OKCupid – do we want passion or dedication?

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Photo cred: independent.co.uk

OkCupid. It’s a fine online-dating service. Free. Not sketchy, unless you’re meeting someone “normal” and then he tells you he can’t drive and “hey, can you pick me up?” and “sure” and then you find out he has gangrene in his leg that prevents him from driving. The gangrene is no problem – the sketchy lie and inability to think outside-the-box (Uber much?) are.

One of the questions on OKC – you answer a series of questions to determine how much of a match you are with other daters – has interested me of late.

“What makes for a better relationship: passion or dedication?”

I know enough about lasting relationships to believe dedication is the answer.

Could the issue be that people view passion as an all/nothing thing? Just like gender, passion operates on a sliding scale. Sometimes you will be attracted to your partner. Other times you won’t. It’s in those moments that dedication takes over – and you find the passion again.

Sometimes I wonder if other daters (men) think that “dedication” is an unsexy answer. I’ve never seen a guy answer “dedication.” I get it. It’s scary to think about getting stuck in a sexless relationship/marriage. Even girls don’t got time for dat. Maybe guys are answering based on girls’ perceptions. I guess if I saw a “dedication” answer I might think the guy was a bit feminine too.

ZjvfdN_QIf you believe recent studies – and Kate Hudson – monogamy is not a natural state for human beings. We can talk nation states, institutions and power vehicles that impose monogamy upon us, but that’s not the point. If you want to be in a monogamous relationship, know it will take work. Sometimes it’s ugly. If you’re looking for the happily-ever-after, you have to trudge through the unhappily-forabit-after. But did you know – men who help out around the house are found more desirable by their female mates? A prime example that demonstrates dedication can lead to passion, maybe a hotter passion than before.

More on this:

Dating rule No. 1: The “Moonlight Sonata”

score

score

Have you hard Moonlight Sonata? The one by Beethoven?

I’m sure you have, even if you don’t know it by name. It’s haunting. It’s slow. And it’s basically the best musical interpretation of what it must feel like to be incredibly, dramatically, emo-y depressed. I imagine young Werther might have used the song as the track he took his life to, only they didn’t have record players in the 1700s, the penetrating silence around him making his literary suicide that much more dramatic.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

And still, I’m sitting in my apartment on a Sunday afternoon, writing this as I listen to the sonata on repeat. I’ve come to know its twists and turns during emo periods of past. You think you can out-emo my emo? Go listen to your Linkin Park CD. I’ve got real problems Imma share with you.

As a 32-year-old single woman living in a society that wants me to get married and have a baby or eight, and living in the same type of headspace, I wonder when I’m going to get there. You see, I’m in the throes of heartbreak. Unrequited love. Again. You too? Let’s wallow together.

The perpetually single. I don’t know if I subscribe to the idea, but God knows there’s some kind of hamster-wheel situation going on in my dating world. In an attempt to make some sense of it all, this organized chaos that makes up life and relationships, I found my way back to the piano after having not played it with any regularity for 18 years. Naturally, I started with Moonlight Sonata. And so far my efforts have been finger-twistingly short-lived and frustration-riddled.

In fact, the whole dating cycle is pretty much the same cycle I’ve encountered practicing Beethoven’s joint. All those fucking sharps!! Each time you think you may have picked up a couple of extra measures of the piece (one with a four-page score), you find on the next play that, no, maybe you mastered a new note but you’re still not ready to move past any number of various points on page one. It’s murky really, and it’s a bumpy-ass road, navigating through those 88 weighted keys.

credit: Wikihow - INCREDIBLE PICTURE

credit: Wikihow – INCREDIBLE PICTURE

When do you cut your losses and run? On a song or a boy? My 34-year-old roommate recently broke up with her boyfriend of three years. She feels she wasted valuable baby-making time. She tells me I’m lucky to not be tied down to the wrong person. Oh, I’m not tied down. Just that I keep ripping my heart out and putting it on a platter for someone to continually, but politely, decline to take care of.  

