Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The New Year Eve's Myth

It is almost that time when commercials about champagne and glittery heels hit the airwaves. Making you worry about having a date for the night or questioning why you don’t have one. After all, the night is supposed to be magical, and harbinger of the year to come. The guy you go out with on that night is the one you chose to spend the new year with, right?

Well, actually no, statistics show that people break up before Christmas, and right after New Year’s Eve. I’ve already discussed that many men break up before Christmas because they are afraid of the commitment being together over the holidays might represent. They don’t want to spend time with her relatives, or see her disappointment when he doesn’t deliver a ring or a proposal. Some of them may be hoping to skip New Year’s Eve too, another holiday fraught with over the top expectations. The best way to avoid failing is not even to try.

New Year’s Eve resembles Valentine’s Day in the aspect it is romanticized by the media, which guarantees that no one will have one, as good as the commercials. You want to have the perfect eve, so what’s stopping you? Maybe a date, well usually it is a date. It’s the one time you absolutely need a date. This is the secret behind why there are so many breakups in January. Many a woman nursed a floundering relationship along so she wouldn’t be alone on New Year’s Eve. She kicked the guy to the curb in January because she wants to do better in the new year.

If you have a date, and you’re expecting him to indulge you in some gala blowout at the local clubs or hotels, good luck with that. We are talking major money for a tired band, lukewarm finger foods, and a champagne toast at midnight. Trust me, I’ve been there in venues so crowded you couldn’t even sit down, let alone dance. Most men who don’t know you well don’t want to fork over that type of money for an evening they are pretty sure they won’t enjoy. (A guy may foolishly think he is securing the union by going along with the woman’s New Year Eve’s suggestions, not realizing he’s already history.)

That brings me to clothing. New Year’s Eve clothing could be guilty of killing off women in the Midwest. Tiny sparkling slip dresses with sky-high heels. Okay, it’s December, which guarantees snow, ice, and biting cold. Almost wrenched my arm out of socket as when I slipped on ice in my gorgeous shoes. The railing saved me from losing a few teeth. Usually, we wear the shoes for the first time that night, which is no treat for the toes. Add to that the miniscule dresses that leave your arms and legs cold, not to mention looking a little plumper than you might like in those areas. That is what I call the Spanx effect. All those extra inches had to go somewhere. Your feet hurt, you’re cold, and your middle is being squeezed. If that doesn’t get you then the hairspray fumes from your elaborate up do might. To make the night special, you sprung for artificial nails, which makes it hard to hold your champagne glass.

Better if you don’t imbibe because you might end up driving because your date is drinking heavily. New Year’s Eve is the one night you probably need to be the designated driver. Seven out of ten people on the road are impaired. That’s why you see so many flashing lights, and not the Christmas kind, on this night. So far, I haven’t painted a very romantic picture.

I think most people need to go the expensive party route to see why they might not like it. If you don’t like it, that’s fine. It isn’t Cinderella’s ball, no prince will ask you to dance, or mice will serve as your footmen. It is hard to get tickets for these galas because people, mainly women, whipped into a frenzy to go by commercials feel it’s imperative. I have never met a man who actually wanted to go out New Year’s Eve. You want socialization, then, throw your own party.

 Make it a theme party, or a mystery night, cook a meal together, have a Lord of the Rings marathon, do something different. Invite your friends, and the relatives you think are cool. By avoiding the big night out, you set the dress code, and avoid being mowed down by a drunk. Wonder of wonders, you just might have a great time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The War On Men: Are You a Soldier?

Is this the name of an old science fiction movie with pie pan flying saucers and aliens toting death ray guns? Not exactly, but it is certainly caused some excitement among some folks, especially single women, and some men. Why? The author of The War on Men, Richard Hise, writes, “I had become aware of and concerned in recent years about the number of friends and acquaintances who were being savagely victimized by the women in their lives. ...”

He believes, as many men do, that women blame every bad thing in their life on men. Consider this for a few minutes.  Did you have a bad childhood because of a missing or divorced father? Is your boss, who is a man, an absolute jerk? Did your last boyfriend or your last husband get on your last nerve? If you answered yes, then you are part of the war on men.

Women who see themselves as perpetual victims, as beings with no power are the basis of the war on men. The victim mentality would imply women do not make any choices of their own.  That would mean from the moment a woman opens her eyes she does not make one single decision. She throws away her accountability for the right to blame men. It doesn’t change anything. It may annoy the male population, who will make sure to avoid the anger, embittered woman.

Women who want outrageous things blame a patriarchal society when they don’t receive them. A good example of this is a woman who sued when at a job less than a year became pregnant, took extended pregnancy leave, and didn’t get the same promotion her male co-worker did. Her co-worker took no time off, and served at the company longer. Not being promoted she declared was a penalty for being a woman.  Before you take her side, consider this, you worked hard for a promotion staying at your job overtime, going the extra mile, but a woman who had been off most of the year gets your promotion, or the same promotion. Would that be fair?

One woman declared to her son who had a hard time finding a job after graduating from college, that it served him right after years of women being discriminated for jobs. This doesn’t even sound like a natural mother. What mother wouldn’t want her son to get a job, and sympathize with the process?

Fox News, conservative news show featured a segment by author, Suzanne Vencker, who explained according to the Pew Research that more women want to get marry and have a family while more men don’t. I think you see the problem. Most women believe that a husband and children will help fulfill their future life goals. The man on the other hand isn’t sure what benefits marriage holds for him.

The relationship dance between men and women has changed. More women are going to college and earning degrees, which is wonderful for the women. Fewer men are graduating from college, creating more of a slacker generation to pair up with their high-powered female counterparts. Some theorists believe when a man no longer has a purpose such as being a provider, and head of the family, then he has no aspiration to do better.

Vencker believes the reason men no longer seem to care is that they are rejecting women who compete with them to be head of the household. The angry, embittered woman leaves the man with no place in the picture. The woman wants the husband, but she wants to be in charge too. She showers her concern, love, and attention on the children, sometimes to the point of becoming a helicopter mother. She tells her husband what to do, when to do it. He, in turn, becomes a caretaker of the family.

This Fox News episode caused major chest beating and teeth gnashing, but is there any truth to it? Countless websites visited by men recount the tales of angry women or ex-wives driving the men away. They discuss dating bitter blaming women, who they eventually left. There must be some validity. What’s the answer?

Do you have a co-worker who never takes responsibility for her actions, makes bad choices or doesn’t do her job, then blames you? Wouldn’t she drive you crazy? Would you want to work with her? Would you feel friendly toward her? Okay, instead of you, imagine a man in your situation.

