Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pucker Up

A bit of a follow-up post from the quirky kissing one from a bit ago.  I read an interesting article in Redbook the other day that got me thinking--yeah, bad sign.  It was entitled The Kissing Project and pointed out some interesting facts.  One that struck me the most was that kissing & hand-holding are usually the first to go in a LTR.  How depressing!  And upon reflection I do realize that kissing does dwindle--at least it did with my ex-husband--mebbe a smooch in the morning--mebbe days without a peck at all.  Most likely had to do with the fact that I didn't like him too much and the thought of swapping spit at that point disgusted me...

The article points out also how men & women respond to kissing--men to spread testosterone & for both generating the feel-good hormones of oxytocin & endorphins--oxytocin is that infamous "bonding" hormone.  So isn't it interesting that when a couple is "bonded"  they actually stop hormonal bonding when they stop kissing.  Couples seeking therapy are sometimes counseled to kiss more--apparently the research indicates that it can help.  And so the article lists a few experiments.  I looked at each one & compared to what Xing Fu & I do.  

First & foremost--we are pretty touchy-feely anyway and have no problem smooching a lot.  But the one "experiment" that stuck out was actually one that I had absolutely no need to even consider (the other ones, yeah, could be interesting), but this one suggested making over his kissing style.  The problem I have with that is if you are reading this as a married couple or even in a LTR, it would totally suck if you've been dealing with a bad kisser for this long & it hadn't occurred to you to fix this a waaay long time ago...(apparently some men love the tongue thrust & swirl to the point of dripping...eeewww).
Here's the link if anyone would like to read it themselves:

Pucker up!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Yep, gonna join the fray with all of the posts about being thankful--but I always think about where I was the year before--a reflection (Xing Fu says I'm just a sentimental sap--OK, guilty as charged!).  Last year's Thanksgiving was a brief one for me--I was recovering from hernia surgery.  I had had outpatient the day before & I was very hopped up on painkillers--my sis kindly picked me up & drove to my folks' but I didn't last too long--I really don't remember too much of last year except I was very happy that my sister was in town--this year not so lucky because she was home in Chicago, but it may have been the first year in a while that there wasn't something wrong with me.  

Enter this year--I am very grateful, thankful to the universe, Karma, what-have-you.  I have my wonderful BFFs (wine tasting ritual is still strong), my incredible son (working hard to get into a private school), my family--all the usual stuff.  But beyond that, I have found someone special that I want to share my life with and we're moving toward a year & it is just better & better.
Last weekend certainly reminded me of being thankful--the sailing season is essentially over & that in & of itself is depressing--but Xing Fu & I had an opportunity to race--the last of the fall series at Pirate's Cove--the last for the year--SIGH.  But even with the lighter winds(unusual for fall), it was just beautiful!  And I will miss it--Xing Fu & I will probably obsessively talk about sailing all winter to try to fill the void--but what else can we do?  Frostbite???  Ack!!  COLD!!  Then again, if we get desperate enough...

This Thanksgiving was certainly different--this year Xing Fu joined our family's ritual(is this a good thing?).   We had a wonderful meal at my uncle & aunt's house(his chestnut & oyster stuffing is to die for) & great conversation--nice to be together but I was still missing my sister.

Yesterday, we decided to try geocaching for the first time.  I tried to convince my son to come with us--but typical teenager that he is...
Xing Fu & I had been talking about it for a while.  I had downloaded an app to my phone & we set out to the closest one which was at the Quarry.  There are actually two there--the first one we were able to locate quite easily (found a euro & replaced it with a little kitty figurine, & then wrote on the log paper--"Thanksgiving 2010")--the second...not so easy.  First of all, it was a micro-cache & therefore could be about the size of a dime believe it or not & according to my compass GPS (accurate to 9 feet), we were right on top of it--we were very stubborn & therefore left very cold but empty-handed.  Xing Fu asked if this was our replacement activity for when we couldn't sail.  I don't think traipsing around in 2 feet of snow looking for treasures is much of a replacement activity but perhaps we'll try one per weekend, weather permitting.  

 We did have fun & Xing Fu thanked me for my creativity--coming up with another activity that we'd enjoy doing together.  We have a running joke--since we've been seeing one another, we have yet to have the standard "date night"--dinner & a movie--the challenge is to make it to a year before we admit defeat & cave.  We're damn close....


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Brighter Than Sunshine

Love will remain a mystery,
But give me your hand and you will see,
Your heart is keeping time with me.

