Love in the Dumps? Not with This Crew It Ain’t!

I love sharing the love.  And my latest blog affair’s with Love in the Dumps.  I found out about them, on all places, Twitter, when (if memory serves) they started following me around like a lovesick puppy (KIDDING).  Anyway, I liked the blog title and went over for a visit…and proceeded to shake with the giggles.  Subject matter spans from how to tell if the guy’s a prick to the top 12 things NOT to say in bed.

One of my favorites is the one below (reprinted with permission, of course, of course)….takes balls the size of Yonkers for a young woman to go to Qatar by herself.  I’m small-time compared to this rad gal 🙂

Letter from Qatar

Lately I’ve been busy learning the ways of Allah, and apparently, His people want my infidel ass.

OK back up a bit. Five months ago, I decided to pack my bags and move to Qatar. Yes, the tiny peninsula just off Saudi Arabic – one of the richest countries in the world, where Lamborghinis are as abundant as second and third wives.

Some Arabic I’ve picked up so far: Kees ummak (Your mother’s pussy!), Kees ummak bi ayri (My cock up your mother’s pussy!), Kees ummak bi Ras’ayri (The tip of my cock up your mother’s pussy), and finally Kees ummak bi Ras’ayri sharmoota (The tip of my cock up your mother’s pussy, bitch!). Yes I ‘m a fast learner, Masha’Allah (God meant it so!).

Now that we’ve established the fact that I’m totally opened to mingling with Arabs, I’d like to talk a bit about the cultural differences within the dating scene.

Urrr, what dating scene? First of all, there is none. Because dating is haram (taboo)! If a woman wants to hook up with someone, she has to get married, and contract whatever STD her husband had accumulated from trips to Thailand and Bahrain.

Inevitably, I’ve had several marriage proposals.

Most of the time they just want to get into your pants, so it’s nothing serious. One time in Oman, though, a man gave me a complete list of perks attached to being married to him. Among them:

“I would buy you a Landcruiser,” he said. “Because I want people to respect my wife on the road.”

Ahhh yes. Love is like a Toyota, it can’t be stopped.

“And I only want two kids,” he added. “And only one wife.”

I know… I should’ve jumped on the opportunity. But of course that would’ve been weird without consulting with my father first, so I told him, “Insha’Allah” (If it is God’s will) – the perfect phrase that Arabs use to wiggle out of every difficult situation.

Can’t meet a deadline? Insha’Allah. Forgot to pay someone back? Insha’Allah. Can’t get it up? Insha’Allah.

So, back to the marriage thing. Just the other day, I was hanging out at the beach in northern Qatar, when a Qatari man started talking to me. “Are you married?” he said within the first minute. They sure don’t bullshit around.

“No,” I said.

“I can find you a good husband,” he said.

“Uh ok,” I said. “I gotta go.”

“I love you!” He said after me.

Dude proceeded to follow me all the way till I found my friends (two guys), then finally he backed off.

But this kind of thing happens all the time. Which is why so many Western girls wear fake wedding bands. It happens in the mall, outside restaurants, in supermarkets, etc. And when they have to be more discreet approaching a woman, they hand you a piece of tissue paper with their numbers written inside. (Because that’s just so inconspicuous – a Qatari man handing tissue to a non-Qatari woman – you know, so she can blow her nose with it?)

Anyway, life in Qatar is very interesting, to say the least. Before I sign off, though, I’d like to take a moment and be very Canadian about this. Not all Arab men are the same, of course. Next time I’ll surely devout an entire piece on sexy Arabs… Insha’Allah.

Why Patti Stanger Will Save Us All

Ok, so maybe “save” is too strong a word, but I’m not far off and here’s why:  somehow, this loud-mouthed, to-the-point, brutally honest Jewish broad is bringing back the lost art of courtship.  The ‘rules’ she lays down for all her Club members are frankly good guidelines for the rest of us.

Now, if you’re single and just looking to get laid and not into meaningful relationships, then by all means, have sex without a commitment, get drunk on the first date, and judge someone based on their looks.  That’ll get old real fast in my opinion, but to each his or her own.

