Learning to Love Me

This reminds me so much of my marriage. It’s funny how you think that loving someone is enough to make things work. I can’t honestly say I was in love with my ex-husband, but I did love him at one time. We got along pretty well, and I thought it was enough. But over time, I realized that I was the only one being supportive and I was the only one who could be counted on. I convinced myself that it was better to be in a marriage like mine — which wasn’t really based on love — because I knew that if something were to happen to him, I would be ok. Of course I would care, but our marriage had taught me that I could do just fine on my own.

But I was afraid to actually be alone.

What if no one else wanted me? That was the main thing, plus the unbearable thought of splitting holidays and time in general with my daughter, that kept me in my empty marriage for so much longer than I should have.

I actually remember when the turning point was. I was talking to a friend of mine one night, whom I hadn’t spoken to in some time. She had moved out of state so we hadn’t seen each other in at least a year or more. She asked how things were going, and the more I opened up and told her, the more she saw how unhappy I really was. She finally said, “You are in danger of losing your spirit. That part of you that makes everyone love you. You’re losing you.” I thought a lot about her words in the days and weeks and months after that conversation, and I knew something had to change. I didn’t want my daughter growing up thinking that marriage was separate bedrooms and very little laughter or real conversation or meals shared together as a family. I didn’t want her to grow up remembering me being miserable and short tempered. Not only had I stopped loving myself, I had definitely stopped liking myself. How could I expect anyone else to love or even like me, if I couldn’t look in the mirror and think of a single positive thing to say? I had to change.

One little change at a time, I started finding myself again. I started wearing clothes that fit me properly, rather than hiding under baggy, shapeless outfits. I started wearing makeup {which I seldom did before that because I didn’t see the point} and making more of an effort with my hair. And something changed. Men began to notice me and flirt with me when I went out in public. My confidence grew a little. People began to see the change in me, which didn’t go unnoticed by my {now} ex-husband. He accused me of having a boyfriend I was trying to impress. I said, “Did it ever occur to you that I’m doing this for me? I’m trying to take more pride in myself.” He didn’t seem to like that. Looking back, I wonder if he wanted me to stay overweight and miserable because it ensured that I would probably never leave. I believed no one else would want me, so I stayed. And even though he hadn’t been thrilled with my appearance over the years, he didn’t want to be alone either. He had also resigned himself to an empty marriage.

I don’t see myself as some beauty queen, but I like myself far more than I did five years ago. I like the person I’m becoming, and I’m so much happier than I was back then. I know that it shows because people have told me as much. A friend of mine at work, who I hadn’t seen in some time, saw me after my divorce and said I looked lighter. I thought she meant I looked like I had lost weight but she said,”No, you used to look like you had the weight of the world on your shoulders. But now you have some pep in your step. You just seem like a load has lifted off.” And it really had. My dad, who had tried to convince me not to get divorced because he was sure that my daughter and I would somehow end up on welfare and living in the projects, admitted how much happier I seem. He said that for a long time, it was like I was plodding through life — kind of a shadow of myself. But now they genuinely look forward to me coming over and the old me is back.

The old me is back, only maybe with a few upgrades. I’m proud of how far I’ve come. It hasn’t been easy and some things are still a struggle. But I’m on my way. And it’s satisfying to think my ex-husband must have looked at me at least once or twice over the past few years and wondered what the hell happened. I’m no longer that person sitting around on the couch all the time. I’m no longer hiding behind baggy clothes. I don’t dress up when I know I’ll see him, but I do make a point to be put together. When we split up, I swore I wouldn’t be that bitter divorcee who gains a bunch of weight and lets herself go. On my worst day, I still look better than I did on many of my best days with him. He never brought out the best in me, and I think now he realizes that. I woke up and realized there had to be something better in store for me.

I took a very scary leap into the unknown, and I flew.

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Ok, Cupid

It had kind of slipped my mind that Valentine’s Day is this week. I stopped looking forward to it long ago…too many disappointments, too many unmet expectations, too much sappy love everywhere. After my divorce, I started jokingly referring to it as Singles Awareness Day. It was much easier to poke fun at the holiday than to admit how much of a drag it really was. But really, this holiday sucks when you’re single. You get bombarded with ads from jewelry stores and candy shops, knowing full well the only way you’re getting either is if you buy it yourself. It’s hard to read all the Facebook posts about the husbands and boyfriends who didn’t drop the ball {as mine always did} and not feel a little twinge of resentment.

So I was kind of surprised, this year, to discover that I’m not dreading February 14. It’s been quite a little bit since I’ve had a sweet, romantic Valentine’s Day, but to be honest, I love the whole idea of it. The romantic in me loves the idea of hearts and gifts and surprises and LOVE. I like the little candy hearts and the big red heart-shaped boxes of candy. I love the decorations and the little valentines that kids exchange every year in school. I really like making homemade treats for my co-workers and friends, and I like surprising my daughter with sweets and cute cards.

Maybe that’s why I haven’t entirely given up on Cupid. Yeah, I’d love to be surprised with flowers at work or a sweet card in a red envelope. But it’s also ok if I don’t. It’s not so much that I’m celebrating being single, but my life is truly full with so many blessings. I have people who love and care about me, who make me feel treasured and special every single day.  I find plenty of reasons to laugh and I get hugs from my sweet daughter every morning before work and every night before I go to bed. Life is good.

Happy Hearts Day!
xoxo

Mama Needs Some Sugar

Maybe it’s because winter is upon us, maybe it’s because Christmas is right around the corner, or maybe it’s because I am, by nature, a very affectionate person. But more and more lately, I’m craving physical contact. I miss holding hands and kissing and being in someone’s arms. I miss just being close to someone, running my fingernails lightly down his arm, or getting a back rub {one of my guilty pleasures, for sure}.

For the most part, hugs from my daughter are all I get. Don’t get me wrong — I love and cherish every hug, especially at her age. But I realized last week at the hair salon how much I really do miss just being touched. As my stylist was washing and styling and drying my hair, I was struck by how nice it felt to have fingers running through my hair. Stop it — I’m not attracted to my stylist! But I do love having my hair played with, and I could have sat there all day getting prettied up.

Christmas is coming, and it’s bittersweet for me. I love the music and good cheer and the get togethers that seem to spring up at this time of year. But I long for someone to spend it with, to drive around looking at Christmas lights with and make snow angels with and watch corny Christmas specials with. It’s only been about 3 months since I’ve been with a man, but I seriously feel like I’m going through withdrawal.

