Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Ex Factor

This weekend, I hit the bar scene in my hometown, meeting up with a bunch of friends from my early schooling years. Since I head out there so rarely, I'd invited everyone - even a couple of old flames, although no one I expected to show. However, while out on the scene, the first guy I see across the room immediately caught my eye and I felt my heart stop. For lack of creativity, we'll call him John. Suddenly, I knew the night would be a little more interesting.

Anyway, there he was, standing tall and confident, his lips curved into that same smile that made my heart skip a beat - and turned me into a 16 year old smitten little girl. John was talking up some pretty ladies, and suddenly, I didn't know how to talk to him. Seriously. I mean, I know I invited him, but the security I felt early on in the evening was gone. Just like that. I was older, cuter, more confident, and successful, but yet my feet were frozen in place.

I snapped out of it rather quickly and made my way over. He smiled wider when he saw me, lifting me off the ground and wrapping his arms around me. And for a bit, I felt tingly all over, all the sexual tension we had came rushing back.

He wasn't there too much longer - almost as though he waited for me - but before leaving he laid a soft kiss on my lips with his hands on my hips. What a tease, right?

Chalk it up to the holidays, the desire to reminisce, the desire I had to flirt or the fact that he meant a lot during my teen years, but I couldn't help but feel smitten all over again. I mean, the tension was so sexy...

He's always been about the thrill of the chase, and I am sure, that if I were closer around (than, say, 800 miles away), it wouldn't be quite the same for him. Or would it?

But a girl never forgets it when she's sprung. Or I don't. It doesn't happen too often, after all. :-)

Wish I could say more happened that night. But like my teens, the buck stopped before things ever got very far. Doesn't stop that whole "moth to a flame" thing I feel though.

In the meantime, memories may just have to do - unless he wants to rack up some airline miles on a three day weekend.

There's nothing like the spark of an old flame to excite a girl. :-)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The 80/20 Factor

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday, who was feeling a sense of frustration - she has a male friend, that, as she put it, seems to give so much more to than he does to her. Talking to her about this, I couldn't help make a connection to a basic principle of business -- the 80/20 rule. Essentially, 80% of all business comes from a solid 20% client base. Interesting principle - institutions have been set up on this

But then it applies to relationships -- think Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? (Have you ever seen it? If not, I'd advise renting it!) In it, Jill Scott's character is married to man that emotionally abuses her, and he ultimately leaves her for his younger, thinner mistress. Later, when the male characters are speaking, they discuss the 80/20 rule, distinguishing between fantasy and reality. Essentially, the "80" is equivalent a woman that would have it all, verses the "20," which is another woman, that is often good for the superficial, but often lacks the substance of the "80." The following blog explains it further.

At the end of the movie, Jill Scott's character's husband, when he sees the transformation his ex-wife makes, mistakenly references the "20/80 rule." Having found her strength, she puts him in his place, corrects him about the rule, and dismisses the attention he gives her (go Jill go!) as he realizes he had his "80" in her.

It's human nature, when we have our "80" in front of us, to wander and wonder what if with a "20." However, what it boils down to is simple: either appreciate what you have, or spend forever looking for pieces when all along you had your rock.

I'm wrapping my head around this one - it makes so much sense it's scary, don't you think?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Pretty Boy

Here's the truth: One of the types of guys I was attracted to all during my teens was the quintessential pretty boy. You know what I'm talking about: softer features, clean cut... Sometimes, they may even outdress you, or have way too much more style, in which case you'd need to wonder what you bring to the relationship (and that would make him a metrosexual, but that's another conversation).

However, Pretty Boys can be super intimidating, with their style and put togetherness... Not to get all stereotypical, but it can be daunting as heck when your boyfriend, a cutie pie extraordinare, is just too cute... And not necessarily overly put together, but just has the gentlest features that make you wonder if he just needs a girl as pretty as him to kind of balance him out.

I recently bumped into one of my Pretty Boy friends - one I used to pine for because he was pretty it was a little daunting. If I had it together, he had it more together. And with his perfect physique (NO joke), and wide smile with symmetrical features, I felt that he needed the girl version of himself.

Don't get it twisted. I like the way I look. But if he were a girl, I could see myself being a little jealous. (*Insert Smile Here*) I mean how can you not be a little intimidated?

But, at second glance, I realized: any guy that pretty can't be all that perfect. I like my men a little rugged. And then I can bring the cute into it all -- keeping a "Ying Yang" effect on things, if you will - thus maintaining much more of a balance, don't you think?

