Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: romance

Three Months Later

I was not surprised when she blocked me on Facebook and Twitter.   She TOLD me that she was going to do it.   But I figured it would be for a few days, and then she would be back.   It wasn’t the first time we went through this charade.

Juli and I met online.  We became immediate friends.  We were both going through a divorce, but as bloggers, we chatted mostly about writing.    Gradually this platonic friendship grew into something more — a long distance romance.

And it was definitely a LONG distance romance.  I lived in New York.  She lived in New Zealand. When we spoke on the phone, we were more than a day apart.   After a year of struggling with our schedules, chatting at inconvenient hours, we decide there was only one solution — I had to travel to New Zealand to see her.

For a month and a half, I had the most amazing time of my life. I spent Christmas and New Years with Juli and her young son.   It was summer in New Zealand!  We traveled around the South Island, and everywhere I went,  the beauty of the landscape blew me away.  I even learned how to camp… in a tent!   I found myself falling in love with a special woman.

The problems only started when I returned to the States.  Where do we go from here?  She was unable to leave the country because of her son.   We discussed my moving to New Zealand, but where would I work? Where would I stay? What if things didn’t work out?

There were no fights. Just a lot of unanswered questions. I was indecisive. I wanted baby steps. She wanted grand gestures. If I could go back in time, I might play my hand differently. Or I might not.

A long-distance relationship can be powerful, but it comes with it’s own set of strains. There were times when Juli would tell me that she needed to hide me on Facebook or Twitter, not out of anger, but because it brought up feelings of yearning and jealousy. I would laugh and tell her that she was being silly, but I understood exactly how she felt. It was difficult being separated from someone you cared about, and the breezy connections you have on social media can feel like an insult to the deep and honest love of a true relationship.

Three months ago, Juli went one step further.   She said that she needed to stop talking with me — for the sake of both of us.   Our long-distance relationship was holding us back from real life.

I laughed and told her to take her break. “I’ll be waiting for you when you come back,” I texted.

But she didn’t text back. And she didn’t answer any of my emails.

We haven’t interacted in three months.  She was serious this time.  Circumstances had changed and time had passed.   She had gone back to school and was searching for work.   She didn’t need me bogging her down, especially if our relationship wasn’t going anywhere.

Now the roles were now reversed.   She didn’t see my updates online, but I still saw hers.   I knew she got a new job from seeing her Twitter updates.   But I couldn’t talk to her about it.   The sight of her name brought up emotions that I’m not sure I wanted to feel anymore. So, after I write this post, I need to go on Twitter and Facebook, and block her too.   It just hurts too much.

21st Century Romance


Neil:  So, what do you think?

J:  I, uh, like the idea.

Neil:  You don’t like it. I can hear it in your voice.

J:   No, it is a clever idea. It might even work.

Neil:  So, what’s the problem?

J:   I’m just not sure it’s the WAY I visualized you coming back. I thought it would be more romantic.

Neil:  This IS romantic. This is 21st Century romance!

J:  Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but is it really THAT romantic if Air New Zealand only sends you back because you promised to put their hashtags on your Instagram photos?

Neil:  We’re not just offering them hashtags on Instagram.  We’re offering them Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.  We’re offering them to be part of a real life love story. Imagine the campaign “New Zealand is for Lovers!”

J:   I think the State of Virginia already has that one copyrighted.

Neil:  How about, “When in Love, Fly Kiwi!”

J:   Yeah, but the name of the airline is Air New Zealand, not Kiwi.”

Neil:  I’m sure they’ll figure it out. They have a big marketing department.

J:   So, let me understand it — you want us to email Air New Zealand and offer them that we we will hashtag everything we do while we travel around the South Island if only they sponsor it?

Neil:  Well, we have to offer them more than that.   We need to tell them that we will convince all of our readers that THEY should come to New Zealand and find love THEMSELVES — while flying Air New Zealand, of course — the airline of Romance.

J:  But what does this have to do about us?

Neil:  This is all about us!

J:  It makes me feel as if you are only coming back to see me if you get a free ticket.

Neil:   A ticket is $2000!

J:  Well, I suppose this IS who you are.  I think the first post I ever read of yours was about you taking Sophia out to dinner to the Olive Garden, using a coupon.

Neil:  That’s being frugal.

J:   Maybe I’m just worried about what happens if this plan falls through?   Will you still come back to see me as soon as possible?

Neil:   Of course I will.  Soon.   But maybe not as soon as if we were sponsored by Air New Zealand.

J:  That’s not a very romantic thing to say.  Imagine telling your blog readers that’s how you feel.  They all peg you as super sweet.

