Thursday, May 29, 2008

Crushes: Different as a kid vs. adult?

Think back to your school days -- maybe it was elementary school or even as late as high school -- when you spotted a gorgeous smile from across the room that made you stop dead in your tracks.

You would then spend countless (underscore countless) time thinking about that crush, plotting how to accidentally run into your crush in the hallway, figuring out ways your friends could befriend your crush, feeding or perhaps devilishly denying the rampant gossip line that you do indeed have a crush and dreaming about how your life would be so much happier if your crush were on your arm.

Ahhhhh ... those were the days.

Now, as adults, I wonder if the way we approach crushes has changed? One would think maturity and experience would play into the way we handle the situation, actually asking a person out face-to-face instead of sending your best friend over to the other side of the playground to do your dirty work.

But there's a part of me that wants to say we never lose those juvenile tendencies to notify an intended love we have our eyes on them. How are the butterflies in the pit of your stomach any different at age 11 than they are at 53? Just because you're divorced, does that mean the way you approach a man at a bar is any different than when you approached the boy in the library during study hall?

When you break it down to its core, pursuing the object of our infatuation doesn't seem to discriminate toward age.

What do you think? Have you found yourself chasing crushes differently as an adult?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Singles: Some places to meet in the heat

I was flipping through latest issue of Eye, the Observer's free publication available in the uptown area, when I came upon this article about MatchMaker Tennis. The club pairs up people who have the same skill level, and if you've always wanted to learn how to play tennis, they also offer free beginner lessons. The weather has been so wonderful lately, and this would be a fun way to meet new people and practice your serve at the same time.

And in case you missed it, CLT (the Observer's guide to stuff to do on the weekends) had an article about rooftop patios for the partiers. I've been to a couple of them: The Forum (chatty, attractive people with a nice racial diversity, but it skews a bit young) and the Gin Mill (laid-back; weeknights are better). The list makes me want to try them all!

Got any fave places you want to share?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Two girls ... and a guy!

Deirdre: We're coming up on the second anniversary of We Can Relate this summer, and Alisha and I decided to make some changes.
Alisha: These are good changes. It's kinda like when you decide you need to add a spare bedroom to the house. We're still living in the house, but now we've improved. Also, we think it's time to get the men involved.
Deirdre: Definitely. We have a lot of male readers -- thanks, guys! -- and we agree the blog needs male representation from time to time. Also, you're married, I'm solidly single, and Jason is in a committed relationship. So we've opened up the discussion even more.
Alisha: If you've read our blog, you know Deirdre and I try to emphasize keeping your relationships spicy, exciting and spontaneous, and Jason will undoubtedly bring some fresh ideas and his own experiences on love, dating and who knows what else to the table?!
Deirdre: I think it'll be good to have a male voice to temper us sometimes, don't you, Lish?
Alisha: My husband would definitely agree to that statement! It'll be a fun, new adventure; so check out Jason's first blog below and thanks for reading -- hope you keep coming back!


The girls asked me a while back if I'd be interested in throwing my opinions into the the mix. Why not? You can't have too many bloggers in the kitchen, can you? Now, I have absolutely no professional training in the ways of love, life or romance. Any of my exes would agree with that. So don't expect any "Dear Abby" advice from me. I've spent my 33 years learning from trial and error, lots of error.

For my first post, let's go racin'!

I'm not from The South and I was never a NASCAR fan. I actually grew up in the middle of the U.S. ...Wichita, Kan. I've lived here since '99 and just in the past few years I've learned to stomach the All-Star race. I'll still never say I enjoy NASCAR, but man, I do love tailgating! So on Saturday I threw on my finest AC/DC concert T, loaded up a cooler with cold brews and headed out to Lowe's Motor Speedway with my girlfriend and few friends. Giddyup!

The first race I ever went to was the Coca-Cola 600. It was spoiled because I didn't really tailgate and nobody ever mentioned I could bring a cooler of beer into the Speedway. You should never have to sit through a race completely sober, especially not one as painfully long as the 600. The experience scarred me and it took about four years before I would try it again.

