Archive for October, 2010


The Fork

Friday, October 8th, 2010

I was talking to a single friend of mine who brought up the fork in the road that so many singles hit. Her fork went like this:

You have two choices when you're single. Choose the path of "more." (Image by Amy Spencer)

“I haven’t been able to find what I want in love, so I guess I’m wanting too much.”

“The road you should take isn’t the one in which you want less,” I said. “The road you should take is the one in which you want more.”

More?” she said. “But I haven’t gotten any of it yet, so why would I ask for more?”

What I told her is what I’ll tell you: If you take the road in which you ask for “less” in love, you’ll be less excited about getting it, which makes you more negative and less hopeful in life—less of yourself. The less you are, the less you get.

But if, on the other hand, you start upping your wants, you start getting excited about getting it all, which makes you more positive and hopeful in life—more of yourself. And the more you are, the more you get!

Dating optimism is about using your energy for the best and creating a buzz inside of you that radiates out to all the people you meet, drawing in the most positive things around you. The stronger your buzz, the more you’ll be led in the right directions: You’ll want to pop into the smoothie shop on the way to work, and you’ll want to get together with that new friend for a glass of wine, you’ll want to hit that lecture you got a mailer for at work. The greater your buzz, the more you’ll feel inspired and hopeful, and the more you’ll choose the experiences that will lead you toward your healthy relationship.

So. If you ask for less than you want in love, how big will your buzz be? Not very. But if you ask for more in love, you can build off your excitement and bring you all you want. Choose the path of more: Ask for a partner who listens, likes you, makes you laugh, and thinks you’re brilliant and sexy at the same time. With buzz like that, you’ll be heading closer to love, not further away.

You might also like:
10 Reasons Not to Settle In Love

Big love,

“I met an attractive and intelligent woman and we seemed to be hitting it off. Then I commented that she had a ‘really nice hourglass figure’ and she told me I was being inappropriate and–WHAP!–she slapped me! Should I send her an apology note?” —K.

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Hi K.,

Well that’s an odd exchange for sure! In short, I guess I’d say it can’t hurt to email her to apologize, but you shouldn’t expect her to write back with a chipper reply.

I can understand her finding the “hourglass figure” compliment not 100% flattering, but if you were truly complimenting her, I’m surprised it turned out that way. I’m guessing it was a “you had to be there” moment in which perhaps your tone wasn’t coming across the way you meant it. Or, perhaps she had insecurity issues about her figure to start with that led the conversation to go so haywire. I mean…a slap?! That’s very strange. So I’m guessing she thought you were making fun of her or messing with her in some way. That’s what a slap would be for: if she was sensing disrespect. In your version of the story, I don’t feel that you were disrespecting her, but her version might be different. These “He Said She Said” stories are tough!

So, that all said, if it makes you feel better to email her and apologize for inadvertently hurting her feelings, I think you should go ahead and do it. It sounds like one of those things that might eat at you if you don’t. But expect that she might ignore it or even give you another “verbal” slap. Who knows, it could turn out great, but just don’t expect it to. So I’d keep it short and sweet if you send it. Do it for yourself and not for what you expect from her in return.

And I guess this one goes down in your books as a reminder that when you compliment a woman next time, you keep it entirely, completely, utterly positive!


“Half a Life”: How To Get Past Your Painful, Terrible Love Scars

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Most often, I write about peppy things. I encourage you to focus on the bloom not the thorn, the sun not the clouds, the healing not the injury. But last night, I was reminded it’s also important to address those injuries sometimes, because we all have scars in varying shapes and sizes. Especially in love.

The new novel by Darin Strauss (McSweeney's Books). It's up to us to find hope through the pain.

This all came to mind last night during an event at Skylight Books in L.A. where my friend Darin Strauss read from his new book Half a Life.

