I have had enough

I debated tonight about writing about any of this. As someone who has been through some shit, often times when I experience conflict, I retreat, I tell my friends that I love them but I’m going to be away for a few days. I’ve read that people who do this often had childhoods where they had to rely on themselves when experiencing trauma, and now as an adult you can only count on yourself to pull yourself out of the pit.

Tonight, I knew I was doing this. I decided to have a hot bath and watch a Brene Brown TED talk. She usually helps. Maybe it’s the equivalent of a quart of Ben and Jerry’s and Sleepless in Seattle for some people.

Here’s the thing. In the last few days, I’ve been through some shit. I vaguely explained it yesterday in a post. I needed to get the words down. That’s how I process. I’m a writer. That’s what I do. (See the Scorpion and the Frog parable). Even if I sting and seem to drown myself.

I decided to stop being vague.

Domestic violence has been something that has been woven into the threads of the human experience and it seems to only go one way. That’s why the majority of domestic violence calls involve the police showing up and dragging the man to jail. Even when stats show that it’s really about 50/50 if not 60/40 with women instigating domestic violence and emotional abuse. There’s a couple reasons for this. Men are generally larger and more powerful than their female partners and if it comes to assault, men do more damage. Also, if a man defends himself and pushes back, he is the abuser, because men are supposed to always be in control of their emotions. They are never supposed to show weakness. Even when their wife is climbing them like a spider monkey and shredding their face with their nails.

Trust me, I’ve been there.

Here’s where I overshare. Here’s where I catch a lot of shit for being emotional and not keeping my mouth shut, because men are just supposed to take it and shut up or else we are weak. Fuck that noise. I’m a writer.

So, yesterday, I was in the middle of a conversation with a friend who introduced me to the person I was in the Situationship with. To recap the end of the Situationship, things fell apart even though I tried my damnedest to fix them from my side. I wrote probably around 30 letters. Some love letters. Some just letters of encouragement. Call me old fashioned. I sent one letter which was filled with sticky notes with all sorts of nice sentiments she could put up on her bedroom mirror in case she needed a reminder of how special and important she was. I always told her to let me know if the letters were too much and she said she would (though she never did).

She moved on with someone else in December. I was devastated. I drove some friends nuts with it. I was emotional.

So, last night, a mutual friend told me that all those letters and all that effort would have driven her nuts. That I was smothering. It would have annoyed her, which is why I wound up driving this woman off. When I said, “I just wish she would have talked with me three months ago,” the friend told me that the woman had reached out to her. She had seen my blog post. She said I sounded hurt and wondered if she should reach out.

“Only if you want him to tell you to fuck off,” the friend had told her. Then she said, “If you want to be in an abusive relationship, by all means, reach out.”

She went as far as to say, “If someone wrote something like that about my daughter I would show up at their house with a shotgun.” Wow. You see, I have a daughter and two sons, and she doesn’t have any children. So I don’t think she knows what the fuck she’s talking about.

If that much shit talking was going on, I cannot imagine what else was being said.

In hearing this, I just don’t even know what to say. For 20 years, my ex wife has gone around telling everyone I am an abusive asshole. She has told this to the police, my kids, my kids’ schools, the courts, CPS. EVERYONE. And for my “friend” to tell someone who has had experience with domestic abuse herself, that pursuing anything with me will put her in an abusive relationship…hell, it’s no wonder I never heard from her again.

For this friend to tell me that I was the very thing that has cost me everything, a stigma I have continued to fight for 20 years and have it attached to me, gutted me. I’ve never been cut so deeply. I guess she can add that to her CV.

Why then was I “abusive” according to this friend? Because I wrote about my feelings? Because I said I couldn’t be in someone’s orbit anymore? That I had boundaries I needed to uphold? Because I said her behavior sucked? Okay then.

“He treats her well,” she told me about the woman’s new guy. Which I hope he does. But the implication was that I didn’t. After all, she just called me abusive.

As a man you are expected to withdraw, keep your mouth shut, and never say, “Hey, you know what? This is bullshit!” Calling someone out isn’t abuse. Diliberately poisoning a relationship for your own amusement on the other hand is unforgivable. And that “friend” took control of our narrative, even though the woman I cared about was on the way out.

The missing piece of the puzzle had fallen into place.

