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

 
Thursday, December 04, 2008  
And so, that's it, it's over. No more using internet dating sites as a dating tool.

I finally met the man who embodies many of the negative stereotypes and worst online dating nightmare stories ever told.

I've had some really weird dates. Some really bad dates. A couple scary dates. (Remember Creepy Perfume Guy? Drunk driving guy?)

But it took this guy to break me. Oh sure. I was at my tipping point. Let the record state that my patience was wearing thin. But I was willing to keep internet dating sites in my toolbelt. I have met some very nice men. I have had some fun. A lot of laughs, okay, sure, mostly about weird emails men send, but still, a lot of laughs. In spite of it all I do believe there are some great people on internet dating sites. I still maintain they can be a great way to meet people. It can "work." It does "work."

But not for me. It's over for me. I'm done.

Looking back I could have (and should have) permanently signed off internet dating sites when I was rejected by eHarmony. Not because eHarmony is the ultimate authority on dating. But. I failed eHarmony's screening process because I don't fall into specific niches. I don't score high enough in the areas where a majority of other people score high. I'm really not "different" from other people. I'm just not average, plus or minus a few points, in a majority of areas. eHarmony uses average common denominators to assess matching success. If you score higher or lower than average in more than a few areas there is a smaller margin of people who will be compatible. Diminishing returns = dissatisfied customers = negative word of mouth advertising. They want to keep the most people satisfied therefore they exclude people who are not firmly within the average scores in a enough areas to garner viable matches. Meaning, a couple of very high or very low scores, even with solidly average scores elsewhere, will knock a person out of the operative arc of the date matching bell curve.

There are also physical factors. And one in particular serves as a good example of how averages work in terms of online dating. The average height for American women is 5'3" or 5'4" (depending on what stats you believe). I'm 5'11" — 7" or 8" taller than the average woman. The average height for men is 5'9" or 5'10". That's easy math. That alone nearly eliminates me from the averages. But, there are tall men and there are men who like tall women so that'll keep me in the game. But they're not in the average majority. So now my dating pool has greatly decreased. Factor in non-negotiables like religious beliefs and smoking preference. Now look at how many people in a geographic area are using the site. See? My quirks that fall above and below the average denominator aren't such a big deal - and that's just using height. Choose any other area where I'm above or below average and use the same equation - and watch the number of viable matches decrease.

Maybe you're utterly average. But you don't want children. That alone isn't enough to get you a rejection notice from eHarmony, but, as with my height, it's going to greatly decrease the amount of viable matches and skew your matching results data. If you live in a family oriented area where there are not a lot of people who don't want children...well...it could be enough to score you a rejection notice from eHarmony. You're otherwise average so there are probably several perfect in every way people who live a few blocks away from you, but if they want kids it's pointless and even cruel to introduce you to each other for dating purposes. You might not care if they want kids, you're not looking for a long term relationship anyway, but that other person might care - a lot - and doesn't want to risk the heartbreaking choices that will have to be made when they're ready to have kids. eHarmony is avoiding that possibility - maybe because they care about people but more likely because they want good, viable matching to create positive buzz about their service.

It pains me to admit that as goes eHarmony, so goes the world. But. It does. We are all averages. We're all marketing data. If your data isn't average enough for a dating site loaded and ready with other single people, it stands to reason you're going to have difficulty meeting compatible people in ways other than dating sites. I can vouch for that.

I took a long look at the people I know who've been successful at forming relationships or even marriages from online dating sites. Most of them were successful at meeting people in real life. They used dating sites because they wanted to hone in on a specific type (non-smokers, children-oriented, for instance) not because they couldn't meet people and get dates on their own. The dating sites helped them narrow their strike zone. The people I know like this are, not surprisingly, incredibly average. Within the average age for a single person, average height, average taste in entertainment, average religious beliefs for their location (Catholic in Chicago or Boston, for instance), average number of previous relationships, average desires in members of the opposite sex. They're destined for online dating success.

The rest of us have to be a little more patient, try a little harder, be more open and flexible. A couple dating sites I no longer use suggested that if I would simply date smokers I'd have more dates than I could handle. My refusal to date smokers was all that was standing between me and the love of my life, they said. One of the sites even went so far as to suggest that I might be able to change him - "Trillian, with the right inspiration people quit smoking every day, don't limit your relationship happiness on smoking preference." Ummmm. Right. That's a healthy frame of mind to be in at the start of a relationship. "I'll change him!" Cripes. (And yes, that was a "credible" dating site widely used by many people.)

And yes, I have changed since I threw my profile into the rings of dating sites. And I have changed since my dad died. I can't articulate how because it's too new and my emotions about it are still too raw. But I know I'm different. And I suspect one of the differences is my tolerance and patience levels where men are concerned.

Go ahead, throw every Freudian cliché theory at me. Fine. So be it. My dad died. And now I have a lower level of tolerance with men who are disrespectful, crude, immature, shallow jerks. Which unfortunately, apparently, eliminates most single men in my demographic dynamic. Especially those who use internet dating sites and are attracted to my profile. Call me cliché. Call me trapped in a Freudian theory. Whatever.

So, back to the guy who broke me, the guy who ended it all.

