Speed-Dating: OkCupid-Style

Speed-Dating: OkCupid-Style

Click. Click. Rome. Click. London. Click. Somerville. Click. Open in a New Window. Click. New York. Click. Click. Click. Milan. Click. Perth. Click. San Francisco. Click. Open in a New Window. Click. Click. Click. Click.

The faces blur into one word: No. They blur into an action: Click.

They blur into forgotten memory like many paintings seen only once. I try to assign human names to HotRod4U or CumCMe or BigTits2Day or DownNDirty or MuyCaliente or some similar thing in Italian.

I try to use my long dual-language profile to screen out unnecessary messages and sexmails, and even end it on a quasi-diatribe on exoticism.  It’s been working. Sort of.

Click. Block. Hey. Block. Wassup? Block. Got Chocolate? Block. U Busy L8r? Block. Le donne nere… Block.

I’m blocking out the words that counter my usually empathetic mind as I scroll and click pass over a thousand men with their barely-covered genitalia on display.  It’s not working.

I read Mark Manson and try to understand the male psyche. I decide it must suck balls to be male, even if they supposedly have everything.  There’s not much they can do to express themselves.  Men are should-burdened into thinking themselves to be robots, or worst still, sex machines.

Or worst still, pathetic.

It’s shocking what the internet unmasks about society: apparently, a bunch of sex-crazed, racist, narcissistic…wait, I just got a message.  It’s amazing how excited you can become when someone treats you like a human being.

Click. Profile. Click. The Two of Us. Click. Unacceptable Answers. Scroll.

  • “I strongly prefer to date people within my race.”
  • Glance up at the European-ancestors-face. Scroll.
  • “Women are obligated to shave their legs.” Scroll.
  • “I don’t mind racist jokes.” Scroll.
  • “I don’t like tattoos on women.” Click. Block.

I’m not shocked. It’s just another day in online dating, about which I have come to understand a couple of things.

  • Some men, particularly in Italy,
  • like to wear Speedos.
  • and take pictures spread-eagled.
  • Some women, particularly in the US,
  • like to wear lingerie,
  • and take pictures of their breasts.
  • ………………………………………
  • Some people don’t have faces.
  • Some people use other people’s faces.
  • Some people don’t live where they say.
  • Some people are sad to say where they live.
  • Some people are just people who are too busy.
  • Some people are people who just want to get busy.

 

Until Next Time,

D.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Relationships] To Rebound or Not To Rebound? Um…I don’t think we actually have a choice…

For a few days now, I have been thinking about that space in between relationships, oftentimes called the “rebound” period.  Why?  Well, because I am in it, but not just in it…

I am actually recognising and admitting to myself that I am in it.

Now, for some people, this may seem quite a strange concept.  The inevitable question is: how could you not know that you were on the rebound?

Image Found: SomeEcards.com

Well, the answer is easy enough.  I just never thought about it.  I simply lived with a kind of go with the flow mentality that led me easily from one relationship to another from the age of fifteen.

I am sure I am not alone in this.  More than likely, there are many, who just never seem to be out of a relationship or out of the dating experience.

Of course, there are some people who might say, “Hold up, D! I know you were single from years XXXX to YYYY! I was there listening to you complain!”

And while that may be technically true, i.e. that I was not in an established relationship, I was most definitely casually or seriously dating on a regular basis in between and complaining about those dating experiences…and not my last relationship. 😉

The other day, I was talking with my friend, V. about being single.  V. is about eleven years younger than I am and told me that since he had started his dating life, he had spent more time being legitimately single than not.  His words gave me a serious pause for thought…especially as I was just about to head out the door to what could be seen as a–oh, I don’t know–date.

Image Found: Fremdeng.ning.com

His words acted like a very loud warning bell, stating oh so clearly, that I needed to back up and think about what I was about to get myself into! (Thanks, V.!)

Seriously, if I were to add up all the times when I was not in a relationship and not dating in any fashion between the ages of fifteen to thirty-five, I think I would come up with less than five years (and that figure is really generous on my part).

Five years of being single out of twenty years is really not a great deal of time.  Not only was I operating on a permanent rebound status, I was also not being fair to the people who dated me, either casually or seriously.

Even more importantly, I wasn’t being fair to myself.  I wasn’t allowing myself to heal and to learn lessons from my experiences, so that I could make better choices moving forward–not that I am not grateful for everyone and all the experiences I have had.

Image Found: Examiner.com

Still, it would have been far better for me and for those who had been involved with me had I waited and sorted through the feelings that can emerge when a relationship ends, such as sadness, fear, anger, jealousy, envy, guilt, shame, and that general sense of abbandonment (even if I had been the one to end the relationship).

