formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Is It Getting Warm In Here?

Not long ago, a male friend referred to me as ‘hot.’ I eyeballed him suspiciously, waiting for the punch line. When it didn’t come, I chuckled, sputtered, and then snorted (which, I’m certain, is not ‘hot’). In case you haven’t sorted it out, ‘hot’ is not a word I have ever attached to myself. Ever. He assured me that I’m selling myself short (as I am wont to do) but I still scoffed (and suggested he have his eyes checked).

But it got me to thinking. (Smell the smoke?)

Obviously, ‘hot’ is like beauty, in that it’s in the eye of the beholder. I know this, though I do think there must be some universal ‘hot’ standards, just as there are universal beauty standards. Right? I mean, I'm betting there are few people on the planet who would look at Halle Berry and say, “Ew. She’s ugly.” Hello. She’s Halle Berry. She’s gorgeous. Now, I can see some people saying, “Well, yeah, I think she’s pretty, but she’s not that fabulous.” I think those people would be nuts, but I’ll give a little… eye… beholder… all that…

And I know lots of women who think Brad Pitt is drop-dead-gorgeous. Me? Meh. Same with Tom Cruise. In fact, not only is he not gorgeous, he’s downright creepy. And I have a guy friend who thinks Drew Barrymore is beautiful. Really? I don’t see it.

Eye… beholder… all that…

But that's beauty. What about ‘hot’? Are there universal standards? I really wasn’t sure. So I asked my Facebook friends (and I should note here that I do realize asking my FB peeps does not a Universal Standards study make, but I got some interesting answers nonetheless).

I found out there are several levels of ‘hot’ (which I think I pretty much already knew but it was made very clear by the replies I got).

The first level is the initial ‘Wow!’ That’s when you see a photo of someone or pass them on the street or see them in a bar and think, “Damn! Dude is HOT!” For me, it’s this guy...

I can’t even remember his name. But really? Who cares? Dude is HOT! This level of ‘hot’ is superficial. Completely superficial. The person is not even real at this level. In fact, you almost don’t even want him to open his mouth because you know the whole effect could be ruined (like the first time I saw Jean Claude Van Damme in an interview. Hot… then so not).

The first level is purely physical. Purely sexual. It’s about ‘Oh yeah, I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating crackers.’ It’s about abs and butts and boobs and whatever other physical attribute floats your boat. It’s the first date with the gorgeous guy you have nothing in common with but want to lick up one side and down the other anyway. It’s, as a friend said, the younger, well-endowed woman gyrating in front of him in a club. It’s lusty. It’s good. But it’s not real. It has no substance. It's more about imagination than the ability to actually touch.

The second level is still superficial, but slightly less so. The person is real but you still don’t really know him. For me, it’s Gerard Butler.

Oh my. Gerard is hot. He’s hot on a physical level, certainly, but I also like the person I believe him to be (a belief garnered from watching him in television interviews, natch…you didn’t think I’d actually met him, did you?). He seems like a great guy… funny, smart, charming, self-deprecating. He might not be any of those things but he comes across that way, so he remains hot (and will until he’s arrested or photographed kicking a puppy, when he will be dumped into the Tom Cruise ‘not hot’ category).

This level of 'hot' is the beautiful girl who works in your building and smiles at you and makes small talk on the elevator. It’s the gorgeous, friendly Alex O’Loughlin look-alike who waits on you at the coffee shop and gives you goosebumps when he touches your hand as he gives you your change. It’s lusty, too, but it has to do with more than just the physical. It’s still superficial and not really real, but it’s a little more real than the guy in the photo whose name I can’t remember because there is another component -- the personality -- involved. Get it?

The next level of 'hot' is real because it’s about real people. It’s the level I was hoping to hear about from my peeps. It’s the level that moves past the superficial (though it can certainly contain superficial elements) to the heart of what really turns us on. It’s where I think my friend was looking when he labeled me ‘hot.’

Now, I should note here that a few of my friends disagree with labeling this level of ‘hot,’ well, ‘hot.’ They said ‘hot’ should be reserved only for the superficial, first glance, walk-into-a-pole, oh-my-god-I-would-do-her-in-a-second reaction (note I said "her," as I believe all the people who suggested the third level of ‘hot’ was not ‘hot’ were guys). Anyway, they said this level is about attraction and getting-to-know someone, etc.

I get that. And I don’t necessarily disagree…

But I asked what people found ‘hot’ and more people (men and women equally) responded with things that fall into this category than the superficial ones. I’m sure that has to do with the fact that most of my FB friends are around my age and by this age we are focused on the whole package and not just the superficial. I surely hope so, anyway, or I’m screwed on the dating front!

