It's hard to imagine being someone calling themselves a "rookie" who is in their late 30's, but after 10 years of marriage and starting to venture into the dating game, that's what it feels like sometimes.
That, and blogging in general is a new thing, too.
Why do you blog? Or for that matter, why are you here?
I'll be honest. I stumbled onto this site by sheer accident. I poked around, looked at a couple of things, shrugged my shoulders and decided "what the heck?" I created the profile thing, found a flattering picture of myself, and started a couple of blog posts to see what happens. I did not expect to meet the woman of my dreams to arrive in an email, but I was willing to give this place a shot.
Then I started blogging in earnest, and I found that I rather enjoyed it. My education background has a rather large component of dramatic literature study which resulted in writing a lot of papers and essays. I have since strayed away from that and my writing has been limited to emails, company communications, and the occasional technical documentation. Not necessarily the most exciting writing.
I've found, however, blogging is almost therapeutic for me. I'm not sure why I enjoy putting my thoughts down and sharing them with the world, but there you go. I think I finally understand why diaries and journals are so popular.
So the question remains: why do you blog? Why do you read the blogs? What are you hoping to find? Hoping to gain?
In any relationship that goes any distance, there are three little words that loom dangerously in the background. It is the elephant that sits in the corner that no one wants to talk about it. Utter those words too soon, and it could set the relationship back several steps or even destroy it all together. Don't say them soon enough, and each question the long term viability of the relationship.
What are those words? I think you know. They are three little words -- each word extremely short and easy to spell. It seems that the younger you are, the easier it is to say. Children freely share those words with their family, their friends. Teenagers may hesitate at first, but quickly gush out copious amounts of those words. Us jaded adults? They are treated with the utmost care and trepidation.
Have you guessed those words yet? You hold your significant other's face gently in your hands, look deep into their eyes, and the tides of emotions flow over you, pushing and pulling you to say those words. The words rush up and almost slip out, but somehow you keep them in. You let out a big sigh, glad that you've held them back. Then you catch your partner's eyes, and those same undeniable emotions thrust those words out before you can offer any resistance. You open your mouth, and those three words slip out, cautious, fragile, spoken in only a whisper. Those three words come out in a sigh...
"I love you."
What do you do now? Those words hang in the air. Those words have been spoken -- you can't take them back. You squeeze your eyes shut, unwilling to see the reaction on the other's face. You've taken a fantastical leap of faith hoping for something more, but at the same time you have just set yourself up to be completely destroyed.
Seconds tick by -- you swear the beating of your heart is deafening as you strain to hear the other's answer. Your eyes are still tightly closed because you're scared at what you can read on the face that is hovering so close to yours. You fervently hope for a warm smile of acceptance, yet expect a shocked and disapproving frown.
Those seconds stretch off into an eternity, so you crack your eyes open just a little to make sure that your parnter is still there. That response is so vital for how your relationship will evolve and turn out -- it becomes one of the defining moments.
In the past 20 years, I can count the number of relationships I've had on both hands and have several digits left over. Each relationship was different and unique in its own way, but at some point or another, those three words make an appearance. I've been fortunate to get the warm smile more than a few times, but I've gotten the shocked frown enough to know how devastating it can be. I have yet to be the one to hear those words spoken to me first -- I'm not sure if is a guy thing or if it is who I am -- but I know what response I always hope for.
I always hope for a whispered, "I love you, too."
The magic of falling in love. It seems so easy, so effortless, so right. The world seems in harmony, the Gods seem to smile. It is almost as if the universe itself blesses the union.
Complacency then moves in. What use to be quaint qualities that made the other so endearing become the idiosyncrasies that make the other intolerable. The Gods frown, the universe turns its attention else where, and your fairy tale romance shatters into dreary reality.
Why does this happen? How many of you thought about your past relationships that started overflowing with excitement only to end with dry with boredom? What magical ingredient is necessary to help your get your happily ever after?
I do not consider myself an expert at relationships. Even considering that someone would ask me for advice is almost laughable. Nevertheless, I shall share what little I have learned -- or at least, what I think I have learned.
