Thursday, January 31, 2008

He Might Like Porn Too Much

Hi Terry,

Thanks for all the great advice. I've been working each day on telling myself that I am beautiful, desirable, and attractive, with the goal of enhancing my self confidence. It works!

I am three months into a relationship with a great man, who I hope to have a serious future with.

I noticed in today's e-mail, you said, "If you shudder at the sight of your best friend's husband, whose porn and stripper habit came to light after their wedding. . ." This started me thinking about porn. I suspect that my 37-year-old boyfriend has a porn habit, but I haven't asked him about it.

Terry, how much porn consumption is normal? And how should I bring up the subject with my new man? To be honest, porn bothers me. It makes me feel very bad about my body, and makes me feel like I've been cheated on. I know that this is MY problem, not his. I believe that men can't help but look at porn, and its only natural, because they are visual creatures. Or, at least, that's what I try to tell myself to feel better. But, when does a porn habit become a porn addiction? And, how can I discuss this with my man?

Any guidance you provide will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Terry.


Hello, Wondering

You've asked a really important question.

After I received your letter, I saw an interview with Bob Berkowitz, the author of He's Just Not Up for It Anymore: Why Men Stop Having Sex, and What You Can Do About It. He says that some men lose interest in their wives and girlfriends because porn sets up unrealistic expectations about women.

So you're right to be concerned.

But porn is an interesting thing. Some people are really, really into it. Some people aren't. A good female friend of mine has loved it since she was a teenager, but her brother never shared her enthusiasm.

She eventually married a man who adores the stuff (thanks to modern technology, they can pump into their house 24 hours a day). For them, that's probably a good thing because when they're not enjoying their special hobby together, they're fighting. So, you could say porn actually keeps them together.

But, many years ago, my high school Social Studies teacher, Mr. Metzger, pronounced: "Sex on screen is the most boring thing on earth."

Like beauty, porn is in the eye of the beholder.

Whether your boyfriend is hooked on adult entertainment or is just an occasional observer remains to be seen. You can bring up the subject casually. Use my friend, for example: "I heard about this woman and her husband who are really into porn. What do you think about that?"

And see what he says.

My husband, for example, said, "That's great for them, but I really don't want to go there."

Another guy might say, "Hey, sounds like a good time."

Which makes a good opening for you to tell your guy how you feel about it: "Yeah, it might sound like a good time, but I don't know how it would play out in real life. If you watch too much of that stuff, it can set the bar a little high."

(You're telling him--oh, so gently--that porn not only sets the bar high for you and your body issues but for him and his, too.)

Let the conversation go where it will.

Now, in your letter you wrote, "I believe that men can't help but look at porn, and its only natural, because they are visual creatures."

I often wonder why men are tagged visual creatures when it comes to watching porn or ogling other women, and we women are tagged visual creatures when it comes to seeing a cute pair of shoes.

I mean, if I happen to see porn I don't necessarily turn my head. I'm human. But I don't go looking for it. I don't visit porn websites. If it finds me (and sometimes it does), I look. And then I make a decision to stop looking.

My friend may love it, but ultimately, I find it soul-deadening and depressing. If I had to watch it with my husband to keep our marriage together, I'd really rather not be married.

But enough about me.

You're clearly not comfortable with your boyfriend having a serious porn habit (and we don't know that he does!) You have a right to your feelings. The question is, will he respect them?

A lot of relationships fail because people aren't willing to talk about make-or-break issues. They actually walk up the aisle without asking their partners if they even want children, let alone discussing their feelings about porn.

You're smart to ask your boyfriend how he feels. Just remember to do it with a sense of humor.

I hope this helps.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Is He Setting Her Up for a Fall?

A reader sent the following letter. It's a long one, but I'm printing it in its entirety because a lot of women find themselves in the same situation:

Dear Terry:

First, thank you so much for your insightful website and e-mails! They really bring a lot of encouragement.

My situation is this: Several years ago I broke up the biggest loser of all time. I won't go into detail, because he is long gone, but will say that the abuse I endured in that relationship and growing up in a household with a father much like him, definitely took its toll on me. I since have spent a few years in counseling and read dozens of self-help books that truly helped! I am happy about gaining back my self-esteem but still have trepidations when it comes to dating.

After I felt that I had healed, for the most part, I formed a very specific picture in my mind about the man I would want to be with and used visualization daily until three years ago when I met a gorgeous, successful and somewhat famous man , who so eerily fit my picture, and started dating him very casually. He travels a lot and lives in a different state than I so I tried for the longest time to not let my feelings get involved for I was certain that he had women like me in other places. He is very sweet and fun to be with and I know the feeling is mutual. We both admit that it is very passionate, intense and "electric" when we are together even some three years into it.

However, over the past year or so my feelings for him have gotten more intense and I find myself wanting more of a relationship with him. I finally expressed to him that my feelings are growing deeper, and would continue to do so, and that he would need to be honest with me about whether or not he wanted to find himself involved in that situation.

Much to my relief, he smiled a huge smile while I was talking and then said "O.K.". That was it. We have continued to see each other with the same infrequent regularity but he has definitely gotten more personal with me by sharing a lot more about his family and the like and asking many more questions about mine. His text messages even seem more attentive and he also told me (unprompted) more then a few times when we were together last that he had missed me (we only see each other every few months). We were even in contact over the recent holidays which is something he has never initiated before.

I am crazy about him! But I need to know how to move further. I should also let you know that I am a bit intimidated by his success in life only because I am not exactly where I thought I would be at this point in my life.

I have held great jobs in the past but ever since leaving my home state six years after my break up to go back to school, I have had jobs like the one I have now; I'm a sales girl in a department store. I am a single parent solely supporting myself and my daughter and this is not the most lucrative job but the hours are great for working on other areas of my life. Being that I don't have a lot of money makes me a little less confident around him; he's used to hanging out with designer-clad celebrities, and I am used to shopping at Ross and Target, when the rare day comes that I can even afford to do that. I definitely have fashion savvy and like the way I look most often, but have doubts about being with him in public. It is a mild doubt, but clearly not all of my self-esteem issues have been worked out.

We spend most of our time together in gorgeous hotel rooms and have only gone out for appetizers and drinks a few times, but keep in mind that I only see him every few months. I don't really mind given our work schedules are completely opposite and there is truly nothing I would rather do in the limited time we have together then be completely alone with him.

My friends think he should take me out more, especially since he owns restaurants and clubs, and rearrange his very full work schedule to be able to spend more time with me when he is here.

I want nothing more than to be with him on a regular basis, but my daughter is a teenager in high school and I don't think moving is a reality for either of us. I want to get out of the "limited" mindset I am in because I find myself telling my friends "I don't know if I want to get married" or "I think a relationship would just complicate my life right now" - -both statements are far from the truth.

I want to get married!

