Tag Archives: love

Hero Who Stopped Seattle Shooter Has His Wedding Registry And Honeymoon Paid For By Strangers

This is how Seattle reacts to mass shootings: bring down the shooter with pepper spray then reward the hero by paying for his honeymoon & wedding registry.


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by | June 9, 2014 · 4:53 pm

Life Without Sex


Published: July 20, 2013

“PARIS — FOR a period of my life, from my 27th to my 39th years, I slept alone: I had no sex. I wasn’t unhappy. Or frustrated. In fact, I found no sex preferable to disappointing sex.

Just before giving up, I had a boyfriend. He often said that we were happy sexually, but frankly he was blind to my unhappiness. So that winter, I went skiing without him.

Alone in all that sun and snow, absorbing energy from the sky and mountains, I let my body breathe quietly. The freedom and whiteness of the snow and mountains produced a kind of ecstasy. And the special pleasure I found skiing in this paradise made me think about the possibilities of my body, my sensuality. And I asked myself, “Sophie, is your sexual life so very stimulating, actually?” And my answer was, “No.” I realized that even when I took pleasure, I was not ecstatic with my sexual life. In fact, I seemed to be going through the motions of lovemaking because, I thought, that’s what everybody did. I decided to take a break, to recover a true desire.

And what a break! Twelve years!

It was so easy to stop.

At the beginning, I kept the fact that I had given up sex a secret, and nobody around me could guess how untouched I was. I knew perfectly well that people accept all kinds of sexual behaviors, just so long as you are doing something with your body.

Are you single, married, engaged, “it’s complicated”? Are you straight, gay, a lesbian? All of these categories suggest sexual activity, which somehow reassures us. You are doing something.

But I don’t think that’s our true life and rhythm. We are not machines. Nothing is so tidy about our sex lives. We are very alone in how we dream. We are not making love as easily as we boast we are. And when we are making love, it is not always enjoyable.

We are liars, poor liars trying to mystify one another. Perhaps French people are especially big liars. At the very least, we are full of contradictions. If you visit Paris, you will notice that we are very thin, even if we are the country of bread and cheese. We are also very sexy, but maybe it’s only a show to save our reputation.

By giving up sex, I abandoned all this pretense. During the 12 years I didn’t have sex, I learned so much. About my body, the role of art in eroticism, the power of dreams, the softness of clothes, the refuge and the importance of elegance. That I can take more pleasure while watching Robert Redford shampooing Meryl Streep’s hair in “Out of Africa” than being in a bed with a man. Sometimes I took pleasure just by staring at men’s necks. Sometimes, just by listening to a voice. It was libido, trust me. It was desire. But society doesn’t recognize this kind of felicity. It’s too much! I’ve learned that most people mainly want to prove that they are sexually functioning, and that’s all. Strangely, people are ashamed to admit that they are alone in their beds, which I discovered is a huge pleasure.

Even the pleasure you can give to yourself (everyone asked me about masturbation) is a paradise. Alone, you are so completely free. Your imagination can sleep with who you want, even Cary Grant! He was one of my lovers, actually.

As I wrote about my experiences, I thought a lot about privacy. I realized privacy is not about what you are doing so much as about what you are not doing. Privacy is that which you can hide — which, in our modern society, is not much. Sexuality is completely on display. Around me, children know about their parents’ sexuality; parents know about children’s sexuality. Where is the treasure of silence, of things not shown? Where is the mystery? Our openness is a good thing, for many reasons (of course!), but it has made indiscretion the norm. Everywhere, the question of “Who are you?” is answered with an explanation of sex. This is silly. We’re more than that. We’re poetry, we are floating creatures, sometimes happy sexually, and sometimes in a desert, even as we share our lives with someone.

I believe that a desert is sometimes necessary. Sometimes, it is what your soul and your body need. A rest. To dream instead of do. And believe me, when the body really wants the skin of someone else, it knows perfectly how to behave. You will look into someone’s eyes, and nature will take over. No matter how old you are. No matter wrinkles, or norms.

Finally, I’ve met someone. Not a long story, but a very important one. I’ve met a man who is not afraid of my long years of solitude and is perhaps heated and reassured by my honesty and what he calls my “exciting expectations.” Who could ask for more?

