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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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

 
Wednesday, October 11, 2006  
So, I’m old. Officially, completely, totally old.

I had a feeling this had happened to me, there were signs and clues, but, I wasn’t sure and I was fighting it. Kept saying age is just a number, it’s all about attitude, besides, I still go to concerts and I know the new bands generally know what’s hot and hip, even though I don’t really care about what’s hot and hip, and a guy on the bus chatting me up thought I was a full 10 years younger than I actually am. Sure, he was trying to chat me up and he was a creepy weird guy on the bus, but his whole line of attack was, “Hey, c’mon, we’re obviously about the same age, we’re riding the same bus, it must be fate.” Yeah, must be fate working overtime bringing me, a normal professional woman who worked late, and you, a scruffy drunk creepy weird guy, together on the same bus at the same time. Still. He thought I was a lot younger than I am so, you know, hey, I can’t be that old, right?

Wrong.

Welcome to old age, here’s your lower back pain, see the pharmacist on the way out, he’ll equip you with all pills and ointments and equipment you’ll be needing in old age.

Yep. I now have lower back problems. Oh lucky me. And I can’t even attribute it to anything fun or stupid. I have no idea what I did or how I did it. Nope, I just woke up one morning, moved to get out of bed and was paralyzed with pain emanating from my upper ass/lower back all the way down to my toes and up to my neck. It took me 20 minutes to get out of bed and limp into the bathroom. Remember, I live in a tiny compartment, that distance is short, very short. A couple of strides under normal circumstances, but with my new shuffle, drag, shuffle, slide gait it took me a long time. Feeding the cat, taking a shower and getting dressed were monumental achievements. I called the office to tell my boss I’d be a bit late. Sympathy? Concern? No. I got an earful of, “But we have so in so in the office tomorrow and I need the presentation…”

“Oh, okay boss, I’ll be right there.” And I was. I stopped at the pharmacy, loaded up on pain pills (the most effective of which come with 10 page documents and disclaimers about how they are known to cause several types of cancer) and those sticky portable heating pad things.

And ointments.

Ointment. I mean, ointment? The word itself sounds old, only old people say ointment. Smelly ointments. It’s only a matter of time, days, probably, until I’ll be needing liniments. I have no idea what liniments are, but they’re associated with old people and apparently I am now old.

Back pain. Sheesh. Lower back pain. Just what I need in my life.

I’m pretty tough in terms of dealing with physical pain. I don’t like it, but, I’ve endured a lot of it and have a pretty high threshold. Things have to be pretty bad before I’ll “take something.” I work through the pain all that tough stuff. I didn’t realize this until I broke my ankle and foot. The orthopedic doctor said other patients usually couldn’t tolerate the pain the way I did. I mean, what are you going to do about it? Take mind altering medications for the months required for healing? I endured Kimmie the torturer physical therapist, I noticed other people in the physical therapy room were given a lot of rest breaks and not pushed the way I was, I presumed because they didn’t have Kimmie cracking a whip behind them. But it did occur to me I was working a lot harder and seemed to have a higher tolerance for pain than other people with less painful injuries, even the jocks with sports injuries. I’m not bragging, I’m not proud of this, I’d rather be some weak prima donna, “oh, it hurts, it hurts, I can’t possibly get out of bed for several weeks” like a lot of people in my office. One woman takes three days off work every month because she has cramps. I’m not kidding. Cramps? You wanna talk cramps? Sister lemme tell you a thing or two about cramps. Or, well, no, I won’t actually tell you, but I could write a multi-volume book on cramps and menstrual pain if someone asked me to and paid me enough money. One time, one day, in my entire menstruation career, was all I’ve ever taken off work because of cramps. And believe me, it was bad. Real bad. Bad enough that I saw a doctor about it. Cramps? Three days a month, every month. She also calls in when she has a headache. Or a toothache. And these maladies are real, she’s not making up the ailments, but c’mon, it’s cramps. A headache, not a migraine. A toothache not a root canal. Yeah. See? I’ve learned a thing or two about myself and my tolerance for pain.

