Jolly Good Sport

"With what price we pay for the glory of motherhood." ~Isadora Duncan

I dropped the cash equivalent of the combined gross national products of Tonga, Vanuatu, and Djibouti in the
sports equipment store yesterday. Ah, the joys of procreation.

Let me take this moment to write two important letters that are long overdue:

Dear God,
Do you remember [You’re God! Of course You do!] So, this one day in 1995, I gave birth to Big K. I’m not going to lie. I was scared. I didn’t know what to do with a baby! Once the terror subsided to mild shock (of which I am still recovering) I remember being a bit excited. A boy!! Awesome! (Holy crap, what would I have done with a daughter? I shudder at the thought.) A boy I could handle. I boy would like bugs and dirt and … and … SPORTS!

Then, this one day in 1998, Big K (who obviously already had a serious penchant for all things music) announced to me that one day he would sing on Broadway. (OK, cool, you’re only three years old … what do you know?) “He can sing and still kick a soccer ball, right?” I asked You. Sigh. Alas. It would never be. By age five it was quite obvious that the sporting world did not interest my oldest child. I mourned. I was angry at You for giving me a boy … a boy … a boy who didn’t want to play sports! I got over it. He reads. He writes. He sings. He is awesome.

Then, this one day in 2000, I gave birth to Little K (Another boy! Read: Unbelievably massive sigh of relief) and it was revealed quite early on in his chaotic and crazy little bizarre life that he longed to be involved all things sports related. YES!! I get to be a soccer mom (Minus, of course, the soccer mom snobbery and the soccer mom preppy wardrobe and the soccer mom gossip and the soccer mom bumper stickers and the soccer mom mini-van. Have the awful van. Need upgrade to smallish SUV. Taking donations.)!

So, here I am, this one day in 2009, and I just replaced soccer cleats and baseball cleats (for they are vitally different) and tennis shoes and shin guards and specialty socks and a baseball mitt and a batting glove. (I forgot the baseball helmet. Sigh. Another day.) The little bugger grows way too bloody fast.

All of this to say … THANK YOU!! I do love my little sports man, but Bill Gates himself would have trouble funding the sporting equipment needs of this family if BOTH of my children were involved in two or three sports a piece. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Seriously! Thank you,
Happy Mom of He Who Loves The Arts & He Who Loves The Sports

Let’s just hope Little K never adopts the “please don’t ever wash my lucky sports socks” superstition. And …

Dear Individuals Who Fostered Just About Every Athletic Whim of Mine (aka: Mom & Dad),

I get it now.

Basketball high top shoes (always in matching school colors). Field Hockey Sticks (still trying to figure out how many I broke). Track spikes (dang expensive, they were). Aren’t you glad school provided all uniforms and that I had the presence of mind to borrow a pair of cleats from an underclassman to use for field hockey? I’m quite sure many a sports related item has been forgotten. Do me a favor. Add it all up. Multiply it by number of items and times they had to be replaced between 1987 and 1992.

How much do I owe you?

Photo Credit: Flickr, Kevin "The Happy Snapper"
I love you,
Your Daughter Who Played 2 Sports a Year in Jr. High and 3 Sports a Year in High School

No wonder I still find the smell of Bengay/Tiger Balm/Icy Hot (aka: menthol smelling sore muscle rub) extremely comforting.

All I Need To Know, I Learned From Bon Jovi

Obviously, I jest. But, I do heart Bon Jovi. Bands come and bands go. Bon Jovi stays. Is it any wonder that I feel compelled to pay tribute to my favorite band? And, as potential ‘Ode to JBJ’ sonnet has yet to miraculously compose itself, what you get is a list of those things I have learned from the still-rockin’-it-with-no-end-in-sight boys from New Jersey.

  • Telling parents staying at a friend’s house: Little. White. Lie
    Third row seats at Bon Jovi’s ‘New Jersey’ concert: Greatest. Gift. Ever.
    Skid Row (Sebastian Bach. I swoon.) as opening act: I. Remember. You.
    First live concert experience (circa 1990): Absolutely. Positively. Unforgettable.
    Revealing deception to parental units via blog at age of 35: Priceless.

