Totally 100% true advice on women and relationships from an UndeadViking who against all odds found a woman who willingly (and enthusiastically) married him
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So after 38 trips around the sun (I am now 39) I got married on October 8th, 2010. Trust me, no one, I repeat, NO ONE, is more surprised than I am. I wake up next to Becca every day, and I know I am an extremely lucky man. Becca said I was going to cry at our wedding, and I almost did, but it wasn't during my vows, or when my daughter walked down the aisle towards me, throwing petals this way and that. Nope, it was the moment Becca appeared, with her father by her side, wearing her dress and walking right at me, a giant smile on her face, and I realized that she had completely accepted me for the man I was, and she wanted that guy in her life for, as they say, as long we both shall live.

About a week or so later, I was sitting at work, when one of my 4 bosses asked me how the wedding went, and I told him pretty much the exact same thing I just typed in the above paragraph. As I relayed the story, I found myself thinking back to all the other girls I had ever dated, and how many of them had professed their undying love to me (and I to them, or at least some of them) but for whatever reason, it just never worked out. Some of these breakups were simple, others were completely devestating, but I don't really regret any of them.

You see, each failed relationship taught me something, and after getting my heart stomped on over and over, or getting flat out rejected countless times, I actually started to figure out some things and my luck improved. Eventually, I found the perfect person to complete my life, and now she and I are together, and excitedly looking forward to our future, and to be honest, I cannot wait.

But I know that there are lots of geeks out there that haven't been as lucky as I have, and I figured, if I could just impart even a drop of the wisdom I have learned, maybe I could help some of you get to the point in your life where you would feel as ridiculously happy as I do now.

Now I realize that some of the things in the geeklist may upset a few of you, and some of it you might completely disagree with. That is fine - I accept that. If I have learned anything in my almost 40 years it is that as much as I think I know about things, there is a unlimited amount of stuff I have no clue about. All I ask is that you read it with an open mind, and recognize that exceptions are the rule, and they are always present.

This advice that I am going to give out is completely based upon my own experiences, and those that I have winessed with my friends and their wives/girlfriends. I am going to tie most of these entries with stories about my personal life, and the women with whom I have spent my days. I do this for several reasons, but the two main ones are to entertain you, and maybe explain where I am coming from.

Some disclaimers before I go further.

1. This list is rated PG-13, dealing with adult themes. It might even dip its toes into the "R" rating, but that is up for debate. Plus, this is about adult relationships, so we are going to be treading close to the S in the RSP world. If you think you might be offended by this please just stop reading right now. I realize that really won't stop anyone, so if this is found to be offensive by the community, I urge the mods to delete it, as it is not my intent to upset any of you. My intent is to entertain and possible teach.

2. None of the names, other than my own and Becca's, are the real names of the people involved in these stories. On the off chance that any of these woman should check this out, I want to protect their identity.

3. The advice listed here is by no means failsafe and 100% guaranteed - it is merely what I have learned, most often the hard way, through living my life, and reflection on what has happened to me in the past.

Finally, you may be inspired to comment on what an idiot or a jerk I was/am. Feel free to do so, just try to take it easy on me. I am newly married after all!
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1. Board Game: The Dating Game [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
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Everyone has to start somewhere - some of us younger than others. The bottome line however is that eventually you are going to meet someone who you take a fancy to, and unlike all the others before them, they don't seem all that indisposed to giving you the same attention in return.

Me? I floundered about in junior high and high school until I was 16 years old. I met a cool girl in band class and she asked me to come over to her house after school to hang out. What happened afterwards wasn't expected since I ended up enjoying the attention of her friend a great deal more. She was the complete opposite of what I was. I was an honor roll student that went to bed early, was on time for school, never screwed around, and followed the rules. She was a skate punk with weird colored hair that listened to the Misfits and ditched school on a regular basis.

For some reason she decided she liked me and that meant we had to hang out all the time - plus I owned a car and I was able to drive her to school in the morning.

"Nancy" was my first love and we dated for almost three years, and I can honestly say that she was one of the best things to ever happen to me. She opened my eyes and my heart to new and exciting things. The lessons I learned in that relationship are the bedrock for every single one I have had since.

So what is my lesson?

You never know when and where love (or something like it) is going to strike

So be ready, and be sure to put forth your best effort at every opportunity you get. Remember! Life is all about the chances you get!

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2. Board Game: SAD... The Game of Depression [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
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As you probably have guessed, I have gone through a few breakups as well. One of the horrible things about putting yourself out there is you are just begging for someone to come along and break your heart - and let me tell you, that stinks big time. I don't know where is actually falls on the pain scale, but I think I would rather get a tattoo on the roof of my mouth than have a girl I gave my heart to, hand it back to me in pieces.

When "Nancy" was getting ready to break up with me, I had no idea what was going on in our relationship. She was still in high school, I was in college. We didn't get to see each other much, and when we did, it seemed like she was distant and I couldn't really relate to her and she couldn't relate to me.

I tried to make things work as best as I could, but what I realize now, looking back, was that she was done with "us", but she just didn't have a good reason to call it off. Eventually she met someone else she wanted to go out with more, and she told me she wanted to break up with me. Thinking back, that took a lot of courage on her part. She didn't start a big fight with me, she didn't cheat on me, she didn't even do it over the phone. She drove to the college and came up to my dorm room and told me face to face what she was feeling and thinking and that she just didn't feel the same way about me that she did before.

Of course I was crushed, and of course I cried, and so did she.

But she was firm and resolute, and it was over. Even further to her credit, she did no back sliding whatsoever. No late night drunken phone calls to complain about the guy she was dating, no random stop by's for no reason, and definitely no random physical hook ups because she was feeling lonely.

It was hard, and it was tough, but I eventually got over her. Well, let me be honest, part of me will always love that girl, but the time I got to spend with her is long over, and I would never want to go back to it. I cherish my memories of her, but that's all I want from her now.

So the lesson is...

Resign yourself to the fact that you are going to get hurt but do not let that stop you from trying

Nothing ventured, nothing gained! Without moments of your life being very sad, you would never be able to appreciate the moments of your life when you are really happy.
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3. Board Game: Self-Concept Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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So maybe you haven't had any luck lately meeting girls, or maybe you haven't had any luck at all. You might be wondering why you can't find even a single woman that can see you more than just a friend. Take heart - most guys have all been here at one point or another. When my first girlfriend and I broke up, I was single for quite some time for a variety of reasons, but eventually, through trial and error, I managed to pull myself together and women found me interesting again. I will give you some basic tips here, and this is not a complete or infallible list, but I think there is a lot of truth here.

1. Clean yourself up. I am not saying you have to wear trendy clothes or have a fresh haircut, but you need to put forth a little effort. Shower on a daily basis and put on some sort of deoderant. Wear clean clothes. Comb your hair. If you are going to grow facial hair, first make sure you actually can, and if you can, keep it under control. Would you want to go out with a girl with greasy hair and pit stains who wore food stained sweat suits all day?

2. Be interesting! You now should look decent, but make sure there is something about you that seperates yourself from the pack. Most girls are used to guys being interested in them and any attention you may give them might get lost in the static. Don't overdo it though. You want to stand out because you are cool, or neat, or dynamic in some way. You don't want her noticing you because you are some sort of social misfit.

3. Don't lie about yourself! If this is someone you actually want to date, she is going to find out what is true and not true about you eventually. If there is a hard truth or two about you that you know girls aren't going to like (you live with your parents for example) be up front about it if they ask, just don't offer it up as introductory information.

4. Be confident about everything there is about you! Nothing, and I mean nothing, will sink you chances faster with a girl than not having confidence. If you do live with your parents and she asks you where you live, tell her the truth, but spin it to your favor - "I moved back in with my parents because I am trying to save up money for (school/pay bills/trip to Europe/Etc)" If you seem totally sure of yourself and the direction your life is heading, the people around you will believe in it, and believe in you. Who knows, you might even start believing in yourself more as well.

5. Remember, you have nothing to lose in asking a girl out. If she says no, you haven't lost anything, and in a way, you have gained valuable information - you can now spend your time and interest on someone else.

There are probably a ton more things you can do to give yourself a leg up, but ask the people around you what your deal is and why you are unlucky with the ladies. If you have female friends, even better! Ask them honestly what you can do to have a better chance in gaining a date. Their advice might be brutal, but it will probably be totally spot on.

My point is...

