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BoYs, Men and Love – A.k.a. My Crazy side

Let’s face it, I have been fascinated with the opposite sex from an uber early age. Find the prettiest boy in the crowd, that’s my target! – And I know how to pick them!  

At age 3, I already had a boyfriend. My mother was called into my nursery school, as apparently, I pushed a boy to the ground at the swing sets and kissed him on the mouth. Needless to say, mom was summoned, and I got scolded that it was inappropriate behavior. My reply: “But mom, I only do it to him!”  I guess, it perfectly sums up my attitude and approach for the rest of my life. When it comes to love, “just go for it”. The boy I pushed to the ground was: Pityuka. Another story with Pityuka: We were going to nursery school with my mother. In the stairwell we heard someone crying upstairs. I told my mother: it was “my” Pityuka. Mother tried to convince me it was not. We finally got upstairs; long behold, it was “my” Pityuka. (-like I wouldn’t recognize his voice!?) – After that year, we moved away.

New daycare, new boyfriend.: Andris. (@ Age 5) I told my mother she better leave home because my boyfriend is coming over. My mother started to laugh at me. My reply: “Laugh all you want; you’ll cry when you see what we do!” (I cannot type this with a straight face, still cracking up at my 5-year-old self.) And yes, Andris did show up, to my mother’s surprise, -with flowers!  (I told you, I know how to pick them!!)

Then elementary school came, and we moved again. You guessed it, new school, new boyfriend. It was my teacher’s son, Sandri [Shundree]. (He was not in my class though, so I could focus on my studies, too.) Yes, he was super cute and sort of the forbidden fruit. A girl from my class kept teasing me about it. I gave her several warnings to stop, or else. She didn’t. Next time she bullied me, I punched her in the mouth. She stopped harassing me. Sandri and I had fun for a while (eating together at lunch, holding hands, playing, tickle competitions, etc.) but then one day at his house I noticed he had a toy car his mom took away from one of my classmates during class (from the son of the director of the Kodaly Institute). This was no ordinary car that you could get in communist Hungary, so I knew this wasn’t just another one of the same kind. This car was an American matchbox car. (I always played with cars, not dolls, so I did know the difference.) I told Sandri to give it back to the rightful owner. He refused. I broke up with him. He followed me around for a long while. Next year, his mom, my teacher, dumped out my backpack’s content in front of my class to demonstrate what a messy girl I am and poked fun of me how my hair was not tied up. Phased me none. (Try to intimidate me with your authority? Buckle up, I bow to nobody. When I was 4 years old, my father tried to use god as my “source of punishment”, I still defined him and his god, despite that my promised punishment was death! I will always choose what is right in my heart, regardless of consequence. So, bring it on, see if I bend!) After this school incident, my mother cut my hair short like a boy. Sandri stopped following me around. The haircut I was pissed about, but mother never had to touch my hair again. It was my domain to take care of (age 8). 

Rest of elementary school years: Had some crushes, but no boyfriend to speak of. Used my energy to focus on my grades. After all, it’s communism; – it’s a fierce competition from the get-go.  

High school.: My hair was down to my waist by this point, though body still in the cocoon phase. But during Esperanto summer camp (age 16) I did catch the eye of Krisztian. (Super smart, muscles, tall, piercing green eyes and wicked pretty face). When school started back, we drifted apart (all my fault; I had character flaws I needed to work on). But I was not interested in anything. (Reason: I wanted to go to an art high school, but I didn’t get accepted. After receiving my rejection letter (age 15), I cried for 4 hours straight. ß massive headache afterwards. I did not cry for the next two years. I could no longer care about anything. The world was just a big unfair dark and ugly place to me, and I did not want to be part of any of it, thus I couldn’t care less this way or the other, the less energy on my part, the better.) But, back to my men: 

Summer of 1991 (age 17), I was away from home visiting my cousin. One day I opened her closet and a bunch of posters fell out (she was getting ready to get her room painted and had her old wall decor shoved “neatly” away). On top of the pile was New Kids On The Block, with a pair of eyes staring at me that grabbed me faster and stronger than gravitational pull of a blackhole. The effects were irreversible and out of the blue. (To this day I have no explanation for this…how something like this can happen… to me, on top of all!) I was done for. Joseph McIntyre unknowingly reshaped my entire life. SO, the big investigation began: Who is this boy and how do I get him? Some “minor” obstacles that all had to be addressed one-by-one, step-by-step.  (Pun intended.)    

