The Science Behind My Personal Seduction

I finally was able to get in to take that questionnaire regarding Friday night’s Science of Seduction show (the show must have been popular because I had a heck of a time logging in and getting the question pages to load — most frustrating).

First of all, I should say that like many such quizzes, I was frustrated by the all or nothing options for reply; why can’t they offer that middle road option of “neither A or B” or “I don’t feel strongly about any option”. And the language/phrasing is sort of ridiculous — “I laugh with my partner ‘Always'”?! Even when he’s sad? I don’t think that’s a real option. Fully aware that these absolutes, no matter how silly &/or frustrating, allow for easier computations, I proceeded. But I just had to vent (and perhaps warn those of you who feel likewise about such things).

Now onwards, to the results…

While watching the show, my first instincts were that I would be a Director — or at least have strong enough Director tendencies to warrant them appearing in my results. But maybe that was Old Me; I’ve surely changed over the years. (Which too brings up the subject that we do change, and so what does that say about biology? It must be more fluid than fixed, right?) Anyway, I did not receive any Director notes in my findings.

Instead I’m an Explorer with a side dish of Negotiator.

OK, so I totally can see myself as a combination between Angelina Jolie and Bill Clinton. And I’m guessing both of them figured they’d have some Director results too.

Since I’m not dating, but happily married, the only way I could really attempt to evaluate this scientific belief system was to get the husband involved. So I make him take the test when he returned home from work.

The husband was deemed Primarily a Builder, with secondary Director traits. Because he is even more jaded about such personality tests than I am (and had not seen the show, so he thought we were suppose to match in our findings), his response to hearing my results was to jokingly say, “So we’re going to divorce?”

I told him then that Builders are to fit with other Builders, Explorers with other Explorers, and that Directors and Negotiators are to fit together well. His reply was the sardonic, “So we’ll only get a quarter of a divorce then.” I’m not sure that math is right (I’m thinking it’s half non-matching); but at least his reaction was similar to mine: We are not doomed no matter what these quiz things say.

In reflecting upon our likelihood of relationship success based upon biological anthropologist Helen Fisher’s theory, I’m not exactly convinced.

Not only do I remain skeptical about the findings (I still feel I am a Director of sorts; and the husband’s Director status leaves me puzzled, frankly), but I don’t think the theory is any more sound than astrology — or Myers-Briggs. Maybe that’s a part of my non-conformist Explorer self.

But should the science be more accurate than my faith in it, I do think there are things to learn here.

For example, the husband is far more traditional that I; it’s something that rears it’s argumentative head from time to time when we approach problems and plan activities. And maybe that Director thing — even my thinking I am one — is part of our troubles in final decisions; I sometimes do feel that my solution is less accepted because I’m more intuitive, even in my logic (I don’t have flip charts to present to him). So I can see where a couple could use this information to negotiate problems.  Such information could prove useful when navigating problems — if you can use the science to remove the “personally” from “personality” and thereby feel less judged.  Then maybe you can relax in the knowledge that your partner’s traits are their traits; not a sign that you’re wrong.

Of course you’ll still have to deal with your differences.

For those dating, knowing more about yourself and the kind of persons more likely to suit your type can help spare you some heartache.

13 Signs You’re In A Toxic Relationship


Thirteen Signs You’re In A Toxic Relationship

1 Most, if not all, of your family and friends do not like or trust your partner. This can be a tricky one to recognize for several reasons. Parents, especially, may not state their lack of trust directly because they know that in our state of love & infatuation we romanticize the “you and me against the world” mentality — they also know that this is something which the toxic partner will exploit, driving you faster away from them and into the toxic person’s grasp. Some relatives and friends may know something is ‘wrong’ but won’t know just how to prove it… But if you have people you trust warning you — even if they can offer little proof — you should continue to trust those closest to you and question this new relationship.

2 There are clearly two sets of rules, one for you & one for him, and both are set by him. Most of these things will be seen first in the form of jealousy. And in the beginning, such things will be written off as misunderstandings in the ‘getting to know you’ phase, and the drama can be seen as terribly romantic and passionate. He may even tell you that he reacts this way because of what some former girlfriend (that bitch!) did to him. Eventually, though, he will be so jealous that every last detail about how you look is a fine line between being attractive enough to please him and being a whore; he, on the other hand, may come and go as he pleases and affairs are just something you’ll have to forgive and forget, either because you were fighting at the time, or he was drunk, or he’s just a man who needs your help. You’ll become so anxious to understand his rules and avoid his reactions, that you don’t know what is worse, leaving the house alone or going out with him — so you settle for staying home and letting him go out alone because it’s less likely to upset him.

