Summer Lovin’

“Summer loving had me a blast…Summer loving happened so fast…”grease_l-4

John Travolta was never so wrong.

Summer used to be the time for first dates, flings, blossoming romance and at least a few months of ‘getting to know you’ dates, dinners, hikes and smooches. Long days, hours of sun and defrosted loins seemed to swarm the city and offer us singletons new hope. It was, in short, a blast.

But lately summer just seems to bring out the hermits, the hostile divorcees and the downright strange. And it’s not just me who has noticed the shitshow that summer dating has become. My single girlfriends are all experiencing a summer of strangeness; flakes, fuck-boys and stage five clingers.

To those happily partnered, let me explain.

Flakes: These charmers jump in, express interest in meeting you then once you accept, just disappear. Having gotten over the hurdle of getting a date.. they just don’t seem to want to make it happen. Flakes fade out faster than your iPhone battery but with far less notice.  The consensus is that flakes don’t actually want to date. They just like the positive thrill of flirting, finding evidence of their attractiveness or creating a ‘black book’ that they’ll never open.  I presume most flakes are already attached, drunk texting or suddenly find me hideous, but mainly I assume they’re just rude.

“John” told me how amazing I was, asked for my phone number , texted me about how he’d love to meet me and how much fun we would have. I finally agreed to a date and then I never heard from him again. Multiple by 20 and that was June.

Fuckboys: Self explanatory really. Guys who are “down for whatever” as long as whatever means sex, straight up, no strings and nothing else. Usually accompanied by a ‘not looking for anything serious, but you never know’, these guys offer up the potential for something in exchange for some humpty.. followed by yawning silence. Where the fuckboy excels is popping up 4, 6, 12 months later, to apologize, seduce and repeat. Great if you just want to get laid, but don’t wait around for a second date; he’s already on his, and it’s not with you.

“Chris” disappeared for a year after our first “date”. He reappeared full of apologies to schedule a “real date” (you know with food and conversation), which I finally agreed to despite misgivings. He left the house after some humpty and then disappeared for 2 years. I headed to therapy with some serious questions over my appeal. Cue year 4, and Chris reappeared proclaiming love. Not surprising, 3 weeks later, he apparently died because I’ve never heard or seen him since. My first, and last, fuckboy.

Stage Five Clingers: After 5 years of dating, I really thought a clinger might be nice. You know, someone who actually wanted to see me. Someone who planned dates, called all the time and seemed to have endless time for me. WARNING- this may be a Stage Five clinger in disguise as ‘normal guy who just thinks I’m awesome’. Be aware, these folks walk right up to the edge of claustrophobic and fall headfirst into stalker territory veeeeery fast.  Expect Facebook, LinkedIn, Insta stalking, back to back texts asking why you’re not responding and then hear about “your” plans for the weekend. All in the first month.

“Bob” was an ok first date and mellowed into a charming second date. I gotta admit, I was sorta excited. Sure, the selfies, morning, noon and night were a little intense, but hey, he was a ‘communicative guy’. But when he started planning “our summer” after our 4th date, and started talkng about ‘believing in me’ and I realized I had a Stage Five Clinger. There’s nice and eager.. and then there’s just.too.much.  After I broke it off, he left a rose on my doorstep and continued to text me support. I put 911 on speed-dial.

And I’m suing John Travolta.

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.




Love Actually..Actually Holds Up

love actuallyIts that time of year again. The countdown to Thanksgiving is on, the stores are starting to play Christmas music  (goddammit), and I’ve finally had to admit that its time to put my shorts away for another year. Its also time for some of the honored traditions of the season, namely the annual viewing of ‘Love Actually’

I know there are a thousand ‘better’ movies, a heap of timeless classics that signal the start of the holiday season, but for me, its this stupid British movie all about love, and Christmas, and more love.

Sick bags are available in the seat pocket in front of you.

It started 9 years back when a the movie came out and I gamely trotted off to see the next ‘4 Weddings and a Funeral’. I was a bit homesick, as I tend to be around the holidays, and I thought 90 minutes of Bill Nighy, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth would cheer me up.  I mean, Richard Curtis is good at the cutting British humor, the dry and nothing ever too serious.. how could it fail?

I left the cinema bawling.

No, it wasn’t that bad and nobody dies. However as a holiday movie for someone 3,200 miles from home, all of the things I ignore for 11.5 months suddenly became things I couldn’t live without for those two weeks before Christmas. I missed London’s Christmas lights (NYC can step aside); the frosty evenings hurrying home to catch the Tube; the late night shopping at Selfridges and yes, even the unique British tradition of the drunken office party (where everyone gets shitfaced at 3pm and starts snogging each other). The movie is a tribute to love, but to me, its a tribute to London at Christmas. Nowhere better. Honestly.

Charles Dickens would shed a tear for London’s retro Victorian picturesqueness throughout December, as people stagger to get their holiday shopping done (and get in a few glasses of ‘cheer’) before they stumble home.  The streets are dark and frosty, the windows all gussied up with tinsel, stars and reindeers, and everyone is out walking the streets.

I think that’s what I miss most. Christmas in the US is about ‘going to the mall’. But in London its about heading downtown to shop, be around people who are feeling ‘Christmassy’, to eat and drink, to meet friends and shop together. And even as you stand in line for 40 minutes listening to Wham! drone about ‘Last Christmas’ or Noddy Holder celebrates a ‘Rockin Rolling Christmas’ one more time, the lack of change is what etches it in my brain. Even now I could list of the 10 songs you’d hear in every British store this holiday season. Us Brits.. we love our traditions.

Back to the movie.

I’m not going to recap the story – rent the movie – suffice to say its a series of love stories intertwined; some are heartbreaking, some hysterical, others charming, one is sickly sweet and one clearly a fantasy on the part of Hugh Grant (who plays the British Prime Minister to Billy Bob Thornton’s US president). Oh yes, this movie has everyone in it and just about every storyline you can think up.

  • Prime minster in love with a tea lady?
  • Cuckolded writer who falls for his Portuguese housekeeper ?
  • 11 year boy who wins the heart of an American chanteuse?
  • Love sick best friend who is secretly obsessed his buddies wife?
  • Aging rocker who’s trying for one last come back?
  • Sad sack waiter desperate to get laid.. in Milwaukee?
  • Aging ad exec who prioritizes caring for her mentally ill brother over getting laid
  • Porn star stand in’s trying to make a date while nakedin compromising positions

Oh.. and that’s just some of the stories.

Now this isn’t a heavy movie, but it is helped by a cast that can act. Well most of them.

Who’s in it? The incomparable Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightly, Hugh Grant, Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman, Billy Bob Thornton, January Jones, and bizarrely Claudia Schiffer, Denise Richards, Shannon Elizabeth and Elisha Cuthbert. Even Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) is in the damn thing along with Rowan Atkinson. I think the only English actor not in it is Dame Judy Dench.

Bizarrely, everyone is somehow connected to everyone else (well it is tiny London), and everything resolves itself by the final act. Which is where my and every other person’s tears start.

The final scene is at the airport and simply shows people greeting friends, families, kids and relatives off the plane.  Everyone hugs, or kisses, or shakes hands.. but regardless, everyone looks delighted.

(I didn’t say it was realistic by any shot)

Meanwhile, as we watch the joyful faces of families embracing, kids running to parents etc etc.. Hugh Grant intones  the necessity for people to feel love around the holidays, how we’re all connected and that the holidays are a time when we all come together…

…and every single person wants to stick a fork in their eye.

