Sunday, July 09, 2006

Dating Advice: Boys Need Love Too


"The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers."
- Deepak Chopra

Why does everybody assume that it's just women who want to get married? That all men fear commitment?

Let me tell you about Tom. He's a tall, good-looking, blond, masculine, well-employed man. Like a lot of guys, he wants to get married but has trouble finding the right girl.

Here's what happened on his last date:

"At dinner, the woman kept probing me about my 11-year relationship with my former girlfriend," he said. "'Why did you keep her on a string for so long?' she wanted to know.

'I didn't keep anybody on a string.' I told her. 'I wanted to get married, but my girlfriend didn't.'

'You're full of it," she responded. "You wouldn't commit. Men never want to commit.'

At this point I started to feel like I was in front of a firing squad. 'Trust me, I said. I wanted to commit, but my girlfriend didn't. She wanted an exclusive relationship, but she isn't sure she ever wants to get married.'

'Right,' my date replied. 'How old is she?'

'Thirty-nine,' I said.

'And you're 35? You're full of it. You dumped her because she was too old.'

'Actually," I said. 'My girlfriend is better-looking than most 19-year-olds. I definitely didn't break up with her because she was too old. I broke up with her because she didn't want to commit.'

Finally, we changed the subject," he continued, "and she spent the rest of the night talking about her ex-boyfriend. Then, if you can believe it, she wanted to come home with me. At that point, I was so turned off I told her absolutely not."

(Which shatters another myth: That all guys will take sex wherever they can get it, whether they like the woman or not.)

Okay, let's talk about you.

Tom's date sounds like she might be a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic, but do you tend to find fault with your dates? Do you see all the men you date through grimy lenses?

If you do, cut yourself a break. After all, the media insist that no man in his right mind wants to commit, they all want younger women, and they are congenitally unfaithful! So, you may have serious brainwashing to overcome.

Sure, there are a lot of creeps out there (I dated an encyclopedia of them), but genuinely great guys exist, too. The truth is, they want to settle down. Unfortunately, dating for a lot of them has become akin to being on trial.

So, lighten up.

Look your date in the eye. Decide to get to know him, rather than assume he's a composite of all the bad men you've dated or read about in magazines. If you see a red flag (he's rude to waiters, he closes elevator doors on old people), by all means hit the highway.

But if you don't, give the guy the benefit of the doubt.

Have fun.

Say goodnight.

See him again.

Repeat.

My Car Scored 18 Points Higher on its IQ Test Than Me! Tales From the Darkside in Austin, Texas


If I had my druthers, Id buy an island with no plains, trains or automobiles. Id probably donate my blackberry to somebody at Dell, give my cell phone to somebody in a prison cell, and fire that computer lady on the phone that always says, hmmm, I didnt quite get that, did you say muster service? You know where Im going with this article. This is the part where I say things have gotten far too complicated. Im either getting slower and stupider or the rest of the world is getting faster and sharper. I always used to be the guy on the cutting edge. Now Im the guy who always hits the wrong button at the ATM and has to cancel the transaction and start over.

Cars are even worse. There can be hundreds of diagnostics codes, 14 million miles of wire (ok, maybe not quite that much), thousands of parts, and an endless list of things that can break and set off that little devil I call the Check Engine Light. I think these guys who build cars need to stop making cars smarter and just make cars again. Im not interested in a car that can toast my toast, play DVDs while Im trying to drive, or have voice activation so I can be misunderstood more than I already am.

The short of it is I have an inferiority complex. My car should not have an IQ higher than mine. But it does. Fortunately, the guys who work in my repair shop are smarter than me and generally smarter than our cars. They talk a lot to the cars. I think our guys think the cars are alive. Maybe theyre right.

Its my opinion that its been a long time since most of your run-of-the-mill mechanics could fix most cars. Today, gosh darn it, the guy has to be a black belt computer technician, an MIT physicist for analyzing real time temperature traces, and a master troubleshooter with skills once reserved for engineers working on the first moon shot. If you wonder why you sometimes have trouble finding a mechanic that knows how to fix your car, its because its hard to find rocket scientists. And you pretty much do need a rocket scientist to fix complex problems on todays cars. One rocket scientist badge in the automotive repair world is called Master ASE certified. To get this badge of car repair honor, the technician must pass a tough set of tests covering many aspects of repair. Think of these guys as gurus. There are not many of them around. Youre on the right track if you see the master word in front of the ASE. If your mechanic has just an ASE rating, thats a good start. But think of these guys like students of Karate with their first belt. The Master ASE guy has all the belts.

Car complexity has been growing over many years. Even my dad complained about it. He used to tell us that power windows were a waste of money since they had more parts and more parts meant more things to fix. He was right. More things to break do mean more things break. In my early days, he would fix his own cars. Eventually cars got so complicated that he didnt even try to fix them anymore. To me, that underscores how complicated our lives have become.

The short of it is, I just want to go to Italy, buy a small house, and pick olives all day while my beautiful wife, Sandy, works in her herb garden. I want a car with no power windows (specifically a horse), a radio with only 3 stations, and a body that Fabio would envy. I want less designer lighting and a whole lot more candles. I want less machines and more good times. I want a lot of things. But the thing I want less of is all the complicated things.

2006 Performance Motors