And for those of you who will write in and say, “But I met my husband at a bar and we went home together on the first night,” I respond by saying you are the exception and not the rule…and, um, how many other guys did you take home (or how many women did you hubby ride) until you two found each other? That’s a lot of cases of crab meds to buy just to land the brass ring, so to speak.

What are Patti’s Golden Rules? Here are just a sample:

1) Keep alcohol intake to two drinks during a date.

Good call, Patti Cakes.  Alcohol can seriously impair your judgement and can make almost anyone seem like a tasty treat if you have too many.  Besides, I know I personally lose my charm after two drinks, so I can’t imagine that others keep all their faculties together when they’re sloshed. 

2) No sex without monogamy!

Now I don’t believe in that bullshit “why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free,” and I actually think people should see if their sexually compatible before walking down the aisle.  That said, why get naked with someone when there’s a strong chance they’re swapping fluids with others?  Would you chew gum you found under a random subway seat? I didn’t think so… if I am going to wrap my mouth around anything upstairs or downstairs, or bring your train into my station, then you better BA-LIEVE I’m going to make sure you’re not picking up other skank passengers along the way. I’m a first-class ride, and I don’t share very well.  You shouldn’t want to either.

Another point on this subject:  having sex with someone too soon can cloud your judgement, just like a table full of shots can.  You can have strong sexual compatibility with someone, but they may not be right for you in the fully clothed, upright position. One of my best friends – who happened to be a recently separated dad who actually believes in having sex on the first date “to get it out of the way” he says – used to get all wrapped up in the sex and the endorphin rush and miss some pretty important cues about a woman’s character in the process.  Then he wonders why he was ‘duped’ by a tramp later on.  Hmm…I wonder.

Keep the mood altering substances – alcohol, drugs, hormones – on a low simmer until you have a chance to see what s/he is made of…no one’s ever lost out by waiting to see what unfolds.

3.  Be a Gentleman – Hold the Door Open, Bring Her Flowers, and Treat Her Like a Lady.

Chivalry should have never been put on life support, and it’s far from dead.  So don’t act as if it is.  I have never met a woman (a woman who likes men at least) who didn’t give a guy extra points in her head when he pulled out her chair for her at dinner or rushed to open her car door.

Now I’ve heard from a LOT of high school, college students, and even some in their 20s,  who tell me no one really dates anymore – that people just ‘hang out’ and ‘hook up’.  Look, I remember college life and of course there were plenty of times me and a future boyfriend just hung out with a bunch of other people at a party or at the dorm.  But I rarely got naked with someone until we had some one-on-one time together and he had made some sort of effort.  I know MANY younger people are kinda broke all the time, and a date doesn’t have to be the standard dinner and a movie.  There was one guy I dated who made us some sandwiches, got a bottle of wine, and had us hang on the beach at sunset.  Total cost of date? $20.  My point is, it doesn’t have to be expensive in order to be magnificent.

There are things about Patti and her Club that I think suck ass.  For example, I think the whole premise of a Millionaire Matchmaker Club is bogus, and even though she has that rule about ‘no gold-diggers’ who are we kidding?  These women may not be asking for Suga-Daddy to pay their rent now, but their banking on them offering the Good Life later once they land themselves a ring.  Do I think these matches are real? I can’t judge…I just wonder how interested these Hooters waitresses would’ve been in Rich Chubby Boy or in the Braggasaurus if they made a ‘mere’ $100K instead of $10 million.

Also, while I think Patti is usually on point when she offers her critique on the women who audition for her Club, godDAMN I wish she was kinder in her delivery.  Yeah the tramp with the tiger tail hair and the hoochi-mama skirt looks like trailer trash, but there’s a way to talk to people without being cruel.  What would’ve I said to her? “Your choice of hair color and outfit gives off te wrong impression.  Perhaps wearing something sexy but more sophisticated would should you off to your best advantage.” 

Other than that, I love Patti and her show.  And I do have a soft spot for ballsy women from my tribe 🙂  So there.

Money Changes Everything

Wouldn’t it be grand if we were all born with trust funds stuffed to the gills with cash?  Or that once you got married, the government issued you a big ol’ whopper of a check with a note saying, “Hey, we know marriage is hard enough and since us here in Congress are all so pro-family, here’s a few million to keep you breeding and happy.”

Hey, a girl can wish, right?