Instead, I found myself in many emotional tug of wars.  However, I was the one working both sides of the rope,  attempting to pull people closer to me when they seemed too far away from me at one moment, only to pull them far away from me when they seemed too close to me in the next moment.

After my conversation with V. and subsequently my therapist (yes, I have started therapy again ), I began asking myself why was it that I hadn’t chosen to remain single for long periods of time.

Certainly, some might imagine that it would be an issue of fearing being alone…but anyone who knows me would easily refute that.  I love being alone, even in a relationship. Furthermore, I rarely experience loneliness.

Seriously, I really enjoy solitude. 🙂

Julie Andrews, Sound of Music. Image Found: TheAge.com

Perhaps I thought that that was what ought to be doing, i.e. dating and “moving on with my life.”  You know, gallivanting in meadow with the magical spring weather that forces you to embrace the warmth of new love…or something like that.

I am of the mindset that it is more than likely this.

Perhaps it was an effort to “reset” my last experience, which oftentimes enough had provoked some kind of painful emotional response.  Thus, being with someone new was a lesson that intimacy wasn’t something to be feared–remember, I really like my own company and so it is easy for me to isolate.

Well, the point is that I am embarking on a journey to understand this experience of being on the rebound and also working through it.  Thus, when the time comes for me to actually have another relationship, I will be better able to understand what I want from it and what I can give it.

If you are like me or the contrary to me (actively staying away from dating and relationships), then taking a moment to pause for thought on this subject might not be such a terrible idea. 😉

Until Next Time,

D. 

Fruit stands, and why I choose not to date…

Rome, romance…They would seem to go hand-in-hand.  Taking a look at the multitude of tourists who are perma-grinning all over the place all the time here, perhaps they do.  For me, romance is something I am choosing do without (as mentioned in a posting a couple of days back).

It isn’t just the need to focus on my well-being.  It is simply the craziness (to me) of it all.  I have found that dating doesn’t seem to quite exist here.  Many people either seem to be looking for an interesting fling/story…or they are ready to have you cooking and cleaning their houses (notice, I didn’t say marry…because, for some that is not quite what they have in mind). At this point, you may be wondering, D, why on earth are you thinking about this?

(I was attempting to find a video on attraction.  I found Yanni instead.  Makes me smile :))

The answer is that I went to buy some tangerines at the fruit stand today.  What?  Yes, it all happened at the fruit stand, where I was openly solicited by a handsome twenty-two year old, who was being actively encouraged by his older brother to ask me out.

Anyway, after laughing off the matter and abruptly extricating myself from the situation, I went home and began to think about my “dating” experiences in Rome.

And honestly, I haven’t really “dated” here in Rome.  I have met some very interesting people.  Half of whom were too young and looking for a mother/caregiver/advisor person.   The other half were older and looking for someone to dominate and exoticize.  Suffice to say, I saw through all of that easily enough, and have thus remained single.

More importantly, however, these experiences and this episode made me realize that I needed to ask myself a serious question: That is, just what is it within me that is attracting these types of people?  After all, there must be something that I am seeking to have so many of the same types of people come my way.  I am quite positive that there are many eligible, single, socially adaptable, independent, successful, internally and externally attractive people out there in the world.  So, what exactly is going on with me?

Some people may say, Well, D, you are a strong woman.  And strong attracts weak. And to those people, I will say, perhaps you are right, but I am willing to wait for the universe to present me with someone who can recognize the balance of strength and weakness within himself or herself and in others.

So, Mr. Young Fruit Stand Man, thanks but no thanks…I’ve learned this lesson too many times already.  🙂

Until Next Time!

Best,

D.

 

P.S. Excellent quote I found on ViewOnBuddhism.org:

“When we accept the way things are we are able to love everything and everybody. When we are not able to accept even one thing in this world right now, then how could we ever develop boundless love? Lack of acceptance is conflict. Conflict is pain. It is psychological pain. It is a spiritual illness. As long as our hearts are tormented by that pain, we do not have the strength to give our heart to anything and because of that it is impossible to bring about inner awakening. Enlightenment, you see, is just another name for boundless love.

It is almost impossible to practice loving-kindness towards all living beings without addressing, in a meaningful way, the innumerable problems arising in our own lives. It is a contradiction, you see. It does not work. If our heart is tormented because we are not able to accept things the way they are, then it is impossible to open our heart. It is impossible to let go of all of our defenses and embrace others. Therefore we have to constantly practice and deepen our awareness. We have to remind ourselves to accept things as they are. This is pretty much what the teachings called Mind Training are all about. Mind Training in Buddhism is about carrying those perspectives and even reciting slogans, phrases like “I shall accept the way things are.” Anam Thubten, No Self, No Problem

AMBW… What??

