May 21, 2013 § 1 Comment
The first submission in me giving… dating advice? (Really, me?!) Believe it or not,
I’ll help you here I come!
“Three Days Grace Period” asks:
Anyways, one of the reoccurring problems I have with men, is I will meet one and we will text nonstop for on average about three days. He will be totally digging me, me reciprocating. And we just text all day for about three days.
Then the next morning he will never reply to me again.
Just done with me. Out of nowhere.
This happens consistently enough, that I have now begun to expect it when I start texting a guy I like.
I’ve even begun to suspect (not seriously) that there is some creepy stalker I have who after three days of contact with me, goes and threatens these men to stay away.
Or something like that!
What’s wrong Kenneth? Am I only interesting for three days? Do I start saying stupid things after three days?
And why does every guy lately do this?
Dear 3 Days,
In the classic film The Room, Denny is caught with Chris-R on the roof in some sort of drug deal gone wrong. Lisa’s mother poses the question to Denny, “What are you doing with the drugs? Giving them, taking them?” One can not really comprehend why a person would “give away” drugs but I guess technically that’s a possibility. Though it seems rather wasteful to have all of these drugs and then just give them away. It’s bad business.
I read your question and then I pondered it for a couple days while I was prepping this first post. And then I read it for the second time and realized that I should now make sure to thoroughly read all the questions at first and then ponder because in about less than 20 words I was able to dissect at least one major part of the issue.
“one of the reoccurring problems I have with men, is I will meet one and we will text nonstop for on average about three days.”
“one of the reoccurring problems I have with men, is I will meet one and we will text nonstop for on average about three days.”
“I will meet one and we will text nonstop for on average about three days.”
“we will text nonstop”
In a way, texting has become the best and worst thing to happen to relationships in at least the last 100 years. It’s very possible that after three days, you literally know more about a guy you met one time than what your grandmother and grandfather knew about each other by the time they were married. And most relationships of that era lasted 100000000x longer than ours do in the current generation.
It’s like how Unsolved Mysteries used to be this awesome show about things we couldn’t disprove and then we got better technology and gave everyone an HD camera on their phone and now it’s just:
UnSolved Mysteries – Turns Out It Was A Guy In A Suit, What’s On TLC? Oh Hoarders I Haven’t Seen This One… Ew Gross.
Textual Harassment is one of the leading killers of possibly getting laid or even finding a potential significant other in the year 2013. Check out reddict.com/r/CreepyPMs and watch seemingly normal people dissolve into Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Some of the best/worst advice on texting comes from Tom Haverford on Parks and Recreation when he asks an interviewee about what to do when you get a girls number in the club. Text her the next day that it was nice to meet her?
“Wrong. I wait 8 weeks and then text ‘What’s crackin?’”
That’s an extreme version of it, but the principles still apply. Even in today’s world of constant interaction and the ability to literally be a tiny talking head inside someones front pocket, there’s plenty of room to leave for mystery. There’s plenty of time to sit back and say “If you want to get to know me, take the time and effort to actually get to know me.” Think of guys as T-Rex and this is you when you “text non-stop for three days”:
Make a guy wonder, “Where the heck is this chick? She must be really popular with the fellas, damn it I’m gonna lose my chance!” Don’t be unavailable, but don’t hand yourself to him on a silver platter. Texting nonstop for three days in the very beginning used to always be my undoing too and it’s also not a bad practice to put in place even if you’ve been dating for a few weeks to show that you’ve got a life outside of just that persons every word, letter, and emoji.
Chat with the guy, but let it be known early on that you’re a girl that’s worth taking out on a proper date (or just coming over for a proper “movie” whatever floats your boat) but when you text nonstop in the very beginning, that’s like giving away free drugs. It makes no sense.
If you thought that was decent advice y’all, please send in more questions with the Contact button on the left!!
May 20, 2013 § 5 Comments
In Part I you met Sam and Diane, a long distance romance started by a co-worker of mine in Los Angeles and another co-worker in San Francisco. Things were going great until Sam decided to move to San Francisco.
In Part II we learned that Sam was struggling with Diane’s aloof nature over the past couple of weeks, and came to yours truly for advice. I told him that in this case, he needed to get over his apprehension about asking “what’s wrong?” and face the issue rather than toil in his own head with worry. I’ve seen men emotionally abuse women with “slut shaming” by making them feel bad about normal sexual behavior, but perhaps there should be something called “wuss shaming” for people making guys feel like shit for having feelings. Sam owned up and asked Diane what was wrong and did realize that she had concerns about what he thought this relationship would become if he moved up to San Francisco.
Sam started to freak out a little bit…
I’m going to start out Part III by addressing Bob’s comment from Part II and clear some things up, so that we’re all on the same page.
Moving to San Francisco makes him look like a wuss.
