Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Religion vs. Dating: How much do you care about your date’s relationship with God?

Image via chicago-dating.net

I’m one of the least religious people you’ll ever meet. I sing John Lennon’s Imagine, and mean every word-especially the part about religion.

It baffles and saddens me what people do to each other because of religion. Leaving wars and other types of violence for deeper posts (and blogs), I also detest it when people get extremely prejudiced against other people.

That being said, I’m not so oblivious to the fact that I’m a bit prejudiced about extremely religious people. If they are open and sweet people, I admire them. But when people think that heaven is all about following one particular religion blindly, it does get on my nerves.

Oh, I never said I don’t believe in God. I do. However I see where atheists come from and respect their opinions too.

I don’t like how religions are interpreted for the most of the time. I believe that we should just all be as nice and humane as possible, and if there is a higher being, we will all be just judged according to how good we have been. However I doubt being good has a lot to do with what we wear, how much we date or how much we follow a society’s norms.

So when it comes to dating, I wouldn’t want to date an overtly, strictly religious person- whatever that religion might be. I don’t care for traditions if I haven’t created them, and when it comes to following rituals, I’m too questioning to just join in for the ride.

Why does religion matter? Do you also not date people who don’t support your favorite sports teams? What, did my analogy see shallow or stupid? Don’t get mad just yet - bear with me:

I have a favorite soccer team. Do you know why? Because my dad supports it. When I was 2, I was supporting my mom’s team, who was supporting my uncle’s team. Guess what, she doesn’t care about soccer either, but my uncle does, and so does my dad. So she and my grandmother, as a gesture to my dad, made me switch. And because I’ve been sort of supporting my dad’s team for over two decades now, I’m used to it.

I like it when they win because it puts my dad in a good mood. And I do get the faintest of thrills. Faintest, because if they lose, I couldn’t care less.

I have a religion too, by the way. Guess what? My mother and my father belong to this religion. They are both sort of religious, though they are not strict. I was born into it, and if you asked me if I had a religion, I sort of have an answer. Do I feel like I belong there? Not really. I accept a few basic rules that seem logical and humane (and stuff that no religion or a moral person can argue with. You know, like, killing is bad).

Because of this “light” relationship I have with religion, I really don’t care what what religion any guy I date belongs or doesn’t belong to.

But the more religious people get, the more they tend to want to be with people who share their beliefs, so I feel that I’m more suited for agnostics, or people like me, who were born into their religions, and don’t feel any closer to any other religion to go about changing theirs.   

But at 28, as much as I don’t care about soccer, I wouldn’t change my team. Just like I wouldn’t change my religion. And I wouldn’t ask anyone to change his.

How about you? Does your (lack of) religion/belief affect your romantic life? And how so?

Imagine Lyrics
Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Long Distance Relationships vs. Long Distance Friendships: Which One Is Harder?

Image via shelovesmagazine.com

It’s funny how long-distance dating is a universally recognized challenge. Everyone has a strong opinion on it. Most of us have either attempted it once, or have supported a friend through their attempts. And hey, I agree. It is a freakin’ hard situation to be in. Because more often than not, one side will be more invested than the other. It almost often ends in tears, and leaves the rest of us swearing off it for good.

But what about long distance friendships? With all the traveling, abroad education and work experience we’ve been getting into all our lives, we make a lot of great friends who live far from us. Some live in other countries, some outright on other continents. Not that living on the far corners of one big country is easy, either. And what about those cities that have more people than most countries?

So how do you go from seeing someone on a regular basis to the obligatory “let’s keep in touch”?

How do you get used to having a really close friend a few doors away or in the same classes to meeting for a couple of times a year? Or just once in a couple of years?

Now, updating each other about our lives had never been easier. We have Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, e-mail, Skype...And hey, there are also cheap flights and accomodation.

But for every option to connect virtually or in real life, there are numerous setbacks. You might have a friend who detests social networking. You probably have a friend who never has money/time when you do and viceversa. Time and money hardly come together. Then there’s work, friends who actually live closer, romantic relationships, starting families, demanding jobs...

In theory, if you both really care about each other and want to make it work, you will make it work. In reality, even if you are adamant about ensuring your friendship will stand the test of time (and distance), neither of you are prone to crises of one kind of the other.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m so not claiming that I’m perfect.

I’ve been known to nag my abroad friends for not keeping touch online, where I have failed to keep in touch with those who live in the same city.

