Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hope Kills Logic

What is it to like someone? What is it that draws us to one particular person and not another? When we say we "like" or "love" someone... what is that? Is it chemical? Serendipitous magnetic charges? Neurons firing at a precise and consequential moment in time? Biological bubbling? Or simply chance?

So, okay: "I love you."

"Why do you love me?" they always eventually ask.

And how do we respond? We start listing off the things we love about them. Their hair. Their smile. The way they talk and move and think and their philosophies on life. The scent of them when they lay next to you. How they make love. The cute little thing their nose does. Their ambitions. The conversation. But then, aren't those just the essences that hook you and altogether form an emotion in you that manifests into love itself? When you say you love the food you're eating and someone goes, "Why?" You say, "'Cause it just...tastes great!" Not, "'Cause I love the brand of the spatula the chef used and the burlap sack the spices came in. And goodness, don't get me started on the mustache of the waiter who brought this dish to me. Let alone the quality of grand cherry oak of the table we're sitting at." Details like those are trivial as to why you enjoy what you're eating, aren't they? Not that hair and smiles and eyes and personality are petty issues when it comes to being in love with someone. But they're simply the ingredients of your love. Part of the recipe. Not the dish itself.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Supervisor and the Mastermind

It's scary to think I might end up happy this time.

Thoughts and fears and insecurities get in the way, reminders of a past gone wrong.

I'm constantly afraid of overlooking something and being blindsided in my bliss.

There's a fine line between trying not to make the same mistakes and letting something new happen.

This could be good. Amazing good.

I'm trying to ignore the scars from others.

I'm trying.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


"I don't believe in souls, or reincarnation. But if I did, I'd believe we were Leonidas and Gorgo of Sparta.

"...or maybe Socrates and Plato. If you include the relations of the period."

Friday, November 2, 2012

What I want. And don't.

Looking back, I've always been fascinated with jobs that require a suit and tie ever since I began watching Friends in 1994. It sounds shallow, I know, but I was 12 at the time and after Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, my "adult-esque" influences had to come from somewhere. I always liked the character Chandler Bing, and how he made the most money out of everyone, didn't make a big deal about his job (by the end of the series, the running gag was that no one knew exactly what he did there, even after ten years), had a terrible childhood, and yet still managed to be the funniest and most caring of the group.

When my cousin Rick hooked me up with a gig at NBC/WB studios on the set of Friends and Mad About You, it was a dream come true. Suddenly, that appreciation for the "suit + tie = money" equation jumped to a whole new level. Execs and directors and management were bustling in and out, talking, demanding, making decisions; and even though I was only 16 when I started working there, I quickly understood that if you looked good, it was because you could afford to, and if you could afford to, it was because you were successful. Or so goes the illusion that we play to is presented.

Anyway. I'm obviously quite aware of the difference between fantasy and reality. I don't want to be Chandler Bing. After all, I've worked those awful retail jobs at Blockbuster, Kohl's, Office Depot and Petsmart in my late teens and early twenties. I've been a host, server and bartender at Red Robin and Applebees and was VIP at Disneyland during my mid-twenties. And I went on to cut decent paychecks touring with my band across the country for a couple years after that. But the desire to have a job that made money while also allowing me to look good has permeated into all of my goals towards a career. Even when I was with my band for a couple years, we wore suits onstage. Sure, it was a little tongue-firmly-in-cheek style, but I enjoyed it. Fast forwards to where I am now, I'm thisclose to finishing college after finally clearing away enough debris from my past to where I can see the elusive lights of my future beaming through the cracks. Life may have thrown a battalion of hell at me for thirty years causing me to stall, but I'm on the precipice of having a great job that can go on to become a fulfilling and lucrative career.

That said, I could make $300,000 a year (this is plausible) and none of it would mean anything to me if I didn't have something - someone - to come home to (also plausible).

