Friday, September 24, 2010

A Crack In the Man Code, the incident at the Strip Club

OK, so I know you all read my work religiously. (wink, wink). I just reread some pieces and after patting myself on the back, I thought, wait a minute, I have an update to The Man Code. Therefore, it is my duty to share.

A couple weeks ago my boyfriend went bowling with some friends. I expected him home around 9 or so to eat some leftovers, watch a little TV and hit the sack. Halfway through the night he sent a 'hey, how's my love?' text (he is so sweet) and I asked who all was there. He mentioned a list a of his buddies including a brother of one of his bffs. The brother, let's call him George, is a notorious player. Chris Rock would call him "the old guy in the club." He is late 30s, never married, regularly dates, refuses to settle down, parties at downtown clubs and is a frequent guest of another type of club. Yes, oh yes, George is strip club fanatic. So in a text, I joked with my man, "ha, ha, don't let George take you to the strip club." Little did I know that my psychic abilities were on fire that night. Not 30 minutes later I got the following text:

"George says we are going to the strip club, I don't have my car, he is driving, we are almost here. I'm sorry, I didn't know."

I don't know exactly how my lovely boyfriend knew he should tell me this. But needless to say I was not happy. A note in my defense... I trust my boyfriend and I love my boyfriend. And most importantly, I know my boyfriend is not a sleaze. In fact, what bothers me about strip clubs has nothing to do with my boyfriend at all.

Over the last decade or so, the strip club trip as a male "bonding" ritual is becoming more commonplace. It has gotten to the point where friends of soon-to-be married young heterosexual couples expect a strip club visit for the men and maybe the women... that is of course if you happen to live in one of the rare cities that has a male strip club. Why, why, oh WHY does getting married have ANYTHING to do with letting naked strangers grope you??!! I cannot think of anything more contradictory.

Let's break this down.

I am a man and I am in love with a woman that I want to spend the rest of my life with. Therefore, I think the best way to celebrate this love and commitment is to take my closest friends to a creepy bar where exploited naked women sexually tease me all night for tons of money. Really?!! Makes perfect sense!

Look, ok, we all know I am a feminist and a Marxist (no, not a communist). And I have huge concerns about the power differential between men and women. I do not agree with placing women in a vulnerable (see: desperate, naked and outnumbered) position, such as the strip club. But beyond that... this so-called Male-Bonding Ritual is sick. Go golfing, go to a football game, eat a steak, go on a fishing trip, go to vegas, have a party, shit go to shooting practice for all I care! But DO NOT go get a stiffy from a self-esteem challenged, body-image distorted, sad, confused, young woman rubbing her fake breasts on you for 20 lousy bucks!!!!!!! (I know, not all strippers are like this, but you get my point).

So, before I go on a total rant about the exploitation of women... let me get back to my original point. I found a crack, or I should say an exception to The Man Code. As my boyfriend and I hashed out this unexpected strip club trip. I realized I had to stand my ground. I told him that I was not ok with him going there. I understood that he was being taken there by his buddies and felt like he should stay (because of course they were celebrating his friend's upcoming wedding) But I shared, honestly, that him staying would upset me. I said I rather come pick him up. What did my boyfriend do...!!!? He said, ok babe, come get me.

I was shocked. No fighting, no I'm going to just stay for a little bit, no speech reeking of 'bros before hoes.' Was he happy with me? No. But was he angry or mean about it, absolutely not. He simply put my concerns before the requests of his buddies. WOW. I have a special man... yes I do.

Did he get tons of shit from his friends? Oh you better believe it. He still is getting shit. Because he is now labelled (one of my personal favorites) "pussy-whipped." And I can't protect him because it is my pussy that supposedly has a stranglehold on him. And did I get shit... oh you better believe it! The bachelor came out from the strip club to tell me that he thought I was a "fun girl" and asked if I was going to be a big downer at his wedding... As he put it (while he motioned to my bf and I in my car) "this is not fun." I agree, and it was not fun for me and my boyfriend either. Geez, I hope he doesn't invite any of the strippers to his wedding.

My boyfriend said to me later that night, 'why can't you just understand that this is what guys do, it doesn't mean anything?" Because it does mean something, a very big something to me. I know he will probably never see things through my eyes. The point is, he didn't have to agree with me in order to put my concerns first. Most days it is challenging to insist on equality and respect. It is even harder to ask for in our intimate relationships. But one thing I have realized, it is much easier to insist on respect for yourself and others when your partner has your back.

