Don’t Cry Over Spilled Soy Sauce: A tip for getting through the dating jungle

My guest today is Martin Perlin, a longtime lurker here at MeMyselfandKids. He came out of the shadows and lo and behold – the guy can write. Thanks for stepping up Martin.

Martin, originally from Seattle, Washington, is a husband and father of three living his dream in Raanana, Israel. Martin works in marketing. To clear his head and make sense of the world, he enjoys creative writing, building websites, and blogs on a number of different subjects. You can find his website at www.martinperlin.com and view his blog at noregrets.martinperlin.com

"Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net"

“Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

I have a friend that would really like to get married. He’s over 30 and has had little dating experience. My friend decided he needed to get feedback on how to act on a date. So, he published an ad offering to take a woman out for dinner and pay for her transportation in exchange for her impressions on how he should act on a date. Someone answered his ad, and they arranged to meet at a restaurant. Unfortunately, the restaurant had closed down a few years before. This just goes to show how long he’d been out of the field. Anyway, he found another restaurant to take his date.

When I started my own dating process, I didn’t think that I would have to sift through dates with over 90 women to find my wife. I thought the process could be streamlined, and made efficient. I looked for ways to perfect the impression that I made. I had dating down to a science, with a thorough cheklist: Shower, shave, brush teeth, floss, mouthwash, deoderant, aftershave, ironshirt, comb hair, zip fly shut, wash car, vaccuum car, choose car music, and get cash. I carefully considered the venue, trying to keep a variety of options available, so as not to repeatedly end up at the same café.  I didn’t want the wait staff to recognize me. Well, I repeated this routine for nearly 9 years in what became a regiment of dating, like suiting up for a military drill.

By the time I met my wife, I was really tired of dating, and had to muster up enthusiasm to meet yet another girl. I stopped thinking about my checklist items and didn’t worry so much about the impression I was making. No, I didn’t let myself slide into a slovenly heap – unshaven, not showered, with a wrinkled shirt – but I just went with the flow.

On my first date with the woman that is now my wife of eleven years, I didn’t even check if I had enough cash. As chance would have it, the beach front cafe where we sat to talk didn’t take credit cards for small purchases (we only had two drinks).  Without even breaking a sweat, I offered to wash dishes at the cafe to pay off my bill. My date tried looking on in good humor, but was consumed by embarrassment. I dug through my wallet and pulled out every spare piece of change I could find. In the end, I found enough small change to pay, and we left. Although my wife would tell you now that she was a bit skeptical of me, she was actually impressed at how I took a seemingly natural approach to this situation, lacking any shame at being unconventional.

Following up after his date, my friend related to me how it went saying “I should have been more careful with the soy sauce and not spilled it on my shirt.”

Overall the date went well, and the girl was pleasant and seemed to enjoy the time she spent with him. She only noted to him that taking leftovers from dinner to give to a homeless guy might not come across well with most girls he meets, and that he should check to make sure that the restaurant they meet at is still opened.

I wanted to tell my friend that he shouldn’t be so hard on himself, and not go into ‘dating training’ like he is climbing the corporate ladder. It’s not a job interview where you have 20 minutes and a resume to try and convince someone that you are the best person for the job. I wanted to let him know that just as I have valued him as friend over the years, that he really has a lot to offer a special woman. He probably doesn’t even realize that his clumsiness and ability to end up in comic situations holds charm and makes him endearing. If you want to appear to be someone else for your date, then you should actually become someone else completely. I’ve learned from dating that the most important thing is that being yourself can make the best impression of all.

So in conclusion, you should know, don’t cry over spilled soy sauce.

Go Ahead: Dunk-a-Teacher

My Elementary School.

My Elementary School.

Ten cents will get you a hotdog or a hamburger! You heard me right. No, I have not gone into the culinary business.