3 He will want to move in or get married quickly. He may say he’s never been so in love, or he may suggest it for economical reasons — after all, you spend all your time together — but what he wants is more access to you.

4 Once you are together, the toxic partner will disrespect and dismiss all things ‘you.’ All things you will be stupid, dumb, worthless, and on & on. He will belittle you, your body, your gender, your jokes, your hobbies, your family & friends. He will belittle you when alone, he will belittle you in front of his family, his friends, in public in front of strangers — but not so fiercely, or directly, in front of your family & associates because he is smart enough to if not charm them, then at least to remove any suggestion that he is anything other than a gem. That way, should you complain, you will not be believed. He will dismiss your upset over breaking or loss of your things. He will disrespect your privacy, right down to the most intimate bodily functions. He will ignore & dismiss your complaints with a wave of the hand — if you are lucky. (See #6, #8, #10)

5 Your partner monitors your spending, phone calls, mail, computer access, etc., and gives you time allotments for finishing errants and other tasks, especially those performed outside the home or out of his sight. My ex went to far as to call what few friends I did have along with all of his friends to find out where I was if I was not back from an errand within 20 minutes — round trip. I also had to account for all money spent to the nearest 25 cents.

6 You find yourself no longer participating in activities you once enjoyed. At first you don’t see that you’ve quietly acquiesced bits of your life; you just think you two are spending all your time together — how romantic. Ugh. I gave up browsing in bookstores & the library — those time limits vanished too quickly to really browse. I gave up classes & groups, such as pottery class and book clubs, because he thought that stuff was stupid. I also gave up shooting pool with friends — even when out with him — because other men might notice me.

7 Even though your finances are supposed to be shared, he will control the spending, the accounts, access to the money. He will play daddy with the money, holding your Barnes & Noble gift cards in his wallet for you, “Because you know how absent minded you are, dear.” (This way he not only scores the gift cards, but discredits you along the way.) He will use those gift cards when he wants to, without apology. I remember one Christmas he sent me out with my credit card (one I had in my name before we were married) to buy all the Christmas presents — and then he refused to pay one cent of that bill. I had to beg to earn the money from him to pay it off.

8 You find yourself isolated, alienated &/or cut-off from family and friends. If stopping all your usual activities and socializing habits hasn’t already alienated you from your family and friends, he will start misunderstandings and fights between you and your relatives and friends. When my friends called, my ex used to pretended to be talking to me while passing me the phone saying horrid things such as, “I’m not going to tell her you don’t want to talk to her,” or, “That Cathy you call ‘The Cow’ is on the phone for you,” etc. I didn’t know any of this until after the divorce, of course. Some of us never know why or how… We just find ourselves isolated, without a support system, in a world dominated & controlled by him.

9 You find yourself flinching, cringing or otherwise fearful even if your partner has never struck you. A part of you recognizes what’s to come, even if you don’t cognitively think it — or refuse to see it.

10 When he hurts &/or disappoints you, the conversation’s focus becomes all about him. Not just an angry lecture about what he wants and demands and how you have disappointed him (that usually is part of the abuse activities); but he becomes contrite, even cries, asking you to forgive and even to save him. It’s so ridiculous that it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. I remember once, holding my ex while he cried, soothing him telling him everything would be alright — this after he beat me with balled fists for the first time. He will make many promises to be good, to get counseling, to make it up to you — none of which will ever be carried out past a smile and some trinket. But by this time, you’ll be so relieved to have him happy — or at least not agitated and angry — that you’ll accept it just to keep the peace.

11 You find yourself changing shifts at work (if allowed to work outside the home), denying yourself regular sleep habits, to accommodate his schedule and wishes. If you have children, you will also find yourself, however unconsciously, trying to be a protective shield between them and the abuser. It is also another reason why you do not leave the house to attend activities with friends — because you do not want to leave the children home alone with him.

12 He threatens you, your children &/or your pets with violence. My ex used to threaten my then-grade-school-aged daughter that her cat would be dead by the time she came home from school; neither she nor I can remember why. Violent threats are not just statements the abuser is willing to make, he’s willing to carry them out too. When he does, you might not remember why either.

13 You, your children, &/or pets are hit, shoved, raped, or otherwise assaulted.

If you recognize any of these signs in your relationship, get out of the relationship. If you are living with a controller, abuser or toxic partner, seek assistance. Feel free to contact me and visit Women Against Domestic Violence. And if you are on a computer that he has access to, clear your broswer cache!

If you see these signs in a family member or friend’s relationship, take great care in what you do. Here’s a great tip sheet for you.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here! UPDATE: The original site appears to be down, so please check Thursday-13.com!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

13 Reasons To Hate Cosmo – In Just One Issue

Gawd I hate Cosmo. It’s like they simply cannot fathom that we see they’ve been running the same articles over & over again since Helen Gurley Brown became editor-in-chief in 1965, and began using the mag as an extension of 1962’s Sex and the Single Girl.

