The Wall Street Journal has published a list of the top 50 cities for singles looking for love. Facebook researchers compiled the data using their database of realtime relationship status updates for half of all Americans. Colorado Springs is the city with the highest rate of committed relationships per capita. Why is that?
Recently we discussed Brené Brown’s research showing that shame causes profound feelings of unworthiness in people. That kind of deep-rooted insecurity makes healthy relationships difficult if not impossible. She cites vulnerabilty as the antidote to shame. Her TED talk on vulnerability is the fourth most viewed TED talk ever, with 13.7 million views and counting. It’s an excellent introduction to her work.
What is vulnerability?
Brown defines vulnerability as:
- emotional exposure
“Vulnerability is not weakness. It is not good or bad. It is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. If vulnerability is weakness, then feeling must be weakness.”
Of course feeling is not weakness – the ability to connect emotionally is the foundation of all human relationships.
One of my goals for the year is to get rid of extraneous things. Over the years, I’ve accumulated so much stuff that I find myself paralyzed by choice. A good example is my collection of cookbooks:
Notice how I’ve had to start sliding books in horizontally. And this doesn’t even include the thousands of recipes I have stored online! I’ve been trying to go through those I rarely reference. The books that don’t merit shelf space are candidates for tossing, but I’m culling them first for recipes I like.
Today while eating leftover pasta with lentils and sausage for lunch, I brought out Applehood and Motherpie, a cookbook I received as a gift before my wedding. It was published by the Junior League of Rochester, NY in 1981. This is the kind of cookbook filled with delicious but unhealthy recipes. For example, all of the dips are half mayo, half sour cream. I doubt there’s much I’ll want to tear out for keeping, but the tidbits in the margins are a revelation.
I just found this quote under a recipe for “Party Sandwiches”:
“One league husband gamely took over testing recipes when his wife broke her arm. He had never cooked before, so Nancy carefully supervised his every move. The results, though excellent, required such effort and concentration on Bill’s part that he has new respect for her homemaking abilities.”
It’s hard to believe that was only 30 years ago! We’ve come a long way, baby! So have men – Nancy couldn’t even trust Bill to combine softened cream cheese, butter and parsley, and to spread it on white bread with crusts removed for those festive party sandwiches. (Meh.)
Mr. HUS is the go-to person for soups, stews and everything grilled at our house, and he’s as likely to approach that overstuffed bookcase as I am.
Sorting through old cookbooks should be a fascinating sociological research project. Why anyone would want to return to that era is a puzzle.
A 75-year longitudinal study suggests that a man’s ability to thrive in life depends on the warmth of his relationships. The most important of those relationships occur in childhood. Look for the boy, and you’ll learn a lot about the man.
The Harvard Grant Study has followed the same 237 men at regular intervals since they were Harvard College sophomores in 1939. It’s a remarkable and unique piece of research that aimed to determine what is necessary for male health and well-being. George Valliant, who has run it since the 1970s, sums up its results in five words:
“The seventy-five years and twenty million dollars expended on the Grant Study points to a straightforward five-word conclusion:
Happiness is love. Full stop.”
Happiness is love, and love only comes from relationships. Happiness is warm relationships. The lack of warm relationships in childhood makes the achievement of well-being a lifelong struggle. Learning about a man’s attitudes will tell you whether he has the potential for a thriving relationship.
After I ended a recent post by saying, “When it comes to Game, men need to go Inner or go home,” a male reader emailed that he doesn’t even know what Inner Game is, and feels much more comfortable with a list of specific steps he can take and lines he can use to attract women. He described wanting a sort of crib sheet or recipe – do steps 1 through 10, and presto, you’ve got a sex souffle.
The Fake It Till You Make It strategy he embraces, i.e. Outer Game, has three significant problems associated with it, especially if his goal is a relationship:
1. Without doing the hard work to improve one’s social persona without regard to women, which is the only potential source of real self-confidence, any “improvement” in attracting women will be built on a house of cards. In other words, that souffle is going to fall right away, or worse, never rise in the first place.
This is why women frequently “flake” on guys relying heavily on Game to sustain attraction.