Thursday, February 28, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Feel sexy

Today's writing prompt is...
When do you feel your sexiest?
Like I said, feeling sexy isn't easy for me. But I think it's important for women to get over poor self-image and recapture that feeling. Every woman, regardless of size, shape, height, color, etc deserves to feel sexy.

So when does sexy come most easily to me? Probably just after a good workout, and shower, when I have the perfect outfit and my hair and makeup have cooperated. I feel like I'm putting my best foot forward, and that makes me feel more confident.

When I'm having a good day. When I've just been given a nice compliment. When a friend sends me a funny text in the middle of the day. Those things make me smile.

Confidence and smiles are sexy.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Emotion in motion

Today's writing prompt is...
Mae West described sex as "emotion in motion." Unpack this idea in a post.
So, I think we all know it's very possible to have sex without love. But I still maintain that even if love isn't involved, there's some sort of emotion. Even a biological anthropologist says "there's no such thing as casual sex...unless you're so drunk you don't remember."

Sex triggers the release of dopamine from the brain...which makes people feel like they're falling in love. Even if it's not really love, sex triggers some sort of emotion.

I think what Mae was saying is, whatever the emotion, it'll be reflected in the sex.

Is the room filled with candles and rose petals and soft music? The emotion is probably love...or at least a whole lotta like. Certainly romance; a desire to make the night about more than just sex.

Or did he call you at 11:30, show up at 11:45, and leave by 12:30? Probably a lot of desire...and not much else.

Was there a lot of foreplay leading up? Or did you just jump right in and get things started? One shows a great deal of investment...the other shows a great deal of horny.

Great sex can happen either way. It's pretty likely that in the moments following both, you'll feel connected to the other person - if only temporarily.

But the act itself shows a lot about the emotions involved.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Sex education

Today's writing prompt is...
Do you think sex education should come from parents, school, or a mix of both?
Personally, I think a mix. I think sex education needs to include the clinical basics, which can easily be taught in school. How it works, how pregnancy happens, how pregnancy is prevented, how to protect against STDs, the definition of sexual assault and abuse... all basic information that a teacher and/or clinician can present so that kids have the facts.

Sex Ed should also include a moral component, which I think differs depending on the parents, culture, religion, etc. That has to come from home. It's different for every kid, and doesn't fit in a classroom setting.

Kids also need to feel comfortable asking questions. No kid I've met will ask an embarrassing question in front of his friends - but he might to his dad or older brother. If he knows the basics, he will feel more confident in the question, which will make for a more constructive conversation at home.

Neither my family nor my school was at all open about sex education. As a result, I got most of my early information from friends. Do you have any idea how long it took to correct all that misinformation?! Kids are much better off learning it right, learning it well, and learning it as early as is appropriate.

Monday, February 25, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Sex symbol

Today's writing prompt is...
Do you think you would enjoy being a sex symbol?
First off, it's tough enough for me to think of myself as sexy, let alone a sex symbol.

But let's just say I had the physical attributes that most sex symbols possess. In that case - no, I still don't think I'd enjoy being a sex symbol.

I don't like the idea of anyone admiring only my looks. Is it flattering when someone finds me attractive? Yes. But only if he's also bothered to find out about my personality and brains, too. Sex symbols are generally viewed as only having one thing to offer.

I have a lot more than one thing going for me.

Friday, February 22, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Soulmates

Today's writing prompt is...
Aristotle said, "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies." Do you agree or disagree?
To be honest - I'm not sold on this idea. I do believe in soul mates. I think everyone has someone who understands them at a level deeper than anyone else. Someone who can finish their sentences, shares their thoughts, almost to the point where it seems you're sharing one mind.

But I don't think that's the definition of love.

I also don't think it necessarily needs to be someone with whom you're in love.

Someone who understands? Who has been where you are, and gets where you're going? Someone who can listen without judgment, or rushing to "fix" your problems? Who lets you vent, and shows up with chocolate ice cream when you need it most? Someone who anticipates your next move? Who isn't afraid to tell you the truth, even when it's not what you want to hear? 

Am I crazy - or is that a job for a friend? 