I’ve been known to complain about how romances change people and some friends just can’t multitask (some people are better friends when they are single- meaning they only seem to have time for two things at a time in life), and yet  I have cheated on many friends with work (-work being writing).

Yet with all our faults and virtues, and despite all the conspiracies and surprises life sends our way, we still manage to be more hopeful about our friendships.

I’ve never heard someone say “Nah, long distance friendships never work,” as opposed to the relationship version of that sentence. Hell, I agree with the relationship version of that sentence.

Funnily enough, two of my now long-distance friends were in a relationship. The guy ended it because he didn’t believe in you-know-what. She was so heart-broken. But guess what? The guy was a lot better at maintaining a long distance friendship than she was.

So here’s the deal: I don’t give up on my friendships without a fight. If they show me that they still care about me, regardless of my location and how often they can physically see me, I do my best to make sure we last.  I’d love to think that the people who left an impression on me won’t give up on me easily either.

I’m still skeptical about long-distance romantic relationships. But friendships?  I guess I just care too much.

How about you? Where do you stand when it comes to long distance relationships – whether its friendship or romance?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Would You Date the Ultimate Adventurer? On Free Spirits, Romance and Out of Africa

Picture this: He’s handsome and muscular in a manly way, the rock-hard body gained through outdoorsy activities. He’s ruggedly attractive, but clean cut looks good on him too - should he choose to get one.

He’s dressed in a universally acceptable code- mostly jeans, pastel colors (or he can go bright blue occasionally to bring out the color of his eyes.) He’s taller than you. He’s also charismatic, confident and only cocky to those that deserve it. He is a nice guy at the core, and he is foremost in love with his independence, and more often than not, nature.

They can get very romantic when they like you, and going on dates with them can be exhilarating.  They don’t mind being loyal,either.  Maybe it is a part of their code, or maybe it’s because they hardly have time to romance one woman. Being adventurer is a full-time personality need...

Does that remind you of a couple of movie heroes? Depending on your age and preference, I could be talking about Robert Redford’s Denys in Out of Africa (1985), Vincent Perez’s Paolo in I Dreamed of Africa (2000) or Hugh Jackman’s Drover in Australia (2008)… 

Image via movie-poster-artwork-finder.com

You know the archetype.  But when the “honeymoon period” is over, and the couple begins to feel like they are falling for each other, things start to change. The fact that the woman wants to spend more time together starts to get to the guy.

Mind you, with more time, we are not talking about being together all the time. But when one side starts spending the relationship as a hotel, coming and going as he pleases, his loyalty, romantic gestures and sexual talents start not mounting up to much.

A relationship doesn’t have to be boring, predictable or stifling. It’s good to give each other some space, have friends that are not common and have some separate activities. But it all goes downhill when one side wants to make all the shots. 

Out of Africa is not the ideal romance, but it serves as a great fantasy- for a bit.
Until the great hunter Denys starts getting itchy when Karen (Meryl Streep) doesn’t want to feel alone anymore. 

You see, I might not be able to identify with a woman who moves to Africa (from Denmark) and runs a large coffee farm there, but I can certainly empathize when she realizes that being alone when you are supposedly with someone is worse than being alone on your own.

No, they don’t have to get married. They don’t have to be official anything. But if it is a big deal-breaker for the guy when the woman wants to feel more like she has a boyfriend, it is a big deal breaker for the woman when the guy wants to do whatever/whenever and not include her needs and wants in his plans. 

I love this dialogue from the movie. It takes place right around the time expectations clash:

Karen: When you go away on safari, are you ever with someone else?
Denys: I’d be with you if I wanted to be with anyone.
Karen: Ever get lonely?
Denys: Sometimes.
Karen: You ever wonder if I’m lonely?
 Denys: No, I don’t.
Karen: You think about me at all?
Denys: Often.
Karen: But not enough to come back.
Denys: I do come back. All the time. What is it?

(I’m skipping the part where Karen talks about marriage and Denys says that a piece of paper won’t make him love her more because I agree with Denys there. And marriage is really the least of their problems. Though that part provides some nice light humor as well.)

Karen: When you go away, you don’t always go on a safari, do you?
Denys: No.
Karen: Just want to be away.
Denys: It’s not meant to hurt you.
Karen: It does.
Denys: Karen I’m with you because I choose to be with you. I don’t want to live somebody else’s idea of how to live. Don’t ask me to do that.

