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Still Hot, Why Not?

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WHO SUCCEEDS AT LOVE?

There are many ways to succeed at love.  One person’s success can be another person’s “You’re dating that loser?!?”

It’s safe to say, however, that if A. you never have sex and B. you never date and C. the last time someone touched you sexually, you woke up and realized it was you and D. you resent your happily coupled friends and E. you weep watching Say Yes to the Dress, you are not the Love A-Team.

I confess: I am in this group.  I’m not alone.  Indeed, one of the perks of writing this column is that I get to read the comments of other losers.  Seems there is a veritable universe of poor souls forever scouring the world for that one, or even one-half, relationship.  Some of us have been doing this so long, and in so many ways, that we might be called Love Zombies: arms outstretched, legs stiff from walking the earth (and arthritis), lips chapped from calling “You? Who?”

And so, for the past month, I’ve been conducting an informal survey to see who does succeed at love.

First, let us eliminate the gorgeous, sexy, firm people we know and yes, there are still some who linger thusly into their fifties, sixties and seventies. To them I say: Bug off.  No, to them I say: You do not count.  These gorgeous, sexy people—like my amazing friend Donna, who is 56 and tall, blonde, thin, leggy, charming, witty and wealthy—cannot be said to succeed or not succeed at love because their options are always different from the rest of us, that is, they have some.

No, in order to establish who succeeds at love and who doesn’t, we have to look at average Joes and Josephines, or, in the Jewish nomenclature, Simons and Simonellas, and from this true sampling we may derive a few conclusions, and just in case you’re still awake, here they are:

  • People succeed at love who do not need love too much.  From my own experience, when I am desperately seeking Simon, I am giving off a kind of vibe that says, “Please, Please, whatever, it’s cool, who, me? Have standards?  Love you, love you, do you like me?  Can’t get enough of your, so you can’t get it up, that’s fine, sure I’ll pay, here take my metrocard…” That vibe.

 

  • People succeed at love who are relatively happy with relative imperfection.  This is a very profound topic that is covered in seventeen places (none of them adjacent, of course) in the Talmud.  This ability to be relatively happy with relative imperfection is not the same as being relatively unhappy with relative perfection, which is what I’m good at.

 

  • People succeed at love who do not equate love with something that is not love.  For example, there are those who equate love with BMWs and those who equate love with sexual highs and those who equate love with cruises and now I’ll stop talking about Donna, and say: Love is a soul-to-soul connection, which is why nobody can do it.

Write me with your questions about succeeding at love because, as you can see, I’m an expert.

Diana Amsterdam is a published and produced playwright, screenwriter, scribe and branding guru; and former ghost writer for the Emily Post Institute. She is the mother of two brilliant sons and five exceptional grandchildren.
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12 Comments »

  • sadie foster says:

    i, at the age of 81 am very active and in good health. its true its difficult to find a mate in that age group to partner with that mirrors me. i have dated a few and the down side is they dont hear well, cant drive at night, need to go home to get their pills and one needed to hold onto me only cause he would lose his balance. (this is thru the club i paid for to meet someone) however, younger, how much younger. when a 69 year old writes me all i can visualize is me needing to burp him on my shoulder. my burping days are over. yet i dont give up hope. there must be someone out there for me. that is if it is bashert. thanks or listening soorah

  • @Harry: I love the profundity, wisdom and clarity, not to mention truth, of your comment.

  • Dave says:

    Diana is right about making the guy wait. Make him prove his commitment to stick around, to *give* in the relationship, not just take (sex). But be prepared to give back to him in a relationship… time, attention, affection (without sex). It can’t be all about you, only about you, only when you want those things.

    If you want only sex, that’s your business, but all bets are off. Just be prepared for the oxytocin bonding effect, should it occur, ’cause it might hurt when he runs away after he’s gotten what he’s wanted in the “relationship”

  • harry says:

    Diana Amsterdam is beautiful.

