Right Hand Rings

Congratulations ladies. The world of diamond jewelry advertising has discovered that you have a right hand. While this may come as quite a shock to you and many may doubt what I’m saying, I can clearly prove that what I’m saying is fact, not folly. Please look over to your left hand/arm. It’s the hand/arm where you will find your engagement ring, wedding band or watch, (assuming you’re right handed; of course if you are, then I don’t have to prove anything to you. You knew when we started this exercise you had a right hand!) Take your left hand and make a clapping sound. The hand you just hit is called your right hand! I know, I had to repeat the exercise a few times myself before I believed I had a right hand. What a shock! Then I was informed that apparently these “right hand rings” aren’t for me (guys). Note to diamond advertising company: When will you publicly acknowledge that men have right hands, too? Will it be next year? Year after? I know, it’s not all about me. I was just curious. Anyway, the Diamond Trading Company (formerly known as DeBeers) is spending millions of dollars letting women know that not only are they the owner of a right hand, (this has really got to tick off the women who don’t have a right hand, but then sometimes advertising can’t please everyone) but will feel more empowered if they buy themselves a piece of jewelry for that hand. Here’s the advertisers logic: In the past, we told women if their men loved them they would buy them a diamond or a nice piece of jewelry. In the community of women, a piece of jewelry is not only a status symbol but a declaration to all the world that they are loved. The advertising guys, after reading the 2002 US Census Bureau Report, realized that 23.6% of women don’t ever get married and will never get a piece of jewelry from the love of their lives. While this isn’t disturbing enough in its own right, the diamond industry took it more in terms of dollars and cents. Close to 25% of women were falling through the sales net. Not only that, the women who do own a few trinkets depend on us, the males, to buy them more. As a rule, most men aren’t tickled to death at the prospect of buying “lots” of jewelry for our wives, unless of course we’ve done something really wrong and deserve to be forgiven (I got your back, Kobe.) That being said, the solution to the problem was very simple (if you’re the advertisers); convince women to buy jewelry. Tell them it proves how independent, strong and intelligent they are and the Diamond Trading Company (DeBeers) could double the number of diamond jewelry buyers out there!

Short story: When I was eleven years old, I went on my first memorable airplane ride. Being that my Dad was a pilot in the Air Force, I felt I could get a taste of what he did when he went to work. He assured me that flying on a 747 was nothing like flying a two-seater jet at mach 2. Even though I didn’t know what type of plane a “54” was (I didn’t understand why my Dad didn’t just add 7 and 47), or who Mack Tu was (probably his co-pilot), I was still looking forward to the adventure. “Please take your seats. The captain will be taxiing to the runway any minute.” This, of course, alarmed me. Where could the captain be taking a taxi to? Shouldn’t he be flying the plane? But then I remembered about Mack, the co-pilot, and felt better. The next thing I remember was a very pretty lady giving instructions to everyone on how to work a seat belt. Because I had already easily connected and reconnected my own belt a thousand times, I didn’t understand who this demonstration was for. What I’m trying to say is, while I appreciate what the advertising guys are trying to do, sell more jewelry, they don’t have to state the obvious. Come on, how many different ways are there to stick the buckle into that latch? I’ve always preferred the K.I.S.S. approach (Keep It Simple Stupid). Show the bright, intelligent ladies some beautiful jewelry and step back and see what happens.
Without further ado, here are the “Right Hand Rings.”

P.S. You can wear them on your left hand, too. Just don’t tell anybody. It will be our little secret.

pictures of right hand rings

by Fred Cuellar, author of the best-selling book “How to Buy a Diamond.” More questions? Ask the Diamond Guy®

Will I Marry a Cheater?

(Please make sure to read the whole article)
If you’re married, you’ll probably remember the words I (fill in your name) do take (fill in his name) to love, honor and cherish through sickness and health; through good times and bad forsaking all others till death do us part. Or maybe you wrote your own vows that showed a little more creativity. Either way I’ll bet my bottom dollar monogamy and “till death do us part” were part of your vows.

If your man said these words or is going to say these words, you can stop reading this article right now. You have married or are going to marry a cheater. I don’t know whose idea it was to put boundaries on love and death in the same sentence but they were an idiot. The quickest way to drive a man to cheat is by putting boundaries on him or bring up his own mortality. That’s why so many middle-aged men run off with another woman because “till death do us part” pops up in their head and they feel they have to leave their current relationship because its only heading one place: “Deathville.”

Statistically 99% of all men will cheat on their spouse during their marriage. The other 1% doesn’t exist, it’s just there because no statistical average is 100% accurate and the survey has a + 1% error ratio. That’s right, that’s what I’m saying, all men cheat, are cheating, or will cheat. It’s built into our make up to hunt and conquer.

Now don’t get me wrong, not all men’s mistresses are women. In some cases it’s football, sports in general, golf, work, money, possessions. Heck, men can cheat on a woman with a television set. Cheating can be anything that make a woman feel lonely, depressed, taken advantage of, or replaced. Ever feel jealous of something your boyfriend or husband is doing or has done? Then you’ve allowed yourself to be cheated on.

Want to know what I believe are the two most responsible reasons for divorce in this country? Jealousy and boundaries. Tell a kid he can’t have a cookie and I promise you will catch him with his hand in the cookie jar. Even Adam and Eve who had everything blew it the minute someone who will remain nameless said you can eat everything but don’t touch the apples. Come on, the nameless one was practically begging us to take a nibble.

Men as well as women tend to want what they are told they can’t have. Want a forever lasting relationship? Loosen the reins. The tightest relationships are the ones with the loosest reins. Remove jealousy, remove boundaries and you’ll remove cheating.

