Thursday, February 26, 2009

Looking in the mirror

It's funny how we are so good at giving OTHER people advice about their relationships but we can never solve our own woes so easily.

If a friend comes to us with a problem, we have the luxury of being an objective outsider. We can clearly see who is at fault, not through the lens of love, but with a clarity they aren't privy to.

When faced with a friend's problem, I would often say, "Step outside the situation, and ask yourself what advice you would give ME if I was having this same problem with my partner."

But in spite of all the times I've given that advice... I know we rarely follow it.

Because we want to say, "We're different."
We want to say, "You don't know him the way I do."

And yet we can't deny that sometimes outsiders can see our problems as if they're written in red lipstick on the bathroom mirror while we're blinded by our emotions.

Because when we're in love, that mirror has been fogged with time.
The highs of the relationship blend softly with the lows, creating a cloud over what's right or wrong, forgivable or not.

And I can't help but wonder if sometimes we'd rather be happy...
Than see the truth.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sign language

They say a woman's intuition is her best weapon against infidelity.

But a quick look at the "Sign's He/She is Cheating" list, brings a bunch of tangible evidence you'd like to ignore into the foreground of your relationship.

There are apparently at least 180 signs, but we won't get into ALL of them!Link
So here are the first 7 SIGNS YOUR DATING A CHEAT

1. Your intuition tells you something is wrong.

2. You notice inconsistencies in what he tells you. Maybe those little white lies are something to worry about after all.

3. Lack of intimacy. He's less interested in conversing with you and more interested in the TV.

4. Lack of sex. A person only has so much stamina.

5. He doesn't invite you to social gatherings or get-togethers.

6. You discover secret email accounts that he keeps hidden and refuses to show you

7. You notice a strange number in his cell phone and he denies or lies about who it is.

It's pretty obvious that these signs point to something being wrong with your relationship, but are they always evidence of cheating? Could her sudden interest in her wardrobe or new taste in music be clues as well?

I think men have an easier time confronting their partner's with the evidence, as women are perpetually trying to avoid the idea that they're "crazy jealous" and so they might ignore the signs and keep mum until it's too late.

But what do YOU think...

What are the tell-tale signs you have a cheating partner and what's the best way to confront them?

Friday, February 20, 2009

To adore or be adored?

Miss Piggy and Kermit.

One of the most well-know great romances of all time, it is sadly incredibly unbalanced. That pig gets her bacon in a bundle whenever her lily pad loving amphibian hops in the room ... but her somewhat aggressive devotion never seems mirrored in his wide plastic eyes.

(Cruel, Henson, cruel.)

Ideally, in a relationship the feelings are mutual and as close to equal as possible ... but in reality one always loves the other more.

So I wonder, is it better to be with someone that makes you feel like the luckiest sucker in the world ... like .... how is it that such a hot potato would find its way into your lap? (All the while knowing they don't feel quite as steamy about you.)

OR, is it better to be with someone who lights up like a trucker's high beam in your rear view window when you walk in the room. Some one who makes you feel like you're on a pedestal, so much so that you can't help but look down at them?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tech-NO Tryst

I can remember the harsh reality of waking up only to realize there were three of us in our bed.

Me. Him. And...

His laptop.

Like many, I knew how to compete with real-life threatening women.

You lose 10 lbs, lighten your hair, and act aloof.

But competing with a 12-inch galaxy only a google search away from the world's best bikini bodies was another story.

And so our modern 3-way took its toll on our relationship.

My body got skinnier but it was still no match for her touch-pad.
After all, she was easily rechargeable and offered hours of play for his idle hands while my on/off switch possessed more human qualities.

But it wasn't even that he was interested in something else that necessarily ruined us.

It was that our time was never quality time because he was always split between two worlds. Reality with me and entertainment with his other lover, the Internet.

Eventually, as his fingers became more calloused and I became more distant we decided to move on.

Me to a real-life man and he to what I assume is another love triangle between himself, a gal on his lap, and technology still at the top.

But like any woman scorned, the experience had a profound effect on how I entered into my next relationship.

You see...
I've decided that we will never, ever get a portable computer.

