You know you’ve been dating too much when….

mystery manI honestly don’t date that much. What I do is have a LOT of cups of coffee with men who I don’t know except from that blurry photo of them atop Mount Evans.

And then I go home and block a lot of profiles.

My selection criteria is terrible I know. Sure I like guys with big noses and dark hair, who ride bikes and can talk the hind legs off a donkey… but when picking a date, I get seduced by good writing. I tend to judge the person by their coherence, their words, the written tone of their voice.. instead of the actual data points. So what if he’s 5 ft 6 and blond, doesn’t own a bike and lives 65 miles away? He’s sooooo funny. Which typically results in my going on dates with completely unsuitable guys, who write like a dream but who I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole.

My typical date goes as follows (internal monologue);

‘Please don’t let it be him”

“or him”

“Oooo please let it be…. oh I guess not..he’s meeting her…”

“Not him…nooooo.”

“Oh it IS him…You’re looking at me..? so I guess you’re definitely him… shiiiiiiiit”

He sits down and disappointing conversation commences. During which time I suck down a drink and realize that one of his coworker/girl friends/sisters wrote his profile and that this guy is no more representative of his writing than my body ‘really looks like this’ while wearing Spanx.

Which means that I end up on a lot of first dates. And those tend to add up over time. Lately I’m questioning my filtering practices as a) I’m fed up of going on dates with people I wouldn’t trust to install my cable and b) I’d like to have sex before the end of the year.. but most of all c) I think I’ve been on too many… so many that they’re all starting to blur together.

Case in point – yesterday.

I have been chatting online with a guy who seems, well, ok. We’re at the ‘better meet each other or another month of our lives slips by’ time so I pass along my number. I wait for his call. His profile isn’t that awesome , so I’m hoping he is in person (I’m trying reverse psychology on this one!)

I hear nothing for 2 days.

Then, as I’m working, I receive a text message ‘hi it’s me’. I’m excited and have time, so we arrange to meet up for lunchtime coffee and a quick chat. You know, get the preliminaries out of the way. He’s 43, in consulting and divorced, and seems quite witty… which is why I was slightly confused when this older hippyish dude approached my table in the coffee shop.

“There is no way this guy is 43″ I think to myself, but being gracious and wanting any excuse to leave my desk for an hour, I decide to push on ahead. Maybe he’s just weathered??

He’s articulate and clearly successful. He talks about mountain biking and his house in Breck.. which is only slightly confusing because he said he lived in Denver. Ah well.. maybe he has two houses or he recently moved. He talks about ‘TM’ (meditation), which is interesting.. but again, not something I remembered about his profile. I tend to stay away from the overly earnest so I’m a bit confused as to why I thought this guy might be worth a date. But we talked.. fairly easily… and at no point did he mention fixing printers, flipping burgers or recite his resume. Hey, compared to my other dates this year, he’s O.K.  Then he mentions that he rarely drinks.. which seems strange as I do remember one of his photos was taken at a wine vineyard, holding a  glass of red wine.  Weird.

Which is when my phone rang….a call from the dude who I thought I was on a date with. The guy who I was ‘supposedly’ sitting across the table from was calling me on my phone… clearly not from across the table.

Whaaaaa?

SO WHO THE FUCK IS THIS GUY?

Yes, I’m on a date with a nameless guy, who has my name and phone number, but I have no idea of his name or who he is. All I know is, he’s clearly not the guy I thought I was on a date with (all those profiles merge after a while), and while he’s interesting, I am FREAKING THE FUCK OUT. Who did I give my phone number to? What is this guy’s name? Who IS he? He clearly knows who I am – he said my name when he came over to my table… but I have no clue who he is whatsoever.

I used the call as any excuse to politely exit  before my Twilight zone got any weirder so he walked me to my car and then asked if he could see me again.

At which point I should have come clean, or at least said something, put him off or said something vague… but instead I found myself saying ‘sure.. give me a call’. After all.. it wasn’t terrible. I can only hope that next time he calls, he leaves his name so I can figure out who the hell he is and how the hell he knows me.

Meanwhile I’ve got a date with a guy tonight who may, or may not, be 43, divorced and works in consulting. Fingers crossed on who shows up. Knowing my luck it will be my gastroenterologist.

 

Posted in Embarrassing admissions, first date, first dates, match.com, Meeting men, online dating, over it | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Dating the ‘Separated’

separatedOver the years’ I’ve broadened my dating pool out of a combination of curiosity, necessity, and lately, by chancing upon dudes who lie compulsively.

Lying you say?

Yes, I know. Lying isn’t exactly new to online dating. Between myself and my pool of single chicas we’ve all encountered chubsters, baldies, dwarfs, a guy in a wheelchair, a AARP member and yes, even people who have used someone elses photo entirely. ‘Fit’ has been interpreted to be mean ‘possesses some Nikes’ and ‘fixes the photocopier’ becomes ‘IT engineer’. I know women do it too.. but the type of lying I’m stumbling on lately is more along the lines of marital status.

While your newly separated woman is off at the gym, forging new female friendships and Facebooking her old college boyfriend, her counterpart is online, announced his instant ‘divorce’. He’s not separated… he’s mentally divorced. So that makes him so.

(in which case, I am 5 ft 6 and have naturally blond hair)

I’ve learnt that ‘divorced’ to a guy can mean anything from ‘I got the papers last year but haven’t gotten around to signing them’ to ‘she moved out last week’ . He might still be living with his wife and kids ‘but its been over for years’ (does she know?).  He might actually be living apart from his wife but ‘hasn’t had time to meet with a lawyer’ or ‘filed the paperwork months ago’ (90 days people.. it only takes 90 days). He might be hesitant to actually be divorced due to ‘tax implications’ or ‘business reasons’. Or, like many, he might have discussed divorce that one night when they drank 2 bottles of Chardonney but he’s still going to bed with his wife every night. So sorry buddy, but you’re not divorced.  Hell, you’re not even separated.

Now I don’t have an issue with dating someone who’s newly divorced. I’ve been there. I know its a weird time and everyone thinks they’re handling it great, but is actually acting like a horny 18 year old. But there’s a good reason that they include ‘separated’ on the dating form… one which the newly, or less newly separately seem oblivious to.

Being newly separated means you’re ‘undateable’. No, not because you’re still technically married.. or still in love with your wife… but because you’re not equipped to go on a date period. The newly separated guy has no IDEA of how to date.. and beware anyone who thinks ‘how bad can it be?’ or ‘he said its been over for years’.

Its not his lack of emotional availability that you need to worry about. Indeed, its quite the converse. Frankly, the recently or newly seperated man is terrifyingly available.

Let me explain.

If you date online after the age of 40, with someone who’s been divorced – say 6 months – it goes like this;

  1. Day 1 – 5: Email exchanges. Identification of shared interests, humorous asides and general ‘are you sane?’ questions.
  2. Day 5-7: Phone call or coffee. Verbal confirmation of sanity, ability to converse etc
  3. Day 7-10: Dinner. Contingent on good first date/ call.
  4. Day 11 : Dinner, sex, hiking, whatever…Contingent on good dinner date and level of comfort. Also depends on whether you think you could take him in a fight … you know, should the need arise.

But if you go on a date with someone who’s separated it goes like this;

  1. Day 1: Email exchanges  ~21 emails in a single day.  All escalating in excitement, identification of kinship and plans for ‘the future’. You hear all about his kids, his job, his life, how ‘ok’ he is, how ‘he’s done the work’, how he just wants to have fun.. and then a comprehensive list of how damn awesome you are. You level of awesomeness increases by the hour. In fact, by Day 2, he’s convinced of your connection and your compatibility. Actually… he might be falling for you.
  2. Day 2 or 3: Phone call or coffee. He declares his love. Detailed review of the agenda for the next 3 weeks of your life. Activities will include, but are not limited to, running errands, picking up and dropping off of kids, cooking at his house, every activity he’s ever done and wants to share with you, detailed list of bands/shows/plays he has tickets for but no date now, weekends he wants to take and friends I need to meet. Like right now. Oh and he booked flights to San Francisco for Thanksgiving. Hope thats ok?
  3. Day 4. There is no Day 4. This is where you block his/ her profile and run screaming from the man who is clearly not ready to date, has the judgement of a 12 year old boy and finds the empty side of the bed all too frightening and a ‘to do’ to fill.

You see ‘the separated’, as they reenter the dating pool, are essentially looking for one of three things;

a) A replacement wife. Like now. Because looking after kids 50% of the time is really hard and .. you know.. he needs help. And he’s used to a partner. He doesn’t like those empty spaces or empty silences. He remembers how awesome it used to be with a wife around… and women like being married right? Time to find a new one STAT.

b) Instant sex partner. Excited at the potential after sleeping with the same person for 20+ years, he wants to jump past all the getting to know you, spending time together and just fall in love right now and FUCK. Which wouldn’t be that terrible, if he didn’t insist on assuming you like EXACTLY what his wife liked.

c) Free therapy. He is traumatized. He is hurt. He is angry. And he wants to tell someone all about it and see a sympatric face. Feel understood. Get the ok to move on. But therapy is expensive and you, you’re free!!! And willing to sit and listen to him!!!

And while people who are separated, especially the newly separated, need love just like the rest of us, they tend to be mentally, at the place they last left off dating.

  1. If your date married his high school or college sweetheart, beware. He’s got a lot of catching up to do, has no idea of how to seduce or romance a woman, and isn’t quite clear why you’re not as eager as he is to fumble around in the back seat of his car as ‘a date’. And unless he’s a compulsive cheater, he’s probably only slept with one or two women. Cross your fingers and hope they taught him a few things.
  2. If your new date last ‘courted’ in his early 20s, say hello to a lot of drinking, live music, sex in public places and assumptions that you’ll drop everything to move around his schedule. This guy thinks that skateboarding is a great idea for a date, and that you’ll be impressed by his swimming pool cannonballs.
  3. If he last dated in his 30s, he’s more likely to understand that a degree of ‘woo-ing’ is necessary, but he’s just jaded enough to resent you for it. This guy probably hates his wife, HATES his wife.. and boy he’s just dying to air his grievances.
  4. If he last dated in his 40s… hmmmm. Did he kill his wife?

But what of the long term separated? Those who’s been living separate lives for years and haven’t yet pulled the plug?  Surely they’re as good as divorced right?

No. They’re still technically married. And if they’re still married after being separated for months or years, you need to ask the questions as to why. If there are young kids involved, I get it, but if not.. what’s the hold up? There’s something there. And whatever it is – its complicated, its not changing any time soon and really.. do you need to start dating a married man? Who still has his wife on the insurance documents? Who still -legally- has his wife as #1 on his list, even if mentally he’s moved on? That’s some heavy shit …and this is dating. So unless he has a golden penis or he’s really honestly the best person you’ve ever met in your life… move on.

They put ‘separated’ on the online profiles as a clear signal to the rest of us. Date warily. Lower your expectations. Be prepared to have some very honest conversations and offer not a small amount of coaching. Enter at your own risk, and be prepared for premature  declarations of love, lots of processing his prior relationship and no small measure of insanity.

You have been warned.

 

Posted in bad dates, Dating, Dating advice, first date, match.com, Meeting men, observations, online dating | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Asking for what you want

just askSomeone send me one of those ’30 lessons of life’ things that seem to form the bulk of Facebook these days (thanks Mum!). This one I dutifully read (very long conference call), hoping that somewhere I’d find inspiration to charge up my DOA dating life/ financial situation/hairstyle.

(on the plus side, my cycling has never been better. #17. It’s all about balance)

#6 struck a chord for me.  Simple, requiring little effort and hey..the last time I heard this, it came accompanied by a book called ‘The Secret’

“#6. Most people never ask for what they want. A lot of good happens if you ask for what you want. First of all, you’ll be forced to define what you want. Second, you’ll be forced to think about how you might get it. The third step, is the easiest and the least utilised. Just ask.”

Woah nanny. It’s that easy?

Hells bells, I really have been over thinking things. I thought you actually had to define what you wanted, figure out how to get it, take actionable steps to move towards a goal, stick to it when things weren’t going to plan, avoid that 30% off coupon for REI, go on a lot of awful 1st dates, stuck it up, drink a lot of wine and maybe.. just maybe, you’d get 65% of what you were hoping for. And some interesting blog posts.

But no. I should have ‘just asked’. So here goes.

My Asks. (please- because politeness costs nothing)

1. I would like this years Tour De France winner be something other than a complete jackass. I don’t care if he’s  flying on  cocktail of EPO, HGH, steroids, meth, Lance Armstrongs blood and Redbull, but I would like him to race well and deserve the award. Oh and if he could actually retain the title without being stripped of it by December … even better. Doesn’t have to be a god or cure cancer. Just race and win.. and retain the title.

2. I would like my neighbor to stop having sex so loudly on the weekends that it makes me want to kill myself. I am thrilled that she’s having a good time (as I’m sure her boyfriend is), but I don’t think its necessary that all of us need to monitor her progress for the duration of the incursion. It’s lovely that God enters into her sex life, and that she’s so communicative throughout the exercise, but I do think she could monitor her amplitude a little, and perhaps lay off the really loud screams of ‘Yes! YES! YES!’ until point of completion. I’m sure her boyfriend would also appreciate this since it’s probably really hard to judge whether she’s near, far or faking based on the consistent volume of yelling and screaming for 22 minutes. It would also avoid another embarrassing 9-1-1 call and me wondering if it would be too weird to watch next time.

 

3. I would like someone to tell me what to cook for dinner. I am a single woman who’s been cooking dinner since she was 13. Its been 29 years. I’m out of ideas for things to do with chicken and when I cook fish it smells like catfood. I am currently resorting to a diet of fava beans because they don’t smell like anything but my yoga class is complaining so I need to do something. And no, don’t suggest looking up stuff on the internet… that involves effort which is ENTIRELY the problem with cooking for yourself. I want it to be effortless, mindless and easy.  Which basically is fava beans.

 

4. I would like to ask for a real conversation with a single, eligible man. I enjoy meeting new people, I really do, but when conversation is completely one sided, its actually called a ‘monologue’.  While this is very useful for receiving a lot of information very quickly about you, it doesn’t actually help you learn anything about me. And while you, as my date, might not think this pertinent to your desired intention to ‘get my knickers off’, believe me.. it is. Conversation is ‘the informal exchange of ideas by spoken words’. Text messaging is also not a conversation.

5. I would like someone to carry my groceries from my shitty parking spot up three flights of stairs and then disappear. I know I drink a lot of milk for a chick, and that 6 bottle pack of mineral water weighs 15lbs but I’ve been told if I ask, the world will provide. We don’t even need to talk..in fact its preferable. So Friday around 6pm ok?

