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Yes, it sometimes feels like my life is a B-movie.  Not horribly bad.   But just as bizarre as, well, a B-movie. 

My feeble attempts at dating have yielded some interesting experiences.  I seem to be following a “three strikes” rule – meaning no one has gotten beyond date number three.  At this point, I’m okay with that.  I’m not in a place in my heart yet to even give a single strand of it to anyone else.  I suppose if the right person came along, I would do so.  Knowing myself as I do, I couldn’t help it.  But, the right person is an illusive concept these days. 

And so, I date.  And debate becoming a nun, because honestly, I might as well.  But that’s another post. 

My first out of the inning was a very nice guy who, while a little proper, and a little controlling, I discovered after three dates, was really just a little old lady in disguise.  I’m not sure quite how I found this out.  Maybe it was the pride in which he spoke about his matching Tupperware.  Or his inability to drive more than 10 miles under the speed limit.  Still, he was a nice guy.  Just not the guy for me, as I decided on the third date.

My second out of the inning, was undoubtedly the strangest first date I’ve ever had.  We had a very nice time.  We talked about everything.   He was properly impressed with my weird knowledge of history and off-beat things.  We met for drinks at the Brown Palace, talked about music and family and cocktails and abstract art and his business doing something with petroleum and…just everything.  Then we moved onto dinner at Marlowe’s (which was absolutely yummy, and I highly recommend the salmon) at a table outside by the 16th Street Mall, where we discussed horse-drawn carriages and remodeling old houses and various sundry things and how things in Denver had changed over the years.  Then we got to talking about what to do after dinner.  And he had an idea.  And the next thing I know, we’re at BJ’s Carousel, home of Denver’s friendliest drag queen show.

Now, you guys know me.  I’m pretty much up for anything, especially if it makes a good story for the theoretical grandkids, or at least a good story to tell any stray parrots I happen to round up.  What’s my motto?  All together now.  That’s right. “She who dies with the most stories, wins.”  It’s a hefty responsiblity and not one I take lightly.  So, since this was something I’d never done, we went.

I’ll tell you, for a first date with a professed Christian, this one took the urinal cake.  I was the only woman (??) in the place, and I do have to say, that everybody there was very friendly.  I’m serious.  They were all incredibly nice.  But I suppose that being the only woman there, and sitting at a ringside table, I was bound to attract the attention of the performers.  And so it was, that Fantasia, during her (his?) first number, shone the spotlight on us, introduced her(him?) self, drank my vodka and soda, and sang a Lady Gaga song to me.  How nice.  Really.  It was.  Someday, I want to try to wear eyelashes that long. 

A few other performers came and went.  And I know that even I, with my puny fashion sense, could make a little money on the side by being a fashion consultant for this population.  Again, seriously.  I don’t even know where to start.  Each seemed to have their own little following, and several patrons lined up to place dollars in the star-of-the-moment’s curious cleavage.

And then, Fantasia was back, still enamored of me and my date.  She approached the table.  She paused in her song.  She grabbed my face between her two hands, and I thought she was going to kiss me.  But no.  She buried my head between her fake boobs and tried to suffocate me for about three seconds.  A very long three seconds.  Then she proceeded to give my date one of said fake boobs.  At that point, it was time for me to get some air.  So we went. 

I was not uncomfortable or unhappy with this date.  I was just bemused and baffled.  And Kelsea said I was extremely jumpy the next day.  I decided he was pleasantly eccentric and I’d see what happened next.  I like eccentric people.

Our second date was drinks and dinner.  Pretty normal, although he drank more than I was expecting.  And our third date was drinks (do we see a pattern here?  yes, and we’re not sure we like it), a Rockies game, and dinner.  I wasn’t in the drinking mood, which he didn’t seem to care for too much, and over dinner, he called me a flaming liberal and started bashing gay marriage (yes, the same guy who took me to a drag club) and told me I was an idiot for believing in health care reform, Obama, or anything any semi-rational human being believes in.  Well, buddy, let me stick a fork in you, because you’re done.

Ah, the irony of having my second third strike be a baseball game date.  And I did feel a small pill of pride about “breaking up” with somebody over health care reform.

I’m wondering if this is a trend.  I don’t really know if I’m ready for dating.  Right now, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be ready to date.  When you’ve had magic, it feels impossible to go back to ordinary.  But I will continue to give it the old college try when I have time.  At least until I’ve gone through a full nine innings.

