Friday, December 29, 2006

Confessions of a New Year's Eve baby

I was chatting with the 28-year-old (yep, he called and now we're working on a friendship -- go figure) when he asked me what I was going to do on Sunday. You see, not only is this Sunday New Year's Eve, it's also my birthday. That's right: Dec. 31.

The 28-year-old was shocked when I said some girlfriends and I were thinking about having a good old-fashioned slumber party, complete with games, junk food and, of course, cocktails.

"You're not gonna go out on your birthday?" he asked incredulously. He has big plans of his own; he's flying to Washington, D.C., for a party thrown by an old college friend. "It's New Year's Eve! You're only going to have once chance to ring in 2007!"

"I may not go out to party, but I'll be with friends," I countered. "That's the important part."

I can't tell you how long it took me to realize that.

Sure, being born on New Year's Eve seems cool. "Wow, you must do something awesome every year!" people say. "The biggest party of the year is on your birthday!"

Oy, THE PRESSURE. When I was a kid it wasn't so bad -- after all, I wasn't expected to dance on a bar when I was in grade school. However, it was hard to have birthday parties, since most of my friends were off visiting family during the holidays. As I aged, people's expectations grew ... and my anxiety grew right along with them. While I've had some memorable celebrations -- one highlight was partying in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl; another was a "cleansing ceremony" with two of my best friends, where we burned negative reminders of past lovers and danced and sang and laughed, all by the moonlight bouncing off San Francisco Bay -- most of my birthdays have never quite lived up to my hopes. There was the year I broke up with my high school sweetheart, and he promptly went out and tried to wrap his car around a tree. There was the year I held some girl's silver lame cowboy hat while her friend held back her hair as she barfed into a nearly overflowing toilet. There was the year I got the midnight kiss from a really hot guy, only to discover seconds later he was there with his girlfriend.

I'll stop before this becomes an Alanis Morissette song.

The older I get, the less important New Year's Eve blowouts become. Now I find myself content to have dinner with friends, and ring in the New Year with people I care about. We celebrate being alive another year. We celebrate the possibilities a fresh 365 days can bring. We celebrate each other.

Plus, this year, I'm tired. I've worked hard the past few weeks, and my family was at my house all week for Christmas. I'm looking forward to a goofy, low-key celebration complete with Cranium and Cosmopolitans with my friends. My flannel pajamas are ready. Sorry; a silver lame hat just wouldn't match.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Big decision: Which family do we spend holidays with?

The biggest decision of the holiday season isn’t deciding on which sweater Grandma would actually wear once you bought it or which honey-baked ham place has the better deal; it’s deciding on where you and your significant other are going to spend the holidays.

Granted, this decision was likely made weeks ago, but that doesn’t mean it’s not weighing on your mind – the long hours in the car, the short amount of time spent with each family, the stress that comes with making sure you have all the presents accounted for.

Dividing up family time during the holidays has to rank as one of the most trying efforts of any relationship. It’s not an easy decision. It seems like every family has their own traditions. Some host the big celebration on Christmas Eve, complete with egg nog, appetizers and caroling. Other families prefer the big morning gift opening to be the centerpiece of their holiday. And then again, other families don’t celebrate Christmas at all. You don't want to upset the apple cart, especially when it comes to strict traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation.

All these decisions affect your relationship. You want to make everyone happy – or at least, I feel I have to. Life seemed so much easier when we were kids – Mom and Dad would just pick one place for the holidays and that’s where we spent it. Now, as a married couple – with no kids – we feel compelled to split our time among family.

I believe most of us are thankful and blessed to have such a hard choice to make, but I have to say, it sure doesn’t make it any easier.

How do you handle family time during the holidays? Do you switch off the major holidays with each side of the family, or do you pull double-duty and visit both sides on the same holiday? Has this big decision caused major stress in your relationship; if so, how have you handled it?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Your friend's S.O. is a loser -- do you say something?

Alisha: So I'm at the age where it feels like everyone is getting married. Next year, I have three weddings lined up. One thing I've been wondering (and no, this doesn't apply to any of the three upcoming nuptials): What if I think a friend's fiancee just is not "The One," and she should dump him before they say "I do"?
Deirdre: Wow. That's a tough one. On one hand, your (hypothetical) friend is a grown-up and capable of making her own decisions. On the other, you might see something she doesn't.
Alisha: Exactly. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but surely she would take that as a friend looking after her friend. I worry I'd come across as prying into their personal life. Is there really an easy to way to say, "Hey, your boyfriend is a creep and downright slob?"
Deirdre: I had a situation once where a friend had a complete boor of a boyfriend. No one in our shared social circle liked him or understood why she stayed. She'd even said some things that made us feel she might be thinking along the same lines, but she stuck with him. Meanwhile, the more we were around him, the more obvious his jerkness became.
Deirdre: We'd all been wondering how to talk to her about this dude. I'm the most blunt person in our group (surprise!) and my friends are used to my straight-shootin' ways. So one night I just told her no one liked her boyfriend and we were worried about her.
Alisha: See, that's where you and I differ. I just don't have the gonads to be as upfront as you are. How did your friend respond?
Deirdre: She laughed off my comments at the time, but she broke up with him before too long. She just had to do it when she was ready.
Alisha: And you can't really say "I told you so" after it's over, or can you?
Deirdre: Oh, no way! How cruel would that be? We just let her know in subtle ways we were relieved she'd made the decision. I mean, the dude was getting possessive and dangerous. And I'm happy to say that she is now engaged to an AWESOME guy.
Alisha: [Sigh] Ah, we love happy endings! [Snap to reality] But happy endings don't happen all the time. I wish we could protect our friends from the losers. Though, really, it's often much easier to scrutinize someone's faults than to praise the positives.
Alisha: So we're obviously not talking about just random folks. What you're saying is, it would need to be a good friend, not just an acquaintance?
Deirdre: Yes. My closest friends are my extended family. We take care of each other and trust each other. And if one of those friends tells me something troubling about a man I'm dating, I take them seriously because I know they have my best interest at heart. The problem is, most of us know people who might not be so noble. They might actually do or say something just to cause pain. So you do have to consider the source.
Alisha: Good advice. There are so-called friends who could be secretly pining over your significant other, so it is a wise move to consider the source. I wonder how many people would actually take someone else's advice? I would listen to my friend's advice, but I also know when you're in love, it's hard to just walk away.
Deirdre: Personally, I would want to know. It's hard to walk away, but it's also hard to ignore information people are giving you because they are concerned about your well-being. I think it's best to give the person that information and they can do with it what they will. And you would need to have proof, not just a hunch. They may choose their mate over you (I've had that happen as well), but ultimately, it's their decision.
Alisha: I hear what you're saying. I'm just torn on the subject. I keep thinking about my friends who are engaged. Hypothetically speaking, if I went to one of them right now and said, "you cannot marry that person," I feel like I would lose out on a good friend. On the other hand, I feel like my friend should know how I feel. Gosh ... you make it sound so easy, but it's just not that way, I'm afraid. If it were, don't you think the divorce rate might be a tad lower?
Deirdre: I would never say "you cannot marry that person." No one has a right to make such a pronouncement about someone else's life. But I would say "I'm telling you this because I love you and I'm concerned for you and I have reservations about your man. Here's why ..." If your friend knows you are coming from a place of love, and they are confident enough in themselves and your friendship, they will listen to you.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Hand-written letters a thing of the past

Last week I made my annual trek to the post office to buy four booklets of stamps for my Christmas cards, and of course, the line was out the door. I patiently waited -- as patiently as one can wait for 55 minutes to buy stamps. Geesh!

When folks wait in line that long, you tend to strike up conversations with the tall man in front of you or the little old ladies behind you. What else are you going to do? Plasma TVs just don't seem to fit the ambience and blue uniforms at the post office.

This time, a bearded gentleman in his mid-40s inquired of the people around him -- all of whom just happened to be women -- the reason for their visits to the post office. A stout woman with round, silver glasses and a hand-knit sweater spoke up and said she was sending a letter for the first time to her nephew, who is in Iraq with the U.S. Army. We all let out a collective sigh and shook our heads as if to say, "We're so sorry to hear he's in Iraq." The woman acknowledged us, and then said, "I just hope he receives my letter. I want him to know I love him, especially during the holidays."

Writing letters seems to be a thing of the past, much like 8-track tapes and LP 45s. It's all about e-mails, text messages and Bluetooth phones nowadays. I truly miss writing letters, as well as receiving them. There's something quite special about getting a handwritten letter in the mail, knowing that someone cared enough to take 30 minutes out of his or her busy life to pen words of encouragement or admiration. And major bonus points if the letter has stickers or cool artwork in the margins! You can't add stickers to e-mail.

I hope that woman's nephew receives her letter, and appreciates the love it was written with.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Dating hiatus during holidays?

I have a friend who has totally immersed herself in dating. She has profiles on several dating Web sites and is out at parties, events and dates several times a week. The girl is committed.

And while she especially loves to date during this time of year -- "There's so many parties! And everyone is out shopping! There are people and opportunities everywhere!" (yes, her enthusiasm can be gag-inducing at times) -- she reminded me that many people don't dig it. In fact, just yesterday she was talking about people she knows (especially guys) who avoid dating during the Christmas season altogether because they don't want to have to buy a gift.

Yeah, that's kinda cold-blooded, but if you take the high road -- which I'm gonna do here -- you can understand why. When you're just starting a relationship, things are uncertain. You're still getting to know each other. You're not sure where it's going. Things you would gloss over in a longterm romance take on weighted significance in the early stages. On the topic of Christmas goodies, if you buy a gift, what are you saying? If you don't buy a gift, what are you saying? If you buy an expensive gift, what are you saying? If you buy an impersonal gift, what are you saying? See what I'm saying?

