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One Is Good; Two, Even Better

One Is Good; Two, Even Better

“Mmmm…Butter Pecan or Chocolate Praline? Oh, my – I love them both; how do I choose only one? What the hell, I can’t. Just give me two scoops – one of each – please.”

“You know, teal is one of my favorite colors; I have so many suits with which I can pair that shirt. But the maroon is absolutely gorgeous on me, as well. It brings out the mahogany undertones of my complexion. I’ll take them both. Thank you.”

“Hanukkah…or Christmas? My girls and I are Jewish. But the rest of the family calls that other holiday ‘the reason for the season.’ However, celebration is a good thing – you know, the more the merrier! We do both.”

My name is PD…and I’m a double-dipper.

So many women go to incredible lengths to find the loves of their lives – bars, online dating sites, friends. They dress up to impress and dress down to do bugs, dirt and sleep on the ground. They color, cut, weave. They torture themselves with jeans so tight they can’t breathe (in the hope they will take his breath away), stilettos they pray won’t drop them on their asses and even – ugh – underwire bras to make their headlights flash their high beams. All this for…him. That one love who’ll enhance their existence and make their hearts sing.

And some of us double-dip.

Very early in my life, in fact, I’d just barely tipped over that line marking the age of majority, I found Mr Right. He was that proverbial tall, dark and handsome man of mystery hiding behind a bushy mustache and beneath a bright red “sly hat” that made me giggle. His mind was even more brilliant than that hat; on each date we solved another of the world’s many problems. We shared the same values. And together we double-dipped in the progeny pool; we created two phenomenal daughters. His loss was devastating; the world will never know what it missed, but our girls and I know all too painfully well.

Convinced I’d never fall in love again, I was blindsided years later when another proverbial tall, dark and handsome man of mystery hiding behind a bushy mustache entered my life. We shared the same values, the same profession and he made me laugh, despite the absence of a floppy red hat. At that first of many meetings, he sat across from me at my desk and delineated what he expected my role to be – as I let him know what it would be. Mr Intractable resisted my persistent attempts to set him up with my single girlfriends, as he had other plans. He convinced me to remove my shell and take that second dip in love’s pond. Alas, he is also no longer with us, but the love he left in his wake daily lifts me, makes my toes tingle…and my heart sing.

And all I can say to the universe is “Thank you, Thank you.”

Honey, You’re in the Wrong Mall

“As long as you’re doing all your shopping in Simi Valley, you will continue to find nothing better than Walmart and Target. If you want Lord & Taylor and Nordstrom, you’re going to have to hit the 118 and look outside this little box you call home.”

My daughter’s partner is a phenomenal project manager; she’s put herself in charge of managing my acquisition of a new victim husband. Over the best blackberry martini I’ve ever guzzled, she is mapping his route to my bedroom. I need all the help I can get; doing this on my own has been an abysmal failure. I tried the dating sites; twat solicitation is brisk on the internet. But in addition to what’s between my legs, there’s even more between my ears. Unfortunately, the latter is an electronic deal breaker. I’ve had some interesting introductions by friends. I think some 1950s mailman very generously sowed his wild oats; I’d swear my ex and all his ‘bros’ dropped like dead-ass leaves from the same slacker tree. So, I’ve spent the past year or so just doing the things I enjoy. My thought was that, at the very least, I’ll have had a good time. That route’s actually been quite fruitful; I have met some incredible guys. They’re like really good girlfriends…but with penises.

“Not only is the pool of eligible men in Simi Valley too small, it’s stocked with minnows not even worthy of your catch and release program. They’re looking for women who need them, who’ll make them feel like men. But you don’t need a man; you can take care of yourself.  You just want a man – one whose testosterone flows freely, one who already knows he’s a man. However, instead of shopping for Ferragamos at Bloomingdale’s, you’re scouring the shelves for them at the Dollar Tree.”

I suppose this is what’s meant by things coming full circle. It starts when our kids want to know where we’re going/with whom/when we’ll be home/if we’ll be sleeping alone. When my girls were younger, those were my lines; I miss them. I fear this is gently guiding me down the road to “Mom, let’s talk about nursing homes.”