Sophie Fontanel is the author of the forthcoming book “The Art of Sleeping Alone.”

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on July 21, 2013, on page SR12 of the New York edition with the headline: Life Without Sex.”

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by | July 22, 2013 · 8:49 pm

The Science of Love: How Positivity Resonance Shapes the Way We Connect


“The neurobiology of how the warmest emotion blurs the boundaries by you and not-you.

We kick-started the year with some ofhistory’s most beautiful definitions of love. But timeless as their words might be, the poets and the philosophers have a way of escaping into the comfortable detachment of the abstract and the metaphysical, leaving open the question of what love really is on an unglamorously physical, bodily, neurobiological level – and how that might shape our experience of those lofty abstractions. That’s precisely what psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, who has been studying positive emotions for decades, explores in the unfortunately titled but otherwise excellent Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become (UKpublic library). Using both data from her own lab and ample citations of other studies, Fredrickson dissects the mechanisms of love to reveal both its mythologies and its practical mechanics.

She begins with a definition that parallels Dorion Sagan’s scientific meditation on sex:

First and foremost, love is an emotion, a momentary state that arises to infuse your mind and body alike. Love, like all emotions, surfaces like a distinct and fast-moving weather pattern, a subtle and ever-shifting force. As for all positive emotions, the inner feeling love brings you is inherently and exquisitely pleasant – it feels extraordinarily good, the way a long, cool drink of water feels when you’re parched on a hot day. Yet far beyond feeling good, a micro-moment of love, like other positive emotions, literally changes your mind. It expands your awareness of your surroundings, even your sense of self. The boundaries between you and not-you – what lies beyond your skin – relax and become more permeable. While infused with love you see fewer distinctions between you and others. Indeed, your ability to see others – really see them, wholeheartedly – springs open. Love can even give you a palpable sense of oneness and connection, a transcendence that makes you feel part of something far larger than yourself.


Perhaps counterintuitively, love is far more ubiquitous than you ever thought possible for the simple fact that love is connection. It’s that poignant stretching of your heart that you feel when you gaze into a newborn’s eyes for the first time or share a farewell hug with a dear friend. It’s even the fondness and sense of shared purpose you might unexpectedly feel with a group of strangers who’ve come together to marvel at a hatching of sea turtles or cheer at a football game. The new take on love that I want to share with you is this: Love blossoms virtually anytime two or more people – even strangers – connect over a shared positive emotion, be it mild or strong.

Fredrickson zooms in on three key neurobiological players in the game of love – your brain, your levels of the hormone oxytocin, and your vagus nerve, which connects your brain to the rest of your body – and examines their interplay as the core mechanism of love, summing up:

Love is a momentary upwelling of three tightly interwoven events: first, a sharing of one or more positive emotions between you and another; second, a synchrony between your and the other person’s biochemistry and behaviors; and third, a reflected motive to invest in each other’s well-being that brings mutual care.

She shorthands this trio “positivity resonance” – a concept similar tolimbic revision – and likens the process to a mirror in which you and your partner’s emotions come into sync, reflecting and reinforcing one another:

This is no ordinary moment. Within this mirrored reflection and extension of your own state, you see far more. A powerful back-and-forth union of energy springs up between the two of you, like an electric charge.

What makes “positivity resonance” so compelling a concept and so arguably richer than traditional formulations of “love” is precisely this back-and-forthness and the inclusiveness implicit to it. Fredrickson cautions against our solipsistic view of love, common in the individualistic cultures of the West:

Odds are, if you were raised in a Western culture, you think of emotions as largely private events. you locate them within a person’s boundaries, confined within their mind and skin. When conversing about emotions, your use of singular possessive adjectives betrays this point of view. You refer to ‘my anxiety,’ ‘his anger,’ or ‘her interest.’ Following this logic, love would seem to belong to the person who feels it. Defining love as positivity resonance challenges this view. Love unfolds and reverberates between and among people – within interpersonal transactions – and thereby belong to all parties involved, and to the metaphorical connective tissue that binds them together, albeit temporarily. … More than any other positive emotion, then, love belongs not to one person, but to pairs or groups of people. It resides within connections.

