Games.  I like games.  Games require rules, players and a board or setting.  Rules can be interpreted.  Game boards can change.  Players must do what they can to win.  This basic premise stands true from Monopoly to Freeze Tag to…relationships?!?!?!?!

Someone emailed me two very interesting conversations.  The first conversation in particular interested me the most, as it was two girls talking about “playing games” with men.  Should they or shouldn’t they?  Is the thrill of the chase worth the potential drama those goes along with “playing?”  Ladies is pimps too, go one brush them shoulders off!  Well that last part wasn’t in there, but you get where I am going.

Guys like to believe all girls are fake, gold digging bitches that are all out to play a fool.  This is a gross generalization that I never fully believed, but I do know that a few spoiled apples ruin a bunch.  Or something like that.

Did a guy ever stop and think why a girl would even REALLY play a game?  No, we are usually too dumb to sit there and break down a woman’s philosophy whilst standing in the local dive tavern.  Show me a great rack and my thoughts melt out my ear lobes.  So to get the chance to read a word document of a conversation between two girls on the subject truly interested me.  One was contemplating to make herself less available in order to drum up more of a chase from the male population.  They debated the Pros and Cons of this.  To say the least, I was fascinated at the thought that went into this decision.  We all think a girl just walks into the bar to get attention…but the truth is there could be more to it then meets the eye.

Playing mind games with guys are easy.  To me these games were like tests.  If I made the right move or said the right thing, I moved on to the next level.  If I failed miserably, I was more or less alone again that night.  These tests, when used correctly, may get that girl a guy who can say all the right things and make all the right moves.  It also may shun away a lot of genuine guys or naïve guys who have a good heart.  You can put me in that category.  Throughout High School and college when I was single…a lot of girls seemed to test me.  I pretty much failed every time.  Hence why I did not have a steady girlfriend until a month before I turned 21.  They tested me rather than try to get to know me. 

I’m mixed on the subject.  I am not a player.  I was a good guy who wanted love before lust.  I was invited over to a very attractive girl’s dorm sophomore year of college.  I didn’t know much about this girl.  She put the hint out that she wanted some that night.  I didn’t take it.  I could have lost my virginity that night, but I didn’t and I never saw that girl again.  We had 3 dates total and one was at a friggin’ pizza joint.  Could I have hit that and ran?  Yes.  But that was all it would have been.  And at that time I just could never bring myself to that.  All that girl wanted was a shot of Joe; there was nothing long term in her desire and she didn’t even put it out there fully!  It was like a head game every time I saw her.  She’d make you think she liked you and when you tried to do something, she kind of backed off.  Rinse and repeat.

There were a few incidents like that in my life.  Even when I was with my Ex!  Early in our relationship I was hesitant to be too forward because I got the scent that she was not a girl who I could touch all the time.  A few days later her best friend IMed me and let me know that I have to be more forward and touch her more.  I was a little shocked, but sure enough the next time we were on the couch…stuff happened. 

I don’t need a girl to say “Joe I like you, please remove my top” or “Joe, please ask me out.”  But I KNOW that I lost out on some relationships because of the head work involved.  I have even had some girls come to me later in life and say “Joe I really liked you, why didn’t you ever act on it.”  WHY??!?!?!  Because I didn’t even know!  That’s why! 

Does that mean that you girls should be easy?  No!  I get why you may want to get that chase going.  Put a guy to a test and see if he is worth it.  I had a girl tell me she plays games because it shows her how interested a guy is.  If it is too hard for him, he will leave immediately.  If he truly wants to get into a relationship he’ll play the games because the payoff will be worth it.  That may be true with some guys, but not all.  I’d play every game in the book for a night with Jennifer Love Hewitt.  But an experienced guy may play those games with you, hit it and walk away leaving you depressed. 

I always described these games as a vicious cycle.  Asshole guys break the hearts of sweet girls. Those sweet girls want to get even so they play games with innocent guys.  Those innocent guys get motivated and become ass hole guys.  And it goes on and on and on!  I lost out because I wasn’t an asshole guy and I was too naïve to play with savvy girls.  I never was able to have a one night stand or make out session with a girl because I either wouldn’t allow myself to or I missed an opportunity.  So many girls miss out on good guys because we don’t like to play games.  And so many innocent girls get their hearts broken when they try to play with idiot guys. 

The Verdict:  Be flirty, flaunt it a little and have fun.  There is no need to go overboard or play intense head games.  It may not be a bad idea to act coy at first to gage how a male approaches you.  I just don’t think you should play games.  I remember when I got this one girl’s number.  I waited a day to call and she didn’t answer.  So I left a message.  She called back, let it ring twice and didn’t leave a message.  So I called again.  It was like a damn crazy game of emotions!  And I know some girls do this on purpose.  They break you down and make you so paranoid.

With Michelle (my present girlfriend), it was so easy.  Although I will say I gave her my number and she was like, ummn here is mine and didn’t take mine!  LOL so even she played me some.  But the fact is after our first date I called her and asked to hang out again.  And we did that next day.  No games.  No hoops.  Nothing.  I wanted to hang out, she wanted to hang out…and we did.

In the end we should all be ourselves.  How many times have we lied or pretended in relationships only to see them fall apart, leaving nothing but regrets.  It’s ok to play hard to get to a point, but don’t let it destroy potential relationships. 

Keep it Classic folks.  <3  Keep those emails coming!  I love doing this stuff!
 
 
Note:  I wrote this in 2009 and want to archive it.
------------------------------------------

On to the second blog.  I was at work during lunch surfing the web.  I often go to Yahoo, check my fantasy baseball team and then check the headlines.

The last article I read was on Michael Vick.  Apparently former NFL coach Tony Dungy went to visit Vick in jail.  Dungy is HUGE in prison ministry and does a lot charity; he is a good man.  The article did not
bother me in the least.  I think it showed how classy Dungy was for trying to help a misfit such as Vick.

What bothered me were the reader comments.  You can comment on most
Yahoo articles, and I have to be honest…it was just brutal.  I can’t tell you how many people wrote things like “Vick is in jail because he is black and rich” or “Vick didn’t kill anyone, he just tortured some dogs.”  And it goes on and on like that.

