vendredi, décembre 30, 2011
jeudi, décembre 29, 2011
And then, as if to shake up my assumptions, I got this email from someone who had looked at my profile (name deleted). He told me he looked at me online and fantasized. I told him that for me, (I apologized for my vanity), that was so yesterday. Then I suggested that he should probably go out and find a real woman.
well.... it doesn't really sound arrogant I can imagine the mail you get ... I do have an honest reason for fantasizing .... in 2001 I was the victim of a violent crime, my best friend was killed and I spent 2 years in the hospital and 3 more in a wheelchair, I've been thru hell and back ...... theres been noone breaking my door down for a date .... once n a while when I get lonely I fantasize about making love to a beautiful woman its not gonna happen to me ever again ..... we all say oo yes it will ... I'm smart enough to know it won't I'm scarred from head to toe ..... it gets me down at times but its better to lay in bed and dream of you than the alternative ... your an attractive sexy woman .... thats my story ..... and thats how my life has ended ....
mercredi, décembre 28, 2011
Not a good thing, either.
Generally, I suspect that they are incapable of carrying on an intelligent conversation.
O.K., I've said it. In that one sentence is wrapped up a host of bias: classism, elitism, and other, more subtle-isms that I choose not to share with you right now.
Thus far, there is only one man who didn't fulfill my expectations in that regard -- and he was totally new to the dating scene. I was his trial run.
I was just a little bored yesterday (plus, it was raining, so I couldn't escape to the savanna and pace like a lion).
No more excuses for my bad behavior.
A man contacted me yesterday, his only introduction one word.
And then, the inevitable "Is there room in the bathtub for me?"
That's the second line that will most accurately predict whether someone has an ounce of creativity in his soul.
I didn't answer that one. Instead, I responded "good afternoon." Just enough. Just to see what I'd get back.
"How are u"?
"Fine" I wrote him. "And you?"
Well, you can see where this is going. No-where, if that can be said to be a place.
"I'd be better if I was with you" came the fast answer.
At that point, I was done toying. "You don't know me. You just know what I appear to be" I wrote him back.
Ouch. There I was, taking out my frustration on a poor schlub who just happened to want to chat with me.
It's hard, to be honest, being an educated woman in an online dating environment. First of all, you have to keep reminding yourself that lots of people hate writing, despise it and fear it with a deadly passion.
Which doesn't mean they are stupid. It could mean almost anything.
And then, if there is enough possibility to begin a dialogue, than you have to figure out what is safe to say. Can you discuss politics? Can you talk about previous relationships? What about religion?
Hopefully by then you have moved on to phone chats. All of those, except for the rare birds who are fluent in online conversation, or programmed to "get" each other's wacky ironies, are dangerous territories.
As the novelist Margaret Drabble (sister to A.S. Byatt) wrote once, one of the legacies of an education is to have all sorts of quotes rattling around in your head (often the attribution is forgotten).
It's delicious to be able to share those with someone.
Is it necessary? Well, I wrestle with that often. Maybe it's a luxury. Maybe I'm too fussy. Maybe it's better to trade quotes.
Then where do I draw the line?
I have no idea.
All I know is that, yesterday, I should have drawn it at "hello."
mardi, décembre 27, 2011
One of them, from Road Runner Sports, cajoled me into saving 56% on what I "REALLY wanted for Christmas."
Which REALLY pissed me off.
Getting and spending we lay waste our powers, indeed.
We'd just gone through a consuming frenzy in our house. One child was grateful, the other accepted it as her due (that's another story). After a brief conversation with their father over spending limits, I had meekly given in.
Meanwhile, all over America, one in four kids went to bed hungry.
Did I want to spend MORE money because I felt ungrateful for what I'd been given?
Yet the gaudy ad (and, I admit, a need for new running shoes) did force me to consider what I really, truly, did want for the New Year.
And here it is, in no particular order. The identity of putative receivers are disguised to protect their anonymity.
I want a friend, adopting a son from a country torn apart by violence, to have him arrive in her loving home soon. Each day without him weighs on her spirit.
I hope for the gift of time and presence for her friend, a young father with four children, fighting a terrible disease. Though I don't know them, they were never far from my thoughts and prayers this holiday.
I'd like the weight of a year of losses to lift from another friend's heart this year, leaving them with peace and wonderful memories.
