Monday, July 30, 2012

How Not to Impress a Lady: A Guide for Gentlemen Callers

“I think of semen as a semi-permanent glue." 

Just a casual disclosure in the middle of our first phone our first telephone conversation after meeting online. I was taken aback when he let  that tidbit about semen fly (no pun intended). Bodily fluids – already? But I figured, OK, maybe he’s a little nervous. Give him a chance. I did notice the conversation was not reciprocal – he would talk, then I would, but instead of a response to what I said, he would pick up right where he left off talking. 

As if I had interrupted him. Hmmm.

We were scheduled to meet up at a restaurant for brunch. He showed up for a first date riding a bike and wearing a sweat-stained gray t-shirt with cargo shorts. Really? Here I had fretted about the microscopic separation of my lower eyelashes, and he had simply put on the first schmattahs that were clean. He announced that, since he rode his bicycle there, he wasn’t hungry any longer and wanted to get coffee.

First of all, I didn’t care much for a unilateral change of plans, especially when it involves brunch. I don’t know about you, but to me Sunday brunch is sacred – Thou shalt honor the lox and bagels and keep them holey, saith Me. But without so much as an “I hope you don’t mind”, he walked his bike to the café. It just so happened that I did mind skipping my sacred brunch, and I minded again when he picked an outdoor table without asking if I had a preference. (I would've chosen an indoor table because it was a little chilly, thank you very much.) But I chose to say nothing to see where this would go.

Gentlemen readers: I would've thrown up a red flag for unsportsmanlike behavior if I thought he could get a penalty.

And Vixens, I’m not being huffy because the guy didn’t show up at my door dressed up, carrying a single rose, open the car door for me, then lay his jacket down on a puddle, lest I soil my petite shoe. We’re talking basic courtesy here. Besides, how could he treat a fabulous person like myself as if I were luggage to be toted around? 

He obviously didn’t recognize quality.

He talked about his life, his job, his time in the service – apparently, there was nothing interesting about my life that he wanted to hear. And then he opened what is known as “The Ex-Files.”

Dating 101: you do NOT talk about past relationships until you’ve been on at least three dates, or survived that awkward first kiss, whichever comes first. But this guy didn't have any problem describing sex-with-his-ex as  “biblical.” Hence, the semen reference of the day before.

He talked of how he nurtured this alcoholic through breast cancer – surgery, treatment, the works – and I thought, OK, he’s basically a good guy.

When he started talking about the incisions that were made on her nipple, I had finally had enough:

“Excuse me, but why are you telling me such personal information about your ex-girlfriend?”

He blinked, dumbstruck.

“Oh, I thought you’d want to know how loyal and caring I was,” he replied.

“That’s wonderful. But do you want to know anything about the woman sitting in front of you?” I asked.

“Wha – “

“You haven’t asked me one question about myself. You switched restaurants, picked an outdoor table, all without asking. Do I have anything to say here?” I know I was blunt, but what did I have to lose?

He sputtered that he had sent me a text about the change of plans, which, by the way, I never got. Finally he said, “I guess we should go our separate ways.” Maybe he thought I wouldn’t call his bluff, but he seemed surprised when I said, OK. We shook hands again, and parted, having had two completely different dates.

Here’s what I learned:

This is the kind of self-absorbed twit who I used to give a second chance, like “Maybe he’s not all that bad.” WRONG! Good thing I cut cargo early enough to save myself a lot of grief. 

Second, I didn’t sugarcoat what I didn’t like. I wasn't worried about coming off like a bitch. If it’s broke, and you can’t fix it, why not be honest? Who knows? Maybe he’ll learn something.

Yeah, right.

When I got home, I opened an email from him that simply read: “Arrogant response, for sure.”

“Arrogant!” I’ve never been called that before! Wow! This is so cool! I’m going take this “Arrogant” thing out for a spin. 

I like it already.