  • Sometimes, in order to find yourself, you have “say goodbye to yesterday,” get on a ‘Lost Highway’ and just drive.

  • I give love a bad name.

  • “I’ve been knocked down so many times. Counted out 6, 7, 8, 9 …," but I’m stronger than I think. “Count me out. Count me in. I’ll be bouncing back again,” and again and again and again.

  • It is acceptable, nay … totally groovy, to do things differently. To go against the grain. To shatter all expectation and to hell with those who don’t like it. Huh? Listen to 'This Left Feels Right' in its entirety and you will understand.

  • I need ‘Something To Believe In.’

  • All I have to do is call. I can’t tell you what number to use though because Jon Bon Jovi’s phone number is not ‘634-5789.’ You won’t reach Richie, David or Tico at this number either … even if you use a New Jersey area code. I know. I’ve tried.

  • ‘7800 Degrees Fahrenheit’ is freaking HOT!!!

  • Despite all my best efforts, I will likely ‘Never Say Goodbye.’

  • ‘Lay Your Hands On Me’ no longer scandalizes my once painfully naïve self but sounds pretty damn good.

  • If you dedicate ‘I’ll Be There For You’ to me and proceed to perform it, just you and your acoustic guitar, in front of a group of our peers this yes-this-once-happened-to-me-at-the-age-of-15-self will go out with you and you will have the undeniable privilege of not only being my first kiss, but my first boyfriend as well. [Read: Use of Bon Jovi as wooing material is strongly encouraged.]

  • “Sometimes I sleep. Sometimes it’s not for days.” I’m quite sure this has nothing to do with me being ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’ but more with my chronic insomnia. That being said, ‘I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.’

  • My love is like ‘Bad Medicine.’

  • “It's my life. It's now or never. I ain't gonna live forever. I just want to live while I'm alive. My heart is like an open highway. Like Frankie said, ‘I did it my way.’ I just wanna live while I'm alive. It's my life.”

  • I’m a ‘Wildflower’ and it is okay for me to grow by the side of the road. I don’t need to need like the roses and I really am at home with the weeds.

  • “It takes a while to learn to live in your own skin.”

  • When you are playing to win, the best thing you can do is … um, “Raise your hands from New York to Chicago. Raise your hands from New Jersey to Tokyo.” Riiiight.

  • There is always time to stop and smell the … pavement? “It doesn't matter where you are. It doesn't matter where you go … if it's a million miles away or just a mile up the road. Take it in. Take it with you when you go.”

  • I’m not the only one to “dream about movies they won’t make of me when I’m dead.” Good to know I am not alone.

  • Romeo bleeds invisible blood and old dogs kick up feelings. [wink]

  • “Life's a roller coaster ride. The ups and downs will make you scream sometimes.”

  • Robbing a cheesy movie quote that Beth abhors (“You had me at Hello” ~Jerry Maguire, Film 1996) to use in the lyrics is probably the only way Bon Jovi can write a song (‘You Had Me From Hello’) that Beth really, really, really hates.

  • I’m perfect. Oh, and rockers do believe in God. “When you wanna give up, and your hearts about to break, remember that you're perfect. God makes no mistakes.”

  • “This world don't give you nothing it can't take away.” [good grammar optional]

  • ‘Everybody’s Broken’ (Indeed!)

  • You can never really go back. Reunions are bittersweet and only “KINDA always like it used to be.” Still, I want to steal a piece of that time and I’m all about making those memories.

  • I’m not old, ‘Just Older.’ “Like a favorite pair of torn blue jeans, this skin I'm in it's alright with me.”

  • I am ‘Complicated’ and, really, when it comes down to it … “you wouldn’t want me any other way.” ‘Tis true, yes?

  • It is not my imagination. Desk jobs are the equivalent of a life in jail. “You spend your life working 9 to 5. It's like doing time.”

  • “There’s no land of Oz.” Thank you, God!

  • Spitting. If you are going to do it “you better mean it.”

  • ‘One Wild Night’ involves “a voodoo mojo brewing at the go-go.” By this definition, I have yet to experience a true wild night. Sad. I’ve got the “mojo” but I am lacking some serious “voodoo” and I have no idea where to find “the go-go.” Help me!

  • Heaven has a back door through which cowboys can ride. Who knew?

