I was driving down a street near where I live. It was a block of row houses with very small front yards and a sidewalk in front of the homes. It’s a very walkable area, not just for residents from the block but for dog owners and people going to nearby restaurants. One of the block’s homeowners was replacing the sidewalk pavement. I could clearly see this as I drove by because every piece of porch and outdoor furniture available seemed to be propped around the drying cement. The owner clearly wanted to keep people off of it. Completely understandable.
Having gone to great expense to replace the sidewalk, he/she didn’t want some random person to come along and write his name in the cement. Because if someone did that, then the owner would be stuck with it. Clearly, the homeowner wanted a fresh start.
It got me to thinking, am I guarding my heart like the homeowner guarded his/her new cement sidewalk? And I trying to keep someone from coming and leaving their mark before it’s had a chance to harden?
Well, if I am, that’s okay. Everybody deserves a fresh new start. I don’t want someone else to mold me, write on me, make permanent markings on my facade. I’m still in the midst of fixing what had crumbled. I’m working on it.
In truth, I’m not really keeping people out, I’m preparing to let someone in. If I’m permitted the luxury of guarding my brand new concrete heart until it heals and hardens, then it will be open to someone coming by for a visit. It’ll be smooth and pretty and, yes — inviting. Moreover, it’ll be safe for visitors, who can come to my home without tripping and falling on the rubble of what happened before (and then suing me for their pain and suffering).
So yeah, like the homeowner, I’ll go to great lengths to protect my concrete heart, until I’m/it’s ready .
So keep off.
Actually, in the biz they call it “curing” —- concrete doesn’t harden, it “cures.” I like the sound of that. When my concrete heart has/is completely cured, I’ll move the blockade and invite someone to my porch for lemonade. The pathway to me will look good, it’ll be safe, and . . . I will have complied with Township Ordinances . . . but I digress.
Just Me With . . . my curing concrete heart.
Post script: I went back later to try to snap a picture, but the barriers had been removed and I’m not even sure which house it was.
I’ve previously written that I Have An Admirer. Today I was experiencing some distress because of texts from my Ex, was feeling rather blue and overwhelmed, as is often the case. After my weekly therapy appointment I checked my phone and found the following text from the man I call “Rocky.”
Bright . . . like the morning sun.
Sweet as sweet can be.
Strong like a raging wind.
Yet tender as can be.
Hard like ice . . . wet like water.
Talent to the . . . extreme.
Mind so strong and yet so wise you solve problems at night in your dreams.
I’m proud to know you Roxanne.
I feel better now. Thanks, Rock.
Just Me With . . . a new text, and a smile.
This was years and years ago. I was a college student. My parents had “sent me away” to live with my older sister for the Summer, I think to keep me away from my boyfriend. They didn’t send me far away or for long enough. They should have put me in a time machine and sent me to the future, just to get a glimpse as to how things might turn out if I stayed with that boyfriend. Now he’s my ex-husband, but I digress.
I was lured to my sister’s city with the promise of getting a Summer camp counseling job with my brother-in-law, who headed a Summer program for inner-city youth. Once I arrived, however, it became clear that there was no such job. So, stuck in a city where I knew no one but my sister, who was married and ten years older than me, and while I was still stuck in a relationship where I was not “allowed” to drink or even go out, really, I decided to take whatever job I could get just to pass the time.
The job I got was at a downtown fast food restaurant, Burger King. The kind folks at Burger King issued me a hideous brown? orange? yellow? UGLY polyester uniform with a matching hat. The manager placed me “up front” as a cashier, taking orders. The people who were already working “in the back” making burgers were not thrilled about this, suggesting (well, actually saying) that I thought I was better than they were because I was from the north and a college girl. We were in the deep south, you see. Whatever. I went where I was told.
It was busy downtown eatery, during the lunch rush there were often lines at the register and a wait for food. And there I was, standing behind the register, with my fitted polyester uniform (I vaguely remember getting it a size too small so I could at least show my figure) along with my matching hat, with one hand on the microphone and the other on the counter waiting for the next customer.
A young man who had been patiently waiting his turn sauntered up to the counter, looked me up and down with bedroom eyes, expertly executed the mack daddy chin rub before he leaned on the counter, gave me the “up” nod and asked, simply,
“So . . . do you work here?”
