This Is What It’s Like to be in a Relationship with Someone who has ADHD

It’s a condition that affects an estimated 3-4% of adults, but as many as 90% of people with ADHD go undiagnosed. That adds up to a lot of individuals – and couples – wondering… is this how it is for everyone else? As a woman with a ‘typical’ brain, 30-year-old Kari Biondi* reflects on the challenges she faced with her non-typical boyfriend.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it became clear that Tom’s brain was built differently to mine – like most other people’s.

We met we were in our early twenties and I was struck by how easily he wore his emotions. He was always super affectionate, would cry openly if he was moved and was able to empathize and strike up a rapport with anyone. He didn’t talk about his feelings or inner life as such, but I suppose I thought it wasn’t necessary given how open he seemed. Other people – men – found his comfort in expressing himself confusing, and when we started dating one friend of his told me that he was surprised: because Tom was so ‘in touch with his feminine side’, as the friend saw it, he’d always thought he was gay.

The flip side to this was what I came to term WTF moments – rare bursts of anxiety triggered by thinking someone was taking the piss. Often people were being lax or just had their own stuff going on – that’s life – but he’d take it personally, becoming hurt and defensive. This is where I got confused – how could someone be so empathetic in some situations but so damning in others? A lot of his friends have been dropped over the years simply for being crap at arranging to meet for drinks.

It was only after we moved in together that some aspects of his behavior began to grate. Overall we had a cozy routine, interesting plans and lots in common – we went to work, came home and chilled – but his reaction to snubs or unfairness could create tension. He would freak if I was late home without letting him know, despite it being something he was guilty of himself. Years passed like this until he admitted that he saw my tardiness as a sign that I’d stopped caring about him and it started to dawn that there was more going on under the surface than I’d thought. Other habits I just found annoying. Cooking together was a nightmare: I’m lazy about following recipes but when Tom cooks every single ingredient has to be weighed exactly. He takes ages, and gets frustrated by that and the inevitable mess from all the precise prep he does.

There are times when I lose him to his deep dives – what I’d later learn were actually just distractions that tap into his brain’s reward center rather than some noble effort to educate himself. As well as airplanes, over the years he’s had obsessions with drones, Japan’s role in WWII, Westerns and watches. I’d joke that he’d be a total boss in any pub-quiz team, but when he comes across a new topic he loves he can be impossible to reach, burying his head in his iPad, scrolling until his interest wanes. I’d call it ‘nerd mode’ to lighten the mood but when he was like that nothing got done and it was lonely. I would get frustrated seeing him ‘entertain’ himself while I’m picking up his shit. More frustrating was when his distractions were more fleeting and he’d be even more difficult to pin down. I’d ask him to help clean up and he’d pull out the hoover, but five minutes later I’d find him online shopping for random things – an oven thermometer and trick yo-yo are two recent purchases that still sit in their boxes. Jobs would frequently get started then dropped.

I coped with this by being pragmatic, accepting that that’s what life with Tom was like. But then, a close friend died and Tom became depressed. He dropped far, sometimes hidden, sometimes loud and dramatic but was even harder to reach. He needed professional help.

His first appointment was with a psychiatrist for a formal diagnosis before moving into therapy and the doctor confirmed the obvious depression but also ran some question-based tests which suggested another thing – that Tom had ADHD. When he came out of the appointment it was almost like he was looking at himself for the first time. He was relieved that support for his depression was coming, but had to feel his way around the ADHD and what it meant for his past and his future. A week later, after more tests, the diagnosis was confirmed.

We both researched the condition but this was where I went full nerd: ADHD didn’t capture Tom’s imagination the way planes had. The more I learned, the closer I felt to Tom and the more I understood his view of the world and found ways to work with him on it – and for him to work with me. Now, if I’m going out, I never give him a ‘home by’ time and check in regularly so I keep control of my space and he doesn’t get worked up. If he’s distracted, I offer up things we can focus on together like going out to eat or watching a film. It’s taken time, but he’s come to understand why he’d act one way when everyone else seemed to behave in another. It opened the door to his inner world, his confusion, his sense of fighting against the world. One thing we still have to overcome is his resistance to seeing some of his behaviors as ADHD and not just ‘Tom’ – that’s a thing for him, that being ADHD somehow depersonalizes his experiences and responsibilities. But the diagnosis has given us the right language to talk about feelings and behaviors and improve our relationship. It’s been a blessing.

What’s the deal with ADHD?

Melissa Orlov, author of The ADHD Effect on Marriage, explains the unique qualities – and trials – of being in love with someone with ADHD.

People who have ADHD have a different kind of neurochemistry and a different physical setup of the brain than people who don’t have it and it’s usually a hereditary condition. It results in very specific symptoms that can include hyperactivity, difficulty initiating and following through on tasks and emotionality, which means that you respond more easily and quickly emotionally than other people do. ADHD also goes hand in hand with anxiety, depression and substance abuse issues.