Oh where to begin? Okay. I'll begin with the email he sent me two days after our first (and last) date. "The problem with women like you is that you think you deserve the best of everything. Your(sic) not perfect. Perfection doesn't exist and the sooner you except (sic) that the sooner youl (sic) grow up and find a man whose (sic) willing to date you. I'm not Brad Pitt but your(sic) not Angelina Jolie. I knew you weren't the prettiest woman on the site but that means you have to try harder. Their (sic) are much prettier women on the site than you you should look at them and you'll see how lucky you were to even get a date."

Um. Okay. Gee. Wow. Oh the things I've learned in my adventures in online dating.

Here's what I would write him if I were going to dignify that with a response. I'm not but I'll share it with you because it will explain why I'm never going to use online dating sites again. In fact the way I feel right now I'm never going to date anyone ever - clearly I'm a dating pariah and I'm sick of trying. Sick of "getting out there," sick of the whole thing.

In an effort to make me see reason, so stop chasing and unrealistic dream, someone once told me not everyone gets to love and be loved. There's not someone for everyone - it's statistically impossible - and that I need to accept that I may be one of those people who doesn't get to be loved. Whatever. I'm getting used to loneliness. I've learned loneliness without rejection is less painful than loneliness as a result of rejection. Yes. Better to not try, better to not love than to love and get rejected. But, har har, you have to experience that to understand it so by the time you figure out that it really is better to have never loved at all it's too late, you've already loved, lost and have to live with that rejection and pain. And the Universe points a finger and yells, "Psych!"

Dear last internet date ever,

It’s not about your looks.

But since you seem to feel that's what I care about, and since you found it necessary to point out my physical limitations, let's discuss.

You said you are 5’11”. I’m 5’11”. I know what 5’11” looks like. And you sir, are not 5’11”. But no big deal. I’ve used online dating sites enough to know the basic principles. When a man lists his height at 6’ or below it's wise to subtract two inches from the stated height.

Interesting, that. Men over 6’ rarely lie about their height. I guess they don’t feel a need to lie. Maybe they’re even smugly bragging. But men under 6’ almost always lie about their height. It’s so common most women just expect it. I’ve met a lot of men from online dating sites. One. One of them who stated he was 5’11’’ was actually 5’11”. The others were all two – three inches below the height stated on their profile. (Insert old joke about how men measure 6 inches…) What remains surprising to me is that these guys are genuinely visibly surprised when I show up and am, in fact, 5’11”. Adding to the mystery is that they act annoyed that I am, in fact, the height I state in my profile. Apparently they think because they lie about their height that everyone else does, too. Not so, boys, not so. And you, last internet date, are clearly delusional or in need of a new ruler. Because you are more in the 5’7” neighborhood. I’ll give you 5’8” to be generous. But you are not 5’11”. The irony is that I don’t care about height.

But I do care about honesty. Had you been honest about your height I wouldn’t have noticed the lie because there wouldn’t have been one. And yes, I would have agreed to meet you if you stated in your profile that you are 5’7”. But you didn’t. So you’re just a big, fat liar.

And speaking of fat, your photo shows a man with broad shoulders, no gut and nice jaw line. The guy who showed up had sloping shoulders, a belly the size of a healthy 8 month pregnancy and no discernable chin. Or neck. Just bands of chubby flesh stacked from hip to ears.

And speaking of photos, the guy in the photos online has wavy dark brown hair cut in a flattering style that said, “Clean, casual, current, but not overdone and metrosexual.” The guy who showed up for the date had long, thinning, stringy gray hair that needed washing.

And speaking of the wrong color and hygiene, what’s up with the yellow teeth? I don’t expect movie star bright pearly whites, but, your photo showed a nice smile with “normal” colored teeth. The guy who showed up had badly yellowed teeth. And I mean bad, as in years of smoking resulting in yellow shards protruding from strange colored gums. As in, get thee to a dentist before gum disease kills you. The only thing more prominently pointing to a health problem were your yellow and bloodshot eyes.

I’m giving you a pass on the bulbous, swollen, reddish purple, gin-blossomed nose. There's a possibility that's just genetics. Maybe.

But appearance is not my priority.

Fortunately I wasn't wildly physically attracted to the man in the photos. I would have been horribly disappointed. And angry. Lucky for you those weren't issues. But it helps if I can visually identify you well enough to find when I'm meeting you in person.

You said you had a good sense of humor so I assume the photos on your profile are a joke. Ha ha. But when you play jokes like that don’t be surprised when your date doesn’t recognize you from the only thing she has to go by: Your photos posted online.

When you greeted me and I was confused then said, “Oh! There you are. I didn’t recognize you.” Instead of saying, “Yeah, everyone posts old photos online. Har har.” you might have said, “Ha! That’s a little joke I like to play on dates!” Sure, it’s a stupid, lame, deceptive joke, but at least it gives the benefit of the doubt – maybe it was an ill-advised attempt at humor. But by saying, “Everyone posts old photos online,” you remove all possibility of a lame joke. You also prove your lack of intelligence. You also insult your date in a number of ways. For instance, in my case, I do not post old photos on my online profiles. And I don’t presume that “everyone” else does. For you to insinuate that I do (as part of the all-inclusive everyone) is insulting.

