Category: Relationships

Text Messaging and Cell Phones Has Created a Generation of Pussies

Having had the good fortune to travel all around the world, I am always reminded in ways both obvious and subtle how similar people are from place to place. While we too often choose to focus on our surface differences, most people that have actually experienced different types of people and cultures up close and personal will agree that below the surface, we are basically driven by the same motivations.

That established, I am not willing to go so far as to say we are all the same and that stereotypes are wrong. Because as much as I am diametrically opposed to stereotyping based on size, shape or color, I am forming a hypothesis that seems to grow stronger every day that there is a criteria that can fairly accurately predict how an entire group of people will act: access to text messengers and cell phones during adolescence.

Something very significant happened when I was in school, as AOL’s Instant Messenger eclipsed house parties and frat parties in popularity as the place for college kids to hang out. For the first time, it was possible to get laid without ever having to muster up the courage to talk to a girl. Guy is bored at 2am on a Saturday morning and logs into AOL. Girl from his history class, who lives two dorms over, is equally as bored and chatting with her friends back home. Guy messages girl with the most impersonal of ask outs: “what are you doing?”…to which she replies, “nothing.” “Cool.” “We should, like, watch a movie or something”…and so it goes.

It has only gotten easier from there. Now, kids in the single digits have cell phones. This means something very significant: even though computer-based chat messengers are pretty much extinct, guys today under the age of, say 25 or so, have never once had to speak to the father of the girl they were chasing. I’m not sure about any of you, but I look back on the first few times calling my high school crush and praying like hell she would answer the phone (specifically and intentionally timing the calls at the exact time I thought her father would still be at work)–only to have a deep male voice greet me on the other end–as some of the events that helped me develop into a man. “Hello Mr. (silly readers, you aren’t getting a name out of me!), this is Steve Klimek calling. Is (pretty, tall girl) home…may I speak with her?” As I was saying this, I remember looking in the mirror and seeing the most pained expression on my face, as though the receiver was actually pulling the teeth out of my gums. And if her older brother answered? Even worse, because I knew that he actually could potentially kick my ass if he felt like it.

I know it sounds like I’m making this into a joke, and to some extent I am. But I believe that the technological revolution of chat messengers and cell phones has deprived young people of actually developing the confidence and skill set to speak with purpose–it has allowed them to stay within the confines of their comfort zones and still achieve things (such as getting laid) that previously required at least a slight foray outside of it. It is funny looking back on those awkward middle- and high school phone calls, but I can’t underestimate the impact those 10-second conversations had on my ability to handle personal and professional social situations as an adult, particularly as they required me to venture into unfamiliar situations and surroundings.

I’m not preaching, either. Believe me, if I would have had access to a direct phone number of my crushes (actually, one of my high school girlfriends had her own line, which at the time was like a gift from heaven), and the ability to chat rather than actually have to speak to them with a cracking, stuttering voice, I would have taken full advantage. Unfortunately, I had to go through those awkward conversations the hard way, but in hindsight, I’m glad I did. The same goes for flirting–it’s a lot easier nowadays to make those provocative comments complimenting some physical feature of a girl, fully intended to be a hook into something more, via text message than having to actually look her in the eye and get the words to come out. After all, if she doesn’t reply in 60 seconds or so, you can forever save face and be bailed out by the follow-up “LOL, just playing” text.

I believe that you can see the impact of this all over pop culture. Today’s generation of athletes, or the AAU generation as I call them, often doesn’t seem capable of even doing everyday chores such as grocery shopping by themselves. They can jump through the roof and squat-thrust a million pounds, but they can’t make a doctor’s appointment. This is because as a result of the access to mobile technology they have had since childhood, they have had grown-up leeches lining up to wipe the sweat off their ass since age 9 in hopes of “access” down the road. Michael Jordan is the greatest of them all, and he still had to do some things on his own as a young adult before Nike’s Air Jordan line made him a global phenomenon. It is evident in our celebrities as well–just look at the vastly different behavior of a young Usher 15 years ago as compared to his own personal protege, the obnoxious and bumbling Justin Bieber today. That’s not to say that yesterday’s celebrities didn’t act like jerks at times also, but I think there is a difference between acting like a jerk because a) you can; b) it is fun; or c) it helps your image, rather than doing so simply because you are incapable of handling social situations thrown at you.

