“You take the high road and I’ll…”

Let it go. Forgive and forget. Be the bigger person. Serenity. Yeah I failed all that shit today. Epically.


The Ex finally came to get his stuff. It’s been sitting at my house for six months. I can’t really go into why, but there are reasons. Some legitimate, some not. Attempts have been made, some of it was retrieved, but there were some final big things that I still had. It was a bit of an annoyance, but not a life changer. Ironically, I had just decided over the weekend that his desk made a nice stand for my plants, put them all on there, when I got the call that he and his Dad were coming to pick up his things.


Closure. I’m all about it. I really, truly believe that relationships, even bad ones, happen for a reason. Sometimes I feel that I am on the planet to make all my ex’s better for their next girl friend, but that is probably just my ego. I don’t really believe that guys emerge from the cocoon of us transformed into a shiny butterfly; ready to fly away and be happy with the next person they meet. Naw, because usually I run into them at some point, and they are pretty much the same asshole they were with me. And for me the closure is not that I will never see someone again, rather, I know it’s happened when I really, truly wish them the best;I hope they are happy and I don’t care if I run into them looking disgusting. Well, that last part never really happens. Even when I’m going to see my kids’ dad, my #1 ex, who I am very close to, I try to have eye makeup on. I know, how shallow can you be? This guy saw me pregnant and naked. But I digress. Back to today.


He was supposed to be coming over in the afternoon. I was not supposed to be home. This was good. He could come, get his stuff, and it would be painless. Well, Mother Nature interfered with that plan by sending us a big ass snowstorm overnight. And because the reason he was in town was cancelled due to the snow, instead of the afternoon; when I could have found someone with a four wheel drive vehicle to abduct me, the knock came at 9:30 in the morning. And because I knew today was going to be a snow day I stayed up really late drinking wine and talking to my son. Therefore when the knock came, the dogs barked, I woke up still in my clothes from last night, not looking pretty. At all.


I let his dad in, and told him I would take out the dogs. If the weather is nice I walk my dogs a couple of miles. Even if it’s just okay, I usually walk them for a while. Of course, it was still snowing, nothing was shovelled, and my dogs are not the type to bound through the drifts in ecstasy like every other dog on Facebook. Nope, mine are wusses and wanted to come home immediately after pooping. Great.


So I hid out upstairs for a while because nothing says awkward like having to hide in your own house. FInally, my need for coffee drove me downstairs. By now, I had changed into a particularly fetching pair of sweats with a Paul Frank monkey on them; Hellion’s, probably from middle school, and a giant sweatshirt from a restaurant where my son worked about 10 years ago. I figured it complemented the bags under my eyes and the escaped lunatic hair I was sporting.


I won’t bore you with the details, but the bottom line is we got into it a little bit. It started as a conversation about some stuff I got rid of that was his. That turned ugly, and he went outside to get his tools that were in my shed. I thought it was over, but he came back. To give him credit, he wanted to give me a hug and wish me well. But I wasn’t having it. I’m not there yet. Even though I broke up with him and it ended very, very badly. And I’m not there because I saw on Facebook that he was spending time with another girl.


Now here’s the part where you say, “a-ha. She is not over him, obviously. She still must have feelings for him if she doesn’t want him to be with someone else.” I think it’s a little more complicated than that. He was truly a terrible boyfriend. He started out great, or I wouldn’t have been with him, but by the end, even way before the actual end, I was actively trying to get rid of him. I miss being in a relationship, but I’m dealing with that. It’s just plain old jealousy. He has someone and I don’t. Pretty mature, huh? I don’t want him to be happy. I want him to hurt like he hurt me. I want him to know he is a terrible person who deserves to be alone for the rest of his life. In a pit. With spiders. I don’t want to read on Facebook that he is hanging out with a “pretty lady.” Now, in my defense, we have not been FB ‘friends’ since we broke up, I have not been stalking. But you know how it is, someone sees a post, and of course they tell you and of course you look at their page to see it and then it is discussed for three hours because that is how girls roll.


