Monthly Archives: August 2015

my last first kiss

It’s just occurred to me that, if I’m really ready to meet my life mate and future husband, one of these fellows I meet and connect with could be my last first kiss. And when I think about it, that’s kind of an awe-inspiring realization… Would I be cool with knowing that, say for example, “Brad” (about whom I wrote in my last post) is the only man I’ll kiss for the rest of my life? I think yeah.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand just how fraught the whole concept of monogamy is. Just look at the Ashley Madison doxing scandal, with the fallen moralists, suicides and wounded spouses — it’s nothing if not a complicated issue. But I want that. I want to believe that it’s not just possible or some sort of life sentence, but that a healthy committed partnership can be fulfilling for decades — including sexually. I don’t imagine it’s easy, as I’ve never had a relationship that lasted more than a dozen years. I want it anyway. I want to believe in it anyway.

Furthermore, as much as I love the excitement and newness and exploration of a relationship in early bloom, you’ll recall I’ve written that I loved plain old perfunctory vanilla missionary married sex. I loved the efficiency as much as the intimacy, and it didn’t bother me if it was over in ten minutes, because I also love me some sleep!

That said, if there is a chance that one of the fellows I’ve already met is my last first…well, there’s only one with whom I’ve had epic make-out sessions. I mean practically high school-ish in nature…which, for me, meant lots and lots of kissing and touching with firm boundaries about where his hands or mouth were allowed. Arousal is a wonderful part of it, rather than an urgent imperative that must be immediately satisfied. It’s funny how lovely and freeing it is to have firm boundaries and, for perhaps the first time in my life, not let my libido get ahead of me.

In fact, last evening Brad took me on a picnic in a park near a creek, where we listened to the water rush over the rocks, serenaded by crickets and frogs. We sat on a blanket and snacked on veggies, crackers and cheese while sipping wine and talking. We kissed and it was as though time stood still. We’ve relaxed into these moments of discovery and, damn!, I’m having fun!

Pretty sure he is, too.


swiping left and right

I’ve been at this swiping thing for three or four weeks now, so let’s suss out a few more lessons / observations on seeking life-long love on Tinder…

First, here’s my approach — and don’t hesitate to tell me if you think I’m wrong on this one:  Swiping is my “first move.” In other words, if I’ve swiped right, that’s my move. I’m probably not going to send the first message, too. Why? Because I want the guy who likes what he sees and reads to reach out and make his move. And, yes, I’m definitely discerning the content of the message. A simple “hi” doesn’t score many points.

Here’s where things go from there:

  • Some guys just keep the conversation going on too long before making a move. I don’t want a pen pal; I just want enough back and forth to know we have common interests and the guy can carry on an intelligent conversation. Then ask me out already! Isn’t the entire idea to meet?
  • I’m cutting guys loose quickly. There are a couple I’ve simply un-matched on the app because I didn’t feel like conversing any longer. Some I’ve simply said, “I don’t feel our communication styles are meshing.” And one guy who was messaging and texting me, then somehow found me on Facebook and sent a friend request (denied! stalkerish!), and then got really sarcastic bordering on belligerent, so I’ve blocked him from contacting me on my phone as well.
  • I’ve seen one guy — I’ll call him Brad — three times. Wasn’t exactly excited about our first meeting…until we were laughing together at the end and he kissed me. A little forward, I’ll admit, but I like a bold man. And as skeptical as I’ve been about certain things, he has proven himself intelligent, capable, funny, and so much more. He doesn’t seem to have been broken by his divorce; he has a rich, full life. Like Mr. Meltsmyheart, he constantly surprises me in the depth and breadth of our conversations and his pursuits. And he has not yet said or done a single thing that raises a red flag for me, aside from physically having his foot firmly on the accelerator — and I can put the brakes on that. From the get go, he was in it to win it! We have the ever-elusive chemistry in spades. When I’m with him, I feel really ready for a relationship in a way that’s difficult to articulate and something I don’t recall feeling for a long time…”ease,” I guess. We can be quiet or we can talk. We’re still getting to know each other, sure, but it’s comfortable and there’s no friction. And then he was told he’d be out of a job at the end of the month — surprise! — and he’s not in hot pursuit mode anymore. I like him enough to be a little scared about what the timing of this means… And yet he has great perspective about it and invited me to go skydiving with him to celebrate a good three-year run at that gig. Good thing I’m dating other guys to keep from investing too much before its time and to keep my wits about me!
  • The other guy I’ve seen three times — call him Mark — is a good conversationalist with good taste. We have more than a little bit in common and I enjoy his company. And when he kissed me goodnight on our last date, I couldn’t help but wish he were Brad. Uh-oh. The chemistry is just not the same. And, in comparison (and I know comparisons are so not fair!), he does seem like his divorce broke him and he’s still picking up the pieces. I want a man fully realized — a homeowner with some semblance of his life in tact, not a guy still living in a shabby apartment. I don’t feel broken and, as I’ve said so many times, I’m only looking for an equal.
  • The guys I think I’m going to like are often not the ones I like the most and, based on text messages before or after first or second dates, the front runner is always changing. I wanted to like Chet, the successful sales guy with a home in an appealing suburb, more than I do. And I haven’t even met Adam, but his text messages make me think I’ll really like him.

