Friday, February 24, 2012



ALEX: So trust me when I say if a guy is treating you like he doesn’t give a shit, he genuinely doesn’t give a shit. No exceptions.

    —He’s not that into you, 2009, Ken Kwapis.

LONG TIME AGO, I was involved in an exhaustive research when I met a guy in a cocktail party. After a brief chat, between puffs of potato and broccoli arggg…, he asked me to take a look at it.  

Because of his insistence and after wondering for a while whether to share it with him or not, I gave in. So I gladly sent it to him.

But the left parenthesis never matched. He never uttered a word about it.

This story reminds me that sometimes we send an e-mail, a happy birthday or make a phone call, and we never get to hear from the other party. What's wrong with them?

I know that people are busy, involved in their stuff. I know that sometimes, and only sometimes, e-mails get lost in the cyberspace, phone calls never reach the recipient, so I usually send a reminder.

Even so, some of them never answer back.

So once I reflected on those silences and I tried to answer why some people don’t reply messages. Even I started manufacturing random situations with my particular Monte Carlo machine:

Perhaps they don’t care.

Perhaps they don’t have time to answer.

Perhaps they forget to reply.

Perhaps they fear to convey a negative answer.

How do we make peace with such an insulting and demeaning silence? How has someone the guts to ask for something and then not even say thank you? Where have the good manners gone? Is it due to lack of integrity, honesty, and truthfulness?

Over the years, I've learned that there is an important principle to apply in cases like that: Self-respect.

So I’ll tell you what I usually do.


Copyright © 2012 by THE PYTHAGOREAN STORYTELLER. All rights reserved.

Friday, February 17, 2012



AMANDA BONNER: What I said was true, there’s no difference between the sexes. Men, women, the same.
ADAM BONNER: They are?
AMANDA BONNER: Well, maybe there is a difference, but it’s a little difference.
ADAM BONNER: Well, you know as the French say…
AMANDA BONNER: What do they say?
ADAM BONNER: Vive la différence!
AMANDA BONNER: Which means?
ADAM BONNER: Which means hurrah for that little difference…

    —Adam’s rib, 1949, George Cukor.

ONCE I got invited to have dinner in a restaurant by a lakeside. Picture it: A romantic atmosphere, delicious food—including my almost-never-found favorite dessert—, and a lovely company. It was a very special night. After the sommelier took the order, the waiter brought us the menu. I opened it, and started looking through. At some point, I raised my head and I leaned my body towards my companion. “My menu has no prices,” I said.
He smiled, and replied: “Women are not supposed to pay the bill. They don’t need to know the cost of what they are ordering.”

As I told you on my blog post # 15, dating is fun but can be treacherous. If nowadays we, women, don’t know if we should ask a man out for the first date, the thing doesn’t get any better at the time of paying the bill.

Who should pick up the tab?

Man? Woman? Go dutch?

Lately I’m hearing that some women are really callous, just counting and numbering COMMODITIES.1 I’m also hearing, on the other hand, that some men are quite dorks, just counting and numbering SIZES.2

Men and women, vive le différence!

There are times when it’s quite clear who should. Think of the example I've set you. Besides, I can’t imagine Miss Madonna excusing herself to the bathroom while her toy boy pays the bill. Fuhgeddaboudit. 

Sure enough, not all restaurants have this men-pick-up-the-tab policy, nor everybody is Miss Madonna (Oh no!), so how do the rest of the mortals deal with it?

I’ve seen men who never picked up the tab—They were not broke, but selfish. I’ve seen men that always managed to pick up the tab, and you had no chance even to see them coming. I’ve seen men who paid if they knew they could get something in exchange. I’ve seen men who accepted to go dutch. Yes, my Dear Readers, I’ve seen the rainbow.

What a woman should do? I tell you what I do.