Just in case, if anyone has the number for a good nunnery, let me know.

There’s a phenomenon that occurs with women when they get into relationships.  I’ve seen it in myself.  I’ve seen it in women I’ve known.  I’ve wondered if it was something tied to age, but now I don’t think so.  Which makes we wonder what it’s really tied to.

It’s not something we talk about.  I think in most cases, it’s not something we acknowledge.  If we do, then we rationalize it into something positive.  And it’s not altogether bad.  But it’s interesting from a psychological standpoint.

It’s what I’ve taken to calling (in my head, where I do most of my talking) the Egg Phenomenon.  I give full credit to the film “Runaway Bride” for the label.  While it’s a total chick flick and didn’t get much screen/air time, it was an entertaining movie with a lot of nuances. 

In a nutshell, the character portrayed by Julia Roberts tends to adapt herself to whatever fiance she has, and so she finds herself putting on the persona of mountain climber, hippie, whatever, to mirror her current partner.  The guy she finally ends up with calls her on it, after he has interviewed her former fiances and each states that she likes her eggs prepared just as he does.  When Richard Gere confronts Julia Roberts with this knowledge, she realizes she doesn’t know how she likes HER eggs.  During their break-up, she proceeds, on her own, to try eggs prepared in all different ways, and when she finally returns to him, tells him, without a shred of doubt, how SHE likes HER eggs.

Hence, the Egg Phenomenon.

Now, it’s one thing to try new things because your new partner is into them.  If you’ve never had Eggs Benedict and your partner loves them, try them – you may love them too!  Same goes for sports-related activities – I mean, you never know if you like something until you try, and you may not try something until the opportunity arises.  It’s not as if I woke up one morning and said, “I’ve never tried fly-fishing – I think I’ll go!”  Without being with someone with the requisite equipment and experience, while I’d thought with interest about fly-fishing, there would be no way that I’d throw myself into a freezing creek at near-dawn to tangle fish hooks in my hair.  (And I loved fly-fishing.)

But I have a girlfriend who worked hard to give up smoking and was so proud of herself when she did.  Then she met her husband, who smoked, and within six months she was smoking again. This might not be the best example, because I’m sure it’s hard for a former smoker to be intimate with a current smoker without giving into temptation.  So let’s take it a step further.

Take a woman who loved music.  She pairs up with a guy who doesn’t.  Suddenly, her love of music is sublimated.  Or say she’s a vegetarian, who connects with a meat-and-potatoes guy.  Her veggie lifestyle is consumed by beef before she know it.   Both of these have happened to me. 

Does this mean I’m weak?  That I don’t know myself?  It’s not as if the men have said “Give up music (or vegetables), or we can’t be together.”  I don’t know for sure.  I do know that I have NEVER seen the reverse happen.  I have never been with a man who loved to go dancing just because I did, when he hadn’t loved it before.  Somehow it seems that men don’t do this mirroring thing that women do. 

I think that’s partly what it is – mirroring.  We are most comfortable when we can see elements of ourselves in others.  As women, we focus on making people comfortable.  Unfortunately, it seems to extend beyond certain boundaries, where we slightly morph ourselves to make the men we are with most comfortable, to ensure that they will want to stay with us.  Sometimes, some of those changes we make are ones we wanted, ones we needed and ones that are healthy.  Other times, though, not so much.

I am sure that self-aware men who read this will say, “But I don’t want you to change – I am with you because I liked who you were when I met you.”  And I think that’s true, to a certain extent.  I know that they believe that’s true.  But what they don’t take into account is that this morphing that we undergo (and I refuse to call it a metamorphosis because that has more positive connotations than I am implying) is so subtle and insidious on the part of women that men don’t even really recognize that it’s happening.  They just know they are happy, and grow more and more comfortable with the woman.

It’s a form of shapeshifting.

I don’t know why men don’t seem to do it.  Maybe they are not genetically programmed to make others comfortable.  Maybe it’s a biological presumption that women will please them.  Maybe they’re just not that sensitive, flexible, or aware.  Or maybe they are more secure in themselves than women.  Trying to answer that question could be a Master’s thesis in itself.