Maybe I should get a sign like this guy and walk around getting hugs from strangers. Actually, when I was in Vegas a few years ago, I was heading back to my hotel room alone at 3am because my ‘friends’ had decided they’d rather hook up with some random Irish guys. I was exhausted and bummed out and frustrated, trying to figure out how to cross these bridge things to get to my hotel, when I came upon a guy with a ‘free hugs’ sign. At that time, I was nearing the end of my marriage and hadn’t been physical with my {now} ex-husband or anyone else in at least a year. The guy looked at me and smiled, so I walked over and got my hug.

I’m not even picky about what kind of hug I get. It could be a friendly hug, a quickie hug, a one-armed hug, or a hug with a pat on the butt {or, as I like to call it, a hug with an exclamation point}. Just gimme some sugar {and don’t get me started on kissing}!

No Time for SpongeBob

Back when I told my parents I wanted to get a divorce, my dad said that I would be like a walking target. He said that because I had a house {which I have since sold}, a degree, and a good job, that guys would be out to take advantage of me. I rolled my eyes and dismissed it as just another one of his ridiculous assumptions.

Little did I know.

Not long after my divorce, when I had started looking for love {or something like it} online, I met Lennie. He was kind of cute, said a lot of things that I liked/needed to hear, and was a passionate kisser. I soon realized, however, that he had a few strikes against him. First, he had no job. He was taking classes to be certified in HVAC repair… or, at least, he wore the shirt from the school he supposedly attended EVERY time I saw him. He also had no car, which meant that he either took the bus to meet me or I picked him up somewhere. Oh, and he didn’t have his own place. He had been going from relative to relative, sleeping on couches. I didn’t know this about him until after we had been talking for a little while.

The first time we met was at the beach, so no money was involved. The next time, he called and said his car {which ended up belonging to someone else} broke down, so I had to pick him up and he was kind enough to let me pay for his lunch. We only went out one other time after that, and I decided that ‘Sugar Mama’ wasn’t a title I was anxious to have.

When I was seeing Todd, he was extremely cheap. Many times, he’d ask if I could pay when we went out, and at first I didn’t mind. But after a few times, I saw the pattern emerging and I brought it up. He got very defensive, saying that I was acting like he never paid for anything. Ummm…maybe because that’s exactly how it was? In our last go-round, we always stayed in, either at his place or mine. He would occasionally buy groceries for us to have dinner, or ordered pizza, or bought beer, but in general, he was pretty tight with his wallet. He claimed it was because he had bills to worry about and child support to take care of. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m very understanding and very low-maintenance. I don’t need to be taken out to eat all the time or to the movies. But an occasional date is nice. I never asked anyone to break the bank. Many times, we went dutch when we did go out to eat.

Todd told me a few times that he wasn’t letting me go this time, that he was going to sweep me off my feet. He said he wanted to take me on a real date to a nice restaurant. Try to contain your shock, but none of that ever occurred. Still here, waiting to be swept off my feet.

Then there was Russell. I spotted him online and immediately made it my mission to meet this guy. He was really good-looking and an ex-marine. I sent him a message and we started talking, and he told me he was working part-time while he was going to school to get his degree so he could become a teacher. That was admirable. I started to waver when he said he had no car. The first time I met him, I was very physically attracted. We got along really well and he made me feel so sexy. We tended to stay at his apartment rather than go out, which I didn’t entirely mind because it was nice to stay in and watch movies etc.

After we had been talking/seeing each other for a few weeks, he called me one day while I was at work. He was being very sweet, asking about my day, calling me ‘beautiful,’ etc. Then he hit me with the reason he called: he wanted to know if I could give him money to pay his cell phone bill. My heart sank. I said I didn’t have it, even though I did. He said, “Well, if I don’t pay my bill, you and I won’t be able to talk til next week.” I still didn’t budge. Someone else must have given him the money {if indeed he needed it for his phone} because we still kept talking. But now I had my guard up. Several days later, I told him it bothered me that he had asked me for money and he said that he had asked me out of respect. He said he didn’t want me to be upset if I found out he had asked someone else. Wow. What a romantic, wonderful, thoughtful load of bullshit! We stopped talking soon after that, and several months later, he sent me an e-mail saying that I had thrown away a good man. If that’s a good man, I guess I don’t need one after all.

My favorite of the sponges had to be Alphonso. Or whatever his name was. He said he was an assistant law professor at the local university and also had his own legal advice business. We had spoken several times before making plans to meet. The day of our date, he texted me saying that someone had stolen $500 out of his wallet, and that he wouldn’t be able to pay for our date that night. He also supposedly had something wrong with his car so I would need to drive. Now, before I go into the rest of this date, I just want to say that I’ve come a long way since then and have stopped being the nice girl/doormat.

Anyway, despite my MANY reservations, I drove downtown and picked him up. He was in a suit and tie and was carrying a briefcase. That looked semi-legit, right? The Chinese restaurant he wanted to go to was about 25 minutes away. I didn’t know why he wanted to go that far when there were plenty closer to where we were. But I went along with it. On the way, he said he wanted to come back to my place after dinner, so why didn’t we stop and get some snacks? We stopped at a dollar store, and he proceeded to load a cart with about $20 worth of snacks, which I ended up paying for {ah, yes, the mysterious stolen money}. We went out to eat, and he actually paid for part of that. During dinner, he said that he had boils all over his body. Ummm… not exactly the magic words to make me forget all my other reservations about this guy.

After dinner, the last thing I wanted was this guy anywhere near my house. I told him I was going to take him home instead. He seemed very taken aback but said okay. I knew the name of his street, but he directed me to a different street, saying his grandmother lived closer and that he would just crash at her place. When I dropped him off, he took the entire bag of snacks and went in the house. Yeah, that happened. Needless to say, $20 was a fair price, in my humble opinion, to get rid of this fool. After that ‘date,’ I mentioned the whole thing to Stacy, who just so happened to know some professors in the Law department of that university. Turns out no one by that name {or anyone even looking like him} worked there or in any other department. Yes, I was an idiot for even going out with him in the first place, but at least I had the sense to boot his ass to Grandma’s curb instead of taking him home with me, right? A few days later, he sent me some fairly psychotic-sounding text messages, which pretty much confirmed that this guy was not all there, whoever he was.

