I was researching this evening the psychology and dynamics of relationships, specifically, the power struggle that usually occurs once it establishes itself after a certain period. While researching, I came across this image.
I stopped what I was doing and just looked at this image. I sat back in my chair and continued looking at it. I took a sip of water from the glass next to me, and my eyes were still focused on this image. What to think of it... what to think of it.
A warm smile came over me as I thought of my past relationships and even recent ones I've had that involved taller women. You see, I am a short man, so in a world where society deems a man be taller than a woman in a relationship, it was very refreshing to see something such as this break that mold. In an age where a man could marry a man, or a woman marry another woman, it seems prudent for me ask, why is this not more acceptable?
I remember my first crush in the 2nd grade. Her name was Gilda. The tallest kid in the class, taller than even all the boys and I was the shortest guy. Still, she spent her time with me, but I always felt weird, and I eventually pushed that friendship away. A few years ago I was curious to find out whatever happened to her. A year before finding out what happened to her, she passed away in a car crash.
In high school, I came across my first real love interest. Who could ever forget their first love? During lunch one day I sat next to my art class door entrance. The hall was empty; I was the only one sitting there. I had my notebook out, and I remember drawing a dragon. A magnificent looking beast! I drew in texture, intricate etching, even wisps of smoke across its nostrils. While drawing a girl stands next to me. I've seen her around school a few times. Again, one of the tallest students in the classroom. Slender, light skinned, blue eyes, and a golden white hair that just... captivated me. She was beautiful, and I felt nervous.
"What are you drawing?"
"Can I take a look?"
I hand over my notebook. Ready to make a great impression.
"Looks like crap. That's no dragon."
My blood turns cold. Who is this girl who hasn't introduced herself tell me my drawing looks like crap! She sits next to me, opens her backpack and takes out a sketchbook.
"Here. let me teach you how to draw a dragon."
I was upset and even insulted, but I stayed quiet, waiting to see what she does. She begins to sketch and within a few minutes I see one of the most REALISTIC looking dragon sketches I have ever seen! I remember being floored.
She turns to me and smiles.
"You have to start with circles and triangles, then slowly put in detail to get the right proportions."
That smile she gave at that moment, made me fall in love with her. Shortly after, she becomes the first girlfriend I ever had. To the envy of many guys in high school. A gifted artist in school, placed in all advanced art classes the school offered, Jayme opened the path to my appreciation of art I have today. She gifted me with the idea of seeing the world in a curious, childlike way at times.
After Jayme, I was involved in one relationship for over ten years. She is relatively my height so that dynamic did not exist.
She too is relatively my height, so again that dynamic did not exist.
After the divorce, I took about a year or so to be alone, focus on myself, and reclaim my identity. I confess, in my previous relationships I have been a bit insecure about my height, but truth be told... I never dated before and never even approached women. The introvert in me kept me a shy man. In fact, Gilda approached me in class, Jayme approached me and suggested that we should see each other exclusively, Helen approached me while practicing guitar in the high school courtyard, and Blu's mom... well... I'd rather not talk about it.
So after taking about a year after the divorce to focus on me, I began dating. A strange world. It's a superficial environment where women value money more than the heart, men only care about casual sex (from the stories I hear from friends), sex has little worth or value, and where expressing your emotions is deemed a weakness. However, dating has taught me precious lessons in life that I feel I needed to learn. Dating has also made me realize one significant fact about myself that I never knew about myself until throwing myself out there. While society shuns the idea of a woman being taller than the man, I've realized that women who are interested in deep, meaningful relationships quite frankly... don't care.
It's just a theory but think about it. Many women have dated enough to know what's out there and know what traits to search for. They have been with the tall Chads who see them as a piece of meat and is a compulsive cheater, the tall, ripped abbe'd Shawns who care more about looking good in social media, the tall Scotts who have no ambition in life, the tall Erics who are boring and do nothing exciting to enrichen their partners other than going out all the time, etc, etc. 25 year old and above women seem to care more about substance than finances, perfect ripped bodies, what car you drive, or height. Or perhaps I have been strangely lucky to not have it ever be an issue.
To my pleasant surprise, while dating, I have never encountered a situation in which height was an issue to whomever I was interested in. In fact, I keep my love life a secret these days, and I don't talk much about it like I used to, but the person I am seeing is 5'9, whom I nicknamed "Jade Merchant's Daughter" on my blog. I'm 5'5. That's a pretty steep difference. Years ago I would feel very uncomfortable, yet today, due to my recent experiences, I see myself caressing her back in public, hugging her from behind, holding hands, and well... being my usual affectionate self without the slightest thought about height at all.
A fascinating understanding of myself really, and one I welcome and find refreshing. Prior to this relationship, I was very much an insecure introvert. I never dated, I never experienced what was out there, and the things I have been complimented on by my previous relationships were solidified as more women complimented me on the very exact things. I began to believe more and more in what I bring forth to the table.