But honestly it’s not about looks. For the record I have, and will, willingly date short, fat bald men. What matters to me is intelligence, respect, sense of humor, kindness, compassion, sincerity and honesty.

So once I figured out who you were I excused the lies of appearance and accepted that you haven’t quite accepted that you’re aging, I cut you a lot of slack. And I knew you, several years older than I, would show some signs of aging. I knew the photos were probably not exactly recent.

Oh sure, apart from all that the unfortunate but uncanny resemblance to Mayor Daley was, erm, difficult at first, but I was willing to work to get past that, too. I mean, hey, there are women who find Daley attractive. So, you know. Maybe in time I could be one of them.

I was totally willing to overlook all of that surface stuff and get to know you. So I proceeded with the “date.”

Other women, even prettier women, would not do this. By the way. But I’m about personality, not looks.

Speaking of Daley, they say confidence is sexy. I’ve yet to witness conclusive evidence of that. For instance, like Daley, you’re dripping in confidence. Ooozing out of every enlarged, sweating pore is confidence to spare. Clearly you think you’re the cat’s meow. Because laying out a string of lies the likes of which you told about yourself requires boundless confidence to back them up. Mayor Daley oozes confidence, too. Oh sure, it verges on loud-mouthed insecure, defensive bullying and ranting a lot of the time, but it takes a lot of confidence to stand up and let loose like that.

Especially when you know every other statement you make is a bold-faced lie. You have to be confident that people are too stupid to realize you’re lying. Or you have to be confident that people will overlook your dishonesty because you’re so charming. Or you have to be confident in your ability to lie to cover the lies. Confidence that you can bully, cajole and strong arm your way past the nay-sayers and doubters, the people who challenge you and your lies. That’s a lot of confidence. A big heap of confidence. Yet I don’t find it remotely sexy. In fact it turns me off.

But I’m getting ahead of things.

It’s not about your looks. I’m saying that one more time to be clear. I didn’t like that you were dishonest about your appearance, but I understand. I was willing to overlook the discrepancies and find out what a great guy you are.

This is why I never, ever want to see you again. This is why, as of today, I am never going to meet another man from an online dating site.

Once I figured out who you were and returned your greeting it was obvious by the stench of stale booze that you had a few drinks before you met me. Okay. I guess. No big deal. I guess. But. Showing up for a first date reeking of stale beer and cigarettes is not a good way to make a positive first impression. Then again, given your apparent abundance of confidence, apparently you don’t need to worry about making a good first impression.

But. The cigarette smell? Yeah. Combined with the yellow gum diseased teeth it’s obvious you smoke. Chicago is a non-smoking town, now. So the days of smelling like you smoked a carton simply because you stopped into a smoky bar for a drink are over. If you smell like you smoked a carton of unfiltered Camels you’re most likely the one doing the smoking. Your profile states that you’re a non-smoker. My profile states that I date non-smokers only. One of us is lying. It’s not me. The several long trips you made to the “bathroom” only further solidified this suspicion. Especially because you did this four times in 45 minutes and returned smelling more strongly of cigarettes each time.

I mean it when I state that I do not date smokers.

So. Your smoking habit is enough to eliminate you from all realm of possible future dates. I. Do. Not. Date. Smokers. How much more plainly can I say it? You obviously say things which are not true. But other people are honest and mean what they say. I’m one of them. And when it comes to smoking preference most other people are very honest, too. If someone says they don’t date smokers, they’re not lying. They mean it. For real. No joking.

So you lost me at the first whiff of stale cigarette smoke. And yes, I should have left right then and there. I apologize that I didn’t say, “You smell like you just smoked a carton of cigarettes in a small confined space like a car. I told you I don’t date smokers, so, good night and good-bye.”

Instead I was polite. And I thought, “Oh what the heck, I’m here, he seemed nice on the phone, maybe we can be friends, I’ll have a drink with him.”

And I did have a drink. I had one glass of wine and a glass of water. In that time you downed four beers and a shot of tequila. That is, of course, between the trips to the “bathroom.”

Ya know, after your second trip to the “bathroom” I almost left. But I am a nice person, I got myself into this and so I did the “right” thing and didn’t leave. I did not make you return to find me gone.

But it wasn’t just the power drinking and power smoking that bothered me.

Adding to the growing heap of "what the heck?" was how you never, ever shut up. How you talked and talked and talked and talked barely coming up for air never pausing long enough for me to say anything. Did you not notice how, after 15 minutes, my eyes started glazing over? Did you not notice that every now and then I looked like I was going to say something, respond to something you said, but couldn't get in one word? Did it never occur to you that if you’re so in love with the sound of your own voice you don’t have to go out with anyone - you can just stay home and talk to yourself?

But that's not even what tipped me over the edge of never wanting to see you again, even as friends. What you said and how you said it were increasingly disconcerting. If you'd engaged in normal back and forth conversation, talking, asking questions, listening, exchanging ideas, that sort of thing, your hostility and annoying loud voice might not have been so noticeable. But you didn't. You talked and talked and talked and talked, angry rant after angry rant, louder and louder and louder. Story after story you "proved" how you were right and everyone else involved was wrong. Your ex wife, your family, your many bosses from many jobs, your former neighbors...everyone, everyone you talked about was stupid, lame or otherwise wrong and you were right.

