Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Conversation Chronicles: Dad’s Dating Advice

pops: so what’s going on in your life, Meel? anything interesting?

me: same stuff as always, Pops. mostly work.  

pops: what about social life? got something?

me: nothing worth mentioning.

pops: no? you know you not young girl anymore, Meel. you a woman now. time to get serious.

me: yeah, Pops, i know how old i am.

pops: it funny. all these years i never meet one man i think be good for my daughter. something always wrong. this one a cheat, other one a drunk, this one a gambler, this one lazy. 

me: and now you know what i deal with.

pops: but i got a feeling for you. i think somebody out there special just for you. he’s looking for you and you looking for him. but when he’s over there, you’re over here. and then you go over there and he comes over here, like you just miss each other. so far you don’t meet but you will.

me: oh yeah? and what’s he like?

pops: well, i think he a little older than you. good if he has own business. maybe married before but no kids. and he smarter than you, not too much, but enough to know how to deal with you. you know you’re not an easy woman. you need special man.

me: really? how am i not easy? this is all very interesting.

pops: you don’t like to listen to nobody. if you did, i would tell you what to do and you would do it long time ago. but you do what you want to do always. you too independent. not all men like it. they get scared, so you need special man that like it and look for it. but not a weak man. somebody strong that wants somebody also strong.

me: ok, i hope you’re right.

pops: i’m right. i got a feeling for you. take it easy, baby. you meet one day. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Behind the Headlines

seems like i’m all too happy to write about my love life for the new york times, but when it comes to the milla times, i stay silent. not that there is so much to report. i am still very much single and very content to remain this way until someone extraordinary comes along and moves me toward a status change. currently, i’m not doing much to move myself or anyone else toward that change. i am not internet dating, nor am i actively going to bars, clubs, book stores or art shows to meet men. i’m fairly apathetic about the whole matter, which can be tricky when I have a choice between attending a party or sitting in the bath with a book.

still, there have been rumblings here and there, none of which i care to go into in any detail as 1) it’s none of your damn business, nosy; and 2) see note above about there being not much to discuss. yet through these rumblings i’ve learned quite a few things about myself and others that i am willing to discuss.

in terms of myself, i’ve come to understand that i am not going to be every man’s cup of tea, which is ok as the inverse could be overwhelming. this is not said in a self-deprecating way. it’s just that i’ve realized that only a small pool of men would be interested in me and what i have going on. it’s a realization i’ve come to after being told repeatedly by my male friends that i’m “too intimidating,” “too successful,” “kinda scary” and that i “act like i don’t need anyone.” i’m never sure how to respond to this. i’ve also been told that i need to “dumb it down,” which is probably good advice in a parallel universe but not anything i would ever consider doing in this one.

in this one, my plan is to be thoroughly myself with the hope that the right people will respond, be they friends or romantic partners. it’s taken a long time to get comfortable in my own skin, and now that i’m here i couldn’t imagine misrepresenting myself or remaking my life into something that’s aimed at attracting a husband. maybe i just don’t want it that bad. see note above about apathy. 

of course, i do want a healthy, happy partnership and believe i’ll have one again eventually, but the process of getting from here to there seems to involve a bizarro world that i don’t understand at times. for me, it’s always been pretty simple: i find someone i really like who really likes me; we decide to be together and we’re together — end of story. of course, there has always been a breakup in those stories, but the getting together part has never been complicated.

in this world of dating, however, nothing is easy. there is always a game to play, a battle to win, a oneupmanship to outdo, and the constant pretending that you just don't care. please note that i’m a 100% complicit in these games. i do plenty of pretending i don’t care. i don’t like to relinquish control of a situation and i’m great at hiding every shred of vulnerability. this game is a game of chicken and the strength of my resolve will usually crown me the winner — or loser as the case may be.

the more caught up i get in this vortex of modern dating, the more drama enters my life and the more jaded i begin to feel. this makes me nervous. being jaded is the enemy. i never want to reach the point where i’m making sweeping generalizations about men, because i am no man-hater. i have a nice daddy and know plenty of quality men so i know they are out there.