Neil:  Screw them.   And, believe me,  they LOVE to get free stuff.  You should see them pushing each other and grabbing things at BlogHer.

J:  But imagine this is one of your screenplays. Wouldn’t you want the hero of the story to return to his love interest, no matter what, even if he was so poor that he couldn’t afford a ticket? Wouldn’t he find a way, legal or illegal,  because if he didn’t see her soon, he would die from heartbreak?

Neil:  Exactly, that’s how I feel!  If this was a screenplay, the clever hero — a George Clooney type — would come up with this amazing social media campaign, and get an airline to sponsor him to see her again! Happy ending!

J:  And then what — at the very end of the movie, one of the pilots would do the wedding ceremony at the airport terminal?

Neil:   That’s not a bad idea. Let’s put that down.

J:   I don’t like this idea.  It’s like exploiting our relationship.  Not everything has to be sold through “social media.”  I’d rather you were so desperate to come here, that you became a stowaway on a ocean liner.

Neil:   Sure, I would rather do that too.   But do you know how difficult it is to be a stowaway on an ocean liner nowadays? It just doesn’t happen anymore. They have security, and besides, I don’t like cruising. Too much food.

J:  OK, write to Air New Zealand.  Let’s see what happens.   I’m just happy you want to see me again.  Do you want me to help you write the letter?  I used to work in marketing.

Neil:   Sure. But I’m not ready yet for that.   First, I need to get myself prepared. I read a tutorial on pitching to a brand, and there are a number of steps involved. I have to create a media kit, gather my daily page views on my blog from Google Analytics and Quantcast, chart my daily influence on Twitter, create a Facebook page, map out my Facebook statistics in order to show reader engagement, and lastly, convince all of my friends to give me a +New Zealand on Klout to cement my role as a leadership role on this subject in my community.

J:  That sounds like a pain in the ass. Are you sure it’s worth all that trouble just for trip to New Zealand?

Neil:   Hmm, maybe you’re right. Let me go to the Princess Cruises forum and research “How to Become a Stowaway.”

The Perfect Couple

It was Sophia’s birthday on Saturday, and we went to LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art).   We had a great day together.

“Are you two getting back together?” a friend texted me.

“No,” I answered. “Just a fun day out for her birthday.”

“You just seem so perfect together.”

“Perfect?!  Ha.  We are far from it.”

Sophia and I love each other, but the perfect couple we’re not.   We never were.

We tried our best, but we both want something more from a partner, a love that boils over and makes us want to shout it out to the world.   Something a little bit closer to the perfection of a Perfect Couple.

Does this Perfect Couple exist?   Or is it an illusion, the relationship equivalent of the bikini model drinking a Coke?

But then, on Saturday evening, as we left the museum, Sophia and I encountered them. It was the Perfect Couple, right on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles.

If God was a chef, this couple would be his signature dish. They would be spiced with respect, love, and passion, and as they marinated in His blessings, happiness and joy would waft through His kitchen, out the window, and throughout the world.

And they were standing right in front of us.

“Take an instagram photo!” said Sophia, as we both stared, confronted with our own  inadequacies.

After taking a few photos of the Perfect Couple on Wilshire Blvd., we discovered that we had stumbled into someone else’s photo shoot, and this couple were models.

But the Perfect Couple is a standard that is hard to let go, even if it is a fantasy.

The Blogosphere’s Valentine’s Day Emergency Hotline

(photo by sudergal, on flickr)

The Valentine’s Day Emergency Hotline at mister_valentinesday (Yahoo IM)

Are you alone on Valentine’s Day? Is the only Valentine’s Day Card you received the one from the supermarket with a discount coupon for Dannon Yogurt? Did you lie to your fraternity brothers, saying you’re not going out on Valentine’s Day because you just HAVE to watch “American Idol” live? Did your husband forget to buy you one of those cutesy stuffed bears from CVS Pharmacy that plays “Love Me Do” when you press his tummy? Did you just find out that your girlfriend is having an affair with her Pilates instructor and you’re going to your pre-paid Valentine’s Day dinner at some fancy restaurant with your mother? Did your father never say “I Love You” enough when you were a child? Have you been going to therapy for more than fifteen years because of “commitment issues?” Are you a perv who just can’t get enough loving? Do you sometimes wish you had two wives, one blond and one brunette? Would you leave your husband for George Clooney… in a New York minute? Do you believe that what the world needs now is love, love, love?

