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What we can learn from bad Cheerios

So, yesterday morning I’m having a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios (don’t judge), and I notice they taste kinda funny.  I checked the milk… it isn’t expired or anything, so I’m trying to figure out what the heck is making these Cheerios taste a little wonky?  The bowl?  No, it is clean (I actually keep a fairly neat apartment).  The spoon?  Same… it is clean, hasn’t been used to scoop out any dead rats from the closet or anything.  Hrm.  The cereal itself?  So I get the plastic container I keep cereal in down from the cupboard.  Sure enough, there is an odd smell there.  Well, it just so happens when my kids where here last they wanted Fruity Pebbles (gastly sugary stuff there!)…  But when they had gone, they left the container empty in the cupboard and moved it over to where I keep the clean containers.  I then proceeded to dump my box of much less gastly sugary cereal into the container.  It hadn’t been cleaned, so all that sugar and such kind of made the Cheerios take a bit off.

So, what can we learn from this, other than that my kids ought to have put that empty container in the sink?  If you don’t clean out a container before you put new stuff in it, some of the residual taste from the old contents will seep into the new contents.  I thought about this for a minute and wondered about the ‘girlfriend’ container in my head.  Has that been cleaned out since I had my last girlfriend?  Hrm… perhaps this is a good metaphor for dating?  If you don’t take care of your own baggage… then you’ll contaminate the next relationship…

Who knew Cheerios were so educational and relationship oriented??

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How to pick up chicks… part deuce

A friend of mine sent this to me… evidently I need help picking up chicks!

So, I suppose the question becomes not, ‘How to pick up chicks?’, but ‘How to pick up the RIGHT chick?’…  I mean, anyone can go into a bar, find some drunk chick, make her more drunk… convince her you’re Brad Pitt’s brother, and take her home.  Is that ‘picking up chicks?’  And… is that what YOU want to do?

For me, not so much.  For me, I am looking more for the RIGHT chick.  I’ve found from past experience that picking someone up and taking them home is not the fulfilling thing to be doing unless that is all you are after.  Now, I’m not judging, but that isn’t what I’m after.  I actually want to be in a relationship.  Yeah, I know… hard to believe, eh?  A guy who is less interested in sex than he is interested in having someone to go out with… how weird is that? Now, that’s not to say if I find the right person I wouldn’t be willing to go that extra mile (it is fun, after all… ), but that isn’t the sole focus.

So many of the blogs I see out here on dating are women posting about chasing men, or men posting about chasing women, and they are mostly just after the sex part.  A few are looking for someone more compatible with them and I find that admirable.  I guess I’m getting to be an old fart.  It sure feels that way anyways.  I’m not looking for someone to sit on the front porch with me an stagnant into eternity… but for someone to share adventures with.  Sounds fun, huh?  Well… it sounds fun to ME.  But if picking up chicks is what you’re after, the above way won’t get you any weird diseases nor children… so perhaps that is a safer route to go all together.

Steps to finding the perfect mate… or… step 2

Okay, so you’re interesting, or working on becoming interesting (see Step 1).  I suppose I ought to disclose that these ‘steps’ are in my order and subject to being completely BS… but they are working for me.  Once you are in therapy (if needed) and making yourself the best mate you can be for someone else, you still need to make sure you don’t have a bunch of baggage that you’ll be brining into the next relationship.  What’s needed here?  Forgiveness.  Not the easiest thing in the world, but it needs to happen.

You need to let go of those animosities you have towards your ex (or exes, as the case may be).  They may have cheated on you, slept with your best friend, drained your bank account of just been incompatible (hopefully it is only the last one)… or maybe worse…  You need to find it within your heart to forgive them.  This doesn’t mean ‘forget’, but just be at peace with the place you are at.  If you are still pissed off at your ex, then you aren’t in a good place to begin finding a date, or what you will be finding (most likely) is your next ex.

