Tag Archives: Relationships

Recollecting Love

The exercise to determine if my past loves had anything in common was a real eye-opener. I couldn’t believe how few memories I was able to conjure, particularly about the sex. Obviously the more recent the encounters were, the more clear the recollections. And those that were unusual in some way — location, circumstances, etc. — had a better chance of being indelibly seared onto my grey matter. Yet although it was tough accessing what the sex was like, just thinking about each of these men brought back the way I felt about them. Vividly.

I can clearly recall the particular brand of passion I felt for each individual person. In other words, while the loins may not recall the lovemaking, the heart most certainly remembers the love. In the book “On Love,” the general takeaway was that falling in love requires a certain suspension of disbelief. Among other things. Including an involuntary loss of control. Even now, I can still almost feel each loss of control that was required to fall in love with each of these men. I remember the heartaches, too. And all the songs that made me cry once I’d broken up with them. It’s bizarre how much emotion is trapped in our psyches. Perhaps it’s time for some psychic spring cleaning to make way for new emotions! (Okay, sorry. Didn’t mean to get all “om shanti” on you guys! It just felt sorta poetic…) And now, for a little listen to my musical psychic memories:

J1: Almost anything by Elton John, plus Led Zeppelin II, Ziggy Stardust and Dark Side of the Moon…
J2: Yes: Time and a Word
B: Phil Collins: Against All Odds
M: I can’t remember any for him! : ( I’m sure it was something awful and early 90s…
E: Soul Asylum: Somebody to Shove
J3: Praise Cats featuring Andrea Love: Shined On Me
J4: The Flaming Lips:  Do You Realize

Impatience

In keeping with my last post about the joys (and Freedom and Perils) of living alone, I clicked on the link to quirkyalone.net. Its founder, Sasha Cagen, was mentioned in the segment of the article about odd eating habits and I was charmed by her description of how she “fashions dinner out of ‘discrete objects’.”   Another description of hers:

“Are you a quirkyalone? Quirkyalone: n. adj. a person who enjoys being single (but is not opposed to being in a relationship) and prefers being single to dating for the sake of dating. It’s a mindset. Quirkyalone is not anti-love. It is pro-love. It is not anti-dating. It is anti-compulsory dating.”

I took her little quiz and am, indeed, a “quirkyalone.” Which, of course, made me question my recent dating excursions and just precisely how happy — or unhappy — I actually am alone. Er, single. Yes, on the alone front, I’m enjoying it. I like my privacy; I look forward to being by myself and not having to make conversation. Or shower. But am I happily single? And that leads to the next question: is happiness a decision?

Well, maybe that isn’t as linear to others as it is to me. I believe I am happy because I want to be. It is work. A process. But I don’t believe I’m single because I want to be. At least I hope I’m not. If I were to buy into the whole “you create your own reality” then yes, I guess I want to be single. Or I wouldn’t be. Ack. It is circular. Do we tell ourselves we’re happily single so we won’t appear pathetic? I say I date to “meet new people,” to be “proactive.” (And to provide you with juicy reading material!) Are those really the reasons? Perhaps it would be smarter if I were resigned to being “quirkyalone” and take down all my profiles. Refuse to be fixed up with friends of friends. And hope the universe provides what I…want. What I need. And delivers it (him?) just at the perfect moment.

It’s certainly happened before. I was never looking for any of my previous boyfriends. They all just sort of appeared. But in this moment I’ll admit to experiencing impatience. I don’t want to simply wait. I feel compelled to make something happen. And yet, love is something that really can’t be forced. Or hurried, as The Supremes sang so convincingly. I suppose the best I can do is continue to put myself out there and hope for the best.

Timing

The budding beginning of a new relationship is many things: luck, chemistry, physical attraction, location (location, location) but most importantly, it is timing. On the initial few dates—or, in many instances in my life, interactions, since I wasn’t much of a dater, historically—two people need to be not on the same page or even the same line but quite literally on the same word. If one person is even the tiniest little bit more attracted to the other, more enthusiastic about seeing the other person again or sleeping with the person or playing tennis with the person or whatEVER, it throws things out of balance and leaves the other person thinking, “Wow, he wants to play tennis with me WAY more than I want to play tennis with him!” Or whatever.

In other words, every incremental step that leads from two people meeting or seeing each other from across a crowded room or bumping into each other in a bar, on a subway, at a concert, in church, yes, every single second is a make-or-break moment. When that phone rings, and it’s him, you need to want to speak to him just as badly as he wants to speak with you. And conversely, if a text bings on your phone, if it isn’t a welcome bing, it’s a bad thing.

Now that there are so many ways to communicate with a person there are even more ways to fuck up the timing. Once upon a time there were phone calls. And letters. Or maybe flowers. Now you can text ONE TOO MANY TIMES! Or email them ONE TOO MANY TIMES! Or tell someone how much you really want to fuck them ONE TOO MANY TIMES and, pfft! Game over.

