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Dear God, Grant Me One Good Date.

November 27, 2011
Bad dates are rampant, and the only people we have to blame are ourselves. We just don’t think outside the box. For a lot of us, just steeling ourselves to make a move is is hard enough. It’s no wonder we go for the low hanging fruit; the standard dates like dinner and a movie. We end up with a history of rotten dates, boring dates, horrific dates, and dates that were just okay. We blame it on incompatibility, or we blame the other person. Once in awhile we might blame ourselves, but that’s no fun at all. We never stop to think that it could be the date itself that undermined us.
awkward dinner date

We've all been on this date before.

Incompatibility be damned, you should still be able to go out and enjoy yourself with someone who is not the love of your life. So why isn’t this happening more often?

Problem #1: Too much talking, or rather, too much pressure to talk. If you’re out to dinner with someone and you don’t hit it off right away, you find yourself eyeing the door, bracing yourself for the long night ahead of you. For a first date, you never want to choose something where the sole activity is “talking to each other.”

Pitfalls include: dinner, picnics, long walks, or scenic drives. Dinner is standard, picnics are cute, long walks are romantic, and they’re all great for second, third, fourth, fifth dates. On the first date, they put too much pressure on both parties to be interesting, witty, and engaging. If you’re naturally witty and engaging, congratulations and I don’t know why you’re reading this; you probably do fine on first dates. For a lot of other people, however, it takes practice, and can be extremely draining if the other person is feeling the strain too. Like I said, If you don’t hit it off immediately, you’ve got a long and very mediocre night ahead of you, at best.

Problem #2: Not enough talking; dates where, at the end of the night, you’re hardly any more familiar with each other than you were when you started.

awkward movie date

This is not a date, this is lame.

Pitfalls include: movies, concerts, and most sporting events. Any date where your attention is entirely on something else may as well not be a date at all. They might seem like a step up from the No Thought Required dinner plans, but they’re still fairly standard, and are all the more confusing because you might think you enjoyed the date, when it turns out you actually only enjoyed watching your favorite sports team play.

Beware of the double-threat, Dinner and a Movie date. First you sit in silence for two hours, afraid to laugh because your date might think you’re a low-brow moron, and then it’s like having to start the date all over again when you go to dinner afterwards. If first dates are difficult and awkward, why would you want to have what amounts to two first dates in one night, with the same person? You’re just piling on the problems.

The most important thing to do when orchestrating an interesting and original date is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. The date you propose should be something you think the other person will enjoy. This is a trade off, because if they agree, you’re still getting what you want, with is to spend time with them. You have to sweeten the deal by showing you thought about the other person’s preferences.

For instance: ladies, you might love to spend the afternoon glazing personalized coffee mugs at the ceramics shop, but statistically speaking, a male date would be none too thrilled with this prospect. The pool hall or the bowling alley would probably be more enticing, and not just because he’ll have a better view of your backside. Spacial prowess has been linked directly to testosterone, and most men enjoy the opportunity to exercise their skills. On the other hand, gentlemen, estrogen has been directly linked to visual acumen and fine motor skills, so while those detail oriented activities may not be your forte, women tend to enjoy them. Now knowing that a woman might love to glaze a coffee mug, why not take Plaster Funhouse off the list of things you’ve outgrown, and add it to your date repertory?

date ideas

That's more like it.

Both the pool hall and the ceramics shop offer absorbing activities that don’t require all of your attention all the time, leaving you the opportunity to get to know each other casually. A shared activity gives you something to talk about when you can’t quite recall that riveting and hilarious anecdote you have stashed somewhere in the back of your mind. When the pressure is off you to be the evenings entertainment, it’s easier to relax and be yourself. PLus, you might get a coffee mug out of it, so it’s win-win.

In the comments on “For Dudes Who can’t Get Chicks,” a few questions came up that led to generating some different ideas for dates that combine activity with opportunity for discourse.

date ideas

Go ahead, get fancy.

