Random thought that could get me kicked in the balls, should I be identified on the street.

Women (perhaps men do this too, I don’t know, since I’ve only dated women, you tell me) do NOT fall in love with men (or another woman). They fall in love with the desire of their own heart and then go about seeking out a man (or woman) to fulfill that desire. If (when) other that they select, and manage to ensnare, ceases to fulfill this desire or their desire changes then the woman moves on, seeking out a new vassal in which to satisfy their need(s).

Discuss.

And the winner was….

Well. It seems that my last post actually garnered some attention — four likes and two comments, although one of the comments was mine, a reply to the one comment that I got. Anyhoo… it would seem worthwhile to continue in this  vein.

So…without further ado….

The dating site I selected, when I finally did decide to jump into the online dating pool — yahooooo! –, was eHarmony. Not very original, I realize. And I dropped the cash for a whole year too. Why? I do not know. I should have just gone for a couple of months to start. I must have been feeling uncharacteristically optimistic. And impulsive. And quite frankly a bit lazy, unwilling to do any proper research into the matter.

I did hedge my bets by also joining zoosk.com as well, but only for a month. I will come right out and say that I did not garner one date from zoosk and after my month was up I cancelled my subscription.

But back to eHarmony, which I did pay for. The first thing I noticed about it is how controlled the environment is. You cannot just browse other people’s profiles. You have to be matched based on the questions you answer – and there are a lot of questions to answer first, before you can even start checking people out. eHarmony tells you who your matches are. I didn’t and don’t like that very much.

The site rational seems to be that they intended to create a safe environment for all members, which is noble I suppose but it takes some of the excitement out of the whole process in my opinion. You can even make secure phone calls where you can talk on the phone to another person without ever divulging your phone, which I suppose is a good option considering some of the pyschos and fatal attractions out there just waiting to happen.

The other thing I noticed about eHarmony was how boring most of the profiles are. Of course, I can only speak to the women’s profiles, because that’s all I saw. No men. People don’t seem very daring or original in creating their profiles. Pity. Because there is plenty of potential for humor. That’s what I tired to do anyway. And I have been told that in comparison my profile is much more interesting and entertaining than most other men’s profiles, but that might have been just flattery, a way to get into my pants, you know.

It seems to me the most commonly listed trait by women is that they are positive, have a positive outlook on life, etc. It struck me, reading these profiles, that as with make-up and dressing, women create profiles that would more likely impress other women than they would impress men. Do they realize this? Do they care? Who knows?

I’d venture to guess that much of what women put on their profiles men are not all that interested in. I will admit that the first thing I do is check out a woman’s photos. I’m not looking for a super model or anything like that. Don’t get wrong, if a chick who looked like supermodel wanted to go out on a date with me I’d go, but I just want to see if I find them physically attractive, first. Then I start digging deeper.

Beyond physical attraction, what do I look for in a potential date?

Tune in tomorrow.

An old GenX story…

In many ways Tisha Kulak-Tolar’s novel, Gen X, is an old story.

Girl meets boy. Girl befriends boy. Girl shares a place with boy.  Girl pines for boy while boy boffs a string of ditzy, sex-pots. Girl and boy eventually fall in love. Then fall out. And eventually have one last good-bye shag. And all is far from being right with world.

Well, an old Generation X story, anyway.

Of course, that is reductive; there is more to this story than that.

And let me just say before I proceed any further (or is it farther; I need to watch Finding Forrester again to clarify). Anyone who bothers to read my blog knows that I read a lot but also that my posts about books are more like reactions than reviews. At least, that is how I think of them. Because I may start out talking about the book but end up on the planet of irrelevant tangents. So with that….

Of course, I was flattered that Tisha would want me to “review” her book on my blog (she is the first but hopefully not the last author to do so) but I was also a little leery because it seemed a bit chick-lit-ish to me, and at risk of coming across as some kind of literary snob I have to admit that such fiction is really not my thing. But I figured if Tisha went through the trouble of contacting me and sending me her book, at no charge to me, then the least I could to do was give it a go. So I did.

And as I read something happened. I began to care about what happened to Genevieve Xavier, aka Gen X, (clever, I know), and that is arguably the main ingredient for a successful story.

Gen X is a 22-year old woman who lives with her friend Jared,  a man-boy on whom she has a crush, but Jared is too busy banging anything with a hole and heartbeat and a big rack. Or so it seems. One night he tells Gen how he really feels about her, if one is to believe such a scoundrel. But hey, Han Solo was a scoundrel too and he turned out to be a stand-up guy?

Jared turns out to be a stand-up comedian, a pretty good one at that. And before Gen and Jared know it they are on their way California where Jared is going to be a big star and Gen is going to manage his career.  But Gen is quickly maneuvered out of that roll by a savvy, ruthless agent who has here designs on Jared. After a brief stay at the home of an actor that Gen had an almost tryst with back in Philly, the city she and Jared started in, and where she meets a budding sweetheart of an actor named Scott, Gen finds herself living back at home with  her parents — ugh! — and working a suck-ass McJob for a Temp Agency. Could things possibly get any worse?

Then answer is: yes they can. They always can. Every GenXer knows that. Gen meets Chris, a guy with a big brown eyes and, it turns out, drug habit.

