Intimacy and the Stumbling Christian Male (Adult Content)


Not too long ago, I was chatting with my gentleman caller – code name “Stockholm”- about some of our various online dating experiences. Stockholm and I are of type. Middle aged, educated, we take our faith seriously, and are interested in making a difference in the world around us. Stockholm and I have zero interest in the ‘hookup culture’ that seems to permeate the dating world today.

Throwbacks that we are, Stockholm and I share an  interest in romance, in finding another relationship that’s marked by kindness, cherishing one’s partner, and putting the needs of a future partner first.

In the several months that I have been exploring online relationship development, I’ve found that there continues to be a profound disassociation between what people will do or say online, and what will actually occur in the physical world.

Consider intimacy, Visitors.

I’ve long operated on the assumption that humans of all ages crave intimacy. We desire to be known, we want someone close to hear us, to listen to our innermost desires or fears,  to actually view our hopes and dreams in as much vivid color as we see our own.

It is incredible to me how quickly the desire for intimacy  gets transmogrified into a desire for sex.

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trans·mog·ri·fy
transˈmäɡrəˌfī,tranz-/

verb

humorous
past tense: transmogrified; past participle: transmogrified
  1. transform, especially in a surprising or magical manner.
    “the cucumbers that were ultimately transmogrified into pickles”
    imgres.png
Anyone who has wandered into the world of online dating knows the drill. Share some basic information, upload some pictures, answer questions that make a stab at intimacy. I get where these dating app developers are going, they are addressing the very desire we are talking about here.
On OKCupid, I have long felt the belle of the ball. I get DOZENS of overtures weekly, sometimes daily. I skim through them, apply some screening criteria, and pick and choose the ones who appear promising. Ones who appear to be solid Christian men, educated and interested in the same things as I. I would respond to overtures, engage in some online back-and-forth chit chat, and generally see where things went.
To date, gentle Visitors, I have been the recipient of FOUR pictures of these gentlemen’s genitalia.
Sit with that for a minute, Visitors, and then you can crack up.
FOUR DICK PICS! FOUR!
These are the SCREENED MEN, Visitors!

The first one, frankly, I was tempted to share with you here. I mean, the opportunities for hilarious mockery were endless. The man in question was not fit, and had taken pains to find a horizontal full length mirror. Wearing nothing but a scowl, he, his limp member  and substantial gut were captured for the world to view, and he sent this treasure to me.

GAG!

The others were more anonymous, which led to some puzzled head-scratching on my part. Ok, so this one was large. This one, a disconcerting shade of purple, this one was most definitely photoshopped to an unappealing length.

WHAT on earth is going on? I ranted about this to Stockholm, and he assured me he found my profile to be articulate, erudite and even funny. Thus, I can’t say I was attracting the trash factor. WHAT on earth made these men think it was OK to do something so demeaning?

( I got this hilarious groaner from the political Stockholm shortly after this discussion-

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The friendly Dick Nixon. 

“This is the only Dick Pic you’ll get from me!”  Facepalm!)

As I wandered further in the dating wilds, I screened and met many other interesting men. One, a fit, accomplished leader in the business world, who simply could not stop talking about his accomplishments. They were considerable! He was affluent, well-liked in his world, and had a heart for Philippine orphans. Looking for wife number three, “Ed” was so caught up in his own desire for intimacy, he had no room for mine. I simply could not get a word in edgewise with Ed regarding my own aspirations.

“Dave” was another. Recently divorced, Dave was a COO of a large manufacturing firm. A solid Christian, Dave and I had many discussions about very intimate things. Love, loss, politics, church life, the state of the world, all sorts of closely-held topics. Dave was a world class athlete, well-travelled and a genuine desire to follow Jesus anywhere. Imagine my surprise when I discovered Dave was simultaneously cultivating similar intimacy with other women across the country. (Women, I can feel your eye-rolls from here. Selfish to the extreme. )

The tales of middle-aged, self-absorbed, needy Christ-professing men went on, and on, and on.