But this lower back pain has brought me to my knees. Well. If I could actually get on my knees, that is. There have been times there have been tears of pain in my eyes. I didn’t even realize that was happening, I thought my allergies were acting up, but I realized when I moved the wrong way and sparked a jab of pain, my eye would water.

Ahhh. Tears of physical pain. Huh. Well. Isn’t that interesting?

It's not just the physical pain that’s bothering me, but the fact that this is the final nail in the old lady coffin.

Yep, back problems caused by nothing?

It's official, you're old.

I got some of those heated sticky pads which are all the rage with the geriatric crowd, so I've got this huge maxi pad looking thing (with wings!) adhered to my upper ass, oh yes, very attractive. But they do really feel good. “Powerful pain relief” the box says. And it’s true, when the pain starts to flare I press on the heat cells in the area of the pain and it does provide some relief. So more often than not I can be seen holding my back while I’m contorted into a weird position, slightly stooped like an old lady. I found a place online where I can order the heat pads in bulk at a discount. This excited me. A lot. I’m thinking about laying in a supply.

Yep. I'm old. Really old.

A young couple behind me in the grocery the other night was bitching because I was slow at the self check-out. I was slow because my back was killing me and it caused me severe pain to move any part of my body. I was only there because I needed cat food and lunches for myself. So this young couple, being of the smartass variety of young couple, started making snarky comments intentionally loud enough for me to hear. "Stupid old cow, look at her, (laugh laugh) 'Um, helll-lllo, cliche old cow lady, you're buying cat food and Lean Cuisines, you're a living cliche, like, look in the mirror and get a clue, maybe if you got rid of the cat and went out to eat you'd have a life.'"

Whippersnappers. Why I oughta….

At least my shopping list didn’t include Fi-Bars that day. Yes. I eat Fi-Bars. I told you I’m old.

Great. So now I’m a pathetic old cliché. I knew it would happen sooner or later, you move through the phases of life, cliché disillusioned teen, cliché make-a-difference college kid, cliché eager young professional, cliché single women in big cities, cliché disillusioned worker bee, cliché happier than rose colored glasses in love and engaged woman, cliché heartbroken and disillusioned jilted woman, cliché pathetic loser with a cat and no boyfriend, husband, children, mortgage or life, cliché old woman with a bad back buying cat food and Lean Cuisines with coupons because her one income barely pays the rent and doesn’t cover her medical expenses.

As I laid on the floor staring at the ceiling, waiting for the nightly zydeco concert from upstairs to end, it occurred to me I have been teased about something my entire life. If not teased by strangers, heavily criticized (unsolicited) by friends and coworkers and boyfriends and men in general. Men, especially men, take special effort to criticize me – strangers, friends, dates, boyfriends – they’ve always been especially critical of me. “You know what your problem is…” and then they launch into a long dissertation on how I don’t fit their ideal image of a woman and what I should do to correct it, often something I can’t correct without Michael Jackson-esque surgery like my height, my eye color, one guy thought I have freakish hands and fingers, another didn’t like my eye color and suggested colored contact lenses because he only dates women with blue eyes…once they get past the physical problems they launch into my personality, always too something, too smart, too shy, too nice, too creative, too perceptive, too caring, too professional, too quiet, too talkative, too sarcastic, too whatever quality they don’t like. Too something, always something wrong. And lots of ideas and opinions about how I should change. “If you want to find a man you’re going to have to….” followed by a long list of things I’m going to have to do to change myself to find a man. Funny how every man has a different list of what every man wants in a woman. But they do have one thing in common: Just being myself, being me, isn’t good enough, it’s not right. It’s too something, too a lot of things.

