Saturday, April 10, 2021

"Notes on a Scandal" - a Mad Melodrama, and a Must-See

When I first saw the movie "Notes on a Scandal," I was stunned at the story itself. This is one of the most entertaining and original films you could ever see (perhaps even particularly so for women) with two of the greatest actresses of our time together - how could any film-watcher go far wrong here? 

"Notes on a Scandal" is based on the novel by ZoĆ« Heller. Heller's book was inspired by the story of Mary Kay LeTourneau, but this story goes much further with the ultimate "What-Ifs."

(Please note: much of the story is told in this article. You're better off just seeing the film first knowing nothing in advance.)

Cate Blanchett plays Sheba, the woman who seemingly has everything. Blessed with great beauty, she met and married her own college professor at a young age, and they've had a happy marriage and a wonderful life and home with two great children they adore. 

Sheba is depressed. Life, even with all its blessings, has not been what she hoped. Something is wrong. Even Sheba's own mother has no understanding of her, and marginalizes and dismisses her. Sheba's depression and confusion get totally out of control when she takes a new job as a high school art teacher, and quickly loses all sense of judgment when a teenage boy gives her some teenage-boy attention.

Judi Dench plays Barbara, a public school teacher close to retirement, who is "single living alone with her cat." Barbara makes sense of her life through her utter disdain and contempt for every human being in her world. 

Barbara makes no secret of her dismal opinions, and expresses them in her caustic narrative and conversations that are absolutely appalling and deathly hilarious at the same time. (Well, not all of her observations are hilarious - far from it. What's more, Barbara is writing down every last word in a series of journals that date back years.)

Barbara's hardened heart soon turns to putty when she herself falls for the new teacher, Sheba. Barbara's obsessive crush leads her to befriend Sheba, who, in penance for the sin of being nice to Barbara, soon falls into Barbara's death-trap. 

Little does Sheba realize that she is no match for the hold Barbara will manage to have over her, one way or another.  In the novel's ending, this hold has no end in sight.

If you didn't know you were watching a mad melodrama, the relentless music by Philip Glass makes this crystal clear. 

It's easy to look at this story in a surface way, and it's not so far off the map of real life. Now you can't go a month without reading about yet another female school teacher who has a sexual and emotional relationship with a student. "He's 15 years old!!" says Sheba's husband in frantic disbelief when he learns what his wife has done and realizes that she's likely to be arrested very soon, shattering not just his life but his children's lives. Sheba reminds her husband that he was her much older teacher too, and they had a passionate affair. But that, he says, was different - she was 20, and legally an adult.

Bill Nighy is wonderful as Sheba's husband, and Michael Maloney is truly funny as the principal of the school who has to put up with Barbara's contempt for him, the other teachers, and of course, the students. He's beyond thrilled when he finally has a reason to force her to take "early retirement."

Perhaps you will ask yourself, which of these two fascinating characters are you more like? Or can you even see a bit of yourself in both of them, to some degree? I don't think too many women will draw that conclusion rapidly, but perhaps you will somehow find sympathy, not only for Sheba, but even for Barbara. Both actresses in this movie give performances which are utterly perfect.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Secret to Finding Love

Love is pure.

Love is pure.

Every moment of your day (and night), your heart is speaking to you.

Do your daily actions and thoughts line up with your love life - or the love life you dream of?

People like to think they're always right about everything; that they judge others correctly.

But if ever you find yourself judging someone harshly, instead of that being "right," it's more often than not a sign that you lack understanding or empathy for that person.

Example: A woman presents herself as being highly spiritual, loving, warm, living life to the fullest.

But that same woman gets triggered to raging ugliness when it comes to any mention of Trump. Then everything is "black and white" with no middle ground or reasoned discussion.

Another woman is a "certified life coach" hoping to charge huge fees and gain clients and recommendations.

That same woman screams at the hapless high school senior behind the counter at the pet store... when returning a collar she bought for her cat.

Those same two women want everyone to think they're wonderful; image is everything, blah blah, but their actions reveal, at best, a struggle they're not winning.

And now for the worst example... a 3rd woman engages in backstabbing and sabotage to undercut another woman she doesn't like.

She speaks ill of her "rival" subtly, and secretly hopes to see this woman fail.

She thinks of herself as very evolved, though! And frequently tells other people stories to demonstrate how evolved she is.

Do you think any of these 3 example women are truly happy right now?

Truth is, it wouldn't take too much to plunge them into despair.