Since men are from Mars and women are from Venus, the chances of any communications between two people of the opposite sex being successful are iffy at best. It’s a fucking miracle anyone ever finds true love! Let us review:

First you need to meet someone. A crapshoot. You can go to a party (or a class, or a library, or an AA meeting…you get the picture) every night for a month. A year? Forever? And never meet someone who appeals to you. They might’ve just left. Or they’re in a different class. NA instead of AA. Again, you get the picture.

Once you’ve actually met someone you’re attracted to, you need to, well, DO something! Date? Dance? Fuck? Have a cup of coffee? Dance, drink, take a walk. And at every moment, neither of you can do anything to freak the other person out or scare them off.

Now, repeat step two…um, as many times as it takes for both of you to come to the conclusion that you’re in love. This does happen. To all kinds of people! Every day! It’s happened to me a number of times. And as I’ve been conducting my present search for true love, I keep reminding myself that I have, indeed, managed to find love and fall in love not once, not twice, but seven times. Which often has me thinking that I’ve used up all my luck in love.

I certainly hope I haven’t. But now that I’m, well, where I am…it’s all even more difficult. Leaving the house is harder. I do it. Repeatedly. And optimistically. But it isn’t as easy as it used to be. The places I might meet people have become more limited. I used to meet (and fuck) people I met in bars all the damn time. I don’t think I’ve met anyone new in a bar in years. I just don’t hang out in bars the way I once did. And when I am in a bar, I must not have my “Buy me a beer and I’ll suck your cock” groove on. I’ve also become considerably less inclined to drag a drunk guy home with me. And honestly, that was more or less my MO for…over a decade.

Which all adds up to why don’t I just give up? My friend Ruth’s comment on my previous blog post was: “If you find disbelief in blind dates, then why do you do it consistently and constantly?” And my response just sounds like excuses: “Spoken like a person who isn’t single! I keep doing to meet new people, most especially people outside my already considerably large world, in the hope that it might lead to, well, all sorts of things! A job, new people for my singles’ events, someone who might enjoy meeting one of my friends, who knows? The bottom line is that it couldn’t hurt! Also, it gives me more to blog about! Are these sufficient reasons?”

On bad days I fantasize about moving to a mountaintop and becoming a hermit. I know I am completely unsuited for the hermit’s life but sometimes it sounds appealing. I wouldn’t feel bad about staying home cause I wouldn’t be missing anything. Well, maybe nature. If I wasn’t meeting anyone it would be because there was no one to meet. Here I come in contact with hundreds of people a week. And I’m not falling in love with ANY of them! I must have bad timing…

Online Dating Coach

Today was a full day of…what felt like nothing. I never made it out of my apartment. I brought more boxes up from my storage space in my ongoing efforts of unpacking my belongings and making my apartment feel like home again. I started entering stories for my erotica book into the self-publishing template. And I checked out jobs on Craigslist. which led me to post an ad of my own: Online Dating Coach. The ad reads:

Do you have a profile on one of the many online dating sites? How’s it goin’?
So many people post inarticulate profiles, unflattering photos or worse.
I will make sure you put your best face forward and increase your chances of meeting the woman (or man) of your dreams! Or, more realistically, increase the chances of actually getting a date.
Seriously, the world of online dating is a vast wasteland of unfortunately poor grammar, embarrassing misspellings and blurry bathroom mirror self portraits.
There’s love out there for everyone. Let me help you!
Let’s meet for a cup of coffee. Bring your laptop and in an hour you’ll have a better online presence!
Consulting fee is $50 per hour.

Couldn’t hurt, right? It’s one more of my many attempts to combat my frustration with online dating and the hundreds of functionally illiterate single dudes out there in the ether searching for true love…or a lay. I hate to keep boring you with these idiots but I don’t want to suffer alone! You can read my latest encounters with online losers below, but writing the ad made me focus a bit on what I’ll call Abby’s Rules of Online Dating. There are as follows:

• Post a photo.
• In said photo, don’t wear sunglasses. Or face away from the camera. And if you’re balding, don’t wear a baseball cap. Or any cap. Show your prospective dates who you are..
• Use a real photo. Don’t just take a shot of yourself in your bathroom mirror with your cell phone.
• Post a recent photo. Like, within the last year. And the last few pounds. And the last few hairs. Oy.
• If you pose with your car or boat, you’ll wind up with dates who are only interested in your car or your boat. That’s a personal decision.
• Don’t use a photo that you’ve cut someone else out of.
• Don’t use photos of you in bed or half dressed. Bathing suits are fine if you’re actually at a beach. Or on a boat.
• Don’t post photos of your penis.
• Fill in your profile. If you want someone to be interested in you, you need to provide them with something to be interested IN!
• Have a friend proofread your profile. Misspellings and lousy grammar don’t make a very good impression.
• Don’t send women any of the site’s “canned” greetings, no flirts, winks or other lazy-ass, I-can’t-be-bothered-to-write-a-personal-message messages. Make an effort, fer crissakes!
•  When you email a woman, don’t use any terms of endearment: baby, honey, sweetie, babe, sugar, whatever. You are strangers. Act accordingly.