This “friend” called me abusive behind my back and then pretended to be my friend for another three months. That isn’t what friends do. All the while talking shit about the woman I lost to make me feel better. But I defended her, even though I knew she was no longer in my life. I guess that was “abusive” too.

When I said, “This whole mess has divided us. You don’t even like her. And I hoped you would have had my fuckin’ back,” she accused me of swearing at her and hung up on me.

Remember the bit where I said “I am a writer?” Yeah. I’m not great at parties. If you can’t act right, don’t make friends with writers. We will describe you. (Sometimes we say “Fuck” too). But I’m supposed to keep it a secret. You know, sorta like how…abuse works?

So, I’ve been stewing about this for the last 24 hours.

I watched the Brene Brown TED Talk, and I realized something. I’ve been doing the work. I was vulnerable. I put myself out there 100%, and it didn’t work out. I felt a lot of shame and frustration in that, and shame thrives in a vacuum of self-isolation and lack of empathy. It is when we find empathy that the shame cannot survive. I’ve been doing the work, and in this “friend” shutting everything down with any discussion with the woman I was trying to hold onto, she flooded the whole mess with shame and fear. She triangulated and made it about her, even though I’m sure the rest of us were hurting a lot. And I have to say, she wasn’t any friend to the other woman either.

I blocked her. She’s not my friend anymore. Probably never was. And she would definitely criticise me voicing this here. But you know what? It’s my story to tell too. And though I’m sure she lurks this page, that’s not my problem. Yes, I burned the bridge. She would have told me she wouldn’t have done it this way (because what she did was morally superior). Like I’m a child who has to be told the “right” way to do it. Guess what. I don’t care how someone else would have done it. I don’t live by committee approval anymore.

No, she would have just snuck around and told someone I cared deeply for that I was abusive. See how that is so much better than burning a bridge with a blog post? I just hope she doesn’t show up with a shotgun, or Will Smith, since physical violence is already on the table.

Just remember:

There is nothing more dangerous
than a man with nothing to lose
Nothing to live for
and nothing to prove.

Dead Can Dance, “I Can See Clearly”

So the point of this… rant. It’s something that was getting in my way. A block, because I cared more about being liked than telling the truth. I have been getting in my own way for a long time, keeping things behind closed doors when I should be saying, “NO!” I had more loyalty to this person than I had to myself, and that is bullshit. I got into the arena. I dragged my sword in the sand, bleeding, weary, and trying to put one foot in front of the other, daring greatly. And the final blow was a woman who was jealous that someone would try that hard for someone else.

I’ve seen a pattern lately, and this is important. The things in my life that no longer work with my values seem to just be falling away from me. It’s like the dream can no longer be denied. It has momentum now. And though you might not agree with what I have made “public” they are my words, and my experiences. There are other things you can be reading if you don’t like what you see here. The world is messy and lonely. Maybe you’ve been through this yourself. You aren’t alone.

A Reblog of What Makes Women Irresistible

 Clinton A. Harris  Dating and relationships  June 7, 2019 3 Minutes

A friend of mine posted an insightful look at dating and relationships and it got me to thinking about a lot of things.

Here goes.

So, today, I was on the YouTubes.  As many YouTubes rabbit hole days go, I started off by watching a clip a friend on FaceBook posted.  Which lead to other clips.  Long story short, I came across a clip about Craig Ferguson and a few with Norm MacDonald.  These guys are like woman-candy.  I’ll say this right now: it’s because they are funny.

The list

I thought the list Michelle had found of body language for women was hilarious. In all fairness, a woman with a headcold putting on a scrunchie out to be the sexiest thing around!

  • Flipping our hair
  • Sneezing
  • Biting our lips
  • Moving our hips
  • Touching them gently
  • Wearing a ponytail

What does this mean?!

I think the list scratches the surface on a few things.  I’ve seen shows and read about all of these tells before.  Some are indicative of physical health or trying to get someone to notice things (flipping your hair draws attention to the health of a woman’s hair, biting her lips gets a man to notice her lips, wearing a pony tail gets a man to notice the nape of her neck) which are health compatibility/sexual tells.  Gently touching someone breaks through that personal space barrier.  It’s a bold move, innocent in a conversation, yet extremely effective when breaking through communication boundaries, or instigating more touching.