I bring out my ridiculously unrealistic fantasies because Mr. Mix and I are just getting over one heck-of-a-brawl over money.  I cannot express enough what a killjoy the subject of money is for me.  I think I can speak for ALL women that nothing squashes our love lava faster than hearing our man squawk, “you’re spending too much money!”

For the record, I really don’t spend too much money.  The issue was more about extra expenses occurring that weren’t expected (they never are), and frankly, me needing to feel like an equal partner in our financial decisions in spite of the fact that I’m far from the breadwinner.  Did I mention Mr. Mix can be a bit (what’s the word, what’s the word) CONTROLLING when it comes to money?

Always a turn on, let me tell ya.

I know my dilemma is nothing new.  While I work part-time, I’m basically a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom).  There was a time in our lives when I did work full-time, and by the time I was done paying for daycare, transportation, meals, and clothes, we ended up actually more in the red than the black.  So we decided I should go back to school and get my MSW, so that someday – when the kids are both in school full-time – I can actually earn enough to really help our family.  On nights and weekends, I tutor, but that pays for a few extras and nothing more. 

Frankly, I consider ourselves VERY lucky that we even have the luxury of being able to living on one salary, that we own a house, and are able to live in a fairly comfortable manner. Nothing extravagant, mind you, but comfy nonetheless.  And yeah, we still have some debt we’re paying off (I consider that lil’ chunk the piece of my soul living in expensive San Francisco stole from us).  But that’s where we’re wired differently.  While of course I don’t like having debt, I’m not going to let it ruin my happy family vibe buzz I’ve got going.  We’re paying it off….we live within our means…we’ll get there.

Not so for Mr. Mix & Bitch.  That debt haunts him like a Dickens’ ghost.  It’s a cancer which infiltrates seemingly innocuous moments, and it pisses me off that he lets it override all the good we have.  When he gets like that, he turns to me and says things like, “well, what else can you do to help?”  To which I respond, “Well, I’m going to start off by eating bon-bons all day, then take the gardener, Pepe, as a lover, and THEN I’m going on QVC and buy lots and lots of animal-shaped figurines.  What the hell do you think I do all day?”

Here’s a list of what I do, in – uh – case you were wondering:

Short Order Cook

Housekeeper

Laundry Attendant

Chauffeur

Personal Shopper

24-hour Babysitter

Gardener

If you were to total all these jobs up, I’d be earning around $80,000 – $110,000 roughly.  But because this is all unpaid work, somehow society – and occasionally my husband – will deem these contributions as less than.

Well, shame on him and the rest of you who buy into that.

Do you realize that approximately 70% of the work done in the world is unpaid labor, and the majority of that work is done by women?  I KNEW that Gender History degree would come in handy someday.  Although I must say that at the end of the day, I don’t think this should be a gender issue because I’ve known some stay-at-home-dads who have suffered through the same issues.  Regardless, I can’t tell you how heart-breaking it is to not feel fully valued by your partner.  And so, I told him that…and then I moved myself  into my office for about 24-40 hours.  Don’t worry, I have a cozy day-bed in there.

Because I think of men like dogs sometimes, and being pack animals, the best way to discipline is through isolation.  Needless to say, he eventually came over and I could tell by the look in his eyes and by what he said that he finally understood where I was coming from.  And in return, we spent the rest of the night trying to figure out ways to kick up our payment efforts.  As much as we all may hate to admit it, marriage is just as much of a business partnership as it is a meeting of Kismet souls.

Am I still a little ticked off that he had the attitude he had? Sure.  But do I also understand there’s a LOT of pressure being the breadwinner for your entire family? Yep, I get it.  So, he’ll cut me some slack, and I’ll cut him some too.  Trust me, we’re far from done with this issue – it’s one of our permanent ones – but as long as we can keep talking about it – and remember we’re in this TOGETHER, this too shall pass.

10.  “Nag,” (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts) I Love Rock-n-Roll.

09.  “I Got Shit,” (Pearl Jam) Rearview Mirror.

08. “The Good Life,” (Weezer) Pinkerton.

07. “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” (The Rolling Stones) It’s Only Rock-n-Roll.

06. “Skills to Pay the Bills,” (Beastie Boys) Beastie Boy Anthology.

