Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall… Who am I?

Look into the mirror. Take a good hard look at yourself. Who are you? How many of us can actually find one specific answer to this question? “Well”, you’d say, “I am <insert personal name here>, of course!”. But what does that mean? That is merely an identification word your parents have decided to give you. What makes you be you? “I am a teacher/doctor/lawyer/apple salesman/freelancer”, you might say. Or perhaps “I am a mother/daughter”, “I am thoughtful/impulsive/aggressive/peace loving”, “I am the best of the best!” It is amazing how many answers people can give to this question but without truly touching the point, if indeed there is a point to touch.

The nature of being is extremely malleable, and all those above are mere lively roles that cover an essence that should be common to them all. To shed more light on this, the lawyer goes to work and puts on her lawyer role and simply does the job brilliantly! Then she goes home to her husband and kids, lets aside the vicious predator lawyer role and switches to the wife and mother. We call this adequately adapting to the multitude of situations and circumstances life puts us through. But what is common to all these? What defines us, what binds all these roles together so that we remain one person, instead of a multitude of unrelated dissociations?

When we place a label on somebody (and I know we’ve been through this topic before, from an extremely basic point of view), do we label the person or the way the person reacts to the circumstance he or she is in? We talk so much about people, about the actions of individuals, but it is not so often that we put all these stories into context. We may find that labeling a person in circumstance A will prove itself completely useless once we find ourselves in circumstance B. There are two ways this error may unfold:

               1. Initial negative label contrasting following positive one/s.

For example, you have an acquaintance who, through his or her actions, has proven him/herself to be irresponsible, unpredictable and even chaotic with how they carry on with their lives. Yet in spite of this negative(ish) label, it comes to you as an unexpected surprise when this person helps you out in a moment of extreme need, without asking for anything in return, thus showing you a certain side that you have not seen in them before. Do you re-label?

2.           2. Initial positive label contrasting with newly found negative one/s.

A short example in this case: first discovering a person through their talent (and we all know how the first impression always leaves a mark), being impressed by it, appreciating it to such an extent that we convincingly label the person as pure genius! Later on, in social circumstances, you realize that the same person shows no sign of moral value towards you or others, something that heavily contradicts anything that would be labeled as “Pure Genius”. So now, you either do some re-labeling, or follow a sad path towards suffering because the person did not meet the expectation of the initial label you stuck to his/her forehead.
We must keep in mind that each label we create generates a list of expectations. If these expectations are being met, they reinforce the initial label. If not, they create confusion and can even lead to personal frustration. One must either reconsider the label or add a new one. But how does that work? How can conflicting labels coexist stuck on the same person? They can, if properly put into context. To work on the examples above:

1.       Number one can be a complete mess in his or her ‘love life’ or superficial social decisions, but a real friend when specifically needed.

2.       Number two might be pure genius in his/her field of artistic creation, but immoral and/or unreliable in other social situations.

I took the liberty of underlining the exact circumstances to which the labels of the two examples apply. Thus, even though conflicting, they can coexist in a person, because each labels one role and each role is active in a specific circumstance. But wouldn’t this be like labeling different people within one person?” you might ask. Very much so, this is the precise reason why we must focus our attention on discovering what makes all these roles activate within a certain one individual. If we manage to answer that about ourselves, we will manage, or at least be a lot closer, to knowing who we really are.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


There is a custom in the Balkan area according to which every beginning of spring we wear a lace made out of entwining white and red thread. Some wear it on their wrists, like I noticed with my Bulgarian friends and some wear it together with a small decorative object (used to be a small coin or even a button, now the sky is the limit in terms of variety) on their coat’s lapel, as we do in Romania. Some wear it just for a few days and others until the weather gets better. In some areas people wear them until they see the first stork. In others, until they see a blossomed tree and when they take it off, they tie it around a branch.
Even if it became a commercial holiday, in which people just buy and gift these tiny decorative objects, Martisor is already a cultural reflex for Romanians. People make these gifts in order to show appreciation, but it’s such a wide spread practice that women who don’t receive any will wonder why. But as a ritual that marks the beginning of spring, Martisor is also associated with practices of cleansing, of welcoming the new season with a clean house and holiday clothing. In most areas men give Martisor to women and children to the elderly. But there are regions, such as the Eastern part of the country where girls make gifts to boys and they receive gifts on Women’s Day, on the 8th of March.
Initially, the lace was white and black because black was not associated to death and suffering. In later customs, black had been replaced by red, as a symbol of youth, of beauty and vitality. Red is also associated to spring as a new beginning, so the Martisor is a symbol of the succession of the two seasons – one coming and the other one going. Back in the days, mothers used to make Martisor for their children. Later, women and young girls started wearing them as well, as ethnographers explain. Some women wore it as a necklace and men would decorate their hats with them. People even tied them to their doors and roofs so that the house is protected from evil spirits.
There are various superstitions about Martisor. Some say that wearing it protects children from disease and young girls are protected from the blinding rays of the spring sun. The two threads had to be entwined because this action kept the bad luck away. Another superstition is about the “old ladies”. Between the 1st and 9th of March people can pick a day and depending on the weather that day, you can predict how your whole year will be.
This superstition comes from a story that has some historical roots. It says that Dochia, the sister of Decebal (the king of the united tribes that lived on the Romanian territory before the Roman invasion) was courted by a Roman soldier and she didn’t want to marry him. When her brother committed suicide (rather than see his country in the hands of the enemy) she ran away to the mountains. It was the beginning of spring and the weather was very unstable. She tried to disguise herself as a shepherdess and she had lots of sheep skin coats on to keep her warm. But as she was moving upwards on the mountain with her sheep, the weather kept changing and she would take the coats off one by one. At some point, when she was left with barely any clothes on, it suddenly got very cold and she froze. She remained knows as “the old lady Dochia”, although the legend says she was young and beautiful. The first days of spring are named after this legend, to emphasize the instability of the weather during that week.
I was planning for a while now to write a little post about these Eastern European customs, especially because I know we have a few foreign readers and maybe they would enjoy an insight into our cultural practices. As for my fellow citizens, please feel free to complete or correct my accounts. And may all of you have a happy fulfilling spring!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Why this year I love Valentine’s Day