Hey, I’ve bawled even when I was married. It STILL made me yearn to be back in London.

But no matter what my circumstances are, every year I drag out my DVD, my tissues and press play. Its a form of torture, but I wallow in my homesickness. From the sickly sweet storylines, to poor Emma Thompson listening to Joni Mitchell sing ‘Both Sides Now’ knowing she’s not as cherished as she once thought. You either love it or you don’t.

So, if you’re wondering what holiday movie to drag out this year and you’re sick of  ‘A Christmas Story’ or ‘Its a Wonderful Life’, check out Love Actually. Its 10 years old, but it holds up. And you’ll never feel the same about an airport at Christmas ever again.

Yes Pat, you’re so right. Love is a battlefield.

Pat_Benatar_-_Love_is_a_BattlefieldI grew up Gen X in the UK. The posters on my wall were Duran Duran and U2, The Cure and Adam Ant. The American music we heard on the radio was random, rare and limited to the occasional Bruce Springsteen track or power ballad (Foreigner’s ‘I Wanna Know What Love Is’ was the ‘slow dance’ of my middle school years). But one song I like to think left me with more. One song taught me about the conflict of being a woman. Of the hurt and sacrifice that is love. Of not knowing what’s wrong or what’s right. And above all, the knowledge that yes, love is a battlefield.   Love will leave you scarred and beaten, rarely bleeding but always breathless. And while you might be not be sure which side you’re fighting for, Pat Benetar’s 1983 anthem of advice, Love is a Battlefield, speaks to every would be warrior about the theater of war… that we call love.

Break out your big hair and lacy gloves ladies…Here we go;

We are young, heartache to heartache we stand

So true Pat. I might have grey hairs and wrinkles, I might need to be in bed by 9.30, but yes, I am young at heart, and yes, I’ve had my share of heartaches. Stand me next to anyone over the age of 35 and yes, we’re a all little battered. Is that why we need the lace gloves?

No promises, no demands

Pat, so so wise. You foresaw the future in your words. A time when we make no promises when we date, when we love, when we mate. We don’t say ‘Yamo be there’ (screw Michael Macdonald). We don’t make demands (that’s a one way street to Lonely-ville my friend) and hey, if you call – great, if you don’t – clenched teeth ‘great’. I was gonna be checking my messages and texts compulsively anyway.

Love Is A Battlefield

Yes. Yes it’s a war out there Pat. And those bullets hurt. Those bullets render me senseless with rage when I don’t get a call after our 3rd date or when you decide that ‘I’m just not feelin’ it after 3 months’. So yes Pat, I’m on your side of this battle.  Just remind me who’s on the other side…is it all guys, or one in particular? (you know, cos I’d actually like some of them left standing if you know what I mean?)

We are strong, no one can tell us we’re wrong

We sure are. I did 70 burpees just last Thursday Pat, and I deadlifted 125lbs. Strong you say? I’m crushing it. And no, its not wrong. Its called Crossfit. Its not a cult. Its not an obsession, even if we are all wearing the same brand of shoes and speaking a weird language that no-one else understands (amiright AMRAP? or amiright?).  Yes I’m freakishly strong for a small person who’s diet consists of 60% chocolate but no, that’s not wrong, that’s my battle fuel Pat. Battle fuel.

Searchin’ our hearts for so long, both of us knowing

I’ve been searching Pat, searching for so long that Google now autofills ‘dating advice’ whenever I type in ‘da’. I’ve been looking high (eHarmony, Jdate) and low (OkCupid, Sputnik on a Friday).. but I’m not findin’ Pat. I’m not findin’ Jack (though I am finding a lot of Johns and Davids). You say that ‘both of us’ but I’m not sure who that is Pat.. tell me, who’s the other half of this equation? Was it the special forces guy I never got around to meeting in person? Was he the someone I was meant to meet? Or was it that stiff bore I ate lunch with while I fantasized about my f-buddy. Tell me Pat… I need to know. Who’s searching for me? Who?

Love Is A Battlefield

Yes, you already said that Pat. I get it. Its tough going out there. There are land mines (that fry cook who claimed to be an executive chef for one) and unexploded bombs (that very angry lawyer springs to mind) all around. But Pat, I need more direction.. who, who is on the other side of this battle?  Cos if its that short dude with a Napoleon complex from this spring, I think I’m going to have to stage a retreat. The dude was scary even if he did drive a Prius.

You’re beggin’ me to go, you’re makin’ me stay

Pat, I’m seriously beginning to question whether I’m getting my messages. No one has begged me to go or stay in quite some time. Let me check my Junk mail to see if I’ve missed something….

Why do you hurt me so bad?

To be honest, no-one has hurt me (without me asking) for quite some time, but maybe I missed a message in my junk mail folder. Hang on a sec…

It would help me to know

I totally agree Pat, I would help me too. I mean if there’s someone out there who’s hurting for me, I kinda want to know? I don’t like the idea of hurting someone unintentionally, and to be honest if its going to be some kind of ‘you hurt me, I hurt you’ S&M flip thing, I probably need to know about it before it happens? You know, safety word and all that.

Do I stand in your way, or am I the best thing you’ve had?

Hey Pat, I’m not standing in anyone’s way. I mean I’ve made no promises, I’ve made no demands. If someone thinks that I’m standing in the way or that I’m the best thing, well I really want to remember who that was. Was it that guy from that one time in the spring? Cos honestly its been a really dry year and there’s not many options. Can you give me a hint?

Believe me, believe me, I can’t tell you why

Why not Pat? This is sort of getting a bit annoying. If there’s someone out there looking and in pain because of me Pat, I really want to know.  That lace and frilly skirt isn’t fooling anyone.. I could take you.. tell me bitch.
But I’m trapped by your love, and I’m chained to your side

Oh so it is one of those crazy S&M things. Now you’re talking Pat. So, any hints? What type of scenario are we talking here? And who’s the guy? I mean I saw those dancers in your video and they all looked kind of sadistic and ripped up. Chains you say? Hmmm.. thats new to me, but hey, if he’s into it, who am I to complain? It might be a bit of a challenge to walk the dog though?

We’re losing control

Actually no Pat, we have a safety word for that. There will be no accidental auto asphyxiation on my watch. Someone’s always in control, so sorry if that doesn’t jive with your battlefield tactics there Pat. But come on, safety first! And any hints on the dude? This is killing me…and these lacy gloves are starting to itch.

Will you turn me away or touch me deep inside?

Pat, this is getting a bit graphic for day time, even for me. And I don’t even know who this guy is yet. Can we skip the detailed instructions and get a name, an email address, something?

And before this gets old, will it still feel the same?

Gets old? Is that some kind of ageist slur Pat? Because I might be 40ish but I’ve been told I’m only as old as I feel. Which I’m told is pretty young. So, hey, lets just skip past the jibes here. I still got it. And yes, it does still feel the same (or so I’m told). Now we were getting to a name…?
There’s no way this will die

Again with the death Pat. I said, safety first. Role play doesn’t have to result in injury you know. I think you’ve been taking that 50 Shades of Grey crap a little too seriously. I can assure you, no-one is dying on any of my dates (though I’ve been known to die of boredom on more than a few).

But if we get much closer, I could lose control

I don’t know about you Pat, but I kinda need him to get a little closer if anyone is losing control of anything. Unless this guy is hiding in my closet, I’m not seeing how anyone is losing anything anytime soon. He’s not hiding in my closet is he? Cos thats just weird and creepy.