Unless you are just completely lucky, you need to work on yourself to make yourself "wantable"

This doesn't mean you have to hit the gym and workout 5 times a week, though it probably wouldn't hurt any of us to get a little more excersize. Just be confident - I cannot stress this enough. Girls can get away with being demure and shy - shy guys only get the girls in the movies.

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4. Board Game: I Want Candy! [Average Rating:2.00 Unranked]
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So by now, maybe you have gotten a date or two with a woman or two and you are feeling good about yourself. Eventually though, you are going to have to figure out what exactly you want and what you are trying to get out of this situation, and you better be honest with yourself about it, and unless you want to be a jerk, you better be honest with the girl too.

Before I started dating my fiance Becca, I had a couple of girlfriends right before her. One relationship ended very badly, and the other ended as amicably as any I have ever had.

"Sarah" was a very shy girl that worked in the same office location as I did. I only knew her because she had to walk by my area on a regular basis to get to the large industrial paper cutter in a corner of my world for her projects. I knew she had dated a person or two within the workplace, but I also knew her to be very clingy, an emotional wreck, and eminently available to be taken advantage of.

For my part, I had been single for awhile and was lonely. When "Sarah" started flirting with me and asked for my phone number, I gave it to her even though I knew no good would come of it. One night after work, I went out to the bar with some friends, had a few drinks, then called her up to see what was going on. She invited herself over to "hang out" and we can all guess the end of the story here.

Ultimately, I let it go on for far too long, she got attached, and then I had to break it off because I knew I could never care about her the way she wanted me to. I broke her heart and I knew I was going to. I can tell myself that I never told her that I wanted a relationship but that was only half true - I should have been telling her that under no circumstances was I ever going to want anything serious with her.

On the flip side, "Kristina" had no business being interested in me but she was. Short, beautiful, athletic, and three years older than I, she worked in a completely different department than I did but always seemed to make it a point to come up and talk to me whenever she could. I knew she had a serious boyfriend so I assumed it was just her way of getting through her work day by chatting up one of the guys in tech services. Eventually, I found out that she had moved out of her boyfriend's house and was staying with a family friend. The next time she came up to my desk, I asked her what was up, and she told me she was single and that she thought it would be a good idea if we went out for a beer sometime, especially since she was going to be moving out of state in about 6 weeks.

Now I went into this relationship completely open with my intentions. She was moving away, there was no way this was going to be long term. I told her that I thought she was an amazing individual, and she said the same of me. Right before she moved away, she mentioned that she wished she had told me how she felt earlier, but then I pointed out that there were far too many things that we didn't agree upon, including a big one - I wanted to have a family.

I get an email from her every once in awhile. She knows I got married, and she knows I am a father, and she is very happy for me, but she still says she loves me and misses me. The big difference here when compares to "Sarah" is that I went into this situation with all my cards showing, so I don't feel guilty about her feelings. To be honest, they are a little embarressing - I don't think I am worth the attention.

So...

Know what you want and be honest about it when you start messing with someone else's life and emotions

Bottom line - you want them to treat you the same way, right? This doesn't mean your plan can't change as things progress, but you need to treat people the way you want to be treated, even if it is only to keep a clean conscience.

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5. Board Game: Friends [Average Rating:4.07 Overall Rank:15106]
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Sometimes the coolest girl in the world that you know is dating one of your friends. She is funny, cute, flirts with you, and you have to think, if only she was single...

And then she becomes single. And then she calls you and asks you if you want to go grab a beer.

My friend "Fred" was dating "Emily" for about six months or so. They got along really well and when I heard that they had broken up I was pretty stunned by the news. "Emily" was a really cool girl and I had to wonder how "Fred" had screwed things up. As you can see, my slant on the situation was already predisposed.

So when I ran into "Emily" out at the bar one night and we ended up talking all night long and she made it eminently obvious she was ready and willing to go out with me. I told her I had to think about it, and she said she understood. Now what I should have done was call my buddy and tell him about it and find out if he was cool with it. Instead, I decided that it didn't matter and I called her up a day later and we started dating casually.

And therein lies my big mistake. I was never going to be super serious with this girl, nor was she ever going to be super serious with me. It was a relationship of courtesy - someone fun to watch a movie with, or a way to kill a few hours in the afternoon after class. However, "Fred" felt slighted, and rightfully so.

Ultimately, I cashed in a friendship with a good friend for a couple months of attention from a cute girl. "Fred" still lives in the same city as I do, he has a wife and children, and I even run into him from time to time, but other than a simple "hello" and "how you doing?" we don't talk much. Maybe our friendship would have ended up there anyway, but I probably didn't need to shove it in that direction. As an aside, I have no idea what ever became of "Emily". After we stopped hanging out I never ran into her again.

Now then - I am not against the idea of going out with a woman that one of your friends was previously involved. My wife is actually one of those people. The difference with her is that I talked it over with my friend prior to us going out, and he appreciated the gesture and gave us his well wishes. In fact, he attended our wedding in October and is very happy for the both of us.

So, what have we learned?

If you are going to date a friends ex-girlfriend, do the right thing and tell him before you start doing it

Even if he is not cool with it and freaks out at you, you still did the right thing, and you can at least comfort yourself that you did not try and conceal the situation from him.
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6. Board Game: Cheater [Average Rating:4.03 Overall Rank:15355]
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Now this is a touchy one, and the personal anecdote here does not paint me in a very good light, but this needs to be said.

Cheating and getting cheated on in a relationship is going to happen. Maybe not to you, but you will know someone, somewhere that is going to end up on one side of the fence or the other. In all honesty, I myself have frequented both sides of the yard.

Now then, there is no way to accurately describe the way it feels when you find out that the person you trust and have genuine feelings for cares so little for you that they head off and sleep with someone else. You feel disgusted with yourself, the person you are dating, and you will probably want to bring physical harm to the third person in the situation. Your stomach will hurt, your world will be crushed, and if you were like me, you will drink heavily.

But then, you might be faced with a very difficult decision - if they want to come back to you, do you take them back? There is no good answer for this question, but it has been my experience that it just doesn't work. You will never fully trust them again, and most likely, rightfully so. "Once a cheat, always a cheat" is a saying with more than a little weight to it, and I have found that if you let someone get over on you once, they will eventually try to do it again.

All I can say is this - if you are going to forgive someone for cheating on you - do it completely. Don't bring it up again, don't throw it back in their face during an argument, and try as hard as you can to trust them implicitly. There is no way your reconciliation can work without you giving it your all.

Now then, if you happen to be the one doing the cheating, frankly, you deserve everything that is coming to you. I know this because I was that guy and I deserved everything I got.

It is a strange thing cheating on your girlfriend - it combines exhiliration with guilt. The odd thing is, that you will most likely get away with it, at least at first. What happens is that you will eventually "go to the well" one time too many and then you will have to deal with the aftermath.

Look, if you are cheating on your girlfriend or even thinking about it, there is obviously something wrong with your relationship. Take a long hard look at the situation you are in and try and figure out why you are even in the relationship if you are looking for intimacy outside of it. If it is something you can fix, do it. If you can't fix it, do yourself and the woman you are involved with a favor and end your commitment before you can betray it.

And if you didn't take that advice, and you cheated, and you got caught, just apologize profusely and suffer through the inevitable verbal abuse. Don't try and make it her fault because it isn't. You did it, and no excuse is valid. If she wants to take you back, and you want to go back, you will have to make amends big time, so get ready to grovel. I have to be honest though, the odds are against you. She will probably never fully forgive you, and you will resent that fact on some level. I am not saying you won't ever work it out, but it will be a tough row to hoe.

Just save yourself the trouble...

Don't cheat, and if you get cheated on, leave and don't look back

Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but the chances that you are that exception are highly unlikely. Instead of wasting your energy trying to prove that exception to be true, use that energy on finding a partner that will be someone you care enough about not to cheat on, and who will care about you enough to return the favor.
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7. Board Game: YoYo [Average Rating:4.19 Overall Rank:14682]
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Before I get into this lesson, I am going to share with you the timeline of what was the most defining relationship I was ever involved in. At the time, I felt that I loved this one girl more than I could ever love anyone else, and while this was eventually proven to be untrue (Becca and my daughter Rilyn tie for that title now) this was, and is, the most turbulent romantic period of my life, and it lasted 10 years.