I’ve known Darin for over twenty years (we lived just a few miles from each other growing up) and if you don’t know his work yet, you’d be wise to check it out. He’s published some very successful novels (Chang & Eng,The Real McCoy, More Than It Hurts You) and this, his first memoir, is getting rave reviews. (He read from the book on This American Life, GQ magazine excerpted it, and here’s the review from The New York Times.) In a word, it’s incredible.

Half a Life is the true story of a painful incident in Darin’s teenage life when his car hit a girl on her bike and killed her. It wasn’t his fault, but he spent the next half of his life dealing with the guilt and judging his life through the glasses of the tragedy. In the book, Darin writes:

“The accident taught me this. Things don’t go away. They become you. There is no end, as T.S. Eliot somewhere says, but addition: the trailing consequence of further days and hours. No freedom from the past, or from the future. But we keep making our way, as we have to.”

It makes me think of all the hurts that happen to us in love and relationships that we also have to keep making our way with—for weeks, months or decades. Maybe it’s a partner who cheated or lied and you wonder what you did wrong to deserve it. Maybe it’s a love that unraveled over time and you keep replaying what you could have done differently to stop it. Maybe it’s emotional or physical abuse that scars your heart like a gash can scar a face for good. Or maybe it’s a death or a loss that makes you question if it’s worth loving at all if things hurt this much when it ends.

As Darin’s book reminds us, the painful, terrible scars on our bodies and in our hearts will always be there. But it’s up to us to learn how to live without blaming the people or things that have hurt us, and without blaming ourselves for how long it’s taken to get over it. Life is not about denying the scars from our past, but about weaving them into our present lives and making what good we can of it.

Bad things happen to good people all the time. It’s not fair. But if you can learn to see it from the right angle, those injuries, over time, can become vehicles for something greater for you. Let your scars make you stronger, wiser and more empathetic. Let them deepen who you are as a human, not shield you from wanting to feel things in your future. And let them build you a better life not confine you to a ruined one. We’re stronger than we think, and as our scars heal, so should we.

If you like Half a LifeDarin is blogging about his book tour on—and today he gives a shout-out to Meeting Your Half-Orange and how optimism can help.

You might also like:

Wise Words from an Undone She

Big love,

WIN a FREE copy of Meeting Your Half-Orange!

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Happy Friday, people.

If you’re a single parent, I contributed to a new story that’s chock full of my dating advice for you. Even if you’re not a parent, there’s some insight here about where to meet the right partner and just how honest you should be on your online profile (it’s all about where you focus the lens as you tell the truth). I think it’s pretty good stuff, but check it out and see what you think.

Just click on Amy’s Dating Tips for Single Parents or click the image of the story below to be directed there.

Plus, if you don’t yet have a copy of my book, or you really want another to give to a good friend who could use a dose of the orange buzz, check out this fun Book Giveaway. Just share your worst or funniest dating disaster and you’ll be entered to win.

And while you’re at it, enjoy the dating success story of single mom writer Christine Coppa. But I warn you, her posts are addicting…

You might also like:

Live, people, live.

Big love,

“I’ve recently met a guy who’s unlike anyone I’ve ever met He’s kind, funny, smart, respectful, handsome and goal-oriented. I don’t want to ruin a possible long-term relationship with him by having sex too soon. But how long do I wait?” —T.

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Hi T.,

Thanks for writing. What a great question! And I’ve got a short answer for it: There is no time line. I think waiting is a great way to separate this relationship from others by making it clear you take it seriously and want to develop a personal relationship before a sexual one. As far as when to call it, I think it will truly be something that you will know when you get there. The same way that you were able to realize that this guy made waiting worth it, you will get to a point where you realize you’ve waited long enough.

The reason that I can’t give you a specific answer is that if you force yourself to stick to a “this-many-days” or “this-many-weeks” it could feel false by the time you reach your mark, because every relationship develops differently. So by tuning into your gut and how you feel about your personal relationship, I think you’ll better be able to tell you’re ready. They say about love “When you know, you know.” I think the same will happen here.