Sunday, January 25, 2009

Can Men and Women Just Be Friends? I Really Want To Think So

One of the things I love most in my life is the bright, passionate and very verbal friends I have. We get into debates about topics, sometimes pretty passionately, but it's always all good, and we all learn a lot.

Recently a friend and I got into it over whether or not women and men can just be friends, and if one or both of them are in a relationship with someone else, is it okay?

Coincidentally, I came across an article on today about this very topic.

Now at full disclosure I have to say that my friend is married and I am not. I have male friends and female friends, and when she said she didn't think it worked to be in a relationship and have friends of the opposite sex I was stunned. I've been on my own for several years now, and if I thought getting married again meant giving up my guy friends, or the freedom to hang out with a guy, I'm not sure I'd do it.

When I got married, at 20, things were different. I was different. Now, a long marriage, three kids and a divorce later I'm not the same woman. I have on my own, built a life and a career, both including all sorts of different people - male and female.

Despite having some unhappy endings to relationships, I remain trusting and hopeful about who people are. I like to think if someone loves me, but has a terrific female friend who is just that, nothing more, that I would be not only accepting of that, but welcoming of having a partner who is open enough to really like women as people, not just romantic partners.

I think of my professional friends, some who happen to be male, whom I'm very fond of, and I would never want a partner of mine telling me I couldn't meet them for coffee or lunch. I like to believe that we are more than just a cascade of hormones waiting to be set loose, and that we can be our higher selves and keep it in our pants.

When the movie, "When Harry Met Sally" came out the message was no, women and men can't just be friends - that sex always gets in the way. Of course we all know that Sally and Harry did end up together, but we all knew they loved each other all along.

If being in a relationship means a man gets to tell me who to hang out with and who not to, I think it means staying single for me. But I don't think that will happen because times have changed. I look at my kids and they all have friends of both sexes and everyone is cool with it. I believe gone are the days where everyone has to feel threatened and jealous. I want to believe it, and I think it's worth working towards, even if the waters get a little choppy now and then.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Slumdog Millionaire" Has Me Dancing

This video cuts off a little abruptly, but I dare you to not watch this and smile.

With only a couple of days to go until Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States, I feel like Bollywood dancing all over the place. So, I want you to put this song on, when you're all alone, and just let go and dance! I won't tell anyone. I promise. You try to copy all the great Bollywood dance moves from the video or just let use and do your own thing. The most important thing to do is DANCE. And smile.

I should have blogged about this incredible movie weeks ago when I saw it, but I didn't, so here I am late to the "Slumdog Millionaire" love fest. I will warn those, who like me did not know that while there is much that is uplifting, a lot of the violence and poverty in the film is tough to watch. So be forewarned. But go see it.

Now stop reading, go back and click on the video again, and dance. Then hop over to iTunes and buy the song, "Jai Ho" from the soundtrack so you'll have it wherever you go. You never know when the need to dance might strike.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Okay, So Sometimes "The View" Actually Delivers, And I REALLY Can't Stand Ann Coulter

Whenever I see Ann Coulter on my television I have two reactions: nausea and the immediate urge to change the channel. Occasionally I manage to make it through an interview, but not without feeling I want to throw something at my TV.

Coulter is on the PR trail once again with a new book, "Guilty: 'Liberal Victims And Their Assault on America," yet another inflammatory diatribe about evil liberals.

In her last book she railed against the 9/11 widows who fought for more information about how their husbands died, daring to accuse them of enjoying their roles as widows.

In this new book, equally inflammatory, her new target is single mothers. This unmarried, childless woman seems to be saying that all of societal woes are due to the rise of single mothers in our country. She offers no solutions mind you, she just points fingers at liberals and accuses those of us who are single are (though apparently those of us who became single mothers due to divorce or widowhood catch a little bit of a break) raising children who will soon be filling courtrooms and jails.

Being a single mother and having been raised by one, I want to not-so-eloquently say - screw you, Ann Coulter. You have no idea what you're talking about. Their are plenty of incredible people who had single mothers who have done quite well in life, people like well, out next president.

The fact that mainstream media gives her the time of day, and yes, I'm aware I am giving her attention as well, is just plain sad. Outside of Fox News I can't imagine why any news person would opt to have her on. She's rude, (I couldn't believe how impolite she was to Barbara Walters) doesn't listen and is just the worst example of how cruel and insensitive people can be.

So, I promise to never write about her again on this blog. I don't want to contribute to her success in any form or fashion. As a believer in karma I think she will have some lessons come her way, and maybe, just maybe she will wake up and see the error in her ways. Hey, miracles do occasionally happen. Even to conservatives.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Oprah Is Changing My Life! Well, Sort of.

All right. So it's maybe time to come clean. I am a certifiably straight woman (I could give you a couple of numbers) but I'm sort of a little in love with Oprah. And well, Tina Fey too, but that's it for my female love.

Many years ago when I was going through a painful divorce (is there any other kind?) I would come home every day from my job at a charter school and jump on my treadmill and watch Oprah. My bedroom began to resemble a self-help library as I bought book after book she recommended. I swear Oprah was responsible for all my personal growth. I lost weight, I took responsibility for my life and I at least tried to balance my chi - I never got too far with that one. I'm still a bit unbalanced.

Now, thanks to her own weight gain, Oprah is reassembling a team of experts to help us all lead our Best Lives once again. Doctors, spiritual leaders, fitness specialists have been summoned, and even Suze Ormon is there to help us all get our money straight. For that one I think I might actually have to HAVE some money, and for that to happen I'd need to change careers. So, here I am on day two and doing swimmingly if I do say so myself!

Yesterday I realized that Oprah and I have much more in common than I ever thought possible. We've both burned ourselves out over the last couple of years. Of course my stresses have not involved amassing a huge fortune, opening an academy for girls in South Africa, or acquiring a television network. I've just been trying to keep kids alive, pay a mortgage and publish a book, but still, it's hard!

Something did occur to me though as I decided to pull myself out of this funk I've been in - we really do have a choice. It was actually an e-mail from a friend that started me down this path. He always used to call me "Suzy Sunshine" and when he addressed me as Suzy in the e-mail it struck a chord. I couldn't even remember what it felt like to be that perky, sunny woman. Losing both my parents, my only remaining aunt, and having a child in crisis all within less than a year took a toll on my perky-factor. But now, as we begin a new year it occurs to me, thanks to Oprah and my Suzy-reminding friend, that I have a choice in how I feel.

So for two days in a row I've been salad-ing, working out and all in all trying to re-perk myself. I don't want to be a bitter, despondent woman who is always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Unless somehow I could squeeze a best seller out of that role. But then again, who'd want to read that? Maybe the best book would be the one with the happiest of endings, the one about how you can go through hell, come out on the other side, and even have a firmer butt in thirty days. I bet lots of folks would want to buy that one.