Because no matter how skinny or blond I get, I now know I'll never quite fit on his lap the way she does.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Personal paradox

I used to consider myself a paradox.

I looked the part of "feminine" but had the vocabulary of a trucker and knew more about cars than the majority of my ex boyfriends.

But as I found myself settling into a happy and healthy relationship I noticed my "feminine" qualities became more pronounced.

I suddenly enjoyed cooking (a little bit) lusted after gardens full of flowers and found myself dreaming of very shiny rocks.

And as I discovered these "changes" in my likes and dislikes... I couldn't help but wonder if I'd always felt that way but never wanted anyone to know.

Because I'd always hoped to be different. Less ordinary.
I wanted to prove gender stereotypes wrong and show the world that I wasn't into flowers and jewelry because there was more to me than just that.

But somewhere along the way, he showed me that it was okay to be me, in every way.

I could still troubleshoot my car problems and support myself financially with a vase of tulips on my nightstand.

Because my feminine characteristics were no longer a contradiction to the woman I wanted to be.

They were a part of the real me.
Both ordinary and extraordinary simultaneously.

And perhaps that... was the paradox.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Voice of Experience

My only sister gave birth to a baby girl. As of today, I am somebody's aunt.

Holding that little wonder in my arms was the most moving experience of my life. And looking down at that crinkled face with its adorable, miniature person features I was overcome with love and protectiveness.

With her whole life ahead of her, she's gonna need some guidance. She's going to need advice from her Auntie Sten.

So here you are, little one ... listen well.

#1 First off, as a baby, and certainly as a little girl, there's going to be the expectation that you're always sweet and cute. In order to maintain that facade, whenever you fart, poop, throw up or burp, point immediately to the nearest adult. Preferably the largest male. You should probably throw in some tears so they know just how disgusting you think those things are.

#2 While a sweet smile will avert most confrontations, I say always go for the jugular. Talk smack to people as soon as you can put two syllables together ... it might be rough in the beginning, but after a while they'll learn not to mess with you. You'll thank me.

#3 Don't talk to stupid boys. If they look like trouble, they probably are.

#4 All boys are stupid.

#5 Sharing is for doormats. If it's yours, put your name on it. If someone tries to play with your toys, tell them you don't share with illiterate douchebags.

#6 The sooner you learn to drive, the more freedom you'll have. You should probably put in a word with Santa now to get a Power Wheels for Christmas. Make sure it's a red one. I'll teach you.

#7 There is no Santa. Don't swallow any of that "you better be good cause Claus is checking his list" crap. Your mom and dad are getting all the gifts, and if they don't buy you anything, no matter how wonderfully naughty you are, everyone will think they're horrible parents.

#8 Your grandparents are all pushovers. If mom and dad don't come through with the Power Wheels, hit up the grannies. They'll get you anything.

#9 Mud is awesome. Mom will love it if you bring some inside for her.

#10 If she asks, the mud idea didn't from your Auntie Sten. Mom will think you're really cool if you thought of it on your own.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Worst Love Songs

As adolescents, we all fantasized about meeting the one and making that first, big, decision together.

And no, I'm not talking about THAT decision...

I'm talking about the daunting task of choosing YOUR SONG.

We imagine the experience to be an event to remember. The setting usually consists of sitting in your parent's old car at make-out point. And just as you're about to lean in for a kiss the radio station hears your hearts pitter-pattering and plays the perfect tune for smooching.

But, if you're like me, things aren't always so "perfect."

And how could they be... when we're inundated not with the perfect love song, but with a bunch of TERRIBLE tunes that point out the flaws in finding love rather than the perks???

You know, songs like...
"Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne
Not only was this song a total rip off for "Hey Mickey" but it also came with some pretty desperate lyrics (we'll ignore the fact it was my ring tone at a particularly low-point in my love life;)

Hey! Hey! You! You! I don't like your girlfriend!
No way! No way!
I think you need a new one
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I could be your girlfriend

Sure, you COULD be his girlfriend, but SHOULD you?

"All I have to Give" by The Backstreet Boys

I should probably refrain from adding boy band songs to this list as it might get too long, but these lyrics take the cake.