I think if I could write the perfect vows, it would be, “I’ll always try to do my best but if there are times when I am weak, you’ll allow me to speak and not judge me for my thoughts.” Want to blow a man’s mind? Tell him, “Honey I know just because we are getting married, you don’t have to give up your other interests. Just always be honest with me. Tell me the truth. Loving me doesn’t mean letting go of others or the things you love.”

You know what the #1 reason women leave a man if he cheats on her? It isn’t the other women, it was the deception.

So if you’re a man reading this article and you really are a man and you’re thinking of letting something else come between you and your spouse, be at least big enough to be honest with your woman and tell her. And if you’re a woman reading this, make your man understand you can be loving and understanding of anything unless he disrespects you or is dishonest.

by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®

Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Tin Man

All men, not some men, are either part of, or all of the above. Knowing what you have and how to deal with him will either make or break your relationship.

Let’s start with “The Scarecrow.” Unlike his title “The Scarecrow” is brave, loyal and trustworthy. He would fall on a brush fire if it meant saving a life. “Scarecrows” are so kindhearted that their mates always take top priority. “Scarecrows” remember birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions. Their downfall lies in self-maintenance. Their stuffing is always falling out. Their organizational skills are poor at best and matching the right tie, sports coat and slacks can sometimes be disastrous.

“Scarecrows” are generally considered loners that avoid large crowds and stay introverts unless forced out of the nest. Most “scarecrows” think they lack the brain power for success but they’re generally geniuses. If you don’t mind a man with maintenance problems and is probably a little sloppy, “scarecrows” make great husbands and can be molded with little or no extra effort. Don’t get me wrong, “scarecrows” aren’t wimps, they’re just guys that are too smart to know how smart they are.

“Cowardly Lions” are direct opposites of “scarecrows”. They are boisterous, loud, sometimes obnoxious and very macho. They are extroverts to the third power. They are the athletes, the lawyers, and the salesmen. You see, to a “cowardly lion,” the “cowardly” is silent. To them they are just “lions”. King of the jungle. But the sad part is it’s just an act partly for their benefit, partly for others, but it is still just an act.

You see ladies, men are a nation of opposites. If he acts macho, he’s really shy; if he’s shy, he’s a conqueror, and hidden inside of every “cowardly lion” is a man that thinks if he acts tough enough, talks tough enough, maybe he can convince himself he’s tough enough.

“Cowardly lions” can make great husbands, but they are tougher to tame. If you don’t get through the macho man act, you’re doomed. Because until the “cowardly lion” realizes he doesn’t have to act tough to be a man, you’ll never get anywhere. By the way, some “cowardly lions” are smart, but very few. Unfortunately they spend too much time thinking about themselves than they do others. A “cowardly lion’s” favorite saying is “Well, what’s in it for me?”

The “Tin Man” if you recall was looking for a heart. That’s probably the best way to describe a “tin man.” A man in search of emotion. “Tin men” can be accountants, engineers, even architects. Usually they are great men. Over-achievers, men of logic; cause and effect fellows. The biggest problem with “tin men” is how they over analyze everything and how anal they are. They have a sense of perfection that must be a standard for all others to live up to. Quite frankly, most “tin men” end up living very empty lives. They get left behind because they can never learn the art of compassion and the voice of the soul. Want to be a wealthy wife? Find a “tin man,” he’ll be a great provider. Want to live a glorious life? Teach a “tin man” how to feel, how to touch, how to love. Give the “tin man” a heart and you’ll have a love affair that will never die.

Now don’t get me wrong, not all men are just one of these characters, some are combinations like I said before; heck there’s even a Dorothy or two out there. But what you should get from this article is there is no one definition of a man. We are all different and if you’re going to want to get to know your man better, it might be a good idea to know who you are talking to. The scarecrow, the cowardly lion, or the tin man.”

by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®

Superman Syndrome

Big boys don’t cry — if you want a job done right you have to do it yourself — survival of the fittest — the boy with the most toys wins — a real man solves his own problems and behind every good man is a good woman. Young boys are told a lot of things growing up. Stereotypes are created at a whim to please society and the world around us.

“Superman Syndrome” is the fallacy that a man ain’t worth two cents if he’s not a good provider and problem solver. Ever hear the expression, “I wonder who wears the pants in that family?” It stems from ignorance bred by the idea that a real man is head of his family and makes all the final decisions. And it’s that ignorance that turns young boys into men who think every time their family, their wife has a problem he’s expected to be Superman and solve the problem.

Real men solve problems, that’s what we’re told our entire lives. That’s why I think men get confused when our mates tell us about their day and the Superman in us doesn’t look to listen but listens to fix, to solve, to save. Most men don’t understand that women don’t need saving any more. I don’t know if they ever did. Women just want to be heard. Not solved or fixed, just heard, understood. Nothing has meaning till we give it meaning. A problem is not a problem till we label it one.

I don’t know what women do when they sit around and share ideas and talk. But I do know what men do when they group together. They tell war stories. Battles won, problems solved, questions answered. We puff ourselves up, I think not so much out of ego but maybe to help each other in garnering a little more confidence to take on another day.

You see, deep down we know we aren’t Supermen and we can’t solve all the problems, but that doesn’t stop us from dreaming. Maybe this article is more for men to stop labeling every thing out of a woman’s mouth as a problem and stop trying to fix it, or maybe it’s for women to understand that when we don’t have something to fix we feel useless. I don’t know how to make men better listeners but if I could make one request, maybe once in a while when you do have a problem to solve, even though you can probably solve it yourself, you can be Lois Lane and let us be Superman. Because even if we can’t save the world, we still want to be heroes.

by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®

Sophomore Jinx

In baseball when a pitcher is doing well (striking everyone out) they say he is in a zone. His fastball, curve ball, split finger, slider are all probably working for him! He can do no wrong. He’s got the right stuff. When a pitcher is getting lit up (hit on) they say he’s lost his stuff, no zone, throwing up junk. He typically gets pulled for a relief pitcher. But if a pitcher does get lucky enough to stay in a zone for 9 innings, 27 batters, 27 outs, no walks, they say that pitcher has pitched a perfect game. In the history of baseball few pitchers have ever thrown a no-hitter and even fewer have ever pitched a perfect game and no pitcher has ever pitched two consecutive perfect games in a row. Never. Ever.

