


Binazir was not messing around when he titled his book. Taoism and the Tao Te Ching feature just as prominently as the dating advice. I really enjoyed the spiritual side that brought to this book. Back in 12th grade I had to do a project on Taoism (where it was drilled into that it was pronounced with a ‘D’ sound not a ‘T’ sound). It really resonated with me and it was spiritually soothing to see them again (mock if you must).


I didn’t agree with everything Dr. Binazir said. He wants women to honor the sacred feminine and have more passive roles in their loves lives at least in the pursuing stage. I’m currently working on I Do But I Don’t: Why the Way We Marry Matters by Kamy Wicoff.


Wicoff complained that men feel pressured to propose and fire back that women should let them do it in their own time. Women then have to fake nonchalance and be disingenuous to themselves so the men can feel true to themselves by proposing at their leisure. Dr. Binazir cited men proposing as one of the reasons women should hold back.


I think we need more balance in gender relationships but we also have to face the way the world is and try to make small changes. I’m not OK taking a completely passive role in my love life but I also have to recognize that I can’t control another person. Women either have to be OK playing a secondary role in their love lives or bucking gender norms consequences be damned. Personally, I’ll lay the groundwork and make it easy for him to ask but I never make the first real move.


Overall though, I really liked this book. I thought it had a lot to offer women on a couple of levels. Because the Tao Te Ching features so prominently, several pieces of the dating advice can also apply to life like being radiant or not over thinking. Since I had this on ebook I utilized the highlight and bookmark features. I can’t speak for how effective this will be at landing me men quite yet but I’ve got my eye on someone so we’ll see what happens.


A - American Virgin Vol. 1: Head by Steven Seagle
B
C
D - Divergent by Veronica Roth
E - Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
F - Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James
G - The Great Fables Crossover by Bill Willingham
H - How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown
I
J - Jane Austen Made Me Do It edited by Laurel Ann Nattress
K
L - A Little Night Magic by Lucy March
M - Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
N - Naked City edited by Ellen Datlow
O - One of Our Thursdays Is Missing by Jasper Fforde
P
Q
R - Reality Bites Back by Jennifer L. Pozner
S
T - The Tao of Dating by Dr. Ali Binazir
U - Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman
V
W - White Girl Problems by Babe Walker
X - XVI by Julia Karr
Y - Yoga Bitch by Suzanne Morrison
Z - Zoo Story by Thomas French
Corset

Second Choice, First Problem

This merits a blog because I have now heard this woman’s story on Dear Prudie and The Kane Show. Her fiancée and his friend had a falling out. As a result, the former friend sent her old emails where her fiancée admits that he was more attracted to her best friend and he found her ‘plain and mildly annoying.'


Her wedding date is in six months and instead of this being the happiest time in her life, all she can think about is how her fiancée originally liked her friend better. Is he still hot for her? Is he fantasizing about her? The fiancée has “apologized profusely” and she believes they wouldn’t be engaged if he didn’t love her but she still can’t get it out of her head.


The Kane Show had people who had been in that place call in. One woman said she was originally more attracted to her husband’s friend but they’ve been happily married for years. Kane admits his wife wasn’t originally interested in him and they have two kids. More than one caller said that personality wins out over looks in the end.


Prudie told this woman that there’s a reason her fiancée didn’t want this person in his life. As far as I can tell from both stories, she was an innocent bystander in this and the former friend decided to hurt her in an effort to hurt the fiancée. She also said that in the end, her fiancée picked her. That’s what matters the most.


I’m going reiterate what they’re saying. He picked you. He’s marrying you. Even you admit your best friend is objectively hot. It would be weird if he wasn’t attracted to her at all. Listen to what he’s saying. He had a choice and didn’t pick her. Maybe you’re more interesting or fun to be around. Maybe you’re less maintenance.


I find it weird she’s seeking so much external validation. First a major advice column and now a radio show? See a counselor if you can’t get past it. It’s nice to hear what you need to hear but ultimately the public won’t give you the tools to fix the damage. This should not be affecting your relationship this much.


And FYI, all guys fantasize about what they don’t have. If him dreaming of Megan Fox has added benefits for my love life, fine by me. You don’t tell me about your Christina Hendricks fantasy and I won’t tell you about Nonso Anozie. Deal?

Sweet Lips

Charm Me Not

I’ve been reading the Tao of Dating for the letter T in my alphabet challenge. It was that most women, when asked about their husbands, admitted to not only not falling instantly in love, they didn’t even like him that much!


