August 13, 2005

Not So Stupid Cupid

I just received the most magnificent news. One of my dearest ever friends is getting married! After all the years of waiting and wishing, she finally found the man she will spend the rest of eternity with. I am so thrilled for her. And doubling my joy is the satisfaction of knowing that I was instrumental in making her dream come true.

If all things go as planned, my friend and her beau will be the third couple I have set up on a blind date to triumphantly end up at the altar. Given such a glowing success rate, it cannot anymore be denied: this Cupid must not be so stupid after all.

My husband did not use to understand my predilection for matchmaking. He would at best tolerate my persistent attempts to mix and match everyone we knew. But upon seeing positive results (his good buddy is at present blissfully wedded to mine), he saw the light and now frequently demands that I find dates for his friends.

I love setting people up. Being an innate romantic, I relish the possibility of inalterably changing destinies by strengthening people’s chances of finding The One. Because I myself have long been blessed with such a wonderful lovelife, I sincerely want everybody to also be able to experience the incomparable happiness and contentment that comes with discovering a true heart-mate. But lest I am suddenly besieged by requests for aid from a swarm of hopeful singles all ready to mingle, do take heed. In order to work my wonder, I can by no means be rushed nor coerced (although a bit of palm grease could move an aspirant a notch higher on my Priority List).

Achieving a victorious pairing takes serious time and effort. It is pointless to try to persuade two people to go out with each other merely because they happen to both be single. Most old folk, especially well-meaning parents, fall frequently into this trap.

First Mother: “Mare, I haven’t seen you in ages! How’s your daughter?”
Second Mother: “Hay naku! She is still single. She’s so into her career, I’m afraid she will become a miserable old maid.”
First Mother: “Sigh! My son is single too. It’s such a pity. At his age, he should be married and giving me grandchildren. He should go out with your daughter.”
Second Mother: “Oh, this must be fate! Here’s our number. Tell your son to give my daughter a call right away.”

And there you have it: A Prelude to Blind Date Hell. Certainly, there is much more to the process than the artless lumping together of hapless beings yearning for partnership. Special factors must be taken into account to vastly improve the odds of a couple hitting it off, so that at the very least the two will end up enjoying their date and the time and money spent on their amorous quest will not have gone to waste.

Different creatures desire different types, both physically and intellectually, and their attraction to someone will be based on how that person suits their preferred mold. Although opposites do at times complement each other, individuals still possess vital expectations that need to be mutually satisfied for a meaningful relationship to flourish. I never force-fit. Instead, I unobtrusively take mental note of potential candidates I encounter in the course of every day. I carefully observe them and try to learn what makes them tick – what is important to them, how they view the world, who their past dalliances are, so on and so forth. I absorb the tidbits of information I gather and file them in my head for future reference. When my instinct tells me a possible match looms in the horizon, I act on it immediately and attempt to connect the prospects in question. From then on, what happens next is anybody’s bet.

Thus, timing is of the essence; patience and perseverance is key. Searchees, do not despair! Let hope burn eternal and carry you through the pursuit of your ultimate dream. You will never know. Someday, somehow, when you least expect it, it could happen. An arrow shot by a not so stupid Cupid could be heading straight for YOU!

August 09, 2005


I am so horrible with directions, it is downright shameful.

Whenever I catch an episode of The Amazing Race, I cannot help but marvel as the contestants successfully decipher maps and traverse faraway places simply by following clues. I, on the other hand, will need a very detailed outline just to get from my house to NAIA. And even then, there is only a fifty-percent chance I will get there without mishap.

I do not exaggerate. I am literally a lost soul.

When I hitch home with friends to our Makati condo after a gimmick, I get so embarrassed because it means inadvertently sending them on a wild goose ride through the metropolis.

When I was in my dating years and going out with different boys, I always dreaded the part when they had to take me home to ParaƱaque. This was not because I was past my curfew, but because I was anxious about giving incorrect directions and ending up in the wrong village. For it has happened. And although it wasn’t too bad when I found myself lost (an ironic phrase, that) with someone great and gorgeous since it meant spending more time together, it was plain awful when I was stuck with someone totally repugnant.

During my working days, I would get lost going to and from my office – even if I pass the same way each day and even if my husband had already painstakingly created a sketch resplendent with drawings of landmarks to help me find my way. While managing eight shops located in different malls throughout the country, I frequently got waylaid during branch visits. Not only did I get lost on the way to the malls, I also became lost in them. I would go up and down floors, frenetically weaving my way from shop to shop, getting all dizzy and sweaty until I finally had no choice but to swallow my pride and call on my trusty store employees for guidance.

