so, I finally got some…

It’s rather pathetic, don’t you think, that I feel the need to announce publicly each and every time I get a little action?

The lobbyist was in town, we exchanged some texts and, after scrambling for a babysitter, found time to meet for a cocktail. And when someone invites you to meet in the lobby bar of his hotel and you agree, it’s pretty much understood what’s on the agenda.

So, it was all good (not great). I was struck by noticing that it’s simple human touch that I miss the most. I just loved being kissed and caressed. But, truth be told, we’ve always had this insanely hot undercurrent of chemistry…the kind which might lead a girl to believe that a man so straight-laced and mild-mannered might be an absolute animal in the bedroom. I mean, I kind of hoped he might have really wild and kinky proclivities underneath it all. Guess what? He didn’t. He was just a straight-laced, mild-mannered guy — exactly what you see when he wears a suit.

And it was still lovely to be touched, kissed and appreciated, and to lie in a man’s arms.

on drunk dialing / texting

Last weekend…

I’m home from a Memorial weekend barbecue and I’ve had two whole drinks which, when one imbibes as much as I do (rarely or not at all), can render me word-slurring inebriated. And of course my natural instinct is to dial up or text Chi-guy or more-like-it or some other obscure item from my past. So I thought I’d see if I can write instead and make a go of musing about what sort of foolish crap might come out of my mouth if I actual did dial someone up.

First of all, if I did dial Chi-guy, would he be amused or annoyed with me? He no longer drinks at all, remember. He is charming and sweet and long-suffering, as far as I can tell. And, the last time we were together, he suggested I order an after-dinner drink…which were listed under “Happy Endings” on the menu. I thought briefly about suggesting that he might give me one instead which, frankly, might have opened that whole discussion a little less awkwardly. In any case, Chi-guy treats me with a certain combination of “you’re so sweet!” and “you’re a total slut!” and condescension. I know that sounds bad, but it’s actually a great balance of hysterically funny and positively charming, without being syrupy sweet. Sure, I’d watch the tone very closely if ever I were to spend time with him, but the jabs that could be mean are so well timed and outright hilarious that it’s difficult to imagine that he could ever mean harm. That said, a couple years into a relationship, one views things entirely differently…

If I texted more-like-it, would he respond? I haven’t told you that we communicate regularly, weirdly. What is that, anyway? What is that “I know you’re looking for something special, so I’m out. Hey how’s your week going?” WTF? A man who wants to be friends, really? So why are we always talking about sex? Especially when his online dating profile clearly stated he didn’t want to be friends with benefits? Yeah, I’m a little confused about that one.

But all that’s cool. Here’s why:  because I’m not chasing men. If a guy is interested, he’s going to be absolutely certain I know. Hell, even the guy in the adjacent cubicle at work has made clear he finds me attractive, even without saying anything out of line. If anything, it’s me who’s exhibited the appallingly bad behavior. I am simply not cut out for corporate HR departments…how the hell would I deal with me in a similar situation?!

So thank you for listening to my mojito-induced blather…and for keeping me out of trouble! Good night.

do men notice or appreciate toe cleavage?

It was only a few months ago that I first heard of toe cleavage…and I thought, “is that really a thing?”

So when some girlfriends recently commented on a cute pair of shoes that highlighted my toe cleavage, I thought about it again: Do men really notice this sort of thing? And, if they do, do they find it sexy?

So my curiosity led me to take an informal poll among the few men who are regularly a part of my ongoing male-female relationship dynamic conversation. Here are their responses:

  • The lobbyist:  “No and definitely not.” Further inquiry / pushing the issue led to “Yuk!”
  • Chi-guy:  “No and no. I like that you are secure enough to talk about your totally weird foot fetish.” Followed by, “Actual cleavage is often noticed… Anyway, I notice kindness.” And later, “I’ll suck your toes while you whisper kind things…”
  • more-like-it:  “I enjoy nice feet… Love to massage them…” followed by a very graphic description of a sexual position / activity to which I could only reply, “You’re naughty!”
  • By far the best response came from the guy in the cubicle next to me who I clearly should not have even asked (Hello HR!), but did:  He nodded thoughtfully and said ever so diplomatically, “Mm-hmm. Different guys notice different aspects of a woman’s appearance to different degrees. Some guys are going to be in to feet, some are more in to other things.”