I don't know what he does to make you cry
But I'll be there to make you smile

I don't have a fancy car
To get to you I'd walk a thousand miles
I don't care if he buys you nice things

Does his gifts come from the heart?

I don't know

But if you were my girl

I'd make it so we'd never be apart

Um, you SHOULD KNOW something
... and if you were MY BOY you'd need a car AND a better vocabulary, "DO HIS GIFTS" guys, not, "DOES."

"Single Ladies (Put a ring on it)" by Beyonce

Okay, so this might technically be a "break up song," but that doesn't change the fact that it undermines true love and encourages neediness from women everywhere.

if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it

If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it

Don’t be mad once you see that he want it
If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it

I would like to change this to my own version of... "If he liked it, then he WOULD have put a ring on it," now Please, Stop, Singing.

Your turn.

What are some of the WORST love songs and why?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Advice from the geriatric ward

Chrissie's blog on the 9-year- old's dating advice got me thinking ... what does a lifetime lived do to change your views on love and dating? All that experience and earned wisdom must certainly be priceless to us amateurs, right?

So I went out on a Google mission to collect dating advice from grannies. Here's what I found:

A man will never buy the cow if he gets the milk for free.
So only prudes find true love? I'd rather get laid.

You’re not getting any younger. You should settle down soon.
True ... I'm not getting younger, but I'm not in a nursing home yet, wrinkly McGee. You Bingo Tyrant.
"Settling down" just because you're getting older usually leads to "settling" in general. Why not just feel ageless as your lovers get younger? I bet that 9-year-old Cassanova will be pretty hot in 10 years.

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
I thought it was through his rib cage.
That's it girls, new third date rule!! Say to him as he leans in for that hungry kiss "I'm not sleeping with you, but I'll make you a nice steak" ... he'll love it.

A good man is worth waiting for.
Now you're just contradicting yourself, you Viagra neutralizing crone!! How can you wait for a good man when you're not getting any younger?? You gotta settle down NOW ladies! Take the first one that likes steak!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Love on the playground

Looks like you have no excuses guys...

The art of picking up chicks now comes PINT SIZED.

Apparently a 9-year-old has written a manual for real men to live by entitled "How to talk to girls."

It started as a 3 dollar hand-written homework assignment and it has turned into a publishing companies latest dream, but I can't help but acknowledge how helpful this little guy's "to-do" list might be for those struggling with singularity.

Tips from the kid:

1. Be friendly.

2. Look clean.

3. Act normal — don't try to be too cool.

4. Don't act goofy.

5. Show off a skill — but don't be a showoff.

6. Give compliments.

7. Don't brag or else you will have to start all over.

It turns out you can learn the game of dating on the playground after all and it all seems so SIMPLE.

He encourages guys to "comb their hair" and "not wear sweatpants," (I LOVE THIS KID) proving that talking to girls is a lot easier than some guys argue.

But I have to wonder...

Does his recess-based relationship advice hold true in our grown up world?

Or are we determined to make things more complicated than a simple game of chase?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dating yourself

I'm just a little bit in love with myself.

Most people probably are (with themselves, not me). Think about it. Humor me.

What quality to you prize most in yourself... is it the main thing you look for in a mate?

I *can be* pretty damn funny ... at least the kind of funny that makes ME laugh. Sarcasm, goofiness, wit, self-depreciation and the mocking of others are abilities that attract me to a person.

I never raise my voice. I hate arguing, so in a conflict will always try to calmly talk things out. Unless I'm drunk. Then I try to calmly slur things out.
I will not be yelled at. I hate when people pick fights. It is an immediate deal breaker.

I possess confidence to the point of cockiness. I like that. I find insecurity and self doubt to be tedious to behold. Does that sound mean? I can be really mean too.

Which brings me to the other side of my afternoon ramble. There are things I despise about myself ...

The capacity for being mean to the point of cruel is one of them. I can gauge exactly what to say to make someone furious, or just break down in tears. If provoked enough, I let it rip without remorse (at the time). It is really unnecessary – and hard to make amends for. People like me are ticking time bombs. Nasty business. Steer clear.

