Relationships

(In)fidelity

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Worth Reading!

I recently finished Paulo Coelho’s newest book titled “Adultery”. The subject is exactly as the title states and involves a woman’s journey from marriage to the temptations of an extra-marital affair and the ultimate resolution/consequences . I won’t give too many details as I don’t wish to spoil it for you, but I will say that thought the middle of the book got a little bit far-fetched, the overall story, thought processes and moral dilemma presented were solid and realistic. (Do note that “realistic “ is often not necessarily a happy ending.)

As you know, during my recent trip to my Seattle, I had the opportunity to discuss this (and many other) subjects with an old high school friend of mine, and contrast my lifestyle to hers. As a regular reader of my blog, she followed up with me and was interested in elaborating her views while asking me to write about mine. Since I really enjoy answering questions and providing feedback I ‘ll all to happy to oblige, especially because this is a subject that comes up a lot.

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You know who you are. Get on it!

My friend is the portrait of what many people see as the ideal relationship / marriage. She has been with her high school sweetheart for some seventeen years now and still very happy in her marriage. I haven’t seen or spoken to this man since high school, but he was good-natured and devoted to her then, so I have a feeling he is much the same now (judging especially from the photos and what-not I see on Facebook.) They have a house, two adorable children, and if they don’t have a white picket fence, I’m going to suggest she get one. Her marriage is one of two I can think of that have the chance to be that rare, older (not even “elderly” really) adorable couple celebrating their fiftieth anniversary.

At some point during our conversations in Seattle, my friend(s) and I got to talking about relationships and those that sometimes decide to include a third party (or more) in their sex life.  I’ve been involved in situations like that in the past (both as inviter and invitee) and I mentioned I’ve observed it bringing a new element into the bedroom and sometimes reviving a situation that may have become routine or mundane.  Later, my friend commented that she believed that if that happens with your partner, they may not be the right person for you.  She said: “I believe that when you are with the right person, sex should only get better and I don’t think that you need to add additional parties to make this happen.”  Further in the conversation she elaborated that every couple has problems, and the key was to attack those problems when they are small.  She gave an example of a friend of hers who is married but hasn’t had sex with her husband in (literally) years.  She hit the nail on the head when she said the solution was communication, and should’ve happened a long time ago.  The years (or even months barring medical conditions…) without sex are abnormal and destructive to the marriage.  I agreed that it was a total communication breakdown at it’s core, but where her and I may differ is that I actually believe that such communication is MORE important even than basic monogamy.

Wise man. (I can't believe that's a legit quote...)

Wise man. (I can’t believe that’s a legit quote…)

Allow me to explain: I often wish / fantasize about having the sort of situation that my friend has.  I won’t say everyone does, as times are changing and the “ideal” relationship can differ very much depending on the individual.  But many people (including me) still dream of finding “the one” on some level and living happily ever after.  However, finding that person is difficult and as my friend pointed out, even the  “perfect” marriage goes through dry spells and requires effort on both parties to continue to be a giving situation for both.  So, when things go wrong you encounter one of two scenarios:
 

1.  This is a problem we need to work out, but we’ll get past it and get stronger.

-or-

2.  One or both of us is no longer the right person for this relationship.  Either we weren’t from the beginning, or things have changed and instead of growing together, we have grown apart.

There’s nothing “wrong” with either of these situations.  Sometimes things simply are what they are and no amount of good faith effort will fix them.  But let’s focus on situation one, because once you’re in situation two, it’s just a matter of admitting and accepting it (which unfortunately can take a number of years anyway… and I can blog about that in the future…)

Cute/Funny but...

Cute/Funny but…


When a problem grows into an otherwise great, loving relationship, the vast majority of the time is the lack of honest communication.  When almost any issue is addressed straightforwardly, constructively and honestly, the majority of the time it can be resolved.  If they cannot, there’s a good chance you fall into situation two above.  VERY often I hear a primary issue of long-time couples is a stale or near nonexistent sex life.  I can tell you now that even as a 35 year old bachelor I don’t have the obsessive drive I had in my mid twenties, but I’m talking a couple of days off as opposed to weeks, months or years.  Why does this happen?  Routine? Insecurity? Too busy?  All of the above?  It happens because one or both parties is no longer excited about the prospect, it’s not longer turning them on.  Then, the situation becomes one-sided and turns into “work” instead of “play” for one or both parties.  Situations like this are what lead to people finding alternatives: Porn (individually.. and I’m not saying this is necessarily bad as it can excite one of both partners..) Toys (again, CAN be a good thing, all about how they are used…) and eventually other people (my friend doesn’t agree, but this can also end up a positive situation.)

The solution again is wide open communication.  But what get in the way is that people are afraid to tell their partners what they want.  After years, they worry about damaging their ego, being judged for something different they are craving, or coming across too needy or unreasonable for being wanted.  But I believe there’s nothing wrong with wanting something else or having expectations of your spouse on a sexual level.  If this is an ideal “forever” pairing, a partnership, both have to try to give the other what they need.  So many people are brought up on the outdated belief that love and sex have to be exclusive (and if that’s your preference more power to you), but it’s scientifically proven that this is simply not the case.  But instead of talking to their partner and being wide open about their deepest, darkest desires, they bottle it up, feel ashamed and tell themselves they are “wrong” for wanting these things. Then they try to pretend they are okay with the routine they have, but lying to yourself like that never ends well, and the all too common feeling of feeling “trapped” sets in.