I’m sure there are more, especially if a guy manages to engage a woman in an online conversation. I just wanted to spit out my personal irritations with most profiles. I actually mention most of this in MY profile and warn men that if they do any of my don’ts they won’t receive a response. But no one bothers to pay attention. (As was evidenced by the guy who thought he was going on a date with a 5’6″, non-tattooed, financially successful Abby. Hah!) So, on with our losers!

An 80-year-old rollerskater from Baltimore, OH, emailed me today:
You do well in anything you put on or pull off. Next put on a pair of roller skates and I will put a pair of tights and skate with you.
Bill
Reading his profile, which included these gems, I am an extremely positive guy who actively applies the blood of Jesus to any errant thought I have, that is then erased, and in so doing, releases God’s creative thinking to take place. I felt motivated to say:
WHAT?!
You do WHAT with the blood of Jesus?!
I’m not interested in seeing you pull on a pair of tights, thank you!
Abby
To which he responded:
What do I do with the blood of Jesus?….I apply it to any errant thought that I have that is judgmental, uncomplimentary, degrading, discouraging, un-creative and needs to be erased from the eternal slate. Do you agree?
Bill
I told him, in no uncertain terms:
No, I do NOT agree. I don’t believe in the blood of Jesus…or Jesus at all, for that matter…
Please don’t impose your religion on strangers.

WTF? I chased another dude off OKCupid.

lovelife_lonely wrote:
Wow you got a nice picture and a cool profile i wonder why you are still single with your beauty i believe with your beauty all the men in your area will always sleep at your door step seeking your hand in a relationship cause your beauty is what all the men on earth are looking for… You really look so beautiful and yummy i wonder why you are still single cause with your beauty i believe all the men in your area will always sleep at your door step seeking your hand in a relationship cause your beauty is what all the man on earth are looking for.. 
Do you have a map please give me the map of your beauty cause have lost in the beauty i see in your eyes.. I am interested in getting to know more about you after reading your profile. I guarantee that I am a nice man am not the perfect either the best i just know how to treat a woman like a queen cause i believe woman are the woman of man… How i wish you are online right now so that we can chat more better but i believe everything happen for a reason i will be very happy to read from you soonest Later Paolo

Did you READ your email before you sent it? You repeated yourself a few times. AND you don’t seem to know how to use punctuation.
You will be “happy to read from me soonest”? What the hell?
A few words of advice:
Proofread your emails.
Punctuate your sentences.
DON’T sound like you’re begging.
Maybe I’m still single because I’m a bitch. Who knows.
Best of luck to you!
A

And Joe, a guy who I’d been emailing with extensively but wound up cancelling our date because he had to get to his cancer treatment, wrote:
don’t get pissed at me and i mean no disrespect but i really love your new picture, it got me horny. joe
And my response:
Uh, yeah. Good to know I can get you horny.
Hope your cancer treatments are going well.
If you aren’t interested in seeing me, you might want to stop emailing me.
Abby

Also good? Hearing that, even with cancer, he’s able to get it up! Bwahahaha! Sorry, I don’t mean to ridicule cancer. But I mean, really. If he actually did have to go to his cancer treatment, I would’ve gladly rescheduled our date. I may come off as callous but I’m not that much of a cunt!

loveyou11’s profile reads:
I am US citizen and have my own settled business.my business is mostly with City, State, counties etc in NJ and NY.
He sends me one of the site’s canned emoticon-embellished “flirts”: I’m interested in you. I respond:
Wow! Hold me back!
A profile with NO PHOTO!
And you’re a CITIZEN! That’s impressive! I can NEVER find me a US citizen. 
Very impressive.
Holy crap.

I’d Fuck Me

All this online dating has had the strangest effect on me: it has made me more confident. Dozens and dozens of men are looking at my photos and profile and reaching out. From 20-somethings to great-grandads, buttoned-up businessmen to corn fed farm boys and just about everything in between, guys are finding me attractive. Which is nice.

It fits with my general attitude about myself, one that’s been fomenting for a while now. When I was younger I didn’t have quite as much self-confidence. Like most women I had body image issues. But over the years I became comfortable in my skin and grew into the self-assured, sexual being I am today. Mind you this was all taking place as chronology was working its evil upon me. Bummer; now that I’m finally able to look in the mirror and like what I see, it’s all sort of…sagging.

