First Loves. Last Loves. True Love. *Abridged*

 

Oh hey, it’s been a moment hasn’t it? And by a moment I mean almost 5 years, or is it 4? I don’t math good. To be honest there was a part of me that was content to light a match on this blog and walk away, but apparently there are 5 or 6 people out there who really enjoyed what I was doing.  I imagine these are the same sort of people who enjoy watching NASCAR.  Come for the hotdogs, stay for the carnage. So here I am. Older for sure, wiser…meh.

So much has happened during these last years that I find myself at a loss for where to start.  I hesitate to jump right back into the gore that is my life, so perhaps we will try more of an “old man easing into a hot bath” approach.  I am going to go back to some of my original posts and interject new thoughts, revelations, or whatever else seems appropriate.  For those who have never read my blog, this will give you a chance to catch up.  For those who have been faithful followers, this will give you a first row seat to my hindsight.  Is it weird that part of me is looking forward to mocking my own work? Nevertheless…here we go…

New text will appear in the bolded font.

 

Do you remember your first love? I’ll bet you do. When did you first lay eyes on them? What were the thoughts that were going through you head? Were you immediately taken by then, like you see in the movies? Or was it a slow burn that ultimately consumed your entire being? And I’m not talking about your first crush; I’m talking about your first over-the-moon-cant-see-straight-when-they-are-near-my-mouth-suddenly-has-forgotten-how-to-form-intelligent-sentence-structure love. How old were you when it happened? Was your loved returned, or unrequited like Quasimoto’s love for the gypsy Esmeralda?

That is a liberal amount of dashes.  I am still obsessed with The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  You wanna see something sexy as hell? Watch this  …It’s not porn. Unless French men in makeup is your idea of porn. Then it’s porn.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly felt like Quasimodo in high school, for all the male attention I was getting, or rather, Not getting. I guess you could say I was a “late bloomer”. But worry not, I feel as though I have more than made up for all the nights I sat alone in my room writing or singing along to Phantom of the Opera, while other girls were attending homecoming, and any other boys choice dance for that matter. It stung, no doubt, and I cried my fair share of tears and speculated on what I must have been lacking that all these other girls seemed to have in spades.  Not surprisingly, I figured that it was due to some physical defect that I was undesirable to the opposite sex. But the thing was, I could have cared less about the male population as a whole. The only boy I cared about played a set of drums and fancied himself a rock star in the making. My first love.

You COULDN’T have cared less…COULDN’T. Talk about angst. True though. Nobody wanted to date me in grade school, or middle school, or high school. I was bullied pretty much the entire time. I think jerk kids can smell the weak ones in the pack.

Oh how I adored that boy. From the moment I first laid eyes on him…till the day we laid him to rest… I thought that he was the most beautiful boy I had ever seen in real life.

I don’t know why I didn’t use his name. I think at the time I was embarrassed by apparent obsession. I was 15 for hell sake. Dustin. His name was Dustin. And he died, suddenly and tragically, and it messed me up pretty good.

And though my affections were probably painfully obvious to everyone, including him, I never actually told him how I felt about him. Even though I am fairly confident that our situation would have been that of love unrequited, I still regret to this day not being honest with him about my adorations. But I was so scared of what it would mean if he said he didn’t feel the same way, even though I already sort of knew that that was the case. In all of my teenaged longing, I wanted to believe that somehow, someday, he would realize that he did in fact feel the way I felt about him. It was easier to live in the fantasy of what could be, then in the reality of what was.

The reason I chose to share this story is not an attempt to gain sympathy, or even to illustrate what a well-meaning but highly deluded dweeb I was back then. The reason I chose to share this very personal story in a very public forum, is in hope that there are those of you out there who know what I am mean when I say that I believe to some extent, there are those of us still choosing to live the life of fantasy because we are afraid of what it means to live in reality.