One thing I am sure of is that if I ever find myself interviewing people younger than me to work on anything important, one of my criteria will be to make sure that they have, at some point in their lives, actually approached a member of the opposite sex (or same sex if they swing that way, no discriminating here), and spoken (with their voice, not through an electronic messenger) to introduce themselves. Bonus points if they have been horribly rejected. And even better yet if they have had to speak with that love interest’s father on the other end of the phone. A simple criteria, sure, but in my humble opinion, a significant indicator of one’s ability to adapt and adjust to the varied social situations that life outside of the comfort zone will throw at you.

-KS

Valentine’s Day.

To all of you who had a lonely, self-pitying, empty, unfulfilled, wallowing, lowly-anticipated and highly-disappointed, or any combination of the preceding, Valentine’s Day…fret not good sirs and ma’ams. For each one of you, there were two others who had to fake their way through the entire day, pretending to feel something they don’t.  And two others on top of those who did give or receive something nice, only to be disappointed and ultimately upset that it wasn’t something better.

I’m just saying…everyone who is in a relationship isn’t happy in the relationship. It isn’t always what it appears to be from the outside, so don’t compare yourself to others. Be patient and you can find the person you’d actually want to surprise on Valentine’s Day.

The Double-Edged Sword of Relationships.

Sometimes, I fear that my worst trait is passion. Childlike optimism. Or that belief that that amazing story actually can happen to me. That I can be the star of that role, even on some small scale on some miniature stage. That not just some, but all of the pieces can fit together.

But with each day that I encounter, that passion sours just a little bit. That optimism fades. And while I know I can in fact be the star of my own play, and that the storyline may be generally happy, it’s not going to be quite so amazing or inspiring.

Ho, hum.

Finding a partner for life is not easy. Someone who we can see in their most disheveled, stinky, frazzled state at the same time as we are in our most stressed, pissed off, or generally disinterested state and still want to place our hands on their cheeks and kiss them passionately. Or fight through traffic to pick them up at work. Or actually learn about their day, and why they are so disheveled, stinky, frazzled, stressed, pissed off or generally disinterested.

I want to find someone who I feel all of those things for. Who I feel a special bond with. Who I always want to hang out with. Who I think about when I experience something unique or inspiring, wishing they could be there to share the moment with me. Who attracts me physically in such a way that the slightest hint of the thought of the anticipation of the way in which they might think about touching me when I get home makes me unable to stand up from my desk. Natural, unadulterated, soft and gentile yet violent combustion. Someone who can read my subtle feelings, my understated thoughts. Who reminds me of things I forgot, and forgets things that I remember. Someone who would make the lemonade extra sweet for me, or send a message just to tell me she’s thinking about me just because she’s thinking about me.

This isn’t easy to find. But sometimes it happens easily. And when it happens easily, I now know that there will always be something to prevent it from really happening.

I’ve felt that before. Naturally. I’ve felt it without fully knowing the person—in fact, without knowing them well at all. But it was a natural spark and passion and pull and push that told me I had to get to know them more. That I had to be close to this person.

And yet, when it feels so right…insecurity feels wrong. And since it was so natural for us…there must be others.

So what does she do? Cuddle up next to the guy who’s always around. Who she doesn’t really feel that strong of a natural chemistry with. But he makes her feel comfortable. He’s non-threatening. He’s available, always. He doesn’t make her stretch the slightest inch out of her comfort zone, and she likes that.

But you can’t find passion if you don’t extend beyond your comfort zone. I want that unique, once-in-a-lifetime kind of love.

The funny thing is, if this was really the person she is supposed to be with, then why did she warm up to you in the first place? Why was she so interested in getting to know you? Why was she even in a position to allow that spontaneous combustion to happen?

BECAUSE SHE IS NOT SATISFIED. But she also doesn’t want to take a chance. To walk outside of her familiar comfort zone. To experience something extraordinary.

No relationship is easy. Every relationship takes work.

But the feeling of knowing when you’ve found that person should be easy. It should flow naturally. It shouldn’t be cognitive. It shouldn’t be slow to develop. Lord knows that even if we find that natural chemistry, there are still a thousand other factors that must fall into place for the long-term relationship to work. But if we don’t feel that vibe right away, we need to move on. The person who thinks their way into a relationship is the person who subsequently ruins that relationship and people’s lives in the process.

When you DO feel that vibe, you pursue it. And if it doesn’t work, you move on. But give it your best. That feeling doesn’t come around often, and letting it run away is a gamble that it will come back around, because it may well not.

The Projects (Ladies, this one’s for you!).

You know what I’m talking about. How many times have you seen (guys) a girl that you’re cool with sticking by a complete loser? How many guys (girls) have you stuck by knowing damn well you should not have, even at the time?

