Bag Lady or Baby Maker?

homeless-barbieA few months ago, I stopped telling people my age. To be honest, I’m perfectly fine with the number and actually feel happier than ever with where I am in life. I just accomplished a major goal of mine–I’m about to become a published author. And my dream has always been to travel—well, in the past year alone I’ve been to Paris three times and paid a trip to London as well. And I currently have the most amazing man in my life. So, the reason I stopped telling people my age? It’s other people’s reactions to the number that make me feel bad.

Back in June, when I was single, I was standing in front of my apartment building waiting for an Uber. A woman who looked maybe in her mid-fifties was walking by with a man about her same age. She stopped to give me a compliment, telling me that I looked “gorgeous” and asked if I was going on a date. I told her that I was meeting a girlfriend for a drink. Looking at me disapprovingly, she demanded to know how old I was. When I told her, she said she had thought I was much younger and that, at my age, I had no business going on a girls’ night (Umm…Isn’t that how you meet men?). She insisted I had to get on Match.com or EHarmony right away.

Then she proceeded to give me a fertility lecture, telling me how I immediately needed to find a man and start a family. I confessed that I didn’t know if I wanted children. She then asked, “Don’t you want a nice, big house and an SUV?” Just for the record, I’m cool with my cozy one-bedroom apartment and the last time I drove a man’s SUV, I dented the entire passenger side. Anyway, she insisted that I needed to have kids if I wanted to “bond” with a man. She then went on to tell me that I could date older but no one over fifty-five because his sperm would be too old. She said another option would be to go younger, adding that “younger men have strong sperm, but sometimes they aren’t ready.”

She was kind of amusing at first, but she began to make me a little uncomfortable. I tried to deflect the situation by asking if the man she was with was her husband. She sharply said, “No!” I never learned who was the man was standing behind her nodding in agreement with everything she was saying, but he did finally speak. He said the reason he was nodding was because this woman was right. He then gestured his hands up and down my body, saying, “You must reproduce this!”

 I felt like I was in the “Twilight Zone.” Who were these people? And why did they care so much about my fertility? Didn’t Halle Berry have a baby at 47? And isn’t Janet Jackson pregnant at 50? I got time!

Anyway, the woman continued her rant saying how I needed to be smart and find a man who made enough money to take care of me. For anyone who knows me, I’ve never been a girl looking for a rich husband or a man to take care of me—I’ve always followed the butterflies, not the pocketbook. This lady went on to say that women aren’t really capable of making the kind of money that men are able to. Then she said something that struck a nerve.

She said, “You don’t want to end up a bag lady.”

A bag lady?! Was this 2016? Aren’t there other options for women this day and age besides finding a husband or becoming a bag lady?

At that point, I decided to speak up for myself, telling her I was about to become a published author. She finally dropped the subject and began to ask me about my book. Luckily, the Uber drive showed up and rescued me. She had me take her number so we could continue this conversation later.

Obviously, I never called.

What I didn’t tell her was that there was no shortage of men who wanted to take me to dinner or how I would be meeting a handsome man in London the following weekend. I didn’t tell her about the time I had recently spent in Paris or about the men in my life who have wanted to marry me or that time I actually did get married. This woman just automatically pegged me as a girl who couldn’t find a man rather than a girl who set out to live a life of adventure and wasn’t going to settle for anything short of magical.

In a universe where there are no chance encounters, I began to wonder what could be the reason this woman was put in my path. The only thing that I could come up with was maybe she was simply put there to get me thinking, because on my own, as a single girl, I would never be thinking about marriage and children. The thing I do think about, however is finding true love. I’ve always felt that if I found the man I was meant to be with, the rest will fall into place. And I don’t worry so much about time. I believe in divine timing and feel if I’m meant to be a mother, God will make me one.

For this reason, when people ask me if I want children, I never know exactly how to answer. The answer is conditional. As a romantic, I believe that having a child would be a natural expression of love with the man I intend to spend the rest of my life with. The thing is that in recent years, while my love life has been quite exciting, it has been anything but stable. I know there are no guarantees in life, but I would want to feel secure that my family would stay together forever. That might sound a little naïve, but I do know it’s possible to have this type of security because I have felt this way in a relationship years ago, at a time I was not nearly ready to be anyone’s wife or mother.

