Monthly Archives: February 2011

“Vintage blog” Three (3) simple rules

Back on the single scene. Almost. When you get dumped from your longest relationship to date, getting back out there is hard. It’s actually frankly obnoxious in many ways to meet new people. It’s too easy to date what you know. Of course that holds its own collection of absurdities.

Figuring out how much of yourself to put out there and when is hard enough, knowing when to cut something loose can sometimes be harder. It’s difficult to let go of something in the early stages when you can still see potential beyond what is wrong. But working around things that don’t actually work for you is setting yourself up for failure and disappointment down the road. As I begin to date again, I’m taking some good advice very seriously: Date as if you’re conducting a job interview; if your applicant doesn’t have the required skill set, move on, no apologies. It’s fine to look for the good in people, but not if you’re choosing a partner. You should not have to look for the good in a partner, you should be able to see it right away.

The next challenge is trying to collect all relevant information before you get ga-ga for someone that will ultimately turn out to disappoint. That initial rush in connecting with someone makes you suddenly feel electric, and as if there could be nothing bad about this guy. Not so fast. Like Sex in the City’s Carnival of Freaks, there’s most likely something that is not going to add up. Perhaps the hardest part of dating, other than weeding through the obvious d-bags, is realizing there is not going to be a real connection with almost ALL the men you date. And to not mistake hot “chemistry” for an intellectual connection.

The easiest part of dating, but something that can be sadly forgotten, is to be yourself. If someone doesn’t like you for you, whatever, move on. Don’t change yourself to attract or keep someone because eventually you are going to get tired of pretending, and then the relationship will end anyway and all you’ve done is waste time with someone that didn’t like you for you in the first place. People often end up in bad relationships because someone has not been true to themselves.

So, as I wade through a sea of Affliction T-shirts and madras shorts, looking for some sensible person who can put a sentence together, I remember these three rules: interview ‘em, keep it cool, be true.

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“Vintage blog” Mancation, it’s all about you for a moment

Every now and then life gets to be a little- tedious. At that point, a single girl should go ahead and take herself a nice mancation. What, you might ask yourself, is a mancation? I will tell you, my pretties.

A mancation is a week or so spent with a charming man you know you will not have to worry about after your short rendezvous is over. A mancation works best either combined with a vacation of your own, or the vacation of an out of town guy- preferably from a country with a great accent- Australian, please! This is because you do not want to continue the mancation longer than a week or two. The point of the mancation is to have a glorious time with someone who’s allowed to be perfect because you don’t know them long enough to start seeing their faults. If you stay in touch, the glitter of the mancation will fade, and your prince charming will turn right back into a frog. This is the crux of the mancation.

Do not, under any circumstances, believe the mancation can turn into a real relationship. It cannot. Do not exchange more than phone numbers- you do need a way to make plans while he is in town. Don’t Facebook the guy, or even Twitter him. No email, either. If you do stay in touch, you will learn a number of awful traits about your mancation you wish you had never learned. The point is to thoroughly enjoy the man while he is in your life, and to say Adieu! when he, or you, returns home. Details are not necessary for a mancation, only safety.

The mancation is all about you. Let the tryst revolve around you for the week or two you have together. It’s about pampering. And, while you have the audience, be the star. Indulge in some serious male attention for a while. Go out on a date because you can look forward to being doted upon and because you’re not consumed with the need to please another person. In short, act like a man in a relationship.

If executed correctly, the mancation is a great way to give yourself some rest and relaxation with a nice helping of galantry and romance. Make sure to get the royal treatment in all aspects of the relationship, and thoroughly enjoy yourself. Above all, have fun!

“Vintage blog” The art of the flirt

Reading What French Women Know by Debra Ollivier, I am reminded why I am a Francophile at heart. For one, French women never apologize for who they are. And two, French women (and men) understand flirtation.

In France flirting is so integral to the culture it dictates where women and men sit in groups. For one, women sit next to men, not next to each other. Two, couples are generally separated for the evening. This seating arrangement encourages people to mingle, meet each other and of course, flirt. French people not only understand the importance of broadening their circle of friends and acquaintances by meeting new people, and not sticking to those they already know; but they also know a good flirt here and there is healthy for each individual and couples.

Truly, there is an art to flirting. Americans do not have this art learned. A good flirt gives a person a lift, but also only goes so far. This second part of the equation is where the art comes into play. Flirting should make someone feel fabulous, but it should not cross lines of personal space and propriety. Flirts should generally be innocent but with a hint of mischevousness. They should never make a person feel uncomfortable or pressured; especially if they are in a relationship. French women and men get a lift, too, when their partner gets a flirt; it’s a compliment that the person they are with are admired by others.

In the US, flirting not only goes too far, but partners feel jealous rather than proud when someone flirts with their significant other. Why does flirting go too far in the states? Generally, many things go too far in here. Partners feel the need to know everything about their S.O.’s. As conservative as Americans are in many aspects of interpersonal relations, they sure do love to talk them to death; it’s almost as if as long as it’s “only” verbal, it doesn’t count. And so, American flirting takes on an overly intimate twist the French balk at; and which, understandably, Americans in relationships would feel uncomfortable with their S.O.’s participating in.