A relationship works because of the sincere effort that both are willing to put into it. To make it work, you have to work at making it work. If you wish to have a flower garden to be proud of, you need to do more than just throw a few seeds in the dirt in the spring. You have to tend to it continuously, weeding, feeding, watering. Simply relying on the initial enthusiasm as the sole caretaker of your garden usually results in you tearing it up and promising to do better next time.
A special night out should not just happen during the early years of the relationship. If you want your relationship to really work, a magical night out should be just as magical regardless if it's your first date, your tenth date, or your one hundredth date.
Don't become complacent. Make the effort to show the other person why you want to be with them. Help your partner remember why they chose you in the first place.
After all, it takes a lot of effort to make a relationship work so effortlessly.
As a couple grows together romantically, sociologists have defined three distinct stages in the relationship. Not surprisingly, they mark the various steps based on the type of sexual activity.
Stage 1: House Sex
At this point, the relationship is fairly new and exciting to both members. Usually lasting during the first 3 years of the relationship, it is often characterized by the couple enjoying frequent sex "all over the house."
Stage 2: Room Sex
The couple have been together now for several years, and have completely accepted the other for what they are and what they have to offer. Often reached during the fifth year of togetherness, their sex life has settled into a predicable routine, and is usually confined to the same one room within house.
Stage Three: Hall Sex
Here, the couple have known each other in excess of 15 years. Sex is limited to passing each other in the hall and muttering "screw you."
The recently broken hearted -- or so the stereotype goes -- spends all their time locked up in his or her own room, listening to songs that somehow have a special meaning to them. Whether the music reminds them of something or someone they have lost, or give them hope for a better tomorrow, they let the soothing sounds of music wash over them.
I never really bought into that.
I enjoy a catchy tune as much as the next guy, and like so many other people I have succumed to the Apple marketing engine and have an Ipod (several actually, but that's a different story). However, I've never really listened to lyrics in songs much. I knew the words and I would sing along to the tune I liked on the radio but I never really stopped to really listen what the writer was really trying to say.
That all changed in this past year as I worked through my seperation. I remember just lying there in my bed -- numb and emotionally exhausted -- with the radio playing quietly in the background. Perhaps it was the fact that I was just looking for something to distract my thoughts but I started to actually listen to the words. I was surprised how relevent, thoughtful, inspirational, and reflective the message amongst the music could actually be.
Over the weeks and months, as I paid more and more attention, I started to gravitate to certain songs that struck a chord within me. At first, I'd linger on the songs that try to explain the pain in musical form. In particular, a song by the Blue's Travellers called "The Mountain wins again":
I pick up my smile, put it in my pocket Hold it for a while, try not to have to drop it Men are not to cry so how am I to stop it Keep it all inside don't show how much she rocked ya
Then my music tastes drifted to those that screamed their defiance, much like Pink's "So what? I'm a rock star!" It's a fun song to scream along with when your alone in your apartment -- I wouldn't recommend, however doing it at your office. That type of behaviour tends to make managers somewhat nervous.
Lately, my musical tastes seem to be songs about hope. There is a great band in Canada called "Great Big Sea" and they have a wonderful song called "Ordinary Day". It's an older song -- over 10 years old -- but the message meant so much to me. In particular:
In this beautiful life, there's always some sorrow
And it's a double-edged knife, but there's always tomorrow
It's up to you now if you sink or swim
Just keep your faith, and your ship will come in
There are many other song lines that seem to reverberate with my very being. I know that I'm late to game of realizing that songs are so much more than just a bunch of harmonizing notes. I'm just happy that my music tastes have moved from self-pity to defiance, and now is currently resting on hope.
Hopefully I'm not too sappy when I start listening to those songs that ooze about the joy of being with in love with someone else. Cause those people are just so damn annoying as they have a tendancy to sing outloud.
Nervous. Excited. Scared. Filled with anticipation. Anxious. Hopeful.
An ocean of emotions swell and whirl inside as I venture forth into the dating scene. It's one thing to put up a shingle here on this site proclaiming "I'm here. ladies! Come and get me!" It's quite another to do it in real life.
