Wednesday, December 15, 2010

THE ODD RESPONSE - Name change after marriage

Bride-To-Be recently asked...

I'm currently engaged (to be married 2011) and I started thinking about my last name. Traditionally, the wife takes the husbands last name. However; I am not really what you'd call traditional in any way and am worrying (maybe to much) about the message that taking it really has. I don't really feel that names are all that important..its the people attached to them that matter the most (a rose by any other name..) but its MY name. I feel sort of weird having to give it up. Also.. I want to bring my future children up in a household where men and women are treated equally (a safe-haven from the outside world where that is not the case).

What kind of message would be taking my future husband's name send to my future daughters? Sometimes I think I'm thinking too much about this and my thoughts get all jumbled together.
Its just a name... I guess its just one of those things where I feel like its unfair towards the woman. Why does she have to be the one to give up her name? Who decided that the son is the one who is to carry on family names, you know?
Anyway, I'm not really sure what I'm going to do yet but I'd love some perspective. Will it even matter 20 years down the line?


Dear Bride-To-Be,

I know very well what it feels like to be "nontraditional" and yet still at the mercy of societal expectation. As brides we're expected to want it all, frilly white ball gowns to chocolate fountains, letterpress invites and a limitless budget. And at the end of the day, we're supposed to be excited about "taking his name" and all it entails. We feel as though we're supposed to enjoy our new signature as much as we adored scribbling our crushes name next to ours in 8th grade.

But at the end of the wedding day, at the end of the engagement, and on the cusp of marriage, changing our name might feel like "too much."

After all, we changed our marital status, our w-4s at work, and our lifestyle for him... for the marriage and in light of all the newness, giving up yet another aspect of our identity feels like a huge sacrifice.

Some people may say "it's just a name." But I don't agree, it's part of our known self, part of the person we became, part of the person he fell in love with. It's more than just a word, it's the last name of our parents, it's our lineage.

As women who seem to be getting married later and later, it's also our professional self, our pen name, our work experience all rolled into a name we've gone by for as long as we can remember.

And so to answer your first question, I don't think you're over-thinking this. I tend to think most people under-think it, they don't question why we do these things in our society and so they follow blindly with what is "usually" done without considering the outcome. Here's some general info on what global name-changing practices are from Wikipedia. Oddly enough, some of the areas considered to be less concerned with equality are the areas in which women usually retain their maiden names.

But I applaud you, for going against the grain and questioning your personal motives, your future-husband's, and the outcome it may have for your family.

Pay close attention to your wording when you think about this, as you asked...
"I feel sort of weird having to give it up."

I think this feeling of "giving it up" is a normal gut response. It feels like something is being taken from you. But I think when we open our minds a little broader, we might find rather than surrendering our former name, we're instead gaining a new one. And that is actually pretty cool, it's a fresh start and a symbol to those around us that we've entered a new stage in our lives, where we're building a family out of choice rather than the one we were given at birth.

You then mentioned...

Also.. I want to bring my future children up in a household where men and women are treated equally (a safe-haven from the outside world where that is not the case).

This is where I could go on FOREVER discussing the man/woman equality issue. I think men and women should be treated "equally" in that they deserve the same respect, equal pay for equal work, human rights etc. But at the end of the day, men and women aren't "the same." Of course there are stereotypes we both fight against, but in spite of these we have our differences physically/mentally that have been documented and proven. Ideally, we raise our children in an environment where they feel they have equal opportunities regardless of their sex, but similarly we must all know our biological differences.

That said, your children will learn equality based on your actions and your husband's actions, not based on your last name. You're gaining a "family" name in taking his, you're avoiding the "why don't you share a last name" question at every future dinner party.

I think in taking your husband's name, the message you're sending your daughters is that you wanted to, regardless of your reasons. Because at the end of the day, you don't "have to." There's no law that says you must take his name, and no one can fill out the appropriate paperwork to see it through except for YOU.

And if that is the message you're sending, is it really so bad? Isn't part of equality about doing what we want to do without restriction, whether our reasons are based on ease, tradition, or making our own way?

There are always the options to hyphenate, to not take his name, to choose a new name for the two of you, for him to take your name... But I think it's important to determine if those choices say something about you that simply taking his name wouldn't.

At the end of the day, it's a personal choice, and not one to be taken lightly, your name is attached to your identity, your past. But marriage is about your future, it's about agreeing to make a permanent change in your life by accepting compromise, sacrifice, and a hope for getting more in return.

(Also feel free to mention to those daughters of yours that it was a woman who grew them in her belly for 9 months, I'm sure that piece of information will say a lot more about your differences and equality than any old last name ever could).

And when you consider all that you'll gain, ask yourself if the name will matter in 20 years as much as it seems to matter now. Do you look at your mother, or her mother or any other older married woman and think, "Wow, she's Mrs. His-Last-Name, she must not be treated as his equal and probably thinks feminism is a bad thing."

