Archive for July, 2010

Fake Conversations
July 29, 2010

This is something that I am consistently surprised by at how smart people can be thrown completely off course by something I would deem to be a ridiculous conversation. My first encounter with such a conversation was not romantic in topic at all but a simple misunderstanding as a young girl. My family had a more European way of gathering. We would have cocktail hour around 6 or 6:30pm followed by dinner around 8pm. Dinner could easily last until 9:30pm due to extensive conversations that would actually continue in to the family room for nightcaps (pecan sandies for the kids). During one of these conversations we somehow got on the topic of future living accommodations. As the conversation grew we all settled on the notion that we would love to move to Italy and even proceeded to get more in-depth with picking a specific town and future professions. I was completely enthralled with our conversation to the point that the following day at school I informed my 5th grade teacher that I would need to gather my transcripts for said move and taking the math quiz was really irrelevant.Now looking back this is a story that brings immediate tears and belly laughs to the family for me to take such a fantastical idea so seriously. Ever since I have made a point of confirming that a conversation is in fact fake if I have any doubts. What kind of dog would work for the family started as a fake conversation until our little ball of fluff was brought home. Thus clarification is helpful and absolutely necessary.

Flash-forward to present day and I am being consulted about some very exciting travel plans. A friend has kept in communication with an ex and during one of their texting sessions he brought the idea forth that they should plan a trip together. First, this ex lives in the Midwest meaning not a quick drive to Palm Springs or Vegas for a weekend, in addition he has a girlfriend. Another element is that practically every time she asks him when he is coming out to LA to visit the response is “soon” and we have entered our second year of “soon”. One of these elements would be enough for me to realize this conversation is fake but three is over the top. And yet she still feels that it is prudent to start saving her pennies and investigate hotel options. Laughing and saying “are you fucking kidding me?!?” is not the response that is needed to come out despite it might be the main point in my internal monologue. Instead saying something along the lines of “ohh, wasn’t he supposed to come out here for a visit” if you can use the word “soon” without laughing or choking on vomit do so but if you have doubts on your capabilities to restrain yourself I would hold off. If this doesn’t bring about a light bulb moment for the friend you must get deeper into your query. The next logical step is to reference his current romantic attachment. “Ohh fun, is his girlfriend coming with?” and please remember that while these questions are not actually sincere as you are fully aware of the truth, you absolutely must present yourself as earnest or said friend will shut down completely and any advice will be lost. If all points are lost then the last attempt you can make is to advise that she purchase tickets for this imaginary trip once she gets him to e-mail his paid for itinerary from the airline. And even then I would confirm that her tickets are refundable. While I admire her hopeful spirit I also must do what I can to protect her from the romantic comedy that is running through her head in that they find each other again and realize how much they need one another.

 While most of the fake conversations that come my way are romantically based I also have heard a fair share in the work environment. As always I think the old line sums it up best; Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. If a boss has been promising a promotion, a better office, or even an ergonomic chair perhaps you need to evaluate the real probability that such a promise will actually occur. Follow through is something that can be difficult for everyone, hell I can’t even keep a promise to myself to get laundry done, however sometimes you need to review past performances and let that be your guide. Distractions can occur and it is very common for something to fall off someone’s radar for a period of time, however examine what it was that brought on these promises. If it was to end an argument or to give the impression that you are a valued asset (as you very well should be) these promises could have been thrown at you as a Band-Aid to try to fix a deeper issue. Depending on your financial situation and the severity of the fake conversation you may need to contemplate looking for greener pastures. No matter what, the advice from an interventionista should always be to sleep on it as I think everyone has a few friends that are more likely to fly off the handle for a small infraction and you don’t want to get blamed when she has been unemployed for 6 months after quitting her previous job for the lack of flavored coffee creamer.

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Trainwrecks
July 12, 2010

Everyone has different roles when they head out for a night on the town with their friends. The most annoying of these personas is the “trainwreck”. There is usually one “trainwreck” who goes far beyond any respectable level and proceeds to make a scene either by starting a fight, crying hysterically, or making out with anyone in the area with a pulse. If it is the last, the only thing to do is take plenty of pictures to use for blackmail at a later date. The first two options require a hasty departure, because if you don’t initiate the removal chances are the bar staff will. Getting her into a cab would suffice for anyone else but chances are the “trainwreck” will either pass out mid route or in a the very least reach the point of incoherent dribble that the driver won’t be able to decipher the final address let alone directions. This means that the parenting must continue to either your home or theirs, where a tall glass of water, a trash can and perhaps some toast must be presented.

