Forewarned is…?

A while back I was out with a friend who told me, “People will tell you all about themselves on the first date, so you should really listen to what they say” or words to that effect. Now, I don’t consider myself a strike counter. Meaning, I’m not building a case file against a woman all night, I’m just looking to have a reasonably good time. As I mentioned elsewhere, I like meeting new people and if they like to talk all night then we’ve already got one hobby in common. 🙂 The next lady I dated actually came with a warning label. She quite literally told me all of her “flaws” up front and they were pretty significant. The Robot from Lost In Space would’ve been flailing his arms around wildly and saying, “DANGER,

Was I listening, oh yes. Did I think I could handle it, sure, I can handle anything and if she’s telling me about it, how bad could it be?
We share a hobby and that made for some terrifically cool outings… then we had a major falling out due to previously mentioned issues, ahem, and… it wasn’t the end of the world anyway. So, although the writing was on the wall I was able to temporarily cheer up someone who was going through a pretty tough time and we’re still friends so… that’s a win-win in my book.
Besides, by what right could I ask for a second chance when I really needed it if I wasn’t willing to give it to someone else?

Different folks, Different Places, Different Rules, and other Game Changers

I wanted to get this out of my head before I Iost it completely… as in went nuts. No, no, no, as in I’d lose this train of thought… anyway, this all went down in THE CITY…

I recently met several people, male and female, who made me rethink both how I presented myself and what my expectations were when dating. In one case my expectations were immediately exceeded. Meaning things went ok when we met at random and although the evening ended oddly that had to do with some other folks that were around, nothing to do with me. We clicked right off the bat the second time after remaining in contact. Turns out our backgrounds were similar to a degree and she was typically the kind of person I get along with fairly quickly. Click, click, click. We had a pretty great evening and I walked away feeling pretty lucky for having met her and already knew she felt the same way. Definite mutual beneficence.

At a completely different time and place (may as well call it another universe) I met a woman, in a much more prearranged fashion, when I was in a different mood and although I thought the evening went well I didn’t deliver on her expectations and as a result got mysteriously cold shouldered for a few weeks. That was pretty perplexing and I like feedback so I persisted until I got some useful information. Also I knew she wasn’t a hardcore NYC chick where maybe I just hadn’t made the cut and unseat one of her top five guys in rotation – as one of my female bff’s cynically, yet accurately, put it.

Funny thing, in discussing this with a much younger dude (who’s still probably dated much more than I have) he imparted some pretty typical NYC wisdom to me. There are plenty more fish in the sea so if she’s unfathomable there’s no need to get caught up in whatever game she’s playing. Just roll and go? What about that girl right over there… his girlfriend concurred. Another friend within earshot had already given me the same advice and although I wasn’t looking right at him I’m sure he was nodding along vigorously. And rolling his eyes. And for other reasons making a spectacle of himself. He’s funny like that… They’re all in their mid to late 20’s. That’s significant. Then I gave him my particulars and told him I was inclined to date, not exclusively but inclined, women closer to or at my age in addition to being desirable, to me, and single ones were kinda’ hard to come by, blah, blah, blah. I keep thinking they’ll get where I’m coming from and conversations would go a lot smoother but… damn, if I think about it all the anecdotal evidence has been to the contrary… He immediately changed his response to, in that case there are no rules! We’re talking apples and oranges and I was going to have to make my own rules. This was the single best piece of information I’d heard since I’ve been dating!

So it’s actually been up to me whether I should roll and go when one or both of us is being a little too battle weary or thinks the other is running a game when they’re not. The certainty of being played is removed. In this case I persisted because that’s just me and the outcome could’ve gone either way but this time it actually went ok. Obviously the next question is, was this person worth the effort? Depends on what you want. For me there was a lot of food for thought that sprung up as a result so the takeaway trended positive. Otherwise, well, I never close a door on anybody anyway unless I see that they’re up to no good. Ya’ never know when they might be useful to you or vice-versa and really folks, sometimes no one’s trying to steam roll ya’ and it’s just bad timing. Shrug.

Roles versus People – Objectification on both sides of the fence

In: Ray LaMontagne – Be Here Now

In the course of corresponding with a woman on an online dating site I shared a link to a post on this blog that I thought she would get a kick out of…

But first, let me digress. Art is subjective. Something I’d heard but didn’t understand until I started doing the kind of photography that people would actually pay for. It’s subjective in that unless there’s a very singular or strong subject two people can look at it and have different reactions. Not as extreme as love/hate or good/bad but what I’ve found is that there’s an internal association made when they’re exposed to the work. E.g., DSC_2232VI could show the same pic of a beach scene and one person may be indifferent ‘cause they don’t like the beach or think the shot is cliché, another may be thrilled because it reminds them of a family vacation they took when they were eight years old, and a third may love it because it has their two favorite colors strongly represented. Ya’ just never know.