A vivid memory I have from elementary school (Joseph J. Greenberg – in Northeast Philadelphia) was the annual June Fair. It was the best day of the school year. I emailed my oldest friend MG to ask him about his memories of the June Fair. Firstly, he said “I used to look forward to the June Fair all year long.”

Like me however, one of his vivid memories of the fair is that at the end of the day, the burgers and hot dogs would go on sale. He and I did our utmost to make sure no food was wasted. I remember saving my money till the end knowing this sale was coming while MG remembers downing six burgers, never happier that our bus was one of the last ones to leave the school.

Now of course, it was not only about food, there were different stations, carnival type games, a jumper, etc. It was always a drag going back into class when the bell signaled recess had ended. I got in trouble every year pretending I did not hear the bell.

I bring this memory up as it came to mind recently. This year, the school I work at had its first ever field day.  They had various sporting activities, an obstacle course, dancing/DJ, and a dunk tank. There were no classes that day, and each staff member had to volunteer or be assigned to assist in some way.

Guess who volunteered for the dunk tank? Well, I was encouraged, but it did not take much. It would be my revenge. I would be rude and disrespectful and suffer few consequences. Revenge was going to be sweet.

Here are some of my favorite quips:

You are even worse at this than writing essays.

I could have brought a book up here.

No wonder the softball team didn’t make the playoffs

I know why you can’t throw straight – you’re from Jamaica. Go play soccer.

We all laughed. I laughed when they sunk me, and the students laughed at the comments.

When I got out of the tank, I wandered around and talked to students and watched others participate in the various activities. I noticed something: there were smiles everywhere.

Students lined up awaiting their chance to drop me.

Students lined up awaiting their chance to drop me.

Locked in and ready. Go ahead - make my day!

Locked in and ready. Go ahead – make my day!

 

 

 

 

 

I think one day long after the students graduate, they will look back on high school and recall Field Day as one of those cherished memories. Now, I need to make my way back to the June Fair. I could go for a 10-cent hot dog.

BR comes to work and is ready to teach my class. No, we don't have a smartboard in my classroom.

BR comes to work and is ready to teach my class. No, we don’t have a smartboard in my classroom.

12th graders happy to be done with high school.

12th graders happy to be done with high school.

Bloggers Wanted

Photo courtesy of google.com

Photo courtesy of google.com

I got into blogging for selfish reasons. I loved writing but my commitment to it swayed. There were times I would write regularly and then go months and write nothing. It’s not as if I did or did not have ideas. What I didn’t have was commitment.

When I finally committed to blogging (a few people had suggested that I do it), I decided that I would post regularly. I also figured that I would put it out there and people would read it. After my first blog post, I contacted everyone on my email list and let them know that I was now a blogger. I invited them to come take a look at the blog. Fortunately, a number of people did. I felt content.

As I continued blogging regularly, I noticed something. Comments on the blog were rare and the views dipped dramatically. Didn’t everyone want to read my brilliant, comical, insightful pieces? Weren’t those readers compelled to react? I didn’t understand the lack of reaction.

Six months after I began the blog, I was speaking to a friend of mine who is tech/new media savvy who also happened to like my writing. He asked me, “Do you read other people’s blogs?”

“Huh?”

“Other people blog too you know. Read theirs and that will encourage them to read yours.”

I had never thought of this. As I said, I was blogging to write, not to read. However, the blogging felt empty. I was pushing myself to improve and desirous of feedback but never thought that others might be in the same position. I told you I was selfish.

A couple of weeks after the conversation, I had a day off from work. I resolved to read and comment on 10 other blogs. After doing so, rather than wondering where did the time go, I felt exhilarated. I was engaging in (electronic) conversation with people all over.

While I would like to say my blog took off, and I have never looked back, that is not 100% true. (http://larrydbernstein.com/growing-past-the-plagues/).   However, I have gained something greater: a community.  A number of my fellow bloggers have become friends with whom I am in contact outside of the blog. We have shared in each other’s lives, given opinions, shared advice, offered sympathy, and appreciated successes.