In response you had idiot responses to the above comments such as “That stupid n*&&er belongs there.”  I remember a quote from X-men where Beast says “You cannot reason with closed minds.”  Damn
if that blue mutant wasn’t right.

First of all, Michael Vick broke the law.  His skin color, finances and age had nothing to do with it.  I enjoy conspiracy theories, and
admit there are some shady things out there concerning crime and racism…but this is NOT one of those times!  The guy was part of a dog fighting ring where dogs were trained, beaten and tortured to death.
Morally I think this is a disgrace to treat any animal OR person in such a manner.  Vick was lucky that he only got two years.  To me it says something about YOUR character if you don’t think this is a big deal,
because it is.  That’s right, Joey Mac is preaching on his peddle stool for once.  DOG FIGHTING IS BAD.  It is inhumane and cruel.  And to all you haters that were bringing up cockfighting and bullfighting…what do you want me to say?  I think that is barbaric too.  I do not approve!  Putting animals up against one another to watch them fight to death for our own amusement is just morally, ethically and socially wrong.

This is not a time for whites OR blacks to band together against one another and debate if this is a race issue.  It’s not!  And it
shouldn’t be looked at as one either.  Instead, this country should realize that such a brutal act is wrong no matter what your skin color is.  In all honesty, it’s 2009 and we should be beyond any type of
race issue but we aren’t.  The term “reverse racism” is idiotic as well.  If a black woman calls me a “cracka” and is serious (true
story) that is racism.  We have a black president that some people hate
because he is black!  At a time where the country is falling apart, I have heard people talk about his skin color instead of what he is doing to help the economy.  Ludacris!

Racism, to me, is becoming more and more accepted as the years go on too.  As if “well it’s always going to be blacks doing this and
whites doing this.”  What the hell has happened to any strides taken to unify?  Too many white morons using slurs and being bigots and too many blacks using racism as an excuse when the time comes.  I have many black friends and grew up in a very diverse town in Pennsylvania.  Maybe
it’s because I grew up around African Americans, Latinos, etc. that I am just able to shrug off skin color and realize we all live on this Earth.  I don’t give a damn what color your skin is, your religion, etc.  All I know is I share the same Earth as everyone else and I am more worried about solving problems than being a racist in inane
situations.

For me I just don’t even see why a white man would want to put Michael Vick down for being “young, black and rich.”  What does he get out of it?  Are the white politicians handing out freebies to me for
being white?  NO!  So what the hell does anyone get out of Vick being in jail or not.  Maybe I’m just naïve.  Racism seems so outdated to me.  We should be so far beyond this.  It’s the color of skin!  How absurd is it that some people are treated differently due to skin color?   It’s idiotic! 

People are sent to jail for doing the wrong thing.  Michael Vick did the wrong thing.  He went to jail.  You have two issues here:  the first is accepting that what he did WAS wrong and IS!  The second is accepting
that his skin color had nothing to do with what he did.

Racism is, unfortunately, alive and well.  Many of you read about that police officer that pulled over the Houston Texans’ running back while his mother-in-law was dying.  THAT was racism.  That man should have been persecuted for being such a bigot piece of trash.  Putting Michael
Vick, the dog killer, in jail, was not racism.  That was justice. 
 
 
 It’s been a little over a week.  I apologize; I have been spending more time away from the computer in my evenings.  May is a busy time with everyone around me graduating, having parties, etc.  However I am also using some of my time for, well, ME!  Last night I went to the
Dragon Gym Martial Arts studio and got myself a massage.  The girl who
did the massage has a private suite in the gym.  And it felt fantastic.  I feel looser.  Being at the Dragon gym did not help my itch to get back into Martial Arts, but that is another story.

Today I vowed I would write a blog…and I am writing two.  The reason being that I came across two fairly interesting topics today and I feel compelled to address both.  So it’s a 2 for 1 deal mi amigos y amigas!

I will go in chronological order of when I first came across the topics.  My routine in the morning is pretty much the same every
weekday.  I crossed the bridge to get into Jersey, heading towards my job.  Every morning I listen to sports radio.  I have no idea why it came up, but the topic of Madonna trying to adopt a child in Africa was up for discussion.  A man called in and started trashing her for adopting an African child when there are plenty of kids here in America that need to be adopted. 

Keep in mind…I wanted to get the score from the ball game last night, but instead got this topic.  His comment irked me and festered as I continued on my way to work.  When, as a collective group of people, did
we decide it is a bad thing to help anyone?  This may be more controversial than you are used to hearing from me.  I just couldn’t
relate to the man on the radio who was screaming that we need to adopt kids in the United States only. 

I’m a big believer in helping everyone and anyone.  Does a starving Japanese girl or a sick African not deserve adoption?  Should the French only adopt homeless French kids?  I know a lot of people here believe
that we need to take care of our own first…I’m just giving the point of view that I would NOT be upset if a French couple adopted an American boy with the intentions of helping him.  Why should I get upset that an
American woman wants to help an African kid?  (FYI I think Madonna is a Brit, but I am trying to make a point here)

I am not an unpatriotic person; I live and grew up in the United States.  I do appreciate all of the pleasures and freedoms we have as a nation.  However in my mind I put the needs of the world ahead of just
one country, even my own.  The ozone layer is deteriorating; is the sun just going to burn a hole on China?  Or is it going to affect the rest of us in some way as well.  When the ocean level rises due to an iceberg melting in the caps…is the United States going to however above ground
to a safe level?  Probably not.

I’m not a left wing nut job or a right wing extremist…I’m some guy people have called “Classic” since 1996.  I keeps it real. 

All I am saying is, why do we shun a kid in Africa being helped?  Instead we should be happy another kid is getting the care they deserve.  We should be praising those that help American children instead of shunning someone who helps a kid in Asia.  Our problems are not worse than everyone else’s in the world.  Every country has problems.  Every person on Earth has a problem.  Stop concentrating on the negative and start coming up with solutions to help more people. 

I could easily sit here and say African kids have it worse than us, but I’d be a hypocrite.  I just got done saying that our problems are not worse than theirs, and vice versa!  One of my former blogs was about how I have my own problems and that they are the worst to me because I go through them.  I went further to say I am fully aware that a starving kid with no home has a worse life with me…but I don’t live that life.
The same is applied her; a starving kid in the USA feels the exact same emptiness as a kid starving in Africa.

