Monday, December 29, 2014

Men Acting as Women III

Just because a man has interest and attention galore for you does not mean that you have to accept it. You can appreciate the experience and move on to a healthy and balanced relationship. Just because their insecurities rage at every perceived and real rejection, it is necessary for them to go through this, as it also is not your responsibility to nurse them through. 

This may sound harsh but I'm finding that there is nothing more important than having HEALTHY, make that H.E.A.L.T.H.Y. relationships. I've spent a lifetime getting to this realization, all from unhealthy family, friend, and lover relatiosnhips, to learning boundaries, to exercising my right to be exclusive about those that I spend time with.

I remember seeing girls that would get these guys panting after them and think, these bitches get all the men. But it's not that simple. I mean these may be good men in one sense but they're really insecure and shooting themselves in the foot. Ergo, they're good men in an unhealthy state of mind. These women weren't really bitches either. They were great women who were looking for men in healthy states of mind. 

Have you ever met a guy you really liked and you just tried too hard? You're sure that you just needed to convince him of your fabulosity and he would readily swoon. Has that ever worked? Of course not! He saw you as insecure and in an unhealthy state. Looking back, I see I did this and I always thought, "His loss." No, he didn't lose out on anything except my insecurity. I may be fabulous, we all are, but when those guys that were in a good place rejected me it made me fight through my insecurities. Those were great life lessons. Had they indulged me I think it would have led to dependency on them in the relationship. 

This awareness led to this slew of men my friends and I are attracting- they're fabulous men in unhealthy states. They need to work through their issues in order to really bring something great to a relationship. 

My Jordanian, AnnMarie's Robbie- these are great men with passion, drive, and love to give. But it's not healthy. And this is so important to remember when this happens to you and you start to second-guess your choices. For example, after "Jordie's" meltdown we talked this over. He's not in a great place in his life and it seems that he was putting too much stock on his happiness with me equaling happiness in life. I can't make him happy in himself; no one can do that but him. However, that doesn't stop me from second-guessing myself thinking that I am putting up walls, looking for flaws, and turning away from ultimate happiness. Or worse, thinking that I'm sabotaging a great relationship. 

And then I snap out of it. 

There's this Buddhist saying that goes 'Help those in need and not the needy.' I struggled with that for a long time trying to distinguish the two. When a person is in need it's a temporary and momentary blip. A person in need is that someone in front of you in the checkout line who forgot their wallet so you get their $35 groceries for them, they fell in the street so you help them up and carry their bags, they lost a loved one so you comfort and support them. A NEEDY person is someone that takes a need and makes it a permanent state of mind. S/he always has something going wrong and leans on anyone who will listen. They're the one who never has money yet they do nothing about their financial situation and wait for others to pick up their tab, they're the ones who have health issues but eat at Taco Bell every day, they're the ones who attract drama in their life and, frankly, they love the drama. 

I'm okay to hang out with Jordie. I'm okay to help Jordie with his resume. I'm okay to develop a great friendship with Jordie and who knows? It could develop into something. Someday. But dating him as he is right now? I think that would throw too much dependency- dependency on things going well and going fast, dependency on being the one close person to him here, etc. Right now he's more needy than in need. And dependency just becomes resentment once he gets his life in a healthy state of mind. After all, he's fabulous but just in an unhealthy state.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Men Acting as Women II

I love this time of year and all the cheesy Hallmark movies. I joke with my neighbor that I'm awaiting my own Hallmark movie moment. After all, you only have to be slightly above-average looking, only one of you has to have the come-to-Jesus moment, your whole life is figured out within an hour, and you can do a shitty job acting through your life and it's no big deal. 

However, after my last experience I have been watching these movies (remember my bad taste in tv??) with a new eye. I watched one and the heroine gets her dream residency while she is twittering away as a doctor in a remote Alaskan town. Don't ask me how she got there, I have no idea. But she had a great date with a guy and then coffee where she finds out she gets the residency and needs to leave immediately. 

He instantly reacts and gets very testy that she would choose her life's goal and dream when they had such a fun date. Really?? Get duckin' serious, Dude. This turned me off, maybe because it resonates with the last batch of men I've gone out with that develop deeper-than-natural feelings from the get-go. 

It's not just me, I'm seeing a lot of this going around. Three of my friends are, or recently dated men like this too. Successful, age-appropriate, should-know-better men that for some reason announce their intentions to pursue you like a demon within the first week. Eek! 

Let's take one of my friends. I realized after watching more and more of these Hallmark Christmas movies that we DO have the Hallmark movie moment. This is my storyline for her (this is based on her most recent relationship):  

A Very Robbie Christmas 

 AnnMarie is unhappy at her job. She finds a dream job in California where she's always wanted to live and has worked her whole life for this opportunity and she applies for the job. Cut to cold day at bus stop where the bus broke down in a land called Bumpkinville. A cute guy appears and compliments her on her glasses. They bump into each other again (must be fate!!) and he asks her out. His name is Robbie. They have a lovely time and she starts to think it might be fun to have a partner in crim—life and her career isn’t her only goal. The next day she gets a call saying that the Cali job is hers- guaranteed to promote her after one year. It's a dream job in the place she desires to live above all others!! It’s a bullet offer but AnnMarie, naturally, accepts. 

The next day she tells Robbie, somewhat regretful but also hoping for a little human support, that she landed her dream job. He barks at her that he should have known better and how stupid he was to fall for a girl that could never appreciate Bumpkinville anyway. And just when he was having REAL FEELINGS for her (after just one date, who knew?). For some reason there is background music that seems to fully support him and simultaneously damns her in the process.  

The next day AnnMarie leaves for the airport and, alas! A tree is felled on the only road going out of town (who wouldn’t love this crap ass town?!). Instead of calling to say she’ll be reporting a day or two late for the new wonder job in Cali she sees the whole thing as fate that she must remain there forever in this now “charming” crap ass town. She and Robbie embrace as he is deliriously happy that he got his way. Wow, AnnMarie, what a great gesture! She marries him only to find that wow- he actually isn’t very supportive of her goals but she's wed and bred so that must mean Happily Ever After, right? 

A great bit of this story is true, except she didn't choose the guy after two dates. Because that isn't normal, that's Hollywood. But she did have some guy profess his "deep" feelings for her after one date and press her to feel the same, press her to make sacrifices, play mind games when he didn't get his way. At the end she's still questioning herself, wondering if she was too hard on him. 

Okay, this is already a ridiculously long post but the point is that authentic feelings don't just happen overnight. Even if you feel that s/he is "the one" wouldn't you want to nurture that realtionship until you both feel the same? It seems that there is no shortage of men these days that think they can pour these sentiments and we'll just lap them up. I'm sorry but if after date one you feel we are going to be together forever, maybe just keep that to yourself. Try something milder like, "Hey, I had a really great time. I'd like to see you again." Food for thought.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Men Acting as Women

I have been on a major hiatus from blogging. Part of it is getting into the swing of things here, part of it is dating, part of it is making new friends. 

For a while I was attracting these younger men in their mid-20's. Okay they're cute but they're just starting out their adventures. I've had mine and I felt like I was more the mentor role than the companion role. I realize that I was still putting energy out there about my initial insecurity of being grey and still wanting to appear youthful. So what did the Universe give me? Youth! 

Awareness tweaked that right in the bud and I put out energy of a person more my age, having lived his own adventures. I attracted just that: adorable, worldly, intelligent, sweet, and attentive. Too attentive. Mad texting me about how much he likes me and how he misses talking to me and how since I didn't immediately respond, I must hate texting altogether. Sigh. 

What is going on in the world today? Have men completely reversed and are no longer masculine? The above-mentioned subject is from a country where men are very strongly men and yet if I fail to respond to a text within 15-20 minutes, he falls into an insecure tailspin. 

You may remember my post on another eager beaver from last Summer who could not stop himself from texting me ALL THE TIME. I didn't handle that too well. In fact, I handled it the way many an American guy would- I was distant and cold, kind of a jerk therefore forcing the other to dump me. It's not a good way to handle things as it's passive-aggressive and doesn't help anyone except the escapee.