Now this doesn’t mean all women are like this by a long shot, but already you are thinking about a few who meet the profile. This is why some men are reconsidering the thought of tying themselves to a woman via marriage.

Some men embittered by their treatment at the hands of an angry, vengeful woman  refuse to even consider dating, let alone marriage. Now, I know there are women who feel the same way about men. It is sad because I do believe there is someone out there for you if you’re willing to believe.

As for Vencker, she believes women have to become more feminine, and return to their natural state.  What is a woman’s natural state? I know most of you might think it is barefoot and pregnant. Not too many people are buying into that axiom either. Just today in the news, the United States birth rates dropped per capita lower than it has even been in recorded history.

The general view is men should have an opportunity to lead, as opposed to wrestling with the wife for control. The wife serves as a first officer to the husband’s captain. Does this work? I know some women are yanking on their hair right about now. It depends on what statistics you choose to read.  Some claim traditionalist marriages are happier. Others believe egalitarian marriages rule. I am betting on marriages where people treat each other with love and respect work best. However, marriage is becoming less popular in the United States.

 There are 99.6 million unmarried people in the United States. That’s 88 single men to every 100 single women. Women are already on the wrong end of the stick. With these types of odds, what can women do to be more attractive to men? Smile, that’s it. You’re showing you’re approachable and not angry; trust me that should make you irresistible.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Pursuit of Happiness

Remember we all have the right to pursue happiness. Ben Franklin used to quip we have to catch it on our own. What makes you happy? Some people think the perfect relationship will make them happy. Boy, are they in for a disappointment. Sometimes I like to listen to the excuses people use for divorce such as wanting to exercise other options, or that they grew apart. You seldom hear a person say, “he didn’t make me happy,” but it is the underlying reason for the divorce.

Recognize first that the wonderful fleeting euphoria of falling in love or your team winning the Superbowl vanishes fast. Most women imagine a grandiose wedding where everything is perfect. In their effort to create it, they pretty much destroy everyone else’s happiness and peace of mind. Many major fights between the happy couple start on the honeymoon. This comes from having outsized expectations, maybe from watching too many celebrity weddings.

If you ever just peoplewatch? You’ll find most people don’t look happy. They look irritated or plain tired. Not too surprising, because Americans are quick to tell you what’s wrong from their job to the economy. Ironically, people in isolated countries who have live impoverished lives have more happiness. Part of the reason is they have no television set to watch people who have more than they do. Without television, there are no shows about lavish parties, or designer clothes. The only people they can compare themselves to, is their neighbors who also live in shacks.

So what makes people happy? Some of it is genetics, but not all. A small part of it is environment. If you’ve left a workplace with a hostile atmosphere, you probably felt immensely lighter. Winning the lottery or getting married to your true love has a minuscule impact on your happiness. You’re happy for a while, but you adjust. Being a millionaire or married is no longer exciting because it is something you already are, and comes with its own problems. This explains people divorcing or dropping perfectly nice individuals.

While taking college classes, my project partner was a woman contemplating divorce. She explained to me that her husband was a good father and provider. He also helped around the house. She showed me a picture of a fit, smiling man, but she explained with a shrug the magic wasn’t there after ten years. The magic she referred to was the uncertainty of a new relationship, not knowing what each day would bring. The thrill of balancing on the precarious edge of attraction and having that attraction returned. Did her husband quit loving her? It sounded like he was a prince among men, but her assurance of his love made him no longer exciting to his novelty-seeking wife.

We run the risk of being unhappy when we expect other people to make us happy. No doubt, unhappy, whining people can bring us down. Frankly, moody guys suck. You grow impatient trying to cheer them up and convince them that their life isn’t as bad as they think it is. People want to be around happy people. Ever notice bars and restaurants have happy hours as opposed to semi-depressed moments. Alcohol isn’t the secret answer to happiness either.

Never expect happiness to come in an object. Many people buy expensive houses and cars in an effort to raise their social status. No matter what the commercials have told you no one really cares what type of car you have. People who measure their happiness by things are consistently unhappy because they want more and more things. It is a vicious cycle

Find something you love to do. It could be a hobby or a job. This will allow you to find personal fulfillment. Do something for others from working in a soup kitchen to volunteering at a nursing home. Make a gratitude journal listing everything you have to be grateful for, from an education to hands that work. You have a lot more going for you than you think. These three things will help bump your happiness level up.

How does this affect your dating life? You will attract happier people because like tends to attract like, which may make you think about your previous dates. You are not obligated to date people who bring your energy level down either. If you are doing what makes you happy then the success of a date isn’t as important, which ironically allows you to loosen up and be more entertaining. Happiness is well within your reach.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Who knew a simple little thing like a gift card could strike fear in the hearts of men? A good example of this is a recent question on a dating advice blog, not mine, where a gentleman asked if he could use a gift card on a date. In his line of work, he receives several fine dining cards as a thank you for services rendered. He couldn’t imagine ever dining alone in the upscale locations and wondered if he could share one with a date.

Nine separate women felt compelled to tell him, “no way.” A few went on to say that he’s a cheap jerk to even think of using a gift card. Another went on to call him names that aren’t even printable. What gives here? If you are a meal whore (women who only go out on dates to mooch food), then why would you care if he used a restaurant gift card? Many people also give prepaid credit cards as gifts too. How would you know your date wasn’t using one of these? Would you demand to see the card, or just try to read it upside down to see if his name is on it?

The one word that jumped out at me from the responses is cheap. Women are afraid if a guy uses a gift card that he’s cheap. Even if you go out to a chain restaurant, a typical meal costs between $50-$60 for two. Go to a better restaurant, double that price. If this is any date prior to number six, you can bet he’s dating more than one woman. The man may go out anywhere from eight to ten times a month spending from $400-$800 on dating meals alone. No matter how modern women consider themselves they still expect the man to pay for the date.

What if women paid? Gift cards suddenly seem appropriate. What is all this gift card nonsense about anyhow? It is more about control. I, the woman, can make you, the man, lay out so much money on me. Some women value their date by how much money he spends. If the man uses a gift card that negates some of the date value, it is also hard to tell how much money he’ll willingly spend on her, which makes it hard to decide on a second date.

If a woman uses this type of measurement, she uses money as a determiner if she’ll date him. Why not cut to the chase and ask him to list all his assets on a napkin or flourish his most recent check stub. Sounds rather crass put that way, but no more crass than being insistent on how much money should be spent on you during a date. A woman who eschews the use of a gift card is practicing this same behavior.