And if your heart surrenders, you’ll need me to hold

Surrenders? Oh shit, he is hiding in my closet isn’t he Pat? You’ve been talking about this fabulous guy who’s all into me and can’t live without me, who wants to tie me up and lose control and you’re talking about a psycho who’s currently hidden behind my DVF satin slipdress. Shit Pat, that’s not funny.. that’s twisted.

Love Is A Battlefield

No shit Pat, and you play dirty. Well I need to go call the police now so I suggest that you move your battlefield somewhere else. This chick isn’t that desperate and to be honest, I’m really not into fighting.

Consider this battlefield Switzerland from here on out.

Welcome to the friend zone

 Welcome to the friend zone

We’ve all done it and we’ve all been in it, yes the dreaded friend zone. One person is ‘in love’ while the other considers you a good buddy to hang out with. One of you spends the evening picking through each sentence, high five or conversation topic in the hope of finding some romantic inclination, while the other simply enjoys a solid evening with a good friend. Its not mean, its not deliberate but it sucks none the less.

Am I in the ‘zone?

Maybe you have a good friend who is fun, easy going and attractive but in a brother or sister kind of a way. He or she is always available for a last minute drink or a movie, is always in a good mood and doesn’t ask anything of you. You can talk about anything from football to the last person you slept with and you always have a laugh. That tight look on their face you occasionally catch? Its not work, lack of sleep or PMS.. its the look of one who’s waiting for you to realize that you guys are perfect for each other.

Alternatively, if you’re good friends with someone who you find madly, insanely attractive, are willing to drop things last minute to spend time with them, bask in their attention but have never ever received any sexual advances.. well, you know it.  Pull up a chair my friend, you’re gonna be here for a while. And no, you don’t just have to wait a little while. S/he’s never going to wake up one day- like in that movie- and suddenly realize that you belong together. You’re a buddy – nothing more.

But I’m happy in the ‘zone!

I put one guy in the friend zone after our 3rd date. He was really nice, fun and pretty good looking in a tucked in, matching shoes and belt way. A bit straight for me and so mid way into our 3rd date I realized he’d never be unhooking my bra and throwing me around the bedroom. Yeech.  I’d rather chat with him about mortgages and bike racing. So I zoned him. I told him we were better as buddies and I thought he got it. We hung out, we went for coffee, we rode bikes and we chatted about our romantic life. Unfortunately he’d watched one too many chick flicks and he spent the next 10 years hoping he’d get a second chance some day.
I think he finally realized he was permanently zoned when I married his best friend.
If you’re happy in the ‘zone – awesome – just don’t kid yourself. S/He’s never changing their mind.

Can you get out of the ‘zone?

I spent my teenage years in the friend zone with a guy. I obsessed about him from the age of 13 right into my early 30s. We hung out, we were friends. And I loooved him with the passion that only comes from knowing that he just didn’t see me like that. I was his buddy as he dated several of my friends, through college and late night drinking sessions, and even post college. We both were in relationships but I still had some hope that one day.. maybe.. he’d break me out of the zone and we’d get a chance. He’d finally see me for the perfect match that he’d been looking for..Well I am a tenacious bitch and it took about 17 years, but for one glorious night, he finally let me out of the friend zone.

In hindsight, kind of a let down. Kind of icky actually.

I probably should have stayed in the zone. Instead I have a mental picture its taken me 10 years to try to forget. Sometimes you’re in the friend zone for a reason. And complete lack of physical, emotional and sexual compatibility would be that reason. Yep… still trying to forget that one.

I want out!!

You can Google ‘getting out the friend zone’ and  there are approximately 66 million results. Yes. 66. Million. And I have the answer for just the small, one time payment of $39.99. Actually its free.

Walk away…. stop hanging out, stop being the ‘fluffer’ or the friends-without-benefits
Wait a long time… 10-15 years should be enough to forget your funneling/ farting contests
Come back… make contact casually. NO grand gestures or you’re a stalker
Don’t be a buddy…be a date.  That doesn’t involve beer, 15 friends or their boyfriend/girlfriend

And yes, you might.. just might.. make it out of the friend zone. But be careful of what you wish for. The zone is there for a reason, even when neither of you knows what it is.  And wouldn’t you rather be with someone who hasn’t seen you drunk in holey sweatpants?

Cross Fit – a Love/ Hate relationship

Cross Fit – a Love/ Hate Relationship

I’m just heading into month 3 of Crossfit and I’m finally starting to gain some strength and learn what ‘open close’ means. I’ve gained a bucket of self confidence, lost my ‘old lady bat wing arms’ and worn my first pair of short shorts. Plus I’ve learned a few random things I want to pass on to anyone who might be starting out or thinking of WOD-ing in the future.

1. Looking at the WOD (workout of the day) before the class just makes me think of 50 other things I really need to be doing other than working out (Swiffering/ washing the dog/ watching Ink Masters reruns). I can’t look or I won’t go. Instead I spend my day thinking that tonight’s workout is going to be easy… because that’s happened. Never. My advice. Don’t look.

2. There is no shame in playing around with 5 and 2.5lb weights, or maxing out with a bar which looks very small compared to everyone else’s. There is only shame in not lifting as much as you can as well as you can. And if you can surprise yourself.. even better.

3. Working out with women doesn’t mean cattiness, competitiveness or all pink gym attire. Its collegial, supportive and inspiring. And working out with dudes ain’t bad either.Its one of the few places I’ve been in the US where its ok for men and women to be friends and a ‘high five’ doesn’t mean ‘I want to take your pants off’.

4. All those years playing on the playground apparently did pay off. Handstands, skipping, knees to elbows and wall balls.. all things I was rocking age 9. So even though it took 32 years for these skills to be become relevant and useful.. I’m thinking of it as ‘time well spent’. Hell, I even had the knee socks. I was so ahead of this thing.

5. There will always, always be things you love in every workout, and things you hate with a passion. And weirdly, at CrossFit, everyone seems to have a similar list starting out. And no, even if you get better at them, you’re probably always going to hate them…


For the uninitiated, the burpee was invented by the army as a way to get soldiers to throw themselves on the ground as fast as possible to avoid bullets, and then be able to spring up to their feet and into  action as fast as possible. Or that’s what I tell myself. Because why else would you ask a human being to throw themselves on the floor full length, then spring to their feet and jump in the air as fast as possible, over and over and over and over? It makes no sense. What else was this developed for? Sex Pistols fans avoiding tear gas? Entomologists finding a new bug? Its a weird idea and Cross Fit is full of them. ‘Turkish get up’ anyone?

And if your instructor is particularly cruel, s/he’ll throw some jumps over a bar or a box in-between each burpee. Because once you’ve slammed your boobs and knees flat to the ground then jumped to your feet, you need to jump over a 20 or 24 inch high box. Or in my case, fall over.
But at least I’m on the floor.. which means I’m probably ready for another burpee…

Lets just say after three burpee box jumps you can’t see straight and you’re breathing harder than Malboro man. Its really not fun at all and the chance of injury is extremely high. I’ve got bruises on my nipples and my knees for gods sake. That’s just not right.

Double Unders

Everyone has seen a boxer jumping rope. It lightly swishes past his feet, over and over.. he looks at ease, comfortable even. Maybe he’ll dance a little, swing from side to side, or even switch up his feet.  Everyone skipped when we were kids; how hard can it be?