1. Horse Racing. A lot of people have never been to a race track. Find one nearby, and make a day of it. You can generally bet as low as two dollars, and then you both have an invested interest in the outcome of the days activities.

2. Local Tourist Activities. There might be a hiking trail, or white water rafting, or parasailing nearby. Odds are you’ve never bothered to check these things out, but they can be great for dates, depending on the other person’s preferences.

date ideas

Good wine won't go amiss.

3. Wine Tasting: just enough of a variation on the dinner theme to be interesting for dates who might refer something more sedate. There’s no reason to try to impress each other with your knowledge; just enjoy the opportunity to enjoy some delicious wines and learn something. On the plus side, a bit of wine will loosen your tongue, which is great for conversation. Just don’t overdo it.

4. Team Poker. Rustle up a couple friends, turn it into a double/triple date, and team up to try to clean the other couples out. A twenty dollar buy-in is cheap compared to fine dining, and like with the races, you both have an invested interest in the outcome. Not only that, but you have a reason to sit side by side and whisper conspiratorially. Not many dates offer that, actually, but with this date, it’s required.

By making the date fun, not awkward, and mutually enjoyable, you increase your chances of connecting with that person.  Even if they’re not the one, at least you still had fun.

 

Your turn: If someone proposed any of these dates, do you think you would be more inclined to take a chance and say yes?

 

 

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For Dudes Who Can’t Get Chicks

November 16, 2011

If you are a guy who wonders why he can’t get a date, here are a few things that might be holding you back. The following tips are not meant to be life-changing or difficult to put into practice. Nor are they based on any survey or statistical evidence but my own observations which, until proven otherwise, I shall continue to hold as fact.

1. Can you dress? This is a double edged sword. If you dress like a GQ model, women will accurately infer that you are a) gay, b) self-absorbed, or c) European. If this last is the case, you’re in the clear, but your English had better be passable, because women like conversation. (See item 5.)

If a does not apply, that leaves b, self-absorbed. There’s no shame in taking care of yourself, but if you look like you spend more time in front of the mirror than John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, you’re only going to attract a certain kind of woman, and it’s not the dating kind, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

However, the over-dressed man is a rarity compared to his under-dressed counterpart. Think of it this way, boys: wearing shirts that are clean and fit you well make it look like at some point some woman thought you were worth buying clothes for. If it looks like someone signed up for that before, maybe someone will think you’re worth signing up for again. Hedge your bets, go on a shirt mission. Go to a store like Banana Republic that only stocks decent, non-horrendous shirts, so you can’t mess up. “Guy in collared shirt” ranks higher than “guy in t-shirt,” the same way “girl in dress” ranks higher than “hot mess.” Be the change you wish to see in your dating life! Your appearance matters.

2. How do you smell? Another double edged sword! If you don’t bathe or brush your teeth, you will only be eligible for women who don’t care if you bathe or brush your teeth. I could be wrong, but I don’t think that type of woman is what most men have in mind.

On the other hand, women like a man’s natural odor, (in moderation!) more than they like the smell of Manly Man Men’s Soap or a cologne chemical bath. Women’s noses tend to be more sensitive than men’s, so if you don’t have the money for a high quality cologne or the sense to use it sparingly, don’t wear any at all. She’ll be just fine with a mild deodorant, but she’ll judge you for an overwhelming odor, no matter how manly the commercial tells you their product is.

3. Do you dance? If your motherfuckin’ ass don’t dance, I don’t know how you ever expect to get a girl. Women love to dance, and when a man says “No, I don’t dance,” what they hear is “No, I like my lukewarm beer and my sad, lonely barstool better than I like close proximity to women. I am an enemy of fun.” All right, you sad sack, have fun dying alone, then.

Even if you’re not attracted to her, dance anyway, because guess what? Every chick in the joint is dying to get on the dance floor, and when they see that you’re down, you’re suddenly on their radar. You look fun and confident, and that’s attractive to women.

