Archive for June, 2010
This week I’m in the old hometown. It’s and idyllic town built around a beautiful town square with a stately courthouse and an old fashioned gazebo bandstand. Directly across from this, is a block of street nick-named Whiskey Row. Whenever I’m in town, I usually find my way to The Row–not so much for the whiskey, but for old times’ sake and lack of something better to do.
Last time I was there, I spent the evening with some women –friends of friends, new acquaintances to me. The person who introduced us, told them about de blog, so they were full of questions. When they learned the kinds of things I write about, they were anxious to suggest topics.
One of the women suggested I write about “this kind” of man or “that kind”. Are there more than one kind? Other then good ones and bad ones, I find them pretty much to be alike, but I listened. She pointed out a fellow in the nightclub and profiled him for me.
Apparently this handsome fellow has his way with women and refuses to settle down. She wanted to know why. Is it not obvious?!? He does it, because he can. This isn’t the kind of guy that’s good for a gal, so I can’t imagine why she cares. However, she’s not just bar-hopping, she’s man-shopping–along with almost every other single women there. Maybe tonight there’s a sale on floor models, because the place is packed with women who are sorting through talls, the shorts, the handsomes and the less-than-a-model models.
Like most women, I love shopping. I‘m damn-near expert at it. No matter what I’m looking for, I like to know what’s out there, before I make my selection. Dresses, shoes, cars or houses, I take my time to find exactly what I looking for. I’ve become a very efficient shopper, but I rarely settle. I did plenty of shopping around, before I put my money on marriage.
I’m a BIG believer in finding love at any age, so, I’m all for man-shopping. It might take some time to find the right one–but don’t get discouraged. If you’re looking for a lasting love, you might need more than an a few hours in a dimly-lit dance hall.
Not casting any judgments–I may have met Beloved Soul Mate in a bar. I don’t really remember, because it seemed I’d known him forever before he ever asked me out. However this isn’t about me–I‘m not shopping, but there are many women out looking for a new & better model.
Unfortunately, when it comes to man-shopping, bars are the WalMart. Not too many places offer such a cheap and readily available selection as bars–but just as the stuff at WalMart is different things than Nordstrom’s–the place you‘re shopping may not have what you want. When you’re shopping, you have to go where they have what your looking for.
The Check-out is a two part process, beginning with the part where we check them out and they check us out. It’s important to have a good idea what features are most important, because if you choose the wrong one, you’ll be standing with the others in the “Returns” line, in no time. To avoid this, know what you’re looking for, then figure out where you can find that kind. If you can figure that out, it’s as easy as meeting the right one. If you can meet people, you can make friends. If you can make friends, you’re on your way down the aisle. (Not that one, the check-out aisle. Don’t be hasty girls!) Ultimately, finding the “right” guy is finding someone with whom you can be friends.
The problem with the bar scenario is the hook-up usually precedes the friendship & the hook-up has a way of causing men to be less interested. It’s like that Groucho Marx line about not wanting to be a member of club that would have you as a member. Men want to sleep with women, but they have little patience for shopping, they grab and go–hoping they’ve got the right thing. However, upon having had an evening to sleep-on-it, so to speak, a man might experience buyer’s remorse. He’ll look wonder if he brought home a defective model and might even want to go back for one he likes more.
Sorta like that “Paper or Plastic” thing . . you have to figure out if you want the man in the sack or in the bag. When it comes to sex, they’ll beg for it. Like used car salesmen, they’ll say anything to make you believe that sleeping with ‘em will seal the deal, but I know from experience–it takes a man a very long time to lose interest in a woman he wants to sleep with. If only we could marry them and then never sleep with them, they’d be jumping through burning hoops to win us over, ‘course, that would take more resolve than this girl has.
How would you like to pay for this?
Take your time . . if you “charge it/him” you could end up paying dearly for a very long time. Like an end of season-sale, things can get rough, so be careful. For those who are in the market–I hope you find what you’re looking for!
I am a feminist, but I am not a feminist. I am all for the edification and promotion of all things female, but not a proponent of modern-day feminism. I think that makes me a sexist.
I am old enough to remember the days before feminism–the dark ages when men were Neanderthals dragging gals to their dens by the hair . . . except it wasn’t really like that. Just like now, men were doing their best in spite of the man-traits to get along with us gals despite our gal-traits. For most men, it was an enduring frustration.
Then as now, men found women to be an endless source of mystery [confusion] and power [frustration]. When the power and mystery of women became too much for men they usually threw up their hands and threw in their towels. Men find women endlessly fascinating, but equally exhausting.
