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I thought I might try something fun… ask me a question in the comments, and I’ll answer it.  Anything you’ve wondered about me from reading my blog, or anything you’re curious about?  Want my opinion on something?  Ask away!  I’m curious to see what you all come up with 🙂

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The response to my guest blog over at Simply Solo (In Defense of the Beta Man) along with some things I read on a couple blogs recently got me thinking about “The Friend Zone.”  You know, that place men talk about hating being put by the women in their lives, like it’s some dread purgatory from which there is no escape.

I don’t think it’s always like that, or that simple.  Let’s talk about The Friend Zone.  [NOTE:  Much of what I’m writing here is assuming that the male/female friends in question aren’t married to or significantly involved with other people.  That changes the dynamics!]

Sure, for some (alpha) men and their relationships with women, there’s no worse fate than to be put into the FZ.  For them, women aren’t friends, they’re prizes to be won and the prize should include some sort of sexual contact.  If you’ve been put in the FZ, then there’s no chance of sexual contact and so there is no prize.  The Friend Zone is the polar opposite of the end zone, game over man!

For beta men, as I talked about in my blog post, spending time with a woman he cares about is the prize.  Sure, would he like to end the night with a roll in the hay?  Of course, he’s still a man!  A woman’s body holds endless fascination for a man and we’d like nothing better than to be given the chance to explore it.  But a beta man is often interested in a woman for a lot more reasons than just sex, so being in the FZ means still getting to spend time with the woman.  90% of what you want is still a very good deal, right?

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Some of you may have wondered why I haven’t posted for a little bit.  I’ve tried to keep up a fairly regular clip of posts because, when it comes to blogging, there’s definitely a “publish or perish” vibe.  When I write a bunch I notice that I get more traffic to a lot of different pages, not just the new posts I put up, and when my writing dries up a bit I notice the overall hits diminish.

But I’m not really in a dry spot writing now.  I’m working on my guest-blog for Simply Solo, and I’ve been reading and leaving comments to many of your blogs.

No, what’s got me tripped up is revealed here:

When I published the last post, WordPress reminded me that it was my 99th post.  99 already?  It was a little bit shocking, and actually quite exciting, because the very next post was going to be 100.  A hundred posts!  That seems like a pretty awesome milestone, doesn’t it?  If you do something 100 times you’re pretty committed to it, and it gives me a real feeling of accomplishment.  That’s about 9-10 posts every month, not too shabby.

So, to mark my 100th post I needed to do something special.  Hmmm… what should that be?  A retrospective?  Well, I did a 2011 year review of my blog just a few months back in January, so doing another one seemed a bit redundant.  Not to mention, I’m actually coming up on my year anniversary blogging May 26th, which seems like a better time for a retrospective or review of one year of blogging.

Then I thought—well, maybe I could take this time to thank everyone for reading me!  But then I realized… there’s 45 of you now (wow!!), and I could go on and on about how much I appreciate the kind words and comments each of you put in my posts, and some of you have fantastic blogs of your own that I love reading.  There’s the drop-dead sexiness in the writing of creativenoodling, lifeinthedashlane, and threemonthstoforty; or the powerful introspection of clduncan75, subtlekate and beautifulmess7.  I could go on and on…

But ultimately I suppose it’s most important to just get number 100 out of the way and get to writing and sharing the next thing that’s on my mind.  Life feels like such an adventure right now, I’ve finally found my roommate, I can see a little daylight now in terms of financial stability and “me-time,” diet and exercise has started to pay off, I’m feeling great physically, mentally, spiritually.  I can’t wait to chronicle this journey here, and to take you with me on this adventure, to hear your thoughts and read what you have to say, as well as read about your own journey.  Thank you so much for being here, for being a part of this adventure, and I hope you’ll stick around for the next 100 posts!

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Tweeps!

