36 Questions

36 Questions

I’m sure you have heard of the 36 Questions to Love. If you haven’t, you clearly don’t surf the internet at ungodly late hours like myself, so let me explain. Psychologist Arthur Aron did a study to evaluate creating closeness in an experimental context. Simply put, a set of 36 questions in three sets were given to complete strangers to ask and answer. The questions start simple enough and then become more detailed and personal. After the 36 Questions are answered, the strangers are then asked to look in their partners eyes for 4 minutes. You read that correctly, 4…whole…silent…minutes.

I first came across these 36 Questions a few years back when I was dating a guy that I had been with for over a year. We came to a pretty rough part in our relationship, and I saw the questions as an opportunity to rebuild communication between the two of us. Sadly, we broke up before we could ever answer the questions. Since then, I have always wanted to try them and see what the buzz was about. I found several Youtube videos and articles done by magazines like GLAMOUR, all using complete strangers as the subject.

And since yours truly loves a good challenge, I thought, maybe it was finally time to give this a go. First question: who do I do the 36 Questions with?

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Enter my lovely and handsome test subject, a gentleman I had already been on one date with and had a great time. Bonus: he was familiar with the study and the questions having done them before. Well this should be a breeze then! As stated early, the questions are in 3 sets, each set become more personal. The first set had questions like:

  • Would you like to be famous and it what way?
  • What constitutes a “perfect” day for you?

“This is going to be easy.”, I thought. Since we had already had a nice first date, we were both at ease with the first set of questions. And we also learned a great deal more about each other. But then I should have realized, that things were going to get REAL, real fast. The idea of the questions are not to embarrass your partner, or make them feel uncomfortable. Rather, to get to a more personal layer of the person that you don’t normally see at the stereotypical coffee date with the archaic questions like “So what do you do for fun?” or “You went to UGA? What did you study?” These questions are meant to make both people think, and if you’re lucky, be very honest and perhaps even vunerable.

And that is exactly what happened. Set two had questions like:

  • What is your most terrible memory?
  • How do you feel about your relationship with you mother?

The first question had me discussing a time in my life that I don’t often speak about, and one that was deeply personal. However, I felt a sense of ease in discussing it with my partner and perhaps that was what made it so genuine. We went back and forth talking about our childhood and our views of the world, and soon the questions, though challenging, became more insightful.

The third and final set had questions like:

  • When did you last cry in front of a person? When did you cry alone?
  • Tell your partner something you like about them already?

I was thrilled to get to the final set. Mainly because if I got any more personal with my answers, I would have to invite him to Thanksgiving dinner seeing as how he would practically be family by then. Full disclosure: the last time I cried in front of a person was in fact him, when I answered a question in Set two. And that was when it hit me, the act of sharing something deeply personal with someone who respects you and is humbled by you sharing that information, is a beautiful thing. It brings a different kind of connection with someone- a human connection, just as impactful as an amazing first kiss.

To conclude the 36 Questions, you are to look in your partners eyes for 4 SILENT minutes. Ok, I am a wisecrack, smart ass on a good day. But when I feel uncomfortable or awkward, my level of wisecrackery gets to almost biblical levels. “How the hell am I going to stare at this guy for 4 minutes and NOT say anything.” , I thought. I gave myself an internal pep talk. “Just look at his nose or his eyebrows, don’t stare for the whole 4 minutes, try not to laugh like a hyena and for Gods sake, don’t hum.”

The first few minutes were awkward to say the least. We both had nervous smiles, coupled with my seizure like attempt to not laugh. And then the most amazing and insightful thing happened. Staring became easier. It was like I was looking at a good friend. One who knows me well, but more importantly, had no desire to laugh or judge me. It was at this point, I let my guard down and stared without feeling embarrassed. I set a 4 minute timer on my phone and after 4 minutes, it went off. But we continued to stare at each for an additional two more minutes. 6 minutes of silence and staring. It wasn’t  awkward, or strange and if I am being honest, those last two minutes after the timer went off was my favorite part of the entire experience.

I think we were both amazed to continue holding our gaze. But it was perhaps the most deeply personal and wonderful experience I ever had on a date. The rest of the evening was a fun night out at karaoke and some great Netflix and chill. After the 36 Questions, I can honestly say I am happy that I finally did them and grateful that my partner was so open and kind with his answers. So if you are curious to try them with your significant other or with a stranger, I highly recommend it. Below is a link to the New York Times article where the questions were featured. My advise if you do try them, be open, be honest, enjoy the process and have plenty of wine- you’re going to need it!

 

 

 

Winter

Winter

Diary entry, January 24, 2018

 

Let’s build a fort together.

One made of hopes & dreams,

anchored by fond memories,

surrounded by rows of fabrics

wound in possibilities.

diary-writing

 

At night,

let our fort display the stars.

Each one a tale of our journey,

and constellations of destinations yet traveled.

 

Let our fort wrap us tightly

into each others arms.

And allow dialogue

only in the form of childish whispers,

and delicious kisses.

 

And then, when it is time to sleep,

dear fort,

protect us from the realities of the world.

And gives us warmth

that two gentle souls will carry for eternity.

