No Sex in the City

Like many chicks my age, I powered through my 20s inspired by that New York fantasySEX-AND-THE-CITY-3-PLEASE-NO of cosmos, heels and relationships, Sex In the City. I never went so far as to call myself ‘a Miranda’ or quote lines from the show, I do credit Sarah Jessica Parker for introducing me to the beauty of Manolo Blahniks. Kim Cattrall agreed with me on matters of sex, and Cynthia Nixon made it ok for me to be a bit obsessed with work. Kristen Davis was everyone I ever hated from high school…but hey, no show is perfect.

But when a friend of mine mentioned she was in a sort of ‘Sex in the City’ dysfunctional relationship.. it got me thinking about my oh-so SNTC life as singleton in Denver Colorado.

Cut to…

Clear blue Colorado sky, musings out of the window and she poses the question ‘what’s up with men over 40?’. She then realizes that’s stupid question, and she’s got better things to think about, and goes to the dry cleaner.

Passing a shop window, she stops dead and squeals at the shoes in the window. ‘Meee likey’, pivoting into the store while pronouncing loudly ‘don’t let me buy anything’. Everyone pointedly ignores her. She leaves with yet another pair of sensible heeled black boots.

Its Saturday night and she’s standing in front of her closet wondering which outfit to wear that says ‘I’m available.. but not too available’ and ‘I’m sexy.. but not in a cougarish, desperate kind of way’. She spins around clutching her favorite sweat pant/ hoodie combination and wonders what’s new on Netflix.

She’s on a date and it seems to be going well. She tries to remember which bra she’s wearing and wonders what he looks like naked. The anticipation is incredible and she’s looking forward to some R-rated fun. He tells her he has dinner at 8 with friends. She never hears from him again.

The guy she’s still half in love with from 2 years ago appears in her email inbox. Her heart beats wildly. Does he want to start something up? Has he realized how shitty he was and wants to apologize? Am I really ready to go through all that again? God I miss him. She opens the email to see a link to a Bruce Springsteen interview and the immortal words ‘thought you’d like this’. He never emails again.

She gets a great opportunity to improve her finances, working for a world-renowned company in an incredibly glamorous role. She takes the job and its hard work. No one gives her shoes.

Sarah Jessica Parker and HBO… you owe me money bitches. Or at least a pity fuck.

Summer Lovin’

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

John Travolta was never so wrong.

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

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

To those happily partnered, let me explain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I’m suing John Travolta.

The family you choose

friendsI once had a brush with death.

Some sore patches on my leg emerged a few weeks after a surgery. Ignoring them until I was limping. I headed to my doc, who assured me, “no big deal”. Phew.

2 days later , out on a run I realized I couldn’t breath. My leg was throbbing and I suddenly remember a former friend who dropped dead while running due to a blood clot. I walked the rest of the way and headed to the doctor. 3 hours later I was told my weird sore patches had actually been signals of a 3 ft long blood clot that reached from my ankle up through my groin and up towards my heart. 1 hour later I  learned I had a pulmonary embolism (PE) in my lungs;

“But the BEST PE you could get” according to my hematologist.

Not really thinking about what this meant, I headed off on a date.

Only later, when telling friends, did I realize how lucky I was. How my bike fitness had probably helped break up the PE in my lungs.. and how ‘heading off on a date’ wasn’t probably the best response to a fairly major medical emergency.

That’s what your support network, aka your friends and friends of friends, are there for when you’re single. To remind you not to be a half-wit. To point out the sometimes obvious. To make sure you’re taking care of yourself.

Married folk have husbands who do that (or other moms who nurture everyone).  They kill the spiders, know when you’re sick and support you no matter what.

Singletons, well we have friends for this (or we do it ourselves in the case of those terrifying spiders). These friends become our chosen family. They’re the ones who we lean on when we’re feeling down, who support us, and who help us out in a crisis. They’ll listen to your wittering, and hand you a drink or a bar of chocolate when you need it. Family is family and while your biological family might be awesome, for many of us it’s not practical to ask them to pick you up from the hospital when they live 4,000 miles away.

I love my chosen family. They consist of my riding gals, current and former work colleagues, friends or friends, Facebook friends, old neighbors, school mates and the random people you meet as part of your everyday routine.

This week I lost one of my chosen family. The guy who calmed me down with whiskey after a slippery motorcycle ride. Waited with me for first dates. Raised his eyebrows at some of them. But who always, always had a smile and a ‘what’s up?’ for me as neighbor patron. I spent my last night in Denver at his bar, and many evenings collecting my thoughts and shooting the shit over a nightcap.

It’s the first time I’ve lost someone who propped me up. Who was there, Who provided a meeting place for other singletons and people seeking a chosen family. The oddballs, the tattoo and motorcycle nut cases, the Denver homegrown, those who loved a rockabilly band on a Saturday night. Or just to sit at a bar and chit-chat about nothing.

Today I’ve never felt more protective and appreciative of those who remain. To lean on, to reach out to, to care if they don’t hear from you, and who remind you of whats important. The surprising loss, and even more surprising impact on my heart, is a good reminder of the importance of our chosen family.

To my chosen family, much love.

RIP Gary Lee Bomar.

 

The fishing is kind of ..swampy…

swampNow that I’ve changed the options on my dating profile to include leftovers dudes up to 55, I have to admit, my options seem to have increase 10 fold. The number of winks, likes, emails and stalkers is currently up into triple digits and while I’m going to wait a while until I venture out with another 50 something for a first date (I need to recoup some dignity after being ignored for a Pirates game), here’s a choice select of the options currently rotating through my ‘Viewed Me’ list. Got to say, the pool might be bigger.. but it’s certainly filled with ‘interesting’ fish.