I decided to handle this guy differently and we had a come-to-Jesus moment. His defense was that English was not his first language so I must be misinterpreting his words. Um, no... as I'm not misinterpreting the bithchiness when I don't text right back (because I was in church and turned my phone off). But it did give me a chance to set some boundaries, such as the ones below:

I do not check my phone every 3 minutes to see if I have a text or call from you. I will get back to you within appropriate day and early evening hours and will respond. It may not be within the minute. Please do not internalize this and get snippy with me. 

When I say I'm busy this weekend, that means I can't get together this weekend. Please do not pout that I am not going to kill myself to spend an hour driving to some remote spot in DC and parking (40 minutes allotted to finding a parking spot via stalking people to their cars) just to have a beer with you for half an hour.

I have a life and I expect you have one too. I have friends, groups, dates with other men and I will not drop my life for anyone. I expect that you have these things too-- no, no! You don't have to tell me, it's not my business, especially in these early stages. If I want to get together and you're busy, I respect that. I don't need an explanation. 

I am so glad that you think I'm the best thing since sliced bread (I think you're pretty fabulous too!). However, you do not need to tell me after knowing each other for 3 days how much you miss my presence. We do not have to get together every day, or every other day, or every other other day. Slow down, I'm feeling smothered. 

I think we get the picture. I'm going to do several blog posts on this because I feel there is a whole lot of subject material here. It's very interesting and not at all what I expected when dating again.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Peek-A-Boo

Lately something has been happening- I have been attracting men out of the woodwork. Autumn is my rutting season; the time when I feel alive and ready to snuggle. In their primitive state, I think men are picking up on this. Random men have complimented me on my clothing, my smile, even my lipstick. Hey, I'll take it.

I don't think there's anything particularly remarkable about this, more that I'm putting out good energy. 
1- I'm in my "duck it" phase; the phase when I'm about enjoying life and not worrying about my age or my dating status, etc. 
2- It's freakin' Fall! This is my favorite time of the year and I look up in wonder like a little kid every time I go outside. 
3- I smile all the time (see above 2 reasons)- who can resist a person truly just happy in the moment?? 

This has been great for my self-esteem, if not a burden on my social calendar. It seems that a down day (i.e. a day I emerge only to aspire to wearing pajamas all day in true Bridget Jones fashion) are wishful thinking. 

This has also been the case of the online dating scene. Many men have come out from the woodwork and favorited me, winked, and emailed. My friend has given me a look that's both perplexed and full of awe. "What the hell?" she asks, when I show her pics, "they're cute and you have your own posse!" Yes, it's been fun to flirt and get my mojo going. 

But there is a percentage of these guys that come on super strong. The favorite you, send you multiple emails in a day, facebook friend you, and then... well, then they start sending you pics. Let's take Lothario Lad. He's a super cute guy 6-7 years my junior. He goes through all the super strong come-ons that I mentioned above. First he sends me a pic of himself. Normal enough. "Umm, okay, thanks for that." Then he sends one with his shirt unbuttoned. "Uh, weird," I think. The pictures progress (or shall we say regress) until he's wearing his underwear and then- OOPS! nothing at all. Oh boy. 

At first this odd behavior was amusing. I very mildly encouraged it with emails of "nice," "okay then," and "there are no words." Hell, you're a good-looking guy and if you want to show off your good-looking body go ahead. But now it just feels exploitive and wrong. I mean, is he a voyeur and really gets off on this sort of thing? Does he think that women respond to pics like men do? Does he think I'll return the favor and send him pics of myself? Does he think I'm a "talent" scout?

I really don't know and don't care but I tried to squelch this by saying, "Women aren't as visual as men. Naked pics from a complete stranger will only do so much." His response? Another pic asking if I wanted to see him full-on naked. There's no need. I feel like I'm dealing with someone with low self-esteem or perhaps just very singularly focused. I mean, who would send pics of themselves to someone that could just blast them on the internet? Maybe these guys don't care but it exceeds the realm of odd to me. It's guys like these that keep blogs like mine going.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Lengths We Go...

It is listed on my dating profile that I have fantastic taste in music (the best), great taste in literature, hit or miss on movies, and TERRIBLE taste in tv. Seriously, I should not be trusted with the remote. Ever. This tv folly is an unfortunate truth that I have to live with, as does anyone that watches tv with me. I will watch Jersey Shore, any number of shows about Gypsy weddings or breaking out of the Amish community, Moonshiners (how there's enough ammo for multiple seasons is beyond me), and even Total Divas- a show about women wrestlers.

Yeesh, I can't even look at myself right now.

I was getting ready for bed last night and channel surfing to clear my head. As I was flipping through shows I came upon yet another reality show about Tori Spelling and Dean-what's-his-name(?). She talked about her last desperate attempt to save her previous marriage and what led her to meet her current husband. The day before she met what's-his-name, she went to a voodoo priestess. As she regaled the story of being cleansed by first taking a milk bath then getting soaked in chicken blood, she never once paused in embarrassment that she, I dunno, got soaked in chicken's blood.

It occurred to me that we all do desperate things when something's really important to us. And although I haven't followed Tori through this particular rabbit hole, I have jumped down my own versions. I've read countless books, I've even done the self-hypnosis manifestation cds. I've analyzed, assessed, online dated, prayed, joined meetup groups, and Tinder (which I thought was just an innocent dating app). I even have gone to palm readers and tarot readers, eating up every word they had to say, even when it was plainly generic and playing on my insecurities.

The one thing I haven't done enough is just throw my hands up and say, "fuck it." Perhaps "fekkit," if you're Irish or "duck it" if you're Autocorrect. Well after going to Salem, MA and having my cards read with my friends, I am at the "duck it" stage. I didn't even ask about my love life and yet she proceeded to tell me that there was a dark shadow hindering my love life. What the duck?! In the moment, I ate it up but the longer I thought about it I felt like I might as well have been standing in voodoo chicken blood.

Here's the truth- I spend way too much time seeking. When I actually really feel something for a guy it's always unexpected; it has never been when I was looking. It's always with someone that would never have met my advanced search criteria on any dating site. He might be younger, older, an ethnicity I never heard of, slight, stout, even Southern. However it's also always someone that connects with me, gets my quirky personality, and opens my mind to a new way of being. If he happens to have a handlebar moustache, beard, or chops, so be it. He could open my mind through music, philosophy, travel, politics, sports- anything.

You know something, that's not someone I ever find when I'm searching. I will still date, I have a date this week, but I think I will take a vacation from seeking. God always one-ups my wishes anyway so I'll leave it to Him to surprise me. I just want to have a "duck it" moment where I can just live and enjoy my life instead of always searching to improve it. I remain open just spending more time enjoying what I DO have in Life instead of mourning over what I don't have
.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Vacation Jilly Style

I have been on a two-week vacation- La! I decided to fulfill a couple of bucket-list items and travel New England during the Autumn. A friend of mine commented on this and said how brave I was for doing this. Brave?? Hmm, not really how I would define it but she said if she ever tried that her friends and family would immediately question her and make her feel awkward about doing a two-week vacation alone.


It occurred to me that I have other friends who feel the same way. A couple I know just spent a week touring the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. He commented on how all that driving alone must have been hard and how nice it was to share his vacation with his wife. Does everything have to be a shared event?

Frankly, I'm glad I did this with just me and my dog. Michelle demands very little except the wind blowing on her and an occasional potty break. She's traveled with me on my many moves so a road trip was no harrowing experience. Let me highlight the benefits of a solo and customized sojourn:

My trip was MY TRIP. I didn't have to alter, add, or delete any elements. It allowed me to be spontaneous or completely planned, as per my whim. When my first venture to see a cranberry bog ended in a sign threatening my life, I could add another trip to see a different bog. When I left Vermont a day early, I just did it; I didn't have to ask.