If I ask him out, I pay—unless his ego feels terribly hurt and he doesn’t allow me to do it. If he asks me out, most likely he would like to pay the bill. Anyhow, at the end of the soirée, I grab my purse. If he says nothing, I pay—I don’t think someone should pay my dinner. It doesn’t matter if I’m a woman, man or an alien. Period—. If he insists, I leave him to pick up the tab.

Next round on me, gentleman.

1 In Manhattan, there are some serial daters around who court men on a dating site and eat out five nights a week for free.

2 On becoming a serial dater: Mainstream range: 5’9”-5’11”. Thin—108 to 130 lbs in proportional to height; Dress size, 6-8, with the desired figure around 34B-24-34.

Copyright © 2012 by THE PYTHAGOREAN  STORYTELLER. All rights reserved.

Friday, February 10, 2012



Let go of your worries
and be completely clear-hearted,
like the face of a mirror
that contains no images.

If you want a clear mirror,
behold yourself
and see the shameless truth,
which the mirror reflects.

If metal can be polished
to a mirror-like finish,
what polishing might the mirror
of the heart require?

Between the mirror and the heart
is this single difference:
the heart conceals secrets,
while the mirror does not.

—Rumi, Divan of Shems of Tabriz.

Friday, February 3, 2012



DR. MARTIN HARRIS: “Do you know what it feels to become insane? It’s a war between being told who you are and knowing who you are… Which do you think wins?
—Unknown, 2011, Jaume Collet Serra.

IF I’M WHO I AM because I’m who I am and you’re who you are because you’re who you are, then I’m who I am and you’re who you are. If, on the other hand, I’m who I am because you’re who you are, and if you’re who you are because I’m who I am, then I am not who I am and you are not who you are.

After reading what looks like a tongue twister, imagine that your close friend purchases a plain white painted canvas from an avant-garde artist for $100,000.

What would you do?

1)     Tell him he’s nuts. He’s been cheated.
2)     You hide your astonishment and flash a smile.
3)     Tell him he’s been brave for his bet.

Art is a satire written by French playwright Yasmina Reza. This sophisticated play was opened in Paris at the Comédie des Champs-Elysées in October of 1994, and was performed throughout the world. It posed some fascinating questions:

What’s friendship? —Adulation, respect, safety, admiration? Is friendship a slippery enterprise?

What’s art? What’s the value of art? Is money the reference of quality?

I also wonder: What if society lacks appreciation of a very high level art? They say, the sheer pleasure an artist receives from simply creating it. Does it compensate?

Reflecting upon this questions, I got the answers through one of my favorite painters: Vincent Van Gogh.

As the saying goes, maybe I don’t know but I know what I like. I recall that when I lived in Madrid, I used to go to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum to sit down in front of the oil painting “Les Vessenots” en Auvers. I could easily spend half and hour observing it. No other painting made me feel like this one.

Vincent Van Gogh was an artist who lived for art’s sake. He spent his whole life painting. He started right after his father threw him out—he wanted his son to become a minister—, and kept painting despite struggling to make a living until his last days. He never became famous in his lifetime. He sold lots of paintings to his brother, Theo. Actually, Theo Van Gogh was sending money to his brother Vincent every week (though he would starve three days to purchase paints and canvasses1). His brother, in return, received the paintings to resell them and thus to get his money back. He could only sell one.

About a year before his death, Vincent said in a letter to his brother, “As for me, I shall go on working, and here and there something of my work will prove of lasting value—but who will there be to achieve for figure painting what Claude Monet has achieved for landscape? However, you must feel, as I do, that someone like that is on the way—Rodin?—he does not use color—it won’t be him. But the painter of the future will be a colorist the like of which has never yet been seen.
But I’m sure I am right to think that it will come in a later generation, and it is up to us to do all we can to encourage it, without question or complaint.”

How much does your painting cost, Mr. Van Gogh?—He himself knew it.

1 Sometimes, your passion feeds you more than food.

Copyright © 2012 by THE PYTHAGOREAN  STORYTELLER. All rights reserved.