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 among 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 specter 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, hypochondriacs, 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 existent. 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 hypochondriac 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 a rise in the occurrence of syph (up 12%) over the last few years.. condom’s and testing aren’t looking so bad now are they?

4. Herpes: Ah, the herpe. 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 brazilian 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 unless 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 monogamous, 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???

 

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 psycho 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 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.

Spring fling

Yes.. its been a while. Let me explain.

Spring is sprung here in Colorado and once I could actually take off a layer of thermals/ feel my fingers/ remove more thermals.. well men arrived.

springfling
Spring Fling

And after a desert-like 2013, who could blame me? I had a little fling.

But as with all spring flings, they tend to get flung pretty darn fast. This one, faster than usual (this coming from the 2013 speed dater record of 23 minutes).

One minute I was revelling in sex on tap, the joy of having someone take me out to dinner (with tablecloths people, TABLECLOTHS), and telling me how gorgous I was as we polished off another bottle of Chateauneuf-de-Pape… the next.. meh.. not so much.

You see the spring fling is a weather drive occurance here in Colorado. We’re over our winter activities, its stopped snowing most days, but we’re not yet full speed into our summer obsessions. We’re on ‘slow’ speed and we’ve got time on our hands. The weather is tricky (75-32-65-17-50 can be a typical week) and honestly, what can you really do when its overcast and grey, cold and you don’t like shopping?

Have a fling. Its like a second job and certainly made my ‘mud season’ fly by.

I’d forgotten how much time a dude can take up. Like ALL of it.

I had to fight to make enough room for some yoga and a spinning class or three. And I’m sorry, but if I’ve seen you last night and we chatted until the wee hours, what on earth do I have to talk about tonight? And for 4 hours? Over the phone.

(Yes, apparently my fling was set in 1989.)

If I was suddenly wondering what I was going to do over a weekend where it was meant to rain, be hot, snow and with winds of 80 mph.. well here was my answer. Fling. Hours accounted for. Boredom = zero.

Unfortunately a fling comes with some serious downsides other than time suckage.

First there’s the waist expansion. After a spartan ‘clean eating’ winter which left me fairly lean and healthy, suddenly I’m chowing down on foie gras, rabbit and duck fat fries, desserts and wine. Twice, three times a week.

And did I mention the wine? I think I’m personally responsible for the current Syrah shortage on the West coast. I went from an occassion glass and a few martinis a week to what was verging on a daily habit. I think 50% of my nutrition was coming from olives one week.

Then there’s the financial impact. You see flings require that you suddenly refresh your wardrobe, (partly due to that expanding wasitline and partly because someone is suddenly actually seeing you in your smalls), invest in that French lace push up bra and ignore all of your financial good intentions by throwing down $65 for the matching panties.

Yes. $65 for panties.

(and no, they don’t come with a cappacino machine or gold stockings.. I checked)

You need cute outfits for date nights, cute things for after the date nights and more cute things so that you look cute while lounging around doing nothing. And apparently SmartWool doesn’t cut it.

Lets just say I am now set for plunging V neck tops, skinny jeans, low heeled boots (he was under 6 ft), dresses and make up for the remainder of 2014.

Yes my fling was time consuming, fattening and expensive…But oh it was fun.

After not being touched by anyone other than my OBGYN and my gastroenterologist in 12 months.. it was a lovely reminder of the wonder that is someone else’s skin next to yours. That your boobs are more than annoyances when running. That your cycling butt makes those $65 panties look AWESOME and having someone appreciate all that work you’ve spent on  yoga mat. Well.. I wasn’t saying no.

Whats best of all is the surprise of the thing. That after you’ve decided you’re content with your dog, your bikes and your friends.. you suddenly get the delight that is an unexpected lustfest plumped down in front of you out of the blue. Sort of like going to Whole Foods and someone slipping a whole chocolate cake into your bags as you walk out the door. Finding someone who makes you laugh, who thinks you’re the bees knees and who actually owns and opens a wallet (single ladies.. amiright?). Who wants nothing more than you to feel amazing?

Pretty cool… until it was a bit … well.. much.

You see the flimsey nature of the fling is that it flings far and fast.. and it burns itself out faster than you can say ‘with 3 olives please’.

As the temperature in Colorado started to rise, my desire to spend more time on the bike(s), with my friends, hiking, camping and actually doing stuff that doesn’t involve being horizontal or sipping wine started to increase. My tolerance for long phone calls and ‘doing nothing’… well it was bound to end. I mean I already have a job thanks.. and I really don’t want another one that involves inordinate amounts of time gazing.

Unless its at Chris Froomes butt.

And while yes, you can have a life and date someone, its hard to have an active life with someone who isn’t.. well.. that active. Who isn’t excited to watch Paris Roubaix this weekend and who couldn’t give a stuff about trails clearing above 8,000 ft. If all you have in common is each other.. well, I know I’m not that entertaining.. and sadly, neither was he.

Plus he paid to watch a Vin Disel movie on more than one occassion.

I can only bend so far.

So my fling is flung. No regrets, no ‘what ifs’ and certainly no reconsiderations. At 42 I might have wrinkes but I also know my own mind, and trying to become someone else for someone else… thats so 1990s. If that means I’m single.. so be it.

As of today I consider the bad juju from 2013 erased. My dry patch over and 2014 officially ON.

Plus I just ordered some new cycling shorts from Rapha. Maybe not ‘skin on skin’ loveliness but damn expensive lycra and a Cytech chamois  is a definite close second.

 

Falling off the wagon

online addictionHello. My name is Ms Idiot and I’m an online dating addict.

I really thought I’d kicked the habit, I really did. Its like that I guess. Addiction.

After two horrific dating experiences in 2013, (one which terrified me into changing my locks, one which caused me to rethink my perception of academics), and a 22 minute encounter (I won’t dignify it with the title of ‘date’) I hit bottom. I knew I couldn’t go on with the month to month renewals, the endless profile trolling, the sagging wish that there is a single dude with a penchant for tattoos, bicycles and IQs over 140 who isn’t addicted to pornography or pushing 250lbs. My self loathing was such that I even considered Tindr, a site for kids with ADD who still think funneling beer is an attractive trait in a man. I was desperate. I was pathetic. I’d have traded my last $39.99 for a date with a normal sane hetero guy. Just one… one…..

A girlfriend watched my downward spiral from afar; the first flush of excitement (“this time its going to work”), the second guessing (“maybe I sound too active?”), the anger  (“why are all the guys my age only looking for 30 yr olds?”), the depression (“I can’t even get laid, never mind a boyfriend”), switching from one site to another (“this one definitely seems to have more guys without kids or Jesus”) led to bargaining (“so he confused ‘righting’ with ‘writing’ …it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s stupid”) and finally the acceptance that online dating…. just wasn’t going to work for me.

The result of 6 years of sporadic sign ups? Several 3 month flings, two marriage proposals (sanity not guaranteed), numerous casual dates and 1 x 22 minute ‘encounter’.  I had better luck in high school when I had braces, an extra 10lbs and Billy Idols haircut.

So I tapped out. I got sober. I deleted all of my accounts and white knuckled it through Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and yes, even New Years Eve. 6 months went by without so much as a ‘wink’, never mind a date.. and I was feeling good. Strong even.

I didn’t find Jesus, I didn’t do meetings and I accepted the notion that I’m a single person. Indefinitely. And I felt good with that. Like most ‘sober’ people, as long as I stayed away from dating sites, set ups and random flirtations, I was ok. I really was. I hung out with friends, I made new friends (male and female), I cut ties with my boomerangs.

But then, just when I felt immune to the siren call of ‘more marriages than any other site’, I had a dream.

And it certainly wasn’t of the MLK variety.

Lets just say its been 24 hours and its still burning in the front of my brain. It was sexy, it was hot, it was endless and oh my god.. it made me miss men like a drowning man misses air. I miss being touched. I miss someone looking at me with desire. I miss flirtation (even my appalling version of it) and I miss forearms. Oh god I miss forearms.