The gift card is also used to tell how serious a guy is. As I said before a man can be dating many women. He also may have a wallet full of gift cards. He could be in a profession where he is always getting gift cards. Women judge he’s not that serious about her because he’s using a gift card. That could be the absolute truth. Not every woman will be the answer to his dream; just like every guy a woman dates is not her dream man either.

It seems like there is no way a man can win when it comes to gift cards. Often a man, when in a quandary about what to buy for a woman, will resort to a gift card at her favorite store or spa. He’s accused of being an uncaring jerk for this behavior. Really, did the woman want an ugly dress, another terrycloth robe, or lingerie in a too small size? Women who have this reaction shouldn’t expect too many future gifts.

I used to work at an upscale women’s store. Whenever a woman would come in with a gift certificate, we assured her that someone must love her very much to know the perfect gift to get her, and also bless her with a shopping trip to pick it out. The woman, now excited she was so well loved, happily shopped. She was a great deal better off than the woman stomping around declaring her man didn’t love her because he got her a gift card. Expect she’ll get something from the drugstore next year.

So ladies, and men, does it really matter if someone uses a gift card? Sometimes I think it is about setting a precedent. Men don’t normally like to drop a wad of money on someone they might not like. Expensive restaurants aren’t necessarily fast; do you want to suffer through a two hour meal with someone who doesn’t suit?

If you do have a gift card for a pricey, slow restaurant you might want to stow it until you find out the woman is actually worth your time. You’ll know by date three if she’ll freak out if you flash a gift card. It must be horribly humbling for a man to hear he is only valued for what he spends on woman. She’s not there for his company or his witty repartee.

On the other hand, these women who insist you can’t use gift cards, may not be going out that much. Some women have so many rules about dating them, it is almost like joining a new religion. Some men just aren’t eager or willing converts. I’ll ask you once again. If a gift card is all it takes to tip a scales against a man, then you must be looking for excuses to stay home then.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Faith Factor: Dating Outside Your Faith

Who hasn’t seen a movie or television show where two people of different faiths fall in love? In a sitcom, this provides laughs by having the mother of the son faint, or the father of the woman grouse about her new boyfriend. Many religions forbid you associating with an unbeliever. So how does faith factor into dating and relationships?

I noticed online that many men and women are willing to date people of differing faiths than their own. If this weren’t so, they would have relied on relatives and friends, or even participated in an arranged marriage.  One reason people check that “Any Faith” box on their profile is to put out a bigger net. They’ve seen the offerings at their church, synagogue or temple, and the pickings are slim.

Let’s face it; for the most part, we like to do things with another person, preferably a person who found us attractive and interesting. Although, most people who check Any Faith rationalize that other faiths can’t be that different. Besides, they just want a date, not a life-long union. So when do the deal breakers happen?

First, keep in mind that whatever religious faith a person professes will seem right to them, no matter if you have doubts about it. There may be parts of the faith you can’t swallow whole. Many religions emphasize the man must be in control because women are spiritually out of control creatures who need guidance. If your date suggests how you should dress or talk to suit his faith walk, remember this is only the beginning. It doesn’t mean he’s not a nice person, but he believes in his right to dominate you in all things. Will he change his ways for you? It is rather like asking a Dalmatian dog to turn itself into an Appaloosa horse. While they both have spots, they are two entirely different creatures.

  On the other hand, people pretend to change to humor the other person even to the point of showing up at their church. If the relationship becomes serious, many devoted sweethearts will still expect you to convert before considering marriage. If you were only pretending to make him happy, are you willing to go through an entirelife of play-acting? Perhaps you reason your faith is not very important to you, and you’d be willing trade it for a chance at this great guy. Should he expect you to throw it away just because he asked?

Truthfully, if someone respected you and your faith, then he would not ask you to do this. All honor in this relationship is deferred to the person’s faith, as opposed to the mate. In some ways, this is just another form of witness dating where your date’s end goal is your eternal salvation and conversion to their faith. Most likely, they aren’t interested in continuing a relationship because there are so many other people to date and save.

What does respect look like? It is sometimes better describing what it doesn’t look like. Any attempt to ridicule your faith or prove why it is wrong is not respect. Trying to twist the beliefs of your faith to reach the other partner’s short-term goal is not respect either. Your fellow sits on the couch and informs you that your Bible demands that you be submissive to your husband/man, so bring him another drink. Respect honors the other person’s religious beliefs by allowing her to practice them freely. This doesn’t mean you agree with them, or even participate, but you value the person.

Spirituality is a private thing, but ironically, people tend to wave it like a flag or wear it as if it were the jersey of their favorite team. If faith is a cause of disagreement between the two of you, then it will be an on-going battle, even if it is unspoken. Thousands of people of different faiths date, and even marry every day. How do they make it work?

They accept their beloved’s faith as part of who they are. People’s faith walk changes for various reasons. It is okay to be curious, but any condemnation is sure to put a damper on things.  Often, the couple will attend different services. If this is an issue, then it is better to forgo this relationship, especially if you spend most of your time trying to explain to your sweetheart that he’s hell bound. This is emotional abuse.

Sometimes people meet, become a couple, then one has a conversion experience greatly altering him. This changes everything. It is rather like your husband telling you he is going to become a woman. Even though you love him, you didn’t sign up to marry a woman. Faith is a personal issue, but often it does affect your loved ones. Your sweetheart/husband’s conversion may cause him to insist you must wear a headscarf or dresses that fall below your knee, or give up eating all meat or animal-originated products. This is inherently wrong. It is not your faith. Why should you follow concepts you didn’t embrace? You shouldn’t embrace them, although some women will reason the preservation of the relationship remains paramount.

Dating someone of your faith is no guarantee of happiness. People married to folks of the same faith divorce every day.  You can also date someone of a similar faith, but you have different degrees in your faith walk. He might go to mass every day, when you are lucky to hit major holidays. So what is the answer, or is there even one?