Currently, the Western model of romance dictates instant chemistry and attraction. If you don’t have that spark, then why try? If you lose the spark, a lot of people just call it quits. If the person you married isn’t your Prince Charming or soulmate anymore, shouldn’t you go find one who is?


The idea of wining, dining, and intense romance is a very recent. Marriages started because it was an easier way to raise children and verify paternity thousands of years ago. Marrying for love is a recent, convenient, and (if the numbers are to be believed) a less than ideal development.


I’ll be the first to argue that the reason many marriages lasted as long as they did because until recently, women didn’t have any other viable options. 60 years ago divorce was expensive and women usually had to raise the kids on their own making crap wages at dead-end jobs. Now it’s a lot easier for women to escape bad marriages but with all new marriage starting out with 50/50 odds, are all modern marriages that bad?


No. India has the option of divorce now but a lot of arranged marriages work, seemingly better than Western marriages. Yes they’re raised in that culture but their relationship is under less pressure to perform to unrealistic romantic standards. Arranged couples can learn to love each other over time. They aren’t expected to be instant soulmates (another dangerous romantic idea).


Women are force fed a romantic fantasy from the time we’re toddlers when a lifelong commitment is about a lot more than rose petals, fancy dresses, and carriage rides. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but that Prince was raised to be charming, not sincere.


Life offers screaming, spewing babies, serious illness, unexpected job loss, ailing parents, and mundane routines. When dealing with all of the above, you aren’t going to be madly in love with your partner 24/7 and that’s good. As the TOD says: “Madly in love is still mad, and mad people tend to make silly choices."


I believe that relationships need some romance but in many ways, love is a choice. Loving someone long-term is a conscious decision and requires effort. You have to decide if that’s the person you want to stand by when life hits them hard. You have to decide if this is the person you want in your corner when life slams into you. You have to decide if this is the person you want around when life isn’t doing much of anything to you at all.


This is why people recommend marrying your best friend. You know their faults, their bizarre habits, you do stuff together, and you don’t always like them but you love them anyway. I’d much rather marry my best friend than some insincere charmer from a crappy movie.

Highway

Foot Steps into a Secular World

I recently read an article on Slate.com about teaching men who were deeply religious how to live in a secular world. The man who is doing the teaching was former from the most restrictive of Hasid sects. His wake up call came when his daughters came home from school and said that all nonJews existed to see the good of the Jews


From what I remember of Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman, that’s a very limited number of do-gooders with an audience of a few billion. Like Feldman, many of these men and women leave their restrictive sects and are effectively immigrants into our world. Most men didn’t learn enough to pass the GED and most women learned significantly less.


The article mentions FootSteps, a New York based nonprofit group that helps these people integrate into society. While the Slate article focuses solely on dating and relation to the opposite sex, this website offers all sorts of resources for higher education, trade school, abuse hotlines, and social support (MeetUp is a listed resource).


Most did not learn marketable skills and don’t know how to relate to secular people. Most Hasid sects teach that premarital touch (and non- familial and spousal touch) would result in God’s wrath. I remember Feldman saying that when she saw her first movie, she had no clue what was going on or what that was supposed to be.


I would love to volunteer at a place like that. While I’m not Jewish, the whole concept of teaching these people about the world that always surrounded them fascinates me. I wonder if they have organizations like this in the DMV? With my social skills and surplus of personality, I may scare the religion right out of some of these folks.

Room

Judge Not. I’ll Return the Favor.

My mother has taken a turn for the crazy.

It’s been just me and her since I was 13 so we’re very close. My mother is a lapse protestant. She hasn’t voluntarily been to church since I was in elementary school at best. God/Jesus has little to nothing to do with our Christmas and Easter. Despite my catholic high school’s best efforts, I am not religious. Apparently, that doesn’t allow her to have an accurate perception of my ‘faith.'


When I was in college, I told her “I don’t consider myself a Christian.” She corrected me to say, “Well I consider you a Christian.” I dropped it then but a couple of years ago I finally set her straight. It was the exact same conversation as before but I told her that she shouldn’t consider me a Christian because I’m not religious and do not worship Jesus. When it finally sank in, she said that she felt like that meant she had screwed up at raising me.


I will say the same thing I’ve always said about Christianity. To paraphrase Gandhi: I like Christ; he’s so unlike Christians. Jesus had some great things to say. It’s just a shame about 50% of his following opts to ignore them in favor of being judgmental hypocrites. I have met people who practice what they preach and are better human beings for it. I’ve just met way more of the other kind. The more I deal with Jesus’ followers, the less I want to deal with him (no offense dude).


