As of late, a series of unrelated events have brought me to think about second chances. To give, or not to give?

Clearly, you don’t go looking for happiness in the same place you lost it. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results (Albert Einstein). I mean, fool me once…

I want to be the bigger person. I want to believe in the good of others. But simply put, there are people for whom I would never ever (cue Taylor Swift) consider giving another chance to. My stalker sociopathic ex is a prime example of this. The one labelled as “The Asshole” in my phone and possibly a future topic of this column.

It’s a shame to say, but the core of certain someones will never truly change, let alone improve. And soon as you accept this reality, hesitation is easy to chuck and not looking back is just as easily done than said. Sayo-fucking-nara.

However, life ain’t a one-size-fits-all deal and the same principles don’t always apply to every situation. Relationships are, within themselves, an amalgamation of nuances in contexts and histories. As such, there are glitches in the matrix of Never Agains. Some people can indeed change for the better.

I, for one, was a handful back in my youth. I could’ve turned into another statistic. But I pulled my shit together, with time and accrued wisdom (and a couple of prayers from a concerned father). Today, I can look at myself in the mirror and honestly say, “Hell yeah, I’d totally be friends with me.”

Acknowledging our own self-betterment means we can’t ignore the possibility of it occurring for others as well. There are some instances in which you shouldn’t write off someone’s integrity permanently. We need to weight all the variables; give credit where credit is due. But how do we differentiate the exceptions to the rule amongst a bag of bad apples?

As everything else in life, little is truly black and white. It usually requires several trials and errors before having a sure-fire answer. Which is why some people come back knocking, and others are willing to open the door to them again.

We can also find ourselves in states of perpetually holding the door ajar. We like to keep our options open, regardless of whether we need them to be. Let’s admit it: we’re greedy assholes sometimes.

Second chances. You can say yes, maybe to banish the what ifs. Or you can say no, as the responsible choice or maybe as to diffuse the responsibility in case round two fucks up.

So how do you handle a blast from the past with a second (chance) agenda? Same you would an old pair of socks.

We all end up with that ONE pair of socks that never stays together, amirite? Always one missing. And what do you do? You keep the loyal one aside until the other one shows up, of course. Stick it in some dark corner of your underwear drawer. It’ll turn up eventually, probably in the next load of laundry.

And you forget about it for a while until, one day, you finally stumble upon that missing other half. The pair can be reunited at last! But wait. Now you can’t seem to locate the other one, the OG that stayed behind. Ye faithful is no longer where you thought you last left it.

Two lovers that constantly have bad timing; always ending up at the right place, just never at the same time.

After consolidating the factors behind the relationship that wasn’t meant to be the first time around, is a second chance truly viable? It’s certainly possible to let go of negativity and gravitate toward a more positive dynamic, but you can’t un-know every single intertwining thought and reservation you’ve ended up establishing about the never-before-succeeded relationship.

Unlike dirty garments, you can’t wash people clean of their shortcomings at the push of a button. It takes times, words, and the actions that back up these words, to prove that things have indeed changed (and for the better).

And after washing those socks, will they feel just as good as you last remember slipping them on? Fabric softener can only do so much. Maybe you’ll find you’ve outgrown them.

I would imagine that chemistry between two people changes on some level. Physically, emotionally, or a bit of both. Even if chemistry is present, how are you certain it’s built on true desire and not simply on familiarity?

Nobody fixes the holes in their socks anyways. Easier to just toss em’ and go to Simons to buy new ones. It’s the age-old Tupperware conundrum: we measure the benefits of tossing over the cost of replacement.

At the end of the day, should someone deserve a second chance, it should be within the context where he or she takes initiative in coming forth to make things right, and not where you have to run after them offering the option of a do-over. You don’t need to give them a map; they should already know where to go.

That said, if you’re in a situation where we’re talking about 3rd, 4th or 5th chances… Bro, I can’t help you there. But you need to start helping yourself a little better.

A girl with faded blue hair (and about an inch of dirty blonde roots [mental note: that’s a great name for an autobiography “Dirty Blonde Roots: The Diary of a Burlesque Dancer”]), sits naked on her bed, smoking a bong. Three purring cats are asleep at her feet. Hot tears pouring down her calm face as a red vinyl special edition Billie Holiday record plays, “Someday we’ll meet and you’ll dry all my tears, then whisper sweet things in my ear.” Every word is the pain of every woman – no, every human. We all have felt unrequited love. It is defined as one sided and not reciprocated love.

“FUCK UNREQUITED LOVE!”

This was the first line in a very powerful poem of that name by the incredible poet Ben Brindise. Here’s a video recording of it:

A good cry is like a good poop, dumping out that negativity and darkness, the unnecessary evil, those extra and unusable bits of life. The tears fell from my ducts, picking up bits of makeup as they traveled down the curves of my face and breasts. Flushing out the eyes and making everything feel so much cleaner. I have never even smoked a cigarette, and I feel like it would hit the spot after this kind of catharsis.

I always try to smile (though my heart is breaking – great song). I was once dumped for being too happy. He said “I feel like I’m dating a cartoon character, it’s unnatural to be as happy as you are!” Say whaaaaat?! That’s a fucking flaw?! My smile is my power, but so are my tears. The balance between those two things is everything.

I’m single but not alone. I’m not going to rant about every sonogram and wedding announcement, because honestly I’m not mad. Yay for mutual love, and people who are in love with love and their lives – it’s beautiful. I’m not jealous, it’s not the life I chose to lead at the moment, but it’s not a bad way to be. Valentine’s Day is approaching so all of the commercials are geared toward lovers – don’t buy in and don’t let it bring you down bro. It’s going to be ok! And if you cry don’t think you are weak, take it in stride and know that everything is how it is supposed to be. Who knows what today will bring?!

