Monday, May 31, 2010

The Classy Dresser

"A woman broke up with me because she didn't like the clothes I wore, but she's madly in love with a guy who dresses well but doesn't call her."From "Marry Him" by Lori Gottlieb

Admit it. When I guy is put together it's a turn on. I'm not talking Euro cheese suits with pocket squares, I'm simply stating, a nice well dressed man who has clothes that actually match is a big plus. He looks put together, organized, and employed. So kill me.
And yes, for the record, I have fallen for a guy because he dressed well…and never called me. He was the type who stepped out of a J Crew catalogue. Professional, had his shirts dry cleaned and pressed. Oh, and he wore great shoes. So superficial of me…but it's true. I wanted him more because he fit some stereotype of the 'perfect guy' than his actual personality (which I look back now was totally lacking.) But is that what I really want? A guy who knows how to dress but not pick up the phone?
When I was younger, I think High School, I remember my sister and I going shopping for my older brother. We went to The Gap, J Crew, Abercrombie and bought him Khaki's, polos, buttons downs, maybe even a pair of loafers. We wanted to dress my brother like the guy we would date…like he was some "Ken Doll" and this would transform him into the perfect guy.
This did not work on my brother.
My brother is a sound engineer. His uniform, some sort of concert t-shirt, cargo shorts and Birkenstocks. Abercrombie he is not. We could not change him for all the shopping trips and sisterly love…trust me we tried.
I don't know what it is, but I honestly think men who shop at these "preppy stores" have good jobs that require them to dress this way. So my hypothesis is: they have job security (something I don't always have.) Trust me my research is not scientific, I'm just stating my ideas here….
"What if I change clothes when I get home and put on cargo shorts and concert t-shirts," suggested a cocky friend of mine. I hear that argument, but tend to think (or rather hope) that you don't mind wearing your preppy clothes and more importantly know how to dress when invited to a dinner party, wedding, or country club social. (Because trust me, my brother…doesn't. He would still wear his Birkenstocks and cargo shorts wherever he'd be invited. He's just that clueless.)
But should I settle for guy in acid wash jeans? Please. Forgive me for being superficial…but, I must be attracted to a guy if I'm going to date him. Sure, I go out of my house in sweats, no make-up…and I hang in my house in clothing I should have banished to Goodwill long ago. But it's not what I'm wearing 95% of the time. If a guy is bothered by the fact I like to wear cute sundresses and fancy the colors pink and green…well then, I'm not their ideal type either. (Somehow, I think I'll get far more head turns in the sundress that my sweatpants.)
Bottom line… if you meet the guy and he's wearing cargo shorts and concert t-shirts…well…that's what you're getting. You can't change him. I get it. For now, I'm hanging at the Gap, looking for a mate who has an unlimited phone plan.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Settling Point

I just finished reading "Marry Him" by Lori Gottlieb.

Yes. That book about how women are supposed to settle for mediocre men because well…we are not the princesses our daddies told us we were.

I know. I hear you. When I first read a review, I literally laughed audibly and thought…this woman is nuts. Her point was "women should settle for Mr. Okay." Seriously?

Thank God for my Kindle which allowed me to purchase this book electronically because I would NEVER read it in public. But let me be the first one to tell you. It's worth the read. (Even if it makes you truly depressed.)

In the name of research…I read it…no devoured it…cover to cover. I have to laugh when she said, "I don't think I'll ever get another date after writing this book" – ahhh…yeah..I agree. Good luck with that.

Ms. Gottlieb polled women in their twenties, thirties and forties. From the pie-in-the-sky attitude of the twenty-somethings who had careers on their mind, and plenty of men, but looking for a good one who was perfect in every way. Most had unreliable lists and a plethora of deal breakers. Women in their mid-thirties and forties…well the gloves are off…these women will take the beer gut, bad dresser, the divorced dad with a couple kids. As long as we can have sex once a week, and well…you are breathing. But the men, they can, and are, dating women in the twenties. YIKES.

But you know what…she makes a point.

