Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My quirks

· I arrange the silverware in the dishwasher by type so that when I unload it I don’t have to sort anything out.
· I use coasters religiously. Even on my computer desk.
· I pay attention to the care instructions on clothing.
· I iron my collared shirts.
· I fold all my laundry.
· I plan. Profusely.
· I’m something of an efficiency freak. I think of the world in terms of bottlenecks way more than is healthy. Props if you know what a bottleneck is.
· If you ever wish to die, just do something to my car. Anything. I dare you.
· I know what a crockpot is, I own a fairly nice one, and I use it pretty much every week.
· I own and use regularly three types of shoe polish, three shoe brushes, two pairs of shoe trees, a shine cloth, and a shoe horn.
· I can’t stand it when the serving spoon gets dropped into what it’s serving.
· I’m a single man, yet I cook. You may think that top ramen is in my repertoire, but alas, I have not eaten top ramen in over a decade. Dishes I’ve made include: Moroccan chicken tagine, coconut chicken curry, gnocchi (from scratch) and three cheese chicken noodle. If that’s not a stereotype buster, I don’t know what is.
· I can’t stand the taste of tap water. Interestingly enough, I’ve been the proud owner of several Brita pitcher filters over the years.
· I really appreciate it when drivers make legal turns. You know, the kind where one turns into the near lane, and doesn’t instantly make a beeline for the far most lane possible.
· My name is Matt, and I’m a cleanaholic.

I’m sure I have other quirks that escaped me when compiling this list. Feel free to add to this list on the comments page. :)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The friendship dilemma

I consider myself an observant person by nature. I pay attention to details and I have a decent enough memory, and because of these traits I’ve witnessed a very clear pattern over the years: there are substantial barriers for single people of the opposite sex to simply become friends. As a guy, naturally I view this subject with most of my attention focused on what I’ve seen girls do that prevent friendships from forming. However, please don’t infer from my comments below that I think that all girls are bad and all boys are great. That’s just ludicrous, and hopefully I don’t portray myself to be that narrow-minded.

My perception is that the number one reason why many girls miss out on some good opportunities to develop friendships is simply because they are so worried that a guy will ask them out. To many girls, most in fact, I must say the following: don’t flatter yourself honey. Pretentious is a pretty strong word, but it’s fairly applicable here, especially when a friendly hi is viewed as flirting, or a casual conversation interpreted as an interest in going out. Please come down from your figurative castle in the sky and play with the rest of us. Being normal might come as a tragic realization, but that’s the shoe that fits most of us. Prince Charming probably will not gallop up to your castle tower, his golden locks flowing in the warm summer breeze, and sweep you off your feet onto his white stallion. I hate to be the one to break the news to you, but that’s pretty much how it is.

Anyway, back to what prevents people from becoming friends, this whole scared-to-death-of-being-asked-out-like-it’s-the-plague thing. So what if the guy asks you on a date? It’s not the end of the world, is it? It’s not like you asked him. Isn’t a date just a date? It doesn’t mean you’re exclusive, it doesn’t mean you like him, it just means that you have a heart and are willing to get to know the guy in a dating situation. Not a big deal.

If your concern is that you’re worried about being seen with the guy, then you probably have some other issues to work on as well. Honestly, anyone whose opinion matters will recognize that you are on a date because you were asked, not because you hand-picked the fella. In my opinion, if you’re not interested in a second date but one is requested, well, be open and honest. Also know that a lot of guys are quite daft, especially when they have their eyes set on a specific chica, so don’t rely too much on subtle hints – most of the male race is oblivious to subtlety. My hunch says that being open and honest is the hard part (and is often inevitable), the part that girls everywhere seek to avoid. Hence why the friendly hi or the casual conversation can be twisted into something it’s not – some girls are so worried about the potential of having to be open and honest (remember, the hard part) that complete avoidance is the road most traveled.

Another barrier I’ve noticed is the reluctance of some girls to spend less time with their family and more time with their friends and acquaintances. To be offensively blunt: cut the cord! Any guy who is worth his salt values independence in a girl. It’s quite a turn off to think that a girl who is super clingy to her family will likely be super clingy to her husband. No thank you. Please don’t think I’m an advocate of shunning one’s family – no way! For most guys, it’s extremely important for a girl to be family-oriented. I am a strong proponent of balance. It’s just that I’ve seen so many instances where the balance is tilted toward the family so much that other aspects of life are non-existent and opportunities are lost.