4. Nice guys don’t finish last. weak-willed pushovers finish last. If you don’t intend to be just friends, then don’t try to act like that’s all your intentions are, and then bitch and moan about what a nice guy you are and how ill-used you are, when she doesn’t come rushing pantiless into your open arms. If you’ve been misleading her into thinking you’re her friend, while secretly indulging in perverted fantasies, then that’s not really very nice, is it? It’s actually weird and creepy, and is the reason why you can’t get a date.

Don’t be afraid to flirt. She’s more likely to make the first move if she knows you’re interested in her, but you can’t count on this. Be straightforward about your intentions, and she’ll respect that. She might not run to your open arms, but at least you’ll both know where you stand.

5. Surprise! Women do not think with their dicks. They don’t fuck first and ask questions later. For the most part, they understand that most men do think this way, and they act in the interest of their own safety; therefore, getting to know you through conversation comes first. If you can’t get a date, you’re most likely weak in this department. Conversation is not hard, but it does mean looking her in the eye without aiming your penis at her all the time. (She notices, trust me.) Ask her a few questions, and listen to her answers. You might not think this is as fun as sex, but you can either play the game or continue to lose.

Do you agree with these five points?

A Relationship Horror Story

November 9, 2011

Check out this post by Ms. Love n Happiness.  She relates some of the godawful and kind-of-hilarious-in-a-hindsight-sort-of-way things she endured for the sake of Mr. Wrong.

Chicken Soup for the Soul or Dear Ms. Love n Happiness,.

Tough Love Season 4 is Missing Something…or Someone?

November 7, 2011

One episode left of Tough Love this season! Dear god, what am I going to do? Oh right, I’ll get my fix on The Wards Get Real, which Hawaiian television has led me to believe will air next week at…some point, but who can really say? Luckily these days you can find anything you need to see online. I’m going to be perfectly honest though: if there were a scheduling conflict between this season’s Tough Love and some cheesy, magic, fantasy epic with lots of arrows and shit, or between that and a good hamburger – I’d be hard pressed to forgo the hamburger. Tough Love seems to have lost a bit of its sparkle, and I can’t help but agree that it’s a smart move for Steve to start shifting his focus to other endeavors, although I may be getting ahead of myself.

tough love, steve ward, miami, janeI am pinning my dissatisfaction with season four squarely on one person: Jane. Jane, as I mentioned, was cast to fulfill the role of Fire Starter, and she has been failing me, emphatically. In the beginning of boot camp, Jane was a self-professed “crazy psycho,” and I was right behind her, all the way. She was meant to cause most of the dramatic tension, and she seemed well on her way to fulfilling this roll, right up until The Dreaded Makeover.

In terms of promoting personal growth, what Steve Ward did with Jane was incredibly keen. Jane was a hard-edged, angry person: she acted that way, and she looked that way.

tough love, steve ward, miami, jane
Wait a minute…

When Jane got up in the morning, that’s who she saw in the mirror, and she revived that character every day of her life.  When Steve had her overhauled into Jane: Victoria’s Secret Edition, it not only changed the way people perceived and reacted to her, it changed the way she perceived herself. Good for Jane: Bad for Tough Love.

When Steve Ward was but a fledgling host, he had two things really working in his favor:

1) Novelty. It was a quality show with a positive spin, an inherent emotional arc, and a thoughtful extension of the Reality genre.

2) Taylor Royce.

tough love, steve ward, taylor royceLove her or hate her, Taylor Royce made shit happen. People either rallied around her or stayed way the hell away. She created dramatic rifts between the other women, and formed the sort of heart-felt friendships (as far as she was able) that Tough Love hasn’t seen since. Taylor Royce wasn’t someone most people want in their day to day life, but as far as Tough Love was concerned, she was Reality gold. She caused tension, she started fights, she finished fights, and she could be surprisingly strong and compassionate. She was the sensationalist element viewers crave, and the same time, she was more real than anyone Steve has worked with in subsequent seasons. She was a catalyst, and Tough Love has yet to find anyone to replace her.