I didn't have to limit or extend my time in any one place. I went to this little town in Connecticut- I fell in love. If anyone would have been with me I would have been able to spend a half hour, hour tops there. Instead, I walked the quiet streets with my dog, meandering for a couple of hours. I then sat under a chestnut tree writing, listening to the trees, being pelted with chestnuts... it was wonderful. In fact I sat there until the rapidly dropping temperatures and darkness forced me away. However, this remains the best part of a truly fantastic trip and I will never forget the peace I felt there.

I had great one-on-one time with friends. I visited several friends while I was traveling. Being on my own we could just catch up and have a good time, not worrying about planning events that will make a group happy. When I went to Salem, MA my friends, Kevin and Lindsey went with me. When I went to Cambridge, MA I got to catch up with my friend, Joan Lin. When I went to Saratoga Springs, NY I had individual time with both Tatiana and Theodore- and I'm sure I'll never be able to repay him listening to my incessant talking (this is the curse of people like him who are excellent listeners and it encourages people like me to purge ourselves of every thought and complaint- ugh, embarassing).

Finally, I had loads of time to clear my head of the chatter and really identify how I feel. This causes a lot of self-awareness which is both painful and liberating. I learned a lot about myself and where I stand. Perhaps another month of sorting through these awakenings and I'll have a clearer direction of where I'm going in Life. Point being, I doubt I would have had such an awareness practice had I not a lot of alone time. I think next time, I'll go back to Iona, Scotland for a couple of weeks pilgrimage. Maybe next year...

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Debauchery-ville

I have a twisted sense of humor. Now I have a neighbour that joins that tribe and this just can't be good for society. However, we laugh a lot and that always makes for a great life.

One of the things we are currently into is Fairy gardens. There are Pinterest pages full of these adorable little villages with acorn hats, thimble chairs, mossy, glens, and quirky little gnomes. This is all too innocent for my neighbour and I. Instead, we are looking to create our own gnomish version of a Debauchery-ville. 

This all started when my counterparts at the State gave me a going away present of fairy garden supplies and a mason jar of moonshine. I love my life. I also love the vision of drinking out of said mason jar and talking to fairies. Oh what a fantastic (though surprisingly accurate) picture that would give to my new neighbors! 

The moonshine has been brought out as a communal offering (tempered with ginger ale) and distributed to any neighbors coming and going to sit down and bemoan their hard work week. After crawling back to our respective establishments, we formed a somewhat tighter bond and thus paved the way for Debauchery-ville. 

Debauchery-ville is my neighbor's and my view of what our fairy village would be like. Mine started out with a pub. Since the rest of the world has not caught on to our fabulous idea, I cannot for the life of me find a drunken fairy or gnome. I will have to settle for sleeping fairies and hope it translates. My neighbour has opted for the gypsy camp and decided to hide a bunch of witches behind an innocent welcoming sign. 

Next up on her list is to add a few more caravans and a chicken coop. Next on my list is to add a distillery, brothel, and possibly opium den. My sister, though shaking her head and mentally rolling her eyes heavenward, is on the lookout for all fairies and gnomes that might be up to no good. Is it wrong that I am so into this??? 

Apparently, the idea is catching on because one of our Home Owner's Assoc. boards decided to include us on their garden tours. It looks like there are a lot more sick puppies out there than you thought.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Right Makeup

I am going to go on the mass assumption that autocorrect won't get me an umpteenth time. I will assume wrong, of course. But building on the last post I want to talk about makeup and the VAST change it makes when you have the right palette. Finding makeup (or clothes for that matter!) based on your hair color is just downright silly. I know this now.

Getting draped was awesome and if I only took out of it the effect that color has on my eyes, it would be all worth it. You see, when you have the wrong color against your skin, your cheekbones lose definition, your face looks sallow, there is an orange tinge around your lips, and your eyes lose lustre. Most importantly, I learned to look at the effect of color on my eyes. When you wear the right colors, your eyes go from being a muted greyish non-descript color to a dozen colors all at once. I found that there are mosses, indigos, cayenne streaks, a little whiskey (always good), and turquoise blues in mine. When I'm wearing the right colors, you see all this depth in my eyes and they sparkle. This isn't limited to any eye color. My sister has almost onyx black eyes. When she wears certain colors her skin becomes more luminous and youthful and her eyes sparkle with onyx, amber, and pewter. So cool. 

I showed my sister a before and after of makeup and the effects on me. She at first protested because it was different light so I went back and put the same dress on, the same light, the same doorway, and showed the before and after of makeup. Voila! You can see in my before picture that I just look a little more rundown. All the makeup goes together but it's not the right palette for me. I look dull, all my fine lines are visible, and I look as though I've been plowing a field or two... hundred. Even my eyes are a dull, nondescript greyish-green. It's not as awful as having all your makeup clash but it isn't my best either. In the after shot you can see that I'm exercising the same principles of basic makeup: eyeliner and neutral eyeshadow, blush, and red lip. But what a marked difference! In the second picture my skin looks more luminous, my cheekbones more refined, and everything is just brighter. The fine lines aren't as marked and my eyes have a complexity of hues.

To really highlight this, here is a close up of my eye. This is what you should look for: clothes and makeup that give a true white to your outer eye, as well as the bright and complex color range that your eyes have. See what I'm saying? If you notice that a lipstick or blush individually brings out these complexities in your eyes, I think that's a good place to start. Then match the rest of your makeup. I am nowhere near an expert on this but there are blogs about 12 Blueprint analysis with lists of makeup for each of the 12 seasons and what goes with what. It's a start though, and what a lovely way to celebrate you!



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Stranger in a Strange Land

Being in a new area is always a mixed bag. I'm happy to leave the South but I'm not as far north as I'd like. I'm excited to meet new people but I'm shy and it takes every ounce of energy for me to be social. I like the new job but I feel that constant fear that I'm somehow off track. Meh, I've come to expect these peaks and valleys when it comes to settling into a new place. Now my grey hair has added and additional kink- meeting people.

I am so happy to be in a place where there are a lot of people of my faith; I have a choice of churches to go to, I can meet a lot of other people with the same values, and there are actually young adult clubs for meeting new people. This would have been an ideal scenario 5 years ago- I would clearly belong in the 18-40 age group, I was much more of a joiner, and I had red hair. Okay, I STILL did not blend in with the Greeks but I did much more then than I do with silver hair. My theme music should be Iron Maiden (as it often is). See below:


Everyone dyes their hair in my faith- EVERYONE. The men, the women, the children. Eighty-somethings still sport jet-black hair and I never saw so many faux blonds in my life. I'm a bit more than an anomaly for not following this route, I'm an "xeni," or stranger. This is not exactly how I want to feel when I walk into a church and precisely why I went to a Young Adult League (YAL) mixer. I had met one girl that I knew was going but unfortunately she didn't get there until the speakers started. Sigh, I will have to be sociable.

I felt very different than I normally do. In my everyday life I don't think about my appearance. I feel polished as I'm wearing suits and colors that look good, I now always have the right red lipstick, my hair is as coiffed as I can manage, and all the DC walking is trimming me down. But when I walked into that mixer where even the Priest had a mere few silvers, I felt old. I talked to some girls who were my age, happily married and wanting to get out and make new friends. We would talk about the impact of religion on our lives and how nice it was that a group like this existed. Inevitably, they would get something to eat or drink in anticipation for a long series of lectures.

That is when I was left at a table with four young bo-- men. Scratch that- guys. The guy next to me was part of this gang of bo-- guys but looked over at me and introduced himself. Very polite and I'm sure his yia yia would be very proud of how well he was raised. He had just moved here so I asked if he was here for school. I assumed he was starting out at College yet this question slightly offended him. He proceeded to tell me he was doing graduate work. Okay, 15 or 25 what's the difference? He's perhaps slightly more than half my age rather than slightly less. He further clarified that he was working on his PhD.

Sigh. Apparently I am really bad about treating young people as well, young. I just figured he was being nice (he was the only person at the table that went out of his way to introduce himself) so I was nice back. At least I thought so. As the females returned to the table and as my young-ish acquaintance got something to drink another girl in her 30s sat down in his place. The lectures began followed by everyone in the room introducing themselves with icebreaker factoids about themselves, and one girl leaned over, "See? They met here at a mixer and they got married. You could be next!" "??!! Huh ??!!" was my shocked-into-silence response. Is that why people go to these things? Am I giving off a wrong vibe? Or is it more that they look at me and think I must be thinking that? I stewed over that for awhile, hopeful that no one witnessed this odd exchange.