  • That place that Bon Jovi sings about in ‘I Love This Town’ is ….. yeah, SO not where I live. No, I live in that damn ‘Two Story Town.’

  • “All tomorrows come from yesterdays.”

  • Hearing a hot man sing ‘If I Was Your Mother’ short circuits delicate brain connector thingies and is not a pleasing-to-the-ear experience regardless of how much you love band and said lead singer.

  • ‘All I Want Is Everything’ (Go figure!)

  • Driving 615 miles from Richmond, VA to Nashville, TN: Worth it.
    Braving fog, snow, sleet and ice covered roads: TOTALLY worth it.
    Floor seats at Bon Jovi’s ‘Bounce’ concert: Double TOTALLY worth it.
    Goo Goo Dolls (John Rzeznik. I swoon.) as opening act: Triple TOTALLY worth it.
    February 14 (Valentine’s Day), 2002: Priceless.

Twitter Me This, Twitter Me That

Discovery: Facebook Status Updates = Art = Twittering
(My stream of consciousness is twisted. What can I say?)

[Insert self imposed research paragraph here explaining “Facebook” and “status updates” if, indeed, you are still communicating via chisel and rock know not of what I speak.]

Writing a good Facebook status update is an artform. Art, I tell you. Art. Fine Art? No. Not by any means. But, not of the Gar“funk”el variety either. Simply put: One should put some thought into one’s status update. A very little thought will do. Yes, I am one of those people. Them. The status stalkers. I read status updates. I comment on status updates. I luuuurrrvvvve status updates.

[Typing that tidbit has now made me wonder why I have yet to venture into the world of Twitter. Again, look it up if you believe the sole definition of that word involves the noise that comes from the beak of a bird.]

Anyone can, beside there name, type the ordinary … the obvious … the mundane. Take Jim, Bob and Jill*, for example:

“Jim is tired.”
“Bob is home.”
“Jill is bored.” **

Wow! I’m so unhinged and captivated by such amazing shows of creativity.

*All names have been changed to protect the boring from self deprecating behavior. You all know who you are.
**If, Facebook users, you have not discovered that you can backspace within the status update field, effectively removing the “is” entirely, then your Facebook rights should be revoked.

Please note: It is quite possible to write a blatantly simple status update that will still grab the attention of the wandering passerby. Example: “Jill is seeking.” Aaaah! See that! Open-ended. Sometimes simplicity can be astoundingly complex.

Moving on ...

I confess. I am guilty of an occasional I’m-far-too-tired-to-be-witty status update.
“Beth should be turning in.” (Feb. 6, 10:48pm) Blech. Boring.

I further confess that I have even
cheated when feeling particularly uninspired. What? Even those of us with the craziest brains need a bit of inspiration from time to time. Hell, I am quite happy kyping(1) song lyrics and movie quotes and book passages for my status update as well. Imagine that!

“Beth’s inner critic has piss poor grammar. It’s the only way I can take away some of her power over me.” (Feb. 4, 10:53pm) Modified from a passage in
Such A Pretty Fat by the brilliant
Jen Lancaster.

(1)Kype [kahyp]
-verb (1980-something;
1. to take without permission
2. to appropriate without right or acknowledgement
3. to STEAL (duh)

But, on the whole, my status updates are composed by me and only me and usually for the benefit of … you got it … ME!

“Beth wants out of the office .... 3-2-1 ... NOW!!! Dang. It didn't work. Anyone have any police tape to cordon off my desk area for the safety of others???” (Jan. 30, 12:39pm)

See? Informative and far more interesting than, “Beth wants to go home.”

Lately, though, I have found new inspiration in the composition of my status updates. It began with Duran Duran (Doesn’t everything?). I was home. I was at death’s door
sick. I was watching VH1 Classic. Don’t judge. I updated my Facebook status accordingly. Incidentally, I update my status more often than most.

“Beth is watching Duran Duran's All-Time Top 10 Videos on VH1. Have discovered still love Simon Le Bon.” (Feb. 8, 5:45pm)

I discovered something! Granted, I didn’t discover a cure for the devil virus common cold. I did not discover a new fish species. I did not discover the meaning of life. I merely discovered that Simon Le Bon is still awesome. Fine. I knew this already. Yes, I have Duran Duran’s Greatest Hits on my iPod. That isn’t the point. The point is that I love discovery. For goodness sake, I heart the Discovery Channel. Everything should be about discovery. Hence, the new trend in my increasingly nerdy, disturbing, and often geek-speak laden Facebook status updates.

