I remember dates. It’s a gift, and a curse. It used to drive my ex-husband crazy. This, from a dude who forgot my birthday — twice — when we were still together. But me? I remember numbers for some reason, always have. I can rattle off his land line phone number from high school. I know the birthdays of people I haven’t had any contact with in years.
Recently, it was my best friend’s birthday. I’d never forget that, of course. But it also reminded me of the Other Woman (well, the original other woman was his teenaged lover before her, . . . but I digress . . .). Let’s call this Other Woman . . . Penelope Homewrecker, shall we? (I don’t really blame Penelope for wrecking my home, though. Though she certainly made choices I would not, my ex-husband did not have to honor her — requests?) Anyway, Penelope’s birthday is two days after my best friend’s. I know this because years ago, when I first discovered their affair, I did my fair share of research, as did my work colleagues at the time. I was working in a law office — enough said. Before long I had her full name, her address, her real estate records, current and prior addresses, etc. , and — her birthday.
I remember sharing the information with my best friend. She responded with one of those completely irrational comments only a true friend would say. She almost growled, “How dare she have a birthday near mine.” My friend was right, by the way:
How dare Penelope have a birthday close to my very best friend’s special day?
How dare Penelope have a birthday?
How dare Penelope even exist?
It reminds me of a scene from Sex And The City when Carrie realizes that her on and off boyfriend Big has chosen a woman named Natasha over her — and he is actually happy. Carrie tells her friends she’s ready to accept it. For a beat the women were silent, but then they gave, an irrational, nonsensical, yet incredibly supportive response.
Natasha. What a bullshit name.
I just love that — showing support in such an subtly obvious way, via a frivolous statement.
So thanks to my best friend for expressing outrage that my husband’s mistress dared to have birthday near hers.
How dare she? Indeed.
By the way, Penelope and my Ex didn’t last. (Long story, well not so long, but it’s a good one. I may blog about it at some point, maybe.)
Much later, after Penelope and the Ex broke up, my Ex announced he had a new serious girlfriend. I did the required Facebook check on her, and I noticed that Penelope and the Ex’s new girlfriend were Facebook friends. When I checked again a little later, the two women were no longer Facebook friends.
There was some kind of unfriending situation between Penelope and the new girlfriend.
Perhaps Penelope Homewrecker didn’t want to see posts by her replacement.
Heh heh heh
I wonder if later, Penelope, who had likely thought she’d become the coveted Mrs. Ex, was treated to posts about my Ex’s wedding and subsequent procreation? I’m guessing that Penelope and the new girlfriend must have had some mutual friends. Yes?
Heh heh heh
My investigation days are over. They’ve been over for a long time. Years. I never look at my Ex’s or his wife’s Facebook pages or his family’s pages. I really have no interest now. But those damn numbers stay in my head. As I said, it’s a gift, and a curse.
So, Happy Birthday Penelope Homewrecker! I literally can’t help but remember the date.
Of course, Evil Me wants to ask: What’s your Relationship Status now?
Though, Regular Me acknowledges that Penelope Homewrecker dodged a bullet and may indeed be the luckiest woman in the world.
For those who follow celebrity gossip, think of it like this: My Ex-Husband’s mistress pulled a Penelope Cruz. Let me explain. For a long time (by Hollywood standards) Tom Cruise and his wife Nicole Kidman were a golden couple.
It didn’t last. It was rumored that Tom left Nicole Kidman because of his affair with another actress, Penelope Cruz.
When Tom and Nicole divorced, Tom and Penelope went public with their relationship.
But then they broke up.
Penelope escaped becoming the wife of Tom Cruise, known to control and overshadow his wives. And at some point, Tom Cruise went a little crazy.
Crazy Tom Cruise went on to marry once perky, but later suffering Katie Holmes, while Penelope Cruz ran free! (Katie Holmes is now Ex Mrs. Tom Cruise, by the way, but they had a child together so she still has to deal with him. She’ll never be completely free.).
And Penelope Cruz? I picture her frolicking in a field somewhere.
Of course, in this scenario this would make me Tom’s jilted wife, Nicole Kidman, mother of the first kids. And I’m okay with that.
And I’d be okay with this, too:
Just Me With . . . numbers in my head. And a song in my heart, a country song, “Little Bit of Everything”
I admit, I’ve been a bit obsessed with footwear lately, and not in a good way.
I’ve researched Chinese foot binding, have had a running commentary in my head about women’s fashion and how across cultures and continents women’s fashion has served to decrease our mobility. I’ve been thinking that even despite recent “equality” and participation in sports we expect each other to be “bad-ass” with the constraints of clothing that limit or alter our movement. In the old days we weren’t supposed to do anything but now we’re supposed to do everything — in heels.
