Category Archives: Romance

Lightning Strikes: Over in a Flash

A friend posted this tragic story on Facebook yesterday. Another friend commented about how/why bad things happen to good people. I found the whole exchange fascinating and full of questions and observations.
The most obvious observation, of course, is that it’s a terribly sad story. The gist?

“A man’s plan to propose to his girlfriend on a mountain in the US ended in tragedy when the pair were struck by lightning, it was reported today.
Richard Butler and his girlfriend, Bethany Lott, both from Knoxville, Tennessee, were hit as they hiked in the North Carolina mountains. Lott was killed, while Butler suffered third degree burns.
Butler, 30, had driven Lott, his partner of a year, to Max Patch Bald, near Asheville, saying they would be going for a stroll.
He had planned to present her with an engagement ring at the top of the mountain.
When they reached the peak, lightning struck three times, with the third strike hitting the couple .”

The tragedy bleeds humanity and irony to me. If you go on to read the story through, it ends stating her last words were: “Look how beautiful it is.”
Can you imagine that being the last thought, the last feeling you ever have? To die in that state of grace?
That’s a gift, that.
For him, of course, well, the horror of it will probably never be erased.
To live knowing that a moment of perfect beauty can be shattered forever in such a finite and reckless way? To know that a moment of perfect hope filled with dreams of the future can be split by a flash and turned into what then seems an endless nightmare?
Yeah. That’ll fuck him up for a while.
But then it comes down to the what if’s. What if he was about to propose and she would have said no? What if then their lives would have split and he had to watch from afar on Facebook or some shit as she found a new love, lived the life that should have been his, all the while wishing for that moment back when she said “Look how beautiful it is” before he popped the rejected question?
Or maybe she would have said yes, and they’d have gone the way so many others go — from an idealized love of “we likes stuffs”, where you’re young and in the same places, so a life together makes sense, to the eventual realization that you knew shit about life and even less about the kind of lover you needed for the longterm. One day that divorce comes, and presto, just another statistic. What if, indeed.
A life lived after “Look how beautiful it is.”
Or not.
The irony, of course, is that that moment probably never had a Happily Ever After in the first place. Statistically speaking.
But it had the possibility. It had the possibility of sunshine and roses, picket fences and breakfasts in bed. It had the possibility of rockers on a rickety porch and their fallen grey hairs mingling on pillows. It had the possibility of a life together, the dream of forever.
Sometimes, we’ll trade a lifetime just for that moment of possibility.
The chance to love forever, to be a rockstar, to be immortal, to have everything we want — just so long as we had the chance.
It really is an epic sad story. Love ended on a mountaintop by a freak lightning storm, moments before a marriage proposal. It sounds like a 14th-century ballad or something. Stories wistful mothers tell sad-faced romantic daughters.
But, for one guy out there, it’s not a story. It’s not a hypothetical. It’s a sick and twisted new chapter of his life, his waking surreality. Love-of-a-life snuffed by lightning moments before his asking her hand in marriage, story at 11.
So sad and unlikely, it’s almost funny.
The journeys we all walk, man. Everyone’s got a trip to take. Pack some glue or duct tape, ‘cos your heart’s gonna get broke time and time again on those travels. Maybe not with such drama as our mountaintop friends, but it’ll happen.
If that errant lightning can find them in that moment, never question the tragedies that can find you. Or when.
What a thing: Chance.
I don’t know what terrible instances lie before me. I don’t know how I’ll go out.
All I know is, I hope it happens in that split instant after a smile spreads over my face when I look at something amazing and whisper “Look how beautiful it is.”
That’d be all right with me.

Dating Options 101: Whatchagot

I had too much wine on Saturday night, wrote this. Didn’t publish it for fear I might’ve said too much. In vino veritas and all. So here’s the version you see. 🙂
I’m being antisocial. Again. I’m at that point where people are draining me, so I know I need my time to myself.
Some guy’s aggressively pursuing me. I could be shagging this weekend, not lounging around in ugly clothes. The thought fills me with a little doubt as I look down at my yoga pants and my shitty concert t-shirt. God knows it’s been long enough. If landscapes were sex-life allusions, then mine would be the Sahara in a drought. I’m okay with this, though. Except, you know, at those moments when — SCHWING — I’m so not. Fortunately, self-inducing oblivion helps avoid those moments.
I’ve been rebuffing said attempts. Pretty sure he’s not really my type. It’d be just sex. Incredibly-hot-guy-with-no-mental-connection sex. If things were less complicated, maybe. Like I say: A dry season in the Sahara. The problem with hormones is, once you turn ’em on, it’s like the switch gets broke. They get this mind of their own. I’d prefer not to fuck my mode and just avoid sex entirely unless it’s for the “oh, YOU might be a sidedish of WOW” kinda manly potential right now. Continue reading

Of Walls, Waits, and Wistfulness

It was a warm and spring-like evening when our heroine sat tapping away at her keyboard, clad in unsightly short shorts and a 15-year-old concert t-shirt that never would live to see the streets again.
Tom Waits wailed in his gravelly splendour as a breeze softly batted the bamboo blinds. She peered over the rim of her glass at the words before her, unsure where the fuck any of it would go.