For some men perfection can be a curse. A ghost they end up chasing for the rest of their lives. Others just quit rather than face the certainty of constant disappointment. Without question the quest to the top of the pyramid is certainly much more enjoyable than defending the crown. Consistency in achievement on or off the field can be paralyzing to men. The bedroom is no different.

At the beginning of every relationship a man is attempting to throw his good stuff. He goes all out. He stands up on the mound, winds up and tries to put one over home plate. Right in the pocket. Flowers, dinner, massage, foreplay, doubles, triples, homeruns. Sometimes, and I mean rarely, it’s magic, euphoria, time stops and even the gods give a standing ovation. For that moment the man was perfect. The perfect lover! Now keep in mind the male is proud of himself but somewhere deep inside regardless of how happy he is with his performance anxiety quickly sets in. “Oh my God! What if she thinks I can pull this off every time?! What if she thinks this is just my run of the mill day to day stuff? I’d kill myself if I had to try and pull this off again!” Panic has taken over the man. He has become his own worst enemy. “Why in God’s name did I have to set the sexual bar so high?! Should I run or confess? No, better that she think I’m a sex god than admit I’m human. I’ll run.”

You know what happens next? Nothing. The phone doesn’t ring, the man doesn’t call. If it’s the beginning of the relationship it becomes the ends. The confused gal whose world was rocked thinks she was just played when in reality the man just has sophomore jitters or is afraid of a “Sophomore Jinx.” All men know that no pitcher has ever thrown two perfect games and the likelihood he’s going to be the first is slim and none. The sad part to this story is this couple actually did have magic, did make time stop but now it’s lost because most non pig-headed men who care about a woman’s feelings at some level are insecure. It’s that insecurity that allows boys to be heroes, fight wars, become scholars, become dads, become men. Men do great things to squelch insecurity and as we get older it gets smaller but it never goes away entirely. If as a woman you can see through our bravado there might be a few relationships you can save before it’s too late.

If you’re dating and perfection shines on you in the bedroom, make a point to let him know as a reward next time he gets to sit it out while you take charge. Men, whether they admit it or not, love to be made love to. We don’t always need or want to be in control.

If you’re in a relationship already and you sense signs of performance anxiety, take the bull by the horns (literally) and relieve a little tension. Men don’t get headaches in the bedroom, it’s just sometimes they don’t feel like going nine innings. It’s your job to be the relief pitcher every now and then.

by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®

Snuggler’s Blues

I’ll be the first one to admit my wife has Snuggler’s Blues. Snuggler’s Blues is when a snuggler marries a non-snuggler and feels deprived. You see, there are a lot of us men that are two pillow men. When we go to sleep at night, we have one pillow to hold and one for under the head. Snugglers want us to nix the snuggle pillow and snuggle them. Here are the males’ problems:

The dead arm: When we enter into an official snuggle (spooning) inevitably a man’s arm gets pinned under his mate’s body where it quickly falls asleep, becomes numb and goes into shock.

The inferno: A man is generally carrying around a few extra pounds of insulation and when his body comes into contact with another body, he heats up. Look, bears go into hibernation because they’re cold which then allows them to get a good night’s sleep. Heat up a bear and he won’t be able to sleep. A man is no different. Some of the biggest fights my wife and I have are over what temperature to keep the thermostat in the house.

Incapacitation: Men need to alter between three positions during a good night’s sleep (side to side, belly flop and flat on the back). If a snuggler ambushes a non-snuggler during one of these positions, he feels trapped. Trapped in a position that any moment he may decide needs to be changed and he will find himself unable to escape. Trapped position equals no sleep.

Now it may appear to the average observer that being a non-snuggler myself, I’m trying to defend my position (no pun intended) and you’d be right. But I am not unsympathetic to the snuggler who equates snuggling with intimacy and non-snuggling with being a jerk. Look, us non-snugglers are just trying to get a good night’s sleep. Obviously there needs to be a compromise so I think I’ve concocted a plan. Fifteen to thirty minutes of snuggle time prior to lights out, then break to separate corners or possibly set your clock thirty minutes early in the morning and snuggle then.

I want to live in a world where snugglers and non-snugglers can come together as one and live as happy people. I want to live in a world where a man is not judged by the color of his skin. Oh, wait a minute; I’m getting carried away. How do you solve Snuggler’s Blues? Compromise.

by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®

Second Hand Men

I was at an antique store the other day browsing. As I walked in I saw a line of beautiful mahogany curio cabinets, chest of drawers and a roll top desk that would have taken anyone’s breath away. As I continued my stroll, I saw an 18th Century four poster canopy bed, hand carved and meticulously taken care of shining under a chandelier.

“Looking for a bed mister?” the old spunky sales women asked.

“Nope,” I said.“Just looking around.”

“You know that bed has quite a history behind it,” she replied.

“Oh really?” I said, “Fill me in.”

She was delighted that she had peaked my interest. “Rumor has it Roosevelt himself slept on it!”

“No kidding? How do you know that?” I asked.

“His initials are carved into the head board,” was the quick reply. Sure enough, plain as day you could easily pick out the T.R. hidden amongst the scrolled pattern once she pointed it out. “Also take a look at this. You see the slight cracks in the wooden support slats that held the mattress?”

