Soundtrack of My Soul #7

Life Ain't Always Beautiful - Gary Allan

Life ain't always beautiful
Sometimes it's just plain hard
Life can knock you down, it can break your heart

Life ain't always beautiful
You think you're on your way
And it's just a dead end road at the end of the day

But the struggles makes you stronger
And the changes make you wise
And happiness has its own way of takin' it sweet time

No,life aint always beautiful
Tears will fall sometimes
Life aint always beautiful
But it's a beautiful ride

Life aint always beautiful
Some days I miss your smile
I get tired of walkin' all these lonely miles

And I wish for just one minute
I could see your pretty face
Guess I can dream, but life don't work that way

But the struggles makes me stronger
And the changes make me wise
And happiness has its own way of takin' its sweet time

No, life ain't always beautiful
But I know I'll be fine
Hey, life ain't always beautiful
But its a beautiful ride
What a beautiful ride


A Book About Memories: Year of Fog

Just finished another Michelle Richmond book, The Year of Fog. It talks a lot about memory, both very technical aspects and some of the softer sides. Some quotes I liked:

"That's the great thing about kids. I mean, when was the last time you were so excited about something you actually wet your pants?"


Requoted from Walker Percy's Moviegoer:
"To become aware of the possibility of a search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair."


Stuff from Books: No One You Know

Just finished reading Michelle Richmond's No One You Know. Quick read, suspenseful and moving, and filled with a few great quotes. Here are some I like:

A requote from Graham Greene's The End of the Affair:  A story has no beginning or end, arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.


Every story is an invention, subject to the whims of the author. For the audience on the other side of the page, the words march forward with a certain inevitability--as if the story could exist one way only, the way in which it is written. But there is never just one way to tell a story. Someone has chosen who will emerge as the hero or heroine, and who will play the villain. Each choice is made at the expense of an infinite number of variations. Who is to say which version of the story is true?


Sunrise had a way of putting an end to intimacy; the vulnerabilities men displayed in the middle of the night seemed to disappear with the moon and stars.


The seed of every relationship's demise is always apparent, even from the very first moment. If you look closely at the beginning, you will always be able to see the end.


It's just a story. You can take it or leave it. Stories aren't set in stone.


There is no such thing as a perfect ending, no such thing as an infallible narrative map. Arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead. Every story is flawed, every story is subject to change. Even after it is set down in print, between the covers a book, a story is not immune to alteration. People can go on telling it in their own way, remembering it the way they want. And in each telling the ending may change, or even the beginning. Inevitably, in some cases it will be worse, and in others it just might be better. A story, after all, does not only belong to the one who is telling it. It belongs, in equal measure, to the one who is listening.


Lovin Lovett

A little in love with Lyle Lovett right now.

If I had a boat
I'd go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I'd ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat


Chilean Miners See Light

For whatever reason, I am far more affected by this event than I would have ever expected. Maybe its because we were in Chile when the mine collapsed, or because I fell a little bit in love with the Chilean people and their spirit...I don't know exactly. But I do know that I am watching - riveted, along with the entire country of Chile, as every last miner is brought of the dark shaft they've called home the past two months. Mucho amor, hombres inspiradores.

Last night was silent. No cars on the streets. Every Chilean was sitting in front of the TV set and waiting to see the first face emerging from the bottom of the earth.
Hope was what we all were feeling. Only hope.
A technological device, a system designed to lift human beings that are at the bottom and bring them up is a powerful image. It is what we would like our socioeconomic system to be able to do with the poor. What we have been watching is somewhat linked to that dream, I think.
Of course, the most impressive moment was when the capsule Phoenix 2 appeared up there. Then it gradually went down and gently, tentatively, with shyness touched the floor of the hard rock.
Technology + poetry = humanity.
The first miner, Florencio Avalos, appears--like a newborn. His kid and wife are there. He hugs them. He looks fine. After 68 days under the Earth, his eyes, with sunglasses though, are the first to look up at the stars.
And we feel, with old Dante, that on this night in Chile, love moves the sun and all the other stars.
Sometimes, after all, life is as it should be.
 Read more:  http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/10/13/fontaine.chile.miners/index.html?hpt=C1


Wisdom from Reader's Digest

My wonderful mother gifts me with a subscription to Reader's Digest every year. As silly as it may seem, I actually really enjoy it. As a kid, RD was one of those things that came in the mail that was actually interesting to me. Finding that little thick rectangle in a stack of bills was always a reward for fetching the mail. So I read it. Still.