The fundamental problem is that little girls are different from little boys. Ergo, women are different from men. If you have made this observation and give voice to this observation, you will be labeled a sexist. It is politically incorrect to be a sexist, but I am one AND I miss the days when there were others like me, who weren’t closeted by political correctness.
Back in the days of rampant sexism, the roles of men & women were clearly, but narrowly defined. With WWII and the advent of birth control, the roles of both sexes began to be retooled. It might have worked out better if men and women had been able to agree on the needed changes. However as any sexist worth their gender stereotypes knows, men & women often see things differently.
The things men thought should define The New Woman offended the existing model of woman. (Another thing any good sexist knows, offending a woman is the same as hurting a woman.) Since men make sport of playfully hurting each other, they don’t understand why women don’t show more sportsmanship being playfully hurt.
So, as the women reacted to the slings and arrows of outrageous man-traits, the guys remained confused. All the things they knew about women became hazy. It was no longer admirable to assume a woman wanted a protector or caretaker. It was no longer valiant to be doing most of the work in the workplace. It was no longer okay to admire the things they liked best about women–like nice legs & such.
In the age before feminism, women rarely carried anything heavier than a four-year-old, groceries, or baskets of laundry. It wasn’t necessary to ask girlfriends for visual assessment of one’s backside, because it was a given that men would let us know if our backsides looked good. There was never a question about who would pay for dinner or drinks. The oppression was awful. Call me a masochist, but I miss it!
In those dark ages, doors were always opened for us–except the metaphorical doors through which women wanted to pass. Opening the door at a restaurant was no substitute for opening the door to the boardroom. Men failed to acknowledge that we had more to offer than the things on which they focused–like great legs. They also failed to realize that a four-year-old is heavier, than the things any decent man would offer to carry for a woman.
Needless to say, the retooling of woman was fraught with confusion. The problem was the retooling was too narrow. Women knew new models were needed. Men didn’t see the need–they just wanted to fix the old one.
What they didn’t get is that women, like Barbies, come in many incarnations. On the femininity continuum, women are scattered end to end–from the prim & proper “Traditional Wife & Mother” at one end, to the ready-to-take-on any guy “Gal” at the other. Men didn’t know how to deal with the less familiar incarnations of women, which frustrated women. This was especially true when the men failed to realize that the traditional ‘Wife & Mother” could also be the “Can-do “Gal”.
The new roles were confusing & subject to change–because women & men are different. Men love to compete & vanquish competitors. Women prefer productive partnerships & cooperative agreements. Men like battles to be clearly resolved like a game of king of the hill. Women desire assistance taking the hill.
I love being a woman–but it works better for me when male and female roles aren’t too blurry. Fortunately, despite all of the politically correct enlightenment about our roles, women are still women and men are still men.
Just as women come in various types, so do men. Most women are smart enough and strong enough to realize this and deal with it. When it isn’t so, it should be.
Viewed in terms of simple economics, women are in the power position. We may not have the key to executive washroom, but we have the keys to more important things. For one thing we have what they want . . It’s basic economics, baby–supply and demand. Not only that, but we are the life-bearers. We have the power to keep them from seeing the next generation. In that regard we are a superpower. They might be better at some stuff, but they can’t make it without us.
This is why, feminism confuses me. Near as I can tell, we aren’t powerless. Women may not be as strong as some men, but near as I can tell, we are certainly as smart or smarter than many of them.
I’m smart enough to know I like it when a man offers to carry my luggage. I’m also smart enough to know men don’t wish to carry my emotional baggage. I’m not offended when a man calls me “Honey” or tells me I’ve got great gams. I’m not afraid to compete in the workplace or anywhere else. I know my limitations, but I also know my capabilities. I’m pretty sure I can hold my own against most men in most situations–when I can’t, I’m not afraid to call on a man for back-up.
I am woman. I am sexist. You don’t have to listen to me roar, but like most women, I like it when you listen.
At the top of the list is the suntan. Coco Chanel popularized the look after returning from a vacation on The Riviera with sun-darkened skin–causing many to want to emulate the fashion icon. Previously, the suntan was considered “working class”–the look of a laborer.
Similarly crazy is in a country with an abundance of food, is women striving to look as if they’ve barely survived a famine. If the American ideal of beauty made sense, we’d all be plump & pasty. It’s nonsensical, but us gals buy into it. As part of our feminine mystique, we’ve grown accustomed to trying to conform to and match an ideal.