It’s enough to wear me out. What to conclude from all of this, Visitors? Well, first off, the desire for human connection is only natural. Really, it is. I get it! I am convinced God made us this way. Very, very few of us are made to be the ‘lone wolves’ of society, we simply need each other.

But at what cost? Honestly, all laughter aside, it disgusted me that these men who seemed appealing thought so little of me that I’d be interested in such pictures. It is dismaying to see that the “Daves” and “Eds” of the world could be so completely self-absorbed that the needs of a partner would simply not be part of the equation. No space for my dreams, no space for my interests or desires.

I can only conclude that the divorced population  of Christian men has some inner work to do. Trust me on this one, gentlemen, grief is hard. You are not ok.  “Getting back up on the horse”- that is to say dating immediately after your divorce- is a simply terrible idea.

Your divorce has left you scarred, just like my widowhood has left me. What can you learn? How can you be a better partner?  Christian men especially, how can you authentically, honestly put the needs of someone else before your own? Things have changed, middle age is different than your twenties, you are different, and believe me, no woman of character wants to see your dick pic.

You know what though? This kind of work rocks. I’ve wrestled with these questions since Chris died. Thank heaven for good counsel, great friends, and the forgiveness of those who love me. We can make progress, we can figure this out, we can find like minded friends. We’ve got this.

I think  I might even ask Stockholm to lunch.

Much love,

Victoria

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Digital Laziness And Risky Reality- With Single Dad Laughing


So, Visitors, ever notice how rapidly we are losing our humanity behind our screens?

texting-2

This worries me, on many levels.

In the last column, I detailed to you my excursion into online relationship building. Online hilarity aside, there is something happening here that is essentially broken. In the single week I have been exploring, I have had several texting relationships with interesting men.

I am rapidly losing patience with the online world, so I am developing my own internal standards.  I won’t text with an interesting man for more than three days, for example. Honestly, for me? That’s it. I am all over meeting actual real-life members of the opposite gender who interest me. In real life.

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What’s more distracting? The lovely woman or the distracting screen? 

It’s been about a week, and about half a dozen of these virtual conversations. So many of these guys are good at online conversation! Witty, entertaining, and interesting as all get out. After day 3, I propose a meeting, and the response rate drops dramatically. Interesting. Texting is so incredibly easy, and so distracting from the real, actual humans on each side.

Here’s what I wonder about screentime, Visitors- what seems to be broken here is a sense of relational work, and I just can’t stand it. Three days is more than enough to decide if you want to have coffee with me, just go ahead and pull the trigger.

Of course, it’s more complicated than that, it always is. See, men in my age demographic have been beaten up. Usually, there’s at least one divorce in the story, and if there are children in the picture, some assorted heartbreak there.

(I’ve discovered I’ve raised intolerant children in that area. I detailed one of these custody-battle stories with my oldest daughter, her response? “Geez Mom, you’d think these guys would have thought this through before having children with someone they really don’t like.” Hmm, some truth to that.)

I get it, men, and it’s ok. You’ve had it rough. You really have, my heart goes out to you. Here’s a suggestion, let’s not overlay that on me, please? Don’t manufacture some sort of grief or pressure that you’ve been carrying, and pretend it’s coming from me.  I’m safe. Stop texting me. Rally some courage. Let’s FaceTime and arrange a coffee date. Real communication is tough, I get it, but you’ve got this, I’m sure.

What’s becoming interesting to me, is that there seems to be very little difference between the men who claim to be Christians, and men who are flat-out prowling for dates.

One of the prowlers propositioned me. It was actually hilarious, and he pulled it off. He was part of the younger set, not quite 40. We were merrily texting away, him as eager as a puppy.

“….We could meet for coffee at the park, and then if we liked each other, we could go back to my apartment?”

Uh, after two days of texting? Pass.

One of the Christians simply couldn’t figure it out.

“Hey Angel, did you sleep well? What’s going on at your job? How are things?  Text me back when you can.”

Gracious! Delightful man, you have a phone in your pocket. Zip the texting, please.

See, Visitors, actual, real-time, face to face communication is risky. Even in some cases, difficult. Check this out-

Stutttering humor

Stuttering humor. It’s OK! I laughed the loudest! 