Raising children has got me thinking as well. I’ve seen them all take their first toddler steps, learn to run, to play, and to compete in sports, but I realize that soon, though my boy will continue in this path, my girls will likely do the same tasks as my son — while standing on their toes. When they are older and allowed to, they may choose to re-learn how to walk in heels that are getting ridiculously high. I acknowledge that men’s ties and jackets, especially in Summer, are uncomfortable, but they usually don’t cause actual pain like some women’s fashions can. And even if men are hot and bothered, they can still walk and stand — even in grass or sand. (Rhyme unintended.)
When writer, director, producer and actress Lena Dunham won her Golden Globe, she literally hobbled up to the stage, needing help like an elderly lady. This woman is taking Hollywood by storm, but on her big night, she was unsteady. Hugh Jackman, on the other hand, had the flu — but he could walk.
The thing is, Lena’s shoes didn’t even show, yet she chose to wear what, six-inch designer heels? See Fashionista.com. The fascination we have (and I’m not completely immune) with shoes is beyond the scope of this post, especially since, as I’ve said, I’m obsessed . . . but let me offer a true shoe story.
The night before the Golden Globes I attended a fundraising event. It was a dressy affair. As a volunteer organizer, I knew I’d be on my feet the whole evening. I also knew that parking was a problem and I’d likely have to walk blocks across a college campus to get to the affair’s location. So, I made a bold decision.
I did not wear dress shoes.
Instead, my shoes were clog like, the kind normally worn with jeans. Still honoring “cocktail attire” I wore dress black pants and a sequined top. Since, however, the pants were dressy they were longer than they needed to be (I’m assuming to compensate for the heels that women usually wear). My feet and my comfortable shoes were practically covered. And if my shoes did peek out, since they, too, were black they did not make a statement. No bows, no ribbons, no sequins, no sparkles, no spikes, no red bottoms, no color — no — nothing — on the shoes.
I deliberately chose not to call attention to my feet.
Are you thinking I went the old lady route? Are you gasping in horror? Are you laughing at my fashion faux-pas?
Well, I was no old lady. Au contraire, I was — sexy. I brought the attention north, you see. My top was the statement. It had spaghetti straps and silver sequined triangles draped over the breasts which accentuated “the girls” and my shoulders quite nicely. The blouse had a slightly see-through bodice with a sequined edge going all the way around the bottom hem. I’d just had my hair highlighted and wore it out with in waves of loose curls. I wore full makeup, including great lipstick/gloss and left my eye-glasses at home. Shiny earrings hung from the lobes but I left the neck naked — again to accentuate “the girls.”
A funny thing happened. I was complimented more than I had been in — in — I can’t even remember. Men and women told me I was “beautiful,” “elegant,” “lovely” . . . repeatedly. (Quite nice for my ego.) Drinks were flowing at this event and I received a few slightly inappropriate compliments and appraisals from married men. Since this was a fundraiser for high-schoolers they were there to perform and serve the adults. It bears mentioning that I even got a direct compliment from a 16-year-old girl along with looks of approval from her brethren — me, somebody’s mother! I told my son how his teacher, an attractive, recently divorced man who barely acknowledges me normally, stopped me to tell me (repeatedly) how beautiful I looked. After a moment of silence my son’s response was, “I’m sick of you.” Ha! — high praise for a mom in teen boy world.
All this, and it had nothing to do with the shoes.
Except that, because my feet did not hurt, I felt good. I danced and I didn’t have to take my shoes off to do so. And even though I was on my feet for six hours, I still felt good. You see, when you feel good, it’s easier to look good — sexy. I didn’t need the Barbie feet. I didn’t need the clack, clack, clack of the stilettos. (And yes, I own some.) But without them I could confidently cross the room without worrying about slipping, falling or hurting. I could even do stairs, all while being “elegant.” It was liberating, yet I still felt very, very feminine.
By all reports and stolen glances I must have looked damned good . . .
And it wasn’t the shoes. (Or was it?)
Just Me With . . . a true, shoe story.
For a fictional shoe story, see my Dressed for Success at The Indie Chicks.
For an earlier decision to call attention to the girls, see The Summer of Cleavage.
If Lena Dunham had worn sneakers under that long dress (and had it hemmed accordingly), we wouldn’t have been the wiser and she could have taken the stage under her own considerable, impressive power.
Oh well, enough about her shoes. It ain’t about the shoes all the time. Congratulations Lena Dunham, Best Actress in a Comedy Series! Much respect.
You know those posts, reviews, rants or raves about a topic the author knows nothing about?
Well, this is one of them.
Actually this is only inspired by something I know nothing about, “Fifty shades of Grey.”
I haven’t read it, all I know is what I happen to see written or said about it in passing. I know that it’s very popular it’s been critiqued for it’s literary value or lack thereof. Reportedly, it is very sexually explicit . . . and adventurous? Is that right?
Whatever. I haven’t read it only because it doesn’t interest me — not my cup or tea right now.
My problem, however, is that I’ve heard it described as “Mommy Porn.”