When I was eight months pregnant, I once hailed a cab in order to go to Makati Medical Center for my monthly check-up. When I told the taxi driver where to take me, he asked me what the best way to get there was. My mind went blank and I had to call my husband from my celfone so he could dictate the directions to the cabbie. After the call, the mystified driver asked me if I was new to the Philippines. And being as discomfited as I was, I said yes! Lest he probe further, I pretended to be intent on a phone conversation with an imaginary friend until I finally reached the hospital.

My husband cannot comprehend how someone who holds the titles of Valedictorian and Magna Cum Laude could be so geographically inept. He has gone from martyr-like patience to sheer annoyance, from fatherly concern to blistering rage, from utter disbelief to profound acceptance at my non-existent sense of direction. But what truly gets his goat is when I have the gall to insist that I know the way when I don’t. At times, I can give instructions so commandingly that the most street-savvy are made to hesitate, buckle and rethink their mental roadmap….only to find themselves suddenly adrift with me in Road Purgatory.

Frankly, I have no bright explanations. All I know is that when I am in a vehicle on my way to somewhere, I get so preoccupied thinking about everything and nothing. I make a mental list of stuff I need to do when I reach my desired location. I stare intently at the children selling sampaguitas in the corner and I wonder about them, where their parents are and how they can still afford to smile so brightly. I pay attention to the lyrics of the songs playing in the stereo. I check in the rearview mirror if my lipstick is applied perfectly. When someone is with me in the car, I talk and I listen. Often, I laugh. Sometimes, I pray. When my husband is driving, I like to hold his hand. When our baby is in the backseat, I make faces at him and giggle.

I get so incredibly wrapped up in the moment, I end up forgetting how I’m going to get to my targeted destination. Anyhow, in the end, I know in my gut I’ll still manage to get to where I want to be, one way or another.

Thus, I remain lost. And happily so.

August 02, 2005

Stop....You're Making My Feet Blush!

My gal pals and I were strolling by the beauty section of a department store when my eagle-eyed friend V stops dead in her tracks and points in wordless astonishment to one of the items proudly displayed on a shelf. We all stop to look. Together, we let out a collective gasp. The product was FOOT BLUSH.

Come on. Let’s get serious. Foot Blush? Is it not enough that we women are doomed to spend countless hours in front of the mirror making up our faces to look perfect? Are we now expected to make up our feet as well?

Clearly, the bewildering male obsession with the fine form of the female foot has reached phenomenal heights as the cosmetics industry has deemed it worth capitalizing on. And apparently, pink shy feet that blush are the ideal to be coveted.

Unfortunately, my husband is not immune to this wicked fixation. I vividly recall his first visit to my house many moons ago. When I met him at the door naively clad in my trusted sneakers, one of the first things he said was: “Why not change to slippers so you’ll feel more comfortable?” I thought nothing of this seemingly nonchalant request and innocently slid into a pair of simple rubber thongs. Upon giving my feet a slightly subtle once-over, he looked positively smitten. And at that definitive moment, I knew. If I wanted to keep my guy happy, I had to be willing to go all-out and bare my sole without restraint.

Throwing all caution the wind, I embarked on countless shopping sprees and amassed footwear which blatantly revealed some serious toe cleavage. (Sadly, all my conservative shoes had to go via a major garage sale.) I became a foot spa habituƩ as I unrelentingly got scrubbed, soaked and slathered to ensure that I remained impeccably smooth, non-callous and corn-free. I wore pedicures in bright, eye-catching colors. I even dared flaunting a toe ring. Too late, I realized that I had turned into a foot slut. Consequently, my man became besotted, blown away, literally head-over-heels in love with me.

As I got to know more males, I learned my husband was more the rule than the exception. Majority of men truly are hopeless foot fiends. When they look a woman over from head to toe, they really do…with their eyes lingering a little bit longer on the toe part rather than the head part. And whereas they used to keep their bizarre fixation secret, they are now more blatant about it and do not hesitate to exchange foot notes in public:

“Did you notice how fabulously smooth my girlfriend’s feet are?”
“Her feet are as soft as a baby’s, I could drown in them.”
“Man, how I want to get a taste of those Popsicle toes!”
“Those red nails are driving me insane.”
“That lady has some nerve…she should just wear closed shoes.”

Sorry, but we women do not need that Foot Blush. All this outrageous attention is enough to make our feet blush naturally.