A couple of nights ago one of my friends told me she hated Valentine’s Day because it’s a foreign holiday and it has nothing to do with our national traditions. Also, she said she will only celebrate our own holiday, called Dragobete. This is celebrated usually on the 24th of February and is an equivalent to tomorrow’s American holiday. Boys and girls used to pick the first flowers of spring and then sit around fires on top of the nearby hills. At lunch time, the girls would run away and the boys who liked them would try to catch them. If the girl also likes the boy, she can kiss him in front of everybody, this sometimes meaning they are engaged for an year or even longer. Unmarried girls would gather the last snow and use the water for beauty rituals and other spells throughout the year and the older people would avoid killing any animals this day so as not to spoil their mating season. The girls who would not meet any boy this day was “cursed” not to be loved by anyone that whole year. It’s a lovely holiday and I adore all the symbolism it implies. I will celebrate it as well, even if maybe only for the rituals. But I don’t feel that this tradition is any closer to my heart than the other one, since in my family’s village nobody knows much about it and they have never celebrated it. I remember many magical holidays and rituals my grandmother would perform, she even had her own spells and ways of understanding nature and reading a calendar. But none of those she taught me about was a celebration of love.
I’ve usually been single on Valentine’s Day, I had this really interesting habit of breaking up with people just before. At least I saved them some expenses. But I always spent it by myself, daydreaming and eating chocolate. I felt free and full of hope, like the whole world is laid down at my feet and I considered it to be a day I cherished all the love I had received and all the love I was going to enjoy. So I never felt lonely or sad on Valentine’s Day. Just pissed, because I used to condemn the commercial feel the whole holiday was infected by. But now I know they would always find something to sell and a reason for people to buy it. So why not enjoy the new decorations kicking out the snow flakes, why not welcome all the warm colors that invite spring in? I’m really happy when I see a lot of people carrying flowers and being more attentive and tender than usual, even in public places. When people say they can love each other all year, I couldn’t agree more. But they should be encouraged to publicly love each other just a few days a year. So I pardon public displays of affection on love related holidays. It beats the hell out of winter’s ass and it brings a feel of hope all over.
So this year I’ll be having a pretty uneventful Valentine’s as well. But I’ll be happy for every couple I see on the street, I’ll buy myself flowers and treat myself to a nice evening of music and maybe wine. Because this year I have something special to celebrate. For the first time in a really long time I feel there are some great people out there and that maybe I’m ready to give it a shot. I caught myself thinking one night that good things don’t happen to me. And just switching that mindset has made me realize I want those nice things and I think I’m finally able to enjoy them. So this year I believe and that’s a wonderful reason to celebrate. Chances are the road is long, but I enjoy walking and I have to thank my dirty Cupid for pushing me forward. Just the thrill of giving it a try was enough to get me to ask myself the right questions.
Valentine’s Day is not just a holiday the corporations use to creep into our lives. It’s a good reminder to invest a little more in our romantic lives, a boost to define where we are in this respect and whether we want to sit on the side or dive heads in. After all that time when the more Valentine’s approached, the better I knew I wanted out, I’m in a great place now and I finally believe it can only get better from here. So you people enjoy being in love every day and know that tomorrow I will not be engrossed by any of you groping and slurping on each other’s faces on the street or the bus. Happy spring holidays!

Valentine's Public Stoning

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Why Do We Dance? Three Behavior Patterns.

One of my best friends left the country a couple of days ago, so we had a good-bye party in her honor. About 20 people gathered up in one of our local pubs. It’s a fairly roomy place and by that I mean it has about 3 large rooms that communicate with each other making it almost look like it’s one big space. We had cocktails, fun talk, met some really old friends whom I don’t get to see as often as I had in the past, did some catching up.

Later in the evening, as the beverages started piling up, the music went from “decent volume” to a lot louder, most of the people got up and started dancing. Which was perfectly fine and to be expected. What didn’t make perfect sense in the beginning was that all these people, from all these tables, got extremely crowded in the one room with the bar. Technically it was as if you had a large space and all people insisting on occupying only one third of it, in spite of the squashing and tripping one over another, then pulling up from the floor and acting as if nothing had ever happened. It was only awhile later that others started dancing in the other two rooms, giving each other space to breathe and to move freely.

Both groups were obviously having fun, but what determined the different “crowd” behaviors and what can that tell us about the people involved? Way into the past, back when things seemed simpler, no waxing was necessary and basic survival was everything, humans lived in caves. Back then, crowding one into the other was a very simplified mean of survival for the group, because it provided heat, security and a sense of belonging (which are found on the very base of Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs; you’ll find it on the “Needs” article written in January). Even in an experimental environment, lab rodents will most likely stay close to each other if put together in a roomy confined space.

But in this day and age, we don’t need to rely on our basic survival instinct (if we still have it) when we’re fine and secure in our own homes with central heating, microwaves, computers, internet, supermarkets in every neighborhood. No fear of invaders, no need to hunt down your lunch so as not to starve. All humans have to do is be the obedient little sheep of society in exchange for survival. Humanity has gone soft and so have its instincts. Still, can it be that once the music goes loud in a crowded place, basic impulses rise and a dysfunctional survival instinct shoves the majority of dancing people into a stuffy corner? Could be… but it’s not what I believe happens.

In my view of this particular aspect, there are three types of people:

1.      1.  Those who dance because they love dancing, because that is who they are and it makes them feel great: “Honest Dancers”. You’ll probably see this category dance with the same pleasure home alone or in a club, be it crowded by others or not.

2.     2.   The “Exhibitionists” are those who dance because they love to be seen by others, they love being watched, they get a sense of pleasure from knowing that attention may be showering them from every angle. You don’t see these people dance alone (unless in their minds they’re living a fantasy of being surrounded by others), these guys and girls will always be eager to go to a club to dance (more emphasis on the public place than on the dancing itself).
3.      3.   Those who deep down inside would be happy not to dance at all, but they do it because they want to be labeled in a certain way by others. They’re aware that they are being seen dancing, yet they don’t get the pleasure and thrill that the second category does. They will shake those hips and move that body any and every way the music dictates so that they will be labeled as a party animal or as a fun, open person or so that they won’t be labeled as shut-ins, mood killers or just plain boring. These people are ”Camelions”, you won’t spot them unless you already know they have self-image/esteem issues, fact which they always try to mask somehow.

The crowded room with the bar was probably filled with all three categories, mostly the “Exhibitionists”, who love to be seen by as many as possible, while the other not-so-crowded areas hosted the remaining “Honest Dancers” and “Camelions” Why? Because Honest Dancers can be found anywhere and Camelions may have a target audience they want to give a certain impression to, and that may consist of one or two people to tens or more.

