Archive for August, 2010

31
Aug
10

Thirty six

I am old enough to

think seriously about my health

draft a will

draft a sonnet

get a mortgage

buy my own drill

learn how to use a drill

avoid those “you’ll regret the tattoo when you’re older” conversations

raise a child

never raise a child

save for my golden years

squander it all on a handful of magic beans

call my broker

answer all the questions on Jeopardy

go to bed after Jeopardy

tell the neighbours to keep it down, I’m trying to get to sleep

sleep with you

howl at the moon

wake up the neighbours

ask for forgiveness

stop apologizing

go for the really expensive shoes

get comfortable

walk myself home

run away with the circus

do the washing up

sweep it under the carpet

question the way the boss runs the show

panic about running my own show

run the show

search for the pot of gold

pick up the cheque

watch it all come together

watch it all come apart

wonder what will happen next

stop worrying about what will happen next

***

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30
Aug
10

A few reminders

Take people at face value.  Give others the benefit of the doubt.  Stop looking for hidden meanings, and worse, stop presuming what those hidden meanings are.  If you have a question, ask it openly.  Politely, but openly.

Stop being afraid that you will look stupid.  Speak up.  The only people who aren’t afraid of looking dumb are…dumb people.  So you’re probably safe.  What you think means something and has value, even if no one else recognizes it at the time.  Even if you don’t recognize it at the time.

If you’re going to do something – work, play or otherwise – do it 100% and don’t get caught up in distractions.  Especially, don’t distract yourself.  Get the distractions out of the system, take a break, write, or whatever needs to be done to break the distraction.  And then get back to it.

Follow through.  Finish.  Go all the way.  Going halfway is as much of a failure as never starting.  Commit.

Forgive people.  For the big things and the little things.  And forgive yourself.  Life is too short to keep beating ourselves up over our shortcomings and wrongdoings.  Maybe you don’t want that person in your life anymore, and for good reason.  But forgive them and move on.  If they demonstrate change, give them a chance.

If an action you take makes you feel badly, makes you feel like a bad person, it’s a sign that you need to change your behaviour.  Or, at the very least, acknowledge your bad behaviour.  It’s not a time to start finding excuses or ways to blame the victim of your behaviour.  It’s an indication that you need to take a long, hard look at yourself, and understand that your actions have consequences.

Always try to leave situations and places and people better and stronger than when you found them.  Govern your actions accordingly.

Take care of yourself physically and mentally.  Don’t put off the important work that needs to be done to ensure that you have the energy you need to live the life you want to live.

Don’t be afraid to be alone.  When you’re alone, don’t spend it inside a bubble of unworthiness and self-doubt.  Use the time productively, to engage in activities that you enjoy doing by yourself.  Figure out what these things are and enjoy them to the fullest.  Don’t give into the ridiculous notion that you will somehow be alone forever, because this has never been the case, and will never be the case.  You are not living on a desert island.

Enjoy your life.  There are so many things to enjoy and be thankful for.  Your life is intrinsically privileged and good.  Don’t seek ways to make yourself unhappy because you want to somehow vindicate an idea that “it can’t possibly be this good or last this long”.  Breathe.  Laugh.  Enjoy.

09
Aug
10

It’s just like e-harmony, without the creepy people who paint

“But with your literary prowess, I’m curious for further descriptors.”*

Here’s an oldie, but a goodie.  Kind of like the author.

*****

I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t seeking something.   Aren’t we all?

Maybe the ad would look something like this:

Female professional, 35, seeks partner(s) for fun and perhaps a little frolic.  Note the “(s)”. If this bothers you, please don’t bother reading the rest.   The “(s)” does not signify threesome (sorry, fellas) or polygamy (sorry, Mormons).  It means that I am not actively (nor frantically) seeking an exclusive engagement.   However, like most things in life…everything is negotiable.

Wait, did I say that everything is negotiable? I misspoke.

In the interest of full disclosure, here are some important things that you should know:

(1) Although I will fight to the death to ensure that everyone has the right to it, I have no personal interest in the institution of marriage, and I do not measure my self worth by its presence or absence in my life.    If marriage is your only goal, move along.

(2) At the tender age of 35, I recognize that I am reaching the far side of my years as a child-producing entity. However, I feel no particular urge to have children, and will not view my life as a woman a failure if I never reproduce. If your only plan is to impregnate me in the next five years in order to ensure your legacy, please look elsewhere.

(3) I may have the random urge to kiss you passionately while walking down the street.  I rarely suppress these urges, especially in the evenings when a light snow is falling.  Or in the summer after a pitcher of margaritas on a patio. If you can’t handle being kissed in public, you should find another woman.

(4) I enjoy a glass of red wine after a long day at work. I like to take my shoes off, wiggle my toes, and feel the explosion of a big California zinfandel on my tongue. I hate drinking alone, and quite frankly, I view the dislike of red wine as a kind of character flaw.  As a side note, please don’t hold back if you feel the need to massage my aching feet.   If you cannot appreciate red wine, you and your bottle of Pinot Grigio should go home.