A lot of people dwell on how we need to help our own people and forget everyone else.  We forget that a lot of people help our kids too.  That guy on the phone screaming about helping American kids probably has
never adopted anyone.  Too many people are on the sidelines ready to pounce of those who help non-American kids, but I bet you they have never adopted any American kids. 

Everyone needs help.  The same argument can be made for “Buy American Only” or “Hire Americans instead of Mexicans” blah blah blah.  I am not sitting here saying we shouldn’t take care of Americans…but why
do I want the government to pump billions of dollars into a failing American car industry when all they have done lately is make huge gas guzzling trucks.  Get those thousands of workers to another car maker
that produces efficient cars with better technology.  See, I am not suggesting we lay off all those Americans and let them die.  I’m suggesting change your technology and philosophy and get those hard working Americans back to work.  Don’t set them up to fail again.

I’m a believer that we take the best of everything and put it together.  Probably a reason why I hate our political system.  We have two distinctly different parties…and only one can win.  Idiots, why not collaborate and take the best points from each party to fix the currentstate of affairs.  Why can’t we all embrace the fact that a lot of
different people have great ideas…and we don’t have to just pick one!
We need to help one another instead of persecuting everyone else.

I am advocating for togetherness.  You don’t have to agree with me.
I just think that we lost view of the big picture as a country.  Too
many people are pointing fingers instead of holding hands.
 
 
Guess whose back.  Back again.  Classic’s back.  Well you know where I am going with this.

I apologize for taking a break from blogging and Myspace.  I haven’t gone to anyone’s blog to read the last two weeks and I have ignored this thing.  Why?  I don’t really know.  Call it a sabbatical…minus me doing much except working, thinking and hanging out.  I will check all of your blogs tomorrow!  Anyway…

I can’t explain how much bullshit I have gone through in my life.  Horrible parents’  divorce.  Parents multiple remarriages.  Real family shunned.  Poor beginnings in a shit town.  Suicides.  Backstabbing friends.  Relationship problems.  Broken dreams.  The list goes on.  That is my life though; I never expect anyone to ever come to me and show pity or sympathy.  The fact is these events and hundreds of others shaped who I am.  Every day I make sure to be aware of my surroundings by looking and talking to people.  Today was just another life lesson learned…one that you can learn over and over.

Some of you may be aware I am a State Recruitment Specialist in Mental and Behavior Healthcare.  I find Doctors, Aides, Counselors and Nurses to work with kids and adults with developmental/mental/behavior issues.  Every day I am around the kids and adults, I count my blessings.  All of a sudden getting beat as a kid or a major car accident didn’t seem so bad from my past.  It’s a hard field to be in, but a very rewarding one.  I get to help the clients hands on, but I also get to help many people get jobs in a time of economic crisis.

Today I was at a job fair.  It was at the Shore Mall in South East Jersey; not a great place.  In fact at times I felt in danger.  People lined up to get in, as so many people are out of work.  They are willing to do anything at this point, but I am looking out for the clients and will only take people who truly do want to help. 

I was truly humbled.  So many people came up to me…desperate, disheartened and depressed.  Many of them were unkempt and disheveled.  I love my job, but there are times were I get very down.  I hate seeing so many people in bad situations.  And the stories they will tell me!  As a Recruiter I have learned so much about the “real” world because I come in contact with so many different people.  As different as everyone was today, they all had one thing in common:  unemployment.

Most of these people live in shacks, scrap for food and don’t enjoy all of the luxuries I have.  I am a big believer that I live my life…and only I can.  The mental scars and demons I carry are mine and mine alone.  No, I can’t imagine being in Africa with no food or shelter.  No, I can’t pretend I live in a shack with no job.  I have defended my stance against many people…I don’t say this with arrogance or bigotry.  I have my problems, and everyone else does as well.  Does that mean I don’t care about others?  Absolutely not.  But I think a lot of people need to remember…it is not a competition to see who has more problems.

I do my fair share to help anyone I can.  I don’t need credit or a pat on the back.  I do what I can because I know where I came from, what I went through and what I am today.  I keep things in perspective.  Today I was able to buy a slice of pizza, cheese fries and a soda.  I didn’t finish half of my fries.  The woman at the table next to me looked dirt poor, and I gave her those fries.  She could have been insulted that I would think she is poor and reject those fries…instead she saw a good person in front of her and gave me respect in return for the fries.  I walked off, didn’t look back or see if anyone smiled in my direction. 

That lady probably thought I was some rich kid with everything spoon fed to me.  She doesn’t need to know the mental hardship that was my childhood and teenage years.  All I cared about was her having a good meal and if she or anyone else wants to think I don’t know what problems are…that is fine.  Just don’t say it to me publicly.

I’ve had far too many people say to me “you don’t know what it was like…” and then go into a tangent about how hard their life is.  I usually cut them off and say “You’re right.  And you don’t know how hard my life is either.  And there is no reason to compare them since we can’t live each other’s life.”  This response, as you can imagine, gets a lot of eye rolling and sighs.

The problem is people take my response as if I am an arrogant prick.  I’m not…but someone that has real problems shouldn’t use that as an instrument to drum up pity.  All of us have problems.  If I fall in a puddle while walking up the stairs to work and a kid in India is starving…can we say that that kid has a worse day than me?  The immediate answer is “Yes” because in all fairness, it is correct.  However I am the one who tripped in the puddle and I am the one who felt that embarrassment.  My day is worse for me because I went through it.  Does that mean I can’t recognize that a starving child is much more important than me tripping?  I do recognize it.  I am just being aware of things called “time” and “perception.”

My point is I help a lot of people every day.  I can recognize the problems they have.  I realize the problems I have, had and will continue to have.  In this case my problems and your problems are like comparing rotten apples to rotten oranges; the two are both spoiled, but still very different.  I don’t need to be preached at about how you have it harder than me…I recognize some people have it much worse than me…but I cannot switch lives.  These are the cards I was dealt and as long as I do my part to help others, there is no reason I should be persecuted for having money or a job…I have my problems too.  So remember that next time you want to go on a preaching session about how hard your life is…a lot of other people may not seem like they have problems, but they do.  And your problems won’t go away if you brag about how bad your problems are.  Instead of comparing problems or debating who has a worse life, we should all be trying to help one another. 
 