Heh…Dweeb. OK, so not telling people how we really feel until it’s too late. I have become a little obsessed with this over the years.  I’ve lost too many people too tragically, and too quickly to believe that any of us are safe from fate.  If you love someone, tell them. As far as living in fantasy…

There are many aspects of our lives in which we may do this, but the one I want to specifically focus on is, in our romantic dealings. In a world where we have been raised on a steady diet of Disney on one hand, and divorce on the other, it is understandable that many of us may feel a bit, hesitant and perhaps also a bit unrealistic concerning our views of love. If you are at all like me, you might have found yourself a little duel-minded at times, regarding the subject. On one hand I long for the fairy tale romance and that same tingling feeling I got the first time I saw my first love. I want the white knight to ride up on his trusty steed and together we will ride off into suburban bliss. But when I sit and think about the actual implications of such a relationship, I find myself wondering if maybe a life of spinsterhood doesn’t sound that bad. I’m not a cat person however, so I would be the crazy dog lady, or maybe even the crazy chinchilla lady, that sounds like fun.

I have mentioned before that I have had the opportunity of dating many great guys, several of which I believe would have made amazing husbands and fathers. There were even a couple who were ready to take that next step if only I had been willing. And to be fair, even though the moment I learned that my first loved had died, I was convinced that I would never love again, I did in fact meet another man who I felt like I could indeed love in the way I had before. But like it goes so often in dating, that relationship ultimately ended at his request, and I was once again faced with the task of picking up the broken pieces of my heart and finding a way to heal.

I see where I am going with this, or at least, where I went with it. I think what I missed was the reason WHY we would choose fantasy over reality.  It might be that we are afraid of rejection, but when you are a person like me whom fate seems to really like to mess with, then you can actually become afraid of getting what you want.  Sometimes the anticipation of the pain that you imagine will come when you lose the thing you want is so daunting that you convince yourself that it’s better to not want it. Which works super well. Don’t want what you want. Simple.

It’s interesting though to sit in the seat of perspective and look back on things. I think what I am coming to realize that so much of what we call love, or rather being “in” love, has less to do with reality and more to do with the stories we tell ourselves about that person. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing by any means. In fact, I think that in order for a relationship to progress, both parties need to have a slightly idealized conception of their beloved. After all, if you find them just as charming, engaging, alluring, as any other guy or gal on the street, then how are you ever going to come to a decision about which to spend the rest of your days with? To an extent, there does need to be that little extra undefinable something that draws you to that person. And I don’t believe that we need waste time trying to dissect and figure out exactly what that “something” is. You can drive yourself crazy with such endeavors. And if the relationship ends, you can drive yourself equally as mad trying to figure out what happened to that “something” that seemed to be there when you first started dating but now seems to have mysteriously vanished like the other sock in the dryer.

I’m giving perspective on my perspective. Mind blown.  This paragraph is SO interesting to me for a number of reasons that I can’t go into right now. I will say that Narrative continues to play a huge part in my world view.  In fact, I used the concept of Narrative throughout my grad school application essay. We are the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, about each other, and about reality. Who is writing that story? We are. But is it a conscious thing?…..Meep?

So if we can agree that not all fairy tale-ish feelings are a total crock, then can we also concede that perhaps the stock we place in such things may be a bit…over zealous?

Fairytales are snapshots of the best and worst parts of humanity.  I recently had to argue with a certain someone about why it isn’t harmful to let your child believe in Santa Claus. The underlying question being…Is fantastical thinking detrimental?

The truth is, we all have expectations for ourselves and for the person we hope to someday marry. What I am proposing (See what I did there?), is that maybe juuuuuuust maybe those expectations are better served as plot fodder for a poorly written vampire series, than they are for an actual relationship. To put it bluntly, ain’t nobody perfect, and if that is what you are looking for then you are going to end up alone or extremely disappointed. Many people will say that they are not looking for someone who is perfect, but just someone who is perfect for them. That’s cute, but I feel, still perhaps a bit too Disney. This is not to say that we should throw our lists out the window entirely, but it does mean that maybe we take a second and third look at that list and then be reeeeaaally honest with ourselves about which realm of existence we are inhabiting; romantically speaking.

Who hurt you?!?! Oh yeah, his name was Scott. I think this was the Scott fallout timeline. Scott is a musician. Never date musicians. I think Scott and I dated in 2010…But he broke my heart, or as he would put it, “I broke my heart up against him”…Musicians.