It doesn’t matter if you are single, in a relationship, married, divorced, whatever — you still can yearn for more love. Can anyone have too much love? And Valentine’s Day just adds pressure to us all. You might hate it, but this supposedly romantic day is in your face for half of the month of February, like a red zit. You want to feel that certain glow, that special romantic feel you read about in books, but how? Hallmark Cards are so old-fashioned, and so corny. We live in a fast-paced world, and sometimes we require some care and tenderness NOW — WHEN WE WANT IT.

And now it is a possible… at least on Valentine’s Day. Through the combined efforts of internet technology and the generous time of regular bloggers like you, we are proud to introduce the Valentine’s Day Emergency Hotline. During February 14th, any time you are feeling the need for a little Valentine’s Day boost, just go to mister_valentinesday at Yahoo IM, and a real live Mr. Valentine and Ms. Valentine will give you some love. These are not recorded messages, like the type you would get if you tried to contact Microsoft or Verizon. These are real live people who want to make your Valentine’s Day extra special.

Feeling down because the woman at the next cubicle got a bouquet of 48 red roses, and you have NOTHING on your desk other than paperwork? Are you sad because that sexy English grad student doesn’t want to “be your valentine?” Are you just looking for a little extra romance in your life?

Go to the Valentine’s Day Emergency Hotline at mister_valentinesday (Yahoo IM) on February 14th and FEEL THE LOVE!

Special thanks to Buzzgirl, Hilly, Retropolitan, Mo, Girl and Dog, PocketCT, Teahouseblossom, Ms. Sizzle, Alissa, Atomic Bombshell, Journey to Blissville, and Jurgen Nation.

Hours of operation: Valentine’s Day — 9:00 AM EST/6:00 AM PST to 3:00 AM EST/12:00 MIDNIGHT PST

Anyone who wants to cover Europe, Asia, or any other time zones – E-mail me.

I Don’t Understand Women

(Three Women by Fernand Leger)

Thank you for all the nice things you said about my dancing debut on Citizen of the Month. I was frankly surprised by the positive reaction, especially from female bloggers. In fact, I’d like to talk about this response by the women… just with the men.


Women — would you be kind enough to shut off you monitors for a few minutes so I can talk to the men alone. Thanks.

Men — did you see that response to me dancing? The babes were practically throwing themselves at my feet! Who knew that putting on an old suit has that effect? But isn’t it a little ironic that women are doing this at the EXACT moment when I’m making a romantic gesture to my wife? Where were they a month and a half ago? Why didn’t they do this when I was so horny I was writing pornographic children’s stories? Do you remember when Sophia first left town, I actually asked female bloggers to ease my pain by sending me photos of themselves topless.

Do you know how many tits I got to see? NONE!

Here I was back then — alone, and no one even swung their bra in the air for my amusement. But I do a little dance step FOR SOPHIA, and all of a sudden they’re throwing me their panties? Are they crazy? Or do women just like to torture us?

I don’t understand women. Do you?

Female bloggers — you can turn on your monitors now!

Back to the post —

Thank you again, ladies. Here’s a story I think you’ll enjoy. There’s food in the story, and I know you women LOOOOVE to eat.

One of my favorite local bloggers is Sarah from The Delicious Life and Slashfood. She’s one of the best food bloggers out there. I’ve been bugging her for weeks to let me come along and see her in action. On Thursday, she relented. She invited me to join her in checking out Mao’s Kitchen in Venice. We decided that I would pick her up and we’d drive together to the restaurant.

Although this wasn’t a date in a romantic sense, I was still having some pre-“date” jitters. After all, I was picking up a cute woman at her apartment and going to dinner with her, and I haven’t gone on ANY type of date since…. well, since… Sophia.

You know that cliched romantic comedy movie scene where a woman puts on five different outfits before she goes on her date?

On Thursday, that woman was me.

I changed shirts three times, then stared in the mirror at the awfulness of my hair. As much as I tried to brush it, it seemed as if the ghost of Donald Trump’s hair had decided to move in. I used some of Sophia’s mousse, and since I never use this gooey junk, it just made my hair look like a helmet. I ended up taking a second shower just to shampoo it out.

I decided to take Sophia’s SUV, thinking it was the most comfortable ride. I jumped in and was about to drive off, when I noticed that the windows were filthy. This was not acceptable for me to pick up some glamorous food blogger in a muddy car.

I stepped out of the car and decided to do a quick washing with the garden hose. I’m sure my face registered pleasure as the grime and dirt slid off the car, that is until I noticed that the passenger window was half open and I was spraying water from the hose INTO the car!


Four towels and a quick drying later, I was off to my “date.”

