Get Off Your Soapbox

Recently, I've had a lot of people tell me not to date the girl I'm currently seeing. One woman even told me to turn around and bolt. Like how do I do that?

"Hey, I miss you. Um..." I say and do a 180 and run. I ain't that fast. It's not like one moment I'm there, the next, BAM, I'm gone. Or do I dance my way out?

The reason behind this wonderfully stupid advice is because of my girl's background, in particular her religion. There has been a lot of backlash against her religion, but that doesn't mean I should just give up before anything starts. And most of the fear isn't about the religion itself but the major differences in culture between her and I, that the divide is too great for love to overcome.

Romeo and Juliet anyone? But that's a freakin' movie that starred Leonardo and Carrie from Homeland.

First of all, nothing in life is guaranteed. Except death. Maybe. How many weddings have happened this year alone that will end up divorcing? What's the going statistic? Half of all marriages end in divorce?

'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all -Alfred Lord Tennyson

And I'm not writing this to defend my situation, since I've given very little information to support my cause. There's just something about me, about a lot of people out there now, that wants to do our own thing, despite the good-natured and ill advice that we get.

I'm not surprised that so many people feel unfulfilled. So many times we want to pursue a dream only to be beaten down by naysayers. And, I feel, most of the time those naysayers are trying to knock us down from our own pedestals because they're afraid to chase their own dreams. That's when I say:

And that's the key to moving forward (not the bitch part), realizing that that fear is not real. Unless you're being stared down by a grizzly bear, in which case do a 180 and bolt. No. Don't do that. Play dead. Not sure if that works or not. You know what? Just avoid confronting a grizzly. It ain't good for your health.

It's like writing a book. No, writing a book is not like confronting a bear that can tear you apart limb from limb and feed you piece by piece to her cubs. There's a lot of doubt that flows through my mind that anyone outside my circle of friends and family would read it. Hell! Most of friends and family haven't even asked about my book, let alone read the first chapter, which can be seen here.

But that's OK.

I write because something, maybe the story, has called on me to write. So I write. I sacrifice hanging out with friends, seeing movies, or partying through the wee hours of the night, so I can write. Instead of spending money on my heart's desire, I pay my writing coach to tell me how much I suck. OK. She doesn't do that. Despite her very honest critique, I write through my tears. OK. I don't actually cry. Cuz I'm a man! Will the world read my books? I don't know. A part of me says no, but here I am, writing.

Since I can't tell the future, or have any real control over my literary success (no one does), I take one step at a time and trudge forward. So should you. Whatever makes your heart sing, do that thing. Unless it includes hurting others. Avoid that. Please. Instead, go bother a grizzly.

 

Masks That We Wear

Who loves dating? Who hates it? I remember one of my former friends saying to her husband as we walked by a North Beach bar in San Francisco, "God, I'm so glad I have you."

I smile as I think about that moment. Not because I hate dating, nor do I love it. I embrace it as I would a dentist appointment. I's gots ta gets my teef cleaned. Or suffer some severe bad breath and painful cavities.

Now, I smiled because she's a bitch and she causes all the conflict in her relationship. She had asked me before she committed to her wedding vows if I could teach her husband how to be more outspoken. I laughed and said no. Because her husband was naturally effeminate, and as a result not loud. I guess I'm loud.

Dating various women for about a year, I've thought about why one out of two marriages fail. And it has a lot to do with the images in our heads. Just like my friend, the bitch, she had an image in her mind as to what her husband should act like. And believe me. She had a massive list of improvements for her husband and how their marriage should look like. It all came down to what other people perceived of them. He needed a college degree. He should have a good, proper job. They should have a house, not a condo. They should have children because the societal norm is to have children. They needed a minivan because that was how you cart around your children. Sedans just ain't cuttin' it no more. They should do family things.

Lawd help mah soul.

Within my circle of friends, one of the women had complained about my humor and subject of conversation. Apparently, when I was talking to a friend of mine, we had made some lewd jokes. That's how guys talk to each other. Women, too, when men aren't around, right? She complained to one of the guys, and he came up to us and asked if we could be more considerate.

