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Archive for March, 2009

“Enough,” my mom said to me as I lay on a hospital stretcher. In two of her past three trips to visit her kids, she’s ended up in the ER, first with my brother and now with me. “You need a husband to take care of you.” I’ve been thinking about what she said. I’m educated, employed and self-supporting. I’m living the typical single-gal-in-the-big-city life. If I’m sick, I heat up my own soup. If I’m tired after a long day at work, there’s no one to go to the grocery store in my place.

“The women in this town look so tough,” my mom said a few days later, after I was up and about and we rode the train together. “They don’t look sweet or caring. No one wants to marry that.”

A controversial stance, that. I’m sure some of you are reading this in disgust, and thinking quite ill of my mother, but you don’t know her. She’s no Stepford Wife. I have to say she made a valid point. Men who like women want to date women. They like us in dresses. They like that we smell nice. They like that we get concerned if they haven’t been eating well. They want the future mother of their children.

At the same time, women who like men want to date men. Taller than us, stronger than us, protective. They say that women date men like their fathers. I don’t know if that’s true, but I know that the men in my family are good at repairing things. To this day, even though I’m decent at fixing household stuff myself, I tend to call up my brother for help. When my dad’s in town, he busies himself making small repairs around my apartment. At work, my co-workers are mostly male, and I’ve definitely played the “you are tech-savvier than me, please help” role. Does it make me seem like a defenseless little girl? I don’t know. But I do know that I can’t do everything alone.

I’ve been hearing a lot about Steve Harvey’s relationship advice book, Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. He was on Oprah while I was home from work with the back injury, and he said this about men:

We profess, we provide and we protect. A man has got to see where he fits into the providing and protecting role. If you’ve got everything, you can do everything, you’ve got your own car … you’ve got a guard dog and a handgun. The guy is thinking, ‘Where do I fit in here?’ You’ve got to make a space for him to fit in so he can come in and do what men do.

A lot of people advise making space in your life for new things to come in. Suze Orman says to clean out your wallet to attract new money. Patti Stanger tells you to throw away things that remind you of exes so you can finally move on. Steve Harvey says to leave some unfulfilled needs in your life, so that someone can come in to meet them.

Does this mean that if you’re single, you should throw yourself a huge pity party and whine about how lonely you are to anyone who will listen? No. You should have a life, friends, a job and hobbies. But neither should you be so rooted in your self-sufficiency that you will refuse any person who doesn’t fit into the life you’ve created. You need some wiggle room so they’ll have a place. If you’re overscheduled and refuse to meet new friends and potential dates, you’ll find potential dates coming around less often. A person you go out with when it’s convenient for you, who moves out of your way when you’re busy, who doesn’t interfere with the life you created before you met them — that’s a mistress. A person who quickly becomes an essential part of your life — that’s a relationship.

Let someone take care of you. And while you’re at it, take care of them, too.

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No post this past Sunday because I threw out my back and spent seven hours in the ER. I learned an important lesson: If you want them to get you on a stretcher really fast, pass out from the pain in front of a lot of people.

Anyway, they hooked me up with sweet, sweet medication. When they discharged me, I probably looked like hell, but I still chatted up an adorable guy who sprained his ankle. I also later found him on Facebook (totally read his name on his hospital-issued wristband) and messaged him to ask how he’s feeling. I was still high as a kite at this point. Would I have done this without Valium? Probably. It’s getting to the point where I’m not really concerned about embarrassing myself around guys. You strike out? You strike out. Life goes on. Me and many people I know have, at some point, been frozen with the fear of getting embarrassed or hurt. But I assure you, no emotional pain stacks up to the pain of back muscle spasms every few seconds.

Pain? I fear no pain. Pass the muscle relaxant.

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My friend L is back with a situation that happened to her recently (and was the inspiration for my earlier post about what to do when friends are in a different life stage). My commentary appears at the end.

My weekends are sacred.  I like to use my time to relax, exercise and obviously go out and meet new people, mainly guys.  I’m not one for the bar scene, but I like dueling piano places, sporting events, theater, etc.  Events that gets me out and experiencing life rather than sitting home with my Snuggie and a movie.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love nights in, but as a single gal in the big city, I like to spend my weekends out and about.

Which was what I planned to do one Saturday.  My friend J had invited me to a basketball game.  Her boyfriend was playing in the alumni pep band, and she had a free ticket for me to come and keep her company.  I saw it as an opportunity to do something different because “you never know.”

However, earlier in the week, my married friend R had alluded to coming over to her place that same night for dinner with her and her husband. I had checked in with her on Tuesday and heard nothing.  So I gave J the go-ahead for the basketball tickets.

Friday night I’m getting ready to meet some friends at the movies.  I wanted to see at least one of the Oscar-nominated movies before the awards, and a group of my friends were going to see “Slumdog Millionaire.”  In the middle of flat-ironing my hair, my phone rings. It’s R.  The conversation went something like this:

R: What are you doing tonight?
L: I’m in the middle of going out to see Slumdog.  BTW, I didn’t hear from you about tomorrow night so I made plans to go out with J.
R: Cancel them.
L: Um, seriously?
R: Cancel them and hang out with me.  I need some girl time in with a bottle of wine and a blanket and you.
L: But I didn’t hear from you so I made plans…
R: You’re always canceling on me.  Or when you do come over, you’ll leave after dinner to go to a bar.
L: That happened once!
R: You’re coming over for dinner tomorrow night.
L: (Sigh)  Fine.  I’ll cancel with J.  (Pissed)

The next day, I call my mom and launch into this tirade about how married people consider the lives of singles as “less relevant than theirs.”  My time is my time.  If I want to go out to bars and meet people, that’s what I do.  It’s not like I don’t want to spend time with married friends and friends in relationships.  I do.  However, I play single girl every fuckin’ day of my life.  I spend most of the week either sitting on my couch after work or at a friend’s house drinking wine.  So giving up my precious weekend time to “play single girl” with my married friend isn’t a top priority.  I don’t mind it every so often, but when it comes down to it, R is married.  She sees her husband every day.  I am not married.  I would like to be married one day, but in order to do such a thing, I need to go out and meet that guy.  Which isn’t likely to happen by spending Saturday night with R and her husband.