And I fear that I have blown up in my mind what it is I truly have with this man and have made it into something more than it is- which my best friend says (who is a man, by the way) is just a "good time".

I know this all sounds silly, but I want to make this a real relationship if it has the chance and I don't want my financial situation or moving or anything else to be a barrier to me. Any advice?

-Hopelessly Fallen

Dear Fallen

First of all, congratulations on attracting a man who eerily fits your picture.

That aside, I do agree with you that your self-esteem still needs a little work (although I definitely commend you for the strides you've made after the relationship with the abusive loser).

Your friend suggests that your 3-year-old friendship with the somewhat famous man is "just a good time," and frankly, the man's not giving you much reason to think otherwise. He's texting more and saying more, and he did smile when you told him your feelings, and that's encouraging. But, as the old lady once demanded in the Wendy's commercial: Where's the beef?

He's a successful man who's used to getting what he wants, so what's stopping him here?

You say you feel somewhat outmatched because he's successful and spends time with designer-dressed celebs, while you're a clerk in a department store who wears Ross and Target. Listen, at the end of the day, we're all human beings. We all sleep, laugh, cry, and bleed.

I don't care what kind of clothes you wear. Obviously, you have something going for you, or you wouldn't have attracted this man's attention. As for wearing clothes from Ross and Target, Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour has been quoted as saying, "A clever girl can put herself together for a few dollars."

Really, anybody can throw on Prada and (with the right figure) look smashing. It takes a good bit of style to be able to take a so-called lesser brand and make something incredible out of it.

And I have a feeling that's what you're doing.

But, again, I would really like for you to work a little harder on your self-esteem. Make a list of all you have going for you, of all your past and present accomplishments. You are raising a teenager on your own, which is no small thing. Since you had such brilliant jobs in the past, is it possible that you might have achieved stunning success if you didn't have to make the sacrifices that come with caring for another human being?

Give yourself points there.

I do not know this man, and I've haven't seen your relationship for myself, but I tend to agree with your friends. Would it kill him to take you out more?

Yes, it's exciting being with him. It's electric. All those tingly emotions make it difficult to think, I know, but think you must.

You only see him once every few months, but I suggest that when you see him again, you gently suggest you leave the hotel room and go out for dinner. See how he reacts. If he hems and haws, you can joke, "Hey, are you ashamed to be seen with me?"

Again, watch his reaction.

If you don't like it, well, cry if you must, but maintain your dignity and politely tell him goodbye. If he tells you, "Hey, Baby, you know that's not true" and gives you some weak excuse, tell him goodbye.

But if he says, "I really want you in my life. I'd really miss you if you weren't in it," you can say, "Well, I'd really miss you, too, but I'm ready for a real relationship. If you're up for it, don't tell me. Show me."

Put your feelings on the line. Then leave it up to do with them what he will.

I wish I had the magic words to give you to make all your dreams come true with this guy, but please be open to the possibility that he's not the one for you. It's possible he only seems like the one for you because you only see him every three months, and you don't have to deal with his faults on a daily basis.

It's all very romantic right now, but the fact that he hangs out with celebrities and can afford to stay in the best hotels does not make him better than you. See him for what he really and truly is. Determine if he's worth it. Proceed accordingly.

I hope this helps.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The People You Meet

You know I believe hanging out in bookstores or cafes increases your odds of meeting interesting people.

Today I met my friend Kristen for coffee at Panera Bread. Turns out an artist whose work I've long admired paints watercolors of the Red Sox and the Patriots in the back room over a cup of coffee.

Kristen goes to Panera a lot more than I do (I prefer the locally-owned Huntington Street Cafe) to write and do research, so she's acquainted with the guy. She introduced me.

Even though I never knew the man's name, I'd been a fan of his work since my days at a small ad agency in Manhattan. At the time, he illustrated for another agency the famously elegant full-page Lord & Taylor ads that used to run in the New York Times.

Kristen told him I liked his work, and he put together a mock ad for me. Then he signed it. I discovered that his first name is Bob, but I can't quite make out the rest of it (yeah, I know. I'm a real genius). I should probably ask Kristen. If she doesn't know, she'll find out for me. In the meantime, I'm going to have the painting framed.

After he left, a guy in his early 30s came in to meet a friend for breakfast. We couldn't help but overhear their discussion. He said he's ready to meet the right woman and get married.

Monday, January 28, 2008

She Wants to Get Married, But He's Not Ready

Dear Terry,

I need some help. I've been dating my boyfriend for almost three years, and now we are having issues about marriage. I've been asking, pushing, and wanting him to agree to marriage for about a year. I am 30.

I told him on our second date that I don't want to date someone for more than two years if I don't think it will lead to marriage. Anyway, I keep getting restless about him asking. I don't want to be pushy, but I just can't help it. Right around the two-year mark, he gave me this big speech about how much he loves me, but that he's not ready. Sometimes I get really insecure and upset, and I explode with frustration about how I'm afraid he doesn't love me and that I can't stand the idea of waiting around to find out later that he really doesn't want to get married.

Anyway, now it's all really frustrating because even though it seems he does want to get engaged, sometime with the next 6 months it sounds like, now I don't know if I will really believe him. I am afraid I will always feel like I pushed him into it.

How do I learn to back down? And, if he does propose, how will I know he meant it?

-Want to Feel Better Fast

Dear Better,

I will tell you how to back down in a minute, but first take note of the words from your letter that popped out at me:


This situation has made you woefully unhappy, and part of you thinks marriage will make you happy. Another part of you thinks that perhaps marriage will not make you happy if you end up wondering for the rest of your life that you had to talk the guy into it.

So you're obviously smart and self-aware.

But you're operating on the faulty premise that you need to be married by a certain age. You said that you told this fellow on your second date that you didn't want to waste time. Is it possible, that in your quest to beat a self-imposed deadline, that you've convinced yourself that this man is indeed the one for you?

Think about this, please. Is he really the guy for you? Do you really love him? Or do you just want to get married already?

Now, even if you decide he is the man of your every fantasy, you said it yourself that you need to step back. You should absolutely do this, immediately and lovingly. If you've lost touch with friends, this is the time to reclaim them. If you don't have any friends, this is the time to make them.

Gently change your routine. Stop investing all your time in a relationship that may or may not proceed the way you hope. Be kind about this. You might ask your guy to make other plans (I repeat: kindly) because you'll be going out with Karen or Sue or whoever next weekend. If you are already spending some time with Karen or Sue, I suggest you start spending more time with them.

Do not be spiteful about this. Be the smiling, lovely woman who attracted the guy in the first place. Continue to see him, sure, but stop being available every time he calls you. Make a space for activities that do not include him. For your own peace of mind, never bring up the word marriage again.

This makes it possible for him to consider that you do have other interests, that you do have the capacity to make a life without him. He may not like that. He may say to himself, "You know, I really love this girl, and I don't want to lose her."

