Tag: Dating

Sex, Sundries, and Saturday Night

Being single is definitely fun when you’re 20. But when you’re essentially 50, it’s kind of a mixed lot. Most of us at this age are single for a reason, and it usually isn’t a meaningless reason. It is hard to meet people. It’s never a good idea to date coworkers, dating website profiles bear as much truth as your average supermaket tabloid, and the meat market bars… Well, no one wants to buy old meat. The rules have changed from when we first learned to date. Passing flirtatious notes rarely works when they are passed with your license and registration; and it’s hard to pass them under any other circumstance. You run out of places to meet people. Unless you are a flitting socialite, you are reduced to church or affiliations, mass transit, or the grocery. (Incidentally, i once asked advice on how to approach my handsome butcher… You can imagine the suggestions…) It just isn’t the chick-flick or comedy that Hollywood makes it out to be. It’s more like a lame cover of Eleanor Rigby.

I had always hoped that when i got “older” (In quotation marks because the meaning has been somewhat fluid over the years) , i would find a balance. Maybe even find a way to have the best of both worlds. But the older i get, the less i am sure of what the best of both worlds would be. I mean, obviously there are potential partners who don’t care what brand of toothpaste i buy, or get put off if i eat an entire head of roasted garlic while watching a movie. But it is physically impossible to bask in the glow of waking up next to someone without sharing the bed. To be honest, i’m so unused to sharing a bed now, that i can’t do it without staying awake to make sure that i didn’t hog covers, or sprawl, or snore my way to being single again. And how many nights can i stay awake to keep such things in check before i give in to my own fatigue?

For the most part, i accept the fact that i will likely be single from now on. I don’t really miss pulling a man’s tighty-whiteys out of his jeans so i could separate them for the wash. I don’t miss cleaning beard hair out of the sink. I don’t miss having to pow-wow before deciding on dinner. But i DO miss having someone to walk / play cards / watch tv  with after supper. I miss curling up together on the sofa. I miss long, thoughtful, late night discussions. And i miss regular sex (And before you say that you don’t have to be in a couple to have sex, i will point out that for most single people, finding empty sex is easy – especially close to closing time. But finding good and meaningful sex is harder than finding someone who folds the towels the same way you do.)

What would be perfect would be to have someone who only lived with you when you wanted them to, and vice versa. Solidarity when you needed it, and solitude when you needed that. Well, i suppose, really perfect would be to find someone who was exactly everything you liked and lived exactly how you wanted, but i am old enough and wise enough to know that what i like and want isn’t always consistent and would be an impossible role to fill. In any case, both of those things are very selfish.

Yes, i admit it. I am selfish. And my acceptance of this fact is why i have resigned myself to spinsterhood.

Mind you, i have no intention of becoming a dried up old prune who warns younger women of the dangers and evils of men. On the contrary, i intend to be the garishly stylish old broad who flirts indiscriminately and squashes her ducks against the salsa instructor at the Senior Center. I will travel alone to exotic places and have Roman Candle affairs with intriguing gentlemen who admire my chutzpah. I will show my legs and my cleavage until i have to search to find them. I will keep my own hours and sensibilities and habits. And i will throw my head back and laugh at the fact that i worried about being single at 50.

But until then, i will work my way thru this muddle; slightly disappointed at not having found, or been perfection to, someone in the second half of life, and yet slightly proud that i have found comfort in my own skin and with my own self. I will still keep an eye out for someone who makes me swoon, but i won’t lose any sleep when i don’t find them. I will feel pathetic sometimes, and then i will remember what i have had before, and what i have now, with others and with myself, and i will be thankful. I will wake myself snoring, and then remember that no one is complaining. (Thank God/Goddess/Universe that my dog doesn’t speak!) And if i visit the meat market (I will lie and tell myself that it’s just to people-watch), i will not buy anything unless it is well worth the price.

That last paragraph is a whole lot of wishful thinking.