A quote from a recent issue I just had to share:

"The only reason to be in a long-term relationship with another adult is to have someone to laugh with. That's it. Because you can always hire someone to put in windows."


Feeling the Pam Houston Tonight

Just needed to get lost in my favorite female author for awhile. Thought I'd share some of the quotes that spoke to me. (I've posted some of these long ago here.)

"I wanted her to see that the only life worth living is a life full of love; that loss is always part of the equation; that love and loss conjoined are the best opportunity we get to live fully, to be our strongest, our most compassionate, our most graceful selves. "

"Life gives us what we need when we need it; receiving what it gives us is a whole other thing."

"The more important question, of course, was what the new Lucy would do, and even though I was pretty sure the old Lucy wouldn't be around much anymore, I was a little bit afraid the new Lucy hadn't yet shown up."

"The Universe has a plan to make sure we don't ever stop learning, not only in our minds, but also in our hearts."

"She's felt so bad for so long she don't know good when it's bubbling right out of her. And even when she catches up to it, she's waiting for whatever bad thing is about to happen next."

"If I had a daughter, I would tell her what a funny thing love is, how it never looks the way you think it's going to, how no matter how old you get, it is love that keeps surprising you. How in the songs sometimes it involves beaches and champagne and chocolate-covered roses, but in real life it is just a prematurely balding man standing in a drought-dried field telling you that he loves you, and that you should do whatever on earth you want."

"She wasted so much time trying to act perfectly, trying to guard against the loss, always fearful of making the mistake that would lead to it."

"I thought about all the years I'd spent saying love and freedom were mutually exclusive and living my life as though they were exactly the same thing."

"In every assumption is contained the possibility of its opposite."

"You wonder why there's no word for the opposite of lonely. You wonder if there's a difference between whatever might be truth and a performance that isn't a lie. In your life right now, you can't find one."


Coach Wooden, RIP

I first learned about John Wooden when my college basketball team was on a trajectory of consecutive wins in 2000. As we passed 70 consecutive wins, we started targeting Coach Wooden's record of 88 wins in a row with the '71-'74 UCLA men's team. We surpassed the record for DIII (SUNY Potsdam men's 1987 team hit 60). We surpassed the record for NCAA Women's Basketball of all Divisions (Connecticut made it to 70 wins in a row in 2003, after we ended our streak).

NCAA Record Book

We lost our 81st game, against the small religious school across the street. Sports Illustrated was there to report on our streak. And we lost. But we made it far enough that only one team in NCAA, any Division, had more consecutive wins than us. And that was Coach Wooden's 1970's Bruins.

When my team won their fourth national championship, we got these beautiful rings that had a big "81" inscribed in the side. I would look down and see that 81 and feel connected in this crazy way to my former coach, to Coach Wooden, and to the principles they both demonstrated.

A few of my favorite Wooden quotes:

"Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."

"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."

"Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there."

"If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes."

And, ironically, it was John Wooden who led me to believe that maybe it was time for me to quit basketball during my junior year:

"What you are as a person is far more important that what you are as a basketball player."

A couple of weeks ago I took off my ring for a league basketball game, and when I went to put it back on I couldn't find it. Given that I played off the bench, I'm not exactly sure about asking for a replacement, but I've got to say I've missed that ring immensely.

And today I miss it more.

Rest in Peace, Coach.


SFist's Reasons to Love San Francisco

I'm very much enjoying a new feature on SFist called 7 Reasons. Two of the first three posts are about why San Francisco is amazing.

I concur.


Embrace the Good

"It's not fate versus free will. It's fate and free will."

"Every day God puts something good in your life. Embrace it. And let all the other stuff fall away."

~Crazy wise religious guy on Flash Forward


Remember This. Write it Down. Don't Forget.

If you have been hurt or wronged it is not your responsibility to attempt to rectify the situation.

A lovely piece of advice from Dating is Miserable.