Forgiveness is hard.  What does it mean to forgive?  My new Websters (which is really dictionary.com) states that forgiveness is:  “to cease to feel resentment against”.  This is much easier said than done.  It means if you see your ex walking across the street, you won’t even be tempted to run them down with your car.  It DOESN’T mean that you will be their friend.  What they have done may be so heinous that you would never want to speak to them again, but you still need to not feel ill of them in your own heart.  It is always the person who hates that is affected by hatred (unless you act upon that, then you are both affected… perhaps permanently).

While my ex cheated on me, I do still harbor some resentment about that, but I don’t wish her any ill will.  In fact, I hope that she is happy with her new husband.  My kids live in that house and I want it to be a happy house.  One where love fills the space.  One where understanding and good will are evident.  No abuse, no drugs, no alcoholism… none of the bad stuff.  I think I am well on my way to being able to forgive her for her transgressions against me and our marriage.  The thing I need to ask myself (as I have before) is, “Was I perfect in that relationship?”  Unless the relationship lasted only a few days or weeks, the chances of that are almost none.  In fact I have a better chance of winning the lottery every week for the next year than I do of being perfect for the next year.  Does that mean you take responsibility for the relationship failing?  Nay, nay… you do not.  You merely admit your part in the failure, as it takes two to tango.

While this might seem like the hardest step, there are many other steps that are not easy which will be coming.  Hopefully at the end of the journey you’re a better person for it… until then… try to work on this.

Hrm… a “Versatile Blogger Award”

   The Versatile Blogger Award

Well, I have seen this a few times, but I haven’t been nominated for it until today… Thanks to onlinedatingjournal for the nomination.  I enjoy her writing and found out she was a journalist, so kudos to you as well!  I hope folks have been enjoying my sometimes-coherent ramblings that I tend to put out there.  Mostly this blog is for me to just be able to write things and be constructive, but my fervent wish is that some of you would get something out of the gobblty-gook that spews from my keyboard now and again!

Here are the rules for the award:

1. Add the award to your blog.
2. Thank the blogger who gave it to you and include a link to their blog.
3. Mention 7 random things about yourself.
4. List the rules.
5. Give the award to 15 or more bloggers

7 random facts about me

  1. I have sang in front of a few hundred people.
  2. I have been published as an author in a bowling periodical.
  3. I am not a big fan of the color purple.
  4. Hypocrisy drives me a little nuts!
  5. I can speak 2 languages fluently and get by in another.
  6. I wanted to be a scientist when I was a kid.
  7. The TRUE answer to the meaning of life is 42.

I haven’t been blogging all that long, but here are some of the blogs I enjoy.

Now, here is where I insert my disclaimer!  Folks, I don’t curse in my blogs as I publish them on Facebook too and my dear Aunt Alice (and my Mom) read these… HOWEVER, the following links DO contain some profanity, so click if you like, just don’t disown me.  🙂

  1. notchangingmyname
  2. mzbambi
  3. datingplanet
  4. littleredrails
  5. fulltimegangsta
  6. lookingforbrunettey
  7. kaftanbikini
  8. serenityluv
  9. editrixabby
  10. maggiemaeijustsaythis
  11. ihaveishoes
  12. sorryiamnotsorry
  13. whygirlsarejustsomuchbetter
  14. ellayourbella
  15. fightingfornocauses

Steps to finding the perfect mate… or… step 1

What is the very first thing you should do if you’re looking for the perfect mate?  What is a great first step?  Start joining dating websites?  Beg all your friends to set you up on blind dates?  Start ogling the ladies (or gentlemen, if you prefer) at the mall?  Join a church?  Join a satanic cult?  Ask out every woman you meet?  I suppose it all depends on your goal.  ‘Start with the end in mind’ is almost always sound advice.  Now, I’m an engineer.  I do things logically and try to work out the shortest path to my objective, but if cutting corners is going to get you to an objective that isn’t satisfying, then perhaps you need to look at the route along the way.

