Friday, April 26, 2013

The Conversation... In which I discuss Exclusivity (and die a little inside).




Overheard in the ladies bathroom of a well-known Masonic building, an enclave of slightly well-beered and overly-blurry females:
“Sweetie, you owe him nothing.  Nada.  Nicht.  He may think what he likes, but unless you’ve had the conversation you are just dating and therefore you can see who you like, when you like.” 

I cringed as I hovered silently over the toilet seat.  It’s hard enough to pee in a public bathroom, but throw in a juicy conversation and a gaggle of on-listeners and it’s urine shut down.  I emerged, sheepishly from my stall, wanting to look up, but English repression forbidding it.  Hurrah for many mirrors!  It was as clichĂ© as it gets: one holding the glasses, one the purses, one taking her turn in the mirror and smearing her come-get-me gloss lavishly across her lips. 

Under the loud flow of the faucet I missed a bit, but never did a pair of average-sized hands take so long to dry.

“But you’re missing the point!”  Said the one who had now reinserted the wand to the gloss and was wiping the smudges of shimmer off her lip lines.  “If this were two weeks in, fine!  I’d agree with you.  But it’s not and I’ve slept with him.  That redefines everything.  There may not have been the conversation, but there was conversation alright.”

I ferreted in my purse—my Mary Poppins hearse purse is enormously useful for such time-stalling situations; it takes minutes to find anything in there it is so cavernous—and finally drew out my hairbrush.  I began to fuss and count the strokes.  (I wasn’t really, of course.)

“DIS-A-GREE!” The slightly more looped of the three, triple-fisting the glasses returned, “No conversation, no exclusivity!  Sex makes no difference, it’s neither here nor there.”
“No, believe me.  It wasn’t here.  But it was definitely there, and in the kitchen, the bedroom, the living room …” They cackled, gave one last nod to the mirror, and the three drifted from the basement bathroom and back into the hubbub of the Brews.

I looked at myself in the mirror: I was not meant for this harsh, unfeeling world of dating.  I brushed my locks and considered the issue.  Had anyone ever broached the conversation with me?  No.  Relationships had just… happened.  Organically.  There had never been any verbal contract of exclusivity, I had just—rather foolishly I realized then—assumed it.  If someone wanted to spend their time with me, it had really never even dawned on me that they would on the other nights—while I toiled like a dung beetle—be other with other women at the same time.  It never occurred to me that there needed to be an agreement made, insisted on.  I was wide-eyed at the thought that one could be sleeping with one and dating many others—that just sounds exhausting.  Of course, I know people do, but I was thinking of it in relation to the anti-romances I had had.

Is this, The Conversation, something that one should insist on?  If so when?  And what—oh dear God—if one wants to say “no thank you very much, I do like you, you’re a jolly nice bloke, but actually I rather want to consider other penises right now.  No offense!  Tally ho.”  

Or what if—Heaven forfend—a chap says to you, a lady, “Sorry there Toots, but I want to explore my… options.”  Does one smile, shrug shoulders and continue, after one has been so snubbed?  My mind was a whirring cosmic fire of unrest. 

I just find the whole topic unsettling, because it is so far from my romantic ideal.  To use James Fleet’s expression, from Four Weddings and A Funeral, I rather hoped it would just be “Thunderbolt City,” and he would forget all ideas of anyone else, as I would.  And nothing would corrupt this mutual feeling of yearning, not conflicting schedules, not friends of the opposite sex, not long absences, not all the little fucking stupid things that are thrown up by the projectile vomit of our past; that there would be this mutual acceptance. 

I suppose that’s what happens when it is Thunderbolt City.  Maybe the ones that get so easily derailed, and need such contracts and verbal reassurances, are the ones that were never headed anywhere anyway.  Regardless, it makes me sad.  Sad that I've never asked for this conversation, but that maybe it would have saved many hurt feelings.  This oral tornado would blow in and sweep misunderstanding up and away. 