Dancing was used here as an example for certain types of behavior, but one can see these patterns concerning other aspects as well. You just have to look around yourself and you will find more examples each and every day. It will make you wonder: how much are the things we do indeed things we do for ourselves because they define us and how much are they done for us to be knowingly seen by others while doing them, so as to be labeled in a desired way?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Initiation rites

Coming home from an African art exhibition today I got to thinking about rites of passage and how they play the role of landmarks and boundaries in people’s lives. And I realized they’ve been blurred and transformed so much we don’t know when we’re past a milestone anymore. Where is that ceremony for entering adulthood? How do we know that society welcomes us as full contributing members? And are there different rites for different aspects of our lives?
Of course, the most classical ones remain the coming of age parties. Some have a sweet sixteen, we have a big eighteen party, other cultures have full-fledged rituals of initiation that include separation from the family and learning what adulthood is all about. But in our society, are we really made privy to grown-up life? Not really. It’s a great thing that we are encouraged to figure it out on our own and build our own definitions of being an adult. Crossing to the other side might happen when we leave our parents’ house, or when we get a family of our own, or when we get a job or finish school. Or whatever we choose to see as a landmark. Finishing school, by the way, is a pretty common one. As I wrote a while back, it’s when former generations expected they would find employment, move into their own homes and start a family. But people now are marrying older, are traveling a lot or studying for a longer period of time. So it doesn’t really apply to as many people anymore. Although, if I may make a short comment, even this view is a bit too centered on our own cultural experience. In some cultures marriage comes first, at a very early age and it’s a rite of passage to adulthood as well. In others it’s strictly a question of coming of age and all the rest can follow only after being introduced to society as an adult.
But what about love life rites of passage? I amused myself trying to figure out when did I actually start dating. Because if it was when I had my first “boyfriend”, it means I’ve been doing it for a really long time. When I was in 5th grade a classmate sent me a piece of paper asking if I wanted to be his girlfriend. I wrote back yes and a while later he sent me a Valentine card and we went for a walk around the block. And that was it, we didn’t even hold hands. Could it have started when I had my first kiss? Or my first “I love you”? Or my first date? That would be weird, because I had a couple of committed long term relationships before I even went on a real first date. So when did it start? And moreover, is it going to end? Not making a big deal out of serious dating anymore, as we are no longer pressured by time or society to marry in our 20s, we’ve grown to treat it so shallow. We “try on” people, see if they fit. We actually run from commitment because we are scared of ending up with the next best thing. It’s a great thing that we are allowed to choose and experience, but the question is if we see the larger picture and whether we actually choose to enjoy all the opportunities that cross our path or we just ended up in a vicious circle of bad choices, when all we wanted was somebody to cross the borders with.
I’m not saying I want to live in a rigid society. It’s just that some sense of tradition would be nice and I’d like it if there were some rules and boundaries I can then choose to rebel against. I know that they haven’t disappeared completely and that we still have unwritten rules we live our lives by. But now the limits are so much wider this freedom feels overwhelming sometimes. Or it’s maybe just me, after all I am just a conformist little girl…

Monday, February 7, 2011

Soul mates

When it comes to looking for the love of their lives, many people say they are searching for a better half or soul mate. But I’ve grown to believe that the latter has little to do with the rest. Our soul mate could also be a parent or a friend or a child, a sibling, even a pet. We don’t necessarily have to be in love with our soul mate and there’s little chance if we are now that we would be forever, although it might help. It’s not very likely that we could be in love with a person forever, but that’s another story for another post. However, a soul mate is forever. No matter how much we love or hate them, these are the people we cannot shake off. Ever. A thought that is both comforting and terrifying.
I have days I hate my soul mate’s guts. And days I keep telling him how much I love him. It’s a weird kind of love and hate. Some soul mates are joined by common interests or blood ties, some are just so good together they can’t breathe in each other’s absence. We are more like astral twins. Somehow we're so much alike it’s annoying, because we can smell each other’s bullshit. But we’ve developed in different environments and maybe we play different games. I slip through the fingers and hide. He goes out there and drowns his bad days in the crowds. We both feel alone sometimes and we’re in a strange way together through all that. Inexplicably, we share moods or we’re on the extreme opposites, but never on asymmetrical positions. I guess we still resent each other for all the chances we didn’t take, for letting our love story fail and for giving other people what we owed each other. And we still believe in the back of our heads that whenever other options fail, we’ve still got each other. If I’d have to pick a literary reference where I can see a resemblance, it would be Mircea Cartarescu’s (Romanian postmodernist poet and novelist) “Gemenii”. However much things have changed, I believe we have an absurd symbiosis, we don’t “match”, we “melt”. It might sound strange, but sometimes it feels like we inhabit each other. Funny thing is we still can’t have a decent conversation without dancing our stupid cha-cha. Two steps forth, three steps back. I’m the one with the steps back. I guess I still can’t lose my grip. So acknowledging the big place he still has in my heart is a first step.
However, I still want to underline there is no point in assuming a soul mate would make a good partner. At least in my case, sometimes I think we’ve hurt each other so much, there is no more room for trust or any sort of joint plans. But mostly, I really believe people find great soul mates in their friends, because they are there through so much more than lovers. Bros before hoes, right? Friends make great soul mates because we pick them, they are the family we choose and in time they are some of the best investments we can make.
I may be pushing an agenda here, but seriously, you don’t need to be sexually attracted to somebody to share the deepest spiritual and intellectual connection. It’s actually a pretty shallow criterion. And whatever cultural stereotypes we’ve been fed by the romantic literature and movie industry, we have to let go of. Because they just create absurd expectations. Lovers don’t have to be our perfect matches and soul mates don’t have to be the love of our lives. They can be annoying sweethearts we can’t ever let go of because some day, under the same stellar conjunction, we were born twins from different mothers.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Finding magic