So, I determined that this level of ‘hot’ is about the real person… the internal as well as the external (which included dimples and strong jaw lines, sparkly eyes and real smiles)… it’s about having a sense of humor and being open-minded and intelligent. It’s about the level of caring and kindness the person expresses. It has a lot to do with confidence and attitude, feeling sexy and being comfortable in one’s own skin. It’s about the look or the smile, the touch or the suggestive comment from someone you genuinely like (and might love) that makes your stomach do those floopy things. It’s about being a good parent and having respect for one’s partner and expressing love in generous ways. It’s listening and providing a shoulder to cry on and going out at midnight for NyQuil when the flu hits (now, that is hot!). It’s not, I’m happy to say, about 6-pack abs and perfect thighs. Whew!

And? I like it. And I agree. It’s good. It’s real. It’s ‘hot.’

Or, as my nearly 70-year-old Aunt Jean says, it might just be about the ass.

Who am I to argue?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Must Work on That...

I was talking to a friend yesterday about something I'm struggling with (have struggled with/continue to struggle with/will, seemingly, forever struggle with) and I said, "If I could change just one thing about myself, it would be that." Then I amended the statement, as I think there are a bunch of things I could/should change about myself... but that thing? That thing was/is/will forever be at the top of the list. Then I got to thinking about it. What ARE those things I could/should change to make my life simpler/happier/better?

And I settled on three things...

1) My mad procrastination skillz...

I've always been a procrastinator. Always. When I was in the 4th grade, I remember sitting on my bed, surrounded by 9 or 10 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica, rushing through essay after essay - one for each the former presidents of the United States. As usual, I'd left it to the last minute (i.e. Sunday night, when it was due on Monday). I was in a panic. Certain I wasn't going to finish, I remember making a deal with the Universe: "If I finish this tonight, I will never, EVER leave anything to the last minute again!"


I finished (thank heavens there had been far fewer presidents than today or I wouldn't have finished!)... but I so did not keep my end that bargain with the cosmos. Procrastination affects me nearly daily in negative ways (mainly upping my stress levels). But still? I do it. Why? I'm not sure. I wish I knew. Must work on that.

2) My ability to over-think Every. Damned. Thing...

Lordy, lordy! This has to be one of my most annoying traits. There are some things I don't over-analyze... some things I just DO... like parenting. I have a great deal of confidence in my ability to mother my child well. Don't get me wrong, I put thought into it, but I don't fret over it. I don't play out every possible scenario in my head until I'm seeing zebras and unicorns instead of ponies. I just do it and trust that it will work out and if I've made a mistake? We'll get through it.

Hmmm... I just realized something... I wrote, "I have a great deal of confidence in my ability to mother my child well." Confidence. Confidence is at the root of my over-thinking? Or LACK of confidence? It is, isn't it? Damn. That's not good, is it? Must work on that. A lot.

3) My inability to ask for help when I need it...

This one might be even more frustrating for the people who love me than it is for me, I think. When I'm struggling, they want to help. They know I need help. But I can't ask for it. It kills me. Truly. My head wants to implode. I feel like a failure. But if one of my friends needed help? Never - not in a million years - would the word 'failure' come to mind. Never. So why can't I ease up on myself and just ask? Why do I feel the need to suffer alone? I don't know. Must work on that. Really. Seriously. A lot.

So, those are the things I'd change. Well, three of the things, anyway. Those are the things I actually have the power to change, if I'm so inclined. Am I so inclined? I don't know. Must work on that...

What three things would YOU change? About you, not me! Lord, I have enough complexes... I don't need a list of things you'd change about me, too!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Advice for Friday...

... and, you know, all the other days, too. From Neil Gaiman and me. OK, so mostly from Mr. Gaiman, since he wrote it and all... let's be a bit less nit-picky, shall we?

Happy Friday, my bloggy loves! Have a wonderful weekend! XO

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Somewhere In Between...

The other day, while mooching around Facebook, I read an article about teens and 'tweens and a guy commented, "I wish the word 'tween could be excised from our vocabularies!" My guess? This guy is NOT the parent of a 'tween. It's a word that describes the 9 - 13-year-old set pretty perfectly. They're not little kids. They're not teenagers. They're stuck in this uncomfortable, awkward, 'in between' stage of life, where they're trying hard to fit in and find their way and be independent... but they still need their mommies and daddies for, oh, so many things (and not just money).