Ahh, that perceived need to nurture. Cycle as follows:

1. Girl (good) meets boy. Probably bad boy, plays-by-his-own-rules type. Girl likey.
2. Girl and boy hook up/get together/whatever you want to call it.
3. Girl has fun with boy. Boy completely carefree, basically just trying to get some tail.
4. Girl realizey that boy deal drugs/dropped out of school/spends all of his cash on his car/etc. (NOTE: not judging anyone, but hear me out…)
5. Boy has no intention to change (and that’s cool, do you)…BUT…girl see “flaws” in boy that SHE must take responsibility for.
6. Girl encourage boy to finish school/find a real job/start saving money/etc.
7. Boy out of money, starts to stay over at girl’s place/eat girl’s food/etc.
8. Girl sees more flaws that SHE must take responsibility for.
9. Boy gives lip service to going back to school/finding a job/saving money/etc.
10. Boy has no discipline to do/intention of doing said things.
11. Girl continue to offer apartment/food/attention/sex.
12. Girl continue to see flaws that SHE must take responsibility for.
13. Boy still no go to school/no find real job/no tiene dinero.
14. Girl continue to see flaws that SHE must take responsibility for. Turns up effort.
15. Boy still no go to school/no find real job/no tiene dinero.
16. Girl fucked by this point.
17. Boy still no go to school/no find real job/no tiene dinero.
18. Girl’s friends tell girl that she should move on, boy no good for her.
19. Girl stick up for boy, makes excuses for boy and says “intentions” are good.
20. Boy still no go to school/no find real job/no tiene dinero.
21. (Boy very comfortable in this situation)
22. Girl start to think that maybe she should move on.
23. Girl feel sorry for boy by this point though, feels bad about leaving him.
24. Girl continue to see flaws that SHE must take responsibility for.
25. Girl feel trapped.
26. Girl already invested so much effort, completely emotionally invested by this point.
27. Girl grow dependent on guy that was originally dependent on her.
28. Problem: Guy have nothing to offer girl.
29. Girl think he will still change, wants to see return on her investment.
30. Boy still no go to school/no find real job/no tiene dinero.
31. Girl and boy have good sex.
32. Girl and boy talk, boy pay lip service to going back to school/finding job/etc.
33. Boy still no go to school/no find real job/no tiene dinero.
34. (You get the cycle by now…)

See it all the time. And it never seems to work out in the end, but I guess it’s just something that a lot of girls must go through and learn for themselves. At the end the day, a relationship will NEVER work if it is fostered (from the beginning) on dependency, unless it’s completely mutual. The minute your justification for being with/staying with someone is that you feel sorry for them, you should not be in a relationship with them. It won’t last. Both people have to have something besides sex or money to offer the other.

Giving is natural, and I’ve heard girls tell me that they don’t care about getting anything back. They just want to give of themselves. But that isn’t reality, because then they’ll never get the emotional/spiritual/mental growth that is fostered by the other person in a mature relationship, over the LONG term.

Think about it…

L.A., L.A., Big City of Dreams…

(current locale: Marriott Residence Inn Beverley Hills (CA), Room 424)
(current background noise: air conditioner)

Okay, so that last question from the last post. Not like this is rocket science, but I like the happy resolution: You give the car to your best friend, he drives the old woman to the hospital, and you walk off in the rain with your girl. Since she’s your girl, it doesn’t matter the setting, weather, whatever as long as you have each other. Is that REALLY true?

I have to admit, I’ve been somewhat sheltered growing up in VA. Not like I haven’t seen this or that, but for’real hardened violence/suffering/death…I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid that. Maybe that’s why it caught me off guard the other day when my boy and I pulled up to a stoplight in Fairfax County, and a high speed chase damn near hit us! We had driven right by this cop about 1 minute prior, and the next thing I know as I’m pulling up to the light, I see a cop car swerve up on the grass and come back on the road cutting this guy off in the lane next to us. Then two cops rush out of the car and storm up to this car with two hispanic dudes, both pulling loaded 9mm’s to the temples. It was crazy. I’ve never seen a gun to someone’s head before, and I have to say, it’s not that comfortable. And as the light turns green, the pickup truck in front of us has the NERVE to STAY stopped to watch!! Meanwhile I’m trying to get the hell out of there before I have six bullet holes in my window and see a trail of blood spilling out on the street. WTF is this guy in front of me thinking?!? I guess people really do think that things can’t happen to them, but all I know is that if I see guns drawn and grown-ass men screaming and it’s not directed at somebody I’m associated with, I’m gettin’ the hell outta dodge. I read too many of these reports about stray bullets in NYC…

So that of course has me shook up a little bit, doing some thinking about what’s important in life, which perfectly coincides with the question I’ve been struggling with for a few days…how harmonious should/can the relationship between CAREER interests and PERSONAL interests be?