Lame Things Guys Say When They're Breaking Up With You: "You're just not outdoorsy enough to join me in things I like to do." 

Vixen Says: "Tell ya what - YOU sleep on the ground where ants can crawl up your ass. I'll walk OUTDOORS to my car and look for a new boyfriend."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Lame Things Guys DON'T Say That Would Save Us Vixens a Lot of Time and Aggravation.

Lame Guy: I love you. Really, I do. I'm just not in love with you anymore, and I don't know how to tell you. Even if I did, that would make me look like the bad guy. So instead, I'll just withdraw from you. You know, stuff like act all distant, answer you with shrugs, stop doing little nice things for you, withhold affection, the usual. It's a basic protest strategy, like staging a sit-in.  

When you demand that I tell you what's wrong, I'll act like I don't know what you're talking about. You'll start yelling at me, and that's my opportunity to accuse you of being hysterical. I'm almost out of the woods! Because then, you'll finally break up with me - what took you so long?  - which is what I wanted in the first place. It's my "Get-Out-of-Jail" card: now I can tell all my friends that you dumped me, and that you're emotionally unbalanced. It's a Win-Win all around for me. I should get a lot of mileage out of that, especially with the la-a-a-a-dies!

I'm going to start acting like an asshole now - I should be single by summer.

I wish it weren't such a painful process. It's a shame men and women can't communicate better with each other.

Lame Things Guys Say When They're Breaking Up With You: "Who knows what the future holds?" Vixen Says: "I predict you and your crystal balls are about to get kicked to the curb."

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lame Things Guys Say While Breaking Up With You: "I need just need some TIME to work on some personal issues." Vixen Says: "What YOU need is a personality OVERHAUL. Oh, by the way, as far as I'm concerned, TIME'S UP!"

Lame Things Guys Say When They're Breaking Up With You: "We're just at different phases of our lives right now." Vixen Says: "Yeah, and you're about to be PHASED OUT of MINE."

Love, Loss and Strutting into the Future

It happened: the Best Boyfriend Ever rolled over with a limp "I-just-don't-see-us-together-for-the-rest-of-my-life" whimper. (I refuse to call his mid-life quandary a "crisis," because no one ever got rushed to the emergency room with a strong case of "Life-sucks-itis") The rest of your life? Schmuck: who said I was willing to spend the rest of mine with you?

You could say I sat shiva in the tradition of my ancestors, only, instead of seven days of grieving, I lay semi-conscious, facedown in bed for a month. Hey, if he can whine, why not turn self-pity into a festival? (Come to think of it, my ancestors did that, too.) I found myself rising only to get relatively clean, work, and consume vats of spaghetti carbonara and raspberry sorbet, the ambrosia of the sulker. Unlike mourning a death, however, there was still a spark of hope that we might reunite.  In other words, I had a moment of weakness (I begged), followed by an ice-water shower (he didn't bite). And so the period of "moping-and-hoping" was brought to a screeching halt.

 What next?

Thank God for gal-pals who have gone through the same thing. My dear friend, Molly, had this to say:

"Even Fabulous Vixens are mandated by court decree to be allowed a vulnerable moment when they call their ex. And the encounter is devastating, wherein said FabVix reels back on her metaphoric high heels, totters for a bit, then kicks the door open and marches into the future. In time, the march becomes a strut, and she regains her fab poise, composure and foxy self. And the male of the species, when things don't work out -- the grass is never greener -- calls and pleads for a second chance -- she crows with laughter - once she recalls his name."

Bless you, Molly, and all of the gals who have helped each other face this valley of the shadow of death. It seems right to be arm in arm, strutting together into the future, wearing our come-fuck-me-pumps.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Wilder Name

The quickest, most effective weight loss program ever? Easy: I left my husband. I lost over 200 pounds without having to give up ice cream.

