What's an honest man to do, really?

Reply Thu 19 Jun, 2003 06:39 pm
Mr S, do they ... have glorious foreheads as well? (Oh, I am trapped by desire!)

I've been mulling over everyone's posts here throughout each day.
It's definitely an ambling, mosey-ing, thoughtful thread for me.
Thank you for everything you say, and I hope to catch up with more responses soon...

Morganwood, you're my kind of person! Great to hear stories of your life, and that people can live so openly. You are fully here, and it's an honor.

Cav, you must work with many kinds of people, because your insights are very sharp. Spherical is right, never thought of it that way! Still thinking...

Dream2020, thank you so much for encouragement.
I *am* trying to provoke ... some real thought! :-) Advice and good stories too. I'm also trying to become visible, just so people will know what others deal with.

Also, I'm always very careful, because that's exactly what makes dangerous situations far safer than we fear.

Chatoyant, I was born and raised in southern Massachusetts. Moved to Silicon Valley at 18, Santa Cruz, CA at 24, retired to the mountains at Lake Tahoe, CA at 33. Now 38.

But I prefer to keep my astrological sign confidential, because it often gives a false impression. No one has ever guessed it correctly (c'mon, I dare you!) so how "revealing" can it be?

Ossobuco, also sharp insights, intuitive :-), still mulling...

I cannot take offense or be upset by anything anyone posts. Even with emoticons, these forums lack a great deal of visual feedback ... so I always side with the positive.

Thank you for your words and, don't ever worry about treading lightly with your opinion. Where *have* you found open people and nice friends?
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Reply Thu 19 Jun, 2003 07:05 pm
CB, I do luxury private catering....I have met many many sorts of people, and have learned to become a good observer from it. Nothing inspires "veritas" like good food and a lot of wine, and I catch it all.
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Reply Thu 19 Jun, 2003 09:03 pm
Oh! Damn, now I want to guess your sign.....
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Reply Thu 19 Jun, 2003 09:13 pm
I could pore over the posts to see if CB did indeed post his sign somewhere, but I'll say he was joshing us and go with Virgo.
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Reply Thu 19 Jun, 2003 09:14 pm
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Reply Thu 19 Jun, 2003 09:19 pm
hmmmmmmmm, the odds are 1 in 6 that we've got the answer now. sorry, that's one of setanta's oldies but moldies.
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Reply Thu 19 Jun, 2003 09:28 pm
I really, really liked what Morganwood had to say. (Great to see you around again, M.) I am always interested in the Relationships & Marriage topics, but have noted several times that I'm not really in any position to give advice -- I'm totally thrilled with who I ended up with, but it was all very random indeed. Right place, right time, right person, and in college -- I think college is when we are all kind of open and social and finding many many opportunities to meet people, and those relationships tend to be ones that last for a long time. (Not talking about romantic relationships, necessarily. My best friend is someone I met in college, etc.)

I was watching the sozlet play at the beach yesterday and suddenly vividly remembered a conversation I had with my dad when I was maybe 8. We were heading home from a day at the beach and I was talking about my adventures with the kids I'd met and immediately become fast friends with, and he sighed and said "I wish it was always that easy." We talked about that, and I didn't believe him. All I had to do was walk up to someone and say, "Hi, you wanna play?" (Or something -- at this late date, I forget the magic words.) And they would. That was that. I didn't get why he couldn't do the same thing, with other grown-ups. I understood that "you wanna play?" might not work, but I thought grown-ups had some other magic words that served the same function.

They don't.

I have one good friend in town who I see fairly often, and we always have a nice time together. But she has a best friend who lives a couple of blocks away, and they are constantly hanging out together. Her "friend" gap is filled completely, and since she likes me, she is fine with hanging out with me, too, but I'm not the one she thinks of first. I end up calling her more often than she calls me, and that rankles. But I understand it, too. I've been in that position, when I'm lucky enough to have a very good friend nearby. (All of my group of friends seem to be rather mobile... I haven't reliably been in the same town with a very good friend for more than a couple of months since I was in college, I think.)

At any rate... it's random. Stay open, and things will happen.
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Reply Fri 20 Jun, 2003 09:43 am
CodeBorg wrote:
Fact is, sometimes I go a year or two between conversations with people.
Although I deal with dozens of people professionally, and around town
with volunteer work, classes, and chit-chat mingling, I'd still like
to have someone be there.
That's why I'm curious about what has worked for others.

Most men *are* islands. Most people never get a chance to say how they
feel or what they experience. On any given day, there is no one I can
call or write to, just to say what's going on and how I am. (end of CB's Quote)

I've been wondering exactly what it is that constitues an intimate friendship that you haven't found yet.