So it makes sense to avoid the drama altogether by not dating during the Christmas season. Would it really be such a bad thing? So what if you go stag to a few holiday parties -- look fabulous and practice your flirting skills. And just wait -- January is coming. Think about all the New Year's resolutions being made to get out and date more! And after a month or so of dating hibernation, all those singles will be ready to mingle!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Dating your co-workers

Deirdre: Every now and then I think about things I've done in relationships that I feel pretty sure I would never do again. At the top of my list: No more dating men I work with.
Alisha: There are definitely some pitfalls that could come from dating co-workers. What made that particular relationship regretful?
Deirdre: My last boyfriend and I actually worked in the same room. And the woman he dated before me also worked in that same room. I know -- I was on crack to even think about going out with him in the first place, but he won me over.
Deirdre: So you can imagine what it was like when we broke up. Soap opera.
Alisha: I know there are many couples who work together and somehow, their relationships don't seem to suffer from them being around each other 24-7. I salute them. But, on the whole, I just don't see how it's healthy to be around someone all the freakin' time.
Alisha: Space, people. Space.
Deirdre: It worked for my ex and me because our schedules were completely different. And I can kinda see it working for people who are employed at the same place, but work in different buildings, or departments. That space you speak of -- I think it's necessary if only to keep your co-workers from knowing your business!
Alisha: So what's worse, dating a co-worker or dating a boss?
Deirdre: A BOSS, of course! There's no way that's an equal relationship. Some might say the boss has the power, because they control the subordinate's career (promotions, raises, etc.). Others might say the worker bee can run to HR and cry sexual harassment if they don't get their way. It's just not the best way to pursue a healthy relationship.
Alisha: Yeah, in my experiences, I haven't seen or heard of many managers dating their subordinates. Though, I have heard of managers having affairs with their co-workers, but that's a whole 'nother blog topic.
Deirdre: Ohhhhhh yeah! The stories I could tell ...
Alisha: See, that's the thing. When co-workers date, the gossip line is completely abuzz. The whole, "did you know that he cheated on her... have you heard they had a big fight last night and she didn't come home," etc.
Deirdre: Been there, done that, could write a book. But here's the rub: As a culture we all work so much that the main place we meet people is at our jobs! When you don't get out much, that office hottie becomes harder to resist.
Alisha: In 2005, CNN had a story about a career publishing house that released an employee survey. The results showed that 58 percent of respondents said they have been involved with a co-worker and 22 percent said they met their spouse or significant other at work.
Alisha: Fifty-eight percent! That's high. I guess those 40-60 hour work weeks can squash your dating life, eh?
Deirdre: They can squash your meeting non-work-related people, smarty pants. Like I said earlier: that hottie that keeps walking by, sometimes you gotta for it! But since I've been burned, I now treat the office cuties as what they are: nice scenery.
Alisha: Good idea. Look at it as window shopping, and your credit card is maxed out.
Deirdre: You ever dated someone you worked with?
Alisha: I would use the term "dated" very loosely; more like hanging out and finding out we would never work. ... I prefer to keep my home life separate from my work life. My husband is in the same profession as I am and though I can't really prevent him from working with me, we both agree it would not be a good idea.
Deirdre: But I'd count that as one of the perks of being in a relationship with someone you work with! They know what's going on, so they understand the joys and stresses of your job.
Alisha: On the downside, if the stress gets to you both, such as the looming sale of your company for example, then you both go home facing double the pressure.
Alisha: To play devil's advocate, I could see where dating a co-worker is beneficial. At least you get the opportunity to sneak in "together" time while on the job.
Deirdre: Ah, but I could see how some bitter and petty co-workers could mutter about preferential treatment because of your emotional involvement with someone on the job.
Alisha: And don't forget how if you make friends who are co-workers as a couple, then, if a split does happen - you're possibly forcing those people to pick sides. That's a hefty price to pay; losing your better half and your friends.
Deirdre: Ugh. Readers, what say you? Are the rewards of dating someone you work with worth the risks?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Scene from a healthy marriage

I had to work the day after Thanksgiving, so I was unable to be with my family on the big day. Some friends -- a young married couple -- took pity on my orphaned state and invited me to join them for Thanksgiving. They were driving to a small town in South Carolina to be with her family. Food provided by a gaggle of country aunts and cousins? I leapt at the offer!

So Thanksgiving morning we were off, laughing and telling stories and talkin' trash. About halfway through the drive, the husband's cell phone rings. He answers it, has a terse, stilted conversation, then hangs up. He was quiet for a few stunned seconds before he told us who had been on the phone.

It was an ex-girlfriend, "just calling to say hi." His mother had given her the phone number, saying he wouldn't mind a call on Thanksgiving Day. Even though he's, like, married with a small child.

Yeah. TACKY.

But here's the thing. After we got over our initial shock, we all howled with laughter -- his wife loudest of all. Now, if an ex-hottie called many women's husbands, they'd be upset and trying to pick a fight -- with the husband, the hottie, the mother-in-law (MIL) or all of the above.

What the MIL did was underhanded. What the ex did was just plain stupid. But how the hubby handled it was great -- he was courteous but clipped on the phone, then told his wife exactly who it was and what had happened. (Who among us doesn't know some dude who would lie to keep from upsetting his woman, only to make matters worse in the process?) How the wife handled it was even better, with dignity, good humor and an easy, obvious confidence in her man and her marriage. It was glorious to watch the lack of drama. Whatever the MIL had planned, it failed horribly.

It turns out that MIL doesn't like the wife very much (gee, what was the giveaway?) and this was the latest in a line of not-so-subtle marriage-marring machinations. But the husband is his own man and won't let his mother mess up his healthy, happy thing. The wife is secure in herself and has the support of her husband and a loving family; why let the scheming of this woman affect her life?

On that day, I was thankful to see such a fine example of a marriage that works, thanks to communication, trust, love and humor. Now that's my kind of relationship!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

12 men weigh in on 'mushy talk'

Last week, I asked my husband if he and his guy friends ever discuss sex, romance or any of the, you know, mushy stuff when they’re together on a boy’s-only outing. He emphatically replied: “Are you kidding me? No way.”

His response got me thinking. Do men talk about relationships amongst themselves when girls are not around? Surely not all conversations consist of just sports, politics and revealing Britney Spears photos, do they?

To help answer this question, I set out on a quest to ask 12 men their opinions. I asked each the same questions via e-mail, instant message or in person: Do you and your guy friends talk about romance and sex? If so, where do you usually discuss such topics?

Here are their responses, which are edited for brevity:

Guy No. 1 (Age 29; married 3 years): “Well, first of all, I only discuss it with really good friends, never just to anyone who will listen, if that makes sense. For instance, on the night before my wedding, I sat around with a few of my boys and I just talked about how wonderful she was … very basic and general stuff … you know, comparing her to the other girls who came before her and why those girls didn't do it for me. But I'm not a typical guy because a lot of my guy friends would never open up like that.”

Guy No. 2 (Age 38; separated): “Guys talk about sex anywhere and always. I discuss it with my closest friends whenever there's something worthy of being discussed. I can recall having such conversations with five different friends in the last few months.”

Guy No. 3 (Age 36; married 16 years): “I personally don’t chat with other guys about details. I have a close friend and we will talk about it in very generic terms. I guess that it is just a macho thing. I feel much more comfortable talking to other women about that kind of stuff.”

Guy No. 4 (Age 57; divorced): “Guys I know hardly discuss their personal lives and I don't discuss mine with anyone but my family. I went through a divorce four years ago and virtually no one I work with had any clue. I'm right now dealing with the break-up of a three-year relationship and I haven't mentioned it to anyone other than my family. It's just not something guys do, or at least not something I do."

Guy No. 5 (Age 38; single): “I talk to my friends about sex but not much about romance. Usually we talk about any funny things related to those topics. FYI - I am divorced, so when I was married I never really talked about sex out of respect for my wife and our marriage, so I guess being single is different.”

Guy No. 6 (Age 35; married 11 years): “Yeah, sometimes we do, and it depends on which guy you’re with as to what you'll talk about.”

Guy No. 7 (Age 33; single): “I usually don't discuss that kind of stuff unless my friends broach the topic. Most of my friends are married with children or at least in stable relationships. Additionally, their marriages are good and I can't exactly reciprocate as I haven't been active on the dating scene. No point in bumming my friends out. They know I'm a loner.”

Guy No. 8 (Age: 30; married 4 years): “The answer is no. Guys simply don’t talk to other guys about romance and sex. Well, that is with two exceptions. Exception # 1 is when guys are younger and in college. Guys will sit around in the dorm and talk about sex. Like who they were going to hook up with that night or the night before and talk about how good or bad she was. Exception # 2 is when guys are older and out of college. You are still sitting around getting drunk with the same guys, but now you are married and older. So instead you just get drunk and tell old college stories and tell your buddies how much you love them as you slur your words after about eight beers. That’s about as mushy as guys get.”

Guy No. 9 (Age 40, single): “When I was younger (college), a good friend of mine and I used to always drink on weekends and grouse about women, etc. He gave pretty good advice; I usually did most of the complaining. These days, most of my friends are married, and we don't talk a whole lot about those things. I do most of my talking about women to women.”

Guy No. 10 (Age 34, single): “I'm pretty open with several friends, guys and girls, about all my past sexual relations, though lately I haven't had anyone I actually felt I could relate to guy-wise in talking about romance, so I've only talked to girls, usually exes, about that.”