For the record, I don’t have a foot fetish myself. I’m just not grossed out by feet (as long as a certain level of hygiene is employed), and I appreciate having my own feet enjoyed. I take care to keep them looking nice, and I like having them rubbed, and I think it’s lovely when a man isn’t afraid to pay a little attention to the lowly feet and toes as a part of physical intimacy.

So, there you have it. There are men who are completely foot-phobic. And, while it’s a little, simple thing, this whole discussion clearly illustrates that the kind of guy who is grossed out by feet is not the guy for me.

have I mentioned what my mother thinks?

My mother has just popped in for a visit… I’m not sure whether I’ve explicitly mentioned this or not:  my mother thinks Chi-guy rocks. Why?

Because I told her what happened in Chicago last Labor Day Weekend. I told her that I’d been flirting with a guy I’ve long known, that I was pretty sure we were going to sleep together and that, although I’d made my interest known, he patted me on the knee, told me he liked me and bid me goodnight…potentially the single most humiliating experience of my life.

Her response: “So you finally met a decent man!”

To which I might ask, “what kind of mother-f$#%ing c@#%-sucker would let a girl believe he was good to go and then turn her down?”

Even having seen a photo of “The Hammer” (yes, I’ve actually showed my mother), she thinks he must be pretty great. (Of course, anyone who’s seen the hammer thinks he’s pretty great!)

But let’s take a step back and analyze this train of thought:  it would appear that my mother, who has never once met or spoken with Chi-guy, thinks he is fabulous based only on his refusal to sleep with me. Because of some weird “he liked me” whatever thing that was going on with him. Which struck me as very high school at the time.

So let’s consider the fact that most of the men in the world have not slept with me. And this fact is not due entirely to refusals, but also my own good sense. In fact, while Chi-guy might tease me about being easy, this is not entirely the case. True, I’ve been probably too honest with him about my post-divorce escapades… yet I am, in fact, very selective.

There are an awful lot of men I haven’t slept with. To be sure, I haven’t slept with most men. I haven’t even slept with most single men within in a given desirable age range and aesthetic within a five-mile radius. Does this make them all fabulous potential mates? According to my mother’s reasoning, one might think so…or perhaps it might only if they turned me down.

Chi-guy laughs at all this talk. He has suggested that I should certainly consider allowing someone else to make choices for me, given the poor judgment I’ve exhibited in the past. (But good Lord, so has my mother! And, let us remember, Chi-guy’s marriage also ended in divorce.) Were I to delve into the topic of arranged marriage, it could take several posts. So, for now, let’s just say that I will happily accept the consequences of my own choices…I think.

is he “the one”?

I’ve written a few times about looking for “the one,” that special person with whom I hope to spend the rest of my life.

But I want to be absolutely clear about something:  I don’t think there is just one possible mate for me. I’m not looking for some ridiculous, incredible ideal; I’m looking for something real.

Sometimes dating, especially online dating, feels like searching for that sort of needle in a haystack. Yet I don’t intend to search the world over, holding out, looking over the shoulder of whoever I’m with, thinking someone more perfect or better for me is just around the corner. And I won’t just settle for the next bloke to give me a modicum of attention, either.

Rather, I think there are any number of men out there who might make an excellent companion and co-conspirator. I don’t need them all. I will happily commit to just one.

And even though my list has gotten more specific, I really see my guy being at any point along a spectrum of awesome qualities. He could be kind of bookish, or maybe he’s into architecture (Brad Pitt style), or he might collect those little vinyl figures — he’s probably got a geek streak a mile wide! I’m attracted to dark-haired guys…and I think bald guys are hot, too. Oddly enough, most of the men I’ve dated in my life have been percussionists, even if only in high school band…

Most of all, “the one” is the guy who is happy because I’m happy. He supports me in choices that serve my highest self, and he loves to see and make me happy. He loves my receptivity, strength and appreciation.

It’s sort of odd that I’m writing about this now, just as I’ve put my dating life on hold (in favor of a whole slew of personal projects I’ve elected to take on — in addition to my full-time job, single parenting and a yard that needs attention). In essence, rather than attempting to date all the wrong guys I’ve been meeting online, I’m going to date myself and devote some time to me. But I suspect he’ll show up when I’m not looking anyway, and I’ll know him when I’m confident in how I feel.

what changes once it’s final?