R and I had dinner that night, and all was resolved.  She had a lot of issues going on, and it all came to a head when talking to me.  I also plead my case as a singleton.  So voila!

Conclusion:  Married people need to remember what it is like to be single, and singles need to sympathize a little with a married
girlfriend’s need to get away.

Okay, back to me, the usual poster here at CHO (I like that, CHO. It’s catchy. Kristin made it up). I agree with, L, that friends need each other regardless of where they are in life. Your spouse or significant other is not a subsititute for all friends. Doesn’t work that way. However, if I were in this situation, I wouldn’t have canceled on J! Don’t make vague plans and then never confirm and then insist that your friend cancel on someone else. Laaaame. L, next time tell her to invite a cute single guy over when she invites you to have dinner with her and her husband!

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Well, maybe not the best. Pickup lines, by definition, are awful. But a friend of mine was the recipient of one that totally worked and didn’t leave her skeeved in the least:

“You here for the birthday party?”

Yeah, that’s it. We were at a bar and several birthdays were going on, and a guy asked her this. Turns out he just used this to get her talking, and admitted that to her. She was so impressed that she decided to adopt this tactic for herself!

Think about it: If they say yes and tell you who the birthday boy or girl is, you don’t have to pretend to know them. Just make up a name and say you’re here for that other party. “Oh, no, I don’t know Emily. I’m here for my friend Mike.” And you’re in! Make conversation. Listen, I’m not one for the stupid Pick-Up Artist “Did you see the fight outside? What do you think of girls with tattoos?” bullshit. If you’re kind of shy and you don’t want to come across as a player, because you aren’t one, this is an easy question to ask in a crowded bar. Bonus points if you actually are there for a birthday party.

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I promised to review this book, so here goes!

For those of you who love Patti Stanger’s no-holds-barred advice on Millionaire Matchmaker (and there are more of you than I realized, as I learned this weekend when talking about TV viewing habits with some people I just met, all of whom watch the show religiously), she wrote a book. Not all of us can afford her services, so for $25, she spells it all out for you. It’s a quick read and is written in a conversational tone (it sounds a lot like she dictated it and had it typed out), and it offers step-by-step instructions. Sorry guys, it’s written for women, but maybe she has a book for men in the works? I think that would be the logical next step.

The subtitle is “8 Easy Steps for Attracting Your Mate.” Well, they’re not all that easy. First you take some time off of dating and make lists of what you’re looking for. Then you make yourself over so you’re up to snuff physically, because as Patti says, men are visual creatures. Then you get out there, armed with a three-pronged strategy for meeting people (date online, meet people through people you know, and go out and hunt on your own).

Anyway, I don’t want to give all the goods away. I don’t normally have the patience for the list-making that comes with self-help books, and I generally also don’t have the patience for self-help books. When bored, I usually just re-read Atlas Shrugged. But Patti, I love you, girl. So I did the list thing, breaking down what I liked and didn’t like about the past few guys I’ve dated, and using that to create a list of five essential characteristics in five categories (spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual and financial). Then I whittled it down further, as instructed, into my list of five “non-negotiables.” I don’t really know if this list is comprehensive. There are some things I know I must have (same religious beliefs, responsible spending habits, readiness to commit) but I feel like everything else I came up with was negotiable, depending on the guy. Do I need a sarcastic sense of humor? Must he be a head taller than me, or is it enough that I can wear at least modest heels in his presence? Is it okay if he’s prematurely graying or balding? For me, those things are flexible. Other women freak out about guys who are 5’6″ with a bald spot. But then, some men freak out over flat-chested women. And let’s just say that when God was handing out boobs, I was stuck on the line for a great butt.

So, then, what I need is a relationship-minded, fiscally-conservative Jewish guy with a thing for poorly-endowed girls in tight jeans.

Should you read this book? If you’re looking to get married, or at least to find someone to be in a long-term relationship with, sure. A lot of people suffer from the they-have-to-like-me-for-me-and-I-refuse-to-change syndrome. Patti will tell you to snap out of it. You are who you are and you shouldn’t water yourself down, etc., but if you’re perpetually single, you’re the common denominator in all of your failed relationships. You have to figure out what you’ve been doing wrong and work to improve yourself. We’re all works in progress, after all, even if we’ve already found The One.

Will I follow this book to the letter? I don’t know, it recommends Comic-Con as a great place to meet men. But I come from a family of geeks, so maybe she’s onto something.

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Update

At the urging of a co-worker, I called the guy from the bar. “What do you have to lose?” co-worker said. So yesterday I called during prime commute time, praying to reach his voicemail as I dialed. Success! I left a breezy message with my phone number.

Of course, he hasn’t called back and it’s been a day. But hey, nothing lost besides a minute to make the call. At least I know I tried.

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You’re female. You’re at a bar with friends. You start talking to this guy who seems pretty nice, but you’re tired and he’s wandered off to his group of friends, so you leave without exchanging numbers (you figure he’s uninterested, and your shoes hurt, so you’re not going to wait it out). He asks your friend for your number after you leave, and since she doesn’t have your approval to give it out, she asks for his number instead, to give to you. Also, you don’t remember his name. Do you call?

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