What’s In A Name?

From the start of our lives, actually before you breathe your first breath, someone (or someones) were putting thought into your name. The importance of your name is bigger than I think we give it.  Your parents spent time, had conversations even arguments if you had my parents (who almost got a divorce …) about what your name would be. Your name is the beginning of your identity, whom people will refer to you as, how they will Google you.  Your name makes you Unique and Real over simply just: girl, boy, she, he, that person, etc.

I know you’re wondering about the divorce about my birth certificate so I will digress now and come back to my point in a minute. I am the first born in my family. The first grandchild as well. My name was the topic of many discussions before and after my birth. My mother will readily tell you she wanted Margo Jacqueline, hated the name Lesley Michell (pronounced “Michelle”).  Longer story about that, too long for this blog, but after much discussions (probably louder than the neighbors preferred), they settled on Morgan Jacqueline Logan. The naming of me was a way for them to connect to me, their unborn child. After a very long, hard, grueling labor (as my mother would tell you) I was born. After days, my father signed the certificate while my mother was still recovering. Lesley Michell Logan. You can imagine my mother’s surprise and desire for separation at the sight of my birth name.  To this day, she still reminds me that I can change my name at any time. (Side note: I happen to LOVE my name.)  But, I can see how my mother had a hard time connecting to a name she didn’t like. Her connection to the name Lesley wasn’t positive.

When we are dating, hopefully you are having fun and are dating around (note I said dating—not to be confused with sleeping, schtupping, or whoring around). Dating is a two way interview. You are trying your dates on as a partner in crime.  Date one, two, five…you are getting to know them, their goals and if they are worthy of calling you their partner. In Sex and the City Carrie used to call her love connection “Mr. Big”.  It wasn’t until the very end of the series that we learned his name. We laughed and or made fun of this whole “pet name” for him. But really it’s a useful tool in the dating world. Lady Gaga even named a guy “Nebraska” in her song You and I to keep him anonymous. When you are doing these “first interviews” I feel its important to keep yourself light and having fun. Not immediately connecting yourself into a full on relationship with someone after the first date. Also, when giving the run down of your date/s with your friends a “pet name” is a great way to keep them from being to involved, and you from attaching too much too soon.

My friends growing up had lots of animals on their farm. None except the dogs and cats had names. Why? Because the chickens could become dinner someday…Not that your date is a chicken that could become consumed post date—just that not every date will be someone you want to date again. It’s nice to set boundaries until the date becomes the partner.

How does this work. Well, in my Duty Dating  period there was “The Young One”, “The Structure”, “The Lawyer”, “The Comedian”, “The Pilot” and “The Musician”. When I was chatting with my friends, I would use those “names” to refer to them. This kept them anonymous as well. When you’re in the beginning you’re still figuring out how you feel. You are weighing it all out. Nicknames keep it light, fun and take the pressure off. The importance of a persons name makes the relationship more real. Save that for when you want the relationship to be real.

LL

 

 

 

Lying–Is It Really Worth It?

Last week I did something I wasn’t proud of. And even worse, I was called out on it. I lied. It was a small lie, one that really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things… I gave a friend some sunglasses that were given to me, told her not to say where she had gotten them, and lied to get another pair. I did it because I knew I could. Instead of just asking for another pair of sunglasses, I lied saying that mine broke. The friend I gave my other pair to was seen wearing the sunglasses the day after. When asked where she got them, she said I gave them to her.

I’m not of the belief that “no good deed goes unpunished,” however it sometimes reigns true. This article isn’t about being punished for trying to do good. It’s about lying. I hate that I got caught trying to do something nice. It is worse that I thought I needed to lie to get what I wanted.

Sure you’re probably saying, “It was only a little white lie,” or “It was a lie to help someone else,” or “really, it wasn’t that big of a deal.” You’re right, on some levels. Ultimately, no one died, no one was bleeding… so it should be ok. It was only a pair of sunglasses, it helped someone else out, and no one was really hurt. Or were they?  Two friendships were harmed. The person who gave me the sunglasses now has the need to question when I ask for things, he generally trusts me, but that trust was broken down until further notice. He has every right to feel mistrust towards me. The friendship between the new owner of the sunglasses and me is also harmed. I held her in confidence, I trusted her, and now that trust is broken. So, with one tiny little lie that didn’t really hurt anyone, I created questionable relationships.