As I wrote about yesterday, when you first become separated, perhaps you should do a little soul searching before jumping into the dating pool.  If you don’t you risk the possibility of two things.  First, jumping into the shallow end of the dating pool, perhaps hooking up with someone (or several someones) but not finding yourself in a great relationship.  The other possibility is that you’ll jump too quickly into the pool and carry all your various baggage with you (which will make you less attractive to the other sex).  So, the first step in finding the perfect mate, in my opinion, is that you want to BE the perfect mate for someone else.  How can I do this?  I’m glad you asked… I have a few ideas…

If you did some soul searching and found some ugly skeletons in your closet that need to be cleaned out, then by all means… clean them out.  This ‘letting go’ may require therapy (I think 99% of the human race could use some of that stuff), or some amends (think like a 12 stepper?) or perhaps just some time spent in reflection and journalling.  You really should take this time to exercise (not like sports, but like getting rid of) you demons.  Think about the past relationships you’ve been in and pull at them from all angles… do any common threads come out and make themselves apparent?  Why did your last relationship end?  Were you the leaver or the leavee?  This self examination should absolutely NOT be about blame.  Focus only on things that went well (we want to keep on doing these things) and things that went badly.  For the things that went badly, use “I language” to describe them.  It isn’t:  He went out drinking all night with his friends.  It would be more like:  When he went out drinking all night with his friends, it made me feel insecure and lonely.   In the second sentence, you’re focusing on what YOUR part of that behavior was.

Part of being the perfect mate for someone else is being interesting.  Okay, so you’re a burger flipper at McDonalds.  What can you do that could be more interesting?  What hobbies do you have?  Can you find some new, inexpensive hobbies?  I mean, if money is no option, then take some classes at your local community college on some subject that interests you.  This will give you more experience with something you enjoy, and occupy some time and such.  If you don’t have the money, see if you can audit a class.  Look in the local newspaper or go to flea markets. I found this guy who was teaching an entirely new way of carving at a flea market and took some lessons from him.  He charged a buck per lesson (yep, 1 dollar per lesson)… That is cheap.  There are a myriad of things that you can do, go out and find some new hobby or activity to do.  Become a more well-rounded person.  Find some passion you always wanted to pursue as a young adult and follow it.  You never know, you might actually meet someone who is interested in the same things you are!  Even if you don’t, people are always attracted to interesting folks… BE INTERESTING.

Do something good for your body with your free time.  Studies suggest that over 75% of Americans are overweight.  Now that you have all this free time, go take some walks (those are free, too!).  Go to a park and enjoy nature.  Look at a tree, no I really mean LOOK.  Look at how the bark has patterns in it, examine the leaves in all their intricacies.  Go to the library and check out a book on something you think is cool and read.  Make your body and your mind both be active.  This takes the focus off of “I need a date NOW” to, wow, this is really interesting stuff.  People who don’t seem as desperate always come across as more attractive and confident.  Be that.

The focus of this first step isn’t on anyone else at all… it is on you.  You developing into an even better you.  Also, if you need some spiteful thought to help you get motivated, nothing burns an ex more than when you appear to be happy without them.  Go on… be happy… have fun… develop yourself into a great perfect mate for someone else so that when they finally do come along you’ll be there, ready and waiting.

Hey… I’m separated!

So… you’ve decided you and the significant other are gonna call it quits?  You’re separated now and you want to start dating.  Really?  I have a couple of questions for you then…  If you are separated, but not yet divorced, why not?  What’s that you say?  The divorce just isn’t final yet.  Have you filed it already? Are you sure you are ready to date?  These questions (and more) are some of the things you should be asking if you’re not divorced yet, and something that others ought to ask you about.

Why haven’t you filed those papers yet?  If you’re ready to move on, you really ought to keep from clinging on to the past.  Someone who is separated is just that.. they are married still.  I don’t know about you but I do not want to find myself on the business end of a 12 gauge shotgun because I was dating some dude’s wife.  Many people online (mostly guys I would think) will list separated or single when they are, in fact, married.  They are just looking for some side action to spice up their life.  If that is the only thing you want and you don’t mind a jealous spouse possibly coming after you, then go for it (just keep in mind that I advise against it in this blog!  So I am not culpable for your murder, should something nefarious like that happen).

