Sunday, December 25, 2005
A few weeks ago I gave myself an attitude adjustment.
I decided that instead of gazing into the half empty glass and whining that I was terminally single, over the hill, and living in a city filled with picky bachelors and unavailable gay men I would look at the half full glass:
I was lucky to be single, relatively young, and living in one of the most stimulating, well educated and open minded cities in the world. I decided that I was beautiful, desirable and worthy of worship. And I decided, quite simply, to stop looking and allow myself to be found.
And suddenly everthing changed. Dating got fun again and men started pursuing me by the truckload.
I didn't change anything that I was doing, or saying or wearing -- I just changed my attitude.
I would go out on dates with only one goal in mind--to have fun on the date.
I would stay in the present moment.
And I would give anybody who showed interest in me a chance to unfold and reveal himself - instead of judging and looking for flaws and reasons to write them off my list.
My blog might get boring from now on, with little to complain about and so much to embrace, to be thankful for, to rejoice.
My aesthetician was giving me a facial the other day and I said I was getting ready for a Christmas party, a date. And she said:
"You're so lucky!"
Lucky, I thought, with a groan (oh no, not another date.)
And she said, "I've been married for 15 years, and so the idea of a date is so very exciting to me. We have a saying in Russia that you always wish for what you don't have until you have it."
Which reminded me of the old Pogo cartoon I once had taped to my fridge until it yellowed and curled and eventually disintigrated.
It said: "Most of us don't know what we want in life. But we're pretty damned sure we don't have it."
Was it the Russian mother who was worrying about her child's fever that switched my attitude? Or something deeper inside me that had been changing for a while? But I suddenly realized how truly lucky I was and how much opportunity and promise the world held. I suddenly didn't see much use for this blog anymore, and the steady stream of angst and negativity, of so much thought and energy entrenched in the past.
And, with newly arched eyebrows and skin as smooth as a newborn baby, I went forth into the world, thankful that so many men were pursuing me, petting me, dining, wining and calling me. Even if they were ten years younger or 14 inches taller or wearing tie-dyed socks. I decided to enter the idea of dating with an open heart.
I should have figured this out years ago. But isn't life always what happens when we're busy making other plans?
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
This is a first -- today I got a personal ad spam in my in-box. Someone obviously found a spam list for personal ad members, or possibly even the email address from this blog, set up a spam list and blasted their personal ad to the entire Western Hemisphere, from what it looks like.
Curiously, the spam romancer isn't seeking marriage, but a relationship with "discretion" with a woman he can trust.
And this great catch even has his own fish pond -- a first for me, indeed.
I am by the name Nelson 35 years of age, from Nigeria, I want to bring this to your notice that I have an interest in you.
For me to be seeking a discreet mature woman in you, i have finally decided to go forth with what i am seeking. I will be totally honest, I am a professional computer scientist. I also owned a Fish Pond which is still under development.
What i am seeking is to meet a woman that is interested in meeting me. I am only looking for life partner, and I believe you can be, just one that i can feel comfortable with, trust and is on the same level as I am as far as what we both are seeking.
Your age, race and weight are not as important as your seriousness and maturity level. I am open to you because I know I would be comfortable with you. I am of height 179 with an athletic build. I have black hair and black eyes, a great smile and an easygoing personality. I'm not the pushy type and always respect others.
Discretion is a must along with playing safe. If you find an interest and feel that this is something you would like to do, So whatever your age, race, shape, size or maritial status let me know if you are interested. Sincerly I'm easy-going and mellowed. I enjoy having fun, laughing and I like to stay active. I'm in good shape, healthy and fit. I'm genuine, honest and down-to-earth. I'm caring and friendly, and I'm content with things in my life. I like movies and eating out, playing golf. I live alone and have a good stable job. I enjoy the outdoors, sports, movies. music, cooking and traveling. I also enjoy being at home and relaxing, listening to music or having good conversation with friends which I believe you would make good example.
I hope all the above qualities suits your desire.
Lastly, I am looking forward to a relationship that will be build on a strong foundation of honest, hence, we have a lot in common in our qualities which I believe will make us to be compartable.
Looking forward to your reply soonest.
Thanks and God Bless.o
Thursday, December 8, 2005
One of the online dating services sent me this "winner" in my "cupid report." Well I do like to play Scrabble, but other than that, this man meets not one of my qualifications -- from location to age to fitness level. Isn't it great that we're now leaving the most important decisions in life to computers?
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
After learning that dressing like a porn star = getting rated a 10 on Hot or Not, I started to read the chapter on the rise in pornography in Eric Schlosser's "Reefer Madness" the other day, and suddenly the light bulb went on. Maybe Internet personal ads aren't the only factor in the frustration that so many singles are having with dating today -- there's also the impact of Internet porn.
I've always considered pornography fairly harmless -- a fantasy world that exists outside the bounds of our "real" flesh and skin interactions. Though even from my high school days, my friends and I never felt we could live up to the airbrushed women in Playboy and Penthouse, who they themselves couldn't live up to their fantasy images. (I became friends with a woman who posed in Playboy once -- not only was she really smart, but, she was now bespectacled, overweight and really frumpy! You would have never imagined her as a centerfold.)
But I started to think of the ways that the fantasy of unlimited access to thousands of women has changed the way men relate to us. I just feel a lot more objectified out in the personal ad world, with men reacting and responding purely to my legs, my breasts and my face, and all but ignoring anything else I have to offer from the neck up (like a college education or an inquiring mind.)
There are of course, smart men who appreciate a woman for more than the physical -- though it seems that more and more, men have sexual fantasies and tastes that stretch outside the boundaries and deeper into the realm of what they're seeing on Internet porn sites.
A new Harris poll confirms my hunch.
"When men look at pornography, what effect does that have on the women who love them? Fully 47 percent of women and 33 percent of men believe porn harms relationships between men and women," stated an article today on Netscape.
"Even so, we are a nation divided. An online Harris Poll of 2,555 U.S. adults finds that when it comes to pornography, we're not sure what should be done about it. Women are generally much more critical of pornography than men. As a result, a small majority of women, but not of men, favors government regulation of pornography on the Internet if that were possible.
"About half of all adults believe that pornography raises men's expectation of how women should look and that it changes men's expectations of how women should behave. About the same amount say pornography is demeaning towards women, although this view is more widely held by women than by men.
"What is the effect of pornography on kids? If children see a lot of it, 30 percent of adults say it distorts boys' expectations and understanding of women and sex, while 25 percent say it makes kids more likely to have sex earlier. Just 7 percent think it distorts girls' body images and their ideas about sex. Only 2 percent say looking at pornography helps children better understand sexuality."
Tuesday, November 8, 2005
Just for the heck of it, I decided to post a photo of myself on the Internet's favorite haunt of raging narcicists -- Hot or Not.
I always though Hot or Not (which now bills itself as an online dating site!) was the ultimate in superficial. Who wants to be rated like movies, or wines or for that matter, livestock?
But spending time there with a friend, flipping around the men (a motley collection that included a few she-hes) and women (ranging from downright scary looking to more gorgeous than many celebrities) we found that Hot or Not is a lesson in what we've been programmed to believe or accept, universally, as beautiful. It's amazing to see that almost consistently your rating matches, almost exactly, the rating that others gave that person's photograph.
We noticed that men in suits consistently score higher marks.
But criminal-looking guys with tattoos and the Harley look also often score above an 8 too.
A heavily made up Transexual or man in drag scores way higher than a real woman in plain clothes.
Affluent looking, well dressed men consistently score higher than goodlooking grease monkeys.
A thin woman with an ugly face will always score higher than a beautiful chubby one.
Heavy makeup and fake boobs score high marks. The more you look like a Hooters waitress or a porn star, the higher your score!
And skin sells, baby.
So I posted three photos: on was a very natural picture in a bikini top and a sarong, without makeup. That one scored a very surprisingly respectable 8.2.
A photograph in makeup with styled hair, miniskirt and a skimpy top scored higher, 9.
And I got an amazing 9.7 (and three nominations for the HOT OR NOT hall of fame) when I posted a photograph in a Halloween costume with a bare midriff, silver false eyelashes, a blue waist length wig and very heavy makeup.
I have to say, this was the best boost to my self esteem I've had in years. There's nothing like having 250 people rate you above average to make your day.
So is "beauty" more than skin deep -- or is it just about showing flesh and wearing heavy makeup? At least on Hot or Not it is.
