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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More Is More

Dolly Big Hair

You’re always going to be too much for someone–too fat, too thin, too glam, too plain, too old, too young, too quiet, too loud. Recently, the guy I dated in Texas repeatedly told me I was “too blonde.” He also wished that I was more of a jeans, t-shirt, and baseball cap kind of a girl. I hardly consider myself underweight, but the Middle Eastern boyfriend I had a couple years back thought I should gain 5-10 pounds. He also suggested I cut my hair (as if!) and stop wearing makeup. Although I did wear less makeup when I would see him, I still wore as much makeup as I wanted to on my own time and definitely wasn’t about to mess with my hair or pack on the pounds.

Even my amazing long-term ex boyfriend had something he tried to change about me—he thought I dressed “too sexy.” Out of all the criticisms, his was actually valid. We had a bit of an age gap and would often have dinners with his TV writer friends. I already stood out since I was younger than everyone else—I didn’t need to draw any more attention to myself. Although I love my flirty dresses, I believe there is a time and place to cover up, and this was probably one of them.

My ex told me he was going to buy me the hottest jeans he had ever seen and scoured the city looking for a particular style of Levi’s. He eventually found them—at Mervyn’s in Glendale.

I humored him and tried on the jeans that he went to so much trouble to get me. While my ex remarked that my butt had never looked better, I felt he had bought me “mom jeans” and refused to wear them. I mean, it’s hard to believe that Mervyn’s would exclusively carry the hottest jeans in town.

My ex had more of a simple sense of style, and I’m admittedly a bit flashy. He would often tell me that I didn’t need to wear makeup and would always say, “Less is more, Amy.” I would joke, “Less is not more. MORE is MORE!”

One day, he looked at me and said, “You’re right. More is more.” And he never tried to change me again.

That being said, I do feel that if your boyfriend likes your makeup a certain way or a particular outfit, of course, it’s nice to make the man happy. However, the person whose opinion is most important is the person looking back in at you in the mirror. And once you feel good about what you see, you will attract someone who won’t want to change a single thing about you, someone who recognizes you’re perfect the way you are♥

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**

 

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.

You Don’t Call, You Don’t Write

Claudia Telephone

So, there’s this friend of mine…he’s dark, intense, and has that edge I like. He’s also incredibly charming, knows how to make me laugh, and has a good heart…but there’s one thing that holds me back, and it’s a big thing–this guy just does not strike me as boyfriend material.

For this reason, whenever he would ask me out, I would jokingly tell him he’s dangerous or that I was scared to go out with him (both of which are true). He reassured me that I don’t have to be afraid to have dinner with him, but that I should be scared to go back to his apartment.

Now, I’ve known this guy for about two years, and I have to walk by his place of business at least a couple times a week. He’ll come out to say hi, give me a hug, and chat for a bit. Back in the beginning of the summer, when he found out I was single, he started to come on stronger than ever. I would always make excuses why I couldn’t go out with him or tell him, “Maybe next week.” He joked that I would keep telling him “next week” forever. I stopped making excuses the day he looked me in the eyes and told me he would never give up on me. I think every girl wants to hear a man say that to her.

Our date was pretty tame—dinner and a movie; and, surprisingly, he was a perfect gentleman. However, after that night, he never asked me on a proper date again. He did continue to text and invite me to his apartment, an invitation I knew better not to accept (especially after he threatened to lock me in for a few days!) Knowing from the start that this guy was a bit of a wild card, I simply wrote him off as a player and a much better friend than boyfriend for me.

A couple months after our date, my friend took me by surprise as he stopped me on the street telling me that he really wanted to be in a relationship with me. I giggled, highly doubting he was serious. He looked at me a little wounded, and in a very sincere manner, told me to just let him know if I didn’t like him, that he could handle the truth. That’s when I realized that he genuinely didn’t know how I felt about him. To be honest, I didn’t know how I felt about him either.

I explained that it wasn’t that I didn’t like him, I did; but I felt if he really wanted to be in a relationship with me, he would have put in more effort, and he would have asked me to dinner and not simply to his apartment.

He responded by telling me that I never call or text him, adding that he wants to feel like the girl likes him just as much as he likes her. He said that some guys don’t care, but to him, this is important.

At that point, I confessed that I like to be chased. He jokingly said, “You bitch!” and we both laughed.

Although I believe my instincts were right that this guy was a better friend than boyfriend for me, what he said really got me thinking, especially since I had a similar complaint earlier that day.

Interestingly enough, a guy I had only been on one date with had texted me that very morning saying he felt I was indifferent to him because I never texted first or asked to see him. To him, it seemed as though I was merely being polite by responding to his texts, but that deep down, I wasn’t interested. I mean, I liked him enough to go out with him again, but it’s just not my style to be blowing up a guy’s phone after a first date.