6. I would like my hair to look good the day after it gets cut. My hair cut looks great when I leave the salon. It really does. I fork over my salary, a beaming smile and slide out of there with the confidence of Miley Cyrus in a thong. I know I look GUD. At which point my hair morphs into ‘mom hair’ for about … um… 6 weeks. During this period my hair has ranged from an Elvis quiff, to a center part, a wiry brush and has grown horns from several directions. It has not, however, ever returned to the style in which it was cut. Right up until the day before its due to be cut again. At which point it gives me the ultimate teaser by looking EXACTLY how it should look, giving me approximately 24 hours of ‘good hair’ until the cycle kicks off again.  I would simply like my hair to look like it should for a few weeks. That is all.

7. I would like not to get any older. I know, I know. This one might be a bit of a stretch, but hey, ‘Just Ask’. It’s just I’m really enjoying 42 and it seems to be one of the best years to date (though 27 and 31 were pretty awesome too), and that’s even after 4 horrid dates so far and a personal financial apocalypse. I seem to have found the magic ingredient for energy (fave beans and 9 hours of sleep), my face doesn’t seem to have collapsed too much, I’m really enjoying new  friends and I’m actually excited to see my family in November. I know right? This time doesn’t come around very often, so I’d really like to ‘stick’ please. I’ve still not finished apologizing to people for my 20s and 30s yet, and one only has so much time. I don’t want to be younger – you can keep that expectation tightrope – but please don’t make me any older. You can catch me up in a big jump in a few years if you must, just make sure its dark and any dudes who might be around are sedated.

8. I’d like world peace. Well it can’t all be about me can it? Oh, and all of the animals to not be treated cruelly, especially elephants, dogs and horses. And if we could stop blasting the whales with sonar that would be cool. And I guess if kids in shitty situations could be rescued somehow, along with their animals.. that would an ask worth asking. Oh, and finally, if Dick Cheney could accidentally shoot George W. Bush during a hunting expedition, and then trip over and break his neck.. that wouldn’t be too tragic. I’m sure Laura would recover.

9. I’d like men to start having babies. Hey, if we’ve got #8, I’m going to stretch for #9. I think a few months of period cramps, miscarriages and then a full term pregnancy might help change some minds about women’s rights to reproductive health decisions. It might result in some changes in the workplace to really support anyone who wants a career and a family, plus it would be nice to have equality in that whole ‘post 40′ body thing. I can’t see guys wearing those stretch marks any better than the ladies, and there would probably be a whole lot less ‘trading up’ going on amongst the Donald Trump set.

10. I’d like to not have to read any more lists like this. C’mon people. If we spend as much time reading and trying to act on all those ’20 things to drive him wild’, ’10 things to ensure a fulfilled life’ or ’50 things you must do before 40′, we have a lot more time to go outside and do something else instead. And I mean anything. Do a handstand, walk the dog, talk to the nice lady in Whole Foods who isn’t wearing a wedding ring who has a very large arm tattoo and a cute accent… you know.. anything…

Just asking.

 

 

Posted in advice, Life after 40 | Tagged | Leave a comment

Jobs that Monster thinks I’m suitable for

01 monsterEvery summer, just as I’m starting to return to Planet Earth after ‘the-craziest-hours-ever-no-seriously-I-mean-it’, I tend to look up from my laptop, notice that the trees now have leaves and reconsider my worth in the marketplace.

No, not whether I’m a BOGO or what I could get for standing on the corner of Colfax and 17th at 9pm on a Wednesday.. but what’s out there is the job market, and is there anything to tempt me away from my life of 11 hours in from of a PC, but the freedom to fart at any point without worrying about coworkers.

Now I’ve not had to purchase a single ‘work outfit’ in 4 years (my dog couldn’t even care less if I wore clothes at all) and I do love what I do, so there really is no pressing need to move on, but I still retain the smidgen of ego and ambition I was born with, and I’ve had the occassional Wednesday afternoon wondering what it would be like to actually see a coworker more than once every year.

Which brings me to my summer activity ‘job reviewing’.

I’m not hungry, so there’s no ‘hunt’ involved, but on occassion I do wonder if my title is destined to remain the same for the next 20 years and whether I will still be aligning fonts at the age of 62.. so I set up some RSS feeds, logged on and updated my LinkedIn profile (because that works..not), and reposted my resume to see what bites. Its actually how I wound up in the job I have now.. and apparently I have the optimism of a millienium with a trust fund in the hope that ‘Perfect Job v2.0′ is also going to land in my inbox.

This year has been an exercise is reevaluating this approach.. and thanking my lucky stars that I’m not actually ‘on the hunt’. Here’s a sampling of Monster’s suggestions for my skill set. Just for some background, I was a management consultant for 17 years and a communications leader for 4 yrs at Fortune 100 companies.. but to Google.. I’m potentially any of the following;

1. Agile Coach

When I first read this, I immediately felt flattered. Maybe my 6 year commitment to yoga and my personal willingness to do anything for my CEO (from helping him grow tomatoes to writing his speeches) had shone through on my resume. I do love guiding and helping people, and while I don’t have much direct experience ‘coaching’ per se.. I was optimistic that somehow, the new field of leadership development was being opened up to me.

Then I read the job description and realized it actually means someone who does a certain type of project management around software development. Yawn. Not so much Agile as ‘willing to be glued to your PC for 12 hours and talk in 3 three accroynms for the next 15 years while surronded by men in Dockers and bad fitting golf shirts’.  Actually, pretty anti-agile. Mind numbingly static really. Next.

3. Histotechnologist/ PRN

I admit, I actually didn’t know what this was, though my first thought was ‘something to do with history?’ Post Google, I learned it ‘centers on the detection of tissue abnormalities and the treatment for the diseases causing the abnormalities. Essentially the perfect job for someone who compulsively worries about their health and overall ‘normalcy’. Oh talk about taking your job home with you.. I’d be self diagnosed with MS, Huntingdons, and Parkinsons’s before the end of the my first day.

But what does a Histo..whatsit..actually do? “As a histotechnologist, you will prepare very thin slices of human, animal or plant tissue for microscopic examination”   How my past 20+ years of writing powerpoints, talking to clients and trying to put people at ease with change would prepare me for slicing up brains and tumors I’m not sure. But since the certification is only a year, I added it to my growing list of ‘back up plans’. After all, I chop myself an onion pretty fine.. maybe I’d be good at slicing up grey matter? As long as noone is asking me to saute it afterwards, it wouldn’t be so bad?

4. Divison Director – Child Support services

Anyone who knows me, knows that I treat children like you would a moving catcus. With extreme caution, thick gloves and sturdy sneakers.. you know, for running away. How Monster thought I could be in charge of ‘child support’  for a whole division I don’t know. Unless that division is ‘middle ages dudes who have the mental age of 12′ then I’m willing to admit I’d be hopeless at this job. (Actually, at this point I’m starting to think that the guys at Monster didn’t actually read my resume at all, and that they’re just shooting me rando jobs in the hope that suddenly I’ll realize my dream to become an insurance salesperson or admin assistant). Me, have responsibility for kids who are risk, who need help and assistance… are you kidding me? Unless it came with a lasso and a stable, I’d be about as useful as a penguin in this role. Next.

5. Drama Instructor

Well, I know I’ve been known to act out, but I take this suggestion with a pinch of salt. I know I kind of made a big deal about my lack of progression at work, and I might have overemphasized the awefulness of a few dates, and yes, I know that I can tend to blow things out of proportion but me? teaching drama? Nooooo. I could never… could I???

6. Taco Bell Shift Lead

Oh now the gloves really come off Monster! Thanks. Thanks a lot. My 4 years of college, my 17 years of 70 hour weeks, hour upon hour of client negotiations and deliverable prep has led to…. supervising the insertion of dog meat into a chulupa? Monitoring the cheese usage? Reordering tortilla chips? Oh thankyou Monster.. I’m flattered that you see the potential in me. Time to take any indicators of ‘customer service’ off my resume.

7. Retirement Plan Lead

Well I can’t say I’m surprised Monster. After all, I am getting older and I have, on occassion, thought about what retirement would look like. You, clearly, have me already moving fast on the downslope of my career. After all, why not get more prepared and informed about how I’ll be living on cat food and the leftovers at Chiplote come age 65.  Now I don’t know a damn thing about numbers and Excel screams with laughter when I open a new spreadsheet, but I’m sure I could pick it up. And I’m betting their dress code is pretty lax as long as your Depends adult diapers don’t show through.

So I think I’ll sit on my hands this summer. Maybe just enjoy having a job a love, coworkers who make me laugh and sure, I could be a VP of Corporate Communications somewhere, but I could also be a Taco Bell shift lead. I’ll take my chances and stay where I am. You know, until I have a hankering for a Gordito.

 

Posted in aging, career, Getting older, job, Life after 40, worrying | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How not to have a first date

01 undateableLast night I went on a date with a thoroughly cynical and defensive person. They were judgemental, a little mean and way too intense for a first date. I don’t think I’d like a second date, in fact I think that person really needs to chill the fuck out.

Unfortunately, that person was me.

After years of good dates but mainly bad ones; dates where I interviewed them, they interviewed me; dates where the guy clearly was more interested in someone else, or in outing himself; dates where he mumbled one word answers or said nothing at all. Dates with Republicans, liars and a paraplegic (who didn’t tell me about his status until he arrived at our date). 23 minute dates (my record), 2 hour dates, dates with stoners, angry men and lonely guys … I think I’ve finally arrived at ‘undateable’. Not them… me.

When faced with someone who seemed pleasant, open, friendly, attractive and complimentary, my response? Intense desire to ‘wise this guy up’ to the realities of dating.

His desire to be courteous and communicative prior to us meeting was met with instant dismissal as ‘cloying’. His sweet emails and texts? Desperate. His expressed excitement in advance of our first date? Sad. Poor dude. Doesn’t stand a chance.

My date is newly separated and hasn’t been on many dates; so instead of spending my time getting to know him, I silently plotted all of the indignities he would suffer down the road of the online dater. The women who’d stalk him. Those who’d never call. Those who would date him only for his money. The woman who’d misrepresent themselves; the liars, the fakers , the hot mess needed fixing. The women with drink problems. Pill problems. Baby daddy problems. The frigid women. The cheating women. Oh boy, he really was going to get his open little heart smashed. As he talked, my mind was thinking of all the thousands of ways this poor dumb schmuck was going to get hurt once he actually dived into dating again. How all of his sweetness, he naiveté, his hopefulness was going to be crushed within months and how ill prepared he seemed to actually be dating.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, this was how I spent my date.

Thinking about all the ways my date was going to be crushed.. just like me… by trying to find love.

Yes. I know. Its fucked up.

Clearly I’ve been out there too long. I’ve lost hope. I’ve certainly wised up, but I think I’ve developed a skin akin to Donatella Versace.. impenetrable by human touch, water (and potentially hydrochloric acid). I don’t trust anyone on their words anymore and my expectations apparently are somewhere in the Marianas trench. Deep  below the ground.

And I wasn’t aware of any of this until I actually met a nice guy.

He didn’t call the cops, and he made it through dinner, but holy cow, if I ever see him again, he moves to the top of my list of ‘nice guys’. Me.. I think I need some serious therapy and to permanently end this quest for companionship. I think old lady with 60 cats is more approachable than me with 7 years of post divorce dating under my belt.  Sure she might wear a lot of hand knits and an odor of pee, but at least she won’t rip her date’s head off when he offers up a complement.

Time for me to go find my hope. because right now, I’m un-fucking-dateable.

(on the plus side, he’s apparently a saint because he wants to take another run at it next weekend). Wish me luck.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Embarrassing admissions, fear, first dates, Life after 40, match.com, Meeting men, men, mistakes, online dating, over it | Tagged | 3 Comments

Cooties

01 cootiesI got involved in a very animated discussion recently when the topic of ‘cooties’ came up.

Grown up cooties specifically. You know, the kind associated with specific grown up activities. Ants in your pants. Bugs on your rug.

(NOTE: to those outside the US, cooties is an infantile term used to refer to germs, diseases, bugs etc. I’m using it because this post is about STDs and I don’t want to sound like the Centers for Disease Control).

The topic came up around how people approach the possibility of ‘cooties’ when meeting and ‘doing the physicals’ with new people. Today, based on the experience of the group of chicks I talked to, it seems like fewer and fewer people even think about the possibilities of ‘picking up’ something from a partner, and it’s not just men.

A rough survey conducted amongst a group of women I know showed that while many had spent their 20′s playing extra safe to ward off possible pregnancy scares and the spectre of AIDs (‘Just Say No’ clearly worked for most of the MTV generation), as they hit their 30′s all caution (and underwear) was thrown to the wind. No condom? No problem.

Whether it was the advent of better pills, the distancing from AIDs (especially the straight married folks or non drama students in the group), the lack of knowledge about disease prevalence, embarrassment about bringing it up or just increased sex confidence, a large majority of people in the group didn’t ask, didn’t tell and just assumed before diving in.

Growing up in the UK, condoms were just a given. Whether we’re just natures pussies or, more likely, hypocontracs, every guy, every woman I know wouldn’t dare to ‘go there’ without wrapping up. No glove, no love. Don’t be a fool wrap your tool. Bag the dagger. Wear the jimmyhat. You know.. use protection. (and no, your parents watching TV in the next room don’t count).

But when I moved to the US, I immediately noticed – like drunk driving – that standards were a little different. As in, non existant. Dudes looked horrified at the suggestion, a few claimed that they couldn’t, some claimed they wouldn’t and one said ‘they don’t fit’ (apparently he had a knob like a U haul or a toothpick.. I didn’t stay to find out). Dudes didn’t do, and girls didn’t ask.  I even cautiously asked a few girlfriends about the situation and was told ‘oh go on the pill’ as though that was somehow magically going to protect me from cooties.

To many American women, diseases – from HIV to herpes, crabs to chlamydia - just weren’t something that would happen to “them”. Cooties were for someone else. Bad girls. Dirty girls. Hookers. Sluts.

There were of course exceptions to this blanket assessment who I met through the years: those who dabbled outside of their monogamous relationship; people with gay friends who understood more about disease prevalence; people who worked in the medical field and of course hypochondriacs like me*.

*Lets just say, Nancy Reagan did a number on me about condoms, drugs and red suits.

These exceptions got tested regularly, ‘suited up’ with partners,  and had discussions  about history and safety before even a sock was removed. But the girls in my group at that time looked horrified when I mentioned ‘when do you discuss your status?’. The only outliers were those who’d been cheated on, were in open relationships, or weren’t in a relationship at all. And of course, the few silently nursing an STD and hoping to god that I’d shut up.  Apparently in the US, polite girls (and guys), just don’t talk about it.