I bet you probably won't.

I bet it will be something more like this...

"Wow, she's still married?! I wonder what they're doing right..."




Monday, December 6, 2010

READER QUESTION: The Name Change

An Odd Blog reader recently sent in a question regarding marriage and the idea of changing your last name.

Before I jump in and tell her how I handled this very question, I'm going to open this one up to fellow readers who may have some insight.

To take his last name, hyphenate, or stay with the maiden name?

Bride-To-Be asked...

I'm currently engaged (to be married 2011) and I started thinking about my last name. Traditionally, the wife takes the husbands last name. However; I am not really what you'd call traditional in any way and am worrying (maybe to much) about the message that taking it really has. I don't really feel that names are all that important..its the people attached to them that matter the most (a rose by any other name..) but its MY name. I feel sort of weird having to give it up. Also.. I want to bring my future children up in a household where men and women are treated equally (a safe-haven from the outside world where that is not the case).

What kind of message would be taking my future husband's name send to my future daughters? Sometimes I think I'm thinking too much about this and my thoughts get all jumbled together.
Its just a name... I guess its just one of those things where I feel like its unfair towards the woman. Why does she have to be the one to give up her name? Who decided that the son is the one who is to carry on family names, you know?
Anyway, I'm not really sure what I'm going to do yet but I'd love some perspective. Will it even matter 20 years down the line?


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanks

In honor of Thanksgiving, I toyed with the idea of writing about the struggles that arise during the holidays, the question of with whom to spend time, the struggle of affording a dinner more lavish than most.

But oddly enough, while the list of complaints began to fester, I suddenly became overcome with a separate list, rearing its uncommon head.

Of things I am actually thankful for.

-For the fact her cancer was stage one.
-For authors so talented their descriptions say things our world never could.
-For meeting my favorite author and seeing his scribbled name "with love" on the inside cover of the book I've nearly memorized.
-For my husband.
-For the word husband and all it entails.
-For feeling healthy now.
-For a wedding with our parents, still married, his and mine.
-For NPR
-For streaming Netflix
-For pumpkin pie. With whipped cream.
-For leftovers
-For blog traffic that soars when I do what I love
-For jeans that are really leggings.

And of course...

For the comments section.

Your turn.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

READER QUESTION - The Odd Response

Mr. K asked...

I met a really attractive and intelligent woman at a party a few weeks ago. It was a public event at an art gallery. She was a high school teacher in her early thirties (I'm 27) and seemed very educated and sophisticated. She had classic curves - large bust, narrow waist, shapely legs/hips, etc., but not what I would consider "overweight", and was wearing an outfit that really flattered her figure. We had been talking for about a half hour and really seemed to develop a great rapport. We had even made tentative plans to meet for coffee sometime.

Then, things suddenly went downhill. There was a pause in the conversation and I commented that she had a "really nice, hourglass figure". I thought she would take it as a compliment but instead she became deeply offended. She said, "Excuse me? Why are you talking about my figure?" I went into damage control mode and tried to clarify my comments but I think I only exacerbated things as she rolled her eyes and shook her head. She told me I was being "inappropriate" and that she was very "disappointed" and then with a look of complete disgust, WHAP!, she slapped my face and departed. As I stood there alone rubbing my cheek, I was trying to figure out why she was so upset. It seemed like a harmless comment to me but maybe I don't understand women as well I should. I do have her email address. Do you think I should send her an apology note or should I interpret the slap in the face as a definitive way of saying she wants no further contact?


Dear Mr. K,

I hope you gained some insight from our reader comments found in this post, a lot of which I tend to agree with.

And while no two women are the same, I will admit that for most part, we're accustomed to compliments on our figures, hair, and eyes. A "sophisticated woman" like the one you mentioned probably had enough full-figured comments throughout her high school days and early/mid twenties to last her a lifetime. As an educated, art-loving individual in her early 30's she probably wanted you to compliment her insight and opinions rather than her sexy curves.

If you must compliment her, focus on something she may not have heard a thousand times before, tell her she has a great laugh or something that shows you're LISTENING not just LOOKING.


You mentioned in your comments that in addition to complimenting her "full figure" you also compared her to KIM KARDASHIAN.

For the record, when making comparisons to famous people, try not to choose those who are only famous for making sex tapes and subsequently reality television. Sure, Kim is a beautiful woman, but women want to be MORE than beautiful objects, we want to be awesome people too. Comparing a woman you just met to someone who is most notable for being a sex object is never a good idea. Lump in the fact that Kim's curves are sometimes considered fat rather than fab, and you've possibly insulted someone rather than complimenting them.

