In the Eye of the Beholder

So, what am I looking for?  I have no idea.  A couple of friends recently pointed out a pattern in my female friends and acquaintances (tall, long hair, glasses…see Joy Wilson for an example) but I’m not really sure I buy into that…that seems like more of a coincidence than an actual pattern. One of the women “in my life” who I honestly thought could have been Mrs. Charming was “short” (under 5′ 0″) with chin length curls and no glasses in sight.

When my friends were pointing out my apparent taste in women, I tried to analyze the last few women I’d found to be noticeably “attractive” and I’ve come to a couple of conclusions.

First of all neither height, hair length or eyewear are common denominators.  Nor is hair color, eye color, bust size, body shape or ethnicity. In fact, I can’t identify any common denominators at all.

Second, I can honestly say that for me personality can be more physically attractive than purely external features.  Sure, there are things that might catch my eye or turn my head, but a woman who shares my interests and I enjoy talking with becomes more physically attractive to me than any girl who is “just a pretty face.”

I realize that might seem obvious to some people, but for a lot of guys that’s a concept that’s simply impossible to grasp.  Several of my friends included.

So here’s how I explain it:  The girl I mentioned above, the one that could have been Mrs. Charming, she’s cute.  By most guy’s standards, I’d imagine that she’s cute and reasonably pretty.  If you’re into tall women or big busts, she’s not gonna be your type, but otherwise she’s certainly attractive.

To me she’s very close to perfect.  Her most attractive feature is the sparkle in her eyes when she laughs. She’s past thirty, she’s no longer “young” and yet she’s so fresh that I forget she’s out of high-school.  Never mind her degree from a prestigious northwest college.

Knowing her makes the shape of her face perfect, the arch of her nose sublime and the color of her lips adorable.  Strangers would see in her a sweet person with an engaging smile; I see in her the potential to be a wonderful mother, a dedicated partner, and an enthusiastic lover.

THAT is what I find to be truly beautiful. And knowing those things enhances her beauty, makes it shine, makes it last in the minds eye long after she’s out of sight. I guess that doesn’t really explain anything.  That’s just the way it works for me.

And it’s not limited just to her.  A lot of the women I find attractive are attractive for many reasons, less then half of them physical.  But the non-physical things enhance the physical.

And after about three hours of discussion with my friends, and quite a few beers (or in my case scotch on the rocks), I can safely say that’s nearly universally true for all guys.

I’m not a fan of the “number grading” system some guys use…in fact I find it more degrading than useful as no two men see a woman at the same place on the scale…but for the purposes of this illustration it will have to do…

Every single guy I know has at least one example of personality changing a 7 to a 10 or a 5 to an 8 or whatever.  At first we were debating if the “personality goggles” effect was the same as the “beer goggles” effect, but the beer goggles come off after a few hours.  The change that personality makes is usually permanent.

This is probably the only thing that really differentiates men from monkeys.  Or dogs.

So my first question is, does it work the same way for women?  What do you look for?  What triggers attraction for you?  Can personality overcome too many cheeseburgers?

I had a close female friend tell me that women are less physically selective.  I’m really not sure I believe this, but then most of my female friends seem to think guys are somewhere between highly and VERY physically selective.  Which is rubbish.

I know for a stone cold FACT that 99% of guys couldn’t tell if a woman gained five pounds if their life depended on it.  We simply aren’t geared to notice.  Or care.

Now, guys ARE pigs.  Even nice guys are pigs sometimes.  Even the most respectful, honorable, decent guy has said to himself “NICE RACK!” when a girl in a bikini walked by.  The difference between decency and depravity is a) not saying it out loud, and b) NOT ACTING ON YOUR BASE URGES. The first is easy, the second always trips up guys at the dumbest moments.

My 10 Simple Commandments of male decency: 
1.) It is only acceptable to whistle at a woman if you know her VERY well and if it won’t offend her. 
2.) Commenting on a woman’s physical attributes is NEVER ok. 
3.) Praising a woman’s physical attributes should be done privately and sincerely.
4.) If you aren’t clear on the difference between 2 and 3, don’t say anything at all.
5.) If she’s uncomfortable, you’ve fucked up.
6.) There is a BIG difference between making her blush and causing her to smile-and-blush.  See 5
7.) Listen more than you talk. As a guy, your mouth will do you in faster than anything else.  If you don’t say it, it can’t be wrong.
8.) If she’s brave enough to share her feelings, have the balls to share yours.
9.) If you figure out how to balance 7 and 8 you are straddling the universal paradox and you should thank God, the Stars and ALL the little angels that you haven’t fucked everything up. Yet.
10.) Even following these commandments will not save you.  You are a man, and you will therefore do something stupid eventually. DO NOT COMPOUND IT by throwing away decency after the fact.

Now, obviously these aren’t going to cover everything.  I do like my friend C’s personal mantra: “When in doubt, keep it in your pants.”  It works for breath mints, cell phones, and lots of other things.

So what am I looking for?  I still don’t know.  But hopefully I’ll remember how to act when I find her.


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What is my quest?

So, what exactly is this prince’s quest?  Why, to find love of course.  But, as with any quest, it’s far more complicated than that.

First off, let me be very clear, I have already loved deeply and with my whole heart.  She was the beautiful princess from far away and I truly believed that if I loved her enough everything would work out.  Happily Ever After was just about believing hard enough, wanting it bad enough, and letting it happen.