Oh jesus.. THAT guy..

Oh jesus.. THAT guy..

One day, they come across somebody who is flirty and seems interested in them superficially.  Normally they probably wouldn’t even give the possibility a second thought, but two things come into play: 1. Human nature magnifies the feeling of wanting something when you feel you can’t have it (the initial desire has to be there first though.) and 2. Compared to their spouse, this person is not connected to their “real life” and is for all intents an purposes, a toy.  There is no marriage, no children and no responsibility to be an ideal spouse in this situation.  The opportunity arises to be fun, flirty, desired and greedy.  They get to demand what they want and if the person doesn’t like it, they are more or less discardable without issue.  The freedom is a huge turn-on, especially for somebody that has gotten into the habit of having to repress themselves.  I hate to bring Disney into this conversation, but this is the chance for them to “Let it go.”  Sometimes it’s a fling and nothing comes of it, others they are found out, or can’t handle the guilt and the world comes crashing down.  But it’s only a temporary solution either way, eventually the problem marriage still exists, or it’s been destroyed.

So, how do you avoid a situation like this?  I keep mentioning communication, but on a whole different level.  I’m talking about a soul-bearing, demon revealing, perverse, fucked up, this might hurt your feeling but you need to know this, holy shit this is scary but only you are worthy of this level of communication.  This is supposed to be your life partner, so you have to be willing to tell your deepest, darkest secrets and show them all the sides they signed up for before you end up feeling like you need to show that to somebody else.  Once the communication is on that level, you can figure out how to work it out (or not.  As it’s possible they simply can’t handle what you have to say, at which point I would be more likely to say you fall into option two above.)

Problem... solved?

Problem… solved?

Regardless sometimes that communication alone will solve the problem through new activities (red room anyone?)  But where I disagree with my friend I mentioned earlier though, is that when this communication takes place, it’s possible that another person, or even some other people might be discussed.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s ok.  It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re with the wrong person.  As long as the relationship has a totally open and honest level of communication, including potential feelings of pride, jealousy and inadequacy, and they are addressed respectfully with a constructive solution sought, then I don’t believe infidelity has occurred regardless of who does what with who.  The bond between two people who love each other is not merely based on the physical, and to say that somebody being involved with a different person negates a legendary bond of love is just ridiculous.  What matters is the trust.  If that is intact, so too should be the bond.

Oh son of a…

When I have these conversations, people try to flip it on me.  They say: “Well that’s very ideal, but what if the love of your life came to you and told you she wanted to be with somebody else sexually, or that she already had but she still loved you!  Could you really still be with her?”  Short answer: Yes, probably.  Longer answer:  If she had already done so, I would be pretty upset, pissed even to the point I might need some time.  But would I end it right away?  No.  I would try for the level of communication I mentioned above.  I would need to understand why she needed it, and what the solution was.  If I was satisfied with it, and I felt I could trust her based on that communication, I could stay.  In fact, once, a long time ago I already did.  But then many years later when I was similarly tested, I couldn’t open up and be that honest, I couldn’t bear my soul and make myself vulnerable, and so, I lost.  Rarely is it the actions that will kill a real relationship, but the reasons behind them that are locked away and never addressed.

When love and trust and that level of communication exist, I believe the right people for each other can overcome almost anything.  Then again, that’s awfully romantic of me… what do I know?

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Homecoming: A Long Epilogue

Coffee + Magical Sky Juice = Writing Fuel!

Coffee + Magical Sky Juice = Writing Fuel!

I’ve been in the air for a little over an hour now (likely somewhere over Idaho) heading toward a short stop in Texas before the second leg of the trip back to Orlando. I think the most important thing I took from the short trip in Seattle is that I like it there. I like the weather, I like culture, I like the city and I like the people (My friends, arguably more so than I used to.) My path and the place I belong now is Orlando, but if and when the opportunity to return to Seattle made itself know, I would follow it happily. Granted there are many places that I would be willing to go in order to take the next step, but Seattle previously carried a stigma to it that no longer exists. In fact, because of my familiarity and the people I have there (friends and family both) it carries a specific appeal for sure. I have a hometown.

Shortly after my last post I was picked up and spent the evening (after all too iconic Seattle traffic) in Bellevue catching up with three young ladies from my high school days (all three of whom I’ve had a crush of some sort on at some point or another.) We began at a Mexican restaurant, three of use with appetizers and shots of tequila while we waited for our fourth to arrive. We told many stories of our classmates, and ourselves, went through some 16 total margaritas (combined), took many selfies and laughed about our misadventures in high school and since.

Tequila!

Tequila!

What was fascinating about these discussions is that each of them knew me in a different way. One hadn’t really kept up with me over the years (in fairness neither had I kept up with her…) but was the fortunate enough one to be stuck in traffic with me, allowing us to get a head start on catching up. We’d covered some relatively deep subjects, so when I began telling stories to the group she had a contextual reference the others did not. Another is a regular follower of my blog, so she had a great deal of background information both recent and historical. The third has been keeping up with me on Facebook and through regular messages for some time and was probably the most knowledgeable on my current life status.