 
I cannot imagine what gays, minorities and women must feel like on a daily basis.  And I certainly don’t try to pretend like I do.  I suppose some common stereotypes we imagine are “women are objects” or “gay guys are fairies.”  However I am sick and tired of being stereotyped or generalized…and I have been generalized BY Gays, Women, Men, Minorities, etc.  And what am I?  You’re thinking… “Joe, what the hell are you talking about?  How could YOU be generalized!?”

I get tired of defending my individualism.  People ask me questions and I answer honestly.  Let’s take a few days ago.  I went to the Britney Spears concert.  In fact I bought tickets the second they came out, got the VIP package complete with backstage tour and Pre-party, and took off work months in advance.  I made a day out of it by driving from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh!  I own every album, including bonus ones and have been to every concert tour she has ever done.  Do you honestly think I’d spend that kind of cash…just because I think she is “hot?” 

I have taken it all of my life!  YES I like gardening, poetry and Britney Spears.  I can’t be a straight male in the 21st century and enjoy those things?  I mean, the main culprits are my male co-workers or friends who basically sit there with their jaws dropped.  Once I told everyone what concert I was going to…they were like “Oh, I guess your girl likes her?”  Then I explain that I am the fan.  The next response is usually like “you think she is that hot, huh?”  WTF?  I’m gonna spend 1,100 on tickets to see her on stage?  I can pay 10 bucks to go down to Club Risque in Philly if I wanted to pay to see a hot girl!  Or even better, tear my girlfriend’s shirt off at night for free (may get slapped). 

It goes on the opposite end as well though; one of my favorite places to eat is Hooters.  I have been to dozens of them around the country.  They have some of the best wings, curly fries and quesadillas I know of.  When I tell people I go to Hooters they automatically think I am some sexist pig that enjoys ogling girls.  Look, I like staring at cleavage as much as the next guy…but I am not going to a frickin’ restaurant just to see a girl in a tight shirt!  You think I’d pay for bad food over and over?  Give me a break!  Yeah, the waitresses are attractive girls in short orange shorts…but it’s a job.  I am not naïve to not know some of them know how to work it for tips by bending over and giving you a nice shot…but they are not whores!  I am not giving them a twenty for a BJ.  They bring my food out, have a bubbly personality and then give me a check.  That’s it.  I go because it’s a fun atmosphere and I like the food.  Not to mention its 4 minutes from my house and a great place to watch a game.  I get tired of defending myself.

We live in a world where I am persecuted for going to Hooters because I am a stereotypical male.  But because I like Britney I am “gay.”  The best was when a gay co-worker of mine even had a good laugh at me going to see Britney!  Gah!

When I first started dating Michelle I had a friendly debate with her sister over my “manliness.”  She did not seem to think a guy who majored in Creative Writing was a real man.  You had to work in a factory or be a lumberjack to get the “MAN” title.  I laughed it off because I love Betha, but instead I wrote her a little poem about me.  I mean, what better way to show how much of a man I am then by writing a poem:

Grease on my shirt; Ink in my Pen

By Joe McDonald

Dedicated to Betha!

 

Oh Betha, a real man does not have to paint or clean.

In fact they don’t even have to be loud or mean!

 

No, real men aren’t afraid to think or write,

And I think I kick ass; you know I’m right!

 

I used to grease brakes and race cars,

I even threw down and gave out scars.

 

Every sport I play I come in first,

And I hate guys who wear pink shirts.

 

 A real man can drink, dance and fight,

And I have done all three in one night!

 

Still not convinced?  Let me list more!

I like playing games, but I love to score!

 

I can use tools and know how to change tires,

Plus I like pyrotechnics and causing big fires!

 

I hope this changes your mind about men being puppets,

Because I like English, but I am no Muppet!

 

So I may not be a mechanic or work in a zoo,

But I still think real men can write poetry for you!

 

The point is…why do I have to defend myself for being my own person?  We are all hypocrites in one way or another.  I like the things I like because…I like them.  I hate conformists who constantly must be the latest trend setters.  BUT I hate NON-conformists just as much if they avoid those very trends to be their own person…yet they all basically group themselves together, sit in dark rooms and learn to play bass (haha, that would be me being a hypocrite and generalizing). 

I am the type of person who likes and dislikes things because of my own personal reasons.  When Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” came out I fell in love with the song.  Because thirty million other people did at the same time, does that mean I did it because it’s “cool?”  Hell no!  I just liked the song!  Sometimes we confuse being conformists and…liking things because they are good.  An individual is a guy that wears a pink shirt because he likes the color pink.  A conformist is a guy who wears a pink shirt because he saw ten other guys do it. 

This is a ridiculous subject to write about because everyone generalizes, stereotypes and is a hypocrite.  I am no exception to the rule and I am one of the most accepting people I know.  I have close friends that are gay, black, latino, white, etc.  I look at them all as people.  Someone at work thought I didn’t like blacks because I didn’t look at them right away!  I was a bit miffed and had a stern talk with that person.  Some of my closer friends in High School and College were black, and I took great offense to that.  I cannot stand racism and was hurt because a black girl thought I had a problem with blacks.  After our talk we are closer than ever!  If people just talked they would understand so much more. 

I rather not have this cover race, gender or creed, etc. because I am a white male and I constantly get stereotyped.  Hell I get stereotyped for being a white male!  I was born that way my peeps.  Love it or leave it.  But my point in this blog was more on the individuality of a person.  I couldn’t give a damn what color your skin is because its 2009 and I feel we should be so far beyond that.  I think it’s laughable some people didn’t vote for our President solely on skin color.  It’s a shame we as a country still act so ridiculous after so many years.

But anyway, I got off topic.  The point is…be yourself.  I may not get totally accepted at times…but I do get respect.  I am real.  Classic Joey Mac is allowed to love Britney Spears, gardening, cooking, big boobs, coconut rum and cars…at the same time.  I don’t have to be a greaser or a fairy.  I don’t have to be Rambo or Napoleon Dynamite.  I can be both!  I read comic books and great works of literature.  I can stare at the Mona Lisa and Miss July in Playboy.  I can listen to Eminem and Duran Duran.  That is who I am, albeit a small sample.  I am a complicated person who treats everyone equal.  I do not assume things about people because I think of myself and how I hate when people think things about me without ever asking me!

