Category Archives: Dating

Still Crying over ET after All These Years

This past Friday was my first Free Friday Flicks of the season. It’s a summer ritual for me involving outdoor movies at the Hatch Shell in Boston and a certain Effin’ Pink Blanket, which you can read about here, (Not Just any Pink Blanket). The movie was ET, which I first saw in a theatre on one of those pre-prom dates. I don’t know if kids do that any more, but that’s when you decide to go with someone to the prom and to show you aren’t just using each other for a prom date, you go out once before hand. Who said chivalry is dead? He was a senior and part of my extended group of friends who were mostly senior guys, and we were juniors girls who matched ourselves up with them. I got Charles, who was the smartest, nerdiest, pocket protector carrying guy in the group. I got a kick out of his super nerdiness and was good friends with his sister, so when he asked me to the prom and then to go see ET, I was happy to go. Also, it was the first and only date (outside of prom) I had in high school, so I thank Charles for that.

So we were watching the movie, and since I’m a natural crier anyway, when the movie gets to the part where ET is dying and dies (sorry for the spoiler…ha!), I’m sobbing away, feeling slightly foolish, but there is nothing I can do about my emotions. And Charles leans over and whispers. “He’s not really dead,” and sure enough his heart glows red, and the music swells, the brother hits his head on the ceiling jumping for joy, and away we go racing to send ET home. Charles neglected to tell me he’d seen the movie before. Which is all well and good, but I turned to look at the Charles through my bleary teary eyes, my nose snuffling, and felt like smacking him. “You didn’t think to tell me that before I started crying?” His grin made me even madder. Like he was enjoying it. And it’s not like he even tried to use that as an excuse to make me snuggle closer and get his hand up my shirt. It started to occur to me that the reason he didn’t have any dates was not because he was a super nerd, but because he might be a tad sadistic.

We did go to the prom and went out the day after with a  group of friends to hang out at a park, but the damage was done. Every time I looked at him, all I could think about was how he let me sob uncontrollably when he knew damn well ET was fine.

So fast forward 30-plus years later, and as I was gathering the Free Friday Flicks group, people’s reactions to ET were fascinating. A number of people hadn’t seen the movie in 30 years, which I think must have taken some effort–how could you not have stumbled on it on TV, or during cable’s “Steven Spielberg week” or “Kids and Aliens” movie week, or some such. Other friends had no interest at all (what kind of philistine doesn’t like kids and alien movies?) Some didn’t want to come because they don’t like to cry in public. To which I answered, I’ll be bawling my head off, so sit next to me and you’ll look normal.

And that’s the thing. ET dying and Eliot’s heartbreaking shouts of despair still make me cry. Not a little, pretty much as hard as I cried that first time. Even though now I know he’s going to be OK. Which makes me think, maybe I shouldn’t have been so hard on Charles after all. Even if he had told me, it wouldn’t have stopped me from crying. But would it may have kept me from being devastated. Or would it? I was 17 at the time. Even now, 30 years later people have all kinds of opinions about ET and Elliot. So who’s to know? 30 years later I’m sitting among my friends and with my son, out under the stars, laughing, talking and still being moved by an alien and his kid friend. I’m not phoning it in, I’m phoning home.

Photo credits: Wikipedia

Jilted by My Hairdresser—Twice

Finding the right hairdresser is harder than finding a mate. I’ve had really good ones for years before they broke up with me—you never see it coming. Terry and I have been going strong now for years, and I trust him completely, but every once in a while I start to doubt. Will he stay with me to the end? It’s not Terry; he’s done nothing wrong, it’s me. I thought I’d found The One before, but I’d been wrong. My coworker’s recent search for a new hairdresser brought back the painful memories of when I got dumped by my hairdressers—twice.

You see, my first was Eileen. After six happy years, without any warning, she ran off to become an electrician. I just couldn’t get over it.  I kept asking myself, what did I do wrong? She stayed with me from my 80’s spiky, bleach blond punk cut to the permed, just-got-out-of-bed look of the 90’s. Right before she left, I got my hair highlighted. She’d been urging me for a couple of years to get it done, and finally, to please her, I gave in. Two months later she was gone.

After she left, I was fixed up with another hairdresser at Eileen’s salon.  She was okay, but we were too different. I liked alternative music, she liked pop. She spent her weekends at the clubs, and I spend my extra time writing.  Eileen and I talked about our relationships and the irony of saving for a house in the Boston area that we’d never be able to afford anyway. Sometimes we didn’t talk at all. We didn’t have to.