Just one thing would have to go wrong to unravel their world in a hurry.

It really all boils down to one thing:

Do you feel love for others; do you respect others?

Not just the ones you like?

Not just the ones who are "successful" in the eyes of others?

Do you open your eyes in the morning with love in your heart toward everyone...?

Can you overcome what "triggers" you, for your own sake and the sake of everyone you encounter every day?

If so then you're well on your way to a life full of love and happiness...

A pure heart finds love.

A Heart-Wrenching Letter from a Young Husband Working on the RMS Titanic

Before cell phones, Facebook, and the like, there were hand-written letters.

Letters brought out the poet in people. Letters were lovely to receive in your mail, too.

Richard C. Geddes (Henry Aldrich and Son)
Just recently, a letter was discovered which made news. It was written by a young husband and father who worked aboard the RMS Titanic.

His last letter to his wife was posted just before the ship set sail on its doomed maiden voyage.

His name was Richard Geddes, and he wrote an affectionate letter to his wife Sally:

“My dearest Sal, We got away yesterday after a lot of trouble.

"As we were passing the New York and Oceanic the New York broke her ropes and very nearly ran into us, but we just happened to avoid a collision.

“I hope you are feeling good and not worrying. I am feeling pretty good.

"With fondest love and kisses to my dear wife and kiddies.

"Your affectionate husband Dick xxxxx”

(You don't hear that nickname for Richard as much these days, but back then there were a lot of Dicks. There are a lot of them now too, but in a completely different way, I dare say.)

This letter made news because no one knew before about the near-crash with another ship shortly after the Titanic set sail.

What struck me about this beautiful letter was the warmth, love, and affection in the words of this 31-year-old man.

People would commonly address others in letters as "My dearest.." and sign themselves "Your affectionate..." and much more.

But here's the truth:

Despite the fact that people don't write letters the way they used to....

Men still have this love and affection in their hearts.

Men still want to find the right woman to bestow all this love upon... not just for a short time, but for life.

Now how can this be when your man is acting distant?

When he's being distant, you must not lose heart.

You must not take this as a sign to lose your confidence!!

You must distance the distancer.

If he's pushing you away, then don't be around. Go off and live your life.

Be the woman he has to find.

Be elusive. Let him wonder what YOU'RE thinking.

Are you a mystery to him, or are you always an "open book"?

Which one intrigues him more?

I think you know the answer to that!

When you aren't always spilling out all your feelings to the point that it's TOO much for him to handle...

Then he can relax with you!

That's a key part of the Essence of Being Hard To Get.

Giving him more distance than he wants is KEY.

But this doesn't mean you don't come back to him when he makes a grand gesture in your favor!

Men love to prove their love... if only you let them!

Have a great day, and keep your Flirt on!

With love,
Mimi Tanner
Author of Hard To Get: The Timeless Art of Conquering His Heart

Monday, January 14, 2019

Why Wait for the Emotionally Unavailable Man? - UPDATED

Please note: I first wrote this post in 2019, and it's based on a much earlier article in my daily relationships newsletter.

But my views over time have totally changed. Welcome to a completely different way of looking at the concept of "The Emotionally Unavailable Man."

As a "veteran" in the relationship advice world, I've almost heard it all. I've certainly heard such terms as "emotionally unavailable" for at least a couple of decades. 

Maybe it's time to totally rethink this.  Okay, truth time: there's no "maybe" about it!

I've grown tired of hearing men being descibed like this over and over again. Here's why:

First of all, the term "emotionally unavailable" is almost always used by a woman to describe a man.

This generalization is so commonly used that one has to question it for this reason alone.

Emotionally unavailable is a woman's way of thinking. She uses this convenient phrase to describe numerous men with whom things didn't work out. Why didn't they work out? Because he was... "emotionally unavailable."

Women love this label. It immediately resonates with them. They discuss it with their friends and complain about their former love's shortcomings, and about why things didn't work and would never, ever work, and it was all HIS fault because he was emotionally unavailable! 

The problem with slapping a label on a person is that, like all labels, it's convenient, and questionable.

Instead of a label, a woman is FAR better served by taking an honest look (with a little help from me) at what really happened.

After a relationship fizzles out or breaks up, a woman is understandably hurt and disappointed. That's normal. The problem begins if her initial disappointment turns into something else: anger. Someone is to blame for what happened, and it wasn't her. 

