She had plugged the laptop directly into the wall outlet. I couldn’t believe it. One year has passed, but it still sticks out in my memory.
Before the babysitter left, I tucked H- in for the night. After paying her and saying, “Thanks again!” I showed her the door and she exited. There was always a peculiar tension to our interactions, likely due to the fact that she was young and happily married and I was divorced and didn’t buy it.
But she had plugged. The laptop. Directly. Into. The wall. Who does this?
Moments like these confirm that I am not meant for marriage.
Did she not know how much a laptop costs? Or how much of me she placed at risk?
Quickly, I double check that, sure enough, the surge protector is on the ground, visible, and within reach of the wall outlet–right where I left it.
But come closer now. There is something else. I want to tell you something that I already feel guilty for sharing. There is a part of a lover that I miss dearly. I don’t hear much discussion of it among the ranks of men, but I find it to be enchantingly erotic.
It is the feel of the tender, meaty flesh of the inside of your upper arms. You only offer it as you lie naked beneath me, having willingly allowed me to push your arms over your head in worship.
Now there is only longing. Longing for my thumb to again devotedly caress the skin that spans from the bones of your wrists to the muscles of your arms as I finally and firmly enclose this part of you in my palm.
Vulnerability, your scent intoxicates!
And what of this confession?
H- answered, “Officer Judy is from Zootopia.”
“Zootopia, eh? When were you watching that?”
“So you wake up early enough to watch movies before school when you’re at your mom’s?” I asked.
“I wake up when my alarm goes off.”
“What time does your alarm go off?”
“I go down stairs and eat breakfast and then I change clothes.”
“You change clothes downstairs? Why downstairs?”
“Well, my mom throws down my clothes, and then I put them on and watch tv until it’s time to go.”
“I see. Where is your mom while you are watching tv?”
“She’s upstairs with C-.”
“Oh,” I said, cutting myself off quickly. Unable to resist the pull to follow inquiry further, I rejoined with, “What is she doing with him?”
“I think they play with each other.”
“Hmm. What do you mean? Like play games? Maybe play video games?”
“No,” she held the note, “not video games.”
“I don’t think I understand, H-. What are they playing?”
“I don’t know,” she said.
As if Truth’s gateway, the rear-view mirror reflected that her searching eyes did not notice mine.
Finding no satisfaction, H- concluded, “More like wrestling, I think. I don’t have the word.”
But who can explain longing to my child?
The teardrop tries but fails,
For it carries many.
The silenced voice is unheard,
The pounding heart, muffled.
The knotted gut is unseen,
The lumped throat, concealed.
But who can explain longing to my child?
I could explain longing to my child,
But for it is not when I am with her.
In an ideal world managing a strip club is unlikely to occur along the path to Glory–the key word being “ideal”.
Here’s something I wrote late December 2014 (certainly just a coincidence–I turned 34 last July): “33 is a big year for me. Laughing, I told George the other day that only after having finished this book did I remember that I predicted back in church camp years ago that 33 was when I’d start my calling. Ha. Everyone else always acted like it was in/around college that they would begin their calling. Well, at 18 I said that I felt mine would begin at 33 because that’s how old Jesus was (give or take) when they killed him. Immature, misguided, morbid, delusional, but true [I said it] nonetheless. And you can bet I never imagined my calling would be a book centered on divorce. Suffice it to say, I can’t wait to hit 34 and laugh at my prophetic abilities. Either way, I’m certain that no matter what it is going to be a helluva lot of fun.”
That was about two months before my first day (on the job) at the club.
Five-ish months later I was sweating whether or not I’d get my application to a master’s program at a seminary in on time. (New passenger? Welcome aboard. Now read this.)
When I visited campus they had a movable-type board with my first and last name on it welcoming me. Imagine me staring in disbelief at the board. It had my name and the name of the woman who I went to church with (after skipping for a decade) and whose pastor introduced me to N.T. Wright’s New Testament and the People of God books back in 2013–the reading of which subsequently led me to return to church Dec. 2014. Naturally, the name on the board wasn’t representative of my friend, it was just that there is more than one woman with that first and last name and apparently one of the other ones was visiting campus that day. Coincidence–that one’s easy.
Hoping to move onto campus asap, and with my current lease running out in October, I discovered there was no room at the inn. At least until December, but even then it would be iffy. May for sure, they said. Setback.
Then in late September as I was trying to make arrangements with my apartment office, I stopped into the campus housing office and they actually had a family moving out mid-semester due to finding a ministry position that wanted him before the semester was up. My lease was up in October and so I moved onto campus in October. Ehhh. That one could go either way, coincidence/calling. Let’s stick with coincidence.
December 11th rolls around; it’s the last day of class. I completed four of five finals on that day alone. And I was alive. Full time work and 15 hours of masters courses passed. My folks were scheduled to visit us over Christmas and then I’d catch up on some Greek before the spring semester started.