Masculinity and Gender Roles
Do I feel emasculated by seeing someone taller than me? Well, for one I would like to state that I normally do not believe in gender norms. I enjoy cooking, I enjoy a clean home, I don't know how to change the oil of my car (I pay someone for that), heck... I even have an herb garden to use fresh ingredients while cooking. I could care less about muscle cars, and I don't care about football or other mainstream sports. I enjoy photography and the arts, I love archery, I enjoy running marathons, I love a good book and red wine on a rainy evening, astronomy, and more. I used to believe that whoever I am with is my equal in all aspects of life, but today I believe that some gender norms are good for the health of a relationship. So again, do I feel emasculated by seeing someone taller than me? No. Simply because there is absolutely no correlation between the height of a man and the rest of his body parts. Cheeky, I know, but I get most of the masculinity I need in the bedroom. In there I take my male dominant primal role and execute it well.
The Jade Merchant's Daughter
I enter through the main door and take a seat. Shortly after, the jade merchant's daughter walks in... wearing a cocktail dress, brunette hair laying to one side, glossy red lips, bright blue eyes, a silver neckless caressing her neck, and small silver earrings to match. I stand to greet her.
"What? What is it? You act like you've never seen me before," she says while wearing a big smile.
After breaking free from the smile I wore, I go to her, "How long have we known each other for?"
"And yet, after all this time, your beauty still manages to paralyze me at times. You look... beautiful."
"Oh shush," she says, her smile noticeably grown, and color added to her face.
"I think it's a wonderful thing really, that my heart still sinks when I see you, even after all this time. There's something to it, don't you think? Moreso, the fact that you're so humble about your beauty just makes you even... more beautiful to me."
Through her light complexion, I see red on her face.
And what I won't forget, is the way her lips moved as I leaned in for a kiss.
My Hurricane Irma Experience
My family was spread out, each doing their thing. Unable to convince them that where I would be at was safe, I went ahead there myself. At work. The Betsy Hotel in Miami Beach.
"WHAT!? What were you thinking! It was originally going to hit Miami Beach head on!"
Yes, I know. However, the new Art Deco wing of the hotel was designed to withstand such hurricane winds, and we were immune to storm surge since we have multiple floors. Emergency backup generators, food, water... it made sense.
While I do have insurance for my property, I took my most prized possessions with me. Things I know insurance would not be able to replace.
- My Longbow - Custom crafted by a master bowyer in Estonia.
- My Archery Hat - Gifted to me by my archery coach.
- My Archery Bracer - Gifted to me by my archery coach.
- My Camera - Sentimental value, for it has seen much through its lens.
- My External Harddrive - Containing all of my photography work over the past 12 years.
- The shirt I wore when Blu was born
- Blu's first toy.
- Photographs of when I was Blu's age.
- A leather bound journal
While I did take many photos Reader, I won't bore you with so many, but enough to give an idea of what my experience was like.
When I arrived at Miami Beach, it was a complete ghost town. An eeriness was in the air. Honestly, it did make me feel uncomfortable, but at the same time... a little excited to see what would happen. Selfishly excited for myself, but also worried about my loved ones who were too concerned to join me at the beach.
Ocean drive was empty. Not a single person was there... and my beloved Betsy all boarded up! One of the gems on Ocean Drive, still shined in all her grandeur despite the loneliness before her.
Some of the staff photos I took the night before the storm was set to arrive. All of us were in good spirits. Food, water, and wine were always available. Wine... :) :)
I finish my dinner, finish my serving of wine, sit back and tell two of colleagues, "Let's go for a walk shall we? Let's go look outside."
They finish their dinner, and we go for a walk.
We walk down Ocean Drive, laughs in our voices as we talk about the entire ordeal that is to come. Still, we all could not help but notice the desolate streets, and more importantly... the sand dust in the air carried by Irma's fingertips.
It almost felt as if there was a thin fog spread throughout Miami Beach. One I am not accustomed to, especially in the presence of silence.
I could not help admire the melancholic atmosphere of a beautiful city that's usually always active. It was kind of... romantic in a way I suppose. In a place where devastation and dishevel was anticipated, it's nice to capture human emotion through it all.
As Irma passed through S. Florida, The Betsy's owner sat in a corner, working on his laptop, as the winds howled and shook windows.
Spirits remained high throughout the entire storm's passing.
The paparazzi in me was allowed to flourish.
In the morning, as the storm receded, I took a photo of what it looked like outside The Besty. I was particularly impressed by the ominous looking waves.
A few days later I was able to come back home, and the devastation broke my heart. The landscape in some areas of town was changed. Trees that have been way longer than I have were toppled, many roads were impassable, and some homes suffered damage.
My mini herb garden, however, survived the storm. The cilantro and mint did well, but the basil never recovered after not being watered for several days.
The Late Galaxy S7
I am walking up the stairs towards my apartment entrance. Being the typical Hispanic man that I am, I carried ALL eight grocery bags in one trip upstairs. Why make two trips when I can fit it into one? Well, while walking upstairs my Galaxy S7 decides to escape my back pocket.
I hear the sound of the phone hitting the floor, and suddenly, what I saw, appeared as if I was in a slow-motion film. The phone falls, an entire corner of the glass comes off and continues down one step, and another, and another.... In what seemed like an eternity, it bounced off several steps before crashing into the bottom floor and with each bounce, glass flying nearby.
I stare down, sigh, take the keys out of my mouth, open my door, and begin unpacking and placing the groceries where they belong.
Once done, I get my car keys, walk downstairs, pick up the now dead phone, and make my way towards the nearest T-Mobile store. I am due for an upgrade I suppose.
"Which iPhone would you like?"
"Hmm. I'd like the fastest one with the best camera possible."
"iPhone 8 Plus."
"I'll take it."