  1. He is American. -Given US foreign policy/ 1956 issues, not a good start. – I did not care.  
  2. He speaks English. -I did not; despite my teacher’s 2-year effort. I always struggled with languages; it’s one of my greatest weaknesses. And, since entering high school, I did not open the textbook once, nor bothered to retain anything during class. Unknown to me, earlier that summer, my English teacher made a promise to my mother that she would fail me next year as she was fed up with my attitude and laziness. (Mother knew not to bother me with such trivialities. (I found out about it much later.) Threats never worked on me to motivate me this way or the other. And I was always told “You study for yourself, not to impress me.”) After Joe’s appearance on my horizon, I switched gears.  I was reading the dictionary non-stop. Want a dry read? You found it! I read it each night till I fell asleep. Being a night owl, mother had to turn the light off on me at midnight at times to force me to go to sleep. I also sought out all the help I could get. 9-year-old little girl spent a year in USA the year prior and picked up English really well. She needed help with math. We made a pact: on weekends I help her with math, she helps me with English. I also borrowed and studied every single English book/tape our school library had. Once I finished those I moved onto the regional library’s stack. Once I finished those, I moved onto the central library.  
  3. In the meanwhile, I was told Joe had asthma. I didn’t know much about asthma, except it can be dangerous and it affects the lungs. My reaction? Start training my lungs up and see if I am a match to be an organ donor. I started running 5 rounds around our school grounds each morning. (For point of reference: our standard was 1 round for school exercise and when they tried to “teach us a lesson” it was upped to two rounds.) As a sidenote, I loathe running, but I had to do it. Few months later I read up more on the subject: his asthma was not confirmed, and lung transplant would not have solved the issue; so, I could focus my energy on other obstacles.     
  4. I must become my best possible version inside and out.: My body always has been in decent shape, but there are always ways to improve.:  I got braces to get my teeth straightened. (No pain, no gain.) Mediocre grades just won’t do to impress this boy. I started studying and tried to be “worthy” of his attention. (ßhow a teenage mind works!) Naivety a la mode, but nobody was going to convince me otherwise.
  5. He lives a continent away… well, we’ll figure that out once I addressed the other issues. 

When I got home from my cousin, I sat my mother down and told her what is about to hit the fan: “So, be prepared. I made a similar public announcement at school, so they’d understand the 180⁰ change in me. They laughed…and six months later saw I wasn’t kidding and questioned if the person they knew for 2 years was fake or is it this “new girl” who is fake. Neither. Love changes people. I had crushes before. This wasn’t a crush. (Some girl in my class got it into her head that sheer force will convince me otherwise. I do not instigate fights, but I can, and will, hold my ground, even if the opponent is twice my size. Finger lock and bending hands backwards is effortlessly effective, especially when attacker wears a lot of rings. Kneel and be still! I do not like to use violence, but will defend myself mercilessly. I have a brother who likes to practice combat sports at home “out of play”. Even he said, it’s no fun messing with me because I do not know how to take a joke. In my mind, who jokes around with violence?? I do not “play around”, I use FULL force like my life depends on it. No swinging like a lunatic, but effective for someone my size.)  

Not everyone was trying to shoot me down. Word got around fast in our small school about my unorthodox motivations. Another English teacher brought in for me a box full of US teen magazines that had anything to do with New Kids. (It was her own kids’ “retired” stack!) Still makes me smile, how nice people actually can be! Iris, my Yugoslav pen-pal from Esperanto class, agreed to switch over to English so I can practice my language skills. Not only that, but she also sent me Joe’s address in America so I can write to him. I sent some letters to Jamaica Plain (“IMN” ≈ “I am Anne”), and made some enameling pix that I also sent (I had been enameling since age 7). After the enameling picture, I received a preprinted “thank you” note confirming the address was legit. I kept going full speed. Every birthday gift/X-mas gift I asked for English books, and enrolled in an extra class for English. (I already maxed out how many classes I was allowed to take up, so got a special permission for this one. I wasn’t graded, as it was “off the books”, but I was allowed to attend with the school director’s permission and the visiting teacher’s, who was from USA). I also tried to switch schools as the rival high school had an English bilingual program. They refused, so this was the best I could do with the available resources.  All the studying paid off. I ended up graduating with a 4.5 out of 5 (érettségi / Matura), English 5. (-my English teacher was foaming from the mouth. She had to eat her words, and she did everything in her power for 2 years to derail my efforts. You know the drill by now…ain’t gonna happen!) 