I think your comment to this woman may have had a place... but that place wasn't 30 minutes into meeting her at an art gallery. That place is actually 3:30 am in a bar. When dating, it's important to know your "audience." Save the sexual references and comments for when you're actually dating someone, not just meeting them for the first time.

I see in your comments that you eventually emailed this woman an apology, I think that was a honest thing to do on your part and I'm glad she gave you some closure (don't contact her again of course, she knows you're "interested" so leave it at that for now). I personally wouldn't recommend contacting anyone who made it so apparent that you'd crossed the line in the future, but take this lesson and run with it.

Lastly, I don't think it's ever appropriate to slap anyone across the face, regardless of their comments. So in addition to being confused, I think you should also consider how lucky you are that such a hotheaded lady didn't end up your girlfriend.

I hope the comments and this insight helped, I'm sure the next time you meet a fabulous woman with sexy curves you'll know to save the "compliments" for a little later in the relationship (like when you find out how she like her eggs in the morning;)

Thanks!




Do you have a question for The Odd Blog? Email it to the link above and see what those who have been in your dating shoes have to say.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

READER QUESTION - Hour Glass Figure

An Odd Blog reader recently sent in a question regarding his approach to women asking for advice.

Before I jump in and tell him what he's doing right (and wrong!) I'm going to open this one up to fellow readers who may have some insight.

Mr. K asked...

I met a really attractive and intelligent woman at a party a few weeks ago. It was a public event at an art gallery. She was a high school teacher in her early thirties (I'm 27) and seemed very educated and sophisticated. She had classic curves - large bust, narrow waist, shapely legs/hips, etc., but not what I would consider "overweight", and was wearing an outfit that really flattered her figure. We had been talking for about a half hour and really seemed to develop a great rapport. We had even made tentative plans to meet for coffee sometime.

Then, things suddenly went downhill. There was a pause in the conversation and I commented that she had a "really nice, hourglass figure". I thought she would take it as a compliment but instead she became deeply offended. She said, "Excuse me? Why are you talking about my figure?" I went into damage control mode and tried to clarify my comments but I think I only exacerbated things as she rolled her eyes and shook her head. She told me I was being "inappropriate" and that she was very "disappointed" and then with a look of complete disgust, WHAP!, she slapped my face and departed. As I stood there alone rubbing my cheek, I was trying to figure out why she was so upset. It seemed like a harmless comment to me but maybe I don't understand women as well I should. I do have her email address. Do you think I should send her an apology note or should I interpret the slap in the face as a definitive way of saying she wants no further contact?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Date Night

Whenever a long term relationship veers from passion into the comfort stage, the remedy is often "date night."

Couples decide that one night a week, they will get all dressed up like they used to, enjoy a date on the town like they used to, and consequently hope to feel, like they used to.

For some couples, Friday nights are spent in pajamas long before 8 o'clock and there is a palpable longing to feel "new" again, in search of a spark that shone its brightest in those first few dates.

But sparks are meant to fade, their beauty is in their quickness, because without their transience they lose their very meaning.

And rather than celebrate a time that's passed, and long for it...

Perhaps we could find contentment in comfort, in ordinary life.

Accepting that a spark is a means to an end, an end that is late night TV, pajamas after work, and a real relationship, one without glamour and constant excitement.

And so instead of trying to go back in time, we could appreciate the spark's incandescence from a distance, a place without it, but a place where we're not alone.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Dating Game

If there is one thing I regret from my single days, it's the fact that I never took part in some of the modern games that make finding the one so interesting.

Sure, I had a blind date with a giant at 16-years-old, but that was far from fun. And there was that one week I signed up for Cupid.com, but that just ended with a few online stalkers and archived AIM conversations.

What I'm really talking about is SPEED DATING.

That's right, a bunch of mini dates with like-minded people who are just as nervous as you, but with whom you only need to spend a few minutes rather than a full meal followed by a game of passing the check.

And lucky for you Po-Town singles...

You can enjoy this dating game locally and soon.

Check it out.


Speed Dating at Cosimo's in Poughkeepsie!

August 13, 2010. Sign in begins at 7:30 pm and dating starts at 8!

Go and report back to my nearly-wed self and let me know what I missed!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ms. Understood

People think I'm shy.

And people who know me, think this is ridiculous.

Sure, I was shy.

In kindergarten.

After spending five years in a tiny town with only my mother and sister to occupy me, I'd grown accustomed to talking in a whisper and new faces brought on new anxieties I'd never wanted to experience.

But after I was forced into a world that looked incredibly scary to the miniature life I'd led until that point, I slowly grew out of my shyness and into a more bold self, the woman I consider myself today.

I found my stride in a small group of friends, people who understood my humor, people I could look to for entertainment, support, and acceptance.

But I was still aware of how often I was misunderstood.

My humor seemed lost on most outside my social circle and many conversations I had the misfortune of overhearing seemed too petty for my input.