I have discussed this with a few friends this week. 
“So…Shera, Princess of Power, what’s your take on exclusivity?”
“Non-negotiable. I sat He Man down and said, ‘Look, Mister, are we together, or are you screwing every underage cutesie at the Backyard Ale House on a Saturday night?  Because if you are, ding ding, stop the bus, you are getting off.  And not with me.’”  I applauded her bravado, but knew I could not be so forthright.  Mainly because, I am not sure I would like the answer.  If one asks, but is told there are others--gulp!--is it so easy to walk away if one is invested?

I asked my dear male friend on his take, “Absolutely, there needs to be a conversation.”  He said adamantly.  “I wasn’t always like that.  But I got burned, and that means now I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket, so-to-speak.  I can date more than one woman at the same time with no remorse.” 

And then there was a third and final take on it, without me even asking he told me clearly where he stands, because he will not even allow the female he is dating to have male friends—even if her intentions are well meaning and she only has eyes, lips, heart, longing for him.  He has little trust in her, because of his prior experience.  Can a partner not have friends of the opposite sex?  Can she/he not meet him/her for an uncontracted, but understood, mutual friends drink?  Do we need to classify every interaction we have just to make sure intentions are interpreted correctly?  "Hey, Will, Buddy-oh-friend-of-mine, fancy meeting for a beverage and a non-sexual-interaction-because-we-are-friends-who-don't-share-bodily-fluids?"  Not every male-female friendship turns into Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis reaping the benefits!



GAH!  I would that we could start every relationship as if we’ve never dated.  As if this is new and we haven’t become jaded, mistrustful, cynical and sad.  Forget what has gone before, damn it!  That's not to say don't learn from experience, but don't assume the new partner will be like the old. We are individual, different human beings, who strive for success and make mistakes; we are largely just as confused as each other, because, guess what, we are not mind readers!

Trust, jealousy, longing, contracts.  I suppose, the conversation--however unromantic it is, as much as I’d prefer to plunge my fist down my throat and rip out my heart as more eloquent proof—is necessary.  Maybe there are so many mixed signals these days that one simply can’t trust the organic process.  Maybe there needs to be that clarification that both are singing from the same hymn sheet.  That one is not getting overly invested in a heart that is overly invested in many other mutual funds.  And maybe the triple-fisting girl, swaying slightly in the reflection of the bathroom mirror, was right all along, her unromantic, practical negotiation stamping on my open heart.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Ding Dong, I love your Pong! In which I discuss Pheromones.




Imagine: you met him on Match, or Eharmony, or wherever.  He has teeth, a job, and likes animals.  You arrange to meet in a public place.  He suggests that chic, fine dining place that you know you shouldn’t really afford, but what the heck! 

He is there, waiting at the bar, with his neat amber measure bathing on the rocks.  He looks good, better than his picture, and you start to wish that maybe you hadn’t hurried straight from work, but had stopped to tame the humidi-fizzed nest on your head, that maybe you had spritzed with your perfume and sucked on a Listerine tab, reapplied the lip gloss that feels like a weight in your pocket. 

But the date goes off well.  He compliments you, asks you questions, orders the wine with alacrity; suggests a couple of appetizers to start.  He waves the waiter over and speaks with bon homie, like he’s been there a thousand times before and he and the waiter are great mates.  You notice the way he treats people and acknowledges them with a raise of his dark brows and a Cheshire Cat beam.  He is confident.  People like him, and you like that. 

You share dishes.  It’s surprising, this sudden coupling, but you go with the flow and enjoy his attention.  At the end of the date, you see your reflection in his eyes.  His focus is all for you and it’s consuming.  You know you shouldn’t, but you do want to kiss him, to feel his hot lips on yours, the rhythm, the taste of him.  It’s a long unawkward kiss as you hover by your car—knowing that you should get in and drive away, but that kiss! 

