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Posts Tagged ‘romance’

Hi folks, I realize that I left some of y’all with a bit of a cliff-hanger a few weeks back when I wrote about finally getting together with my old friend JL for dinner after not seeing each other for years and years.  So anyway, here’s a quick recap of the evening…

I get a text from her about an hour before we’re supposed to meet and she says, according to her GPS, she’ll be about 15 minutes late.  No problem I tell her, drive safe and I’ll see you there.  I decide to head on over at 6pm to grab a table since we are meeting at a pretty popular Mexican restaurant at dinnertime on a Saturday.  I pause outside to send her a text saying that I’m here, but then see that she’d already texted me that she got there early and has nabbed a table already and tells me where in inside she’s sitting.

Again, I marvel at how nice smartphones are for socializing!

As I approach the table she hops up to wave me down, and then gives me a big hug.  She’s still beautiful– tall, lovely figure, and a smile that lights up the room.  The waiter arrives right on cue and she orders a margarita– a gal after my own heart!  I order the same, and we start with some small talk as we glance over the menu.  When the margaritas arrive they’re sufficiently large and sufficiently strong, and after we place our orders we start talking about life, the universe, and everything.

You know when you have a friend that’s just so easy to talk with?  Me and JL seemed to have that going on.  Our dinner and conversation lasted two and a half hours, talking about old times, our lives, my kids, her boyfriend, our exes (she was previously married too), books, movies, television shows, politics.  We chatted for so long I had to order another margarita!  Honestly, I think we could have gone on for longer but I thought that perhaps her boyfriend might start to worry about her, so I reluctantly said goodbye and we promised to get together again soon.

Oh yeah… there was also the matter of the gal she knows that she wants to set me up with!  We talked a little bit about her and she sounds like a sweet woman who has apparently been a bit unlucky in love.  JL said she was about ready to give up on men– Oh no!  I said, don’t give up!  I mean, I’ve been about as unlucky as you can get and I still hold out hope for love and romance.

Anyway, JL mentioned that she’d seen my Facebook event for this year’s Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival in Richmond.  After not being able to rustle up anyone to go with me last year — an utter tragedy — I made a Facebook event for it several months in advance and will be beating the drums and sending out notices to all my friends to round up at least a few of them to go with me.  JL mentioned that maybe she could bring her friend with her that weekend and they could go with us– sounded like a plan to me!

 

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The conversation started with my guest blog on Simply Solo (In Defense of the Beta Man) continues to inspire me with more thinking on the subject and wanting to continue digging into the issue.  Last week I wrote The Friend Zone, and got some more great feedback and expanded on some themes.

This week, I think I have some interesting insight to pass along to the ladies who have at least a passing interest in what makes Beta men tick.

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The other day my iPod shuffled up “Down At The Twist and Shout” by Mary Chapin Carpenter, and it kind of choked me up.  I’m not sure why– there aren’t any particular memories tied in with that song– but it just overwhelmed me with emotion.  Nostalgia, sadness, joy, hopes and dreams…

Saturday night and the moon is out
I wanna head on over to the Twist and Shout
Find a two-step partner and a Cajun beat
When it lifts me up I’m gonna find my feet
Out in the middle of a big dance floor
When I hear that fiddle wanna beg for more
Gonna dance to a band from a-Lou’sian’ tonight

I first became aware of Ellen Barkin in the movie Sea of Love (with Al Pacino), and was totally blown away by her incredible sexiness, so I began watching some of her earlier movies.  I ran across one set in New Orleans called The Big Easy, and for kicks decided to buy some Cajun food — which I’d never had before — to cook up and eat for dinner while watching the movie on the VCR.

As I ate the spicy food and was marveling at the fantastic flavors (even from the store-bought box version of the food), I started the movie– the opening is an aerial shot of the New Orleans bayou as the zydeco band Beausoleil plays “Zydeco Gris Gris.”  I was totally blown away by the unique sound of zydeco and its high energy.  Something about the food and the music just latched into my heart.  Over the next couple years I found local and nearby Cajun festivals to go to, where I could eat real, freshly prepared Cajun food and listen to wonderful zydeco along with all sorts of other great New Orleans music.

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I know a lot of people who’ve gone through a major breakup recently, or are just not digging being single and unattached, really hate Valentine’s Day.  There are even people who have significant others but find the holiday dumb or trite.

I am not one of those people.  I love Valentine’s Day and always have, but then I’m very much a hopeless romantic and a holiday dedicated to hopeless romanticism is right up my alley.  It’s one of my life’s greatest ironies that I’ve hardly ever been with a partner on Valentine’s Day who appreciated romantic gestures… but yet I still hold out hope.

For me, love is what living is all about.  When it comes to religious belief, I consider myself Agnostic, which I know some people consider a cowardly Atheist– someone too chicken to fully admit that there’s nothing after death.  Me, I’m pretty sure there’s gotta be something there, something spiritual that we don’t understand, something that gives us this spark of life and intelligence that’s more than just the end result of collisions of random molecules over a millennium.   I’ve always believed it, but having experienced the miracle of having children, of seeing them born and watching them grow, I’m convinced that it’s true.  However, I’m also pretty sure that none of the major religions have “got it right” either.  Thus, I’m truly Agnostic.