The major point I want to make is: lying just isn’t worth it. A few years ago, I made a huge effort and stopped lying. I was inspired to do this by my roommate Melisa, who posed the question to me: why do you lie when it doesn’t really benefit anyone? My eyes were opened in that moment. It wasn’t easy always telling the truth. Especially, in those moments where a lie would make someone feel better. It is so much easier just to tell a lie sometimes. But in the long run, lies hurt. Sometimes it’s not a detrimental, life ending, tragic outcome. Sometimes it’s just a friendship level readjustment (if it’s a big change you might want to read Growing Out Of Friends). However, no matter how high the stakes, why do it? Why not make honesty and truth your go-to? I don’t know why I didn’t just tell the truth in the first place. More people got hurt because I told the lie, than if I had just been honest.

Honesty is the best policy. Benjamin Franklin didn’t just say it to sound smart, and add to the thousands of things he is known for. He said it because it’s true. It takes time to be able to be honest. Why is that? It is hard to be honest. Not only to dis-ingrain lying from your natural instincts, but also to be able to hear the feedback to your honesty. I didn’t want to hear “no, you can’t have a second pair of sunglasses because you gave away your first pair and that was your choice.” So, I made the choice to manipulate the situation, and lie, so my chances of hearing “yes” were higher. Re-read that last sentence. If the word manipulate didn’t jump out at you either time, I want to make it clear that every time you lie, you are manipulating a situation. A lie might not be a big deal, but a manipulation should be. No one really likes to be lied to, but most people hate to be manipulated. A lie is a manipulation. When you lie, yes even to tell someone they don’t look fat in that dress, you’re manipulating the situation to make yourself more comfortable. Yup. Think about it. The last few times you’ve lied: maybe you’ve only told a friend who asked you to hang out that you’re doing laundry, when you’re actually hanging out with another friend. (Why not just say you have other plans? If pressed for more info, just say you’re doing something with a friend or you’re helping out a friend. If you say who it is, and the other person is judgy about it—tell them that is why you weren’t as revealing at the beginning, and its none of their business who you are hanging out with.)

If you’ve told your mother/father/significant other that you can’t do something, why not just tell them that you don’t want to do it? These are people you’re supposed to be intimate with, why not just tell them your preference? Yes, there are sacrifices that should be made in close relationships, but if you’re really against something, tell them. I know you don’t want to create fights that aren’t necessary, and maybe to start out, lie now and tell them later, “you know, I actually lied to you before, I really am not into that Indian restaurant/knitting club/model trains/baking cupcakes these days. I want to spend time with you, but can we do something else instead?”

If you are asked the dreaded “how do I look in this?” Don’t lie and tell the person they look great. Instead think of something else to compliment, or if you think the person can take it, say that it isn’t the best choice of outfit, or that they might want to try another look—especially if you’re in the store—don’t approve a horrid outfit!!

In all lying, you need to observe the reason why you’re lying—is it to protect the other person, or is it self-preservation? Why not admit you’re hanging out with the people you are—its your choice, and that is ok. Why not tell the people you love, that your interests have changed? People grow, people change. You don’t love anyone less for having changed. You just changed—go re-read Patterns Versus Change.  If its about a fashion choice, is it possibly that you want to put your fashion choices on that person, or that you, yourself have body issues? Or, is it truly because they look fat? No matter the reason, there are delicate ways to deal with all of these situations, but you have to figure out what is really happening in you.

It takes strength to show vulnerability and weakness. I’m not asking you to change overnight. I’m asking you instead to be strong. To be willing to hear “no.” To be willing to show who you really are.

Let’s start you on the Path of Truth Telling. First: start small. Start with the fibs. (But Clare, you’ve opened my eyes, and I do tell a lot of lies, and manipulate people, and I need to stop, today.) Well, darling hearts, most people aren’t good at quitting anything cold turkey—and even if they are, relapse rate is high. Instead, like a work out, or a new diet, or starting a new job: start small changes and know you’ll have to work at it daily to have results. Start observing when you lie, and see if you can stop yourself before you do. Instead of telling someone that they are wearing an awesome outfit when they look terrible, tell them instead that their hair looks awesome. Or instead, maybe their choice isn’t quite right for where you’re going or what you’re attending.

Second: remember brutal honesty serves brutal honesty. In other words, when you give feedback that is straight up, you might get it thrown right back at you. Find ways to tell the truth but that might not be as harsh as you initially want to respond. (Part of the reason we stray to lying is because we think it is easier to just lie. Instead of putting the work in to readjust our truth to a kinder, gentler version.) Don’t be angry with your mom for not remembering you don’t knit anymore. Instead, kindly tell her that it’s no longer exciting, and instead you’d like to see a movie/art show/ concert with her. Don’t tell your significant other that ballet sucks. Instead, say that you wanted to make him or her happy by attending those few times, but you would love it if they found another friend to go with, and rain check you for some other activity.