In the meanwhile, I traveled to the capital to go to the US embassy’s library to find out about TOEFL and US universities (pre-internet era). I also applied for some scholarships. Everyone sent a refusal letter as I was not a US national, however one of them sent me an entire book of institutions that provided grants and scholarships. I wrote to every single one of them. (Yes, including Soros!) I got a refusal from all who wrote back. (Soros asked me to show my grades after the first year at the university before they can award anything.) I had to find a way. I also wrote to all schools I found around Boston that offered my field of interest: fashion design. (I know; -with a mathematical and science track, why go into the applied arts? There is reason! 1.) I felt left out from the art high school experience. 2.) My cynical nature was not lost in the fog. The sort of science I was interested in might be used in a nasty way, which I could not sign my name to.)  

I tried to find au-pair jobs, since kids and I tend to have an intrinsic connection. But it was tough to come by those placements and it was on an award basis. The city council informed me that yes, they have posted these au-pair opportunities for the general public, but behind closed doors and off-the-record I was informed, by the time those positions are posted, it is decided which of their kid is going. I applied nonetheless, and, as I was told, one of their kid was sent.  Something came on my radar turning USA into reality, but was with a hefty price tag. No risk? -No reward! Take a leap of faith and figure out the rest as you go; -granted this decision was on the crazy side, even by my standards. Will that stop me? Not in this lifetime! It boils down to: Option A: I don’t go down that rabbit hole, and wonder about the “what ifs” for the rest of my life. Option B, follow my heart wherever it leads (but use my head to keep me safe!).

In USA/ Canada it took me a year to get my ducks in a row, but the very summer I arrived, I did make my way to Boston and went to the address that my pan-pal gave me to announce: “I arrived, wait for me!”.  It wasn’t Joe whom I met there, but left a message and had a frank, long, friendly chat. Next summer I took my TOEFL, applied and got accepted into the school of my choice. I had secured the funds and was ready to be part of Boston and pursue Joe. Lol…yeah. Wakeup call: Joe had a live in girlfriend, Nina; and my first encounter with him, he asked me what I wanted, I told him to see his hands (married/ not married??). He rolled his eye, said “not one of those”, and drove through the gates.  Not interested even to talk. It wasn’t quite how I envisioned this. At college, my classmates hated me. I, apparently, went to a party school where studying was not something you do, so I became their target of bullying. Fat chance of that affecting me. I was pushing forward. Special flowers bloom even in a swamp!

If I was done with my schoolwork, I could be found in front of Joe’s house, but I crossed no boundaries. However, Joe wasn’t interested to even get out of his car let alone actually talk to me. I had to find a way to have a normal chat with him. One-on-one, heart-to-heart, something… as this standing in rain, snow and ice was not working. I am OK with bootcamp if it leads somewhere. But this wasn’t. As freshmen, we had a chance to compete to be in the upper classes’ fashion show where all important stakeholders from the fashion industry would be there. The show was to be held at the end of the school year at some fancy hotel in Boston. I left a note at Joe’s house if Nina wanted to be my model for one of the dresses I designed. (It was an evening gown, but the judges would select the winning ensembles to be part of the show only after the garments are made.)  Nina did call me back, but after hearing the process, she was not interested. (FYI: My dress did get in.)  So, back to the drawing board how to break the ice with Joe. The problem was: I wasn’t there for the photo op/fan fair. I wanted a normal human-to-human chat. To be frank, I actually almost got that.: On a sunny weekend morning, Joe got home (probably being up all night, as his eyes were as red as an albino bunny rabbit’s) and was amazingly pleasant and he actually said “hi” (no fans that morning either!! Double whammy!); -still didn’t get out of the car, but he was, dare I say, charming! I have pulled some all-nighters in my life and well-aware of workaholics’ tendencies, however never managed to make my eyes to be in that condition. This chat would have been too heavy for a clearly sleep deprived man. I know how I get when I need sleep, so I wasn’t going to torture him keeping him from his Zs. He clearly needed to see his bed right away (without any distractions…even if the distraction was me). At that moment, the info I was about to dump on him had to wait. But finally! I caught him on a day when he was nice, that gave me hope he was the type of person what I saw falling out from my cousin’s closet, the rest was just a protective mask and bad day combo.