And so, after curing myself of early childhood shyness, I became quiet for other reasons.

Not because I was too timid to interject, but because it didn't seem worth my time to do so.

Because the conversations of those around me often focused on things of little interest to me, television shows I didn't care to watch, classroom discussions on books I'd read a decade before, gossip about how much weight so-and-so gained, I decided to keep to myself a little more.

If I chose to interject, my thoughts were often lost on those around me, blank stares and quiet moments filled only with an awkwardness my silence never seemed conjure on its own.

And so what looked, on the outside, to be shyness crept back in.
Meeting new people became just a handshake and a simple smile again, rather than a conversation where only I seemed amused.

The headphones were worn more frequently, drowning out the noise of my surroundings and allowing me to be myself instead.

Not shy.
But disinterested. Unamused. Sometimes offended.

And often, aware that people are much more comfortable with the idea that you're shy...

Than the idea that you may just not like them all that much.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wedding Wants

I'm the sort of gal who weighs the pros and cons of each and every purchase.

Short of fresh produce, I check the prices on most things at least 5 times, stare at new tops longingly from afar as I wait for sale prices, and my most frequented Google search is for

PRINTABLE COUPONS.

So just imagine then, how it felt to find myself planning a wedding.

For nearly two years, I flashed my engagement ring and declared we had yet to set the date because we couldn't "make up our minds."

When in reality, each budget discussion caused minor panic, and there was always something better to buy, something I could enjoy for longer than one day, and so the planning never amounted to much.

At least until I had a bit of an epiphany...

After a particularly lovely birthday, where instead of listening to me, my friends and family had flowers sent to the house, left long voicemails full of birthday songs and well-wishes, and purchased gifts I considered far-too luxurious, I realized that I've never really celebrated me before.

(I know, I know, it's about "us" but there is at least 1/2 "me" in there too.)

Honestly, never.

I always hoped no one would fuss over my birthday, I had pizza and beer after my college graduation, and I think we toasted our engagement over a meal supplied by Darden Corporation.

It was just the way I always did it, insisting that nothing was really a "big deal" if it involved me, my accomplishments, or my happiness.

It was always easier to fend off disappointment that way.
Without the party the cake would never be overcooked and without a real wedding only the imaginary one would need to meet my expectations.

But instead of fearing disappointment and letting it dictate my plans, I think I'll have more luck fending off regret instead.

I regret the lackluster graduation party, I regret forgoing the engagement party, and I regret all of the opportunities where I should have celebrated my successes instead of hiding them behind a cynical smile.

So instead of pretending I don't want a wedding at all, I'm finally committing to a new reality, one where actually...

I DO.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Labor & Love

I realized yesterday, that my close friend and I are OLDER now than our mothers were during our first play date in 1987.

Back then, almost-30 meant no longer a kid.
It meant being a mother.

For quite a while the word "mom" never infiltrated our core group of friends unless we were talking about unflattering jeans, holding our pocket books while we danced, or haircuts with short wispy layers.

But at this very moment, one of us is making the trek into motherhood, one contraction at a time.

She is surrounded by family as she journeys into a world that will never look quite the same, a life of no longer being alone on the inside.

And as I picture her in pain, eyes welling with tears they way they did in kindergarten after falling on the playground, or years later when he wasn't quite enough, I wish I was there to tell her it's going to be alright.

Because it will.

However different it becomes in the process.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Open Letter

Dear Guy in the Red T-Shirt,

Please, get off your cell phone.

I know you're just "waiting in line for a sandwich" but that gal doing just the same a mere 10 inches in front of you enjoys her deli time as quiet time. For her, it's about not being bombarded with outside stimuli, for her, it's about the turkey on a hard-roll, not your favorite movie.

I feel like I know you, Guy in the Red Shirt. I know you like a certain kind of beer and it "only takes 5 for you to be wasted."

I know you wanted to go swimming instead of working (join the club) and that you were just grabbing a sandwich and a salad (both, really?) but none of these things are important to me.

And much like I'd rather not feel your breath on the nape of my neck, I'd prefer you keep your cell phone off, your mouth shut, and your body a few paces behind the person in front of you.

Because I wasn't moving toward the deli counter to get a better look at what they had to offer, I was trying desperately to get further and further away from YOU, your ONE SIDED CONVERSATION.

Sincerely,

Girl in the Black Sweater Who Hates You

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The little things

Sometimes all it takes are the little things to brighten our mood.

Like when a simple friend request proves we had good taste even in 5th grade.

Thank you 11-year-old crush for making my day.

I knew there was a reason we fought over who got to sit near you on the bus.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Quiet time

After perhaps my longest blogging hiatus since the Odd Couple began, I figured I should fess up as to why I've been so silent lately.

I'm paying homage to an old saying.
Perhaps you've heard it?

If you don't have anything nice to say.
Don't say anything at all.