I never think I'm wrong. Even if I am. I will consciously strain to appear gracious when proven otherwise ... but it's a facade. I still think I'm right ...

I have a real hard time talking about my feelings. As if opening up like that would be a sign of weakness. I know in my head that it's ridiculous, but still can never get the right words out at the right time. I admire people who can put themselves out there and be open. I have a few close friends who are like that, maybe it will rub off one day.

I know all this sounds obvious... of course you are attracted to good qualities but are turned off by the not-so-good ... but my point is a little more than that.
I think we look to better ourselves with the people we associate with. Especially a significant other. Commonalities are amplified when you are together; be it making jokes, or civil debates, or drinking more and smoking more. You unconsciously, or maybe consciously, are drawn to someone who isn't just like you ... but a better version of you.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Flicks that make you go smooch

What exactly is the PERFECT date movie?

I saw a preview on TV for that movie "He's Just Not That Into You," and it proclaimed itself to be the "Perfect Date Movie."

Maybe you want to change that name then, Cupid. It sounds like a movie a guy takes a girl he wants to dump.
"Just read the title babe. You can keep the popcorn."

So that got me thinking ... what is a good date movie? If a guy takes a girl to a chick flick, she pretty much has to put out. It's really only fair.
But men, be warned, by the end of the movie the main actor will be a sweet, sensitive, head-over-heels in love hunk of a man. That's a lot to compete with. Unless it's Ben Afleck. Gimme Casey any day.

But, if you're feeling lucky, let me know how "New In Town" is ... cause I certainly don't expect to see it.

My idea of a good romantic comedy is "Princess Bride", "Ghostbusters", or "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure." I want to actually laugh and have a spattering of romance.

You can go the scary route. Suspenseful music kicks in, you both get scared and cuddle closer... the girl's so cute, she hides her face in the guy's shoulder.
Until there's a gruesome entrails explosion and they both throw up gummy bears on each other.

But go ahead, take a chance on "The Unborn" or "Friday The 13th." If you dare ... wwwoooo.

Ones that have worked for me ... 28 Days Later, Alien, Cube ... something suspenseful that makes you think a bit too.

I think the best kind of date movie is something that will inspire hours of nonviolent conversation afterward. There are definitely are a few of those out right now, like Defiance, Doubt, Gran Torino, or Frost/Nixon.

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Today was a beautiful day. Clear, sunny, and I was actually going to be early for work for a change.

Then CRASH! A pick-up truck slams into the passenger side of my poor poor car. My valiant little Corolla that has withstood over four years of my typical "woman driving" sat crumpled in the road ... like a paper airplane that flew into a jumbo jet.

Crazy thing is, it wasn't even my fault. I swear.

I could almost hear it weeping in pain at the foot of that four-wheel-drive bully. The truck, unscathed and unphased, glared mockingly at its imported victim. Big guns always seem to think they have the right of way.

I'm sitting there shaken like a Bond martini ... pulled over a bit and brace to inspect the damage.

My poor poor baby. My sweet sweet car. I bought it right after a boyfriend of two years dumped me for a younger woman. He had done a lot of work on my old car, so when it shat the bed I had no qualms putting it down ... happy to rid myself of anything that reminded me of the bastard. I was so excited to buy my brand new Corolla. It felt like trading in an unreliable man for an incredibly dependable car.

It has been my ticket to freedom when I've felt pent up at home, a vehicle to escape in whenever I need to get away. And I just love its shiny red ass.

When the police showed up and asked if there were injuries, I had to remind myself that he wasn't asking about the cars.

The crash just happened to occur in front of my insurance agent's office. At least that was convenient. Almost as much as when I spontaneously combusted in the shower. Sometimes you just get lucky.
I went in to set up the claim. I left with a headache unrelated to the actual impact.

The car was drivable, so I shook off the nerves and got back behind the wheel and headed to a body shop. You know how they say you should always wear clean underwear in case you get lucky? I wish I always kept my car clean in case I got into an accident. Hope they don't check the trunk ...

After all this, I still needed to get to work. I was feeling just crappy. Upset about getting hit. Upset about my car, annoyed from waiting for the police and dealing with the insurance ... so I did what any independent, strong-willed adult professional woman would do. I called my dad.