The next dates pass just as the first, but the kisses are deeper, longer.  He’s full of stories!  So entertaining!  He wears charisma like a leather onesie.  He makes you feel special.  And then IT happens, x number of dates in, maybe after three-too-many white lotus martinis: the frantic peel of clothes, the clash of flesh, the flail, the push, the pull, the thrust, the pneumatic motion as your bodies writhe in unison, pumping to catch that elusive wave that will bring both of you to shore, beached.  You fall asleep a tangle of sweaty spent limbs.  Morning comes early, you roll over and inhale the daylight, and UGH! GOOD GOD, WHAT IS THAT STENCH?
Hereeeeee's... Stinky Pete!

Just imagine.

Now, you are pretty sure he didn’t consume a double bean burrito last night.  He shared your flatbread and salad and drank from the same bottle of wine you did.  And you don't smell like a toxic wasteland.  No, you smell of vanilla and linen and sex.  He has not been poisoned by some dreadful unholy explosive gastric virus.  You are sure.  He sleeps.  You sniff.  You tent the sheets over your head.  Dear God, is this Auschwitz?  You rotisserie-chicken yourself over, not to disturb the slumbering form that was, pre-coital, quite lovely, but now… noxious.  You tentatively nestle back into that nook beneath his armpit, your flushed cheek burning through his cool contracting and expanding chest.  Maybe you were wrong.  You inhale again.  It’s not deadly farts, or inexplicable breath, it’s just... him.  He has a smell, and ain't no Gucci.

Pheromones.  Tricky little fuckers.  The scent that can drive a woman uninhibited and legs akimbo, or… sorry Chaps, running for the shower, or her keys, or the door.  Or all three.    

Scents are used to influence the senses.  This can be done defensively, ie: my brother pinning me to the ground and farting on my head; or as a lure, to turn a head just as a peacock tail, a six-pack, a delicious raucous laugh, a red Ferrari.  Scent can be key in sexual selection.  And I suppose this topic appeals to me because I can’t figure out how a chap, who could not be a good match in any way, shape or form, but—nice one Evolutionary Biology—has a smell so delicious to you that the bitter-sweet inhalation as your nostrils fill with the scent emanating from his skin, the waft of his manliness as you brush your cheek next to his in some faux display of civility, JUST GETS YOU, like someone has stabbed you in the intestines and twisted the knife like a Sicilian.  What is this Sense and Olfactory Captor?  What is this elixir that can drive us buck wild or headache-bound? 

Humans possess three major skin glands: sebaceous, eccrine and apocrine.  Apocrine glands occur in greatest concentration on the hands, cheeks, scalp, breasts and body hair and they are thought to produce this sexual elixir.  Interestingly, male apocrine glands are larger than women’s.  Women’s olfactory receptors are greater than men’s, and when women are ovulating their sense of smell becomes heightened.  It could be because the parental investment of women is greater than in men—we have to put in 9 months at least—so sniffing out a suitable mate has more consequences to a female.  Yup, the onus is on us.

So, Ladies, whilst it may seem like we are just suckers for Aqua Di Gio , Hermes, or High Intensity, we are not.  The underlying odour our nostrils are pulsating for, has deeper and greater significance for our offspring.  No wonder the perfume industry has been trying to bottle that bewitching ‘Love Spell’ for years.  Sadly, slaughtering deer for their musk, tigers, or goodness know what other poor creatures.  But it is not a fruity, oriental, musky, woodsy headache-inducing synthetic pong, it’s sex-smell from skin and hair that tells a potential partner about your DNA profile, a sequence of genes that broadcasts info about your immunity, and has us ovulating women snuffling for pheromones, as if for truffles!

In research on mice, females were found to choose males whose gene sequence least overlapped their own.  Ie: she wants her offspring to have as broad DNA and immunity profile as possible, so ensure a greater chance of survival.   In mice, the female sniffs out fitness by smelling her suitors urine.  In monkeys, they they rub urine on their feet to attract mates, advertising their immunity and therefore sexual fitness.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I have never sniffed my potential chap’s pee or rubbed my urine over myself.  (Hmm... maybe THIS explains why people enjoy golden showers?  Weirdos.)  However, I have made some shitty choices, so maybe I should.  Dogs waste no time in crotch-whiffing.
“Hey, I’ve just met you, and this is crazy, can I sniff your crotch please, and call me maybe?” 


