Monday, April 2, 2012

Everybody Loves Me Baby What's the Matter with You

It's my 2nd Ashley Madison Anniversary!
and my 200th post is marked down to 199 for one day only!

A few weeks ago I wrote a tribute to Riff Dog upon the apparent end to his blogging days.  I used the Don McLean American Pie lyrics "The Day the Music Died" as the post title, as it seemed so appropriate.

It got me to thinking about that album.  The funny thing is that famous song is not really my favorite on the album because it has been so overplayed.  That album contains so many great songs like "Vincent" (an ode to Vincent Van Gogh), "Babylon" (a traditional chant), and "Everybody Loves Me Baby."  Like the characters in "The Day the Music Died," "Everybody Loves Me Baby" is one of those songs where you can debate over what it's about.  Some say it's about America.  Others, and I agree, say it's about President Johnson (LBJ) who had so many landmark accomplishments such as Civil Rights and the Great Society yet left office in ill repute over his escalation of the Vietnam War.

Anyway, upon my 200th post and celebration of my 2nd Ashley Madison anniversary I find that song an excellent way to hammer out a good "whiney"post about my marriage and how I have come to this place in life.  Everybody needs a good whine every so often.  Unfortunately I don't have any cheese to go with this post (get it cheese with my whine) but here goes.

Btw, here is what I wrote on my 1st Ashley Madison Anniversary.  Go to my first blog post and you will see what I did on my 1st day on AM.

But Ryan I was counting, why celebrate your 199 post - what are you trying to feed us?  Oh yeah, well you know in my business marketing is very important.  I've gotten to the point where I can't stand to see something priced at say $1.42 or just $20, it irks me.  You see, I'm a slave to marketing and one of the biggest marketing tenants in retail is odd-even pricing.  Odd-even pricing says that psychologically customers will respond to a price of $9.99 better than $10.  Apparently it was originally a tool to make sure cashiers were actually ringing up sales and not counting in their heads.  But it became so prevalent that somebody attached a psychological term to it.  Anyway, since I was too lazy to crank out another post so my AM anniversary would coincide with my 200th post I just decided that visually there would be greater "perceived value" if my 2nd AM Anniversary/200th post post was actually #199.     :)

So on to my whine and cheese for the day.

If I was going to write a thesis for why I joined Ashley Madison it would be this:  "to refute Shannon's assertion that I am a complete ass and to validate Renee's assessment that I was indeed handsome, nice, and even charming."  Well, I guess sex was a big motivator too!  Kat wrote about types of affairs a few months ago - it was a great post (as is the case with all of her posts).

I am not sure what category I fit in.  I can't say I have had an affair of the heart but I am certainly not in this just for sex.  Yet, while I have had some emotional connections I am certainly not in it just for witty e-mails either.  I can get that from my wonderful blogging friends!  However while sex may not be all that's on my mind it sure does pass the time and keep other things off my mind!  Of course Kat and I have a running joke that I'm really just into this to see myself in front of the mirror (like the Pres)!   :)

So really what my relationship with Renee provided was hope.  Of course the President in Hunger Games says a little hope is good, a lot of hope can be dangerous.  So as I logged into Ashley Madison for that first time I was looking for hope.  And I guess I found a lot and yes it has been dangerous.  But also exhilarating.

So what to do with all that hope?  I was in a Diversity Symposium the other day and the speaker said "we are here but we want to go there, how do we do it."  We look for our "North Star."  She said "we find that through daring ingenuity where you are not afraid to fall."  I guess that could be a good analogy for Ashley Madison.

What she also said is that change is easy, if I give you $1 and you give me back 4 quarters we have change.  What we are really looking for is transformation.  Oh and of course desire, for without desire there is no transformation.  She also mentioned something about luck often being the intersection of desire and opportunity.  Yeah, all this stuff relates really well and does describe my transformation with the AM thing.

So anyway, we log onto Ashley Madison and find "an aspirational place to reflect and to dream and to transform."  For me it was very therapeutic to have an opportunity to be intentionally mindful of others in the pursuit of impressing someone else.  Unlike a bar and except for the profile description and photos we have no observable phenotype of the individual we are contacting at first, only their words.  And so we get a vision of who they are (if you are good at writing) or perhaps more importantly their vision of who they want to be instead of a hallucination (which is often a biproduct of being in a bar).