And these guys weren’t the only two with this complaint. “You don’t write, you don’t call” seemed to be a common theme of the summer. So let me explain:

No, I’m not a bitch. What I am is reserved, maybe even a bit shy. If I’ve just met a guy, I’m not the type to put myself on the line like that. I don’t know his schedule, whether he’s working, whether he’s seeing other girls, or whether he even likes me. In fact, the only way I know he’s really interested is if he keeps calling and asking to see me. Apparently, there are some guys who need this kind of validation as well.

I don’t play any games or have any set rules when it comes to texting or calling. I simply wait until I reach a level of closeness with someone before I start opening up and feeling comfortable initiating texts. At that point, there’s usually a rolling dialogue where no one is keeping score. Even before that stage, if I have something to say or something makes me think of the other person, I won’t hesitate to text first; but for the most part, I let the man take the lead.

While I don’t initiate texts or calls in the beginning, I am always very responsive if someone calls or texts me. I once read a dating book that advised women to wait a certain length of time to respond to texts from men. Personally, I think that’s silly—I always believe in being authentic. If a guy I like texts me and I’m able to text him back immediately, I will. However, if he texts while I’m with clients or out with the girls, of course, my response time is naturally going to be slower.

I can’t tell you how many girls will contact me when the guy they’ve been waiting to call just texted them asking how long they should wait to answer back. I’ll always tell them to text back right away because if he’s texting, it’s most likely a good time for him to talk. If you play a game and wait, you don’t know what he’ll be doing by the time you respond. And why sit around chatting with me when you could be talking to the guy you like?

Now that’s my line of thought. Relationship expert Dr. Pat Allen, whom I love and admire, has her own reasons why a woman should not initiate calls or texts in the beginning of a relationship. Dr. Pat believes that in every relationship one partner needs to be the masculine-energy and the other partner the feminine-energy. The masculine role is to give, protect, and cherish. The feminine energy appreciates, respects, and provides the sensuality and fun in the relationship. Since it is the masculine-energy that initiates and the feminine-energy that receives, a woman who initiates calls takes on the masculine role. That being said, it is perfectly fine for a woman to be the masculine energy in the relationship–that is, if she doesn’t mind a feminine-energy man. However, as un-feminist as this sounds, most women want to be the one who not only receives, but also is cherished and protected by her man.

I always laugh when Dr. Pat says, “There are a lot of women with penises and men with vaginas.” Most masculine men know they’re supposed to call. Therefore, a truly masculine man will never say, “You never call me.” If a masculine man wants you, he won’t whine, he’ll just come get you. It is more of a feminine-energy man who wants to be pursued by the woman.

Here I’ve identified three types of men who are more likely to be feminine-energy:

  • Younger men that date older women—Many successful, powerful women feel more comfortable being the masculine energy and prefer to date younger feminine-energy men. These women don’t mind being the aggressor and like calling the shots. The younger boyfriend likes to receive and feel cherished and protected. He might even be looking for a mother figure or someone to take care of him. (I must point out that this isn’t always the case. I dated someone significantly younger than me a couple years ago. He pursued me, called me every day, always picked up the tab, bought me flowers, took me shopping, and made me feel cherished. This man was super masculine and a great catch for a girl closer to his age.)
  • Men over 50—As men reach 50, their testosterone decreases while their estrogen increases. This makes them become nicer and more easily bondable, and more feminine-energy. (Once again, there are always exceptions. Just as I’ve met very mature, masculine men in their 20’s, I’ve also met some senior citizens who are still playing the field. The other exception is the man over fifty who has retained his masculine-energy, but with age and experience, has learned exactly how to treat a woman. This kind of man is a man worth dating!)
  • Extremely Handsome Men—Handsome men not only have women chasing them all the time, some women will cook and clean (even though we associate housework with women, in this case, it’s masculine because it is giving) and do just about anything for a man they are attracted to. These men are typically used to being pursued by women, so they are less likely to initiate calls and texts. Take my friend, for example—he exudes a powerful masculine-energy in person, but he’s also very handsome, so he’s used to women calling him all the time. (A handsome man can still be masculine-energy and pursue you even if he’s a bit spoiled. If your handsome man is indeed masculine, you will stand out in a sea of aggressive women if you stay in your feminine. Men have to do, women simply have to be.)

The truth is, there are no rules when it comes to love, so follow your heart. Masculine and feminine energy aside, if you miss the other person, just call–especially if you’re a man reading this; you wouldn’t want Dr. Pat to accuse you of having a vagina♥

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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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