She thinks for days about what went wrong, and then she lands on something she can relate to that seems to explain it all - emotional unavailability, said to be very common in men, and the reason for countless romances that ultimately went nowhere.

Most women go to extremes - either they blame him unfairly, or they blame themselves excessively and are far too hard on themselves. Neither direction is good.

So if you're willing to forego the dismissive label, then what really happened?  You may be looking for honest answers.  Here goes.
Let's see, what did you do wrong? The question is probably more like this: what didn't you do wrong??

Maybe it's not that bad. But maybe you also went against what you already knew, in many cases, because your usual perspective was unreachable for an extended period of time. I won't go into the many reasons for this here; that's for another time.

Oh, I know, it sounds like I'm putting all the blame on the woman, but that's what my work is for - to help women recognize any place where they.... screwed up royally. We all do this, it's incredibly hard not to. I'm not blaming women. I completely understand what happens here. Whatever happened on the man's end is not what I'm concerned about now.

To make sense of a relationship failure by saying it was all his fault - is just too easy. Most of the time, it was not his "fault," for reasons I go into detail about in my books and newsletters. 

Most of the time, things could have been better, and if they had been, then things would have possibly turned out differently - at least for a while longer. (Then they probably would have ended anyway - because most relationships do.)

On the other hand, when things are really right between you and a man, you can almost do no wrong, and when things do go wrong, it is mended - because the feelings genuinely are mutual and strong, and because the timing is right for both of you. 

This is why it is truly not worth spending a moment "beating yourself up" over your perceived failure. That's disrespectful to yourself - a big no-no in my book. 

Don't look for reasons to get angry. Anger is always a sign of a lack of understanding, and of letting your wounded ego take over for temporary comfort that only makes your next encounter - with anyone - that much worse.  

If your ego is a primary factor, then perhaps you have a way to go before you are ready to truly love someone. Love is not about making your ego feel good. Love is about understanding yourself and him; it's about being able to listen and hear what he is saying, and vice versa. It's about wanting to do all those things as your main motivating drive. 

But no matter what I say, there will still be women till the end of time who feel better by assigning the Emotionally Unavailable label to almost every guy with whom things didn't work out. This makes no sense, because if a woman keeps choosing men with the same "problem," then all the more so does she need to take a look within. 

Check back on these "emotionally unavailable" guys in a few years. What happened to them? Some of them did end up in long-term partnerships or marriage. How will these women explain this? 

They can't all be emotionally unavailable, now can they?  

Let's call a big halt on this tired phrase right now. And we can all think of many other similar knee-jerk phrases that women use to describe the men they were once so crazy about and now vent about to their female friends: words such as "player," "user," "narcissist," and even "sociopath." 

They can't all be sociopaths, either! 

What's even worse is that these negative judgments are held so close and so dear that entire websites are devoted to the cause. That's maybe understandable, but at the same time, these websites and groups and forums are not just attended by someone in the throes of a relationship problem who is looking for answers. They are frequented by people whose relationship breakup dates back many years.  Instead of moving on happily, there are people who would rather devote a great deal of time to helping the newbies evaluate their problem relationship and diagnose it with a label that wraps everything up in a neat little bow. After all, the more people you can convince to agree with you, the more you feel validated about your own experience.

Remember - most of the relationships you experience in your lifetime are NOT going to be permanent. They're not going to lead to an ultimate commitment. This is a natural part of the road of life. So why not keep this in mind and have some perspective that it's only the one RARE relationship (if any) that is going to go the distance? And even with that one success, there is no guarantee of permanent success, is there?

For the relationships that didn't work out, maybe it wasn't the right time. Maybe it wasn't a match. Maybe you both were spared from things continuing and getting worse and worse, then ending and both having to go back to square one. Who knows?

Who's to blame? How about no one? This is just how it works. This is how the numbers work. Not everyone is going to be "the one." That's why they call it - the ONE. 

A woman who is happy with herself and with life has better things to do than look for labels to explain her troubles. When she looks back at a relationship that didn't work out, she is able to look at the good things, rather than the not-so-good, because first of all, she chose someone who has good character before anything else, and she knows his character because she took her time to recognize what kind of person he is before proceeding further. 

So are some men "emotionally unavailable"? What's the answer? This phrase is very simplistic, have you noticed? But sure, some men could be considered emotionally unavailable as just one of their traits, but if so, then why not go deeper in determining the reason?  This is not to say that you should spend months dwelling on a relationship that didn't work. 

