Friday, January 30, 2009

Recession Relations


In light of my not-so-inspired self and my not-so-full wallet I'd like to engage the cyber-world with an exchange of ideas.

After dropping 100 bucks on dinner for two and then realizing that that is a weeks worth of groceries for those very same people, I've decided to make a list of the perfect CHEAP DATES.

A list we can all turn to when "dinner and a movie" seems the only way out of the winter doldrums, but it pushes us farther and farther into debt.

Here it goes...

1. A winter hike
We live in a really beautiful area with a LOT of great hiking trails, some more easy than others and nothing makes you appreciate the warmth of staying in like being out in the cold for a few hours.

2. Crane Lake
@3.99 a bottle, this poverty-friendly wine will make any night feel like more of an occasion.

3. Themed movie nights
For some reason "movie night at home" is a lot more fun if you create a theme for the event. Watching The Godfather means drinking red wine and eating antipasto and if you prefer a romantic comedy finish it off with some champagne and a box of chocolates.

4. Game Night
This is best attempted as a "group date," and can include both board games and the more technological stuff courtesy of the Nintendo Wii.

5. Make a "fort"
Remember how much fun it was to "make a fort" out of your parents living room furniture when you were younger? You might be surprised how much fun this STILL is. Grab all the blankets and pillows you have and watch a movie in your new "love nest."

Your turn.

What other ways can you have a cheap date?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Who gives a hair?


Ah balding. Nature's way of humbling men.

But is it as big a deal as most men think?

This was another guy's night topic that shed more light on my male pal's psyches. I'll be darned, more than one of them is feeling their confidence thinning.

So Brawny turns to me and says "Sten, gives us a woman's perspective on balding men."

"Two words," I say, "Bruce Willis."

If a man has a nice face and his head isn't oddly shaped, he'll look good bald too.
Whatever you do, DO NOT GROW A COMB OVER!!! Ever. It never looks good. Bad idea.

I also don't think women (generally) hold as much stock in looks (or hair) as men do.

For a woman, her hair is a huge part of her identity, and a symbol of alluring femininity. A lot of guys their chick to have long silky hair they can run their fingers through.

Although, even women can rock the bald look ... check out Natalie Portman in "V for Vendetta," Demi Moore in "GI Jane," or Sigourney Weaver in "Alien 3."

Friday, January 23, 2009

One life


I sometimes wonder why we go to such great lengths to find the perfect mate only to ensure that in time they will become someone else.

We set up lists of our wants from a relationship and we focus on all those things we feel are most important.

We want someone who is independent, fun, smart, sexy.
Someone who can stand on their own two feet.
Someone who will free us from our parents' shadow and allow us to grow.

But then, as time goes on, we slowly change the people we once loved for their uniqueness into something more palatable. Something that suits our future rather than our past.

And so we rid ourselves of our parents' grasp only to turn our new-found lover into what we tried so hard to escape.

Find a passionate, sassy young woman and make her your wife.
Make her a mother. Your mother.
Become her number one and watch her life fall slowly away while you create a life together. One life.

Find a driven, independent young man and make him your husband.
Make him a father. Your father.
And quietly stand witness as he disappears and you're left only with the shadow of a man you once loved.

Instead of the passionate, unique person you found long ago...
Now you've created someone who fits into your life perfectly. A life.

One life.

Everyone's life.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I faked it every time


In one of the Naked Gun sequels Leslie Nielson says to Pricsilla Presley "I faked it every time."
Which I always thought was a funny thing for a man to say to a woman. I mean, guys can't really fake IT ... right?

Apparently I was wrong. Men can and do ... as I found out during the last guy's night.

Nasty fakers. I won't even use his nickname for this, I'm so appalled.

Faking is stupid. It is a horrible disservice to yourself and the person your with.
So I asked, "but why? why not just say it ain't gonna happen and go to sleep?"

"Because it was easier than saying "I'm not attracted to you and want to go home.'"

My goodness man. Why even go to bed with some one you aren't attracted to? Especially if you're a good-looking guy who hardly needs to settle. Nasty faker.

Not to mention, if you fake it often, the person is going to think they're doing a great job. You could be single-handedly promoting bad sex for every one. And that I will just not stand for.

So the next day, I asked another guy if he ever had ... and he said yes. (This "men faking thing" is more serious than I thought.) He explained that if he's with an insecure girl, she'll take it too personally if he doesn't finish ... doesn't want to hurt the chick's feelings.
But really, women should understand that men, like women, sometimes just enjoy the ride without any grand finales.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lineage of love


A close look at yesterday's historical significance points to a less political and possibly more Odd Couple friendly topic.