On these posts, I can hide behind the anonymity of the Internet. It is easier to be brave when facing the impersonal glare of a computer screen than it is gazing into the face of another person. The emotional risk here is negligible, the emotional risk in life is unmeasurable.
It's been over 10 years since I wandered through the venues of the single person. Ten years is a significant measure of time. Entire empires have risen and fallen in less time; surely nothing can be as I remember it. Everything feels so different since my last visit, everything looks like it's in a new location, all the rules must have changed since I last walked these streets. I don't even remember enjoying much success in these parts the last time I came through; I remember slipping, stumbling, falling more than walking confident and proud.
Each footstep is a hesitant one. Nervousness is a constant companion with every pace, as is Anxiety and Fear. But Excitement walks beside me too. As does Hope and Anticipation.
I catch the glance of a lady. We talk, we laugh. We've seen each other before, and we remember enjoying the laughs from past conversations. She smiles at me -- is it a smile of friendship, or an invitation to explore future possibilities? The flush of excitement courses through me. Could it be an invitation? Dare I ask her if she wants to spend more time with me?
Nervousness washes over me. What should I say? Suddenly all my wit has evaporated. I'm stumbling through my words, fumbling through lines, the elegant flow of my words becomes a tangled jumble of barely related thoughts. I brace myself, take a deep breath and am about to ask the question when the cold wind of Fear breaths down my neck. What if she says no? What if she laughs? What if the question destroys whatever friendship we have now?
Fear wins, and I make a feeble exit, saying it was great to talk and that we should try to find time to talk again. She agrees, smiles, but then quickly goes back to what she was doing without a backward glance. Fear points it out -- see, it wasn't an invitation, she was just being polite; she was just waiting for you leave.
Retreating back to the solace of my personal space, I relive the scene. I'm both frustrated with myself for not having the courage to ask, but relieved I haven't been told no. Hope pushes fear out of the way, and slowly builds up my courage once again.
This pattern repeats itself again and again. Each time I come ever so agonizingly close to asking her, but my courage is used up and Fear takes over once more.
I have a vague memories of my awkward teenage years. I know I've gone through this before all those years ago but so much has changed since then.
Once more I summon up the courage. I plan the line, the delivery, the timing, everything about the question. With a firm resolve I march up to her, the question poised and waiting on the tip of my tongue -- and then she looks at me. All the practice is for not, all my rehearsals are forgotten. My mind draws blank, my mouth dries up and the question gets stuck.
I need to end this battle within me, I need to ask the question, I need to know one way or the other. A hurried, rushed, tight "doyouwanttogooutwithmefordinner" finally escapes from within, and I wait for a response.
I watch her face -- it shows surprise. Is surprise good? clears her throat. A smile spreads across her face. Is a smile of friendship? Of pity?
I can see her answer formulating. She looks me right in the eyes, her lips part, and gives me her answer...
The five words that I dread when speaking to a woman.
It's not you, it's me.
Those five little words seem so innocent, don't they? Yet they carry such a heavy weight. They inflict such a heavy blow.
It's not you, it's me.
I know they are words used to spare someone's feelings. A way to let them feel better, that they didn't do anything wrong.
It's not you, it's me.
Yes, you were a perfect gentleman. Yes, you are witty, intelligent, and insightful. Yes, you are a wonderful human being.
It's not you, it's me.
What is it about you that doesn't make it about me? If it isn't me, why are you making it about you?
It's not you, it's me.
If those words are suppose to make me feel better, why does it leave such a sting? If those words are true, why am I doubting my own self-worth? If those words are a means of my escape, why do I look at myself in the mirror with an overly critical eye?
Even if it is you and not me, it's still a dismissal. It's still a rejection. And it still hurts.
Ok. I'll admit it -- I love women. One2One had a blog post listing some 20 to 30 things she liked about men. Perhaps it is only fair that a member of "my team" respond in kind.
And before anyone gets into a huff, I'll say right here that I'll simply pass over the juvenile comments concerning certain female body parts. It's not that I don't like those physical aspects of the female form (I like them very much), but to dwell upon them in a lewd manner isn't really who I am and may be cause for offense.