Sam is moving to San Francisco because his best friend Woody got a job at Google and he can move out of the LA area for the first time in his life while keeping his job. If I was in the same situation, I would probably move to San Francisco too. Diane might have influenced the decision a little bit, but she was not the focal point. He’s been talking about getting out of LA before he met Diane. I can see where Diane might think that he’s moving “for her” and get freaked out by this though, and that’s just something that’s unavoidable.
He’d be a “wuss” if he didn’t move because of Diane.
Asking “what’s wrong” makes him look like a wuss.
I disagree. A guy or girl that constantly pesters their significant other “what’s wrong, baby?” “Aww baby, what’d I do wrong?” has some issues. But if after three months you start to notice a change in the other person, there is absolutely nothing wrong with saying “What’s up?” and avoidance of doing so because you’re afraid of being perceived in a negative light is barbaric. The other person is basically lying to you — Maybe it’s not a malicious lie, but their behavior is a byproduct of not wanting to address the elephant in the room and will eventually decay into something much worse. Avoiding the issue and pretending like you’re not bothered by it, is also a lie we tell ourselves.
You should address issues in your relationships.
You shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions to someone that you’re talking to, dating, sleeping with, or otherwise.
Sure, another possibility for Sam at that point would be to just end the relationship or take time apart, but at least now he knows that Diane’s behavior wasn’t just because she was busy or sick and he can start to move forward in his own life.
Asking his friends about what Diane is thinking makes him look like a wuss.
I’m not sure why friends can’t talk to friends about the people they’re seeing.
Getting into a long distance relationship makes him look like a wuss.
There’s a lot of cool people outside of your general vicinity and sometimes making those relationships is unavoidable. However, Sam did develop feelings for Diane where perhaps he shouldn’t have, if only because both parties entered into an agreement where the distance would serve as a natural barrier from friend ship to relation ship.
Let’s get into those two parts right now: The decision to move your ship into possibly dangerous waters and how to move on when you know the truth.
Sam had finally found out that after two weeks of worrying about whether or not Diane was having second thoughts about everything, that she was actually having second thoughts about everything! Sam could have “dumped” Diane and simply moved on from the situation, but what if a real relation ship was salvageable here from the bottom of the ocean?
We shouldn’t avoid every little conflict because of social norms or fear of rejection and shaming. Look at the two possibilities:
- Sam says nothing, moves on, fosters an awkward situation in which he still moves up to San Francisco anyway.
- Sam brings up the issue and they have an adult conversation about it. Awkward situation is possibly avoided, both parties can move on in whichever direction they choose, whether together or separate.
And now Sam knew that Diane was fearful of him expecting too much from her by moving to San Francisco. He knew that they were navigating different courses and he started to sink (more sailing metaphors coming at ya baby!!!) into a dark place that I am all too familiar with. But luckily my familiarity with this dark place allowed me to hopefully talk Sam out of dwelling in his dwelling with a pint of Netflix. In fact, I was going through a similar situation of my own just prior to talking to Sam and could immediately draw from my own experience to hopefully help set him straight.
After years of allowing myself to drown in self-pity, I said “funk that noise!” and started to take ownership of my feelings and how I would handle these situations. It’s helped change my life…
Recently, I re-connected with an old acquaintance and we spent a couple weeks feeling each other out but I also knew going into it that she was coming out of a relation ship and was looking to stay on land for awhile. (Oh God, when will the metaphors end!! (Never…)) I tested it out because I like testing things and because…
But what I did I do at the beginning:
- I established the ship
After a couple of weeks, it became evident to me that her last relationship was still messing with her head and that it was becoming toxic for both of us. So what I did I do:
- I abandoned ship when it became obvious that both parties might want something different.
By addressing the issue head on, we have been able to maintain a friend ship and leave open possibilities down the road for when we might be on a more similar course. Never adjust your expectations of a ‘ship’ for somebody else.
“I just want to be friends with benefits.”
If you’re saying “Okay, I can do that” but you’re thinking “Eventually you’ll fall for me too!” then you might as well be thinking: “I can’t WAIT to be in a deep emotional pain when this all goes wrong!”
The biggest reason that a person wants to stay in a relationship even when they knows its wrong, is that they think they’ll never find anyone else, which of course is a classic sign of a low self-esteem, of having very little sense of personal value. This has been an issue that has haunted me for most of my life and screwed up most of my ships because I thought that “this person” was the only one. (And I have found about 100 girls that were definitely “the one”)
- NEVER fixate on just one person until you know for sure that this is your one significant other and that the feeling is mutual.
Pretty much no normal person only gets “one shot” at a permanent, healthy relationship and as soon as you’ve started to establish that someone isn’t going to be “the one” then it’s time to truly start to move on — as hard as that might be. (Unless of course you’re both completely aware of what it is you’ve entered into and are okay with it. I’m just addressing what Sam or myself were looking for.)