Part of my hesitation is that I have so many guy friends and male clients–I’ve seen just about everything by now. I also have married men trying to pick me up in nightclubs or hitting me up on social media nearly every day. When a married man messages me asking to get together or telling me that I’m his secret crush or even to simply tell me he thinks I’m beautiful, I don’t find it flattering, I find it disheartening. I’m sure most of it is harmless flirting, but I surely wouldn’t want a husband who behaved like that. I’m a romantic who wants to believe that true love lasts forever. And I’m also an optimist, so while I do still believe that kind of love is out there, I see now how rare it is.

For a girl who prides herself on being unconventional, I have some pretty traditional views. You see, I’m not from Los Angeles. I’m from Chicago. People stay together in the Midwest. And I didn’t have the kind of father who was popping bottles in nightclubs (that’s actually a funny visual if you know my dad). I certainly wouldn’t want to be in the kind of marriage where I’m home breastfeeding while my husband is out partying. I ain’t about that life. You see, there’s a lot of talk about men giving up their single lives. But, women, especially women in major cities like Los Angeles, have exciting single lives too, sometimes even more so. I believe that when a woman has a baby, her maternal instincts naturally kick in and her family becomes everything. She will never be a free-spirit again. If I found myself in a situation where I was married to man who was still trolling for girls on the Internet, I know I would regret giving my heart, my body, my soul, and potentially a child to a man whose sense of loyalty doesn’t match my own when I could have easily been sipping champagne on a yacht in Monaco or doing the tango in Buenos Aires.

To be honest, though, even though this is genuinely how I feel—it is mostly fear talking. I do know that there are devoted husbands and fathers in this world, and yes, even in Los Angeles. Before I started working at a country club in Cheviot Hills, I didn’t realize that normal families existed in L.A. That just wasn’t my world. But, at the country club, I’ve met some really happy families (and even a wonderful husband for my best friend), which gives me hope the man for me is out there somewhere.

And if he’s not, then there’s a chance that woman on the street was right. Maybe I will end up a bag lady, but at least I’ll have great stories to tell♥

Passion, Devotion & My Parents

Passion & Devotion 2

I once heard that the greatest gift you can give your children is two parents who love each other. Growing up, I had the idea that love was passion and having sex on the kitchen countertops; so I began to develop a perverse fascination as to whether my parents were getting it on. My little brother would tell me, “Eeeew. Stop with that! You’re so weird!” But to me, it was really important to know that my parents were madly in love.

New Year’s Eve was one of my favorite holidays because it was the one night I would see my dad passionately kiss my mom. My parents aren’t big drinkers, but on this night, they would each have a glass of wine. My little brother and I would sip on sparkling grape juice as we watched the countdown on TV. And, at the stroke of midnight, my dad would give my mom an open-mouthed kiss, a French kiss, as I would cheer them on. Although my parents always pecked each other on the lips and told each other “I love you,” I remember wondering why my dad didn’t kiss my mom like every day was New Year’s Eve.

Another time, when I was home from college and Christmas shopping with my dad, I came across a beautiful red nightgown, much more risqué than anything my mom would pick out for herself. I immediately told my dad to buy the nightie for my mom. He very sternly said, “Amy, she doesn’t like when I buy her clothes.” I said, “Dad, just trust me. Get her the nightgown.” Surprisingly, he listened. And when my mom opened the gift, her face lit up. I’m not sure if she ever actually wore the nightie, but it did make her very happy and added a little spice around the Christmas tree.

As I grew up, I became less concerned about my parents’ sex life, but I did come to appreciate my dad’s constant devotion to my mother. For instance, my mom recently had to have knee replacement surgery. While everyone was advising her to stay in the hospital as long as her insurance would allow, my mom confessed to me that she really just wanted to go home as soon as she could because my father takes much better care of her than any nurse. On the day of her operation, I called my dad to see how she was doing. My dad assured me that everything went smoothly and said she was in the recovery room. He sounded a bit anxious as he told me, “I can’t see her for two hours.” I said, “Aaaaaw Dad. It sounds like you miss her.” As if that was a really dumb thing for me to say, he snapped back and said, “Of course I miss her!”