It didn’t happen.

On Valentines’s day I got her chocolate dipped strawberries instead of flowers…and that was the moment she decided that it was over.  It took a lot longer then that (exactly a year in fact), but that was the moment the end began.

To this day, and probably until the day I die, the fact that the connection I believed we had was merely a mirage just shatters my faith in love.  Eleven years of marriage and more than fourteen as a couple…my entire adult life was wrapped up in her.  But I wasn’t worth the effort to keep trying.  “We” weren’t worth the effort to keep trying.

I grew up believing in all the romantic ideals, the fairytale endings, the happily ever afters; I grew up believing that I could be the fairytale prince.  That I could be “Charming” and win the maiden.

The problem with that, is that I wasn’t attracted to the kind of woman that could be “won” like a trophy.  I like intelligence, and creativity, and partnership.  I like to be with a woman and not have a girlfriend/wife/trophy.  It’s that paradox that ultimately undid us.

Now, she is moving to Oklahoma.  She is marrying “Mr. Oklahoma” (we’ll go in to that more when and if I ever feel like explaining the details of our divorce) and I wish her happiness.  True love is hoping that the ones you love are happy, no matter what.

So that lead to the question “do I pine for her?”  And the answer is “no.”

With a couple of years of dirty water swamping the bridge behind us, I can also say that we no longer fit as a couple.  If we woke up tomorrow and decided to try again, it would be a LONG and UPHILL climb.  The people we are in our early thirties are NOT the people we were in our late teens.  And we’re both ok with that.

Which is something we try very hard to communicate to our daughter. She’s seven and she’s moving with her mom to Oklahoma.  I am ok with this, we have worked it out between us, and I’ll explain that decision more as the day she moves gets closer.

So here I am, in my early thirties, I’ve got a daughter who turns seven in just a few days and I’ve been married twice.  Not exactly the profile of Prince Charming.  In fact, it’s pretty safe to say that I am NOT most women’s dream catch.

So as “dating” blogs go, I’d not count on this one much for salacious details.  First, I’m not one for salacious details, and second, I’m not much for dating.

But I do believe my princess is out there.  That is my quest…to find her.


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We first meet our hero…

So, what kind of guy decides to call himself “Dead Charming” you ask?  Well, let me introduce myself, for this exercise in reciprocal anonymity I’ll just go by DC.  I’m an Aries born in the year of the Dragon and I don’t put much stock in astrology. (I DO put stock in fortune cookies, those things NEVER lie!)

Why am I writing this?  Well, I was writing another blog and lost my anonymity.  While that might not seem like a bad thing, I found it terminal to my ability to write honestly.  And really, no matter how good the mask is, if you can’t be honest at the core, your writing will suck.

Thankfully, the internet offers an almost infinite palate of different shades of anonymity.  So here I am, starting again from the beginning.

Oddly enough, life is a fluid path and things change far more than I would have ever believed since the last time I started out on a new beginning.  From my faith to my tastes in music/food/clothes to my daily routine, everything is different from just a few months ago.  Sometimes in very small ways, sometimes in HUGE ways, but everything has changed somehow.

While I might re-use some elements of my old blog in the future once I feel safely distant from that persona, so much has changed that I promise that 95% of my content will be “all new” material.

Hopefully, this time around I’ll post consistently.  I won’t promise daily, but I’d like to be close to that.  I travel a lot, and I have plenty of time to write, so I’m going to try to have a bit of a backlog ready to post on those days when I don’t get a chance to string two words together.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with the best fortune cookie message I’ve ever received:

“Never argue with an Idiot.  He will only drag you down to his level and then defeat you with experience.”


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Once Upon a Time…

A long time ago in a country not very far away, I grew up believing in Fairy Tales. I believed that somewhere there was a beautiful princess waiting for me to ride up on a white charger and sweep her off her feet. Sure, there might be dragons, or evil sorceresses, or dark knights or whatever the story might bring against me…but I was prince charming, I would prevail!

I met a princess, I wanted to be her prince, we tried to find happily ever after…

…And I’ve learned some things since then. I’ve learned that riding off into the sunset just means trying to find a place to sleep in the dark. I’ve learned that even the glorious prince makes mistakes, falls down in the mud, and gets lost on his way back to the castle. I’ve learned that a sharp sword cuts the ones you love just as easily as the ones who stand against you.

I’ve also learned that “charming” is essentially an untenable ideal. Besides which, girls may dream about “Prince Charming,” but grown women don’t seem to care anymore.

I spent fifteen years trying to be prince charming, and all it got me was a divorce, child support, and a shattered ego. Then I decided that I wouldn’t give up on romance, and I’d try to be prince charming again…and all that got me was an unwanted second marriage, months of recriminations and disappointments and the realization that I might want to be “charming,“ but somewhere along the journey “Prince Charming” got replaced by his understudy, “Squire Just-Doing-My-Best.”

Prince Charming is dead. His body lies somewhere along the path in an unmarked grave; unmourned, unmissed and unremarkable.

As one prince falls, another must take up his place. And so, here’s to Just-Doing-My-Best. May he succeed where Charming failed. May he find the princess, the light at the end of the tunnel, the castle in the sky, the treasures of his dreams, and the happily-ever-after at the end of his story.

The Prince is Dead! Long Live the Price!


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