The truth is that in that connection with an old acquaintance, I was the one that started to realize I wanted more. When I established that she wasn’t going to be ready for that, I was the one that ended it. And most importantly, I was okay with all of that because I know that I provide value and that I will be alright and wouldn’t fixate on one person.
Sam’s situation was different than mine in that it was much longer, probably more intense, and involved a specific situation of long-distance becoming short-distance, but the principles of how to deal with it could still apply. The ship that Sam and Diane were on was established early on but had started to change and it was time for Sam to take notice of the fact that they might be going in different directions. Diane was within her rights of saying that this might not be what she wanted, but it was more important for Sam to start realizing that he can’t pretend that he wants something that he doesn’t want just to continue to be with her. That’s not fair to either of them.
I told Sam the news that he did not want to hear: You have to abandon ship.
It wasn’t even as though he was abandoning Diane for having fearful emotions, but he had to actually do what she was requesting. By being aloof and establishing that she was not sure her and Sam wanted the same things, she was basically asking for space to think about things. Sometimes the first instinct in this situation, when you believe you’re about to lose somebody, is to try and get closer and convince them that they’re making a bad decision.
This is the absolute worst thing to do, and Sam had to resist every instinct in his body to make contact with Diane. He thought that by starting to pull away, he’d lose his chance with her, but in reality he’d lose his chance with her if he tried to get closer. When a person asks for space, give it to them!
Let’s say that you loved red beans and rice and it was one of your favorite foods. Someone is making you these amazing red beans and rice and you can’t get enough of it, you eat it every day.
Now it’s been three months and you haven’t gone a day without red beans and rice. It’s still your favorite food but you just need a break from red beans and rice. You tell the cook, “Please sir, maybe I have macaroni and cheese today instead of red beans and rice?” The cook’s gut reaction is to say “What? You don’t like my red beans and rice anymore?!”
“No, kind sir. I love your red beans and rice. But I need a break from red beans and rice, it has absolutely nothing to do with your cooking skills or the food itself, I just need a break from it.” Now, what are you going to do?
Well, if you show up the next day with a hearty bowl of red beans and rice, are you expecting them to say “Thank you for reading between the lines and bringing me red beans and rice even though I explicitly asked for mac and cheese!”? I hope not. Because despite how much they like red beans and rice, they asked you not to make it for awhile and you did it anyway. Even though they love red beans and rice, you’ve started to drive them into the arms of another chef because you didn’t do what they asked for.
It wasn’t about how much they liked the food, it was about you trying to force them into eating something they told you not to serve.
If a person tells you that they need space, don’t give them anything other than space. Even if they were playing a mind game with you, well then fuck that you don’t want to be with that person anyway. The more that Sam would try to show Diane that he was a worthy candidate for a boyfriend, the less appealing he would actually become to Diane. What he needed to do in this case was start to give her what she asked for and then they’d know whether it was right or not.
Don’t show a person that wants space what life would be like with you, show them what life will be like without you.
I explained to Sam that it was time to start separating himself from the relationship and find out, for both of them, what they really wanted. I told him that he really needed to get out there, start talking to some other people, and to realize that he couldn’t placate to what she wanted unless he wanted it too. There’s no way you can force another person onto a ship, that just makes you a butt pirate.
The brilliant John Steinbeck once wrote a letter to his son Thom about love. The whole thing is a must-read for absolutely everybody, but the last line could change your life as much as it has mine:
And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens – The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.
Would Sam be able to followup on the toughest advice yet? And would it work? And am I comparing myself to the guy that wrote some of the most important novels in American history?
May 19, 2013 § 4 Comments
When we last left off, Sam was worried that Diane had become more distant since he announced he would be turning their long-distance friends with benefits ship into a short-distance “I-have-no-idea-what-this-is” ship by moving from Los Angeles to San Francisco. (Part I is here) I told him that in my opinion it was time just ask her what was up, despite this one supposed dating “rule”:
The #1 rule of fight club is that you don’t talk about fight club, but a little known fact is that actually the #2 rule of fight club is that you don’t ask the person you’re dating if something is wrong.
What was Sam to do….
Many men are raised to believe that having emotions is a “chick thing, man!” but the reality is that many guys grow up with plenty of emotion anyway. We’re raised one way but our bodies tell us something different. Sure, I know a bunch of guys that are able to have a disconnect between the physical and emotional relationships they have with women, but I know plenty more that fall in love. That lose sleep over someone. That spend the entire day thinking about what their future could be like with that special someone. And that go crazy wondering if “this distance that Diane is putting between us is the product of being “busy and sick” or if she’s starting to have second thoughts.”
We hurt too, ladies. We spin our hair in our fingers (well the ones of us that have sweet p-tails, do) just like you do with worry. And while we say we don’t want to play games, we still abide by a certain set of rules. In a way, we’re all playing some level of a game whether we like it or not, but just like Chess, some of us really suck at it!