Guy No. 11 (Age 31, married 1 year): “No, we just don’t talk about it. We talk about more non-serious stuff, like when a wife is pregnant, we talk about how big her breasts have gotten, so see – nothing real important.”

Guy No. 12 (Age 29, single): “Yeah, I talk to them. I have a weird one, though, because the guy that I talk to the most about it is gay. I don't talk too many specifics about the mushy stuff. We chat in the car on the way to/from places. I think the fact that we can't look at each other when we're in the car (because one’s driving) helps.”

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Previous sexual partners: Hot topic or a non-issue?

Alisha: I had a conversation with some girlfriends last week that struck me as a topic most new couples, or heck, even folks who have been married 50 years, might consider as an important conversation piece: previous sexual partners.
Deirdre: And what was the consensus among your girlfriends?
Alisha: One, who has been married for five years, says she has no idea how many people her husband had slept with, and she doesn't want to know. The other, who is single, said she often will ask a guy once they get to the serious stage, but the "number" doesn't bother her.
Deirdre: Your friend who doesn't want to know -- did she say why?
Alisha: She said she feared if it were some huge number, say, over 100 women, that she would just flip out, but now that she's married to him, it doesn't matter.
Deirdre: Well, I think it's a fair and valid question to ask "how many sexual partners have you had?" if you're considering becoming intimate with someone. I also think it's fair to ask when was the last time they'd been tested for STDs and HIV. (And they should be able to ask you as well.)
Alisha: Oh, definitely. Honesty is of utmost importance when it comes to this topic. I know for myself, if I had met someone and he had told me he had been with 400 women, that would be a definite dealbreaker. In my mind, that shows a lack of respect for intimacy.
Deirdre: No lie. If my man told me he'd slept with enough women to rival Ron Jeremy, I'd run screaming. But I think what we're saying is different from your other friend -- the one who says the number doesn't matter. I find that hard to believe.
Alisha: It's my belief some folks see your past as just that - your past. So, I can see where she wouldn't care about how big or how small the "number" is.
Deirdre: I have a friend who's in a great relationship with a man who's had way more partners than her. In fact, they recently married. The past really is the past with them. And I would like to think that if I fell in love with a man who'd had many more partners than myself that I could be OK with it. After all, he didn't know me when he was gettin' around with all the other chickies.
Alisha: I guess most of us follow the saying, "to each his own," but to me, there's definitely one too many. Take Gene Simmons for example, he's been with what, more than 4,000 women? No way I could ever willingly want to become 4,001. Where is the appreciation for what it means to make love to someone? Four thousand women - that's not love, that's a libido gone crazy.
Deirdre: He's just nasty anyway. But I think he's lying. I would think most people, if they were gonna lie, they'd lie in the other direction -- as in knock a few people off the total.
Alisha: I have a feeling Gene isn't fudging one bit on his "total." Though, yeah, I agree most would likely round down instead of up. When my husband and I first broached this topic as a dating couple, I think we were timid to talk about it because we were afraid of the other's reaction. But, it all came out good in the end.
Deirdre: Heh. Did you round down or up?
Alisha: I'm pretty sure I told the truth because we both agreed not to get upset or jealous about what we had done in the past. It's all about communication.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Suggestions on handling arguments

The holidays are upon us, which could mean hours spent in a cramped car with an imaginary line drawn between brother and sister in the back seat, back-stabbing feuds between in-laws or heated discussions about how you will pay off your credit card bills before Thanksgiving 2007 rolls around.

Face it; arguments are going to happen during this time of family togetherness and high stress. So what’s the best way for couples to argue without hurting feelings or causing permanent damage to relationships?

Lisa Terrell, a certified sex therapist, marital counselor and owner of Lydia's Loom Counseling in Charlotte, has some suggestions on how a couple should tackle an argument.

Her thoughts: “It’s OK to take a break from a subject, but the rule is that if you take the break, then ‘Tag! You’re it’ for bringing it back up again. Issues that are ignored don’t just go away, because they will be back. A long-term study by couples and marriage researcher, John Gottman, showed that ‘stonewalling’ (pretending that you didn’t hear, ignoring a topic, and not answering questions) was the number one indicator that a relationship would eventually fail. This makes sense. Conflicts can easily turn unspoken, but usually don’t resolve unless they are discussed and worked through. By the way, most conflicts can be solved by agreeing to have a win-win solution. If you keep at a problem until both parties win, you will have resolved the issue. There is no win-lose in an intimate relationship. If your partner loses, so do you.”

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

This is for the ladies!

First things first: I saw "Casino Royale" -- which stars Daniel Craig, one of my husbands -- over the weekend, and girls, trust me on this one: Go.

Now to the topic at hand:

I often delete the forwarded forwards my friends and family send, but the following must've caught me at the right moment, because I felt the need to share. While it's aimed at black women, I think it's really universal (besides, plenty of non-black chicks get hair weaves, too!) So ladies -- all ladies -- this for you.

To all my girls - single, married, or otherwise: 24 things a sista should never apologize for

1. Never apologize for pursuing what makes you happy. Even if you need to quit your job, transfer schools, or move across country, always do what you really want.
2. Never apologize for using proper English. Keeping it real doesn't mean you have to speak Ebonics.
3. Never apologize for giving your best in a relationship that just didn't work out.
4. Never apologize for being successful. Only haters want to keep you at their level.
5. Never apologize for crying. Wear waterproof mascara and express yourself.
6. Never apologize for 10 pounds you need to lose. People who truly care about you will accept you as you are.
7. Never apologize for being frugal. Just because you save your money instead of blowing it on the latest fashion emergency doesn't mean you're cheap.
8. Don't apologize for being a single mom. Babies are a blessing.
9. Never apologize for treating yourself to something special. Sometimes you have to show yourself some appreciation.
10. Never apologize for leaving an abusive relationship. Your safety should always be a priority.
11. Never apologize for keeping the ring even if you did not get married.
12. Never apologize for setting high standards in a relationship. You know what you can tolerate and what simply gets on your nerves.
13. Never apologize for saying NO.
14. Never apologize for wearing a weave or braids. You bought it, so it's yours.
15. Never apologize to your new friends about old friends. There's a reason she's been your girl from day one.
16. Never apologize for ordering dessert or more than one dessert.
17. Never apologize for dating outside your race. Just because you found Mr. Right across the color line doesn't mean you don't love your brothas.
18. Never apologize for demanding respect. You are to always be treated as a queen.
19. Never apologize for not knowing how to cook. Even if you can't burn like Grandma, you know how to order good take out.
20. Never apologize for your taste in clothes. It's your style.
21. Never apologize for changing your mind; it is your prerogative.
22. Never apologize for making a decision from your heart, even if others don't agree. You have to live with the consequences, not them.
23. Never apologize for making more money than your man. You work hard and you deserve to get paid.
24. Never apologize for being you!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Our pets – a relationship that never ends

On Friday, my family dog, a 13-year-old pug named Elizabeth, died.

When my Dad gave me the news, I couldn't talk to him on the phone because the tears fell hard, like 80-year-old trees that thunder to the ground in an unforgiving tornado. I cried all the way to work, thinking maybe more tears would convince God to bring Elizabeth back to our family as the vivacious puppy she once was.

When I got to work, barely able to see through my puffy eyelids, a co-worker gave me a big hug when he heard my sad news. He told me about his own experience with having to put down one of his dogs, and how that pain is something he'll never forget. Then he reminded me that our pets love us unconditionally, and it's a feeling we can't find anywhere else. Pets love us despite our faults, our lack of patience and our mistakes. They understand when something is wrong, and they don't break our trust.

After listening to my co-worker empathize with my grief, I sat down at my desk and smiled to myself because I had realized a valuable lesson. The relationship between a pet and its owner is strikingly similar to the relationship between two humans. When we seek out a life partner, we strive for the same intangibles our pets offer us: unconditional love, trust and commitment.

We ask so little of our pets, yet they give us so much in return – much like every relationship should be in our lives.

Rest in peace, Elizabeth, with as much love as you gave your family.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bah humbug,!

Several days ago, Observer Style Editor Crystal Dempsey walked briskly over to my desk, announced "I wash my hands of it!" as she dumped a shirt-sized gift box in front of me, then just as briskly walked away, leaving me to examine the "present" she'd left.

It was from online dating service In the box: a Santa hat with the words " The #1 site for love" emblazoned on the brim; a woman's snug-fitting T-shirt with the words "I'm the gift that keeps on giving!" spread across the bust; and a little jewelry box with a card inside. The whole package was to promote that card: It lets you give your single friends a three-month membership to

I left the gift box open and perched on the corner of my desk for a few days, because the reactions of passing co-workers were so interesting.

Many people were drawn by the fuzzy Santa hat. Men would finger the hat and murmur something about here comes the Christmas season earlier and earlier, blah blah blah, and snort once they saw the Match promo. Women would pick up the hat and exclaim, "Oh, how cute!" until they saw the promo, whereupon they would drop it, disappointed. I would then hold up the baby blue T so that folks could read the come-hither message. Men would read it aloud with a gleam in their eyes and smirk; women announced the message in disgust, rolled their eyes and muttered a variety of nasty comments that pretty much equaled one big "Ew."

All in all, though, no one thought this was a good idea for a gift, unless someone specifically asked for it. And if you didn't toss Nerf softball-sized hints that this was what you wanted in your Christmas stocking, what would you think upon opening it?

"What? Are you trying to tell me you think I can't get someone on my own?"

