paulisadroid
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You are Lying to Yourself if You Think She Likes You

It's late. You're in a neighborhood you've never been in. You scroll through your text messages. You assume they want you to stay the night but you're unsure. You receive another text, "where are you?"
You respond with a lie. You tell them you are about 30 minutes away even though you're parked around the block. You stare at your wrist and wish you had a watch. You light a cigarette and after taking one drag you use your free hand to wipe the gloss from your eyes. You sit there and think.
You think about that scene from 500 Days of Summer. The one where Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character thinks he has a chance to get back together with Zooey Deschanel's character but instead finds out that she is engaged and no longer his to court.
You feel this way. Like you have made a mistake. Like you shouldn't have left your house so late knowing you have to get up for work early. You light another cigarette. You continue to think about what might happen.
You think they will answer the door and you will hug. You imagine watching them lean up against the kitchen counter, pouring a glass of red wine, and offering you a beer. And when you accept they walks up to you and brushes the hair out of your face the same way you have done for her.
You smile at each other and they put their wine glass down on the counter and you do the same. You slink towards each other, furtive and nervous, smiles creeping up your faces like the corners of your respective mouths were being pulled up by small strings.
They wrap their arms around you and you put yours around them. You try to whisper something witty, clever, or smart but nothing comes out. They interrupt your stutter with a kiss. Their soft lips pressed against your soft lips and you finally feel whole again.
You picture yourself laying in bed next to them. Smiling, laughing, and making plans for the week. You talk about coffee shops, tattoos, and your favorite movies. As you start to drift to sleep, you put your arm around them and start to feel your breathing match tempos. You have made the connection you always wanted.

Except, none of that happens.

After imagining the best possible outcome, you leave your car and ring their bell. They answer and motion for you to come inside. You walk into the apartment and it's a mess, they are only wearing a tee-shirt and there's a bottle of Budweiser on the kitchen counter half-drank. They grab it and ask you to sit across from them at the table.
They start talking at you. Yes, at you. You find it hard to listen after they say what happened between you can never happen again. The walls fall apart behind them and you can only hear one thing. The last song you listened to before you left the car, Nothing's Guilty of Everything:

"My hands are up. I’m on my knees. I don’t have a gun. You can search me please. I’ve given up. But you shoot anyway. I’m guilty of everything."

You start to hear words like, "secret", "our", and "promise". Your brain can't piece together the words properly but you understand what they are saying. You nod along when they ask if you're paying attention. You start to feel ashamed. And broken. And torn.
Your rib cage cracks open and you never thought you'd feel like this again. You hate yourself for opening up something that should have stayed shut. Your hands start to shake, your eyes lose focus, your mouth goes dry, you start tapping your finger against your leg, you realize you left your cigarettes in the car, they ask if you're okay. You nod. You nod. You nod. You smile. You nod. You smile. You leave.
You sit in your car until four in the morning. You chain-smoke the rest of your pack.

You promise yourself that you'll never let anyone in again.