I sunk your Rook!
When Sam was finally letting it all out, what was bothering him, I guess it was my outsiders perspective that allowed me to see the bigger picture and put two-and-two together. That it had been about two weeks since Sam had decided to move to San Francisco, and that was the same time that Diane started to turn into Kirstie Allie. (For the younger readers out there, sorry you don’t get the shit out of these references. They’re pretty good!) We started to talk about how Diane hated relation ships but that she was clearly feeling safe with the fact that they were separated by golden bridges and mountain ridges with lebowski’s so big you’d have to call Jeff Bridges. (That didn’t make sense but it felt wonderful to say.)
Sam was folding up the space-time continuum and would become an everyday part of Diane’s life. ”That’s probably freaking her out a little bit, dude. Ask her about it.” That really started the advice-giving and I think it’s the most simple piece of advice to follow and yet the most difficult for many of us to overcome. Think about the fact that we are scared to ask the people we care about if there’s anything different in the way they care about us.
“But what if I make it worse?”
The number one reason people are scared to come out with the “is anything wrong?” bit is because they think it could drive a person away even further but I disagree with that sentiment. Any time that I’ve ever truly cared about a person, them asking me if something is wrong one time isn’t going to change my opinion about them. You wouldn’t drive a person away for asking something like that — but of course there are the people that ask that question every single day and then yes, something is obviously wrong. But if you’ve been with each other for awhile and one of the parties behavior starts to change you can ask them if something is wrong. There’s a two-pronged possibility:
- “Nothing is wrong. I’ve been busy and sick. Sorry I haven’t been able to talk as much because I’ve misssssed you ” That’s good.
- “Nothing is wrong. GOD!” Something was wrong. And you didn’t make it any worse, because the fact of the matter is that there is no way in Hell that a three-word question would be the tipping point from a life of 50 years of wedded bliss to a broken heart and an empty tub of ice cream on your bathroom floor. That’s just not real life.
I told Sam that in my opinion, something was probably up with the fact that she was freaking out about his move to San Francisco and that he was breaking down the barrier between them. As the poet laureate Gavin Rossdale once said: “The chemicals between us. There is no lonelier place than lying in this bed. The chemicals displaced.” (You figure out the meaning.)
But Sam wanted to bring those chemicals together. If he was getting negative signals he should ask Diane if something was up, at least once. Because it wasn’t just killing him that she was all of a sudden starting to act differently towards him, it was also the unknown that starts to make a person unravel. Sometimes it is absolutely a misunderstanding, but on the other hand, it’s often a sign.
Don’t ignore signs.
(Unless it’s saying 25 MPH and it’s not a school zone, like yo, I can get around this neighborhood at 35!)
(Also don’t ignore Signs. It’s a really good movie.)
Sure there have been certain times in my life where I’ve been a paranoid annoyance but I also like to think that I have a pretty keen sense of when something is up. We should all be able to sense when something is wrong. When Larry David left Seinfeld, you could tell the difference. When Dan Harmon was fired from Community, you can tell the difference. People can sense the slightest differences from one thing to another, and you’d know that if you ever filled out a Highlights magazine at the dentist.
November – You’re texting me all the time. You’re anxious to hear from me. You reach out when it’s been awhile.
December – I have to be the one to initiate all the conversations. You don’t ask me questions, you seem less concerned about my life.
You said “Fuck off” and changed your email?
A day? No worries. Three days? That’s curious. A week? You should seriously start considering whether or not this person is still interested in you unless they explicitly stated before the relation ship that they were in the CIA.
Sam knew what to do, I just had to be the one to push him off the plank. He finally asked Diane if something was wrong due to her behavior over the last couple of weeks. She responded first with the usual:
“No, I’ve just been busy lately like I said and dealing with this illness.”
Okay…. Wait for it.
“I suppose I also just don’t know what you’re expecting when you move here.”
It had seemed apparent to me, an almost complete outsider that has never met Diane, that Diane was fearful of certain expectations from Sam. The approach of Sam moving to San Francisco obviously has to be taken with careful measures because it’s a major decision. Not just for their ship but for his life, and possibly for hers.
But he may have never known that if he hadn’t overcome the fear of simply asking “What’s wrong?”
I might be a very difficult hurdle to overcome, to come off looking like an insecure little boy, but I think that there are many contexts in which it comes off more as the secure move of a man. To say “I am aware of the changes here and I feel like even if you were sick or busy, you would make time for me as you used to do. So if something has changed for you, please let me know because I’ve still got to take care of myself.”
I think that when you are simply “dating” someone, you have to tread very carefully with feelings. I have spent too many days and nights in confused anger and depression based on things that happened with people that I wasn’t even on the relation ship with.
Don’t waste tears on a person that wouldn’t spend tears on you.