During spring break, we were kicked out from the dorms, and I had nowhere to go. I was informed, Joe is in California, shooting a film (no title, no studio, just this). So, I left for LA. I went to Universal Studios to ask around. Lol- Anna moment: it was a theme park! The gate security loved my accent and we chatted for a few minutes. I told him why I came there, and who I was looking for. He laughed, and told me to call Screen Actors Guild (“SAG”) who could help me locate any actor in their ‘lovely city’. So, I contacted SAG, and they told me what movie Joe is in and what studio he was shooting with. (The Fantasticks) I called up United Artist (UA!) to find out more and see if I could visit the set. “Stage 4, and I can come any time”. So, I did. I was sitting on the set for a few days. (I stayed out of the way, it wasn’t my first rodeo; but I think I accidentally took Joe’s chair…lol, typical Anna!) Joe never came over once, of course. The director was super sweet though. Apparently one of his favorite restaurants was a Hungarian joint and was fond of palacsinta-s. The next day, late afternoon, Joe dropped by the set with Nina and they left immediately thereafter, subsequent to talking to the lady, who asked me the next morning to leave the set because I was not with any news organization. (I never claimed to be!!) By this time, shooting was about to wrap up anyway and they were planning for a party. One of the boys from the crew invited me. I declined to go to the party. -I did not bring my evening gowns from Boston with me; -colossal mistake never to happen again when traveling ! I left the set, and that weekend flew back to Boston since school was starting back up.  

Next time I saw Joe at his house in Brookline, there were a bunch of his fans waiting there. Uncharacteristically, he graced us by getting out of his car, and made sure he hugged every single one of them and skipped me. Which do you think he meant? A.) I am special. B.) He hates my guts. I may not have been well-versed with men, but I got the message.  Joe went out of his way making it painfully clear he was never going to talk to me, and my presence was not welcome. I won’t force myself on anyone unwilling. Not my style. But how to break free from my black hole’s gravity? I cannot break the laws of physics! It was time to face the music: Get it through your head Anna: “The boy you fell in love with does not exist. You imagined Joe a way greater person than what he continually showed himself to be. And as far as you are concerned, you are not welcome, and he’d let you know whatever way he sees fit”.

Crying in public is not our norm. However, this time around, I couldn’t control those tears. By the time I got on the train, I must have lost it but proper. I recall on the T, a bunch of guys desperately tried to cheer me up and even gave me their tickets to the Red Sox/Blue Jays game as they had to forego it to attend their buddy’s wedding. Guys! Thank you!! Sorry I could not act more graceful and couldn’t even talk. People like you make Boston awesome! Thank you!

But the Heavens must have felt sorry for me and sent me the man who can get me over Joe (in the most twisted way possible). I didn’t seduce him, he seduced me. I wasn’t expecting this twist and was taken aback at first.  I came to the USA to make Joseph McIntyre my man, but I didn’t get him (at least not that one). I had to do whatever it takes to move on.  I came to realize, not even an ex-boyfriend has the right to tell me whom to date; let alone someone I never actually dated. So, there it was, controversial, but effective.: “Darling”.  Joe did not need to talk to me, did not need to be cordial, nor treat me as a human being. But on that same note, could not expect me to turn someone away, who, as it turned out, was very interested in me.

Pre-“event-horizon adjustment”, most times I saw Joe, he broke my heart; post-factum, if I wanted a mood boost, all I had to do was stare Joe in the eyes; thinking: You may not know what’s up,  but I do! Act like I’m the plague and run away from me all you want! Treat me like I am a “two”. Still does not make me one! Roll your eyes at me, look me up-and-down with disdain. No need to talk to me anymore.  I will have to run as well.  The opposite direction! Someone is waiting for me! I don’t put up with nasty from anyone. I never turn the other cheek. I strike back just as hard. Lex talionis, the Hungarian way.

By the way, every fan I met during those many months have been nothing but nice. I hope they were treated better than what ‘courtesy’ I was shown.  Joe taught me ‘what not to do’ in the future (using a bad experience for a positive outcome). This was a tough pill to swallow. Inevitably the scar was there, and I had to do some healing. The love that put me on this adventurous journey was no small feat to disassemble and I had to obliterate its ruins where there is no going back, ever! I operate in absolutes, like a binary system, it’s all or nothing.

Darling was no ordinary man. He always had been someone special to me from the moment we met; – but his role was very different. To me, he was a friend, a confidant, an ally, someone whose approval was very important to me, but I never looked at him as a “man”.  I knew him since I was 19. I kept no secrets from him, despite how tough it was to face the mirror at times. I never knew he fancied me. It was always easy to talk to him and he always made me feel welcome (and actually remembered me from day one). He was never judgmental nor cruel, let alone nasty. He always had some encouraging words, or words of wisdom that stuck with me for the rest of my life: “Stay focused”, or comments like “Simple, not easy”, and “after 39, things just change”- I obviously didn’t get this for a long time. (As irony holds it, I started having children after age 39. So, yes; things changed in a big way, as he said they would.)  