Interracial relationships.

Not only did we elect the first African American President of the United States…

But we elected a man whose parents were of a different color.

A man whose parents quite possibly endured stereotypes and discrimination because they chose a relationship which was out-of-the-ordinary.

And while Obama’s Presidency tears down racial boundaries in the political world, what significance, if any, could his election have on the world of relationships?

How resistant, or eager, are people to date someone of another race? How have these ideals changed and evolved in recent years, if at all?

Because while few can deny that Obama’s politics inspire the masses…

I can't help but wonder if it was his parents choice that truly ignited change.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh-Bama!


I know this isn't a political blog, but what is more important than what we all witnessed today?

Truly historic.

Not only has America sworn in her first black president ... displaying, for the world to see, how far along we have come as a country. It would be naive to say that race wasn't an issue, but I'd like to think that people looked past color to see a truly great candidate. A smart, ambitious and visionary man who will do what he can to turn our nation around.

I've never been one to say I'm ashamed to be an American. Whenever outside the country, I state my nationality with pride, (And punch in the mouth any American that pretends to be Canadian. Savage, savage, people.) However, I have not been proud of our government over the last 8 years.

Sure, Bush has not been a COMPLETE failure. As he has stated, there were no more terrorist attacks on American soil after 9/11. It could be argued that he kept us safe. And unlike my beloved Bill, he was never caught with his pants down.

Unfortunately, his domestic policies have been a mess. The economic stimulus and bailout programs he signed were unsuccessful and not well-planned. The damage he has done to environmental policies have been shameful, especially what he has tried to get passed in the last few months of his office. (Such as the government no longer needing to consult with outside scientists to gauge the environmental impacts of new industrial plants.)

"No child left behind" has led to ill-prepared children advancing through school. Americans' education has long been a punchline around the world, he's only made it worse. Even Poland points and laughs at our children. And they're Polish.

But here it is, January 20th ... and as of 12:01 today, for the first time in 8 years, I feel truly represented by my government.

Some words of advice to Barack:
Keep your pants on. Continue using the English language correctly. Keep your daughters out of the bars til they're 21. Don't lie about why you want to go to war. If some one organizes an attack on our soil, don't outsource his capture. Keep religion out of the lawmaking process. Don't become a corporate puppet. And most importantly, Don't let Biden go hunting drunk.

Thank you, President Obama, and good luck.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Mondays


Is there such a thing as "a bad case of the Mondays?"

Normally I would say no... sometimes people are just moody and grumpy about being back at work. And if they would blame their bitchiness on nothing more than it being a Monday ... well then, by the power of Grayskull, I would have to smack them with my He-Man lunch box.

So somebody whack me, cause for the life of me, I don't know why I'm in such a crappy mood. It must just be a case of the friggn' Mondays.

Today my big project at work is an illustration for the cover of a magazine. That alone should make my day bright. I love finding ways to hide messages, or weird subjects in art that goes to print. I take on challenges ... like working in a cow in drawing about getting your taxes done.

But I am completely uninspired right now, and certainly unimpressed with what I have produced so far. Maybe because there's no cow yet.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Love is blind


Cheating is bad.
If your boy/girl gets tanked and makes out with a stranger it's pretty hurtful. You'd probably want to punch them in their whorish mouth and fill their iPod with music from Barney.

Understandable ... a fitting punishment.

But what would you do if you'd been with some one for over 4 years ... even lived with them ... then found out they'd been seeing someone else FOR A YEAR behind your back?

Not even a lifetime of music sung by the friendly purple dinosaur would be enough.

If you shaved their head and glued the hair inside their mouth that STILL wouldn't set things right.

This just happened to a friend of mine. I feel so enraged for her. I always really liked her boyfriend. He was a great guy – fun, sweet and seemed to adore her. I never would have believed such deceit could come from a person I considered a friend. Such cowardness in not coming clean to either woman. As if living a lie is so much easier than being honest the people he supposedly loved.

Cause really, keeping everything straight for a year could not have been a simple task. I mean ... how did he even swing it?

I'll tell you how. Love is blind. You don't want to believe that your partner would do anything to hurt you. You trust them. They tell you something, and if it's feasible enough, you accept it ... because the alternative is unbearable.

