I don’t know what you call it. I’ve never heard a name for it. I think it’s exclusively a male thing, yet I can’t say I’ve ever asked a lady if she’s experienced it. With the advent of texting, however, this unnameable feeling previously limited to the physical realm has made its way to the digital world. And I don’t like it.
The fellas know what I’m talking about. There are moments in life. Maybe you’re standing in line together at the newest Expendables movie. Or maybe you’re both scanning the restaurant for hot-chicks-that-you-won’t-talk-to as you each reach for the salt. The setup isn’t really important. What’s important is the unexpected and new sensation on your hand. It’s heavy. It’s hairy. It’s rough. It’s another man’s hand. It’s your friend’s hand. Something about the moment causes the collision to continue until you make eye contact and only then do you both pull away. Of course the manly-man military/police/firefighter crowd, always looking to distinguish itself from its sissy-man peers, rejects this absolute refusal to touch and, usually, what starts as an inconsequential bumping of mitts becomes full-on hand-holding that is more often than not accompanied by a witty expression such as, “I don’t mind if you don’t mind.”
And I freely admit that this is a very funny moment, especially when it involves the uninitiated.
But as if texting isn’t difficult enough as is, we men are making it harder on ourselves these days. You know what I’m talking about. With women, we’re adding bogus punctuation and emoticons left and right to make sure we don’t come across as creepy or stalker or needy or rude or sexting or, well, you get the picture. 🙂 But this unnamable feeling that I get when I accidentally touch another man’s hand, well that’s the same feeling I get when I see a text from a buddy who has apparently forgotten that he’s texting a man. What is the deal with male-to-male exclamation points or smiley faces? It just feels wrong, doesn’t it? It’s weak. It’s creepy. It’s stalker-ish.
Take George and I for example. If I text something to George that is so sarcastic that he doesn’t think he gets the joke or my meaning, he simply responds like he should. He replies, “I don’t think I understand.” Because he’s a man. And then I re-attack with more consideration. Or I would maybe just reply “nm.” I might even just not reply. And yet we remain friends. I don’t think I ever have, but say I texted him something that sounded like I intended to sleep with him next time we met. Even then, he’d simply say, “Did you just ask if I would sleep with you?” Because he’s a man. Then in that situation, despite his dashing good looks and fit figure, which probably has epic stamina, I would reply, “No.” And that would be it. Because we’re men.
So fellas, please. Please pay attention from now on. When it’s me you’re texting, lose the gimmicks. Unlike the lady folk, our relationship is not dependent on proper text etiquette. Thank you.
That is all.
“Just what does he put on his eHarmony profile?”
Well, for today, I’ll tell you my response to the prompt: “The Most Influential Person In My Life Has Been.”
Leo Tolstoy–I thought I was alone until I read his books. If I have to pick someone alive, then there’s this little girl I know who has a way of turning everything old into something new.
To be clear, panties aren’t dropping like I thought they would. Big surprise.
In any case, here’s the latest example of old-to-new that makes me smile.
Once the sun gets working, Denver has been warm of late. But until they turn it on it’s chilly. So I pick up H- from school yesterday and she’s still wearing the two long sleeve shirts I picked out that morning, one thin one and one fleece. Back in the car it’s slightly warm. Like any good woman she complains. Like any good man her wish is my command. At first I turn up the air conditioning fan one click. With the resultant fan volume increase, I can’t help but visualize pricey gasoline being wastefully poured out over the pavement. Then I remember that its not actually hot out. It’s just hot in the car. So I turn off the a/c and roll down her window a bit.
Little did I know that bliss had been waiting right outside her door. Laughter and giggles ensue as she proceeds to narrate to me in detail how the wind is so strong that she can’t push her tiny hand forward. I check the side-view mirror and sure enough her small hand is tucked back as far as it can go against the door frame, barely breaking the invisible plane that demarcates inside from outside.
Next, she excitedly exclaims that Rarity’s mane and tail are blowing crazily in the wind. Turns out that the pony just finished up in the shower and needed to dry her hair.
Then I remember this little girl is around a quarter polish, so I should have seen this unmitigated joy coming. (In my defense, you never can tell how pronounced the illness will be until after puberty). You see, I grew up laughing at the following joke.
A black guy, a Mexican, and a Polack are being exiled to the desert for the rest of their lives. They each get to bring one thing in unlimited supply. The black guy picks food. The Mexican picks water. The Polack picks a car door so that he can roll down the window when it gets hot.