Yes, he seems miserable.
So I make money. Enough to buy a house. And a dog. A new car. Brand-new wardrobe. So what. Now I'm just a lonely rich guy. I suppose most men in their 30's would find that setup downright Utopian, considering the disposable income and potentially disposable women. Young, good-looking, healthy, intelligent, a house, and places to go and people to see? No-strings-attached sex? What guy doesn't dream of obtaining that, to become Hugh Hefner incarnate?


I don't.

I just... don't. I never have.

When all of my friends were out partying and drinking and smoking weed and generally being teenagers, I was the designated driver. I was the one with the job and therefore the one with the money and therefore the one that bought the beer. I never got blitzed or wasted with them every weekend. I was the "responsible one", which invariably led me to lose all of my friends due to the fact that I ended up being so dissimilar. Maybe I was deemed the "party pooper" at the time, but when the dust settled, they all came to me about their real problems. When all my friends were having fun and having casual sex and trying to compete with each other over stories and scores (both guy and girls did this), I was the one that sat with them afterwards, privately stunned, as they all complained to me one by one over and over again about all the mistakes they made, all of the regrets, how alone they felt, and the occasional STD anecdote. I simply did not understand the allure of casual sex and meaningless "hook ups", when all it did was magnify your shallow desire for human contact and your deep flaw of fear of more at the same time.

I'm a firm believer that no one can just have sex. It's either really good sex (in which case you want more, which it then becomes more) or it's really bad sex (and you regret it entirely). And if it's just average "eh" sex, then you wasted your time to begin with, since you could have done a better job yourself. At least, that's my philosophy. What I do know is, that across the board, to every person that's ever existed, the best sex is when both people care deeply about each other. There are no exceptions to this rule. You might be able to pull off wilder sex with that crazy girl or that asshole guy; Or longer sex with that slut or womanizer; A guy may find bigger boobs or a better body and a girl may find a bigger penis with some stranger. But none of those equate to the best kind of sex. When both people care about each other, every option is on the table. If you love her, you'll do that crazy move or say those things she wants you to say. And if she loves you, she'll put on that lingerie or do that fetish. Finding someone close to you that you can share and indulge your secrets - the ones not appropriate for the outside world - creates a hidden, sexual bond that coincides with love. And that sex is the best sex.

When it comes right down to it, if the fate of the world came down to you having the best sex, you would choose the person you love.

*   *   *   *   *

My point is, I'm not a guy who dates girls in bunches. Nor am I a guy that "sees" multiple women. I'm a serial monogamist. I am me, I am who the fuck I am, and that's it. Due to this fact, my friends used to call me Maverick in homage to the main character in Top Gun (was actually on my name tag at work). They quickly learned that I never "fired until something good was locked on to." Meaning, I never cast a wide net and chose quantity over quality. I was patient when it came to choosing a woman... probably too patient. In my early twenties I went almost four years without a girlfriend, and yes, by choice. It was when I was 20-24, and to put it plainly, not many girls were worth a damn. Few still are. This isn't to say the sea of men is any easier for a woman to sift through, by any means. It's slim pickings either way, which only magnifies the importance of hanging on to someone special when you find them.

So what do I want? Same thing I've always dreams of since I was a kid: A house. A driveway. A yard. Decorations around the house. Nice neighbors. A crazy neighbor. A dog waking me up. A cat keeping me warm. And a woman to keep me humble. To wake up early, make coffee, put on nice clothes for work, kiss her goodbye, go to work, where I can make a difference in society and my community via teaching, art, advertising, and politics, and come home to my pets. And if she's not home by then, make dinner. Clean up around the house. Make her life easier. Go out and try new restaurants. New foods. Watch TV together. Keep her warm when her hands and feet are ice cold. Go out and see a movie. Talk politics and world views. Stay in pajamas all day and read. Plan for vacations; some luxurious, some more adventurous. But always enriching. I want her parents to be involved, and proud. I want my parents to be non-existent and forgotten (see, I'm not a complete romantic). I want to be around a family that I get along with, gets to see her happy, and invites us over for the holidays. I want to see what a real Thanksgiving is like. A real Christmas. I want my girlfriend to be proud of me, not ashamed of me. For once in my god damned life.