Don’t get me wrong, Sex & the Single Girl was wildly wonderful for the time (and holds up much better than you might think); but it was one book in 1962 and if we’re supposed to have come a long way, baby, then why the hell are we operating off a 1962 manual?

Plus, you can only recycle so much.

Even if you think, “There’s new chicks aging into woman’s mags every year,” you have to accept the fact that they know — or should frickin’ know — that old news is not only old news but hurtful and dangerously inaccurate.

Thirteen Examples Why I Hate Cosmo
(All from the February, 2009, issue.)

1 On page 50, In The Best Times To Impress Him, under “When his buddy gets dumped,” the advice reads as follows:

If your female friend suffers a breakup, you bring over Sex and the City DVDs and talk about how she “feels.” If your guy’s male friend gets the ax, however, he has only one job: to help the dude get laid. So give your man the green light to spend more time than usual acting as a wingman when out with the boys.

Ugh. So A), couples only have same-sex friends, they are B) stereotypes. (My friends and I — male and female — have a strict code that should any of us own &/or view Sex & the City, we are to drive them to the closest impatient care facility & destroy the DVDs.) And C) pimping is good for your relationship, so to hell with the scars on either “your guy’s male friend” or his sexual conquests.

2 Page 54, “How I got him to…” is an ode to man-ipulation. It starts with the “men are easily distracted like babies” — so change his cell phone ring to his favorite tune to keep him from answering it (hey, he’ll like listening to the small clip repeated so much that he’ll totally ignore a call from work, his mom… maybe even you). And then ends with stuff you already should know how to do, like if he says it’s natural to flirt with other women so you’re free to do the same, feel free to do it. (We know it may not make him get jealous and stop like “Chloe” wanted; but hell, neither of you are dead; so why the hell not flirt? Flirting is not picking-up or cheating.)

3 page 67: Beauty News. It’s not “ads” but the usual editorial serving as ads; and even worse, it’s stupid.

When you pull off your tights, a cloud of dust pops up. Cold temps plus indoor heat zap moisture. Switch to a hydrating body wash, like Caress Glowing Touch, $3.50.

4 Page 74: Beauty Q & A:

Q: When I wear heavy fabrics, I sweat a lot. What can I do to prevent it?

A: “Layer a cotton tee under a sweater — the natural fibers absorb moisture,” says NYC derm Doris Day. Also try a stronger sweat blocker, like Secret Clinical Strength Anti-Perspirant, $7.99.

‘Cuz A) believing the “derm” wouldn’t sell Secret ad space and B) asking why she wears sweaters in the first place is out of the question… Because “Q” is a made-up question from struggling editors.

5 Fun Fearless Males 2009, page 83. Heavens, if they are so fun & fearless — and celebrities — why don’t I already know about them? And why would I care? It’s not like I’m so deluded to think that my discovery of them (should I even agree with their sales pitch selections) makes me frickin’ eligible to date them.

6 Page 98: What Sex Feels Like for Him. Yeah, we can count on Cosmo to tell us how our man feels about us & with us; so there’s no need, should we A) actually be curious or B) not already have him telling us what he wants and why, to actually ask our real, not pseudo-Cosmo-guy, ourselves.

7 Page 103 starts 50 Guy Phrases Translated, in which Cosmo rapes other written works, distilling them to hysterical uselessness. Cracking the male “cryptic code” includes translating, “Can we talk about this later,” to, “I never want to talk about this again.”

Gee, really?

I suppose next you’ll tell me that when he says “We should go out sometime,” that he’s just afraid to really ask me out… And “You look hot” means he wants to have sex. Oh wait, that’s #2 & # 29.

8 We are not to be “alarmed” by our “freaky sex dreams, we are soothed (starting on page106).” Sex with the ex, girl-on-girl action, and dreams of sex without condom use aren’t what we fear think they are — nope, they aren’t even hot dreams we should just enjoy.

Cosmo, you’re worse than a wet blanket; at least then I’d have a wet spot & be damn happy for it.

9 In Love & Lust (apparently a regular feature) the Cosmo skinny is that playing hard to get (but not too hard to get) is phat. Yes, it’s 2009 and we believe women don’t know that the thrill of the chase is thrilling to both chaser and chasee. I mean, come on; this is the stuff we all miss when we ‘settle down’ and, if we take each other for granted, end up in divorce court for.

But thanks, Cosmo, for telling the women of today who paid $4.50 for your rag that “texting him your location at all times” is “not hard enough”, that waiting to reply to his text a day later with “Who r u?” is “too hard” but that “sending short texts and resisting the urge to engage in volleys” is “just hard enough.”