 

Have Passport, will Travel!

Have Passport, will Travel!

Not many people think of comedic actor, Bill Murray as a wise sage, but I do. He once said “If you have someone you think is the one, take them and travel around the world. Buy a plane ticket for the two of you and travel all over the world, to places that are hard to reach and hard to get out of. And when you land at JFK and you’re still in love with that person, get married.”

For someone like me who has done a great deal of traveling and loves it as much as I do, finding someone to share those experiences with, is a big deal. And the older I get, and the more Wanderlust that settles into my soul, an ideal travel buddy is of utmost importance. If you have never traveled with your significant other, I highly recommend it. I have done several trips, some small, some major with someone I was involved with. My experiences have ranged from slightly stressed, enjoyable, fun and non-eventful.

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But to me, the perfect travel buddy is someone who has the same sense of adventure as you. Perhaps you like different cultures and you want to educate your partner about them. Maybe you both love trying new foods, and the idea of Puffer Fish sushi doesn’t scare you as much as it would to the average human. Or maybe waking up at an ungodly hour, just to hike up a Hawaiian peak to watch the most glorious sunrise, is something that you dream of. In a perfect world, you want someone you can fly coach with, or at the very least, join the Mile High Club. I’ve actually always wanted to pack a suitcase, go to the airport with my significant other and buy a ticket right then and there. Destination TBD!

However you choose to travel, the moral of the story is…GO! There is too much to see and do in this world. There are also great destinations in your own state, so explore them. What matters, is taking the time and the pleasurable risk, to step out of your comfort zone and experience new things with someone you care about. You will be surprised what you learn about each other and you will enjoy the memories that you both will share. In the meantime, my suitcase, passport and I are anxiously awaiting the right guy to travel to Bali with. Bonus if you enjoy moonlit swims in the nude!

Why Am I Single?

Why Am I Single?

The second most popular question I am asked after “Why I don’t have kids?” is, “Why am I single?” For the longest time, I use to hate this question. And as much as I want to say that I have grown since the start of this blog, that would be somewhat of a lie. I still hate the question, however, I have a different perspective on it.

“Why am I single?” Before, my first reaction would be immediately to blame all of the men, or lack thereof, around me. I would list about 100 reasons why THEY aren’t the right match for me. How THEY haven’t fit my mold. And how THEY just aren’t around. Then some years passed, a few serious relationships here and there resulted in my new train of thought. And to be honest, I think this applies to not only me, but a lot of you.

“Why am I single?” has nothing to do with THEM and almost everything to do with…ME. Now, the first time I realized this, I flat out denied it. I mean, gurl, you ARE amazing. But you aren’t the persona you show the world. THAT girl goes on dates, is larger than life, can do four shots of tequila in an hour and sing half of the Jay Z catalog. But that girl is also vulnerable, insecure, a dreamer who is also her worst critic and secretly adores the role of the 50’s housewife. (That might be another post for another day)

Old Lady Cupid

 

In another words, what I show the world is only a part of the complicated woman that makes me…me. Chris Rock did a bit in his “Bigger and Blacker” comedy special where he says, when you go on a date with a woman, you aren’t dating her, you’re dating her representative. And that’s 100% true. Don’t worry guys, the same applies to you. But in my case, you go on a date with me and you are dating my rep, my concierge, my trainer, my guru and my id. You don’t see Desiree. Desiree comes out around month 4 of a relationship, which is a very crucial time. Around the fourth month of seriously dating, experts say, this is the time where couples decide whether this person is worth committing to long term. When you think about that, it really makes sense. You have a honeymoon period, and after that period, the truth starts to come out.

“Why am I single?” because I don’t let a lot of men see my truth. Now I’m not going to come right out and bare my naked soul over our coffee date, but what I WILL do, is let down my guard a bit. I will promise to understand that the Desiree they first see is the hyperbole of a great woman, but isn’t the real me. That would be exhausting. And to be honest, a lot of times, it is. And I will no longer look at that question as one that is cringe inducing, rather I will tackle it with a new approach…keep it simple, sweetheart!

Resolutions vs Promises

Resolutions vs Promises

My first post of 2018 has me doing something that I love…watching football. As with every New Year, people are faced with the task of creating a New Years Resolution. A resolution that in most cases, are broken or cast aside by January 10th. But instead, I like that at this moment I am doing two things that I love, watching football and writing. At the end of the day, I’d rather make a promise versus a resolution. And I want that promise to be sincere and to myself, for me, and no one else.

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So here are my promises for 2018:

  • I promise that I will work hard on finding joy in the little things.
  • I promise to eat every carb that I want and do every shot that I desire, and not feel guilty about it.
  • I promise to not be so hard on myself. I mean, you’re trying and that’s all that matters.
  • I promise to remember what the badass Jen Sincero said: “You have to change your thinking first and then the evidence appears, not the other way around.”
  • And finally, I’m not going to promise you a “New Year/New You” that’s a cliche. But I will promise you are going to have some highs and lows, but you are going to make it through, like you always have…like you always will. Because I promise…you’re a bad ass!

xoxo

Desiree