I’m no teenager anymore.  That’s when girls who don’t know themselves tend to do whatever it takes to try to keep a guy.  But during this phase of my life when I am alone, I am asking myself a lot of questions about who I am, inside and out of a relationship.  If I were more secure in my own self, would I still morph in a relationship?

Sometimes the shapeshifting is nothing more than a normal compromise of souls, an adjustment to being with someone.  Being in a relationship is all about give and take, and we do make little edits to ourselves to keep a relationship healthy and growing.

But I feel now is the time to ask myself the big question:

Do I REALLY know how I like my eggs?

So, I asked the person that I’ve been seeing his opinion about my new work (such as it is).  And he declined to provide it.  Now, you must understand that we talk about everything.  His refusal to share his opinion with me automatically implies that it’s not positive.  He’s my best coach in a lot of things, including my attempts at writing.  I’ve always thought he supported what I’m doing.  And he says he does – he says he is totally supportive of me.  But what he’s not saying is that there’s something he doesn’t approve of.  He says his opinion doesn’t matter — that it’s my life.  It IS my life.  Everything he’s saying is 100% correct. 

So why does this bother me so much?

In Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, when Robinson had a dilemma, he used to tally up the Pros and Cons in the sand.  (I haven’t read the book in years, if ever, but I can’t imagine what sort of dilemmas he had on a deserted island – perhaps whether to name Friday Saturday or Sunday?) 

Following is a similar exercise, comparing my perceptions of reality (the Pros) with the Headtwisters, otherwise known as Blurts or Cons — those thoughts that we sometimes-insecure people have that  just seem to be in your head to mess with you, not for any other reason.

Pro/Reality: I don’t need anyone’s approval but my own. 
Con/Headtwister:  If he doesn’t approve of what or how I do things, we will have no future together – this thing, this unspoken disapproval is the beginning of a pattern that will make us fall apart.

Pro/Reality: He is supportive of me.
Con/Headtwister: It’s an illusion – how can you be supportive of someone (or something) you disapprove of?

Pro/Reality:  I’ve always had a strong work ethic.
Con/Headtwister: I’m not working as hard now, and I think he thinks less of me for it.  He’s still working as hard as ever and that work ethic is something we’ve had in common.

Pro/Reality:  He says he doesn’t want this to impact our relationship, because in his mind, it doesn’t.
Con/Headtwister:  I don’t believe that it won’t impact our relationship.

Pro/Reality:  I asked him.  I want to know.  Why won’t he tell me?  Is it that awful?
Con/Headtwister:  Why am I making this a problem?  If I hadn’t asked, it never would have come up.

Pro/Reality:  It doesn’t matter what he thinks.  No, yes, it does, because we are in a relationship and what impacts one of us impacts the other.  He says if it made a difference in our future, he would tell me.
Con/Headtwister:  I need his approval.  I always need the approval of someone I’m with.  (Wait, no I don’t.  I’m a grown up – he takes me as I am.  That’s what he gets to do.  I don’t have to change to get his approval unless I feel that the change is right for me.) 

Pro/Reality:  I am my own woman.  That is one of the reasons he likes me.
Con/Headtwister:  He’s hiding something from me.  He doesn’t think as much of me as he says he does.

He’s done nothing wrong.  He’s only opting not to be critical.  He’s really doing something right.  Isn’t he?  So why am I being such an obsessive little basket case about it?

UGH.  THAT exercise didn’t make me feel any better.  


Signing off to make more mountains out of more molehills….

When you first start dating someone, you’re always on your best behavior.  You want to make sure you’re properly shaven or otherwise groomed (in other words, you don’t go a month without shaving your legs), that the house is tidy (tidier than you would normally keep it), that you’re dressed to intrigue and impress, and that you don’t do anything that would make the object of your affection think, “Ew, that’s DISGUSTING!  What am I doing with HER/HIM?”

Then, after a while, it’s bound to happen.  One of you is the first to pass wind in front of the other.  And the passer is mortified, while the passee, assuming he/she is still enamored, does everything possible to reassure the passer that “Oh, it’s okay, it’s a natural bodily function, please don’t be embarrassed, etc., etc.”  After all, truly, everybody does it.

Now, when the inital passer is the woman, MOST women will still make best efforts to ensure that, in the future, those normal physical emissions (farting, nose blowing, coughing up sputum, you name it) are done in the privacy of the boudoir or salle de bains.  (And if the inital passer is the woman, most men are absolutely delighted.)

