Another batch of insightful questions from my friend at Get It All Down:
1. What’s the best thing about being a guy? Something that women wouldn’t really understand, please.
This may not answer the question the way you intended, but…
The ability to look and dress however you want without worrying about what people think of you. Men are never judged as harshly by their looks or what they wear as women are. It’s a tragedy, really, because all women look great, no matter whether they are made up or not. There is an innate cruelty in the way we judge women based upon their looks. I’ve done it all too often. It would be easy to write that off to the fact that I am a very visual person, but the sad fact is that I have a hard time walking outside the lines of conformity, too.
I know women who start getting ready hours before they go out because they feel such pressure to look good. As for myself, I trim myself up before a big date, try and find something that looks good, but ultimately, I know it has less to do with how I look and more about who I am. The thing is, after that initial attraction to a woman, that’s also what men look for in women… who they are. I’ve seen beauty completely fade away once a woman has shown me how cruel or thoughtless she is. And I have seen beauty deepen when I hear a woman laugh and show kindness.
So, why is it great to be a guy? Because we don’t have to put on make up and can get by with just a couple pairs of jeans and some t-shirts. Seriously.
2. Do you associate certain music with certain people in your life? Do some songs have specific meaning for you, beyond the lyrics or melody? If you’re willing, share a story or two.
Constantly! Music, along with smell, is one of the primary memory triggers for me. And, just as smell, a song can take me back to experience a specific atmosphere. For example, Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” makes me immediately think of the lodge at Lake Winona. Why? I really don’t know. But for some reason, there is a connection with that soulful guitar and some memory of Lake Lodge. It’s almost a primal connection.
But the music that really transcends itself for me is vocal music of the Renaissance. When I listen to it, I am not transported. But something about me changes. It awakens a deep passion in me. Again, it is almost a primal response. Depending on what the piece is and what mood I find myself, it either excites me or calms me. Maybe, for some reason, it taps into my deep love of music. The only real love, outside of familial love, that I have known.
Music also can take me back and remind me of what I have lost over the years. Friendships that have faded, or that I have dismantled. People and places which I have nearly forgotten. There are certain songs, “Fingerprints” by They Might Be Giants as one example, that remind me of regrets because of people who I forced out of my life through my actions. I still remember literally rolling on the floor, laughing until we cried, with my best friend in college. I haven’t spoken to her in 14 years, and will probably never again. A major regret in a life that seems to fill rapidly with more every day.
3. Describe the *ideal* first date.
Given my current state of affairs, this is a dangerous question. But truly, the ideal first date involves laughter. It must. It involves touch, no matter how brief. It involves sharing. It involves kindness.
It begins with the first meeting. That moment at which your fears and nervousness melt away as the conversation begins. She makes you laugh and you make her laugh and there is a comfortable feeling that descends over you. Her eyes. They dance as she speaks. Her stories are new and unfamiliar and she finds your stories intriguing. You dine on good food. You walk together and your hands brush against each other, whether by design or by accident, and you feel a spark there. There is smiling. Sometimes so much that your cheeks hurt. But there are also moments of empathy, when she allows you to glimpse a weakness and you willingly share yours.
By the end of the date, you have connected in a way that makes what comes next a natural extension of the experience… you hold her hand and kiss it, she kisses you on the cheek, or perhaps a lingering hug. And a promise to see each other again.
But, in all honesty, it’s the next few dates that can make a difference. Because those next dates get you discovering the person underneath the surface.
4. Choose Or Die:
a. Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt. While I have always enjoyed Johnny Depp’s work and quirkiness, there is a definite cool factor at work with Brad Pitt. It’s an old-school movie star vibe. Plus, I can’t get enough of him in Ocean’s Eleven and Ocean’s Twelve. He and Clooney actually improved on the original. Quite an achievement.
b. orange or pineapple
Pineapple. That deep sweet taste is incomparable. But I have only really started digging it in the last few years.
c. new movies or new music or new books
A truly diabolical question. The nod here goes to new music. There is nothing quite like the all body experience upon hearing a piece of music that completely revolutionizes you. It’s happened to me only a handful of times, most recently with the Tune-Yards’ “Bizness”. I recall pulling over and just marveling at “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, and being sucked into another world by Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”.
d. kisses without hugs or hugs without kisses
Hugs without kisses. It is the closeness, the entire tactile experience that moves me.
e. caffeine or alcohol
Alcohol. No contest. Caffeine has never been a real issue, except when I go on a soft drink binge. Caffeine withdrawal headaches are a pain.
5. An anonymous donor grants you $100,000! However, Fantasy Island-style, there are stipulations: you can’t spend more on yourself than you do on anyone else; it has to be divided among at least 5 others; and the majority cannot go toward “paying bills” or into any bank accounts/trusts/scholarships for later use. Where does it go?
16,666 each to: my older sister, my younger sister, my parents, my best friend, and to a charity.
My 16,666 is spent primarily on travel. I want to see the places I have read about so often: Europe, Africa, the South Pacific. To be able to shake the dust of myriad destinations from my feet. And to meet those who I have always longed to know.
If I need to actually indicate how I would spend on each person… well, that would be tough for me. I am TERRIBLE at buying anything for anyone. As thoughtful as I might be, I am an absolute cretin when it comes to buying gifts.