Advice for Men · Advice for Women

Apathy: The Emotional Equivalent of Wet Firewood

fireplaceLast night we tried desperately to get some good flame action going with  new firewood. What we realized was that the wood had not been cared for in a way that was conducive to the warm glow that we were hoping for.

Lately I’ve had a few conversations with people about their relationships. As always, my sage stance is that any relationship that is neglected will die; like  wet firewood,  an unwatered flower or like a lemon left to wither in the back of the fridge.

Human beings are wired for connection. Yet, in our twisted culture, we are socialized to fear intimacy. Partnership involves emotional risk and vulnerability. After all, if you can’t be vulnerable with your lover, the one person you ought to trust to be naked with body and soul, well, you likely don’t have a very solid connection. Apathy isn’t sexy. Apathy is your old maiden aunt’s dentures and wig-on-the-nightstand-every-night.

Fabulous women like you and I darling are certainly brave enough to be  vulnerable and to ask for the intimacy that we need. We are not needy enough to stay  if our basic needs are neglected and left to, (shall I say?) wilt. Six months ago I went out on a limb and asked for what I needed. Guess what has happened since?  Keep guessing…

If your ‘parnter’ parts leaving you with all of the times that they’re busy and can’t connect, see it for the big, fat, red flag that it is. And then go do whatever the heck it is that you  want to do.  Do not let someone’s lack of passion inspire insecurity or any other shitty feeling. At this age, we’ve all been through too much to waste time living in the land of ambivalence, apathy and pretentious crappola.

Start saying no to waiting around and yes to not giving a damn.

Now go spark up that fire people, whether it be your own innate wildness, or together with your true love. Some say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but  that’s a lazy excuse; out of sight, out of mind sweetcakes. Carry on!

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A Love Letter to Middle-Aged Men

shaving-brushesThere’s a running joke between the more experienced ladies in the office, and the young singletons. It goes something like this: We used to be attracted to  older men – until we got older.

Women get ugly and men get creepy. That seems to be the stereotype. I can’t say I know many creepy old men. I tend to avoid them like syphillis and fungal infections. My tastes rather lean toward the educated and emotionally intelligent gentleman. You know, the kind who might have a bit of a belly, but a beautiful heart.  Someone who still believes in romance, intellectual conversation and the value of intimacy.

I mean really. As we age, who truly wants to see us naked? Any of us? Sure, put Chris Pine shirtless on the big screen any day. But don’t ask me to be intimate with him. I could see myself making him a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and giving him a pat on the head as heads out the door to play, but not in my bed thanks.

I prefer my middle-aged, intelligent yet man-dumb, gives-a-crap-about-how-he-shows-up-in-the-world-every-day guy any day. And that my darlings, is hot.

There’s a lot of media out there that leads us to believe that men and women’s attractivness declines with age. I disagree.

Snuggling in with a middle-aged man has it’s advantages. First of all, they have come to some understanding that women will always think they are somewhat man-dumb, and are thus more open to communication.  They are more in tune with their  out-of-tuneness than younger men and are, at the very least, consistent.

Pay attention gents, we don’t want you to look any different than the day we met you. We don’t need you drive an expensive car or take us shopping. We just appreciate you for meeting us half-way, even after life has tossed you around a bit. We get it. We’ve been there too.

Yes, we see through bullshit at this age and we call you on it. We know you wouldn’t respect us if we didn’t. We don’t have time for that stuff.

gartersBut we do have time to appreciate your body and your soul. We think you’re sexy, and yes, we even fantasize about you.

We love the way that your your hairy old chest feels under our palms, and how your experienced body feels curled up next to ours.

We appreciate  who you are and where you’ve come from. We see you as a whole person; your intelligence, your emotions and your physical self. We can appreciate the scars and how hard you’ve worked and still see you as sensual and sexy and worth wearing our garters and stockings for when we go out for a romantic dinner.