Of course, the three intense, mostly non-physical months that Sam and Diane had spent talking, it would be near-impossible to not have feelings attached. Whether she likes it or not, even Diane has developed feelings for Sam. But Sam has to really evaluate whether or not her feelings and his feelings match up because if they don’t and he doesn’t ask some of the important questions that we’ve been conditioned not to ask, he’ll be the only one crying.
Sometimes if you don’t want to know the answer, you probably need to ask the question.
To be continued…
(Remember that I’m looking for more questions RE: the opposite sex so please use the CONTACT button also I’m lonely.)
May 18, 2013 § 2 Comments
I will get back to the story of Sam and Diane shortly, but I’m going to throw this up because I’ve already written most of it and I think it’s always a relevant topic: The “Friend Zone.”
I was on Reddit recently in the /r/relationships section and came across a despondent young girl that was worried about her friend. He used to be such a great guy to hang out with, but had fallen apart after his high school sweetheart left him for another guy. The full (and lengthy) post is here. The “too long; didn’t read” version is this:
“Longtime friend had a gradual devolution into being a Nice Guy, spurred by a horrible breakup. Refuses all help and surrounds himself with other Nice Guys who only makes things worse. What can I/we do to help or should we just give up?”
The slightly longer version is that “Calvin” is pushing away his best friends all through childhood (Hobbes, Susie, Tofukitties) because of his broken heart and complaining that all girls just want to be his friends and that they are terrible people. Calvin needs a kick in the pants. This was my response:
Calvin, Calvin, Calvin, Calvin, Calvin…. my man. My broseph. My buddy. My pal. Wait no– Your buddy and pal, I mean. But speaking as if I was speaking to Calvin…
The good news is that you’re 24. You shouldn’t be exactly the man you will become when you’re still just 24. Nor will you be the man you will become when you’re 30… or 40… or 60… We are ever-changing, or at least we should be, just in the way that you, Calvin, were not the man you used to be before you met the love of your life, who you were while you were with the love of your life, or who you were after she did you so wrong and so dirty. I feel for you, Calvin, I really do.
Relationships aren’t easy. Trusting another woman again, in the way that you entrusted your entire body and soul to one person and believed that one day you would be married and be the first and only people to sleep with one another, and to have that taken away from you — Nobody’s going to say that life is fair. Because it’s not. You had visions for your life, and they were destroyed by the girl you loved more than you’ve ever loved anyone including yourself. And because she never slept with you and only slept with the “rugged Army guy” who may have shot guns at people and been a tough guy, you believe that all women must want this and you’ll never be this, so therefore you will fail at every turn.
But that’s not true. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Some women like tough guys. Some women like smart guys. Some women like book guys. Some women like art guys. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.
You’re a certain type of person. You care very deeply for people, you’re kind, you’re genuine, you believe in things to their very core, and you’re not bad looking either. Almost every type of person is a person’s type somewhere so you shouldn’t focus on thinking that no girls will be into you — not every girl is one girl. And you’re so worried about getting into the friend zone with a girl, that you have forgotten that within that actual friend zone is a girl that cares about you so much that she’s asked Reddit for help on how to help you, rather than abandon you. Even if she doesn’t love you in that way, she loves you. Forever Alone? Not when someone, anyone, loves you. Let’s remember that you’re good enough to be loved, and start to work on finding out how you can genuinely return that love of friendship towards Hobbes, Susie, and TofuKitty and remember that with a group of friends like that, you’ll have a support team for the rest of your life.
The only possible way to be forever alone at this point, is if you continue to ask for pity about your own life and put yourself in that position. Look at you right now– You’re not too far gone. Stop what you’re doing. Think. Assess. Evaluate. Think about all that you have and cherish it. Assess all the you want in your life. Evaluate how you’re going to man the fuck up and get it.
You’ve got a great group of friends, people that love you. A buddy that might not be around now, but will stand by your side as your best man if you get your life together.
You want to love a woman as much as you loved your ex, have her love you back just as much. How can you find her? How can you start to show that you believe in yourself, that you love yourself, and that you’ll provide value to her for the rest of her life? Because nobody wants to be with somebody that wouldn’t want to be with themselves.
Evaluate how you’ve treated the people around you that spent months (maybe years) of their own lives trying to pick you up because they loved you. Evaluate why you didn’t return that love and understanding when they started to question your motives and become upset with some of your behavior. Evaluate what you’re going to do to finally make amends with them.
And then put that shit into action because you’re 24. You’re young. You’ve had one serious girlfriend and you’ve proven to be a great friend and great boyfriend in the past, which puts you ahead of the game at 24.
You can either remain where you’re standing and distance yourself further and further from the only people that have ever truly been “home” to you or you can continue changing every day to be the best person you can be.
The sad truth is that I see a lot of myself in Calvin. I grew up thinking no girl would ever want to be anything more than a friend. I got angry and lashed out them when they wouldn’t instead accept me as a boyfriend. I was ripe for “forever alone” membership.