Stacy has said she thinks that some guys find me intimidating because I’m educated and have a good job. Maybe, maybe not. I don’t act superior to anyone. And the guys I’m most attracted to are more the blue collar type. I think it’s sexy to watch a man work with his hands…changing the oil, fixing a leak under the sink, hammering a nail… But many times, the guys I’ve talked to who have blue collar jobs also haven’t gone to college, and I’m totally ok with that. Yeah, I like to have a good conversation, but I don’t need to spout algorithms or have a spelling contest to have chemistry with a guy. I’m very generous with my time and I love to spoil people that I’m close to, whether family, friends, or romantic interests. But I’m not about to be anyone’s meal ticket. I have a decent job. I’m not financially wealthy, but I do okay. I take care of myself, my daughter, and my bills, and I expect any man I’m involved with to do the same. Is that too much to ask? Maybe so.

Take that empty wallet and get to steppin', pal.

Take that empty wallet and get to steppin’, pal.

Chocolat

Until my divorce, I had never dated black men before. Not because of any personal preference etc, but simply because none had ever asked me out. The first guy I was with when I found myself newly single was black. I think it’s safe to say 99% of the guys I’ve been out with in the past three years have been black. My friends have teased me, saying, “Once you go black, you never go back.”

They may be right.

I wouldn’t say I’d never consider dating a white guy again. I’ve been out with maybe a handful in the past few years. And if I really clicked with a guy who happened to be white, or Hispanic, or Asian, or any other non-black race, I’d certainly give him a chance. But that has yet to happen. I just find myself way more attracted to black men for a few reasons.

For one thing, they seem way more confident in their masculinity. Actually, they seem way more confident, period. When I’m at the store, or the club, or walking down the street, it’s the black men who will give me an appreciative glance as I pass by. It’s the black men who will actually ask for my number. It’s the black men who have no fear of rejection. They have no problem expressing their interest, regardless of whether I might be interested in them. I’ve been with white guys who were pretty submissive, expecting me to take the lead or make all the decisions. I’ve known plenty of white guys who told me that they once had such a crush on me. Huh? If you were interested, why the hell didn’t you speak up? I like the man to be the man. Not act like a control freak or order me around, but to take the lead.

Another thing that really appeals to me about black men is that the ones I’ve met prefer women with some curves. I grew up in white suburbia, where it was the petite, thin girls who got the guys’ attention. I’ve always been on the thick side, and I was never the girl guys chased after. I’ve been told more than once that if I’d grown up in certain other areas, I would have had guys beating down my door. But I never truly felt sexy, desirable, or totally ok the way I was, until I started dating black men. When I was married, sex was ALWAYS with the lights off. I never felt comfortable getting dressed or undressed in front of my ex-husband. But the black men I’ve been with have loved seeing me nude. Pretty much insisted on it. I never feel self-conscious or embarrassed of my chubby legs or my big behind. Rather, I feel appreciated, attractive, and beautiful in the presence of black men. Part of the reason black men are sexy is because they know exactly how to make a woman feel sexy. They see what they want and they go after it, almost in a predatory way.

My ex-husband stuck strictly to missionary with very little variety. If anything, I was very occasionally on top {meaning *maybe* once a year}, and he refused to do doggie. Like, ever. Our sex routine was just that… routine. I could set my watch to it. Few minutes of this, few minutes of that, then once he thought I was turned on enough, he’d climb on and hump away, without regard to whether I was enjoying it or not. Very rarely, I came during sex with him. But mostly, I’d wait til he went into the bathroom to clean up after he came, then I’d finish myself off. This was my sex life for YEARS. Ugh. His usual move to let me know he was in the mood was to snuggle up close and tell me I smelled good, then maybe grope me and whisper, “Am I being bad?” That ain’t sexy. AT ALL. Occasionally I would suggest different positions, and IF he actually tried it, he kept saying, “Does that feel good? Is this what you wanted?” I didn’t want to discuss it, I just wanted to frigging DO it!!

I can’t imagine any of the black men I’ve been with fumbling their way through sex that way. If we were in missionary position and they wanted me doggie style, they pretty much positioned me that way, or made it pretty clear that’s what they wanted. There was no bashful teenage-like asking what feels good or whether he can have sex with me. They just went for it. And with a few exceptions, it has been SO much better than any sex while I was married. Once, when we were still together, I told my ex-husband he had no idea if I was getting anything out of sex or not. His response? “I’m a guy, I don’t know these things.” Really? I’m pretty easy to read when it comes to sex. If I’m moving around, moaning, begging for more, digging my nails into your back, grabbing your ass to pull you closer, I’m into it. If I’m lying there, practically motionless, I’m not. Capiche?

This is somewhat secondary to the other reasons why I prefer black men, but I also like the contrast of dark skin against mine. There’s something so sexy about it. I love their thicker lips and the smoothness of their skin. I think that if I had ever dated a black guy before I met my ex-husband, I probably wouldn’t have dated him, let alone married him. Don’t get me wrong… I don’t regret marrying him. We did have some good times and because of him, I have a beautiful daughter. But he wasn’t the right guy for me. I’m only sorry it took me so damn long to figure out what it was I really wanted.

The One Who Raised the Bar

When I first started going to BBW parties, I didn’t really know what to expect. I admit, I was a bit jaded after years of a very unromantic marriage, and I really didn’t have high expectations of meeting someone special. It was mostly an opportunity for me to get back into the social scene and figure out all over again how to date.

At the very first party I went to, one of my friends told me about a guy she knew whom she thought I would like. She said he was a big guy {former minor league football player} and that he was a gentle giant. Toward the end of the party, I noticed a guy fitting that description who came in and started dancing. I was pretty sure it must be him, but I couldn’t find my friend to ask her.

As things were winding down, people were leaving, and the lights were turned back up, I was talking to my friends when this guy came walking over. He said hi to the ones he knew and gave my friend a hug. She turned and introduced me to Ben. He looked down, smiled, and shook my hand, then it was almost as if I had said, “HEY!” He had started to look away but quickly looked back down at me {he was easily a foot taller than me} like he was really seeing me for the first time. Then he started turning on the charm. He was talking and flirting and kept asking for my number. I didn’t know what to do, and certainly wasn’t used to any guy coming on to me like that, so I finally said, “Give me your number and I’ll call you.” He didn’t believe that I would, but eventually gave me his number.

