Charles DeVeaux

Social Theorist | Cultural Creative

Writing, producing, and facilitating works & conversations about love, modernity, and humanity.

Filtering by Tag: connection

Why is it so hard connecting with men in 2015?

A lovely woman in a Facebook conversation asked me about friendzones and why it's so hard to connect with men in 2015.  I'm thinking, "... because it's still 2014."  :-)

Okay, enough about being in the moment, let's get a jump on the New Year.  Here are some answers to the questions from that FB convo.

Everyone has challenges

Men are being forced to change everything we thought we knew as men, thanks in part to the wonderful changes of powerful women, genders, pluralistic ideas, globalism, and all things dynamic happening in the world.  Oh, plus, for some, their last partner broke their heart, and uh, video games and porn are overstimulating us while simultaneously causing us to emotionally withdraw.  Not to mention, we're as unsure as anyone else these days about the value of relationships.  But, hey, it's not a lost cause.  It's good!  Men have to adapt too!  Women can't be the only ones having to change.  Respectfully, though, as with all life's challenges, when talking about connecting, we begin an outward conversation from our center.

Talk about pet peeves

From what I have observed, women and men, of all types, want their future partner to be a complete person already.  No one wants to have to go through growing pains with someone.  Shit, we don’t want to go through it ourselves!  So why tolerate someone else?!  It’s inconvenient.  Fit the perfect picture of my love, for crying out loud.  Additionally, folks got pet peeves they are talking about way before dating.  No judgement, just perspective.  I've got pet peeves too.  In fact, I've got a wife of 20 years who I didn't know until too late, had mastered a couple of my pet peeves.  Go fig.  Do I wish I had known upfront?  Nope!  Get this, because it's her doing them, they are no longer my pet peeves!  How the hell did that happen?!  Rigidity is not our friend, good people.

I'm not saying we let go of our standards, but we gotta loosen up.  I once had a woman lick my face while making out on our first date.  (Some of you got stuck on "lick my face."  Others are stuck on "making out on our first date."  Let that be your gauge.)  Yes, licked, like Scooby-Doo, licked my face.  Not for me.  For her!  She liked the feeling of stubble on her tongue, but obviously liked me enough to share that.  Now, that's agentic!  And weird.  But after all was said and done, I don't remember complaining.  No, she did not become my wife.  I'm just saying don't knock it 'til you try it.  And as far as "complete people" go, neither my wife nor I are there yet.  Well, I'm definitely not.  I didn't foresee this state of "incompletion."  I thought we'd be there by now, wherever that is.  But I kind of like that there is something new and undiscovered to contend with each day.  It let's us know how well we handle change.

The Truths

The truth is women and men, particularly heterosexual women and men, whether we like it or not, hold each other to traditional social expectations.   Don't use cute emoticons, boys, it's unmanly!  I agree, if someone likes you they should be calling to TALK to you.  In fact, they should be in a hurry to meet up with you again (in a calm, cool way of course).  Call me crazy.  Unless you are skyping to a loved one cross country or overseas, digital time is playtime.  I don't think that's a traditional thing, I think it's a human thing.  Speaking of digital, while I wasn't necessarily a fan of the digital interface, I have been witnessing some good things with online dating.  After all, it's just further exposure to an available network, with a precision tool.  Truth is nothing changes, you still have to negotiate your needs and your relations.

The third truth, here, is that women, men, and all genders are socializing, and being socialized, somewhat differently than they were 50 years ago.  That statement alone says so much.  The combo of old and new makes things tricky.  We are acting in new ways, but in our minds, collectively, we are expecting/desiring some of those old traditional notions.  Especially heterosexual women and men.  Again, I say rigidity is not our friend.

What to do?

Be autonomous.  This works for anybody.  To get out of the friendzone life that I had unnintentionally mastered so many years ago, I had "to learn" to be a "bad boy."  Why? Because no heterosexual woman I was trying to talk to responded to Mr. Sensitive Nice Guy.  I didn't have to stay a "bad boy" as much fun as that was, I just had to learn a new mode of interaction.  I know many guys still stuck in that badboy place because someone hurt their feelings.  True story.  But that's not being autonomous.   Being the bad boy or the "bad bitch" (I hate that term) are the same.  Entice and withdraw.   It's like trying to catch a wild animal.  When you imagine how any date night plays out, it should be something like this,

We had fun, I like you, I want you, but I don’t need you. I got another date. Talk to you later?

Wha??  Sorry.  I just turned myself on.  Can you imagine the desire that kind of interaction creates?  Imagine being able to deliver that kind of an experience to the person you just dated.  How does someone not get drawn in on that??  And by the way, you can still be autonomous and considerate.  Don't weaponize this tactic.

Mystery and Playfulness

Agentic.  That's my new favorite word.  It seems modern women especially are about being more agentic.  I agree with it.  Flirtier, sexier, more fun, and less forced expectation.  In my experience, fun, free-hearted people get called back, even if just to hang out or to be matched up with a friend.  Get a couple of your friends, go out and do that.  Act like you want to make 100 friends instead of finding "The One."  Most likely, you'll get both.  100 friends.  50.  Shoot, 15!  That's about rapport, openness, and trust.  If you can do that over the next couple months, you'll be amazed at the changes that will occur.