We appreciate that you have earned your stripes as men, not boys. We have busy lives which keep us vibrant and we know how to prioritize a man who prioritizes us. As long as you share this adult handling of partnership, you are like Gods to us. We want to see you happy, satisfied, and we crave your touch.

Yes, we are as cynical as you, and yet we are still as hungry for fun, excitement and adventure as you. We are your intellectual and emotional equals and we want you. No Porsche required.

 

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Being Jolly on a Budget

Each year I come up with some grand ideas about how to spend time with the ones you hold near and dear without breaking the bank.

I mean really, isn’t that what the holidays are all about? Spending time together is my very favourite gift.

So, this year, I bring you a list of ideas for being jolly on a budget, and I encourage to you to do at least TWO of them.

 

  1. Have a Christmas movie marathon. Define that however you like, but it implies watching more than one movie. It requires that you snuggle under a cozy blanket and sip hot cocoa laced with something that will make you giddy.

snuggle up

If you’re not sure which movies to watch, try one of these;

White Christmas

Holiday Inn

The Holiday

It’s a Wonderful Life

Miracle on 34th Street

2) Wander through a Christmas Market – no purchase required, except for a minimal entrance fee and optional hot cocoa or eggnog. If you go on a cold night, all the better; it’s a great excuse to snuggle your sweetie.

distillery market

3) Attend a local carol sing. Usually the admission cost is a bit of food for a local food bank. What better way to celebrate the true meaning of the season?

Children's Christmas Pageant 2011 + Christmas in Fan Concert

 

4) Have a Christmas themed games night with your closest pals or your family. BYOB and a snack to share. Voila!

twister-4x3

5) Go for a walk on a snowy night. Take in the Christmas decorations and talk about your hopes, dreams, what your favourite traditions are.

windowshopping

6) Bake and decorate a gingerbread house of your own design. Pick out your favourite candy together, make the gingerbread (gingerbread often has to sit overnight before you bake it, so it could be a romantic pj party!), decorate the house just the way you want I to be.

gingerbread house

7) Read your favourite Christmas poems or stories.

robert-frost-the-road-not-taken

8) One of my favourite Christmas traditions is to watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas. It makes me smile, laugh, and remember what the true spirit of the season is really all about.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season that brings you closer to the ones you love.

 

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Being Single; Protecting Your Go-Juice

relaxonbeachIt seems that single people are the great catch-basin of sympathy for those friends negotiating marriages or the equivalent.

Our relationship troubles get us a pat on the head, and the standard, simple advice of, ‘If you don’t like it leave’.

A lot of coupled folks live their courage vicariously through us singletons.  Common platitudes include; You don’t need anyone, you’re independent, it’s time for you to focus on  your career (interchange that with a hobby, parenting, or some other such bullcrap), you don’t need a man/woman.

It’s easy for these folks to casually waive their ringed-fingers in the air and brush away our trite singleton emotional pain when, at the end of a hard day, they have someone to come home to, someone to snuggle up with, and someone to help negotiate the financial waters.

Yah, we get it. Relationships are not easy, and they take work. Why do you think it’s taken us so damn long to find someone we can live with? We understand why your spouse irritates the hell out of you. We really do. That’s why we didn’t marry them. We also understand why you irritate the hell out of them too.

There is an understood law of friendship that unless it is a true emergency, you don’t call after or before certain, civilized hours. Oh wait, that’s for coupled folks only. Single people stay up partying all night and writing their manuscripts. I wish. This long-weekend alone, I have been woken up every single morning with a text or call from a married pal in crisis, been needed (in person) for emergency advice out-of-town, and in my own living room.

Last night, I had a chance to put my feet up and enjoy a simple, quiet evening watching the ball game. By that time, My Go-Juice(you know, the fun energy that keeps you going) had run out, and I was in need of recharge time. I’ve been in need of recharge time for six months, but have neglected it too long.

I’m already counting down to my next holiday, and have narrowed down my escape destination to two options.