“Yeah, I sure do,” I said.

“Well, that about cinches it don’t you think?”

“Why is that?” I asked.

“Hell, sonny everyone knows he was a rough rider!”

I fought hard from breaking out into laughter, but lost the battle. “No, no that’s okay maybe if you just let me look around.”

“The bed goes for $25,000,” she whipped back, “but I’m willin’ to deal.”

“No ma’am that’s okay, just let me…excuse me what’s all that stuff under the MUST GO sign?”

“That’s junk nobody wants, can’t give that stuff away,” she sniffed.

“Mind if I take a look?”

“Go ahead, it’s all 75% off.”

As I stumbled through the broken rockers and silver plated candleholders, I saw something that caught my attention. “Whatcha want for the lamp?”

“It’s broke, don’t work. Fifty bucks and I’ll wrap it up myself.”

“Seems like a lot for a broken lamp.”

“Okay, okay $35, but you wrap it yourself.”

The lamp was pretty, probably a knock off, would need rewiring but what the heck, the leaded glass “Dragon fly” pattern was pretty. “Okay I’ll take it.”

As it was being wrung up, I noticed a curious but rusted old stamp underneath the base of the lamp: “Tiffany Studios.” The lamp was later appraised for $80,000.

I tell this story for a reason. Most assuredly Teddy Roosevelt didn’t sleep in that bed and a broken down lamp in a junk pile can shine again and be worth a fortune. Men are no different. To some degree, we are all second-hand men. We have pasts and futures and stories to tell. None of us comes to the antique store new. The question for the woman is, “Which of our stories are false and which ones are true?”

by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®

Necessities

I think we can all agree that there are some basic necessities we must all have to survive: food, water, clothing and shelter. Now whether your food of choice is caviar or a burger and your beverage, a beer or Don Perignon has a lot to do with our value system as well as personal taste. Personally, I’m a blue jeans kind of guy, but have enough Georgio Armani suits hanging in my closet to keep my wife happy.

It’s so easy to get caught up in a race of one up man ship. “Keeping up with the Jones.” I’ve seen men motivated by a lot of things. Fear of loss certainly is a big motivator in our society. As a couple creates a union there are some things I think had better be ironed out before the knot is tied; and that’s necessities.

Before I ever got serious with a woman, my list of necessities was actually quite small. An apartment seemed just as good as a house and a couple pounds of bologna, a few loaves of bread and Kraft macaroni and cheese could sustain me for weeks. I remember one time I ate nothing but Taco Bell tacos for dinner for six months straight. (My god, do you know till this day, you can still get two tacos for 99¢.) What to wear, how to look, what to eat seemed like decisions low on the totem pole of life compared to striving after my real passion: work.

Success consumed me, not the trappings, the winning. There are many men that are no different. Einstein wore the same slacks and shirt practically everyday of his life. Now he had a lot of black pairs of the same pants, but he’d made a conscious decision that certain decisions weren’t worth worrying about day after day. What’s for dinner? What am I going to wear? That kind of thing.

If it weren’t for women, there would be a lot of men living very happy lives in huts. Women changed all for a man. For the most part, women raised our necessity bar to a new level. Women add humanity to men. Women create necessity. I think most women by nature have an appreciation for beauty that most times has to be taught to us men — us cave men.

When a man loves a woman he’ll want to lasso the moon for her. A task I’ve tried many times, only to fail. I think it’s important when a woman makes her lists of needs and wants and preferences and wishes, that she do so very carefully. Preferences can turn into needs and needs into necessities so a man can become overwhelmed very quickly. And when possessions take priority over your relationship, you’ve lost the war.

Necessities are necessary but please don’t make the list too long or you may get what you desire but lose us in the shuffle. “Possessions usually mean less once possessed,” a famous man once said. So don’t stray too far from the truth. It’s one thing to have a house as a home, but does a palace have to be your roof? If a couple can’t see eye to eye on what are priorities and what are preferences, they’re in for a rocky marriage. Not every man wants to be a multi-millionaire and not every woman would sacrifice time with her husband to live in a mansion.

The road map to a successful marriage lies in two people wanting to end up in the same place. So you’d better make sure you’re on the same page and for that matter reading the same book.

by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®

An Eleanor Rigby

“Eleanor Rigby, picks up the rice
in the church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window, wearing the face
that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for”
-Lennon/McCartney

 

The alarm clock next to Patricia’s bed read 6:02 AM. The alarm was set to go off each morning at exactly 6:05, but her eyes always popped open automatically at least 3 minutes early. She wondered why she never waited for the alarm to wake her. She knew the answer immediately; she didn’t trust it.

In the kitchen she poured coffee from the same automatic coffee maker that she’d owned for ten years. It was dingy and stained. She had seen the new coffee makers in exciting colors with great timer mechanisms, but couldn’t see any reason to buy one. Nobody else saw the coffee maker anyway.

As Patricia finished her shower, the phone rang. It startled her. Nobody ever called this early during the week. She briefly thought about not answering it, concerned it could be bad news. The caller ID said it was from her brother in New York. She hadn’t heard from him in weeks. Her heart was pounding as she picked up the receiver. “Robert? Is everything okay?”

“Whoa, Patty. Settle down. Everything’s cool. Just called to say hey.”Bobby was five years younger than his 30 year old sister, and was usually good about checking in with his over-protective big sister at least once a week.

“Don’t be patronizing, Robert! You never called last week. I was worried.”Her heart slowly returned to a normal rhythm. It felt great to get caught up, but she cringed at the thought of his living in New York–muggings, rats, crowded subways. Robert had stopped asking her to visit.

