“The only way you could meet my crazy was by doing something crazy yourself. Thank you. I love you. I knew it the minute I met you. I’m sorry it took so long for me to catch up. I just got stuck. Pat.”
We all bring our crazy to a relationship. Silver Linings does a beautiful job of writing a relationship where both participants are crazy but they take turns. They meet each other where they’re at. They end sentences with a preposition. They scream and throw dishes in public. They hug people whom they have a restraining order against or from. They end sentences with a preposition again. Did I mention that people call me crazy? They think I’m dreaming my life away, just like John Lennon wrote.
I struggle with how to let people into my life without letting them take over. How to embrace my crazy without getting caught up in it. How to recognize someone else’s crazy when they’re telling you it’s you. And when it’s also you. So complicated.
Spoiler alert- I’m going to talk about Silver Linings some more- I just loved it so much. It is rare for a romantic comedy (nay, romantic comedy/drama) to get it right without being trite. One of my favorite scenes was at the diner. Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) opens up about herself and seems to be having a moment with Pat. She offers to help her out and then he insults her by not wanting to be associated with her in the context of his ex-wife.
Rather than crying and running out of the restaurant (at first, at least), which I would have done, she balks. That’s the best word for her face. She looks at him, condescendingly, and says; “You actually think I’m crazier than you.” Not in the form of a question, but as a statement of disbelief. It’s great. I admire that. I wish that in the midst of a heating argument I could have the composure to do that. It was awesome. And then she smashes all the dishes off the table in one fell swoop and runs out of the restaurant, crying. I kind of wish I could do that too.
The beauty of it is that Pat realizes in that moment that he’s crossed a line and then he comes to the rescue on her crazy. They go back and forth on this as their relationship blooms. And that gives new meaning to the phrase the “dance of intimacy.”
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Nancy Slotnick: People Think I’m Crazy…
I was watching Lena Dunham on Charlie Rose the other day and despite the fact that I’m not loving her new haircut and the second season of Girls is proving to be overly ambitious, I was inspired.
And I shouldn’t be so hard on her. It would be almost impossible not to choke under the pressure that she is facing at such a young age. Emphasis on the almost impossible. Which brings me to the part of the interview that was so inspiring.
When asked about how she accomplished such a meteoric rise, Lena quoted her Dad as saying, “Love the possible.” That stuck with me. Especially because I am trying to make that kind of meteoric rise happen in my life. So I am embracing that idea. My new year’s resolution is, as I have told you previously, (see my blog that quotes Will Smith’s new movie) to be fearless.
When you are fearless, anything is possible. Or is it? I embarked on a quest to see what is possible and what is in store for me, on a Tuesday morning recently. I was hoping that a store front is in store for me. I was contemplating the fact that anything is possible if you believe that you can achieve it. How do you draw that line? Is it possible that I could go to one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city and procure a retail space by the end of the day without more than a stick of gum, $20 and a Metrocard in my pocket?
Well, let’s see what the universe said. I was able to procure a grilled cheese. And it was good. And then, as I was strolling around, following the path of whatever the universe sent me, I passed by an art gallery with a grafitti-esque painted canvas. It read: “Enough is possible.” Thank you, universe, I have my answer!
Here’s how I interpreted that. Not everything is possible. I will not win the Tour de France in my lifetime. Even if I use performance enhancing drugs and pass the drug tests in the post-Lance-on-Oprah era. But having a bike ride with my son on a weekday and still getting him to get his homework done- that is possible. And that is really great.
What is endemic to the idea that “Enough is possible” is that we need to take action, without waiting for perfection. How many times have you said to yourself “If only?”
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Nancy Slotnick: Love the Possible
The above title is my tribute to Jamie Foxx’s brilliant monologue this past weekend on SNL. I won’t use “How black is that?” because coming from me it will sound racist. From Jamie it just sounds so smooth. I love the concept about Obama too- that his first term was his white side at work. Now we’ll get to see the black man in him- fierce, fit and full of passion with nothing to lose. That’s the most impactful Obama- and I, for one, am so excited to see it. Israel is already taking notice. How snack is that?