“Considering that big fat check you send your last Kmart bargain every month, you might want to set your sights a little higher this time.”

Ouch…

“So, let’s get this show on the road. Why shop at Sears when you want Saks? Why buy at Big Lots when you deserve Bergdorf’s? Why knock around at the 99 Cents Store when Neiman Marcus is more on your level?

Now what’s your first step and by when will you take it?”

Don’t Ask the Maytag Repairman To Fix Your Ferrari

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Awhile back, a few girlfriends and I were exchanging creepy date stories on Facebook. Suddenly, a male member of the chat group wandered into our little estrogen-charged bris-fest, lamented that women were confusing and asked exactly what the hell we wanted. Oh, the door he opened! We beat around the bush (no pun intended — well, okay, it was intentional) for a while and finally I put together answers to his laundry list of questions.

It occurred to me — as blind testosteroned beings lead other blind testosteroned beings through their collective darkness regarding us — some might actually be thankful for a lighted path. So here’s my response.

Sam,

I realize your questions regarding what women want were not directed to me specifically, but that’s never stopped me from butting in before:

(1) No. I, personally, have never gone on a date for free food and entertainment. I make my own money and I find myself very entertaining. If an evening out and a penis are all a man has to offer, I’m not interested. Besides, if I pay for my own meal, I can go home to a drama-free climax with my little battery-operated buddy — and no obligations.

(2) “Nice” guy? Many of us have defined repeatedly for you what constitutes a “nice” guy. But I’ll summarize them again: clean (ah yes, soap and water – such an inexpensive aphrodisiac), monogamous, gainfully employed, intelligent, humorous and chivalrous. If he’s a resident app in his momma’s house, that’ll crash any budding romance.

(3) With regard to kissing, ‘good’ is in the lips of the recipient. It’s not so much in the technique as it is in the perceived feelings that accompany the action. Funny thing about women – feelings are important. This is where so many of you fail. Kissing is like an appetizer — bad ones simply don’t entice us to salivate over the entrée — or to stay around for the dessert.

(4) It is far easier for a man to date than a woman. Women tend to be desperate because society defines them differently when they are “man-less.” Unfortunately, many women also tend to not like themselves very much. Many of them will accept garbage rather than be alone. There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit out there. Men just have to reach out and pluck it. Women who value themselves more highly are a little different. Be aware, however, that you’re not likely to find who you say you want slithering around bar stools (unless, of course, your passion is being the toad perched atop the bar stool). Try doing the things you enjoy and talking to us about those things. Treat us as if you’re looking for more than a place to park your prick.

(5) Internet dating sucks. It’s nothing more than an eBay for hook-up chasers. Sellers place their ads (most are lying of course, after all, they’re not trying to tell you the truth; they’re trying to get you to buy the product they likely can’t sell in person — is advertising ever truthful?). They assume that if they can “hook” you, they can attain barnaclehood once you’ve met. But if you insist, at least take advantage of the sacrifice I made to research them for you (Rating Online Dating). Ugh…

(6) You’re concerned about farting on a date? Honey, if she doesn’t know that men fart, you might want to check her encephalogram for signs of brain activity and put a mirror up to her nose to make sure she’s still alive. Of course, if it’s too pungent, you might have to do that anyway. And if a woman’s farts bother you, best thing you can do is get yourself a jar of Vaseline.

(7) Instead of worrying about a “pick-up” line, how about some honest conversation? When you walk up to a woman and open with “you’re cute,” you’ve just devalued her as a person. You deserve to be shot down, stomped and run over. If she backs up and runs you down again, figure you got off easy. Even the dumbest of women like it when you at least pretend to value the vacuums between their ears.