You know what they say - never send a man to do a woman's job.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

NaBloPoMo - No love?

Today's writing prompt is...
Do you think people can live without love?
Technically, we need food, water, and shelter to sustain life. So I suppose, if you break it down that way - sure, a person can survive without love.

But truly live? No. I don't believe so.

Life is about more than survival. It's about finding joy and smiles and happiness. It's about knowing you have touched another person's life. It's about knowing you mean the world to someone. It's about letting someone mean the world to you. Life is about embracing all the world has to offer.

Life is about loving.

The good news is - it doesn't have to be romantic love. I'm living proof that's not a requirement to a fulfilling life.

If you don't want romantic love - or even if you do want it, and just don't have it right now - find love other places. Find love with your family and your friends. Love your work; love a hobby. Love a pet. Love a pair of shoes.

Love yourself.

Love your life.

Then you'll truly be living.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Mature love

Today's writing prompt is...
Erich Fromm said, "Immature love says: 'I love you because I need you.' Mature love says 'I need you because I love you'." How do you define mature love?
This would be a lot easier if I could find mature love. I'll give it a shot..

When we're young, love truly is about finding who you need. Someone to help you check things off your list. Someone who can help you carve out the life you think you want.

When you're older, you finally figure out that life wasn't really the life you wanted, but the the one you thought you were supposed to have. So, you spend some time healing from the loss of the love that didn't work, building the life you actually want, then looking for a love to complement the happiness you've found.

That is mature love.

It should be with someone who wants the same things; someone who has similar goals and values. Who laughs at some of the same jokes. Who finds beauty and humor and excitement in some of the same places. Who is willing to share his life with you, as well as share in your life.

Mature love is with someone who is not afraid to open his heart and his mind. Someone who is honest and upfront and happy to let someone in.

Now if only that person existed.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Love it or hate it?

Today's writing prompt is...
Martin Luther King Jr. unpacked love and hate when he said, "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." Which is easier for you to feel: love or hate?
My interpretation of MLK's quote isn't that love comes more easily than hate, but that hate involves more work.

It takes a lot of energy to hate. It consumes you, forces you to focus on the negative, and removes any joy you might find in other things. When you hate, that becomes your whole life - and that is a huge burden.

Love, on the other hand, sets you free. When you embrace love, you can find joy in just about anything. As they say, every day isn't necessarily good, but there's something good in every day - and love helps you find that good.

Love can be scary, though. It means putting your heart on the line, without knowing when you might get hurt. Letting yourself fall in love is a huge risk. Sometimes, it's actually easier to resist the feeling, and just shut people out. That's not really hate - but it does mean finding reasons not to love. Which, sometimes, might be easier than risking your heart.

So I think hate - in any form - is easier to feel. But it's tougher on you.

You're better off feeling the love, risking your heart, and letting it guide you to the good.

Monday, February 18, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Romantic books

Today's writing prompt is...
What is the most romantic book you've ever read?
I'm honestly not sure. I don't really like romantic books. I like mysteries, and a little sarcasm. I did not enjoy the books assigned to me in high school because forced reading isn't much fun (exceptions include To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye).

Shakespeare is romantic, I suppose. Romeo and Juliet is a classic love story, that's been retold countless ways (yes, kids, even the vampires and werewolves are just Shakespeare in disguise). But *spoiler alert* at the end of that story, they're both dead. Not much romance.

I don't know - maybe books just don't do it for me in terms of romance. I should probably stick with movies. Come to think of it... Princess Bride is also a book.

Friday, February 15, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Valentines past and present

Today's writing prompt is...
How did this Valentine's Day compare V-Days of years past?
I don't think this is a fair comparison. V-Day has become a day to celebrate romantic love. If you're single, it's actually a day full of pressure. Pressure to establish a relationship in time for a date, or to avoid embarrassment or awkwardness in a new relationship, or to find some way to escape the fact that you don't have a relationship.

Last year, I had a relationship - and a date. Trooper and I had been going out for nearly three months. I got chocolates and flowers (not red roses) and a surprise dinner. As romantic Valentines go, it was one of the best I've ever had; certainly the best I've had since I was married.