Open to feedback on this one. Haven't delved into this one nearly enough yet.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holiday Affection

What IS it about the holidays that gets people all warm and fuzzy? Maybe it's the cold outside, or that warm feeling of togetherness... But holidays in general get people all wound up.

I know I've been the victim of this warm feeling that the holidays cause. Starting with Thanksgiving and spilling through the New Year, you can't help but want someone by your side to keep you warm during the nights, or to bring home while your family embarrasses you!

Now, my family is intense and I'm not craving the possibility of bringing someone into that. However, I have to admit, the sight of all things related to the holiday make me all warm and fuzzy inside. I would say that for me, the feeling started right after Halloween and will go away on January 2. :-)

But then there's the chance to meet a bunch of other fun singles to start of the new year, isn't there?

I guess there ARE ups to this whole thing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What About Your Friends?

When I was younger, I loved the group TLC. You know what I'm talking about: T-Boz, Left Eye and Chili? They had funky clothes, fun beats, and animated videos. I didn't always get the messages to their songs, but all that mattered to me was that they were catchy.

The other day, I heard a familiar song -- "What About Your Friends." I didn't know much about the lyrics, so I decided to search them online. It has been over 15 years after all. And what it boils down to: "Will your friends be around when you need them the most?"

I know that my closest friends have been my friends for years, and people that I believe I would go through the fire with because they trust me, and I trust them. And no matter what, you can lean on them, and they can lean on you.

Maybe I'm naive, but when I go into my friendships, I go into all of them expecting them to last forever. And to me, my friends are heroes. Any people that can listen to me fret as often as I do would have to be a hero in my book. :-)

I also know I've been burned deep when I've had friendships change. I guess it's hard when you've positioned someone in one way, and somewhere, when you weren't looking, it's no longer quite what you thought.

That said, I want to always be that for them. It's so hard when you're immersed in trouble spots in your life to see outside of that sometimes. And, I want to always come back to Earth and be their rock.

I guess it's the price that comes with getting older and friendships are harder than they used to be. And that's real. But still, you know? The truth is, I guess it's part of the growing pains, isn't it? It may be, but I'm not ready to let go quite that easily. I try whenever I can, and as hard as it may get to face the reality of what things are from what they used to be.

And so it goes: "What about your friends?"

Good question.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Breaking Up is Hard... But Letting Go? Yeah...

Here's the truth: I've rarely dated seriously. And, what's more, in the serious dating I've done, I've not had the opportunity to be the "break-up-ee." And, for a type A control nut like me, that's an especially difficult pill to swallow when you grow to care about someone in a way you're not used to caring about someone.

I saw an ex, probably the most "important" ex I've had to date, and it still kills me that we're not together (Oh believe me, that is another VERY interesting story I won't tell now). Anyway, the feelings ran deep, so deep, and while it's all said and done, it kills me to see him and think of what we had... I still miss him, and there are times I want to do nothing more than to pick up the phone and call, or run to his apartment and into his arms and tell him about the crazy day that only he would understand.

But, then I think about the emotional turmoil he put me through and I snap back to attention. "There WAS a reason you broke up," I remind myself.

That makes it better sometimes. But that feeling has a way a resurfacing at your weakest points. Or when your teddy bear isn't enough.

I know that there will be another one to take that place. Until you find "The One," there always is. However, until I get to that point, I stand by my willpower, and know memories are enough until I let myself fall again.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dating Just Cause

Here's a truth about me: Historically, I've never been that great at casual dating. That is, dating just because. I never have been, really. To be honest, it's not like I haven't tried (and I've got the field notes to prove it). But it's almost because I find it pointless to date people that you feel somewhat lukewarm about just for the sake of dating them. ESPECIALLY if you know what it is that you want. Blame this on my focused, Type A persona, why don't you?

Granted, I'm still in my 20s, and you SHOULD enjoy that time in your life. Trust me, I have so far. The first few years were certainly great to me (and stories not to be told quite here). However, the fact of the matter is that now that I'm past that phase, dating gets to be a strategic whittling down process.

I know it seems clear that this is the POINT of dating. But my last couple of experiences have enlightened me enough to think that maybe it's not the craziest thing in the world to do -- date without "purpose", that is. Sometimes, it's about the moment. And I wasn't seeing it quite that way before. Plus, the guys I see know I'm not pushing them into anything. I, after all, have my own agenda. And, for now (and until I meet The One), mine is having fun.

Now more than ever is when all that guy advice makes sense to me: don't stress, go with the flow, blah, blah. Understanding this, I think, is the sexiest thing. Maybe even sexier than any little black dress?