SF's Commitment Issues

Great article in 7x7 about dating in SF. It doesn't get into much detail, but I appreciated this insight:
Opening yourself to love means “accepting your place in human history.” Whoa. Could that be the real reason for San Franciscans’ inability to settle down? Are we so attached to the idea of being exceptional that we just can’t fathom settling—which would mean, in this case, settling down into the great ordinary mass of humanity? Is long-term love (as opposed to sex and romance) just too ordinary for San Franciscans?
I think there's something to this.

The people who work their asses off to get here and succeed are frequently very extraordinary people. Maybe we have unrealistic explanations about what love and commitment is supposed to feel like, supposed to be. Maybe we won't find it until we're willing to accept that sometimes the extraordinary is something that find everywhere, in everyone, right in front of our eyes.


Thought on What Women Want

 From Cougar Town

There is no end to what a man must do for a woman
How can I still not understand what women want?

Women just want a guy who respects our independence, but also wants to take care of us.
We want a guy who's secure, but also gets jealous.
We want a guy who truly listens to us, but also wants us to kinda shut up.
Like yesterday, when you were being a little mean to me, but you weren't being too mean, that was so hot.

It sucks being a dude...women want an everything man.


"Everything Man"

Runnin', runnin', runnin' just as fast as I can
Trying to be your everything man.

You want me to want you, but not every day.
You want me to beg when there is nothing to say.

You want me la la la la but there's always a hitch.
La la la la la when you act like a bitch.

You want toughness and sweetness
and softness and meanness
wanna make me the master of this inbetweenness

Runnin', runnin', runnin' just as fast as I can
Trying to be your everything man.


Witty Irishmen

I had the incredible opportunity last night to hear Rory O'Driscoll of Scale Ventures speak about the venture capital industry. Phenomenal speaker. The man is effing brilliant -- he kept throwing out references to macroeconomic concepts in relation to his work and he always had a couple of answers to each question depending on how you looked at the issue.

A couple of gems stuck with me:

"Relying on people to do the right thing for other people is not a scaleable process."

"You don't need to cap your upside going in. Life will cap your upside for you."

"You know I'm not lying now because we're talking with money."

Brilliant Man.


Told You I'm Not the Only One

Even SF Weekly thinks SF is a tough city for women looking to date men.

This week they featured an article about a pick-up artist who tried to teach SF women how to pick up men in the city...and found it more difficult than he expected.

Read for yourself: Girl Game

Some favorite excerpts:
...being a single, straight woman in this city can be an exercise in frustration and humiliation. All around the city, successful single women complain about not being able to find quality partners.

Although there's no hard data to prove it, anecdotal evidence abounds.
One possible explanation is that in San Francisco, men who aren't gay, married, or damaged by a previous owner are decidedly cagey when it comes to dating and relationships. "Men are more timid here to ask women out," says Emily Morse, a local radio show host who regularly discusses sex and relationships. "They also seem to think dating just isn't cool."

"I've never had as much trouble finding people to date as I have here," a woman wrote. It was the first response to an SF Weekly tweet calling for women fed up with the dating scene in San Francisco and willing to subject themselves to a pickup artist's workshop. "I moved to the city after a nasty breakup, expecting to casually date people," she continued. "I couldn't even get laid at first."

Plenty of other responses zoomed in, many including pointed complaints about male-female relations. "I've never seen so much dating down in my life," a woman wrote, referring to how many couples she knows that seem to include a smart, attractive woman and an average, barely tolerable guy.

In San Francisco, though, women have to deal with a lot of ambiguity. "We don't even know what it is," Valencia said of some men she has encountered around the city. "Is it gay? Is it straight? Is it a friend Is it a foe? Is it looking for a job? Is it looking for a place to crash?"
Another contributing factor to the dating doldrums: "There's no pressure to grow up here," she says. "The way I act now is pretty much the same way I acted when I was 24. It's culturally reinforced here. Nobody cares that you're in your late 30s and have roommates."
But as someone who has lived in New York City, she has noticed that in San Francisco, men are not very bold in approaching women.
"Here, there are all these group get-togethers," she says. "Men prefer to see women a few times before asking them out." And, as in any other city full of young, ambitious people, San Franciscans seem less interested in settling down than in exploring their options.
Maybe it was because we were out on a Wednesday. Maybe we had chosen the wrong bar. But that particular scenario — having just a couple of attractive men to fight over, finding out they're gay, then hitting on them anyway — seemed a perfect representation of what it's like for a single woman in San Francisco.
Valencia said her mother has a theory about men. "A good guy is like a good bra," she used to say. "He should uplift and make you look beautiful. He should fit really well. He should flatter you and never poke you in the wrong place or make you uncomfortable."