Hi everyone, if you’re on Twitter hit me up at @ben_writing, I want to add you to my “blog” list on Twitter so I can filter out the extraneous stuff other people I’m following are tweeting 🙂

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Q&A to tide you over…

I’ve been slow posting to my blog lately… I’ve got a couple blogposts in the works, but haven’t been able to finish them yet… thankfully, the wonderful subtlekate posted a meme that I’m going to steal and put up on my blog to tide you over…

1. What was the last clothing item that you bought?
This was tough to recall because I don’t buy clothes very often.  Probably a pair of khaki pants for work.  I need to buy a new belt and work shoes but haven’t had the chance to do so.  I suspect this answer is more interesting when a woman answers it 😉

2. If you could stay one age forever, what age would you choose?
I was tempted to say 18 or 19 since that’s when they say men reach their sexual peak… however, I wasn’t able to grow a real moustache until my mid-20s, so I’d probably say 25… I like my moustache!

3. When you say “lol”, are you really laughing?
I usually am!  At the very least, I’m highly amused.

4. What is the most interesting thing you’ve done in the past year?
Starting this blog, by far!  Getting into the blogging community has really been awesome, met a lot of really cool and interesting people (*waves at you*)

5. If you started a business, what would it be?
Screenwriter.  Writing for TV or movies would be my dream job.  Writing is more or less self-employment so I think that counts?

6. Do your friends/family/coworkers know about your blog?
Lots of friends and some family know about my blog.  Some of my coworkers from my part-time job know about it.  I don’t think anyone from my full-time job know about it.  When I started I debated keeping my blog anonymous so that I could get as raw and raunchy as I wanted to… but dang-it, I love feedback and the quickest way to get people reading was to share it with friends and family 😉

7. How long does it take you to write an average blog post?
It varies.  Sometimes it flows really quickly – usually when I’ve been thinking about something for a while ahead of time, or am struck by inspiration.  Sometimes it comes in fits and starts, I write some, leave it, come back to it… right now I’ve got 4 blogposts in this fits-and-starts category.  The actual writing goes pretty quickly, I’d say usually no more than an hour, including searching for and posting pictures.

8. How do you keep up with the blogs you follow?
I use the WordPress feature that gives you a newsfeed of sorts for all the blogs I follow.  If I realize I haven’t read someone in a while, I’ve got most of them in my blogroll and I’ll click on the link to check in and see how they’re doing.  I get weekly emails from the blogs I follow too!  I try to at least “like” some posts people write to let them know I’m still reading 🙂

9. What is your bedtime? Is sex always involved?
Usually around midnight, sometimes a little later.  I often work my part-time job at nights and get home around 11:30.  Sometimes I watch something on my DVR to unwind before going to sleep.  Sex at bedtime?  Oh yeah, I do seem to remember that…

10. Introvert or extrovert?
A little of both I guess.  I do like socializing and interacting with people, but I appreciate alone time as well.  I’m curious what my friends and family would consider me?  *nudge nudge*

11. What is your biggest fear?
Never being in love and loved again.  That would really suck.

12. What is the best job you ever had?
My current full-time job is freaking awesome.  It’s a great company.  I’ve been here 11 years and never want to leave… unless I sell a screenplay and move to California.

13. Dog person/cat person/both/neither?
I prefer cats.  Dogs are fine – puppies are awesome.  I adore raising a cat from kittenhood to be so ridiculously affectionate and loving while also being very self-sufficient.  It’s like the pinnacle of pethood.

14. If you had $1,000 to spend any way you wanted, what would you do with it?
Go on a much needed vacation!  Not that a grand will get you far, but I’m not picky.

15. How do you “dress” your toast?
Butter, of course!  Peanut butter and honey if I feel like splurging.

16. How do you feel about snow?
I love watching snow, love playing in the snow, hate shoveling snow and driving in it.

17. What was the worst job you ever had?
“Assistant Manager Trainee” that ended up being a job selling encyclopedias (this was pre-Google) door-to-door.  It was weird, the guy who ran this was like a cult leader, he totally sucked you in, got you pumped to sell, dropped you off at all these poor, run-down neighborhoods… and then ended up cancelling most of the contracts you signed because they didn’t meet the income requirements…  You’d start the day thinking you couldn’t lose and would be bringing home big bucks, and then you’d go home depressed and with little in your pocket (tiny salary + sales bonuses).  Highs and lows and highs and lows.  This went on for about 2 weeks before I snapped out of the cult-fog and realized it was total b.s. and never went back.