Or he may not. He may decide he does not want to be married, and for you to possess that knowledge would be a gift indeed. You can move on with your life. You're free to attract a man who truly desires to marry you.

The thing is, if you do keep going the way you're going (and you're really being unfair to yourself, by the way), you risk waking up at the age of 47 or whatever next to a man who feels trapped and resents you for it. But you know that already.

Don't condemn yourself to an hellish marriage to meet a deadline.

I don't know why you are compelled to marry by a certain age, but let me tell you, I've known women who had to be married by this or that birthday, and they're divorced now. One of these women, one of my best friends, suffered repeated and humiliating pressure from relatives who considered her a total failure when she reached her 29th birthday and still hadn't hooked a live one.

After answering some personal ads, she met a guy who fit the bill: Right religion, right job, right salary, and so on. On paper, they were a match made in heaven. Her family did a tap dance and threw a lavish wedding.

They were miserable and divorced three years later.

Take the pressure off yourself. Avoid people who pressure you. If all your friends are engaged or married and stopped spending time with you, find new friends. Console yourself in the knowledge that many of them will not be married forever.

The divorce statistics tell the tale. Have I convinced you to back off and start taking better care of yourself?

Then, if your guy does propose, you'll know that it's because he wanted to spend the rest of his life with you. You won't ever have to wonder if you pushed him into it.

But let me leave you with this:

Better single and happy than married and miserable.

Rock of Glistening Tongue

The 80s marked an interesting period in music. Some of the heavy hitters of the 70s, Led Zeppelin, ELP, and The Who faded into the background for a bit (some of their members taking time to do solo albums), and a new crop of bands took over. Van Halen, Metallica, and Iron Maiden made it big at the same time as Kate Bush, The Smiths, The Cure, and Simple Minds. In 1985, The Who, Tears for Fears, Led Zeppelin, and Madonna (among too many others to mention here) played Live Aid. In the late 80s, Guns n' Roses hit the scene, and the world sat up and took notice. Robert Plant released a highly acclaimed solo album. It was a great time to be alive.

At around the same time came a plague of annoying hair bands. Suddenly you couldn't turn on the TV without being assaulted by a video featuring a pack of poseurs noted for their passion for voluminizing products. Their names alone gave them away: Poison, Cinderella, Motley Crue, and Winger. My brother and I spent a lot of time falling off the couch laughing at them.

Thankfully, the offenders faded away, although Vince Neil of Motley Crue did submit himself to a face lift on national TV not too long ago. Drummer Tommy Lee, most famous for being Pam Anderson's former husband, pops his head up every so often, too. And, of course, Bret Michaels, Poison lead singer, returns every Sunday on VH1 to give us the taste of a poseur rock star's life (as opposed to a real rock star's life: Led Zeppelin hopes to tour again as soon as Robert Plant finishes touring with Alison Krauss; The Cure currently tour the United States).

While real rock stars get about the business of writing and making music, Bret swaggers around in his rock star clothes yammering about the rock star life, which includes spending time with strippers and encouraging women who are not yet strippers to please take a crack at it.

Last night's episode featured our hero taking three lucky LSEs to a burlesque club, where they watched a dancer he deemed "sexy!" Afterwards, Bret directed his dates to get on stage and give it a try themselves. Unfortunately, one of of the LSEs, a real-life stripper named Angelique (or "Frenchie" to Bret) didn't understand the assignment.

You see, in last week's peep-show episode, the LSEs were required to get in a booth and do whatever it took to keep Bret's attention (he signalled his approval by dropping a token into a slot). This week, his dates' assignment was to strip tease , not to strip. When Frenchie (pictured above) peeled off her underwear, she doomed herself to the axe. "This is a burlesque club," huffed the club's dancer. "We don't take off all our clothes!"

In poor Frenchie's defense, I guess I'd have been confused, too.

Back home at the ranch (or Bret's mansion, as VH1 likes to call it), our hero's tongue made its usual rounds. When Destiney (yeah, she really does spell her name like that) used her VIP pass to interrupt Kristy Joe's (same thing) date with Bret, he pulled her into his lap and made out with her big time.

That's rock and roll!

Between Bret's adventures, producers like to cut to shots of guitars on the walls, just in case you forget you're watching a show about a rock star and not a tragedy about a Peter Pan Whore Man who won't be opening for Led Zeppelin anytime soon.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sweet Misery

Okay, this post has nothing at all to do with dating, but I'd like you to read it anyway.

In 2005, my mother died of a brain tumor. Since then, two other brain tumor patients have told me their doctors forbid them from consuming aspartame, the artificial sweetener the media continually assure us is perfectly safe.

The other day I rented Sweet Misery, a documentary featuring people in the medical community who say otherwise. I just discovered that you can watch it for free courtesy of the good folks at Google.

Kick off your shoes, crank up your speakers, and click here to watch it.

Did aspartame cause my mother's brain tumor? Well, she did drink a whole lotta diet soda, but who knows? Do view the video, though. Then decide whether you want to keep chewing that aspartame-laced gum you pop into your head every few hours.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

She Wants to Wait Until Marriage

Dear Terry,

I've read your book, and I always enjoy reading your blog. I am single now.

My question is: What are pros and cons of abstaining from sex until marriage since I believe is the right thing to do? Is it possible that if he truly loves you he will wait until then? Is it really possible in today's world?

Thank you for your wonderful insight in your daily blog.

-A Fresh Start

Dear Fresh-

Thanks for writing and for your comments.

Since I've experienced the Law of Attraction, I do indeed believe it's possible to attract what you want. You want a man who's willing to wait to have sex until marriage, so bring that man to life in your imagination. What would you do together, for example? Where would you go? How would you feel in the arms of such a person?

Write an ideal scene of the two of you having fun together and bring it to life in your mind several times every day.

I guess the biggest pro of having sex before marriage is getting to know what you're getting before you marry it. However, many people who abstained from premarital sex later report fantastic sex after they wed, so who knows?

The cons? Well, in your case, you'd be compromising your values, and that's no small thing. You must remain true to yourself. Surely, on this planet of 6,602,224,175 humans, a man exists who feels the same way you do.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

If You Want Him Back, Don't Scare Him Off

It's amazing the stupid things some women will do when they want to reunite with a former boyfriend (and, to be fair, men do the same stupid things when they want an old girlfriend).

Some of us drunk dial. Some of us do the late-night drive-by. Some of us get really bad and do the drunk late-night drive-by. But none of these methods have been shown to be effective in rekindling romance. On the contrary, sometimes they result in the guy taking out a restraining order.

Last weekend, my sister told me of a mutual friend who's recently been harrassed by her brother's former girlfriend. Since the break-up, the ex has been dropping in on our friend, making nightly calls to his mother and brothers (one of whom is the father of small twins and doesn't need the phone ringing at 9PM).