In terms of casting, I imagine Season One had a much smaller crop of candidates. I haven’t bothered to confirm this, but from what I hear, several of the women had appeared in reality series previously, so I take that to mean that most of those women had had their finger on the pulse of Reality casting: that suggests something of the dramatic sensationalist in them already. By Season Four, every Jane, Kate, and Sally was clamoring for a piece of Tough Love Boot Camp, so the casting crew had a far more daunting task, trying to select those that would balance “fucked up but fixable” with “absolutely hopeless mess.” It looked to me as though they had hit the mark with the “fierce and fabulous” Jane, but she majorly dropped the drama-baton somewhere around episode three, leaving editors scrambling to piece together something remotely compelling with eight even tempered women who can take direction and who tolerate each other reasonably well. Even Steve has taken to forcing himself to lose his temper again. I love this show, but even I’m tempted to switch the channel while Steve plays out his Totally Heated For No Reason Whatsoever moments.

tough love, steve ward, miami,

That's more like it.

All this make me wonder how producers intend to up the ante next season.  Still, there is no doubt at all that I’ll be watching. Honestly, I think casting has to step up, and also…I don’t know, maybe an obstacle course a la MXC; Most eXtreme elimination Challenge. Actually, now that I think about it, yeeessssss…

All right, guys:

Obstacle Course?

Kung Fu Battle?

Survivor Wilderness Week?

If you were a producer, what would you change to get Tough Love back on the top of your charts?

Tough Love Casting Call

November 3, 2011

I was recently informed that Tough Love is casting their next season right now, so if it has been your dream to be called out on your shenanigans by Steve Ward, in a luxurious mansion, while he sets you up on dates with sexy dudes, then email your name, age, occupation, location, brief bio, and two pictures to jodicasting@gmail.com, or check out her blog at jodicasting.com.

 

 

tough love casting steve ward

 

 

Five More Films that Should Have Never Been Made (Plus One That I Adore, Regardless)

October 30, 2011

According to chartsbin.com, the US produces approximately 520 film annually, with somewhere around 6,300 feature films total, from all major film producing countries. Of those six-thousand-some-odd films, here are five more that could have just as soon never been made.

Red Box, Leap Year, film review, movie critic, worst movie ever

Purveyor of many a god-awful film in recent years. But so, so convenient.

Bad Film #1 – Leap Year: This film was brought to my attention in the last installment of Five Films That Should Have Never Been Made. It was available via Redbox about a year ago, and might more accurately been titled “A Trifecta of Utter Suck.”

Let me state right off the bat that once again, I did not endure this entire film because I’m not a fucking moron.

To sum up: Amy Adams gets on a boat to go to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend, since it’s Leap Year and he is bound by law to accept, or something. There’s a storm, and I think the boat might sink, but that might just be my imagination revamping the story into something more tolerable; all I know is that she does not get eaten by sharks at this time.  Instead, she winds up in a town with a population of about seven, all of whom are whiling away the hours at the public house. Amy has to weather a night here because it’s the only inn in town. The owner is this surly asshole she’s obviously going to end up with by the end, so I was already questioning whether or not I would bother watching how that played out. Anyway, it’s hate at first site, road trips and hijinks ensue as she hires the guy to drive her to Dublin in time to propose to her boyfriend, blah blah blah, I reckon they’re head over heels by the end, but too stubborn and/or cranky to admit it, and then they live happily ever after. Feel free to either confirm or correct this information. As I said, I didn’t watch it, but I really, really don’t think I’m wrong.

Leap Year, movie review, worst movie ever
What fresh lunacy is this?

“Woman goes on a journey to find true love” is cinematic territory so well-trodden, it’s created an actual furrow in its genre so deep that producers, laden with their trite cliches, will never, ever be able to deviate from it, ever. The plot is awful, the dialogue is pathetic, the acting is uninspired, and this movie has been made one thousand times already. Do not see it it. Delete this movie from the planet, please.

