Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour - My 100th Post

I guess it's only fair that my 100 post on this blog be actually significant. I actually wanted to do one of those "Best Of..." kind of posts, like it was my 100th episode or whatever, but some things are more important than my ridiculous rants. Like the planet. Besides, it's not really 100th anyway, since I deleted my old blog. I'm way past one hundred, old fart that I am.

Anyway, if you read this before March 28th at 8:30, I request that you celebrate Earth Hour and shut off your lights from 8:30 until 9:30. I won't bore you with stats and pleas, because we all know that stuff and no one likes to be preached to. Suffice it to say, it is great for the environment and sends a message that people care.

Check out this amazing video to get some cool pictures of the entire city of Sydney being plunged into darkness in 2007, where it all began:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Re-Working the Marriage Thing

I was talking to an old friend the other day who said, "I went to see 'I Love You, Man' on a date, and there's a lot of Rush references. I think you'd like it."

"Date?" was my response.

"You know I'm divorced, right?"


This was the first I had heard. And for some reason, this wierded me out. not that I found out at this late juncture, but that she was actually divorced. That's why I went through that sort of elaborate way of telling you about the revelation of the divorce of someone you probably don't even know. I was trying to drive it home.

It seemed my friend had reconciled everything and was enjoying a bit of the single life (and she did tell me to let everyone know that she was now having sex with a model.) of course, I cannot fault anyone for that, but it made me think about marriage, a lot more than I have in awhile. Which is to say, I thought about it some.

First off, I attended this friend's wedding years ago, along with maybe a dozen other people. it was a really small affair in a restaurant on the South Shore. No church, no culty, religious ridiculousness. Just a few people and some vows. Because it was so small, I was flattered to be invited at all, and even more excited when I asked if I could bring my girlfriend at the time, and my friend said, "Of course."

Due to the nature of the ceremony, this stands out as one of the more enjoyable weddings I've ever been to. No offense to anyone whose wedding I've attended, but most of your ceremonies sort of blend together eventually. Your receptions are all fantastic, however.

My friend and I agreed that marriage may not really work anymore. I've said this before, but marriage was devised and conceived at a time when fifty was considered elderly, so someone got married young, and when one of them died, they were done. Plus, divorce wasn't really an option back then. You just had to grin and bear it, and the guy was probably messing around anyway and there was nothing the woman could say. It was certainly a man's world.

But even leaving fidelity out of it, let's just talk about living and dealing with someone for 40-50 years. I don't know how anybody does it, really, but the few marriages I know that do work, the couple usually defies the laws of tradition in a few small ways, like separate bank accounts for example. Or as my divorced friend put it, "Now I don't have to hide the receipt when I buy a $200 pair of jeans." Maybe I have to chnage my definition of "work," but I haven't had to hide a receipt since, well, ever.

We were joking around, of course, but those tiny adjustments mean for a lot less rancor in the marriage, at least as far as I can observe as an outsider. Today's society doesn't blend with marriage, I think (I'll point again to the ridiculously-high divorce rate.) There are too many temptations, too many options, too much independence.

Obviously, I have never been married, but I got "fake" married in Vegas once. "Fake" because I paid for the license, but there was no ceremoney. I just had a guy sign his name to the license and told everyone I was married. Now, I never considered myself married, and have no idea where my "wife" is right now, but very often when I tell that story, people say, "You got the license, I think you're married." However, these same people will try to explain to me that marriage is not just a piece of paper. And on that point, I can agree with them. I'm not married because I haven't seen or thought about my fake wife in years. Somewhere there is a piece of paper with our names on it, but who cares?

So, here's the rub; I'm not against marriage, just in the traditional sense. And were I a marriage counselor, I would caution against the traditional marriage. Truly, I don't have the answers, though. And I'm willing to bet no one else does, either. Except maybe my divorced friend, who is having sex with models and informed me that she had a dinner of a candy bar and a diet coke that night. Maybe, like all things, a good marriage is in the eyes of the beholder, but I'll take that dinner any time.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's Next to God-lessness?

The other night, I hung out with my former roommate for the first time in a long while. Not years, but long enough to be able to reminisce and not be trite. We lived together for three years, and right from the beginning she suggested a wonderful policy: "No judgments in this apartment." If she wanted to watch horrible reality TV, I would make no remarks. If I wanted to read comics and be generally geeky, that was fine, too. This policy, I think, worked, and we were able to go the three years without one angry word.

In fact, it may have worked too well. As she brought up the other night, it may have helped the other if we judged a little bit. At least, I know it would have helped me, because when I look back on those three years, even though it was a glorious time, it was also a godless one. The lesbian threesome, the Clinic, the Scotch, the Blue Ball Incident, the financial ruin, the 2004 BU Christmas party, followed the next year by the '05 Apartment Party, where I truly made a fool of myself. I really had no boundaries, because even though I had that stability that some people are looking for (someone to "go home to," so to speak), I had no one to say, "What the fuck are you doing, idiot?" Because there were no judgments, even for myself. I actually used our own policy against me, and took it as a license to go wild. I don't know what's different now, because no one is around to judge me thse days, either. But somehow I feel more reined in. It's probably the hours of splendid isolation that does it. Otherwise, I'd spend the hours of alone-time reflecting on what a bonehead I was.