I can’t even think about how much I miss sex. After all, I do have a job and I already feel like a neon sign is flashing on my forehead ‘Man Wanted. Apply within’. The next 12 hours is entirely focused on not thinking about sex.

Margaret Thatcher.

Cockroaches.

Mitt Romney’s hair.

That leery old guy in yoga class.

I don’t know where to turn, and frankly, its too early to call my match.com sponsor and have her talk me off the ledge.

So I did it. I clicked, I typed and clutching my 1o month celibate chip, I logged on to a dating site and dove into the sweaty pool of loserville that is a divorced guy with 2 kids, living in suburbia ‘a few extra pounds’ and ‘loves sci fi’. no… No… NO….

This is my cry for help. Help meeeeeeee…..

The alternate ‘It Gets Better’ project

It-Gets-Better-LogoAnyone who knows me from a hole in the wall knows that I love Dan Savage. The smart mouthed advice columnist who is responsible for introducing the world to the term ‘Santorum’, ‘GGG’ and ‘monogomish’, Dan and his hoooos-band Terry were also responsible for the remarkable YouTube campaign ‘It Gets Better’.

The couple produced a single video in response to bullying of teens (LGBT in particular), promising that no matter how crappy things are now, it does ‘get better’ as you get older. If you’ve never checked out the actual first video, I highly recommend it (along with the 50,000 other videos on the site) and the overall project was incredibly inspiring to not only LGBT teens, but anyone who felt ‘different’ or was bullied at school. I only wish it had been around when I was a kid.

But… I’m no longer a teen and I’m no longer bullied, but I feel we need a few more ‘it gets better’ projects to help those who feel awkward, different or just having a plain old, ‘life is sucking right now’ period. And I know you’re out there grown ups… I know that we all need an ‘it gets better’ now and again. So here are some of my proposals – Dan – should you want to help out some lesser known ‘minorities’ who are suffering in silence;

1. That bad hair cut

We know the current trend of pixies got you excited and you just decided to go for it, but don’t worry. It will get better. It will grow out. In the meantime, try some blond or red highlights and always remember to wear lipsticks so people don’t call you ‘sonny’ in line at Target.

2. The hole your career slid into

Things have been looking pretty grim of late I know. You were right. You’re boss really doesn’t like you. (Sorry). But it will get better. You’ll find another ally somewhere else in the organization or you’ll land an awesome project where you get to shine for a little while. Or maybe you’ll be lucky enough to be laid off and get to start afresh somewhere where everyone doesn’t know that you slept with Dave from sales. Plus their healthcare plan can’t be any worse!!!

3. Thursday night TV

I know. I hate The Voice too. In fact all singing shows should be sold to Japan and immediately replaced with tap dancing, cooking or dog training shows. Anything except someone else murdering Maria Carey songs from 2003. But don’t worry. It will get better. Parks and Rec will be back in January and hey, maybe by then they’ll have something else to put before and after it that doesn’t make you want to stick a fork in your eye. Maybe it won’t even feature married overweight guys with hot wives?!!!!

4. Those Burpees

Sure right now you’re lying on the floor, coughing your guts up and wondering whether you have the strength in your arms to push up, but one day it will get better. One day, you will be able to jump from a standing position into a full push up and then bounce right back to standing without losing control of your bladder, your lungs or your vision. One day, you will knock those suckers out without even thinking about it. One day, you won’t struggle around on the floor like a dying worm, and you will not want to die… one day. I’ve not yet met anyone who’s reached this place, but I’ve heard a rumor that someone’s girlfriend did them easily once.. so I’m holding out hope that it gets better. I mean, it has to … doesn’t it?

5. Dating

You’ve online dated, you’ve casually hooked up, you’ve proactively searched and you’ve even tried joining those ‘activity groups’ in the hope that you might find a suitable mate who doesn’t annoy the shit out of you after 20 minutes. You’ve considered marrying your dog, and you’re most significant relationship this year is with Showtime.But it does get better. Sure, that goober your sharing a drink with right now isn’t qualified to clean your bathroom but you will meet a nice guy/girl one day, even if you have to clean a Brazilian rainforest of frogs to find them. Plus another martini and even this potential stalker is going to seem a lot more attractive.

6. Those $250 skinny jeans

You were so thin when you bought them and yes, you did look ahmazballs that one time you wore them, but we know the pain you go through in order to even attempt a zip up at the moment. It will get better. You will wear those jeans again and that money won’t be a leering pile of denim that your friend/partner/spouse uses in every argument about money for the next 3 years.  You’ll lose that muffin top, you’ll remember that nothing looks as good as skinny feels or you’ll learn not to give a shit and make like everyone else by wearing a super baggy sweater that comes down to your thighs. Or you can wait another 3 years by which time everyone will be back rocking the boot cut or grab some Taco Bell and you’ll be in them by the weekend.

7. Your bank account

We totally agree that you needed that thing that you just bought on line that you really couldn’t afford, but it will get better. When it arrives and you’ve hidden it from your spouse/ self for a little while, you’ll remember why you really needed/wanted it and man, its going to make you feel soooo good. Especially when you put it to its intended use and I promise, people will literally fall in love with you, now that you have that thing. You’ll be smarter, sexier, hotter, faster and damn, you’ll probably get a pay raise as a result. So hey,don’t feel bad. Its going to get a lot better real soon.

Time to scare the bejezus out of yourself

scared-ladyIts not yet Halloween (though its easy to forget if you say, walk in store, turn on the tv or walk around your neighborhood), but since everyone else is already ‘celebrating’ Halloween, I thought I’d get a jump on things and get in the mood with some seriously creep-me-the-fuck-out movies this week. I live alone and have the backbone of jello so its not hard to do. And after a few hours of scary movie watching this past weekend, I had to sleep with the light on and check the closets every time I woke up.

Now of course the first and ‘go to[ horror movie of all time is Return of the Living Dead (1985) which is neither scary or horrific. Per the Smartest Man in the World (aka Greg Proops) “The true story of what happened after Night of the Living Dead. The Government used a secret poison gas called trioxin and let’s not get too technical, the government created zombies that eat human brains. There are naked ‘80s punk girls, undead Civil War veterans and a bitchin’ death rock soundtrack by .45 Grave and the Cramps. You’ll want to be drunk to watch this one”.

But lets say you’re not in the mood for zombies and you actually want to be scared. What to watch? Now most of us are familiar with the usual ‘go to’ creepers – the ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ ‘Poltergist’ ‘Amityville Horror’ and yes, ‘The Ring’ but some of the oldies make up for lack of gore and sudden shocks with some serious psychological weirdness and disturbing creepiness. Clowns anyone?

So if you need an excuse to stay in, turn off the lights and grab a cushion to hide behind this weekend, here’s some seriously creepy movies you’re probably less familiar with. All will give you a whole new appreciation for Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin.

1. Willard (1971). Yes, don’t bother with the remake (though Crispin Glover + rats should be scary enough for most people). The original is a hells kitchen of claws, tails, Ernst Borgnine and one seriously run down mansion. 27 year old Willard lives with his mother and step father (typical Millenial) and, with few friends, befriends the manse’s rat population. When step father kills one of his rat buddies all hell is let loose. Its B movie schlock but for tone, overall creepiness and something which will stick in your head for days.. Willard scared me stiff age 11 and still keeps my feet off the floor most evenings.

2. Repulsion (1965). You want creepy? Roman Polanski always delivers (Rosemary’s Baby anyone?). And this, his first English language film while not always classified as ‘horror’ is as awful and disturbing as any modern movie I’ve watched (ok, maybe not Human Centipede levels, but its up there). Two sisters living in London, one a virgin, one slutting around with a married man. When Ms. Slut heads off for a dirty weekend with her man, virginal sister loses her mind. Mental disintegration, hallucinations and then she just all out loses the plot and goes on a rampage. More chilling than Pyscho and one to watch through your fingers. Certainly made me take a second look at my sister.