Wait, not quite. I don't want to exaggerate it that much. :-)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Disappearing Acts

Lots of things disappear: I know I did for a bit (due to the seasons changing, under the weather, and recovery), but that's over for now. My sincerest apologies that I've been behind on my soapbox chatter, but rest assured, I have enough fuel to keep me going.

That said, I want to immediately flip the script to the concept of disappearing when it comes to people.

Sometimes, it just seems much easier to up and vanish as opposed to transitioning out of a relationship you may have with someone. Friendship, relationship, whatever.

I have friends that vanish and reappear -- very "here today, gone tomorrow." Not ones I consider steady friends, so I don't sweat it.

And this is no less when it comes to dating: Men that seem to be working out great when they pull a disappearance that would have made Houdini's head spin.

I won't use this space to rant out the particulars. But, I don't get it when people do that and leave someone hanging. I admit to having disappeared on a man or two in my past. However, since I HATE how it felt when it was done to me I switched it up - and started being straight up when I wasn't into something or someone. Why play the game and have people wonder?

Point here is quite simple: Don't underestimate people. Try honesty. You're doing everyone a favor.

Think about a time you disappeared. Was it worth it? Why was it better to do that?

Whatever your reason, it couldn't have been so bad that you couldn't say something. Could it have?

Damn this whole fear thing. It really gets in the way.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday Night Bars

So, I made the horrible mistake of going out to the bar in my area. Sure, it was a Friday night, but I'm so over it, and besides -- going to bars is no way to spend good money. Give me a nice pair of shoes, nice wine or great meal ANY day. I actually went out with the intention of seeing a neighbor and friend at a party of hers. I never made it there, because of how lousy the bar scene was, and how drunk my friend had gotten before we had a chance to make it there. But we won't go there.

Anyway, the scene was as I expected: a large college party with guys trolling the scenes and girls shimmying up to get the guys to notice. Sigh.

Now, what blows my mind is what some women do to get attention: dancing on top of the guy, or on top of their girlfriends to get their attention just to feed any male fantasy? Don't get it twisted - dancing with your girls is fine. But often you can tell when it's just a bit much.

Anyway, I met a group of guys that kept talking to me, with one of their friends reminding me of guys I met in the past. One of them, "Derek" bought us beers (even though he'd asked what I liked, and got me another instead) and my friend and I chatted with him and his friend "Sam". Derek also kept sticking his ass out at me to grab it, which was, well... Idiotic, I'd say? I guess it was an awkward attempt to get at me, and his wingman, Sam, was talking to my friend. However, it appears that Sam may have just been doing his job until Derek seemed settled. He promptly disappeared to hang out with a girl in their extended group.

Within 5 minutes of meeting us, Derek invited us to his house the next afternoon to hang out. He'd be watching some games with his buddies, and he wanted to invite "gorgeous women" over to his place.

Later, Derek kept reciting his address, and asking if we'd go. By the time I managed to peel my friend out of the bar, I'd rolled my eyes. He'd "invited" us, yes, but the chances that he'd remember are slim to none if we factor how much drinking he may have done.

And, well... It seems LAZY that as opposed to asking for a phone number, he'd give an address and expect us to find our way over. It's like the boys in college that invite you to the frat house for "the biggest party ever" when you realize it's their efforts to admire a plethora of women.

In any case, it's Saturday morning, and I have to laugh it off. But man, staying on my couch with a glass of wine and movie seems SO much sexier!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

70s TV & Relationships Examined

Although born after the 1970s, I loved 70s TV. Its topics were a lot more real, and did a lot more exploration of lifestyles outside the "norm" for that time. Nowadays, that's not uncommon but we need to think about what was going on then to consider it revolutionary: our country in transition, Civil Rights, Women's Lib, Vietnam War... And just out of the "simpler" time of the 1950s. I mean, face it: it was country-crisis time.

In "Three's Company," we have two girls and a guy, single living in hot, sunny CA... In "The Jeffersons," we have the exploration of an upper middle class Black family.. "All in the Family" breaks down the everyday life of a narrow minded, bigot of a man and his family... And in "One Day at a Time," we have newly divorced Ann Romano taking life into her own hands to start again as a single woman with two teen daughters.

It's the latter I want to take a peek at. I was watching a rerun last night about the main character Ann, and her reluctance to head to a singles bar while her daughters are away. Through coaxing by her friend and neighbor, she goes and witnesses how the "single and ready to mingle" live on a Friday night in 1970s Indianapolis. After witnessing men make the rounds, and the women who accept and reject their advances, she realizes that people need people. And, that's when she is aware of how much she has going for herself.

I LOVE going out. I get to do it less these days as most of my friend are in long term monogamous relationships and spend time with their significant others.