Dating's hard! (said in an incredibly whiny voice, of course)


Bad Decisions

Saturday the waves were strong enough for Mavericks to finally be held, after a hiatus from less than stellar waves. The waves were record-breaking, and while the contestants avoided serious catastrophe, several spectators were injured.

So maybe, just maybe, this wasn't the best day to go swimming off the coast of Carmel. Just a thought.


Good Mothering

Overheard in SF:

"If he can't figure out the public transportation system, well ... I don't want you dating him."
(Mother to teenage girl, overheard at San Francisco General Hospital)


No Pretty Boys

You would think the news that most women prefer pretty boys would make my life easier.

Give me a strong jaw line and a bit of ruggedness any day.


Saturday Afternoon

She squints as the clouds blow by, letting the sun flash in through the cafe window.
"I just don't get why he hasn't called back. It's been two days. He never takes this long."

One of the other three women at the table hands her a pair of sunglasses.
"Honey, don't worry about it, he's probably out of town...somewhere with no reception."

"Or," another drawls as she examines her reflection in the window, "he's so wrapped up in some other girl he hasn't even checked his phone." She brushes off the death glares and napkin wads.

"Maybe he got into a terrible accident and he's in a hospital somewhere. He could be dying wishing I was by his side! Maybe I should call around?"

"Don't sound so hopeful."

"Well, it's better than another woman." She pushes out her bottom lip.

The fourth woman speaks up. "Maybe he's in jail."

"If only he was exciting enough for me to believe that one. It's probably something totally boring. I bet he dropped his phone in the toilet and fried his contacts."

"You really think he's the kind of guy who wouldn't have them backed up?"

"Oh, damn."

"Maybe a friend came into town unexpectedly and he just isn't thinking about it."

"Yeah, the woman he's wrapped up in." This time she dodges french fries.

The phone rings.


Living Life Without Regrets

I used to live my life without much regard for my safety. I did what I wanted when I wanted, and while I took reasonable precautions, in general I wasn't overly occupied with thoughts of danger.

Over the past few years, I built up a life for myself that could lead to a nice secure future. I got to a point of financial stability and job and career security, and I gave up risks that might jeopardize those. I was working toward a family, so I stopped thinking about the things I wanted to try before I got there.

In the past year, enough has happened to completely turn that back around for me. The recession, heartbreak, family struggles, health scares...so much has fallen together to remind me to look inward and determine what's important to me.

While what I really want is to travel, spending time in lots of crazy remote places where a saner person might not venture, I do still have some restraints. I'm in school, I've got a job, I've got the chance to invest now in a way that could lead me to a job that would allow me the ability to do the travel I want in the future. What these restraints don't do, however, is keep me from pursuing some of the adventures I can locally. Sailing, salsa dancing, climbing, caving, surfing, skydiving, scuba, intense yoga retreats...these are all things I can do here, and I've avoided because I felt like I was saving time and money for something that just isn't gonna happen now. I felt like I'd have time to do those things, but the truth is, I might not.

I was talking to my sister, an insurance agent, today about adding another life insurance policy so that I could feel a bit better about protecting my mom. She, of course, wanted to know why. So I told her. I'm scared to wait to do the things I'm scared to do. I want to do everything that scares me, and I want to do it now.

Some things that scare me are simple and silly. The other night I was walking with A to the gym and we passed the boxing gym with a sign that said "First Class Free". I was having a very difficult day and not feeling super confident, and A kinda reached toward my arm to pull me in and just walked to the front desk and asked how we get started. The guys (totally hot, btw!) were so amused by us, and specifically asked us to come back when one of them would be teaching. We're now set to start next week. I'm so excited about this little act. Yes, simple, silly - why would I be scared of a boxing class? Why am I intimidated by a bunch of guys and staring and judging and thinking I'm not good enough? Ridic, but still a real fear.

Other things that scare me are a little more serious. I want to walk by a cliff by the ocean and climb it because it's there - not because someone has a rope course already laid out. I want to boulder in the surf along the coast. I did a teensy bit of that down in Big Sur in December, but it was just enough to whet my appetite. I want to explore a cave nobody knows. I want to go where I want to go, regardless of locks or fences or signs. I want dive a shipwreck, jump out of a plane, sail down the coast...I want to do it all.