This is going to be a long entry, so I apologize for the length. It is long for several reasons, not least of which being a bit of catharsis for myself. Feel free to skip to the end for the lesson, but I do think that if you read the entire thing, you will get to know me better, and also recognize why I might just know a thing or two when I talk about the male/female relationship dynamic.

I met "Jessica" at the pizza place I worked at. She was a waitress, I was a delivery driver. She was still in high school and I had just turned 20. When we met, no sparks flew, no great witty flirtation was exchanged, and to be honest, other than the fact that she was a cheerleader and, how do I put this, was very gifted when it came to her bosom, I remember her to be very unremarkable.

Then one day, we were working together on a weekend when the place was dead. It was just me, her, and the cook/manager. We hadn't had a customer or an order in over an hour so "Jessica" and I were hanging out in the back parking lot. I was drinking a soda and cleaning out my car. She was trying to look cool, smoking cigarettes and commenting on the music that I was playing on my stereo. I don't remember what happened exactly, but at some point I remember being very annoyed with her. Around this time, the manager poked his head out the back door and told me I had a delivery so I went in, grabbed the pizza, and walked out. She was coming back in and she made some sort of flippant remark, and I said, and I remember it to this day, "You know, you would probably get more respect if you didn't act like such a *****".

Now women are funny creatures, and I mean that with respect and reverance. One of the weird things about them is that they seem to be attracted to what they cannot have. My grandfather used to call it the "Puppy Chase" - if your puppy gets out, and you chase it, it runs away. But if you run away from the puppy, it chases after you. Anyway, for some reason, "Jessica" wanted me. It didn't matter that she had a boyfriend who was away at college. It certainly didn't matter that I had little to no interest in her. She. Wanted. Me.

And so she got me, more because I didn't really care either way, and that I knew that since she had a boyfriend away at college, it wasn't going to last. She asked me to come over to her place for a house party. As soon as I got there, she dragged me off into her bedroom and started kissing me. A few days later she was using me to cheat on her boyfriend. This continued for a couple of months until one day at work she told me that she couldn't "go out" with me anymore because summer was coming and her "real" boyfriend was coming home. I told her that was cool, and went along my way. What I didn't realize was that this was only making her want to be with me more.

So she dumped her boyfriend (who she had recently become engaged to) and started hanging out with me again. We were never really dating though, we just seemed to always end up at the same parties, and we always seemed to end up going home together. This went on for some time, but then a slow but certain shift in the situation occurred - I started falling for her.

But the relationship was one of convenience, and she didn't want anything serious. At some point, after too many beers I played my hand and told her that I had genuine feelings for her, and I wanted more than what we were. Now she knew my true feelings, and, in a way, it ruined everything for her. I reperesented a comfort zone - someone who could be counted on giving her everything she needed from a boyfriend: attention, entertainment, sex, security - but without any of the commitment. The more I wanted to be actually "dating" her, the more she pulled away. In a short period of time, I went to hanging out with her nearly every day, to seeing her maybe once or twice a month.

Sometime after this I found out that she was sleeping with one of my friends. While technically we were never dating, I still felt betrayed. Out of the thousands of guys she could be hooking up with, did she have to pick someone I knew? I finally learned my lesson and cut her out of my life for good.

Or so I thought.

At some point down the road, I ran into her one night, at our favorite bar if I remember correctly. We started talking, discussed what had happened rationally, and agreed we were better off as friends. We started meeting for lunch every once in awhile, or going out for a beer after work. We would talk on the phone at night, talking about our lives, trying to figure out what we wanted out of our existence. We didn't hang out all the time like we had before, but, somehow, we managed to foster a really good friendship out of the situation, probably one of the best I have ever had. Out of everyone in my life that I had called a friend, this was the one person that knew me intimately, in more than one sense of the word. I had a girlfriend at this time, and she was very jealous of "Jessica", and in a weird way, "Jessica" was very jealous of her.

Then I came home one night and realized that "Jessica" was sleeping with my roommate, and I once again felt like I had been betrayed. Never mind the fact that I had my own relationship, or the fact that my roommate and her were actually pursuing their own feelings for each other, I felt like "Jessica" was mine and mine alone, and also, once again, why couldn't she just find some guy I didn't know?

Ever been lying in your bed and get woken up by the noise of one of your ex-girlfriends (that you are secretly still desperately in love with even though you don't admit it) making the unmistakable noises of sex (that you are well accustomed to) less than 20 feet away from you? Not a good time.

Thankfully, for everyone involved, I got a new roommate, she vanished from my life, and I was able to begin getting her out of my skin. I dated other people, worked, partied, and just had a good time. Every once in awhile, someone would mention her to me, and I would get that old "punch in the stomach" feeling, but it was a rarity. I moved past her, got my life in order, and began enjoying my day to day existence. The one thing in my life that I had trouble figuring out was keeping a girlfriend for more than a few months. I didn't really understand why I was apparently "non-relationship" material, but nothing seemed to stick.

But that never lasts forever, and one night I had a bunch of people over at my place after the bar closed, and a cute, skinny red head got my attention. She was fun, had an infectious laugh, and seemed genuinely interested in me. I remember her wearing a low cut t-shirt and skin tight jeans. She was annoyed that the friend that she had come with had wandered off with a guy and now she couldn't find her anywhere. I offered to help her look (this was before cell phones so you couldn't just text somebody) and we ended up making out in the alleyway by my house against the side of my '96 Corsica.

She was also married and had a kid.

But I was young! And stupid! And she worked at a nearby hair salon and I really needed a trim ("Jessica" also cut hair for a living and had been doing mine for free - not so much anymore). I asked her when she worked next, and she said the next day. I mentioned that I would head over if I remembered to get up in the morning, and she responded by saying that she could come over before work and make sure I "woke up".

Yeah, this girl was trouble.

So, in short order, I became the guy that a married girl used to get the attention she wasn't getting at home. This situation put me in a very strange position. For one, I was in complete control of a relationship for the first time in my life. I decided when I available to hang out with this girl, and I told her when she could come over. I also decided what we did. She was willing to accept this because I represented escape from what she considered a trapped life and a chance for her to actually feel like she was young and single again.

For two, "Jessica" found out that I had a crazy, attractive, fun loving red head in my life, and for reasons that became clear to me much later, she realized that she didn't want to share me with anyone that could present themselves as supplanting her position in my life, and she began actively pursuing me for the first time since the time we worked together at the restaurant. It was not uncommon for me to have a date with one girl, have her spend the night, then need to get her out of my house early the next morning so when the other one came over before work they wouldn't run into each other. Right now, some 50% of you think I was one lucky bastard, and the other 50% thinks I am a big asshole. You are both right.

As I tried to juggle these two women, you can probably guess the outcome. Eventually, everyone found out about everything that was going on, and after the dust settled, I was somehow left with the married girl, which was exactly what I didn't want. That relationship was doomed from the very start, no one wants to be stuck with second prize, and no one wants to be thought of as the runner up either. I tried to make it work, and while its failure was a forgone conclusion, I think I gave it the best chance I could. This entry is not about that story however.

"Jessica" vanished again. Oh I knew what she was doing, at this point I had convinced myself that I loved her and that she was the only girl I ever wanted to be with. She had other plans though. I would hear about this guy she was dating, or that guy she was living with, and I would think about reaching out to her, but I didn't, for fear of rejection. This was one of the most miserable periods of my life. I drank a lot, wallowed in self pity, and basically wasted WAY too much of my time thinking about how I would never be happy again.

But then something totally disastrous happened - I heard that she was pregnant and going to get married. If I had been depressed before, I was nearly catatonic with sorrow at this point. I had always hung onto the possibility that somehow, somewhere, I was going to convince her to be with me, probably with some utterly ridiculous show of love that you see in the movies, but now, if she was getting married, it was over. Finished. Kaput.

Once again, however, I had seriously doubted her amazing inability to commit to anyone. She broke it off with her child's father, and out of the blue, through a mutual friend, asked if it was ok if she could call me for some advice. I think I might have broken the land speed record running to my phone. I called her and we went out to lunch. It was like we had never been apart. We talked about what we had been up to, apologized to each other for making a mess of our friendship, and she seemed genuinely sad that we were not together. Now, I am proud to say that I rejected her initial interest in me. I was smart enough to realize that with her in mid pregnancy and being recently single, she was feeling very vulnerable and lonely. I told her that we could be friends, best friends even, but we were not going to date. She agreed that that was best, and we continued on our way. When her son was born, I went to the hospital the same day, and sat with her for hours. I held him in my arms and while I talked with her, I have to admit that I was a bit sad and frustrated that I was not the father of this child.

