Saturday, September 18, 2010

Seventeen Stringent Requirements

Hollywood's finest example
So many blog topics have crossed my brain this week, many of them bordering on profound. Ah, the untapped potential of the unwritten blog! But as I finally have time to sit here and purge, it's come to down to my favorite guilty pleasure next to chocolate and white wine. You see there's this guy ...

I run the risk of gushing like "13-year-old girl with first crush" in describing how high above the water he walks. It's been a year-and-a half and he continues to be everything I haven't settled for in past relationships. But I must use caution in adding masculine presences into my own personal world — I've been third-degree burned more than once. Yet, thanks to this man — and a couple of really nice guys I dated before him — I know exactly what I want in a significant other. I'll even grant a worthy nod to my less-than-stellar exes for helping me confirm what I don't want. To this end, I present the following in no particular order:

17 Man Musts:

1. He must build me up, not tear me down. Tearing down doesn't necessarily refer to blatant bad behavior like intense physical or verbal abuse, although those things are certainly included. It's more day-to-day little jabs, often disguised in humor, where I am the butt of the joke. Not cool.

2. He must be honest with me. He understands I'm too intelligent to be told white lies to spare my feelings. He knows I need to be able to trust him completely.

3. He must be cool. Not trying to prove to the world that he's cool, but actually cool. And believe it himself.

4. He must be smart. I'm talking way above average intelligence. And although he might be angered by people who profess wisdom without the facts to back themselves up (narrow-mindedness) — he must never make me or anyone else feel they are of inferior intelligence.

5. He's gotta make me laugh. Intelligent humor edges out silliness, but both are welcomed. Ability to laugh at himself is a plus. He laughs with me, not at me.

6. He must be generous. He is a giver, not a taker. He gives generously to charities and puts others above himself, especially those less fortunate.

7. He must be passionate, creative, and inspired on a daily basis. He seeks new experiences to expand his passions. He must have an awesome iTunes library.

8. He must respect me completely and is kind to my friends and family.

9. He speaks well of me to his friends and family. He would never think to put me down.

10. He must be handsome and know he's attractive without being conceited. He takes good care of his mind and body without compulsion. As gorgeous as he is, he makes me feel I'm the pretty one in the relationship.

11. He lets me express my need for him without making me feel I'm needy.

12. He supports my plight and listens when I need to vent. He is always on my side, and seizes opportunities to assist when I'm in need.

13. He lets me know he appreciates the little things I do for him.

14. He is not afraid to admit his fears and insecurities. He trusts me enough to share them with me on a deeper level.

15. He works to maintain his friendships and is always there for his family.

16. He seeks ways to get closer to his God and make sense of his place in the world.

17. Like my own father, he must be a beautiful man. I don't really know how to describe this, but I know it when I see it.

Come to think of it, I've always possessed an internal man list similar to this one. But because of what really amounts to my own insecurities, I've settled for way less than the above ideal, hoping the man in my life would just somehow "evolve" into the man of my dreams. No, no one is perfect, but after 46 years of making the same mistake, I'm here to tell you: stick to your list. Add to it if you must. And if someone steps up to the plate lacking an item or two, don't let him play. You're better off solo. Life is too short to be with a guy who makes you curl up into a ball and cry on the bathroom floor.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Weighing in at Marshall's

Thanks to my good friend denial I'm relatively sane most of the time. Stupidly happy really works for me. But in my quest for all things positive, I've also been guilty of failing to deal with some significant, somber truths in my world. Major case in point: pretending my marriage of 15 years was great, when in actually, it was crumbling from the start. But I digress in the first paragraph.

Ever since I can remember I've been under the assumption I can take pretty much anything I like off the rack in a department store and it will look good on me. I'm far from athletic, but I have been blessed with a little height and good metabolism, and I exercise damn near daily. No big deal if I gain a pound or ten.  And I prefer shopping in the juniors department — everyone knows clothes are cuter and trendier there.

That's how it's always been. That is, until last week. After a three-month bender of more than a single glass of wine after work; ample supplies of chips, mashed potatoes, cookies, truffles after dinner, chocolate in desk drawer, dinners out — not to mention my new love affair with exotic cheeses — I felt  (in search of a better descriptive term) FAT.

I was school clothes shopping with my extremely cute and skinny 14-year-old daughter, who can pretty much wear a pencil cozy and look adorable in it. We decided to split up at the store — each of us finding clothes for ourselves. But I may as well have wandered over to the camping aisle to find a family-sized tent —every garment in the store was clearly designed to outfit the cast of "America's Top Model." Visions of futile attempts to squeeze into skinny jeans and spaghetti arms bulging from tight t-shirts were just too much for me to take this day. Where was reliable denial when I needed her? The time had come to face facts: I'm 46, and should now dress appropriately for my age — and girth.

I switched gears. Gave up on finding clothes for myself and started on a mad quest for things that would look stunning on my daughter. Size 3 jeans, fitted tank tops, short shorts — no worries. It was liberating, really. That's when I made the crossover. Saturday, August 21 ... at Marshall's.

Later that day we went to a mall. (The girl didn't see a thing she liked at Marshall's.)  We ended up at one of those sparsely-lit stores with loud, thumping rap music and black walls. They spotlight the clothes who are screaming, "see me,  buy me." Awesome marketing strategy that works like a charm as evidenced by the long lines at the dressing rooms and cash register. My every instinct told me to get out of there (I really hate loud, thumping rap music!), until one of my great joys in life — people-watching — kicked in. Moms and daughters. Or should I say, fat moms and skinny daughters. Fat moms frantically toiling in their desperate attempts to find just the right outfits for their pencil-thin offspring. Servicing their girls in the dressing rooms. Waiting in line. Paying. Oh God, I'd become one of them — about an hour earlier at a store called Marshall's.

"What size am I?" she says holding a pair of jeans at the black store. "I think you're now a size 5," I say. I wait for her to try them on like the fat, patient mom I am. (In this store I'd be a size 305!) She comes out and says, "They didn't fit." "Really? The size 5?" I say. "No, I tried on a 3." ... The cycle of denial continues ...

Friday, September 3, 2010

eighties greaties

So glad I rediscovered this. For a time just after high school, this one was heavy on my playlist. Randomly concise lyrics, no accompaniment needed. And what a voice! Sweet, simple, haunting. I love that MTV considered it hip enough to include it on regular rotation. They also put out a boombox music mix of Tom's Diner, which I gotta admit was cool, but nothing can compare to the bare-bones original. Sublime.

Tom's Diner by Suzanne Vega