Citing various research, Fredrickson puts science behind what Anaïs Nin poetically and intuitively cautioned against more than half a century ago:

People who suffer from anxiety, depression, or even loneliness or low self-esteem perceive threats far more often than circumstances warrant. Sadly, this overalert state thwarts both positivity and positivity resonance. Feeling unsafe, then, is the first obstacle to love.

But perhaps the insight hardest to digest in the age of artificial semi-connectedness – something Nin also cautioned against a prescient few decades before the internet – has to do with the necessary physicality of love:

Love’s second precondition is connection, true sensory and temporal connection with another living being. You no doubt try to ‘stay connected’ when physical distance keeps you and your loved ones apart. You use the phone, e-mail, and increasingly texts or Facebook, and it’s important to do so. Yet your body, sculpted by the forces of natural selection over millennia, was not designed for the abstractions of long-distance love, the XOXs and LOLs. Your body hungers for more.


True connection is one of love’s bedrock prerequisites, a prime reason that love is not unconditional, but instead requires a particular stance. Neither abstract nor mediated, true connection is physical and unfolds in real time. It requires sensory and temporal copresence of bodies .The main mode of sensory connection, scientists contend, is eye contact. Other forms of real-time sensory contact – through touch, voice, or mirrored body postures and gestures – no doubt connect people as well and at times can substitute for eye contact. Nevertheless, eye contact may well be the most potent trigger for connection and oneness.


Physical presence is key to love, to positivity resonance.”

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by | April 20, 2013 · 4:33 pm

Study: More people finding love at Walmart

Posted: Mar 04, 2013 2:28 PM ESTUpdated: Mar 04, 2013 2:28 PM EST

Source: CNN

Source: CNN

“If you’re looking for love in all the wrong places, Walmart Super Center might be the right place to look.

Maybe it’s the everyday low prices or a shared glance in the check-out line.

According to a new study by Psychology Today, more people thought they saw their future spouse at a Walmart than anywhere else in 15 states.

Researchers studied “missed connections” on Craigslist and discovered Walmart is the most popular place for people to find love at first sight.

The study also said not all connections occur at Walmart.

In New York, the subway is frequently cited for making connections, and in California it’s the gym.

Copyright 2013 CNN. All rights reserved. WGCL-TV contributed to this report.”

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by | March 5, 2013 · 4:12 pm

REVIEW | ‘Girlfriend’: Fine, Fizzy Romance with Killer Soundtrack

Credit Alan Simons / Actors Theatre of Louisville
Curt Hansen as Mike and Ryder Bach as Will in “Girlfriend” at Actors Theatre.


“Let’s flash back to 1993, to the days before texting and ready Internet access, when living in a small town really could feel like living on the moon. We are in Nebraska, but it might as well be any small town in Kentucky, Indiana, England. Let us say we are dorks, friendless and stilted, moving through high school like occasionally kicked stray dogs. Or. We are wearing someone else’s life, someone popular and ambitious and accomplished and right, holding our breath until we can leave this town and shed the fake skin like a bad sweater.

Let us say that one of us grew up and wrote a lovely play about this corner of the moon, and set it to the music of our favorite tape, beginning with Matthew Sweet’s “I’ve Been Waiting,” the sweetest song this side of Big Star’s “Thirteen.”

Todd Almond’s “Girlfriend,” a rock musical set to Matthew Sweet’s iconic 1991 power pop album of the same name, opened last night at Actors Theatre of Louisville. “Girlfriend” is a winsome crowd-pleaser, a finely acted, delicate and charming romance between two adorable protagonists, Will (Ryder Bach), a nerd who finds himself being courted, sort of, by Mike (Curt Hansen), the handsome jock who turns out to be much more. Almond’s intelligent, witty and unabashedly romantic scriptbrims with authentic dialog, astute observations and heart-stopping moments of pure vulnerability – every muttered “whatever” contains multitudes. 

In his brief pre-show speech, artistic director Les Waters, who directed this production as well as the 2010 world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, entreated the audience to “open your hearts very wide” to “Girlfriend.” The house complied – I haven’t witnessed such an openly appreciative group in the Pamela Brown in years. For once, the standing ovation felt spontaneous and  genuine, not obligatory, a satisfying end for an audience whose laughter and audible oh!s rang throughout the performance.

