Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Old Romance

Old people may be looking haggard these days, but they know something that has been missed on our generation and may be non existent by the time my brothers (in their teens) start really dating. I'm talking about Real Romance. Not flowers to get laid romance, but real, honest to goodness "just because" romance.

Old people know it and are laughing at us! They are cute to each other, they hold hands, they find everyday ways to be romantic. Just look at these folks ....

I don't know if its because everything is just easier these days and we are more accessible, but we all seem to have a scheduled attitude about relationships, romance, and life in general. I attribute Romance's ventilator status on a number of factors outlined below.

1- Daily Technology
How can you be romantic in 140 characters or less without sounding cheesy? How can you FB something cute without being obnoxious? What are you suppose to e-mail your sweetie, a SomeE-card  that someone else emailed to someone else? 

2-Internet Stalking
This is also related to technology, obviously, but I felt it deserved its own subcategory. There's no mystery anymore! You can find out everything about a person by just typing in their name. Since a person's Facebook profile, which you've probably already looked at before you've gone on a date with someone, reveals all their likes, their sense of adventure, their hobbies is so accessible, it's become the norm to look. This gives the sense that you know someone better than you actually do. We've replaced sharing common experiences with knowing a lot about someone really quickly, very early on. As a result, we think we know someone before we really do and we take people for granted from the get go. 

3- Dreamers
Now a days we are told that we can be anything we want to be and that we can do anything we want to do. This causes us to be incredibly selfish. I don't say that like its a bad thing, a little bit of selfishnesses is necessary and important to self discovery and happiness, but this incessant search for "our dreams" sometimes puts us out of touch with our reality. Dreaming is great, and important, and necessary, but its been part of the demise of romance. 

4-Modern Women
We want it all and feel that we deserve it, but then get upset when men can't read us and our confusing mixed messages. We want to be wooed, but some of us want (need) to pick up the check while he rest of us can't fathom romance and reaching for our wallet co-existing. We want you to wait for us, but not wait too much because then we think you don't like us and that precise amount of time that you should want to wait is different for every woman. We want you to plan elaborate dates but not so elaborate that it means more than it should. 

5- Modern Men
You just give up too easily. You don't know what things are worth fighting for anymore. You want the new, next, better thing because you've been told you can have it. And you can, so you don't work as hard for that girl whose an 8 1/2, especially when the 10 is gonna choose you anyday now. You work so hard for your career you want everything else to come easily. You think effort equals high maintenance and women are demanding less of you now than ever. Maybe you should let her know that she's worth the effort. 

6-Dating sites
We think that everyone is just out there and if we sift through enough people, the right one will pop up on our screen. If there isn't an instant connection we think, "no matter, bachelor number 23453 here has the right look".

7- Divorce
With Divorce rates higher than ever, people in new relationships wait longer to tell each other how they feel and divorcee's are the worst offenders. We don't want to have our heart's ripped out of our chests, we don't want to admit how we feel to ourselves, let alone to you! We are more cautious with romance, we are more cautious with feelings, yours and ours. 

Now when people ask you out for "coffee" to be romantic odds are you're gonna end up at a starbucks. And odds are, you've had this romantic encounter with someone else, at a similar starbucks. Since there are no mom and pop shop coffee shops unless you live in New York or LA, and all starbucks look the same, even if you didn't go to that SAME starbucks, you probably can' help but think of that other person. Thus ruining your romantic gesture. I know. Starbucks. go figure. 

9-The "Green" Movement
We don't want to send flowers anymore. They die. It's not green. Its not helping the planet. Anything that doesn't serve a purpose has gone by the wayside as wasteful and unnecessary. We don't want to waste our precious time on things that are not essential. I'm not saying they're wrong...I'm not a huge flower person either, but honestly, get a candle.

10-Quick Sex
I gotta say, I think my grandma is right about this one. There is something to be said for waiting. Our waiting timelines may not coincide (mine and my grandma's) but waiting a little bit gives you some time to let romance actually brew. To figure out if you want to be romantic with someone in the first place or if you were just getting to know someone.

So what is one suppose to do about this? How do you remedy this rut that Romance is in while still sticking our green, dreamer, coffee loving, scared-shitless-of-romance selves out there?? How do we triage it back to life? 

