Movie Review: TiMER

Image courtesy of

What if you could have scientific proof about finding your soul mate? That’s the premise of TiMER, a subtle little movie that blends romantic comedy with science fiction.

Here’s the concept: In the five-minutes-from-now future, a hip technology company has invented a device called the TiMER that signals you when you’ve found the love of your life. People get it implanted in their wrist (about as painful as getting your ears pierced).

Once implanted, the TiMER is blank–until, somewhere out there, your soul mate gets theirs too. Then your TiMER begins a countdown, showing the number of hours until you meet your other half. When it goes off–days, weeks, or years later–you lock eyes with someone, their timer goes off too, and you know your search is over.

(The movie is from 2009–if it were made today, the TiMER would probably be an app!)

The protagonist, Oona (Emma Caulfield, from Buffy), is right around 30, and has a TiMER that’s still blank. She’s feeling adrift. Her sister Steph (Michelle Borth) has a TiMER that says she has years to go before she finds her “One.” She dulls her bitterness about this by having commitment-free sex with as many guys as possible. But only guys with TiMERs: as Steph puts it, “TiMER-less guys are so angsty and conflicted.”

TiMER abounds with clever dialogue and rude humor, but it’s not for a moment cynical. The screenplay (by director Jac Schaeffer) is compassionate toward its characters, all of whom are blundering their way to love…or, to a match made through total surrender to technology.

This movie (streamable on Netflix!) got me thinking about the whole concept of “the One.” I don’t think humans have only one soul mate. We’re wired to respond to each other for various reasons, and even the most selective of us (like moi) will probably get to know a dozen or so people we could happily spend our lives with.

So how do you know when you’re ready to be done with the search, and settle with your mate? That I don’t know first-hand–my TiMER hasn’t gone off yet! Those of you with partners, what do you think?

How to Tell Your Mother There Will Be No Grandkids in Her Future

Photo by motoyen.

My mom emailed me this poem by Ira Sukrungruang from The Writer’s Almanac. I’m re-sharing it here because it’s lovely.

How to Tell Your Mother There Will Be No Grandkids in Her Future
Don’t enter conversations
about generations. Use the art
of misdirection. Tell her the rain
is falling. Tell her today
you saw a cardinal,
her favorite bird, and it was
feeding its young seeds.
No. Better not mention
the young. Tell her,
instead, the garden is coming in
thick this spring,
and the tulips have multiplied,
their buds like hands in prayer.
Better yet,
tell her about the work
crying in your briefcase.
Tell her you wish
you had three lives:
one for work, one for your dreams,
and one for her. That one
will have as many Siamese warriors
as she wants, swinging on a tree
as wide as an ocean,
its limbs twisting and turning.
In that life,
they listen, those warriors,
for the sound of her voice.
They wait for her to emerge
from the jeweled temple.

How to Win Her Trust

Image courtesy of IDEX Magazine.
On your first few dates with a woman, you have one mission. And only one mission.
To win her trust.
Sound weird? Not surprised. As a guy, “Am I safe with her?” probably isn’t a question you ask yourself often.
For us females, it’s different. Even the strongest and most confident among us is carefully evaluating whether we feel safe with you. Safe physically, and safe emotionally.
Makes sense if you think about it. One in six American women experiences rape, or attempted rape. And every two minutes, someone in the US gets sexually assaulted.
So if you’re courting a lady, no matter how much of a prince you are, you’re playing against that unpleasant context.
Now, this is not to say that women are passive victims who wait in fear to be assaulted. Far from it. Some of us have studied krav maga and can kick your ass if you try anything.
And most of us take measures not to date psychos, to only meet up in public places, etc.
But believe me, until we know you, you’re on shaky ground, through no fault of your own. So you need to PROVE to us on the first few dates that we can trust you.
And I’m not just talking physical safety. Emotional safety is also essential. You MUST show yourself to be the kind, thoughtful man you are.
And that means not undermining yourself. So:
Don’t say anything even remotely sexual unless she initiates the topic.
I once dated a gentleman who used the word “fellatio” on our second date. Granted, this was in the context of a quite hilarious autocorrect story–not in any aggressive way. But it struck a wrong note with me.
Another guy–again, on the ultra-hazardous second date–used the phrase “kick him in the nuts.” Again, it was physically unpleasant to hear. And I’m no shrinking violet.
Please remember:
1. I’m not your buddy or your sister. We’re evaluating each other as romantic partners. You don’t know me yet. Don’t presume I’m OK with the same kind of jokes you’d tell your guy friends on poker night. (This MAY be the case. But you can’t assume so.)
2. The gentlemanly factor should be amped up, not dialed down. Once we know each other well, it may not be so important for you to prescreen every word that comes out of your mouth. Right now, err on the side of being TOO polite and honorable.
Guys, I want you to succeed on your love quest. So show your date that you are indeed a gentleman: someone who is considerate, who thinks before he speaks, who knows how to make her comfortable.
Someone she can trust.
That’s who you are–am I right?