At the end of the lectures I introduced myself to a few more people. I ran into my young-ish acquaintance and we talked for a bit about our mutual love of Tolkein. Finally I had someone who would listen to my theories on linguistics and what nation the Elves represent. He took one for the team. Yes, I took full advantage of his kindness and well-mannered polity. But let's face it, he wasn't even born when I was fighting my way at concerts to catch a guitar pick or touch Bruce Dickinson's sweaty hair, the spike leather cuffs, the spandex... Whoops! I'm back. Where was I?? See if you don't get Iron Maiden... can you really be my friend?

I kid (sort of) but the day was a new awareness for me. I went for one reason- to make a network of friends; to start the foundations of friendship so that whenever I went to a church I would have people to talk to. I found that I don't easily fall into a category anymore. I'm not young and I'm not old. I'm somewhat more of an xeni than before. It was somewhat awkward and I don't know if I'll go again. But the few people I talked to I hope to run into at some point and maybe a few friendships can arise after all.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Graduated!! Class of 2014


Today is my two-year anniversary of when I stopped coloring my hair. Yesterday I went in and just asked that the remaining dye be cut off. That left me with a shorter bob than I would have liked but who cares?? I'm dye-free!!!

Two YEARS??!!, you may be asking yourself but that was what it toook me to get through my journey. Each woman (or man)transitioning has their own way to do it. I never recommend someone stop  coloring their hair (although it's harder to bite my tongue when they clearly have a dangerous allergic reaction or thinning hair), but there are so many ways to do this: buzz cut, skunk stripe, highlights/lowlights, layers, curls, etc. 

My transition was inadvertant highlights. I had my color stripped to reduce the damarcation line and it redeposited color on my virgin hair. So it took longer but only a hair stylist could see the line. I knew it was there though and it bugged me. 

But even though I crave long hair again, I happily traded that for dye-free hair. I did not have a great stylist and did not get a great cut but right now I'm celebrating the graduation. I love my hair color and texture now. I love the crazy waves and curls it does. I may tame them into submission (for those days that I don't want the world to think a squirrel is nesting in my hair), and I may fight frizz in the DC humidity. But so what? I accept my hair with all the flaws it has. 

I think that has been the best thing about this transition- I simply accept myself and others- flaws and all. I feel sorry for those people that are hell-bent on perfection. You'll never find it. And if you did, how boring! I look at my dog, a seeming princess with delicate ways. But no, she barks at everything: the hated squirrel nation, a blade of grass, or simply because I'm on a conference call reporting out across the nation (seriously, EVERY time). But I love her as she is. 

As for myself? I have a tendancy to over-analyze, to have too many fleeting directions, and I tend to say exactly what I think regardless of whether the timing or situation is appropriate (it seldom is). But yet I love myself too and accept that I am a very flawed human being. Not everyone is going to like me and not everyone is going to like my hair. That's okay, they don't need to. If you can get to a point of self-acceptance and acceptance of others, you have won considerably. 

Many ladies as well as myself really got there by embracing ourselves for exactly as God made us. This includes the grey. But instead of being ho hum we decided that there is beauty in it and we celebrate the sparkles and muted dove tones of our grey. We also envy others' arctic white while still loving our own unique blend. Your natural hair blueprint is as individual as your fingerprints and this should be a celebration-- of you. Here is my 24-month transition in all its glory and shortcomings:


It's been a long time coming but I am so happy to close this chapter and start a new one. Now it's all about growing my hair out and getting the right cut. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

What Not to Wear

I recently had my colors done. Do you remember when someone in your family went to the Estee Lauder table in the '80s and were told what season they are? Because I was a ginger it was just assumed that I was an "Autumn" and that meant I could wear brick reds, browns, and earthy tones. What did that mean now that I am a silver? See, I got into this bad habit of dressing per my hair color. I kept the same makeup thinking that it had worked in the past and really I was hit or miss when it came to clothes.

None of this really bothered me until last year when I knitted my first cardigan. I had carefully picked out this super cool yarn, spent countless hours knitting everything and then wore it exactly twice. Two F#@^ing times. You see, the muted greyish purple makes me look like a cadaver. I look as dull as the grey and so it has respectfully been put in the back of my closet knowing it will never see the light of day again.

THAT was what piqued my interest in having a personal color analyst evaluate me. So I drove up with a fellow silver sister to Philadelphia to get a 12 Blueprint analysis. I would like to buy clothes and makeup and yarn that looks amazing on me, not just spend all this time and money and it sit in the back of the closet.

I'm not sure what I expected. I saw subtle differences in the colors on my friend, but even that took awhile for me to grasp. Then more and more you could see how some hues worked and some REALLY didn't. When it was my turn I had nothing but a grey smock and head wrap and a giant mirror. THEN I saw the power of color. The light grey put on me made me look like a corpse. The brown was so awful that both the analyst and my friend cringed and turned away.

Most colors fell under the following: I look like a corpse; I look right out of the Grapes of Wrath; I look like I'm wearing baby Easter clothes; I look like a freakin' rock star. I chose the colors that fit in the latter category and it turns out that this color wheel is Bright Winter. Now some winters and autumns looked okay but the difference lie in colors that made my skin a bit duller, the eyes darker, and the rock star palate which made my eyes a million vibrant shades, my skin luminous, and my fine lines disappear. It really was as extreme as that. And this is what I recommend to you. A color that looks wonderful on you makes your eyes look brilliant.

I would say that it was surprisingly emotional. Knowing that I have never looked 100% my best is well... humbling, to say the least. None of my makeup worked and even the 2% that did never went with the rest of my makeup. More on this in the near future, but here is a look at my drapings. The first pic is that awful brown and look at the difference in how dull my skin looks as opposed to the following pics; it's the same lighting, just the pure effect of color.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Settle Down

Remember when you were a kid and thought the world was yours to grab? It may be a cultural thing but I know Americans are taught that at birth. The higher you reach, the greater your accomplishment. We were expected to dream big and the more obnoxious you were, it was simply labeled "precocious." This might be one of the many things that annoy the world to no end about the US. Because those that continue that line of thinking become quite entitled and vocal about it. For the rest of us we learn at some point that maybe we can’t have the world. Maybe we should settle.

It’s in this phrase that’s been bothering me for a little while. Now that I’m officially 40, do I settle? Should I return interest to that 50-something man who already has grown children and we have okay conversation, and I’m not very attracted to him… should I settle because he’s so into me??? Even writing that down I have a shudder of denial pulsing through me. First of all, I don’t even know if I can have kids. It may be a moot point. Second, I don’t mind if a guy has kids of his own. It’s not ideal but it’s not a deal breaker. But the idea of settling for someone I’m not really into, I just can’t do it.

Recently I posted my type. Those are not hard and fast rules, just what gets my blood boiling. I’ve certainly had just as much interest in someone who doesn’t fit any of those molds. But I had to remind myself of an email I sent to a friend who was dealing with a similar dilemma. Enter Brenda, an extremely successful, beautiful, witty, and adventurous woman living in California. She is always traveling the world, cycling, trying new things, in fantastic shape, and she supports herself to a rich lifestyle. How is this girl available?? She wasn’t connecting with the men in her life on all levels: head, body, and heart. I am paraphrasing from a great book called The Tao of Love of what happens when you have only 2 out of the 3 elements with a partner:

Head and Heart
You become like brother and sister. He may be your best friend but there’s little to no sexual chemistry. You feel like you have to take the reins in everything and become resentful. Your partner now seems weak and you are constantly distracted to men who are the opposite of your partner.

Head and body
This is where most young people get caught up. You have great sex and great conversations but when it comes to hard times one of you grows distant and/or you just can’t connect. You crave a deeper connection and this lacking connection translates as apathetic or even hostile. Any rough patch and your relationship falls apart.