But I notice that when I go out, it's a lot like Ann. Which is when I smiled to myself, realizing I can take a lesson from 70s TV: people out there want something and someone. So the bar scene I go to, although 35 years later, isn't so different.

Who knew? Wondering what I can get out of watching a little Jack Tripper...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

She Says: When you're dating... But not really.

Admittedly, when it comes to dating, I've decided that I'm something of an extremist: I either care and want something, or I'm indifferent and well... I've got one thing on the agenda. However, I realized that line got a little hazy when I entered a mixed bag issue: a pseudo-dating situation (can mirror the "Friends with Benefits", or FWB). Although they're typically considered minimal by way of investment and maximum by way of pleasure (See Exhibit A), I've found that they may not always allow for a sense of control.

What do I mean? Well, see it like this: I met a guy about a year ago and we hit it off right away. He'd made it clear that he was interested in seeing me past that night, and while I was still licking the wounds of a break-up, I thought this guy would be a great chance for me to really just have fun - and not worry about a relationship in any way.  So, we start hanging out, having nice evening dates, where he was even holding my hand and not afraid to cuddle in public. It was just what I wanted. 

As time and circumstances would have it, we slowed down for a while. Our jobs picked up speed and our schedules didn't mesh during most of the winter. But before I knew it, spring was here, and we were back in full swing. And, as we started spending time together again, it became much more infrequent than in the beginning - a nice night here and there more than anything.

Now, take this how you will, but that is not the part I was wound up about. Unlike in the beginning, there were less options as to when I got to see him. And suddenly, because there was no telling if and/or when I would see him, I wasn't having as much fun - mainly because I wanted to feel like I could call some of the shots about when we hung out. And after standing me up once or twice of our "dates" (which in most cases he found me), I decided I'd let it play out one last time before I took any measures.

He'd reached out to me initially via texts, sounding excited to see me after work one day to get food and drinks -- after all "it's been forever," he'd said when he called the night before our date. Giving him the benefit of the doubt from past behavior, I agreed to meet him. However, when he didn't call at our scheduled time that night, I raised an eyebrow. When a half hour passed with no call, I got annoyed. And when I didn't hear from him for the rest of the night, I got pissed.

So, when he sent a text message the next NIGHT, I promptly deleted it -- and his number from my phone book. After all, I'm sure there are several more he's already calling.

And that is how I called checkmate. By taking a LARGE dose of "He's just not that into you." Simple AND effective (Thanks Sex and the City, Greg Behrendt & Liz Tuccillo)

It's not much of a situation if he gets to call the shots, now is it? It's not much of anything if he can't wait to see more of me, period. 

Now that's my proud side talking.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

She Says: "Relationship Status: Texting"

In this day and age, it is SO easy to communicate. The advent of cell phones make it possible for us to be later more often ( I mean, how often have YOU heard: "Hey honey, just leaving right now. Hopping into a cab. I'll be there in 20."), or talk to people no matter WHERE you are (bus, bathroom, on line in a restaurant). AND, phones these days let us supplement personal relationships through meaningful exchanges without actually talking through the power of text messages:

You: It was gr8t to c u! 
Me: U 2! Let's do that more often.
You: 4 Sure.

I had a great talk this evening with one of my closest girls since moving to Chicago. Like many of my amazing female friends, she's a walking powerhouse: great career, independent, sharp, witty and pretty. We'll call her Sassy.

Anyway, in trading stories on our twisted romantic lives, she told me that she's been in touch with a guy she met for the past two months which was great - but it's all by text messaging. He sends her a message each morning, with some flowery compliment, and he's even sent her photos (Man he's hot). But that's all it's been. No plans to meet or anything. Just sweet texting.

Now, I give Sassy credit. She's been rolling with the punches, and responding, not expecting anything, but instead, going with the flow of the situation. She's never been the clingy type, so why start now? Still, it's strange to maintain a conversation with someone by text alone. What in the heck could this mean?

Her own story had me reflect on my own situations. I mean, how many times have I met a guy and let most of the exchanges lie with texting? I certainly haven't taken myself off the market, but I have grown to maintain some semblance of a "relationship" in the form of digital characters on my BlackBerry.

This is one that stumps me, but the only thing I come back to is that it's all about the guy -- it's a new way to get involved without getting committal -- while he tests the waters, he can keep someone in his back pocket. Yeah, that starts to make sense, but then why put the effort? To me, if you're not into it, then just don't be. It's not like any lady is waiting (I know Sassy's not).

But then, if you are interested, what's the big deal in picking up the phone? Skip the text. I don't know about you, but the in person meeting could be just as fun, or MORE so. After two months, there will be plenty to say face to face! :-) 

Help me understand this one (especially the men). What's the kicker?