10 On page 112, more of Love & Lust, has the classic, “he lost his class ring in my pussy” story. If you don’t know it, ask your dad to tell you a sex joke.

And then work on your freakin’ Kegles for gawd’s sake.

11 Page 192, in Cosmo Weekend Living, we are advised not to make our rooms too girlie &/or paint our rooms pink because “guys don’t feel comfortable in estrogen-heavy rooms.”

Yeah, unless our estrogen-heavy bods are naked; then, like they notice — let alone care.

12 Page 52: Cosmo for your guy — “show this to your man!” Two problems here: A) the whole mag is an ode pandering to negative male stereotypes, so if you’re going to encourage him, why stop at one page? and B) if your guy needs help to know that whispering “Remember that time on the kitchen floor?” is sexier than whispering “I’m so drunk!” to you, I doubt reading it in print in Cosmo will be of any help — to either of you.

(And then he might just flip through it and start thinking about your pink duvet and why you programmed the ringtone on his phone.)

13 Oh, are we at thirteen already? But there’s so much more… OK, I’ll give you just one more & then I’ll stop. For now. The perfumed ads reek. As if I didn’t have a headache already.

PS I didn’t buy this copy of Cosmo; I liberated it my sister-in-law from it. And yes, she heard all of this as an oral presentation as I took it.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here! UPDATE: The original site appears to be down, so please check Thursday-13.com!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Drew Barrymore & I Agree

I normally don’t give a fig what celebrities have to say about dating — not only do they not live in the real world, but they are generally poor examples of what good relationships are. But when I read what Drew Barrymore reportedly said , I jumped for glee:

DREW BARRYMORE hates surfing the Internet for love – because it has taken all the romance out of dating.

The Charlie’s Angels star – who recently split up with the face of computer brand MAC Justin Long – confesses that even text messaging freaks her out – insisting she prefers the old fashioned ways of finding a man.

She says, “When I first started dating, it was like the Pony Express. We had to be frickin’ patient. And now everything is instantaneous. It’s too much! Where is old-fashioned romance and a little bit of mystery?”

I believe this is precisely why so many celebrity marriages & relationships fail — they are used to & demand instant gratification. Relationships may involve instant attraction, but the gratification comes over time. This is something which most celebrities seem to fear — perhaps because they fear time and it’s “ravages” rather than revere it.

While we regular folk may not be able to demand — or, more accurately, have our demands so regularly met — we seem to fall for the fallacy of instant gratification. Perhaps it’s because so many of us wish to emulate celebrities, too often for the wrong reasons. But in any case, many wish for instant gratification.

For example, Michelle at Dating Dames (where I discovered the Drew Barrymore news) defends her own quest for relationship instant gratification:

She had me until she complained about instantaneous. I’m not patient. …I’m all for mystery and old-fashioned romance, but I want it quick, baby. Like this, yes thank you for holding the door for me, now I’ll race you to the car. Lets go!

But relationships are the opposite of such a concept. I can’t help from making a reference to Drew’s movie, The Wedding Singer, and the song Grow Old With You:

Let’s Date Like My Sister Eileen?

I made issue #14 of the Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy (yea me!), which reminds me that I should give you an update on that media and relationships survey I’m participating in

The survey is based on your TV and movie viewing habits of the past week, which means you’re reporting on your holiday season habits. Personally, my sitting-on-my-butt and watching television &/or films time has been very limited by holiday stuff — but also because TV programing has sucked the past month. This means I’ve watched mainly The History Channel and NatGeo (which, unless you categorize this watching as “news” puts your viewing in the “other” category on this survey) and it has had, upon reflection, little to do with my relationship values — other than to find great pleasure in the fact that my partner also likes geek TV.

I’ve also snuck in the occasional TCM (and other old film) viewing. This has been secretive alone-at-night-while-working movie watching — but not because it’s some naughty or guilty pleasure to watch a “chick flick”. Writing, being a solitary pursuit most enjoyed by night owls, lends itself to complete remote control domination when one is well, you know, screwing around and not working. However, my point is, that the movies I’ve watched (including The Pleasure Seekers, My Sister Eileen, and Sabrina) were retro films, if not all Classic Films with capital C & F, and as such it’s damn near impossible for a feminist to watch those films and not giggle, smirk, or groan at the sexist roles and actions. They are entertainment (served with an equally entertaining side dish of snark that I am unable to turn off) not some map for relationship bliss.