Nevertheless, when someone says, “You’re hot!” I tend to believe them. Or at least accept the compliment. My stomach is finally flat. My boobs still look pretty good. (Thank GAWD I didn’t have kids!) My thighs seem slimmer. And I’m not sure if it’s the change in my body chemistry or what, but even my own body odor is an aphrodisiac. Yup, that’s right: I turn myself on! Between my reflection and my aroma, who needs foreplay? Heh.

Yet with all this sexy swagger, I haven’t seen much action recently. I’ve been turning down the much younger men, reluctant to merely help them live out their fantasies and risk becoming a punch line. None of the men my age are doin’ it for me. I’d say I’m aiming for the middle ground but even that isn’t quite right. I’ve been enjoying hangin’ out at home a lot lately and, occasional online date notwithstanding, I’m content with my singlehood. I’d rather be single than settle. And masturbation is certainly more satisfying than a lousy lay.

So until my dream dude comes along — and even if he doesn’t — it’s me and my sex toys. And my mirror!

Blind Date Hell

In aniticipation of my return to the city, I reactivated my profile on OKCupid with the goal of lining up a few dates. I had more than a few interesting men “on the line,” some I was even excited to meet. For the most part, I was really just eager to “get back in the game.”

One guy had been sending me flattering messages and, after a few back and forths about a date, he suggested we meet for “happy hour.” We still hadn’t figured out an exact time – or place – and when he said he couldn’t leave the office till 6:30 at the earliest, I thought perhaps I could manage a “two birds with one stone” situation . I had a friend in town staying with me and we both wanted to check out Pleasure Salon. So I thought she and I could go together, hang out for a bit and then I’d meet up with my “date.” I let him know and he agreed to meet me there. My friend and I got to Happy Ending around 6:00 and by the time I was on my second beer my date still hadn’t shown. On my way to the bathroom, a guy stepped in front of me and exclaimed, “Hi, stranger!” The rest of what transpired and our subsequent reactions is in our emails:

Hey sorry.  I split. I just found it a bit odd that we were meant to meet there and it seemed as though you had no idea who I was. Hoping you have an amazing evening.
R
Sorry? I’m guessing not, or you would NOT have left. That was pretty fucking rude.
Of course I had no idea who you were. Your photo on OKC isn’t of your face, so it’s tough to tell what you even look like. How was I supposed to recognize you?
Anyway, I hope that karma catches up with you!
Abby
It’s cool. I admit it was rude to leave that’s why I apologized. However I dont think I was the only party that was rude. As far as karma goes I’m not worried. Because I’m a good person who treats people well.
You didn’t treat me too well.

I thought I did. I was excited to see you I introduced myself. You said your friends were around the corner and to introduce myself. Before saying anything else.  My perception of that was rude. Either way I’m sorry if you thought I was rude.
R

Actually, no, you didn’t introduce yourself. You said, “Hi, stranger.” The lights behind you made it hard to even see your face. Not that I would’ve recognized you since your face is so small on your profile pic. I was on my way to the bathroom and suggested you sit with my friends, where I was sitting. If that wasn’t to your liking you could’ve waited for me to get out of the bathroom. Instead, you just left. Making a date with someone and then disappearing is rude. Plain and simple. Offering to have you join my friends as I was on my way to the bathroom? I’d like to hear what about that was rude.
No response. My cousin said she would’ve left, too. Was I really that rude? I dunno. It’s all such a crap shoot.

Another guy who’d been causing me more aggravation than excitement had the screen name “Masuginah,” the Yiddish word for crazy. I thought it was a sign of a wry sense of humor. Instead, it turned out to be an apt self-description. He began with a brief flirtation and I wrote back that his profile was completely empty, so it was tough to discern if we might have a connection. He responded with an invitation to “ask away.” When I didn’t immediately reply (I’m assuming he saw that I was “online”), he “shouted” back at me:

 I THOUGHT SO

I wrote back, You thought so? What did you think? What am I supposed to ask you? How about why haven’t you filled out your profile at all? Are you new? Shy? Why not volunteer a little bit of info?

The rest of the conversation went like this:

i did put a little more info in my profile, so thats not good enough?

I’m not sure why you’re so combative, especially with a stranger, on a dating site that’s designed to help you meet people. They site is easy to navigate, fun to use and matches people in fun ways, especially compared to many other dating sites.
If it’s all too much work for you, why bother?

its not hard work at all but i dont need no nerdy robot pickin my one and only and since you’re pickin on me will you tell me your name?..im Anthony

My name is Abby. Thought that was somewhat obvious.
The nerdy robot does a pretty damn good job at matching people. YOU pick your one and only. I’ll go read that little bit extra you added to your profile.
And if you’d like to know more about me, you can google me, check out my Facebook page or read my blog.
Abby

oh so you’re not here to meet anyone?