(8) I know this wasn’t one of your questions; this is a freebie. Just be happy with yourself. You will project that happiness outward as well and you’ll attract a woman who’s happy with who she is as she is and who doesn’t need you to ‘complete’ her. Besides, if you’re a sad sack and can’t stand your own company, what have you got to offer anyone else? Be honest; be genuine — both with yourself and your prospects. And, I realize it’s a dying art, but respect her — and yourself. That’ll get you farther than any of the dumb shit — oops, I meant insightful queries — you’ve posed to us.

Finally, Sam, I really do laud you for coming to the source with your questions. You came to the right place. Unfortunately, many of your brethren seek information regarding what women want by asking — uh, other men. That’s akin to getting lessons in kindness from the Marquis de Sade!

Now go forth and get laid.

Just Let Go

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“What’s wrong with us?  I just don’t get it?”

I shook my head sympathetically as I shoved another not-just-delicious-but-damned-near-orgasmic bleu cheese gougere into my mouth. I was ashamed that a very small part of me felt relieved as my friend Lidia poured her online dating disappointment into her wineglass. I’d seen the kissy-face commercials. I’d heard the nauseatingly happy we-found-each-other-online fairy tales. I’d deleted the matrimonial kill-marking e-mail advertisements. While I truly commiserated with my dear friend and felt her pain, I was damn happy it wasn’t just me.

I’d manufactured many, many reasons for my failure to find “the one.”  I was too busy. I was intimidating. I was what many described as “but she has such a pretty face!” However, Lidia is everywoman – strong, successful and drop-dead-is-an-understatement gorgeous.  Yet she’d just run screaming from the stalker in prince’s clothing she’d found on eHarmony – only the latest in a succession of losers we’d both unearthed electronically.

Over the course of our subscriptions, we’d become pretty adept at identifying and throwing back into the pond the fish we didn’t want. Waiter (just waiting for your ship to come in)? Find a j-o-b. Fixer-upper? Call a repairwoman. Bootycaller? Don’t even. However, modern nutcase camouflage is far more sophisticated than our rudimentary psycho-meters. All too often our Criminal Minds wannabes escaped their straitjackets and pretended to be normal just long enough for us to let a toe in the door.

Lidia snurfled as she continued to try to figure out what we needed to do differently. “Maybe our standards are unreasonable and we need to compromise a little.” 

From somewhere in the heavens (at least that’s where I like to think she’s now cavorting with the men who made her a widow many times over) my late Aunt Lula – you met her in an earlier post, See, I Told You So – stuck her fingers in my ears.  Between us, Lidia and I had disposed of more than a half a dozen ‘wasbands’ — if you count the one she remarried multiple times. A small cough (as I nearly choked on another gougere), a raised eyebrow and an icy glare later, Lidia reconsidered. Settling – again – is probably the worst of ideas.

Perhaps the only thing ‘wrong’ with us is that we work too hard – not at our jobs, of course (as committed workaholics, “too hard” is not a part of our vocabularies), but at finding a companion. Perhaps we need to release that death grip we have on control (ouch – the mere thought of relinquishing any is painful; I need another gougere) and just let things happen. Perhaps we need to simply put it out there — tell the Universe what we want — then take a deep breath and relax. Continue doing only those things that bring smiles to our faces. The Universe always has our backs; when the time is right, it will bring us together with smiles that match ours.

My friend Marta once remarked as she raked in a stack of poker chips formerly known as mine: “We have a saying in Germany.  The dumbest farmers grow the biggest potatoes.” I know the proverb was her attempt at making me feel better by attributing to fortune the butt-whipping she’d just handed me.

But perhaps she was Cupid’s messenger as well.

Sloppy Seconds

It was three o’clock in the morning. While the rest of the world slept, my eyes simply refused to drink the Kool-Aid. What to do? Get your mind out of the gutter!  Besides, I’d already considered that, but I had neither live batteries nor a conscious plaything handy at that moment.

So I tuned in to an episode of one of my favorite sitcoms – Girlfriends.  During a dry spell (hmm … that sounded familiar), the women hosted a “Bring Your Own Ex” party with the expectation of stirring up a little activity. After all, one woman’s trash is another’s treasure, right?