Some may feel I am whining.  Be my guest.  But it hurts just as much when people assume things about me.  Group stereotypes get so much attention because large groups of people get generalized.  I am fighting the fight for the individual and how people get crucified for being themselves!  The peer pressure at College and High School is insane.  Every girl has to be stick thin with curves.  Every guy has to be well built with gel in their hair.  Everyone must get drunk to be cool.  The End.  I never got drunk once in College and High School.  And I suffered.  I never had a one night stand in my life.  In fact I never had a girlfriend until I was 20.  But you know what…I wouldn’t change any of my decisions.  I didn’t need a six pack to get friends.  I was happy being me.

You don’t need to bend to society to be happy or cool.  If you enjoy wearing low cut shirts, go for it!  If you enjoy drawing crazy cartoons, keep it up.  If you are male and enjoy the color pink, who cares?  Do not compromise who you are for anyone…because you can’t change how you feel when you are alone, no matter how fake you are.  And don’t worry about what others think…happiness comes from within.  I may get tired of defending my interests or who I am…but I much rather go through that then be someone other than me.

“Nobody's telling me just what what what I wanna do, do
I'm so fed up with people telling me to be
Someone else but me” ~ Britney Spears; Overprotected
 
 
Lately I have been feeling nostalgic, which is no surprise…they call me “Classic” for a reason, folks.  My younger brother and only sibling is quickly approaching the end of his senior year of High School and I am standing on the sidelines, watching objectively.  Through watching and even talking to him or my father, it’s been conjuring up old feelings about the last days of my High School, and also that whole process and transition of going to college.

I can safely say age 12 – 22 is an absolutely insane ten year time period full of emotions, feelings, critical events and a boat load of highs and lows in one’s life.  I was certainly no exception to the rule.  I am an encyclopedia for my own life, able to recall conversations, emotions and events from my past with a quick thought.  I am a big believer in remembering my past…as I grow older, I’ve learned to appreciate it.  A few blogs ago I spoke on remembering the times with my Ex-girlfriend, and how those were precious times because I was happy.  Why should I block those memories?  Because we aren’t together?  Even on the subject of these old High School memories I’ve been having…I really didn’t enjoy that time of my life much, but I can’t help but think on them and reflect.

They say you “live and learn,” which is unfortunately true.  High School was mostly missed opportunities, awkward situations and dreams shattered.  If I knew then what I know today I’d have been oh so much happier.  I suppose all of us can say that and time travel is not an option…yet.  But in reality, I also view life as pretty cruel in some respects.  I learn life’s hard lessons in the first quarter of my life and try to pass my knowledge down to my kids…only to have them shrug off anything I say because I’d be a figure they can’t connect with because “you don’t know what it feels like to go through this stuff NOW.”  How many of us ignored our parents at that time of life because we could not even fathom them having to go through OUR problems!?

And here I am at age 24…High school six years behind me and fatherhood a few years away as well.  I am in that ridiculous phase of life that no one talks about…the one where I can relate to that kid who shoved his father’s advice aside, but also can now start to see where his father was coming from.  The “invincible” stage is over.

I know this could be a gross generalization…but am I wrong?  Will everything I just learned during those hormonally fueled emotional times be wasted when I go to pass the knowledge down one day?  Sure, I learned a bunch of shit.  I missed my prom and looking back feel like an idiot.  I didn’t go out for as many clubs or sports because I felt drained due to my home life.  I didn’t take as many chances as some people did and lost out.  But I can’t go back and hit myself with some knowledge.  Instead I carry what I call “Permanent Life Regrets.”  I don’t sit there and dwell on these regrets, but they are there.  You can’t block them or get over them because you are over them.  They just kinda sit in your brain and take up space, occasionally popping up while watching game shows or sunsets.

This is all coming up because, to reiterate, I see my brother making the same choices I did.  I missed out on several things because I did not want get rejected or take unnecessary chances.  Instead I’d sit in class, look at a girl I had a crush on every thirty seconds and hoped she would get a psychic message that I was interested…which never happened.  And even if you hate High School, you only go through it once.  There are no re-dos.  I guess the saying “you live through your children” or however it goes just came into effect with me looking back on my life through my brother.

I also notice the conversations I have with my Dad go farther than him saying something and me screaming at him.  Now we can relate, talk civilly and I learn a lot because I am listening to his advice instead of shunning it.  Growing up is a scary thing.

Despite some miserable times, I have to say I miss that age range of 12-22 because every day was an adventure.  God, how many songs do I STILL listen to because they are attached to some unforgettable memory.  A criticism I often hear is that I live too far in the past…so far I can’t see the good things going on presently or in my future.  That of course, is not true.  I am extremely aware of the present, and can certainly see into the future.  I guess I have always had a problem with the set up of an average life:

For 20 or so years we live, learn and go through an insane amount of highs and lows that become the foundation for life as we know it.  We go on through the education levels, stopping whenever we choose to, then find a job and work for 40 years.  When we are close to being decrepit we retire, try to do a list of things before we die…then die.  I’m sorry that is just not fulfilling.  And I get that I am leaving out having families, traveling, seeing your kids grow up, being in love, etc.  I get that.  One thing I am not is an ignorant generalist…anything I write or leave out is for a reason.  And maybe some of this is coming because I AM 24 and not 70 looking back on my entire life.  Remember, I’m not just a blogger who thinks he knows everything…I’m a 24 year old kid with an imagination and a view point that is trying to look back and forward at the same time.

If there is anything I’d want taken out of this, it’s more for the people that are in that 12-22 age range now.  Don’t be afraid to take some risks, explore feelings and above all…enjoy life.  I am sure having children, getting married, etc. is plenty fulfilling and do not want to demean that stage of life.  But…right now I have been working after college for close to two years.  I work for the weekend, wasting over ten hours every day during the week at work going in and out of day dreams in-between phone calls and emails.  After fighting traffic, I go home and do mindless things because my brain is fried from work.  Then I sleep.  Repeat this five days a week for the next forty years…and that is a good chunk of my future.  Obviously I am ignoring the impact I have at work helping children and adults that are MR/DD…but for the sake of this blog I am being a bit selfish and talking about my life’s impact on ME.