And yet, there are few things I would change. Maybe just keep my mouth shut a little, but overall, there were some amazing times that didn't involve me drinking and embarrassing myself. The Red Sox won the World Series while I lived there. I celebrated my 30th birthday at John Harvard's, and it is one of my favorite birthday's ever. I actually carried on an 8-month relationship, proving that I do have a soul (well, kind of...) Not to mention all of the fun we had just sitting at home in front of the TV, horrible reality TV most of the time, which makes m wonder why I was always so concerened with going out all the time. I was perfectly content at home with Papa John's pizza, complaining about the landlady.

I guess with these things, hindsight is 20/20 and all that. I did realize how great it was, but I was also into living out some kind of mid-20's fantasy life that I missed when I was dating Keri until I was 27. I don't regret any of it, but I guess I wished I stopped and smelled the roses a little bit more.

Mostly, I feel bad for my roommate, who had to put up with that crap for three years. But true to her word, there were no judgments. Even if I could have used them.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hitting the Nail on the Head

I have been having a debate with my friends over the last couple weeks about a certain dating misfortune I had recently. I'll refresh everyone's memory in a sec, but before I do, let's not get judgmental here. I am merely replaying the incident, and the subsequent reactions here for comedy's sake (and it's an interesting sociological study, really.)

So, a couple weeks ago, I was set up with a young lady for a date. We corresponded for some time via e-mail and decided that we would finally see each other on February 21st, conveniently skipping over Valentine's Day (Whew!) I was told that this person had a lot in common with me, and our e-mail exchanges were pleasant. However, I wasn't feeling a connection right off the bat. Just one of those things, really. Just no spark. Well, okay, I admit it. She went to Bot-Con, and while those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, that wasn't exactly a turn-on.

During dinner, I started to get an inkling that she really wasn't what I was looking for and was beginning to wonder if this was the same girl who I had been e-mailing (especially after she mentioned that she had a twin sister. I thought I had been the victim of some kind of Jack Tripper chicanery. But that's a whole other blog post). She seemed to be a toughie from Eastie, which is apparently ghetto for "East Boston," much like "Southie." Although I've never heard of Northies or Westies. She had lived there her whole life, even in pretty much the same neighborhood. It was strange. I had heard about people like that in all those crappy movies about Boston, but I had never actually met anyone like that in real life. I'm sheltered.

Here's the kicker; after dinner, which I paid for despite my reservations on the matter, she told me that she needed to "hit the head." Not, "Excuse me. I have to go to the ladies room," or "I have to powder my nose," or even, "I gots ta pee." Nope.




I mean, were her teeth floating? Did she have to drain the lizard? Drop a deuce? Even I excused myself to use the rest room, and I'm a guy. Even with my close friends I try to be a little less crude than that. And this was our first date. And last. I know that I am a Seinfeld fan and this is sort of something he would do, but I see myself with someone slightly more refined and lady-like than a woman who would say "I gotta hit the head" on their first date. Bottom line; I found it vulgar, and if that's the kind of person she was, I would not be seeing her again.

But the most interesting part of this was the varying reactions I got when I presented this scenario to my friends. Some were mad at me for judging someone based on this (They think that's bad. Little did they know I almost didn't even go to the dinner when I first saw her. She asked, "Are you Matt?" and I almost said, "Nope" and ran.) Some said, "You're being a jerk. That's nothing. Just the way she is." That may be, but it's not attractive. Some sort of agreed with me that it was an odd thing to say on a first date, but still didn't see it as a deal-breaker. And a very few laughed hysterically (with me or at me, I'm still not sure), and made some impressive toilet jokes. Some had never even heard the expression before, which should be a good indicator of how weird it was.

I think those who criticized me for being too judgmental or too harsh were simply disappointed that I went on a date and didn't find that special someone, because it seems like they are really pulling for me to find true love and blah, blah, blah. But when they did criticize, days later with a little more perspective, I said, "She can say and do whatever she wants. It doesn't mean I want to date her."

I feel that we have to stick with what we're attracted to. It's all we have, really. I feel that some people make sacrifices on the little things because there's at least someone to go out with, but really, the devil is in the details, and those little things are indicative of their personality. Granted, I'm not perfect. I over-analyze things and generally am pretty emotion-less. And if someone said, "I can't date him, he's too analytical and emotion-less," I'd understand. But the second I budge on "hitting the head," then I might as well throw it all out the window and date whoever comes along.

In the end, I will put up with a lot of things in a partner. I don't care all that much about hair-color or if someone is too tall or doesn't have any money or whatever. I just want someone who is honest (with me and themselves) and decent and who doesn't use vulgar terminology to describe their bathroom duties. Is that asking for too much?