The sneezing thing, as funny as it is, does a few things.  It gets immediate attention (especially if a woman has a “cute” or unusual sneeze), it might start a conversation (especially if the man says “bless you” or “gesundheit” which indicates compassion), and it might trigger a nurturing response in some men who see that kind of vulnerability as catnip.   See “white knight syndrome.”

In my opinion some of these tells are not all that appealing.  The lip biting, the hip moving, even the unsolicited touching.  In some ways they are pretty aggressive and a little predatory.  This works for some women.  In subtle ways, it is getting past the personal space boundary and creating intimacy.

What else works?

Dancing.  Immediately, you are entering each other’s personal space.  You are breaching typical touching which isn’t normally accepted in social venues other than dancing.  You are moving together, which emulates mirroring.

I know men who refuse to dance and they are truly missing out on…life, pretty much.

Mirroring is a real thing.  It’s a subconscious tell when you find yourself talking to someone and matching their body posturing.  Dancing is a cheap knockoff to this, but it works.  I’m not talking about bumping and grinding to “Get Low” at the club. I’m talking about real dancing.

You have to match each other’s moves to dance together.  Instant mirroring and synchronization.  You also break that personal space boundary.  In slower dancing, the man’s hand at the woman’s lower back, or even just below her shoulder blades.  Fingers and palms, touching on the other side. You are already holding hands.

You might even lean in and talk to each other.  Your breath in each other’s ears.  Extremely intimate.  The nervousness while dancing usually translates to smiling.  Most women love to be spun too while dancing. There is an element of control and danger all at once.  And most of all trust.  Don’t drop your partner during a dip either.  They won’t return your phone calls.

If you want to be irresistible, smiling is a good way to go.  A genuine smile too, not a beauty queen grin.  Laughter at tripping or missing steps is also good. But don’t laugh and giggle at everything.  Crazy people do that.

List for what makes women irresistible:

  • Be confident but not cocky
  • Smile and laugh, but only at things that are actually funny
  • Be comfortable in your own skin.
  • Be kind
  • Be attentive (this is an ego thing.  All men want to be interesting) but not overly aggressive.  Men do not want a girl who worships everything they do. Who really does?
  • Be honest
  • Be open (“mysterious” only gets you laid). Vulnerability!
  • Don’t have orbits of several men. Pick only one at a time. Otherwise, you are in Fuckboi Territory.
  • Don’t be crazy
  • Do not be afraid to show your intelligence.  It is a myth that men are intimidated by this.
  • Have opinions! Share your thoughts on things!
  • Don’t put other women down to bring yourself up
  • Be able to tell at least one dirty joke (but don’t go full-innuendo, or else you’ll just have a buddy who wants to watch Fletch with you)
  • Know at least one line from a “guy” movie (Full Metal Jacket, The Big Lebowski, etc.)
  • Stay off your @#$%^ phone.
  • Show up
  • Have fun

He doesn’t care about your makeup, your perfume, your shoes, your hair, who you used to date, how awful all men are, how much money you make, how much money your ex makes, or you telling him how great you are in bed. Save that conversation for your girlfriends over wine and Meg Ryan movies.

Just be yourself.

Next is my list for what makes men irresistible.

A Reblog of “What Makes Men Irresistible?”

 Clinton A. Harris  Dating and relationshipsIdentityred flagswriting  June 7, 2019 4 Minutes

Since I betrayed my brethren by listing all of the things that make women irresistible to men, I’m going to go another step and reveal what makes men irresistible to women.

All women lament the extinction of “nice guys”.  First of all, men should take note.  If you want to be like the douchebags on YouTube, the pickup artists, the guys with a “system” where “negging” and harassing a woman into going home with you is your bag, this isn’t the place for you.  Spread your herpes someplace else.  Maybe there’s a two-fer-one sale on Axe Body Spray.

If you want to prove women wrong about nice guys, here’s the first step: Be a nice guy.  Remember Patrick Swayze in Road House?  Be nice.  Remember Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice? If you don’t know who this is, do your homework.  Your girl sure as hell knows who he is.

How about Han Solo?  Yes, same character. Mr. Darcy in Space with a little Heathcliffe thrown in for good measure.  Be Han.

Here’s the list for how exactly to make yourself irresistible to women.