The woman's goal is to win allies. She imagines that by remaining in frequent contact with his family she establishes herself as an integral member. She thinks she can get the others to prevail upon the ex on her behalf.

She's crazy.

Here's what's really happening: The mother says to her son, "Will you tell that woman to stop calling me?"

The sister says, "Thank God you broke up with that psycho. She's like something out of Fatal Attraction."

One brother says, "I never liked that girl."

The brother with twins says, "Make her stop calling or I'm changing my number, and you'll never hear from me again."

Okay, the woman is hurting, and hurting people do hurting things.

I've been there.

When we've been dumped, we all want the guy to realize he's made a mistake, but enlisting his family's help is bound to backfire. Think about it: Have you ever been indifferent about a guy that your parents were crazy about? Did their enthusiasm change your feelings for him?

You may have given him a second look, but your feelings had to develop of their own accord.

Now, imagine that some guy you're done with starts calling your friends and family. Would you be intrigued by that? Or would it turn you off?

If he kept it up, would you be convinced that he was the guy for you? Or would you think about calling a lawyer?

It's easy to lose your head when you've been rejected. Rejection can cut you to the core. It's not the time to come up with hairbrained schemes to regain a guy's affection. It's the time to lie low, keep busy, and maintain your dignity.

If you hope he'll have a change of heart, it's the only way to go. And if he doesn't have a change of heart, well, he never was going to have one, anyway.

Do yourself a favor and move on.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sex, Stupidity, and Rock and Roll

VH1 has a gift for exploiting down-and-out or has-been celebrities (as in The Surreal Life, Celebrity Fit Club, My Fair Brady, and recently, Celebrity Rehab).

With the introduction of last year's Rock of Love, the network began blowing through Bret Michaels' waning fame like a stiff Kleenex. He's since become a national joke. Too bad the poor bastard's not swift enough to figure it out.

Maybe I was dreaming when I heard Bret tell Chelsea Handler last week that he'd slept with all but "two girls" on last season's Rock of Love -- as if that was a good thing. Like the jerk you went to high school with who bragged that he knew "all the words to 'Stairway to Heaven' by Lynyrd Skynyrd," Bret isn't quite as cool as he thinks he is. People aren't laughing with you, Dude.

Now Bret's back for Rock of Love 2, and I have to wonder if producers aren't prodding at least one of the smarter "girls" on this season's show on how to get Bret's attention. You can almost hear them whispering, "He's insecure about his height, so make him feel big," and "He's insecure about his age, so make him feel like he's 20 again."

Reviewing the season premiere, which ran for the umpteenth time last night, I picked up a tragic comment from one of the "girls," who I will henceforth refer to as the Women of Low Self-Esteem, or LSEs. The poor wretch said she joined the show because, "My father wasn't around very much, and I just want to find someone to love me."


I truly believe that a the quality of a woman's romantic relationships usually depends on the relationship she had with her father (the same goes for a boys and their mothers). But sliding up and down a pole for a skeeve like Bret Michaels is hardly the way to remedy the situation.

The way to remedy the situation is this: Love yourself like your father never loved you. Make it a daily practice. Treat yourself as the most loving man in the world would treat a beloved child. Speak to yourself kindly. Put on some clothes. Use your brain to make money.

Speaking of fathers, Bret reminds us frequently that he is the father of two females, ages seven and two. I guess he thinks it makes him even more of a turn-on, but you have to wonder what these little girls will think when they watch Superdad's tongue bobbling around a series of strange mouths in a single 60-minute episode.

I just hope their mother (or, since we're talking about Bret, their mothers), has replaced the sleazebag with a better man.

In last night's episode, our hero serenaded the ladies with a song he recorded 20 years ago. Then he eliminated a contestant whose self-esteem ranked too high for his liking. Unlike some of the others, she had better things to do than sit by the door in her skivvies, waiting to greet the old dog when he came home.

Photo credit: Nancy Mazzei, VH1

Friday, January 18, 2008

Some Excellent Advice About Men

After my cousin got married in 1987, she told me something that served me well in my dating life.

"Don't ever get serious with any guy who hasn't lived on his own."

It goes without saying that a 35-year-old guy still living in his parents' basement should be tossed on the reject pile, but she meant guys in their 20s.

She insisted that if I married some 26-year-old guy who lived with Mommy until the wedding, I'd be in for a rough ride. I'd soon learn that he hadn't the foggiest idea about mopping floors, let alone wiping up that annoying dust that accumulates on toilet tank covers. I'd be picking his socks and underwear off the floor even as I got dressed for work.

"All you'll be getting is a baby to take care of," my cousin told me. "And if you plan to have babies, you don't need another baby."

Interestingly, a study out of the Netherlands discovered that a partner who does his share of the cleaning is way more of a turn-on than a sluggard who doesn't. A woman's best bet for marital happiness, then, is to marry a man who scrubs toilets.

As for my cousin, I saw her at another cousin's funeral in October. Twenty years of marriage and four children later, she looked remarkably the same. I guess having a husband who helps with the housework means less wear and tear on your looks, too.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

She's Doing Everything Right But Still Meeting Losers

Hi Terry,

I must tell you how much I enjoy reading your e-mails, and I find your advice and honesty about your own dating experiences invaluable. I admire you.

I have been practicing for 11 months the Law of Attraction, and so many wonderful things are taking place in my life, but still when it comes to my love life and finding a soul mate, I am still no further along.

I have a list I carry with me and read every day all about the qualities I am looking for in him. I am on a dating web site, and I am a member of a high-priced matchmaking service and have just been meeting one loser after another.

I am visualizing,and every night before I go to sleep I read the list out loud. As I have stated, all other aspects of my life are coming together great. What am I doing wrong?

I am a very young looking 50-year-old woman, divorced with no children, and have a good job and also own a home. I work out on a regular basis and have been told I look 40.

Eagerly awaiting your reply.

-An Excellent Catch

Hi, Excellent-

I don't think you're doing anything wrong. It sounds to me that you're just about doing everything right. You sound positive-minded, you obviously take good care of yourself, and you don't sound at all needy. You sound like a real catch.

Since you do have a list (I commend you for this, by the way), do you bring up emotion when you visualize your ideal relationship? It helped me to write an "ideal scene" of my ideal relationship. I included all sorts of sensory detail: rain drops on my husband's glasses, the metal smell of the swing he pushed me on, the temperature, the sounds of birds, and so on. I used to read it whenever I got bored, and then closed my eyes and brought all the sensory details to life in my imagination.

I got so good at it I could do it with my eyes open in a restaurant. It made me happy whenever I got discouraged.

About your bed: Do you sleep in the middle? I used to, and then I read somewhere that to bring a man into your life, it helps to make room for him. I started sleeping on one side of the bed. I cleared out one night table and used just one. This definitely helped.

