Monday, March 25, 2013

Dating, Dinner, and Sex: Dating Rules That Never Change

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Then throw them out the window. 

We're a progressive society. Things are much different than our grandparent's generation. Our cars are faster, our homes are bigger, women are soon to become the majority in the workforce, and more men stay home with their children than ever in history. One thing that still remains pretty consistent is date night.

According to the new rules to the dating game seem pretty similar to the old rules of the dating game. The man buys dinner. The man who spends the most on dinner is the most likely to have sex. Women feel more obligated to have sex if the man spends a lot of money. Nothing new there. It's the dinner version of put out or get out.

Wait, I thought we were supposed to ask for expensive dinner so we could lie to ourselves about why we had sex. This is so confusing. All this "new" dating information is simply overloading my wee brain... Oh, please.

"Men now expect to sleep with a new partner on their third date - but women typically won't consider it until the fifth, according to an intriguing new study on dating in the 21st century." I'm not so sure what they found intriguing about that little bit of data. I was always under the impression that men expected sex sooner than women. Is this actually news?

Apparently people are spending more money on waxing and underwear when it comes to date night as well. That stands to reason. If a guy is going to lay down some serious moolah on sustenance hoping for some obligatory sex he wants to make the experience as appealing as possible. The woman is probably thinking the same thing. "Well, he did buy the expensive wine and I did, in fact, order the veal with scallops as an appetizer. I suppose the wax job and skimpy panties will serve a purpose tonight." You can almost hear the sigh... from both of them.

Ugh. Is it just me or does this all seem a bit too planned? I keep my garden tended because I never know when I'm going to get into a car accident. I think I can do without counting how much I spent on underwear and wax before I have my dinner. Let's be real. We're all going to wear those underwear more than once. Have you been to Victoria's Secret? For the cost of those underwear the guy might be seeing those in the rotation for a solid year, even after you've moved from lobster tail to Subway before the clothes come off.

Isn't it time to start thinking a bit more about the person you're with instead of quantifying every single effort or dollar you toss in either landing the sex or getting ready for it? Maybe then the sex can happen because you can't resist it and neither of you will feel obligated to pay or obligated to play. It's all sounding a bit like prostitution. For all their effort, I just walked away from this article feeling like we'd gone a few steps back in time. They could have simply said, "Men only want one thing. They are willing to pay for it. Women want to appear chaste and don't actually enjoy sex, but will put out for the right amount of money." I'm throwing a flag on this play and calling bullshit.

Now, back to making a list of all the restaurants I can't afford to go to without planning an obligatory sex date. Foleys, Minerva's, Parker's, CJ Calloway's... Just kidding! I could go by myself, but there wouldn't be any wine unless I just got the bottle of wine and ate free bread. Hmmm, not a bad plan either. I wouldn't even have to shave my legs.

Monday, March 18, 2013

It Takes Balls

It's not something you'll see on CNN or MSNBC and certainly not Fox News. According to Times Magazine, in 2006 the average first time couple had a 57% chance of success. That's not heartwarming. Add a second marriage to the equation and the odds of it surviving jumped to much less than that almost 60%. Startling statistics even 7 years ago. Thirty-two years is astronomical by comparison, but two people I know beat the odds.

Imagine those statistics altered by both people in the couple having a marriage under their belt and multiple kids to factor into the situation. Time Magazine would have cried looking at the possibility. It's certainly not an easy feat. It's likely something that would chill the soul of most mortal men. Regardless, last week my parents celebrated 32 years of maritally torturing one another.

What started with a, "Would you like to grab a drink when you're off work?" a few weeks later turned into, "Would you like to maybe spend the rest of your life with me?” That's how quickly it happened folks. Five kids and a marriage license later we were the average American family of the 80s. Throw in a baby of their own and the family was complete.

Let's not pretend things were idyllic. They weren't. We had our issues, as all families do. There were accusations of favoritism, loyalties, rocks, hard places, and tears. Still, they soldiered on. The kids all managed to make their ways in life without ending up in jail. We've all done things with our lives that statistically, we shouldn't have been able to accomplish. We've all managed to take the lessons we learned as part of that family, and apply them to our lives and become better people than we likely would have been before.

There is something about a blended family that teaches you to think outside yourself. It's no longer a situation of you vs. your siblings. There are brand new family members that play into the game. You begin to watch other's toes. Did you step on them? When? Why? Can you fix it? You start to value the parent you have in the mix far more than you might if you'd never had to share them. On the flip side, you begin to value the parent you didn't have before... the constant presence of someone who personifies what you've always hoped you would have. That picture, my friends, is a family.

