Home

The Only Way To Get Smart Is To Look Stupid

Leave a comment

lookng stupid

I never asked a girl out on a first date and had the response of “NO“.

100% success … (just don’t ask about my success rate on 2nd and subsequent attempts!)

Aren’t I wonderful? On the surface this appears to be a good thing, yes?

After all, NO means rejection.

NO means hurt.

NO means I’m worthless.

NO means being thought less of.

NO means I look stupid.

YES is success…

But it wasn’t about success… it was about fear. Fear of being judged, fear of looking stupid.

A NO doesn’t make us worthless.

NO is an opportunity.

NO is a learning chance.

NO is a driving force.

Of course we MEN should know that some NO‘s mean NOOOOOOO! Interpreting THAT NO as a MAYBE is stupid.

But for a lot of us, NO brings out the fear of looking stupid.

In my younger years I was terrified of looking stupid. I look stupid all the time now.

ask on a date

The reason I never heard a NO when putting my fragile ego on the line and asking a girl out is that I waited, then waited more.

I probed and deliberated and spent whole nights awake… wondering, weighing, wishing… doing my “mental homework”.

I would flirt some. If she wasn’t flirting back like crazy, I knew the time wasn’t right.

I would wait and wait until the edge of the cliff was so enticingly close that the sweet young lady was almost set to ask me out in restless frustration. There were actually a couple of occasions when the gender-norm-of-the-time was flipped and she did ask me out.

But I also knew that if I waited too long, she might walk away in irritated exasperation… “… he’s cute, but he’s gutless. Time to move on …” 

Once my level of certainty was 99.8% of a positive response, I would finally make the societally expected masculine approach.

“I see that the new Star Wars movie is at the theatre this week…. would you like to come with me?

Of course that latter half of the statement was an added flirt… a double entendre to see if I could make her blush. Being nervous and provocative simultaneously aren’t mutually exclusive. A boy’s gotta have fun sometimes. BAD!

movie date

I wasted a lot of time – my own and young ladies’ –  too afraid to make a polite gesture and ask for a date even if I was only maybe 50% certain of the outcome (who can tell I’m a statistics’ and numbers’ nerd?).

I was afraid to look stupid.

If I was smart I would have realized much earlier that taking some measured risks not just in romance, but also in education or business or anything else I could think of, and taking the chance to appear stupid is OK. Really OK.

After looking stupid I can come up with 8 more plans of ideas I want to work on. I can use the experiences of failure to become a better person, to have a better chance at success, to maybe work with other people who will contribute to my success (and I to theirs) and to increase my odds of doing what I love.

Good people accept honest stupidity in others when they can see that they’re trying to better themselves. The not-so-good people should be happily ignored… they’re the arrogant stupid.

Smart people are lucky. Smart people are curious. Smart people are humble. Smart people ask “What if…?” Smart people learn from their mistakes and don’t blame others. Smart people learn new skills to enhance their old skills. Smart people don’t listen to what society tells them they should do. Smart people work the 10,000 hours and over-prepare.

Smart people aren’t afraid to look stupid.

I look stupid regularly now. I ask stupid questions. Unfortunately I too often say stupid things (but that’s another blog post!)

Stupid is good when it leads to better.

I don’t mind trying things where I’m likely to fail until I’ve practiced them over and over. I studied violin for 4 years as an adult.

I sounded stupid. My bowing technique was terrible.

I sounded and looked stupid but I carried on. After 4 years I still looked and sounded stupid. Stupid but sadly, not better. The stupid I could manage, the screechy sound and lack of “better” finally wore me down and I turned in my bow.

Yes YODA… I tried…

Psycho violin

Maybe stuck-stupid is still banging your head on a wall after wearing out the padding. Smart can be knowing when to move on.

Fear of looking stupid is a prison cell we lock ourselves inside. Those bars that imprison us sometimes are really just an illusion, a mirage.