When I called the next day to check in, I asked my dad, “How is your patient?” He said, “She is not my patient. She is my wife.” I giggled and had him put mom on the phone. The next time I called, my mom couldn’t talk because my dad was about to wash her hair. When we finally caught up, she told me, “Your dad really took his marriage vows seriously.”

When I write about my dad, I usually write about how gruff he is or how hard he was on me for some of the choices I’ve made; I realize that I don’t give him enough credit for being a devoted husband and father. For such a tough guy, he really does have a gentle side, especially when it comes to my mom. She truly is his everything.

As for me, I’m still that girl who believes you can’t have love without passion, but what I’ve learned from my parents is that true love is devotion…and of course, sex on the kitchen countertops♥

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Wild Nights in the City of Light

Laughter

I’ll admit I haven’t been very fun in L.A. lately. I barely go out anymore—most nights you can find me at home writing or curled up with a book. I always seem to have early clients or a pending deadline, and I’m perpetually on a diet. Plus, although I love this city, I’ve lived here a long time, so I feel I’ve pretty much seen and done everything this town has to offer.

However, there’s something about being in a new city that brings out my adventurous nature and makes me come alive. I want to discover and explore the city and see as much as possible. I once heard the term “traveler’s bravado” used to describe how people tend to behave more boldly on vacation; well, I think I definitely had some “traveler’s bravado” going on while I was visiting Paris Valentine’s weekend.

I went to Paris with a girlfriend, and it seemed as though she and I switched roles for the weekend. When we’re in L.A., my girlfriend is the one who always wants to hit up all the clubs and parties. However, in Paris, she was far more interested in shopping on the Champs Elysees and taking selfies with the Mona Lisa and Venus di Milo, while I was the one who wanted to stay out until the sun came up. After our first night of the trip, my girlfriend remarked that I’m much wilder in Paris than in L.A.

I had been to Paris ten years earlier and was lucky enough to have stayed at the ultra-posh Hotel Costes. I’ve always loved the ambience and the décor of the hotel, which is adorned with beautiful fresh roses, and I remembered the bar scene was really fun, so I suggested we start the night out there. It was at the Hotel Costes that my girlfriend and I met many interesting characters—a French man who asked us for a threesome, a man from Saudi Arabia who invited us to a strip club (we politely declined), but it was the swinger couple from Switzerland we had the most fun with—of course, not THAT kind of fun.

When we went to order drinks at the bar, the husband, in the most gentlemanly manner, stood up to offer my friend his seat. At this point we didn’t know they were swingers yet, but we did notice the wife was very friendly and smiling ear to ear. My girlfriend even commented that the wife looked so happy—could it be possible swinging is the key to a happy marriage? I excused myself to go to the bathroom, and when I opened the door to leave the stall, the wife was standing there waiting for me. She told me she thought I was beautiful and went in to kiss me. Not wanting her to feel rejected, I politely gave her a peck on the lips and told her I wanted to go check on my friend.

The couple invited us to go to another spot along with their group. When we got to the venue, my new friends started dancing on the bar. I danced with them for a few songs before going to join my girlfriend who was sitting in a booth on her phone. My girlfriend still wasn’t aware the couple was on the prowl, so as the husband made his way over to us, I quietly clued her in. Right away, she loudly asked him, “Are you and your wife swingers?” He stood up taller and proudly exclaimed, “Why, yes, we are!”

At this point, a guy who looked like a French Bradley Cooper approached me. When I told him he looked like the American actor, he said, “I am much prettier than Bradley Cooper.” My girlfriend said, “Eeeew. Let’s go home.”