The two of you met at church camp for middle class protestant kids living in the Midwest. You both have similarities, besides your faith, that actually unite you. The more you have in common, the more successful your relationship will be. Unions based solely on religion usually aren’t successful. (Sometimes, this is misleading because many faiths do not allow couples to divorce. A bitter, acrimonious marriage is not a positive pairing.) In the beginning of your mixed faith dating, your family’s or friends’ disapproval gives you the spice of being romantic adventurers, but that wears off. What remains makes the difference. If you can’t respect your companion’s religion, then you can’t respect him either. Who needs that!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Surviving The Holidays Alone

Holidays aren't the most wonderful time of the year if you’re single, divorced or widowed. You find yourself remembering what you and your ex did for the holidays. The memories are so much better than the reality ever was.  If that isn’t bad enough, you fall prey to the happy family advertisements and syrupy sweet movies.  If your rose-colored recollections and vintage movies don’t do a number on you, the people you know will.
As a single person, you need to decide now how you want to handle the holidays. Your relatives mean well, but will ask nosy questions about your love life. Have an upbeat response that denotes that you are okay with where you are. When I showed up at a family reunion after breaking up with my boyfriend, my relatives were quick to offer sympathy. I explained to them that I wasn’t sad and pasted a big smile on my face. Sure, maybe I didn’t want to be alone over the holidays, but I was unwilling to endure a bad relationship to keep that from happening.
Even when you don’t plan on it, it happens. People break up before Christmas or shortly after. The before Christmas breakups are usually due to the guy being terrified the woman might expect a sign of commitment such as a ring. Those after Christmas break-ups are from too much togetherness visiting various relatives, wrong gifts, and interfering exes.
The relative fight is a bad one. Sometimes you can agree to visit your relatives individually if you can’t agree on anything else. My ex hated visiting my family, and made the visit uncomfortable for everyone involved. Leaving him at home would have made the holidays much more enjoyable.
The gift issue is a hard one. Most men are not good shoppers. Women expect Christmas to be this opportunity for the man to showcase his love. There are so many ways he can screw this up without even knowing. A woman can relieve the pressure by saying something about not wanting a ring. Of course, if you do want a ring it might not be a good thing to say you don’t. You can make gift suggestions. Even mention a trip the two of you could take in lieu of presents. Now, if he does buy you something that is ugly or doesn’t fit, realize he isn’t the shopper you are. Be grateful, and decide if you want to end your relationship over an awkward gift.  
Set boundaries to ensure better holidays. It would be nice if they were already in place, but it isn’t too late to start now. The first boundary should be set with you. Have realistic expectations; no one really fixes those meals on the cooking shows. I once picked up an entire meal from the grocery deli pre-cooked, and no one died from shock. Decide on what you can afford to spend and stick with it. Do not get in a buying war with your ex. Exes can get crazy at Christmas trying to garner more attention and attempting to prove he or she loves the children more. Don’t fall for it. In the end, years from now, the kids don’t remember the gifts, but they do remember you red-faced, screaming at your ex.
The secret to getting through the holidays is being flexible. Your ex demands to have the kids on Christmas when it is your year. You can refer to a legal agreement in a civil manner, and ask him to take it up with your lawyer. You can also see them Christmas Eve. I would warn against going to your ex’s house to spend Christmas morning with your children to feed into the big happy family fantasy. This is a disservice to your children.
They don’t understand why mommy and daddy don’t live together because they do everything together for the children. Either you or your ex is invested in the happy family scenario. Participate in this travesty, and expect your girlfriend/boyfriend, or even a new spouse to be treated like crap by your kids. Why not? You and your ex perpetuated a lie every time you did something together and your newest sweetie takes the blame. It is another divorce all over again.
Be nice to yourself over the holidays. Go ahead and put up a tree even if you live alone. Buy yourself presents and wrap them up. Make plans to see a movie or do something you’d like to do such as a spa visit. Invite friends, but don’t hesitate to go if you’re all alone either. Treat yourself the way you imagine a loving partner would.
There was a sad story in the newspaper of a woman who died in her home surrounded by boxed up crystal and china. She never used it because she was waiting to marry to bring it out. She had almost no furniture because she wanted to pick it out with her husband. The woman had a very healthy bank account because she never did anything besides work. She kept waiting to get married to start her life.  She died in her sixties before she’d ever lived.
This holiday season, set your boundaries, don’t answer questions you don’t want to. Don’t set up unrealistic expectations. Make sure to enjoy the little moments. Make your own holiday rituals. Refuse to fall into the old arguments; I am betting one of the reasons you divorced was to get away from all the arguing. Have a budget and stick to it. Do something nice for yourself. Remember the holidays are for everyone, not just couples and families.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Breaking Up with Your Ex...Again

Breaking Up with Your Ex

Most people would think the very word ex might indicate this person is no longer in your life. Someone forgot to tell them, and you have to act like it too. A clingy ex or an inappropriate relationship with your ex can keep you from meeting quality people. Your ex is baggage. You can determine what type of baggage you are going to allow him or her to be. Is he a carry-on bag you can easily toss in the over-head, or is he a steamer trunk that you have to tip three skycaps to wrestle onto the luggage scale?

Steamer Trunk Ex

Your ex may have dumped you, but still visits. You rationalize that you still have children together, but he stays to talk to you. He even sends you expensive gifts and flowers and signs the kids’ names. When you question the children, they know nothing about this. She even insists you sit together at your children’s events. You might even vacation or do birthday parties together for the children’s sake. When you try to explain that your current sweetie isn’t cool with it, she piles on guilt indicating you’re a bad father if you don’t comply. Someone in this miserable triad is invested in appearing to be a family. A good question to ask yourself is if it is you. No intelligent person would like to be a part of this dysfunctional threesome.

Overweight Suitcase Ex

Your ex is behaving like an overweight suitcase when she calls all the time about everything. Often he or she pretends to be worried about the children, but all she or he is really doing is grabbing your attention, and asserting control over you—rather like in the marriage. The questions are about things she could have easily googled, but preferred the option of irritating you.

If she can get your current sweetie riled, then it is all the better. This explains those late night calls, the early morning calls, and the calls while you are on vacation, or even your honeymoon. Have a Facebook page, defriend her/him immediately. There is no good reason to be friends with your ex. Your continued connection to your ex via social media tells your current squeeze that you either want to or intend to hook up with the ex in the future.

The suitcase ex wants your attention and she’ll do what she can to get it from using the kids to hauling you into court for more money on non-existent issues. She’ll stage events such as car or plumbing problems, or even an attempted suicide, so you can rush in fix everything, and go back to the way you were before she dropped your butt.

Some women are anxious to jump in the fray and defend their sweetie from their nefarious ex from vandalizing her car to calling her boss to get her in trouble at work. This is helpful how? It shows more that if you haven’t set boundaries with your ex, then you will attract people who do not respect boundaries.

(What is the difference between steamer trunk and overweight suitcase ex? Steamer trunk ex is when both parties willing participate in the on-going relationship. Overweight suitcase ex is when one party is passive and allows the ex to leave boot prints all over her or him.)

Average Size Suitcase Ex

Most people claim they’d prefer a person without baggage implying someone without children, or an annoying ex. Good luck with that, even people who never married, still have exes, sometimes stalkerish ones. A person who has never had a relationship should make you cautious too.

