Apr 27

[ad#ad-1] My friends recently held an intervention for me. They believed that after my last relationship I had become unfairly hostile and jaded toward the opposite sex, and that I had allowed one bad experience to color my view of all members of the male species who currently, and will ever at any point in time, exist in the universe. I looked with disdain on all females who dared to attempt to partake in a real relationship with a man and especially my fallen friends (those who married).

I had become a Dater Hater.

Have you ever found that a single bad experience tempts you to make generalizations you shouldn’t, flinging stereotypes you don’t actually even believe? For example, just this morning a car with a Bush/Cheney bumper sticker cut me off in traffic and the next thing I knew, I was fuming about the bad driving habits of all Republicans EVERYWHERE.

This is what Dater Haters do with men. We allow the way a single man once treated us to dictate the way we view men everywhere. As a recovering Dater Hater, I think that we do this because we think that if we despise the collective man, we will not actually open our hearts to one again, thus avoiding all future possibility of being hurt.

A Dater Hater takes skepticism to new heights, taking it as a certainty that any gestures of kindness from the opposite sex are fraught with underlying motives. Even in the midst of a Dater Hater’s failed attempts to uncover the man’s dishonest motives, she will remain convinced his gesture is not genuine.

The following transcript exposes the typical dynamics between a Dater Hater and a member of the male species.

Male Species: We should go on a date sometime.

Dater Hater: What’s a date? Is that where we go to your friend’s house and drink beer?

Male Species: We go out, to a nice restaurant. I pay.

Dater Hater: Wendy’s?

Male Species: No, a nice restaurant.

Dater Hater: I don’t get it. What’s the catch? What do you get out of it?

Male Species: Um, nothing. I just thought it would be nice to take you on a date.

Dater Hater: I see right through you. Stop messing with my head.

Male Species: No really, I promise, I don’t have ulterior motives. I just would like to take you on a nice date.

Dater Hater: Am I on Candid Camera?

If you notice a striking resemblance between this dialogue and a dialogue you have recently had, you may be classified as being on the Dater Hater spectrum. And while Hating Dating is a reasonable response to any painful relationship-breakup experience, it also blinds the Dater Hater to those members of the male species who actually know how to treat women. As a recovering Dater Hater, I assure fellow Dater Haters that those decent members of the male species still exist.

And if you’re not ready to find them, join your local breakup sects chapter. 🙂

–Troi out

Apr 24

Warning Sign

[ad#ad-1] I stumbled upon (literally, www.stumbleupon.com) this picture while perusing the net this afternoon and I found that it contained not just a pearl of wisdom, but really an entire ocean of oyster’s worth of pearls of wisdom, that can be applied to our lives.

(Readers, please be warned that you must carefully remove the pearls from the oyster prior to eating it. You do not want that kind of fortune drifting aimlessly through your digestive system.)

This sign exemplifies the potential damage done by wasting time worrying about things that aren’t very important. I have often consumed valuable time worrying about touching the edges of sharp signs, therefore missing the bridge out ahead, and plummeting into the water.

(Readers, that was an analogy. I don’t really touch the edges of sharp signs, anymore, and while I boast a long history of car accidents, I have yet to drive into water. I’m not saying that it won’t happen, simply that it hasn’t yet.)

Worrying about the small stuff is one of the most unproductive things we can do with our time, but also one of the most tempting. It gives us a false sense of control over our lives, as if the intangible things we stew about will shrink and become more manageable. But in fact worry and problems are positively correlated. That is, the more we worry about them, the bigger the problems actually become. And the less brain space we can devote to the more productive thoughts, such as thoughts of action, or thoughts of letting go and letting God (or to whomever you ascribe greater power than yourself). Or thoughts of noticing the imminent bridge that is out ahead.

Today I devote myself to conquering my fear of touching signs with sharp edges and I embrace the ability to look toward the more important things.

Like inventing signs with dull edges.

–Troi out

Apr 18

My mother values Dr. Phil’s opinion. So when he recently discussed the benefits of lights that kill germs, my mother immediately thought of me. No, not because I am a germ to be killed, but because I attract germs that haven’t yet been killed. In the past month I have successfully caught every germ that my students have generously coughed and sneezed on me.

But a germ light?? I’m sure Dr. Phil is one of the brighter crayons in the box, but I remain unconvinced. After all, my therapy room is already filled with light. I am an advocate for administering speech therapy with the room lights turned on so that students can learn in a well-lit atmosphere. Since Dr. Phil’s advice, I have bought fourteen flashlights that I dutifully shine on students as they walk into the room to kill potential germs. The students complain of being blinded, so I imagine their germs are being blinded as well. I carry a lightbulb around at all times, and I have attached a small reading light to my belt buckle to kill germs that are hiding below eye level.

Yet, inexplicably, the germs are thriving. I know this because I continue to catch them.

Clearly the lights are doing nothing for my immunity. Thus, after donating the bulk of my flashlights, lightbulbs, and reading lights to cavemen living in the dark ages, I called my mother to proclaim Dr. Phil’s inadequacy.

Well, it turns out, says my mother, that not just any light kills germs. (This would have been helpful knowledge before I spent my life savings on the flashlights.) It takes a special kind of light to kill germs. Ultraviolet (UV) Light destroys a microbe’s DNA and prevents it from reproducing.

Now I know what you’re thinking, how is this any more ethical than shining a light on a woman to prevent her from reproducing? Where are the microbe’s rights in this light? What if the microbe wants to reproduce? Is it really our place to render the microbe infertile, stealing its lifelong desire to reproduce and have a family?*

*For more on this important topic, please purchase a copy of my treatise: “The Ethics of Reproduction: An infertile Microbe tells her story.”