“But I’m married” (I don’t think rings guard against chlamydia but perhaps I had the wrong kind)

“We barely have sex anyway” (even more alarming.. what if he’s having sex with someone else)

“I know he’s ‘clean’ ” (really? do you have a lab and a petri dish by the side of the bed?)

” He’d tell me if he had something” (You really believe a dude knows his cootie status and  would tell you about cooties if it would in any way get between him and your cooch?)

“I don’t like/ he doesn’t like/we don’t need to use condoms” (you might be on the pill, but does it kill cooties?)

The level of trust and blaseness around cooties was remarkable.. especially given these were all mature people, most in professional jobs with degrees and apparently, no small degree of common sense.

Which wouldn’t be alarming if it weren’t for the new cooties that are just lurking around waiting for a nice warm damp environment to flourish and the number of people who don’t know they have anything and therefore assume they’re completely ok.

Here’s a few things which guys can carry with no indications whatsoever.. and hand off to any willing female

1. Chlamydia: The ‘Wal Mart’ of STDs, Chlamydia is the #1 STD in the United States and most people have no symptoms. Most alarming you can catch it from every orifice you might be using, so transmission is super easy. The CDC suggests that everyone who’s ‘active’ get tested every year, even if you don’t have symptoms…. so when was your last test?

2. Gonorrhea: Again, another super common cootie with minimal symptoms that can be passed through any kind of fun activity. I actually knew a friend who ended up with this in her throat… She’s abstained from “sex” because she didn’t have a condom but went in a different direction with pretty much the same horrible outcome. Best of all,  men with gonorrhea may have no symptoms at all, and most women with gonorrhea do not have any symptoms either. And most recently, studies have shown that the cootie is developing resistance to drugs, making it harder to treat, when you realize that you have it. Starting to feel a little itchy yet??

3. Syphilis: Called ‘the great imitator’ because it has so many possible symptoms, many of which look like symptoms from other diseases. The painless syphilis sore that you would get after you are first infected can be confused for an ingrown hair, zipper cut, or other seemingly harmless bump on your ‘private area’ but also your lips, or even if your mouth. (wanna go grab a mirror?). Syphilis has 3 main stages and if left untreated, 10–30 years after you found that bump or weird thingy,  you might find yourself with  paralysis, numbness, blindness, and dementia, eventually resulting in death. Best of all? If the Syph doesn’t get you, your likelihood for contracting HIV just went up exponentially whether you’re gay, straight or somewhere in between. Now with an rise in the occurence of syph (up 12%) over the last few years.. condom’s and testing aren’t looking so bad now are they?

4. Herpes: Ah, theherpe. The one most people seem to fear even though it’s actually not fatal, and for most people who have it (1 in 5 women, 1 in 10 men).. well they have no symptoms at all. People might confuse a herpes sore with a pimple or an ingrown hair, so don’t trust anyone who says they don’t have it and who’s never been tested. Because so many people carry it without knowing (know 5 women?.. 1 of them has it), its  easy to contract, and with no cure, a permanent reminder of that time you thought you’d skip the condom. You can catch herpes even if the person has no outbreak, and while its only really an inconvenience (it’s not, like HIV, a life changer or ender), the social stigma seems to drive both men and women into total denial. Still down there with the mirror? I’ll move on…

5. Crabs (lice): Pubic lice usually are found in your nether regions, but did you know that they can also be found on any other coarse body hair, such as hair on the legs, armpits, mustache, beard, eyebrows, or eyelashes? Suddenly that hipster beard doesn’t look so sexy does it? Actually one of the less common cooties around, crabs tend to be common amongst younger people (who don’t groom as much), and those who have multiple partners. And no, condoms don’t protect against them but a brazillian will limit their spread (but not entirely). So if you’re hitting the hay with the lights off with you fixie riding, oral loving one night stand.. you might, just might, want to turn on the lights before you get into it.

6. Trichomoniasis (or “trich”) is very common (3.7 million cases in 2012), most people who have the parasite can’t tell they’re infected and – bonus- its more common amongst older women than younger (though dudes, its equal opportunity for all of y’all).  On a good note, some women do have yucky symptoms up to 28 days after contracting trich, so if you get a call on your voicemail from some chick you met a while back… you might want to schedule that doctors appointment.

7. HPV: Well this one has been done to death, but suffice to say HPV (or cootie warts), can be contracted easily, cured slightly less easily, and for some people, it clears eventually on its own (if you don’t mind being all warty down there for a few years). You can get vaccinated against it, its really dangerous to women (who might have increased risk of cancer as a result), so dudes… just wrap it up unles you know you’re good to go???

Ok ok,.. so you might be thinking ‘all well.. but thats for people who are single, people who sleep with hundreds of people, gay dudes, Gemini’s, dirty girls, dudes who ride motorcycles..etc etc’. And while all of that may be true, cooties don’t care. And cooties love sex. So get tested people, and be safe. Even if you think you’re exempt because you’re married, or monogomous, or only sleep with hot blondes or dudes who drive BMWs…

…. are you sure that weird bump on your inner thigh is just an ingrown hair???

 

Posted in advice, health, sex | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Riding with girls

01 MtnBikingWomen-2500pxI’m easily intimidated and not the most socially adept person when meeting men, women or small children (FYI: dogs love me), but this weekend I decided to do something that scared me, and signed up for a womens mountain biking clinic.

The group name - Dirt Divas – was my first hurdle. Any association with the word ‘Diva’ implies Mariah Carey, high maintainence women and satin floor length dresses as far as I’m concerned.. non of which naturally sprang to mind in association with mountain biking. Plus ‘Divas’? Does this mean they’re all super awesome pro racers who sneer at us amateurs who still struggle to bunny hop up a curb? But I saw that the clinic was being run by pro downhill racer, Zach Griffith, and figured that I could use any advice for not overshooting switchbacks.. even if I had to do so surrounded by elite riders or chicks in evening gowns. I’ve provided the front range mountain biking community with enough YouTube clips this year thanks and frankly, 1/3 of my salary is going to Bandaids and gauze pads. So if the ‘Divas’ could waive the floor length satin dress requirement .. I was in.

Having ridden with dudes my entire life, I’m a bit tired of being dropped, panting my way up the trail only to have the entire group spring back on their bikes, just as I’m unclipping for a bit of a rest. I hate that dudes consider my walking a 3 ft drop as ‘pussying out’ and frankly, I know I’m never going to be awesome, so I just enjoy doing what I can. As a result, I’ve been riding alone this year. Something that is dangerous when injury is involved (a weekly ocurrance for me), plus it changes the ‘post ride beer in the parking lot’ from a fun group activity to a weird ‘stay away from the weird alcoholic lady’ warning to small children.

I need chicks to mountain bike ride with. Women who can actually ride up rocks, but who know that waiting means waiting.. and won’t sneer when you can’t make it up the 10th washout board in the ladder. Who you can emphasize with you when the handlebar jabs you in the boob or when you didn’t unclip fast enough and hit the thorn bush ass first. But I don’t know any… I did, but they all got married and quit, or now ride with their kids.

I had a moment of fear as I pulled up to the parking lot, frantically checking that noone was wearing downhill pads or a dirt bike helmet, but breathed out as I saw a chick wrestling her Ibis off her rack and not a Fox jersey in sight. In fact, as more of us pulled up, it looked more and more normal. Chicks my age, most of us driving trucks and 4Runners, baring scarred knees, junk in our trunk, dirty shoes and not a swipe of makeup amongst us.

As I stood with the other ‘Divas’ (never was a group so misnamed.. not a inkling of cleavage or small dog amongst us), a chick behind me said ‘I hope noone here is awesome, cos I suck‘ and I knew I’d found my people.

It was GLORIOUS.

The clinic itself – well I’ll skip the details as its only interesting to about 2 other people in the universe- was great, but the overwheming joy I felt was more due to the opportunity to do sports with other women. Something I don’t think I’ve done since high school.

Once we’d gotten over the ‘I’m crapper than you’ modesty show down (can you imagine dudes having that conversation?), it was all about asking for advice, guidance and at one point, a round of applause for some cornering which would make a salom racer proud.

Do dudes applaud when someone nails it?

Our coach (married with 2 daughters, and seemingly endless patience for chicks) balanced delivering information en masse, followed by one on one, second by second coaching as we rode the course. What normally would have had me knotted and sweaty, morphed into memories of my dad showing me how to ride while running behind me with his hand on my seat. It wasn’t embarrassing or weird, or intimdating in the slightest. Just hearing that voice behind you, and shouts from the chicks waiting their turn, turned the day from a ‘how to’ into one huge bonding session. Soon chicks were videoing each other, showing each other where they were dropping the wrong foot or standing too high, helping to disect their own and each others bad habits. And with the usual feminine  modesty prevailing, the atmosphere was weirdly supportive and fun rather than critical.

When I found out that the group rides during the week, takes weekend trips to downhill and explore the state both on and off road, I was sold. Finally, a group of like minded ladies who aren’t going to leave me in the dust, but still ride hard enough to give me lots to learn. Some are already racers, others (like me), getting the hang of a new bike, without the annoyance of being the slow poke of the group.

As I left the group, grinning like an idiot despite learning that I’ve been riding all kinds of wrong for the last 20 years, I realized that for the first time in my life I’d found a whole group of people just like me. Tomboys. Girls who like to get dirty and sweaty, but haven’t turned into dudes while doing it. Girls who aren’t competitive, but who want to keep learning and pushing themselves for no reason other than it feels good. Girls who don’t take it that seriously and who aren’t afraid to curse loudly when it all goes tits up.

And when someone said ‘lets ride Wednesday’.. I realized that these chicas actually recognized one of their own. And want me to be a ‘diva’ too.

6 years of therapy = one morning with some mountain biking chicks.

So I didn’t meet any actual “Diva’s” and I didn’t get that dirty, but I did learn that doing scary things always has a payoff. And doing scary things with girls doesn’t have to mean cliques, discussions about men, feeling old or being frightened by expertise. You might learn something, you definitely will meet some new people and when one chick mentioned that she’d gotten a new dirt bike, well I think I just met my new best friend.

Posted in adventure, cycling, fear, female role models, Girlfriends, new challenges, women | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Signs you’re succeeding at life (even if it doesn’t feel like it)

01 success-babyI read this blog post the other day after a weekend spent feeling like failure. Examining your financial affairs will do that to a person, and I needed cheering up. Google delivered ‘Signs that you’re succeeding at life’.  According to the list I’m actually ‘succeeding’ across the board, but the list was dreadfully earnest so I thought I’d take a crack at one myself. Something a little less earnest, a little more realistic, something we can all aspire to.

“Signs you’re succeeding at life, even if it doesn’t feel like it”

1. You have a box of tissues in your house.

A box of tissues signals to visitors, friends and family that you have elevated the process of nose blowing to the next level. No wad of toilet paper, piece of kitchen towel or shower drain for you! Owning a box of tissues signals a level of maturity, a level of concern for the sensitivity of the nose tissue itself, and an acknowledgement that the sweating the small stuff can be amended with a quick wipe from a peach colored Kleenex. NOTE: if you disguise your tissue box with a knitted, sewn or felted cover you’ve overreached and probably need a new hobby. It’s just a fucking cardboard box of snot rags after all.

2. You no longer believe that those jeans from 1992 are worth hanging on to

Sure, you were 2 sizes smaller back then and yes, if you did happen to catch Ebola you might, just might be able to get them on, but a little known fact is that hips continue to grow well into your 40s so those bad boys are never getting anywhere near closed. Even if your innards are leaking out your butt. And you’ve accepted that. Plus does Pepe even exist any more? and girl, you wouldn’t be seen dead with a boot cut any ways.

3. You only hit the snooze button once

I know, I know, not everyone is a morning person and we all wake up differently. But a person who only hits the snooze button once is demonstrating that ‘yes’ they will be up in 6-8 minutes, and no matter how boring that conference call is at 8am, goddamn it, they’re not going to be late and yes, they’ll even have showered. Not for them 30 minutes of extra sleep metered out in 6-8 minute increments. No Sir, they have willpower. They’re succeeding at life.

 4. You have enough room to leave things off your resume

Remember when you tried to stretch and pad your resume to make it onto a second page? Citing your interest and hobbies as ‘legitimate’ employer ‘need to know’ information? How about the bogus ‘cert’ you added ( ‘typing speed’ anyone?) in lue of business school or anything to put under ‘Other Achievements’. These days you’re deleting years  and previous roles all over the place as your wealth of experience (and years), mean you no longer need to cite your time at the Cheesecake Factory as evidence of ‘customer service focus’ or your temp job as ‘a flexible, ‘can do’ attitude. In fact, trying to get it onto 2 pages is an exercise in ruthless editing and that includes summarising 2 years in one role as ‘Project management’ which mostly involved emailing your friends and checking out the cute new guy in Marketing.

5.  A house move no longer means bribing friends to help during happy hour the night before

Now one can be successful at life by celebrating the bonds of friendship during team activities, but moving is not one of them. As an adult, you’ve recognized that asking people you like to give up their Saturday and carry your sofa across town is testing the limits of anyone’s patience. Unless you’re committed to a minimalist buddhist lifestyle or your move involves walking across the street, you know to hire a truck, suck up the cost and get your own damn self moved. You know to invite friends over after you’ve moved to celebrate with drinks you’ve provided.

6. You remember to bring a reusable bag to the grocery store

You’re a sensitive soul. You care about the planet. You recycle your milk cartons and shit. But you know you’re succeeding at life when you remember to bring that $0.99 reusable bag you bought last time, with you on your grocery run. Bringing that bag says ‘I care’ and ‘I’m responsible’ signally to all those plastic and paper squanderers your obvious ‘winning-ness’ at life in general. Goddamn you’re cool. That bag is totally saving the plant yo..

 7. You know what to order in the bar, and it’s not Coors Light

Remember your first few trips to a bar? The nervous approach, the frantic search for an idea of what would make you seem a) older b) sophisticated and c) fuck you up. These days you chuckle at someone who orders Southern Comfort and coke, the poor sod who waves a $10 note for anything ‘Lite’ or the chick who simpers for ‘a nice glass of white wine’ from across the sticky bar. You know that a bar calls for a specific order, and you have your favorites. You can order a few cocktails without uttering the phrase ‘furry nipple’, your beer actually has calories in it and yes, you’ve sunk some tequila or vodka just because its Tuesday. Your days of ‘anything’ are long gone. You have tastes and damn it, what comes in your glass is an expression of who you are. Even if it has a cherry in it.