I told them one thing I was quite jealous of was their children. As of now, two of them are married (one to her high school sweetheart) and the other is an amazing single mother (as evidenced by the stories of her children.) For the longest time I’ve wanted a child (preferably legitimately) but obviously I have to find the right person first and so far not a lot of headway has been made. In the car ride (traffic) over I had mentioned that we always want what we can’t have. So (especially in our thirties) some that have long established families and routines look at my lifestyle and see it as adventurous and free (I do my best anyway…) while I listen to the stories of their children, families and well-established careers and can’t help but wonder if I’m falling behind. Of course, as it stands, I don’t think any of us would trade, and though all three have two children (ideal in my mind), they are each in pretty different set of circumstances (perhaps I will elaborate on them a bit more in a future blog.)

As the night carried on we wandered the mall called Bellevue Square that we had spent a great deal of time at as high school kids. One had promised a friend she would pick up nifty scented bath soaps/oils of some sort and then we (predictably) found ourselves in Sephora (a makeup store) at which point one of the girls who hardly wears makeup and I slipped away to find more drinks. This was an education for me as I was introduced to Nordstrom’s having a full bar dead center in the middle of it’s store. Prices were surprisingly reasonable considering what the clothing usually runs. Eventually the other two caught up to us and after more discussion/selfies we made a quick stop to see my car (Tesla!!) and moved on to our final destination.

It was a Dark and Stormy night..

It was a Dark and Stormy night..

One of the girls had promised her friend she would take a photo of a huge blown glass chandelier that was crafted by a famous local Seattle artist (kicking myself at the moment for not having a photo to include in the blog.) When that mission was accomplished we moved upstairs to a pool hall I had talked to them about called “The Parlor”. Shortly before I left for Orlando I had spent a fair amount of time there. It had an upscale vibe (because Bellevue…) but was reasonable on prices and had pretty good happy hour specials. With fifteen minutes until happy hour we settled in for our last round.

Perhaps it was the drinks adding up or the hours getting later (in truth it was only 11:00 PM but people have families now and it was a Tuesday…) but the conversation turned to sex and was primarily based on me. As it happens I have a number of entertaining stories (don’t worry to some of you reading this… probably not THAT one… probably…) that had reactions ranging from laughter to a great deal of eye rolling (a not uncommon reaction.)  We finished off our drinks that accompanied some really great happy hour appetizers and decided to call it a night.   (I should point out that those who were driving had moderated their drinking responsibly as the night went on… and those that weren’t… probably felt it the next day.)

Addiction Manifested.

Addiction Manifested.

The following day I slept in and then took the Sounder (Seattle’s rail system) to go and visit my father. It was my first time on the train and I enjoyed the random local conversation along with my ability to plug in my electronics. The ride was quick and easy and before long my father picked my up in Lakeland where he now lives. After a quick stop to show off his new place, we headed out to Potlach (Hood Canal) to the house on the water to visit with his girlfriend and her son whom have become a part of his/our family throughout the years. Naturally as I lounged fireside I was fed and fed well. Meat, cheese and wine precluded my father’s amazing signature buffalo wings of which I ate entirely too many (as usual.) Feeling fat and comfortable I retired to my room for the evening, caught up on some shows and drifted off to sleep with an early morning and a day of flying ahead of me.

The morning went smoothly, I did my best to capture a few images of the water in the dim foggy morning light and we were off to the bus station. I arrived just in time to say goodbye and walk onto the airport bus. Upon arrival, I easily made my way through security with plenty of time to attend some business, pick up my new book (Prince Lestat!) and do a bit of shopping. The plane is completely full, and I’m in a middle seat, but I’m fortunate enough to have relatively small people on either side of me who seem to have good personal hygiene (the girl sitting next to me is also pretty cute. Bonus!)

The house on the coast.

The house on the coast.

As I near my landing in Texas I just keep thinking about the combination of familiarity and newness that Seattle has now that I carry a fresh perspective on it. It’s easy to see why people who travel there fall in love and never leave. Additionally, with the disappointing recent results of the Florida elections, it’s also easy to see why living in such a liberal state would be appealing. Seattle has culture, food and a specific vibe that is hard to find anywhere else. My father tells me every time I return that I need to move back and go back to school, he will be going for his Master’s soon and thinks I should follow suit. I might. But as much as I would like to say that my goal is to move back and live there indefinitely, I cannot. The truth is I will go wherever it takes to take the next step, to “make it”. When I do, I can visit, and catch up as I did this time whenever I like. It may or may not be home again someday, but it will always be my hometown.

Homecoming: A Historical Prologue

This post isn’t about Halloween (I did a “fear” post a little over a week and a half ago, that’s all you get.)

For those of you that are still with me, as I write this (I’ll likely post it after we land…) I’m now 38,000 feet above middle-America (Nebraska at the moment I believe) on my way to Seattle for work and then a little play.

Yarr!

Yarr!

The extent of my Halloween celebrations this year involved dressing like a pirate (which I do a few times a year anyway…) and going to work.  This is partially because I always wait until last min and fail to get super excited about my costume, but this year I also had to be at my office by 6:30 AM in order to catch my flight.

Some of you already know,  but I spent a little under the first quarter-century of my life in the Seattle/Washington area.  Though I left when I was around 27, I also moved around a lot when I was young, so stints in Montana, South Dakota (when I was very young,) California, and even Japan are included in that time period.  Regardless, Washington state was my base, where I was born and the closest thing I have to a hometown.