I was “advised” a long time ago to choose a job over a location. I can see that argument, but now that I’m a little more able to think for myself based on my experience, I’d have to disagree. I do believe there are opportunities that may come along that we just shouldn’t pass up, but even so I think that’s a decision that only the person involved can make. I’m starting to think that being in a place you’re happy, around people you care about and who care about you, is far more important than having an interesting job. I guess everyone views this differently, but I don’t think a career is going to make you happy at the end of the day. You can’t laugh and watch the game with a career. Nor can you cuddle up with a career and kiss it goodnight. I already know the answer to that question for me, and I’m pretty comfortable with saying that I’d rather have a mundane 9-to-5 and a great personal life than the greatest job in the world and a destroyed personal life. Of course ideally you wouldn’t have to choose, and the lucky ones can have both.

This debate has been making my thought process churn lately, as I feel that my job is competing with my life. It’s not the work environment or hours or anything like that, or even the travel, which has been strenuous. It’s more about just being in NYC, which despite being a GREAT city to visit with unlimited things to do, can be a shitty place to live when you don’t have excess cash or at least a few close peeps to share the struggle with, preferably whom you knew before NY. It’s like quality of life just doesn’t register there. But my job is tight. So….

Feelings vs. Logic

(current location: kitchen of Mom & Pops’ house in the big VA)
(current background noise: “The Diary of Alicia Keys”)

I want to write, so I’m writing. I’ve tried to start this blogging thing before, but it hasn’t caught on. But how many times do I have to tell myself that I need to just write, and I never do? write. Write!!! WRITE!! It’s really not pulling teeth.

Today’s battle: Feelings vs. Logic

I don’t know all that much about women or about psychology for that matter, but I find this field of gender psychology effin’ fascinating. I’m not sure that it’s technically a field, but it should be. I’m curious to find out what people think about this, but from my experiences I’ve seen a heavy inclination of women towards feeling-based decisionmaking, with guys leaning towards logic.

But I just don’t understand how life can function making our every decision based on what we feel right NOW. At this particular moment. I mean, it’s just reality that shit happens and life isn’t peaches every day, right? I feel like sometimes we need to accept the routineness of life and of relationships. Isn’t that what stability is? Hmmm…I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, but I’m tired so I want to sleep now. Try to pick up again later.

Before I go, I watched a movie recently, which I’ll leave unnamed because it wasn’t very good. But, there was one interesting hypothetical question posed, which for some reason I feel like sharing.

Alright, so you’re at a bus stop in the pouring rain, and you have a car that will fit just two people. There’s you, your best friend, who once saved your life, an old lady who needs to be rushed to a hospital, and your soul mate, who you’re seeing for the first time. Who do you take in the car?

Chew on that for a minute.

Discovery.

Feelings never go away. You can chop them up in a million pieces, bury them, think you’re over them, dig them up for memories’ sake, then burn them and scatter the ashes into the middle of the ocean. But they’re still out there, somewhere. And they always seem to have this magical power to reformulate as an emotional pain in the ass.

Just my two cents for the day.

Apathetic Emotion?

I’m in New York right now…at my Midtown hotel room. Been up here in the City doing some networking things. I’m sick and tired of depending on people, and so I’m trying to take my life into my own hands, in every sense.

Call me jaded, but I am hoping to get to the point where I’m not dependent upon anybody for anything. That’s a lofty and rather unrealisitic aspiration, but damn, can’t fault a man for trying, can you?

I don’t know if any of you all agree, but I’ve noticed that the minute you become dependent on anybody for anything mysteriously seems to coincide with the minute you realize that people aren’t all that they seem to be. This probably makes me sound like one of those crazy, negative summabitches…but to be honest, I’m finally growing to the point where I could give a fuck what I appear to be to people. If I’m upbeat, cool. If I’m negative, fuck it, I don’t need to justify it to anybody. Truth is, you’re going to perceive me through your filter anyway, however you choose to perceive me. I can’t do shit about that.

These days, I find myself deeply torn between emotion and utter apathy. My heart pulls me to emotion. My mind pushes me to apathy. I’ve always tended to let my heart win out, but the prospect of an apathetic heart is enticing.