Urbansoldier77

Now lets not judge. I am sure Urbansoldier77  is more than just a gun-toting NRA member. Sure, his 23 photos do feature him in various hunting attire, armed with multiple firearms (including something that looks like a prop from The Expendables) And yes, he does seem very proud to showcase his dead animal collection, but I think there’s more to this guy. I mean I’m a little nervous about the snake tattoo that wraps from his wrist up to his neck, complete with dagger and dripping blood, but maybe its a Asian art thing? His arms do look a little  ‘roidish’ but he claims that if ‘you can’t stand the pathetic sight of your boyfriend squirming and straining to get the jar open’ he’s the guy for me. Now I’ve been chief jar opener in my house for the last ummm 28 years, so I’m thinking ‘no’ but ‘thanks’. He likes to adventure down a trail, kayak, workout (clearly) and …play wheelchair rugby?. ….. oh. So I guess that explains the arms then. Suddenly all that gun-toting and hunting takes on a whole new element. How does one hunt in a wheelchair? I mean… I am seriously impressed and depressed. You really must want to kill things to get yourself up at 3am and wheel yourself down a deer trail to kill Bambi. I’m not sure that’s a passion I really can’t get my head around.

Doss std

Now I don’t think that ‘Doss’ really checked out his profile name, but putting aside the venereal disease associations, I decided anyone with such a ballsy name had to have something going for them. After all he gave me several likes and sent me an email. Lets have a look. So Dos is 54 and a widower, (awesome – someone loved him once), loves gardening (don’t we all), carries a few extra pounds…(not ideal but…), is 5 ft 0″ (wowser) and “is 75% handicapped”. Oh.  WTF with the handicapped dudes and my profile??? Do they NOT see the cycling photos? The backpacking photos? My expressed love of hiking? I’m sorry Dos.. you might be awesome (even though you state that you have ‘few friends’), but you didn’t even promise to open my jars. I think I’m leaning towards Urbansoldier on this one.

Rexclambake

Rex, I have to say, is a good looking dude. In a sort of rugged, beardy, “I’m off to hike the Himalayas next week” way. He’s 47 and never been married (hmmm issues?), but he is 6 ft 5 and no wheelchair in any photos. Now apparently he ‘makes a fantastic pea soup’ which makes me a little nervous .. does Rex considers soup a big attractor for woman? If that’s his big ‘in’ then I’m gonna have to go with ‘pass’. I mean, I make a pretty good pea soup myself. But hey, lets give the guy a chance. ‘I like to get lost in new cities’ (don’t you have Google, Rex?), and ‘can wander for days’ (seriously dude, Google maps…). Rex is also… oh.. ‘a Fire Captain with the Antarctic Fire Department’. So not so much ‘based in Denver’ as ‘checking out Denver from 13,000 miles away. Now Rex, I’m thrilled that you think I’m a winner, but even I have my limits on long distance relationships. And 13,000 miles might be it.

Paganbeast57

I am not kidding. A man decided to call himself Pagan beast online and email me a note saying ‘What do you think?’. O-kaaaaay. Lets see what’s on offer. No photo (bummer) but his headline is ‘Sunset surprises and full moon fantasties (sp)’ Seems Pagan beast is making up for his lack of spelling with some lunar driven imagination. Why I’m suddenly thinking about hairy men and bonfires is beside the point.. maybe there’s something else? Except there isn’t. Pagan beast’s entire profile is this:

.And.

Wowser. That’s some Buddhist shit right there. It’s so everything and nothing. All encompassing and yet telling me absolutely nothing about him. WTF dude? Who responds to this shit????? Sorry Pagan Beast. You might eclipse (geddit?) all other men, but I can’t realistically respond to “.And.”

So you’ve dipped your toe into my over 50 dating pool. The water’s kind of funky no? 2 guys in wheelchairs, a dude in the Antarctic and a Pagan weirdo. I think I’m gonna wait around a while until the scum clears and I can actually see some kind of fish before heading out on date #2 of the fall. Until then all I’m reeling in is tin cans.

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.

 

Touch

I was talking with a friend this weekend and, after we’d exhausted all usual topics – work, promotions we won’t be getting, her dates, my dry winter – the topic of boyfriends came up. After 6 months of nothing, I’m quite used to an estrogen driven life. Sure I catch the occasional taco with a guy friend, or stumble over an ex (Denver is too small), but largely these days my life is kind of testosterone ‘lite’. I can’t remember the last time I had a date in Denver, with someone who lived here, so I’m somewhat used to it. But what I can’t quite get to used to is the complete and utter lack of touch.

No, not that kind of touch.. just, well, touch.

When you’re dating or living with or married to someone, your days are spent touching. The casual hand hold, sofa slouch and even just a hand on your back as you are passed in the kitchen. Think about it.. when was the last time you were touched?   If you’re with someone, I bet it was hours or maybe days ago (hey I remember arguments resulting in the Berlin wall down the bed). But you touch all the time.. platonically, ironically, sexually, or just to get into the bathroom dammit.

In the 90s’ ‘Romanian Baby Attachment Disorder’ was defined when studies of infants adopted from the orphanages showed a startling inability to form attachments with their new parents. As institutionalized babies, they didn’t receive adequate touch, and therefore never really learned how to connect. The studies found that just being held or touched by anyone on a regular basis, helped mitigate the disorder later in life.  Lack of touch literally fucked them up.

Now I’m no Romanian baby, but I kind of understand where they were coming from. As humans we’re a social group, and touch is a vital part of being alive, of feeling connected and well, noticed.
As a single person living alone, the only thing that touches me lately is my dog (no, not the pervy kind). Throw in a British upbringing and a history of firm handshakes over hugs, well, touch isn’t something that I’d actually really thought was that important. Until it went away completely.
When my friend asked me about the last time I was touched, I had to think… 6 months ago? And suddenly felt unaccountability sad. No person has touched me in 180 days? That’s got to be unhealthy right?