And this is where the story takes a darker turn and where you really find yourself alternately routing and fretting for Gen. Will she end up stuck in her home town? (The horror!) Will she make it back to Philly? (Mmmm cheese steak sandwiches!) Or even California? (living large, or at least relatively warmer than on the east coast) What will happen when Jared returns to Philly while on tour? (Dunt dunt da!) Well, you’ll have to read the book to find all that out, won’t you. I’m no spoiler.

The thing that is so (oddly?) compelling about Gen X is that you can pretty much see the mistakes the Gen is going to make. But that doesn’t deter you from reading on. It’s like watching the painful home vidoes on that show with that guy that makes mildly amusing remarks to an laugh track that is way too amused. You want to look away, but you just can’t.

You want warn Gen — No, don’t do that. Can’t you see what a mistake you’re making? But of course you don’t, because Gen is, after all, just a fictional character. And that would be just silly, like yelling at Rocky Balboa to get up in that final scene of Rocky. It’s pointless, but I did it anyway.

I don’t know. Maybe I saw my 22-year-old self in Gen, making poor decisions, and what I really wanted to do was save myself. Ugh! I sound like a Boomer in therapy. Somebody shoot me. Now!

Even if you could communicated with Gen, we all know it wouldn’t make a difference. Because she’s not going to listen. I know I wouldn’t have at that age. And to tell you the truth, I don’t really regret. Well, not too much anyway. Besides, it’d be a pretty boring novel if Gen didn’t end up in a tangled web of regret and broken hearts. That’s drama!

Finally, I have to say that I really admire the gumption to self-publish. I’ve not mustered the moxie to give that a go myself. Of course, I’d have to have something completed to do that anyway. It must be difficult. And one of the downsides of it is not having professional copy editors and proof readers to go over your prose, tune it up, and make sure to parse out all typos and mistakes. This book could have used that kind of care, because no matter how much I tried I couldn’t help marking corrections, like when I was a freshman comp instructor. It was distracting, but not so much that I didn’t keep reading.

It was fun! And who doesn’t like a spot of fun now and again?

The Big Talk…and The Even Bigger Talk

Sometimes I wonder if most, if not all, couples have a version of The Big Talk lingering just below the surface. Like an iceberg where there’s all this stuff below the water line and then at some point a kind of relationship global warming sets in and what’s hidden begins to melt and comes bubbling up. Or like a Hemingway story where what is said is pregnant with what is not said. Perahps that’s a cynical view, colored by my current situation, but still.

In any case, Colleen and I had our Big Talk between Christmas and my birthday, which I know probably sounds like me lamenting about the awful timing of it but really when would NOT be a bad time for this sort of thing. Suffice it to say, it happened. And I’m not going to indulge in a sort of exhibitionism here by detailing the discussion. That kind of thing is simply too personal and intimate to share in this kind of forum, or any other really, at least for me. If you want that kind of thing you best go some place else.

In the end, we came to conclusion that things were not right and something needed to happen, something needed to change. Our solution was to separate. As disappointing and scary as that was for both of us, it was far better than I think what too often happens, which is that people don’t talk about it and far worse things happy, thing that make the possibility of reconciliation pretty much impossible. I for one feel fortunate that things did not go that route. We can proceed without the kind of baggage that can prove debilitating to a relationship. At least, that is the hope.

As hard as our Big Talk was, the even hard task, the even Bigger Talk was telling our daughter, who is eight. On the advice of a counselor we waited until we had a plan in place and told her about two weeks before I was to move out into an apartment nearby.  Two weeks because it would give our daughter enough time to get used to the idea but not too long as to sit there like this big thing looming on the horizon. Not that that made it any easier. But then nothing would have made it easy. It isn’t the kind of thing that should be easy, in any case.

Our counselor also explained that the kids that transition through these kinds of things the best are those with parents who can manage to get along during it and afterwords. I think we’ve managed to do that, after of course some initial turbulence. The thing is that for a child our daughter’s age, eight, it goes beyond just the emotional impact.  At that age they have serious and very real concerns about their very physical survival, wondering who will take care of them, make sure they are fed and clothed and protected etc. So it is important to continue to reinforce that Mom and Dad love you, the child, and will always take care of you. All things considered, I think we’ve managed that pretty well, letting our daughter know that she is loved and taken care of and always will be, by Mom and Dad. We do it regularly without being obsessive about. Life needs to continue as normally as is possible.

We told our daughter that we are still a family, just one that is going exist in two different homes. That’s all. And home is wherever she and Mom and/or Dad is at. Of course, at first she did what the counselor said she would do. She kind of shut down and didn’t want to hear what was being said. But she since seemed to have absorbed the reality of the situation. In some ways, she’s even kind of excited, especially about having two bedrooms.

We made her part of the move, allowing her to decide which of her things she wanted to bring to her other bedroom at the apartment. She was in charge of organizing and arranging her bedroom, and she seemed to enjoy doing that.

She’s spent a full weekend with Dad at the apartment and seemed to go okay. Her biggest concern — sleeping in a bed that was different, because she thought it would be too cold.  Her bed at the house is a loft, raised up near the ceiling and warm air rises. While her bed at the apartment is a regular bed, closer to the floor and cold air sinks. That’s how she put it to us. We assured her there would be plenty of heat and blankets to keep her warm.

Also, as anyone who has lived in an apartment knows, there often strange noises because of your neighbors, especially in comparison to a house, which is much quieter, and any noises made have an identifiable source. The hope is she’ll grow more comfortable in time. We’re just getting started.

And now we move forward, with our family taking on a new shape, a different structure. And there’s no reason it can’t be okay that way.