And so, here I remain saying nothing and hoping the niceties are on their way soon because nothing makes me feel less productive than an un-updated blog (well.... aside from an un-showered self on Sunday).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The end of an era

Things I will miss about Mahoney's if THIS actually happens.

1. The "everybody knows your name" feeling when you arrive.

2. The pink shots served in the crunch-able shot glasses. (Perfect for emulating a comic "punch" sound with a swift almost-hit to the face).

3. Dancing with Emmett on St. Paddy's Day.

4. Borrowing jackets from the bouncers.

5. Running into everyone you ever went to DCC with or worked with in a restaurant or went to high school with (and liked).

6. Using the handi-cap bathroom when all the 21-year-olds wait in line for the other.

7. Sitting on the very bar stool where you met your fiance.

8. Spilling beer, dropping glasses, and no one even noticing.

9. Wearing a sweatshirt and sneakers on Thursday night and heels on Saturday.

10. Living the stories you'll never tell your kids (or your parents) no matter how much time goes by.







Comment and tell me if you'll miss your "20-something-hangout" or if you can't wait to see it go.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mother's Way

I want to be a mom.

Not in the harvesting babies sort of way, but in the taking care of everyone sort of way.

I want to have a purse full of chocolates for the bad days and Tylenol for the painful ones.

I want to pack lunches with little notes and cut peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a heart shaped cookie cutter.

I want to bake brownies for everyone in the office and brew fresh coffee for their 3:30 slump.

I want to be the saint who cleans the company microwave so everyone can enjoy its waves without filth. (Consider this blog entry an official "Thank You!" to whomever does that here.)

I want to drop by my friends houses with homemade meals when they're too busy to make them, wrapped in perfect one-time use containers, and carried in a picnic basket for them to keep.

I want to send cards for every holiday, promotion, or celebration that occurs in the lives around me, early rather than late.

And I want to do it all without the need for thanks.

Because I think that is what being a "Real Mom" is all about.

It's about doing all of these nice things for people with only their smiles as a acknowledgment.

And while I may not be ready for the official "Mom" title quite yet.

I still want to be like her...

That person who fills her purse with smiles and never seems to notice the lack of cold hard cash found inside.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Love sick

Few moments in our ordinary lives can make us feel as lonely as when we're sick and single.

I can remember the late night trips for over the counter meds that were pointless anyway, stocking my cart with orange juice and vitamins, and sneezing ever so un-gently into my pile of crumpled bills before handing them off to the mortified cashier.

I can remember lugging it all back into my tiny apartment, and passing out more from the exhaustion than the NyQuil itself, realizing again how sometimes it just sucks to be alone.

It was a time of 3 a.m. fevers consoled only by the lamp on my nightstand and hair not-held while I bent over the seat usually reserved for just sitting.

Sore necks were soothed with ibuprofen and vodka on the rocks, not massages and heating pads fresh from the microwave.

Sickness was a time of self-medicating and hoping.
Hoping that it would pass quickly, without much fuss, and that I would not be forced to beg the next man who smiled at me to be my partner and my hospice nurse.

And when I finally found someone worth keeping, someone who promised to be there when I'm at my worst, I find I am only reminded of these things when I no longer am forced to suffer through them.

Instead of lonely nights spent sick in solitude, I think of them when I experience the opposite.

When sickness is not a reminder of loneliness, but of feeling loved instead.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The do-ing

I've been haunted in almost every long-term-ish relationship with one cringe-worthy phrase.

"What do you want to do?"

I appreciate the gesture, I understand that these words are uttered in order to make me happy, and the people responsible for the question are just taking my feelings into account.

But I can't help but silently scream each time I'm asked, each time my preferences become paramount and I'm forced to decide what "we" will be doing for the next few hours.

I could be honest and say, "I'd like YOU to invite me to do SOMETHING like you used to."

Because relationships don't begin with this phrase, they begin with offers for dates.

I can remember an abundance of "Would you like to go out to dinner at X,Y,Z tonight?" type-of-questions. I was asked whether or not I wanted to see a specific movie, not a movie at all.

It was a time when dates were set times and places, not a burden of opportunities that sometimes take more effort than they're worth.

My silent screams say things like... "Woo-me." "You should know what I like, it's been YEARS after all!" "Buy me dinner or take me to Dairy Queen even though you're on a diet!"

But I know that on the inside, I'm a spoiled brat, and so I don't say these things.

Instead, I go through the lists upon lists of things we could do, and by the time I've weighed the pros and cons of all of them, the only thing I want to do, is take a nap.

And so I wonder what the appropriate answer is...

When all I want to do is sarcastically say, "Well, how about some OPTIONS?"

Because in the end it's not necessarily sweet and doting that I'm asked what I want to do.

Part of me wonders if it's just lazy.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Baby talk

Last year, it was all weddings and white dresses.

