Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
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or Search by State

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Contact The Media
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Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Friday, March 26, 2004  
Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites, Part III The First Date

So you've posted a good profile. You've performed a refined, well defined search of available women. You've sent a nice email of introduction.

And she responded! She thinks you're cute! (insert video clip of Rudolph taking flight because Clarice just told him she thinks he's cute. 40 some years later and that early claymation children's holiday special is still the best summarization of that first thrill of acceptance by a member of the opposite sex. Tragic, really, that Hollywood hasn't been able to do any better in all this time.)

Right. She thinks you're cute and witty and nice and thanks you for noticing her profile and the nice compliments you paid her and she'd like to chat or maybe even talk on the phone!

So you gauge what the proper pace is - perhaps another email, then if things seem okay-ish, you can call and talk on the phone, if that goes okay, if there is a rapport and easy-ish conversation you could ask her on a casual meeting - coffee, drinks after work, possibly lunch and take it from there.

I'm going to back up for a minute.

There are a couple of ways to proceed after she favorably returns your email of interest.

I, and all of the women I know, thoroughly endorse both approaches.

Approach I
She sends you an email reply to your initial email of interest.

You respond.

She responds to that.

You strike up an IM chat.

You exchange phone numbers.

You call her.

You talk.

There's a rapport.

You ask if she'd like to meet for coffee on Sunday afternoon or drinks after work or lunch.

She says yes, and YOU'RE IN BABY, YOU'RE IN!!

This process can take days, or weeks.

If you and/or she needs this time to get to know each other, that's perfectly normal and acceptable, and the reason a lot of people use online dating sites.

Just be careful. If you let the preliminary contact, the Pre-Date Contact go on too long you run the risk of falling in love with the person before you've even met face to face. "Risk?" you ask. Yes. This is risky. It can and does happen, and that's great, but sometimes a meeting of the minds is not a meeting of the chemistry. Millions of people read Stephen King. (yeah, really. I know. I don't get it either.) Those millions of people read Stephen King because they like his style. So much so that they read book after book. They really like his writing. He engages them. They think he's brilliant. And a marvelous story teller. (okay, The Shining, Carrie, Misery...very good well written stories, you got me there) They feel they have a certain rapport with Mr. King because they like his writing and the stories he imagines, and the way he turns a phrase. It appeals to them on some emotional level. But I guarantee you, very few of Stephen King's devoted readers would actually want to date him were they to meet him face to face. (Yes, this is loosely implicating Misery, which is why I chose Stephen King as an example, connect your own dots.)

This happens a lot with internet hook-ups. Everything's great in writing, maybe even in talking, but together you're just all awkward with each other. And I'm not talking about physical attraction. I'm talking about that elusive "thing" known as chemistry.

I used to work with this woman who, in theory, was an exact duplicate of my personality. We were the same age, we shared the same views on our clients, we often came up with the exact same ideas, she had an evil sarcastic streak, she didn't take work too seriously, we shared the all the same interests outside of work, on more than one occasion we were reading the same book and listening to the same music (several times I saw her at concerts), we had very similar fashion taste, we were both vegetarian...you get the point, we were made for each other. And no. We didn't end up hating each other, but we never "clicked." To this day I can't tell you why. I liked her, I really did. I was in no way jealous of her, and as far as I know, she liked me and wasn't jealous of me. We just didn't have any chemistry. We should have been best friends 4Ever, but when I left that job, we didn't keep in touch and that was that.

Sometimes dates are like that. Everything seems perfect in theory, in writing, and even in physical attraction. But that chemistry just isn't there.

And you will both know it.

So don't force the issue.

If everything really is perfect except you don't feel chemistry, I strongly urge you to have a second or even third date before dismissing her altogether. If it's been so great in writing, there is something there that deserves a few chances. But if after two or three dates it's just not there, don't force it simply because it seemed so good before you met face to face. And for swut's sake, DO NOT HAVE SEX WITH THAT WOMAN.

Three dates or less do not require an actual conversation about never seeing each other again. If you don't call and don't email, she'll get the hint. Loud and clear. She may even be relieved. Because she didn't feel "it" either.

However, if she calls you, or emails you, and implies that she thinks everything is great and wants to see you again, you might have to say something difficult. Be nice about it, okay?

Or maybe, if you realize she really is very interested in you, you might begin to feel that chemistry. Maybe what was missing was the acknowledgment that she likes you. That she sees a future with you. A lot of relationships are doomed because of shyness or ambiguity about "what's going on here?" If this is the case, see her again. But DO NOT HAVE SEX WITH THAT WOMAN. If anything tingles or moves or stirs within you, proceed to a few more dates. Good luck. Send me photos of the wedding.

Approach II
She sends you an email reply to your initial email of interest.

She sounds great!

You send her an email and include your phone number.

She sends you an email and includes her phone number.

Within two days, you call her.

You can talk a bit, see if there's any rapport. Maybe have a few phone conversations.

Or you can simply call her and ask her out.

Yes. Just like that.

Just like pulling off a Band-Aid. Get it over and out in the open.

This might seem a little fast, or a bit too swing for you.

It did to me at first, too.

But now I'm beginning to endorse it as the only way to go.

Because Approach I, for all it's romance and intrigue and anticipation, can lead to big disappointments. Or small irritations. Online dating is about dating. So, go on dates! I guarantee you, the results, at least so far as I've experienced, will be the same or similar. It all comes down to chemistry. You can email and chat and talk for weeks or you can jump right in with little or no knowledge of each other. Seriously. So far I have found very little difference. And yes, of course, there are safety and comfort zone issues, I absolutely understand and agree. But if you follow your intuition and aren't stupid and follow a few general guidelines (see below) it won't matter. Remember, most animals stalk their prey over a period of time. Build up a comfort level then attack when the victim least expects it, gets caught with their guard down. Internet stalkers are animals. (To be fair, if she/he seems all wrong for you based on your profiles, and yet she/he is really pushing a date now, I strongly caution you to re-think whether or not you really want to meet this person.)

Long and slow, short and fast? I think in a lot of cases, short and fast. Why prolong the agony or ecstasy? We all know what's going on here, we met on an internet dating site. We all know there are lots of options, we all know we're all entertaining more than a few opportunities. We all know if this one doesn't work out, there's another possibility. And new members joining every day!

No, that doesn't soothe the bitter sting of rejection. I know. And I don't mean to make light of it. But pick yourself up, dust yourself off and search all over again. She will. You might as well, too.

Okay. Those are the approaches.

Now a few basic dating tips. You've agreed to a date, either through Approach I or Approach II.

You've done this before, you know your way around a date. You know the dos and don'ts. A date's a date, right?

Yes.

And no.

It is a date and you need to treat it as such. You cannot think "yeah, I'm going out later, just some girl I met online." Which is a typical mindset. Get over it. Now. She is not "just some girl you met on the internet." She is your date. A date you chose out of hundreds of other possible dates. She's sounding more special now, isn't she? That's right. She is. She is not just some girl you saw at the pub the other night. She is the girl you sought out from a list of hundreds of options. So treat her, and the date, with the respect that sort of decision deserves.

Internet dating can make first dates feel different. If you and she have both written insightful profiles, and if you've exchanged emails and maybe a few phone calls, you both probably feel like you know each other. "I wasn't nervous at all, datemenow.com allowed us to develop our relationship before we even met." is a common statement. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. Except in terms of the first date. This familiarity can lead to a comfortable attitude. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. Except that it's a first swutting date, and you need to treat it as such. It's great that you feel comfortable with her, that you have a handle on her communication style (no excuses for lengthy awkward pauses, then) her sense of humor (no inappropriate jokes, then) and what she's "looking for" (no surprises, then). But. You need to keep First Date firmly in mind. Which means all the usual First Date rules apply. There is a tendency to go in with a slightly different attitude than usual about the significance of this first date. A lot of people view it as a formality, because heck, they're already in love! Still others treat it too casually, "she's just a girl I met online." Both of those attitudes are fraught with potential issues. It's a first date. No matter how much you know about her, no matter how casually you are both feeling about this, IT'S A FIRST DATE.

Yes.

It is a big deal.

Whether you've been emailing and chatting for weeks, or just hooked up a few nights ago, it is a date and it is a big swutting deal.

Do:
Have plans for what you will do on the date.
Shave.
Wear a nice outfit.
And decent, clean shoes.
Have good breath.
Be clean but not overly perfumed.
Be on time.
Turn off your mobile phone.
Be polite.
Smile a lot.
Give her lots of eye contact.
Listen.
Really listen.
Compliment her.
Open doors for her.
Allow her to order first (if in a food ordering environment. or heck, in
any ordering environment let her go first).
Pay attention to her, and only her, no matter how little chemistry there is between you.
Offer to pay her way.
Yes really.
Touch her hand or arm, hold her hand, kiss her.

Do not:
Try a new hair style.
Show obvious surprise or distaste for her looks.
Hog the conversation. (it's not always about you, you know)
Get (or arrive) drunk.
Speak to her boobs.
Come onto her.
Have sex.


Those are the basic checklists. Here are the reasons and unique particulars to internet dating challenges.

Have plans for what to do on the date. You've emailed and/or talked, or at least read her profile, so you should have some idea of what she likes and what you have in common. Use that information. It's the internet's gift to you and your love life. This is what separates online dating from regular dating. It's the main reason people use online dating sites. It can eliminate a lot of misunderstandings. You both have the advantage of knowing quite a bit about each other, or enough to figure out a good first date that does not involve a movie. A sporting event, concert (though this is tricky - conversation can be difficult, so plan dinner before and/or drinks after), gallery opening, stroll through a museum...all viable options. More low key: Coffee, drinks after work, a meal at a restaurant offering a cuisine she may have mentioned in her profile. Use her profile. Glean something from it and form a date plan around it. Show her you care about her, and more importantly, that you have something in common. If you said you like modern art, and she likes museums, well, duh, connect the dots Einstein, and take her to the Museum of Modern Art. Or the contemporary wing of the local museum. Or the art history section of the library. See? This isn't rocket science.

The only thing is: No matter what you plan, be sure that it is in a very public place. This is for her safety and yours. You know you are not a serial killer or rapist, but she doesn't know that. And all her friends and family think any man she meets online is a serial killer or rapist. Deal with it. Make every effort to make her feel comfortable, that she has "an out" and control of her situation. It doesn't make you look defensive or weird, it makes you look thoughtful and aware. Aware that there are some very bad people out there. Aware that she has every right to be suspicious of you. Aware that she needs to feel that she can get out or get help if you turn out to be creepy. This is not the time to suggest that remote backwoods mountain hike. Or a movie marathon at your place. Or a reunion with your frat buddies. Or anywhere in your car. Yes, you can offer to pick her up, that's very nice of you, but for the first date, I personally prefer to meet somewhere neutral. Every woman I know feels the same way. And this is for your safety, too, you know. How well do you know her? Have you seen Monster?