I lost it. That cracked me the hell up! It was the best laugh I’d had in a long time. I almost gave him my number right then and there, boyfriend be damned.
Looking back now, I wish I had.
Just Me With . . . the best pick up line . . . ever.
What’s your favorite pick up line?
Bad pick up attempts: The Landscaper Guy
It’s sad but true, women will put up with a lot of crap. But it seems like one thing is very universally unacceptable — when an adult man lives with his mother.
Remember in Sex and The City when Carrie discovered that her latest guy shared a beautiful apartment with his parents?
Samantha: He lives with his parents?
Carrie: It’s their apartment.
Samantha: So not sexy honey. Dump him immediately. Here — use my cell phone.
Season Three, Episode 15.
Carrie didn’t dump him immediately, because she liked him, his parents were friendly and brought them food and he was a struggling business owner.
Once she realized, however, that Power Lad was still a child in the household, governed by his parents’ rules, and that he was not saving money but actually spending it on really good pot, well it eventually ended.
I haven’t had one of these, but this guy is just out of school, has his first real job or is looking for one. He’s recently discovered, “Dude, they want first and last month’s rent and security before I move in? That’s a lot of money.” Yeah dude, better get a bank account.
Acceptable: If he is saving for his own place.
Unacceptable : If his Mom still does all his laundry, cooks all his meals, he drives her car and he routinely buys rounds for everybody at the local bar.
2. Break Up Guy
So the marriage/relationship didn’t work and he moved out of the home, leaving the kids (if any) with their mother. Suddenly he’s homeless. You can’t sleep on somebody’s couch forever and his married buddies are not taking him in long-term . . . so . . . he moves in with his mom.
Acceptable: If he is providing financial support to his kids, someone has filed for divorce, and he is actively looking for his own place.
Unacceptable: If he visits the kids at the marital home “overnight.”
3. Norman? Older guy taking care of his elderly or sick mother.
This guy still lives in his home town, and may even have a good job and his own place. But his mother is getting older, or has taken ill. Maybe she’s widowed or divorced, either way she’s alone and probably should not live that way. So he, like a champ, gives up, sublets, or keeps his place — but he moves in with this mother. He is probably a good guy, but depending on his mother’s condition, this could go on indefinitely.
Acceptable: If the mom is really sick.
Unacceptable: If the mom goes out more often than he does.
4. Ethnic/Large family/family business guy or filthy rich blue blood guy
This guy works in his family business. So does everybody else. They all live in the large family home. If you were to marry him, you might live there too for a bit. Ironically, this also happens in blue blood very rich families or royalty, “Chad” will move back to the main house while interning for “Daddy’s” company. Except in that case Chad’s bedroom could probably accommodate most of the ethnic guy’s family and their business.
Acceptable: If he wants to have his own family one day.
Unacceptable: If he buys a dog. (There’s no way he’s thinking about leaving if he’s recently acquired a dog.)
5. Grad school student guy. This is a guy getting an advanced degree, perhaps a professional degree. He studies all the time. He lives with his parents because he can’t justify paying rent only to be conscious there a couple of hours a day. He reasons, “Why pay for a city apartment just to study and occasionally sleep there?” — especially true for medical students or interns. This arrangement is almost always temporary, and, frankly, worth the investment. One day he’ll graduate — and probably get a damn good job.
Acceptable: If he is actually in school.
Unacceptable: If he is merely planning to get back to school. Look for that acceptance letter.
You see, a guy living with his momma should be given an opportunity to explain. It should not be a deal breaker– at least not until you know the underlying reasons and can access the likely duration of the living “arrangement.”
But here are the red flags I don’t believe anyone should ignore:
1. He has a basement “room” completely set up where he pursues his personal interests — music, computers, lifting weights. Yeah, this dude has set up house. He ain’t going nowhere.
2. He works from home, yet there is no home office, desk, or computer and he has no cell phone.
3. He’s mentioned that he hopes to inherit the house.
4. He has never actually said he plans to move. Pay attention to the silences. The silences are very important.
Just Me With . . . no momma dwellers at the moment: one is estranged, “If I’d Married My Stalker,” the other is a very special friend, “We Thought You Were Dead, Mommy — Almost F*cked to Death”
I have an admirer. Let’s call him Rocky. There’s a reason why I’ll rename him Rocky here. First, I want to protect his privacy. And, second, he’s an ex-boxer. These days I think he works as a bouncer. Yes folks, my admirer is a bruiser with a heart of gold.