Practicing the French flirt, partners will not only feel more secure in their relationships, but they will gain a new appreciation for their S.O.’s. Sometimes it’s good to see your S.O. through the eyes of someone else, you might find a surprize every now and then. For single women, the French flirt allows a woman to feel admired rather than objectified. In general, the French flirt inspires a respect for relationships and people that is obtrusively lacking in America.

“Vintage blog” Dear government, marriage would like a divorce.

It seems recently the US has become less accepting of different styles of relationships just as homosexual couples gain ground on the right to marriage. Indeed, one major scare tactic used against gay marriage is the threat it will pave the way to polygamy. Maybe people could accept two of the same gender in a relationship; but 3 people, of whatever gender combination? No way. Why is it that puritanical concepts of what constitutes a “proper” relationship still pervades our society in such an encompassing way?

While we are so keenly obsessed with talking about sex and depicting sex in the media- to varying, “properly rated” degrees- when it comes to living sex, we refuse to live and let live. Consent is sadly not the focal issue. The imposed morality judgment of what and who you do is not only a societal pressure in the US, but enforced by law. (In many states, by law a man “cannot” rape his wife- interesting.) Whose judgment are we living our lives by?

Monogamy. How is a “monogamous” relationship in which one partner consistently cheats superior to an open relationship? Rather than setting an unrealistic expectation that will not be met, shouldn’t two people be honest about what they expect from a relationship, or life in general? Why stop at two people, while we’re at it? Would it be so terrible to construct an adult relationship with more than two consenting adults? As long as those involved in a polygamous relationship are healthy, consenting, adults (not under any duress or underage), why should anyone outside the relationship object? How does this relationship negatively affect anyone on the outside? To be honest, with the mounting costs of raising kids, could it perhaps be beneficial to have several parents providing for a family instead of just two? Done in a fiscally directed manner, perhaps with brother-husbands rather than sister-wives, a family could create a fiscal power-house, providing the kids a great advantage.

The point is that there are as many healthy combinations of partners as the human mind can think of. As long as those involved are healthy, consenting adults, why should it be up to the government, a religion or anyone else to dictate how two or 10 people should live together.

The puritans have had their go in the US for centuries, resulting in a divorce rate climbing to 50%. You are almost more likely to end up divorced today than not. The system is obviously flawed. Perhaps it is time to develop marriage 2.0; allow the individual to determine what is healthy for him/herself instead of a list of rules created by a church most people do not follow, enforced by a government which is supposed to serve the people. I would challenge those conservatives who continually yell for small government to put their money where their BIG mouths are and not just write and pass laws allowing for gay marriage, but the union of any number of consenting adults. If there is one place the government doesn’t belong, it is in our relationships.

“Vintage blog” Ode to infidelity

Can you tell me what constitutes cheating? Seems like a simple question, but when one examines the question in different aspects all forms of grey begin to develop; like the depth of a photograph in a darkroom. Radio personality Kane of the Kane Show sticks with the rule “if fluids are exchanged, it’s cheating.” But, he admits, there are a lot of things he could do that his wife certainly would not be happy about. Still, he asserts, “it’s not actually cheating.”

In this e-world where relationships develop almost twice as fast thanks to the ability to communicate with someone a myriad of ways, 24 hours a day and where temptation is literally at our fingertips and in our pockets or purses, thanks to the smart phone, infidelity threatens to become a casual aspect of relationships. Borders of privacy from the baby boomer generation and earlier are crumbling with social networks like Twitter, where people share all aspects of their lives as they are happening, often with pictures. These disappearing boundaries and the growing obsession with being “heard” over the din of status updates encourages the X, Y and younger generations to push the boundaries of acquaintances and friendships into something more intimate, even if they already have a committed relationship they are satisfied with. Intimacy becomes a contest; like being the girl with the most attention at a party, we want to know how many people could be infatuated with us, but we do not want to let go of the safety-net of the relationship at the same time. Or maybe it is simply our growing habit of expecting that better deal; the upgrade. We might like the phone we have, but the new model just came out. We might like the partner we have, but what about that girl or guy at the bar/party/work?

Within these blurring boundaries of interpersonal interaction are we making allowances for infidelity because it suits our new outlook on life? Are we willing to accept cuddling now as a totally cool “friendly” act when a partner does it because we want to make sure we have the option for it as well; just in case we want to test out an upgrade? Where do we draw the line now? Is the line at fluid exchange, as Kane’s rule asserts; or should we consider emotional infidelity- dirty talk via chat- as well?

