A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.
(and not Cocoa Puffs)
Serial dater—it’s like a bad KICK ME sign on my back. It’s not a cute little nickname my girlfriends gave me for laughs. It’s a nickname given to me at least a thousand times in major magazines, television shows, and articles that are supposed to be talking about my work. And, oh yeah, the people who said it DON’T KNOW ME! I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve been reading an article, happy with what they have written, focusing on all the right things, and then, like the clap, it appears, serial dater. The term I have come to be permanently perplexed by.
What does it mean? That I date men and kill them? Yes, I have dated a lot, not on purpose, by the way. I would have loved to have met my soul mate in fourth grade and never looked back. Not my fate obviously. So, I have dated, not any different from anyone else, except my entire dating history has been documented by the press. So I ask only this: please wipe serial dater off the books and think of me as a girl who is looking for love just like you.
Balls, a Dress, or a Dress That Hides Our Balls
I will never forget the time a guy I was seeing told me to leave my balls at home before our date. I didn’t understand what he meant. When he explained, it made sense. I was trying to control our dates like business meetings, moving too fast, as if I had an agenda to get through and couldn’t talk about anything else but work (okay, I still had a lot of growing up to do). It’s true, during the day, for my career, business, and personal strength, in essence I strap a pair on as armor, but then at night, I want to be soft, girly, and taken care of. Although I understood what he meant, I was insulted. Why can’t there be four balls in a relationship and two of them be mine? Then, after the silent treatment, kicking him a thousand times in my mind and a movie, I realized something: My theoretical balls were taking away his chance to be the guy. He wanted to step up and let me be the girl I so wanted to be, but my balls were blocking the way. I had to be willing to be the softer, not so feisty version of myself to get what he and I both wanted. Ah, such a nice thought…for about a week.
QUESTION: Why can’t we be strong, self-assured, tough, sometimes even scrappy, and still be treated like a girl? Or…why don’t we choose the men who will let us be that? Which brought me to my big question: WHAT DO WE WANT? THE BALLS, THE DRESS, OR THE DRESS THAT HIDES OUR BALLS?
To be honest, I still go back and forth. Every time I watch an old movie I want to be the damsel in distress in a dress (think King Kong and Jessica Lange). Every time I watch a Julia Roberts movie I want the dress and balls (oh yeah, I’m talking about Pretty Woman). Every time I watch Oprah I just want a big pair. Sometimes I’m great at being a girl and other times I find myself playing his part and mine. But I am making a decision right here and now. I think hiding all of that power under a knock-out Miu Miu sundress is the way to go!
What we forget is every one of us is great just because of who we are. If you feel strong, you will be strong. We have curves that make even the greatest designers’ clothes look better (even though they usually show them on sticks). When our hair blows the right way in the wind we can stop traffic. We glow when they sweat. We can do a hundred and fifty things at once and, oh yeah, bleed every month. And on our best day we are the one thing that can leave a man speechless. So be strong, have personal power—good God, roar if you have to! But a couple of nights a week try letting it all be your undergarment and on top put a dress, perfume, some sparkle powder, and a little willingness to let him lead.
You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.
Macho, Metro, or Hero
(and then there were three…types, that is)
THE MACHO MAN
He plays lots of sports, worships his guy friends, loves beer, and is always planning an adventure that has you dangling from ropes. He will never be as sensitive as you want. He’s the brawny guy, super strong, who makes you feel protected. He has strong lips and makes you remember the guys you dreamed of when you were eight.
Oh dear God! He’s the guy none of us ever pictured. Metrosexual? What does that even mean?! Who knew it would be okay for your boyfriend to have as many hair products as you, order diet Coke while you order regular, spend more than you do on the finest fabrics, and take all your tissues at the hot romantic comedy. They are sensitive, aware of your feelings, and fulfill the more yin-yang needs in your relationship (they can also be one parking spot over from your gay best friend).
He is a gentleman who opens your door and knows the importance of a flower. He is not afraid to let you see him cry, plans dates for you when you least expect it, still believes in a good love letter, can admit that he has watched you sleep, and dresses up for you so you feel like the luckiest girl in the room. He wants to understand what romance means to you and make it happen. He lets you be strong and loves when you are weak. He is the one you wait for and think you will never find. And sometimes, sadly, he is the one in front of us who we miss.
The good news is none of these are bad choices. The bad news is we kind of want parts of all three. So how do we get that? If I knew, I would be the eighth wonder of the world! Maybe, for now, we should open our minds, let down our defenses, and try to see it from their side. Women are very complicated—I say this part carefully—maybe it’s not always the guy’s fault. There is someone out there for all of us, I really do believe that. But instead of looking for perfection, look for happiness, because remember, as women, we can also get it wrong. And our so-called perfect mirror can be turned on us at any moment and, oh God, we do not want to see that! Let’s look at each other with love and respect and find the one who is right for us, not the one who is perfect.
Dumbfounded Genitals, or Who Took My Mojo?
Just when we think guys don’t think of us, they do. Except it’s not how wonderful or complex we are. They think, “What’d I do now?” Or “Will I ever make her happy?” Kind of sweet, right? Or are they just lost and ready to give up? I’ve talked to some guys, and until the girl figures out her woman, the boy can’t figure out his man. OLD SCHOOL VS. NEW SCHOOL seems to be their biggest complaint.