When I was 14 I broke my arm playing soccer. A girl rammed into me and I flew over her shoulder, landing wrist first. I remember hearing that awful *crack* and feeling sharp pain ricochet through my body. I sucked it up, got up and tried to keep playing ... not wanting to look like a wimp in front of the other girls. My dad came to get me and as soon as I was safely in the car and saw his look of concern I crumbled ... cried my little wimpy eyes out.

When I got into his car today at the auto body place he squeezed my left hand, said it's gonna be OK ... and I had to turn my head as those same little girl tears threatened to fall.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Traveling in pairs

Is a vacation really a vacation if you go with someone you're dating?

Is it less special if you go without your lover?

I think it all depends on what day of the week it is.

I just got back from Belizian paradise – a week-long vacation with 7 good friends – 8 of us total (4 boys, 4 girls), with a healthy mix of relationship statuses. Two "couples," two people dating another not on the trip, and two singles. Basically a huge missed opportunity for an 8-way orgy.

Staring at this motley crew at the airport, I couldn't help wondering who was in for the best time - those there with their flames, or those without? (And how the hell were the sleeping arrangements going to pan out?)

There are those great romantic views - the night sky filled with more stars than I'd ever seen in my life ... the multi-colored coral reefs bustling with life as we snorkeled by ... the kitchen filled with enough booze to drown all our winter frowns ... the kind of things that you want to experience with a lover.

But then, there's day after day of sharing a room and a little strip of beach. The feeling of responsibility that your sweetheart has a good time ... making decisions in pairs that don't necessarily make either of you happy ...

There's something to be said for getting out of bed when YOU want. Eating what YOU want to eat for breakfast ... for stealing hours of uninterrupted solitude on the beach ...

At the same time, isn't it nice to have those familiar hands rub the sunscreen in where you missed it ... some one to cuddle up against when you're soaking wet in a speedboat, shivering in the wind ... or to have that precious stolen solitude interrupted with an even more precious wet kiss?

I know I had an amazing time and would fly back in a second. But could it have been better?


Ah! February! That means only one thing! Valentine's Day is approaching.

But wait...

What's that I hear? People are boycotting the holiday because it's just "a waste of time and money and causing far more misery than happiness."

Apparently a few not-so-popular-anyway websites (and people I presume!) are saying goodbye to Cupid's favorite day and instead shutting down their relationship oriented businesses for 24-hours in a boycott of the love-filled holiday.

Now, I understand that "love" isn't necessarily about chocolates and overpriced greeting cards, but can we really blame anyone but ourselves for the pressure we feel on February 14th?

I remember in middle school, Valentine's Day meant $1 carnations from your secret admirer. Or from your friend who felt bad for you. Or even.. from yourself so you wouldn't spend the duration of homeroom in utter disbelief that everyone else was carrying their filler flowers proudly while you busied yourself doodling words like "KILL" and "DIE" on your grocery-bagged text books.

Sure, those carnation-free V-Days were somewhat upsetting, but didn't they make the days you actually received flowers so much more exciting?

But because of a few outrageous cries, the faculty decided that they wouldn't offer the carnation exchange anymore because it "upset certain kids."

Instead, they enforced a rule: If you gave one person in the class a Valentine greeting, you had to give EVERYONE ELSE a card as well. Great. So now you needed to give the guy who kicked you in gym class a heart shaped lollipop because it is "fair" (and of course, now meaningless).

But in reality... love isn't fair.

Just because we spend this February 14th in pure bliss, doesn't mean that next year won't be spent with a cheap bottle of champagne and a voodoo doll wearing only pins and needles.

It seems that we're encouraging children and adults to participate in "non-competitive" sports, including the game of love, and then we wonder why they're alone and unhappy.

Maybe it's because they EXPECT love rather than taking the time to work for it.

Sure, not every Valentine's Day will be one worth remembering, but can't the same be said for Christmas? Or even your birthday?

In an effort to be politically correct and fair people are denouncing Cupid's celebration because some other people don't feel loved.

But does that mean those who do have someone special should feel guilty for their good fortune?

Because if everyone isn't happy... then we can't be as well?