All of a sudden I watch my brother going through High School…and I realize there is no point in looking back on my own days, cursing under my breath.  I appreciate the fun times I had at Hooters with the guys, the movie trips and the way I felt when the hot girl winked at me in the hallway.  That is why I say I can never truly delete the regret of not going to the prom or not going out for baseball…because those are just additional times I’d be able to enjoy then and look back on now.  They don’t hurt me like a true regret is supposed to…they just are emptiness that could have been filled.  Take it from me kiddies…I’m not your 45 year old Dad…I’m a 24 year old guy who is only a few years removed from what you are going through now.  The only measure of life in my eyes has always been happiness. 
 
 
My friend emailed me this question and said it was ok for me to blog on it.

“I was chatting with my friends, one of whom is also a single mom. The question is when do you tell a guy that you have a child and how do you approach it. I got all kinds of responses but really feel like this is a question worth exploring.”

Whoa boy!  My buddy sure gave me an interesting topic to talk about in the latest and greatest edition of this so-called blog.

There are really only two perspectives to this question, at least in my eyes.  Let us start with the male point of view.  I won’t even lie and say I represent the generic malepoint of view, but at least I am a man.

As guys we automatically believe every girl has some sort of secret they are hiding.  I seriously think we have trust issues, especially when we are looking for relationships or JUST starting a relationship.  Even I can say that when I was on Match.com and Eharmony.com…I was screening those profiles for red flags.  Would I say a young woman with a child is a “red flag?”  Absolutely not.  However I am telling you now ladies…if you have a kid at home and you aren’t up front with that, it will not be good.  As a guy I would want to know that information pretty early if not right up front.

Is it wrong that a guy needs to know that info, even if you are just in preliminary talks…not even dating?  I’m a believer in communication and also not breaking hearts.  What if you feel that “spark” the first few dates?  Then you tell the guy you have a kidand he walks?  That is setting you both up for a sad night.

To a lesser extent…I’d be upset if the girl I was going on a date with never revealed she was a smoker, and then lit a cig up every five minutes on our date.  It’s just better to be upfront.  That way you know the guy you are going out with is accepting of you.

Let me also play Devil’s Advocate though.  I’m sure a lot of single Moms are thinking “Yeah Joe, but what about the fact that it seems like no guy wants to get with a girl who has a kid!”  Fair enough…but I think you decrease the asshole guys who think that way if you are upfront about it.  To a guy if you wait a few dates before telling them you have a child…they are going to think you are hiding other things.  And most guys are paranoid creatures of the night.  There is no reason to make them go madwith suspicious visions of distrust.

Let me also add a tirade to this though.  Ok guys, I’m not saying every one of you need to change whatever your standards are…but I do know some of you are so obscene about even going near a single mom.  It’s downright pathetic, as if those girls haveleprosy.  Also there is a difference between a whore who doesn’t take care of her children and those that love and care for their kids.  I grew up in a place where girls used abortion as a contraceptive.  I knew too many girls who couldn’t keep their legs closed, had a few puppies and made their parents raise those kids.  I get it why some guys have a wrongful stereotype on single moms…But it’s you assholes who plant the seeds!  It’s a two part system!  I also love the guys who bang the girl and walk out of her life when he finds out they are pregnant.  You idiots should be shot.

The fact is…it is a vicious, vicious cycle.  We stereotype all young women with kids as “whores” which is just a damn shame.  Having a child is NOT a bad thing.  It certainly should not determine if you should continue dating a girl or not.  Being a single mom is not a deterrent.  Should it be disclosed up front? Absolutely, but don’t you dare runas soon as you find that out.  You are only proving that are an ass with no feelings.

I realize I am bashing my own gender hard here…but the fact is most girls didn’t look at me because they distrusted all guys…and I am not anything like a stereotypical fratster.  So idiot guys made it hard for THIS nice guy to even have a chance out there.

The question was:  “When do you tell a guy you have a child and how do you approach it?”  The bottom-line answer is you disclose early in talks or on first dates.  I’d approach it as if it was just another fact about yourself.  Don’t be scared or ashamed of it.  The way I see it…if you are a good mother to that child than you should be proud, ladies.  You are Moms and we guys should respect that, maybe even commendyou for being stronger than we are as young, single Mothers.

As guys we should be respectful of Single mothers.  We should not turn in disgust or run away after hearing the facts.  Does this mean we have to never screen out single moms?  No; some young guys want to start clean…and I don’t know of a better way to put that.  Some guys would rather start a family from scratch.  This does not mean we need to treat single mothers like lepers, damnit!  Everyone has a preference and avision for their future life.

As I write this I realize this is more difficult than even I thought.  It is so complicated because the issue runs deeper than just approaching a guy with being a single mother.  Every guy is different.  Some guys would be open to you having a child.  Some would be worried.  Some would unfortunately be disgusted.  But I feel like thebest thing you could do is be up front about it.  If a guy walks away then he is a douche’ and not worth your time anyway, ladies.  In some ways it may even be a good screening tool.  If a guy is open to the idea of you having a kid…that may mean he hasa shred of decency and cares about his future.

However I do know some guys are not interested in Single Moms because, like I said, they would like to only bear their own children with a girl.  That is when it becomes a gray area.  If a guy turns you away because they are a dick…then they are bad seeds.  BUT…what about those guys who don’t scorn you, but would rather find a girl that does not have children so they can have just their own?  Are they bad people?  That’s a touchy area.  I can’t sit and say “every guy should be open to being with a girl that already has a child.”  In the end I suppose it truly is a personal choice.  My biggerproblem is the wrongful stereotype most guys have of single mothers.

Girls…always be proud.  Never, ever be ashamed of having kids.  The right guy WILL be open and love you for you.  If you tell a guy early enough, that is all you can do.  I don’t want to make it sound like you stick your hand out and say “Hi, I’m Jennifer and I am a single mom.”  All I’m saying is…it probably should come up in conversation on a first date…maybe somewhere in the middle of it.  Connect first, then disclose as theconvo starts getting deeper.