I might have mentioned earlier how I see magic as the ways in which we channel our will to bring about change in the surrounding world. And I’ve been wondering lately whether we can use it to bring love into our lives. That one big true magical love everyone is talking about. I recently read a lovely article on finding and using magic in our everyday lives and I now believe it is not about grabbing that love by the balls, but about inviting it in and not drawing deadlines, about making room for it and being able to fully embrace it when it comes along.
We might not realize it, but we all are magical beings. We perform rituals every day, we use spells and potions to get closer to the objects of our desires. We just don’t do it consciously. Living a magical life is about living consciously. That thing others call living in the now. But as magical creatures we don’t have to let go of all of our desires, but to acknowledge they are all means to greater ends. That what we actually seek are not the material things, but rather abstract concept that make us happy. When we want clothes or perfumes we actually seek beauty and appreciation. When we want cars and money we want status and the thrill of open possibilities. When we want somebody we want company or love or support etc. And when we seek these things we perform rituals that are either of our own making or behaviors we have been socialized into. Every time me take a bath we perform a beauty ritual, or a cleansing one, or a social acceptance rite if that’s our only motivation. When we go to work we perform a daily ritual of ensuring security and prosperity. And so on and so forth. The trick is to actually acknowledge the real reasons behind what we do. They actually reveal our true values. Lying is not about not having principles, for example, it’s about seeking acceptance or even peace of mind. "No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks", Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley once wrote.
Once we are conscious of the higher motivations behind our desires and actions, we can transform them into more efficient rituals. It doesn’t take a witch to cure our deepest wounds or give us the highest high (although sometimes we do meet one in disguise who turns our lives around). We can use our own rites to make each day more meaningful, to enhance the magic in simple moments. Turning our beauty endeavors into self-love rituals, each meal into thoughts of gratitude towards all the Earth’s miracles that have landed on our plate, every reading into a trip to foreign lands and a chance to make new friends. Because once we start seeing the small things in a magical way, we’ll unconsciously add quality to our lives. We’ll want the fresh and tasty veggies and we won’t let others tell us what beauty means. We’ll be able to enjoy a good conversation and move on from people who only spread bad energies, or maybe we’ll make their day and that great feeling will come back to us threefold.
The great things we want for ourselves will be easier to see. I used to think I was spoiled by fate because I usually got what I wanted in life. The big things. Like a good education and finding a job, or like getting a guy. But the truth is I wanted some of these things so much I could see them. And visualization is one of the best ways to attract the things we want. The first step is enjoying what we have and through that realizing what we want. The second one is getting the best of that. And things don’t just come because we want them, sometimes is takes a lot of hard work. But keeping in mind the real reasons we do that work usually helps a lot. Talking about it, thinking of the best ways to get it and being patient helps a lot. Not putting deadlines or time frames on things keeps fear of failure and desperation on the side. Being able to wish for something but not feel pressured is what makes the difference between “things” and motivations.
So when we seek love we must understand it doesn’t just grow on trees. If we want it for the right reasons, if we really want love and not just company, not just social acceptance, not just a cure for loneliness, then we get one step closer to it. And we might meet love, but can we tell? Do we know anymore what it feels like, after being stomped over time and time again? We can, once we regain our innocence. Once we understand all those reasons for trusting others and even for allowing ourselves to get hurt. Once we let it all go as lesser attempts to get what we want and we believe that every time we give it a try we get better at it. And once we find it, we finally get a partner in magic. Now all the rituals will be in two. Rituals of spiritual nurturing, rituals of pleasure, rituals of security.
Humans are magical creatures because they can use their will to make the world a better place for themselves and others and they can do it consciously. I didn’t want to sound like a guru, but spending time in top of snowy mountains has really given me fuel for thought and magic is my new favorite word.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Decisions, Decisions… ‘Shopping’ For a Partner

Ladies, have you ever gone out shopping, entered the first store and found a really nice dress that looks fabulous on you but didn’t know whether to really buy it or not? You knew that there were still so many shops that you could look through and maybe get the chance to find something better, but if you didn’t, then maybe by the time you’d return to the initial store, the dress you had laid your eyes on would be gone. So you stare at it for a while, try it on, look into the mirror and consider a decision. You have a limited amount of money, so you’ll most probably buy only one special article of clothing that day. You really like the dress but you’re sure there must be something better out there, so you change back into your own clothes, put the pretty thing back on its hanger and return it to the shop.

This actually happened to me recently. First shop, nice dress, limited budget, many more other shops I hadn’t seen. So, I too had left the dress there and started wandering around the mall with my best friend, almost sure we’d find something better. A couple of hours and one sore back later, we still hadn’t found anything. We went back to that first shop and were lucky to still find the dress there. Already knowing we didn’t discover anything prettier in that big mall, upon making the decision to buy it, I still found myself in horrible hesitation, thinking… What if there’s something better out there? I eventually got the dress and immediately stopped stressing about it. Thank God a woman doesn’t have to own only one dress, but we get to have a wardrobe that we fill with the things we like. We open it, choose what we feel like wearing, with the freedom that we can always change our mind and neither our clothes nor our wardrobe would judge.

Upon getting home, with a contented feeling of “mission accomplished”, the question still stuck to my thoughts… was there something better out there? It sounded so familiar, and then it came to me. Was looking for a partner similar to trying to find a great dress? We go around meeting men, some we like, some we don’t. We consider whether those whom we’re interested in would make good partners (life partners) and sometimes we even “try them on” to see if they fit, thus engaging in relationships. If we decide they’re not really the thing for us, we return them to the world and move on, trying to find something that suits us better. Some people look for an article of male that would last a lifetime and carefully inspect what they’re trying on for size. Others are sufficiently satisfied with finding something cheap and good-to-go thus occasionally trying on more ‘outfits’ at the same time. But if we do find that one amazing match, a guy that seems perfect for us, that once ‘tried on’ fits like nothing had before, do we take him or not? Once again, the mind-blowing question arises: what if there’s something better out there?
Clothes are simpler because you can get something you like anyway, then find a better piece and purchase it as well. They’re all neatly gathered in a wardrobe and you can switch through them as you please, without any feeling of guilt, matching them to suit you best at any given occasion. With men, there is no real possibility of ‘getting one’ and then just stashing him in the wardrobe with all the others you have collected and are hoarding. It’s not like you’re free to pick whichever you like from your “stash” whenever you feel like it and free to change your mind at any given time since all the specimens in the “man-wardrobe” are yours anyway and don’t mind being tossed around like that. Here’s reality: there is no such thing as the “man-wardrobe” described above.

In this male-scenario, there is no way for us to be able to ‘visit all the shops’ or try on all the specimens that seem cute to us. To make an accurate comparison, if in the dress-scenario we were pressured by a limited budget, in this case, we have a limited amount of time to actually settle down. And until somebody invents a miracle shot to stop ageing, this parameter will still be there to nag us. Asking yourself if there’s something better out there could be a trap. Yes, there might be. Will you find him? Will he find you? Would you give up the guy that stood out from all the others you dated until then, out of sheer desperate curiosity and/or stubborn perfectionism? And if not, how inclined are we towards frustration? Surely nobody is 100% perfect, so when your chosen male will spill out a bit of his imperfection, won’t frustration chew on the back of your brain, making you wonder whether you could have found somebody better? Are we forever condemned to “what ifs”?

I know we must be responsible for the decisions that we make, try to stick to them as much as possible and change them only when really necessary. But every time we make one decision, our minds already construct alternate realities in which the decision has not been made, not to trick us into doubting, but more for a comparison we learn a lot from, sometimes even behind our conscious minds. We must learn not to doubt everything that’s in our way. Even though we have been taught that these days one must be strong, calculated and in perfect control of his or her life, ever so often we must take a leap of faith and there is nothing else in the world that can take us forward in those moments.