After the brief conversation with Robert, Patricia walked back into the bedroom. The first thing she did was make her bed. She smoothed the sheets very carefully, then fluffed the comforter and placed it neatly over the top. The pillows were also fluffed and positioned against the headboard in their carefully assigned positions. Large king-sized pillows in the back, medium-sized pillows next, and small throw pillows decorated with lace and ribbon in the front. As she stood back to admire the well-made bed, she remembered that it was Wednesday. She washed her sheets every Wednesday.

She quickly put the sheets in the washing machine and returned to the bedroom. She stared at herself in the mirror for about 30 seconds. She imagined herself with shorter hair, carefully shaped eyebrows, colored contact lenses, a sexy dress, red lipstick. Each day she added to the list of things she would change about herself if she had the courage. But like yesterday and every day before that, she put her shoulder length, naturally brown, straight hair in a low pony tail and brushed an ever-so-small amount of pink blush on her cheekbones.

From the closet she chose one of the four pair of grey slacks hanging to the far left. Next hung the khaki slacks, then the black ones–all of them a bit too big. She then reached for the white turtleneck from the turtleneck shelf and the black cardigan sweater from the cardigan shelf. Finally, she slipped on comfortable black loafers and headed out the door of her small one bedroom apartment.

Patricia walked quickly to the stairwell. She had never been in the elevator. It would mean standing close to people, or maybe being forced to have a conversation with a stranger. (All of the tenants of the building were strangers to Patricia; she had never met any of them.)

She scooted quickly down the five flights of stairs to the parking lot and her trusty 1988 white Ford Taurus. She would have to hustle to get to the library in time to finish the last chapter of Valley of the Dolls before she had to unlock the doors and begin her daily routine of shelving and reshelving books. She loved coming into the big empty building early in the morning—the sound her shoes made on the marble floors, the feel of the heavy oak chair as she pulled it from beneath the table, the slight echo of the pages being turned as she read. Seldom did she take books home from the library. Reading them in the library made it seem less like killing time and more like a hobby…less like escaping from her loneliness and more like part of her job.

She was content reading before and after work from books right there on the shelves, just waiting for someone to read. Books like Valley of the Dolls, The Stepford Wives, Maneater, The Nanny Diaries always appealed to her. But she also really enjoyed the classics…Moby Dick, Robinson Crusoe, Grapes of Wrath, anything by Ernest Hemingway. But for the last two weeks she had been lost in the world of Anne, Neely and Jennifer. Their climb to the top in the entertainment world, their dive to the bottom of drug addiction and their sexy lifestyle was the epitome of escapism for Patricia. She gasped out loud enough times to be thankful the library was empty.

Her boss, Lilly, had offered her promotion after promotion during her ten years at the library. Lilly would have loved to have Patricia at the counter helping patrons or in the main office handling employee and volunteer scheduling or inventory. But Patricia couldn’t imagine dealing with people at the counter or with other employees. She was content pushing the metal cart full of books around. If she piled the books high enough, she could make her way up and down the aisles without being seen by anyone.

Patricia finished the last page of Valley of the Dolls at precisely 8:00 A.M. She made her way to the front, unlocked the doors and opened them slowly. She was startled to see a young boy and his mother standing just outside the door. “Good morning,” said the woman cheerfully. “Do you work here? How silly, of course you do. Are you open now? We’re here for story hour. We saw it advertised in the paper last week. It starts at 8:00, right? Ryan, say hello to the nice lady.”Ryan complied with an unenthusiastic, “Hi.”
“Uh…I don’t know. I mean, no. Sorry. It starts at 9:00. “Patricia quickly stepped backward into the library and let the heavy door swing closed slowly. Why was she so nervous about answering a simple question? She wondered if she should see a therapist.

As Lilly and the other employees began to filter in, Patricia collected books from the return bins and filled her cart. She always tried to be done at the counter before Lilly and the others got settled in. Although she liked them, Lilly especially, seldom did she engage in any small-talk. A half-hearted smile and an uninspired wave as she walked away were usually all she gave…or received.

Her morning went as it always did; reshelving books, non-fiction, periodicals, children’s, straightening shelves, finding the occasional book in the wrong section and taking it to its proper location. She always saved fiction for the end of the day. Today she needed to choose a new book to read. Maybe a horror novel; Stephen King. She quickly changed her mind, and decided to find a good classic or maybe a romance novel instead. Being scared wasn’t her idea of fun. She wondered what her idea of fun was. She couldn’t think of a single thing. The remainder of the morning was uneventful…just as she’d hoped.

Patricia had just finished her work in the non-fiction section when Lilly approached her.

“Patricia. How was your morning? I haven’t seen much of you; must’ve been busy.”
“Yes. Very busy,” replied Patricia as she looked at the floor.
“Anyway, a few of us are going to the new Mexican place on Smith Road for lunch. I think it’s called Juan’s. Would you like to go with us?”
“No, thank you. I have plans for lunch today.”
“Plans? Wow. That’s great. Good for you, Patricia. Have a great time and I’ll see you later. Maybe we’ll have lunch another day.”
Patricia wondered if Lilly thought that Patricia had a date for lunch. She felt a bit guilty for being inadvertently misleading, but she really did have plans for lunch–the same plans she had every day: Tuna fish, potato chips, two dill pickles and a large iced tea at Murphy’s Deli down the street.

She walked through the door of the deli and was shocked to see almost every booth occupied. She had never seen Murphy’s this busy before. She approached Seth, the host, and asked for her regular booth.