Heart and body
You love this guy, and the sex is great. However he really can’t hold up his end of the conversation. He feels intimidated by your intellect or you dumb yourself down so he doesn’t resent you. Then you resent him. Since you're one fantastic chica, you are frustrated and unfulfilled.

I have been in each of these relationships and I’m glad I’m not in any of them now. I recently have started a flirtation with a very attractive man that gets my blood boiling. Knowing that I can feel that way, why should I settle for a man that I would just go through the motions with? I’m not saying anything will come of Mr. Flirtation but it was a timely lesson to me that I should never settle for less than the trifecta.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

How To Tame Your Cowlick (or Catholic to autocorrect!)

I recently went to see How To Train Your Dragon. It was adorable and I feel no guilt in seeing it in 3D. I love the concept of Medieval Vikings drag racing dragons. Actually when I put the words down it seems downright dorky but it is actually a clever and cute movie.

Much like the wild and unruly dragons of the Nordic world, my cowlick is even more unruly. Any silver sister has noticed a change in the hairline since they stopped coloring their hair. Mostly, they notice a lot more growth. Mine came in the form of a huge white clump of hair- baby fine, and forming at the left corner of my temple. I also have the "wiry greys" that everyone talks about. I call them my wild little forest children. They're absolutely crazy looking until they grow out and become assimilated into the rest of your hairline.

My clump of white hair at the temple has become the bane of my existence. This is also more commonly known as the cowlick. I have done all kinds of bizarre things in order the tame it: I've tried talking reason to it, trying to force it into submission with every styling tool under the sun, and apparently screaming and yanking at it. All to no avail.

So I politely asked- okay, inappropriately cornered and held captive- my hairdresser and asked him how to tame my cowlick once and for all. Basically there are two ways: either crisscross your hair wet and keep them in barrettes and let air dry; or you need to blow-dry it into submission.

Here are a series of pics before and after. HORRIBLE pics but it describes my rather remedial process that everyone on earth knows but me.But for my own sake I will write out the process.

After applying heat protection product, start by blowing your cowlick section to the front. Then blow dry it to the opposite side of your part until it's almost dry, and then finally blow dry it the side you want. As you can see the first pic shows what happens if I leave the cowlick to form a coup. The second pic it's wet and rebelling. But by the final pic- voila! I have beaten it into submission!!





Monday, July 28, 2014

What Do I Want?

Now that I have established a “type” I am learning more and more about what I want (and don’t). We learn this at different stages in our lives and I think I’ve always felt that you really need only examine yourself once. As any divorcee knows, this is not the truth and yet I am still going on the reflections I had as a 20-something. I am now officially 40 and since then have been through a lot of breakups, a lot of moves, a lot of maturing in both my career and my personal life, forgiveness and letting go, and the life-altering depth of growth one experiences when losing their beloved mother too early in life. 

All of these changes (and more) have occurred since I really took a hard look at what I want in life romantically, and yet I have constantly re-evaluated where I want to call home or what role my career plays in my life. Although I know that there will be changes in my outlook as long as I continue to breathe, I think the stage I’m currently in is maybe the most important and defining stage to set the rest of my life by. 

What I want in my home is to have a safe and peaceful environment, one where my dog has room to run and meet other friendly dogs, a reasonable commute, character and charm, and a community of friendly neighbors. Tall order, huh? And yet that is exactly what I have and more. What I want in my career is a place where I am respected, have a chance to build my skills in varying areas, earn a comfortable living, have room for advancement, have some level of autonomy, not have to take my work home with me, and have a chance to be creative. Another tall order? Yet I have all of this and more. 

So what do I want in my personal life? I am a person who would rather have a small set of fantastic friends rather than a mass entourage of superficial ones. The ego of having x amount of facebook friends holds no weight with me and I limit my time on social media to intermittent at best. I have also learned the quiet from not having someone to relay EVERY event of my life with someone. My sister may disagree seeing our daily talks as evidence to the contrary but only my mom and I know this to be very true, as she VERY patiently listened to every detail of my life set out before her. Hindsight is 20/20 and I only wish that I would have spent a lifetime listening more and talking less. So although I don’t want a Samuel Pepys account of my life, it would be nice to have a small group of people to share that life with; to balance somewhere between motoring through life together and brinking on over-analysis. I want neither of those extremes but rather a healthy sharing of our lives. I want this healthy balance with my family, friends, and a partner. 

With my family I have weaned from some of the more co-dependent relationships that run so common in my relatives, despite their attempts to hold fast. My relationships with some of the historically (shall we say strained?) relationship have improved simply by letting go and working on forgiveness. And my sister, whom I’m closest to, has been a daily commitment at building our relationship. We both work at it. I used to have a huge entourage of friends of varying degrees in closeness. Instead of lumping them all into an ego-mass of facebook likes, I distinguish and embrace them for what we are to each other. I have close friends who are like family to me, though they are few. I have friends who are more likely to be there just to meet up for a drink and watch a game. I have other friends who share one aspect in commonality and we will build our strength and knowledge in that area by a sharing of ideas. All of these friends have great value, but I no longer hold each to be the end-all in every aspect of a friend. For instance, someone I meet up with to just watch soccer matches I’m not going to necessarily be able to relay the pain of loss or wanting to understand a deeper level of hesychasm. We may relay on those levels or we may not, but our lack of delving past a somewhat superficial connection is fine as it is and accepted as such. 

From a romantic partner it gets a bit more complicated. I’ve dated to date and am really past that. I don’t need to try out different types of men just for the sake of knowing myself. Been there too. No I’m at a point where I would like a partner in life and perfectly happy to remain single rather than marry the wrong person. This reflection came about from a series of little things that just kept niggling at me. One friend saw the blog post and asked me have I ever dated my type. No, I hadn’t. I have dated many men –successful, interesting, educated, attractive- but none that really reflected my type. Mmphm. Also the awareness of how little I could commit to my various duty locations with my job. This constant sense of always being ready for the next move created an environment where I never would allow myself to see the men in my life as anything more than temporary. That has changed with my home purchase. Mmphm. Finally, a line from a tv show that has become my mantra outlines my desire exactly: I am looking for the perfect connection with an imperfect man. Anyone that has this knows what I mean and it’s not looking for Mr. Perfect but rather that connection that makes both your imperfections and his a part of a strong relationship. 

So after some reflection I’ve decided that these are the qualities best for me: someone who likes to learn and open for a bit of adventure. Someone who challenges me to grow as a person; I’m not saying challenge for the sake of challenge or someone who wants to change me or nitpick, but I also don’t want someone who allows my occasional bad behavior and responds only by “yes dear.” I would like someone masculine and sure in himself. This is not the same as an egotistical guy whose statements and actions are based in insecurity but rather someone who is comfortable in his own skin. I want someone who believes in God. How wonderful it would be to find someone in my own faith, but yet I see more the pursuit of a relationship with God and an understanding of that importance in my life (without trying to convert me to Protestantism) far outweigh the actual dogmatic differences. However believing that the bar on Sunday is your church and a sport your religion will not suffice for me. And finally, someone who is committed to working at the relationship. Relationships are work, even under the best of connections and it only works if you’re both committed to making it work. 

So I guess I’m stating the ruminations in my mind mostly to get them out there but also to see how right they feel. What I find odd is that I haven’t done this in 10-15 years. I guess that must show how it wasn’t really a priority in my life until now. But I’m happy to say that just writing this takes off any perceived pressure (mostly self-induced) and actually makes me happy in the place I am now and happy for whatever the future may bring.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Height of Narcissism

This is a big year for me. Wait, this is about narcissism right? So it should be ME in all capitals. This is the year I turn 40 and it has a lot of meaning attached to it. First of all, I never thought of being about 40. Ever. I don't know what that means for me or my life. Also, what does that mean for certain aspects of my life: dating, marriage, children, career, moving abroad?

I hate those sayings: 40 is the new 20, you're only as old as you feel, age is just a number. Cliché's are, well, so cliché. And unhelpful. So I decided to do a few really cool things to celebrate this birthday.

