Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mr. Sensitive

So, I don't need to let you know what kind of guy I am looking for. We have been over that over and the point that I do feel like a broken record. Anyway, I got my weekly e-mail from a nice-looking Catholic boy saying how we would be a great match. Those e-mails are flattering, don't get me wrong, but it would be nice to get them from a nice-looking Jewish guy (it only takes one, right?!). Well, I do like to e-mail people back, even if I don't think we are a match. I just know that I would like it if people would write back, even if its just to say we are not a match. Especially since I took the time to write in the first place. Anyway, I penned my usual response which goes like this:

Thanks so much for your e-mail, but I just don't think we are a match. I am looking for a nice Jewish guy to bring home to my mom. Good luck to you!!

Usually they leave at that, but not Mr. Sensitive. He had something to say and say it he would! This was his response to me:

I think Jewish guy was sufficient. The implication that we're not nice or not worthy of bringing home to mom is something we gentiles don't get.

Wow!! I did not mean anything of the sort. To assume that my e-mail meant that he could not possibly be nice or a guy worthy of bringing home was a bit of a reach. I mean, get over yourself! I am just trying to be nice by responding rather than ignoring you all together. Which I think is the way to go from now on. I did let him know that I didn't mean any offense and he shouldn't take it so hard. I once again wished him luck in his search, lets see what he says now, or maybe I can have the last word on this? I do love that!

Either way, good luck to you Mr. Sensitive! And to all you gentiles out there that just "don't get it" take this lesson from Mr. Sensitive, when the girl responds with a gentle let down just be glad she responded, or would you rather be ignored?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Me To-A-T

I recently read an article in the Huffington Post that really was written just for me. I mean the title grabbed my attention and I thought it would be interesting, but when I read it, I was seriously freaked out about how well it pinpointed pretty much everything about me! Anyway, I am posting it here, since it will allow you to understand a bit more about me. I mean, when even my accomplice is shocked that this article knows me better than she does, you know its good!