8. You order a salad, not because you should, because it sounds good

Remember when salad was what you ordered because you didn’t want your date to think you were a Neanderthal. Or because your mothers reminder to ‘eat your vegetables’ hadn’t quite dissipated from your head.. or maybe because your pants were feeling just a tad bit tight? You know you’re succeeding at life when you actually choose a salad because its something you want. No, not for you the greasy, juicy cheeseburger will chilli fries that will satiate all desire for the next 12 hours.. no, you like the sound of the spinach and walnuts and that goat cheese stuff. Wow, it even comes with raspberry balsamic dressing? Winning my friend. Winning.

 9. You said no to that second date even though you totally could have

One clear sign of success is being able to express your desires and evaluate whether they’re likely to be met by the pale, wan, bespectacled loser who’s mumbling across the table at you right now. Sure, you might not have been laid in 8 months and you’ve not had a signficant other since Bush was in office but you say ‘no’ to that second date because, hey… you have standards.  So as you’re driving home wondering whether you’ll ever remember what it feels like to go on vacation with a person of the opposite sex ever again, remember that you’re succeeding at life. (if not at dating). Go you!

10. You totally can fit in that spot.

You can see those people in life who aren’t quite succeeding at life as they approach a parallel parking challenge. They slow down. They evaluate. They chew their lip and maybe try to drive forward into the spot. They can’t remember where the front of their car ends and despite turning the steering around like a 45, they’re still 4 ft from the curb. They decide to suck it up and head to the pay parking where spots are the size of duplexes and no skill is required. But not you my friend. You see every and any gap as a potential parking spot. You deftly evaluate and challenge the laws of physics as you pilot your 3500lb beast into a space no larger than your old dorm room bed.  Your wheels are the requisite 2 inches parallel to the curbside and wouldn’t you know it, you’re right outside the restaurant. You sir, madam.. are succeeding at life.

We bow before you.

Posted in advice, humor, life lessons, observations | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Reevaluating my choices

01 debtI’ve been plagued with poor judgement in many facets of life – love, friendship, housing, bike jerseys, ordering curry on a first date – and I’ve focused on improving the decision process around  these over the last few years with the help of my trusty shrink lady.

Ok, maybe just the love and friendship ones.. but I’m been working on them really hard.

NOTE: for none therapy types, “work” generally means discussing something until you realize why you’re doing what your doing, and then cry a lot. It takes a long time and generally retails at $120 per hour. Tissues are free.

As a result, these days, I know when I’m making a bad decision (as oppose to blindly stumbling around assuming the best case scenario), and can now choose to forge ahead  (and suffer the UTI), or go do something less destructive. My friendships are more authentic, my romances and crushes less all encompassing, and overall, I think my shrink has earned that condo in Aspen I’ve bought for her. She’s pretty darn good.

But one thing continues to evade me despite nearly 18 months of discussion.

My relationship to money.

Two words. It SUCKS.

I’m not a blood sucking consumer whore. I don’t want to be rich, I don’t desire a big house or a fast car, and I could care less about swanning around the Med on a yacht a la Beyonce. But I do like nice things, and I don’t make enough money to keep me in the style to which I imagine I am acustomed.

Easy fix? Stop buying shit. Stop doing shit that you can’t afford.

I did that.

I buckled down. I sold my house. I sold all of my shit. I followed a budget. I stopped buying shit. I stopped doing anything that wasn’t essential to my professional life or personal sanity (sorry, but I need to eat raw fish now and again or life isn’t worth living).

The result after a year? I dug myself a little ways out of a hole. But it took a looong time to not get very far, and there’s only so long you can convince yourself that ‘stay-cationing’ is your choice and that another layer of NikWax will fix your rain jacket. Especially if you’ve got 30 odd years of bad financial choices whispering in your ear and a friend who really needs a cocktail.

If you’ve never been in substantial debt, you can read all the articles, follow all the rules: consolidate, prioritize, budget and monitor, but still wind up with 5 red zeros after your credit card balance for a really long time.

But I did make progress… right up until life happened. I didn’t plan on that fender bender, or that vet bill, or that unexpected medical bill or the IRS bill (for 2011?) with 3 years of fines that landed on my door in the space of a month. It was as though the universe saw I was trying to get the money thing locked down and wanted to send a message about who really was in charge. And as I headed into my second year of ‘financial awareness’ I found that for every step forward, life handed me a bottle of oil and a slip n’ slide just for fun.

I just couldn’t get ahead… which – embarrassingly – led to me giving up entirely.  I decided ‘fuck it’ and put my fiscal conservativism on the back burner for a few months.

Fuck it that I’m in debt.

Fuck it that I’m not getting out of debt any time soon

Fuck it that I can’t afford things.. whats an extra $32 on top of my mountain?

Fuck it ..I can’t control this shit anyway.. no matter how hard I try.

Stupid? – of course. Did I know it? – of course. What did it cost me? Basically the last 18 months of saving and skimping…. all down the drain in 3 months. Did I mention stupid?

Do I now own a yacht? A Porsche? Have I travelled to China? Am I writing this on a gold iMac from a downtown loft?

Nope. Nothing more substantial than a new purse, a few dinners out and a new bike.  But I’m now, almost 2 years into my ‘financial freedom’, EXACTLY where I started.

Yes, I want to slap me too.

It’s been the biggest failure of my life, right up there with my marriage. In fact, at this point, its going to take an awful lot longer than my marriage to fix.

Ms. Shrinky lady says that we buy things to make us feel worthy. To elevate our status to other or even just to ourselves. To console or even replace replace something thats missing.  I know why I said fuck it. I know why I make the decisions I do. I’ve done my crying and gone through those tissues faster than I go through my paycheck.

“I am not my things” she makes me say.

I know I’m not, but things help me go mountain biking, buy my dog more pain medication and keep the IRS off my back.

“Things will not make me happy” she also intones.

I know, but dinner with friends does. A trip back to the UK to see my nieces for the first time in 3 years will.

“Things are just things” she sagely advises.

I agree. I really do agree.

I live in 770 sq feet of rented apartment with no dishwasher or AC and I’ve never been happier.  And the only thing which intrudes on my contentment (other than my snoring but pain free dog), is the nagging thought of all those dollars in the red. Which currently will turn black sometime around 2019. Yes, 5 years.

From one poor decision to the next over a period of 15 years I’ve accumulated enough red ink to see me through to almost the next decade. I’ve been incredibly lucky; surprise bonus’s and running my own business for while kept my head above water when by all rights I should have drowned, but these days those surprises seem to have all dried up. The only thing between me and instant salvation is a dead rich aunt in Austraila suddenly emerging or my boss having an anurysm and giving me a pay increase.

Since neither are likely, I’m firmly back on the budget path for the foreseeable. Resigned to a longer term rental life than I planned, and a ‘fly on a plane and stay in a hotel’ vacation once every 3-4 years if I can save for it (and nothing goes horribly askew with my car).

On the positive side I’ve got plenty of time to plan it (I’m thinking Brazil or China), and in the meantime my cooking ability is coming on gangbusters.  And yes, that even includes a killer curry for any first dates I might have.

Apparently I can only make smart decisions in one area at a time..

 

 

Posted in Embarrassing admissions, life lessons | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The CSC Guide to Swimwear – Women’s Edition

Ladies.. ladies ah where to begin? Its summer time, you’ve not shaved your legs in a month and your skin in the color of non fat milk. You’re ass has slipped down the back of your legs into two nice saddle bags and you’re catching rain in your muffin top. Bikini time? Or time to throw 90% of the food stuffs away and nibble on some kale until August.

NO!

This isn’t going to be a treatise on dressing to suit your shape, or disguising your flaws, dropping 5 lbs or advice about cover ups. Nope.  This is about looking sexy on the beach. And no, not sexy for a guy, or a girl, but sexy for you. Because feeling good, feeling confident and actually being able to breath out while reclining in the sun are all related.

Impossible?

Oh dear… you really haven’t a clue. Sit down and read on before you start that Kale and Grapefruit diet. Everyone can look great on a beach.. skinny, flat chested, cellulite ridden, chunky, round, pear-shaped and yes, even shaped like a potato. There’s something out there for everyone and damn girl.. you’re gonna look sexy!

1. The Triangle

01 perfectLets start here shall we? The erstwhile basic triangle black bikini. If this is your go to and you can find a suit that makes you think ‘not bad’ when you look in the mirror then FUCK OFF. You don’t need this guide. You’d clearly look good in two napkins and a strategically placed hotdog.

If the triangle fits you, holds your boobs above your navel and doesn’t cause you to immediately starve yourself, then go Google ‘what to do when you have a great body’  and have at it.

The rest of us ladies… time to move on. The Triangle is popular and available in every single damn store, NOT because it fits us or looks good on most people, but because its easy to make and its cheap to manufacture (minimal snaps, underwires, fabric or adornments). Our bras don’t look like triangles, so why think that triangles are going to work out in public? Insantity. So instead of asking yourself ‘why can’t I find anything that fits?’ ask yourself why that store hates women’s bodies and move along…The Triangle. For girls under 15 and women with the metabolism of a lemur.

2. The Underwire

01 undewireGot some junk in the trunk and blessed up top? Instead of trying to hide your curves under a veil of fabric of ‘strategic ruching’, go with an underwired top and some big ol’ panties. Boost those boobs up and out, and cover your ‘ass’ets (noone needs to see your shaving rash). It doesn’t mean you have to look like  that old lady at the pool or a prude. Underwired bikinis keep the girls under control, can give you awesome cleavage and you don’t have feel like you’re giving a free peep-show. Bigger bottoms provide coverage and comfort (no-one looks good snagging a thong out of their ass crack), while highlighting the round curves that God gave you. Not sexy? Think Bridget Jones in her bunny girl outfit and gi-normous panties… sexy as hell.

As a side note, underwire’s used to be ‘the’ bikini standard back in the 50s and 60s because they showcase the ladies, and goddam, they’re hot. Like pencil skirts and stiletto heels, they’re back ladies… so prop those babies up and out.

3. The Underwire Plus

01 large binkini‘But what if you’re not a size 6 or 8?’ I hear you whine. Bingo.. the Underwire Plus. Tell me the chick on the left doesn’t look sexy and I’ll question your ophthalmologists diploma.

Underwired bikinis come in every size.. and I mean every. Pair it with some high rise shorts with some strong lycra and -bam- hot chica. Suddenly you’re Jessica Rabbit.

Compare this option to the usual recommendation for larger ladies..the strategic ‘sheet of despair’.. aka the empire waisted tankini.. 01 grandma

Now tell me. Which lady would you rather be?  Guys – which chick is more sexy?

I rest my case.

4. The Tankini

01 tanki slimLadies.. ladies. I know that for many of you this is the ‘go to’ option for swimwear. It kind of covers up the lumps and bumps in the stomach area, and hell, you think you’re too old for a bikini. Maybe you think this is the best option since you just had a baby and no one needs to see your stretch marks, and you’re not willing to give up and buy a Speedo swimsuit just yet. Maybe you’ve got a bit of a pooch, some extra muffin in the hip area or just a few rolls you’d rather not share. The tankini hides a multitude of sins…

WRONG.

Tankini’s are the biggest hoax that women have bought into since high-waisted jeans. And yes, like high-waisted jeans they only look good on skinny women.  You can look find great looking tanks all over the place but notice the size of the women modeling these items? They’re all ‘Triangle’ girls… those who’d look good wearing literally anything. Add in some actual curves, some actual lumps and bumps and you wind up with this…

01 tankini badSee? Sausage casing city. Your body is suddenly a solid square block of fabric.

But the swimwear industry isn’t stupid, they know that noone wants to look like a potato, so they came up with a solution for actual real live women with curves…More ‘tank’ to hide those imperfections…

01 ruffle

So suddenly we’ve gone from a cute ‘sporty’ look on our size 2 model, to what amounts to a dress for anyone over size 8 and what resembles a wedding cake for anyone in the double digits? What’s worse is that layers of fabric, once wet, just add additional lumps and bumps to an already curvey body and suddenly you’re Christmas tree.

Tankini’s.. Stay away. The myth of a ‘slimline tank’ doesn’t exist.. no matter if you’re a 6, 8 or 20.. anyone without the requisite toned stomach and slim legs winds up looking like a Russian cross dresser or something left in the lot on December 26th.

5. The Sexy Swimsuit

01 swimsuitI know, I know.. a swimsuit means bye bye to a tanned stomach, but hey, that’s what spray on is for, and aren’t we all meant to be wearing Factor 100 anyway?

For looking hot on the beach – perfect or imperfect body – you can’t beat a great suit.

Boobalicious? Focus all the attention upstairs with a low cut top.

Not blessed in that department, look for waist details or high cut legs that draw attention downstairs. Men tend to love the whole house, and as long as you’re not rocking your grandma’s baggy Speedo.. its hard to go wrong in a suit no matter your size. No waist? Find something with color blocking that creates a ‘waist illusion’. Ass that refuses to be contained by skimpy briefs? Go big or go home. Tell me this isn’t better than embracing a mu mu?

01 big swimsuit

6. The Retro look.

01 vintageWho doesn’t think those old photos of Marilyn on the beach were sexy? 50s and 60s style suits embrace curves, create them where they’d don’t exist and sure, they’re modest, but day-am, they’re hot.

Typically suits come lower, perfect for chicks with thighs or cellulite (um.. isn’t that everyone?), and since the tops are generally halter, everyone suddenly has boobs.. no matter your size.

And retro isn’t limited to just suits, bikinis can be equally modest yet sexy, plus no-one is ignoring this suit;

01 modest sexy

Grandma she ain’t. On the downside, you need to wear this look with confidence or you might be recruited to join the local chorus of HMS Pinafore, but you’ll look hot doing it and no one can see your stretch marks. Breath in and out, eat a muffin, a slice of pizza.. no matter. Noone is going to be focusing on your stomach when you’re wearing retro. They’ll be too busy wondering why you look better than they do.

6. The Eye Popper

01 insanitySo maybe standing out is your thing and the suits your finding just aren’t singing to your sense of transparency and desire to be noticed. The suits you’ve seen … well they’re just so BIG. If this is you, the Eye Popper is for you.

We can’t vouch for the strap marks on your tan except to say they’ll be small and plentiful, and for gods sake, remember to sunscreen under your boobs or you’ll wind up with heinous sun burn.

This might not be the suit for – well any activity  other than lying motionless in a Hollywood producers backyard but if you’re worried about your varicose veins, trust me, noone is looking at them.