Like I said, old becomes new. I don’t care if the line doesn’t work. It’s true and it’s funny. I’m keeping it.
(This one’s long and experimental. If you don’t do anything, scroll to the bottom to watch a video I promise you’ll enjoy.)
It feels like I should be embarrassed to admit that as a kid I watched my family’s recorded-from-television Rocky III VHS so often that I broke it. To this day I can still picture my mom’s handwriting on the label. One day after thinking it finished rewinding, I pressed eject and discovered the tape had snapped. Why that movie was ever in our house is beyond me. We never watched it as a family. Maybe it was my dads. I do remember going to see Rocky IV in the theater, though I was very young. Come to think of it, a few years later on a Bunco night at our house my dad took my brother and I to see Rocky V at the dollar theater. Yep, I’m sure of it now. It was my dad who had recorded Rocky III. Had to be.
Anyhow, back to Rocky IV, do you remember the scene were Paulie walks Rocky from the locker room to the ring? Both men know Rocky may die in the fight and this knowledge urges Paulie to say a little somethin’. He says, “I know sometimes I act stupid and I say stupid things, but you kept me around and other people would have said ‘drop that bum’. You give me respect. You know it’s kinda hard for me to say these kinda things, cuz it ain’t my way, but if I could just unzip myself and step out and be someone else, I’d wanna be you. You’re all heart, Rock.”
Fast forward to when I recited the officer’s oath to become a second lieutenant in the Air Force. My family made the trip to Alabama’s Maxwell AFB to witness the moment. I did it in a really embarrassing high voice because I was crying and hadn’t experienced public crying enough to make it at least bearable for the listener. I’ll never forget that my mom came up afterwards and while rubbing my back, said, “You’re all heart, Pete.” Now I’m thinking maybe it was my VHS-labeling mom who was the secret Rocky fan after all–she is left-handed.
Some of my posts indicate that I have a favorable view of attending church and supporting the evidence as I see it that Jesus of Nazareth existed and was crucified and that this information might mean something more. I’m always nervous about writing about such things because I don’t want any potential book readers (buyers at least) to be turned off from this blog or my writing because they think I have some agenda to convert all you godless heathens. I overcome my nerves and as such keep sharing by confessing two realities. First, despite acquiring some 1800 followers, only about ten of you have purchased my books. (Don’t feel bad. I haven’t bought a blogger’s book either.) That means that there’s no actual money on the line. Second, I don’t give a fuck if you can’t get past someone disagreeing with you about Jesus. It is literally not my problem.
I will say this about the Jesus debate though. Almost by definition, following your heart goes against reason. And here’s what I will never do. I will never trade my heart for my reason. I won’t. And you shouldn’t either.
Some of you have been hurt real bad, not necessarily your exterior, but your heart. Like a broken bone is set in a cast, you hardened your heart to allow it to heal. The trouble is that with the cast on you have come to feel invincible. Instead of being a temporary aid to enable mending so you can get back to normal, this hardening has become armor. And this armor calls for reinforcements daily.
In all the talk about hardened hearts, no one ever taught me that they compensate for their lack of compassion by increasing intelligence and reason, but I see it in practice over and over again. However, no one had to teach me that an unintended consequence of this hardening is that it keeps out the heat until the heart becomes cold. That’s evidenced daily. Consequently, I will never stop preaching that a cold hard heart is in need of say-anything-do-anything emergency life support.
To those of you that adamantly and evangelically reject Jesus, what needs to happen to warm up and soften up a cold hard heart? Need the entire planet to deny Jesus ever existed? Or maybe you’re more realistic and need just the really smart people that you want to keep liking to form a consensus that he didn’t? I have no problem conceding that–on one condition. As part of the negotiation you have to give me a specific date when you’ll return to being the person you used to be. The person who knew that not everything in life, certainly not the most important things, are logical, scientific, and empirical. And if you don’t return by that date, then I get my superstition back.
The detached nature of this written argument will never substitute for holding hands or hugging, which are probably the only things hot enough and strong enough to transform hearts. I apologize for that. And if it wasn’t for the bizarre, yet intriguing, question that came to mind, I’ll admit that this post was probably a waste of time for anyone but me. But it is a fun question. The question being, “If Rocky ‘All Heart’ Balboa was ever to fight Jesus–whose very nature would have his corner throw in the towel–do both men win?”