Growing up I spent more than my fair share of time in a headlock, linked arm with someone or even just sitting on someone’s shoulders to see the band better. We held hands, pulled each other around and often found ourselves slumped against each other.  But as we age in the West, its less and less acceptable to touch people as you go about your day. We shirk away the guy in the airplane seat next to us, the person in line who bumps us, or even the guy who hands us our change.  We seem afraid of touching each other. Sure, we hug our friends on occasion and we might get a punch in the arm from a cute guy (or maybe that’s just me?) but largely we reserve our touches (no, not the pervy kind) for those we love.
180 days without skin on skin, or even skin on thermal? God that’s depressing.

‘Oh poor you!’ my friend said as she gathered me in for a hug.

Nothing like a charity hug to make you feel even more like a loser.

Maybe this is what I’m missing lately.. not the dating or the dinners, the sex, or the kind words.. maybe what I miss is the touch. The casual leg thrown across mine, the arm on arm contact or just a hand on hand. And that’s harder to find than you’d think.  I tried to touch a guy friend of mine on his arm a few days ago as we walked (platonically) around the park. He reacted as though I’d just proposed marriage. And babies. And had declared love for him. My embarrassment at his horrified reaction made the walk home excruciatingly painful. Guess I won’t be hanging out with him any more.
The next step could be one of my boomerangs, but I can imagine the text messages;

‘Do you want to hang out?’

‘Y? U hot for me?’

‘Umm..’

‘How about some Gatorade fueled lovin’? You know you want it’

‘Actually … ‘

‘….I kind of… want…. to hold your hand?’

Form a queue ladies and gentleman, form a queue. In the meantime I’ll be booking myself a massage.

Concessions.. and not the popcorn variety


I’ve often been accused of being too flexible. The Queen of the concession. Driven by an insatiable need to be liked, I’ll be whatever and whoever you want me to be. I’ve become many different people through the years with the sole aim of appealing to someone or fitting into their idea of who they wanted. I’ve been Disco Rachael, Indie Rachael, Homemaker Rachael, Introvert Rachael, Extrovert Drunk Rachael, Fashionista Rachael, Adventure Planning Rachael, Workaholic Rachael and far too many times, Spineless Rachael.

Appeasing other people is how I wound up studying something ‘useful’ instead of something I loved, got into rollerblading (thankfully short-lived, though I’m sure a few people have flown to Vancouver BC to explicitly do something they hate), bought 100 year old houses I was ambivalent about, lived with a dog who liked to bite people and who my husband preferred to me, sat through every friggin’ Star Wars movie, moved to Seattle despite a hatred of rain, treated entire families I’d never met to Indians tickets, listened to music which made me consider figurative suicide.. the list is frighteningly long. I’ve thrown away friendships, rearranged my life, purged my bank account.. all in the name of being someone else. Someone you’ll like more.

Sometimes I lost myself completely and the outcomes weren’t pretty when I finally resurfaced. No, this isn’t ‘natural evolution’ for me, but a series of ‘sure’ ‘ok’ ‘sounds fun’ ‘ I love Yo La Tenga’ until suddenly you can’t remember what you really like to do, who you were, who you are. It’s a long process to get back to ‘you’ and you become weirdly protective of yourself as a result.

So after a few years of living single and selfishly, my desire to bend, to make every concession to who I am has all but been eliminated. I am firmly myself. I like to hike. I like getting dirty in the yard. I like restaurants with tablecloths. Oh, and I hate Yo La Tenga.  With a passion.

While I’m still willing to flex to accommodate the things I can’t change or to try something that sounds fun, I’ve stopped short of becoming a different person to please or appeal to someone. It’s made me a stronger, more confident person. But it also creates somewhat of a nervous knee jerk reaction to making concessions. If I concede, change my plans, flex what I consider appropriate.. am I giving up myself? Am I returning to old habits? Am I losing myself again? It’s a terrifying prospect after how much I fought to reclaim who I am.

This month I keep running into that fear. After a sleepless night, arguments in my head at 2am and a reassessment of a situation, I decided to make a big concession – not who I am, or what I value – but still a concession. I’m still not sure whether I can do this – be myself and have it be enough. But I can’t be friends with someone, be with someone, work with someone and not flex, be willing to do things which I don’t like or don’t want. Its just not possible and I don’t want to turn into the weirdo spinster with 17 little dogs who works at the charity shop.
The questions remains whether I have the courage to flex without losing myself. I guess as long as I stay away from Yo La Tenga.. thats a start.

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)

Online Dating Sites: A review

Online Dating Sites: A Review

If you’ve been reading this blog for more than 1 second you’ll understand that I’m no stranger to the ‘online dating’ scene. I actually can lay an embarrassing claim as an ‘early adopter’ when I joined Yahoo Personals back in 1999.  Yes..stop counting.. I’ve been looking for a date for 14 years.

(Pause for acute introspective moment and to call therapist for urgent appointment)

So if you’re thinking about online dating or you’ve heard about a new online site that might, just might hold the key to finding the perfect person for your unique and special needs.. kick back and fix yourself a drink. I’ve done all the hard work for you. And I have the stories to prove it.

I’ll start in chronological order, but since Yahoo personals no longer exists.. drum roll…

Match.com.

