You Can’t Recover the Past

 

 

 

The concert was a success, but the audience had died.

 

Trying to recapture any piece of your past is a futile activity.

We can certainly learn from our pasts, but it cannot be recreated. If you try to recapture any part of your memories, you will be disappointed.

That was a lesson learned from attending a recent rock concert in West Palm Beach, Florida. The onstage group was the Cream, or more correctly the sons and a nephew of the original group that was known for its long, energetic, power solo improvisations. The original three-member group only lasted from 1966 to 1968 before life intervened and they dissolved the band. During this short time, the group’s third album, Wheels of Fire (1968), became the world’s first platinum-selling double album.

Now, almost 50 years later, two sons of the original players (Kofi Baker, Ginger Baker’s son), Malcolm Bruce, Jack Bruce’s son) and Will Johns (Eric Clapton’s nephew), created the ultimate, near-genetically exact tribute band. By taking lessons from their fathers, along with some developed musical talent, this band gives a very close re-creation of the original sound from 50 years ago.

The musical nostalgia worked, but the big disappointment was from my fellow Baby Boomer concert attendees. As much as I looked forward to this event, I was even more excited to see who would attend this event. I expected the crowd to show the expected signs of aging, but more importantly, the verve and raw energy that I saw in the audience during a Cream concert in Chicago in 1968 was all gone.

Too many Baby Boomers at this event, held in a grand carpeted concert hall, suffered from social media distractions and the isolation of retirement. The crowd was almost 100% white, and judging from the cars in the lot, were middle- to upper-class retirees from the surrounding towns. But a big piece of this gathering of like-minded fans was missing.

Walking Through Life

What was different from the rock concert experience of 40 years ago was the feeling that we were attending something new. Maybe it was the fresh sense of being close to your 20s. But there was much more. The era of the 1960s is hard to describe. Things were changing fast.

The Viet Nam War had energized the nation, a corrupt president was forced out by a Congress that largely had a sense of duty, drugs gave many people new experiences, students on campuses organized around a purpose or shared goal. There was a sense among some young people that real progress could be made towards a future social goal. Things could be better without the great advances we have today in consumer technology. There were no social media.

If you wanted a date, you went to a party, bar, restaurant or the campus. You had more control. If you didn’t act, you could blame yourself. Accountability worked. There was no such thing as “incel” groups. These guys were just nerds, without any special self-pitying identity they have today. At a rock concert in the ’60s or ’70s, concertgoers passed joints down the row to anonymous strangers until it disappeared 10 or 20 people down the row. Many people went with friends to the concert and made more friends at the concert.

Flash forward 40 years, and this concert audience lacked any social awareness. They were socially stoic. Couples came in, sat down and did not talk to the people sitting next to them. Many pulled out their phones at intermission rather than talk to people around them. I wondered how many of these Baby Boomers had seen the original group in concert? Where were they when they heard the band? Were they in college? How much did they pay for a ticket? (My bet is that it was under $10 in 1970 compared to $80 today.) Why were they at the concert tonight? What made them want to hear a tribute band? In short, what were they looking for? Or, was it just another night away from the condo or the house in West Palm Beach, Florida?

I never found out. We went to the concert, heard it and left without talking to any of our fellow Baby Boomers and concert attendees. The band was energetic and talented, but not original. They told some stories about the ill effects of too many drugs. One said he was given a joint to smoke by his father at age six. Some had a few stories about how songs were written, but the Cream was never known as songwriters; they were great soloists at a time when they could shine and cement their reputations. That is what brought the crowds 40 years later, but while it was the same music, it was not the same crowd.

A Greek philosopher said: “you cannot cross the same river twice,” and he was right. This river had flowed past decades ago. The people in the beautiful concert hall once were in the river; now they were well downstream. And all that happened without selfies to record the change.

The book, You Don’t Think I’m Beautiful, is available on Amazon and Kindle. 

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The False Promise of Nostalgia at a Rock Concert in West Palm Beach

 

 

 

 

The concert was a success, but the audience had died.

Trying to recapture any piece of your past is a futile activity. We can certainly learn from our pasts, but it cannot be recreated. If you try to recapture any part of your memories, you will be disappointed.