Monday, August 25, 2008

She Says: "Can't We All Just Get Along?" Well, We Don't HAVE To...

It's inevitable that our friends are going to keep company with all sorts of people -- including those that we don't like. Sometimes we're lucky enough not to see them very often. And then other times, we have the sad misfortune of being in their graces enough so that it's irritating.

The question is, when should we draw the line in showing support for our friend and preserving our sanity to avoid spending time with people that annoy us?

It's easy to get caught up in "courtesy" -- especially if you were raised with some semblance of manners. We want to, after all, try and keep peace with the people we cherish. But I think it's ok to say "no" in your own way. Why fake the funk? If anything, it's arguably more polite to spend less time with them so you don't come off rude when you do see them.

I'm not saying dodge them completely. Going to large parties can certainly mean you won't be forced to talk with them all night. But if it's going to be a group of three? Why not pass?

I find myself in these situations all the time, and with all the Labor Day festivities being planned for the weekend, some friends have also shared stories of events they're not psyched about because of the guest list. 

The choice is theirs but in the end, you may have to consider your friend. How close are they? If that's your pal in crime, and it's a pretty mixed group, it's OK to bear it once in a while. You may not know how many of your friends they can't stand.

But in the end, if it's a person that REALLY rubs you the wrong way, and there won't be that many people... Then it's a case by case. I DO know life is too short to put yourself in too many of those uncomfortable situations. So I'd measure it out. But don't force it. You know your threshold.

Think of it this way: the situations you DO bear can serve for great ammo to have a friend pay you back down the road. :-) 

Sunday, August 24, 2008

She Says: Watch for The Golden Band

So -- in this case I saw why I got the digits. Turns out the cutie that captured my eye wanted to take a minute on the phone, after a fun night of chatter, to tell me how unavailable he was. As in, he's married.

I admittedly didn't stare at his fingers from across the room nor did I stare at them when he gave me his phone number, hands at his side. No, I saw a guy flirting with me, and I did it back.

Now even though this is a prime example to check for the ring, it does worry me a little he didn't think to squelch the situation that night. Nothing happened... But I would be tripped out if my husband did it.

And the crazy thing is he's not the first... One married man (who had no band when I met him) had the nerve to kiss me and then share the fact that he was married.

A gal's gotta wonder: If golden bands mean less, how can you feel confident that he won't buckle to temptation? A little creepy to think that the commitment thing means a little less...

She Says: Getting the Digits. Now What?

So I was out last night in the West Loop for a friend's birthday party. I was with a large group of people having a great time -- but like many single women I did scope the scene, keeping my eyes open for any possible eye candy. After all, looking's never bad... Is it?

And as luck would have it, a cute piece of work caught my eye. While I couldn't help but stare at him, I was admittedly a little shy. Who isn't? I'm comfortable in my looks, and I felt really put together that night. But it doesn't make that "high school nervousness thing" go away.

I told my friend's sister about this, who in response (or maybe it was the vodka from the night talking), dragged me over to the waiting area by the bathroom where he was. She and I started chatting with him and his friends, and I soon came out and told him that we were there because I was drawn to him.

Turns out that the party he was there for was connected to mine - his friend and my friend (birthday girl) are friends. Small world, eh? Therefore, we got much more time to chat.

Before he left, he came over to me and asked whether my "friend" who wanted to talk to him was interested in talking to him. When I reminded him that it was me, he smiled and said he just wanted to make sure to cut through the bull. Gotta admit, I appreciated that. 

In turn, he rattled off his number. And, before he left, he called me out while talking with his friends.

I appreciate his candid, direct approach to get me to cut past my whole momentary "shy" thing. And he even gave me his number, although one CAN argue that it gives him chance to blow me off if he feels like it.

Then why give out the number, right? I know, I know. Now, it's just about calling the guy. And I will. But, I gotta be honest. His approach already has me paying attention. 

Some food for thought: 
How often should a girl get the guy's number? 
As for guys -- I always wonder whether they prefer to get the digits, or give them...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

She Says: Some Food For Thought

One of the things that seems to be at the top of mind with people I speak to -- regardless of age -- is the whole relationship thing. All types. Friendships, marriages, dating, sexual... 

Granted, it's a topic as old as time. But somehow, it makes for great conversation.

That said, I'm taking a stab at engaging that kind of conversation on here in a series of posts. I'm hoping it'll open the gateway to your own stories. And like all else - any type of relationship chatter is up for grabs. 

Thanks, and stay tuned... MORE on the way. 

Signed, "The A.D."