Monday, November 7, 2005
Here is the latest batch of real doozies that a service called Perfect Match dished up in my in-box. There was a guy who just whined continually about how much he hates personal ads, then there was the sex crazed guy with the snake around his neck ... and a man who has a profile that might make one assume he's a petty thief or small time criminal or maybe a member of the mafia.
I logged off Perfect Match. Delete! Delete!
the brutally honest guy
Wow reality set in today about this online dating ritual. I have realized that on every search the same faces show up time and time again and I mean over a LONG period of time. Many years ago I thought , " This online is a way to meet people" now what about 8 years later I am more so like " I need to take up drinking and lieing to find someone" I can't find it fun to write 10000 emails back and forth when two live only 30 miles away. I don't like the computer rather lone sit at it for hours on end discussing what the past HE did that makes her so hurt. Well guess maybe this isn't for me , you kids have fun and remember if you never settle for just ONE , your gonna be here ALONGGGGGGGGG time listening to the same sorta stories I have.
whe he's looking for
I thought I was looking for a woman as a companion but seem to have just wasted ALOT of time listening to excuses and lies. Well life in my world goes on be it alone or with someone so I guess I shall look at the big picture and laugh at the others that believe they really know who they are but paint such a picture that says the other. Good luck I have chores to do rather then sit here
The snake guy (yes, his photo showed him half nude with a snake around his neck)
how he's different
i've never been married, have no kids, well except my dog, lol. i'm not controling, nor abusive, and beleives a woman should have her own freinds and life separate, from the one we have together. i was in the very first mr. romance contest, in san diego. i was asked to pose for playgirl, but turned them down. i used to work building movie sets. i have worked in theater, been a roadie. i play guitar, dance, and sing, i also like to write and love to draw. i am a very sexual person, with a very high libido, and i know how to please a woman. i have a great sense of humor, and im sure i can make you laugh. so if you are looking for a bestfreind/lover, and like to have a good time, i'm your man.
who he's looking for
i am looking for a woman that is inteligent and creative enough to find me. oh , so you need a few clues, ok. well you already know what i am called. all you need now is where to find me. lets see, there are two places you could look, you could look somewhere very warm, or maybe you could go to the alps and just yodel. i hope this is enough for you to know what kind of woman i am looking for, hope to to hear from you soon.
how he's different
playing in the mud with my truck
the criminal guy
how he's different
i like the beach,night life & the jym. sex,sex & more sex with the right lady is the one thing that I think about constantly. i would like it more if my sexual drive can transformed into an emotional & spiritual state.
how he's different
interests - [you, if we match] hobbies - [devious, pushing limitations] backround - [ask your local authorities] goals - [make a difference, take over world]
who he's looking for
A true partner in crime. Oe who is willing to let go and let destiny take its course.
Monday, October 31, 2005
This essay came to me from a friend...it apparently originated by a man named David in the U.K.
Most of us have had several 6 month to 1 year relationships that failed to leap over limerance. What does it take to bridge that gap from limerance to lasting love?
> Distinguishing Limerance & Love
> Love is as critical for our minds and bodies as oxygen. The more connected
> we are, the healthier we are both physically and emotionally. The less
> connected we are, the more we are at risk. It is also true that the less
> love we have, the more depression we are likely to experience in our lives.
> Love is probably the best antidepressant there is because one of the most
> common sources of depression is feeling unloved. Family provides this to a
> degree but a being in a loving spousal/partner relationship is the core need
> for most people.
> There is a mythology in our culture that love just happens. As a result, the
> depressed often sit around passively waiting for someone to love them. But
> love doesn't work that way. To get love and keep love you have to go out and
> be active and learn a variety of specific skills. Most of us get our ideas
> of love from popular culture. We come to believe that love is something that
> sweeps us off our feet. But the pop-culture ideal of love consists of
> unrealistic images created for entertainment. We think it is love when it's
> simply distraction and infatuation. One consequence is that when we hit real
> love we become upset and disappointed because there are many things that do
> not fit the cultural ideal. It is then necessary to change one's approach to
> love. Follow these strategies to get more of what you want out of life--to
> love and be loved.
> (1) Recognize the difference between limerance and love. Limerance is the
> psychological state of deep infatuation. It feels good but rarely lasts.
> Limerance is that first stage of mad attraction whereby all the hormones are
> flowing and things feel so right. Limerance lasts, on average, six months.
> It can progress to love. Most love in fact starts out as limerance, but most
> limerance never evolves into love.
> (2) Know that love is a learned skill, not something that comes from
> hormones or emotion particularly. Erich Fromm called it "an act of will."
> (3) Learn good communication skills. They are a means by which (face-to-face
> and email) you develop trust and intensify connection.
> There are always core differences between two people, no matter how good or
> close you are, and if the relationship is going right those differences
> surface. The issue then is to identify the differences and negotiate about
> them so that they don't untowardly distance you. You might be able to do
> that by understanding where the other person is coming from, who that person
> is, and by being able to represent yourself, gently. When the differences
> are known you must be able to negotiate and compromise on them so that, if
> possible, you find that common ground that works for both.
> (4) Focus on the other person. Rather than focus on what you are getting and
> how you are being treated, read your partner's need. What does this person
> really need for his/her own well-being?
> (5) Develop the ability to accommodate "simultaneous reality". The loved
> one's reality is as important as your own, and you need to be as aware of it
> as of your own. What are they really saying, what are they really needing?
> (6) Actively dispute within yourself internal messages of inadequacy.
> Sensitivity to rejection is a cardinal feature to address and
> Recognize that the internal voice is strong ----- but it's not "real". Talk
> back to it. "I'm not really being rejected, this isn't really evidence of
> inadequacy". "I made a mistake." Or "this isn't about me, this is something
> I just didn't know how to do and now I'll learn." When you reframe the
> situation to something more adequate, you can act again in an effective way
> and you can perhaps find and also sustain the enduring love that you seek.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
The first time I posted "I'm recycling myself" on the Internet, it was a lot more scathing than the version you're reading today. Devon, my ex, was portrayed as a "high rent computer nerd with a heart of cold." Unfairly, and I admit, it was strictly to get sympathy from my readers, I painted him as a pale, sunlight deprived nerd, with bulging eyes and a thin hairline, heartless, self centered and driven.
None of that is really true. But when a man just trickles off and doesn't have the cojones to break up with you, and when he cheerfully announces that he's already spending the day with another woman (had sex with her on the first date), what's a broken hearted gal to do? We're emotional creatures, and we tend to respond viscerally, fight or flight.
Devon doesn't call me much anymore, (nowhere near as often as he used to, back when we had the "when the battery dies on the phone we'll hang up" agreement) but there he was, calling me, smack in the middle of his work day, just minutes after that post went out into the cyber ether.
I was on my daily workout walk, hyperventilating when he called. And somehow (come on, girl, you know you wanted him to read it) I said something about the fact that I was having a technical problem on my blog.
"Oh, let me fix it," Devon said.
"No, no, that's ok...really....it's fine. You don't need to fix it now," I said.
"No, really. Where is it? I can't remember the URL..."
Oh no. I am so BUSTED.
I heard keys frantically clicking in the background.
"No really, I don't want you to read it right now."
I was about 1/4 mile away from my computer at this point, and I turned around and started running.
"Devon, what are you doing?"
"I'm in Google, looking for your blog."
"You'll never find it in Google. It's anonymous."
Shit. This guy's so smart. Any other man would have taken weeks to find it but no...
I'm running back to the house now. I'm panting. Sweat is running down my sides.
He's laughing. "Wait, I'm in Technorati now.....
"Devon? Don't go there...not yet...I haven't finished it yet...I just posted it...."
"Devon? Devon? DEVON!"
The guy reads very very fast.
"Hey, I think I need to go now," he said.
"Devon, talk to me. Devon?"
Monday, October 24, 2005
It began on the Internet as love affairs always begin. Innocently. With hope.
"If I could be anywhere...," I wrote in my online profile. "I'd be swimming hand in hand with my lover in clear blue water while the technicolor fish dance around us."
"If I could be anywhere, we would be feeling the dark, the sensuous flow of warm water, the vibrant colors of nightlife while diving amongst the reefs deep at night in Bonaire," he wrote. "... sun sparkling with the lapping waves, my mind devoid of all thought, emoting tranquility…"
A few emails, a telephone call, a dinner I'll remember forever. We snuggled in front of the fireplace until the waitstaff kicked us out, and then stumbled to Sausalito and danced under the stars. Within weeks we were on an exotic trip overseas, he was introducing me to family, it felt like love.
