Dating Advice

I don’t have real dating advice.  I’m not sure how seriously I’m taking it.  It’s company that feels better than being alone and that hasn’t happened yet.  Actually, I spent the weekend taking Kid3 on dates, and even with his tantrums and meltdowns, he’s a better date than most of what I found online.  And I paid! I’m still wading through the messiness and I’m just sharing gold nuggets from some of the men in my life that are not interested in me because they know me too well, or their orientation means we share an interest in the same men. I’m out of practice and very impulsive in some ways. The men in my life are straight shooters and when I’m comfortable, you’ll get that from me too.  They love me.  They know me.  They don’t want me.

What am I looking for? So far he’s monogamous, physically attractive, well groomed, intelligent, cultured, patient with children (he may be a gay man), and only has eyes for me.

You need someone on your level.

Yes! I’m well read, relatively sharp (how much sleep are we talking?) and I can take care of myself and my boys.  I’m generally happy and I don’t need attention as much as I want it.  I’m looking for a match that I won’t have to make up for.  Well, looking is a strong word that I keep using for the meandering I actually do.

Some things should only be admired from a distance.

But sometimes they are so pretty and shiny.  I want to touch and obsess and learn every detail.  Then I remind myself I’m not a puppy and I can put the toy down.  But I don’t want to. Call it sweet.  It may be a touch stalkerish.

Don’t date at work.

You can’t shit where you eat.  (Crude, yes, but the exact way it was said to me.) I tend to look for someone doing just as well as I am, or better, and it’s hard to shut my eyes when the men parade so innocently past me when they don’t know I was looking through my lust colored lenses.

Set your rules and don’t break them.

I had stiff rules when I was online dating.  No delivery drivers but that is more about me than anyone else. I have issues.  They end up here where I can be followed and shared and bookmarked. No one younger than me, but that one is flexible in relation to how much drool we’re dealing with.  He has to be smart enough that I’m constantly in awe of his huge ideas and observations.  He has to look better than I do.  I’m looking for beautiful but I’m shallow.  I own it.

Don’t lead anyone on.

I have this tendency to start flirting when I get comfortable.  That doesn’t mean I’m into anyone outside of the reactions I get.  A simple lunch can mean much more to the man in front of me than it will ever mean to me.  I won’t do it on purpose.  I go from purely polite and slightly indifferent to lioness on the prowl, looking for a chew toy. It’s not good, but it’s rarely intentional.

You’re such a dude.  Not everyone you conquer needs to be femme.

Gender normative isn’t a dirty word in the dating world.  I’m supposed to soften my ability to be dominant in my home and with my sexuality.  I had never seen the men I date as femme, but coming from a gay man, I have to believe there is truth in the way I portray them when I go into juicy detail.

Don’t you know spooning leads to forking?

Flirting is never innocent.  Don’t do it unless you mean it and are willing to follow through.  Craptastic because that is my way of being.

Walk away and let him come to you. Keep giving signals that you’re interested but don’t pursue.

This is too twisted.  I don’t get it.  I haven’t played this game in decades. I was interested and all over it, or not interested and polite with an edge.  I often ended a mean streak with, “I’m just messing with you.”  I never said I was nice and the men I dated were never high on emotional intelligence or otherwise.

Baby steps, Ma.

When I am into someone I can get a bit carried away.  I’m not planning a wedding and moving in and puppies together. It’s more like I’m free, let’s go out. Some boys need to take it slower than that.

Forget to text him on some days. Send generic messages that don’t show an interest in his life or that you’re expecting conversation.

Have a great weekend! Enjoy your day! Happy 4th of July!

I’m here.  Think of me so we can keep playing this game that really secretly annoys me.

Poop already, because there are other people waiting for the pot.

(I think I was trying to go for being the Shit, but ended up as a toilet. Don’t flush!)

 

You want owners, not the help. If he ain’t the highest up on the totem you’re not interested. This is no longer high school.

This should matter more because I’m frequently told to think ahead, but I’m not there yet.

A woman with ink is hardcore to a guy without ink. Honey, your level of pain is more than his.  He knows you’re a freak and knowing that makes him wonder if he’s sexually adequate.

I’ve given birth.  Many times. All of my ink is meaningful design that hurt less than a crowning child and the contractions that helped me kick 7 babies out.  It was easier than the angry uterus that had no problem with beating up an infant on the way out of my womb.

Where to go: church groups, book readings, events at parks, lounges, community service, the humane society needs volunteers.  Library, museum, coffee houses, cafe’s.

For fun: the grocery store produce section.

“Hey, how ripe is that peach? I bet it’s juicy.”

