Month: November 2005

How to get the man of your dreams: make a list, check it twice

heartIt’s been awhile since the c-trix blogged about dating. This is only natural, given that she has been blissfully, if somewhat surprisingly, ensconced in a monogamous relationship with The BF for the bulk of 2005. Plus it’s the holidays and stuff, people have Black Friday and E-mail Monday and other important issues to wrestle to the ground.

At the same time, the management is nothing if not sensitive to the fact that the holidays can be an especially difficult time for those who are single and wish not to be. Hell, the management has spent more than one holiday with nothing but a camera up its ass to keep it company. So when a recent check of the stats turned up an interesting dating-and-the-single-woman blog that’s recently linked here (thank you, Dr. Annie), we here at communicatrix were impelled to action.

The post in question raises the question of “dealbreakers”: must-have accessory of the self-actualized gal or blueprint for foolish pipe dream?

The post links to an entry on another blog written by a young Adventist Christian hussy (God bless the internets) who very much knows what she wants. In fact, she’s enumerated it, in minute detail, for which I applaud her. It can be very scary asking for what you want, but also very, very powerful. I know; I myself wrote a series of these lists in the year before I met The BF. The way I see it, when I finally got the list right, bam! I got the guy who matched the list.


There are two caveats to keep in mind if you want the voodoo to work.

First, you can’t be cavalier about the list. The list needs to be a distillation of the things that resonate in the deepest, darkest parts of you. That list needs to be s-e-r-i-o-u-s.

That doesn’t mean things like “makes my heart thump from across the room” or “can pound me till the top of my head comes off” can’t be on there; they should, if those things matter to you. Anything that really matters should be on the list. It just means you must not sully it with frivolous, superficial bullshit your frivolous, superficial ego has on its shopping list.

So, in this brave new dating universe, “attractive to me” replaces any specific trait you may have found hot in anyone to date (pun intended). “Gets it” replaces a specific level of schooling you think is the benchmark of smart. And be very judicious about your inclusion of lifestyle line items: unless you are a porpoise, best to leave “MUST love the water” off.

Part II of the love juju operation is what most people leave out, and the thing that generally insures against frivolous line items: you, the asker, must be ready for the askee. Not ready as in “I am so fed up with all these stupid mens who don’t appreciate my fine self” but with the heightened state of readiness a martial arts master knows his instrument. You have read the books, shrunk with the shrink, risen from the ashes of devastion like a self-evolved phoenix. You have, most likely, spent months or even years at a stretch with naught but your loathesome self (and maybe a camera up your ass) to keep you company. You know humility from false modesty from self-loathing; you take shit off of no one because you have the deep confidence in your choices that comes with time and thought and meaningful action, not because you bad.

In a quick fix world, Part II seems cumbersome, inelegant and tedious. It lacks the can-do, Tools For Livingâ„¢ sexiness of listmaking.

But there is no substitute for knowing oneself, and the alternative, a world full of people with the extraordinary and unprecedented luxury of time for self-evolution who instead choose Doritosâ„¢ and trips to Cabo and other disposable bling of our modern era, is far more horrid to contemplate than even a lifetime alone.

So for the good of the planet, of the rest of us who share it, of the people you and your future love-monkey might put on it, before you make that list of everything you want in another person, make a list about everything you want in a best friend. Or a list of all the traits the most amazing teacher/family member/heroic figure you’ve ever met possesses.

Take a long time with that list: write, put aside, live your live, come back to it. Rinse, repeat. It is a lengthy process and yes, sometimes a tedious one. But it can also be a thrilling, challenging and even joyful process.

Become that list, and chances are the right person will fall right into your self-actualized lap.


A Song of Thanksgiving, Part 6: My Crohn’s Disease

cscope 0904

Have you ever been sick? Really, really sick, the kind where you and God enter into heavy negotiations?

Do you remember how for the first few days you feel well after being sick, you appreciate your health for what seems like the first time, ever?

That’s what happened to me after my acute onset of Crohn’s…times ten. I’ve written about it before, but it merits repeating: the gift that my disease gave me was nothing less than my happiness. I have nothing but gratitude for my illness (and the people who helped me through it, too, of course).

Not that I’d wish it on anyone else. One of my main hopes in writing this blog is that I might help one or two other people find their own happiness without having to go through quite as much blood and toilet paper.

But on this day of Thanksgiving, I think it’s appropriate to give the biggest cosmic shout-out to my wacky colon for all that it gave me. And, um, continues to give me every single day, with delightful regularity.


Book review: Freakonomics

Everybody knows that economics is about measurement and money and things numerical; that’s why most of us find it so damned dull.

But as approached by offbeat economist and Freakonomics co-author Steven D. Levitt, economics is also “the study of incentives”: what it takes to get us to do a certain thing, or to not do it, as the case may be. Which makes it human, and therefore fascinating.

This is what I love about this delightful new book by Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner: that it comes at things sideways or upside-down or head-on, but never the usual way. I’m still not sold on some of the more radical hypotheses Leavitt coaxes from the data (the link between abortion and falling crime rates being the most widely reviled and quoted), but I’m 100% there on the importance of throwing the numbers against conventional wisdom to see what sticks. The numbers may not always tell the exact truth, but neither do they lie, making them extraordinarily useful in the exploding of myths.

Levitt and Dubner tell fascinating stories about how to combat crappy teaching, bring  down the Ku Klux Klan and what happens when you call your kids “Winner” and “Loser” (answer: not necessarily what you’d think on any count). But really, they’ve written a book celebrating the heart of truth: asking questions, and hacks to stay open to the real answers.