Bad Film #2 – Bicentennial Man: What would happen if an intelligent robot wanted to become human, and so embarked on a journey to achieve this goal, encountering no obstacles whatsoever? Find out in the two-hour arc-less epic Bicentenial Man: Just a Bunch of Stuff That Happens to People We Don’t Care About.

movie review, bicentennial man, worst movie ever
C-3PO + Robin Williams = Fuck No.

For some unknowable reason, I watched this entire movie, even though penny for penny and pound for pound, it’s even worse than Leap Year. Within the first half hour of Leap Year, Amy Adams is (possibly) shipwrecked, bedraggled, stranded in a town with no cabs and no public transportation, is harrassed by a cranky innkeeper, is forced to endure a roadtrip with said innkeeper where they do nothing but fight, then drive the car into a ditch, has her luggage stolen, and has to walk to the next town. And it’s raining. Now, there is such a thing as overdoing it, and the reason this film failed is because the obstacles are so formulaic and have no impact on character development whatsoever. But, the same story, in the hands of the writers of Bicentennial Man would have been far, far worse. Behold:

Amy recalls a folk story about finding love in Ireland on Leap Year, and decides to check it out. She has a pleasant flight, and when she lands in Dublin, she checks into her Hotel without hassle. She discovers a quaint cafe where she meets the delightful locals, and falls in love with the owner. They get married. They buy a house, and have three children and a dog. Then the economy crashes and they don’t have a lot of money, but luckily they have been frugal and have saved up enough to tide them over until business picks up again. The children grow up and go to college. The couple grow old and die in their sleep, together, on the anniversary of the day they met, on Leap Year.

worst movies, bicentennial man, movie review
Quite possibly the worst movie of all time.

Bicentennial Man is exactly like this, with the added annoyance of Robin Williams talking in a robot voice. He overcomes every single obstacle with robotic aplomb. He wants a house: he builds a house. He wants to look human: he gets a rubber human-suit. He wants some organs, he invents organs. He wants some robot friends, he finds some robot friends. He want to marry the girl of his dreams; she marries him. He dies at the end, but only when he’s ready and not a moment sooner.

A friend once relayed a story of a classmate who queried “but why does a story need conflict? I think a normal life is just as fascinating. Couldn’t you tell a story without conflict?” Answer: Yes, you could do that.

stranger than fiction, movie review, worst movies

Yes. It's just outrageous and crazy.

Bad Film #3 –  Stranger Than Fiction: This film is so far up itself it’s nearly turned into a cinematic doughnut. It’s intentionally self-aware, very meta, and in order to pull that off, you have to be extremely clever. Stranger Than Fiction doesn’t hit that mark by half. If I had to sum it up in a single description, it would be: Zooey Deschenal. She’s not in this film, mind, she’s serving as an analogy. Zooey Deschenal embodies the overplayed, transparent, “oh-so-quirky, endearingly-different,” self-indulgent bollocks that underscores this entire film and makes me want to nail it with a shot gun. Next time Marc Forster wants to make a film like this, he needs to take his head out of his ass first, but since this is the talent that recently brought us Machine Gun Preacher, it doesn’t look like that is going to happen, ever.

stardust, movie review, worst movies

This movie looked so right up my street it was practically in my bedroom. More fool me.

Bad Film #4 – Stardust: this wacky magical escapade was brought to us by the ever disappointing Neil Gaiman. I don’t care how revered he is in the comics world – this man needs to stay way the hell away from movies. He is a hack of the highest caliber; so deft you don’t even realize what he’s done until you’re drinking coffee the next day. Then you realize that the film did suck, but you can’t quite figure out why.

Gaiman without fail settles for the easiest and most obvious counter-tropes, constantly delivering the opposite of what you expect, in the most boring and uninspired way possible. Having become immune to his tricks, his thought process is now so visible it’s like he’s sitting next to me in the theater, dipping into my popcorn, rattling the ice in a 24oz Pepsi and slurping the dregs while delivering a running commentary throughout the entire film. It’s hard to get me to loathe a magical action adventure, but Gaiman did this flawlessly. What I can say for him is that it looks like in his own circles he probably has a blast. Not my cup of tea by a damn sight.

last airbender, movie reviews, worst movies

Doesn't matter how you look, it's just how you feel.