“Hi. It’s Tricia, right? How ya doin? I can seat you right over here. I know it’s not your regular booth, but I hope it’ll do for today.”
“That’s fine. I mean, if that’s all you have available.” And then, as she followed Seth to her booth, she mumbled under her breath, “My name is Patricia.”
“I’m sorry, did you say something?” He replied quickly.
“Never mind.”
She slid into the booth and indicated to Seth that she didn’t need a menu. He smiled, poured her a glass of water and motioned to the waitress. She came right over and said “Hi sweetie. Tuna salad on toasted wheat, chips, two dill pickles and iced tea. Right? Anything else today?”
“No, that’s all. Thank you Sandy.”
As she waited for her lunch, she looked around the small deli and was quite relieved that she had gotten this last booth. She’d been eating lunch at Murphy’s for almost three years, and she couldn’t imagine eating anywhere else. Even just the thought of it made her nervous.

“Excuse me. I hope you don’t mind my asking, but do you mind if I share this booth with you?” Patricia looked up to see a beautiful young woman standing over her table. “I only have thirty minutes before my next appointment, and I’m hungry enough to eat a whole cow. Waitress,” she motioned to a busy Sandy, “can I please get a salad with Italian dressing and a cup of vegetable soup? Thanks. “She was talking fast; almost panicked that she wouldn’t get lunch today. Patricia empathized.

Patricia answered, “Actually, I just told the waitress to bring my lunch to go, so you’re welcome to the booth. “She grabbed her purse and slid out of the booth quickly. She tried to look casual and nonchalant in her desperate effort to escape the uncomfortable exchange. She found Sandy near the front of the deli and asked for her lunch in a to-go box. It was only a matter of minutes before Patricia was on her way to the park. She would have rather gone back to the library, but she’d already told Lilly she had plans.

Patricia finished her lunch, and began to walk the block and a half back to the library. She walked on the opposite side of the street so she wouldn’t have to walk past Murphy’s Deli. She didn’t want to risk running into the bubbly woman who hijacked her booth. Patricia was amazed by what she saw in the store-fronts. A beautiful oak table in the antique shop; a red silk dress in the consignment store; a tray full of fresh pretzels and rolls in the bakery; sparkly diamond rings in the window of the jewelry store…she couldn’t remember the last time she had walked on this side of the street.

Back in the library, she walked past the front counter and heard Lilly and her co-workers come in the door behind her. They were laughing and joking about something that had obviously happened at lunch. “That was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen! Did you see the look on his face?!” And then from Lilly, “OK guys, keep it down. Remember? Library? People reading?” More quiet giggles, and then they returned to their positions behind the counter or in the office. Patricia quickly piled the books high on her cart and let the aisles envelop her like a warm blanket.

At the end of the day, Patricia pulled into the parking lot of her apartment complex. Home just in time to microwave her leftover casserole before the evening news came on. She set the table with a plate, a full set of silverware (even though she knew she only needed a fork), a napkin and a glass of iced-tea. She sat down at the small table facing the television and served herself a healthy portion of the somewhat dry, two-day-old, casserole. She decided that she would make lasagna the following evening. She would freeze half of it and the other half would last the rest of the week.

As she walked from the kitchen to the bedroom, she thought she heard a faint knocking, but dismissed it quickly. She certainly wasn’t expecting any company. Again, she heard knocking at the door. Who could it be? She tip-toed across the floor and looked through the peep hole. It was her neighbor from down the hall. She was pretty sure her name was Melanie. A nice girl who always said hello, but Patricia thought she was a bit pushy. As she stood looking at Melanie through the peep-hole, it suddenly occurred to her why she was there knocking at her door—the flyer. Melanie had caught Patricia looking at a flyer she had posted near the stairwell last week. “GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS! COME TO MY PAD FOR A COCKTAIL PARTY…” The only other thing she remembers about the flyer was the smiling, winking frog at the top of the page. “I hope you’ll come. “She had said to Patricia. “Don’t you think it’s about time we all get together?” Patricia had nodded, smiled and quickly walked away. And here she was, standing at her door in a simple black dress, probably looking for people to come to her party. Did anyone else show up? Maybe she just needed to borrow some ice or something. “Don’t move…don’t breathe…floor might creak…she might hear you.” She thought.

Melanie left a few seconds later, looking rejected and sad. Patricia felt bad, but not bad enough to answer the door. She didn’t know anyone in her building. She didn’t even own a cocktail dress. She sat on the couch, reached for the remote and hoped that Melanie was okay. She watched two hours of television and went to bed.
Next morning as Patricia opened her eyes, her clock read 6:02. I need a therapist, she decided.