We were there for each other, in a sweet way, like family. It was a year of helping him buy towels at Target on a Saturday night, coaxing him to try on a hipper pair of jeans, patiently waiting as he rebuilt himself after a divorce. It was a year where he coached me through my job challenges, helped me navigate the mysteries of buying a new computer, encouraged me, in a way no man had before, to express myself in words, to be my most authentic self. Almost every night, we called each other and spoke before we went to sleep, sometimes until dawn. It was a relationship of extreme disclosure, at times too much.
And just when Devon was hitting his stride, when everything finally seemed to fall in place in his life, the space for me was smaller. He needed that space to grow, to become his own authentic self, a journey he feared would be limited by one woman and perhaps more exhilirating with several.
I had to say goodbye.
So we clicked on the next profile.
Yet another Hefty Bag Relationship (TM). Here I am, neatly tied up and tossed into the personal ad recycling bin, with my Internet profile spiffed up with a new headline and ready for the next potential suitor (who has just resurfaced after ditching or being ditched by his last.)
And so it goes. We recycle ourselves back into the online personals. And once in a great while someone gets married and goes off the market (semi)permanently. But all too often, we just swap one profile for another, trying new people on like clothes, wearing them to a party without clipping out the price tags and then returning them with the complaint: "This one just didn't fit right."
Every time we had a fight, a fear, a doubt, Devon or I would retreat to the comfort zone of The Profile, and it would come out of hiding. Then, after one particularly mediocre date, or when the indecision waned, we'd shut the profiles away again, and crawl back to each other with open arms. It was an on again, off again thing, in a way that the Internet encouraged. Before Internet dating became so widespread, my relationships had always either been "on" or "off" -- not constantly hovering back and forth between the two.
Was it this way even ten years ago, before it was so easy to find someone you might love? Now it's easier to retreat from every roadblock and argument, squabble and fear. And how many of us were doing it -- the married couples who surreptitiously correspond with strangers from afar, the straight men who dally with gay men from the safety of a screen? How many relationships had ended prematurely, senselessly, simply because there were now so many options that the pain of working things out, accomodating change, facing our demons, was no longer necessary?
It's the relationship equivalent of being downsized. We used to have permanent jobs, permanent loves. Now we are reduced to this constant cycle of being independent contractors working in the temporary agency of relationships, with our resume always out there on the web -- just in case we get laid off.
Out of curiousity I went to the place we met nearly one year ago. Revisiting the personal ad is now the modern day equivalent of walking beneath the tree where we might have kissed the first time and reading the initials a lover carved into the bark. I wanted to see what his ad looked like, now that I had officially broken up with him.
My heart sank into my bowels and I let out a cry.
"Oh no....not that one."
It was photograph of Devon I took just four weeks earlier, while we shared a precious, and to me, intimate moment on the beach. Our vacation. The last time I ever saw him.
Finally we were there, in that place we would be if we could be anywhere. We spent our day swimming hand in hand, a moment of entrusting everything to him in the waves, immersed in psychedellic beauty. He draped a pearl necklace around me while I was almost sleeping, and kissed the nape of my neck. We ate fish tacos at a little stand on the roadside. He had a shaved ice that turned his tongue blue. I coaxed him out on a perfect crescent of clean white sand at Makena beach, coaxed him out of his clothes. I beckoned to him, playfully, come into the water with me.
"Come on...it's beautiful. It's so warm!"
But he remained on shore as I ran, squealing with laughter, splashing the water toward him, as I ran into the body temperature waves and danced with the tide.
Click. Click. Click. Devon, ever behind the screen, beamed his digital camera at me from shore and captured me in the waves.
Our relationship had been slowly dying since he moved away, I knew, but at that moment I took his picture I thought, perhaps, that we weren't breathing the fumes of a love affair's last gasp. It seemed too perfect, that moment, not to continue forever.
I imagined him in a future we might share, visiting all of those places we'd be if we could be anywhere, his agile mind, his love of history, his deep knowledge of the written word, the perfect tour guide to explore a new life. I imagined him, finally in his element, and wondered if I had to let him swim there alone, or if it was possible to reach that place together.
This almost perfect moment was ours alone, one of those pearls in life that I would always cherish. I wouldn't dream of sharing it with millions of strangers on the Internet, or using it to market it myself to someone new, just as I'd never wear that pearl necklace on a date. It had sentimental value. But then, that's me. Pictures hold magic for me. Objects have power. I don't open up immediately, or share my magic with others casually, recklessly.
But now here he was taking that perfect moment frozen in time, a moment that would be one of my most precious memories in life, and posting it on the Internet so he could attract another girl. To me, it was the ultimate slap in the face, the worst thing a man could possibly do to say: "It didn't mean anything to me."
Devon, can you just twist the tines of that fork in my heart and turn it one more time so it really hurts?
It doesn't hurt enough to spend thousands of hours together talking through a man's transitions, and then have him say "I don't want what you want," -- that he needs to go away in order to find himself, and that you're getting in the way.
But to have one of our last moments together captured digitally and used this way, as an advertisement on Match.com, it's just plain...tacky.
I picked up the phone and called him and vented to his voice mail. (The late 20th century new millenium way to communicate with your long distance lover.)
"What were you thinking? Did it for one moment occur to you that you might hurt my feelings by posting photographs from OUR VACATION in your personal ad? What would other women think of you if they knew the context in which that photograph was taken? Would they respect you? Of course not. Have you considered the karma of your actions?"
Ok. To his credit, at least he didn't take a photograph of us, together, and white out my face, or blur me out, or chop off my body leaving my hand dangling and a few stray hairs on his shoulder. We've all seen this so many times before on Internet personal ads and it's become a cliche.
"Please take those photos out. Now. Please."
Devon eventually called me back, and defended himself, logically.
"No. That was my vacation too. I have a right to those photographs as much as you do."
"It was a private moment!"
"We were on a beach for crying out loud. There were a hundred people there too."
"The body wasn't even cold yet."
Logically, I have to admit, it made sense. But the heart is not about logic, it's about empathy. It's about listening to the hurt in someone's voice and remembering that you once loved them. It's about caring about how they feel, even if they are no longer part of your day-to-day life.
Weeks later, the photographs are still there, photographs of Devon smiling at me on the beach in Maui, advertising him to hopeful Seattle babes who want to meet an ambitious globe-trotting man who so adroitly caresses the written word and wants to swim with her at night in the dark tropical waters of Bonaire. The words are the same ones that seduced me a year ago, the pictures, thanks to me, are a little better now.
Was any woman stupid enough, really, to believe that this image of a man, seemingly naked, similing coyly, laughing in the sun, was taken by anyone but his ex? It's sure not a photo his buddy would have taken.
What would the woman clickhng on that photograph think if she knew the truth? Or did anyone care anymore? I mean, maybe she herself is using photos taken by her ex on their honeymoon, or maybe she's really married and just looking for a fling, or maybe she's just so desperately eager to get her hands on a solvent, single, child-free mid-40s man that the photo doesn't matter at all.
I asked my friend Steven what he thought about it, a guy's point of view. Was I out of line for getting so upset?
"You have every right to feel the way you do," Steven said. "He did this to you before, remember the time you had a fight and he put your photos from your first trip together in his Match.com ad when you had just started going out? There was that one of your scarf on a chair, staring right up at you on the Internet. Only you weren't in the chair? He knew it bothered you and now he did it again. I'm so glad you finally broke up. Why are you still stuck on him?"
But sadly, Devon and I are not the only victims of the Hefty Bag Phenemenon out there, not by far. Jake, a guy I had been talking to, again, now that our profiles were both back up out of hiding, had just been recycled. And he wasn't even dating on the Internet.
"I met her at work, at the company picnic. We were just dating casually, sort of a friends with benefits thing. At first, neither one of us thought it had potential. But after time, I developed strong feelings for her.
"And then, one day, she just called me and said: 'I met someone on the Internet, we've been on one date, and I just know he's the love of my life.' And she left me, just like that. I was very hurt. I'm still hurt."
Eric had been divorced for a year, one child, actively looking for an adventurous woman to ski and hike with. But then, during our first (and last) lunch, he somehow let it slip that he had been dating for three years.
"I thought you had been divorced for only one year," I said.
