I started writing this blog a few days ago, before my internet crashed. I now have internet and TV back in my life again..so, YAY! However, there will be no obligatory 4th of July post. I hope all my American readers had a lovely one!:)

From time to time, I get questions from readers of this blog—something that is often shocking to me, because I tend to only assume that unless you’re a close friend who is somehow invested in my world, there’s little here to interest you. In fact, the tagline on some of the pages from Jaded Elegance, v.2, read “Unless you’re terribly bored or hopelessly in love with me, stop reading and do something more interesting.”

Fortunately for me, either there are a lot of bored people on the internet, or I have a way with admirers. :P My warning wasn’t heeded.

One of the most common things people write to me is that they’re seeking advice regarding crushes. You’d think this is confined to being a 14 year-old girl problem, but it’s not. I get notes from women who are part of my generation asking about secret office romances, and those in their 40′s who are newly single and ready to get back out on the dating scene. Men of the world, I’ve come to one giant conclusion: for all the time you spend thinking about sex, relationships, dating, flirting, and attractive people, you’re remarkably oblivious to those around you. There are a lot of women walking around this world with secret crushes, and while perhaps many are subtle enough to never let you know about it, I’m sure that some are dropping hints here and there.

I’ll be honest. For a girl who built a blog around the concept of always being infatuated with one thing or person or another, and is working on a book of poetry based on 11 years worth of “intrigues”, I’m not terribly good with crushes. It isn’t that I don’t have them, it’s more that I don’t have that genetic female predisposition to keep the information to myself for prolonged periods of time.

In high school, I was an accomplished flirt who secretly enjoyed seeing the faux-machismo of teenaged boys disappear when you put them on the spot or made them feel uncomfortable. I was never the sweet, innocent, easily offended type. I learned to counter sexual harassment with equally overt sexual harassment, as if to say, “See how you like it”. *laughs* As both they and I became more experienced in the ways of the world, I learned to combine my tendency to flirt with witty banter. Somewhere along the way, witty banter gave way to a remarkable capacity to be very straightforward, in a way that prospective partners either find genuinely appealing or quite off-putting. I have to confess, it amuses me a little when I leave someone a little speechless or make them turn various shades of red. I’m the most harmless person out there, truly. It shocks me that people don’t always see me in that way.

However, the point is, I’m terrible at crushes because I’m too damned straightforward to be charming. This is why men don’t woo me, don’t show up at my door with flowers, don’t move heaven and earth to get my attention. I don’t play the game properly. After feeling confused about whether or not my crush might like me, or if not, why not; after suffering through a few weeks or months of mixed signals and flirtation may mean something, but may not, I just come out and ask. Sometimes, it’s a calculated decision, in the form of a heart-to-heart conversation. Other times, it’s a drunk text that says, effectively, “Hey, you idiot…have you not noticed I like you, and why aren’t you doing anything about that?”

I would love to be a more subtle, charming person. I would love to be that person who engages people with a mixture of inaccessibility and little coy looks here and there. I would love to be the girl who waits three years for her crush to notice her, and have the world’s greatest love story ensue. I sometimes think that men would take me far more seriously if I behaved with the demure subtlety women are supposed to possess in these matters. But I am impatient, and I don’t really hide emotions well. I don’t see the point in playing games, and life is too short not to tell people how you feel about them…especially if the way you feel is that someone else is an awesome person. At the very worst, you’ve made the day of someone who isn’t interested in you by expressing your admiration, and you can get over it over a cosmo and some reality TV. At the very best, you’ve saved you and another person years of waiting for one another to make a move, express a feeling, or wonder “What if?” in a more out-loud fashion.

If there’s one positive thing to be said about me, it’s that people always know where they stand with me, and if they don’t, all they need to do is ask. It’s surprising to me how many people are reticent to ask about things they spend time wondering about. If I really want to know, I lose sleep trying to keep it inside. *laughs*

I think I rather gave up on crushes when I was a teenager, and saw how they never got me anything except a lot of emotional angst. I think, the first time someone I liked asked someone else out instead of me, and I cried over it, only to have the guy later tell me, “I had no idea you were interested, and it seemed like she was.”, that crushes seemed like a cute, romanticised, idealistic idea, but weren’t going to get you anywhere with the object of your affection.

I have intrigues and infatuations, and most of them are short-lived. They hang around long enough for me to write a poem, to learn the hard way that someone wasn’t who I’d imagined them to be, and my idealistic heart is devastated for a week or two, until the next intrigue or infatuation comes along. If it’s been a few months or a few years, and I still have feelings for someone, I likely will have brought it up. Sometimes it’s in the form of asking “Why haven’t you ever been interested in me?”. Sometimes it’s “I know you’re in a relationship, and nothing can happen between us, but I’m sure it’s obvious I like you”. Other times, it’s “Why don’t you pay attention to me? Everyone pays attention to me.” More than one of my long-term relationships has started with this sort of straightforward, brutal honesty.

I’d love to be the person who has crushes, who has people who secretly have crushes on her. Alas, I am too direct not to let my crushes know and remove the mystery, and too intuitive not to know when someone in my life is attracted to me or has feelings for me.

When girls—and women—write to me for advice on their crushes, my advice is always this: life is short, and a broken heart doesn’t stick around forever, but the chance you didn’t take will haunt you for a lifetime. Express how you feel, in a way that feels comfortable to you. Both men and women are equally flattered by attention and admiration, so why keep it a closely guarded secret? There’s a certain romantic allure to the the crush that took years to get off the ground and eventually ended up in a wedding, but in real life, it doesn’t usually work out that way. People don’t stay unattached forever. Many times, your crush ends up with someone else not because he never noticed you, but because he never noticed you noticing him. Not everyone is particularly intuitive or emotionally observant.

If your crush is someone who is simply unattainable for one reason or another, take it for what it’s worth. It’s possible to be intrigued by people you don’t even know, as well as by people with whom you can never possibly share a romantic connection. But, if that person inspires you in some way, use it to be inspired. Whether it leads to that added little boost that comes from harmless flirting around the water cooler, a crazy night that wasn’t supposed to happen but leaves you singing annoyingly happy songs for days, or an actual date that makes you feel 15 again, crushes have potential. And if they don’t, because someone is unavailable or disinterested or the stars just don’t align, they can still brighten up the routine, the mundane, and make you feel a little more alive and engaged in the world.

Don’t be afraid to express your admiration, even via harmless flirtation. Being inspired and being admired make everyone feel just a little better, as long as you’re not the creepy stalker type. You have to know when you’re pushing too hard, when you’re no longer amusing, but a little weird. Don’t be that person.

I had someone tonight tell me that one of the things they really like about me is my brutal honesty. I observed that, running a social group–and having a lot of hobbies, interests, friends, and a personal life aside—I met an awful lot of people each year, and it was impossible for me to remember each person’s name. I half-jokingly pointed out that because I was never going to be genuine friends with 98% of the people I met each year, I don’t learn anyone’s name until I’ve seen them around three times and have reason to believe they’re likely to be a part of my world. Of course, this “brutal honesty” was interpreted in the most humourous way possible, with people poking fun at my lack of social delicacy, but it’s true. Someone I used to know used to say he only had so many spaces in his “friend book”, and from time to time, was not accepting applications.

It made me genuinely wish to be friends, however, with the person who remarked upon liking my brutal honesty. That is the kind of person with whom I inevitably interact with very well. And, ideally, it is how all my “secret crushes” work.(although, to clarify, the individual straightforward enough to comment upon my straightforwardness is not a crush, nor does that person have a crush on me. I realise that could have been read in a confusing manner.) I don’t always seek out new intrigues or have room for a fascination with another person in my life, because I may already feel my life is either rather content and busy as it is, or because it’s already way too complicated. When I *am* intrigued by someone, I don’t really want to wait three years to find out they were equally intrigued. I like flirting and romance and coy little games, but I guess I just like straightforward communication better…even about situations that are less than straightforward, or one dimensional.

It isn’t that hard to say, “I kind of really think you’re an awesome person”. In fact, more people should say that sort of thing to one another, whether it’s accompanied by a secret crush or physical attraction or complex friendship, or it’s someone you’ve literally just met and find cool.

That’s always my advice, for what it’s worth…but I’d love one day for one of my readers to write me back with advice on how to have a crush/intrigue/infatuation I keep to myself for all eternity. There’s something about that ideal that appeals to my incurably old-fashioned, romantic side. Sadly, too little of me is as old-fashioned or demure as I’d like to be. :P

Earlier today, The Guy I Am Currently Dating, who would be proud to label himself a “geek guy”, forwarded this article to me. It took two seconds for me to roll my eyes. I’m sure the article came my way because he was sure I’d blog about it, and of course I did.

Why is there a question mark in the title? Of course it’s offensive. It encourages stereotypes and how to pretend to be someone you’re not to attract someone you have to work to click with, rather than just organically bonding with someone who seems like a natural match. It’s no different than “7 Steps To Get A Mega-Hottie To Talk To You”. Could the media stop perpetuating this bullshit?

What about “Stop trying to find a certain kind of guy by pretending to be something you’re not, and maybe you’ll actually meet someone who likes you? ”

I’ve attracted a geek guy in my life. Or 20. Or maybe way more. I’ve had serious relationships and meaningful friendships with more than a few. Some of them are fairly well-known geek guys. And, you know what? I don’t watch sci-fi, Felicia Day annoys the hell out of me, I don’t program computers, I don’t play video games, and I don’t see the need to dress like Slave Leia or dress in duct tape to get attention.

I have some geeky hobbies. I keep a blog. I play trivia every week. I’m a literary geek, a theatre geek. I’ve been to both Dragon*Con and Burning Man. But I also love shopping, reality TV, and all things girly. I don’t wear glasses. I’m emotional rather than rational, and people don’t often see the intense and substantial side of me until they get to know me.. Yet, geeky guys tend to be attracted to me, and although it’s not always an instantaneous attraction, I often find myself falling for geeky, introverted guys with whom, on the surface, I don’t have much in common. Often, though, it’s a balance that works. My strongest and most emotionally bonded relationships and friendships have been with geeky guys, and I don’t have to pretend to like Star Trek or Halo to build those.

