Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How many is too many?

So when we were in our teens our parents told us to keep our legs crossed and to call them if a guy got too fresh.  We were told that we would surely get pregnant, die of an STD or god forbid, get a reputation, if we so much as french kissed a boy.  And being the good girl I was, I heeded that warning.  Plus my Flock of Seagulls haircut, that I now think my mother encouraged, helped to keep the boys at bay.

In our 20's we were told that if we gave the milk away for free, the men would not buy the cow.  Which is an attractive way of equating our 20-something fragile egos to bovines.  If we slept around in our 20's, the guys would not call the next day.  There were rules.  Rules of dating (dammit there was even a book).  We were not to sleep with a man on the first or even second date.  If we wanted to keep the man around, clearly we had to withhold sex.  The theory being that if you gave the guys sex, they would leave.  The logic?  Not sure.  The 20's were a stressful time sexually.  You want to have fun but you are told you shouldn't or you will never get married.  Once again, I adhered, as best I could.

In our 30's some of us are married or settled down in some way.  So sexually we are suffering through repetition, possibly kids and thus exhaustion, stress of marriage, responsibility and changes in focus.  So while many of us remain in love with our spouses, we may not feel the same sexual pull or desires as we once did.  And if we do have the same desires, life may get in the way of sex.

Then comes the divorce.

So now in our 40's and single, what about the sex?  Suddenly single with a raging libido, what is a girl to do?  At first, the rules from our 20's clog our minds, making us feel as if we can't have sex when we want to and with whom we would like to.  But then as a 40- something woman, we come to realize there are a whole new set of rules.  In our 20's we would be considered easy should we have slept with a man on the first date. As a 40-something we are considered powerful, independent and lucky by our married friends if we sleep with a man on the first date.

So up comes the word 'slut'.  Considered a kiss of death in our 20's, a horror of infidelity in our 30's, it is a badge of honor in our 40's.  A single woman in her 40's can sleep with as many men as she wants, as often as she wants and in any position she wants and all she hears is accolades.  Her other single friends are hopeful some of that sexual energy will rub off.  Her married friends live vicariously through her, wanting graphic details and blow by blow descriptions (yes, pun intended).

So is there such  a thing as too much sex?  With so many available men, so many varieties to chose from and such freedom to do with them as she pleases, should a single woman in 40's put a limit on how many men she sleeps with?  Should she cap her sexual desires to adhere to some rules she was given in her 20's?  Never in my life have I ever dated two men at the same time.  Not that I wouldn't have, it just never happened.  And yet in my 40's it seems impossible not to have men overlap in the dating world.

In my 40's I find myself with several suitors.  And the freedom I feel to explore these men and what they have to offer me is intoxicating.  Each one offering something different, something unique.  And what is surprising is that in my 40's I feel good about my sexual identity, my sexual confidence.  So how many is too many?  Is there a limit on how many men one should sleep with?  Or should I heed the advice of my friends and have fun? 

The guilt of my 20's has disappeared, the sexual peak of my 40's in full swing.  I shall embrace it while I continue my dating quest.  I shall be happy.  I shall have fun.  Because after all, I am single and 43.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Geek vs. Bad Boy

Another day, another date.  Yes, that makes at least two dates I have had this week.  Neither were horrible but neither were great. And this latest one just made me feel a little uncomfortable and used.  And probably a little sad, for him.  Tom found me online and while he wasn't exactly a match, he seemed fairly normal which in the online dating world is a ringing endorsement.  Tom and I spent some time trying to connect on the phone and when I finally got a hold of him, he was at the pool with his children but assured me it was a great time to talk to a potential date.  Between the screaming kids in the background and him shouting at his own children, I had a hard time hearing him.  But what came through clearly was his desperation to go on a date.  I could feel it through the phone yet I found myself agreeing to meet him.

We set a date for a local restaurant and surprisingly I arrived on time.  And he was late.  I sat and drank my beer, played on my phone and tried not to look like a single woman who may or may not have been stood up.  Fifteen minutes passed.  Nothing.  Twenty minutes.  Nothing.  And now I have to pee because I have sucked down my beer.  But if I get up to pee and he walks in, will he think I left?  Should I tell the bartender that I am a meeting someone and if they come to tell them I was here but peeing?  But what if I return and the bartender says no one shows up.  Then there are two of us who are very aware that I have been stood up.  I will hold it.

Finally 25 minutes late Tom saunters in.  He makes up some lame excuse about traffic.  He is tall, decent looking although I suspect that he has a lazy eye, as I can't quite seem to figure which of his eyes is looking at me.  We start talking and it seems to be going fine.  Until we get to the topic of his divorce.  He says he doesn't want to talk about why he is separated and then proceeds to tell me all the grizzly details of his wife cheating on him, him secretly looking at her emails and texts, him stalking her to the neighbors house.  But he assures me, he is totally over it. And then he continues to talk about it for 30 minutes more.  I am going charge him for this therapy session.

Tom spends the next ten minutes proving to me that he is an intellectual by naming off every book on his nightstand so that I will be impressed by what he has bought but yet to read.  He plans to read them, he assures me.  When I comment on the geek factor in his book choices he points out that he is a risk analyst and 'You can't spell analyst without anal'.  I am not sure what this has to do with being geeky, but this I am going to be sure to use this saying in my every day conversations. Then when I mention that I have never heard of and will probably never read any of these books on the financial crisis or how to succeed in chess, Tom changes tact. 