The next afternoon, I called him. When he answered, I said, “Hi, do you know who this is?” At the party, my friend had teased him about being terrible with names and said he probably wouldn’t remember mine. But he immediately guessed who I was, name and all {score one point for the gentle giant}. We talked for a while, and he asked if I wanted to meet for dinner later that week. I accepted.

We pulled in at the same time, and he immediately came over to my side of the car before I was even all the way out. He had this big smile and gave me a big hug and kiss. I loved being wrapped in those arms. We walked together to the restaurant, which he said he had worked at years before. A few people there remembered him, and he introduced me to all of them {score another point}. During dinner, he held my hands across the table and gazed at me like a big lovestruck kid. He said that when he had met me, he took a double take because he had been mesmerized by my eyes. At one point, he said he wanted to show me where the restroom was in case I needed to go while we were there. I followed him over there and as soon as we got around the corner, he pulled me into his arms and kissed me. He said he just wanted an excuse to kiss me, not to show me where the restroom was {points scored all over the place}.

After dinner, he tucked my arm in his as we walked back to the car. He held me and kissed me, and I was loving every minute of it. He called and texted every day, and we made plans to meet again. After talking for a week or two, I went over to his apartment one afternoon. We were on his bed kissing, touching, fooling around, and it was so nice. At one point, I looked at him and said, “You’re gonna make me fall for you.” He kissed me and said, “Go ahead and fall, I’ll catch you.” Hook, line, sinker. He had me.

As we were fooling around that day, he wanted me to go down on him. I didn’t know him well, but I knew him well enough to assume I wasn’t the first girl to be in his apartment. I also assumed I wouldn’t be the first girl in his bed to blow him. Something had to set me apart. So I ignored his request. We kept fooling around, and he ended up going down on me. My ex-husband had never been very good at oral sex. He only did it occasionally, and I was never really comfortable having his face downtown anyway. One time, when he halfheartedly did, I asked if he even enjoyed doing it. He said he only did it because he thought I wanted him to. So I told him not to worry about it anymore. I think both of us were relieved. But when Ben touched me with his tongue… I discovered for the first time what all the fuss was about. He had me digging my heels into the mattress, gasping, moaning… He was amazing.

The next time I went to his apartment, all bets were off. Naked, kissing, touching, making love…it was so good. We went on dates, and every time, he was holding my hands across the table, being a perfect gentleman. It was as if I had conjured him out of a dream. THIS was what dating was supposed to be like! He was courting me, wooing me, and winning me with every kiss, every gesture, every moment that we were together. He came to a bar he had no interest in, just because he knew I’d be there. He went out of his way to be wonderful, paying for me on our dates and being so sweet and attentive.

I should have known this was too good to be true.

One afternoon, we were at his apartment in bed. I was contentedly lying there, with my head on his chest, when he dropped a bombshell on me. Oh, by the way, he had sort of a girlfriend who used to live here but was now living in Canada for work. They talked on the phone a few times a week, said the “L” word, and what he was really looking for was someone who was not only okay with him having someone else, but who would ideally have her own guy on the side so he wouldn’t feel bad about it. I slowly pulled back from him and felt myself inwardly withdrawing, like a turtle into a shell. He saw my reaction and tried to be sweet but I didn’t even know what to say. He had been acting like I was his girlfriend, but here he was telling me all he wanted from me was some no-strings-attached fun??

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

We continued talking, and after several days, we were back to going on dates and fooling around. Despite what he had said, he was acting so romantic, so caring… like a boyfriend, not a friend with benefits. I stupidly let my guard down, thinking maybe he cared about me more than he was willing to admit. But one evening, we were at his apartment, sitting on the porch and having a glass of wine, when the same discussion came up again. He said he hadn’t misled me, that he had made it clear what he was looking for. I said I didn’t like knowing I was nothing but a convenience to him. He tried to say that wasn’t the case but what else would you call it? He asked if I wanted a relationship. I said I didn’t know what it was that I wanted. I was getting more angry and feeling more and more foolish. I asked what he would have said if I’d said yes when he asked me about wanting a relationship. He said, “I would have said I’m not ready.” I looked at him angrily and said, “You’re damn right you’re not ready.” I took the last sip of my wine and said, “We’re done here.” I calmly {but purposefully} walked back inside and put my glass in the sink, intending to walk out of his apartment and out of his life. He tried to stop me, looking like he really didn’t like being the bad guy, but I left anyway. He told me to call him when I got home. I never did.

He texted me a few days later and I ignored him. I did my best to put him out of my mind, but too many things about him were exactly what I was looking for in a guy. I couldn’t forget him.

A few months went by, and I was out at a club one night with my friends, when who should walk by but Ben. I had sworn I’d never hook up with him again, but seeing him after all that time, all the memories came rushing back. We started talking, and I was trying so hard to just act like we were friends, nothing more. But then he asked me to dance. We had gone to this same club together before, and he had never really been into PDA. But this time, he got me on the dancefloor and couldn’t stop kissing me. He kept telling me how much he had missed me.

Needless to say, all of my bravado went right out the window and I ended up in his bed that night. It was better than it had ever been. The sex was incredible. He kept telling me how beautiful I was, how much he had missed me. The next morning, he had to drive his cousin somewhere very early, and he told me to stay there and he’d be right back. Before he left, he leaned over and kissed me on the forehead. I was lost all over again.

The second honeymoon didn’t last long before we were right back to square one. I distanced myself without much fanfare this time, and even though I would occasionally hear from him, we didn’t see each other again…until several months later when he invited me to his cousin’s wedding. I was surprised and flattered and accepted the invitation. We had a good time until I noticed that he couldn’t keep his eyes off one of the bridesmaids. Every time she went by, his eyes went too. I finally saw him for what he was — a dog in his late 40s, still chasing tails. I knew I was done.