“Beth is watching The Terminator. Have discovered still love Michael Biehn. Perhaps is reason named 2nd child Kyle.” (Feb. 9, 1:00pm)

“Beth is watching VH1 Classic. Have rediscovered never gone infatuation with all things 80s hair band monster ballads.” (Feb. 9, 6:38pm)

“Beth is watching 24. Have discovered urge to see Lost Boys. Keifer Sutherland as hot vampire bad boy. Good stuff.” (Feb. 9, 9:35pm)

[In case you didn’t catch it. I watch a lot of TV when I’m ill.]

“Beth is up. Have discovered Tylenol Severe Multi-Symptom Cold NIGHTTIME does nothing for my many cold symptoms or my insomnia. Devil virus. Bloody lack of sleep.” (Feb. 9, 11:56pm)

“Beth will now give sleeping another try. Have discovered Tetris & Bejeweled are tiring on the eyes ... not so much the over-analytical brain.” (Feb. 10, 1:01am)

“Beth is in a foul disposition. Have discovered growling at coworkers not good for office relations. Reason #576 I don't work at United Nations.” (Feb. 10, 8:22am)

“Beth’s still gunky. Have discovered devil virus has assimilated me into the mucus collective. Resistance is futile.” (Feb. 10, 11:56am)

“Beth is loopy & needs to go home. Have discovered, after multiple attempts, that desk calculator does not double as a telephone.” (Feb. 10, 3:19pm)

“Beth is off to buy cheesy Valentines for kids to give friends. Have discovered can't 100% elude wretched day of sappiness despite most valiant effort.” (Feb. 10, 4:30pm)

“Beth is turning off the computer. Have discovered there is no hope of sleep tonight due to continuing irrational fear of all things thunderstormish.” (Feb. 10, 11:21pm)

“Beth is watching LOST reruns in the middle of the night. Have discovered Sawyer is my constant. I'm just sayin' ...” (Feb. 11, 12:46am)

And, my current status:

“Beth needs a Mountain Dew & Power Shot & Red Bull & Coffee IV. Have discovered not enough energy on planet to help me today. Oh ... and Sawyer is still my constant.” (Feb. 11, 10:02am)

Consider yourself Twittered.

WAIT … Twitter me this and Twitter me that … A DISCOVERY! I’m a Twitterer. I Twitter! I don’t even use Twitter and, yet, I’ve been compulsively Twittering for months and months. Allow me to excuse myself to visit said website for the first time. It's Twitter Time.

Expect updates soon.

Sick Day

Thursday: I was fine. Friday: Not so much.

“The appearance of a disease is swift as an arrow; its disappearance slow, like a thread.” ~Chinese Proverb

It is now Saturday. I should be knee deep in the rather immense “to do” list that has managed to accumulate through the course of the past week. Should. But, what do we find? Were you to walk into my apartment at this very moment you would find me sitting on my couch looking absolutely stunning grotesque … gloriously adorned in a bathrobe with a box of tissues snuggled closer to my side than any lover … cursing the entire scientific community for their obvious incompetence in being able to cure my common cold.
Devil virus.

It is quite obvious, as long as I look and feel as though I will soon resemble
Mike the Headless Chicken (my head having exploded off my body), that my chores list of things to do will have to wait for another day or another week or … forever. The laundry will stay in the baskets. The vehicle oil change will have to wait. Vacuuming? Not today. Finally hanging art and shelves on the walls of this apartment that I moved into over a month ago? Later.

So, now what? I am sick. I am alone (the kids being with the ex this weekend). Why do I have to do anything? That’s the beauty (nothing beautiful about me right now) reality of it. I don’t. There isn’t much of a plan, seeing as my head is far too fuzzy to actually attempt thinking at the moment, but I’m quite sure the following events will work/have worked their way into my day:

I might change out of the bathrobe and into sweatpants and a t-shirt. Maybe. I’ll consider it.