But... You'd Better

You had better know the 3 non-negotiable things you are looking for in your partner.  Qualities, not possessions. For example "Person has to be resourceful," rather than "Person has to be rich."  Don't include the obvious.  If you are a comedienne and know it only makes sense you'll have a partner with a good sense of humor, then don't include it.  Think of another quality.  If you don't know the important qualities you value, you will never even notice them when that person goes right past you.  Even if you get your hands on them.  Also, please don't let your 3 things sound like every other person's 3 things.  They should be based on your particular experience.  You want to know yourself better?  Me-di-tate.  And that's no platitude; take it to heart.

Make room for more.

Redefining Your Wedding Ring

I'm back, this time with vlogs.  Check out the latest, video player of your choice, plus transcript below if you can't play video:

LoveRules episode 1 - Redefining Your Wedding Ring from Charles De Veaux on Vimeo.

 

Many people are questioning the value of marriage these days.  And I get it.  They’re concerned about the divorce rates.  They’re concerned about the things that cause divorce rates.  Staying in love longterm.  Fidelity.  Finances.  Fears.  But what about connection?

Here’s a LoveRules definition: Marriage is not what you do, it’s what happens.  Don’t worry about society’s baggage.  With values and trust aligned, two people in love can’t be separated.  But Love isn’t as cerebral as we think, either.  It’s a chemical attraction and it’s the result of attracting the qualities you exude the most.  There’s a real chemical connection.  They enjoy each other’s company and are inseparable.  This process happens naturally, so don’t let fear erode your growth toward love and connection.  Time is too precious.

My wife and I use an analogy to describe life.  Your path in life is represented by a circle.  As you move along your life path you are drawn to other people moving along their paths.  Your paths might intersect just for a moment or run parallel for years. Or they might also overlap for a long time.  This is an example of connection, union, marriage; and this will happen regardless of rings, weddings, and witnesses.  Let’s get past the titles and old definitions for a second and be honest. Despite the scrutinizing eye of society, people will connect, or be in love, or have sex, or move in together, at various points in their lives, right?  Just be smart about what’s keeping you together.  If you’re about to have a wedding ONLY to satisfy your families or because you’re afraid you might not have another partner in life, then think again.  Where’s the real connection?  Remember, marriage is not what you do (have a wedding), it’s what happens.

And when you do have a real connection, don’t let negative concerns and stress keep you from enjoying your lives together.  Each moment is precious and we don’t know how many moments we get with our loved one, so live them fully.

Now.  Rings.  Rings are only decorative and symbolic, with no meaning of their own.  These little circles only have value when they reflect the bigger circles of our lives.  On our lives’ paths, are we loving our partners, encouraging each other, empowering each other, uplifting each other?  If, daily, that’s what’s happening, then that’s marriage.  I know, it’s hard not to be impressed by diamonds and gem stones.  But forget the rock.  What’s it worth if 72-days later one person is giving it back or the other person is pissed off for having bought it.  Forget the rock.  Let the foundation of your relationship be your rock.   You know, with the right person, even one of those little candy lifesaver rings will do, and that’s a fact.  Ain’t life sweet?  How simple it can be.

So, work on what moves YOU along the path of your life.   You’ll be surprised whose path you’ll cross.  Your connections will be deeper and more meaningful.  And this marriage idea will be a whole lot easier.  Make room for more.

LoveRules #9 - Love, Self-Defined. Part 2

LoveRules #9 is all about defining the love you seek. Today, we are continuing from Part 1. The love you want cannot be what others want.  It might have some things that are similar to others but YOUR love must be self-defined.  And if you have ever held any doubts that what you are looking for truly exists, then read on. The internet is an amazing tool.  As most of you might have long noticed, you can find just about any and everything online.  Discussions, answers, people, services, products. What is a turn-on for women, or men?  Why is the sky blue?  Where can I find a notary public? Have you ever heard of a green rabbit?  Where can I find a last-minute costume for a Halloween party?

So much information is on the internet already; and if it's not there yet, it will be posted up there very soon.  All of our current conditions and concerns get shared directly online now. But know this. While it helps us to be in touch with more people faster, the internet is not really connecting us. Rather, it is showing us we were connected all along.  I like to record instances that demonstrate how life is interconnected, that people are interconnected.  I like notating personal examples where life moved as I needed it to move, presented me with the solutions I was looking for.  I see that life is ordered.  Recording these things from day-to-day helps me not lose sight that anything is possible.  So here, like in Part One, I have another example illustrating how what we think or imagine about love's possibilities can be more than idle daydreaming or fantasy. It can be real.  Don't give up on the love you want for yourself.