What a feeling in my soul,
Love burns brighter than sunshine,
It's brighter than sunshine,
Let the rain fall, I don't care,
I'm yours and suddenly you're mine
Suddenly you're mine.

--From Brighter Than Sunshine by Aqualung

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Supply and Demand

Are Dating economics like Voodoo economics?

I've been thinking about my last post & the article that I reprinted.  It makes a lot of sense regarding the concept of economics & love.  It is a valid idea--particularly as a 40 year old single/divorced woman.  Lori Gottlieb has talked about it--it's not settling but it is looking for the diamonds in the rough perhaps.  What I mean here is that as single women age there is an increased supply but lower demand.  And as men age, the supply is lower because by their 40's "normal" men are either married, in a relationship, or players (read: jaded, cheater, the Bull, etc.).  
Or there's something wrong with them.  I also think that men do not like being single & seek to rectify that situation quickly if they find themselves that way, so catch 'em while you can or miss the opportunity.  Women stay single longer, either after divorce or having never been married.  I may piss off a lot of folks, & I certainly have little to back up my theories other than what I observe around me & the things I've been reading, but it is a hell of a lot tougher to be single & 40 plus.  Even the idea of cougars--a lot of times portrayed as the desperate, predatory 50 plus  And what this sometimes translates as, similarly to college full of women & less men, is men behaving badly & being allowed to act that way--because otherwise you don't have a boyfriend.  Yeah, kinda depressing, but reality can sometimes suck.  I can reflect a bit on my own experiences as well: on-line dating did have a great supply but as my history has shown, many of the supply were kind of marginal.  There were definitely some rough diamonds--Amsterdam, e.g., but overall it was very difficult.  And, yeah, the playa, too.  But, I think, trying not to be a total Debbie Downer, that if one keeps at it, and keeps the options open--my biggest advice has been to go do what you love--in my case, sailing.  Even if you don't meet someone, you're engaged in the day--your hobby.  And in my case, I met a very special person--it didn't happen all at once, but it did happen--and so far, so good & gets better everyday.  And now that I am in a wonderful, committed relationship, I have been getting a lot of questions from some of my 40-plus single girlfriends--they usually ask if it will happen to them.  My response is and will be that yes, absolutely--even if the demand is lower--hope trumps all--never give up--I am proof of that.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Freaks, Geeks, and Economists--from Slate

Found this article on Slate & found it quite interesting.  I was thinking about the implications of this study on men & women in their 40's.  I also began thinking about the findings and what Lori Gottlieb had to say about Mr. Good Enough.  If there is a shortage of eligible men in my age bracket, according to the study, it would appear as though women would lower their expectations of men (cheating, and other behaviors, e.g.) in order to find a match.  That thought is echoed in many places, I believe even in Sex & The City.  "And, as you move from age box to age box and the contestants get fewer and fewer, are your chances of finding your soulmate less and less?" Are soulmates a reality, or a torture device?So, depending on the population ratios of male to female, in my age bracket it just appears that we women get the short of the stick & are willing to make compromises as a result.  Wow.  That's a tough pill to swallow. 

I am still reading the original study--there's more to this paper than just the shortages, but that was the first thing that jumped out at me--and yes, economics does play a role here--supply & demand for sure!

Freaks, Geeks, and Economists
A study confirms every suspicion you ever had about high-school dating.
By Annie Lowrey