Shave. Unless you've posted a photo of you in full beard, and she has affectionately begun calling you Grizzly Adams, and she claims to like facial hair, or at least not be turned off by it, for the love of Gillette, shave. I know, I know, you have a tough beard and if you shave every day you get razor burn. So time it so you shave the day of your date. Believe me, I know razor burn, and any given opportunity I will go a few days without shaving my legs, but this is a date, man, a date. SHAVE. I'll share some advice my father gave my brother, which are words to live by in our family: She might not notice that you shaved, but she will definitely notice if you do not. Yeah. My father is a smart man. And he got the girl. My mum. Who was not an easy girl to get. But he got her and has had her for a lot of years. He didn't get there by not shaving. You should listen to his advice. He knows what he's talking about.

Wear a nice outfit. Don't over dress or under dress. Girls appreciate it when a guy makes an effort with his clothes. But not too much effort. You should never dress better than we do. It's just The Rule. By the way, we can smell the mark of a former girlfriend's taste a mile away. Wear something nice, but something very "you." Ask your friend's wife or sister or that stylish girl who works down the hall if you're not sure. Would it kill you to buy a new shirt? I bet your date will have purchased at least one new thing for this date. I'm not saying this is a competition for the best/newest outfit, and you definitely want to emit "this is me" vibes from your appearance. But. On the first date us girls are probably torturing ourselves with some uncomfortable garment or another, and we like to think at the very least your new shirt feels a little stiff on you. Fair is fair. If you've posted photos of yourself in very casual attire, she was probably attracted to your laid back, casual attitude. That's great! So wear similar style clothing, but better. I know it sounds shallow, what difference does it make what you wear? You're right, it shouldn't matter. But. This is first impression time. Do you want that impression to be, "I care enough to put some thought and effort into my appearance" or "I don't give a swut what you think or how I look, I want to be comfortable." The choice is yours, but remember, when she goes home, Match.com will be there waiting for her, and so will hundreds of other men. Men who will bother to wear a nice or at least clean outfit.

And decent, clean shoes. Girls notice. Yes. We do. We notice and we care. Deal with it. You need a decent pair of non-sneaker shoes anyway. Hopefully you have a pair or two. They don't have to be expensive or trendy or uncomfortable. They just need to be clean and not sneakers. (Unless you're going on one of those sports/activity dates, in which case, sneakers are acceptable as long as they are clean and not ripped and worn out.)

Have good breath. Yes. Obviously there have been issues or I wouldn't mention it. Pop a mint or two in your mouth 10 minutes before meeting your date. Even if you just brushed, flossed and rinsed. Just do it. Gum? Well. I'm opposed to gum on a first date, and in general. But if you can manage the gum without chewing it noisily or noticeably, then go ahead. Remember, you want things to go well on this date. If they do, you might be kissing her. You do not want gum in your mouth if you're kissing her. Really. You don't. But you do want good breath. Mints man, pack mints.

Be clean but not overly perfumed. Take a shower before you leave to meet her. Use soap. Wash your hair. Use deodorant. Go easy on the aftershave or cologne. I know this sounds basic, but believe me, there are a lot of men for whom this basic stuff is apparently not so basic.

Be on time. Again, it seems like such a simple concept. So basic. And yet...(very heavy sigh of discontent) Sure. Things happen. I understand. We all understand. But this is a first date. What things are swutting more important than being on time for a first date? Okay. Yes. There are a few things more important. But having another beer with the guys before heading out is not one of them. Just be on time. Because if she's like me, she has adopted a 30 minute rule. If he doesn't show in 30 minutes, and she hasn't had a call on her mobile with an apology and very good reason why you're running late, she's outta there. She will block you from her email and screen your phone calls. She will listen to exactly one voicemail of apology. You've got one chance to make it up to her. One. So choose the words you leave on her voice mail wisely. Very wisely. And for the record, my 30 Minute Rule is 25 minutes longer than a lot of women's rules.

Turn off your mobile phone. Once you arrive and meet your date, you should not want to be interrupted by anyone. Maybe you're closing a big deal at work, or waiting to hear if your sister is going to get that long awaited brain transplant, or maybe you're the doctor performing the surgery. Then maybe this isn't the best time for a date, much less a first date. Maybe you should have considered this when you set the date. Maybe you should have chosen a time when you could give your date your undivided attention. Because this is it, this is your one chance to learn about her, and to show her what a swell guy you really are. Swell guys do not talk to people on their mobile phones on dates. They do not even check them to see if they have calls or messages. Also consider this: Most mobile phones have a "bail out" function. You hit a code and a few minutes later your phone rings. Voila! Instant, "Something suddenly came up" lie and you're outta that bad date. And while potentially very useful, remember, this function is not a secret. Pretty much everyone knows about it. So we're all suspicious of poignantly timed calls and subsequent "emergencies." Even if it's a bona fide emergency, on the surface, it's going to look very suspicious. If you're using the bail out function, also know, you're not fooling anyone. She knows. Better to just turn the thing off and tough out even the worst first date. It builds character. And will provide hours of entertainment in the retelling to your friends. And on your blog. And guess what? Her phone has the bail out function, too.

Be polite. Another obvious one. But apparently not so obvious. Say please and thank you. To everyone, not just your date. Do it sincerely, but not condescendingly. Tread carefully with charm. A little goes a long way. Wally Cleaver is a great guy. Eddie Haskell is not. Just pull out the manners your mother taught you to use and you should be okay. If she didn't teach you manners, pretend you are a diplomat in a foreign country and world peace hinges on how you behave.

Smile a lot. I know. Smile. Show her that great smile of yours. Let her see how that one tooth catches on your lip when grin that certain way. Brooding has it's place, some of us even went through a "brooding boys are really sexy phase." Most of us got over it really quickly when broody boys bored us to tears because they never smile at anything or anyone. Broody boys are apparently humorless. And women rate sense of humor as the number one quality they want in a man. You do the math. Smile once in a while. Even better, bonus points awarded: Smile approvingly at your date.

Give her lots of eye contact. This is what separates meeting online from meeting in person. You do not get to make eye contact online. For a lot of people this is an answer to a prayer. But a short-lived answer. Because sooner or later you are going to go on a date. And you Must. Make. Eye. Contact. It doesn't have to be deep, meaningful, penetrating, maybe a little too intense, okay that's creepy eye contact. Just meet her eyes when she is making a thoughtful statement. If there's a lull in the conversation, make eye contact and smile. Not that stupid goofy smile you idiot, a nice, "gee this is a little awkward I'm sorry I don't know what to say right now but I know my brain will catch up in a minute" smile. Trust me. She'll think it's cute. She might even blush and do that cute little coy face thing. Eye contact and smiles will take a man further than the wittiest remark or flashest car ever will.

Listen. Yes. Listen. With your mouth closed. (except for smiles of understanding or laughter at something she's said) Let her talk. About anything. Let her speak. Let her feel like you care about what she's saying.

Really listen. Hear what she's saying on the surface level, and be intuitive enough to figure out what she's thinking. If she's talking about basic, rudimentary things, the weather, Chilean sea bass, a shoe sale at Nordstrom, chances are she's making small talk. She's not feeling "engaged" in conversation with you. She's not interested. She's not letting you into her world. This is a signal for you to open up a bit. Tell her something meaningful about yourself (but don't drop huge emotional bombs - just something insightful only your good friends know about you) send a signal that you want to let her into your world, then maybe she'll open up and let you into hers. If she's still talking about the weather, sorry, she's simply not interested. If she's talking about work, her family, her friends, pre-war German abstract expressionism, she's interested. She wants you to know about her, her life, her interests. By talking about them she is inviting you into her world, offering you a place in it. She wants to talk about these things with you. She's giving you lots of information. Use it. This is your chance to shine. But you've got to listen. If you've read her profile carefully, you should be able to interject a factoid from her profile into the conversation. If she mentions visiting her parents next month, you could say, "You grew up in Newfoundland, right? Are your parents still up there?" Bonus points if you did a little research on Newfoundland and can add an intelligent question or thought about it into the conversation. "I read somewhere there are no snakes, skunks, deer, porcupines or groundhogs on the island of Newfoundland, is that really true?"

Compliment her. Don't overdo it, but just an occasional, "gosh, I never thought of it that way" comment or "wow, your eyes are the most amazing shade of green, those photos don't do them justice" (proving that you have given her eye contact) or something as simple as, "you look really great, I like that outfit on you," or "you are so clever, I tried to solve that puzzle three times and gave up." Try to stick to her wit, intelligence and insight, though toss in an occasional positive remark about her appearance. All other things being equal, those compliments will probably get you laid at some point. After the first date. Again, don't Eddie Haskell it. I don't recall Eddie ever getting laid. Just give her an occasional sincere compliment. Nothing sexual. This is not the time to wax poetic on the nature of her bum or size of her breasts. In fact, the less sexually oriented the compliments, the higher the likelihood of you getting laid. Girls are funny that way. We want you to respect us for something other than our bodies, and when you do, we give you our bodies. Don't ask why. Just accept it.

Open doors for her. Yes really. It may seem outmoded, old fashioned and down right silly, but do it. Go out of your way to do it. If it's a door, and she's walking, sliding, crawling, bending or in any way going through it, you beat her to it and open it for her. You do not make a big production out of this. You do not wear this deed as a badge of honor and chivalry and flaunt it. You just simply do it, as if you do it all the time without a second thought. As if it is first nature for you. The notable exception is the ladies' room door. Do not open this door for her or anyone else. Ever.

Allow her to order first (if in a food ordering environment. or heck, in any ordering environment let her go first). Hey. I know. But apparently a lot of guys were absent the day they taught this in manner school. Do not order for her. You are not Cary Grant or Maurice Chevalier.

Pay attention to her, and only her, no matter how little chemistry there is between you. You've met online. You have no way of knowing if there will be any real chemistry between you. It's a 50-50 gamble. You show up on time, give your best efforts, but you're gettin' nothin' on the chem-o-meter. And you can tell she's not really into you, either. It will happen. I promise. This will happen. And I'm sorry. It's a drag. We were all so hoping she might be The One. But she's not. So once again, this is the time to prove once and for all what a gentleman and all around swell guy you are. You tough out the date focusing on her. I don't care if Paris Hilton walks in naked and hands you a video camera and casts a wanton come hither look your direction. You are on a date. Good, bad or ugly, you are on a date. The very least you can do is bow out gracefully. Call it an early evening. She's probably not stupid, so she's probably wanting to get this over, too. Just be tactful and polite. It's very possible she has a friend or sister you would really like. If you part on good terms, if you're not a jerk, she just might set you up with her friend or sister. Her ringing endorsement will be: "There just wasn't any spark between us, but he was really nice, very polite, a great listener, a real gentleman. And he's got a great smile."