This year was obviously very different. I had a few potential dates, but none worthy of the V-Day pressure. Instead, I made plans with Baking Suit, and the guy she likes a whole lot (aka her husband). They aren't the traditional romantics, and had no problem taking pity on their poor single friend inviting me over for a little pizza and dessert.

How does it compare to last year? If we judge solely based on the romance factor - last year would win. But like I said - that's a bad comparison.

My date last year isn't around this year. Sure, we're still friends - but not Valentines. So when you think about it, really - what were we celebrating last year? A temporary relationship? One that couldn't stand the test of time?

This year, I celebrated love with two people who are always there for me. I celebrated lasting friendship in its truest form. I celebrated honor and respect and humor and sharing between two people who care for each other so much, not even a third wheel can spoil their bond.

That's a love worth celebrating. Definitely a Valentine's Day for the record books.

(Plus, launched yesterday. Something else to celebrate.)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

NaBloPoMo - V-Day

Today's writing prompt is...
How do you feel about Valentine's Day?
I'm single. I had a bad breakup less than a year ago, then a heartbreaking ending to a nice relationship a few months later. Since then I've been on a string of dates that ended in rejection of one type or another.

I like to think that, for the most part, I am a mature, confident, positive person who always looks for the good in the world - and is pretty good at finding it. I'd like to think I'm evolved enough to say that I feel Valentine's Day is a wonderful occasion, set aside to celebrate love in its many forms.

I'd like to say all that. But right now, if you ask me what I think of Valentine's Day, I'd have to say...

Found it here

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Give up dating for Lent

Today is the first day of Lent. Baking Suit suggested yesterday that those who observe should be thinking about something to give up - or think of 40 nice things to do - for the next 40 days.

I think the point of giving something up is that it be something you enjoy, so that you're making a sacrifice. I'm not sure it qualifies, but I've decided to give up the active pursuit of dates. Let me be clear - if a guy I'm already talking to asks me out, I can still go. But for the next 40 days, there will be no trolling for new candidates.

I consider this something good for myself, because I could probably use the perspective I'll get from the break. It's probably also good for the sanity of my friends (who I'm sure are tired of listening to  me by now) and the safety of the single guys in my area (because if I'm not mad at them, there's far less of a chance any of them will be run over by my car).

You're all welcome.

NaBloPoMo - Valentines

Today's writing prompt is...
If you could send out Valentines like you did in grade school, what type of Valentine would you send to your blogsphere class?

This was made for me by my crafty friend, Court is Crafty. Visit her facebook page here for more fun, creative ideas. You can also visit her page here and see what she's got for sale.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Sweet Valentine

Today's writing prompt is...
What is your favorite Valentine's Day candy?

I don't like my chocolate filled with anything, or drizzled over fruit. It should be solid, bite-size, and the darker the better. No one does chocolate better than Hershey's, and I'm not really sure why anyone else tries.

I can enjoy higher end chocolate (like Lindt, for example) - but am perfectly happy with a bag full of dark kisses. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Singles in America

Creating a dating site isn't as simple as some code and a few algorithms. Or, at least, it shouldn't be - and gets it.

For the past three years, Match has been studying the behaviors and attitudes of Singles in America. In 2012, with the help of Dr. Helen Fisher, Biological Anthropologist, Match surveyed over 5,000 single men and women (and over 1,000 married people), asking them 200+ questions about love, sex, dating, and relationships.

Dr. Fisher studies love - how we define it, how it's affected by our personality and gender differences, and (perhaps most important to a dating site) - why we fall in love with one person, versus another. Dr. Fisher presented the findings during a livestream event - for the full recording, click here.

A lot of very interesting data was presented. Overall, I think the most meaningful take-away for a late-thirties single gal (like me) is this:
  • We value our own happiness more than pleasing others
90% of singles valued humor, respect, and trust as must-haves in a relationship. This is different from the past, when common religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds were the top priority. Dr. Fisher attributes this to a shift from a desire to please parents, friends, and/or society, to finding true self-fulfillment.