Ever.

NOTE: Stockings and leg warmers optional, though recommended for those in the UK or Canada.

7. The Why Bother

01 why botherFor the ultimate tan, and maximum conversation in your immediate vicinity, we highly recommend the ‘Why Bother’ suit. No top, just bottoms. One size fits all and its reversible.

Of course you will need to become intimately familiar with your local waxer, and potentially invest in labial surgery, but hey.. in pursuit of the perfect tan, whats a few $$$$$?

 

 

8. The Nigella

01 modestAll this talk about stomachs and boobs, cellulite and butts making you sweat? Can’t bear the thought of baring any of it? Consider the Nigella. A full body suit, SPF 1000. Suitable for Mormons, Amish, LDS and anyone who’s just downright given up.. the Nigella is a perfect way to enjoy your local pool or beach with minimum exposure and maximum impact.

NOTE: This suit also comes in pink so you can distinguish yourself any men who might have invested in the male equivalent.

Oh wait.. there IS no male equivalent.

 

 

 

So ladies, as you start to plan out your vacation wear and are blanching at the notion of yet another tank suit, tankini or strategically placed sarong, let me remind you that every woman… EVERY woman can look fabulous in swimwear.

01 big beauty

Yes, even you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The CSC Guide to swimware – Mens edition

01 man thongIts summer, its hot and, unless you’re Amish, that probably means its time to break out the swimwear. But – quelle horror! – what to wear? Swimsuit, Bikini, Tankini, Monokini, Brazilian briefs, the David Beckham pocket pouch or your Eurotrash speedos? So many options. But before you swear off the pool/beach/park or start ‘googling’ ‘Mormon swimwear’ (I dare you), I bring you my guide to swimwear for all ages, shapes and situations.  There’s something for everyone…yes, even you. Starting today with the guys. Ladies.. read on for a preview of what you might be seeing this year around the pool.

1. The Douche Bag

01 baggy boardFor many years, the Douchebag, long baggy short was all you saw at the pool or on the beach in the US. It hid chicken legs, pot bellies and god forbid, any chubbies that might *ahem* arise. I get it – it was safe, plus you didn’t need to change if you headed off somewhere and what’s a dude if not lazy. Now beloved of funneling springbreakers and spotty adolescents at the local rec center, the Douche bag signals a man with no control over his erections, a predilection for pushing people in the water or trying to drown them for no reason, or a fast approaching weight problem. If non of these resonate with you, its time to evolve. Ditch the Douche bag and move on. The ladies will love you for it.

 2. The New Baggy

01 perfectOk, so maybe you still can’t control those erections and despite just knocking out 20 sit ups you’ve still got a bit of a pooch. Check out the ‘new Baggy’.

No Douch baggery here.

They’re not short shorts (no-one is checking out your sphincter muscle when you bend over) and they’re somewhat form fitting. So us ladies can actually check out your butt when you get out of the water, AND you can hide the result of cold water.

And no, they don’t may you look gay, they’re innocuous and most importantly, you won’t look like a member of Justin Beibers posse.

3. The Daniel Craig

01 daniel craigGratuitous shot for the ladies, but honestly guys, what’s wrong with this picture?

Nothing.

The Daniel Craig – a short for real men. Yes they’re tight, but they still cover all of your “assets” and there’s not even a suggestion of man thong going on here. Goddamn it, they even have racing stripes and a safety drawstring for those strong rip tides. Of course, if your upper body looks like Mr. Peanut these might not be for you, but if you’re in possession of even a suggestion of a pec or an ab, you might want to pull the ripcord and declare your manhood. These shorts say ‘I’m in control and if you can check out my packet, have at it ladies’ You know, but in a classy way.

4. The Man Bag

01 metallic suitAre you supremely confident? Do you possess the body of a professional athlete ?(sorry, bowling doesn’t count) Do you have a body fat percentage in the low digits and want to show it off? Are you willing to shave off your ‘highway to heaven’?

These are the shorts for you Sir.

The Man bag still leaves something to the imagination (well, we can’t actually see the details of what’s in the bag), but not so much that us ladies can’t decide whether we’ll date you. Full coverage at the rear (you’re aware that no-one needs to see your steroid pimpled ass), but wowser, a metallic, wet look display case for your frontage. These babies put you on display, and, unless you’ve got the buttocks of a Russian Gymnast, watch out for any strong waves.  The Man Bag.. for a man who’s got plenty in the bag and isn’t afraid to show it off.

Disclaimer: These shorts should not be used by anyone under the age of 21 or anyone in a long-term relationship with anyone of either sex. We might be laughing, but we admire your confidence. Best used while reading Camus or Dostoevsky around the pool (you don’t want sand in these babies) to indicate you’re not a total douche.

6. The Frightener

01 low cut briefDo women routinely chat you up in bars? Are you always getting hit on when you’re doing your grocery shopping or just filling up with gas? Fed up with women approaching you for no reason? The Frightener is for you.

A thong brief for the supremely fed up, the Frightner does what it says on the label. It literally scares away those who might otherwise be trying to find out where you live or your marital status. With full baggage on display both front and back, plus a back up ‘transparent when wet’ app, only the most foolhardy or ocular challenged would dare approach you in these babies. Perfect if you just want a quiet day by the pool or on the beach. Best of all, you’ll find the Frightener only works with women, so they’re great for meeting new fellow Frightener wearers or very old European men.

 7. The Display Case

01 frighteningFinding the Frightner a little too conservative for your taste? Want to stand out from your fellow Frightener while maximizing your tan? Already shave every inch of hair from you body?

The Display case is for you!

Simply, it does what it says on the label – displaying your wears for fellow beach goers to admire.

Yes, we’ll admit that your tan might be a little stripey and, yes, your ability to hide any “limitations” is extremely challenging in this swimsuit, but if you’ve got it, we say ‘flaunt it’.

Display case wearers rave about the attention that their ‘case’ attracts while out and about during the summer;

“My Display Case is ‘full’ of achievements”

“The dollar bills fit right through my slots!”

“It’s also great for filing business case cards during a busy day at the pool”

8. The Sling shot

01 uniballFed up with those annoying tan lines from your other suits? Blessed with a small package? Want all eyes on you, and only you this summer.. The Slingshot is for you.

A feat of modern engineering, the Sling shot cups your external features and hooks over one leg to provide a modicum of support and a stylish place to rest your cellphone. Rotate the direction of your Slingshot on a daily basis to equalize your tan. Oh, and you might want to spend the day thinking about your grandma or Margaret Thatcher so you don’t get arrested for indecent exposure. There is, of course, only so much the Slingshot can cover.

NOTE: This swim suit is not appropriate for Lance Armstrong, Tom Green or anyone with one ball or possessing human dignity. CSC will not be held responsible for any car, bike or Rollerblade accidents as a result of your Slingshot appearance.

So there you have it guys, every option for every guy who’s ever wondered ‘what should I wear to the beach’. And no matter which way you go, you’re safe in the knowledge that you look better than this guy.

01 man swimsuit

Posted in body, Getting older, men | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

How to grow a tomato

I’m obsessed with growing tomatoes and when your CEO asks for advice.. well you figure you might as well use the notes you gave him to fill a blog post. So here you go.. nothing whatsoever to do with dating, being 40, men, sex or humor. But lots on how to grow a tomato.

Sun. You need to plant in the sunniest spot in your yard. Ideally tomato plants should have 8 hours of sun a day. If your garden faces north or doesn’t get much sun, you should probably focus on growing leafy veggies instead (kale, spinach, chard) which do well in low light. Your tomatoes won’t grow with less than 2-3 hours of sun per day.

Planting: Most tomatoes don’t do well in pots (unless its specified on the plant). Cherry tomatoes are pretty much the only ones you can grow successfully in a pot. Tomato roots grow horizontally rather than vertically, so if you have to use pots, you need to make sure they’re wide, rather than deep. Roots generally only go down about 6 inches, but will spread horizontally up to 14 inches. Therefore don’t ever plant tomatoes too close together – not only can the soil not support the volume of roots of two plants, but you’re also opening yourself up for disease transmission (i.e fungus and black flies). Plant at least 14-18 inches apart. In Colorado I generally assume a 2-3 ft square minimum per plant since mine grow about 6-7 feet tall and about 2-3 ft wide. (full sun, good soil, good nutrients).. see I told you this was all about tomatos and you thought I was kidding?

Plants: Since you’re probably going to buy an actual plant rather than grow from seed, I suggest mixing some heirloom varieties and a hybrid or two. The hybrids are genetically engineered to be more disease resistant but don’t taste as good as heirlooms. I have one or two hybrids in the garden as it seems to help keep disease and flies down. Supersweet 100s (hybrid) are easy to grow, you can grow them in pots if you need to and they’re deliciously sweet cherry tomatos. For heirlooms I always grow Cherokee Purple, Brandywine and Green. The purple is very smoky in flavor (amazing with mozzarella and basil), the Brandywine is an all around winner on taste for anything and the Green is slightly tart but really delicious with cheese and wine. Add an Italian paste tomato such as San Marzano and you will have a slew of fruits for making red sauce or canning/ bottling/freezing. So 4-5 plants should keep you going for an entire summer and you’ll be giving them away. It also enables you to lose one (which you might), and not have to feel too bad about it. If you plant now, you’ll have fresh tomatoes from end July – mid October. Cherry tomatos ripen fastest, and the brand ‘Early Bird’ are ready in early July… the rest are more likely for early August. (Again, we’re talkig Colorado, so all bets are off for non mountain, moisture rich or cool places).

Staking: Since your plants will grow tall in Colorado (assuming full sun), you need good staking. Those flimsy wire cones you buy at Home Depot generally won’t cut it if you’re growing heirlooms or anything bigger than a cherry. The weight of the fruit will cause the cone to topple over by August. Why is that bad? The fruit is closer to or on the ground and more likely to contract disease. Plus a plant unsupported will take up much more space. Instead, head to a good nursery such as Paulinos (again, Colorado specific) and look at tomato cages or anything which is more sturdy than the basic thin wine cones. The Cadillac of cages is the Texas Tomato cage.. these are large and aren’t pretty, but if you want your plants to stand up, they’re second to none. Your neighbors will think you’ve started a pot farm.. but your tomatos will love you.  If its your first year, maybe skip them, but if you get into growing.. definitely worth the investment and makes picking the actual fruit a LOT easier. Plus they fold up flat for storage in the winter.

You won’t need to stake until your plant is about 3 ft tall but after that its essential – usually around the time your first blooms are forming.

Supplementary planting: In order to pollinate your tomatoes you’ll need bees. And bees flock to flowers. Therefore make sure your garden area also has some ‘bee attractors’ i.e. honeysuckle, lavender, anything which gets a lot of play with bees. Don’t plant right next to the tomatoes, but in the general vicinity so that you attract more pollinators to your yard. I had a beautiful Rose of Sharon tree, full of huge blooms that bees love, with the result that I was drowning in tomatos.. but my neighbor’s were pretty sad. (I stole his bees!). If you don’t have much room, I always recommend planting basil and marigolds around your tomatos as they actually attract bees and add things to the soil that help your tomatoes grow. Don’t ask me what, but it works. Don’t plant onions or beans too close to tomatoes or you’ll have the reverse effect.. the alum family inhibits tomato growing and they just don’t like beans for some reason. (I’d tend to agree but I’m a bean hater). Your first blooms will appear in June/ July (depending on the heat/ dryness – this year is likely to be later due to our crazy ice/rain storms)- this is your first fruit forming. Without any blooms you won’t have fruit, so if you don’t see any blooms forming by the first week of July, I’d add some nutrients. (see below).

Watering: Tomatoes like to be treated quite harshly. They’re the biggest fans of S&M in the veggie world. Do NOT overwater. This causes mold, fungus and all manner of problems. In fact, under watering is best. Parch those bitches. In June and July when we get heavy afternoon showers (Colorado.. gotta love it) you probably won’t need to water much at all but once the temps hit the mid 90s-100, you’ll need to water every day. When to water? Stick your finger in the soil and if its slightly damp, wait another day. If its as dry as your grandma’s skin.. soak the plant at the base. Really soak. This encourages them to put out more roots, and grow bigger. I can’t emphasese enough that you need to wait until they’re dry before watering..its even ok to wait until your plant looks a bit saggy or droopy. They LOVE it.  Most importantly don’t water the leaves, stick to the base. Water on the leaves creates burn and since all of the moisture is needed at the roots, what are you doing sprinkling water on the leaves? Unless its super hot, I water every other day in the hottest part of the summer, in the morning or evening (in the Colorado summer, its generally mid to high 90s during the day). Definitely don’t let your sprinklers take care of it… they’ll oversoak and just burn your leaves. If you’re not sure whether to water.. leave it and then revisit the next morning. You can’t kill tomato plants unless you leave them for 3 days without water in 100 degree temps. They’re really do like a bit of abuse. *ahem* Maybe thats why I love them so.

Nutrients: Unless your garden has never been planted, ever, you’ll need to add some nutrients to help things along. Ideally you add one variety before the blooms form (which help to increase the number of blooms and therefore fruit), and one later in the season to help the fruit grow big. Alternatively you can add this stuff (High Country Gardens Yum Yum Mix) to your garden and you probably won’t need to add much else (its hard to find locally but worth the shipping cost). This is the crack of tomatos. But assuming you don’t want to pay $25 in shipping for a bag of dirt, head to your nursery (nope, NOT Home Depot or Ace). You need organic and tomato specific. Liquid is easiest as you can add to a watering can. Raking in nutrients is a pain and can disturb the roots if you get over ambitious. Don’t ever use non organic (who are you, Monsanto?), and anything called ‘Miracle Gro’ is destined to fail. Ask at any nursery for tomato food and everyone has a favorite so go with what your nursery suggests. But definitely use it periodically (every 2-3 weeks until September), to keep the blooms coming and the fruit growing. Consider it vitamins for your plant.. or insurance against crappy soil.

Bugs/ disease: Most likely if you don’t overwater, don’t plant too close, you won’t have any problems. Things to watch out for – white powdery stuff on the leaves (mildew/ mold), tiny black flies or burned edges of the leaves. If this happens (rare), just take a leaf to the nursery and ask them for an organic solution. They’re the most informative. Alternatively you can google pictures of tomato disease and it will let you know what the problem is and how to fix. One thing you might have this year is some tomatoes with black spots on them (due to the heavy rainfall – its called Blossom End Rot). If you don’t have tomatos in the ground, don’t worry. If you do.. just don’t water them for a week or two so they can dry out. Any fruit which looks like it has big black spots or brusing is just a result of too much water very fast (aka, Colorado spring showers). Pick them off and the next round should be fine. Its not fatal, it just looks ugly.