Some women could be called "emotionally unavailable" too. In particular, women who habitually choose men they later deem emotionally unavailable. 

They chose him because they fail to recognize their own similar hesitance to connect emotionally. And until they do, they will keep choosing similar men again and again. 

Let's dispense with the man-bashing labels once and for all, for all but the most extreme, and I do mean extreme, situations. 

I can't stand man-bashing. But in my private Facebook group; it's impossible to control the man-bashing there, even among very intelligent, successful women. 

Man-bashing and labels are so ingrained in the way women talk about men, and it really is time for it to stop. 

Here is the original article (if you can even call it an article):

I received this note, and it says it so well:

"Dear Mimi,

 "I am FINALLY starting to realize something: unless a guy is really into you, don't go there or stay there, period.

 "Every woman deserves a man who is wholeheartedly into her. Those guys who open up and shut down have issues that are never going to go away. This 'open up/shut down' B.S. is the way they are, and who needs that? It will probably NOT change!

"And do I even need to mention the problems of insecurity these men obviously have?

"There are great men out there who don't do that. I haven't been with too many men who do that, but the one or two who come to mind had ISSUES, and nothing I did or didn't do was going to make them see the light.

"It is a game they play whether they realize they are playing it or not.

"I have two men in my life right now, both of whom I always have GREAT conversations with! There is no constraint between us; we talk about anything.

 "These men don't 'disappear' after a deep conversation. They both tell me I am beautiful, that they can't wait to see me, etc., etc. in a sincere way. They are both attractive, intelligent, honest, funny, sweet, athletic, VERY spiritual, etc.

"If I can have that, why would I want one of those nut jobs with emotional issues?

 "It ain't worth it! Please, please, please DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME!!!! Never, ever, EVER try to rescue a guy! KNOW what you want and deserve and accept nothing less!

"A relationship only works well when both participants are emotionally healthy. If you have to lead them by the hand or help them along or play some kind of game with them, it will not work. -- C."

Thank you, C., you said it so well! I know there is no looking back for you. Almost every woman alive has had to deal with a man who was "off and on" emotionally, and as C. says - it's NOT worth it!

Of course, I must clarify that there is ONE game that I am more than okay with, and that is the Game of Love, which I'm here to help you WIN, and not only you, but him as well! (There are no losers in this "game"!)

Find out how to play the game of love in my program "Hard To Get: The Timeless Art of Conquering His Heart."

For women who aren't afraid to be a bit of a challenge!

The above was the original post, and as you can see, I bought into this label myself for a while, but then I had a real change of heart. Why is that? Because I am dedicated to understanding things from the man's point of view. This is far too rarely done. 

As my friend, relationship expert Bob Grant, says, "The big secret is: No one really listens to men." 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Was She Right To Apologize To Her Boyfriend?

Should you ever apologize to a man?

Will you lose your power if you do? Will you lose goddess points?

This is what I was asked by C., and she's given me permission to share her question:

"Mimi, I hope you're doing well and this note find you in high spirits, especially on Labor Day.

"As a follower of your emails, I would love your thoughts on how to be hard to get after my most recent experience.

"I've been dating a guy for a little more than a year. Everything has been great especially since I have always been hard to get from the beginning. He is the pursuer and I am the pursued.

"Unfortunately things took a turn for the worse when we started talking marriage, and I started pushing for a ring on my timeline.

"At first he seemed fine with the deadline, but then ultimately he decided it was too aggressive.

"He let me know repeatedly he still loves me and wants to marry, but on his timeline.

"I wasn't having it and kept on pushing so he disappeared for three weeks.

"No warning. This was a first for me.

"I decided to reach out to him with an apology, in addition to being open to a more reasonable timeline.

"He responded saying my message meant a lot to him and he loves me very much.

"The relationship feels like it's back on, but I'm not sure if I lost goddess / dream girl points as a result.

"Can I recover and how?"

My answer: You definitely did not lose goddess or dream girl points by apologizing in this case.

There are times when we need to apologize to a man. In doing so, we show our strength, not our weakness.

We're showing a man we do appreciate him... because usually - an apology comes because we haven't been so appreciative.

However - people who apologize too often - that is a sign of weakness. That is an excuse for something else that's going on.

Now let's back up a bit. The problem started when you started talking marriage and a ring. That's where things went wrong.

You can fix mistakes that are made with a guy - something I talk a lot about.

And you can even fix it when you "pushed" too hard for a commitment.