Is THIS Bliss?!

Lorina's Blog

dating

Email-iversary!

Warning: High Schmoopie Alert! If you are easily nauseated by love and cuteness, do not continue reading this!

It was twelve years ago today that Fritz first answered my personal ad. Yes, I keep track of things like that, but it’s easy to remember because it’s also Talk like a Pirate Day. And yes, I do have that email still. I have just about every email he sent me. No, you can’t read them. You’ll throw up on your keyboard, and I’m not buying you a new one.

That first message, though, wasn’t all gross and schmoopie and cute. That didn’t happen until later. The first message was, in my opinion, pretty much the perfect response to a personal ad. He gave enough information about himself to stand out from everyone else, but not his whole frickin’ life story, and let it be known that he appreciated that I was a funny, unique person. After getting swamped with messages like, “ur pritty… rite me bak,” it was a relief to get a message from someone who could spell and hit a shift key every now and then. The first photo he sent me was of his face photoshopped on Chewbacca. The second photo was kind of out of date and out of focus, but I could tell he was vaguely humanoid in appearance. Human? Check. Decent grasp of the English language? Check. Ok. We got us a winner! Yeah, my standards were pretty damn high.

But seriously, the conversation just flowed. It was effortless. Like I knew him all my life… except that all his stories were new. And he hadn’t heard all of mine yet, either. Each email sent built on the one before and as we got to know each other, we’d veer off topic into all kinds of tangents. For instance, I mentioned to him that I was selling something on ebay, which lead him to tell me about something goofy he bought on ebay, which lead to asking each other what the weirdest thing we’d ever seen on ebay was, which lead to me posting a link to an auction of dolls of serial killers, which lead to him admitting that he had a favorite serial killer, something I’m sure would have scared most women off, which lead to talking about putting the lotion on the skin, which lead to how ironic it was that Buffalo Bill had a little fluffy dog, because generally speaking, psycho killers don’t have much respect for animals, which lead to me talking about how screwed up it was that some guys would answer my personal ad telling me that their dog could beat up my cat Sheba, which lead to him asking about some of the other responses I got, which lead to me forwarding them to him, which lead to the development of the site Way Too Personal, and winning the coveted MountainDew.com site of the day award in 2000. Or was it of the week? Or month? I don’t know, but like Al Bundy had four touchdowns in one game,  I had a site that won an award from Mountain Dew. And a lot of other awards, but the Mountain Dew one really brought a tear to my eye.

So, yeah. Big surprise that Fritz and I went off topic a lot, huh?

After a few weeks of swapping emails multiple times a day, we moved on to the phone, where we were still just as chatty. Our first phone conversation lasted over five hours. Since he lived in Baltimore, and I was in Northeast PA, going on a date wasn’t quite so easy as if we lived a hop skip and a jump away, but within a month, we had our first date, and it was magical. Actually, it was a trip to Chilis, then a visit to a club called the Voodoo Lounge. Not exactly high romance, but we had those little twinkles in our eyes like Davy Jones used to get on the Monkees. Smitten. Totally smitten.

So thanks, Fritzie, for being so bored one Sunday night in Baltimore, twelve years ago, that you thought, “What the hell?” and decided to peruse the personals in Pennsylvania. The overwhelming odds against us ever finding each other boggles the mind. That I’d list my location as “North of Philly” because 9 out of 10 people around here didn’t have a computer in 1999, and that you’d be looking at ads in the Philadelphia area because you were thinking of moving to Pennsylvania. That you’d find me. That I wouldn’t ignore you message like I did so many others. It still kinda pisses me off that I had to go through months of weeding through all kinds of freaky pornographic messages, and emails that looked as though a blind dog typed them with his toes, and you just popped on one night and wrote to one woman and found a wife. But I’ll forgive you. Someday.

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Keyword: Self

There’s a lot of misconceptions out there about confidence. Some people think it’s being like a peacock strutting around with his tail feathers in full display. Some think it’s being cocky and arrogant. Some think it’s the result of being successful in whatever you try.

It’s really just a matter of self-esteem. Keyword: Self. How you feel about yourself. It’s about believing that you’re a worthwhile person, as good as anyone else. It’s not about thinking you’re better than anyone else. That’s arrogance, not confidence. It’s being at peace, accepting who you are. It’s being comfortable in your own skin. It’s liking yourself.

It’s a topic on my dating forum, as well as on My Fitness Pal, constantly. People think if they lose weight, or score a hot boyfriend or girlfriend, or get a better job, they’ll feel better about themselves. But it’s all between your ears. Not how you look. Not how well you perform in school. Not your job. Not your money. Not who you date. You have to feel better about yourself BEFORE those good things happen.