You are a defensive, loud mouthed bullying liar, apparently with a tendency to drink heavily.

When I made a polite excuse to leave because I had to travel the next day, you barked, “Call me when you get back to town.”

I thought, “a) Who do you think you are to tell me, demand, that I call you? Ever? And b) No way am I ever going to call this guy. So, Trill, be the honest, kind person you are and tell him that. Yeah, but Trill, this guy is drunk and a loud-mouthed jerk with a bad temper. He’s not going to take rejection well.”

So I said, “I don’t think we’re right for each other. It’s best if we just say good-bye and leave it at that.”

You were there, you know how it went down. But then, based on your personality traits and alcohol intake I'm guessing you might have a skewed perspective. So here's what you said: “Oh yeah? You ‘don’t think’ we’re right for each other? Yeah? Well sister, I don’t ‘think’ you know what’s good for you. I don’t ‘think’ you’re very smart. I ‘think’ you don’t know what you want. I ‘think’ you’re a bitch who’s going to end up alone with a bunch of cats. I ‘think’ you’re never gonna find a guy as good as me willing to give you a chance so I ‘think’ you oughta ‘think’ about calling me ‘and leave it at that.’”

When I responded with a smile it wasn't because I was trying to cover for you in the crowded restaurant. I smiled because that was exactly the sort of response I expected from you.

When I said, “Be careful driving home. Good luck finding the right woman" and started walking away I didn't expect your response.

I didn't expect you to grab my wrist and jerk my arm with enough force to make me wonder if you sprained it. I didn't expect you to say, “I don’t need any luck, you’re da one who needs luck.”

I didn't expect you to call the host a "fuckin' faggot" simply because he attempted to give you an easy out by saying, "Ma'am, I'll get you a cab."

When the noisy din of eating and drinking stopped and people stared at us I took advantage of the all eyes on us moment, pulled my arm free of his grasp and walked toward the host. Everyone was still staring at you. I was surprised that you showed some signs of embarrassment. You didn't seem like the type to feel self conscious. Maybe I did get the wrong impression of you. For a second I almost felt bad for misinterpreting your depth. But then you reconfirmed my estimation of you. When you grab a woman's arm and jerk it and a restaurant full of people are staring at you, shouting “Fag hag. S’all you’re good for" is the best way to confirm your immature, bullying personality. Shouting, “UGLY FAG HAG! FAG HAG!” after me as I left was a nice touch.

Fortunately for me I've been online dating for a while. I've had a lot of strange, embarrassing, ridiculous experiences. I told the host and dinners in the immediate area, "I'm sorry for the interruption. That’s the last time I try internet dating.”

My wrist still hurts, there's a huge thumb and finger shaped bruise around it. My friend says I should at least fill out a police incident report against you. That seems extreme to me. Why? Because I don't think anyone would be as stupid as I was to go out with you and not leave the second you showed up appearing not even remotely as you said you were.



I didn't send that email. I just blocked him from my in box and canceled my internet dating memberships.

I'm done.

Fini.

I never expected to meet my The One online, but I thought it was best to keep all options open. I’ve carefully screened the men I correspond and especially the men I meet in person. I’ve been really, really careful. But even so, I’ve had some scary experiences.

Most of the scary experiences involved men who had too much alcohol. I’m not saying all men who use dating sites are alcoholics. I’m saying having alcohol on a first date is a really bad idea. Although it certainly cuts straight to the chase: If a guy gets belligerently (or violently) drunk on a first date you know what you’re facing if you choose to see him again. No skeletons in that liquor cabinet.

And you have to expect to meet some jerks no matter how you meet people, online, in classes, through friends…no medium is immune to jerks. Ditto liars, abusers, con men, insurance sales people and real estate agents.

But now that I’m done with internet dating I am relieved and happy to not spend time weeding through profiles trying to separate the sincere from the phony, the good from the bad. It’s so easy to lie or embellish online. Anyone with a thesaurus and a 7th grade education can fabricate a “nice” profile. Anyone who’s taken the time to read enough profiles can compose a profile listing off attributes frequently desired by online daters. It’s easy to present yourself, market yourself, as someone you are not.

Of course we all list our better qualities and most of us don’t list our negative traits. But. There’s a huge difference between not mentioning your roof raising snoring and stating you’re a non-smoker when you inhale a carton a day.

My rule of thumb is 33%. Based on years of internet dating 33% is a fair calculation. Expect 33% less than what is presented in the profile. You might get lucky and meet one of the few who are exactly as presented on their profile. But even in that case if you go in expecting 33% less you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

That’s the big wisdom I can impart.

I thought a lot about ending internet dating. I didn’t want that guy to be the last one. I didn’t want him to be the one who broke me.

But.

I’m one parent away from being an orphan. And the longer I’m single, the less I have in common with my friends and the more alienated I become from them. I'm reaching the age where many men on dating sites are divorced with baggage, married and looking to spice things up outside their marriage, or never married for solid reasons requiring therapy. Those are generalizations and the same can be said about women in my age range on dating sites. But statistically there are a lot more women "like me" than men "like me." Which is why I'm so bewildered as to why I have difficulty meeting and making friends with other people "like me."