Sure everyone has a night like this from time to time, and its practically expected on a birthday, but the true “trainwreck” has this at every outing. The idea of getting a single drink after work is preposterous and why would you order a glass of wine with you can order a bottle. This means that when you agree to meet said friend out for an evening you are signing an unspoken contract that you will be the “responsible” one and will probably end the night apologizing to several fellow patrons, if not reaching the point in which you must assure the bar employees that she won’t be coming back again.

Unfortunately, after countless hangovers and embarrassing retelling of past events, one would hope that the “trainwreck” would learn from past indiscretions and vow to adjust her inappropriate behavior but where is the fun in that. If she can’t remember her mistake then they must not have happened. Thus as an interventionista, you see the friendship for what it is and you must determine that if her brain won’t adjust with your help then perhaps she’ll change her tune when she runs out of bar in the greater Los Angeles area, or her liver finally gives out. Is this a callous answer? Perhaps, but when there are many others in need and willing to change why waste the energy and oxygen on a lost cause who has the potential to, (if she hasn’t already) damage your reputation by association through her escapades.

The Stripper Date
July 6, 2010

While at a party recently the group I was with discussed different things each person has done to please their partner. The subject of going to the strip club with your man was brought up and it created quite an intense discussion. Half of the group (all female) said that they would never set foot in such an establishment and couldn’t understand the point of it. Why would a guy go and watch a bunch of hot naked girls dance around or writhe on top of them with no hope for a final payoff of sex afterwards. However one of the girls went against the pack and spoke of an interesting concept that was quite surprising. She stated that when the girl goes with her man to a strip club, they are creating a fantasy together. Its as close to having a threesome without actually having the third party present for the actual event. He gets all hot and bothered while the stripper dances and caresses you, and when you get home (or down the street on the side of the road if you just can’t wait) all of his sexual energy will be at your beck and call. This caused the rest of the girls to pause and contemplate but needed confirmation from the males in our party. One after another, the gents that had taken their ladies to a strip club had done so for the very reason described. And in the end most described spending all night, and a large portion of the following morning letting out his sexual energy with his partner.

This tactic will not work for all couples. There are women who do not feel that level of comfort with themselves or their relationships to take such an active role in the fantasy. They believe that this is just an excuse for the guy to nearly cheat on them and then spend all night sleeping with them while imagining he is with the stripper.  IF this isn’t your cup of tea, don’t let it bother you as there is no rule stating that a healthy couple has to go to strip clubs together. And in fact several of the guys in the group stated that they would never feel comfortable asking their partners to such an establishment.

Now please note that this is in reference to a couple going together. If a guy recommends this on your first date, then he is a scumbag and you should bail immediately as he is testing his limits with you like a small child. And seeing as this is your first encounter do you really want to continue with someone that you know you will have to put through an intense training/boot camp at the start.

Math for Lovers
July 6, 2010

Earlier today I had a work colleague ask me about the socially accepted age difference when searching for a potential romantic attachment. He’s 35 and apparently met someone at a bar who had graduated just last year. “Would a girl that young be interested?” I gave my best supportive pep talk that age doesn’t matter if you really like the person and pulled enough cliques out of my bag to help facilitate any concerns he had to not just dive right in. Everyone has his or her own comfort level of course and depending on your current age is also a factor. 11 years when you’re 10 is huge; at 20 not so bad. When I was a freshman in college my age gap was that they had to actually be in school. Even when I was a senior that rule remained in place, which was a bit annoying, but I felt that they needed to understand that I was going through the college experience to be supportive and not judge my amazing yet sometimes ridiculous schedule and behavior. When I left college I had hypothetically thought that my age would be about 5 years using the age of my eldest sibling as a base. I could potentially see myself dating someone her age but older then her might be uncomfortable. Once I got out to LA that age range jumped to be 10 years older to simplify everything in my mind. In truth it mostly had to do with the fact that I had no idea how bad I was at the “age guessing game” past college. Too many nights were spent with handsome 30 somethings without my immediate knowledge. Naturally the second I set that age restriction I met Andy the 33 year old. Of course I was able to rationalize that the additional year didn’t matter and thus it would be fine based on his charm, sense of humor and dare I say gorgeous physique. However since then my age range keeps extending into the stratosphere so I decided that I needed to halt this steady slope that could lead to an Anna Nicole type situation.