So, the conversation ended on a less than pleasant note. Something along the lines of, “get the f— out of my house.” Yup, me at my finest. Namaste. When the door slammed I was shakingly angry. Fortunately, my best friend called me right at that moment. We truly are psychic like that. And retelling the tale of the lava lamp made the whole episode funny/painful instead of just plain painful. Of course I have been thinking about this all day. Mostly the part about how hard it truly is to take the high road. We all want to, I really believe that. But our limitations; our jealousies and petty hatreds are barriers to that. I wish I had handled that better. And I can’t tell him that right now. So here is my message in a bottle, my confession to the world-at-large (well, to the dozen or so people that actually read this blog, anyway). The high road called and I turned my back. And sped away in the other direction.


6 failed dates: A Valentine’s Tale

The date recap is not gonna be that long, because 10 days or so after, it has all faded into an enlightening but probably interesting – only – to – me chapter. So here we go: Date #2: NYE day…called me and asked me out on a very last minute. I was impressed by the spontaneity. Went to a lovely wine bar. Nice conversation, he was fairly urbane and witty, not unattractive. Date ended on a good note, vague-ish plans to get together again. Got a drunk dial a couple of nights later; a little weird. Texted him the next morning: “sounds like you had fun last night.” He then cancelled the date we had set for that night, via text. Conclusion: He was embarrassed about the drunk dial, or met someone “better’”.


#3…cute cute cute! Funny, personable, I thought we clicked. Went on a great first date, days went by before he asked me out again. Actually got nervous feelings about that. Oh, PS, on all those online apps you can see when the other person is on, and trust me, he was ON. ALOT. Then I felt guilty about being a stalker. Finally called, we went on a second date, same thing…2 drinks each, good conversation, end of story. Conclusion: Not that into me, met someone “better”. Ok, well who lucks out and actually starts dating the third person they meet online, right? Brushed off the ego and on to….


#4  DC guy. Dog lover; great. Lover of Jazz…not so great. Seemed a little nerdy but nerdy is good. Nerdy is intelligent, and maybe an actual back massage, and good conversation. I can do nerdy, right? Wrong. Our actual date was a “doggie date”, where I discovered there exists a person too obsessed with his dogs .  To clarify; everyone knows I am obsessed with my dogs.  But, by and large, they are friendly, very doggy-type dogs. His dogs were Shiba-Inus, very cute, foxy-looking little fellows. But not friendly. And here we were at the dog park, and the one dog was “not to be petted.” Ohhh Kay. Plus, he showed up with a severely unkempt beard. Seriously? I understand we were on a very casual date. But please, trim your beard for godsake! Gross. After our dog foray at a local park, he asked me if I wanted to take my dogs home so we could have lunch, his were okay with waiting in the car. Needless to say, I bailed. Conclusion: Nerdy is still a possibility. Nebbish is not. Unkempt nebbish definitely not, as are ‘unpettable’ dogs. PS: he never called me either!


#5  Older guy. Late 50’s, which to me, is ‘older’. Not unattractive. perfectly pleasant, and the small talk was flowing. But that is exactly the disconnect, for me at least. I have not had the experience of being out with someone, alone per se, and not had a lot in common with them, or at the very least some legitimate attraction that made me WANT to be on the date. This was the opposite of that, just so random, here I was, again, being “interviewed”. He had a script, “ I’ll ask you any 3 questions than you can asks me any 3….” which sort of took me back. He obviously did this a lot.

As date #5  was ending, I actually had an inner debate: What will I do when he calls me? DO I want to go out with him again? Could I, under any circumstances, make out with him? Conclusion: Existential problem solved because he didn’t call me!!! Must have met someone “better”.


Date #6: Repeat of #5, without the inner turmoil. I definitely had no desire to make out with him. Conclusion: I can’t do this any more.


Every “holiday”, even the canned ones like Valentine’s day, provokes me to reflect on my life. I know, #problemsoftheselfabsorbed! What I have realized is that I would rather be alone, with the possibility, however distant, of the actual process: meeting someone, feeling the attraction, wanting to spend time, and ultimately, revealing yourself and all your little weirdnesses. The problem I had with the online experience, is that it was against that natural flow. You are immediately forced to find the boundary between chit chat and revelation. How much? How little? It sets up a date as a no-win situation, a standardized test, if you will. Objective: date #2, the actual date, where you are with someone you like. All the first dates are “interviews”. And I found myself starting to dread the process, as well as going out when I didn’t really feel like it, like on a cold Wednesday night when I would so rather have been home. Why? because you can’t give up weekend “prime time” for an interview.