Today…

As usual, I checked in with Facebook in the morning before I left for work. Status updates from Chi-guy tend to be few and far between, so I noted with interest his comment about the cold, rainy day being an appropriate backdrop for the kind of day he had planned. I wondered if this was it…

Divorce is something I’ll never really find a way to rejoice. Even if it’s absolutely the right thing and the best thing for all parties, there is no way for me to view it wholly as a win-win. It’s a moody or melancholy occasion at best. And so I made a mental note to call and check in this evening. (Again, “super friend” mode…)

As it happened, we texted back and forth a few times throughout the day, and he confided his newly (legally) single status to me late in the afternoon. Does this change anything? Not really. We still live in different cities, find each other attractive and flirt. But nothing’s really different, right?

He acknowledged that it’s been an emotional day. He was comforted by having his daughter with him for the evening and overnight. And he generally seemed in good spirits having had, as he pointed out, “some time to get used to the idea.”

So maybe it’s his candor and openness, or his sense of humor — we seem to laugh a great deal together — but those are things we’ve shared for months. It seems they’ve always been there. Perhaps it’s that he’s genuinely available now in a way that he wasn’t before.

Whatever the case, I’m telling you one thing for certain:  this man has never been so sexy!

spring status update

I think I thought I knew what I was looking for. I think I thought I was ready to meet someone special. But the more I put myself out there, the more I realize how cautious and self-protective I am, and it seems that all this dating business is a lot of work.

I mean, there have been some guys with whom it doesn’t seem like work at all — in fact, those are the ones I’ve mostly written about here. Chi-guy and more-like-it come to mind. I think I could talk to either for an eternity without getting bored or having to manufacture the next topic of conversation. And yet neither really put the moves on, either…and a guy’s got to express a little bit of romantic interest for this to work.

Other guys I’ve met have been much more eager to touch me, kiss me, do the more “dating-like” things with me, but they haven’t been as easy conversationalists. And, when one is considering the importance of long-term companionship, the ease with which conversation flows matters.

Still other men have proven to be incredible flakes. One instant messaged me to ask if we could meet that very evening, and then removed his profile completely only moments later. In fact, a few have removed profiles in the midst of a dialogue, which I find somewhat strange. (Though I may be about to do that very thing myself…)

The healthiest and most satisfying relationships I’ve had have begun as friendships. But I’ve seen a great deal of dating advice that cautions against hoping that a friendship will ever lead to more. Furthermore, it seems a little off to put oneself out there on a dating site and then suggest that one is interested in developing new friendships. That sounds a little too disingenuous — like friends with benefits. Which is not what I’m looking for. (Though I could go for a little sporting action while keeping a watchful eye for Mr. Right.)

When I step back and look at the bigger picture, it feels very funny to me to acknowledge that my most significant post-marriage relationships have been with Max and then Chi-guy. I actually talked about Max with Chi-guy, who asked me “So what exactly happened between you and Max?” “Nothing,” I answered, “we developed a beautiful flirtatious friendship that helped me find myself again.”

And there are those who ask what happened with Chi-guy. The same answer is true…nothing happened. We’ve developed a beautiful flirtatious friendship…

But a girl can always hope!

dating with children

Let me begin by describing my children:  they are healthy — free of allergies, asthma and chronic conditions. (Knock on wood…we should all be so blessed.) They are energetic and love to run and play. Each has a mellow and sweet disposition and both are well-liked. Also, they are beautiful. Sure, I have parenting challenges like anyone else, but I am blessed beyond measure to have these bright, loving and cooperative children to nurture.

I try to be a halfway decent mother (despite, at one time, having had the inclination to write a series of parenting manuals called “The Bad Parents’ Guide to…” Shoulda.). Therefore, it was pretty important to me to try to take the high road (as much as I could) during the dismantling of my marriage.

Part of this, in my mind, meant limiting my children’s exposure to my interpersonal relationships with other men. I didn’t want them to see me going from one relationship right into another. However, from the moment my ex moved out, this proved a difficult task:  Male friends seemed to come out of the woodwork in my first days, weeks and months of becoming single, stopping by to see if I needed something done around the house. One fixed the radiator on my car and another thanked me for a project I’d voluntarily done for him (well over a decade ago) with an envelope of cash. Others took us on outings to amusement parks or to the movies.