The next night as the two of us were walking into a nightclub, a very handsome 6’7 rugby player from Dublin approached us. There had been a big Ireland Vs. France match that night in Paris, and this guy’s ear was all scratched up as a result. Although I thought he was cute, my girlfriend and I headed straight to the bathroom. My girlfriend wasn’t in the mood to party, and she left almost immediately. I ended up dancing and sipping champagne with a couple of French guys at their table. I wasn’t interested in either guy, but they were showing me a good time.

At some point, I became hungry and asked one of the guys to take me for a cheeseburger. While we were getting my coat from the coat check, the rugby player swooped in and whispered in my ear, asking me if I wanted him to save me, I nodded. He said, “Sorry, she’s with me,” took my hand and walked me out of the club directly in a cab. Very smooth—I did feel a little bad for the French guy, but you gotta love the rugby player’s take-charge kind of a attitude.

When the cab driver asked us where we wanted to go, we said, “Take us for cheeseburgers.” As the cab driver pulled up to McDonald’s, I said, “Not McDonald’s! I don’t eat fast food.” The cab driver said, “Well, you’re American, I thought you would want an American burger.” I said, “I want a FRENCH burger,” and that’s exactly what I got. The cab driver took us to a little hole in the wall where I got my burger, which consisted of four mini beef patties on a baguette, and that French burger was delicious!

The rugby player and I tried to decide what to do next. He thought the Arc de Triomphe would still be open for hot chocolate. However, it was already around 5am when we arrived at the monument, and the security guards told us it was closed. Since we couldn’t go inside, the rugby player gave me a piggyback ride around Arc de Triomphe instead. He dropped me off at my hotel at 6am and headed back to his hotel to catch a 10am flight back to Dublin.

When I told my girlfriend I had hung out with the handsome rugby player we had met, she asked if he was “the giant with the bloody ear.” I laughed, “Yes, that’s him,” adding, ”He’s fun!”

As if piggyback rides and cheeseburgers weren’t exciting enough, on my last night, I was hit by a lightening bolt. The way the French describe love at first sight, un coup de foudre, literally means a stroke of lightening. I can’t think of anything more romantic than Valentine’s Day in Paris. I ended up having had the most magical dinner with a man who told me he felt a lightening bolt when he saw me, and we both felt if circumstances were different, that maybe we could fall in love.

Now I’m not a person who believes that love has any bounds, but realistically, we lived on separate continents with a great big ocean dividing us. So, this was a very bittersweet ending to my weekend in Paris.

The next morning, as I packed my bags to head back home to Los Angeles, my girlfriend said, “You met a lot of nice guys here this weekend.” And it’s true, I really had. I love the French joie de vivre!

L.A. is often referred to as La La Land, but it was Paris that felt like a dream♥

Fireworks & Butterflies

Fireworks & Butterflies

I’ve attended Christine Hassler’s monthly group coaching sessions four times now. Christine is always very insightful, and Tuesday night was no exception. This month, she was discussing my favorite topic, love and relationships. Christine shared a quote from Antione de Saint-Exupery, which was coincidentally something my long-term ex-boyfriend often said to me, “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward in the same direction.” In other words, in a perfect relationship, both people should constantly be evolving and moving forward together, which I totally agree with. However, as I told my ex, of course I’m all for evolving and moving forward, but I didn’t want him to ever stop gazing in my eyes.

Since fireworks and butterflies are what I’m about, I was a little perplexed by Christine’s theory that when we meet someone and feel “sparks,” it is usually because, according to her, our “insecurities are attracted to each other.” I’d like to think some of us are more intuitive than that, and no disrespect, maybe some of us aren’t that insecure. I don’t doubt this theory is true in some instances, but it’s horrible to think that we can’t actually see sparks by seeing the love and light in another person. What happened to Namaste? The Divine in me recognizes the Divine in you. Those are the sparks I’m talking about!