Happily, there is a new Mrs. He's-Her-Headache-Now. I can‘t wait to unburden myself from their last name. The problem is, Landers is a totally bitchin’ appellation for instant name recognition: a few letters, two syllables, and I almost never have to spell it out over the phone.

So what to change it to?

My maiden name is out of the question: Finn. What a nightmare that was to convey, telephonically! “Like Mickey or Huckleberry,” I would plead, but this only resulted convoluted, Abbott-and-Costello-esque interchanges:

Message Taker: What was your last name again?
Me: Finn. F-I-N-N.
Message Taker: Sims?
Me: No, F as in "Frank" . . .
Message Taker: S as in "Sam". . . ?
Me: (silent, but screaming in my head) No, but I bet you have to ask for a price check at the 99 cent store!

So, a new name is needed to commemorate this new phase in my life. Hmmm: what name has international name recognition?

I got it: Einstein! Hey, everyone knows who Einstein is, right?

Then again, it does make me sound a bit full of myself, doesn’t it? And with the exception ofå getting a divorce, I’ve never done anything even remotely genius in my life.

I considered a list of people I admire: Winston Churchill, Mark Twain, Bettie Page. Meh.

Then it occured to me: I gave my middle son the middle name “Wilder” after Billy Wilder, one of my favorite filmmakers. Wilder, huh? Hmmm, easy to spell, pretty good odds that the listener would have heard the name before - and, let’s face it: this is definitely a “Wilder” time in my life.

Stephanie Wilder - I like the sound of it.

Looking forward to Wilder times ahead.

Truth is Beauty, Beauty - Hooters!

My oldest son is a fine, upstanding young man. So it was no surprise that he wished to celebrate his 17th birthday with an evening of fine dining at that most dignified of restaurants, Hooters. Three of his best buds accompanied him, despite the fact that it was a school night; somehow, each of them decided that his studies could wait.

“H-O-O-O-O-O-TERS! H-O-O-O-O-O-TERS!” was the primal war cry as we pulled into the parking lot. However, as soon as we entered the premises, their bravado was replaced by a hushed awe: we had entered the Sanctuary of Scantily Clad She-Creature. In Girls We Trust, E Pluribus Bosom.

With reverent docility, they were lead to a bar-height table and took their stools in utmost silence. Another Nymph of Impressive Decolletage arrived to take their drink orders. Drinks? Even the words “ice water” could not be uttered in the presence of such a fine female specimen, whose secondary sex glands brushed oh-so-gently against the surface of the table.

As soon as she retreated, the banter began among the young bucks: “Dude, she LIKED you!” “She’s not so great.” “Yeah, but I’D hit that!”

In this midst of this posturing, I couldn’t help thinking back 17 years, to the overwhelming joy I felt upon seeing my son’s face for the first time: his eyes were wide with wonder as he looked around at all the bright lights. So much to discover, so much to explore. His expression then was not terribly different from the one he wore now as he gazed at all the lovely ladies surrounding him, performing the “Hooter-Pokey” (don’t ask).

Yet so many things had changed since then: the hospital where he was born was torn down . . . the house we brought him home to was razed and completely remodeled . . . the business his father ran was sold and the property plowed under. Even the marriage itself was no more. But one thing remained unaltered: the love I felt for this beautiful boy.

It's a well-known fact that babies don't come with instructions, but no one warns you about the AVALANCHE of love that hits you from the git-go. Swagger as he may now, I could still see his innocent infant face searching mine, as if gazing upon a constellation.

Like all fantasies, this one in Hooterville had to end. A bevy of beauties blew the boys kisses and called a flirty farewell, sirens in reverse. The guys gazed at the dazzling damsels for as long as they could, as if to impress those images in their feverish male imaginations.

On the ride home, the swagger returned: “I’d do her if her tits were bigger.” “What’s WRONG with you?” “Did you catch the Winnebagos on that blonde?”  “Brunettes are more intense, dude! It’s a FACT.” 