(5) The chances are good that I earn more money than you.  This doesn’t bother me, but it bothers some people.  If it hurts your ego when I pick up the cheque, I’m not interested.   Alternatively, if you always expect me to pick up the cheque, don’t count on hearing from me again.

(6) I endeavour in all instances to be reasonable and not make excessive or outrageous demands on the people I care about, and I understand that time is a precious commodity.  I’m busy, you’re busy, everyone is busy, all the time. However, I do expect the same courtesy from lovers as I do from colleagues, friends and family – return my calls, reply to my emails, and show up on time.   If you cannot reciprocate the courtesy and respect that I show you, or don’t understand why it’s important, you definitely should not have wasted your time reading this list. And you need to grow up and stop being such a narcissist.

(7) Sometimes my best endeavours fail.  Occasionally, I have passive-aggressive tendencies (thanks, Mom!), and I may argue with you over the most unimportant of issues (thanks, law school!).  I may hold a grudge, or pout like a child.  Sometimes wit devolves into sarcasm.  But I promise that I will always apologize, and I will never stop trying to correct these faults.   If you cannot forgive my carelessness from time to time (as I will with you), it would be best if you walked away now.

(8) As for frolic**, it will be prolonged, playful and passionate.   Time of day is not important. Locations are not limited.   However, I do have a preference for long, slow and tender over frantic and punishing – with the recognition that sometimes urgent fumbling can lead to the sweetest of pleasures.   If this sounds in any way distasteful to you, apply elsewhere.

Unfortunately, as stated explicitly up front, I cannot guarantee exclusivity, or length of commitment.  But if you enjoy the finer things in life and want to share some time with a more thoughtful companion, for a drink, for a meal, for a weekend in bed, for a week in London, or maybe even for a lifetime – perhaps this offer merits more serious consideration.***

*****

* For a further explanation, please see yesterday’s post.

** When originally published, I took some ribbing over the use of the word “frolic”.  But I kinda like it.

*** Offer not valid for married men, politicians, restauranteurs, blonds under the age of 30, Bay Street lawyers, men who take pictures of their genitals with their Blackberries, regulars of the Spice Route and anyone who lives within a 50 mile radius of the White House.

08
Aug
10

Square peg

I peruse the rows of books.

Why Men Love Bitches:  From Doormat to Dreamgirl

What Men Won’t Tell You But Women Need To Know

I shake my head and move on.  The rows are categorized alphabetically by last name.

Become Your Own Matchmaker:  8 Easy Steps for Attracting Your Perfect Mate

Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man

“It’s not here, of course it’s not here,” I mutter under my breath.

An overly-eager sales clerk pops up.  “Can I help you find a particular title?” she chirps, like some kind of mechanical bird.  Oh come on, she knows what section of the bookstore this is. 

The Loser section.  The section people turn to when they are looking for justification.

“No, thank you,” I mumble.  I hope she hasn’t heard me talking to myself.

The truth is, I have no idea what I’m looking for.

Why Mr. Right Can’t Find You:  The Surprising Answers That Will Change Your Life

How To Make Someone Fall in Love With You in 90 Minutes or Less

I laugh despite myself.  This is not my section.  The book I’m looking for isn’t here.

The book I am looking for will explain why I don’t want what everyone else seems to want.  The book will explain why it’s very common, but no one ever talks about it. 

I began searching in the bookstore after I read the following on Salon:

At 29, I’m not looking for a man. I’m six months out of a nearly two-year relationship so void of passion and emotion that I might as well have been alone the entire time. For the past few months I have enjoyed traveling by myself in Asia, avoiding all offers of romance. One pale Englishman in Laos asked me, his eyes wide and moist, if I wanted to have a bit of fun with him.

“Fun for whom?” I asked and went to bed early that night with my book, happy that I only had to share my room with the large frog on the wall of my bathroom.

“Oh my God,” I wrote to a friend.  “Is this what people think I believe?”

It is not what I believe.  Far from it.  In fact, it may be the saddest thing I have ever read in my life.  Claiming to prefer the company of an amphibian over an Englishman (however pale), or any other human being, is a bit much, don’t you think?

Blame it on thousands of years of conditioning.  Blame it on “Eat, Pray, Love”.  Blame it on feminism, or any other “ism” you prefer.

But I don’t believe in it.  Not for me.

Women imposing abstinence upon themselves, telling themselves that surely some kind of enlightenment will come from not acting upon their sexual desires.  Where is the choice, exactly? 

Where is the joy?

Are we simply wives and mothers?  Or sluts?  Or celibate singletons, proving our self-worth by denying our sexual pleasure?  Where do these perverse ideas come from?

I want to read the book that tells me that it’s alright to enjoy a life that includes love and yes, perhaps sex (gasp!), without the confines of tradition.  I am still relatively young, independent, successful and intelligent.  If I don’t want a traditional full-time committed relationship, does this mean that I give up a lifetime of love and passion?  Must I sign up for the whole package or walk away, empty handed?  If things don’t work out with the Prince, must I choose the frog? 

There must be another choice, I tell myself.  There must be another way.

And so, I continue to search.