After the Joe incidents, I was caught in the rain waiting on Darling’s porch ready to unload my mind about failures of parenting. (Yes! Heads up! Tsunami incoming!) Bifurcated events that set the domino dance into motion: 1.) Not sure if this was his reply to my question how apples fall so far from the tree on his Orchard or just a preplanned confession day, but he dumped his skeletons of the past on me. Like that would phase me. Please! Make amends where harm was done. I am nobody to pass judgment on others’ life circumstances. We are not machines. We make mistakes but must make an effort to fix it. Is the problem taken care of? Yes. Then it’s not an issue. Water under the bridge, but not an excuse for my current issue at hand!  Prong 2.) for the perfect storm: I just died my hair and instead of blonde, my hair came out auburn/red. At the time I was annoyed about it, though it wasn’t a bad color but not what I wanted. I had it all curled and some pieces were hanging out from under my hoodie. As it turned out, Darling liked it a lot. After my reaction to his disclosures, he pushed back my hoodie to see the rest of my hair in all amazement about the color. I though he was just trying to change the heavy discussion topic, but no! He made it unmistakably clear he wanted to pursue me. Made me speechless. I was shocked (not an easy task to shock me, ever; -or make me speechless, for that matter). I forgot all about what I came there for. I had other things racing through my mind by then. (Analyze this, Anna! You like challenges!!)

But after a couple weeks of contemplation, I came to realize: If anyone, he’ll get me over Joe. Fight gravity with gravity! (I never knew his age- and frankly I did not care. Ady’s and Kodaly’s wives were all significantly younger than they were, and they had successful marriages. I read in ZsaZsa’s book about her “first time”. At the time, when I read the book, I didn’t get her reasoning; – and was shaking my head, raising my eyebrows just reading about it. As it turns out, you need to walk the path to understand it.)   I like clean breaks, when there is no going back. This was as much of a closure of crossing the Rubicon as it gets. Once you take a step, lacta alea est is set in motion. So be it! We started seeing each other at the end of my freshman year. Either Darling came to my campus, or I went to his house, and we went for a drive. Apparently, our relationship set some distorted gossip into motion on campus, which my classmates were happy to tell me about. (Next autumn, when it reached my ears, I took care of it my way to shut them up.) For the summer I had to leave Boston. We talked on the phone a lot and he made me feel loved. Sophomore year I got a basement apartment in Brighton (it was cheaper than R&B at school and I wasn’t kicked out during holidays).  First time Darling looked at it (unfurnished & unaltered), he only asked: “are you sure?” (He knew me well enough not to try to convince me otherwise.) But I see potential, not just face value, so, yes, I was sure. My furniture finally arrived, and I made some cosmetic changes to the place as well. Next time Darling saw it, he burst out with a huge smile (his face just lit up!): “You can make a home out of a cave.” (ßTo this day, one of my favorite compliments.)  (and he told me many years later it was his favorite place to reminisce about and how much he missed it.) And no, he wasn’t my sugar daddy. I always pay for my own stuff, except eating out.

During sophomore year, Darling did break our unspoken rule of tabu topics (god and Joe), but I think he meant it more as a compliment about Sinatra (which I had playing in the background at the time) rather than to insult Joe. I was (am still) floored by the below-the-belt comment. The ‘5-alarm” going off in my head to “DEFEND!” but forced myself not to start a metaphysical argument over it.  This was like driving a dagger through my heart, but Darling was going to remove that arrow that hurt me.

We had our secret rendezvous till I had to leave Boston for good. He ended up being my first. I was 22.  

I have nothing but good memories with Darling. To this day, I don’t know any of my ex’s numbers, but I can recite his, even if woken up in the middle of my REM cycle. We kept in touch for a long time. He knew about all my boyfriends and even sent a gift for my wedding (which was a decade later). A true gentleman.  