In my own experience, romantic intimacy can be an illusion produced by infatuation. Once the electricity wears off, so does that feeling of being soul mates. My marriage has been very up and down, sometimes the dullness of frantic daily routine making it seem rather humdrum. But we truly do talk to each other about everything, how we feel, and what we need to grow spiritually. We've helped each other move our lives onward as individuals, and we check and balance each other's insanities. On the other hand, I've had friends that dated back to childhood, who I kept up with until they moved away. I thought our friendship would last forever, but even those very old friends eventually drifted away. Friendships seem more to do with propinquity than it does with some spiritusl connection.

In my experience sexually intense relationships haven't been with the *right* people. There has always been an element of danger and pain in the end. The one *dangerous* incident was in a country where I got involved with a man who was very offended when I brokeoff with him. He said, no woman does that to me. He stalked me for weeks, then abducted me. kept me up, all night holding an ice pick over me, trying to threaten me into either being with him or leaving the country. I left. That's how I learned to stick to non-machismo men.
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Reply Fri 20 Jun, 2003 10:42 am
Glad you're still around, then, dream. Some people...

The window is full of rain today, CB, so I'm, um, listening, and offer what I have to offer, which is very little, really. The brief life so far has been a bit contracted and empty.

Only have one person with whom I share any sort of intimate bond right now, and I love her a great deal. Mainly it's about having similar senses of humor. To me, that's a very deep thing, because I think humor gets down to how we view the pathos of the world through our own various pathologies. It's been very hard for me to find people I really understand on that level and who really understand me. Who feel the same sorts of pains and laugh at the same sufferings. (Hmm. Perhaps I am Russian at heart? Ahh, what garbage.)

The past year has been very difficult for the gf and very mentally tiring for me, and time and money are in short supply -- time spent goofing off at work notwithstanding. I hope, down the line, there's more people around -- not just people to fill some sort of void, but honest companions, where there is a mutual respect, a discourse, an ability to sit in silence and not always feel the need to fill it. A lot of people have a lot of trouble with silence. I have lately, too, and I'd like very much to get back away from that. Times will get easier, I hope, so that I can hear the wind in the leaves without my mind going to some worry or other.

Remembered the other day an old friend -- really the brother of a high school buddy -- who showed up one day when I was in college, looking for... something. Just somebody different to talk to, someone trustworthy, someone who could listen and laugh at the right things. Drank some beer, introduced him to the gf and to the housemates, and talked talked talked. Strange how strong is the need just to talk to someone sometimes, but how it's got to be the right person for it to work. This thread reminds me of that...

Who will be the village shaman of the 21st century?


Thanks for the thread, CB. Mostly I'm just listening.
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Reply Fri 20 Jun, 2003 04:27 pm
(I typed this as a text doc because word getts screwed up when I cut and paste. Hope it works)

cb, went to my therapist today. I generally go on Friday afternoon unless I have other things to do. My wifes been out of town since Christmas so today was a good day to go chat.Today you became the topic of discussion. Not you specific but your thoughts on relationships. I retold him my story about Korea and the relationship with the women. It delighted me to just hear myself retell it. It was a relationship, lost to my conscience mind but, held in spirit. I set it off in a corner as a relationship. I talked about other relationships I've had or still have. Many, if not most, are casual relationships without a great deal of depth. Lack of depth doesn't mean that they are shallow but, simply that they lack that intense emotion you seem to seek. Iam, by nature, an extremely intense person. There are issues that are difficult for me to playfully discuss. These issues I try to reserve for conversations with my close personal friends. If I am asked about them, I'll respond but I often ask the person if they to get into an extended conversation about it, before I start. I have found that life scares some people. Some people are just not aware of all the things that exist around them. It is unfair for me to jump in and bring up some of these topics as I them place them in a position of not only having to acknowledge the topic but having to respond to my comments. A lot of people just don't toy with the concept that there must be some meaning to their lives and as long as they are comfortable, so be it. That's not bad, that is just the state of affairs. So, I keep the conversation light. Several years ago, during one of those low moments in my life, I found myself at the end of a rope. The rope broke and here I am today writing this. I commented on the issue to a friend and she was so taken aback that it is still difficult for her to talk comfortably with me. She was just not ready to hear that someone she liked would attempt to take their own life. Very few people are. Now, I have the option of not talking to anyone whom might be disturbed by this conversation or I can continue to foster friendly relationshipswith people in general and reserve that level of interaction with a selected few. I choose the later. Your quest for a meaningful and deep relationship with others is not beyond your grasp. It just won't happen with each individual that you may encounter. How crazy would the world be if each and every conversation between individuals was one of intense soul searching? Jeeze, we would all end up crazy. In relationships, I tend to be someone who pays attention to what the other person needs or wants and do what I can to provide it. If they want humor, I try to be light. If they want attention, I pay attention. I may tire of it but I try. Sometimes I interact with a person who has the same approach and we both end up having our needs met and a relationship is formed. Time and honesty will be the factors that dictates its depth. I don't fault the other person, or myself if it remains just a casual relationship. Maybe it's my age, maybe it's the severe experiences I've had in my life that have brought me to a point where I try not to impose great expectations upon others, I don't know. I was, and still am, struck by your statement as to how long you may go without having a conversation with another person. A year is a pretty damn long time. Actually, it's too damn long. I wrote a little piece a while back that reflects my thoughts about how we often go about daily life and interact with others. I suspect that it reflects the behavior of all of us at some time or another. Good luck in your persuit of that "One honest man" but chat with a few others along the way!