Then I grew up and realized that the only person that puts themselves in a “friend zone” is the one that is constantly complaining about it’s existence. There are plenty of ways to start relationships that are romantic and stay that way.
Dudes: If a girl says she just wants to be friends, then be just that. Be her friend. Be a hella good friend. Don’t ever try to make it more than that unless she is starting to make it explicitly clear that just being friends isn’t working for her anymore. Frankly you’ll show her your value best by being a friend and the worst case scenario is that you have a great friend. If you say “yeah lets be friends!” and then ask her to kiss you or send you naked pictures the next day, you’re fucking up.
Ladies: There’s a likely possibility that some of your guy friends could be into you or would totally date you. Just… know that.
As I was saying yesterday about Sam and Diane, think about the ships you embark on and establish early if it’s a relation or a friend kind of ship. Any confusion on that, and you’ll be sailing in the wrong direction.
May 17, 2013 § 2 Comments
A friend recently came to me with a broken heart. I gave him some advice or at least tried to talk him through the difficult time. That’s what sparked this recent quest to see if I could give advice to anyone else or at least… help talk you through it. Before we get started, this is the story that started it all.
This all started recently with a co-worker who was telling me about a girl he was talking to on instant messenger. We have offices all over the world you see, and certain people have to communicate with other people in the company over instant messenger. It’s funny how we can meet strangers in this current era of humanity, people we would have otherwise never known existed; sometimes I wish it was still that way.
I’m certain that at this moment my co-worker, “Sam”, wishes the same thing.
I remember him telling me about her (over IM of course) right from the beginning. ”So there’s this girl “Diane” over in San Francisco and I can’t tell but I think she’s flirting with me.” (Yeah, I realize what I just did there with their aliases, what of it?) Of course, when me and Sam talk, it’s always something along the lines of “I think this person is flirting with me!” When in reality its more like “Kate asked me if she could borrow my pen and when she picked it up she said “Oh cool pen” so you think we’re like going out now?”
Yeah, I don’t think that my friends and I have matured past the fifth grade quite yet.
But in this case, there really was some serious flirting between Sam and Diane. What I thought was just another “Yeah okay sure you’re gonna hookup with the girl that lives a few hundred miles away by winning her over on work instant messenger” (why do I write “another” as if this happens all the time?) it was in fact instead another case of “Yeah… okay! You’re gonna hookup with the girl that lives a few hundred miles away by winner her over on work instant messenger!”
Of course I never thought that
Romeo and Juliet (wait, mixing up my aliases) Sam and Diane would be able to develop a real relationship when they were separated from Los Angeles to San Francisco, especially doing so while they had to first talk about work, let alone being a Montague and a Capulet.
But mostly I can’t believe that two people would ever have romantic thoughts while they talked about the mundane bullshit we do at our company. (I can’t get into much more detail than that to protect the innocent, but I can tell you that this place doesn’t build flying microwaves that drop hot pockets into your mouth automatically.)
And so Sam and Diane built a ship together and sailed away on it. There are several different kinds of ships:
- Friend ships
- Relation ships
- Kin ships
- Partner ships
- Ghost ships
Definitely stay away from the last kind of ship, unless you wanna get got, but the other ones are always fun. Sometimes people will mix friend ships with a singles cruise, which can be fun too, but the most important thing to know is that when you go on a ship with someone that you’re both on the same ship. Otherwise you’ll risk being stranded in the middle of the ocean, and your best hope is a peaceful drowning.
Early on, they were both getting onto a friend ship and they both liked that because they had a lot in common and talking to one another was so easy and natural. It got to the point where they were even going to be the kind of long-distance friends that traveled many miles to see one another and Diane came to Los Angeles to visit and they kissed and junk. (Just like in the romantic movies!) And then Sam went to San Francisco to see Diane where they could drive across the Golden Gate Bridge in a red convertible with a baby in the backseat, roll down hills, and take Comet for a walk down the big hills.
They were also “doing it” on their friend ship, which can have a lot of benefits, but the easiest part about that perhaps was that it wasn’t complicated. ”I am here. You are there. That’s the way it is!” and Diane had made it clear that she wasn’t a relation ship type of person. Sam was okay with this.
And then all of a sudden, Sam’s best friend Woody got a job at Google and was moving to San Francisco. And now Sam saw an opportunity to move out of LA (which he was interested in doing) and going to the Bay Area with his best friend (which he thought would be fun) but also be closer to Diane (which seemed like a good idea at the time.) But then things started to change between Sam and Diane once she found out that he’d not only be moving to San Francisco, but transferring within the company. They’d go from long distance lovers to seeing each other a minimum of 40 hours per week plus weekends if it all works out okay. They’d possibly even hop off of the friend ship and onto the relation ship, a boat that Diane wasn’t very comfortable with.