So many people throw away the and only thing I've ever truly wanted: Somewhere and someone to belong to.

And what about her? What do I want in my desired woman? Intelligent, first and foremost. This isn't everything I need (it never is), but it is the deal-breaker. She must possess it in spades. You could be Diora Baird, but if you're unable to dive even a few layers into a subject matter, cite sources or at least have an anecdote that relates to the subject, then I don't care. You lost me. You're a waste of time, at least on a relationship level. Am I an intellectual snob? Perhaps. It's just that if we can't sit and talk in depth about something - or at least you keep pace with me when the conversation hilariously veers off course for an hour - then how could I possibly justify spending the more important days and years of my life with you?

α + α = <4
She must be beautiful. This isn't shallow of me; It's natural and it's ingrained into my being. Being physically attracted to someone and them being physically attracted to you is the one and only thing that pushes a friendship into deeper territory. After all, if two people laugh and like the same things, think alike, share moments, and help each other but have absolutely no intention or desire to have sex with one another, guess what they are? Friends. But you can take two people who only agree on 1/10th of the same things, and if they like fucking each other's brains out, you've got yourself a relationship. Or a hooker. Depends on what gets exchanged in the afterglow. All I'm saying is that, to me, she has to be beautiful. I must be physically attracted to her. I suppose I should define what that entails?

Short or long hair, doesn't matter much, although I tend to lean towards long.
Hair color doesn't matter. Half the women out there aren't showing their true hair color anyway.
She can't be overweight.
Flip side, she can't be super-ripped and buff. Or 90lbs. and skin and bones.
I don't want to feel like I'm having sex with a small boy.
I want to be with a woman. Curves. A body.
She has to taste good.
Kiss well.
Have a sexual drive at least on par with mine.
Height? I'm 6'2" when I'm not slouching like an idiot, so she can't be taller than me.
I think anything under 5'2" would weird me out. I dunno. At that point I suppose it would depend on how she carries herself.
Or open-minded Republi- No, no, scratch that. Democrat.
And she can't be religious.
Maybe... spiritual, but not religious (there's a difference, look it up). I don't believe in God and I don't want to have to deal with explaining why humans and dinosaurs never lived together and that man did not "ride on them like in the Flintstones."

She can't need marriage just because society says so. I'm not against it, per se, in that I hate people who get married. It's not like that at all. It's just a personal choice. I don't see it as an end-game goal, and while I understand the benefits to it (social, economic and otherwise), I think I'm just one of those people that just doesn't give a damn. Maybe when I'm older? And she proves herself to me? And vice versa? I dunno. But it's not on my radar right now and I'm not chasing that idea. Same with kids. She can't need kids just because "it's our job to as a human race". Not right now, anyway. To be honest, I can't imagine myself being ready emotionally or mentally to raise a child. Because, really, the woman who can be with me isn't going to be able to be a mom, either. I just kinda laughed. I adore kids, though.

*   *   *   *   *

I want to enjoy life. I'm free from the burden of some ethereal god's mythical judgement, and thanks to my childhood I don't have to worry about any parental or family approval of what I'm doing or who I'm doing it with. That said, I want to work, love, be loved, and learn as much as I can about this world before I'm forced to go. And I want her to be with me when I do all of these things. Whatever it is we do. We can go to places she's always dreamed of going and she can teach me all she knows and I can be constantly twitterpated in awe at her unending curiosity with the world.

She has to have drive. Want more out of life. Not be content with everything. To keep moving forward, higher, to keep learning. However, the tricky part is, she still has to have the ability to be happy and appreciate things. Her life, her health, the little moments that mean more than we remember, etc.