So back to dating and relationships, since that’s my area of specialty. I used to own a real café, with a dating service for our customers. How snack is that? We served rice krispy treats iike the one you see here- they were so popular- why? First of all they were HUGE. (How snack is that?) Secondly, they were reminiscent of childhood. Thirdly, they were sweet and delicious. Need I say more? And people ignored the messy, digging right in and sharing with friends. Finger lickin’ good. Just like snacktime when you’re a kid. Pure fun. No worries. How snack is that?
No worries. I hate when people say that over text. It’s never coming from someone who really has “no worries.” What it really means is“I’m angry at you but I’m just going to pretend I’m not because I think of myself as the kind of person who is very Zen and nothing gets me mad. We can deal with our anger over text by dismissing it and we’ll be fine.” How snack is that? Not very. That was Obama in the first Romney debate. Obama in the next debate was all: “I’m gonna kick your butt so far from sideways that when we’re done I will have no worries.” And that’s just what happened. How black is that? (Sorry, I slipped.)
So I’m gonna suggest that when you meet someone new you ask yourself, “How snack is that?” when you’re on the date. That’s the litmus test for going out again. Clients always ask me: “I wasn’t attracted to him. Should I give him another chance anyway? I don’t want to hurt his feelings.” Not very snack. Why would you be doing him a favor to let him pay for another dinner with no chance of booty just because you feel guilty? You’re wasting your own time and his.
Please call me if you want to change that up- 212-712-0500. Consider it your personal wake up call. Snacktime for your lovelife! Get messy, have something sweet and fun, so that you can soothe the pain involved in growing up. Stretching outside of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself to know what you are feeling and face feeling bad. I am like your personal trainer for dating. There’s milk and cookies on the other side of the rainbow if you trust me, and you do the work. It’s not easy but it can be fun.
Now if you’re in a relationship, I have an exercise for you too. Every time before you call, text or email your spouse or your boyfriend, ask yourself: “How snack is that?” In other words, is what I’m calling or texting to say very important? Is it fun? Is it sexy? Is it a rice krispy treat for him/her? Or is it collard greens that have been sitting out too long at the Korean grocery salad bar? Challenge yourself to be more snack. Don’t let yourself get stale. Don’t be too Wonder Bread. Be unpredictable. Be Jamie Foxx.
Speaking of Jamie Foxx, though- I don’t know if he’s in a relationship. How snack is that? He’s quite a catch. He deserves an awesome girl who will admire him and put him in his place at the same time. When my husband filled out his profile at Drip, my old café (the day before we met, incidentally,) he was asked “What are you looking for in a partner?” His reply “Not a pushover.” I guess he likes a challenge- good thing for me.
So Jamie, if your people are reading this, and you are looking for true love, please have them contact me. I can help you figure out this crazy little thing. Because it’s complicated, just like the Facebook status says. Sometimes you need an expert, even if you’re a celebrity. I will respect your privacy. I’m good like that. I do understand that there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that your people will call me. And even less of a chance that you will. But that is my real number and my confidential voicemail. I’m willing to put it out there- that’s all I can do. Now it’s your turn. It was probably a white SNL writer that wrote that monologue for you anyway. Please have him contact me instead. No worries! 😉
The new buzz word in the world of tech entrepreneurs is cherry-picking. It’s used as a verb, as in “You can cherry-pick your customers based on targeted demographics.” These MBA types like to have shared lingo because it makes them sound smart. I like to learn it so that I can pretend to fit in. I never really do fit in, but it got me thinking about cherry-picking and where that expression came from.
I believe that life is a bowl of cherries. Lately I have been affirming that belief on a daily basis with the intention of creatively visualizing a brave new 2013 for me. So far it’s working. But often when I get all excited about a goal or a new year’s resolution it goes through the following cycle: Hope, Action, Reinforcement, Bold Action, Rejection, Defeat. Repeat.