Male readers, I beg of you. STOP. Stop now. You’re better off not knowing. It will be much easier for you to pretend, if you don’t have to acknowledge reality. Hold on to the sweet notion, that beautiful women only have hair on their silky-tressed heads. Run along now, so us girls can talk.
When I was a girl, I was convinced I was very hairy. In my mind, I was the probable missing link. My mother (who barely had body hair) wasn’t down with hair removal. She like many others, was convinced that removing it would cause one to grow more hair. Not only that, but to her armpit hair was too closely related to pubic hair–therefore it wasn’t even something to be discussed.
She would have had a fit if she’d known my older sister used Nair, so my sister cleverly hid the Nair in an Avon Here’s My Heart sachet jar. It was a great decoy until the day I decided to borrow her sachet. The perm-solution smell was the first clue.
There was the first time I tried to wax my brows. I’d seen the neighbor lady do it dozens of times–it seemed straightforward enough until I accidentally removed most of my left brow. I am still thankful there weren’t many pictures taken of me that summer.
Eventually she came around. I was allowed to wax the brows and shave the other stuff. She warned me it would grow in thicker. It didn’t.
So, over the years, I’ve tried almost ever method of hair removal.
Mine has been cut,
There are hens at the Tyson plant that haven’t been as through as many processes as this chick.
My favorite is laser. Not as cheap or convenient as a quick shave in the shower, but so very worth the time & money. Laser-scorched armpits? It’s a very good thing. I’ve almost forgotten when sleeveless, required shaving.
Waxing is popular, which proves that when it comes to beauty, women are sheep–except we prefer having hair ripped out forcibly from the most sensitive parts of our bodies, to being shorn. Sisters, you have to know men would never do that for women. Though there are men who are devotees of waxing, but it rarely has anything to do with women. Enough said.
So yesterday, I decided to try something new. As an alternative to my regular eyebrow grooming, I decided to try “threading”. I had heard it was virtually painless. It was cheap enough–and what the heck? I am YOUR guinea pig.
Threading has only recently arrived in my suburb. On a whim, I drove to the mall to see what I’d been missing–a very risky move.
Like the rest of our ideas about beauty–the perfect brow varies from woman to woman. I have learned this the hard way, after leaving a salon with eyebrows that were strangely menacing. There are many styles to choose from, that day I got the “Cruella D’eville.”
I might just have easily been given one of the many other popular styles.
The Natural - The quintessential all free-spirited, free-range brow. I was born with that one and have spent most of my adult life trying to divorce myself from that look.
The Tia Juana – Strongly arched and precisely shaped. After the age of 27, this one makes everyone look like Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest.
The Cholita – Total eyebrow nudity replaced with Sharpie art. It has a sort of “Don’t mess with me, I’ll cut you vibe” You have to fear a girl who can leave the house looking like that.
The Caterpillar - A soft fuzzy little curve–harmless, approachable, and friendly–if you like that kind of thing.
I was merely hoping to leave looking, more or less, the same as when I came in. I’ve spent half of my adult life trying to get figure out how I liked them and I don’t want anyone messing them up. I looked at a chart that seemed to have every eyebrow shape–except mine and Andy Rooney’s.
Knowing that there are all kinds of ways this can go wrong, I ask for just a little touch up.
I was seated in something like a dentist’s chair. Lulu began twisting a length of dental floss into a something between scissors and Cat’s in the Cradle, as she went to work. I had intended to pay close attention to the process, but having my brow hairs twisted out made my eyes water.
It took less than 5 minutes for her to fully groom my brows and give me a hand mirror with which to inspect the result. It was surprisingly painful, but no worse than waxing or plucking. On the upside, it was very quick–a huge plus. No matter what service I’m receiving, I always appreciate efficiency.
Time spent: Approximately four minutes.
Pain Meter: Somewhat painful, but not bad.
Cost: $15. With tip.
Convenience: Excellent and efficient.
Result: Nicely nicely groomed brows.
Overall, I’d say my first adventure with threading was a big success. Not sure if I’ll become a regular, but knowing it’s done in less time than it takes for the kids to reach the The Food Court makes it likely.
Everyone has parents–at least in theory.
We are all conceived by someone–a male and female pair theoretically responsible for caring for us. There are big differences in how parents care for their offspring, needless to say, some do better with that responsibility than others.
If your parents did well, you probably remember when your parents met all your needs, cared for your well-being and protected you from harm. They probably helped you do things you couldn‘t do for yourself and drove you to the places you needed to be.
Like pictures that have to be viewed from a distance in order for the picture to be seen, we are too close to our parents to see all they do, or to realize there will a come a day when they won’t be doing it.
