10 Things I Still Don’t Understand…(Part 1)

New Start 2010, photography by Diedré M Blake

Okay, there are many aspects of life that I sincerely do not understand and perhaps will never make an attempt to do so.  This list is, however, focused on two areas of interest to me: relationships and modernity (and really how the two come together or not).

      1. Text messaging etiquette… No, really.  What is a good amount of time to wait for a response? Or better yet, how much time can I wait before giving a response?  Eric Charles, I know you know already-Honestly, I’ve read the articles in my inbox.  No one, however, seems to be following the same rules on this issue.
      2. Modern dating… Yeah, I am starting to feel like I am from the age of the Flinstones.  Yes, I am that old (in some people’s minds).  What happened to a simple thing like, “Do you like me, yes or no?” You know, stated or written, or carved in stone…  Now it’s all evasive text messaging, Facebooking, and whatever-else that is happening to be out there these days.
      3. Men… On personal relationship level. Enough said.  Next.
      4. Women… At least, on a personal relationship level, when it comes to dating men.  No, I really don’t know what happens to the minds of women that seems sometimes to become so sadomasochistic (more maso- than sado-) when confronted with the possibility (and perhaps not probability) of a romantic relationship.  It’s like the temptation to hit the either “Self-destruct” button OR the “Annihilation” button (sometimes both) becomes too great.

      5. Love… I remember watching movies like The Princess Bride, and thinking, Oh, how romantic that someone so wonderful and good-looking can come into your life and do everything to be with you!  Yeah, I bought into the Disney version of the fairy tales too and even thought myself a Princess Charming at different points (and probably was to some people).  I probably was a frog too and never quite changed into what was expected after being kissed… Ahem.

Anyway, the point is that we supposedly meet someone and for some reason or another we “click” with them or are (dreaded word) “into” each other… and then we imagine ourselves skipping happily off into the future together.

I mean, this is not a belief held only by girls or boys, teenagers and young adults.  Plenty of adults and elders still hold on to this idea of the “happily ever after.”  And honestly, I don’t get it.  What really is happily ever after?  Is it happily protected from facing the reality of the person with whom you are spending time, because you are both holding up your masks still… showing your best selves?

And then, once the masks fall (because they inevitably will), suddenly will one or both of you fall out of love too?

The reality is that we tend to expose and place into the hands of the person receiving our love our very vulnerable selves…  It is this vulnerable part that suffers the consequences of our pretense of “happily ever after.”

———–

You’ve got my whole world in your hands

I’ve had to put my whole world in your hands

I’m gonna put my whole world in your hands

I’ve had to put my whole world in your hands

Charlie Winston (In Your Hands)

To put this all together:  Here’s what I don’t understand.  I don’t understand a world in which men and women get together without even really speaking with each other and use text messaging as a method of making dates and expressing feelings, even to the point of beginning and ending relationships.

So many people I have met recently have told me about being broken up with via text.  No phone call,  No email.  No face-to-face meeting.  Perhaps not even full sentences.  This is the text-speech land of love that we are in now.

The “nice tm w u b4. gd lk. bye.” world

… and we are told to accept it.  That it is okay that we no longer give each other the decency to meet face to face to part ways…  What???  Hence, I am beginning to feel a bit old.

———–

You see, I still like to write letters.  I hate to talk on the phone and prefer to meet in person.  I rarely watch television or listen to the radio and am certainly not “hip” (yes, I wrote “hip”) to what is going on out there in the world unless I am told by a friend.  I like myself this way.  I am a pretty relaxed person as a result of my decision to be the way that I am.  My relationship with technology extends to checking email, because I have to and writing my blog, because I love to.  I go on Facebook, because I wish to be connected to my family and friends as I live far away from many of them and I can make new connections through social networks.

So, I am not saying “Down with Technology!”  What I am asking is “What is happening to us that we should choose to live in avoidance of each other?”  We speak of globalization and so much connection.

Yet still, I see people spending more time being disconnected while being in the physical presence of their fellow human beings, because they are too connected to their technological playmates in the shapes of iPads, iPods, BlackBerry’s, and whatever else is out there…

Until next time!

Best,

D.