But if the initial passer is the man, MOST men will take that reassurance of “It’s okay, it’s just a normal bodily function,” as carte blanche to suddenly start sharing ALL of their normal bodily functions with total and complete impunity.

Suddenly, the dynamic shifts from a discreet honk in a hankie to a farmer’s blow out the window of a car doing 75 on the interstate.  Passing wind is no longer accompanied by a blush, but now by leg-lifting, ass-thrusting, arm gestures and whoops of delight.

Peeing is not restricted to a bathroom, but to anyplace outside that is screened from the public eye by a door frame, rock, car door or tall weed (maybe).  The belches cease to be stifled – they become melodic (at least to the ears of the belcher), resonant, and occasionally involve portions of the alphabet.  And often, the emitter looks to his loved one for approval, like a dog that proudly brings a half-rotted, half-eaten deer leg to the back door.

I’m not against these sorts of things – I’m a natural kind of girl.  I don’t wear make-up or have my hair done, or get mani/pedis.  I’m happier in jeans, happiest in a sarong, and have no need of designer clothes.

So believe me, I’m not bashing men or judging harshly.  All I know is that, even when I’ve been the one who opens the gas gates, I remain discreet whenever possible.  I don’t quite understand why the opposite sex doesn’t feel the need to do the same.  In fact, they even encourage us women to join in the tooting revels, which also puzzles me.  As if it is something of a turn-on, which I can’t quite understand.

I am a genuine person.  And I think people want to be with genuine people.  But I also have a certain amount of natural decorum, probably from my GRITS upbringing.

Don’t men want women to be somewhat dignified and ladylike?  I mean they don’t want to date another man – if they did, they’d be gay.  Do they want us to engage in extreme cheese-cutting in order to make themselves feel better about their own actions?  I know there’s a certain desire for “a lady in the street and a freak in the bed,” but where does the whole ass-trumpet thing fit in?  Is it better or worse if I wear white gloves while serving air biscuits?

I don’t have the answers (though if you have more questions about barking spiders, visit here,) but I felt it necessary to raise the subject for contemplation, as it’s been on my mind for years.  In every relationship, I’ve opened the floodgates with my reassurance that it’s okay, and then spent the next umpteen years wondering why I did so, and how to close them, even slightly.  But like the “Walter the Farting Dog” series of books, the whole thing has its own unstoppable momentum.

I suspect it’s a lost cause, one of those delightful things that differentiate the sexes.  As a dear friend once told me, you look for the things to love in the people you love.  That’s easy to do – just keep the nose-clothespins handy.

And if anyone ever tells you that a dutch oven is a sign of true love, don’t you believe him.

Today is Fire Pup Day and Homemade Cookies Day.  Just FYI, homemade cookies ain’t gonna be happening in this home.

In talking with a friend last night, the point arose that women fall in love and then try to change the men they fall in love with – a phenomenon that is especially evident after marriage.  I had to ask myself if I was guilty of that in my marriage.  And the answer is…..not right away.  I didn’t expect or try to instigate any changes for years – not until I myself changed (read that, grew up) and then I automatically expected Pat to change.  Wrong-o.  It doesn’t happen like that.

But why is this need to change someone such a constant in relationships?   A quick google search on this topic reveals lots of opinions, blog postings, and Yahoo! Answers, but no solid psychological research.  Maybe I didn’t look deeply enough.

Men do also do this to women, but it’s definitely to a lesser extent.  Is it something about exerting control over one’s partner?  Or a subconscious discomfort with sharing or shifting power?

We always put our best foot forward in the early stages of a relationship – the house is cleaner, there’s less farting, and generally more effort expended towards impressing the potential mate.  And once the mate has been won, we seem to put less effort into the relationship and more effort into keeping ourselves out of trouble with that mate.  Again, why?  Is it some kind of primal thing?  We can’t get any first-hand reports from Cro-Magnon man (or woman), and I doubt cave drawings do an effective job of documenting this issue, so we can never know.

Why are we harder on our partners than we are on our friends?  We treat our friends so much better than our partners, and yet one’s partner should be one’s BEST friend. 

And where did that expression ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ come from?

Perhaps a better question is, if you recognize this phenomenon in yourself, can you resist giving in to it?  Or does it just happen, regardless of your intentions?

I think I need some grant money to study this.

FH000295

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