Thinning: As your plant grows you will want to thin out some of the shoots/ leaves. This gives more room for the fruit, and helps air circulate through the plant. After all you’re growing fruit, not leaves. There isn’t really a science to it (I’m sure there is but I’m not that nerdy). Every week, look for new minor shoots which don’t have blooms on them and nip them off. You can remove about 1/3rd of the non producing shoots and it helps avoid a build up of moisture at the center of the plant and any fungus/ mold/ disease. Remove from the middle, NOT the top of the plant. There are lots of articles on line about pruning or thinning your plants. Some people take off almost all (the Italians do this), others only take off a few… I’ve found if you remove too many, you have a smaller crop, so I err on the side of only taking a few off.. but you do need to do this or you’ll end up with a 6 x 2 ft tomato bush with 2 fruit on it.

 Existing plants which aren’t doing well. If you already have plants in the ground and they’re looking very sad its likely due to one of the following;

  1. Its early in the season and we’ve had a LOT of rain. Tomatoes don’t like rain. Give it a few weeks for the soil to dry out and if they don’t bounce back, dig up and replace with new plants from the nursery. (you can do this until July).
  2. Your yard is too dark/ doesn’t get enough sun. Either move your plants/ replant or move to pots (and cherry tomatoes) which you can put in the sunniest spots.
  3. Crispy leaves that look burned white. If you’ve been watering from above on the leaves on a hot day, or if its rained after a hot day, this is water scarring. Nothing fatal. Just looks ugly. Wait until the plant is bigger and then remove the scarred leaves.
  4. Lower leaves are dead/dying. Again, the weather has been temperamental so wait a little white until the plant dries out and grows a little more, then remove. Its normal for the lower leaves to die off as the plant grows. Just don’t remove ALL leaves or your plant will die. Duh.
  5. Other – I’ve always googled diseases and found out what’s the problem. I’ve probably lost one plant per season due to something (perfectly normal). Ideally you plant 1 more than you need so that if it happens, you’re not short. If one plant is diseased, try to avoid contacting the diseased plant and then your other plants as this will transfer the disease. Similarly if your plants are too close and touching, prune back so that they’re not. This will help stop disease from spreading. If your plant doesn’t respond to treatment, dig it up and move away from the rest of your garden. Yes its sad, but its essential that whatever killed it doesn’t spread to your other beauts. Don’t replant in exactly the same hole unless you have to. If its something in the soil, it will just re-infect the new plant. Best to leave the empty spot, let whatever it is get killed during the winter freeze and start again the next year.

Yes growing tomatos is incredibly nerdy but its cheap (compared to the tomatos at the farmers market), you know where your fruit came from and that they really are organic. Plus nothing beats standing in an evening, plucking a sun warmed fruit off a plant and eating it right there with juice dripping down your hands.

Happy gardening!

Posted in Life after 40 | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Chub

muffin topAt the advanced age of 42, I’ve recently noticed an alarming trend.

I’m developing chub.

Sure, I’m not on the path to being airlifted out of my house and certainly I don’t need a forklift to get to the doctors yet.. but after viewing some photos from a recent social event I noticed the beginnings of ‘chub’ around all of my girlie bits.

(wah wah.. first world problems.. worlds smallest violin etc.. yes, I know).

One of the upsides of crippling anxiety is a naturally fast metabolism. Sure, I have had to quit several jobs that required me to manage people or work more than 60 hours a week, and yes, I’ve developed a very nice relationship with Klonapin over the last few years, but damn it, I’ve never had to worry too much about getting chubby.

Anxiety generally makes you not hungry, and worrying for 18 hours a day tends to burn calories faster than most spin classes. Add in a natural need for exercise (got to burn off that anxiety somehow), celiac disease (rendering all yummy deliciousness out of reach), and you’ve got a recipe for someone who’s been the same size since high school.

Sure I’ve wandered around the scale; having your jaw wired shut for 6 weeks and a liquid diet gave me Mike Jagger hips and cheekbones you could slice ham on. Being dumped the day I sold my house for a $40K loss, drove me into jeans a size bigger and my first experience of saddle bag thighs within a month. Luckily I discovered crossfit and FWB.. result.. back to normal size.

But as I approached 40 I was told by many friends that I’d find myself at ease with the world and find a ‘new confidence’ in myself, and that my metabolism was about to shut down.. so I should just accept that pudgy was going to be something to fight from the here on out.

Well at 42 I just had to up my Klonapin dose and I’m still questioning whether I offended a coworker with an email that corrected her grammar, so I’m not quite sure about life becoming so much easier and more laid back at 40, but the metabolism thing.. that is RIGHT on track.

I eat well. No one has ever called me skinny and, thanks to cycling, you could easily balance a pint on my ass should you so desire. But what I had reckoned with was a layer of overall chub that seemed to appear out of nowhere overnight.

First I wondered if I’d been sleep eating.. but while my doctor found it amusing, he assured me that my anti anxiety meds made you sleep harder and deeper. So no dice there.

Next I looked at my diet, wondering if some how they’d started slipping fat into my 0% fat greek yoghurt, or coating my veggie burgers with lard. It’s not like I suddenly started eating fries on a daily basis or chowing down on deep-fried Snickers on the weekend. A quick survey told me that nope, nothing had changed.

Finally I looked at my exercise. Have I somehow secumed to the dreaded ‘slowing down’ of old(er) age without noticing? I sure felt like I was working out as hard as ever – god knows my legs are beaten up to shit from mountain biking lately, and I  out walk my dog on a daily basis. So no… no answers there.

In exasperation I hit the internet. Which told me I might be growing a large tumor in my lady parts, suffering from every type of cancer under the sun, my endocrine system was finally going kaput (after slowly failing steadily over the last 7 years), I’m accumulating alcohol weight or that it’s all part of Obama’s socialist agenda.

Maybe you do just get chubby as you get older? Yet another thing my mum was right about. (dammit)

But as a single woman, I intend on getting naked with semi-strangers at some point this year (one hopes), so  I’ve decided to embark upon my first proper, bona-fide “diet” aka, stepping away from the Ju-Jubes in the candy aisle and snacking on less fattening alternatives than avocados and handfuls of almonds.

In fact, I just bought an apple. Kale salad is not far behind.

But know this. The difference between a 42 year old on a diet and a 20 something… as soon as I can see my knees again and my arms stop jiggling like Beyoncé’s ass, I’m over it.

I have no desire to ‘thinspirate’ myself into anything less than my normal clothes and life is honestly too short to eat apples. (Unless you like apples)

But for the next few weeks its apples, kale and chicken breast. Right after I finish this tostada.

 

 

 

Posted in aging, Embarrassing admissions, Getting older, Life after 40 | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Questions.. questions….

QuestionsAfter the last round of doofus’s from match.com left me wondering if I really should just stop even hoping for a boyfriend before my Golden Girls years and investigate lesbianism in the meantime (never mind my fear of boobs and other people’s lady bits) I took the advice of a male friend and signed myself up for OkCupid.

His rationale?

‘You’ve got a banging body and you’ll get action a lot faster’

he added,

‘plus if nothing else the ego trip will do you good’

He was not wrong.

To my single people over 40, brush aside your predjudices, you have nothing to lose but a little dignity. Plus its a whole other world of dating options.

You want a poly bi sexual male, age 38 with a PHD in organic chemistry and a penchant for BDSM? Oh he’s out there. Of course his profile doesn’t actually say that… but its all available in the most rudimentary form. Via questions.

OKCupid asks you question, after question, after question.

And not your ‘do you like watching sports’ generic crap. Oh nooooo. OkCupid narrows it down to everything from your thoughts on feet to your role in any upcoming BDSM scenarios.

Yes, some questions are patently ridiculous and not exactly critical for selecting a date…

‘Do you think women are obligated to shave their legs?’

and

‘Do you like rollercoasters?’

But a lot of the questions actually, weirdly make sense. They certainly help you short cut through the minefield of weirdness that is other people. Here’s a brief selection of the 500+ questions you can answer on OkCupid.

1. Which is bigger the sun or the moon? Intended to root out the retarded amongst the OKCupid population, this is a great starter question to make sure that any dude you even respond to has the IQ to read your email.

2. How clean is your bathroom? Sort of makes sense. Especially after one guy I dated briefly last year… YIKES. Upon reflection, a photo of your sink should probably be mandatory on all dating sites.  Would have saved me a few weeks and a one huge gross out moment. If you can’t keep your sink clean, I dread to think thats going on ‘below the equator’.

3. Could Evolution and Intelligence Design both be right? I LOVE that they ask this question. Totally weeds out the people I don’t even need to have a conversation with. Because while most sane people will agree in Evolution, when you offer up ‘Intelligent Design’ as a parallel option, all kinds of weirdness rises to the surface. Plus it saves me from every having the ‘chicken and egg’ discussion on a date. ever. again.

4. Do wild places such as mountains, rivers, forest and the ocean call out to you? Ok sounds sorta hippy, but living in Colorado, if they don’t, I’d have to question your sanity in choice of residence. Plus given my own Sport Billy tendencies, if you don’t like the mountains, its not even worth a cup of coffee because we’d never see each other. Like ever.

5. Do you talk to your pets? I honestly think this is a really good indicator on a bazillion levels. First off, you clearly need to have pets to answer, which weeds out those who are ‘dead inside’ or who can’t take any responsibility for anything other than themselves. Second of all, if you have a pet, who wouldn’t talk to it? Its a living breathing thing.. even if its a hamster. And as a fellow animal, we all need a little conversation. Plus any guy who doesn’t have a conversation with his pet… well its just downright weird.

6. Should your mate also become your best friend? This one is a great way to identify how people feel about romantic partners. And there literally is NO right answer. Yes, we’d all want our mates to be the person to whom you tell everything and share everything. But is your mate ranked above all other FRIENDS?  Codependant? yes. Healthy? ummmmm. A great question to weed out any potential stalkers or shut ins.

7. Are you sexually attracted to inanimate objectives? Lord, I am so glad this question is in here. Weird as it might seem, they’re asking… because these people exist. And while I welcome all kinds of weirdness and wild activity into the bedroom, a stuffed animal, an inflatible sheep or a Dewalt drill are not welcome.

8. How was your childhood? With options ranging from ‘Wonderful’ to ‘Awful and I have emotional issues as a result’, this one is a real window into the person. To be honest, if I’d had asked this of my ex husband on date 1, I’d probably have saved 5 years. Which upon reflection is sort of sad and disturbing. Do I wish those 5 years had never happened?  Hell no. And do I really want to date someone who had a ‘Wonderful’ childhood. Who has a ‘Wonderful’ childhood? What kind of sick weirdo is this guy? See… these questions are DEEP man…

9. Recieving anal sexy? Well hang on now.. isn’t this kind of a question for like the 10th date? Seems sort of uncool to have that out there in public. And well.. I’m not sure how I feel about a) guys answering it period and b) I’m not sure I need to know before I’ve even said hello to a dude in person. Sort of takes the fun out of things??

10. Once you’re  intimate, how often would you and your partner have sex? Whoaaa. I really don’t need to know this much information about someone before I’ve met the guy. And I certainly couldn’t answer this question until I’d actually done the deed with the guy. What if it’s great initially but quickly gets boring? Any answer is going to be a stretch goal if it sucks.. plus what if its the best sex of your life, and you low ball you answer and the guy is intimidated by your presumed insantiable desire? This question makes me feel like I’m signing a contract with a guy I haven’t met yet. Sorry OkCupid, ‘pass’. having said that.. if any guy says weekly or monthly.. I’m passing on him too.

So, if you’d like to know everything about your date from his intelligence level, to his moral compass, his predictiction for wearing diapers and whether he talks to his mother every day… join OkCupid. The TMI of online dating.

Posted in Dating, match.com, Meeting men, online dating | Tagged , | 1 Comment

“How to Stop violence against women: Get Married” WTF??

knuckle-wedding-ring-300x225The Washington Post recently published an Op Ed entitled “One way to end violence against women? Stop taking lovers and get married”

In response to the #YesAllWomen campaign that has been setting Twitter afire (aimed at raising the conciousness of men to the ongoing violence that women face from men), the Washington Post acknowledges that true.. we have a point.. but its not that simple:

This social media outpouring makes it clear that some men pose a real threat to the physical and psychic welfare of women and girls. But obscured in the public conversation about the violence against women is the fact that some other men are more likely to protect women, directly and indirectly, from the threat of male violence: married biological fathers.”

So apparently women just need to surround themselves with married men in order to be safe when walking home from a party, filling up the car with gas after 10pm or just walking down the street at any time of night or day? Good lord, if only I’d known.

Now not wanting to be a downer, but almost all (if not all) women have at some point in their lives felt unsafe or threatened by a man. Whether its hearing someone jogging up behind you at dusk, a weird guy you encounter when out walking the dog on a trail,an agry boyfriend who punches the wall or just walking to your car when you leave the airport after an evening flight. Many, most, all (?) women have sped up, changed direction, left the house, grasped their keys as makeshift knuckle dusters or even decided to invest in some pepper spray.

Why I’ve been so blown away by the response to ‘YesAllWomen’ (cleverly entitled #NotAllMen) is that so many men weren’t aware, or didn’t care, or doubt that many chicks are walking around seriously worried about being attacked, threatened, robbed or even raped. Its just not part of their reality. After all, if your straight, white and live in middle class neighborhood, threats to your safety are pretty much self imposed as a result of too much beer.

Now I’m not a nervous nelly kind of chick when it comes to going out and about. I’ve been burgalized 4 times in the UK, had more mountain bikes stolen than I can remember, and once even had to clean a turd out of my bathtub from a junkie who, after taking all my left shoes and CDs, decided to leave me a little gift. Lets just say, I’m aware of crime.

But I moved to the US knowing not one of the 360 million people in the country, and I felt fine.  I drove around Chicago at night, working on projects in Detroit, Dallas and downdown Miami without fear and knew to trust the hairs on the back of my neck. I hiked alone, I flew 100,000 miles alone, I lived alone and spent an inordinate amount of time in places I didn’t know, guided only by a crappy Hertz map and the name of a random hotel (I was a consultant in my former life, not a hooker).

I knew that some places were safe, some behaviors weren’t and unless I was silly, I wasn’t ever worried about violence. Right up until someone assulted me on the street in the middle of the day on the Miracle Mile in Chicago.  Then someone assulted me, again in the middle of the day, on the subway in New York.  And while I didn’t wind up sobbing in the shower (per the movies), I certainly took a while to leave the house again. And I bought my first can of pepper spray.