05.  “Pay to Play,” (Nirvana) DGC Rarities, Volume One.

04.  “I Get Money,” (50 Cent) Curtis.

03.  “I’m So Paid,” (Akon, Lil’ Wayne, and Young Jeezy)  Freedom.

02.  “Money Ain’t a Thang,” (Jay-Z and JD) Def Jam 25.

01.  “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem),” (Jay-Z) Volume 2.

eHarmony or eHomogeny? Does Online Dating Really Work?

“We’re so much alike we could be brother and sister!  In fact, I’m pretty sure we are. Doh!”

When I was single and dating – which feels like it was back in 1912 at this point, but I digress – there wasn’t any online dating.  If there was, I certainly didn’t know about it, and probably wouldn’t have signed up anyway because dating services has a slightly less virulent stigma than AIDS or herpes back in the day.

It really was that bad.

But times have changed and, thankfully we’ve all evolved since then because now-a-days, if you’re single and looking, you’ve got yourself at least one profile up on one of the big dating sites.  And frankly, I’m all for it.  Ironically, now that online dating is so mainstream, I can’t imagine what singles ever did without it – and I’m stunned that dating dinosaurs such as me and my husband somehow found each other at all. 

I also have a confession to make: I’ve always wondered what those online dating sites were like.  I never had the courage to “take a peek” myself, but I was curious about what the hell Dr. Neil Clark Warren (founder of eHarmony) was talking about when he said he matches couples based on, like, a zillion levels of compatibility.  

I had even proposed to Mr. Mix & Bitch a social experiment of sorts…for us to register on a dating site and see if their system would find us to be a compatible match (obviously, we never ended up doing it). 

ANYWAYS…when a fabulous, adorable, smoking hot and sassy single friend of mine expressed interest in registering for one of those sites, I was on it like white on rice…firstly because I want her to find her guy already and secondly, because, let’s be honest, this was my chance to look behind the wizard’s curtain, so to speak. 

So she came over on a Sunday afternoon, we poured ourselves some vino…and answered some questions. Then answered some more.  And then answered even more questions.

Holy crapola, Batman! I had friggin’ carpal tunnel syndrome by the time we were done…which was like 90 minutes later. No joke.

When we FINALLY got her matches, let’s just say there were some interesting choices.

Frankly, I was a lot more open-minded than my friend, who at twenty-something was still looking almost exclusively at the hottie-factor, even though I kept trying to  steer her towards – what my people call – the ‘mensch’ factor…which is Yiddish for someone who’s a good person, first and foremost.

I also started noticing something else after reading some of the profiles….they sounded, um, eerily similar to my girlfriend.  They were all politically conservative, white-bread, outgoing, smart-but-not-too-deep guys from big, fairly religious families.  Every. Single. One of them.

What gives? What ever happened to ‘opposites attract’, right?

According to the – ahem – reliable source known as Wikipedia (I’m being sarcastic, but I’m using the info anyway) Dr.Clark Warren believes that the more alike two people are, the more likely it is to be a lifetime match.  Here’s a snippet about his philosophy:

“[eHarmony believes] to have as many interests, hobbies, religious background, etc as your partner works best. Example-if you grew up in a small town where everyone knew each other, where your parents and you networked inside the same religious, political and financial groups, then you grew to trust certain families. Children exposed to other children from like-minded  families who married, tended to stay married longer.

Does this work? One major problem is not everyone online is going to be attracted to others who share their interests & values. So while offline this is a great theory, marry someone who you have known for a long time, whose parents you know and whose social groups you belong to, online the chemistry is JUST NOT THERE! You can go  and read direct feedback from members.  Bottom Line: taking the long-winded questionnaire can be a waste of time if men are not attracted to the women. And if the women are not attracted to the men.”

Knowing this now, there’s no way Mr. Mix and I would have ever been matched.  I am an outgoing, socially motivated, inherently selfish, kinda loud-mouthed Jewish-Buddhist gal who loves documentary films, memoirs, and local theater, and Mr. Mix is an introverted, intensely private, slightly paranoid, inherently selfless, taciturn Jewish guy who loves bad 80s movies, never reads a book, and college and pro football. 