My mother keeps telling me every now and then that everything is meant to be done at the right time, something that is perfectly justified if we consider the way our motivation and tastes evolve throughout different life-stages. There are things we can only appreciate and fully enjoy at one specific life stage and if that passes, even if we do try to catch up, we’ll never get as much out of the experience as we would if it had been made at the right time. It is normal to hesitate a little when facing a decision that must be made, but we can’t live our lives in hesitation and doubt, no matter how rationally justified the underlying thoughts may sound.

Time doesn’t wait for us to make up our minds and when it comes to relationships, rational thought can’t cover or establish order to everything. Every once in a while, we have to decide to take a leap of faith.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Satisfying Needs. Do we expect too much from “The One”?

Every person is the sum of his or her needs. Every action has the purpose of fulfilling partially or entirely one or more of our needs. We need food, so we eat. We need rest, so we sleep. Simple, right? We need to feed our sexual instinct so, we either masturbate, hunt down a one-night-stand or search for a relationship. A relationship, of course, would feed more than just that one need. We expect it to also fulfill the need of stability, security, protection, affection, fitting a social standard, entertainment, support and the list can probably go on. Are we going overboard by expecting so much from one person?

I was out the other night with my former high-school desk-mate, one of my top quality male friends, in an attempt to dissect human kind using words for scalpels and beer as a mascot. It was a great, fun night in which, among other issues, we ended up discussing needs. We both agreed that for an individual, each person in his/her life will fulfill a certain need. Protection and care from the mother figure, security and stability from the father figure. The need for intellectual stimulation should be cared for by our educational system but, in reality, we usually quench it by having one or two people with whom we can discuss more scientific matters. Everybody has a person who fits straight in their need to unwind, a person with whom they can talk to about the more pointless things in life and feel good about it. There’s a special person or group of people who will take care of the need for “girl/guy talk”, one or two who we know are able to entertain us no matter the circumstance and those are the people we call when we want to see or participate in a good show, or just simply drive boredom away. There’s also the Mentor-figure who will cover the need of higher aspirations, the need to look up to somebody, and when these people we set on high pedestals lean our way and give us a kind word or hand, they fulfill our need to be admired by those whom we admire. The sexual need has been briefly mentioned in the first paragraph. Since there are so many people who, together, manage to satisfy a whole lot of an individual’s needs, why is it that when in a relationship, we expect our partner to satisfy them ALL?

Each and every one of us, as an individual, gets to play many roles at once: one role for every stage we get to be in, and we star in numerous stages at once, because every stage is simply another person’s perception and projection of the world around him or her. We play a different role for every person who knows us not because we necessarily chose to wear a mask for each of them, but because, through their own individuality and subjectivity, every person will see us differently. We, ourselves, can be a mother/father figure for our children, a Mentor for our students, an entertainer for our friends at parties, an enchantress or a stud for our sexual partner, a muse for young, infatuated artists. We are all these things and many, many more towards a lot of people and, thus, a lot of perceptions. When we expect everything from our relationship partner, we can probably assume that, in most cases, he or she will expect the same in return. So, can we be all of those positive roles for only one person?

I saw many relationships fall apart because one of the partners was expecting too much. But what is “too much”, really? We all have standards and usually two people with similar standards will mix, people with different levels of standards will repel, no matter how gorgeous looking they are, how smart or dumb. I often hear people say that “it’s all about compromising”… personally, I believe that if you find the right one, you won’t have to bother with “compromise”, because the process of building a relationship won’t have to be constructed on the feeling of “giving up” part of who you are so that the other person will do something to your liking, but rather you’d feel you both gain something with every brick you’re setting.

It’s easier to build up a fantasy of the perfect partner who is able to fulfill our every need, always make us smile or laugh, be amazing in bed, spontaneous, never have us get bored, be entertaining, smart, with a good, well-paid job, talented, strong, determined yet kind and sensitive, ETC. It’s probably a lot harder to try to be more down-to-earth and wonder how sane it is to attribute all those good traits to a singular human being. I can’t comment too much on that since I’m still stuck with my image of that perfect guy and the feeling that he’s real, but it’s a good discussion subject. Wouldn’t it be easier for us to get past the barrier of our childish fantasies and just realistically figure out what we want from a partner? If our needs can be satisfied by numerous people, then why can’t we have our ‘better halves’ in charge of fulfilling just a few relationship-related needs (and by that I don’t mean the whole list) while allowing lots of the other needs to be covered by our friends, colleagues or other people out there? Why do we need the need to have all our needs satisfied by one single person?

In 1943, Abraham Maslow, one of the biggest psychologists, has published the pyramid of needs in his paper “A Theory of Human Motivation”. Clicking the image will make it larger, so you can read the text properly.

The pyramid is formed of five levels. Going from bottom to top, you cannot move on to the next level of needs until you have fulfilled the one before. We must understand that it is up to one person alone to seek out the fulfillment of all of those needs, and that one person is each and every one of us, for ourselves. We must seek out into the world surrounding us, into the people out there and into the world within ourselves. How fair or realistic is it to expect one person alone to cover our whole pyramid (at least the first three or four levels for sure)? That’s for each of us to decide.

So, whether you’re already in a relationship, looking for one or maybe not even interested in getting involved anytime soon, tell us… What do you want in a potential partner? How would you describe your ideal mate?

1 Month Anniversary

“Mischievous Sweethearts” is celebrating one month of existence! We would like to thank all of our readers for being awesome, keeping up with our work, commenting or writing their own guest posts and letting others know of our blog. Since, at the present moment, we don’t yet have any other means of advertising, what you guys did was amazing and now, 1 month after our first post, we are proud to have 376 unique visits and 1067 total views. Thank you all and may we have more great times together and together with those who still are to discover us. Cheers!

Monday, January 24, 2011


We have just reached 1000 views, two days before our blog will celebrate one month of existence. Here at Mischievous Sweethearts we thank all of you who have read, enjoyed, commented, sent guest posts, told others of our work and even those who are about to do all those mentioned above.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Single and fabulous