Fast forward a few months, and it is a cold November evening. I have gathered a small group of friends together to drive outside of town to watch the Leonid meteor shower. On a lark, I invited "Jessica" to join me, and since she did not have her son that evening, she agreed. You could say it was magical or whatever, but something happened that night. She told me that she was having great feelings for me, deeper than she had ever had. She even mentioned the word love, a word she had never used before, at least not with me. I was completely blown away. I drove her home that night and told her I had to think about things - this was definitely something I wanted, but I had gotten hurt so many times before, I knew it was probably a bad idea. She said she understood, and when we got to her apartment, she gave me a kiss on the cheek and told me good night.

It took me about 10 minutes to drive home and I called her as soon as I got there to tell her I was willing to give it a try. She invited me over immediately.

At the time, this was the most happy I could ever remember myself being. We spent every night together, I got to know her son, we shared our deepest feelings, and everything clicked. She was throwing herself into the love she felt for me, and expressing it daily. I could not believe that finally, FINALLY, the girl I had been in love with for years was returning the same feelings. We moved in together, started talking about our future, and made plans to get married. I helped raise her son, went on vacations with her family, and generally walked around with a permanent grin on my face.

And then I came home one night and she said she didn't love me anymore. No explanation, no warning, no "let's see if we can talk through this", just a "I don't love you anymore" and she moved out. I was completely crushed. I begged, I pleaded, I cried - it didn't matter. She said she couldn't do it anymore and told me not to call her, bother her, or see her in any way. She asked me to tell her when I wouldn't be at the apartment we shared so she could move her stuff out without me being around. She had broken up with me in one way or another too many times to remember in the past, but this one was the worst. It was absolutely soul rending. I don't remember much after this. I drank all the time. was miserable to be around, and when the lease was up, I moved into a one bedroom apartment close to my work and kept myself out of the general population of the world for a long time. A standard day was wake, work, eat, drink, sleep, repeat.

I had occasional bouts of perkiness, which led to some minor involvements with a girl here and there, but I was now completely jaded towards feeling for anyone. I kept everyone at arm's reach or further, and never allowed anyone in. I realize these sound like bad date movie cliches, but I sincerely thought I would never love anyone again, and that was fine, because I was better off alone. (All I need is whiskey! Blarrggh!!!) So it surprised absolutely no one that, once again, I got a phone call out of the blue, and it was her, and she wanted to talk.

Against ALL sane judgement, I met her for lunch one day. She told me how she had had a long time to think about what happened, and that, while she was obviously handling not being with me a lot better than I was handling things without her, she was still having feelings for me. She said she would go out on dates with guys, and she would just compare them to me, and when they didn't stack up, she would dump them and come thisclose to calling me and asking me out. She looked into my eyes, asked me for forgiveness, and begged me for one last chance.

Guess what the big dumb moron decided?

I won't bore you with what happened for next year or so. I never moved back in with her, but she more or less moved in with me. She still lived at her parents house, but about 90% of her clothes and essentials were in my apartment. She was there when I got home every night, and I was happy, but I was also waiting for the other shoe to drop, and drop it did. She dumped me with an email - well technically and email and a phone call. She wrote me an email and then I called her and proceeded to call her every viscious thing I could think of - 10 years of anger, frustration, and hate boiled down to a 4 minute tirade full of name calling, gnashing teeth, and venom. It felt good to let go like that, but it was all for naught. I was still single, and the love of my life was gone again.

After that, there were a couple more moments of stupidity on both our parts. A random hook up here, a dinner or a movie there, but it was just her attempt to alleviate her loneliness and me being dumb enough to let her. Of course, I was foolish enough to think that it meant she wanted to get back together with me. She was kind enough to let me know that even if she had a few drinks at the bar and made a poor choice in calling me when she got home, it was because I was the safe alternative, not out of any feelings of affection. Eventually the phone calls stopped coming, and I was wise enough not to call her. After a decade of going back and forth, dating and not dating, hating each other and being in love, it was finally over, not because of any big giant final explosion, but because neither of us had the strength to keep trying anymore.

Oh I still loved her, and some time I honestly thought this was some sort of cruel joke God was playing on me - "Hey! Here you go! The love of your life! But you can never have her! Har har har!" - but I just couldn't pursue her anymore. I knew I would just be rejected, and only time would finally heal the way I felt.

Finally, two things happened to me that permanently ended this decade of my life. The first was attending a good friend's wedding. I was having a blast, drinking, talking to my friends, and enjoying the evening. All of a sudden I looked over and there she was, and she honestly never looked better. As much fun as I was having, I wanted to run out the door and dive in front of a bus. I got that old familiar pit in my stomach and wandered over to the bar for a stiff drink. She must have seen me and she tapped me on the shoulder and asked if she could talk to me. Numbly, I followed her outside the building and we exchanged small talk. She said she was happy to see me, and that I looked well. I responded in kind. She asked if she could have a dance later and I said that that sounded nice and we went back inside. As soon as she was out of sight, I left the reception and went straight to my regular bar to drink the rest of the night away.

Ah, but my trickery was not to work. She ended up heading out to the same bar with my friends after the reception, and I was forced to talk to her some more. I had flashes of the same old friendship we once had, and there was even a little flirting. Even though my heart was a little lifeless lump sitting in stomach, it began showing signs of life once again. When she left the bar that night, she came over, gave me a big hug and a kiss that lasted a little longer than it should have, and then she was gone. I sat down, nursing a drink, and I sent her a text (hey look, a relationship that transcended a change in communications technology!), asking if she wanted to come over to my place that evening. She sent me one back saying, and I will remember this forever, "I want to more than anything in the world but I can't hurt you again. I am still the same person I was"

God bless her for realizing it.

The second thing that happened to me, if we fast forward a little more than a year from that moment, I was out on a date with Becca at our favorite restaurant. We had been dating for a little over 2 months and were having a very nice evening. Well who should walk in the front door but "Jessica". She strode by our table and simply smiled and said "Hi Lance!" and went on her way.

For the first time ever, I didn't feel that "punch in the gut".

I don't know what the reason was, but I was finally truly, and completely, over her. If I had to guess, it had a little to do with me growing up, and a lot to do with the awesome girl that was sitting on the other side of the table from me, the beautiful, dynamic, and amazing Becca, who had finally, and permanently, kicked "Jessica" out of my life.

So - what did we learn from this?

Do yourself a favor and do not get back together with someone you used to date. There is a reason you broke up in the first place, and those reasons are still there. Learn this from me. You don't want to waste a decade of your life.

If a relationship isn't working, it isn't working for a reason. If you keep breaking up and getting back together, there is also a reason for that. It means that you most likely are not right for each other and you are not going to make things work. There are exceptions to this rule, obviously, but if you are getting dumped or dumping your girlfriend every 6-9 months or so, then getting back together with her, you are probably making a poor decision when it comes to the woman you are with.

I can't even imagine how much heartache and pain I would have saved myself if I had never gotten involved with this woman from the get go, or if I had the presence of mind to cut things off the first time we broke up. I firmly believe, "Jessica" and I would have been much better off and would be happier people if we had not spent all those years abusing each other.

A couple of things, "Jessica" is also the girl I alluded to during my Geek of the Week time that stabbed me twice - long story, don't ask. Also, about a week or so before I got married, I got a very touching and heartfelt email from "Jessica" congratulating me on my upcoming nuptials and my life in general. It was very nice to hear from her, and it seems like she is doing very well for herself and is quite happy, and I am happy for her. She is an amazing person, and if she ever settles down and lets a guy into her life, he will be a very happy person as well.

He won't be as happy as I am though, because Becca is the most perfect woman in the world.
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8. Board Game: The Impossible Game [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
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Now then, let us talk about the impossible girl. This is the girl that is out of your reach, no matter what you try. She could be the head cheerleader, or the prom queen, or maybe just that cute brunette over in accounting. She represents, or seemingly represents, the perfect match for you, but no matter what you do, she just doesn't see you the same way, or there is some other reason why she cannot go out with you.