Diane started to distance herself. Sam got worried that she had become more aloof and less talkative and cancelled her most recent plans to come to Los Angeles. The story of Sam and Diane… was starting to go from a fairy tale of “how easy love can be” to the realities of it all: That relation ships are the hardest ships to navigate.
Let’s face it.
Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go:
- Where nobody knows your name
- And they’re indifferent as to whether or not you came
- You wanna be where you can see, that nothing in your life will change, you wanna go where nobody knows your name.
(doo doo doo doo do do)
Now what you’ve already read, all 1000 words of it (jesus christ I need to learn brevity), isn’t even getting to the point where I started to give advice or talk it out with Sam. You see, for a couple of weeks, Sam held all of this inside of him. The parts where Diane would go an entire day without talking to him for the first time in months. The parts where he’d wonder why she’s not quite being the same person she once was, causing him to stress out over if he had done something wrong or if the “ship” that he’d held so dearly was sinking and un-salvageable. The parts where the “Good morning” texts had disappeared.
(Side note on “Good Morning!” texts — In the year 2013, this appears to be the number one symptom or trigger(?) of a broken heart. I think what many people want, what I’ve always looked for and cherished in my 30 years, is that you’re a person’s first and last thought every day. Because you’re bookending their dreams, which might as well mean that you’re that person’s dream. You’re that person’s everyday and everynight. You now care about that person at least as much as you care about yourself or anyone else, and the balance in the universe is that they feel the same about you. But then when something goes wrong, the universe is out of balance. Because they’re not texting you “Good Morning!” anymore, or they’re not responding for three hours after you know they’ve woken up. You’re not their first thought anymore. You’re not the last thing they think of as they unknowingly make the shift from awake to asleep. And that kills you — because you still care about them at least as much as you care about yourself, but more importantly you don’t feel that anyone now cares about you either. You feel like an empty shell. All your love is with them. And all of their love is… with them. Or even worse, with someone else. The universe is out of whack. It kills you. And it all boils down to…
But then finally Sam broke down and typed to me over instant messenger that Diane was very distant lately. That he wasn’t sure if things were going wrong because she was “busy” or “sick” and he didn’t want to come off as being weak and vulnerable if he had flat-out asked her if there was something wrong.
(While I was in the middle of writing this story, I found out that what was once supposed to be a little intro has now become over 2,300 words and I’m not done yet. Y’all don’t wanna read a wall of text right now, so let me break it out a little bit. Coming up next:
The #1 rule of fight club is that you don’t talk about fight club, but a little known fact is that actually the #2 rule of fight club is that you don’t ask the person you’re dating if something is wrong.)
May 17, 2013 § 1 Comment
Forgive me for being so presumptuous, but I have a favor to ask you… Can you please send in questions about dating, relationships, and sex? Anything that involves boys and girls (or boys and boys or girls and girls, all just the same!) and questions in relation to two (or more?) people getting together — please ask me for advice on the matter.
For the record, I hate that I just said that. ”Please ask me for advice!” because I’m not the type of person to naturally assume that I’m the next Dear Abby or even Downton Abbey, so let me explain really quick.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been dealing with some of my own relationship issues, but I started to realize that after, oh, thirty years of failure, I had started to learn things. I was able to apply some of my own real world experiences in relationships and dating and sex to myself and make it all better. Then I came across a few other people who were having issues and could relay some of my own experiences and through the nature of storytelling and analogies (my two favorite natures!) get through some good talks.
And I’ve also been spending some time on internet websites where people talk about “what’s your beef?” in dating and been able to talk it out with others, both in giving and receiving.
You know I’ve never been shy about revealing my own experiences and shortcomings with women, but just because I’ve failed doesn’t mean I haven’t learned a few things and I think it would be fun to turn a few questions into some anecdotes, analogies, and references to “this is how DJ Tanner once got through this same predicament!”
So use the Contact button on the left side of the page and ask me a question in email.
Or put it in the comments. I don’t care! (But yes, I’ll keep it anonymous!)
WordPress.com claims that I have “Over 2,000 blog followers!” but I hardly believe that. I know who my loyal ten readers are (and I love you) but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there’s just enough people out there that I can get five questions and then have some fun with it. They can be jokey questions too, whatever I can do to have enough for a first time post on this matter. Thanks for humoring me, sorry for being a pompous ass and thinking that I can help someone but you never know…. I promise to at least make it fun!
May 13, 2013 § 5 Comments
*the following is the account of one man’s experience with quitting tobacco. it does not reflect the experiences of any other individuals. names have been changed to protect the identities of the innocent.*
I remember my first cigarette, but more importantly, I remember my first dip of chewing tobacco. After all, that’s what set this crazy train in motion to begin with. After spending a good 18 years of my life chiding my own mother for her smoking habits, I suppose it seemed more acceptable to use tobacco as long as I wasn’t smoking it. (Though that’s not entirely true either; sadly I had spent some of my wasted youth riding skateboards around a community college campus on Saturdays and finishing butts with friends. It’s amazing what you think is acceptable when you’re 14. I still wouldn’t kiss me if I were you.)
