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April 28, 2011

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Notes to My Future Girlfriend

February 9, 2010

I will refer to things that happened to me in ‘Nam and ’73 with a wistful tone even though I wasn’t born until 1981.

I will pretend to know everything about wine (I barely drink wine).

I will misuse and mispronounce many words.

I will get more and more calm as you get more and more angry.

I will punctuate arguments with sudden nudity.

I will interrupt sexy or deep conversations with inappropriate humor–I am always playful.

I will compare fancy dinners to meals that I had decades ago in exotic cities I’ve never been to.

I will dote on my cat just as much, if not more, than I dote on you.

I will eat an entire bag of popcorn after a night of drinking.

I will want you to turn off the lights and put your palm on my forehead when I get a migraine.

I will not allow Cheetos in the house.

I will pee and poop with the bathroom door open.

I will be unnaturally curious about what you’re doing in the bathroom when you close the door.

I will pluck rogue hairs from your body when you’re not looking.

I will put my hand on your knee when I’m driving, and I’d like the same from you.

I will do lunges when I’m naked.

I will dance to songs at home in ways that may appear fruity to the untrained eye.

I will communicate only by grunts and chirps in the middle of the night.

I will always be happy when you give me back scratchies.

I will ask that you not put your things on my desk.

I will kiss you until your skin goes numb. I love to kiss.

I will protect you from any harm that comes your way, but I will not be possessive of you.

I will laugh at both your good jokes and your bad jokes.

I will give you my honest opinion about that dress (unless you only want encouragement).

I will recognize the little things you do.

I will believe everything you tell me.

I will go all in with you.

I will dance with you.

I will commit to you.

I will include you.

I will love you.

Your Boyfriend Is Making You Look Bad

February 9, 2010

I’ve watched my fair share of romantic comedies and teen flicks. Today I want to extract a common cliche from those movies and turn  it on its head as I compare it to real-life dating.

Some examples:

  1. Can’t Hardly Wait*: Hot girl dating a huge jerk is courted by a boy.
  2. Fired Up: Hot girl dating a huge jerk is courted by a boy.
  3. Wedding Crashers: Hot woman engaged to a huge jerk is courted by a man.

We’re supposed to root for the male protagonist to “save” the girl from the huge jerk. You root against the jerk. He’s the bad guy, and it’s the dorky kid’s job to save the girl from him.

What really bugs me about this is: What’s so attractive about a woman who is willing to date a huge jerk? It’s not like she was forced to date this guy. That’s the guy she chose to date! This choice reflects extremely poorly on her. Why does the protagonist ignore that?

I think this is one of my least favorite movie cliches because of the way it portrays women as hapless victims of circumstance. Which isn’t true at all. We choose who we date, and the people we date reflect upon who we are. You date a good person–that says something good about you. You date a huge jerk–that says something bad about you.

My favorite teen movie of all time is Superbad. One of the major reasons I love that movie is that it avoids this cliche altogether. The movie isn’t about winning these girls away from their idiot boyfriends (because why would you want a girl who has an idiot boyfriend)–it’s about impressing women (and, ultimately, respecting them). I love that.

What do you think? Do the people we date reflect on who we are, or are we just hapless victims of circumstance? What are some of your favorite teen movies–and realistic, likable women in teen movies? What are your least favorite teen and romantic comedy cliches?

*In all fairness to Can’t Hardly Wait, which packs an incredible number of cliches and one-dimensional characters into its running time, it does include one of the coolest moments in any movie: When the dorky kid is singing “Paradise City” in front of the crowd, he falls down and the music stops. Then you see the him rise into the air like a phoenix from the ashes, the mic is tossed in the air, and he rocks out while the crowd goes wild. It’s awesome.

Confession #12: The Gusto

February 8, 2010

I’m a sprinter. I start things with gusto, with excitement, with passion. I thrive in those first 100 yards.

But then the lactic acid begins to build up, and I have to glide for the next 100 yards or so before it begins to feel like a long distance run. I lose steam. I lose focus. I feel like I don’t have the endurance for such runs.

The sprint analogy is perfect for my history with women. This is different than the prototypical relationship curve where you start off super passionate and then that lust dies down and a greater love emerges. I’m specifically talking about who I am in those relationships.

I kind of feel like I’m all talk. Because I start off relationships with such gusto. I say all the right things, I write all the right things–these aren’t things I’m forcing or faking; I genuinely feel those things and express them.

But after a while, the gusto is gone. I got so hyped up that this woman is the one, and then I realize that things aren’t quite as perfect as they seemed, that our connection isn’t as strong as I thought, and I simply stop trying. Or when I do try, it’s forced. I start to get a wandering eye.

This is the pattern. Everybody has patterns in their relationships, and this is mine.

It seems to me that there are one or two things going on here:

  1. It’s me. I come out of the gates too fast, I exhaust myself, and then when things aren’t as clean and easy as they originally appeared, I stop trying. I simply lose interest.
  2. It’s you. You are not the woman you told me you were, or you have imperfections that I scowl at instead of embrace, or you’re simply not the one for me and I should have realized it sooner.

In all likelihood, it’s probably a combination of the two. And I must say, being intentionally single has helped me immensely with number 2. Because I actually have time to realize if a woman is better for me as a friend than a lover. I have a deadline to keep, after all. Without that deadline, I’d be rushing into things like the sprinter I am.

I need to give the fine wine that is a woman the space and time to breathe a bit. I’m fortunate to have that time now.

But I also can’t ignore number 1. It’s not that I want to slow down or stop being vulnerable. Those are good things for getting to know someone on a deeper level. But there’s something missing. There’s something I have to do to be able to carry this gusto throughout a relationship–some of it, at least. The analogy would suggest that I need to pace myself, but does that work here? When you’re falling for someone, why would you want to pace yourself?

I’ve experienced all types of love, all shapes and sizes. But the one that has felt the best to me is the love you feel when you’re falling for someone. It’s exciting, it’s uncertain, it’s tender. It sweeps you off your feet. But the other loves return you to solid ground. Sure, they have many good characteristics about them too, but in my experience, none of them are better than falling.

I think the key question, as bad as it sounds, is this: After you fall for someone, how do you stay interested in them? Or is there a a way to fall in love with the same person for years and years? How?

Pet Peeve #8: Glasses in the Sink

February 5, 2010

Over the years, I’ve noticed a phenomenon related to how people deal with dirty glasses when they are visiting someone else’s house. Some people–myself included–put glasses in the dishwasher (if it’s clearly dirty) or on the counter. Others put their glass in the sink.

Those people are crazy. Here’s why:

  1. You can stack dirty plates on top of one another in a sink. But once you have a single glass in there, no plates can soak in your sink.
  2. Once you put a glass in the sink, you can no longer put it on the counter because it leaves a ring of nasty sink water on your marble countertop.
  3. Sinks are slightly sloped so that the water will drain, making it easier for glasses to fall over. Show of hands: How many of you have broken a wine glass in the sink? It’s happened to all of us. I once had a person put a shot glass in my sink. Somehow it made it’s way into the drain; guess what happened when I turned on the garbage disposal? Yep, that was a lot of fun to clean out.
  4. There’s a dishwasher right there! Just put it in there!

I really don’t understand this phenomenon. Do people think they’re helping you hide dirty dishes from view by putting them in the sink? Do these people not have dishwashers at home?

When you go to that wine and cheese party this weekend, do your host a favor: Either put your glass in the dishwasher, or leave it on the counter. They’ll thank you for the gesture.