Into the lion’s den…

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Had to pick up some stuff from someone. This someone was at the core of the troubles that got me to start this blog. (For some really angsty stuff, read the first couple of posts.) I survived intact. Lots to say, no time to say it. Probably a good thing.

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Yes Sweat!

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I overheard one woman asking the woman next to her to excuse her “grossness” during my Wednesday TurboKick class because she had just come in from running. To be fair, from her point of view, she probably did feel a bit gross and self-conscious because she’d been running outside in a Texas July afternoon and her shirt was absolutely soaked. I, on the other hand, had the urge to tap her on the shoulder and let her know exactly what I think of a sweaty woman.

There are few things more appealing to me than a woman who is not afraid to sweat from exertion. She may not feel attractive at the time, but I often find myself saying nothing for fear of crossing the lines of civility. I think a woman who sweats during exercising is all-around more attractive than those who don’t exercise for fear of “looking bad”. The reasons range from the cosmetic to the I’m-trying-to-keep-this-post-PG.

In terms of cosmetics, I find women who regularly work up a sweat have better complexion whether they’re sweating or not. There’s no doubt of the cleansing effect sweat has on the skin. Nor is there any doubt about the effects of improved circulation on skin tone.

More than it’s long- and short-term effects on appearance, I enjoying watching women working up a sweat because I can see more about her than when she has her “face” on. The personalities that come out usually far overshadow the appearance. Among other things, a woman who is not afraid to sweat is also not afraid to have fun, to enjoy whatever activity she’s doing to the utmost.

One of the reasons I’ve been told some women are afraid to sweat is the smell. The only time sweat “smells” is if it’s left to dry on the skin too long. Is it totally scentless? Not usually. But the scent it carries is rarely unpleasant. In fact, sweating is probably the most efficient way of spreading pheromones, the body chemical that induces attraction in others. To me, fresh sweat has a raw but pleasant scent that’s hard to find anywhere else.

Sweating is healthy, natural, and often desirable. Give me a choice between a perfect 10 in a dress and anyone else sweating in a gym or exercise class and I’ll always prefer the sweating woman. So women, don’t apologize for sweating…especially when exercising. It’s almost like saying “I’m sorry for making myself a better person.”

Guy Time Again: A Farewell

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It was a short stay, but one of the women I mentioned in a previous blog is leaving. This is one of the few women who alternately made my mouth dry and left me salivating. In all honesty, I can’t say I blame her for leaving, jobs in the ______ industry are hard to find. She’s going to where she found a job. *shakes a fist at the ______ industry in Austin*

The irony about this situation is that we finally got a chance to sit down and just talk about stuff. It happened by accident. Wednesdays are my endurance nights: a dance class, a TurboKick class, and choir, all back to back. I’d picked up my intensity in dance, unfortunately, so did the instructor. By the end of class, I was feeling light headed. I went through the warm-up and stretching for the TurboKick class and decided leaving would be preferable to fainting in a few minutes.

I showered and went to Central Market to grab a couple of oranges and some of their juice blends. Then I went early to choir. I expected no one to be there, so I grabbed the spiral I always keep around for writing blog drafts, poems, and stories in. I turned around to go inside, and there she was, walking toward the building with a bag containing her dinner. This was about half an hour before the doors opened. So we found a table, ate our respective dinners and talked.

Actually dating her would have been a long shot, but she’s a comfortable person to be around. I will, personally, miss her. Her presence will also be missed by our choir. She will be around for the finish of our season, but then she’s off. It will probably be the subject of one of my candle-lighting thoughts.

The “Benefits” of Situational Awareness

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Folks, contrary to what your big brother or prima dona drama queen friends taught you, driving is a COOPERATIVE activity. Especially in the rain.

–Something I posted on my Facebook page

A while ago I posted a few articles I wrote on self-defense. Situational awareness plays a large part in keeping yourself safe, especially in everyday activities like driving. Seeing someone edging closer to the dashed lane stripes can give you an important clue they’re about to jump into your lane…even if they don’t have a turn signal on. (I always laugh cynically when they jump into my lane THEN activate their turn signal for about four blinks before turning it off again. Yes. I know you wanted to switch lanes. Thank you.) It’s also critical to knowing where your escape points are. (i.e. where other vehicles aren’t)

Today it rained. Sometimes hard, sometimes soft, but nearly constantly. So when out driving, I put a little extra distance in front of me and keep a sharper eye on those around me. It was during one of my area scans that I noticed it: the guy behind me had a very…odd…look on his face. The fact I could see his expression told me he was too close to begin with, and I wondered if he was paying attention. Keeping that in mind, I put checking my rear view mirror on my “check frequently” list.

Over the next mile or so, his expression changed occasionally, but he never looked anywhere but in front of him. No checking the mirrors. No checking the lanes. I could almost see the tension in his neck. If he was that caught up in something, or zoned out…. I put even more distance between me and the car in front, in case the guy behind me needed more reaction time.

Just before my exit, I checked one last time. In the second or so it took me to be sure of what I was seeing, a woman sat up.

Really? Talk about slippery surfaces. And in traffic.

“It’s doctor’s orders…really.”

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“I need a girlfriend! It’s doctor’s orders.” Well. That’s what I told my friends. To some extent, it’s true. What he actually said was that I needed a person or people I could be intimate with. And by “intimate” he meant “real”, “completely open”, “absolute trust”, “totally honest”. I knew what he meant when he said it, and that sexuality and attraction do not necessarily play a part, and he knew I knew what he meant. Which is why he said it that way. Nevertheless, it kind of tickles my sense of humor that I’ve been “prescribed” a girlfriend.