So, while I totally respect those who continue to search this way, for this girl, it’s game over! On this Valentine’s Day while not ecstatic about being alone, I plan on having fun with family and friends. Cards Against Humanity is an awesome Valentine’s activity, in my book! And maybe some day, in the not-too distant future, I will indeed be someone’s ‘better’. Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Post Date Wrap-up


The reason I have not written in a while is that I have been very busy. I am writing today to tell you what I have been doing.


As you know, I have been doing the online dating “thing.” I am calling it my 30-day experiment, since that is how long it lasted. Like most things in life, it was a learning experience. Also, a “re-learning” experience; as a teacher I appreciate the value of “re-teaching”, and the experiences and feelings that surfaced reminded me why I didn’t like computer dating the first time I tried it, 15 or so years ago.


So, here is what I will be doing in the next month…finishing the unending chore of painting my house, working on my book, teaching, grading papers, blah blah work stuff, applying for jobs, thinking about moving, working part time at my friend’s store, hopefully seeing the new movie about David Foster Wallace, starting a writer’s group, having a Cards against Humanity party, working out, playing with my dogs, cooking, cleaning all that blah blah stuff, finishing a mosaic project I started at a craft party, reading, talking and drinking with my friends, taking at least one hot yoga class, and filing my taxes. I will NOT be dating, unless, like on the Christian Mingle site, God really does have a plan for me that concerns my social life and, I actually meet a person in REAL LIFE.


I will share with you the reasons why, which will take a couple of posts. When I started writing the story of the last month it just kept spewing out of me, and will be far too long for you guys to deal with in one sitting; I appreciate that you are even taking the time to read the first world problems of a basic white girl and her quest for true love! I went on a half dozen dates; I had many “conversations” . I learned that there are a lot of people out there looking to connect in many different ways. Guys who are blatant about the fact that they want sex only. Not my thing but I’m not judging. Guys that want sex only but act like they want a relationship. Not so okay with that. Guys who advertise stuff that sounds like a weird combination of Harlequin/50 Shades of Yuck/ Red Shoe Diaries. Just weird. Old guys, young guys trying to hook up with “mature” women. Nice guys, not-so-nice guys, cute guys, not-so-cute guys, cops, lawyers, roofers, teachers, ninjas, you name it, they are there.


My conclusion? It is all just too draining.


First of all, online dating is a full-time job. I was getting messages literally day and night. I do not believe this is because I am some kind of a goddess; rather it is just an indication of the degree of isolation out there; I  believe the desire for connection is real, and the society that we live in is further deepening the chasm between people and true feeling. Unfortunately, sites like POF and Tinder are just another level of competition and voyeurism. It doesn’t start out that way. But I constantly found myself checking my phone, it was becoming a little obsessive. Who is looking at me? Who wants to connect? What does he look like? Is he ‘better’ than the other 3 that have messaged me in the last hour? Also, people are on this thing day and night. As I was falling asleep I would hear my phone dinging. When I got up in the morning, I would have half a dozen messages.


Then there were the actual dates. I have no horror stories, although in the past 3 weeks I have eaten enough appetizers to put me off chicken wings, crab dip, and nachos for some time. I met some nice guys. I met one weird guy. I met one guy I actually liked who didn’t like me. And that hurt. I appreciate the people that were brave enough to actually meet up, unlike the one dude (lawyer from a nearby community known for its snob factor) who relentlessly messaged me for days, admitted that it was part of his “vetting” process. His messages were totally banal; how many times can you tell someone that your day is going “GREAT”. Yet, he never actually said, “hey let’s meet up”; guess I wasn’t worth the ‘investment’. Oh, and he didn’t like Pit Bulls, so that would never have worked anyway.


So here is the tally; it will be explored in further posts….


Date #2: New Year’s Eve ….

Date#3   Guy I liked who didn’t like me

Date #4  Dog Park Date

Date #5  Older Guy

Date #6  The final Straw


All dates will include play-by-play, and post-date wrap up. It’s kind of funny, I am really happy to be writing this, and happy to be done with this little experiment. I had forgotten how wearying it is to tell your life story, or some version of it, at least a dozen times, in person and through text, to different people. How much of a disconnect the whole process was, for me, at least. At the beginning of the month, I was pretty much happy, feeling okay about myself, ready to take on this new adventure. 30 days later, I realized I had to stop because I was actually starting to feel bad about myself. Once I decided to delete my accounts I felt instantly better! Weird, huh? That will be explored later. Right now, I have to get off here, go work out and buy paint. Thanks for reading.