During the past few weeks I’ve come to realize just how burnt out,  in need of nurturing and good company I am.

If you are single, and find yourself constantly being asked for energy and time, it may be time to re-evaluate. Are you the one always organizing dinners, lunches or trips? Do your pals give you the brush off when you talk about your relationship struggles, but expect a kind ear when they bitch about their partners lip-smacking appreciation of anyone other than them, their messy habits, inability to communicate, lazy or alternately hyper libido?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then it’s time to recharge and re-fill your Go-Juice.

It’s ok to say no when you have nothing left to offer. God forbid us singletons get so cozy in ourselves that we’re happy handing out the candy-equivalent of peanuts for apathetic advice; If you don’t like it, leave.

It’s not that simple now, is it folks?

No, relationships are complex, fluid, wonderful things. Especially our friendships.

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The Practice of Practicing Loving

decisions todayI’m not a re-reader. I have re-read less than a handful of books and a few articles.

There is one article that I’ve kept around, read and re-read, copied and passed along to friends; Let Me Count the Ways, by John Tarrant, Shambala Sun, September 2011.

I’ve kept it around because I’ve needed it. It made sense to my heart, but I couldn’t assimilate it into my being, into my practice, into my every-day-can-I-not drag-the-pain-of-my-past-into-my-future.

As I write this, the love of my life is nestled in front of me. I look into his blue eyes and see the hope, the joy, the pain of the past and all of the questions about the future, and I practice loving. All of it. The joy, the pain, what happened in the past to bring us to one another, and the wonderful mystery of what joys the future will bring us if we just surrender.

You remember your first kiss or when you met the one you love. Youemember where you were, what the weather was like, what you were wearing, who else was with you, and what song was playing. Such a memory is one of the compass points of life. It doesn’t mean that the love was smart of worked out or you understood what it meant, but it means that you surrendered. You risked the taste of life, and that changed things.

When you sit across from a man who makes your heart beat faster, your loins become outrageously moist, and your mind stop churning, you know that you’re in trouble.

The question is, how do you stop thinking? How do you stop bringing old wounds out into the light to be re-opened, dissected and left to fester? How do you live in a deliciously perfect moment that life has been conspiring to present to you since the day you were born?

It’s about risk.  It’s about surrender. It’s about letting go of everything that you ever thought made any sense to a bruised and battered heart. It’s about not calculating and just simply letting go.

When things come into being involuntarily, everything shakes: the universe appears, expanding rapidly, poems arrive out of nowhere, coincidences occur, and the mind is rearranged. In love you do things, that don’t make rational sense. Like enlightenment, love teaches you how to live down a level, to follow instructions that come from deep inside.

So this practice of practicing loving is an unforgiving master. This practice of practice of loving strips me bare of everything I’ve ever thought about myself and my values. Love makes you wake up, feel alive, and grateful for each and every sensation.

You notice what gives you pain, what hardens your heart –  how when you dislike someone or hold a grudge, or embark on a crusade, or are jealous and principled, you make yourself and others around you unhappy. Noticing is a practice of love. You don’t have to exclude, extinguish, or dislike anything that the mind presents. Life becomes an adventure. You take the ride.

So in the on-going practice of practice of loving, as we venture into mid-life and the increased awareness of what-might-have-been, I choose to stick my thumb out and take the ride.

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Always Choose the Frilly Panties

ginintonicWhen choosing between books and frilly undies, my advisor  Dr. Tanqueray strongly suggests the frilly undies.

You see, we were bonding this evening over the chapters.ca website. when my wee-girl-brain started to envision my man’s shirt off and trousers around his ankels.

Whilst staring off into space while the book-nerd website waited patiently in front of me, dear old Dr. Tanqueray asked the question that begged answering, “Would you rather have the book, or the panties.

I’m delighted to say that the panties won out. Hands down. Thank you Tanqueray. Had my senior advisor, Coffee, been around, the book would definitely be en route.