If they were, then I guess my first tip in getting a date would be to go out drinking with your sister & two fellas, walk drunkenly to a gazebo, and have the four of you burst into song, dance, and imaginary instrument playing a la My Sister Eileen. But then, you’ll also end up with some other guy… Which involves some lying, lots more song and dance, the Brazilian Navy, and lots more…

My point is, if I (and any other intelligent sentient being) can realize that musicals are fantasies, why would anyone expect to find tips on relationships & romance in such films?

Oh, and I also watched Elf; and that didn’t make me think that I might have missed an opportunity to mate a real elf and get myself closer to Santa’s Nice List.

So, over all, my feelings regarding media and relationships have neither changed nor become more enlightened by this survey process. While there’s still weeks to go (and I am interested in what may come from the experience), I’m still amazed that there are people out there — that I’m sharing this same world with — who honest to gawd, still base their real world relationship expectations upon images in film and television.

May gawd help us all.

If Your Husband Is Cheating; Get Your Fat Ass To The Gym

Offensive because it’s putting the blame on ‘you’ for his crap, but still…

There’s something to this.

If you’re overweight, you may not have ‘let yourself go’ in the way that means you are so satisfied with your relationship that you take it for granted — but you might be depressed and unhappy (whichever came first, the depression or the weight is rather like the chicken & the egg) which will means you likely aren’t being the best partner.

Taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do for your relationship — there can’t be a happy two of you when one of you is miserable.

Not that this excuses his horrible behavior (or yours, should the situation be reversed); a commitment is a commitment. To forgive him or not is a separate issue, but in any case, together or apart, you must begin taking care of yourself. That includes your weight, your depression, and your unhappiness.

Image via Jailbird at Etsy.

Men & Their Delicate Dangles

If you follow me on Twitter (and you should; I’m told I’m a hoot), then you “heard” me mention that I had a fabulous email regarding my post on New Year’s resolutions and that I was excited to post about it. The email was from my bud, Slip of a Girl — and even cooler than her email was the fact that she’s posted the whole story and then some at her blog.

Now, aside from the fact that I do so enjoy being the center of attention, Slip makes some good points about how you need to not only be honest with yourself about your pet peeves but know which ones are important enough to be deal breakers for you — and that you can’t expect others to read your mind and know them, you have to communicate them. If only to spare yourself from suffering.

But I’ll be honest here and say that the best part of her post was when she goes off about one her largest pet peeves — which we share — that of men who make ‘ick’ faces about menstruation:

You men (and any women who loathe themselves & their bodies thus) need to accept the realities of a normal, healthy female body.

We women have to accept such things about men — even if we don’t completely understand them.

For example, we have to accept the fact that you guys will wake up with morning wood 99% of the time. We can’t blame you for it. We don’t have to do anything about it; but we do have to accept that your hormones cycle daily and so you have heavy loads of testosterone just waiting to be released along with your seed.

We have to accept that your delicate dangle, that thing there between your legs (which I can only imagine is something like a small, narrow, third breast just hanging there), will suddenly jump up and point like a fool whenever aroused — and beg to be used — like some independent tool with impulse issues.

And you pee from it!

We don’t understand it, sometimes it embarrasses us, and quite frankly it seems weird. But we mature. Even if we remain ignorant to “knowing”, we accept it and stop acting as if (& thinking that) you are freaks or gross or dirty.

I Want To Change Your New Year’s Resolutions

So you’ve got this to-do list of things you’d like to change about yourself — but hold on there, miss! Before you start the scheming to match your dreaming, the first thing you need to do is know yourself. It sounds so simple that it seems ambiguous to some, but really this is where you start.

First, are these things realistic? Can you change these things?

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

Second, if you can change these things (and can set realistic goals for doing so), do you really want to change all those things on your list? If there’s just one thing written there, is that something you really want to change? Or are you making these changes for someone else…

Maybe you wrote it down, but your hand was directed by that head of yours which is filled with all those insidious messages you’ve received from critical family members, lovers (or those you wanted to be) who rejected you, so-called women’s magazines & other media which makes money off your insecurities — all these voices saying that you’re just not good enough.

Even if you’re convinced that your New Year’s Resolutions are in fact your own, take a good hard look at them any way. Do it because you’re patronizing me; I don’t care, as long as you take five minutes (eternally long if you set a timer) and reconsider the things-you-want-to-change-this-year.

Now I’m going to ask you to do one more thing. I’m going to ask you to put one thing at the top of the list. And that thing is to demand that people accept & respect you.

See, you’ve got these things (or maybe just one thing) that you want to change about yourself — and it may very well be that you should change to improve your life — but far too often I see women who are willing to change themselves but unwilling to demand that people accept them for who and what they are. This acquiescence bothers me. Bad things happen when you acquiesce so much in relationships.

So, get out another piece of paper, title it “Demand That People Accept Me”, and make a list of things that should not be changed about yourself.