A few words for the dudes out there. Guys, please think before you act. Think about whether you really should be pursuing a certain girl – is she out of your league? You can determine this by asking yourself a few additional questions: how does this particular girl rank amongst other girls on the traits you look for? How do you feel you rank amongst other guys on the traits you feel you bring to the table? If there’s a discrepancy there, don’t be too optimistic about how things will pan out. You may want to just move on. If you’re still not sure, ask a friend. Or ask ten friends. Doing so could easily save you time and spare you from potential rejection, but it will also help the girls out there to feel more comfortable around our half of the human race.

I haven’t brought up the good things that I’ve seen, so I’ll end with a positive comment. Props to all the girls who are consistently friendly without being overly concerned about if a guy just wants to be friends or if he wants to try the dating thing. I would like to personally thank you. I’ve met a lot of people myself and have seen this un-friendship pattern enough that I truly do appreciate genuine friendliness. When I notice that a girl is handling a tough situation with a good level of maturity, I have more respect for her. Your efforts do not go unnoticed.
As far as take-away’s are concerned, the single biggest point I’d like to emphasize is this: friendly vibes do not necessarily equal dating vibes. If more people would put aside their worries and fears about what MAY happen, then we would all have a better time.

Monday, April 21, 2008

This Mormon boy's alcohol

I know people who turn to alcohol when life gets rough. Okay, not too many, I do live in Idaho Falls and I associate mostly with members of the LDS Church. Anyway, the idea is to drink away one’s problems, or so I hear. I think that’s the most clich├ęd example. Some people use cigarettes and others turn to shopping, eating, cleaning, et cetera to distract themselves from reality.

I discovered a long time ago that music is my alcohol.

I’m passionate about music. Listening to music that is. I don’t have any musical talent whatsoever, so I contribute by partaking. I’m sure that my interest in music is partly due to growing up in Seattle, where a lot of attention is placed on new and original music. I remember when Nirvana first got big in Seattle, then the world. I really get into certain songs – some for their great music and instrumentation, others for their witty or thoughtful lyrics, and others still for their lyrics that relate so well to my own situation. It’s therapeutic for me.

You can only imagine how much I enjoy my iPod. It was easily the best material item my parents ever gave me for Christmas. I’ve been with my black 80GB video classic for over a year now and I use it several hours every day. I recently had a hard wire installed in my car to replace the slightly static-prone FM transmitter I had been using. Then just a few days ago I purchased the black Bose Sounddock Portable. Now I can listen to music while I’m getting ready in the morning, something I haven’t done for quite a long time.

I believe there’s an adage that says something about how great ideas can come while one is in the shower. I appreciate that idea; it’s rung true in my life more times than I can count. I think it boils down to this: as a society, we are so busy and go-go-go all the time that we often neglect the time we should all take to just think, to ponder (and a routine, thoughtless occurence such as taking a shower allows for a form of pondering to take place). I am so very guilty of this.

Having recognized this, then why on earth would I even consider hindering any kind of flow of ideas by listening to music? Firstly, I simply enjoy listening to music. It is what it is. Secondly, well, sometimes I think about things too much. You know, replay them over and over and over again. Who am I kidding, sometimes is an understatement. At times it can be a type of slow, self-inflicted torture. I don’t know about you, but I’m not down with torture. It’s not exactly one my favorite pastimes. So, music comes to the rescue. I can numb the pain of whatever is either tugging at my heart strings or just won’t get out of my head. I can alleviate the torture. Whew.

But it’s all just a band-aid: music serves only as a form of procrastination. The problem is still there, at the back of my mind even. Yes, I can hear you utter “duh.” If you know me at all, you know that I’m a pretty confrontational person; I like to work through things, often tackling them head-on. So why would I follow this pattern of delaying the inevitable, if only in my own mind? What I have found is that another adage, “time heals all wounds,” has a lot of truth to it. In changing the timing of when I actually cope with whatever is on my mind, time lapses and more often than not the situation is easier to deal with. Maybe I find strength from some other source, like a friend or a family member or something I read.

Lately I’ve been thinking more about the amount of numbing I’ve tried to infuse in my life, especially since my Bose acquisition. I’ve resolved that I don’t want to take the easy way out all the time. The last thing I want to do is create a dependence of any kind that could keep me from learning a valuable lesson or two. While music is a reliable form of therapy for me (not to mention a hobby), I don’t want to ignore the principles of learning and coping. I suppose I’ll just keep working toward the seemingly unachievable goal of balance in this.