"What? You're so convinced I'm a horrible dater you feel you have to intervene?"

"What? You're so desperate for grandchildren that you're taking matters into your own hands ... MOM?!"

I'm thinking there's a good chance this gift would not go over well. Use the jewelry box for a tasteful, yet affordable, piece of jewelry instead.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Who wears the pants in your family?

There’s a fine line between perception and reality, and it’s often blurred beyond recognition. We tend to look at couples, and we might see a married man who handles all of the financial responsibilities, disciplines the kids and appears to be the dominating figure in the household. His wife, on the other hand, gives off the semblance of a demure, submissive and coy partner within the confines of the marriage.

That’s the perception. The reality is the wife might wear the metaphorical pants because she’s the decision-maker, the person the kids run to when they’re in trouble and the rock that keeps the marriage together.

The other day, my sister made a joke: “Oh, yeah, Alisha definitely wears the pants in her relationship.” My immediate retort: “For your information, I don’t think I do. I have one leg in and my husband has one leg in.”

My husband, sitting in the same room, laughed and jokingly said, “No honey, all of our legs are in your pants!”

Once he made that comment, I questioned him (calmly, of course) on why he thinks that, and how could I be the dominating partner in our relationship when we both consider each other’s feelings when making any and all decisions? His answer: “Well, your salary is higher, and you pay all the bills.” But when I asked my husband if I am controlling emotionally, he said “no way.”

So his idea of wearing the pants is equivalent to fiscal responsibility, not someone who is a controlling, dominant individual.

Our definition of what it means to “wear the pants” differs from person to person and relationship to relationship. It truly is perception versus reality.

What do you think? Are you offended if your spouse says you wear the pants, and you don’t think you do? Does it really matter if you have one dominant person in the relationship? What’s your definition of wearing the pants?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dating younger men

Hey, everybody! I hope you had a great weekend.

I had a fun, sports-packed Saturday night. A girlfriend and I went to the Charlotte Checkers game at the Arena, then walked over to Madison's Bar and Lounge on Fifth Street to watch the Calvin Brock-Wladimir Klitschko title bout. We got there early enough to watch our college teams play on the TVs at The Attic Bar next door, and much yelling and high-fiving and doing the happy dance ensued.

Madison's had a great crowd for the boxing match, a nice age mix and healthy ratio of singles vs. couples. It was hilarious: everyone around me was just like me -- occasional bout watchers who could quote lines from all the "Rocky" movies. We were there to watch because Calvin Brock is a Charlottean. However, I did manage to find a guy who patiently explained to me why the fight ended in the seventh round. ("But he can still stand up," I protested. "Why are they calling it a knock out?")

But the main reason I'm writing about my evening is because my friend (she told me to call her Stella, 'cause "I'm gettin' my groove back"), who's my age, and I wound up giving our phone numbers to younger men.

The reason I gave my guy (age 28) the digits was because he was cute, clever, tall and smelled good .... and because he never deserted his wingman, who was jobless and bored since I had no friend to distract. (By this point Stella was good-naturedly arguing about football with the hottie who eventually got her number.) I enjoyed talking to him. I wouldn't mind hanging out with him again. That's what dating is all about, right? You meet someone and you think you might like them, and they think they might like you, so you agree to spend more time together. Now, this guy may or may not call. (I think most singles can testify about what a crapshoot the phone number exchange can be, especially when it's in a bar.) I enjoyed the time I spent with him nonetheless.

Still, Stella and I have discussed this, the dating of younger men. We both feel a little oogy about it, but can't quite put our fingers on why. Maybe part of it is the negative image of the cougar (from "A 35+ year old female who is on the 'hunt' for a much younger, energetic, willing-to-do-anything male. The cougar can frequently be seen in a padded bra, cleavage exposed, propped up against a swanky bar in San Francisco (or other cities) waiting, watching, calculating; gearing up to sink her claws into an innocent young and strapping buck who happens to cross her path."), and we don't want to be seen as that, because we're not. We both actually prefer dating men our age, but this particular night these younger guys kept us laughing and entertained. But then you have to wonder what that guy is looking for -- after all, there were plenty Size 2, cleavage-baring 22-year-olds, tossing their hair and flouncing around. Why weren't they going for them?

Maybe Stella and I should just drop the whole age thing. On Friday, one of my co-workers celebrated her 50th birthday. Sassy and proud, she strolled around the office in a "50 is the new 30" T-shirt. When I e-mailed to wish her a happy day and tell her she doesn't look a day over 35, she responded, "and generally, I feel about as I did at 35. Hope that lasts." Amen, sister.

Readers, weigh in on this. Ladies: Do you like to date younger men? Fellas: Do you like to date older women? Guys and gals: Does age factor in to who you choose to date?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Got any dating deal breakers?

It's Just Lunch -- an organization that organizes first date lunches or drinks after work -- recently polled almost 3,000 singles to find out their opinions on dating, love and smoking (in honor of the upcoming Great American Smokeout on Nov. 16). In the survey, 61 percent said they would not go on a first date with someone they knew smoked.

Alisha: And do you blame them? Smoking is nasty, and the worst part about dating a smoker is the foul taste you get in your mouth after kissing them. Kissing an ashtray is not my idea of a turn-on.
Deirdre: No lie. Their clothes tend to smell like a saloon, and there's that lovely smoker's hack. Not sexy. So we can agree that smoking is a sure deal breaker when it comes to dating -- we're talking do not pass go, forget the cell number, lose the e-mail address. Got any others?
Alisha: Oh yeah. Who doesn't? There's a fine line between being too picky and just downright ruling a characteristic out. Definite deal breaker: A guy who cannot hold a conversation. You don't have to be a walking wikipedia, however, you can't chat about your job every night.
Deirdre: Agreed. Years ago I finally got a date with a hot guy I had been lusting over for months. We went to a movie and out to dinner afterward ... and he couldn't string two coherent thoughts together. A dim bulb. He also had no sense of humor, which is another deal breaker for me.
Alisha: Amen. How about, since you're single - are men with kids a deal breaker?
Deirdre: I'm OK with one or two children, not the Brady bunch. But even if it's just one kid, if it's a property-destroying, foul-mouthed, unmannered little heathen, forget it.
Deirdre: And I hope I don't come across as superficial here, but if a guy and I don't see eye-to-eye (literally), that's a deal breaker. I'm 6 feet tall, and I've had my share of men not much above boob level.
Alisha: I hear ya, coming from the 5-foot-9 girl here. And, when I was single - I always used to find men who were not into sports. Yes, Margaret, there are men out there who do not watch SportsCenter 24-7. If a guy can't tell me which local team was in the 1977 Final Four, then, adios, buster.
Deirdre: Bigots are unacceptable. And while he doesn't have to be rich, dude does have to have a job. I support myself, and I expect whoever I'm with to take care of his business as well.
Alisha: Sexual incompatibility. 'Nuff said.
Deirdre: Heck, yeah! And iffy hygiene. Ever since I heard Matthew McConaughey hasn't used deodorant in five years, I can't look at him without wrinkling my nose.
Alisha: Well, before we get too nitpicky about every little thing, down to the long hair on one's big toe, let's ask readers: What are your deal breakers?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mitch Albom comes to Charlotte

The featured guest for this year’s Novello Festival of Reading finale was author and journalist Mitch Albom.

When I first discovered he was going to speak, I had to get tickets. One of my passions is sports journalism, and in some circles he’s considered to be a pantheon to the field, having covered sports for the Detroit Free Press since 1985.

Albom recently published his eighth novel, "For One More Day." I figured much of his presentation at ImaginOn in uptown Charlotte would likely center on his effort to follow the worldwide success of "Tuesdays with Morrie" and "The Five People You Meet in Heaven." Though he did open up with a "what you might not have known in the making of" story about "Tuesdays," he primarily focused on a central theme of … yep, you guessed it: Relationships.

I was surprised because I wasn't prepared to be lectured on the values of relationships. I thought (and had hoped) he would discuss his time covering the Detroit Tigers in the World Series or following the Detroit Red Wings to numerous Stanley Cup appearances. Nope. He wanted to talk about relationships, and how the various ones he's had in his life played prominent roles within his novels.

From his mother, to his uncle and his college professor, those lifelong bonds impacted Albom, and they formed the basis his most recent work, as well as his personal life, is built upon. Throughout his presentation, Albom read passages from “For One More Day,” and he told a childhood story about his mother creating a Halloween costume for him made out of dish rags and toilet paper.

I saw a side of Albom I had not anticipated: a vulnerable, down-to-Earth guy who admitted he didn't keep up with family and friends like he should.

I’m not an expert on relationships, nor is Albom, but when you break life down to its very essence, it becomes obvious that we all share in the trials and tribulations, the laughter and the tears, and the comings and goings of one of the most special things we can take part in – a relationship.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Britney and Kevin

So, it looks like Britney Spears is filling for divorce from Kevin Federline (for -- what else? -- irreconcilable differences). I have five things to say about this development.

1. It's about damn time!

2. At least she's doing this early enough so that she won't have to pay his sorry butt too much in spousal support.

3. Is that foxy "manny" still around to take care of her kids? If so, he'll make a great rebound man.

4. I knew she was just waiting until she got skinny again! She got her little hips back -- and with them came her self-confidence.

5. I actually look forward to rockin' her comeback single on my iPod.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Guess what? Some of us like being single

I read the comments on our blog entries not only because readers offer insightful commentary, but it's also a great gauge for what people are really thinking. And I've noticed more than a few comments that snipe at my "unmarried at 36" status. For instance, I recently wrote about people's different dating styles, and I concluded: "I think that if you find the dating style that works for you (and that might involve a few bad dates, but those always make great drinking stories later), eventually you'll find the best person for you as well."