They can be little or big things; vital ‘this is me’ things or ‘pet peeve’ things that really get under your skin. In fact, that should be one of the things you write down: No one has the right to tell me how important things are to me, or how I feel.

Sometimes it helps if you write it as a list intended to be read by a specific (though however imaginary) person. Like a written agreement. In the spirit of getting you started, here are some of my things:

* When you met me I smoked, I wore this dress size, I had a cat, this family, these friends, I swore, drank, and I required an hour a day to be left alone; none of these things should be expected to change — or are to be discussed as changes I ought to make.

* My work, no matter the pay, is as important as yours; and how I spend my days (weekly pottery class, shooting pool, my favorite TV shows) are as important as your softball league, TV habits and whatnot. It’s not an automatic ‘given’ that my plans should change to accommodate yours.

* While you may name your privates, you can neither make me address it by ‘name’ nor name mine.

* If I say something hurts, it hurts. So stop tickling me or whatever it is and just say you’re sorry.

* I’m a normal, healthy, menstruating woman; you are not allowed to make ‘ick’ faces, wince, cringe, or otherwise react stupidly to this biological fact. Similarly, you are not allowed to act embarrassed when tampons appear in the shopping cart, on the conveyor belt at WalMart, or in your bathroom (unused in the medicine cabinet, or neatly wrapped in toilet paper in the trash).

* On a related note, I get very randy before my period — sometimes during. Obviously it’s up to you to decide if you want to have sex at this (or any other) time; but do not make that fact which looks like you’ve just vomited in your mouth at my suggestion.

* The toilet seat is to be turned down after use. Period.

* No means no, means no, means no. No, I don’t want to see that movie; no, I don’t want order the clams; no, I don’t want to go on another date; no, I don’t want you to come in for a drink; no, I don’t want you to touch me. Yes, you may have come in last time; yes, you may have gotten laid before; but this time the answer is “No.”

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I do not want to change,
courage to demand that others to do the same,
and wisdom to rid myself of those who do not.

New Year, New You?

Ah, the New Year is about to dawn… The time of year when so many people look at themselves and, upon not liking what they see, come up with ridiculous and unreasonable plans they call New Year’s Resolutions.

Loathing the past and fearfully hoping bartering for their futures, New Year’s Resolutions remind me of the Kübler-Ross “Bargaining” stage of grief: “Listen, New Year, if I promise to lose 40 pounds and stop smoking, you agree to give me a promotion (with a salary large enough to afford designer handbags and that clingy little black cocktail dress I’ve been dreaming of) and the man of my dreams.”

Only, the New Year, like the god the grief-stricken barter with, doesn’t reply with an affirmation — at least not the magic wand variety. And that’s what most are really asking for. *Poof* You’re 40 lbs slimmer, 50K richer, and smoke-free in your designer couture with Mr. Right on your arm.

Oh sure, you could get all those things — even simultaneously. But you’ll have to work for each and every one of them. And then work some more to keep them.

No one is going to hand them to you, let alone at the magical hour when the Gregorian calendar adds a digit.

However, if you, like millions of others, want to have your make-over vows coincide with this paper-flipping fresh start, tune in tomorrow because I’ll be outlining my general tips for really making changes.

The Grass Is Always Greener When There’s No Snow

A friend of mine, Marta, was complaining that it was more difficult to “meet people” during the holidays — and by “meet people” she specifically stated that she meant, “to have the possibility of a relationship, not drunken groping at an office party or with some friend of your sister’s from college who is also the only single person at her holiday party.”

Marta has a point — but it’s likely not the one she was thinking of.

I agree drunken groping is like the relationship fruitcake of the holiday season; people take it because it’s what they get. (My advice is don’t take it — and certainly don’t re-gift it either!) But Marta, like most single people, wanted her point to be her complaint: that the the holidays are for those who are already in pairs ready to board Noah’s ark.

Not only do I detest whining, I have to say that’s bullshit.

When you are single, lonely and not-lovin’ it, the world seems full of couples. It doesn’t matter what season it is. Here’s a reminder of a lovely spring (or perhaps summer) afternoon at the park:

Couples, couples everywhere.

Not only have you whiny pessimistic folks forgotten that, but you even complain about those bickering &/or unhappy couples — like those on the bench. “At least they have someone to argue with,” you mope. But honestly, now, is that what you want?

So stop looking at (imagining) greener pastures on the other side of the fence; stop looking at the glass as half empty — or even half full. And start planting your own seeds for lush greenery, fill your glass all the way up, if that’s what you want. Create the world you want — it’s much more inviting to others than complaining.

Photo by alev.adil.