For example. about a year or so before I took Becca out on our first ever date, I met a girl at work named "Sarah". I have always had a serious crush on cute little hippy girls, and "Sarah" fit that description perfectly. Long wavy brown hair, cute little nose, paralyzingly beautiful green eyes, and a smile that lit up the room. She worked in an area at my office where technically I was sort of her boss, mostly because her boss reported directly to one of my bosses, so she had to ask me for permission from time to time to run a report or use some of our hardware resources. Basically, our schedules ran side by side and we ended up talking all the time.

I pride myself on how I was able to play this one slow and smart. It had been my experience that hippy chicks were notorious for their flights of fancy, and to get one interested in you for the long haul was a challenge indeed. I chatted her up at work and got to know her really well. She had just graduated from school with her Art degree and was floundering a bit with what should be her next step. She was considering going back to school, but didn't really see the point. She also complained that most of her friends had moved away, and she was very bored, sitting at home most nights, reading trashy romance novels and watching basic television.

She also had a boyfriend that lived about 5 hours away.

So I played it cool, because even if your goal is to break a girl up from her boyfriend, you can't just come out and declare it, because that will scare them away. Instead, I just practised being awesome around her. I was funny, helpful, encouraging, and always there for her when she needed to talk. Eventually, a group of people from work were going to head out one night for drinks and a midnite movie, and I asked her to come along. Excited to have something else to do on a Friday night, she agreed. Everyone had a great time, and I established myself as being cool but indifferent to her presence, which, as I stated before, has an effect on women looking for attention.

A few days later, I got a call out of the blue from her on my day off, asking me if I would like to go out that night with her for a gathering of her work friends. While I was doing backflips in my mind, I pretended to not be interested, using the excuse that the bar they were going to was not one that I enjoyed being at. After telling her no about 25 times, and her practically begging me to take her, I finally agreed but said that she owed me one. Whatever "one" was, was never really determined, but she agreed.

I don't remember what we did that night really, but I do remember driving her around town, going to several bars, drinking my fair share, and when I drove her home, she invited me up to her apartment. Now to this day, I don't know if what I did here was correct or not, but I told her no. When she asked why, I said that I didn't know what was going to happen up there (probably nothing I assured her) but if something did happen, I wanted it to happen to us when we were both single. She got this sad little smile on her face, but I could tell she thought it was a sweet thing for me to say, and then she leaned over and gave me a good night kiss that will probably rank in my personal top 10 for the rest of my life.

"Sarah" and I spent a lot of time together for the next six months or so. We went to movies, art museums, held wine parties at her apartment, and football gatherings at mine. She would come over after work just to hang out with me and watch tv, and she would sit on my comfortable couch and read one of her trashy romance novels while I would read graphic novels and sit next to her. We had the ability to discuss anything and everything. She made fun of my man crush on Christian Bale, and I teased her about her veganism backsliding when she wore leather shoes. On more than one occasion we would profess our deep and true feelings for each other, and while we never admitted it to ourselves, we were probably in love. We had a wonderful relationship, a beautiful one really, we just didn't have sex.

Not that we couldn't have mind you. One evening in particular stands out for me. She had invited me over for a wine party at her place, but when I got there, no one else had shown up. We ended up drinking about 5 bottles of extremely good wine between the two of us. It was one of only 3 times we ever broke our no physical contact rule and ended up kissing on her couch. I was smart enough to realize that I had about a 99% chance of success if I wanted things to move further, but I didn't do it. I knew that if I became the guy she cheated on her boyfriend with, that would be all that I would ever be.

So time went on, and so did our lives. Becca actually became part of the group that "Sarah" and I hung out with after work, which looking back, probably only helped me marry her. (Hello there! I am a cool guy enjoying the attention of a cute girl! You should get to know me!) Eventually I realized that she was never going to break up with her boyfriend, and he had gotten wind of me and was starting to drive to town more often. I met him a couple of times and he seemed like a decent guy, and to be honest, if I had been in his place, I wouldn't have been as nice to me as he was. He was exceedingly dull however, and didn't seem to be her type, but I was probably not the best judge of that.

Ultimately, I didn't really push "Sarah" into a decision about us, but looking back, I didn't do it because I knew she wouldn't pick me. She was in love with that guy who lived out of town, and she wanted to be with him. As connected as the two of us were, for whatever reason it didn't compare to what she had with him, and you know what, good for her - "Sarah" is an amazing woman, and she deserved to be happy, even if it wasn't with me.

She got married to that guy, and from what I hear, she is very happy. I still get an email every once in awhile, and if she comes to town, she will give me a call and catch up with me. She thinks my daughter is the most beautiful girl in the world, and is very happy for Becca and I. This is a tribute to just how cool "Sarah" is.

But even though things worked out for the two of us in the end, and both of us are happy, and married, and looking forward to the rest of our lives, every time I talk to her, or think about her, I cannot help but wonder what might have been. "Sarah" came thisclose to being my girlfriend, and maybe even my wife. However, things were just not meant to be. She was my impossible dream - but I am ok with that. If we dated me might have ended up hating each other.

So is there a lesson here?

You are going to run into girls that are going to be impossible to attain. Recognize that and you will be happier about this inevitably.

However, chase after them all you want, I still believe that you have nothing to lose by trying. One of my four bosses has a large plaque up in his office that says "Only those who dare to fail stupendously, will achieve greatness in their lifetimes". I don't usually buy into those "positivity" posters, but I always liked that one, probably because it used the word "stupendously".

Anyway, what I am saying is that if you like a girl, you should take your best shot. You might just surprise yourself with the outcome.
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9. Board Game: Coco Crazy [Average Rating:5.43 Overall Rank:13493]
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Now before I start talking about crazy girls, let me offer up the disclaimer that men and women are just as likely to have a screw loose or two when it comes to dating, but I have never dated any men in my life, much less crazy men, so I cannot really offer up any insight for that side of the coin. I have been, however, a horrible decision maker when it comes to my relationships, so I have a lot of evidence for this particular entry.

There are a lot of different women I could tell you about. There was "Cindy", who thought that sleeping with a half dozen or so of my friends would impress me and convince me to go out with her. "Marsha" once threw about a dozen or so pots and pans at me as I ran out of her house after I told her I didn't want to see her anymore. But I won't bore you with those stories, or the dozen or so others I could tell you - instead I will tell you about "Denise".

Looking back, I do not know what in the hell I was thinking. "Denise" was a complete and total mess in high school where she was a friend of a friend of my girlfriend. She was the girl who was completely flaked out 90% of the time, and the vast majority of the school avoided her for the social pariah that she was. I thought she was harmless enough, but she had this constant crazy look in her eyes, and this laugh that was usually used by someone currently chasing you with an axe.

After high school, she completely vanished, and I never even thought of her. Halfway through my freshman year of college, as I said earlier, my longtime girlfriend from high school dumped me, and I was crushed. Since I had no idea how to talk to girls or even ask one out, I was lonely and single, and also being 19 years old, I desperately needed physical contact. So one night, I go to a kegger, and in between cups of Busch Light, I run into "Denise". I don't know what we actually talked about, but I do remember making out with her on a couch somewhere in that house at three in the morning.

I would have thought that would be all that that would be, but she stuck to me like I was the keeper of her last breath. She called me constantly, showed up at my dorm unannounced, and would write crazy poetry about her love for me and then leave the poems on the windshield of my car.

All this, and I hadn't even slept with her.

Oh I eventually did, because I was lonely and she was willing, and I even convinced myself that maybe I could even date this girl for awhile, but she was completely off her rocker. I fell into a pattern where I could hang out with her for about two or three weeks before she would drive me nuts with her antics, and then I would avoid her as best as possible. After a couple of months, I would run into her somehow and somewhere and we would have another go of it.

Ultimately, I found a girl to date that I actually liked and enjoyed. I got a call from "Denise" one night and I told her that I was seeing someone else. She seemed to take it well, but that was just the calm before the storm.

What followed was something I had never encountered before in my life. She was so obsessed about me and the thought of going out with me, she started to try and make me go out with her. She would show up at my job with a card and flowers, asking me to come over after work. She would call my roommates and ask me what I was doing and if my girlfriend spent the night at our apartment. One day I found her sleeping in her car outside of my place as I was walking to class, holding a picture of me and a rose in her hands. When I asked her what the hell she was doing, she said she had been up all night "casting spells" on me to make me fall in love with her.

