June 2008


I had a great workshop here this week. One of my favorites to date. It was called Feng Shui Your Relationship, taught by a well known practitioner here locally named Tracy Boyce. I’ve had a couple of events with her this month, and I’ve taken action, but nothing prepared me for what I found Thursday night when I got my compass out.

So after our first event, there was a lot of discussion about the bedroom and ‘making room’ for your partner — whether you have one or not. My bedroom was certainly not ready for sharing. My bed was placed in a way that you could barely get to the other side of it. You had to squeeze between it and the bureau. There were shoes stored along the wall. Access to the other side of the bed was essentially blocked. There was also no bedside table on that side. There wasn’t room for so much as a tshirt in a drawer or my closet.

Okay. I get it. I moved the furniture. Sent two bags of old clothes to Goodwill. And even changed out my bedding to make the room lighter and more inviting. And POW, I’m spending more time up there. I love the space. I feel at home finally.

A few days later, I clear the last bastion of bedroom clutter off the bureau and find three books of love poetry. These were given to me by a male friend many months ago. Someone I’ve never dated but have spent many a day talking about our respective romances. And then it hits me like a ton of bricks — I have to get rid of these books! Love poetry, from an unavailable man, laying out in my bedroom. Yeah. That’s just great, Margaret. Do I give the to the library? Toss them? I had written notes so the library was not an option, but tossing them seemed like bad karma. So I decide to bring them to the shop. Then I’ll decide what to do with them. So what happens next?

POW! Two men, one right after the other, walk into my shop. Both single. Both handsome. Both very centered and open. Each spent more than an hour talking to me. This went well into the afternoon. And before I know it,as the second one leaves, I hand him one of the books of poetry (trust me, it was relevant) and sent him on his way. Now I panicked for a minute. Did I just crap on this great Feng Shui that was happening? But I felt good. I felt totally re-empowered. I felt like I took all the negative “not available” energy from the original giver and turned it into “I’m totally available for you” from this giver — ie, me!

So good, right?

Now it’s Thursday and I’m sitting in the Feng Shui Your Relationships workshop. All of the pieces above are coming together. I’m like a peacock with his feathers out. I’m so proud. Star student. We do our journaling and set out our goals and then “the grid” comes out. Me and my compass need to do some sleuthing around my SW corner — my relationship corner. I go home. Map my SW corner. Oh shit.

My SW quadrant is my junk room. I’m not kidding. My house is very tidy and put together until you get the that room. It’s a disaster. Part office. Part junk room. I literally throw crap in there that I don’t know what to do with. But wait, it gets better. In the SW corner of this room is my cat’s litter box! You can’t make this stuff up, people. I was horrified. I’m literally letting men ‘dump their crap’ on me. This is so true! Both those men from the previous day, told me all about their past relationships, what they’d learned, what they were looking for. They weren’t interested in me. They were just interested in dumping their shit on me! (In the nicest, not intentional way mind you.) Of course they did — have you seen my SW corner?

I got up early the next morning and started cleaning. Bags of garbage. Tons of books and papers that belong here at the shop. I’ve essentially cleared it out. There’s still a lot to do. But I’ve laid a rug down. Put a lamp in there and tried to turn it into a room again. I mean there is still a ton to do. But, one thing at a time. At least I’m decluttering. And preparing for the relationship, right? It’s a start.

As for the litter box. It’s staying in there for now. Not sure what to do about that just now, but I’ll figure it out. Good news is I have an amazing relationship with my cat. Now if we can just change the relationship for my personal kitty we’ll be all set.

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So I’m on a rant. Again. About kids and what is and is not appropriate as it relates to your privacy — and thereby your ability to have an active and fun sex life with your partner (or yourself for that matter). I’m going to make it pretty clear here folks. Lack of privacy is a boundary issue. A boundary that the parent(s) has not made clear. Plain and simple. If you don’t lay them out, your sex life will suffer more than it already does. And we all know I feel about that.

You are an adult.

You have an adult life.

You are in control of how you live that life (which includes the choice to lead a lustful sex life)

You create the boundaries that allow that life to be lived to your pleasure.

I’m sorry. I am not being naive. I’m also not pretending that things will be perfect. I’m just saying that kids are not in control. You are. No you can’t control everything. Kids today are growing up faster and faster. It’s shocking. But you can control how your kids respect your privacy. By setting up rules and precedents that make your right to privacy clear. (I feel like I’m writing an addendum to the Constitution all of the sudden. Oy.)

So let’s review some boundaries. Okay, they’re my boundaries. But I’m thinking they’re pretty universal here, folks.