It’s not easy. There’s no magic wand, but it boils down to it being a choice. You can choose happiness. You can choose to believe that you’re a person of worth and value. And you can choose to start treating yourself better.

Take weight loss. A lot of people, myself included at times, make the mistake of thinking, “I behaved badly and gained weight.” So we treat eating less and exercising as punishment for misbehaving. It’s not punishment and shouldn’t feel like torture. If you’re hungry, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re not enjoying your workouts, you’re doing it wrong. Eating right and being active is really a way of showing how much you love yourself. It’s a reward. It’s saying, “I am WORTH making the effort to treat my body right. I am WORTH making the choice to live a long and healthy life.”

When it comes to dating, forget about thinking, “what guys want” or “what girls want.” Think about who you are, and what you want, and find ways to meet people who share your values and goals. Like animals? Volunteer with a shelter or rescue group. Like nature? Check sites like meetup for local hiking groups. Like cooking? Take a class. Like helping people? Look into Habitat for Humanity. None of those necessarily to meet guys, but every person you meet, male or female, is going to have friends, and those friends will have friends. Expand your social circle, and it increases your chances of meeting someone you click with.

Make the choice to love yourself, then back it up with actions. Treat yourself the way you’d want others to treat you. Only buy and wear clothes that fit and flatter. Stand up straight. Smile. Laugh. Eat good food that you enjoy. Take bubble baths every now and then. Surround yourself with other positive, upbeat people. In other words… enjoy your life and let the puzzle pieces fall into place.

The bad news? You are the only one responsible for your happiness. The good news? You are the only one responsible for your happiness.

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The Self-Proclaimed Nice Guy

I’ve run a fairly popular dating advice forum for about 12 years now. I’ve seen it all over and over again. There’s ones who “get it” and ones who don’t. There’s ones who have healthy attitudes and ones who don’t. There’s good ones and bad ones, but most people are somewhere in the middle. Most people have good intentions, but might not know what best to do with their intentions. There’s very few really bad apples, but there’s a lot of apples that have a few bruises and soft spots. Maybe a few wormholes.

Men and women really aren’t that different. One of the biggest differences between men and women posting on the forum, is that women typically ask for advice on a specific situation with a specific person, rather than general, abstract advice. There seems to be a little less, “Why do guys do this?” and more “Why did this guy do this?” Again, not always. I don’t want to generalize about who generalizes more.

While we’ve heard from quite a few women who complain that guys beeline for bitchy hot chicks, and ignore normal, decent women, by far, there’s a lot more guys whining that “nice guys finish last.” That women like jerks, where “jerk” is defined as “any guy who is not me.”

There’s a difference between someone who’s a genuinely good person, and a self-proclaimed nice guy. Genuinely good people let their actions speak for them. They don’t need to tell anyone they’re nice.

Think of the song “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield. Jesse is his friend. Yeah, I know he’s been a good friend of Rick’s. But Rick can’t understand why Jessie’s girl likes Jessie and not Rick. He’s been funny, he’s been cool with the lines, ain’t that the way love’s supposed to be?!

No. Rick is being a douche! Jessie’s girl isn’t available. Period. She’s chosen who she likes and if Rick was a decent guy, he’d respect her decision and be happy for his friend, instead of being petty and jealous, scheming ways to get her to change her mind.

And while that’s a cheesy song by a dude who I’m sure had no problems getting girls on his own, being both a soap and rock star at the time, it’s how a lot of these self-proclaimed (key words there!) nice guys think. “I’m doing the right things… why isn’t it working?!”

It’s because someone’s affection isn’t a bank account, where you deposit good deeds and withdraw dates, sex or a relationship. If you’re doing something nice (ie, giving her flowers, helping her move or study for an exam, or giving her a ride to the airport) because you want her to want you, that’s not the same as doing it because you’re a nice guy. It’s with ulterior motives. The intention isn’t pure.

Think of it as the difference between someone who returns other people’s carts to the store, vs the guy who’s job it is to collect the carts. They’re both doing the same thing, but one is doing it to be helpful, the other is doing it because he’s getting paid to do it. Guess who feels better about himself after doing the job? The one who didn’t have to do it. He did it because he wanted to, without expecting any praise or reward.

I’m not saying, “Don’t be nice.” Of course you should be nice. You should be courteous and respectful, to everyone. Just don’t be a doormat. And honestly, the guys who act like assholes are just as insecure as the ones who act like doormats. They’re just hiding behind a facade of cockiness. It’s still a matter of altering your behavior in hopes of a desired result… just more pathetic, if you ask me.

Now, I know a lot of guys who do good things just for the sake of doing good things. They don’t have expectations for their actions. Those guys are kind, compassionate, generous, and typically very humble about their actions. They don’t wear their Nice Guy title like a pageant banner across their chest. And they’re not the ones complaining that nice guys finish last.

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