But like most of life, it’s a “fake it til you make it” kind of thing. I will make these affirmations to myself over and over again until i am imbued with them and they become truth. Because realistically, having had both good marriages and bad, i know without a doubt that the one thing worse than being alone and lonely, is being a spouse and being lonely. And my selfish, spinster, sex-i-fied and sex-deprived self says screw that! I can have fun all by myself.

Take that any way you wish.

Sold, Sight Unseen

Having lunch with a good friend today, we got to talking about pen pal relationships. We had them when we were kids. Letters written and sent to friends around the world that we were likely to never meet. Now, as adults, the wonders of the internet bring us a new kind of pen pal. The same sharing of secrets, growing attachment, anticipation of response. And still unlikely to meet. And while it is true that these social media pals can be lying through their teeth and not telling us who they really are, the same could be said of the pen pals of old. Just as we present the self we want so much to be, so do they. Excluding, of course, the criminally insane that we know are out there, but doubt-hope-pray we will never encounter.

In any case, we got to talking about the difference in depth of feeling for someone you have never seen.

There are popular theories about people who, lacking one of their senses, use the others to compensate. Never having been in that position, i don’t know if that is true. But i do believe that the theory applies in sightless relationships.

We can describe how we look to someone, but accuracy is in the eye of the beholder. When i say i have freckles, do you picture a few scattered on my nose and cheeks? Do you see a constellation appearing, or a galaxy present on my back? Or do i have so many that i appear like a Monet painting of a woman? If i tell you i am curvy, do you picture Sophia Loren, Mae West, Queen Latifah, Kathy Najimy? Or do you picture Dame Edna or Ursula the Sea Witch? If i were to describe my voice as “k.d. lang, if she were born in New England but adopted a slight twang from Tennessee”, would you have the slightest idea how i sounded? And heaven only knows if anyone who knows me would find my description accurate.

Having only words to go on forces one to dig deeper. To get to know them more in other ways. Their fears and worries, their joys and delights… These things leave their marks on the face and body and stance. Health habits leave marks on face, body and voice. Their expressions, their choice of words, their accuracy of grammar… All these things add to a visual impression in our mind. Possibly even more so than their actual description of themselves. Somehow, these things seem more concrete than a subjective description.

Perhaps this is why “Blind Dates” are usually such a disappointment: We have no chance to learn these concrete things before we are forced into closeness. We have a subjective description from one who is essentially a salesman. Hardly a source known for its honesty. Combine that with the fact that our first impression is a visual one, nothing of depth or meaning. But humans are animals, after all, and if the pheromones aren’t there, well then, why waste your time, right? But what if those attraction hormones could be synthesized from within? What if we could create physical attraction from deeper connection? Would it be as strong? Would it last as long? Would it be as real?

Assuming that all parties are as honest as they can be, within human psyche limitation, perhaps this is a better way to meet people. To start deep within and work your way out to the skin, the opposite of what usually happens. Without a tainted view based on appearance, we could learn to love the soul of the other, the part of them that continues long after the looks fade. And they could do the same with us. It could be a true, deep, lasting bond that no scar or wrinkle would impact. Stronger than any mastectomy, weight gain, or sexual dysfunction. That very rare partnership that lasts forever, thru everything. The marriage that fairy tales are based on.

Or they could look like Sloth, the monster in The Goonies, and all bets are off.

Never Pretty. Always Beautiful

I am not a pretty woman. From what we see and hear in our world, beauty is about a flawless, symmetrical face with a tiny waist, rock-hard bum, perky breasts, long, flowing locks and an age that is never more than 28. I have lines and crags and freckles and scars and dry skin and smooshy parts and a barely-there bum and I have never found a way to defeat gravity. But as depressing as that is, I take comfort in the fact that most women are like me.

Tho we women flog ourselves daily for not being pretty, no one else seems to care. We scrub and scrape and color and cut and spackle and Bond-O and nip and tuck. We squeeze ourselves into shoes that will eventually deform our feet. We inject ourselves with plastics and poisons. We paint ourselves with chemicals known to cause cancer. We pay good money for just the right amount of radiation burn.  We strap ourselves in and suck ourselves up and point ourselves out just right. Every day. All in hopes that someone will notice and think we are pretty. And yet, I’ve never heard a man say that any of these things impresses him enough to call it love.