Once I used to believe I was addicted to love. A lovaholic. A relationship person, somebody who could not function well without being attached from the hip to somebody else. I’ve been in serial relationships most of my dating life and all that time I was never single for more than three months. And now it’s been more than two years. And I’m just now starting to realize why it is so. It’s not because all guys are jerks and there’s nobody out there or I just haven’t met him. And it’s not because there’s something wrong with me or I’m not ready to go back to being in a relationship. The one great reason I’m still single is because I chose so.
Whenever my grandmother asks me if I have a boyfriend or a concerned auntie wants to know when I’m getting married I keep wondering why is it that people expect us to pair up all the time. Is being single like being homeless or unemployed? Is there still such a great social stigma associated to it? We all know that some decades ago for a woman it was more tragic to be single than unemployed. Actually, it was the possibility to work outside the home and support ourselves, own property and decide upon our own bodies that created this ever growing pool of singles nowadays. And so we should ask ourselves, are more and more people single because there are less options on the dating market or just because they can and choose to do so? I would rather agree with the latter. You see, we can now choose to spend our lives experiencing multiple relationships or none at all, instead of being in an oppressive marriage we never wanted in the first place. We can choose to get out of a dysfunctional relationship instead of enduring it all just for the sake of not being labeled with the oh so scary sticker of old maid.
I enjoy being single for both the perks of said independence and for being able to avoid the pitfalls of relationships. The independence doesn’t just mean “you can do what you want”. You can actually do as you please in a healthy relationship as well, because I trust in a good partnership you will want the things that are right for you and your partner. It’s more about escaping that constant scrutiny. You’ve read about it a thousand times in women’s magazines, it’s awesome to be single because you can wear granny panties and you don’t always have to look great and smell nice, nobody will notice that extra couple of kilos on your hips after the holidays and your hair doesn’t always have to be shiny. Yes, they say they love you just the way you are. But we notice stuff. We notice the cavity in that tooth and the dirty fingernail and the pimple on the nose. And we know men notice far more things and expect far more effort to be put into our looks. Yes, we all love to be pretty every time we go out the door, but sometimes, at home, we just want to sit around in our pajamas with our hair stuck to our head, eating cheesy puffs and watching bad TV. And you can do that when you’re in a relationship too. But not whenever you please. These are just examples, but the bottom line here is that the constant scrutiny of a partner we want to spend every breathing minute with is quite heavy on our shoulders. And singles have it easy that way.
And then, we don’t get to worry about all those things people who are dating do. Like what he’s thinking of every second, is he having doubts about us, is he checking out that girl, is he cheating on me, is he really over his last girlfriend, why did they break up anyway, is there something wrong with him I haven’t noticed yet, where is this going and why won’t he talk about it, are his parents going to like me, is my father going to break his legs, how many children are we going to have, should we move in together, will we ever earn enough to buy a house and build a family… That kind of stuff. We don’t think about it all at once. But over one year, most of these questions are bound to pop out in our heads. And some of the things we worry about might happen on the way, bringing about a lot of pain and a need to reconsider our whole existence.
My biggest concerns as a single person are what to have for lunch and whether to build a career in this or that direction. I sometimes think I would have no time for a relationship, between my work and education, my family and my friends I hardly get to read and the pile of books and magazines waiting for me is getting larger by the day. But the thing is I don’t feel the need to or want one. I believe this is an awesome time to enjoy myself and know all the things that make me happy. To push myself and see where I draw the lines and to grow in whichever direction I want without having to adapt my future plans to future plans I’ve made in my head with somebody else. I don’t look at it as time between relationships when I get to become a better person for somebody to love me more when I finally meet him. It’s a transition time between school years and junior level jobs and the days when I’ll actually be working at securing a bright future for myself. Maybe I’ll meet someone, maybe I won’t, maybe I’ll have children, maybe I won’t. What I can tell you right now is that I feel fabulous about being single and I can’t even put in words all the great things about it. And for anybody to change that, they’d have to be at least as pretty damn awesome as I am.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Internet profiling of potential partners?

I took a break from working at home today and thought I should change the atmosphere a little by going down to a pub I haven’t visited in a while. They have good music, good tea and a wireless connection, enough to motivate me to take my laptop out into the world. Enough for me to figure my machine lacks the software to hook up to the wireless network… and to get it I need to download it off the internet, so you can see my dilemma right now.

Looking around at the people sitting at other tables, I see two types of couples: human plus human and human plus laptop. In the very room I have set up my working spot, there’s only one table occupied by a chatting couple and three other tables, mine included, each with one person and one laptop. How dependent have we become of the internet and why do we allow it to own such a great deal of importance in our social lives? Good old fashioned letters have been replaced by e-mails or messenger programs, books have been replaced by pdf files and our whole identities fit into a Facebook profile. We upload good looking pictures of ourselves, we search for like-minded people through the web, we flirt through on or offline messages. I agree that the internet speeds up communication and earns us a great deal of time, but when have we become so time deprived as to give up the ‘personal touch’?

Most of my friends (I can only think of two who don’t fit the description) are hooked to online social networking. If they fall for a guy they know close to nothing about, before even considering going out with the person for a talk that they can learn more from, they log onto Facebook and start stalking their potential date-to-be. They see if he has any relationship status out there, any pictures involving other women, any shirtless pictures for body-evaluation, common acquaintances or wall posts one can relate to. After doing that and sticking many labels, they evaluate whether the guy is a “good catch” or not. How relevant is internet stalking to a potential relationship, and is it really time-efficient or rather a complete waste of time? Why do we choose to do this first rather than request a date?

First of all, every person setting up a profile is actually designing a more or less accurate mask to hide behind, a more or less relevant image behind which they feel safe to communicate. Relying so much on what a profile has to show us is settling for just a tiny part of the big picture. Obviously, the profiles will have information on education and hobbies, but they won’t tell you how that person is handling their college or job, they don’t have a “defect" section for one to list all their bad habits, all in all, they can’t really sketch an image accurate enough for “potential-partner evaluation”. But instead of most people acknowledging this, they keep on stalking and drawing conclusions that might find themselves far from the truth.

We can understand why people build up these profiles, since they are safe images to hide behind, and if done right can seem completely flawless, but why are others drawing conclusions based on internet profiles and not face-to-face profiling of the person? We want to be able to evaluate everything and even foresee how certain things will turn out. Fear of rejection and vulnerability is something we are all familiar with, and instead of risking to be turned down on a first date with somebody who seems interesting yet we don’t know enough about, we rather take a look on the internet, from the comfort of our own homes, safe to make whatever assumptions our mind might scorn up and safe to fill the gaps of information with our own desires. We think that this way we can prevent having unpleasant surprises or awkward moments of silence. We build up imaginary conversations in our heads with the person we imagine the profile would be. But once we come face to face with the one we have stalked online, things might turn out very different than expected. The immaculate guy we read has been studying at two universities might actually be a narrow-minded almost drop-out, struggling to count the great number of exams he still has to pass so as not to repeat the year once again, the talented artist could very well prove himself to be an arrogant asshole, the successful good looking lawyer might be an emotionally retarded guy, in a full time relationship with his job and with little or no interest at all in getting involved in anything else than that. Rigidly expecting a person to be what we imagine him or her from the little information the internet provides us is a straight way to disappointment.