As society becomes more permissive of ignoring privacy, and more interested in sensationalized high profile relationships, the every-day person’s life becomes more permissive and sensationalized as well. Infidelity is almost a trend. As if everyone is doing it. The public clambers to “news” stories of cheating movie stars, pop stars, celebrities and politicians. There’s an excited buzz about who did what with whom; not so much shock anymore at the mere fact infidelity occurred. Indeed, it seems you find less people who have never once cheated on a partner these days; and here we’re working from the fluid exchange rule. What about that golden rule: Do unto others… If you wouldn’t want your partner behaving in that manner, you are probably doing something wrong; in the neighborhood of cheating. Kane’s “other things” his wife wouldn’t be happy about.

There is a certain amount of reverence for each other we lost when we gave up our privacy and discretion by engaging in this 24hr exchange of social media. Too focused on being the most sought after and obtaining the newest, best model, we no longer see what we have in front of us. Pulled to the rocks by the siren call of the ode to infidelity.

Speak their language

In the February edition of Glamour, the editor’s husband took over the “Dos and Don’ts” column. Within it, he compared the “Dos” of each sex, and ruminated on the importance and inherent beauty of the naturally different interpretations. Perhaps with less pomp than what you might read here.

Even while men may not revel in the hottest designer of the moment, or pay much attention to the latest trends, they can certainly still appreciate how a woman puts herself together. He might prefer a simple T and jeans for himself, and maybe on you sometimes, but that doesn’t mean he’s devaluing your efforts. He might tell you you look great no matter what you wear, but don’t misinterpret that to mean he doesn’t care. At least, not necessarily.

Regardless the training we put them through, sometimes men will always seem to speak a different infuriating language. Even while women are socialized to seek external validation, men are not socialized to be the effervescent providers of that validation; lending to the multitude of exhausting conversations a couple could go through just in seeking to understand each other. While we’re simply examining this communication impasse from a fashion standpoint, anyone who’s ever been in a relationship knows the trials of miscommunication can be found in a plethora of areas.

The hilarious part of it all; the answer to this common plight, is sincerely as simple as the husband’s short list of “Dos”~ an honest acknowledgment we each have our own “thing.” The trick is to accept and maybe admire how our counterparts do things differently than we might, and begin to applaud them for it, when it looks damn good!

To do this, we do need to learn a bit of that foreign language those other people are speaking in. For a man, it’s noticing when your partner has dressed up for a date or a night out. Yes, this means paying attention to little things, like her dress and shoes, maybe, if I may be so bold, her lipstick. For a woman, it could be planning a night where your guy can do what he does best, whatever that might be- but it probably doesn’t involve those dreadful things called slacks! It’s also learning on both sides that there are many ways to communicate love and appreciation, and finding the languages that work best for you.

“Vintage blog” Can we just be FB friends?

I think we’ve all found ourselves in some pretty interesting situations when it comes to dating. The added benefit of online interactions makes the dating jungle even more… entertaining? Perhaps it’s your imagination running away with itself, creating a glow over the interaction, but can the flesh and blood hold up to that mirage?

Having dabbled, for a very short time, in true online dating years ago, you would think this dating diva would have learned a thing or two. Apparently being off the market for a couple years has made me rusty at just a few things. A couple last forrays “sponsored” by Facebook. Oh Facebook, you cruel bitch. You devious siren. That “friends of friends,” six-degree relation you have with Mr. X makes the whole online dating thing so much more soft and cuddly. Well, if Sarah is friends with Bret, he must be a good guy, right? Sarah also has 532 friends… the chances Sarah really knows Bret: 13 to 1.

You of course check out Mr. X’s Wall, peruse the Photos, scan the Info. Your manifestation of Prince Charming begins. Oh, those rose colored glasses make everthing glimmer. Oh look, you have TV shows in common, he has a great taste in music, his job looks interesting. You miss the music section where “obscure” and “indie” artists are paraded like a prize Westie at Westminster. Wait, was that one TV show included… IRONICALLY? Halfway through the date you realize you are sharing drinks with a self-hating hipster. Oh sure, he “liked” all your hipster joke Statuses. But, yep. He’s talking about how people don’t appreciate some obscure drink or band or blathering on about some obscure clothing line. The cold chill flows down your spine. The sirens go off, but it’s all too late.

Of course, sometimes it’s the more mundane demos you should be looking out for. Demos: demographics. Like, you know, age, or if he has children. I have learned my lesson one too many times that the basic demos should never be forgotten when contemplating pulling someone out of the virtual world into a cafe or restaurant. Treat the profile like you would a short conversation at a bar, get the vitals. This is also a good time to peruse the Wall and Photos. The status might say Single, but if a certain female pops up everywhere, I doubt her understanding of the relationship is “Single.”

Fortunately, in this ADHD world of Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, YouTube, etc., you can almost count on a FB flirt to painlessly fizzle. If you actually went on a date, the situation might become a little more sticky. Friends of Friends and all that, you do not want to come off as a nightmare, you might see this person again, they might talk. The words I always stick to: honesty is the best policy, just don’t be a dick about it. You can nicely tell your FB date, this was great, I’ll catch you on chat, where we can just leave the awkwardness lost in translation of e-comm.