Some time after I got married, I hosted an Internet radio show and interviewed Terah Kathryn Collins, a Feng Shui specialist who backed me up on this. She writes in her book, Feng Shui for Romance:

"If you're single and would like to be partnered, act as if the love of your life has already arrived by moving the bed away from the wall and giving your "one night stand" a partner. You don't want to hold your singleness in place by having a bedroom that comfortably accommodates only one! Clear the bed of delicate "guardians," such as lacy pillows and stuffed animals, and update with enhancements that accurately refect your current romantic intentions. Remove pictures of solitary people or things; and arrange decorations in pairs, like two flowers, candles or poetry books. Design an approachable, sensuous bedroom that invites a partner to join you without a 'single' care."

As you can imagine, this is all about manipulating energy, and not about going out and roping someone into sharing your bed with you. You're merely making room for someone in your life. You're also subtly convincing your subconscious that he's already there.

I'm concerned that you're spending lots of money on matchmaking services and still meeting losers. Would you be better off saving your money or using it to do something you really enjoy, perhaps traveling or learning a new language? It's possible that if you pursue your interests, you'll only meet women, but it helps to meet women because they often know available men. I met my husband in a bar, but it turned out he was a friend of the boyfriend of one of the friends I had come in to hang out with.

Turns out he grew up on the other side of town. Our paths must have crossed over the years, but we didn't become acquainted until after I became clear about what I wanted in a relationship and started believing I already had it.

I hope this helps. Thanks for writing.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What Makes a Man Marry

Just found an article on what makes a man want to marry by David Zinczenko of Men's Health, and it's a good one. Click here to read it.

Your Internet Profile

Yesterday, I detailed one woman's success with eHarmony. It's a controversial subject because apparently results vary widely; this woman's own sister tried the service and ended up disappointed.

I asked the satisfied woman, who met her fiance through eHarmony, why she thought the outcomes were so different for her and her sister.

She explained, "I'm happy by myself and with myself. When you have that, men are attracted to you. My sister was coming from a place of lack -- 'I have to find a man.' She's negative and needy. It turns people off."

Okay, I can see why her sister turned men off, but it didn't explain why perfectly attractive, seemingly happy women end up getting a series of lackluster matches from online dating services.

If you've been reading me for a while, you know that I believe in my soul that happiness and self-esteem are crucial in attracting the right man -- and in recognizing the bad ones in an instant.

But I'm baffled when women who have these qualities put themselves online, only to net one rotten fish after another.

And then I remembered my own similar experience.

After I'd decided I'd finished dating losers, schmoozers, and No-Show Joes, I placed my first and only personal ad. I kept it short and to the point: "Sincere, loyal, fun woman looking for sincere, loyal, fun man for possible relationship."

I got lots of responses. I met each of the respondents for drinks in the TGIF near my office in Manhattan. Most of the guys seemed nice enough (except the dude who asked why I was desperate enough to place a personal ad, begging me to ask why he'd been desperate enough to answer it). But none of them rated a second date.

I started to get discouraged.

Then I remembered something I'd read in one of the numerous self-help books I devoured at the time, something to the effect of what writer Somerset Maugham once said, "It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it."

I'd read that if you put what you want "out there," the universe would respond. And if you refused to take less than what you wanted, the universe would do better.

After meeting a series of these Mr. Not-For-Mes, I made the decision not to date again until someone worth dating showed himself. In the meantime, I kept visualizing the right relationship, feeling it, acting "as if." I continued getting out of the house and meeting my friends. At that point I had no expectation of meeting anybody, but the relationship remained alive in my head.

After a while, the sister-in-law of a friend started bringing her brother around. The guy was good-looking, fun-oriented, success-minded. The sister-in-law suggested I go out with him. "He'll treat you like gold," she said. At that point, I was ready to date someone who would treat me like gold.

And he did.

At first I was crazy about him. We had fun and shared some similar interests. After a few months together, though, he exaggerated to friends the details of a situation I'd witnessed, and I lost respect for him. I fell into a funk about it; my "perfect" relationship had come to nothing. But, driving home one night, I had the eery (and accurate) feeling that the relationship was a dress rehearsal for something much bigger.

I broke up with him. I continued visualizing, affirming, the whole bit. Even though I didn't have any concrete reason to continue doing any of it, I felt something shifting. I knew that what I was looking for was also looking for me.

And that's when it found me.

I didn't meet my husband through the personal ad. I met him in a bar (no, he's not an alcoholic; he doesn't even drink). I wasn't scoping the place for talent when I met him; I was pretty much minding my own business, sitting with friends I wanted to spend time with.

If Internet dating hasn't paid off for you, it may be the vibe you're giving off, or it may not. If you're happy, confident, and --this is critical --clear about wanting a relationship, and you still haven't met the right guy, I believe in my soul that you will meet him eventually.

I believe he's out there.

It may be while you're waiting on line at the post office. It may be in a bar. It may be in the gift shop at a hospital. But I believe that you will meet him.

In the end, though, it doesn't really matter what I believe. What matters is what you believe.

What do you believe?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

She Met the Right Man Through eHarmony

I'm not an employee or stockholder or affiliate of eHarmony, but I'm intrigued by their "personality profile" approach to matchmaking. My friend, Dating Coach Ronnie Ann Ryan, maintains that no man in his right mind is going to submit himself to answering the numerous questions the company requires. A lot of her clients back her up on this.

At a party over the weekend, though, I spoke with the well-traveled and successful owner of a Manhattan company who met her fiance through eHarmony. Obviously, she felt differently about the service. She said she'd used other online services, too, but the matches she got through them wanted casual fun instead of serious fun (in fairness to eHarmony's competitors, I do know a couple of people who met through them and eventually married). She believes that men who want relationships will invest time in answering questions that improve their odds of meeting the right woman.

I asked her if eHarmony supplied her with an adequate supply of eligible bachelors. I wanted to know if she considered them quality matches, as opposed to a bunch of losers. She said that the company had indeed supplied a number of good matches, all of whom she spent considerable time on the phone with before making coffee dates. The one exception was a high school principal in upstate New York she said she really wanted to meet. Ultimately, she decided against it; she figured a high school principal would be pretty invested in his town, and she has no intention of leaving Manhattan.

She concedes that not everybody she knows has been as succesful as she with eHarmony, though. A relative of hers ended up disappointed. I'll be back with that part of the story tomorrow.