So although my boyfriend and I were able to find crack in The Man Code... we are suffering the wrath of breaking those unwritten rules. He will forever be remembered as pussy-whipped and I will be spoken of as the controlling bitch. I am just thankful that both of us are strong we know who we really are, no matter what labels get put on us.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Maybe There is a Nice Guy for Me

After my last blog I felt a strange sense of remorse about what I had written. I meet this great guy (Paul) and then I proceed to bash him with back-handed compliments and insignificant criticisms. Am I a complete asshole? Apparently, the answer to this is yes. Sometimes I can be a stupid jerk.

Here is my proof... All week I had been bugging Paul about going out to celebrate my new journey... graduate school. He of course gladly agreed. Last night was the night. I thought how romantic to go out to dinner after my school orientation. To make a long story short, I was an hour and a half late to my own dinner. The details of how this happened are irrelevant. What is important, I flaked on my honey. Something I never do. I hate flaky people.

The worst part is my lovely new man was not angry, but rather "disappointed," which as you all know is much worse. The shift in his normally loving and affectionate demeanor was brutal. It killed me to see his hurt and to feel him pulling away from me. I spent a long and uncomfortable dinner beating myself up for what I had done. Why was I so thoughtless? This is not normal behavior for me.

I have realized there are two causes. One, too much beer. (I can obviously not use this as a valid excuse since I choose to drink the beer). Number two, which may have caused number one, I'm scared shitless of being hurt/left/disappointed.

Paul represents something I have never experienced before... a man who is totally into me and has no shame in showing it. He treats me like a queen, like his queen. He adores me and I cannot help but adoring him. He is a good person. Loving, gentle, kind and generous. I didn't know that men of his caliber truly existed. I have seen these elusive studs in movies, heard friends describe them, but never actually met one (at least not one that was single). Searching for a man like this is as ridiculous as trying to capture Bigfoot. The longer you search the nuttier you become.

How can I believe he really is as great as he seems?

As I see it, I have but one logical option. I must finally let go and fall in love with this man. (I have been violently resisting this up until this point). Men like him do not grow on trees. A man like Paul is a rare gift. Something my mother would likely say about me. (Thanks Mom).

Maybe, just maybe there is a happily ever after waiting for me. One thing I am certain of, I will never make Paul wait for me again.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Just When You Are Enjoying Being Alone Again... Here He Comes!

I think my first "date" with Paul was literally the day after I concluded that I loved my life exactly the way it was and was better off without the complications of a relationship. "POOF" a good man suddenly appears. Why does life have to be so rudely ironic?

So here I am six weeks later shamelessly displaying the classic symptoms of a girl falling in love. We talk on the phone at least 2-3 times a day plus texting. I fucking hate texting!! But somehow Paul makes texting endearing and sweet. I am starting to feel strange going to bed alone. I miss him about 5 minutes after I leave him. He left his clothes here from last night and I can stop smelling them... they smell so yummy. OMG! I am making myself sick.

I fight this feeling of adoration on a regular basis. I routinely remind myself of all the things he does that I don't like. He drinks too much, he wears a stupid hat everydamnday, he is obsessed with football, he NEVER works out, he eats McDonald's, he's not passionate about learning, he didn't even finish his B.A. (I know, I know. Now that I am in graduate school I have become such an elitist. Get used to it.)

I vacillate between imagining marrying him to telling myself that I wouldn't even care if I never saw him again, causing my girlfriend Heather to continually ask me, "And how do you feel about Paul today?" I am becoming fully aware that my resistance is futile.

Why am I fighting this? I could just be happy for both of us! Honestly, we are really good to each other and for each other. The million dollar question is... Why does it feel like I have to choose between my needs and being in a relationship? How come he doesn't feel this internal struggle? When and how did I form the belief that my needs go to the back burner when I am in love? That sucks. Why can't I put myself first AND be in love?

The somewhat sad truth is I don't know how to do both simultaneously. I don't have any up-close and personal examples of a truly independent woman in a successful relationship. My mother (as it appeared to me) gradually gave up everything about who she was when she married my dad. And guess what...? She was miserable and so was he. I DO NOT WANT A LIFE LIKE THAT.

The good news is, it's not too late for me. In my last relationship, I gave up too much of me to be with him. Which is why in the end, I knew I had to leave. At some level, I had sold my soul for love.

So how does one "fall" in love without "falling" away from themselves?