When I expressed at the coaching session how I believe sparks could turn into something deeper, the girls seemed to think I lived in some fantasy world (maybe I do, but it’s totally working for me!). I’m realistic in the sense that I understand that no one is perfect, people make mistakes, there may be conflict, and we all have wounds. Also, that after the dopamine we release when we first fall in love wears off, we may have to work a little harder to keep the fire burning. However, what I learned from A Course in Miracles is that moment when you lock eyes with someone and are blinded by their light, that moment is what is real. The illusion actually comes later in the relationship when the ego creeps in and brings out our wounds to the surface. The universe brings us together in relationships to heal ourselves and each other in order for us to grow into our highest potential. It doesn’t hurt if your partner makes your head spin in the process.

Relationships are like a mirror in that the love you feel for another person is really a reflection of all the love you have inside of you. I’m always feeling fireworks with the men I fall for, so it’s quite possible that I’m the one bringing the fireworks to the table. Wayne Dyer says, “What you want to do is work hard at creating the exact thoughts in your mind towards others that will match up with the kind of relationship you wish to have.” Since I want magic, I seek to make every relationship I’m in as magical as possible. Marianne Williamson has an amazing book on this subject called Enchanted Love, which I highly recommend. She says, “If there isn’t fire, it isn’t love.”  You see, every fire begins with a spark!

Realizing that I’m not the most practical person, especially in matters of the heart, I decided to get a few other opinions on this topic. First I asked professional matchmaker Chelsea Autumn, who said she did not agree at all with Christine’s theory about sparks. Chelsea not only runs Queen of Hearts, Inc., where she has matched hundreds of happy couples, she also has a degree in psychology and was one of the stars of Millionaire Matchmaker, so when it comes to dating and relationships, I really value her opinion. Next I asked one of my most happily married clients who told me that there were definitely some serious sparks happening when she met her hubby. She’s been married for 28 years now, and she and her husband have two lovely children. My very wise ex-boyfriend, who I’m still great friends with, called me as I was writing this, so I thought I would see what his opinion was. He said, “That’s absurd–sparks are essential. People live for sparks!” The best response by far was from my very quotable dad when I asked him if he saw fireworks when he met my mom. He said he saw “cannons blasting through the air.” I guess we girls see fireworks, but the men who love us see cannons.

Christine went on to say that relationship expert Allison Armstrong (who I’m not familiar with) advises us that on a scale of 1-10, we should run when we feel sparks 8 or above, and we should pay more attention to those who are more of a 5 or 6. It kind of sounded ridiculous to me that I should blow off the men I have great chemistry with and go out with the men I’m less excited about. I guess it boils down to what type of girl you are.  Do you want to settle down as soon as possible, pop out some babies, and make muffins? Or are you craving excitement, adventure, and open to the infinite possibilities the universe may bring? I think you know where I stand.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced major sparks with someone and it didn’t work out, but I’m proud to say that actually I’ve had some 10’s show up for me like no other, and unfortunately, I’ve given some less exciting guys a chance who have turned out to be flakes. Regardless, I think the number on your spark-a-meter is not the best gauge of whether or not someone is a good match for you.

Here are my three most important criteria–you know I won’t steer you wrong:

  1.  How is he showing up for you?

Is he doing nice things for you, taking you on nice dates, giving you lots of attention? In my blog “The Truth about Men Will Set You Free,” I discussed how men prove their love by doing sweet things for their women. Dr. Pat Allen says that a man has a desire to produce into the appetite of a woman he loves. I am beyond grateful to be a woman who has inspired men to produce for me time and time again.

  1.  Does he make you want to be a better person?

Does he just want to get drunk and party with you or does he inspire you to grow? For instance, my long term ex loved to discuss books, take me to lectures, and museums. He encouraged me to go back to school and also to be a writer (even though it took me several years to listen to him).

  1.  Do you love who you are when you’re around him?

Do you feel happy and free and more like your authentic self around him? If so, that is a great sign!  If he makes you feel insecure or anxious more than you feel happy–he’s not the one. Blow him a kiss, and wish him well knowing that the universe will send you someone better suited for you.

Lastly, always remember that our thoughts create our reality. Therefore, we will manifest whatever we believe to be true. Since I had a traumatic experience when I got married very young, I’m not 100% sure I want to walk down that road again, but I am open to the possibility. I’ve always intended to create a fun, exciting, magical love life, and that is exactly what I’ve gotten. We can have whatever type of relationship we want whether it’s passion and fireworks or babies and cupcakes. So ladies, if you believe in magic, you will experience magic–why settle for a 5, when you can manifest a 10?

