Friday, 13 July 2012

the chuck-it list

OK, confession time. Yours not mine. Obviously.

I can't speak for the men who read this, but certainly most of the women I know - in real life and in cyber space - have a list. They don't necessarily broadcast it, publish it or even admit to it, but it's there none the less. The list sometimes includes deal-breakers (eg smoking, drugs, credit rating) but usually is more of a wish list - a projected view of what Mr Perfect might look like. And it's pretty predictable. Tall, smart, successful. Financially stable. Good career. Nice friends. Stylish. Urbane. Funny. Fit and healthy. Yada yada yada.

Actually all good qualities, and certainly the kind of things that would be attractive in any one. I'm not sure that it's possible to get all that on the one skeleton but I sure know plenty of people who are hopeful!

But this week it was my turn to be asked about lists. A personal question. What was on mine?

I really had to think about it. It's easy to have those things up there trip off the tongue. But actually, most of it is just real estate. Yes there's some deal breakers. . Smoking. Gambling. A really bad credit history. Those kind of things that are mostly about self preservation.

But as for a wishlist. That's tough! I'm more interested in the stuff that's happening on the inside. Does this person treat others well? Do they have a social conscience? Do they honour those around them? Do they honor themselves?

Those things are going to last a whole lot longer than a sparkling career or even a great social circle. Sure it's great to meet someone who already has an established social circle, or interesting pursuits. Or a great car;).

But what really counts, for me anyway, is personal qualities. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Kindness. Energy. Integrity.

Do you have a wishlist? Is it really detailed or more general? Does it include some deal breakers and maybe some must haves?  What if you met someone who compromised it or challenged it? So what?

Perhaps the bucket list needs to go. Far far away. Chuck it. And let your good sense guide you instead.

Your thoughts?

Monday, 9 July 2012

hooked on a feeling

I'mmm, I'mmm Hooked on a feeling.
I'm high on believing that your in love with me.
All the good love, when we're all alone
Keep it up girl, yeah you turn me on.

Ahaha I'm hooked on a feeling,
I'm high on believing,
That your in love with me

Yeah OK, so it's a cheesy song from the 1970's that most people would deny they ever sang along to, let alone had at some time or other empathised with the words of.

Most dating advice is based in the sensible advice that one should be looking for compatibility, suitability, conversational ability - and that chemistry (for want of a better word) should really be second to this stuff. But hang on a minute - isn't it the chemistry that gets us wanting to find out more about the other abilities in the first place?

I reckon there's something in there. I have often heard the expression ''in love with the idea of being in love'' and my guess is that this is really what goes on for people, especially in the early days of a relationship - or when it's been too long between drinks. The person that literally becomes addicted to the thrill of meeting/seducing/enveloping someone new is probably not going to rate very high in the stable relationship stakes, but surely it is this drive to feel that keeps the uncoupled out there looking for a partner.

It is a bad thing? Well, yes and no. Not great if you are continually looking for the ''high'' that comes with a good shot of oxytocin, or prefer living in a world of unicorns and pink clouds. But maybe it's the eternal romantic in me (or maybe I've just overdosed myself on glam rock ballads) but I have to say that sometimes, being able to float around in that feeling of love love love is rather good.

When the sun then looks a little brighter, the breeze a little warmer and couch a little cosier, I think one can be forgiven for wanting to hang on to that feeling for as long as possible.

your thoughts?

Saturday, 7 July 2012

the m word

A reader commented to me recently that for all the blog posts I have written - for all the topics I have covered - I was yet to talk about self service.

There's a reason for that. And it was not an oversight, but in fact a deliberate avoidance of the topic. This blog is more about my thoughts on life as seen through the lens of singledom, looking into coupledom, rather than specific bodily functions. However on reflection I have decided that there are some things that I can add to the discussion. (as always I reserve the right to poetic licence, and to using broad generalisations for the sake of a good story...).

I grew up in an era with ''those things'' were not talked about. I now do my best to be an enlightened parent, using words like ''if you want to do that go to your room''. Its a whole new world. And it has only been since becoming uncoupled after 20 years of relationship that I have even had the opportunity to discuss this with an adult perspective.

But there is one particular aspect that troubles me deeply. And that is the conservative Christian view of sex (in general) and how it is screwing up singles, particularly those who are struggling with what is probably a completely normal libido.

Unfortunately the populist view in most churches is that sex is something that should be neither seen, heard or talked about. And if it is to be talked about it is almost always in the context of ''the privilege and sanctity of marriage''. Anyone daring to suggest that this area of their life is an unresolved struggle is largely told to be patient, get busy and distracted, and simply ignore their latent feelings - IE deny their libido. Now I am happy to endorse the idea of monogamous committed relationships, and I think most of them work best if they involved a man and a woman. I DO NOT condone the concept of casual sex - mainly because I think that screws peoples (especially women's) heads up even more than trying to pretend it doesn't exist. But to expect a normal man or woman to withhold any form of sexual activity simply because they are ''unlucky'' enough to not be married - or have not yet been ''blessed with a partner'' strikes me as patently...ridiculous.