  • Mary says:

    Diana is right about talking about a woman trying to protect herself. Over the years I have dismissed the advice of “play hard to get” because I did not want to play games. I always had the attitude: “Hey, I like you, you like me, let’s have a relationship and have sex”. This did not work because it made it too easy for the guy, and especially the wrong guys, to say “Sure!” I mean, really, what normal male is not going to say yes to sex with a reasonably attractive woman? What the heck was I thinking! The best advice I was ever given and which I don’t hear often enough was from two separate people (one married woman friend and one married man friend): She said: “He HAS to want it (the relationship) more than you do for it to work”. He said: “Mary, you have to make yourself expensive real estate”. In other words, if you hold back and make yourself less available, it is easier to see the men who are truly interested in you (the person) because they are pushing themselves to the front of the line in order to place the order which will gain them entree into your world! The challenge then becomes holding back and keeping your neediness in check.

  • @Karen — I use the word “loser” with a big dose of salt. Please read between the lines, and catch the irony!
    @Essie–Thank you!
    @Liv–Double-thank you, Liv!!!
    @Jodee–I do not pretend to be an expert at any of this, but I am a constant and astute observer who has shared information with a big group of girlfriends, for many years. I would give a few tips for keeping the guy interested: Stay in reality, don’t bring in your fantasies or dreams about what might happen. Try to “lean back” rather than flinging yourself forward at him. He suggests a dinner party with his best friends and their wives, on the third date. YOU be the one to say no, it’s too soon for that. He uses the word “girlfriend” to describe you, and you’ve only been dating a month. YOU be the one to say Wo, I’m not sure if we’re at that point yet. And of course, when it comes to sex: If you are at all unsure about when you’ll see him again, what you mean to him, or whether he is moving toward what you want, no sex. No sex!!! Unless you can handle it without emotional involvement, no sex. Did I say that enough times? There is, I’ve learned, something to be said for the traditional Jewish (and other religions) prohibition against sex outside marriage. This does protect the woman. I’m not saying to wait until you’re married but do wait until you know this man is not going to disappear. Diana P.S. Yes, it’s I. My hair is shorter and blonde, but still, I’m Still Hot, Why Not?

  • Karen says:

    Sometimes love happens, and when it does we need to recognize it for the miracle it is. I don’t think it will come around the second time if I let the word “loser” enter my vocabulary, let alone my thoughts. We need to be OK with who we are and yes, that’s the hard part.

  • Essie says:

    Yes, being lucky. Being in the right place at the right moment and NOT looking for love. Considering the affair as just a fling that could not possibly be anything more and enjoying it fully on that level. Having very low expectations sure can minimize dissapointments. I thought it would be a fun summer and it’s over 30 years. And it still is a fun summer.
    Loved your column!

  • Liv says:

    I think you nailed it! There’s probably more stuff to say, but yours is a great start. I notice that the success factors you list all originate within the self:
    1. People succeed at love who do not need love too much.
    2. People succeed at love who are relatively happy with relative imperfection.
    3. People succeed at love who do not equate love with something that is not love.
    These remind me of the concept afoot that there is an “optimism gene” that we are either born with or not born with. I wonder what combination of nature and nurture (and maybe even emotional maturity) disposes us toward the success factors for love that you list.

  • Jodee says:

    So, what are some good tips to give off the right vibes and be successful? I seem to get off to a good start, then everything falls apart.

  • Patricia says:

    Truthfully, I don’t think that I have any great secret or special abilities as to why I’ve found love…I think that mostly I just got lucky.
    In saying that, though, I should mention that several years of psychotherapy really actually did help in terms or recognizing and shifting some of those ingrained patterns such as you mention above Diana, like that “needing too much” vibe. Many of those needs are old, frozen unmet needs of childhood and couldn’t possibly be met by a real, living human anyway. Grieving those losses of childhood did free me from the project of “trying to get people who can’t love me to love me”, and this was really important. That, along with recognizing the value of what I was bringing to the party, whether rejected by others or not, have certainly changed my perspective about life and love and the limits to our control over it.
    Was that the thing that made me available to find love with a perfectly imperfect other? I don’t know, maybe not, but it did make the road along the way so very much better.

  • Chelsea H says:

    Perhaps NOT thinking of yourself as a loser and being whole within yourself leads to the ability to give and receive love. At least, that has been my happy experience.

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