Of course I’m here to meet someone. What gave you the idea that I’m not?

see thats how you get to know someone you ask its better than lettin rudy tudy the robot pick it

Whatever, dude. I don’t know why you’re on here. It’s obviously a waste of your time. Asking questions is for when you meet people in person. Dating sites answer many of the questions for you if you just take the time to fill out the profile. No need to let “rudy tudy robot” do anything at all for you. I can read. You can read. We can both see photos.
Best of luck to you in your search. <cue you calling me a stuck up bitch or some other derogatory name>
Abby

ok one woman freak show good luck to you also and your stale humor

Oh, sorry. Was that humor? I couldn’t tell. It sounded to ME like you hated the site and couldn’t be bothered using it. If I got that wrong. DO let me know. I have a great sense of humor. Just GOOGLE ME.

yes it was i try to make people smile it makes for a better day

Well, I apologize. I did not detect any humor. As I said, you sounded totally aggro and irritated, both with me, this site and “rudy tudy the robot.” Humor rarely comes across online, especially with strangers.
And yes, by the way, I AM a one woman freak show.

well im full of humor not shit and if i have to send a smiley face after each message to show i mean no harm i will and ill start now…….:)and one extra..:)

And what did you mean when you emailed me: “I THOUGHT SO.” Was that humor as well?

no that was bein a wise ass:)

hi i checked you out on facebook…

And?

i enjoyed reading and looking at your photos… 
 so what does it take to meet you?

It takes sincere communication. I’m out of town til the 24th and my week when I get back will be crazy so the soonest I could get together is early Nov. if that suits you.
A

so when you mean sincere does it mean contacting you everyday to see how you are doing and phone communication?

No, it means an email with no snark, so smartass and no sarcasm. You know, a straightforward note. Nothing fancy.

hi would you like a phone conversation?

No, I prefer to meet in person. No need to draw things out if there’s no chemistry.

ok

Hi, so when will I be available? 
[That was from him…I didn’t have a chance to respond before he sent his next note.]

When will u be available is what I meant

Hah! I’ll be more organized and settled (hopefully) next week or the week after. Do you want to make plans to meet up? Lunch? Dinner? Drinks?
Lemme know!
Abby

Yes we can meet up for dinner when you’re settled in

I was asking if you wanted to make plans. If we don’t make plans now for next week, it will be next week and we’ll have no plans. I’m cool either way but have a pretty busy life and without plans, I make other plans. Not to sound all “I’m so popular” or anything…

How’s next saturday night?

I can’t do weekends, unfortunately. I kinda reserve them for my friends and events they’re producing that I like to support. Any other night works, though. I have a happy hour to attend on Tuesday the 8th but that will only be for a short while. We could meet up after. Wednesday the 2nd? The 3rd?

Sounds like you wouldnt have time for a relationship from that last e mail..but the 3rd is fine

If I had a relationship, that person would be integrated into my life. As I would I would be into his. I have a full and fulfilling life. I’m not some loser sitting in my apartment lonely with no friends. And I would rather spend my weekends with those friends than strangers. That’s pretty simple. After we’ve met, you won’t be a stranger anymore.
Glad you can do the 3rd. I’ll email ya closer and we can pick a place. Do you want to come to my neighborhood, have me come to yours or meet somewhere else? Sorry if I’m repeating myself but I’m in the East Village…

No I would love to see your world..im honestly looking forward to being in new york city with you

Awesome! You’re on my calendar!

Hi,
Just checking in about Thursday evening. Did you still want to get together? Also, what’s your name?
Abby

Hi, yes I do still want to get together..Anthony

Okay, Anthony,
Let’s say Thursday at 7. Do you have a place in mind or should I pick one?
Abby

I would have to leave it up to you since its your neighborhood

Ok, well there’s every type of food near me. What do you like?

Sushi?

Sure. My usual place closed but there are a few others. I’ll send you an address before Thursday.

Hi Anthony,
Ack, I lost my phone on Halloween and that’s what I usually use for all my communicating! So let’s figure out a time and place for dinner tomorrow. There’s a sushi place on the corner of Avenue A and St. Marks. Want to meet there at 7?
Abby

Hi, sure thats fine with me..

And the afternoon we were scheduled to meet, he sent this:

i find this very odd that we had not one phone conversation

Odd why? We are strangers. Once we’ve met in person we won’t be.
I don’t ever have phone conversations with “blind dates.”
Does this mean you’re canceling dinner tonight? Or will you be at the restaurant at 7?
If not, please let me know as soon as possible.
Thank you!
Abby

I wont meet anyone til I talk on the phone to see if they are who they say they are. Just like you certain things matter.

I guess the dinner date is cancelled.
Best of luck to you in your search.
Abby

You put a damper on my search just for the simple fact that I feel your profile is bogus and a fraud 
[Gotta love this. What am I? A computer? A bot? Whose Facebook page did he think he was looking at? That’s some seriously advanced technology!]

What a fuckin joke this is

So of youre real come to jersey

No thank you. I don’t have a car. If I’m not real, who the hell has been emailing you? What would a phone call tell you? Try it: 000-000-0000. I’ll answer. But I could be ANYONE.

