Monday, August 29, 2011

More About Online Dating

I wrote about online dating a few months ago but wanted to revisit the topic. I'm still not into it but after thinking about it more and talking to a bunch of you who have tried it, want to revise some of the things I said before. Here:

1) I said this: "My assumption, which I believe to be correct, is that everyone on earth is theoretically looking for the right relationship for them, but that does not mean the right relationship for them is with me or you."

I was wrong about this, actually. I do think that mostly everyone thinks they are looking for the right relationship for them, but actually, some people are really only interested in chasing people who don't want them and would never want a nice person who would treat them properly. This is called having low self-esteem. There are loads of these types in the real world, of course, but from what some of you tell me, loooaaaads online, possibly because the idea of not having to immediately engage with real live people is appealing to the issue-laden in this world. And it takes a little longer to spot them, too, since they're hiding behind the normalcy of a smiley picture and the fact that they're interested in soccer or whatever, just like you.

2) I said this: "Shared interests, like liking the same movies or sports, don't matter at all. Chemistry and shared values matter." It's still definitely true that shared interests don't matter, but I am realizing that it is not chemistry but intimacy and shared values that matter, and that practically everyone in the whole wide world thinks chemistry is way more important than it is. Now I'm not saying you should go and have a relationship with someone if you can't stand the idea of touching them (i.e. "have no chemistry"), but the thing is, it doesn't mean shit if someone makes your hormones go completely mental if they don't want to be in the same relationship as you. FYI, if they never get in touch with you unless you have a fight about it first, tend to disappear and then reappear, or call you needy when you say you want to have a real relationship and not a booty call, they don't want to be in the same relationship as you (i.e. have shared values). If, on the other hand, they are a consistent presence in your life, are available when you need them, and express interest in having a real relationship, then you have a potential foundation to create intimacy. Maybe you won't end up having real intimacy with that person because it takes some time to see if it is there and it is not always going to be, but this is the sort of person you should be going for, not someone who makes you feel crazy passion but then when push comes to shove, disappears because they are emotionally unavailable.

If you need convincing, consider this: if you are looking for a relationship and not a booty call, you are looking to find someone with whom you will presumably spend many years if all goes well. Not that I know shit, but if there's one thing I can guess it's that nobody's hormones rage over the same person for many years. Well, not if they are actually in a relationship with that person. And how does it even feel when you have great "chemistry" with someone anyway? Does it feel good or does it feel stressful, like you have butterflies in your stomach the whole freaking day because you don't actually know if this person is really going to go the distance or just wants to mess with your head a bit and then disappear? Be honest.

And no, someone's dating profile can't tell you anything about the intimacy that may eventually exist between the two of you either. Yeah I know, what an effing drag.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Tofu Dilemma

Along with true love, the perfect bikini bod, and a one-size-fits-all cure for boredom, I feel like I have spent my entire life looking for an answer to the tofu dilemma - i.e., what can one do to make tofu taste, well, less like absolute shit? And my friends, I believe I have found the answer, and fortunately it does not involve a long list of other ingredients that you will all never be able to find. It does, however, involve an encyclopedia.

So here is a complete list of what you will need:

an encyclopedia
soy sauce
really hot sauce
a zucchini
instant noodles
cashews (if you want)

Now I know this is silly and a little annoying but it's how it's done, okay? Like two days or something before you want to eat the damn tofu, put an encyclopedia on top of it. No, it does not have to be an encyclopedia, but that is the size and weight we're going for. If you have two encyclopedias, so much the better. Then two days later, take the encyclopedia off the tofu, cut up the tofu and the zucchini, stir-fry them in a bit of oil with soy sauce, hot sauce, and the garlic (which you'll have pressed or chopped up), and the instant noodles, which you will have first prepared. If you want to add cashews, throw them in right at the end, once everything else has been cooked, or they'll get mushy.

As between pressing down the otherwise totally unpalatable texture of the tofu and disguising the taste with hot sauce, man, I hardly even knew what in the hell I was eating. But it totally set my balls on fire if you know what I mean! In a good way.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Interview

In response to my last post, in which I divulged my secret fantasy about being interviewed on CBC Radio, a couple of you suggested I post the whole imagined interview. So I know this seems a little conceited but just remember that you asked for it, okay? Now, it took me a long time to post this because coming up with something post-able, i.e. that would be at the very least not significantly more embarrassing than my music collection, was a bit of a challenge. This might be a little more embarrassing than that after all, but anyway, here it is. It takes place at an undefined future time.

Ms. Morgan, thank you so much for joining us today. It is such a pleasure to have you with us.
Please, the pleasure is all mine.

So tell us, Ms. Morgan, what qualities do you detest most in a person?
Ignorance and arrogance, which I frequently find together.

And what is your most prized possession?
I don't know whether I should say my husband or my sense of humour. But I guess if I lost the former and didn't have the latter, I'd really be screwed. So, my sense of humour.

Would you mind telling us what your dating life was like before you met your husband?
Oh, it was a nightmare. I was a simpering little blob of emotion at the constant mercy of my perpetually broken heart. But of course, everyone always says that after the fact, don't they?

