Sunday, July 29, 2007

Petition against email harassholes

Recently, I complained to my sister about two nasty emails an ex-boyfriend had sent me. I recalled other (also nasty) emails sent to me by other ex-boyfriends and over-zealous, and subsequently rejected, dates. It occurred to me that the only people who have ever sent me a nasty email have been people who had also once claimed to love me. Their love was declared verbally, and their hatred in print.

This made me think about two golden bits of advice my parents once gave me. My father told me not to write anything down that I wouldn't want the whole world to see. My mother told me not to make decisions when I am angry. Over and again, men I've unfortunately chosen as dates have demonstrated why.

During that same conversation with my forty-two-year-old sister, she said that when she was dating, she was able to just walk away from her unfortunate selections. She didn't understand why I kept getting harassed after the break-ups. For a moment, we concluded that I just chose particularly sensitive and angry men. Then we realized something. It's not me at all. It's technology. I'm not shirking responsibility for my choices in saying this; I am acknowledging a new phenomenon.

When my sister was still in the dating game, no one had access to email. If her exes wanted to say something, they had to say it to her face, or at least over the phone. Email makes things too easy for the sender. So do social networking sites. The rant can be prepared in advance, revised, rewritten and reviewed by friends. And, better yet, the recipient can't immediately respond. The message will wait patiently in their "in box", like a tiny emotional bomb. A jab. A stab. A slap across the face. A punch in the gut. A split second's click can launch a lasting attack.

What the angry sender doesn't realize in the fog of damaged pride is that the written word is not impervious to reinterpretation. The blips and bloops of digital information do not carry tone or context. Once the "send" button is clicked, the owner of the meaning of the message becomes the recipient.

So, if the message is bitter, petty, insulting and/or assaultive, you can be sure that only one meaning will be drawn from it. No matter how inclusive or well-thought out it may have initially seemed to its composer, all it really says to the recipient is that she is glad she got rid of you when she did.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Never date the needy

I date men who fall in love with me.

There have been three this year and I am starting to understand why that might be a problem. It is not fun. It is not a privilege. There is nothing especially remarkable about me that makes me irresistible. The answer is simpler: These are the men I choose.

I am self-aware enough to know that it is healthy to identify negative patterns in my life, address them and move ahead a little lighter, knowing that I'll "never make that mistake again". BUT. And, I also know there is always a "but", but how do I distinguish between sensitive men who treat me well and needy men who get angry when their sentiments aren't reciprocated?

During the most recent 4-month stint with an educated, well-read professional who was slightly older with tell-tale sprigs of ear hair, I reasoned that he was mature enough to no longer need coddling or constant reassurance. Uh-uh.

What complicates neediness in men is that often they do not know how to communicate their emotional needs to their partner. Women are often accused of the same, but not me. I am blunt, I am direct, I am honest. This, for many men, is confusing. They assume my words and actions are cryptic clues to be deciphered, as they may have been with past girlfriends; these men always get me wrong.

When I say, "I am not looking for anything serious." My date hears, "I haven't met the right guy yet, but I am pretty sure it might be you."

When I say, "Can we take this a little slower?" My date hears, "I am scared of letting myself fall in love with you."

When I say, "My independence is really important to me, I can't spend all my time with you." My date hears, "Please call me every night before bedtime to make sure I don't accidentally sleep with someone else."

Love is organic; it grows and withers and festers and flowers, and it probably even defecates. No one has the authority to punish anyone for losing love. Sometimes love behaves badly. Sometimes it moves away.

There are so many unspoken promises to be broken with the more deluded of the emotional men I date. I break them all, essentially because I didn't make them in the first place, but that's a moot point. According to my dates, I did, and now they somehow justify verbal and written assaults. Surprise emails, nasty phone calls. Honesty is lost on these men. I'd embargoed the one thing they thought they needed, and it was something I never promised them.

Last night, I received another angry email from the hairy-eared gentleman, a man who technically broke up with me. Apparently, one of the unspoken dating/un-dating rules was buffer time before new conquests, post-separation, and no "hunks" allowed.

I'm still considering what sort of response his words warrant, if any. It's futile to argue with someone's pride. When pride talks, everything it says is projection. It doesn't have a heart, ears, pulse, or the capacity for reason. All I can hope, is that this ill-equipped character trait will breed out quickly. Survival of the fittest.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Antibiotics - Antierotics

I am not sure how it happened, but somehow, Adonis is topless in my apartment, serving me tea with honey and lemon, and tickling the bottoms of my feet while I try to shake this fever. Maybe I am in a delirium. He’s surely a figment of my wishful thinking.

I am also not sure how I got tonsillitis. Following the standard three-and-a-half-hour wait in the lobby of the clinic, the doctor told me what I already knew, and gave me the prescription I needed. I have ahead of me 24 hours of being highly contagious, 48 hours of bed rest and 10 days of antibiotics. I’m not sure for how long I will benefit from the tender lusting care of this young traveller, new friend, and temporary housemate, but I’ll enjoy it as long as I can, like any self-respecting single twenty-something woman should.