New Poll: What Kind of Posts on Clarissa’s Blog Do You Like the Most?

I did a similar kind of poll on this blog’s previous version, but I have many more readers now, and I’d love to know what kind of posts they like the most. I tried to list all the different topics I write about but fell free to add your own in the comments.

The poll is in the right-hand column of the blog.

Thank you for voting! You know how happy polls make me. 🙂 This post will be sticky for a while, so scroll down for new posts.

My Romantic Journey, Part V

Three weeks before I was scheduled to move to Montreal, my friend Mafalda sent me an email.

“I just did a Tarot card reading for you,” she wrote. “The cards say that today or tomorrow you will meet a man who will play a central role in your life. He is tall, intelligent, has green eyes. There is a lot of passion between the two of you. He will help you out in many difficult situations. According to the cards, he is one of the most important people in your life.”

What is she on about? I asked myself. I’m moving to Montreal. The last thing I’m trying to do is meet any men here, in New Haven. For the purposes of fun, I had two admirers scheduled for the three weeks before leaving, so meeting anybody new made no sense. Mafalda’s readings are usually spot-on but this one made no sense, so I dismissed it.

On that very day, at 8 pm, I met N. He was tall, intelligent, green-eyed, and completely perfect in all respects. We started living together on our second date. For the next two and a half years, we had a long-distance relationship, and then we got married.

The way we live now (c) is precisely what I had planned in so much detail right before we met.

Of course, it still took me a while to get to the point where I could feel committed to him for life. For years, I couldn’t understand how anybody could promise they would want to stay with the same person 40, 50, 60 years later.

“How can anybody know?” I thought. “So many things can change. How can you really, truly know that this will still be the person for you when you are 90 years old? How can you guarantee that somebody more attractive will not come along in the distant future?”

I worried and fretted about this until one day I finally got it. I was looking at the starry sky and I suddenly realized that now I could sate with a complete certainty that 40, 50, 1000 years from then, I would love N. and only want to be with him. And nobody better or more attractive would come along because they didn’t exist.

Thank you for reading!

Why I Don’t Care Who Gets the Nobel Prize in Literature

Since people keep asking who I think should win, here is my answer:

While Juan Goytisolo is alive, giving the Nobel Prize in Literature to absolutely anybody else is a travesty.

So I don’t care what politically motivated decision is made this time or any other time. If Goytisolo isn’t given the Nobel, this prize is worthless. And please don’t argue with me about this if you don’t want to become my sworn enemy.

I’m kidding, it’s OK to argue.

Chemical Experiment

At the meeting of the Advisors for Student Organizations, my colleagues were discussing how weird this new generation is.

“They live online!” my colleagues kept exclaiming. “They post everything that happens to them on those blogs, Twitters, etc. Kids today are weird!”

I felt like one of these weird kids for obvious reasons, so I decided to live up to my generation’s reputation and post this story I heard at that meeting.

The Chemistry Club requested permission to conduct a certain chemical experiment for educational purposes. Their request was denied.

Who can guess what the experiment in question was?

Online Dating Story #1

So there was this man I met online who was a wonderful person and an amazing father to his two children (he was divorced). Unfortunately, he couldn’t get out of his fathering mode and tried parenting an adult woman he was seeing. After we had a couple of very casual dates,  started taking care of me, or trying to.

When I mentioned that my computer broke down, he arrived at my doorstep with a new computer (which I obviously couldn’t accept).

He asked if I needed help paying my bills.

He tried buying me groceries.

He told me to wear a scarf because it was cold outside.

The culmination of his behavior came when I mentioned that I was having problems with a professor, and he asked if I wanted him to talk to the professor in question.

I know that there are people of both genders who would be enraptured by this pattern of behavior but I am obviously not one of them. So I stopped seeing him after 4 dates.

“Remember,  if you ever need anything, you can always call me and I’ll help,” he said as we were saying good-bye to each other.

My Romantic Journey, Part IV

As hurtful as these comments were, though, they got me thinking. I felt I couldn’t deal with yet another romantic disappointment, so I decided to give these commenters the benefit of the doubt. As I analyzed my behavior, I realized that the ignoramuses were right. The problem was located in me, in my own psychological issues.

So I called my sister.

“I just had the most crucial insight ever!” I announced. “The reason why my relationship fails is that I want them to fail. I choose men who will disappoint me on purpose.”

“I know,” my sister said in a bored voice.

“What do you mean, you know?” I asked, appalled by her lack of enthusiasm for my psychological breakthrough. “Why didn’t you tell me this? I’ve been suffering for years!”

“I’ve said this very thing to you hundreds of times,” my sister responded. “But you never wanted to listen.”

So I decided to stop the neurotic drama. The first order of the day was to figure out exactly what kind of man and what kind of a relationship I needed. I imagined the man of my dreams in as much detail as I could. I imagined how we would live together, how we would spend our free time, how we would watch movies together, shop for groceries, take walks, discuss books, and even what side of the bed each of us would sleep on.