Once Sarah and I met, we clicked instantly. We fought our way through traffic to make it to Mao’s Kitchen, buying a bottle of incredibly cheap wine on the way (it was BYOB). While Sarah liked the atmosphere of the restaurant, I thought it was pretentious. There was a “Mao’s Communist China” theme to the menu and all the dishes were creatively named after something from the period. For instance, the egg rolls were called “peasant rolls.” There was a “Gang of Four” fried rice. Call me overly-sensitive, but should you make Disneyland kitsch out of a regime where so many people were murdered?

But what do I know? The place was packed with trendy people. Maybe I should open up a trendy shish-kabob stand and sell young Hollywood types the Saddam Hussein Pita Sandwich.

As Sarah and I got drunk (actually, it was mostly me), the mood changed between the two of us. We stopped our joking and our gossiping about blogging. Our conversation became intimate, as it frequently does when a man and woman sit across from each other in a dimly-lit restaurant. Yes, you guessed it. I blabbed on and on about Sophia and she talked about her ex-boyfriend.

When I told Sarah that my wedding anniversary was the next day, she couldn’t understand why I didn’t go to New York to spend it together with Sophia. I explained that I asked Sophia SEVERAL TIMES if she wanted me to come to New York, and each time she said, “No.” Sophia told me that she was working long hours and didn’t want to get distracted by me, so I listened to her.

Sarah didn’t buy the story. She insisted that I SHOULD have gone anyway, despite what Sophia said.

“That makes no sense.” I said.

“To a woman it does,” she answered.

The next morning, I told Sophia about my conversation with Sarah.

“Sarah was right,” said Sophia. “You should have come to New York. We could have gone out for our anniversary.”

“But you told me explicitly NOT to come!” I cried. “I would think you would be pissed off at me if I just showed up.”

“I would be pissed off. Very pissed,” she answered. “But if I opened my door and you were there, holding flowers, I would be very impressed that you were there, despite what I said.”

“That makes no sense.” I said.

“To a woman it does,” Sophia answered.

Women — would you be kind enough to shut off you monitors for a second time so I can speak freely with the men? Thanks so much for you patience.

Men — WTF?! Do you hear that craziness?

I don’t understand women. Do you?

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: My Class Action Suit

Valentine’s Day Blogger Serenade


Happy Valentine’s Day, Sophia!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mom!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Beautiful Bloggers of the Blogosphere

May We All Find True Love and Blog About it!

And now for your listening pleasure, I sing the classic "Love Will Keep Us Together," originally sung by the Captain and Tennille. 

My voice may not be perfect, but my heart is in the right place.

Wanted: A Hot Scorpio Woman


I’m a man of science, so astrology, like tarot card reading and mind-reading, is just pure nonsense to me.  Is there anyone out there who believes in astrology?  Don’t be shy.  I’m open-minded.  Maybe you can explain how it all works — why your birth date and the way the solar system is on that particular day, has any bearing on your personality.

Usually, I write my Tuesday post on Monday night.  Tuesday is the biggest day of the week for me in blogland.  For some reason, I get the most traffic on Tuesday, so I always try to prepare the most entertaining and heart-wrenching post for all of my dear readers.

Just as I was about to start writing, I got a phone call from Sophia.  She was coming over and going to stay the night.  Now, this is an extremely unlikely situation.  Whenever we have some event planned, I always go over to her house.  So, this was a big treat.  I rushed around my apartment, washing my dishes, changing the sheets, and washing some towels. 

Of course this posed a dilemma:  Do I write my important Tuesday post for a bunch of dumb strangers or pay attention to Sophia, a real live gorgeous woman?  (by the way, I decided to like boobs again)

So much of our relationship works, and so much doesn’t.   Sometimes I think it is our "love signs" that are working against us.  In fact, once we were in Borders and we looked inside some huge book titled exactly that —  "Love Signs."  We looked up the compatibility of Pisces (me) and Aquarius (Sophia).  The author wrote something like this:

"No self-respecting astrologer would wish this romantic arrangement, even on their worst enemy.  Your emotional rhythms and temperaments are rather different. Pisces is gentle, non-competitive, somewhat passive and has a need to get away from it all on a regular basis. Aquarius, on the other hand, needs involvement in the world and the flow of contemporary life.  This is NOT a match made in heaven."

We didn’t fare much better in Chinese astrology.  One book suggested that Sophia should be in a cool room and should sleep facing north, while I need a warm room and must sleep facing south. 

The scary thing is that many of these details about our relationship rang true.

I’ve been looking at some astrological websites today, trying to learn more about this subject.  It is not good news for Sophia and me. had this to say:

PISCES & AQUARIUS: – This is not the best union. The Water-bearer is far too cool and detached for you. Your tears and tantrums will soon tire the Aquarius.