That was a lesson learned from attending a recent rock concert in West Palm Beach, Florida. The onstage group was the Cream, or more correctly, the sons and a nephew of the original group that was known for its long, energetic, power solo improvisations. The original three-member group only lasted from 1966 to 1968 before life intervened and they dissolved the band. During this short time, the group’s third album, Wheels of Fire (1968), became the world’s first platinum-selling double album.

Now, almost 50 years later, two sons of the original players (Kofi Baker, Ginger Baker’s son), Malcolm Bruce, Jack Bruce’s son) and Will Johns (Eric Clapton’s nephew), created the ultimate, near-genetically exact tribute band. By taking lessons from their fathers, along with some developed musical talent, this band gives a very close re-creation of the original sound from 50 years ago.

The musical nostalgia worked, but the big disappointment was from my fellow Baby Boomer concert attendees. As much as I looked forward to this event, I was even more excited to see who would attend this event.  I expected the crowd to show the expected signs of aging, but more importantly, the verve and raw energy that I saw in the audience during a Cream concert in Chicago in 1968 was all gone.

Too many Baby Boomers at this event, held in a grand carpeted concert hall, suffered from social media distractions and the isolation of retirement. The crowd was almost 100% white, and judging from the cars in the lot, were middle- to upper-class retirees from the surrounding towns. But a big piece of this gathering of like-minded fans was missing.

Walking Through Life

What was different from the rock concert experience of 40 years ago was the feeling that we were attending something new. Maybe it was the fresh sense of being close to your 20s. But there was much more. The era of the 1960s is hard to describe. Things were changing fast.
The Viet Nam War had energized the nation, a corrupt president was forced out by a Congress that largely had a sense of duty, drugs gave many people new experiences, students on campuses organized around a purpose or shared goal. There was a sense among some young people that real progress could be made towards a future social goal. Things could be better without the great advances we have today in consumer technology. There were no social media.

If you wanted a date, you went to a party, bar, restaurant or the campus. You had more control. If you didn’t act, you could blame yourself. Accountability worked. There was no such thing as “incel” groups. These guys were just nerds, without any special self-pitying identity they have today. At a rock concert in the 60s or 70s, concertgoers passed joints down the row to anonymous strangers until it disappeared 10 or 20 people down the row. Many people went with friends to the concert and made more friends at the concert.

Flash forward 40 years, and this concert audience lacked any social awareness. They were socially stoic. I saw couples come in, sit down and not talk to anyone. Many pulled out their phones at intermission rather than talk to people around them. I wondered how many of these Baby Boomers had seen the original group in concert? Where were they when they heard the band? Were they in college? How much did they pay for a ticket? (My bet is that it was under $10 in 1970 compared to $80 today.) Why were they at the concert tonight? What made them want to hear a tribute band? In short, what were they looking for? Or, was it just another night away from the condo or the house in West Palm Beach, Florida?

I never found out. We went to the concert, heard it and left without talking to any of our fellow Baby Boomers and concert attendees. The band was energetic and talented, but not original. They told some stories about the ill effects of too many drugs. One said he was given a joint to smoke by his father at age six. Some had a few stories about how songs were written, but the Cream was never known as songwriters; they were great soloists at a time when they could shine and cement their reputations. That is what brought the crowds 40 years later, but while it was the same music, it was not the same crowd.

A Greek philosopher said “you cannot cross the same river twice,” and he was right. This river had flowed past decades ago. The people in the beautiful concert hall once were in the river; now they were well downstream. And all that happened without selfies to record the change.

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Does Your Self Esteem Make You Feel Pretty?

 

 

 

There is an upscale consignment shop in Boca Raton, Florida that has a wide selection of slightly used and new designer items.  Chanel and Vitton purses, Armani and Dior dresses,  Gucci sunglasses and Versace blouses are neatly arranged in the well light, organized store. I went there with my girlfriend and during a quiet time in the store, I asked the owner how she gets so many high priced items in such great condition.  

She told me she has some regular customers who drop off expensive items. Many have never even been worn. The Jimmy Choo and Valentino shoes are still in the boxes, and Chanel purses still have the original sales tags attached.

She told me that when she asks her customers why they don’t just return the items, she gets odd answers.  Some say they are “too busy.”  Others said they were going to get around to it, but have other things to do.

The consignment shop owner said she spoke to many of her customers about this. Then, she offered another, more feasible answer. 