Monday, January 14, 2008

She Knows What She Wants in a Man

In my post of January 2, Meet Better Men in 2008, I recommended that women write and keep a list of the qualities they want in a guy. One reader took me up on it and sent me what she came up with:

"Great sense of humor…Kind…Loves his job… he is his own boss…didn’t sell his soul to the man…Honest… Into Wellness…Fit…Athletic but not a jock…Hike bike tennis all around athletic but not obsessed…Easy going…Intelligent but not a brainiac…Never stuffy…Treats everyone with respect and compassion. Never snubs people…Doesn’t want any new offspring…Soft hearted…Big into relaxing and taking a hiatus from phone, TV, cell, laptop etc...Not a big political guy but knowledgeable…not a perfectionist…Handy, do it yourselfer…Fetish free…Eyes like Jim F…Wrinkly eye smiley face…Affectionate…Good Hugger…5 o’clock shadow…physique like Barry, Robbie, Drew…good dresser…appreciates the arts, music, musician…guitar, piano, sings, reads music…good cook…into food but not snobby…more like mark BITTMAN and naked chef…not at all effeminate by any stretch of the imagination…likes to go out to restaurants…knows wine but not in a snobby way…not a momma’s boy…not a washerwoman…helpful…energetic…laid back…not hyper…makes me laugh…makes me blush….makes me feel safe…makes me feel attractive….loves God…knows scripture…Christ-like lifestyle and approach…not an annoying pompous type church dude…good host, entertainer…nice home…unfettered by past relationships…likes dogs…not a cat guy…not status conscious…well read and nice handwriting…good with words…into green living…loves NYC…Knows NYC…GETS NYC…geographically available…neat and clean but not OCD about it…lots of good friendships…loving family…exceptionally kind to wait staff etc…thinks my kids rock…can handle being friends first…but when I am ready won’t budge from this point in his life until I agree to come along for the ride…gets me…multi-faceted…confident..empowered…empowering…a big motivator…encourager…great friend to get clarity from…lives a balanced, harmonious existence…never tries to give me something I don’t want…never tries to tell me what I want after I just expressed what I wanted…joyful...optimistic...peacemaker...likes the beach all year agenda...not meticulous or fussy in any way...."

Will she get everything on her list? Probably not; maybe she'll have to accept less than good handwriting. None of us is perfect. But the fact that she's determined what she wants means she'll recognize the right guy when he comes along. It also dramatically increases the likelihood that he will indeed come around.

Rock of Love, Part Deux

The last season of Rock of Love starring sad boy Poison frontman, Bret Michaels, struck me as sickly hilarious, the collision of a woefully insecure man and a passel of woefully insecure young women. I tuned in for every episode.

But now Bret is back, professing to be on the hunt for true love (or for a decent pole dancer, anyway) once again. I felt sorry for the poor women who felt low enough to dupe themselves into this humiliating mess last time around, but this time I feel even sorrier for Bret. He opened last night's Rock of Love II by claiming to be 40 years old, which he isn't.

He's really 44.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. But it's pathetic when a man runs from his age, when he wear layers of pancake makeup and eyeliner, and a bandana that probably conceals baldness (note to Bret: Baldness is a sign of masculinity, Pal. Don't hide it). It's tragic when a man who should know better throws himself into another pool of Kristy Joes, Ambres, and Destineys to prove he's still a hot commodity.

Most of the women he discarded last season have landed on their feet, I imagine. But I have to wonder what's going to become of Bret Michaels

I sure hope he's saving his money.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Reuniting With an Old Love

"Who hasn't Googled an ex?" asks the February 2008 issue of More, which features 44-year-old actress Vanessa Williams on its cover.

I really like More. While it's geared fabulous females over 40, I recommend younger women read it, too. The financial tips definitely help, and the stories about accomplished, attractive women are inspiring.

This month, I loved the profiles of four women who married high school and childhood sweethearts decades after life took them in different directions.

The issue contains excellent dating advice, too, in an interview with experts Leslie Oren and Allison Armstrong. Here's my favorite nugget: "Include your deal breakers in a[n online] profile. Women ask, 'On which date do I tell him that I have a son? The third? The fourth?' [Armstrong] says, 'Are you kidding? You tell him on the phone before you agree to have coffee.'"

As I write this, the More website is temporarily down for maintenance, but check this link later for an interesting perspective on dating men who are not quite as accomplished as you.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Getting Married For the Right Reasons

Since the day we learn to climb out of our cribs, women are socialized to want to get married. We're sold the fairy tale of being princess for a day and riding off into the sunset with our very own Prince Charming.

But a lot of time Prince Charming doesn't figure much into the tale. Case in point: On Tuesday, I met a business associate for lunch. We're friends, but we talked mainly about business. At a neighboring table, an attractive woman in her early 30s sat with a business colleague and talked non-stop about the wedding she's planning.

I tried to tune her out, but she talked pretty loudly. I heard every detail about the selection of her dress, the church, the reception hall, and even the cake. She went on and on about it. The other woman couldn't get a word in edgewise, and I noticed that after a while, she didn't even try.

My friend got up to use the Ladies' Room, while the bride-to-be continued droning on about The Biggest Day in Her Life. It occurred to me that she'd neglected to mention one particular detail: the Groom.

She never uttered a word about him.

Eventually, she and her colleague did get around to discussing business. The bride's posture changed. Her shoulders rounded; clearly, work really didn't interest her. And why should it? She had The Biggest Day of Her Life on her mind.

(It made me wonder if her fiance sits around business lunches boring colleagues with plans for their wedding. Even if he is heart-stoppingly besotted with his future wife, I doubt it.)

I have a good friend who fell into this Biggest Day of a Girl's Life trap. She listed precise requirements for an engagement ring, she picked her wedding dress out of a shop window after three dates with her husband, and she spent our nights out with the girls talking ad nauseum about her ideas for a suitable reception location.

Some of had to duck into the bathroom to manage conversations about something other than this girl's Big Day, which eventually came and went in the space of about eight hours. She had a hell of a wedding, I'll give her that. She hired a killer band that did Sinatra as well as Led Zeppelin ("A Whole Lotta Love" brought down the house), and authentic Italian food. As far as weddings go, it was great.

But the marriage? Not so much.

She and her husband fight constantly. Other than the kids, they have nothing in common. He calls her names. She tries to get him to help out with the house. He avoids coming home. She's dying to get out with her friends. And, although she reached her goal to walk up the aisle with a 22-inch waistline, she's put on weight over the years. Prince Charming has been known to be pretty rough about it.

She's not the first female who got sucked into the wedding fantasy before looking closely enough at the man she'd be going home with. I hope the woman I'd overheard at lunch the other day isn't making the same mistake.

Despite all the planning, a wedding amounts to a single day in a person's life. That's it. A wedding may be fun, but a bad marriage is hell. Know what you're getting. Make sure that you want it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Seen In Yesterday's Newspapers

I came across two interesting quotes regarding love and marriage in the newspapers yesterday.

From the New York Metro:

"January is the busiest time of the year."
-James Stewart, of U.K. law firm Manches, on divorce during the holidays. He adds: "Christmas is not a cause of divorce but it is certainly a catalyst."

From the New York Times:

"I am faithful -- to myself! I am bored to death by monogamy."
-Italian model and singer Carla Bruni.