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**Originally Published on missamycakes.com February 2013**

 

Soulmates

soul-mates

“The soul mate. The one you feel vibrate when they are a thousand miles away. The one you hear whisper when they think about you. The one who lets you move freely but embraces your shadow from afar. That one. The one you feel like you have known for a million years.”~Sarah Voldeng

In conversation, a friend of mine recently asked me what a soulmate is. Without hesitation, I immediately referred him to this Rebelle Society article “Soulmates vs. Life Partners,” which explains the concept much more eloquently than I could have via text message.

http://www.rebellesociety.com/2013/10/21/soulmate-or-life-partner/

Soulmates are different than life-partners. People often settle down with a life-partner because of timing; perhaps they are ready to start a family or maybe they have a need for security or are simply looking for a companion. Most people do not want to be alone, and a practical person can’t wait around forever for something that seems like a fairy tale. This isn’t to disparage anyone; life-partnerships can still be extremely beautiful, loving and fulfilling relationships.

Sometimes as women, we go out with men who have similar interests and seem like they would be good potential boyfriends even if we are not feeling the electricity we desire. We secretly hope these guys grow on us and sometimes they do. Plenty of successful life-partner relationships have started out this way.

However, when you meet your soulmate, it will be a more intense connection than anything you’ve ever experienced, almost as though there is lightning running through your veins. You both will know that this is something so different and so special. There won’t be any question marks, for you nor for him. Men tell us such lovely things when they want to get close to us, but a soulmate will tell you things no other man could believably get away with, for instance, how he feels he’s known you in a past life (He does seem hauntingly familiar) or how his time with you is sacred. The two of you will just seem to speak the same language, and when he looks into your eyes, you will feel like you’ve come home.

Here’s the catch: while ideally your soulmate becomes your life-partner, that isn’t always the case. A soulmate is not always the person we should or could spend the rest of our lives with. So maybe you’re not destined to bake muffins and pay bills with your soulmate, but instead you’re simply meant to walk through fire together.

Soulmates come into your life and ignite a spark deep inside you, making you feel more radiant and alive. They almost always serve some sort of higher purpose, and even if they must fly away, they will have touched your life and left you feeling breathless. You will always be grateful for having lived and breathed in the same world as your soulmate.

This doesn’t mean soulmates are easily forgotten. Quite the contrary, in most cases, not a day will go by without thinking of your soulmate. And if you are lucky enough to see him again, it will be like no time has passed. While your soulmate is away, every love song, every poem reminds you of him, and even thousands of miles apart, your body tingles head to toe at the mere thought of him. He may even come to visit you in your dreams, wrapping his arms around you and whispering sweet nothings in your ear while you sleep. No matter how much time or distance between you and your soulmate, he will forever be in your heart.

Once you’ve experienced a soul connection, it’s hard to go to back to the conventional dating pool. The soulmate is a game changer! Knowing not every potential love interest is going to blow your mind the way a soulmate would, it’s important to keep an open mind, especially if it is a life-partner you’re seeking. For those of us who crave a soul connection, the good news is that even though they are few and far between, we can have more than one soulmate in our lifetime. So if you’ve experienced this cosmic connection before, it is quite possible you will experience it again. And if you’re really lucky, you just may find a soulmate and a life-partner in the same man♥

**Originally published on missamycakes.com**

Channeling Aphrodite

AphroditePhoto Credit: Dusty Wasp, Trapdoor Studios

 

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending Marianne Williamson’s Aphrodite training. I’ve probably heard Marianne speak hundreds of times by now, but I still cried when she walked on stage looking like a total goddess. There was such an exciting and intense energy in the room, and I felt beyond grateful to be in attendance with so many incredible women, many who had crossed oceans to be there.