“Next time, we’ll redo those highlights,” said the New Hairdresser. There isn’t going to be a next time, I thought. It’s shameful I know, but I don’t remember her name.  I don’t remember any of their names, those who come after Eileen.  I made my way from Newbury Street to Supercuts and every place in between, shamelessly talking about her to them all. All the while I made secret comparisons: Other salons tried to change me and sell me shampoos that my hair “needed”; Eileen always told me how to get the most out of what I was already using. Inevitably, each salon came up short, and I continued my pattern of one-appointment stands.

I wondered about the last time I saw her, as she painstakingly combed out thin rows of my hair and lovingly wrapped them up in foil and hand-mixed highlight. Was she dreaming about tripped circuits and burned-out fuses? If she was, she never let on. Instead she showed me how to scrunch my curls to help my perm last, and she chipped into my fine hair to give it the lift her creative cuts needed.

The worst part was trying to find a hairdresser who could copy the “S” she cut for me. I loved it because it was her trademark, but after she left, it became a cruel joke. I parted my hair on the side and she cut out a section of hair that lifted up, curved down and then out, like an “S”.  No one was able to copy that “S”. Perhaps she got tired of me taking her for granted. I never paid attention to exactly how she cut that “S”. What was the angle? How short should it be? How much hair should be cut? I never paid attention because I thought she’d always be there.

I scheduled another appointment at yet another salon, this time for a highlight. I was nervous because my friend who recommended this place said the hairdresser asked lots of questions about how light you wanted to go.  Eileen told me she would only highlight three or four shades lighter than my normal shade, otherwise it wouldn’t look natural. We argued. I wanted to go as light as possible, my desire to be a blonde blotting out my common sense.  She wouldn’t give in, but she gave me lighter highlights in the front where they would naturally occur. She mixed the colors herself, and of course she was right. How would I know what the right shade was?  The hairdresser was supposed to tell me.  Eileen told me.

My friends told me to settle down with a new hairdresser. It’s true that the sign of many different stylists had started to show on my hair—little pieces were longer than the others. The “S” turned into a flip. I knew I had to forget Eileen, but I couldn’t. I kept thinking she’d get tired of electricity and come back to me. I could feel it in my roots.

At the new salon, the hairdresser asked me what colors I wanted, but then made sensible suggestions when I pointed to the platinum blond sample. She listened to the story of the hairdresser-turned-electrician with interest and sympathy. We talked some of the time and were quiet some of the time. She even had a few ideas about the now forlorn “S”. Her name was Betty, and I fell for her immediately. I was with her for a number of glorious years, and then she decided to sell her salon and get her MBA. I wanted to tell her that if she’d been running her own salon, she probably already knew more about business than the kids she was going to be studying next to. But who was I to stand in her way? Proud, ambitious Betty. Eileen had taught me the futility of hanging on, so I had to let her go.

Luckily, I found Terry shortly after, and didn’t have too many walks of haircutting shame. We’ve been together for more than 15 happy years, and he promised me long ago he had no interest in becoming an electrician or getting an MBA. A promise he’s held to this day. He good-naturedly accepts my decision to not color my gray, laughingly exclaiming at my “blond” hair every time I see him. He gave me a fabulous longer layered cut that I love more than a year later. Still, who knows what lurks in the heart of a hairdresser? Do you ever truly know the one who cuts your hair? Love and hair are fickle.

Photo credit: The Paper Blog 

It’s Nothing Personal

So here I am four years post-separation and marriage. During the summer I amused myself by getting reacquainted with girlie things—dresses, shoes, and those whatchamacallits…oh, yeah, accessories. I couldn’t quite pull off sexy, but I got and had a lot of laughs. Summer slipped into autumn and winter is nearly upon us, and even though the girlie dresses are getting cold, I still want to wear them. Out. Somewhere. With sincere apologies to Keats, I now find myself slouching towards dating Bethlehem. I’m still not interested in actual dating, but I’m interested in the idea of thinking about maybe seeing what might be out there. Makes me a perfect catch, don’t you think? I am the consummate researcher and thinker, which, for your information is absolutely very different from a procrastinator. I’m a writer, I know the nuances of language better than you.