When my logistical situation stabilized a bit as a kid, I was finally able to stick with the same class from 6th grade through high school graduation.  However, I didn’t have the elementary history a lot of those kids did, so it left me feeling awkward and outcast.  Most of middle-school was trying to find the individuals with whom I had common ground but by high school I started to get my social footing.  I was never a part of the popular crowd, but especially by sophomore/junior year, I had a solid group of people that I spent my time with.

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I mean… I had my reasons… (I’m in the middle…)

Early in my high school career, when my family went through a particular low point, my father and I found ourselves homeless.  To his credit, despite our difficulties, my father made it his top priority to get me to school every day as he tried to earn enough money to get us back on our feet.  Eventually some family friends in the Mill Creek area (roughly and hour away from my High School) took us in, but I refused to change schools.  Again my father was gracious enough to make the commute every morning and evening so that I could have some level of regularity.  When we finally got back into an apartment, it was still a distance away in a town called Juanita.  Again I refused to change schools, but memorized the bus routes and spent over an hour on the bus before and after school in order to remain with the group of people I had spent years attempting to connect with

Ironically, I graduated in 1997 and lost touch with a large majority of those people.  Over the years (as often happens) I grew apart from most of my high school friends and went on to develop my life that eventually landed me in Florida.  But then, even more years later (getting into our thirties!) through the wonder of social media, we began to reconnect.  It’s very interesting to see how people change and grow over the years.  Some have changed to the point very little is left of who they were back then (that probably applies to me…) and others very much remind me of the kids I knew in High School.

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Homecoming 1997

This trip, I’ll have the pleasure of meeting up with three of the ladies from my past (including my Senior Homecoming date AND my Senior Prom date.)  It’s literally been over fifteen years since I’ve seen these people in the flesh (I had little interest in my ten year reunion.)  I’m looking forward to both reminiscing and stories of the years in-between.  It really is mind-blowing to think about how your life grows into something completely different than you could’ve imagined back then. Perhaps it is not like that for everyone (I’ve known some to do exactly as they said they would do… and others that are still trying) but I believe for the majority, people develop in ways and directions they never could’ve imagined.  Perhaps they’ll allow me to share a small bit of their stories here after we catch up.

I also plan to visit my father while I’m in the area.  As you have probably gathered, my childhood was (all too typically these days) rocky and difficult.  We were always relatively poor and my parents did the best they could while battling their demons, but those demons and a number of factors contributed to my growing up too quickly and learning to be independent at an early age.  Years later, I am estranged from most of my family and I am more or less friends with my mother and father.  I (obviously) owe them my life and will do what I can to support them as they age, but I don’t remember the last time I felt a close family bond with any member of my biological family.

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Dad – This man knows how to feed me.

That said, especially the last decade or so my father has made great progress.  He went back to school, graduated from the University of Washington with a Computer Science degree, and has a very zen-like low stress philosophy (very much the opposite of his younger days.)  This particular philosophy might’ve been some of the best “advice” he ever gave me (other then my sex talk: “Use a condom.”) he said something along the lines of: “I remember when I was younger I would stress about everything I had to do. I held on to all this stress… it would just ball up inside me and every time the smallest thing would go wrong, I would instantly get angry and explode, causing more problems and making me feel physically sick.  But one day I just realized how pointless it was.  Stress never fixes anything or makes anything better, so I decided I’m just not going to stress anymore.”  Such a simple concept, but it made a huge difference in his approach to life and also impacted me early in my adulthood.  It wasn’t the first or last time I would hear such an outlook, but I saw the transformation in my father for the better and it convinced me.

On a random, semi-related side note, my father is the reason I’m such a hardcore carnivore.  When we could afford it, the man grilled/broiled up a mean steak (he can even prepare a cheap chuck steak to be tender and tasty!)  But the one thing I will always crave from him are his Franks’s hot sauce buffalo wings.  He has a mixture of Franks, butter, and some random spices that make a high calorie, highly addictive and ridiculously delicious buffalo sauce.  I eat way too much and pay for it later.  It’s totally worth it, every time.

Before I get to all those festivities though, there is work to be done.  I’m fortunate to be flying out on the company’s money, but the flip side to that is that we have a major show to put on that will involve over 32 hours of work for our team in just two days. Today is the calm before the storm, I’ll write again when I survive it.

You Get What You Pay For – Part 1: Women

You probably already know I don’t subscribe to any specific theology, but I will be the first to tell you that world and the universe are alive and connected to you (along with everyone else.)  I don’t see karma as the divine reward/retribution that many portray it as because it’s very black and white (and this is, after all, the grey area.)  But what I do see is that in this world, you get what you pay for.  Not just with money, with action (or lack thereof) and even your way of being.

On Sun-day.  (Get it?)

On Sun-day. (Get it?)