Chronic distractibility is the number one symptom of adult ADHD, and when you’re a neurotypical – ie, non-ADHD – partner it can leave you feeling unloved or ignored. It’s not that the person doesn’t love you, it’s that the person is distracted. The other big issue has to do with difficulty following through on tasks. Over time, because so many promises are made and broken, the trust in the relationship will erode. Again, it’s not because the person doesn’t love you or is untrustworthy, it’s because they have these unmanaged symptoms.

Between 80% and 90% of adults with ADHD are undiagnosed, and a diagnosis helps the ADHD partner understand the strategies they can use to improve their reliability and performance in the relationship, and for both people in the relationship to understand and interpret the behaviors. If you don’t know that you have ADHD in the relationship, you don’t understand why things are happening or why they’re so pervasive, which is frustrating for both partners.

Almost all of the people that I have worked with who have ADHD are quite emotionally sensitive. It’s a lot to do with shame: ADHD partners have been told their whole lives that they’d be happier and more successful if they work harder and pay attention and so by adulthood they can be sensitive about that and taking blame for things that are beyond their control. Both partners have to understand that they make a contribution to the issues between them.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Is Dating Safe During The Coronavirus Outbreak? Here’s How To Do It

In an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are encouraging people to practice “social distancing,” a term that refers to making a conscious effort to reduce close contact with others. If that phrase makes you feel 10 times lonelier, you aren’t the only one. But for the sake of keeping yourself and those in your community healthy, it’s best to avoid non-essential hangouts and hookups. It’s possible to date safely during the coronavirus outbreak, but it requires a little creativity and flexibility… not to mention WiFi.

The CDC’s most recent guidelines at the time of publication note that the virus spreads primarily through contact between people who are within six feet of each other and is carried via respiratory droplets (from coughing and sneezing, for example). The CDC recommends canceling or postponing gatherings of 50 or more people, and several city and state governments have mandated the cease of large-scale events, as well as the temporary closure of restaurants and bars. Additionally, Belgian economist Andreas Backhaus analyzed data comparing COVID-19 cases in Italy and South Korea and found that young people (ages 20 – 29) are often asymptomatic carriers — meaning they feel healthy, but can still pass the virus to other people.

That’s why many immunologists and officials recommend avoiding non-essential contact with others. “The need to practice social distancing is something we all should do to reduce the spread,” Vincent Racaniello, Ph.D, a Columbia professor of microbiology and immunology, tells Elite Daily. “Most people will only have mild disease, but the concern is that older people, or those with health problems, will have serious disease requir[ing] hospitalization. We do not want to overburden hospitals, because if they are, they won’t be able to provide proper care.”

It may not be worth putting yourself and others at risk in order to meet new people right now, but if you’re DTF (and here, that means down to flirt), you have options.

“Humans are social creatures and during this period of physical isolation, people are looking for alternative ways to socialize,” says Lyndsey Wheeler, co-founder of Here/Now, a dating company that organizes singles’ mixers. “Dating shouldn’t have to stop just because we can’t go out to bars or restaurants.”

Here’s how to keep your love life fun while practicing social distancing.

Make The Most Of Dating Apps

Kaitlyn McQuin@kaitlynmcquin

You know who’s really gonna suffer during this social distancing?

Dudes on dating apps

Welcome back to courtship, Brad. Welcome back to talking to a gal for WEEKS prior to meeting.

We’re pen pals now, my dude.

We bout to get Jane Austen up in here.

Now, write me a poem.

77.5K people are talking about this

Let’s be real, a good chunk of your love life has probably always revolved around the internet. So this should come as second nature to you: It’s 100% safe to swipe for hours and flirt endlessly with cute strangers from the safety and comfort of your own couch. In these strange times, nothing is hotter than a person who can woo you with words. Don’t be afraid to make the first move and send over a swoon-worthy compliment. Get creative and fire off cheeky banter. Ask thought-provoking questions to keep the conversation flowing.

Flirt Over Video Chat

Sweet quotes for V-day Instagram captions.
Shutterstock

Rather than meeting up for a date, consider a FaceTime date instead. “It’s one way to stay connected to real people without having to meet in the physical world,” a rep for Bumble previously told Elite Daily. Rather than struggling to hear your date over a crowded bar and doing the awkward wallet dance at the end of the night, you each bring your own beverages or snacks to your computer or phone and get to know each other online.

If you’re a college student, you can sign up for Love Over Zoom, the brainchild of two Yale computer science majors that uses an algorithm to match up students around the country for Zoom dates. Ileana Valdez, one of the co-founders, previously told Elite Daily, “Because we were going to be isolated, it was OK to ‘shoot your shot’ and be brave about dating.”