Regardless of the ethics, if you continue to find the idea of a germ light appealing, there are several options. The $500 Halo ST-UV is a vacuum with a built-in UV light that shines on the carpet. If your budget is a mite (mite, get it?) too tight, Hammacher Schlemmer offers a Wide-Coverage Germ-Eliminating Wand for a mere $100 which will destroy germs when held over an object at a distance of three inches for 20 seconds. And my personal favorite is the Hammacher Germ Killing Light Gun for $79.95 (see image below), not because it is the most reasonably-priced, but because it looks just like a tricorder from Star Trek: The Next Generation, so I think it might double as a probe for intelligent life on nearby planets.

germ-killing light

*Remember, UV lights do not replace the general sanitary practices of handwashing. You should still wash your hands at least twice a month even when equipped with the germ-killing UV light technology.

–Troi out

Apr 15

In a conversation with several married friends this past Saturday, one was recalling a Cereal Date she had back in college with her then boyfriend (now husband).

You may be asking the same thing I did on Saturday: What is a Cereal Date?

Well, my friend explained, during the first few summers of their relationship, she and her boyfriend lived several hours apart. So they would schedule long-distance Cereal Dates, at which time both would eat a bowl of cereal, in their respective cities, at the exact same time.

My friend’s then-boyfriend once went to a movie with his sister that conflicted with one such scheduled Cereal Date. He had to leave the theater and return home to eat cereal. By the time he returned to the theater, the credits were rolling, and to this day he still doesn’t know who the spy who shagged Austin Powers was.

One of my best friends and her now-husband were similarly ridiculous as Young Lovers* back in college. They didn’t eat cereal together, but they were compelled to stay up all night long, night after night, in the dorm “common area,” where they cuddled. Being a night owl at the time, I would frequently pass by the common area and find them on the couch, silent, almost catatonic. At times I thought they were dead. But, somehow, they found sleeplessness in close proximity to be more tolerable than falling asleep in distant dorms nearly 30 yards apart.

*I use this term loosely as they were in love but not actually lovers until the sacred rite of marriage had ensued.

Distance can be painful when you’re a Young Lover** and while I went to great lengths to mock my friend on Saturday, I now would like to rescind all grief I gave her, and promote this idea of a Cereal Date to bring distant lovers together, if not physically, then physiologically through the digestive process. However, I would like to ensure that I fully grasp the concept of a Cereal Date before advocating the notion on the internet.

**I use this term loosely again.

I pose five questions that must be investigated prior to implementing long-distance Cereal Dates. I will wait until I receive responses to each question from my friend the Cereal Dater, and will then post a follow up lesson on the official Cereal Date Policy as it currently stands.

Dear Young Lover*** Maria,

***Now that you’re over 30, do I still call you “young?” 🙂

5. If I am having a Cereal Date with my long-distance Lover, do we each need to be eating the same kind of cereal? What if I am eating honey-nut cheerios and my long-distance lover is allergic to peanuts? Can he eat original low-sugar cheerios? Can he eat the generic brand “O’s”?

4. If I discover that my long-distance Lover was eating cereal on our Cereal Date while another person was in the kitchen, do I consider him to be cheating on me?

3. Can I have a Cereal Date with Quaker Instant Oatmeal?

2. If I’m eating my cereal in a ceramic bowl with real silverware, and my long-distance Lover is using a disposable plastic bowl and plastic silverware, does that indicate I’m investing more than he is in the relationship?

1. If I use soy milk in my cereal, and my long-distance Lover uses regular milk, does this mean we’re not compatible?

Thank you, Readers, for going on this thought-provoking Cereal Date journey with me. I look forward to providing you with a conclusion to Cereal Dating in my next post.

–Troi out

Apr 12

So today I received yet another announcement of impending nuptials from a good friend of mine. I have been receiving a great deal of said announcements recently. I believe this is because in our mid-late twenties we enter into the “SeTtling Down” phase, or what I like to abbreviate as the “STD” phase.

….I’ve just been notified by my publicist that this is not an acceptable abbrevation for my topic. Apparently it’s already been taken. Thus, we will refer to this phase as the “settling phase,” the phase that inevitably accompanies the general physical transformation (read: decline) that men and women (but particularly women) undergo during this time period.

How exactly do I respond to such announcements of upcoming marriages, spoken with the ignorance of joy? Congratulations that you will soon be yoked for all eternity to another human being, until one of you gets let off the hook by either your death, or the death of your partner?*

See, that statement doesn’t have a very nice ring to it, and could be misinterpreted as a lack of support for your friend’s engagement. Yet to feign an act of jubilance at their imminent situation is simply dishonest.*

Thus, for your benefit I have considered and arrived at several enthusiastic yet neutral statements that can be made when you are confronted with future announcements of permanent coupledom.

“Wow! Forever! What a long time! He must really like you!”

This is an excellent response because it contains an exclamation, a statement of fact, an opinion, and yet skirts the issue of your feelings on the matter entirely.

“Where did he propose? What did he say? How did he do it?”

Once again, this is a solid response because it is so loaded with interrogatives that your opinion is not factored into the conversation at all.

“Hey speaking of weddings, I read the most interesting story about prenuptial agreements in a recent story on Britney and K-Fed…..”

This response is commonly utilized to plant seeds of prenuptial agreements in your friend’s mind, critical to the success of any subsequent divorce.

Please respond with comments if you have other suggestions of appropriate responses that can be used in the occasion of notices of permanent unions.

*The author of this blog would like to note that her comments on this topic of wedded bliss are loaded with sarcasm, and may not express her true feelings on the matter of marriage. The author of this blog feels 80% confident that all of her friends will be in the 50% of marriages that are successful, and that those who are not her friends will be in the 50% of marriages that end in divorce. Therefore, the author of this blog suggests that you become friends with her if you would like for your marriage to last.

–Troi out

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