We all want love. We all want that feeling we felt with our first loves, who at the time, we all probably thought would be our lasts loves. But may I be so bold as to say that there may indeed be a love out there that surpasses both of these, but that ironically, and in reality, are as different in nature from these other loves as the night is from the day. There are aspects of all in all, but the kind of love I think we are really wanting, is that of true love. And not true love as it has been come to be known in pop culture and fairy tales, but rather love in truth, with all of it’s accompanying flaws and challenges. It may not be a fantasy, but it’s real. And when something becomes real, it takes on an authenticity that is so much more satisfying than any fantasy could ever provide. We can touch it, and hold it, and trust it, and rest in the knowledge that we have indeed found something true in this world of smoke and mirrors.

Let us all be brave enough to live in reality, so that we may enjoy the endless possibilities it holds.

Man I was cryptic. I am a Master of the vagueblogging. Also I kinda wonder what my ultimate point was.  So fairytales are bad? Lower your expectations? Don’t settle? Invest in bitcoin?

Narrative is a Bitch.  I don’t think I have the desire to get into all of this right now, so I will just leave it at this…

Everything is true until it is not.  Everything is impossible until it isn’t.  You are never going to find someone until you do. And never date Musicians.

Until next time!

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And Now For Something Completely Different. *Abridged*

Observations of an Anxious White Virgin

I actually have no issue with this post. I hate fruit still. Unless we are talking the grilled pineapple at Tucanos.  Fun fact: After writing this I actually got the worst food poisoning of my life from some cantaloupe. My working theory is that someone in the fruit industry read my post, realized the influence that it would have on the stock markets, and decided to taint my cantaloupe with E.coli. Seriously though, I have never been more sick in my life.  I probably should have gone to the hospital, but I didn’t have insurance at the time. I do now (Thanks Obama). Well…until Trump takes it away (Thanks Obama). 

Observations are like people. Some are funny, others deep and thought provoking, while still others are inspired and legitimately contribute to the human race as a whole. But in general, most are useless and an utter waste of time.

That said, may I present the first installment of Observations of an Anxious White Virgin.

Observation 1
I believe fruit to be the most deceitful of all the food groups. When I purchase a Twinkie, carrot, or jar of peanut butter, I can rest easy knowing that said item is (more than likely) going to taste the same way the last Twinkie, carrot, and/or jar of peanut butter did.
But such is not the case with fruit. OOooooooh no, not fruit. Fruit is cunning and misleading. Fruit is full of trickery. Fruit wants you to believe that it is something, which in reality it is not. It beckons you with its temping color, assuring you of its ripeness. It taunts you with its fragrant smell and passes each squeeze test you subject it to. And yet, and YET! inevitably, when you peel back its deceptive shell and take your first long-anticipated bite, you are left with a feeling not much unlike that of ordering and using a cream off of the Internet meant to “dissolve cellulite in the blink of an eye”. I blinked. It’s still there.

In short, you are left feeling misled, deceived, and utterly betrayed. For fruit, like women and peacocks, are often all show and no go. Sure she looks pretty Now, but just you wait till that carefully orchestrated mask of Mary Kay and Spackle comes off. Not. Good. And as for peacocks, all I need point out is their abundance of gaudy feathers and total LACK of aeronautical abilities.

And so it is with fruit. But I, like a fool, continue to believe the lies fruit tells me. Like a jilted lover who continues to believe the lies of an unfaithful ex, I return like a dog to its own vomit…(too much?)

When I enter the produce isle I can here fruits siren call. It says “You can trust me, I will be juicy and ripe and sweet, the way a fruit ought to be. The way that fruit was intended to be.” And I, that same fool believe the lies once more and make room for that most deceitful of foods in my hand basket, right next to the always reliable and ever consistent Twinkies, carrots, and jar of peanut butter. Inevitably however, this short-lived love affair with all of its encompassing hopes, anticipations, promises and so on, ultimately ends the way it always has in the past, with nothing short of total and utter disappointment.

But really, should we be at all surprised? For truly, was it not fruit which was the tool of that cunning serpent in the garden? And was it not by means of this same fruit that brought about the fall of, and subsequent expulsion from the garden of Eden, nay, of paradise itself? What more needs be said on the subject than this?

Judged. Juried. Executed.

After all, there are always Starbursts. Sweet sweet reliable Starbursts.

Perception and The Should Game *Abridged*

 

Let’s see what kind of fever rant I had going this time.