I always feel like I’m never good enough, that everything wrong in my life is my fault. Either because of bad timing, bad decisions, bad psychology, bad personality traits or bad DNA. I’m a responsible person, I carry the burden of my own life. I don’t blame anyone but myself. So I’ve spent my entire life trying to correct these bad aspects, make myself better, improve myself, make myself acceptable and above reproach and ridicule. Grow and learn and evolve. All that. Fortunately people have always been quick to help me by pointing out my faults and flaws. Strangers and well intentioned friends and men, lots of men, have given me lots of instructions on what’s wrong with me and what I should do to fix me. I try to take their advice. I work on me, I try to be better, fit in, be acceptable, or at least go unnoticed.

And yet, now, still, minding my own business, buying cat food and lunches, I’m scorned and ridiculed. Hence the catalyst to the realization: There has never been a time in my life when I haven’t been teased or criticized. I cannot remember a period of my life when I wasn’t being harshly judged or ridiculed. Either at school, in the classroom, on the playground, at university, at work, on dates, in relationships, out with friends, my life has been one long string of ridicule, judgment and criticism.

Gee. I wonder why I have self esteem issues?

Moreover, I wonder why me? Obviously I must bring it upon myself, it wouldn’t be a universal theme in my life if I weren’t doing something to provoke the ridicule or criticism. Funny, though, I generally keep to myself, mind my own business, and try to go through life as quietly and professionally as possible. And yet, there I was, minding my own business, in severe pain out only to buy essentials for my cat and myself, and I got teased.

Riding the bus after a long day at work, the creepy drunk guy chose me as his object of affection. There were plenty of other women, younger, prettier, more approachable women, yet he chose me.

Men on online dating sites write me solely to criticize me. On a daily basis I get email from men telling me what’s wrong with me and why they, and other men, they say they speak for all men, would never date me. They take time out of their lives to contact a complete stranger, someone whose photo and profile they saw on a dating site, solely to tell them they’re not interested and why. These are not men I’ve approached, these are men whose profiles I’ve never seen because they don’t fit my criteria. (which is so exacting, my criteria is: He must be an employed non-smoker with a minimum of a high school education. You’d be amazed how many men that criteria eliminates.) These men stop and take time to write often lengthy emails of all the reasons why they’re not interested in me. I mean, what the…? Sure, if I’d winked or smiled or sent them an email, if I had approached them, intruded in their in box, sure, I could see the rebuffing and criticism. But this is completely unsolicited, and it happens a lot. The majority of email I receive on dating sites contains this sort of unsolicited criticism. Usually about my looks or age or the fact that I’m cheeky enough to state that I’m looking for a long term relationship. The most frequent criticisms are about my height and the fact that I’m too old to be taken seriously regarding a long term relationship. The term spinster is appearing more frequently in these emails. I guess I’m supposed to have inches taken out of my legs and happily settle for one night stands the rest of my life.

Because I’m old.

And now I have a bad back.

But hey, my cat’s dying, so I won’t be a single old lady with a bad back and a cat. I’ll just be a spinster with a bad back.

Give up online dating? Not going to find a decent man there? Probably true in my case, but I know people who've been successful, and as bad as my experiences have been with online dating, for me it's still been better and more "successful" than the old fashioned ways of meeting men, in a bar, at work or volunteering. I went to a concert last weekend, no intention of picking up a man, I was there solely to hear the band, no other intention or purpose. One man told me to move out of his way because there was a group of pretty girls he wanted to see. Another man spilled his beer all over me and didn't even apologize. When I tried to mop up the wet smelly mess with one cocktail napkin I had he said, "Stop moving around amazon freak, I can't see the band, you should go to the back of the room." I was already almost as far back as I could go. I'm not exactly lucky in love when it comes to working a crowd. Men either don't notice me or notice me and make fun or crticize me. Like I said, I wasn't looking for anything, I really just wanted to hear the band after work and go home. I ended up leaving after four songs and went home wet and smelling of beer. And I don't even drink beer. Online dating ridicule is a nuisance, but at least I don't end up wet and stinking of beer.

Still, creepy drunk guys on public buses late at night still find me desirable. So, you know, life isn’t all bad.