Offer to pay her way. Yes really. No matter what. If she's modern and/or just a nice person, she will pull out money, a sincere effort to pay her way. You can be gracious and let her pay her way, or you can politely smile, look deeply into her eyes and say, "no, really, I insist." and gently push her money back at her. If she is insistent, especially loudly insistent, well, she's a bit rude and maybe going a little overboard on the feminazi routine, but by all means let her pay her way. "Why should I pay her way?"" you ask. Because by paying her way, you are sending a very strong signal that you are viewing this as a date. Not that you expect bedroom action as compensation, but that this is not a friends each paying their own way thing, but a bona fide date. So when you select an activity for a first date, keep this in mind. Exceptions: If she's the one who initiated the date, and/or chose something a bit pricey, then she should pay. If the date goes badly and you both know it, you should each pay your own way. If this is the case, and she doesn't offer to pay her own way, well, be the bigger person, a gentleman, pay her way. I know, I know. It's wrong. But consider it major karma points. Consider yourself lucky to have gotten off so cheaply, some poor chump is going to end up stuck paying for her the rest of his life.

Do not show obvious surprise or distaste for her looks. Okay guys, here's the truth: We're not all models. We know competition is tough, we know there are a lot of women with better bodies, better hair, prettier faces than ours. We are very well aware of this. Advertising, Hollywood and every magazine in the world proves this to us every day. So we have posted the best photos we have of ourselves. Of course we're not going to show you a photo of our enormous bum or our nose at an unflattering angle, or what our hair really looks like when it rains. Of course not. We're going to show you our good qualities, the things we want you to see, the things we feel confident about. We will be honest about our physical characteristics on our profile. We will list our height accurately. We will choose the most appropriate color and style of our hair. We will tell you what color our eyes are. We will consider ourselves to be "height-weight proportionate" or "about average" because chances are this is accurate. But you guys have a very different opinion about what that means. Just to bring you down to reality I'll choose a well known scale: Cindy Crawford is not height-weight proportionate or about average. The media and Hollywood would have you guys believe that, but It's. Not. True. It's not even healthy.

Okay. So you show up for your date, and you see a woman who looks a lot like the photos of the girl you've already fallen in love with online. Except she's really tall, has a big bum and cankles. You told her you liked her smile, wit and intelligence. Well buster, now's the time to prove it. First of all, you knew she was tall, she listed her height as 5'11". What were you expecting? Secondly, so she's a little hippy or has a large rear end and cankles. Are these really "deal breakers?" Be careful how you answer.

Have you noticed your jeans are a bit snug around the belly lately? Do you think it might be because your belly is getting a bit soft? You know how the guys call you chicken legs? It's because your legs are skinny and not in a good way. I'm just reminding you that you are probably not exactly what she envisioned, either. But she does like your smile and your eyes and your wit and intelligence and your beer gut and skinny legs are not issues for her.

If she's completely, utterly, totally unrecognizable, a) are you sure it's her? and b) you've got a good case for dating fraud. But stick out the evening with as much grace and decorum as possible. Get past the initial "Hmmm, not what I was hoping..." feelings. Quickly. And concentrate on talking to her. Give her a reason to flash that smile you claim to love, or bat the lashes on those eyes you found so captivating online.

Do not try a new hairstyle. If you've posted photos of yourself with hair a few inches long, parted on the left side, this is not the day to go out and get a Clooney or try out that head stubble look that's all the rage. I met a guy online who's photos all portrayed him with dark roguishly tussled curls. He showed up with bleach tipped boy band hair. I didn't recognize him. He could have at least mentioned he'd changed his hairstyle. And no, I wasn't dating his hair, per se. But those roguishly tussled curls suggested to me that he was a bit, well, roguish. Rakish, even. Maybe foppish. The bleach tipped boy band hair said: "Cares too much about his hair, he has better highlights than I do, poor choice of style for any man over the age of 19, and is he gay?" Let's just say there was an adjustment period.

Do not hog the conversation. If you're a talker and she's a listener, that's okay. Just be sure you're not the one doing all the talking because she can't get a word in edgewise. Besides, if she's shy or not much of a talker, you should be trying to pull her out a little bit, give her plenty of openings, gently encourage her to talk, to open up a little bit. It might be difficult for her on a first date, a lot of people use online dating because they are very shy. They can open up online because of the relative anonymity. You should be able to figure out if this is the case. If she's written witty, clever, thoughtful emails, but you feel like you are coaxing words out of her in person, be patient. Help her. She's probably very shy. Or very nervous. Or very both. Hogging the conversation and especially hogging the conversation with sentences using only the pronouns I and me will not take this relationship anywhere but over.

Do not get (or arrive) drunk. Period. I rarely drink alcohol on a first date. I don't condemn people who do, and I'm not saying never. I have certainly been known to have a glass of wine on a first date. But. This is not the time to prove what a manly stud you are by way of how many shots you can pound, beers you can slam or scotches you can throw back. It's. Just. Not. Ever see The Days of Wine and Roses? No? Rent it. You will never drink on a date again. In fact, you may never drink again. I recently had a date where the guy showed up reeking of beer. I'm not saying he was drunk, I have no way to gauge his toxicity, but he'd obviously had a few beers before meeting me. Not only did he smell, he was in that "I've already had a few and I'm feeling good" state of mind when we first met. "Feeling good" in the sense that every other woman in the place looked good to him. He seemed to forget we were on a date.

Do not speak to her boobs. In fact, on the first date try to pretend she doesn't even have boobs. Unless you've exchanged naked photos, you probably are not sure what the boob situation is until you meet her in person. If she's offered the information (or a photo, Hefner help us I hope not, but, you know, whatever) she's probably proud of her boobs. Maybe she's even paid a lot of money for them. The first date is your chance to prove once and for all you really are a gentleman. Do not address her boobs. Even if she's wearing a dress or top cut down to here and they're spilling out all over your plate, ignore them. Eye contact. Lots of eye contact. Compliment her on her intelligence or eyes or something other than her boobs. Maybe this isn't difficult because it appears she has none, not even a hint of a boob. This is not the time to give her chest a penetrating or even surreptitious stare to discern if there's anything there, anything at all. Eye contact, man, eye contact.

Do not come onto her. Just don't. This is a first date. Do not come onto her. Do not come onto her. Do not come onto her. If things are going really, really well, if she's giving you all the positive signals, yes, kiss her goodnight. No tongue. Just a nice, leave her wanting more kiss goodnight. If. And only if. All. The. Signals. Are. There.

Do not have sex with that woman. Unless, and this is a huge unless, you have both established that you are just interested in having sex, a la one of those Jell-o shots and gettin' freaky in the hot tub scenes on Elimidate, do not have sex with that woman. Period.

Good luck men, be careful out there and remember to relax and have fun.

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9:57 AM

Thursday, March 25, 2004  
Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites, Part II
Last Friday I offered a few suggestions regarding online dating site profiles and emails. Tomorrow I will cover the First Date.

Today I will cover one area I left out last Friday.

Selecting a potential date from the thousands of online profiles.

At first blush, the big dating sites seem like a trout farm stocked and ready for easing fishing.

So many women! So many choices! All available! All having a hard time meeting men! It's better than a stocked trout farm, it's Sunday Brunch with nothing except dessert tables and Mimosas! (Well. That's what us girls think. You guys probably stick with the trout farm. Or: Better than free all you can eat Buffalo Wing night at Hooters.)

Apparently a lot of guys select an age range and that's it, their only criteria.

Still others don't get past the "I am a MAN seeking a WOMAN" question. They just leave it at that. Man. Seek. Woman. Details unimportant. So unimportant that they do their Man. Seek. Woman. search, scroll through the thousands of women who appear in their results, choose the ones who have photos and look attractive, don't bother to read their profiles and then send out form emails of introduction. Hundreds of them. Maybe thousands. Those are good odds, right? One of those women is bound to respond. Right? After all, you only need one fish to take the bait and you've got dinner.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Details are important. I'm not talking about blondes v. brunettes, or XX income v. YY income. Those details probably are not important. If they are important, I have to assume you're the type of person who bothers to conduct a highly refined and defined searches and you do not need any insight from me. Good for you.

The important details vary depending on your strong personal preferences, of course.

Let's start with age. Unless you really, truly are willing and happy to date someone 10 years older or younger than you, I mean really willing, keep your age range small and honest. A few years above and below your own. By willing, I mean willing in the sense that you have visualized yourself when you are 50 and she's 60, or you, aged 31, attending frat parties with your 21 year old coed, and you're okay with that visualization. Willing in the sense that some people are looking for a real relationship (more on that later) and when you say you like older/younger women, we assume you mean it, and everything "it" entails. Including the possibility of long term issues that arise from age differences greater than 6 years.

We'll take 30 as our example age. You're thinking, "hey, I like older women, they're more mature, they know what they want, they've developed their senses of style, humor and themselves. They've got their swut together." So you search for women between the ages of 28 and 40. Fair enough. (Very, very common age ranges from what I've seen, by the way) You narrow your other search criteria a bit and find a 39 year old woman who is everything you've ever dreamed of in a woman. Everything. You email. She's dubious, but takes you at your word that you like older women and emails you in return. You chat. You speak on the phone. Things are moving along really well. Age doesn't even come up any more. You meet. She's fabulous. You hit it off really well. You start dating. You're both really happy. Well. Except that she sometimes cracks jokes you don't get about the 70's and 80's. And she voted for Reagan. And her friends are all married and having children. And she wants to get married and have children, too. For you this is a "someday proposition." For her it's a "my clock is really ticking here" situation. It's a biological fact: She simply does not have time to date for a few years. A few months, tops, is all she's probably willing to invest. Especially with a 30 year old guy who only a few months ago started thinking he "might" like to settle down. Someday. Even if you are a 30 year old guy who wants to get married and have children right now, the unspoken pressures you will feel are enormous. Are you honestly up for that? Be honest with yourself. If she claims she does not want (or already has) children, that's a slightly different story, so we'll go down those paths.

She's 39. She has two children. How do you feel about that? Be honest. If the children are young, she won't be able to go out unless she can find a babysitter. Or the children will have to come with you. She is: Instant family. Are you ready and willing to be: Instant surrogate father?

She's 39. She says she does not want children. She probably means this. Because she thinks she's too old to start now, or, she just really doesn't want to have children. Great for you, because, heck, you're a 30 year old guy who only a few months ago started thinking he "might" like to settle down. Someday. And you are not ready for children, so, this'll be great! And maybe it will. But what about when your clock starts ticking? Yes, it happens to men, too. I've seen it. It's not pretty. It's 10 years from now, you're 40, your partner is 49. Your friends started having children a few years ago. You see the joy and fun children bring into the world and into a relationship. You love your partner. You want a baby. Now. Your partner is 49. And while it may be biologically possible, remember, she doesn't want children. I have seen this exact situation. It's a horrible thing.

Reverse all the above scenarios if you think you are willing and desirous of a 21 year old. Yes, everyone's different. There are young 40 year olds and old 40 year olds. There are young 21 year olds and old 21 year olds. Of course. And yes I'm taking this to an extreme, but I'm doing it to make you think about how important age criteria can be.

If you say you're eager and willing to date a wide range of women, great! Good for you for being so open minded. But now that that mind is open, fill it with considerations of her life and what she wants, too. Maybe you want to "try" dating older or younger women. Okay. Fair enough. But be very, very honest about it and be graceful and respectful of the woman who doesn't want to go any further than emails because she feels you are too young or too old for her.