And me. She has to appreciate me. At the very least, for what I try to do.

I'm a giver. I buy gifts. I stop and think of little surprises. I write letters. I listen and pay attention to conversation and pick up ideas for dinners, birthdays, and vacations. I enjoy cleaning. Laundry, vacuuming, dishes, washing the car, mowing the lawn, setting up computers, televisions, fixing appliances, plumbing, everything. I like it. It makes me feel like I'm making the place I'm in my own. I've lived in five or six different places over the course of my life, and I'm inevitably always the one that cleans up. And it's almost always been with other guys and roommates, so I've always been the one that cooks and prepares and yes, even makes dinner. I used to find it incredibly annoying. There were plenty of times where things got into arguments with my friends and I just listed off everything I did while all they did was sit back and drink and play videogames while I cleaned the place up before going to work. I felt like a nagging wife. Or their mom. But I look back now with a bit of masochistic appreciation: It was a boot camp for being grown up. I learned how to live on my own and take care of myself by dealing with ungrateful others.

I like grocery shopping. I like making coffee in the morning. I like giving massages - feet, shoulders, back, everything - every day. I love hearing a girl moan and groan when I rub their tight and tense muscles, because I know how good that feels. I love listening to every absurd and ridiculous moment that happened throughout her day. Your boss said something stupid? Tell me about it. Your co-worker wore something awful? Let's make fun of her. Your sibling did something infuriating? Let's analyze it. You're just flat-out having a bad day? Let's take your mind off of it over some wine and chocolate. I've sat and watched some terrible shows with girls solely because I know it comforts them; Jersey Shore, attending church, Sex and the City - for fuck's sake, I went to the midnight showings of the Twilight movies for one girl. Do I get any rollover credit?

The show where every guy is a ripped, hung, wealthy bank investor
that's amazing at sex and still not good enough.
As bad as that sounds, really, deep down, the pros outweighed the cons because her happiness is more important than my temporary eye-rolling boredom. And to be honest, I would hope she would be willing to do the same for me. One day.

This doesn't mean I'm perfect. I still have my "guy" moments. I swear pretty casually. That's a bad habit. The good news is, after meeting dozens of ex-girlfriends' parents, I can shut it off instantly. I was with my last girlfriend for about five years, and for half a decade, not once did I slip a single bad word around her ultra-Christian family. So that's a badge. I watch basketball sometimes. Mainly just during the playoffs. But never with a crowd of guys in my living room, screaming at the TV, spilling buffalo wings and ranch on the carpet and yelling at my woman to bring me a beer. It's usually just me and my brother watching the game somewhere else while we talk about life in general. I don't drink (I've only been drunk once in my life), I've never done drugs (not even weed), and I don't smoke (though I did, briefly, for a few months after my beloved godmother died).

I have a terrible time dealing with sadness. I overthink. Though I'd gladly stop if the worse-case scenario would stop coming true. I'm paranoid about making her feel bad (and hence, finding me undesirable), that instead of yelling and fighting, I'll grab my keys and go out and drive alone for a couple hours. In a weird way, this shows how much I love her. With anyone else - friends, family, etc. - I'll just rip on them and bomb them and logic and facts, and I'll do so for hours until they concede I'm right or we can at the very least come to a concession of where a misunderstanding took place. And that fire in me was planted via decades of living with my family. They're almost all vindictive, volatile and venomous people. And just to survive there you had to know how to scrap yourself out of a corner. So that's in me, and I know it, and I never want to subject the woman I love to that heat. So I drive. It's not healthy, but it's the only solution I have right now that helps me find my center and put perspective on a situation. And it usually works. Usually.

When all is said and done, though, I'm loyal. I don't lie, and I don't cheat. I believe women should be cherished, and if you find one that cares about you, she should be valued above all else. Which is what I do.