But this whole thing combined with a lot of over the counter pain medication made me ponder so I asked a couple of friends, friends who have in the past been quick with the unsolicited criticism, if they’ve ever been teased at the grocery or any other public place when they were just going about their business. They laughed. “Uh, no, why do you ask?” they both said.

“It happens to me sometimes, well, quite often, actually. So I thought maybe it’s just a fact of life. But I guess it’s just me.”

Both were quick with advice.

“It’s because you’re alone. When I’m with my kids or husband people are really nice to me, but when I’m alone people aren’t as nice. They don’t tease me, but, they aren’t as friendly as when I’m with my kids or husband,” one said.

Ah. Okay. I need a husband and children to stop the ridicule. Of course. Why didn’t I think of that? I’ll just go out and get a husband and children. Silly me. I should have thought of that ages ago.

After I was attacked and mugged one of the cops told me it was because I was alone. I should never go anywhere alone, he said. Um. Okay, so, I hire a bodyguard? Does the City of Chicago reimburse me for that expense? My friends concurred, they told me it’s too dangerous for a woman to be alone so much of the time. I should get a boyfriend or a husband so I’m not such an easy target. Right, of course. A man! I need a man! Gee, really? Do you know one? Can you help me find one? No? Huh. Then shut the swut up about me being alone too much and my solitary existence making me a target. You wanna help me? Help me find a man. They all go quiet. They don’t know any men. They cling to their husbands and boyfriends tighter than usual. They know finding a man is not easy, but they got lax and comfortable because they found one.

In response to the teasing in public query my other friend said, “It’s something about you that brings out the worst in people. It’s always been this way. Remember in college when we went to that workshop on grad school admissions and those guys teased you the entire weekend for no reason at all?”

“Gee, I’d forgotten that, thanks for reminding me.”

“And remember when Liz was dating that guy, that super nice guy, who always picked on you for no reason? He’d be all nice and telling jokes and being the perfect boyfriend and you’d walk in, say hello and he’d start bullying you and become a total jerk?”

“Yeah, I remember that. I thought he was a total jerk and everyone else adored him and I could never figure out why you all liked him so much. He made fun of my mother, for crying out loud, and he’d never even met her. He made fun of my mother.”

“Yeah, that was weird. That’s when I realized he wasn’t as perfect as I thought. But still, it was only you. He was super nice to everyone else. It is something about you. People do single you out of a crowd and pick on you. I’ve noticed that. It does happen to you a lot. I think people sense you’re too nice and so you’re an easy target,” she offered. This friend has become increasingly uptight, intolerant and, well, bitchy, as she’s progressed through life. She’s very happy, very satisfied and fulfilled with her life, and I think it’s because she lets it out, lets it all out, all the time. Road rage? Oh man, do not drive anywhere near this woman. I recently vowed to refuse to ride or drive a car with her in it. But she’s happy, really happy, and no one teases her at the grocery or anywhere else.

The “too” nice thing again. But, I mean, c’mon, how can people sense “too” nice? Nice, sure, I can see intuition and perception helping people decide if a person is nice, but “too” nice? I mean, seriously, isn’t that something which has to be established over a long term? And besides, what’s the alternative? Crotchety? I’m old, now, so should I be crotchety to combat the “too” nice vibe I’m apparently sending? Be like my friend and be uptight, intense and demanding? Doesn’t seem like a good way to make a favorable impression on people.

At least not a sincere one, and that’s the problem I have with trying to be some other way: It’s not really me and I feel (and look) like an idiot trying to be something, someone, I’m not. I learned that lesson when I was very, very young. But. Yet. Maybe I learned wrong, maybe I should have kept at it and honed skills in faking it. Whatever it is that I’m not, fake it. Fake my way through life. Kind of too late now, a lot of ground to cover in learning to fake it and not a lot of time to do it. I’ve tried the opposite thing, do the exact opposite of what I would normally do. I’ve had minimal success with that, and mainly a lot of failure. You have to be a good faker, a good liar, to convincingly do the opposite of what you’d normally do.