Featured image made by Amanda Jedraszczak.

Ah, Tinder. The latest buzz-making matchmaking app and my last obsession. Cause yeah, no more mooching off my friends to play… I created my own account! Hey man, no shame; everybody with a smartphone is drinking that Kool-Aid.

One great thing about Tinder is the fact that it’s semi-anonymous. No last names and few pictures paint an illusion of privacy to unashamedly pursue your online quest for booty. But it feels legit enough, requiring you to sign up with a valid Facebook profile, that finding yourself trapped in some psycho’s car trunk is not as high on the list of fears if meeting up. The person you are viewing is (almost always) real, and the information (first name and age) is probably accurate.

Unless you’re my sister who created Sloth McSlow to satisfy her Tinderiosity:

sloth mcslow
This guy is awesome.

Either you go on Tinder, or you play Tinder. How people talk about the app is a good indication of how seriously they take its hook-up potential. Sorry to crush your dreams bros, but many ladies are solely on there for an ego boost. There are just as many thundercunts as there are douchebags in this world.

But in regards to those who are really on Tinder to ignite some sparks, the app is no different than any other virtual dating playground. You’ll get all sorts of users ranging from seeking DTFs, real connections, right down to friendly acquaintances. I’ve even swiped through a few couples looking to add a little extra somethin’ somethin’ to the bedroom.

What’s crazy is how addictive it is. Like fo’ real. You will literally spend hours nope-ing the hell out of rando after rando. And for what? Honestly it’s like maintenance stroking your hard-on until the good porn finishes loading; you keep swiping with tired determination until you fall upon an actual “maybe” – or better yet – until you find an absolute YES (the unicorn of Tinder). That or your battery dies.

As a girl, and for simplicity’s sake, there are two types of men: Jerks and Nice Guys. Jerks are players who want to score with your pretty face but not pay for breakfast. Nice Guys always put on a condom and sometimes wear sweaters.

But hold the fuck up. With Tinder, jerk-o-meters get fuzzy. Because even if you think you found a Nice Guy, the dude’s gotta be superficial on some level, right? Tinder matches are founded on aesthetic compatibility after all. It’s a real Catch 22.

So what about superficial assumptions? My swiping system goes as such:

If you’re wearing sunglasses, I assume you have a lazy eye.
Swipe left.
Ed Hardy t-shirt wearers and swagfags alike.
Swipe left.

If you take a selfie while driving? That’s dangerous road conduct and terrible camera angle.
Swipe left.
If you’re posing in a mirror, you probably have short arms.
Swipe left.

If you quote James Dean, it’s just too cliche.
Swipe left.
If you have a tribal tattoo, you’re either 450 or have Chlamydia (don’t know which is worst).
Swipe left.
If you’re smoking a cigar, you have a small penis.
Swipe left.
If you’re shown traveling by backpack, you can’t afford a hotel and you’re probably broke.
Swipe left.
If you’re wearing a fedora, you’re the taint that girls try to bleach off their assholes.
Swipe left.
If you’re doing the Zoolander eyebrow thing, the equivalent of the male “duck face”.
Swipe left.
If you’re posing next to GSP, you look underwhelming by comparison no matter what.
Swipe left.
If you have kids, awwwwww…
Swipe left.

So basically, all guys. Swipe left. I’m window shopping 90% of the time.

Noobs take time to view your account. They appreciate the funny picture where you’re wearing that 3 Amigos sombrero. They give you points for writing a quirky bio. They feel morally obliged to answer your message if you matched.

Pros (you get your badge after, like, 3 days) need less than 0.75 seconds to process your picture. Your face becomes a blur along with every other stranger’s. Swipe, swipe, swi- Awe shit! I just swiped left a ‘maybe’!  Oh well, you continue compulsively worsening your tinderitis.

You have to wonder… Would you have really picked out your boyfriends or girlfriends if you had come across them on Tinder? Most likely not.

It’s such a commentary on today’s gen. Entitled, expecting immediate results, and ADD-level commitment. Tinder is the epitome of today’s Grass Is Always Greener society. It’s kind of sad, actually.

The app is fun and it definitely delivers what it promises. But after a couple of weeks, and a few numbers exchanged, and ONE super friendly meet… I decided Tinder wasn’t for me. I started to over-think it, see the bigger picture, and it cheapened the experience of making a connection with someone. So I quit that bitch. Bye Felicia.

And then I got a cat, my new obsession. Now I can never die alone!

I think I’m doing a really good job embracing the single life, don’t you?

Featured photo credit: Denis Bocquet, Flickr CC.

In last week’s article, I spoke about what motivates long distance romances. Since we’ve already covered the whys of the subject, I wanted to talk about the hows. Today, I’ve outlined a few key concepts to help you handle this clusterfuck of an emotional yo-yo that is long distance dating, if you ever find yourself wrapped up in one like I did.

Because, yes, at times you’ll be pulling out your hair. No relationship is ever easy, but shit, with the right person? Abso-fucking-lutely worth it.


Tip # 1: Make it temporary

Plan the end of your long distance from the get-go. Even if months or years down the road, getting over the hurdles is totally possible as long as there’s an end to all that crap. Things to look forwards to, right? You want a return on investment somewhere down line.

In the beginning of my LDR with Mr. W.A. (previously introduced), long-term end goals were part of the equation. Eventually living together, for example, was part of it. Not having that, flying back and forth would’ve felt redundant. You’ve got to clock-in before your time (or patience) runs out. If the distance isn’t temporary, what’s the point?