I get an enormous amount of responses from "mature" men - I'm trying to be tactful here - these are men who are 15+ years older than me. Mostly +. And not that I would rule out such a pairing, I know it can work, and some of them seem to be really great guys. But we're in very, very different places in our lives. We've had extremely different historical and sociological experiences (which can be a very good thing but wrought with misunderstandings) and frankly, I am not interested in being an older man's "post divorce 'hot young' date to get back at his ex wife for sleeping with the tennis pro at the club." Nor am I interested in dating a man who is scouting out retirement property. I know that might sound very shallow, but I'm trying to find a life partner, someone who I can grow old with, share life, laughs and maybe children and a home in the country. Someone who will support my career goals and needs, and not in terms of supplemental retirement income for him. I am very open about this on my profile. Many of these men have already grown old, had a life, children and a home in the country. Some have sons closer to my age. No, you can't blame a guy for trying, but...

Which leads me to the next point of important search criteria:
Wants/has children.
It's very, very important to be very, very honest with yourself and potential dates about this. Even if you are not looking for a serious relationship and think it doesn't matter because you just want some dates, casual stuff, it is positively crucial to list your feelings about this. Because if you say you want children, any woman you date is going to think you mean that. And even if she's only in it for dating, just a casual thing, too, the possibility of those dates, that casual thing becoming The Real Thing is actually quite great. And/or, if you say you don't want children because you don't want children right now, or with her, she is not going to take you seriously in terms of long term potential. And maybe you don't care. Maybe that's exactly how you want it. That's cool. But respect and understand when she doesn't want to date you because she Wants More. Plus, it just makes things easier on everyone if this is right out in the open, right up front, right at first. It is a big deal and should be required search criteria. Period.

Location. Location. Location.
Ah yes. You'll go anywhere for the right one. You probably mean that. Or you think you do. Until you actually have to face the reverse commute from Barrington just to meet for drinks after work. Sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, the highway like a parking lot, minutes dragging into hours, for a date, you begin to do the math: Get there in an hour (hopefully) have dinner: Two hours, walk on the Lakefront: One hour. Take her home: 20 minutes but parking in her neighborhood is impossible, so you just double park and drop her at her door. Get back on the highway, get home, it's now 1:30 AM. Even if you hadn't taken that walk on the Lakefront, you'd still be rolling in at 12:30 AM. And you didn't even have sex. Because you couldn't find a parking place. Or because you live and work in the suburbs and that morning commute, had you stayed over, would have been a nightmare.

But you'll go anywhere for the right one. Right?

Wrong.

I've been through this. A lot. Most of you won't understand this, so you'll just have to believe me: It was easier dating HWNMNBS who lived in another country and an 8 hour plane trip away than it is to date a guy in the local suburbs. And yes, that's Chicago, but I've had many conversations with other people in other cities about this. It's a universal theme. City v. suburbs/country. To suburban people, the lure of a city based partner is fascinating. All those endless possibilities of things to do! All those great restaurants! The sporting events! The museums! The shopping! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! It's a blast here in the city! It's also: Expensive, crowded, and difficult to park! One of my far suburban based dates summed it up thusly: Every date (with a girl in the city) is like going on vacation. Gassing up the car, packing an overnight bag (just in case), traffic, a lot of time in the car, a few hours of fun, a lot of money spent, and then back home again, tired, broke and a lot of miles on the odometer.

Maybe you live in a city where public transportation is an option. That helps. But are you really willing to live your life around a train schedule? Be honest. I always try to figure out a way to meet somewhere inbetween so we're both "inconvenienced" equally. And this works at first. But unless you want your relationship to blossom and flower at places convenient to train stops and highway exits (Greek diners and second rate (at best) Econolodges) sooner or later one or both of you is going to have to "go all the way." Either suburban or city. Or North side to South side. Whatever. If there are more than 15 miles between you, factor in the travel time.

Why was HWNMNBS easier, you are still wondering. Because we knew we were going to be apart, and we knew when we were going to be together.

Apart.

Together.

Sure the 8 hour plane commute was a drag, but honestly? It took me nearly three hours on a: CTA Train, a Metra Train and a bus to get to a Bennigan's, a swutting Bennigan's to meet a date who lived in a suburb, to have an hour and a half date because I had to catch the train back and he had to drive at least an hour home, maybe more because it had begun to rain. Had I driven it would have been equally as bad except for having to live by the train schedule. I kid you not, the Comfort Inn across the street was looking pretty good to me. It was at that precise moment I realized: This is a joke. At least when I flew 8 hours to HWNMNBS I was in England and had a date which lasted at least a few days. I travelled almost three hours to a suburb to have a watered down drink and a stale salad, a quick hi-how-are-you-how-was-your-day date with a guy who was tired and cranky from the bad traffic and long drive, and then travelled two hours home. Almost five hours travel time for a crappy dinner with a guy I was just getting to know who was in a bad mood because of the traffic and time it took to meet. What if we had hit it off? The Comfort Inn across the street?

I think not.

More road time.

It better be really worth it for both of us. So worth it that we're so in love the time and distances don't matter, so worth it that we know this is temporary and soon one of us will be moving closer to the other, if not in with the other. Sure there is gray area inbetween all of this, but when you say you'll travel to date, you swutting well better mean it. If you're the one initiating the online communication, you should be the one willing to travel. You're the one who saw where she lives and decided to contact her. If you don't want to or cannot deal with the fact that it's a painful commute to get to her, perhaps she's not the one for you. You cannot contact a person who lives more than 15 miles away from you and expect them to come to you. Maybe, like me, they will be happy to compromise and meet halfway. But that's her call, not yours. She can decide she will go no further than the corner pub to meet you if she wants, after all, she's not the one who found a guy 25 miles away and contacted him. If you contact someone, no matter how far away, you must be willing to travel to her. And not complain about it when you arrive. Period. You initiated this, you knew what the distances and logistics involved, so you assumed the responsibility. Period.

Looking for...
Casual dating, long term relationship, marriage
Very, very important. This tells you where she is in her life and what she's hoping to find in this whole online dating thing. If she says she wants a long term relationship or marriage, believe her. If you are only looking for casual dating and/or have committment issues (I'm not judging) she's probably not the girl for you right now. She's been very honest about what she's looking for in a man or relationship, what she wants, you owe her the respect to leave her alone if you are not willing or capable of a long term relationship or marriage.

The opposite is true, as well. Maybe you want to settle down and get married. Now. Or at least want a long term committed relationship. If she says she wants casual dating, believe her. Do not think you "will be the one" to tame her. It's nothing personal, she's just not interested in settling down with one guy right now. There can be lots of reasons for this, but they're not important and have nothing to do with you. If you are willing to go out on a date or two with no deeper hopes or underlying intentions, contact her. She's probably a lot of fun. But don't pressure her for more when she's very clearly stated she's not looking for more.

Smoking or non?
This seems so obvious. If you smoke, anything, be honest about it. If they say they do not want to date a smoker, believe them. Do not say (or think) "I won't smoke around her" or "I'll quit for the right one" Just move along. Find a date who smokes or at least doesn't mind if you do. I've had three dates who, on their online profiles claimed to be non-smokers, but then lit up while on the first date. This has happened to me in the past, too. I'm not going to get into a "why smoking is gross" rant. Just believe her when she says she does not want to date a smoker. Believe her and do not bother contacting her. If all indications are that you are soul mates apart from this one thing, and you really can and are willing to quit, and will never, ever smoke around her (because you will have quit) maybe, maybe you can send her an email explaining, apologetically, that yes, you smoke, but she's so wonderful in every way that you've already started The Patch, seen a hypnotist and followed the American Lung Association's guide to quitting and will be an official non-smoker by the time you go on your first date. But even then I would strongly caution you to examine a few deeper issues.

Smokers and non-smokers are very, very different personalities. Most non-smokers are very much anti-smoking, and health conscious in other aspects, too. They probably exercise and don't eat a lot of fried food, either (these are demographic facts). Smokers are often, oddly, health conscious in some other areas, but generally not in the areas of food. If you smoke, and eat fried food, and don't get a lot of exercise, no matter how much you have in common with that non-smoking, jogging vegan, at some point your life-styles are going to clash. You probably don't mind, perhaps even enjoy, going to smoke filled bars and clubs. She will see it as nothing shy of torture. There are also basic health aspects: Asthma is on the rise. I have asthma. Smoke aggravates it badly. That cigarette you enjoy after dinner could send me into a wheezing, coughing, gasping for air attack. I'm not kidding. Not exactly me at my sexiest. To say nothing of making me feel really awful and potentially risking my ability to breathe. When I know I'm going to a club or concert, I dose up on my medication beforehand, and have my inhaler ready "just in case." I don't want to have to do this when I go on a date. Besides, that medication makes me sleepy and not very vivacious. If I've taken it, the only thing I'm doing later is sleeping. Alone. When it comes to smoking: Stick to your own kind. Period.

Religion
Big one. A really big one. If it's important to you, by God, you better list this as a key search criteria. If you're Catholic, and you know you really want to settle down with a Catholic girl, you've got no business contacting a Jewish/Hindu/Athiest/whatever girl. Period. People do not arbitrarily choose a religion on dating sites. They just don't. People might lie or fudge about a lot of things on dating sites, but religion generally isn't one of them. If she says she's an athiest, she probably is. Take her declaration at face value. Do not see her as a challenge or a prospective convert or soul to save. If you cannot respect her religious views, leave her alone.

Physical Attributes
If you absolutely positively will not even consider a woman who is anything other than a slim, petite, blonde or Asian, with big boobs, then yes, narrow your criteria to include these factors. Because if you are repulsed or (more likely) intimidated by women over 5'7", or with average or a few extra pounds, or are brunette (but not Asian) you probably shouldn't even consider dating outside your comfort zone.

Of course we all have our "wish list" of physical attributes, of course we do. We're human. And if your search results show that she's a tall brunette and you strongly prefer petite blondes, just move along. You risk hurting her by not being honest with yourself and her about your physical desires. She will notice when every petite blonde who walks by catches your eye. This will hurt her. If it goes on too long she will begin to feel inadequate and will either dump your shallow sorry arse or will collapse into insecurity issues which will really ruin an otherwise great relationship. "That's her problem!" you exclaim, "I don't want someone who is that insecure anyway!"

Hear me, please listen to me. Even the most confident, self assured woman has inner insecurities when it comes to our bodies and men. We have very deep seeded needs to be accepted by the man to whom we pledge our affections. If we feel we fall short of his needs in any way, we get anxious about it. And you ogling every petite blonde who walks by, no matter how "innocent" it is, really, really hurts us. It's a slap on our inner psyche. "Oh sure," we tell ourselves, "he likes that I'm intelligent and witty and kind and 'have a pretty face' but I'm not blonde and I'm tall and so he's not fully satisfied with me. Maybe I could get highlights, but there's nothing I can do about my height..."