It works marvelously for things like clothes.  We’ve all gone to exchanges where we’ve traded things that looked fabulous in the store, but which totally missed once we got them home. And after we’ve read a book, how likely is it that we’ll ever crack it open again?  Surely one of our friends will share the enjoyment we experienced within its pages.

But dumped-man dumpster diving? Oh, I think not. My girlfriends and I tend to look for the same things in our men.  And if one of those women kicked an ass to the curb, it deserved that boot. While the current pickings are slim, the likelihood that I’ll now want that ass parked on my sofa is infinitesimally small.

Whatever happened to men? No, I don’t mean the slacking, self-centered metro sexual mommas’ boys who dream of benefactors to pay for their manicures and 36DDD contortionist Barbies with which to play. I mean real men.

Whatever happened to men who not only know the meaning of the word ‘job’ – they actually (yikes!) have them? Jobs in which ‘would you like fries with that’ is not a part of their normal workday vocabulary? Jobs that cover things like, say, the mortgage?

Whatever happened to men who know that sex is a factor, but that it’s not the entire equation? Whose hat brain has not abdicated all decision-making to the zipper brain? And whose little friend – if it’s not in his hands or busy making us happy– is in his pants?

Whatever happened to men who value and respect women? Men who treasure us and take delight in showing us how much? Men who – among other things – open doors and pay for dinner?

Whatever happened to men with un-waxed chests?

I doubt I’ll find one at a party that requires he be a friend’s ‘ex.’

If It Doesn’t Fit …

“Oh … those are beautiful. ”

I licked my lips so as to not drool into my cleavage as I lusted after the black lizard-trimmed patent pumps I’d just pulled from the shelf. I deftly slipped my feet — both of them delighted at their prospective adornment — into these shoes I so loved.  At least I loved them while they were on the shelf. As I stood with the intention of gliding gracefully across the carpeted floor, my toes screamed in pain as they slid to the front of their captors and the leather girdles reduced them to half their normal width. My knees buckled after only the second step.  Back onto the shelf they went as I chose a few pairs less glamorous, but far more comfortable.

Before long I was surrounded by shoes — half a dozen styles and half a dozen colors within each style. You know how it goes, don’t you? Once my eyes were happy with a shoe, I had to make sure my toes were happy as well. Then I had to see which color — or colors — made me smile.  Yes, they looked phenomenal on me in black, but that didn’t mean the red ones wouldn’t look even better. So, of course, I had to try them all.

Finally, I found the pair that were absolutely perfect for me. The scrunched brown crocodile ballet slippers were barely attractive enough to merit a second look while they sat on the shelf.  But on my feet, they were incredible. Yes, the salesman had several dozen rejects to return to stock — and a few more gray hairs to comb over his bald spot — but he also earned a very fat commission by making sure I explored all my options and found a pair I loved.

As it is with shoes, so it is with clothing, cars, houses and most everything else we buy.  We look at many different offerings — comparing plusses and minuses — until we find what we want. Virtually never do we settle for the first thing we see.

So please tell me why we do that with men? How many times do we meet one and begin trying his name on even before the evening is over? How many times do we cease our involvement in our favorite activities, drop our girlfriends and change our lives to invest all our efforts in a maybe-maybe-not future with Mr Right Now who often fails to meet even our minimum requirements? 

While we know it’s my mission to help men improve themselves so we don’t have to change them, I actually have to give them credit here. In this regard, they have it right.  Much to our chagrin, they continue to date many other women until they decide with which one they want to settle down.

But what do we do? As soon as a man expresses interest — even when he is clearly not what we want — we stop shopping.  We change ourselves so that we can be, not what we are, but what we think he wants us to be. We put all our eggs in his basket. Then we’re depressed and we wonder what we did wrong when he fails to meet our expectations.  News flash, honey — he never did!

Approach dating exactly the same way you approach shoe shopping. Explore many, many different options. Find a good fit — one you adore. Make sure you’re comfortable — and happy — with your choice. Don’t leave the market prematurely.  If one mall doesn’t have what you’re looking for, shop another.