Ain't nuttin but a hound dawg

Ain’t nuttin but a hound dawg

For the longest time, I couldn’t put him out of my mind. I was mad at myself for giving any thought to a guy who clearly thought of me as nothing but an option. I couldn’t figure out why I was still thinking about him, but it suddenly dawned on me. He set the bar for how Mr. Right should be. Ben may have turned out to be nothing but a dog, but he was also so many things that I’m looking for in a man: attentive, romantic, sweet, great lover, funny, sexy as hell…

I’ve had plenty of dates, and while I’m not super picky, I do have certain standards that I’m pretty set on. Yeah, I’ve gone out with some guys who weren’t exactly what I was looking for. I’ve tried to be less demanding and not automatically rule out a particular guy just because of one thing or another. But the fact is that my marriage was 17 years of me constantly lowering my expectations. I’m not looking for the perfect guy, just the one who’s perfect for me. I have to be true to myself and hold out for what I really want.

Next up: Chocolat

Kiss the Girl

I absolutely love kissing. I’d almost prefer a great kiss to sex itself. I’ve been kissed badly, I’ve been kissed passionately, and I’ve been kissed awkwardly. I’ve had kisses that curled my toes and kisses that nearly turned my stomach.

Here are my most memorable first kisses, from worst to best:

The Tongue
Jeff was a guy I met in high school at a dance. I’m not really sure why I agreed to go out with him because he was very obnoxious. I guess, even back then, I was too nice to turn people down. He called me and asked if I wanted to go to the mall. That sounded innocent enough, right? He picked me up and proceeded to drive down into our local metropolitan park. I asked where we were going and he said he thought we could go for a walk instead. We started walking, and I dumbly failed to realize he was steering me farther away from where other people were. We sat on a log and he started kissing me. If you can imagine kissing a snake, or a lizard, that’s pretty much what it was like. His lips were pressed tightly together and his tongue darted in and out of my mouth like he expected there to be a mousetrap in there. Then he started pushing my head down, and I never realized how strong my neck muscles were until then. Seriously? A blow job in the middle of a crowded park? Not bloody likely, pal. I ended up reluctantly giving him a messy handy j {I think you know what I mean}, and when we headed back to the car, he smiled and said, “You’re a fun girl.” Ummm….thanks? Needless to say, that was my first and last time getting together with him.
This might have been preferable.

The After-School Special
Matt was a guy I knew from a couple of my classes sophomore year in high school. He awkwardly flirted with me, but I didn’t pick up on it. One day after school, I was heading to volleyball practice when I ran into him in the hall. We started talking and walking {in the empty halls} and ended up sitting on the stairs kissing. At this point, I had only been kissed once before, and it was just a quick peck on the lips. Matt moaned as we kissed, which was odd, and he was the first guy to ever French kiss me. After that experience, I swore I’d never do it again because it felt pretty gross to have someone else’s tongue in my mouth {thank goodness I’ve since gotten over that initial revulsion!}. He slid his hands up the back of my shirt, and when I felt his hand reaching for my bra, I backed off. He later asked me to the homecoming dance, but I made up an excuse not to go. I was very inexperienced, and the whole episode scared me off, at least for a little while. I later discovered how nice a good makeout session can be.

The Floridian
The summer I turned 15, I went with my parents on a cruise to the Bahamas. One afternoon, I met Patrick. I had wandered from the sunny deck into one of the bars to get a Coke, and we started talking. After that, my dad referred to him as ‘the wolf’ because it seemed like everywhere we went, Patrick was around {which delighted me but worried my overprotective dad}. We spent a lot of time together over the next couple of days, and on the last night of the cruise, we sat together at a small table, talking. He kept gazing into my eyes, making me blush. We exchanged addresses {too bad that was way before the days of texting and Facebook} and promised to write. He walked me to my cabin, and just when I thought he would walk away, he leaned in and kissed me softly on the lips. It was just the briefest touch of his lips to mine, but it was my very first kiss and I knew I’d never forget it. We actually did keep in touch for a while, lost track of each other, then started talking again when we were both in college…
Can you hear the Love Boat theme song playing?

The Return of the Floridian
In my last year of college, Patrick and I had been talking quite a bit. At one point, he told me he had gotten a free flight anywhere in the continental US because he had been bumped from a flight. I jokingly said, “Well, you could always come see me!” Surprisingly, he thought that was a great idea. I was nervous and excited. We decided that he would fly up that summer, on a weekend when I was supposed to go visit a friend at her lake cottage. Oh…I suppose I should mention that I was dating someone at the time. But things were pretty blah, and there was no way I was passing up an opportunity to see Patrick. I picked him up at the airport and he looked amazing. The same, but much better. When I first met him, he was wiry and somewhat awkward and dorky. But now… Now he was a bit taller, muscular, sexy as hell. We drove to the cottage, catching up, talking, laughing, and I was smitten all over again. The first night, we were all sitting around drinking and having a good time {my friend had invited several other people up that weekend}, when we saw a movement against the curtains. We thought it was a bat but it turned out to be a monarch butterfly. I got it to land on my hand, and Patrick opened the sliding door so I could take it outside. We sat down on the steps, and I was in awe of the fact that this delicate butterfly was so calmly resting on my hand, trusting me not to hurt it. I looked over at Patrick, and he leaned over and kissed me. The whole world ceased to exist. This was what I had wanted since we had met 7 years earlier. We ended up doing much more than kissing that weekend, but then we both had to go back to our lives. A few weeks after that unforgettable weekend, the guy I was dating proposed. I said yes {I guess that’s a story for a later date} and the rest is history. I always thought of Patrick as the one who got away. If only we had lived closer to each other, if only circumstances had been different. If only, if only, if only. We recently got back in touch on Facebook, and he’s a happily married Air Force doctor with two or three kids. Sigh.

Mr. Holiday
During one of my several failed attempts at online dating, I met Charles. He seemed to have his head together. Serious family man, not into playing games, etc. We didn’t talk long before deciding to meet. He was tall, dark, and sexy. When I pulled up, he got the biggest smile on his face. We sat on a bench at a mall, talking for a long time. At one point, he saw someone he knew, and he actually introduced me. That scored big points with me because when I was married, my {now} ex-husband very rarely introduced me to anyone. He’d run into someone and stand there talking for 10 minutes without ever turning and saying, “Oh, this is my wife.” When I got upset about it later, he always said he had forgotten the person’s name who he was talking to. Whatever. Anyway, Charles and I talked for an hour or so, and I had to get going. He walked me to my car, hesitated for a minute, and then proceeded to curl my toes, knock my socks off, and blow my mind. He put his hands on either side of my face, tilted my face up toward his, and kissed me. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love that kind of kiss. So simple, but so amazing. I thought my knees might buckle. I refer to him as Mr. Holiday because he lives here but works out of state. So he’s only here once a month, if that, and often on holidays. So, many times on a particular holiday, I’ve heard from him, asking if I want to get together. Often, I have. There are so many things about him that really appeal to me, but I don’t think he’s emotionally available. He’s got so much on his mind with his kids, various family issues, health issues, and the fact that he works eight hours away. I don’t know if things could ever work out with him in the long run, but I really could see the potential.