The final straw was when she started calling my mother and telling her she was pregnant with my baby, which was impossible because I hadn't slept with her in almost a year. Having had enough, I drove to her parents' house (where she lived) and told them what was going on. I said that if I heard from her one more time I was calling the cops. Her parents were not surprised at all, apologized, and said they would take care of it. Thankfully, they did.

Now here is the kicker - it is one thing to say this girl or that girl is crazy, but this one was certifiably crazy. As in, "spent time in an institution for being crazy", crazy. At some point after she stopped bothering me, she went off the deep end. She was using drugs and alcohol and abusing herself and others. She eventually attempted suicide by driving her car into a lake. Her parents had had enough and they shipped her off to a mental health clinic, where they did what they could for her. Unfortunately, she had already done a lot of damage to herself, and she was never quite the same.

I run into her every once in awhile, notably one evening when I had my daughter with me at the library. She started to approach me and Rilyn so I told Becca to take her and I walked up to her. I said my hello's and asked how she had been. She still had the crazy look in her eyes but she seemed fairly well composed. After a very brief conversation, I wished her well and went my way. Was I wrong to try and make sure she did not have any contact with my family? Maybe, but I wasn't going to let her interact with my daughter - I was going to err on the side of caution on this one.

When I think about her, I feel bad for her and her situation. I also am very dissatisfied with myself in the way that I handled my relationship with her all those years ago. Maybe I could have treated her in a way that may have helped her. At the very least I could have just not gotten involved with her at all. Instead I have to admit to myself that I was just another part of her decline. She might have ended up where she is now with or without me, but I can never know for sure.

Now, not all of my experiences with girls that you could call crazy were this extreme. Many of them were enjoyable and ended surprisingly well, but each and every one had a hint of danger to it, and maybe that's the allure. Crazy girls can be a hell of a lot of fun, for lots of reasons, but you are playing with fire, and you will get burned, sometimes pretty badly.

Remember - "crazy" girls are called that because they are crazy. Involve yourself with them at your own risk. Also, wouldn't it just be easier to date a girl that was a little more grounded?

I will leave you with one final anecdote. Before Matt Groening made a kajillion dollars making The Simpsons (and my favorite show Futurama) he had a little comic strip called Life In Hell, which was nothing short of brilliant. In one strip, he listed off the 9 typed of girlfriends, and one of them was the "Crazy Girl". Her advantage was that she was "More fun than a barrel full of monkeys". The disadvantage was "Unreliable - drives off cliffs".

Humorous, but true.
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10. Board Game: Married! The Game of Marriage and Money [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
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So if you remember a story I told a few items above this one, I told you of a girl that I got involved with that ended up being one of the most tumultuous relationships I was ever involved in. Her name was "Gina" and she was smart, sexy, had blazing red hair and was married to the father of her son.

Now to set the stage and to accurately tell you exactly how stupid I was at this point in my life, this girl had actually already cheated on her husband with one of my friends, something he liked to brag about all the time. (Let the record show I had a huge falling out with this guy several years ago, and after a night of drinking I told him what a piece of crap he was and we haven't spoken since) She worked at the same pizza place as this guy (and a couple other friends of mine) and she was looking for attention. I worked down the road a bit at a video store (one of like 5 jobs I had at the time) and whenever I worked late, I would stop by the place on the way home and pick up a free pizza and shoot the bull for awhile. To be honest, I barely even paid attention to her when I saw her at the restaurant, which probably drove her crazy as attention starved as she was.

So one night, I am at my favorite bar, drinking away with my buddies, including the aforementioned guy above, and a waitress comes over to tell that guy that some girls want to talk to him. Being the nosy and drunk person I was, I followed him over and it turns out it was "Gina" and a friend of hers. She had just gone and gotten a severe haircut, and was sporting super short hair. I have always dug girls with longer hair and I thought that the new look was pretty horrible. She said hello to me, and for some reason I just blurted out "Hey "Gina", your new haircut looks pretty awful." and then I wandered off to play some pool.

I had taken my advice of being 'just a little bit of a jerk' to an extreme, but as it turns out, it worked on her.

I lived about 2 blocks from the bar in the basement of my buddies house who didn't care if I had people over, so after bar parties were a regular occurence, and that night was no exception. I don't remember everything about that evening, but "Gina" showed up and made it abundantly clear she was interested in me. As mentioned before, against my better judgement, I hooked up with her and thus started three and a half years of, if I had to be honest, hell.

Oh there was the occasional good stretch of time in there, mostly before she got divorced, but there were so many warning signs, only an idiot could ignore them like I did. Never mind the fact that this was someone's wife (he did show up at my video store job one night challenging me to a fight - he was about half my size and I told him to come back after closing if he wanted to rumble, he didn't come back) this girl had huge issues with anyone she was going to be going out with, not just the poor sap that had gotten her pregnant and then rushed into a lifelong commitment with her.

For starters, she had "daddy issues". Now I know that is cliche', but she really did. Her father had recently passed away and she could not go a day or two without crying about her loss. I understand that losing a parent is devastating, but I was in no position to be supportive for her. I was young, drunk, and unreliable. Plus, unbeknownst to her, I was seeing another girl on the side, which was a complete jerk move on my part - feel free to replace jerk with whatever word you wish, I deserve it.

So one night, I am out at the bar with the girl that was not "Gina", and she is calling the bar constantly wondering where I am, since her husband was out of town and she wanted me to come over. The girl I am with gets annoyed by this and takes off, and I finally go over to her place with a chip on my shoulder. Ten minutes of arguing later, I just tell her about the other girl and she hauls off and punches me in the mouth. I pick up my glasses off her lawn and I figure that is that, but no, she still wants to be with me, and doesn't even want me to leave that night!

You see, she was completely trapped in her life and marraige, and saw me as the only way out - which looking back now was pretty pathetic. I was in my mid 20's, refusing to grow up, and enjoying my post college life as much as I could. I had between three and six jobs at any given time, most of them paid cash, and was barely able to keep up with my bills. I genuinely thought I was a fun guy to be around, but no one saw me as a good long term investment, and with good reason, but "Gina" had decided to hitch her plow to me.

When she did finally get divorced, our relationship went completely sour very quickly. We had seperate apartments but she expected me to be at her place all the time. When I started staying late at work to avoid her, she got a job in my office so she could keep an eye on me. She got us cell phones so she could call me whenever she wanted, then got mad at me when I didn't answer it. Basically, she didn't trust me and she thought that if she left me to my own devices, I was going to end up leaving her or cheating on her.

Looking back, I don't know why I put up with her - I should have just walked away. But I honestly did love her, and in her heart I think she was a good person, she was just really screwed up. Regardless, we grew apart, and started seeing less of each other, and everyone involved could see that the relationship was ending, but I hung on to it as long as I could. After we broke up, she would still call me from time to time for self serving purposes such as complaining about whatever guy she was seeing, or asking to borrow some money for rent or some other bill, and I put up with it, because I wanted to get back together with her for some insane reason.

We were trapped in a love/hate relationship and we spent time abusing each other and loving each other in equal amounts but eventually, everything reaches a snapping point. I remember mine. She had called me late one night and was talking to me about her problems and issues, and I finally just asked her what was going to happen with us. She told me that she didn't know, but she did know that she loved me. So I told her, right then and there, we had to decide if we were going to ever get back together or if we were just going to realize that it wasn't going to happen and we both had to move on and not look back.

There was a long pause, and then she said, "I want to be with you, but not right now".

After a pause I said "Well then this is goodbye. Take care of yourself and your son" and I hung up the phone.

I sat there in my dark apartment for about 30 minutes, not moving, just sitting there and thinking, and I wasn't even sad. All I felt was absolute and complete relief. Relief that it was over, relief that I didn't have to worry about her and her problems anymore, relief that there would no longer be late night phone calls of her crying over her life, relief that she would no longer beg me for some cash "just to get by this week". It was as if the thousand pound weight had finally been taken off my shoulders and I could breathe again.

"Gina" was a bit of a mess after that. I heard that she had gotten engaged a couple of times to some guys who were complete idiots but she never got remarried. She got a job somewhere else and I rarely saw her after that. When I did run into her, she was actually quite nice and pleasant to be around, almost enough to make me wish I was back with her, but then I remembered the nights filled with screaming matches and how unpleasant she was to be around 90% of the time.

Why didn't it work? For starters, I wasn't the guy she wanted to date because she liked me, I was the guy that she thought she could leave her husband for. She may have decided she loved me after the fact, but she didn't fall in love with me for me, she just loved that she had another option - an escape. For my part, she was just a girl that had low self esteem that I knew I could go out with for my own less than perfect reasons.