There has been extensive research, not just on rodents, but I—a young college-attendee En--was part of such a project when I had to sniff male ‘T’ shirts and rate them for attractiveness—oh Phil Le Pelley and Dr. David Goulson, I remember—and women do prefer scents exuded from men whose MHC (major histocompatibilty complex) differs from their own.  And in terms of offspring fitness, that makes a lot of ‘sense’.  Lordy, innate instincts are clever. 

But there’s a twist—oooooh—yes, oral contraceptives can screw a female’s olfactory senses.  Since the contraceptive pill fools the body into thinking it is pregnant, it reverses our natural preferences.  So maybe if he smells irresistible, and he is a prize Bastardly Dicktard, it is just because you are being betrayed by your daily baby blocker.  OH NO!  To really get a sense of him, you, ladykat friend, should take a break and give him a good old whiff around a more hairy area.  If you want to puke, you might want to question your choices; if he smells like sex and desire wrapped in a weirdly attractive non-six-packed body, then maybe he’s for you.



Maybe he nuzzles your neck to get to those scent releasing factories behind your ear.  His olfactory receptors are not as receptive as yours, but he can, according to research, subconsciously detect the pheromones females release when ovulating, and accordingly, testosterone levels in men are higher during these times and lower when not ovulating!  Way to go, Evolution, conserve manliness for times of need!  Yup, LadyKat, he is inhaling you there, because he knows you like his warm, whiskeyed breath behind your earlobe, it's because he's sensing your fertility, like a rutting buck.  

Soapy cleansers and perfumes make it harder for humans to detect true histocompatibility, but in the morning, sans contraceptive pill, when the Gucci has disappeared with the stars, take a good inhale of him.  If you click, if there is chemistry, if his stench and your waft make a nasal cocktail of chemical desire, that sends loins into overdrive, then tally ho!  If not, perhaps it's another biological siren that you should heave ho.

Caveat: I am not necessarily recommending sniffing crotches or asking for urine samples on a first date.  Second date?  Well, absolutely!
(And, if you do happen to take a contraceptive break, I am not responsible for the consequences.  Thank you.  PONG ON!)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Facebook Formu-lay: In which I discover The F.L.O.P System


Formula: A method of doing or treating something that relies on an established, uncontroversial model or approach

I knew from an early age that most things in life have a formula to them, an approach where x + y = a result.  Study + Go to University = a Degree.  Work + Effort = Reward.  Planking + Bakasana (crow pose) = Rocking Biceps.  Vodka + Club Soda = tasty, low calorie beverage.  Sperm + Egg = 9 months of Ice-Cream.  But relationships?  Relationships defy any kind formula.  You can’t predict them, or determine their longevity; they are the radioactive isotopes of the formula world.  There is no secret formula of Chemistry + Effort = Relationship.  The components are inconstant and unstable and have the tendency to explode at any minute… 3—2—1…
Kaboom!

Lately, there has been a wee thimbleful of introspection in the Chernobyl Cataclysm of the Dating World of Eleanor and Friends.  Reader, come closer, let me whisper into your little peach-fuzz-coated ear, “It isn’t pretty.”  I’ve heard of dating disasters so diabolical, they would turn your skin Springfield green.  And it was thinking of this little Tour de Farce, that I realized there is a common thread here, a formula of sorts, not of components, but a formula that set the whole toxic leak flowing, it’s… Facebook.  The Facebook Formu-lay.
Seriously.

I canvassed women and men--well, a man--on the subject and it seems that Facebook is just another online dating site without the online dating stigma.  You may be a happily-coupled FB user merely chatting with old friends and uploading hundreds of photographs of your delightful little child caked in whatever it has been eating.  You may be content in your little fuzzy wuzzy world of joint bills and laundry-folding.  My clean linens swoop the floor as I try to fold them single-handedly like a drunken Tyrannosaurus Rex.  (And I HAVE relatively long arms.  How midgets fold king size bed sheets blows my mind.  I digress.)  Brace yourself, Contented Couplet, for as you post your Easter pictures of eggs and bunnies and unseemly amounts of chocolate, some FB acquaintance somewhere is messaging a woman/man they don't really know.