Now, don’t roll your eyes and click away from me darling. You must understand that this comes from a woman who refuses to spend a dime on wedding magazines, and hates shopping malls.

What we’re talking about here is just letting ourselves indulge in a bit of, well, indulgence.

At this age and stage, I’m proud to tell you that I’ve purchased, worn, and test-driven every silky, sensual and sleazy bit of paraphernalia that anyone could ever hope to romp around in with an excruciatingly decadent lover.

But I was over that. So very over that. I thought that it was gone forever. I thought I was destined to my regularly scheduled program of back-up men and really, really good books, booze and gal-chats.

Then it happened. From somewhere out in the great unknown, Mr. Deliciously-Perfect-and-Uber-Sexy man appeared in my life. And now I need pretty things again.

Not for him. Oh no, my sweet little cherries of love, I need them for me!

That’s right darlings, moi. You see, nothing makes me feel any sexier than a hot, candle-lit soak, accompanied by some Cava, soft, warm legs with freshly applied lotion, and some lacey bits. Life is too short to deny oneself the pleasure of pleasures of the flesh.

Trust me ladies, when you’re fantasizing about it, not matter how old, how robust, or how many times you’ve been around the block, a new lover deserves a freshly rejuvenated you. A new once-in-a-lifetime

Always, always, always, go for the panties. If you have any doubts, consult with Dr. Tangueray.

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Not What It’s Cracked Up to Be

laughingcoupleAs it turns out darlings, falling head over heels in love is not what it’s cracked up to be.

In other words, it turns out, I think I’ve fallen, and it’s not a bit like I thought that it should be.

Should is the mere smear of hidden dog-pooh on the sole of life, the gum stuck to the bottom of a school-room desk, and bitter taste left in your mouth after swallowing your own voice.

Should is buying the sensible shoes when you really want the rhinestone, feathered stilettos.  Should is for cowards and those who lack imagination.

When I tell you that falling head over heels in love is not at all like it should be, you likely need to pay attention. You see, I’ve had an entire adult life with false-falling-in-love-alarms. I’m an expert in almost-falling-in-love and attracting duds.

I’ve primped, preened, pruned, pushed, pulled and plumped various and sundry wiggly bits and personality traits to try to get things to work, to fit, to feel right. The only thing that has happened, is that it all feels wrong. Uncomfortable, or in the words of the Duchess of Bourbon and Juicy Man-Steaks, it feels “Icky”.

Icky is not lovely. Nor is it sexy, or attractive, or even desirable. Icky is just icky. You can’t possibly feel like a lady if things are icky.

soullookingforyouWhat isn’t icky is enjoying the company of someone so very much that you forget about your mascara running, and hair being mussed up, or (gasp), that you don’t have to worry what you say or how you say it because you just ‘get’ one another.  That isn’t icky, it’s incredible.

Really loving someone and feeling loved in return is a gift that we often deny ourselves by playing gracious host to our fears of failure, abandonment and loneliness. When we do this, they park their asses in our psychological parlour and overstay their welcome. While fear lingers over the same old cold cup of tea, telling us stories we’ve heard a thousand times,  we lose our opportunity to give serendipity a whirl, and everybody knows what a great party serendipity can throw.

More than fearing being a dweller in the kingdom of singledom, fear dwelling in the kingdom of joyless half-lives and meaningless stuff.  Flowers on the first date may check all the Harlequin boxes, but they rarely plant seeds which take root in our souls.

Falling in love is not all of the things we are taught it should be; the right time, the right place, flowers for no reason and grand romantic gestures. I’ve lorded over that kingdom, and it kind of lacks substance. Ok, ok, I confess, I did like the champagne.

All kidding aside, there’s nothing fun about discovering your paramour is an ignorant sociopath disguised in the glitter of fairytales.

Falling in love is akin to coming home after a long, cold, winter day,  curling up in your favourite duvet, and having it hug you back, kiss you tenderly on the forehead, and tell you that it’s all going to be… fantastic.