If you ease yourself into a life of truth telling, albeit gentle truth, you’ll find it feels better to tell the truth, and its actually harder to lie. Telling my lie about the sunglasses really wasn’t a big deal. I was approached by the giver, and we worked it out. I then approached my friend and talked to her about her side of it—even though she was the one who told the truth in all of this. The funny thing is that I felt horrible for telling a lie. In my truthful world, I was bitten in the ass by telling a lie that didn’t even benefit me. I’m glad it happened, because it inspired me to write this (even though it’s written guiltily). Truth sometimes hurts, but lies are ultimately more painful. Let’s stop lying to each other and make this a more truthful world.

Clare

Duty Dating

Duty Dating. It’s the “post breakup” dating. The “back in the saddle again” dating. The get off your couch, stop feeling sorry for yourself, get felt up, flirted with and kiss or more with someone new dating.  I like to call it Duty Dating you may call it “rebound.” It really doesn’t matter which you prefer. It’s more important to realize that you should DO IT then what label you place on it. Oh, and do it with bells on—figuratively that is.

I might be the only person I know who treats Duty Dating this way (although I’m working on starting a trend). Now don’t get me wrong I wasn’t very excited about the idea. I had been dating the same person for five years. But, how else was I going to find out who and what I wanted if I didn’t get out there and go and test the waters. Actually, maybe we can think of it as a good buffet (yes, they exist I like the one at the Wynn in Las Vegas). You can’t commit to the first thing you see, there’s so many options. You really have to get little bites of everything you’re attracted to and then decide if you want to go back for seconds or if you’d rather just meet a girlfriend for a drink instead.

Basically, it’s the rare occasion the first guy you date post break up will be the one. It can happen but for the majority of us we have to date around to find “The One” and to figure out our deal breakers. Can Duty Dating actually help us weed out, or find the one? I believe the answer is YES.

So how do you duty date? How did I? I started with familiar before I went out with people I didn’t know. This helped me ease back into it all again. It’s like baseball. You spend some time in the minors before playing with the Pro’s.  I dated someone younger than me that I knew; I hooked up with a couple friends (Yes, this can work! Another day I’ll tell you how we are still friends); and I dabbled in the online dating for a brief very brief window… There were many terrible dates I had, which are now great to share with friends over drinks.  I’ll share the craziest with you tomorrow.

Looking back on your post break up’s have you jumped right into the next relationship? Did you do rebound’s? Tell me about your experiences.

As I promised, some of the best worst online dates I had in the brief window of my online dating trials:

There was a date with a financial adviser and break dancer (yep he couldn’t stop talking about that). I wish I was making this up. He was cute, successful, set the date up and was absolutely lovely. I just could not deal with the love for break dancing. Side note: there is nothing wrong with break dancing. Just not my thing.

Next the attorney from Pasadena. Not only was he geographically undesirable (I live on the West Side and love it! If you are unfamiliar with the LA lifestyle it means a five mile radius limit. Seven if you’re willing to cross the hill). He had similarities to Ex so doomed from the start. I learned that posture was a deal breaker for me. He had the “desk” posture.

There was the guy who was awesome at planning two dates and making me feel like a total Queen. Seriously, total Queen. Then two nights in a row while talking on the phone mentioned he was on a sleep aid…I’m pretty sure it was drugs. The next day he would act as if he had no recollection of the conversation…Thank goodness it was just two dinners. This was the date I was thrilled I never allowed any of these “onliners” to pick me up at home.

There were the ridiculous emails from many men on these websites that I have kept for comedic purposes. Two still stand out. The first guy whose profile said he was a “non judgmental person” made sure I knew that while he lived near Venice he was definitely not a “Venetian” he hated the “Venetians” and how they dressed. As luck would have it I was in Venice when I read his email. Dressed perfect for my “Venetian” excursion as I happen to LOVE Venice. The other email which is too long to really tell basically was about inviting me to swim with dolphins and have sex under the stars as he “loved everything about me.”  Hmm sorry “onliner” you don’t even know my name.