My, how quickly things change.

It seems that suddenly my circle of friends will be welcoming BABIES into the equation.

No more Martinis + Expletives = Fun.

Instead, we will be oo-ing and ah-ing over baby bits, nibbling on tiny toes instead of tapas and declining that second mimosa in favor of "just OJ" in its place.

And where I once thought I'd be mortified at the idea of BABIES DURING BRUNCH I've suddenly warmed up to the idea.

We will have something new to obsess about rather than our wedding plans or old flames. We will likely get together earlier, allowing for more PRIME TIME TV and hours of sleep that alluded us in our early 20's.

Midnight will become THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT rather than the beginning and we will all finally have someone to talk about in a good way.

"Did you hear about Emily?"
"NO! What's she up to?!"
"She is EATING CHEERIOS!"
"Oh my god I had NO IDEA!"

And so along with my fast-er metabolism and wrinkle-free face, I say goodbye to our old way of celebrating womanhood and welcome the new.

Because nothing will make us feel more empowered than realizing that our bodies are capable of housing tiny human beings, little people who finally prove we're all grown up.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bar babes

Long ago I argued that you can't meet a nice guy in a bar and then I went off and got engaged to one.

Yes, they exist.
Nice guys... IN THE BAR.

Guys who understand why you didn't want them to pick you up at your house the first time you hung out, guys who promised "Not to wait 3 days," before they called, guys who laughed when you said, "Don't, I won't remember you in 3 days."

Good guys.

But, looking back, I realized there are a few rules that need to be followed if you hope to weed out the good from the bad and eventually take home the relationship prize from a bar instead of just an emotional hang over.

Things like...

1. Timing counts
This means, consider yourself Cinderella and leave that bar by midnight. Otherwise, you'll find yourself doing shots with the regulars while all the good guys have gone home to rest up before calling the girl they just met in the AM.

2. Inhibit your inhibitions
This means, keep your drinking to a minimum and your flirtation only to a maximum. After a glass of wine and a giggle you're doing fine, add a few shots and a slip on the dance floor, and you're a joke instead.

3. Trust your instincts
When your mind is telling you know (regardless of what the rest of you is doing) TRUST YOUR INTUITION! Our gut is our best friend when it comes to dating successfully, chances are if he seems slimy... he is.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Benefits and doubt

What do Sandra Bulluck, Elin Nordegren, your cousin, mother, and best friend have in common?

Oh! That's it! A cheating man!

Some argue that they can't help it, that it's in a man's nature to want to frolic in the grass with as many ladies as he can because he simply can't help himself.

And yet others now play the addiction card...

(Yes, David Duchovny, I mean you, oh and you Tiger Woods, and YOU former husband of Halle Barry).

They get caught cheating and instead of sleeping on the couch and begging for forgiveness, they say they're addicted, that it's a disease they need help for and they spend their sleepless nights at rehab instead.

And with months or years of therapy, they kick their habit, they recommit to their wives and claim they've healed.

But sometimes all it takes is a beautiful woman to make most of them relapse.

Just like an addict that can't enter the liquor store without salivating, t
hey're powerless in the face of a new partner...

But is there truth in the addictive powers of cheating?

Or are we giving these guys benefits where there once was only doubt?






Friday, March 12, 2010

Just friends

"Why do you still talk to that person?"

We hear it all the time, the question of why we still allow people who may have wronged us back into our lives, giving them a second (or sometimes third) chance at friendship.

And while a lot of people assume it's because we're "not strong enough to say goodbye" or that we're simply "doormats with no self-respect," sometimes it seems more important, more beneficial to our happiness, to just sweep old conflicts under the rug instead.

Because a person may have hurt us at one time, but they probably also brought us joy.

And perhaps more important than what was said or done, is their intent.

Acknowledging that we're hurt means looking at the reasons of why...
And most of the time, we're hurt due to a misunderstanding or due to someone's general humanity, wrapped in regret.

Should we then harbor resentment and cast judgment rather than forgive?

Or is it better to focus on the reasons we allowed them into our lives in the first place and hope that they will be as forgiving of our flaws as we were of theirs.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A greater power

Sometimes, little things happen that make us stop and think before we react (or overreact).

Call it fate, call it coincidence, call it a greater power.

Regardless, of what you call it sometimes I'm simply grateful for it, at all, whatever it may be.

Like when...

1. In an attempt to lose 10lbs before Memorial Day, I decide to not bring lunch to work at all, and instead head to the vending machine STARVING at 1:30 only to find my only dollar is TOO CRUMPLED for the cupcakes I covet. Thus, a diet coke in quarters instead.

2. When I'm about to send a nasty email and Firefox crashes.

3. When I attempt to call people out on their immaturity and drama via telephone, only to realize I left my cell charging at home, safe from my wrath.