"Well, actually," he admitted, "My wife were best friends, buddies, and we wanted to stay together for our daughter, but I was never in love with her, and over time, the pain of that was unbearable. I was meeting women on Craigslist and having affairs. At first, I was terrified, thinking, what kind of diseased woman would be out here looking for sex? But I was astonished -- these were beautiful, desirable, interesting, educated, high-caliber married women. I had some fantastic experiences -- I even fell in love with one for a while. But now I'm divorced and, to be honest, dating hasn't been as fun." This one definitely belongs in the Hefty Bag, I thought, as I clicked on to the next.
Another recycled man I spoke to, Arthur, was recoiling from the loss of his 20-year marriage. His wife was studying French and would practice her language skills in chat rooms. His wife started taking trips, alone, to visit her new friends in Paris. It turned out that one of her new "friends" was a hunky French fireman (tres chaud!) (who else was up after midnight when it was still mid-afternoon in America?) and she'd been carrying on the steamy affair for months.
It seems to me that even five years ago, couples negotiated these transitions -- when you couldn't just order up a new date like a book on Amazon.com. But now that Internet dating has become so widespread, so pervasive, you can just punch in your requirements -- age, zip code, hobbies. There's always someone new to try on for fun, to take to a party, just click on the next profile, and she's there.
And you can test the waters from the privacy of your own home -- right under your girlfriend or spouse's nose -- and then jump immediately from the comfort of one relationship to the next without ever having to endure the painful self reflection that might happen if "you tried to work things out in therapy together" or if you had to endure the loneliness of even one day of downtime between your relationships.
Is anything private anymore? Do moments from our most intimate life have any meaning? Or are they as Devon says, just images that we have a right to. Just photographs. Or just words in a blog like this one.
It's time for a new copyright: "This is an image from my life and you can't use it to meet a new woman. All rights reserved."
But if that was true, then would there be the corrolary: "This is a moment from my life, and you can't write about it, or I'll sue your ass."
Would all of the world's literature suddenly dry up? And as Devon says, does it really matter who took that photograph, or when? It's just a picture. It's just the past. This moment, and the next are the only ones that matter. It's just four million pixels, pinpoints of light, ephemeral, fleeting.
Obviously my feelings are no longer as important at the value that photograph now has in attracting the next woman. After all, smart marketing is what it's all about these days when you're a product competing on the overcrowded shelves in the Internet love superstore. And Devon, ever the saavy Internet guy, has even turned himself into the human equivalent of an "endcap" in Fry's -- paying a little more money for a "Gold" membership so his profile would show up as the first hit in his zip code.
Our last moment together is here in an personal ad, beckoning to new women to fill my void. It's a fitting beginning and ending for love in 2005. It's a world created by computer geniuses like Devon, a world they can confidently conquer and excel in, where smart, articulate men with computer skills finally have an edge over the jocks, where artistic and tech savvy women who are handy with Photoshop have an edge over the genuinely beautiful ones, where ad copywriting skills matter more than flirtatious charm, where we have all reduced ourselves to a commodity that can be rated like a movie, or auctioned off like someone's old toaster on eBay.
But that door is closed now. Find an open one. Just click on the next recycled profile. And maybe, just maybe, one woman's discarded Hefty Bag man will be my new treasure.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
He seems to really know what he's talking about...
Re: Where can two people go to have a sex affair?
Well, there are a lot of places depending on how brave you are. I used to go to RV sales lots. You need to find one that has a lot of RVs. Pick one that is on the outskirts of the lot and is either used or dirty but open. You then go in, lock the door and have a quickie. 15 minutes is that max that I would do. If someone tries the door, then you have about 5 minutes before they return--takes them that long to walk back to the office and find the key and come back.
Have done that about 10 times and only got noticed about once. Never got caught, just noticed as we were returning from the waaaay corner of the lot.
Another place is tract homes that are almost finished have doors on them, but not locked. You need to take a blanket for that. Go upstairs to the bathroom and find one that already has hardware on the door and lock it.
Another great place is industrial parks on Saturdays and Sundays, there are plenty that have very little traffic around them, so the back seat will work just fine.
Friday, October 14, 2005
(Identifying characteristics were changed to protect the identities of these men, who are all too eager to share their DNA.)
Nice guy in San Francisco
I'm 48, 5'11'', SWM, no kids. I tried a similar thing with a Lesbian girl, but she couldn't have kids.
This sounds great, but it would be even better if we hit it off and really could have a loving relationship to share with a child!!!
Mr. Larger than Average
Hey you've described me well enough:
- age 40
- caucasian, or at least 50% Caucasian/European
- height 6'1
- high IQ, well-educated, or very bright -- one conversation is all you'll need to confirm this.
- we find each other sexually attractive -- cuddly boob man, w/a larger than average penis
I have been a child support target once, and have a 9 year old boy to adopted parents. The mother was a "Elite" hacker groupie in the early 90's back when hacking was truly a fun frontier on the net, and I was the sex icon of the hacker gropies, (However, not promiscuous.)
I am an independant software consultant and precocious to a painful degree with the wrong environment to foster my talents. IQ was rated 155 in pre-teen years, and certain numerical tests and reflex tests score off the charts. The Big Lebowski scenario is quite fascinating to me. I have references, for good bad or otherwise; fun in bed.
The GQ Guy
Well first can we start with a picture befor any thing else. (sic)
(Attached was a nude pic entitled "GQ GUY")
I SHOULDA BEEN A CONTENDER
Greetings and salutations, that is quite a posting, I can say that I believe that I meet and possibly exceed the qualities and traits you are looking for, I'm very confident that I do. Real life chemistry is really important I have come to learn, it's part of what they call "the dance".
To take part in your selection would be an experience to be sure. I know you are going to pick to someone who you feel is best, I'm open to talking, meeting and getting aquainted. Here is a small first step, this letter to you. I feel willing to give it go. As Marlon Brando says in On The Water Front 'I coulda been a contender'.
THE POTENT GUY
You sound just wonderful...
I'm mature, 50, 5'10, 180lbs, brown/green, European born WM - very potent and very fertile...
I'm in quest to find open minded, healthy, responsible and fertile
woman for discreet intimate friendship +...I'd be happy to send you on a way to motherhood right away...
(I bet he'd be happy to send me on my way -- right after ejaculating.)
THE SHAG BOLTER
A brief glimpse of what I'd bring to our gene pool:
Handsome, tall, cultivated 42 yr old Englishman.
Classical musician at highest professional level Martial artist and interest in Eastern philosophy
Well educated and emotionally intelligent
Clean and compassionate spirit
And (just for you) rest assured that I'm a considerate and accomplished lover *smile*
(This man's email address was, ironically, "Shag bolter." I guess he likes to shag and run!)
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
I was shocked to find that 40 responses to my faux Craigslist ad flooded my in box almost immediately after I posted the ad. I actually removed the post to staunch the deluge, feeling a little guilty about the fact that it was an experiment rather than a real request.
I'm not sure if the result was disappointing -- or disillusioning. At first, I was invigorated by the kindness and thoughtfulness of many of the replies -- some from men urging me to find a real father for my child. And then an email arrived from a familiar address...an ex-boyfriend.
He was someone I liked a lot -- but who mysteriously stopped contacting me after a few wonderful dates. It made me sad to think this man was unable to be a boyfriend, but willing to be an anonymous sperm donor.
My first message was from "Al Baby":
Sounds like a male fantasy to me. I'm all of the above, but 47. Good luck.
Yes, the ad was somewhat an experiment for me to post. And I have been astonished by the response. Many top tier, well educated, handsome men. Oddly enough, one of them is a man I was dating for several months!
It is sad however to see that the very same men who are terrified by the idea of a commitment with me have no problem at all with the idea of a non commitment. It's this realization that makes me realize that what I really want is a man who will love me first and foremost, and an active father. Without that, it is unfair to bring a child into the world.
Al Baby wrote:
This year when I was teaching English to 9th-graders, and when we did our unit on poetry several of the Latinas (they're not many white kids at the school in which I teach) wrote some heart-wrenching poems about fathers leaving, mothers weeping, and their own sense of isolation and helplessness.
Men can and often do turn their back on children. I myself get my paternal instincts out at school with emotionally-needy children. Committment and change is a real fear to the men of my generation; most of us have had real difficulties in becoming mature adults. You really sound like a decent person whose heart's in the right place. Good call on the kid.
So true that commitment is a real fear for men of your generation.
Possibly because so many of them were abandoned by one or both parents, either emotionally, or via divorce.