For example, I have hinted in the past that I have been pretty successful sexually (no seriously, you wouldn’t believe some of it…)  The ladies I involve myself with are quality individuals who are smart, strong and beautiful in their own ways.  Of course like anything it ebbs and flows.  In my arrogance of comparing myself to a central celestial body, I liken my lovers to planets on varying sorts of orbits: very few pass daily or weekly, and then others once a month or two, 6 months, a year and sometimes even years.  But the key to my success is that I carry some sort of long-term relationship with each of these people.  The currency is patience and respect.  It is a mistake to discount anyone as not worth your time based on their current situation in life because the one constant in this world is change.  While that can be a scary thought to those you treasure now, the bright side to that concept is that new, and even those estranged may be brought back into your life.  It is in this manner that a woman I was drawn to over a decade ago might find her way to my affections in the present.   You can often have what you want if you’re willing to wait for it… NICELY.

Let me reinforce too that when I mentioned respect above, it was not a small part of the equation.  Most that know me, know that I’m much like Adam Levine and his fantastic quote (from my Misogyny post):“Maybe the reason I was promiscuous, and wanted to sleep with a lot of them, is that I love them so much.”  While in most cases I’m very hesitant to use the word “love”, I am not afraid to say that I respect and admire women completely.  In fact, I often state that they are much smarter than the majority of men whom I openly dislike for a number of reasons.  There are exceptions on both sides of course, but as far as I’m concerned, women are pretty much the best thing in the world.  The great thing is, they know when you regard them in this manner.  Some part of them unconsciously understands when you actually respect them as powerful, equal (or better!) individuals.  This automatically makes them feel comfortable and familiar with you.  At that point, if they feel the same physical attraction that you do, it’s only a matter of time (and respect.)

She'll tell ya!

She’ll tell you!

Let’s talk a little more about what respect means.  Because even if you don’t like the guy she’s with now, SHE has her reasons.  Perhaps it’s love, perhaps it’s security, sometimes it’s purely a situation that arose from a mistake.  But regardless of the circumstance, you must respect them.  You do not have the right to interfere with her life, make waves in her relationship, or cause awkwardness for her or her friends.  If you truly want to show respect, even if you don’t understand what she could possibly see in that guy, you will respect her situation and maintain your relationship on a level that she is comfortable with (like the weird concept called “friends”.)  This also means cheerfully accepting that some people have something truly amazing and rare, and that you will in fact never have them (to this day these make up some of my best friends, they and their good men both.)

The major thing that will bring all of this crashing down around you (and many relationships really) is being possessive and/or jealous.  For the most part I am not a possessive person, I value and am grateful for the honors I am given in terms of the women who share themselves with me (physically/mentally/emotionally.)  But just as you move on with your life, they do as well, and it’s none of your business what they do with the life they choose not to share with you.  There are exceptions, when they choose to involve you in another’s jealousy, or attempt to put you at risk through poor decisions, but that’s the point hen you draw the line (respectfully) and simply be a friend.

Preach.

Preach.

Further, you must be careful not to fall into the trap of introducing negativity through jealousy.  I am not completely immune to this, I admit that I have (on a couple of occasions) in the past fallen victim to this trap, but for the most part I’ve got a good handle on it.  You have to because introducing that sort of negativity into a relationship is poison, and will usually get you exactly the opposite of what you want.  Possessiveness and jealousy are concepts that reduce a woman to an object in order to be owned.  THAT sort of thinking is what will destroy any type of positive relationship; It is a complete lack of respect for her as a woman and as a person.  Ideally, you will earn her time, affection, adoration and even love by showing her the same.  It’s a price you should be excited to pay if you’re doing it right.

It’s easy to draw the conclusion based on my recent past and the things I write that I am anti-relationship, but this is not the truth.  I both want and respect real relationships.  It is also not my place to judge what is and is not a real relationship.  Monogamy is a pleasant and ideal situation for some (seems more and more rare these days) and I like to subscribe to the idea of meeting “the one”.   But for many it is not the only way, and I do not, by any means believe it is the only right way.  Many of the happiest and most functional couples and parents I know are in “non-traditional” relationships. (Silly term anyway considering historically, orgies and polygamy in various forms was commonplace.)  What makes a real  relationship in my world is love, trust, communication and respect.  Everything else is the business of those in the relationship and whomever they choose to share it with.

“What’s your type?”

This often comes up when somebody is interested.  It’s a probing question that is actually saying “Am I your type?”.  Whenever I am asked this my initial response is that I don’t know.  “I don’t really have one..” I say.  Naturally this isn’t acceptable because it doesn’t give the inquisitor the information they are looking for.  So various questions to narrow the answer down follow. In response I try to figure it out intellectually based on past trends and preferences.  I’ll spare you some of the overcomplicated personality stuff (for now…) but on the shallow side the questioning breaks down to something like this:

Yes.

Yes.

“Are you a butt man or a boob man?”  (Those aren’t my words.. I think it’s a funny question.)  The answer is.. both?  But here’s the thing, I’ve gone for women that were quite skinny and very much enjoyed their look / body.  On the other hand I’ve been with a few women who invested to enhance their curves and very much enjoyed both the shape and feel of them.  So the cop-out would be.. both?  But I think that maybe boobs nudge out booty to a small degree.  In either case you can certainly have too much of a good thing… like I’ve said before, moderation.