We met years ago when I was still married and working as a contract attorney for my former neighbor, see Riding With My Boss. My boss was representing Rocky and his union in some kind of complicated dispute. I was doing background legal research in a back room. One day when Rocky had to come by the office my boss introduced us. As I recall he complimented me, my smile. Thereafter, when Rocky stopped by he always had a smile and compliment for me. He also gave me his card, which I stashed in my wallet and never used. I must have given him my contact information as well, though I don’t remember doing so.
Rocky’s case went nowhere. Consequently, there was no reason for him to come to the office anymore. In fact, most of the work disappeared for my boss also and I didn’t have a reason to come to the office anymore either.
For years since then, Rocky has sent me a text on or near my birthday and about every other month saying things like, “I was just thinking of you, lovely lady.” He’s my age or probably younger, but he is always so polite, referring to me as “young lady.”
After I became separated and sought to test my new status, I tried to call in some favors. Specifically, I developed a list of guys I already knew who might go out with me. I was on a mission. See The Best Advice I Never Took. I figured Rocky must like me and I’ve got to go out with somebody so — I called Rocky. He seemed to pleased to hear from me. I invited him to come to one of my gigs. As he always works at night he could only make it if he came early and he wouldn’t be able to stay long. This was good, since I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out. Plus, this was good because I had scheduled another guy come to see me for the second shift of my one day dating frenzy. Yeah, I was a player, and I was on a mission.
So Rocky was date one for the night. At that time I hadn’t seen him in person for a couple of years.
He still looked good, bigger than I remembered, a burly Teddy bear of a guy, soft-spoken and so sweet. I found out that evening that although he is such a tough guy, he spends his free time writing poetry and songs. Who knew?
It was as close as we got to a date. We hugged good-bye and I haven’t laid eyes on him since.
By the way my second date of the evening was with the man who would become my stalker. I should have stuck with the boxer . . . but I digress . . . If I’d Married My Stalker
Since that early evening “date,” I’ve received semi-regular texts from Rocky. This has gone on for years. He tells me I’m beautiful, refers to me as a friend or wishes me and my family well. I don’t get them often enough to feel like I’m being stalked or harassed but I get them often enough to know I’m still thought of. These texts never request a date or phone call, they are just — complimentary. Recently he sent a picture of himself — just his face, and it was NOT, I repeat, NOT taken in the bathroom. He asked me to send one in return, which I did not — yet. Oh snap, what if his memory of my appearance is better than my actual looks in real life? Wait, what am I saying? Clearly, this could not be possible. heh heh heh
Last month Rocky’s text said:
“You made a positive impression on me from the time I met you. That helped me survive some very tough times. Thank u. :p lol”
I’m not really sure how the “lol” works with the rest, so I’ll just ignore that part. And I don’t know what “tough times” I helped him through, so I’ll just accept that part. All in all, it was a nice message. Sometimes we help people without even knowing how.
Just today I woke up to a text from Rocky which said,
“Good Morning to a very special young lady who is so very sweet. In case no one told u this morning. You r very unique. :p Have a great day.”
Awww. Is it strange? Maybe. Weird? Perhaps. Whatever. I don’t care. It’s nice to have an admirer. And currently there is no one to wake me up by telling me I’m very sweet, so Rocky was right on time. I’ll take it. (Plus, it doesn’t hurt to know someone who could and would kick somebody’s ass for me. Just sayin’ . . .)
Just Me With . . . an admirer, via text. Absolutely.
See also, “Another Text From My Admirer”
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.
I’ve established that I’m not ready to date, or at least I’m not ready to make a sport or hobby out of it. UnDateable, Part I.
But as I was writing about it, I heard from the TV in the background,
Matt to thirty-year-old New Christine: “You met him when you were 26. Now you’re 30. Trust me, from a guy’s perspective, that’s depreciation.” The New Adventures of Old Christine.
Scary statement. And the statement was to New Christine, the younger, shiny replacement model. That statement drove her to drink.
Imagine how scary it is if you a woman who is neither 26 or 30. Imagine if you are Old Christine, which is who I’d be in that scenario. Hmmm. Talk about depreciation.