I’m trying to break that cycle with my “no fear” new year’s resolution. I suspect that cherry-picking may be part of the problem. If life is a bowl of cherries, and that is the symbol of beauty in the world, then it must hold true that
Cherry-picking = Nitpicking.
Aha, there’s the rub. I picture some lesser version of myself going to Whole Foods and literally picking out cherries one by one to get the best. But they are all cherries at Whole Foods! Granted the cherries at this store could be dubbed Whole Paycheck but they’re going to be delicious and it can’t possibly be worth my time to pick them out one by one.
I tell myself- “Just buy the bag. Enjoy the cherries. Don’t be nitpicky.” It’s not even as unpredictable as Forrest Gump said about the chocolates. You doknow what you’re going to get- a cherry! If it’s no good then you spit it out along with the pit and you move on. (Do those of you out there who are dating see where I am going with this?) You still have a bowl of cherries.
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Nancy Slotnick: Bowl of Cherries
“There’s only one thing that he’s got that you haven’t got—courage.”—The Wizard of Oz to the lion.
A brain, a heart—to most of us, those aren’t that hard to muster. Or I should revise- for the people that interest me the most, brains and heart aren’t hard to muster. By the time of our grown-up life, we probably have honed our brains to be smart (is that possible? Sounds painful.) And either we have heart by now or we don’t. And in my opinion you gotta have heart. And if you don’t, well then, you won’t be going to see the musical Damn Yankees. And that’s ok because it hasn’t been on Broadway since circa 1997. But I digress.
Courage is hard for all of us. At least for me, courage is the hardest of the wizardly gifts. Perhaps because it’s unsteady. I have had a lot of courage at various moments in my life, but I still find it hard each time. The challenges that used to require courage get easier, but the sinking feeling in my stomach when I face a new challenge hasn’t gone away. Somehow I’m still able to put cheese fries in my stomach. But that may be a form of denial.
Case in point– Barbra Streisand gets stage fright to this day. So what to do when we have to face fears anyway? I dare myself. Then I set my dare to music. This week my theme song is Bust a Move. “If you want it. You got it.” I took a look at the lyrics. Seems like it’s talking to a kid who probably looks like a fat Urkel from Family Matters but apparently he can dance when it all comes down to it.
We all feel like Urkel on the inside. Especially when it comes to dating. I know I did. And still do, just I’m not in the dating pool anymore, thankfully. In ’96, I named my dating-café “Drip” because everyone feels like a drip when they’re dating. Even the café itself would have felt like a drip if I had named it the “Lonely Hearts Café” or something like that.
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Nancy Slotnick: Okay, Smartie…
I met my husband on the street. So meeting strangers in public space is not foreign to me, even though I am shy by nature. I am counterphobic I guess. And I am also in the business of helping people to meet.
I had the opportunity to attend a tremendously interesting conference at Harvard this week about public space: its design, its uses and its politics. It was called Putting Public Space in its Place. It was organized and chaired by Professor Jerold Kayden, who has an organization that advocates for the Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) of New York City. These spaces have largely been neglected and abandoned. As a result, the owners have either privatized them or let them languish in the majority of cases. I’m interested in the question of re-claiming public spaces for the public, and especially for the purpose of human connection.
Because I am in the matchmaking business, I think a lot about the way people meet their potential dates. I always hear from clients; “Where do I go to meet people? Is online dating the only option? I see people on the subway or at the park that I want to meet, but it seems too awkward- what can I do?” We get the term “ice breaker” from the fact that it can feel as cold as ice to break through the defenses that people have up, especially in a big scary place like New York City. A warm smile can be all you need if you dare. But because smiling at a girl or guy you like can be close to impossible, I’m thinking a warm matchmaker may be necessary. Industry experts say I’m getting warmer.