Back to the internet.  Recently, I happened upon an interesting write-up by Robin Shamburg on Truthdig. She was reviewing a book about human desire and sexuality called "A Billion Wicked Thoughts" by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam.  The book shares observations of data gathered from what people search for on the internet.  [Those who read my post "Was It Good For You?" should at least check out the article, if not the book.] But here was Robin's closing paragraph:

"Ultimately, Ogas and Gaddam’s ambitious and thought-provoking book delivers a message of hope. If there’s one thing their exhaustive research reveals, it is this: No matter who you are, slender or obese, young or old, there is a group of people out there who will find you attractive. All you have to do is go online. And for a person who is looking for instant gratification—no matter how exotic or debased—the news is just as good. For this, the authors cite what has become known as Internet Rule No. 34: If you can imagine it, it exists as Internet porn."

Looks like someone else is outlining some rules, too! But you get my point.  And shit, if it's online, it can also be found in real life, right?!  And obviously it doesn't have to be porn.

Are you going to wait around for the computer to show you everything about your own life?  Keep believing. Keep knowing.  If you can define it, you can find it.  Define the love you want!  Put some energy into it!  I have some more tips coming in the part 3 of LoveRules #9.

Make room for more.

Was It Good For You? [the battle for sex & intimacy]

[ I didn't want to talk about sex here primarily because everyone, I mean EVERYONE else does. I think people put too much of the wrong emphasis on it.  Sex is important but the popular viewpoint encourages people to value the sex pot girl or guy friend before they value someone who'll treat them well and care for them beyond the days they are able to have sex.  But that's why I AM discussing it.  As usual, there's more to life than meets the eye.]

Sex Everyone wants good sex.  For sex to be really good or fulfilling, it must be like anything else worthwhile. It must be practiced. Here's why that gets tricky.

Both men and women have need and desire for sex. It's how we are constructed: for our parts to fit and for us to make connections, and possibly, eventually bear children. But truth be told, the physical connection of sex is just a representation, an outward manifestation of a more authentic connection of mind, heart, soul, spirit, or some kind of chemical attraction. This doesn't mean sex must always represent a deep connection. Certainly people have sex sometimes just to satisfy a physical need, but even that physical attraction needs to become more if it's going to occur more than once or twice.  After all, in most cases, none of us are having sex with someone we're averse to, right?  Gee, I hope not.

The Need for Practice By definition, practice is an habitual or customary performance, or systematic exercise, for the purpose of acquiring proficiency.  First, for sex to be practiced regularly it must be made safe.  But what is the real practice going on here?  It's the practice of communication, of connection, and of giving yourself enough time to understand yourself as an intimate being.  It's more than performing like an athletic, physical, bedroom phenom.  Don't get me wrong, that's fun stuff!  But there's a point just past physical prowess, manual manipulation, or sexual mechanics.

How Much Time You Got? To intimately understand yourself and your partner takes time. Although it is possible, it doesn't make sense to practice sex with a whole bunch of people.  If you constantly switch partners you would have to practice sex VERY OFTEN to REALLY learn about yourself. And I mean "often," like in terms of a dance class, or a work out regimen, a hobby, or anything else you want to learn. That means at least 3 times a week. Who else can safely and consistently do this other than couples? For singles to do it means to have a multitude of partners. That might have been part of the idea behind "casual sex" or the sexual revolution, but it is absolutely inconsistent for every person to practice that way.  It takes time to get to know or trust someone to be able to do it well more than just once or twice.

Don't act like you don't know what I'm saying. While there are a good number of folks out there who are open-minded, understand themselves, have sex often, and please their partners, (and each of us would like to think we are always that person) the far majority of us who are trying to have sex often as singles are involved in a crap shoot. Some good lovers, some awful. You've heard all the same stories I have.  Shoot.  Some of us are happy to get it however we can!  And when we do it this way, as a sexy single, let's be honest, we're not getting experienced in understanding intimacy, we're getting experienced at screwing.  Just sex. It doesn't help us to get a clear idea of intimacy, or to mature in the way of human emotion. We won't be accountable to learning the nuances that equip us to handle a relationship.

And so, for those of us able to support ourselves responsibly, that's the case for the "friend with benefits," the "buddy," the "lover," or an actual mate, which is truly what most people are looking for anyway, right?  We occasionally need a study partner.  We gotta have someone we can attend "class" with often and with improving results, which can hopefully lead to something longterm & meaningful.  Getting to understand intimacy is challenging enough, not to mention trying to cut through all the hang-ups created by years of conditioning, bad past experiences, or ideologies that teach sex is bad/taboo outside of child-bearing.  And if you can't find a study partner, practice by yourself.  Yeah, I said it.

Holler Back While we're at it, let's appreciate that men and women probably view sex and intimacy in two different ways. Am I right? Let me know what you think. Do men and women view sex and intimacy differently? Are they of equal importance? On most days, do you want to take one and leave the other? You hear a lot about women who are sexually dissatisfied, do men feel the same? Why? How important is the real emotional connection for men or women? Do men or women try to portray themselves as something they are not, just to have sex? Are men and women reluctant in revealing themselves to allow real intimacy?

Make room for more.