An imaginary conversation about bubbles

It is really hard to take a picture of a hand holding a bubble wand sticking out of a car window on the freeway.

I suppose it…wait, a what now?

A hand. Holding a bubble wand.

Going down the freeway.

Yeah. Blowing bubbles.

Uh. Bubbles?

Out of the passenger window of a black SUV.

While you were in your car.

Right behind their car.

And you were driving.

Who else would have been driving?

And so your first reaction was to take a picture. While driving.

No. My first reaction was to stop crying and laugh because the bubbles were so fucking adorable. Taking a picture was my second reaction.

I don’t even know what to say now.

I know. It was pretty cute. You should have seen all the bubbles.

No, I mean about the crying. Or the in car photography.

Oh, I cry on the way home every night. You should be more worried about the in car photography. And don’t sigh at me.

You make that challenging.

Anyway,  traffic started to move so I immediately put my phone down.

Immediately? No you didn’t.

Nearly immediately?


Well, anyway. I put my phone down.

What’s the deal with the crying?

Nothing. Just the usual  thing where 2018 thinks it will be able to kill me if it just keeps trying, and it still hasn’t given up after 3 months. So I cry.


Work. Personal. It all sucks and I’m in limbo on every side.

Your friendship side seems to be working fine.

True story, but even then…two of my most favorite people are beset with the same sort of shit that I am.

Did you really just use the word beset in conversation?

Maybe. You should pay closer attention.

I’m sure you’re right. So why do you cry in the car?

Because I have to act like I have my act together all day at work. Usually, that is not difficult…but this month I just don’t have it in me to keep it together all day at work and NOT cry on the way home. It’s all I can do to get to the car sometimes.

I guess there are worse ways to handle stress.

Well, with the whole fat camp thing I can’t handle it the usual way.


No, potato chips.

Really? Not booze? I thought you were a bourbon fan. And IPA.

I am, but not when I feel like I really need a drink. With my family history, when I feel like I really need a drink I know I can’t have one. And I hate to drink alone. I’m a purely social drinker. Get me in a happy situation with all of my friends and a good glass filler and I’ll drink all day.  Not when I’m stressed out.

Good to know.

My drug of choice is the chip. Or mashed potatoes. I’m not sure it’s much healthier to eat my stress than it would be to drink.

Maybe not.

Anyway. I’ve been mostly able to handle the stress without turning to carbs. Kind of a miracle. The most stressful 3 months of my life, and I’ve lost 18 pounds.

Well done.

It’s probably not due to my healthy diet. The way this year is going, it’ll probably turn out to be a terminal illness or something. Which I will be diagnosed with just after losing my job and insurance.

Ordinarily I would tease you about being overly dramatic, but this has been a horrible year. Maybe you should get a checkup.

Is it a yes or a no?

At happy hour the other night, one of the guys mentioned something that resonated with me.  He was referring to a concept I’d read about several years ago and forgotten. He said that if someone can’t say “fuck yes,” then it’s a no. Later that night, I saw a post that talked about the concept and linked to the post where I’d originally seen the idea, the one that Mark Manson wrote. Two mentions in one night was a sign from the Universe that it was something I should ponder..

The concept makes a lot of sense to me, especially in the context of consent. I mean, if I am not excited about the idea about kissing someone or if he isn’t excited about kissing me…then why bother kissing at all? If one of the people involved in a transaction is pulling back or slapping your hand away, that’s definitely not a “fuck yes” to whatever you are doing.  Or as the article says, if you aren’t both leaping into bed yelling “fuck yes” then you probably shouldn’t be leaping into bed at all.

If consent isn’t enthusiastic, mutual and clear, it’s a no. Simple.

It’s the same with relationships. You need the enthusiasm and emotion about a new beginning in order to have a shot. We shouldn’t be starting from a place of “meh, I guess she might be OK.” There has to be something about the other person that generates a “fuck yes” on some level.

I would rather be alone than be with someone who is not 100% into me. I would rather be alone than with someone who I can’t be 100% into. Sure, every relationship has ups and downs. Sometimes you are 80% and he is 120%. Sometimes it swings the other way–but there needs to be a core of fuck yes to the relationship in order for it to last. And you have to be on the same page about what you’re “fuck yes” about. If he thinks I’d be an awesome friend and I think he’d be the perfect father of my children then it won’t work.