the secret is having patience and the courage to stick to my convictions. admittedly, i’ve lacked both of these things in recent years but am hell bent on getting them back. i’m also committed to restoring my no-bullshit policy when it comes to dating, as being grown means acting like a grownup. it means listening to people even when they are telling you things you don’t want to hear, which leads me to the other things i’ve learned.

i’ve learned that when a man tells you he’s messed up, he knows what he’s talking about. i’ve learned that i should never discard the obvious for the possible, that i should never force anything or chase anyone, that things either work out or they don’t, and both outcomes are perfectly acceptable.

it’s back to basics for me, where actions are more important than words, reality is more telling than fantasy, and trying too hard indicates a bad match. it will be hard for me to forfeit all the games in favor of transparency, as i’m a champ at playing the hide-your-heart game, but i’m going to try as the alternative hasn’t worked out too well. so i’m going to give this honesty thing a try as i’ve heard good things about it. i’ll let you know how it goes.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Stuff and Things

the illustration accompanying my Modern Love essay in the New York Times by Brian Rea

minute 16: considering that i haven’t received any “fan” mail in about two weeks and that the high i felt right after the publication of my essay has been replaced by my usual crankiness, i think it’s safe to say my 15 minutes of fame are over. i had a hell of a ride, savored every surreal moment and will forever regard this as one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. just thinking about it now brings an easy smile to my face. it’s done much in restoring my confidence as a writer, and i’ve begun whispering “new york times, dumbass” to myself every time i feel a writer’s blockage forming. i haven’t had a chance to write much lately, but do have a working draft of what i hope will become my next published essay. it’s about porn, which means you won’t see it in the New York Times. i’m thinking Wall Street Journal instead. just kidding! it will probably fit at... ummm... i gotta think that through some more.

second issue of GEEK magazine on newsstands August 14

work: as always, there’s a ton of it keeping me busy and out of trouble. GEEK magazine is the biggest perp, so it’s good thing it’s also my favorite client. the editor and i have worked together for 10 years on five other publications so we’ve formed a strong working relationship in addition to a strong personal relationship (not that kind, perverts; he’s a taken man). i hope to be doing some writing for GEEK in the future in addition to the copy editing i do for it now. also, several of my photos from my first trip to Comic Con, which i still need to chronicle here, have made their way into the third issue, which comes out this fall, marking the first (and probably last) time any of my photos will appear in a national print publication. did i mention that the editor and i are close friends?

all dogs on deck

house: drumroll, please. still waiting. is your drum broken? fine, i’ll proceed without it. MY DECK HAS BEEN BUILT. and not just built, but painted and signed off on by an inspector from the City of Los Angeles (photos to come). it all happened so fast except that it didn’t. phase 1 of the remodel began on august 1, 2011, and stretched well past the year point. but now, with just a few weeks of finish work remaining, i’m sad that it’s about to end and find myself searching for more things for the crew to do just so they’ll stick around. of course, there is more to do, including converting my detached garage (that i never park my car in) into a guest house, but that’s a project for next year. in the shorter-term, the focus is on landscaping, so send me your referrals for great gardeners and landscape architects so they can get started immediately, as i seem to feel unsettled if my house isn’t under constant construction. plus, i really like bossing people around.

my feet and a sunset

free time: not only have i heard of this mysterious concept, i’ve indulged in plenty of it lately. it has taken the form of fancy but cheap meals with friends (thank you, dineLA), hangouts in the park with friends, live shows for bands such as Die Antwoord and Duran Duran, backyard barbecues with friends, and a day trip to San Diego that saw me purchasing a deck table and bench set from a carpenter who works with reclaimed wood, and making a stop at Stone Brewery in Escondido to fill up growlers with great beer. all in all, a great fucking summer.

next up for me is a great fucking fall. i have a few things cooking right now that will make it so. a hint is below. keep tuned.