“Please, sit down.”
“Thank you.”
“It’s your hour…”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“Why don’t you start with your name?”
“You know my name.”
“Pretend I don’t.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Humor me.”
“My name is Patricia Stevens.”
“What do you do?”
“I’m a librarian; assistant librarian.”
“Do you like it?”
“I’ve been doing it for ten years.”
“Do you like it?”
“Maybe assistant librarian is an exaggeration. I restock the shelves when the books get returned and, of course, I find a place for the new arrivals; new books.”
“Do you like what you do?”
“It pays the bills. You know, ya got to keep a roof over your head.”
“Marital status?”
“Single. It’s just me and, of course, Snow.”
“Snow?”
“My cat.”
“Why are you here?”
“I’m sad. A lot. Don’t know why.”
“Have you had a checkup recently?”
“Yes. I’m okay…physically. Dr. Greenberg is the one who recommended you.”
“I know.”
“Of course you know. I’m sorry. Don’t mean to waste your time.”
“It’s fine. Let me put it to you like this: Why do you think you’re sad?”
“I don’t know. I have a job, my own apartment (I sublease), and a kitty who loves me.”
“How old is your cat?”
“What difference does that make?”
“It’s just a question. That’s what I do. I ask questions. How old is your cat?”
“Thirteen.”
“If you had one wish, what would you wish for?”
“I don’t know. That’s a tough question.”
“Wishing is a tough question?”
“I would need time to think about it. I haven’t wished in a long time.”
“When was the last time you were happy?”
“I don’t know.”
“Where do you want to be in five years?”
“I don’t know. Where do you want to be in five years?”
“I’m the one asking the questions.”
“Sorry.”
“It’s okay. Look, in less than a couple of minutes, sum up your life for me.”
“I told you, it’s me and Snow. I go to work 8:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday and 9:00 to 3:00 on Saturdays. I like to read and sometimes go to the movies.”
“That took you less than ten seconds.”
“What do you want from me?! I told you, I’m sad! I don’t know why! I do the same thing over and over—day in and day out! I can’t tell one day from the next! I don’t know where I want to be in five years! I don’t know what to wish for! Is there some Fairy around here granting wishes?! ‘Cause if there is, I’ll get in line! I’m here for you to fix me! I’m here to be happy again, even if I don’t know when I last was! That’s what I’m paying you for!”
“Can I ask you one more question?”
“Go ahead!”
“When was the last time you did something new?”
“Like what?”
“I don’t know; changed your hair, bought a new dress, drove a different way to work, talked to someone in an elevator…”
“I don’t do elevators.”
“Right. I’ll mark that down. We’ll deal with that later. When was the last time you did something new?”
“Are you telling me that I’m paying $150 an hour to have you recommend I buy a new dress!?”
“I’m sorry. Your time is up.”
“What?! I just got here! Where are my pearls of wisdom?!”
“Fine. When growth stops, decay begins.”
“What is that supposed to mean?!”
“Everyday that you decide to do the same thing over and over; everyday that you decide to play back your yesterdays; you stop growing. You want to know why you’re sad? I’ll tell you. You’re sad because, at some point in your life, you stopped taking chances. At some point in your life, you threw in the towel. I didn’t throw in that towel—Snow didn’t throw in that towel—you did. Every time you settle—every time you decide to ‘sit this one out,’ you decay a little bit more. You don’t want to be sad any more? Then do something about it. Sadness—loneliness—it’s a decision. I asked you when you first got here, over and over, if you liked what you do. You never gave me a straight answer.

… Start with that.

“Eleanor Rigby, died in the church
and was buried along with her name Nobody came
Father McKenzie, wiping the dirt
from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved”
-Lennon/McCartney

by Julie Seitz and Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®

A Reflection of You

I remind couples that they will spend more time, ten times more, talking to each other than having sex. While this may not be true of your relationship when it ignites (you bunny rabbit couples), it will, I promise you, eventually be true.  Nobody can wanka-wanka non-stop without, at the very least, taking a break for: bread, water, chit chat, and a restocking of lubricants. Think that’s funny? Take the oil away from an engine and see how long before it seizes. You get my point. Seriously, what is or should be the most attractive feature of a woman to us men? 

Wrong answer if you’re thinking “Breast men,” “Ass men,” “Legs men,” and “Face men!” The other day I overheard an ignoramus say: “That’s a butter girl” she’d be hot ” ‘but her’ face is whack!” Any man who doesn’t realize that a woman’s most beautiful quality is her mind is out of his mind! But, who is to blame for all the “Ass men” and “Breast men,” etc. out there? Look, if I stripped butt naked (stay with me here don’t be scared) and lit myself on fire, I bet I could get a lot of people’s attention. But is hurting myself really worth the attention?

WOMEN, LISTEN UP!!! YOU’VE GOT TO STOP HURTING YOURSELVES IN ORDER TO GET ATTENTION! YOU LADIES ARE CAMOUFLAGING YOUR BEST ASSET: YOUR BRAIN! Following is a list of the top ten things you do, that while they get our attention, won’t keep our attention, and some of those things that you do to try to hook a man, bring much pain and discomfort. Moreover, do you really want a man that may be nothing but a bottom feeder or do you want to catch someone who will love you and not the equipment you just got installed? I’m getting side tracked. Here is the list of the top ten things YOU do everyday but most men would never consider doing them for YOU in a million years.

1. Put so much makeup on, that your skin can’t breathe and your face breaks out:
Then, when it does breakout, you put on concealer and twice as much makeup to cover it up! That makes no sense! The makeup caused the problem, so let’s put more on? There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who has just washed her face and radiates a fresh, clean scent!

2. Long fake nails that snap off during sex and lay hidden in the carpet, like thumbtacks, ready to take us out at 3:00 A.M. when we are on our way to the bathroom:
Why am I screaming and waking your ass up in the middle of the night? ‘Cause I got a three-inch splinter jammed under my big right toe and as I jumped around in pain, I ran into the dresser! When a man sees a woman with three inch long fingernails, there is only one thing that goes through his mind: “There goes one lazy chick!” Ain’t nothing good a woman can do in this world with giant claw-like nails except maybe scratch your back!

3. Butt crack jeans:
I know I’m going to take a lot of heat from my brothers-in-arms on this one ’cause there is nothing in this world a man appreciates more than a nice butt crack on a beautiful girl. But, the people selling butt crack jeans aren’t checking what kind of butt is going in these jeans! A little butt crack is one thing, the Grand Canyon is another! Ladies you don’t need to moon us in order to get us to love you. The goal is to “catch and keep,” and not “catch and release.”

4. T-backs:
Commonly referred to as “THONGS.” My God! How uncomfortable must they be?! I’ve been on the receiving end of a wedgy or two when I was young and I can tell you, I didn’t like it! Why would anybody sign up for this? Panty lines? Who cares?! The little fellas that I really feel sorry for are the little dust mites that are on the dental floss before they go deep, deep, deep under cover! There can’t be a dust mite alive at the end of a long, hot day when that thong finally hits the hamper! Ladies look: a nice ass is a nice ass is a nice ass! Panty lines, no panty lines, an attractive backside will be noticed if that is your goal. But seriously, do you really want us talking to you and making eye contact or craning our necks to see some junk in the trunk?

