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Archive for July, 2011

When the vacation ends, you have to go back to work.

Bah. But I’m here, and caught up, which is good.

And I have Plans! To read, sew, run, hike, get out of the house, go to poetry group, and possibly go on a couple of dates, while PP is away. Psych has vanished into the ether–pretty well literally, as I keep getting emails from him, but farther and farther apart, and all saying the same thing: “Wow, it’s been a horrible week! I’ll write more soon!” Then a few days pass and I get another message just like it. The last one came through on the 23rd. So my guess is that things will not be panning out with him.

That’s ok. I had a date yesterday with, mmm, Jokester. An auditor by day, a stand-up-comic by night. I know. He’s not GQ material but he seems very decent, clever, and (guess!) very funny. He’s a bit more conventional than I am and I’m not sure if there’s enough common ground there for a relationship, but I enjoyed myself enough to meet up with him again and see. And I have a date on Wednesday with the guy who seems great except for the face like a totaled car. It will either go very well or disastrously. (Very well=face does not matter and we hit it off swimmingly–emails have all gone very well so far. Disastrously=cannot be attracted to him and feel terribly awkward the entire time. We shall see.) Nickname shall be … Tuba, because he plays one in his spare time.

Both are single dads with low-drama relationships with their exes, regular jobs, and who live reasonably nearby. There’s another single dad with no nickname yet who’s asked me out but we haven’t yet set anything. He seems a bit desperate; I’m iffy on the first date. We’ll see. There’s, oh gosh, probably another 3 or 4 who haven’t yet asked me out but probably will and if they did I’d probably say yes to a first meeting. So as you can see I am not overly distraught by the disappearance of Psych.

There’s another one who has recently asked to meet up–nothing set yet but it should be soon–and it will either be fabulous or a total disaster. Single dad, a bit farther away, financially self-sufficient from what I can tell but not a regular job (freelance stuff), and the guitarist for one of my favourite bands in my early twenties. Nope, no expectations, no pressure, not at all. I’ll give him a nickname when/if we set a date.

AND. You won’t believe this. Remember the rich guy a bunch of years back who tried to tell me that we could have a long-distance relationship because he could buy a second house here and everything would work out just fine? Yeah. He’s back, and trying to tell me that we could have a long-distance relationship (possibly leading to a long-distance marriage) because he could buy a second house here and everything would work out just fine. We are very compatible; it’s not often one gets a chance to correct a mistake and I should be careful not to make that mistake again.

Ummm.

makes a couple of million a year<->doesn’t much care about money
thinks nothing of a relationship founded on air travel<-> has a moral and ethical objection to unnecessary air travel
loves shopping<->hates shopping
do not have citizenship in the same country

Yep. Totally compatible. What am I thinking to throw this guy over again?

Oh! AND AND.

Hike is now on another dating site I’m on (making me wonder if eH booted him) and he was checking my profile out there (maybe pissed because I used a picture of me he’d taken as my profile shot?). Ick. I blocked him. You should have seen his photo: he looked like someone had just asked him a question he didn’t understand, much less know the answer to.

I can think of a few that might fit.

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The vacation was fabulous, and thank you for asking, and oh my god I wish we were still there. Every day was wonderful. Each had its share of less-than-wonderful minutes (“I AM TIRED OF WALKING! I CANNOT WALK FOR EVEN ONE MORE STEP! I AM GOING TO SIT DOWN AND REST RIGHT! HERE! Oh, Mummy, look, there’s a squirrel!” and off she runs) but on the whole we had such great fun, and I’m so glad we spent the ungodly amount of money that we did on this big Mummy-and-daughter vacation.

Now I will spend a slightly-less-than-ungodly amount of money printing out photographs. Some of them even have skies in them. As opposed to that wonderful white glare that I interpret as an angry Digital Camera God wreaking his vengeance.

Anyway.

I would like to say a moment of thanks for the many wonderful gentlemen who unintentionally parody themselves on dating websites.

For GoofyGuy, whose profile shot shows him looking as if he’s watching his beloved dog of 20 years be euthanized for a brain tumour.

For HappyGoLucky2010, whose profile photo looks like a mug shot.

For SalInParadise, about 2000 miles away from me and over 10 years  younger, who nonetheless added me to his favourites list. And for HandsomeDude99, 1000 miles away from me, who would like to know if I’m interested in a date.

For ImSane!, who sent me exactly five messages, each one a glowing tribute to his own many charms, the wonders of his photographs, his impressive hobbies, and his fascinating goals and dreams.

For CrushedByLife, who told me that he came home from work one day last week, staring into the abyss of his failed marriage and was roused to life again by a timely drink, and by the way, would I be up for a movie? (I feel badly about this one as I do not want to make him feel rejected, but was so badly alarmed by his message that I couldn’t come up with something suitable to say in reply–and now it’s been much too long.)

For the guy whose name I can’t remember, who posted so many flattering photographs of himself in various poses in his bathroom, open medicine cabinet plainly visible behind him. He has a nice shower curtain.

For SunnyScotsman, who lives in another country but sends me multiple messages whenever I log on.

Oh, yes, lots of sane and normal guys who I am talking to like a sane and normal girl … but if it weren’t for the nuts, how much fun could it be?

