Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Be Honest with Your Matchmaker

It's ok to be single. Screw everyone who tells you you are only whole as part of a pair. Love is a high stakes game, not for the faint of heart. If you're not up for another heartbreak just yet, or you are having too much fun to settle down, or you prefer being single so you have something to complain about, or if for any other reason you are not really ready or interested in loving another, I'm not the one hating on you. Just please be honest with your matchmaker instead of wasting her time with your excuses. Thank you.

Just to review:
You are NOT too busy to have a bloody cup of coffee with someone.

Being within a 10-mile radius of your residence has nothing to do with a person's character. I am going to at least two weddings from long-distance relationships this year.

You have nothing to "think about" when you have only basic info about someone. Meet the blind date, and then "think about it." That's how dating works. You actually have to meet people before you make judgmental generalizations about them. And no, just because that blind date didn't turn out to be "The One" doesn't mean it was a waste of time. You can learn something from anybody, if you keep an open mind!

It's not that there aren't quality people out there, it's that you're extremely picky. No matter how many times you insist you are laid-back and easy to please, you are extremely picky. No need to lower standards, but seriously, what does race, wine preference, or knowledge of certain movies have to do with building a life partnership?

Shut up. And Love.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bad Day

Yesterday was an opus of failure. I embarrassed myself at a new client meeting. I was late to a lecture …at which I was the speaker. I stubbed my foot on my coffee table, so I can’t even wear a 2-inch heel today. I had a women’s doctor appointment, which makes me feel like I’m being treated for the failure of not being a man. (And, by the way, the doctor's scale is broken...I hope.) My car gave out in the middle of 5 o’clock traffic the day before my oil change appointment at the car shop. And, lacking transportation and fearing what the universe still had in store for me, I missed a girlfriend’s surprise birthday get-together. Why is it so easy for others to not say the wrong thing, gauge distances to hard objects, weigh proportionately to their height, never disappoint their friends, and show up to appointments and maintain their vehicles on time?

I took comfort from a good friend’s recent note (the moment she starts a blog, I’ll link it!):

“I worry about the effects of things I said or did years ago, long-forgotten by the other parties involved. I worry that a misspoken word, a misplaced comment, a misunderstood facial expression, or an inadvertent gesture will damage rapport, will destroy reputation, will exacerbate relationships. …Even my actions must, I believe, follow a strict regimen in order to keep up my appearance of being attentive, caring, interested, and otherwise desirable to have around. The reason I do this is because people are measured by their failures instead of their successes.”

When I read these words the first time, I was astonished at how I’d never heard anyone say these things before, but also heartened that I had proof someone besides me ever felt this way. Without her starting this conversation, I might have never had the epiphany I had this morning: everybody poops. Everybody.

You’re not alone, so get up and try again today.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Romance and the Recession. Really.

Now that the divorce and recession correlation is tired, more questionable connections have arisen to take its place. But my recession and romance angle, while narrow, is real. My boyfriend, the studious and starving grad student type, sensing a once-in-a-lifetime economic opportunity, invested his engagement ring fund (that's a ring for me, not for himself) in the most volatile stock market we've seen in nearly a century.

I learned this on a particularly tumultuous day in the TARP debates, when I tried to find out why he was glum. Turns out, the Tiffany diamond he was hoping the recession would deliver...
had shriveled that day with his stock portfolio. Would I still marry him, he asked, if my engagement ring came from 7-Eleven...

I kissed him, and said everything would be ok. If he can't afford an engagement ring, I can buy us a nice foreclosed duplex so we could live next door to each other forever.

And that's why there's a new feature tracking major market indexes in the sidebar. I'm calling it The Diamond Index.

Monday, February 16, 2009


DEAR ABBY: I clearly remember my first Valentine's Day. I was in first grade. A few days before, my mom asked how many kids were in my class, and we went to a store and bought large packages of valentines -- one for every child in the class. The cards were all the same size and said, basically, the same thing.

When I arrived at school, each classmate had a small box on his or her desk. At some point during the day, I went around the room and gave each child a valentine. There was one for the quiet one in the back, the most popular girl in class, the prettiest and even the boys. This was long before society taught me that such a show of affection had to exclude people of the same gender as me. By the end of the day, everyone had a full box of valentines to take home.

One desk, one box ... the love of a child.

As I grew older, society taught me to narrow my offering of affection, picking only those I chose to be special or worthy. Eventually, I was taught to limit my valentines to only one person. More time went on, and then a card was not enough. To show that really special person what she meant to you, you needed to send flowers, candy and jewelry.

Apparently, as we grew older it took more and more to fill those boxes. Now we absolutely could not give to more than one person. People hire detectives to make sure that the person isn't filling anyone else's. And if you had no one to send you anything, you were saddened by your big, empty box filled only with sadness and despair.

Today, I am taking back from society what it has taken from me. I'm counting how many people play a role in my life, and I am buying "virtual" packages of cards. I have one for every single one of you -- man or woman, young or old, straight or gay, married or single. Each card is the same size, they all say the same thing -- that I appreciate who you are and what you have to contribute to each other.

I invite each and every one to do the same, so that no box is empty and the shy ones, the pretty ones, the popular ones and those who are less so go home tonight with a full box of valentines.

One virtual desk, one virtual box, and the love of a child at heart. I wish you all a happy Valentine's Day. -- ERIC IN LOS ALAMITOS, CALIF.

DEAR ERIC: Your letter touched me -- and I am sure that everyone who reads it wishes the same for you.