The canvassed male, let’s call him ‘Bruce’--his identity protected for the sake of his reputation with the fair ladies of Scranton—was in denial at first that any such system existed, that he had even used it himself.  But he had!  I showed him the volley of messages he had started between us, when ours was but a foetal friendship.
“It’s just how people communicate nowadays,” said he.
“But, examine the evidence, Bruce!  There is an undeniable system here.  Say a chap ‘friends,’ a lady; say he ‘likes’ a few pictures, maybe makes a few funny comments, he engages her in a private message, asks her questions about herself—that’s the small talk.  And this is the weird female bit, ladies who often have absolutely no interest in FB fella, who find this unsolicited attention a complete nuisance at first, sometimes even borderline harassment, suddenly become almost addicted to the attention.  The flurry of messages in a lady’s inbox makes Suzie FB Surfer completely enamoured, because she feels special.”
Bruce listened, unmoved, silent, processing.  I blathered on,
“And there will be some exchange of telephone numbers.  He will create some kind of plausible excuse to volunteer his digits or ask for hers.  A ‘Well, I’m going to be downtown at First Friday too, probably at the Radisson or wherever.  Text me if you want to know how it is over there, I’ll give you the 411.'  Or, 'I’m driving down to South Carolina, so I’m not going to be able to Facebook.  What’s your text number?'  Or, 'If you’re not going to chat with me via text I’m not going to bother writing to you anymore.'  So you give your number because, even if you weren’t interested at first, now you rather enjoy these messages!  They are exciting.  And, let’s face it, even if they weren't who wants to be the arsehole who doesn’t accept the friend request or refuses to give her number?  You know you are only going to see them at the bar, and you will awkwardly slosh your martini down your dry-clean only dress in a quick elbow-jerk reaction, and smile tightly over your brim, as you wish to Christ you lived in a bigger town."

“And THEN you are text buddies.  That’s the way it works, Bruce.  You may be strangers before, you may be freshly-friended acquaintances, you may be reunited old school buds, but that’s how it flows, from the natural springs of unpolluted friendships, to the stagnant cesspool of FB dating.”

Bruce rubbed his face, soberingly, his beard bristling as he did so. 
“Okay, okay.  So that may be true, but it’s not just men.  I’ve been solicited by women on Facebook.” 
“Really?”  I think I sounded more surprised than I intended.
“Yeah, I’ve even been blatantly propositioned by a married woman who works with my Dad.  So does her husband.  That was awkward.”

Which brings me to a side note:  Facebook, text, email, it makes cowards of us all.  We think it makes us brave, that we are taking a chance and sending someone a compliment, maybe typing something bold, risquĂ©, adjectives and verbs that you would never dream of saying out loud to their face; but surely, if we would never say it to their face, should we type it?  Sorry Sexty People, but breathless descriptions are best gasped into the ear of the Intended, not typed to be read out loud to friends or forwarded to others.

“I’ve got it!”  Exclaimed Bruce.  “It’s the F.L.O.P. System.”
“I’m sorry?”  (I was still imagining him being cornered by the photocopier by his father’s busty, over-zealous married co-worker.)
“The F.L.O.P. System:
‘Friend’—that’s self-explanatory.
‘Like’—like a few of their posts or pictures so they get familiar with the name and knows the new friend to be friendly.
‘Observation’—take an interest in what they do, where they go, who they are friends with.  There is only one degree of connection in NEPA, so that’s a great way to start.  'Oh, you're friends with So-and-So!'  To a lesser degree, this is due diligence; to a greater degree it’s surveillance."
"Or stalking," I interjected.
‘Private Message’—engaging in private messages can be very revealing.  ‘Pokes’ and other FB comments one can ignore without seemingly being rude, but a private message is harder to shrug off."
"Especially," said I, jumping in with alacrity, "since you know you will see them at that bar over the sloshy rim of that that martini again!  It’s fate!  It’s going to happen.  That’s how it works, Bruce!  YES!  The F.L.O.P!  It doesn’t always secure a date, but the investment time of private messaging certainly increases the chances.  And if the date is firmed, it’s really F.L.O.P.D.!”
(this is when we laughed: “BHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Ha.  BHahaha. Hee.”)

