just call me raegen


Month: May, 2012

How to Stop Dating Douchebags

During a recent chat with some of the ladies in my life, a single one in the bunch started detailing some of the lesser dates she’s had recently. (I know, I know — shock of the world: a crappy date.) Anyway, she wrapped up this portion of the conversation with a statement that’s been on my mind (obviously, or I wouldn’t be here writing about it) since: “I’m going to start trying some new things because I don’t like the type of person I’m attracting.”

Jay Cutler (bodybuilder) in 2008

If he looked like this, I don’t blame her. (No offense, Jay Cutler.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First off, let me just say, by all means, try new things in life. I’m proud of this particular friend because she is fearless when it comes to putting herself out there and trying new things (and no, I don’t mean S&M… although now that I’m thinking about it, perhaps I’ll have to ask her).

And, admittedly, I used to be a big believer in this whole “I’m attracting this into my life” thing myself. And in a lot of ways, I still am. But there’s one fundamental difference between me two years ago and me today (well, one I’m legally permitted to disclose, anyway): I acknowledge the level of douchebaggery in the world, I reject it, and I subsequently refuse to blame myself for it.

Allow me to elaborate.

I’m a huge fan of 28 Days to a More Magnetic Life. I have watched movies like The Matrix, The Secret, What the Bleep Do We Know? — even the likes of Being John Malkovich and I Heart Huckabees — and I believe there is much truth to them. I have had proof in my own life of the dynamic, manipulable nature of this plane of existence or whatever you want to call it, and this is the foundation of my faith in God.

But here’s the deal: I don’t think people attract a particular type of person (usually crappy, by the way, because no one ever complains about the opposite, right?) because there’s some mystical, freaky mojo that draws those people to them. It ain’t no mysterious aura surrounding you that douchebags’ eyes are trained to see, like how insects see ultraviolet and we don’t or whatever.

It’s you. That’s right, I said it. You. Your negative, self-destructive belief that you attract these types of people is the fundamental root of the problem, because you’re telling yourself through this statement — albeit indirectly — that you don’t deserve any better when you actually do. And even worse: when you believe that, you at the same time create your very own Get Out of Jail Free card for getting involved with said douchebags — because, after all, that’s whom you attract, right?

An original Get Out of Jail Free Chance card.

This Get Out of Jail Free card entitles me to unlimited reinforcement of my own self-loathing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey, I speak from experience here, so don’t think I’m busting anyone out through some tough love without acknowledging my own unacceptable behavior. P.O.T.C. is all I have to say, for all y’all who knew me back in that day and get the reference.

Still, allow me to further translate what I’ve learned from my own mistakes — which were of fantastically magnificent proportions, I might add — and make my point crystal clear, because there are a lot of people in my life who are having this same issue. Let’s use some basic math and those English degrees I have to decipher this problem, shall we?

“I attract douchebags” = “Douchebags hit on me” + “I accept their come-ons”

See, that last portion of the equation is the silent, pseudo-attraction factor that few people even recognize, let alone realize is the part of their lives that they actually control — and by “control,” of course, I mean “can change,” because that’s not some mysterious attraction; it’s choice.

And let’s look at the equation when you do take control and make a better choice, shall we?

“Douchebags hit on me” — “I accept their come-ons” = “Lame douchebags move on” + “I’m happy over here, far away from douchebaggery”

Now, like I said, there are a great many douchebag in the world. This website here proves it, and even goes so far as to provide statistical evidence as to how many there are in fabulous Las Vegas alone. And these douchebags won’t stop reveling in their douchebaggery just because you’ve grown up, said no, seen the light, or what have you. They will still enter your life and may even attempt to destroy it. But… if you’ve learned anything from your own (or my) experiences, you’ll know better than to think it’s something about you that drew them near.

English: Magnetic field of an ideal cylindrica...

This diagram representing “a magnetic field of an ideal cylindrical magnet with its axis of symmetry inside the image plane” makes no sense to me, but it looks pretty cool, right? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And now you know exactly what to do — what part of the equation is in your power to exercise — to minimize your experiences with them. You don’t have to do new things (although again, there’s nothing wrong with that). In fact, you can do new things until you’re blue in the face, but until you just say no to douchebags — the only essential here — nothing will change.

Official portrait of First Lady Nancy Reagan, ...

A fellow Reagan just said no. Will you? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But the funny thing is is that the more you practice your part of the equation — rejecting the douchebags who come on to you — the better you’ll become at spotting the douchebags before they even have a chance to approach you. And suddenly, you will realize you’re no longer “attracting” those types of unsavory characters that seemed to find you no matter where you tried to hide, because it was never really a matter of that anyway, but of your own choices (including ignoring the many warning signs of douchebags’ behavior).