Now I’ve been single for a while and found OKC just as underwhelming as I remember it. I’ve tried Match with unimpressive results. I was thinking about trying JDate since gentiles can and do sign up and I’d be willing to convert. Most of my friends are curious and supportive especially since I’ve been tripping people’s Jew-dar for years.


The first time I said this, my mother calmly said she didn’t like the idea because she dated a Jewish guy in college and his parents always looked down on her. She also pointed out her sister’s parents who are nothing but awful since she didn’t convert. I pointed out that I could have the exact same problem with a Christian MIL who thinks I’m not adequately obsessed with Jesus and my aunt’s in-laws just suck as people.


The second time I mentioned this she got upset and said that she is “completely against the idea” and is “not at all supportive.” When I asked why, she had no good reasons to give me. It just bothered her that I may convert to Judaism if I do this. When I pointed out that I wasn’t raised to have God in her house she said “I guess I was a bad parent and screwed up raising you."


When I asked the obvious question, “So you think I’m a bad person because I’m not Christian?” she ‘clarified’ that I’m not a bad person, she was a bad parent. I’m surprised Jesus isn’t a bigger part of her life. She’s got irrational, closed-minded, hypocritical, and judgmental down cold.


I feel like she has no right to be upset because my forced church attendance was sporadic at best. I never went to Sunday school so whenever I did go, nothing said ever meant anything to me. And all of this was Catholic mass with my father. My mother almost never went to mass with us, never found a protestant church for us to attend and never made an effort to bring her version of God into my life.


Because of high school, I remember more of what’s in the bible than she does. I’m the only one in the house who can locate a bible because I’m the only one of us who actually owns one. (It was for a mythology class in college but they can come in handy sometimes.) She has never had a problem with Jews or my Jewish friends until it became possible they could change her daughter. While there’s something comforting and familiar about Christianity, no one has ever forced Judaism down my throat.


I am not an atheist. I know enough to realize that, cosmically speaking, human life is miraculous. With so many things that could have prevented our existence, I believe there is some higher power running this show. I just don’t think any one religion has it exactly right.


Uber-religious guys are a turn-off for me. I won’t share their commitment and I’ll feel judged. I’m not nuts about atheists either. They’re entitled to their opinion but it always makes me think of the phrase “dead inside.” To paraphrase Einstein, I’d rather see life as a miracle rather than some lucky spin on the cosmic wheel of fortune.


She is the only person who has a problem with me doing this. One of my friends said that it was worth a shot to find a decent guy who will treat me right. Before my mother said anything, I was leaning away from doing it just because it cost money. If she had been as blasé as I was, I probably wouldn’t have done it. After her inexplicable bout of crazy, I’m in. She’s barely Christian and she’s epitomizing everything I think is wrong with the faith. Why shouldn’t I date outside of it?


She said it’s my life and my choice and she doesn’t have to approve every decision I make. This is true however I know her. She won’t say anything directly about me dating a Jew; she’ll just be a world class pain in the ass in other ways. When I was dating a guy in college she hated (with reason, damn hindsight), she didn’t do or say anything directly. She was just noticeably nicer to me once he was gone.


Since I’m on OKC, if I have a date, I won’t tell her which site I found the guy on if and when I tell her. If I want to show her pictures, I’ll save them to my computer so she can’t tell which website they came from. If she meets the guy in passing, I won’t reveal if he’s a gentile or not then either. You want to risk alienating your only daughter over something you can’t control then risk being on a need to know basis.

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Heart & Key

Girl Advice for the Nerd Guy

I have a lot of friends who are nerds. Not the nerd-lite that’s trendy right now but the reason there’s the stereotype sort of nerds. Some are good in social situations but not romantic ones. One of my near and dears is astonishingly oblivious. If you watch Big Bang Theory (if you don’t you should, it’s awesome), he’s more clueless than Leonard but less clueless than Sheldon. Others are just all around bad (see an earlier post about the road trip guy).


I figured I might throw a few pieces of advice to help guide my nerd-tastic friends. My mother thinks I should start my own reality show with some of this stuff (hence the title).


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There’s more I could add but that’s what the internet and personal experience are for. I know some nerds who would appreciate these tidbits anyway. I hope this helps somebody somewhere.

Corset

Correction

Sometimes I wonder if lack of self-awareness, self-absorption, and ego has made a large portion of my generation unable to function socially. I have one particular person in mind when I say this.


This revolves around one incident yesterday but I should give you a little background to properly frame this story.