Tinder Date #1: Muscleman



I have a friend who I will call Viking Princess, because she is just that: tall, beautiful, smart, funny etc. She is on Tinder, and has been “talking to” a lot of people.


“Talking to” in today’s terms, is not what those of us who grew up in the 1970’s and 80’s are used to. For my high-school students, “Talking to” means you are in the beginning stages of a relationship, no commitment, but usually this includes some type of hooking up. In terms of online dating, it usually means text-ing, first on the dating site, then if you feel comfortable, you exchange numbers and “really”text.  Note the subtle upgrade in closeness! You actually are trusting that someone is not going to blow up your phone, and I do have a story about that, too. There is no face to face, no actual date involved in “talking”. That is a whole other level of commitment.


Several of my guy friends expressed dismay that I was on this site. “That’s a (word that means hookup) site!”, a close friend of mine advised me. “Why do you want to do THAT?”


Well, I really don’t. But in reality, my choices are limited: I hang out with the same people, most of whom are in relationships and if they are not, they are my guy friends and not really datable. I am a teacher, wow, huge dating pool there.  I never have one of  those cutesy encounters so often featured in RomComs. And since I like to keep with the trends, why not try this?


Viking Princess warned me, “it’s very shallow. Totally based on physical attraction.” And she was right. The profiles, if any, are minimal. There are a couple of pictures, but most of the time you don’t even get that far. Your “matches”, based on criteria that you set, come up on your phone screen. Swipe right, you “like” them; swipe left, they are toast, sent to the Tinder recycling bin in the clouds. After all, one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure, right?


So I made a profile, found some decent, recent pictures, and hoped for the best. The thing about Tinder is, you have to have a “mutual” attraction for a “conversation” to happen. Now this is fine for Viking Princess , she is young and gorgeous. I am okay, but the number of “age appropriate” people on Tinder is relatively low, secondly, I don’t really think I have that much “instant attraction” power.  (Note to any over 40, potential Tinder-posting guys who might read for some DON’Ts … NO shirtless pictures, you are either a narcissist, or gay, if you have a good body, and if your body is not so good, you are a total freak! I have seen more people in need of Seinfeld’s famous “manzeer” than I care to count. NO motorcycle pics unless you and your bike are HOT. The whole biker thing doesn’t impress me, but I know that lots of women are into it, BUT you are not Jax Teller on your wide-body bike with the sidecar. NO “stuff” pics…I am not impressed by you in front of your fancy car, house, etc. And a caution, I am NOT fooled by your “cozy-ing up to my dog” picture…everyone knows all women over 40 love dogs more than men, so you are using the dog as bait, and it is probably not even your dog.)

I thought my profile was decent, however it proved to be a little humiliating at first. Here’s Viking Princess swiping away, with dozens of matches, mine were in the SINGLE DIGITS!!! Finally, a mutual match that looked ok, if not promising! Now, a word on attraction. What makes people want to have (sex) uhm, I mean, a relationship with someone else?  Also, to get really existential: what do people really want? There is a whole subtext here, definitely not defined by what (most) people say that they are after. And, according to most, the subtext of this app is that people want a quick hook up.


So, my “match”. Nice face, very nice body; the kind of physique that I find intimidating: total gym rat. Obligatory tribal tattoo on arm.in shirtless boat picture, of course. (As one witty friend remarked, “suns out, guns out!”)  Although I do work out regularly, I am soooo not a hardbody. I am 50. I like food, and alcohol. And I work out to feel better, and yes, of course, to tame the Mommy pooch as much as possible. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes, it’s not. So, I was rather intimidated by this guy’s frame. I have never been with someone in that kind of shape; but I thought it wouldn’t be a bad thing, exactly.