To this question I reluctantly admit... I just don't know. This time I am going to have to figure it out as I go.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Introducing the Girl Code

"The Girl Code" is the much needed response to the petty, catty and downright malicious behavior I have seen from women towards other women. It is a set of rules that good girlfriends should live by.

The idea first came to me a couple years ago when I was introduced to "The Man Code." My then boyfriend had just returned from Vegas where he had a attended a bachelor party. As soon as he got home, I wanted all the dirt. Who cheated? Who made a fool of themselves? Who got head from the stripper? Where were the crazy pictures? I asked all the usual post-Vegas questions. My typically loose-lipped boyfriend was silent. I have nothing to report, he told me. I pressed harder... Oh come on! Someone must have done something scandalous. He looked at me sternly. "Nope, nothing interesting happened," he stated. A boldface lie and I knew it. "What?!" I stammered, "You aren't going to tell me anything?!"

It was then he first revealed The Man Code. Truthfully, it was likely that MANY inappropriate things had happened in Vegas, yet sadly, I would hear none of it. It was his duty as a man and a friend of men to keep his mouth shut. He wisely reminded me that I was terrible at keeping secrets and would likely spill the beans. As a man who believed strongly in The Man Code, he would not throw his buddies "under the bus."

WOW. I was stunned. How come I had never heard of this Man Code before? Did all men know the code? Was there some secret society? Any strange backwoods initiation needed to learn this code? Is it written somewhere, perhaps in invisible ink? What are the other rules? And more importantly, why is there no Girl Code to speak of?

The simple truth is that men just have an understanding with each other. I won't nark on you if you don't nark on me. I won't sleep with your girlfriend if you don't sleep with my wife. If you do something outrageously funny and embarrassing, I will laugh my ass off and you are not allowed to get mad. You know, the basic dude rules.

So men have their code, but us women are much more civilized creatures. Why do we need a code? Let me give you a personal example...

Recently, I attended a party for a girlfriend of mine. After a few drinks, I began to tell penis jokes and laugh loudly at them. Typical. Across the bar from me I noticed a girl that is a good friend of my ex-lover. While giving me a disgusted look, she leaned over to another girl and started whispering. They both looked me up and down and called over of one my friends. My "friend" then began to gossip with the coven of ugly evil-doers. Since I was only 4 feet away, I clearly heard my girlfriend say "Oh yeah, definitely, she did, at least once." I did WHAT at least once?!! Screwed him in a car... made him dinner... cheated on him... put a voodoo hex on his testicles?!! What did I do that warranted this type of treatment?! How is this any of their fucking business? And how dare you talk about me right in front of my face. You indiscreet bitches. When I talk shit, I have the manners to go into the other room first!

Unfortunately, this is just one of many example of women hating on other women.

So it begs the question... Why, why, WHY do we treat each other like this ladies?? Jealously, insecurity, competitiveness, maybe PMS? There is simply no excuse for this type of behavior. Isn't it hard enough to be a woman without having to worry about other women wishing you ill-will? What happened to Best Friends Forever, braiding each other's hair, standing by each other through thick and thin? Where is the damn sisterhood these days!?

I assert that just this one time, the guys have gotten it right. Good friends should have a set of rules they follow to take care of each other. We should all know what type of treatment to expect from our friends.

Therefore, I proudly introduce to you The Girl Code (raise your Stellas and repeat after me):

I (state your name) do solemnly swear to practice the following rules daily because I want to be an ally to my girlfriends.

I vow to never make out with and/or sleep with your current and/or former boyfriend, husband or gigantic crush. (Especially not all of these people at the same time).

I vow to tell you when you look amazing, every single time you look amazing.... Even when I look like crap.

I vow to never speak badly of you to our friends, but reserve the right to talk shit about you to people you don't know. But only when truly necessary.

I vow to tell you the truth if your outfit looks terrible on you (in the nicest way I can think of at the time).

I vow to never leave you at the bar with some creepy dude because I am taking a hot tourist home with me.

I vow to only post flattering photos of you on Facebook and MySpace.

I vow to acknowledge when I have been a total bitch and ask for your forgiveness.

I vow to always share my wine, chocolate and pizza, but keep your fucking hands off my guacamole.

I vow to always remind you of how beautiful, smart, kind, and wonderful you are, especially in those moments you need to hear it the most.

To all of my girls, this is my pledge to you. I only ask that you do the same for me. Cheers to sisterhood!


Friday, June 12, 2009

My thoughts on being single after 30...