Friday, February 13, 2009

If You Must Hate Valentine's Day

I've always loved Valentine's Day, even when I'm unattached. What's wrong with an excuse to shower your friends and family with trinkets and candy and cards? Some resent the holiday, because they say we shouldn't need a special occasion to give tokens of affection. Congratulations to you who manage to have spontaneous outpourings of love every day the rest of the year, and please take pity on us who could use a reminder every now and again.

For those who must be bitter about romantic love on V-day, though, I must admit I have found myself asking Jazmine Sullivan's question. "Why do we love love, when love seems to hate us?" For you, my friends, some reasons to hate romantic love, if you must for one day: Sweethearts in the Slammer.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Excerpts: 25 Things

While major news outlets give their analysis on the "25 Things" chain note on Facebook as if it were news, I won't give my opinion at all, because no one asked for it. But many of you readers did indeed ask for 25 random things about me. Here are the excerpts that are tangentially related to relationships:

8. I don’t know the real names of most of my family’s elders, because I only call them by Vietnamese formal pronouns.
16. I always called bullies out on their bull growing up, especially if they were picking on my friends (and we were a group of ostensibly easy targets). I never realized how small I look until Facebook got big, and people started tagging me in group pictures. I realize now that I must have looked like a mouse when I was a kid! A mouse that would fuck you up.
17. I’ve learned to tell the people I love that I love them, as often as I can. That way, when I’m in my death throes, they’ll already know, and I can save my last words for a pun, my final PUNchline.
24. I’m an angry Buddhist, which is akin to being a gay Baptist. So I’m conflicted, but workin’ on it.
25. I weep every time I see the epic-storytelling montage about the father’s journey in Finding Nemo. I think it’s weird that some people don’t.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How NOT to write a love letter

Speaking of love letters, I urge you to check out another blog Psychotic Letters from Men. The latest letter featured is so psychotic, it's hilarious, and I can barely even believe it's real. Thanks, Erica, for pointing this gem out to me!

Note: I'm not hatin' on men. If someone has a good blog about psychotic letters from women, holla back and I'll post that, too.

Update: Poll results: 4-3 in favor of Example 2.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Anatomy of a Love Letter

"There are no male or female love letters; only good or bad love letters." -Michelle Lovric

A great love letter has the power to make your reader feel special, loved, appreciated, admired, and adored with every reading. Written words won't get worn even if the paper does, and give even when you're not there. That’s why - naturally - I’m having a horrible case of writers’ block with my boyfriend’s Valentine’s Day letter. I intended to start now, so I’ll have time to edit and rewrite. Here, I’ll reverse engineer the Love Letter as a writing exercise to get some ideas, and hopefully, you, my lovely readers will benefit as I flounder. (That’s becoming a kind of theme of this blog, isn’t it? Check out the survey in the sidebar.)

The principles are the same whether you write to your lover, your mother, or your best friend:
1. The main idea, which is love, sure enough to commit to paper.
2. Specific supporting details: the body of the letter is composed of the whys, wheres, hows, whats, whoses, and whens of love.
3. The closing, not a summary, but a conclusion and a nod to the occasion for writing.

Main idea: Narrow the focus, and save some for future letters.
Some ideas: Make it a thank you letter, and show appreciation for those things your reader does that tell you you're loved. OR Catalog how your life has changed since this person came into your life. Go grade school essay, and pick the top three things you admire most about this person and then go into detail how you came to learn these things about that person. It’s an effective outline; that’s why they taught it to you in grade school.

Ex. 1: My Beloved, How fearless are you to dive into love head first. When you first started saying “I love you” on a daily basis, I didn’t dare let myself believe you, but now, I know you say it often, because to you, it is a fact, so true that it would be ridiculous ignore it, like not taking an umbrella on a rainy day.

Ex. 2: Dearest, Thank you for your morning cheer. Every morning, when the sun goes up, I feel the mouth of Hell is opening to swallow me alive. I hate the world when my alarm goes off, and I want to battle my way back to sleep. But these days, I slowly open my eyes, just in case you’re already awake waiting for me.

Ex. 3: Love, you are a trinity: moral ambition, masculinity, and loyalty.

Ex. 4: "Oh My William! it is not in my power to tell thee how I have been affected by this dearest of all letters - it was so unexpected - so new a thing to see the breathing of thy inmost heart upon paper that I was quite overpowered…”-Written by Mary Wordsworth to her husband William Wordsworth.William, both English poets. August 1, 1810

The body: Cliché, not romance, is cheesy. Avoid cheesiness by editing out generalities and abstractions. Choose specific details that support your main idea! If it sounds like a Hallmark card that could have been bought for anybody, well, it will sound very suspicious. You can test a sentence by pretending you wrote it to someone else, maybe an ex instead of your current lover or a friend instead of your mother. If it works for another person, the sentence should be improved with personalized details. Ideas: Tell stories that your reader may not know, such as something that person did when you allegedly weren’t looking or how your love actually grew during a recent argument. Describe an event you are looking forward to in the future, such as a trip together or an accomplishment you know your beloved will reach.

Ex. of a good specific: When you kiss me on the flat plain by the corner of my lip, my whole body smiles. It steels me against the day, and I don’t even need coffee anymore.
Ex of a cliché that’s been overused: The earth moves when we kiss. I love it when we kiss.

Closing: Normal letter stuff.
Ex. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Yours truly/Sincerely/In Earnest/Love/Yours, because you would never try to own me,



Related Posts with Thumbnails