On top of this, because you’re now rejecting douchebags, you’ve made some room in your life for quality people and true love to enter it. After all, if your fridge is full of Two-Buck Chuck, you’re going to have nowhere for that Dom Perignon to chill, now, will you? Love and self-respect are the basic lessons here, and that’s really what your higher self’s attempting to attract to you. Help it out by saying no to douchebags and let it already!

Before I close, let it be known that douchebags come in all shapes, sizes and forms. In other words, this is not a man-hating blog. (I’m a feminist; I don’t hate men; there is a difference between the two.) But just to further build my case for this, my next blog will be about some of our New-Age “guru” types, perhaps the most dangerous form of douchebag currently walking the Earth — or buying the yoga mat — whatever. Stay tuned…

Your Moral Compass Is Pointing in the Suckwesternly Direction

My sister — bless her heart — is a salesperson. A good one. Better still, she’s a natural-born salesperson, the kind total strangers just walk up and tell their life stories to. And I have to admit, I’ve oft admired her way with people. Whereas I judge and alienate those around me, my sister relates and befriends nearly everyone she meets.

Myers-Briggs typology for women

I’m an INFJ, which does in fact mean I’ll go ballistic on that azz. (Photo credit: Peter Forret)

Even looking at this bizarre Myers-Briggs chart, I find it interesting to note that I’ve been labeled as a protector at heart. Ultimately, I hope this blog will be a reflection of that, which is my — dare I say it? — maternal instinct I don’t ever actually plan to practice on offspring of my own kicking in from my vacant uterus. So I guess I have to practice it on my loved ones instead, whether they like it or not. (And for the record, they usually don’t.)

But first, to the heart of the matter.

Wait — where was I?

Vector image of the Las Vegas sign. Português:...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh, right.

So I was thinking about the times I’ve wished my personality was more like my sister’s while having a conversation about business with her and one of our best friends from childhood this past weekend. Someone in the industry I currently write for was informing me that I was actually a salesperson but didn’t know it — one of those weird types of comments like, “You must master your rage, or it will master you” — true story — and I was telling them that I somewhat understood what the guy who said that to me meant with respect to being a writer, but I could never see myself selling _____, and for very legitimate reasons which I’m not at liberty to list here, as they would identify _____, but just assume for the sake of argument that there is no reasonable or even partially justifiable counterargument to my argument about _____.

An American judge talking to a lawyer.

In other words, don’t ever question me. Dismissed.         (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Both listened to my diatribe, which concluded with an “I couldn’t sleep at night knowing I lied to someone to sell something I am aware has either no value or significantly less value than my client was paying to receive.”

My sister immediately jumped in and tried to manage my perception — and yes, I did learn that term from her. She tried to convince me that I was looking at it all wrong. In other words, she tried to sell me. And not because there was actually any reasonable or justifiable argument one could present, like I said. And there really was nothing to be gained in this effort to persuade me, either… except maybe the sheer joy of mental domination, which I must admit I also find exhilarating.

Family Guy: Stewie's Guide to World Domination

If I was a cartoon, I’m fairly certain I’d be something like Stewie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s ridiculous! It’s preposterous! It’s ludicrous! By god, it’s impetuous! Indeed, it’s always “on” with my sister. This argument was pure reflex, her hand touching my hot stove and instantaneously leaping back. She is always in selling mode now. She has become a master of her craft.

I was awestruck — humbled, even. And horrified.

“Why?” you may not be wondering at all right now. But I’m going to tell you anyway. (Stop staring at Stewie’s football-esque head and come back to this already.)

People who’ve mastered the art of sales — the art of spinning, or “professional lying,” as I like to call it — are usually also listed among the most unscrupulous people I’ve ever met. Somewhere along the path of learning how to “manage perceptions” and “overcome objections,” salespeople — probably much like actors — can lose their grip on reality and start applying the role they play on the sales floor to their private lives.

Cruise jumps on the couch during the taping of...

Or, in this case, the couch. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some of them can spin literally everything. I’ve seen it happen before my very eyes in my own office. And again, it’s humbling and horrifying. He who can in the span of a minute think of a way to convince another person she wants to buy a banana shake instead of a strawberry shake, for example, simply because he doesn’t have strawberries that day and doesn’t plan on telling her that (fairly harmless) is the same person who can convince himself that, say, embezzling is okay (pretty harmful).

Icon of U.S. currency.

“I’m convinced that embezzlement isn’t called stealing because it’s actually okay to do.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m a very different person from my sister, and we certainly disagree with many of each other’s life decisions, as I’m sure many siblings find is the case for themselves. There’s nothing wrong with this.

