Tag Archives: men

It’s a question of… not getting hurt

There are a large number of quotes along the lines of how you should “love like you’ve never been hurt” and how it’s better to “have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”. Now that’s all very fine in theory but is romantic love really worth the work, the heartbreak and the hours lost on analysing every single “why” that pops up in a relationship?

Having steered clear of intimate contact of any sort with men for several years (close to seven years to be exact), I can frankly say that it’s a lot less painful not to be in love and I’m much more efficient when I only have to concentrate on stuff not related to my feelings. Until recently in fact I had totally forgotten how time consuming and excruciating it can be to have another person occupy your mind and soul in that way.

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Some may say that the wonderful moments spent with the “loved one” largely make up for the hassle but I find it hard to agree. What’s the use of those moments if you spend many, many more glued to your phone, freaking out about why that person apparently has better things to do than to answer your text messages? What good does it do to take down your barriers and reveal yourself to someone who doesn’t care enough about it to acknowledge your feelings or even, your relationship?

Someone asked me the other day what the worst things a guy I was dating had ever said or done to me was. I thought of the time where I got a nosebleed during sex and the guy asked me if he had to stop because he’d “like to finish”. I thought of the time where another one told me that, when he kissed me, he “nearly felt like having a quickie” (I think it was the “nearly” that pissed me off the most). Of course I also recalled the guys who cheated on me, and those who made promises they never kept. I remember the guy who spent hours crying about an ex girlfriend, expecting me – his current one – to comfort him (which I did because I’m stupid in that way). And yes, I will never forget being in bed with that someone very special and finding out he was texting another girl while fondling me. That was hurtful. (I wonder why I was surprised when he later broke up with me by text on New Year’s Day…).

But let’s face it: what really hurts is to discover that you’re still that girl your mother told you not to be. The one who makes excuses for the other person’s shortcomings, who accepts things she shouldn’t, who sees signs of devotion where there aren’t any but ignores all the warning signs and who spends time thinking about someone who is not thinking about her at all. The one who stays when she should leave.

As relationship quotes go, I prefer this one: “Definition of stupid: knowing the truth, seeing the truth, but still believing the lies”. The truth is that most of the time I know when things aren’t really as they should be, just as well as I know they won’t change. The lies are the ones I’m telling myself. I have no idea if I’ll ever be able to stop doing that: overlooking the obvious and forgiving a guy when I shouldn’t, just because I don’t want to lose him or whatever I think we have together. Until then I think I’ll have to return to being fulltime celibate or accept getting hurt. And right now, the first solution seems by far the simplest.

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Filed under Fly on the windscreen

It’s a question of… online dating

A guy I know recently changed his relation status on Facebook from being “in a relationship” to “single”.  According to the usual procedure, his 150 listed friends were immediately informed and one of them reacted by publically writing not to worry because he could now join the ranks of men who (I quote) “get laid thanks to online dating”.

I’m not sure the comment comforted my recently separated (and obviously depressed about it) Facebook friend but it got me thinking about the change there’s been in online dating these past years.

When I first signed up on a dating website six or seven years ago, it totally changed my life. Within a day I went from single mum who had forgotten the mere existence of males aside her son, to being a woman who actually looked at men in the street again and, oh yes, regained her flirting instinct too. All this because of e-mails I had gotten from total strangers.

I did not put a picture of myself on my online dating profile – something that would not have gone down well today. Most men now demand it (and by ‘demand’ I mean as in ‘command’), along with a whole lot of adverbs impossible to find in one single person. At the time, the market was somehow less competitive and more flaw forgiving.

Not having a profile photo didn’t prevent me from “meeting” a lot of nice guys who sent me long, personal e-mails and read mine in details responding to them with wit and concern. After a week – and for several weeks to come – I was in daily e-mail contact with three of these men. They never once wrote about sex or sexual encounters.

Somewhere down the line, we got to the “phone contact” point. It went fine with man n° 1. We talked for hours, and went on to more explicit texting, but never actually met. (Like me, he had “multiple contacts”, hooked up with one of them and thus gallantly ended our “relationship”).

Man n° 2 I never actually spoke to on the phone, because too much e-mailing nullified all dating prospects and sent us into a friendship zone in which we stayed for several years before losing contact.

As for man n°3, he was the proof that online too, I sometimes misjudge men terribly. The first time he called he somehow got talking about his ex-wife and how she’d “falsely accused him” of “slapping her around” and that he’d had “nothing to do” with her broken nose or arm… I didn’t give him the benefit of doubt.

Despite this last “mishap”, these first online dating experiences were totally uplifting and did wonders for my then battered female ego. I ended up moving in with the next man I met online. He was the kind of guy I’d never have met in real life – or if I had, we wouldn’t have been even faintly attracted to one another. It lasted two years, in part for these reasons.

I have since signed up a few times on dating websites but the whole thing has sadly lost its appeal. Men my age are now all searching for women at least 10 years younger (!) and expect photos and phone numbers to be exchanged immediately. (And for a reason I can’t fathom many think I want a picture of their genitals). Instant messenging is preferred to e-mails and instant virtual sex seems to be preferred to the whole “getting to know” process. The trouble is, having tacky cybersex with a virtual stranger is rarely a good starting point for a relationship.