We should always give real-life enough room to surprise us. Not all surprises will be pleasant, but even those that won’t be, will prove themselves good experiences to learn from. So, next time you find yourself staring with a brain-dead smile at somebody’s profile, think twice before gluing the labels and take the time to evaluate the lack of information for what it is: room for discovery, not blanks we must fill in and expect them to be as imagined. We mustn’t fear not knowing and not being able to predict everything about a person, but embrace the endless possibilities that are laid down before us. This way, when we do meet face to face with the guy or girl that has captured our interest, we will feel more inclined to let him or her unravel their identity, rather than ticking the checklist in our heads of what that person “is supposed to be”, according to us.

We wonder how stereotypes have lived on through so many years, even though individuality has been so largely promoted and each one of us manages to prove themselves unique in one way or another? Well, we have all contributed to this factor by settling for the little information that has been shoved in our faces instead of journeying deeper into the people around us. And that is one journey you can’t only accomplish online, or through what common acquaintances might have to say, since the subjectivity of others might not feed our own values. You gotta get yourself away from the computer, out of your home, meet the one you’re interested in, go out for a walk in the park or a beer in your local pub and talk, listen and observe the other’s non-verbal signals. Words are such a small part of communication, and the internet can’t provide for body language and genuine eye contact.

As I’m now preparing to leave with my machine-date, I look around in the same room. One couple at one table, 3 tables with loners such as myself at this time and yet another table with an interesting party of three: the girl, the guy and the laptop.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Guest Post Reminder

Since the end of the month is just days away, here's a reminder:

Mischievous Sweethearts will be hosting one monthly Guest post, so if you feel you have a story to share, which has taught you a thing or two about men/women, relationships or the world around you, send us an email with your writings at with the subject “Guest Post”, followed by the title of your work. Daisy and I will read it and choose who the next Mischievous Sweetheart will be. Guest posts will be published on the 1st of every upcoming month.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Ever so often we hear ourselves say “Ohh I want that!” No matter how average or high the degree of wanting is, there is always something out there we want, and must have, be it knowledge, cake, clothes, relationships or just plain, healthy sex. Sometimes we get so caught up in the yearning, that our perception narrows down to the object of our desire and leaves other things outside, to the mercy of randomness, and when we finally get what we longed for, it just sparks up that it’s not the thing for us… and we start wanting something else. Do we really want and need the stuff that catches our eyes so intensely, or are we addicted to the notion of always wanting something to keep us going?

The perception we have about feeding our desire changes over time. Remember high-school and early twenties? The sky was the limit! You were free to want anything and, more so, free to get it. Experimenting relationships, sex, going out, various pubs or clubs, more relationships, closed ones, open ones, multiple ones, anything you’d come up with because there’s no pressure involved, no biological clock, poor notion of consequences and, also, you have the enormous advantage of feeling these years will last forever. Moving beyond your mid twenties, wanting stuff takes a turn to its more practical side: career, stable relationship, finances, living quarters and affording good food and a healthy life-style. The relationship-area is also struck by these, since one would start thinking twice before entering a fling that leads nowhere and suddenly, doing things just for the sheer fun of having them done coughs up a new parameter: “time efficiency”. I know many women around or over their mid-twenties who have been surprised by their family-and-baby-timer, a clock that starts ticking louder and louder. Craving begins, perception narrows down to those two issues and “time efficiency” gains in importance. From their calculations, one has to procreate around 30 (biologically, that’s a good idea), but for that you’d have to be married with the guy for a couple of years and before deciding to marry him, you should probably date him for a couple of more years, so that leaves us with an average age of 26 to start a serious relationship.

The older we get, the more we feel there is a time pressure affecting our desires and choices, leaving us less freedom in wanting something as we did before. I see this happening a lot in women and it being very related to their biological clock. Men have it easy. I have never seen a guy stress about not having a family and kids yet. A guy who takes care of himself can be hot even at an older age. Think Sean Connery, or Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs! I have a very close friend, he’s around 20 years older than me, looks amazing for his age, talented, smart, single and doesn’t have the slightest care in the world when it comes to family or kids. He’s chill, does his career, spends his free time having fun and enjoys it that way.

As we are getting older, do we have to adapt “what we want” according to “what we can get”? Cause if that’s the case, as time goes by, there is less and less to be found on the market. If we are picky and can’t settle for anything less than perfect, is it safe to assume that there are guys out there thinking the same, or are guys just looking for an easy fuck so that they can fill out their scoring list? And if we do end up finding Mr. Right, at the right time, how can we be sure that neither of us will give in to the temptation of passing the great occasion of finding someone better out there? Some people who have reached this point, choose to lower their standards because doing so will automatically broaden their options. I am very much against doing so, but many people have chosen this to quench their fear of being alone. My opinion is that no matter what the market looks like, we should not allow ourselves to give up hope in finding what’s right for us. Giving up means game over.

In another line of thought, haven’t you all noticed how the things we can’t have suddenly seem more appealing? Cake while on diets, men who don’t commit, certain clothes after having spent the last of your paycheck on cocktails? If you want a guy and lean into getting him in a relationship and he pushes you away, don’t you somehow feel compelled to go grab him just to prove to yourself that you can? Dumb as it sounds, that mechanism is in charge of the want-what-you-can’t-get syndrome. And then when you do get it, the thrill is over, point made, moving on!

This type of behavior sends us in a loop hole that might be familiar to some or most of you. Total freedom, dating anyone and everyone we see fit, no commitment, just spontaneous acts of joy and such… when all of a sudden, we realize that there’s too little stability in our lives and start wanting a stable relationship. Somehow we manage to get the more-or-less-stable person at our side and start a wonderful thing, when all of a sudden… it gets boring, predictable, too little adventure, not enough excitement SO we start dissecting our ‘perfect’ man to find one or two flaws to cling on and dump him for, so that we can go back to being free to experience whatever… and the loophole goes and and on. With every relationship we leave behind, we get a sense of having to find something better out there. “Never settle for anything worse than your ex”, they say. So when do we stop? How do we know it’s time to settle down and settle for what we have found, especially since, as time goes by, the stock keeps getting thinner and thinner?

We have to keep our eyes open for all that’s out there and keep our hopes up for all the rest that could be out there that our eyes don’t yet see or that our conscious minds can’t yet grasp. If our perception is working at full potential, our hope keeps us courageously moving forward and our dreams turns us immune to fear, we have all the reasons in the world to find happiness.