Someone snarked (anonymously, of course): "And, as never having been married, how's that philosophy working out for ya?"

Uh, I'd say pretty well.

Marriage is not high on my to-do list. It never has been. In fact, I consider myself lucky because I'm not a woman whose deepest desire is to marry and have kids. Don't get me wrong; producing responsible, contributing members of society has to be the hardest and most rewarding job there is, and I admire anyone willing to do it. I'm just saying I have many friends who ache to be a wife and mother, and try as they might, they still haven't found the right man to do that with. I see their pain and frustration and I'm relieved I don't feel the same pressure.

The part I don't get is why so many folks assume that if I'm coming up on 40 and I'm not married, there's something wrong. But I'm actually in good company: According to the Census Bureau, there were 89.8 million unmarried and single adults in America last year. More and more of us are choosing to remain single for longer periods of our lives, or to remain single for all our lives. (And don't get it twisted; being single does not mean being alone.)

Here's the thing: I could be married tomorrow if I wanted to be. Anybody can be married. There's just that little thing called standards. Most people want to be with someone who meets their personal standard of intelligence, or beauty, or financial standing, or career status, etc. People want to be with someone who shares their goals in life, their belief system, their dreams for the future. Not just any ol' Joe or Josephine Schmo will do. Why commit yourself to any ol' Joe or Josephine just because you've reached a certain age and that's what people do? Life's too short, man.

So here's what I recommend: All of you who would criticize us happily unmarrieds should see to your own households, and don't worry about ours. We're doing better than fine, thanks.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

One year of marriage, a lifetime of lessons

October 2006 is a stark contrast to October 2005.

Now, I’m sitting in a Starbucks, staring out at the passing traffic and scribbling my thoughts about relationships. Jazz is playing on the loudspeaker and the barista is toasting a multigrain bagel for a customer. The scene is relaxing and patient.

Then, one year ago, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off because I was patching together last-minute plans for my wedding. I racked up 1,000 minutes on my cell phone by calling the florist, the country club, the family – basically, everyone and his or her brother. The scene was frenetic and anxious.

It’s amazing how things can change in such a short amount of time, and it’s good to sit back and reflect. Here are five things I’ve learned from one year of marriage, four years of living together and six years of sharing my life with one person.

1. Unless you’re blessed to have lots of money, finances inevitably will be a source of contention. My husband and I don’t argue that often, but when we do, you can almost always bet it’s about money.

2. It’s a good idea for him to have his friends, her to have her friends and then as a couple, to have couple friends.
You deserve friends who are going to care about you as an individual just as much as they would care about you as a couple.

3. It’s OK to admit to each other your shortcomings.
Some days you might not show your appreciation for her doing the chores, or some times he might have made a poor business decision about the house, but it’s important to let each other know that through it all, you still care and/or you’re truly sorry.

4. You marry your in-laws, too.
This will be a topic of a future blog, let me tell you, but in the meantime, I've learned just how much I've not only acquired a spouse, but gained a second family as well.

5. Bottom line – marriage is a lot of hard work.
For a marriage to be a success you have to keep things stimulated constantly in your home, your professional lives and both in and out of the bedroom. People said it wouldn't be easy, and they're not kidding.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Do opposites truly attract?

Who hasn't wondered, especially during the beginning stage of a relationship, if you're attracted to someone who is completely opposite from you?

You're a Democrat. He's a Republican. She's from Detroit. You're from Tuscaloosa, Ala. He loves being the life of the party. You enjoy low-key parties of two.

A study that appeared in the February 2005 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests the "opposite factor" isn't necessarily justified because we tend to be more attracted to mates who share common values, religion and beliefs instead of people who are completely different than us.

In other words, this study shows there isn't concrete evidence that supports the fact a country music fan tends to gravitate toward a metal head.

What this research does state is that a relationship's vitality and happiness is likely sustained because of personality similarities more so than commonalities such as values. That's not exactly what I was expecting to hear when looking for my answer on if opposites attract, but it makes a lot of sense. After you live with someone for any length of time, you come to realize it is about personalities meshing on how you handle financial obstacles or how you try to find common ground on something as simple as spring cleaning.

So next time you're out on a date, especially a first date, it might be a good idea to get to know the intricacies of his or her personality rather than concentrate on the fact he or she is a Baptist and you're a Catholic.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Reese and Ryan -- saw that one coming

Well, another celeb marriage goes kaput. This time it's Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillipe, married for seven years and parents to Ava, 7, and Deacon (great name!), 3.

I've watched them from the beginning with interest, hoping they would make it, thinking they would probably not. They married young -- he was 25, she was 23 -- and when both were Hot Young Things in Hollywood. Only thing is, where Reese's career soared, Ryan's just kinda ... puttered along. We'll never know what really went on in their relationship, but to me, the biggest give-aways were their appearances over the years. In most photos (like this one --and it's his night, the premiere of "Flags of Our Fathers"), Reese was always composed but Ryan usually just looked stank, like he didn't want to be there, and he wasn't gonna smile if he didn't want to, and get the stupid cameras outta his face, especially since you only want to photograph his wife, right?

Anyway, I can't help but think of this in the form of the US Weekly feature, "Stars -- they're just like us!"

"He drinks too much and does inappropriate things!" (Ryan got smashed at this year's Golden Globes and gave Reese such a hard congratulatory slap on the back when she won for her role in "Walk the Line," he almost knocked her over.)

"She's a control freak who has to have things just so!" (Her production company? It's called Type A Films.)

"He's jealous of her success!" (The aforementioned bad attitude and surliness in public.)

"They married young and grew apart!" (Several reports mentioned recent bad rows in public -- uncharacteristic for la Reese.)

"They tried to work it out for the children!" (In fact, I bet she hung in there an extra year, out of pure stubbornness.)

I don't doubt that they'll both have solid careers after this mess. But my prediction? We'll see Ryan carousing it up with other single guy pals in the mags, while Reese will take the high road and be photographed lunching with lady friends and playing with her kids -- and she'll focus like mad on her career.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Charlotte's not that bad, people!

The world was abuzz this week with lots of party/date-y talk, thanks to blogs by Paid to Party's Tonya Jameson (take a look at the comments) and New Around Town's Leigh Dyer (these too, while you're at it). Most of the talk centered around the fact that many respondents believe Charlotte sucks when it comes to the nightlife scene, and it's really hard to make friends here.

Alisha: Unless you're living in Podunk, N.C., night life and dating activities are what you make of them. It's ludicrous to think there isn't enough to do in Charlotte.
Deirdre: Amen to that! I moved here from the San Francisco Bay Area and was pleasantly surprised at what Charlotte has to offer. Sure, it's no San Francisco, but it ain't Podunk, either.
Alisha: The diversity of activities is here. Folks just need to be more creative when coming up with ideas for dates. There's more to do than the blah dinner and blah movie.
Deirdre: I think one's attitude is critical. It's easy to complain about the scene here; I've been known to do it myself. But unless you believe in reincarnation, we only have one life. If you aren't enjoying life the way it is, change it. Whether that means trying different places here or moving to a new city altogether, ultimately, you are responsible for your own social life.
Alisha: Yep, the onus is definitely on each person. If you want to be a couch potato, fine -- just don't say there's nothing to do in Charlotte because your perspective is only seen through your living room window. It takes imagination and an open mind to fill your spare time in this city. Why not pack a picnic lunch and meet your spouse or best friend at Marshall Park in uptown? Or break out of your comfort zone and go to a concert of a group that you have never even heard of.
Deirdre: Someone on Leigh's blog made an interesting comment: "Charlotte sounds like the very start of a new country, like New York was for many of our grandparents and parents going to Ellis Island." I say why not take advantage of that? Embrace the chance to learn from and enjoy people of various cultures, not alienate yourself from them. The world is becoming a smaller place.
Alisha: And this region is a great place to explore if you put your mind to it, and you open up your schedule. People act like Charlotte is in the country. You haven't seen the country if you think this is it. It's Charlotte, not Mayberry.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Our personal dating styles

I've read the comments on our post about online dating, and they highlight what I think should never be forgotten when we singles try to meet perspective mates: everyone has their own dating style, and we all have to do what's best for us as individuals.

Dating - especially when you're looking for a partner, and not just a good time - is hard. It's a commitment that takes a lot of energy and a willingness to open yourself up to new people and experiences. The search for a mate requires a level of emotional vulnerability that one can't take for granted, or take lightly. Whatever a person can do to make the experience more comfortable and less stressful, I say go for it.

I've dated guys I met on dance floors, in bars and through friends. I've dated co-workers, childhood friends all grown up, men I've met through speed-dating and dudes from the gym. I know a couple who "met" in a one-night-stand, a couple who clicked in a recovery group, and people who met online, on vacation, at the opera, in strip clubs and while swing dancing.

My point? In every situation just mentioned, two people met and there was a spark. Maybe the spark sputtered after a while, maybe it's now a fire that's still going strong. But most importantly, in that moment, both people decided to take a chance.

It doesn't matter where you choose to look for someone. It only matters how you feel when you're looking - I hope that's open, accessible, intrigued and ready, not inhibited, scared, disenchanted and desperate. Whatever dating method works best for you is the method that will give you the best advantage. If you're more comfortable with online dating, then that's where you'll shine. If you love whitewater rafting and that cute excursion leader has been giving you the eye, go for it! If you've recovered from a divorce and your best friend keeps talking about a chick at work who might be perfect for you, let him set you up.