“Mommy” Porn? Seriously?
I take offense. People need to stop inserting the word Mommy in front of an otherwise serious, established or even, dare I say, “respected” genre in an attempt to diminish or qualify its meaning. In other words, don’t use the word “Mommy” if the topic has nothing to do with mothering!
Porn is Porn. I don’t know if Fifty Shades is actually Porn. But I know it’s not “Mommy Porn.”
What does “Mommy Porn” even mean? Does it mean that mothers are aroused, as opposed to women who don’t have children? (Because, guess what, not all women have children — shhhhh!!!!)
Whether or not Porn is enjoyed by “Mommies” as opposed to “Women” is a distinction without meaning. I’m no porn historian, but I think that I can confidently say that historically, mainstream porn was directed toward heterosexual men — largely pictures of naked ladies or depictions of male conquests. Then someone figured out that women might enjoy porn more or differently with some tweaking (heh heh heh). Hence, the birth of erotica or “Porn for Her” — Porn that is engineered specifically for the arousal of women or hetero or lesbian couples — i.e. for WOMEN! Does it matter whether the women have given birth? Uh, no.
I can live with identifying pornography created for a particular gender or sexual preference when it’s descriptive — i.e. gay porn which features gay sex meant to arouse gay people. Duh.
But what is Mommy Porn? Mommies having sex with each other with their babies in the next room?
I don’t think that’s what’s they mean.
Is Fifty Shades of Grey referred to as “Mommy Porn” because it’s sold in Target?
Because it has no pictures? By the way, I was in Target yesterday and paged through it. No naked men. hmmph
Do the people who use the phrase “Mommy Porn” believe that there is a genre of work that appeals only to the prurient interests of women who have given birth? Is a mother’s sexual appetite or fantasy different from a woman who has not had a child? Well, that’s just stupid. Hence my rant.
Yes, yes, I know, I’m being too literal. It just irks me.
If there was a true thing as “Mommy Porn” — something that turns only mothers on, wouldn’t it be something that gave, especially a mother of a newborn, maybe six hours of uninterrupted sleep? Now wouldn’t that be a turn on?
Or for the mother of older children — having a day where her children don’t ask for or expect a damn thing from her all while doing whatever she said without so much as an eye roll? hmmmm oooohh ahhhhhh
“And the child left the room silently, robotically picking up the toys strewn about the floor, and quietly closed the door behind him. Hearing the screen door downstairs slam shut she knew she was left alone, and was expected to do . . . nothing. The child knew, instinctively, that “Mommy” needed to be alone. She was left to lay in her bed, taking in the smell of the freshly laundered linen. Her eyes strayed to the clock. No, she had nothing to do, no reason to get out of bed, yet she wondered if her package would arrive today. Would the UPS man need a cold drink or a place to rest between deliveries? The last time he came had been unplanned, unexpected . . . unbelievable . . . ”
. . . but I digress . . .
What was I saying?
Oh yeah. I don’t know what the “Mommy Porn” people mean; I think they just mean that it’s sexually explicit material that “real” women — who they think would not enjoy “real” porn — read.
Once again, “I call bullsh*t.”
No one knows what’s on our computers, phones, or in our underwear drawers or our shoe boxes. We don’t have to go to Target for the real deal. And guess what, given how our minds work, we can concoct full fledged porn scenarios in our minds while grocery shopping — without assistance from a book, magazine, DVD or battery operated device.
So please don’t call Fifty Shades of Grey “Mommy Porn.” It’s an insult to Porn and Mommies. It’s a book about sex. And even acknowledging that it’s largely women who are eating these books up, so be it. If it turns women on, their reproductive history has nothing to do with it.
Don’t even get me started on Mommy Blogs or Mommy Wars.
Just stop it . . . Daddy.
Just Me With . . . a little attitude. Next I’ll discuss the timely and important topic of using bears to sell toilet paper.
There’s this new show on The Lifetime Channel, called “7 Days of Sex. ” I admit that I’ve never seen the show, but the commercials suggest that the show is about married couples making daily or nightly sex a priority in their relationship to “save the marriage. ” You know, bring back the romance. Or, as Justin Timberlake set out to do, they are bringing sexy back.
The whole thing reminds me of a conversation I had with a co-worker at the law firm where I once worked. The man was a very bright, affable, verbose fellow who was a gifted orator. I’ll call him Barney. I call him Barney because his manner of speaking reminds me of Barney in the television show “How I Met Your Mother,” which I recently discovered on Netflix and use to stave off my bouts with the blues. Unlike the TV Barney, however, Law Firm Barney wasn’t a womanizer. To the contrary, he was happily married. A devout Catholic, he was already on baby number four. He was hired laterally from another firm, was a bit older than us, and I think we believed he was wiser. He was the sweetheart of the senior male partners, and very good with clients. During that time we all “suited up” but Barney was impeccably dressed at all times.