A dad to have his daughter stay out of the hospital, visits which produce fear and near-death escapes.
For a friend whose quest for love has led them to compromise, I would sprinkle the fairy dust of self-respect. There is more -- so much more.
And for another, lost in a wilderness in which there appears to be no exit, I would light the candles of faith, hope and charity. Faith in the future, hope for winning the battle, and charity towards a self that is bruised and scarred but nonetheless dear.
For me? I'd love to see the New Year bring a healthier relationship with a daughter from whom I feel estranged. I'd like to be less sensitive to slights, real or not-real.
And that's just for starters, a few dives into the themes that crowd my consciousness...but I don't want to be greedy. And I also admit the possibility that, when it comes to my friends, I am wrong in my wishes.
I'm sure you have your own lists, dear friends.
This year, let's try to match up what what we really want with the relationships where we put our insight, energy and emotion.
Then we can blithely ignore those stupid ads, knowing that whatever they say we REALLY need...we know better.
THE world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; 10
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
W. Wordsworth, 1806
dimanche, décembre 25, 2011
Actually, it's early in the morning, Christmas Day, a good time to reflect on the place where faith and unbelief intersect.
Being a parent, no matter how organized (I wasn't organized this year) always seems to entail early morning time on Christmas.
In this case, there are presents I haven't wrapped. But since they are in the room where my son is sleeping (we still don't have the rooms sorted yet), I can't get to them.
I'm sitting here, strengthened with hot chocolate, chocolate peppermint JoJos, and chocolate trail mix (notice a theme here?), reflecting on the evening, and listening to English carols.
It was actually a very nice family evening. My ex and I do the holidays together. We started out doing it for the kids, and now it's got to be such a normal thing we don't even cavil anymore.
Bicker, yes. Cavil, not so much.
And I'm thinking, on one of the holiest nights of the Christian year, of how tangential many churches appear to be in reaching out to society.
As faithful,we seem to perpetuate our cultures.
I have experienced this more and more as I engage those outside the arms of the Church.
It used to be that I could count my atheist or questioning friends on the fingers of two hands (not counting my relatives, of course, a wondrously colorful grab-bag of faith and politics.)
Because I had spent so much of my professional life in the womb of the church (or Church), I had become part of the institution.
I see it with friends, all the time. Good people they are, who sometime along their journey began to socialize only with "their" kind -- other Christians.
Idly rifling through Facebook sometimes, I'll see albums of people who seem to mostly hang out with one another -- and wonder if they want to expand their horizons, or are just comfortable with the folks they know.
It's normal, or natural, for that to happen to people, whether they be artists or accountants.
But I wasn't crazy about the notion when it is applied to me, for a couple of reasons.
I don't like living in a cocoon.
It feels inauthentic. And I also believe that all of us need to have friends who challenge us.
Besides, what is the message of the Gospel if it doesn't mean engaging people who don't believe it - not as superiors, but as listeners, as equals?
Jesus never said anything about superiority. Oh wait, he did -- to the religious authorities of his day.
Part of it was running into guys online who had little experience, or negative experiences, with institutional religion.
Another element was the interviews I did for a number of commentary series -- I became more and more fascinated with the choices people make about what to believe.
(As I've said before on these "pages," people do seem to have to put faith in something, whether it's a god or not a god.)
So many of my Facebook journalist friends are indeed Christians -- but they keep a strong professional line between their practice and their jobs. I guess I feel most comfortable there -- a weird thing for an ordained minister to say, I confess.
I'm not drawing conclusions about secularism or atheism, or alternative beliefs, at least not as yet. But I'm enjoying the dialogues. And I'm learning -- always committed to learning.
I still believe that if religious folks don't try to meet others in the bars, in the coffeehouses, in the workplace, the church risks becoming irrelevant.
Not sayin' that I'm good at having these conversations, or even great at being a listener.
Hostility towards Christians as a class bothers me as much as when I experience hostility from Christians about the not-religious. We can't seem to tolerate difference without wanting to throw up the drawbridges.
But I admit, that, occasionally, I am more excited about what's going on outside the walls of the institutional church than I am about what's going on within it.
And if that's the case for me, imagine, Christians, what it feels like to be searching for meaning outside the walls -- and to have already discounted us as a potential source.
Because, possibly, poverty frightens us -- it's particularly scary for the poor. Because it was a long time ago. Because, possibly, poverty isn't something we like to think about.
