Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lovers I've Never Met

Friday evening, February 27, is the third Ignite Tucson, and I'm going to give one of the presentations. My topic-- Lover's I've Never Met-- focuses on men whom I've met online but have never met in person. For the most part, I've never even seen pictures of them, but, based upon common interests, we have formed friendships in cyberspace.

During the past year, I have met dozens of men and women online and have dated several-- men, that is. What did I learn from my year of online dating? Here are some random thoughts on cyber love...

You Don't Have to Pay to Play. There are many ways to meet interesting people online (eg, blogging, listservs, social networking) without joining a dating site with a monthly fee. Investigate before you offer your credit card number.

Profiles. You really don't have to write much of a profile to get dates. In fact, a great picture or two and a few, well-chosen words is all you need. Depending upon what type of person you are seeking, you should carefully choose a screen name and a headline for your profile. I found that leaving everything else the same, I got different responses by playing around with these seemingly minor profile components.

Lies. Both men and women lie on their profiles. I read a research article in the New York Times about a study of social networking and online dating websites. It said that men lie about their height and age, while women lie about their weight. Being the naive and trusting person that I am, when I first started participating in online dating (again) a year ago, I was surprised how many younger men were corresponding with me. Eventually, I found out they weren't younger at all; they were just lying about their ages. One guy I dated even lied about his astrological sign. Now I study the photos and don't pay any attention to the listed age. A hint to the guys: if the woman has big '80s hair in her profile photo, it's most likely a photo from the '80s.

Chemistry. What is that little sparkle that you see in one person's eyes but not in another's? Chemistry goes beyond the physical and the intellectual, in my opinion, and into the primal realm. There is some hidden attraction that I feel for some men (or women) but not others. It is inexplicable but real. Unfortunately, online chemistry doesn't always translate to in-person chemistry.

Compatibility. Chemistry may get you into bed with someone, but for anything more than a few dates, a basic compatibility in lifestyles is necessary. Being an old hippie, I try to be accepting of others-- regardless of their social class, education, religion, race, sexual orientation, or ice cream flavor, BUT accepting them for who they are doesn't mean I want to have an intimate relationship with them.

Alternative Lifestyles. For years, social conservatives have been wringing their hands about gay marriage and trying to demonize gays and Lesbians and separate them from the mainstream as "different from us". Well, I'm here to tell the Bible-thumpers in Kansas that there are LOTS of other lifestyles that are "different" from yours! I was married for 18 years, so I figured I had some things to learn about dating when I emerged back on the scene, but I had no idea there were so many combinations of relationships out there.

Emotional Unavailability. This is a concept that I have experienced many times in my dating life but didn't have a label for until recently. During the past year, I've met (online and in person) a number of men who are available to just about anyone physically but emotionally available to no one. By the time one reaches my age, you know many people -- both men and women-- who have had unhappy relationships and/or marriages that have taken psychological tolls on them, leaving them very wary of involvement. It is my hope that these people continue to grow past their hurt.

Be Realistic and Be Yourself. Often people jump into relationships with the first person who pays attention to them, they latch onto that person, and they pretend they are someone else to gain acceptance. Not a good idea. One of the most important lessons I have learned is to be myself. I accept myself and my body, and I believe I project this self-confidence. I don't hide my true self, and I hope the people whom I meet are not hiding their true selves either.

The Four Agreements. This is a great book, and I think the basic agreements are helpful in developing any type of relationship: be true to your word; don't take anything personally; assume nothing; and always do your best.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Wandering Through Dreams: on Congress Street

Spirit's Journey, the latest exhibit at the Central Arts Gallery, will open this coming Saturday, February 7, 2009, with an artists' reception from 6-9 p.m.

Two of my pieces will be included in this show: Wandering Through Dreams (pictured here) and La Mano Mas Poderosa mosaic shrine. I'm proud to say that both of them are on display in the windows of the gallery. I'm also exhibiting jewelry and smaller clay pieces at the gallery for this show, which runs through March 28.

The Central Arts Gallery opening is just one of many scheduled for this Saturday downtown. Many galleries along Congress Street and 6th Street will be open this weekend as part of the Art Safari, organized by the Central Tucson Gallery Association. So, if you missed seeing Bound for Love at the opening of the Amores Perros erotic art show two weeks ago, you can catch it on Saturday at Raices Gallery.

Come downtown and support the arts in Tucson! Here is a list of participating galleries from the Tucson Citizen and a very thorough write-up in the Tucson Weekly.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Central Arts Gallery: Born Again

As many of you know, I have been a member of the Central Arts Gallery (CAG) since it began in May 2008. CAG is a cooperative gallery whose membership has fluctuated during the past 8 months. As with all cooperative ventures, it has not always been very cooperative. One of the inherent problems (or benefits, depending upon how you see it) with cooperatives is that everyone has a voice, and there is really no strong leader, no boss, who has the final say-- just members. Unfortunately, this means that some people always speak louder and longer, and the meek don't always speak.

Yesterday, CAG had a membership meeting which was a delight. The gallery has several new members, and with this new blood, the group has turned a corner, in my opinion, and become a truly cooperative venture. Many, many new ideas were bandied about yesterday. Look for announcements here of upcoming events.

The next show-- Spirit's Journey-- starts this coming Saturday-- more on that later in the week. This exhibit will be a little different from the others because member artists will be showing more pieces. In addition, the gallery has added a Small Works Wall, which displays art that is being sold for $100 and under. There are also prints and jewelry (including some of mine) for sale at the gallery.