I arrived at work today. The first person I saw upon entering was Tom what's his name. I cordially said "Good morning". "Fine, how are you?" he hurriedly responded. The day had begun.
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Reply Fri 20 Jun, 2003 05:27 pm
ossobuco wrote:
I dunno, Code, what you write rings of years ago to me. Somehow I doubt you really have lived the life you write of and if you have, I think your questions might be other than those posed here. I am seeing a construct here, and don't know you well enough to guess the whys.

"Seeing a construct" is sharply intuitive, can mean different things:

I did write about my date in story form, so maybe the lyrical quality makes
it seem unreal. But the only thing adjusted in the telling is that I
emphasized the relationship aspects, to bring out such common questions
in a funny way. I want to make it very clear to people that men don't just
want sex, that we do crave closeness and communication. An
emotionally-fulfilling relationship is often standing right in front of you,
looking like a jerk because we just don't have good examples to follow.

We need teachers. All of us need to publicize good examples(!) not the dragging
complaints. Do you know *anyone* who has a healthy relationship? Let's hear it!

Some people do live a lie, without really knowing it. They have some kind
of script in mind, constantly rationalizing and working with their image of it.
I worry about that sometimes ... if I'm just writing a story every time I do
something (acting out), instead of just being in the moment (genuine).

Without turning this into group-therapy, I would like people in my life
who I can call up anytime, talk and do stuff with. Life is rarely like that.
When something big happens during my day, I pick up the phone but
there is no phone number I can dial.

In the past, I have called 85 people in one day, every single number I
have in my possession. And not one person was willing to spend ten
minutes with me. A few days like that and now I don't even try. How
can I maintain a nice image of life? I have to adapt and stay alive.

After decades of people constantly coming and going, I start going through
the motions, doing all the things I'm "supposed" to, but not really expecting
anyone will ever be there. I may always live without human contact,
but I am male and I have to learn to be okay with it. The majority of men
I know have to face hostile isolation sooner or later, and just keep going.
(Click here for more info).

I have to embrace all of life and move on, even if it's beyond human society.
No script-running is gonna make that situation feel any better.

Most people have a public face they put on, that helps them squeak by,
a funny little act that helps them function while deep down they may
have all kinds of feelings going on. (Think Robin Williams).
This is pretense, but it is conscious and everybody sees it.
It's a little white lie that helps us get through the day.

Like many people, I have a lot of pain but I still need to run errands,
talk with people, and get work done. So a slight air of pretense is in the
story ... some of the words and phrases were just too funny not to write!
But my stated reactions were honest and the facts remain true.
It is how I felt about the evening, stated in an ironic way.

Any sing-songy smoothness comes from the telling, not the actual event.
I think it was hilarious to be able to have such an evening, and moan
about shallow, sex-craved women, even though a relationship did develop.
At the same time, I am in horror that I live in such a society, that
I have to give people money before they're willing to talk with me.
Just "How are you? What's been going on? And how was that?"

It's tough to find the words that will express the loving, giving attention,
and also the horrible pains and difficulty that we all swim through.
Like a standup comedian, a little shtick helps to at least broach the topic.

Three ideas of "construct"... Maybe you can elaborate?
(Hope this isn't rambling and tedious, but I like sipping ideas across a few days).

I have a hunch that no rules can be applied to other people. But do you know any good examples we might borrow and adapt? Know anyone who has a truly healthy relationship?