Today’s topic of blogservation (copyright anxiouswhitevirgin via me) (I see what you did there) that I have chosen is that of Perspective. As we can see from this oh so charming illustration pictured above, both of these beloved household necessities find themselves suffering by means of comparison. But why is that? Or rather, how is it that this suffering comes about? While I realize that there are many reasons why we as human beings suffer, and that not all of them can be attributed to any of our own doings, I would like to present a the theory that attributes a great deal of why we suffer to what I like to call, “Playing the Should game.” If you are the kind of person who believes that all the suffering and misery in your life has and continues to be caused by forces outside and beyond your control, then I suggest skipping this post and rejoining me again for the next installment. For nothing I say here today will be of any value unless you, I, or any of us are willing to at least consider the possibility that our level of happiness and satisfaction of this life rests squarely in our own hands. I may be totally full of crap, but it might be worth losing the next 10 minutes of your life (depending on how fast you read) to find out. Let us then proceed.

Close your ears Millennials! It looks like we are going to be talking about personal accountability. Though to be fair, I think life is a combination of attitude AND how much shit life throws at you. Because let’s be honest, some people have way shitter lives than others.  I mean, I get that it’s all relative, but I do think that there is a non-discriminatory amount of shit that we can agree is shittier than other shit.  

Like our toiletry friends, I have often found myself suffering and unsatisfied with life. In fact, you could probably say that in my mind, the reason for my suffering was directly due to my dissatisfaction with my life. And even though I may not have been consciously aware of it at the time, as I look back now it is clear to see that I have been playing the Should game with frequent regularity for the better part of my life.

Wanna hear something that is going to make no sense? I have decided that I am simultaneously totally dissatisfied and utterly satisfied with my life.  How can that be? The human mind is evolutions proverbial finger in the air to humanity.  

Side Note: I have chosen to capitalize Should for a reason. My aim being for the reader to realize that when I say Should, I am not referring to reality, for example: The sun should rise tomorrow. In this sense, the should is referring to things that actually occur. But you will notice that these are also things that have nothing to do with free will. Unless of course you want to make the argument that someone might believe that the sun shouldn’t rise tomorrow and therein find suffering. But this is beside the point I am trying to make. The point is that when I use the word “Shoulds”, what I am referring to is that idea or concept within our own minds of the way WE personally believe things, people, and more specifically our own lives ought to be, compared to way it is not, thereby causing us to suffer in comparison. Simply put, Shoulds are personal opinions and have no basis in universal truth or fact.

I use to read a lot of C.S. Lewis. Can you tell? All I am doing here is making the distinction between subjective reality and actual reality:  I should get out of bed before noon, subjective reality. I Should be paid to watch Dance Moms, actual reality.

While I believe that ever human that has ever lived on this planet, with perhaps the exception of Jesus Christ, has experienced suffering by comparison; it has also been my observation that certain groups and individuals within those groups seem to suffer more than others. And while I am no expert in the field of psychology, and while I am not saying that there very well may not be a biological aspect in the form of chemical imbalances and the like, that could contribute to any given individuals schema; I would like to state that if that is indeed the case, then even those who find themselves victims of their biology may still need not find themselves victims of their Shoulds.

Schema hu? Must have been my Word of the Day Calendar. Also, I get the point I was trying to make, but I sorta wonder if I was wrong about Christ.  There was that moment in the garden when He asked that the cup pass from Him. Maybe in that moment He wished that He could have been one the apostles taking a nap under a tree. Maybe not though.

Like I stated earlier, a Should or suffering by comparison occurs when we look at some aspect of our lives, be it ourselves, our physical forms, friends, romantic partners (or lack thereof…Hello! 29 year old Virgin here) and we decide that it is not as it Should be. Which would logically lead us to conclude that there is in fact a way life Should be, but isn’t. Here are a couple of what I would consider pretty common examples of people playing the Should game:

” I am so depressed. All of my friends are married and I am not” = I Should be married but I am not, therefor I suffer.

“This sucks. These skinny jeans fit me last summer, but now I can’t even get them past my fat thighs” (I like to picture a man saying this just because it’s Hell-arious!) = I have put on weight and I use to be skinner, I Should be thinner, therefor my day/week/life is ruined.