According to the study, two-thirds of men and women in their twenties and thirties still want marriage. Why? According to Dr. Fisher, this is because those are prime reproductive years, and those singles are focused on starting a family. In fact, 27% of men and women said they would form a committed relationship with someone to whom they were not attracted, if they had other desirable qualities.

How many of us (I'll count myself in the group) made a choice to get married young because we thought it was what we were supposed to do? That was the list - go to college, get a job, find a husband, buy a house, have a child. In that order. If you were very ambitious you might take a break to form a career - but you still had a schedule to keep, so you could have kids in your thirties. 

Anthropologically speaking, it makes sense. That is the best way to choose a father for your kids. But is it the best way to choose a mate? I actually know women who chose their husband based on his earning potential, how well he fit in with their family, and how good he was with kids - versus how compatible, or attracted, they were as a couple. They're very satisfied as mothers - but as women, they're miserable.

In this way, I think finding love the second time around works out better. Those of us who are not driven by a biological clock are just as concerned with sex and romance - but are looking for a partner for ourselves, not a parent for our (current/future/imaginary) children.

I find this encouraging. Maybe after all these years, I'm bound to get it right! 

So, we're looking for self-fulfillment and a satisfying relationship. Parenting skills are not a top priority. So what is? 
  • Communication is key in a fulfilling and satisfying relationship (duh)
48% women and 38% men google dates beforehand. Dr. Fisher says this is normal; that it is the natural tendency of the human brain to want as much information as possible. Before Google, we asked friends, coworkers, family about our potential date. 

Dr. Fisher also commented that 48% of men consider this "stalking." It can be attributed to a gender difference - women crave transparency. They want to know everything about their guy - and it's important to them there be no secrets in the relationship. Dr. Fisher said this is a shift in feminine attitude - one or two generations ago, women did not have control over what information was shared. Now they demand everything be shared.

However, they prefer you share it with them, and only them, while on a date. 60% of all men and women surveyed agree that texting on a date is rude.

Both men and women listed grammar as the thing they notice second (the first - teeth). Told ya so... time to rewrite those profiles, and start proof-reading your emails. 
  • Sex is a key value in a fulfilling relationship (BIG duh)
Over 40% of those surveyed said they would not date a virgin - including 1/3 men. What used to be a core value has been replaced with a desire to find someone who can give you satisfaction and fulfillment. 

Friends with benefits is a growing trend - 47% of those surveyed have had an FWB relationship in the past year. Dr. Fisher recognizes this as a new stage in the courtship process - while we slow down commitment, but speed up the sex. 

Interestingly, 45% of those surveyed said they've had an FWB relationship that turned into a committed relationship. Dr. Fisher said this makes sense, since sexual stimulation triggers the brain to release dopamine, which causes feelings of love.
"There's no such thing as casual sex, unless you're so drunk you don't remember."
  • Speaking of sex...and this being the communication age...and women wanting to share....
Men and women both sext - either photo or erotic text. Why? When it comes to the desire for love, we overlook being careful. We want to put our best foot forward, and show what we've got.

An important point to consider, ladies... 42% of the men who said they've received sexts said they shared them with three or more people. So, if you're asking him to share, you may want to be very specific about what and with whom.

The bottom line....

I'm We're (we being single Americans) are looking for communication, passion, trust, respect, honesty, and fun. We want a partner; someone we can be with forever. So if so many of us want the same thing, why is it so hard to find?

Women find intimacy from face-to-face conversation. Women equate words with intimacy. We want open, upfront communication.

Men, on the other hand, don't talk to their friends. Men are more visual (which, by the way, means they fall in love more quickly). Men, find intimacy in sharing activities - usually side by side. A man can feel intimate even without words.
"And there's the problem."
Well, that explains it.


  **This post was sponsored by I received compensation for sharing the info and links.**

NaBloPoMo - Ideal Valentine's Day

Today's writing prompt is...
What is your ideal Valentine's Day celebration?
This year, I'd say my ideal Valentine's Day celebration includes no mention of the freaking day at all. Or it involves me and a friend having a yummy dinner and then going shoe shopping. Or me, hanging out with that same good friend, whose husband has also taken pity on me.