And I’m one of the lucky ones.

I haven’t been raped and I’ve not feared for my life since coming to the US. But I have noticed an increasing level of fear creeping into my daily life, as the violence and anger against women seems to be increasing. I don’t walk home in the dark any more. I certainly wouldn’t walk my dog after 9pm and despite living in one of the safest areas in town, I sleep with my gun next to my bed.

Overkill? Maybe. But hearing about an attempted rape at 4pm, just 4 blocks from my apartment, tends to make you leary. As did the series of assulting taking place last summer in our neighbourhood park. All during the daytime. All on women out running on their own.

Now I’m not sure if these women were running in heels and a bra, a mini skirt and fuck me heels or simply shorts and a t shirt, but its highly unlikely ‘they were asking for it’ or putting themselves in a ‘dangerous place’.  But according to the Washington Post, they simply should have taken a married man along with them for safety.

Yes its laughable. Ridiculous. But thats the advice we’re getting these days. Not – stop the violence - or ‘why is this happening?’ or ‘how can we fix it?’ but ‘take a married man along’.

In fact, according to the Washington Post, just grabbing the nearest dude with a ring isn’t enough.. I actually need to BE married in order to be safe;

“Overall, another U.S. Department of Justice study found that never-married women are nearly four times more likely to be victims of violent crime, compared to married women. The bottom line is that married women are less likely to be raped, assaulted, or robbed than their unmarried peers”

I’d love to see the Washington Post suggest this to men. That they surround themselves with married women in order to protect their personal safety. That they should themselves, get married in order to avoid violence or aggression in their lives. It even sounds ridiculous typing it.

But for women.. that’s what we got.

So in the quest for personal safety, I guess I should go re-write my match.com profile.

 

 

Posted in America, fear | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Date-A-Thon 2014

sex appealSince its summer and thats my most energetic time of year, I decided to kick off ‘Date-A-thon 2014′ early. Hey maybe I could find myself a cute Jewish nerdy guy with a killer sex drive and a penchant for early mornings.. and enjoy him for the whole summer? You never know!

But just a few weeks after the kickoff off  ‘Date-A-Thon 2014′ I am cancelling the event, effective immediately.

Why?

Well the last few weeks of dating has been like a series of trips to IKEA. You really don’t want to go, you know it’s going to be a time suck that will leave you miserable and irritated BUT you’re really in need of something. In this case, someone to make out with before I hit 43 and potentially fight off some bears while camping this summer.

But like most trips to IKEA, the last few weeks have been ones I’d rather forget. True, I didn’t wind up with any random plastic ornaments or strangely named kitchen tools, but my hopes of ever referring to a fellow member of the human species as ‘my boyfriend’ or ‘loooover’ are pretty much in the toilet.

My first date was a complete surprise. Complete. A simple online chat about ‘plans for the this evening?’ resulted in a surprise showing from ‘smallhouse578′ at a local bar, uninvited and right in the middle of an entertaining cocktail hour with my girlfriend. Not only did the numbnut show up, walk up to us, say ‘Hi there’ and sit down next to us.. but since he didn’t ever tell me his name (on the site or in person), I was left confused as to who he was and how I knew him (or didn’t). My girlfriend and I exchanged confused glances, and she – thinking she was doing me a solid – decided to leave me to my impromptu date. I was left at the bar with a nameless guy who assumed that my chat meant ‘come date me’. Like, right now.

My British reserve and politeness lasted as long as it took for me to figure out who he was .. at which point I became a shouting American for the very first time. Wow it was sort of liberating to dress someone down for stalking, rudeness and all around creepy behavior .. even if I did have to head home immediately for a calming cup of tea. The cheek of the guy! WTF?

But, being British, after restocking my supplies of stiff upper lip, I headed off on another date a week later. 6 years my junior, Tim is a self-confessed ‘introvert’ with kinky tendencies and a love of mountain biking. I figured he’d be good to know.. one way or another.

From across the restaurant he looked cute (even if he was hiding behind his menu), so I plopped down in my seat and introduced myself. At which point I realized that my interpretation of ‘introverted’ and his interpretation were alarmingly different. Tim, who had seemed disarmingly keen in writing, was so introverted he was practically inside out.

My hopes of finally getting to date a younger guy vanished in a nano second when I realized the evening was going to be short, painful and involve me trying to coax some semblance of a conversation out of him via an excruciating game of 20 questions. I’ve heard of shy.. hell on a date I’m shy.. but this was ridiculous.

He spoke quietly, more of a murmur really, and could barely order himself a drink. I actually think it was one of the 3 things he said during the course of the date. (the others were – ‘I’m from Cleveland’ – and ‘I just want to ride’). James Joyce he was not.

At one point I felt like Letterman, trying to elicit  some kind of spark from a doped up celebrity… I tried asking the usual questions – nothing. In the absence of interest from him, I decided to share a little about myself - ‘maybe he’s more of a listener?’ but still nothing. At which point I decided to stop talking all together…’maybe he just needs space in which to open up?’.

Crickets.

I don’t know what I ordered or ate suffice to say it went down fast and I was out of there in under an hour. As I headed to my car I wondered if maybe I was just a ‘bit scary’ (its been said before) and I should give him another chance in less formal circumstances. By the time I arrived home I had my answer… 11 texts from the guy. Over a 15 minute period.

What started as a simple ‘thankyou’ morphed over the minutes into a plea for a second date, concern for my safety (since he hadn’t heard from me), a detailed list of my positive attributes and physical appearance, followed by more pleas for another chance.

I felt for the guy. I really did. It was like watching myself on an answer phone some 10 years ago.. leaving a rambling message which started out cool and ended up desperate. I figured I’d give it another go and I’d call him in the morning.

But when 7 new texts greeted me in the morning, including one which said ‘I know I have a hard time communicating’, I decided to move on. I don’t want to date a version of myself from 2002.   Yikes.

After two let downs in the space of weeks,  I decided to give it one more shot before handing in the towel on ‘Dat-a-thon 2014′. 3 strikes and I’m out. Its summer and while I’d love a guy in my life, I really don’t want to spend my spare time looking at profiles and enduring any more painful cups of coffee when I could be out doing… well …. anything else.

So after a few weeks I decided that John would be #3 and my final ‘oneline’ date of this season. He was divorced (yay.. someone loved him once), skinny, a rider and a double for Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper). Now while I love a geek, I’m more of the ‘Jewish nose & glasses’ geek than the ‘whitebread austic guy’ variety but hey.. he seemed interesting and there were no single Jews available. Can’t be totally picky.

John sat down and I swear I was suddenly in an episode of the Big Bang Theory. Sans laugh track or amusing bot mots. Chemistry? Zero. Attraction? Zero. Conversational skills? Zero. I can’t say for sure that he was austic, but he certainly did a very good Sheldon Cooper impression.

I did learn that he’d had a mental breakdown (so that was interesting and helped influence my longer term dating plans) and that he programmed rockets (Sheldon Cooper in-the-flesh). But he wasn’t offensive, he was polite and hey, it was the first conversation with a dude in 2 months. Score!

With my mother’s counsel ringing in my ears (“you’re too picky”) I decided to go with a second date and see if the illusive ‘chemistry’ could emerge from somewhere. Who knows.. maybe once he chilled out a bit, he’d be all kinds of amusing or charming or… something?

Lets just say if you’re not that interested on the first date, unless he or you have undergone a personality change in the preceding days or weeks.. it ain’t happening on the second. Sorry Mum. Life is just too short to wait around hoping for nothing to become something. I’d rather have the nothing and enjoy the rest of my time.

So for the rest of 2014, if I’m meeting any men, its going to be out in the normal world. Where it’s perfectly acceptable to say ‘see-ya’ after 5 minutes and it’s not my job to make anyone interesting. Where chemistry is palpable and instant, and I don’t have to drink any more fucking coffee to see if its going to  develop into something.

Sure, you can be too picky. You can also be too hopeful. But at the conclusion of Date-A-Thon 2014 I’d have to say I’m definitely neither.

Posted in bad dates, Dating, first dates, Life after 40, match.com, Meeting men, online dating, over it | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The death of FWB

doorbellIf you don’t know what that means .. you probably shouldn’t read on (Mum, this means you).

My female single friends and I often end up in a similar discussion around the 2nd martini. The difficulty of locating and securing a reliable source of ‘FWBs’.  (‘Friends with Benefits’ for those over 50 or living under a rock). See while us singletons are mostly content to be single, live out rewarding and fun times in groups or alone, we all miss touch. We miss kissing. We miss sex. And no amount of group hikes or expensive monk fish wrapped in banana leaves is going to replace that. Which is where the beauty of a FWB is meant to work.

FWB. A friend, someone who you like and trust, who comes with some additional ‘benefits’. Now maybe your desired ‘benefits’ include caulking a sink or unscrewing the salsa jar, but mostly us single ladies prefer those who look good naked and who don’t want to sleep over. Oh, and all the good stuff that happens in between. Oh the good stuff. We miss and enjoy the good stuff.

But finding it? Jez. Its harder than finding a good guy to date. I’m 7 years into both projects and I’m not having much luck on either front. Am I too picky in finding a FWB? After all, most guy friends tell me I could find a FWB by walking into any bar, any night of the week. Riiiiight. Because its that’s easy fellas. FWB is actually harder than finding a guy to date. Because for women… we actually need the FWB to be a FRIEND who delivers BENEFITS.

Why?

In order for a woman to be safe , any FWB has to be a known entity. Unless you’re into risky situations and carry a weapon, heading off home with a complete stranger for the physicals is just nuts. We can’t do FWB unless we actually know the guy and can trust him.

Now trust can mean a whole portfolio of things. Is he likely to come over and beat the shit out of you (no joke, this does happen.. read the news)?; will he steal your wallet on the way out (happened to a friend)?; will he turn into a pyscho stalker? (been there) or the alternative? (pretend like you don’t exist the moment he’s done). Has he been tested for STDs anytime lately? (I don’t need any ‘visitors’ thanks) And is he actually able to .. you know… deliver the benefits? In a state where weed is legal, the opportunities for FWBs took a dive starting January 1 as every potential single dude decided that if he didn’t have a date, his new date was a vaporizer and the latest Xbox game. Which means an ad hoc FWB might be late, high and unable to..*ahem*.. perform. Which is great on the violence front (stoners are too lazy to do much other than hit the joystick and open the Cheetos), but not such great news in the sack. This is where the ‘friends’ part of FWB comes in for women.

So to find a ‘friend’, you probably need to actually like the guy. Unless you’re a big fan of the ‘open the door and start screwing’ approach (hey, it can be fun), you’re going to be talking for at least some period. Which means he can’t be someone who pisses you off or who you find insanely tedious. Neither of which leads to fucking, to be sure. And vice versa. If every time you’re around him his left eye starts twitching, it’s probably not from desire.

Next up  – attraction. Now sure, most women do have a ‘guy friend’ tucked away in their back pockets. Someone they dated for a nanosecond but didn’t feel any chemistry for so they stayed ‘friends’. He’s still hoping it will turn into something one day; she’s hangs out with him when she doesn’t have a date for dinner or just wants to ‘hang’. So why isn’t this guy her FWB? After all, she trusts him and he’s a friend? One reason and one reason only… Attraction. Most women can’t FWB a guy they don’t want to fuck. No matter how much tequila they imbibe. No one wants to get the ‘benefits’ from someone they treat like their little brother. Ewww.

Which brings me to the final point.. he/it has to be good. Whats the point of a FWB if it’s not any good?  Now most guys can get ‘good’ out of anything. We all know that most men will fuck anything if they’re desperate enough (sailors have been known to fuck wet sand for gods sake), and still have a good outcome. Women.. ack.. it can be tricky. And if the FWB isn’t known for delivering.. well…. fooling around can be fun, but at some point you’re going to want to do the deed. And you… you starving for affection, horny lady.. well, you want someone with some skills. Which is where, if you trust him, you like him, and you find him attractive… it can all still fall apart. Not every guy is blessed with skills. So go ahead.. give him a whirl but if it’s not any good, retire that FWB stat. Invest in a new Rabbit and some erotic literature if your FWB isn’t any good. Nobody is that desperate.

Finding someone you like, trust, find attractive and you know can deliver in the sack. Gold dust my friend. Gold dust.

But what about guys looking for FWB? Surely they’re in a similar situation???

Actually guys (at least based on my male friends) are positively awash with FWB opportunities. That chick they dumped who still harbors a longing for ‘one last try’. That chick they know through work who’s always flicking her hair and flirting during happy hour. Or maybe that chick who he knows is mad crushing on him but who he’s not really into the idea of dating. Add in all the drunk chicks, the oversized chicks, those who’ve been single a few months too long, those with poor judgement and any single chick in a bar over 35..and FWBs are everywhere for guys.

Plus guys don’t need all of the criteria that women do. They don’t need to be ‘friends’, since most guys can nod through a boring conversation and it doesn’t affect their genitals one bit. He doesn’t need to trust her – she’s hardly going to beat him up or rape him now is she? She doesn’t need to be good in bed – getting off for guys seems a lot lot simpler than most women I know, and if she’s attractive… bonus… but not necessary as long as she’s under 200lbs and has a full set of teeth. FWB for men seems to be finding ‘ some chick who’s up for it’.  Not exactly ‘Friends with Benefits’ more just ‘Benefits’.

In fact, the only pain in the ass for guys is the woman who tries to actually be a ‘friend’. Many guys have been burned by a chick who tried to make a FWB situation something more, so any chick who sends a text post coitally or randomly appears anytime in the next 6 months..triggers the fear response in a dude. ‘Shit she’s stalking me’. Delete that phone number.

She’s trying to be cool and he’s wondering how long before she shows up on his door in a whipped cream bikini claiming her girlfriend privileges. .

So…FWB. It sounds perfect… but women can’t find them and dudes are terrified of them sticking around. For women it’s as tough as finding a unicorn; men.. it only works if she disappears as soon as its done. No ‘friends’ thankyou.

Frankly, its astonishing we ever hook up at all.

So I propose a new paradigm. The ONO. One Night Only. Its only one night. Its only for friends who know each other (no drunken hook ups with strangers); its only for people who like each other; find each other attractive and just.want.some.physicals…Once. No strings attached. No Facebooking, no texting. ‘ No ‘what if’s’ or ‘are we dating now?’. No need to get drunk to avoid feeling guilty. No ‘will he think I’m a slut?’ or ‘maybe this could be something more’. Safe sex and no boiled bunnies. Both parties show up, get lucky and leave. One Night Only. It’s what FWB should be.

I tell you…It’s gonna catch on.