Posted Monday, Nov. 15, 2010, at 3:42 PM ET

 In the Darwinian world of high-school dating, freshman girls and senior boys have the highest chances of successfully partnering up. Senior girls (too picky!) and freshman boys (pond scum!) have the least.
These are truisms known to anyone who has watched 10 minutes of a teen movie or spent 10 minutes in a high school cafeteria. Now, however, social scientists have examined them exhaustively and empirically. And they have found that for the most part, they're accurate. So are some other old prom-era chestnuts: Teen boys are primarily—obsessively?—interested in sex, whereas girls, no matter how boy-crazy, tend to focus on relationships. Young men frequently fib about their sexual experience, whereas young women tend to be more truthful. Once a student has sex, it becomes less of an issue in future relationships.
A recently released paper—called "Terms of Endearment," but don't hold its too-cute title against it—looked at how and when high-school students choose mates and their preferences when searching for a partner. Economists Peter Arcidiacono and Marjorie McElroy of Duke and Andrew Beauchamp of Boston College examined an enormous trove of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, more commonly known as Add Health. The survey first queried adolescents, from seventh graders to high-school seniors, during the 1994-1995 school year and has followed up with them periodically.
The poll asked a broad range of questions about health and behavior—and the data set has become the basis of dozens of famed medical, sociological, and economic studies. (For instance, James Fowler of UC-San Diego recently used data from Add Health to find that there might be a genetic foundation for an individual's political beliefs.) For their paper, Arcidiacono, McElroy, and Beauchamp focused on the dating and sex lives of high schoolers—a subject much-analyzed by magazine editors and romantic-comedy screenwriters, but less familiar to social scientists.
What the researchers looked for is called, in academic-speak, "matching": the likelihood and factors that lead to any individual partnering up. (They looked only at opposite-sex relationships within the same school.) That's uncommon: Most academic studies on marriage and partner-matching use a technique called "assortative mating," which looks at pre-existing couples and defines the characteristics they do and do not have in common. (Humans tend to partner with mates that look and act like them. In real terms, that means couples with the same socioeconomic, racial, and religious background are common. In high-school terms, that means math nerds date math nerds, though members of the debate team may also qualify.)
Arcidiacono, McElroy, and Beauchamp used a "two-sided matching model," which looks at what an individual says he or she seeks in a partner as well as what he or she ends up getting. The idea is that men and women—jocks and dorks, freshman and seniors—base their search not only on the characteristics of their chosen partner, but also the expected terms of the relationship. For 30-year-olds, that might mean predicating a relationship on willingness to marry or have kids. For high schoolers, that might mean basing a relationship on, well, the bases.
Arcidiacono notes that there's a treasure trove of statistical data on the dating preferences, rather than pairings, of adults, due to dating sites like Relatively little such data exists for teenagers, who mostly work the old-fashioned meet-someone-in-homeroom way. But in examining the Add Health data, he and his colleagues found one classic economic tenet driving the byzantine high-school dating market: Scarcity determines value. Among freshman boys, what's rare, and therefore valuable, are freshman girls willing to have a relationship and, even better, willing to have sex. Among senior girls, what's valuable and scarce are boys willing to have a relationship without having sex.
The researchers open the paper by citing a New York Times article on dating at the University of North Carolina, where for every three women there are only two men. One coed argues that the gender imbalance has engendered a culture where men routinely cheat on their female partners. "That's a thing that girls let slide, because you have to," the student explains. "If you don't let it slide, you don't have a boyfriend." Dating, in other words, is a market like any other, and market power is determined by the abundance of resources.
A tamer version of that observation is borne out in the economists' work among high schoolers. Unsurprisingly, the majority of high school boys want to have sex (though only 47.6 percent of freshmen boys do). Unsurprisingly, the majority of high school girls do not (though 50.1 percent of senior girls do). Over the course of four years, the power shifts from the freshman girls who don't want to have sex to the senior boys who do.
The conclusion? Though high-school girls don't really want to have sex, many more of them end up doing so in order to "match" with a high-school boy. For them, a relationship at some point becomes more important than purity. Because of that phenomenon, in schools with more boys than girls, the girls hold more cards and have less sex. Where there are more girls, the male preference for sex tends to win out.
Of course, all this raises a question that has long bedeviled scores of Y.A. novelists, not to mention millions of teenagers: In high school, how exactly does one define a "relationship"? Rather sweetly, the Add Health study considers two a pair when they hold hands, kiss, and say "I love you." (It seems to me this knocks most high-school relationships out of consideration, but the criteria are the criteria.) And when does that happen? Boys and girls in the same grade account for about 42 percent of relationships, while older boys dating younger girls make up 40 percent of high-school relationships, and older girls dating younger boys make up 18 percent.
And who does the high-school dating system disadvantage most, statistically? Senior girls, at least according to the skew between stated sexual preferences and actual sexual activity. Though that will undoubtedly come as cold comfort to those legions of lonely 14-year-old boys.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shadow Days

Been out looking for a new school for my son as he is ending his French immersion program at the end of 8th grade.  Of course I could rely on the public schools to provide a fine education--the only catch is that our zoned high school is only now deciding to add a French program.  Really?  Really?  When so many kids have come from the magnet program to that high school for tons of years and they're only now getting to it?  Puleese!  And would I even want him to go to a newly minted language program after 9 years of French?  So, that leaves us with a couple options: I could ask for an exception to another high school out of zone for area of study or I begin to look for a private school.  We will look at the other high school as it also has a fantastic Chinese program that I would love my kid to get involved with (he's had two years of Japanese too) but most likely he will go to a private school in the area and as many folk know who are from the Baltimore area, there are some truly top-notch private schools.  Which brings me to the title:  

There is a lot to do to get him prepared for these schools--the application, the transcript request, recommendations from teachers, etc.  But also he has to take the ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam), and visit or shadow at the schools.  Today was his first one.  And oh boy, does this school want him!   Part of the application process is an interview with parents & I guess I really didn't need to sell my kid because the admissions director was falling all over himself telling me how he sees my kid at that school next year.  I am flattered of course & it is nice to know that if all else fails there's a great private school ready to embrace him with open arms, but I have another school in mind for him.  And yes, my son did love his visit & if that's where he ultimately wants to go, well then I'll be happy for him.  I did tell him to keep an open mind about the other 4 schools he's scheduled to visit--one this Friday.  