The messaging started, then the text-ing on our “real” numbers, a major advancement in Tinder World. Then, some actual phone conversations. He seemed nice, maybe not the most intellectually stimulating conversation in the world, but let’s face it, David Foster Wallace doesn’t usually come packaged like David Beckham. Win some, lose some. And I thought, this time, this ONE time, I am just going to roll with this; not over-analyze, not judge, just see if I can go on a date, without making it a big deal.


So a few days, many texts, and a few conversations later, we met for lunch. We met at the Green Turtle, a chain restaurant known for decent pub food,and more importantly, your “own” personalized mug that you rent or lease or something..it has your number on it and you use it when you go there. We met in the parking lot, and when he got out of his car, the first thing I noticed was that he was not that tall. Now, this is not a problem; as long as you are not like husband #2. However, in this case, he was really muscular, steroid-looking muscular, accentuated by the (very) tight shirt, that, of course had short sleeves. In December. Okay, I told myself, none of these are bad things; maybe not what I am used to but he was certainly not unattractive. However, as we walked in, I thought I detected some air of disappointment on his part. What was it? I think I look like my picture. I tried to dress Cute/casual/basic white girl chic/as neutral as possible.  I thought I looked ok. We sat at the bar. Ordered a beer, got menus. I felt really awkward.


Across the bar were two older gentlemen, drinking out of their Green Turtle mugs.One of the men had a really pimped-out mug, with a Raven’s decal on it. I commented on that, and we chit chatted across the bar; he said his wife had gotten it for him, etc. Total conversation time, two minutes. When I turned back to Muscleman, he had a really pissed off look on his face! I could only infer that he was mad I was not focused on him. Well, that coupled with the lack of instant attraction equaled one thing: date over! We went through the motions of a quick meal. He talked about the O’s…..I mean, a LOT about the O’s; and I like baseball,but this was on a whole other level. Then, he talked about…wait for it….THE GYM; another really scintillating subject. I don’t know what I talked about, I just knew I wanted to get the hell out of there! Forty mind-numbing minutes later it was over. We said good-bye, and went our separate ways.


Was it a horrible experience? Not at all. It just made me realize why I don’t like dating….all the anxiety beforehand, mixed with the anticipation of possibility, that this person might be THE ONE, mixed with more anxiety about how I am not sure I am even ready to meet THE ONE. It’s pretty much an existential nightmare. And as for the date itself, I am glad that interchange with the Raven’s mug guy happened. Because I am a talker. To pretty much anyone. I can go to a bar by myself, hell, I can go anywhere by myself and I will end up having a conversation with someone. And that is one thing that is not going to change about me. Sooo …on to the next!!!

NEXT: Helpful Hints For Your User ID and Profile:an Open Letter to “Razor’s Edge”….


The First One: Why I am Here…..

Ugh. Dating. At 50. I must seriously need my head examined. I did Match.com about 15 years ago. It was pretty short-lived; I had broken up with my then-boyfriend, we got back together, so I was only on “the match” for a few months. Nothing too crazy, nothing great either. However, I always said that I would never do it again.


Fast forward: I am out with friends, and a (much) younger, (much) prettier friend is swiping away on her phone. We start talking about Tinder. I am pretty up on what’s what, but I had only heard of Tinder in a vague way. She explained it to me, and I had to admit, it was almost like a video game; or that old, extremely rude app, “Hot or Not?”


Another friend, more my age, joined the conversation, and told me she was on Plenty of Fish. I knew that one, again, kind of third-hand, but I do know people that are on it. I had never thought about it seriously, though. And so, the famous last words that start many an entertaining yet tragic episode in my life…Well, why not? What else am I doing???


To say that I have not been successful in relationships is like saying there is a little bit of water in the ocean. Brief history: Married at 23, two kids, divorced at 35. Okay, so everyone gets a Mulligan, right? I mean when you get married that young, the odds are against you. Still friends with my ex, he comes over for holidays and such. After that, long term relationship with a guy six years younger than me. That went on (and off!!!) for five or six years; he now lives with one of my friends, who used to be a good friend. And it gets better: he is the brother of one of my other good friends! (That one is a story in and of itself!!!)