[When he didn’t call, I gave him a taste of his own snarkieness.] I THOUGHT SO

[And then the guy actually called. I told him it wasn’t worth my time, that he’d been aggro since the beginning, it was rude to cancel mere hours before the date and I couldn’t be bothered. Then came the string of psycho emails.]

Talk about a internet game player.get s grip already thats why ur single im single because she died so good luck with the bullshit and last but not least is I would have met you tonight

If you would’ve met me, why did you bother with YOUR bullshit of needing to speak on the phone? THAT was an internet game.

Best of luck to you, too.

ok brat

Seriously, dude?

im not a dude m a grown man

A grown man AND an asshole!

ok i can accept that

no reason for you not to understand me

but one thing im not is some self centered asshole like you

[And if that wasn’t the icing on the cake, he actually emailed me yet again!]

why you so thick headed

Sigh. I’m not sure why I even bother…Today I had a lunch date that he cancelled…last night at almost 11pm. And when he asked to reschedule, I actually said yes. I may need my head examined. On the bright side, I met two OKC guys in one night Friday. That’ll have to be a different post!

Stories We Tell Ourselves

When I was in college I bought a pair of wild shorts at a tacky tourist shop. They were patchwork plaid seersucker. I called them my “You’ll never get a date in those shorts.” And I didn’t. In fact after I’d broken up with my freshman year boyfriend I didn’t date anyone. Sure, I slept around; it was the 70s. But no dates.

After college I moved to New Jersey. Still, no dates. I told myself it was because I was too…a lot of things: too tall, too loud, too picky, too opinionated. Too smart. And so far from compliant. No Stepford Wifery for me! I would regale my friends with hilarious tales of just how un-date-able I was. A self-fulling prophecy.

When I moved to Newport Beach, there were cute boys living below me. I wound up sleeping with one of their friends, who subsequently became a boyfriend. I guess we dated, but we were already together. Then I moved to New York City and I dreamt up even more baroque stories about why no man would want to take me out. By then it was the 80s and the media had predicted that “A woman over 30 has as much of a chance of getting married as being hit by lightening.” Nice. I was, of course, 30.

My sister gave me a New York Magazine personal ad for my birthday. Yes, that was back in the days before internet dating, when people actually put pen to paper in an attempt to meet someone. It seems like the fucking Dark Ages. And those days were, indeed, dark. Even though I was finally “out on a date,” as in a guy was buying me dinner (or whatever), it wasn’t quite right. They were hoodwinked into wanting me by my clever turns of phrase, my effusive prose. Or maybe my measurements. Whatever it was, it didn’t feel like real dating. And it never was.

I managed to find a boyfriend eventually: a one-night stand who actually called. After about two years together we broke up and soon I found yet another boyfriend who was yet another one-night stand who called. I wound up marrying that one!

Fast-forward to today. I’m 52 and lamentably single. When I wind up in a conversation about dating or sex – or the lack thereof – I find myself rebuilding my repertoire of why-I’m-un-date-able tales again. “Every 50-year-old guy who has all his hair and can see his feet thinks he deserves a 35-year-old.” “Why would anyone want a woman my age?” “It’s a vast wasteland out there.” “I go to parties but everyone is so much younger. And where else do you meet people?” “I’ll never get picked up on in a bar ever again.” (I was at least recently proven wrong about that last one! I didn’t act upon it but I certainly could have.)

At least I’ve learned from my past mistakes, one –and perhaps the only – benefit of being older. I can hear how I sound and now stop myself mid-sentence before I seal my fate with more self-fulfilling prophecies. Yet I once told those tales of why no one would date me and somehow managed to find love anyway. I’m sure I’ll find it again, in probably just as unlikely of places with equally unlikely men. (Or man, why be greedy?) Perhaps I should drag out those plaid seersucker shorts!

Ex’s Exes

Last night I met E, an effervescent young woman who had commented on a few of my blog posts. We share an ex-lover, E and I, and we compared notes over beers, much as another ex-lover of my ex-lover and I once did. It seems this ex-lover has a bit of a problem telling the truth and note-comparing shines a light on those lies that is simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking.

I’m not the first woman to be lied to. And I’m most definitely not the only woman this man has lied to. But meeting E made me doubt if there was ever any truth to my relationship with him at all, which is exactly how his previous ex felt when I met up with her. It causes me to reevaluate everything he said to me — daily! — to doubt myself and wonder how the hell I could’ve been so stupid. I have other exes and I can’t say that I feel the same way about them. Although our break-ups ended in varying degrees of disappointment, I never felt betrayed.

I am now faced with seeing this man every morning at breakfast and every evening at dinner. I’m doing my best to not direct any energy his way and he’s wearing a long face. In order for me to survive he simply must not exist in my world. Which is pretty fucking sad. His long face is a reminder of the lies he’s told about me — and the lies he told me about his previous ex — that paint him to be a victim. It seems that if he is able to elicit sympathy, love and affection soon follow. Again, sad. And there I am, in his trap.