Over the weekend, Marianne spoke in-depth about what it means to really embody the Greek Goddess of love and sexuality. The Goddesses are all archetypes, or inner patterns, that most women can relate to and use to better understand their own desires and tendencies. Aphrodite has always been the goddess I most identify with. I’m a Scorpio, so love and sensuality are my jam!

Just like Aphrodite, I love to be in love! If I could design my perfect life, it would, of course, include being madly in love, writing books, and traveling the world with the man of my dreams. I’m a person craves adventure and excitement over tradition. I was never that girl dreaming of my wedding day, so I don’t relate to Hera, the Goddess of Marriage, who only cares about finding a husband and feels incomplete without a spouse. Maybe someday I’ll fall in love and meet a man who will change everything, but the truth is, I’ve always felt as though perhaps I was missing a girl gene since I don’t have a strong desire to have children. In that respect, Demeter, the maternal goddess, who only wants a man to make a baby, definitely isn’t my archetype. And as a woman who despises housework and doesn’t have a domestic bone in her body, I’m hardly Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth, who loves to keep house. However, as a girl who always received praise from my father for getting good grades, I will say, I do have a little Athena (the Goddess of Wisdom) in me. Athena is the “father’s daughter,” with a strategist’s mind and a strong desire to achieve.

Although I definitely embodied Athena in school, Aphrodite has been the dominant archetype throughout my life. As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to wear make-up and dress sexy. I even remember wanting to wear an off-the-shoulder dress to my first Holy Communion. As soon I hit puberty, I became total jailbait, enjoying the attention I received from grown men. Now that I think of it, it was probably the Athena in me that kept me focused and out of trouble.

After college, Aphrodite totally took over. For years, all I cared about was being in love and having fun! Just like me, Aphrodite is wild! She loves to play. She loves love. She loves romance and passion. Aphrodite falls in love often and she falls in love easily. It is said that Aphrodite seeks out emotional intensity and adventure over permanence, which answers the question I get all the time, why am I still single.

Unfortunately, Aphrodite isn’t always understood or accepted, especially in certain religions and cultures (even in Western culture). A couple years ago, I was dating a man from the Middle East. When we broke up, he tried to “whore-shame” me, telling me he wished I could be like his mother and his sister, who each had only been with one man their entire lives, which wasn’t unusual for his culture. Early on in the relationship, a girlfriend of mine had warned me, “Amy, you love to be wild! You will never fit into a Middle Eastern household.” I tend not to over-generalize about an entire ethnicity, but it’s true, the two of us did experience a bit of a culture clash. While the notion of having been with only one man my whole life is sweet, I suppose, it’s a tad unrealistic at my age. Aphrodite is not exactly a virgin goddess, after all.

However, after that relationship, Aphrodite, as Marianne would put it, “stayed in her temple.” It wasn’t that I agreed with this man’s point of view or that I was ashamed of my Aphrodite. I love this part of myself! However, I felt this man had been so cruel to me during this break-up (he was a Scorpio, just like me….and Scorpios sting when they are hurt) that I decided I needed to be more careful about the men I let into my life. In the past, I noticed a pattern that I usually (not even consciously) take three-month intervals between boyfriends. After this boyfriend, I was celibate for six whole months, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Aphrodite isn’t going to mess with just anybody. She will only appear to men she deems worthy.

Being a highly sensitive individual, I was really shaken by that break-up. It wasn’t a coincidence that around this time that I took the book I was writing off the market. If someone who knew me on a deep level, someone I had given my heart to, had judged me so harshly, I wondered how strangers would perceive me. I felt maybe I had shared too much, that perhaps the memoir was just a little too personal. I even deleted the entire blog I was writing at the time, which had also been problematic in my relationship. I decided I didn’t want to be an open book anymore.

Before I continue, I do want to say that I feel a bit ashamed I let someone get the best of me like that. The man for me is going to be able to handle both my Aphrodite and the fact I write dating columns. Thank goodness, the universe self-corrected and put me back on track!

