What Did He Say, Clarice?

Speaking personally, I would like to emphasize how powerful a woman’s scent can be.

For instance, when I first became aware of girls as sexual beings (in the sense that they were sexually very different from guys) at around fourteen, two things were clear: every babe has a distinct shape and smell. You will note the chaste tone of this, because at fourteen I wasn’t touching anything…you can smell and observe at a distance, so I took what I could get.

In a long line of smells I could use to place females in my life along a timeline, a few still sit proud:

* the saliva taste/smell of the first girl I kissed (with no technique, but gratefully, at age 15)

* my first sexual love’s letters to me, which she soaked in Chanel # 5.

* the breath-smell of a woman who used an asthma inhaler (not so sweet)

I imagine this all goes to the rudimentary (ok, reptilian) nature of the way our brains process smell, but it is none the less powerful for its simplicity. Wonderful, powerful, emotive and entirely consuming.

 

10,000 Hours

If I ran a relationship training program, I fear most would not pass.

Sidebar:

Although never married, my qualifications for offering such a service include sucking at being with women, knowing I do so and having spent a lot of time figuring out why. In theory, I know some useful stuff.

End sidebar.

People, men and women, wouldn’t pass because they would fail to complete the work. I would require them to spend time reading and writing, in group sessions and with mentors. Success requires effort, time, commitment and desire, and in our fast-food buy-it-now instant gratification world, few have the stamina.

For some reason the collective “us” think we are born with the right instincts to find and keep the right mate. My contention is that dating, interacting with the opposite sex and choosing the right person are all learned skills. Sadly, in my opinion, the most powerful influence on us is the modeling provided by our parents. Some of these people will be excellent role models…but many are not.

So in the absence of good examples in our early lives, the next alternative is to learn how to be a good relationshipper. Yes, I believe that we can study to love and be loved.

First, I’d start with some required reading…

…but what am I thinking? No-one reads books any more. I’m crazy.

Fifty Shades of Like

In a world that seeks shortcuts, wouldn’t it be nice to succeed the old-fashioned, long-way-around way? The sweetest achievements require time and effort. Getting to a new, better place involves introspection, perhaps some self-denial, almost always a challenge or two.

The shortcut way is to figure out how to circumvent both the physical obstacles and the need for personal growth.

I want the feeling of having personally grown into this improved state of being, but can’t I get there without spending all that time? Or doing all that self-examination crap?

Love, the emotional place, appears to be a destination to which most people aspire. It is as if a magical state of mind involving you and your dreamboat is available, and all you need do is discover a few points of mutual connection, plus some sex. That’s love. From a handful of shared moments we conjur a lasting, solid, astral plane of happy attachment and forever harmony. Shortcut your way to that, and you’ve got it made.

Well, fine, if you think that works. Is it not possible that the real thing cannot ever be found without first starting at the beginning, and working your way towards love? A good start might be to abandon the word that we use so flippantly. Let’s begin with like, or admire; find interesting or enjoy the company of; learn from, or take comfort from. The range of ways to interact is so much more subtle than the binary love/don’t love.

And short-cuts are over-rated anyway.

Nicer With Age

From time to time I read articles describing the changes of growing older. There are physical changes, naturally, and phsychological changes too.

Preventing these changes occupies much of our collective time, a fool’s errand in my opinion. My once blonde and then brown hair is now optimistically ‘salt and pepper’. I note a face that seems to have slipped south from its chipper heyday, and so on until I die. The key word is ‘inevitable’, which doesn’t imply not maximizing what you have, merely that change will occur.

That’s the physical, with which we’re all familiar.

The phsyco side is of more interest to me. I saved this piece from the Wall Street Journal concluding that we generally grow nicer with age. Now, I live in Florida, the grouchy gulag of America’s aging army, and I see absolutely no evidence of this increasing sweetness. My experience is of psychotic driving, ignorant line-jumping and tipping policy from the thirties. That is the 1930s.

You would think that a successful tour through a life of seventy or eighty years would automatically give some calm perspective on being human. A philosphical outlook makes for a nicely settled and stable member of a society. No doubt this is true in many individual cases, but I am skeptical that mere aging delivers these qualities to us without some effort on our behalf.

Nope, it’s the same whether you are eighteen or eighty. If you have personality traits or characteristics that cause you problems with others, you have to choose to change. Waiting for a better you to emerge with the advent of  your McDonald’s Senior Coffee entitlement will get you cheap coffee, but no new friends.