Tip # 2: Prioritize small things 

Would you stand up your girlfriend or boyfriend at a restaurant? Of course not, you’re not an asshat. Well, in LDRs, planned Skype conversations are real dates and should be treated as such. Might seem trivial to give such importance to little things, but bottom-line is it’s all about connecting. Emails, texts, Face-time, phone calls. Ever heard of FTD? Get on that shit! Small things, big impact. So don’t forget about them. Trust me, nothing will make your partner brain hemorrhage through their nose like the frustration of being left hanging or the worry that they’re taken for granted. That’s valid for ANY relationship, you just need to be extra vigilant in LDRs.

I rode the shorter end of that stick with Mr. W.A., and it sucked harder than a whore in a vacuum to feel forgotten. Small lapses can devastate long-distance relationships, but small thoughtful gestures have just as much exponential impact to improve them. So please, do sweat the small stuff.

Tip # 3: Quality over quantity

Quality words. Those emails? Make them colourful. Express the FEELS. Take out your thesaurus and use adjectives. Increase the value of your connecting moments by highlighting the sentiments behind them. It’ll take the same amount of time and have longer lasting impact on your honey, trust me. Bang for your buck, people.

Quality actions. Those visits?  Make them count! Sometimes shit happens and bad timing falls on “that” weekend. Well, tighten your big kid Pull-Ups and suck it up. Push yourself to be present and at your best on the rare occasions you have together. You can’t just “make up for it next weekend” if you act like a moody little bitch because, hello, in LDRs “next weekend” comes next month. Prioritize the Now. Or you might have to pay for it. For a long ass while. Because of your disgruntled better half.

[Pro-tip: If that happens: FTD. Stat.]


So there you go. Super simple stuff to nurture your LDR. Based on a personal and completely biased opinion.

Hey, at least I’m honest.

Disclosure: my long-distance relationship with W.A. didn’t really work out, unfortunately. I don’t necessarily blame the long distance so much as the lack of synchronicity with our priorities. Timing? Anyways, sometimes you got the right ingredients, the right chemistry, but the formula you have to work with is just off.

So, I had to call it. I had to take ol’ Bessie out in the back barn and shoot her between the eyes. Bang.

Calling it with W.A. gave me the big sads (Kleenex and Ben & Jerry’s jumped in profit margins that week) but time is never wasted when learning about yourself and what you need from others. Or you know, whatever cheese-tastic inspirational quote that floats your boat.

I haven’t ruled out long distance romance entirely. I’ll just have a more elaborate checklist to consult from before considering committing again. But that’s like for any new relationship, isn’t it?

Featured photo by Lara Binamé.

Because I couldn’t find a functional relationship in my own city, apparently I thought getting involved in a long distance relationship would help my situation. Cue the Hahahahahas. Don’t ask me what I was thinking. It was probably something along the lines of: Bah! All you need is love! How could this ever go wrong? 

Riiight.

You know, I do suffer from blonde moments from time to time and it’s safe to say this was clearly one of them. I just forgot how to brain for a hot minute and didn’t realize what I was signing up for. The six-pack and dimples caught me off guard. Summer of 2014 wasn’t chock-full of sound decisions.

Maybe I’m one of those people who suffered an unfortunate streak of bad luck or just caught a real case of the fuckits, but I ended up in a place where I was willing to try something different. I dated some absolute morons back in the day, maybe I just needed to retire the Montreal scene for a while and branch out. I’m not saying it was the best idea. I guess it’s like anal sex; can’t knock it ’til you try it.

According to Stats Can, 7% of Canadians are engaged in a long distance relationship. That’s like 2.4 million people having phone sex! The real kicker? Roughly 1/3 of young adults are in a LDR. Well color me fifty shades of shocked.

Before you pity those who find themselves in this situation, just remember that’s one in three people who’d rather have a long distance relationship over the option of dating your ass, who lives next door. Ouch. I’ll just let that sink in for a second.

Every relationship is different. LDRs are no exception. For one thing, most long-distance ménages don’t necessarily start out that way. Change of circumstances, like professional or academic obligations, is often the reason behind LDRs. I have a friend who once sustained a long distance relationship for a year while studying overseas.

A year of blue balls is a long fucking time, but 4 years were already invested in her relationship. Makes sense! You figure the reason behind any sane person willingly adding MORE challenges to their relationship is to preserve an already existing one; one you’ve actually poured time, energy, and sometimes tears into.

So why on earth begin a relationship in a long-distance context? You’d think that something like a border and 1000 km would discourage one from pursuing said relationship. It’s not like I couldn’t score a date in Montreal if I set my mind to it.

Why go the extra mile?

As previously mentioned, I met Mr. Washboard Abs this past summer while he was visiting Montreal. I was never unaware of the distance factor. Spending his last night in town together happened because… well, DAMN GURL, that’s what happens after too many glasses of Sauvignon Blanc with a cute stranger. A one night stand!

Until it wasn’t.

I didn’t really choose to be in a long distance relationship so much as I accidentally stumbled into one. When I said yes to seeing W.A. again, it was with absolute fucking naiveté. I truly believed I was in full control of my emotions.

Let’s be honest; I’m a terrible flyer and wouldn’t be taking several planes if I didn’t really, like really, like the guy in the first place. And what happens when you spend more time getting to know somebody you have great chemistry with? Bingo. You fall for him. I’m telling you, you can’t outsmart your heart’s stupidity.

Never would I have willingly signed up for an LDR. I simply brushed off reality long enough to find myself too invested in something that just calling off wasn’t the easiest of options anymore. Shit happens.

If you take W.A.’s case however, his motivations for taking up a long distance relationship were out of necessity. Guy work-travels so much that my living in Montreal made little difference anyways. Sometimes, it’s what suits someone’s lifestyle.

