Do you know what you’re made of?
I don’t mean physically – like your composition. No, what I’m talking about are those experiences from your life that made you the way you are today. You know, like when someone says a certain thing to you – be that “get out of my hair”, or “what lovely eyes you have”.
What shapes the ways we respond to what others say to us?
Is it our original programming; that version of software that came pre-installed in our between-the-ears hard drive? Or is it the way we were conditioned by parents, teachers and life’s hard knocks?
A combination of both?
Here’s why I ask: There are things I’d like to change about myself. I can hear what you’re thinking now: “But John, you’re super great, at writing and probably many other things, so why change?” And trust me, I get your point – but there are still things about me I might want to modify a smidge.
Like how I argue.
Loretta: This ought to be interesting… Continue reading →
In honor of National Brother Day I thought I’d write about my brother, Brian.
Brian is two years younger than me, and two inches taller (which doesn’t seem right, but whatever) and is really one of the best guys I know. He’s always ready to help, and is cool under pressure which – if you had a childhood like ours – was a vital skill.
And by “childhood like ours” I don’t mean to imply our childhood wasn’t good, or healthy or loving. It was those things. But it was also dangerous, and daring, and exciting – mostly because we made it that way.
Here’s the sort of stuff I’m talking about:
Our parents were born in Ireland – and because they were they liked to go to Irish events to comingle with other Irish immigrants and do Irishy stuff.
One Saturday when I was about 12 and Brian 10, they piled us in the station wagon and took us to an Irish dancing competition at a local middle school (think Riverdance for 7th graders) so that we could watch the children of other Irish immigrants bounce up and down to really fast Celtic music.
Whatever. Continue reading →
So the funniest thing happened to Loretta and me the other day – and by funny I mean mysterious.
Loretta and I have been married for the better part of a year – and we were together for over a year before that. So you’d think we’d have the bigger topics sorted out by now. Sure, we know which side of the bed each sleeps on. And who gets the bathroom first (and I’m OK with second, really I am). But there are still some topics we have trouble with.
Like how much time do I get to myself?
Hi, this is Loretta, and I’ve been proofreading John’s columns for over two years now. Sometimes he listens to my advice, sometimes not, so I think it’s time I added my two cents to what he says about us. First of all, part of the predicament is, after years of being single and on our own, we tend to think in terms of “I” instead of “we”. It’s “how much time do WE get to ourselves?” Not ‘how much time to I get to myself?” Continue reading →
“…so when Loretta and I got back home I set up a couple dates, with other women, online.
Please understand that last sentence makes no more sense to me now than it does to you – but at the time that was how I thought. Or maybe, more accurately, didn’t think. It was sort of this automatic behavior pattern I was in, like autopilot, which the online sites fit into – and fed into – perfectly. A new date with a different girl was always just an email away.
So I sent some emails, lined up a couple dates, and got busy distracting myself from the one woman I should’ve been focused on. After one of those dates I met Loretta at our coffee shop to go over lease forms for my rental (she had been in real estate and was knowledgeable about such things) and as we sat at a table deciding who was best to rent to, my phone buzzed with a text message. I looked at it and saw that it was from a woman I’d just gone out with the day before.
My demeanor changed instantly – and I was sure that Loretta caught it. The easy conversation we’d been having stopped being easy as it became clear there was now a new topic waiting to be discussed. Turns out Loretta had seen the screen of my phone as the text came in and so saw the name of the woman it was from and, not being shy, asked who she was. I said she was someone I’d met online and that we’d gone out. To say it was an awkward conversation is an understatement.
But we had it nonetheless – I told the woman sitting in front of me all about the other woman I’d just gone out with. I had this habit of being quite frank with Loretta – of telling her things that I wouldn’t confide in other women in my life. And I think ‘confide’ is the operative word here. I’d made her a confidant – I think because we started out with a friendship. And because she was my friend and confidant I would often tell her things without first thinking about how they might affect her – I guess as I would with a guy friend. But she was starting to have feelings for me. And I was starting to have them for her – and wanted to, in some way, make her feel like she was special to me, despite my habit of running with scissors. I told her that while I might meet another woman for coffee now and then, she was my lover – and because she was I would not be with another.
We were entering a curious space between friends and lovers, where we were still both – and yet on our way to something else…”
Although you may not believe what they do next – you can find out for a song.
Introducing the ‘Summer-Reading-List’ sale price of $2.99 for the eBook version of Online Dating Sucks …but it’s how I fell in love.
Do you have a memory that has stayed with you over the years?
You know the kind – it’s sort of like an unanswered question that lives in the back of your mind – and every now and then, maybe every month or two – or even every year or two – it resurfaces. It comes back because it’s a puzzle you haven’t solved yet. And if there’s anything that makes us uncomfortable, it’s an unanswered question. Well I’ve got one of those – and I’ve had it since 1989.
It won’t go away because it concerns the death of a man. Continue reading →
Did you ever pretend to be someone you’re not?
I’ve personally attempted the feat quite a few times, with perhaps the most entertaining episode being when I pretended to be a salesman – for about 20 years.
That began about 1990 when I was working part time in a warehouse and going to college mornings and nights. My major was Political Science, and I had aspirations of working in government. I’d considered the Foreign Service – a part of the State Department that works with Americans overseas – or maybe even the FBI.
Life was pretty good then – though I was super busy, I was busy doing stuff I liked, like going to college. And since even the stuff I wasn’t crazy about, like working in a warehouse, was in support of higher ideals, things were okay.
But then life, as it has a way of doing, changed… Continue reading →
Here’s a great Online Dating question.
And the fascinating part is, the right answer pretty much depends on your gender…
I used to have a phone-phone, but now I have a smart-phone.
And on that smart phone are many apps, widgets and such designed to make life easier. Which is funny, because I pretty much remember life being easier before smart phones. So maybe the phone’s real purpose was not simply to make life easier – but to get life back to as easy as it was before we had smart phones?
No, that can’t be right… Continue reading →
I was stationed in Washington DC in the 80’s, and one of the things I really loved there was the nightlife.
For a kid of 18 – just released from small town America – I had wandered into a wonderland.
The bars there were amazing – even the dive joints. If I remember correctly the girl to guy ratio in DC back then was something like seven women to every man. Which I guess is why even the crummy places were great.
The music scene in those days was incredible (which I’m sure it still is, but you always judge the stuff from your youth to be better than the stuff from anyone else’s youth). Continue reading →