So who is she talking too? Women in their twenties…don't be so picky? Or is she talking to the woman in her forties and telling her…go for the dude with the beer gut and no hair? Cause, Ms. Gottlieb, you are scaring lots of women on multiple levels. Me in particular.

My goal in dating is simple. Have fun. If I start dating Mr. Boring…bye bye. But what's my settling point? Sure, men can always trade me in for the younger version of me…in their twenties. But is that what they really want? I tend to think I'm interesting, funny, and financially secure. So sue me.

She goes on to point out that so many women say "I would rather be alone than settle"…but the truth is they are alone and miserable…and still holding out for unrealistic standards.

So I examined a recent relationship:

This is the tale of forty-something Miles, and his twenty-something girlfriend Missy. I've been friends with Miles for a while but when he told me Missy dumped him for another guy "her age" -- I wasn't shocked, but Miles was. As his friend, I felt forced to tell Miles, "see you need to date someone your own age who doesn't play games." I wasn't angling for Miles (okay, I was a little). But honestly, I wasn't sure if I was attracted to him…yet. Beer gut, a couple kids, divorced…etc, he wasn't some carbon cut out of "perfect guy" but he was nice and we shared lots of the same interests.  Deep down I felt, Miles wanted a younger woman – so why would he "settle" for me. And why would I settle for Miles and all his "baggage"? (Again, he was divorced and not looking for a long term commitment.) So I gave him my sage advice to, "get out there and date and date someone who is a bit more mature than a twenty year old who is going to cheat on you." He gave me a smile…and we started dating. Yeah me! (Now…Ms. Gottlieb would say that Missy is going to dump Miles for now…and he'll move on and Missy will soon realize that he was "good enough" and come back. Meanwhile, I'm shoving Missy off the cliff and angling for her man…right?)

For me…as I date and unfortunately, keep getting older, I'm really looking for someone who makes me laugh and is their own individual and honestly…not boring. Sure I look past the beer gut, and I'm okay with the bald spot (both of which Miles has). And if that makes me a desperate dater…than so be it. But I don't ever feel I "settled" – I merely accepted the flaws of my partner…because we all have them sweetheart. No one is perfect. This I know is true.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Facebook Era

He wrote on his Facebook wall, "I'm spending the day with my girlfriend." Excuse me? You told me you broke up.
Clue number one: he never changed his "relationship status". I just thought he was a lazy guy. Stupid me.
I have a love/hate thing going on with Facebook. I love the fact that I can send out a message and everyone gets a slice of my life. And I hate the fact that I need to somewhat cage my comments to not offend my mom's best friend I friended.
Sound familiar?
In the world of dating…facebook can be very dangerous. I've learned my lesson. Friending should be like being in a monogamous relationship. Do not friend a guy until you are in a "relationship". If you are just hanging out, and still doing the "does he like me dance" – it's too soon. Oh and wait and have him ask to friend you…don't be doing the friending. And be adult…discuss it. You are opening a WIDE door into your world of friends and colleagues, as well your high school classmates you reconnected at the reunion. Enter with caution.
I  love the reconnection with people I haven't seen in eons that facebook offers. Most of my facebookers are friends from High School, but I even found a friend from Kindergarten! Kindergarten! Wow.
But then there are those acquaintances I meet at a party and seriously….we friend each other at the table….and well…now they know when I'm dancing in my condo to Justin Timberlake like a teenager (a recent post…I will admit).
Oh and then there are all the lame posts from friends on the "funny things my friends kids did"; the "hourly updates of people who think they are interesting"; and then I have one friend who posts his eating adventures. These are cute; time sucks, but cute. (I truly hate the Mafia Wars, Farmville, Psychic predictions, horoscopes of my friends, or the "Send me a heart"…things that pop up, but I scroll through them all.)
Social networking…the term makes me laugh, because we are social with the internet…we actually don't get together and call each other. It's really not that social.
But dating…
In the world of dating, this can be a serious danger zone. I was pursued by the "guy with a girlfriend" and he said "friend me" – so I did. Obviously…somewhere in the 4 weeks we were getting to know each other and I thought he was seriously interested in me…well, he posted to his "friends" about a little getaway with his girlfriend. (Ahhhh, he's now "unfriended."….If only it was that easy to change my phone number, thankfully, I have caller ID and I just don't have to take his call, right? )
So a word of caution…be social. Keep your facebook page. But let him friend you. Then you really know if he's interested. Check out his friends. If you get a weird read. Unfriend and move on…fast.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Friend Zone