AQUARIUS & PISCES: – This is a pretty dicey combination. The Fish’s emotional blackmail only drives you further away. The Pisces is likely to end up hurt and confused.


Maybe it’s time to just accept the logic of the stars.  Maybe it’s time to focus on finding a woman who is better suited for me. 

Yes.  What I am really looking for is a SCORPIO.

PISCES & SCORPIO: – This is a highly sexual union. You love to be possessed and cared for with the deep, warm affection that the Scorpion can provide. Truly a match made in heaven.

Are any of you Scorpios out there?  Because if you are, we need to talk, immediately.

Here’s how I would get along with the rest of you.

PISCES & ARIES: – You are far too sensitive for the aggressive Ram. You will be left behind to drown in your sorrows. An unfortunate match.

PISCES & TAURUS: – This is not a bad connection, however the Bull can get upset with your impractical nature. You, on the other hand, may find that the Bull is too stubborn.

PISCES & GEMINI: – Your emotional blackmail will usually hold a Gemini, however sorrow almost always prevails. A very destructive union for both parties involved.

PISCES & CANCER: – You belong together. You are both sensitive, weepy and love to dwell in self-pity. This is a great match, certainly lasting, however someone negative and moody.

PISCES & LEO: – You are doomed in this alliance. The Lion is too outgoing and you are far too sensitive. A hurtful relationship with little substance.

PISCES & VIRGO: – This is your polar attraction. It can be extremely perverse in the bedroom, but difficult at a mental level. You are impractical and this will really try the Virgoans patience.

PISCES & LIBRA: – You are both creatively inclined, however you are just not sophisticated enough for the Scales. Librans also have trouble putting up with your emotional whims.

PISCES & SCORPIO: – This is a highly sexual union. You love to be possessed and cared for with the deep, warm affection that the Scorpion can provide. Truly a match made in heaven.

PISCES & SAGITTARIUS: – This is not your best alliance as the Archer’s non-committal nature will hurt your tender heart. Your daily melodramas will drive the Sagittarius away.

PISCES & CAPRICORN: – This is not a bad combo in general however, you will probably run around on the Goat due to loneliness. You are also too wasteful for the Capricorn to deal with.

PISCES & AQUARIUS: – This is not the best union. The Water-bearer is far too cool and detached for you. Your tears and tantrums will soon tire the Aquarius.

PISCES & PISCES: – This is an emotional connection. Extremely good in the bedroom, but difficult out of the bedroom. You both crave attention and affection yet you want to do your own thing. Exhausting but exciting.

Here is the full list of all zodiac signs and their compatibility.  It is very important that you see where you stand with your spouse or lover.    This is a very classy and legitimate website, as you can tell from the tons of advertisements blinking in your face.  After you read about the state of your zodiac love connection, some of you may want to leave your spouse NOW before it is too late.

Not to be unfair, I looked up Sophia, and according to the stars, she should be looking for an Aries for a relationship (hopefully a rich one) and a Sagittarius for sex.

Online Dating Works for Some

(photo via Meggiecat)

Here’s a great story about finding love:

Meet Paul Henry, a retired professor from Redding, California and Jen-Chi Anderson, a retired nutritionist from Carmel, California.  Both were nearing their eighties.  Both survived their spouses.  Both wanted to find romance and share their experiences with someone else.

They wanted to look for love, but didn’t know the right places. At their ages, the local dating pools had all but dried up. They were too old to go clubbing but too young to hit the convalescent scene. So they followed the leads of millions of souls, and cast their nets worldwide, on the Web. And soon the sweet tones of a modem heralded the beginning of their octogenarian affair.

They met face-to-face three months later and were living together within a year

"When you get up near 80," Henry said, "you don’t mess around."

According to the Pew Internet and American Life project, 27% of all American seniors are online, and the numbers are growing quickly.  

Note to senior men:  Coming up with a good profile is not easy.  Do not use that 1943 picture of yourself on the USS Washington for your current photo.  Women always know. 

Check out Paul Henry’s story at his website.

(story via Meggiecat, Paul Henry’s daughter)

Looking for Love

Over 15,000 men responded to this sexy personal ad in an Atlanta newspaper:

SINGLE BLACK FEMALE seeks male companionship, ethnicity unimportant. I’m a very good looking girl who LOVES to play. I love long walks in the woods, riding in your pickup truck, hunting, camping and fishing trips, cozy winter nights lying by the fire. Candlelight dinners will have me eating out of your hand. I’ll be at the front door when you get home from work, wearing only what nature gave me. Call (404) 875-xxxx and ask for Daisy. I’ll be waiting…

They found themselves talking to the Atlanta Humane Society about an 8 week old black labrador retriever.