Average suitcase baggage involves seeing the ex at events. Be nice, but distant, some exes will act badly in public because they can get away with it. Trust me; I have one, who wanted to pose for pictures with his arm wrapped around me. He figured I wouldn’t be so rude to refuse to do this at a graduation or wedding. He figured wrong.

Keep communication at the very minimum. Texting is good. Calls often get acrimonious because we fall back into old habits. Emails allow the ex to air grievances with you, delivers attention, gets your blood pressure up, and your current sweetie gets the fallout.

The Carry-on Ex

This is what we should aim for with all our relationships. If an important issue comes up such as you are fearful of pools because your ex tried to drown you, please mention it. Otherwise, table all talk about your ex. Any talk even about him being a low down snake in the grass is not needed, ever. When you do this it doesn’t flatter your current sweetie, instead he gets reminded of your previous guy and your connection, he also get an angry woman on his hands that he did not earn, it also takes away from your current relationship. Troublesome, mean, or crazy as all get out exes just make you look bad. They make your current sweetie wonder about you and worry if he is somehow similar to your ex since people tend to favor types.

The carry-on ex is forgettable. She isn’t in your everyday life. She doesn’t show up at your house unannounced. She may be at events you both attend, but she doesn’t try to chat you up, or glare daggers at you. She treats you like a carry-on.

I remember starting to work at a new company. One female co-worker was a very angry woman. I was told never to mention ex-husbands around her, or men in general. I tried, but she still badmouthed her ex-husband. I asked a fellow employee how long she’d been divorced. Twelve years---talk about a steamer trunk, but it was pretty much of her making. She kept the hate and dissension alive by talking about it daily. There was no new man in her life because she gave up all that space to her ex. It is hard to believe any man would dare to get close to a woman that angry.

If this woman wanted to demote the importance of her ex in her line, she could quit talking about him. She could accept they had a relationship that didn’t work out, and accept her part of the blame. She could find other things to do besides talking about her ex and monitoring his activities. Who knows maybe he could turn into a carry-on.

One last word about dropping your ex, do not hang onto the notion your ex is a go to friend when you’re down. Your ex is not your friend. He may have been once, but no more.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Things Men Find Unattractive

I will add a disclaimer that not all men find all ten things to be unattractive, but enough do to make it generalized list.

1.       The angry woman-she is constantly in a rant about something. No one can do anything to her satisfaction not the mail carrier, the server, and especially not her man.

2.       Bad hair- this surprises me, but why should it. Statistics list hair at 78% as the thing a man notices first. Unfortunately, your hair could prevent you from getting dates. I am a professional, but I am shocked how often my fellow female co-workers sport greasy, flat hair. They rationalize it is only work.  Datable men show up at work, and at the places you stop at on your way home too.

3.       Being too anxious for a man-, you know the woman she’s like an obsessed hunter. She might even change into her hooker dress at work to make it to happy hour at the local bars. The fact she is hanging out on a bar stool alone in her five inch heels giving the death stare to every pretty girl in the place says it all.

4.       Lack of personal grooming-Many men have gagged in the summer time when their date raised her arm only to reveal a hairy pit jungle. Other women choose not to shave their legs because it’s so much work, and men don’t notice. They do. In the United States, men expect a woman to be free of body hair, even down there too.

There is a scene in The Sex and the City movie where the girls fly to Mexico. They tease the redhead because she has hair coming out of her swimsuit. They imply no man would want to get close to that mess. Apparently, they were right.

5.       Clothes- women come in all different sizes and shapes, but there are clothes that will flatter each figure type. Sloppy, dirty, unkempt clothes were major offenders according to guys. Too tight clothes aren’t flattering either.  They just make you look fat, which probably wasn’t the plan. Don’t dress like a man, unless you are hoping to attract a woman. Pretty, feminine clothing that flatters your figure is always attractive.    
      6.       Unkempt hands and feet- there is a reason there is a nail salon on every block. 
              Yet, women still show up on dates, even weddings, with nasty nails.

7.       The Princess- she believes she is honoring the man by going out with him. She tells him what restaurant she wants to go to, theatre performances, flowers, etc. She expects everyone to bow and scape to her too. It is embarrassing to be seen with this woman because she is so hard on everyone, especially her date. These women think it is beneath them to stand in line at clubs. The princess announces her opinion to the public so they can have as high of opinion of her as she does.

8.       Cusses like a sailor- an occasional swear word might slip out of a woman’s mouth when tackled by a mugger or almost hit by a semi that’s to be expected.  The woman who has a larger collection of curse words than the average Marine, and isn’t afraid to use them is offensive. If a man wanted to hang with the guys, he could go to the sports bar to hear foul language. Keep in mind, a man might be shopping for a forever girl. A woman who keeps dropping the f-bomb is not a good prospect. I know it is a double standard, but I am giving you the man’s point of view.

9.       Promiscuity- this used to mean just flirting with other guys while dating someone else, not any more. These are women who will engage in flings with the Fed Ex man if they can, but still keep their regular guy on the side. There seems to be no age range on this either. An older co-worker had two men on the side, while she lived with the third. Men don’t like this. Think how you'd feel if you were part of a harem of women competing for one man’s attention?

10.   Posture-never in a million years, would I have picked this one, but think about it. Models and movie stars don’t stride around with slouched shoulders. Instead, their shoulders are back, and head up as they confidently stride into the room at least for public appearances. Standing up straight makes you look 5-10 pounds slimmer. I am able to lose my gut by standing up straight. Another reason to straighten up.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dating After Fifty: Be Nice, Please

I recently read an article on CNN by Ronni Berke about the Do’s and Don’ts of Dating After 50. Here’s a woman who ought to know. She’s over fifty and out there, hoping to meet husband number three, or at least a companion. What did I learn from the article? Actually, a great deal, but probably not what I was supposed to learn. I read dozens of comments that were very revealing about dating among the middle age.

Miss Berke had good advice on posting current photos, dressing appropriately and working at being personable. A much braver woman than myself, she tried speed dating and was not impressed. The men were often nervous, rambled on about themselves, and one actually took her drink when he left.

The problem with speed dating is you expect people to do well in a nerve-wracking exercise. Instead of facing one woman’s disdain, a man can experience rejection multiplied by twenty-two. Then there is the issue that the man talked about himself. Wow, this is difficult because books and Internet articles do emphasize talking about yourself so your companion can judge if you’re the right type.  I’ll agree there comes a point when you talk about yourself too much, but in speed dating you only have a couple minutes to present yourself. You are selling yourself to a potential buyer—who is good at that? Salesmen or women, you've been sold plenty of things you did not want or need by a salesperson. Makes you think twice about Mr. Smooth. 