Maybe I’m too much of a romantic, but what I dream of, what I long for, is my last first kiss. Something like this or this or this. Until then, there are more frogs out there waiting to be kissed…

S.W.A.K...sealed with a kiss

Next up: The One Who Raised the Bar

The Boomerang {aka, the one I’m never ever ever getting back together with…like, ever.}

{I must apologize in advance for the length of this one. It’s kind of a complicated story, but one that bears telling.}
I met Todd on a dating site when I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking for. He was good looking but struck me as kind of serious. I can be serious, but I’m pretty lighthearted and tend to laugh a lot. We talked for a while on the phone before deciding to meet.

We had arranged to meet for dinner at a restaurant nearby, and when I got there and saw him, I did something completely out of character for me. I walked right up to him and kissed him. He seemed surprised and didn’t immediately kiss me back, making me feel very foolish. He later said it was because he was catching a quick smoke before I got there and had a mouthful of cigarette smoke. At first glance, he reminded me of Carlton, from Fresh Prince of Bel Air…very straight laced and business-like.

We found a table, and I was amazed at how quickly I felt completely comfortable with him. We were sitting sort of facing each other, and my leg was between his. It felt like the most natural thing in the world. I really wanted to kiss him and told him as much, but he was hesitant because he was still married {separated, but still married} and was worried someone he knew could be around.

After we ate, we decided to go for a drive. Near the restaurant we discovered a small park. We pulled in… and proceeded to make out like teenagers. I couldn’t get enough. At one point, he was kind of on top of me in the front seat, then reached down and reclined the seat. I immediately went from semi-upright to being on my back, and it was so sexy. The logical, grown-up part of my brain was worried that a cop would come by and bust us for public indecency or something. We were both dressed, but still. How embarrassing would that be to get arrested or even fined for making out in a car??

How very, very naughty...

How very, very naughty…

He had me so turned on. I was very close to throwing caution to the wind and letting him take me right there in the front seat of his Corolla. He was rock hard and I wanted him so badly. I don’t know what came over me. I was never that girl who got loose on a first date, but it felt so right with him. Finally, we both knew we better be getting home. We got out of the car for a minute and he pressed me against it, kissing me. I was so turned on, I was half out of my head.

After that night, we tried to see each other whenever we could, but with work schedules and family lives, it was tough. We had some great conversations and could laugh together. We met for lunch a few times and often ended up making out in the car. It was never enough. I wanted him.

We both played hooky and met at a hotel room one afternoon. It felt so illicit, so naughty, so perfect. We had both agreed to take our time, but once we were behind closed doors, alone, all bets were off. Our clothes were off in a matter of minutes. We were all over each other, kissing, touching… It felt so good to finally have him, feel him… We had sex a few times that afternoon and dozed in between, exhausted.

Sex with Todd was unbelievably good. He may have looked like Carlton, but he loved like a wild man. I always thought of him as the male version of ‘lady in the streets, freak in the sheets.’

We saw each other for only a few months when he got some bad news…his company was downsizing and his branch was closing. I tried to be supportive but he was extremely stressed about how to pay his bills and trying not to lose his house, not to mention paying for his kids’ tuition. I was a factor that he just couldn’t deal with and he broke things off. It hurt to know he could walk away from me so easily, but I tried not to dwell on it.

A few months later, he got back in touch with me, saying he missed me. We picked up right where we left off, and it was good, but some of that excitement of a new relationship had faded. It also didn’t help that he was still technically married and was back living with his wife, even though he claimed their relationship was very platonic.

I was in the process of trying to sell my house and was under a huge amount of stress. My ex wasn’t helping at all to get the house ready to list {we both still owned it}. So it fell on me to clean, paint, fix and organize everything myself. My relationship with Todd wasn’t exactly a priority, and I think he felt that. We kind of drifted apart, and I didn’t really mind so much this time.

Several months later, I was messing with my Yahoo account when the messenger box popped up. I hadn’t used it in some time, but back when we were together, Todd and I chatted on it regularly. There was his name, with the little dot next to it, indicating that he was online. I thought about it for a while, and decided to send him a quick message. I just said hello and asked how he was, not knowing if he’d even bother to respond.

He did. We caught up a bit, making small talk, and mentioned maybe meeting for lunch sometime. Weeks went by, and I was busy with work and my new place. We were still chatting online a few times a week, but no solid plans had been made. Finally, one Saturday, we agreed to meet downtown for lunch. I deliberated for a long time over what to wear. I didn’t want to look like I had made an effort for him, but at the same time I wanted to look damn good.

I walked in and gave him a hug. I could tell he was a bit apprehensive, but I acted very casual, as if we were just two friends meeting for lunch who hadn’t seen each other in a while. It was nice to see him, but I didn’t have any expectations of anything more.

He texted me later that day and said he’d wanted to kiss me but didn’t know if I wanted him to. I realized at that moment that I did. We met for dinner a few nights later and this time there was a definite vibe in the air. I could see him looking at me with that same old hunger in his eyes. When he walked me to my car, he kissed me, and it all came flooding back. I didn’t want it to end.

He said he and his wife were again separated, he had gotten an apartment, and they were talking lawyers and divorce. I tried not to get my hopes up. We started seeing each other, yet again, and this time something was different. It all felt brand new…familiar, yet new and exciting. We talked about a future together, how he had planned to just remain alone, but now he really wanted a future with me. I could actually see it…bringing him to family events, going on dates, and having a real relationship. At last, we both seemed to be on the same page.

At first, things were fantastic. The sex was better than ever. We were trying new things, and couldn’t get enough of each other…sexually, anyway. It bothered me that we only saw each other every other week or so. There was no real reason for it. I could understand crazy work schedules, or if he had his kids, etc. But when I brought it up, he said that when he got home at the end of the day, he just fell into his routine of fixing his dinner and getting his clothes ironed for the next day, etc. Seeing me just wasn’t really in that routine. It didn’t seem to bother him that he only saw me occasionally, but I wanted and needed more. I needed to feel like a priority, not a convenience.