Bad Film #5 – The Last Airbender: Everyone knows this film should have never been made, including Shyamalan. This was the in-flight movie on last years ill-advised Christmas Journey to New Jersey, and I did watch a great deal of it before realizing I would be better off staring into the sun. I think Shyamalan thought we wouldn’t notice if he hired classically trained balletists instead of actual actors, but since this is an action movie and not Swan Lake, we did notice. This is America, buddy. We know what an action flick is supposed to look like.

I really don’t know why this adaptation proved so challenging. First of all, the original story was designed for television, so it’s not a huge leap to take it to the big screen. From what I understand, it had a rabid, established fan-base as well which, as the Harry Potter franchise can attest, means your margin for error is about as broad as the Mississippi river basin. I’m actually somewhat impressed this managed to tank like it did. This isn’t a film that should have never been made; it should just should have been made a lot better.

the last legion, movie reviews, worst movies

Action? Historic Drama? Porn? I don't care, just sign me up.

Bad Film +1  : The Last Legion: This film should have never been made, and I don’t care. You may have noticed that I have a penchant for epic geek flicks, which is why time and again I am suckered into watching movies like Percy Jackson, Stardust, or Eragon. I was discussing this phenomenon with Adam over at 31 Flavors of Terror, who suffers similarly for his love of horror movies. He quoted a writer who likened it to being so thirsty for something good, we’ll crawl through a desert towards a mirage just to drink the sand. Yeah, well, when it comes to faux-historic, action/magic dumb-fuckery, I’ll take the Big Gulp, please, with a straw.

The Last Legion was bad. It was tacky and facile, predictable in the parts when it wasn’t being completely nonsensical. The reason I liked it comes down to this: it had a lot of arrows. By my reckoning, the more arrows a movie has, the better it is. It also had dramatic landscapes and ruins, and if there’s one thing I love even more than arrows or these craptastic movies, it’s Ozymandianesque ruins.

The Last Legion tells the story of…some kid, who’s on the lam from the Roman army, along with Merlin and Colin Firth. By the time they reach England, magic sword or whatever in tow, there’s a lot of picturesque fog, trees, and especially arrows, so basically I just took all these elements, applied a strenuous double-think, and transformed this sink-hole of a movie into an inspiring work of majesty in my mind. Maybe it should have never been made.  I definitely don’t care.

Fess up:  What shitty movies do you secretly adore?  There is no shame here.

Five Tips on How to Find True Love (From Someone Who Hates Love)

October 16, 2011

I don’t hate love, per se, but what with all the bitching and moaning I hear from couples who are not actually in love but won’t admit it (most, if not all), I’ve formed a jaded opinon about it.

steve ward, tough love, review, relationships, love tips

Leisure Suit Larry: Looking for Love (In Several Wrong Places)

First of all, most of the time love is two people with two completely separate agendas who have come together because they’re sexually compatible, or just hard up.  I don’t know if anyone else played Leisure Suit Larry in the 90′s, but for an early computer game about grizzly love affairs, it was pretty on the money.  Except for getting crushed by helicopters or gunned down for forgetting to pay for your Grotesque Gulp at the Quiki Mart.   That doesn’t usually happen.  But what does happen is some person wanders around through bad romance after bad romance, looking for “love” with only the vaguest notion of what they think that means.  To make this easier to digest, let’s assume I’m not talking about you: I’m talking about your friends.  You know, the friends who keep dating losers, or the friends who are constantly fighting with their significant other, or who can’t decide if they’re in a relationship or on the market.  Does that start to sound familiar?