I think of the film the Ice Storm, which is reminiscent in some ways of my own experience as a kid in upper middle class suburbs with parents who sometimes seemed to have no clue what their kids were up to.
I've never seen the Ice Storm, but I'm reminded of the best-seller of about 25 years ago The Culture of Narcissism by Christopher Lasch. Many in our generation became self-absorbed, greedy, and materialistic. When I read it so many years ago (I was a senior in college), I didn't agree with his notion of a breakdown in parental authority causing our personal and societal deficits, as well as his solution of back to basics (including the family). Now I reluctantly tend to agree with his solution that individually and collectively we needed a return to a work ethic, and a strong family unit. In sum (cause I'm rambling), we wanted to avoid the pain of growing up. I don't know if this makes sense, but your experiment offered men an incredible stroking of their ego, as well as a painless accomplishment, because at this point in our lives society tells us we are supposed to have fathered a child. It is a sad fact that most of us are not self-aware and need society to define who we are.
But there still are decent men out there...Good luck in your search
This one was even non-committal about being non-committal.
Wednesday, October 5, 2005
This post appeared today on Dialogic. While I don't believe that it is right for women to raise children without the influence of a father, I certainly believe it is a woman's right to make this choice. This is yet another outrageous attempt by the "Moral Majority" to restrict the reproductive freedom of women--particularly lesbians.
Ironically, having sex as an unmarried woman in order to get pregnant will still be legal. But if this boneheaded legislation actually passes, could making sex before marriage illegal be next?
New Proposed Law in Indiana to Bar Unmarried Women From Having Artifically Inseminated Children
This would make a crime! You know just when you think it can't get any worse...(Courtesy of Melissa Purdue and the Democratic Underground)
We just got a heads up about an upcoming article in NUVO, regarding a draft of the legislation which, among other things, bars unmarried people from having children by articifial means is here
Here's a draft of the story that is running this week. It will be my cover story in two weeks also.
Feel free to pass this info along to every one you know. This has to be stopped! Keep fighting the good fight!
The Crime of "Unauthorized Reproduction": New law will require marriage as a legal condition of motherhood
By Laura McPhee
Republican lawmakers are drafting new legislation that will make marriage a requirement for motherhood in the state of Indiana, including specific criminal penalties for unmarried women who do become pregnant "by means other than sexual intercourse."According to a draft of the recommended change in state law, every woman in Indiana seeking to become a mother through assisted reproduction therapy such as in vitro fertilization, sperm donation, and egg donation, must first file for a "petition for parentage" in their local county probate court. Only women who are married will be considered for the "gestational certificate" that must be presented to any doctor who facilitates the pregnancy. Further, the "gestational certificate" will only be given to married couples that successfully complete the same screening process currently required by law of adoptive parents.
As the draft of the new law reads now, an intended parent "who knowingly or willingly participates in an artificial reproduction procedure" without court approval, "commits unauthorized reproduction, a Class B misdemeanor." The criminal charges will be the same for physicians who commit "unauthorized practice ofartificial reproduction."
The change in Indiana law to require marriage as a condition for motherhood and criminalizing "unauthorized reproduction" was introduced at a summer meeting of the Indiana General Assembly's Health Finance Commission on September 29 and a final version of the bill will come up for a vote at the next meeting at the end of this month. Republican Senator Patricia Miller is both the Health Finance Commission Chair and the sponsor of the bill. She believes the new law will protect children in the state of Indiana and make parenting laws more explicit.
According to Sen. Miller, the laws prohibiting surrogacy in the state of Indiana are currently too vague and unenforceable, and that is the purpose of the new legislation."But it's not just surrogacy," Miller told NUVO. " The law is vague on all types of extraordinary types of infertility treatment, and we wanted to address that as well."
"Ordinary treatment would be the mother's egg and the father's sperm. But now there are a lot of extraordinary things that raise issues of who has legal rights as parents," she explained when asked what she considers "extraordinary" infertility treatment.
Sen. Miller believes the requirement of marriage for parenting is for the benefit of the children that result from infertility treatments." We did want to address the issue of whether or not the law should allow single people to be parents. Studies have shown that a child raised by both parents – a mother and a father – do better. So, we do want to have laws that protect the children," she explained.
When asked specifically if she believes marriage should be a requirement for motherhood, and if that is part of the bill's intention, Sen. Miller responded, "Yes. Yes, I do."A draft of the legislation is available HERE The next meeting of the Health Finance Commission will be held at the Statehouse on October 20, 2005 at 10 am in Senate Chambers and is open to the public.
To Read More Commentary and To Contact Boneheaded Homophobic Legislators Supporting This Legislation
Monday, September 26, 2005
I found this post on Craigslist today...and it made me profoundly sad. I know an increasing number of women who are considering this option. How could a man knowingly create a child and never know them, never love them, never provide?
"Giving up on love, at least for now, just seeking sperm.
One day I will meet my "other half" but I'm not going to get married or pair up with a man just to have a family. I want to be with someone I fall madly in love with and can imagine spending my life with. My biological clock is ticking and I really want to have a child. I am looking for an attractive, professional man, no history of mental illness and in excellent health. I seek purely a sperm donor relationship. It does not matter to me if you are married or single. You do not need to be in the child's life in any way, shape or form. I don't want a cent from you and I would be willing to sign something to that affect.
I could go to a sperm bank but then I wouldn't meet the child's "biological father" and I would like to be able to tell my son or daughter a fair share about who helped create him or her so that he or she will have some sense of where they come from. I am single, have no boyfriend and am not seeing anyone. I have made no connections in terms of potential relationships and don't casual date. In short, it just hasn't happened for me. I have a lot of male friends but have yet to make a romantic connection. I am attractive, normal, educated, successful and under 40.
Hopefully, one day, i will meet a great man who wants children who i will fall in love with and he will think my child is awesome and i will tell him how wonderful a man you are for giving me this beautiful child that I can nurture, love and care for. write me and tell me about yourself. and thanks for considering helping me make my dream come true.
I finished reading her post and thought: Has it come to this?
And what will this child of the future think of men when she learns that her mother had to create a child anonymously...that no man wanted to have the responsibility...that no man loved her mother enough to care. Can unloved mothers create lovable children? I know that bearing a child is an awesome responsibility, not to be taken lightly, but I wonder....what will these children of the next generation think of these ghost fathers?
In the past, we were raised by tribes and perhaps in the future we will return to them, intentional tribes where we raise children together, where men have an increasingly diminished role. They've opted out of the family -- choosing instead to have fleeting sexual encounters, to skydive, scuba, mountain bike and ski. Alone, alone, alone.
Someday, as these men enter their senior years, with nobody to care for them, too old and crippled to windsurf, sitting on their stock portfolios and retirement funds, without heirs, with nobody to share the holidays with, nobody to carry their name... will they regret the children that they never created?
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Today I found "Attack of the Listless Lads" in Salon.com
"Passionless and confused, they swim torpidly about in the dating pool, driving me and my single girlfriends to despair," writes Rebecca Traister. So she asked Benjamin Kunkel, author of the hot new novel "Indecision," to explain to what's wrong with young American men.
Of course, the Harvard-educated 32-year old author of a bestselling novel isn't exactly the most authoritarian source on slacker values. But he does have a point. Namely, that today's American males are listless and aimless -- while the women that chase them are powerful and together. And yet these super women expect men to somehow complete them.
And Rebecca's words chillingly remind me of some of the men I've dated in Silicon Valley. They roll out of bed at 11 am and pad over to the computer to hack for a few hours, pull in just enough money to buy a season lift ticket, and have absolutely no responsibility to anybody. Weekends are spent under the spell of halucinogens at raves and parties, putting up a brave false front in the hope of luring women into their eerily unfurnished high-rent apartments. Their medicine cabinets and bedside tables are laden with bottles of Paxil, Valium, Prozac, muscle relaxants that have been prescribed for their backpains, depression and imaginary ailments. And I'm talking about men in their 40s here. She's talking about men a decade younger.