By the time we start to appreciate them, most of us are fully immersed in our own parenting adventures. After having once convinced ourselves we no longer required their input, we begin to see they are older and hopefully wiser. They are older. They are wiser. Then one day they are just older.
If you are fortunate enough to have your parents near when you are raising a family, they can be very helpful. They provide useful back-up and a great source of help. They can even be like support staff–then one day you find you have become theirs. Weaknesses, illnesses or other circumstances can cause them to need you the way you once needed them.
Since by the time this occurs, we’ve usually gained a grateful appreciation for our parents, it would seem natural for us to enjoy being able to give back, but the juxtaposition of the parent/child roles causes tensions which make it less than enjoyable.
An aging parent may require assistance, but be reluctant to admit this or they may fear the loss of autonomy. Additionally, a 70- or 80-year old who has usually known more than their offspring, may not be ready or willing to receive well-intended suggestions.
By then you’ve learned how to be a parent, but you may then be required to learn a different kind of “parenting”–not so different from parenting a difficult teen. If you’ve raised one or remember being one, you know the rapid & uncontrollable changes to the body & mind of a teen can cause difficulties for them and you. In a similar way, a senior parent is facing physical and mental changes for which they aren’t fully prepared. It’s very similar, except with teens the outcome is usually better.
An older person can be frustrated by the rapid weakening and slowdown of their body. If they have lost mental clarity, they may no longer realize what they need. Just as with teens, they may believe you are don’t trust them, are trying to ruin their life, not allowing them their independence or any number of other familiar scenarios. Consequently, those entrusted with the well-being of an aging parent may feel like humanitarians trying to do a good work in a hostile country.
At some point, the “child” may be responsible for making decisions for the parent. Some of those decisions will be of little consequence, like which kind of milk to buy–but others may have life-changing significance, like where the parent should live, what kind of medical care they need, whether or not they are able to manage their own finances and quality of life or end of life decisions.
It’s rarely easy. If you find yourself caring for a parent you adore or one who is easy going things, things can still be difficult, but if the aging parent has of depression, loneliness or dementia, the tensions can be overwhelming.
Most of those who find themselves in this kind of situation do what is required out of a sense of familial duty. When things are at their worst, it is not uncommon to hear caretakers apologetically wishing for the end. It is neither uncommon, nor immoral to wish for what is inevitable. The end will come, leaving behind questions about whether the right decisions were made and maybe even wishes that there had been a little more time.
I’m not a writer, but sometimes when the keyboard channels my thoughts, I fool people into believing I am. I like words and I am intentional in my use of them. I try to use words that will keep others from misunderstanding what I mean. As a result, I usually believe there is a “right” word.
Don’t misunderstand, I am not at all elitist about anyone’s use of English. The most-widely spoken language in the world is a great one–and American English is the best! Friendly and unpretentious, we make up words, reinvent words and use grammar which reflects our “raising”.
Lots of folks had a nails-on-the-chalkboard response to President Bush’s continual mispronunciation of the word nuclear. Didn’t bother me–he’s a good old boy, and he sounded like one. I have a good friend who was foreign-born–she misuses more words than she gets right–I find it charming and it certainly isn’t indicative of a lack of education or intelligence.
Most of the time, what I hear doesn’t bother me, but there is one thing I hear that makes me crazy.
The word “boobs” has become the preferred and socially acceptable term for breasts. That’s NOT working for me. I don’t get it. Seems like there are enough terms out there for breasts, why this one??? In my opinion it is the worst word re-appropriation in contemporary English. I want to erase this use of it from the language–except where appropriate.
So what would be appropriate? Dictionaries list three established uses.
A boob as being a stupid person.
A booby–a senseless bird.
A booby prize–something you don’t want to win.
I’m trying hard to draw connections, but not seeing any.
I have known men to become stupid persons when ever they are in the presence of “boobs”–causing them to carry on like senseless birds, but I’m pretty sure most of them would love to be on the receiving end of a booby-prize if it comes with the aforementioned.
Here’s my problem–in each accepted usage, the other “boob” words have a negative connotation. This confuses me.
Who doesn’t like breasts?
Men like them and based on the fortunes spent to enhance them with saline or silicone, I have to conclude women like them too.
The origin of the word “boob” goes back to the 16th century. Spanish and Tagalog-speaking friends would recognize the root “bobo”. “Bobo” is a word for stupid.
For me almost any term is preferable.
Having thought about this for ages . . I had hoped to come up with a term that would more aptly convey and describe breasts.