Like the TV Barney on “How I Met Your Mother” Law Firm Barney would often espouse pearls of wisdom upon us younger and less experienced attorneys. His teachings were not always about the law.
One day, as we sat in the firm’s cafeteria, he explained to us that he would never cheat on his wife because,
“The fucking you get ain’t worth the fucking you get.”
Okay Barney. That one pretty much speaks for itself.
Another bit of knowledge he dropped on us went like this:
Barney: “You know what men really want? “
The rest of us: “Tell us, Barney.”
Barney: “Wait for it . . .” Well actually, he didn’t say that, but the tone was the same.
What he did say with the same type of authority was,
“All men really want is: Sex On Demand.”
He continued, “That’s it. That’s all. If a man has that, he’s happy. We’re very simple creatures.” (True story.)
Well, I gave this serious thought. I think I only had one child at the time. But since well before I had become a mother I worried how motherhood would affect my figure, career, marriage, finances, sex life and general mojo. I wanted children, but I didn’t want to be “the mom” and all that that apparently implies. (Think of commercial moms hawking toilet paper and the dreaded mom jeans.) Obviously I had developed my own Madonna/Whore issues. I blame magazines and talk shows and pamphlets in the doctor’s offices. In an effort to gain readers and possibly drop some knowledge they, in my humble opinion, perpetuate the Madonna/Whore syndrome — or hell, they almost teach it.
I had already made a vow to myself that my husband and I would not be one of those couples who forgo physical intimacy for long periods of time because we had become parents.
So the knowledge that Law Firm Barney had dropped on us in the cafeteria was intriguing to me. I had been playing the role of trying to make my brooding husband happy for years. At the very least I tried not to make him mad. If, I thought, I adopted Barney’s philosophy, I would have a happy husband. Could it be that easy? Would it be that hard? (No pun intended, that’s another story altogether.) See My Cheating Husband Was Packing Viagra.
And for me? Well, if I did this, this Sex On Demand thing, I would be more than a mother. I could be available in non-maternal ways. Willing. Always. (insert purring noises)
So I made another vow to myself, without telling my husband. I vowed to provide “Sex On Demand.”
And I did. I stuck to my vow for a long time. A hell of a lot longer than a mere seven days, those wusses. (I got a respite when my doctor said I couldn’t do it because of pregnancy complications and birth — I actually requested a note, but I digress . . .)
My husband and I were “intimate” right up to the day he left me. Actually, we were intimate on that day . . . but I shamefully digress . . .
Now I’m about to drop some knowledge on all of you. Contrary to popular belief,
“A man who strays does not necessarily do so because he’s not getting any at home. Au contraire. A man could be getting it plenty at home and still get it elsewhere.”
Just Me With . . . Sex on Demand — a stupid idea for questionable yet good intentioned reasons that went very, very wrong.
I’m not married anymore. I’m not in a relationship right now. So the 7 Days of Sex show is not relevant to me at this time in my life. I don’t think I’ll watch. But whenever I’m next in a committed, serious, physical relationship, I will treat my body as my own. That’s bringing sexy back.
I’ve known many different types of people in my life. But having been in a committed (ha!) relationship for most of my life, I was constrained from “knowing” in the biblical or romantic sense many different types of men. Still, in my now single state I think about men a lot and wonder what I missed, and whether I could still sow a few oats.
So, without further ado and in no particular order, here is my —
Bucket List of Men To Do:
1. Rich Guy — You know on those movies and sitcoms and women meet those guys who buy them a designer dress and fly them to Italy for dinner and crap. Yeah, that would be nice.
2. Too Young for Me Guy —
Let me first say this. I am not a pedophile. The boy-man must be legal and look like a man. That said, a boyish cutie pie would be nice. I just want a hint of immortality. I young man will never forget his first quality real grown-ass woman. Plus they have good music and not a lot to do.
3. Celebrity —
a. Actor— Preferably a screen actor so when a movie is rebroadcast on television or a TV show is put in syndication I can casually walk by the TV and say, smugly, “Yeah, I hit that.”
b. Musician– I am a musician. I would like to be able to hang out in a larger-than-life musician’s home studio and jam. I want to ride in the limo to concerts, and listen from backstage. I want him to play/sing, only for me a song that has made millions of other women swoon. And I want to play for him. And, Prince, if you are reading this, DM me.
4. Really smart guy — A scary smart guy. All he’ll have to do is talk to me or debate with others and I’ll be putty.
5. Country Guy— Okay, I cannot explain this. I’m black and not a southern woman. I don’t keep livestock or even go horseback riding. I don’t own a gun or a truck. I have a toy dog. But a good old boy would be fun for a minute. He must not call me ma’am, though.
6. A delivery guy. (I don’t know. I just don’t know.)
7. A man who does not speak English. I’m American. I only know a wee bit of French — wait, excuse me, un peu bit of French. I want to be required to communicate in other ways. I bet I could become bi- and tri-lingual given the right teacher. I’m a fast learner. Maybe it’s this WordPress Views by Country that has me on this.
