I thought it was going to be a beautiful dalliance, the kind you see in old black and white movies, brief but romantic, full of champagne, sunsets, and beach walks. At first, it was somewhat like that with a few fancy dinners and upscale venues. But soon it morphed into a measly taco and soda with a tumble afterwards at a cheap motel. It’s funny how I kept lowering my expectations because I felt invested in that handful of sparkling memories and a dreamy cloud of vague hopes, while trying not to notice that the present moments were rushed and tawdry. An insidious disrespect for each other began to creep into our conversations, since we both knew what we were doing was wrong. Instead of a love story, our relationship turned into one of those DTMA columns I read from Dan Savage.
An emotionalvampire Carefully selects his prey: His needs are enormous And his energy limited. The broken victims Provide more bang For the buck (So to speak); On these he feeds. He leaves Them drained, Vulnerable, stained, As hunger rumbles Through him Once again.
Do you feel that people are more attracted to one another by their differences or by their commonalities? And why do you feel that way?
You can guess my answer by the post title and photo, right? I can only speak for myself and my observations, but I think it is more likely for people to be attracted via commonalities, and that is the key to long-lasting, happy, healthy relationships. I don’t mean that people need to be clones of one another, but if they don’t have a similar outlook on life, compatible values, and mutually enjoyable activities to share, they’re just asking for arguments all along. Now, here is also another interesting observation: some people like to fight. They thrive from that adrenaline rush they get from being upset, yelling, and then making up passionately. Or not making up, in the case of friends, I suppose, but simply moving on to the next disagreement. I see that all the time on social media. But I find it unbearably stressful to interact that way, and more so the older I get. But to each their own, hey?
But guess what? Yep. I seem to have been attracted to men I haven’t been able to get along with because we are too different. This doesn’t happen to me in friendships, only in romances. The friends I have now are board game lovers, for the most part, so we start from there. Most of us also enjoy concerts and movies, though not always the same ones. Since it’s a largish group, there are always a few who are interested in doing a particular activity. Some enjoy hiking and/or traveling, but I don’t, which is fine because there’s always someone up for a movie instead (plus I don’t need to do everything with other people). We don’t all agree on politics, so we generally avoid that topic. Unlike some, I don’t feel the need to constantly voice my opinions on current events and get into fights about that sh!t.
Yet when I used to date, I ended up with men who didn’t like games, wanted to watch mind-numbing TV shows, and were super into sports. Beyond that, our worldviews clashed. I’m a careful person: I like to make plans and stick to them, avoid risk, and think about the future. But instead of dating men with similar qualities, I ended up with a bunch of nutty unreliable risk-takers who didn’t want to commit to anything. Men who were completely stupid with money. Men who craved constant travel. Etc. I even dated a T* supporter once. How crazy is that?
There are plenty of cute stories about opposites attracting and having a wonderful time together. I’ve read a zillion of them via romance novels, and it’s a romcom meet-cute staple as well. But that’s fiction. Unfortunately, my mind was soaked in fiction for so long that I had a difficult time accepting how it was better to date a boring, safe person like myself with similar values rather than an “exciting” opposite. I too felt the “rush” of roller coaster arguments/making up, wheeeeee! But that’s an unhealthy dynamic. I learned too late that I should have chosen differently and now am no longer interested. But I am thankful to have a great group of friends.
Sanctimonious moon— Why so judgmental? I know where you’ve been; I know who you’ve seen. Leave me to the poverty Of stars, already dead, Burned out like my heart. Slide under the lace Canopy of clouds, Safe swath of lingerie. Don’t frown your face At me tonight— I’m in no mood for a scolding By an obtuse hunk of rock Who didn’t have the sense To stay married to the earth. Oh ho! Didn’t think I knew About that, did you? Go now, leave me To my nightmare, My galloping dream of doom, Urging me past the milestones Along the racetrack to ruin.
Last night I dreamed [FF dislikes dreamt ~ so much for writing Rebecca II] I was in a house with my father and some other woman, idk who. Kevin Bacon, my brother, was coming over. This was normal. As I got the door, Kevin said quietly, “Hey, is Dad single again?” I said yes. He just rolled his eyes.
The four of us sat in the living room and Kevin picked up a romance novel that was on the coffee table. “You still reading these?” he asked me.
I told him I was and he asked why.
“I don’t know. They’re just fun.” I stared at the cover where a couple smiled at each other dreamily. There was an aqua ocean sparkling in the background and a light blue sky with fluffy clouds. “Look how happy they are, Kevin. They’re much happier than any of us.”
He laughed. “Can’t argue with that.”
Then I woke up.
[Note: I’ve been watching The Following every week.]