Dr. Alex Benzer
Posted March 2, 2009 05:31 PM (EST)
Why The Smartest People Have The Toughest Time Dating
I have a mini-confession to make: I wrote the Tao of Dating books specifically for really smart people. The writing of the books was precipitated by the endemic dating woes on the Harvard campus, as I observed them as an advisor and earlier, indulged in them as a student.
Those kids graduate and pretty much continue to have the same dating woes -- only now with fewer single people around who happen to live in the same building and share meals with them every day. So if they had challenges then, it gets about 1000 times worse once they're tossed from the warm womb of their alma mater.
From my observations, the following dating challenges seem to be common to most smart people. In fact, the smarter you are, the more clueless you will be, and the more problems you're going to have in your dating life. Once upon a day I used to be pretty smart, and believe me, I had a lock on clueless.
On the one hand, this makes no sense. Smart people can figure stuff out, right? And this stuff is simple!
On the other hand, it makes total sense. For simple things, it takes someone smart to really screw it up. So whether you went (or should have gone) to the likes of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, Columbia, Cornell, Swarthmore, Amherst, Dartmouth, Brown, Oxford, Cambridge, Berkeley, Penn, Caltech, Duke, read on:
1. Smart people spent more time on achievements than on relationships when growing up.
Smart kids usually come from smart families. And smart families are usually achievement-oriented. Bring me home those straight As, son. Get into those top colleges, daughter. Take piano, violin, tennis, swimming and Tibetan throat-singing lessons. Win every award there is in the book. Be 'well-rounded.'
Well, you're a talented little bugger. Of course you should develop those talents. At the same time, there's an opportunity cost associated with achievement. Time spent studying, doing homework, and practicing the violin is time not spent doing other things -- like chasing boys or girls, which turns out is fairly instrumental in making you a well-rounded human.
The upshot of all that achievement is that you get into a top college -- congratulations! -- and then continue doing even more of what you were doing before. Dating is at best another extracurricular, #6 or #7 down the list, somewhere between Model UN and intramural badminton.
I've been co-hosting young alumni events for name-brand schools for long enough to know that these kids come out a little lopsided (which sounds so much better than 'socially awkward', don't you think?). All they need is a little tune-up, or a little dating textbook like The Tao of Dating for Women or Men, to get them going -- plus a little practice.
Of course, as noted above, things only get worse once you graduate. And if you're frustrated with your love life, you just might try to compensate by working harder and achieving even more to fill that void. Left untreated, this condition can go on for decades. I know people in their 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond who still haven't figured out how to create an intimate connection with another human being.
It's because they've been going at it the wrong way. Which brings us to...
2. Smart people feel that they're entitled to love because of their achievements.
For most of their lives, smart people inhabit a seemingly meritocratic universe: if they work hard, they get good results (or, in the case of really smart folks, even if they don't work hard, they still get good results). Good results mean kudos, strokes, positive reinforcement, respect from peers, love from parents.
So it only makes sense that in the romantic arena, it should work the same way. Right? The more stuff I do, the more accomplishments and awards I have, the more girls (or boys) will like me. Right? Please say I'm right, because I've spent a LOT of time and energy accumulating this mental jewelry, and I'm going to be really bummed if you tell me it's not going to get me laid.
Well, it's not going to get you laid, brother (or sister). It may get you a first date, but it's probably not going to get you a second date. And it certainly won't bring you lasting love and fulfillment.
Here's the thing: your romantic success has nothing to do with your mental jewelry and everything to do with how you make the other person feel. And making someone feel a certain way is a somewhat nonlinear process that requires a different kind of mastery than that of calculus or Shakespeare.
In other words, you need to earn love (or at least lust). Sadly, no mom, dad or professor teaches us about the power of the well-placed compliment (or put-down), giving attention but not too much attention, being caring without being needy. I wrote a whole 280-page book about that, so that's a story for a different day.
3. You don't feel like a fully-realized sexual being, and therefore don't act like one.
At some point in your life, you got pegged as a smart person. From then on, that was your principal identity: The Smart One. Especially if you had a sibling who was better-looking than you, in which case she (or he) was The Pretty One.
Now you could be absolutely stunning (in which case you're both smart AND pretty and everyone hates you except for me -- call me, like, immediately), but your identity is still bound up in being The Smart One. So maybe you dress frumpy and don't pay a lot of attention to your appearance. Or never bothered to cultivate your sensuality as a woman. Or your sexual aggression as a male.
Attracting a partner is all about the dance of polarity. Energy flows between positive and negative electrodes, anode and cathode, magnetic north and south. Unless you actually convey femininity as a woman or masculinity as a man, you're not going to attract a suitable companion of the opposite sex.
Part of the issue is this: when all of your personal energy is concentrated in the head, it never gets a chance to trickle down to the heart, or, god forbid, the groin. By virtue of being born of the union of male and female, yang and yin, you are a sexual being. Deal with it. Now do what you need to do to perpetuate the race already. Use what mama amoeba gave you.
That brings us to...
4. You're exceptionally talented at getting in the way of your own romantic success.
Here's an incontrovertible fact: every one of your ancestors survived to reproductive age and got it on at least once with a member of the opposite sex. All the way back to Homo erectus. And even further back to Australopithecus. And even further back to monkeys, to lizards, to the first amphibian that crawled out of the slime, the fish that preceded that amphibian, the worm before the fish and the amoeba that preceded the worm.
And you, YOU, in the year 2009 C.E., the culmination of that miraculously unbroken line of succession, you, Homo sapiens sapiens, not just thinking man but thinking thinking man (or woman), are the only one smart enough to SCREW THE WHOLE THING UP.
Perhaps you should consider thinking a little less then.
Because heaven knows that the amoeba, worm, fish, amphibian, monkey and primitive hominids didn't do a whole lot of thinking. Their DNA had a vested interest in perpetuating itself, so it made sure that happened.
Turns out your DNA works the same way, too. And maybe when you're really sloshed at a party and your whole frontal lobe is on vacation in the outer rings of Saturn, you've noticed that your lizard brain knows exactly how to grab that cute girl by the waist for a twirl on the dance floor. Or knows exactly how to arch your back, flip your hair and glance at that handsome hunk just so such that he comes on over to say hi.
To put it plainly, you are programmed to reproduce. Now quit thinking you're smarter than the 3 billion base pairs in your genome and 4 billion years of evolution. Actually, just stop thinking altogether. Let the program do its work.
5. By virtue (or vice) of being smart, you eliminate most of the planet's inhabitants as a dating prospect
Let's say by 'smart' we mean 'in the top 5% of the population in terms of intelligence and education'. Generally speaking, smart people seek out other smart people to hang out with, simply because they get bored otherwise. And if they're going to spend a lot of time with someone, intelligence in a partner is pretty much a requirement.
Well, congratulations -- you've just eliminated 95% of the world's population as a potential mate, Mr or Ms Smartypants. Now, luckily, the world's kinda big, so the remaining 5% of the gender of your choice is still a plentiful 160 million or so people. Even if only 1% of those are single enough, good-looking enough, local enough and just all-around cool enough for you, that's over a million people you can date out there.
Still, that's less than one in five thousand people. And if you live in a smaller city, it may be just a handful of folks who are going to meet your stringent criteria.
At this point, you have three choices:
A) Loosen up
B) Do a very thorough search all over the planet and be prepared to move to Duesseldorf OR
C) Join a monastery.
My hearty recommendation is choice A. The purpose of relationship (and perhaps all of life) is to practice the loving. No partner is going to be 100% perfect anyway, so learn to appreciate people for what they have to offer, not what they don't. And love them for that. That's what real loving is.
Nobody's asking to lower your standards here; you should still spend time only with worthwhile company. But do question the standards to see whether they're serving you or you're serving them.
When you open your heart to love, you may find fulfillment in ways you never imagined possible -- like the day you tried sushi or beer in spite of your trepidation, found it surprisingly alright, and expanded your personal envelope of pleasure. Taking that into consideration, given a choice between happy-go-lucky and picky-but-lonely, happy sounds like more fun.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Patience is a vurtue...