I met him back in January at a singles night for Washington Capitals fans. He inserted himself into my conversation with another guy, more or less ran him off, and then wouldn’t leave me alone for the rest of the pre-game event. Since he was a season ticket holder and a fan club member, I was polite but I made it clear that all I wanted to be was friends.

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Because of how whiney, neurotic, and clueless he is, I usually refer to him as Woody Allen without the Funny or the Woody Allen Wannabe. Yesterday, I was at a regular board gaming event in DC. He came but some of my friends kept him distracted since I’d have to deal with him prior to the hockey game (bless them). As I was talking to some of my friends in the group, I mentioned that I hadn’t been out with anyone since the guy I dated last fall. WAW corrected me.


Maybe it was my use of the phrase “been out with” that had WAW trying to correct me to include him. I informed him, in a no nonsense tone, “Those weren’t dates.” He tried to correct me again. “Well, the singles night kinda counts.” The night where I arrived with my friend, met you, couldn’t get rid you, and then left to go have dinner with her? That doesn’t count. The road trip with most of the fan club and additional people doesn’t count. The one hockey game we went to with your brother doesn’t count.


If the girl says you’ve never been out, you’ve never been out


Going to a place together doesn’t equal going out (AKA a date). My opinion matters more than yours on this so don’t you dare correct me on whether or not I’ve dated you. I know who I’ve dated and you are not now nor will you ever be on that list. Please explain to me how you’ve gone 30 years thinking that it’s socially acceptable to try and retroactively correct your way into dating someone

When I told him over email that it was rude, presumptuous, and erroneous to correct me and that all we’ve ever been is friends his reply was “Uummmm, OK. Sorry."


That response either means he thinks I’m out of bounds (which I’m not) or he doesn’t seem to understand what he did wrong. I’m not surprised he doesn’t get it but I wrote you the check. If you can’t buy a clue, that’s too bad. You are not my problem anymore.

Forbidden Fruit

Stupid People

You know you’re day is going to be long when you’re impressed with the level of stupid of people and it’s not even 9 AM.


On my ride in to work the DJ was talking about a message he got on FB. A girl had just started dating a guy when he told her that she should wear more make-up. He said she was a six but could be an eight. Should she keep dating him?


After racking my brain I came up with six languages in which I can say “No!” You barely know this guy and he’s already trying to change your appearance and tell you what to do? Run like you’re a black guy in a horror movie.


If a guy said that to me I’d come back with some witty retort like “You were a seven but that comment knocked you down to a four” or I’d throw my drink in his face. Whichever better makes my point. Either love what’s in front of you as it is or move along. I am the most girlie of my friends I barely wear any make-up. None of us have problems acquiring men.


The second moment was when I was reading yesterday’s Dear Prudie. A woman wrote in to complain that her daughter’s fourth grade teacher was pregnant and unmarried. The teacher simply told her students she was due in June. When the mother asked what she planned to do with the baby, the teacher politely told her it was none of her business. The mother said that she must do something because this woman has great influence over her daughter and doesn’t want it in her head that “single motherhood is acceptable."


Excuse my German but are you fucking kidding me lady? Her body, her child, her choice, her business. Teaching your daughter doesn’t make her private life public (barring stupidity on FB but that’s another blog). The only remotely appropriate question you can ask is what she plans to tell her students should they inquire about her marital status/her baby’s daddy.


If a woman finds out she’s pregnant and wants to keep the baby but not the father that’s probably a helluva lot smarter than getting married just to be married. She might not want to wait for Mr. Right hurry up and get here before having a family.


If single mothers have a good support network and want to be good parents, there’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing. Simply being married doesn’t make you better parents or better people.

Heart & Key

A Creative Spin on Romance

As I may have mentioned previously, I have been a regular on the internet dating scene. As anyone who has done this for more than five minutes knows, you need to finesse the truth. I would never advocate lying but some people don't realize that dating is a lot like a job interview.

If your potential employer asked why you left your last position, you'd never say "I got tired of it." You might say "I was ready to find new challenges" or "I wanted more responsibility and they weren't able to give me that." Your internet dating profile is exactly like that.

Overweight becomes full-figured. Balding and over forty becomes distinguished. (And all men who want 'curvy' women actually want Kim Kardashian, not her normal-sized sister Khloe.) Fortunately, Oprah's magazine has an article that actually has helpful insights about how to tweak your profile so it's at its best.

Some of the mistakes sound like ones you'd think people would know better than to make like the woman looking for "complete and total happiness" or the woman who mentions three times she wants to start a family. And in a lot of these, it's not what you say but how you say it. She has several great examples. If I ever feel the need to gain more horror stories from OKC, I might put this to use myself.