Loneliness is a huge driving factor for these people.  Eating microwave dinners alone in your apartment  gets depressing, no matter how great you say being single is.  Again, this is easier to identify in other people rather than ourselves, so lets look at Bill, the middle aged divorcee who’s so glad he’s single, he loves being free, he doesn’t have to answer to anyone, it’s great, he’s never been happier.  And he’s not crying.  That tear is from holding back a yawn.  You know.  Because he’s exhausted from all the wild sex he’s been having now that he’s single. First off, lets bust that myth right now.

steve ward, tough love, review, relationships, love tips

"It's Friday, I'm in love."

Being single DOES NOT mean wild sex.  Being single means fussing in front of the mirror for an hour, curling your hair or unearthing the shirt that best hides your beer paunch, making sure you look presentable and appealing to whomever you’re trying to attract.  Then it means going out and winding up so drunk Amanda Lapore starts to look good.

Once you decide on their place or yours, you really should call a cab but instead you inevitably drive home drunk, because if you admit to being too drunk to drive it might imply you’re too drunk to fuck, and as we all know that only happens to other people.  So provided you make it home, you then engage in the worst missionary sex of your life because that’s all either of you can manage, and after that you pass out and wake up at seven AM next to some hideous stranger.  On top of that you have a brutal hangover as your body tells you “this is what you get for treating me so poorly.”

At this point, a proper relationship starts to look like a great idea, so you call up that friend of a friend, go out a few times for drinks, decide they’re not so bad; pretty nice actually: catch a Sunday matinee and BAM you’re in a relationship eating home cooked meals and having all the sex your body can handle.  You feel great!  But that shit don’t last.

How many couples have you known where the only reason they stay together is because they already are together?  Breaking up sucks, that’s why.  On top of being hurt and having to hurt someone else, you have to find a new place to live, you don’t have any money, it can drag on for weeks, and you feel like you wasted precious youth on some one who turned out to be vain, self-absorbed, lying, cheating, conniving, or unmotivated; any number of things that are all magnified times a thousand by the time you finally get around to giving the relationship the axe.  Knowing all this is in store it’s no wonder people put it off.  It’s easier to avoid the issue, maybe hope that person breaks up with you first; anything to keep you from having to own up and take responsibility for your future.  People hate doing that.  It’s hard.  I’ve seen people take some crazy shit to avoid having to do it.

Quickly, before we start; the top five most annoying things to witness in a relationship that should have ended a long time ago:

1.  Talking over each other.  This is never mutual, it is always one person talking louder until the other person just gives up.  This shit’s obnoxious, and don’t think that no one notices.  If you do this, knock it off, you asshole.

2. If you have to babysit your partner socially, i.e. check up on them constantly to make sure they’re having a good time because they’re obviously not,  you might want to rethink your compatibility.  Your relationship extends outside of the home, and if either of you are uncomfortable with that you’re going to have  a problem.  Plus it’s horrifically boring for other people.  Pretty soon you won’t be invited anywhere, so I guess you won’t have to worry about a relationship that doesn’t extend outside of the home.  Whole other problem, you miserable hermit.

3.  Pettiness.  Sorry ladies, this one tends to be on us, and it arises from not wanting to come out and say what we mean.  “He got her a shirt.  How come you never get me anything?  You know I don’t like whole milk.  Why did you buy whole milk?  The woman on the commercial gets breakfast in bed.  You never bring me breakfast in bed.”  God DAMN, don’t EVER pull this shit, especially not in the company of other people.  What you really mean is “I like to be made to feel special sometimes,” so fucking SAY THAT!  Otherwise everyone’s wondering what the hell your problem is.

4.  Not listening.  Your turn, boys.  You do this when you’re thinking “dat bitch be crazy,” when what it really is is you can’t be bothered to understand her point of view.  There’s this insidious rumor going around that women are complicated while men are simple; women are impossible to understand while men only want sex, food, and beer.  This is what you’re really saying when you repeat these things:  “My concerns are important.  Her concerns are stupid.  Therefore I am justified in ignoring her.”  The more you ignore her, the angrier she gets, and the more justified you feel in ignoring her.  Are you fucking retarded?