I have a tendency towards researching things.  Yes, I am a bit obsessive.  However, when I speak or write about a topic, I like to be as well-informed as possible.  In my last posts, you may have noticed that I have been using information from Asian countries, i.e. expats living in Asian countries like Japan and Korea.  I have been researching on YouTube what it is like for Black women to live in countries where they are a perceivable minority…Little did I know that this research would lead to…

Apparently, there is a growing celebration of interracial relationships between Asian Men and Black Women.  I had no idea.  Of course, I think it is brilliant that people of different ethnic/racial/religious/etc.  can and want to get together.  I am, however, a bit concerned by the seeming exoticism of it all…

I know in my life, I have tried to stay clear from people who are seeking to be in a relationship with me because they have a prepared plan of only dating Black women, because Black women are x, y, and z…,or who are seemingly fixated on my cultural background.  So, I am uncertain as to what is happening here with this AMBW push.

More importantly, I have noticed that there are even virtual battles that are being waged about the beauty of Black women and where we stand on the beauty standard totem pole…And according to some, we are at the bottom.  There are even some arguments that Asian men and Black women should get together, because we are both on bottom in terms of desirability…And I am like (yes, I wrote “like”), “What??!!”

Have I missed the boat here?  Was there some big thing that happened culturally that I wasn’t aware of it?  It’s true that I don’t watch television, listen to the radio, avoid newspapers and magazines.  So, it is quite possible.  When, however, did minorities exoticizing other minorities become in vogue.

(Very good YouTube video that addresses this issue. Video by Charly in Korea)

 My apologies for the tirade, but…

Until Next Time.

Best,

D.

P.S.  This guy is just too much :D…

 (“Interracial Dating – Korean Guy’s Perspective”

by famousamos on YouTube)

Love: is it really necessary to state it?

Reading manga and watching anime has recently turned into a pastime of mine.  I enjoy this aspect of Japanese culture and am a very visually-inclined person, thus it works out.  As I have been going along with my soon-to-be-obsessive manga/anime thing, I have come to recognize an important difference between Japanese and American cultures.  That is, in America we use the actual words “I love you” as though we are automatic ticket dispensing machines… you know, the ones at the deli, or in a waiting room, at the post office… the ones that you push the button and out comes that little slip of paper that let you know that you will receive service?

When I first began read manga, I thought that the statement suki desu (“I like you”) were a direct translation of the English “I love you” as this is how it is often translated.  I was shocked to discover that the word aishiteru was actually “I love you.”  Furthermore, that this word was rarely used.  Initially I was dismayed at the thought of what life would be like without hearing the words “I love you,” then it dawned on me… “I love you” as it is used in English seems to hold very little meaning.  We use this statement seemingly freely, we love everything and everyone–disclaimer:  I know that I am generalizing here. 😉  Just bear with me.

The above thought left me transitioning from feelings of anger to sadness, sadness to fear, and back again to anger, only to end with resolve.  My anger stemmed from the many times I have heard, whether in my own personal life or hearing the tragic love stories of others,  the statement used “I love you” that should have been really daisuki desu “I like you a lot” or better yet “I like you a lot until I find someone I like even more.” 

No, this isn’t bitterness.  Yes, I own the fact that I have grown more skeptical throughout years, especially in more recent ones.  This is truly an attempt to understand emotionally honest and how clearly we can state our feelings given the limitations of our language.  Somehow we have lost the ability to describe our more intimate feelings using words such as “adore,” “dear,” “smittened,” etc.  Somehow it seems that we can only go from zero to one hundred in our feelings, and subsequently zoom down the love highway.  We seemingly go from “I like you” to “I love you” without hesitation, but why?

Is it that we can no longer take the time to accurately identify and aptly describe our emotional state in relation to each other?  Are we so very worried that if we do not say “I love you” that the feeling will not be conveyed accurately?  I want to return to a world where I can say that I adore, am smittened, find dear, am enamored, find beloved, yearn for, desire, long for, want,etc…

So, what does this all mean, D.?  Well, simply that I tip my hat to Japanese culture and am choosing to embrace in my life taking the slow lane to stating the profound feelings embodied within the words “I love you.”  Afterall, life and people are too precious not slow down, understand, and clearly state my feelings.  In the long run, it is simply with the aim of causing no or little harm.

 

10 Things I Still Don’t Understand… (Part 2)

Continuing with the final 5 in my list 10…

6. Cougarism/Dirty Old Men – I do not mean negatively. What I don’t understand is why we spend time labelling either of these types of people.

Because what we are talking about are “types” of people: women who prefer to date younger people AND men who prefer to date younger people.

This is vastly different from people who struggle with pedophilia or pederasty.