So what am I wiggin’ about, then? Before I tell you, dear readers, let me first qualify my forthcoming statement by saying I don’t blame sales as a profession for the path some salespeople choose to travel. And I know I’m not describing all salespeople in this blog. But I do wonder, at what point do certain personality types become so good at sales that they actually obliterate any sort of moral/ethical center they may have had and sell themselves the managed perception they’ve weaved that lets them sleep at night thinking no matter what they’ve done, how they might be hurting themselves, and how they might be damaging the lives of others in the process, everything’s still cool?

Skinny Jeans + High Heels Español: Pantalón pi...

Skinny jeans and hideous heels? Epically uncool!             (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just sayin’…

Marty McFly and Neo Go on a Hot Date

Bet that caught your attention!

During some social time at a trade show recently – I know, again! – a client threw out one of those philosophical, fun “What if?” questions: What if you could use a time machine to travel either forward or backward in time? Which direction would you choose, what year would you go to, and why?

Cover of "Back to the Future"


Of course, my overanalytical mind had a field day with this one. Here’s my conclusion.

I can see the virtues of both returning to the past and visiting the future. The thought of going back and correcting my past mistakes, perhaps seizing opportunities I was too naïve/shy/intimidated/etc. to pursue before I became the person I am today is all very tempting, though I was informed by my business pal that these things aren’t allowed in the scenario – which really made me wonder what the hizzy the point of the proposition was in the first place, actually, because then why bother going back at all? Wasn’t it bad enough the first time around? Then again, I suppose if you were one of those people who peaked in high school, you’d probably want to just go back and witness your glory days. I wasn’t one of those people, though, thankfully, so I guess I don’t really see the point of going back to the past unless I could change it.

football player

He peaked in high school. Or at least his hair did. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But the more I thought about the possibility of going back and changing things in my past, the more I realized that no matter how shizzy some of my life experiences were – and some indeed were quite that – I’m not sure I could’ve really become the person I am today without enduring the worst my life has delivered me thus far. Is this sounding like the trite, overdone plot of some movie that’s out there already? Perhaps it is, but nevertheless, this is what I have to assume would be the case had I not experienced everything I’ve lived through so far – good and bad. If there was some guarantee I could become the person I am today – the person I like to be and am proud to be – without going through everything I have endured, then perhaps there would be some things I would choose to redo or strike from the record entirely.

Delete key

Too bad this doesn’t work on all those failboats you set sail. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I also find it interesting that I identify more with the challenging life experiences I’ve faced versus the ones that have brought me joy. Am I a masochist? Mayhaps so. I’m not sure what it is about adversity that I feel is so powerful, but I do have to say that there’s something inside me that really does believe – correctly or falsely – that these types of experiences are what truly show us who we are, who we can be, our true potential. But they really suck testes to be in in those moments/months/years. This is why so many stay comfortable in less than they deserve, less than they can do and be. Granted, it’s not like I’m some kind of prolific genius taking on the world, but now that my life is a lot saner, healthier, and happier (and most importantly, I know how to keep it that way), I find that I can take on more. I saw an inspirational speaker, John O’Leary, while at this conference who posed one major question to remember, to ask yourself each day: “What more can I do?” Well, I’m a writer, Jim, not a doctor, so I won’t be curing cancer, but I can do more than I have done in the past, more than I did yesterday, more for myself and the world around me. I intend to do this into the future.

Leonard McCoy

The real McCoy. Yeah, I went there. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Which brings us to this whole “time travel into the future” portion of the proposition. I could see some benefit of going into the future, seeing what life is like for people there. As a feminist, I’m particularly interested in seeing what kind of progress might be made 10, 100, 1,000 years down the line for womankind both in the U.S. and abroad – you know, presuming the Mayans are wrong about all that apocalypse stuff. Arguably, I wouldn’t have the urge to change anything; I figure if I went far enough in the future, perhaps a utopia of sorts, a heaven on earth, would be there waiting for me – like Belinda Carlisle’s vision, except less ‘80s.

Heaven Is a Place on Earth

Remember your giant floating head facing in a different direction in your ’80s grade-school portrait? Of course you do. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But we are human. Could there really be such a thing as a utopia in this earthly form? And how far into the future would it be, if possible, for that to be the case? Would it be such a culture shock, a person like me from a time like this couldn’t possibly comprehend or adjust to it? These are philosophical debates unto themselves, of course, and ones I’ll have to save for another day. Not to mention the fact that this mother hen is not the kind to not find some way to “improve” things; I put that word in quotes because, of course, improvement would be solely defined by me from my limited and selfish perspective, and so likely wouldn’t guarantee improvement from any other perspective – a whole other philosophical debate.

The original Simon game as seen at The Henry F...