Hard. Especially now that the rope is made of wire and when it hits your ankles you feel like you’ve volunteered for 50 Shades of Grey, the gym edition.  Which of course means it’s part of Cross Fit workouts.

But no, it gets better. Because at Cross fit, just jumping rope would be too easy. It wouldn’t hurt enough. So instead of jumping rope, you ‘double under’.  You rotate the rope twice in the space of one jump. Which means not only are you pogo-ing like a lunatic at a Sex Pistols show, your hands are whipping a wire rope around your head like Tonto snagging a steer. I’ve done a double under. Once. 2 months ago. It was accidental. I think I took out a chunk of my ponytail as a result. I’ve not managed another one yet. Instead, twice or three times a week I find myself whipping my ankles raw and bleeding until my neighbors start coming out to watch the free BDSM show.  I’m getting to the point where I think I’m going to just give up trying or start wearing shin guards.
People in the office are starting to wonder about the lash marks and I’ve already got a reputation as a scary chick.

The Second Day Crab Walk

While this isn’t actually part of the official Cross Fit workout program, every single Cross fitter knows it well. The day after, the day after your WOD. Second day soreness. The day you can’t get up or down stairs, sit on the toilet without groaning or, god forbid, bend over.

While Cross Fit is hard and every work out leaves you gasping for air on the floor, the next day you feel positively sprightly. I put it down to an overdose of endorphins and self confidence, but regardless, Day 1 after your WOD you could lift a horse. You might even tackle a run or a ride. Wow.. you feel FIT. And STRONG.

Until 6am the next morning when for some reason, your legs don’t work right. They seem to be stuck at a angle and you feel like someone hit your ass with an iron bar last night. Breathing in hurts… only slightly less than breathing out. And wow… sitting in your car, you honestly feel as though your power steering went out because you honestly can’t move the wheel without downing four Advil.

It huuuurrrts. Everything huuuuurrrttts.

Maybe its your hamstrings which feel as though they could be played like a violin  or your pectorals which are so painful, you walk around like a T-Rex all day with little noodle arms flopping. Your quads ache so much that you have to crab walk down and up the stairs, pausing after each one to get your breath back and rethink that whole ‘pain of childbirth’ scale of things.

My boss started Cross fit a year ago and as I watched him, hunched over, creeping along the hallways with legs as stiff as a cadaver I kept thinking ‘that ain’t right’. Well fast forward to July and here I am, buying a quart of milk because I can’t lift the gallon container and clutching my stomach every time I laugh.
3 months in I’m only 3lbs lighter, but I can fit in skinny jeans again, lift about 40% more than I could at the start and I have about 50 new friends who I love getting sweaty with. I still hate burpees and double unders, and I still walk like a crab on occasion.. but nobody laughs. They’re all feeling exactly the same pain as me.

Which is what Cross Fit is all about.

Sucking sound…

Once again, after a restless, excitable Saturday night, my morning of ‘wardrobe planning’ is interrupted by the cancellation of yet another date. Wonderful. Not only a cancellation, but a postponement to next Sunday evening. Claimant is ‘sick’ and planning on getting better by Thursday – yet deems to ask me out on Sunday evening. Sunday evening. The official cemetery for 2nd dates. The evening reserved for feeling depressed about work, getting to bed early, not drinking and definitely not meeting up for hot craziness. Another one bites the dust.  Sadly I’d rather watch Downton Abbey than listen to yet another divorced dude tell me how awesome his kids are. Plus who knows when they’re getting better down to the day? Hmmm.

Yikes. I think I’m officially over dating..

What on earth will I write about? Suggestions on a postcard please.

The Break up note

My 100th post… and well.. I think we need to talk.

We’ve all done it. And we’ve all been on the receiving end of it. The break up note.

Now I’m sure that, yes, there are some of you out there who are shaking your heads since you always have done the right thing and broken up in person.. I can only assume that a) you haven’t dated in 10 years or b) you are the illusive ‘good person’ we all aspire to be. If you’re a ‘b’, sit back and learn how the rest of us do it (and if you’re single, please give me a call).

Break up notes come in a variety of flavors and textures. From the post it note (yes, it happens), to the email (the preferred method these days), to the text message (progress sucks sometimes), the options are fast, immediate and render the days of a letter or a card, a call or even a face to face discussion obsolete. Which you might think horrific, I call ‘efficient’ and to honest, has anyone ever enjoyed being told in person, that you make him shudder. The last person I told in person was my husband, and after that conversation, I never need to see the impact of my words. Its a lot easier to hit send and not think about the heartbreak you’ve just inflicted. Something I have to remind myself of when I’m on the receiving end of a break up note. At least one of us is having an easy time with it.

A girlfriend called me this weekend and asked ‘hey writer chick, do you have good break up note I can use?’ which got me thinking. So here, for your future usage.. some break up notes I’ve received and/or used.

The Grandiose
Full of import and seriousness, the Grandiose break up note mirrors the deep and profound nature of your love (that not longer is). It reflects the earth shattering, never once seen before, impact of your relationship and the heart rending difficulty with which the sender has arrived at his/ or her decision.
Yes, its still a break up note but it reflects effort, not a small degree of egotism and hey, you’re trying to let this person know that despite the fact that his nose hair makes you want to vomit, you did have something going on once.  Think ball gowns, Jane Austen, Wordsworth, flowery prose and way too much length. I received one of these which began;

‘The time has come for this stage of our relationship to end’

I mean, come on. Gentle, suggestive of  ‘a next stage’ (where he sleeps with your sister perhaps), and available for endless hours of interpretation. A gentleman’s break up note (or an egotistic, self absorbed prig.. you choose). Must be handwritten with looping curves on thick stock personalized stationary, potentially stained by tears and smelling faintly of deep despair.

The Facts
On the other end of the spectrum we have the facts break up note. We’ve all received this one.

‘I can’t do this any more’
‘We’re done’
‘Its over’
‘You smell’
‘I don’t like your dog’

(guess which one was mine?)

The Facts note is preferable if the relationship was short, perfunctory or if he has trouble with words of more than one syllable. Its virtue is the readers inability to avoid the message. No doubt on the outcome of this one. No interpretation needed unless he or she really is retarded. In which case you probably shouldn’t have been dating in the first place. I received and delivered this one via text, email and (cringe), verbally on a 12 hour drive. Note to self – don’t deliver this when you have 11 hrs and 55 minutes of a drive left. It makes for the awkward silence from hell.

The Explanation
Preferred by women the world over, the explanation break up note aims to end the relationship while providing some coaching to the recipient. Women.. we’re givers.Typically starting with a positive note;

‘You’re such a lovely guy..’
‘I’ve had so much fun with you…
‘The last 2 months have been really great..’

You can almost hear the heavy ‘..but‘ before you even get to the next sentence. Hey, we know that bad news is always more bearable with a little positive stroking beforehand. The explanation note typically points to our own failings as much as his;

‘ I’m just too wrapped up in work’
‘ I don’t know whats wrong with me’
‘ I’m not in a good place right now’

but then is quickly followed by our coaching points;

‘You’re too nice’
‘I need to be with someone less needy’
‘You seem to be going through a lot right now’
‘I think you need to focus on you’

The Explanation break up note stems from a desire to help this person out – ‘you’re not for me, but you’re good for someone’ and tries to adhere to the campsite rule ‘ leave it better than you found it’. If he just didn’t text you every 5 minutes, if he paid for dinner once in a while, if he didn’t spend his entire income on bike parts… if if if… We’re hoping that with a few well chosen hints, he might get it and take action. If changing someone was that easy, well we’d all be in harmonious and fulfilling relationships wouldn’t we?