I believe men and women can be just friends. I know, I know, there is that "When Harry Met Sally" moment where they discuss this issue and debate it and Harry doesn't think they can. There are multiple ways to look at this:

Zone #1: We are attracted to a man and he is clueless we are attracted to him. We go out with groups of friends and get our flirt on. He buys us a beer, cocktail, etc and gives us causal bumps all night. We get all tingle-y and think he likes us. This goes on for months. Finally, we invite him over to fix our cable TV and have visions he'll bust a move now that were alone. It doesn't happen. We are just friends. After many months of flirting and reading all of his signals (wrong I might add) we complain to our girlfriends who are sick of hearing about him…we finally get up the courage to just ask him "Do you like me" – and we get a vague answer. (Answer would be "NO…I just want to be friends.") Yes…we are in the friend zone. (Quick note: If he did come over to fix our cable TV and something did happen…but he doesn't admit it to his friends. Well…he just wanted an easy lay and knew you would be an easy target. He is NOT a friend…he used you…move on and not be his friend….you are not in "the zone".)

There are countless men in my life who fall into this category. I usually have many crushes that fizzle into nothing. I've learned to not waste so much time in this zone. I'm much more forthright now and can ask "do you like me" pretty early on. This zone can be a time suck.

Zone #2: He likes us, and we are totally not attracted to him. So we blow him off to the friend zone. Sometimes he stays around sometimes he moves on…and yes, we get jealous when he gets a girlfriend and kisses her in front of us. But we remain friends because that's what women do. Friends forever.

To this day I have male friends that I am not attracted to but love them like my good girlfriends and give me much insight into the male psyche. They mean so much to me and I swear…I am looking for a good girl for you J.

Zone #3: He's married but interesting. Ladies…we're not out to take your husband, boyfriend, etc. Most women know he's off limits. But if you found him interesting and want him to network with us, let him. We are friends. Trust me.

One of my best male friends is married. He is a fellow writer, completely off limits but we get together and share thoughts, stories, relationship news, everything…it's like a brother-sister thing. His wife is thankfully, not jealous of us and she actually said to me "Heidi, thank you for giving him such great advice" – see I'm helping his marriage! This is a healthy zone.

Zone #4: After you break up with a guy you were dating, you actually think (and know) he's a good guy, it just wasn't working out in your relationship. You can actually be friends with him even though he's not "your guy" anymore. You tried your hardest to make your relationship work...and you did good work teaching him about what women want. But now, you can be friends with an ex (I look at my divorced friends who share custody of their children and can bring their blended families to BBQ's…you can be friends just not lovers.)

After a recent break up (he picked another girl over me)…I could have just blown him off and never talked to him again, but you know what? He's a nice guy. Interesting. So why throw that all away? Life is too short. Fall into the friend zone, its okay. (I am just slightly bitter about the other girl…but getting over it…now that I too am dating someone new.)

Zone #5: The co-worker/employer friend zone. Men and women spend an awfully long time working together side by side; they are going to be friends. You go to lunch, you network, sometimes you travel together, share ideas and make each laugh in the cubes and at the proverbial water cooler. This is a healthy friend zone and doesn't mean he wants to jump you in the copy room (I think.)

I had a great relationship with my last co-worker. He told me I made him laugh on a daily basis. Sure I was attracted to him, but I knew and respected his friend zone status. (For the record, we had a company "non-dating" policy, so I'm not sure if he ever was interested… But he's still a good friend and I have the upmost respect for him.)

I write these zones after I have re-connected with a Zone #1 friend. I had such a huge crush on him and now, some 10 years later; he's grown into a wonderful man, husband, father and well…still a very good friend. I'm glad I told him I had a crush on him all those years ago and even though I wasn't the one for him, I remained his friend and I cherish our relationship today.