But with the right music on the right night with the right drink in the wrong clothes with the tapping toes, well, who needs luck? She shrugged. Continue reading

Arousing — Er, Awaking the Beast

I’m at my breaking point, I suspect. My resolve isn’t very resolved anymore.
I have this incredibly awesome gift most people would KILL for. When I’m not sexually involved, I can flip my libido off like a lightswitch. It’s why I’m so content to not date. Because dating just toys with my resolve. Once I’m on the business end of a kiss? Whew.
Sooner or later, however, Requirements will need to be met. Continue reading

The Unpredictability of the Wildcard

It’s a full moon tonight and I had a bit of a full moon today.
A face from the past came ’round. Leaves me with some heavy thinking to do. When the past comes back, it’s for one of two reasons. To either teach you not to go there. Or to prompt you to go there.
I know what’s going down, but that’s for me to know. Suffice to say, interesting times, interesting day.
Do I believe in fate? No. Do I believe in serendipity? Yes. Do I believe life sometimes shows up with a 10×20 billboard screaming “Go directly past go”? Yeah. Continue reading

Stupid Over Love: The Human Condition

If there’s anything that’ll make me sick of Twitter in a hurry, it’s the endless drama regarding relationships and people’s moods. Some days, life’s too short.
That’s not to say that I don’t get it when people need to vent. Oh, do I. I get it.
Last night someone complained on Twitter, “Oh, I hate when I get stupid over a boy.” So I replied, “For thousands of years, all the best dramas have been about two things: Love & War. Do the math. We’re all stupid about it.”
I wonder sometimes how many people realize this. We’re all so self-punitive when wrapped up in turmoils of the heart. We damn ourselves and scowl about being so weak. But, are we? Continue reading

Is it Possible?: Sex in the White House? Without Infidelity?

Something I absolutely love about the Obamas is the intensity of their attraction to each other. It’s so obvious. He lights up when he sees her. She totally adores him. But it’s bigger than that.
Probably the best footage I’ve ever seen that represents their relationship was this footage shot behind the scenes while they both were seated on stage during some other talking-head’s speech, and Barack and Michelle were holding hands. But it was different. He had this shy boyish smile, the kind teens will have when they’re ogling someone they’ve got a mad crush on, as he looked down at her hand and kept tracing his thumb over it, outlining her fingers, playing with her ring, and squeezing it here and there. And he just kept having this little shy grin as the moment stretched on and on, totally unaware the camera was on him, just having this seemingly private-yet-public endless moment with his wife in front of thousands of people, while someone else apparently had the camera and the limelight on ’em.
And I just thought, you know, you don’t see that in politics. You don’t see romantic gestures with intimacy and immediacy. There’s a reason so many political marriages are called marriages of convenience, or political unions. Passion doesn’t seem to have been their primary motivation, most of the time.
I mean, it’s awesome to see a 14-year marriage with passion, and in public. They’ve publically admitted they have a great sex life. They still have “date” nights, and regularly, even during the campaign. He’s religious about getting home for family Sundays, even during the heated campaign he’s been waging. Their two kids giggle and laugh, openly admitting that they love it when their parents cuddle and kiss in front of them, and they’re not ashamed at all about their parents’ romantic life.
Michelle Obama said it pretty great when asked if she was worried about fidelity in politics: “I never worry about things I can’t affect, and with fidelity … that is between Barack and me, and if somebody can come between us, we didn’t have much to begin with.” Continue reading

Reader: Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

I had a reader question a week or so ago. Pretty short and sweet:

I was wondering what your take is on couples who have a peaceful, mutual breakup (stay good friends) and continue living together until their lease is up.

What, in a nutshell?
“Good luck with that” is about what I think. Good fucking luck.
Yeah, okay, somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds sing and rivers are made of chocolate, and couples who break up really truly can be friends. Yes, Toto, they can! Even in Kansas!
In my twisted little worldview, though, friends after breakup is a whole lot easier said than done. There’s all those weird little remembrances you have to get over. Like, “watching a movie” means a whole other thing if you’re “just friends.”
“You mean I can’t start nibbling your torso when there’s a boring bit?”
Well, there’s always popcorn, honey.
We’re human beings. We’re silly things with opposable thumbs and convoluted ideas on what constitutes civilization. We want to pretend we’re all smart and brilliant when it comes to problem resolution. The problem is, this ain’t no problem to resolve. The death of a relationship is, well, a death.
It dies. Six feet down, all bets off. It’s not a simple change of state. It’s a change of being. You used to fuck in frenzies. You told each other everything. You had dreams and goals and plans. And then, one day, it all went poof in a little whisp of smoke. You sorta saw it coming, yet there you stood still in a state of utter disbelief.
Because that’s how it all goes.
Now you want to think that a little piece of paper that says you have a lease is going to be enough to keep it on an even keel. Let’s hope you’re right. In my world, it just doesn’t tend to work out that well.
I’m a smart person with big brains and long memory, and pushing aside a past in order to have a present seems to be one of those equations I have a difficult time solving. Not that I wouldn’t try to solve it.
But surprises happens. Luck tends to play its hand. And sometimes odds get defied. Me, I err on the side of probability and statistics. Numbers meaning what they do and all.