3. The Loved Ones (2012). I will bet money that non of you have ever seen this movie by Aussie director Sean Bryne. Prom queen gets mad and psycho rampage ensues. Its funny, horrifically violent, weirdly off beat and her chosen weapon is often a drill. Yes its torture porn, but how it gets there is creepy and scary, yet funny while being oh so dark. Edible roadkill, frontal lobotomies, teenage psychopaths and Kasey Chambers music. What else do you need?

4. Ringu (1998). Yes, The Ring is one of my favorite go to freak-me-outs, but the Japanese original can’t be beat for creepiness and twisted nightmare endings. For anyone who’s been trapped under a rock, its based on a story that after watching a specific video, you die. And boy, those Japanese beat the American version of horror hands down. You’ll be changing your phone’s ring tone before the credits roll.

5. The Innocents (1961). Like your chillers with children?  While the movie is based on the Henry James novel ‘Turn of the Screw’, this isn’t a Masterpiece Theatre piece. Governess arrives to take care of children. Children might be possessed by something. Starring Deborah Kerr and Michael Redgrave, its superbly acted, undeniably creepy and weird, plus kids possessed by demons..? Aren’t they all? Plus the ending will leave you reevaluating your kids, nieces and that precocious tyke from next door.

6. Don’t Look Now (1973). Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie get creeped out by dead kids, spirits, unexplained murders and a blind psychic on the streets of Venice.  Another torturous and chilling escalation of fear. This one should only be watched in the afternoon. And preferably behind a sofa back.

7. Freaks (1932). Yes its black and white, yes its old. But if dwarfs, circus people and revenge murder is your thing, this is a winner. Even if you don’t watch this movie for its entirety (it is slow), the imagery is weird and creepy, and almost every shot is disturbing since the entire cast is made up of circus freaks (armless and legless people, ‘pin heads’, Siamese twins and lots and lots of clowns). Upon its initial release, Freaks was greeted with such revulsion from movie-house audiences that MGM spent the next 30 years distancing themselves as far from the project as possible. If that doesn’t sell you, nothing will.

8. Drag Me to Hell (2012). Sam Raimi (Spiderman) went slumming and wow, he should do it more often. Chances are you’ve never seen this movie – no one did. But this camp spookfest is equal parts funny and scary, it’s not quite the gore expo that is Evil Dead and it has the best ‘hammer to the head’ ending you’re not expecting.

9. The Wicker Man (1974). Not even in the same universe as the Nic Cage remake, the original Wicker Man is cramped full of eery strange visuals, creeping claustrophobia (I kept shouting at the screen – “LEAVE”) and a village full of liberal witchy English people who deny the existence of a missing girl. A paganistic ritual based schlock movie, Edward Woodwood and Christopher Lee make it totally worth an afternoon of goosebumps. Not as terrifying as it is disturbing.. it still makes my cut if I’m feeling more wussy than usual.

10. Deep Red (1975). Argento’s masterpiece and one of the ultimate original thriller, slasher, horror movies out there. This movie has everything from the occult, murder, suspense, a seriously creepy childrens rhyme and true 70’s style theme music. There are more gruesome movies, films that will make you jump or horrific death scenes, but this one is a masterpiece worth renting for its nightmarish ending alone.

So there you have them. 10 slightly less famous horror creepers for your lead up to Halloween. Remember if the call is coming from inside the house.. you’re already dead.

10 things you’re doing wrong in bed

maleteddyLast week, the Huffpo decided to take a rest from telling women the 11, 23, 14, and 26 things they should/shouldn’t be doing to attain spiritual enlightenment, a happy marriage, good hair and financial freedom, instead choosing to focus on sex.

Of which apparently, we’re only fucking up in 3 ways.

While this might go on record as the shortest list that the HuffPo has ever published in doling out obvious and sometimes hysterically random advice (my favorite, 20 things to never say to a short woman was clearly written by a tall person), it did get me thinking about what we might be doing ‘wrong’ in bed. So I asked around some of my male and female friends for their worst experiences and below are some of the actual mistakes that they’ve made or been on the receiving end of during the act of lurve.

1. Masturbating after chopping jalapenos. A great reminder to wash those hands before you get going, people. I think Johnny Cash said it best, ‘Cos it burns..burns burns… like a ring of fire’

2. Playing dead a little too well. Ladies… if you’re closing your eyes and praying for it to be over, he’s gonna notice. You don’t need to fake the entire ‘When Harry Met Sally’ deli scene, but at least try to act like you’re still alive.  No-one wants to start CPR unless you actually need it. And gentlemen.. if we’re wondering about your consciousness, you’re doing it wrong. And add in a moan or two. No-one wants to feel like they’re in church. Nothing less sexy than church.

3. Crying and mouthing ‘I love you’ during coitus. Ladies..no matter how hormonal you are, the only man who enjoys this exists in your imagination or in a book. Its creepy, weird and definitely not sexy. In fact, he’s already planning how quickly he can exit and whether he needs to change his phone number.

5. Answering the phone mid stroke. Unless you have the codes to an atomic bomb or you’re James Bond, you can wait to answer your phone. Now is not the time to learn how to multi-task.

6. Whipped cream bikini. Cream and honey looks like a sexy idea in the movies. What you don’t see is the icky aftermath where one of you is desperately trying to un-stick neither regions from a sheet, the floor, a towel or the other person. If your fantasy is making yourself into human fly paper, go for it. If not, refrain from sugar, salt or fat based condiments. After all, you don’t need your dog getting in on the action and really, if you need Cool Whip to make sex interesting, I think you’re doing it wrong.

7. Surprising her with your fetish. Its awesome to let your freak flag fly and hey, we all like a little something different, but surprising your date with your penchant for furry costumes, pies in the face, balloon popping (it exists) or wearing women’s underwear needs a little notice. As one friend confided ‘leaving a strap-on on the bed as a ‘surprise’ wasn’t the best way to introduce me to his kinks’. We can get on board with a little warning, but please don’t jump out of the closet in a diaper and expect us to ‘go with it’.

8. Blowing hard into his or her ear. Unless you’re checking for an echo or trying to melt ear wax, there is such a thing as ‘too hard’. Gentle breathing out, nibbling and licking – all good. Blowing as though there are 40 birthday candles down there.. Nope. There isn’t a prize (or cake) for rupturing her ear drum.

9. Rubbing anything so hard that skin comes off.  Its not a magic lamp. You are not trying to achieve a sheen. Twiddle, twist, pull, play with and yes, rub, but remember its attached to some nerve endings somewhere. And no, now is not time to indulge your OCD cleaning fetish and polish that shit up. Mr Sheen is never appropriate in the bedroom.

10. Getting up and leaving the moment you decouple. It might have been bad. It might have been awesome. But even if you’re 30 minutes late for your inauguration, its never acceptable to jump out of bed the moment you climax. If you do, I think you’re duty bound to leave a tip on the nightstand. And guys, take the output with you to the bathroom. Women love gifts, but not ones wrapped in latex.

Kinks.. and Folsom Street Fair

Folsom SmilesDuring a recent trip to San Francisco I had the pleasure and delight to chance upon Folsom Street Fair. My eyes (and perception of ‘normal’) will never be the same.

For those not on the local BDSM mailing lists, the Folsom Street Fair (FSF) is an annual BDSM and leather subculture street fair held on the last Sunday in September that caps San Franciscos “Leather Pride Week”. S&M activities are actively encouraged and performed in public, most attendees don their favorite leather/studded/PVC outfit (mostly consisting of straps and a buttload of naked), and there’s a whole lot of freakin’ going on.

(and no, I’m not explaining S&M activities.. you can look that one up yourself)

And here was I getting excited about trying my first Pumpkin Spice Latte that morning. Its all a question of perspective now, isn’t it?