Early on in my AM career I did have fairly good success with just simply getting responses.  That positive mental feedback for being charming, witty, and interesting drove me to endeavor to be even more so.  And with most things in life success drives success.  The more creative I was the more success I had.  Additionally I found the more I was myself the more I was a success.

My first encounter with Alecia showed me that I am someone who can and should be desired by another.  And even more important I found again that great feeling when you desire another and want to be good to them and for them.

Sandra was such a friend.  She made me feel great about myself.  At my age being a "boy toy" is no insult - it's great.  I shared a lot with her.  I told her most of things I done wrong in my marriage.  It was odd to have someone sort of laugh it off as normal forgivable frailties.  Perhaps the things I had done in life, though bad, did not deserve Shannon's sentence of exiled for life.  Keeley made me realize that someone might be willing to go out of their way just to be with me and what a great feeling it is to want to risk something to be with another.  You are in fact most alive when those senses are sparkling throughout your body and you are bursting with anticipation.

And of course now I found Sandee (or rather last fall) and perhaps everything was about to come together. 

Yeah, I guess the best part of all this AM stuff is the people I have met and the affect they have had on me.  I can only hope my affect on them was OK but as that Clint Black song goes "I'm leaving here a better man."

So where to go from here and what to do with Shannon?

As I have said Shannon is a good mom and a gorgeous women.  Certainly someone worth trying everything to keep.  But in the end you can't make people love you and you have to be honest with yourself.  Obviously some things are not meant to be and that is when you have to move on.

So maybe it's a bit of a stretch to say "everybody loves me," but through all this I have realized I am a pretty OK person.

But in the end I am always about bullet points!  So here are my bullet pointed takeaways:

*     Ashley Madison is not for everybody in fact it is not for most people.
*     Ashley Madison is not the end result.  It is at best a guidepost or a North Star if you will.  The light that perhaps inspires you to transform to who you would like to be.
*     Ashley Madison is potentially a tool for self assessment and discovery.  You may find out that in fact you are a jerk!  And then again you might find out that you deserve better.  In the end you will get out what you put in as it is with everything in life.
*     Ashley Madison will get old quickly even for those who like the adventure.  Remember excellence is fleeting.  As soon as you have it, it is gone.   True excellence is fleeting and must be constantly pursued.
*     Like gambling never bet what you are not willing to lose for lose you surely will do in the end; like the Hunger Games the odds are never in your favor.
*     Use AM for healing and hope and pursuit of happiness.  But don't use it for a cure - it is not.
*     Use it to be excellent.  For as Ricky Bobby says "I get up in the morning and piss excellence!"
*     Use it to be more diverse and learn about others and how they got to their place.  Maybe you will understand how you arrived at your place.
*     Be responsible for your outcomes.  It should not be fun if others suffer for your enjoyment.
*     Use it to push you further along on your journey.
 *    Finally as Bill and Ted said "Be excellent to each other!"

And so Dear Shannon I say this to you:

"Yeah, everybody loves me, baby, what's the matter with you?
tell me what did I do to offend you?"


Gertie said...

Congratulations on Your Second Anniversary!! Great way to weave the song title into the end of the blog. It's true that any online resource are not for everyone but I agree that you really do get out of them what you put in and they are a great tool for self actualization. In learning about the boys I throw hammers at, I really learn bigger and better lessons about myself.

Thank you for all the entertainment!

Kat said...


I love your comment about realizing that the more you were yourself, the better you did. That's important.

I love reading your musings, Ryan. Keep 'em comin'!

Ryan Beaumont said...

Of course I forgot to add the best line:

"But all the victories I've led haven't brought you to my bed"

@ Kat - apparently there are a lot of Will Ferrell/Kenny Powers fans out there on AM which has allowed to be myself intellectually! :)

Same sassy girl said...

Happy AMiversary! And 199th post! When you started, did you think you'd still be writing after all this time? Hope you keep going for a long while!

Elle said...

Happy Anniversary!!!!! Stay around!

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary!! Yeah! Everybody loves you! ;-)

Ryan Beaumont said...

Thanks everyone, you make an old dog feel wanted!

But remember once you pet and feed an dog it's almost impossible to get them to leave! :(