In any event, I realized I’m in a good position to evaluate the personals. What do they look like compared to when I answered my ex’s personal ad in the Boston Phoenix, Boston’s alternative weekly newspaper, more than 25 years ago? Of course the internet and apps have intervened in the interim, but I limited my research to just personals because 1) I’m too lazy to actually create a dating profile on a site like Match.com, 2) I’m still scarred by my friends’ stories about how brutal and dishonest these dating sites are and 3) I’m not quite ready for an app like Adult Friend Finder—no explanation needed for that I think, except to emphasize that the technology allows you to meet someone RIGHT NOW. No judgment and call me old fashioned, but I just like to get a drink or two and dinner first.

So where to go? Craigslist personals, that ubiquitous, democratic, free internet space that provokes pretty much the same response from people as the Boston Phoenix personals did 25 years ago. Mild shock quickly followed by admonitions to be careful of all the murderers on there. The similarity was downright heartwarming. So far so good! I plunged on with my research, and here, dear reader, is my take on personals then and now:

The Phoenix had the regular personals and a section where sex was a main feature. I believe it was hip enough to also have the basic categories for gays and straights. Craigslist has nine sections and within in them, evidence of the wonder of human variation and preference. Since I’m kind of boring, I stuck with two, “casual encounters” and the “men seeking women.”

All I remember from the Phoenix was that the personals pretty much sounded all the same. The guys liked dinners, movies, and walks on the beach, which was pretty useless—what kind of food? What kind of movies? My ex’s ad actually had specifics, which made him stand out. Now? Holy acronym Batman! LTR, BBW, HWP. Within minutes I was Googling “Craigslist acronyms”: long-term relationship, big beautiful or black woman, height-weight proportional. And that’s when things really got interesting. At one point I forgot I was looking to see if there was anyone I maybe wanted to think about contacting because the specificity is fascinating. This ain’t no dinner and movies crowd.

First there are all the attributes. Ladies, if you get discouraged about all the ways the media reinforces ridiculous standards of beauty, just go to Craigslist—fair warning you are going to see more pictures of men’s junk than a porn site and the fetishes are rampant, but once you get past that, you will find guys looking for BBW, bubble butts, big breasts, small breasts, requests that a woman have a little meat on them. Tall women, petite women, single mothers, HWP, geeky women, tiny waists with big hips. Something called “thick” which even the guides can’t agree on. I thought it was maybe somewhere between HWP and BBW, but then I saw a picture of a “thick” example, and I thought she was actually HWP, so what do I know? I guess the poster will know it when he sees it. Of course there are the straight out requests for being hot looking and thin/athletic. But there are not as many as you would think, and the guys claim to be the same. And that has been going on since Adam was hoping for a hot babe who was an independent thinker and had healthy eating habits.

When men do make very specific or even wacky requests, they often apologize for it and explain they don’t mean to offend, it’s just what they prefer, which I found kind of touching. Sure they may have gotten flamed by some pissed off women or they are simply savvy marketers. But I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s a nice touch.

The details included in the personals turned out to be my downfall. I stopped looking for myself and got lost in my writer’s curiosity. I tend to be attracted to guys who make me laugh, and so don’t really have a type. How do people get such specific types? For example what is it about a bubble butt that gets you going? Honestly, thank goodness they included a picture, because I wasn’t even sure what that was. Of course the pictures, clearly of real people, got me started on a whole other line of thought. Where are these people now? Do they know they are a Craigslist poster girl for a ______ (fill in the blank). Then I think how many women actually respond? How many of a type can there be?

Which of course brings it around back to me. I’m happy for all the women out there whose type is being called out and worshipped (a lot of guys promise to worship these various parts). But then that means I have the opposite, but equally annoying problem of 25 years ago when the ads were too vague. Then it was OK, we both like movies, but what if I like “Equalizer” and you like “Her”? Now I have to figure out where my body fits into the acronyms. I can knock out the extremes—I’m proudly not fit or athletic. Which is just as well because the guys who ask for a fit or athletic woman always list their hobbies as hiking, running and all manner of exercise—ugh. I tend to gravitate to the guys who talk about food and wine. Also, I’m not a BBW or a bubble butt. My breasts have never been big, and thanks to my recent weight loss, they have actually gotten slightly smaller (you really can’t win sometimes). I have big hips, but my waist ain’t anywhere near tiny. It actually was a while before I encountered HWP, which shows you how many requests there are for just a regular gal—not many. I guess they are all on Match.com.