  • You don’t meet nice girls in bars or dating sites
  • Don’t use pickup lines
  • Use only obviously shitty pickup lines.  This will establish your sense of humor.
  • Be funny.  Women can gauge many things from a man’s sense of humor.  How quick, witty, intelligent, articulate, mindful, empathetic, socially aware/naughty you are to name a few.  You don’t need to go waving your MENSA card in front of her face, and you don’t need to feel inferior if she happens to be smarter than you.  Humor is a good meet-in-the-middle moment.
  • Smile.  It puts people at ease.  Unless you have a creepy smile.  Then stop doing that.
  • If you can’t be funny, have a washboard stomach.  If you have a washboard stomach, see yourself out of this list.  You’ll be fine.
  • Be honest.
  • Don’t brag. And don’t get cocky! (Thanks, Han Solo, for your wisdom).
  • Listen to her.  She is another human being, and deserves your attention and respect.
  • Don’t be crude.  Or racist.  Or use the C-word. Jeez, what the hell is wrong with you?
  • Don’t stare at her breasts.
  • Don’t quote Reservoir Dogs.  Not even if “Stuck in the Middle with You” comes on. In fact, you’ve never heard of Reservoir Dogs. Mention how you are thinking of getting a rescue animal from a shelter. Is that the same thing?
  • Be polite.  Don’t make any sexual advances on her. You just met this girl.  She’s a nice girl! What if this were your sister?  Okay, maybe your sister is a slut, but so what if she is?  Are you going to shame her?  Honestly, she does more harm to herself with all those one night stands and wonders why she is still alone. Still, you wouldn’t want someone doing that to your sister!  Don’t be that guy!
  • Dance with her.  Even if you suck.  She will appreciate the effort.
  • Ask her for her number/email/facebook. Thank her for a wonderful time.
  • Walk away.
  • Don’t call her.
  • Move out of town.
  • Go to work on a whaling ship for a few years.
  • Grow your beard out
  • Wear cable knit sweaters
  • Write poetry about this girl you danced with and you stupidly left behind.
  • Throw the poems into the sea.
  • Be melancholic.
  • Come back to dry land and adopt a foundling.  If an orphan cannot be secured, go to an animal shelter and rescue a dog.
  • Go to therapy
  • Learn to speak two languages. Fluently. At least one should be Italian.
  • Become a Master Chef
  • Live in Europe with a slightly older woman who teaches you guitar during an ambiguously non-romantic relationship until she tells you to leave, because there was always someone else behind your eyes and love is for the young at heart. Now go! Go to her!
  • Search the world for her, but fall into a depression because she is gone and no one knows what became of her.
  • Watch your orphan graduate from school.  Cry because they talk about you in their Salutatorian speech.  About how much they love you, and how even though you weren’t their birth father, you were the best dad in the world.
  • Bury your dog.  The best friend you ever had.
  • Experience personal growth
  • On the day of your foundling child’s wedding, stand up for them, or give them away.
  • Write a book about your experiences.
  • While walking down a street one day, you recognize someone.  Your eyes meet.  It’s her! She smiles a little and looks away.  You stop and look at her, your heart racing.  You manage to say the only thing that comes to mind as you look into those eyes for the first time in years. Those eyes that haven’t changed at all.
  • “Hey.”
  • She says, “Hey.  How have you been?”
  • “Good.  And you?”
  • “Good.  You know, it’s funny.  I was just thinking about you the other day.”
  • “Me too,” you say. And it’s true because you never stopped thinking about her. “Well, what I mean is I was thinking about you too.” You laugh.  She smiles.
  • “Oh yeah?”
  • “Yeah.  I was wondering what you were doing these days.  And about how much I miss you.”
  • “I’m on my way to meet a friend right now–“
  • “Well, don’t let me interrupt,” you say. “It was good to see you.”
  • She quickly adds, “Maybe we can catch up sometime?  Over coffee?”

Forget all the advice above.

Just be yourself.  If you aren’t a complete narcissistic dick bag, the right person will come into your life. Set good boundaries.  Don’t heap your baggage onto her, but be open if you can. Fight your own battles, but thank her for her support when she gives it. Be honest.  Make her laugh more than you ever made her cry (it does happen, just make sure those tears are never because of your anger, and never from pettiness). Be all in. Love her.  And just be kind.