How Much Trouble's Too Much?

Oy vey. Here’s a doozy. The short of this reader’s question is:
“How much trouble is one guy worth?”
The long of the question is, she’s your typical non-religious “Christian” whose religious extent is the putting up of a Christmas tree. It doesn’t matter much to her at all. She’s educated, though, and knows a little about world faiths and is a polisci kinda gal. She’s hip.
And she’s fallen for a Jew. This isn’t your standard-edition Jew, either, who likes bagels and matzoh balls. He’s a lived-in-Jerusalem, goes-to-temple-on-Sabbaths, I-can’t-marry-a-Gentile kind of Jew.
SPLAT. Hear that? That’s the sound of our non-religious girl falling painfully for this Yiddish Loverman.
So let’s get back to her question. See, she’s thinking she could convert to Judaism. As a religion, she thinks it’s beautiful. (As do I.) It’s their politics that bother her. An independent Israel? Never shoulda happened. (I agree. Yeah, here’s an idea: Let’s take a bunch of Westerners who have always misunderstood the “Islamic infidels” and have THEM divvy up the land. Fuckin’ brilliant. Oh, hey, just add water! Instant ongoing war! SMART-like. “Paradise Now” is a movie that’ll make you think twice about this whole Israel issue. In every situation there are two sides. Pity we only hear one.)
So, can she swallow her politics, digest a new relationship, and keep this man she’s head-over-heels for? Sure she can. But should she?
Like she says, How much trouble is one guy worth?
Let’s visit my friends at Websters for that one, okay?

trouble
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): trou`bled; trou`bling /’trou-b(le-)li[ng]/
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French trubler, from Vulgar Latin *turbulare, from *turbulus agitated, alteration of Latin turbulentus — more at TURBULENT
transitive verb
1 a : to agitate mentally or spiritually : WORRY, DISTURB; b (1) archaic : MISTREAT, OPPRESS (2) : to produce physical disorder in : AFFLICT; c : to put to exertion or inconvenience eg: I’m sorry to trouble you
2 : to put into confused motion eg: the wind troubled the sea
intransitive verb
1 : to become mentally agitated : WORRY eg: refused to trouble over trifles
2 : to make an effort : be at pains eg: did not trouble to come

Oh, hey, trouble. That sounds like a bitch. Something like adversity, then, is it? Or (gasp) grief? How do you measure trouble? Does it come with a specially-marked cup? Is it metric or imperial? Is it the same in any language?
Trouble is not fun. This we know. It’s filled with challenges, adversity, and more. That’s not the question. We know what trouble is. What none of us wants to admit is, it’s a standard add-on feature in each of our lives. Okay, so the question is, how much trouble is too much?
Depends on the trouble, then, I’d say. And the guy.
What’s the “trouble?”
Well, here it’s accepting a religion you need to buy into as an adult, with all those lifelong skepticisms and questions and moments of doubt. You need to put aside your logician’s mind and swallow a bunch of beliefs for the man you love. Not that hard to do, but it might be difficult to make your peace with down the line. Does it involve compromising who you are?
If not, great. If so, then proceed with caution.
Two, it’s ignoring your strong politics about something you feel is being unfairly portrayed in the media and misunderstood by the common man. Can you do that? Hell, I do that every time I go to my dad’s house. Not too hard. Politics aren’t a conversation one should ever enter into lightly. I generally try to avoid discussions about politics. Everyone’s a pundit, man.
Three, it’s the guy. Does he treat you with respect? Is he honest with you? Is he a shoulder for you when you need one? Does he know how to make you smile? Can you trust him? Do you want to wake up by his side? Can you see a future with him? Is he the first person you want to share good news with? Sounds like a catch.
If he treats you like shit or lies to you or makes you cry and not smile, well, then your answer’s pretty simple: Worth no trouble. Ever. At all.
I’ll go through a lot of grief for a good man. If he’s having troubles, and things are challenging, or things need to be overcome, I’ll try my hardest to ride them out. Good people are hard to find. Good lovers are even harder. I’ve been through hurts, I’ve had my heart broken, and I’ll still do everything I can to make sure a relationship’s not being thrown away for insignificant reasons… like my being too weak to stick out a difficult time. Sometimes it gets real fucking hard, too, having that patience, but I find having regrets a harder load to bear down the road.
We live in a society where everything is instant, and everything is easy.
Need to go to France? That’s an eight-hour plane trip! See you for wine and dessert this evening! Craving a some supper? Two minutes and twenty seconds on high heat in your microwave. Oh, don’t wash your dishes, just throw them out! Here’s new Royal Chinette! You’ll save three minutes of your precious life!
We don’t like adversity. We do fucking speed-dating, for god’s sake, as if 2 minutes is all you need to find the love of your life. We don’t want to go through challenges. We don’t want to take the hard road. When it comes to love and relationships, it’s too easy to walk away and not be there for someone.
The reader asked me about my relationship and said she assumed things have worked out and I’ve decided to stay private about things. Guess what? There’s still some things we’re working on together. Know why? We’re two people on PLANET EARTH, and we don’t live in a fairy tale. Adversities happen. Good relationships can overcome them. And yes, I’m being more private about things. I’m preferring to keep a lid on it these days, but at least the balls are in the air for the moment.
I think girlie, if she’s really in it for this man, needs to decide if she can live with the faith and can handle stifling her politics. I think the price we pay for regrets is too high, and I’d say take a chance and follow your heart.
But I’m a romantic pragmatist, and I’m constantly in conflict with myself. Kinda like the Middle East, I guess.