My ex husband and I may have been ill matched, but he taught me the most romantic thing that I'll always take with me. He  knew no matter how angry I was about work or what a bad day I had touching my stomach always calms me down. I know...its weird right? How is that romantic? Well, because its something so random, so mundane that it told me he was really paying attention to the little quirks I have. I want to pay attention. I hope to pay attention. 

And men I'll let you in on a little secret. At the end of the day, that's really all that women want, just for you to pay a little attention. And women, we don't' get to get off that easily either. Romance is not a man's duty, its the way we keep the fire alive. So embrace it! Go buy lacy lingerie, surprise your sweetie with a sext, get a stripper pole in your bedroom, write someone a note (old-fashioned!) and leave it in their pocket, dance with your lover, get drunk and play quarters, hold hands, splurge on a sitter every once in a while. It's important. 

For some Ideas on Romance - Get inspired here:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dog People vs. Non Dog People

We are a strange breed, us Dog People. It is it true. We wake up earlier than you, we go to bed later. We spend countless hours actually talking to a little furry body that cannot articulate their thoughts back to us. We buy them toys when they haven't asked for them and we are always trying to make sure they are safe, happy and cared for. Yes, its kind of like having children, without the "I hate you mom" talk back.

It's not that we don't like children. Many of us dog people just really like our dogs. None of them are perfect mind you. But dog people understand each other. We know that someone's dog has personality problems, or throw up problems, or peeing anxiety or food aggression. We don't judge them for the way their life revolves around their dog and helping them with their behavior problems, but instead embrace them and try to help out as best we can.

This causes a separation between dog people and non dog people. Non dog people do not understand why you can't just leave your dog alone all day. It's just one day! Why are you feeling guilty crazy dog person?! Yes, they all say this. They want to know why you're spending the day with your dog park friends on a Saturday afternoon when you could be drinking with your very single, very fun friends, non dog friends.

But my dog people provide an outlet for me that my non dog friends don't. I suppose its why people with children seek out other breeders to sympathize with. We share our dog pictures, our obedience class woes and our little behavioral victories.

I think it also makes a difference when dating. Dog Owner daters understand if you want to run home and let your dog out for a little bit before the movie, they get spending saturday afternoon hiking so that your dog will be worn out and you can go out saturday night guilt free. They get that you might want to spend a thursday night cuddled up with your dog watching a movie. They get that your dog's adorable snoring is endearing.

Non dog owner dating is different. No one is worried about sleepover arrangements and if the dog can come by. Non dog owner dating means spontaneous weekends in wine country and laguna. Dog owner dating means, you have to plan for a sitter or boarding.  It's clearly not as sexy, but having someone who understands your dog owner lifestyle is key to dating in the dog owner circles.

I have known several relationships that have not worked out because of "dog owner" vs "non dog owner" dilemmas. "Elle" always wanted her dog to sleep over with her at her guy's place, but "Jake" was not a fan. Because she lived in Burbank and he lived in Weho, it was not convenient for either of their work schedules . When I interviewed Jake about this dilemma he confessed that he really liked Elle, but ultimately it was him or the dog and he had to let her go.

Scheduling is important even within the non dog owner world. My friend "Chris" confessed to me that he couldn't make it work out with a girl because their schedules were so different. She was a 7am Yogi and he wanted to have a more unstructured morning since his life is so structured elsewhere. Throw a dog in that mix and it would be even more complicated.

So I think that either the person you start dating should have a dog, or they must be very dog-friendly if you're a dog owner. Otherwise, the dog will become a huge point of contention. Women sometimes alter our lives when we start dating someone new. We leave the dog a few nights at home when we REALLY don't want to, we say that its not a big deal to leave her in a kennel multiple weekends just so you can enjoy your new beau's company, but once the newness wears off, your partner will be stunned to learn your routine is completely different than he has been experiencing.

It's important to "train" your new beau and emphasize the importance of your dog in your lifestyle. Yes, you wake up really early and take your dog to the park everyday if this is a deal breaker, then better you know now than later. But be careful of altering your life style for a new relationship when ultimately, you'll want to go back to your ways and your partner will be left with the uncomfortable task of getting use to you and your dog, all over again.

Need help finding a dog person? If you're an online dater (which I am not...please see: My Adventures in Online Dating )

Try these sites:
Dog Friendly Dating Sites

Re-inventing yourself

I don't know about you, but I got to move pretty often as a kid. While some kids dreaded the new school, new friends, and new situation stresses of moving, I always embraced it. It was a time to start over, to be whoever I wanted to be and change in ways that I had not allowed myself to in my short little life.

