Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A Fly on the Wall

Among the many benefits of having genuine, platonic female friends (PFF) is the ability to be, almost literally, a fly on the wall. Well, if not exactly a fly, I do occasionally get insights from the fairer gender I wouldn’t otherwise have gotten. (You should have heard some of the sh*t that I've heard. Wow.) I like to think it’s a two-way street. My PFF’s can also get it straight from me about what’s really happening from the guy’s perspective.

Recently, one of my PFFs, an accomplished and attractive professional woman, started using an on-line dating service. She told me she’d met a guy and he’d asked her for a date. She accepted.

You can learn a lot about a person when you listen.

The day after the date, my PFF told me about her evening. Her date took her to one of the nicer local restaurants, which she appreciated. She described him as a very interesting guy who works a fascinating job and millions of people regularly see his work.

“That’s pretty cool,” I said.

“Yeah, sort of cool, I guess. The guy could not stop talking about himself. He talked about his Harley-Davidson. He talked about his house and swimming pool. He talked about his BMW. He talked about Bayliner. He did 80% of the talking!”

I’ve always believed people who have to boast about the brands they’ve bought are often not comfortable with their own personal brand, but I digress.

Guys, WTF?

If you haven’t learned this by now, this is as good a time as any; women like to communicate. According to the author of the book, His Needs, Her Needs: Building of an Affair Proof Marriage, Willard Harley suggests, for most women, communication is the most important part of a romantic relationship. Ladies like to be heard. It’s difficult to hear, gentlemen, if your mouth is moving. Always, but particularly on a first date, listen to the lady sitting across the table from you. Look into her eyes. Acknowledge that you hear her and understand. Often, she doesn’t want your opinion or your "fix." If she knows you care and knows you hear her, that’s enough for her. Instead of doing 80% of the talking, you should be listening 80% of the time.

. . . people who have to boast about the brands they’ve bought are often not comfortable with their own personal brand . . .

Of course, she’ll want to know about you. She may ask. Then, obviously, respond, but she’ll welcome and value the fact that you listen to her. There is another motive; it’s a great time to learn about her and whether she might be right for you. You can learn a lot about a person when you listen.

Then, there’s the other thing. You know, about all that crowing about your bike or zip code or your car or your boat. Two observations. First, if these are the things that impress her, then you’re probably with the wrong gal. If a new BMW is what she’s looking for, she’ll probably want a new one every year and she doesn’t care a rat’s ass about the man buying it. Or, second, she’ll wonder, “He has to brag about his stuff? What is he compensating for?” Either way, brother, you lose.

So, guys, you know about empty barrels, right? STFU and listen. Even a fly knows that much.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Gozer the Gozerian & Aunt Flo

What really possessed Regan MacNeil?
As a young husband, I would be shocked every 28 days or so by the demonic possession of my beautiful bride by cantankerous imp who I came to know as Aunt Flo.

In spite of having grown up in a home with three younger sisters, the vituperous arrival of my late wife’s monthly visitor never ceased to surprise me. I’d walk through the door wearing a hopeful smile after a long a day at the First National Frank & Crust and say in a Ward Cleavian fashion, “Honey, I’m home.” On those ever unforeseen 28th days, I’d be greeted with Regan MacNeil. (You know, the Linda Blair's character who was possessed in The Excorcist.)

. . . she was Gozer the Gozerian and I’m no Ghostbuster.

If the cycle of the Moon wasn’t enough, like a maniacal comet on a 180-day orbit, Aunt Flo’s every sixth visit was exponentially even more extreme. Twice a year, she was Gozer the Gozerian and I’m no Ghostbuster. It caught me nappin’ every time. BLAMMO!

I wished that I could somehow have a little notice for these “events.” After all, a guy’s partner probably isn’t going say, “Honey, just a head’s up. There’s a really great chance that I’m going all praying mantis on your ass tomorrow. Steer clear.”

Since then, I have experienced more of life, matured, become more understanding, and, I like to think, a little smarter. (Perhaps, not.) So, yeah, you might think I’m a little crazy, but I came up with something to remind me when my partner might not be herself.