Once I could tear myself away from these fascinating guys and their requests and I decided I was HWP, I started lurking among this small number of ads. I could eliminate at least 75% of the guys off the bat. They are in their thirties or younger, and I’m not quite ready to be a cougar (although that is not an infrequent request).  Of the remaining men, there are the people who are looking for love and long-term, while others are uncomfortably honest (married seeking same). A few are just liars/too creepy if true. One guy claimed to be very successful and was looking for someone to travel with him on his boat and winter in Florida. Um, I was just looking for dinner, wine, a few laughs, and home by midnight, thanks! And that leaves me about one possibility every few weeks. And even at that point the general rule of Craigslist is that half the time, people will flake out on you and not show up.

So through very careful, research, combing through pages of original documents, I have come to a very scientific conclusion about dating today versus 25 years ago. It ain’t any easier, whether you are looking for an LTR, an Adult Friend, or just looking for dinner, wine and a few laughs. But at least if you have been hiding your Craigslist lurking habit, you can tell people you only know about it because you read it here. You’re welcome. The girlie dresses can wait until spring.

Photo credit: Glamour.com, “Here Are a Few Not-So-Solid Dating Tips From the 1930s”

Still Shaving After all These Years

According to my blog statistics, my posts have a range of views and visitors, but guess what consistently gets two to three visits every day? Unfortunately, it’s not any of my hard-won, funny pieces; no, it’s a long, serious essay about shaving that I wrote in my 30s when I had the energy to be more seriously passionate and the brain cells to match. I used to write all my pieces like that when time was a luxury I didn’t realize I had. Lucky for you, I’ve only posted four of them on my website. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of them, they have stood the test of time, and I posted them because I could never get anyone else to publish them (so take that Serious Literary Journals that rejected me). It’s just that now I need my life to be more light than serious. I thought a couple of people might stumble on to them, but the shaving essay is actually one of the highest visited pages I have. Isn’t that crazy? Even crazier is the phrase that people use that finds my essay. If I Google “do Arab women have to shave completely,” on my phone app, my essay comes up second, after Yahoo answers. What the hell? I do have a few lines about that in the essay, but it was because I was meandering my way through various cultures and their attitudes about women and hair. I find most of the methods of removing hair tedious, terrifying, or mystifying and was desperately looking for a culture I could adopt to avoid it. Spoiler alert: there ain’t none.

Ah, the mysteries of the internet and human curiosity. Who am I to argue? My recent foray into reacquainting myself with my girliness brought me back full circle to the shaving thing, so here is my follow-up to the shaving essay, with less time, fewer brain cells and less talk about Arab women, who I still think have to shave everything. No, this piece is about me revisiting shaving from the point of view of being divorced, middle-aged, and contemplating how much shaving does one actually need to do in case, say, a tall, handsome stranger (or really any stranger) is smitten enough with me to want to take a peek beneath my girlie dress. (go here for a recap of my girlie dress adventures). Yes, I’m a delusional optimist, but it’s more fun than being a Serious Writer.

My shaving research seemed to indicate that one needs to shave everything. Hmmm. OK, still not sold on that—my skin is very sensitive—but in the interest of being open-minded, I thought, well maybe the methods have improved over the last 15 to 20 years. Ha! Now that’s funny! I found a list of the 10 best shaving products (oh, how I have fallen), and carefully chose four of these vetted methods (no crappy “As Seen on TV” products—I’m talking to you No!No!). Here they are, and for the record, getting rid of body hair is still just as tedious, terrifying, and mystifying as ever.