Andrew (Cancer/Fire Horse): I met him shortly after my departure from Boston. I caught his eye, and he took the initiative. Picture Zeus or Heracles, then you got what Andrew looked like.: 6’4” tall, built like a defensive lineman, pretty hands and face (getting his MBA, chemistry undergrad). Super intelligent and driven, quiet like a deep river but uber-charming. Short-cut relationship (6 months). He left due to work but did not depart in the most elegant way, leaving things messy. I do not like emotionally messy, it’s not good for my heart and messes up my head; -so you know I had to do some “cleaning” later on. I cannot help who I am. I had to get things straight. The results I will not share here, as it is his secret, even if I had to do the digging to find out about it. It cleared things up for me, which is what I wanted.  (All my other men shared their secrets. They knew I won’t spill, regardless how angry I get and how messed up they think the secret may seem, I don’t get scared away, and I will not use it to hurt them.)  With Andrew, I had to do the “what happened and why” analysis based on my own data gathering. It was a bit interesting to see a 6’4” man shake in his boots just by seeing me. His comment: “Oh, sh*t!”, -summarizes it just perfectly.      

David (Pisces/Water Rat): Wow! Just what I needed. (Irish, 6-foot tall, blue eyes, cute, getting his MBA, chemistry undergrad, ßno, not a typo, nor a prerequisite)

David approached me, and boy, did I make him jump through the hoops! He took it like a champ. He wanted to take me out, and I told him I have no time for going out with him, I have to do laundry. He volunteered to do my laundry, so I would have time for him. “OK. But I don’t go out with just anyone. Here is my phone number in a math format, if you solve it, you call the number that you get as the answer.”  (I am picky [see blue section below for further details]. One day I sat down and came up with this idea how to get someone like-minded (intellectual, into adventure, thinks outside of the box and not afraid of a challenge), because meeting folks at random places hoping to find Mr. Right is just not going to cut it for me. I fabricated a bunch of equations together (coordinate geometry principles) and had the math formulas plastered on the back of my Jeep.) So, I copied it down for David.  He did solve it (and found a typo that I made during transfer from my worksheets…← still Anna for you!). I told him no need to do my laundry, instead, I took him to the beach that weekend.

Another time I raced cars with him. Upon arrival, he jumped out of his car all excited that it was way too much fun. I asked if this was new to him? He said, not the racing part, but he never raced a girl before. Just like the road, the bedroom+ was never a boring place with this man! Kama Sutra has nothing on his repertoire (and I am not talking about the ‘flower arrangement’ chapters). In the end, he got too busy with school, work, etc., and not much time for me, so we parted ways, -in the most civilized way.

Chris (Leo/ Fire Horse): (6’2” tall, English/Austrian, blue eyes, broad shoulders, handsome, banker): Dated him for 2 years. Taught me a lot.: Small talk’s importance in American “society”; sounding eloquent; shooting a 9 mm; plus, he out-dressed me, which is a mission on its own (Leo on full display at its royal best; -impeccable)! I was introduced to his parents, and he met my mother, but I had enough of his unfounded accusations of me being unfaithful. Don’t take your complexes out on me. (Yes, David did call every six months to see if I am available, and I told him: NO. Darling, -ditto!  Yes, I wasn’t nasty to them, but I did make my point. -Joe taught me this in a backhanded way.: Do not be a condescending prick, just because you are rejecting them, do it in an amicable way.)

So, I got a bit ticked off being constantly accused of stuff I did not do. (Picture that for the rest of your life. I cannot live like that. My home is my sanctuary, my man ought to be my sanctuary too. And if you wouldn’t marry the man today, then you’re with the wrong man and wasting time!) I most likely will explain it once; twice, if I feel being nice that day; the third time it will be a “Vatever”. It was time to move on.  Thus, we broke up. We kept it free of melodrama, but to the point. I must have harmony in my life. (Double meaning intended.)

I posted an online profile and went on dates left-and-right. I met a wide range of folks, but none of them met all my criteria (I tried to be civil with all, I even set some up with other pretty girls to let them down gently.) So, after these unfruitful dates, I gave David a call. He was more than happy to give it another try. (We were a decent match… at least a ton of fun.) Fast forward a couple of years and David was still not interested in settling down. Though he did say, he can never marry, after knowing me, because I changed his expectations to the point that nobody can live up to it. And

as it turned out, he did his fair amount of research on the subject. I guess I wasn’t a good candidate, just a reference.  Sucks, but don’t let the door hit you in the back. I may put up with such behavior, but my future children deserve better! (Anna ego summary: If this is not what you want to wake up next to for the rest of your life then it can be arranged. Not smart; -but then how stupid am I to force it and chase after “not smart”??) Thus, we parted ways. (again, keeping it civilized.)