I quit online dating and went out with those I knew, those I could be set up with and those I met by making Eye to Eye contact.  I hooked up with a friend, a friends friend, I threw another attorney into the mix (pretty sure that’s the last one of those) I was set up with my “perfect match, wrong time” man.  Some people would say just be enjoy being single. I would respond with “I am!”  I do not believe you can plan when you will meet your next partner. You have to “dress” for the occasion. Be ready. However, I was having fun going out and meeting people and most importantly really getting to know me, my wants and my needs. I was enjoying “trying on” new mates.

At first my Duty Dating was to just get used to being with a different guy; to feel sexy and wanted. Then the Duty Dating was for getting out, meeting people, finding out what turned me off or turned me on. We all have our lists of wants and needs in a mate. If you don’t experience it in the flesh how do you know its something that is a deal maker or breaker. When I was actually on a date with a man who possessed a specific “want” or “need” of mine, it was funny when I realized I did not want it as much as I thought. Or even funnier, when I discovered a whole new deal breaker!

As I date now, if something is said or done by the other person, a trait that turns my inner guide on, I take note and trust myself. I ask myself why I’m feeling, seeing, hearing it. Instead of making excuses for it, I acknowledge and move on. It is extremely important that you stay listening to your inner guide or “gut” during Duty Dating. Do not make excuses for behaviors and traits that make your hairs stand up. Red flags come in all shades of red. Notice them and how they make you feel. I know dating is tough. It takes energy and strength. Will power. But, you deserve to be with the best one for you.

Do I want a man to open doors? Yes, of course I want to be treated like a lady. I want to be with a man who commits. I want to be with a man who wants to treat me nicely. Supports my goals and dreams. I also need a man who is confident in himself to love how independent I am. You’ll have your own needs and wishes, some of mine might sound familiar to you. On my list, I also have: positively handles a gluten free, dairy free diet.  What’s on your Mate List? What have since taken off? I think it’s interesting that what I thought I wanted at 25 has changed at 31. Be careful what you List for! What you put out in the Universe you will get.

There are a few regular questions I get on the “Duty Dating” subject. Here they are and my answers or suggestions. (And yes, for those of you who came back for the Fiancé story, its in there, too!)

1) When does the “Duty” fall off? When does it just become Dating?

Well that’s entirely up to you. Sorry, I know a total non-answer. But, really it is a personal thing. We all come from such different dating backgrounds. I am not a serial monogamous person. I date and enjoy dating, then I settle in with someone. I have really only had three serious relationships. Each relationship was a major improvement from the last. Each one getting closer to the life I want to live with someone. In my singleness, I used the duty to weed out things that I liked and didn’t like. For me the “duty” fell off after about 8 months. I began circling back to someone who had caught my attention early on in my single life. For you, pay attention to how you are feeling when being asked out. The duty will fall off on it’s own, most likely. One day you’ll realize you stopped accepting dates that didn’t light your fire.

2) Is Duty Dating a serious thing, or do you approach it as fun?

Dating should be like any other hobby—treat dating as a hobby. If you’re too busy with life, or not having fun, stop. Don’t stop your life, just do it in your spare time. First, dating should never be your number one priority. You, your life’s goals and dreams should be. Focusing on making yourself a whole person is so important. (see Opportunities: https://liveclarelesleyblog.com/2014/07/30/opportunities/ ) In fact, the more you know and love yourself the more attractive you are to The One and the duty dates will fall away. You will recognize them as they come and when they are not “enough” for you.

3) What are the “rules” to Duty Dating? Can you have a second, third date and still be Duty Dating?

It’s Duty Dating, fun dating, enjoy yourself dating. So, if you’re not having fun and enjoying yourself then stop with that person. Second and third even sixth dates do not make a relationship. Pat Allen would say: keep three in rotation (no sex) and may the best one win. Steve Harvey says: no “cookie” until commitment. Do what you will with that information.

Reflect after each date. Was I me? Was I having fun? Do I want to try that again, go back for seconds at the buffet? Or would I prefer a new option?

I firmly believe that my Duty Dating taught me more about what I needed, what I wanted and who I was as a partner than not dating at all. I learned so much about my last relationship mistakes. Things I didn’t do, didn’t want to do and things I should not have ignored.

4) How long should you Duty Date?

This is similar to when the “duty” falls off. But it leads me into my story I promised you. I did a lot of Duty Dating in a short time period. About 6 months. Then I just dated. Some people spread their Duty Dating out. Or, start their Duty Dating later into their single life. Others have one duty date and are ready for their next adventure. Don’t believe me? Well, my dear friend ended up single after many years with a “good enough” partner. Not the type to go out dating a ton of people, she went out one night with an old college acquaintance. On paper, this dude was one you could take home to Mom and Dad. In real life, after she realized he was after sex with her, and she wasn’t interested. She left. Annoyed and disappointed. The very next day she met her now Fiancé. The juxtaposition of this man compared to the duty date allowed her to realize she had met the partner for her. Today, she’s glad she had that Duty Dating experience.