We were intrinsically incompatible from the get go, but we tried to make it work because we thought we should. Instead we made each other miserable.

If she is married, just stay away from her. Besides the fact that it is simply wrong, nothing good will ever come of it.

As a follow up, she showed up at my apartment one day about 5 years or so ago to tell me she was getting married in a week. I drank a couple of beers with her and wished her well. She gave me a kiss on the cheek, a big warm hug, and she even gave me one of her best sad smiles as she drove away, and I would be lying if I didn't feel a yank on my heart, but we are all better off now.

Her husband is a tattoo artist about 10 years younger than she is and is actually a pretty cool guy. She works at the local Microsoft office doing something, and is also the captain of a local roller derby team of all things. I was right about her, she is a good person at heart, and she deserves her happiness - I am glad she found it.
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11. Board Game: Boredom: The Dismal Anti-Game for 1 to 3 Players [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
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My older brother is one of the coolest guys I have ever known. Not only did he introduce me to D&D and Risk (basically starting me off as a gamer) but he was always around to give me honest and brutal advice when it came to my life. I remember talking to him about girls one day, and he said something that has always stuck with me. He said "Most of the time when you are dating some girl, it really is only because you are bored and it is convenient to do so." Now I had no idea what he was talking about then, but when I got older, I got it.

Once you start having success with women, and you have a few relationships under your belt, you will start to realize that getting a girlfriend really isn't all that tough, it is getting a girlfriend that is more than just someone to hang out with that is difficult.

I met "Rochelle" when I was working at a pizza place. I had known her in high school, and by known her, I had seen her walking in the hallway from time to time, but that was about 4 years prior. She was a cute little hippy with dirty blonde hair and an easy going personality. It didn't hurt that she was an extreme flirt, talked dirty, and somehow made her waitress uniform incredibly sexy and attractive.

I never talked to her much, though I did goof around with her at work from time to time. One day, I was working an evening shift, and she was getting done working. She came over to me and told me that she and her roommates were having a party at their house and wanted to know if I wanted to come over. I told her I would think about it and I got her address. To be honest, I didn't know if I really wanted to go or not, since I knew I wouldn't know anyone at the place, but after I got done working I bought a 6-pack and headed over.

As expected, I didn't know anyone but her, and I was bored out of my mind. I told her I was going to leave and she got a pouty expression on her face and begged me to stay. She then told me that I should invite some of my friends over so I would have someone to hang out with - she even offered to let me use her phone in her room. I followed her to the phone and while I was dialing one of my buddies, she leaned over and whispered in my ear that the only reason that she had invited me over was because she was incredibly attracted to me and that she simply had to date me.

And thus our relationship began.

"Rochelle" was a lot of fun, and I look back at our 5 or 6 month relationship with a lot of fondness. We spent tons of time together, and what we lacked in deep emotional ties, we made up for with our sheer exuberance for one another. Were we in love? Maybe we were, but we sure didn't admit to each other. We both knew that there was no chance either of us were in this one for the long haul. Towards the end, we made our feelings about the longevity of our situation painfully obvious to the other, although not intentionally. When she left on a trip to Europe, I completely forgot when she was coming home, and didn't bother to call her for a good week after she got stateside. When Valentine's Day came and I went out of my way to find a vinyl record of her favorite band (Aerosmith) she remarked "What a great gift! I will have something to remember you by!"

But it didn't matter - we were having fun. We both knew that it was going to last until we either got bored of each other or someone found something better. In fact, it kind of felt like a race to see if I could find a better girl to date before she could find another guy. In the end, I don't remember exactly what prompted the end, but I do remember getting into an argument with her at her second job (working at a gas station) and us breaking up then and there for no really good reason. I drove over to my buddy's work place where he was closing up the restaurant and he let me in and allowed me access to the tap beer. He asked me how I was taking it, and I thought about it and realized that I was completely ok.

It's ok to date someone just because the two of you are bored and have nothing better to do - not everything has to be about finding the love of your life.

Last I heard "Rochelle" had bought a house with her partner, another nice hippy girl that treats her well. You would think that the reason I she sticks out for me would be the fact that she is now involved with another woman, but in all honesty, it is because she was the first girl I ever dated that the relationship didn't end badly. No hard feelings, no crying, and no late night drunken phone calls begging for another chance. It just ended and we went our separate ways.

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12. Board Game: Tricks [Average Rating:5.63 Overall Rank:12275]
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Alright, so you have come this far, and I appreciate that, but now I am going to give you the quick and dirty rules that I have learned when it comes to getting a girl to notice you, and give you a shot at taking her out. I will also give you some ideas to get that girl to go out with you several times, and not just once or twice. By no means are these infallible, in fact I would guess that these failed more often than they worked, but these rough guidelines did work out more often than anything else I tried, and they did work on Becca, so they can't be completely off base.

Some of these are generic, and others are fairly specific. As a whole, mastering these lessons, or having these abilities has improved my dating life immeasurably.

1. Woman love compliments, but don't overdo it, because they will realize you are just trying to chat them up for some ulterior motive. Even if you don't have an ulterior motive, they will assume you do. Now if the woman in question is already interested in you, then this should work out fine, but if she is currently on the fence as far as her feelings for you, you might be shooting yourself in the foot. Keep your comment simple, and for now, don't tell her she is cute/hot/beautiful. Everyone tells women they are good looking.

Does she have a tattoo or a strange piercing? Tell her it looks cool. Laugh at one of her comments and then say she is funny (women love to think of themselves as funny). If she tells you something about her background, perhaps where she works, or where she grew up, or what she is studying in school, tell her that you find that really interesting. The goal here is to make her feel good about herself while she talks to you. For whatever reason, this works, and she will seek you out to get that feeling again.

2. Now inevitably she is going to ask you about yourself, so you need to be a little self deprecating here, hopefully for a few laughs, but you also need to make yourself seem like a winner, or at the very least, dateable. Focus on the good things going on in your life. If you are involved in some sort of sporting activity, this is a good time to bring it up, even if it is only frolfing. For heaven's sake, do not talk about an ex-girlfriend at this point, even in passing. Also, unless you have just met her at a gaming convention, it is probably a good idea to keep your giant boardgame collection a secret for the time being as well. Try to take things that are going on in your life, and link them to things going on in hers. Hopefully, this will get her talking about herself some more, and you can go back to the low level flattery I referred to earlier.

3. OK - now this tip I do not prescribe on a regular basis, because you have to walk a very fine line for it to work, but when it does, it works like gang busters. When you meet a girl for the first time, be just a little bit of a jerk. Don't be an asshole, just try to be a little causticly indifferent to them. Case in point - I knew who Becca was because I worked with her, but I never talked to her. One day, I was walking past her desk and she asks me if she can can ask me a question. She is talking to a bunch of her friends and they are wondering why they are all single, and more importantly, she wants to know why I think SHE is single. I looked at her and said (with a hint of sarcasm) "It doesn't make much sense to me. I mean, you're not unattractive." With that I walked away, but now Becca was thinking about me. The reason this works, I think, is that women are used to being complimented and flirted with all the time, but when a guy comes around and doesn't fall over himself to tell them how beautiful they are, the tables get turned and they end up feeling like that have to prove their "wantability" to you. This is a variation of the "puppy chase" I mentioned earlier, and it works. Just try switching gears and being nice to her once you start going out. It will make the relationship last a little longer.

4. Know how to do a magic trick with items you can get a hold of anywhere, be it your home, a restaurant, a bar, wherever. If you can do something clever (remember me telling you to be interesting in item #3?) on demand, your "coolness" factor will increase a hundred fold. There are lots of easy tricks you can do with shot glasses, dollar bills, and pennies, just do a google search for them. Practice your trick until it is second nature and be ready to bust it out at a moments notice. Also, never give away the secret, a little mystery goes a long way.

5. Know how to cook one awesome meal. Mine is a Zitti Pasta that is my grandfather's recipe that has never, ever failed to impress the girl I fed it to. If you want to learn more than one recipe, feel free, but you need to know that one meal to show your prospective girlfriend you can take care of yourself.

6. At your home, it is a great idea to have the following things around if at all possible. At some point in my life, these items came in handy several times when it came to impressing whatever girl I was interested in.