We singles often hear dating is a numbers game, but I don't believe that's necessarily the case. I think that if you find the dating style that works for you (and that might involve a few bad dates, but those always make great drinking stories later), eventually you'll find the best person for you as well.

Monday, October 23, 2006

We tussle over online dating

Deirdre: I've been sick, but I know I feel better because I'm in the mood for a good fight. You ready to debate online dating?
Alisha: (Ringing the bell) Let's get it on! And it's about time, Deirdre.
Deirdre: Hmpf. Anyway, while I believe online dating would be a positive thing for some people -- say, the really shy/introverted who need to work on people skills, or folks who live in isolated areas -- on the whole, I am against the practice.
Alisha: Why? Online dating is safe. It's practical. It's free. It provides a safety net.
Deirdre: Online dating is NOT safe. It's that false sense of security that can get people in trouble. Online dating is NOT practical. Think of the hours people spend weeding out "matches" that are really nothing more than random names. Online dating is NOT free. Memberships to most services have fees. Online dating does NOT provide a safety net. Instead, it provides a thick curtain of anonymity for people to hide behind while they lie, cheat and steal.
Alisha: Does online dating scare you or do you think it's just a bad way to connect with a potential partner?
Deirdre: I'm not scared of it -- I don't trust it. In general, it saddens me that this is the direction our society is heading in when it comes to starting and building relationships. I'm not stupid -- I know online dating is here to stay, and I know some people are having success with it.
Alisha: I would much rather get to know a person through months of correspondence than to run into some stranger at a bar. Online dating also gives people confidence. You can chat with someone you likely would never approach in public.
Deirdre: The two main aspects that put me off online dating: 1) I believe in using all of your senses when sussing out if someone is a potential mate. That includes the sixth sense, if you will, where you get a vibe off another person. When you're online, you're restricted to what that person types. You can't see their eyes or read their body language or hear the way they say something. 2) The anonymity of online enables lying. Sure, people lie in person, but online, the lies come so much more fluidly, from little "10 pounds/5 years off" fibs to big whoppers, like people pretending they're of the oppposite sex.
Alisha: Online dating is the preliminary step to a relationship. You eventually will have to get up off of the couch and go out on a date. And, you're right -- there's nothing that can compare to body language and signals. As for the lying, that can happen whether you're online or not.
Deirdre: There's also a part of me that feels it's lazy. You could meet more dating possibilities if you spend less time on the computer and more time out among people.
Alisha: It's not about being lazy. Some people who were married for 30 years might suddenly find themselves single again after a divorce. Online dating is a great avenue for them because it's a way to ease back into the singles scene.
Deirdre: Or they could check out singles groups, or tell their friends to set them up, or join activity clubs that cater to older adventurers ... I think more and more people are looking to the Internet as their last hope, or their only hope. And that's just not the case.
Alisha: What if you're scared to ask for help or you're ashamed you're single? Online dating caters to that crowd.
Deirdre: But the majority of daters don't have to go online. I think it could turn from a curiosity-satisfier into a dating crutch.
Alisha: Online dating is just not as evil as you portray it.
Deirdre: It's not as evil as I portray it, but it's not Soulmate Central like all the commercials and ads portray it, either. That's all I'm sayin'.
Alisha: I don't doubt there are some happily married couples who gave online dating a chance. Speaking of chances, thanks for finally discussing why you think online dating is bad. I'm sure some folks will agree with you, and some will agree with me.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Get this on record: I was wrong

I was wrong. I admit it. I screwed up.

Last week I was working overtime. I e-mailed my husband to ask if he would meet me for dinner. He replied to say he was too busy and he just couldn’t.

I pouted. I wasn’t happy. I didn’t want to eat dinner alone.

As my work day came to a close, I walked out the front door and there was my husband with a huge bouquet of autumn flowers! They were gorgeous, and I just melted. He was playing me the entire time. He wanted to surprise me and boy, did he ever.

So, he drove me to my car, and on the way, I dropped my keys on the floorboard and didn't realize it. We had decided to go to a nice restaurant – 30 minutes away – and I would meet him there. He drove off before I got to my car door. That's when I realized I didn’t have my keys.

I started to run after his car in my two-inch heels, the bouquet in my left hand, my purse and laptop clutched in my right. He must have had Metallica on full blast and the pedal to the metal, because he never saw me in his rear-view mirror.

To make matters worse, we don’t have cell phones. (I know, I know – everyone has a cell phone.) I was so upset. I went back into work, called the restaurant and left my number. He got there, called me back, and I had to give him the bad news.

When he finally got back to me, my frustration had turned into anger. I told him it was all his fault for leaving without checking to make sure I had gotten in the car, and for us not having cell phones, and for world hunger and the war in Iraq! (OK, not the last couple – but you get the point.)

I let my emotions overtake my desire to make the best out of the situation.

He realized I was frustrated and he didn’t say another word. I drove home wanting to put the blame for the night’s failure all on him.

I was wrong, and it took about two hours for me to realize it. Deep down, I didn’t mean to blame him for everything. There comes a time (or many times) when we have to admit we’re human and we overreact – or when we’re just plain wrong.

By the way: I apologized profusely and he now has this blog for proof. We ate together late that night at home, and my flowers are still alive to this day! A happy ending.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A not-so-practical license renewal

Let's start off the week with a light-hearted suggestion from a friend of a friend.

Here's her idea: "You know how once you get a driver's license, it expires and then you have to return to the DMV to renew the license? Why isn't there an expiration date on a marriage license? Couples should have to go through a renewal process every 10 years!"

My thoughts: While renewing your marriage license every 10 years sounds ideal and fun, three obstacles immediately come to mind.

1) The divorce rate likely could double because many couples would elect not to renew.

2) What would the equivalent of the eye exam and sign test be? A "honey, do this" check-off list and a reflex test for charge-card wrist?

And ...

3) Now you're relying on the guy to not only remember the anniversary date, but your marriage would really depend on his memory for the sake of the renewal. Uh-oh.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sick and single is fine by me

Sorry I've been out of the loop, but for the last week and a half I've been sick. (Two words: Stomach ailment. Trust me, that's all you want to know.)

And when I start paying attention to relationship goings-on again, what do I find? That goofy Runaway Bride in Georgia has sued her ex-fiance (I think she's just bitter because he dumped her crazy butt); Vince and Jen broke up (she was rebounding from Brad Pitt and Vince is probably better off without her); Madonna is in the process of adopting an African baby (????); and here in Charlotte we have a burgeoning swingers community (don't know what I'm talking about? You need to read Alisha's last post!)


Meanwhile, here at the McGruder homestead, I've spent most of my recent days in bed, curled in the fetal position. Which means I've had plenty of time to think -- and you know what kept popping into my mind?

Man, am I glad I live alone.

You'd think in a time of illness I'd want someone to take care of me, right? But it's been just the opposite. I'm glad I don't have a man here who has to handle my sour moods, my repeated doctor's visits, the general gnarliness of a stomach ailment. While I know that in marriage we vow to love each other "in sickness and in health," I'm glad I don't have a husband dealing with my fevered tossing and turning in bed, the crumpled and unglamorous "sick" pajamas, the unending bed head, the bland soup-and-saltines diet.

And ultimately, the aloneness has allowed me to concentrate on getting better, because I don't have to worry about anyone else. When I was at my worst, a close friend dropped off medicine and groceries, and when I got lonely, friends and family were only a phone call away. Also, my cat, Jezebel, has proven to be quite the sickbed companion. It's amazing how our pets pick up on when we need extra love; Jez has been by my side nonstop -- warm, purring and snuggled as close as she can get.

So now I'm on the road to recovery ... thanks to some concentrated "me" time.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sex therapist: Four relationship trends in Charlotte

Every person has had a problem with a relationship, and if you haven’t, brace yourself because it’s bound to happen.

I was curious about what problems tend to affect Charlotte couples, so I sought out the advice of Lisa Terrell, a certified sex therapist, marital counselor and owner of Lydia’s Loom Counseling in Charlotte.

She has noted, below, four relational trends she’s encountered most often through her practice.

They’re quite interesting; two of them are almost a "no-duh" (Banker syndrome and affluent-za) while one surprises me a little (International flavor) because Charlotte doesn't feel like it's as diverse as Washington, D.C., or Atlanta.

Here's Terrell's four relational trends:

Banker syndrome
Individuals who work for one of the banks and are working so hard to facilitate their career that their personal relationships suffer. This could be singles, newly marrieds, and couples with children of all ages.

This may not just be special to Charlotte, but it's when a couple "has everything:" money, solid career, bright future, and yet they are unhappy together as a couple and with their lives as a whole. They think, "maybe we should split because we aren’t feeling it together; maybe there’s another person who will feel more exciting, etc."

The International Lifestyle Association asserts that 15 percent of couples in the U.S. have at some point incorporated swinging in their marriage. I have tried to find specific stats for Charlotte, but although there are many Web sites and groups for swingers I could not find hard data. I have seen a steady increase in couples or individuals seeking help. I moved here in 1999, and I did not get a swinging-related inquiry until 2003. Most recently, I am fielding one to two inquiries a month. This isn’t necessarily a scientific statistic, but it’s an indicator for me. Of course, I don’t come in contact with "swingers" seeking my services until something goes wrong.

20-30’s singles scene has a diverse international flavor
Young professionals are working here from all over the world.
CHOA (Charlotte Outdoor Adventures) is the place that people usually try at least once to check out the singles scene. Most singles or people who have recently been single have taken a trip through the CHOA activities.