So my sage advice here is: Be an adult and when you are tossed the line "I think we are better off being just friends" – don't curse The Friend Zone, but embrace it for what it is.



Saturday, May 15, 2010

So You’re Gay…

What am I thinking? Who dates gay men? Well…me. (More than one I might add.) Mark them off the list…. Not exactly my rule. Okay. I know what you're thinking. This should be obvious. Single, straight, women should not date gay men. We can't date gay men. They like men. Right? Well, if you live in Los Angeles I can almost guarantee that one of your best friends is a gay man and you had a crush on him at one point in time.

Gay Boyfriend #1 Cole: I met Cole through a friend of mine. An actor. He became my nearest and dearest friend (and we are still close to this day). He became my date to many events. When I met Cole, he didn't blurt out "I'm gay" and come marching in with rainbow stickers, 6-pack abs, and a Simon Cowell tight t-shirt. No. Cole is a round, cherubic "bear" type with a sunny disposition – totally "my type". It wasn't until one night when we were snuggling on the couch watching old movies did he tell me "I like men" – bummer.

Gay Boyfriend #2 Brian: Brian is a producer friend who lived in Florida and wanted to move out to Los Angeles. When I went to visit him in Florida, I wore some really cute lingerie to get him to notice me – he didn't make a move. But that didn't deter me. Finally, Brian packed up his things and moved west and lived on my couch for a couple weeks before he found his own place. One morning, Brian was in the kitchen wearing a face mask. My roommate gave me one look that said it all – I do not know a straight man alive who is doing facial regimens – that guy is gay. And well…two years later when Brian came out of the closet to me…I wasn't shocked. It all made sense. Brian was never interested in me.

I called Cole and Brian my gay boyfriends but in reality, we never "dated". I had a crush on them, we'd hang out…see if they were interested, and when they didn't take the bait, I'd move on. I have terrible gay-dar. This is a well known fact.

I've learned a few things over the years.…and have managed to have healthy relationships with straight men. But, I do long for a man who is in touch with his feminine side (so kill me) and I heart my gay boyfriends who can stay up for hours and have the best girl talks ever. --HC


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Tale of Frienda

This is dedicated to a certain Paramount Page…you know who you are.

I love a good pathetic girl story. You know what I'm talking about. Those girls who pine for a guy and you watch the guys treat them like crapola. Trust me when I say…I know what I'm talking about, for I too was in a bad relationship that dragged on WAY too long. I dated a loser guy for six long years, and no one knew why. My only answer was: love. I was also a "Frienda".

My friend Dale dated a girl named Brenda. But he didn't really "date" her – he just knew she was into him, so he somewhat used Brenda to… well…meet other women. "Women are attracted to men who aren't available," he stated to me. And you know what? Dale was right.

Dale nicknamed Brenda "Frienda" – she was always his friend, but that was about it. Dale was a player at the time of this tale. He slept with numerous women, worked his ass off so he could afford to take women out on "nice dates" – but not Frienda. Nope Frienda, would sit in her apartment waiting for Dale to call, text or email her. She'd make him killer dinners from her $10 an hour job, hoping he might just "stop by" – but he never did. Nope Dale even had the gall to hook up with her roommate! And when she found out…what she'd do? Yep…she forgave him. Poor pathetic Frienda.

What was the allure of Dale? Was Frienda's self esteem so low that she didn't see that Dale was a total and absolute jerk to her? Wake up Frienda!

"Oh she knew I just wanted to be friends," Dale tells me, "she just didn't care how bad I treated her… Hell to this day we're still friends." Say what?

"What exactly is a Frienda?" I asked Dale. Answer: not a girlfriend, not a friend, but …an emotional connection with the opposite sex not necessarily with the sexual benefits. "A sympathy date," he ended with.


"That sounded bad. It's just the truth," Dale tells me. Trust me when I tell you, Dale was telling me this tale as we are on a hiking "date" and I somewhat was treading with caution by this point.

Dale you are an honest guy. But ladies, be true to yourself and leery of the Frienda status. The new adage, "he's just not that into you" rings true here. And well…he might be using your Frienda status to meet other women. So move on…and move quickly.