So while I’m not dating, taking care of me, getting myself together, climbing out of the hole of depression and debt, yada yada yada, I hear something– tick-tock, tick-tock — no, it’s not that biological clock ticking — I have enough kids thank you — no, I hear another clock . A clock that (in my mind) will sound a silent alarm which will summon (in my mind) a giant iron hand from our misogynistic -youth-obsessed-paternal-madonna-whore- heaven to snatch me up and drop me straight into Old-Lady-Ville where all mothers or non-mothers over a certain age apparently belong, according to decent society (in my mind). I’ll be forcibly taken to a place where women are always covered from head to toe in solid colors, no one has sex, discussion is only about women’s health or lack thereof, and no one is ever seen again in public — well, not until the woman becomes a grandmother. Grandmothers can leave Old-Lady-Ville on holidays if they come bearing cookies and something made from yarn.
Old-Lady-Ville is a scary place. It’s a place where women are not supposed to wear, say, do, want or feel “that” anymore. (i.e. the people who criticize Madonna) “That” being anything that men like seeing women not in Old-Lady-Ville wear, say, do, want or feel. Where sexuality is either non-existent or the butt of a joke (i.e. Betty White). I’m not ready for that place. I can still pull off some looks and still want to be able to do — stuff. But that won’t last forever. Or at least that won’t be socially acceptable forever.
So I don’t feel like I can take my time. I don’t have years. Not in this market.
Okay, that tick-tock — that iron hand taking me to Old-Lady-Ville — is horrifying, but I know it’s in my head. I’m mean I’m not crazy. (Insert laughter here) But the calendar? That’s real — and worse. The calendar says that if I wait too long, I’ll have to check a different age box on the online profiles which will, effectively, make me ineligible for yet another whole generation of men, if I wasn’t out of the running already. Or, the horror, if I wait too, too long, I’ll have to go to the sites for . . . (gasp) seniors !!!!!! (Insert scary movie music.) And where it used to be completely socially acceptable for a woman’s age to have a fluid quality to it, in order to avoid the abduction to Old-Lady-Ville, the internet has taken this option from us.
Bottom line. It could take years for me to get myself together. In the meantime, I will have depreciated. So whatever it is, my imaginary iron hand or the real calendar, it scares the crap outta me. Clearly. It almost scares me enough to create yet another online dating profile, even though I’m not ready. But it’s do or die — or be put out to pasture, or Old-Lady-Ville.
(I know how paranoid I sound, trust me.)
I just don’t want to be the dude who dutifully, painstakingly, and slowly restores a previously neglected Victorian home with plans to sell, but by the time it is perfect and ready to go on the market, well, the neighborhood has gone to crap and no one will even drive by — except, of course, as a short cut to the “new construction” in the next subdivision. Five years earlier, the home would not have been perfect but he could still unload it. Five years earlier, it could stop traffic, or at least slow it down. Wait too long? Not so much. People just drive by.
Timing. It’s all about timing. And it’s not the same for guys, not in the open market.
I blame the economy.
Just Me With . . . fears, needs and more than a little paranoia. Shhhh. Did you hear something?
I’ve made a conscious decision not to attempt online dating right now, or any kind of dating. It’s not that I’m afraid of getting hurt or afraid of the crazies. It’s just that, well, I hate all the boxes I have to check that define me. It becomes an exercise in self-examination (humiliation) that is just no fun. As in “How did this happen to me!!!!!”
I’m not so good on paper online. I have been married before; it ended in divorce. Of course, that’s not uncommon, but I have a whole bunch of children (five, yes, five children) from that marriage, who live with me. My career and net worth are, at least at present, not what they had the potential to be, for many reasons, some of which are related to the fact that I was married, had a lot of children in a very short period of time, got dumped and flipped out.
I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be so good in person, either. I’ve got nothing to talk about. The course of my life and accomplishments have in no small part been influenced by my prior relationship, which, I know, is not appropriate casual dating conversation. For the last few years I have been dealing with the end of that relationship, recovery from that relationship, and depression. Again, not topics of casual coffee talk with a stranger. And talking about kids is also a dating no-no. Plus, I don’t have a list of exciting hobbies and activities I’d like to discuss and share with a potential mate, except for the music stuff which I don’t feel the need to bring a man into. And no, I don’t go to the gym, unless, of course, you count the physical therapy I’m still attending to recover from the injuries I received from the dangerous and stupid combination of starting an exercise regimen and fighting with my daughter (she won, by the way). My Aching Back. So I’m not a lot of fun in person, I fear. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot to offer, but I don’t have the energy or inclination or time to peddle my potential to a stranger.