8. Too Old For Me Rich Guy – At this point in life this is my only route if I want to be photographed as the pretty young thing on someone’s arm. I mean Dick Van Dyke (86) just married a 40-year-old. That’s all I have to say about that –except that I love Dick Van Dyke, so I ain’t mad at her, or him.
9. The Dangerous Guy — “Sir, he drove off the building.” I don’t have a death or prison wish, I just like the Bourne movies. I could live off the grid for a while, with my five kids, and my minivan . . .
Anyway, I reserve the right to edit the above list. I also reserve the right to tick some of them off as — done!!
Oh,I forgot the most important one of all —
10. Really Nice Guy (Perhaps one day I’ll be able to insert his picture here.)
Just Me With . . . things to do.
She is thin. I’m no expert, and I’ve never seen her in person, but to me she seems almost dangerously thin. But again, I’m not her doctor. I don’t know. She’s a gorgeous woman, by normal people standards and by Hollywood standards? — she’s still gorgeous, but she’s skinny. No doubt, she’s skinny, even by Hollywood standards.
However, let’s step back a minute and take a quick look of the Psyche of an American woman, a movie star mother, no less.
Angelina is in her thirties and has, what, a gazillion kids? Some adopted but some to which she has given birth. She is in a relationship with a movie star, a sex symbol. She herself is a movie star. She’s got to keep up appearances. Really, it’s part of her job. The camera doesn’t lie, except that it, I’m told, adds ten to fifteen pounds and magnifies every line and wrinkle.
Angelina is a mother and getting older every day in an industry that worships youth and chases perfection. Women naturally gain a few pounds over the years, a medical fact to which I have no citation. Also, pregnancy and childbirth can wreak havoc on the body. I’ve had children. This is something I know about. Some changes are publicly visible, some not. Some changes are temporary, some not. Yet despite these truisms, Hollywood stars are often paid to show the world that having children does not change a body at all. “Here, let me pose in a bikini after having twins.” (Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey). It becomes a race as to how fast a bare midriff can be publicized after childbirth.
But that’s Hollywood, folks. So given these biological strikes (age and childbirth) against women who strive to maintain their high school look, it’s no wonder that it can cause some kind of weight loss hysteria.
And speaking of high school, ladies, think back to your last high school reunion, your Ex’s new woman or your Ex-Best friend. I hate to say it but to many of us, the best revenge against a woman and the sweetest music to our ears is to hear that so and so has “gotten fat.” (Gasp) Or ladies, after your man dumps you for the younger, skinnier version of you, many silently think, “Just wait until she drops a couple of kids and gets fat.” Men do it too, whispering to their slim current girlfriend after seeing an Ex who has put on a few pounds, “Whoa, I dodged that bullet.”
What if you are that girl who stole somebody’s boyfriend or husband, or whose looks are often envied by other women– it may seem that the world wants to bring you down by seeing you “get fat.”
So, what can a woman do? We stay thin if we can, and get even thinner. That way, no matter what, nobody can say we “got fat.”
But does this apply to Angelina Jolie, a freaking beautiful movie star? I say hell yeah. I think she personifies what women go through daily and over the years. We are not supposed to change. We are never supposed to change, except maybe if we lose weight.
Even if you are Angelina Jolie with Brad Pitt on your arm, one might ask? Hell, yeah, I say, Hell yeah.
Angelina has it rough, I say. She’s beautiful — but because of her job, her public persona, she simply can’t “get fat” — and in her industry, “fat” means size 6, or 4. Plus, she’s the girl who got (stole?) Brad Pitt from the beloved ex-wife Jennifer Aniston. Now Angelina has all these kids, she can’t possibly get fat, then she’d no longer be the sexy siren, the other woman. She can’t possibly be the frumpy mom while slim, healthy, and free Jennifer Aniston is out there because in “Girl Wars” this would appear to be a loss. (And I know how ridiculous this may sound, but on some level I believe it happens, ridiculous or not). No, gaining weight is not an option for poor Angelina. She has to be thin. And, I guess, thinner. Unnaturally (for a mother and woman in her mid-thirties) thin. Still, my guess is that she’s naturally slim and smaller proportioned anyway, but society may generate extra pressure to go beyond that.
It’s sad, but sometimes, as a woman, it seems that regardless of our accomplishments, all we can do is “not get fat.” If we got the guy and the kids, remaining thin and/or becoming even thinner becomes the only guns in the arsenal of an adult woman. We can’t control our age, once married we can’t collect men, and once we become mothers so many other things get out of our control — but we can control our weight, or at least try to. And people make millions off of our desire to do so.
So if I could peak inside Angelina Jolie’s mind, I could hear her saying:
Yes I’m still the same size.