18. What song can you not stop listening to?
I never get tired of “These Days” by R.E.M.  Recently really loving “Shake it Out” by Florence + The Machine.

19. Love your name or hate it?
I wouldn’t say I loved my name but I’m fine with it.  It’s a little unusual in that most people think it’s short for Benjamin when it’s not, and that’s lead to minor annoyances over the years… it used to really bother me as a kid, but now that I’m grown there are a lot bigger things to worry about!  On the whole, I’m grateful to have a name that’s unusual without being bizarre… which I think is really the best a child can ask for in a name, you know?

20. How did you choose your blog/twitter handle?
When I decided to start a blog, I thought it was important to provide some focus to it… otherwise it would just be a random collection of my thoughts and musings, something that I used to do on Livejournal and still do to some degree on Facebook.  I tried to think of a topic I could write endlessly about… and women immediately popped to mind.   As a divorced man who hopes to find love again, I wanted to use this blog to lay out what I love about women both to myself and anyone who might read me.  I decided upon the name “My Ideal Woman” as a catchy search-engine friendly way to draw people to my blog.

Thanks for the meme idea Kate—and any other readers who want to nab this and answer it for themselves, I’d love to read your answers as well.

And don’t worry—I’ll be getting one of my “real” blog posts finished up and posted soon!

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Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.
— Thomas Edison

I went through a brief phase where I thought I was going to be an artist when I grew up.  I loved to draw, and one thing I really loved drawing the most was cartoons.  For a while I wrote a comic strip called Cheese that was basically The Odd Couple but with mice.  Then I started writing illustrated stories, and finally pivoted to comic books, which I was obsessed with for a long while.  I just knew my future was in drawing comic books.  I cooked up all kinds of cool stories around my own batch of super-heroes, and had fun laying out the frames and drawing the scenes.

The only problem… my artistic skills just didn’t cut it.  I’d write these great story plots and characters, and try to draw it out… and it just looked lame to me.  I mean, it wasn’t bad, just wasn’t nearly as good as I wanted it to be.

I tried to improve my skills.  I got a book called How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way and practiced.  But it felt after a while that I’d reached the limits of my drawing ability, and it just wasn’t good enough.

I was crushed… but I found that my mind was still churning out characters and stories, even after I stopped trying to draw them.  Maybe I didn’t need pictures to tell my tales…

From eighth grade through my early 20s, I spent a lot of time writing stories and outlining ideas.  I dabbled in screenwriting for a while, which was fascinating as totally different craft from free-form fiction writing.  Eventually though, life got in the way and I stopped writing.

Only, I actually didn’t stop.  I got caught up in a collectible card game called Magic, and got involved in the Magic community and soon became a regular writer about Magic for various venues.  I wrote about Magic for websites and magazines.  I’ve been writing at least 2,000-3,000 words about Magic every single week for 12 years.  That’s… *quick calculation*… 1,560,000 words, and that’s probably lowballing it.  That’s quite a lot of writing.  Granted, it’s writing about something that I love, which I consider relatively “easy” to do, but I’ve recently realized that I’ve gotten really, really good at it.  Sure, some weeks I don’t do my best work, but in general I know I do a great job of it.

And I realize that it’s made me a better writer in general.  The skills I’ve honed writing about Magic can be applied to all my writing.

I decided last year I wanted to branch out into other forms of writing, to take those skills and put them to work in other ways.  To connect to people outside of my hobby through my writing.  Inspired by a few friends who were dabbling in blogging, I created My Ideal Woman and have had a great time writing here.  Recently I went ahead and expanded my blogging to two other blogs, Talking TV and Ben_Scared in order to keep MIW more focused while also expanding the sort of writing I was doing.  I’m almost up to 100 blog posts.  And I’m still writing 2,000-3,000 words about Magic.

What I’ve noticed is that all this writing has really gotten my mind charged up.  I’m always thinking about something to write about:  something about Magic, something for one of my blogs.  And recently—story concepts, movie scenes.  My brain is always chewing over ideas, in the back of my mind while I’m working, in the shower, while I’m driving, while I’m sleeping.  The brain is an amazing thing when you really exercise it, and I think doing all this writing has really amped it up.

