Young and stupid, old and rainbows:

Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;

When I was young and stupid, I used to jump into relationships with no forethought whatsoever. Some guy would be drawn to me, the usual pick-up lines would be spoken, and I often ended up getting sexually involved on the first date. I would move in with a guy before I’d known him a month.

Two marriages and a son and grandson later, I am a very different person. You could say that I am older and wiser and less apt to end up in a dumpster or civil court. I observe men very carefully before I will let them get too close, physically or emotionally. Most of the time, the longer I know them, the more I realize that I just wouldn’t want to share my home with them. Any sign of self indulgence will send me running, along with the slightest hint of entitlement or male dominance. I’ve been paying my own bills and running my own business for too long. The idea of some guy telling me what to do or belching and leaving the toilet seat up is not exactly attractive. I have a full life and don’t need a man to define me, so I guess I’m being pretty picky. I don’t want some asshole who will just make my life more complicated and try to mess with my head.

Here’s my question: do you really think, given the social programming and culture we live in, that I will ever find a guy who is enlightened? I don’t need a serene yoga instructor who bakes his own bread. I just want to find some guy who respects me as a human being first and has his fantasies run a distant second. Actually, I’d like a man who has left his fantasies behind and wants to get real.

Is there anyone out there?????

Ms. Demosthenes

Dear Ms. D.,

Will you ever find a guy who is enlightened? NO! I love this same question as asked in the movie ‘As Good as it Gets’. Helen Hunt wails “Why can’t I just have a nice normal boyfriend who doesn’t go nuts on me?” Her mom replies “we all want that dear. It doesn’t exist.”

What you want is someone with communication skills, who is open to share, and who takes responsibility for his own shit. The rest is negotiation and compromise and working it out toward your mutual relationship contract. You allude to this in your question but you also mentioned you’re just too jaded to run the numbers; and finding your compatible match does boil down to the numbers. You have certain requirements for a job. There are around 3.5 billion men out there as potential hires. If you meet enough of them and say no to those who haven’t the necessary skills, you are guaranteed success.

So, it takes work and it takes time. You’ll probably meet up with a lot of unqualified applicants. But persist and it will pay off.
The advice I have heard is: 1) It is only statistics; 2) You never pick a mate that you wouldn’t want as a business partner; 3) Setting up a life and a marriage require the same skills and intent as setting up a nonprofit business.

As far as fantasies, everyone has them. One just needs to be able to recognize that real life can be ok too. Rainbows are illusions, nothing to chase; you get them mixing bad weather and sunshine.

Getting Real requires intent. Intent involves creating a mutual fantasy, then working backwards from it to make sure you’re adding the skills, behaviors, and communication that lead toward that fantasy.

Dr. Brilliant Cliché

The Granny Doctor has to ask: if you have a full life and don’t need a man to define you, then what do you need a man for? It’s a good question. The reason I ask is because you said nothing about yearning for physical intimacy. You mentioned nothing about a desire to share your life.
Some women really wish for warmth and cuddling and love. They need to share their life with someone else, not just because it’s a good business proposition, but because they want the emotional closeness. Believe it or not there are men who want this too. Those men and women tend to find each other. People tend to find what they are looking for.
You don’t seem to be looking for a man. You seem to be looking for a companion or partner. This isn’t a judgment, it’s an observation. You seem very self-sufficient. If that’s the case you might want to consider a woman for the position. The one thing she won’t do is remind you of every other man you’ve been with.

About Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Dr. Brilliant Cliché and the Granny Dr. are a fictional web presence and advice blog. Together we offer a joint perspective that is deep but not academic, entertaining but not fluff, and educated yet street smart. By joining the internet community we hope to share thoughts and stimulate insightful conversation around pressing issues that affect us all. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. (This is not a site for therapy nor does it intend to replace medical or other professional care. ) You can leave comments here or email The Dr. at and don’t forget to like us on facebook. Our facebook page is Dr. Brilliant Cliche
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2 Responses to Young and stupid, old and rainbows:

  1. Ken Bryant says:

    Dear Ms. D.,
    You have called your former self stupid with the implication you are now looking for something different in a man than before. What you are looking for in a man certainly seems different than what it use to be but “how” you are looking for it hasn’t changed. You used to be satisfied with just one note on the piano (the present moment of satisfaction) and now you’ve realized that even many notes (a list of his good qualities) still lacks something. That something is the cracks between the keys. Each crack is the same, all seeming to offer nothing but a black hole with no contribution to the relationship. They constitute the spaces between the kind words, the awkwardness, the uncertainty of direction, and the apparent lack of meaningful value. Ironically, it is these very “cracks of nothingness” that differentiates and give perspective to all the notes (qualities) he possesses. Without the (empty) cracks between the keys it would be like playing both forearms on the entire piano all at once without end. What a disastrous alternative that would have otherwise been a beautiful love song.

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