Mischievous Sweethearts will be hosting one monthly Guest post, so if you feel you have a story to share which has taught you a thing or two about men/women, relationships or the world around you, send us an email with your writings at with the subject “Guest Post”, followed by the title of your work. Daisy and I will read it and choose which will be the next Mischievous Sweetheart. Guest posts will be published on the 1st of every upcoming month.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Karma and its army of demons

Some girl in a movies said that faith is for the weak, an excuse not to go grab whatever we want then and there. In that line of thought, I believe a lot of concepts like that actually help us deal with reality, give us a sense of order in a universe that is so much beyond our understanding that we need to oversimplify it. But what if there is certain equilibrium? A law of compensation that keeps things straight. A strange way of this cold impersonal universe of taking care of us. Karma is a rather comforting concept in a way. It gives us the peace of mind to leave pain behind knowing that we would be avenged. It helps us get off the door in the morning, knowing that whatever keeps the balance out there will make all things right in the end. But when it comes to relationships, I’ve noticed karma is a pretty scary word.
When they are in love, people want to be loved for who they are and not just because they love the other. So nobody gives it too much thought. But when things get ugly, some of us have that fear in the back of their heads that however they hurt their partner, it’s coming to bite them in the ass. That’s why we persevere in our mistakes in a way. Fear has never been a good partner.I saw this card on Post Secret which said “my wife left me because I wouldn’t admit I cheated on her. I never did”. 
This kind of makes me think about two things I observed quite often and wrote about before. One is that when we start lying, it’s always about little things, so as not to make our partners worried or angry. We start with the most basic thing, saying we’re fine when we’re actually not (well, men know that when women say everything’s all right, there must be something fishy). Then we get to things like “going out with the girls/guys for coffee”, when you’re actually going dancing and drinking till morning. And we end up lying about working late when in fact we’re with somebody else. One of the worst case scenarios. Thing is a lie will always lead to another and no matter how many white lies we tell, eventually we’ll lie about something big. I see people after decades of marriage who resent each other in one way or another and they never say it. The other thing the card reminded me was that we mirror our behavior in our partner. Yes, there are genuinely jealous people. But some of the most violently jealous people I know are those who cheat. You lie and cheat so you expect your partner to lie and cheat. And sometimes being labeled the bad guy actually turns you into the bad guy. Instant karma. We don’t really need a force of the universe to bite us in the ass. We do a great job ourselves. Hurting other people will eventually hurt us. Because we’ll live in fear. Because we’ll lose trust. Because the weight of lying will be so heavy on our shoulders, we’re bound to drop it.
And what happens when we hurt bystanders? People involved in our relationships in a way or another, who suffer by association. Do we really have to think about each and single one of the people our relationship felonies affect? We make and lose friends, we get close or become strangers to families, we step on some toes whenever we are with somebody. Every relationship at the time, I believe. Somebody is bound to be unhappy with our choices, every time. We’ll win some and lose some and sometimes we’ll get away with it.
Ah, getting away with it! Nothing as scary as that. Can being a bitch in one relationship pay up in the next one? Does cheating now make you bound to be cheated on later? Somehow I’m sure it’s not how it works. The problem is that when we expect these things to happen, it’s like inviting them in. When we believe we are sinners and deserve the wrath of whatever is out there, we end up punishing ourselves. When we see ourselves as monsters, we are the ones that take a little bit of our beauty away each day. It’s maybe karma, it’s maybe conscience, it’s maybe fear.
I am actually a strong believer in the Wiccan Law of Threefold Return. The one that says that whatever benevolent or malevolent actions a person performs will return to that person with triple force, or with equal force on each of the three levels of body, mind and spirit. I also believe this whole belief system to be based on the power we all have to channel our will to transform what others call faith. So for now let’s just look at karma as a motivation we give selfish people to be altruistic and build our own laws of return. What is certain is that love and positive thoughts will always give good returns. Treasuring others' affection and trust can’t hurt and living as a free open fearless person beats the dark shadows of karma any day.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Eastern Europeans don’t speak romance

After having my mind blown by Bertolucci’s “Last tango in Paris”, my first thoughts went to my amazing Western lovers and to how movie-like our relationships have been. It sounds a bit farfetched to make generalizations based on such few cases. But maybe I can extend my sample by also considering my most favorite men, who are directors or writers or just some of their characters.
I’ve always found Eastern Europeans to be a bit on the dark side. They have this obscurity that somehow makes you feel like you could never penetrate to a level where they would lose the grip. There is something about them that is never satisfied. Like they could always get better, but they’re not even bothering to look. I do believe that all of this brings along a lot of frustration. Of the Eastern Europeans I got to know better in time, I find Serbians to be the most shady. I think they pair a nice imagination with some serious case of always feeling wronged. Hungarians are still a mystery to me, they do have a potential for romanticism, but maybe they’re too well programmed to roam free. Bulgarians are nice guys, but you can never be sure they’re not being sarcastic. I don’t think it’s a national trait, but maybe a case of Romanians being lost in translation. The latter speak a really weird kind of romance. Because they’ve always experienced it second-hand. That kind of traditional courtship inherited through the ages is almost gone. The one where you would dance with the girl on Sunday and then try to get her alone when she’s out working or whistling over her fence and then eventually stealing her in order to oblige her parents to give you their blessings. Romanians have borrowed bits and pieces from Italian or French and now American fashions of the times and forgot how to pursue women in their own way. The most obvious example is the toxic bachelor syndrome, where men figured after a certain age there is a flip in power and now they can sleep around and convince women it's all right for them to do so because they call it open relationships and everybody does them nowadays. However, I believe women much rather adopted platform high heels than fancy-named polygamy.
What I’ve always loved about the French, for example, is that openness to however sophisticated or absurd approaches to courtship. That ability to see women as means and not ends, to not think about whether tomorrow they may still belong to them. And that gives them a freedom that Easterners’ fear or ridicule would never allow them to experience. The freedom not to think twice before they speak and not to have to hide behind words. And the ability to be there and not somewhere else when they’re with a woman and treat her like she’s the only one left on Earth. When I talk about darkness I don’t refer to mystery. I refer to being impermeable to intimacy and in that sense the more you go East, the thicker the barrier gets.
Latinos are not big on intimacy either, but that fire that everyone talks about, it’s there all right. These guys know what they want and they take it. And they hold on to it. Not by always fearing it’s going away and bitching about it, like Eastern Europeans do. But by being a bit overly possessive and mostly by being insatiable lovers. They are maybe not the most fancy guys you can find, but I believe they know how to enjoy the really good stuff. The sun, the sand, the food, the wine and especially the women. Uncomplicated lovers, I believe they make it to our hearts easily because of that warmth they effuse. But what I like the most about them is that they can really fight. Not just stand there and look angry, not just offend you and walk away. They argue the way they love, spending a lot of energy and burning all of the tension then and there.
It’s a pretty sensible subject and I’m sure anyone could disagree with my experience. It’s always been a bit wrong to put people of a certain nationality in the same box based on traits we consider to be inherent to their ethnicity. But I believe some of the cultural heritage does express itself in our everyday lives, and why not in our relationships.