  • The pink razor continues to exist. In my essay I rant about stupid pink women’s shavers. I have always used men’s shavers which I’m convinced work better than the pink ones of yesteryear. Well the recommended razor this time around, is yes, still pink. Really people? It did seem to be upgraded however. The Schick Quattro for women (at least they don’t call it a “ladies” razor) comes with a badass trimmer on one end and four blades on the other. All the reviews raved about the four blades. Pink or not, that had to be better than two, right? Turns out, not so much. There are so many guards around the blade, I had to bear down on it like I was planing a two by four. I tried a couple of times until my skin started to sting. I still came out of the shower with five o’clock shadow on my legs. Looks like it’s back to the man’s double razor. I have to check this, but I’m pretty sure the four-bladed men’s Gillette Quattro trusts men to not slice themselves to ribbons. The trimmer is fine, so I’m keeping the hideous pink thing in my shower.
  • Bikini Zone Anti-Bumps Shave Gel. Well at least this product admits that for some of us, the biking area is only going to be smooth and mark free through Photoshop. It kind of worked. I would say it reduced the angry red bumps to mildly argumentative. I may stick to my previous biking area shaving strategy, which was to wear a bathing suit skirt or shorts. If I’m going to fantasize about a handsome stranger, I may as well throw in that he cares not about an unPhotoshopped bikini area.
  • Olay Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo. People really raved about this in a kind of way that scared me as I wondered what they had to put up with before this came along. I do have a light mustache, but it’s the kind that can’t be seen readily in normal face-to-face encounters (friends, do not correct me if this isn’t the case). Given my early experience with stinky hair removal products, I wasn’t motivated to do anything about it anyway, except invoke my powers of denial. The magical part of this product, apparently, is the clear protective gel you put on first, then you put on the hair removal gunk. Even on my super sensitive skin, this product worked (the “light to medium” version, so thank god I didn’t have to go to the more soul-crushing “medium to coarse” option). I do believe the reviewers who agree with the product recommendation to wait 72 hours before doing it again. Even the gel can’t help you at that point. Still, I use the term “success” lightly—I still have to look like a bad sitcom teen girl with a white cream mustache for 10 minutes. Might as well put in some pink curlers and call it a day.
  • The final product was Pure Silk Moisturizing Shave Cream, an allegedly inexpensive cream that I couldn’t find anywhere—OK I looked in two places, but I was already in for about $75 (how do you girlie girls pay for all this stuff?), and my bar of Dove soap hasn’t let me down yet.

So that’s the lot my friends. I’m now too broke and tired from all this shaving to actually go out and meet anyone, but maybe my blog stats will go up.

Photo credit: http://crazyhyena.com/bear-shave-leg-hair-picture-meme_en

I’m Sexy (If Only in My Head)

You may recall my post featuring Blanche, who keeps me honest and told me to “Get back on the damn horse and ride.” Well, I’m still not ready to do that, not in a even semi-permanent sort of way, but I am thinking it would be nice to just, you know, chat up a decent guy once in a while. However, I’m long on thinking and prepping and short on action, so my first, hesitant step into this fresh hell was to go to Old Navy to look at cute dresses. Oh, I know, believe me, I’m the main reason Blanche drinks so much, and once I induced an eye roll in her that required medical attention.

But you have to understand, I’m not a girlie girl. I don’t wear makeup, I don’t own one of those bag things many women carry around their girlie stuff in, I prefer jeans and plain tee-shirts, and lean toward black chunky shoes because I get to have comfort disguised as cool (perhaps only disguised to me). I own work dresses but only because pants are too hot and I don’t have to wear hose. So, for the record, me skulking around Old Navy for a dress is a BIG DEAL. I admit I kind of got caught up in the girliness of it all, and bought not one, but two dresses. One is a little black number that I have absolutely no use for and no place to wear, but my understanding is that this is the bedrock of girlie shopping. It may play into my scheme to sit in a nice bar to chat up all the decent guys who would most certainly be drawn to the dress like squirrels to an acorn. (Oops, I just made Blanche choke on a beer nut). The second dress is cotton and is a long sundressy kind of thing, and I have so little experience with this, I don’t even know how to describe the style. Here’s a picture.

photo (7)

It’s sort of a crossover, wrap around, which I usually avoid because 1) when it wraps all the way on the bottom, the women I see wearing them are constantly having to hold on to the bottom lest they end up flashing the world and I’m much too lazy to do that, and 2) when I was younger, I didn’t have the boobage to carry something like that off. But this dress was only wrapped at the top and since having a kid, I’m almost average size, so I thought what the heck? It looked pretty darn cute, if I may say so myself, and so I bought both and had exactly three minutes of giddiness until I remembered, oh yeah, girlie is a harsh mistress: you can’t just buy a dress. The dress needs other stuff like a necklace and shoes, perhaps even a scarf and other things I don’t even know about. I mentally scanned my belongings and thought I could scrape up everything but the damn shoes. My choices were Merrell sandals and girlie sandals the wrong color from a dress and event long ago. Crap. Despite these reminders of why I’m not a girlie girl, I attacked the shoe store like a Navy SEAL. Sweating and gasping, I got a pair of black sandals, even though there is no black in the crossover dress. (Blanche is sighing and ordering another shot.)