A. A plant, and several plants if you have room. Having something green and growing livens up your place and shows that you can take care of things and are responsible. Plus, it has been proven that they are stress reducers, and who can't use that?

B. At least one piece of artwork that is NOT geek related. Feel free to put your Boris Vallejo artwork up, but go to Hobby Lobby and find an art print of something you like, frame it, and put it up on your wall. Never hurts to have a little taste.

C. A bottle of wine, preferable a few. As I have grown older, I have found that having a decently priced collection of wine is invaluable when it comes to sponsoring a wonderful evening of conversation with a woman. Don't forget the corkscrew.

(While we are at it, it would not hurt to keep some beer in the fridge and some bottles of the more common hard alchohol (vodka, rum, whiskey) on hand but out of site)

D. Own a pet. This might not be possible depending on where you live, or if you have allergies, but try owning an animal that relies on you for its existence. This goes hand in hand with the responsibility of having plants. If you can't have a dog or a cat, go get a cheap aquarium and set that up with a few mollies. For the more advanced aquarium enthusiasts, try and get a larger tank and own an Oscar Cichlid. These guys get big and get big quick. You can also feed them goldfish from time to time, something that people enjoy watching for some reason. Always a good conversation starter.

E. A clean bathroom with plenty of toilet paper. This should be self explanatory.

F. A music system that goes beyond having a mini-cd player on the floor. At this point, you probably have a very good music player right in front of you, your computer. Take a few moments to put your music into genres so you can track down what she might want to listen to. People love music, and they really like talking about music. Another great conversation starter.

G. A supremely comfortable couch and chair. The more comfortable she feels, the more at home she will feel.

H. A bedroom that doesn't have piles of dirty laundry on the floor, where the bed is made, and doesn't have superman sheets. If any one room in your home needs to be clean and impressive, it is your bedroom. I don't know if "messy bedroom" equals "sociopath" in a woman's mind, but I do know that it is a mood killer.

7. Know one awesome dirty joke and be able to tell it well. Here is mine. There are only two swear words and they have been edited out, but the joke itself is very dirty anyway.

Quote:
A guy is sitting at a bar by himself, feeling sorry for himself, when a beautiful young woman with a sad look on her face walks in, orders a drink, and sits by herself on the other side of the building. Figuring his day couldn't get any worse, he walks over and asks if he can sit down. She says he can, so he does. After a couple more drinks, he turns to her and asks why she looks so sad.

"Well if you must know" she says "I am sad because my husband threw me out of the house a few weeks ago"

The man looks surprised and says "Wow, you might not believe this, but the reason I am here drinking tonight is because my wife threw me out of the house earlier today. If you don't mind me asking, why did your husband throw you out?"

Blushing, she looks down at her drink and says "Well, you might not believe this, but he says that I am too kinky for him. He said he couldn't handle it anymore."

Stunned, the man looks at her and says "I know you are going to think this is a line, but my wife threw me out today because she said I was too kinky for her!"

The woman looks at the man for a good long minute, then says "I think it was fate that we met here tonight. My apartment is just up the road. Let's get a bottle of wine and head there and see what happens."

The man readily agrees and the two leave together. After they get to her place, she asks him to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine while she slips into something more "comfortable". She goes into her room and starts putting on her full dominatrix outfit - leather all over and spike heeled boots. She puts on her mask and grabs her whip and walks back out into the living room, but is stunned when she sees the man walking out the door.

"WAIT!" she says "I thought you were into kinky stuff?"

"I am!" he replies with a wink and a smile "I just ****** your dog and **** in your purse! Have a good night!"


8. Know one clean joke to make up for the fact that you may have just offended her. Here is one:

Quote:
Have you heard about the new corduroy pillows? They are making head lines.


9. Don't try and pick a woman up when she is surrounded by her friends, or when you are with yours. The best you can hope for in either situation is to get a phone number and call her later. I have found that women tend to be competitive to the point where they will rip apart the guy interested in their friend just because that guy isn't hitting on them, and if you are surrounded by your buddies, your prospective date is going to feel a little intimidated.

10. Most of all, above all else, just be cool. I don't even know how to put this into some sort of measurement, but you just have to be cool. You have to be the most awesome guy in the room, but you also have to be so awesome, you don't even notice it. You have to make the woman feel like she is the luckiest person in the world that you are paying attention to her, but you also can't make her feel like you feel like you are doing her a favor by doing so. I cannot accurately put into words the way it feels when the cute girl you met at the bar, or work, or church, or wherever, smiles at you in that one way that makes you realize that that smile is for you and no one else. When you think about it, it is actually a small miracle, that somehow the two of you, out of the billions of people on the planet, found each other, and actually found each other interesting enough to be together.

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13. Board Game: Sex! [Average Rating:4.78 Unranked]
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OK - I mentioned that this list was PG-13, so if you are easily offended, skip this one. I sincerely doubt many of you will since I am by no means being graphic in any way, I just don't want to hear about me being a pervert for any of the stuff that I am going to tell you here. These are generic thoughts and ideas I have about being a sexually active guy who has been around the block a few times and went into a lot of the dirty, scummy alleyways as well. I have also taken the liberty of going "inviso-text" style.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
1. Protect yourself, and yes I am talking about condoms. Obviously, I am not the poster boy for this one since I just got married to the mother of my 3 year old daughter. Rilyn came along because of a drunken evening after work at my apartment on a cold February evening. I wouldn't change what happened ever, because my daughter is the single coolest thing I have ever done in this world and she brought Becca and I even closer, but we beat the odds on this one.

Never mind the whole unplanned pregnancy thing. Every time you get in bed with someone, you don't know where they have been. While I have dodged the STD bullet my entire life, I have friends that have not, and they were not very happy about their situations. If you want gross stories to "scare you straight", feel free to GM me and I will share them with you, but suffice it to say you don't want to end up like them.

2. OK, so now the standard public warning is out there, now I can share a couple of things about the act itself. I will be completely honest with you, I have a lot of anxieties about sex, especially when you are getting all intimate with the girl the first time ever. It's an amazing moment when someone you have known for years/months/weeks/days/hours starts getting naked around you for the first time ever and expects you to follow suit. It's a little imposing really. Take comfort in the fact that your partner is probably feeling the same way, and also, you have obviously charmed the person in question well enough to get her clothes off, you are going to have to do something really awful to screw things up now.

The only advice I can really give you while staying in the PG-13 world is just relax and go with the flow. If you are doing something she likes, she will probably tell you, if not, she will probably tell you as well. The first time you are throwing each other around the bedroom is more of an exploratory mission anyway. Ultimately. most women and men are compatible sexually on the most basic of levels, so just go with the basic routines on this first foray. If she gives you the go ahead, feel free to break out some of your more expert moves, but the goal here is very simple, just make sure both of you have a good time with an emphasis on her having the good time. Keeping her comfortable while making sure she feels attractive and sexy will get you an invite back, and that is rarely a bad thing.

3. Now then, the first couple of months that you are with someone are usually filled with a lot of crazy sex. You get to figure out exactly what each other are into and this is where your long lasting intimate bonds will either be created or allowed to fizzle out. While the old tired statement of "sex is like pizza, even when its bad, its still good" is somewhat true, I would rather be able to come home to a piping hot supreme pizza with extra mushrooms and peppers every night than eat a Totino's cheese pizza.

I don't know why certain people like certain things when it comes their bedroom antics. I suppose it has something to do with their genetics, and the way they were raised, and perhaps some early experiences that formed their sexual tastes. I do know that two consenting adults should be allowed to do whatever they want to each other as long as it doesn't involve permanently harming one another. Other than that, go to town on each other.

The key, of course, is communication, communication, communication. Tell your partner what you like and ask them what they like. Do so in a manner where no one can feel ashamed or bashful. Is it any wonder that most couples discuss sex when they just got done having it?

At some point, things will die down and your activity will decrease as well. If you are anything like me you will fall into a pattern of steady sexual activity, with peeks and valleys as your life changes. Hopefully, however, you will have formed a basis of a healthy intimate relationship with those first couple months of frenetic activity, one that you can base the following experiences upon.

Simply put - have fun, treat her with respect, and protect yourself.
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14. Board Game: Perfect Wedding [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
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So after all I went through, what do I have to show for it? How about being the luckiest guy in the world.



Maybe you can use something from this list to help you out - maybe you can't, but I somehow managed to pull off the win of the century, I am pretty sure you can too.
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