I’ve joined Match more times than I can count. Largely due to my naive hope that I wouldn’t need more than 1 month to find a suitable date, I only ever sign up for a month.. which ridiculously means I’ve quit and restarted enough times to have qualified for lifetime free membership. Which I actually turned down because it would be admitting to this sickness and sense of hope that I can’t seem to shake.  Based on zero fact, I believed that match.com contained my future partner and well, based on volume, it probably does. I just can’t find him.
Match.com is known by many guys as a place to find hook ups and by women as the place with the most guys. Unless you’re ‘paper bag’ material, you can guarantee that you’ll have a date by Tuesday. Who with and the state of his mental health is up to you. On the pro side, there are hundred and hundreds of guys, and even as I’ve aged, I can still find a few cute ones who don’t turn my stomach or make me want to clean my Beretta. I have 3 girlfriends who have met their husbands on Match which is why I keep signing up… (all of them are sane, good looking, employed professionals).
On the con side, its a second job to root through all of the potentials and few guys tend to actually read your profile as a result. Despite my clear request for ‘athletic people only’ about 50-75% of my respondents haven’t worn a pair of sneakers since high school and an alarming amount weigh more than my car. I have dated a few, but the amount of fresh divorcees (with little imagination) means that baggage count for those over 40 is high.  You also find that many of the guys – even those into their 50s – still express a ‘maybe’ or ‘definitely’ on the kids front which is ambitious to say the least. I’ve since learned that its a ‘tactic’ to not eliminate those chicks who actually want kids… (though I’m sure that leads to some interesting conversations right around month 3).
Conclusion: If you want a fun night out with a stranger over drinks, and an inevitable story to share with friends go right ahead. If you’re seriously looking to meet someone to date long term.. skip it.

eHarmony.com

After a futile period on Match, I was advised by girlfriends in other cities to try eHarmony. ‘Much better quality of guys’ ‘no losers’  and ‘these guys are actually looking for someone’. Hmmm sounds better. I signed up for my typical 1 month period and with light heart, figured this one would work.
Now whether its the Denver demographic or my friends tastes I’m not sure, but eHarmony in my city seems populated by middle aged short guys with 3 kids and a need for a free live in nanny/ mother.
And to get to that point.. lord. Talk about an investment of time. You’re not allowed to actually email people until you’ve ‘asked’ them a series of inane questions about which way they vacuum or which season they like best (who the f-k cares?) so it can be actually weeks before you have a chance to engage in any actual conversation with this person. To me, this feels too much like dating an inmate who you found on craigslist. A big investment of time and energy in order to … maybe… email? I think it might take a few months to get to an actual date so I’ve never  actually had a date as a result of an eHarmony connection. I can’t be bothered to care whether ‘Kevin’ prefers the ocean over the mountains and how this feeds into our compatibility I have no clue. For me its tended to involve smart alec comments and performance in the sheets. By eHarmony standards I might get to that by next Christmas. Not only is the process long but on several occasions I’ve logged on only to be told ‘There is no-one in your region who meets your requirements’. No kidding.  Nothing like a sign to move.
Conclusion: Maybe its just my region, but my experience was long, boring and tedious. And I tend to save that for the actual relationship.

JDate.com

Ok, ok.. I know I’m not Jewish. but I love love love a Jewish man. I think its my preference for a large nose and poor eyesight, or maybe I never recovered from my youthful Woody Allen fetish.  Either way I logged on and my eyes popped. I gladly forked over my $45.99 for a month of unrestricted access to my potential Meshugener.
I joined JDate fresh off a relationship with a Jewish Adonis thinking ‘must be more where that came from’. Sadly I learned pretty fast that not everyone is looking for a shiske goddess (or they would be on Match.com) and that my lack of tribal affiliation was a bit of a hindrance for this goy. I also realized that with a man of Jewish faith comes a mother of fierce conviction that you’re not good enough for her son and assumes complete control over his life. Frankly I spent 39 years escaping my own mother.. I don’t need another one. 
Conclusion: If you are actually Jewish, its probably the #1 destination. If you’re not, even if you’re converting, be prepared to run into some serious mother issues and men who, surprise surprise, want to date a Jewish woman. 

PlentyofFish.com

By now I was getting desperate (I think Christmas was looming) and after a 6 month dry spell and waning funds, I figured what the hell. The site was free, it had the word ‘ plenty’ in it and it wasn’t going to run me the usual $39.99. Did I mention it was free? Despite an alarming prevalence of photos of shirtless guys taken in their bathroom mirrors, I posted a profile and figured at least I’d get a date or two out of it. Alarming is the only word I can use to describe the responses I received, and I think that I’d have done better wearing a sandwich board sign around my neck in downtown Denver as regards to quality. Call me snobbish but I can’t go on a date with a guy who emails without any punctuation or capitalization. Sure, he might be a genius and have no time for such things as grammar, but I require at least one comma per email. Having said that, I did get a lot of responses, and actually quite a few dates. Hummm. The dates. I’ll spare the details for today, (a whole other story), but at least 2 involved discussions of porn on the first date, and one shared his fathers preferences in the bedroom (not something I thought was part of the deal). I didn’t meet anything I’d consider ‘normal’ (or sane), though one did drive a brand new Porsche 911. Didn’t make him any saner though.
Conclusion: Be scared. Be very scared unless your profile also features a topless shot of you taken in the bathroom mirror, in which case, rock on. These are your guys.

OkCupid.com

I know, by now I should have realized that the trend wasn’t getting any better. But I’d heard from some coworkers at work who were ‘amazed’ that I was single, that OkCupid was the place to meet people. And yes it is.. if you’re 25. I’ve never felt so pervy as I did that evening as I scrolled through my responses. Yikes! I’m only 41, not 61 but every single guy referenced my age.. even those who were similarly aged themselves. The site is great because its not so marriage minded as the eHarmony or even Match sites and it clearly references hooking up, casual relationships and long term as options. On the down side, be careful what you wish for. I usually don’t like to state that I’m interested in having a boyfriend rather than a hook up (scares the weak ones away) but after multiple IMs asking me to ‘connect’ and porny emails… well… my definition of ‘casual’ is definitely different from OKCupids.
Conclusion: Apparently Cupid is ok with you if you’re 25-30 but leave well alone if you’re in any way sensitive. It caused me to get on the scale for the first time in 10 years and made me realize that I’m too old for ‘hooking up’.