Children are keen to pick up energy, and mine sensed no hanky-panky as these were strictly platonic relationships. No harm was done — and, unfortunately, this volunteerism quickly tapered off.

As I’ve begun to date, however, I must be more vigilant about what I say and do around my children. They are my nearly constant companions and, at times, my confidantes. I try to maintain appropriate parent/adult-child boundaries yet, I have to confess, this can be difficult. My children are exposed to some prime time television, so they are not oblivious to the notion of crushes or liking others of the opposite sex or adults wanting to kiss. So they have witnessed a small handful of my (telephone) interactions with Chi-guy, for example. They were in the car when I called to wish him a happy birthday, and also when I asked him to take me on a date. They probably catch glimpses of my online dating site, but I doubt they understand what it is.

I feel blessed to be able to have open conversations with my children about having a boy for a friend but also having a crush on him. We speak in terms they can understand, and they have an opportunity to voice the requisite, “I wish you still liked Daddy.” Me too. That would have been much easier on all of us.

So what do my children know of my dating life? They know I have a friend in Chicago who I have a crush on. They know I want to meet men and find a life partner. They know I want to be married and live as a family together with a man other than their father, and that might mean with other children, too. And they ask questions about these things: “What will he be like?” He’ll be kind and loving. “Do you think Daddy might have a friend you’d like?” Um, I don’t think that would be a very good idea. “Will he like children?” He’s going to have to. And then I remind them about staying with Max and his family and how his step children snuggle right up to him.

The day I met more-like-it, my children got off the bus and my son asked how my day was. I told my children that it had been a great day — in fact, I’d met a really cool guy that morning for coffee. (I did not mention that it was a date.) My son asked, “Mommy, do you think you might have made a new friend?” I hope so, I told him.

I think I’ve managed all this pretty well so far. I have yet to date anyone seriously, so no love interests have been brought into my children’s lives. And I intend to err on the side of caution, dating on the weekends that the children are with their father. I plan to wait until a relationship is heading toward commitment before introducing any man into their lives. These are bridges I’ll cross when the time comes.

Meanwhile, my biggest fumble so far is leaving my sanitized vibrator on the counter top to dry and realizing it was still sitting there when my daughter dumped her water bottle in the sink after school. Oops! Not sure we’re ready for that conversation yet…

talking about blogging about Chi-guy

About a month ago…

I’d been blogging about Chi-guy, and then letting him know about it. It seemed like the stand-up, professional courtesy thing to do. So I’d tell him I’d published an entry, and then we’d have a little exchange about it, either over text, email or the phone.

When I asked him how he’d remembered our coffee, he said his recollection was very similar. But then he clarified that, when he told me of his divorce, I hadn’t hid my excitement as well as I might have hoped. In fact, he said I was “giddy about it, actually.” I felt mortified to hear this and told him so; he comforted me with, “Anything less would have been insulting.”

At one point, he suggested the part about our evening together could use a re-write.

“And how would you like it to end?” I asked.

“Less like ‘Casablanca,’ more like porn,” he typed back.

“Why don’t you write your version for me,” I suggested.

“In it, I give it to you slow, make you beg for more,” he wrote. (Thus, part 7.)

Before, he wouldn’t go to bed with me because he “liked” me. In our more recent conversations, he’s become more suggestive. So all this has me wondering:  did Chi-guy have a change of heart? Does he wish he’d taken the opportunity while he had the chance? Does he simply feel safe being more sexually flirtatious in his emails because I have no travel plans to Chicago? Has he (much like the women I know) ruled me out as a potential mate?

Sure enough, he called a couple of weeks later to let me know how much he was enjoying reading about us and my perspective on our history. It was then that I guessed, and he confessed, that the real reason he didn’t come back up to my room with me is because he knew I wanted him to stay the night — and he wasn’t ready for that. When I told him how dumb he’d been, he agreed. He confessed he might have acted differently today.

In writing about what happened between us, I’ve re-processed all the feelings I had. When I merely think back, it seems my feelings were involved all along. Reading my journal and blogging, however, has given me greater perspective on when and how my emotions began to engage.

It’s weird, all this banter back and forth with someone for whom I’ve had feelings, writing about our history, talking about recollections, flirting in the present. I’m fine knowing that he’s reading it; it’s when he calls and wants to talk about it that I feel so tremendously exposed and vulnerable.