I’ve come up with only one: art
Stay with me on this girls . . I think I’d have a much more pleasant response to someone say any of the following:
The art was exquisite.
Her art inspired me.
I was speechless when I saw the art.
Did you see the art with that frame???
It’s a bit esoteric, but it works for me.
Maybe you can’t adopt my suggested term, but there are SO many others to choose from.
I have no problem with any term having to do with milk–even the cruder terms like jugs, tits and chi-chis. At least from an etymological standpoint, they make sense. I have no problem with comparisons to fruits–except sour, small or shriveled fruits.
There are several terms that have the letter “Z” in them. Since “Z” is a letter used to designate things in a class by themselves, like sports cars, so even those don’t offend me.
Call them what you wish, but I’d prefer not to hear the “b-word”. It’s bobo!
Deb’s Note: Just spent an a couple hours with my girlfriend who does all my picture-framing. She has great taste and her I’m totally jealous of her great art! She said she’d read this blog and had to bite her tongue when she saw the hideous frame on the photo. The truth is, it was one of the few choices I found readily available in the bank of images I had to choose from. (I thought it was awful too, but it was there.) I explained the photo with the double entendres and the frame were intended tongue-in-cheek–the still-life was thrown together almost as haphazardly. Good thing, I got the picture, because my kids assumed it was breakfast and ate most of it–except the chicken, while I was showering.
Best thing about being having a blog is being able to say whatever I think, but almost every day someone tells me they don’t agree with me. Hello? Was I supposed to be writing your opinion today? Perhaps, I missed the memo.
I catch a lot of flak. My political friends are offended. My religious friends are offended. My opinionated friends are offended. At this rate, I’ll be down to a handful of friends in no time, and whoever is left will probably be too boring to hang with, because they’ll have no opinions of their own.
So with that in mind, I say once again . . it’s a BLOG, not a CULT, I’m not trying to convert anyone. Today’s opinion will blow my shot at Miss Congeniality, but I was never a serious contender anyway.
Most of the time, I dress according to my own personality, but every now & again I jump on a trend like everyone else. Most of them, are regrettable eventually. Spiral perms, baggy pants, dresses with hoods, and Earth shoes come to mind.
My teen son likes trendy clothes. Most of the time he looks great–sometimes he looks ridiculous. When he’s around his peers, he’s mostly allowed to wear what his peers are wearing. Around my peers, he is reminded who pays for his clothing. I could overreact, but I figure seeing the pictures a decade from now, will be punishment enough for having worn saggin’ pants. It’s only clothing–clothing comes and goes.
Long hair, dreadlocks, guy-liner, piercing–are all thing to which other mothers might object. If my son suddenly took a liking to wearing lipstick & nail polish, I wouldn’t like it, but I wouldn’t overreact. I’m confident he’d outgrow it–just like a favorite nephew who took to wearing a skirt several years ago. Despite the horror it caused those around him, he turned out okay. Near as I can tell, he got skirt-wearing out of his system.
On this, I’m pretty libertarian–except in regards to a few things.
I love ink. I really do. For a period of time I made my living with ink, beautiful richly pigmented inks. Precise, crisp and permanent, I loved everything about it–but I didn’t like getting it on my clothes, because it doesn‘t come out. Nor did I like having it on my skin, because it’s hard to get off.
Some people love ink on their skin. Tattoos have become very trendy and that popularity seems to be growing. I’d like to hope it’s just a trend, but it may be here to stay. Whether or not this trend stays, the ink will.
Which makes me ask “WHY?”
Why would anyone choose a trend over a classic never-fail look?
Hems go up and down. Ties, collars and pant legs widen and narrow. Hairstyles change. Only one thing is constant–skin. Beautiful, smooth, unadorned skin is attractive in every season. On the face, the arms, the legs, the chest, the shoulders–it’s irresistible. From Milan to Paris, from the equator to the auto showroom, skin always works. Since Adam and Eve, skin has yet to become passé.
It comes in many colors and it can be paired with anything. It’s truly versatile. Whether you show a lot or a little, it’s always provocative and interesting. Since the beginning of time artists of every medium have found it a source of endless inspiration.
That’s why I can’t understand why anyone would want to alter theirs with ink. To me it’s rather like tagging The Grand Canyon or adding some kicky murals to The White House. I know many don’t share my sentiments, for which I’m sorry. I am especially sorry, when I see a beautiful girl all inked up.
I was at the gas station and a girl with drop-dead-gorgeous everything was next to me. Her arm was inked, her back was inked, her neck was inked. It seemed like a damned shame to me. Under all that ink, was nice skin.