"For some time now I have been anxious to let loose on the sorry state of the young male population of this country...the men I meet are not the rakish, workaholic, cheating cads of yore. No, I'm bearing witness to a bona fide crisis in American masculinity, one that seems especially, but not exclusively, to afflict the young, urban and privileged. And with it, I have observed the birth of a new breed of man: a man of few interests and no passions; a man whose libido is reduced and whose sense of responsibility nonexistent. These men are commitment-phobic not just about love, but about life. They drink and take drugs, but even their hedonism lacks focus or joy. They exhibit no energy for anyone, any activity, profession or ideology. ...And, in an effort to cure what ails them, they have been medicated to the gills with potions designed to dull their feelings even further. "
But I wonder, who are the female equivalent of these listless men? Is it fair to point the blame for our failed relationships on one gender? And isn't the root of this listlessness really just the fact that these young men don't have anyone to perform for? If society isn't urging them to get off the couch, if their parents don't nag and their mother's don't call, if nobody notices and nobody cares, and most of all, as Benjamin states, if women continue to "put out" and have sex with these guys, they'll continue this endless cycle of slacking.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
I decided to pull the plug on my online dating addiction. No more strained cups of coffee. No more quibbling about who pays. No more blowdrying my hair and driving hours to a date way out in West Bumchuck to find that the guy was absolutely unrecognizable because he's posted a ten year old photograph (several thousand hairs ago...several pounds ago). No more facing the inevitable rejection when he looks at me, that first glimpse, and his face falls and the disappointment is palpable and I feel like that girl at the Jr. High School dance, sitting on the sidelines and not getting asked to dance. I have better things to do with my time.
You see, I just learned that I am undatable because...well...I can't even say it without laughing uncontrollably. It's the last thing I ever expected.
My tits are too small.
It came to this when I made the mistake of re-contacting "Stuck on Himself" (his name has been changed to protect the guilty) a self-proclaimed architect and photographer I'd been corresponding with about 9 months before. On paper, the guy seems like a catch. He was sending me articulate email messages almost every day. We spoke many times on the phone. He invited me to meet him, but he was in the middle of moving and so was I on the same day, in fact, so we backburnered each other and somehow lost track. But here he was, still single. So I sent out a little note to see how he was doing:
Still at the top of my list? What's with that?
Hi. It's kind of surreal the way this site month after month keeps putting you on top of my "Best Matches" list....doesn't that every make you just a little bit curious? i removed my profile for several months (i was exploring a relationship with a man who sadly moved to another state...so here i am, firing my ad up again. what are you up to?
I've been active again lately, maybe that explains it. although you seem to be a wonderful and beautiful woman, superficial as it sounds, i think that you're not my type. good luck to you... j
I'm thinking...well...why were you so interested in meeting me before, but now, suddenly disinterested....no explanation. What's up? So I decided, for the sake of my blog, and you, dear readers, to pobe a little deeper.
Golly, you do have point there. We don't have much in common...because i'm not exactly adverse to hard boiled eggs, and you are...so we must not be a match.
But seriously, it's just a little puzzling, that's all...because we corresponded quite a bit and spoke on the telephone a few times, and you're absolutely one of the most interesting men i've run into on here (and that's saying a lot.)
But i ceratainly respect that hunch that someone's not a fit...and your honesty in conveying that.
I find it's always best to be polite, because i seem to run into these virtual men in the "real" world with alarming frequency.
(Read between the lines here:
Unlike the rudeness you have displayed to me, I am not going to be rude to you because you might end up on the other end of a conference table with me some day. Yes, it does happen.)
You are are prime example of why I wish I wasn't so superficial, because you do seem wonderful.
(Now I am ranting, yes.)
Being so picky and superficial is probably the reason why two attractive, fit, successful, smart, competent, supposedly amazing people like us are still single, childless, sleeping alone every night and spending too much time on these personal sites instead of having fun and making love.
Frankly, I'm about to throw up my hands in disgust and just have mindless sex with someone at this point. at least that would be connecting on some level, instead of no level.
I think everyone has ridiculously high standards and keeps believing that every single checkmark on their wish list can be magically fulfilled. In the end, we are all a lot lonelier.
So what are you being so superficial about?
- Your photos are too blurry
- You weren't flirtatious enough on the phone
- I want to date a younger woman
- You seem like you're looking for a real relationship, and i'm just trying to get laid
- You seem too desperate
We're never going to meet anyway, so please be blunt.
HE: Well, you'll kill me for saying this. I know it's really superficial.
But you're breasts are too small.
ME: What? My breasts are too small? Is that all?
I'm being rejected because of my breasts? What a relief!
As the French say: "More than a mouthful is wasted." (Isn't the ideal breast shaped exactly like a glass of champagne?)
hi, i feared that you would misunderstand me. you seem to be assuming that i am equally picky/superficial about other body parts and not particular at all about intelligence, integrity, humor, sweetness, creativity...
the personality stuff is a fundamental. i'm not interested in anyone no matter how physically perfect that doesn't have the requisite level of character. i'm not picky about eyebrows, asses, thighs, lips, skin, teeth (ok teeth matter some).
in fact, i find that most women look better when they leave well enough alone. face lifts, perms, bleach, hair dye, collagen, teeth whitening and signicant amounts of make-up tend to make a woman more unnatural and less attractive. when i was younger, i was much more under the spell of hollywood/madison ave. my expectations were broadly unrealistic and superficial. i have been working for years to overcome this and mostly have... with the exception of breasts.
all i ask for is a great personality, nice breasts* and eyes with depth.
and chemistry - whatever the hell that is. breasts are my one superficial weakness, but at least i show my appreciation by smothering them with attention. and yes, you are right, when in love it matters less and less over time.
*real (implants are disgusting), sizable, firm with prominent nipples. and not too big. bigger is not always better. C or D is usually ideal. i pride myself on my ability to deduce breast size from photos (yes i know how dumb this sounds).
Anything could happen. anyone could be attractive if you're just open and if you let yourself relinquish your expectations.
I was stunned when i found myself attracted to a man in his sixties recently. You really can never say never because it limits the possibility of surprise in life.
i just knew that after i sent you the last email that i probably totally misjudged your body, even after seeing numerous photos. and that by opening my big mouth i'd lose any chance of finding out for sure. maybe i'm losing my touch (no pun intended), but you photos are obviously not representative of your breasts.
Maybe you need a better photographer (see my website www.......com for a possible replacement). (At this point I am thinking THIS GUY HAS A LOT OF NERVE...NOW HE WANTS ME TO HIRE HIM AS A PHOTOGRAPHER?)
C cup breasts on a woman your size are not small by any means, they sound downright delightful. thank you for your fascinating and stimulating breast history. this is a subject which holds endless fascination for me, but at the same time i am embarrassed and regretfull... sorry for too closely resembling a negative stereotype, j
A breast fetish! If only it was that easy!
A woman i know put in saline implants ten years ago. They leaked, disintegrated, caused infection....and she had to go through intense pain and a complicated surgery to remove them. It's really amazing the torture women put themselves through in order to be "loved" by men.
We can blame hollywood...but I can tell you, I've met a lot of celebrities over the years (I used to live in los angeles and i was a reporter, so I've met tons of them) and very few of them lived up to their publicity photos.
I saw Cindy Crawford at the ivy once, and she was radiant and pretty...but as pretty as any other pretty woman in LA.
Brooke Shields...ok, but not amazing. Gwyneth Paltrow...frumpy and plain. Bridgette Fonda...ordinary at best. Elizabeth Hurley ...shockingly emaciated. Kelly Mc Gillis...wrinkled and sun damaged. And i saw Jane Fonda at the Democratic National Convention and she had a very pronounced blonde moustache!
Not even our icons of perfection are perfect, so how can anyone ordinary be?
it's ironic for a man to say my breasts are too SMALL. i was one of those girls who "blossomed" too early...by age 11 when my mother took me shopping at the John Wannamaker department store for my first bra, I was humiliated when the lady told me I was a D cup. Later, I was an athlete and I hated having large breasts...it made running competitively and swimming difficult because my breasts would get in the way. I wished and wished that they'd disappear...and somehow, in my late 20s, they did. It was liberating. They've gone up and down...After two years as a vegan in 2003-4, they shrunk to an A, and then I started eating fish and eggs, and I gained ten pounds, so I'm back to my normal 36 C now. It's funny to me that a man would think that C cup breasts on a size 0, 5' 2" woman are "small". anything larger and i'd look freakish.
I like myself the way I am. And isn't quality (aesthetics, firmness, shape) more important than quantity?
But I understand that men are really superficial about these things...which is why my girlfriends and I take so many pains to live up to the beauty expectations of men. I shudder to think of how much it's cost.
All this and a guy will just take one glimpse at me and say, ugh, not pretty, thin, voluptuous, tall, blonde, whatever enough. after a while, it's no wonder why some women just give up and decide to let themselves go.