4. When heated arguments online end in typos from my "enemy."

5. When I want to cancel plans and it snows for three days so I don't have to make up an excuse.

6. When people I don't like get their haircut, and I see the exact style on "Worst Ways To Wear Your Hair Dot Com."

7. When I want to wear my yoga pants to work, but decide on the khakis instead, only to find that they are covered in coffee stains and thus- I must change before leaving the house (into yoga pants of course).

8. When someone passes me on a double yellow, only for me to later pass THEM pulled over on the side of the road talking to at State Trooper.

9. When I order a salad and the restaurant is out of dressing forcing me to eat Plan B: Burger and fries instead.

10. ______________.


When was the last time your friend Karma came to say hello?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A time to settle

Is it better to be alone, or to settle?

That is the question answered by THIS woman and not in a way most would expect.

Rather than encourage women to hold out for their knight in shining armor, she suggests that they lower their expectations (notice, I did not say standards) in order to find Mr. Good-Enough.

It seems that our expectations for "only the best" sometimes leave us alone for longer than we'd like.

And while I once agreed, that a life alone would be better than a life with Mr. Almost-Soul-Mate, with each year that passes, I change my tune.

Not because I think I'm settling in my present relationship, but because I see the struggle that most single women go through on their never-ending search for "the one."

When their dates end in disaster, they either blame themselves or add yet another attribute to their list of "necessary qualities" in a mate.

While I wouldn't advise them to stay with a man they were repulsed or offended by, I think in time, they may come to realize, that being married and starting a family isn't exactly glamorous and most always far from perfect.

And if a woman wants these things in her future, she just might need to lower her height expectations when looking for a partner and open her mind a little more than her eyes.

Because the man she eventually chooses won't be just a mate, but a father as well.

And "passion and fire" aren't exactly qualities that scream, "stable and loving."

They tend to describe men who want more from life.

More fun. More experiences.

And maybe, more than one woman.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Max-ism

I'm not the sort of gal to care about my man's glossy magazine favorites. I consider my Cosmo an R rated version of his X rated picks, and so he's more or less entitled.

However, upon looking at the latest issue of Maxim, I was at first amused that the chick from Big Bang Theory was on the cover, and then appalled at one of the article topics.

"Cheat and don't get caught! Women tell you how."

Um. Seriously? It's one thing to broadcast the ways we caught someone being adulterous, but it's quite another to give otherwise good guys a HOW-TO-MANUAL on the subject.

Here's their ideas and how I debunked them.

1. "Make your girl a guy."
By this they mean... change the contact info for your lover in your phone so your "psycho" (and um... ACCURATE) wife/girlfriend doesn't wonder why you're texting Jane Doe in the other room at all hours of the day (and night). If she thinks it's John Doe, you're in the clear.

DEBUNKED: Even if this works while you're in a relationship, some day down the line, when you meet a real person by the name of Jane (or John) you just might accidentally invite your old flame out for drinks instead of your new friend. (This. Happens).

2. "Hackproof your life."
This is where they tell you to create an entirely different online persona in order to carry out your affair, complete with new email address, screen name, and passwords.

DEBUNKED: Wanna know the EASIEST way to lose your relationship? Oh! That's right... it's having a SECRET LIFE on the side.

3. "Always be reachable."
The idea is to always answer the phone or text back, regardless of your circumstances so as not to cause suspicion.

DEBUNKED: Certain activities make it impossible to answer the phone. These are the very activities you're hoping to partake in by cheating. Good luck with this one.

4. "Take it to the grave."
Ah yes... the old "don't tell anyone advice." If only you know then no one will find out!

DEBUNKED: Unless you're REALLY bad at cheating, chances are you aren't the ONLY one involved. You may never know when/if your indiscretions will come back to haunt you.

5. "Choose wisely"
This is where the EXperts at Maxim advise you to choose your lover with some sense, to ensure that they don't go crazy and tell your significant other about your other life.

DEBUNKED: You never know what people you love are capable of, let alone the people you don't even like enough to have a real relationship with.

6. "Don't date your fling."
Apparently, you aren't allowed to take your fling out for dinner because that means you have "bigger issues."

DEBUNKED: Those "bigger issues" are called feelings. And, you can't fight them off no matter how hard you try.

7. "Don't overcompensate."
They advise would-be cheaters to never be "too nice" to their significant other after doing the deed with someone insignificant. All those homemade meals are signs you're feeling guilty.

DEBUNKED: If you're feeling guilty enough to become the next Emeril in the kitchen or buy her some new diamond jewelry, maybe she's worth holding onto after all. That guilt isn't just something to overcompensate for, it is a sign that you're doing something WRONG.




Your opinion? Good advice or a reason to cancel his subscription?

Friday, February 12, 2010

The consequences of nesting

It seems the "happier" I am the less witty I become as well.