Yes, I have many children but I’m still thin. I’m still cool. I’m still sexy. I can still play a non-maternal female protagonist.
I ain’t mad at her. To quote Chris Rock, “I’m not gonna say it’s right, but I understand.” Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. (Insert country twang here.) I just hope Angelina is healthy, appearances aside. I also hope that girls and women don’t starve themselves to be as thin as Angelina Jolie. I also hope that, as a whole, we can learn to accept that keeping or gaining a few pounds over the years is not evidence of failure in life, or conversely, that being as thin as possible is not proof of success.
And I just want to tell Miss Jolie — woman to woman,
“Psst, if you become too thin, it will make you look older, Angelina, and it can cause osteoporosis. Just remember that and take your Vitamin C. Your acting, producing and directing chops will be wasted if you waste away to nothing. And if you become a hunch-back old lady before your time, the plum roles will pass you by anyway. Have some broccoli.”
Just Me With . . . my right leg and my two cents, though nobody asked.
Thanks to “Lipstick & Playdates” for –A Tribute To Shirley Partridge: The Coolest Single Mom Of All Time — for the great post. I started a comment, got a notification on my iPhone and couldn’t find it again. So I wrote a little post.
I completely agree, Shirley Partridge was the coolest single mom. But, had Shirley Partridge been a current day divorced single mom rather than a widow it would have been completely different.
There’s simply no way she could fit rehearsals and gigs in around the kids’ school work and visitations with Daddy. No way.
” You want us for a great gig next month? Oh sorry, no, the kids have to visit their father that day, any other dates? I can see if I can switch. Can I get back to you? No? “
Mr. Partridge would have the final say-so. If he won’t switch dates, no gig. Gotta work around “the schedule.”
And what about that cool bus? Painting that bus would surely have been used as evidence against Shirley, calling into question her sanity and her parenting ability.
I can see it now:
Lawyer: Mrs. Partridge, how do you and the children expect to travel to these, what do you call them?
Mrs. Partridge: Gigs.
Lawyer: Gigs? Ah, yes, gigs. And again, how do you suppose to arrive at the destination of these gigs.
Mrs. Partridge: By bus.
Mrs. Partridge: Yes.
Lawyer: How did it come to look like this?
Lawyer: The children painted an old bus. No further questions . . . except . . . Tell me, does Danny play football?
Mrs. Partridge: What? No. Have you seen Danny? No. He has no interest. Plus, the other kids would probably kill him or he’d convince them to kill each other.
Mrs. Partridge’s family time consists of children either spending countless hours in the garage playing rock music or riding for hours on a psychedelic bus going who knows where to be put on display . . .
And consider this young boy, Danny — instead of playing football or soccer as young boys should, he’s painting buses and playing bass in a “family” rock band. It seems that a lack of male influence is having an unfortunate effect on this boy.
Then there is a “Manager” — music business executive — a man — seen coming and going from the house at all hours, and spending time alone with the children, including a teenaged girl.
This is no kind of family life to model for these impressionable minds. Clearly, Mr. Partridge is within his rights to prohibit his children from performing in this “band” and disallow any changes in the visitation schedule to accomodate such a pursuit. Such rehearsals and performances should not interfere with the time the children are scheduled to spend with Mr. Partridge and his second wife and growing family.
Mr. Partridge is making a family. Mrs. Partridge is making a band.
No, no, no. Had Shirley been going through a divorce she would have been forced into the traditional suburban housewife role. Ironic, isn’t it? She’d probably have to take a low paying but steady, boring job, pay other people to give the children music lessons and present them, like clockwork and with a smile, to the court devised visits with their father. There would simply be no time for a band. Time can be divided upon divorce, but not created. And interests that may have been supported within a marriage, can become a battleground after. Yup, Mrs. Partridge would pretty much have to walk the straight and narrow and live by schedules forced upon her by somebody else’s system — somebody who has never even thought about playing in a band.
Yeah, I’m guessing divorced Shirley girl would always have open bottle of Xanax or Vodka nearby. That’s much more acceptable to most: misery and medication — over music.
Just Me With . . . no band, no bus, and a drum kit collecting dust in my basement.
Bitter in Suburbia.
I am not a Beyoncé/Destiny’s Child historian by any means. But there are some things about Beyoncé’s personal and professional life that I truly admire. Because of this, I tend to place her in a different category than other celebrity wedding and baby news.
Beyoncé has been performing since she was a teenager, until recently managed by her father. It was the family business. And it did quite well. A few years ago, she married a hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, a wildly successful musician, performer, producer and business man. A couple seemingly made for the tabloids, yet they married not in the Kardashian circus manner, but privately. The public was not given daily updates on gowns, expenditures, wedding or reception plans. She got married, is all. And though the couple collaborates from time to time, her celebrity is based on her work, not on her family or her husband’s name. And Jay – Z’s past or continued success does not rely on hers.