I don't remember the race as much as I do the apprehension leading up to it. I think it was the Bank of America 500. My girlfriend wanted to leave early to meet up with some friends for some prerace partying and I was dragging my feet because I was less than excited about going anywhere near the Speedway again. Finally, we left, and of course hit bumper-to-bumper traffic. As the tailgating time ticked away, my girlfriend got more and more ticked. We did get there with enough time to have a few beers and get in a couple games of cornhole. All in all, it was a good night and I felt like crap for wasting half the day and not trusting that my girlfriend and I would have a great time no matter what the setting was ... even a NASCAR setting.

This Saturday was our second All-Star race. It's still early to call it a tradition, but it seems to get better every year and I'm looking forward to next year already. Everybody has traditions and the best ones happen unexpectedly. This memorial weekend marks another tradition for me and my girlfriend. I'll tell you about it another post. Until then, do you have any unexpected traditions?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Thanks, but no thanks, dude

The other day I was walking from the Observer building to my car. As I approached the corner, one of the paper's trucks was in front of me and the driver honked. When I looked up, he waved. I smiled and returned his gesture.

Why couldn't that have been the end of it?

After I walked behind the truck to continue toward my car, I heard a voice. The driver had gotten out of his truck and walked toward me. He asked my name; in an effort to be friendly to a co-worker, I told him. Then he asked if he could call me sometime.

Readers, I took the easy way out, because I was tired and wanted to go home. I told him I had a boyfriend. "What, he won't let you take calls?" the driver asked incredulously. Suddenly, my non-existent boyfriend was a jealous and controlling jerk. As I hesitated, the driver offered to give me his card, so I could call him. He pulled out his wallet, but surprise! He had no cards. (I can hear all of your eyes rolling.) He asked for my office number. I caved and gave it to him. He promised to call, and he may have. I haven't checked my messages. (On purpose?)

Why do we women do that? Give in when we know we're not interested, I mean. Because we don't like to be rude, perhaps, or because giving in is the path of least resistance. In my case, it was both, and I'm not proud of it. But, ladies, isn't this something we wrestle with all the time?

I'm reminded of a story a close friend told me. She'd been dating a woman, but she didn't want to pursue anything romantic. She asked the woman if they could be friends. This is the part I love: She said the woman looked her in the eye and said, "I've already got enough friends." And that was that.

Well, that's how I feel right now: I don't need any more friends. I can barely keep in touch with the ones I've got, and I don't have the energy it takes to make more. That guy is probably perfectly nice, but his timing sucks. Work is demanding and I have other priorities; my social life is waaaaaay down the list. So will I be returning that dude's call? What do you think?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Dating 2 people at one time

In the dating world, you either have a significant other or you don’t.

But the line can get blurred if several significant others enter the picture.

It’s not hard to do. Picture it: You start out going on a few dates with this one woman. She’s taking it slow because she’s extremely busy at work and she’s divorced – so she's not in a rush to jump into anything remotely serious. Then, in between going out every once in awhile with Gal No. 1, along comes Gal No. 2. She’s available to hang out more often, she’s super cute, and oh, she’s totally open to being in a committed relationship.

Next thing you know, you find yourself “dating” two women, and in this scenario, it wasn’t done intentionally – it just happened. So what do you do?

Most folks would say this isn't an ethically smart thing to do; dating two people at the same time is deceptive or it’s not fair to either party, or possibly, it’s just a matter of having cake and swallowing it whole.

Sure, if one of the relationships starts to develop into something more than the hanging-out, going-to-the-park, watching-movies type of activities, then I think you need to pick a partner and devote your attention to him or her. Dating two people ends here.

But, if both of your relationships are more on a strictly platonic level (this is key), then why stress out about the fact you have two people in your life who care about you? I say life’s too short, so enjoy it.