In the end, it’s all about the desire to connect. It’s that fucking simple. Clearly, our needs in romantic relationships are more emotional than physical.

Granted, sharing your day in-person is ten times better than exchanging over a pixilated Skype session. Yes, it’s hard to sustain a long distance relationship, but then again it’s just as hard to find somebody to connect with in the first place.

There’s no secret to it. You take it day by day, just like any other couple. ‘Normal’ relationship or not, we’re all in the same fucking boat.

Featured photo by Lara Binamé / www.larabiname.com

Living in this city is one hell of a social experiment. You come to face, and sometimes date, a variety of people from different backgrounds and with different personalities. All sorts of shapes and sizes… if you know what I mean. Still, you’ll always encounter some kind of crazy. If you’ve ever left the house, you know what I’m talking about.

Yeah yeah, it’s an opportunity for gaining fresh perspectives. Still. Dating is hard, it’ll Jedi mind fuck with your head, and when you fall it’s rarely graceful.

I am an adult (I checked) and I still screw up. A lot. I wear too short skirts on windy days, forget to pack an adequate amount of tampons before heading out, or occasionally get blackout drunk on a Tuesday night. Dating, however, takes the cake. Or the pie. Whatever gets thrown in my face first.

Oddly enough, I tend to be the go-to person among my friends when it comes to relationship troubles. Don’t know if I should be flattered because I’m a comforting person, or slightly offended because I’m seen as an expert in failed relationships? Eh, maybe my friends haven’t caught on to that last part yet.

Clearly, there’s no shortage of dumbass-baggery in my little black book. I can’t say I know everything there is to know about relationship dynamics (false modesty- I do). Point being, this isn’t an advice column.

I was told once that the point of life is to fail at greater and greater things. Meaning our cumulative fuck-ups are a measure of ascension. Mildly comforting? Look, the way I see it: life tends to come served with a heaping side of “fuck you”, and since we’re all in it for the long haul (optimistically) we need to cut ourselves some slack, right? I do so with a sprinkle of sarcasm and self-deprecation in my morning coffee. What’s your coping mechanism?

I have no issue spreading it for the world to see (pun intended), but I don’t want this to turn into some narcissistic platform either. My goal here is to simply start a conversation. With firsthand account stuff.

Some horror stories, mostly reflections, definitely lots of questioning. It’s a learning-on-the-job kinda thing, ya feel me?

But whatever the case, no cookie-cutter bullshit. If you want “47 ways to please your man”, then go to your nearest pharmacy and pick up a Marie-Claire.

Hi, I’m Jules. It’s nice to meet you. Welcome to Relationship Rants.

Featured photo by Albert Zablit / www.albertzablit.com

Let it never be said that Johnny Scott does not know heartache.

I began my painful life of pining for the gentler sex when I was still in diapers. And through the years the longing in my heart, like the diapers on my bottom, has only grown deeper and wider. I’ve had many loves in my life, many lost and many never-to-be. And the one common thread running through the whole absorbent, leak-proof tapestry is that each one was so cavalierly tossed aside at the slightest hint of a mess, like so many soiled Attends.

So, maybe being a great lover isn’t my strong suit. Maybe every love I’ve had has ended with me prone, halfway on some item of furniture, too debilitatingly heartbroken to move to reach the near-empty two-litre bottle of wine that has so carelessly rolled just out of my reach. Rolled just out of my reach like so many women before it, who also did so once their delicate bodies were no longer full of two litres of wine.

And this is what’s led me to the dawning comprehension that whatever my failings may be in maintaining a successful romantic relationship, the inverse is true of my skill as a passionate practitioner of the art of longing. Yes, however badly I cock up my pursuit of the love of a lady, I make up for it tenfold with my subsequent life-consuming yearning for her.

It’s a tremendous skill to have. Because what’s better to be able to do, woo someone with promise and successful delivery of an eternal love and devotion, or remind them constantly of an inextinguishable misunderstood preoccupation with what could have been if only they’d succumbed to your anguished advances? Clearly the latter shows a much greater degree of effort and commitment. Troubled desire is the intense, misshapen cousin of healthy love; and much like my intense, misshapen cousin at a family gathering, it’s hard to look at but impossible to ignore.

Now all of this, societally acceptable pursuit or degenerative brooding, is geared toward one thing: finding a partner. So if, like me, the former isn’t your bag, you might as well try your damnedest to be the best degenerate brooder you can be. Do everything you can to make yourself miserable in the name of longing, and do it right. Get adequately prepared, because wallowing in a puddle of your own despair is harder work than it sounds. And you want to make sure the object of your torch-bearing knows you’re not being lazy about it.

If you’ve got a job, you should probably consider quitting it, or at least taking some time off. You’re not going to be leaving your home for any reason whatsoever for a while, with the possible exception of occasionally putting on a long coat and staring pensively out over a body of water, internally comparing its depth and coldness to that of your own ravaged heart. Oh yeah, so make sure to buy an appropriately large amount of toilet paper before you start, because your whole image of stone-masked turmoil is undermined if you’re clutching a pack of Cottonelle puppies.

You’re not going to be eating very much, or wearing any clothes most of the time, so spend most of your grocery and laundry money on good, full-bodied red wine or mid-quality brandy. If you don’t yet dabble in heroin, now would be a great time to start. Ether is another good choice, if you can get it. The goal here isn’t to get right messed up on any of these, but to maintain a constant, days-at-a-stretch languor which dulls the pain smouldering inside you enough that you can focus on all the things you’d be doing at any given moment with your erstwhile soul-mate if only they’d finally see that they’re meant to be with you.