But, as Bishop McFadden said, Christ has a special love for those who are poor -- and expects that we will take care of them.
There is not much to the Gospel if it is just meant for the those of us who are well to do.
It isn't, perhaps, the Gospel.
vendredi, décembre 23, 2011
I walk the path so often taken
The road from which I swerve sometimes
A forest of possibilities and
reefs where the unwary might cavort or drown
One, two...fifteen vultures sit in a tree
they do not seem to see me as prey
A part of the landscape, aware of
coming winter, this far away even they
Have a certain loveliness
and still I pace, crunching gravel under sneakers
The damp gradually soaking my hair
As though as if/if somehow
I could see into your mind
and grasp the power to heal or reconnect
That which is sundered
All I can do is walk this path, alone but the
rabbits and dogs and oh yes, companion vultures
And reach out my hands
embracing light and shadows, virtue and its opposite
Weakness known and strength yet untried
Winter has its own imperative voice
breaking open the most guarded heart
jeudi, décembre 22, 2011
Rohmer, a product of the Nouvelle Vague, famously liked to have his beautiful young characters talk -- a lot.
Perhaps it's the fact that I saw a few of them in high school that explains my lust (mais oui) for intellectual conversation.
Not that I don't enjoy a good debate with the intelligent women in my life. Bring it on, sistahs.
My statistics teacher (who made a semester in purgatory just bearable) had never heard anyone ask if validity could be applied to a monkey tribe.
It's just that it doesn't have quite the same charge, somehow.
It's possible that, having grown up in a world of academia still mostly dominated by guys (and tell me that still isn't true, I dare ya) I'm used to them setting the terms of debate -- and responding, agent provocateur that I am.
"Pick me, pick me" said the slightly pudgy girl in the peasant skirts, discussing the double-entendres in Renaissance poetry in a seminar with her highly crushable mentor.
Around our table in the dining room, parquet floors and stained glass relics of a more polite age, politics and history, art and rock music were all blood sports.
The the big 19th-century table where we ate our dinners, though circular, was still dominated by my father, with his multilingual command of history, and his sometimes biting wit.
All speculation aside, I'm starved for conversation with men who can give me a run for my money, intellectually speaking.
It's not that I'm trying to be seductive. It's just that I feel so very alive when my mind is fully engaged.
I know that there are women, and men out there, who feel the same way. There's probably some kind of name for this. Could it be called the New York Review of Books fetish (update that for me, please?)
You know it's gotten bad when the topic of the effective tax rate gets me all shivery inside.
Yet given the polarized state of dialogue in this country on some of the issues that matter the most, I choose my victims carefully.
And while I might find more of them in urban areas, I'm not a kid anymore. I can't hang out in bars with sexy bespectacled guys riffing on Rimbaud and whether Ron Paul would really rid us of the Federal Reserve.
Maybe I'll have to see if the sexy guys come to me.
mardi, décembre 20, 2011
Well, a girl's got to have a romantic hero while she's growing up, doesn't she?
It didn't get much better after that.
My romantic hero in my twenties (and probably still, if I'm honest) was a certain noble, Francis Crawford of Lymond.
A Scottish second son, Lymond traveled all over Western Europe and the Arab world (back in the sixteenth century this involved ships, swordplay and harems) wrestling with his past. And oy, did this sexy blonde guy have a past.
It didn't prevent him from seducing, and even fathering a few children with a succession of women (some of whom met unfortunate ends) until, at last, he met up with his true love, who was actually from his past...
But that's a whole other story. In fact, that's five whole other books of roughly 500 pages long. I highly recommend all of them.
Just don't let them influence your idea of the ideal man.
Don't be too hard on me, o.k.?
Some women go for the "bad boys." Others of my sex yearn for guys who can take them to expensive restaurants.
I have a thing for conflicted men.
Probably the quickest way into my heart, if you are a man, is to confess to struggling with some problem. It should be one that's occupying a lot of your time, or wounded you in some way.
It shouldn't be life-threatening.
But it should be just tough enough to give you that slightly careworn, Byronic air that hints of secret sorrows.
You think I'm joking?
Just take a look at my resume.
Now, most of these haven't blossomed into full-scale relationships. And before you draw any conclusions, ofttimes that decision was mine.
In fact, it's highly debatable as to whether many of these guys were really ready to have relationships.