Many of these women are too ashamed to return the items back to the major stores in the upscale Boca Raton Mall. The reason is that they have an informal relationship with the salespeople who sold hem the items. In many cases, they are on a first name basis. If they returned the item they would have to make up an excuse.  They would have to say they made a bad choice or it was too expensive.  Any excuse, however, would make the salespeople think less of them and they did not want to risk their reputation and perception with the salespeople at the upscale stores. 

They did not return the items because they had a self-perception to maintain. Instead, they just took the items to the consignment store where they could get 50% of their money back in a few weeks or months.  But preserving their self-esteem was worth more than the money. 

We live in the most advanced consumer society in history.  Billions are spent annually on ads that tell people they will feel better if they just purchased a certain item or brand. If they don’t own that item, many people feel deficient. Their self-esteem will suffer.

These are the people who left their expensive purses, shoes and dresses in the consignment shop. They did it to maintain their image.  The only one who benefitted from this malady is the owner of the upscale consignment shop in Boca Raton.  

 

Do You Feel Pretty?

In the film, “I Feel Pretty,” starring Amy Schumer, an insecure, average-looking woman gets hit in the head and when she regains consciousness, she has developed a new self-image: that of a beautiful woman.  Overnight, her life is transformed.  But her new self-esteem lasts only as long as her concussion.  When she recovers, she is back to who she always was.

We are all like this. People’s self esteem is hidden and it only becomes visible to other when it hits and extreme; too hurt or too elated. Other people have huge defenses around their egos, so people don’t really know who they really are. I met women like this when I was dating, as described in my book, You Don’t Think I’m Beautiful.

This is a clever idea. It focuses attention on how self-esteem is based on how others see us and how we see ourselves, even if the concept is false. The film ends as Schumer tell her executives during an executive presentation that women should be accepted as they are, regardless of their level of beauty.

If more women did this, maybe there would be fewer luxury goods in the Boca Raton consignment shop.

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What Makes You Feel Pretty?

 

 

There is an upscale consignment shop in Boca Raton, Florida that has a wide selection of slightly used and new designer items.  Chanel and Vitton purses, Armani and Dior dresses,  Gucci sunglasses and Versace blouses are neatly arranged in the well light, organized store. I went there with my girlfriend and during a quiet time in the store, I asked the owner how she gets so many high priced items in such great condition.  

She told me she has some regular customers who drop off expensive items. Many have never even been worn. The Jimmy Choo and Valentino shoes are still in the boxes, and Chanel purses still have the original sales tags attached.

She told me that when she asks her customers why they don’t just return the items, she gets odd answers.  Some say they are “too busy.”  Others said they were going to get around to it, but have other things to do.

The consignment shop owner said she spoke to many of her customers about this. Then, she offered another, more feasible answer. 

Many of these women are too ashamed to return the items back to the major stores in the upscale Boca Raton Mall. The reason is that they have an informal relationship with the salespeople who sold hem the items. In many cases, they are on a first name basis. If they returned the item they would have to make up an excuse.  They would have to say they made a bad choice or it was too expensive.  Any excuse, however, would make the salespeople think less of them and they did not want to risk their reputation and perception with the salespeople at the upscale stores. 

They did not return the items because they had a self-perception to maintain. Instead, they just took the items to the consignment store where they could get 50% of their money back in a few weeks or months.  But preserving their self-esteem was worth more than the money. 

We live in the most advanced consumer society in history.  Billions are spent annually on ads that tell people they will feel better if they just purchased a certain item or brand. If they don’t own that item, many people feel deficient. Their self-esteem will suffer.

These are the people who left their expensive purses, shoes and dresses in the consignment shop. They did it to maintain their image.  The only one who benefitted from this malady is the owner of the upscale consignment shop in Boca Raton.

Do You Feel Pretty?

In the film, “I Feel Pretty,” starring Amy Schumer, an insecure, average-looking woman gets hit in the head and when she regains consciousness, she has developed a new self-image: that of a beautiful woman.  Overnight, her life is transformed.  But her new self-esteem lasts only as long as her concussion.  When she recovers, she is back to who she always was.

This is a clever idea. It focuses attention on how self-esteem is based on how others see us and how we see ourselves, even if the concept is false. The film ends as Schumer tell her executives during an executive presentation that women should be accepted as they are, regardless of their level of beauty.