The soundtrack to your furious craving should be stark. I suggest the ceaseless drip of a kitchen faucet between songs on the same side of a beat-up Hank Williams record that keeps replaying itself again and again. Whatever you choose, it should be played indefinitely, to serve as a constant reminder that your suffering will never end.

Most importantly, keep a record of your pain. Great writing and music and art throughout the centuries has been created because of profound heartache, and what’s been the point of all this if your torment isn’t known to those around you? To that person whom all of this has been an effort to impress upon how lost you are without?

So fill your Facebook feed with vague status updates of lovelorn agony. Tweet relentlessly of your desperate search for meaning without the only person who can steady your shambling life. Instagram snapshots of the squalor imposed upon you by your burdened soul. And, always, blog blog blog.

 

Photo by Johnny Scott

So the last few weeks have been a little rough. What I initially thought was a cold turned out to be a full-blown upper respiratory infection, which did wonders to explain why I’d devolved from a productive member of society into a depressed, unproductive sack of Not Giving a Shit.

So you’d think in this weakened state I’d want to expose myself to happiness and joy, maybe an uplifting family movie or something involving something other than loneliness and social isolation. Instead I watched Love, an indie movie by first time director William Eubank, which concerns a man trapped on the International Space Station losing his mind from lack of social stimulation, because I’m nothing if not a rampant contrarian who takes great pleasure into digging deeper into whatever hole he’s gotten into like a Minecraft player with a diamond fetish.

love-movie-posterOf course, Love isn’t all doom and gloom, the first few minutes are more confusion and bewilderment, since it starts off in the fucking Civil War of all things, with a bunch of actors and extras in costumes they borrowed from the local reenactment troupe sending some guy in a tank top (and I don’t know if they had tank tops in the Civil War) off to see something no one ever properly explains, just some thing someone found somewhere.

Flash forward a few centuries to the actual story, where astronaut Lee Miller (played by Gunner Wright) loses all contact with Earth during a lone stint on the International Space Station. Left to his own devices, Lee does what I’d expect anyone would do in this situation, that being go a bit loony. He forms an attachment to a photo of a former station inhabitant, who as luck would have it looks like an underwear model, replays the few video and sound clips he has access to over and over again like a teenage boy endless rewinding that one scene with the sexy nurse from Nightmare on Elm Street 3, and obsesses over an old Civil War diary he found kicking around behind a wall panel. Two points if you can guess if it has any connection to that weird opening bit.

As snarky as I sound, the first two thirds or so of Love are actually pretty good, even if it is just Castaway in space except with a sexy Russian chick instead of a volleyball. When we first meet Miller he comes off as kind of straight-laced and dull, but the character becomes more sympathetic and human as we see the cracks start to show, and later see those cracks widen into great yawning chasms, like the one Simon Gruber throws Darth Vader into in that version of The Lion King that happens when you watch the whole thing with your eyes closed.

But like Icarus, Love winds up flying too close to the sun and goes down in flames, in that the third act turns into some weird, “It probably makes sense in the writer’s head” trippy metaphysical space odyssey, perhaps the kind that might have taken place in 2001 if you catch my drift. After spending enough years alone on the station to grow a rocking beard and get really, REALLY into self-tattooing, Lee encounters a giant floating time capsule thing that contains scores of interviews and information about the human race, most of which seems to consist of actors in a blank room talking about how important human connectivity is, and all of this links back to the Civil War thing, because the time capsule whatsit is the thing the guy from the beginning of the film was sent to find.

It’s around this point the film goes from a pretty solid little movie about loneliness and isolation to a pretty pretentious mess of sophomoric “all you need is love” sentiment, high-minded symbolism and narrative opacity that I’m sure makes some kind of sense logically, but feels more like the film makers planting a big ole’ wet one on Stanley Kubrick’s grave. That, or the last half hour or so is all Lee finally going as crazy as the March Hare having a ‘Nam flashback and dying while trying to make a deep spiritual connection with a power conduit.

Love spacesuit

And before this, I was really enjoying things, goddamit. The  score by Angels and Airwaves gives everything a weird, haunting ambiance, the cramped sets and close angles amplify the sense of claustrophobia and allows the viewer to further empathize with Lee, and while Wright’s performance isn’t the stuff of legend, he pulls off “going slowly insane from isolation” pretty well. Aside from that weird Civil War opening, what we had up until that last bit was a very small, humble but interesting sci-fi flick. Sure, the meager budget is pretty evident, the Civil War scenes seem a tad cheap looking, and I’m sure anyone with knowledge of space travel would take one look at Lee’s space suit or the ISS interiors and laugh themselves into a coma, but it’s well-acted and has a good atmosphere and a decent hook.

But then you had to start wanking off 2001, didn’t you, movie? Had to have your space monument and your unclear ending that you really hope people will spend endless hours analyzing and interpreting, right? Except they won’t, because while 2001 gave the viewers enough information to start forming a hypothesis with, Love just feels opaque and vague for the sake of it.

So is Love a good movie? Well, parts of it are. When it’s all about the performance and the mood, I’d even say it’s damn good, but in the end it isn’t content with those and loses itself in pretentiousness and  sentiment, and not even the good kind like Upstream Color did a few weeks back, but it’s really unfair to compare the two. I’m sure the director had good intentions and thinks his creation is beautiful and meaningful, but then again so did I that time in second grade art class when I made a clay mask of a troll with a really runny nose.

Breakups are tough. Whether you’re the breaker or the breakee, each comes with its own different set of hurdles to jump, and none of them are easy. But often they are necessary. To quote the glimmering Nordic poet-goddesses of ABBA, “Breaking up is never easy, I know, but I have to go.” The Swedes have always been years ahead of us on the subject of love.