My second husband was a long time friend and colleague; I basically ditched the younger guy for him.(The younger guy was commitment phobe, and I wanted to get married again in the worst way!) So, #2 and I were friends for a long time, started dating, living together and got married. He is very, very short. I am 5’2”, he is 5’3”. I was taller than him when I wore heels! And yes, it did matter: the whole “Napoleon complex” thing, at least in his case, was deeply ingrained. He cultivated a “big” personality to hide his shortcomings and insecurities. He also was obsessed with porn, a fact I found out two weeks after we were married and he got caught masturbating to online porn in his office at work. Oh, and it gets better: he is a teacher! Needless to say, that marriage ended. Badly.


I was single for a little while, about six months I guess; I was dating a bit, and although I say I’m fine on my own, and I am;  deep down, I am that person that wants to be in a relationship. I have tried to deny this, because I know that my freedom is great, and I love the ability to do what I want, when I want! But the longing for connection led me to go out with someone that I knew was going to be problematic.


Boyfriend chased me. I told him “no” the first three times he asked me out.  I knew he drank too much. He told me he had a daughter, who was 6. BIG RED FLAG!!!! I have been there, done that with kids; mine are grown. Well, early 20s grown; at the time my younger one was in high school and quite the Hellion. The last thing I needed was a little kid running around. I didn’t really like doing little kid stuff when my kids were little. Sure I suffered through the Disney movies, the sleepovers, etc. Luckily, my kids are kind of weird and always liked “grown up stuff” like museums, animals, and walks in the woods.  They didn’t listen to “kid music” . They knew the words to every Cake song before they went to kindergarten. When I took Hellion to Brownies for the first time, she asked me, “Why is that Lady talking like that?” as the troop leader was explaining the “silver and gold” song in a very high-pitched voice that I guess she thought was child-friendly. When we left, Hellion asked if we had to go back. “Do you want to go back?” I asked her. “Nope.” Giant sigh of relief!!!

Don’t get me wrong. I have done my share of pinewood derbies, T-ball, soccer, horseback riding, cheerleading, field trips, Chuck E Cheese (there is one in a nearby town that serves BEER!!!!), lazer tag, ice and roller skating, petting zoos, pumpkin patches, water parks, and pony rides. And yes, some of it was fun. I have always liked my kids, of course. And I usually liked their friends. But the whole “mommy” thing? Until I met my best friend who taught me the joys of putting alcohol in your soft drink cup with the straw in it when taking your kids to see Santa, I thought there were no moms like me. I thought being a mom meant acid-washed jeans and an infatuation with Longaberger baskets. This was in the 90’s. I have so learned. Another thing I have learned is that until my darlings have grandchildren, which I hope is not in the near future, I am enjoying NOT being a mommy. So, the fact that BF had one was a huge obstacle. And the fact was, when he had her, he wanted me to be a mommy! And his kid? Of course, not a cool, funny kid. I could have probably dealt with that. Nope. A whiny, babyish “daddy’s girl”. A singer of Disney songs in a high-pitched, off-key voice. Even now, when I hear “Let it Go”, I feel nauseous. And to be quite honest, by the end of things, I was Maleficent; something I feel bad about. I mean, kids will spray your ONE BOTTLE of expensive perfume that you have had, like EVER, all over your room and then lie about it, as Harvey Prince, “Hello” wafts over your senses like some kind of Fabreeze gone wild…


But the heart (and, let’s face it, other areas of the body) wants what it wants. And he was kind of cute and sexy and it didn’t matter that he was “changing careers”…at first. Over the next 3 years I allowed myself to stay in a relationship that was just wrong on every level. Emotionally. Financially. Psychologically. There is probably a treasure chest of payments for the lucky therapist that I finally hire to figure out just why the hell a smart (yes, I really am intelligent), not bad looking ( I have been told and yes I own a mirror and yes I am cute) funny (many comparisons to Chelsea Handler!!!) secure (well you figured that one out if you are still reading) person with a lot of friends and interests, and a decent job and a house etc. continually self-sabotages in the area of relationships???


Probably what the therapist would tell me is Just stay the hell out of them!!!! But, all kidding aside, I really do like myself, kids, most of my life. And underneath the sardonic, sarcastic, jaded me is really a total marshmallow, who deeply wants to make that connection. Really. Will I ever? I just don’t know. And as I went through the holidays, busy as I was with family and friends, both single and coupled, I thought, it really would be nice if…..


Which leads me here. Hellion told me, “Tinder is fun, you should try it.” And so I did. That was short lived, and will be my next post.