Another problem was that he was very cagey about what information he would share with me. To this day, I have no idea if his divorce was ever final because he refused to give me a straight answer.

He was also physically attached to his phone. Any little beep and he had to check it, even if it was just a weather update. He couldn’t understand why I thought that was rude. On one occasion, when I fussed about him checking his phone every 10 seconds, he said he might be getting a text from his kids, and said bluntly, “Yes, I have other priorities that are more important than you.” Funny how spoken words can feel like a slap in the face. I pretty much paid my half of the bill and got up and left at that point. He later apologized but it still stung that he said it at all. He made almost an identical comment a few weeks later, and yet for some reason I still didn’t kick him to the curb.

He claimed to love me, saying he honestly couldn’t see himself with anyone but me. He promised to make more of an effort to see me. He promised that once he had more money {he had picked up a side job to supplement his income} he would take me on a real date. Months went by, and nothing changed. I began to feel sad about the fact that I was apparently not worthy of his time or effort. I was also bothered by the fact that he would mostly just text me. We very rarely spoke on the phone, which struck me as odd since he had his own place. When I was married, I resigned myself to accepting scraps of attention from my {now} ex. It made me sad to realize I was back to square one, accepting scraps from Todd.

But I’m a much different woman than I was when I was married. Then, I accepted scraps because I genuinely didn’t think I could do better. Now, I’ve come to the realization that I’d rather be alone than with the wrong person, and I refuse to settle ever again. I refuse to be with someone just for the sake of being with someone. I have to believe I’m worth more than that.

I think, because certain things about our relationship were so good, I was really trying to make it work with him. Granted, any relationship is gonna take work, but in my opinion, it just shouldn’t be that hard. He said and did things a few times that made me wonder if he was trying to get me to break up with him so he wouldn’t have to do the dirty work.

The last month we were technically a couple {and I say ‘couple’ in the loosest sense of the word}, we never spoke on the phone or even saw each other. We’d had a stupid misunderstanding, and instead of trying to patch things up like we usually did, he turned it into a big issue. We texted back and forth for a month, and finally, on Valentine’s Day, of all days, we broke up. He said some intentionally hurtful things, which I know were said because he, himself, was feeling upset and hurt and was trying to hurt me. I just couldn’t get past that. In any relationship I’ve ever been in, I have never resorted to insults or intentionally hurtful words. But Todd had a way of saying just the right thing to work under my skin like a barb. I refused to stoop to his level, no matter how tempting it was.

And so, as much as it hurt to do it, I walked away from Todd for good, with my dignity intact and trying to convince myself that there was someone out there would see me as worthy of their time. Sometimes he crosses my mind, and I can’t help but wonder if he feels stupid for letting me go, for throwing away something that I think could have been amazing. I’ll probably never know.

Next up: Kiss the Girl

Why I Want to Smack That eHarmony Guy

Despite my early luck in catching the interest of a few guys, I quickly learned that it’s really not an easy thing to do. I work in an office with pretty meager pickings when it comes to guys. They are all a bit too old, or a bit too metrosexual, or a bit too married.

I decided to try online dating because I thought it might be a better way to go. According to the commercials, I could find someone perfect for me. I tried a couple of different free dating sites, and kept running into guys whose idea of getting to know me meant asking about my bra size. I also got messages from many guys who bore an uncanny resemblance to the Unabomber.

Hey ladies, I've got a cave and a case of C-4. Let's do this.

Hey ladies, I’ve got a cave and a case of C-4. Let’s do this.

I finally caved in and paid for a trial membership on eHarmony. I really didn’t like that site because a) you can’t browse. You have to just wait for them to send you matches; and b) the matches they were sending me looked nothing like the physical descriptions I had given as my preference in the very detailed questionnaire they brag about. Once again, I was being paired up with the Unabomber.

So I let that membership end, and I tried the mother of all dating sites — the mecca, if you will. The alpha and the omega… The one that promised to make me as happy {if not happier than} the couples on TV gazing lovingly into each others’ eyes and giving testimony to how they never would have met if not for {trumpet blast} Match.com. My brother met his girlfriend on Match. My ex met his new drill sergeant wife on Match. His little sister met her husband on Match. There had to be something there, right?

The very first guy who contacted me seemed promising… good job, lived fairly close by, nice looking… We chatted online briefly before exchanging numbers. This was exciting! This could be my guy! I could be that girl on the commercials! We started talking, and he asked what my interests were. I gave him my standard response: I like music {most types}, movies {pretty much anything except bloody and/or scary}, reading, going for walks by the lake, blah blah blah. Then I asked him what he liked. He said {and I quote}, “Well, I like those things too. I also like having my bootyhole licked.” Ummm… what? WHAT?? How does one go from musical preference to bootyhole?

He was quite put off when I responded negatively to that comment, saying I was wrong to judge people. Ok, bootyhole guy, you’re right. I shouldn’t have judged you based on your premature sharing of sexual tastes {ugh, pun definitely NOT intended}. But I’ll be honest. Although I do enjoy sex as much as the next person, I don’t want to discuss it in our very first conversation. And really, I don’t know that there’s ever a right time to bring up bootyholes.

I quickly gave up on my trial membership to Match after realizing that although this was a reputable {according to the lovely commercials} site which charged a monthly fee, the guys were mostly just like the ones on the free sites. There had to be someone good out there!

I also quickly learned, from the various sites to which I subscribed at one point or another, that when the questionnaire asks you to describe your physical appearance, apparently it’s ok to embellish. One guy described himself as ‘stocky’ but ended up looking like Fat Bastard. Several guys claimed to be 5’8, but were looking eye to eye with me when we met… and I’m 5’4. One guy left his height out altogether and ended up being nearly 7 feet tall. I felt like a toddler as we followed the hostess to our table at TGIFridays. No, excessive height isn’t a dealbreaker, but the fact that all he was able or willing to discuss was weather and sports kind of was.

There was one guy I started talking to who invited me to meet him for drinks… at a gay bar. When I asked why he chose that place, he said he went there all the time. He accused me of being prejudiced when I seemed a bit put off. I have no problem with people who happen to be gay. It doesn’t define them, anymore than being straight defines me. But if the guy I could potentially be dating is often frequenting a gay bar, I’m kinda thinking I really might not be his type.