And for the last time: If she asks you if her bum looks big in those jeans, tell her emphatically, "No! I love your arse in those jeans!" Even if she's got so much junk in the trunk there's no room for jumper cables, if you care about this woman, if her confidence and security in your relationship is important to you, tell her she looks great in those goddam jeans. Men: We know what our bums look like. We are very, very aware of our figure "flaws." erm, "challenges." If we ask you about any aspect of our body, we are feeling insecure and need reassurance. If you care about us, give us that reassurance. "But I'm honest! I don't believe in lying! I still love her anyway, I'm getting used to her saddlebags, but I shouldn't lie to her about it! Don't you women want an honest opinion?!" you yell back at me. Trust me. If you truly do not care that she's less than centerfold figured: Lie to her. Convincingly. Sincerely.

Whoa.Where'd that come from. Sorry.

There are other criteria that may seem inconsequential, and in many cases may be completely unimportant. But I have to mention a few of them.

Daily diet
If she's a vegetarian or vegan (vegan means: consumes no animal or any animal by product (milk, eggs, cheese...) and many also ascribe to a gluten free diet). Most vegans and many vegetarians also refuse to wear an animal product, and yes, that includes leather and wool. If you're okay with this, continue on, pursue her. But again, be honest. Painfully honest. Are you really okay with this? If you're a meat and potatoes kind of guy, if you "need" a huge hunk of animal on your plate do you understand and realize this might not only offend her but make her physically ill? Even if she's not "militant" about her dietary preferences, do you really understand vegetarian means nothing with a mother? Including fish and poultry? If you love taking dates to Smith and Wollensky she might not be the girl for you.

And maybe she is, maybe she's easy going and laid back about it, agrees to go to the carnivore palace with you and orders a salad because she views her dietary choice as just that, a personal choice and doesn't let it get in the way of a date or potential relationship. But realize she's not going on the date because of the great food - she's going on the date because she likes you. Understand that and be appropriately flattered and respectful. If you are not capable of comprehending dietary choices other than your own, do not contact women outside your own food preferences.

I know it seems like a small thing, inconsequential, but, it can be a huge deal. Perhaps not at first, but, if the relationship grows, day in day out you are going to have to deal with her dietary choice. You don't personally have to walk the walk to talk the talk, but by association you're going to have to accommodate her choices. Going on a road trip? You might be a McDonald's kind of guy. She's probably a "pack my own snacks" kind of girl. Holiday at your parents'? Are you comfortable explaining to your family that your date is a vegetarian or vegan and that she will not be eating most of what's on the table? Quiet night in with a movie and pizza? Hold the pepperoni and cheese...If you can't see yourself sincerely understanding and respecting her choices, do not pursue her.

Food is very similar to religion. If a person doesn't eat a certain thing, it's based on very personal reasons and choices. Deal with it and respect it. Don't try to convert them. Don't badger them about why they choose their diet. Don't argue that they are "wrong." Don't tell them they're stupid or going against the natural order of things. (all things I have been told, by the way)

The Truth about Cats and Dogs
There are cat people and there are dog people. Cat people are generally animal people, people who like and respect all animals, including dogs. Dog people are generally dog people. They like dogs. Be honest about your pet preferences. If you hate cats and she has one or two or three or 25, she's probably not the girl for you. Yes, maybe you will change, but it's a big risk. I dated a guy who claimed to not like cats. "Well. I have a cat." I didn't labor the issue, but it was out there. He liked me so he allowed my cat in the same room with him. In quick time he was won over (with no coaxing by me) and he now lives with three cats and volunteers at a cat shelter. It can and does happen. But it's rare and unusual and a gamble. (as an aside, this relationship ended because he did not want children, I did, we were both very up front and honest about it, and years later we're very good friends, which is the best possible solution)

And then there are exotic pets. If you have them, you must understand people, especially women, might not share your enthusiasm for watching the food chain being played out in your living room as you feed your snake live mice. If this is your thing understand if she says she doesn't like exotic pets she's going to have a hard time getting past this aspect of your personality.

And now for the difficult subject
Ethnicity
If you like all women, accept all races and cultures as potential dates and mates, GREAT! And if you are accepting of all races and cultures, but you discover on her profile that she has checked specific ethnicities which do not include yours, leave her alone. This is not always an easy decision, so respect her choice. And if you do have very specific ethnicities in mind, if you really know, deep down, you want to settle down (or date) a particular ethnicity, select that preference and stay within those confines. This is not the time for a multi-cultural experiment.

So you've checked off all the search items which are important to you. And you've now got a group of women who meet your criteria. Great! "Let's get busy!" you exclaim

Easy there boy. Not so fast.

Take a look at what she wants. Do you match her criteria? If she says she wants a man 5'8" - 6'4", with an athletic build, a PhD who earns more than $100,000, is turned off by facial hair, piercings, long hair and tattoos, does not like exotic pets and is a Muslim, chances are the facts that you are 5'6", carry a few extra pounds, ascribe to a shaving optional lifestyle, haven't had a haircut in the past 8 months or more, have a tattoo, and a few piercings, dropped out of vocational school, are currently between jobs, live with your parents, have a Kimoto dragon and are Jewish, she's not going to be interested in you. Deal with it. This isn't rejection - she doesn't even know you exist.

Keep it that way.

All of this goes for your own specifics, too. If you want Miss Wonderful to find you in her searches, you need to list your specifics. Honest answers. "Any" or "none specified" or "no answer" are not acceptable. Sure, you will show up in more searches, get more "hits" but the vagueries on your profile can and will inevitably lead to misunderstandings or out and out arguments. "I didn't know you smoked! Why didn't you say you smoked on your profile?" or "What do you mean you're Catholic and won't marry outside your religion? Why didn't you mention that in your profile?"

For further fine tuned searching, if your online dating site offers more in-depth personality profile opportunities, do it! Take the time to take the "personality analysis" or "self assessment" and use it when searching for dates.

I didn't do this at first, thought it was a lot of malarchy. But then I decided to round out my profile with the in-depth analysis. Guess what? I was wrong in thinking it was a bunch of unprofessional psycho crap. So far, of the men I've dated who have also done their personality analysis, our compatibilities/incompatibilities have been absolutely spot on. For instance, one recent date fell outside "my ideal" in terms of "focus." And I was very far out of his ideal.

My analysis lands me dead center in all categories. I am still a bit bothered by the fact that I am squarely very, very middle of the road on all counts. Shy or outgoing? Smack in the middle. Focused on feelings and relationships or focused on thinking and facts? Dead center. Always go with the flow or organized and on time? You guessed it, right down the exact middle. This made me feel wishy washy at first, but I knew it to be true. Sometimes I am a little shy, other times I am very outgoing. Sometimes I am very focused on feelings, other times i just want the facts, don't bother me with what you feel, give me the stats and demographs! I can be very spontaneous, but I hate being late to an organized event. What a friend calmly reminded me is all this means is that I am even keeled. I am flexible. I have a good sense of propriety. I am not an extreme personality. That's actually a good thing. Whew.

Take my suburban journey as an example. The personality compatibility chart showed me he is very strongly organized and on time. So much so that he is way out of "my ideal" zone. Barely on the chart. So the whole travel thing, the fact that he has to drive to meet me - could be a huge challenge for us. He has a strong need to be on time. There are going to be factors, major factors, like traffic and trains, that will impede his ability to "always be on time" with any get together we might have. This will annoy the crap out of him. And it did. He was in a horrible mood once he finally got to our rendezvous.

Since I only recently added my self assessment, I decided to go back and "test" previous dates to see if they were in or out of my ideal zones, and I theirs. One guy turned out to be very focused on thinking and facts. While I fell firmly in his "wants in a partner" zone, he was nowhere near my "wants in a partner" zone. This explains our less than ideal date. I thought he didn't seem to have much enthusiasm for much of anything - just not very passionate, or even capable of being passionate. Now that I see he's very much on the "focused on thinking and facts" side of the chart, this makes complete sense. Interestingly, his assessment shows he wants/needs somewhat on the "more focused on feelings and relationships" side of the chart, or at least in the middle (me). I hope he finds her. The thing is, for someone like me, middle of the road who is able and needs to focus on feelings from time to time, Mr. Just The Facts Ma'am will at times drive me nuts with his lack of focus on emotions. Some will argue this is exactly the sort of person I might need. Someone a little less emotional, a little less volatile. A little more emotionally stable and steady. Yes. True enough. But I like to see a little passion about something, anything now and then.

This less than favorable first date could have been avoided had I already completed my personality assessment and we had run the match to see if we were in each other's zones. No, I wouldn't rule out dating someone not in my zones, but forewarned is forearmed. If you know your date is firmly in the organized and on time side of the chart, do not show up late for the date. If she's a go with the flow kind of girl, don't be surprised if she shows up late but with a story of what happened on her way to the date: Because she went with the flow and got swept up in an adventure. Bottom line: Take the in depth personality assessments, and use them as a search tool. If she's not in your zones, or you in hers, you might want to move along to the next one.

Tomorrow! That first date!

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10:37 AM

Wednesday, March 24, 2004  
Burn. Burn!

Swut.

Joke as I am wont to do, I am seriously freaking out now.

Bone's long term "temp" job has been deemed unnecessary. Bone is once again unemployed.

Number 6.

2:03 PM

 
If there are clear skies and you can get to a telescope, check out the interplanetary cosmic alignment going on for the next few weeks. Far out, man.

10:22 AM

 
Reality Wednesday
Crowned!

The Patient will have her tooth's temporary crown replaced by the permanent crown.
The Dental Assistant greets The Patient.

They spent 2.5 hours in close proximity of each other (very close) when The Patient had the initial work and temporary crown placed on her broken rear molar.

"Good Morning!" The Assistant enthuses, "Ready for your new crown?"

"Good mworning, yes, mwore than weady." The Patient replies, through nearly clenched teeth.

"Are you having any problems with the tooth?" The Assistant inquires.

"Yes, I am having quite a bit of pain when I open my mouth vewy wide." The Patient replies, through clenched teeth.

"That's too bad! What kind of pain?" The Assistant inquires.

"Pain in the back of my jaw - not the tooth, but where my jaw hinges, sort of back by my ear." The Patient answers.

"Did we have difficulty with the injections?" The Assistant further inquires.

"Difficulty? You mean those needles this long stuck for way too long into my gums? Yes, I had difficulty with them. I don't know about you or the dentist. You were there, you saw what was going on, you tell me if all of us had difficulty with the injections."

"Have you see The Passion of the Christ?" The Assistant answers, as if The Patient had said, "No, no difficulty whatsoever."

"Uh. No." The Patient deadpans.

"You should. Everyone should see that movie." The Assistant continues. "Even my one daughter who has turned against her religion liked it. She went out and bought a bible after she saw it. I sent her to Catholic school and she hated it. Now after seeing this movie she went out and bought a bible. That's how powerful it is. That man, Mel Gibson, he's done a good thing. You need to see this movie." The Assistant casts a furtive glance over her bi-focals at The Patient. Sizing her up. Giving her that look that says, "Repent now. Save yourself while you still have a chance."