Meeting new people, other single, childless people, is really, really difficult. I know there are a lot of us out here, but in my day-to-day life I rarely meet single women, let alone single women who share enough commonality to form a friendship. The few single women I know who are around my age are on desperate, single-focused missions to find husbands. They’re not interested in striking up friendships with other single women simply for the sake of friendship. They like the idea of a wing-woman, a manhunting partner, but they don’t want more depth than that. They’re looking for a man. Period. One woman I thought had friend potential told me her theory is that the more married people you're around, the greater your chances of getting married yourself. Her lemming theory hasn't paid off for her yet: She's as single as I am and is having a serious crisis regarding her biological clock and the lack of a husband in her life. She's Hellbent on finding a man, NOW, and getting married, NOW, and having a baby, NOW. I think all that hanging around with married with children people is causing her more despondancy and heartache. She sees what they have and it fuels not only her motivation and desire, but her envy and fear. Many of my friendships have faded, or are fading because I'm still single and they're married with kids. It hurts, I miss them, but I accept that this is how life is - people come and go, friends aren't always forever. She doesn't understand or accept this. She clings to her married mob mentality charm and avoids spending time with other single women, her "competition" in what she calls the Man Race.

I know that’s not true of every single woman out there. I know there are more women like me out there. Somewhere. But meeting them is as difficult as meeting that one great guy.

Consequently, I’m leading a shockingly solitary life. Internet dating is great for someone “like me.” It puts me in touch with people I’d never meet in my regular life. Dating sites accommodate busy work schedules and weekends spent helping my mother. They give me a sense of connection, a sense of community. Things that are lacking in my very single, very alone life. Simply by logging onto a dating site I feel less alone. I’m not the only single person left on the planet. I feel solidarity with all the other online daters.

And I have met some great guys. Men I really liked. Men I would have dated longer term. Unfortunately for me they did not feel the same way about me. I honestly hope those guys went on to meet women they liked and have had successful, rewarding relationships. The nice guys I met, the "good ones" were what makes online dating worth the effort of dealing with the crap of the "bad ones."

So the decision to cut myself off from that wasn’t easy. Without dating sites I have to face my loneliness alone. Without dating sites there’s no more safety in numbers. It’s just me, disconnected from the others like me.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “A ha! See? Trillian? Get it? You’ve been crutching on dating sites! This is good! This will force you to get out and do something other than work. This will force you to socialize, meet new people, make new friends.”

Maybe. I thought that, too. But I also know my reality. I’m fighting to keep my job so I work. A lot. I have a disabled, widowed mother. If I'm not at work I'm traveling to help her. I’m tired. Physically, mentally, emotinally drained. I’m tired of trying. And I’m tired of first dates that rarely lead to second dates and even more rarely result in friendships.

Of all the men I’ve met online I’m friends with exactly two of them. And one of those is distancing himself from me due to a girlfriend with a jealous streak. Online dating hasn't brought me any closer to a fulfilling relationship. It hasn't introduced me to great new friends. It hasn't taught me anything about men and dating. It has, however, brought more insults and rejection into my life. There were some nice men, some positive experiences, but the negatives far outweigh the positive and the neutral far outweigh the negative.

Neutrality is a good way to leave. It's how I want to feel about dating, men and my inability to find someone who likes me enough to let it develop into love and a lasting relationship.

I don't want to be one of those spinsters who's bitter and resentful. But I am lonely and sad. I want mutual love and a healthy relationship. But since that's not going to happen being neutral is the best option for me. Neutral keeps me from being bitter and resentful. It keeps me from being consumed with trying to figure out what's so horribly wrong with me that I'm unworthy of a man, a good relationship or love. Neutral, like Switzerland, is the best option for my emotional stability. Neutral is how I will avoid rotting unnoticed for a year after I'm dead. Neutral won't prevent me from dying alone apart from a bunch of cats. That's inevitable - but neutral will keep me from becoming bitter which will keep me in good graces with friends and neighbors.

So, actually, I have gained something from online dating: Neutrality. I've given up plenty of times but the thing about giving up is that you're giving up. And when you give up on something there's some unfinished business, a sense of yearning for more that you didn't accomplish. Giving up tends to springboard me into trying again, or at least thinking about a different approach. Neutrality doesn't leave a sense of anything. It's neutral. I don't want to give up - I want to be neutral. And I've come full circle with that in terms of online dating. And dating in general. It's not even that I don't care - I do care, but it's never been about apathy. At times I've cared too much. But neutral is good. It acknowledges the existence but doesn't yearn, yet it's not apathetic, either. It's neutral.

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12:24 AM

Tuesday, December 02, 2008  
You know I love A Christmas Carol. And, surprising as it may seem, hypocritical as it is, I enjoy the occasional actual Christmas carol. I know, I know. Maybe I am getting soft in my old age. Nah. I’ve always had a soft spot for holiday songs. Even the glory on high all ye faithful holiday songs. And yes, yes, I know that’s hypocritical.