Not every person is attracted to the same kind of person. One type of geeky guy may want an uber-rational, scientific, logical type of person who will communicate and share interests on a more intellectual level. Another might want an outgoing social butterfly who is going to open him up to new experiences. Still another may want a girl who genuinely enjoys the same hobbies. Some may simply want the hottest girl that’s willing to sleep with them, even if the relationship is largely superficial on both ends…you know, kind of like every “type” of shallow person out there. Thinking that a guy you label as “geeky” is a stereotype is just kind of ignorant. Thinking that turning yourself into Felicia Day or Zooey Deschanel is what’s going to land his attention is as stupid as assuming he’s looking for Scarlett Johannsen or Angelina Jolie.

For the record, I’ve had geeky guys I’ve been attracted to tell me they didn’t want to date me because they perceived me as the crazy manic pixie type that was going to disrupt their universe, or because I was too outgoing and socially exhausting. I’ve had geeky guys break up with me for low-key, plain librarian types, and for blonde, surgically-enhanced California girls. People change. Just because someone is intelligent or unconventional doesn’t mean they know what they’re looking for in another person, or that what that person thinks is right today is going to be right in the future. So, not shockingly, nothing in this article has much value, unless you’re completely one-dimensional and seeking an equally one-dimensional partner you can manipulate into falling for you, and never changing or growing.

I’ll admit, my life is a little bit of a stereotype in certain ways. Quirky manic pixie attracts geeky guys who want help coming out of their shells? Yeah, not an uncommon story. It’s happened to me more than once. I’ve “inspired people”, helped them to “explore life” and “come out of the shadows” and “live more”, only to have them leave me when they’ve figured out they’re now who they want to be and don’t need me anymore—or they can land a prettier, richer, or saner girl thanks to their newfound confidence and experience. They don’t show that part of the story in all those indy romance flicks.

I’m just me. I’m kind of smart. I’m kind of quirky. I’m kind of attractive. I’m kind of off-the-wall sometimes. I can be a little too much for some people. But geeky guys tend to like me because I’m unconventional and willing to accept people for who they are. I don’t try to change anyone. I don’t judge people for not being like me. In fact, I often am drawn to people because of it I’ve learned there’s a balance between similarities and differences that is essential to a relationship that works for me. This is not true for every person. The people for whom this same balance is important seem to seek me out…or, if not, I seek them out. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

I must repeat: I have never, ever played Halo. I don’t read comic books. Sci-fi bores the hell out of me. I suck at math. And I’m not the shy, quirky librarian type. If you are into these things and want to date a geeky guy because you have stuff in common, that’s awesome. But this article isn’t going to help you with that either.

Yes, I naturally attract geeky guys. I think it has to be the blog…which many of them have refused to read over the years. *lol* Surprisingly, I don’t do it purposely. For a long time, I defined my “type” as someone way different. And then I learned the shocking truth: people aren’t categories. It’s not “geeky vs. hip”, “assholes vs. nice guys”, “friends vs. romantic partners”, “alike vs. different”. People are not simple, and relationships certainly are not on one dimension of compatibility. This is part of the reason I’m fully convinced that people who go into relationships looking for everything they’ve ever wanted in one person, or need to be “completed” are doomed to fail.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced with geeky guys is not meeting them or attracting interest, but convincing them to be straightforward and emotionally open enough to take a chance on approaching me and trusting me. More than once, I’ve heard someone was afraid of me. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “A girl like you could really hurt me”, I’d have some serious extra spending cash. But, again, that kind of judgment really isn’t good. Anyone who really knew me would know I’m not the heartbreaker, and not the manipulative type. In fact, I’m not a type at all.

Neither are the geeky guys I know, even if they are proud of their passions, accomplishments, intellect, and unconventional interests.

I really resent articles like this that tell you how to change yourself and other people to attract a certain kind of person. It’s demeaning to you, and it’s demeaning to that person. What happened to just being yourself and attracting people who click with you? The more you know and love who you are, the more objectionable the idea of changing yourself or anyone else in order to attract a partner or make a relationship work.

Being as authentic as possible is what works for me, and it means I don’t have to spend a lifetime pretending to want to stay in playing Halo on a Friday night when I’m planning to put together a social event. It means I don’t have to dress as or emulate a TV character in order to be “different”, because quirky is what’s in right now.

I think a lot of people who identify themselves as “geeky” go through life looking for a certain level of acceptance, someone who really feels “I care about you because you’re you, not because I see you as a type or because you might have potential if I change you enough.” I think it’s not just something “geeky” people feel and want, but something anyone who’s ever felt a little bit not like everyone else has experienced. I think I attract unconventional people because I understand the importance of authenticity and acceptance. If you don’t have that, you don’t have the kind of openness and level of trust that builds strong relationships.

If you want to attract a geeky guy, sure, you can do the stuff that’s in this article, and find a guy who’s interested in sleeping with you and hanging out with you for a little while, until it becomes obvious you have nothing in common and pretense wears thin. That’s true of almost any “type” of person you want to consciously try to attract.

If you want to have a meaningful relationship or friendship with a geeky guy, don’t do a single thing this article mentions. In fact, give up on the idea of people as “types” or attracting a “type” because it’s cool, or what they might have to offer you, and just be comfortable enough with who you are to put it out there and attract people because they are somehow right for you.

Maybe then you’ll be on your way to a healthy relationship, whether your partner is a geek, a hippie, a prep, a yuppie, a hipster, or any other “type” you can think of. Because, in reality, that person isn’t representative of that “type”. They’re just a compatible partner for you, on whatever level that connection happens, and you don’t have to fake it to find it.

Spending your life faking it isn’t good for anyone. I don’t care if this article, or Cosmpolitan, is telling you otherwise. Both you and your potential partner(s) deserve waaaaay better, right?

Yeah, there’s way too much bullshit on the internet. I exist to counteract that. :P

I am not by nature a timid or indecisive person. Except when it comes to issues like my wardrobe and what to have for dinner that night, I don’t have difficulty figuring out what I want, when I want it. I have greater difficulty when it comes to figuring out why I want a certain thing, if it’s a good choice, and even if it’s not a good choice, is my impulsive streak going to ultimately win out and do it anyway?

I seem to have less trouble making every day decisions than many of my acquaintances and friends. For years, I’ve run a social group, which means I’m the one who picks where the fun is going to occur, and what type of fun is going to occur, and what rules should be followed to ensure this happens. I don’t go to the grocery store and feel overwhelmed by the huge selection, because I know what I like. When the answer to a question is “I don’t care” or “What do you want to do?”, it really means those things. I’m not always that hugely emotionally invested in the restaurant we choose for lunch, or which mall to visit.

This, of course, extends to my personal life. For a somewhat sophisticated, well-traveled girl, I’ve never learned the coy, flirtatious ways of relationships. I have the ability to be remarkably direct when necessary, and to chase after the object of my affection. Of course, I only do this when I get the sense that someone is attracted to me, and the chase is an interesting game that I’ve been invited to play. Once I realise someone is either disinterested, or waits too long to make a move and chase back, I take the rejection at face value. Sadly, I think I’ve missed out on some potentially positive relationships this way, confusing rejection with someone who is confused or overwhelmed by me. However, the point is, I’ve always been far more intrigued by these relationships I’ve initiated..even if my sense of control was just a well-designed illusion…than any where I have someone simply wooing me in a simple, old-fashioned, gender-role-defined way. I do not know why this is. I’m eternally drawn to the unavailable, provided there’s the slight possibility the unavailable is going to make an exception for *me*.

It goes without saying that this has caused a world of drama, hurt feelings, and miscommunications in my life. It’s almost ended friendships. For a while, I tended to have the outlook on life where I wanted what I wanted, and anyone or anything in my way was irrelevant, and what I wanted was subject to change at any given time. It took me a loooong time to figure out how hurtful this was to certain people in my life. It’s as if there was an element of my life that was always a game not to be taken too seriously…unless something clicked, and I took life WAY too seriously.

I’ve grown a lot since then. In the past two days, I’ve spoken to two different friends about different stories and experiences in my life where I had to make a decision, and it led me to an epiphany. When it’s the right thing to do, I’m remarkably spontaneous. I went to Orlando to audition for a job and ended up in Fort Lauderdale a week later with little more than my weekender bag, and didn’t return home for over a year. I ended up flying to Atlanta to live with a guy I met online and had a fling with for all of two weeks in another city, before we moved in together. I’ve gone to the airport and boarded a plane because I was sad and frustrated with my life and wanted to go somewhere I’d never been. I’ve gone out for dinner with a guy who wasn’t interested in me, and within 24 hours, found myself in a two-month relationship. I Couchsurf with strangers and meet hippies in bars and end up posing for artists, photographers, and filmmakers. I’ve been known to dance on an occasional bar. I’m no stranger to playing life by ear.

Yet, on the other hand, I’ve stayed in numerous relationships that weren’t good for me because I felt I needed to, or it was the pragmatic thing to do, which is just code for “I am afraid of change”. I hang on to jobs until the very last minute, when it becomes obvious what I have is no longer going to work. I live in an apartment that’s inconvenient and I dislike because of all the difficulties associated with finding a new one. I live in a city I’m not sure is for me because I’d feel isolated and alone if I left, unless I went with someone, or had friends when I got there.

I had an epiphany when it comes to the world of me, and decision-making today…and that is that I’m largely guided by intuition. It is not so much just that I’m afraid of change—positive or negative—but that I have a practical streak somewhere inside me that I may not even be aware of. It lets me get away with a lot of stuff that probably aren’t the best examples of solid decision making, but when it comes to the big stuff, it tells me that timing is everything. It tells me to pay attention to the signs the Universe is sending, as well as what I want, and to not let my penchant for being attracted to the new, adventurous, and unavailable undermine good things in my life…as well as not to get so attached to the idea of security that I don’t see that my idea of security comes at a great price, and it’s time to move in another direction.

I realised I am not afraid to make big moves in life. In fact, sometimes I do so in a way that throws other people for a loop, and others aren’t quite prepared for the mini-tornado that accompanies my decisions. Yet, somehow, my intuition will always keep me from doing so if it thinks my timing isn’t right; if I’ve been chasing after someone with whom it clearly isn’t meant to be; if there’s something better waiting around the corner; if there are going to be changes in the future, but it’s wiser to wait until I’m getting the signs that it’s a more advantageous time.