In an impressive season brimming with skillful and heartbreaking depictions of doomed, tragic dysfunction, “Girlfriend” is a sweet, fizzy treat, a show I can recommend without qualifying first that “it’s excellent, but I wouldn’t exactly say it’sfun.”

Let me say that I graduated high school in the flannelled late spring of 1994 and I am a sucker for watching cute boys fall in love, so “Girlfriend” pretty much had me from the overture. Like Sweet himself, this is a Nineties show with a hefty dose of New Sincerity, missing most of the weary cynicism and all of the bad haircuts of our actual youth. It’s a musical for the baggy cardigan, hands-stuffed-in-pockets shuffle-swaying at the show set, hearkening back to the days pre-“Glee” and “Smash” and whatever else that’s made musical theater cool again.

“Girlfriend” really is fun, from Will and Mike driving the back roads screaming along to their favorite songs to nearly every bizarrely funny thing that comes out of Will’s mouth (“I’ve been waiting my entire life for a boy to ask me to run errands with him.”). Their romance is so delicately wrought that to simply watch their hands inch close, only to retreat in haste, is as satisfying as the most epic on-stage journey.

Bach originated the role of Will in the Berkeley Rep production, and it’s hard to imagine another actor so fully embodying this character. This isn’t a heavily choreographed musical – Joe Goode has wisely designed dance moves that feel more like private goofing around than full-blown gotta-sing-gotta-dance numbers – but Bach moves at all times with the kinesthetic intelligence of a born dancer, allowing his body to react when Will’s face and voice cannot. And he’s hilarious – his deadpan delivery of Almond’s witty lines allow the private Will to shine, even as public Will shrinks in fear of the future and the wide world. Hansen is a charming foil, his bravado melting as he slowly makes himself as vulnerable as Will has been all along. 

Both are strong singers, but they steer clear of that familiar musical theater gloss, allowing their vocals the raw emotion of the shotgun seat aria and the shared, half-hummed chorus. Bandleader Julie Wolf strikes a nice balance between faithful renditions of Sweet’s classics and new arrangements that better fit individual scenes, and with Sara Lee, Kelly Richey and Jyn Yates, the band is on point and ever-present, but never overshadows the action.

David Zinn’s dual-hemisphere set is suitably spare up front where the action happens. A couch functions as Mike’s car, home base for their romance, as well as the centerpiece of his bedroom. Behind them, though, an authentically cluttered basement practice room, complete with wood paneling, overlapping posters and Christmas lights, houses the band. It looks like a music video set from the early Nineties, straight out of “120 Minutes,” – which is to say, perfect.

Social media buzzed with “remember your first love!” after opening night, but I’ll go one further and say that “Girlfriend” gives audiences, gay and straight, the first love experience any lonely teen could have wished for, minus any of the awful, selfish, mean, regrettable things we might have actually said and done to one another in our awkward pasts. It’s absolution with an amazing soundtrack. Will and Mike are good guys who like each other, so sit back, roll down the windows, and enjoy the ride. 

“Girlfriend” runs through February 17.”

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by | February 1, 2013 · 7:57 pm


book by Todd Almond
music and lyrics by Matthew Sweet
directed by Artistic Director Les Waters

January 29 – February 17, 2013
Presented by Actors Theatre of Louisville as part of the Brown-Forman Series
Nebraska, the 1990s. Two teenage boys—one a social outcast, the other the quintessential jock—explore a relationship during a summer of self-discovery between high school graduation and the rest of their lives. Set to irresistible songs from Matthew Sweet’s landmark pop album of the same name, this rock musical gives voice to those of us who grew up in small towns, those of us who didn’t quite fit in and learned we were somehow different, and anybody who remembers the terror and thrill of first love.

Recommended for High school and up (Grade 9)
Contains strong language

For tickets and more information visit http://www.actorstheatre.org or call 502-584-1205

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by | February 1, 2013 · 5:28 pm

“Never love anybody who…”

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by | January 27, 2013 · 7:56 pm