“Are these melons ripe?”

“How do you pick your papayas?”

Do we really need to go there with bananas?  I think you get it.

 

 

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Practice Like You Mean It

In 1993 I was in large military Drill Team.  I was actually the last or second to the last alternate and barely made it.  Practice was for a few hours after school and we wore uniforms for competition and spirit week.  It’s all fun and games until you grow into old lady knees that suffered too many practices with forgotten knee pads.

During practice, we were often exhausted and I was always so irritated by the coach, captain and co-captains that would stress that we had to practice like it was performance.  We had to practice like we meant it.  Going through the motions in rehearsal means you will go through the motions during performance.  Muscle memory takes over. Everything becomes automatic. You want your automatic to be amazing.

That lesson came back with laughter tonight.  I drive around with my windows up, music loud and singing.  I will also say “hi” to cute men, or “thank you” to one that is cute and exercising.  It’s a public service, really. I say it loudly with windows up and it makes me laugh because they can’t hear my catcalls.  Today I was doing the same as usual with the music slightly lowered because it was around dusk when the sky was blushing in farewell to a fading sun  and I wanted to feel the breeze of the evening air. There was a man running in the direction I was driving and I yelled my “thank you” like I meant it. He flinched with a faltering few steps and I realized how far my voice carries when windows aren’t in my way.  I forgot the windows were down, and drove off in laughter.

Self Confidence and Online Dating

I spent many years as a stay at home mom.  My days were spent chasing babies, cleaning up messes and doing yard work.  The yard work made me happy.  I love fresh dirt under my nails and working up a sweat in pulling stubborn weeds. It was often done in bare feet or running shoes.  Mainly bare feet.  When I went back to work in January, I decided I wanted to wear heels, but it was hard on my calves and I had to work through some seriously solid comfort zone fears. I wasn’t used to walking or standing in heels.  I used to be.  I could spend a night dancing in heels at one time.  I still miss my black Esprit Mary Jane pumps with a chunky heel. It was a long time ago.  Pushing Past My Comfort Zones To Reclaim Ownership of my self-imposed value system came with rewards, but the first few days it mainly came with serious calf cramps.

I was talking to my regional manager about my shoe issues, and she said she never wants to lose her confidence in heels.  The word, “confidence” immediately shifted my perspective.  It shifted everything.  That was when I really saw that confidence is something you decide you are going to accept as part of your identity. When I was walking without confidence, I had this fear that my ankles would twist and I would teeter and fall.  When I realised it was about confidence, I started walking as if I knew I wouldn’t fall because my confidence made the decision that I wouldn’t.  The change in my stride made my calf pain go away.  I wasn’t walking like I would fall and my muscles didn’t have to compensate for my insecurities.

I’m building my confidence in my dating profile.  Funny story:  I set up my preferences based on my type, and someone I know ended up in the search that pops up when I open the app.  He’s not my dating option, but he pops up, and I remember his smile and the real life person I know.  For some reason, the views and likes and messages I’ve gotten since yesterday are all compared to him and they all fall short.  I’m chatting when I’m I get an email or chat window, but they’re already rejected based on the person I know in real life.  It’s sad.  On the other hand, it was a moment of joy to realise that I’m no longer comparing everyone to my ex.

The app and website are boosting my confidence.  I don’t have to go out and turn down polite interest, I can do it from my phone in my pj’s while getting laundry done. And there’s something that feels good knowing that in 24 hours, I’ve had over 150 men click through my profile.  The numbers may be average or sub par, but it’s far more than I was getting while out and about. Some of them might have read my verbose ramblings and checked out the profile I’ve plastered with several vapid examples of vanity.  I like reading, “nice smile, ” and that I’m a “striking eyed beautiful woman,” even if the smiles he can screenshot are all he’ll ever see.

Right now my confidence is looking for balance.  The person I was the last time I was dating was intimidating and aggressive.  She was also a bit of a slut. I’m at peace with that.  It isn’t who I am now. I’m trying to dial it back a lot and this in between gray area is foreign and frightening.  Besides, I still feel that I am having a great lot of  Fun Dating Myself and I feel I am pretty phenomenal.

There’s something to be said about online dating.  I like real life interactions where I don’t really pay attention to cars, status, or even looks until a man has said something that makes me want to learn more about him.  In real life, I can feel the guilt when I start to become materialistic, but online it’s expected and I’m eased into it without the real life person in front of me to remind me there is a person with genuine feelings before me. The online version has made me look at these men in a different way, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.  Realistically, I look at profile pictures and the first thought I have is, would I be willing to see this man naked and be attracted to what I see?  It happens in person within the first two minutes, but I can usually get past that.  Getting past my vanity and physical attraction is how many of my long term relationships were born. Online, he won’t get a chance to make an impression.  I usually like conversations about interests and likes but online they become a blur.  I’m missing the expressions and cadence in a voice that makes me obsess like I did when I wrote That’s cute, and Getting Back on that Flirtation Bike.