I will be dye-free, or not
My hairstylist assured me he will cut the last bit of dye out of my hair prior to my birthday in July. Then he saw that it blended in and it won't be all out. But that's okay because I am close. This was a big step to go 100% natural and 100% authentic. I'm not fooling anyone to see a younger version or to try to win anyone over and THEN tell them my age. And the whole lying about your age bit? I'm sorry, but that's absolute crap and I have no patience for that. If someone is going to like you they should like YOU, not some misrepresentation of you. Rant over. Stepped off soapbox.

I am taking a trip
Where should I go? Since I just moved to DC my sister came up. My 30th I was forced to go to a work training and I didn't know anyone. My friend wasn't feeling well and couldn't meet up so I ended up spending it with a bunch of strangers. It sucked and I vowed never to spend another major birthday that way. She surprised me by also bringing my dad and we all had a great time, going to Civil War battlefields and soaking up history. Fantastic. I'm also going to cross off a bucket list item and drive around the Northeast in the Autumn. Fall is my favorite time of year and I'm going to enjoy it in New England with my dog.

I commissioned a portrait
Insert narcissism! Okay, so this has a history. In my family I am often saying that the only purebreds are the horses and the dogs. In addition we have only one commissioned portrait in the family: Amusar, aka Rascal. Rascal was my grandpa's grey Arabian stallion. Yes a horse, and I vowed that Rascal would not be the only grey in the family to have his painting done.

And reveal: This is my favorite artist and he always does these fantastic portraits with gold-leaf hair. So I commissioned a portrait with silver-leafed hair. Not only that but this painting stands nearly four feet tall. Is it me? Well, sort of. It was inspired by his impression of me and there is a mourning dove (my totem) in the painting. So take that, Amusar! You're not the only grey in the family worthy of having their portrait done!!

It is possibly downright silly for me to have had this painting made but I love it. I loved celebrating my 40th. I realize that doors are closing on me in some areas of my life but I choose to celebrate the many accomplishments I've made in my life. I may be flawed as hell but I really do work to be a better person and build a better life. And who knows, maybe doors will open for me now that never would have before?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I Have a Type!!!

When you are young you have nothing but a type in mind and I was no different. I liked what was comfortable and reminded me of where I grew up. Since I grew up in Indian Country (read Native American) that was my type- men with long hair, bronzed skin, shy, and quiet. And never having left the Rez (read reservation).

As I studied abroad my world expanded and I saw people from all over in London. My world expanded and so did my choice in men. I came back and still fell for the Native men but also fell for guys from different backgrounds. As I went to Grad School and Americans were a minority, I discovered a veritable world of Countries and cultures I had scarcely known existed. Getting to know people from all over through shared struggles in the computer lab at 4am (that was most nights), I really bonded with people from all over.

I also developed new interests and now the interests of my 2-dimensional life from before were just... lacking. I also found my theological path through Orthodoxy and that has been the center of my life ever since. That also has changed life for me in all aspects. These major life changes have altered the men I'm attracted to.

I was talking to a friend about men and what we found attractive. She's attracted to what I would describe as "cleanly scrubbed behind the ears," a man who is classically tall, dark, and handsome, perfectly trimmed and very conservative in his dress and appearance. I am attracted to what she would describe as "a destitute vagrant," replete with shaggy hair, beard, and apparently unwashed. I don't know, what does it mean when someone looks at your type and says, "Oh, so you're attracted to a homeless man"?

Anyhoo, now that I know I have a type I am going to describe him: tall, masculine features (no pretty boys- who apparently always have a home to go to), bearded or scruffy, shaggy hair, a guy's guy. If he has dark circles under his eyes that's a boone to me- it's my weird thing so don't judge. Below is a line-up (pun not intended but appropriate) of men I would gape over:


Personally, I think they look less hobo-like and more the type that wrestled a bear and had a shot of vodka all before 9am. To-may-to, to-mah-to, right? There's nothing wrong with a little unwashed scruffiness. So... if any of you know a good guy that resembles my wrestled-with-a-bear-homeless type, send him my way. :)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Emotionally Unavailable

The title says it all, doesn't it? Haven't we all fallen for the emotionally unavailable man? Countless times? Always? No?? Okay, it might just be me. I have often fallen for the emotionally unavailable man because I, too have been among his ranks. For more years than I care to count, I have been in a non-stop transitional stage: moving for grad school, my job constantly moving me around the Country, or my own wanderlust and resistance to settle down. But now I am in a more settled place, I mean I bought property (formerly a subject of blanche-faced horror to me).
 
So as I am in a different state I'm not really into men who are emotionally unavailable. To many this may seem like a smack-me-across-the-face-duh moment, but when I was not ready to commit I certainly didn't want some guy cramping my adventures in vagabonding. But just because I have changed does not mean that the men I attract and am attracted to don't still hold on to some of the dregs of aspects I wanted before. I need to keep reminding myself of that.
 
Enter DC Bachelor 2. He was the second date I went on in the last month. A great guy: ruggedly handsome, secure in his full masculinity, very likely to have wrestled a bear somewhere in his lifetime, and funny as hell. We went out for drinks and had a nice time. From there sprung a series of texts back and forth, mostly pictures of our travels for work and leisure and some funny anecdote.
 
It was great and very comfortable... until I realized that this guy may not be emotionally available. I mean we have both traveled for work and he's been on vacation some but we've only gone on the one date. I see some interest as he continues to contact me but hmm... I think he just isn't 100% there. It caught me off guard seeing this because usually what he's doing is what I would do- when I think of a guy or want that flirting, I text. This may be consistent but there's a wall. Well, my walls are down and I don't have the time or gana to attempt a Don Quixote effort to break through someone else's walls, and vice versa.
 
I'm going to present some examples of emotionally unavailable types here. This may help to discern if you are interested in one of these guys or maybe what your (yes you, missy) patterns are:
 
His main contact is through media and not in person
If you are focused on long-distance types, ahem- you are not totally available. Likewise if you're near someone and they constantly contact you by phone or email, etc. but make not future plans to see you then he's very likely not 100% in it. This is actually something I can be accused of. I used to love these sort of long-distance relationships. Sometimes it was the constant when my job was moving me every 3 months, sometimes it was out of laziness, sometimes habit. Mostly it was getting an emotional fix on my time. Either way I wasn't 100% in it and I was just going through the motions.
 
You never know too much about him
Oh this reminds me of Flyboy, a guy I have known for a few years. He wanted to hang out but it was sporadic. I thought he wasn't into me so I let it go but he would never stop contacting me, even when I ignored him. I never knew much about his life and I always felt a wall. I mean I had to ask if he was married or had several lovely yet illegitimate children. The truth was not as interesting as my version of a polygamist running state borders but I have never figured that guy out. He wasn't after sex, I'm not sure what he was after. Regardless, he was emotionally unavailable in the extreme.
 
He has an on-again, off-again girlfriend
Even if he's technically free he really isn't free emotionally. He still carries the dregs of that relationship and is constantly comparing the two of you. Even if you always come out ahead in the game (and OF COURSE you do), he's still seeing her a bit when he looks at you. Baby Boy has issues. We're talking about someone who needs some serious couch therapy (the psychiatric kind). Yes we could all use some therapeutic tweaks but if he seems to easily fall into the bad boy category... well, he has other things to focus on and your only role is NOT to try and "save" him; a role which neither he wants nor should you desire. Focus on healthy relationships instead.
 
You've been together forever and there never seems to be a progression
You meet and you fell into that comfortable sock phase- the one where you can be intimate on some levels buy you never really progress. Sometimes it's laziness or bad dating habits on both sides, but more often he's not really ready to commit to you. Sometimes we enter not knowing what we want and then realize, hunh, it's more. Um, that's called being a grown-ass adult and changing. Communicate like an adult.
 
So as I write this out it becomes clearer about DCB2. Good guy, but afraid I'm going to have to put him on the back burner. We have a date this week and I'll just see. But I have noticed the lack of woo has turned me off a bit and we'll see if he wins it back.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Modern Day Metrosexual

I am a huge soccer/football/futbol fan. Huge. Most of all I love a good set piece: flick to Midfielder, cross to Striker, GOAL! When the game's played well, it truly is the Beautiful Game. It doesn't hurt that the players are fit, gorgeous, and at their peak- they are (literally) the icing on the cake. I mean LOOK at them! Note, I won't cheer for Italy but I will cheer for this pic.