  1. No kids in the bedroom. I understand this is not totally possible. That you need to be available to them. But they can learn to knock. Entry upon invitation. They should know that your bedroom is not their playroom. It is not a ‘family room.’ It’s your private space. Just like they have their private space. If you knock before entering their room. They will knock for you. And make sure it’s not kid friendly. Yet another reason to NOT have a TV in the bedroom. No toys. No pets. No computer. Don’t make it a desirable place to be.
  2. No kids sleeping in your bed. If they must sleep with you to fall asleep, and you have decided you must comply, then go to their room. Make them realize their bed is the only appropriate place for them to sleep. That sleep in your bed is not an option. Yes, it will be annoying the first five times, but they will get the hint.
  3. Personal information is personal. Lock it up if you have to. A friend of mine just told me a story of how her daughter opened and read an email from her boyfriend that was, well, quite x-rated. Her daughter started teasing her about it! When she asked her daughter where she learned all this, she told her from an email in her inbox. My friend’s response to this event? “I told B not to write me any more x-rated emails.” What? When I suggested that she password protect her email, she said she’d get a secret one her daughter didn’t know about. Okay, one solution. But how about “You may not read my emails.” And password protecting it. She thought this would make her daughter feel like she didn’t trust her. C’mon. Her daughter knew two lines in it wasn’t for her eyes. Consequences, people.
  4. Adult time is just for adults. Asking for time, just for the two of you, is not unreasonable. Young ones? Yes, you might wait til they go to bed. But that’s usually 8pm, so you’ve got some time built in. But older kids can live without you for 13 Minutes. I’m not saying you have to have sex, I’m just saying take the time to connect over a cocktail or whatever. When my Dad came home from work, he spent :20 greeting all us kids and then asked us to leave so he could have time with Mom. It was only :15 – :30 minutes, until dinner was ready, but we were called back in. It doesn’t need to be before dinner, but you get my point. You can make time as part of the schedule. Just to connect one on one.

I’m not saying this is all fool proof. And face it, the kids are going to walk in on you at some point. But if you’ve set boundaries up, they’ll realize they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They’ll get it. And God knows (well, and me from personal experience) they’ll never do it again

Take control people. We’re the adults. We make the calls.

So I’m still obsessed with this New York Magazine article I wrote about last week about The Affairs of Men. I’ve had myriad conversations with women and men about it. I’m discovering that more and more women are having or have had affairs than I’d ever suspected. Apparently I live in some single gal pumpkin patch that thinks men are the primary cheaters once you get married. I clearly need to rethink that supposition.

But as an addendum to the article, they did a poll of men and women asking myriad questions about sex, frequency, beliefs. And this statistic caught my eye. That when asking marrieds how many times a month they had sex, men answered they had roughly 16% more sex than women. Really? Now I know these weren’t actual married couples that answered, but simply marrieds, but still. Really? How does that work?

Do men and women define sex differently? My discussions say yes. Men tend to define it as the act of intercourse, women often define it as what can be a quite complicated time/intimacy equation. Men don’t see blow jobs as sex, but women do if it is part of more intimate evening (I’m betting on your knees in the Oval Office counted as far as Monica was concerned). This is similar my question of The Line regarding affairs. Is there a line that defines sex. And if so, men are getting exponentially more based on this poll, and my ideas about how it is defined.

Maybe the definition of sex was made clear in the polling of the question, but what if it wasn’t. If women don’t enjoy it, does it count? Yes but begrudgingly — they’ll look for the caveat. Women want the emotional connection that goes with making love. Otherwise, as Charlotte in Sex and the City put it, they just want to “get it over with.” Men, trust me, if he gets off, it counts, baby.

So once again I’m left flummoxed. What am I asking? Or what am I concluding? What I am sure of is the act of sex is not a barometer of happiness. It’s a very necessary component to be sure. But how it’s happening is critical. And if he’s getting it 1.3 more times a month than she is then that bloody article above will continue to haunt me.

So here I am still looking for answers. Anyone got any? Bring it on.

So I got one of those obnoxious chain letters today. I got it from a friend, who wrote, “I really liked this one.” So with that recommendation I read it only to learn I had but 6 minutes to read it and pass it on. It was 21 little recommendations for living your life, or Lotus Touts. Nice little simplicities to embrace, like:

  • Believe in love at first sight.
  • Never laugh at anyone’s dreams. People who don’t have dreams don’t have much.
  • Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it’s the only way to live life completely.

Good stuff, right? But then I got to the end. And that really, well, pissed me off. There was the usual, send this x number of people and the more you send the better the things that will happen. And then it threatens me! “The Lotus Touts must leave your hands in 6 MINUTES. Otherwise you will get a very unpleasant surprise. This is true, even if you are not superstitious, agnostic, or otherwise faith impaired.”

The words “fuck you” form in my head but apparently my better judgment and faith are a risk here, so I send it. And I thought to myself, how many times has that little decision let me down. And began to replay every match.com date I knew I shouldn’t have gone on. Every time I slept with the guy and was disappointed on so many levels. All men I stayed with too long. Judgment and faith are scary things. So why do we (okay, maybe me) let other people use that against us? I mean this was a chain email? How pathetic am I?

I realized that even the thought of something good happening was enough to take the risk. Despite the risk involved. And how great is that? Because without it would we ever date again? Would we take a chance on the next guy. We would get on match.com at all? And God knows, we’d all be in the missionary position ad finitum without a little lack of judgment and a lot of faith. So I began to embrace my decision to send it to 16 people because I really needed my life to improve drastically and everything I ever dreamed of to begin to take shape. Okay, can’t hurt, right?

Then I got the email from best friend, J:“If you ever send me another chain mail that says something bad will happen to me, I will make sure something bad happens to you.”

And I remembered, that deleting the bad bits and moving it forward is definitely a good thing.