The Punch Up
The note usually reserved for the cheating spouse, the vile boyfriend or as a result of too many cocktails after being stood up, the Punch up note aims to maim. This is about hurting someone as you walk out the door and there’s no room for interpretation.
‘I hate you’
‘You’re a loathsome prick’
‘Die M-fer’

Verbal abuse is typically interspersed with a comprehensive listing of every slight, hurt, insult and flaw associated with the individual and the relationship.  This is the Explanation break up with boxing gloves;

‘If you could get it up….’
‘And I hate your stupid friends ‘
‘Oral is not an okay birthday present’

Interestingly the Punch up note rarely includes the words ‘we’re not dating anymore’ so should the recipient be of the optimistic (or sadistic) variety you might find yourself with a hot and horny man on your doorstep. You might want to include the words ‘done’ ‘over’ or ‘small penis’ in the note. That should get the message across.

So there you have it. The flavors of break up note. Choose wisely and avoid the post it note.
Its really hard to get a good insult across on a 3 inch square.

The Crush

Five weeks into my new budgeted/clean living/ lord this is boring program, my brain turns to the one thing I’ve not renounced. Crushes.

You remember – daydreams based on nothing except beautiful eyes and a delicious drawl, the ‘I daren’t look at you or you’ll know’ interactions, considering and changing clothes before the most innocent of meetings. Clearly with little on my brain except my sputtering lack of a career, the transparency of my bank account and increasing numbers on the scale I know a crush is just a distraction. But its free, its innocent and until Google finds a way to share your searches.. relatively harmless (unless you start driving my his house, in which case, you’re on your own sista).
Just something to give a little ‘oomph’ to your step and frankly, give you a reason to wash your hair on the weekends.

I revel in the secrecy of a new crush, which I hug to myself, fantasizing about the possibility (and fear) of reciprocation and delighting in his presence. Of course, I’m still me which means I know this has a shelf life of about 6 weeks, the reality could probably shorten that to a few hours and really, with nothing in common, I’d be bored by the end of a date. But for now, its delicious to fantasize. 

I’ve had crushes on 5 ft 5 yoga instructors, pear shaped IT help-desk nerds, the guy who fixes my bike and even a former boss who was nicknamed, unfortunately, Mr. Potato-head. Its not about beauty or suitability and often its totally random, but something in my brain just goes off and I instantly created an entire story about that person based on a single flick of a phone, a frown and even, yes, the way someone walks. Based on my internal back-story, this person is  exactly what I’ve been missing, they’re sexual napalm and damn, if only… if only.  
Of course Mr. Potato Head probably was just as dull as his Nordstom casuals wardrobe, and I honestly fell out of crush-ville when my pear shaped guy stood up.. but for a fleeting hour, day or week..I was 15 and drafting love notes in my head. 

And frankly, anything that makes me feel 15 and doesn’t involve cradle robbing or crop tops is fine by me. 

Boomerangs: Those ones who never quite go away

It seems that many of us (well… me anyway), tend to have at least one guy/girl in our life who never quite goes away. You know the one.. the one you probably been erased at least once in a fit of pique, who never quite dates you, but never quite goes away. Like a boomerang – albeit one with a very long trajectory. And despite the history of complete unreliability, we accept their ‘in then out then in’ presence in our life.

Generally.. you can configure the desirability of any guy is conversely related to how much attention he delivers. Always late, never calls, texts you only when he’s drunk or lonely, disappears for months at a time… ? Sadly, even at the age of 40ish, and with complete awareness, we fall for it again and again.  The date who calls us, texts us, arrive on time and generally behaves in a completely desirable and upstanding manner? Nah… no ‘chemistry’.

 We’re just hooked on the drama of being kept on our toes.

 ‘Maybe this time he’s changed’
 ‘I think he’s finally realized that I was one of the new women who treated him well’
 ‘My hair is longer/ I’m skinnier this time around’
 ‘.. this time I have a good feeling’
 ‘He’s in a good place’

Yep.. you’re pretty much doomed at this point. Its as though they can smellan indulgent heart and are happy to go along for the ride until you show signs of actually causing any impact on their time or other prospects. That or a new edition of Halo comes out.

I’ve kicked quite a few of these hangers-on to the curb over the years but generally it takes at least one smack to the head from my girlfriend or the complete humiliation of sitting around for a few hours in thigh highs waiting for him to show up. (I cringe, it’s true). But apart from the occasional humiliation, what’s the harm you might ask? Everyone needs a friend with benefits right?

I would totally agree… except these hangers-on aren’t really friends and the benefits are pretty unreliable. I’d be totally ok if there were some kind of unwritten rule which says ‘I’m contacting your for sex and only sex’ and then – ta-daaa – he’s on your doorstep with 2 bottle of Gatorade!! but it never quite works out like that. There are text messages, the occasional email.. and sex if it happens, its so random, its like finding out you’re part of a class action suite and getting a $5.36 check in the mail from AT&T. Great.. but unexpected. The complete lack of certainty makes it almost not worth the bother. Since the texting boomerang is typically nothing more than a booty call, I say please follow through or don’t hit send. Its only the only decent thing to do.

I’m an A type – I need reliability, rules, structures, parameters and these ones who ‘never quite go away’ are more inconsistent than AT&T in the Colorado mountains.

So here’s a message for the ones who never quite go away.

“Please fish or cut bait Mr.Boomerang. I’m deleting your number and I’m not replying to your texts. You can call me and we can schedule something (bring Gatorade), but no more hanging around on my iPhone please. Goodbye”

(…but I’m always up for a drink if your bored)

Finding a date: Fresh to Market

Despite our technologically obsessed workplaces and unceasing levels of communication, many people would think that finding a date these days is easy. After all, we’ve all see those commercials featuring Mr. Creepy Old Man talking about ‘true compatibility’ and who hasn’t got a friend who met their boyfriend/ husband/ex on  Finding someone to date is easy right?
As any person over the age of 40 can tell you, finding a non psychotic, vaguely attractive person in your age range is more challenging than anything Tom Cruise can pull off while hanging from a wire over a computer. For now I’m ignoring people who like to date waaaaay out of their age range (sorry cougars and cradle robbers), but for those who consider a 2-5 age difference their target demographic, sorry to break it to you, its tough out there.

Online dating is great for finding weirdos, freshly minted divorcees, girls with massive insecurity issues, angry people and hermits. Sure, there are the occasional sane cute ones, but they are rarer than Jewish athletes. For the rest of us, those ‘plenty of fish’ are missing a fin or two and probably have crossed eyes. Most are – like perch – immediate throw backs. If you want to get laid, great.. go right ahead. If you actually want to date, this ain’t the way to go.

So if you’ve given up in online dating (something I’ve done with more fervor and frequency than actually ‘go on dates’), the question arises 4 months into an dry spell – how do I meet someone?

Three words – Fresh to Market

Sure its not a location, because location is irrelevant. I know someone who met and married a guy she met at a drunken frat party (when she was waaaaaay out of college) and the number of people who get busy over the photocopier at work really should be included in the ‘Benefits’ package. You can meet guys everywhere (except my apartment), but when you meet them is everything.