I think one of my favorites was the single dad who wanted to bring his toddler son on our first date. He also had one of the oddest natural speaking voices I’ve ever heard. He was a black guy, and I kid you not, he sounded just like Flanders from The Simpsons. I kept expecting him to say, “What can I diddlee do ya for?”

I’ve since given up on online dating. I got tired of rewriting the same answers over and over for my profiles, and I was definitely tired of running into the same brand of perverts and players at every turn.

And so, smug eHarmony guy, you’ve lost your credibility with me. I gave you a shot and you blew it. You promised to study my likes and dislikes and find me Mr. Right. You ignored every hint I gave you on who my perfect guy would be. You blindly threw darts at a board and provided me with plenty of Mr. Wrongs. I think I can safely say that Prince Charming was not on your site — unless, of course, he was cleverly disguised as the Unabomber. Well played, eHarmony guy, well played.

Next up: The Boomerang

Friends Shouldn’t Let Friends Beer Goggle

When I initially decided to tackle this subject, I had a specific story in mind. But something happened last night that I can’t NOT share with you. So today you get a 2-for-1 deal. First things first…

Last night, my friend Stacy and I went to a party. We were both long overdue for a girls’ night out. We knew many of the people there {it was a going away party for a friend}, but there were a few new faces, including two young, nice-looking guys.

At some point, Stacy struck up a conversation with them. They were both cute and somewhat flirtatious. We discovered that they were 19 years old. Oohhh dear.

As I mentioned, we’d had a few drinks and were feeling pretty good, not to mention looking pretty good. We had both dressed up, but everyone else at the party was in jeans. As the night wore on, we found ourselves hanging out more and more with “Chip” and “Chad.” Chip was shorter with a very cute face and always smiling. Chad was tall and goofy and funny, also with a very cute face.

Initially, Stacy had all of their attention, at least partly because… Well, to be honest, they were both admitted boob guys and Stacy’s got me beat in that department. Because they knew we were quite a bit older than they were, they kept saying we could teach them things. How very, very tempting… I jokingly said that Stacy should let Chad motorboat her since he’d likely never been near boobs that big before. She surprisingly obliged {much to Chad’s delight}. Chip whipped his phone out to capture this epic moment, which neither of them are likely to forget anytime soon. Stacy had applied body glitter to her cleavage, so when Chad finally emerged from his journey into her decollatage, his face was covered with the glitter. Possibly my favorite moment of the night.

But gradually, Chad decided I was his date. He kept standing behind me, wrapping his arms around me {did I mention that I LOVE when guys do that?}, and pulling me to him. I could feel his erection pressing against my ass. His hands mischievously kept wandering to my chest, but he announced that I had changed him to a butt man. Score one for the booty! They both kept asking if we could go to a hotel room.

Long story short, nothing happened with these young scamps, aside from some groping and lots of laughing. We were all just having a really good time. Not beer goggling in the traditional sense of the word, but definitely not something either of us would have done sober. Or, at least, I don’t think we would’ve.

I suppose I should mention that Stacy is married. No, she doesn’t run around on her husband, but she is occasionally flirtatious {no harm in that, right?}. On this particular night, she was not happy with hubby and was basically blowing off steam. Hey, it happens.

I also want to mention that Stacy told a bunch of people at the party that when she spreads her legs, diamonds pour out, the sun shines on it, and sometimes there’s a rainbow. Not because it has anything to do with this story, but because it was too awesome not to repeat. Love you, girl.

Now, back to my original tale. Shortly before my divorce was final {as in, less than a month} and a week before my 40th birthday, I went to a party with my friends. As with the Halloween party I mentioned previously, this was a couple of hours from home, so I didn’t know most of the people there.

I’m not usually terribly outgoing when I go to these parties. At that time, I was still pretty new to this whole scene and often just stayed close to my friends. At this party, however, I was in rare form. Maybe it was the giddiness of my divorce FINALLY being over soon, maybe it was because I was about to turn 40, or maybe it was just time for me to cut loose and enjoy myself. Whatever it was, I was ready to mingle.

I was telling random guys that they should buy me drinks since I wouldn’t get to see them on my birthday. Hilarious, since I wouldn’t have seen them anyway, but whatever. Needless to say, I received quite a few free drinks that night, including one from the DJ. I’m normally more of an occasional/social drinker. I might have three or four drinks over the course of the night, and I very, VERY rarely drink enough to get more than a buzz. But this night? I was feeling no pain.

At one point, I noticed a guy who {in my drunken mind} looked just like Cedric the Entertainer, whom I love. I started talking to him, not bothering to remember his real name when he said it, and kept calling him Cedric. He didn’t seem to mind. My friends finally decided it was time for us to leave, so I gave Cedric my number, made him promise to call me, and stumbled out.

A few days later, he called me. He seemed like a really nice guy, and he lived near where the party had been. He wanted to take me out for a belated birthday dinner, so we agreed to meet halfway a few weeks later. He had gotten a motel room {probably wishful thinking on his part}, but I had no intention of staying over.

I got to his room, expecting to walk in and find Cedric the Entertainer.

Yes, please!

Yes, please!

What I walked in and found was more like Fat Albert.

ummm...

ummm…

He was sitting on the side of the bed and didn’t even get up when I walked in. He was easily twice as big as my previously drunken mind had remembered. Now, I’m not opposed to dating a bigger guy. I’m truly not {I’ll get into that later}. But his boobs were bigger than mine {and I’m a double D}. That just ain’t sexy. We talked for a few minutes before leaving for dinner.

After dinner, we went for a walk in the park, and he was bragging the whole time about his expensive cars and his expensive jewelry, and I was tuning out more and more. I really can’t stand bragging. It’s so obnoxious. Honestly, if he’d had a better personality, I might have been able to overlook his size. But I’ve known guys like that before and it’s really a turnoff. We eventually said our goodbyes and I headed home.

My friends are usually pretty good about steering me away from poor judgements. But I admit, I’ve had a few lapses that I’m not proud of. It happens. But you live and you learn and you move on. Preferably with a guy who’s not young enough to be my son or a guy whose bra size puts mine to shame.

Next up: Weiner