Recently he betrayed yet another strong, confident and talented woman. He brought her on a group camping trip and left her stranded, ditching her for another fuck. [See here for sick story of said fuck.] In an extremely public manner. It pains me to know that there’s now one more woman out there wondering how the hell she could’ve been so stupid.

Yes, there are a multitude of broken heart stories — songs and soap operas, chick flicks and novels — and everyone has been hurt by someone. It’s life. And love. But I don’t know of any other men who have serially damaged each woman they’ve come into contact with the way this man has. It’s just fucking depressing.

Fragmented

Speaking of poetry, this non-sensical sentence that showed up in my spam filter struck me as oddly artistic: “When these pretzels eradicate one should tarnish what they steal or blink their wide nature.”

This past week was exhausting: a series of “customer disservice” frustrations, a day-long photo shoot with Alex Colby and The Mermaid Parade.

Last night was the sort of night that made me wish I could sleep outside.

The LED that I brought home from Coachella is still emitting light!

These random thought fragments are why I love blogging.

I began this exercise in extreme navel-gazing as a way to cultivate discipline, to get into the habit of writing every day. Friends recommended that I focus on one topic: Dating or Aging or Sex. But I’m too much of a Gemini to be that single-minded. I have lots to say about a lot of things. So the blog has become like a diary of sorts, self-reflection and self-help, an arena to air my concerns and neuroses, mull over my troubles and seek reassurance through the ether, as well a very public kind of therapy. It’s an opportunity to think aloud and, occasionally, receive a response.

But something happened recently that has stifled my self-expression, curbed my creativity and impacted my sanity. When I blogged about hearing some unappealing news that, quite frankly, didn’t involve or directly affect me, the post garnered my highest readership yet, probably because it involved drama: sex and intrigue and heartbreak. It inspired a few responses that also made for good reading. Unfortunately it provoked an unwanted comment from the subject of the post, the subject of more than one post, in fact: the ex-boyfriend. And it has left me feeling a bit paralyzed.

I’ve mentioned that I will soon be seeing this man at three meals a day, in an environment where there is, quite literally, no escape. We will have to co-exist for three months in as harmonious a fashion as possible. In the past, that hasn’t been easy. The times when we were in close proximity but not “together” brought drama on a level I had never before experienced. So I am apprehensive. And I have no interest in antagonizing him or escalating the drama in any way. Yet I do feel compelled to write about it because that is how I cope. (And in my self-involved imagination, I’ve felt like I’ve been letting my readers down lately, since my posts have lacked their usual depth. My candor and ability to tell my truth, unvarnished and “out there,” is what my readers tell me they find compelling.)

I was aware that he read my blog because of an email he sent me back in March that made reference to a post. My response to him included two sentences that informed him how I felt about it: “It seems you’re well aware how things are going for me.” and “I find communicating with you to be excruciatingly painful.” That was the last I heard from him, thankfully, and I assumed he had moved on.

Why he chose to read my blog again is beyond me. He has, in the past, complained bitterly about women who have “stalked” him and I found his interest in my day-to-day life to be somewhat stalker-like. We had severed all ties, as communicating with him in my few attempts at friendship had been disappointingly unsuccessful. And hurtful. Perhaps mutual friends pointed him in my direction because he was the subject of the post. In any event, his response rattled me. He essentially wanted to censor me.

Whatever his motivations were, this is my little corner of the web. Mine. To demand that I never mention him again is unreasonable. A great percentage of my readership is comprised of total strangers who’ve found me through mutual interests — or mutual tag clouds. Anyone reading who does know me is capable of making their own decisions on who — and what — to believe, as well as who to like or dislike. None of my words here are intended to inflict damage upon anyone. They’re not lies. Or “yarns,” as he qualified them. They are my experiences and my emotions, my ideas and my opinions. To which I am, unequivocally, entitled.

If he reads this, let’s hope he agrees.

Gratitude

The responses to last night’s post have been coming in and they’re kinda cracking me up. One fellow blogger read me to filth for wanting a faithful man while using the Ashley Madison web site. He must’ve missed that I’m not on the site anymore. But still he has a point. My morals have always been questionable. I was never the perfect wife. But I believe I am capable of change. And hope that we all are.

The responses from men are, predictably, about whether they “measure up” or not. When I say I want someone “tall, 6’3″ or taller,” it doesn’t mean I would turn down a date with someone 5’8″. These desires are merely that: desires. I wouldn’t turn down a job offer of $50,000 a year. Or even $25,000 a year. But I can dream, can’t I?

The Poet has set out a more life-affirming set of challenges, as I would expect from him:

One: Write a list of the ten things you are most grateful for in your life. You only get 10.
Two: Write a post on what you want and what you have to offer in friendship.
Oh and don’t forget to keep praying for James everyday for two weeks!