If you’re in New York or Los Angeles, Here/Now is offering virtual mixers of 10 people at a time on the evenings of March 17, 18, and 19. “We’ll curate the group, invite everyone to set the vibe in their own living rooms (for example, light a candle and pour themselves a drink), have a host present to guide the experience, and put people into a series of short one-on-one conversations to get to know each other better,” Wheeler explains. “Afterwards, we’ll help connect anyone who felt a mutual spark so they can keep up the virtual hangs until we’re able to meet IRL once again.”

While it might feel weird at first to conduct your entire dating life from the safety of your own home, the very first eHarmony and Tinder users probably felt the same way back in the day — and now, dating sites and apps have transformed dating for good. Love Is Blind recently demonstrated just how powerful conversation can be. By the time the threat of this outbreak passes, you might have already met the Cameron to your Lauren. Stay safe, friends.

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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What is ‘Morning Wood,’ and Why Does it Happen?

Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) is not a result of sexual arousal or having a dream relating to sex. Instead, it is a normal function of the male reproductive system.

In fact, regular episodes of NPT are a sign that the nerves and blood supply to the penis are healthy.

If a male does not have NPT regularly, it can indicate a health issue, such as erectile dysfunction (ED), which involves having trouble getting or keeping an erection. Not having regular NPT can also suggest other problems with the nerves or the blood supply to the male reproductive organs.

A hormonal imbalance, such as a decrease in testosterone, can also affect how often a person experiences NPT. A lack of regular NPT can sometimes result from not getting quality sleep.

As a person gets older, they can expect to experience NPT less often. This change should happen gradually, as hormone levels shift. Anyone who notices a sudden drop in the number of their NPT episodes should speak with a doctor to rule out any potential health issues.

Causes

“Morning wood” is a common occurrence for most men.

NPT is not a typical erection because it is not related to sexual thoughts, dreams, or stimulation. It is simply a result of sleep cycles, combined with healthy nerves and blood flow in the body.

NPT tends to happen when a person is in a rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep. REM sleep can occur several times during an 8-hour sleep cycle. The erection may go away on its own as a person enters deeper sleep. Thus, a person may have erections several times during the night but may not be aware of them.

Often, a person wakes up at the end of a REM sleep cycle, which explains why NPT seems to happen in the morning. In addition, testosterone levels tend to be elevated in the morning. Males have high levels of this hormone, which contributes to sexual function.

An erection caused by NPT may be physically different from one caused by arousal. One study found that some men experienced pain when they had NPT, but not when they had typical erections.

How often should morning wood occur?

Males of various ages, from children to older adults, experience NPT. Usually, younger adults, who have the highest levels of testosterone, will experience nocturnal erections more frequently than children or older people. Young adult males may have NPT every morning and a few times during the night.

The peak of sexual maturity generally happens when males are in their late teens to late 30s, and this may correspond with higher testosterone levels. It is normal for people in this age range to experience frequent episodes of NPT.

As a person approaches their 40s and 50s, they may notice fewer episodes of NPT. This often occurs because testosterone levels are naturally declining. However, the episodes should decline gradually, not suddenly. A gradual decline in NPT with age is customary.

A hormonal imbalance, especially one that affects the penis and testes, can result in few or no episodes of NPT. This is one reason why having regular erections in the morning is an important indicator of healthy male sexual organs.

One study found that men with hypogonadism, which prevents the sexual organs from fully functioning, experienced an increase in NPT after they had received testosterone therapy.

Some research says that a person’s quality of sleep can affect the frequency of NPT. If a person is not getting good sleep and entering the REM cycle, they may not experience nocturnal erections.

A study of 61 men with obstructive sleep apnea and ED found that getting better quality sleep resulted in more frequent NPT. The participants who used continuous positive airway pressure devices had more frequent nocturnal erections than those who did not.

Other studies have used NPT as an indicator of hormonal or sexual health, especially when treating ED.

For instance, if a person has NPT but cannot get or maintain an erection during sexual activity, doctors can rule out issues such as insufficient blood flow or nerve responses in the penis. If this is the case, ED may be a psychological issue, and a health professional can treat it accordingly.

However, if a person has no nocturnal erections and has trouble getting or keeping erections related to sex, doctors may determine that there is a physical cause of ED.

When to see a doctor

A person should speak to a doctor if they notice changes in how frequently NPT occurs.

Because NPT is an indicator of quality sleep and the health of sexual organs, it is helpful to pay attention to how often NPT happens.

If NPT suddenly stops or is happening much less frequently, speak with a doctor. They may wish to discuss possible health conditions, such as sleep disorders, hormonal imbalances, anxiety, and ED.