It’s ironic how he insists on being himself, because it is his life- but he doesn’t acknowledge that he is asking her to live his idea of a life, romance, relationship. I could totally relate to Karen hesitating between wanting to be with him and kicking his butt out in the wilderness for once and for all. She does both, by the way.

Sure, it is only a movie. Except this movie was based on a true story. (So was I Dreamed of Africa, on a side note.) 

You know this guy. You’ve met him before, or at least heard about him.
The idea of a ruggedly handsome, outdoorsy, adventurous type might sound alluring. A fling with such a guy might be something worth trying out. But don’t let him make all the rules, especially if you don’t have a very similar personality. 

If you are similar, it just might be a match made in heaven, or hell, depending on if when you want to be alone coincides with his. 

Image via reelclub.wordpress.com

P.S. The relationships in these movies usually end with one of them finally breaking it up, the guy dying or both. Sometimes both sides realize it is not realistic to expect to get it their way all the time, and a little compromise is worth it if you love someone.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Would you date a stripper? On Dating (Ex-) Strippers & Channing Tatum

Strippers of Magic Mike. Actors from left: Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer.

I wouldn’t. I think. The thing is I’ve never met one. Honestly.

The whole stripper at a bachelorette party thing isn't my thing, and I fail to see the turn-on in paying someone to take their clothes of you. And no, I’m not fond of strip joints, whether they are for guys or girls.

But let’s say you or I met a stripper, at a strip club or not. What are the chances of the guy being a total hunk? Even if he is hunky, we’d still have “the number of female admirers” problem.

Yes, obviously personality and things in common matter more than looks, but how do you get to the stage with the problem stated above?

Would you really be happy about dating a guy whose job includes turning women on, who are throwing themselves at him? Yes, there should be trust and all that, but I think dating a stripper might be pushing your trusting limits a bit...

Feel free to share you stripper dating/not-dating thoughts and experiences.

Dating an ex-stripper: The Channing Tatum Example

But would you date an ex-stripper? Let’s say that he’s about your age, has done a bit of stripping for whatever reason and now he has no intention of looking back. 

What if he is nice, good-looking and seems to be a good date? What if...wait for it...he looks like Channing Tatum?

Image via seat42f.com

Yes, we are talking about Magic Mike. As fun, cool and gorgeous Mike (Channing Tatum) was, I could totally relate to why Brooke (Cody Horn) wasn’t willing to let her guard down around him.
·         Magic Mike movie spoilers ahead, though you saw it coming from the title

But when he quits, for her and for himself, she doesn’t mind getting together with him. And why not? Past is past; and a stripping job on one’s resume is not something you can’t get over. And we’re guessing this is what Jenna Dewan-Tatum feels like, since Magic Mike was inspired by Tatum’s experiences as a stripper. 

Yep, you read it correctly. He worked as a stripper.

And from the looks of it, Jenna is lucky. He’s great-looking, smart (have you looked at his movie resume/grosses and co-stars?), seems friendly, keeps good company (friends with Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and all .

I still don’t think we’d end up as lucky as Brooke (Cody Horn)’s character or Jenna though.

So would you date a stripper? An ex-stripper?

Or have you dated one?

Friday, February 1, 2013

When Age Differences Are OK: Inspired by Perception’s Daniel and Kate

Because some people refuse to get it. Of course it is completely OK and natural to disagree, but finding it creepy or unlikely seems a bit over the top, since the couple they deem creepy is fictional, have only a 17-year-gap between them and well…we’ll get to the reasons why they make a good match.

Ask any woman whether she’d hook up with a guy she found really hot who was really into her. Let’s suppose he is smart, nice, gorgeous, exciting, interesting, and they have tons in common. And he’s not rich, neither is she.

Now tell her he’s 15 years older than her. And see how many women would say no. I know I wouldn’t.

In high school, we used to joke that Mel Gibson and Richard Gere would be very attractive when they got older. We were wrong about Gibson, but Gere...that man owns the description of aging gracefully.

And it is not to say I go for older guys as a rule or due to some deep Freudian issue. I have liked and found attractive tons of guys who are my age/a couple of years older/a couple of years younger.

Alex Pettyfer in I'm Number Four. Image via scifiscoop.com.