My solution to the “notice” issue is “Flo.” Yes. That’s right. “Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker” is a smartphone app which a lot of women use to track their cycle by logging specific information during the month. Here’s a secret. Guys can use it too.

After charting this information over time, Flo makes fairly accurate predictions of, well, how your lady will feel on a particular day. As more accurate information is recorded, Flo will even adapt to a woman’s irregular cycle.

Knowledge is power, gentlemen, and that’s a fact.

There are a few other benefits to using Flo. For instance, Flo will let you know the days your partner is more likely and the days your partner less likely to become pregnant. That may be helpful for some couples depending on the objective. Also, considering the level emotional intimacy and candidness in a relationship, taking interest in this stuff may even facilitate more communication and improve the overall quality of a relationship. On the other hand, some gals probably would feel uncomfortable knowing their partner knows so much about something so personal. The decision to talk with your partner about this is your call.

So, look. I don’t care how someone would view tracking my lady’s cycle using an app like Flo. Knowledge is power, gentlemen, and that’s a fact. Anything that can provide me some assistance in dealing with a difficult relationship issue with which a lot of couples struggle, well, I’m all over it.

After all, I love my partner and I’d go to great lengths to help our relationship be successful. Yes, I’d even become familiar with her cycle than I ever wanted to.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

You Pooped While You Said That

The best birthday card ever.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Powerful: The Wrestler

Mickey Rourke as Randy "The Ram Robinson
When I first watched The Wrestler ten years ago, I was truly moved. I wanted to write about it, but I just couldn’t find a way to put onto paper the intricate plot and the complex emotions it elicited in me. I’m not sure that I can do such a good job now. After I DVR’d it and watched it again recently, though, I thought I’d have another go.

Mickey Rourke’s performance as Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a lonely, aging wrestler and single dad in Darren Aranofsky’s The Wrestler (2008) is haunting.

In his prime, The Ram was on a par with Hulk Hogan or “Nature Boy” Rick Flair, but the opening scene shows Randy in a kindergarten classroom recovering after a match held in an elementary school gym. The promoter gives Randy his meager cut of the gate and, after signing a couple of autographs as he walks back through the gym, Randy returns home to find his trailer locked for delinquent rent. That would have seemed to be the ultimate humiliation. However, when he returns to his day job as a stocker in a grocery store and asks his supervisor for more hours, he hears, “What's the matter, they raise the price of tights?”

The talented Marisa Tomei as Cassidy in The Wrestler.
Other than the cheering weekend crowds on the minor league professional wrestling circuit, Randy takes his only solace from a stripper, Cassidy, portrayed by Marisa Tomei whose career parallels Randy’s.

After another “main-event” match, the promoter reminds Randy that the twentieth anniversary of The Ram’s tussle with “The Ayatollah” at Madison Square Garden is only a few months away. A rematch would bring big money for everyone involved. After Randy suffers a heart attack, the rematch looms over the remainder of the film like a funnel cloud over a mobile home park.

The dozens of small battles Randy fights every day to hold onto the shreds of his self-respect pales in comparison to the battle he must fight to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Stephanie, who is played by Evan Rachel Wood. Stephanie’s response to Randy’s first attempt to reconnect is, “This is so fuckin' you. You only come around when you need something from somebody, when they can do something for you. Selfish fuck. Good. Be alone.”

At the moment it seems Randy is on the verge of pulling his life and priorities together, he makes another poor choice and all the good things that he’d begun to build tumble down again like a house of cards. Yet, Fate gives him another chance. In the end, Randy is faced with two paths to vindication, but only one leads to happiness.

Mickey Rourke’s performance yielded a Best Actor Award from the Golden Globes and the Screen Actor’s Guild and an Oscar nomination for a Best Actor and was clearly Rourke’s opus. As far has Rourke’s romantic foil in the film, it seems that every role that Marisa Tomei is just flawless. Her portrayal of Cassidy’s overcompensating vulnerability leaves the viewer no choice but to fall in love with both the performance and the character. Tomei was nominated for just about every Best Supporting Actress award including one from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

All tolled, The Wrestler is an amazing film that will appeal to anyone who appreciates amazing films. There is no question, though, Randy Robinson’s story is an agonizing metaphor with which nearly all men can at relate on some level. For some, it may hit even closer to home.