There will come a day when she won’t be as fresh and lovely as she is today, but she’ll still have the ink. When she’s in a rest home, she’ll be in good company with all the other painted ladies, trying to remember what their tattoos were.
Not me. I’ll be the one in the walker still showing some skin.
Is it really self-help if it comes through others?
If you want to improve your personality–spend more time with people. Social interactions can provide tremendous insights into personalities. I have learned more from working with others than any self-help book could teach. In fact, partnering with “difficult” people has helped me understand how difficult I can be.
I am very aware of my own annoying, overbearing & controlling behaviors, because I usually try to objectively determine whether the source of the difficulty is from outside or within. To become good at applying this strategy, there is an advanced course that is very helpful in determining which aspects of one’s personality needs improvement.
It‘s called marriage. It’s a multi-year course, each year building on the previous year‘s lessons. Because it grows in difficulty, some may find themselves unable to complete the course–however you will find it provides many rewarding and/or challenging experiences.
Marriage can be fabulous and/or it can be difficult–usually it’s both–though rarely both simultaneously. Beloved Soul Mate and I are fond of saying–I never knew I could be this happy; I just never knew I could be this miserable. Even good marriages are hard. Perhaps there are people who have never been angry, disappointed or frustrated by their life partner–but I’ve yet to meet any.
I have been married exactly once. This is my alpha & omega marriage–my first and my last. Tomorrow Beloved Soul Mate and I are celebrating one of those mile-post anniversaries. We’ve been married long enough, to finally be in the good-gift years. We’ve already surpassed paper, wood, clock and silly putty, now we are up to precious metals and space-age plastics.
When I agreed to the union, I was convinced it was a crap shoot. Didn’t really know if I’d make it to any anniversary year ending in a five or a zero; because my previous experience with long-term relationships, was that there weren’t any. My record was about 3 ½ years–with others being much shorter.
I was crazy in love and didn’t want to live without him. Not for a month, not for a week, not for a day–if that meant we’d only last 3 ½ years, I was willing to lay it all on the line & let it roll. We’ve lasted 3 ½ years several times over. The first three sets of 3.5 were VERY honeymoon, passed quickly–lots of bliss & compatibility roll-over minutes. That doesn’t meant there weren’t any issues, nor does it mean that we never got mad enough to throw things. In fact, an early issue for me was I do not like it when people throw things. He knows this and hasn’t thrown anything in years. (I, on the other hand, may have.)
We’ve never fought about money. We’ve rarely fought over the children. Our respective families haven’t created any significant problems–but there have been issues. One of mine used to be Beloved Soul Mate’s laundry. We have joint everything, but he still refuses to let his laundry co-mingle with that of the rest of the household. It’s one of his peculiarities. He keeps his laundry segregated.
This proves that he is not a reasonable person–a reasonable person would realize that segregation is so 1960’s. Obviously, he isn’t ready to embrace tolerance and diversity in the laundry room. When it comes to laundry (and only laundry) I favor apartheid. In my opinion whites and darks must be properly separated. Though he embraces segregation, he often blurs the line on separation.
Now, I am grateful that I’m only responsible for three quarters of the household laundry–however if he ever decides to divorce me, I’ll ask the courts for half of his dirty clothes, just to spite him. Then to really get under his skin, I’ll bleach his skivvies and socks, fold his t-shirts in thirds instead of quarters, and maliciously neglect to remove the dress-shirts from the dryer promptly. The coup d’ grace will be leaving everything in a laundry basket he can see, but never access.
It’s a stupid issue–many of them are, but you’ll never know which ones are part of the package until after you’ve eaten the cake and tossed the bouquet. The first year it’s a charming idiosyncrasy–after five years it’s an inconvenient annoyance, after a decade it should be an adjustment you’ve made. If it isn’t, then perhaps it is you and not them that has the annoying peculiarity.
After so many years of marriage–I free up the washer for him on Saturday and have accepted that many of his whites aren’t. Happy Anniversary to Beloved Soul Mate. Thanks for being a good sport about letting me tell all and air the dirty laundry! OH yeah–one more thing–the stuff in the green bottle gets clothes whiter.
Not all self-help books are helpful, but this one was, so I bought more. Most of them weren’t helpful and eventually became part of the problem they were intended to solve.
Some say admitting you have a problem is the first step. I’m good at the first step–it’s the second & third where I lose momentum. Admitting the problem was acknowledging I am NOT The Perfect Woman.
Keeping house was frustrating me. I blamed myself for having failed to master the art of domestic order. I tried many self-imposed regimens in hopes of settling into an anal-retentive groove.