I'm getting older now - I'll be 31 in a few months - and I'm running out of time to be relevant. Both to society and the opposite sex. If I'm being completely honest, I'm not worried about ending up alone. It's not hard for someone like me to find a girl to like him. That's easy. A smile, a wink, a dash of philosophy, and lowering my bar just enough to pick someone up that doesn't know any better. That wouldn't be difficult. So I'm not worried about ending up alone.


No, I'm worried about ending up not happy.

Not ending up with my house that I work on and spend money to improve. Not ending up with my dog, my cat, my huge bed, my guest bedroom, my new guitars, and good food every day. Not having someone home to ask me how my day went. Or introduce me to new things. Hell, I'm not even worried, really. Just quite simply afraid.

I don't want to go on vacations with someone empty inside. With someone that doesn't know the depths of me. I don't want to continue to build my life without someone important and incredible. I don't want to come home to someone I have to hide thoughts from. I don't want to establish my mini-empire in my little corner of this world with a broken heart. I want to go out and have fun with someone I can cry with, share secrets with... go on road trips for hours, days, and weeks to new places... fly to new countries with, make fun of people with, exchange glaces over the heads of 99.9% of the population, have nonsensical inside jokes with... have sex with on good days, fuck on those crazy stressful days, and make love to on those nights when she appreciates me as much as I appreciate her.

It's impossible, I know.

But it's what I want.


Blue Spin Zone

"Most of us become infatuated with certain people over the course of our lives. Once in awhile that passionate feeling works out, but much of the time it does not. Infatuation is always temporary, often based upon nothing other than powerful attraction. Unfortunately, that kind of attraction often makes us do thing we would not ordinarily do. 

I was once infatuated with a woman who was the poster girl for venality. This woman was so selfish, she made Leona Helmsley look like Edith Bunker. She was off-the-charts manipulative and didn’t even try to fake that she wasn’t. She was so good-looking, she knew she could con men into giving her just about anything she wanted.

For the record: Left - Leona Helmsley, Right - Edith Bunker

"I actually thought I could change this woman. This was insane. She was disrespectful to pretty much everybody, including her parents, and openly mocked some people she had screwed over. One time she hid behind her answering machine as an old boyfriend asked her for a callback. She snorted derisively even though she had gone with the guy for years. I told her flat out that she was engaging in disgraceful behavior, but even though I knew the woman was a block of ice, I did not disengage. Looking back, she should have been lodging at the Playboy Mansion, not hanging around with me.

"The good news is that I did not alter my behavior. I associated with this woman but kept my defenses up and my actions under control. Finally I wised up and told her I had better things to do with my life. However, I wasted and enormous amount of time and energy dealing with the lady, on mostly her terms. So if this can happen to me, a rather hard-edged, no-nonsense kind of guy, then it can happen to anyone.

"The solution to toxic people is simple but difficult. You must divert yourself away from them. Once again it comes down to discipline. If the fruit tastes good but you bleed after eating it, you’ve got to dine elsewhere or be drained all the time.

"What society needs is a 12-step program for infatuated American. This organization would supply wise counselors when we are tempted to associate with those who would do us harm but look so good doing it. I’m not kidding. If you can get somebody to come over and talk you out of making that stupid phone call to that dangerous person, do it. Then immediately go out and have fun.

"You can have plenty of good people in your life, but one emotional partner who is pernicious can negate them all. Remember, chaos always breeds more chaos. If a romantic partner (or even a family member) is causing you consistent and unnecessary pain, get out and stay out. The short-term feeling of loss is nothing compared to the damage that a truly bad or weak person can do to your life. You must see people as they are, not as you want them to be. You are not going to change a callous, cruel, selfish person.

"If you do hook up with Dr. or Ms. Evil, don’t blame me. I’ve told you the truth -- you can’t change him or her. Some people are bad to the bone and there’s nothing anyone but the authorities can do. Learn it, live it, and spread the word."

- Bill O'Reilly, an excerpt from "The No Spin Zone"