Online dating the way I first knew it has changed. The supermarket effect is worse now than ever. I feel a complete idiot filling out a search page to decide if the guy I’m looking for can have a moustache, be a teacher and like Chinese food, or spending hours answering random questions about myself so I can get a selection of “compatible” men e-mailed. And don’t get me started on the specialised dating websites, like the ones for Christians, Muslims, Jewish or Pagan singles, for Sci Fi lovers, dog lovers, farmers, vegetarians, golfers, geeks, plus-size singles… Everything is calculated, arranged – and in my eyes, ultimately, that’s not how the laws of attraction work.

I’m not saying my recently dumped Facebook friend shouldn’t give online dating a go. Nor am I saying that it doesn’t work for a lot of people  (It did after all work for me for a time). But I do believe that love, like sport, is not an exact science. I think a cat lover can be a match to a dog lover, and that you can dream of a red-haired millionaire and fall blissfully in love with a blond guy on minimum wage. It’s worth keeping that in mind when playing the dating game online. Love can’t be perfect and nor should it be.

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Filed under The sinner in me

It’s a question of… men peeing outside

I live on a boulevard in Paris: a wide, multi-lane road with trees on each side, on which my office window has a direct view.

For a reason I have yet to elucidate the tree just in front of my window is the one men always choose to pee behind. And ‘behind’ is of course the wrong word. A tree on a boulevard is as round as anywhere else, so no matter where the peeing person stands, I get a full view of something I’d rather not.

In a week, I’ll see an average of 6,3 men peeing on that tree (yes, I count…). And I’m not just talking about the man who lives two benches down. I’m talking about office guys, delivery guys, simple going-for-a-walk guys; I’ve even seen a neighbour taking a leak there!

It goes without saying that I’ve never seen a woman doing the same. This tree is not a discreet place. There are cars passing constantly at less than one meters distance on one side and a busy sidewalk plus 12 floors of people living on the other side. Why do men pee here as often as the dogs that pass? I ask myself that every day…

Oh, I know all about the wonderful sensation of “freedom” men feel when peeing outside, I know that it’s much easier to do it without wetting yourself when you don’t have to squat, but still, why should I have to watch strangers pee outside my window? Why can’t they wait, use the public toilet or go into the café (both less than 50 meters down the street)?

Each month, 56 000 m2 of Paris are soiled by urine. One can only guess how many men pee in the streets every day to cover such a surface. My answer is: too many.

A few months ago, Susana Ferreira, a journalist from the  Wall Street Journal did a story about the “Anti-pipi Brigade”  in Paris. A lot of (non French) bloggers followed up on it. It  was after all a great story: 88 “agents de la Brigade des incivilités” roaming the French capital in the search of  street “urinaters” and handing out tickets. (I do wish they’d  visit my street, but I’ve never seen them for real).

In 2009, about 2000 tickets (with fines up to 450 €) have  been given in Paris to men relieving themselves illegally.  That’s not much compared to New York where the police have handed out over 18 500 summonses for public urination this year.

My point: I think men who pee outside are pigs. If it’s so important for their “manliness” to do it, they can let the little one out in their own garden or in some remote field. And whilst they’re at it, they might want to practice how to pee straight…

You can watch the video about the Parisian “Anti-pipi Brigade” here.

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It’s a question of… Tiger Woods and other men

Big news: men have affairs. This happens even when their wife is beautiful, even when they have young children, and yes, even when they’re presidents. And yet, every time, the infidelity seems to come as a surprise.

Take Tiger Woods. True, he’s been “outed” by no less the ten mistresses in a few days and that’s a lot. But what is it that makes this so big a scandal? That he cheated on his wife? That the women are making money on selling the details? That some of them are porn stars? That they’re all white? That he had unprotected sex? Or is it that he actually thought he would get away with it? (Did Magic Johnson? Did Michael Jordan?)

Nah, the real scandal is “How stupid is he?”. By now, men should know that when they think with the wrong head they end up getting caught some day, some way. (Especially when they have the paparazzi hanging around day and night.) Be it for a blowjob (Hugh Grant, Bill Clinton), because your lovechild shows up at your funeral (François Mitterand), because you bang your children’s nanny (Jude Law) or because you get your “acquaintance” pregnant (again, most recently, Jude Law).

What never ceases to amaze me is that not only do these men cheat on their partners, they do it without protection. Again, how stupid are they? Boris Becker, Mick Jagger, Prince Albert of Monaco, John Edwards… all have at least one “love child” (which, in some cases seems a rather inappropriate word). And across the world, there are millions of non-celebrities in the same situation (with mothers who don’t sell the story and fathers who don’t finance their child’s upbringing).

Cheating on your “second half” is most certainly a lack  of respect in the first place, but not wearing a condom  when doing so is the last straw. Not to mention the  texting, taking pictures of or filming the lurid details, or  talking about it explicitly on the phone (remember  Prince Charles’ phone conversations with Camilla?).

The question is, and will probably always be, why do  men do it? I don’t think you need to be a couple’s  counsellor or a psychologist to answer the question. My personal theory is simple: men are like children, they need continuous attention and always lured by a new toy. That’s why they also often “pass the line” when their partner is pregnant or busy looking after their young offspring. They sense the new kid in the house is going to take the attention away from them, so they seek it elsewhere. Or maybe it’s even simpler, maybe my friend Natasha is right: “It’s because they’re men”. Not that any of these “excuses” are valid of course.

Lots of films deal with infidelity, but none, in my eyes, as well at “Heartburn” with Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson.  If you watch the full movie (do!), look out for the last scene – it’s the one to remember.

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Filed under Sounds of the universe