As an adult, the prospect of moving has become much harder for me. I enjoy making movies and visiting new places, taking new and different casting and talent booking jobs and throwing myself into new challenges, but altering my surroundings is a much tougher sell to my adult self. So how does one go about re-inventing and re-invigorating yourself when you also want to start laying down roots?

Sure, a new haircut helps and new work out routines or hobbies can also be invigorating, but what are you really changing? I have been actively trying to embrace this new reinvention challenge by forcing myself out of my comfort zone. My friend Victoria always reminds me that its not good to get too comfortable in one area of your life and that embracing that which scares us is actually a great way of healing.

So I'm starting small. I hate the sound of my own voice, even on the cell phone message. Perhaps the new, re-invented me, doesn't want to have those insecurities! But what to do to correct it? Do I all of the sudden take up acting or singing and jump into it 100% ? Not exactly. I've been writing for a radio show called, THE PEITR (pink elephant in the room) REPORT for my good friend Chad Steers. My two last reports were about health and fitness and then a political satire on the morning show wars. Chad brought in a few actors to help us out if we needed and read our segments on air, or we could opt to do them ourselves. I decided to put my big girl skirt on get ready for my microphone close up.

Terrifying is the word that comes to mind. I'm pretty sure I broke out in hives and made every stupid inappropriate joke you can make to a group of strangers, as I do when I'm nervous. But in the end, I got some great help from my fellow writers and the show, to my great surprise, was not ruined by my voice. People actually laughed where they were suppose to laugh and it came out alright! Who knew!

The re-invention process doesn't need to involve me dying my hair purple...it can happen in many little ways, little baby elephant steps at a time. Plus, as you're looking to change the things you don't like, you'll probably learn that there are a few things that you really do like about yourself and your surroundings. So find something you're afraid of and kick its ass. You'll feel radballs.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Status-quo

Friday morning at 5AM outside of a Georgia Waffle House, a gun fight broke out over someones relationship status update change. Luckily no one was hurt, except hopefully pride and ego.

See Facebook, I think this is a perfect time to do away with the "relationship status" on FB. It creates several problems for the single folk so I suggest that you change it to either MARRIED or SINGLE and that's it. Everything else is just asking for a trouble.

Should you change your relationship status?... These two have quite a bit to say on whats appropriate.

Let's start with the beginning. Yes, in the beginning everything is great and nice and easy; private and yours. Then someone changes the relationship status and all of the sudden, there has to be a conversation. You are no longer hanging out and seeing what happens...no, you are now IN A RELATIONSHIP...in public. Your family, your friends, everyone know KNOWS that you are "in a relationship" which sounds way more serious than it needs to be when you're starting out. It's setting you up for failure and disappointment and resentment over who updated their relationship status first, and what took you so long to accept or change it. It's exhausting just thinking about it and that's just getting into it.

So then what happens? You date a few months, now you're IN A RELATIONSHIP status change, somethings start going awry and you need a break. So what do you do? Do you say "It's complicated?" Doesn't that essentially blow the lid off of your relationship woes? Why is that even an option? Everything is complicated! Even good marriages are complicated. It's a terrible option.

But lets say you change it. You are honest and change your status to now "it's complicated", so everyone feels the need to comment on it. In public. On your wall...about why it didn't work out and giving you advice on different bedroom activities to try to spark up your relationship again..which is weird, when its your grandma giving you advice.

At this rate, what you could have worked out privately has now become a public forum, with everyone opining and taking sides. So you break up which literally becomes the single biggest news on your timeline. There is even a little heartbreak icon. But when do you do it? Do you change it when you decide to break up or do you wait a few weeks for the dust to settle? What is the etiquette on this? Then they have options to guide you through your break up...so you can publicly wear your Scarlett letter of break up every step of the way. You can choose separated and eventually through the trauma again of writing divorce.

And this is why I am never changing my relationship status on FB. It's traumatic! These ladies at the Waffle House I'm sure have many other problems as they are touting around guns at their local 5AM eatery, but at the end of the day, even they were bruised by the dreaded FB relationship status change.

Why do I care? Ugh, because then comes the dreaded pressure of what you're saying if you DON'T change your status. Are you saying that you have something to hide, that you're not as committed or not proud? These are the questions that come up when you choose to not update your status.