That's what my mom always said, so thanks for understanding my lapse in posting. Anyway, here is the story you are all waiting for...
Last week I chatted with a guy from match and he seemed nice. We made tentative plans for Sunday afternoon and I gave him my number so we could confirm plans later in the week. On Friday night I went out for dinner with a couple girlfriends and my friend's mother who was so nice to treat us all (thanks Mom!!). Anyway, when I finally got home around 10pm I had some missed calls and voicemail. THREE of the missed calls were from this guy. Time stamps as follows 6:12, 6:15 (with voicemail), 8:45 (with voicemail). So I listened to his two voicemails and called back right away. Below is the conversation...
Me: Hi, is "D" there?
"D": This is "D"
Me: Hi, this is Ilana from match!
"D": I called you before! (said in a gruff tone)
Me: (recovering from the shock of his rudeness) Yes, I know, I was out with friends and just walked in and checked the messages. I wanted to make sure to call back.
"D": Well, I don't have time to talk to you now.
Me: Okay, well I guess, just give me a call tomorrow and we can figure something out for Sunday afternoon. Bye.
And that was that. I hung up and took a moment to think about that conversation while scenes from "Sleeping With the Enemy" ran through my head. I did not have a good feeling about this guy, but I knew people would tell me I was overreacting, so I figured I would give him another chance. The nest morning at 11am my phone rang and it was "D"
"D": Yeah, so where to you live
Me: On the UWS, but we can meet anywhere, I was thinking 2ish tomorrow? That works for me.
"D": What are you talking about? I had planned to meet you Sunday night! Now I have to figure stuff out...
Me: No, I always said Sunday afternoon was the best for me.
"D": Whatever, now I have to go think.
Me: All right, well I am going out now and won't be available till late afternoon, why don't you give me a call then?
"D": Fine
And that was that yet again! I figured he would probably call around 3-4. So off I went to yoga to enjoy a nice relaxing OM moment. I got out of class after 2 only to find that "D" had called at 12:30...which I am sorry is not late afternoon!
What came next was an exhaustive game of telephone tag and me coming home after midnight knowing I wasn't going to call him yet again. So I texted him early the next morning and never heard back from him.
I won't lie, I am not too upset about this one. I mean, I was seriously scared for a bit. To the point that I called my accomplice to get her opinion on this situation. We concluded that I am better off and now its time to meet my March match quota!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Stay Tuned....

So I am just super busy at work today! But I just want to let you all know that I have a good update for tomorrow. Okay, not good as in a great date or anything, but just a great story...can't wait to share!