If you can't please men when you struggle at it...what's the point? What about other qualities -- like being smart, nice, kind, tolerant, loving, funny, wise, happy, spirited, talented, successful or creative?
I am always amazed to hear the stories of men who married a woman because she was pretty -- and then complained that the woman was psycho, or mean, or petty or manipulative or that their sex life was nonexistent.
Any man who has been in a relationship for more than 2 years with a woman will tell you that after a while, he doesn't even notice what she looks like anymore...and her personality and their ability to get along is what becomes most important.
Really, as we are all just getting older and less "attractive" by the year, it's time to grow up and start looking for the inner qualities instead of outer qualities which are guaranteed to fade with the years.
I think it's better to just be open to see what happens rather than layer on too man expectations.
I'm sorry you have been celibate for a long time. doesn't it seem that releasing a few of your expectations and allowing yourself to be open to love might be a better approach? g,
g, there's nothing i can add to your rant. you said it very well. i have been celibate for a long time because all the women i meet cannot be romatic without huge expectations.
(Wait...what about your expectations, dude? You won't even meet a woman unless she's stacked like Anna Nicole Smith.)
romance/sex is an important part of getting to know someone, but so many women seem to regard it as a signpost/confirmation of seriousness. so as not to hurt anyone, i don't sleep with anyone until i think there is serious potential. that doesn't allow much sex because a real/true connection is so very rare. i am starting to rethink my policy on casual sex.
i had an open door policy when i was younger, but not anymore. but i'm starting to think that my youth, good looks and stamina (or what's left of them) are going to waste. life is short, i should enjoy myself, right?
women suffer from the same problems that you listed for men- the most common being how they dress themselves. it is so easy for women to dress appealing, but more than 50% haven't figured this out. they show up for dates in fleece, sweats, baggy and sometimes just hideous unflattering clothing. you seem to be doing everything right, so don't worry.
i know i've been single too long when: i was at the saturday farmers market about a month ago and ran into 6 women that i've been out with. 4 from online. oy vey... i am too picky and superficial about certain things, but try to be open about others in order to strive for some balance. still, it's obviously not working.
especially online. my one completely superficial requirement is physical. assessing physical traits are especially problematic online for obvious reasons. you are going to think i'm an idiot and a pig, but i'm going to be blunt here (per you direction). i have a breast fetish. although i'm initially very attracted to all sorts of women's bodies, i cannot sustain attraction to small breasted women for the long term. lord knows i've tried. i've even seen a therapist about this (i know, i know). although there are all sorts of freudian "explanations" for this, she concluded that it's a hard wired preference and i shouldn't fight it.
ideally, if i fell in love with with a woman who didn't fit my preferences, it wouldn't matter. but, sex is one of the things that keeps me around long enough to fall in love, and without that magnetic attraction (fed partially by lustfull attraction), it is harder to focus on the better deeper stuff. my other superficial requirement is kissing- and that is impossible to discern without meeting... i'm being more selective about who i meet these days because i'm tired of disappointing.
it pains me everytime i have to send a rejection note saying thanks but no thanks after a first or 2nd date. i'm not being arrogant here, i get rejected all the time (almost daily), but it's almost always prior to a first date. so that's my pathetic and lonely little world.
here i am in my stupid mindset missing out on all the other incredible things you have to offer- and after this message, most of all your respect...
keep me posted on your decision to try and connect with someone on a base level, as i'm considering the same thing. maybe we can help one another. it feels freeing to be completely bluntly honest about all this for a change. so, thank you! j
(So now he has the nerve to suggest that he might just want to meet me to get laid? Yes, I am laughing out loud at this point, and you dear reader, I'm sure you are too.)
Ok, ok. I confess, J. I'm superficial too.
I can't stand men who have bad teeth...and ok, i'll be damned if i am going to spend the rest of my life in a monogamous relationship with a guy who has a microscopically small penis! (Slap me for being so shallow...)
Then there are the "deeper" qualities that I and all other women seek. (Ha ha.)
A man should make as much money as I do. Preferably more.
He should have some sort of aesthetic sense. (When it looks like a Radio Shack blew up in his living room, I want to head for the hills.)
His car shouldn't be covered with dog hair and old fast food wrappers. (I give bonus points for actually having a running vehicle, however.)
You don't have to wade through piles of laundry to get to his bed.
He has an element of "manliness" -- and isn't too emasculated by the modern world. Men who have more cosmetics in their bathroom than i do always scare me.
But then, anything could happen. anyone could be attractive if you're just open and if you let yourself relinquish your expectations. I was stunned when I found myself attracted to a man in his sixties recently. You really can never say never because it limits the possibility of surprise in life.
(To be continued...and yes, he continues to correspond. Oh dear reader, will this man ever attempt to actually meet a woman?)
What we really need is MATCH.BOMB or hey, MATCH.CON. A blacklist where we can post our horror stories and our real life recommendations. Amazon.com has a rating system. Ebay has a rating system. Why not online dating?
Monday, June 20, 2005
I found this post on Craigslist today in the Men Seeking Women ads. When did Dating become....well, a job. Dating has indeed become too much like "a job". Mainly because so many people have such high expectations, which are usually rooted in familial and/or societal imprints around what a "good life" or marriage "should" be like. Women in particular seem to suffer from overly serious expectations surrounding the first few dates. Whatever happened to just having fun?"
When does passion meet practicality? And, what are you willing to sacrifice? If one finds that they have made a mistake in their choice of a partner, it's ALL about sacrifice during the day to day living. Once a mistake like that is made, the sacrificial stakes go up exponentially as we contemplate the undoing of our entanglements.
I keep hoping that I will someday be able to happily align all of my important life elements with another, but so far that just hasn't happened. Perhaps only the most balanced and integrated among us ever finds the perfect partner which is a reflection of ourselves.
Finding the "perfect partner" seems to be the modern day holy grail that everyone is looking for. A few come close to the ideal. The rest just compromise various parts of themselves in an effort to try to make something work. Is it better to be alone than to compromise? A lot of us are still asking that question...
Thursday, June 16, 2005
So why is this blog called Brain Dancing?
One day, as I was lying in bed in that space somewhere between consciousness and sleep, I was thinking of what is typically considered the ultimate in female sex appeal, and I thought:
So I thought of Brain Dancing as the intelligent form of female sexuality.
I initially wanted to write about my own experiences as a smart, competent, accomplished woman trying to find an identity for herself in a world that values women only for their sexuality, youth and beauty.
But then as Brain Dancing rapidly evolved into a discussion of online dating and my experiences with it, I started to think of braindancing in the sense of what we do when we bond electronically, in cyberspace, to the mythic idea of a romantic partner.
For centuries, probably since the beginning of life as we know it, and until this very day, dancing was the core mating ritual for humans. By touching, moving, cheek to cheek, body to body, we could smell each other, brush against each other, feel our energetic connection. In the traditional spiral dance, which has forms in the Hindu and Celtic cultures, one could see and touch every other man and woman in the room in the span of an hour.
But in the cyber realm, when we’re online dating, we are dancing with our brains, not our bodies. We’re testing a spark…trying to see if any attraction exists…in a purely intellectual space.
It’s this very act of detachment, with a vast network of keys, screens, wires, cables and networks between us, that makes this Brain Dance so ridiculously incapable of determining if any real physical spark could possibly exist. It might in fact be the reason why the few people I know who did fall in love through a personal ad are either excellent writers who are adept at communicating in words -- or intellectual people who I'd say live more in their brains than their bodies.
Very few humans have the ability to communicate sexuality on a screen or a page. The rare ones who do we reward handsomely – they’re called Movie Stars, Rock Stars, Supermodels, Politicians, Advertising Executives and Best Selling Authors. Anybody who can broadcast sexuality to the masses has a rare and marketable talent.
And yet love is about narrow casting—finding just one person who you can connect with on a deep and meaningful level. I think it’s for this reason that Internet Dating doesn’t work reliably. Sometimes it works – and I think it works best for people who can broadcast their appeal. Or for someone very diligent and focused who uses the web to meet dozens of people and then through trial and error, finally find the one who they “click” with in the real world.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
I notice that people are more likely to post here when I write something that is more emotional and closer to my own life.
I guess I just want to admit that while I certainly have a lot to say, I'm not ready for that yet -- that I'm easing up to the idea of exposing myself bare to the world on a web page. Be patient with me.