Craigslist.org

Don’t judge. This was a few years back and yes, I should have known better that a site where I can sell my old gardening equipment isn’t a good source for romance. But.. it was free and I was going through a particularly intense Missed Connections phase. After perusing the ‘aisles’ for a while, I decided to post and see what landed. 3 hours and 75 emails later I realized that people don’t actually use Craigslist for dating and I’m inadvertently stumbled on a lot of pent up demand. I had emails from all manner of people, many of whom just wanted to chat. It was tragic. Needless to say I didn’t date any of my respondents, but I did start responding to others ads. The results I have to say were actually quite fun. I joined a guy at the Opera, a budding politician at a fundraiser and more than one angsty cyclist who refused to join the mainstream sites. Weirdly it didn’t freak me out more than PlentyofFish did and the people I met were universally cool.
Conclusion: If you’re up for anything and know how to date safely, give it a look. You probably won’t find a partner but you might end up  doing something completely random with an interesting stranger.

So there you have it.. my summary of the major sites I’ve tried. My advice – if you want to get out of the house – do it. If you want to find a partner or husband.. good luck. Let me know how it goes.

Finding a date: Fresh to Market

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

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

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

Three words – Fresh to Market

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

Fresh to Market is everything at 40-ish.

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

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

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

So, how do you find one of these unicorns?

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

Diseases I most definitely have

Living alone and working at home has many many advantages, not least your ability to spend an hour in the afternoon playing the hits of 1987 loudly while dancing with the dog  (god, The Stray Cats were good). On the downside, you don’t have anyone to bug when you’re wide awake at 2.20am and you think you might be dying. As one of my coworkers (and my mother) can attest, living alone with access to WebMD can make you something of a hypochondriac. Just this week I’ve had to talk myself out of calling the medics on several occasions. I most definitely, maybe, am sick with something. 

Monday: During first conference call of the day, noticed that voice had a somewhat strangled quality. One of the other callers asked if  okay, after which noticed that voice now sounded reedy and choked up.. almost as though was on the edge of tears. Have sobbed in  bathroom when at Microsoft but not normal and was related to Seattle weather more than anything. By the end of the call had determined that either have throat cancer or spasmodic dysphonia (in involuntary constriction in the throat). Spent the remainder of this week researching whether the recommended cure of Botox to the throat would also help smooth out those new wrinkles in neck. 

Tuesday: Stood up after a long stretch sitting at my desk, and felt some tingling and slight numbness in  legs. After walking around apartment feeling somewhat wobbly, decide that most definitely have early onset Parkinsons disease or MS. Have Googled both diseases on multiple occasions (causing repeated sticking of pins in various body parts to test whether feeling still there), decided instead to create an online will and research the cost of wheelchairs. Throat still strangled and weird. Wonder if maybe am going through puberty again, just this time as a boy?

Thursday: A blinding headache  accompanied by black squiggly lines and flashes across my eyeballs definitely wasn’t the usual migraine from running in cold weather without a hat. No, definitely had to be a blood clot in brain. Googled symptoms while wearing sunglasses and cold wet rag turban to calm throbbing, bleeding brain. Was on the verge of calling  mother to wish her goodbye when decided to spare heartbreak of a final conversation and just lay down to die. Woke up an hour later feeling much better but with a scratchy throat, so determined that it probably was just an early sign for meningitis. Voice now sounding like am actively weeping while trying to talk, has been most off putting for my boss who thankfully is now limiting his calls to about 2 mins. Very glad am not dating at the moment. Would be traumatic to be on date and sounding all choked up.

Friday: Couldn’t remember the term for ‘potluck’ this morning when sending a memo so clearly have early onset Alzheimers. Must start labeling objects around house in case it gets worse and can’t find the door. Note to readers: If you don’t hear from me again, its probably because can’t find the ‘Publish’ button on Blogger. Hmmm.. let me check WebMD for some other options.

Lingering on lingerie

This one is for the lay-dees….

I dress like a 17 year old boy most days. Working from home gives me license to spend my days in jeans, t shirts (give or take the thermal undershirt), and Vans. I may be 40ish, but I regularly braid my hair and abstain from make up, wear clogs and leave my retainers in. I am quite happy to bounce through the day looking like I was drop kicked through Gap, largely because of what you can’t see.

Hello, My name is Rachael and I’m a lingerie whore.

I might not be drawn to a new lipstick or jewelry, and I only wear heels when I know I’m going to be around tall people, but put me in front of a wall of bras and panties, thongs and garter belts at Nordstrom or Saks and I’m breathless.  Men have porn, girls have crushes, I have lingerie.  After 20 years denying my femininity, I can finally admit that I am unequivocally obsessed with girlie frilly underwear.

It stems from being an ..ahem.. early developer. While I hated the idea that I was now, literally, strapped down, I did find the lacey little nothing I was strapped into, kind of.. interesting. As I grew, so did my collection. I defended my purchases on a practical basis. I was somewhat ‘over blessed’ in the chestical department, so really, I needed lots of lingerie. One could just break at any time, so of course I needed backups. 41 of them. With matching panties.

It started with virgin white cotton lace, then expanded to every type of white anything. I refused to wear any color other than white (not for any moral stance on my virginity, but simply because it made my milk bottle blue skin look vaguely tan by comparison).  As I left college and entered the world of work I realized the appeal of the ‘set’, of color and range. That one day I was polka dotted swiss cotton and the next I was black satin. I’ve spent many years forging a collection to rival any department store and it continues to grow, even as I head on into my 40s…the land of the practical cotton pant and Spanx slimmer.