Kind of…

I don’t hate Jesus. In fact I love the idea of Jesus. Well. Actually, I have some issues with the virgin birth aspect, the feminist in me takes issue with God going around impregnating innocent young girls. No one asked Mary if she wanted a baby, or the burden of raising His child. It was forced on her. Messiah schmiah, it’s chauvinistic and manipulative and it bugs me. But other than that, I would be super happy to find out Jesus is more than a centuries old fable. Jesus, the forgiving, patient, tolerant, wise, compassionate, loving guy? Heck yeah, real or not, believers or not, we can all learn a lot from Jesus. And if the Jesus thing were substantiated I’m sure I would be the most obnoxious type of born again – I’d be out there with Prince knocking on doors and exalting the glory and warning people to repent. Fortunately for all of us that substantiation is not eminent. But the concepts Jesus represents are cool. I’m totally down with the concepts and lessons of Jesus. And the Christmas songs exalting him are mostly themed around the benevolent concepts of Jesus. Well, for the most part. The Wassail Song, a merry tune about begging, has always confused me and leaves me feeling uncomfortable. Kind of dirty and not in a good way. I always want to follow The Wassail Song song with Good King Wenceslas to redeem my conscience and put things right with musical karma. The Wassail Song and Good King Wenceslas are the yin and yang of Christmas carols.

O Little Town of Bethlehem is one of my new favorites. My dad used to sing it on the way home from the midnight Christmas Eve church service. I’d be tucked in the back seat, drowsy and exhausted from the day of anticipation (and sugar), we’d drive through our little town, dark streets illuminated with holiday lights, usually under a blanket of snow. Through the peep hole my dad scraped in the ice on the car window for me I’d look up at the night sky trying to find the Christmas Star, my dad’s baritone proclaiming Yet in thy dark street shineth the everlasting love. That’s one of the memories I cling to now that my dad’s gone and that carol, not particularly a favorite in the past, now means more to me than the others. Maybe not for the right reasons, not the intended message reasons, but for me, my personal reasons that one’s significant.

I have warm fuzzy feelings for Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. And for all the wrong reasons. It’s the traditional recessional hymn on Christmas Eve in my parents’ church. When I was a kid sitting through what seemed like a days long service, the organ booming the lively opening refrain of Hark!... meant finally, finally we were going home, putting out the cookies for Santa, carrots for the reindeer, porridge for the Nisse and going to bed. The sooner we got out of there, the sooner we’d be in bed, the sooner the toys would arrive. Hark!... signaled the end of church and the beginning of toys. And. Another bad reason I like Hark! The Herald Angels Sing… My mother has a cousin named Harold. Good natured guy, fun, but a bit odd and someone you want to keep an eye on when he’s around the kids. No, he’s not a perv. He’s a pyro. Harold could always be counted on for innovative pyrotechnics. He could use an aerosol can as a flame thrower like nobody’s business. My brother and one of our cousins made up a new version of Hark!... about cousin Harold. Spark! Old Harold’s Lighter Stings.

And then there are all the other holiday songs. I’m a big fan of The Grinch. Dr. Seuss. Chuck Jones. Boris Karloff. What’s not to love? Three undisputed masters of their craft, geniuses, of the 20th century combine for a delightfully wicked yet endearing, sweet but not sappy, moral but not preachy tale told with such finesse and humor that few among us can resist its siren call. You’re a Mean One is, consequently, one of my favorite holiday songs. My dad used to sing that, too. He could hit those low notes perfectly. When I was a bit overstimulated with holiday cheer and behaving badly he would sing, “You’re a mean one, little girl” and would send me squealing around the house as he chased me. He always caught me and my punishment was a hug, a kiss and a time out reading a Christmas book, one with a moral and the “true” meaning of Christmas to tame my childhood fits of overstimulated orneryness.

The Drifters version of White Christmas is my favorite. Clyde McPhatter’s spin wakes up Bing’s tired classic in ways that define the difference between old school crooning and rock and roll baby, rock…and…roll. I was lucky. I grew up in a house where The Drifters’ version was the accepted and played version of the song. (My parents were fans of The Drifters, especially Clyde McPhatter) Whenever I’d hear the Bing version it sounded wrong to me. Slow, weird and wrong. Even though I was always embarrassed about my parents’ music collection when I was a kid (it wasn’t cool, it was old and very not cool) I was grateful for some of the different songs heard in our house. The reality is that I grew up listening to some truly amazing music and formed an understanding and appreciation for the real thing. They did me a huge favor and for that alone I owe them a lifetime debt of gratitude. But at the time I didn’t see it that way. Our White Christmas exemplifies how looking at, or in this case listening to, something in a different way, from a different perspective, can open a whole new world of experiences and pleasure. Sure, Bing’s classic is good. No doubt about it. Not to dis Bing. But. The Drifters’ version has soul, joy, longing, even if you hate snow and cold weather by the end of it you, too, are so swept up in Clyde’s emoting that you, too, want a white Christmas. There’s a lilting jive and joy that captures the feeling of a great snow fall. Where Bing is nostalgically charming, Clyde is soulfully emotive of the mood of a fresh snowfall.

I inherited a bunch of albums from my older siblings, who inherited them from older cousins. Some of them were weird. Some of them were bad. Some of them were really good. All of them were warped and scratched. In that heap of records were some Gene Autry cowboy classics. I bet you’re thinking, “Rudolph!!!” Sure, yeah, Rudolph’s good. But…Thirty-two Feet and Eight Little Tails is better. Look it up. I promise it’ll dash away into your heart but be warned: It’s a serious ear worm song. One listen and it will stick with you for weeks.