This is what I told my sister. I guess I expected her to argue with me because I found myself surprised when she told me that she not only supported my decision, but also encouraged me to do everything I can while I can. She reminded me that while our family lives long lives, you never know when some health scare or financial trauma will hit and make everything impossible. If I'm gonna do it, I need to do it now.

She ended the phone call by telling me something she's said to me many times over the years. There are many iterations of this quote, but my sister's simplified, drawled version is by far my favorite:

There's no reason to live my life so I come out pretty in the end. I wanna come out all used up and messy and screaming, "Wooo Hoooo, What a Ride!"

Thanks, Sissy.


You Know You're From Springfield When...

although I'm actually from a small town outside of Springfield, all of these made me smile with a bit of nostalgia this morning (especially after the crazy changing weather we've had here in SF the past couple days...I miss thunder!)

You know you're from Springfield, MO when...

you take out-of-town guests to Bass Pro Shops.

your high school had more pickup trucks than cars.

you still have to think every time someone says MSU.

you knew someone you went to school with/dated/taught/worked with Brad Pitt.

you've crashed other schools' proms.

you started watching "The Bachelor" second season.

you've bought live bait at a local gas station.

the concept of numbered streets is totally foreign to you.

you know which restaurant owner invented cashew chicken, and you debate where to get the best.

when someone mentions minorities, you think they're talking about underage drinking.

your whole town stood outside watching tornados rather than taking shelter.

road construction and lake levels lead the local news.

you go to the park at 3pm to enjoy a sunny day, and by 3:05 you're running for cover from the thunderstorms.

you can count all the escalators in town on one hand.

you mark significant events by which ice storm it was closest to.

you can throw a rock from any corner and hit either a church or a chinese restaurant.

you only know who Robert Franklin Stroud, John Gotti, Larry Flynt, and Manuel Noriega are because they were patients at the federal prison medical center, and you cheered when Johnny Sack died on The Sopranos because you knew the place.

you cruised Battlefield.


I am a Moron

I had a bit of an emotional break on Sunday night taking care of the ex's cat. In looking for a bowl to put down extra water, I opened cabinets to find MY dishes. Dishes I'd had since before I met the ex. I knew of course that I had given him these dishes...but to see my dishes in his apartment was a little jolt to me. I noticed on his counter that he had bottles of wine that we'd picked out together. Also, we raised a kitten together. And seeing his new cat in kitten stage...seeing him make choices he learned from our experience. It was all a little much.

That night I had a dream involving kangaroos - I'd been viewing someone's pics that evening - and I woke up thinking about the Australian wine we chose together. The really good (relative term for a region that specializes in Sancerre) bottle of  Shiraz we brought back from the Hunter Valley (from a beautiful winery called Iron something or other) has been waiting for me to have a moment like this. The wine represented a time when my future was planned much differently than it is today, and I wanted to toast to that memory and drink it away.

I pulled out the bottle with A, but we couldn't finish it. We acknowledged that it wasn't something we'd normally drink, but we tried to take it in context. This was a red wine from a region known for sweet whites. That's why it was really fruity and too sweet. But it meant something to me. And I knew I had liked this wine in Australia.

After a glass I turned to A and asked if she was sure it wasn't corked. She confirmed that it wasn't, and that this was just not a wine we would normally drink.

The symbolism inherent in a wine that I had loved and hoped for and waited for turning out disappointing was just too much for me to bear, and I couldn't have any more. But I also couldn't bring myself to pour it down the drain. This wine meant something. I was certain the taste I didn't like was based more on my emotion than on actual flavor qualities.

In a fit of not caring about providing alcohol to the homeless, I hoped to find someone on the way home who could use a little bit of a warming up (yep, judge me now). The two guys normally camped out on California weren't there. The woman on Hyde was nowhere to be found. I wanted someone to appreciate this wine.

It occurred to me that my neighbor might enjoy trying a wine that can't be purchased here, as he is just starting to really learn the ins and outs. So I take over the remainder of the bottle, but he makes it very clear that it is, in fact, shitty wine. I take another sip and finally admit to myself that it's awful. The altitude from the flight must have killed the flavor. I was upset, but there was also something slightly liberating about pouring it down the drain.