(To those who might be rolling their eyes at this point.. I challenge you to visit your nearest department story (no, Target will not do), buy yourself a matching set of anything pretty and girlie.. regardless of your size or your taste.. put them on and tell me you don’t feel great.)

To my coworkers and friends I may be a boring dresser who favors blue and black conservative attire, lacks accessories and could use some heels, but I know underneath, my ‘clothes’ are flawless. Who could argue with a matching set of La Perla? A new creamy camisole? Silky boy shorts or a scanty string thong? I have drawers full. I draw the line at the tacky pornie stuff..I’m not buying it for guys. After all, I’ve been single for most of my life. But frills and lace – I can’t get enough.
While I wouldn’t dream of wearing a low cut or transparent top, my underwear is some people’s idea of obscene. Little more than 2 pieces of string and some lace. And I’m not embarrassed or ashamed because nobody sees it but me. It is all for me. My little pieces of confidence.  My secret security blanket.

You see, I’m an anxious person and I’ve spent much of my life worrying about what others think. Whether I made the right decision or said the wrong thing. I’ve laid in bed at 3am worrying about things I did 12 years ago and whether I really hurt someone when I sent that email, wore the same dress or showed up 5 minutes late.
But I never have to worry about my underwear.
That, I know, is perfect.

So when I get hit by that bus and the EMTs are hauling me off to the ER, my mother can be proud. My underwear is clean, pretty and it matches.

So at least I’ve got that nailed. 

Friends with friends with babies

I have a dirty secret. (and no it doesn’t involve garters)

Try as I might, I struggle to be friends with friends who have babies. Note, not kids. Kids are awesome. But babies…????
 Let me explain before you form your lynch mob and light the torches.

As a 40 something without kids, (through circumstance and genetics), I’ve seen over a dozen friends through engagements, marriages, their first, second and yes third babies so I speak from experience.
I’m thrilled for the life choices that my friends have made, have supported their decisions and been there to walk their dog, house sit, coo over diamond rings and silk dresses, maternity pedicures and yes, even visits to the delivery room. But once the baby arrives.. well its a whole other story. My pink slip is already in the mail.

I think that babies are cute. I’m not a monster. But I don’t seem to love babies the way other women love babies. I’ve never squealed when meeting one and they all seem….well…. samey. Plus they have a hole in their head.
Let me say that again..They have a hole in their head. 
Something which in a grown up person would cause people to scream, be rushed into the ER, put on life support and have to wear one of those head brace things… nope, baby just lolls around with that hole flapping in the breeze. I mean, mothers don’t even make them wear helmets. And I’m no safety expert but I don’t think that pink fleece cap is going to do much if their brains start falling out…
No, babies are weird, scary and they don’t do anything.

Now I’ll hold and play with one if I’m forced (which I have been), but its like someone giving me a kitten. I’ll hold it, stroke it and coo… but after a little while, I’m good. Unless its going to suddenly offer up a Woody Allen-equese ‘bon mot’… well… I might as well be holding a piece of veal. Even my nieces… I felt immediately attached to them and find them just adorable.. but as babies…. not my first choice of dinner companion. Maybe I am a cold soulless bitch and maybe its because they’re not mine, but I just skipped the gene which determined ‘must.have.one’ around my middle thirties. Which is where it gets tricky.

Because your friends with babies don’t like to be around people who don’t love their babies. Which means that about 1-12 months after the arrival of little Sasha, Simone or Emily, I’ll no longer be invited over, the calls will stop and I’m basically in the cold zone until the kid starts school. Which means I’ve lost more friends over the last 10 years than I did through elementary school, high school and college.  (I was quite the annoying little rat)

But surely that’s a good thing you ask? if you don’t like babies, why would you want to hang out with them?

Great point.

But those babies, they come with parents attached. And those parents used to be my friends. And with the arrival of babies comes a shifting of priorities which puts good friends second, and good friends who aren’t into babies, don’t want a baby and can’t have a baby, pretty much in the trash heap.
And because you’re meant to love babies, and understand the life is different now, you’re meant to accept with a knowing smile and a positive affirmation. Yes, we understand that its 1) sleep, 2) work 3) each other and maybe 11) call a friend…. but it still sucks. And when it happens over and over again.. it doesn’t get any less sucky.

So today, I’m saying it out loud. It sucks that I can’t be friends with friends who babies. It sucks to be dumped by friends because we don’t share that one thing in common.

But on a good note, they all start rolling back in when the stinker starts first Grade.

The indignities of getting older


Nothing revels the nature of your nature like a rectal exam.

After wondering what my belly was growing (in the absence of food or a baby), I visited with my gastroenterologist recently.

Yes, not only do I have a hematologist, an endocrinologist, a gynecologist and a pharmacist.. I have a gastroenterologist. Sadly, all are warranted due to my crap genes (and the need for Aetna to make money off my $50 co pays)…. Seriously folks, I’m working my health plan like a mule. Bring on anything Obama can offer cos mine is about to croak.

Back to my watermelon stomach.

I’m sitting in the office answering the new-ARRAfunded-electronic health record questionnaire..(8 pages). I never realize how sick I actually am, nor how f**ked my genes are until I started this thing.

Please tick all those that apply:

  • Dizziness? (I’m a chick)
  • Weight gain? (heeellooooo.. I live for candy)
  • Weight loss? (hmmm… once when I had my jaw wired shut for 6 weeks)
  • Bloating? (…meet the virgin born baby Thomas. He’s due tomorrow)
  • Vision problems? (…do cataracts count?)
  • Unexplained bruising? (.. only after 4 martinis) 
  • Fatigue? (….seriously is anyone over 13 NOT fatigued?)