Public space needs a hotspot. I’m not talking about the Wi-Fi kind. Vast open public space can be a wonderful canvas for design-o-philes, but Fred Kent, founder and president of Project for Public Spaces, calls for creating smaller enclaves, a process that he coins “placemaking.” This type of user-friendly design will encourage social use that is fun and engaging. (I am paraphrasing here so I hope Fred will forgive me.) This type of public space set-up has the capacity to spread the love naturally.
But when it comes to meeting new people and facing rejection, especially in public, there is a missing ingredient that extends even beyond great design. In my experience in the singles scene, people need shepherding. At the conference they call it stewardship. So I will just call myself the Stewardess of Love. That sounds sexy! Coffee, tea or a date? That’s what Matchmaker Café is.
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Nancy Slotnick: PDA
There’s a story in my parents’ marriage. Long ago, before I was born, my mom once asked my Dad “Do I look fat in this?” He answered honestly. Once. So it begs the question- is talking about a woman’s weight (or a man’s for that matter) fair game in a relationship? We all know guys are very visual. And probably the #1 fear that most guys have (even though conventional wisdom says it’s “snakes”) is that their girlfriend, or wife, will get fat. Is this fair? Is this superficial? Is this misogynist? Maybe all three, but it is what it is. If he is stifled from talking about it, it only makes things worse.
I have been a dating coach for over 10 years, talking about women’s sex lives and dating lives and everything in between. You would think that I have dealt with the most personal topics you can imagine. But it wasn’t until this year, when I started dabbling in coaching on weight loss, that I really started to piss women off. Some actually quit just because I raised the topic. Is that fair? I don’t know. But I like to ask: “Do you want it to be fair or do you want to be happy?”
Let’s just say that you’re single and you’ve gained 10 lbs (which means 15 lbs in girl lbs.) Or that you are 10-15 lbs heavier than you’d like to be. What if I were to say that losing 15 lbs would dramatically increase the chance that you could get any guy that you want. Well, at least you could get to the 2nd date a lot better. Would you do it?
On the flip side, maybe staying overweight is a way of ensuring that you won’t get what you want. Maybe the extra fat literally and figuratively keeps people further away. Maybe eating is a replacement for sex. Or for the vulnerability that you feel because you can’t control sex in the same way that you can control food.
Wait, this blog is getting too heavy- put it this way- doesn’t sex feel better when you’re skinny? Can you even have sex after a meal at Carmine’s? When you tell yourself “I want him to love me for me!,” is that just an excuse for being lazy?
Women’s commitment issues come out in the funniest ways. A guy who isn’t ready to settle down will generally just say “I’m not ready for a relationship.” Women will bury themselves in Ben & Jerry’s and wonder “Why doesn’t he call?” That’s still a commitment issue!
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Nancy Slotnick: Do I Look Fat in this Blog?
Arizona Diet Iced Tea- Peach flavor
Organic baby spinach
Oh sorry- that’s my grocery list. And it’s so easy to just go across the street and get it all. If only finding a mate could be so easy. Some people have a grocery list for what they look for in a partner. But is that a wise way to go about it? I’ve seen a lot of people seeking love in my years in the dating business and I have to say that the ones who are successful do not usually have a checklist the size of a dictionary. The people that I see using a spreadsheet to track their dates are generally too removed from their emotions to find love.
Matchmaker Café and other online dating sites are a kind of grocery store for dates. It seems like it should be so easy to plug in our criteria and have the internet machine spit out the answer. So why can’t we just order up the person we want like Chinese take-out? I would tip the delivery guy so well for that. But the conversation around the “checklist” always leads to one conclusion- that the chemistry and the checklist are at odds. How to have both is the big question.