No response from The Patient.

The Assistant continues, "Did you see him on People?"

"No." The Patient firmly answers, knowing the "him" on People is Mel Gibson, and hoping she said "no" firmly enough to end this conversation. Now.

"I just wanted to have my crown installed, hopefully resolve the pain in my jaw, and get out of there. I'm stuck in that chair, with that blue bib clipped around me, a sore jaw, anticipating who knows what with the installation of the crown...should I really have to endure a conversation about Mel Gibson's version of Jesus' death?" The Patient, somewhat hostile, explains in a post event re-cap interview. "I really like my dentist, he's great. And The Assistant is very nice, too. But she's one of those dental people who takes advantage of the captive audience in the form of the patient's inability to speak or leave. The visit prior to this I heard about a recent dental convention, way too much information about her mother's prolonged illness, her children and their shortcomings, and her cat. And it's not as if I don't care, per se, if she needs to vent and feels comfortable opening up to me, I don't mind, always happy to listen sympathetically. But the dental arena is another situation entirely. These people KNOW they have a captive audience and use it. Maybe they can't stand silence. Maybe they're just natural born talkers. Maybe they've worked too long in little rooms with people held hostage with hands and instruments in their mouths unable to actually speak."

The Dentist arrives. Pleasantries are exchanged between The Patient, The Dentist and The Assistant. The Patient's jaw is thoroughly examined. It is determined the pain is emanating from the place where The Biggest Needle of Them All was inserted, a place already sensitive from the Impacted Wisdom Tooth Massacre. Also the bite re-adjustment made on the last visit to accommodate the not yet installed new crown is causing the pain and discomfort. It is hoped once the crown is installed the bite will be properly aligned and the jaw pain will subside.

Unless The Patient is too uncomfortable and would prefer to wait another week.
The Patient wants this over now.

"I was there, in quite a bit of pain...I just wanted to get this over and done. And I didn't think I had the patience to endure another conversation from The Assistant."

The Dentist begins his work, fitting and fine tuning the permanent crown. The Assistant continues talking about The Passion of the Christ and her daughter's return to the Catholic flock. The Dentist is working deftly and quietly. The Patient notices "a look" or two from The Dentist at The Assistant. A "can you just shut up? Enough about The Passion already!"

"I like The Dentist. A lot. He's terrific. A very good, skilled dentist and a nice guy, too." The Patient, somewhat less hostile, explains in a post event re-cap interview. "The poor guy must endure hours, every day, listening to The Assistant ramble on about everything. Everything. And I know him to be a kind, patient man so he probably just puts up with it. But I could tell he'd had it with The Passion, Mel Gibson and Catholicism."

The Dentist, pleased with the fitting of the crown, excuses himself to "glaze" the crown before the final installation. The Assistant follows him.

The camera perspective switches to The Patient's eye view. We see a generic dental exam room, filled with equipment and instruments. We see an oversized clock radio circa 1973. We hear Kenny G blaring from the clock radio. Everything goes comfortably pink-ish black as The Patient gently closes her eyes.

We are harshly brought back into the room via The Patient's eye view - eyes blinking abruptly open, a People magazine with Mel Gibson on the cover dangling inches from her face.

We cannot see The Assistant because she is behind The Patient, but we hear her say, "Here's that magazine. I found it. You should read this. The Dentist will be a few minutes. There's a whole section on The Passion. A very good interview with Mel Gibson. After you read this you will want to see the movie."

"I couldn't care less about The Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson or People magazine. People magazine! Do I look like someone who reads People magazine? Someone who wants to read People magazine? Hadn't I suffered enough?" The Patient, somewhat hostile, explains in a post event re-cap interview. "I just wanted my tooth crowned. Not Mel's take on the crown of thorns. Should I really be made to endure this sort of conversation and badgering at the dentist's office? I think not. I suppose her intentions were well meaning, which is why I kept my temper in check. Well. That and the fact that I was completely unable to talk."

The Dentist returns with the crown. The Assistant follows him into the exam room. The Patient, somewhat awkwardly, has the People magazine with Mel Gibson on the cover in her lap. Mel Gibson is staring up at the trio from The Patient's lap. For the entire duration of the crowning of The Patient.

The new gleaming crown securely in place, care and cautionary instructions given, The Patient is set free. She thanks The Dentist and The Assistant and hands the magazine to The Assistant. The Assistant refuses the magazine and says, "No. Take it with you. You can have it."

"No thank you, really, maybe someone else would like to read it." The Patient says, thrusting it at The Assistant.

"You should read it. You need to see The Passion. Once you read this interview you will want to see the movie." The Assistant persists.

"No. Really. Thank you, but no." The Patient insists, gets up from the chair and places the magazine on the counter. She walks out of the dental exam room, Mel Gibson abandoned on the counter next to the rinse and spit sink.

9:09 AM

Tuesday, March 23, 2004  
"The girl with low sensible heels is likely to pay for her bed and meals"
Shoe Redemption

I know my Bass Cacie's are sensible and normal and not the least bit sexy and a huge departure from my usually very stylish shoe taste. Stop telling me I'm treading, literally, in suburban housewife who works two afternoons at the dentist's office, bland, boring mediocrity.

Any port in a storm, people, any port in a storm. I like them. They're comfy. And they're heels. Heels!

I'm looking upon them as training wheels. (Training heels? I spared you the pun, but mention it because I cracked myself up with that for two solid hours.)

Remember when you got your first really cool big kid bicycle, but it had those dorky training wheels? And you really wanted to be cool like the older kids up the street? You know, those bitchy older girls with all the really great dolls and those glass balls on a string you click together like an Oriental weapon? The ones who teased you mercilessly because you were younger than they were, far less socially savvy, yet not only taller than they were, but in the same class at school? You know, the blonde ones. Sure, you must remember. Don't tell me I'm the only one who still has vivid memories of those girls. You wanted to fit in with them, too. Well. Not so much fit in as Just. Make. The. Teasing. Stop.

So you spent every spare hour practicing, making your dad raise the wheels, taking them off, putting them back on again, sometimes even making him spend entire weekend afternoons running along beside you, holding the back of the bicycle, without the training wheels, because this time, you just know it, this time when he lets go you will be able to ride unassisted by either him or the training wheels.

Every night you went to bed strategizing your technique, and fantasizing about riding off into the clear blue horizon, up the street, glancing over your shoulder at the ever further distant image of your dad, he, cheering, triumphantly jumping up and down like he does when his team scores, as you rode away, unassisted, waving back at him, giving the bell on your butterfly handlebars a jaunty ring with your other hand. (Thanks dad, I know you thought you'd be running along beside me, holding on to the bicycle long after I'd mastered driving a car and graduated university. But your patience paid off in what? Four weekends? Five? Patience, bribing of (my much older brother) to assist in the lessons after school, and the lure of that sparkly purple Stingray...Sure, that Stingray and the extra money in brother's allowance set back the budget a bit, but really, in the long run, the money saved on back surgeries for you and therapy for me far outweighs the cost of that "goal" prize: The coolest bicycle any girl in a 15 mile radius owned. Yeah. It rocked. My father and brother have always made sure I've had a really bitchin' ride. I'm lucky that way.)

These shoes are sort of like that for me. Training wheels. A temporary dorky necessity until I am able to walk, unassisted and confidently in "real" shoes. Once again on an even playing field with the cool kids. The bitchy girls up the street. Believe you me, I have "goal" shoes.

Girls will remember this, guys will just have to read and learn. Remember when your mother finally relented and let you wear heels? Because you'd been bugging and begging her for three years. Because all the other girls were wearing heels. And hose. Julie even had a pair of fishnets, but her mother didn't know about them. She put them on in the bathroom during last hour, then paraded around in them, then ducked into the bathroom at the Donut Hole to change out of them before going home. Still. She had them. And heels. (Yeah, Julie, at 12, was already really slutty. Come to think of it, Julie was slutty when I first met her, when she was 7. I wish I could say she was knocked up before her Sweet 16, but she actually made it past that, to and presumably through university without bearing a child. I have no idea what happened to her after that. Her parents divorced, both moved, my parents never ran in the same social circles anyway, so that was the natural death of any news I would ever hear about Julie. Thankfully. Although I could get some much needed closure if I knew her life has been nothing but STD's and failed relationships and increasing difficulty keeping up with the cost of highlighting her ever darkening blonde hair. Issues. I've got issues. She was a mean, horrible bitch, okay? And slutty, too.)

Anyway. Your mother finally let you wear heels. She didn't know why you were in such a rush, "You're going to torture yourself with heels all your adult life, why not prolong that agony as long as you are able?" and "Your feet are growing a size a month. I'll not waste money on frivolous shoes for you." and "No girl your age has any business wearing heels." (which of course I didn't understand - "any business wearing heels" what does she mean by that? I often wondered.) And the Grand Pubah of No: "They're not good for your feet or legs or back."

My mother, bless her, was a stickler for good shoes (blame it all on her. Every last pair.) I could have been wearing a patched threadbare flour sack for a dress, but my mother always made sure all of us had the very best shoes money could buy. And, she made us get measured and re-fitted for new good shoes every few months.

My mother used to examine our shoes when we took them off.

At night.

Before we went to bed.

We were not allowed to not wear shoes. If we were out of bed, and not in the bath, we were wearing shoes. Period. Sometimes she'd let us "live a little, go wild" and wear slippers in the house. I know. No kid wears slippers. We did. It was that or our dorky Stride Rites or Buster Browns we'd been wearing all day.

She'd also hang back a little, behind us, and inspect our gait. Scrutinizing how we walked or ran. I can hear her saying to my dad, "Watch Trillian, see if you think she's toe-ing in again." Or, to my dad upon his arrival home from a long business trip, "I've been watching Trillian. She's toe-ing in again. I'm going to have to take her in to Dr. McAlister. Maybe she's just growing. I've noticed some uneven scuffing on the toes of her shoes. She's going to need a new pair." These comments were always made in that hushed tone parents use, after dinner, while doing the dishes and having a cup of tea. She would say this with innuendo and inference, as if my need for new shoes was a family tragedy, it might mean my sister's college tuition might not get paid, the tone you hear in bad movies from the 40's, "We'll have to find the money somewhere, maybe I can take in some laundry." In most families, that tone, those talks, are typically reserved for things like bullies at school, falling grades or a proclivity for setting things alight. Not my mother. Not she. Not satisfied with our relatively calm and progressing normally lives, she obsessed over our feet and the way we walked.


"Trillian's showing some uneven wear on the inner right heel," I can remember her often saying to our local shoe merchant, a guy who looked exactly like Sergeant Carter on Gomer Pyle, "she's been favoring that foot lately." Time on the Brannick Device (that cold metal foot measure thing. Yes. It has a name.), first the right foot, then the left, then the right. Walking barefoot up and down the shoe shop. Then walking up and down in endless pairs of shoes.