Family history (tick all that apply for siblings, parents and grandparents)

  • Breast Cancer (yep)
  • Stroke (yep, yep)
  • High cholesterol (its a christening present)
  • High Blood pressure (its everyone’s 13th birthday present along with anxiety disorder.. yes, we’re all stressed about how unhealthy we all are)
  • Bowel cancer (yes, gluten is our cryptonite)
  • Diabetes (I prefer to refer to it as ‘chocolate appreciation par excellence‘)
  • Early unexpected death (well hopefully not before I finish this damn questionnaire)

I’ve not even seen a doctor and I’m already wondering where they should scatter my ashes. The number of check marks is alarming to say the least. Wow am I unhealthy!

The doctor walks into the waiting room. Devastatinglyhandsome. DAMN, 2 years since I saw him last (when I propositioned him while under general anesthetic).. and he still gives me the sweats. “Come on through” … I bite my tongue to avoid asking him to marry me.

5 mins later, he has his finger up my ass without even a compliment.
 

WTF?

But don’t worry, he thinks that now is great time to discuss my dating status..

Soooooooits been 2 years since I saw you last. You were dating some guy.. how’s that going?”

What, you think now is a good time to unpack the details of my dating life???? While your finger is trying to find god knows what while tickling my sphincter…?

I hmmm and haaaaa then reach for the stars when he hits what can only be my nasal cavity. Enough! My new shoes don’t deserved the amount of sweat which is poring off my feet.

“are you experiencing pain because you’re not used to this?”

“…”
ahhh well I guess it would be weird if you were used to this”
“…”

Yep, now is not the time to be talking about any proclivities I might or might not have. (and this, certainly wouldn’t be one of them.. for god sake, I didn’t even get to take my shoes off or have a glass of wine).

Apparently I reached his decibel tolerance and he withdrew his hand with a snappy snap of the glove.

5 mins later I’m leaving his office with my evening project.

Fecal sample. Not just a sample, but a sample of a sample. Yes, I’ve been asking to spend my evening pooping and then cutting it into slices to select ‘ the right’ poop.

Being single has never been such an asset.

Life at 40… plenty of new ‘hobbies’

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.

All by myself.. I’m gonna be… all.. by… myself….

The curse of living alone is that you’re just that. Alone.

Note, I didn’t say lonely. As anyone who’s been by their bad self for a while, we’re not really a people who get lonely. If we did, we’d have partnered up a long time ago with one of the more charming people we’ve met along life’s pathways.  Which isn’t to say that we don’t want to be partnered – this blog is evidence of that alone. (my god have I tried)
 
Last night I spent a lovely few hours chatting with a friend over some wine. She mentioned with a husband out of town she ‘got a taste’ of what it was like to be a singleton when she was invited out with a few married couples.

‘It felt weird so I didn’t go……’

‘.. you know… being the only single person’

I get it. To those who’ve been partnered happily for a while, the idea of going places as a lone reed in a marsh of married folks is strange, lonely, uncomfortable even. But for those of us who don’t have that security blanket, we grow thicker skin and have get on with it. We often prefer it.  (except during flu and snowstorms… and if there’s a really scary spider in the bath). If we waited to be partnered  in order to leave the house we’d all have melded to the sofa and have to be airlifted out of our houses by our match.com dates.

Nope, being alone isn’t lonely. But you are alone.

Which during times of acute stress can be the most isolating feeling in the world. You don’t have that person to unwind with, that sensitive ear to unload into, that ability to unburden to the person sharing your bed. Unloading whats going on in your head allows you to create space in your brain, which leaves room for perspective, humor, even joy. And being alone means that to do that, you’re paying a therapist $100 an hour or upping your ATT wireless plan (and testing some very long term friends). You’re also being incredibly brave and trusting. Which is no small thing for life’s alone-rs.
I’m not sure if its the same for guys, after all, they’re not know for being the worlds best communicators, but I’m sure… sometimes… it has to be. And since guys don’t talk… what do they do?
If my neighbor is anything to go by, playing the bass guitar and chanting…if my ex was a benchmark, riding 100 miles seemed to do the trick. And for most guys, I guess that’s ‘why‘ football.

(really, why else football???)

Being alone can cause you to wake up at 3am in a panic about something minor, because its been bouncing around your head for 2 weeks and you’ve not been able to get rid of it.
On the upside you can have a dinner of cereal and wine, on the downside… well cereal and wine.
Thankfully being alone has taught me one thing… you’re never actually alone.

People, friends, strangers, family, ex hook ups, that hinky guy from the apartment opposite… you are never alone. You can choose to be alone any time you wish.. but you can also choose not to shoulder everything in life alone. And this year I choose not too. Its only 3 weeks in but I’m not going it alone in everything anymore. You don’t get prizes for handling everything yourself and frankly, I can’t afford the Valium prescriptions any more. I might not be unburdening myself to a partner, but I will share when I need to and not feel any shame or embarrassment when I do so.

So, friends, readers, strangers, gird your loins. I’ve got some things on my mind and stories to tell.

Bizarre Breakups


As I was recounting break up scenarios with a close friend (who was planning her own) I started digging through the ‘break ups’ file. What gems I had to share. Starting with what is possibly the #1 bizarre break-up of my 20s.

I was in a relationship with – let’s call him Tom- for close to 2.5 years. Moved in together, talked about getting married, took multiple vacations, regular visits with the families. On the surface, exactly where you’d want to be at 25 (and indoctrinated by parents of the 1950s). Unfortunately Tom wasn’t exactly the golden boy. Our relationship was more ‘Sleeping with the Enemy’ than ‘Father of the Bride’. In-between lining up the cans and losing every excess pound to please him with miles and miles of running, hiding bruises and sleeping with one eye open, I finally got wise and decided to move out and move on.

