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!