NEWS FLASH:  Chi-guy just called again, this time to let me know that he’s working on a 12-week contract for a client that’s right here in my hometown. Just the thought of his potential business travel has me smiling!

that’s more like it…or not

I wrote a several days ago about more-like-it, who I met at a coffee shop a few weeks ago. I’d met him online, then in person, we’d talked on the phone, and I was enjoying getting to know him and his flirtatious personality.

When we first communicated, the conversation and flirtation flowed naturally. He was articulate and we seemed to be of a similar mind. He said all the right things. When we first met, I learned he had studied Japanese in university. I had lived in Japan. I was looking for someone who had bandwidth, presence and was concerned with health. He talked about balance, engaged parenting and cooking with organic ingredients.

I confess that physical beauty matters to me (I am a Libra, after all), and I’d give more-like-it a solid eight on a scale from one to ten. In the world of our online dating site, however, he’s a 26 (yes, out of ten) — far and away the best match for my physical type that I’d met (not only because of general attractiveness, but also because he could easily be assumed to have sired my offspring).

Finally, previous to meeting more-like-it, my most recent emotional attachment had been to Chi-guy. I wondered where all the guys like him — articulate, attractive, creative, intelligent and so much more — were in this city. Sure enough, more-like-it shares both age and astrological sign with Chi-guy. (Both are Virgo goats; neither an auspicious match for me.)

At the risk of being redundant, so much of what I’d put out there on my list, what I want — both written and unwritten — and more was reflected back at me. Though I doubt I’m explaining it very well, what I experienced was like some bizarre universe communion, a cosmic call and answer. I felt validated. And kinda powerful.

More-like-it was emotionally expressive and warm, yet I sensed there was something holding him back. His pain was palpable — too fresh for his divorce timeline. Following our last lunch, during which I asked him what he wanted (he said he wasn’t sure he knew), he spent some time reflecting and realized he wasn’t ready to date. So he dropped out.

I can’t deny feeling a little disappointed. I could feel a definite intellectual connection and was beginning to sense a physical connection, but we hadn’t built that emotional bridge yet. This was a pretty rockin’ guy, with a lot of positives going for him. The thought that I might get to know him better had given me something to look forward to.

More-like-it had solid, compelling reasons for taking a couple of steps back and away from dating. And I took a pause myself — I cancelled a date or two and left some messages unanswered for a few days to re-evaluate my own readiness. (Suddenly my profile seems to be on fire!)

He told me that I deserve to meet someone amazing and spend time with people who are “all in.” Yet some of his reasons for backing off are the very reasons I’m staying in. I’m looking at things differently these days:

  • I’m meeting people because I enjoy meeting people (even when I don’t really feel like meeting people).
  • I’m flirting to practice flirting.
  • I’m dating to develop confidence in relating to men romantically again.
  • I’m taking what I can from each interaction, trying to give and receive something positive each time, continuing to develop a clearer picture of what makes me feel good and what a life-affirming relationship looks like for me.
  • I’m not “all in” myself. And I may not be until I fall in love. “All in” suggests commitment to me, and the only commitments I have right now are to myself, my children and to putting myself out there.
  • Even if I’m only 85% ready to date, dating casually is what’s going to get me ready. Learning to take the small disappointments in stride is the fuel I’ll use to both toughen up and open my heart.
  • Who can say they’re ready for a serious relationship? You’re only ready if you find someone who inspires you to open your heart, take risks and be fearless. And that happens over time.
  • Although I ultimately want marriage, I don’t expect the guys I date to know what they want right away — and I especially don’t  anticipate they’re going to know whether they feel something special for me for a long time. They may use dating to develop clarity, too.
  • I feel vulnerable putting myself back out there, but facing my fear and challenging my beliefs is exactly what I need to move forward right now.

Yes, the human heart is fragile and it’s unfair to mislead anyone. But if we’re authentic — even if that means admitting uncertainty — it’s not misleading to discover, learn and grow in relation to others. In fact, most of us are doing these very things every day. And I have learned something from every single date I’ve been on.

So, while I’m a little bummed that I won’t be spending time getting to know more-like-it better, I’m going to add some of his amazing qualities to my list. I’m going to use having met him as evidence that great guys are out there, in this very city! And I’m going to ask the Universe to give me more of that cosmic “call and answer” dance — it will make putting myself out there all the easier.