Have you done your Duty Dating yet?

LL

Flirting: A How To Guide

One day earlier this spring, a dog walker I passed (a tall, but average looking dude who I wasn’t terribly interested in), commented on my sunglasses. I wasn’t sure if he was flirting or not. I already knew that I wasn’t interested, but afraid to engage or lead him on, I didn’t flirt back. But why didn’t I?  Flirting is harmless, especially in open spaces and either during the day or in the company of others. It makes you feel good, it makes them feel good… so why is it underrated, complicated, and only allowed if you’re romantically interested in the person you’re flirting with? Why has it become a taboo or just a subject that isn’t discussed?

Well, this will be no more. All right, y’all, lets dissect flirting. EVERYONE loves to be flirted with, no matter what. Even if you’re not interested, you can admit that having someone throw out a flirtation in your general direction is always a wonderful feeling. Why? Because everyone loves to be acknowledged that they’re sexy.

Why am I going on about this? Because, generally women don’t take compliments or flirting well—because we’re afraid that we’ll have to put up with whatever comes after, and you’re just not what we’re looking for. Men sometimes don’t quite get how to flirt without being so aggressive. Everyone should be aware of the fact that sometimes whomever is sending forth the flirt isn’t always looking for more. In fact, the best flirts, are flirting ONLY FOR THE MOMENT with no goal other than to flirt. I have friends call me out all the time for flirting with the waiter or waitress… I’m a heterosexual woman, but I’m not above or below flirting with anyone. In fact, I flirt with babies like crazy!

In the 80’s there was a movie called My Blue Heaven, in which the character played by Steve Martin has a philosophy of: I tip everybody, and its not tipping I believe in, its over tipping. Basically, the character is not afraid to palm anyone a bill to get what he wants. I have the generally same feeling about flirting. Why not just do it with everyone?! You never know the benefits you’ll reap!

What if you don’t know how to flirt, if you think you’re bad at flirting, if you enjoy being flirted with, if you enjoy flirting. My answer to all of these is: why not do it? In a way flirting is kind of a “pay it forward” action. What? Yup. Think about it: I flirt with you. You feel good, sexy, handsome, and have a high feeling about yourself, you’re going to flirt with someone else to see how far you can stretch that feeling, and without knowing it you’re giving someone else the happy, high on life feeling, too.

When it comes to flirting, there are some easy guidelines to follow. Seriously, try this out first on people that you don’t really care about an outcome with, or people you won’t see again—that way if you crash and burn, you will feel embarrassment for a moment and then can move on.

Seeking women—shoes, earrings, hair, face, and the hand/wrist area are always good safe places to flirt about. Aka—that bracelet makes your eyes sparkle. Your earrings give you a statuesque look. Those shoes make you a perfect height. And yes, they can be that silly.

Seeking men—compliments and flirting about a man’s height and strength are always appreciated. Again, stay away initially from sexual body parts. This isn’t to say you can’t add a sexy tone to anything you say, just overt sexual flirts will return you with overt sexual overtures or the person running away. So, stay neutral in your flirts—at least for now.

When receiving flirtation, stop yourself if your sizing up the person. Seriously, stop. Pretend the flirt is a compliment and only a compliment. How would you take it or feel if I just said—hey, you look great in that color! Think about it. Now how would you respond to me? Most likely, it’s a genuine and simple, “thank you” with a smile attached. A flirt is really just a compliment of you being alive and in this spot at this moment. Really. Take it as just that. Smile. Be happy to be appreciated. If you feel like reciprocating, do.

Flirting is simple and fun. Keep it easy. Keep it light. Keep doing it daily! You’ll feel more confident and people around you will to. Just remember to keep it appropriate in places you frequent, and pay attention to social cues—if its unwanted, stop with that person and move on. Don’t take it personally. Flirting is fun. It should be easy, and if you’re not good at it, practice for a while. Hey, you could even do a Joey/Rachel situation and sit around with a group of friends and flirt with each other to see what works and what doesn’t. (“How you doin’?) And if all else fails, say something and smile and wink. (Go ahead, practice in the mirror first… I won’t tell.)

Clare

If you’re looking for more on this subject, check out our book out this fall!  Stay tuned for more details!