As my girlfriend and I watched the throngs heading towards their 1pm ‘partial suspension bondage’ demo and the 2:15pm ‘safe, consensual and sane’ lecture, the squeals and laughter were constant from everyone around us.  Watching the guy who got off his motorcycle in galoshes, arm length rubber gloves and a butcher apron (why yes, he was wearing a helmet..but no other clothes), fuss with his hair in his motorcycle mirror, we were distracted by a tall man walking down the street in a top hat and bow-tie. Wearing nothing else.

‘That must have taken a while’ my girlfriend said. I was confused. To tie the bow-tie? ‘No, to shave all that’ she said. ‘Quite a while.’ In case you never get the opportunity to watch a confident naked hairless man walk down the street.. I can highly recommend it. It was riveting. Jaunty.

(Though now I don’t understand how any guy can get away with just boxers.)

Next up were the folks on leashes (what is it with leather pig face masks these days?) and all those those bound, strapped, greased and gagged. Not a few were tied to lampposts. Folsom 2Whipped and penetrated, sucked and slapped, it’s all on display and for those not partaking, its the best people watching you’re ever going to get – ever – without leaving the USA. Of course, if watching a man with a cock-ring and Doc Martens (I guess he keeps his money in his socks?), study the dude impaling himself on a 3 foot dildo isn’t your thing, or you’d rather skip the chick tied to a Wheel of Fortune being whipped as she spins, there’s always Alcatraz or the cablecars. San Fransisco really does have something for everyone.

747px-Folsom_2003_bondage_demoBut watching (and laughing, and shrieking, and squirming) got me thinking about the folks who are really passionate about this stuff. The people who live the fetish life and for whom Folsom is more than just a chance to get together with your mates and compare nipple rings, its the annual celebration of what you love.

Lord, kinks are awesome. Talk about something for everyone.

1. Poppers. Yup. Some people get off on the popping of balloons. Balloon fetishists regard balloons bursting as essential to the sexual experience, so probably aren’t a mate for someone with an nervous disposition. But this kink isn’t limited to popping; prior to actual ‘moment’ poppers will hump or ride the balloon, hugging or squeezing balloons to burst them at the critical moment.  And you thought you were weird.

2. Sploshers.  Here the kinkster gets excited when messy substances are deliberately and generously applied to their partners and themselves. This might mean whipped cream or mud, shaving foam or baked beans, but also extends to pudding, cake batter and paint.  Ever wondered why your sweetie has a tiled room in his basement? I’m guessing he likes to get pelted with cream pies to get off. And you thought taking a shower before sex was a hassle…? Try wiping pudding off the Tiffany lamp and the end table twice a week.

3. Infantilism. Most of us have some awareness  (and squickyness) around this one. The kinkster in question gets his (its mainly men) kicks from wearing diapers (nappies), donning kid style clothing (romper suits, oneseys’) and being treated like a baby. No, not how you usually treat him.. like an actual baby. Complete with diaper changes, baby talk and kids toys. The piece de resistance is…sorry.. I need to go take a shower.

4. Aptemnophilia (that’s amputee fetishists to you and me). Some people love the nubs. But it could be worse, they could have Apotemnophilia. That’s the one where they fantasize about losing their own limbs. Yikes. And keep him away from the bread knife.

5. Vores want to be eaten whole or be eaten whole themselves. Yep. That’s a ‘thing’. Beings whole new meaning to the words ‘ You’re so lovely, I could just eat you up’. On a good note, most people don’t act on it, they prefer to just look at pictures of cannibalism. Oh.. so that’s.. good?

6. Agalmatophilia – or a love of statues, mannequins, and immobility. And no, that’s not the dude who gets off from a partner who’s less than responsive. These folk are into fooling around with mannequins or things which can’t immobile. (different from necro’s.. they’re the ones into actual dead people). I’d say these guys really have been spending wayyyyy too much time at the ICU ward. But I’m sure there’s a different fetish for that too.

7. Mechaphilia – people who get sexually aroused by their cars or other machines. Hmm, Do I need to rethink my mechanics enthusiasm for Moto Guzzis?  Actually these folks tend to prefer helicopters, aeroplanes and cars (so that’s ok then).  In fact, in 2008, an American named Edward Smith admitted to ‘having sex’ with 1000 cars. Clearly might explain why Match.com features a lot of guys showing off their Madzas. Hmmmm.

8. Catheterophilia – A sexual perversion in which a catheter or other foreign body (e.g. swizzle stick, garter snake) be inserted in the urethra. Uh- good luck with that. I tapped out as soon as I heard the word ‘Catheter’.

9. Throwing up – (Emetophilia or also known as  Roman shower). Finally, a fetish designed for partners of celiacs! Emetophiles find the act of vomiting arousing; for them, the sequence of “spasm, ejaculation, relief” in vomiting is erotically charged. Other emetophiles are aroused by seeing, hearing, and smelling others vomit. (some of these guys must be elementary teachers). Some desire a partner who will vomit on them, while others wish to induce vomiting in a partner, or even force them to vomit. Bring on the wheat dude.. I am your new best friend!

10. And finally, farts. Eproctophilia is the rarer-than-rare sexual attraction to human flatulence. No idea why, but it exists. First documented case in 2013. Really. Only in America kids, only in America.

Suddenly that naked guy in the top hat and bow tie looks pretty tame doesn’t he?

It always feels like the first time

Pink FloydJezebel recently asked people to submit details of their first time in order to create a list of the top ten worst/best ‘losing my religion’ moments for the world to view. After reading a few and thanking my lucky stars that I a) didn’t end up with 3 venereal diseases like some poor sod and b) didn’t have to wrangle the foreign body part into cooperation (attention?) before attempting said act.. well I just couldn’t help but share.

The day I got my braces off was the day of my first kiss. Ever. Age 16, freed from the rubber bands and extensive metalwork of the last 2 years, I was free to smile, flirt and market my newly straightened teeth. Instead I just made out with the first guy who asked, at a party that night.

Jon was 6 ft 6 with a long brown ratty mullet and a face full of freckles. An aficionado of hemp clothing, patchouli oil and Pink Floyd, he wasn’t exactly my first choice, but hey, he was the first to ask. And ta-daaaa, therefore my first boyfriend. I had to stand on a stair to kiss him and I couldn’t reach any body part worth playing with, but hey.. he was all mine. I’d been reading trampy lady books since the age of 13, he seemed to be sporting the required equipment, so I was good to go.  In the absence of sisterly guidance or girlfriends who could have told me otherwise, I decided ‘what the hell?’  Bring on the heaving and panting, the big screaming orgasms and whatever they were trying to explain on page 86 of Lace. I wasn’t raised with any notion of sin that didn’t involve my mother’s directives (and she’d never directly told me not to have sex) so what harm could there be in doing the deed? It was all feeling good and we were over 16…

In hindsight I think he was more shocked than excited when I agreed to go ‘all the way’ the following Saturday (always a planner, me), but what’s a guy to do when a nubile virgin enthusiastically tells him ‘I’ll get the condoms’ and practically bounces in excitement when he says ‘ok’? Hell he’d only just kissed me and managed to squeeze a boob..he could hardly say ‘no’.

And so I showed up, armed with my condoms and every scene in every dirty book I’d ever read. From the naughty shop girl who strips down for her coworkers to the couple who take turns shaving each other.. I was ready for anything. Bring it on. Sexy time.

As per usual, Pink Floyds’ Dark Side of the Moon’ was on the stereo and the incense was a burnin’. After grinding into each other’s jeans on the living room sofa for half an hour, my patience was running thin so I dragged him upstairs to his bedroom and proceeded to strip. Actually strip sounds sexy.. this was not. No-one taking off a plaid flannel shirt before they have sex for the first time is sexy… lets just say ‘I got undressed’. Really fucking fast. I lay prone on his patchouli scented sheets (the thought of that smell still makes me retch) and waited for him to get down to business.

Apparently Jon thought he was the seducer at this point (despite the fact that I was a) already naked b) holding a condom in my hand and c) asking him to have sex with me, please. Not the brightest guy, Jon. Still, as he swayed around the bed, slowly undressed in what I suppose he considered a sexy dance I did have time to appreciate his largess. Well, he was 6 ft 6. He had largess.