Old-School PHONE CALL
When a guy asked for your phone number and just couldn’t wait until the next day to call, he was peachy, dreamy, and so cute! If a guy asked for your number and waited to call, he was shy or respectful. You would sweat with excitement and anticipation!
New-School PHONE CALL
If a guy calls the next day, he’s desperate, hard up, or a stalker. If he waits a while to call, he’s a player, man-whoring himself out to skanks, or “he’s just not that into you.”
P.S. Now that I know he’s just not that into me, where do I go from there? Yeah, thanks for that advice.
A woman would maybe offer to go dutch for dinner (that means each pays half). But most of the time she would never even think of paying and would be grateful that a nice young man had treated her to dinner.
If a guy suggests going dutch, he’s a moocher, broke, using you, and probably won’t get to date number two. If he pays sometimes, you thank him. But other times, it’s “Why? You don’t think I can pay for dinner? I have a job. I’m not your little woman.”
If a guy was romantic or made a fool of himself for love, he was husband material, well raised, and the one you had been looking for.
If a guy is too romantic or makes a fool of himself for love, it’s “Did you cheat on me? Is that why you’re being so nice? Are you gay? Are you a stalker? Or, I know, you just want in my pants!”
Now, although these examples are extreme and do not represent all women, they do happen and we do seem that crazy to guys. So maybe we should step back and think for a minute. Have we gone too far? Is it necessary to fight so hard when it comes to love? Are we so used to fighting for our position as women that we don’t know when to quit? And here’s the big one: Are we risking our chance at being the girl? Guys are lost and need our help. We have to decide what we want and how we want it in order for them to give it to us. We have to be clear and decisive (some of us may have to look up the definitions of clear and decisive). So here is something to try. Before you go out with him the next time, make a decision about who you are as a woman in love. Do you want to be the girl? Do you want to be the boss? Or do you want to be his equal (remember that whole dress that hides our balls thing)? And you also have to decide if you want a man who is just trying to please you, a man who is scared, or a man who is being himself. Once you decide, stick to it. Show him in words or actions—your choice—what kind of man your woman needs.
If you want to be the girl, then fight hard all day, be a pit bull, whatever, but when he picks you up or gets home, melt into his arms and make him think he can take care of everything. Show him Hugh Grant movies (so he can learn some modern-day romance moves). Let him open the door. Let him be himself. Don’t be weak, but let him be the hero. He might just become the man you want.
If you want to be the boss, then go out and find someone who is confident enough in himself to handle your strong woman. Let him know that sometimes you want to call the shots and don’t complain if he lets you. It’s your world, little miss bossy, he just lives in it.
If you want to be his equal, then explain it to him. You want romance, but you don’t want to lose your power. You want to pay for dinner sometimes, but you also want him to surprise you. You don’t want him to do things for you; you want him to do things with you.
I’m not saying this will cure all in the dating world, but if men and women would tell each other some of the things they tell their friends, it would be more honest and maybe more of the relationship we are looking for. Don’t get me wrong, some guys (and some women for that matter) will just never get it. But some, with a little help, just might. I think life and love can be what you make them. Figure out what you want out of love and life and go get it. If your guy or girl doesn’t fit those things, then find someone who will. We can no longer assume men know what we want; they don’t. So instead of fighting only for ourselves, maybe love is fighting for each other. And maybe real love is something we shouldn’t have to fight so damn hard for.
Flossed and Tossed
It’s 9:45 and I’m getting dressed for my day, but it’s different now. I’m stressed about my G-string. I think about putting my granny panties on (sorry, Grandma), saved only for laundry day, then something comes over me. As Sisqó’s “Thong Song” plays on the radio behind me, I start to think about the young girls at Rancho Bernardo High, April 26, 2002. They were asked to lift their dresses before they entered the dance. The principal at the high school asked the girls who arrived at the dance what kind of undies they were wearing. The female counselor lined up the girls against the wall and did an undie check. One of the girls said, “We were in front of the entire class, the counselor, assistant principal, and two campus cops.” If the girls had on a thong they were turned away. QUESTION: Where did those school officials buy their crack? What did they think they were protecting? Talk about missing the forest for the trees!
FACT: Price of a cheap G-string, eight bucks. Price of an expensive G-string, one hundred. A young girl’s dignity, priceless. Bottom line, there is nothing redeeming in this story. School dances used to be first kisses and the running man. Now it’s gang shootings and panty checks?? Something to think about—no boys were checked for boxers or briefs. Still in my closet with Sisqó, I declare today G-string day! To the young girls at Rancho Bernardo High, I am so sorry you had to deal with such humiliation. And to the school officials, don’t knock a G-string until you try one!
I want you to know you are not alone. I have experienced, laughed at, cried about, and had done to me all the things you are about to read. I have loved dating and hated it. I have known great men and not so great men. But the trenches of dating have taught me what I want and don’t want. Who I am and who I want to be. We must all go through it, and without it, what would we talk about over cocktails?!