So here goes:
1. I love their hair -- especially if it is longer than the military buzz cut. I love the way it can cascade down their back, or pulled over to one side and spill down across their neck.
2. I like their soft skin -- especially on their cheeks. It feels so nice to gently trace their jaw line up to their lips.
3. I like the way they just fit inside my arms when hugging. Well, most of them do, since I'm a bigger guy -- not very often I come across a lady taller than me.
4. I love it when they hold onto my arm and rest their head on my shoulder.
5. I love it even more when they lift my arm, drape it across their shoulders and they rest their head on my chest.
6. I absolutely love it when they want to cuddle when watching a movie.
7. I like comfortably walking along arm-in-arm or hand in hand.
8. I am absolutely stunned how they can change one of my baggy old t-shirts into sexy nightware.
9. I'm still in awe that they can slip off their bra without taking off their shirt.
10. I love how they can be shy and coy one minute, and switch to an aggressive tigress the next.
I think I'll leave it at just 10 for now. I have more, but I'll save those for the people that ask.
As all intelligent people know, God created Eve first.
All was going well in the Garden of Eden as Eve moved about and got to know the various creatures and sites that were built for her. A week went by, and God decided to drop in for a visit.
"How are you enjoying My creation, My daughter?" God asked.
"It's wonderful! I love all these creatures, the sights, the smells, and life!" Eve exclaimed. "But I do have one small suggestion for improvement if you don't mind."
"By all means, go right ahead. What is bothering you, My child?"
"Well, it's just that you've created me with three breasts -- it's a little crowded across the front, and the symmetry is all off," she explained. "Do you think I could have just two?"
God rubbed his chin for a second. "What you say makes sense. Very well, it shall be done." He reached out to Eve, plucked off the middle breast, and handed it to her. "There, try that out for a while and let Me know how it goes." And with that, He left the Garden to go work on more wonders.
Another week passes, and God comes back to visit Eve. "And how is My favourite creation doing today?"
"Oh, just fine, thank you!" bubbled Eve, "And I really like the redesign up front! It's working out great! Hopefully you don't mind me asking for just one more thing..."
God chuckled. "How can I deny you anything? Please, ask."
She chewed her lip. "Well, these creatures are all great and everything, but I do wish I had a companion."
"Yes," agreed God. "It is time that I created Man."
A puzzled look came across Eve's face. "Create Man? But what are You going to make him out of?"
God scratched his head. "Hmm... tell Me, Eve, what did you do with that useless tit?"
My goodness, it doesn't take long to find out who the regulars are on this site, does it?
I've been here for a whopping 3 days, and it's clear that "petale46", "truefriendinme" and "ozredhead62" are the big three on this site (all of whom have posted insightful comments on my previous posts -- thank you very much!). Thankfully others have responded as well, but it is neat to see the dynamics of this culture.
I know I'm only basing my observations on a handful of data, but I'm surprised at the on-line personas that come through on the blogs. I'm not sure if what is written in the blogs and comments is an actual reflection of the person's real character, but I'm unexpectedly constructing and defining personalities of the various people here.
I'd almost wonder what type of personality I'm putting out there via my blog posting. Does it match what I've put into my profile? Do I come off as witty? Annoying? Self-centered? Whimsical? Desperate?
Everyone has an image of who and what they are. Depending on how well you deal with criticism, it's somewhat cool to get an opinion from other people.
So here is a question to rest of the group: what kind of "vibe" do I give off?
Man, I really hope no one responds with "pompous douche-bag" 'cause that would really suck.
As I have *just* signed up for as a guest-level member, I have no way of checking out how active this site is. I know that if I pay now the low-low price of just $xx.99 a day/week/month that I will get more information, but I'm still debating whether I want to shell out the cash to become a full fledged, ultra-mega, gold member (or whatever the level is called).