My crush? He’s been good to me. He’s been honest. And the journey is kind of the same with all these would-be relationships. Sometimes the playing is smooth, but messy – and damnit if you didn’t miss some of those fucking sharps (always the sharps!!). Sometimes it’s never smooth. Sometimes you sit down to play but get up and eat cereal and look unrecognizable lying upside-down on the couch watching any number of shows that make you feel like a little less of a human being.

The thing with trying out Moonlight Sonata – it wasn’t for nil. The very act made me realize learning to play it is something I need to work up to. Doesn’t matter why but I’m not ready for it now. I think it means I start learning a new song.

Dating Rule 1 – “The Moonlight Sonata”: Sharp objects in the path are signs it’s time to re-evaluate. Recalibrate. Shit literally and figuratively shouldn’t be this hard.

Associated Goal: Move on but remain open. Approach a new song. Have the courage to change course.

What Elliot Rodger can teach us about heterosexual gender roles. And love.

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#Yesallwomen

I was recently involved with someone who deemed himself a gentleman, but arguably didn’t consistently act in that manner. The ambiguous feelings I had toward him have subsided. Time, and the recent horrific events in Santa Barbara, have brought some clarity. And more questions. I write this in the hope it invites further dialogue as it relates to the realm of male and female relationships, which mostly reflect on our relationships with ourselves.

This fantastic Slate article on Elliot Rodger and the “seduction community” discusses the implications of society’s idea of the “nice guy.”

My particular situation, which saw me ultimately acting without integrity (I comment-vomited on his new girl’s Instagram), had me questioning my own sanity, despite the hurt I felt at his hands. So what’s the tie between the “nice guy” and my “crazy girl” behavior?

The hidden gradations our society has for the roles of heterosexual men and women work against us and the gender-relations’ cause.

The alpha male. The slut. The girl-next-door. The stalker. The gentleman. The bachelor. These are the roles that limit our capacity to love in a whole way. These are the narratives we let ourselves believe in order to limit ourselves, to limit uncertainty and the discomfort of acknowledging our ever-changing identities.

The seminal PUA handbook.

The seminal PUA handbook.

Elliot Rodger’s mental state and his YouTube manifesto, describing his loneliness, his frustrations with being a virgin at 22 and at having never kissed a girl, are incredibly troubling. The mental-health issues aren’t things I’m going to get into, and in no way do I want to downplay their significance. It’s the idea that an entire community exists, one centered around picking up girls – frustrations with girls – “playing” girls, (not to mention the unspoken solidarity females can exhibit when complaining about men), that also troubles me. It’s an indication we may have lost our way.

An old roommate once summed it up nicely: We are all just looking for a profound love. The path to finding that love can make for bumps on the road, perhaps more for some than others. But these hiccups are simply leading us to a place where, not only do we love ourselves, we can be the best partner possible to someone else.

It reminds me of a favorite quote: God has put people in our lives so that we may be a blessing to them.

Binaries can help us make sense of our relationships, for a time, but they aren’t truths. If Elliot Rodger had been mentally able to take a leap of faith to look beyond the “narrative fallacy” of him being the nice guy, he may have found himself in another position. As a boyfriend. As a husband, and later as a father. Watching that video – I saw a boy who had decided something about himself years ago. The irony, of course, is that the girls he felt had rejected him are reconciling their own heteronormative relationship roles, and he used theirs (“sluts”) against them. And now there are six victims who won’t be able to love on this earth again.

We are more than these roles. In love, we take advantage of others and find ourselves taken advantage of. We act without integrity, and surprise ourselves with our restraint. We don’t need to pigeon-hole it, or why. If you’re stuck in a relationship-role box, I encourage you to question it. And never doubt how whole you were all along.

Reflections on moving out of LA.

After years of threats to myself and others, I’ve signed on the dotted line. I’m moving out of LA next weekend, and I’m going through a variety of emotions.

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Los Angeles from Runyon Canyon

I came here in 2000 to attend college in Malibu, spent time in the valley, Hancock Park, Mid-City West, West LA.