Fresh to Market is everything at 40-ish.

One of my girlfriends met her long term ‘partner’ while rebounding from her 13 year marriage, another met her partner by playing ‘friendly shoulder’ after his divorce which turned into hooking up and eventually dating. Both chicks found a partner when they (or he) were ‘fresh on the market’. Why is ‘fresh’ on the dating market so important? Because they don’t know better. If you’re the first and you’re not an absolute ogre.. then you’re in. And nobody is more susceptible to your charm that someone who’s been through a painful time and needs to feel good about themselves. If you can deliver some warm and fuzzies (or maybe an orgasm) .. well… you’re through the front door at least. My advice? Hear about a breakup? Get on the phone, on the doorstep and into your role as lead sympathizer and cheerleader. Its how Harry got Sally after all?
NOTE: And no, you can’t cause the divorce or the breakup. No one likes a psycho as a girlfriend. A lay sure, but not a girlfriend.

‘Fresh to market’ doesn’t always mean newly dumped.  My guy friends always seem to meet women who are working in town on secondment, temporary assignment or those who have moved to town for a new job.  All of them acted as local host, did the Lannies Clock Tower/ Peaks Pike/ Ski day/ First Friday activities and all of them ended up married. I repeat – all of them ended up married to that chick. Now I’m not advising you to camp out at DIA with a sign, but if you hear someone is new to town, reconsider your level of enthusiasm about the Aquarium.

Finally, ‘fresh to market’ can be much less obvious. It seems to happen (more often than you’d think) that one day a guy wakes up and thinks ‘ huh .. being married = not that bad’ and stops thinking that every woman wants to be ordering china after the 3rd date. Suddenly his first dates are actually not about getting laid (it fact it becomes a liability), but about auditioning women for long term potential. Its not so much about short term fun but whether he can see himself dealing with the baggage your bringing once those cute crows feet look like canyons.. Sure most guys will tell you that they’re always ‘looking’ but as we know.. thats also the best way to get a chicks pants off. The guys who are looking… tend to not mention it. But as a chick with many guy friends, I can assure you that you can actually see the ‘available’ bulb go off (and I start counting down the days to ‘we’re engaged’). Early warning signs include mentions  that ‘all my friends are married’ and an daily text messages that don’t involve the words ‘ what are you wearing?’

So, how do you find one of these unicorns?

If I knew that, I’d be wearing a ring now wouldn’t I??

Where is the fun?… Valentines Day

Yes, I know its January.. 
Back when my world was made up of bell bottoms, horrid cable knit ponchos and questionable striped shirts, I celebrated Valentines day. V-day was the highlight of the year with the sending of hand written notes and much snickering in the corridors. Since paper ‘Valentines’ originated in the UK, we were taught that February 14 was the day you wrote a note to someone you liked, admired or were ‘sweet’ on. Poem optional. The only rules were that you didn’t sign it, and it was meant to be from a ‘secret admirer’. Cards were quickly assembled that day from lined paper torn from workbooks and the sentiment was pretty limited to ‘I like you’. The odd extrovert might draft an ‘ode’ of love, but generally this was limited to boys called Graham with lisps and affectations involving scarves. The receiving of the card was pretty darn exciting, but trying to work out the chicken scratched author was intoxicating. Hoping that it was who you hoped it to be.. (..and equally terrified that it might be him)..and hiding your disappointment when you realized it was actually from Damien with the big mole, not Spike with the cool hairdo. Valentines day didn’t need a sugar high, it was full-on ‘CSI’ at our school by 3.45pm. The one day no-one wanted to leave school.

As we got older, the exercise pretty much stayed the same but complexity rose with age and fear. The notes became cards (still often hand made), the senders anonymous (pushed through his mailbox in the early evening dusk followed by Lance speed pedaling) and the analysis of his projected interpretation, detailed (oh the hours trying to figure out what he’d think!). We rode our bikes 6 or 7 miles to make sure that our Valentine couldn’t identify the correct postmarked source (yeah, guys lie awake wondering about that), wrote 17 drafts to hit just the right note of flirtatious innocence, and wove clues to our identities more deftly than Shakespeare.  I swear that in 12 years of school not a single guy ever knew that Valentine he received was from me, (and if he did, he’s currently working for Mi5). In hindsight, I don’t think we quite got the idea quite right.

The Valentines we received were up for public debate and interpretation. Green ink? Must be Gareth, he was kind of ‘alternative’. Spelling mistake? Clearly Andrew- he never could spell ‘February’ correctly. The drawing of the filigree heart? Definitely Chris – everyone knew he was the best at ‘drawing’ in the school. Huge dirty fingerprints? Got to be ‘big John’, after all he was always playing rugby during break. Clearly the guys put 1/100th of the effort and time into the act of composing and exchanging notes, but they didn’t seem too fazed when we figured it out. I guess for them it was the point.. duh. 

In a school of less than 600, you generally knew exactly who liked you and who thought you were dragged through the ugly bush so your options were limited when it came to imagining, but ending the day with the notion that someone out there thought you were the cats pajamas was awesome, even if you couldn’t be sure. No note? Clearly it got lost or he was too shy (hey, girls start making excuses for guys from birth). Maybe next year he’d work up the courage.  Yes, that’s it.

By the time I was in college we were too cool for notes and too poor for gifts, so we got creative. My roommate Sarah spent 3 hours cutting potatoes into hearts for her boyfriends dinner (sadly he decided to help out and mashed them right before she served dinner), and I decorated my boyfriends car with flowers I stole from the campus gardens (much to the hysterics of his roommates).  Cheesy? – beyond measure. Fun ? Totally.
At age 23 someone delivered a 6 foot fig tree to my door and then offered to help me iron my work shirts. At 26, I re-papered a boyfriends walls with cut out red hearts (which unfortunately left pink stains everywhere) and greeted him wearing nothing but a paper heart of my own design. Cheesy? You betcha. Fun? he laughed like a drain.  Especially when he realized I was stained red along with the walls.

Now that I’m 40ish and living in a different country, I don’t recognize Valentines day at all. Yes its commercial, its a hellish shade of Pepto pink and seems to be dominated by demanding, expecting women. That actually doesn’t bother me a jot. But what I don’t see is the fun. When did it stop being fun? I hear women complaining about roses that didn’t get sent, over-crowded restaurants and even dismissal of the day entirely (‘we prefer to declare our love every other day of the year’). For some it reinforces the agony of being alone and others use it to celebrate girlfriends. Women seem to be the recipients, rarely the initiators. Cards are used to accompany flowers or forgotten altogether and the notion that it might be silly or lighthearted seems to be something left behind at school. And no-one seems to be having much fun.

Me? I still believe in the fun of Valentines day. I think that everyone needs a little excitement as part of their day, implications be damned. So I’ll be spending the next 2 weeks composing my anonymous love sonnets, finding the perfect card and cycling out to parts of Colorado hereto unknown to deliver a chicken scratched note or two. He won’t know its from me, but I’ll have fun and this time I won’t need to repaint anyone’s walls.