5. Footwear:
I don’t understand the idea of putting anything on your feet that is uncomfortable — pumps, spike heels, platforms, anything! If God wanted you to be taller he would have made you taller. Walking around on your toes all day hurting your feet for a few inches is ridiculous. You want to fix something, fix your posture! I’d rather eye ball a short girl in flats with good posture than a short girl in pumps with a humpback looking for a bell to ring. I like Jada Pinkett- Smith (wife of Will Smith). She is short but walks tall! Real men see high heel shoes as lack of confidence or someone they could blow a C note on for a good time! Stop throwing tons of money away on shoes that hurt your feet. If you stop buying them, they’ll stop making them.

6. Push-up Bras:
Most men aren’t Isaac Newton but we know about gravity and we know that breasts don’t magically point and lift themselves up towards the sky! Why would you lift and separate and then throw over them a low cut blouse for the world to see? They call the device that makes small breasts look bigger the “wonder bra.” What wonder? It’s a mirage! It’s false advertising! When the bra comes off, everything goes back to where it was! No mystery here! More of a disappointment! Even if you lure us in by raising and squeezing your breasts together, no man wants to stop there! There isn’t a victory dance till’ the bra comes off; then your gig is up! You might as well stuff your bra with Kleenex or those little spongy filet cutlets! If you’re going to lie about a couple of boobs then what can we believe? Why do women with small breasts want to look big and women with large breasts want to look small?  That is one thing I like about runway models; whatever they got, big or small (and they are mostly small) they are proud of them! I may not know the secrets to the universe but I can tell you that if you hate even one part of your body, that hate will eat you up like a cancer ’till that’s all you see. Love what you call your “imperfections” because they look perfect to us.

7. Fake Breasts:
I can’t leave out breast implants. WOMEN, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! WHY WOULD YOU GO UNDER ANY ELECTIVE SURGERY THAT COULD JEOPARDIZE YOUR LIFE? WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS SURGERY IF YOU KNEW THERE WAS A 25% to 50% CHANCE THAT WITHIN 5 YEARS YOU WOULD REQUIRE CORRECTIVE SURGERY? FOR US? We’re not worth it! Any man that loves a woman MORE because she has fake breasts is an idiot! For yourself? Are you saying God made a mistake with you that needs fixing. This is crazier than all the previous six combined, changing yourself based on society’s perception of beauty? And when I say society I’m referring to all the marketing companies on Madison Avenue who want to make a quick buck at your expense by telling you how beautiful you could be! This one is real simple: Ladies, don’t let anybody cut into your body unless your life depends on it.  If everyone around you tells you that they don’t like you the way you are, then you need new friends not new breasts!

8. All other Cosmetic surgery:
Botox, facelift, butt lift, tummy tuck, liposuction, etc. AGAIN: Don’t let anyone cut into your body unless your life depends on it. If I have to explain how stupid it is injecting a botulinum toxin that paralyzes your face, then you can stop reading now! I got nothing else to say! Wrinkles? Since when are wrinkles something to be ashamed of? When I see wrinkles I see fortitude, wisdom, beauty, sophistication, grace, elegance, intelligence. Old you say? What’s wrong with old? Ponder the alternative. If you see wrinkles as anything other than beauty you need to get your eyes checked. Face lift, butt lift, liposuction? I’ll say this once more: celebrate your imperfections, don’t try to fix them! They are what make you look unique! Do you really want to look like everyone else?

9-10. Body Piercing and Tattoos:
According to New York University, psychology professor Paul Vitz (as is argued in his book “Psychology as Religion”) “Cosmetic mutilation has now been able to enter the mainstream culture only because of the revival of paganism and the eclipse of the Judeo-Christian ethic.” Hmm….well, I think that’s a stretch. But I do agree with his use of the term “Cosmetic Mutilation.” To punch holes and scar your body seems like the ultimate crazy act (besides suicide) to draw attention. Think about what this person is saying by their actions: “What I have to say, think, or do on its own merits isn’t enough to get you to notice, like, love, care for, or be with me, so I have to destroy and cover up my own skin.” People who have to apply meaning to themselves by putting artwork or symbols permanently on their skin can’t like themselves very much, if at all. Of course there are people that tell me it is an act of self-expression; a reuniting of the mind and body that has split; that a tattoo or piercing is a redefining of the self from the group so individualism or uniqueness can be created. Look, last time I checked we were all born unique. Unless you are an identical twin, there isn’t anyone else like you. To put on the same tattoos that other people have seems like a way to be more like someone else than it does about being unique. If anything, tattoos and piercing’s are a way to be more accepted for the person who feels alone. By getting a piercing or tattoo they can be a part of a club or a group of people that have done the same thing so that they can be accepted. Piercing’s and tattoos are more a cry for help than they are individualism. It is much harder knowing and learning who you are than taking the easy way out and changing your “book cover” so someone will automatically like you.  Even something as common as diamond earrings is just a way to receive compliments. Think about it. Earrings are the only type of jewelry that can’t be seen or appreciated by the owner unless they look in a mirror or get a compliment. 

On July 14th 2005 on the Today Show, Katie Couric said: “It is about time to show real women, real beauty. Not this unattainable, unreachable version of what we are fed beauty is supposed to be.” According to a recent survey (as reported on July 14th, 2005, Today Show) two thirds of women strongly agree that the media and advertising set an unrealistic standard of beauty that women can’t ever achieve; and the impact of that is:  
  • Only 13% of women are very satisfied with their body weight and shape
  • Only 2% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful
  • More than half of all women say their bodies disgust them.

Ladies, all Ladies, I’m talking to you. This one is easy: If you love yourselves, we’ll love you.

 

by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®