Sunday, September 21, 2014

Stupid Cupid Part I

"The desire to get married, 
which - I regret to say, I believe is basic and primal in women - 
is followed almost immediately by an equally basic and primal urge - 
which is to be single again." 
~Nora Ephron

The second most popular topic of sessions is romantic relationships: current partnerships with impossible problems, past unions that won't go away and dreamy, idealized hopes of future couplings with a mystical creature called "The One".  In heterosexual women born between the years 1955 and 1995, there can be a wistful tendency towards Disneyfication where the belief in Prince Charming reigns supreme. A startling number of women sincerely believe that when the "Right Man" arrives, there will be peace in the valley at last. All of their problems will evaporate, they will lose that last 20-50 pounds, their judgmental mothers will suddenly express approval, the perfect job will manifest and they can finally put their decorating talents to use in the beautiful house he will provide for her.

Gloria Steinem is vomiting her breakfast into the kitchen sink right now.

Following are some memorable moments from past sessions:

Marital Theatrics
Even though I know better, in a weak moment I agree to conduct a session with a married couple. Our discussion begins with polite banter and gentle questions about the future. They are sitting next to one another on the couch, holding hands and nodding as each takes a turn speaking. I feel confident that the three of us can work together as a team to clear some old energy and forge a bright, shiny path into the promising future. Thirty minutes later, the stress fractures become apparent when she refers to him as a man-child who will never be able to support her. Also, she is sickened by the skid marks he leaves in his underwear which she feels is passive-aggressive behavior since she does his laundry. The mood in the room takes a turn and now feels like the ghastly moment right before an overloaded septic system backs up into the house. He pops up from the couch as though he is spring-loaded, and with an enraged "fuck you AND your mother" stomps out of the house, leaving her whimpering on the couch. "See?" she says, wiping away tears with the sleeve of her sweater. "This is what I deal with every day! I should have left him five years ago when he banged that eHarmony whore!"

Which leads us to:

Husband Shenanigans
~While wife is out of town, husband has daily in-home massages from people he finds on Craigslist who suggest that "happy endings" can be part of the "healing therapy".
~Wife on extensive business trip comes home to find her belongings boxed up in the garage. Husband has initiated divorce proceedings and also ordered a Russian bride who will arrive next week.
~Wife discovers once-healthy joint savings account is now down to $67. When pressed for answers, husband admits to purchase of car and condo for the woman with whom he's been having an affair for two years. "I don't want a divorce" he insists. "She's helping me to find out who I really am so I can be a better husband to you."
~Husband opens secret credit card accounts to pay for phone sex and dating site addictions. When wife discovers evidence, he claims that these companies are falsely charging him for services he has never used.
~Husband arrested for masturbating in the Walmart parking lot during his lunch hour.

It Ain't Over Till It's Over
Stalkers. Cheaters. Pedophiles. Dog haters. Thieves. Compulsive liars. Gold diggers. Addicts. Extreme hoarders. Ex cons. Current cons. Psychopaths. Abusers. Violent control freaks.

You might like to think that if one of these demons blundered into your life, you would swiftly and with firm resolve show them the door. You are far too self confident to allow such scoundrels to drain you of your emotional and physical resources! You deserve better!

But you would be surprised by how challenging it is for many people to eradicate the villains from their lives.

~Extremely anxious female client "Jane" arrives for her session already in tears.
Me: "How are you?"
Jane: "Why? What have you heard? What are your Guides telling you?"
(side note: one of the occupational hazards of being an Intuitive is that you must choose your words and facial expressions with extreme care. Clear your throat or raise your eyebrow at the wrong point in a session and the client will lose her shit thinking that a prognosis of death, dismemberment or financial ruin is forthcoming.)
As our conversation progresses, I learn that Jane's husband of thirty years wants to explore his new-found interest in any (or better yet, all) of the following adventures: wife swapping, making sex tapes to share with friends, casual sex with other men and/or regular visits to a bondage sex club in San Francisco. Up until three weeks ago, this man was as lifeless and stodgy as an overcooked rump roast, spending most of his time migrating from the couch to the bedroom to the computer chair to the refrigerator and back to the couch again, barely speaking except to insult whatever she made for dinner. Jane and I had spoken several times over the past few years as she worked up the courage to leave the marriage and create some small measure of happiness in her life.