It is important to see a doctor about a lack of NPT, as it can be a symptom of ED. This condition can indicate serious health issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes, especially in younger males. A health professional can help treat these conditions, including ED.

Certain medications, such as antidepressants, can make it more difficult for a person to get or maintain an erection. They may also cause a decrease or sudden stop in NPT. Some of these medications include:

  • high blood pressure medications
  • muscle relaxers
  • hormonal medications
  • seizure medications
  • antidepressants
  • histamine H2 agonists (which can help treat some types of ulcers)
  • chemotherapy drugs
  • medications to treat heart arrhythmias
  • diuretics

If a person has recently started a new medication and notices changes in the frequency of NPT, they may wish to speak with their doctor. Sometimes, the doctor can prescribe a different medication to help address this side effect.

See a doctor if NPT or erections in general are painful.

Seek emergency medical help for an erection that does not go away after 4 hours. If this occurs, it can cause tissue damage in the penis and problems with sexual function.

Summary

Morning wood is a healthy function of the male body.

A person should talk with their doctor if they notice a sudden change in the frequency of nighttime erections. This can ensure that a person receives prompt treatment for any underlying health conditions.

 

Tales of Rock: ‘DESTROYED BY DRUGS’: Elton John says Michael Jackson was a ‘walking drug addict’

Elton John believes drug addiction made Michael Jackson’s later years hell.

In his new memoir Me: Elton John, the I’m Still Standing singer opens up about his relationship with the late King of Pop, who he had known “since he was 13 (or) 14 years old”, admitting he became concerned for him in adulthood due to his bizarre behaviour.

Speaking with Entertainment Tonight at a special orchestral screening of the musical biopic Rocketman with the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles on Thursday, Elton claimed the star became a “walking drug addict” in his later years before his death, aged just 50, from an overdose of sedatives in 2009.

“What happened to him was such a tragedy, with the drugs and I don’t think he had a particularly happy life leading up to his big success,” the Tiny Dancer star, 72, said. “I think success is hard to deal with and I think Michael found it hard and became isolated.

“It was awkward to be around him. It was tragic to be around him,” he continues. “This was someone who was one of the most talented people to come on Earth, and it was so sad to see him destroyed by the drugs … He was a walking drug addict and was on everything possible.”

Elton, who has his own well-documented history with drug addiction, added it’s “upsetting when you see someone that you care about (suffering) and you can’t do anything about it.”

The rocker’s memoir, Me, is out now.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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The Coronavirus Epidemic Has Made Dating Even More Complicated

Sajmun Sachdev, a 36-year-old single woman in Montreal, was messaging with a promising match from the dating app Hinge. The guy had two desirable traits: a six pack and a job. And he’d asked her out — the only guy to do so in months. But one thing was worrying her: He had joked that he didn’t know if his headaches were from a concussion he got in China recently or a symptom of covid-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

 

Excuse me. Did you say you’ve been in China recently?!

 

Conveniently, he canceled their date, claiming he was too busy and hasn’t tried to reschedule. Sachdev was relieved. “I’m not sure that this is totally worth it,” Sachdev recalled thinking, in a phone interview last week. “There must be someone else I can meet.”

People do fall in love through online dating, which is now the most popular way for couples to meet. But often they match but don’t message. Or they message but never meet up. Or they make plans but then cancel. Or they make plans, then unmatch and never show up. Or they make plans, date for a bit and then disappear without an explanation.

Now, coronavirus fears have further complicated this hotbed of flakiness. Dating apps are serving up reminders to wash your hands; profiles and first messages are full of coronavirus references; one dating coach suggested ways to avoid touching during that initial greeting. For many, the fear of the coronavirus is real. But in dating, it’s hard to know when people are using it as yet another reason to discard one another before they’ve even met.

 

“I don’t think anyone really wants to rush meeting in person, given everything,” says Meghan Lloyd, a 28-year-old woman in San Francisco who’s been in a few suspiciously drawn-out conversations, without being asked out. “We’re just chatting longer than is usual.” She’s also hesitant to meet up, asking herself: “Do I like this guy enough to risk catching coronavirus?”

Being well-traveled, like Sachdev’s match, is usually something singles brag about in their dating-app profiles, noting how many countries or continents they’ve visited, or suggesting that you help plan their next trip. Now Hinge profiles say things such as: We should match if you haven’t been to Italy. Comedian Nicole Byer, who hosts the “Why Won’t You Date Me?” podcast, tweeted that she’d been talking to a man on Tinder who unmatched her after she said she’d been traveling.

nicole byer

@nicolebyer

I was talking to a man on tinder and I told him I was traveling and he said “with this corona virus!?” Then unmatched me

Dating is maybe the most fun thing I’ve ever done.

Other daters use the prospect of self-quarantine as a chance to get sequestered with someone. “Let’s meet before the Coronavirus gets really bad” says one Hinge profile, where the dater touted himself as “fully stocked” with Purell and items from Trader Joe’s.