Once married, Beyoncé rarely spoke of her wedding, or the details of her marriage. Sometimes she’d appear with her husband, sometimes not. But make no mistake, they have been and are a power couple. He continued working, she continued working their sometimes separate, sometimes combined hit-making machine. Being a wife did not consume nor define her public persona. Though married, she was still Beyoncé. And there were no Kardashian announcements after the wedding, “Now I’m ready for babies.” There were often rumors of babies on the way for Beyoncé and Jay-Z, but not from Beyoncé herself. No, there was no announcement of babies, until there was a baby to announce. I like that.
Then it came, the announcement of a baby. After having been married for years, and on the eve of her 30th birthday, Beyoncé proudly revealed her pregnancy at a major awards show. Yeah, she got major press out of it and that can’t hurt, but because we hadn’t heard of all the baby making efforts and plans, it didn’t seem like the baby was a publicity stunt. I like that, too.
But what does this mean?
Why should it mean anything? It means the same thing it means for all of us, she’s pregnant and God-willing, she’ll have a healthy baby. Duh.
Oh there are the practical considerations. Beyoncé fans and commentators wonder whether she’ll take a year off from her yearly touring schedule. If she does, she deserves the break, if you’ve ever seen one of her concerts or concert DVD’s you know she is one of the hardest working stage performers out there. But if she does take a break, she’ll be okay. (Her fans might die, but she’ll be okay). She maintains at least partial songwriting credits on her hits, so she will continue to receive passive income from commercial use of her material. This means that whether it’s a high school marching band playing Survivor, background music in a television show or movie, or some American Idol hopeful covering Irreplaceable, she’ll get paid — forever. All this in addition to all of the products to which she’s lent her name and likeness, well . . . she’ll be okay. Go ahead and take some time off girl, if you want. In other words, her income is not solely based on the next hit record, her next big tour, or most importantly, the size of her waist. If she doesn’t take a break and launches a tour next year, she’ll have the means to have any type of support she wants, including the kind which will allow her to work and still be with her child. But either way, I doubt we’ll be inundated with daily reports of morning sickness, stories of childbirth, recounts of her weight gain and loss, or the dreaded reality TV show. Her Momma taught her better than that. (Get the Survivor reference? No? Yes?) Oh, and no offense, Tia and Tamera, a cute show, but kinda hard to take you all seriously as Independent Women after that.
Regardless of whether you are a fan of her music, the way Beyoncé has handled her personal life is something to admire — and to teach our daughters and sons. A wedding is for the bride, groom, family and friends to celebrate in a large or small way. But the wedding itself, even a huge wedding, does not have to be an accomplishment to be paraded in the news. Likewise, bringing a child into the world is an important, private, natural decision. Thank you, Beyoncé, for not announcing every fertility attempt and for not acquiring babies seemingly for use as accessories to keep your name in the news. And I know this is old-fashioned, but thank you Beyoncé, for getting married in the first place. If we want our daughters to expect a man “to put a ring on it” before they give him a child and expect his support, well, they should look to Beyoncé. Yeah, she’s half-naked most of the time, but she’s got the pipes to back it up and the business sense to carry her through, plus she’s got a husband to share in bringing a child into this scary world. Plus, she’s pulled off independent success despite being the wife of a mogul in the male dominated hip-hop world, and because of that I have every reason to believe she will pull off her continued success all while making her pregnancy and motherhood a natural course of life, not a sideshow act, not a publicity stunt, not a death knell to her career or to her public appeal.
Just Me With . . . hopes of getting invited to the baby shower, and I’m available to babysit . . . or play in your band or whatever you need Beyoncé . . . ha!
Having done the twin thing twice, I offer the following advice:
10. Don’t go anywhere with the babies, ever
9. Leave the kids in diapers until your family has been talking about you for at least 6 months
8. Remove all coffee, occasional tables or anything a toddler could climb on– or you could throw
7. Breastfeed — it keeps you from having to do anything else, and it’s like great diet where you can eat whatever you want
6. Forget the cute outfits for the babies, keep them in sleepers with feet or onesies — all the time
5. Forget the cute outfits for yourself, start shopping at Target, their stuff is washable
4. Learn to sleep sitting up
3. Know that for the first year, your children will be called, by you,
” This One and That One”
2. Ignore all unsolicited advice, except for the next one . . .
1. If you didn’t get your tubes tied, re-evaluate your birth control . . .
it could happen again . . . soon
Weddings. Ahh weddings. It’s that time of year. Starting off with a bang this year with the Royals William and Kate, but for regular folk some people will be getting invitations to sibling’s, cousin’s, aunt’s and uncle’s, best friend’s and acquaintance’s. Me? I haven’t attended a wedding since my marriage ended. And actually, I’m kind of in between life stages for weddings, anyway. My friends are either already married or simply not going to do that (or if they do, it’ll be somewhere in Vegas). For the most part, second marriages are not in full swing yet. The younger members of my family aren’t old enough or ready. Despite my marrying young, the rest of my family and close friends don’t generally do that. We’re slow that way. So, I’m probably off the hook this year.