And really, isn’t that what we are all wanting? The need to feel pretty isn’t about knowing that we are Vogue-worthy, it’s about getting the attention of a love interest. One who is smart and handsome and well-off and well-appointed and romantic and rugged (No small amount of pressure for our menfolk there). But those men aren’t after the young and palpably sexy blonde, so why do we strive to be like her? I don’t deny those women are pleasing to look at. And I don’t deny that I, given the opportunity, wouldn’t want to take one home myself. But is that walking list of beauty editor favorites any more likely to find love than we are?

I have known a few truly pretty people. Men and women both. And none of them is any more successful at love than the rest of us schmoes.  I think, and as I get older, I am really starting to believe that what attracts love is beauty. And, honey, beauty sometimes ain’t pretty.

The ones I know who appear to truly have found the sort of love we all seek won’t be on the cover of Vanity Fair. They have wrinkles and sags and mommy-tummies. They aren’t always decked out in their finest. They burp and sweat and have strange laughs and morning breath and sometimes forget to shave. They dig in the garden, nurse their children, clean the bathroom, scoop the innards out of the turkey. In other words, they are schmoes just like us. But if you look closely, you will see something else. And if for some reason you can’t see it, you can tell that their spouse does.

Ask the spouse and they’ll tell you. It’s in the way she laughs like Cliff Claven on Cheers. It’s the way she yells at the TV when her team makes a great play. It’s the fact that she can fix both the ceiling fan and a standing rib roast. It’s the way she closes her eyes when she eats something decadent. It’s in her intellect, her humor, her goofiness, her character. But, mostly, it’s in her eyes.

As much as the eyes are the window to the soul, they are also the window to love. And tho it would seem logical to compare it to a magnet or a tractor beam, it is really more like the sun. When she glances over at him, sweaty and stinky and covered in grass after playing with the kids on the front lawn, her eyes appear like a sunrise. A glowing beam of warmth and respect and genuine affection. When she glances at him, his evening drink in hand, legs kicked out on the back porch while listening to cicadas and tree frogs, her eyes become like a sunset. Deep and rich and dark with the promise of stars soon

And, oh, she can bring him stars. The more-than-ample bum becomes exactly what he likes, regardless of the fact that she often wishes it were smaller. It is what he wants because he has seen the sunrise and the sunset and the lovely afternoon in between. Because, though he, too, wishes he were taller and thinner and somehow better, in the end, all he wants is to see that look in her eye.

Following my logic so far, to be beautiful, we have to find love. And to find love, we have to be beautiful.

Hey, I never said my theories made sense.

But if I had to come up with a way to make it make sense, perhaps the love we need to be beautiful isn’t the love for another, but a love for ourselves and for life. A love that allows us to take joy in a fragrant blossom, a delicious flan, a sweet kitten… A magnificent thunderstorm, a kick-ass guitar lick, an unlikely touchdown. Maybe that’s the kind of love that brings it back to us.

And if that’s the case, then we all have a chance. Even those of us with rolls and gas and hairy toes. Even those of us with chapped lips and unibrows and back fat. Even those of us who are old or chubby or plain. Even those of us who aren’t pretty.

Thank God

My First Night Out As A Single Gal

(This is an old bit of mine, reposted just for fun)

Otherwise entitled, “WTF is he thinking?!?!?!?!”

A girlfriend and i decide to do what single women sometimes do, and meet for a late night drink and nosh at a fun outdoor bar. It seems promising when we get there… even at this hour, it’s mostly people our age.

I rarely go out, and never to bars, so i have no idea what to order. I tell the bartender, “Can i have something a little sweet that won’t knock me on my ass?” He brings me a drink that is exactly what i was after. When i ask what it is, he blushes a little and tells me it’s a Wet Pu***. (Later, after i’d had a couple, i asked him if there was one called a Wet Di**. He tells me what’s in it, and i ask him do we get it free if we can fit it in our mouth all at once? You see why i don’t drink much). Anyway, so we drink, and have some fantastic peel-n-eat shrimp and onion rings and such. We chat with each other, and chat up the women around us. I’m thinking this isn’t so bad. Every man in the bar is pretty much drunk, but that makes up for the fact that they’re all ignoring me.