The Times reports that Bruni made this statement last February before she became involved with her current boyfriend, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

You Gotta Believe It's Possible Before It Can Happen

Sassy's comment on my answer to the woman who's involved with a married guy (see my post for January 4th; for some reason, Blogger won't give me the link) got me thinking. She made the excellent point that the woman deserved better than that. She shouldn't have to resort to sharing someone else's husband.

A lot of women may say they deserve better (better than someone else's husband, better than a guy who spends all his free time with his buddies, better than a guy who's usually late, better than a guy who subtly undermines their confidence), but they don't really believe they can have him.

Some of them are just grateful to have a guy in their lives. Seriously. They don't want to rock the boat. It sounds crazy that some women think this way in the year 2008, but hey, some people don't think America is ready for a woman president, either, so go figure.

(Note: I'm an Edwards fan, so I'm not necessarily endorsing Hillary Clinton. I'm just saying it's pretty sad that the US hasn't had a woman president when England, Ireland, the Philippines, Pakistan, India, Israel, and probably some others already have.)

As I was saying:

If you don't believe you deserve a one-man woman, a guy who makes your happiness a priority, and treats you as he'd have you treat him, guess what? You're not going to get him. If you tell yourself that all the good ones are already taken, guess what? You're right.

Your beliefs determine your reality.

Did you ever start a diet, eat one potato chip, and tell yourself it's no use, you'll never lose weight? And it turned out you were right. I used to do the same thing. I struggled with my weight for 21 years until I finally got it through my head that not only could I lose weight, I deserved to lose it.

If I had a bad day, instead of telling myself the show's over, I got back on track the very next morning. Instead of reminding myself that I'd never stuck to an exercise program for more than two days in my entire life, I tried something that worked for me (walking; I'm not overly coordinated) four days a week. If I missed a day, I didn't kill myself over it. I did better the next week.

The same goes for meeting someone special. Don't accept less than you deserve. Decide what you want, visualize yourself in that relationship, and get out of the house until you find it. Whatever you do, don't talk yourself into dating some jerk just because he's the only pebble currently residing on your beach. Don't tell yourself it's no use; all the good ones are taken.

More important:

Determine what do you believe about yourself. Do you really and truly believe that you can attract a happy relationship? If not, why not? Look at that and turn it around. What do you believe about men? If you've had a series of sad relationships (I did), what did they have in common? Determine what kind of relationship would make a better alternative.

If you had a father who cut out on your mother or just didn't seem to give a crap whether you lived or died, you'll need to examine your feelings for him. Women tend to attract men who, on some level, remind them of their fathers, so if yours didn't fit the Mike Brady mold, write down a list of his faults. Then write the opposite of those faults, so that you have a list of desirable qualities in front of you instead. Can you imagine yourself with a better man than your father?

Create a happy relationship on paper and live it in your head. What kinds of things would you do with this person? Would you have fun? Would you be bored? If you fear you'd be bored, why do think you'd be bored? Is it possible you wouldn't be bored?

(I have a theory that a lot of women subconsciously attract the wrong guys because they crave drama and want to avoid boredom at all costs. I think I might have been one of these women.)

A friend who is a psychologist says you "have to walk into it" before you can have it. That would include a better job, a better house, and an exciting, joyful love relationship.

Know what you want. Believe you can have it. Believe that you do have it.

You'll get it.

Monday, January 07, 2008

How's Your Breath?

You went out with a guy. You looked great, made sparkling conversation, and intrigued him by sharing his passion for Will Ferrell movies. But then he said he'd call, and then he didn't, and you're left wondering if the Guinness and anchovies you had for dinner had him running for the hills .

Halitosis can kill your love life.

Bad breath is insidious because you don't know you have it until someone is brave enough to tell you (the rest of us politely bash our heads back into walls to avoid your fumes).

The best way to determine if you suffer from halitosis without actually finding a human test subject is to lick your wrist. Wait until the saliva dries. If you don't detect an odor, you're okay. If you do, hit the Scope, Baby.

It helps to carry a one of those sample bottles you find in the bins at the supermarket in your purse. If it turns out you need it, whip it out in the Ladies' Room. It's more effective than a breath mint or a quick spray; you can swirl it between your teeth and get it into the back of your throat, freshening your entire mouth.

Friday, January 04, 2008

She's Dating A Married Man

Hi Terry,

Thank you so much for your emails. The more I read them, the more wisdom I accumulate.

It's this time of the year when I really reflect on my love life, and what I'm really looking for. I divorced four years ago when I found out my ex-husband had kept a mistress. It broke my heart completely, and I could not forgive him.

But strangely, four years later, the same situation comes up except I am the other girl this time. There is this married man who's been very interested in me. His wife has a three-month-old baby. I know it's immoral, but our chemistry has been unbelievable. He's even better than my ex. Our casual sex was really good each time.

I had tried to keep a distance from him, but he can't help seeing me whenever he can. I let him know I see other guys too, and he lets me know he keeps seeing other girls, too. But then again, he sees me whenever. He's all quiet now when we have sex. I know he's sad also because he can't say anything or do anything about the situation, apart from just enjoying each other's bodies.

His parents were divorced when he was 12. Is that the reason that makes him a compulsive cheater? Will that eventually lead to big problem for his marriage? His wife might sense something but is unlikely to divorce him.

Funny I used to despise those who cheat, but after a few times, I don't feel too guilty about it. But at the same time, I can forgive my husband for what he did because now I understand why he did it.

It's circle of life and I'm running around it, there is no right or wrong, you just take it or leave it, is that right?

Meanwhile, I'm thinking of doing online dating, I want to know more about a man first by email before I see him. Is it a good idea?

-Running around

Dear Running-

I'm so sorry that your husband cheated on you. I can only imagine how devastated you must have felt.

But you know how you felt, so I urge you to consider the feelings of the woman who is married to the man you're currently sleeping with. I'm not a psychologist, so I don't know what has driven this man to cheat compulsively. I do think that if his wife learns about his infidelity or even suspects it, it will have a terrible effect on their relationship.

You say the chemistry between you is fantastic, but a lot of the time good chemistry results from forbidden passion, not from love or mutual respect. I have a hunch that if if this guy ever gave up his wife and all his other girlfriends, you'd be bored with him in 10 minutes. The thrill would be gone.

Since he does seem to be spreading himself a bit thin, I encourage you to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases (that is, if you decide to keep seeing him, and I hope you won't).

You mentioned, "It's circle of life and I'm running around it, there is no right or wrong, you just take it or leave it, is that right?" But you're wrong. There may be a circle of life, but there is definitely a difference between right and wrong. The best advice I can give you is to treat others as you would have them treat you. (And if they don't treat you as you would treat them, it's time to reconsider the relationship.)

If you wouldn't want someone else to do something to you, don't do it to her. Please give the relationship with the married man serious thought. Sure, it's fun, but somebody is going to get hurt.