"Where have you found good people and nice friends?"
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Reply Fri 20 Jun, 2003 05:45 pm
If you indeed called 85 people in one day and no one was willing to talk with you, should you not ask,"What part do I play in this isolation I feel?"
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Reply Fri 20 Jun, 2003 06:15 pm
I'm weaving four threads here now... each one a gem :-) !

Sozobe -- I absolutely love the image of kids at the beach.
Adults think too much! Children do far more living.
I shouldn't be so reluctant about approaching people, no
matter who they are, and just saying "Hi! What's your name?"
We're all kids on the beach. Just be nice.

Dream2020 -- Holy Sh!t!! what an experience to go through!
How could you trust anyone ever again? I'd be a basket case!
Just the fact that you survived, still love, and don't seem
to carry a chip on your shoulder ... is very inspiring.
There truly *is* a whole spectrum of people out there.
(((big hugs, so glad you're here)))

My idea of a "real" conversation and relationship is simple.
Each person keeps in touch. We ask
"How are you? What's been going on? And how was that?"
That's it.

PatioDog -- Village shaman? You know I do drum circles!
The rattles and the fire, the connectedness of a community
where every person contributes their own rhythm into a song.
People dance and celebrate without needing a single word,
and you actually feel the strength of how we are bonded
with the elements, each other, and the earth.
It's a journey. Symbols come. Spirit dancing helps us
bring the qualities of our strongest dreams into the world.

Every region has a drum circle, tucked away in some spiritual
corner. Ask at your local music shop, accupuncturist, organic
food store, or meditation/yoga/dance center.
It's not about money, so you won't see colorful ads anywhere!

Good news is usually hidden. You have to ask for it.
(Ooo, I think I just found my signature line! P-Dog, you da man!)

Morganwood -- All I do is ask people how they are, and
casually give them a few minutes of my time, away from distractions.
So many of them are so worked up about life, just break down and cry.
Many people would turn and run from intensity, but I just smile.
The depth of their living ... What a song! What a passion!
How can you not celebrate somebody's life?

When I asked 85 people to hang out, talk, have lunch or give me some
attention, I experimented and tried different approaches -- casual, serious,
fun, and desperate. Truth is, people are busy! You don't always get what you give.

Maybe I shouldn't go so far ... Experimenting that widely opens me to a
really big sense of failure. But give me a script and I'll read it.
Give me directions, I'll follow it. Whatever. I follow an empirical approach
and try not to load it with judgements.
Good mood, bad mood, intense or light...
whatever works works, whatever doesn't doesn't.

I used to get so intense about it! Now I just play the piano,
explore and enjoy the world. Everyone is invited, but in such turmoil
many people walk alone.
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Reply Fri 20 Jun, 2003 07:03 pm
It's true that people have their story, which they present to the world, especially when they feel a little threatened. But people do connect inspite of stories, facades, etc,. because not to connect is to die of emotional starvation. Mostly people use their stories just in the beginning, then slowly open up into themselves as trust develops out of good experience, and perseverence.

You ask how I can trust after what happened? I learned to choose the right people, and keep myself to myself with the ones (including members of my own family) who will hurt me. It's not easy, and like Morganwood I've struggled , and gotten help when needed.
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Reply Fri 20 Jun, 2003 08:12 pm
Well, code, I am sorry if I was mistrusting, I know you to be very bright and wasn't sure what you were doing with the description of the unusual date.

As to construct, we do all walk about reconfiguring our sense of selves even moment by moment, don't we? Maybe some don't reconfigure much, and I don't know if that is good or not. I keep accumulating selfknowledge that I have to accomodate, maybe I am slow at it.

I am older and have in my life had people I could connect to in intimate conversation, which, by the way, we are having now to some extent, aren't we? I got better at my part of it as I got older. Just about the time you get good at it, a whole batch of the population ignores you as older, not hip. But not all.

I haven't held on to all the people I was close to in various times at certain intersections....and most people don't. I am not talking about sex, except that some of sexuality underlies every conversation, if sexuality is just a part of our presense on two feet (or off).

I'm talking about past times having long conversations figuring out what we thought and who we thought we were with some girlfriends in my late teens.

Talking about long figuring out who we were conversations with my cousin and her husband when I would visit them for weekends sometimes.

Talking about our philosophy of life at 21, with a boyfriend. Talking til blue in face over gallon jugs of wine sometimes accompanied by other things in the late sixties and seventies, with different people. Much of that talk useless, but not all.

Working late with a colleague and our pouring some wine and talking and talking about we were doing here now and what the hell was this we were doing anyway?

A thousand conversations on everything with my present business partner.