I'll leave that to wiser heads -- many of us keep therapists in business.
All I know is my weakness for the man who, while successful in his career, and stable in the rest of his life, struggles with an unresolved conflict.
One of the wonderful blessings in my life is that a few of these men are friends -- old friends, new friends, somewhere-in-between.
Some of them have resolved the issues they had when we met, and moved on to other issues. Some of them continue to grapple -- because it is part of their personality to wrestle with big questions.
I'm a wrestler myself myself -- so perhaps it's a case of like being drawn to like.
I dunno. All I can say (hey, it's late at night) is that, instead of liking my men a little on the trashy side, I like them a little bruised.
Not enough to be ugly, mind. Just enough to draw my empathy -- and my quixotic, nurturing heart.
lundi, décembre 19, 2011
They just lurk way outside the box, like the rest of me.
They also tend to crop up at strange times.
Just because I am congenitally not quick to judge (I believe there's something vaguely biblical about this), does not mean that I am without any internal monitor.
Let me amend that statement.
I judge the U.S. Congress, the poor quality of Hershey's chocolate, and the length of my daughter's skirts all the time.
But people's lifestyle choices? Not so fast.
In part, this is due to my abiding curiosity as to why people chose to live the way they do.
I figure that I darn well better understand it, at least from the outside, before I say much about it. And, as a writer, I'd rather describe it from the inside out, so that you have enough information to make your own judgments.
But put me at a party with an orthodox Democrat, and I'll become the conservative moralist -- in part, because I am the spawn of generations of moralists. A devout conservative?
Given the chance, I'll start ranting about the "too big to fail" banks and climate change (an issue on which I am irritatingly consistent).
So what are my principles, such as they are? A few are simple, and this list is by no means exhaustive. I suspect that you share most of them.
Be kind. There's an awful lot of meanness out there.
Think before you speak.
Turn love into a verb of action.
Use the phone and in-person meet-ups in addition to email, texting, and other toys.As I watch my daughter online, I worry that she won't have the communication skills to handle "real" life.
Compromise when possible.
Politicians in Washington have made a mockery of the idea, and yet it is essential if we are going to thrive as a society.
Extend your hand. Apologize first.
Be gracious, whether the cards fall your way or they do not.
But what happens when you have gone as far as you can go -- and the distance between you and a friend, neighbor or spouse still yawns?
Don't sell yourself out.
I am determined that no one mistake my attempts to be kind as weakness of character.
As I've noted before, as we grow older, we become more and more the people we are going to be the rest of our lives. Though I want to stay nimble, I have no desire to become a cloak spread across the mud for someone to step on.
Which is why I seem to end up having the "no friends with benefits" conversation so often. If a guy really likes me, he's going to hang in there (or may never bring it up initially to begin with). If he wants something more superficial, he'll move on to seek lower-hanging fruit.
If a coworker, a friend or a lover can't handle the authentic person you are, you both have something to work on. Sometimes you have no choice.
Often, the choice is yours.
Because I'm such an inquisitive (nosy?) person, I often come crashing into my principles, rather than easing up to them.
You may be less curious -- and more sane. It's simpler that way.
Sometimes the box isn't meant to confine you, but to protect.
I just don't know what I'd learn about human nature if I stayed there.
dimanche, décembre 18, 2011
Open your hands wide.
Let someone move away from you if she or he wants to walk.
This isn't an easy lesson to learn.
It really is a relational paradox.
But it is proved accurate, at least in my life, again and again.
If someone doesn't feel free to leave, then he or she isn't really at liberty to stay.
The more emotion we use, whether it be with a child or with a lover, to engage them and keep them standing in one place, the more they really want to scram.
As we grow up, we sometimes find that dependency appears to pay dividends -- it makes people worry that we won't be o.k. if they need some distance, or maybe even need to take a break from a relationship.
"He or she won't be able to cope if I leave." How many times have you heard that?
Then there are the folks who continue to battle with their ex-spouses or girlfriends long after the relationship is really over.
It's a way of staying connected, but it means they are never truly free to move forward with another person.
It's even harder when you do care about someone.
Parents and children find striking the right balance very tough. I know that I have, with my daughter. For years I took her frustration personally, and as a reflection of my failure as a parent.
Now, though I'm not a model of balance, I try to step back and not simply react -- to leave space for her to feel her own emotions, instead of feeling mine.