Everyone’s profile duplicates each other after a while. The profiles in my searches all have readers and outdoorsy types.  They like children and animals and water.  They want someone fit and attractive and happy.  And they all make insane amounts of money. The woman they are searching for needs to be driven and make him a first priority.  So many of men want to show women a great time, snuggle and travel the world. I’m just hoping to find someone that’s already survived their midlife crisis, but I won’t add that to my profile. They like motorcycles and fast cars, and I can’t help but remember I’m not dent proof and will lose in a car fight and become a victim to their need for speed.

I find lots of really driven men that have worked so hard on a career that they missed the part about starting a family, or stayed in a relationship for longer than it was working.  I was in a marriage that I thought was working.  I get it.  I was putting our kids before my career and now I’m starting over, but on my terms.  I’m not the financial powerhouse I plan to be one day.  That confidence will grow once I start a career path that I’m designing, and not one that I’m trying to fit into, and once I find work I can be passionate about.

I can’t help but see the lack of confidence on these profiles.  It’s not always obvious, but it is often shy and insecure in the last line of an open invitation.  It’s in the pictures of places they’ve been and their pets, children and cars, instead of a bright and wide smile.  It’s hiding behind sunglasses as if they can’t imagine anyone getting lost in their eyes.  It’s in their disdain for a sales pitch they know is a sales pitch that they aren’t fully confident of. I’m just as guilty, talking about the places I like to go and feeling like I may be padding a resume while I do it.  At the same time, I’m not advertising my blog and a full visual of what makes me who I am.

I am being honest though.  That is huge for me.  I’m not lying in my profile or in private messages.  I have no reason to because I’m not ashamed of who I am or what my life looks like right now.  I’m not even lying about my lack of gainful employment.  Go, me.

Look for Blessings and They Will Find You

I expected blessings yesterday and I was blessed.

My day started with helping my Dad around his house.  I’m starting to enjoy moments when he underestimates me and I surprise him with my strength and ability.  His local Albertson’s is like his Cheer’s bar.  Everyone knows his name and they are full of bright smiles for him.  He kept introducing me as his daughter, then pointed out to his favorite butcher that I am single.  My response? “Seriously.  You really just did that?” We had fun shopping together.  He wanted to fill my fridge and I introduced him to goat’s cheese with water crackers and fig preserves. He’s a fan.  He filled my gas tank and funded a manicure.

I got groceries home and spent “me time” in a nail salon.  From there I headed to Will Rogers State Beach where I caught the sunset and picked out a few rocks.  I love quiet beaches and sat in my car for a bit to watch the waves in comfort.  As the last families headed home, I went to Santa Monica where there is more light and patrolling officers.  I wanted to thank the photographer that brightened my Wednesday.  He thought I was kind, and offered more coffee and tea.  I declined, and walked around the pier, checking out the night fishing. A few anglers were just setting their bait and hadn’t had a chance to catch anything. I used to fish with my Dad off of that pier and laughed a little at all of the couples leaning on the rails, oblivious to the fish guts they romanced in.

I walked around and approached the police officers that stood in conversation across from Bubba Gump. I thanked them for their service and wished them well in safety.  They thanked me and as I walked away I could hear their conversation shift into the gratitude I offered and their gratitude that it came from someone who looked like me.  That made me smile.

I wandered to the other side of the pier, and enjoyed a few moments as a shameless cougar, watching young shirtless men play beach volleyball under the stars. I left when I felt like I was being creepy enough.

I found myself watching the surf alongside a single mother.  She understood my desire to stay out when I know there’s an empty home waiting for me. Her children were fully dressed, running in and out of the ocean as if it weren’t freezing.  They kept running to her for hugs and praising her for being a terrific mom. They’re on a similar plan where she also has stretches of days to decide what she wants to do now that she can do whatever strikes her as fun. They had spent a day at Disneyland and she was tiring them out so she could have a quiet drive back to San Jose with dry clothes and blankets in the car.  We talked spousal and child support. We talked love. In all of my anger, I still held back from trying to hurt my ex with every bit of fire in me.  She helped me see that with those I love, even when they’ve hurt or upset me, I would never try to cause them pain or make them feel insecure.  The love I looked for in him looks a lot like power and domination. We talked dating.  She dates, but she doesn’t get too close to anyone.  The natural progression of a relationship means having someone to sleep by your side every night.  She has young children and cannot sleep with one eye open.  She ends her relationships before they get to that point. That never occurred to me.  In all of my dating thoughts, I just assumed I’d get to be a fun grown up when I didn’t have my kids and both worlds could remain separate.  I never considered dating for keeps and just thought about dating and being married again.  The in between phase and the practical aspects of it never crossed my mind. She reminded me that I need to deal with my codependent tendencies so I don’t bring them into my next relationship.