Say Something, Dammit

The sky is blue. This I know.
I can be told once in my life that the sky is blue, and I need not be reminded. I may have had three concussions and had bleeding on my brain, but I’m sufficiently clued in enough to be able to recall the blueness of that great big yonder up there. It’s there, it’s bigger than life, and it’s unavoidable.
What I’m not smart enough to remember, however, is just how spiffy I am.
You see, I have these alien invaders in my body that will never, ever go away. They’re from planet Estrogen, and, man, as far as aliens go, they’re a right bitch sometimes.
Unfortunately, there is an entire world filled with people of my ilk who have been invaded by these cosmic cunts, and we’re known as Women. These “Estrogenies” do things to us that we’re not that crazy about. They make us insecure, make us moody, and make us sometimes a little inconsistent. Fortunately, they also make our boobs swell once a month. It’s a give-and-take thing, really.
Guys are pretty low-key. We like that about you. We like the fact that we know we can make you a sandwich, kiss your neck, give you a beer, and you feel like you’re the king of the jungle. Easy-peasy.
We, however, communicate more than you. You, obviously, communicate less. And you’re deceptive. You like to think you’re simple. “I am man. I grunt, therefore I am.” But you’re complicated. You get moody, you get silent, and you internalize. It’s what men do. We understand this.
What we can’t process, though, is the price it sometimes comes at. Men close themselves off, and then by so doing, they also forget to communicate with us about the little things that help to keep relationships moving nice and happy-like.
“You look nice today.”
“Have I told you lately how much you rock?”
We wish we didn’t need to be told that everything’s well and good and we’re still cared about and we still do all the things to you that we did way back when, but we do need to hear these things. And frankly, you need to hear them from us, too. Everyone does.
Compliments and expressions of affection are like yogurt. They have a shelf-life, and while they keep a little longer than you might think, but when they go, man, they go. And then the weird comes down. Insecurities rise, distance ensues, and things get complicated. Relationship mold. Ew.
It’s lame, but it happens. It doesn’t take much to get out of your head sometimes and just remember to say good things about your partner. Keep them secure about how they’re valued, even when you’ve got things going on otherwise. We all get a little too internal, and it’s just not fair to our lovers if we’re all self-involved and failing to acknowledge their worth to us from time to time.
It’s really easy to forget to be communicative about these things when your sex life is going, but at least then you have a physical expression of that affection, and sometimes things can be left unsaid. If you’re not getting physical often, then it’s really important to at least have the communication working, right? Pretty obvious there. 2 + 2 = 4, yeah?
It’d be wonderful if we only had to be told once in our lives that we’re loved, but it doesn’t work that way. The more it happens, the more real it becomes to us. Fleeting suggestions of affection really don’t leave deep imprints on us, and frankly, they often don’t even make a dent. Even worse is, if we’re told how great we are over a period of time, and then time lapses where it ceases to happen much at all anymore, then there’s even greater reason to become insecure.
Put your money where your mouth is, people, and tell ‘em that you dig ‘em. Tell ‘em often, tell ‘em good. If you don’t, you never know, you might just lose what you have, and that’d be a crying shame. Especially if the feelings existed, but your communication simply lacked. The price we pay for these oversights is far too high.
(And, hey, watch out for the Estrogenies, eh?)