Evan Maeda, a 26-year-old man in San Francisco, says he’s seen lots of Tinder and Bumble bios seeking partners to help ride out the apocalypse. Since his demographic isn’t at high risk, most of the references are lighthearted. “I’ve never been able to fully read the sarcasm on dating apps — until now,” Maeda says. He’s even using the outbreak as an icebreaker. “How are we feeling about this coronavirus stuff?” has become Maeda’s version of that 2017 pickup line “I’m going to Whole Foods, want me to pick you up anything?”

The virus even has a fake dating profile floating around. (Hometown: Wuhan, China. Bio: “I love being outdoors, crowded places and food markets.” Turnoffs: Masks and goggles). “Saturday Night Live” combined coronavirus anxiety with Netflix viewers’ “Love Is Blind” obsession to conjure up a reality-TV dating scenario where singles dated while in separate pods — and while sick and hooked up to IVs. Some people even find the doom and gloom arousing: Coronavirus-themed porn has gone viral on Pornhub, Vice reports.

Apps are promoting good hygiene as good dating strategy. Last week, Hinge tweeted that singles should wash their hands before stealing a date’s fries. On Instagram, the dating app proclaimed that “washing your hands is hot.” Tinder has interrupted users’ swiping to deliver PSAs saying protecting yourself from the coronavirus was more important than dating. Avoid touching your face, Tinder cautioned, but the dating app conveniently didn’t say anything about touching someone else’s. With your lips.

And daters are definitely still doing that.

On Thursday night, 37-year-old Xavier Garcia was among the many singles at the Washington bar Green Zone who told The Post that they’re not being more cautious about making a move. “If I want to kiss someone, it doesn’t matter,” he said while standing next to a woman he had already kissed. “I’m not going to ask anyone: Do you have coronavirus?”

Emily Menge, 26, said she hadn’t thought about the coronavirus’s potential effect on her dating life until she had a nightmare that she was patient zero in Washington — and that the virus had spread because she’d kissed two men. “My mother was very disappointed,” she recalls. In Menge’s waking life, she is dating two men and at the moment everyone is healthy. But that doesn’t stop her and her friends from wondering: Should I be more careful? Should I stop making out with people in bars?

 

Menge and her friends haven’t resolved to change their behavior. “We’re going to get it anyway,” she posits. Though she does think coronavirus references in dating profiles have become a good litmus test for whether someone is paying attention. “If people update their profiles, it shows if they’re reading the news or not.”

Rachel DeAlto, the chief dating expert for Match, says that the virus is actually an opportunity to be more discerning. DeAlto suggests doing pre-dates on FaceTime or Skype before meeting, to get a sense of whether a connection is really worth leaving the house. In times where people are hunkered down — such as snowstorms — Match and other dating sites have reported surges in traffic. Coronavirus self-quarantines could have a similar effect.

Francesca Hogi, a dating coach in Los Angeles, says she hasn’t noticed her clients being too concerned about in-person meetings. But if someone is, Hogi advises that they talk about it with their date before that awkward hello. They could send a text saying something like “I’m really excited to meet you, but let’s not shake hands.” Perhaps daters might put their hands over their hearts in a contact-free salute to their dates. (Hogi doesn’t think fist bumps are good for first dates; they set more of a buddy tone.) She also suggests modeling good hygiene by putting on hand sanitizer together.

Sometimes the coronavirus is preventing people from meeting up not because they’re sick but because the virus is putting their work lives into overdrive. Or at least that’s what they claim.

For over a month, Michael Garofola, a 39-year-old attorney and former “Bachelorette” contestant in New York, has been trying to schedule a first date with a woman he met on Raya, the celebrity dating app. She keeps canceling because of work conflicts, he says, and, last week, she again had to postpone because the coronavirus’s effect on commerce kept her in the office late. But he hasn’t given up hope that they’ll eventually meet.

“All I can do is continue to wash my hands every day and wait to hear back,” Garofola says, “without washing my hands of her.”

 

 

Life In The Time Of Covid-19

“When playing billiards with my father he always said… “Don’t just make the shot that’s in front of you, son. Think of where the cue ball is going to land AFTER you hit the ball you want in the pocket. That way you’ll be ready for your next shot. And the one after that…”

If you write a blog and you’re reading this, you know we always write ahead. Just to beat the deadlines of our own publication. I’m a huge fan of planning and staying ahead of what I want to publish here. 

But tonight, I’m just going to write something for right now.

This is new to us. We’ve lived through 9/11. As terrible as that was 20 years ago, it happened to other people. It was an isolated incident that changed America forever. When I say ‘other people’ I mean the rest of the country watched in horror at the events that unfolded on TV that day, but we lost nearly 3,000 lives. (2,977 to be exact.)