If I sneeze just one more time there will be no shock and awe when the few precious brain cells I have remaining come rocketing in spectacular fashion out of my nasal canal.

Tylenol Cold Severe Multi-Symptom medication is a joke and yet I keep throwing the pills down my throat every four hours because it is what I have here and going to pick up some other sort of medication would mean exposing the greater public to my plague. And, I’m too lazy.

I will more than likely shower or bathe no less than five or six times today (two down already). I know I can not simply wash the virus away but this makes me feel better.

It seems this would be a good day to edit all my iTunes playlists.

The craving for incredibly salty food barely edible material [Read: Ramen Noodles] will likely begin shortly in desperate attempt to break up copious amounts of mucus residing quite stubbornly in throat.

Orange juice guzzling has commenced.

Photo credit: Flickr, Textu_be

Hot herbal tea guzzling will commence in the immediate future.

Despite the fact that I have a million plus channels (exaggeration) on TV … there is nothing to watch.

Due to that fact, there will soon be a great internal struggle of deciding to watch all of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ or embarking on a Gerard Butler themed movie marathon. ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ (music). ‘300’ (action). ‘P.S. I Love You’ (romance). ‘Tomb Raider’ (adventure). ‘Dear Frankie’ (drama). I hate decisions.

Nap. It would take a miracle amidst the congestion and coughing and mucus.

A lot of yawning will take place.

Perhaps I will finish current
reading material. The problem here is that these pages induce riotous I-can’t-breathe-and-will-now-cough-up-my-one-remaining-good-lung laughter. I am quite sure I only have one lung left. The other one might be on the carpet next to my bed having been hacked up as unceremoniously has a hair ball sometime during the night.

Pretty picture, huh? Anyone want to come over for a visit?

Melon Thumping

I received an email from my mother this morning which is always a bizarre sort of literary adventure. My mother, the librarian, writes lengthy run on sentences, ignores punctuation, has no idea how to spell or utilize the spell-check feature and jumps quite randomly from one subject to another and then back again (I love you, mom!). This letter was no different. She discussed the weather (cold), my dad (work), my brother (sick), Africa mission team updates complete with anecdote about chickens and goats (knife of homesickness is now plunged deeper into my chest), her activities (quilting, etc.), blah … blah … blah. All of this punctuated quite firmly by: “You need friends. Love, MOM.”


I want to take offense to that statement. I want to feel indignant. I want to lash out with prickly thorns of defense. I want to climb upon my desk and, to the utter astonishment of my coworkers, scream (I don’t scream.) yell to the heavens and, well, to no one in particular, “I HAVE FRIENDS!!!”

It is not untrue. You see, I do have friends. The problem lies in the undeniable fact that those friends that mean the most to me … those that I would honestly lie down and die for … those who are not afraid to tell me I’m behaving like an ass … those that I will always love whole-heartedly for the rest of my days … those very few individuals are scattered, quite literally, to all four corners of this great bluish orb we call Earth. This is part and parcel of the whole missionary/third culture kid gig. We grow up together. We understand one another. We attend boarding school together for nine months of every year. Here, separated from our respective parental units, we learn to trust one another and lean on each other for … well, everything. And then, abruptly, we are uprooted from one another (often again and again and again), tossed across every continent (Antarctica excluded) and expected to plant new seeds and cultivate new friendships … all in foreign (unfamiliar to us) soil.

I am not implying that I have made absolutely no friends in the fifteen (plus) years since I graduated from high school. That would be pitiful, indeed. I have and they are very dear to me. But, there will always be something a little bit stronger tying me to those from my childhood and adolescent years. Incidentally, even my closest friends post-1992 are now scattered about quite randomly. The point, here, is that I do have friendships. But, not one of my “I will do anything for you” friends lives within a thousand miles of me. Courtesy of advancements in technology, they are all virtually closer to me now than they were a few years ago (email, Skype, Facebook, etc.), but it is not the same as being together.