While I was watching I’m Number 4, I couldn’t believe Alex Pettyfer was born in 1990 (making him 6 years younger than me). He looked way older, and oozed a certain appeal baby-faced actors lacked. But winning over in the charm department was Timothy Olyphant, who tends to look younger than his years (despite being born in 1968.)

Timothy Olyphant. Ditch the greys, and he can easily play 30-somethings. Image via michaelmay.blogspot.com.

To me, it doesn’t make sense to complain about age differences within TV/movie pairings They happen quite often in real life too, so it is only art imitating life.

When I say Jon Bon Jovi is hot and some girls disagree with me, it is because they aren’t into blondes. I haven’t heard “Yuck, he is so old/(er).” from another female yet.

The Richard Gere-Winona Ryder pairing in Autumn in New York didn’t work, but it wasn’t because of the age difference. It was because the story was horrible. Besides, cheating on the supposed love of your life don’t belong in romantic dramas. Older or younger.

Now on to Perception, Eric McCormack’s Daniel & Rachael Leigh Cook’s Kate

Apparently some viewers find it “creepy” that Rachael Leigh Cook’s and Eric McCormack’s characters have romantic feelings for each other. OK, what’s not to get? The guy is gorgeous, and I don’t know which 49-year-olds they were looking at, but aside from Dylan McDermott and Tom Cruise, not many look like that! And it’s not just me.

Eric McCormack as Daniel and Rachel Leigh Cook as Rachel.Image via assignmentx.com.

During one recent interview, the male presenter asked McCormack: “Just in what attic is your painting aging?” 

Now, leaving aside from his looks, Daniel Pierce has an adorable style and brains, he is nice, unique and he cracks intricate cases. Kate (Rachel Leigh Cook) used to be his student, so there’s tons of respect/admiration going on. 

It’s about being a match on many levels.

I might very well end up with a 40something that remained single because he didn’t want kids- because I don’t want kids. It’s about what you want in life – and being in the same place.

Kate did date a guy (Jamie Bamber) 10 years younger than Daniel. Also cute, also a professor. He just wasn’t that interesting or attractive to her.
Jamie Bamber as Michael Hathaway.

So it’s all about the relationship feeling good and being fine. Are you both grown enough to know who you are and what you want? Do you like each other? Give it a go. Who the hell cares if there is some age difference?

And P.S. If Daniel Pierce asked me out, I’d jump at it.

So no, the writers aren’t being creepy. Or delusional. Or discriminative. They are just writing the obvious.
It might be a cliche that a former student would have a crush on a former professor, but it’d be a lot less believable if she didn’t. Especially if she wants someone unique, and really good-looking.

My Favorite Couples with Age Differences: Movies, TV Shows & Real Life:

(P.P.S The pairings include older women-younger men as well)

  • Awake: Jason Isaacs (1963)-Laura Allen (1974)
  • Perception: Eric McCormack (1963) – Rachel Leigh Cook (1979)
  • *Lie to Me: Tim Roth (1961) – Kelli Williams (1970)
(*Though Roth's and Williams' characters never dated, it was often implied, and sometimes outright stated, that they were in love with each other) 

  • The Vampire Diaries: Ian Somerhalder (1978)- Nina Dobrev (1989). They are also dating in real life.
  • I Could Never BeYour Woman: Michelle Pfeiffer (1958)-PauL Rudd (1969)
  • Bull Durham: Susan Sarandon (1946)- Kevin Costner (1955)
  • Missing: *Ashley Judd (1968)- Sean Bean (1959)
(*Ashley Judd’s real life husband is 5 years younger than her.)
  • The Island: Ewan McGregor(1971)-Scarlett Johansson (1984)
  • *Liam Neeson and whoever you pair him up with. He looks good with any pretty actress you put him next to, probably because he looks great taking every single villain down in the films.

(*Neeson’s real life wife Natasha Richardson was 11 years younger than him, and they were married for 15 years – until she died in 2009.)


The list goes on.

As long as there are on ulterior motives (money, status, career advancement, manipulation…) and no abuse of power/authority, and both sides are of legal age, you should just go with the flow and enjoy it.

But I am not without my own double-standards. I have to draw the line at having a generation in between. And by generation, I mean the age difference shouldn’t really be over 20. Especially after 25, if we are talking about serious relationships, it kind of makes the growing old together concept tricky, don't you think?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Matthew Hussey Guide to Everything Dating

Matthew Hussey, for those late discoverers (like me), is a dating expert who coaches millions of women. Thousands at live events, millions online. And he really has the correct answer to everything. 