Despite varying degrees of success, it was clear my house would never be as tidy as the one I grew up in. It always goes back to my mother. Her house was always well kept, the beds always made and the floors always swept. There were never dishes in the sink or unfolded laundry. In her later years, she kept her house as well as she ever had, but the house had become as full as one of those small shops, where someone like me worries about a purse knocking something expensive off a shelf.
That’s why I bought the first book. I had spent a weekend at Mom’s and feared that her stuff was about to wage a takeover bid. I had seen my future and it was cluttered. I realized I wasn’t really a lousy housekeeper, but too much stuff had made the job too big.
Since one book didn’t solve the problem, I spent the next couple of years buying and reading book-after-book about how to gain control of the stuff. Eventually, I had a new problem–too many books on how to eliminate clutter, had created more clutter.
By then, I’d become expert on the philosophies of the simplify-your-life gurus. Drop a name–I’ll pick it up and preach their gospel to you. Peter Walsh, Sandra Felton, The Queen of Clean–I have read their scriptures and tried to convert to their religions. I even read the books by the woman who insists it is impossible to keep a clean house without putting on shoes–that was a religion I couldn’t embrace. I have followed them all–except for Martha Stewart,who only intends to remind us all we are not The Perfect Woman.
My life is four people,not one of them a neat freak, sharing a good-sized house. Unspoken, but understood is the notion that I, the resident female, should insure a dignified and orderly place for all. I can do that–correction . . I could do that–except for one small problem . . we live here! This house would stay perfect, if everyone would move out. Beloved Soul Mate could move on to the boat. The boys could take up residence in the tree-house. If they could work out some kind of shared custody arrangement, I’d be willing to alternate weekends with them.
As I see it, the problem is our lives. Friends are always welcome, we put our feet on the couches, we even cook in the kitchen. Those things have a way of giving the house that lived-in, enjoyed, and far-from-perfect look. We could do better, but we’d have to spend the time currently spent enjoying our house, tidying up.
I have finally made peace with the fact that I AM NOT The Perfect woman–but The Perfect Woman works for me now. We do day-to-day stuff, she comes in twice a month to do the stuff we don’t. It works well, but we still have too much stuff.
The most helpful thing I gained from all those books was an understanding of why we keep stuff. For someone like me, being able to let go of things that once seemed important is very liberating–like the day recently when I realized that all those photo negatives that I’d kept had become obsolete. I don’t know why I kept them, I’ve yet to need a reprint and even if I did, I‘d never find the one I needed.
Same thing with cookbooks. I have a whole shelf full of cookbooks I’m fond of, but the frustration of trying to remember which book has which recipe is so burdensome, I usually end up Googling it anyway.
I have some very good books that I’d kept thinking I might want to re-read someday, but with so many books I’ve yet to read, I don’t have time for reruns. If I were lucky enough to live long enough to reread them, it’s unlikely I’d be able to remember which ones I liked or see well enough to bother. When I’m old, I think I’ll switch to comic books.
This week, I was finally able to part with something I’d kept too long. When I was first married, I bought a rack for displaying the matchbooks Beloved Soul Mate and I collected from places we’d enjoyed together. I haven’t ever hung the thing–I don’t like it enough–it looks like something out of a tavern or frat house. Each time, I saw it, the matchbooks brought to mind the memories.
There was one from the hotel in Cabo where we spent our honeymoon.
There was one from an eatery on The Redondo pier. It reminded me of our first house in Redondo Beach and our time as young-marrieds there.
There was one from The Queen Mary Hotel–we spent our first anniversary there.
A generic one from a gas station–nothing on it but an Arizona flag. L.A, made me miss Arizona. I always thought I’d go back there someday.
Ceasar’s Palace–saw Jamie Farr playing slots there, he gave me his autograph.
Barney’s Beanery–I saw Brian Setzer, post-Stray Cats era, throwing back a beer–at that time I was sure he was a has-been.
There is a particularly nice foil-stamped matchbook stamped with the name of a stationary store and dated from a Christmas long-past–the year I worked at that stationer setting type and foil-stamping things like matchbooks and Christmas cards.
On and on it goes. It’s fun to look at them, but not necessary to keep them. I still remember those places and times without the matchbooks. I’m not ready to let go of the memories, but I’m ready to ditch the souvenirs. My head has more room for that kind of stuff than my house. It feels good to let go!
According to Sanjaya, every girl needs a gay best friend.
