Have you ever been to a greyhound track?
Once on a bachelor party in Daytona Beach — I will never forgive Johnny N. for picking that armpit of the universe for such a hallowed occasion — we went to the track for a little hangover therapy. It was a fruitful expedition — not the least because in my few hours there, I developed some foolproof mathematical theories for dog-betting, namely P Theory. It basically went like this: if a dog stops, lifts its leg and takes a whizz on the way to the start line, you should bet on him. Why? Because he just made himself a half pound lighter than all the other greyhounds, that’s why. And if E=(1/2)mV², then at a constant E, a lower m (mass = total amount of greyhound = slightly less after a P, hence name of theory) you get a higher V — velocity = speed = winning!
This trenchant insight netted me the princely sum of $5.35, which I then proceeded to blow on Bud Lite, which, albeit refreshing, did not win its race.
But I digress — let’s get back to the dogtrack. They get in their starting pens, and with the pistol — bang! — they’re off. They’re running like their lives depend on it, chasing the rabbit.
Except that it’s not really a rabbit. It’s this mangy, grey, torn-up rabbit puppet that’s been stuck on a stick just in front of the doggies so they have something to trigger their chase that wascally wabbit instincts. And if they were to actually catch up with it — man are they going to be disappointed.
So why am I telling you this story? Well, let’s think about the last time you saw a girl you liked at a party. Your (more…)
Recently I read a moving, sobering article about a great woman who was stuck in an abusive relationship.
I couldn’t believe what I read. Here was a super-smart woman — a doctor, in fact — who was letting a man beat her up, literally and figuratively, for five YEARS.
At various points, he kicked her, choked her, and even held a gun to her head. Dr Karen E Johnson was fearing for her life. And yet she still stayed with him.
The pattern is a familiar one: he was ‘romantic’, made breakfast in bed, said sweet nothings to her, and did all kinds of other nonsense that sucked Dr Karen in and kept her with him.
Let me make it clear: men should be the protectors and providers for women — not their attackers. Any kind of physical violence means you need to get out. IMMEDIATELY.
I don’t know what it takes for a smart woman to wake up, realize that it’s not okay for a guy to raise a hand on her EVER, and walk out. Or call the police.
The statistic I heard was that it takes 5 attempts before a woman finally leaves her abuser for good. And it almost always takes outside help — from a friend, family member, therapist, social worker, concerned neighbor.
Whatever it takes, I want to take this opportunity to tell you that YOU CAN DO IT. You have my full permission and support to break out of this. To get you started, here’s an excellent article about the signs to look for BEFORE a guy gets abusive. It’s well-researched and very insightful:
Tell Somebody: 10 Surprising Signs You’re Dating an Abusive Guy by Liz Brody, Editor-at-Large of Glamour Magazine
And here’s the link to Dr Karen E Johson’s website, where she has two free ebooks, Five Ways to Find Out if You’re In an Abusive Relationship and 5 Ways to Take Your Power Back: DrKarenEJohnson.com
Here are some excerpts from her article ‘Secrets and Lies’ (more…)
I got a great letter recently asking about how to get back the one that got away:
Dr. Ali -
Writing a thank you note after reading a self-help book (in one sitting) isn’t usually my style, but in the spirit of gratitude and non-attachment, I wanted to thank you for The Smart Woman’s Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible. I loved the references to some of my go-to books for wisdom – The Four Agreements (and my personal favorite agreement: take nothing personally) and Gottman’s work in particular. That you read and reference Gottman in particular lends a lot of credibility, beyond just the “oh yeah. I knew that, I just forgot it” passages. I very much needed the reminder of everything you put down and I’ve filled in the margins with my own notes.
My lingering question has to do with recovery… I met someone and had a an amazing first date. Wasn’t clear on what I wanted, slept with him too soon, threw all my reserve out the window, and ended up coming across as needy, which isn’t my usual posture. As much as I’m sure it threw him (I haven’t heard from him since), it threw me twice as hard. Long story short, he didn’t see me at my best. Now that I’ve got my philosophy back, I would like a do-over. Is such a thing possible? If it is, will you either 1) give me a quick rundown on how to see him again – I can handle it once I’ve got a real human to work with rather than stupid texting – or 2) include the above information in the next edition of the book?
Thanks again for the book. It was absolutely what I needed.
And this is what I said. Even though the letter was written by a woman, the principles are about being human. Since guys are also human, it applies to us smelly brutes as well. Right-click to download:
What are your thoughts?
This is one of the best letters I’ve gotten in a while, and in this podcast I’ll tell you why, and what an octopus (?!) has to do with it. Jennifer had a summer romance with someone she met online, and then — things got weird. Now she’s wondering whether it’s worth retrieving, and what the guy’s strange behavior means. To get the full story, listen to the podcast — right-click to download (8mb):
Let me know what you’re thinking!
Best, Dr Ali B
I’d like to introduce to you the work of my friend and colleague Evan Marc Katz. Most recently, he released the ebook ‘Why He Disappeared’, which I liked a lot. He talks exactly the kind of horse-sense that I dig, so I hope you find this useful.
I invite you to think of the last time you were emotionally invested in a man.
It could have been a promising prospect you met online, it could have been your boyfriend of five months, it could have been your fiancé.
The common denominator is that this man, who took your breath away and gave you hope, ultimately left you.
I know how it feels. Most people do. You stake your dreams on the integrity of your relationship, only to find out that he had eyes for someone else, that he had major issues with you, or that wasn’t ready to commit to you.
This can be devastating. It can make you mistrustful. It can make you lose faith. It can stop you from dating entirely.
But the hardest part is how, far too often, you never (more…)
Dr. Alex,I have a question. Last week I saw a guy that I was pretty much in love with 20 years ago. My first love and hard crush. I haven’t seen him for years and saw him at Chipotle randomly one night. Was that just the universe screwing with me or do you think that means something? Of course I was still attracted to him.Thank you.– Adrienne, New York City
2) Include your name, age, city and occupation. Puts it all in context and helps readers relate to your situation.
3) Make sure there’s a meaningful question in there you want answered!
Adrienne dear – you were doing reasonably well, but let’s examine your question again:
Was that just the universe screwing with me or do you think that means something?
Now I could just be cheeky and answer this with a ‘Yes.’ Or a ‘No.’ I could even explain that cheeky answer with further cheeky explanation. Just like in the fifth grade, silly questions tend to beget silly answers.
Instead, I will address what I think your real question is. Namely, “What course of action should I take? Would it be wrong to seek out this guy’s company and see what happens?”
To which I would say: of course you should hang out with this guy. He’s your first love from 20 years ago! You should at least give him a chance as much as the next guy. It might even be fun.
However, please proceed with caution, and be sure to do the same amount of due diligence as you would with a complete stranger.
Neurological patterns tend to persist over time, which is why you’re still having a pretty strong reaction to this guy even though it’s been 20 years since your crush. This means that you are extra-susceptible when it comes to him.
Extra-susceptible means you have to be extra-cautious. Because of your history, you are much more likely to bypass rationality and do something silly.
Like jump into bed with him too soon. Or declare your undying love before the time is ripe. Or get attached and needy. So: proceed – with caution.
As far as the answer to your philosophical question — “Is the universe screwing with me” – the answer to that is usually yes. Enjoy it, flow with it, don’t fight it, don’t overthink it. That’s the essence of the Tao.