We’d never seen anything like it. The worst attack on US soil in the short history of our country.

But today’s different. 

A virus that’s transmitted from person to person like a cold. We’ve all caught colds, had the flu, stomach viruses, etc.

But nothing like this. 

A virus so strong that it’s easily transmitted and passes between people. No animals are affected by this virus.

Just humans.

This is just a taste of how fragile our existence is on this planet.

I don’t know where this came from, but hopefully we’ll find out, and create a vaccine for it.

But for right now, we’re all behaving very well in the first few days of this quarantine.

 

I tell my stories here about all of my dating foibles and relationships on this blog. I’ve been a decent dad and a fun boyfriend, but when comes to domestic relationships, I’ve never been able to submit.

I appreciate all of the friend and fan support on here, but as I dish out all of the dating and relationship advice, I’ve found that very thing quite the quandary.

I give advice on what to do on a date and how to maintain your relationships.

I’m good at that. I like to write words and lyrics.

But words are hollow unless applied to deeds.

I’d like to believe that my words mean something, and maybe make a small difference in the lives of the people that take the time to read this blog everyday.

And for that, I’m grateful.

 

For the moment, I’m employed by a restaurant in this city. So is my daughter, Lorelei. We’re both in the hospitality industry.

I worked last week. It was business as usual. We were gearing up to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and March Madness was on the way. We should have made a bundle last weekend. A payday so big it would have covered the last two months of winter.

But none of that happened. No one came in. No crazy drunken crowds of people wearing green, or funny beads, or fighting, getting shitfaced for no reason, and throwing up in plastic hats at the curbside.

None of it.

Are they all so broken that they need to drink to the point of illness to celebrate the dissatisfaction and mediocrity of their lives here in Philly on a designated day?

Nothing happened.

 

Nah, something did indeed happen.

Covid-19.

 

Saturday I normally work from 2pm until at least 11pm. I came in at 5pm and was cut at 8:30pm. It was so slow that even being scheduled was a gift from the owner. When I got there, he told me I was off on Sunday. Normally, I work from 12:30pm to 10:30pm. But I was off. I haven’t had a Sunday off since August of 2019.

Monday I was scheduled to come in at 10:30am and work until 10:30pm. My typical Monday is a twelve hour day on my feet. I don’t mind. I like to work and be busy.

But by Sunday night, I was told not to come in until 4pm that day.

By 2pm I was told not to come in at all.

Off again.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and now today… Friday.

Still off.

Why?

Because every restaurant in this city has been closed for the next 14 days because of what’s happened. I was on the phone with a friend when my daughter called and told me she wouldn’t have to go into work for the next two weeks.

I told her the same.

I’ve had my share of struggles financially in the past and also with employment. Many times by my own design.

But this was different.

Everyone in the entire industry was affected.

I think they told us two weeks so we wouldn’t lose our minds. But I don’t see this ending anytime soon.

Restaurants can only do pick up and take out. No one is allowed to hang out in any bar or restaurant in this city.

That leaves most places with scheduling one cook, a clerk to ring up and take out orders, and a delivery guy.

That’s it.

The rest of us are fucked.

Well, we’re all currently fucked.

One of my brokerage accounts is down over $7k. Bills and rent are due. So yea, if my little life is an example… then yea, we’re fucked. 

Forget me for a second. Think of the people that already have the virus.

How about the people that have it and don’t know it?

But are we?

Let me take a moment as the phicklephilly guy that you’ve been reading for the last 4 years to say a few things about this.

We’re all stuck at home and can’t go out. Income is either running out or is gone. I don’t expect to be paid anymore from my current employer. I think this could go on for awhile. But here’s what I’m thinking about, and I’m going to share it with you all.

If you have your health right now, embrace it and help others that need you.

I know that sounds a bit cliche, but hear me out…

Call or text all of your friends and loved ones today and through this weekend. Just check on them. This is the perfect opportunity for you to connect and reconnect with everyone you know. It won’t be weird. Don’t make it weird. Just call and check on them. This is your perfect opportunity. Because for the first time in the history of this country, we are all experiencing the same thing. 

This is what we have in common right now.

Exactly the same thing.

The enemy is the virus. Not a man, or a country, or a race, or an idea, or a religion. This enemy doesn’t care about your race or your religious beliefs. A virus is a living entity that wants to take you over for the last time.

As a species we’ve been a scrappy lot. We’ve successfully moved to a spot that isn’t even in the food chain anymore because we’re so good at killing everything.

We are the best and the worst thing that Earth has ever known.

But we’ve made it ours and for now, Earth is where we’re hangin’.

This is an opportunity.

Right now you have your health.

Appreciate that.

Got laid off from your job? Cut your hours? Not allowed to come in because of the virus?