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I need a new nickname, Dear Readers. One for a guy who is irish, smart, bookish, and a psychologist. It’s not lending itself to anything really obvious for me so for now I’ll go with Psych. So: coffee date with Psych today at a local cafe. Went very well; he’s personable, friendly, very smart, we talked for a couple of hours about tons of things and enjoyed it greatly, and who should walk in just as we were thinking about heading out but two of my coworkers, who then took up a table on the opposite side of the cafe and smirked at us (nicely). And then we all struck up a conversation, so score one for Psych who was also able to chat with my very nice colleagues. There will be a date #2 later this week, before PP comes back. Tomorrow I’m meeting up withe FriendBoy and looking forward to it greatly. Plans with GameBoy fell through (he needed to take the kids this weekend). Tomorrow evening I’m meeting up with a local hiking group for the first time, and really looking forward to that too–local hiking friends! I need that badly.

This mini social update brought you to you by PPlessness. I miss her like stink already. Today I will cook, sew, write, read, run, and pretend to be productive instead of lonely and miserable.

~~~~~

So as I began thinking of this post, I dropped my near-full can of Diet Coke and spilled it all over the floor–appropriate, I think, for writing about a non-goal-oriented, serendipitous, grace-under-fire approach to success.

For all of the progress women have made over the last several decades, certain attitudes remain distressingly common and difficult to eradicate: to be successful as a female, one must be youthful, attractive, desirable to men, and in long-lasting and heterosexual relationship. It doesn’t matter what else you have, do or are in the rest of your life. If you can’t master these four, expect to be pitied. A man who ages well, remains single, and has other accomplishments is admired and envied; a woman is pitied, as if nothing else matters if she can’t get a man and keep him happy.

If this doesn’t describe why women continue to buy and devour relationship self-help books, I don’t know what does. Arguably, women need men far less than men need women. So how else to make sure that women chase men around trying to service and satisfy them, other than to convince them that they are pathetic failures, desperate, sad and lonely caricatures of women?

Women’s magazines–chick flicks–chicklit–and those god-damned relationship self-help books–the happy endings are all a kiss with the handsome prince, however defined. Men are not sold this bill of goods, though as anyone who has ever lived with a man could tell you, men are really the ones who need the presence of the opposite sex in order to function on a daily basis. But I keep coming back to a few things, including one (just ONE) of the relationship self-help books, which pertinently noted that in order for girls to grow into women seeing singledom as a positive option, women who are single need to see it so themselves, and act like they’re not just in a holding pattern waiting for a man to show up and complete them. The rest of the book I can no longer recall (though clearly I should go back and reread it).

And I keep thinking–you know, I want to be in a relationship. Very much. I want my happily ever after, too, and for real this time, not a pretty mask on an empty horror. I would like to live with someone I love and who loves me and PP and makes our lives better. But that’s the key–it has to make our lives better. I have to believe going in that this isn’t an even trade, but an improvement. I’ve been in a bad marriage before. Being single, even being single when you really don’t want to be single, is a hell of a lot better than being in a bad marriage.

Still, I get caught up in the feelings of inadequacy, as if there is something wrong with me and I have failed because I’m not in a relationship. Or because it’s been four years since the separation and The One has yet to appear. So it’s headshake time.

Here they are: Maeve’s Reasons Why Single Moms are Already Successful:

1. Biological: Your genes don’t care if you’re married or common-law or a prostitute. They just want to get passed on. Single moms, by definition, have done this already. My genes give me an A+.

2. Autonomy: Single moms don’t have to get anyone’s permission to paint the living room, put flowered curtains in the bathroom, sleep on whatever side of the bed they damned well please, make what they like for dinner, or spend an extra $50 on a frill. The downside of running the house by yourself is a total downer, meaning exhaustion and over-extension and too many bills, but the upside is truly beautiful. No televised sports games. No arguments over discipline or schoolwork. No cable bill. No snoring. No pile of stinky underwear beside the bed. No lidless toothpaste tube leaking toothpaste all over the sink. No in-laws. No doing 50% more housework, no pressure to take a paycut and work part-time since we don’t “need” my income. No choice between nagging someone to do a little bit of housework vs. just giving up and doing it all yourself.

3. Financial: We bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and give exactly zero thought to whether or not it wounds some fragile male ego to say so.

4. Variety: You know what cures the middle-aged female labido? Singledom. Boredom is death to desire, Dear Readers. No fears there, so long as I’m not committed to anyone. When I was with the Ex, thanks to boredom and the Ick factor of sex with someone who was trying to have sex with the entire female half of the western hemisphere, we did not have a whole lot of (ahem) intimate time (and when we did, I was a bundle of resentment, which also is no fun for either party). That hasn’t been an issue for a while now.

5. Career: The Married Me was trapped in a boring, stultifying, dead-end (yet comfortable and secure) job largely because it met my ex-husband’s needs. Thanks to autonomy (see #2), I now have a job I like in a career I love and live somewhere I’m crazy about. I write in my spare time. I read oodles of books, and complete my craft projects.

6. Authenticity: I am building a life that matches who I am and who I want to be.

7. Happiness: I practically ooze all of that gratitude-happiness-meaning stuff the Positive Psychology gurus go on and on about.

No wonder I am being picky and demanding in relationships. Marriage has not been good to me, and as I write this I realize that I feel I’d be giving up an awful lot for something of dubious value. I still want that partnership, but it has to be a good partnership, one in which I’d gain more than I’d lose–meaning that the above needs to remain intanct. I need to know I can still live my environmental and social values, still do work that is meaningful, not sacrifice my personal life to meeting the needs of the household and my partner, not cede my equality. I’m still going to date, not just because I do want a relationship that can lead to a real partnership someday and I won’t find it at home in my pajamas, more’s the shame, but also because celibacy isn’t a lifestyle I can appreciate for more than a few weeks.

In the meantime, thankyouverymuch, Western Culture, but women haven’t needed men to be successful for a very long time now. Feel free to catch up with reality whenever you’d like.

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