1. Irrational Man. This is a strange 2015 film written and directed by Woody Allen (ugh I know… him again). It stars Joaquin Phoenix as Abe, a depressed philosophy professor, Emma Stone as Jill, a student who crushes on him, and Parker Posey as Rita, a married chemistry professor who wants Abe to save her from her boring life. Nothing makes Abe feel fulfilled lately until he considers murdering a judge, which (Abe believes) will help someone the judge is about to rule against unfairly and also give Abe a purpose. He wants to take action instead of merely analyzing concepts. Abe convinces himself it’s the right thing to do, plans it, does it, and feels excited by life again. Unfortunately for Abe, both Jill and Rita suspect him and things deteriorate from there. I liked this film more than I thought I would, especially because I couldn’t stand Emma in La La Land. But she was great here!
2. Throw Momma From The Train. I really wanted to like this 1987 black comedy directed by Danny DeVito and starring Danny and Billy Crystal. Billy is one of my favorite actor/comics. But I mostly didn’t laugh during the film because the scenes with Danny’s mother were just gross and stupid. Billy’s writer’s block angst scenes were pretty enjoyable. But overall I’d give this flick a big meh.
3. This Means War. This is a 2012 romcom starring the adorable Reese Witherspoon and the absolutely yummy Chris Pine. Oh, Tom Hardy was in it too as Chris’ rival for Reese. The plot was completely preposterous and the scenes were ridiculous, but it was pretty funny and cute overall. Did I mention that yummy Chris Pine starred? OK then.
4. Thanks For Sharing. This is another 2012 film and it’s also very weird. It’s about an AA type group except for sex addicts, and no it is not a pretext for 2 hours of pr0n. It’s actually very interesting to learn how this condition affects and ruins people’s lives. Honestly, I too didn’t believe it was a “real” addiction until I watched this film, not that it’s a documentary or anything. We watch the characters fight their demons in their own ways and learn to turn to each other for support. We watch one man (Mark Ruffalo) fall in love with a woman outside the group (Gwyneth Paltrow), who has serious issues of her own, but doesn’t want to deal with an addict. We watch another man (Josh Gad), get fired from his job as a doctor because he can’t quit filming women. We see a woman (Alecia Moore aka Pink) who is completely miserable after meaningless sex but can’t seem to stop engaging in it. And then there’s the group leader (Tim Robbins), in long-term recovery, who seems to have it all together, but his home life is a tragic mess. I highly recommend this movie.
I bet people would guess I haven’t, since I’m always talking about being safe, cautious, and introverted. But guess what? I wasn’t always this way! Well, I probably was always somewhat introverted ~ even as a child I enjoyed spending time alone reading or coloring or arranging my stuff ~ but I used to be much bolder. For some odd reason, people say that boldness is good and caution is bad, though I do not understand this. It’s a mindless cliché. When I was bold and brave, I ended up with many more problems and stresses. No, I do not want to catapult into my grave, naked and covered with chocolate, screaming yay what a ride! Ick. I would prefer to expire quietly while wrapped in a snuggly blanket and reading a romance novel (not a mystery cuz I wouldn’t know how it ends). Please put that in my file, thanks.
In any case, yes, I did hitchhike, not so much officially with my thumb out, but I took rides from random strangers (all men) back in Illinois when I was in the mood. I also picked up hitchhikers, sometimes with a girlfriend, other times alone. When I was 22, I slept with a random man I picked up off the street in the San Fernando Valley because he was cute and funny. I even paid for the hotel room.
That guy turned into a stalker, calling me multiple times a day, and threatening to tell my mom what I had done. I told her myself and we had a good laugh. Mom was cool. Finally, he stopped calling.
Lesson learned: don’t give your phone number to randos. Unfortunately, I hadn’t made my number private on my old FB account and a wacko from Missouri (not you, Roy), called me late one night to yell at me for being a “breeder.” Ugh. Many sensible ideas about being careful in-person apply online as well, though some folks disagree and blurt out unsafe and rude things on the daily. Speaking of rudeness…
Depends what kind of payoff you’re seeking. If you want to have good relationships with family and friends and coworkers/customers, then yes it does make sense to be kind, honest, trustworthy, and emotionally generous. However, if your goal is to primarily make a boatload of money by destroying your competitors, then probably not.
Do you remember your early days? Like for instance, when you first got an internet connection? Dial up as opposed to broadband?
I do. My ex had an AOL account and showed me how to go online to buy and sell beanie babies in 1998. Naturally, I soon found forums to troll as well. It was a lot of fun! I also looked up everyone I had ever known and discovered that the boss I hated had died young. It’s not good for your health to be mean to me, just saying.
When was your first time with a blog, or a forum or even a game online?
My first forum was alt.collecting.beanie-babies, a Usenet group. What a bunch of lunatics! That place erupted in huge nasty flamewars all the time, which isn’t something you’d expect from connoisseurs of cute little stuffed toys. Just goes to show ya!
The first online game I got addicted to was Minesweeper, also in 1998. But long before that, around 1980, my mom had purchased an early computer from Radio Shack (remember them?). We played lots of games that came pre-installed, especially this one called Ladybug. I guess it was a bit like Pac-Man? Your bug gobbled up things in a maze faster and faster to get to new levels. And you saved your writing on floppy disks. But we weren’t “online.”
What mistakes did you make the first time ever that you … you can fill in the rest yourself. But this is about your early days as a writer online, or a gamer online – when was your first ever blog or forum?