The Reality Of Relationship Reality Shows

A new relationship show is seeking men and women who are unhappy in their relationships to find a middle ground and win up to $50,000 in cash and prizes!

Are you cheating on your boyfriend/girlfriend and don’t know how to break it to him/her? Do you love your boyfriend/girlfriend but know he/she is not the one? Do you want to date others but he/she wants to take the next step with you? Are you on a completely different page than your partner? We want to help you!

Help you? Are they serious? There isn’t a relationship reality show that’s based on helping people — and yes, I include ‘counselors’ Dr. Drew and Dr. Phil in this. These shows are about making money off humiliating people.

And when they say they are seeking couples who “have amazing personalities” they mean “explosive,” “dumber than a box of rocks,” and anything else they can exploit along with your relationship misery.

I don’t understand the people who go on these shows. They aren’t just putting themselves on display for mockery, airing their own dirty laundry in public, but they dare to do this for their entire family and even friends. Who wants to live as the sister of “that psycho bitch,” the mother of that “asshole with an ego,” or somehow related to that “gullible girl” who is dating the “asshole with an ego” while her best friend, “that psycho bitch,” screws him on the side?

I can’t watch those shows; I just ache for all the sane people they know who must cringe in shame and share in the TV watching public’s blame. So if you go on this casting call, or any other like it, don’t tell me. I don’t want to have to look at you with pity.

Pulling Relationship Weight

Leigh Peele, a published author and expert on weight loss, has an intriguing article at the Examiner on the courtship of obesity:

The process of mate selection for human beings is different from culture to culture and has evolved with the ages. Long ago the majority choose a mate purely on the ground of livelihood. If your mate could feed you or have children that was good enough. That isn’t to say there wasn’t always a rebel or two that caused a uproar in the normal flow of things. However, the majority of the time people chose mostly out of safety, and at best for love.

Flash forward to a time of internet dating, mail order brides, maxim magazine, and Flavor of Love. I think you will find that things are a little different. Self independence and prosperity is possible for both sexes. The ability to have children isn’t dependent on a penis and a vagina. Lastly, food is everywhere in advanced societies so the need to find a mate based solely on those past needs are getting cut more and more everyday. If those aren’t leading the ranks of why we pick a mate, what is?

I’ve written, elsewhere, on the subject of the biology of appearance in attraction, and while Peele clearly has a belief system (if not an agenda), she raises some good points:

How you look, the health you convey, and the body you have is now a extreme contributing factor. Studies and survey’s around the world are showing time and time again that the weight and appearance of a person plays a very large role in if they are found to be dating material or not. The question is, why?

If you say because “fat people are ugly” you would be wrong. Studies show that it isn’t the physical attraction to the person that is the issue, it is the underlying factors instead. For example, one study shows that on average medical costs are 36% higher for obese adults than their non-obese partners. Other studies also show that those who are largely overweight make a smaller percentage of pay vs those who have a healthier BMI. Obesity is also highly prevalent in low educated households, and the children of obese parents have a higher likely hood to drop out of high school.

When we combine all that above this means that through one scan of the eyes the average person when on approach for dating material can see someone who is obese as unhealthy, uneducated, and not financially secure. Obviously this is not true in all cases, but now if you find yourself in this position, not only do you have to worry about your own insecurities of being physically under par to yourself, you have to worry about your whole level of worth being judged from education to finance. Because of this overwhelming pressure, studies show that the mate you choose is going to be constantly less than your instinctual set standards because you feel that this is the best you can do. The cycle then starts of the problems in the relationship.

Peele then goes on to describe what she believes occurs in relationships where one person is ‘thin’ and the other ‘obese’:

Constantly those who are overweight will put “being fat” on the high list of problems in a relationship before they will put “living in self doubt.” Mixed couples fight more about cheating, have more short term separations, and will settle more in abusive relationships on average than couples who share in the same activities and physical physique. It is a lot more likely that one of you is nice and the other is a jerk.

…It isn’t about BMI, that is just a side effect. That is merely the scapegoat for the problem. The problem is self worth and self esteem. Usually those who were married pre-obesity have less problems than those who go into the courtship already overweight. With marriage there is a level of knowing what can be there again if desire or a deep understanding of the person in when they felt their best. Since the person saw the “real” you at a point, even if you are insecure now, there is still enough of you there in them that you are able to maintain a high level of happiness and trust.

I’ll admit, I’ve never quite looked at weight issues from this perspective. I’ve been ‘fat’ and I’ve been ‘thin,’ and while I’ve certainly noticed the times when my fat self was unattractive — not for the physical reasons but the insecurities & bad attitudes — I’ve never quite put things together as neatly as Peele has.