After a while, the woman beside us has some insightful epiphany and invites a friend of a friend over and starts him talking to us. Before long, he is standing behind us, nose in our ears as he speaks to us (All of you who know me well know that my ears are off limits), hands all over our shoulders and necks (C’mon girls, collective “Ewwwwww”), and – this is the weird part – he is somehow managing to prop his leg up in such a way that his knee is wedging itself into my butt crack. Honey, you could be Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta Jones, whoever – but i AM NOT letting you stick your knee up my ass. So i keep squirming myself at an angle, but his leg joint follows me like toilet paper on a shoe. My girlfriend, trying to be cute, makes some comment after he asks a question, about how he and i should really have a whole date to discuss it. Bitch! (Not really. Now that it’s over, i think it’s funny too). At one point, i almost start to think that this guy wouldn’t be so bad, except for the fact that he’s drunk and has a fixation on patellar-anal intercourse… and then he starts to tell me more about himself. I figured him in his early 50s, probably working middle management somewhere. Turns out he’s younger than i am, only looks 15 years older, with a job that, while less than promising, is only a fall back because he lost his job recently when his wife divorced him, and he can barely afford the tuition on his 2 year old’s preschool, and the ex still owes him for the business they started but she’s ruining it, and can you hand me that ashtray, and now he’s got his hand wrapped around my upper arm and i’m thinking that may no longer be just his knee. (Another collective “Ewwww”) Oh, my… is that the time? We really must be going…

OK. It’s funny now. I wasn’t going there to find a date anyway. And my girlfriend and i will laugh about it for a long time. But it does beg one to wonder if Darwin is watching all this from the great beyond and scratching his head…

“Male” as a Foreign Language.

I have been married – and divorced – three times. Two of those marriages were of respectable length and maintain civility even now. I have a handful of male friends who are closer to me than most others. I have a son with whom i share a good relationship. And yet i am clueless as to how to deal with men. I can’t speak their language. I’m not even talking the fine art of being fluent in Male. I’m talking Male for tourists here. So much time amongst them, and i can barely ask for directions to the subway.

To make matters more complicated, just like the formal and informal “you” pronouns of most European languages, Male has two distinct dialects: “Romantic Interest” and “Friend”.  And tho you may long to be bestowed with romance, once you’re deemed worthy of the friendly informal, your chances at ever being more than their friend get tossed out the window with the formal language phrases like, “You are really amazing.” or “How did i get so lucky?” They are replaced by phrases that require you to lie with a straight face and agree that the woman who got the role you wanted is perfect. Faster than he can switch from “vous” to “tu”, your hopes are dashed, and not even your aching, begging eyes will change his mind.  Hell, not even a night of award-winning sex will change his mind. You are “tu”. To be anything more would go against the laws of testosterone

They say that there are some men who are bilingual and can speak both dialects at the same time, transitioning seamlessly from one to the other when speaking to a woman who is allowed both roles, but i have never met one personally. I think those men are like Sasquatch or Nessie… Real only to the few who believe to have seen them. Men, God bless them, are limited. One girl, one dialect. Friend or potential partner. Never both. That would be like a fruit that was both chip dip and hair treatment. (Incidentally, if you are reading this and you are male – Avocados are both. Duh)  Anyway, the point is, tho there are men who swear they married their best friend, those men are on the same list as unicorns and flattering bathing suits – on the “Shit I’ll Believe When I See It” list.

Not that i mind being the friend. It’s nice to have a man in your life that you don’t need to worry about impressing with your unceasing awesomeness and sexiness. Or, if you’re like me, giving the impression that you have those things. It means you can be yourself. You can be flawed. You can be real. And they will love you regardless. Just not the way you want them to.