So this morning I get a text with a pic attached, asking me why my Australian wine has a California label. I look at the picture, scour my wine racks, and let my mistake sink in.

This is the wine I had last night. You can buy it for $7 in discount stores. Don't buy it. It's crap.

And this is the wine (unopened) I brought over from Australia. You can't buy it here, but if you bought it there it would be currently be about $25.

I got emotional over a crap Lodi wine (also from a fantastic trip, though!) while my Hunter Valley shiraz sat safely in my apartment.

On the upside, I think I've embarrassed myself enough lately that I no longer have any shame.


From the Mouths of SF Men

Continuing the conversation about nice guys and/or SF passive guys...

I was recently out with a friend who moved here last year from the East Coast and his roommate, who was born and bred in the Bay Area. My friend is the epitome of what I think it means to be a man. (Well, almost...Marlboro Man of Pioneer Woman is the true epitome, but I'm so never gonna meet that type out here.) He pays - even for friends when he can. He makes decisions, he open doors, he carries heavy things, he takes risks, he displays confidence, he walks girls home or hails their cab...as I'd say it back home, his mama done him good. So, knowing my friend's answer already, I asked the roommate if he always paid on the first date. Without hesitation he said no. We delved a little further and he emphasized that he behaves out of a belief in equality, not out of being a cheapskate. He said that he does usually offer to pay, but that the girls frequently argue with him and he's not going to let that go on all night. It seems like maybe the women are the cause of confusion rather than the guys not manning up. Unfortunately, I'm starting to think neither the men nor the women of SF were properly taught the rules (or they let go of their training in the confusion of SF liberalness). To do my part for my humanity, I decided to clarify the rules of paying for dates, as learned in southern Missouri and followed thus far by every man I've ever dated except SF boys.

First Date:

Bill comes, I take out my card in an offer to pay for my half.
He argues and says he has it.
I say thank you and put my card away.

If he actually lets me pay my half, there will be no second date.
I don't care how poor/broke you are. I don't need much. But if I'm not worth you making that gesture the first time we meet, it's not a date, and you therefore won't be getting a second one.

Second Date:

Now, this one is slightly more tricky.
If the first date was fairly expensive, I'm likely to ask if I can take him out this time and insist that I pay, but it will be for a less expensive thing than he did. I will also let him pitch in for drinks or pay half the bill for the date if he insists (and this would earn points and increase likelihood of 3rd date).

If the first date was normal, I'll again offer to pay my half, but I won't be offended if he accepts my offer.
I would expect him to then do something extra, though, like pay for a cab or purchase an after dinner drink. It wouldn't be points against him if he didn't, but it sets it up for a weird dynamic in which we're already discussing who pays for what a little soon in the dating scheme.

If he pays for the second date in full, I will be sure to pay for after dinner drinks or a cab or something small. I will also insist that I get to treat him next time, but again, he'll earn bonus points if on that next time he picks up some small thing like a drink or cab.

And so it goes until it evens out with him paying about 3:2 or so.

I like this plan. I have no problem feeling like he is taking care of me financially in regard to those dates, because it will even out. I'll keep my fridge stocked with his favorite beer or keep his whiskey at my bar. I'll buy the groceries when I make him dinner. I'll spend money on pretty underwear for his benefit. It just works.

The problem with the SF man not paying for the dates in the same way means the other stuff no longer evens out. So I spend money on make-up and hair and cute shoes and facials and yoga classes and sexy underwear - all so he gets what he wants. And now I ALSO have to share the burden of half the dates? As if men spend nearly as much as we do on these things. And honestly, if I trust him to pick up the alcohol, it's gonna be all beer all the time, and sometimes I need to go pick out that fancy bottle of wine. Am I supposed to ask him to repay me for half? Or groceries - I will always go for the local organic cut of beef, so if I expect that I have to buy it...which means I'm paying for it then, too.

These men who are trying to be more equal are forgetting about the natural dynamic that has worked for decades.
YES, I make money. I may even make as much as you. But women still don't make as much as men, even in the exact same positions at the same company. And men sure as hell don't shell out $150 to keep their skin clear and soft, their hair shiny and touchable, their hairy regions waxed, and everything else perfect just for us.