By the time he’d  ‘seduced’ me with his striptease, I was starting to get a bit cold and frankly, thinking that the dry humping was a lot less hassle. But after donning his rubber  (the condom, not a full body suit), he got down to it. About 3 minutes in, I experienced my first orgasm. To which he looked shocked, appalled and then so horrified that he stopped…

‘You liar!’

‘What?’

‘You said you were a virgin’

‘I am!!! was??? am!!’

‘No you’re not. Everyone knows virgins can’t have orgasms’

‘Well I can’

‘You’re lying’

‘Not’

‘Am’

Ok, so in hindsight, we clearly weren’t mature enough to be engaging in the act since we ended up squabbling about my virginity’s status but hey, I didn’t know better.

The next day I learned quite how immature he actually was… as girls whispering ‘slut’ behind my back and Jon was slapped on the back and applauded for unearthing the school ‘slut’. My lack of girlfriends meant I was never appraised to the push and pull of 16 year old boys and girls. I didn’t know I was meant to say no.. or at least say no a lot more first, and sex ed never covered girls orgasms. Clearly I was abnormal. Apparently he’d have been more at home if I’d wept into a lace handkerchief and wailing about losing my ‘flower’.

I retired from sex as quickly as I’d started. I decided to wait until I could find man who wasn’t obsessed with playing me Stairway to Heaven and telling his friends about what he got up to when the lights were out. I had to wait a year to find one and he still insisted on playing me ‘Stairway to Heaven’… but he never told a soul what we got up to and I’ve never had more fun in a Mini Cooper.

Getting Naked: The Over 40 Edition

Boobs after 40

Getting Naked: The Over 40 Edition

There is a new guy on the horizon which means at some point, if things pan out, there might be nakedness.

Yes. These days I’m older, more mature, more discerning..plus he’s been out of the country for a while so that’s helped.  This is ‘taking it slow’ time. Get to know each other a bit. Make sure there’s something there. That there’s something other than chemistry, or making sure that there is chemistry at all.

If he can kiss and he doesn’t bring up whether a fetus is a sentient being, he’s probably in with a shot eventually.

Which brings me to a new dilemma. Nakedness over 40.

Yes I have been naked since I turned 40.. even I’m not that starved for attention. But at 41 and change, facing a ‘first time getting naked’ with someone new, you can’t help but take a quick mental stock of whats on offer… (and what probably should be sold at a reduced price for fast sale).

I’m athletic and I’ve not had kids, I eat ok (yay for celiac disease) and I’ve recently joined the cult of Cross Fit. So no, I’m not the Elephant Man by any means. But its also not the body of a 22 yr old. Or a 30 yr old. Or lately, even a 35 year old. Its clearly a body that is 40. And it kind of brings some challenges for the newly naked.

Skin

At 40, something seems to happen to your skin. Its as though all of the tension and tautness disappears overnight and in its place is this strange stuff which looks slightly rumpled at all times. Not quite cellulite, not pudge or fat… just different.  Like standing in a changing room with bad overhead fluorescent mirrors… all. the. time. And its everywhere. From your thighs to your knees, your stomach to your face… all slightly rumpled looking. On a positive note, it does mean that my bed sheets look crisp by comparison but largely this means the first naked time is going to be conducted by candle light or one extremely underpowered lamp. Do they make 20 watt bulbs? Or maybe I can just pray he doesn’t wear his contacts.

Breasts

At 20 my boobs were so high they got under my chin when I did a sit up and almost choked me. At 30 they could still sit up on their own, but at 41, my boobs have decided make like Jewish retirees and head to Florida. Again, I’ve not had kids (small mercies), so I don’t have to origami them into a bra (yet), but they’ll never ride unsupported for an evening unless I need to hide some class A drugs somewhere. Thank god for good underwear and missionary position. Note to self: The bra stays on for as long as possible (or at least until he’s on his third glass of wine).
God knows what dudes with moobs do. George Constanza was ahead of his time.

Butt

Most men love butts. But the butts they love are those they see on the computer screen and the porn site. The smooth, round, tanned peach-like pertness that is the 20 yr old model butt, maybe teasingly baring a cheek, hinting at toned tautness beneath.
I do not have this butt.
I have a butt that has been sat on for 40 years. It has ran and rode 1000s of miles and hasn’t let me down. It holds up my underwear and fills out my jeans. But it doesn’t look like any butts I see in Sports Illustrated. It never has. No matter how much I exercise, eat or don’t eat.
Which is why when I first get naked over 40 I’ll be doing everything from the front only. No rear views allowed. No-one wants or needs to see that other than my gastroenterologist. And even I need to be sedated for that.

‘Bits’

Here is the only light in the metaphorical tunnel of naked 40+ love. Because no matter how abused your body looks, no matter if your cellulite runs from your ankles to your neck and your ass has descended to the back of your knees, your ‘bits’ likely haven’t aged a day.
Unless you’re a guy, in which case…well… sorry. We don’t care that they look like grandpa as long as they work. And face it, they’ve never been pretty anyway.
Us ladies on the other hand.. something to be said for avoiding sun. Likelihood your bits are still as young looking as they were at 20. Just make sure you get rid of any grey. No-one wants to f-k grandma. So make the most of your assets.. dress them up…make them a feature…

Underwear

Over 40, women tend to swear off sexy in favor of comfort. Retire the thong and embrace the waist high cotton pants. No. Just.. NO. I’m on a one woman crusade to stop this alarming trend and if you’ve not read my thoughts on lingerie, now is the time. Lingerie isn’t for guys.. its our best weapon against not being in the mood, not feeling attractive, and yes, distracting from all the lumps and bumps you didn’t used to have. Lingerie can hike it up, in and even create something that isn’t there at all. Dress it up..Guys are simple and there’s not much one won’t do in the face of a well timed stocking, a thigh high or a corset.  Its like magic – the art of redirecting attention. Focus on this… not that. Even if it has to be crotchless panties.
(God I hope its not crotchless panties.)

Getting naked at 40 isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as it was at 20, and it requires a leap of faith that s/he can look past your aging exterior to your vibrant and unique personality.
And if not, you can now afford enough quality alcohol and mood lighting for neither of you to notice or care.

Casanova-esque

Casanova was renowned as a lover, a mass woo-er of women and historical whore monger.

Fact: Casanova slept with 116 women over 40 years.

Hmmm. Even doing the math in my brain, that’s actually not a horrific as you’d think. Basically that’s less than 3 new women bedded every year for 40 years. Which by my reckoning is roughly your average match.com dater having an average year.

Jesus.

If I’m single until I’m 65, this means I’ll have been single (and active) for 40 years. And I’m now 41, which means I’ve got 24 years to go. Which means – even if I have a dry year, maybe date one or two guys – whooooaaaa. Slutty McSlut Slut. I need to warn some friends of mine and reconsider my use of the term Casanova. Suddenly not quite so daunting.. actually just an active dater really.

Now thinking about being single for another 24 years.. maybe I need to consider a lifetime match.com membership or reconsider my view of the convent. Maybe Julie Andrews was onto something. She always looked happy and not the least bit Casanova-esque.  

The wisdom of Dan Savage

Just in time for Valentines day…
For those who’ve been trapped under a cultural rock for the last 14 years, Dan Savage is the arbiter of all that is sensible and matter of fact in matters of sex, love and relationships. A columnist with Seattle’s ‘The Stranger’ newspaper (and syndicated all over the US), Dan also hosts a weekly podcast (‘Savage Lovecast’) that has been infecting my ears now for hundreds of episodes and has taught me a lot about things I needed to know, stuff I wasn’t sure actually happened and proclivities I never needed to learn about (‘sounding’ anyone?). I’ve listened to Dan through my 30s and now my 40s, and I wish that his advice was mandatory listening for everyone over the age of 21. It certainly would have saved me a lot of time, heartbreak and trips to the doctor. And I might have been able to make a better run at some of my paramours. Here’s some of what you’ve been missing.