The parent interview thingy is stressful for me--I want to sell my kid but I also want to be realistic.  My BFF(J) feels that he'll have no problem getting into the school where her son goes--I hope so--the language program there has all that I'm looking for.  But ultimately it's my kid who has to score well on the ISEE, get the grades, & do well during his own interviews.  Plus, I really do want him to go where he feels best, even if it isn't my first choice.  So onward to the next....

Friday, November 12, 2010

10 Quirky Facts About Kissing

By Laura Schaefer

Think you know a thing or two about kissing? You probably do. But the facts below are so off the beaten path, we’ll bet you don’t know them all — and they could come in handy. Not only could they provide some steamy “Did you know…?” small talk, but they’ll help you see all the benefits a satisfying liplock can bring into your life. Happy smooching!

1. Two out of every three couples turn their heads to the right when they kiss.

2. A simple peck uses two muscles; a passionate kiss, on the other hand, uses all 34 muscles in your face. Now that’s a rigorous workout!

3. Like fingerprints or snowflakes, no two lip impressions are alike.

4. Kissing is good for what ails you. Research shows that the act of smooching improves our skin, helps circulation, prevents tooth decay, and can even relieve headaches.

5. The average person spends 336 hours of his or her life kissing.

6. Ever wonder how an “X” came to represent a kiss? Starting in the Middle Ages, people who could not read used an X as a signature. They would kiss this mark as a sign of sincerity. Eventually, the X came to represent the kiss itself.

7. Talk about a rush! Kissing releases the same neurotransmitters in our brains as parachuting, bungee jumping, and running. 
8. The average woman kisses 29 men before she gets married.

9. Men who kiss their partners before leaving for work average higher incomes than those who don’t.

10. The longest kiss in movie history was between Jane Wyman and Regis Tommey in the 1941 film, You’re in the Army Now. It lasted 3 minutes and 5 seconds. So if you’ve beaten that record, it’s time to celebrate!

Laura Schaefer is the author of Man with Farm Seeks Woman with Tractor: The Best and Worst Personal Ads of All Time. --From

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One Day

snow is outside but i'm by your fire
i feel all the love you'll bring
you gotta see how we can see this out
summer in mind and spring by your side
you'll see all the love we'll keep
gotta see that we couldn't be there

--from One Day by Sharon Van Etten 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wine and Ravens

Another great weekend for the record books.  It was busy in fits & starts & somewhat a domestic weekend but I guess that's what happens when the leaves fall, there's frost on the ground, sailing is essentially over for the season, & you feel like hibernating.  Saturday afternoon we went wine tasting--my BFFs joined us & we enjoyed conversation with all of the regulars; guess we're regulars too.  Had a very nice Cab from Darioush called the Caravan--I recommend it.  We'd planned to go out Saturday night but just couldn't muster the energy--not a loss though--quiet evening at home--simple but fun & believe it or not we were up until 2--as if we'd gone out--go figure.  We just got caught up watching Hedwig & the Angry Inch again--and discussing all the levels that strike us so deeply.  Hence, yesterday's post of the lyrics to Wicked Little Town.  We figured we'd watch it again in another 8 months--we seem to have a lot of magical thinking--and certainly the movie itself can lend itself to that.  I think it's good that we do--keeps our relationship special & reminds us of some of the things that happened to us early on--our synchronicity--that's what's great about this blog in some respects--we can look back on our "magical thinking" & revisit those first stirrings--helps to bring us back to that place that can get lost when everyday life gets in the way.  