“Everybody I know is already graduated from college and well into their careers and Im a 29 year old actor/waitress who is barely making ends meat. My life is never going to amount to anything.” = I Should have graduated college already. I Should be into my career. I Should be making more money. Life isn’t anything like it Should have been.

Did any of those sound familiar to you? Have you ever found yourself saying similar to yourself? I hope that as you read these examples, which may or may not have been taken directly from my own life, (with the exception of being a man) that you will start to recognize all the Shoulds you impose in your own life, and the needless suffering that they are causing you.

This would be the perfect moment to address the virginal elephant in the room, but I’m not gonna.  This post is long enough.  But I will say that essentially I am just talking about expectations.  That probably would have been a more streamlined approach.  We all have expectations, we don’t always get what we expect, some of us seem more personally offended than others when our expectations are not met.

Now I know what some of you are already thinking, and I’m sure it goes something to the tune of, “Now wait a cotton pickin’ minute! Are you REALLY trying to imply that we should release every expectation we have for life and for ourselves? Can you really be so naive as to believe that it is somehow destructive and harmful to our mental well-being to have goals and ambitions and are then are understandably disappointed when those things don’t happen? If we don’t have an idea of how life Should be then how will we ever accomplish anything? If we have no stick to measure ourselves against then how will we ever know that we are growing? Isn’t what you call suffering merely just God’s way of letting us know we are on the wrong path and that we need to do better?”

That’s a stupid question. Nobody is advocating that, unless that person is a carrot. If a person tells you they have zero expectations they are a liar, or a robot, either way run.

Let me start by saying that in a lot of ways, this logic seems quite sound. And there is some truth to the argument being raised. A person with no goals, dreams, or ambitions is a person without progression. But here again, the argument hits near the point, but falls short of the mark. For what we are not debating here is whether or not a person should have goals, but rather the idea that the accomplishment or failure of said goals are the litmus test for whether or not you are happy in life. When you say a person should have goals, what you are really saying is that having goals are a way we progress in life and therefor are useful if indeed it is our goal to progress. But even here we must tread lightly lest we impose our own Shoulds onto somebody else.

That paragraph just sounded like me enjoying the sound of my own thoughts a little too much.

A good example of this is the redefinition of what it means to be a successful woman in today’s society. I plan on spending an entire blog on this on some future date; but in short, it is the reality that in the past, it was thought that women Should remain in the home and men Should be the ones out in the corporate world. But as we have seen, this Should is crumbling under the weight of both men and women who believe that a woman Should be as much a part of the working world as her male counterparts. But what about those women who chose to stay in the home? The point is that there will always be conflicting Shoulds in the world. Depending on which part of the world you grew up in, the religious ideologies you adhere to, right down your opinion about which way the toothpaste should be dispensed, there are always going to be as many Shoulds as there are people. But we are not here to discuss whether or not there Should be, or in reality are, any universal shoulds (e.g.) the moral law and so forth, we are instead here to get us all to realize that in general most Shoulds are not in fact shoulds, but rather personal and totally opinion based Shoulds.

We live in a varitable world of Shoulds, and you don’t have to look very far to find someone willing to spew their own personal Shoulds all over you. In fact, if you think about it, in a way that is what I am doing right now. I am telling you that Should let go of your Shoulds. Did your mind just blow? I know mine did.

Ermahgerd…you got your Shoulds all over me. Groooosssss. No but for reals, I think the biggest complaint I have about our current culture isn’t that we disagree a lot, it’s that someone somewhere convinced a large portion of our population that it ISN’T OK when others disagree with you.  Everything is a trigger, everything is an attack, everything “proves” that the “other side” are just a bunch of bigoted morons. And don’t you dare say shit about anything related to the topic of gender, sexual identity, race, religion, politics or it will turn otherwise rational human beings in mega internet trolls. The message of today’s culture is clear, if you have an opinion that goes against the majority, or even just the group that yells the loudest, keep your damn mouth shut unless you  want to endure this cultures version of Amish Shunning.

I could probably continue to discuss this topic for hours on end. But in the interest of attention span of the average reader I am going to attempt to wrap it up.