Are you sure you are ready to date?  This is a HUGE one.  Are you over your spouse?  Yes, they may have been Satan incarnate, but you still have to process your feelings about what happened (this includes you too, guys… yes you actually have to DEAL with your emotions).  There is an excellent book called Rebuilding, when your relationship ends by Dr. Fisher and Dr. Alberti.  It walks you through all the stages of grief and loss.  Getting a divorce really is a loss!  You were going to be with this person until you both died (at least you thought so in the beginning).  There is tremendous grief, shame, denial, fear and other such muck that could be plastered all over the inside of your heart.  Until you go through this process, are you really ready to be in a relationship?  Have you dealt with your baggage so as not to bring a trunk full of hatred into your new relationship (which I’m sure won’t do anything good at all for it)?

I have said this before and I’ll say it again… have you looked over your marriage and found out where YOU went wrong and put some sort of ‘get well’ plan in place so you don’t make that mistake again?  If you haven’t… you should… you really need to!  Otherwise you’re most likely doomed to start down the wrong path yet again.  Is there a different path?  One you haven’t tried?  If you’re the kind that doesn’t sleep with someone until you have been on a second date, maybe you should push that off for a while and try getting to know them instead!  Maybe, just maybe, you have some sort of bad pattern that you are perpetuating.  This could be something that would lead you down the road you were just on, and didn’t you hit that off-ramp a while back?

The bottom line is that I seriously doubt that a person has all their emotional cards in order within at least a year of becoming single, so if you’re just separated you have a very long and difficult road back to the well trodden path of ‘normalcy’… or whatever constitutes that in your life.

I do hope you find your true love and all that… just remember that taking things a bit slow from time to time can be a good thing!

She asked me what?

So, you’re communicating with people online.  Great… in some of these situations (eHarmony), they guide you through the communication (so you don’t make an idiot out of yourself before you prove otherwise) and others, you’re tossed to the sharks, in the deep water… with no life vest.  Which one is right for you?  Well, it depends how comfortable you are with writing.  Perhaps it depends if you’re a serial abuser of elipses (…) and parentheses (()).  I happen to be the latter, but am comfortable writing emails as it is what I do everyday at work.  However, which one you should pick all depends on how comfortable you are with online dating in general.  If it is your first go?  Try something like eHarmony (online dating with training wheels?)… if you know what you want to say and how you want to say it, by all means go with another service, but do some research first.  One guy’s website I really like is Little Red Rails (http://www.littleredrails.com/blog/little-red-rails-online-dating-guide/) and his stuff really is free.  Besides, he’s a technical guy like myself, so I relate to what he says.

Some of those more adventurous folks who like to send their own emails have an all together different set of problems.  What do I say?  What do I ask?  AH… well, let’s start with a bit that you shouldn’t say!  Here are a few of my own favorites from my inbox:

  • Did you used to be a woman?
  • Do you like to spank women?
  • I like hats… thay ar sexxxy.  Do u evr tak it off?
  • I’m available for marriage… say July 2nd?
  • How r u?
  • Does herpes bother you?

Okay… we’ll stop there… they don’t get much better, or worse, than those…  So, if those are examples of what you ought not to say, what kind of questions do you ask?  Well, when sending a first email… state something in there that proves you read, and paid attention to, their profile.  If they talked about scuba diving… comment on it.  Don’t make it a huge, long, rambling email either (see the Little Red Rails site for more tips on that kind of thing).  Also, be sure to ask ‘getting to know you’ kind of questions.  They don’t all have to be deep headscratchers like, ‘If you had to pick the singularly most character defining moment in your life, what would it be and why?’  Hell, it always gives you a good idea of the person by answering simple questions like these:

  • What’s your favoite color?
  • What was your favorite food as a kid?
  • What did you want to be when you grew up back when you were 10?
  • How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?  (Yes, that is actually not a terrible question to ask… especially if you have other ‘deep’ questions in the email)

You want to try to get to know this person, so ask questions that give you some kind of window into the soul.  This post is written with the assumption that you are actually looking to get to know someone, not just find a new hook-up partner, so if that is you… go back to surfing your porn.