Six months after that breakup, I met a man, who, in the twinkle of an eye, made Aphrodite want to come out and play again. We only saw each other for six months, but Aphrodite was back in full effect during that time. I always feel more beautiful, happier, and more like myself when I’m embodying this goddess, but once again, she’s back in her temple–and has been for the last six months. (I’m not sure what’s the significance of these six-month increments; maybe that’s my new pattern). Even with the countless dates I went on this summer, Aphrodite never felt moved to make an appearance. I suppose she is being more selective or protective over me, but I do hope Aphrodite finds a worthy playmate soon.

When Aphrodite is not in love, she can carry her intense passion over to creative endeavors. Equipped with Athena’s wisdom and Aphrodite’s creativity, passion, and lust for life, I couldn’t think of two goddesses I’d rather have on my side as I finish the final draft of my memoir.

More Dates than Taylor Swift

Taylor & Her Dates

On a recent trip home to Chicago, while we were all sitting around the dinner table, my very sassy six-year-old niece rolled her eyes, telling the family, “Amy has more dates than Taylor Swift!” We all thought it was very funny, although I’m not sure where she is getting her information from since I’ve only introduced her to one guy in all of her six years on this planet. However, I have a confession to make: It’s true–I really did go on more dates than Taylor Swift this summer.

Let me begin by saying, I’ve always been, and still remain, a one-man kind of woman. However, my therapist, Dr. Pat Allen, invented a concept she calls “duty dating.” Before entering a committed relationship, Dr. Allen encourages women to date multiple men (of course, no sex before commitment) to practice their dating skills, and more importantly, to keep from obsessing over one person. She explains, “Duty dating is when you hope the guy dies in the restaurant bathroom.” She also says that because it could take up to three dates for the chemistry to grow, surprisingly, many of these “duty dates” ultimately turn into long-term relationships.

Personally, I don’t need any more practice dating, and I’m too easily annoyed to go out with guys I’m not interested in. However, I do feel as though maybe I wasted time being so loyal to men who weren’t worthy; so this time around, I took Dr. Pat’s advice to heart and decided I wasn’t going to commit myself so easily.

As I’m writing this, I realize I’m sounding a bit boy crazy. For anyone who knows me, for two whole years, I stayed in almost every night, writing a book and didn’t have much of a social life. After I took a little hiatus from writing, I began to see someone exclusively for six months. During this time, I was working on my personal training credential and took a life-coaching course, so there still wasn’t much time for going out. When that relationship ended at the beginning of this summer, I felt like I had to make up for lost time.

So, in the true spirit of Taylor Swift, I decided to “Shake It Off” and have a really fun and WILD summer. The universe clearly didn’t want me pining away over anyone either because as soon as I stepped on the scene, I was like a magnet. I had men following me out of restaurants. My guy friends were professing their love for me. Two guys even got in a fight over who was going to buy me a drink at a bar. I felt bad for the guy who broke his hand, but I didn’t go out with either one of those two.

I want to be clear that I don’t think I was in such high demand because I’m so amazing—I think the lesson is that when you’re strong enough to let go, new opportunities will always present themselves. I believe the universe was showing me it was in support of my decision to move forward and was keeping my calendar full so I didn’t look back.

I must admit, it did take me a few weeks to get a hang of this “duty dating” concept. First, I accidentally sent a very personal text to the wrong guy. I was completely mortified, but it did make us closer and give us something to laugh about. The next evening I had dinner with someone else and called him by the wrong name. I even mistakenly double booked a couple times. Although it was against my nature, I did finally get the hang of dating more than one guy at a time. Out of all the dates I had this summer, there was only one guy I actually hoped died in the bathroom.

As summer is winding down, I find myself returning to my authentic self—the girl who would rather be home with her nose in a book than out at a nightclub. Although I understand Dr. Allen’s theory, as an introvert, I was starting to find all that dating to be a bit exhausting and found myself craving some more quiet nights at home. However, I do think “duty dating” has its place, for instance, after a breakup, or if there’s no one that is really standing out from the crowd, then keep dating until you find a guy who does. Call me old-fashioned, but I still believe that if you meet someone that you have a special connection with, you should focus on him and only him–unless he’s not giving you enough attention. In that case, “duty date” your heart out!♥

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