Mother Hen says, “Eff Simon!” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But let’s presume for a moment the future was great, or at the very least, significantly better than things are today. Who would want to go back to the time they were originally from? (That’s another rule, my client informed me; you don’t get to stay in that past or future moment; you only get to visit. So many rules with this hypothetical scenario!) And if it wasn’t – if things were even worse than they are now, and people were living like dogs in underground bubbles and tunnels, hiding from artificial intelligence with Keanu Reeves, who would want to live with that knowledge? I mean, sure, you’d be grateful to come back to things as they are today, but you’d have to assume that the hard fighting so many did for so long for all the great causes failed epically. It’s enough to make a person want to take the blue pill – filled with cyanide.

"You take the blue pill – the story ends,...

What if Morpheus had simply said, “You take the blue pill, the story ends; you never wake up,” Neo took the blue pill, and then he just died? Wouldn’t have made much of a movie, I suppose… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the end of the conversation, it was concluded among us that it would probably be best for a person like me to go neither forward nor back. An unsatisfying answer? Maybe. But it gave me a different sort of appreciation for this time I was born in, the life I’m living now. It also made me curious about what others would choose. So what would you do, dear readers? Forward or back?

Seven Things About This Versatile Blogger

I recently got a nomination as a Versatile Blogger from Lolosofocused — one of the stupid, meaningless lives (SMLs) united with my own. (Before anyone gets insulted, please see my “Manifesto” blog for the details on what I mean by that.) Thanks, Lolo!

I believe this is a for-bloggers, by-bloggers recognition, which just stands as further testament to the power we have on the Interwebs these days to further connect with people and thoughts we may not have had any other access to previously as well as facilitate connections on behalf of those we feel would appreciate additional exposure. One interesting task I’ve already begun is to trace back through the root of my own nomination to see the foreparents who came before me, what’s on their minds at the moment, and just get a general sense of all that’s out there — and it’s a lot!

These are the “rules” for the Versatile Blogger Award, should one choose to accept the nomination:

1) Add the award to your blog (which I think I’m doing through the writing of this blog).
2) Thank the blogger who gave it to you and include a link to their blog. (Done above.)
3) Mention seven random things about yourself. (Is anything random? But see below.)
4) List the rules. (Done here.)
5) Give the award to 15 or more bloggers. (Lolo assured me that “even if (I didn’t) have 15, that’s cool, but (I should) still let someone else know (I) like their blog. I will do this, but I will also point out that I have already devoted an entire page of my blog to the SMLs already united.)

Now on to the seven “random” things about me. I’m hoping some of these will be able to surprise even my oldest of friends:

1. I’m a huge fan of nicknames — both giving them and getting them, though I only give them to people I like. I’m currently writing this from the bed of one of my best friends in the whole world — also my oldest friend (oldest meaning I’ve been friends with him the longest, not that he’s, like, 100) — who gave me my first friend-created nickname: Miss Perfect. Those of you who know me IRL I’m sure understand why.

perfectionist measuring and cutting grass

This is a picture of a perfectionist measuring and cutting grass. When I live again in a place that has grass, I will resume this activity. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. I was once a cheerleader. This proves two things: a) not all cheerleaders are stupid, and b) cheerleaders can be or can turn into feminists. You’ve been warned.

Postcard of CornellUniversityCheerleader1906 C...

Sorry. I just couldn’t bring myself to post a picture of today’s cheerleading fashions — aka slut gear. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. I went on to become a poet, wearing a vinyl dress while giving my last reading in my graduate program.

Gothic Model Lady Amaranth wearing Nightshade ...

Not me, but close on that night. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4. I love the artistic (say, David Lynch) as much as I love the worthless and asinine (say, Will Ferrell) on film, and I am willing to watch a Harry Potter, Twilight, or Hunger Games movie, but I will never — you hear me, never — read a J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, or Suzanne Collins book. That is just asking too much. This is what we literary elitists call genre fiction, and if I’m going to devote any amount of time to reading — which for me is always considerable — that book must teach me something meaningful about myself or in some way transform me. Genre fiction doesn’t accomplish this. In musical terms, it would be the difference between Bach and Madonna.

Cover of "Twilight (Twilight, Book 1)"

Don’t take the bait! Read real literature!

5. I was one of the first to see the phenomenon that is The Room, thanks to my good friend JohnnyGnu82! This was back in, like, 2003/2004, when I lived in L.A., when one theater at Laemmle’s Sunset could house the entire audience. And I will be there when Tommy Wiseau achieves his dream of screening it at the Staples Center. If enough people loved The Room, the world would be a better place.

Staples Center

If you make a terrible movie, they will come. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

6. My favorite book of poetry is Louise Gluck’s Averno, gifted to me by MC, blogger and poet extraordinaire. My favorite fiction is Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

7. I do believe in a higher power, but I’m spiritual, not religious. My partner’s name is Jesus, so I think God must have an incredible sense of humor.

Okay, I’m off to enjoy a real-life reunion of stupid, meaningless lives now. Until next time…