But, I suppose given NaBloPoMo's theme, they want me to talk about my ideal romantic Valentine's Day.

I guess the ideal celebration depends on the guy. I mean - we should both enjoy how we spend the time, and that differs depending on the two people involved. So it's hard to say what my ideal celebration would include. But it's easy for me to tell you what it wouldn't include:

* Red roses - To be clear - I love flowers, and I absolutely love receving them on Valentine's Day. Ideally I'd like to get them at work because I'm a girl and we like those things. I'm just not a fan of the cliche red rose, and would prefer the guy think a little harder and come up with something that's more my style.

* Boxed candy - Of course I love chocolate. I just don't like those chocolates that come in the box and are filled with fake fruit and creme and all other kinds of crap. A bag of Hershey's Special Dark kisses would be just fine.

* Surprise dinner - I like to know where I'm going, so I can dress accordingly. So no surprises, please.

I guess that's really all for my "don't" list. As for what a guy should do...

Well, since I'm struggling to find a guy who will be open and honest about how he feels - I guess sharing his true feelings would be all I really need. It also wouldn't hurt if he actually kept the date.

"Women aren't complicated. How hard is it to give us chocolate and tell us we're pretty?" ~ Unknown (but so true)

Friday, February 8, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Romantic movie

Today's writing prompt is...
Name the most romantic movie of all time.
Well, this is tough. There are lot of romantic movies. The classics (like Casablanca) are a popular answer... and may even be true, but I've never seen those movies, so I can't say for sure.

I like a good romantic comedy - but romantic comedies (aka chick-flicks) that are actually good are tough to come by. I did enjoy Fever Pitch as a romantic movie, because it was set around baseball (total romance to me). All except the end of the movie. I never watch that; it makes me cry unhappy tears.

I mean - romance is subjective, don't you think? What's romantic to one woman (flowers, candy, jewelry) might be boring to another. Some just want a guy to remember a date, or send them a note; others are waiting for that guy to plan a trip, or a proposal.

With all that in mind, I guess I'd say that the most romantic movie of all time is....

What more could a girl ask for than a guy who does whatever, however, and whenever she asks with no response other than, "As you wish..."? That pretty much covers all the ladies, everywhere.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Ideal date night

Today's writing prompt is...
Describe your ideal date night.
Well, first let's define "date night." Are we talking a first date? A date with a guy I've known for a couple weeks? Or a date with someone I've been seeing for months? It definitely makes a difference.

My ideal first date is a coffee shop - where I can order hot chocolate. I like a first date to be non-committal, in case things don't go well - but flexible enough that it could turn into something more if they do. I also like the idea of counter-service on a first date, eliminating the whole who-should-pay issue.

If we've been dating a little while, I like fun dates. No movies, because how can we get to know each other if we're sitting quiet in the dark, staring forward? Unless there's enough time after to discuss the movie - that can lead to some spirited conversation! A museum or (weather permitting) people watching at an outdoor festival would be even better. Plus these ideas have the added bonus of (usually) not costing too much.

If we're comfortable with each other - I'm all for netflix and sushi on the sofa. Or Chinese food and a ballgame. Or pizza and a TV show. Honestly, any combination is fine - you get my point. Laid back, enjoying each other and sharing something we have in common.

I guess my ideal date night is one that is comfortable, enjoyable, stress-free, and appropriate to the stage of our relationship.

(And it never hurts if there's no cost to me...)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Friends with exes

Today's writing prompt is...
Do you remain friends with exes after you break up?
I'm pretty sure we covered this territory before. If we haven't, the fact that I'm constantly referring to advice from X and Engineer should be a hint that I remain friends with exes.

Not all exes, though.

For instance - Big and I don't speak. I think he was pretty annoyed when he found this blog, though we spoke a few times after. The truth is, I haven't seen him in person since the day we broke up (almost 2 1/2 years ago). We are still friends on social media (twitter, facebook, etc.) but we never interact.

I'd like to say it's because we have nothing in common, or that we were too in love to stay friends, or that our friendship just didn't develop enough strength.

But that wouldn't be true.