How to tell him? How would he take it? Would he freak out? Would I freak out? The decision around when, where and how was harder than the decision to leave and I finally settled on that most traditional theater for English life – the pub. Plenty of people, liquor for drowning of sorrows, and limited ability for him to start throwing things at me (most English pubs specifically nail stuff down to prevent such occurrences). Plus I still had 20lbs on him, so I figured I could just sit on him if it came down to that (firearms not being part of an English upbringing). I’d even arranged a trip overseas so I’d be able to disappear shortly afterwards.

During the break up decision, I had been applying for a visa to come to the US, and coincidentally, had spent the afternoon at the embassy getting everything finalized for my extended business trip. High on my impending trip, I positively bounced into the pub to see him sitting there, glowering at me. The break up went, as they all do, painfully and yet with some relief (for me). I even filled him in on my planned 3 month trip to the US – to help ease our transition. His reaction seemed calm, considered and he seemed eerily pleased. As I headed off to the restrooms, I smugly considered how adult we both were. How rational. Apparently this is how adults end relationships. I was proud of myself, and heck, even Tom. Maybe he wasn’t as bad as I thought him to be.

I returned from the restroom to find an empty table. Completely empty. Of Tom, my purse and any sign of us having even sat there. I turned around – maybe I’d looked at the wrong table? – then caught the eye of the bar tender. He shrugged him shoulders, “Your boyfriend took off with your purse”.

Fuuuuuuuuck. What was this? “Take the Money and Run”? Literally?

My purse – my car keys, my new minted passport and visa, my cell-phone, the keys to my sisters flat, my wallet, heck even the Valium I so desperately needed right that second. All in my purse. All disappearing up the street with my now dumped boyfriend.
Luckily all that running he’d been forcing on me finally paid off and I took off down the high street, heading towards our formerly shared ‘home’. Nutter. Total nutter. What man steals his girlfriends purse? And for gods sake, why?

I arrived at the house to a locked door and silence. I tried the key but no dice – apparently he’d double locked the door. I started banging on the door, shouting and generally making a very un-English fuss. Neighbors started poking their heads out of their doors and tutting. I decided to call the police to assist the matter – either that or I’d have to wait until Home Depot opened in the morning and pull a ‘Here’s Jonny’ scene. And frankly, spending the evening on the floor outside my former home wasn’t the best scenario.

After begging entry to a neighbors house, and an embarrassed ‘awful weather we’ve been having’ conversation with neighbor Joe, the police arrived.
From the bizarre conversation between 2 policemen and a door that followed, I learned that Tom’s intent was to steal me back my stealing my purse. So I guess that’s actually how adults break up. Illogically, emotionally, bizarrely.

I recommended some ideas to my friend for her breakup. And told her to wear sneakers.

Dating advice I won’t be taking


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

Do/ Don’t kiss on a first date

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signs you might be dating a gay man


 As the survivor of not just 1 but 3 “relationships” with gay men, I think I’m qualified to expound on some key signs to watch out for when dating a ‘maybe gay-be’ (MG). Dating an MG isn’t actually dissuaded – heck if you like dancing, you love to laugh and your wardrobe could use some updating, I positively encourage it. Just don’t be expected to get any kind relationship outside of the mall/club/late showing of Funny Girl. And sure as heck don’t be thinking that spark, that witty ‘eat you with a spoon’ affection is going to translate into anything meaningful or naked…well, not unless there’s another dude involved.
One “relationship” with an MG is common by the time you hit 30. 2 was pretty careless, and 3, well 3 is downright stupid. Below, a few signs I probably should have paid attention to (and which should give you pause for thought). Hit 3 out of 6, you probably want to monitor his Ellen watching.

Not having a significant relationship since high school
When the guy you’re dating has 14 best girlfriends, non of whom he’s tried or succeeding in sleeping with, he might be a MG. Actually, let me break it to you – he’s an MG. If his last girlfriend wore legwarmers and a side pony tail, he’s an MG. And no, he’s not refraining due to his strong religious beliefs -that’s what’s keeping him in the closet.

The number of hair products in the shower is greater than 2.
You might think you’re dating a metro’, or maybe the guy who’s postponing his ‘hair club for men’ subscription until his 401K vests…but no straight guy ever needs or uses more than 2 things on his head in the shower. Shaving cream and a razor (go baldies) or shampoo and maybe some conditioner the last chick left behind. The only men using ‘glaze’, ‘color care’ or a ‘deep conditioning mask’ in the shower are gay, hairdressers or some combination. Take a wild guess.

Dancing in the local dive bar
Beware any guy that a) dances well, b) dances well in a bar c) dances well in a bar – with no dance floor or music- on the first date. I put it down to youthful exuberance and a Southern upbringing. Clearly, I’d never been to the South. I think they lynch you down there for this,

Reviewing pictures from your week long trip out of town and finding they’re all of men
You’re back from your trip. And the weirdest thing, all of the pictures on your camera seem ‘off’. Some dude or dudes always seem to get into the shot. There you are in front of Café Dumont, and darn it there’s a dude in the way. Then again in the French Quarter –well, a bit of your head, a lot of that dudes chest. Finally out on the bayou with the boys.. lots of the boys from behind, not so much of you. He’s not a bad photographer. He’s just showing you where his sightseeing interests really lie. And sadly, you’re not part of that picture.

The first (and last) time you have sex, he ‘can’t find it’
It’s not hard to find – there’s a landing strip pointing the way for gods’ sake. And if the right things are pointing north, it’s actually hard to avoid it. Maybe the reason he can’t find it is because he’s never been there before. Or he went there once and doesn’t want to go back. Kind of like Boca.

Having his mother highlight his hair in her kitchen
Nuff said.

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.