What a shame if we had missed out on each other! Except for our religion and geographical locations, we have almost nothing in common.  And yet, he’s my best friend – one of the few people I never get bored with.  He is sometimes an exasperating, arrogant, micro-managing son-of-a-bitch, but I’m no picnic either.  That said, we do have a very similar world view and while we go about people and situations from entirely different perspectives, we often agree on where things have been and where we want to go.  Literally and metaphorically.

Would eHarmony’s ‘state-of-the-art’ dyadic adjustment measure scale scientifically picked up on these traits within us and thrown us together?  After going through the process with my single friend – whom I will from now on refer to as Smoking-Hot-Single Gal – I tend to think…no. 

So my advice to singles?

1) Don’t rule out online dating sites, but perhaps pick a couple to throw your fabulous, sexy self onto for the picking. 

2) While physical chemistry is important, remember that some people don’t photograph well, or their sexy-voodoo selves doesn’t come through a one-dimensional medium. 

3) Let everyone – and I mean everyone – you know you’re open to being set up.  You’d be surprised that the friend of a friend of the guy who works with your best friend’s husband may turn out to be Mr. Right On Sugar.

4) Even if you’re lonely and looking, really try not to come off as desperate.  Always keep the frame of mind that you’re a catchety-catch and take the time to see if s/he is right for you – not you proving you’re right for them.

5) I can’t believe I’m writing this – or even admitting to it – but if it’s been a -ahem – long while since you’ve had sex and you’re as horny as the Devil herself…masturbate before you go on your date.  I did that often in order to de-slut myself as much as possible.  Admittedly, it’s not the same as the real thing, but it’ll take enough of the edge off so that you don’t hop into bed with someone before you’ve had a chance to really get to know him or her.  And limit the alcohol because that’ll just jack your drive back up again.

Top Ten Songs for Your Sexy Single Selves

10.  “You Sexy Thing,” (Hot Chocolate) 70s Hits.

09. “Love is My Disease,” (Alicia Keys) The Element of Freedom.

08. “I Told You I Was Freaky,” (Flight of the Conchords) I Told You I Was Freaky.

07. “Bang On,” (The Breeders)  Whip It (Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack).

06. “Promise Less or Do More,” (The Whitest Boy Alive) Rules.

05. “Wide-Eyed, Legless,” (Laura Veirs) July Flame.

04. “Sara Smile,” (The Bird and the Bee) Interpreting the Masters, Vol. One (A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates).

03. “Shape of My Heart,”(Noah and the Whale) Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down.

02. “Unparalized,” (Kill Hannah) Hope for the Hopeless.

01. “She-Bop,” (Cyndi Lauper) She’s So Unusual.

Gay? Straight? Bi? Try Bored Already.

So the big news in the blogosphere today is that Academy Award winning actress, Anna Paquin, has announced she’s a bisexual.  This, of course, is right on the tails of Ricky Martin’s announcement that he’s actually (wait for it, wait for it) gay. 

Well, whoop-de-FRICKIN’-doo.

Look, let me say right off the bat that I’m all for gay rights. I think the LGBT community should be able to get married, adopt kids, the whole she-bang bang.  And I get that the more people “come out” of the closet, the more we bring complicated issues of sexuality and gender into the mainstream conversation, which hopefully leads to acceptance.  Duly noted.

I guess I’m just bored of the conversation.  Like with race and the presidency, I would like for us – as a nation – to frankly be better than this, that “issues” such as who one wants to shag & love, is in fact no big deal and is no one’s business. 

Moreover, the idea of labeling our sexuality just seems ridiculous as a whole.  For me, as long as it’s human and an adult, whatever you’re into, it’s go-time.  Which is why, I guess, many are turning to the Greeks (because, um yeah, that’s who ya go to when you want to know the origins of pretty much anything to do with sex) for the term pansexuality.

Pansexuality (also referred to as pans), or omnisexuality[1] is a sexual orientation, characterized by the potential for aesthetic attraction, romantic love, or sexual desire towards people, regardless of their gender identity or biological sex. Some pansexuals suggest that they are gender-blind; that gender and sex are insignificant or irrelevant in determining whether they will be sexually attracted to others.[2] For others, an individual’s sex, gender expression,or gender identity can be a key factor of attraction, despite the pansexual individual’s wide range of sex and gender attractions.The word pansexual is derived from the Greek prefix pan-, meaning “all”. It is intended to negate the idea of two genders (as expressed by bi-). The adjective pansexual may also be applied to organizations or events. In this context, the term usually indicates an openness to the involvement of people of all genders and sexual orientations in said organization/event, as well as the pansexual sexual identity.