When it comes to romance, I have also learned not to cling. This may be easier for me than others, because I crave and relish independence. It's actually harder for me to reach out than it is to be alone, which is why I need to keep working on connecting.
But at least I know, when I sense myself becoming vulnerable to someone, whether it be a friend or a potential "more" to back off, and allow them to make their own choices.
They aren't honest ones if you make them for someone else.
Sooner or later, he or she is going to wake up and realize they've been manipulated.
And you'll be alone -- because he or she needs to have reasons to stay that are wholly their own.
Which leaves you free to become the guy or the woman you want to be -- one capable of meeting them in-between, adult-to-adult, with a sparkle in your eye, mischief in your smile, and the excitement of moving forward, and not sideways.
Of course, there are also those who can't commit...but that's another blog post...
vendredi, décembre 16, 2011
jeudi, décembre 15, 2011
mercredi, décembre 14, 2011
mardi, décembre 13, 2011
I can imagine this being the case.
dimanche, décembre 11, 2011
Vienna is a place whose charms have grown on me.
vendredi, décembre 09, 2011
mardi, décembre 06, 2011
dimanche, décembre 04, 2011
samedi, décembre 03, 2011
mercredi, novembre 30, 2011
mardi, novembre 29, 2011
samedi, novembre 26, 2011
jeudi, novembre 24, 2011
mardi, novembre 22, 2011
dimanche, novembre 20, 2011
"Who are we? Talented younger man seeks daring, confident older woman.. for electrifying,non-traditional, lasting relationship as dear friends, confidants and lovers. I am seeking a strong older woman who has the confidence and desire to meet a good and decent younger man. I find a woman who has that certain mature and "knowing" look far more appealing. You have lived enough of your life to know what you want, and you are not afraid to go after it. You desire a man who can satisfy you on all levels, emotionally, spiritually and physically. You have an inner beauty that exudes to the outer being. You are sensual and sexy, and you know that "sexy" has more to do with the mind than with the body. You know you deserve the best that life has to offer. You have a youthful outlook, a thirst for adventure. You know you can keep my attention and interest.”
I wasn't daring enough to write the guy who viewed my dating profile.
This weekend, the universe seems to be conspiring to tell me that to some younger guys, femmes d'un certain age are hot, hot, hot.
I needed to hear this. I still have moments of heart-ache, though I've gotten some good medicine for the hurt (from a master doctor).
I'm not talkin' cradle-robbing.
There seems to be an approximately fifteen year window here.
But given the emails I've been getting this weekend, I'm finding out that some guys like the idea of dating an older woman. Or at least they see the woman, not solely the age.
I'd already learned that (and very nice it was, thank you). This was just corroborative
But if I had to guess, some of these gentleman feel that one of the most seductive organs a woman can bring into a relationship is her mind.
Curiosity? Check. Mental agility? Yes. A bit of a wild child streak? Got it.
And I have to admit that having my mind taken as seriously, more seriously than my chronological age feels really good.
Because let's face it. After the age of roughly 35, men or women who want to date younger are going to have to sacrifice something.
It could be maturity. Or physical attractiveness (although that can be in the eye of the beholder). Or intelligence.
I'm just blown away that a guy finds my curious mind as desirable as my body. Or let me phrase it another way: that he finds my empathy and wide-ranging, all things considered intellect an advantage. That's a new one.
Empathy, which comes from experience, usually is paired with intelligence. In fact, it's pretty hard to have true empathy without some understanding of the larger human condition. That comes with age – and it comes with emotional maturity.
As we approach and pass the milestones of middle-age, some of us seem to want to jump into a box, and pull the edges around our heads -- becoming more and more of who we were.
We recapitulate. Or perhaps we capitulate. It feels safer.
I'm attracted to men and women (as friends) who want to push the boundaries -- for us, there is no box (at least right now --- of course, we most of us end up in one).
I won’t stop trying to look and act the best that I can be. I like to look as good as I can without going all crazy with needles and stuff.
I'm a constant learner. And I try to keep a mind open to new ideas and experiences.
I suspect that means a lot to an adventurous man.
Some of them find that exciting.
"I think you are AMAZING" wrote a fan today.
I'm not all that.
But I am intrigued by the idea of exploring the many facets of a relationship.
Perhaps the men who contacted me over the past few weeks believe, with me, that a dangerous mind shouldn't go to waste.
I don't intend to let it.