I know, personally, from talking to friends, from reading the Craigslist rants, from even reading the text of ads themselves, that there is a groundswell of frustration and anger about the state of dating and relationships today. My theory is that the myth that Internet ads create, this idea of extending your search to the entire planet, in the epic quest for that one person who precisely satisfies your every desire....the very existence of this myth is what leads to so much anger. And where does this myth come from? Probably the visions of beauty and perfection that are fed to us in the media -- visions that are always caught at just the right angle.
Would Tom Cruise or Will Smith be able to find a date on Match.com? Probably not--because these men are too short to meet the "5'10" and above" requirements most women have in their ads.
Would Brooke Shields, Nicole Kidman or Sarah Jessica Parker get any hits? Probably few, given that these gorgeous women are all over 40.
And speaking as a person who has met dozens of celebrities, authors, politicians and icons in my career -- nobody ever looks as good in person as they do in a photograph. Grow up. Get real. I mean, come on, does your real estate agent ever look like that ten year old photo next to their listing?
Consider that one of the most beautiful women in the world (Jennifer Aniston) can't even get a date right now...and there seems to be an epidemic of gorgeous women (Angelina Jolie, Sharon Stone and now, Oprah) who can't find a husband / father for their child -- and have decided to adopt kids.
Have women given up on men? Do we truly need them less than a fish needs a bicycle?
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Has anyone yet compared the success rate of dating the old fashioned way, ten years ago, back before Internet personals were invented -- and the new, improved Internet way?
Are there any statistics that show a greater satisfaction with relationships, more stable and lasting marriages?
Or has Internet dating actually eroded our ability to meet and relate?
Here are some themes I hope to explore in Brain Dancing:
1. An endless stream of new prospects has made dates less precious, more expendable. It's created what I call the "Hefty Bag" approach to dating. Dates are rapidly trashed (or recycled.) As if Internet dates somehow aren't "real" people -- so real feelings don't matter.
2. The anonymity of personal ads has created an explosion in "casual encounters," "hookups" just for sex, "booty calls", swinger ads and "NSA" affairs. Were people really into so much no strings attached sex ten years ago -- before the Internet made it so anonymous and easy?
3. Online dating has made infidelity a profitable business -- 28% of the 40 million American adults who use Internet personals are actually married.
4. Despite the proliferation in Internet dating services -- few people seem to create sustainable relationships this way. Out of my wide circle of personal friends, I know only 4 couples who have met and married through personal ads. (And of those, one resulted in a divorce one year later.). Virtually all of my single friends use Internet personals -- but very few of these people seem to make it past the first date with anyone.
5. Internet personal ads are often blatantly dishonest. Every man I know who has tried Internet dating services complains that the majority of the photographs that women place are at least ten years old and that women about their age. (One guy I spoke with on the phone when I was screening prospective dates said, sarcastically, "Photoshop is a girl's best friend." Women complain that the men they meet are often married and looking for some side play--or recently separated, on the rebound and just looking for quick, casual sex -- even though their ad states they're single and "looking for a serious relationship".
6. The upside? Internet ads bring wonderful new friends into our lives who we might have never met otherwise -- or put us in touch with people we already met before ("in the real world") but somehow didn't connect with. Internet ads also help people find "that needle in a haystack" -- the one person in the world who can share a very narrow, political interest, religion, dietary preference, race, geographic region, kink or hobby.
Ayurvedic personal ads that match you by dosha? Hey, why not.
Well, I seem to be onto something here. Yesterday, ABC News announced a new documentary series, "Hooking Up" that vows to focus a critical lens on the "unpredictable world of online dating."
Interestingly enough, I was approached more than a year ago by a producer at ABC News when they were looking for women to profile in the series. At that time, I was working as a publicist for one of the largest online dating services, and a conflict in interest (thank God! Whew!) kept me out of the spotlight. ABC also was most definitely looking for women under 40 to profile in this supposed "documentary." (They eventually narrowed down to ten women in Manhattan in the prime childbearing years of 28-38.) I can predict, as well, that these women will all be gorgeous, rich, successful and telefenic, just as we all are in "real life."
This is excerpted from the ABC press release:
"HOOKING UP," A NEW DOCUMENTARY SERIES FROM ABC NEWS, GOES INSIDE THE UNPREDICTABLE WORLD OF ONLINE DATING
Five-Part Series Premieres Thursday, July 14 at 9:00 p.m., ET
Once stigmatized as the last resort of desperate souls and lonely hearts, today internet dating services are a billion-dollar industry used by an estimated 40 million Americans.
"Hooking Up," a new five-part documentary series from the producers of the award-winning ABC News series "Hopkins 24/7," "Boston 24/7" and "NYPD 24/7," takes an intimate look at the sometimes bewildering, often hilarious, and occasionally frightening world of online dating.
Like the "24/7" series, "Hooking Up" puts a particular aspect of our culture under a microscope, focusing in this case on the yearnings, trials and tribulations of 12 Manhattan women. Their experiences - the connections, the rejections, the dating disasters - are a reminder that, for better or worse, every date is an adventure into uncharted territory.
The charismatic women in "Hooking Up" -- ranging in age from 25 to 38 -- explode the myth that online dating is for losers. Included in their ranks are a gynecologist, a hair stylist, a yoga instructor, a realtor and an opera-singer. Most speak anxiously about their biological clocks and the difficulty of finding Mr. Right in a city where beautiful women abound. They all say they believe the deck is stacked in favor of men. So they surf the internet hoping to meet a stranger who will turn out to be the most important date of their lives.
Yet their dating strategies couldn't be more different. Lisa, the doctor, initially conceals her name and occupation from potential suitors, because, she says, "if they know you're a doctor... they'll bring the engagement ring to the first date." Amy, the real estate broker, doesn't hesitate to tell dates that she's looking for a husband and the eventual father of her children. Reisha, a technology consultant, is determined that the next man she kisses will be the one she weds.
In theory the chance to screen a prospective date for compatibility, income and even basic literacy before meeting him allows reason to trump instant physical attraction. But if online suitors conceal their true motives and provide phony personal information, the fallout can be severe. After a sumptuous dinner, Sonja, owner of a health food store, discovers that her charming date refuses to keep his hands to himself once they reach his lavishly appointed penthouse. Most ill-fated encounters are more benign. When Cynthia, the hair stylist, realizes her date has misled her about his appearance, she bails out on dinner before the main course arrives. Another man literally finds his dinner finger-licking good, much to the chagrin of his date.
For every dud, there are also plenty of knights in shining armor. Yet chivalry doesn't guarantee success, and it may be mystifying to observers why certain men don't make the cut.
From the first online "wink" to meeting prospective in-laws, "Hooking Up" offers an unvarnished look at the rewards and pitfalls of 21st Century romance. If an infinite supply of bachelors is the upside to internet dating, sorting through them requires a decidedly unromantic, mercenary approach. But for those who persevere, the hope that they'll meet their soul-mate makes it all worthwhile.
Saturday, June 11, 2005
You too can start an online dating site. Just buy a pre-packaged Dating Software Application for only $199 and watch the dollars roll in.
Here are the kind of quick profits you can look forward to:
For example, with 10,000 paying members, you could realize profits of $990,000 per year!*
And there's no shortage of new customers, heck, people are getting divorced all the time! In fact, more than 28% of the men (and increasingly women) who use online dating sites are in fact still married.
Consider that services like Palo Alto, CA-based Friendfinder have 28 million members (with fewer than 100 employees and minimal advertising and marketing expenses) and you can see why these services are turning their founders into instant multimillionaires.
But has anyone ever stopped to question the very fact that people belong to Internet dating sites month after month, year after year... and keep on paying?
If online dating actually worked, singles would quickly meet their soulmate and leave after two or three months. The very fact that online dating fails to generate long term relationships is what makes it so phenemenonally profitable. Imagine any other business promising and never delivering -- and yet continuing to extract your dollars.
* Above is an example of tiered pricing used in many online social networks. Imagine as membership grows the revenue stream possibilities!
…According to CNBC on January 15, 2003:"Software dating services are the #1 pay services on the internet...up to 87 million in the last quarter, the industry will be a 1 billion dollar industry by 2005"
…According to a Jupiter Media Metrix analysis of competitor information and review of population and demographic statistics published by the US Census Bureau and US Department of Commerce, approximately 2.5 million people in the US purchased subscriptions from online dating services in 2001.
…Matchmaking social networks have proven big business with earnings in the $900 million mark in 2002. Projections of $1.14 billion in 2003 and $1.46 by 2006. There is great room for growth and new uses of social network applications. Market Data Enterprises, Inc. 2002