The truth is...I wasn't mature enough to stay friends with Big. He's a good man. He may have used poor judgment, but whatever he did, it wasn't any worse than some things that have been done to me since. Love is tough, and relationships are difficult. I didn't realize that what he did was...well...kinda normal. I had a lot to learn, and in the meantime, it cost me a friend. Truly my loss.

They say people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Those who come for a reason are here to teach us something, or serve a purpose. Those who come for a season are here to get us through a difficult time, or maybe enhance a happy time. Once the purpose or the time is met, that person leaves our life. It may feel sad, but it truly is something for which we should be grateful. Life sent us that person to bring the help we needed - like a guardian angel.

Those who are meant to be in our lives for a lifetime - well, they don't ever leave. Their role might change (from lover to friend, for example) but they'll always be there. For this, we should also be grateful. A forever-friend is truly a blessing.

It's true that X, Trooper and Engineer have each come and gone and come back to my life in their own way and time, but I think the fact that they found their way back is what shows they are forever friends. I guess Big was a season for me. He taught me a lot; and I am forever grateful.

(There are also exes who just simply don't deserve friendship - either because they were jerks, or they weren't around long enough for a true friendship to develop. But that's a different post.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

NaBloPoMo - First love

Today's writing prompt...
Isn't he cute? Whatever - I was 9.
How old were you the first time you fell in love?
Well...the first time I ever saw Ray Reyes from Menudo, I thought I was in love. He gave me butterflies, made me giggle, and put me in a perpetual state of happy. Turns out - that's really just a crush.

X was my first love. I'd had boyfriends before (one in high school, one in college, with a couple mini-relationships in between), but I didn't really know what love was until I met X. I had no idea how it felt to (temporarily) set aside your own personal needs, wants, desires, and make someone else your first priority. I also had no idea how it felt to have someone return the feeling, which I think is the key to being "in love."

A date once asked me if I was in love with Trooper. I said I thought I loved him, but that I wasn't in love with him. "What makes you say that?" he asked. I responded that while I think love can be one-sided (kinda like a crush), to say you're in love implies the feeling is mutual. It says that you're in it together with the other person.

I believe that true love is not a one-way street. That's why, no matter how I might seem to hate rejection (Really, who doesn't?) in the end, it's easy to accept that the guy who rejects me isn't That Guy.

Obviously, the first requirement for That Guy is that he feel the same way about me.

Monday, February 4, 2013

NaBloPoMo - First crush

Today's writing prompt...
Tell us about your first crush.
I honestly don't remember if it was Kevin or Adam. They were both the cutest boys in class when I was 12. I'm certain I had a crush on both of them, I just can't remember who was first.

Crushes are fun. A couple of years ago, I had the chance to go on a semi-date with a crush from college. It would never have worked, we're totally incompatible - but what a great way to find those butterflies again!

I think that's the purpose of a crush - to help you find all those good, happy, excited feelings that come with new love. The problem (OK - my problem) is confusing those feelings with an actual romantic connection.

Which can lead to crushed feelings of a whole other sort.

Friday, February 1, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Three words

Today's writing prompt...
When was the last time you said, "I love you."
Love is a big deal in relationships. If you tell someone too soon, it might scare him away. If you don't say it soon enough, it might turn her off. If one person says it and the other doesn't respond, that's often game-over.

X and I said "I love you" every time we said goodbye, whether one of us was leaving the house, or we were ending a phone conversation, or whatever. Every. Single. Time. I told him once I thought it was important because you never know when you're speaking the last words someone might hear from you. I wanted us to be sure those words were always filled with love, even if we were arguing or unhappy or stressed.

X was the last man to whom I said those words.

But love comes in many, many forms. I tell my closest friends I love them. I say I love you to my best friend's little kids each time I say goodbye. I tell my kitties I love them everyday. 

The NaBloPoMo theme for February is Love and Sex - so obviously, they want me talking about that kind of "I love you." But I think talking about the other "I love yous" is as important, if not more.

It's been a while since I felt a romantic "I love you." Sure, I've felt close with men - but no one to whom I said those words. What's important is that love is still in my life - and I know how to feel it and find it.

If I couldn't recognize the love I already have, how would I ever be ready for more to come into my life?