Good, Giving and Game (GGG):  Dan believes that anyone hitting the sheets who wants a repeat purchase, is responsible for being ‘GGG’. That is Good – or skilled – at what you’re doing; Giving – doing things which might be not be your favorite in order please your partner (and vice versa); and Game – up for trying new things within reason (and no, wearing a diaper isn’t reasonable for most people).  Based on some of my experiences I’ve encountered more than a few guys who weren’t even a single ‘G’ (lots of Game.. not much else). And based on feedback I’ve had to work on at least one of these via step by step instructions (he was a HR guy who begrudgingly gave me a B+ and a diagram for future use).  If you’ve got complaints in the bedroom, first consider whether you’re ‘GGG’ yourself.  And no, twice a year with the lights off probably doesn’t qualify.

DTMFA: Otherwise known as ‘Dump The MotherF-r Already’. On occasion if you’re partner isn’t ‘GGG, you might need to DTMFA.The applications are too many to list, but generally revolve around selfishness, passive aggressive behavior and wanting to sleep with your mother and sister. I tend to think that if you’re more sad than happy when this person is around, it’s probably a case of DTMFA. Clearly I’m an old hand at DTMFA – I practically have it tattooed on the inside of my eyelids.

The Campsite Rule: ‘Leave it better than you found it’ also applied to people. Which means we’ve all got a duty not be screw up our partners through lying, cheating, stretching out their good underwear or having them find you experimenting naked with a hanger and the Cusinart. Especially applied to the young, inexperienced or the ‘not f-d up yet’, don’t be the man or woman, who ruins it for the next guy (or girl).  Its a lofty goal. I’m sure I’ve left at least one guy with some permanent flinches though I hear he’s doing much better these days and he can actually wear a swim cap.

F-k First: My last and favorite, especially in light of tomorrow’s “holiday” (can you feel the scathing tone?). As many of you are heading out with plans for a large fois gras/ wine/ steak laden dinner, little thought is given to how you’ll feel by the time you get home and hit the hay for some loving. Not many people want to roll around when they’ve consumed an app, entree and their partners dessert, all washed down a bottle of Cab. By then most of us are cradling our food babies and hoping that he’s too tired to make the moves. According to Dan you’ve got it all wrong. F-k first – when you’re slightly hungry, sober(ish) and awake (and well before the food baby is conceived).. that way you can slide into the restaurant with a smug expression, worry free and ready to over-indulge to your hearts content.

And for those of you who want to hear more of Dan’s wisdom, have a question about your transgendered coworker or want to know how to handle that request to wear a diaper… check out the podcast. Your partner will be glad you did. 

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.

 Why?
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)

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.

What those dating profiles actually mean


In moments of boredom, solitude and basically when I need to tune out, I peruse the ‘man ads’. Not the ‘here’s Mr. Winkie, you wanna piece?’ ads, but the ‘looking for a date/ I’m witty and yet still strangely single’ type ads. After oooooo 5 years of this (it comes in waves, its not my second job or anything), I’ve discerned some general guidelines for sorting. Ignore at your peril.

” I have 2 wonderful children who are my life”
As of the mid 30s, this is a staple opener for the divorced guy. Take this to mean he’s a stay at home welfare dad, he’s boring and has little use for anything other than Sprout Tv and Tater Tots, or that he’s not actually looking for a women, but a ‘woman hole’ for Mr. Winkie. This guy hasn’t dated in a loooong time and is using his kids an excuse for having no friends and no social life.
Advice to Guys: Stating that you have no time for anything other than your kids in an ad for an actual, live woman pretty much cements your priorities out of the gate. We get it – they’re wonderful, they’re amazing and unique, but so are we. Next.

“Looking for that one special lady”
Now I know I”m no longer able to wear a mini skirt and I think Justin Beiber looks like a lesbian, but no one under the age of 80 likes to be referred to as a ‘lay-dee‘. Anyone who self identifies as a ‘lay-dee‘ is typically a early 40s transsexual who wants to host tea parties while listening to Chris De Burg or an upper class wannabe with Parade magazine china on the dining room wall. If I’m a lay-deethat makes this guy a mother obsessed wuss. What he actually wants is a ‘nice girl’ who doesn’t ever say the wrong thing, swear or god forbid, have sexual demands.
Advice to Guys: We are are ‘women’ ‘chicks’ ‘girls’ ‘dates’ or even ‘dude’. We may sometimes be ‘bitches’ but wait for the blue hair and estrogen cream before you call us ‘lay-dees‘. My vagina still works thank you.

No one can believe I’m single” 

We can. You’re on a dating site.
Advice to Guys: You’re on a dating site. We’re all mostly single. Many of us are surprised about this. Sharing your confusion as to this fact only reinforces your oblivion towards the real world.

“I’m just looking for that one right person”
I’m totally thrilled that you don’t subscribe the to polygamous lifestyle but I have to break it to you. There is no ‘one’ right person. There are many right people. The fact that you haven’t met any at your age indicates you might need to leave the house occasionally.
Advice for Guys: Don’t be so damn picky. 35 yr old blond, millionaire, large busted virgins are impossible to find outside of SecondLife or Russianbrideforsale.com.

“Looking for someone real”
This is my personal favorite as a online headline. You’re online. No one can see you. No one knows who you are. I could be a man. Or 12. Or living in Nigeria. My picture could be taken from a website for slimming pills. I could actually be Charles Manson. You’ll never know. Does anyone ever wake up and think ‘hey, I’m not actually real, I’m kind of fake’.
Advice for Guys: We’re all as real online as that picture you took back in 1989 leaning against that Porsche and posted yesterday. Kinda real. Sorta real. Really real. Take a chance, you might really like the ‘real’ me.

Sexting

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.

The 40ish guide to dating a cyclist: How to tell is your cyclist is juiced

Despite the predictable admissions from Lance Armstrong this month around his long term use of EPO, blood transfusions and HGH, I was surprised that so many people were surprised. The fact that half of the tour was disqualified in 2009 due to positive drug tests, and that many of Lance’s team mates themselves had been accused of doping apparently didn’t clue anyone into the ever-so-small- possibility that Lancelot himself might be slightly more ‘enhanced’ that other riders.
So today I wanted to help out other citizens who might be starting to question whether their own cyclist partner is ‘juiced’. Here’s a handy guide to checking.

1. Have you recently been unable to locate your partners balls?
Quick, while he’s asleep, check under the covers. If your partner is starting to resemble a Ken doll in the frontage department, he may be juicing. Sure, it gets cold this time of year, and yes, the current trend for skinny jeans has rendered many a genital to Flat Stanley proportions, but if finding them involves a head lamp or tweezers, he’s juicing.

2. Does your partner now weigh 200lbs less than he did in high school?
Sure, he’s now a cyclist and as we’ve noted, cyclists treat body fat like Gwyneth Paltrow treats the lower classes, something she can’t relate to and be rid of asap. But if old high school photos are more Michael Moore than Eddy Merckx, he might not be on the straight and narrow. If your partner’s arms and legs resemble that of an 8 year old girl and he’s riding every week.. he’s probably juicing.

3. Does your partner shave more than 3 times a day?
An interesting side effect of EPO, HGH and steroids is the increase in hirsuteness, or hair growth. Now if his balls are hidden by a new 70’s style afro, his chest hair has grown up over his back and is now carpeting his buttocks, it might be juicing.

4. Could you partner fill your bra better than you?
If you can count your partners abs yet he’s rocking a set of moobs, you definitely have a candidate. Not sure if its moob or pec? If he can hold a pencil under each one..its a moob. If his nips are more perky than yours.. its a moob. If you’re still reading this one looking for other indications..yes.. its a moob. He’s juiced.