My feet have always been different sizes. When I was young as much as a size and a half different (requiring two pair of shoes). Now about a half size. This has caused my mother endless amounts of stress. I honestly think she views this as a birth defect and blames herself, now, years later, now that modern science has revealed caffeine is not good for in utero fetuses, blames herself for that third cup in the mornings when she was pregnant. A mother's guilt is never done. Even when I broke my ankle, one of the first things she said in her panicked worried state was, "Oh, no! That's your small foot!" The way my mother carries this burden, you'd think I was Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol. My sister had it worse. She, thanks to my mother's devout shoe fittings, was discovered to have slightly crooked feet (I mean slight). A series of "correction shoes" over the course of several years was prescribed by a podiatrist. This, really, was not unlike the Japanese custom of binding young girls' feet. My poor sister had to endure years of shoes with inserts to straighten ("correct") her feet as they grew. On the other hand, the result is that she has absolutely perfectly aligned feet and legs, which resulted in a long a prosperous runway modeling career. I had a relatively brief year and a half stint in "correction shoes" because of a slight tendency to "toe in" when I was five.

(don't get me started on our teeth...I am absolutely certain my mother will haunt me from beyond the grave about dental care and apologies for all the years I had to spend in orthodontics. "Trillian, Trillian (all echo-y and haunted sounding) You didn't floss. Get out of that bed and go floss! (Nevermind I've been out drinking in back alley dive bars all night, that won't bother her) Thanks to me you've got those teeth, and you need to take extra care of them! Do you want to lose them? Your father and I paid a lot of money for your orthodontics, so you could have that perfect dazzling smile, the least you can do is floss! (But Mum, I'm tired and drunk, and I did brush really well....) BRUSH REALLY WELL?! You think that's enough? Do you want to have to wear dentures? Do you? Because if you don't floss that's what will happen! And I'm sorry, I'M SORRY I gave you a badly aligned set of teeth, I'M SORRY! Your father and I made it up to you, we gave you the best orthodontics money could buy. I swear sometimes I think we never should have bothered. You were a lot more humble when you had crooked, bucked teeth. Get out of that bed right now, young lady, and go floss your teeth! (Mum, I'm 68 years old, I'm hardly a young lady and if I were going to need dentures I think I'd know by now. Go haunt Brother or Sister. Sister doesn't even own dental floss.) WHAT?! (Yeah, it's true. She hasn't flossed in years. You didn't know? You haven't been haunting her about this? You never haunt her, only me. How come you only haunt me? She's not perfect, you know. You do know that by now, don't you? She is not perfect.) Don't take that tone with me young lady. Go floss your teeth. NOW! (okay) Put on your slippers! Honestly, did nothing I taught you sink into that head of yours? Oh dear. (to my dad) Watch Trillian walk. I think she's toe-ing in again. Yes. Yes, there it is. Her small foot. Did we leave her enough inheritance for shoes?")

Issues....

Your mother finally relented and bought you a pair of heels. Bona fide heels. Mine happened to be sandals. Quite cute sandals now that I look back on it...I was allowed to have them because it was my birthday and there were several family events coming up that Summer, so I was allowed moderate (2") heeled sandals to wear with my Summer skirts and tops outfits. Outfits that would see me through two weddings, a graduation, way too many of my father's work related functions, and: My first slow dance with a real boy not related to me in any way.

Good times.

I was also allowed a very "in" haircut that Summer.

I suspect there must have been many late night, "We have to face it, our little girl is growing up" conversations between my parents in order for any of this to happen. Or, tired of the begging for heels, my mother just thought, "Fine. I'll buy you swutting stilettos, just shut up. And as long as you're wearing heels, you might as well do whatever you want with your hair." No make-up though. Unless Lip Smackers count. Those were okay. But not lip stick, lip gloss, eye shadow or blush. A friend gave me a bottle of Kissing Potion lip gloss which I had to hide for a year. Honestly, you'd think we were Baptist. (And no, I couldn't get my ears pierced until I was 16 - which to this day my sister holds up as Reason One on her list of why I am and always have been spoiled and the favorite, because she had to wait until she was 18 and a legal adult to have her ears pierced. To which I counter: "And how old were you when you got to wear make-up?" She knows swutting well she was in full made-up regalia two years earlier than I was allowed the joy of lip color and blush.)

Heels. Glorious heels. From that day on I have never looked back. That's not to say I haven't enjoyed stylish casual shoes, of course I have. And sneakers? Oh my yes.

But.

Heels.

He asks me why?
(He's just a dumb guy)
I'm in heels noon and night
Heels that's, right
Heels high and low
Don't ask me why
Don't know
It's not for lack of height
Like the short girls do
Darling

Gimme shoes with heels
High beautiful heels
Shining, gleaming,
Streaming, packed, stacked

Give me up to here heels
Two inches or higher
Here baby, there mama
Everywhere daddy daddy

Heels, heels, heels , heels, heels, heels, heels
Flow it, show it
Tall as Choo can stack it
My heels

Let them click down the halls
And go on sale at the malls
Give a home to the heels in the stores
A home for heels
A use for eels
A place for feet
That none can beat
For the beauty, the splendor, the wonder
Of my...

Heels, heels, heels , heels, heels, heels, heels
Flow it, show it
Tall as Choo can stack it
My heels

I want them high, straight, d'orsay, spiked
Strappy, stacky, vampy, campy
Canvas, leather, pleather
Via Spiga, Fornarina, cavalli
Leather, pleather
Knotted, polka-dotted
Twisted, beaded, braided
Powdered, flowered, and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!

Oh say can you see
My eyes if you can
Then my heels are too short

Up to here
Up to there
Up to where
They stop traffic

They'll be ga ga at the go go
When they see me in my XOXO
My sandals made with tall
Brilliantined
Biblical heels

My hair like Mary (Magdeline) wore
Hallelujah she's a whore
Hallelujah Mary loved her heels
Why don't my mother love me?

My heels, heels, heels , heels, heels, heels, heels
Flow it, show it
Tall as Choo can stack it
My heels, heels, heels , heels, heels, heels, heels
Flow it, show it
Tall as Choo can stack it
My heels


Yeah. I really need to get out more. What you have to understand is that it's been long, long road I've walked down - most of it with a cast on one leg, or in Payless shoes with low, sturdy soles. Or in poseur Polo posse sneakers. My dorky Cacie's are the closest thing to real heels, real bona fide shoes that I would normally wear I've been able to wear since The Incident. Oh, I've toyed with some of my shoes. I've even worn my 2.5" heeled bar shoes (big, clunky sturdy heels) a few times with moderate success. But nothing resembling real heels.

My Cacie's are taking me a lot of steps closer to that goal.

And so that those of you getting on my case not about the Cacie's but about my poseur Polo sneakers (and justifiably so, but cut me slack with these, they work on my recovering ankle, okay? (though I am really coveting these by Ralph Lauren. A girl can dream...) I present: My newest and much more acceptable sneakers: Ta-da! (except mine have an orange stripey thing instead of black) Okay? Happy? Good. Me too. These have the little thing that comes up in the back and digs into my recovering ankle, but less so than other sneakers. I can tolerate these for a few hours, anyway. Baby steps. I'm taking baby steps. Today Cacies and Anjans, tomorrow Cadiras and Jishos.

Incidentally, as a public service, Bluefly.com is having a great sale...
These are a steal.

As are these I know someone who paid almost double this price at a retail establishment...they are gorgeous)

Casadei pumps to die...

But THESE are the best - WAAAAAY pricey, but worth eating Ramen for three months. (Plus think how cute they'll look with that skirt you have that a size too small right now - one meal a day for a few months will get you into the skirt. THESE are my goal shoes. When I can not afford these but also walk in them unassisted, I will be completely recovered and in a new job payiing me a lot more money than I'm earning now. Both goals I've set for myself.)


9:50 AM

Monday, March 22, 2004  
Monday Morning.
Dawn of realization hits. Hard. For all of us. Work. School. Ugh. But what if that realization is that you may possess some sort of evil power?

What then?

Most classic animated villains start out on the other team. Nice people who have a tragic laboratory accident and become disfigured and subsequently bitter, resentful and evil, or the accident leaves them endowed with some weird evil power.

Or they are nice people who keep getting walked on, used, dumped by their fiancé, mugged twice in two months, given "lateral promotions" (with no pay raise or office furniture), basically, slowly have life sucked out of them until they are dry. Left bitter, resentful, jaded and alone. They try to go on with their lives. Try to stay optimistic. Because at their core, they are nice, decent people.

Then one day something snaps. And all Hell breaks lose.

Think: Michelle Pfeiffer's classic scene in Batman Returns - the one where nice girl Selina Kyle trashes her apartment and comes out sexily swinging all vampish and evil as Catwoman. How come only guys who hang out at comic book shops think that is a really fine piece of acting? Well, guys who hang out at comic book shops and me. Maybe you, too. Maybe if we all openly admit we really like this scene, and think Michelle did a bang up job with that sequence she'll get some recognition. Everyone gives Sally Field all that credit for her work in Sybil - "all those personalities, all those characters, what a difficult part..." but poor Michelle doesn't seem to get that sort of recognition for her multiple personality role. Probably because she's really pretty. And she's hot in the Catwoman outfit. Sally Field, though a fine actress, didn't wear a leather catsuit in Sybil. Or ever, at least on screen. Now that I think of it. Oh. And. Catwoman is not only a fictitious character, but a fictitious cartoon character. Still. The process is the same. Personality transformation. The Day She Just Can't Take It Anymore. Tormented by life and just sick of it all, she loses it, loses her grip on The Keeping It Together basket. Her cute little neon sign proclaiming "Hello There" broken and sparking from Selina's conniption flashes out "Hell here." Or maybe this scene just appeals to my inner drama queen.

Don't worry. That's not what's happening in my apartment. Though I kind of regret that. There might be some very cathartic satisfaction in that sort of a transformation. But no, I'm not hotly dressed in some vampish sexy outfit. Kind of regret that, too. And I look nothing like Michelle Pfeiffer. Really regret that.

But. I think I might possess an evil power.

Outraged over recent events at work, my "lateral promotion," or The Promotion That Isn't, feeling victimized and held down by the system, all this pent up anger and resentment is being released into the Universe, MY Universe, and is manifesting itself against people who know me. Yes. Just by reading this you might be in jeopardy.

Because I suddenly realized I am:

Firedstarter.

Thursday and Friday I received four phone calls and one email.

First, I was told Peter had been dismissed. He won't be bothering me or anyone else at our company. At least we hope not. Apparently Peter has a long history of militant behavior. (I could have told them that.) And a drinking problem (not a challenge, a bona fide problem) and a few other issues. And he hasn't exactly been performing well at work. And already had several written warnings in his file. He was already on his way out of the company. It wasn't a matter of if, but when.

I knew he was drunk, I knew he is an idiot. Did I want him fired? Well. I'm still not sure about that.