P.S. A small disclaimer: I am a bit obsessed with the music of Charlie Winston at the moment.  😉

Men… As promised… (part 2 of 2)

"Zed," photography by Dolores Juhas. Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

  • Finally, men over 35 are perhaps more ready (read here: financially, emotionally, psychologically, physically… hopefully) to not only seriously consider marriage, but to also follow through with putting a ring on your finger the actual wedding day…

I cannot credit “Ask a Guy” Eric Charles’ responses with providing me with all these lessons.  I also learned a great deal in talking with friends and clients.  I listened to what was going well in their relationships and what was not working as they would like.

I also took the time to read a free kindle book (well, it is no longer free, but reasonably priced) on Amazon.com titled Master Dating:  52 Brilliant Ideas by Lisa Helmanis.  This book gives a wonderfully practical and accessible approach to examining and changing your behavioural patterns in your relationships with men.

As I generally am a just-rip-the-bandaid-off sort of person, I appreciate the author’s directness and clean style of writing.  The book covers issues from self-esteem to dating older/younger men.   My favourite chapters (almost all…) are:

  • Where are you at?
  • Too much information
  • Love mechanic
  • Facing the facts
  • If you meet this man, run
  • Keeping the boyfriend box clear
  • Putting the past where it belongs
  • Why men love bitches
  • The big freeze
  • The phone stops ringing
  • Breaking up is hard to do
  • Getting over rejection
  • Ex alert
  • How to make anyone want you
  • Green-eyed monsters
  • Real confidence
  • Are we there yet

Yes, there are actually other chapters 😉

Keeping promises…

So, what have I learned?  First, writing about men is difficult for me and second, I enjoyed keeping this promise.

No really, what I have actually learned is that like women, men (generally speaking here) want to be in relationships with someone who is whole.  What I mean by that is that they want to be with women, who have health self-esteems, have full and happy lives, and who understand the balance and value of give and take AND space and togetherness in their relationships.

Eric Charles says that men enjoy the chase (I think this was one of the hunter-gatherer references…) So, allow men to DO things for you, rather than you doing things for them.  Allow them to WORK for the relationship… You know, in the past I think we called this courting.

He says, “…it’s very important to get fulfillment, entertainment and love from many different areas of your life, not just from one lone man.

Also, having a full and fulfilling life makes it much easier for you to extend only as much effort towards the relationship as he’s extending.

… whenever you put effort into a relationship with someone, you are investing in them.  Whenever they put effort in, they are investing in you. If you are waiting by the phone for him to call and to make time for you, then you’re probably the only one doing the investing.”

Lisa Helmanis says that women should give to men what is appropriate to the status of the relationship.  So, don’t start by giving to men every possible gift that you can, otherwise what can you do to top yourself?  Holding back giving the best parts of yourself at the beginning means that you have more of yourself to offer later…

She says, “Now think of yourself as an expensive wine, give your next man too much, too soon and you’ll make him drunk with excitement, a bit unsteady on his feet, and then eventually sick at the very sniff of you.  Dole out your loving nectar in well measured portions.  You need to give him the chance to savour every mouthful, and be excited about anticipating the next.”

Perhaps thinking about yourself as something to be consumed might not be your ideal metaphor… So, she also says this,

“Be aware that anything that comes too easy doesn’t seem valuable.”

Until next time!

Best,

D.

Self-potrait, photography by Dolores Juhas

Photographs are by Croatian photographer, Dolores Juhas, whose work has been featured in such magazines as Italian Vogue.  You can visit her website at http://www.dolores-juhas.tk or email her: d_juhas@yahoo.co.uk.  She has her own blog at http://themax.bloger.hr

Men… As promised… (part 1 of 2)

Untitled, photography by Dolores Juhas. Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved

I will be the first to admit that I know very little about the not-so-fairer sex.  (Well, the guy in this picture is pretty fair… don’t you think? ;)).  This may have something to do with the for-so-long-queer issue.  It may have something to do with the primarily working with females issue.  I mean, really, my life has been surrounded by women:  from five years living in a convent to three years attending an all girls high school to working in treatment programs for girls.
More recently, however, I have found myself surrounded by, engaged in, and pondering about the world of men.  And oh man (pun intended) it is fascinating… Of course, more fascinating to me is how women, whom I know, view men in their lives and in general.
Want to know about men? Ask a Guy
Since early last year, I have spent time visiting the site A New Mode.  It is a site dedicated to addressing the relevant topics of the modern-day woman, which has nothing to do with me.  Thus, I always go to the only area of interest to me, “Dating & Relationships.”  Why?  Well, it’s as I have stated above, I have spent a great deal more time recently talking about men with women.  Hence, I enjoy reading about dating and relationships, especially if there is a unique and/or male perspective.
And A New Mode most definitely has a perspective that is both unique and male…  It comes in the form of advice columnist Eric Charles in the section titled “Ask a Guy.”
In “Ask a Guy” Eric answers a variety of questions, e.g. “Why is always the girl’s fault?” and he writes special segments titled “Decoding Male Behavior,” in which he tackles topics such as the male perspective on “neediness.”  Of most importance to me is his style of relaying the information he deems necessary for readers.
If you are expecting any kind of sugar-coating, there is none.  He is quite in-your-face about his understanding of male behavior AND why, at the end of the day, women need to learn to accept the men in their lives or… move on.
Okay, so what’s my point?  The point is Eric has taught me a great deal about men (from his perspective).  That is, men…
  • are more action-oriented rather than word-based
  • need space to resolve their issues than “help” (so, don’t try to fix him…)
  • men know how to use a telephone.  Really… they do.  They know what text messaging is and don’t suddenly lose their visual and digital capabilities upon receiving your text messages.  They are simply choosing not to respond.
  • do things one thing at a time… So, if he is reading, he is reading and doesn’t want to be disturbed.
  • men’s concept of time is profoundly different from women.  This goes back to both the action-oriented and one thing at a time issues.  That is, men are less aware of the time that is passing since you last sent that text message, left that voicemail, email, Skype/Windows Live message.  They are focused on getting things done… and responding to you goes in order of sequence. Don’t take it personally.
  • If a man is “into” you (I really dislike this expression), you will know.  Why?  Because he does what he says he is going to do.  Simple.  He calls when he says he will.  He shows up when he says he will.  So… Stop asking him, your friends, your family, random strangers…
  • If a man is not “into” you (I really really dislike this expression), you will know.  Why?  He does not do what he says he will.  Simple.  He may call you sometimes (randomly).  Show up when it is convenient for him (maybe).  He certainly will not be responding in any reasonable timeframe, if at all, to your messages (no matter the format).
  • Men don’t like “needy” women.  Now, let’s clarify that.  I believe “needy” here would be in the category of emotionally insecure and co-dependent women, who are seeking a relationship to feel more stable/more whole/more accepted… etc.  Women who need someone to show them the beauty of who they are.
  • Men don’t like to feel needy.  So, men like to feel in charge of their world, their destiny.  They like to know they can provide for themselves and their loved ones.  I believe Eric mentioned something about our primal days when discussing this issue…
  • Men choose to heal from break-ups in multiple ways.  Some take a lot of time to be alone and sort themselves out while spending time with friends.  Others become quite sexually promiscuous (this brings to mind urban slang “man-whore”… but I dislike that expression almost as much as slut or whore sans man), and drift from one “relationship” to another.
  • Men are not all complete jerks, so don’t generalize based upon your experiences or those of your best friend, sister, mother, next door neighbour…
  •  Men will run from a woman who only, or mostly, reflects back to them the worst parts of themselves (i. e. of the men… I imagine they would run from a woman who was only showing the worst parts of herself too… unless truly sadistic or in saviour mode.)
  • Men experience emotions… too.  You know, sadness, fear, guilt, shame, anger, happiness, surprise, disgust, envy/jealousy, love…

Until next time!

Best,

D

Self-potrait, photography by Dolores Juhas

Photographs are by Croatian photographer, Dolores Juhas, whose work has been featured in such magazines as Italian Vogue.  You can visit her website at http://www.dolores-juhas.tk or email her: d_juhas@yahoo.co.uk.  She has her own blog at http://themax.bloger.hr