Not surprisingly, one of the first things I did when I stumbled across this site -- and stumble is the correct word since I didn't sit down at my favourite search engine and went looking -- was to check out the profiles. The search generated 26 pages of profiles, but I have no way of telling how up-to-date some of the information is. I've seen many of profile that said "I'm a 32 year old woman looking for..." yet their automatically generated age field was 35. Does that mean that they haven't checked into the system for nearly 3 years, or just haven't bothered to update their profile?
I wonder if the administrative staff go through and edit out profiles with low/no activity over 6 months? a year? two years? Yes, I know that their business model is to give you only so much "for free" before they insist on a bit of cash for the privilege of getting decent information, and that a large number of profiles adds to the appeal to the site. However, I'm sure it would be a bit of a disappointment to pony up the money for a full membership only to find that of the 26 pages of profiles, only one page had people that checked into the site within the last 4 weeks.
Maybe all profiles should have a "best before date" field just to make sure you don't get any stale products.
As I skip through the postings, one thing I've noticed again and again is that almost everybody has a good sense of humour. We all must be one funny bunch -- what comic wouldn't want us in their audience?
Humour also seems to be a highly desirable trait in our "match/friend" section, with honesty running a close second.
Strange how there seems to be an abundance of humour, yet we're all looking for it. I know I'm guilty of it -- if you check out my profile, I placed the obligatory "sense of humour' in the "about me" section. I believe, however, that I am a somewhat humourous guy -- I think I've made at least 10 different people laugh some form of liquid through their nose at one point in time.
I can see why humour is so coveted. It feels good to laugh. Hell, it feels great to laugh so hard that your sides are starting to hurt, tears are running down your face, and you're almost dizzy with the lack of oxygen to your brain. My one buddy that I made in college shared my warped sense of humour, and you would often find us laughing so hard that we could barely stand.
Now that we've each gone to separate parts of the country -- and Canada is a vast land, let me tell you -- those can-hardly-stand-up laughter sessions are becoming fewer and farther in between.
It's not that I don't laugh anymore. Far from it. I stumbled onto a joke someone posted here on the blogs that really tickled my fancy, and I snorted out loud and giggled for several minutes. But I did manage to remain conscious, and my sides remained pain free.
But having one of those full-on, complete belly laugh sessions, those I miss.
It's important to remember to laugh, to enjoy, to treasure life.
Perhaps that is why we look for those individuals that make us smile.
Having stumbling onto this "plus-sized admirers" site and started poking around at very blog posts and profiles, I've notice more than a few separated/divorced members. Having just ended a 10-year relationship myself -- or rather, having it ended for me -- I am curious to find what the collective wisdom the members of this site holds in such matters.
First me: Although it surprised me when my partner wanted a divorce, I'd be lying if I didn't really expected it. While it didn't break apart "Hollywood style" -- there was no fighting, yelling and screaming, and/or cheating on each other, but we had steadily grew further and further apart. In the end, we were sleeping in different rooms and only speaking a few words to one another. While she was the one who officially ended the relationship, I know (now) that I had just as much of a hand of the breakdown of the marriage as she. She was the one who was first willing to face the truth.
I won't say that I wasn't hurt, because that would be lying. However, several months of soul searching, and with the help of lots of my friends who simply were there to listen, I think I'm ready to close that chapter in my life. I have accepted that I'm classified as a "single entity", or at least I think I have. I'm doing things that I have to do for myself, and I'm doing things that I want to do for myself. Sure, my new life isn't perfect, but it isn't nearly as dark and dreary as I once feared it would be once I ventured out on my own for the first time (again).
The question is: now what?
There are times when I feel "geez, you know it would be nice if I could share this with someone" or "it sure would be nice to go for a walk with someone and just hold hands." And to be honest, it would be nice to have that special someone help me stay warm at night, too. :-)
But how do you know when you're ready? I've heard anything from "it will be years before you're ready" to "if you are asking the question, then you're ready" or "if you have to ask, then you're *not* ready," and even the helpful "you'll be ready when you know you're ready."
How have the other "suddenly single" people out there handled it? What key signs do you look for to tell if you're ready to take a chance at trusting others with your feelings? At trusting others with maybe even your heart?
PS. Anyone catch the source of the quote from the blog title?