FB has been the conduit that lead to 1, 2, buckle my shoe, 3, 4, maybe more, of my recent dating misadventures.  Heck, I suppose you have to ‘meet’ and get to know people someway, and at least on FB rather than some dating website, there are usually mutual friends who can vouch for Suddenly Chatty Chuck not being a complete weirdo who thinks he’s a Jedi Warrior, owns a collection of dolls and only eats jello.
  


I don’t mean to be disparaging, especially in the light of the whirling gauntlet we all duck, dodge and dive through, there just isn’t as much time to go around socially as if campaigning for an eligible male.
“Hello” *shakes hand* “My name is Eleanor and I’m campaigning for a bachelor with good teeth and …”  Can you imagine?

I have some friends, who worked the F.L.O.P.D. system and now they are happily living together and that’s great.  Yay!  Go them. 

I have some other friends who have been worked by the F.L.O.P system, desolate after the Flopper has flipped off and never communicated again.  It seems so ironic in a way that a tool that can be used for aiding and abetting communication, can be withdrawn at any time, or used against one in a hostile stand-off of silence.  I see some Machiavellian moustache-twisting and maniacal laughter as the Flopper ‘defriends’ his conquest.  Did Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg foresee that his social networking could be used as a game of sexual strategy, a communicatory/non-communicatory Battleship to find ones’ needs, ones’ weak spots?

As I thought more about this cruel retraction of ‘friendship’—that clearly was no true amity to begin with—I recalled the “D.E.N.N.I.S System” from Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  A girlfriend uploaded it on Facebook after her supposed boyfriend had ‘Separated Entirely.”  Sure, it’s funny.  Because it is true.  There are some men (and women, I am sure) who enjoy the power of game play, and I have to wonder what weird positive feedback they get from hurting people.  Were they not hugged enough as an infant?

Mindlessly disposing of people without a care in the world is beyond my ken, and a dangerous sociopathic path that seems all too common.  Perhaps behind the shield of a computer people feel disconnected and can dissociate words typed from words spoken.  Piffle!  There’s no excuse.  Interact with the human race, communicate, use Facebook if you must; and if you no longer want to do that then have the decency to say so using words, not silence.  We are not 10 years old, Dennis.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Break Ups and Break Downs. In which I find my internal GPS.




Oh it’s funny how art imitates life.  The little fucker.  Just as I had romantically, poetically, lyrically ended things with Blogette and driven off into the sunset; just as I had watched out of my rear view mirror and told Self that those were not pangs of regret, but a dodgy piece of sushi; just as I had looked wide-eyed and I realized I had no effin' clue where to begin with this vast expanse of novel lit-scape to chart... there it came!  A dawn chorus!  Voices, melodic and mellifluous to my ear, a caramel-coated clamour that cut through the confusion.  It was as if my internal GPS had finally found it's satellites and could, at last, give me direction.  Recalculating...

I was merely putty in the palm of the Writing Gods.  Praise.  That’s all it took.  A little bit of praise.  A few echoes of “don’t go,” “we’ll miss you,” and a “what will I read in my bath tub on Sundays?” and my pace slowed.  Then, an almost annoyed, 
“Typical!  I just nominated you for the Best Blog in The Weekender!”  
You did?!  
And the final siren, flaring from the comments of my Break Up Blogette: “Ummm...is this a bad time to mention that we've decided to feature your blog as the NEPA Blogs Blog of the Week, to be shown on WBRE's PA Live! on April 16?”


After I had perfected a litany of swear words--perhaps in the manner of a deeply religious Tourette's sufferer, or my Dad--two very different but almost simultaneous notions, spaced by seconds in observation, crested my cerebellum.