Allowing ourselves to appear stupid is a measure of courage and confidence, maturity, self-acceptance, and finally, success.

Ultimately, looking stupid is a stage we pass through on the way to becoming better – a better date, a better guitarist, a better curler, a better therapist or surgeon or linguist or burger flipper.

Forrest Gump knew that…

stupid-is-as-stupid-does.jpg

 

 

8 Reasons Why Internet Dating Sucks …

2 Comments

 

Online dating worked out well for me,

but my wife wasn’t as lucky.”

Comment posted on website Jezebel

online dating

This week I’m going to write to you about something of which I know nothing (as per usual, you say!). Like Seinfeld, this will be a blog post about … NOTHING.

Let’s face it … I’m from a pre-internet era where we had no electronics and little money and did things honestly when it came to dating.

We got barely-see-straight drunk on tablesfull of 25 cent draft beer and tried to pick up pretty girls in Irish pubs and flaky bars … FACE-TO-FACE.

Of course when you’re blotto drunk, the beer goggles make every girl look hot. I’m not sure that beer goggles work the other way around for girls looking at guys.

Sadly, I don’t recall ever getting luckier (or come to think of it, lucky at all!) as the night’s drinking progressed. Mind you, it’s hard to tell face down over a cold, porcelain toilet bowl. That sort of sums up my lack-of-success stories on the dating front.

Nowadays, past that stage, I just snoop in on others’ lives and smile and frown and identify when the shoe fits the life experiences I’ve had.

Snooping

Last week, a co-worker Linda came into my office fuming, an angry sneer on her lip and cellphone waving madly in the air.

Linda’s a pretty, young, single Mom who wants someone special to come home to at night. Someone to share her stories with. Someone to share a meal with her and her young son.

The last few years since she’s been on her own, she’s tried her fortunes with online dating, but has only had hugs from frustration and anger.

At coffee break one week, she brightly tells us a story about a guy she’s “met” on Plenty of Fish –  her raised expectations and hopes reflect like shiny new pennies in her eyes and her smile.

Everyone online sounds like a winner … at first.

It’s like catalogue shopping and everything looks so new and lustrous and “I’ve gotta have one of those” great. And when you first meet the person, the shimmer is still bright for the first few minutes until you realize…

A week or two later the same coffee table talk turns into a “BITCH-fest” about the A**-hole who let her down or turned out to be a creeper.

We all want to love and be loved and it truly sucks when the goalposts shift back and forth so that you just can’t kick the ball into the net and celebrate. It’s frustrating and it’s lonely. It’s like anger and sadness kissed you on the cheek.

Linda says, “This guy was so nice online for the first while and then last night he messages me saying he wants me to tell him when I’m going to bed … what’s with that? Later, he leaves me a voicemail message, “Goodnight Sweetie” …Creeper!”

 

On-line Dating Graph

Without any further delay, let me tell you why you might want to run screaming in the other direction from Internet dating sites. If I was internet dating, these are some things that would have me biting my fingernails.

Realistically, I know most single persons (and many encumbered ones too… apparently 51% of all online dating people are in a relationship already) will still continue searching for love online.

Our human suitcases are overfilled with hope and longing … the fear of loneliness and lovelessness are greater than our concerns about child rapers and father stabbers. But still I’ll cautiously remind you of what awaits, lurking in the internet ether:

8 Reasons Why Internet Dating Sucks …

1. It’s dangerous…if you’re getting responses from:  ILuvUrTaTas, pussylover69, MightyDong69, GoinDown… there might be an early warning built in here.

There have been studies indicating that one out of 10 sex offenders use online dating to meet other people. Also, about 3% of online dating men are psychopaths.

More danger? Some people are gaseous wonders. Who wants to spend their life with a chronic odor maker? … that is dangerous!

2. The “best” products are snapped up in the first 5 minutes.

The photo is the first impression you get with internet dating. The pretty sweethearts and the manly hunks are prey to be devoured … quickly.