Even the most powerful and all-conquering love eventually meets its Waterloo, and it’s the tact or crassness of this parting of ways that can set us apart from the animals. Except the North African Divorcing Bird, which has evolved the process of separation into its natural behaviour so seamlessly, the male and females of the species have totally disparate migratory patterns and alternate caring for their young.

Our conduct during these emotionally charged times, when we are essentially at our worst, defines who we are and can bring out the true character in someone we thought we knew everything about. Civility is what’s called for, but acrimony is the name of the game.

Processes which should be practical and simple, such as the division of shared possessions, become minefields of repressed feelings. Questions about who gets to keep the computer and who the sex hammock, which should be easily answered with a blacklight and a quick appraisal of whose fluids cover more surface area, become protracted arguments about entitlement and guilt, and end up having little or nothing to do with bodily fluids at all.

It’s not impossible to remain classy in the face of this devastation, though. In fact, it can be fairly easy to come out of the whole experience looking diplomatic and sympathetic just by handling a few key issues with aplomb.

The actual moment of breakup, for example. It can be messy and explosive, so it’s ideal to have it take place in a public setting. This may temper the reaction of your partner. But, more importantly, relationships are a constant struggle for superiority, a winner takes it all campaign, and this is the end game. A public meltdown from your partner could be just what you need to seal the coup. A scalding cup of coffee to the face or a fork to your neck can turn you into a relationship martyr, allowing you to rise up again more powerful than ever before, like Gandalf did in the Bible.

Late night, drunken texts and Facebook messages must be operatic, both in tone and breadth. Create a sense of dramatic urgency by quickly and without consistency alternating between anguish, haughtiness, anger, and pleas for forgiveness. You’re only going to get one or two chances before accounts get blocked and numbers get changed, so make this your Carmen. Remember, though, it’s the words on the screen that count, not the context in which they were written, so no one needs to know that you composed them while prostrate in the empty bathtub sobbing into a pot of cold Hamburger Helper.

When you inevitably run into your ex here and there after the split, there is no need to puff yourself up and brag about how much better your life is without them and how many times you’ve banged the manager at your new job at Burger King. Your contentedness will project outward and there will be no mistaking it. Then quickly run outside the supermarket before they hit the checkout and take a dump on the hood of their car.

The most important thing of all is that you truly move on. That you realize this is the natural course of things, and there is nothing to be gained from fighting it. A relationship is a lot like one of those South American caterpillars: it’s fuzzy and adorable in the beginning, then morphs into a beautiful and majestic butterfly that’s dazzling to behold, and then burrows into someone’s brain through their ear while they sleep and causes massive, fatal hemorrhaging. You will never be happy again if you dwell on it. You will only be able to love again when you can finally let go.

Oh, and fuck you, Shelly, that cat is as much mine as yours. I saw through Terry’s Facebook those pictures you posted with him and some dude?? I’m getting him back if I have to break into your apartment and take him. I know where you moved to.

 

Photo by bored-now via Flickr

When you get right down to it, the odds of finding true love are pretty dismal. Considering all the factors that need to line up perfectly like attraction, chemistry and timing, British mathematician Peter Backus put the chances at one in 285 000.  He based his calculations on the Drake Equation, which was derived in 1961 to estimate the number of possible extra-terrestrial civilizations that could exist in our galaxy. While the Drake Equation looks at factors like the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy and the fraction of those stars that have habitable planet, Backus whittled down the London dating pool by gender, age, education and attraction to a mere 26 lucky ladies.

But what if you had a magical Love Potion Number 9 that you could slip into someone’s drink to make them unwittingly and insatiably infatuated with you? How much could you charge for even a single dose?

Theoretical approaches to answering this question vary wildly, as love is one of those things that are nearly impossible to quantify in tangible terms. Different people experience it in markedly different ways, but there are some universal qualities that remain the same across race, class or sexuality. For the purpose of this piece, I refer to that boundless, can’t-get-you-out-of-my-head-but-I-don’t-even-want-to-try kind of love. In psychology, it is known as consummate love, characterized by intimacy, passion and commitment.

economicsofliveOne way of attempting to quantify the cost of love is looking at the financial costs of courtship such as dinner and a show, apology flowers for when you fuck up, a sparkling engagement ring and an unforgettable wedding. According to the research team at RateSupermarket.ca, you’d better start saving now because you’ll need an astonishing $43 842.

“We’re having a little fun with this, but all kidding aside, money problems are the most common reason for break ups,” noted Kelvin Mangaroo, president of RateSupermarket.ca.

But this figure hardly compares with the monetary value of hearing the words “I love you” from your beloved’s lips for the first time. The British research group Brainjuicer polled 1,000 lottery winners and determined that the amount of happiness brought on by a declaration of love is equivalent to winning £163 424 ($256 911).

Another way of looking at the economics of relationships is by analyzing what happens to our social circles when we couple up. According to a study from Oxford University conducts by evolutionary anthropologist Brian Dunbar, we generally have about five close friends at any given point in our adult lives. To make room for a new love, one of those friends is given the boot.

“What I suspect happens is that your attention is so wholly focused on your romantic partner that you just don’t get to see the other folks you have a lot to do with, and therefore some of those relationships just start to deteriorate and drop down into the layer below,” theorized Dunbar.

So even though romantic relationships make us poor and less popular, they ultimately bring us something else that money can’t buy: happiness. Those who place a higher value on money than love are far more likely to be unsatisfied with their lives.  After all, your money can’t hug you when you’re feeling blue, massage your feet when you’ve had a rough day or stare deeply into your eyes while reciting romantic poetry. As soon as it can, the need for love as we know it might vanish forever.