However there's a downside to this sport and that is the dives. Oh, they could give the Screen Actors' Guild a run for the their money when it comes to acting an injury or foul play. Most times the player goes down from a mere brushing of grass blades against his ankle but you'd think it was shrapnel for the amount of writhing and carrying on.

The World Cup has occupied most of my time these days and after fantasising about more than one player on the field I've come to notice a trend in these men- the Metrosexual. I say that term as though it's a new concept but it's not. These guys have been around for years: peacocks, dandies, guys who'd rather paint caves than hunt mammoth... but what does it mean to DATE one? I always thought that going out with a metrosexual would be fine. Sure, he would spend more time on his hair than me, he might secretly get his eyebrows waxed and his chest hair lasered. He would probably spend an inordinate amount of time trimming his facial hair just so, but he'd still be masculine and really, wasn't that beard trimming done for the sake of my delicate skin??

Unfortunately not, as I came to see when going on a date with DC Bachelor 3. DCB3 is a very handsome man- tall, dark, successful, gentlemanly. He compliments, opens doors, is very interesting and interested in what I have to say. He also asks me what skin products I use, wants to trade Clinique bonus gifts, and asked me upfront what I was wearing (I suspect to coordinate outfits). The plus side is that he couldn't wait to see my hair, had been obsessing over it (his words) and wanted to see it in all lights. I love love loved that.

I thought this was all going quite well and then he told me what he was dying to do after dinner- get a mani-pedi. I barked out a laugh, unable to control myself. I thought he was kidding, after all. But no, he was dead serious and as he had beach time coming up he wanted manicured toes and nails buffed to perfection. As this was beyond bizarre I was all in- you can't make this stuff up.

So we sat in the massage chairs getting pampered, watching World Cup, and me trying not to squeal throughout my pedicure from the sadistically ticklish ministrations of the pumice stone (Fail). Afterwards we were walking in our flip flops and I was thinking how good of a date this was: I had a nice dinner, good company, a rare mani-pedi... and then he somewhat leaned in. I could have gone for it but something stopped me. It felt like I was having a slumber party with my best girlfriend and then all of the sudden she tries to kiss me. "Wh---?," I'm thinking.


Perhaps the girl time we had just spent together was not the ideal first date move. After all I'm used to guys who trim their nails with a buck knife. Seeing his soft-as-kitten-fur hands sparkling with just a hint of clear polish did little to arouse my feminine vixen lurking beneath. The downside is that the idea of a metrosexual is just not attractive to me (fare thee well beautiful soccer men... or at least 85% of you-- not YOU, of course, Giorgios). The plus side is that my appearance will improve should we continue a friendship- I'm certain he has more products than I have.

Friday, June 20, 2014

How to Reject a Guy

Dating is work, hard work. Especially if you're like me and an introvert. Oh I'm functional in society but I feel drained after being around people. I feel energized after sitting in the archives section and pouring over data. Don't judge me.


Anyhoo, I have been reflecting a bit on what are the best ways to turn down a man's advances in any situation. I think the key is that we really have to thicken our skins a bit. Yes, our best quality is that we're sensitive and we hopefully are compassionate creatures who take people's feelings into consideration. But the downfall is that we too often allow ourselves to be strong-armed into situations where we don't want to be.


For example, have you ever met someone casually and you had a decent enough conversation with them but you had no romantic interest? So when they spring on you that you should meet up for a movie you feel slightly shell-shocked and just agree. You spend the interim mulling this over and how you’re going to set clear boundaries, talk about other men, put out all of these subtle hints (that only a subtle woman would get) and then he’ll lose interest. But something goes wrong- he doesn’t get the subtle hints and now he’s INTO you. It’s now awkward and you either end up submitting to hanging out with him more (making it even more awkward) or you dash out leaving him bewildered.


Yes, this is not good technique and assuming that men are going to get subtle hints is not going to get you very far. I am guilty of the above scenario and it’s after many awkward scenes from both perspectives that I give the following scenarios:


Swarthy Guy
I’m not talking of the chin-stubbled dark and handsome pirate type, I’m talking about the guy who leads in with overt sexual tones. If you haven’t dated in the past 10 years I don’t want to freak you out but these guys run rampant. They’re a norm and you’re going to have to develop a thick skin to deal with them. In social media they will ask you right out, “Do you suck a good…” -I need not finish. Most of the time they’re a BIT more subtle and seem to have an interest in you before they surprise you with an overt sexual question or implication, and this is when you’re caught off-guard.

I used to respond to these with, “That’s a bit too forward for me,” but this only resulted in them trying to convince me, backpeddle, or insult me as a counter to my rejection. Now I don’t engage- I simply delete and block them or if in public I look vomitus and walk away. This display warns other women not to engage with this level of ick. I haven’t mustered up the art of drink throwing yet but I think it should make a comeback on this type.


Nice Guy, No Spark
I’m sure there will be some guy out there that thinks that this is a testament against nice guys and all girls want are the assholes.Untrue (see above). This is to the guy who is being respectful of you but you don’t want to do the dirty with him. This guy often has a lot of insecurity and so he’s become good about being a victim.

 

One thing that’s going around is this feminist phone number:(669) 221-6251. You can give a guy this no. and when he texts it he receives empowering female texts. A woman thought this up but will a man get it? I mean he’s just going to think it’s you but that you can’t answer a damn question without being weird. Instead, I would suggest what my friend, Lindsey does: No, thank you! Whenever asked to do something she doesn’t want to do she’ll say, “No, thank you!” Very cheery and upbeat but to the point. She doesn’t need to explain herself or justify her response and neither do you. There’s no snark or discomfort and it can’t be argued with. Clear. Cut. Boundaries. Love it.  I did that with the old man at Church and he didn’t take it well. Insider alert! Doesn’t respect my boundaries- good to know. I’ve replied this way to normal guys and they shrug and move on. Had I only done this with DC Bachelor 1… that would have been better for sure.


You Dated but Now…

This guy deserves the most consideration. After all you've shared some level of intimacy and it's just not going to go further. A text or email is not going to cut it. This deserves some personal thought and consideration: why is it not going anywhere? Try to ensure that you're clear but have the conversation with little emotion; he will respect and appreciate the effort. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

How to Screw Up a Rejection

When it comes to rejection no one really wants to be on either end. Though I almost prefer being on the rejectee side rather than the rejector side. Being rejected can just motivate one to improve upon one's self. Sometimes it's just in not being interested in as many deadbeats, other times you bunked it up and it's time to learn from that. But with being a rejector, well that just puts you in a damn awkward position. 

In my job I deal with nothing but conflict. Out in the field that's ALL I ever dealt with. But I never ran away or avoided the conflict because it's just part of the job. I've grown a very tough skin and the ability to show zero emotion on my face. It's a talent I've worked very hard at and value highly. 

But I can't do this when it comes to dating. In your career you can separate yourself and the other people from the politics- it's just ego, don't internalize. But with dating you're pretty much telling the other person that they're just not going to ever measure up to your standards. Eek, feeling discomfort. 

I wanted to continue from the DC Bachelor #1 and talk about how I let him go. I would love to tell you we had a mature discussion which resulted in a parting of ways with assurances that there were no hard feelings and it was all mutual. But that's not what happened. Instead I met DC Bachelor 1 at the movies. He had made a statement that since he bought drinks I could buy movie tickets. I didn't agree to this. Normally I would have just allowed myself to be pressured into that but I decided not to this time. So as we stood in line, doing the dance to see who would go in front of the other, he finally sighed and went to buy two tickets. I stopped him saying I'd buy my own. Look I don't want to take him out but I didn't want to use him for a free movie ticket either. 