Yet my girl is bearing it now. Her chin is up, and she's getting her life in order. A life that used to be intertwined with his.

Shame on him.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cheat sheet


Cheating is a deal breaker for a lot of people in relationships.

But what constitutes cheating "for real" is different for many couples.

Is it worse to physically cheat or to be emotionally involved with someone else?

I recently came across an article where a man admitted that he'd TRIED to kiss another woman and found himself falling in love with her but that it was "okay," because it never went any further.

His wife was livid.

She didn't care that it "had ended there" (mostly because the other woman wasn't interested in MEN at all).

She was hurt by his almost just as much as she would have been by the deed being done.

Because for her, cheating wasn't about physical proximity.
It was about his desire for someone else.



What is "cheating" for you?

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Great Infiltration of 'Guy's Night'


If you're looking for a role model ... some one to look up to ... a resourceful person who can accomplish unaccomplishable tasks ... look no further.

I am here. A woman, who has made the roster of a 'Guy's Night.' Worship at your leisure.

How was this accomplished? With patience and an abundance of coolness, my friend.

I became acquainted with a particularly entertaining foursome; Firsty, Brawny, Ginger and Fatboy through a mutual friend and would happen on their special night once in a while while out with other friends. But that wasn't enough. I wanted a regular invite. I wanted to be "one of the guys." I wanted that elusive glimpse into their monkey world ... to cease being the curious naturalist and jump into a gorilla suit.

"But how?" I pondered ... I couldn't just ask. That would have been weird and certainly would have looked desperate. A "guy's guy" never looks desperate. He's cool, tough and cocky. He scratches his balls when a pretty girl walks by and just belches when asked a stupid question. Or any question really.

Fortunately, for a woman I possess unique characteristics that helped to put my foot in the door. I have little or no tact. I don't go out to pick up men, so I never primp. I drink scotch and curse like a sailor. Most importantly, I can handle going to the bar bathroom without a girl friend.

These special qualities fortunately did not go unnoticed. I scored an invite to Mohegan Sun for a weekend, do to our mutual friend Heddy, then a few golf outings with Ginger and Brawny ... who of course were blown away by skills.

Then ... one day it justs happened. I got notified about the sacred Tuesday Guy's Night plans. It just sat there in my inbox ... glowing just a bit brighter than the other messages. I replied with something cool and noncommittal like "Why not, bro." and rushed home from work to prepare.

First off ... duct tape. Had to flatten out the girls. Boots with thick heels ... gotta get some height without looking girly. Socks for my pants ... need something to grab at every 5 minutes or so. Not too big though ... don't want to intimidate them anymore ... especially since they were already shamed by my gambling and golfing skills. Poor fools.

And I was off. My trial night was a success. We went one for one with the scotch. I talked sports and politics with the appropriate amount of grunting and pointing. If I didn't have anything smart to say, I mocked one of them mercilessly. Cause that's what guys do. "You're a f***ing idiot" actually means "good point, I just disagree."

Now, while I continue to let out a manly chuckle of glee every time they invite me out, and though little has lifted my heart more than when Fatboy said I was cool and "one of them now," I have to admit I'm a bit disappointed. These guys turned out to actually be intelligent and considerate men.

Goddammit.

I embarked on this mission to get the real dirt on guys when they're out in the wild ... but the truth is, they aren't overly rowdy, they don't talk about raunchy sex, and I've never heard them compare porn collections.

All my girlhood perceptions are a bit shattered ...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Out with the old


If you asked me two years ago what I was doing for the weekend I would respond with an excited "I'm going OUT!"

Yes. Out.

It didn't matter where, as long as there were drinks flowing, flirtation blooming, and music so loud I couldn't hear myself think.

I would work until 11 p.m. and be "out" by 12:30 <--- the beginning of my night. I would buy new tops to wear with my favorite jeans weekly and never repeated outfits. I would chat up strangers, occasionally kiss a couple of them, and wake up with a pounding headache, and a resolve to DO IT ALL AGAIN. And I was convinced that it would never get old.
That I'd always LOVE the "scene" and I would enjoy going out forever.

And then it happened.

Going out...
Stopped. Being. Fun.

I suddenly found myself preferring a "girls night" that began with a cocktail and ended with dessert at our favorite restaurant. I'd rather go out for coffee and really talk to someone than struggle to hear them over the pounding drums of a band I didn't even like.