Once the sale is announced, nobody wants to be left purchasing the crumbs left in the remainder bin. Unless you’re online 24/7, it’s leftovers for you, my friend.

Most internet dating match-ups end like this ...

Most internet dating match-ups end like this … NOT!

3. It avoids face-to-face contact …. all of those telltale signs of dishonesty like avoidance of eye-contact are impossible to interpret over a computer screen so you have no way of knowing whether the other person is truthful or not.

Our bright or grubby personalities are far more obvious when we converse face-to-face.

You can spend a lot of time establishing rapport with your “future one-and-only”, only to meet and discover a rat within 30 seconds. That’s a lot of time wasted.

4. It raises expectations … when you do find that one random person that does fit all of your supposed “must-haves” you get your hopes up so far that you are devastated when a real person shows up, at some point, with their own set of flaws and baggage.

5. It’s like obituaries, people post pics of themselves taken in the one best moment ever, 15 years earlier, no zits, no side profile shots of witch-like noses, no hint of a 60 lb. weight gain in the interim.

6. It exposes semi-literacy … online writing (eg. e-mails) makes us realize how few people can actually spell correctly or write a grammatically correct sentence.

Even the smartest people these days have trouble writing properly, and you may exclude fantastic potentials, just because they’re semi-literate. This cuts both ways though. It’s nice to be able to screen for those who say they have a law degree but spell their career choice as “Loyr“.

7. It’s way too rational falling in love isn’t logical.

Love, like the lab I work in, is based on chemistry. It’s not based on height or earning capacity. Love is all about feelings and emotions. Dating site profiles deal with personal information. You’re choosing and rejecting potential mates by making rational decisions, whereas in real life, we choose partners by our emotional responses and establishing compatible neuroses.

8. The hot looking stud who came across so well in the messages and texts is a narcissistic twerp in person.

Conversely, the plain-Jane looker turns out to have a sparkling, bright personality that makes her 10x more beautiful than the photo portrayed. Beauty in a person is far more than the perfect symmetry of their face, or the chiselled cut of the jaw line.

Cute Guy Profile

I told you that there would be 8 reasons to avoid internet dating, but I always like to give you more for your money, so here’s an added BONUS.

Another colleague of mine, Carina, offered this next thought from her experiences.

9. The Cupboard Doors Are Always Open … even after you’ve established meaningful contact with a hopeful prospective partner, you’re able to see if they’re continuing to search online for “better” meat.

It hurts to feel you’ve exposed a part of yourself to someone who responds with tenderness only to see them continuing the passionate pursuit with others online.

Who wants to know that someone who has made their heart flutter in romantic expectation is still hoping to catch a slightly better fish.

 …………………..

There you have it … everything I know about nothing.

I don’t know anything about internet dating and truthfully, even when I was dating, I knew little about the best way to meet and seduce young ladies.

I was the cowardly dating lion and only asked someone out whom I had known, worked or studied with for months.

If I wasn’t 99% sure that I would get a positive YES to my request, or if by chance the young Miss was on the verge of herself asking me out of patient frustration, I wasn’t going to risk my ego.

So, it may be that what I’ve told you hasn’t quelled your burning need to meet that notable, unique someone from the comfort of your desktop.

I understand.

Life is about arithmetic. When you meeting someone new, you add to your sum and have greater value. And if you don’t have greater value as a pair, then you subtract that someone to get back to where you started.

But real value is created when that someone new becomes a multiplication to your sum, making each of you far more than just a simple addition.

Well, I’m gonna add even more value for you below. I’ve done your homework for you … you’re welcome!

Here are 10 actual sites that – tongue-in-cheek – just might satisfy the hunger you have for that very special, SPECIFIC someone.  These sites remind me oh so clearly that there truly is someone out there for everyone.