With the summer dress burning a hole in my closet, I decided to kill three birds with one stone: celebrate city life and the end of summer, debut the dress, and practice being cute in public. I put on my costume, complete with the new sandals, a black chunky necklace and earrings I’d bought once for a fancy work dinner, a bracelet-watch, and rings. I gathered a small group of friends to meet me at an outdoor hotel bar in the afternoon, so we could enjoy the weather, sip cocktails, and look like those people in the outdoor furniture section of a Crate and Barrel catalogue. I was well into enjoying being a person who had no piles of laundry at home or a teenager to corral, chatting and laughing, when one of my friends pointed at me and asked,

“Um, what’s going on there?”

I looked down to discover with horrifying certainty that my boobs were only big enough to hold the dress up while I was standing. Sitting on the Crate and Barrel couch, not so much. Despite being manhandled by my strapless bra, one boob was half popping out of the now slackened wrap around/crossover, which clearly is not the right name for this style because that dress was doing neither of those things.

We all laughed while I scooped up my dignity and my boob and then I spent the rest of the time checking and plucking the dress from the back and sitting on it so it wouldn’t gap. But that’s what dry runs and fun friends are for, right? Just as I was starting to feel cute again, in spite of having to sit ramrod straight to keep my dress in place, I glanced down and spied a small chain poking out of the side of my dress near my boob. Like a tawdry stripper/magician act in Vegas, I tugged on the chain and slowly pulled out my necklace from the side of my dress. Bless any of you who are blaming a broken clasp—I promise not to take my lukewarm mess to any public venues near you. No, I hadn’t actually caught the clasp in a link, just around the chain, so it slid up to the last larger link. There it sat precariously until my boob shenanigans had undone the thing. Ooooh, yeah, I’m a real catch.

We all had another round of belly laughs as I struggled to re-latch the necklace and keep my boobs covered. As I headed home, I had flashbacks of similar results in my attempts to be cool/cute/sexy in my 20s. It wasn’t pretty.

  • Trying to kiss a guy on a first date and practically knocking his teeth out with my inexperienced eagerness.
  • The time, after a bad break up, I went to the dance club determined to go home with someone, and even the last dance desperadoes fled from my female version of the “What is love?” SNL guys.
  • The time a guy was putting the (not unwelcome) moves on me and I kept asking, “What are you doing?”

I should be asking myself the same thing. Well, to quote Blanche, I’m “getting back on the damn horse.”

“I’ll drink to that,” says Blanche as she takes a fortifying drag off her Marlboro. “But better make it a double.”

Blanche Says, Let It Ride Girl

During a particular low time during the divorce process, I got hooked on reading a relationship advice column online. There’s something validating in reading about other people’s relationship issues. It also let loose my inner, cigarette-smoking, world-weary vamp named Blanche. I just rolled my eyes at the 20-something writer who declared the person who just dumped him was the One and what should he do now? But Blanch took a long drag on her cigarette and exhaled a pointed stream of smoke at the advice seeker’s post. “No such thing as the ‘One,’ sweetheart,” she declared in her gin-soaked voice of gravel.

Another advice seeker claimed everything in the relationship was perfect, except she wanted a child and the partner didn’t. Could the partner be won over? I thought not, but stayed quiet to be polite. Blanche, however, tapped the worn wood of the bar twice next to her empty shot glass, watched the bartender fill it up with Gordon’s, tipped it back and slammed down the glass. “Not gonna happen. Put up or get the hell out.”

The ill-fated office romances and those contemplating divorce after a few years of marriage when a new “soul mate” appeared on the horizon got nothing more than Blanche’s derisive snort.

It was a pretty fun game for me and Blanche until the law of averages started to catch up to us. You read enough of these letters and sooner or later you’ll get to situations that are uncomfortably close to home: midlife folks asking about the rules of dating in the world of Facebook and texting. When to introduce the kids. And yea gods, trying to decide on divorce number two! Being solitary by nature and still processing my marriage and divorce, I have no interest in dating or finding another partner. But if I’ve learned nothing else during a 20-year marriage and subsequent divorce, it’s never say never. My guilty pleasure at making fun of the advice seekers transformed into an uncomfortable dread of having to face this situation at some point, no matter how unlikely. Then I would be one of the letter writers: “I finally got an interesting email on Match.com, what do I do now? Help!”

Blanche will flick her dangling cigarette ashes at me, before raising her shot glass. “Get back on the damn horse, girl, and let it ride.”

photo credit: Fooyoh.com