Now and are becoming mainstream with my single clients.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

We need more random acts of kindness

I went to the grocery store with a guy friend a couple weeks ago. He considers himself to be a solid 6, maybe creeping up to a 7, on the hotness scale. I bring up his looks because while we were in the store, a very hot brunette walked past us – I’m talking a 10+. She was carrying a bag of potato chips and a bottle of Merlot. As my friend and I are standing in line, he walks up beside the beautiful woman and says: “You know, I had chips and wine for lunch, and I can’t say I’d recommend it as much of a nutritional dinner.”

I thought the woman was going to rear back and slap him. On the contrary, she giggled and kept on till she could finally mutter a complete sentence. She thought it was cute, and my friend had just bravely approached a stranger without receiving any signals or eye contact. Their conversation ended with her telling him, “Have a great evening, and thanks for the kind words.”

Random acts of kindness or flirting – even if it is a cheesy pickup line that makes you laugh – are encouraged in my book. Every person wants to feel loved, appreciated and wanted – doesn’t matter if you’re single, married or divorced.

It’s a sweet gesture when someone goes out of his or her way to make you feel special. Who wouldn’t want to wear a permanent smile after someone was thoughtful enough to liven up your day? Even something as simple as a “hello” in the grocery store.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Real selling point of 'The Nine'

Spoiler alert: If you haven't seen the new ABC series "The Nine," but plan on catching a rerun of the pilot, you probably don't want to read this.

I just finished the premiere of the new series "The Nine," and I admit I wasn't going to watch it. Not only was I afraid it would be too much like the Spike Lee movie "Inside Man" (which starred my three favorite husbands -- Denzel Washington, Clive Owen and Chiwetel Ejiofor, so you know I was in heaven), but I also have been trying to keep my new-series gathering to a minimum. However, I was sitting on my sofa, dabbing at tears of frustration about "Lost" -- will the Others ever leave those castaways alone? I mean, it's not their fault their plane cracked like a pinata in the sky -- and I didn't have the energy to change the channel.

What will probably keep me watching "The Nine" is not necessarily to find out what happened in the 52 hours the hostages were held in that bank. I want to know, of course, but the really fascinating part is how those 52 hours affected everyone -- hostages, hostage-takers, and the people outside who knew someone involved.

In the group of hostages, there's this total geek who received a new lease on life because of his split-second act of courage. I feel pretty sure there's a chance he'll leave his harridan of a wife, and you know what? Maybe it's time he did. The lone teenager in the group was so traumatized by the event, she's forgotten everything. Something seems to have transpired between the cop and the lawyer, and now they're looking at each other with achy longing. And there's the hot doctor and the hoochie bank teller (c'mon, did you see what she was wearing at the wake?) who had some kind of "moment" during the standoff, and now the doctor's girlfriend keeps looking at him with squinty-eyed suspicion. (Um, since there was some pseudo-pity sex between the doc and the hoochie bank teller at that wake, her instincts are correct.)

There's going to be a lot of looking at relationships with fresh perspectives, and a lot of "what am I really doing with my life?" introspection. I remembered that Sandra Bullock line from "Speed" where she tells Keanu Reeves that relationships that start under intense circumstances never last. This show will put that notion to the test, because the hostages, right now at least, seem determined to stay close. And, so far, "The Nine" seems to be setting itself up for some realistic portrayals of how people react in an intense crisis, and the lasting effects such a crisis can have. I'm hooked.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Celebrating 1st wedding anniversary

I love October. It’s my favorite month for several reasons: college basketball starts, the weather begs for jeans and a T-shirt, and it’s the month of my wedding anniversary.

I plan on writing more about my anniversary when the time draws closer because I’ve got plenty to share about my first year of marriage. (Hint: it’s a lot of hard work!)

But since the big day is a good three weeks away (Oct. 22), it’s time to think about how to celebrate. I have no idea what present to get or what plans to make. I mean, when you’re dating someone, you celebrate Day 37 by writing an “I love you” note or picking out a rose at the Harris Teeter. How do you express: hey, you put up with my snoring for a year, and goodness gracious, we’re not filing for divorce?! Yippee!

With some quick research, I discovered the first year’s traditional wedding anniversary gift is paper. Last I checked, my husband isn’t a big fan of origami, and writing him a love letter would be sweet, but wouldn’t an email be so much quicker?

I’d love to know what ideas you have: how should my husband and I celebrate, and what presents should we get each other?
Here’s a list of traditional as well as modern anniversary gifts.

Help me out by posting your ideas, and if I really like one, I hope you won’t mind if I use it?

Friday, September 29, 2006

About that wandering eye ...

I just want to second that emotion from 'Lisha's last post. She was trying to be all polite about it, but let me say it again, in stronger words:


Case in point: A good friend of mine is dating a new guy. She's trying to decide if she'll pursue something serious with him. One night he's over at her pad, and in passing, she shows him a picture of her younger sister.

Let me pause at this point of the story to say that there's no way men will ever be as smooth as women when it comes to checking out attractive members of the opposite sex. After a single, covert glance at a fine man, a well-trained woman can tell you if he's wearing a wedding ring, if he has thick, curly eyelashes and what color socks he's wearing. She doesn't make a big production out of it, she just assimilates the information and moves on. What can I say? It's a gift.

Most men, on the other hand, are such visually-oriented creatures that if a gorgeous woman passes by, they could lose their train of thought and be reduced to stuttering monosyllables. C'mon, guys! Pull yourselves together! Be cool about it!

Which brings us back to my friend, and the guy she's dating. Was dating. She showed him a picture of her younger sister, and I know the girl, so I can tell you she's very pretty. But this dude takes the picture and all but drools over it as he shouts -- shouts -- an appreciative "DAYUM!"

So not cool. You can guess what her reaction was to that.

Men, take it from me: the sooner you learn to appreciate beauty without making an ass of yourself, the better off you'll be. 'Cause there's nothing wrong with looking -- as long as that's all you're doing, and you're doing it with class.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

We all have a 'wandering eye' for beauty

Many sets of eyes are on you. And why shouldn’t they be? You’re beautiful. You’re tall, trim and tan. Your smile lights up the room.

But is it really OK that my husband’s eyes are on you ... and, well, the eyes of all the men in the room? Married, single or even homosexual, there’s no discrimination because your beauty is that breathtaking.

To answer the question: Yes, it is perfectly acceptable for those glances to target you. It’s in our nature. We want to gaze at masterpieces of beauty; just ask Rembrandt.

This affliction does not single out gender – women are just as prone to gawk. Of course, there are levels to which some take their stares; mouth open, prolonged ogling can be distracting as well as disrespectful if you’re with someone.

I don’t understand those people who catch their partner looking at someone, and then all of a sudden emotions from the deep abyss of their stomach broil over into anger, jealousy and annoyance. Relax. It’s a voyeuristic world, and curiosity often gets the best of us.

As long as married folks don't turn their staring into something more, and as long as someone isn’t being rude by watching a stunningly beautiful person, let’s not worry about the wandering eye.

Let’s all partake of the beauty before us.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

10 things men should know about women

1. If you're single, don't judge the next woman you meet by the last woman you met. Sure, the next chick might be crazy (or worse, married), but what if she's not? - Deirdre

2. Don't tell us if you dated a stripper. The constant comparison in our heads will drive us crazy. - Alisha

3. Most women want good sex just as much - if not more - than you do. If you find a women who wants it as often (or as little) as you do, keep her, because sexual compatibility is a glorious thing. - Deirdre

4. Tell us (nicely) if we look fat in these jeans. You're right; there's no good way a guy can come out on top with this question. However, there is a way to be honest so we won't go out of the house looking like a house. - Alisha

5. Little things go a long way. Opening doors, carrying coats, walking on the side closest to the street - we notice. And we like it. - Deirdre

6. Girls don't want to date duds. TV, sports and the couch cannot make up our lives seven nights a week. - Alisha

7. No woman deserves to be hit. EVER. Just get out of the relationship ... and remember No. 1 on this list. - Deirdre

8. It's a man's world and we're trying to change it. You acknowledging our efforts means more than you might think. - Alisha

9. We love you. And we hate you. Often at the same time. It comes from the long, complex history men and women share, and communication is the best way to keep the emotion you want at the fore. - Deirdre

10. We're jealous. We really do wish we could pee while standing up. Nuff said. - Alisha

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sorry, no Sugar Mamas here

I stopped at my local gas station a couple days ago to fill up and grab a Cherry Coke. As I walked from my car to the store, I passed two guys standing at a car, talking. I could feel their eyes on me as I passed, and I heard mutterings that sounded like a running commentary about my derriere. Since I'm sensitive about my derriere right now -- it's been awhile since I visited the gym -- I walked a little faster and yanked open the store's door.

As I headed back to my car, the guys were still there. I heard a
" 'Scuse me!" and I glanced over in reflex, cursing myself in the split-second I did so. I've grown more polite since I moved back to the South, and sometimes it works against me.

"How you doin'?" said one of the guys with a wide grin. Dude looked about 20. I responded "pretty good" without breaking stride and got in my car.

I thought about the incident all the way home. Didn't that kid know I was old enough to be his ... er ... big sister? And didn't he know that even if I was closer to his age, yelling at a chick in a gas station parking lot isn't the way to get her digits? And didn't he know that openly leering at a chick's booty as she walked by, AND THEN yelling at her in said parking lot was guaranteed not to get him the digits?

