June 28, 2008

Potluck, men, and love.

To all of you who are asking about the Guy Panel, it was wonderful! Good food, good company, thoughtful questions, and some terrific guys sharing themselves with us,openly and honestly.

I admit that I was under the influence of some pain meds at the Panel, having done something very bad to my back and being unable to move without pain, so I don't remember everything that was said. But I can tell you what I learned about the guys and it's pretty simple. The answers to the questions include that they are shy about asking out a woman, that they do want sex in a relationship, that they want the woman to show that they are interested in them, and that they are "old-fashioned" in the sense that they want to treat their ladies respectfully. And they want us females to put aside what we've learned from seminars and books that tell us how to behave and what to do and instead just go with our hearts. And that they dearly want a partner to love and cherish and are missing what that brings to their lives.

So we are very different, we men and women, but our hearts are the common denominator. We all want to love and be loved and we'd like it sooner than later, considering our age and what time we might have left. I had only met one of the guys before the Panel and knew that he was sensitive and caring, so I didn't really know how the other three guys would be and I was pleasantly surprised to find them to be just as caring and sincere and willing to be vulnerable with a room full of women they'd never met. There really are nice guys out there, if this is any indication.

So I've pondered again the question of what makes a relationship work. The statistics are lousy about marriage and worse for relationships and it saddens me. In the midst of my trying to figure out what to write about this, I received a call from a guy who offered to be on the Panel after I had enough guys and he shared his views. He said that he hates dating and prefers to have friendships that may, or may not, become romantic. To him, friendships require honesty, vulnerability, and accepting the other exactly as she or he is. Dating and relationships, he says, are fraught with expectations and demands, that we fall in love with who we think the person is and, when we find out the real person is different than our image of them, we try to make them into what we want them to be.

He suggests that loving ourselves is the way to begin and I say, what a wonderful thing to do. So thanks to the Wowettes for coming to my home and filling it with joy and to the guys for being so vulnerable and honest and real. Let's love ourselves....and each other.

June 21, 2008

Pre-Guy Panel Thoughts.

We're having our second Guy Panel next week. This happens at a Wow meeting. The ladies meet for potluck and then the guys show up and I ask them questions that the ladies have given to me ahead of time. It's a time for us to learn about each other, both the ladies learning about men and the guys learning about the ladies.

I wonder if I'll ever understand men. I like to think that all humans must think with the same reasoning, but it just doesn't seem to be this way with men and women. It's like we're looking at things in life from different angles or using words that have different meaning or something, I don't know. I remember hearing someone say that women have to feel close to a man to want to have sex and that guys use sex to feel close, so actually that's quite the opposite reasoning. It's difficult to have healthy relationships with the oppositive sex if we don't understand each other so I spend a lot of time trying to figure it all out.

From what I've heard, the guys are not so sure they understand women either. There are guys out there who want to do nice things for their women, like opening doors and buying them gifts, but some of the women don't like that, like they want to feel powerful themselves and having someone make these gestures for them makes them feel submissive or something. Some of us ladies have taken seminars and read books about men and dating and try to practice what we've been taught, like not making the first move or waiting for the guy to start a conversation or not calling a guy that they like, and the guys don't know what to make of this behavior. Men think of rejection as the end of the world, so they're even less inclined to make a move toward a women they find attractive nowadays if they think she turn them down or make it tough for them. So we do what we think we should do to attract and keep a man and it works the opposite way for us.

So the Guy Panel is an attempt to understand each other and maybe break down some of the things that keep us apart. I remember the first Guy Panel and that the result was finding out that the guys just really want to have a nice woman in their lives so they can love and be loved. It's really so simple that I wonder if all the seminars and self-help books have complicated the whole thing. Maybe if we go back to just being ourselves, treating each other respectfully and with kindness, we can make better and deep connections and spend our time loving each other, rather than trying to play games that we hope will work and don't.