First of all, women are not complicated.  They want to feel valued, interesting, and appreciated, just like everyone else.  If you think I’m wrong and that men don’t value these things, just listen to a man who isn’t getting this kind of attention.  It sounds like “Fuck her, I can do what I want.  I don’t need that shit.”  This is the man’s equivalent of “why did you buy whole milk.”   It’s two different ways of saying “I need demonstrable proof that you care about me,” and oddly enough, neither of these are straightforward at all!  So the next time you think “dat bitch be crazy,” remember that you’re acting like a fucking moron, and if she goes apeshit on your ass, you deserve it.

5.  Couple who don’t like each other.  I don’t care how great the sex is.  If you can’t exchange a civil word in public or in the privacy of your own home, YOU DO NOT LIKE EACH OTHER AND YOU SHOULD BREAK UP!

All right, having identified these pitfalls, let’s move on to the five tips for finding true love.

True Love Tip #1 – For an enduring love that does not suck, BE HAPPY WITH YOUR OWN LIFE FIRST! Seriously.  A relationship is not going to fix your problems.  If you have low self esteem, you need to take care of that before you go inflicting it on someone else.  Remember: you’re not depressed because you don’t have a girlfriend.  You don’t have a girlfriend BECAUSE you’re depressed.  If you do have a girlfriend, it’s not her job to make sure you’re happy with yourself.  So in two years when you’re still feeling down, it’s not because she hasn’t been spending enough time with you, or because she doesn’t love you enough.  It’s because you’re depressed and depressing, and your dumb ass hasn’t done anything about it.  This brings me to tip #2.

True Love Tip #2 - Understand that you can only change your own behavior.  If your significant other is unmotivated and directionless, you can’t be their direction for them, no matter how hard you try (or nag, or guilt trip). If you think you can change someone when they see no reason to change, you’re delusional.  In fact, I dare you to name a single instance in which this attitude has been successful, and by successful I mean both parties are truly happy and satisfied.  I can tell you right now this doesn’t happen because people are who they are before they were born, and you can ask their mothers to confirm this.  Fetuses that kicked their mothers and raised hell in the womb grew to knock their heads at full speed on kitchen corners and fight with other babies.  In adulthood, they are still like this, only bigger, and their energy may or may not be more positively directed.  Your football playing, mountain climbing boyfriend is not ever going to want to curl up for a marathon of Grey’s Anatomy, ever, and if that’s what you like to do on your downtime, you’re going to run into serious problems down the road.  You’re just plain incompatible when “spending time together” means one of you is miserable or bored out of your skull.

True Love Tip #3 – Listen to your friends.  I know you’re not going to take their advice, but I’m just saying listen to what they have to say before ignoring it.  Your friends like you for who you are, and their hormones are not clouding their judgment about your SO, so any concerns they have are probably valid: not a call to action; just food for thought.  Your friends probably won’t say anything outright, but if  you ask what they think and you get a blanche and then an “Uuuuuhhhh, she’s pretty nice,” they’re lying and it means they don’t like the way she treats you.  You don’t have to act.  Just think about it.

True Love Tip #4 – I heartily recommend having a life outside of the relationship.  There are going to be rough patches, and when they come you’d better have something to do besides wallow in your own misery.  The friends you haven’t seen in months will forgive your negligence, but if all you can do is bitch and moan, then you’re really annoying and they’re going to talk about you when you leave.

True Love Tip #5 – Most importantly: IT IS OKAY TO BE WRONG.  Not every point in your life can be high point.  You can make stupid decisions and know that they’re stupid, and make them anyway, and that’s fine. If you find after five months, two years, whatever, that you’re with the wrong person, that’s okay.  Tip #5 in finding true love is knowing you can let a bad love go.  If your relationship is horrible, you don’t have to try to convince yourself otherwise in order to justify a series of bad decisions.  You don’t have to blame yourself or the other person.  Shit happens, you learn from it.

I think if you can slowly internalize these five guidelines, you will be that much closer to having true love in your grasp.

Got any love stories, horror stories, other tips, or think I’m full of shit?  Lay it down, let’s talk about it.

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