I am the mother of such a creature. I've dreaded these years, truth be told. My own 'tween years were horrid, really. Middle school was a nightmare. I was uncomfortable in my own skin, which was stretched over too-big bones (specifically, a too-big nose that caused me more grief than I care to recall, much of which was brought on by yours truly), and covering a quivering mass of insecurities and worry about every friggin' thing in my line of sight. For example, I remember convincing myself I had scoliosis and was going to have to wear one of those awful back braces for my entire middle school and high school career. I used to stand in front of my mirror, looking for the curve in my spine that would spell the demise of my (non-existent) social life, trying to figure out how I could keep it from my parents and still not wind up looking like Quasimodo. As I say, nightmare.

Ryan, however, doesn't seem to have the same bad dreams I had. Oh, don't get me wrong, she has her own list of insecurities, but, so far anyway, they don't seem to be debilitating. Her reaction to the realization that she'd inherited her nose from me? "Well, you grew into yours, so I'm sure I'll grow into mine. Eventually." Heh. She's got this amazing sense of self that I never had... hell, I'm not sure I have it yet! And she's absolutely blossoming in middle school. She's working out that not everything will come easily to her (math) and that she's going to have to work harder at some things than others (math) but that she really can do it (math) if she keeps a positive attitude. She's finding new things that interest her and she's surrounded herself with a group of friends who seem to be, in general, supportive and encouraging, not back-stabbing and mean, as girls this age can often be. She's taking on new responsibilities at home and at school and she's managing everything without stress or whining (mostly). She handles disappointments (lots of them to do with her father) with dignity and grace (mostly).

She's growing up.

I'm happy for her and I'm so very proud of her but I'm still a little scared of what's to come. Because along with all that good stuff, I know there will be days (as there are now and have been since she turned 3) when I want to kick her butt into tomorrow. It's only been in the past few weeks that I seem to be able to embarrass her without even trying (I've been able to do it intentionally for a long time now!). I've worked out that if her friends are around, I walk a very thin line... pretty much everything I say or do could cause me to fall on the wrong side of the line and subject me to eye-rolling, disgusted looks, and exasperated whines of "Mo-om!"


But I'll take that stuff. Because at night, she still wants me to tuck her in. She still wants me to cuddle with her and just talk for a few minutes before she falls asleep. It won't always be that way, I know. But for now, she's a 'tween. And all is as it should be.

My girl at her first cross country meet yesterday. She? Rocks.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hello September!

Ringing in the month of September has always felt like sort of like ringing in the New Year to me. It's always signaled the start of school (close enough, anyway), the start of fall (close enough, anyway), the start of a new 'summer's over so let's get on with real life' attitude... you know what I mean?

So, I was having lunch with a friend yesterday and we got to talking about blogging (because I think he should start one) and I was telling him about all of you. As I was going on and on and on, I realized how much I miss this place. I decided my worry over people in Pigsknuckle reading my stuff is just silly... this is ME. For better or worse. No pretense. And I'm the same in writing as I am in person (well, I'm skinnier in writing). So love me or leave me (but please don't leave me, 'k? I have abandonment issues...).

And that? Is the start of my new 'summer's over so let's get on with real life' attitude. I like it. And it should hold until my 'winter's set in so let's hibernate under the covers and eat chocolate until the spring thaw' attitude sets in.

Anyway, as I say, summer's over. It was a good one overall. Swimming went, well, swimmingly! Coaching was loads of fun (though time-consuming!) and Ryan did remarkably well this season. She racked up a bunch of first-place ribbons all season and placed in the top 8 in every event she swam for the big all-team 'Champs' meet. I was so proud of her!

The other big event for me was the Booby Walk (also known as the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Event). I traveled to Chicago this year, where my friend Anne and I (and 2,000 other people) walked 60 miles and raised, collectively, $4.2 million for breast cancer research! This year's walk was as phenomenal as last year's -- even better, really, as I had an amazing (albeit crazy... and deaf, too) friend to walk with. Anne's already signed on (and signed up!) to walk in DC with me in 2011. Whoo hoo! I can't wait! My blisters will have fully healed by then. I hope. Here are a couple of photos from the walk...

(Anne was disappointed it wasn't the Playboy Walk but happy she still got her bunny ears!)
(I walk because I have boobies. Heh.)
(At the end of 3 days and 60 miles!)

So, now it's so long to summer and onward to fall and all the ups and downs it will bring (hopefully more ups than downs, though)! And I expect blogging will, once again, be one of the ups!! XOXO