Using baseball as a metaphor for coupling (and environs) might be an infield single too far, but let’s see how it goes.

Baseball’s a game of defense. The pitcher and his fielders have an almost overwhelming advantage over the batter. Mostly that is because of the size of the ball, the nature of the bat (hint: it’s round) and the speed at which the pill is delivered.

Statistics tell the story. Even the very best batters fail to make a hit more than about 35% of the time. Exceptional batters make it to 40%…but not for very long, and they’re legendary. Not hitting the ball then becomes mostly what a hitter does.

It is worth contemplating that for a while. Not hitting is what even hall of fame-type hitters do.

Also worth pondering is that while the big-hitting home-run guys get much of the glory and almost all of the steroids, the guys who are regular hitters – getting singles, stealing bases and fielding well – earn almost as much money. And that’s a lot.

Finding the right person with whom to couple is similar to embarking on a baseball season. You never know what the pitchers will dish up. You cannot beat the odds meaningfully. You cannot create any shortcuts: the rules and the equipment are immutable. You are guaranteed to strike out.

On the other hand, if you play the right pitches correctly, you will find yourself somewhere. First base, maybe. (No, this isn’t where I wanted to go with the idea, but, well, whatever.) You might get some support from team members behind you and advance around the bags. And sometimes, just sometimes, you will find the most beautiful ball right in the middle of your swing plane and smooch it right out of town.

Single Holidays: Podcast #36

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are the triumvirate of the holiday season. They can also mark the most stressful and unhappy time of year for singles and those who are coupled. Perhaps it’s a time for some introspection.


It manages to flummox me, the way I wake up each day in a slightly different mood. There appears no reason for the change from day to day, apart from, say, the weather. But to blame barometric pressure on one’s disposition appears to go a little too far.

Nevertheless, the ups and downs of our emotions are a fact. And our beloved co-couplers, sig others and spouses are the ones mostly at the front lines of seeing us at our best…and our worst. That, of course, is a mutual problem.

There are traffic cones for danger zones on highways. I wonder, is it time for bad mood cones for personal grumpy days?


In agriculture and forestry, we seem to think that the most efficient way to harvest goodies from the earth is with intensive cropping. You know the kind of thing, hectares of corn, square miles of wheat, mountain ranges of conifers. These are the monocultures so beloved of the accountants in agribusiness and despised by more earthy types.

The sensible way is to combine a little of the free-range with the mono-. Without enormous fields of grain we wouldn’t be able to feed ourselves as cheaply as we do. But some interruption of an orange grove with avocados or blueberries might prevent the greening disease that’s wiping out citrus businesses all over Florida.

Dating someone is kind of the same. Success in making a relationship with someone does not depend on them being with you or you thinking of them 24/7. Anyone who obsesses over their love life all the time should be avoided.

Right? We don’t want our entire life consumed by a monolithic thing called “us”.

Interesting, balanced, calm people with perspective know that life’s full of delights and fascinations that also include someone with whom they want to couple. We’re human. Our attention naturally skips. The trick is prioritizing our focus to stay in synch with our partners.

Finding the balanced person who knows (mostly) when to focus on the “us” seems a way smarter goal than falling in love or discovering a soulmate. YMMV.

Sedimentary, Metamorphic or Igneous?

The landscape of our dating and relationship histories probably fall into the same general categories that geologists use to characterize rocks. That is to say:

Sedimentary daters go through life gently putting down layers of experience, one relationship following another, all gradually creating a rich humus of understanding. Their interactions are calm, everything proceeds at a nice pace.

Igneous daters have love lives that begin with molten hot rocks, volcanic energy and emotions that well from deep within the core. Yes, after a while the magma cools to form something more solid – not to say interesting – but they always have some potential for a seismic event.

Metamorphic daters are the changers. They start off being one thing, but under the effect of pressure, or heat, or earthquake or meteor strike, divorce or infidelity, change to another. Sedimentaries become twisted and buckled, the igneous end up squished under lots of layers – they become someone different.

Now that we’ve simplified people, we can turn it to our advantage. If nothing else, our goal in the dating world is to become geologists. Job number one is figuring out just what kind of rock this is sitting in front of us. Is she igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic, and how does that fit with me?