Unfortunately I think I'm a lone wolf pack in that regard. Most of my girlfriends would be incredibly suspicious of someone who doesn't change their Facebook status. They take it as a message, a clear signal of intent. I can see that...really I can, I just think that every divorced person can agree with me when I say, that maybe us divorce folk deserve a pass. Maybe you can't second guess our intentions all the time and just let us work through the Facebook relationship status change in our own time. Remember, anyone whose post 30 didn't grow up with Facebook, so this whole concept of having two break ups- an online one and a private one, is just a little new to us, so please bare with us as we adapt to the new social norms.

Take a moment to review some of the other suitable options for status change:

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Break-up Agreement

A guy broke up with me once, via pamphlet. Yes, via pamphlet. It was a pamphlet for AA and he insisted that until I went, we couldn't be together anymore. I took the pamphlet to my nearest bar and got drunk with my girl friends while amazed that someone would write a message, on a pamphlet and leave cease and desist type e-mail until I got sober.

Surely that's not the best way to break up with someone, but what IS? Yes, Carrie Bradshaw got broken up with via post-it and the wedding singer got stood up at his wedding which sounds dreadful, but got the message across, didn't it? Sometimes we don't give enough credit to the breaker-upper (dumper). It's difficult to smash someone's hopes an dreams! It's difficult to find the words that say, "you're great, I'm just not feeling it"especially when they expect you to say it to your face. And when did breaking up with someone to their face become the only respectful method?! If I want to break up with you, shouldn't you have the right to hate me in private..say via text? Cowardly? Yes...but also effective! If a guy is going to tell me he's just not that into me anymore after a few dates, I think I would much rather just know the bottom line. No lengthy explanations, no pity, no self-righteousness, no speech about how I'll eventually move on. Just clean and to the point. 

I said this to my friend, Sheri, at dance class this morning and she said that I obviously haven't been broken up with in a while, because that is the worst advice ever. She said that not only does someone owe you an explanation for breaking your heart, but that they owe you face time to tell you that they are no longer interested. She says that if you've put in the time and have shared your life with someone the least they owe you is a conversation to let you down as easy as possible.

I'm not advocating an "It's over, don't hate me text", but there has to be some happy medium because no mater how long its been since I had a boyfriend, I still remember what it feels like to be the dumper or the dumpee and it seems to me that if someone wants out, they get to get out...immediately, to prevent further heart ache to you or themselves. Can't a phone call suffice? 

As long as its not done in public, in the middle of your date, at your parents house, or as your moving in together or on your wedding day, it's all pretty much a crap shoot anyway right? Whatever you say is going to be twisted so that the other person can move on. They get to have that. Its one of the rights of the dumpee. As the the dumper, you unfortunately just have to deal with that. 

As the dumpee you also have the right to cry, binge eat, sing every sad song on the radio and bed hop your way out of the slump...judgement free (for a few months). 

As the dumper you have the right to call (not voicemail) and break up, unless you live together or are engaged. You have the right to your feelings. You have the right to keep explanations short. You have the right to break up!

There is never a right way to tell someone that you don't love them. There is never a right way to tell someone that you've been lying to yourself and to them in order to try something on for size in the hopes (and with the best of intentions) that it would work out. There is no right way to tell someone that you're in love with someone else, or worse yet, that you tried your best but just aren't attracted to them, no matter how abstractly beautiful they may be. 

The whole break up situation makes me break out in hives. This is the reason I ruin every relationship I'm in. Anticipating the break up is enough of a reason to up the anti and prematurely break up to avoid the intense fall-out. Maybe people should have a "BREAK UP AGREEMENT" where you lay out how you'd like to be broken up with before you get too emotionally involved. That way, both parties are clear with what will be expected in the end. And if there is no end, then great! You don't have to deal with it, but if you do, then you both have a game plan. This is why I'm all about the pre-nup. Maybe its the post divorce brain speaking here, but it would have been incredibly helpful to know the game plan and take that out of the emotional equation. Breaking up is hard enough, but then we have to deal with the method and process too? It's just too much. It's not fair...to anyone! I think I'm gonna build in some form of the BUA in my next  relationship. 

And nothing to me is more terrifying than the dreaded Facebook status update. Damn you Zuckerberg for adding that little tid bit in there! Now, not only do I eventually have to go public with my new terrifying relationship, but then everyone gets to know when I break up too? Urgh and then wether you were the dumper or the dumpee who changes the relationship status on Facebook and when? What are the rules? I'll never forget when I changed my relationship status from "married" to single. It was like...deciding to get divorced all over again. So public, so embarrassing, so humiliating for everyone involved. I think I'm gonna build into my BUA that no relationship status be changed on FB until there is at least a fetus between us. I think that is going to be part of my new rules. 