I know.  Sounds kinda weird like that, but is it really?  Truth be told, while the majority of time I’m into men, I will occasionally see a woman who I’d run over puppies to get to.  And frankly, certain androgynous choice selections like k.d. lang (well, maybe 10 years ago) I find totally compelling as well.  And the reason why I don’t worry about putting a label on it is because I see the inherent fluidity within sexuality. 

That said, I know I make such declarations from the comfy seated privilege “throne” of legally sanctioned ‘heterosexuality’.  Trust me, I’m more than willing to share. Really.

Anyway, so Anna Paquin likes hot dogs and hamburgers. Good for her. And psst…Ricky? We figured you out a loonngg time ago.  I didn’t care then.  I don’t care now.  Be happy.  Be safe. And let’s care about something beyond our neighbors’ bedrooms.

Dangerous Minds

So I’m sure that unless you’ve been living under a rock – a really BIG rock – you’ve no doubt heard about the latest infidelity debacle Sandra Bullock is currently enduring.  I’ve read a slew of crap pieces (I know, my bad) ranging from the typical, venemous ‘how could he do this to HER???’ to an idiotic, correlation between winning an Oscar for best actress to being hit with spousal infidelity…with the not-so-subtle message stating ‘be careful not to get TOO successful Ladies…otherwise your man’s gonna use his pecker to excavate his lost man pride’.

Please.

On a more personal note, I now know seven couples…yes, SEVEN couples….in various stages of deep marital strife or divorce.  Two of those due to serial infidelity.  My side of the family is also no stranger to this ‘phenomenon’ – and due to this, I’ve delineated what I think are the basic two reasons why people cheat while in seemingly content marriages:

(1) Duh, they’re actually not so happy after all, and are looking for a endorfin-drip-laden escape or

(2) Because they thought they could.

I want to discuss the latter, admittedly over-simplified reason above. 

I have absolutely no doubt that Tiger and Jesse and others I’ve known are deeply in love with their spouses.  I also believe they thought they were special or clever enough to get away with it.  There’s an old expression: “To cheat is French, to get caught is American.”  Apparently true.

And while I cannot condone infidelity, I think it’s safe to say I understand the urge.  That’s human.  I am also deeply in love with my husband and treasure the life we’ve built with our two kids.  But that hasn’t stopped me from fantasizing about the allure of tasting something different.  Jesus, even Jimmy Carter admitted to being adulterous in his thoughts back in the 70s – and THAT was considered a big scandal at the time.  Let’s now LOL over THAT one, people.

Because there is always going to be someone you didn’t get to have….or something your spouse won’t do that maybe the tattoo-laden hussy is more than happy to give you.  You’ve been there. I’ve been there. I’m sure Mr. Mix rides that wave as well (although I must admit I can’t think of something I wouldn’t do with him, but whatev).  In fact, thanks to the latest hookup bar otherwise known as Facebook, Mr. Mix has been hounded by an ex of his – wanting to ‘get together’ a little too often. Sigh.

And the truth is, maybe if I had frequent absences from my spouse – coupled with living in a world full of celebrity self-entitlement, maybe I or Mr. Mix would find ourselves entangled in a similar mess.  Does that reflect bad character? Probably…but I think Chris Rock has a point when he says we are only as faithful as our options. 

So, what’s the answer? Well, after thirteen years of marriage, I’ve delineated once again the options down to three:

(1) You and your spouse are gonna ride your own ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ and have one of those open, 70s-disco-coke-inspired marriages where almost everything goes.  Good luck with that.

(2) You’re gonna sneak around and get caught. No really, you will.  And uh no, you’re not that smart.

(3) You decide that you’re not really into seeing your spouse ride someone else in front of you, and you’re not quite alternative enough for one of those polyamorous arrangements, so you choose monogamy.  And if you do choose this option, you surround yourself with others who have made the same choice – for better or for worse – in order to curb your out-of-marital-bond enthusiasm. So to speak.