Here's tha thang: the conversation was between me and another guy (grammar!). If she overheard us, that ain't my problem. I can't control what she listens to. And if she took offense, then that is 100% her issue because I can't control her delicate sensitivity. Then she put her foot down and said she would never hang out with the group if I was there. In my mind, I as like:

So how does this relate to the divorce rate in the good old You Ess of Hay? I wanted to use 'aye' but that sounds like 'eye'.

Our friend said that if this girl tells people that we're rude or lewd or crude or nude or that we like food, then our chances with some of those women will die. Die. End! Forever go away! Like never come back!

Oh. Mah. Gawd!

For me, if a girl can't keep up with me—humor, spontaneity, physically, honest conversation—or at least makes an attempt at some level, then she and I should not be in a relationship. Can that change in the future? Depends if she can keep up with me in the future. On the flip side, there are women that I can't keep up with, and we should not be together. This isn't a black and white rule that I live by. But it's a good guideline.

Why is it a good guideline?

Yeah, I would so love to see more of your family photos

Yeah, I would so love to see more of your family photos

Let's think about a first date. The guy picks up the girl, opens doors, pulls out chairs, suggests things on the menu, has vanilla conversation, avoiding sensitive subjects like politics and religion, and pays for dinner. What a guy. Aw.

The girl smiles, laughs at every joke, orders a salad and a light entree, holds her farts, excuses herself to fart, sits with good posture, and has vanilla conversation, avoiding sensitive questions like what's your FICO score, how steady is your job, do you have STDs, do you live with your mother? So nice.

The date ends and both have had a pleasant evening and decide a second outing should be on tap. Yay...

I'm itchy

I'm itchy

One month in...

"I love you."

"I love you more."

"You hang up."

"No, you hang up."

Three months later...

He loves sports and spends his Sundays with his buddies yelling at the boob tube. She'd rather have him spend time with her.

She loves shopping, but he never goes with her.

Both see these things as speed bumps and continue on.

A year later...

They're living together. He doesn't make the bed, clean the sink after every use, leaves his clothes all over the floor, and he doesn't like talking about anything of depth.

She has more and more girls' nights out, seems anal about cleanliness and prettiness, and gets pissed off that he won't go to church with her on Sundays.

But they've invested so much in their relationship that they get married.

Five years later...

"I hate you!"

"I hate you more!"

"Hang up!"

"No, you hang up!"

Why is one arm longer than the other?

Why is one arm longer than the other?

Had they been more real with each other, they may have avoided a long relationship that ended in divorce. If church is important to the girl, then she better freakin' tell the dude. If sports and spending time with his best buds is important, he better not hide that shit.

So back to me, if a woman hates my humor, then we ain't meant to be. I don't believe in the church, so a religious girl ain't for me unless she's cool with letting me have my own beliefs. This shit needs to be out in the open. But on first dates and in social gatherings, we're so concerned with how people will see us if we're real, drying up our dating pool, that we wear masks and settle on the next best thing, which isn't best at all. Not even good.

However, if you are in a relationship that you want to save, and there's issues between the two of you, then one simple way of solving those issues is look at the images of what you think your relationship should look like and throw them out.

Like my bitch friend, she had a mountain of ideas of what her man should be, what her marriage should be, what her life should be, and she hated it all. I know she hated it all because all she did was complain, yell, and get really pissed off, like if she was on a continuous period.

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Once you get rid of these societal norm images and allow your relationship to blossom on its own, then you can decide if your partner's quirks are something that you can live with. If you can't, then you've got to make a decision.

So where does this leave me? I'm still single. Not that that's a bad thing. It's good in a way because I can continue to explore other women and watch myself play the game, but I can't help but feel alone. So many people either want a relationship or enter one expecting it or the other person to make them happy. From that standpoint, I am alone. Because as I explain that happiness cannot come from another person, it can only come from within, I receive discerning looks as if to say, of course happiness comes when we connect with another person. If it doesn't, then why do humans want to connect? Simply put, it is our nature, just as it is the nature of water droplets to merge when they touch.

What's Your Silent Complaint?