So in summary here are the key points I am wanting you take from this post. The first is that we all have Shoulds in our lives and that those Shoulds cause us to suffer by means of comparison. This suffering by comparison occurs when we look at some aspect of our lives and make a personal decision that this aspect is not what it Should be. In doing this we are stating that there is indeed a way it should (universal truth) be, but that it is not. And because of this, we suffer. We beat ourselves up, we curse God or fate or our parents or any number of people or things, and because of this we are unhappy. We are in essence saying to the universe, “Life Should be X, but instead it is Y, and until it is X, I will never be truly or even temporarily happy.”

Making happiness something external vs. something internal. Got it.

My second point is that this doesn’t mean that we stop striving and wanting. This doesn’t mean we are to sit on our butts and never have any goals beyond converting oxygen into CO2. Though if you think about it, there are those individuals out there who due to accident or illness have been reduced down to a vegetative state and this process is pretty much the sum of what their lives consist of. But if there is one thing I have learned and continue to experience is the phenomenon of people who you would except by all accounts of logic and reasoning and Should be unhappy, Should be miserable, Should have no reason for joy or contentment in this life, and yet, somehow, these same individuals are deeply and genuinely happy. And what I believe to be their “secret” for happiness is my third and final point for today.

Expectations are fine as long as they aren’t the thing making you unhappy. Happiness is relative. Got it.

My final point is more a belief than anything else. And it is simply the belief that those who are the happiest in life are those who have learned to love what IS and refuse to compare that to what it Should be. They have thrown the Shoulds out of their lives. They still continue to hope and dream and strive, but they do not place their satisfaction of life on these things. They have made the separation between happiness as a state of being (a choice, an interpretation) and happiness as a result or product of something, someone, some action, some whatever. For them, happiness is not the result of listening to the tune, but rather, it is the tune itself. And for these people, it is the tune by which they spend their lives dancing to. It is the means and not the end. It is the journey and not the destination.

My hope not only for myself, but for us all, is that we can slowly start to remove the Shoulds from our lives, be they Shoulds about ourselves or Shoulds about the people and the world around us. And that in doing so, we may come to know a life free of Shoulds, which in turn may bring about a life free of needless suffering. I would like to end today by sharing two verses of scripture taken from The Book of Mormon, which I feel are God’s words trying to convey this very idea to us. Regardless of your religious convictions, I hope that you will be able to find the truth written in these words, regardless of their origin.

2 Nephi Chapter 2

27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

 25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have JOY.

Things got biblical just then. Well…Book of Mormonical

I don’t disagree with anything I said just then, but I would like to raise a question to go along with it.  How much of our suffering due to expectations are directly related to level to which we believe that we are “owed” our hopes and our dreams? Or simply put, is it the expectation or the entitlement to the expectation that causes the most suffering? If I had an expectation that you should treat me with common decency because that’s what I want, but I didn’t think that I was OWED common decency, then would I be as pissed off when you treated me like garbage? Expectations seem more logical or philosophically driven, where as entitlement seems to carry more identity and emotion.

Just a thought. 

 

 

And it still has that new car smell

There are only a couple of things in this life that I am certain of. The first is that popcorn is natures’ most perfect food. I mean think about it, popcorn with gobs of melted butter, kettle korn, ooey gooey Carmel corn, the possibilities are ENDLESS!! But following close behind this nugget of pure truth is the undisputable fact that my 2001 Honda CR-V is the devil incarnate. From the day that spawn of satan burst forth from the womb of the prince of darkness and found its way into my life, I have reaped the consequences. In fairness, I have nobody to blame but myself, after all, I was the one who purchased the damned thing. And by damned I am referring to the literal meaning of the word, thereby implying that my car has no chance of redemption and when it breathes its last noxious breath, you can bet your sweet bippy that it’s place in hell is most emphatically insured…ensured?……crap.

You may be thinking to yourself at this point…”If I wanted to hear a woman complain I can go spend time with my female significant other (BAZINGA!).” Well first off, you are a jerk, but more importantly, you need not fret, for the car is merely setting the stage for todays real topic….Dating!!!!

Like most Mormons, I grew up on a steady Sunday school (refered to as primary) regiment of old and new testament stories. Many of these stories, particularly the teachings of Jesus Christ, are told in what is known as parable style. Maybe it was this parable rich diet that made me so fond of them. I use parables and metaphors all the time when trying to relate an idea or philosophy. So now, with the topic of dating in mind, I present for your interpretational delight….The Parable of the New Car.