Sometimes, I think that’s why I’m still in Atlanta. There have been plenty of opportunities where everywhere I looked, there were signs saying “Maybe this is the time to get the hell out of here”. And each time, I didn’t…and each time, something different and unexpected and life-changing was waiting for me. It’s always been the same way with jobs, and relationships…at some point, it becomes clear that one thing has to work out so another thing can present itself.

Tonight, I told a friend about an opportunity I didn’t take. After going through a difficult time in Atlanta where I really wasn’t well-liked or socially acceptable, had my heart broken by both friends and lovers, didn’t have much in the way of material possessions, didn’t have many responsibilities, was living on my ex-boyfriend’s couch, and was between jobs, I thought the Universe was clearly telling me it was time for a change. I started looking for different adventures, and somehow stumbled across an opportunity in Asheville, NC that would let me stay in a charming little B & B for the summer, food and lodging paid for, provided I worked as their receptionist. It seemed like a spontaneous, off-the-wall idea, but one that almost happened, because it also seemed exciting. I thought the time away might help me figure out what to do with my life.

Yet, I delayed. One can say I was simply afraid of change, but within a week after that, an old friend reconnected with me and wanted me to take over his old social group in Atlanta. He also got me out of my ex-boyfriend’s apartment, let me stay in his place until the lease was up, and gave me the tools to stop hiding and go out in the world again. I very quickly met a few people who are dear friends of mine to this day, and within 6 months, I had a whole new life here in Atlanta, including some of the most special people I’ve ever crossed paths with. It’s like I knew if I just restrained the impulsive nature, the desire to react chaotically and NOW, something awesome and life-changing was going to be on the horizon.

I have reason to feel the same way about my life right now. There are changes I could be trying really hard to make, alternatives worth exploring, different paths that might take me to a better, happier, more productive and creative place in life. Yet, I’ve been strangely reticent about them, and I think it’s because even though I’m aware some aspects of my life are in need of change…it isn’t dramatic upheaval, adventure, choices that will throw everything for a loop, and knock the sense of stability out of my life that I need. I may need a *little* adventure, but I mostly need the time to focus on returning my life to an even keel, not sending everyone around me into a tailspin.

It isn’t that I don’t know how to make decisions, identify what I want, or know what to do with what I thought I wanted once it’s there in my life. I’m fairly well-schooled in all of those things. It’s also not that I’m lazy or terrified of change. It’s just that there’s this intuitive voice warning me against making the wrong moves, even if on some level, they present themselves as sensible or appealing moves.

It’s like I internally know that things may be tough now, but there are better things on the horizon..yet they tend to arrive on their own time, instead of following my schedule. It’s like there’s a voice that tells me “Take it easy, take care of yourself, treasure the love that’s in your life, and value what you have rather than seeing what you don’t. What will be will inevitably reveal itself, as long as you’re listening.”

That has never led me astray. In fact, the only times I’ve found myself in seemingly unconquerable difficulties is when I got messages from my intuition, even remarked upon them to others, yet still ignored them.

On a similar note, it seems I owe my intuition an apology. Quite some time back, I posted about a “psychic dream” I had regarding a friend who is pregnant, and her child. I dreamed she was in a hospital room with her family, holding a tiny baby, whom they named Amelia. I shared this strange dream, which my friend thought was funny because she–and everyone else she knew—was certain they’d be having a boy. The ultrasound confirmed this…they were expecting a baby boy.

Since then, I’ve blatantly disregarded my dreams, thinking they’re just weird things fueled by my crazy drugs, and my “psychic dream” tendency abandoned me. Yet, this friend told me the other day that a follow-up ultrasound that was once 80% certain the baby was a boy was now 80% certain it was a girl. She’s also been struggling to eat and gain weight, a possible explanation for why one might have a small baby.

Maybe I really *should* listen to my intuition. Especially in Dreamland, it’s a powerful tool. It’s predicted car accidents, earthquakes, sent me visions of the girl my boyfriend at the time would ultimately end up dating after me (although neither of us ever met her), predicted my cousin’s infertile wife would get pregnant and have a boy (she did. What I didn’t tell them is my dream indicated she’ll be having another one in about 2 years.), predicted the gender and relative due date of my friend’s first baby, saw my dad in a wheelchair (a year later, he later developed significant health issues, and now he is), warned me about cheating boyfriends every time I slept in the bed next to them, given me the heads-up on relationships with a romantic future even when I didn’t see it, and has even sent me repeated visions and allowed me to experience the sensation of my own death.

As I mentioned to a friend of mine tonight, I’m admittedly not a pragmatic person. Yet, there is something to be said for simply “knowing” things, yet not really knowing. I couldn’t explain to someone how I “know” they play a significant role in my future somehow, or how I “know” it’s better to choose one thing over another, or sometimes, to choose inaction over making changes. I can’t explain how I “feel” what other people are feeling, even separated by hundreds of miles, or why I see glimpses of the future that are contrary to all indications of the present. I also can’t explain why I can’t “see” or “feel” some people who have a great presence in my life, and with whom I share a personal connection. Yet, even in my dreams, they are generally nowhere to be found.

It’s even harder to explain to your doctors how you still get scared because you “know” things, and one of those things is there’s something troubling you they haven’t found. If you tried, they’d have you at the psychiatrist’s in no time. Yet, I’ve diagnosed my own maladies in the past when doctors were wrong, because of my ability to listen to what it was telling me.

Is anyone else out there like this? Is your decision-making process influenced by a general sense of “knowing” about things that have not yet occurred, or less mysteriously, the ability to see into people and situations on a deeper level than is often appreciated?

“Just for the record, one night with me and you’d remember it for the rest of your life. ”

“I’m sure I would. But, out of curiosity: how…exactly?”

“You’re a smart man. How do you think I landed such a rich husband?”

“I never really thought about it. You mean….”

“That’s right. I’m just that good.”

“Big Bang Theory”

Since today’s blog is about relationship advice, I will begin by saying that I am not a good source for relationship advice, unless you’d like to know more about the phenomenon known as feeling sad because you’re consistently being rejected by people you thought liked you. I am so good at this phenomenon, apparently, that my analytics tell me when people Google “You’re attractive, but you’re not my type”, they end up on this page.

I kid you not. Yesterday, I broke up with Domino’s. Today, I am now even being rejected by Google.

WTF, Google? This is how you let me know you don’t like me as much as I thought you did?

Anyhow, I’m blogging about love and relationships again today, because I came across one of those annoying articles on Yahoo! that people are so fond of posting, and women are largely fond of reading to remind themselves how they’re “working on their self-esteem” when truly, they’re looking for reassurance that “If I look hard enough, there’s a person out there like this that meets some of these criteria and will totally like me.”

Articles like this annoy the crap out of me, and I don’t know why, except there’s something formulaic and unrealistic about all of them. So, I’ve taken the liberty of rewriting the article to reflect my particular view on the “11 Things Every Woman (if you’re really a girl, you’re 16, and don’t need to be reading this article..it doesn’t apply to you.) Should Hold Out For.”

The first flaw in all these articles is that they’re written to a specific demographic, namely straight, monogamous, marriage-oriented women. No matter what your orientation or view on relationships, most women (and men, for that matter) want the same thing on a fundamental level: to be loved in the way they *should* be loving themselves (but probably aren’t.) So, I am replacing the typical “guy” with the more generic “person”. If you’re looking for more than one partner, the same criteria likely apply, and if you’re happily against the institution of marriage, never fear—”holding out” doesn’t mean waiting for the right person to marry. “Holding out”, in my definition, simply means not settling for someone who doesn’t bring the right things to the table because you’d prefer not to be alone. And, for all my poly readers, this applies to you, too: adding a secondary partner who is fundamentally incompatible with what you need from a relationship just out of novelty is demeaning to everyone involved. “Holding out” simply means knowing what you want, what you’re worth, and having a somewhat realistic view on human relationships untainted by chick flicks and advice columns. (hehehehehe…the irony!)

So, that being said, here goes:

1) A person who is truly interested in what you have to say. Every list you’ll ever read says a sense of humour is the best quality you can find in a person, laughter is the best medicine, and someone you find funny is much more endearing than someone you find smart, good-looking, or a great cook. Respectfully, I disagree. We live in a world of quips and one-liners, 140 character texts and “keeping things light”, and the result is that the more easy it is for us to connect, the less often we truly do it. If you find someone whom you find not only funny but intriguing, and who is willing to talk as well as listen, connect as well as superficially entertain, you’ve found a gem. This is number one on my list—if we can’t connect easily, or I find myself having one conversation and you’re hearing another, or you’ve shown you just don’t care about certain aspects of my life, my interests, or putting in the work necessary to click on some deeper level, it’s not going to work. Humour is a part of this, yes, but it’s like isolating one crayon in the whole box and saying it’s the most important. The whole range of emotion is significant in life. You want the whole box of crayons, even the garish neon colours.

2) A person who will “get” you. Sometimes, these articles get it right, and this one is on point. It’s not about finding someone who will laugh at your jokes or who can complete your sentences. It isn’t even always about finding the person who thinks just like you or feels just like you or acts just like you. That person may quickly drive you insane. When you’re on the same page in life as another person, it’s intuitive. You just know that you mesh, and it’s a step in the right direction. Nothing is more frustrating than a relationship where you’re constantly having to explain every thought or feeling. Innate understanding is cool. When someone “gets” you, you just know it. It doesn’t make it easy, but it’s a fundamental building block.

3) Someone willing to be involved in your life, and vice versa. “A Guy Who Will Attend Your “Lame” Things”? Really, Yahoo!? If you care about something, it’s not lame…it doesn’t matter if it’s your best friend’s wedding, a night at the ballet, a political rally, or whatever else you’re into. You should be proud of your interests and accomplishments, and you should run at the first sign that you’re with someone who minimizes them. Likewise, this requires you to be willing to be supportive and interested in someone else’s life. A relationship is not a fusing of identities, but it is a sharing of worlds. If you’re not willing to do that for someone, that person either just isn’t right for you (it can be really hard when you have absolutely nothing in common), or you’re not actually ready for the committed relationship you think you want. I remember once telling an ex-boyfriend, an architect, that I wasn’t interested in reading the books he gave me on the subject because they were “boring”. I realise now the level of immaturity that showed on my part (cut me a little slack here; I was 21 or so.) I also remember falling out of love with one person and immediately becoming infatuated with another simply because I met someone who shared my interests and cared about them, whereas I was used to someone stuck inside their own comfort zone. Bonding is powerful stuff.