You guys know me, I stutter. You know the reason why, a minor brain injury as a toddler. I just about DIED laughing when I saw this on Dan Pearce’s website, Single Dad Laughing. (danoah.com)

Dan is just an amazing blogger and author. I love this guy. Dan has battled obesity, the demise of two marriages, the challenge of adoptive and single parenting, and crippling depression. He’s our tribe, he gets it. Life sucks. It’s just terrible. Awful things happen, and something is waiting around the corner to ambush you, even now.

On the other hand, life is frigging awesome, especially face to face. The love of friends (like you,dear Visitors)  is a gift! The face of a child is hopeful! There really is a God who cares! Whole Foods has cookies and cream ice cream!

The stuttering thing is emblematic of all this, Visitors. See, unlike you fluent speakers, I take nothing about speaking for granted. It’s hella work! My parents were good, I landed in speech therapy around age 6, and stayed there until, oh, about two weeks ago.

I’ve been trained in all of these tiresome fluency techniques, I’m aware of breathe control, articulator use, word choice, soft contacts, blah, blah, blah. It’s like playing the piano. If I practice, I’m pretty good. If you distract me, or I distract myself, things might get a little slow.

Speaking IRL, (In Real Life, for those of us over 45) is a flipping challenge for me.  If you muster up the courage to put down the screen and actually speak to me in the same room, I might stutter. Or take a little longer to say something. Guess what? You get to show me what an awesome real-life person you are! This is how it works-

Me: “Well hi! It’s nice to see you! Shall we go to starbucks and grab a t-t-t”

You: “Table?”

Me: “Yes, table.  Hey, look, that was sweet, but I really can’t stand people finishing my sentences.”

You: “Oh! Ha! Sorry!”

Me: “No worries. ”

See? That’s not so tough. Road bump crossed,  imaginary crisis averted, Victoria awards you mad courage and respect points, and a nice coffee date likely follows.

Gracious. Well, we could go on about this for hours. I guess, before I lose all hope, I’d like to ask you guys to come alongside. Put down the &$#% screen. Have tech-free dinners, tech-free weekends. If you’re married, DO NOT take that thing to bed.

If you’re single, like me? Send me one, last text.

“Starbucks, 5:30. Looking forward to it!”

Much love,

 

Victoria

 

 

 

 

 

Online Dating and the Digital Language of Love


I have news for you, Visitors. I’ve started online dating, and it is a blast.

Nothing for OKCupid?

Nothing for OKCupid?

Now, most of you know me pretty well. I’m a committed Christian, and in my life, I take all comers. I have “normal” friends, single friends, married friends, adulterous friends, gay friends, a dear person who is an authentic transsexual,  deviant friends with every fanged addiction imaginable, and families in every single configuration you can possibly come up with. It’s very enriching.

(I model this take-all-comers attitude in my school as well.  When we admit people, we have a very directed interview, where we explain that we come from a conservative Biblical worldview. Of course, we cover the usual things-curricula, regulations, teacher qualfications, etc.  We also explain, clearly, that your preschooler will get Christmas as Jesus’ birth, Easter as his resurrection, daily prayers, Bible stories, all the things a good, solid, Christian school should provide. Choose EA or not, but know what will happen. )

I had heard about OK Cupid among some of my friends, so I decided to open an account and see what the commotion was all about. I figured there is nothing inherently unBiblical about meeting people like this,  it piqued my curiosity.

Well. Those of you familiar with meeting people this way know the drill. Fill out a profile about yourself, mark some interests, set your limits, and off you go. Gracious! One hour and 253 “likes” later (no exaggeration) I started sifting through all this information.

Good heavens alive, Visitors, what an education! I put down my professional reading for the night, and started reviewing data points.