Let’s be honest, who among us hasn’t dreamed of walking onto a car lot, strolling straight up to the soulless salesman, and pointing triumphantly to the most expensive brand spanking new model on the lot exclaim, “I’ll take THAT one!” And then, after tossing the appropriate amount of cash defiantly in his face, you tenderly stroke your new love, slip sensually behind the wheel, gently turn the key (or do that whole push button start thing. I guess that would make more sense with a new expensive vehicle, I don’t know, I drive a crappy CR-V…but I digress), and drive conservatively off into the sunset. Perfect.

There is just something about the knowledge that you were the first and only person to ever sit behind that wheel, and you are the first and only person to put any miles on your dream car, that gives you such pleasure. Because after all, when you buy something used, you never know what you are getting. You don’t know if the previous owner was diligent in keeping up with oil changes and tire rotations. No. Used cars are cars we have UNTIL we can have our dream car, brand new and untouched by any other human hand.

Unfortunately for most of  us though, we can not afford the luxury of driving a brand new car off the lot. For most of us, our car history will be littered with a potpourri of used car after used car. And because of this, we must put our faith in the previous owners that they have been as gentle and respectful with what will ultimately become the vehicle we take for better and worse, in sickness and in health, for as long as you both shall live. Which, in the case of my CR-V will hopefully be but a moment more! I’m sorry, I’m sorry. But you get my point right?

Now, all that being said, even though we hope, and in some ways expect that the car we eventually commit ourselves to will have a clean “carfax” report, how often  do we treat the cars we are currently driving with the same level of care and respect?

Think of the last time you had to drive a rental vehicle? I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that your first thought probably wasn’t, “Gee, the person who drives this car after me deserves the utmost preservation of the integrity thereof.” No, you are thinking that eating indian take out while spinning doughnuts in the tack factory parking lot sounds like a gay ol’ time! Afterall, you know you have no intention of purchasing this vehicle. In short, “Not my problem”. But as most of you know, or maybe you don’t, many rental cars or “fleet vehicles” will end up being sold to a private owner. Which means, however long it takes and regardless of how many people enjoyed it’s services prior, these cars will eventually become “the” car for some well-intentioned wide-eyed youth or adult.

Have I lost anyone yet? Still with me? Making the connections?

I would like to close my parable by asking a question. Is it fair to demand or even expect that your used vehicle will have been driven like new with basically no wear and tear when you yourself have not shown the same respect to your, “in the mean time cars”,  meaning the cars you may have liked at the time, but ultimately knew you weren’t going to end up with? And even if at the time you were fairly convinced  that your current vehicle was indeed going to be THE vehicle in your life, does that then give you the right to treat it in like fashion before that loan is totally paid off and that title is firmly in your sweaty hands? If you are willing to “rally” the vehicle of another, can you then be upset to find that your vehicle may have a few more dings on the door than you would prefer?

Look folks, nobody is perfect. I know it’s hard to accept the flaws of others. And what I am NOT saying is that if you are one of those who has always treated every car that you have ever driven as if it were the car, that you can’t then anticipate and seek out a vehicle in like condition. But what I am saying is that I believe precious few fall into this category.

Ultimately my reason in sharing this parable is two-fold. First, it is to entreat us all to maybe be a bit more conscious about the way we are driving and maintaining our current vehicles, and second, to suggest that when that beautiful day arrives when you realize that you have found the car that you want to spend the rest of your life or (if you are a Mormon) the rest of eternity with, that you will be more forgiving of the scars and/or imperfections that somebody else is going to have to also forgive because of your actions.

Let us all treat each other like that car we see in our fantasies. Seems reasonable to me.

Let’s Hear It For The Boys

dogma (noun)  the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization

If there is one theme that seems to replay more often than that ridiculous Bruno Mars song about catching grenades, it is the universal women’s cry of “There are no good men left!”. And as much as it pains me to admit it, I too have on occasion joined the war cry. As a friend of mine once described it, “All the good men are either taken or gay”. In the mormon culture you are more apt to hear something along the lines of, “All the good guys are already married, and the only ones left are either divorced (with reason), “sweet spirits”, or addicted to porn”.