Next day we had a brunch date with one of Xing Fu's co-workers and then tickets to the Ravens game. We had reservations at Corks, a great restaurant (My sis & I had been there once) in Federal Hill--super wine list--& I was thrilled to see that they carried many of the bottles I have in my own cellar--oh the prices!!  Nice little investment I've got--such a satisfying feeling that the wine cellar I've put together has in it some stellar pieces.  Anyway, after a couple very good Bloody Marys, a wonderful brunch, & some schmoozing with the chef & owner of Corks--we were off to the game.  We had some pretty amazing seats--lower level just at the 30 yard line.  Certainly was a great game to watch especially since we won. It was great company, not too cold, & Xing Fu & I just had a enjoyable time--just so easy--no drama--fun.  Simple & lasting.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wicked Little Town

You know, the sun is in your eyes
And hurricanes and rains
Blacken cloudy skies

You're running up and down that hill
You turn it on and off at will
There's nothing here to thrill or bring you down
And if you've got no other choice
You know you can follow my voice
Through the dark turns and noise
Of this wicked little town

Oh Lady Luck has led you here
And they're so twisted up
They'll twist you up, I fear

They're pious, hateful, and devout
You're turning tricks 'til you're turned out
The wind so cold it burns
You're burning out and blowing 'round
And if you've got no other choice
You know you can follow my voice
Through the dark turns and noise
Of this wicked little town

The fates are vicious and they're cruel
You learn too late you've used
Two wishes
Like a fool

And then you're someone you are not
And Junction City ain't the spot
Remember Mrs. Lot and when she turned around
And if you've got no other choice
You know you can follow my voice
Through the dark turns and noise
Of this wicked little town 

--From Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Would You Pass the Hedwig Test?

I love the musical/movie Hedwig & the Angry Inch--I know I've written about it a bunch.  I've seen both the musical (directed by my late friend Terry Long (I miss him!!)) and the movie quite a lot.  It is a bit twisted but it is certainly a love story.  But I think I've developed a test (at least, that's what Xing Fu called it way back when).  The test consists of whether or not a person can appreciate the movie & all of its quirks, & complexities; the humor & the pathos.  


Born a boy named Hansel whose life's dream is to find his other half, Hedwig reluctantly submits to a sex change operation in order to marry an American G. I. and get over the Berlin Wall to freedom. The operation is botched, leaving her with the aforementioned 'angry inch'. Finding herself high, dry and divorced in a Kansas trailer park, she pushes on to form a rock band and encounters a lover/protégé in young Tommy Gnosis, who eventually leaves her, steals her songs and becomes a huge rock star.

A bitter yet witty Hedwig with her pan-Slavic band, The Angry Inch, shadows Tommy's stadium tour, performing in near-empty restaurants for bewildered diners and a few die-hard fans. Through a collage of songs, flashbacks and animation, Hedwig tells her life story while on a tour of chain strip-mall seafood restaurants, trying to capitalize on her tabloid celebrity as the supposed ex-lover of famed rock star, Tommy Gnosis. Somewhere between the crab cakes and the cramped motel rooms, between the anguish and the acid-wash, she pursues her dreams and discovers the origin of love.

There are a lot of references to Aristophanes' speech in Plato's Symposium.  Most specifically in the song the Origin of Love.  My last post was an excerpt from that song.  The movie/musical is full of references to mythology, Christianity, etc., and how aspects of Hedwig's story mirror these ideas.  Additionally, many of the songs also reflect the concept of opposites & contradiction--like I said, there's a lot there.  Also a wonderful homage to glam rock, a la David Bowie androgyny.  I recommend it highly--if you can pass the test that is.

So, early on, I suggested to Xing Fu that we watch this film--in my mind, if a guy can appreciate all the levels, the humor & a little bit of discomfort (transgenders anyone?), then he & I will probably have a lot to talk about in the future.  Not that this is a prime indicator of the success of a possible relationship with a guy, but if he's open-minded, & gets it...well, he gets beyond my 50 first date screening pretty quickly.  Mebbe even closer to prince versus frog status....

I think I've created a monster.  Xing Fu absolutely got it--I knew he would, of course!   And he references the movie often as well.  Passed with flying colors!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Origin of Love

Last time I saw you
We had just split in two.
You were looking at me.
I was looking at you.
You had a way so familiar,
But I could not recognize,
Cause you had blood on your face;
I had blood in my eyes.
But I could swear by your expression
That the pain down in your soul
Was the same as the one down in mine.
That's the pain,
Cuts a straight line
Down through the heart;
We called it love.
So we wrapped our arms around each other,
Trying to shove ourselves back together.
We were making love,
Making love.
It was a cold dark evening,
Such a long time ago,
When by the mighty hand of Jove,
It was the sad story
How we became
Lonely two-legged creatures,
It's the story of
The origin of love.
That's the origin of love. 

--From Hedwig & The Angry Inch