I’m scared and excited. While I’m moving an hour away (rendering this post a little sentimental), there is a sense of loss. I’m giving up Yoga Booty Ballet, the Lady-Gaga-infused highlight of my week. And the apartment I have come to know so intimately, with its holes in the wall where the bedroom door accidentally hits it, and the innocuous (numerous) stains on its cheap beige carpet. And the Israeli woman down the hall who speaks quite badly of her deceased husband (and men in general) while doing laundry for her two forty-something sons who live with her in that corner apartment. I’ll miss the view of the Hollywood Hills from the balcony, the one I rarely took advantage of.

And Runyon Canyon, and celebrity sightings, and my “home” McDonald’s. The people I met – the ones I loved, hated or gave the finger to. And the sheer number of times I didn’t feel like I could get out of bed because the city was too much for me.

LA by night

LA by night

Looking back, we sometimes see only what we missed out on, even whilst doing our best to get through the day or week. I did my best; I don’t think it’s possible to live without regrets.

So…who am I now? After years of calling myself an Angeleno, taking a strange pride in being able to “make it” in a city that devours so many, I’ll be stripped of that pride and identity. The city itself no longer a character in the movie of my life.

More than anything, living here has taught me about the importance of relationships. How I want my life filled with more laughter, passionate fights, Sundays without itineraries, bike rides. It’s crossed my mind that I have, at times, used the city as a beard, one that covered up the deeper insecurities I have about finding someone, whether I’m truly lovable, failure. I’m not sure anything will be different where I’m going. But I’m hopeful.

So thank you, LA – friend, foe, dispassionate observer, stranger and lover to me all these years. Who knows? I may be back, unable to resist living outside the frenzied pulse of your gritty-beautiful heart.

It’s a Match! Why Tinder is the best thing that’s happened to my love life.

Tinder me this.

Tinder me this.

When I read about Tinder late last year, I sulked. (Admittedly dramatic.) Another app where the hook-up culture finds willing participants in its game. Tinder isn’t made for me, I thought. I projected how I felt about myself as a dater unto the reputation of the app and decided I was, once again, left out of the party.

But after downloading the app and using it for four months, it’s been the best dating tool I’ve used, even in looking for a long-term mate. Here’s why.

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Our Porcelain Moments.

Moby's LA Home by night.

Moby’s LA home by night.

Have you ever had a moment so perfect that, when you realize its perfection, you become terrified you will wreck it? As if being content isn’t part of who we are, but a state we must struggle to maintain?

I had that feeling once. I was on a train leaving Paris, going to some dinky town in France (whether a provincial town in France can be called “dinky” is debatable). It was summer 2003, and I was studying abroad in Florence. We had the weekends to explore the European countryside. That Parisian weekend – which included a seedy Best Western, a surprising number of hair weaves (an Algerian neighborhood, perhaps?) and some memorable moments (the Notre Dame and hot chocolate pair surprisingly well) – we found ourselves back en route to our temporary Italian home. I laid down in the sleeper car, my best friend asleep in the small uncomfortable bunk next to me, and I listened to Moby’s “Porcelain” on my portable CD player.

I took a second to ponder if I should let myself listen to it. It’s too sacred, I thought. What if this time, this listen, ruins the times the song has served as the soundtrack to a beautiful memory, a memory I am so chained to I can’t take a risk ruining it? I took the chance.

Starry night. Yeah, I went there.

Starry night.

The curtains in the cab were open; a curious, mysterious moon looked back at me, reflecting small columns of sun onto the French countryside. I put the track on repeat.

We want so much to believe that some things are above the crumbs we typically accept that it’s terrifying to think we might change, look at something differently, not be able to rely on that “thing” anymore – be it a song, a person, anything.

“tell the truth you never wanted me.”

This line has always hit me. The things we tell ourselves – the loaded hue of the glasses through which we see the world – the way we jump to conclusions to protect ourselves. The narratives we make up to tie life into a neat, perfected bow. Things can be so fragile and breakable. Not with force, but without it. On accident and by our own hand. Porcelain.

Moby’s LA architecture blog is one of my safest Internet places. I’m so glad he’s an LA transplant.