For instance at the grocery the other night, the opposite of what I would normally do would be to turn and say something like, “Gawd, what a horrible burden it must be to be so young and so superior. How do you cope? Drugs? Alcohol? Therapy? Oh wait, judgment, criticism and mockery are your medications for dealing with such an inferior and imperfect world. Good luck with that. Here’s my email address, drop me a line when you’re my age, I’d like to see how this works out for you.” Instead I ignored them.

And do I really care? Apparently I should because now, still, at my age, and now with a bad back (cursing the Universe for that, a bad back? Can’t you think of something better than that? That’s the best you could come up with, Universe, a bad back?), still, at my age, I’m being teased and mocked by complete strangers when all I’m doing is buying groceries. Or waiting for a bus. Or reading on the roof deck. Or standing in line for a drink at a bar. Or trying to get a cab home from the veterinary. (Yes, someone teased my cat, my poor sick cat, someone walking by on the street teased me about my cat.) Maybe I live in the city of mean people, Chicago has never been known for its friendliness, but, I’ve lived other places and I was teased, mocked and criticized.

I met this guy a few months ago. We exchanged a few emails, things seemed interesting, he seemed intelligent and worldly, aware, all that good stuff I like in people, so we started talking on the phone. The man apparently likes a lively debate. That’s cool. I like a discussion, too. Ideas. I love ideas. But. After a few conversations where I hung up the phone feeling, well, tense, I realized: This guy is the sort of person who takes the opposite point of view no matter what, just to be provocative and obtuse. He’s a professional pundit arguing for the other side. He’s an argumentative rabble rousing jerk, is what he is. It literally came down to a conversation about the weather. I said, “Wow, it’s one of those perfect Fall days today, just perfect weather.”

“How can you say that?! It’s only because of global warming we’re having this weather. Don’t you care about the environment or our planet?”

Now, we’d had a conversation regarding my work with endangered animals and environmental conservation, so he knew swutting well I care a lot about the environment and the planet and I had in fact enlightened him to the plight of arctic animals who are dying because of temperature changes causing changes to their environment creating a lack of food. And yet, he just could not let one comment go by without attacking me and taking an alternative point of view and trying to provoke me into an argument or change. It’s all about change with him. No matter what I said it wasn’t right, no one will ever be right for this guy because he changes his “opinion” to be the opposite of whatever anyone says. He never agrees with anything. We had several conversations, covered a lot of topics, so I can say with a high level of assuredness, no matter what you say, this guy will disagree. And disagree to an accusatory level. He’s right, you’re wrong, you need to change. He was already on his way off my “maybe” list with the weather weirdness, but when he told me to “unread” a book I mentioned, I eliminated him from my life. Yes. He said I need to “unread” a book. According to him I never should have read it all, but since I did, and admitted to reading it, I need to “unread” it. I didn’t love the book, but, I found it a worthwhile read in some capacities. I said I totally understood some of the criticisms the book has garnered, but I wanted to read it and make my mind up for myself before dismissing it completely. That’s when he told me I’d polluted my brain and I need to “unread” the book, further, I was stupid for reading it all.

“Why am I sitting here taking this criticism?” I thought, “Why am I letting him insult me, again? This isn’t conversation and debate, this is pointless arguing and harsh judgment, criticism, ridicule and persecution. From a man who wants to date, no less. Shouldn’t he be nice to me, at least at this juncture? Every conversation with this man is an argument.” A difference of opinion is one thing, but manufacturing alternative viewpoints purely to be provocative and “different” is nothing more than bully poseuring. Contrary for the sake of, I dunno, provocation, I guess.