4) A person who will do “nothing” with you…but will also expand his or her horizons. Some people are, by nature, less laid back than others. Some people need a certain amount of time to do nothing, where others always have to be on the move. Some people are constantly exploring, while others like a certain level of comfort zone protection. I’d argue that this goes back to finding someone who is on the same age as you are. However, if being around someone and not doing anything makes you feel nervous or awkward, or silence makes you feel insecure and unloved, you need to take a step back and evaluate your relationship. Are you really “connecting”, or just doing stuff together all the time? Trust me on this one. There’s a huge difference.

5) A person not afraid to express his or her feelings about you. Yahoo! says to hold out for a guy who will give you a gift or card, but years of reading on psychology has taught me this is BS. There are a number of different ways in which human beings express emotion comfortably, and in which they find it most significant to receive that emotion in return. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking for the person who was going to write me heartfelt and romantic letters, because that’s how I communicate, and that being constantly touched, hugged, or kissed didn’t evoke the same response from me. However, that’s simply a difference in how people communicate and feel love. Physical expressions of love don’t mean much to me; I largely distrust them. Yet, for others, they’re the cornerstone of a relationship. I wouldn’t discard someone who is a sucky gift giver in your eyes, because you value expression of love via objects. All it means is that person likely communicates love differently. Talk with your potential partner about how you communicate love, what you find romantic, what means something to you.

6) Someone who gives you a sense of security when it comes to being loved. Again, Yahoo! says “A guy who will say he loves you”, but it’s not always that straightforward. Some people are of the opinion that actions speak louder than words, and hearing “I love you” doesn’t create that level of trust and security. There are different ways in which different people express their love and ability to be loved. Knowing that about one another and understanding those differences is key. For instance, I don’t say “I love you”, and it’s difficult for me to hear. You have to know me better to know why. Does it make me any less loving or any less capable of being committed toward someone? Hardly. I’m one of the most loving people you’ll ever encounter. The fact I don’t say those words doesn’t diminish that in the slightest. It just means I have emotional baggage, and if you care about me, you should take the time to learn about that.

7) Someone for whom you have respect, and shows you respect on a daily basis. Most of the things people do to harm relationships annoy me because they’re plain disrespectful; lying, cheating, putting another person down, making someone feel insignificant, putting your own needs first all the time…they’re all synonyms for “I care about you, but I care about me more.” And while a certain little bit of that is healthy, natural human nature, too much of that means a relationship is becomes disposable, an accessory, something that exists for your benefit. It’s impossible to be in a healthy relationship with a narcissist. Don’t accept disrespect from anyone, because you can and will find someone who values and respects you enough not to treat you that way. And, certainly, don’t disrespect others, because taking advantage of someone else’s love is something that hurts you as much as it does the other person…and karma’s a huge bitch.

8)Someone with whom you have good chemistry. Like emotional connection, chemistry is elusive. You may want it to be there, but it just isn’t. When you gravitate toward another human being without wanting to know why, that’s chemistry. When you sense you want to sleep with someone you barely know, or aren’t even that attracted to on a physical level, that’s chemistry. Call it pheromones, hormones, biology, whatever..there are things that attract people to one another on a physical, intellectual, and emotional level. Beware any relationship where all three aren’t present. Chemistry is often the easy part. Understanding it and making sense of how it fits into your relationship with another person…well, that’s another thing entirely. There have been many people in my life with whom I’ve had chemistry, but the other pieces didn’t fall into place, or there were too many extenuating circumstances. That’s why I write poetry instead of mistaking infatuation for the love that’s going to come along and magically change my life. ;p

9)Someone who agrees with you on travel. This one, I have to give credit where credit is due. This has always been a HUGE problem in my relationships; I like a certain level of stability, but also the freedom to explore, travel, have adventures. I haven’t, in a very long time, dated someone who wanted to or was able to just get in the car one weekend and go on a random road trip. It has made me doubt all these relationships…because I know eventually, I don’t want to live where I live for the rest of my life. What a well-known personality tests calls “openness to new experiences”; well, I’m big on that one. Yet, I attract people who are very much the opposite. I almost always travel alone. It makes me a little sad; sometimes, I want that romantic vision of someone with whom I can see the world and share adventures. This is one of those topics that reinforces my worldview that perhaps I am the kind of girl who needs more than one “someone”.

10) A person with similar family goals. Anyone who jumps into a relationship where one person wants kids and the other doesn’t; one loves animals and the other is allergic; one has a family that doesn’t accept the other…well, it’s inevitably a no-win situation. Asking people to sacrifice fundamental pieces of who they are, or waiting for them to change, isn’t something you’re entitled to ask. There are people out there with similar views on these things, and you will inevitably find one. Don’t make the mistake of trying to mold yourself into another person’s idea of a soulmate. No relationship that works was ever built on illusion, or losing aspects of yourself in the process.

11) Yahoo! says “Wait for someone who sees you as you want to be seen”. I don’t know about this one. I’m with Victor Hugo, who said “The supreme happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved, loved for ourselves; or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.” You may want to be seen as the most perfect person to walk the planet, but it doesn’t mean your soulmate is one who is going to feed your delusion. :P While you certainly should never settle for someone who sees you as less than you are, being blindly idealised is also a recipe for disaster. (see: muses and manic pixies.) If someone can see through layers of artifice and protective walls and proper behaviour and posturing to make yourself look as good as possible, and love the spirit that lurks underneath, that’s someone worth waiting for. Don’t be disappointed when you discover it comes around rarely, as most people can’t see through that many layers of crap, and most of us don’t want to be seen in a way that leaves us vulnerable. Find someone who sees you as you are, as you once were, and as you’d like to be. It’s probably one of the best keys to finding a soulmate that’s out there.

Why, you might ask, am I an authority on relationships and romance, when my own life has been one of chaos and colourful stories? I’m not married. I have plenty of relationship woes and dramas and unwise choices that epitomise my life. Why do I think I know people better than Yahoo!?

Easy. You don’t get to be this colourful without learning a thing or two about human beings along the way. Trust me, if you really want love in your life, it’s going to have to be a lot less pretty and a lot less bullshit-free than every dating advice column you’ve ever read. Before you seek advice, just as before you seek love, the old dictum of “Know thyself” is more than apropos.

Oh, and Google? I can totally do better.

It’s good to know I have a few friends/loyal blog readers who care, but you guys truly don’t let some stuff go, do you? *laughs*

Earlier in the month, I posted a piece on synchronicity, in which I shared a sweet story about reconnecting with a childhood crush at a cafe in New York City, and our subsequent love story/short-lived engagement. The point of the piece was not to vent about my personal life, but to share why I believe in synchronicity, and the power contained in the signs the Universe tries to send you on occasion. However, the most common feedback I’ve gotten over the past two weeks is “What happened with the rest of the story?”.

I didn’t really want to go into the rest of the story, because it’s personal, and also because I wanted to avoid exactly what happened: spending more time thinking about my ex-fiance than I have in a dozen years. :P

Since everyone wanted to know what happened to Avery, and why I cut the story short, the answer is a simple one. Life happened to Avery, and he ended up making largely the same choices most conventional Americans make.

After we broke up, Avery finished grad school, and went on to law school. He met a nice Jewish girl who is also the uber-ambitious, driven type, and helped him overcome his overly romantic, idealistic tendencies. In short, he found the polar opposite of me, the girl who’d always loved him precisely for his brooding demeanour, depressing poetry, and desire to change the world.

He still lives in New York City, is with an accomplished civil law firm, and is still, I assume, married happily enough. We keep in touch enough to say we’ve kept in touch, yet not enough to imply any real connection or stir up any issues. We have lunch or meet for drinks perhaps once a year when I pass through town. It is all very adult and civil, and there’s nothing serendipitous about it.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have regrets about Avery, but not the part where we didn’t stay together, didn’t get married. I think I intuitively knew he needed to be someone and pursue something other than what I had to offer, and I would only encourage him to take his life in a different direction, one that may have brought him much less happiness in the long run.

If anything, I sometimes feel sadness. I feel a sense of “Why did you need to choose the conventional, the obligatory? Why couldn’t you travel through life the way we always talked and dreamed about, off the beaten path, with me? Why did you end up wanting to change me, rather than let me help you encourage the authentic, adventurous you shine through?”

The answer is, few people are strong enough to choose the road less traveled, which is why it’s called the road less traveled. Doing so means hardship, sacrifice, lack of stability, being judged by others. For Avery, he felt always that his personal happiness was secondary to doing what was expected of him.

Although it sounds judgmental, and it is, I’m of course equally guilty. I fell in love with the idealist who wanted to become a journalist in a war-torn country and write a powerful piece about life in other places, the intellectual who saw himself as a professor who’d publish papers and give lectures on how to make the world a better place. I wasn’t any better prepared for a future that involved me being the wife of a civil litigator, any more than he was prepared to show off an outspoken, bohemian wife without an Ivy League pedigree.

People change, and they do not always change or grow together…and that’s just the sad reality of life. That’s why over half of marriages in the United States end in divorce, because people aren’t static creatures.

I am inordinately proud of Avery and everything he’s accomplished in the world, and the happiness I hope he’s found. I have a close friend who, over the years, I’ve seen gone through a similar transition, and I am equally proud of my friend and his happiness—though a part of me will always be sad he didn’t choose a different path, and that’s simply selfishness. We all have those weaknesses.

And while I still adore and admire Avery, I believe everything worked out for the best. The person—or persons—destined to end up with me are those who chose a path a little less conventional, who retained a bit more idealism and commitment to artistic and intellectual growth throughout the thing we call life, even if it means a crappier apartment and a heart that is broken and disappointed more frequently, and parents who are a little less approving. :P

I didn’t share this part of the story, because I am still romantic and idealistic enough that when I think of Avery, I think of the sensitive, idealistic, protective 16-year-old boy I ran through rain and mud just to hug goodbye…and how the Universe found that moment as meaningful as I did, because goodbye wasn’t goodbye.

The infrequent times I meet up with Avery to catch up on old times and talk about how different our lives are now, I always carry an umbrella.