Tom goes from geek to bad boy almost as quickly as I sucked down my second beer (which was pretty fast as I didn't want to be sober any more).  To prove to me that he is a bad boy, Tom starts cursing.  He throws curses into every sentence.  And then he overtly ogles my body, not hiding that he is looking over my assets.  So he has gone from geek to desperate pervert who says 'shit' even when not appropriate.  I am not sure what it is about me that made him feel the need to switch gears but I am a little freaked out by his desperate display.  And I am starting to feel like a piece of meat.  Time to be done.

I thank Tom for meeting me.  I thank him for the beer.  I hand him my therapy bill.  We walk to our cars and I try to walk behind him because I can feel his non-lazy eye clearly focused on my ass.  Sigh.  I need a shower.  In the parking lot he shows me a scar he got when he fell down while tripping on mushrooms.  He regales me with stories about the times he has been really high and drunk.  Ok Tom, go home, read your book on chess, stalk your ex-wife and curse as much as you want.  I have had enough.  Tom leans in for the kiss, I divert to the hug and run for my car.  I peel out of the parking lot never to see Tom again.  I will take a shower, clean off Tom's leers and move on.  After all I am 43 and single. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

In the Shallow End

It has been a very long time since I went on a classic blind date.  In theory my Internet dating counts as a blind date because no matter how many times I look at the photos of the men I have made a date with, they never appear as advertised.  But in the true sense of a blind date, a date set up by  a mutual friend in which neither party knows each other, I have not succumbed, I mean agreed to go on one in a couple of years.  My previous blind date, documented here, left a very bad taste in my mouth.  But when I got a call from a friend who knows me fairly well and said he had someone for me, I was intrigued.  My friend said this was the first single guy he met that he believed 'could keep up with me'.  I wasn't sure whether I should be insulted  or flattered by that comment.  Am I so difficult to set up?  And what did he have to keep up with?  My wit, my intelligence, my sparkling personality?  These are assets, not something to prevent me from dating, right?  Whatever.  I'll go out with this guy.  I asked my friend to describe my potential new boyfriend.  My friend says my date, Sam (not his real name of course), was funny, smart and a good man.  And then he threw in that Sam was not a swimsuit model.

What does that mean?  Most of the people I know are not swimsuit models.  In fact none of the people I know are swimsuit models.  So that statement left me curious.  But I am not going to judge based on physical appearances.  I am going to judge based on the important factors; intelligence and a sense of humor.  Sam called and we spoke on the phone.  He was funny, nice, easy to talk to and we seemed to have a lot in common.  We set a date.  And then I googled him.

There are a lot of things that are nice surprises in life, but not knowing what your blind date looks like, is not one of them.  But I couldn't find Sam anywhere.  I  mean I found a lot of info, boring info, but no pictures.  How is that possible?  What hideous physical deformity is he hiding?  I searched eight pages deep and still no photos.  Fine.  I will rise above my shallow need to have some sort of physical attraction to Sam.  I will be attracted to his personality and sense of humor.  I will be mature.

On the night of our date, my superficial need to know what I was walking into, started to take over.  So I texted Sam and told him I had long brown hair, dark eyes and a captivating smile, so he would know how to recognize me at the restaurant.  I got an 'ok' in reply.  That was not what I was hoping for.  I was hoping he would write back 'And I have a giant hump on my back' or 'I have a glass eye' or even 'I have hair growing out of my ears and nose'.  But I got nothing.  I was truly going on a blind date.

I arrived at the restaurant, shockingly on time, and there was Sam waiting out front.  Now let me just say, I am 5' 3" tall.  I had on the cutest green sandals (ok many of you don't care but.... they are cute) and they have an inch high heel.  I got out of my car and approached Sam.  As I got closer he seemed to shrink.  Until I was standing right next to him, looking at the top of his head.  He was shorter than me.  A lot shorter than me.  Strikingly shorter than me.  Shallow.  I was being very shallow.  This poor man is probably always shorter than the women he dates.  He may be a really nice man.  But geez, he was so much shorter than me.  And did I mention he was wearing cargo shorts and a t-shirt.  Stop judging the book, I keep saying in my head, but I can't.

We sit down to dinner and the conversation flows.  Sam is easy to talk to, albeit a little goofy.  But I am twisting in my seat wondering if we were to kiss standing up would I have to lean down or would he stand on his tiptoes.  If we were to walk down the street, would he be able to put his arm over my shoulders?  Does he shop in the kids department and save a ton of money on clothing?  Am I really this mean?  Yes, I am.  No, I will not be this shallow.  I will note that he is kind, he loves his kids, he makes stupid jokes, and he is clearly fascinated by the multitude of stories I have told about myself.  We have scarfed down lots of sushi, I have convinced him to give me the leftovers to take home and we stand to leave.  And there it is again.

As we walk to the cars, I start to panic.  I am not going to kiss this man.  I am not attracted to him and I am pretty sure I have fish eggs in my teeth.  But mainly I am not going to kiss him because it all feels physically wrong.  I have for my entire life been the shortest in the room.  And now as I stand clutching the leftover sushi, I am uncomfortable. I feel awkward.  I don't know where to look, the bald spot on the top of his head that I can clearly see or down into his eyes.  This alternate universe is throwing me.  I feel dizzy.  I hug Sam, thank him for dinner and hurl myself into my car.  I need to find people taller than me to stand near for a while.  I wish I could say I wasn't this shallow.  I wish I could figure out why my friend who set me up didn't say 'Oh by the way, Sam is really short, like smurf short'.  I wish it was tomorrow so I could eat the rest of this sushi and not feel guilty.  Oh blind date, you have let me down once again.  But as usual I will answer when you call again, because after all I am 43 and single.