Somehow, the conversation drifted from mammaries to matrimony, as the fancies of the young men turned to the qualities they wanted in a wife. From there, they discussed what the names of their children would be. Now it was my turn to be filled with wonder: who knew boys thought about this, too?

My son had obviously given this a lot of thought. When it was his turn, he declared with authority: “I want my son to be named ‘Chance.’”

Chance: the perfect name for the challenges of parenthood. The perfect description for how our kids turn out.

I teared up, trying to imagine my son beginning his own journey into parenthood. I imagined holding my grandson, knowing his father would show Chance how to be a part of a world I would never see.

If he’s lucky, I thought, his dad will take Chance to Hooters on his 17th birthday. The "Hooter-Pokey" is a rite of passage not to be missed.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

All Hail Bev!

When it's time for you to get something done within an organization – really done! – you simply have to have that one tape-cutting, door-opening miracle worker on your side. You know who I'm talking about: in every workplace, whether it's an office, school, corporation, or (shudder!)  government agency, it all boils down to that one all-powerful administrator who. Gets. Things. Done. My name for this person is “Bev,” and, if we're lucky, we've all had a Bev in our corner at one time. In fact, the hushed phrase “Talk to Bev” is like a code for “She’ll make it happen.” And whether she’s the Executive Assistant to the CEO of a multinational company or the Office Lady at the elementary school, do not do anything - do not pass “GO” - run straight to Bev! Whether you need to book the conference room for birthday celebration, or sign a requisition form in a jiffy, or just birddog a file that went AWOL, Bev’s your gal. 

A Bev is as plump and sweet-looking as a cookie jar. When you come to her with your issue, she’ll offer you coffee from a mug that says, “Hang In There!” Sometimes, when you need to vent about a co-worker or whine about last night’s horrific date, a Bev will stop what she’s doing and be right there with her listening ears on.  Any Bev will cluck and fuss and make the reassuring sounds you need to hear. She'll even offer you a soft, pastel-colored shoulder to cry on. Best of all, you needn’t worry about her repeating your problems to anyone – Bevs are famously discreet. Your words will never leave her cubicle! And, of course, a floral tissue is always within reach.

But don’t let Bev’s warm and welcoming manner fool you! Beneath that mild exterior beats the heart of a Mother Lion! Oh, no! Once Bev believes her “cubs” are in danger, all that niceness flies out the window – and watch out for those claws! Bev means business, and she’s got the 411 on everything that happens in the office. She knows who’s depleting the toner with secret copying after hours and who hasn’t turned in their W-2 yet. I once saw a Bev collar a VP who was having a workplace romance and tell him to knock it off. It was like something from Animal Planet and it wasn’t pretty: the poor man looked like a limping zebra who had strayed from the herd. Oh, the humanity!

Even those pompous executive types know better than to cross Bev, because she knows where all the bodies are buried – and how much room is left in the crawlspace.

In other words, Don’t Mess with Bev! ‘Cause Bev’s da BOMB.  

If you have a Bev in your life, cherish her – there simply aren’t enough Bevs in the world. And if there is to be a judge of human behavior in the next world, I only hope that judge would be a Bev. I really do! I wouldn’t mind having someone with her wisdom and common sense judging me. 

And woe to the person whom Bev finds unworthy of reward! I don’t believe in Hell, but if Bev thinks someone deserves to be sent there, then so do I! I can just see her sitting there, tapping her French-tipped nails on the Pearly Gates, scowling at the defendant with those carefully-pencilled eyebrows, her eyes narrowed to slits through her neat bangs, her Peony Pink-frosted lips pursed in disappointed. There it is: busted! The Bev is not best pleased!

Face it: eventually, we all have to answer to Bev.

I do not have a Bev in my life at the moment, and that’s a damned shame. Imagine all I could accomplish if a Bev had my back! Till then, I must muddle through as best I can. It’s a little bit depressing.

Can someone please pass me a floral tissue?