5. When angered, do his clothes shred off and his skin turn a mottled green color?
Steroid abuse causes increased feelings of anger and uncontrollable rage. Unless he was exposed to gamma radiation during a laboratory experiment and loves to rock some ‘jorts’, he might be juiced.  If on the off chance that you are living with Bruce Banner, you might want to take yourself off for a pedi when he finds out that you ate the last of the Nutella.

6. Can you 45 year old partner ‘meet your needs’ several times in an hour?
A benefit that Lance clearly enjoyed was the impact of steroids on sex drive. All that testosterone landed him with 5 kids, 2 wives and a pop star ex. All while riding literally 100s of miles every week, 1000s of miles during for 7 consecutive summers and supporting Livestrong in raising $500 million to support cancer victims (what have you done since 2001?). Given his travel schedule alone, how he managed to procreate speaks to some serious juicing. Most 43 yr old guys can’t even muster enthusiasm for some gymnastics after a hard week in the office.

7. Have recent vacations with your partner involved short trips to France, Austria or Spain?
Sure you’ve always wanted to go hiking in the Alps and its lovely to meet some locals, but if your last few vacations have involved extended day hikes to remote areas of the Pyrenees and a highly excited spouse you might want to check those ‘salami’ that Klaus gave you. No-one gets that excited about air dried meats, he’s juicing.

And finally, if your spouse has 1 ball, 7 TdF Championships, multiple team mates accusing him of cheating, has been providing spot checks to the Cycling Federation for the last 12 years and just called Oprah for a quick chat…. I think you know where I’m going. 

Bridget Jones: The lost pages..

I recently read that Helen Fielding is writing a third installment of the popular Bridget Jones series but that the script was rejected by all actors (yes, even Hugh Grant), as needing more work. Since Renee Zellweger still looks vaguely breakable, I’m assuming its going to take a while. Therefore I have decided to share a day from Bridget’s life as she heads into her 40s.

Weight: 134lbs
Cigs: 0 (decided to stop smoking until I am 60 due to horrid lines appearing on upper lip)
Days until I can have a fag again: 6,939
Days until next lip wax: 72

January 15 9:00am
Hurrah! am celebrating 7th wedding anniversary with Mark Darcy today. Did quick Google and apparently copper, wool and desk sets are gifts for 7 years. Humph. Not terribly romantic to receive frying pan or jumper as gift from loved one. Not sure what desk set is, but since do not own desk, assuming will not be gift. Wonder if involves protractor and ruler? Not much use for that given that 99% of day spent reading WedMD and Lainey Gossip.
Cannot believe has been 7 years though Mother keeps reminding me on weekly basis of declining years and need to generate babies. Think she may have better record of menstrual cycle than me.
Thing is, not sure about babies. Are very cuddly and sweet, but do seem to scream a lot and vomit on things. Also, all friend had babies in 20s and 30s. Think that eggs may be old and dried out by now?
Oh no. What if results in giving birth to Benjamin Button type baby? Would be very confusing. Have enough problems remembering birthdays and ages, never mind in reverse.
Also wondered if body will recover from baby growing. Ok for friends who had very stretchy skin in 1990s but wonder if would be left with large empty skin sacs after baby born. Yikes! Potentially would need to roll up stomach or fold in origami style to fit into skinny jeans. Too scary to think about. Need a fag.

9:01am
Damn forgot about fag retirement. Will have biscuit instead. Or maybe a couple. Hob Nobs or Jaffa Cakes? Both. Have noticed that Mark Darcy starting to grow strange tire of skin around middle lately. Must remember to stop buying biscuits. Do not want Mark to develop breasts in manner of friends husbands. Would be mortifying to have husband with bigger breasts than me. Still very cuddly. Especially in bed. Actually have been mainly cuddling lately. Wonder if strange tire development impacting desire for sex? Must remember to look up aphrodisiac foodstuffs on Google for tonight. Would be weird not to have love making on anniversary. Wonder if Mark has impotence. Would be very hard to satisfy mother’s requirement to push grand kids on swings if so. May need to inform mother of barren status to reduce number of calls made asking on status of uterus. Is most disconcerting to be told by mother to run over to court to seduce husband while sitting in office. Coworkers think mother is madam or pimp.

3:00pm
Meeting with boss concluded with request for me to arrange coffee at next meeting. Humph. Do not think appropriate request for very important senior editor. Sometimes think that boss does not consider advanced age and experience when organizing catering. Wish that had old timey ‘char lady’ with tea on trolley in office. Would limit the number of times I need to walk back from Starbucks with 8 different orders of latte. Not sure that delivering coffee to meetings will help with promotion opportunity.  Slimey Jed promoted 2 years ago and he only 28! Wonder if career is over and will be spending remainder of career fetching coffee. If so, may consider investing in tray and apron. Latte on Whistles pantsuit is regular occurrence. Can envision self at 65 pushing coffee cart around office. Wonder if will still make Hob Nobs then? May need to stock up. Life without Hob Nobs  inconceivable. Damn. Worried about longevity of Hob Nobs. Did not think that biscuits would play major role in 2013. Ooooo. Wonder if pregnant?

8:00pm
Phew! Am not pregnant (though am now proud parent of case of Hob Nobs).  But am also still waiting for Mark to come home from office. Sad that personal celebration of love and fidelity put aside for getting an Iraq boy out of Guantanamo, however can see point. Guantanamo probably not have Hob Nobs. Marks phone is turned off. Wonder if not actually arguing for return of Amed to Mosel but instead whipping Amanda Whitehead (cruel, thin intern) around office in manner of 50 Shades of Grey? Mark does have jolly big frown. Maybe has built office dungeon for late night tying up of interns? Would explain why love making not priority these days.
Oh no, do not have cleavage to be divorcee! Must try calling again.
No! Phone still off.
If affair in progress will need to move  in with Magda and Jeremy.  Would be forced to sleep in Ikea bunkbed and share bathroom with 7 year old and 11 year old. Can imagine trying to hold door closed while taking bath, and having fancy shampoo used to clean dog. Do not want to sit down to dinner in manner of singleton and be pitied. Plus ‘divorcee’ sounds very slutty and am too tired to be slutty these days. To be frank, like to read a book in bed at 9pm. Wonder how divorcees stay awake on dates? Maybe why they are always meeting in coffee shops. Do not think would be successful divorcee as do not like coffee.
If divorced would need to do online dating which would clearly not work since do not have any photos of self that do not feature a) bridesmaid dress, b) wedding dress or c) drunken leer. (though later wedding photos show both wedding dress and drunken leer, plus a lot of leg if I’m going to be honest). Hmm. Plus dating at 41 means would be dating weirdos that no one wanted or man who already had family. Not sure how would feel about dating man with children. On plus side would have instant family, resulting in cessation of mothers calls about babies. On negative side, would have to spend weekends at soccer fields and swimming pools. And hair gets very frizzy in chlorine. Oh dear. What if they didn’t like me? Would be scary ‘step mother’ in manner of Cinderella. Sad. Do not want to be evil stepmother figure.

10:00pm
Hurrah! Mark home and assured me that he is not having affair with intern or other office mates. Also Amed will be going home to Mosel by end of month! Hurrah! Am saved from divorce scenario. Mark got quite excited after a few Hob Nobs and we ended up rolling around on living room carpet. Haven’t done that since singleton days. Have still got it!

February 15 9:00am 
Oh shit. Might be pregnant.

The 40ish guide to dating a cyclist: The reality

So you’ve considered the upside, decided that yes, you want to find your very own Armstrong and have considered the downsides without pause. A final snapshot before you start amending your Match.com profile or hanging out at the local bike store. The reality of dating a cyclist might be that cold shower you need. 