This is my take at least.  I knew, literally, dozens of single moms as I grew up from a teenager to my twenties.  So I do think I have a decent amount of knowledge on this subject.  Am I infallible in my opinions?  No.  But this is my blog and this is how Ithink.  You can agree or disagree.
 
 
I had heard about a website that listed the last meal requests of those on death row.  It goes into detail about what food they wanted, who the prisoner was and what they did to get onto Death Row.  Interesting indeed.  The website is as follows.

http://www.deadmaneating.com/dmearch.html

I found the requests fascinating.  I tried to understand the psyche of the person that was requesting their meal…but it is difficult.  Cherry Cola and Walnuts?  A basket of Fruit?  A dozen Chili Dogs with the works? 

One, we must understand these are stone cold killers.  They are about to die and basically the only thing standing between waking up that day and certain death is what could be an outstanding meal.  Some take advantage of this, and who is to blame them, and order like a dozen things to eat.  These people are given about a week to decide what they would like to eat on their last day.  So there is certainly thought that goes into this decision.

Some refuse the special meal.  I imagine this is in protest, or perhaps they do not care since they are about to die. 

After reading the meal requests and doing research on the subject, I was forced to give pause.  If I was on Death Row and knew I was about to die…what meal would I request?  Would I put a lot of thought into the request?  Or would I not even care because I would know that meal doesn’t mean anything…and I’m going to die anyway.

I like to think that I would put thought into my meal request.  True, a part of me would think it silly since I’d be dead and the stupid meal wouldn’t save me…but then again I’d want my last few hours to count.  What the hell would the point be just sitting on a cot counting down the minutes? 

The last meal of a person could be their last chance at a legacy as well.  Would I want to be the guy known for JUST killing some people…or would I rather people remember me for my last meal?

I obviously cannot put myself into the position as if I was pretending I was going to die on Death Row and get into that Psyche.  BUT…I can at least think about a potential choice as my last meal.  Drum roll please…

My last meal would be a hot plate of Manicotti, a quarter pounder with cheese from McDonald’s with lettuce, onions, ketchup and Mayo, two Apple Cider donuts, a large order of French Fries, Onion Rings, a slice of cheese pizza, a bagel with cream cheese, a glass of Chocolate Milk, a cream soda, A Pepsi, a banana daiquiri, a strawberry frosted donut, a slice of Sweet Potato pie and…two packets of creamer. 

Food for Food…I can’t be TOO sure if that is exactly what I would order, but close enough.  Again…if I was going to die in a week, I can’t be sure how my decision would play out.  But knowing me, I’d draw on the things I KNOW I would love to eat.  I believe I’m the kind of person who would rationalize making that meal the best meal of my life…because it would be my last.  There is a certain self awareness or rationality that would most likely take over my entire decision-making process…and FORCE me to eat things I like.  Who knows, I could get nostalgic and ask for a PB and J sandwich with cheese curls and a tall glass of strawberry milk. 

The truth is…we can’t give an answer to a hypothetical such as “if you were on Death Row and about to die…what meal would you request as your last?”  Because as logical thinkers, most of you/us would respond saying “there are more important things to think about than a damn meal!”  However…that last meal is not only the last thing you eat…but the last decision you make on Earth.  Just like these inmates CHOSE to gun down an elderly couple once upon a time…they will have to make one more decision that shall affect them for, literally, the rest of their life. 

I have no problem with you all giving opinions on the death penalty, but I’d really like to have your thoughts on the following:

1.   What would you potentially order as your last meal?

2.  Is the last meal as important as I am saying?  Does this LAST decision really matter?

3.  Is it just me…or is the meal choice of a notorious killer really that fascinating?

4.  Joe, why are you so handsome, etc…
 
 
Note:  I wrote this February 2009 and want to archive it here. 

------------------------------------------

Hmph.  This jackass is TAKEN and he has the coconuts to talk about the difficulties of being single.”  Survey Says…YES! 

So maybe it’s because I come off intelligent, innocent, naïve or foolish…but many people have been emailing me with stories, questions or concerns.  I am ecstatic at this because this is exactly what I was hoping for.  I do not pretend to be a know it all.  I clearly do not know all.  BUT I am always here to help, and I enjoy sharing my experience with people.  I am all about helping.

Specifically, I have heard a lot of people complaining about being single.  I thought I’d address that in the latest version of this so-call blog.


First of all…being single is NOT a disease.  C’mon people, don’t come off desperate.  No one NEEDS a man or woman in their life.  Love should never be defined as “needing” someone.  Love is about showing affection and wanting someone freely.  You’d want to be with the person you love because you have an emotional relationship with that person.  That person is special.  You didn’t pick someone out because you NEED to be with someone; it’s ok to be alone.


I know, I know…I’m a hypocrite.  It’s easy for me to say all this because I really do have someone.  But I still have my “me” time.  Even those madly in love as I need their free and alone time.

Ok, you came off a bad heart break.  The answer is not to go out looking for a new person in your life.  Collect yourself!  Get your life in order and start the search when you are emotionally ready.  I never liked the idea of being with someone I knew I had no future with.  What is the point of going with someone short term, knowing there is some heart break in your future?

My Ten Tips to Single-itis:


1.  Heart broken?  Time cures all as cliché as that is.  Let it course through your system and don’t rush it.  Talk to friends, write down your thoughts and do what you have to to therapeutically get through it.  I have kept a mini tape recorder in my room for years and have an ongoing audio journal to release my inner demons.  The first step to recovery is to get all of the emotions out of your mind so you can start fresh.  Don’t be rash and start ripping up pictures or throwing out CDs…or at least try not to.  Remember this is about you and even though Heart Break is the worst feeling in the world (I know)…you will and can get through it.

2.  Tired of being alone?  Fair enough.  Maybe it’s time to put yourself back on the market.  But do it smart and make sure you can succeed.  There are a lot of douche guys out there that are looking for one night stands and to play you, ladies.  And guys, there are plenty of gold diggers ready to tug at your heart strings.  The fact is it is a vicious cycle.  So many great men and women get played and end up becoming man-haters or chauvinist pigs.  Don’t put yourself in a position to get played early or your confidence will dwindle.  Take it slow out there! 