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This was a really great read, especially for any of us who had a really messy break-up. I've definitely been there for some of this. At this point of my life, all my exes are either engaged or married off, and I guess sometimes there's a part of my character that really can't help but dwell on those 'what ifs'. I also love the name of this collection - Behind The Bars. It's fitting. There's definitely some Elliot Smith level self-contemplation going on in this one.
I love this, though I also hate it. I hate it for the reality of it, the rawness. You don't pull any punches here, and I dig that.
@allischaaff unfortunately, like 90% of this is true. it's a sucky, terrible, awful feeling. but all we can do is try to move forward.
@paulisaverage, this is heartbreaking and so sweet and so true to life. I've had these experiences too. It sucks and I don't know if this is something that actually happened to you, but I feel your pain. <3
@JordanNash Thanks so much. It means a lot! I'm glad the piece resonated with you. @danidee, I'm happy you caught that subtle (or not so subtle) Elliott Smith reference! It's also very literal, drinking then writing is one of my favorite past-times, hahaha!
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Wooord!
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How to Be a Good Kisser
10 Tips From Scientific Research: What Does Science Say About How To Be A Good Kisser? In all fairness, how to be a good kisser is something no one really gets instruction in. Yet, it can be a huge part of one’s personal life and the sources we do get info from are, well, far from scientific. Let’s tackle it. Have No Illusions: Kissing Is Important Research shows kissing frequency correlates with relationship satisfaction. 59% of men and 66% of women have ended a relationship because someone was a bad kisser. People remember their first kiss more vividly than the first time they had sex. Psychologist John Bohannon from Butler University has found that most of us can recall up to 90 percent of the details of a first romantic kiss. In his study of five hundred people, most remembered this experience more vividly than their first sexual encounter. Movies like “Pretty Woman” have said that prostitutes don’t kiss on the mouth because it’s too intimate. Refraining from mouth-to-mouth kissing has been common among women of the “oldest profession” for a very long time. Social scientists Joanna Brewis and Stephen Linstead report that prostitutes often won’t kiss because it requires a “genuine desire and love for the other person.”By avoiding the lips of a client, they are best able to keep emotions out of their work. A ten-year psychology study undertaken in Germany during the 1980s found that men who kissed their wives before leaving for work lived, on average, five years longer, earning 20 to 30 percent more than peers who left without a peck good-bye. The researchers also reported that not kissing one’s wife before leaving in the morning increased the possibility of a car accident by 50 percent. Psychologists do not believe it’s the kiss itself that accounts for the difference but rather that kissers were likely to begin the day with a positive attitude, leading to a healthier lifestyle. Why Do We Kiss? Kissing is how we test if someone would (biologically) be a good mate. A good deal of the scientific literature speculates that kissing may have evolved to help us choose a suitable partner, or to realize when a match is a bad idea…The exchange of olfactory, tactile, and postural information might trigger unconscious mechanisms that guide us in deciding whether we should continue, and a kiss might even tell us about a potential partner’s level of commitment and genetic compatibility. How kissing is perceived: - It matters a lot more to women than men. - Women were very focused on men’s teeth and hygiene. - Men were much more likely to see kissing as a mere step toward sex. - Other studies reveal these differences held true across cultures. Women were far more likely to see kissing as a good way to assess a potential mate or to initiate, maintain, and monitor a long-term relationship. They also rated the breath and taste of a man’s kiss as highly significant in determining whether to keep on kissing him in the moment or the future. Women were far more interested in healthy-looking teeth, and reported valuing the experience of kissing much more than men did— before, during, and after a sexual encounter. Men, on the other hand, were much less picky about kissing and far more interested in facial and bodily attractiveness. How Do You Find Out If Someone Wants To Kiss You? This dilemma probably produces more nervousness and awkwardness than anything else related to kissing. All the sources I checked agreed: It’s a matter of breaking into your partner’s personal space in a plausibly deniable way and gauging their reaction. It’s important to note that whether or not your intentions are romantic, to kiss another person on the cheek or elsewhere— or to sniff him or her—it’s necessary to move into that individual’s “personal space.” To get this close, there must be some level of trust or expectation. Thus delivering a friendly kiss or sniff, or receiving one, amounts to an unspoken gesture of acceptance. The best specific method came from pick-up artist David D'Angelo: Guys, adjust a woman’s hair. It’s an intimate enough gesture that a flinch can tell you she’s not interested – while a more pleasant response could be a green light. Either way it provides the information necessary without making things tooawkward for either party. Advice for Women For The Art of Kissing William Cane asked men what their biggest complaints and desires were regarding kissing. Ladies, want to make guys think you’re a great kisser? Here are some takeaways from the research: - Open your mouth more. Research shows men prefer “wetter kisses with more tongue. - Initiate more. - Be more aggressive with your tongue and take an active part in the kiss. You could probably sum them all up by saying: Stop holding back. Advice For Men - Don’t jam your tongue down her throat. This was women’s most frequent complaint. You’re kissing her, not trying to implant an alien embryo in her stomach. - Keep your ears attuned to her breathing. Bluntly, make sure you’re allowing her to breathe. Women tend to enjoy kissing more when they’re not being suffocated. - “Listen” to the way she’s kissing.Match her tempo. Reply to her tongue action with similar tongue action. Leading and being aggressive can be good but being oblivious is bad. Also, aligning with the research on hygiene, take care of your teeth, use mouthwash and carry mints. No matter how attractive someone may be, poor hygiene can kill the moment before it even begins. This is particularly true for men. As preceding chapters have described,women depend heavily on taste and smell and pay close attention to teeth when evaluating a partner. A few other tidbits from an interview with William Cane, author of The Art of kissing: - “53% of women prefer (to kiss) a clean-shaven man.” - “Women’s favorite spot to be kissed, other than the mouth, is the neck.Ninety-six percent of women reported that they like neck kisses, while only about 10% of men do.” - “Women also complain that men don’t do enough variations in kissing, that they’re too machine-like or repetitive. Women would like a number of different kisses: the neck, the ears, “liposuction,” which is moving from the upper lip to the lower lip…be creative.” And It’s Not All About Technique As Sun Tzu said, “all wars are won or lost before they are ever fought.” By and large, the same is true about kissing. You can be a great kisser but behave in a way that makes sure no one ever wants to kiss you. Circumstances can hamper things as well. - Looking good matters, so look good. Yeah, it’s obvious but if you’re the guy wearing black socks with sandals and a fanny pack, take note. (More on the scientific approach to being sexier here and here). - Set the stage. Getting to know one another eases awkwardness and lays the groundwork for a hormonal profile conducive to intimacy. Love researcher Arthur Aron has a list of questions shown to make people bond almost instantly. - Context matters. If you want it to go well, pick the right time, not some sloppy smothering outside the bar. I’ve posted before about the things that help in this area; dim lights, wearing red, sharing secrets and a touch of excitement can all be a good lead-in. - Get to know your partner’s likes and dislikes. Kissing isn’t an Olympic sport judged by an objective 1-10 score. A big part of it is personal preference. Get to know your partner and you will become a better kisser in their eyes as the relationship progresses. Now go practice some “science.”