Data point #1 : Hi! I’m Rich. Ever consider dating a younger man? Your profile looked great! (Rich, 32, teaches English at a public school in Denver)

Data point #2: Hello Beautiful!  I’m Ed. You have a calm “vibe” and I’d like to get to know you better! ( Ed, an engineer at Martin Marietta)

Data point #3: Hello, Gorgeous! I’m  Mitch! (Followed by this groaner) God was surely showing off when he made you! Care to chat? (Senior petroleum engineer at a local oil company)

I quickly activated my ‘predator sensor’ and wrote off the creepy idiots asking for intrusive information. Surprisingly, this was, oh, perhaps 20% of the total. Fewer than I would have thought.  I then wrote off the ones with obvious health problems, for reasons you can guess.

People like Rich, I shelved for further attention, more on that later. “Mitch” and “Ed” types (not their real names, of course) garnered my attention. Why would professional, educated men resort to something like online dating? Are we desperate, boys? (Ooops, pots calling kettles black, came to mind)

So, I gave some thought to this. See, in my case, meeting like-minded, Christian, male buddies is nigh on impossible. I work with a team of delightful women. Middle aged (mostly),  white, devoted-to-their jobs women. All of you know that my dad stroked a while ago, so I gladly take him to HIS church, full of gentle grey heads. I go to grad school with hard-boiled (usually married) cops or fresh-faced twentyish grad students.

Is it too much to ask to hang out  with someone my own age? HA! Not on OK Cupid. This whole thing is just fascinating. As I continued to peruse the data points, I discovered my vocabulary to be lacking. How about these newly-coined words-

Sapiosexual- Someone who views intelligence as the most attractive characteristic. (OK, that’s a pretty cool attribute)

Demisexual- Someone who can only be sexually attracted to someone with whom they have developed a strong emotional bond.  (What? Isn’t it supposed to be like that?)

Omnisexual-(synonym to Pansexual)- Someone who is attracted sexually to both genders.  (Oh, brother, how convenient.)

This exercise in vocabulary development led to a whole new world of ‘blue’ vocabulary that I can’t possibly relate to you, Visitors, without censoring this essay into nonsense.

At any rate, I whittled down this tidal wave of interest into a few likely candidates, so far.

“Rich” piqued my interest immensely. What!  He’s 32! Mommy issues? I won’t lie about my age as a matter of pride. I could be your mother, boy!

Seriously!

Seriously!

What followed was an utterly charming conversation with an athletic young man who actually likes introducing middle schoolers to good literature. Turns out he was at a recent 21 Pilots concert the same night I was, and had just as much fun. This light and fluffy guy actually likes the focus older women possess. Hilarious!

“Ed” was genuine, if a bit of a downer. A parent of adult kids, Ed is four years divorced, and striking out on his own, relationally. Fair enough.

“Mitch” is Armenian, and speaks more graciously than he writes, thank heaven. He’s an attendee of an Armenian Orthodox church, and invited me to a service. I think I shall go!

All of this simply cracks me up, Visitors. The communication skills required in this kind of relationship-building are immense. We only get words until we talk on the phone, and even that is incomplete. Nothing, absolutely nothing, beats in-person communication, and that’s coming next. I’ll keep you posted.

With great hilarity,

Victoria

PS- I love you all, and I can anticipate the cautions a mile off. Remember, I am safety-minded to the point of paranoia. Meeting in crowded, well-lit spots? Yep! Telling someone where I am and when I’ll be back? Got it covered! Applying all of my newly-acquired background check skills to these guys? You betcha!

🙂 V

On “Star Trek”, Cumberbabes and Other Cultural Gifts


“Cumberbabe”- Urban Dictionary.

Fans of the glorious actor, Benedict Cumberbatch, originally under the name “Cumberb*****”. The title of the fangirls was changed under the suggestion of Benedict himself, and so it became Cumberbabe.

It is simply killing me not to spoil “Star Trek Into Darkness” for you. I can’t even tell you how much I want word-bleed all over the page with reference after reference for all of us die-hard Trekkies out there. (And yes, beloved son of mine, it is “Trekkie”. Say “Trekker” again, and there may be blood.)

The Glorious Benedict Cumberbatch! Movie Idol for the Brainy!

Be still, my fan-grrling heart. Just look at that face!

Be still, my fan-grrling heart. Just look at that face!

My daughters and I have been swooning over the beautiful Benedict since we discovered him on the BBC version of Sherlock Holmes. 