In other words, you follow Chris Rock’s advice and YOU limit your options.  Figure out what your own triggers are – and then don’t go there.  Sex can be the same thing as drugs and alcohol…they become a problem when the consequences start to seriously mess with your life.  And I don’t say this as some Buddha-on-the-mountain…in the past, I have come dangerously close to blowing it with Mr. Mix over my ego-driven flirtations.  Why? Not because I’m a celebrity or some testoserone-infected lothario.

Because I thought I could. 

Does that make me an asshole? Yep. Does that make me human? Right again. 

I guess what I’m saying is, I unfortunately get what Tiger and Jesse and other like them were thinking.  I guess the difference is, I didn’t actually do it.  The question is, did I not do it because of my character or my options? I don’t have an answer for that, and the whole point of this piece is to say I’m not going to test myself trying to find that out either.  It’s not worth it.

Twisted Sisters

 
Ms. Mix and Bitch,
 
I feel like I’m constantly being criticized and monitored. We have talked about her snapping at me, and she tells me that I have to tell her when she’s snapping at me in a calm manner because she doesn’t know she’s doing it. I have been doing that, in fact my control on my anger has become amazing.
 
I don’t know what kind of advice I’m seeking from you. I know that most of this letter represents my sister in a negative light. I can sincerely tell you that I love her. She cares fiercely for the ones she loves, she has a wicked sense of humor and she’s very smart. I just wish she saw these things in herself so she could find her own happiness. I think I tried to save her by letting her in my social life. I feel like our problem right now as a whole is my fault, but I don’t know what to do. I want her to be happy. I hate that she has to go through this after everything she has had to deal with. It’s not fair. I want to help her, but when I do I get hurt. Once gain, a Catch-22. I think what I’m asking you is if I’m doing the right thing, or am I really being selfish? I’m also very bothered by my father telling me you don’t have to be friends with you siblings, just try to be civil. I have wished for a friendship with her for so long, must it really be this way? I want to feel hope again.
 
 
Dear Sad and Frustrated Sister,
I received this letter months ago, and I am sincerely sorry I did not answer you sooner.  I have no excuse. 
I am hoping by now you and your sister have been attending therapy with a counselor specializing in PTSD because that’s exactly what your sister is suffering from, Ms. Sis.  I am also hoping that by now you have continued to enforce the boundaries between you two (such as NOT having her hang out with your friends, having separate social outings, etc).  If neither of these two strategies have been implemented, then I seriously urge you to do both. 
It should go without saying, but here it goes regardless: you deserve your own life.  A happy life.  Really.  That doesn’t mean you are not suppose to be there for your sister and your parents, but not at the expense of your own dignity or needs.  And another thing – about the whole ‘model daughter’ deal…while there’s no need to get all self-destructive on their asses, just because you’re sister’s a disaster doesn’t mean YOU have to be perfect.  I hope you have some people in your life you can count on.  If you don’t, and you feel you must handle everything on your own, then I would seriously urge you to start taking some risks and begin reaching out and relying on people.  Whether that’s your family or friends, hopefully both, that’s up to you. 
As far as your sister is concerned, if she’s going to make any sort of life worth living for herself, she’s going to have to learn the social skills needed to make her own friends, pick appropriate men, and -most importantly – work through her PTSD.  Expect this to take years.
Meanwhile, be good to yourself.  I’m rooting for you 🙂
10. “This Woman’s Work,” (Kate Bush) The Sensual World.
 
09. “Edge of the Ocean,” (Ivy) Long Distance.
 
08.  “Cracking,” (Suzanne Vega) Suzanne Vega.
 
07. “Sister Winter,” (Sufjan Stevens) Songs for Christmas.
 
06.”I Live on a Battlefield,” (Nick Lowe) Untouched Takeaway.
 
05. “Roads,” (Portishead) Dummy.
 
04. “Acid Tongue,” (Jenny Lewis) Acid Tongue.
 
03.  “Crooked Legs,” (The Acorn) Glory Hope Mountain.
 
02.  “Good Woman,” (Cat Power) You are Free.
 
01.   “So Sorry,” (Feist) The Reminder.