I realize how negative I sound. I’m depressed. I should be dating Eeyore. Now Eeyore and I, yeah, we could hang out . . . but I digress.
Regardless of all the reasons not to do it, I could put myself out there anyway and pretend to be a good date. But here’s part two of the problem. What (oh I’m sorry) Who would I get in response to my online profiles? I’d get guys who are attracted to what I appear to be on paper online. Well, that’s just scary. I’m a little scary. I know that. Damn, I wouldn’t even respond to my own profile. Still, when I create these profiles (and never pay), I do get poked or pinged or prodded or winked at or whatever from men –men who apparently can tolerate the boxes that I’ve checked (oh the boxes, I check too many and too few). When I see these connections, I just want to scratch my head and say, “Dude, really, you’re into this?” I mean, I can barely tolerate the boxes I check. And if he checks the same boxes? Oh what a motley crew we would make.
My checked boxes may accurately describe my situation, but they don’t define me. Really, they don’t.
Wait, do they?
Do they? !!!!! (Singing: “Excuse me, while I start to cry . . . ” Playing air guitar.)
Perhaps it comes down to the fact that I don’t want someone to share this current on paper online profile life with, I’d like some company in a very different life that I have yet to create, or failed to create in the past (Shut up, Eeyore). So, no, I’m not ready online or otherwise to force a dating life. I need to take care of me, manage or overcome this depression, work to get out of this financial hole my divorce left me in. Yada yada yada . . .
That is the reasoned, socially correct conclusion.
That’s not me, either.
To be continued . . .
Just Me With . . . a decision not to force a dating situation.
See, Undateable, Part II.
I’ll call her Erin. She was senior to me in the fancy law firm we worked in — seems like a lifetime ago. She was attractive, a model of good taste, not particularly well liked and frankly a little scary. Harsh, is what people said about her. She was playing with the big boys, and had watched the big boys make partner while they passed her over, year after year, despite her superior qualifications and track record. Picture a younger Miranda from The Devil Wears Prada, but a Miranda who has to work under all of the Mad Men.
On the personal side, Erin is single, never married. This made her an expert on dating. She also had had a long, too long relationship with an older man who would not commit. She spent the bulk of her last good child bearing years with this man, kind of like Mr. Big from Sex and The City, but not as cute. Following her ultimatum, he finally told her he would never marry. They continued to date and travel together but with no expectations for more. Like Woody and Mia (without all the kids) they kept separate apartments in the city.
When I was a junior attorney Erin scared the crap out of me and I vowed never to have a meal with her. Once I matured professionally (and personally) I found myself getting closer to her and we became friends.
By the time my marriage ended neither of us worked at the firm anymore. They never did make her partner. She had ended her relationship with “Mr. Big Can’t Commit Guy” for good but had had no serious relationships since. I was struggling, this was during some pretty dark times, but I didn’t want her to know how hard things were for me — maybe she did still scare me a bit. Regardless, her intuitiveness and observation skills revealed my pain. I was still deeply wounded by my then soon-to-be-ex’s ability to so easily discard and replace me. I admitted that it had deeply injured my ego and confidence. Erin, however, had never been impressed with my Ex and she didn’t mince words. She never did.
Erin instructed me:
She further explained that I needed to be around men who will appreciate my good qualities, men who will appreciate my choosing to spend time with them. She elaborated that these dates should not end in sex, that I should not be looking for a boyfriend or someone to love. These dates should simply be a means to an end, a means to break away from being the wife — the jilted and rejected wife. I needed, she said, to see myself the way others see me– not how my Ex treated me.
I wasn’t really convinced that I could or should take her advice, because I really did not want a man and was still too depressed and wounded to seriously consider it. She sensed that, and added, in her strong, pointed manner,
“Roxanne, he has changed the playing field. You have a right to play on that field.”
I wasn’t ready to take her advice then and I didn’t. But she’s a smart woman, a really, scary, smart woman.
Just Me With . . . the good advice, that I just didn’t take.