Lastly, here’s a video on the subject that my new job (incidentally, not at a hospital) just showed me during a training session. It’s fairly incredible. Click Here to enjoy.
Yes, ladies, I’m talking to you. You did it! And I couldn’t be prouder. Not that I ever doubted you.
But here’s my question: What would I have to do if I wanted to become a woman? Don’t laugh. I’m serious. I want to know.
I don’t mean that I want to go under the knife for this change. You didn’t have to for yours, so why should I? What would I have to do?
I’m no good at small talk, so let’s get to the point. I don’t actually want to be a woman. Not because I see anything wrong with it, but because I love being a man. Love it. I get to be stronger than you. I got to fight a war. (Well, if put under our days’ heavy scrutiny on claims of valor, it is more accurate to say I got to “participate in combat operations where our aircraft (rental) was fired upon (small arms) only a (singular) handful of times–if that (it was dark)”.) I get to be taller and heavier than you. What else? In 2015, what else do I get to love about being a man? Oh, here’s one. *Don’t shoot me* but manual labor-wise, I can out work you.
Humph. Now that I’m attempting to write this clever post, I’m struggling. Everything I love about being a man involves physicality, which seems to have been used in times past to protect, to guard, to keep safe. But what needs protecting, guarding, or keeping safe if you women are now men in every way save size and strength? All along, I thought women were what needed this protection. But now that you all are men, I’m confused. Maybe the mistake was mine. Maybe men never were protecting women. What were they protecting then? Seems like weakness is what some would answer, men were protecting the weaker members of society. Maybe some men were, but not me. I never wanted to protect weakness. I wanted to protect rightness. Keeping weakness alive and safe is counter-intuitive. What were men protecting?
Were men protecting strength? Like a Batman “[You have to] Endure, Master Wayne,” kind of strength? Were men protecting forgiveness? Were they protecting decency? Were men protecting grace? How about love? Were men protecting love? Would love exist if there were no women? Seems like making love would be tougher without women. I wonder if they were protecting life itself, in protecting women. Is that possible? And don’t tell me that you women haven’t become like men in this regard, either. I see you. I hear you. You don’t want to make babies, just like men can’t make babies. Have you thought that one through, though? Really thought it through?
Look. Like most men, I’m no saint. Read my book and you’ll see. I messed up. But that doesn’t mean I’m dumb. I get it. You’re scared. But I’d suggest joining me in striving to be better, rather than overcoming your fear by changing into what you dread (second Dark Knight mention if you’re keeping track George). You did it. You proved you could become one of us. But now it’s time to put the costume up (third). It’s time to show me what it means to be a woman–only you can do that.
Ladies, don’t be a man. Be a better woman.
No thanks to your comments I decided to go ahead and bite the bullet. I hate it because I have quit two times before and I usually stick to my guns on things. But I’m back at it. Online dating, here we go again.
I have no idea what the uninitiated know about online dating, but I love to share how it goes down as if they know nothing. Today’s post is about a difference between the sites and also Christ.
Besides your suggestions, the reason I’m back is because I recently learned that eHarmony doesn’t let you browse profiles. Other sites (OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, Match, Christian Mingle) allow a user to view anyone’s profile (even same-sex profiles that are not searching for same-sex relationships–which I mention here because it makes me laugh every time I picture the straight dudes’ faces when they saw some other straight dude had visited their page. What can I say? I am not afraid to scope out the competition and adjust accordingly.) Anyhow, this free-browsing, for a person like me, means a lot–I mean a lot–of profile viewing. Probably not a bad thing in and of itself, but the amount of time it takes is ridiculous. Especially, if, like me, you aren’t getting any dates. That’s why I quit last time. Too much time spent not dating. But this–this no browsing thing–is quite nice. What isn’t nice, and moreover is awfully humorous, is that while I thought I was signing up for eHarmony, it appears I may be on Christian Mingle.
You see, however I answered the questions about myself, the only women the site is feeding me as potential matches are those with Christ at the center of their lives, those whose faith is their number one priority, those who are looking for a man to be the spiritual leader of their family, and those who want a man for whom God is as important to him as he is to them. Wow. I felt kind of dirty after reading the twentieth or so version of that. No pressure, right?
Don’t get me wrong ladies. Seek what you want. Want what you want. I just don’t even know what any of those sentences mean. More than that, I have to admit that the mental image I get after reading those sentences is one of ignorance, weakness, and fear. What does that say? Oh well. Different strokes for different folks.