As an interesting side note, the prospect of reading something that seemed like it would rock my world long and hard was too enticing to wait for a library copy to become available, but not enticing enough to get me to part with $26 of my hard-earned money. My break point? A 25¢/day rental from the Beverly Hills Public Library, and pushing the rest of my reading to the bottom of the pile. Some might call that cheap, but I’m betting Levitt would come at it sideways and say that I was already giving up time I’d committed to other reading to explore this book, and therefore it was of great value to me.

And you know what? He’d be right.


A Song of Thanksgiving, Part 5: evidEnce room

Bart. Alicia. Jason. Ames.

I remember what I thought after seeing my first evidEnce room show back in 1995, a production of Harry Kondeleon’s The Houseguests: how do they do it?

Kirk. Dorie. Lauren.
Rand, Colleen, Nick, Megan.

It was the same question I felt after seeing the next few shows: how do they do it? Find these great plays? Produce them like off-Broadway shows on no money? Get to work in this unbelievably cool space? Soon enough, it was replaced by another question: how can I do it with them?

John, Ann, Leo.
Ignacia, Lori, Don, Katie, Burr, Sissy.

My friend, Tom, a longtime company member, called one day and said they were looking for an understudy to cover performances for the formidable Pamela Gordon, who had just been cast in a recurring role on Buddy Faro. The part, half of a wealthy couple quarantined in their London home duing the last great plague, was enormous and way beyond my capabilities at the time, but the dress was teeny-tiny and already rented for the run.

I was in…sort of. It took years of scrabbling along in tiny parts before I felt like I got any kind of a foothold. Even then, I would alternately burst with pride over being part of such a prestigious company and fester with fury over my lowly status within it. Why was I not front and center? Why were my career and stature not improving, clusters of awards not accumulating, sonnets not being written in my name?

Dylan, O-Lan, Tad.
Ken. Johnny Z.

Liz, Alex, Alain, Uma, Ryan.

But a funny thing happened somewhere along the way: these people who had started out as, let’s be honest, the means to an end became the end, in and of themselves. I found myself caring less about being in the shows and more about being with the wonderful people who made them, both at the theater and outside of it. As a delightful and wholly unexpected bonus, the flyers I’d initially created semi-grudgingly as my contribution to the company somehow turned me into a graphic designer. A good one. A happy one.

Jessica. Michael. Lisa.

The adage has it that you shouldn’t be an actor unless you have to be. It seems like I don’t need it like I used to, and, accordingly, am letting it go, bit by bit: the search for a theatrical agent; the hustling for TV and film work; the constant cycle of rehearsal/perform/repeat.

Toby. Barbara. Beth. Wendy, Justin, Travis, Tommy.

I know that the hardest thing to let go of is going to be the Evidence Room; I also know it’s as inevitable as change itself that someday, I will.

With great sorrow. With a wee bit of wondering if I might have done things better.

But mostly, with a gratitude I never knew possible.


Pride & Prejudice

After the triumph that was the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice, I thought we’d be done with adaptations of Jane Austen’s magnificent 19th century novel of manners. After all, in addition to giving us stunning production values, crackerjack performances and the definitive Mr. Darcy, the miniseries finally gave us a theatrical presentation that could accommodate the scope of the story.

But I’m a sucker for Austen, so I figured I’d catch the wham-bam-thank-you-mum version…at a bargain matinée, of course.

Bottom line? They play a little fast and loose with the Austen, which is weird, and the length of the film necessitates a few hefty story cuts (for a stretch in there, it feels like Austen’s Greatest Hits), but the performances are uniformly wonderful, with some really fresh takes on priggish cousin, Mr. Collins (Tom Hollander actually makes you feel sorry for the poor shlub) and both Mr. & Mrs. Bennett (special kudos to Brenda Blethyn, who finally makes one understand how this nagging harridan might still be beloved by her husband and daughters).

What I enjoyed most about the film was the dash of “realism”, let’s face it, we none of us were there, but it’s pretty clear this lot didn’t bathe or even tidy up as often as we do, and the drabbish, shabby surroundings made the fun that they did manage to have even more so.

I must confess, my heart still lies with the miniseries. It is a lavish, two-tiered box of Godivas to this utilitarian mix of Cadbury and Smarties. But really, I quibble: this is just that more Austen to love, and that’s what Austen should be, loved, and often.


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A Song of Thanksgiving, Part 4: Jannicups


There are only two people I’ve ever met whom I believe to be capable of unconditional love: my paternal grandmother, who never even said a bad word about Hitler; and Jan Kostner, my oldest friend in the world.

Or, as Jan prefers to say, “my friend I’ve had the longest.”

For a woman who’s managed to move through the world at impressively high levels, Jan is jaw-droppingly guileless. I consider myself a fairly earnest fellow, but I am Machia-fucking-velli compared to Jan. Plus she’s nice. And loyal. Holy crap, is she nice and loyal. I can spew the worst kind of bitch-venom around Jannicups and feel secure that (a) she will not judge me and (b), what goes in the moment, stays in the moment. Hell, she even puts up with me calling her “Jannicups.”

Which is not to say Jan is above a good, chatty evening of gossip and Chardonnay; she’s not. When I’m starting to feel a little butch, a dose of Jan sets me right up. When we meet to eat, it’s usually for tea or cocktails (or tea AND cocktails) at some fabulous hotel bar. She took me for my first pedicure and gave me my first gift certificate to a Four Seasons massage (which, three years later, I still haven’t used;I swear, they’re going to take away my girl card if I don’t start stepping up my game).

Legend has it that our mothers met when we were two, pushing strollers on Michigan Avenue. Neither is around to confirm or deny this any more, but it doesn’t matter: Jan and I are long past needing reasons to be friends; we’re family, and family, for better or for worse, is yours for life.

Jannicups? She’s all about the better…