Maybe I’ll even recommend these to my exasperated co-worker Linda just as a reminder that she should take a deep breath and remember there are “Plenty of Fish” waiting to be kissed and not just fried.

funny_dating_site_10

 

funny_dating_site_1

 

funny_dating_site_5

 

funny_dating_site_7

 

funny_dating_site_3

 

funny_dating_site_9

 

funny_dating_site_2

 

funny_dating_site_8

 

funny_dating_site_4

 

funny_dating_site_6

 

Summer Lovin’ … Tell Me More Tell Me More…

4 Comments

 

Grease_Sandy

TRUE FACTOID: France’s Eiffel Tower can grow by more than 6 inches in summer due to the expansion of the iron on hot days.

RUMOUR: On the beach on a hot bikini summer day, many men find that the same … sorry … I got lost in a lustful side thought, won’t happen again.

……………………….

I can feel my hands gripping the wheel of my 1967 4-door brown Rambler American sedan, cruising along Hamilton’s Van Wagner’s Beach overlooking Lake Ontario, thick, humid air blowing through my long, dark 1970’s hair.

There’s an incredibly salty scent of Hutch’s french fries drifting on the breeze that makes my stomach rumble as I drive along. My right hand rests gently on the knee of my girlfriend who’s tempting me maybe even more than the french fries with her firm, tanned legs reaching from her navy blue stretch shorts to the floor.

The 8-track player that just about bankrupted me to buy, pumps out Beach Boys, America, Peter Frampton, and Eagles’ harmonies.

Intermingling with the music is the raucous percussive mating symphony of the little cicadas bursting from the trees.

And just like I still do today, I’m singing the harmony part unashamedly at the top of my lungs.

Even at that time, I was aware enough to think to myself, “could life get any better than this?

HUTCH's2

With July now sending its sizzling temperatures our way in the northern hemisphere, it puts me to wondering:

What songs are your favourite to croon along with?

And … What makes a great summer song? 

  • Is it the hint of romance?
  • Is it about youthfulness and escape?
  • The fast tom-tom beat in the background?
  • The perfect layering of harmonies?
  • Calypso rhythms?
  • The mention of buff tanned boys and bikini-clad girls on the beach?

I think the answer is yes to all of the above and a thousand other things that somehow give each of us an eyes-closed-floating-on-the-water feeling and the sense that the sultry sun is lighting us up from within. Hot liquid energy exudes from our pores when the music’s beat is absorbed.

 

Summerland to Peachland

The scene from Summerland’s fruit orchards and vineyards towards Peachland …

Every Thursday morning, I chauffeur myself along highway 97 through Peachland and Westbank to work in the lab in Kelowna, about 40 k north of my home in quaint little Summerland.

And on that one day each week I have about an hour and a half of driving (there and back) through Canada’s verdant Okanagan Valley orchards and vineyard scenery.

I cast my eyes out over the sparkling water for Ogopogo and imagine that every ripple in the water’s surface is actually the tip of the beast’s- akin to the Loch Ness Monster – dorsal fin.

It IS spectacular to make this winding journey in the summer months but this drive and this blog aren’t about the vistas of lakes and mountains … it’s about Summer Songs and Singing … in cars.

Cars are amazing things. They were built to move us rapidly from Point A to Point B, but I think the real reason cars were created – this is true, right? –  is 3-fold:

  1. to put babies to sleep
  2. to allow young children to prove/disprove Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest while bickering and slugging it out in the back seat, and
  3. make the best music studio for personal singing … ever.

Oh… and I suppose you could add:

4. which is to give young and old lovers alike the chance to test out their yoga skills in backseat lustful encounters.

The steamy shower stall may be your song studio of choice, but driving alone for periods of time in a motor vehicle is when I do my best singing. A car stereo system cranked up is the perfect accompaniment to belting out a song I love.

Car stereos give us all sorts of options for song choice. The old days of singing along with limited choices on a car radio are now replaced by not only the radio itself, but also CD’s, iPod tracks by the thousands, and satellite radio stations.