On the other hand, I do wonder if sometimes we write people off too soon. Especially in this time of snap judgements made on online dating sites, or based on only superficial criteria. Some of us have a long list of dating demands, instead of being open to the other person showing us what’s awesome about them. Physical attraction can be a sneaky bastard, but maybe if we were more open we’d struggle less finding a partner. People seem very disposable when you can just swipe left to make them disappear.

Or maybe if we gave people more time, we’d just get bogged down with the wrong people. I’ve been married 87 times, what do I know?***

But what if no one does it for you? If no one ever makes you feel that fuck yes feeling about them? Or conversely, what if you don’t ever generate a fuck yes from other people? I’m sure most of us know people on both sides if that equation.

The piece recommends looking inward in that case and working to figure out if there’s something about you that needs to be tuned up. If you’re too picky, no one will ever ring your bells. If you are too negative/judgmental/hostile then people will have a hard time responding to you. Sometimes you are the problem, or at least part of it. Sometimes the issue is with the person in the mirror, and that person has some work to do. Sometimes I wonder about that given how many times people forget they’ve met me!

The concept could have uses outside of sex and relationships, but it might be a little less clear then.

Work? Well. Maybe. It would be awesome for work to be a fuck yes. There are people who’ve made that happen for themselves. But there are also financial realities. I’m not so sure that I need more than “mostly yes” for work to be functional.

And maybe to some extent you can make what you have a fuck yes with a positive attitude.

I’ve certainly been guilty of not listening to my own inner voice telling me someone is not right for me. I have talked myself into countless dates and relationships because someone was nice or funny or smart, thinking that if I didn’t get the fuck yes feeling then it was because I am broken. Not because that nice, funny man was just not the right fit for me. Or that the one I was crazy about who kept dropping the ball would figure it out someday.

I’m still not entirely convinced about that. Which does say something about me that I am not entirely happy about.

Work still in progress. Always.

***For the record, I have not actually been married 87 times. Not even close.

Getting a reference

When I was single in the late 90’s, I tried online dating for the first time. It was sometimes challenging to determine if someone was actually interested. At one point, I was talking about that with someone I had not actually met yet. We decided that what we really needed was some sort of date review form to fill out.

This would include such important elements as initial chemistry, how much fun was had and so on. The form would be submitted after the initial date. If either party gave a poor review, the two parties would be blocked from each other and a note sent to each indicating that the reviews indicated that further dating would not be a good idea.

Obviously, that idea was fraught with disaster so we decided to do it on our first date. Our intention was to come up with some sort of paper form, but we never got around to it. We did it verbally instead when we were in the awkward standing around near our cars trying to decide if there should be kissing part of the date.

“Hey! What about the review?” He asked.

“I had a great time, but I’m not sure we’re a match made in heaven.” I said.

“You’re cute, and I had fun too. Let’s do it again sometime.” He replied.

And I got in my car and went home unkissed.

It flamed out, as wildly inappropriate relationships between  poly guys and not poly girls do, particularly when the guy is 10 years younger and also a flake. But we had a great time.

And no, that was not the only time I came to an unusual pre-date agreement with someone over the phone. There was also a time when a potential date and I  agreed to kiss before the date even started to keep us both from possibly wasting time. He was funny and smart… Note to self to follow up and see if he is still single.

It got me thinking about the idea of dating references. Not that long ago, families and friends would be the source of all dates, so you had a sort of built in source of information about people. Their parents vouched for him with your parents. Your mutual friends thought you might hit it off. There was less risk. Not of the relationship not working, but of actual disasters such as rape or other shady behavior. Chemistry can’t really be vouched for unfortunately.

Maybe we need some form of references for dating. Past romantic partners, friends and family could score someone and vouch for brains, wit, good character, General fun quotient and so on.

If nothing else, it would give me something else to obsess about.

I wonder what my references would be like? You’d all say good things about me, right? You wouldn’t bring up how I am a total nut job who enjoys overthinking everything as a hobby, right?