The Power of Bacon and Dolly

I have been remiss in my blogging.  I have many good excuses:  I have been fighting a bad cold, trying to finalize my lease of an apartment that took me an epic 5 months to find, and as I have mentioned before, I have commitment issues.  What do you expect, people?! In my life, procrastination can wage a wily campaign. It’s a battle, and often it wins. Also, there has been little to report. I am sorry to say that my victorian-styled personal ad has not as yet secured me a suitable suitor. That’s not to say there hasn’t been a plethora of gentleman showing interest in my shapely ankles and love of bacon.  Oh, indeed there has! Most recently, one gentleman who emailed me wrote,”u needed a little zep in your life”.  I am not even sure what that means. Another simply wrote, “bacon, bacon,  bacon….BACON!”

Surprisingly my Victorian ad, which says really nothing about me as person, and has only the mysterious image of me from this blog, where my face is completely obscured, has in fact generated considerably more attention than my “real” personal ad that outlines my many interests and showcases images of me in various daily life scenarios.

At the very least it has been an interesting social experiment in what men on dating websites really find interesting. Clearly a little mystery goes a long way. But who knew what magic could come from the mere mention of bacon? I would have to say, about 95% of those men who have messaged me through my Victorian-styled personal ad have commented (at times salaciously!) on my mention of bacon in my ad. Somehow, I must try to work bacon and a little mystery into my “real” personal ad and see if this improves traffic to my profile.

Traffic or not though, I am not convinced, despite my many, many years of commitment to the on-line dating strategy, that this is how I will actually meet my Mr. Darcy. Recently I came across a bus stop posting that I thought might prove more promising.   It was an invitation to a Jane Austen era inspired dance by an organization called  Jane Austen Dancing.  I was amazed that such a thing exists, but even more amazing was that the event was sold out! They have a Christmas ball coming up however, and I just may see if I can cajole some friends into going with me. It could be fun or weird and painful, but undoubtedly there will be SEVERAL Mr. Darcies to choose from there!

Still there is also no harm in keeping my two internet ads up and seeing what happens.  In fact, just the other day, I emailed someone from my Victorian-styled ad who is “looking for someone who still believes in chivalry”. Well, Stookie, likes to have doors opened for her! Sure, she may trip across the threshold,  red-faced and uttering some non-sensical thanks that sounds more like an apology, but she loves it just the same. So who knows. It’s worth a shot, right?

I know Dolly Parton would agree. She once said: “You’ll never do a whole lot unless you’re brave enough to try.”   Beside the likes of Amelia Earhart and Lady Gaga, I think I would be remiss not to add the name of Miss Dolly Parton, to my growing list of interesting people. Sure lots of people make fun of her, but I’ve always really loved Dolly Parton.  She has an unwavering sense of purpose  and commitment to that purpose that’s hard not to admire. She recorded her first song at the age of 13.  She has since composed over 3,000 songs, and remains one of the best selling artists of all time. She’s approaching her 50th wedding anniversary to her husband Carl, who she met at the Wishy Washy laundromat the first day she arrived in Nashville to pursue her music career at the age of 18. So I think there are some things I could learn from Dolly about commitment and purpose and certainly, about being interesting! In an effort to learn what I can, I have started reading her autobiography .

In case you’re skeptical , or have forgotten just how great Dolly Parton can be, I have a little exercise for you.  I want you to rate how you are feeling right now on a scale of 1 to 10 and then I  challenge you to watch this video of  one of her most famous duets (and now a Karaoke favourite!)  ALL THE WAY THROUGH, and rate yourself again on that scale after you’ve watched it.  I will be amazed if you don’t feel a little cheered after.  That’s the power of Dolly! I’d like to hear how you found this little exercise!

In terms of the re-education exercise of posting a personal ad in the Victorian style, I think its important to note that I have certainly learned a good deal.  Let’s review:

(1) Mystery and bacon can take you far.

(2) It’s useful to move out of your comfort zone sometimes and connect with yourself in a new way, like when you decide to wear the dress that’s been at the back of your closet for years. Tapping into myself in the Victorian way allowed me to open up to the possibility of people I otherwise might not have approached or considered as a match….and I also learned, that probably that’s for a good reason!

And so, while I am not abandoning my internet dating efforts, I think it is now time for me to turn my hand to something new….What will it be?? Stay tuned.  Once I have moved into my new apartment (this weekend – Yay!), I will refocus my re-education efforts, bringing renewed energy to whatever new learning lies ahead for me!

Om My Darling, Om My Darling…

Okay at this point you must be wondering, “So, did Stookie do it? Did she complete the 30 days of yoga, or what?” Let me put you out of your misery: No, I did not.

I know, it’s disappointing, but what can I say? I was chataranga-ing along with it pretty well, actually. For the first two weeks, I didn’t miss a day and I was feeling stronger and more connected to my body. One of the most satisfying changes I noted was that, in and out of yoga class, I was more specific in all my physical movements, bringing a certain, dare I say, elegance to my actions (meaning fewer coffee and food spills).

During the third week of the yoga challenge, I was vacationing in Prince Edward Island. Even there, without a gym or internet connection, I still managed a daily yoga practice up until the last three days of my trip, when I was too relaxed even for yoga. Sadly, when I returned home, between searching for a place to live (I currently reside temporarily in my brother’s basement – pathetic at my age), and preparing for a canoe trip the following weekend, and then going on said canoe trip, I completely fell of the yoga wagon….well not completely, I suppose. I managed to go twice during the last week of the challenge.