This did test my opposite tactic, though, because no matter what I said, whether it was sincere or the opposite of what I’d normally do, the guy would counter it with an opposite opinion. A very defensive opposite opinion. And that’s the jerk part of his equation. In an earlier conversation he took the pro-Spanish in America point of view to counter my English in public school point of view. (He brought it up, he was fond of bringing up hot button issues. Again, let me remind you, he contacted me via a dating site, the guy wanted to date me not interview me on Meet the Press) So I said, “Ya know, I’ve been thinking, you’re right, I was wrong, I agree with you, schools should be forced to teach children in Spanish. So what if this is America and our Constitution is in English and millions of immigrants for hundreds of years have bothered to learn to speak English when they moved here. We should now teach in Spanish in schools and cater specifically to the language of one group of immigrants. Immigrant children from other countries should be forced to learn in Spanish, or maybe English, but not have the luxury Spanish speaking children will have of being taught in their native language. We should give priority and special education treatment only to Spanish speaking immigrant children. Yep, I’ve thought about it and you’re right about that.” (That is almost verbatim what he said to me regarding teaching in Spanish language in America)

How did he respond, now that I changed and agreed with him? He changed his point of view. He threw out all sorts of arguments against teaching in Spanish in America. Every one of his arguments was a point I had made in the earlier conversation.

“Ah, so, you now agree with my earlier opinion. Isn’t that interesting? I changed my mind and you changed yours so we still disagree. Looks like we’ll never agree on anything so I see no point in pursuing this as a potential relationship.”

He launched into a big defensive argument about group dynamics and not wanting to take the easy way out.

I told him this is about dating, this is supposed to be about getting along, having a good time and building a relationship. This isn’t about proving something, anything, just for the sake of proving something, to the point of arguing and insults.

It was the only time in all our conversations he was quiet.

We had one more conversation, the one in which he called me stupid and told me to "unread" a book and that was the end of Larry, Larry, Quite Contrary.

I didn’t feel good or bad, just incredibly relieved to have this person out of my life. Negative influence? Oh man, this guy was king of negative influences. Larry, Larry, quite contrary.

So, you know, I do know how to eliminate and avoid negative and bad influences and people. I do steer clear of them. I don’t willingly bring them into my life. I'm not allowing myself to stoop to the level of bad relationship just for the sake of a relationship. I have tried that in the past and have been tempted to go that route again. Right now I would take a bad relationship over no relationship. The extra income would certainly help, and hey, if I'm going to be miserable anyway at least I don't have to be miserable alone. I nearly gave Larry, Larry Quite Contrary a chance solely because he was someone, a man, who kept calling me indicating he was interested in me. I know, I know, that's really pathetic, I know. And I did give him the boot. But, since he stopped calling my phone's not ringing. I know I shouldn't care, I know it shouldn't matter, but it does. I'm old and lonely and my back hurts. It's not as if the male world is, or ever has been, mine for the taking. I know getting myself into a bad relationship is pointless and stupid, but, any suggestions? Know anyone who would date me? Can you come up with a better solution for me? Don't just sit there, then, help me!

This is why us spinsters get all bitter and jaded and crotchety. We start out as nice people, “too” nice, in fact, and get criticized for being too nice, too intelligent, too all of the things people, including men, say they want in a woman, or what employers want in an employee, yet still no man or better job. We plod along, little by little having to give up the aspirations we had and things in life we enjoy due to a single income and managing our lives on our own, paying taxes, medical bills, eating cheap food on sale with coupons, struggling just to exist. Then at some point we can’t take the constant criticism and ridicule any more and we lose our grip on reality because we have no idea what reality is. People mock and tease and attack us because we're alone, old and living on a meager income. We thought we had a handle on at least ourselves, but the criticism and ridicule combined with our solitude, dashed aspirations and hopes, lack of ability to do the things we enjoy and lack of “luck” in romance and life makes us doubt ourselves. And when our backs “go bad” throw some over the counter pain medication and ointments into the mix along with financial hardships and there you go: Recipe for growing old ungracefully or insanely.

So there you have it: I’ve grown old and have not done it gracefully. And apparently it gets worse as more time passes spent alone. And I’m very much alone so I suspect it’s going to get very much worse. Gee, maybe I should do something to change that, eh? Gee, I wonder what. I have literally tried everything and I am still where I am so, you know, not sure there’s really any ground to cover or place to go except: Crotchety old spinster with a bad back trying to figure out how to unread a book.

1:10 PM

 
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