For all my talk and over-the-top extroverted nature, I am incredibly reserved when it comes to truly letting someone into my soul. On the surface, I make friends quickly. I have a lot of acquaintances. I am, for the most part, a highly likeable individual. I never pretend to be something I am not. What you see is what you get. Getting to know me, though, takes effort. One must really want to pull back the layers of who I am in order to gain my trust and, ultimately, my true friendship. My experience has been that most individuals in the society of which I reside (Americans) are far too lazy. They don’t really want to get to know me. Most are content, in passing, to utter a “how are you doing but answer me really quickly so I can get on with my own life” greeting. This is, of course, a judgmental generalization. I mean no blatant offense and I do have hope that I will be proven wrong.

“Friends are like melons; shall I tell you why? To find one good you must one hundred try.” ~Claude Mermet

So, when my mother tells me, “You need friends,” she is really telling me that I need friends who are local. I need friends that I can hang out with in person, talk to face-to-face or go to when I am in need. In that respect, she is right. Do you hear that, mom? You are right!

This is where I am … thumping the melons of my acquaintance in search of true friendship. I may have thumped a few a wee bit too hard. Still, one or two of these, somewhere along the way, is bound to be good. Right?


[Alert: Pity Party in Progress]

My Facebook status currently reads: “Beth is completely delusional in her obviously misguided hope that maybe … MAYBE … something … ANYTHING … will happen to break up the monotony of her life.”

When I begin to feel trapped by circumstance and stuck in the quagmire, my subconscious feels it necessary to begin living vicariously through my dreams. Of course, the prerequisite for this occurrence is actually managing to sleep. Rare, still, for me. But, I have been sleeping a bit and, when I do slumber, I have been dreaming … a lot. Of what do I dream? Well, during the aforementioned “my life is unbearably boring” periods of my existence (which is quite often), I have visions of skydiving and bungee jumping and mountain climbing and abundant traveling … suitcases always packed … consistently on the go … far, far away from a schedule and a desk.

My life, day after day after day after day, is painfully monotonous.

Photo credit: Flickr, Evan Birch

Sleep. Maybe … always hit or miss. Morning. I hate morning. Get up. Kids up. Shower. Dress. Blah, blah, blah … morning things. Breakfast for the little people. Driving … school … work. Oatmeal. Coffee. More coffee. More coffee. Yawn. Check email. Facebook. Blog. Work. Wake up (finally). Work. Work. Yawn. Lunch at desk. Work. Work. Email. Facebook. Write. Work. Yawn. Work. Driving … home. Clean. Homework. Dinner. Clean. TV. Email. Showers for little people. Write. Read. Bed. Sleep. Maybe.

Weekends are not much better as they are consumed by more of the same.

If it was not for the existence of my children … life would be pretty much colorless. I smile … for them. I laugh … for them. The utter randomness of their conversation and our whacked out board game marathons keep me sane along with an occasional trip (30-60 miles away, depending) to the movie theater with the kids or with a work acquaintance when my guys are with the ex.

Oh, and those weeks the crazy dudes are with the ex … excruciatingly humdrum.

I know what you are thinking. Go out. Have fun when they aren’t there. Good thought, that. Don’t you think I’ve thought the same? Alas! I reside in town of not so many people where Wal-Mart or Waffle House is the place to hang out and cow-tipping is considered an actual sport. And, did I mention this is a
dry county? I’m not an alcoholic or anything, but this means there are no social hang out type places here. I could drive to Hot Springs or Little Rock. Three words. Single. Working. Mother. There are no funds for self-indulgence.

And, so, I exist. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again while expecting to get a different result. I guess that makes me borderline insane. Yes, I go through the routine day in and day out. I do not, however, expect new and exciting results out of this existence. Maybe, just maybe, something grand will happen to pull me out of the rut … if even for a moment. Until then, my goal is to get more sleep and indulge in as many extreme dreams as possible.

“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book (Lady Chatterley, for instance), or you take a trip, or you talk with Richard, and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death.” ~Anais Nin

[It's safe. I'm done now.]

Laws of Attraction

I was recently asked, “What sort of man are you looking for?” The question irritated me. Who said I was looking? Yes, I am single. I am not, however, desperately searching for a mate. If someone comes along that fits the bill, well, great. If not, well, that’s great just fine too. I am actually okay with being alone right now. I do get painfully lonely every now and then, but I have no intention of pimping myself out on e-Harmony or taking other desperate measures anytime soon.