Despite not completing the yoga challenge, I still had some very valuable insights and learned a lot about myself:

(1) I have a great capacity to withhold – see previous blog re yoga and farting.

(2) I do not like to be vulnerable – not even a little bit. While others in the class happily walk their legs up the wall and stand on their heads or flip themselves backwards into “The Wheel” with their heads dangling precariously mid-air and upside down between their arms, I choose “Child’s Pose” (it’s like the fetal position only you are on your stomach, curled up into the earth).

(3) I have commitment issues – That is not to say I don’t commit. I love to commit! I commit all the time. There is nothing I want more than to be that person with a hungry man’s platter full of commitments. It’s more that I commit poorly. Often it’s that I commit to activities and people with a low return rate. Like when I started up a small business with a friend sewing bags, when I don’t like sewing. There is no satisfaction with this kind of commitment, and success is highly unlikely. But, did I see that? No. See, that is committing poorly. Or, like the weirdly high number of times in my life, that I have dated a man who takes a trip away somewhere, and is then never heard from again (Twice in this past year alone!). Once is just sad and odd, but twice and it is definitely an issue of committing poorly. Alternatively, I might commit to something I love and that has a great return rate, like a 30-day yoga challenge, but at the wrong time. That was definitely the case here. Committing to a 30-day yoga challenge when you are essentially homeless, and out of the province for, like, half of the time is also committing poorly.

Undoubtedly, part of what makes interesting people so appealing is the level of commitment they bring to whatever it is they do as well as their ability to take risks, and their openness (even to farts). Take for example, Amelia Earhart, a woman famously interesting, for flying a plane.

Amelia Earhart came from a family that struggled with finances, alcoholism and eventually family breakdown, but despite this, or perhaps because of it, she had a drive toward adventure and independence that was exceptional among women of her era. She found her outlet in flying planes and she became the 16th woman in the world awarded with a pilot’s licence. While this is no small accomplishment at a time when flight was still quite dangerous, she was certainly not the only woman flying planes at that time, so something else transformed this female pilot into an icon and household name.

Whatever it was that would later make Amelia Earhart extraordinary and notable must have been cast very early in her life, if not right from her birth. One of her childhood friends said this about Amelia: ” We always waited for her to decide what we were going to do….All I knew was that Amelia was more fun to play with than anyone else – I admired her ability, stood in awe of her information and intelligence, adored her imagination, and loved her for herself – and it held true always.” (East of Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart by Susan Butler)

Her unwavering, fearless commitment to push the boundaries of flight would lead her to break many distance and altitude records and to eventually becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic in 1928. Earhart’s life ended tragically and mysteriously when, in 1937, she, Fred Noonan her co-pilot, and her plane all disappeared during an attempt at being the first to circumnavigate the globe along the equator. Still to this day though, she and the life she led continue to fascinate and excite us.

Earhart and "old Bessie" Vega 5b c. ...

Earhart and “old Bessie” Vega 5b c. 1935 (original source: http://e-archives.lib.purdue.edu) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Certainly, a half-completed 30-day yoga challenge really doesn’t hold a candle, does it? As my cousin pointed out, there isn’t anything particularly interesting about doing yoga for thirty days (ouch!). I would need to up the commitment level quite significantly in order for it to really be remarkable. Like, I could train as a yoga instructor, and then decide to take my yoga on a road trip around the world, on the back of Ewan MacGregor‘s motorcycle (why not), with the mission to bring yoga to the politicians of every country we visit and thereby bring a calming “om” to international relationships throughout the world. That would definitely be interesting. Alternatively, perhaps I could combine my love of yoga and my love of the ukulele in one, and travel the world singing yoga inspired songs. A lot would need to happen before either of these two plans could be hatched though, and I do have commitment issues.

So perhaps the yoga challenge was a bit of a failure, or as a colleague of mine pointed out, “only a half failure”. Still, I got a lot out of it personally (a deep love of yoga that I will continue to nurture on an un-daily basis), and I developed a keener sense of what makes people interesting.

Another co-worker gave me some particularly curious feedback. He said that not completing the yoga challenge made me “more human”. This is something you hear a lot, and beyond puzzling over what he must have thought of me before the challenge, it also made me wonder: Does this mean that somehow failure to achieve our goals is more human than succeeding at them? Are those interesting people who succeed at what they do less human? Are they unhuman? And what does it even mean to be human? And how do those like Amelia Earhart, who are interesting, at least in part because of their failures, fit into that equation? Is she interesting because what she did made her more human? What is it we are striving for anyway?  This is something for all of us to ponder and discuss.

Finally, Amelia Earhart once said, “Never do things others can do and will do, if there are things others cannot do or will not do.” With those words as inspiration, I take on my next exercise in becoming a more interesting/better woman and human being (whatever that means):

Hmm… Looking at the list of readers’ suggestions, the only one that would fit with Amelia Earhart’s advice would be “to place a personal ad in the style of a 19th century personal ad and see what happens!” This is unfortunate, but what the hell, it is not as if placing ads in 21st century speak is working for me. I will see what happens, and let you know. First, though, I will need to research and see what 19th century personal ad would have looked like: Next stop, the Metro Reference Library!

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