Conversations with not enough sides with my husband, who was slow to express himself in words, even though he was a writer, taffypulling to wait for him to admit any confusion on anything.
I talked too much with him. too much noise in his ears.

Efforts on friends' and sometimes acquaintances wanting to be friends' parts to have us meet over coffee or lunch...sometimes led to some deep talk.

Because I moved a thousand miles away from where I knew people just a few years ago, I don't have a thicket of people I can call locally now, and my business partner and I ebb and flow on any calls in evening or weekends because we see too much of each other as it is....but once in a while one or the other calls with some life epiphany, or at least interesting observation.

What I have then is the residual base of friends from years past, and when I moved I sent one of the illregarded holiday letters to everybody in my address book that I might ever want to hear from again, making the letter honest, not pathetic, but, uh, piquantly adventurous, and going off into descriptions of what I see about the new place and how the people are...

and got a surprising rebirth of some previously "still" friendships, some really thoughtful, expressive letters back, or phone calls. Some of those letters took several months to appear, they had had mine on the refrigerator, whatever, the back burner, for when they could settle down with straight answers.

On the matter of calling eighty people, I haven't done that, but I have noticed patterns - even when I had almost too many people buzzing around - that if I was in a rare calling when lonely mode, nobody was home, a little ironic pickle.

People often meet while doing other things, just being, not when seeking. Seeking can almost close off serendipitous intimacy.
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Reply Fri 20 Jun, 2003 08:33 pm
Oh, as to having one person supply continuous intimate companionship, that is pretty rare, although my cousin and her husband do seem to have that, and one or two other couples I know do too. I think.

The old gang of girlfriends ("the smart ass group, aka SAG") married, or not, but went off on their own lives. There is still intimate talk when we get together as a group once every few years, although not right away. Hmm, that is an interesting feature...a few of those old friends are really good at interviewing...some of them had therapy at about the same time, and share a tendency to challenge one's facile remarks, although fairly nicely.
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Reply Fri 20 Jun, 2003 08:33 pm
"A thicket of people" -- yes! I love that!

I lived in Madison, WI for 8 years, and part of what made it so dear to me is now lost, and wouldn't be there for the people I so strenuously urge to move there -- that I would walk down State Street, at any time of day or night (12 noon, 12 midnight) and run into at least one person I knew. At least. Someone who would know me well enough to say, "Hey, you don't look so good... Everything all right?" Or "Geez, you're positively glowing! What's up?" This led to the comically horrible, such as the Corner of Horror I have mentioned a few times -- current boyfriend, meet former boyfriend, former boyfriend, and former boyfriend -- but also an intense HOME-y-ness that was so so hard to leave.
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Reply Fri 20 Jun, 2003 08:42 pm
CodeBorg wrote:
We need teachers. All of us need to publicize good examples(!) not the dragging complaints. Do you know *anyone* who has a healthy relationship? Let's hear it!

I've been thinking about this. Cav, patiodog and Jes are all people who come to mind (quickly) as having healthy relationships. I'm awfully happy with mine, though it feels a bit odd, somehow, to say so. A bit fate-tempting.

I'm not sure what you're looking for, though. I don't think there is any particular universal wisdom I can impart based on my own flukey connection with a wonderful man. It's all just very individualized -- things that he and I would never, ever do, on principle, are done by others who are perfectly happy. Others would never, ever do things that we do. Etc. Ask a more specific question and I'll do my best to answer.
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Reply Fri 20 Jun, 2003 08:44 pm
Serendipity Now

Looking but not looking
Needing but not needing
Asking but not demanding
Inviting what we want.

Focussing but not limitting
Hoping but not expecting
Loving but not holding
Freedom is what we need.

Sharing but not pushing
Closed and yet open
The pickle of life,
sour, sweet, tasty, ironic,

makes the sandwich ...

Ack! Silly poetry, ick, sorry!
Keep stories coming (how you met, what you appreciate, that it works, heck just what's possible, open people, community, positive)... :-D I'll be back online a little after the solstice.
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Reply Fri 20 Jun, 2003 09:48 pm
Cav and Mrs. Cav are healthy indeed, due to extreme honesty with one another. Personally, I love CodeBorg's posts, and I think Mrs. Cav would too, but if we met you in person, it is possible that we would both find you a bit icky and annoying Very Happy Now, there is no offense intended there whatsoever, in fact, it comes from a place of extreme affection, which I am sure you understand, CB. I still love reading about the stuff you do, the thoughts you have, but I am never coming to a drum circle. Not my thing. Sometimes I think I may be the way-too-cynical CodeBorg....so many thoughts in common, but a very different approach to life....
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