Miss Berke complained that the men appeared nervous which didn’t do anything for her. If a man wasn’t nervous, then the implications are he does this all the time. It is no big deal to him because he gets women left and right. The nervous guy is the shy fellow, the hard working engineer, or the single father who has forced himself into this travesty in hopes of meeting a like-minded female. The guy, who is scared to death he’ll say the wrong thing, is actually the man who cares.

Miss Berke took us down memory lane by taking us on her first online date. She gussied up and made herself presentable, but it was obvious by her date’s reaction that he was disappointed. She vowed to arrive early in the future to check out her date first. I am not sure what her plans were, but many men and women arrive early only to preview their dates and leave out the back way if they aren’t impressed with what they see. This is just mean and wrong.

The commenters for the most part took off the gloves.  One middle-aged man admitted he carried more weight than he liked, but the rude reaction of women he tried to date floored him. They were willing to tell him that he was unacceptable and too fat to date them. Now there is no reason they should go out with him if they didn’t want to, but there had to be a better way to say it. On the other hand, don’t judge someone on their physical appearance. As aging adults, appearances keep changing, especially if you’ve already hit fifty.

Too often, we base the whole dating game on looks, and that is such a small part. What is worse is putting your wrong foot forward before you even meet by posting old pictures. If you post a photo of when you were thirty and fitter, your date will be the type who wants a fit, thirty-year old. Sure, you won’t get as many replies with a recent photo, but they will be the type of people who want to date you. Isn’t that what you want?

Men and women on the dating scene are hoping to meet a companion. It could be short term or for life. With this in mind, a man who doesn’t spark your fancy will not want to be your friend. Ladies tend to think neutral dates could fill in until they find the right guy. Wrong. This only wastes the man’s time and money. When he is out with you, other women see him as not available. This is a major reason men do not want to be your friend.

One of the commenters, talked about how self-absorbed American women are. He advised that men should buy themselves a foreign bride. Good luck with that because it is often a scam, or a free trip to the US. One man’s potential bride took him for almost $800,000. He flew to see her several times, adding onto the bill, but she never made it to the United States because she was too busy working on her singing career and living with her young boyfriend. I do know actual men who felt too inept to romance a woman, so they bought one, flew her over, only to be rejected when she arrived. There aren’t any guarantees even with women you purchase.

So what is the deal? Is there a wonderful secret to dating in the middle years? I think being nice is it. Yes, just being nice. Treat people the way you want to be treated.  Do you want your date to look bored, while he plays with his cell phone? Probably not, so you shouldn’t either. Keep in mind, your date is trying hard and does not have James Bond charm to impress you. Ladies, men that wow you from the get-go are usually not men looking for a life companion. All they need to do is get you out of your stilettos for the night.

Which brings me to a very important factor in dating, especially first dates, or speed dating. Watch what you wear. Sure, you want to be attractive and not fade into the woodwork, but an expansive show of cleavage or age inappropriate clothes is just pathetic. Of course, your date gets a sexual miscue that you are offering. For the men, please dress up. Maybe not a suit, but a tie would be wonderful. All men look better well groomed. It also signifies you want to impress her.  I haven’t met a woman yet who wants her date not to care about his appearance.

The rules aren’t that different for the over fifty set. Please be kind. It costs you nothing, and it will change your life and someone else’s for the better.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

What Men Don't Understand About Women

Cosmo magazine announced that one of the most upsetting things for a woman is when her ex gets married.

A man’s view would be the guy is your ex; obviously, the two of you didn’t have what it took. Why be upset if got married since it is rather inevitable unless he dies mysteriously, becomes a priest, or becomes so broken-hearted over you he can never even think of dating anyone else. After all, you were the pinnacle in his dating life. No one measured up after you. If he does date, all those women are sub-par. Women don’t really think like this, men reason.  Ha, shows how much they know about women.

A 2011 Tango survey of the 1000 participants revealed 76% of the women self-confessed they thought about their ex too much. Fifty percent admitted to checking their ex’s Facebook page often. It is hard to get over an ex when it is right in front of us via social media. There is always defriending an ex, which would be the NORMAL thing to do. Unless you wanted to stalk your ex and compare every move, he makes to yours. Maybe you need to shop his photos to make sure his current girlfriend isn’t as pretty as you. The twist on this survey is not all the women involved were single. A third were married, still thinking about the ex, and cyber stalking him. When does it end?

Another recent Internet survey interviewed men and women about when your ex gets married. Out of fifteen women, some who were married themselves, thirteen were upset when their ex married. When asked to explain, most women felt they had some rights over the guy. How could he even think of getting married without asking? A few willing admitted to open competitiveness. They didn’t want their ex to marry before they did, and they didn’t want their ex to marry well.  While, I applaud these women for their honesty their meanness astounds me.

The men were more accepting of an ex getting married. The fact they broke up meant they weren’t going to be together. One man admitted to wanting to know more about the new husband. Things such as what was his education, how tall he was, what type of car he drove, etc. He thought if he knew he could figure out what was lacking in him.  

Only two women were okay with their ex dating or marrying. These women had moved on. The biggest problem with the ex moving on is he no longer serves as a backup plan. When a woman is between relationships, she assumes she can go to the ex to hang, or just to feel important. Some women think a man they left stays in suspended animation waiting for them to come back. More women return to their ex-husband between men than you might think. The truth boils down to when an ex moves on it equates to you not being a big deal. The guy isn’t listening to sad music and writing cheesy poems about the chick who dumped him.

Two issues are in contrast here. The women involved in the survey dumped the guy. They didn’t want him. He didn’t suit them. They found someone better, and yet they are mad because he moved on. This doesn’t stroke their ego.  Somehow, women feel entitled to have a quiver of available men at their disposal. With the exception of Alaska, and few military bases, there are few places where men outnumber women. It is usually the opposite. With that in mind, the man a woman rejects looks very good to other females.

You might begin to see why men get confused. When a woman screams I never want to see your face again, a man tends to think she means it, especially if she punctuates the statement by throwing china. Dumping the man’s possessions on the sidewalk makes an even stronger impression. A divorce is the ultimate I hate your guts message. After receiving a verbal or written missive of dissolution, you can’t blame a man for moving on.

On an episode of The Big Bang Theory, Penny and Leonard break up due to Penny’s failure to commit and tell Leonard she loves him. Some randy chick hits on Leonard and he reciprocates. Penny goes ballistic because they’ve only been broken up less than forty-eight hours. I realize it is a television show, but the upset occur because she was in his business. People can't break up and expect to still be friends, but that is another column.