Old habits die hard, and undue romanticism never does. ;P

Intuition is a confusing thing. On one hand, it can be a positive guiding force that protects you in your life. Almost every time I’ve gotten myself into a really bad situation in my life, it’s because I didn’t listen to what my gut instinct was telling me about something. If I have a blind spot in my life, it’s to ignore the alarm bells that go off in my head and the doubts that cloud my heart, and to determine that I am in charge of my life, so intuition is irrelevant. Whatever I’d like to happen in my life, I can choose that…intuition has little to say about it.

Yet, for some reason, it just isn’t true. I don’t understand enough yet about myself and my spiritual nature and my place in the Universe to understand why, but when I start to get indications from life that I’m headed in the wrong direction in one way or another, yet decide I’m going to do what I want to do regardless, it’s a frustrating battle. It’s rather like being condemned to roll the boulder up the mountain, only to have it repeatedly fall backwards. The fact that this has happened so many times in my life has taught me intuition is something real and inexplicable, and while not everyone has it on an equally well-developed level, you know it when it hits you.

According to Meyers-Briggs, my iNtuitive nature is the most strongly expressed aspect of my personality. Despite the stories I tell about my psychic dreams and visions that look like flashes from the future, rather than memories from the past, or vibes I get from certain people or situations that make me extremely self-protective (I’ve been accused on more than one occasion of being a bit paranoid, only to remind people it’s only paranoia if nobody is out to get you, and almost every time, my weird feelings of suspicion and paranoia are justified.), I rely a great deal on my intuition. I struggle not to always let it affect my overly emotional nature or cloud my judgment, but what many people refer to as impulsiveness or following my heart is usually me following a sense of intuition. I sometimes feel that, in certain ways and at certain times in my life, I am guided in a certain direction and I may not even know why. I may have strong feelings, fears, the logical part of my brain that tells me intuition can lead me astray…yet I know that very rarely does that ever happen. Somehow, I end up where I’m supposed to be, even if it’s not where I wanted to be—even if it’s not how I wanted things to work out.

The things that throw me for a loop are the things I just don’t see—or feel—coming in my direction. They’re the situations for which I emotionally unprepared. I have a hard time coping with those, because my alarm bells never gave me the notice I needed. I’m not often shocked or thrown into a state of disarray, but when I am, it hits me hard. The situation with my ex-roommate was one of these. I knew I couldn’t trust him, that lending him money meant I’d never see it again, that much of what he confided to me as a friend wasn’t true, but his sudden abandonment threw me for a loop.

You see, I’m the girl who spent a weekend in bed back in her college days, watching sappy movies and crying because she knew her boyfriend was cheating on her…if not actually in a physical sense, then emotionally. I remember very clearly a relationship that devastated me because we were so close—but he had a female best friend he’d known for a very long time, who was an important part of his life. This didn’t bother or threaten me, until the day I met her, and first spent a weekend with her. After she left, I was so depressed I didn’t want to get out of bed, and played bitter angsty music and cried a lot.

I didn’t know why. My friends didn’t know why. Outwardly, he didn’t treat me any differently when she was around. She didn’t act as if they were secretly having an affair, and he swore to me they were not involved in any way, so nobody could understand why I was so upset. But that weekend, I knew it was over. My heart was broken, because there was something in the way they interacted, the way they looked at each other, that even if they were honest and trustworthy and nobody was cheating on anyone…he would just never love me the way he loved her. I would never, ever be good enough. I would always be competing with something to which I couldn’t compare, and it broke my heart.

It didn’t end right away, because I tried to tell myself I was stressed, PMS-filled, making a big deal out of nothing. But, of course, it eventually did end. Strangely, I don’t remember how it ended, or if it was painful…because all I remember is that weekend, which was one of the worst in my life, for no reason other than what existed in my own head.

A few years later, I saw an engagement announcement, and it hurt a little bit that he was getting married. What hurt the most was that his fiancee was this woman who’d been his lifelong friend, the one I knew the first day I met her was his soulmate. To this day, I believe he was a relatively good guy who treated me well. I believe that for a long time in his life, he just didn’t know. He didn’t see what I saw in one day.

I can’t explain why and how I see things that others do not, but I do. Sometimes, I know what others are feeling before they do, and I try not to let on, because I don’t want my intuition to influence their choices.

As a result, I have a lot of friends who come to me for advice on their romantic situations; people who are single and married, poly, monogamous, dating around…I have a lot of friends who want to know how I see their love life, what I would do in their situation, etc.

Today, I had a dear friend ask me directly, “Do you think I’m with the wrong person?”

I don’t know how to answer things like that, honestly. I don’t know what makes me any kind of authority, and I feel hypocritical judging anyone else’s relationship situation when mine is not at all straightforward, and I often ignore my intuition so that I can keep on with life the way I imagine I’d like it to be.

Yet, intuitively, I do know. I almost always know. I don’t want to influence anyone else’s choices with my judgment, or issue advice that’s clouded by my own lack of impartiality, but I know. Just as I know when a person I have feelings for is going to end up with someone who isn’t me—likewise, I have a pretty clear understanding of when another couple that’s happy and in love and discussing marriage and so forth shouldn’t be. I just am uncomfortable being asked by those who give my intuition too much credit.

Recently, I had a conversation with yet another good friend, in which I confided that I didn’t understand our friendship. On a surface level, it’s hard not to see all the differences between us, things that might preclude even a casual friendship, much less one that runs a bit deeper. Yet, the more layers you peel away from the surface, the more commonality there is, and the more it becomes obvious that there’s the potential for some significant type of emotional connection.

I confessed to him that I was a little shocked by my iNtuitive reaction to our relatively new friendship; it is rare for me to trust someone or wish to connect with them very quickly, unless I somehow sense we are in many ways the same person. In so many ways, this friend and I are not the same person. Yet, my intuition, upon spending time with this friend, told me that I had just met someone who was going to significantly impact the course of my life. It even sent me a random, nonsensical vision that didn’t make any sense, and still doesn’t…but I can’t help but think that years from now, it might.

I do not know if the impact this friendship will have is positive or negative, I do not know how it will manifest itself, and I do not even know what kind of connection it is. What I do know is that it *is*, and it’s been awhile since I had that reaction to another person. It’s the kind of thing that happens perhaps once a year, sometimes once every two years. It’s a rarity.

What shocked me even more was that my friend, also a highly iNtuitive personality, had a similar confused reaction to spending time with me, and phrased his viewpoints on the situation in exactly the same way. All I could say was, “I don’t always understand the connections I make–or don’t make—with other people. I just know when they are there, they’re there for a reason. Perhaps I’m just going to let life point out what that reason is, because it has a way of doing that.”

Over the years, almost everyone that iNtuitive connection has brought into my life has been a major, irreplaceable piece of my life’s puzzle. Some have been friends, some have been lovers, some have been enemies, some have been all of the above at different points in time. But one thing they all have in common is that they’ve been in my life through seemingly difficult odds, through complicated emotional situations, through personality differences that clearly point out a certain level of incompatibility. That intuitive voice that has helped protect me from danger and has helped alert me to things others don’t always see…well, that seems to trump everything when it comes to my personal relationships.

There’s a point to this seemingly long rant, and it’s not “Always trust your gut instinct”. Yesterday, I heard news that my father was again extremely ill and in the hospital. This is the 5th time in a little over a year, so to say his health isn’t good is an understatement. For those who don’t know me well, I am not close to my father. For much of my life, he has not really been a part of it, except in the way where he’s influenced a number of the issues I have with abandonment and seeking approval from men who are not able, available, or interested in giving me the validation I need to feel positively about myself. Knowing he is ill has brought up a mixture of emotions, and many of my doctors have suggested it’s been the breaking point for my anxiety, the reason I finally needed to seek help for something I always dismissed as a personality quirk. Apparently, I have a lot of feelings about my father’s illness that I do not process, or understand, a rarity for me. In fact, most of the time, I feel like a bad person because I don’t really feel much about it at all—and this from the girl who cries at Hallmark commercials, puppies cuddling, and when a friend ignores me or an enemy levels a criticism. I have feelings about *everything*, but something as significant as a parent who is ill (and we’re not talking about minor stuff here, we’re talking about my mother receiving calls three different times telling her she might want to prepare for the worst.) gets no reaction.

Part of it is my own emotional issues, I know. But another part is intuition. Even when the doctors said, “Perhaps you might start wanting to make some final arrangements” last year, a voice in my head told me to not be distressed, because he was going to be okay.

I feel that way this time, as well. I am grieved for my mother, and her level of distress and worry, but I don’t feel it. I don’t even feel sad. I feel a certain level of confidence that somehow, things are going to work out for the best–and I am someone who rarely believes that about anything.

I suppose believing in the power of my own intuition gives me comfort, or protects me from the harsh reality that I have no emotion left for a parent who—like so many—was never able to offer me what I needed when I was young and vulnerable enough to need it. But I’d like to think that I just *know* I am not upset because I don’t need to be.

Yesterday, one of my very close friends told me she was expecting her second baby (which I suppose I can write about, because she posted about it on FB). Before she had her first child, I not only had a dream in which I saw her baby as a two-year old, and so knew it was a girl, part of the dream involved my friend saying “We can’t go on vacation around St. Patty’s Day because that’s the weekend we’re celebrating the baby’s birthday.”. My friend has a lovely two-year old girl that was born a week after St. Patrick’s Day. Pretty cool, no?

Anyhow, my first reaction was to tell my friend she was going to have a baby boy this time, and she said “That’s what everyone says”. Yet, probably because it was in my mind, when I went to sleep last night, I had a dream where my friend was in the hospital and was holding her baby. This baby was smaller than the first one, seemingly a little more fragile, a little less spirited than the first one.

In the dream, my friend and her husband told me they named the baby Amelia.

I do not know if everyone is mistaken in their certainty my friend is going to have a baby boy, or I had a dream with clouded intuition, but it seems my friend is expecting a tinier, more delicate baby than she might be prepared for…perhaps suggesting the baby will be born earlier than predicted…but that this baby, one who looks like an Amelia, is most clearly not a boy. :)

And so there might just be a third one after all….*laughs*

Yeah, this is one of those kind of “taboo” subjects that nobody ever talks about, except behind the backs of other people when they’re busy gossiping about other people’s relationships. So, of course, that makes it perfect to talk about here.