Don’t settle for less than you want for fear it’s all you’ll get.

And keep shopping until you find the one who fits you perfectly.

See, I Told You So

The stars sparkled like diamonds against the clear, ink-black sky; I could almost hear them twinkling above me.  A cool fall breeze blew whispers across my face as I stepped out of the front door and onto the porch.

Those walkway lights aren’t just for decoration, dearie. Go back inside and ask them to turn them on.

No. The night was so beautiful I just wanted to enjoy it.  Besides, I’d been to this home so many times before. I knew the territory; I had no worries.

But it’s pitch black. You can’t see a thing and – last I heard – you don’t have radar.

I put my right foot forward and felt for the edge of the step I knew was there.  Found it! I thought, “See? I’ll be fine.” Nearsighted all my life, I was accustomed to feeling my way. This walk in the dark was a walk in the park.  I stepped onto the next stair with my left. Then my right foot sought this step’s edge.  And the pattern repeated itself as I’d done so many times before.  Finally, I reached for the fourth stair – but found no edge.  Hmmm … I could have sworn there were four steps.  But it had been awhile since I last visited; perhaps I was mistaken.

There is a fourth step; it’s deeper than the first three. Stick your foot out a little further.

I stepped out a little more, but still found no edge.  Apparently, there were only three stairs after all — my bad. My left foot stepped boldly onto what I thought was level ground.

A short while later I awoke, dazed and in pain, to find myself lying beneath the parked SUV that finally broke my downhill adventure.

See, I told you so. A woman who forgets her alarm code regularly is not likely to remember the number of steps at a house she visits twice a year.

There is a voice deep inside each of us that does its darnedest to protect us from ourselves. Some of us call it intuition; some call them guides; others call them guardian angels.  I call mine Lula – named for my late aunt who boldly did whatever she pleased whenever she wanted to.  And she didn’t take any crap.  My Aunt Lula, like me, was a big woman. Well, not exactly like me.  She was well over six feet tall and as thin as the proverbial rail.  I wear mine a little more – uh, compactly.  As a child, I always looked up to her — I had no other choice.  She was what I wanted to be.  And now she watches over me.

At least she tries.  But I tend to be as headstrong as she was. I often – far too often – decide I know better.

Many years ago — more than I enjoy admitting — I made a decision.  My girls were growing up fast and before I knew it, they’d be off to college.  And I’d be alone. Alone was not fashionable. The last thing I wanted to be was unfashionable. I could not be alone. So, I made a plan.  Like my jolly red-suited friend on the North Pole, I made a list and checked it twice.  But in my own analytical manner — a manner some might refer to as anal-retentive-obsessive-compulsive-down-to-the-most-minute-detail — I took it a step further; I prioritized.  I made a list of the most important things I was looking for in my next victim hubby.  I wanted a man who was intelligent (but not smarter than me), a man who was well educated (but not better than me), a man who was attractive (but not prettier than me), a man who was funny (but not funnier than me). The most important thing I wanted was a man who was rich (but not richer than me was do-able). And I went shopping.

On a blind date one year later, I met my future was-band.  Granted, he only met two of my top five – unfortunately, not the big one — but he had ‘potential.’  I was in love and as happy as a rat in a cheese factory.

Throw this one back, sweetie. Even his parents won’t let him in their house.

It didn’t matter that he was forty years old and still living in his parents’ garage.

Honey, this is not a good sign. Your undies last longer than his relationships.

It didn’t matter that his first marriage ended in less than a year.

Put this one back on the shelf and quit shopping at the dollar store, dear.

It didn’t matter that he wasn’t my usual engineer, accountant or attorney; he was an artist.  An artist who worked in a toy store.

Girl, what are you thinking?  Run – escape while you still can!  Run away!

But did I listen?  Of course not!  I was in love and I knew what I wanted.  Yes, I decided I knew better.

So fast-forward three years in court, half of my assets and tens of thousands of dollars of legal fees.  As I click on the button authorizing my bank to send his alimony check each month – Lula reminds me lest I forget:

See, I told you so.