It suddenly seemed that dancing in my living room with the man I love was a lot more fun than grinding against a stranger to the new Britney single.

But after all those memories I created while out...
I can't help but wonder what this new found love of staying in means for me.

Did the "scene" get old?

Or did I?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Year's kiss


What’s the big deal about New Year’s Eve?

New Year’s is just another one of those holidays created to make people feel bad about themselves … like Valentine’s Day … and April Fool’s Day.

I remember this one April Fool’s when my college roommates got Little People versions of themselves to occupy our house ... and they swapped out my clothes for a doll’s wardrobe and traded in my car for a Power Wheels ... all so I’d wake up thinking I’d become a giant over night. It was horrible. I didn’t even know there WAS a Corolla Power Wheels.
Then to make matters worse, when I grew wise to their scheme, I threw my back out leaning down to punch the closest wee person in their lying wee mouth.
It’s a terrible holiday. Terrible.

Now … New Year’s is really all fuss and pressure to do something cool, all leading up to an anticlimactic controlled disco ball drop behind a man who doesn’t age … which just makes you feel crappy about looking older.
And then there’s the whole crazy worldwide neurotic need to have someone kiss you at the stroke of midnight. It almost doesn’t matter whom … anyone, as long as you aren’t standing there alone.
Wee bit pathetic, don’t you think? Even more pointless than that Power Wheels Corolla.

OK, I’m not saying I hate the day entirely. I’ve had some really decent ones … and a few more I just don’t remember. So we’ll count them as winners. But, I never bought into the excitement OR the need for romance at the stroke of midnight … until this year.

Oh boy. Somehow I stumbled into a romance that has weathered through the last few blistery months – leading up to a New Year’s invite and a Midnight smooch. And I am smitten. The man makes me more loopy than champagne.

Throughout the party, I appeared my usual cool and social self, except I kept stealing glances at him across the room, looking lustily at those lips that I would get to kiss in just a few hours.

This is what the holiday does to people. Dopey stuff, I’m telling you.

When the hour finally came and I felt his arm go around me, I just melted against it. (Or was too drunk to stand on my own… that’s a tough call.) Everyone is yelling the count down and we leaned in for the kiss. It was exciting.

It was. And a bit toothy … because I was smiling too big to give him a proper smooch.

While all this is a serious affront to my jaded heart and fierce independence … for a couple moments I wasn’t worrying about anything, I just felt happy. Then in the morning (early afternoon), this same beautiful man made breakfast.

Now, while my fierce independence has kept me warm through a few New Year’s Eves… it has never gotten up and cooked for me the next day.

So, I don’t know. Maybe ringing in the New Year with some romance is just a good start. Maybe having that kiss is worth a little fuss.

Maybe a Power Wheels Corolla is just better on battery mileage.

What do you think?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Relation-shift


How do couples avoid the shift from passionate advances to expected affection?

After enduring a handful of long-term relationships, I know there comes a time when kisses are warm and inviting but realistically lack the passion they held in their firsts... when hand holding becomes a means of getting across the street safely rather than a sweaty adolescent advance... and intimacy becomes just another "thing we do."

But while I'm no expert, I think there are a few surefire ways to reignite the passion when it tends to wane...

1. KEEP BUSY
Absence really DOES make the heart grow fonder, but that doesn't mean you need to plan a "girls only weekend" to the tropics (although that can help). I think simple things like making weekend plans with a friend or keeping those single-hobbies can add a bit of spice. Not only does it give you a moment to miss one another in your FREE TIME but it also gives you something to talk about.

2. REMOVE THE TELEVISION
TVs do not belong in the bedroom.

3. LOOK SINGLE
I'm not saying take off your engagement ring and flirt like there is no tomorrow... I mean that our hygiene shouldn't change just because we've found THE ONE. Keep wearing your cologne or perfume, take care of yourself as if you were still looking and you might find your partner never loses that initial passion.

4. BE APPRECIATIVE
Thank you goes a long way in romantic relationships... it shows that you're not taking one another for granted. So thank you... thank you for taking out the trash, making dinner, folding the laundry and making me that martini.

5. SPEND QUALITY TIME TOGETHER
Daily life is not sexy. 9-5 doldrums and scooping the cat litter are not ideal examples of foreplay. So make time to s l o w d o w n and focus on each other rather than going through the motions emotionless.



Your turn.

Get me through my 9-5 doldrums with your ideas on how to keep things passionate once "the beginning" comes to its inevitable end.