I honestly do not like to see anyone lose their job. I've been there. I know what it does to a person. No, I've never been "fired" but I've been made redundant, I've suffered the indignity of being told, "We lost the account, so you lose your job." by a boss who took way too much sadistic pleasure in saying that. A boss who had spent two years trying to get into my pants. Issues. Just a few issues. So no, regardless of the reasons, I feel for anyone who loses their job. No matter the situation, the result is the same: You've got nowhere to go Monday morning. This should cause much rejoicing. But instead it fills you with dread. Because nowhere to go Monday morning means: No paycheck Friday afternoon. Even if there is severance or unemployment or the dole, you know darned well you've got to get another job, pronto, because you've got rent, bills, and a cat to feed. This ain't no holiday. Days are tinged with desperation. Nights are frequently sleepless.

So no, I don't like to see anyone lose their job. There is no sadistic pleasure in it for me. I think every attempt should be made to keep a decent employee employed.

By that I mean: If a person has honest, true potential, no matter how "unique" that potential may be, it's in a company's interest to spend a little time and effort to help every employee find a niche where that potential can be realized and recognized. It's a win-win situation. The company gets to use the employee's skills, the employee gets to achieve some personal growth, learn some new skills, earn a paycheck, hopefully feels somewhat professionally fulfilled and doesn't develop a drinking problem in an attempt to numb the boredom or dissatisfaction with their career, or go home and beat the spouse or children.

If there is no potential, if an employee has little or nothing to offer a company, nothing to gain from the company, it's a lose-lose situation. The best way for a lose-lose situation to end is for the employee to find another job. Somewhere else. And typically that happens. Eventually. But sometimes it doesn't. The economy takes a downward slide. Illegal immigrants are offered "jobs no one else wants." 248 people apply for one part-time administrative assistant job. 163 of whom have college educations and work experience more befitting an executive management position. (Seriously, we had four PhD's in a stack of resumés for a administrative assistant position. And no. They do not appear to be "researching" the job for a book they're writing.)

I digressed there for a minute.

I am:

Firedstarter.

Two days, five people fired.

Peter was just the beginning.

My evil power seems to be manifesting itself on people I care about, people whom I do not want to lose their jobs. (Apart from Peter.)

I need to learn how to focus my energy on people who deserve to be fired. For instance, whatever buffoon art director came up with this bit of not so subliminal advertising and the entire account team and newspaper conglomerate who allowed it to print and distribute in newspapers nationwide. Okay, those creative little "Kitchen Experts" at Duncan Hines came up with a cute idea, a way to tap into the NASCAR/Daytona market. The checkered flag brownies are actually kind of cute. And I suppose, at a stretch, the tire cupcakes might be okay. Were they displayed in a group of four or something, anything anything other than the way they are displayed here. Boobs. There is no way I'm the only one who sees a pair of boobs when looking at this coupon insert. And there is no way it's an accident that slipped through. It's pandering to men and young boys. Especially in light of the recent wardrobe malfunction wherein nipple jewelry gained a huge boost. The little drageés on these cupcakes are surely a nod to nipple adornment. Even though women clip the coupons, buy the cake mix and make the cupcakes, this was the front page of the coupon section. This is sitting around family room floors with the rest of the Sunday paper, heaped and scattered. A set of boobs with decorated nipples with the phrase "Sweet Victory" (in every box) underneath. While in a vignette, some driver (I presume) looks on approvingly. The agency handling Duncan Hines is Bozell. Bozell NY Art Director & Account Exec, Aurora Foods brand manager, national ad sales rep at the Chicago Tribune: You're FIRED!!! All of you. Fired! It's poor taste and bad judgment and you don't deserve jobs in this business. Even if it was what the client wanted (it's on their opening page of their website, too...)

But can I get these people fired? No.

Instead, I am emitting some surreptitious energy to people I know and care about.

Frankie returned to work Tuesday. Yes, I thought it was a bit soon, too, but she wanted to get back, to get her mind off all of it, to focus on trying to get on with her life.

She was fired Thursday afternoon.

"We don't think you should be working at this emotional time in your life." was what she was told, among other things. Just before she was told to clear out in an hour. Never come back. Ever.

I was reeling from this shock, because Frankie is just not the sort of person companies fire. So much so that she has been one of the few left standing when previous employers made enormous cutbacks and laid off hundreds of people. Frankie was once "chosen" to stay, and given a huge promotion, after 30 people in her department were "let go." "They" thought she was the only one who really did anything in the department, the only with a functioning and creative brain capable and worthy of the company. So no. She's not a slacker with a bad attitude.

In the long run, it's for the best (it always is, that's a platitude, but it is true). She wasn't really happy there, not really that interested in the job or the clients. She'd only been there a few months and knew she'd be looking for something else soon. Still. To be fired? Now? I cannot get into how many ways it's just wrong. It makes my head hurt and stomach churn.

Friday morning I was still in shock over Frankie being fired, and raising an eyebrow at the irony that I had "caused" Peter to be fired on the same day. Contrasting their situations, cursing the unfairness of Frankie losing her job, when I got another call.

HWNMNBS.

I know, I know. Spare me the "looks." Okay? Spare me the meaningful, chastising looks and rolls of eyes. Just hear me out, I promise to keep this contextual.

In this case I "knew" something was "going on" I'd been having "feelings" about him for a few days, "feelings" not related to "he and I" but that sort of nagging "something's not right" feeling. (It's the curse of loving someone. You get these "feelings" about them and things that are happening to them.)

Ten years with his company. Ten years of busting his back and brain, being out there in the trenches, being the one to save the day, being the one the clients see, the one who solves the problems. All very cleverly and skillfully. He's the one who has been with the company in good times and bad. He's been the talent and reliable one. He's been the one they count on and use (suck dry in a few cases) every time there's a problem.

He's been made redundant. He didn't see it coming. In the past he's thought it might happen, when restructuring or reorganizing happened, but now, at this moment, he didn't see it coming. Totally blindsided him.

And who was the first person he called? From the parking lot of his (now former) company? Me.

In the spirit of me keeping my promise to keep this contextual, I will leave out the rest of it.

I got home from work Friday and the phone rang.

It was my sister. My sister doesn't often call me.

She'd been fired. In a nasty bit of power play in her office, she was fired. Three years with her company. Three years of enduring a tyrannical boss, corporate politics, personal agendas and not a lot of support, she was fired. Her boss had already hired a friend to replace my sister. Which her boss lorded over her: "I've hired my friend to do your job. Now we'll finally get things done properly around here. I want you in here Monday to train here." My sister replied by telling this woman where to shove her friend and training. You're fired, I've hired a friend to replace you, yet I want you to come in on Monday to train her. No, you will not be paid because you are fired as of right now. Yeah. Right. That'll happen. The scary thing to me is that it probably does happen. People are so stunned when they lose their jobs, so lost and scattered in that "what do I do now?" dilemma, that they see every little thing as being Really Important. People suffer huge indignities in the name of "getting a good reference." Fortunately my sister didn't get caught in that trap.

After this phone call I was really beginning to wonder: What is going on? Four people, three close people and one idiot from work who's pivotal firing outburst was directed at me, had been fired in two days.

Okay Universe, I get it. I should be glad I have a job, regardless of the oxymoronic "lateral promotion" and lack of furniture for my office. I have a paycheck (though greatly reduced because of a glitch in the payroll system) and I have a ton of work to do. A lot of people don't have that. People close to me. People I care about greatly.

I checked my email.

Ford. My daily Ford update. Ford and I communicate mainly by daily emails, sometimes IM chats. Ford and I go way back. Ford is a prolific writer of emails. We used to spend a lot of time on bar stools talking. And life has taken us very far apart from each other. So those bar stool chats are now emails. Ford's daily update, usually so witty and insightful and lengthy was three sentences:

(Wife of Ford)'s contract has not been renewed. She has effectively been fired. She found out this morning and was told this was her last day, told to clear her desk and collect her wages owed from the cashier on her way out of the office.

Rang him Saturday morning.

Huge, big, hullabaloo over her contract. Nastiness and infighting, Wife of Ford caught smack in the middle.

Bottom line: No very much needed paycheck. Wife of Ford must bring some sort of money in, there is no cushion. She was out applying for a bar maid job when I rang. Believe me, Wife of Ford is not the Bar Maid type. They are: Desperate.

I got the sad follow up email that night. Wife of Ford got the Bar Maid job and was already working her first night. From bio-research engineer to bar maid in 24 hours. She'll be going to work just as Ford is ending his long days. She'll be arriving home from her job at the pub a few hours before Ford has to leave for his long days.

What's the point of all this again?

Oh yeah. Me. Sending some sort of negative professional energy into my Universe. Causing people close to me to lose their jobs.

I am:

Firedstarter.

I always thought the one good thing about being a villain was that you got to wear a really cool costume. (Let's face it, the villains always have the best costumes.) The bad things about being a villain are obvious: They've got issues. Big issues. Sure they're raking in money and/or power and will one day face those who stood in their way and wreak havoc and revenge. But are they really happy? No, of course not. There's a lot of inner turmoil. A lot of covering up deep seeded issues with showy and short lived outbursts which never fully satisfy their need for conflict resolution. And of course, the main bad thing about being a villain is: They get caught and usually die some tragically ironic (and violent) death.

And don't get me wrong, I have never expected anything less from life or the Universe, I have always expected a very ironic death for myself.

But now with this new evil villain twist to my plot, I'm a little concerned about the "tragically" (and violent) aspect.

Also, there's the henchmen or henchwomen or henchbeings. In my case they will be HR directors. Little suit wearing, policy touting people in offices all over the world. Look closely at your own HR director. Does their dorky little lapel pin have a match being struck on it? Start packing your desk. My henchbeings all wear them. That's why I'm one of the more evil villains, I'm very subtle. Our secret meetings where we plot to take over the world, the ones where I brainwash them and they fall under my spell, are cleverly disguised as HR seminars held in airport hotel conference centers around the world.

I wear a flame.

Because I am: Firedstarter.

You'll know I've been there by a scorch mark and a slight smell of acrid carbon lingering in the air. Oh, and the box left by one of my henchbeings for you to pack up your desk.



On a lighter note...
I saw another incredible show last night. This one a bit more, well, erm, actually less...well, I don't know. Just go. The Japanese Girls Samurai US Tour. info and dates/venues here. Guide says: I went to see Bleach (If Nirvana had been three girls from Japan instead of three guys from Seattle, this would have been the result.) I was not disappointed. Nor was I the least bit disappointed in the other acts. Petty Booka is great. I mean really great. Fear not the ukulele. Kokeshi Doll, another slammin' rock trio are very, very good. Noodles were a bit too Jap Pop for my taste, but you know, they are completely listenable and I noticed the guys in the audience (including my date...) were very much enjoying Noodles. All the cute, unthreatening Geisha, none of the hard edged "I can play a guitar and sing rock and roll better than you ever will" intimidation. So, guys, head on out to see this tour. You'll like it. For a lot of reasons. If you have a thing for Asian girls (and show me a guy who does not), leave your girlfriend/spouse/first date at home. Girls, pack up your girlfriends and head out to see this show. For the most part it's grrrrl power on steroids.

9:07 AM

 
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