We talked tattoos and how she covered hers. She used a hamsa, because a hand of protection used in many cultures must mean several religious folks have placed their values in something meaningful. (Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shamanism, Jain beliefs and Anatolia, but we didn’t talk cultural appropriation.) She made a suggestion for mine.  I have a bee and my ex’s name on my shoulder.  My nickname for him was Honeybee.  For so long he would’ve done everything in his power to make me feel like a queen.  The name is going to be covered, not altered. I don’t know if I want to keep the bee because I like bees and I have longer than I’ve known the ex, and it ties into the life that brought me my kids.  I don’t know if I want something to devour the bee, but that thought makes me laugh.  I love California Poppies and like the idea of flowers on my shoulder. She suggested a honeypot.  Bees eat honey.  Bees need honey.  Without the queen, the hive dies.  I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I really liked her suggestion. At the same time, my days on movie sets make it impossible to not think of a honey wagon and that’s not an image I am fond of. Besides, I’ve had his name on me for long enough that covering it should be all about me.

For today, I’m overflowing. That means I’m able to give and that looks like helping out with my niece and kid brother’s 11th birthday party.  I’m not a party planning mom and lucked out in my kid’s sensory integration dysfunction.  I don’t like to throw parties and they don’t like to be at parties.  Usually they want Mountain Dew, Doritos, Gummy Worms, and a fast Wifi connection. Today I got in a tug of war with a bounce house and didn’t freak out over ruining my new manicure.  I have polish at home and I may play with my own nails later. Depending on how this day makes me feel, I may decide to hit the beach again tonight.  Whatever my day brings, I will look for the blessings and see the grace that covers me.

Laughter and Flirting Over the Pacific on Easter

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Santa Monica and Pacific Park

I can’t complain about my Easter away from my kids.  I was with family.  There was lots of laughter and joy.  Maybe a little Jim Beam Apple Whiskey, straight up. Very little.  Like a taste, but not enough to call it a shot, and I gave my Mom’s orange tree a taste too, because it looked thirsty.  I’m so not a drinker but there are enough in my family that my weak contributions are made up for.

My brother had an idea for my cover up tattoo.  I haven’t nailed down ideas yet for covering up the ex’s name.  He offered a mock up with a sharpie. It was somewhere along the lines of a craigslist ad.  I declined his offer.  All of us laughed for a little too long over that, and it was a moment of my family joining in on what they’ve spent a year respectfully giving space to.  My nephews and even my baby brother suggested different dating sites and apps.  They want to see me move on and they believe in my ability to find happiness.  They saw what years with the ex meant for me, and they want better.  I have no idea what better looks like, but they believe he’s out there for me. They encouraged me to jump in and go after what I want. They made me laugh and they made me smile and these days my smiles come so much easier than they used to. I wanted to laugh and smile and I was happy to take their suggestions. I needed that push.  It was a good push.

I came home for long enough to get a few things done, then I drove to the beach.  There’s something about the ocean that makes me happy. I walked along Will Rogers for long enough to be slightly creeped out at being completely alone except for the few men going through the trash cans with flashlights.  I was approached with a friendly request for a joint.  I haven’t touched one in decades. I decided a more populated beach might be a wise decision and drove to Santa Monica.  I walked along the sand for a while, then decided to walk the pier and see if fish were biting for the anglers up there.  I was surprised by a text, and ended up flirting shamelessly for a while before heading home.

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I’ve decided the moment my husband changed into my ex, was when I was ready to consider a next.  The men in my family encouraged me enough to take a chance and the reward on my gamble was huge.  There’s been laughter tonight.  Lots of laughter and silly giggles.  There is so much healing in silly giggles and belly laughs. The flirting was completely one sided.  It was entirely on my side, with spaced out polite responses from the other side.  The huge take away was that I loved the way flirting made me feel. Even a polite lack of interest is something to celebrate.