December 14th I’m fired from the club. Despite having been promoted to manager in record time and receiving a healthy raise only a month earlier, “Poor performance” and “making employees and entertainers alike uncomfortable” the reasons given. Uncomfortable? God doesn’t exist, right? Masters in theology shouldn’t be any different than a masters in literature. Whatever.
H- and I were therefore able to visit my folks and siblings etc. and when we returned I headed to a pizza place to inquire about a job as a delivery dude. When I was applying (my first time in the store) I saw a familiar face in the back and soon discovered he’s familiar because he’s the vendor that also delivered to the club. His high praise added to the moment and I got the job. I’m sure his being there was a coincidence.
So this semester I’m paying the bills, and have plenty of time to dedicate to my studies, which may or may not be my calling.
For those rusty on theological terms, when Christians use the word apologetics, they intend to communicate its root sense which is “to defend”, not in our common sense of admitting fault. Be that as it may, my question to any readers with time and energy is, “What is a Christian?”
In other words, (and I asked this in class just now) “What does conversion look like? How can I measure whether I have defended Christianity? What am I selling? What are people rejecting or ignoring?”
Perhaps it’s because I plain and simple talk too much, but ever since my divorce I’ve noticed that divorced men are huge conspiracy theorists. Have you noticed this? Now that I’ve mentioned it, do your observations support my claim? Or no?
Last night at work a gentlemen was trying to explain to me all about the Illuminati and Freemasons and some letter written in 1871 that successfully predicted the first two world wars and also looks to predict a still-to-come third world war. What gives?
All I said to provoke all of it was that I was attending school where I am attending school. I think I was just musing about how awesome it is to work at a pizza place again at night while doing school during the day. Then boom. Can you imagine it? It was three on one. Three fellas citing this, that, and the other about the most outrageous claims about the nature of human life on planet earth, and all the while I just said, “I don’t see any hope in those beliefs, in believing what you believe. All I see is that it takes all responsibility for proper living out of your hands if you believe some secret societies are controlling everything anyhow.”
The point is, this isn’t my first encounter with these type of divorcees. There’s something about the breakup that causes men (I’ve never noticed this in divorced women) to just latch onto conspiracy theories. Maybe it’s because they return to drinking fluoride-laced tap water (you know what that does, right?) out of the sink instead of bottled water. I don’t know. I guess it’s just an observation I wanted to get onto this blog for the record.
If I understand him correctly, Sigmund Freud preached a radical idea that quickly and firmly rooted itself in its mortal hearers. The idea? “If you want to be happy, blame your parents.” He didn’t want us to blame our parents for the trivial things like the shelter they provided or the food and water, but rather for the really important things or questions like, “Why do I hate myself?” and “Why can’t I keep my marriage together?” and “Why do I only like sex when it’s with strangers?”–you know, the really earth-shattering questions that must be solved if we’re to advance as a species.
Maybe it’s because I’m an honorary member (no voting rights) of MENSA, but I for one didn’t need Freud’s teaching to know that all of my problems were somebody else’s fault. But some of you might not be so smart, and so I want to start a movement. I want to be a movement initiator, the same title Marcus Borg used for Jesus of Nazareth. Unlike Jesus, my movement is to rid history of Freud’s influence. Too much of my time (and yours I’m guessing) is spent trying to figure out just how large a role my parents had in causing my life’s negative circumstances. (Oh, Dad, sorry, here’s the belated *.) Because I just don’t give a fuck anymore. I dream, I fantasize about what life must have been like before Freud. To just deal with problems as they come and quit imagining that happiness is possible if I only pinpoint exactly which spanking (all of them undeserved, as I remember it) led to me marrying my ex-wife.
Give me a break.
(The one after church on Sunday, August 30th, 1992 is my conclusion, btw).
Instead of Freud, I’d ask that we turn to Martin Heidegger, and eventually Him. Heidegger, a human, suggested that even as late as in the 20th century, philosophers were not asking the right question. The right question being, “Why do we wish to escape life?” Freud offers the idea that life can be better if we affix blame correctly; Heidegger, that life cannot be better as long as we keep trying to escape it.
Life is not in the past, it is not in the future. Life is right now.
It’s official. I’ve fallen in love. I’ve fallen in love with myself. You read that right. I’m officially announcing my new dating status: confirmed bachelor.
Now, I don’t exactly know what this means, but I feel like some very attractive men have made this claim in the past and that makes me want to be a part of that group. God’s honest truth, though, is I hope it means that I don’t ever have to break up with another woman. Breaking up is no fun, and I like fun. Fun is good; no fun is not good. It’s that simple. So I’m a bachelor for life. Neato burrito.
One lady in the medical profession, who fell in love with my blog personality back in the beginning of the year, emailed me. I emailed her back. Steamy words were exchanged. Then she felt guilty and asked if I was running a “predator site”. Wow. I was shocked and angry. But I took note. Was/am I running a predator site? Was my blog and my expression of myself some indirect way of luring unsuspecting women into giving themselves to me, albeit in digital form? Obviously the answer was no. But I have been thinking a lot about the whole scenario and realized that me expressing my problems on this blog is really not the way to go. I don’t need any help. I’m not weak. I don’t have PTSD. I don’t have women problems. I’m not looking for pity. Sometimes I’m pretty angry at how life is unfolding, but in reality I’m good.