But then my friend Sheri brought up that she would never trust someone who didn't change their FB status to "in a relationship with Sheri" once they started getting serious. And I guess I can see that too! Facebook is ruining my BUA! 

Does that make me a pessimist? I don't think so. I just think that clarity is important. I'm gonna dip my toes in the pool, I want to know where all of the exits are, just incase I fall in. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Waxing Woes vs Laserin' Hoes

Our rebellious, free loving 70s counterparts may disagree, but hair removal is basically the best thing that's been happening in the western world since the advent of the bathing suit in the 1940s. You crazy hippies were all hopped up on LSD anyway, but now a days, waxing has become the norm...everywhere. That is of course, unless you are lucky enough to get a Groupon or Lifebooker deal to Lasering.
Yes, Lasering. While it may seem a little dangerous to have a red laser aimed at your lady bits, any lady who has been waxed by a crazy butch Soviet refugee looking Olga will tell you, Lasering is the way to go! Setting you back a cool $1500 for a half bikini, if you can afford it, it will completely change your life. 

Now, yes they both hurt, yes, they are both unpleasant but even the Egyptians have been sugaring since before the times of Christ so I feel like they were onto something there. Its only the western world that has taken some time to catch on, but why? Yes, its a pain ...literally a pain (sometimes in the butt) but most women feel most confident when hairless.

I was having this very conversation with some ladies at the grocery store (I know, how domesticated am I?) this morning when the topic of "intention" came up behind these practices. One lady, Alma, insisted that you are making a strong statement by waxing all of your lady hair, that you are easy, freaky and sexual. She didn't seem to think that the method mattered, but that the end result certainly sent a message.  Now, Alma is a 55 year old housekeeper with grey hair on her head, so I knew I had to ask her about her haircut of choice down there, but I waited until we had other group opinions on the subject.

Next up to bat on the opinion wagon was a lady named Dana. Dana, is a 35 year old mother of 3 with the two year old from hell. Poor Dana probably has a 70s fro happening and looks like she hasn't showered in ten days. Her blond hair is now turning a scary shade of green. She too suggested that you are making a statement with not only the length but the mode of removal. Dana was adamant that the method was also a strongly worded statement to her partner. She suggested that when she met her husband she made sure to wax a thin landing strip. She said this indicated to her husband when they were dating that she was a lady...that no woman looking for a husband should be bald, because this sends the wrong message. Its says "hoe" not "home". She also said that getting regular waxes indicated to her husband that not only did she need time to herself to take care of regular maintenance for him, but that it was built in time in her schedule for personal pampering (wax, nails, eyebrows,etc).  If she was full bald or lasered forever, she would have no hopes of solace. She started getting louder and louder saying that if she lasered, after a few times she'd be out of excuses to be out of her home! And then what would she do, huh?! Then what?! I see her point.

I needed a man's opinion.

I called a few of my guy friends who have pleaded to remain anonymous...as they will for now. One of them, we'll call him "mike" emphasized to me that guys aren't reading into anything other than they are about to get laid before they see your haircut of choice. "Edward" added that he didn't even know lasering existed and he was of the opinion that mixing it up was the way to go. "Rodrigo" just asked me about my hair cut and I hung up.

This got me thinking about relationships. Why is it that as women we feel the need to over analyze everything we do and how it will be perceived. Well, on some level, you probably are making a statement depending on the occasion and the relationship you are in. Maybe you're trying to say, "sometimes I'm a lady" and maybe, if you're Alma, you're trying to say "sometimes, I'm freaky, even if I'm older..maybe I can school ya". 

Maybe everything doesn't have to mean something and everything doesn't have to be a statement about how you feel about someone or yourself. Maybe you're just trying on a new hair cut or wanting to feel a little sexier. Maybe you just want to simplify your life and not have to worry about doing something every 4-6 weeks. Either way, if we aren't already, maybe we need to take guys out of the equation for everything we do. Somethings really are just about you! And they should be! Because you know what...god bless em...they probably don't really notice and or care and that's great. Mohawks are cool, bald is beautiful....whatever floats your boat. 

I'm kinda glad I got that Groupon deal.