Why Confidence is More Than Body Image

I was bathing suit shopping with a friend who told me she wished she had my confidence.  If I can accept the lower aspects of the people I love, then I have to accept the lower parts of who I am, and be willing to grow from where I am to where I intend to be. I’ve loved large men, even the morbidly obese. I’ve loved drug addicts.  I’ve loved narcissistic men who cared more about how I made them look, than how I felt.  I’ve loved materialistic men, and men with less attractive features. I didn’t let bad hygiene keep me from love.  If I can love in spite of a less than ideal partner, what makes me any less loveable?

I tell my autistic sons that Superman has super sensory abilities, but we would never call him disabled.  If he’s not disabled, they’re superheroes too.  If they’re superheroes, and I am the curator of their future, what makes me any less than amazing?

I spend a decent amount of time each morning in my bra and panties, standing in front of a full body mirror like Linda Carter did when I used to watch Wonder Woman.  Hands on hips, proud of my . . . well, I like the way a good bra fits. From this angle, I can see all of me, and I refuse to look for imperfections.  That would be like watching the sun during a sunset, but ignoring the shifting colors in the sky and clouds.

I never take off the class ring my Dad bought me.  I refused a ring in high school because I always knew I’d eventually get my college ring.  It took 17 years for a 4 year degree, but I earned it without cheating or taking short cuts.  I did it with a young family, and through surrogacies, and I usually had to fight for and justify my plans to my husband because being a student meant I had less to offer him and the kids.  I still had to do all of the cooking and cleaning and studying, and coming to bed because he was tired of waiting up for me, even though I’d sneak out of the bedroom once he was asleep and bang out a paper into the early morning hours for class the next day.  For a while, kid2’s greatest goal when he grows up was to be a graduate.  More than what I accomplished in school was what it looked like to my kids.

On any given day, if I pay attention, I can spot at least one person checking me out. He will usually be fully aware that it would be a waste of time to approach me, but he’s looking and for a moment, he sees something he wants.  Ignoring these looks is part of survival as a female in a larger city.  No matter what you look like, people will look, and for a moment, you become a living centerfold.  Teenaged boys could have a breeze make them happy.  It doesn’t take much to spark male imaginations. You can wilt at the blatant objectification, or let it empower you as you decide what that look means or doesn’t mean to you. Keep your head held high, and consider your attraction a public service as you’ve probably brightened someone’s day.

Wear the short skirt or low cut blouse.  Stuff yourself into those jeggings because feeling like stuffed sausage looks hot. (I actually don’t own a pair of jeggings.) Sway your hips with each step you take, one foot directly in front of the other, shoulders back.  Choose the bikini.  Wear the heels that make your calves rock solid and lift your butt just enough. Always throw on your confidence.  No one can manufacture it or make it fit, except for you.

My Apologies for Objectifying A Beautiful Man

I can see how shameless my crush watch on Mr. Hot (and so out of reach) was. This revision comes with perspective because time is generous that way.  Also, it seemed important to give this apology a special place. What started out as silly with That’s cute. became out of control with my Obsessive Observations.  It’s faded into the delight of what my crush became to me, even though he offered nothing more than smiles and someone to daydream about that wasn’t my ex. It was a series of firsts that I wrote about in Crushing and Laughter  and I was able to share my gratitude about some of them in Thank you. which was about many men in my life. It was nice to imagine someone else in writing Haunted and Your name.

What is most shameful is my blatant objectification of a man who probably has strong feelings and I so obviously wasn’t interested in them.  I wrote about his body, and in keeping what I saw when I looked in his eyes to myself, I completely made him a thing. What kind of human being does that? It might have been a partial attempt to keep certain things private and only mine, but in so doing, I’ve violated him in the way so many women are violated and objectified.  I used him for my lusty purposes and a part of my audience, with opinions I actually care about know I’m not all sugar and spice and hiding in a closet somewhere there might be leather and lace and we won’t discuss restraint, because clearly I have very little.  I’ve taken off my mask unintentionally and while I was received in love, it wasn’t planned and there was shock. Whether or not this is or one day will be publicly tied to me, I feel I owe him a sincere apology.  For nearly a year I was determined to be a wife, accepting all my husband dished out to me, and in a few sentences he changed my mind.  I met that with fear and reacted by objectifying him to avoid how deeply he affected me.  It was a cop out and I really am sorry that I was so afraid of the light he exposed into my darkness. This light grew into a confidence that helped me remove my wedding band and decide it was time to let go. People we both worked with have been given access to details about my lustful infatuation and I really feel bad if it’s caused him any embarrassment.  It is a responsibility that falls solidly on my shoulders and my apologies to him are weighted with a debt of gratitude.