OK, if you have questions for the Guy Panel, something about men that you'd like the guys to discuss, send them to me. Either click comment at the end of this post and write them there or email them to me at wowthatellen@yahoo.com. I promise to post the answers after the meeting. Even if I don't understand them.....

June 17, 2008

McKenzie and the orphans in Nepal.

I love my son-in-law. I met him when I went to college at the age of 42 and he was in his mid-20s. We were taking an accelerated program at Pierce College and had to form study groups in order to survive and so he and I attended classes once or twice a week, studied, and graduated together. Through it all, he was a dear to me, treating me like an equal, even though I was his mom's age, and I was delighted when my beautiful curly-haired daughter fell in love with him. Lucky me to have him in my life. Plus, he's the father of those wonderful twins, who also adore him.

The point here? He has a sister named McKenzie who is lovely and sweet and kind. That's her picture above. She visited here recently, on her way to spending her summer at orphanages in Nepal and Thailand. Nepal is the poorest country in the world with a history of continuous upheavals in government. In order to visit the orphanage, one is required to donate enough money to support one child for ten years. $2500.00. That's $250 per year, can you imagine providing for your child for that tiny amount of money per year?!? McKenzie has not had an easy life herself and has become a beautiful and compassionate woman and plans to devote her life to helping children. She is a very, very special person.

So McKenzie's in Nepal with all those orphans who are enjoying her tremendously. There are no showers or washing machines and only rice to eat and only occasional power and it's quite a shock to her, like it would be to any of us. I just wanted to share her blog with you as she writes about her daily experiences and what she has learned from the children and the amazingly kind people who run it. There are links on the blog to the charities that support the orphanage if you want to help support them. And you can send McKenzie a comment by clicking the word "comment" at the end of each post. She'd sure appreciate that!

Here's the link to McKenzie: http://mckenzielamborne.blogspot.com/

June 15, 2008

Old friends, new jobs, and moving on.

I'm looking for a new job. I like what I do, but it's time to move on to another challenge. I haven't been happy for the past few years and I've tried to make it better, but I'm up against a brick wall, so to speak, and it's time to go. So I was thinking about how jobs are like relationships, that sometimes we get into one too hastily or that it's not perfect or that things change and we need to move on. I like to think that there's something better waiting for me and that I'm just being pushed by whatever runs this world to find it.

So I went out with a woman friend last night to have dinner and catch up on each other's life. Nice to have a good friend who listens and lets me vent and then encourages me. And shares her ups and downs with me, like she trusts me with those places in her life and heart. Kinda priceless to have someone like that in our lives.

She's doing some internet dating and told me about a guy she met last night and how he was really nice and sweet but she's not attracted to him. Now that's a tough one, to find someone we like but not find him appealing. One might think that's shallow, but it's just part of the human condition, that we want to be with someone who excites us and makes us feel more alive. In my past, that often got me into trouble, being so attracted to a guy that I ignored the red flags. She had copied his profile for me to read and, most amazingly, I know him from when I was growing up. His parents were friends of my parents and I remember him well and fondly. Sad to hear that he was divorced after thirty years of marriage and now he's retired after being a workaholic and has few friends and not much to do.

It's really quite similar to me and my job, that I never thought I'd be moving on after decades in one position. I really thought I'd have this job until I couldn't work any more, just like this guy thought he'd end his life happily married to his wife of as many years. He says that he never had an inkling his wife was unhappy until she left him, and I imagine my boss doesn't think I'd ever leave him either. But sometimes, and maybe often, change is for the best, allowing us to learn and grow and move on to something better. So I'm a great worker, can manage any office efficiently, and am ready for the challenge. Any offers?

June 5, 2008

A June 12th Party Not To Be Missed!