That old adage of “just write” is so true.  Just push through, write, even if it’s not popping, you can always go back and polish up later.  If you get stuck, write something else and let your subconscious work through it.

Knowing how many words I already write each week led me to wonder—how many words are in a novel?  I heard that an average 400 page book is 120,000 words.  That breaks down to 2,300 words a week for a year.  Which is something I already do writing about Magic!  If I translated all the words I’ve written about Magic into pages in a book, that’s 5,200 pages!

Granted, writing fiction is a lot more involved than writing about your favorite hobby, or blogging about life, love and television, but it was exciting to realize—I’m already operating at that level of word production.  If I can carve out a little extra time, I can certainly start working on fiction.  I started Ben_Scared as a way to prep my mind back into fiction writing, by typing up my old horror stories and polishing them with the skills I’ve learned in the 20 years since I wrote most of them.  I hope to reconnect with my old screenwriting group as well, to surround myself with creative people and get my brain back into fictional storytelling.

These are exciting times to be a writer.  As the wonderful subtlekate recently discussed on her blog, “facts are easy” – back when I started writing, you had to log a lot of time in the library to research for stories, pouring through books and magazines.  Now just about everything you need to know is just a Google search away, which lets you spend more time and energy on crafting the stories you want to tell.  Accessibility to facts and source material is no real obstacle anymore.

There are also so many avenues available for self-publication and promotion now with blogging and social media and all sorts of things through the internet.  Granted, there are a lot writers out there who have access to all the same tools and channels as I do, but I have faith that if someone has talent and a compelling story to tell, they will find an audience if they make the effort.

Here’s to making that effort!  Just write.

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I thought it might be fun to put up a post dedicated to welcoming those visitors who arrived at my blog through a search engine link, and since WordPress is awesome enough to compile a list of searches that brought people here, they make it easy!

I’m going to address the highest ranked searches that brought people here first, and then I’ll wrap things up with some really odd searches…

“public display of affection” (585)  + “public displays of affection” (76)
Awww!  Fellow fans of PDA unite!  I’m hoping that many of the people who find My Ideal Woman this way come back and visit.  I suspect their searches take them to my blogpost …She’d Enjoy Public Displays of Affection.

“zooey deschanel naked”  (588)
Yes, Zooey is adorable and I imagine she’s rather hot with no clothes on… but I can’t help but think that New Girl has diminished her “lust appeal” a bit.  Don’t get me wrong—I love the show, but the character Jess more evokes the urge to hug and cuddle her rather than tearing off clothes and getting down to business.  Or am I wrong here?

That said… I imagine the many folks who entered that search were rather disappointed in my blog.  Sorry, guys (and some gals)!

“hannah simone” (402) + “hannah simone new girl” (30)
The other New Girl girl, Ms. Simone’s character on the other hand certainly evokes the urge to tear off clothes and get down to business.  The really cool thing is learning that Hannah Simone is not just a hot woman, but she’s quite worldly and educated.  Born in London, spent her early childhood in Canada, then lived several years in Saudi Arabia, then lived in Cyprus and India before moving back to Canada.  She’s got a bachelor’s in International Relations and Political Science from the University of British Columbia before getting a bachelor’s in Radio and Television Arts from Reyerson University.  She’s been a model, a researcher for a book by a former Foreign Affairs minister, then worked supporting the Model UN program and serving as a human rights and refugee officer.  Then she moved into a career in media and eventually landed a gig on New Girl.

“kat dennings”  (289) + “kat dennings hot”  (125) + “kate dennings” (26)
I love 2 Broke Girls, it’s such an irreverent pleasure that is unabashedly written by adults for adults.  I appreciate comedic humor that hasn’t been PG-13 sanitized nor soaked in stupid potty humor.  I also love Kat Dennings who stands right up there with Christina Hendricks as a totally hot woman with bodacious curves, the kind of body you just want to get lost in.  There are way too few woman like them in Hollywood these days.

“the pixies” (335)
I wrote a post called Following the Pixies that people hit on.  It’s good to know that there is still lots of love for The Pixies out there!  It warms my heart that I get multiple visits to my blog each day with this search.  Part of me hopes that My Actual Ideal Woman will find me this way.

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