I see the problem as being two-fold. Many women, and some men, shuck their ex off like a layer of dead skin. Their eagerness to be rid of this person showed they didn’t value them.  The fact someone else values their ex both angers and mortifies them. The anger is about possession and some competitiveness. The mortification is fear of having discarded someone good.  Another woman finds the ex wonderful. It is obvious because of all the smiling pictures on Facebook and the gushy comments they make to one another.

Here’s a thought to get over your ex, he isn’t the same person with her as he was with you. Maybe he is a better boyfriend or husband with her. It could be that she allows him to be. People are different with different people. Keep in mind, change happens too. Being in a relationship with you may have changed him deeply.

By refusing to let go of your ex, yes checking his status is not letting go, you’ll never have a fulfilling relationship of your own.  No wonder men don’t understand women.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why Men and Women Can't be Friends

 A recent experiment took eighty-eight heterosexual pairs who claimed to be friends and invited them to a coffee experiment. The designers of the experiment did not want to risk any resulting data leaking out to the participants and destroying the friendships. With this in mind, the city where it took place remains anonymous, but the participants were English speakers. Are you aware in many non-English speaking countries the concept of platonic friendship between a man and a woman is a laughable.

The couples drank coffee, then, separated for an interview supposedly about their beverage. The interviewer digressed into an offhand conversation about the friend. Questions regarding their friend’s hotness factor, or if they would ever consider their friend in a romantic fashion. The females assured the interviewer their friendship was only platonic. While the large majority of guys were very interested in becoming romantic partners. The few who didn’t confessed to an attraction to their female friend may have just been lying because they felt the question was suspicious.

Ah, ha, it is pretty much what every guy has ever told me, but I refused to believe. One male blogger grabbed this topic and told his tales of unrequited love where he stayed friends with a girl over thirty years in hopes he’d work his way into her bed. He did, after her last divorce, but then found he could no longer be friends with her. He has now entered The Twilight Zone of friendships. Things were good before they slept together. Truthfully, he was grooming her for romance. He had a goal, but once he reached it he had nowhere else to go. The things he did that made him such a wonderful friend from remembering her birthday to sending her positive messages when she was down, he no longer had any motivation to continue. Men are very goal driven. They are more about the hunt, than the eventual catch. Some men are more like catch and release fishermen. The two drifted apart after a thirty-year long friendship.

So can men and women never be friends? All the movies, magazines, and trendy books tell us we can. Women can be friends with men they don’t find sexually attractive. It is like having another girlfriend or a gay best friend. No man wants to find out he’s not attractive. His platonic friend will lie to him, and tell him he’s attractive, which he translates to having a chance with her.

My sweetie assures me that men do not talk to women they aren’t interested in. Even casual conversation with a stranger is meant as some type of hook to reel you in. The man who settles for the friendship role is playing the long game. Women argue that they have great male co-workers or long time family friends. The male co-workers are people you have to work with, but it does not mean there may not be some underlying flirtation there. That’s why people use the terms work husband, work wife, and emotional affair.

A woman engaged in this discussion pointed out she had several men friends that she and her husband shared. What she really meant was they socialized with several couples. Usually the women do something together while the men choose a different activity. Out of these long term friendships, when the spouses die it isn’t uncommon for the friends to marry. Some might say they marry simply for companionship, but who’s to say that male friend wasn’t looking for an opportunity especially if his wife died first.

Ironically, women who treat their gay best friend like a girlfriend taking him everywhere, and even dressing in front of him, were surprised to learn he was sometimes open to taking a walk on the other side. Women adore the gay best friend because he brings in the girlfriend quotient without any the competiveness, while still bringing the male presence. Most women realize on some level that male/ female friendships seldom work.

If this is truly the case, why do women offer friendship when they break up with a guy? Some believe they can be friends. Others like to keep the man on a string for back-up purposes. Most just feel guilty. They may occasionally comment on his status to keep the conversation going, but soon drift away with a new man. Defriending a man or deleting him from your cellphone seems so permanent and cruel, but it is the best thing you can do for both of you.

You won’t really be friends. Instead, you’ll be people who dated once. Your insistence to stay friends will keep all the broken dreams and hurt current by continuing to socialize. He won’t be comfortable sitting across from the table with you and your new man. He’ll compare himself to your date.  He’ll wonder what the two of you are like in bed over the appetizers. An intelligent man wouldn’t agree to this travesty. Why put your “friend” through this.

If you have a trusted male friend, keep in mind he may not want to hear your relationship tales. Well, he might if they’re bad. That way the two of you can gang up on your latest guy. Keep in mind; he may just have ulterior motives for disliking your most recent date.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Did Technology Kill Romance?

Back in the day, a girl used to wait by the phone for a call from a special guy. This was before email, twitter, cell phones, and texts.  These things, you’d think make it easier to communicate with the opposite sex.  Lack of face to face communication can complicate matters. In other words, a clever email may fall flat due to lack of comic intonation.

Cell phones have changed the face of romance. Many men and women watch while their date reads texts, and even tweet about their date as opposed to talking.  How rude is this? The woman is not giggling about a text from the babysitter as she claims. Another example was a couple I observed at a pricey restaurant the man texted constantly while the woman just looked irritated.

Cell phones complicate relationships in so many ways. The smart phone allows you to check in at various locations, or your app does this automatically . While this seems to be an attention-getting device, it actually chases potential dates away because they don’t like where you went. There used to be times where certain aspects of your life remained private.

Technology allows you to fast forward through relationships. Needy gals or guys send numerous emails, voice mails, texts, even write on your wall after your first date. Text protocol is you should never send a second text until someone responds to the first one.  This allows the person to decide quickly this is not the person for them. Kinda killed the romance for the needy individual too.

If you are thinking about dating someone, the accepted practice is to Google him. By typing his name in quotes you’re able to pull up basic information, profiles, and even arrest records. Going more than three pages deep for the first date is excessive. Problem is often the information is old and wrong. A man who is divorced remains married on an old site. Who’s a girl to believe, the Internet or her date?

Cell phones tell a tale about the state of your relationship. If it is good, he actually wants to talk to you. He even tells you he loves you when you call. Not so good when he texts you, but still spells out I love you. The relationship is on the skids, when he texts, and abbreviates everything. People often use texting to break up because it so much easier than seeing someone’s heartache. They also don’t have to make excuses. As bad as that is, it’s not as bad as reading it on Facebook.