In an earlier post, I told you about my, and asked you for your, SADDEST songs … but this is summer and summer has its own vernacular, right?

Just to get you thinking along the summer song track, let me give you some examples of tunes that strike a summer chord for most of us.

Billboard 100’s Top 10 Summer Songs

Summer Songs

*Based on each track’s performance on the Billboard Hot 100 chart from August 4, 1958 — the inception of the chart — through the chart dated May 31, 2014.

10 Summer Nights, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John (1978)

9 Hot Fun In The Summertime, Sly & The Family Stone (1969)

8 Surfin’ U.S.A., The Beach Boys (1963)

Summertime, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (1991)

6 Endless Summer Nights, Richard Marx (1988)

5 Surf City, Jan & Dean (1963)

4 Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini, Bryan Hyland (1960)

3 Wipe Out, The Surfaris (1962)

2 Summer In The City, The Lovin’ Spoonful (1966)

1 California Gurls, Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg (2010)

Kind of interesting that 6 of the Top 10 were recorded in the 1960’s, isn’t it? Just one came from each of the 1970’s, ’80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s.

My own personal summer playlist will give me away and pinpoint me as a Baby Boomer whose formative years were the 60’s and 70’s… we all have an era that lives inside us as our own personal “Primetime”.

What does YOUR personal playlist sound like?

Let me list a few of my summer favourites:

  • Take It Easy … Eagles
  • Firework  Katy Perry
  • I’m Sexy And I Know It … LMFAO… there’s nothing like “wiggling” along the highway to this at 6 am! Makes it hard not to spill my Tim Hortons coffee in my lap which would make it a REAL hurtin’ song!
English: Katy Perry performing at the 2008 War...

(I’m behind Katy singing right along)

and finally, just for boppin’ through the  summer of 2014

  • HAPPY   Pharrell Williams
Then He Kissed Me

What would summer be without convertibles and  Beach Boys?

 

I could go on and on as I feel myself drifting back in time again just hearing the names to these songs. I can hear the old voices and smell the hot summer scents – even feel my heart quickening with the sun-kissed emotions of the moment.

There must be a million songs that work their summer charm when it’s time to roll our car windows down ….

So Tell Me More, Tell Me More.

When you get a minute, tell me, if you had to choose just one song to sing in the sizzling summer heat of your car, what would it be?

Grease-Summer-Nights

Fat Girls …

2 Comments

On behalf of all the fat girls, I’m making you represent all the guys…” 

 

beach girl

Trouble getting dates? Yeah, right…

Some things just get to me.

Not very often.

But sometimes.

Today I want to tell you about a TV episode I saw recently that affected me deeply.

It scratched and inflamed a raw nerve that was an oozing wound inside me.

Maybe it’s because of the guilt I feel for being so shallow… or  maybe – just maybe – because I’ve felt the same way – inadequate – at times for similar and slightly different reasons.

Do you know Louie CK?

Middle-aged, slightly rotund and unkempt, somewhat depressed-looking, stand-up comic-guy? I don’t know, maybe he’s the new Rodney Dangerfield. Anyway, he’s pretty popular right now.

I can’t quite figure out whether I like him or LIKE him yet. He’s a lovable teddy-bearish kind of gent, but I don’t want to get sucked into his vortex of minor, low-level gloom. I’m perplexed, is he funny or a downer?

Louie has his own comedy series on FX network called … yup, LOUIE.

It’s kind of like Seinfeld, where Louie does his brief stand-up comic bit followed by a usually semi-autobiographical, weird story arc of an aging, divorced father.

It’s set up to make us feel squirmy and uncomfortable with that unsettling awkwardness that many of us feel from time to time. He’s got the stunned look down pat.

Only for Louie, it’s awkward ALL of the time.

Louie

I’ve had awkward moments.