Boys, if you want to date a girl who doesn't wear make-up, shows up in the same clothes you wear, never wears sexy lingerie, has hairy legs and armpits, has wrinkles and/or major zits, and smells like discount soap - fine. Then you can let her pay. And yeah, you may think that beautiful chick across the bar is just that girl, but that's only because you don't know what goes into creating that "natural" look. You know how long we fuss just to make sure that one tousled lock of hair falls just so? And yes, we do it for us. But we also do it for you. So when you go around deciding to treat us equally by choosing not to pay for that first date, you throw off the balance. All of a sudden we're paying equally, but we're putting far more effort into our appearance. Then we start to think maybe we're better than you. Then we start looking for the guy who will pay. OR, we stop giving a shit, stop shaving, and start wearing ratty old grandma undies with holes and frayed waistbands. Up to you boys, make your choice.

ANYWAY, this all came up again because I was reading Why There Are No Girls in SF and Sam posted a guy's perspective of the city's unaggressive men. Sam points out that men are unaggressive here, in this case in approaching women, because the women are too damn scary.
SF women seem to have this hybrid sensibility of hill-billy southern gallantry, where prescribed gender roles dictate who should aggressively pursue whom, and a regionally specific 70s-style extremist feminism, where there is hyper sensitivity to being hit on. According to San Francisco magazine, “Bay Area women have been known to react to innocent flirting as if they'd been groped ...
That’s the paradox. SF women get sort of annoyed when guys attempt to seduce them. Not bemused or bored, annoyed. The fact that the average SF guy has the charm of a yard rake doesn't matter. SF women want men to make advances on them but without them knowing that the advance is being made, which requires not just Code speak but pretending to be gay.

This creates what anthropologists call a double bind dilemma. A successful response to one message implicates a failed response to the other, so that the person will be automatically wrong regardless of response. It's pretty much the kind of thing that broke the Union in 1861 and makes the Middle East a total mess. So if you’re a guy in San Francisco and there's a pretty girl sitting next to you, what’s the right move? You keep quiet, keep your head down and hope no one starts yelling.
And you know what? I think maybe he's right. We are an independent sort here in SF, and it is frequently the case when we are out that we don't want to be bothered. Sometimes a guy interupting girl time is intrusive, and perhaps SF girls are a little more vocal about that. Maybe that leads to exactly what Sam posits about men just keeping their heads down and waiting for the girls to come to them.

Now, I was taught that if you aren't interested you always say thank you with a big smile and simply decline the opportunity for an introduction or a free drink. This encourages men to keep trying with other woman. Having seen other women out here react harshly to come-ons, I have to wonder if this isn't all our fault. Have too many of us women rejected vocally and meanly to the point where all the SF balls are now shriveled and tucked up inside never to be seen again? Honestly? It almost makes me feel more sorry for the guys here than disgusted with them. Good thing I'm way past my pity sex days.

Ladies, we need to understand our job. The men need to understand theirs.

We get pretty, we smell nice, we buy nice underwear and bat our eyelashes. Men pay (at least at first and usually slightly more overall), open doors, carry heavy things. Not because we can't do those things, but because they want to do them for us.

We can be equals, we can share power, but come on...there's a nice balance to how things work (one I find particularly sexy), and we're seeing the evidence of f*cking with that as plain as day.


Pioneer Woman's Love Story

I'm still not a hundred percent sure how I came across her website, but Ree, better known as Pioneer Woman, has a collection of blog posts that are stealing all of my time.

Ree was a midwestern girl who moved to LA for college and loved it. She stayed a few years after, knowing that she needed the big city, and happy in a long relationship.

As that relationship progressed, though, Ree realized that she needed some time alone to figure things out. She didn't know exactly what she wanted to do or where she wanted to be, so she went home.

Then she met the cowboy.

Seriously, this woman lived my effing fantasy. Except for the whole, move away from the ocean AND the city thing. Not sure I could handle that one.

Her writing is worthy of any romance section, but ladies beware - you'll be pulled in faster than you think.

On this one, though, I'm gonna say it's worth it.

Read Ree's Story.
(read from the bottom up)

Weirdly, I prefer reading it in those installments. Once you get far enough in, however, you'll find Ree's link to the entire story all in one place. Try that if it makes you happier.