Not that being thinner delivers a magical life, but there is something I can attest to as far as attitude & acceptance. Speaking in generalities, if & when I happily accept ‘me’, I have better partners and better relationships; but when I am miserable, I make dumber decisions & accept far less than I really deserve.  Not to mention, I’m just a bitch (or killjoy) to be around.

There’s also been a difference between my relationships (with myself and with others), depending upon how I ‘took the weight off’.

The times I forced myself to diet — like an aggressive prison warden — I may have lost weight, but I felt the punitive actions, the self-loathing, and not only was miserable in the process and with others, but the weight came back quickly. However, once I rid myself of my emotional baggage, I naturally seemed to slim-down — as if that baggage was literally the saddlebags on my hips and thighs.

So while I’m not sure I agree that relationships between the skinny dating the fat are doomed to inequity, I do see (and often talk about) the great difficulties in relationships between those who are happily accepting of themselves and those who are riddled with insecurities and self-loathing. If your weight is an indication of the latter, the issues are certainly worth exploring for yourself.

Which Came First? The Chick-Flick Or The Egg On Your Face?

Jaynie asked if, when participating in the survey about media and relationships, I noticed anything about the survey.  The answer? Yup, I did.

I’m guessing Jaynie did too, or she wouldn’t have asked ;)

It’s pretty clear when I looked at my responses on the television shows and films I watch, by genre, that I don’t watch a lot of chick-flick-shit.  So maybe I’m totally not who they want participating.  But the interesting thing is that I also don’t believe that the stuff shown on the screen has anything to do with real relationships, let alone any expectations for my own.  That alone would seem to indicate a strong correlation between watching the drivel and believing the BS.  But does the watching cause the believing? Or is it that those who live in a fantasy world seek out fantasy entertainment?

I’m hoping I’ll be asked to participate in the study for its entirety — not for the possible money, but because answering the questions, looking at my replies, makes me wonder more and more about these things.  While I may not be ‘typical’ or in any way reflective of the study results as a whole; but discovering things about myself, my habits, and my beliefs is really fascinating. Perhaps because I am so fascinating.

Do Romantic Comedies Ruin Relationships?

The Telegraph has an article saying that romantic comedies can ruin relationships. Their proof is a study a team at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh did. They studied 40 top box office films released between 1995 and 2005, looking for patterns & common themes to establish common themes, and then asked hundreds of people to fill out a questionnaire to describe their beliefs and expectations when it came to relationships. The results?

The psychologists found that fans of films such as You’ve Got Mail, The Wedding Planner and While You Were Sleeping, often fail to communicate with their partners effectively, with many holding the view that if someone is meant to be with you, then they should know what you want without you needing to tell them.

In what certainly will not be news to feminists who have long argued that images in & portrayals by the media, the bottom line was, according to Dr Bjarne Holmes, a psychologist who led the research, “We now have some emerging evidence that suggests popular media play a role in perpetuating these ideas in people’s minds.”

Years a go, a friend of mine in college did a presentation on this subject — but hers focused on even earlier , more formative years. Her project was called Damaged By Disney, and it explored the messages sent to children — especially girls — regarding relationships. She found the following themes:

  • Women often have to change themselves to get the attention of a man &/or acquiesce to get him.
  • Once a girl gets her guy, the story ends — as if all the work exists in ‘getting’ and there’s no effort needed after that.
  • Love is presented as magical, two-dimensional, and unlikely as any of the other animated fantasy creatures used in the film.

I did and still do see her points; but why we’d choose to believe massages delivered by talking mice is beyond me. Similarly with films where humans play fictional characters — where Matthew McConaughey plays a character as real as talking mice — why do we opt to believe fantasy rather than reality, and then claim to be disappointed in the results?

In order to find out more the researchers have launched a much larger, international study on the effects of the media on relationships. At www.attachmentresearch.org, the researchers have a questionnaire about personality, relationships, and media consumption habits called the Media, Personality and Well-Being Study. Perhaps if enough of us participate we’ll get more clues.

And if such lofty altruistic goals do not seduce you, the folks behind the Media, Personality and Well-Being Study have sweetened the pot for you:

Starting in the week following completion of this initial set of questionnaires, you will be asked to complete a shorter set of questionnaires once a week for up to 24 weeks. Each set of these questionnaires takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and assesses your television viewing, mood, and feelings of well-being for that week.

You do not have to participate beyond completing the initial set of questionnaires. However, if you do decide to participate further in completing weekly questionnaires, for each weekly set you complete, you will be entered into a single cash drawing in which you will have the chance to win £500, held exclusively for participants in this study only. For example, if you complete all 24 weekly sets of questionnaires, you will be entered into the £500 draw 24 times.

So that ought to encourage you to participate in the Media, Personality and Well-Being Study.