Recently I haven’t been writing because I feel like all that I want to say falls under the I-can-help-this-man-if-he’d-only-give-me-the-chance predator-ish category. Today, however, I had this confirmed bachelor epiphany, so I’m running with it.
Yet, I still am a man and fantasize about meeting the perfect woman. I’m going to share these fantasies in an effort to help demonstrate why I am declaring my confirmed bachelorhood. The newest one came to me while at the gym. I noticed a few female members giving it their all and realized that while their bodies and energy and focus and dedication were extremely attractive, the truth was that I don’t want a woman who has to put effort in to maintain a desirable figure. Nope. I want a woman who looks great in workout attire as she waves around the rubber coated two-pound weights that literally accomplish nothing. That’s my dream woman. If it takes effort to keep her figure, then that scares me. What happens if she gets lazy? Seriously. No one wants that.
Anyhow. Just a random thought that leads me to conclude single-hood is the way to go and rightly so. Happy Monday, as they say.
(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions.)
Whether you reside under a rock or not, you’ve heard of online dating. It seems so easy, so natural, so smart. Just post a few pictures of yourself, answer a few personality questions and that’s it. Wedding bells will be ringing soon enough. The problem is that it isn’t that easy. Lucky for us, I’ve finally figured it out. No, that doesn’t mean wedding bells are in my future, it just means that after nearly two years of online dating in some form or fashion I’ve finally developed a “how to” guide.
The number one difficulty with online dating is pushing the idea out of your head that someone can be captured by a photograph or a profile. They can’t. It’d be nice if they could, but it is not possible. Just like cameras don’t steal people’s souls, pictures don’t contain them. Neither do words. Bodies do, however. Real human bodies. So that’s the starting point, that’s where we’ll begin. We’ll begin with human bodies.
No matter what site or app you’re on, the most important question you need to ask yourself is, “Do I want to have sex with this picture?” It sounds base, it sounds dirty, it sounds disreputable, but it absolutely must lead the way. If it doesn’t, then you’re being dishonest with yourself and the other person who may or may not be sitting with you some day. By starting here we also cut right through idealizing the person behind the profile. Who cares if you read the same books or love the same lord? What gal doesn’t write that she prefers jeans and a t-shirt, but dolls up really nice too? And what guy doesn’t like sports or movies or video games or hunting or reading? Is anyone not passionate about their job? Seriously, there’s not that many options in life. Again, look at the pictures and ask, “Do I want to have sex with this picture?”
Next, skip everything to do with pen pals and make time to meet the other person. Then from the moment they arrive, stick with the sex question in its new, modified form, “Do I want to have sex with this person?” Not “would I?” or “what would their personality have to be like in order for me to want to?” but a chemistry/spark type unquantifiable feeling of attraction. If you don’t, if the attraction that was there isn’t there anymore for whatever reason, then politely thank them for meeting with you, but explain that it is in everyone’s best interest to not waste any time pretending. If on the off-chance you do desire them sexually in that moment, keep the moment going for as long as you can. Minutes to hours, hours to days, days to weeks, etc. Or whatever. I have no idea how to maintain a relationship. This post is about how to online date, not how to be in a relationship.
My point here is to simplify all the bullshyat that confuses online dating into something it can never be. We’re people first. People who are attracted to other people. In everyday life the physical attraction comes before the date. In online life it seems like there are other factors to consider. But that’s a lie. Physical and sexual attraction must be there. So trust in it and run with it.
Instructions for How To Online Date
Step 1 — ASK yourself, “Do I want to have sex with this picture?”
Step 2 — If the answer to Step 1 is “Yes”, then MAKE time for a date. If the answer is “No”, then MOVE on.
Step 3 — SCHEDULE a date.
Step 4 — At the date ASK yourself, “Do I want to have sex with this person?”
Step 5 — If the answer to Step 4 is “No”, then immediately–though politely–END the date.
Step 6 — If the answer to Step 4 is “Yes”, then I guess you at least know what you want to do, so DO it.
What’s fascinating about eHarmony’s take on online dating is how NOT according to these steps it is. Take for instance this pop-up that appeared when I took “white” off the list of races I was interested in dating.
Really, eHarmony? Really? After you’ve taken my money upfront and not given me any women with whom I seem remotely compatible, now you’re going to tell me that if I don’t feel like seeing anymore pics of white women’s dogs (is the dog interested in a date?), now you’re going to tell me if I don’t feel like seeing anymore ridiculous pics of white women being photographed while surrounded by non-white, third-world, presumably just converted heathen children, then I should stop and reconsider my tactic? Really? And what’s with the save button being grey’d out like it’s not even clickable? It’s like you are doing everything in your power to keep the races pure. That makes you my enemy, I think. And I thought you were supposed to be helping. Oh well. Just under two more months of fun. I can’t wait.
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