David was a cyclist of the racing variety, who resided in Boulder with no discernible source of income, a garage full of high end bikes and the body of a Greek god. What he lacked in career motivation and intelligence became irrelevant as soon as I checked out his butt on our first date.
Lord thank you Jesus Christ amen…. my one and only religious experience arose the first time we fooled around and I got the entire David naked experience. An ex-Israeli solider, David didn’t subscribe to the ‘waifish upperbody’ of the typical racer and liked to work out because ‘guns are heavy’. Did I mention that cyclists are all psychotic sadists? Nothing like rolling around with a guy who kept his guns armed and available at the bedside. (though with hindsight, David’s questionable intelligence did lead to some spectacularly bad decision making, including leaving ammo next to the dogs bed. Poor Coen). Regardless, he was beautiful. A breathtakingly beautiful, slightly psychotic man.

After helping stop a former boyfriend from stealing my car (don’t ask), he decided that I needed a man in my life and he was it. After lessons on shooting, how to kill a man with a Bic pen and how to have sex on a yoga ball (not sure how that was part of the military training, but hey…it was fun), David cemented his role as boyfriend by asking me to ‘go steady’.  He liked his women strong, fierce and apparently, from the 50s.

Dating a beautiful man was new to me, I’ve typically been more attracted to skinny geeks than Greek gods, but I was smitten. As a historically successful dater of cyclists, I figured I had that part down pat, but nothing had prepared me for David’s level of 2 wheeled obsession. 

David didn’t have a job, (something that mystified me but was later explained as the US version of ‘landed gentry’), and therefore his entire life revolved around his amateur racing status. He rode. And rode. And rode. And recovered from riding. And rode some more. My role, as girlfriend, was to support these efforts including;

  • Coming over to his house to provide him with post ride massages (gladly done and armed with warm oil and camera…why?….are you kidding me?)
  • Ensuring his diet included the optimum balance of low GI, high protein, high energy grains and proteins (factoring in his Jewish aversion to all things non kosher, diary or anything with taste)
  • Joining him in nursing his single Monday evening beer (the reward for his 250 mile week), and a rehashing of his performance and bike stats
  • Standing on the sidelines of every local and regional racing event through the spring, summer and fall months to watch him fly by for a single second
  • Watching old VHS tapes of TdF, Giro and all one day classics from 1982-1998, complete with his assessment on team strategy, bike components and individual racer stats
  • Providing morale and physical support during race crashes, pulled muscles, snatched victories and slightly elevated temperatures

Why you might ask? What kind of idiot is such as doormat? Well I was 29 and obsessed by the sight of him naked, and yes, I did like cycling (plus I was getting to be a really good shot with his Ruger). David also spent his entire life on a bike or in bed, so it kind of was a win win for me..that is, until the day ‘it’ stopped working. Yes, the one downside of spending his days on a carbon seatpost, burning 10,000 calories at a time was a huge tailing off of desire and ability to… well.. exercise with me.

‘Yeah.. it sometimes happen mid season.. when I’m riding a lot’

‘for how long?’

‘oh.. the rest of the season’

‘which ends……?’

‘….in 3 months’

‘….!?’

‘.. but then its time for cyclecross so it doesn’t bother me…’

‘…@#$#%&**’

I can take obsessiveness, masochism, high maintenance diets and yes, even freezing my ovaries off on the sideline of the local crit in a snowstorm…but in the words of Meatloaf, ‘..but I won’t do that’.
Plus now I knew how to kill a man with a Bic, I was ready to get back on Match.com.

The 40ish guide to dating a cyclist: The challenges

While I love nothing more than a night out with a hard bodied cyclist, you have to accept that these rare creatures come with their fair share of quirks. Its not all thighs of Thor and lactic acid massages.  While the benefits of dating a cyclist are profoundly enticing (and I should know, I’m on my 20th year of dating them), the cyclist boyfriend should come with a warning sign. This ain’t no civilian.

Cyclists are into S&M. Lets not beat around the bush. All cyclists are sadomasochists. Sitting on a seat of carbon with, maybe, 5mm of padding for 6 hours while battling a 15mph headwind on a 4% incline isn’t most people’s idea of fun. That these guys do it for fun.. well its sick. They love to feel pain, potentially to the point where they throw up, can’t breath or even have a small stroke. That they dream, eat and sleep this for 6-9 months of the year, even weirder. Not only do they derive pleasure from freezing their nuts to their leg, or losing 20% of their body weight in sweat during a single ride, they love watching others suffer even more. Find me a cyclist who doesn’t like watching racing and I’ll show you a weekend cruiser rider. Watching Andy Schleck painstakingly grind his way up a 7% incline on the 1100th mile of the alpine stages of the 3 week Tour De France, veins popping, legs like cocktail sticks.. your average cyclist has never been happier. In fact he’s downright bouncing in his seat with enjoyment. The pleasure of watching someone almost dying on 2 wheels.  If its not uphill, they’re obsessed with replaying the crashes, hoping for bloodied limbs, crumpled carbon and hopefully, hopefully, a protruding bone.  What this means for you if you’re dating one? Well, each comes with their own peculiarities but every single one enjoys pain for fun, so bear that in mind when you approach the bedroom. This is not a soft and sweet lovey dovey guy, no matter what his mother thinks. Be armed, be prepared and maybe buy some padded shorts.. for him… or you.

Malfunctioning parts. A sad downside to dating a lifelong cyclist is the prevalence of malfunctioning parts. No, not his gear shifter. Give me someone who cycles regularly, one who may have raced at some point and I can bet something is slightly malfunctioning down there. Whether from an ill timed dismount, a bad crash, too many hours one summer or a simply spending 20 hours a week sitting on what amounts to an aluminum bar .. they’re all slightly damaged goods in the pants department. Can’t get it up, can’t keep it up, can’t get it to go down, can’t make anything happen, frostbite (yes, I saw it), and even scarring (even scarier)… all those hours in the saddle not only numbs the brain, it can seriously affect the guys ability to make shit happen. Thankfully most recover with a little time off the bike, (and in some case, stitches) but remember that what you gain in thigh strength, you lose in functionality. But hey, as long as his fingers aren’t frostbitten and he can still talk… you can tend to work around any temporary issues. 

Psychosis.  If they’ve still got working parts and they’ve not scared you out of the bedroom, you probably need to know that all cyclists are basically psychotic.  Most guys are happy riding their bikes ooo 100-120 miles in a weekend and calling it good. For no reason. (Ok, some guys race, I get it but largely most don’t). During this time, your average cyclist has envisioned races he’s won, beaten his ‘best time’ on imaginary legs of some nefarious stage race (the Tour de Boulder?), he’s overtaken multiple imaginary opponents and he’s taken his ‘training’ one step closer to….. well… next weekend.  All in his head. Psychotic.  Not only does your average cyclist compete in his head, he’s also competing via his gear (‘I need a new wheelset, responsiveness isn’t there’). He’ll spend hours on the laptop researching the best, lightest, ‘fastest’ seat post (you know, the thing that doesn’t move),  in order to compete against himself in an invisible race. He’ll spend thousands on new components in the quest of making his bike the lightest, fastest, coolest (cos its important to be hip at 45mph), best vehicle OF ALL… in order to ride from A to B and back to B for no reason. As I said psychotic. Your role, should you choose to accept it, is not to question why, but simply smile and be glad that its this and not hookers.

You will never be the skinny one. Finally, the make or break for most women. Dating a cyclist means that you will never be told that you look a little thin, that you’re too muscular (unless its your arms, big arms really freak them out), or that you need to gain some weight. Nor will you ever feel slim and lightweight in his arms. With the body fat of the average body builder and the bulk of a salamander, your average cyclist is basically skin and muscle with a soft inch somewhere between waist and dick. The rest is ripped, streamlined and hard. Your cyclist boyfriend will love you like his 1982 Le Monde no matter what weight you are, but some less warm hearted guys will notice a few extra pounds and question when your training season kicks off. And unless you’re similarly committed to the bike, you’ll never look at your naked selves wrapped around each other and think ‘oooo I look so skinny next to him’. More likely you’ll be wondering ‘ I wonder how many hours of cycling it would take me to get that butt?’ If you have body issues, want to feel like the delicate flower that you are or need to feel overwhelmed with brawn, dating a cyclist is not for you.

Which is just fine with me, cos I need a new one.