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awesome movie

I’ve seen the movie XX/XY in bits and pieces over the past year or two on cable movie stations, but it always comes on late so I tend to catch some fragment from the middle of the movie before going to bed. I’ve found those nuggets intriguing, so it was nice to finally get to see the whole thing recently.

The movie holds particular resonance to me since the main characters are portrayed as young adults in 1993, restless and confused about sex and love, and then flashes forward a decade into the future and how their past relationship impacts them. I was 25-26 back then, probably a few years older than their characters were, but I also had some pretty complicated and confusing romantic relationships that had a pretty big impact on me years later. I’m sure most people can relate to one degree or another

In the beginning of the movie Coles and Sam meet at a party after noticing each other earlier in the day on the subway. The party is right out of my past– in a city apartment, dark and sparsely furnished, party-goers drenched in an alcohol buzz, Sonic Youth playing in the background. Drunk guys and girls circle around each other, looking for the chemical attraction that could provide a night of sexual bliss and maybe more. The chameleon Mark Ruffalo plays Coles, darkly handsome, brooding and creative (he’s an animator), the kind of guy women fall head over heels for before they find out just how many hang-ups and flaws he has. Maya Stange plays Sam, Coles’ victim of the heart, and Kathleen Robertson plays Thea, Maya’s roommate. Sam and Coles are instantly drawn to one another, and yet Thea also has a connection with each of them that is deep and complicated and muddies the waters considerably.

Mark Ruffalo as Coles

I thought the acting was subtle and top-notch; none of the characters come across as trite or stereotypical, and yet each of them were recognizable in either yourself or someone you have known. I’ve like Ruffalo in nearly everything I’ve seen him in, and while he portrayed a truly flawed person, causing the most emotional collateral damage out of all the characters, you can’t help but feel for the guy, to hope and pray he gets his act together before he hurts someone else or himself further. A less nuanced performance would have flattened Coles into just another asshole, but Ruffalo and the writing/directing makes him much more complicated and thus, empathetic.

Maya Stange as Sam

Maya Stange’s Sam is quietly lovely and demur (especially alongside Thea’s flamboyancy), and I found her Sam to be incredibly appealing and sexy; in real life I would have totally fallen for her character and have been heartbroken by her self-destructive relationship with the asshole Coles. Sam is like a moth to a flame, as cheesy as that sounds, drawn helplessly into Coles’ web of heartbreak. I can’t help but wonder why Maya Stange isn’t in more films, I thought she did a great job and she’s quite pretty in a non-cookie-cutter way.

Kathleen Robertson as Thea

Kathleen Robertson’s Thea was quite interesting. Brash and overtly sexual, Robertson also adds a nice subtle layer of depth to Thea in what could have otherwise just been a stereotypical sidekick party girl. Early on, she’s kicking around with this shy and nerdy guy that’s obviously dazzled by this sexy wild child’s apparent interest, using him for company and such. Drunk off her ass, she ends up screwing somebody else on the floor right in front of this nerdy guy, and she later tries to apologize to him. When the guy, whom we (and likely she) expects to totally swallow her lame ass apology and continue on as they were, instead does something totally unexpected, we would guess a character like Thea to pout or get angry; however, Robertson’s Thea takes it, and we can see a range of emotions playing over her face as she realizes, not only that she totally deserved it, but all the other implications of that selfish and reckless moment the night before, and those emotions play across her face. It’s a Moment, one of life’s plot points that changes someone at a fundamental level.

See this movie if you haven't already!

It’s a testament to the writer and director that the end of the movie doesn’t tie things up in a bright and happy bow (ah, the freedom of indie films!). Love and sex can make humans do stupid things, and often times those stupid things resonate years and years down the road. Even so, the movie doesn’t leave you feeling desolate and empty like other films that explore similar themes. You’re left with a sense that life moves on, and you make of it what you can mistakes and all.

Ruffalo’s character sums it up well at one point, when describing why his movie-making career didn’t take off. He says that, in the beginning, you have all these great ideas and there are all these exciting possibilities for the film you envision. Yet, step by step, as you make choices those possibilities fall away until you’re left with all the decisions you’ve made to get to the place you are, and by implication all the possibilities that won’t come to pass because of those decisions end up haunting you. The excitement of possibility dwindles with each choice made until its all gone. It’s a metaphor for relationships, and reveals the hard emotional work it takes to build lasting relationships. Ruffalo’s character is distracted and crippled by all the roads not taken instead of being satisfied with the choices he made and the path he’s on.

I highly recommend this movie for anyone looking for a well-acted movie about the complexity of sex, love, and relationships. It’s well put-together and thought provoking, and the leads are all very easy on the eyes.  And please– let me know what you thought of it in the comments!

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