My dating “resume” is pretty short. I’ve only had three serious relationships: one that lasted a couple years in high school, one that ended in several years of marriage before divorce, and recently one that lasted about a year. Suffice it to say, I’ve never been “in practice” at this dating thing. So how does one approach a familiar obstacle that one has very little idea about how to get past it?

Well, there are divorce recovery groups. There are various meetups (through Meetup.com). There are singles groups through church. I’ve tried the meetups. They’re great for doing activity centered get-togethers. Not so great for pure socialization. Of course the problem may be which ones I attend. One of the issues may simply be that most of my interests are not as mainstream as I believed. I’ve signed up for a divorce support meetup. I’ve signed up for a single’s meetup through my church. In fact, today arrived early at the meeting location at Mozart’s coffee shop at Lake Austin. I’ve been writing this blog entry as I wait for people to show up, taking the occasional break to watch the turtles swimming around, poking their heads above water to demand food. We’ll see how it goes.

Transition is Difficult

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I didn’t actually get a chance to light a candle today. The choir provided the candle meditation music (“Cantique” by Faurre). But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t going through the motions in my mind during the reading. Without the candle and flame directly in front of me, I had to work at the words which usually come easily. This week’s meditation is at the end of the post.

On this day of transition, I’m spending time thinking about the effort it takes to move from one state to another. Today is Easter, the day of the ultimate transition in Christianity. And yet transition is with us every day. The forming or breaking of a relationship. A drastic change of mood. A switch of careers. Transitions bring pain, and yet there is promise of a new life with each. Keep in mind, I am not talking about the simple changes that life forces upon us. I’m talking about alterations in the very foundations of character and personality.

The day my last relationship ended, I died. The period of transition was hard to work through, and yet looking back at it, I do not regret it. Change hurts, but the penalty for not changing is the death of spirit. With every transition, two forces fight within me: the transformative force wars with the impulse of stubbornness. Thus far, with every major transition, I have been able to change and accept it…though rarely without a struggle. It is that struggle that causes a transition to be so painful.

And yet after the transition, there is a sense of completeness. Not happiness or contentedness, but a feeling that something has definitively ended for good or ill. Whether that ending is positive or not, it provides a solid foundation on which to continue life. When the ending is negative, it is often extremely difficult to begin building again. It is tempting to keep that chapter open and keep writing, hoping for a happier ending. But in doing so, the foundation for continuing life remains in flux, and the impossibility of building a future is overwhelming.

Transition can be broken into three broad periods: the initiating event, the interregnum, and the resolution. Sometimes the initiating event can be predicted, sometimes it can’t. I could predict that my last relationship would end (though the timing of the actual event was a bit awkward), but the request for a divorce several years ago came as a complete surprise. I’m not sure which is worse. I don’t think I really care. In both cases, it launched a period of wailing and gnashing of teeth, which eventually led to a period of self evaluation and exploration as I sought to reestablish my foundation. In the case of my divorce, the resolution occurred after years of the interregnum; but when it came, it came suddenly, like the breaking of a fever. After the more recent relationship, the interregnum was much shorter, but the resolution came slowly, like the healing of a broken body.

I look around and see people in all three periods of transition. Given my personal history and propensities, it is no surprise that it is very easy for me to see which people are still reeling from the initiating event, or are still on the downswing of the interregnum. It takes a little more effort for me to see when people begin the upswing, but there are fewer pleasures more poignant than being with someone (or even helping them) as they reach their resolution.

I saw one person in church today who appeared to have just gone through an initiating event. I won’t use exact words, but when I asked if this person was okay, s/he thanked me for my concern but couldn’t yet say that s/he couldn’t talk about it, much less actually talk. Given what I know about this person, I have a couple of guesses I think are pretty close. In any case, my thoughts, my love, and my prayers go out to this person in transition.

Today’s Meditation:

Let this beacon burn bright.
Light it be a guiding light
To those who seek.
Let it be a shelter
For those without peace.

Let this beacon burn bright.
Let it give warmth
To those in the cold.
Let it give strength
For climbing from the valley.

Let this beacon burn bright.
Let it promise hope
To those in despair.
Let it promise life
To dying souls.

I’m A Guy

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Yes. I am a guy. (Sorry gals and over-sensitive men, this is going to be a “guy” post. I won’t be insulted if you decide to skip it.) Those who know me at least have a clue as to my political and ideological leanings. And yet, I am a guy. There are certain reactions that are hard-wired into me, and I suspect would cause LOTS of problems if I were to try to remove those reactions.

There are times, when in the course of living, a man meets certain examples of the species “woman”. People talk about “stunning beauty” and how rare it is, but I beg to differ. I am frequently stunned by the beauty I see around me. I sometimes feel like a baby in a backpack carrier, trying to memorize who and what I see. It is not the stunning beauties that really affect me, though, it is the women who literally start me salivating that causes problems. In my life, I’ve encountered very few women who start me salivating just by seeing them. In the past five years, there have only been 3 that come to mind. The first I met in 2010. The breaking off of that relationship threw me into a tail spin that I’m only now starting to truly recover from. The second two I’ve met within the past week and a half to two weeks.

The amusing, or perhaps the appropriate word is “coincidental”, thing is that in each case, they appeared shortly after I started writing stories with erotic themes, whether it was romantica, pure erotica, or eroti-drama. It kind of makes me wonder what would happen if I ever get any of them published. My question: is this a case of life imitating art? or art informing life? Either way, possibilities seem to be opening all around me.

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