Since seeing this trend, I have looked back through my modifiable settings and I can’t find anything that indicates I only want a woman like this, most notably, I don’t have a religion requirement. The only thing I can think is that it must have been my answers to the personality questions, which unfortunately I cannot change without first, creating a new profile and second, lying.
Come to think of it, I did answer “strongly agree” that a woman’s place is the kitchen and that the ideal woman is one who recognizes the futility of “thinking for herself”. Maybe that’s what did it?
Like I tried to express before, I’m pretty sure some personalities just don’t fit into the boxes that are online dating profiles. Only time will tell. I am actually excited to discover if these women are telling the truth. We’ll see.
And if I didn’t say it before, thank you. This is fun.
Diary style again…apologies.
Eudaimonia. Two years ago a professor wrote the word on the chalkboard in both Jesus-fish style Greek and the more familiar alphabet version. It had been a long time since someone had impressed me. Suffice it to say he had my attention. It means to flourish. Two years later almost to the day, today, I can’t help but wonder if anyone knows what it means to flourish.
Robert William Case, friend and author of Icarus and the Wingbuilder, does. But he’s already married. Actually, I could go on and on naming folks I know, 60+ years old, who demonstrate an understanding of eudaimonia daily.
But I want to find someone who understands it, is under thirty and, here’s the kicker, female. Does she exist? Because, unlike say Batman, God, or Rainbow Dash, this is a person that I don’t even think I’ve heard of existing.
By way of example, as I’ve mentioned before, I play the piano. Both the instrument and the piano. Yep, I don’t pass by opportunities to confess that I have the greatest one. Anyhow, once, after playing for an older lady friend, she flattered, “Oh Pete, you’d be wasted on a younger woman.” Oh boy. It’s a good thing I was sitting. But was she right? Most of the time I think so. And then when I discover not many young people can even play an instrument (one small attractive quality), let alone enjoy playing one (eudaimonia alert!), I reach a consensus.
One of the many reasons I left my last job was because I hadn’t been on a date since beginning it. The schedule was just too crazy. It’s been months now of not having any crazy schedule, of establishing some social patterns, of trying to meet new people, and still no change. When do I get to give up? Because this notion that there is hope is getting very old.
Have I told you much about Greeny? The following paints as accurate a picture of this war hero as any, I suppose.
Taking off his skis Saturday afternoon, he stops and says, “I just learned something about myself. See that woman over there? I watched her come down the mountain on tele’s and thought, ‘You know. I could marry her.'”
“Wow, man. Pretty deep,” my brother and I’s wide-eyed response.
“No, you don’t understand. You know what my girlfriend said to me the other day? She said, ‘It’s cold out here.’ I couldn’t believe it. It was like 60 degrees. I told her, ‘You can say, ‘I’m cold.’ But you can’t say ‘It’s cold.’ You can’t say it because it is not true.”
He always has been a stickler for the truth.
What I really want to share though is what happened at the club Saturday night. The seven of us in the bachelor party play pool for a few hours until most are losing interest and ready to head back to the condo. I convince Greeny to hang out a bit longer, because, well, we’re good friends and you never know when some new war will break out etc, etc. It was about midnight, and we had had enough to drink that I finally suggest we tempt fate on the dance floor where there are probably eight ladies and only one dude. (Focus on the decent odds, not the lame club.)
The entire floor cleared when we walked onto it.
I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt my body move more from laughter fits than any attempt to bust a move. Greeny was more still. He gets this look. The wheels are clearly turning behind his thousand yard stare, but from experience I assure you not necessarily very fast. He scans the room one last time and then reports, “Pete. If you and I are in any other country in the world and walk onto a dance floor, the women would leave their seats to join us. Here, they return to them.”
Now, ladies, I know what you’re thinking.
Wait. No, no I don’t. Never have. Same for Greeny.
Some of you know I started a side-project blog with a singular goal. It didn’t pan out. I’m shutting it down today. I wasn’t going to mention it here again, but the experience really helped me in a specific way. The life lesson was kind of a nice end-cap to the year while the bigger paradigm shift is less than a month away. And, as usual, I think by sharing my experience others might be able to learn from it too. Backstory in a nutshell is I hear about a female blogger here in Denver that dates a lot and never pays for the dinners. I tell her I’d like to date her, but we have to split the tabs. She balks. I create a blog to woo her. She still balks. I contemplate everything for quite a while until it happens–growth.