First, that one little bit of praise, that just a smidgen of acknowledgement, can mean the world to someone ready to give up.  In my pink and perky world--no, my other job is not in porn--we are told all the time that most people give up when they are inches from success.  I didn’t really want to give Blogette up. I thought it would be a sensible thing to do.  I could save my verbage for longer verses.  And, I didn’t really think anyone would notice if I shut up for while.  

A writer friend tweeted that I should carry on blogging as it "keeps the writing sharp."  And it’s true, two weeks without Blogette and I can feel my little Walnut Whip of a Brain has atrophied.  My writing muscles are as sharp as a sock.  I don’t claim to be a literary best-selling author with an MFA and an 'in' with Oprah.  I just love writing, wordsmithery, creating images and committing acts of ungodly grammar.  I am a card-carrying Word Nerd.  Yesterday, I discovered this page of awesome obsolete words: 18-Obsolete-Words and I haven't stopped trying to use each and every one.  I mean, "jirble"!  It's even onomatopoeic!  It makes me want to take on a part-time bar gig just so I can jirble liquor whilst chatting in brogue to the fine folk of Scranton!  I digress, but writing, language, literature make my "beef-witted" brain tick and my pulse race.

Praise is a gift we can give and it is amazing what a simple nod of encouragement can do, in life, in artistic or scientific endeavours, and relationships.  I have thrown the romantic towel a few times over the last three years of Singledom.   If I had been given just a word of encouragement, praise of strengths rather than criticisms of my weaknesses, the Blogette might not have been the only break up that lasted less than a week.

Colliding into this positive bubble of empowerment and bursting it like an overworked grimy white balloon of gum, was the pointy, disapprovy finger of my conscience.  The pointy, disapprovy finger waggled furiously at me.  I was being swept away by the romantic ideals of readers wanting me back!  I was not staying the course, standing firm, I was not taking my own advice! 

Wasn’t it me who huffed and puffed a lot of guff about letting go and moving on; putting away what doesn’t serve you; donating it to the jumble sale and not looking back?  Aren't I the one that blusters, that verbally struts a wordy marmalade of saucy abrasiveness, that adds tang to one’s tongue and clears one’s senses?  Haven't I chastised dissatisfied partners from going back and expecting different results?  Yes, dear Reader, ‘tis I.  *Hangs head*

It appears in the light of breaking up, I can breathe through it, I can clench my teeth and bit down like any British bulldog, but when I hear the disappointment, when I see effort made, and praise given, how can I not lean into that palm for a scratch?  I hope that doesn’t make me a hypocrite, but rather a human who is learning what or who she wants.  Sometimes, it’s okay to change your mind, if you can be principled and honest and true to YOU without hurting others.  So JellyBe-ings, my point is, we are human and we have choices; everything we do is a choice: to put time aside to blog, or not; to spend time with someone and try to get to know their core, their chords, maybe even their cords, or not.

And I realize I have been harsh, with the dating world and with Self.  I saw it all so clearly, in high contrast: he is making an effort; he is not making an effort, and, if the latter, life is short, so click your heels, take flight and hope to land upon something more conducive to your ideal.  I have been plagued, in writing and dating, with these ideals.  I have not been able to look beyond the inflated monochrome visions in my head: that prospects should be judged lacking if they are not the exact agent, publishing house or fella, I have imagined.  

However, just because we have envisioned life a certain way, doesn’t mean it can’t be just as good, or better, with something or someone else.  And I have, I realize, been weighing my options with some pretty funky weighing scales: not based on actual enjoyable interactions, but some snooty ridiculousness that rated a reputation and pressed suit over good manners, effort and kindness; that mistook attention as love, not control; that thought a divorce, or a not-ideal living situation, or a pair of beautiful children too much baggage to fit into my head compartment.  Aren't the unplanned, improvised bits always the best anyway?




So, I’m back.  Thanks for not giving up on me.  I’m a writer, so I’ll write.  I’m a romantic, so I’ll keep trying.