Now, don’t raise your eyebrows at the phrase “dating expert” or “dating coach.”  He knows his stuff, and has a knack of disclosing that knowledge in a very fun and sincere way.

And trust me, having only liked He’s Just Not That Into You (and What The Hell Is He Thinking for why he is not) as far as any dating tip (collection) is concerned, I am very picky. I’ve been there, done that, heard it all. Or so I thought.

I first heard about the dude through a Glamour article. The writer said that she was sent to the event to bust his bubble, but was so impressed by what she saw that she decided to write a piece about getting a guy in 7 days, with guidelines from Matthew Hussey of course.

Now, while it was a fun piece and made me wonder if the guy was nearly that good, it was just easier to assume the writer got lucky.

Nevertheless, I googled him and decided to check his website. It turned out he was a life coach, not just a dating coach. After watching one of his live events entirely, I decided that he was a damned good one at that. But more on that later.

His dating advice website Get the Guy looked decent enough in design, but even with all the credentials (he has been featured on NBC, CNN, The Independent…), I still thought he would be all hyped. Hell, I was ready to bail the moment I detected tips on game playing. Well, he did no such thing. (If anything, he is against game playing. And makes a point of showing why playing hard to get has never worked.)

So then I went on to watch the sales video of The Man Myth. Now, it is a sales page that actually sells. And what he offers is the video (online) of a live event where he covers a lot from meeting different men to scoring dates, from getting to see following dates to managing relationships. It also includes a 14-day free trial for the more detailed stuff. And it is $29.95.

So yes, I bought it. If it'd turned out to be disappointing, I would have had material to write for the blog. As it turned out, I got so much material for pretty much everything, including answers to any question I’ve ever had about dating and guys.

None of the links I used are affiliate links by the way. I just really liked what I saw.

Here’s some of the stuff I found out:

 *Why I attract so many guys I don’t want to attract (the one I was most curious about!)

*How that not-so-pretty girl could land that gorgeous, nice and successful guy

*Why taking risks is important

*Why you have to risk rejection, but how you can minimize the chances

*How to meet anyone

*How to make the first move without making it seem that way

*Why some things worked and many things didn’t.

*Men and women are from the same planet. We just have different languages.

*Why couples love hanging out with couples, and how it is not productive for the singles to socialize with them all the time

*How to make yourself understood without ever having to fight or losing your temper.

*Why the best-looking guys might not be the hardest to approach

*Why any of your excuses (your looks, age, location….you name it) are not valid. (and I believed I had some pretty good ones!)

…..and a whole lot more.

You might think you know the answers, but trust me, you don’t. Not for the most part. And even when you do know the answers, you learn about why you can’t seem to put that into practice, and how you can go about applying them with success.

And you know how I know that he’s right? Because I did some of the stuff he said in the past, sometimes consciously and sometimes not, and it all worked. I just didn’t do it enough.

His video is bound to kick your ass into gear. Because throughout, he proves that he knows what he’s doing over and over again. And it is so much fun. This is coming from someone who actively avoids any training/how-to videos. Seriously. They bore me. I would rather go through an e-book at my own speed, skipping if there is anything irrelevant or boring. Well, he doesn’t say anything irrelevant or boring. 

And he practices what he preaches, and he looks the part. He’s good-looking and very cute, confident but not arrogant, funny and blunt but never obnoxious. It sounds like the kind of guy you’d like to date, right? Someone who knows what they are doing, approachable and friendly.
Trust me, Matthew supports my line of thinking. Just listen to how he picked his fitness coach.

And the best part is? You don’t have to hire him as a life coach to learn a lot more than how to manage your dating life.

Just watch his event, and you can learn about how to:

-Be a great public speaker
-How to build your brand
-How to start and manage your own successful business

And if you are a blogger, you can learn about promotion, design, brand consistency, using video and so on. I should make a whole other post on this for my writing blog.

Bored with my praises? You don’t think he is worth it? Go try it, and we’ll talk then. 

He’s Just Not That Into You is a good resource. But it fails to tell you why he is not just that into you. And how he could have been.

And if you don’t want to spend $29.95 right away, just go through his blog posts, watch a couple of his videos. Trust me, you’ll want more.