Photo credit: 14 Wyys an Economist Says I Love You – http://fosslien.com/heart/

It’s the time of the year for red roses, pink champagne, over-sentimentalized cards and silly useless gifts that tend to end up in the closet along with the weight loss paraphernalia you bought after the holidays. Also it is the loneliest time of the year for the majority of the population who are single and find themselves looking hastily for misguided companionship in the most unfortunate places. Been there my friends.

Fortunately I am now married, so the only thing I need to do is think of a better gift than the one my wife is getting me. Nevertheless I want to introduce some artwork that might come handy when considering cards, prints or even reproductions for your special someone. Artwork that would surely impress and bring you extra points in this great manufactured capitalist lie that is Valentine’s Day.

Venus and MarsThe first piece is “Venus and Mars” by the Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli. The work can be found at the UK National Gallery in London, and it is a thoroughly striking piece. The story is that of a love affair between the god of war Mars and goddess of love and beauty Venus who was married at the time. Not to worry my friends, they get punished later on when the matter becomes public so to speak; however this artwork is concerned with the moment that the act of love making has ended.

The painting is symbolic in terms of the triumph of love over war, as Venus has managed to seduce and win over Mars. Yet the scene is tremendously humorous and lighthearted. Mars for all intents and purposes has been drained, exhausted, you might even say passed out. I would like to say the god of war has been conquered. Mars is so out of it that even the little annoying infant Satyrs cannot wake him up. One of them is actually blowing a small conch shell in his ear, alas Mars is too shagged out to react.

Venus has an interesting expression on her face, she almost looks disappointed, displeased and irritated. Could it be that Mars didn’t perform adequately and the artist is anticipating her regret later on when being punished, which is also evident from the bees that hover around Mars? After all if you want some honey you have to take the chance of being stung by the bees, which is actually another story that features Venus and her son Cupid. Other interpretations by art historians read Venus’s expression as that of a peeved lover who wanted more after sex. However you look at it Botticelli paints a scenario that can be tried and true at any time throughout history, I just hope you have happier ending post coitus.

BerniniAnother artwork I want to share with you is “The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa” by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, residing in the Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome. If you were looking for heavenly love, you’d be hard pressed to find a better example than this. Bernini gives you love that is out of this world, beyond description. As words fail to bring to life this ecstasy Saint Teresa felt when she was visited by an angel, Bernini makes marble flow, twist and coil in complete orgasm.

The story comes from St. Teresa’s written account which was tremendously popular in Rome at the time, and people would read it in awe and envy. She writes of the angel piercing her heart with an arrow, however if you look closer at the sculpture you see Bernini’s angel pointing the arrow lower down. This is not just heavenly love; this is very much an earthy human climax. O’ how we fail to take our eyes off of her.  Charles de Brosses visiting in 19th century remarked “If this is divine love, I know all about it.”

Since I couldn’t find a good example of artwork which would appeal to our gay and lesbian community, I decided to create one myself, and so I present to you my “Let it Be”. The inspiration behind the work comes from the battles our gay friends are involved in to secure more rights all over the world. USA, France and UK have been in the news recently concerning the legalization of gay marriage, and the offensive comments uttered by certain opposition groups in those countries really show how much ignorance still exist in the democratic developed countries. I really cannot fathom why some people choose to spread hatred for something so human as expression of unity between two people. Some day we will look back at this period of our lives and wonder why we were so benighted. Wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day.

A friend messaged me looking for a witch. Is there a scavenger hunt I didn’t know about? Is there a non-drug induced apparition at your door that needs dispelling? No; he needed a spell “for good love. Or to attract good intentions. Or to be open to love.”

I liked that he was open to the phrasing; as if he knew that somewhere in how we ask the question, we craft the limitations of our own answers (I’m working on that one myself these days). And, while I do have a few witches on speed dial, I’ve both kissed enough frogs and whispered enough potent wishes by moonlight (and consulted a few wonderful therapists) to qualify for a shot at this one.

Is it any surprise that the answer won’t be found in a simple room smudge?

Fundamentally, we get what we ask for. Yes; it’s wonderful and terrible, and those of you who are already getting queasy by this part of the ride are encouraged to hang tight and keep your breaths long and steady to avoid dizziness. The theory is that whether we’re aware of it or not, energy flows to where the attention goes (i.e. look at where you’re driving, not what you’re looking to avoid, and countless reworked bestsellers). So, when we’re asking for “love,” while it’s implied that we’ll get our guaranteed +1, beyond that, what is it we’re really aiming ourselves toward?

What does love mean to you?

It’s important that you ask yourself that question and answer it honestly. Your answer will evolve as you do. Chances are, this isn’t one of those things you’ll find in a flash in its entirety; begin the process of exploring what it means, and you’ll not only find what you’re looking for, but also what you have to offer. Love, after all, is a verb. What does it look like when you do it?

If you believe love is hard won, through struggle, trial and strife, you can and will find it that way. If you’re looking for roses and carriages, you will find them. If you feel like love is a word that tries to pin down a moving target carried on the breath of your kindred, you’d be surprised what you might find.

Love Stories

To bring new things into our lives, it’s imperative to take out the trash. Emotional clutter is to breakdowns and blockages what eBay is to a net savvy hoarder. Make space to let the light in (Dad: put down the credit card). We create our own plotlines out of our expectations, favorite dreams and the debris we’ve collected along the way, rolling on through like melty marshmallows across a sandbox. What storylines have imprinted on you? What destructive little scenes are you still sticking to and filtering your future through?