He's a talker that wants to comment after every preview. He kept turning his body language towards me, leaning in to whisper. I took note of my own body language leaning as far away as possible. At the end we walked out and it was just tense between us (I'll take responsibility for a lot of that). He said we should do this again. I might have snorted ever so slightly. I told him to take care of himself and hastened to my car. 

Terrible way to handle things. He seemed so ready to go in for a kiss and I was thinking how awful that would be to flat out push him away or worse, be blind-sided by him. These were the awkward moments I was trying to avoid and instead created another awkward moment. It was in this instant that I had a whole new level of compassion for those dates that went nowhere. I blamed the boy for his cowardice but here I was no different. What was I to say? Explain how my body language should clearly have told him I repulsed any physical contact, my grunts of acknowledgement at his pithy tirades clearly told him my disdain for his personality, and if he could not interpret that then let me just bluntly castrate him now and verbally verify all of these things?? 

No, I chose the coward's way out. I am in no way proud of these actions (or rather inactions) but I still scratch my head at how I should handle this. What about the guy I met the other day watching Italy vs. England? Interesting enough but I don't want to watch every World Cup match with him. This has prompted me to look into appropriate ways to turn men down in all kinds of scenarios. Will return in a few days with my findings...

Thursday, June 12, 2014

How to Lose My Interest in 7 Days... or Less

Have you ever gone on a fantastic date and you really feel like you connected? You talk or text each other and then he fades out a bit. There's a second date coming up so you're just sure you can win him over with your fabulous personality and eagerness. But it feels off. And then you never hear from him again. I've been there. And I've been on both sides of the coin too. This was the state of things last night as I had my second (and last) date with DC Bachelor #1. Here is a cartoon that keeps playing in my head when I think about him:

 

Our first date went well enough. Nothing spectacular just normal. Yes I found his negative slant on everything tiresome. Yes I found his dramatization of the mundane even more annoying. But some people are just bad daters and so I agreed to a second date to see if there would be more appeal. I go by the philosophy that you continue in relationships until you decide they're not going in a direction that's good for either of you. Does that mean you quit on your family or husband? No. That means that you keep dating until you either decide to make each other family or you decide to part.

After date #1 I could have gone either way. I rarely ever am wowed by a guy and when I am, people usually look at me with raised eyebrow and scornful snort. There's no type per se, just a masculine confidence and ease. Some are hunky (in a mountaineer sort of way) and others are skinny and awkward. I dunno, if I did know how to define it, I wouldn't be writing this last blog post. 

Anyhoo, first date over and he called me that evening to say he had a great time. Nice! I confirmed that it was nice to meet him and sure, I'd like to get together soon. And then the texting began. 

early afternoon: How was your day?... Want to hang out this weekend? 

Normal enough, then the texts increase.

11.29pm (not okay): Hope your weekend went well! [no response from me] 
Calls: I'm at work and bored. Call me back and keep me entertained. [no response] 
8am: How was your ride on the metro?
11.48am: How is your day? [no response]
5.34pm: Movie starts at 7. Should we meet there 6.30? [I was going to be there 10 till]
6.00pm (call): So you said this theatre right? Are these the directions? 
6.30pm: On my way! [no response]
6.45pm: Parking 
6.51pm (call): Where are you? Oh, is that you parking? I'm the guy waving at you.

If you don't see anything desperate and annoying about that then you are guilty of having scared a man or two away. It's neither normal nor attractive to come off too eager with nothing but time available for the other person. Normal people have hobbies and lives. I just moved here but I have meetups, World Cup matches, befriending neighbors, my dog, my hobbies- ahem, a life! Oh yeah and my career. I don't have endless hours available in the day for anyone, let alone someone I just met. I'll tell you, I came in a little excited. After meeting him I was still interested in seeing what was there. By day 3 of this non-stop texting scenario I was over it and him.

Monday, June 9, 2014

21 Months

My 21-month anniversary came and went but I was too busy enjoying life. I arrived in DC three weeks ago and I haven't really stopped running. From unpacking and figuring where everything goes, SPRING CLEANING and getting rid of tons of stuff, dating (seriously what am I thinking? Three first dates in one week?!), and a super busy job. Whew!

So it's no real surprise that my anniversary would come and go without a blink. The thing is I always thought that the 21-month anniversary would be my graduation and I would emerge this fantastically silver muse. But I'm nowhere near graduation and I've sort of just looked upon this as every month and every cut I emerge lighter than the month/cut before.

It think that's a healthy way to view this as it's not a contest. There are so many ways to go through this transition. My color-stripping added more time. The dingbat stylist that burned my hair added on more time. This happens and it's life.

So on my anniversary I had more important things on my mind, such as my good friend, Lindsey's wedding. I've known this girl for several years and I just think the world of her. I was there when she was single, going through heartbreaks together, to when she and her now-husband fell in love. Now I get to be there at their wedding and what a privilege that is!

Lindsey is 10 years my junior and Kevin 15. I knew the age of the guests would include the parents in their 50s-60s and a lot of Millennials. However the only thing I cared about was seeing my friend and looking my best for her. So I wore a new dress bought just for the occasion (thank goodness all this walking slimmed me down enough to put it on), did a rare full blow-out on my hair, straightened it into place, and really worked on getting the perfect upper eyeliner.

Voila! Here are the results. When I walked in I was the only person who didn't know anyone and I certainly wasn't going to try to commandeer the wedding party's time. I also was one of the few silvers with no one in my age group. But you know what? I still felt pretty. I felt my own unique Jilly brand of pretty. I think we should all strive to feel this way about ourselves every day. Not the Jilly brand- aim high to your own brand-- you know what I mean.

It was a beautiful day and I'm not ashamed to admit the number of times I became teary over my friend's happiness. There are few greater joys than witnessing your loved ones' joys and happy moments. So as my friend's wedding was around my 21-month anniversary, this pic will have to do. It may not show off my silver as well as some, but it shows off my happiness even better.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Where Do I Stand?

I've had a few hiccups with this whole greying and dating thing. Mostly, it was the transition and I could focus the energy on that and say that once I was fully transitioned, all would be well and right in the world. But is this really the case? Even though I’m months away from full silverdom, the line of demarcation is so blended that no one other than a stylist would know it. Okay, include my obsessing over each ¼ inch grow out and we’ve a complete picture.

Anyhoo… point is I can’t hide my insecurities behind a skunk stripe anymore. When I was a ginger I had a sort of age anonymity, or at least I thought I did, and that gave me a certain level of confidence. Now I am a silver sister in a world where there aren’t many silver sisters my age. It’s kind of kick-ass cool but it’s also kind of intimidating. After all, where do I stand on the desirability index?
Week 1 in DC and I was anything but settled: sleeping on an air mattress until my furniture arrived, figuring out the DASH bus schedule (insert expletive), and hitting the ground running in my job. I went to church that Sunday for much-needed solace. I was just happy to be there and then an elderly man came up to me. At first I thought he was being friendly and welcoming but then, no he was hitting on me. He was in his 60s and doing everything he could think of to get my email. Fail.

That was a bit of a blow to my ego and I wondered if this was going to be the extent of my desirability? Old men, awkward in social settings who feel justified in hitting on me because I’m silver and therefore must be ancient? You can see how this has put me off a bit.

Let’s gain some perspective. What I WANT is this (see left)... What I got that Sunday was this (see right)... Not exactly uplifting to my spirits. I have had some higher points in the dating scene since then which I will divulge in a later post but this is where I was week 1.

This being a journey of greying and dating, I think it only right to be 100% honest. I’m not always confident that grey hair won’t limit my dating options. By saying that it seems like I’m considering dyeing my hair but I’m not. I love my silver and I am willing to keep it regardless of how it impacts my dating life. It’s not out of stubbornness but simply because I went grey for ME and I happily stand by that decision.
I think part of the journey is getting to a point where you walk into that bar and when someone checks you out you KNOW that they’re checking you out, not second-guessing what might be going on in their head. Honestly that’s a journey we all go through regardless of our hair color. Maybe the silver just brings it to a head. So this is an insecure moment but one I feel important to share. Yes I rock the silver and I love it but I also know that not everyone sees it that way. Further dating updates to come...