So, in response to The Poet:
The 10 Things I Am Grateful For In  My Life
1. My corporeal being: my body, my health, my genetics, I guess. I have been blessed with great health, tall and sturdy stature, good teeth and skin and hair, a complex brain and many innate talents.
2. My family: two loving, doting, attentive parents; a sister who loves me fiercely and does everything she can to help me; an amazing extended family filled with unique characters, passionate and opinionated and extremely loving; my sister’s kids, who give me hope for the future. (Or should I say force me to hope for the future?) They are incredible humans. My grandparents were also pretty fuckin’ cool.
3. An impressive palette of loyal, loving and supportive friends, some of whom have been friends for over 20 years. I am fortunate to make friends easily and am then able to pick and choose the ones I  love most!
4. My creativity: it has allowed me to create costumes that make me smile, produce art that has made others smile and, most importantly, permits me to express myself in an eloquent, easily transmitted manner. Or so people tell me!
5. A wildly interesting life: this is partially my doing, being the experience junkie that I am. But it is also my parents, wanting to expose me to many things, being in a position to travel and see the world, the money to send me to college and support me while I was there. Everyone and everything that has conspired to make my life so enviable.
6. Loving relationships: I’ve had several long-term relationships with boyfriends in my life. While in the relationships I felt great love (or thought I did) and really loved being in love. (That’s a lotta love in one sentence….but that’s the topic here.) While some break-ups were less pleasant than others, I can honestly say that I am on friendly terms with all of these men. (The most recent one being the only possible exception. I will strive for civility in that circumstance as well.) Though some of these men are now far away, living very new and different lives, I believe firmly that if we were stuck across a dinner table from each other, it would be a loving, enjoyable experience. The best part of these loves is that I learned something valuable from each of these men and took those lessons with me into subsequent relationships.
7. This may sound silly, but I must include pets: since I was little I’ve had wonderful, loving dogs. Life is just better with a dog in it, from my childhood poodle to Zoe, my poodle of 16 years, to Noodle, who Eric got in the divorce settlement, to the fosters I’ve taken in, including the two little scruffies sitting on either side of me right now. Dog breath smells sweet. Dogs love their humans. Even their temporary humans. Pure, pure love.
8. Education: I went to a really, really great elementary school that gave me a solid base of education that I’m still calling upon. Junior high and high school weren’t quite as excellent but they were “second in the nation,” so it was better than most. I can spell. I can punctuate. I can string a sentence together. And I have my K-12 teachers to thank for that. Along with all the award-winning authors whose books I’ve read. College was more fun than learning but, looking back, I did take in a lot of knowledge, in between all the drinking and tanning and roller skating. Physics for Poets sticks with me as does my Sociology class that makes me occasionally wish, still, that I had taken that route. My brain loves to learn stuff.
9. Being born in America: okay, now I’m stretching! But I’ve gotta name 10 things and yes, this is one of them. The life I’ve led — and continue to live — can only have been led in America. We have incredible freedoms, a country rich in culture and adventure and…land! I couldn’t have run my fetish magazine in Iraq! And I couldn’t have roller skated on the beach boardwalk in Russia. The ability to constantly reinvent myself is also a truly American thing; this country loves reinvention! The Star Spangle Banner chokes me up. Seriously.
10. Luck: this probably sounds like a cheat. If you look at everything else, they’re all somewhat a result of luck. I am lucky to have been born in America; to two loving parents with means and good genes; to have traveled and met and known so many wonderful, interesting people; to have found love more than once and loved fiercely with all my heart; to have experienced more than just about everyone I’ve met. This is probably the one thing I’m prone to forget the most easily. I need to keep reminding myself how fortunate I am and how grateful I am for this luck. I went to a sort of hippy-dippy life reading once and the woman told me that the Archangel Michael is watching over me. When people ask me if I’ve ever seen a ghost, I can distinctly recall seeing an apparition, a male, all in white, with long blond hair, standing beside my bed. It was when I was in college and, at the time, I wrote it off as too much drinking. Instead of pink elephants I was seeing a blond dude in a white robe. But maybe it was Michael. I am truly a lucky person.

My second task was to write a list of what I want in a friend and what I have to offer in a friendship. I don’t think I need to repeat anything that I’ve already written. I already have what I want in a friend. In many friends. I feel fortunate and fulfilled in my friendships. I can’t claim to want or need more. And what I have to offer in a friendship is the same litany of things I have to offer a lover — with the obvious exception of the sex! I am a great friend.

I tip-tapped all of this out in a bit of a hurry. I guess I’ll wait and see if The Poet accepts my responses. He’s keeping me on my toes. And lives on as an example of something GOOD that can come out of being on Ashley Madison! I will, as he instructed, continue to pray for James’s happiness. And mine!