 I posted another internet dating profile, this time with my new math equations. Headline was: “A boy cries about a problem, a man solves it. Let’s see which one you are.”) ßTypical Anna smack.) Added a bikini picture for good measure.  I had two men who called me, and a ton sending me replies complaining about my “stupid games”. But I wasn’t there to please the crowd, I was there to find “The One”.. at least look for him.

The first one to solve my puzzle was a self-made millionaire who asked an NYU professor to solve the problem for him (prof was paid); – I was perfectly OK with it. I only asked to find a way. I did not specify how. (Plus, he was honest about it. Always welcome in my dictionary.) This man was looking for wife number 4 and there were apparent personality concerns that made it a no-go for me. (No, the 3 wives did not bother me. I’d be marrying the man, not his past. Plus, clearly, he was not afraid of commitment!) I got their consents, and set him up with my friend, “Cookie”.  Cookie looks like a supermodel and as intelligent and fun as they come (“jackpot” kind of girl). He wanted someone good-looking and smart, and Cookie wanted to marry someone uber-rich and claimed she can put up with anything. (To each their own. I was happy to make someone else’s dream come true. I did give her a fair warning about her target. She said she’s OK with it. -and came home from their date, saying: Anna, yet again, you were right.)  

But, back to my line up! My Mr. called me too, as he solved the problem and wanted to meet. Apparently, his buddy told him “it’s no way that the pictures are real or that she made this problem”. (My Mr.: 6 foot tall, Irish/ Jewish, blue eyes, handsome, broad shoulders, masters in molecular biology.)

First date wasn’t the best. He was staring at me the whole time. Second date was more impressive. He showed me his lab and what he worked on (clearly his comfort zone!). Third date, he didn’t try any funny business, instead he wanted to discuss my views on marriage and kids. He was charging forward at an unheard speed.

A month or so into relationship, we were at a pool-party. During chatting with his friends, when I was spilling my views (as usual), they asked me: “Just, how old are you, Anna?”  I told them my age, they didn’t believe me, so I had to show them my ID to prove that I am not just pulling their leg. They read my birthday out loud, then My Mr. chimes in: “that’s my birthday”. Then I said: “Yeah, right! Now, I want to see your I.D.” So there it was, we were comparing IDs in the middle of a party.  (Incidentally, his grandparents shared their birthdays with each other, too.) I am several years older than My Mr. though. He acted so much more mature than his age! (and still does!) Few months later, I was introduced to his grandparents, who approved. Then, I met his parents, no objections. Then, he met my mother, who did not approve. She took me aside and said: “This boy has nothing. He just loves you”. Unlike Netflix’s Asian heroines, I don’t give a hoot who says what (even if it is my own mother). I wasn’t soliciting feedback from her. I always follow my heart without hesitation, and do not care if the whole world says I cannot.  A year later I was engaged and a few months after, married. (Mother declined to attend my wedding. When she says something, she means it. I knew it going into any discussions with her, so no surprise there. I considered the consequences upfront, and was OK with it.) Hubby and I are a great team. He knows how to boss me around without being a pompous ass. (He insists I do not listen to anyone, but I disagree. I listen; -I just make my own decision based on what I heard/ see/ find out/ dig up…you get the picture! Make your case! I yield;- if rational to do so.)   

I have this simple summary what I wanted in a man. Wow me! Someone who is fun at night, in whose eyes I can get lost yet find peace, can hold a proper conversation, and I can sit next to him in dead silence but still be comfortable, who can be trusted with my life. My Mr. is someone like that. I could listen to him for hours. His information gathering, data analysis, his conclusions and theories are just spot on. He challenges me, keeps me in check, and comforts me when I need that. He understands that the world is bigger than just us and we need to do something for others as well. Data gathering and so forth is just the first step, but after that it is time to act. If you’re not willing to do anything about a problem, then you forwent your right to b*tch about it. You have to make an effort to make this world a better place, starting with yourself. He is a true Aquarius as well, with the stamina of a workhorse (his Chinese astrology sign: Earth Horse).  To put it simply, My Mr. is fabulous. We have been married for over a decade-and-a-half now. I chose wisely! (truth be told, got super lucky too! You can do everything right and still the results you hoped for may not come.) And despite mother’s concerns, My Mr.  did rise through the ranks. This brain cannot be ignored for long. He is a problem solver on all fronts.