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you’ve seen one thing that a majority of my past romantic partners have in common–and they’re largely such a diverse group that they have little in common—and that’s not being anywhere near the same age as I am.

Of course, this is always a difficult thing to judge. I am one of those girls who doesn’t have many people accurately guess her age, thanks to a petite stature and annoyingly high-pitched voice. So, although I might find hanging out with a 22-year-old to make me feel like a creepy future cougar, the rest of the world wouldn’t give it a second glance. Likewise, I tend to have a sophistication and level of maturity in how I carry myself, particularly in social situations, that can lead people to believe I’m actually older than I appear. It makes it harder for me to be the victim of “you need to date someone your own age” discrimination, for the most part, which I appreciate.

The Guy I Am Currently Dating is slightly older than me, something I largely forget, unless we’re talking how the fond memories of his childhood and pop-culture related stuff mostly happened before I was born. Outside of that, it doesn’t even occur to me that there’s an age difference, and it’s not an age difference I find significant (more than a decade, but way less than two. :P )

It’s not an anomaly for me. When I was 20, I wasn’t interested in 20-year-old frat boys, I was dating grad students and professors with mid-life crisis issues. When I was in my 20′s and spent time actively looking to date, meet people, hook up, live the single live, etc., I’d routinely end up with someone at least a decade older than I was. The last four meaningful relationships in my life have involved an age difference measured in over a decade.

I have, of course, dated people relatively my own age…and when I refer to people “my own age”, I’m giving a 4-year leeway. “My age” means we were in high school or college around the same time, we watched the same TV shows as kids, and remember secretly drinking with our friends while listening to the same kind of music. I do not know why, but those relationships, which you think would have greater commonality, have had the highest level of drama and insecurity and unwise choices. Probably because there was no mature “voice of reason” in the relationship to keep stupid shit from happening. Dating someone my age means that, yes, we’re going through the same life struggles at the same time, and we can relate to one another…and that’s a positive. It also means it’s a negative, because neither of us has any of the answers or solutions necessary to get through that part of life together, cooperatively and sanely. Someone a decade older than me can say, “Yeah, I remember when I was your age….”, and has a certain amount of perspective on the drama that seems complicated, confusing, and the end of the world. The fact that they survived whatever you’re going through means you probably will, too.

I’ve never dated anyone younger than myself. It’s like I have internal radar that keeps this from happening. There have been times I’ve considered it, but for the most part, even someone who is technically “my age” and three or four years younger than me seems rather young and inexperienced for me to look to in a romantic context. I realise this is a negative self-imposed limitation, and there have been a few times I’ve almost been tempted to overlook the fact that someone was a few years younger, because we mostly seemed at the same place in life. I think this is just what happens after a lifetime of thinking someone being a decade older than you isn’t unusual. Or, it’s simply because I don’t like feeling old.

For some people, however, the age thing is a huge deal. The mother of The Guy I Am Currently Dating has a list of reasons why she hates me and wishes I would disappear from the planet, or at least her life, but the most repeated complaint is that she finds the age difference “disgusting”. (judgmental much?). Other people are visibly surprised when they learn about our age difference; like us, they’ve gotten so used to seeing us together, it isn’t the first thing that anyone notices. Others look at it the way I do, and think it’s no big deal what the age gap is, as long as you’re emotionally in sync.

A good friend of mine had to laugh recently when a group of us were out at dinner, and I remarked in a joking fashion that he and I could never date, because he was too young for me. He was visibly confused, because our birthdays are less than a month apart. We probably graduated in the same year. *laughs* And while I was just being my usual sarcastic self, it reminded me of how rarely I’m ever attracted to anyone “my own age”, and if I am, how rarely that materialises into a relationship of any sorts. I don’t know why that is; I don’t discriminate against people my age, or younger. Many times, I don’t even know until I like someone how old that person really is. It’s just a thing that *happens*. I think it may be as simple as many older men typically come across as more dominant and self-assured, and not as interested in playing games, and that’s what I respond to, in meeting people of any age. It isn’t that people my age don’t have those qualities…it’s just that fewer people my age have those qualities (and, yes, I’m including myself in this evaluation. I can be downright insecure and prone to causing drama. In my case, however, I think it’s more personality than age influenced.)

Why tell this story, you ask? Well, it’s because I read this article, which has to make you think: what isyour acceptable age range for dating? And, how does that differ from what society believes your acceptable age range should be? (and let’s face it, all of us care enough about what society thinks to pay attention to the talk, but not enough to let it influence life choices. At least, I hope.)

A friend of mine tells me she can’t wait to see what happens when I’m 45, because I’ll either be seducing unsuspecting 22-year-olds, or hanging out with Hugh Hefner wanna-bes. I told her she’s disregarding the obvious: that perhaps I’ll be settled down, happily monogamous, living in the suburbs, and driving a mini-van.

Her reply? “Mini-vans don’t come equipped with cup holders for martinis. You’d hate that.”

Words to live by. *laughs*

I had an unfortunate experience last night at trivia. One moment, I was feeling fine (with the exception of the grumpiness and cramps women suffer through every month; the kind that made me want to wear a giant t-shirt and leggings and minimal makeup out in public, because I didn’t care if I looked cute in any way.), and ordered a salad, Coke, and shared some garlic bread with the Guy I Am Currently Dating. I ate about half my salad and two pieces of bread, and started to feel really awful…like someone was stabbing me in the abdomen with a sharp knife. Since I already had my appendix out, I assumed I was just having some very painful cramps at an inconvenient time (common for me; my body wants to be a little more physically delicate than it should, and doesn’t tolerate pain or illness that well. I spend two days out of every month curled up in a little ball that says “Do not approach.”.) However, the more I tried to ignore it and go on with dinner and trivia, the worse I got. By the end, I had relocated permanently to the restroom and was having a hard time standing up.

The verdict? It seems Mellow Mushroom gave me food poisoning, which is just what you want to deal with when you already feel like crap. Last night was fairly rough, and I woke up feeling a little like someone drove a truck over the middle of my body. However, I seemed to feel better until I attempted to eat breakfast. Now I’m curled up in a little ball again, writing on my blog and feeling unloved by everything and everyone, instead of doing my work.

I’ve had food poisoning 4 different times in the past decade of my life or so. Somehow, I don’t remember ever having it before then…maybe it’s an Atlanta thing. 3 of those times came from eating salads with chicken at restaurants. Three different restaurants, three different types of salad, three different salad dressings and other veggies. This leads me to believe it’s not an allergy problem…unless my body hates green stuff. (The fourth time was undoubtedly the worst food poisoning experience, and it was after eating pasta (again with chicken) at the Olive Garden.)

Do restaurants simply not know how to cook chicken properly? Or, is it that, being largely the only meat in my diet, my body chooses to reject it and is urging me to eat vegetarian meals more often? (I was a vegetarian for a number of years, and if I eat a food that I still no longer eat—I once accidentally ate pork—it will also make me very ill.) Or, is it just that items like lettuce and spinach are suspect? This food poisoning salad thing only happens during warmer weather.

Either way, it seems to pay to eat crappy food. The scale doesn’t go down, but you’re not wondering why someone keeps stabbing your stomach with a knife.

So, instead of taking a lunch break, I’ll just write a blog about stuff.

I am a person for whom many of my very best qualities are also my worst qualities, depending on the situation, and of course, who you happen to ask. One of these centres around the idea of communication; in case this blog isn’t a giveaway, I like to communicate with people. A *lot*. Most of my good friends hear from me on a daily basis, or if this isn’t possible because of conflicting schedules, get a lot of little notes and texts reminding me I’m thinking of them. I interact with most everyone close to me who uses Facebook on a daily basis, sometimes keeping a steady stream of chatter throughout the day. At one point, I was using 5,000+ minutes a month on my cell phone. Now, I’ve cut that back significantly due to time constraints, but send thousands of texts and FB messages a month. Yes, I am a big fan of communication.

Over the weekend, I had a fight with a friend, who *isn’t* such a big fan of communication. Not only is he a much busier person than I am who has little free time for frivolity like chatting, he’s also just not the kind of person who feels the need to be in constant communication all the time, especially with those who aren’t necessarily his closest friends in the world. After a few days of silence, I will naturally start feeling rejected. (“Why don’t you like me anymore? It takes 10 seconds to send a text/FB message and you don’t care about me enough to talk to me!”.) Meanwhile, my friend is more like, “YAY, peace and quiet and not being bothered by other people.” It’s definitely a huge incompatibility and personality difference, and I’m surprised it took as long to cause conflict as it did. The conflict has since been resolved, but part of me still wonders how to be friends with someone who isn’t all that into communication. Especially for me, a girl for whom communication is the lifeblood of everything I do. I mean, I *communicate* for a living. If I’m not talking to someone, I’m writing stuff for someone, or venting on my blog, or random posting on FB. Social media and unlimited phone plans were pretty much designed for me.

This led me to think about my past history with communication, and how it has occasionally led me into trouble. Aside from my drunk texting/calling/FB messaging habit (my friends used to confiscate my phone before we went out clubbing), even sober Alayna doesn’t have the world’s best judgment when it comes to communication. I have a habit of saying whatever’s on my mind, and because I’m a better writer than a speaker when it comes to uncomfortable topics, email has been one of the best things to ever happen to me.

A prime example of this involves a college boyfriend, who was really just a friend I hung out with a lot. I was attracted to him, he flirted with me, but (not shockingly) was a bit older than I was, and so I didn’t know if he was really interested. What I *did* know was that he was single, and I was going to make it a campaign in my life to turn our friendship into something more than it was. As long as he was single and I was still interested, there didn’t seem to be a time limit on this, so I never really made any moves. At that time in my life, I still had the opinion toward relationships that said “I’m a girl. I’m supposed to wait for you to make a move or express your feelings.” The more I waited around and this didn’t happen, the more I became disheartened.

One week, I heard he was going out on a date on Friday with a perky blonde dance major, and needless to say, this upset me. Rather than be an adult and sit down with him and say, “Why do you keep flirting with me and going places with me and sending me flowers if you’re not interested, and then ask someone else out?”, thereby risking the destructive face-to-face rejection, I made a beeline to the computer lab at 12 AM. (yes, this was back in my early days of college, when not everyone had internet access in their dorm room or off-campus apartment.) I sent a long, and what I assumed to be well-written, letter full of sadness and rejection and vulnerability and “Why don’t you see how I feel about you?” (for many of my teenage years, I was a walking Alanis Morissette song.)