Are you there God? Its me, Rachael

Like many girls, I grew up on Judy Blume. I was passed a copy of ‘Are you there God? Its me Margaret’ via my sister at the age of 11 and was astonished to realize that it wasn’t just me who was freaked out about periods and growing up. I don’t actually recall asking for divine intervention, but I do remember the book giving me a vague sense of ‘okay-ness’ that I wasn’t a freak. To be honest I couldn’t quite relate to Judy’s excitement about ‘growing up’ and the promised ‘changes’ made me feel vaguely nauseous and in some cases, downright depressed.
C’mon.. who wants to learn that they’re never going to be able accomplish that back-flip in gym because the new boobs she’s growing are going to whap her in the face? And that weird smells and hair are suddenly things to worry about. One day I was building a dam to catch fish and suddenly I’ve got to worry about wearing a bra???? WTF???? Ok, guys had stuff going on to, but getting stronger and growing an Adams apple didn’t seem quite on the same scale of ‘WTF!!’ as boobs.

Where are you today Judy? I’m 40ish and I need a new book.

I don’t need reassurance about first crushes and the trickiness of girl friends, but I do need to know its ok to spend $200 on a pair of jeans. To notice that my knees aren’t quite where they used to be and that those weird brown ‘freckles’ on me hands are actually signs of wisdom… not an indicator of potential melanoma.That impotence isn’t a rarity amongst guys my age, its called ‘a weekday‘, and that grey chest hair is ‘foxy’ instead of vaguely reminding me of my 73 yr old dad.
I need to know that everyday brings new excitement, and new pills to fix that ‘excitement’. That crushing on a 45 year old isn’t creepy – he’s actually in your age range – and that yes, you can’t drink a bottle of wine and feel super awesome the next day. Sure, being 40 can be scary, but I have a feeling Judy could find a way to make me all feel better about it.

Failing that, I guess I can thank my stars that I no longer have to worry about growing hair, and only have to worry about losing it.


Once upon a time girls and boys used to hold hands, snog in the bike sheds and send each other cryptic notes during class.When the girls and boys got older, they spent hours on the phone whispering and giggling with each other, fondled each other on park benches and trying to get away with an illicit hand down the pants.

These days, they sext.

For the uninitiated (or those trapped under a large rock in Utah), sexting is the sending of lurid photos of your body parts (or your entire self) and suggestive comments via your phone to your boyfriend, lover or these days, apparently anyone who might be interested. Boobs and full body underwear shots seem to be popular, along with suggestive poses, gynecological shots and even guys are muscling in with ..ahem… a firm grasp on themselves. Looking at it objectively, sexting echos the schoolyard with a ‘you show me yours and I’ll show you mine’ theme, but with the daring possibility that your photo could end up on his (or her) Facebook, Twitter or simply stored in a secret folder on his (or her) laptop until his IT department finds it during laptop replacement time (yes it happens, I know the IT guy at work).

 If you’ve not tried it and you’re a consenting adult (teenagers doing this makes me shudder), I highly recommend everyone try it it. It’s simultaneously liberating and terrifying. On a good note, you can take as many photos of yourself and select the best one, thereby avoiding shots of the cellulite on your thighs, your varicose veins and stretch marks.  Its titillating, and suggestive texts back and forth can really ramp things up for later. On a bad note, you are sharing something extremely private which may or may not be treated as you think. It really tests the level of trust you have in your partner (‘no honey, you can’t use it as your screen saver’). You also might open the floodgates for random photos of groin shots from your lover during your conference call (not everyone’s ideal morning wake up call). If that’s your bag, great, just make sure you don’t leave your phone on your desk during any meetings. Your boss or coworkers do not need to meet your partner’s … bits. It makes the company holiday party so much more fraught for everyone.

WARNING: Do not sext someone who you have not yet been …intimate..with.  People who have just started dating have enough excitement going on without sexting and to use the phone as your primary method for seduction… well, its trashy and I don’t think its terribly effective for anyone over the age of 21. Its the equivalent of someone flashing you and hoping for a positive reaction. High risk, low chance of success.

But if you know this person, you’ve already been intimate and you trust them… .. a few tips to help maximize your experience.

Check what actually appears on the screen before sending it. Smart phones love to suggest alternate words for your misspellings which can result in you asking your partner to ‘flare me senileless’

Exclude your face: Unless you’re legally bound to this person or possess suitable blackmail material, avoid including your face in any photos. Not that every man isn’t a trustworthy petal of joy, but if the love of your life should happen to dump your ass, your face isn’t going to be plastered all over Twitter. Yes, its weird, but do you really want people connecting your face to those nipples?

Sexting while drunk. One word – don’t. Sure, after a drink, suggestive comments or photos are flirty and fun. After 5 martinis, not so much. And yes, people can tell you’re drunk if the text says ‘I wan Ur pie us’. The walk of shame is nothing compared to the ‘scan of shame’ when you realize that you conducted  40 minute sexting session with an albino guy you dated two years ago, including a flurry photos of what may be your butt, your foot or the corner of your leather sofa.

The setting. For the sake of all that is rational and holy, consider your setting. Things which should not be included in your sexy photo-shoot include; your dog, the Christmas tree, dirty dishes, your toilet, your kids (unless you actively like visits from CPS), stained clothing (a different kind of ‘dirty’), fluorescent lighting, the book ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ or family pictures.  Appropriate places include your bedroom, a bubble bath, your garden (as long as its not communal) or a fur rug (if you happen to live with a hunter or a former porn star). And no matter how proud you are of your granite, the kitchen ain’t sexy. And for the love of christ, do not take a photo of yourself in front of the bathroom mirror…that’s for guys on Craigslist and reality tv stars.

But how do I take a photo of myself? Well you have two choices. Grab an understanding friend or get creative. Prop the phone on a pillow, use the swivel function on the iPhone or Google it. Someone out there (actually over 1,354,782 people) have ideas on how to photograph yourself using your phone.
But maybe just start small, go traditional.  Text a flirt. Text a suggestive comment. Describe what you have in mind for tonight that doesn’t involve the Real Housewives of Atlanta. It won’t end up on Facebook and no-one can see you blushing.

Dating advice I won’t be taking

I relented. I bought a dating book. It told me a lot of things including an explicit timeline for dating ‘activity’. Now no-one has given me such prescriptive information about the right time for a kiss, a hug or a roll in the hay since high school.. and yet I was enthralled to be lectured after 20 years of dating. After 8 seasons of Sex and the City, endless conversations with women since the age of 17, and a not-so-impartial-lecture from my mother… I always thought I knew what was appropriate ‘activity’ when dating guys. And I would like to present to you the summary of the last 20 years of advice.

Do/ Don’t kiss on a first date

Don’t have sex on the first date
Don’t have sex until the third date
Don’t have sex until he’s committed to an exclusive relationship
Don’t have sex  (guess who that came from…Mum)
Don’t wait to have sex too long, or you could be wasting your time
Don’t go down on him until you’re in a ‘relationship’
Don’t bring up having a ‘relationship’ unless he does
Don’t ask to be exclusive, that’s his job
Don’t stay in a relationship unless he’s going down on you
Oh and the one I love, continue dating multiple guys at the same time until one of them asks you to be exclusive… …..which seems to me, well, kind of whoreish. 
Basically I think overall it means no sex
…or maybe some sex
…or sex with one person
…but only in a relationship
…unless you’re testing driving him
…or think it has potential
…or more often, you’re horny and had too many martinis. 
It’s very confusing really. And after a sexless marriage, and quite a few sexless years in my 20s and 30s (..ahem and 40s), I really don’t know what the rules are any more. Or whether I really want to follow them.
I grew up dating in the UK where the words ‘to date’ didn’t actually exist. You had friends who had friends, you fancied one of them rotten, you drank too much one night and snogged outside the pub and that was your boyfriend. No conversations about it, people didn’t go out with more than one person at a time (unless you were charging by the hour) and the only game playing occurred in the pub and generally featured darts. You moved in when your lease was up, and for most of my friends, a ring followed a couple of years later (pre-empted by a few pregnancy scares and way too much time at Ikea). Easy.