When that’s too general for them they try to pin down a body-type.  It’s no easier for me to explain this way either.  Moderation.  I’ve dated hyper-athletic runner types that were super skinny and thought they were gorgeous in and out of clothes.  On the other hand I’ve been with similarly athletic women who’s body type keeps them a bit softer and curvier and been very into them.  My ex was directly in the middle of those.  The only real conclusion that I can come to is that I don’t like extremes.  Too overweight, or too (sickly) skinny will turn me off.  There’s a big difference between naturally or athletically skinny, and unhealthy skinny.  For me the key word is “feminine”.  I don’t mind the firmness of a girl who is in-shape, but I think maybe a girl that’s built solid might turn me off a little (don’t hold me to that though, I’ve never been with a bodybuilder type…)  All I know is that the pictures of the extreme body-builder ladies kind of scare me and I’m sorry but your six-pack isn’t going to impress me or turn me on.  (I really want to point out that everything in this post is subjective…)

normal_yui-aragaki-118-261-1

Yes.

And then of course race comes into play.  Sometimes I’m actually a little surprised people are willing to ask me.  But I can’t help much here either.  All my long-term relationships thus far have been with people of European genetic descent of some sort. However, I was once very much into a girl who’s half-Japanese heritage made her look like an islander (living in Florida helped with the tan aspect…) Meanwhile one of the most gorgeous girls I can remember seeing was half-African American and half-Korean.  I’ve been physically attracted to/involved with nearly every racial type across the spectrum.  The thing is I find a lot of attractive qualities in nearly every line of decent that humanity has broken into… it just depends how it’s arranged.   I suppose considering my most recent involvements / attractions I’m currently pretty attracted to those of Celtic and/or German descent, but not only is that a very general look, but subject to change as soon as I see something completely different that catches my eye… and honestly, even off the top of my head I can think of a few people that I think are gorgeous and don’t fit that “criteria”.

Yes.

Yes.

One thing I am pretty particular about is her face.  Specifically noses and eyes.  My last girlfriend had very much the “girl next door” look to her: Brown curly hair and pretty brown eyes that glowed a bit hazel under certain circumstances.  After we broke up, I leaned more towards lighter hair and lighter eyes for a while (likely due to contrast after some 5-6 years..)  But since then it’s been a steady mix of back and fourth.  There IS one rare exception though: vibrant green eyes.  I almost never see it, but years and years ago I had a dream involving an imaginary girl with green eyes… well over a decade later those eyes stick with me, but to date I’ve only ever seen a few that come close to matching them.  That’s not really a criteria though, more of a whim.  As of now, I find myself drawn to eyes that seem to glow in a certain light, which can be brown, hazel, blue or even silver like mine.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m literally surrounded by gorgeous women of all types with all kinds of backgrounds, but although I might find myself especially attracted to certain ones in certain ways, none have thus far quite fit.  However, the silver lining to this is that the primary issue with my not settling down is not physical, as that’s actually worked out VERY well in some cases.  So maybe my type really has little to do with what they specifically look like.  Maybe that’s just a small part of the magical force I need to feel for it to be a consideration.  So what’s the rest?  Personality?  Circumstance?  Magical Pheromones?  One thing is for certain, they need to be able to handle me… and that’s a lot to ask of anyone.

Don’t think this is over, I’ll post about the “deeper” stuff in a future post (lest you think I’m completely shallow).  There are aspects of personality that really irritate me or turn me on.  Unfortunately, that too can vary by the individual, but there are certainly some universal things that can add or take away attraction.  But it IS important to note that physical attraction DOES matter to me, and I think it does to you too.  Maybe you truly are the ascended being that completely looks past the outer shell, but I doubt it.  The outer shell reflects a bit of what’s inside.  I’m not going to be the person that wakes up in the morning, looks at the person I’m laying with, and cringes but then proceeds to tell her I love her.  If this is supposed to be indefinite and our children are a result of our genetics, I’m going to be a little picky.  Though with that said, physical beauty and attraction are subjective and I would never judge another for a choice I didn’t agree with.  What matters is what YOU find attractive when you’re being totally honest with yourself.

Yes.

Yes.

On a closing, related note, I have a friend who once declared to me that they just didn’t find a specific type of person attractive. It wasn’t personal, just not their thing.  As of right this moment, that is the EXACT type of person they have developed their first real crush in years on..  It just goes to show that even with preferences, there may be just the right combination of features that completely negate your previous feelings.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

The Sunset of Misogyny

Adam Levine is a great man.  I read an article a while back in Details magazine (did I mention I’m occasionally accused of being a bit metrosexual?) in which he said:

“There’s two kinds of men: There are men who are fucking misogynist pigs, and then there are men who just really love women, who think they’re the most amazing people in the world. And that’s me,”

-and followed that up with-

“Maybe the reason I was promiscuous, and wanted to sleep with a lot of them, is that I love them so much.”

Perfect.  The moment I read that article I gained a new and lasting respect for the man (I’m a fan of Maroon 5 to some extent, but nothing like my obsession with DMB.)  Honestly the only thing I would add is to specify that he meant there’s two kinds of straight men in the world.  The gay guys out there add a whole new dimension (and are probably much more diverse.)    Those close to me know that I really don’t generally like men much.  Too many times I’ve come across men that the epitome of the “misogynist pigs” Adam talks about and don’t even realize it:

3t872bReally think women only “belong” in the home raising children? Pig.  Get upset when you come home and house isn’t perfect or dinner isn’t ready yet? Pig.Think that women shouldn’t be CEOs, soldiers, police, firefighters, mechanics, security guards, or any other profession? Pig.  Get mad when she goes out with her girlfriends (even though you’re out late with women often…)?  Pig.  Think women should get paid less than men for the same work? (Is this even a fucking question!?) Pig!!