Posted in advice, Getting older, Girlfriends, Life after 40, making out, sex | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Doing it alone

tendDoing it alone. No, this isn’t a post about masturbation…but if I had to draw parallels yes this about doing something on your own, and big yes, its about having a really good time doing it.

But no. This one isn’t sexy. Not sexy at all.

You see I’ve been on vacation for a week and using the time off to ignore Outlook, remember what its like to not sit with a headset on for 10 hours and generally enjoy myself. Part of which meant tackling a big of a fear of mine.. that is, to pitch a tent in the middle of nowhere and not wind up in a mental institution after 48 hours. aka Camping.. on my own.

I love to camp. Love it. It was the glue that attached me to my ex husband, and many of my best adventures in life have come by way of a smokey campfire, a ‘wet wipe’ shower and the joy of hitting the hay at dusk because you’re completely wiped. Camping gives you freedom from everything as life suddenly boils down to having something over your head to sleep in and preparing food to eat. Plus with the invention of really good coolers.. the beer stays cold for days now.

However since I’ve been single, I’ve rarely found a trustworthy camping buddy. I’ve tried. (and the stories are here if you want them), but I generally end up frustrated, exasperated and longing for my ex (the only time I ever miss him). You’d think in a state of 3 million self confessed ‘outdoorsy’ people, there would be a least few hundred dudes in my age range who’d enjoy slinging on a backpack, or packing up the truck with their dog, their bike and a cute chick… sadly, I’ve yet to locate this dude.

Now camping on my own isn’t something I won’t do. In fact I’ve tried it a couple of times.

The first time I drove up to Steamboat, pitched the tent, brewed up some tea and sat wondering what to do next. The sense of space, the complete silence, the aloneness and solitude. Just beautiful. How to savour it? The answer… apparently unpitch the tent, drive 4 hours home and decide camping alone wasn’t for me. Wayyyy too much time to think and realize how far I was from the nearest other person who could wrestle the bear who was bound to come along.

The second time I tried, I made it through the night, but only after the dog and I had clung to each other for 10 hours, jumping (me) and barking (him) at every snapped twig or rustle of a tree. By morning even he thought going home seemed like a less stressful idea than camping with me. I’m not sure what I was most frightened of.. bears? mountain lions? homecidal maniacs? weekend country rapists? All of the above apparently.

But as the summer cracks into high gear and the temps hit the 90s, I can either dedicate my next few months to loitering around REI in the hope that an outdoorsey dude picks me up or finally grab my ovaries in hand and just go camping on my own.

So at the age of 42 and with oodles of time on my hand I decided – fuck it.  I’m going, I’m staying and if I pee my pants when a deer starts nosing around camp or I hear a voice in the distance with an Appalacian twang or some banjo music.. well, so be it. Armed with about 16 pairs of pants, my new bike and an empty Beretta (I don’t want to actually shoot anyone), I headed across the state line into Wyoming.

For a few nights of starry skies and days of mountain biking, I figured Wyoming was a good locale. Fewer bears, fewer people and I figured packing my Beretta would scare off anyone who thought a midnight raid on my tent a good idea. Plus there’s some good riding and I don’t mind falling off so much when there’s noone within a 5 mile vacinity to observe it.

The outcome? Well I think I’ve cracked the code to camping alone. Be active as fuck during the day so by the time night falls, you can’t help but pass out without a care in the world. I rode like a maniac (i.e. a mentally challenged person), fell off a bunch, road alongside creeks and up the sides of mountains. I rode through something called ‘Pinball’ which bounced me off a rock every other pedal stoke, and laughed my ass off when I almost rode into a deer in the middle of the trail. Finally something more terrified of ‘wild things’ than me.

Sure, I’m now brusied, scarred and I look like an extra from Fight Club, but I put some miles on my bike, I only needed a few pairs of pants and I even managed to lull myself into a relaxed state of being. It was amazing to be away from wifi, from tv, people and noise. I lay in my tent listening to the wind, owls and yes, rustling trees.. but no bears or midnight cowboys intruded on my buclolic evenings.

I was relaxed, at peace and totally utterly alone.

Why I decided to start reading the new Stephen King book right at that moment I don’t quite know. I guess I brought those extra pants for something.

 

 

Posted in adventure, late night worries, Life after 40, living alone | Tagged | Leave a comment

The post chaos chasm..

Bridget-Jones-s-Diary_400One of the reasons I’ve been absent from my blog for the past few months has been a looming work commitment which pretty much eats my personal time for about 3 months. The last month of which its a 24/7 type thing and I live, eat, sleep and horribly dream about all the things that could go wrong. I’ve found myself quite regularly at my whiteboard with marker in hand at 3am wondering whether I resized a Powerpoint template to 16:9 and whether my 4:3 guys are actually getting a projector that works with 4:3.

Hence my blog was one of the first casualties. My love life a pretty close second.

But as of Sunday my event finished and the crazy time is over for another year.   I can return to waking up at 6am (not 3, 4, 5 and 5.30am), having evening activities that start at 5.30pm and an email inbox that doesn’t run into four digits of unopened mail.

I’m exhausted, I’m beyond tired and as of Sunday around 10am… I’m free!!!! I should be dancing in the streets! Celebrating wildly!

Except I’m not.

Something about having an all-consuming project come to an end, having it go well and having no one to high-five, no one to hug and tell you how awesome it was… SUCKS.  And in the absence of huge amounts of work, all I see is the absence of anyone who gives a shit.

Now as a well-adjusted female with years of therapy under my belt I know I can high-five myself, and I should be able to congratulate myself on doing a great job. But to be honest.. I feel ridiculous being self-congratulatory, especially when I can see all the tiny things which I missed. The mistakes I made. The less-than perfect stuff. Plus telling yourself how awesome you are… its just …tooo…. American. I’m not there yet.

I’m not a masochist, but without any external validation, I find it hard not to dwell on how it could have been perfect.. if only A, B or C had worked. Without someone to slap me across the face and tell me to just ‘chill the fuck out’ I’m picking away at what should be an obvious win.  Without someone telling me to just ‘leave it’, I’m reprocessing how X could have been improved by Y, how ‘this’ sort of detracted from ‘that’. Without someone to tell me to stop working on something that is done, that I can’t change.. well I’m lost. I’m spinning and I actually don’t want to stop. Because when I stop.. all I notice is a big aching chasm of want.

I want, embarrassingly and sincerely, someone special in my life. Its nothing new, but its been pretty low priority over the last year. I’ve been busy with a full life and ‘the goods’ have been too odd to even try. I enjoy my life; I ride, I can now ‘not drown’, I have amazing friends and people who care about me scattered all over the place. But as I opened my apartment door after a week of brutal effort, it sucked to come home to a house that needed cleaning, an empty fridge and nobody to even make me a cup of tea, never mind say ‘good job’. Cue the Bridget Jones theme track ‘All By Myself’.

(tiny violins, I know)

I’m not ignorant that I’m self-absorbed, that I’m whining and that you can’t have it all. I’m prickly and challenging, and I judge you on your dog care way too much, but there are times in life when you want someone in your life. You need someone to lean on. And Sunday, I got socked in the face with it. The post chaos chasm. The desire for someone to just sit down with me and ‘be’. Who I could lean against, be told to stop obsessing and maybe, maybe.. really care that I did good?

So what now?

Well I know myself pretty well so in about 2 weeks I’m sure this chasm will seem like a pothole, I’ll be back to my normal high-octane summer self and the thought of trying to meet someone will seem laughably ridiculous.

But for today….this week.. I’m just going to wallow in the want, eat some ice-cream and watch myself some Bridget Jones. After all, we all need a benchmark for our self absorption and neediness…and mine just happens to share my love of booze, friends and out of tune singing.

 

 

 

Posted in Embarrassing admissions, finding balance, Life after 40, living alone, love | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Grown Up Girls Guide to Bugs

C67-153729I’ve been a single chick for a while now, and like all singletons I’ve encountered more than my fair share of terrifying things in my bathroom. No, not the latest ‘Kevin’ off Match.com or OkCupid, I’m talking about bugs. Creepy crawlers. Things with more legs than the Rockettes. Shit that frankly, well, I’m glad my eyesight ain’t all that cos their blurry outlines are terrifying enough. But as with all grown ups, you have to deal with that shit.. and unless you’ve got a handy neighborhood entomologist or a man friend who’s eager to prove his worthiness via his ability to squish things.. well, its just you and me Sista.

Below, my handy guide for grown up girls dealing with lifes creepy crawlies. (and no, we’re excluding Kevin or whatever his name is).

Spiders

No-one likes spiders (with the exception of comic book geeks who keep looking for radioactive ones in the hope of bagging Emma Stone). They have way too many legs, they seem kind of hairy (based on my dubious eyesight) and they’re completely unpredictable. They might be willing to hang out in your bathtub for 7 weeks.. but then they also might just want to take a stroll up your bedroom wall and check you out while you’re sleeping. Thats what freaks me out about spiders.. one minute you’ve got the bastard checked out, safely dozing in his corner the next he’s gone. Where? You didn’t see him move! Who knows where he went… except you can guarantee he’s showing up when its dark, you’re trying to sleep and you suddenly feel something on your face/arm/leg/foot. At which point you’re 3 foot above the bed, and developing a serious phobia towards darkness. I should know. I had a spider land on my face while I was sleeping and in my Ambien stupor, punched myself in the face. I woke up the next morning with a black eye and the remains of a fairly large spider legs pasted to my cheek. I’m still in therapy and have to check the walls and ceilings before I turn off my light.

Remedy:  I won’t have truck with any of your vegan/ vegetarian/karma infused relocation practices. A) Who has the time? and B) You know he’s coming right back into the house because he’s a bastard.  I say if you can see that sucka, you can kill that sucka. You won’t win any brownie points by telling me ‘he’s more scared of you than you are of him’. Prove it shithead. Until then, that bastard is a smear on my Bounty wrapped hand of doom. Bamn. Dealt with. Just make sure you get all of the legs as those suckers are a bitch to get rid of once they’ve welded themself to the floor.

 

Wasps

I like a bee. You know, the rounded flying furry Mounds bar who trundle past your head while you’re reading in the garden or bounces off your helmet when you’re descending at speed? Bees are cool. They pollinate, they’re natures pacifists (unless suicidal), and you’ve got to relate to their truculent fatness. How they fly is as mysterious to me as the 787 Dreamliner getting off the ground. Unfeasible… but apparently possible.

But wasps? Wasps are natures asshole. They’re the insect equivalent of the guy in the douchmobile, flipping you off because you needed to get into his lane without a written request and some form of payment. He cuts in line because he’s busy (and you’re not), he drinks Bud Lite while riding a jetski and thinks that Kardashian chick is ‘all that’. Yep, your average wasp is an ass-hooooooole. He makes a shit ton of noise, he can’t find his way out of a window, but wants to make it your problem when you try to coax him out with a copy of the New Yorker. Suddenly his stupidity is your fault and -fuck you- he’s gonna sting you cos you deserve it. In fact, he’s gonna sting you no matter what… you know.. just ‘cuz. No wasp ever looked at a dog, a cute baby or a sleeping adult and thought ‘ you know what.. I’m just going to keep on heading where I was going’. Nope, encounter the wasp and he’s on a death mission and he’s keeping going until there’s nothing left. In fact, he’ll even sting you past death. Suck it people.

Remedy: You, like me, might find wasps a little intimidating. After all they make a lot of noise, they’re irrational in their desire to push through glass (ignore the open window or door nearby), and they turn on anyone offering assistance.  The only answer is death however it’s a two stage process with these suckas. First you need to stun. A rolled up New Yorker, an old copy of a book you’ll never read again or even the sole of a flip-flop can be used to stun the shithead off the glass and onto a hard surface. Once stunned, act fast. Blunt force trauma usually works – a shoe, an extremely hard ‘whaap’ with the aforementioned Bounty clothed fist of death or simply a crushing under any flat surface will suffice. Still worried that he might be breathing? The ‘smear’ tends to render any remaining fears about the wasps longevity – its a bitch to clean but once you’ve confirmed wasp guts on your book/ shoe/ magazine/ fist… you can relax and get back to focusing on your other bugs.

Ants

Now these little suckers are annoying but if you’re anything but life’s biggest puss, you’ll not waste anytime trying to relocate or ‘live and let live’ with ants. Once ants move in, you’ve basically been branded a dirty sloth by the insect community, and only murder is going to keep all of their friends away. Its like inheriting a cabin on the lake.. once one of those guys shows up, they’re coming back with all of their relatives. Murder it is.

Remedy: After foreswearing not to leave food or anything containing sugar in the vicinity of your kitchen  (maybe now it time to go on that ‘no sugar’ diet) I recommend any spray which comes in industrial quantities. And no, don’t both looking for ‘kid safe’ or ‘pet safe’. If its safe for them, you just added hot sauce to the ant feast and put out the ‘Free buffet’ sign. Nope.. select something with ‘Killer’ in the title and go to town. Boiling hot water is an instant way to send a message (and avoids trying to reenact The Godfather on a micro scale), and following up with some poisonous nuclear strength murder juice tends to get the message across. I killed an ant colony in a house 3 years ago and I guess my name still sends shock waves amongst the ant community, cos I’ve not seen one since. Don’t underestimate a well-timed and targeted hit.

 

Moths

A sign of the devil. Furry and soft yet terrifyingly flappy, moths are my nemesis. I will suffer through a hot night, sweating profusely rather than open a screened window because of moths. I know no matter how well protected I am.. one of those hairy black flappers is making it inside, right inside my bedlight to scare the bejesus out of me late at night. I have no idea why moths love me, except to say I must have an illuminating personality, because I can attract them in droves. And not content with just sitting on a light bulb or heading towards the light, moths seem to think that more flapping equals progress… which makes them horrific house guests for the easily scared (aka me).

Remedy. Since you can’t spray poison into the air and your ability to hit a moth requires the aim of a Yankee with the patience of Yoda, I can only suggest you move house until winter. Moths don’t like the cold so hopefully they will self combust with the first frost and you can breathe easily for another 6 months. But do beware. I’ve had a moth fly out of my sweaters in March and land me in the ER for a panic attack, so don’t ever let down your guard. I’ve been in a stand-off with a huge moth that flew into my apartment 8 days ago and I don’t know where he is but I’m ready to move at this point.

Yep.. I’m just going to house and call it good. The moth can take the apartment until fall. Hey that Kevin guy isn’t that bad …maybe he’ll put me up for a few months until fall…..failing that I can always sleep in my car. No bugs there.

 

 

 

 

Posted in How to be a woman, late night worries | Tagged | Leave a comment