If more women did this, maybe there would be fewer luxury goods in the Boca Raton consignment shop.

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Remembering Queen Esther, Without the Makeup

In our last post (Why We Show Our Beautiful Face), we noted how beauty is a key factor that holds the self-confidence and persona of people together.

Beauty is how we view ourselves. It helps us navigate through the world and determines how we view others and how others view us.

While it is uncertain which is more important, the interplay between our beautiful selves and how others see us is part of a changing constellation of how we build or demolish our self-esteem.

But there is another part of the story of what make-up can, and cannot, produce. The problem is that cosmetics often only affects your external beauty. It makes you feel better and more in control, but it also should improve your inner beauty. The key is to make your beauty more than skin deep.

This is not a new concept. Consider the story of the biblical figure, Queen Esther, a heroine in Jewish history, who used her inner beauty, devoid of makeup, to convince King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I, 485—465 BCE) of Persia to save the Jews from a massacre.

In the story, Esther’s “true honor of the princess is within” (Psalms 45:15) meaning she had an inner beauty many others missed, but this quality attracted the attention of the King, whose favorite harem wife, Vashti, was a palace favorite since she would dance naked in front of dinner guests.

As told in an article by Sara Esther Crispe, “Esther was actually of a greenish complexion, but that she had a ’thread of grace’ that was upon her. We are taught that when the internal is elevated and beautiful, it will show through to the external, so that she can be seen as nothing other than beautiful.”

Esther’s inner charm and cunning saved her people, while Vashti succumbed to old age and was ultimately banished from the palace. Vashti’s makeup and firm body did not save her, and she lost out to a woman of inner beauty.

Almost 2,500 years later, cosmetics has become a $382 billion a year business worldwide. But what are women buying?

Products that make women look better on the outside, when true beauty is really found on the inside.

In my book, You Don’t Think I’m Beautiful, I met many women who looked very different face-to-face than their online photos.  One woman boasted to me that her online photo was enhanced with the help of a world renowned makeup artist and in person this was very evident.  I don’t know why she told me this since it was too evident, but she did, and it only exaggerated the gap between exterior and interior beauty.

I never saw her after that, but she bet that the impact of makeup and its temporary deception that fades from day to night and sun to shade did not compensate for that inner quality that always shines through.

Sadly, there are too many stories like that, but this is not a slam on cosmetics, only on their managed role in building a relationship and knowing that it has limitations that can easily be overcome by other more permanent, human qualities.

For more stories on the trials and tribulations of online dating, read the book, You Don’t Think I’m Beautiful, on Amazon.

 

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Why We Show Our Beautiful Face to the World

 

 

Beauty is a key factor that holds the self-confidence and persona of many people together. Beauty is how we view ourselves, and it determines how other people view us.  It helps the way we navigate through the world and determines how we view others and how others view us.  This is what helped create the selfie-generation. No other generation worldwide in human history has never been this vain and self-important. 

While it is uncertain what’s more important, the interplay between our beautiful selves and how others see us is part of a changing constellation of how we build or demolish our self-esteem.

Beauty is a not a constant.  Blanche DuBois, the fading Southern belle in the 1951 film, A Streetcar Named Desire, sees her altering beauty as part of her fading aristocratic background. As this classic American film opens, it’s evident that Blanche (played by Kim Hunter) is psychologically fragile and personally awkward with her brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski (played by Marlon Brando.)

But throughout the film’s development, Blanche is constantly aware of her looks and as the tension builds between her and Kowalski, Blanche breaks under the stain and she looks older and more fragile.  

While the movie and play have become American classics (the film and its major stars won numerous Academy and Golden Globe Awards), the changing role of beauty is one element that drives the tension 

and the character development forward.

While not as dramatic, women continue to value the products that can enhance their beauty. One site found that the average woman spends $15,000 during her lifetime on cosmetics, of which $3,770 is spent to purchase mascara. (Remember: the eyes are the windows to the soul.) This includes money spent on perfume, foundation, lipstick, skin care, mascara. The research also found that half of all women who buy makeup say it makes them feel more in control of situations. Why? Maybe it enhances their self-esteem.   

But the same benefit that makeup provides applies to all women worldwide. About 85% of all cosmetics worldwide are bought by women who spend $382 billion on products to make them look better on the outside.