When the picture was complete in my mind, I knew I was finally ready to enter into a happy, neurosis-free relationship. I was moving to Montreal for my last year of doctoral studies. If there was ever a place to meet a beautiful, enlightened, intellectual and feminist man, that is, of course, Montreal so I couldn’t wait to move there and start my hunt for the perfect man.

But then something happened that changed all these carefully thought out plans.

(To be continued. . . Don’t you love these cool cliff-hangers? 🙂 )

“I’m a Professor!”

Now that I don’t have an office any more, I have rejoined the “regular people” on campus. I eat at the university restaurant, have coffee at Starbucks, blog at the library, and read books in the Quad.

I’m also enjoying a lot of success with students of the male variety. Every 15 to 30 minutes, somebody comes up to me to strike up an acquaintance. To avoid embarrassing anybody, I announce as soon as I can, “I’m sorry, I’m a professor,” “I’m sorry, I’m married,” “I’m a professor and I’m married.”

So I’m sitting in the Quad, reading, when the third man of the day comes up to me.

“Hi, how are you doing?” he asks with a smile.

“I’m a professor,” I inform him.

He gives me a weird look.

“I know, Clarissa,” he says in a very kind voice. “You are my colleague from the FLL department. I was going to ask you about the committee we are both on but never mind. Maybe some other time. Bye.”

And he walks away rapidly, obviously making an effort not to run from his weird colleague.

I feel like a total idiot.

Islamofascism, Feminazis, and Islamic Terrorism

There are two words that invariably make me stop reading any post, article, or comment the moment I encounter them. These words are “Islamofascism” and “feminazis”. Come on, people. “Fascism” and “Nazi” are not the kind of words that should ever be bandied about lightly. If you are in any doubt as to the correct usage of these terms, pick up a book, watch a documentary, browse the Internet. There is a wealth of information available on fascism and Nazism. Don’t make a fool out of yourself by creating weird and offensive verbal concoctions to signal your irrational dislike of entire groups of people.

And while I’m on it, what’s with the outrageous “Islamic terrorism” expression? Are people who use it completely out of touch with reality, or what? There is NO Islamic terrorism. It doesn’t exist. There is nothing in the Koran that makes people perpetrate acts of terror.

There are people who are Christians, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, atheists, agnostics, etc., etc. who are horrible individuals and/or engage in terrorism.

As I said before, I don’t claim to be any sort of authority on the Koran or Islam. However, everything I have read and learned on the subject (which, believe me, is a lot more than any regular person has) tells me that there is nothing that makes Islam somehow inherently violent and inciting to terrorism. What I got from my reading of the Koran and my study of the history of Islam is that this is a religion of love, charity, beauty, poetry, respect for language, and benevolence. This is not my religion and I don’t feel like practicing it. However, I can’t fail to recognize its beauty and power.

Islam has been used to justify inflicting horrors on people. But Christianity has been used for the same purpose and with really horrifying results, too. So has “scientific atheism.” Even the most beautiful, profound ideas can be perverted by vile people who want to achieve goals that has nothing to do with the religion (or lack thereof) they claim to profess.

So please, let’s stop with “Islamofascism”, “feminazis” and “Islamic terrorism” already. Using these expressions makes you sound like a bigoted, stupid fool that you probably are.

Yes, I am very angry about this.

My Romantic Journey, Part III

I was afraid of making a wrong choice, of ending up with a person who would turn out to be petty, resentful and competitive like my ex-husband.

As usually happens in such cases, I started to play a game called “Nobody is good enough for me.” I was afraid of investing another six years into a guy who would disappoint me in the end. So I would choose a guy who was bound to disappoint me, make sure he did so very soon, and dump him triumphantly for exhibiting these very same qualities that made me choose him in the first place. I got so good at this game that I could walk into a room full of men and immediately zero in on precisely the kind of man who was going to start annoying me as soon as possible by being extremely similar to my ex-husband.

I’m sure most of you have met these people who are very attractive, intelligent, successful, highly articulate, funny and kind, but who have the most disastrous personal lives ever. Everybody feels compassion for them and says how life is unfair and the good ones always suffer. I was that person. I went through one failed relationship after another at a scary pace.

All of my friends were very supportive and compassionate. We engaged in protracted conversations of how all men are useless, unappreciative jerks who have no idea how to treat a spectacular woman like myself. In short, I was behaving like a classic neurotic.

In order to get even more compassion for my plight, I decided to share my story online. Thankfully, the people I complained to about the nasty, horrible men who were incapable of appreciating me the way I deserved had no interest in feeding my neurosis with kindness and understanding.

“The problem is you,” they told me. “You have psychological issues that make you choose men who are not right for you. Stop blaming men already and look at the problems you have that make you want to live this way.”

I was incensed. How could these ignoramuses who had no understanding for my complex emotional drama fail to see that I was the aggrieved party here? My ex-boyfriends were all miserable, unworthy people, while I was a long-suffering angel.

(To be continued. . .)