A lot of our collective love stories are built on rescue, salvation, even injury or vampirism. But at the end of the day, are you in the business of saving puppies and mending werewolves? Are you a half drowned cat masquerading as a cursed princess? Is that really how you want this to go? That’s not love. Not mine, anyway. You, of course, are free to turn this into whatever scene you’d like. But…

What if you envision your wildest heart’s desire. Even the parts that jaded people and prime time TV have led you to believe are impossible and extraordinary expectations. Picture it. Walk with it swirling about you like sunshine. Don’t let the clouds creep in on it; these are your beautiful dreams, worry about clouds when there are actual clouds. Feel it in your heart until you smile from it, and forget it’s not already here (because it kinda is).

At the very least, this practice will expand your horizons and your capacity for will abundance. I believe it can do even more; I believe Good Love digs it when the sunshine swirls about you like that, and done exquisitely, it can work like an electric magnet finally getting its DC diddled.

sorta

But, Are You Worth It?

Yes.

But, if you don’t know that so inherently that you feel it, it’ll either sound bogus or simply fall on deaf ears. We all deserve love. And while yours won’t ever look like mine (and isn’t that lovely?), yours deserves to be supportive, understanding, kind and expansive. You have a right to it, like you do to air, despite the stories you’ve told yourself as to why you might not.

A well adjusted, capable gal I know used to have literal dreams about being left at the alter due to a wonky thumb. I used to feel easier to love from a distance as I’m quite wonky up close. There are as many excuses and barriers like these as there are people to have them. Let them go. Know that you deserve Good Love, and you’ll be amazed how it rains down on you; from more smiles from strangers, to the extra care in every encounter. It’s a snowball effect of great stuff, and you can be there to pick up what’s going down.

Ritual

I know; I haven’t had you chant, or dance, or anything. Still, I hate to disappoint and it’s not too late. Magik is at its most fantasmagorical when it’s personal. You must fundamentally jump start your own mojo machine and ideally make your own ritual. All anyone else can ever give you is an invitation to accept a new starting point; like walking out of a gypsy’s tent with fresh perspective and magik beans.

Here are the beans:

Write down all the reasons you believe you don’t have love. Burn them. Wordy folks and the self-loathing are warned to be especially careful; I suggest a bar-b-que.

Take time to look yourself in the eye (use a mirror, or your face will stick like that), take down all your guards and fall in love. You’re pretty good looking, you know. And that sweet thing you did that time when no one noticed? You know about it. Love yourself for it. For everything. Fostering fondness of self is actually the most important part of everything I’ve learned to date in life. I’m still not a full pro, so don’t get discouraged.

Buy / make yourself a li’l something — a charm, if you will — that makes you think of Good Love. My money says: “Good Love will know where to find it.”

@McMoxy in search of money magik

Images: kitchenwitchuk.blogspot.com, demotivational.us

For me, dating a younger man is a lot like farting in public; there’s nothing unnatural about it, but I still think people are looking at me with that stank look of judgement.

Since beginning my 20-something holding pattern, I have noticed that the men I am attracted to and who seem to be attracted to me are younger… much younger. And though I have never been completely comfortable with my body, being with a man in his early 20s, with his speedy metabolism and inexhaustible libido, makes me all the more aware that I am not in my early 20s. There is nothing quite like having a man dig your tits out of your armpits to drive that point home!

The thing is, I don’t look my age. Most people think I am about 5-10 years younger, and are shocked to find out how old I actually am. One friend of a man-child I dated actually said to me, “I don’t know what you’re doing with him; at your age you should be married with children. Whatever’s wrong with you, he’s not going to fix it.” Oh, honey, yes he is! And he did. And it was fantastic! Any more questions?

My potential child-grooms may seem to hold the promise of weeks of amazing and incessant XBox tournaments, romantic nights of pizza and boxed wine and, yes, staying up until the wee hours of the morning listening to music that contains nothing but bass. But there is a downside to dating younger men that Stella didn’t tell because she was too busy getting her groove back: Even though we may care for each other, it is best not to try to make a relationship out of this affair. A relationship requires the sharing of each other’s personal interests, anecdotes and experiences. How does one do that when he’s never accidentally melted a record? When he’s never had to go to the library to research a term paper? Never had to wait 45 minutes for his Kraft dinner? When he refers to Depeche Mode as “oldies” music? IT’S 80s MUSIC – IT’S RETRO AT ITS BEST!!! You pretty, pretty thing – let’s have sex before I never speak to you again.

So I’ve devised a list of criteria for the future to avoid such pitfalls as outing my age, or wishing they would just shut up and look pretty. I shall not date anyone:

1) whose age and my curfew were EVER the same at the same time.
2) who doesn’t know what the USSR was.
3) who never had to walk around with a bag full of cassettes.
4) who doesn’t know who Ferris Bueller is.
5) who was not frightened by the puppets in Genesis’ “Land of Confusion” video.

That’s not to say that May-December romances do not work. On the contrary, many, many May-December romances have worked beautifully: From the classic Bogie & Bacall, married 34 years with a 26 year age difference, to a modern Demi and Ashton (8 years together and Demi is 15 years older), to the controversial Woody and Soon-Yi (19 years, Woody is 35 years older), to the historical Michaelangelo and Tommaso dei Cavellari who, though Michaelangelo was 34 years older, spent 32 years together. On the other hand, Rudolph Valentino was two years younger than Jean Acker, and that marriage only lasted 6 hours. So, apparently, the secret is a one-decade minimum age difference.

I suppose the true secret is to find someone, regardless of their age, with whom you share common interests, someone you can laugh with, and who thinks you are awesome. And when you find that person, don’t tell them how old you are.