Use this opportunity to plan.

Humans have always been great planners. That’s how we beat everything else. Plan for the rest of your life. You’re alive now. What if you get it and you die?

Embrace this time. This forced quarantine. Think! What are you grateful for? Do you really like that job you’re currently not having to go to?

I’m a writer. I’m always planning the next few chapters in anything I’ve ever written here. 

When playing billiards with my father he always said… “Don’t just make the shot that’s in front of you, son. Think of where the cue ball is going to land AFTER you hit the ball you want in the pocket. That way you’ll be ready for your next shot. And the one after that…

After that…

After this.

This global pandemic. 

That is some scary shit. 

I’m actually surprised in the moment that I write this. The the films, Outbreak and Pandemic are very popular on Netflix. Oh, the irony of our own fate! I’ve always been a huge fan of Art imitates life, imitates art.

There’s no anarchy.

Not yet.

I’ve been off work for over 5 days now and I haven’t had this much free time in years.

Monday I went to breakfast, wrote, talked with friends and loved ones, had dinner, and watched my shows. I, for once… had nowhere to be.

Tuesday, pretty much the same.

Wednesday, More of that just living and breathing thing. Daughter came home. I was happy to see her. She went to the supermarket and bought a bunch of food. She cooked dinner for the two of us and we actually sat and ate, and chatted like a real family.

It was elegant and beautiful.

We never do that.

We work in the industry and pass in the night, and crash here.

But for the first time in a very long time, we actually sat down as a family and broke bread together.

Lorelei made an amazing stromboli from scratch. She’s vegan, so she made it that way. But for the life of me I couldn’t tell, and it tasted so delicious, I went back for seconds!

That wouldn’t have happened if not for today’s circumstances.

Embrace that. Your partner. Your children. Your health. Yourself.

(ok… here we go)

You beat 250 million other sperm to get to here.

You were racing for your mom’s egg, and there were 249,999,999 dudes chasing you.

You got there FIRST.

You won.

Embrace and appreciate that. You’re partner, your children, your friends, your employer… everybody you’ve ever met got here the same way.

You’ve earned your right to be here on Earth today. 

 

Embrace what’s good in your life right now. We all have the same problems at different degrees in this life.

But in this moment… Today. You are reading this and I hope you’re okay. If my blog suddenly stops you’ll know Capt. Trips got me. (look it up!)

Be thankful everyday for your health.

Surround yourself with good people. (But no more than 10, okay? Just for now!)

Find something to do. If you’re home, find something to do with your free time. For a workforce that’s accustomed to working themselves too long and too hard, you may find this sudden stop a bit jarring.

Are you in love? Are you feeling loved? If you have it, embrace that. It’s the strongest force in the galaxy.

No love? Stop lying. Somebody’s worried about you right now. Give them a call. This is your opportunity to forget the past. All bets are off. You can call anyone, ex, old flame, enemy, frenemy…. reach out and just check on them.

I’m going to call and check on my landlord. Who knows, maybe my diplomatic charm will get her to slide me a free month during this crisis.

Think of all of the projects and other thing you’ve been saying you want to do. But you never have any time to do any of them because you’re always working, and when you have free time you need to rest from the life of work you don’t even really want.

Go clean your house. It’s Spring! Clean up. Get rid of stuff. Have fun. Take a nap. Have a drink. Smoke some grass. Call your mom.

Have something to look forward to. Remember what I said about planning? This is your opportunity to plan for the future.

The world is on pause right now.

(I wish the fucking Dow Jones was on pause right now!)

Take this time to do whatever you want. Lean into your free time.

My goal is to crack off 3 volumes of Crazy Dating Stories by the weekend. And I’m going to fucking do it.

All I do is cry about how I don’t have anytime to write because I work so many hours.

I have no excuse now.

And neither do you.

Do something. Anything. Try something new. Even if it’s you having the ability to be at home alone in the quiet of your own mind and just take a break.

Here’s your break from everything.

 

I’ve been walking the city. This is MY city. I’ve walked it’s streets. Drank it’s wine. Danced with it’s women. Taken my share of the money that’s available here. (In my jobs, you idiots!)

The city is deserted. Sure, there are some people and kids about. Folks out walking their dogs, but it’s different right now.

It’s like nothing any of us have ever seen in our lifetimes.

I’d like everyone that reads this today to contact just one person you haven’t spoken to in awhile. It’s not like you won’t have anything to say to them! We’re all experiencing the same thing right now as a species.

You can do it!

I’d like to see some comments about this idea and what you folks did.

I have a translator widget on this blog so no one has an excuse to not do it.

Contact someone, and write your results in the comments section.

Stay safe people.