So if cosmetics affect your external beauty, and it makes you feel better and more in control, it should also improve your inner beauty. The key is to make your beauty more than skin deep.

For more stories on the trials and tribulations of beauty and online dating,

see the book “You Don’t Think I’m Beautiful.

 

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How Do You Know When You Are Awake?

 

 

Being asleep has a few meanings.

One is that you lay down on a bed and close your eyes for eight hours.  Then, you get up and are awake.

Another version is that you may be dressed, eating and walking around, but you are not aware of your surroundings.

You are walking in a fog.  You ignore your surrounding, the environment, what other people are feeling or doing.

When this happens you have a low level of awareness.

When this happens you cannot make the important inner changes that can improve your life.

When you improve your life and are more aware of how you fit into your surroundings, you can be a better partner and citizen.

In short, you will be more beautiful, inside and out.

 

More in the book, You Don’t Think I’m Beautiful, available on Amazon and Kindle. 

 

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Who Are You Anyway?

 

 

 

If you are dating and looking for a mate, that task is more difficult if you don’t know who you are.

If you don’t have a solid self-identity, how can you find someone who is compatible with you?

Identity comes from your own history, memory and how you know and remember events in your own life.

When you have an identity, you keep it intact by knowing right from wrong, especially as it reinforces your own personal boundaries.  This means you stay away from people, events and places where things are happening that don’t agree with who you are.

Another way to bolster and display your identity is by voicing values.  If you sit idly by while you witness bad things happening either in person or on TV, you are a party to that violation of your own identity.  Life is not a passive event.  It needs your active participation if you are to advance yourself and bolster your identity.

You can also strengthen your identity through individual contemplation, ritual worship and prayer.  These  religious or spiritual actions should reflect your own history and help you remember important events from your own lifetime.

When you have your own history, memory and identity established, you will be more confident in whom you are and be in a better position to find someone who compliments who you know you are. Only then will you know who you really are.

There is more on this topic in the book, You Don’t Think I’m Beautiful, available on Amazon. 

 

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The Woman Who Hated Puppies

In any dating situation, there is a time when there is the opportunity to advance a relationship.  

This means more communications will be necessary. Often, this is a difficult task. I’ve found that most men have a hard time communicating since it is a complicated process. The reason is that many men have limited emotional vocabularies.  

Sitting a loved one down and saying you have something important to tell her can be ominous and awkward.  If it is not a health alert or news that something bad happened to the dog, what could it be?

One way to test the waters is to ask a simple question: Do you like puppies?

Of course, it may not be that direct, but you can gauge the level of sincerity in the answer and by other responses.  Is the person considerate?  Do they believe in charity and giving someone else an even break? Are they too focused on the bling in American culture and little else?

Since there is a clear divide in our political culture today, some of these questions indicate more about a person than they may want to reveal. So use your instinct and judgment to find out if the person you are dating really hates puppies.  If they do, move on.

 

 

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Beware of Your Own Great Expectations

Everyone knows that dating is an exercise in optimism.

We do it because we are looking for something that will make us better, happier, more fulfilled, even richer. Those are some large goals to meet under any circumstances, let alone ones that are often derailed by happenstance, bad personal chemistry, or runaway emotions and expectations.

Meeting the person of your “dreams” is a problem because no one else knows your dreams.  And even if they did, they still are part of your fantasy to find a better, different and more improved life, but that dream is often not shared by the person you are meeting.  Nor, should you talk about your dreams on a first date since no one can ever meet those great expectations.

Many psychologists say we are hard-wired to be optimists. Studies have found that independent people who envision how they will react in certain situations are better prepared mentally and more optimistic than people who just rely on their reactions to the situation facing them. This means you should think about how you will react if you meet someone who does not meet your expectations. Can you turn that meeting into something positive? Is there something you can learn from that person? Do they have friends who have similar interests?

Many people make the mistake of turning dating into a binary event. They can “X” off a meeting like it did never happened. That is a mistake that reinforces the notion of disposable relationships.

Our brains can play tricks on us. We often fall backwards and think a new date will end up like old ones months or years ago.

Resist this. Instead, remember that people have to power to change the way they think. Maybe that is the key to achieving your own great expectations.

 

 

 

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