Related: A Castle for the King of Techno

How far are you willing to go (like, geographically go) for love.

ImageWhen I was 26 and on eHarmony, I put my geographical distance for matches at a solid 60 miles from my location. You start to re-think those decisions as you get older. I changed my eHarmony match parameters today – I am matching with anyone located in the 48 contiguous states (plus Hawaii and Alaska), who has also requested those parameters.

As I get older, I find that finding that important person has become, important. I’ve never told myself I wouldn’t relocate for love, but I haven’t been open to it. The thing is – taking a look at why we might not be open to relocating is important to figuring out where to go from there.

Deep, deep, deep (you have to dig really really deeply) down, I love Los Angeles. There is a busyness and hectic feeling to the city I don’t know if I could keep up with as I get older, and certainly money and the want for a house will become problems at some point, but my unwillingness to relocate does beg the question: do I truly believe I’m ready to meet my mate? If I knew 100% that  I would meet the person I will eventually marry in a particular city in the next year, would I move? I *think* so.

I don’t see myself living in LA for the rest of my life. I can work in any city. I would prefer to live in a moderate climate, but I think I could acclimate to one not-so-moderate. So, why stay? Particularly when it feels like time is running out? Is a fairweather lover – in the form of a metropolis – a good enough reason to stay put during years that could become do-or-die?

On the one hand, wherever you go, there you are. Would Portland – a friendly utopia even for conservatives (I think?) – offer a better singles’ scene? Austin? Is it me I need to be working on? Isn’t the happiest version of me going to effortlessly fall into a relationship and maybe I just haven’t finished sculpting myself in that direction yet?

I don’t think we need to know the answers, and I think the answers change for us. A lot. Changing my parameters on eHarmony demonstrated a shift. It means I’m in a new spot, and I have new internal ground to excavate surrounding my perceptions and stigmas around relationships. I’m not the same dater I was at 26. Just looking at areas of improvement allows them to take hold in our minds; we can act/not act in accordance with them when we have further information that will allow us to move in the best direction for each of us.

Maybe, darnit, I’m really not ready.

Continued adventures in online dating. Also, minions.

ok cupid inquiry

ok cupid inquiry – click to enlarge

I recently received the following message from an individual interested in me based on my profile on the popular online-dating vehicle okcupid. While I typically let such inquiries go, I felt it necessary to respond to this individual, as based on his message he seemed quite eager to hit the ground running.

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The biological clock. Can we dismiss all that fear?

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Jo March

I remember the first time I came across Penelope Trunk’s blog about making marriage a priority. It scared the bejesus out of me. I was (and am) 31. I had never really considered that I was a ticking time bomb. I started dating 5 years ago. I learned how to hold down a job two years ago. In fact, I haven’t known enough about relationships and how they could feel until recently, and I still don’t know if that information is accurate. Each time I run into another article about choosing career over kids it kind of feels like society has pulled a gun on me but hasn’t given me the tools or enough warning to prepare accordingly.

The problem – as I see it – is that there are no answers. There is the typical advice: troll Ok Cupid, lose weight, work with a therapist, freeze your eggs. Be the person you want to meet! All good things, but not necessarily things that calm you down when you’re sitting at your desk blogging, when you should be working, and thinking about your barren life and the sad moments you will spend sitting on park benches in the future watching as children who look like their parents giggle and run by.

I’ve dated a lot of people. I’ve put in some work.

But what can we do that makes us feel like we’re making a difference in our search for a mate, without efforting?

Here’s my list.

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My Minimalist journey begins.

Photo credit: Sketch Guy

Photo credit: Sketch Guy

“There’s a consequence for being over-prepared. ”

I remember reading this NY Times’ article awhile back on minimalism and feeling taken aback. I’ve always been good at throwing stuff away (the consequence of obsessively hoarding magazines as a teenager), but I had never taken time to consider the psychological aspects in regards to how I relate to my “stuff.”

I’m currently in the middle of moving my apartment around. And when I say moving around, I really mean that my roommate is moving out, and I find myself with a lot of space. Perhaps too much.

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