While at dinner the topic came up with a friend and she informed me of an interesting number game to explore. Apparently I’m the last person in the world to hear of this and it’s even referred to the “Cougar Equation” according to Urban Dicctionary. Take his/her age, divide by two. Take the answer and add seven. I still haven’t been able to find the source of this math equation and I don’t necessarily advocate it as a life lesson but I must admit that it makes quite a bit of sense. For instance with Andy, who was 33 when I was 22. I was just slightly under the range that was calculated to be 23.5. Now of course is this a science? And frankly if Tom Selleck called and asked me out today that calculation would be thrown out of the window immediately without any hesitation. I anticipate getting a lot of people who disagree with this little theory so please don’t let it ruin your day or your current relationship but it is something to ponder. Now do I damn the coworkers potential relationship based solely on the fact that the numbers don’t add up in this instance. Since he is not a close friend and his past relationships more resemble flings than anything else, I think it may be best to just let it slide. Chances are that the generational gap and missed pop culture references will be enough to deter the relationship from growing into a success. And yet at the same time, perhaps he is really immature, or she is an old soul in which case you don’t want to be responsible for the detriment of happily ever after. Which the cynic/realist in me knows is lasting roughly 15 yrs in this country before someone gets restless.

The other fun equation that I tend to follow rather closely involves the mourning period that is socially acceptable following a break-up. From a SATC episode, although I’ve certainly heard it long before that date, you are allowed to “recover” from a relationship for half of the time that you were together. Although I agree with this concept in most cases I feel that there are some instances in which this rule should not be applied. In my opinion these relationship break-ups need to have a footnote explaining that this math problem is meant for bf/gf relationships and not marriages. That is a whole sector that I frankly don’t feel comfortable discussing seeing I have not even come close to being that involved with anything other then a pet or my car, certainly not another human being.

So by this equation, my most recent demised relationship was 3 months. Thus I had 1.5 months to be a pitiful mess, not wash my hair, and cry uncontrollably based on little to no provocation. Now as the hard ass bitch that I am I gave myself approximately 48 hours. I spent all 48 of these hours drinking, smoking, eating chocolate and flipping between action flicks involving lots of meaningless death and sappy songs. Sleeping would have been a great idea but as some post break-up individuals like myself fear the loss of control that occurs in dreaming and thus decided that it would be best to refrain from any of those sorts of activities in which his memory could creep back in like Freddy Krueger.

However, I don’t expect and it’s probably unhealthy to follow my personal method. With a close friend you usually know how to make a “get well soon” basket of all of his/her favorite things. Lots of activites help so for the betterment of your friend’s sanity and emotional well being, splurge on that facial/mani/pedi/massage package from the spa or the gym membership to get some aggression out through kickboxing. For most of my guy friends I would trade the gym membership for a trip to Vegas with his boys. As a woman you can help and be supportive but there are some instances where they need to bond and do those “guy” activities that they can’t seem to feel comfortable with when a lady is present.

Another asterisk that should be at the bottom of this contract should state that if said relationship is long distance or traveling of nature, the initial amount of time together should consist only of the actual times when you were in the same city. For instance, My friend Elizabeth had been “dating” someone for a year. That would give her 6 months to mourn. However they saw each other every other weekend or so. So you would take 52 days (52 weeks/2=26*2(days in a weekend)=52). I’ll be nice and round it up to 2 months of actual physical togetherness. For those that want to be nice on the topic, and I’m fine with it, Long distance relationships can keep the whole time that they were physically together to mourn although after the first month with Liz I was less and less understanding of her six degrees of Kevin Bacon rationale every time I got an inconsolable phone call.