Where I once couldn't determine what fantastical experience I wanted to share in an animated, metaphorical way, now I find myself bombarded with a bunch of half-baked ideas and a habit of Googling real recipes instead.

After a cup of coffee (or 3) the metaphor peaks its caffeinated head and begins by comparing men to a nice cut of beef...

And then all of a sudden I'm fantasizing about a roasted sirloin tip with a balsamic demi glaze instead of Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome.

I used to write posts about my tiny apartment and how it was more than just a space to live, it was an extension of my independence. But now, similar ideas manifest themselves in a trip to Ikea.com and fantasies about decorating my new (shared) home. Instead of embracing solitude, I'm finding patterns that compromise femininity with a more masculine approach.

Is this what nesting is?
Am I destined to become a mom, a quilter, a woman who looks forward to the Fourth of July Flag cake more than the inevitable margaritas?!
Will my writing suffer a similar fate to my 12th grade love of painting with watercolors-- old posts and columns collecting dust in the basement because the room they were once displayed in becomes a nursery?!

Perhaps (like everyone else) I could blame twitter and status updates for my creative demise.
I could say that because all of my wittiness and talent is suddenly summed up into 140 characters or less that I've forgotten how to embellish, how to tell a real story.

So instead, I twit my best lines and look at food p0rn rather than compare men to my favorite late night snack. I fill my drafts with the first half of a metaphor and my recipe box with what's left.

Because in addition to a few wrinkles and a strange lust for home goods, it seems I've lost my ability to find glamor in the simple life.

And sadly enough... men are no longer expensive steaks or the icing on the cake, but instead real life people I actually want to cook for.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Advice

One of the greatest things about having a MUCH younger sibling is that you get to bestow your wisdom upon them while they're young and impressionable, but with enough of an age-gap, to make a real difference.

The things I tell my 13-year-old sister...

1. Few marry their 8th grade boyfriends
(And those that do, usually regret their lack of experience;)

2. It all changes when you get your license
(Freedom=Fun)

3. Good guys like real girls
(Not plastic, plumped up, surgical Barbie dolls).

4. Don't date boys with goatees
(There's something about the 14 year old boy with facial hair that just screams BAD NEWS).

5. I hope you think I'm still cool in 5 years
(It's true... I'm not looking forward to the day you get older, and I just get old).



What advice do you have for your siblings that you wish someone had warned you about?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dinner party

It was a success.

Wine poured into matching glasses, laps covered in cloth napkins, and a meal from scratch (except the salad dressing).

I had timed it perfectly and even found a moment for fresh flowers as the centerpiece-- which were called "very pretty" at least once.

But it seemed I was too concerned with dinner's outcome and consequently said much less than usual.

Distracted by the possibility of burning dinner for four, I ran to the kitchen when I might have preferred to stay and chat.

I joined the conversation, politely answering questions, curbing my usually foul mouth into one that wears lipstick instead.

And it was a success.

Until the empty house gave me the quiet freedom to wonder.

To wonder if they were impressed by me, or my meal.
To wonder if they thought I was someone I'm not.

A woman who just cooks. Who just spends time in the kitchen.
A woman whose contributions amount to full bellies and warm thank yous.

A woman who isn't actually me.

But the one I gave to them instead.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I do

The things I don't miss about dating, and a few things I do...

DON'T MISS...

1. The mixed signals.
He says he is just wants something casual, but he still calls everyday (in the afternoon).

2. The game of check mate.
Dinner was great, but who has to pay?

3. Feeling crazy.
Asking yourself if you're sending too many text messages feels crazy, even when it's OK.

MISS...

1. Flip flops.
It's amazing what our hearts/stomachs can do when the person we are falling for enters the room.

2. Spices.
Variety can be nice-- and never boring.

3. Falling
The in love part is nice, but the descent is something to remember.




What do you or don't you miss?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy-Crite

It's not that difficult to find someone in their early to mid-twenties who claims that marriage is a farce and they plan to spend their lives as a bachelor or bachelorette.

You can usually trace their bitterness... I mean realism... back to one particular event.

Perhaps it's their parent's divorce or their breakup from whom they thought was the one.

Either way, they have reason to paint a negative portrait of a committed life and will likely laugh at your supposed happy relationship.

Just wait they say.
Just wait until you really know the person.

And yet... perhaps that's what we should be saying to them.

Just wait.
Just wait until someONE comes along and tests your boundaries.
Just wait until someONE says they want to be with you forever (and actually means it).
(However transient the meaning of forever ends up being, in the moment they say it, its definition is finite).

Because eventually our bitterness transforms into hypocrisy... whether we expect it to or not.

And where we once entertained our friends with our negative outlook on love, we suddenly bore them with our happiness instead.









Have you wavered on your previous views on marriage/relationships? And if so... what was the turning point?