So, while I started blogging for selfish reasons and still look at it as way to work on my writing, I have gained a great benefit.

On that note, I want to expand further. I want to find more blogs to add to my repertoire.

Let me tell you what I do and don’t look for in a blog. First, I don’t care for blogs that are a laundry list of what a person/family did day after day. I enjoy blogs that can find humor in the every day or humor in general. I also like when the blogger is truly willing to dig deep and share. I don’t care for posts that are too long or too short. Lastly and most importantly, I like a blogger who will engage – respond to comments and will also reciprocate and offer comments on my blog posts. However, it is not a tit for tat.

So, do you have or can you recommend a blog for me?

Growing Past the Plagues

January 22. Thirty five days. Five weeks. Time is all relative. If you suffered with headache for five weeks, that would be excruciatingly long. If you’re marriage lasted five weeks that would be ridiculously short (Hollywood short).

Five weeks is how long I have been posting my blog exclusively from my website. It probably comes closer to the marriage scenario though in some ways, it has been more like the headache. Anyway, I’d like to tell you that things have gone so smoothly and just as I would have hoped. However, I would prefer to tell you the truth.

So, in honor of the upcoming holiday of Passover, here are the 10 plagues that have happened since converting to a website. To be honest, many came simply due to my ignorance about the process. You would think that being a teacher I would strive to learn and ask questions before doing something. Well, in this case you would be wrong.  Website – okay sure. I guess it is time.

I hope this list will help those of you who may be considering going to a website.

1. Only those who were having the blog come right to their email came with me on the move. That was only about one fifth of my followers. I had no idea this was going to be the case.

2. I made the announcement I was moving only after the mass majority of these followers had disappeared.

3. Comments I have made on the sites of others have not consistently appeared.

4. I only see the reply to my comments if the person is a subscriber to my blog.

5. Some people have made comments that I never saw. The only reason I know is they emailed me and asked me what’s up?

6. I am not especially photogenic. Well, I actually knew that before.

7. People like a like button. However, the like button I have is not so clear. Truthfully, I don’t even know how it works.

8. My blog posts are no longer announced on wordpress.com

9. I have gotten bombarded by spam (I don’t need Viagra, discounted, or not).

10. The water turned to blood. Actually, I made that up in honor of original plauges.

Despite, these plagues, there has been many good things that have occurred since I have converted my blog into a website. First and foremost, I have had a chance to have a number of guests. I would like to thank my blogging friends, Kate (Did That Just Happen?), Elske (Elske Newman), Jessie (Jessie Clemence), and Penney (Authentic Life Journeys). I also would like my writing group members who provided me with guest posts – Ronit, Frank, and Rachelle and my friend Robert. I also would like to thank my wife, Sara, for her awesome post. Lastly, I’d like to thank the Academy. Uh, wrong speech.

I have learned a lot since I created the blog and have come to realize how much more I have to learn. One thing I have learned is how generous some people can be with their time. I have been truly touched by how helpful some people have been just because.

I have taught a book to my 9th graders entitled Speak by Laure Halse Anderson. The book begins on Melinda’s (protagonist) first day as a high school freshman and ends in June.  The book focuses on how she deals with the repercussions of a terrible incident that occurred in the summer (before h.s.) that caused her to be an outcast. Ultimately, she finds a way to get past the incident and become a stronger though different person. One way this is done is through the motif of a tree. The tree struggles in the winter months and even has to have some parts cut away so that the rest of the tree can survive.

I’d like to think of my blog and website as the tree. Many followers have been lost.  The tree has lost some limbs. However, the most loyal – let’s say the trunk or the roots have followed me over to the website. I have met some new people and feel there is potential to do so much more. So, as Spring is on the horizon, I am optimistic about growth. I thank you who have continued on this journey with me. I look forward to your responses, input, and sharing.