And so these poor people - mainly men that I know of, but that's probably because women tend not to share the details of their sex drives with other women - end up struggling with the guilt and frustrations of not having an outlet (figuratively speaking:)) for this. Then, piled on top of this rule that tells them sex is to be confined to a marriage, is the extra expectation that not only are they not to be having sex, but they actually need to ignore, deny or distract their sex drive as it is not appropriate until the ring is on. Suddenly the libido is a shameful thing. Which means there's NO WAY they are going to feel OK about a little self service - and yeah I get it's not ideal but better than nothing...Which means if that happens - and accordingly to my informal research it does (which surprised the heck out of me having not had that discussion before singlehood) they are then wracked with guilt about that too.

And then, by the time they are married, sex has become either

- something not to be discussed unless absolutely necessary

- something that still has some shame and secrecy attached to it

- something they are scared of (more common for women) or so...desperate can end up a huge disappointment

- something that is supposed to cure all this pent up frustration - and that opens a whole other can of worms

So what is the solution? I'm not sure that there is one - as it is certainly a slippery slope if we are to start condone freer sexual expression amongst people who hold chastity as a core value (or at least think they should be...), and are not yet equipped to deal with the consequences of that.

But for me, there in lies the key. Encouraging a real, sustainable solution - which is NOT repression or denial. I have heard this story of (particularly) Christian men way to often: my wife was buttoned up about sex. I'm single and I know I should be ''staying pure''. I feel guilty about what I do, how I feel, what I'm thinking.

Getting men and women talking frankly about this stuff - to each other - is a start. Allowing them to feel OK about wanting and needing sex (and not just in the context of the spiritual ''this is an expression of my love for you'' element although obviously that is great too). Moving away from the shame that is attached to self love and accepting that people are going to do it regardless of whether it's considered ''suitable'' or ''moral'', thus normalising natural human thought and desires.

your thoughts?

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

these are a few of my favourite things

A diversion from my usual diatribes. Its time to share the things that I love, and look for....

- Words! Whether it's with a friend, date, collegue or partner, for me almost nothing beats the excitement and challenge of great dialogue written or spoken.

- Long late meandering conversations about everything and nothing.

- Good food. along with a great glass of wine. Two of the best things to share with someone you care about.

- Time. I like to share precious hours of mine with others, and love it when they do the same. What we do is secondary to the commitment to sharing it in the first place

- Music. To listen to, dance to, sing or play along with.

- Humour. Make me laugh - and let me see that I can do the same for you and you'll have a place in my heart for ever

- Kindness. Enough said.

- Fizz. Please don't let me find out your get up and go got up and went

- Independence. I have it, and love to see it in others. Share what you can and what you want to but it's fine to keep some stuff for yourself (because I will probably do that too)

- Sensory tumescence - sight, smell, touch, taste, sound. gimme gimme!!!

What do you look for in others? What do you love that you love to share?

Monday, 2 July 2012

priority parking

About 6 months ago I wrote a somewhat unpopular (with the men) post, likening them to buses. (READ IT HERE)

I have also talked long and often about my 'focus words'' for the year - last year they were deliberate and purpose. This year they are sustainable and priority.

So how do these two things relate? Well, today I drove into work, in the rain, behind a queue of traffic, and running late for a presentation I was doing. This rushing about is not sustainable it is true, and being school holidays, I have to confess that this morning getting to work was not a priority. But, arrive I did, and I managed to grab a park - any park will do when you're running late right! - right outside the place I was going into.

It made me think - maybe men - make that people - are like buses in the way they journey through life, and maybe some of us are like cars too. And stretching the imagination a little further, I then started considering what kind of car I was too. Mostly sensible, accommodating of a crowd but sometimes goes a little fast, gets overheated when left idle, can take a bit to warm up if left in the garage for too long, looks best with some polish on the outside, more fun when there's loud music on the inside:).

Further (and yes, I know I should have been thinking about the upcoming presentation not ruminating on relationships), it struck me as I shrieked into the barely suitable carpark, that this was another great analogy for a relationship.

Because you see, I would like to be a priority park. A reserved space even. Which doesn't necessarily mean permanent parking, but certainly means that when the other ''car'' is going somewhere it's my space that they stop at - and want to stop at most. I'm tired of being the carpark that is chosen under pressure, or because it's the closest to hand - or because there's really not much else around handy. I'd be glad to have someones name on a little plaque up there for the world to see, and RESERVED stamped across it. It would be reciprocal of course - I'm not saying that my car is going to end up in that carpark every day, or even every weekend, but I'd be pretty glad to not be driving around the block anymore. I get that theres not such thing as free parking, and I neither offer nor seek it.

I don't really care what the car is like that's parked there either (although I'd prefer it if it's not on a lease that could be revoked at any moment). And for all that an Alfa Male Romeo with a sleek exterior would be nice, I'm also realistic enough to know that a slighter older model with more miles on the clock and maybe a few scratches on the outside, and bumps to the inside is probably more likely to come my way. Country of origin is unimportant (sure isn't this country flooded with imports!), but reliability, and getting good miles to the litre would be nice. Of course fancy extras are all very good but what counts for me is what is going on under the hood - which might include a V12 engine...but might not. And since I have a wishlist going, I'm not too worried about age - although I'd prefer to stay away from vintage.

So what's a girl to do? I've hung out in parking lots, I've scanned the classifieds, I've even had the misfortune of coming across the odd swap-meet. But so far, neither car, nor park, has materialised.
Perhaps I need to put up a ''for lease'' sign?