In other words, I’m still feeling it all out…trying to be aware of how I’m feeling in the moment when I spend time with someone, take it all one day at a time, dig into the nominal drama I’m creating in my head and deal with it. So far, it’s mostly happy hunting.


call me tinderella

I’ve been on Tinder for a few weeks and have made several observations and absorbed a number of lessons in this short time.

First, and most importantly, perspective:  It’s amazing how quickly the pining and constant thoughts about Mr. Meltsmyheart have faded with the attention and prospect of attention from other men. And I’ve simply decided I’m not going to worry about it. If I enjoy myself with someone, I’ll see him again. So there are a couple of guys that I’ll see again, if they ask, and there are some others that I may meet. Simple.

Second — and this is a significant revelation — men find me attractive! I’ve written about some of what’s being going on in my life for the past several months, and it’s been stressful, and one of the hardest things that I didn’t even realize until recently was feeling completely, totally invisible. None of my friends set me up on dates, no one seemed to flirt with me, I’m not sure I caught a single second glance…for months! And now I’m finding that there are real, actual men out there who find me desirable. Whee-ha…bring it!

Third, men are every bit as bat-shit crazy and lie as often as women, and this is clearly evident in their profiles. And there are more of them who are “laid-back” and use “sarcastic” as a selling point than you would ever guess! One of the common themes I saw within Tinder’s tiny space for copy on each profile was a simple line suggesting “if you don’t look like your profile picture, you’re buying me drinks until you do.” So clearly some men are predisposed to think that women are not being honest, yet I’ve encountered a few who clearly are older than their profiles report.

Fourth, what’s with the pictures?! I’ve seen so many out-of-focus, bad angle and plainly unflattering images that I’m dumbstruck. Do you not get that this is a site where you’re basically selling yourself on looks? Best foot forward and all that! Here are some of the other ridiculous images I’ve seen:

  • Those whose first photo is of their children! (No, I do not share photos of my children on a dating site. Nor do I advise it.) Simply write that you have x children with general age information in your profile.
  • The obligatory midwestern fishing or hunting photos. I’ve said it before (in my best caveman voice):  “Me bringum home food!”
  • Who are all those women?! Why are you posing with women and then using those in your dating profile? Help me understand this…I am so curious to understand what sort of sense this makes!
  • Cartoon characters. What in heaven’s name does an image of Daffy Duck have to do with you or — more importantly — me being attracted to you?! Am I supposed to make some sort of sense of that?
  • Or photos of tigers — or art images of tigers! No context. Are you trying to tell me that’s your spirit animal? Or do you actually make those arty images? Because if there’s one thing I’m never going to proudly exclaim to my friends or family, it’s, “Look at what Jack does! Isn’t it brilliant?!” Cringe.
  • Omigod the number of motorcycles, snowmobiles, dirt bikes, boats… I like toys, too. They’re just not all in my photos.
  • Photos in gym mirrors. There is no subtle way of holding your mobile phone for a selfie in a fitness center mirror.
  • No photo at all. And no words. Really? Does that work for you?