We're having another party!!! Listen, I just got home from checking out this club where the party will be and I wasn't sure I'd like it, but it was fabulous! Lots of room but it felt intimate, tall tables near the dance floor to make it easier to mix and mingle, nooks with comfortable couches in every corner, and a very friendly bar staff! Can't forget to mention that the band will be SideTracs with "Live R&B - Latin - Old Skool Hits" - and you loved, loved, loved them at the last party at the Hilton!

We're do it a little differently since it's on a Thursday. The band will play from 7:30-10pm so you'll have the whole party to enjoy and still get home early enough. I'll open the door at 6:30 pm so you can come right from work and have a drink and a bite with the other party people before the band starts. There's a menu of sliders, chicken strips or sandwiches, salads, fries, hot wings, burgers, etc. and they might have more, all for $5-$9 only!!!It's in a nice and well lit area of Woodland Hills with easy street or back parking - and it's only $10.00 (to pay the band).

OK, here's the official details:

When: Thursday June 12th. Opens 6:30pm for food and drinks, band 7:30-10pm.
Where: The Club Red Square, 20001 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA, just east of
Winnetka on the North side of the street. Park on the street or in back,
enter in the front at the east door. I'll be there to greet you.
What: A party for us singles 45-59+ but all ages (and couples)are welcome.
Cost: $10 (to pay for the band) - cash only, no large bills.
Band: SideTracs - check 'em out at www.sidetracs.com

I hear from so many of you that there are very few, if any places to meet other singles our age and that you appreciate my parties. If we make a big showing at this one, the club will let us do it a few times a month, like we'll all have a place to see each other, listen to fabulous music, dance, and meet new people on a regular basis. Let's make it like Cheers, where everybody knows your name!

June 4, 2008

Cinderella, dating, and reality.

Live and learn. That's life, I suppose. I'm having a Guy Panel at the next Wow meeting. The ladies prepare questions ahead of time and the guys answer the questions and stay for dessert. The idea is to learn more about how guys think. So, I was talking to the New Guy Friend about potential questions regarding dating and he shared some of his dating experiences and I was kinda shocked. He said that it's not uncommon for women to want to have sex on the first date and then move on, like it's a conquest. Like they're becoming men, kinda tough and a bit ruthless and definitely selfish. He said one woman wouldn't go out with him until she saw his house, like she wanted to make sure he had money. I'm amazed.

A bunch of guys have volunteered to be on the Panel so I'm asking them to email me with some of their ideas about women and dating so I can pick the right guys. I don't want guys who are angry or nuts or women-haters. One guy wrote back, "Oh sure. In southern California most women are certifiably nuts and think they can still be Cinderella at age 55. How's that?" I thought this guy is all of the things I don't want and my New Guy Friend said that there's really some truth to what he said, that women do have a sense of entitlement, that they pick guys from online dating sites based solely on their looks, and that they often tell him on a first date that they are looking for a guy to "take care of them."

I hear so many stories from my women friends about their awful experiences with guys and I figure my friends are fabulous dates, so I'm just so surprised to hear that women can just as awful. These guys writing to me sound pretty frustrated, saying that they just crave a women to love and cherish and the women are making it next to impossible to find it. Think about someone new to dating, now in his 50s and divorced after a long marriage who writes to my request for his opinion about women and dating, "My ideas?!!!! I guess have more questions than ideas. Like how does someone get back into dating?"

After talking to the New Guy Friend, I realize I'm a bit naive about this whole subject, even though I've dated a long time, but I'm still going to give my opinion to the guys. How to get back into dating? Just do it. Ask out women who seem nice, online or in person. Be yourself, listen more than you talk, share yourself slowly, be respectful and courteous, and find fun things to do. Avoid the coffee or dinner dates and go to places where you can walk around,like fairs and museums or even malls, and think of dating as a time to get-to-know the other person. If a red flag arises, avoid that person. Rejection just tells you about the other person, not about you. Leave your expectations at home and enjoy what happens. It's supposed to be fun. Above all, be honest and straighforward and avoid game-playing at all costs. Just do it.