Benedict has actually been a steadily working actor for over a dozen years, but “Sherlock” was his breakout role, and now “Star Trek” is breaking records everywhere. 

The girls and I are going to see it again tonight. The first time I saw it, I overheard a number of people in my vintage (that is to say 40plus) whispering about the sheer number of references director JJ Abrams gives us die hards to talk about. 

It’s just hilarious. Ever notice how much cultural energy is to be found in shared storytelling, especially if the storytelling is good? 

Even the corny ones like  “Good Night, John Boy,” (The Waltons) “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!”(Lost in Space), or “Who loves ya, baby?” (Kojak) or “Mom always liked you best!” (Smothers Brothers) , “Yada, yada, yada’ (Seinfeld) Even “Jane, you ignorant slut!” ( Saturday Night Live) (Heheh, sorry about that one, I just loved Dan Akroyd as a kid).  

All of these completely dorky lines wormed their way into our cultural psyche to produce something that’s actually pretty funny. Remember calling out your friends’ stupidity with “Where’s the Beef?” Or, and this really dates me, acting pleased with a thumbs up and a long “Aaaay” like the Fonz? Oh, just the visual is hilarious. 

Well, I can’t resist. So, in the spirit of a little fun, I’m going to give you Trekkies who haven’t seen the movie yet, a little scavenger hunt. If you over-think these things, you might spoil the movie, but I doubt it unless you are a complete Star Trek nerd like me. So when you go, look for these things. 

Carol Marcus

What’s with the tribble? 

The things you can do with a fire hose! 

Christine Chapel

“I’m a doctor not a ________”

Lastly, those magnificent photon torpedos. 

Get thee to a theater, get a large popcorn and settle in. It’s a blast. Those of you who have been to a Star Con, leave me a note and tell me what I missed. You know who you are. 

Much love, 

Victoria

 

 

 

 

 

Bird Goes On Vacation


Greetings from a high country Starbucks, fellow Visitors. I’d like to take a minute and introduce you to some of the people who have enriched my world tremendously over the past year. Conventional wisdom says to keep these things short, apparently you people don’t have the patience to actually read so much, with images bombarding you from every venue.

I have faith in you though. I think, somewhere, we are still a nation of readers, just getting buried under Facebook, handheld movies, and High Def GPS devices in our cars.

Meet Catherine Mallicoat. Prior to last Thursday, Catherine and I had never laid eyes on each other. She was my very first “like” when I started victoriasvisits, and I took an interest in this little whippet from the beginning.

We struck up quite a correspondence, and through some similar life choices, came to lean on each other quite a bit. Catherine does the world an enormous public service writing about the raw reality of losing loved ones to methamphetamine. This scourge has raced through her family, decimating relationships and finances, and is simply no respecter of persons.
Catherine has an iron constitution, not a speck of judgement for the idiotic choices I often make, and is absolutely hilarious. I’d encourage you to go back to the beginning, and read this one from the start. Much love, Victoria

Everyone Has A Story...

Like probably all the other bloggers in the world, I intend to write a year round-up piece

tomorrow. It’s probably going to be my masterpiece because let’s face it — This year was packed full of drama for me. Luckily, I’m finally able to find some things to laugh about despite the upheaval my life experienced. It would have really blown if the year had ended in October, right?

One of the things that is helping me end the year on a better note is that I got to take a vacation this week to Colorado. In a move that is completely unlike me, I decided to take up a fellow blogger’s invitation to come visit her in her home. I have a lot of friends I’ve developed through blogging, and I am blessed by invitations to visit occasionally. Up until now, I’ve politely declined because in all honesty, I’ve…

View original post 1,504 more words

Sabbatical in a Teacup: Day Five. Shakespearean Insults, George Clooney and Fabulous Chocolate.


This column is rated PG 13 for profanity, hilarity and the overuse of chocolate. Skip this one if mere words bother you. 

NOBODY could coin an insult like Shakespeare. A lifetime ago I used to teach English to twelve year olds. When I started hearing a lot of lame profanity among Christian school children, I knew it was time for Shakespeare.