It can be done. So here’s the checklist for the resolution of the checklist question:
- Do not have 73 things on your checklist- that’s only ok for reality TV stars on shows called “Miss Advised”
- Have 3 dealbreakers- that’s reasonable
- Have a picture of what you want that has details- that’s ok
- Let your picture morph if you meet someone you like
- Don’t be anal or rigid about your checklist
- Go with your gut- if you have passion about someone- listen to it
- If more than 5 friends have told you you’re too picky- you probably are
- If your checklist is too long, you need to look inward
- Recognize that the checklist is about being in control; Love is an out of control experience
- People are not objects, so you can’t order them up like groceries
- If you are a checklist person, you may be a narcissist
- If you are a narcissist, there is hope for you (other than being a reality TV star). But you have to want to change.
- You can’t outsource love, because of #10.
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Nancy Slotnick: The Checklist
It’s not fair to guys that they seem to have a monopoly on commitment issues. Even if this is territory that they have themselves claimed, they do themselves a disservice. Women’s commitment issues are much more subtle but often way more sticky and insidious.
When a guy is afraid to commit he will usually own it: “Yeah, I have commitment issues and I’m not really ready to settle down.” When that guy becomes ready, he usually doesn’t have to have his Cablight on for very long before he gets snatched up.
Women, on the other hand, usually think that they are completely available for a relationship, yet they will date unavailable men, be too picky, and the like. Those women often stay single for much longer. I guess it’s a tortoise and hare issue.
So let’s be the tortoise for the moment.
How do you start noticing and owning your commitment issues?
Look for patterns. If every guy that you have broken up with in the last decade has gotten engaged in the next year after, then maybe the one with commitment issues is you.
Take a look at 3 factors-
1. your age (see this blog)
2. how many serious relationships you’ve had
3. how many times you’ve been in love
See if the profile of your lovelife (what I call your “dating resume”) measures up. Would you “hire” you based on that resume?
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Nancy Slotnick: Fear of Commitment
Okay, I admit it. I saw Tears for Fears in concert. My friend bought the tickets, but I did go voluntarily. I’m letting go of my shame in life. It’s cleansing. So yesterday those two spoke to me: “Time to eat all your words; swallow your pride, open your eyes.” Repeat.
Nancy Slotnick is The RP’s Relationships expert.
I heard a friend speak at the New York Business Expo this week about what it took to build his company into a $200 Million company. He likened it to parallel parking. Back and forth, in and out, over and over until you get it. Continuing even when your wife says: “there’s no way that we can fit into that space.” Practicing a lot, then getting it done. Impressive.
I feel like that on the inside, but how do I help people find love in a hopeless place? It feels like getting a U-Haul into a tiny parking space. And then realizing that there’s a hydrant there. Frustrating, but maybe it’s a sign? The seeds of love need to be quenched. It’s going to take more than a Drip. (that’s a private joke for those of you who know me- if you don’t, check out my bio on Matchmaker Café.) It’s going to take a wave, of hurricane proportions. Let’s surf!
I may be getting a little too metaphoric here, I realize now. So let me give it to you Cosmo Girl Style:
Top 10 Ways to Sow the Seeds of Love:
(BTW, this list can be re-purposed for married people too, surprisingly)
- Smile with your eyes
- Position yourself in the room somewhere that makes you approachable, nay, bump-into-able
- Have the opening line
- Sexy sells
- Ask good questions
- Listen to the answer
- Say something completely stupid and embarrassing about yourself (non-sexual though, don’t jump the shark on this)
- Be hard to get (which is different from Play hard to get)
- Be possible to get (impossible is too intimidating)
Oh, and did I mention to join Matchmaker Café? I didn’t put that in the Top 10 because that one should NOT be re-purposed for married people. Unless your hobby is setting up your friends on Facebook. Then please call me!
If you’ve gotten all the way through reading this blog, and you are ready for action then you deserve digits. Follow me on Huffington Post and I will give you my number if you ask. My “short-list” of iPhone contacts consists of a very good bunch of high caliber individuals that I have been sowing recently. I’ve heard that you reap what you sow.