Once, when I was in my late teens, I climbed into a hot, sticky backseat for a car ride back home from a McDonald’s employee picnic with a dude and his girlfriend – said girlfriend happened to be my ex-girlfriend who I wasn’t 100% over yet.

I sat, feeling sweaty, squirmy, edgy in the back, like a little kid getting a ride home with Mommy and Daddy … uncomfortable? I felt so small.

Many of Louie’s uncomfortable moments revolve around his difficult and embarrassing attempts at dating in NYC. He’s dying to be loved but he’s also the least smooth operator living in the civilized world.

The Episode of Shame

The installment of Louie that affected me so much was one where Vanessa, a plus-sized but sweet-faced server-girl at the club where Louie does his stand-up routine asks him on a date.

(BTW Aside:  the Louie show is worth watching just to see the little girl (Ursula Parker) who plays his 8 year-old daughter Jane. AMAZING little actress!!)

In his typical Louie dazed-style, he looks blankly at Vanessa, gut hanging over his belt, and hums and haws around a way to say “no thanks”.

Sarah Baker as Vanessa is stunning in her frank portrayal of the “fat girl”. She utters such an honest and heartwrenching statement about men and women in western culture that it hurts.

On behalf of all the fat girls, I’m making you represent all the guys,” she says. “Why do you hate us so much? What is it about the basics of human happiness, feeling attractive, feeling loved, having guys chase after us, that’s just not in the cards for us? Nope. Not for us.”

It’s a wonderful and moving soliloquy, isn’t it? Could you feel yourself squirm a little? Maybe you saw yourself in either Vanessa’s position, or maybe Louie’s. That’s the beauty of this episode.

We hold a mirror to ourselves, and we don’t love what we see.

And I reluctantly realize I, like Louie, am guilty as charged.

Yup, I avoided dating fat girls in my early years. I dated a fat girl for awhile – and like Vanessa says in the clip above, we even had sex –  who was very cute and then I backed off when I felt like I was too good. She didn’t match up to the image of what I felt I deserved.

I wallow in the shallowness of my internal self. There are ugly parts to me.

I feel guilty knowing the truth about myself … but then I look in the mirror again.

I realize that just like a fat girl, I have limitations too.

Every one of us has limitations.

Every one of us has the potential to be rejected for something we are or we aren’t.

But I live with my flaws and deficiencies and make the best of it. Sure, I occasionally set myself up a pity-party and knock back a drink or two, but it gets boring quickly and so I head home early and refresh my outlook.

Yes, the storyline is about fat girls, but you might substitute nerdy guys or short guys or an unattractive person. 

We can be fat, we can be ugly, we can have little boobs or a short penis, we can be short or stupid, bald or buck-toothed. Life sucks. But it is what it is.

Yes, I’ve avoided dating fat girls. But really hot girls and too-many-to-count average-looking girls have ignored me and definitely wouldn’t have sex with me in my youth. It’s true, even though since I grew out of my tween chubbies, I’ve been reasonably slender all of my life.

But I don’t look like Rob Lowe, or Tom Cruise, or thank heaven, Mick Jagger. I don’t own yachts like Bill Gates. I don’t have the compelling intellect of Bill Clinton (and any cigars I’ve had were strictly for smoking!). My gifts are modest but worth unwrapping.

We can accept it or change it. We have choices and if we decide to accept our lot, then so be it.

There will always be Louie’s out there that make us frustrated, but really we’re frustrated with ourselves.

So, Fat Girls … fat girls, I’m sorry. There is no perfection, even if looks like sometimes there is.

I feel for you and I want for you what you want, but I can only tell you what most of us (should) know and reluctantly accept.

Life sucks. Shit happens. Sometimes.

I’m shallow.

But we all have something about us that makes us lovable and makes us special to someone else.

And when we find that someone, it makes the wait all worthwhile.

I promise, Vanessa.

perfection-sign