So back to the dating book. According to this gem, I’m not to even KISS the guy until date #4. Mind you, I am only allowed to date a guy, 1 night a week. And it has to be ‘out of the house’. This means no cooking at home, no ‘hanging out’, no last minute drinks, and definitely definitely, no date more than once a week. It has to been scheduled, in advance, out of the house, a formal date (I’m presuming that I won’t be need to be wearing a prom dress or a corsage, but they didn’t specify). I’m not to drive myself, he’s to pick me up (apparently future stalkers or weirdos aren’t a concern to the books authors), and I’m to not even so much as glance in the direction of my purse. If he goes in for the goodnight kiss I am to shake his hand. Yes. Shake his hand. Like I’m Obama or the Queen. And if he goes in for the hug, I am do step aside and say ‘Not yet’. Apparently the new catch phrase for ‘I’m a prude’. Seriously? Not even a hug according to this  book. I often get a two handed handshake or a pat on the shoulder from a job interview… but no, apparently no touching on Date #1. Or #2. Date 3 I am allowed a hug. Date 4, I can kiss him, but no tongues. Yes, the book is that specific. At this point, I don’t even want to date me.

With my mouth hanging open in a combination of awe and horror, I skipped through the chapter to find out when I might actually get to make out with this poor guy and discovered that the schedule allows for date #8 (but second base only). Any awkwardness is meant to be dealt with via the ‘Not Yet’ phrase and a ‘wry smile’ (to quote the authors). Drive a man wild? Drive a man to dump you. Who does this? In case you’re wondering, you get to have sex only after 12 weeks have passed, or 12 dates. At which point you can see your blue balled beloved more than once a week. If he’s even speaking to you at this point.

While I agree that we’ve all gotten used to everything too fast and that things need to slow down, I had a hard time swallowing this program. On the plus side, you know who you’re sleeping with and it means something (presumably because you’ve been doing nothing but talking and saying ‘Not Yet’ for the last 12 weeks).. which theoretically means you’ve garnered the guys respect, and you’re actually in a relationship before sharing yourself. But what really sticks in my head is how the author recommend that since you’re still ‘figuring out’ whether you even like the person, you’re also meant to be pursuing other guys. Meaning you’re spreading the blue balls around. Which somehow feels cheap and callous. Frivolous. Selfish. Cold. Mean. Exactly the type of women I hate.

So I’m stuck. I like the idea, but in reality I’m a one guy girl. I could not more wait 12 weeks than the average guy could (not without some serious intervention requiring hospitalization). And really, do you get to know someone over one date a week for 12 weeks? Do you know how this person will react when faced with non date, real life things? Do you know anything about someone with whom you’ve shared bread and wine, but not even a kiss?

Thank god I’m on a dating break because I don’t know if I have the stamina with this program. I don’t know if the man this is aimed to find even exists and if I found him, whether I’d even want to date him.

Plus in the immortal words of Murtaugh, ‘ I’m too old for this shit’..

My next wedding – the year 2056

I read today about an 88 year old woman getting married this weekend which got me thinking.
As someone who’s marriage ceremony probably foretold its depth and potential longevity (Bride wore Tevas, groom forgot to write vows, no-one in attendance and it snowed in July), I always have a vague longing for a wedding at the back of my mind. My wedding didn’t really signal much except doom, but I do think that saying something nice to each other, about each other, in front of some people you like, and who like you.. well that’s kind of nice. It signals commitment, and a willingness to  declare your love for someone, without getting cited for public indecency. Been there.

I was never one to daydream with tea towels on my head and people carrying my skirt, but after experiencing what was probably one of the most depressing wedding ceremony’s in history, I kind of want to do it again… except this time, a little differently. And if it takes me to age 88 to find the guy… well so be it. Gives me time to save for a nice dress.

My Wedding: Year 2056

Location: If we’re not all living on rafts or on the moon, I’d really like to get married outside. Yes, I did that last time, but this time somewhere nice and scenic. Without snow. Or hikers interrupting the ceremony for a quick photo. Potentially with mountains all around. And grass. And sun. Getting married in snow seems terrifying and too nipple-tastic for someone as blessed as me, and being able to wear a dress means heat is a necessity unless I want everyone focused on my chestical area. Plus I’ll be 88, don’t want me or my groom to die during the ceremony. So, mountains and grass in the summer please. Unless the air is now 99% carbon dioxide ..then I guess an oxygen tent would be more appropriate. Plus I always did like camping.

Ceremony: Last time this featured some strange lady chanting something vaguely hippy about the earth for about 2 minutes and then an awkward silence while my groom tried to make up his vows on the spot. This time I think skipping the entire traditional thing makes it easier. Hand fasting is an old Celtic tradition where hands are bound together  (yes, tied) with a number of different colored ribbons as the host talks about what each ‘bind’ represents (love, compassion, ability to make a decent cup of tea etc). Its terribly romantic plus it has the benefit of physically restraining your groom should he want to make a dash for it. Of course at 88 he’s probably not much for running, but if his wheelchair starts moving, I’ll be dragged along for the ride.

Attendees: A wedding is really about people. Yes, its about 2 people, but without any guests, its kind of sterile and weird. If its just about the 2 of your, why not get married in bed and why do you need a 3rd person to says things?  Nope, weddings need people. Hopefully ones who like you and are pleased to see you in love and join your celebration. Plus at 88, it can double as a funeral wake without the awkwardness of death, plus I get to be there and people say nice things about me.

Attire: Yes I wore Tevas last time and I thought it was a signal of my carefree spirit and desire for foot comfort over fashion. In actuality they looked stupid. Like wearing slippers to hike in. At 88 I’m probably in ‘comfortable shoes’ anyway, so at least this time they’ll have bows on them or something. And they’ll not be made of rubber (not unless Crocs has taken over all shoes manufacturers). I will wear a dress, even if they have to sew it around me, and it will not be white. And yes, I will wear blue underwear, though probably not a thong. No-one wants to see a thong on grandma. Unless everyone is wearing jumpsuits in 2056 and its providing life support, my groom will wear a suit. It will hide his hump and he can comfortably wear his pants pulled up to his armpits.

Honeymoon: Since I’ll be 88, the honeymoon will probably last all of about 2 days. I can’t see the love making taking all that long given that we’ll probably be nervous of heart conditions, blood pressure and deep vein thrombosis to really go crazy in the sack. We’ll probably go somewhere featuring water, enormous beds and more heat. Old people love heat. Oh god.. this sounds like Florida. So, NOT FLORIDA. Unless the world has ended and the only thing surviving is Florida. Which would just be my luck.

Happy Ever After: As a octogenarian, I hope to have a few good years left in me, even if its filled with the NYT crossword and 1960s movies starring Doris Day played at high volume. Who knows what they’ll have invented by then, maybe I’ll have 50 years left (god help my feet). Regardless I hope to spend my married life, my second married life, sharing a bed, a dinner table and some serious hand holding until the end of time (or until his gets cold and blue, in which case I probably will let go).

It will be very ‘happily ever after’ the 2nd time around… mostly because I can finally, finally, resign my subscription.