Still, I’ve been invited to a few weddings over the years, but I politely decline.
At first I thought it would make me too sad to watch a marriage ceremony when mine didn’t take, but really I’m afraid I’d be one of those drunken hecklers you usually find at comedy clubs.
Officiator: “Do you promise to Love, Honor, and Cherish . . . .?”
Me: Yeah, they say that NOW . . . Everybody SAYS that . . .
Officiator: “Forsaking all others . . .”
Me: HA!!!! Until a juicy young piece of a** asks for a ride home after work . . . Forsaking all others . . . for a while . . .
Yeah, perhaps I am right to politely decline live attendance at weddings.
Still, I struggled with my last decline. A very good friend of mine, who had been my bridesmaid and I, hers, at her first wedding, was remarrying. She was and is deliriously happy. Her first husband turned out to be a complete schmuck. I’d known him from college too, actually longer than I’d known her. I did not expect his bad behavior. Neither did she. He cheated on her. Got some other woman pregnant — twice. First, abortion. Second, well she was six months pregnant when he finally had to come clean. He first complained of depression and suicidal thoughts (to soften her up, I think), then hit her with, oh and by the by, I have a girlfriend and she’s pregnant and having the baby (unlike the first pregnancy) — WHAAAAT?!!!!!!!!. Despite this, my friend tried to save her marriage, something I couldn’t fully comprehend at the time, but I understand now. She got him into counseling, on antidepressants, and did not kick him out. They tried to work out a plan for this child, who was coming, no matter what.
It didn’t work; he left their marital bed to go to this woman’s hospital bedside and watch their child’s birth, giving the baby the same name he and my friend had discussed if they ever had a child. Cruel. You see, the schmuck didn’t want children at all when he and my friend first married but then softened and consented to one, just one. Sadly, my friend could not get pregnant. So his impregnating another woman and giving that baby the name they had decided on . . . well that’s whip worthy.
I remember talking to her over the phone — while her husband was at the hospital shortly after the baby was born. It was unspeakable. That is a pain no one should have to endure. There’s a special place . . . for that man. After the baby was born, he never really came back home, except to change clothes. A couple of days later as she worked from home and thought he was at work — and he thought she was out — he came by and left a note, saying his place was with the baby and the baby’s mother. After 12 years of marriage, she got a break up note. (She found out later it was all preplanned as he had already applied for and was given “parental” leave from work. Ugh.)
My friend talked her way through this with her girlfriends; all we could do was listen. (A favor she returned to me later).
But, my friend met another man, by chance, at an event. He, too, was suffering from the effects of a cheating and also spiteful spouse. They clicked immediately. They fell in love. Some of us girlfriends (original bridesmaids) were worried that it was too soon, that it was a rebound situation, that this guy was also hurting too much – that it was like meeting someone in rehab — you have a lot in common, but is it really a basis for a positive new start? My friend explained, “You know, bad things happen all the time, suddenly — car wrecks, cancer, hurricanes, and we accept that and adjust. Why can’t we accept it when good things happen, suddenly, seemingly ill-timed?” Okay, she’s a genius. And she is a brilliant, talented, quite no-nonsense, kind of woman with a dry sense of humor. She’s not even religious, so it’s not a “God sent him to me” type of thing. They just found each other. After dating for a couple of years, last year, they married at the beach. You see, except for the horrible ordeal with the schmuck, good things tend to happen to this woman. She even sold her old house in this horrible market in a matter of weeks.
She’d found her true love. She won’t have children, and his are almost grown, but they have each other and have been happy, really happy.
I did not attend her wedding. It was a semi-destination wedding small affair and although she would have been thrilled if I’d come, she kind of expected I wouldn’t make it, and was really cool about it. I was in a bad way and couldn’t handle long drives, plus I wasn’t sure what I would do with my kids. Plus, it’s not really good for me to be around for these things. I might have cried — too much. I was in her first wedding, and she in mine and neither one ended well — I dunno – – was I being superstitious? It certainly wasn’t jealousy. I have never been happier for anyone getting married. She deserves happiness, just because she’s cool, let alone all the crap that schmuck put her through. I definitely would not have heckled her.
Sometimes, it’s okay to stay away. I have her back, though, and she mine. We both know that. I may attend William and Kate’s special day, though. And I’ll call/text/email my friend to see what she thinks of it . She loves royal weddings. After all it is thousands of miles away and on television and on delay (I’m not getting up at 4:00am) and I don’t actually know William and Kate. So I think it’s pretty safe for me to be in TV attendance.
I haven’t lost all capacity for romance, damn it.
Just Me With . . . a remote control and well wishes to all the brides . . . from afar.
I did go to a wedding, eventually. See “I Went To A Wedding Alone”