One of my good childhood friends got engaged yesterday, ironically, the day before her 30th Birthday. WHEW... she just barely made the cut off. (note the sarcasm here)

I am happy for her, but perhaps not as happy as I should be. I am a little jealous, I guess, (but don't tell anyone, okay?!). It is more fair to say I am envious. She is one of the lucky ones. She does not have to enter her 30's wondering... "Will I ever find him, you know him, the ONE?!"

It seems to me as a woman after you turn 30 two things happen... 1) Everything appears to move more quickly and there is pressure to have all the things you think you are supposed to, and 2) You start realizing that you are pretty fucking fabulous and you don't want to settle at all. These two opposing ideologies obviously conflict on a regular basis. It is hard enough to meet men. Now we have to care if they are good enough for us!?

So, what is a girl to do...?

This year I turn 32, which by today's standards is not that old anymore. Thank god. I also regularly get confused for a twenty-something which helps... OK really, THANK YOU GOD. But let's face it... our 30s are not our 20s. I am not quite as thin, definitely not as perky and frankly much more jaded then I was in my 20s. As my birthday fast approaches and my quarry of men rapidly depletes, I find myself wondering... What if there is no Mr. Right for me? No knight in shining armor, no prince, no soul mate, no diamond in the rough, no "the ONE." Does everyone find someone they are willing to commit the rest of their life to? Will everyone fall in love with someone who wants to marry them? What if I never meet this elusive stranger? Then what? What would actually happen to me?!

Will I implode? Will I start to reek of a strange odor? Is my face going to melt off? Will my vagina just fall out one day?! Will I become a cougar? The answer is ... NOTHING. Nothing will happen to me. I will continue to live my life as I do now.

I will wake up, go to work or school, make plans with my friends, run, make myself dinner, do laundry, go on vacations, talk nonsense with the girls, have many glasses of wine, watch vampire movies, cry, eat, sleep, poop, fall in love over and over and continue to daydream about meeting an amazing man who somehow knows exactly how to love me.

So that is what a girl should do. A single, 30-something like me. Let go of what I should be doing and do what I want to do!! Who cares if I meet someone!? My life is not that bad. My life is actually pretty darn good.

I am starting to think all of this bullshit about falling in love, weddings, and babies is just that, BULLSHIT. It’s some fairy tale that we are spoon fed since birth. Its all princesses, barbies and Bride Magazine. It’s all make-believe. The reality is... it is damn hard to find a great person to spend your life with. AND it is even more challenging to make a life-long commitment and actually keep it.

So to my newly engaged girlfriend, I raise my glass of Zinfandel and I say this... True love is an amazing and rare gift. Cherish it, be grateful for it and care for it. AND Always know I will love you whether you are single, engaged, married, pregnant, happy, sad or anything in between. But please remember this very important thing... as your single friend; you are still required to be my wing woman at the bar.

You have to kiss a lot of frogs...

"Well, you have to kiss a lot of frogs..." my stepmother said to me recently as I ranted about the lack of quality men in the dating pool.

This could be the worst of the fairytale sayings we spew. What the hell does it mean? Am I supposed to find some ugly reptile of a man and kiss him (eyes closed preferably) while crossing my fingers behind my back and hoping a handsome prince appears before me? Are you freaking kidding me?! Bollocks.

First of all, have you seen me? Do I look like someone who would kiss an ugly, warty, slimy mess? No. Second and most importantly, this is one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves girls... Great men don't necessarily start out great. It is our amazing kiss, our princess kiss that transforms them from totally gross to totally doable. Talk about a load of crap, not to mention a HUGE task. Look, the simple truth is, a hot guy is already hot when you first meet him. If anything he is going to get a beer belly after you are done with him. And good people are good people. PERIOD. Sure I have seen good guys do bad things, but a good person is good consistently.

My favorite part of this verbal abomination is the frog turns into a prince. Not a hot entrepreneur with a condo in La Jolla and a great relationship with his mother... OH NO, we need more than that!! We need a prince! A guy who is about to be the leader of own f'ing country. Think of Prince Charming. He is young, tall, handsome, rules a country... Oh AND nice... REALLY nice. Did I mention that all princes are not only rich and hot, but super nice too?! (gag me).

The truth is when it comes to men there are nice guys, sweethearts, lovers, best friends, players, bad boys, assholes, sluts, and everything in between. The other sad truth is, we may think we have found a good one only to find out he is the worst of the bunch.

So I say let's take this ridiculous saying and make it a little more realistic...

"You might have to screw a lot of guys that look like princes and turn out to be jerks before you find a really great guy... if you find a really great guy."

Ahhh... much better.