The inquiry did, however, elicit some hardcore thinking. I have never considered listing those traits that I find attracts me, but it is amazing how quickly an index of sorts began to form in my brain once the concept was planted. What do I look for in a man?

I have been involved in a few relationships, a failed marriage, and a whole lot of first date-type scenario things … whatever. What, if anything, did these guys have in common? I think it is high time that I actually create a few laws of attraction for myself. The list must, of course, be malleable … subject to change. I am far too random and I have far too many people left to meet in my life to attempt following some crazy concrete set of rules. We learn from individuals who cross our paths in life. We learn the good. We learn the bad. The more I learn the more this list will shuffle and shift and change and blend together like the colors of a kaleidoscope.

At this point I need to enter a wee bit of a disclaimer since there are men who read this blog that I have dated or been involved with in some way. To those guys, I say this: It is possible you will read something that you think is obviously gleaned from our time (or lack of time) together. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. Either way … you are probably the only one in the world who will pick up on it. Don’t make a stink and no one will know! How about that? You could also stop reading right now. Crisis aversion. It’s a good thing.

Scuba Diving (aka: Deep & Meaningful)
These are the important traits … the things that, right now, I am finding are indispensable in a man I might consider dating.

  • Confidence. I don’t want to have anything to do with a weak man … a pushover. I man should be confident in himself. A man should be manly. When it comes to the male species, however, there appears to be an incredibly fine (almost invisible) line between confidence and narcissism. There have been men who I found lived on the wrong side of that line. I can see you now … the narcissistic ones … and I know when to walk away.
  • Truth. I don’t do bullshit. I need honesty. There have been far too many lies in my life. “It’s possible to talk to someone without any lies. With no sarcasms, no deceptions, no exaggerations, or any of the other things people use to confuse the truth.” ~Powder, Film (1995)
  • Provision. It may seem old-fashioned. No, I know it is old fashioned. But, it is what it is. Any man that wants a part of my life better be able to provide for a family. He better have good employment (a career) and make a decent living. I would say “reliable employment” as well but, in this economy, nothing is stable right now. Alas. Still, I was raised with the belief that it is a man’s duty to provide for his family. Part of me still subscribes to that ideal. The other part of me is worn out and tired after being forced to step into that provider role and stay there for the last fifteen years.
  • Openness. I want to know everything about my man. Everything. I don’t want him to hold back. I don’t want him to be reserved. I certainly won’t be. “There is safety in reserve, but no attraction. One cannot love a reserved person.” ~Jane Austen
  • Patience. This is important. I happen to know a very important fact about myself: I am not easy to live with. One word: Bipolar. Second word: Impetuous. Ask my kids. Hell, ask my ex-husband. My father and my brother once told my ex (before we got married) that he had “picked a tough row to hoe.” It offended me at the time. But, I am woman enough now to admit my shortcomings. I am much more open and realistic then I was at the age of twenty. My penchant for the melancholy and cantankerous will come as no surprise to any man involved in my life for even the smallest length of time. I will know quickly enough if he can handle it and, more importantly, have the ability to defuse my tangents.
  • Domesticity. I will cook. I will clean. But, I’m not doing it all.
  • Humor. I need a man who can make me laugh. A sense of humor, I find, is one of the sexiest and most irresistible traits a man can possess. It’s odd because I am drawn to the dark and brooding type man as well. It is possible for one man to possess both an aptitude for great humor and still be deep and contemplative. I know. I have met them and, yes, I was deeply attracted.
  • Worldly. Experience is vital. Any man who has never traveled out of his own hometown need not apply. I could write an entire blog on this one subject alone. I won’t. Just know that there is so much more encompassed in this concept.
  • Space. This is for me, not him. I need space. I absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt, sure as hell can not deal with being smothered. Don’t smother me. Do. Not. Smother. Me. Point made? Good. This is not one sided. I can give space too (which most men seem to crave) simply because I need it as well and fully understand how unbearable it is to feel suffocated by the insecurities and overbearing nature of another human. “Don't smother each other. No one can grow in the shade.” ~Leo Buscaglia
  • Faith. I need a man of faith. This does not mean that he must be a minister of some sort. For that matter, I can’t picture myself with a man who has a position in a church. But, he must be a believer. He must have faith … strong, abiding, deep faith.
  • X-Factor. I don’t know what this is. I can not define it. In all likelihood this is a different trait in every man. I know it when I see it.
That will do. For now. I am quite sure I will think of some crucial trait I left out. I reserve the right to add more elements at a future date. Now, allow me to progress to the (sort of) non-essential list.