While it is true that pornography abuse is becoming an ever increasing issue, one which some church members have not been able to avoid, it does seem a bit extreme to assume that every male on this planet is addicted to it. And yet the threat is real enough that Sunday after Sunday and meeting after meeting the men of our church have it pounded into their heads about the pernicious evil they ought to be avoiding like the plague.

That being said, todays topic is not on the dangers or effects of pornography; for the most part I think those are pretty obvious. My aim for this post is to explore this notion that there is indeed a shortage of good decent men left in this world. My hope is that in doing so, we may be able to dispel the dogma that is whipping our women into a frenzy the likes of which a Walmart black friday sale on waffle irons has never seen.

stereotype (n)  a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group

All men are sex addicts. No seriously, I know what you are thinking but go with me on this one. It is indeed true that all men ever think about, desire, and conspire to achieve in life has something if not everything to do with sex. Right? Glad we are in agreement.

I believe that at one time or another in every womans life, virgin or no, she comes to this conclusion. But is it really fair? Or are we perhaps being just a weeeeeee bit extreme? It’s hard to not buy into this just a little bit though. After all, we are reminded on an almost daily basis about the sexual escapades of the insatiable man…*cough* Tiger Woods….*cough* President Clinton….*cough cough cough* Spitzer, Gingrich, Kobe.

I like so many single women, find myself wanting to at times, join the one-way man hating train to menarepigsillvainia. But then something happened, well, I guess I should say some”things” happen that have led to turn my critical eye from our male counterparts and focus it instead directly onto my very own sisterhood.

In the last 4 months, I have had the sorrow of listening to the divorce stories of 5 guys who I would consider fall into the category of “good” men. Several were men who I had been asked out by and others were dear friends and/or family members. In each case, when I probed the men to give me an explanation as to why they are now divorced, they all admitted that their wives had cheated on them. I was astounded. True, there are always two sides to every story, and I am in no way absolving these men of any and all responsibility, however, I will tell you that in all of these cases, the men remained faithful to the end, having never returned the betrayal in like fashion.

It is also important to note that these were not what you might consider “worldly” couples; these were devote church-going mormon couples that by their own convictions were meant to be holding themselves to a higher standard.  The men of these relationships have, and continue to be clean and genuine men who, for all of their flaws, of which we all have in spades, have continued to stay true to their promises to God and to their companions. They are the “good” guys that the average woman of the world would shank you for just to get her hands on. These are men who love their mothers, honor their fathers, respect the boundaries of women, and following the teachings of Christ.

So in response to the question posed by the epic 80’s lyrics, “Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods?”, I would heartily reply, THEY ARE HERE! They are all around us. And if you want to argue doctrinal issues about the Mormon faith then that’s fine; but there is one thing you can’t argue…The Mormon faith still knows how to raise GOOD men with GOOD values. And while it is true that these men can be found outside of the Mormon church (I personally have dated several), it is undeniable that men raised in the faith whether they remain active in the church or no, have that certain something that seems to be missing from the male population in general.

The reason that “good” guys seem to be going the way of the Thunder Cats is that traditional values are going the way of the world, They are not being taught in the homes and the are certainly not being taught on television. In an age where female value has been reduced down to their waist to breast ratio, it is nice to know that there are still men out there that are trying their best not to buy into it. Are they perfect? No. Are all Mormon guys perfect examples of chivalry? Obviously not (I have dated several of those as well). But my point is, maybe it is time that we as women opened our eyes and started seeing the good men that are all around us. If you want to end up with a good guy, then DATE good guys. But if what you are really looking for is a jerk who devalues and belittles your value by reducing you down to the level of a sex toy, well then, take your pick, for there is no shortage to be had.

I truly believe this principle holds true whether you are a practicing Mormon or attempting to practice abstinence or merely practicing your words with friends skills. A good man is not measured by the faith he follows, but rather by the values that he allows to guide his actions. So let’s hear it for all the GOOD men out there, the ones who listen to us rant and still love us, the ones who rub our feet after THEY have worked a 10 hour day. Here’s to the guys who change diapers, hold our hair back when we get the flu, and make midnight runs to Walmart; be they black, white, mormon, muslim, atheist,single, married, gay, straight, Coke or Pepsi fans….I know at least one anxious virgin who takes comfort in knowing you are still out there.