When it comes to men, specifically my man, I do not care about typical things that many other women may. But the things I care about are essential for it to work. (My wants and needs are simple…not easy!) About people, to be around me, I am annoyingly picky and specific. I see potential but break free if any key component is not met. I analyzed my own empirical data what may make me attracted to a man and this is what I found. (It is almost like an anatomy check-list.): A man must have soul piercing eyes; eye-candy/ good DNA to pass down; have a brilliant brain; a big heart; a spine/ hutzpah/ gumption; drive (but must have work-life-balance!); have a “zen”/ calm about them in public; and a proper magic wand with matching “chi”. I don’t care about: long walks on the beach, how he makes me laugh (BUT cannot make me cry!!), what car he drives or how much he makes/has, what schools he went to, or who his folks are. Relationships fall apart not because of too few good days but because one too many bad ones. (“The shadows are as important as the light”- Jane Eyre). Don’t be funny, be fun. (Understand the difference!!) I believe one cannot change the other person (nor did I ever try, well, cigarettes aside…but it was their choice . Change should come from within. I may inspire, but I cannot expect.  (Nor would I ever put up with someone trying to change who I am!) I like adventure but must have my low-key days, when it’s just a hammock and the garden with a lemonade. If you tag along, you’re welcome to come; if you want to do your own thing, I give you the freedom; if your thing seems fun, I may ask to join in. (And the warning that I gave everyone: Do not bother me if I am hungry or sleepy. I take no responsibility!)

Despite how crazy I get about “my man”, as an oxymoron, I am pretty straight-laced and rational in everyday circumstances. I have never been drunk in my life (but have no problem having a glass of champagne/ $$$cotch /port/ wine (←ABC)/palinka once in a while. -DO NOT DRIVE IF HAD EVEN A SINGLE SIP!!!), I do not smoke (and refused to date anyone who smokes cigarettes, though cigars are OK ←The Darling effect), I never tried nor used drugs (I have to be half-dead to take an aspirin), and I do not gamble (other than taking my calculated risks in life). I am perfectly comfortable being unconventional. Peer pressure does not work on me. I am stubborn and independent, yet know how to ask for help and how to accommodate others. I do not fall apart when problems emerge but find a solution, often thinking outside of the box. Pragmatic. I try not to hurt others, unless they took the first stab at me.  I take nobody’s trespasses against me. (I also step up if I see something wrong is being done to others. I do not know, -nor wish to learn-, how to just “shut up and mind my own business”.) I don’t turn the other cheek. I strike back with the same force, to teach them a lesson. Accidents happen, if not intentional or malicious it can be made up for. I don’t sweat the small stuff. Intent is key. I am very rational, but can act viscerally too. I cry easily (movies!). But watch out, if I cry due to hurt/ anger, it’s just me getting rid of emotional build-up clouding my judgment. What comes next, won’t be pretty. After all, I do have my father’s genes too, and can act like a vicious/ merciless bastard. I am an Aquarius (with Taurus in my Mars!) born in the year of the Tiger with a Dragon ascendant; -what else could you possibly expect?? Plus, I am Hungarian Beware, the bitch bites and spits napalm. (and takes a bow afterwards and smiles like nothing happened.) 

Hubby is happy and so am I. He gets me like no other, and challenges me in positive ways.

DATING LESSON: Follow your heart and whatever makes YOU happy. Love is a two-way street, and it must be consensual. Other than that, the sky and your imagination is the limit. 

As far as the break ups.: Keep it civilized. Try to learn all the facts and learn from it. (Use it for self-development if you can.) You never hold the next man responsible for the previous man’s mistakes. (Mini amnesia, – if you will. You got burnt, but cannot be afraid of the fire. I know it’s tough, but it can be done.) Cry your eyes out, – if you must-, but try not to do it in front of him, after all you have your feminine pride. Give yourself time to recuperate, then move on. Each new book has a new story that has nothing to do with the previous one you read. Each man has his own personality. And if someone was nasty to you, teach them a lesson, but don’t let it consume your life. Try new things, but never destructive ones. Don’t do anything that you are uncomfortable with. It’s your life, your rules. You are to please nobody, but yourself. This world is big enough to have someone that fits with who you are and vice-versa. The tough part is finding that person.

Know who you are! [γνῶθι σεαυτόν/ Gnoti Seauton / Know Thyself]   -If I’d try to give motherly or sisterly advice, in a nutshell.

Be crazy ( not stupid!!) when it comes to taking chances in life. Feelings are not something we have control over, however our actions are.. It’s OK to make a (non-life altering) mistake; – just not twice.