Unfortunately, I’ve had more gay boyfriends than gay best friends. That’s a topic for another time, but I can tell you nothing will shake your confidence like a guy who does n‘t want to kiss you–EVER. Thank God for the 12-step programs that brought my old gay boyfriends out of their closets long enough to “make amends”. (By the way, I am a lovely “beard”.)
I’ve had a couple gay guy friends–but I’ve never been lucky enough to have a traditional gay best friend. I have one, but mine isn’t one of those guys who is fabulously helpful with picking out things like fabrics & frames for the home–mine is one of those girls who could probably frame & build a home.
She & I have been friends since we were kids. We were both gay back then–you know–the old school kind, just happy-go-lucky girls. She’s a huge part of my life. I love her, she loves me and we have great chemistry. Trouble is I’m not a lesbian.
Someone suggested to me I’d never know if I was a lesbian unless I found the right girl. Believe me, if I were a lesbian, she’d be my girl.
I mention her because of a remark I’ve heard many, many times.
Anyone who has ever been involved with a man, knows the other gender drives us crazy. The main reason women attend things like Tupperware parties has nothing to do with keeping food fresh in plastic containers–we go to hang out and talk with “the girls”. Inevitably, we talk about how men drive us crazy. It’s very therapeutic, because it doesn’t take long to realize they all have faults (even the damn-near perfect ones). As one of my girlfriends put it, “They’re all the same, they just come in different styles”.
I happened to be listening to a girlfriend complain about her husband when she said, “It would be so much easier to be a lesbian”.
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard women make remarks of that sort. It often seems the girlfriends are easier to get along with than our mates. The differences between men & women challenge relationships. Men infuriate women simply because they think and act like men.
This causes many women to consider simplifying their relationships, by taking the most problematic thing out of the mix. On it’s face, it seems a fail-proof solution. If most of the problems in a relationship stem from the fact that men & women are different, wouldn’t it follow that pairing up with a same-gendered partner would guarantee a better result?
I have no experience in this, but I have an opinion–the opinion is based on something I do have experience in–parenting. Though we are blind to our own irksome qualities, we find those qualities impossible to ignore in our offspring. Because of this, parents often have more difficulties with the child who is most like them. There is a finite amount some qualities a relationship can handle. Two stubborn people, two selfish people or two bitter people are just too much! I’m pretty sure too much estrogen would have the same effect.
Can’t speak for anyone else, but I think I have more than enough estrogen for any relationship. With that bothersome hormone, come things like female emotions and girly talkativeness. That wouldn’t work out so well for me. I’d have to relearn everything if I had a partner who talked as much as I do. (It’s so much easier to talk endlessly when the other person isn’t listening anyway–a convenient, but very annoying man-trait.
I love to talk, however there is such a thing as talking too much or too much talking! I have girlfriends who never tire of rehashing the same issues. It’s exhausting. Just as men fear the phrase, “We need to talk.”–if I were hooked up with a girl, it would fill me with dread too. (At least with men, discussions eventually end–at some point, a man has said everything he has to say and heard everything he’s willing to hear). It’s frustrating, but not nearly as tedious as being held hostage in conversational purgatory.
Saw a quote, that pretty much sums it up. The trouble for a woman in a heterosexual relationship is that there is often too much sex and not enough talking–the problem for a woman in a lesbian relationship is that there is too much talking and not enough sex.
We all seek our perfect match. Trouble is often our perfect match isn’t. Most of us find our perfect match to be more a perfect compliment. Matching two like-things is easy, coordinating unlike things is more challenging.
Once upon a time my mother used to dress me in the kind of clothes little girls wear–shoes, pants & shirt all the same color. Matchy-matchy is precious, but not all that interesting. Haven’t dressed that way since I was a girl. I like to mix it up–keep things interesting. I get at least as frustrated as anyone else with men, but I think I’d find a woman to be even more frustrating.
I truly love my girlfriends–they all rock. I’ll even admit I find them way more attractive than most men. (God knows they should be. They spend more time, money & effort on their looks–not to mention having cuter hair, shoes & clothes.) Doesn’t matter how cute they are, or how fun they are to hang with–I’m still not a lesbian.
Men guarantee days are rarely boring. At the end of those days–I still want a man.
Postscript: Since publishing this post, I’m already catching flak from people who are disapproving of the “lesbian” thing. Like it or not folks, some girls prefer the company of girls. No amount of eyebrow raising is going to change that. I will not impose my views on anyone else, because I only KNOW what is right for me.
One more thing, I realize my description of my gay best friend makes her sound less than attractive. I should have mentioned that she’s beautiful, smart, funny, sexy and she can cook like your mother!