Men from children nothing differ.
Much Ado About Nothing (5.1.36)

Heaven truly knows that thou art false as hell.
Othello (4.2.50)

The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes.
Coriolanus (5.4.18)

A knot you are of damned bloodsuckers.
Richard III (3.3.6)

You are strangely troublesome.
Henry VIII (5.3.112)

You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!
Julius Caesar (1.1.36)

HA! And on and on. You knew the man meant business when insulting his enemies. For some reason, when I taught English, the insult of choice usually had something to do with the words ‘cocksucker’ or ‘dickface.’ Tiresome.  So we’d go through some of the plays with the more virulent characters, and get points for using the most creative insults. Makes me giggle just to remember.

Brits are just hilarious in their use of words. We are having so much fun this trip simply trying to figure out British English. What with it being the ‘Mother Tongue’ and all that, one would think we Yanks would have an easier time of it.

But no. We were looking for a certain ‘tube stop’ the other day and found a sign that said ‘Subway’ pointing to some stairs. Miraculous! We walked down the stairs, under the boulevard, and came up on the other side, laughing our heads off. What happened to the subway? Did the Lierheimers make it disappear? Nope, “Sub” = under “Way”  = street or boulevard. It was a tunnel to get under the busy street. Duh.

The “Tube Stop” was half a block down! And all the apologizing. “Sorry!” if the clerk is a microsecond late, “Sorry!” to mean “I didn’t mean to block your view of the rate sheet, “Sorry!” to mean “Excuse me, can you give me directions to the nearest chemist?” HA!

And such wordiness. My friends kid me about my wordiness, they have never been tourists in Britain. We went to Madam Tussaud’s today, and the woman behind the counter was as painstaking as she could be, instructing me that my family was simply too big to qualify for the family rate, and did I want to buy a packet of tickets to get a discount to other places like the Eye, or the Tower of London.

NO, please, just Madam Tussaud’s. Please. That’s all.

So in we went, and I made a great number of new friends. HAHA! Come and meet them.

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Oh, my, what a completely dorky tourist thing to do. But how fun. And you know, the science of building these things is really pretty exact! All of the sitting, measuring and modeling. You know the Queen granted seven sittings to Madam Tussaud’s for her figures? And Prince Harry is actually pretty tall? And at five foot seven, (really!) I tower over Tom Cruise? And Michael Jackson, God bless him, looked like he could step off the stage?

Gracious, what fun. How nice to set aside these pressing life questions. Now how about the puddings? To a Brit, a ‘pudding’ can mean anything from a custardy dessert to a steamed pie with (ewww…) kidneys in it. Kidney pudding, anyone?

So, and I am cracking myself up just to write this, I’d like you to see some ‘puddings’ incarnated in chocolate from a lovely shop on Leicester street.

So there you have it. Hilarious words from an appreciative ear. Words mean something, words are a blast, words are everything. We’re off to bed, and on to the next adventure in the morning. Much love to you all,

Victoria

HAHA! Oh, my. Can someone please explain to this Yank why this is NOT an INSULT? HAHA. Gracious!

 

Eaton Mess? Really?

 

The Wounded Soldier List


Faith is an avid novelist, and Rachael is becoming one. This month is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. It’s a contest sponsored by Amazon, where these two gals pledge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. Yep, just about all of it is dreck, except Water for Elephants was a NaNoWriMo book, and that author is on a Caribbean Island somewhere basking in his movie right money.

Anyway, during this merry month, Faith introduced me to the phrase “Wounded Soldier”, meaning a column, project or other written thing that just doesn’t quite cut it. I have moved “The Great Pretenders, part one and Deux,” to the list. They both got some laughs, and made a point, and that’s great.

But I reread the balloon analogy, and ok, it’s just plain goofy. Also, the general tone of the piece was more than a little bitter, and bitterness is an easy trap for someone like me to fall into. No, thank you very much. I have to keep the poster though. I just love that penguin, and can picture her expression before she gets eaten by the polar bear.

demotivational posters - BALLS

 

Hee hee, and much love.

Victoria