My mother used to say, "Life has a way of catching up with people." For your own good, stop poaching other women's men. It's rotten karma.

As for online dating, I do recommend it. In 2007, two of my friends became engaged to people they met online. Before you join a service, though, decide on an objective. Do you want a serious relationship? Marriage? Or a guy you can just get together with once in a while?

Write a list of the qualities you'd like him to have. Write a list of the qualities you have to offer.

Believe that you can have the relationship you want. More important, believe that you deserve it.

I think you're wise to get to know a guy you meet online before you agree to meet him. When you decide you're ready, meet him in a safe, neutral location (a restaurant or a coffee shop) and provide your own transportation. Don't get into cars with strangers.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Reality TV Turns Girls Into Idiots

A 13-year-old I know tells me that girl-on-girl action is all the rage at her middle school.

"People think it's cool," she said queasily.

A 10-year-old from the neighborhood told me she avidly watched MTV's A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila, adding that she couldn't wait to find out if Tila went "for the guy or the girl."

I've seen bits of one or two episodes. The designed-to-titillate girl-on-girl action just made me cranky.

Reality TV lesbianism strikes me as disrespectful to real lesbians, who as far as I know, are not given to squeezing each other's breasts at homecoming dances to please some stupid guy. (I thought lesbians weren't so interested in guys.) No, this action seems to be limited to "hot" girls or wannabe "hot" girls who desperately do want to please some stupid guy.

And that's the scary thing about the prevalence of TV girl-on-girl action: It promotes the idea that if you want a guy, you have to live out some fantasy he may or may not harbor (as opposed to being yourself; that's out of the question). Apparently, a lot of young -- and not so young -- girls are buying it.

Reality TV tells girls that to be successful, they have to be "hot," and not in a Sophia Loren or even a Marilyn Monroe kind of way. If you're hot, you're probably but not necessarily blonde. You wear your hair long and your skirts short. You may or may not possess your original nose and breasts. You demonstrate your hotness by teetering around on toothpicks and making out with whomever happens to be sitting next to you. You should have at least one sex tape in the can.

Unfortunately, reality is beginning to imitate reality TV for young girls. That's what the girls tell me, anyway.

Clearly, reality TV promotes stupidity. Another young acquaintance of mine, a striking blonde who once planned to go to college on a soccer scholarship, now carries a little dog in her purse like Paris Hilton. She and her friends studied Hilton's show The Simple Life as if it were the Talmud. In addition to carrying a little dog like her role model, this girl has become calculating, mean, and self-centered.

She may be getting the attention she wants now, but if she ever hopes to be happy, she's biking down the wrong road. Acting like an idiot never attracts love, respect, and devotion. It elicits contempt, gossip, and, ultimately, pity.

After all, nobody -- except the paparazzi who make money on her and maybe her parents -- loves Paris Hilton. And aside from the teenagers she influences, nobody admires her, either.

It's the same for Tila Tequila, who claims to be genuinely bisexual. Her car wreck of a show attracted lots of attention, sure, but a sad kind of attention. What does the future hold for women like Tila, I wonder. Does she love anybody? Does anybody really love her? Will her life end up a series of tragic attempts for attention?

I hope she and Paris are saving their money; careers like theirs aren't known for longevity. And I'm longing for the day we have our fill of their ilk and the freak shows they inhabit (pray for an end to the writers' strike! TV needs writers).

In the meantime, I worry about the brainwashed girls who believe cattiness, materialism, and faux lesbianism trump intelligence, kindness, and a healthy sense of humor in the quest for happiness.

Or even for a decent boyfriend.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Dating a Villain Most Foul

Here's an update on 'The Man Calls Constantly But Won't Commit' from December 20th:

Dear Terry:

You're right. I had a hard time not answering his phone calls. He was calling me every waking moment. He was caring and supportive. Because of him, I got new inspiration and lost weight. I practiced singing and am focusing on a better career.

He had told me that his brother who lives in Pakistan would be visiting him on Dec 23, with his wife and 2 kids, so he would not be able to see me for New Years. I told him I undersood, but I also told him that it would hurt me if he is seeing other people, or there is no commitment in our relationship. But he said he does not want to be in a committed relationship. It seemed like a committed relationship to me!

Now that his brother or whoever is visiting him, he is not calling me that often. I got a sinking feeling in my stomach! Oh no ! Is he married? Maybe he has a family in Pakistan!

He called me twice yesterday. I did not pick up the phone; I was upset and felt betrayed. I have not told him about my suspicions! Should I?


Hi, Worried-

Please stop worrying.

I don't know if the guy is married. If he is, he's dishonest and pathetic. You didn't know, either, so why torture yourself about it?

The bottom line is: He says he's not willing to commit to you. I don't know or care what his reasons are. They don't matter.

Sure, it's hard not to pick up the phone when he calls. You obviously like the guy. But don't pick up. It'll get easier after a while. Ask yourself, "What's really in this relationship for me?"

You lost weight and charted a new course for a career. That's fantastic, but it's probably time to move on. You obviously have a lot going for you.

There are other fish in the sea. Wouldn't you feel better waiting for a better fish to come in than wondering and fretting and racking yourself over a guy who has indicated he's not willing to commit to you?

He's just not worth it.


Meet Better Men in 2008

Forgive me for repeating myself:

If you want to meet the right guy, you have to know what qualities the right guy should possess. It's up to you to decide what those qualities are.

Right now:

Determine which qualities the right guy for you should have by writing them down. Do you have a pen?

Now, list all the lovely qualities you want in a man: a good sense of humor, a great job, the ability to tell the truth, the willingness to support your dreams, the willingness to be faithful, and so on (it's your list, after all).

If you're having trouble, think back to the last few boyfriends you've endured. Did they have the right qualities? They probably had some of the right qualities, so write them down. But I'll bet they had plenty of the wrong qualities, too. Put those down in a second column. Then write the opposite of the bad quality in the column of good qualities (for example, "keeps me waiting" becomes "respects my time.")

Before long, you will have your list. It will serve you well, so keep it handy.

Big deal, you may be saying to yourself. This is hocus pocus. Wishful thinking. You can't invent a man on paper, you know.

Well, maybe you can and maybe you can't. I'll tell you, this, though: If you go to the supermarket without a list, you come home with a lot of stuff you don't want, don't you? It's the same thing with men.

It helps to have that list around when you're unsure whether some guy you're dating will make you happy in the long run. Consult your list. See if he's worth worth keeping around.

Your list can also help keep you on track if you've been attracted to guys with all the wrong qualities in the past. It'll alert you before you get burned again. It may encourage you to keep a possible winner around long enough to develop an attraction for him. Sometimes we throw kick excellent men to the curb before giving them a chance because we're not used to dating excellent men. They're way out of our comfort zone.

Know what you want, and you're more likely to get it. It sounds good in theory, but if you don't ever pick up that pen, you'll never know how well it works.