It was a night like any other, chillin’ out maxin’ with my friends — who were now living in their own places (!!) and we could do whatever we wanted. Which… still isn’t that much when you think about it. At least not when your’e 18 and broke and still unable to legally buy alcohol, not that it’s much of an obstacle to overcome though. I was hanging out with a lot of athletes at the time, of which I am not myself one, but athletes tend to get bored and even the nice ones will dip chewing tobacco because it’s still seen as kind of a masculine way to pass the time. I’m not one to pass up an opportunity to try something once, but the lesson that you can never quite learn any other way besides the hardy way, is that getting “high” is really hard to stop doing because it feels so damn good. And trust me: If you’re 18, had never really gotten lightheaded from tobacco, and putting a giant dip in your mouth (that’s a few letters from an entirely different sentence right there), you will get stoned as f— from chewing tobacco.
A large quantity of nicotine (much larger than your average cigarette) goes directly into your bloodstream all at once. You close your eyes and all of a sudden you can still think about stuff — but your brain is all of a sudden gone. It has to be. Your head is far too light to contain any matter anymore. It’s the most relaxed you’ve ever been, and I can put my hand on the Bible to testify that it never felt that good again but it still kept feeling pretty good.
You don’t all of a sudden become a regular user. You’re aware of the risks and you’re not “one of those guys” so you manage to avoid regular usage. Maybe just once every few days. Then maybe once a day. You’re in control so you buy a can, but just this once because you’re going over to your buddies house tonight and that’s the end of it. Before you know it, you’re lying in a pool of your own vomit — which is littered with chewing tobacco of course — in some strangers backyard without a home, money, your wife left you and took the kids, and your stocks are through the floor.
(Though an extreme exaggeration, I would like to say that the first part of that story is also false… it is not.)
About a year after developing an addiction to chewing tobacco, I went over to a friends house. He was a smoker and had never had “a chaw” while I was a chewer that didn’t care for cigarettes. Then we decided to try each others habits and sure enough, I quit chewing for smoking and he quit smoking for chewing. It was like a wife swap except this is probably less hazardous to your health. And so I smoked, for ten years, and never tried to quit for even a day.
I wouldn’t say that I am typically a weak-willed person. I had a very strong will… a very strong will to never attempt to quit smoking because I was worried I would fail hard. Everybody talks about how difficult it is to quit, that most people fail at their attempts, that it’s harder than quitting heroin and alcohol and Jake Gyllenhaal combined. (I realize that in the movie it’s Gyllenhaal that says it to Heath Ledger, but mixing Ledger with addiction jokes seemed to be in poor taste. Yet ignoring a great Brokeback Mountain joke would have also been a travesty.)
I have known what it’s like to not smoke for say, a day, or even half-a-day, and could feel how hard it would be to do that… forever. Nicotine and your lungs seem to become a single entity once you join them together, like latching on your hair braid to another person’s hair braid or one of those flying creatures except it’s way more real than just 3D. It’s real life. And when you haven’t latched the two together for awhile, there’s simply nothing else you can think about.
But I finally decided to quit on January 13th, and today marks four months without a single puff on a single cigarette. Sure, it was a little difficult at first, but honestly the most important piece of advice on quitting that I could ever pass on is that no craving last for more than five minutes. You do have a lot of cravings at first, like when you wake up in the morning, after you shower, on the way to work, ten minutes after you get to work, just before lunch, lunch, just after lunch, a little bit after just after lunch, with only an hour left to go at work, on the way home from work, when you get home from work, before dinner, dinner, after dinner, just before bed, when you’re in bed, in the middle of the night, etc. But it’s only a few days until it’s only a fraction of those and you start to really break your habits. It’s only a few weeks before I forget that I was ever a smoker. People say “How’s the quitting going?” and my initial reaction is “Oh shit, I used to smoke, huh?”
Ten years of smoking was nearly eradicated from my memory after a few weeks of not smoking. Yeah, I get cravings every now and then, none of which are very strong except perhaps for the one I have right now due to writing about it and remembering that I used to smoke, but it’s not even close to being enough to want to have a cigarette.
When my friends go out to smoke, I have no qualms about waiting for them.
When someone smokes around me, I have no desire to bum one.
All of my past habits associated with smoking, such as drinking and eating, are much better without a cigarette I have learned.
I didn’t even try to quit for a decade of my life because I figured it would be too difficult to imagine a life without smoking. Now I can’t even remember what it was like to be a smoker to begin with. If there’s something (it doesn’t have to be cigarettes) that you have some apprehension about doing, remember that it might not be as hard or as bad as you think, just resist the apprehension to try.