 

“Don’t be the tree that falls and makes no sound.” – Phicklephilly

 

 

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Covid-19 Can’t Stop People From Looking for Love (or Hookups)

Sharing meals, hand-holding, and kissing can spread the coronavirus. That hasn’t stopped anyone from checking their dating apps.

It’s Friday the 13th!

Teens cough theatrically while their crushes spring away from them, retreating into their hoodies like turtles into their shells. Men and women walk up to each other on the street, stretch their arms out for hugs and their faces forward for kisses, only to jump back at the last moment and bump their feet together instead. A man walks down the street in a full hazmat suit, hand in hand with a coughing woman in shorts and a T-shirt while TikTok’s most ubiquitous new earworm—”It’s Corona Time”—honks and drones in the background. His caption: “When your girlfriend has coronavirus but you still love her.” Intimacy and social distancing do not mix.

As concerns about Covid-19 grow, many people’s minds have turned to romance. In China, where many have been on continuous quarantine lockdown for weeks, residents are sharing photos of stores emptied of condoms—hey, there’s not much else to do. In the United States, where would-be lovers are still free to leave their homes, citizens are more focused on whether dating during a pandemic is medically advisable. Stories about concerned and confused daters are everywhere, and people’s reactions to the outbreak range from seeking a hookup for the end of the world (and saying so in their dating app profiles) to instantly unmatching with people once they find out that their prospective mate has been on a plane recently.

Even the dating apps themselves have been swept up into the Covid-19 discussion. Tinder will interrupt your swiping to remind you that, while they want you to “continue to have fun,” you should also remember to carry hand sanitizer and maintain social distance. Queer-focused app Lex has also been reminding people to wash their hands and suggesting ways to keep busy and connected while quarantined. OkCupid has gone so far as to include a question about coronavirus—“Does coronavirus affect your dating life?”—as part of their users’ dating profiles. “We are always dropping in culturally, politically, and socially relevant questions for our daters to respond to,” says Michael Kaye, OkCupid’s global communications manager. “These questions help us match people on what matters to them.” Whether it’s desirable to be paired according to your infection anxiety level is up for debate, but OkCupid has found that coronavirus concerns definitely matter to people deciding whether or not to bring a new person into their lives or bedrooms.

The caution is appropriate. A typical date breaks just about all of the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 prevention rules. They’re public, and most restaurant tables aren’t 6 feet across. It’s likely you’ll touch hands, which is something people all over the world are trying to avoid. WHO officials have shared alternative greetings like waving, bumping elbows, and bowing. Then there’s kissing. The French government has officially warned its citizens against kissing each other on the cheeks, and Spain has instructed worshippers not to kiss statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, so you know this is serious business.

Considering coronavirus is carried in saliva and sputum, kissing is just about the most efficient way to transmit the disease imaginable, short of spitting directly into your date’s mouth. (We won’t yuck your yums, but maybe don’t do that until Covid-19 is under control.) “You could date someone new and make that connection high intensity, but you should then break many of your other normal contacts, especially those that end up reaching the elderly and infirm,” says Robert Glass, who has researched social disease transmission at Sandia National Laboratories, which investigates scientific solutions to national security threats. “Responsible individuals will choose to forgo dating entirely or shift it to online interaction instead.”

Illustrated woman, speech bubble, virus cell

Still, activity on dating apps is holding steady, and is actually expected to increase as more people quarantine themselves. The upswing in usage is typical of any event that keeps people holed up inside, and is sort of the digital equivalent of the Chinese run on condoms. People aren’t going to stop looking for love because of coronavirus—the strictures of coronavirus preparation have left them with little else to do. The apps obviously see this as a good thing: Some hope that their platforms will become a way for people to stay connected and meet new people without ever leaving their homes, especially if they (like Bumble) offer voice and video calls through the app. In some cases, preparations are also being made to field any questions users might have about Covid-19 safety and refer people to WHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

However, it seems that most people still aren’t averse to leaving their homes to find romance, despite anecdotes about spurned dates and paranoia hype to the contrary. According to OkCupid, 88 percent of people surveyed globally say they’re still dating during the outbreak. In the United States, the dating pool is still at 92 percent, though it varies by region. (The most nervous cities in America are Seattle and Miami, where only about 85 percent of respondents feel comfortable dating.) In countries that have been more seriously impacted by the virus, that number falls sharply. In South Korea, 71 percent of OkCupid users are still actively dating. In Italy, only 45 percent of people are willing to match and mingle at all.

As the outbreak goes on, daters in the US may change their minds and priorities, but for now the coronavirus seems more likely to inspire dance memes than genuine, celibacy-inducing panic. Even as people are encouraged to work from home and avoid large gatherings, and toilet paper, masks, and medicine fly off the shelves, people aren’t quite ready for their dating lives to go into quarantine. For most Americans, the threat of coronavirus still seems way further than 6 feet away.