The ‘60s gave us some great bands and some great music. So it stands to reason during that decade there’d be some good holiday tunes. The Beach Boys gave us holiday songs which are great. Classics. Straight out of the Pet Sounds genius we got Little St. Nick and Frosty. Though, ironically, I prefer Bing’s Melekalikimaka over The Beach Boys’. The Ventures put their guitar spin on a few holiday classics breathing new life into old songs. Familiar but with a twist, different but not weirdly bad.

I’m not fond of the song Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. Dunno. Just not one of my favorites. However. I will say that if, if I have to hear it, I choose Michael Jackson’s, I mean the Jackson 5’s version.

We know I love most things Chrissie Hynde and all things Waitresses. So it’s no surprise to anyone that 2,000 Miles and Christmas Wrapping are favorites. But. Remember Wall of VooDoo (Mexican Radio?) They’ve got a Christmas tune so packed with anti-glee even the most holiday jaded will feel merry in comparison to the somber sentiment of Shouldn’t Have Given Him a Gun for Christmas. I know it sounds sick and wrong, and it is. But. Um. I like it. Fishbone’s It’s a Wonderful Life (Gonna Have a Good Time) is a solid holiday tune. Considering Fishbone isn’t a band that would make me think, “They should do a holiday song!” it’s worth a spot in the holiday line-up. Add Material Issue’s Merry Christmas Will Do to the list of bright stars in dark ‘80s skies. (Yes, yes, I know, Material Issue is more of a ‘90s band but they always seem ‘80s to me.) Another “always seems ‘80s to me” band, The Smithereens, has an entire cd of holiday tunes, and, well, they’re good.

So, you know, this should all bode well for rock and rollers doing holiday songs, right?

Wrong.

Oh, where to begin with the holiday horrors presented by the rock and pop music industry?

Maybe it's me. I'm a bit sensitive this year. Songs that got on my nerves in the past are really annoying to me this year. Then again, I'm guessing when you read through my annoying songs you'll agree: The holidays are no excuse for bad music.

A lot of people of a certain age, a certain generation, hold up Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s, or Greg Lake's, whichever, Father Christmas as a great classic, a terrific holiday song, a new classic for a new generation. Those of us a few generations behind that generation disagree. Or, well, at least I disagree. It’s self indulgent, overproduced, smarmily sweet drivel. Maybe I’m just too young to understand. But. Isn’t that the point of a “classic?” It speaks to many generations? I think that certain generation clings so dearly to Father Christmas because it harkens back to days of yore. The days when FM meant something. FM radio was a “movement.” It was “out there.” Emerson, Lake and Palmer were a penultimate FM band. Album oriented rock. No static at all. FM. Holiday music was not cool. But. For all the album oriented late night FM radio listeners, Father Christmas was the singular exception. It was an acceptable holiday song because it was FM album oriented rock.

Lennon’s Happy Christmas(War is Over). I dunno. I think I’m too young to “get it.” I actually like the opening, “And so this is Christmas, and what have you done, another year over, a new one just begun.” I actually like Lennon’s voice and phraseology. I know. I know. Coming from me that’s huge. But. Like Imagine it’s become a bigger than life cultish mantra that diminishes it’s impact. It’s become trite. Typical. Trite and typical are okay for songs about frosty snowmen and jolly old men in red suits. But trite and typical are not okay for songs about war and uncertainty. I was stuck waiting for a prescription in Walgreen’s and was forced to listen Happy Christmas(War is Over) through a speaker in a holiday decoration. A group of plastic snowmen and elves festooned on a plastic battery powered speaker. I think you can imagine the sound quality of such an item. Bad. Really bad. Loud and bad. And there was Happy Christmas(War is Over) blaring through this really awful plastic battery powered speaker festooned with cheap looking plastic snowmen and elves. Making the whole mockery even more insulting was that Yoko’s screeching falsetto is exactly the right pitch and key for the crappy speaker, so Lennon’s voice was completely lost in the lack of acoustic depth and Yoko was warbling away though this crappy speaker. It was awful. Really. Truly. Awful. Send one of those holiday decorations to the entry to Osama’s cave, turn it on, and I promise halfway through Yoko’s warbling we’ll have Osama and his gang surrendering. “Make it stop, just make it stop! I’m sorry for all the pain and suffering I’ve caused, I’ll do anything you want, you’re infidels but you clearly have superior intelligence, the Yoko WMD is genius in its simplicity, make it stop, just make it stop!”

I like David Bowie. A lot. But. Some of his songs suck. The Peace on Earth/The Little Drummer Boy duet with Bing is one such song. Putting aside the “so weird it’s worth it” factor of David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing together, Bowie’s unique vocal style is perfectly suited for songs about spiders from Mars but not so much for gentle holiday songs. It just doesn’t work.