I look at those statistics as a single 39 year old woman and I think to myself, "Those numbers don't mean anything." Sure mathematically, we can break it down to numbers. We can say people who have x marriages or x experiences stand a lower chances of a successful marriage. It doesn't actually come down to those figures ultimately. It comes down to desire. Not just desire for each other, but a mutual desire to make things work. It also comes down to a certain amount of balls.

Yes, BALLS. Balls is what it takes for two people, both wounded from divorce, shouldering their own burdens, drowning in their own financial and emotional woes, to say, "You know what? I really love you. I want to do this. I want to try. I am going to take the chance and say f*ck the statistics, and give this a go." It takes twice the balls to keep saying that year after year.

My parents did that. I have one of the biggest families in my peer group. We're dysfunctional, awesome, caring, loving, and brilliant. We have our mutual families and those unique among our biologicals. We still manage to want the best for each other and to celebrate the good times and sympathize in the bad. Take that, Time Magazine. 
Take that odds. It can be done.

This is what keeps me going. It's what keeps me hopeful. There is someone out there for each of us. When you find that person will you be willing to throw caution to the wind? Will you be able to say "F*ck the odds!"? Can you put aside the doubts, fears, and cautionary tales long enough to go after what you want? Not everyone is a perfect picture. Sometimes the picture needs the brush of an artist bold enough to take on the task. After all, we all need a few happy trees and peaceful lakes to make our landscape complete.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Back to the Drawing Board : Random Sexual Theory

"Closure. That would make it so much easier. It's like, just tell me you're seeing someone else and I can say, 'Fair enough. We weren't exclusive. Have a great life and hey... good luck to you!', but it's not like that, is it? It's just an unending almost relationship that will not amount to anything but you stay there waiting for closure. We want neat tidy endings to things and answers to questions. They would rather not have that. Discussing it means confronting the situation and that's just one more thing they have to compartmentalize. God forbid." I felt great about my ability to separate the sexes and dare I say... put them into their own little compartments.

This is something one of my girlfriends and I have become very good at. Normally we have a little male input to set us straight on a few of our misconceptions. Occasionally we even get schooled and told that men have emotions too. It's generally followed up with a comment that rounds back to the old. "Men have two feelings: Hungry and Horny. If you see him without an erection you should make him a sandwich." So there's that.

During a recent discussion about middle-age dating, I stated that I felt the only way to get past the fear of sex might be to just do it. Not random hookup sex. The topic was first time sex with a potential mate. The scenario feels like being a teenager. If you give up the goods will they ever call again? Can you live your life worrying about that? No, not happily anyway. At some point you have to (wo)man up.

So what's the cure for that nagging fear? Pessimism with the tiniest shred of hope. This was our female take on the situation: When the moment is right, the mood is set, and the kissing has become intoxicating but fails to satiate that need... you take off your pants. That's right. Or let him take them off you. Whatever trips your trigger. Do those things you've been thinking about doing. When it's done you put on your big girl panties (if you can remember from which light fixture they might be dangling) and you go home.

Sure, give him a kiss and thank him for a wonderful time, but the only way to keep yourself from being let down if he doesn't call after that is to assume that he won't. We also decided that men probably prefer it that way. You know the old joke, "You know why men pay for hookers? So they'll leave." Be cool. Be aloof. Don't be clingy. Don't call or text him first. Don't do this. Do that. Be this. Don't be that. Ugh... maddening.

When this view was shared with our male co-worker the look on his face was one of disbelief followed by, "Wow, that's really messed up." Fortunately, he proceeded to verify all of the stereotypical single guy traits we'd reminded him of, thus leaving us with a feeling that although our theory was flawed, we might be on to something. Still, the more I played it out in my head the more it sounded like "Be a hooker." That just started to piss me off a little. Worse yet... it was my theory!

So we're back to the drawing board. Tomorrow we'll discuss how superior we are to the men in our pasts. We'll unfairly label all men the same way. Following that we'll see that we're not exactly perfect either... then we'll sit down and get to work. For a little while. Something will come up and we'll be blathering back and forth again... but it's cheaper than seeing a life coach or a shrink. At this rate we'll have figured ourselves out just in time for menopause to strike and cause us to turn into the raging, hormonal, hot-flash having, bitches no one wants to date. Good times. Good times.

Go ahead and tell me I'm wrong. I need to hear that once in awhile.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

In Defense of Cougar Women

Apparently the official "cougar" age has dropped to 35! I feel like I've lost 4 years of prime hunting! Not all of these things apply to me, but it's cute nonetheless! Happy Hunting ladies!

In Defense of Cougar Women - An infographic by

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