I get it guys, you’re insecure.  She’s pretty, charismatic and intelligent.  If you let her out alone for too long, she’ll probably wise up and leave your ass.  Lucky for you they seem to have a programming flaw built into their system:  They’re generally pretty damn loyal too.  But, they are NOT stupid, and even if they don’t leave your ass, if you don’t put some effort into giving them reasons to be happy, they can and will go out and find their own reasons on their terms.  Is that a betrayal?  A violation of trust?  Well it’s about damn time.  The statistics say that historically married men have cheated on their wives 2 to 4 times more than the other way around, but that ratio is beginning to shrink.

Legit 50s Ad.  Points for honesty...

Legit 50s Ad. Points for honesty…

See it’s not like the good old days.  Though the term “Nuclear Family” initially shows up around 1925 or so (in the Oxford-English Dictionary), the concept got really popular in US culture around the 40s and 50s.  Those were days when you had the “ideal” family of the Husband and Wife and their children.  They were respectable members of the community that attended church every Sunday.  Father was the breadwinner that went to work all day while mother stayed home and cared for the home and children.  It all sounds very balanced and idealistic. Straight-up “Leave It To Beaver” style.

Except that it’s a bullshit facade.  Let’s talk about what was really happening.  First of all, Daddy was the master of the house. Let’s be clear that though the United States has made great strides in the modern era (there is still work to do,) it was founded very much in favor of the white male.  So sure, daddy went to work all day, and often had to go on “work trips” for days at a time.  Even when he was home, he often had to stay late or go out with his co-workers for drinks after work.  It’s just what you did as a professional.  Daddy worked very hard to be the master of the house.  I suppose this is true, because in reality daddy was probably seeing his mistress(es).  You see, in that ideal time men also had a great deal of power over whether a young lady got a job, was promoted, or kept her job. It certainly wasn’t every case, but if you think this didn’t happen and often, I suggest you do your research. Regardless of that, daddy didn’t have trouble finding a mistress because, after all, he was the man.

Meanwhile mommy was at home and is probably well aware of the mistresses.  Deep down it probably hurt her, but she had no real recourse.  As a woman you didn’t divorce in that day and age because then the church/society blames YOU for breaking up the family.  You were then no longer “family material”, and your skills and experience wouldn’t lend themselves well to the

I can't make this shit up...

professional world (unless you planned to work you way up the ladder as a mistress… again at the mercy of the men you serve.)  So what was mommy to do but accept her prison and make the best of it?  She needed him and she had to serve her husband and children or she had no real value to society or in the eyes of the church (and therefore god!!)  She once sought out her pastor for advice in dealing with her husband’s infidelity, but his response was that she must learn to forgive and maintain her “duty” to the family.  He also wanted to talk to little Billy (who is an Alter Boy!) to be sure he was remaining well-adjusted at home with mommy under stress.

Though it seems far-fetched, that a very realistic (albeit generalized) rendition of life for a US housewife in the fifties. Basically, throughout history, and in those “ideal” times when the “Sanctity of Marriage” that the anti-gay bigots like to toss around was the center of society, women were getting a pretty rotten deal.  But lately, the misogynist’s worst fears are coming true.  Women know they are strong, and smart.  In fact, they are very possibly in better shape than you are right now and I know a few that can pretty definitely kick your ass.  It’s also very likely they were smarter than you to begin with.

She'll kill you.

She’ll kill you.

So what’s a man to do?  How do you keep your interest/girlfriend/wife from going off and doing what she wants to do?  It’s simple, you can’t.  The harder you try to restrain her or hold her back, the more likely she’ll resist (just like you probably would were the roles reversed.)  Once you get jealous, and angry, and controlling… once you start making her feel bad or guilty for wanting to be herself, then you’re in trouble.  Because then she already feels bad about herself, about you and about your relationship.  Then you’ve created exactly what you were scared of and even if she doesn’t leave, she might very well find something to make her feel better and forget about things for a while.  At that point, it’s hard to blame her.

Modern relationships must be a partnership. Equals.  There is no longer a “master” (well.. unless you’re into that.. but that’s happy-old-couple-108591_200x200your business…)  Further, the most important parts of any equal partnership are trust, respect and (positive) communication.  If we truly want to be the one and only for somebody in the modern world, we’re going to have to work for it and earn it.  Not just in the beginning during courtship or the “honeymoon” phase, but one, two, five, ten, fifty+ years down the line.

It’s not easy, I believe most honestly can’t wholeheartedly pull it off.  As much as I’d like to think so, I’m not even certain I can.  But sometimes I come across one of those old couples celebrating their 50th anniversary that both seem genuinely happy.  They figured it out, maybe some of us can too.

“So, why are you single anyway?”

It’s a question I get asked almost every time the subject of relationships comes up.  Especially when I mention that it’s been some eight years since I was last attached.

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Pictured: Garlic Parmesan Brunch. (YUM.)