But suddenly this man has sprung to life like a voracious sex-starved zombie and is making radical changes everywhere. Jane comes home from a weekend away to find all of his old clothes stuffed into trash bags heading for Goodwill. He discovered Just For Men hair dye and has gone from gray to an alarming jet black, including his eyebrows and newly-sculpted pubic hair (which he gleefully pulls down his velour sweat pants to reveal). Somehow, he has stumbled upon the thrill of online shopping and UPS deliveries begin arriving daily with clothes, shoes, bedding, porn DVDs, vibrating butt plugs, scented candles and testosterone replacement supplements and creams.

As Jane struggles to understand this astounding turn of events, her husband makes it clear that he is going to have some fun whether or not she approves or participates. "And by the way", he casually tosses into the conversation as he's shaving his chest hair and arm pits, "if you are interested in swinging with a few other couples from the golf club, you'd better work on losing some of that weight you've packed on, Porky."

Now at this point in the story, you might be thinking that this is all the incentive Jane needs to pack her bags and leave the madness. After all, who in her right mind would stay seated calmly in her deck chair as the Titanic begins its slow and inevitable decent to the bottom of the Atlantic?

But humans are a mysterious bunch and there's no accounting for personal choices. Jane chooses to stay and suffer through the next two years of her husband's gruesome metamorphosis. She comes for sessions about every six months, each time asking hopefully if her husband might die so the nightmare that is her life can end. I gently remind her that she is able to leave the situation anytime, but the fear of doing so is so huge that she dissolves into tears and changes the subject. At our last session, Jane dejectedly reports that she has taken to watching Sleeping With the Enemy frequently and is using it as a training film of sorts as she contemplates faking her own death and moving to Iowa to start a new life.

Some Day My Prince Will Come
The Majickal Interwebs. Where one can find anything their heart desires with nothing more than a few specific keywords and a willingness to hand over bank and credit card information to total strangers. Over the years, I have been asked hundreds of times to intuit the efficacy of various dating websites in hopes that the client can cut down on some of the time spent combing the Internet for "The One". The most absurd outcomes have arisen with three websites in particular:

Plenty of Fish~ female client begins dating clean-cut man with a full time job and his own house. Everything seems to be progressing well except for the fact that this guy is never available to get together on the weekends. When she does a little online investigation, she finds that he is also active on Craigslist as Gregory, the golden-shower-loving werewolf.
Christian Mingle~ male client begins promising relationship with lovely, age-appropriate woman in another state. They spend hours on the phone getting to know one another, and even though Jesus probably wouldn't  approve, they indulge in some raunchy phone sex as part of the courting ritual. Problems begin to surface when he suggests that they meet in person to see if what they have is the "real deal". She puts him off with lame excuses for months but continues to engage in telephone trysts with him several times a week. As his suspicions grow, he hires a private investigator to dig up information about his beloved. Turns out "she" is a "he" (with an unusually feminine voice, apparently) using photos of another woman he found online (called"catfishing").
 Farmers Only (tagline: City folks just don't get it)~female client in Kansas finds cowboy/farmer of her dreams in Texas. The usual phone/email/text communication goes on for a few months until they decide to meet in person. He pays for her to fly to Texas and puts her up in one of the guest rooms in his immaculate, professionally-decorated home. A vague sense of unease is creeping up on her, but she can't seem to put a finger on what's not feeling right about this guy. They spend several days together and he pays for everything. He's a gentleman. He compliments her on her hair and shoes. He makes no sexual advances towards her until the third day of her visit when they attend a tractor pull at the fairgrounds. He certainly knows a lot of sweaty cowboys in tight Wranglers! And did he just giggle when one of them made a joke about greasing the gears? As they watch the main event from the bleachers, he places her hand on his raging erection, never taking his eyes off of the men in the arena. It all becomes crystal clear in a flash: his keen interest in accessorizing her outfits each day, his half-joking suggestion that they get pedicures before lunch, his crying jag as they watch Bridges of Madison County, all of which seemed charming at first but now is a deafening announcement of his true orientation.

"Honesty is the key to a relationship. If you can fake that, you're in."
~Richard Jeni


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