Ditto Smashing Pumpkins’ Christmastime. I dunno. It’s just weird and not in a good way. I think this was recorded during The Drug Years and somehow heroin and Christmas is too much for me. (I know. I know. I like Shouldn’t Have Given Him a Gun for Christmas but a band on heroin recording a Christmas song bugs me. I never said I’m logical.) I’ve listened to this a bunch of times and I just won’t grab me. I’m not saying Billy isn’t capable of sentimentality or holiday inspiration, but Christmastime just isn’t it.

Speaking of smarm, Wham!’s Last Christmas? Yeah. Um. Anyone care to join me in a couple packs of Sour Patch Kids candy to try to deflect the saccerine overdose of this synth pop crime against humanity? Now that I think about it, that might be a George Michael solo project. If so, that other guy from Wham! can be absolved. If we can’t lock Michael away for indecent behavior in a public toilet, can’t we at least lock him away for that ridiculously sweet and chirpy song? I ask you, the jury, which crime has a greater negative impact on society? Last Christmas will be torturing people long after anyone remembers that George Michael was once arrested for something other than drug possession. (Anyone wanna bet on when he'll be on Celebrity Rehab?)

I’m going to get hate mail for this, but I’ll say what millions of people think while silently suffering every year. Do They Know It’s Christmas. Ugh. Ya know, rock on, ‘80s pop musicians. Raising money for starving people is cool. Let me be clear on that point. And I know the song was written to intentionally pull on our heartstrings and pull out our wallets to pony up money. I believe the mentality was, “Sure, this song sucks, and most of you would normally never excuse this sort of crap from some of us credible musicians involved with this, but it’s for charity so be a good sport, plunk down the money and we’ll go away and leave you alone.” From a marketing perspective it’s genius. People did plunk down money and apparently some food went to Africa. Cool. That’s cool. But for the love of Christmas please, please, stop playing that horrible song. Do they know it’s Christmas? Probably. Does Christmas mean the same thing to Ethiopians as it does to ‘80s English musicians? No. (Hey, wasn't Wham! in Band-Aid? Wow. George Michael appears in two of my most hated holiday songs. The '80s are very good for my venomous spew.)

I’m not mocking Ethiopia or the horrible famine. But every year I dread the coming weeks of hearing Bono screech out a very unseasonal sarcastic dare, “Tonight thank God it’s them instead of you.” I mean, what the…??? This is a holiday song trying to raise money and what do they do? Offend the entire listening population by throwing an accusatory sarcastic taunt at us intended to make us feel guilty for not being a starving Ethiopian, or accusing us of not recognizing how good we have it here in the First World. You know what, Bono? It goes without saying that those of us not starving in the Third World are pretty darned grateful for that stroke of luck. But because I’m a decent human being just about every day I send gratitude out to the Universe that I wasn’t born in the Third World. Okay? I give to charities and do what I can to give hope for a better future for those less fortunate. Most people I know do the same thing. Many of us are capable of compassion and charity without going around preaching and bragging about it. So. Stop yelling at us to thank God it’s them and not us. Shut. The. Swut. Up. Self righteous wanker. (Somewhere in the past few years I've taken a serious dislike to Bono. In case you hadn't noticed.)

Anything, absolutely anything, by Manheim Steamroller. Nope. Uh-uh. If I have to explain you’re on the wrong blog.

I had an epiphany last week. Well. An epiphanette. You know how I hate The Beatles? It’s possible I’ve unfairly judged three innocent victims. It’s possible that it’s actually just Paul McCartney I hate. There’s a growing body of evidence leading to this hypothesis. I hate The Beatles so much that I don’t care who wrote which song, so I’ve never deconstructed the songs to get to the bottom of who is responsible for each song. And I’m not going to start now. But. Based on solo efforts, McCartney’s work irritates the crap out of me, ergo, one could soundly theorize McCartney’s contributions to The Beatles are why I hate The Beatles. I could list loads of McCartney solo songs which back my theory, but I’ll let the jury judge with one singularly horrifically awful song: “Wonderful Christmastime.” The title alone is obnoxious. The children’s choir singing “ding dong ding dong ding dong” is apparently supposed to be cute and festive. It’s not. It’s annoying and grating and invokes very unfestive thoughts. Again, the synth noise is overdone and irritating, even for the ‘80s or ‘70s or whenever it was recorded. Sounds like early ‘80s to my ear. But that’s still no excuse. I suspect McCartney was a tad jealous of the runaway success of Happy Christmas(War is Over) and, not wanting to sound like a lame copycat, he took a different route on his holiday song. He took the merry, merry, happy happy joy joy route. No reflecting on the year, no mention of fear, just simply having a wonderful Christmastime. A lot of artists and musicians who smoke pot say they do it because it unleashes their creativity. McCartney makes a strong argument for just saying no. What smoking pot does is alter the smoker’s perspective on creativity. Everything seems wildly creative and genius when you’re stoned. Wonderful Christmastime is the result of pot induced “creativity.” Like something you’d listen to while stuffing down brownies, Dorritos, the entire Taco Bell menu and Mountain Dew in a frenzied munchy passion. Yes. I know. Somewhere Nancy Reagan is beaming proudly at me and yes that bugs me. But. Then again. If smoking pot is to blame for Wonderful Christmastime This is one case where Nancy has every right to feel smugly superior.

(Most of those holiday hits (and more!) can be found in 4shared.)

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