3.  Is a dive bar really the way to go?  I have been to enough crappy bars to know I never could find a girl that I’d ever want to be with there.  Does this mean bars only have idiot guys and whore girls?  Absolutely not!  But when you mix alcohol with a serious search at love…I doubt it will work out long term.  Chances are someone gets hurt that night after some bad sex.  Why not try looking in places that are classier or maybe even a place specific to finding people?  Match.com, People.  I am one of their true stories; I found my present girlfriend on there and we will be celebrating one year this weekend.  GO THERE! 

4.  Being single is not a bad thing!  Love is the ultimate proverbial “icing on the cake.”  You do not really need “love” to survive in the world.  Love produces perhaps the highest and lowest emotions one can experience…but you do not need them to get up in the morning.  If you accept your singleness, you may be able to achieve a great deal.  Take the necessary time to fix the structure of your life before looking for someone to date.  Concentrate on your dreams, goals and maybe even external issues you are dealing with.  Want to lose some weight?  Want to go back to School?  Go for it!  Being single is the best time to evaluate your life.

5.  Separate lust and love.  You do not need to be “taken” to have sex.  Do not confuse that you need someone in the sense that you are horny…and that you need someone because you are truly lonely.  Some singles have the hardest time realizing that they want a night of passion instead of a lifetime of happiness.  Sex is healthy, but I am by no means promoting being a whore.  All I am saying is…make sure you know what you want if you are single. 

6.  Be yourself!  It’s not going to help your cause if you act like something you are not.  You may be able to fool a girl for a few hours…but you’ll never last in a relationship if you are pretending.  If it’s “meant to be” than you’ll be accepted for who you are in the right relationship.  I believe there is someone for everyone.  Thank God my girlfriend accepts my antics!  I pushed the limit when I went to kiss her and then faked her out Ric Flair style.  I got slapped, but she laughed a second later! 

7.  Don’t be desperate.  Again…you do not NEED a partner.  If you feel it is time to look for someone, that’s great!  Be open, screen dates carefully and go for it!  But never EVER try too hard because no one wants to be with someone who will take anything. 

8.  There is no need to try to impress anyone here.  Physical attraction is at least half of the first meeting.  As a former single dude I’d try to lock eyes with every girl I thought was hot.  If they were interested you’d know!  BUT don’t judge a book by its cover.  That hot guy that dances great…he may be a coke head that like wearing pink lace under wear.  Talk about simple topics and get to no one another slowly.  You have nothing to lose when you are single!  Don’t be so arrogant that you are too good for everyone either…you’d be surprised to find out that sincere guys and nice girls do exist.  But you need to get to know them!

9.  Physical attractiveness does say a lot.  I like a view of balcony cleavage as much as anyone, but if the guy is single and looking for something long term…he may be turned off to the drunken chick with the one inch skirt on.  And don’t trust those pink shirted, collar poppin’ fratsters.  They aren’t even legit.  Bastards.

10.  Single?  Don’t stay in and listen to depressing songs in your room alone.  Go out with some friends!  And get advice from truth worthy opposite sex friends.  One of my best friends is female and boy did she help me out a few times when I needed advice.  There are going to be times you feel lonely if you are single.  Keep that chin up and keep moving!  You’ll find someone eventually. 

Hope some of this helps.  I’m here to answer questions if you have any.  The main message is…Single does not equal Bad. 
 
 
Note:  I wrote this blog March 2009 and want to archive it on my own site.

-----------------------------------------

This is more a personal reflection, than a blog.  I’m sorry if it bores everyone else but I need to write.


I just found out that the last girl I went out with is finally dating someone after me.  It took her over a year, but she found someone.  The circle is finally complete.

It took me two months after we broke up to find someone else.  I am happy to say I am still with that wonderful girl and on March 1st I will be celebrating a year of love and happiness.  However on this night I have spent the last 30 minutes reflecting on my Ex and the memories we had in the past.  In fact I called my present girlfriend to see if this was normal!  She said it was.  Michelle is very smart and supportive.  This is the “final chapter” as she put it.

Let’s be honest, you are only so far in your love life as your last relationship.  I was still in some ways linked and worried about my Ex because here I was happy…and she was still alone.  I know that sounds crazy, but she was my first love and it’s hard to just turn your brain off like that.  We ended badly, but months later made peace.  I was fortunate enough to have Michelle to lean on.

I was “over” my Ex as it may be put, but I never forgot those times or memories.  I have no regrets about things ending; obviously both of us moved on and are happy.  It was important to me that we mended and did not hate one another.  I was truly heart broken when our relationship ended…but I found the love of my life because of it and I became a stronger person.  That heart break turned into boundless love for my Michelle.

But in order to truly complete the circle…I needed my Ex to go out with someone after me.  And now she has and well, it brought a lot of different feelings in me.  Happiness for her, some confusion, sadness and anger.  I have never had to deal with this…I never had to watch an Ex date anyone other than me because I have only been in two relationships.  It’s harder than I thought to see it happen because you almost feel like…didn’t those times mean anything?  YET I was in a relationship way before she was LoL!  And yet I still felt that way.  I have been truly happy and in love for almost a year now…and here I am for thirty minutes feeling like “wow…it really is over.”  That’s the ability to be human I guess.

I can take refuge in the fact that we patched things up.  I am extremely happy for her.  Her new man will find out how wonderful she is.  And so I sit here with my drink held high in toast.  This one is for you Laur.  I look back and I see a young couple that needed to grow, and we did together.  It was only fitting that our band was “Young Love” because it defined our relationship so well.  I always said I would rather you be happy…and I hope you finally are.  Congrats.  <3

I am so proud that I can say this to my Ex while I am dating my own wonderful girl.  When relationships end we usually dwell on the heartbreak or anger…and I did for the longest time.  It’s not worth it.  More memories are blocked in society because usually when a relationship ends all those good times…are gone.  I know so many people who break up and act like that relationship never happened.  Such wasted memories…

I can’t describe how happy I am now in life…where I can say that relationship was great and the ending led me to the love of my life, Michelle. 

Your first love is special.  It can never be replicated.  I have moved on from the 21 year old guy sitting on the playground at the park, talking with his girlfriend about naming their daughter “Jubilee”…but I won’t forget him.  Or her.  It made me the person I am today.