Be honest – with your dates and yourself – about the situation.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Older, wiser, but still 'young'

I saw "Young @ Heart" -- a documentary about a New England senior citizens chorus -- recently, and it really stayed with me. I can't recommend it enough (it's playing at The Manor; here's Observer critic Lawrence Toppman's review).

I didn't expect the movie to affect me as much as it did. It's laugh-out-loud funny in spots, and tear-jerkingly poignant in others (take Kleenex -- I wish I had). "Young @ Heart" follows the chorus as they prepare new songs to add to their repertoire before heading off to tour Europe. Among them: tunes by Sonic Youth, Coldplay and James Brown. The star, in my mind, is 92-year-old Eileen, sharp as a tack and an irrepressible flirt. Her delivery of The Clash's "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" is worth the price of admission.

What I admire about the seniors is their vitality in their later years. I was immediately reminded of my paternal grandmother, because she has that same spark. We've become really close in the past five years or so. We communicate as two adults and I cherish that, because not only is she really wise, she's also really cool. My grandma is retired, but she has a part-time job, works the polls during elections, volunteers, is the leader of a neighborhood association, and is often not home when I phone. She has gentlemen callers; in fact, she gets more play than me! During a visit last month she regaled me with stories and made a Mother's Day gift request so naughty, I can't even repeat it here.

The stars of "Young @ Heart," and people like my grandmother, are model examples of how to age gracefully, smartly, and on one's own terms. They also show that we need not fear old age, because it is something to be embraced and enjoyed.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Recognizing the dating red flags

Don’t you wish there was a master list of warning signs when dating? It sure would make things a tad easier when weeding out the sane from the psycho or the liars from the truth-tellers.

Here’s a starter list of statements and phrases, that if your partner says on the first date or in those first get-to-know-you phone conversations or e-mails, you should either put up your guard and investigate more or immediately end all communication and change your phone number.
  • “My back is really killing me. I’ve got to find a more comfortable bed than that raggedy couch.”
  • “If we start dating, then I think it’s best you tell your friend Margaret that you can’t see her anymore. You only need me in your life.”
  • “Oh, I bet you want to know who that was who just called me. Well, I told the creditors not to call me at work anymore and just to ring me on my cell – it cuts out the middle man.”
  • “I gotta be home by 7 p.m., because Rob, my parole officer, will be there.”
Maybe we can come up with that master list of red flags if you contribute by posting in the comments. I bet there are some good ones out there!

Friday, May 09, 2008

This NFL owner gets it

I was at lunch Uptown with a coworker the other day and in walked Carolina Panthers majority owner Jerry Richardson. He’s not only easy to recognize (foxy grey hair and a former football player’s build), but he’s also a well-known figure in this town. In fact, he couldn’t eat his lunch without people interrupting him.

I’ve been a sports journalist for many years and seeing athletes and personalities up close is not really a big deal, but the more I thought about it, the more impressed I became that this multi-millionaire was out at a hole-in-the-wall type of restaurant. Sure, he’s gotta eat, like we all do, but he could also exclusively stay to the more upper-crust type of restaurants and never mingle among the commoners, if you will.

It immediately made me think about relationships, and how I’d like to believe Mr. Richardson deems it important to be seen as part of the fabric of this community. It builds on that trust factor that when an NFL owner says he or she cares about the fans, then there’s some tangible proof his word holds true. Relationships are nothing without trust, no matter if it’s between a man and a woman, a dog and his owner or a public figure and the city.

Oh, and how many times have you seen Charlotte Bobcats owner Bob Johnson eating out at a local BBQ joint?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Down, but certainly not out!

We apologize for our unplanned vacation from the blog, but we have Blogger to thank for it. For some reason, Blogger decided We Can Relate was a spam blog and locked us out, so we couldn't add new posts. But Blogger finally changed its mind and let us back in! Yay!

The other good news is that while we were away we made a big decision about the future of We Can Relate. We'll tell you about it soon, so stay tuned!