Then I remembered a recent "Cheaters" episode I stumbled across while watching TV with a friend. "Cheaters" is a like a car wreck; when you pass it, you have to at least slow down to see what's going on. Anyway, in this particular episode, a guy, about 20, was cheating on his live-in girlfriend, who was about my age. His reasoning? Sleeping with women was his job, and in return the women let him live rent-free and they bought him anything he wanted. With chicks that stupid out there, no wonder some men think they can trip like that, right?

So I thought about the "Cheaters" episode and wondered: Did that guy think I looked like the type of older woman who would take care of him in exchange for sex? Since the dude was a critter, I shudder at the thought. But now I'm curious: have I reached that age where I'm Sugar Mama material?

If so, a lot of guys are going to be disappointed to find out this mama only takes care of herself.

Friday, September 22, 2006

How to be a gentleman, GQ style

So I picked up the current issue of GQ magazine because it has a fetching photo of my husband, actor Clive Owen, on the cover. (In an alternate, Deirdre-centric universe I have several lovely and adoring husbands. Isn't that right, Denzel?)

But I bought it, not only for my Clive fix, but also because a certain headline caught my eye: "Split the Check? Date a Friend's Ex? Break Up via E-mail? Modern Manners for the 21st Century."

The article, written by GQ's Style Guy, Glenn O'Brien, has some great advice on when and where to use cell phones and PDAs; e-mail and iPod etiquette; how to dress and act on airplanes; how to treat gay people; what the rules are on wedding gifts and other relevant topics. I strongly recommend it for guys and gals. Some examples of Glenn's wisdom:

E-vites: The sole domain of 18-year-old girls who drive lime green Volkswagen Beetles, or perfectly acceptable? For casual events and save-the-dates, an e-vite is fine. For retirement parties, weddings, engagement parties, Bar Mitzvahs, and other non-evanescent events where tangible mementos are called for: Christ, no.

Can you bang your friend's ex-girlfriend? Or do you need his official blessing first? When a man fancies the ex of his pal, he should give notice of his intentions. But permission is not required.

How about flirting over e-mail at work? Flirting over e-mail is unacceptable; it may even be sexual harassment. And hard drives are subpoenaed every day of the workweek.

Is there anywhere I can't wear my jeans these days? Jeans are acceptable only on informal occasions. I beg to differ with Ralph Lauren on the aptness of dungarees with a dinner jacket.

BTW guys, the issue also has some great tips on what to look for when buying a suit, actress Amanda Peet in her underwear, and an article about how to build the perfect (baseball) batter. And gals -- the issue smells yummy (if you like cologne), has several interesting articles about music, books and movies, and the NFL preview mostly consists of two hot players (Reggie Bush and Troy Polamalu) shirtless. Very nice.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Who are you, again?

"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked." -- Bernard Meltzer.

They say family will always be there for you. They say friends come and go. They say blood is thicker than water.

Here's what I think: I say you can't always depend on family. I say friends often exit your life, but their imprint is everlasting. I say blood and water can coexist.

I’m so thankful for the friends I have, but there is one thing that bothers me about the intrinsic nature of friendship. Many don’t realize it’s a two-way street.

You know the kind. The friend who never e-mails, never calls, never visits, never does anything except expect you to maintain the vitality of the relationship.

Don’t get me wrong; I'm not perfect. We’ve all had busy times in our lives where the line of communication is temporarily out to lunch. Eventually for most people, though, the CLOSED sign is flipped back over to OPEN.

But it’s time some folks realize it takes energy to keep up a friendship and the responsibility shouldn’t be all on one person.

I can’t decide what to do with a particular friend. Do I continue to take up the slack for our friendship, and just figure one day she’ll come around to caring about what’s going on in my life once again? Or do I just leave our friendship in the past, and move on with my life? I mean, how many more times can I hear, “Yes, I’ll call you, I promise”?

What would you do in my situation? And what have you done with friends who fail to understand the importance of two-way communication?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It's National Singles Week!

Actually, it's officially "Unmarried and Single Americans Week" (an acknowledgment that many unmarried Americans do not identify with the word "single" because they are parents, have partners or are widowed) but National Singles Week has such a celebratory twang, doesn't it? Makes you want to go out and be single and mingle.

In honor of the week, I'd like to share some interesting and eye-opening singles stats, courtesy of our friends at the Census Bureau. Impress friends and family with your knowledge.

89.8 million: Number of unmarried and single Americans in 2005. This group comprised 41 percent of all U.S. residents age 18 and older.

54%: Percentage of unmarried and single Americans who are women.

60%: Percentage of unmarried and single Americans who have never been married. Another 25 percent are divorced and 15 percent are widowed.

14.9 million: Number of unmarried and single Americans age 65 and older. These older Americans comprise 14 percent of all unmarried and single people.

86: Number of unmarried men age 18 and older for every 100 unmarried women in the United States.

904: The number of dating service establishments nationwide as of 2002. These establishments, which include Internet dating services, employed nearly 4,300 people and pulled in $489 million in revenues.

29.9 million: Number of people who live alone. These persons comprise 26 percent of all households, up from 17 percent in 1970.

12.9 million: Number of single parents living with their children in 2005. Of these, 10.4 million are single mothers.

4.9 million: Number of unmarried-partner households in 2005. These households consist of a householder living with someone of the opposite sex who was identified as their unmarried partner.

36%: Percentage of voters in the 2004 presidential election who were unmarried.

82%: Percentage of unmarried people age 25 or older in 2004 who were high school graduates.

23%: Percentage of unmarried people age 25 or older with a bachelor’s degree or more education.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Wait 3 days before calling?

Deirdre: I was chatting with a close male friend about a chick he was about to start dating, and I said something I never thought I would.
Alisha: Let's set up a dating profile together online? [smile]
Deirdre: Ew. NO.
Deirdre: He had talked to this chick and he was gonna call her the very next day to set up a date. I blurted out, “No way! You can’t call her the next day! It’ll look like you’re desperate.” I never knew I was a follower of the Rules when it comes to who calls whom, and when.
Alisha: Oh boy, I can see where this is going. What rules? Where's Moses and his 10 Commandments of Dating? Why do we need rules to govern our heart? So when did you tell your friend he should call her? Let me guess ... three days later?
Deirdre: No, I told him to wait two days.
Alisha: By then, your friend's hot girl will have found another beau to kiss on.
Deirdre: Dang, it’s only two days! If she found another dude that quick, maybe he doesn’t need to get with her. But my reasoning: One day you look desperate; three days you look like you don’t care. Two days is juuuuuuust right.
Alisha: So, you meet someone. You two hit it off. The conversation is great. The chemistry is right. The butterflies in your stomach can't stop fluttering. You part ways. And then, you're telling me you have to wait two looooooong days just to talk with that person again? Why delay the inevitable?
Deirdre: Girl, why you always gotta make it hard for me? It’s not that simple. If it happened the way you just described, I would be bummed if he didn’t call the next day. If the chemistry and connection are that strong, neither one of us should be able to wait to talk to each other again. But the two-day thing -- that’s safe.
Alisha: Picking up the phone is harmless. I say you both know if you hit it off and there shouldn't be restrictions. This three-day, two-day, once a lady crap is just that: crap.
Deirdre: Tell us how you REALLY feel, Alisha.
Alisha: You're telling me that two people are going to know exactly when and what time to call each other -- exactly two or three days later? Why complicate matters?
Deirdre: Actually, I’m making it simple. Calling within the first few days is totally acceptable -- and in the game that men and women, and men and men, and women and women play, you’re not showing too much of your hand, so to speak, if you call within that time frame. It’s when you mess up and wait more than a week that matters get complicated.
Alisha: That's the truth. Gosh, the difference between two days and seven days is an eternity! Bottom line - if you're digging someone and you're fairly certain they dug you, then pick up the phone and tell him or her that. Life's too short to be put on hold just because some silly rule says you should.
Deirdre: Um, but don’t act too fast, or the other person might think you’re a stalker. It’s a fine line. Even you can see that, can’t you?
Alisha: Yes, I see that, accept it and understand it. Doesn't make waiting two or three days gospel. Do you think a man or a woman came up with that asinine rule?
Deirdre: Well, it had to be a man, because for the longest time men were the accepted dating aggressors. Now, though, many women wouldn’t even blink before asking a guy for his number. And this is where it can get interesting: the phone number. Which number did you give out when you and your hubby started dating? Your home or cell phone number?
Alisha: I gave him my home number. And even my real name, believe it or not.
Deirdre: Thank you! I’m all about giving the home phone number if I really click with a man. You can give any critter your cell number just to get him to go away (and a fake cell number at that). But I think there’s a level of intimacy that comes with giving a person your home phone number. Unless you don’t have a land line, of course.
Alisha: Finally, something we agree on: Home phones = serious potential flame. Cell phones = possible, if the stars and moon align right, then you might get lucky.
Deirdre: Think back to when you were dating. If you gave a guy your number and he didn’t call until a week-10 days later, would you still give him a chance?
Alisha: You know how long it's been since I was single? Going on seven years! Let me think. If he called 10 days later, sure, I'd still talk with him if I was interested. And I'd also wonder why he took so long.
Deirdre: Sister, a man would have to do some serious talking to get me interested again! I have to refer to “He’s Just Not That Into You” when I say that if you’re really interested in someone, you will make the time to talk to them, no matter what. After a week, I’m thinking dude just ain’t all that interested.
Alisha: Evidently there's a common denominator between 10 days and 0 days for you, and that's um, what, two days? Silly rubbish if you ask me. If you're into someone, call them when the mood hits. Don't wait.
Deirdre: Heh. You’d better NOT wait.