I was a combat prose writer in Usenet forums, where we tried to out-clever each other with vicious attacks. Since everyone participating had agreed to take part, it was not unkind to write this way. There was also agreement not to dox, but some broke that agreement and/or disagreed on doxxing parameters. I had a lot of anger inside me then, and writing this way provided a release. Eventually, I grew tired of it all and stopped. The worst mistake I made was in not being completely anonymous. You can still find some of the trash I wrote, if you know where to look.
My first blog was Ultrablog (because my online handle then was Ultraviolet). I was deliberately controversial to get hits, though I mostly avoided mentioning family or work. My mistake there was in failing to police my comment section, which ultimately ruined the blog, and I took it offline. Now, I’m vigilant about making sure no flame wars or icky spammers infect my comments. I have no issue deleting comments ~ I don’t owe anyone freedom of speech here.
How vulnerable do you feel about potential hacks or intrusions while using your smartphone? And if you do feel vulnerable, what steps, if any, are you taking to protect yourself and your data?
I do feel vulnerable to hacks and such online, and I take the reasonable steps, such as protecting my passwords and not clicking suspicious links. But there’s no way to be completely safe except to quit being online altogether, or to be Asbestos Dust. To be clear, I’m talking about being afraid of actual criminals who steal info to steal money. I dgaf about companies “spying” on me to shovel ads in my face. That’s the price of all this crap being mostly “free.” It’s not free ~ we de facto agree to become a product sold to advertisers.
Finally, I address one of Melanie’s SYW asks from this past Monday…
What is one thing you’ll never do again?
This is tangentially related to the above because it has to do with an online activity, namely dating sites. Now, I realize some have met their soul mates via these sites, and I’ve seen it firsthand among family and friends. That’s wonderful! But it was a nightmare for me. I was a magnet for liars and scammers and psychos, and the stress of trying to filter them out became unbearable. The far and few between “nice” guys were sadly not worth the time and emotional energy I had to expend dealing with the jerks.
So I will never again join any type of dating site or singles meetup group or forum, online or off. I’m not going to say I would never go on a date again, but the fact is that for me, unless I join one of these groups or sites, the chances of my meeting a man “in the wild,” so to speak, are zero to none. I’ve been to grocery stores all my life and never once have connected with a kindred spirit in the cookie aisle.
This is one of the movies I was really looking forward to seeing. The previews were so tantalizing… and after watching Henry Golding slay in Crazy Rich Asians, I wanted to see him in another role. Plus, I was predisposed to like the female leads: Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick. Am I now going to say boo I hated it? Nope! I loved it. It was fabulous!
However. I would not have liked it as a book. Generally, I say to myself, self, I like the written version best and the screen is never as good as what I can imagine from the words. But not this time. There were several elements, one in particular (which I hesitate to reveal even to those who don’t mind spoilers), that are on my hate list. If I see this on a novel description, I won’t read the book. Yep, that bad. But I didn’t mind it in this movie.
There were other things that would have annoyed me as a reader ~ I would have paused and thought wtf? Why is this here? Gratuitous backstory weird sex scene. Unnecessary veering into the possibility of the supernatural. But the movie was too fast-paced to pause and think. It was just damn good fun with a satisfying ending.
I walked out grinning like an idiot. Love these three actors. Blake was especially great.
2. Puzzle. This is another movie I had been trying to pin down on Movie Pass and finally gave up. So I just went and saw it on Sunday with a few friends. Odd flick. Not what I had expected.
I didn’t much like the protagonist. She’s supposed to be some sort of repressed genius whose mind works too damn fast for her mundane life, yet apparently not fast enough to pick up a book or any kind of smart hobby all these years until someone gives her a jigsaw puzzle. And then she doesn’t know where to buy another puzzle without traveling an hour or so by train into Manhattan to a special puzzle store. Because this genius has never heard of Target.
But they need her in the big city for the plot to work, so okay. And it seems we are supposed to dislike her husband, except I don’t. I actually dislike her new man, so there’s that. I don’t like people who jabber psychobabble at you that ostensibly is supposed to make you feel good about yourself, but is ultimately designed to manipulate you into doing what they want all along. I have a big thing about that actually! Ooh, Paula’s issues! But it was still an interesting movie overall about family dynamics and such, and I’m glad I saw it.
I’m looking forward to Colette, A Star Is Born, The Old Man & The Gun, Serenity, The Nutcracker & The Four Realms, Bohemian Rhapsody, Robin Hood, Welcome To Marwen, Mary Queen Of Scots, and Mary Poppins.
Geez, that’s a lot of movies. Good thing I have my trusty pass!
Update: Movie Pass is no more. I haven’t seen most of the movies on my list, except Star and Rhapsody. Both good.
Maybe what they call madness Is simply another dimension. They are trapped in conventions, Familiar and mundane, Obsessed with their labels: “Abnormal” and “insane.” Madness? Or access To worlds made of words? Time has no meaning Where dreams come to play, Twirling around, upside down, Bending into birds And flying away.