Earlier today I was having brunch with a couple of friends of mine and their adorable little boy. They were having one of those cute, half-serious but not serious arguments involving time spent with each other and various activities they do and do not share.  I sat there listening with a smile on my face and told them I was going to blog about it later (I assured them no specifics of course!)  Elaborating a bit, I told them that they are among the most well adjusted marriages I know (they are) and among the best parents I know as well.   Then I explained such discussions was one of the things I’m missing out on along with having a little one of my own.

“So why don’t you have a girlfriend?”

The short answer I gave them was that “I haven’t found anyone worth settling down for…” which is true on the surface, but the answer is a lot more complicated than that.  However, in order for you to have a full picture, I need to rewind a bit to my ex-girlfriend and the impact that relationship had on me.  I really hesitate to explain too much, because I don’t care to involve her in my writing and drudge up things from the past.  However, aspects of that relationship have a profound impact on how I see things now, so some of it is necessary.

Many years ago (I believe I was 20 or 21 at the time…) I encountered a girl at a horse show.  She wasn’t aware I was there and was unceremoniously cleaning her horse’s stall, but I couldn’t take my eyes off her.  It was like everything you hear about in stories or see in movies (at least the ones where the guy creepily stands there and watches somebody unbeknownst to them.)  To this day I don’t know if I ever told her about that, but regardless, we had shared friends (which is more complicated than it sounds.. but unimportant to this story) and over time I grew to know her more and more.  Finally, months later and after a lot of vague talk and a couple of awkward moments of eye contact that were way more powerful than they should’ve been, the opportunity to explore a relationship presented itself.

treehouse-12

The Tree House is gone. But it looked similar to this.

I will never forget the first night she came to meet me.  At the time I lived in a tree house (yes, seriously… it had plumbing and electricity) and she met me there.  It was perhaps the most nervous I had ever been, but I contained myself and we wandered the fields that my tree house was situated on, gazed at the starry night and talked for hours… I think we embraced at times, but nothing more as simply being close to her made me feel like I was glowing and euphoric.  Eventually we made our way back to my house and were on my deck talking before we went inside.  Internally I asked god “this is it.. isn’t it?” and as I looked up a shooting star crossed the sky in answer.  It was perfect.  We went inside and wandered up to the loft that only had enough room for my bed.  I want to stress that though I’m certain it had crossed my mind, my intentions were not really sexual…  I just wanted to be close to her (to her credit it would be a good month or more into the relationship before she actually slept with me.)  I don’t recall what we were talking about, or what I said exactly, but I remember eluding to wishing I could hold her there, and she immediately moved from the foot of the bed and literally fell into my arms. “Like this?” she asked.  Yes.  Just like that.

That was the beginning, and for a long time, a couple years at least, it was like that and more.  The truth of the matter is we were kids and though I was very happy and lighthearted for a time, as the years passed I sank further and further into the dark. Some six years later I was a selfish, compulsive liar and manipulator.  When some of the things I had done were eventually found out, her trust in me was destroyed and within twenty-four hours I was back in Seattle, licking my wounds and starting the long climb from the bottom of the barrel to rebuilding myself.  Even when that happened she saved me.  Over and over again for years she had bailed me out, been patient, and saved me from myself.  In the end, though I wasn’t strong enough for her, it was her being the person she was that inspired me to become (some of) the better person that I am.

Okay, so, cute story Jordan, but what’s your point?  Well, the point is I’m single because it has to be like that again.  It has to FEEL like that again, or I simply cannot do it.  That relationship ended because I was a liar to everyone, and even worse, to myself.  I had spent so long telling so many stories and being what I thought everyone wanted me to be, that I didn’t even know who I actually was.  I swore I would never fall into that trap again.  For me, for her and for whoever I ended up with.

So, instant love is unrealistic, but if I cannot feel that “thing”, that “it”, that magnetic pull that makes it difficult to not look at somebody in the room and makes you feel like you are glowing in their presence, I simply can’t do it.  I know what it feels like and I can’t not have it.  To accept any less would be a lie to myself and the other person, and I would rather be alone.

I’ve actually felt it to some degree a few times since, but it is rare.  On top of that, it is most certainly NOT the only criteria.  Unfortunately I learned through a bit of trial and error that the presence of “it” does NOT equal compatibility on mental or physical levels.  In addition, I’m willing to admit that my standards on physical and intellectual levels are arguably unrealistic.  In truth I am in contact daily with truly beautiful and intelligent women, and some of them I have grown to care about on various levels, but none of them quite fit.  If I were willing to compromise myself, it would be an honor to belong to one of them, but I cannot.  I refuse to look the woman I’m with in the eye and tell her I love her and want to be with her without believing/meaning it completely.

For now, in this form I often appear emotionless.  It’s true that over the years of rebuilding myself, various factors have eroded what a lot of people would call my humanity and made me seem cold.  I suppose I was like that before on many levels, but I was able to convince myself otherwise.  Not for her though, that was real.  Even in the latter years when things were difficult the pull was there, and even if little else about me was real, I did love her.  Also, to answer the inevitable question:  No, I won’t ever be back with her.  What we had was often amazing and perfect, but we are not those people anymore, and the person I was didn’t deserve it to begin with.  I will always respect and owe her, but that time is done.

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A nice place to try…

So, I’ll find that person someday, or I’ll be alone.  But either way I’ll be honest with myself, and with that in mind the life I have now is the probably the next best thing.  If it’s not, I’ll try my damnedest to make it that way.