At any rate, while I first found this swiping left or right on the basis of a photo or a few and what amounts to a short paragraph shallow, if anything, I’ve learned to consider the subtext of the photos. If your first one has a picture of you holding a shot glass, I probably swiped left. If you have broad, yang facial features, I probably swiped right. But still I find that I am remarkably inconsistent in this. And sometimes I just swipe wrong because fat fingers and app confusion…oh well.

Finally, there’s the feigned outrage…illustrated by this brief exchange I had with one fella:

Him:  Hi

Me:  Hi

Him, hours later:  That’s all you have to say?

Me:  Apparently it was at 2:09pm, while I was at work.

Him:  Good answer.

Him:  I’m a really great catch.

Him:  unmatches me.

So is it my job to lead and carry the conversation? Or is it reasonable to say “hi” back to someone who said “hi” to me? Am I missing something as basic as that? Apparently this particular man took offense that I didn’t gush about how excited I was that he’d deigned to say hello to me, and he was offended enough to storm off in a huff…which is okay by me, frankly, because I don’t do well with those whose anger is simmering right there beneath the surface, just waiting for an opportunity to claim “disrespect!”

I try to be a positive person, and I very much work at assuming positive intent. Certainly I hope others will approach me similarly, because I ain’t got time for a petulant man-child’s drama.

Weird.

Meanwhile, for now anyway, Imma keep on swiping!


mirror mirror

Any Harry Potter fans out there? My children and I love the series, the characters, the theme parks, the movies… you get the idea. So last night, to celebrate JK Rowling’s birthday, we watched the first movie together.

In it, Harry discovers a mirror in which he can see the parents who died when he was an infant. They are standing behind him, smiling, his mother with a hand on his shoulder. Like a phantom pain, you can see how he nearly feels it and how badly he wants to feel it. Eventually, the headmaster and great wizard Dumbledore approaches Harry to gently send him away with these words:

“It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts… this mirror will give us neither knowledge or truth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible.”

And this struck me deeply, as that’s exactly what I’ve been doing on and off for the past 27 months with Jeffrey, Mr. Meltsmyheart (though certainly more off than on, because I’m not that crazy!):  I allowed myself to be transfixed by a fantasy, perhaps not quite driven mad, but certainly showing occasional signs of cray-cray. And that’s simply not the norm for a healthy, well-adjusted me. (Not that I’m always healthy or well-adjusted, but I’d like to think I am spend more time than not within those guardrails.)

Perhaps this article on break-ups sheds some light on what’s going on with the brain and why this has been an off-again, on-again obsessive theme for me. And, as I believe I’ve mentioned before, there has been enough other unpleasant emotional stuff going on in my life that it’s no wonder I prefer the addictive feeling of longing and heartache to the raw and wrenching work of simply dealing with everything else.

To be fair, I have done both:

  • My will, trust and other legal documents have been updated. I’ve shored up my risk portfolio. And I’ve started talking to my family about my wishes in the unlikely event of my untimely demise.
  • This evening I will say goodbye to Tom, the friend I mentioned earlier, who finally succumbed to his battle with brain cancer. I managed to stop in and visit him every few weeks over the past several months, and it feels good to me to have provided him some company and friendship.
  • I have spent time in the sun and working out, doing my damnedest to turn the corner on a general malaise that has been hard to shake but that I cannot, in good conscience, quite call depression. And I finally feel I’ve largely shaken it.
  • Oprah and Deepak sent me an invitation I couldn’t refuse, and I’ve spent 21 days enjoying their guided meditations on gratitude using their free app. I love to do the Chopra Center 21-day meditation challenges when I can, and I found this one genuinely spoke to me.
  • I have taken action on the dating front, as well, and am now swiping left and right, often feeling disturbingly superficial about it all. There are many lessons to be learned from this activity, some of which I’m sure you’ll hear about soon. Why Tinder? A close friend met her fiancé with it, and sheer volume…another geeky friend encouraged me with, “so much of it is just a numbers game” — meaning, meet a lot of people and you’re bound to find one who’s a match eventually. (Of course he is also fond of bringing up a phrase from the used car industry:  “There’s a butt for every seat.” I am genuinely repulsed by this analogy.)

My Mirror of Erised (“desire” in reverse, for those of who hadn’t figured that out) is safely stored away and all those fantasies…well, the top of that head of dark hair I’ve so often imagined between my thighs could be anybody, right!?