Monday, June 26, 2006

Weekend therapy

It's very unlike me, but I spent time with friends every day this entire week, including the weekend. As fun as it can be, it also means sleep deprivation at some point. I stayed out until 2am Friday night, got up at 8:30am Saturday. Then I stayed up until 1:35am on Saturday night and had to get up for a 9:30am hike. Thank goodness it's a four-day weekend coming!

I attended a self-spa bridal shower on Saturday afternoon. We started with a lovely brunch and a tour of the new house. Pku seems very happy but busy these days with the wedding and setting up house. I admit I was jealous seeing her life come together.

The house was a huge find. The interior of the house needed a little paint but otherwise is relatively new. The bathrooms have new Corian shower walls and sinks. The plush berber carpet was installed last fall. The kitchen and windows were redone within the past two years. It's perfect since they will probably try to start a family soon after getting married.

After the shower, Hula and I went downtown to shop. I wanted to check out some of the major sales at the department stores for dresses. When you want selection, going to the city is the only option. We hit three department stores plus H&M and Anthropologie during our four-hour spree. Alas, I came away with nothing.

We got a good kick out of Hula's new handbag purchase. She purchased it from a shopping mall kiosk. The man said it was a copy of a Ferragamo. She paid $50. Of course, she was curious to know if it really passed as a Ferragamo. We spotted her bag in the Ferragamo store window. Since she was wearing the purse, however, we were too embarrassed to go inside. Luckily, the purse was also at Saks. We peaked at the price tag of a slightly smaller version and read $560. She wanted to tell Drummer how much she "saved."

Originally, I thought I'd be home in the late evening. Hula convinced me to stay and have dinner with her and Drummer. We walked over to a nice Italian place near 2nd St. The dinner conversation turned into what felt like a huge therapy session.

It started innocently enough just talking about dating in general. (I wonder if I must blame myself for taking that path since it's been on my mind.) After discussing the lessons from "How to Get a Guy" and online dating, the conversation turned towards our single male friends who make little attempt to date, namely Ig and Tim.

Drummer was pretty blunt in his questioning how they could go so long without sex. Isn't that why men date? We know they're interested in women... so what happened to the natural drive to procreate? I revealed to them a little about the dating experience Ig had last summer. The first weekend they spent together, she praised him, saying he was intelligent and how she saw him accomplishing great things in his career. His translation was that because she is a Wharton graduate she socializes with ambitious, business people and would expect him to make a significant salary. Based on the details I provided, Drummer's conclusion is that Ig is sabotaging himself before the relationship starts. I personally think he was uncomfortable from the indirect pressure her compliment implied. He felt that he would disappoint her. I'm not totally clear on why the relationship came apart, but you have to think that his attitude contributed to it.

Ig tends to spend a lot of his time with Suna and Sh since they live down the street. There is a running theory about Ig and Sh because they spend so much time together. When Sh fell asleep on his couch, he apparently just left her there until morning. Um, hello, wouldn't you want to wake the person so they could go home and sleep in their own bed. Many of us single women hang out with Ig, so Drummer calls us the harem. He believes that the comfort and ease of spending time with us makes him lazy about dating. There's always an activity made available to him so he never needs to plan. I shared my opinion that Ig does not feel ready to date until he accomplishes certain goals. The problem is that they aren't very important goals. For example, one of them is to rent a house and have 3-4 roommates. (Come on, you're 38 years old... that's a living situation for your twenties.) We all want to see Ig happy, but we just don't understand the logic behind his motivations.

From that topic, we moved to Tim (and me). I know Hula and Drummer have always been curious about us since they were the first to see us together. It's clear that Tim and I are close and get along well. Drummer asked if I would ever consider getting back together. I told him that it wasn't possible for several reasons (besides the fact that I don't feel that way):

- Tim would not believe me
- Tim would think I was just desperate to be married
- He would tease me about it all the time and it would upset me too much

I felt like the discussion was very clinical. They asked me why not get married. I felt like they forgot about having love and attraction in the marriage. Perhaps they felt that it would develop in time. I also told them how I felt it would be unfair to Tim to be married and not be able to love him the way he deserves. It was difficult to make this happily married couple see that the marrying Tim, at this point in time, would mean I was giving up my dream of a happy ending. Someday, maybe I'll see him as the right man, but I'm not going to try and convince myself; it has to happen on its own.

Drummer shared his own enlightenments on dating. Just before he met Hula, he and his buddies came up with some dating philosophies. The one he shared at dinner was that there you must commit to one of three types of approaches soon after you meet a woman and make it clear: 1) casual fun, 2) friendship, or 3) long-term potential. His thought is that this helps the guy to focus and not waste time.

The biggest, most emotional part of the evening was talking about Chinese mothers. Hula mentioned how she hopes, someday, her brother and mother will talk again. Their relationship has been strained ever since he decided to marry a non-Chinese girl. She tried to tell him he was making a mistake, and he went through with it(duh). I don't know ML, but they said she is the sweetest woman in the world. It's all because he failed to meet their mother's expectations. Hula somehow felt better knowing that my own brother and mom are not on good terms as well. My brother's issues are a little different, nevertheless, it's about the clash of cultures and expectations.

We had a big discussion about the gap between American and Asian culture. Hula and I both have that inner sense that we will never make our mothers happy. There's always something to be disappointed about in our lives (she married a white guy and has forgotten much of her Chinese upbringing and I'm not married). No matter how we try, our mothers will always complain and want better. Neither side will ever fully accept the other's opinion or choices. It's a terrible balance to try and maintain. Drummer seems the same pattern among many of his Asian friends. There's no winner in this. You have to say to hell with it and live your life, but it's hard when human nature is to want your parents' love and approval.

It was really weird to get into such a lengthy conversation with them. So much for my personal privacy policy. I like talking too much about myself (sorry ;) ). I think I always hope that by explaining things, people will leave me alone. But what I've learned is that it often only creates more questions. Who knows... .

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