A couple of things. First, I took a personality test once that revealed my personality falls under the larger category of “Guardian”. Ooo. Makes sense, what with serving in the Air Force and all. Second, I love The Matrix trilogy. Do you remember the second one? The scene with the architect and the word ergo? Neo has to choose between saving his one true love, Trinity, or the whole of Zion. It’s a bigger philosophical point, of course. Most of the time, in my life, I choose to defend Zion, the group. But defend is what I do in any case. Ergo, while I found your voice and personality on the radio that morning many weeks ago very appealing and believed this may mean you would like to play, I have since concluded that my intentions with creating this blog and writing you have not been pure.
You sound sharp. You write well. But I’ve realized that this whole thing (split tab condition/blog) was about defending men. It took many of my closest friends and family members telling me that I’m wasting my time to finally come to this conclusion. However, I should’ve known this just from the fact that I told many people that I thought what you were doing–getting so many free dinners–was criminal. And if in my little brain you’re the criminal, then it naturally follows that I think the men are the ones under attack and in need of protection. Rather than just say this outright (defend), I created a blog and attempted to stir your emotions (offend). That was wrong.
C-, I do think what you’re doing is hurtful. Date away, I say. Find your white knight. But don’t hurt the guys. You’re better than that. In any case, it seems an apology is in order. Here goes:
C-, on behalf of all men, I’d like to apologize for my actions. Your dating life is your dating life. I shouldn’t have treated it like a game. You’re a real woman, not a voice, not a picture. “Life is immense” (Legend of 1900). I hope you achieve the happiness that your writing indicates you desire.
PS – I’m not ducking you. You know where to find me.
You know how movie teasers and trailers are fun in and of themselves? Well, here’s the teaser for my new book. Enjoy!
A black screen disappears in favor of a silent scene of a bloodied, weeping man trying desperately to beat down an apartment door; inside the apartment is a slouching drunk wearing a look of frightening resignation and throwing his nearly empty tumbler at that door; curious music now accompanies the camera as it closes in on the drunkard’s painful expression of doom. As if a film projected onto his eyes we see video of a beautiful woman leaning in expectantly towards that same man, though younger and full of life. His eyes dissolve out of the background and we now see the man jealous of the woman as she dances the night away with others; then an engagement; then the music quickens to frantic as the pace of the montage of already short video clips speeds up until they are not much more than still images in which we see yelling, fighting, painful looks, divorce papers, fear, and hurt.
Then the screen returns to silent black and the text “The Divorce and Doom of Simon Pastor” appears. As it fades away the text “Coming Soon” takes its place almost in a whisper.
Lazily leaning against the kitchen counter, George routinely placed some kind of large green leaves into the pan on the stove as Pete unknowingly wrinkled his face in disgust.
“I think I told you that I finally joined that gym.”
“How is it?” George answered.
“It is quite the place. And it’s ridiculously cheap for what they have. They have a lap pool open twenty-four hours a day,” Pete said. “And a towel service! The last club I belonged to that had a towel service cost one hundred thirty dollars a month. This place is just forty.”
“That’s not too bad.”
“And, I might add, even at ten in the morning there were a lot of young fit women,” said Pete.
“Those places are meat lockers for sure.”
“On principal I have never picked up a woman at a gym, but I’ve also never seen such a high ratio before,” Pete continued. “It’s crazy. I’ve always hated the feeling I get that I might meet a women there. Luckily, I have my sights already set on this Cammie.”
“You’re wasting your time, Pete,” said George.
“I mean, this one blonde, there was no reason for her to walk right past my machine. No reason at all. But she did.”
“I’ve been trying to tell you, Pete, that women are more forward than you ever let yourself believe,” said George.
“No. No way. This one was gorgeous. She wasn’t checking me out. She came by because she was pissed I wasn’t ogling her,” said Pete.
“That’s beautiful women for you. And that’s why they hate the mustache.”
“What?” asked Pete.
George then elaborated, saying, “My mustache. Beautiful women can’t stand not getting the attention. And a mustache, different than a beard, demands so much attention, that women can’t stand them. I was with M- at the mall the other day. She was actually getting upset. She thought it was a fluke the first time, but a total of three random strangers complimented me. Nearly everyone else stared at me, not her, as we walked around. It was eating her alive. It was so funny.”