Of course, after I hit send, I wanted the e-mail back. I spent the next two days avoiding the computer lab, avoiding any place I’d see this guy, and not answering my telephone. It was probably the most confusing and immature behaviour ever, but that’s what you get at 17: “I’m secretly in love with you, and now I’m going to be an adult and tell you—wait, no, I’m now going to hide from you forever.”

Things worked out, although not to any credit of mine. I was too busy hiding to read his very touching, romantic response, to find out he’d canceled his date with the dancer, and wanted to go to dinner with me instead. Instead, I made him take a trip to my dorm room, where, upon seeing him, I didn’t smile or offer a hug, but threw a blanket over my head. *lol* Nothing is more endearing than a girl who sees you and becomes a parakeet ready for sleep. :P

That relationship didn’t last more than a few months, and he ended up sleeping with the dance major anyway. But, I digress. The point is, it was the point where I learned something important about myself, interpersonal relationships, and communication.

The main realisation was, for all my going on about how I wanted to find a sensitive and romantic guy who was going to woo me in old-school princess fashion, I didn’t. I liked being the pursuer in relationships. As I got older and became more experienced in life, it went from being the kind of girl who likes pursuing the object of her affection, to outright seducing people. There’s a very masculine quality to my personality that enjoys the chase, the flirting, the conquest. It’s probably why I’m eternally attracted to and involved with unavailable men. Even the ones who are single end up being unavailable in some way that means I don’t always get what I want, and life is a constant source of drama, and there must be something about me that is drawn to that.

This story is not the only instance of me sending communications to people that were extremely direct, and in some cases, romantically aggressive. (for the single ladies out there, you’d be amazed how much more effective and appreciated this tactic is than subtle flirting and hoping you’re sending out the right signals. But “Sex And The City” discussed this long before I ever did.) I may have never gotten together with The Guy I Am Currently Dating, had I not had enough of him showing up to my events and making me feel ignored, and sent him a pretty direct FB message along the lines of “Why don’t you like me? Everyone likes me. Why do you bother coming out to my events if you don’t like me?” *laughs*

That being said, some of the most fulfilling relationships I’ve been in have been with those who are extremely dominant personalities, who see something specific in my personality that likes to take control of situations, and beat me at my own game, so to speak. I don’t consider myself a particularly aggressive or even assertive person—I just say what’s on my mind.

But, it’s made me realise that, particularly in the world of romantic relationships, that makes me a rather aggressive and forward person. Were I not that way, I’d probably be the kind of girl with Gentlemen Callers who was wooed with flowers and compliments and romantic gestures. Part of me wishes I’d had more of that demure Southern Belle experience, waiting around for the day the guy I like will pay attention to me. I haven’t had too many of those, because that largely isn’t me…but also because the guy who goes out of his way to do that isn’t the one I’m going to find attractive. It’s the one who ignores me, the one who is unavailable because he has a demanding job, a wife and kids, or a mom that wants me dead, the best friend who likes to flirt and keep me guessing about his feelings, or the one who has a need to prove he’s more dominant than I am that somehow gets my attention. (somehow, despite all this, I’ve actually had some very good relationships…just the psychology of it is all screwed up.)

The moral of this long-winded trip down memory lane? Even from a platonic, “I want to become better friends with you” perspective, don’t tell me you don’t like to communicate with me too often or that I’m like a number of other people in your life. I take it as a direct challenge, and you are going to get an e-mail. *laughs*

I have a friend who learned that this weekend, and it made me realise that even though I’ve matured a great deal since I was a teenager, I’m still essentially that same girl who can’t stand to be overlooked or dismissed or not appreciated, and I still have an inherent need to express that….and then not pick up the phone.

It is really a wonder that I have friends, much less any semblance of a stable romantic relationship. *laughs* What’s even more confusing is how I survived almost a decade of polyamoury with *any* of the people I was seeing being willing to deal with me. If there is ever a book to be entitled “Aggressive Communication, Instantly Running Away”, I will certainly write it. :P

Lunch break over…time to go back to writing about more important things, such as plastic surgery and electricians. ;P

You’d think those three things don’t go together, outside of an unreasonable enjoyment of calorie-filled food that keeps me from fitting into my favourite dress from 2007 (discovering this was a huge blow to the ego, also a theme for this week in my world.), but if you put them together, you have my week.

I haven’t blogged much, and it’s largely because we all have those weeks where, after a few weeks of significant drama, the storm has died down, and everything seems quiet. And, once everything seems quiet, you can’t tell whether relief or boredom is going to set it. That’s pretty much my week in a nutshell.

I’ve gotten used to the fact that my roommate is gone. Like so many other men in my life, our years of friendship and helping each other out counted for little, and he skipped out without paying me or The Guy I Am Currently Dating any of the money he owes us. He gave two months notice, but in reality, it was three days to get the lease signed over, and then he was gone..leaving piles of crap in his half-moved-out-of-room, not cleaning a bathroom that I’m disgusted by looking at, and leaving boxes too heavy for me to deal with sitting in my living room. He’s left no forwarding address, and no longer answers my texts. My intuition tells me that friendship ultimately is a disposable, useful thing for some people, and we’ll never see him again. Yet, I’m struggling financially because I had no notice that I was going to have to spend hundreds of dollars setting up utilities, and paying our rent without any help from him, even though he moved out mid-month. It still makes me really angry when I think about it, but mostly it makes me sad. The kind of betrayal and abandonment I received from him reminds me of betrayals and abandonment that has followed me my whole life. Little is real, meaningful, and nothing is forever. Throughout life, you’ll find most people don’t deserve your friendship, much less your trust. I know this, but every time I let my guard down and someone stabs me in the back, it tears me apart all over again.

As a result, I’ve been feeling particularly vulnerable and not liking people very much. My interactions with other human beings have largely been confined to people I know and love and have earned my trust over the years. On the other hand, my interactions with newer friends in my life have been full of sensitivities and misunderstandings and “Maybe we’re never going to be that close because you can’t give me what I want/don’t know how to be emotionally supportive enough to deal with me/ send out messages that confuse me.” There have been small things that have felt like rejections and criticisms and a general feeling of “Why am I not good enough for you to like me?” in dealing with old friends, new friends, The Guy I Am Currently Dating, and others. There have also been some reactions on my part relating to situations that feel like betrayal from someone I care about greatly…although there is no wrong, no betrayal, no negativity to speak of. It is simply me not adjusting well to change, being reminded that caring means being abandoned, being reminded that I am the sort of person who seeks the attention and affection of those least able to offer it, needing validation and emotional support, and instead of receiving it, hearing “constructive criticism”.

It has made me feel very estranged from the ideas of meaningful friendships, relationships, and allowing new people in my life, in general. It has made me realise that, on an emotional level, I don’t have anyone in my life who truly understands and is able to be emotionally supportive and connect with me on a level that I value greatly. I believe it’s because there’s virtually nobody in my life I love and trust who feels on the same level as I do and is affected by things as I am—the people in my life are largely a far more logical, and often times, emotionally removed, group of people. Rationally, I know it’s a personality difference. Emotionally, it feels like indifference or “It’s not my job to help you deal with your feelings.”

I’ve learned that, when it comes to close and meaningful relationships with others, it isn’t always what people say that truly reflects how they feel about you. It’s what they don’t say that carries the most weight, the absence of support and affection and, as a friend of mine might put it, “validation”. Some people do need that in their lives, because there are so many outside forces and people who “just don’t get you” trying to tear you down. Some of this is anger: people become angry because you will not live life by their rules, and have no interest in conforming to their image of who they’d like you to be, and once that sense of powerlessness kicks in, they have no choice but to lash out or passive-aggressively say mean, hurtful things about you. Some of this is also insecurity: if you’re seen as being too self-confident, too different, too happy being different, there’s an element of that which some mistake as not being approachable. For some reason, particularly in male-female dynamics, the reaction to this is to tear someone down just enough to reveal a level of insecurity and vulnerability, and then attempt to befriend that person.

I see this, I understand this, but when it seems the world is bent on not accepting you as you are and telling you how fucking awesome you happen to be….you want and need people in your life who are going to remind you. Unfortunately, this weekend, my people didn’t offer that, but instead offered a day of being together for 10 minutes and pointing out 7 ways in which my actions, words, or behaviours failed to meet with approval, of telling me I was wrong for wanting that support and validation, and indirectly pointing out “Well,maybe you’re not as great as you think you are.”

A girl can only be on her only real cheerleader for so long, before the input and perceptions of others start to have a dramatic influence. This weekend has changed the way I view some of the people in my life and closed a door that might have led to greater connection and feeling and possibility in life. It has replaced a sense of connection and being on the same page with a realisation that I’d spent time not seeing things clearly, and as every good idealist will tell you, that’s a tough but necessary thing to give up.

In the absence of bonding with people, I’ve spent more time lost in my own little creative world, a world that seems to experience and express emotion freely, and on the same deep experiential level that characterises my life. My whole life, it’s kind of been a world into which I retreat when I am feeling misunderstood. It’s a reminder to my idealistic side that what I seek from life and people does exist, even if it’s complicated, even if I haven’t met the right people to allow that to exist in my world *now*. It’s a reminder that although most people will hurt or disappoint you, life is still one giant possibility.

As a result, I managed to read the entire “The Hunger Games” trilogy in less than three days. I honestly didn’t expect to like it, but from the first book–a fast-moving story which sucked me in with its “reality show gone awry” premise and kept me interested with themes of rebellion and refusing to conform and the battle between love and survival and how some people are naturally wired to choose one over the other, whereas for others, they co-exist–it kept me wanting to read more. One of the most impressive things about the way the books were written, aside from a few particularly well-developed characters and a strong female protagonist, is that I didn’t always know where things were heading. Whenever I thought I’d figure out how the story was going to end, it twisted in another direction, and that always pleases me greatly. I dislike the predictable.