In England, one-third of recent divorces label Facebook as the cause. Facebook seems to be the ultimate snoop not only telling everyone where you’ve been when you automatically check in somewhere. It also alerts everyone who you are talking to also. A casual conversation you had with a high school mate didn’t go unnoticed. What could have been a meaningless conversation raises suspicions. Add to that a persistent ex who stalks you and makes provocative comments on your wall leading to the belief you’re back together. Sometimes you might be the culprit when you tried to search for old lovers late at night. Unfortunately, they chose the light of day to respond to your overtures.

Facebook allows rejected lovers to constantly monitor exes even to the point of knowing when they won’t be home to cause a little mischief at their former domicile. Rumors get started online that practically race around the world.  A woman can discover through her guy’s status change that she is old news. There is even a video of her replacement with a gushing commentary. This is so wrong, and heartless. Where has our sense of decency gone to? Not to Youtube, that’s for sure.

Sure, you’ve probably seen a few poorly filmed videos of someone bemoaning their fate because they were dumped. More popular is elaborate revenge videos where the wronged or possibly wronged woman enacts an elaborate scheme to get revenge on her guy, make that former guy. Everything from vandalizing his prized car to decapitating his vintage collection of Star Wars figurines seems to be fodder for these angry females. Are they filming this for the police?

We wonder why it is so hard to keep relationships together anymore. We hardly do any work to get them started. Electronic messages go awry…maybe it’s you or the weather. The text you sent never arrives, your cell phone is dead, out of service range, or worse yet the wrong person gets the message. Which brings up the subject of sexting? Is it ever a good idea to send a nude picture of yourself that could accidentally go to your mother or favorite uncle with the wrong push of a button? Even if you send it to the desired person doesn’t mean he won’t share it, or even put it online.

Technology has caused us to be less accountable in the romance department. People no longer worry overly much about breaking up. Instead, they block all calls and messages, and change their status on Facebook.  Has your man dropped you? Check his Twitter feed.

Any man or woman interested in a little action on the side has dozens of sites that cater to married people.  Twenty years ago, a man might contemplate cheating, but seldom found a willing partner. Now he has hundreds in his own locale. What does this say about us as people? If you want to know, type the topic in and thousands of blogs will come up on the subject.

It is odd that we have the ability to communicate with anyone in the world, and yet we seldom bother to talk to the people we are sitting right next to. I experienced this on a date with a gentleman who felt the need to respond to every text. He’d make a disclaimer that it wasn’t a girlfriend, when I could clearly see a woman’s photo and name. Needless to say, I didn’t see him again. Of course, if he really wanted to impress me, he would have turned off his phone.

It’s sad when turning off your phone is impressive. When your date looking into your eyes as opposed to staring at a phone screen is all it takes. It is a step in the right direction, maybe even be a romantic step.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Finding You in a Relationship

The other night I was at my women’s group and my job was to impart knowledge I gained through life experience to the younger women. I searched my mind hard for some wonderful information, maybe even a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, but I kept coming back to the same thing. If you can’t be yourself in a relationship then you don’t need to be around that person. If someone ridicules you for being who you are, then he does not love or support you. Remember actions always speak louder than words.

Right now, today, people are in a relationship where they can’t be real. I know I certainly was; more than once. Often men and women have an ideal mate, and try to make whomever they are with into that person. Some men will pay for plastic surgery to shape the woman into the centerfold they want. Ironically, these same men leave their altered women because in the end she wasn’t who they wanted.

The stress of trying to remake yourself to your mate’s requirements is phenomenal. First, you throw away the concept that you are okay. Every day you force yourself into a mold that does not suit. Maybe your significant other tells you this will make him happy, make his parents accept you, even help him advance in the corporate world. I imagine some people live their entire life being something they’re not, but most people break.

In a brief moment of clarity that usually occurs after the person who insisted on all the changes decamps. The relationship is full of doing things you never liked, associating with people you couldn’t stand, spending money on clothes that didn’t suit, even vacationing at places that were more about being seen than enjoyment. I realized this at breakfast yesterday.

My husband and I went out to breakfast at a pancake house on our way back from running early errands. The restaurant is located in a grassy strip off the highway in a ramshackle building, but the food is divine. It reminds of one of those places they would discover on the Food Channel.  As I dug into my jalapeno laced eggs, my husband commented that I was the only woman who would ever go to the restaurant with him. Why is that I wondered?  He explained it was in the wrong part of town; it didn’t have cachet, or name recognition. It wasn’t expensive enough. The right people didn’t frequent it.

His words made me realize his dating relationships kept him from doing whatever he wanted to do. I could understand. I’ve been out with men who only went out to nice places to work the room. On the other hand, I’ve been to dives so bad I feared for my general safety. Seldom did a man ask what I wanted to do. In case you’re wondering, the pancake place was my pick. I liked it because the food was good. I really thought that was the purpose of going out to eat.

Those other women who insisted on going to a crowded, expensive trendy restaurant in the upscale section of town were doing two things as far as can tell, maybe more. They were trying to make my beloved husband into an acceptable mate who squired them around to pricey, popular restaurants. They tried to get recognition and value through other people. Look! I am eating at the same restaurant the mayor frequents.

Ironically, while these recognition seekers did not allow my sweetie to do what he wanted, or be himself, I wonder if they even have a clue who they are. They are chasing a current recipe for success encouraged by the media, and companies that have something to sell to get you there.  Drive this car that is vastly out of your price range, and people will call you cool. Wear these ridiculous clothes and every woman will envy you. We only allow sophisticated people in this restaurant.

I learned early on that all those other people you think are so concerned with your life aren’t. You may walk into the door of a popular place, and they look up briefly. They aren’t acknowledging your wonderful outfit or that you are part of their rarified world. Instead, they wonder who let in the cold breeze. Five seconds later, they don’t even remember you.

People who are so concerned about what others think never take time to accept the people as they are; instead they want this prepackaged version. Once you accept yourself and others where they live, there isn’t this desire to run around trying to impress people who are at best annoyed with you.  In my women’s group, we have one member who tells long-winded stories of her glorious childhood, exotic vacations, important people she knows, and various honors conferred on her. I am unsure if her stories are true or not. The one thing I do know is that people aren’t impressed. In fact, they are anxious to get away. Some people never grow out of this vicious game of one upmanship.

Be the real you now. Find out who that is. You may have spent so much time denying you; it may take work to find you. You will find there are many people who like you better as you. I used to volunteer to do everything at work to make people like me. It didn’t work and just wore me out. The next year I didn’t volunteer and even refused extra duties. The result was my co-workers liked me when I was “bitchier”. They even told me so.  They felt it made me more real, a person they wanted to know. Be yourself, and you’ll attract people you’ll enjoy being around.