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I meet a lot of different people from all flights of life. And my silent complaint is most people can't have a conversation that is deeper than "What do you do?" We're so afraid of offending people that delving deeper into something of more substance is seen as invasive.

For the Fourth, I had taken BART, a rail transit system, to meet a group of people in San Francisco for dinner and fireworks. I stepped into the air-conditioned rail car and sat down. Through an adjoining door of another car, a young black man entered from the far end, surveyed all of the empty seats, and sat down next to a blonde woman. She was a little miffed because she had to move her stuff off the seat next to her to make room for him.

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The black man smiled and said, "I was just joking. I wanted to see your reaction." They both had a good laugh. She was still a little miffed, though.

Respecting her space, he moved over to the seat in front of me, and like a Godsend, we started talking about real shit. He struggled with his own place in life in comparison to what others perceived, who'd told him how together he was. And he didn't believe that. 

So I asked a simple question, "Do their opinions of you really matter?"

"Fuck yeah!"

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"If they called you stupid, does that mean you're stupid?"

He diverted the question by stating that we as individuals have to examine the projectiles that we send out versus what others send out. Because if they match, then we are living our truth. I assumed projectiles were the views and opinions we hold for everyone including ourselves. Still, he hadn't answered my question.

I countered, "Once you start comparing yourself to anything, including where you think you should be, and adhere yourself only to your goals, you're in danger of never being content with what you have." He agreed. "So why do you think anyone does anything?"

I don't remember what his response was because he tended to ramble on for long periods. 

I told him most people do things because they're in search for true happiness. But happiness is born innate within humans. 

Look at babies. They are a happy little people. And they have nothing in terms of materialistic wealth and status. 

That doesn't mean we shouldn't do things for the sake of doing things. I write simply because that's what I do at this moment. My novel is an avenue for me to express my deepest self without declaring that I'm writing a memoir. Later, I'll drink water because I'm thirsty. 

But most of our pursuits like jobs, money, love will somehow complete us, make us whole, bring happiness, bring a sense of satisfaction through ego or status. And what all humans realize after acquiring those things, if they don't lie to themselves, is they're still unhappy because they expect happiness from things.

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I had bought what I'd like to call my midlife crisis caR. When people talk about soul mates, they talk about lovers. People with intuitive depth will know that soul mates can be different things such as pets, friends, places to live (Hawaii!). This caR is my soul mate. I love driving this caR. This caR was specifically engineered for the track and has become of a legend in its own right. My caR isn't the fastest, not the flashiest, and because of its age, most young auto enthusiasts won't know what it is when I take my caR out. But I feel very connected to my caR, engaged. Maybe had I bought my other favorite car, the Nissan GT-R, I'd feel more manly, but rarely do I succumb to my own ego.

I've had this caR for a year now and only about five people know about it. I don't show it off because of some asinine duty to humility. I just don't care to talk about it unless it's with a person who understands my love for this caR. It's like having sex. I don't go around telling people I had sex for the sake of fulfilling my manliness. And I'm not a prude, meaning I'm very open when it comes to sex. Sex is something I enjoy with another person, and because of that, remains between us.

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In terms of my caR, simply put, I love driving it, feeling the race attributes the engineers had built into it, and the connectedness when I'm in the driver seat. Will it make me happy? No. That's not the purpose of things, money, or love. Happiness, as my new found friend doesn't yet truly understand is already within us all.

Now comes my silent complaint. A group of us, ten peeps, met at the restaurant, and we began to play a game. Everyone received a piece of paper. We were to write down two truths about ourselves and one lie. Mine were:

I used to be an actor

I used to life coach children

I've dated a man

Everyone laughed and couldn't get their minds off the last sentence, which was the purpose. When it came time to choose which one was the lie, most chose either of the first two options, which was funny. Do I give off a gay vibe?

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What I found interesting was no one asked me about being an actor and no one asked about life coaching children, one of the things I'm most proud of. This was strange given that half of the people at the table were women. This may sound narcissistic, but if someone revealed an interesting fact about themselves, I'd want to know more about it. I mean, the whole purpose of this game was to spark conversation and get to know each other better.

Oh well...