But still, how utterly poetic of you. Is there anything in particular that you learned from that time?
Yes. When I hear the sorts of things people say when they are describing their ideal partner, I am blown away by what I hear. The person must be good-looking, and tall, and deliciously charming, and intelligent, and funny. But these things are all terribly superficial. I know intelligent and funny don't sound superficial, but the thing is, if this person is available to really love you and you have a deeply intimate friendship, that is what matters. Saying you want intelligent and funny is sort of like a less superficial-sounding way of saying you want your partner to be popular.

That is very true. To touch on a different topic, how have you found it, running your outrageously successful company?
There is nothing like calling my time my own. Your time may be your own when you are working for someone, but your employer rents it. That is one of those essential truths, like the fact that a good mother makes a bad mother-in-law, and there is just no lying to yourself about it. Renting your time to someone is no way to live.

Ms. Morgan, as ever, you are so right. And now for something very important, because you always look so lovely. Who is your fashion icon?
The Queen Mother. Isn't that a thoughtful answer?

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Good Mother Makes A Bad Mother-In-Law

Doesn't that sound super wise, like it's a saying in a foreign language? But actually it's just something I say in this recurring fantasy I have in which I'm being interviewed on CBC radio.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Nader and Simin - A Separation

I'm pretty psyched about this review because if you are in North America (or anywhere outside Germany, I believe), I am doing what reviewers are actually supposed to do and giving you a bit of a heads-up on a movie that isn't out yet. If you are in Germany, I'm not doing that, so just go see it now because it is awesome.

Awesome is even an understatement. This is a movie from Iran which I imagine had to be created within the bounds of that country's censorship laws, and it is nonetheless one of the most thoughtful, illuminative, and tense works of art that I have ever seen. As soon as it comes to your area, get out and see it.

The story begins simply enough. We have a middle-class couple, separating for a reason one suspects might be different than the one given. We have their studious child, and we have the husband's father, who is suffering from Alzheimer's and needs a daytime caregiver. The caregiver, a little too hastily hired at the film's outset, takes the form of an uneducated chador-clad pregnant woman who comes from the poor part of town and is deeply religious. The strictness of her observance provides an almost comedic note in an otherwise deadly serious story: at one point she makes a call to what seems to be an Islamic hotline, asking whether she is permitted to change the soiled clothes of her senile, incontinent charge.

Though it becomes clear to the viewer rather quickly that looking after her wandering charge is too physically taxing for the pregnant woman, the separated husband, who is stubborn, proud, and perhaps emotionally distant, does not notice - or does he? When the woman disappears while she was supposed to be looking after the elderly man and his son comes home early, a nasty argument ensues in which he accuses her of stealing and then shoves her out the door so aggressively that she falls down the stairs - or does she? She loses her baby, that much is clear, but the rest is a little sketchy, a little ambiguous, and a perfect window into the complexity of the wide gap between the rich and the poor, not just in Iran but perhaps anywhere.

Wisely, the filmmaker does not pass judgement on any of the people involved, but rather lets you see the flaws in all of them equally. Someone will have to judge them though, because the rest of the film deals with the ensuing case as the poor woman's husband takes the wealthier man to court for manslaughter. But how can such a non-judgemental movie possibly end? You'll have to see for yourself, but I will tell you this: to that problem, the filmmaker came up with a truly beautiful solution.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

More Observations About Learning a Foreign Language

I talked here about several travails related to foreign language learning, and right now I have just one more but it's kind of a major one, so get ready. Why oh why, in every language class on the face of the Planet Earth, do they make you talk about your hobbies? I mean, hobbies? Do adults actually have hobbies? When asked about my hobbies, which has only ever happened in language classes (although I believe it is also common in online dating, hence why I'm not the biggest fan of that; see here), I usually say cooking because I feel like I can't say sleeping, eating, or sitting around doing nothing, which are the things I actually enjoy doing most in my spare time. (That's what a hobby is, right?). Is surfing the Internet like my life depends on it a hobby? Although to be honest I'm not really sure I enjoy that, it's more like I'm addicted to it and actually kind of wish I could stop.

So the other day I got asked about my hobbies and for the first time I decided to say "blogging," because I think that is probably the most truly legitimate hobby I have. But then everybody looked at me all like "you have to say something more wholesome than that, like jogging or something," even though the fact that someone says he likes jogging doesn't tell me anything about him except that he is a liar, because nobody likes jogging. Not that blogging is probably any better at telling you anything, although I suppose you may eventually reach the conclusion that I have no-one to talk to you'd better not be the one sucker to bother with me.

Anyway, what I kind of realized from all of this, which is what I'm sure you've been wondering, is that there is a serious overemphasis in society in general of things that are utterly superficial. Things people like to do, movies they like, food they like, and all this kind of thing are the most inconsequential pieces of information you could possibly hear about anyone. So I'm thinking that if you want to ask questions that require only a few words of vocabulary, how about "what do you value?" or "what sort of person could you love?" Or how about "what makes you happy, what makes you sad?"