My inner ear issues still haven’t healed to the point where I can handle the movies yet, but I wish they had, as I’d love to see the first movie. I’ve heard they toned things down a bit, in terms of the violence (and none of the violence in the books is of a gratuitous nature; it is often shocking and brutal, but it makes a point. It hits on an emotional level. I’m not a great fan of violence in films, but when it’s necessary to paint the desperation and lack of humanity in a situation–say, in an epic war movie–it serves a purpose.) and they focused a little more on the romantic triangle aspect of the story. Of course, this is necessary to draw in the “Twilight”-loving teenagers, but I don’t think “The Hunger Games” is a young adult story. I think it is far deeper than what your average 14-year-old is going to take away from it.

In a political climate where our government is seeking to limit our rights more and more, and in particular, want to exert inappropriate influence over women and the choices they’re allowed to make about their bodies and reproductive rights, this is the perfect time for this movie to be released. I certainly don’t find that timing accidental.

Last night, after trivia, we also watched “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”. I’d actually never seen the film before, although almost everyone I know told me how much I’d love it. Many of my friends pointed out I’d like it because it’s an atypical romantic comedy–one that says life doesn’t always work out as expected, but still works out, and still has a certain amount of happiness to offer.” Others pointed out the extent to which I’d relate to Audrey Hepburn’s character—and, yes, I see a certain amount of resemblance—and would therefore love the movie. Still others, knowing my love of quirky fashion, pointed out I’d see Audrey Hepburn in this film as a style icon (I now understand why the owner of Dagwood’s said I reminded him of her, due to the fact I’d worn a black dress, my hair in a chignon, and black sunglasses. I just thought he was old and attempting to be complimentary, but, no…apparently he remembered this movie.) *laughs*

The answer is, yes, I did love “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” for all these reasons, and more. I know Truman Capote’s novella was a little less cohesive and a little more scandalous—even in the 1960′s, they had to make reference to important taboo plot points in a very subtle way, and other things had to be removed from the book entirely in order to get it past the censors. The movie’s Holly Go-Lightly is able to pass off her superficiality and life of sin and decadence and disorder as the mark of someone flighty and too innocent for the world in which she’s existing…yet leaves you wondering how much is an act, and how much is part of her true personality, one that has learned the art of scheming, manipulation, and pushing herself ahead in the world. Capote’s character is neither stupid nor naive, and the depiction of her character less endearing. I suspect I may like the book a little more, so I’ll put it on my to-read list. :)

The next time the mother of The Guy I Am Currently Dating calls me up to remind me I’m a trashy, gold-digging whore, someone should recommend she watch this movie. It illustrates that trashy, gold-digging whores can be some of the most charming characters in film history. ;P

As for the hipster bar food—well, that’s just an amusing anecdote. On Friday night, we went to an independent art gallery where some acquaintances of ours were putting on an event to take a look at an art installation and hear 10 local writers read pieces that may or may not relate to time travel. Some were very well-written, some were entertaining, some just lost me completely, but it was energising to spend time with that much creativity and free-spiritedness locked in one room.

Afterwards, a friend of mine suggested a bar called the Bookstore, which appeared to be the kind of hipster hangout where all the girls behind the bar were dressed more like Velma from Scooby-Doo than your typical Atlanta part-time-model-working-behind-the-bar employee, which is what you get virtually everywhere in this city. (People are NOT shy about showing off their $2,000 implants and $700 hair extensions.)

We sat at a giant table on the patio, which, even though there were five of us, 10 people could have easily fit. It was like having Thanksgiving dinner, where you have to yell to the other side of the table.

In addition, everything I ordered, they didn’t have. A friend of mine ordered some sort of disco fries, which I love—but they came with bacon. I asked the waiter if he could hold the bacon, and he mentioned it was in the gravy. I then asked if he could just make me cheese fries, to which he said “No.”. Apparently, the restaurant doesn’t have shredded cheese. They use cheese curd. Finally, I gave up an ordered cheesecake, which was a weird creamy texture custard type thing on top of the world’s hardest sugar cookie.

Ugh. Frustrated, I just wanted a martini. I asked if they could do a chocolate martini. Of course, the answer was “No.”. Despite the fact that the city’s biggest liquor store was right across the street, they didn’t have the stuff to make that. He offered to make a chocolate cake martini, which arrived in the form of clear “cake” flavoured vodka with a sugar rim and slice of lemon. Nothing about it tasted like either chocolate or cake. I don’t know what he was smoking, but they should rename it to “Slightly Less Bitter Lemon Drop”.

I then asked for my standby, an apple martini. In what I see as a theme for my evening, the response was “No”. They didn’t have stuff to make that either. I asked what kind of martini they could make that wasn’t just vodka in a glass with some olives, and he said, “Anything. Except the things you wanted.”

I settled on a raspberry martini, which was, again, a glass of raspberry-flavoured vodka with a sugar rim, and a lime.

Dear Hipster Bar Owners: A martini is not vodka poured in a martini glass with sugar around the rim.

That is all. I don’t think I care for hipster bar food. *laughs*

“When he thought of Ellen Olenska, it was abstractly, serenely, as one might think of some imaginary beloved in a book or a picture; she had become the composite vision of all he had missed.” — Edith Wharton, The Age Of Innocence

A week or two ago, The Guy I Am Currently Dating and I had a conversation about the concept of the “manic pixie”, which is actually a type of stock character in films (and I suppose, consequently, in all forms of artistic expression.) It made me laugh, because a week or so before that, another friend had used that phrase in an e-mail, and I thought it was a cute little description he’d invented to characterise a certain type of person he’d run into in his life.

To a certain extent, stock characters are the lifeblood of the acting industry, and also the nemesis of actors. If you are, like me, the type of actor who is more likely to land a role playing some exaggerated version of herself than transforming herself into someone quite different, being typecast is a hazard of the trade that can be difficult to overcome.

In theatre, it’s something you live with. Based upon your body shape, height, size, physical characteristics, vocal inflections, ability to sing and dance, and even your real, off-stage personality quirks, you’re able to figure out your type. Either you’re the leading lady or the ingenue, the girl next door or the evil, conniving vixen, the character actress or the comedienne who steals the show, a soprano or an alto, a featured dancer or one who’s hiding in the back fudging the steps. Almost every play or musical has a character that fits your “type”, so you spend a lot of time learning how others perceive you and how to make best advantage so you can play that perfect role for your “type”. You learn not to waste time auditioning for roles that don’t reflect your “type”; in fact, in most open auditions, you’ll be screened out before you even get to the theatre door. Once you’re Equity and your auditions are by appointment, your agent will typically only get calls from those who want to see you for a certain role. It can be frustrating, if you want to branch out and show you’re Meryl Streep, which is why many theatrical performers also work in television, on soap operas, and singing in rock bands or performing stand-up in their spare time.

The world of film is a little more forgiving, mostly because there are simply more “types”. Film is based to reflect the real lives of real people in a way that most theatrical productions and television shows are not; it’s often the reason why musical theatre stars can cross over to TV, but not into film. The habits that are ingrained that make everything larger than life are ridiculous on the silver screen, unless, like Nathan Lane and Christine Baranski and William Shatner, you play characters MEANT to be larger than life.

In any case, I learned that in film, “manic pixie” is actually a stock character, a modern-day muse that attracts others, despite being fucked-up in some way, because she opens the door to a world with which the main character—usually a love interest—is unfamiliar. Although disturbed, she is often idealised because of her ability to relate and connect and help others grow, to disconnect from the world of what is expected and retreat into a greater world of adventure and romance and possibility. Of course, this world is an illusion, an idealised version of life that can never hold up over the long term.

I had an acute moment of understanding when he discussed this with me, because it occurred to me that this has largely been reflective of my experience in real life. Although those who don’t think I’m anything special can’t quite figure it out, I’ve always had a certain ability to attract—-not everyone, but a certain kind of person—and to draw others into my world. I’ve always had the ability to draw others out of their shells, to inspire them to something different and greater, to succeed. I’ve dated normal people who have gone on to become millionaires, Broadway professionals, doctors, lawyers, idealists who work to change the world. I’ve dated a number of people who marry the first person with whom they share their heart after me, and who are quite happy as a result.

I’ve struggled with being idealised, and the sense of broken-heartedness that comes with the realisation that the one you love is in love with an image. The power of this image is so deluding it’s led me to involvements with married men who viewed me as something greater than the simple, ordinary girl I am, and has ended with people considering ending their relationships to pursue something with me…something that inevitably wouldn’t live up to the ideal.

All this, this is why people become interested in me, despite any obvious excess of wit or beauty or intelligence or grace or sense of humour or anything else people gravitate towards. It is why people not only forgive the many ways in which I’m screwed up and the oversensitivity I wear on my sleeve, but the flaws become endearing. It is also when I am devastated when I invest myself in another person, help them to make huge life changes, become the person they want to be, and they end up leaving me and marrying the next girl who comes along—whom I often notice is not as charismatic, not as vibrant, and often, not as open as I am. The inevitable feeling that follows is “Why am I always the person who molds other people so they can move on, and embrace a happier, more fulfilled life with someone other than me?”

The thing about life, as compared to movies, is that people grow…and even stereotypical characters have a layer of something else underneath that may take some effort to see, but it’s there. But, it’s scary to me in some ways to see how art imitates life, and vice versa. At least, it does in my case. I attract those who idealise some aspect of me, and in turn, am attracted by the idea of being seen as something larger and more unforgettable than I am. Unfortunately, this is not the basis for a healthy relationship, and it is the basis for a whole lot of friendships that become extremely complicated in one way or another.

Of course, for a person who also idealises everyone and everything else in the world, I suppose it’s right that I should attract the same. Finding myself in a relationship that has an aspect of rationality and logic and boundaries to it means that I am happier and stable than I’ve been at other points in my life, but I also often miss the sense of the whimsical, the spontaneous, the living in a world that’s somewhat unreal, but filled with big thoughts, big feelings, and big ideas.

I guess, in my way, I’ve always been a manic pixie…and never understood why anyone would tolerate, much less be attracted to, a “weird” person like myself. Suddenly, I understand how it happened that a guy I knew on the internet for a number of years fell in love with the illusion I created…often unknowingly…and I ended up moving to Atlanta to live out that perfect, intense romance, only to realise real life was nothing like I imagined. We hurt each other deeply, that ex and I, and I suspect a lot of it had to do with two overly idealistic souls not being able to face disillusionment and reality on a daily basis without feeling hurt, betrayed, and looking elsewhere for another person to fulfill that ideal.

And, yes, the Wikipedia entry makes reference to Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”, which I still haven’t seen. :P