… So the comment I got back on this site, among other things, was that I was objectifying women and continuing the damage heaped upon them. I think this was meant as constructive criticism but I’m not sure since it was a comment from a stranger in an email. And no, she didn’t post her response on the site – which, for me, would’ve been a move towards actual dialogue and given the statement greater weight. I’m always willing to listen and see something from a different perspective. I call it learning. Anyway, upon reading I immediately spit out my beer in disbelief, threw down my porno mag, called one of the hot chicks in my phone’s address book, ya know, the one with three x’s next to her name and asked her what she was wearing. Ha ha. I kid. I called one of my best friends in the hopes, of course, that she would side with me, tell me everything was fine and the other person was dead wrong. People are funny, especially friends. My bff said, of course you’re objectifying women. And I said, what about all the self-deprecating humor? The underscored hypocrisy and satire!? She said, well, some people might not get that and maybe this particular reader also feels a need to rescue others from “bad men” like me… and it went on like that for a short while. Instant messaging is great. I think I typed an unhappy face at some point.   😦

Hmm… I let that bubble in the back of my head for a few months. By the way, I’m a dad who’s trying to raise an incredibly tough minded and strong daughter with a good sense of self-esteem. So you can kinda’ get why I couldn’t let this evaporate. So, several months later, do I treat women like objects? Absolutely! Hold on, it’s fairer to say we all treat folks that way independent of gender, I’m just admitting it. It’s also scenario dependent. Do I need what you have to accomplish whatever my current goals are? It’s a means of navigating through life and it’s probably only bad if you choose to be overly reliant on it. In which case this will be the least of your undiagnosed problems.

Related Topic: Stereotyping – we all do it. Turns a grey world with fuzzy characters and hierarchies into a much more readily digestible black and white zone that’s far easier to navigate thanks to more clearly defined associations. At a personal level the problems start when folks don’t want to stay within our envisioned framework and we choose to correct them instead of ourselves. Just putting that out there…

In the case of writing a post I’m not about to turn people into ridiculously over described and distracting Steve King-esque characters (I read The Stand and that was pretty much the beginning and end for me). I’m using them as elements to either move things along or as examples. This applies to everyone including myself. As I’ve stated elsewhere, there is the real Steve and there is the Steverino character in my posts. You are not going to get to know me solely through text/email/blog/whatever as I discussed here. If that troubles your brow feel free to stop reading Right Now ‘cause I’m about to show you what bugs me about some women’s online profiles where they do much worse than objectify men for literary reasons:

“Looking for Mr. Right”
“R U my soulmate?”
“Looking for soulmate”
“Looking for my prince” Or “I want to be your princess” – Same thing.
“Looking for Unicorn” – Ok, I made this one up. 🙂

These are headlines I’ve seen on some women’s profiles. Taken out of context they don’t seem terribly unusual. Then there’s the body of their profile message where lotsa’ folks lay out some of their likes/dislikes then what they’re hoping to find in a prospective friend/lover/whatever. The problem I have is when these kinds of headlines are only followed by a single paragraph that only supports that headline and does not say anything at all about the poster. “Need someone who will make me laugh, be life partner, friend for life, sit with me by fire place, handy with tools…” blah, blah, blah. Fine, but what do they offer in return? As I said earlier no one should ever hang a lot on this print stuff anyway, but from a marketing perspective it’s, “Man wanted, apply within” with not even a hint of compensation. I’m a man and that’s how I read it, my “manpinion”. But wait, you say, isn’t that extreme objectification? I’m sure to some people it sounds much tamer than, “Looking for porn star” but I say it’s more insidious! Princes rescue people, soulmates “complete” people, Mr. Right is an out and out fantasy creature akin to a unicorn – a unicorn(!), porn stars just have sex. The first three can make a person sound like they’re struggling through life or are lonely and need just the right object or element added to be happy. The last one, when used with plenty of caution, is just good fun and exercise unless, of course, you’re an addict then, puh-leeze, don’t shake my hand. I argue that these women, who are objectifying my fellow men as saviors, are missing out on the grand journey and joy of life. Meeting the other folks on this big ball of dirt. Just. For. Fun.

My suggestion: suppress the end relationship goal you already have firmly in mind, frankly it’s scary that you’re more interested in filling a whole in your head than getting to know me. Start with going out, having a good time, giving as much as you get, and like will attract like. 🙂

Out: Death Cab For Cutie – Bixby Canyon Bridge

Bombs Away – The sweet, sweet, smell of failure

This story Bad Decisions / Rolling Mistakes reminded me of when I totally bombed on connecting with a lady at a place out on Houston.  I had already dismissed her earlier on when I saw she was out with two other friends, plus I was initially there with a female friend of my own and was, ya know, tryin’ to be respectful and staying focused on her ’cause she was going through some stuff.  Also, I don’t know how to break in on a friend group like some other dudes I know so I called the game on account of rain.  But then my female bff left to be replaced by a buddy who was ghosting through the area.  I guess that’s when things changed.  
The first time she smiled my way I was all like, well, la-de-da, that’s nice and went back to my conversation… then the second time, when she turned almost 180 degrees away from her friends to look my way, I was like… oh, the game is afoot!  (Yeah, I sound like that in real life, surprised I’m single?  lol) Unfortunately, the clock ran down before I could get a plan together with my buddy and they split while I looked on forlornly. I’m sure it would’ve made for a good photo.  Funny thing is once I clued my bud in he was all over it and knew exactly what we should’ve done!  Proof is in the puddin’ but I may have to nominate him for The Wingys – the wingman award.  😉 Anyway, this does not happen to me often, which is why I pretty much had no response and lost an opportunity to meet someone who may’ve been awesome. Ya’ live and learn. Sigh.