Wading (aka: Shallow & Frivolous)
These are those items that, let’s face it, would be nice but are not required. Most of them refer to appearance and stature. Items on this list will not make nor break my decision to become involved with a particular man. Well, maybe not.

  • Physique. Sure, it is an amazing eye-candy bonus if a guy is incredibly fit. Not to mention, I have a serious weakness for guys with really well defined arms … great biceps in particular. It’s a thing. I can’t explain it. But, this isn’t a requirement. Example: I went to see the movie ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’ with the boys a few weeks ago and I think Kevin James is absolutely adorable. I always have. I would go out with him in a heartbeat (although I think his wife would object) and his physique is far from looking like it was chiseled out of marble. Perhaps it is that “humor is sexy” thing I mentioned earlier. Of course, there is the fact that I, myself, am not fit. I used to be. I am no longer. This fact saddens me every single day.
  • Hands. They should be larger than mine. Is that weird? I don’t think so.
  • Height. I have habitually dated men who ranged between 5’8” and 5’11”. There have been (maybe) two guys that were at six foot or perhaps a teensy bit over that. I don’t know why I have never dated a “tall” man. I am 5’6” which creeps me barely into the “tall” range for women (average female height being 5’4”). I guess I just like a guy to be closer to my height. I will likely never date a man who is shorter than me. He has to be able to, at the very least, look me in the eye.
  • Intimacy. I’m just sayin’ … “Training is useful, but there is no substitute for experience.” ~From Russia With Love, Film (1963)
  • Looks. I prefer dark hair. I prefer dark (almost black) eyes. I prefer olive skin. But, again, this is just a preference. It really doesn’t matter, but somehow, historically, most (but not all) guys to whom I was attracted have possessed at least two out of the three characteristics. I dated a guy once who had all three. Pretty groovy, that was. I would get absolutely lost in his eyes.
  • Voice. I’m a sucker for an accent. I think this is because I was raised outside of the United States. I’m also a sucker for a guy that can sing really, really, really well. The term “weak in the knees” comes to mind.
  • Shoulders. They have to be broader than mine. This seems like a simple request. It’s not. I have met men who are an inch or two taller than me but who are very slight of build. I was once nicknamed ‘The Amazon’ due to my athletic build. I simply have difficulties going out with someone I might be able to beat up.

But, when it comes down to it (whatever "it" is), I subscribe whole-heartedly to the concept that looks are not everything. A man can be breathtakingly gorgeous and, if the inside doesn’t match the outside, hideously ugly at the same time.

“When you first entered the restaurant, I thought you were handsome... and then, of course, you spoke...” ~As Good As It Gets, Film (1997)

For all my cynicism, I find that I am still a bit of a romantic at heart. Well, I am a realistic romantic.

I do not believe finding the right person is a matter of chance. I do not believe each person has only one perfect match. Soul mates come in all forms … romantic and purely platonic. People can change. Some relationships may need to be revisited. Others were never meant to be from the very beginning. Love is a verb. Romance is overrated. Respect is essential. Instantaneous attraction exists. Love at first sight is total crap. Instincts are to be trusted. Life is not a movie. Storybook romance is not all that it seems. Cinderella, Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), and Snow White all had to go through a vast amount of trials and tribulations before their respective Prince Charming(s) came along. Happy endings do exist, but not for everyone.

I feel a little like the following quote: often lonely, incomplete, yet refusing to settle and, perhaps, a little bit resigned to the fact that maybe the best has come and gone.

“Sometimes I feel like there's a hole inside of me, an emptiness that at times seems to burn. I think if you lifted my heart to your ear, you could probably hear the ocean … I have this dream of being whole. Of not going to sleep each night, wanting. But still sometimes, when the wind is warm or the crickets sing... I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for. I just want someone to love me. I want to be seen. I don't know. Maybe I had my happiness.” ~Practical Magic, Film (1998)


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