Yet still, we spend time reducing women to animals “cougars,” because they are 1) able to and potentially 2) prefer to date younger men. Also we do the same to men.   We make them into perverts, that somehow they are doing something “wrong,” something “dirty” by dating someone younger.  Jealousy gets you nowhere, folks. 😉

I live in Rome. I don’t know about other cities in Italy or around Europe. Here, however, it seems to me to be quite normal for “May-December” relationships to occur. Younger men often date older women. Older men often date younger women. It doesn’t seem to bother the Italians who live in Rome much. So, why is there such fuss and such hype… enough so that there is apparently a television show called “Cougar Town?”

Granted, there are some people who are just simply predatory and seek underaged sexual/intimate partners… And that’s when I would point possibly to words like pedophilia and pederasty… Of course, this is just my opinion.

Also, there is seemingly a gender bias here that disturbs me. In researching online about the topic of “cougars,” both women and term seem to enjoy a positive relationship with the media. There are dating sites devoted to “cougars” and it presents as a point of fascination and something at/about which one ought to smile. Whereas the “dirty old men” don’t seem to enjoy the same luxury… Are they not of the same ilk, however?

If the agenda is that one is strictly worried about the welfare of the young, then it shouldn’t really matter if the older person is male or female.

7. Reality T.V. – As some of you know, I am back in college for the second time around. Life as an undergrad affords one many pleasures. One of these pleasures is hearing about the latest in reality television. Apparently, the Real World is still on! Who knew! Considering the fact the first Real World premiered prior to my attending college the first time around (1995), I was a bit surprised, especially as after season 3 the structure of the program shifted dramatically.

I still miss Pedro Zamora (3/1/72-11/11/94), at whose funeral President Clinton spoke… and who, in my opinion, represented the very best of what the Real World hoped to show the youth of the world… That is that we can do so very much in our lives and touch the lives of many in real ways… even if we are given limited time…

My point is that my fellow students are quite absorbed in these made-up realities, these worlds of opulence, in which a group of young people are tossed and expected to humiliate themselves through intoxication, fornication (yes, I wrote that!) and by divulging way too much information, and making general spectacles of themselves… But why is this entertaining? Does anyone else remember the original 3 seasons of the Real World??? How awesome were they in comparison to what’s going on now? Oi… 😉

8. Relationship Construct – Perhaps as therapist I shouldn’t write this type of thing.  And on a professional level, my opinion is quite different from what I am about to write… because I do get it.  On a personal level, however, I don’t get traditional romantic relationships.  More specifically, I do not understand why we engage in the process of “demanding” or “asking” of someone else or ourselves to commit to being together “forever.”  No…. really, I don’t get it.

In my mind, at this point and for some time now, it would make more sense to simply allow for people to flow into and out of our lives, rather than say “No, you must stay” or “Don’t leave me.”

Yes, I understand that it is important to feel secure, to feel loved, to feel respected, to feel beautiful, to believe that you can trust in someone, etc.  Shouldn’t you first provide yourself with those things, so that it should not be so important to ask that someone else provide them for you?

And yes, I am single… and happily so  😉 (And apparently, eHow.com can tell you the way to achieve this too in 10 easy steps!)

9. Pejorative Reclamation – Okay, at first glance this may not make much sense.  What I am talking about is in reference to certain movements, such Third-wave feminism in the 90s. Pejorative reclamation is the action of marginalized groups taking ownership of terms/words that were used against them and “reclaiming” them in order to infuse and empower these words with new and positive meaning.  So, for example the term “bitch” was one of the first to be reclaimed.  Some examples of reclamation are Meredith Brook’s song “Bitch” (1997) and “Reclaiming Cunt” Eve Ensler’s episodic play The Vagina Monologues (1996).  So, what don’t I understand?

I don’t understand what happened…  Again this is simply my experience.  I, however, watched as women went from in the 90s taking power over the words that were for so long used against us… to then slowly but surely using them against ourselves as the decade ended and the new millennium began.  I could say as much for the “N” word.  Also the LGBQQT community has watched as the word “gay” has been taken back and has now become synonymous with the meaning of “stupid” or “ineffective” even as the community gains wider acceptance.


10. After 2000 – To end on a lighter note.  I am not sure about anyone else in their 30s or older.  What I have recently noticed is that I somehow stopped.  I am reminding myself of the “little old ladies” I used to see as a child, who seemed to be stuck in a period at least two decades earlier… from their manner of dress to their manner of speech.

What I mean is that my frame of reference drags me right back to the 90s.  I feel much more comfortable listening to alternative rock and am comforted by thoughts, songs, movies, etc. from the time period of my adolescence and my young adulthood.  It’s not that I am against the new millennium or that I refuse progress, etc.  Just somehow I feel a bit out of sync.  I don’t know… Perhaps I should start watching television.  It perhaps doesn’t help that the only things I watch on YouTube are between the years 1969 and 2002. 😉

Until next time!

Best,

D.

In memory…


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.  😉