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I didn’t clean up for you

Hi. Welcome to my new blog design. It’s a mess. There’s stuff that’s broken. There’s stuff that looks WTF? But whatever. Here we are.

Since my blog is sort of home for me, let’s pretend I just moved and you’re visiting me while my house is full of boxes. I’ll get to all of it eventually … or at least most of it. Anyway, I’m not going to wait to invite to invite you over until my house/blog is spotless. Life is for living, not for creating a lifestyle brand on Instagram. Shit gets messy in real life.

With that in mind, here’s the desk that I’m working at this morning.

 

I keep trying to beat back the clutter. It’s better than it was.

Oh, but here’s my overflow onto the dining room table.

And just for context, this is where all of that is. In my little nook in the corner of the dining room. That’s where I am. I think it’s nice to know where people are doing what they do.

 

 

 

 

And here’s me. I’m the one waving at you. Hello!

That’s what I slept in. That shirt is about 16 years old and I hardly ever wear it but my laundry is not done. It’s not sexy. And I feel bad for all of you that you have to look at me when I’m not sexy or put together … because seriously, don’t we all come to the Internet to see pictures of people living their best lives? And if you’re a woman, doesn’t living your best life entail being effortlessly sexy at all times? It probably does.

By telling you that my laundry isn’t done, I can give the impression that if it were done, there’s the possibility that I would’ve slept in something adorable. Now do me a favor … close your eyes and imagine me as a cutout paper doll. You know, the kind we had when we were kids with the foldy tabs to hold the clothes on. Now use the foldy tabs of your mind to dress me in whatever your idea is of what a gorgeous, totally-together, confident woman would wear upon first getting up before taking care of her maternal duties and then going on to slay the day like a suburban ninja. While also being effortlessly sexy.

Also, I haven’t brushed my hair. Oh God, wait, yes I did. But it didn’t take because I had a water gun fight my 9 year-old son last night and he cornered me by the back door and just absolutely annihilated me until I was soaked straight through to my underwear and I came in smelling like a wet dog. My hair never recovered.

Also, I don’t have makeup on. Dear God, I hope that’s obvious.

But anyway, there I am. Me.

One thing the pic doesn’t show? I’m not particularly hot (as in temperature-wise) but my armpits just started sweating like a whore in church. Or a whore’s armpits. Whatever. I’m just sitting here. I’m not exerting. So there’s no particular reason for this whore sweat, other than the fact that I’m forty-freaking-six.

So why am I telling you all this? Because, other than speeding and trespassing, my worst habit is generally oversharing. Like, if you’ve known me for more than five minutes, you probably know that I’m divorced and that I was really poor right after that and I had to declare bankruptcy and shortsell my house and grocery shop at the Dollar Tree. These things are my most shameful secrets … except they’re not secret at all because I tell everyone about them.

This sort of talk makes people uncomfortable. It’s not nice to talk about money or the lack of money when you’re a nice white lady who lives in a shiny white suburb. But I don’t know how to not talk about it.

I also don’t know how to not talk about all the things that people are just supposed to shut the eff up about … politics, religion, sex, weird obsessions about paranormal things and killer whales (although I’ve walked that one back quite a bit … I appear to be in a club of one there).

I sort of relaunch this blog every couple years. It is always simultaneously terrifying and also thrilling. What if I don’t remember how to do this? How long can I do this before I tick someone off? How much can I say about my life without saying something too personal about someone else’s life whose life touches mine? Will this be the time I don’t let myself just burn up on the launch pad and, instead, finally just ride the momentum and see where we go?

So relaunching. I’m not totally ready … but it’s time to start.

My friend Nicole says the greatest thing. “You’ll know you’re my friend when I don’t clean up before you come over.”

So, hey, friends … make yourself a seat out of a packing box and ignore the dust bunnies. Welcome.

Weddings and Babies and Bruno

So I’m back at Panera. My old Panera. The one I used to come to to cry and kill time when my ex-husband and I were separating so many years ago …

And why I am here now after so many years? Because I just dropped my kids off at the hospital — where my ex-husband’s new wife just had their new baby. Today, instead of killing time until my ex’s visitation time is over, I’m killing time until my kids are done visiting their new sibling. Then I’ll go pick them up and drive them home to our house, where my new husband of nine days is waiting.

Life. Is. Effing. Weird.

I remember sitting here — at this EXACT table (or at least in this exact space) when I realized that I was going to have to date again someday. That was just a little less than eight years ago. Could I have imagined then, when I was 38, that at 46 I’d be remarried and just getting back from my honeymoon and doing all this stuff I’m doing this on this very weird day?

Would I have thought that eight years seemed like a long time? Would I have thought that 46 seemed really old? Would I have been shocked that I authored a book about online dating?

Life. Is. Effing. Weird.

Right now Bruno Mars’s song “I Think I Wanna Marry You” is on. It’s awesome when songs line up with what you’re thinking — except this is especially hilarious because Joe hates Bruno Mars and I LOVE HIM (that is, Bruno … Joe, too, obviously). I just figured out how to hijack Joe’s Spotify account on his phone when he’s driving. I keep meaning to throw some Bruno Mars his way … I need to put a reminder in my phone to do that.

Just got a text asking if the kids could stay at the hospital longer. Megan is “in her glory” holding her new baby sister. I said sure.

Getting over here today, honestly, was a huge pain in my ass. I had to stop work before I was done. Now I’ll have to work later — and especially so because now I’m sitting here blogging. But my kids were soooooo super psyched to meet their new sibling. This baby has been all they’ve talked about for months. There were times I wanted to tell them that I didn’t need to hear every detail — like, yes, I know what the rocking chair in the baby’s room looks like because I picked it out and nursed my babies in it. But I choked it back. I’m glad they’re excited. If they weren’t excited, that would mean something was wrong with them. And if something is important to them, that makes it important to me.

OK, well, it’s time for me to scoot. (A friend told me the other day that that’s my signature line when getting off the phone. “I need to scoot.”)

Peeps … seriously … I  need to scoot. Catch you later.

Just about to hit publish on this thangity when I realized I had to add another blog category: marriage.

Double-Check Me Fellow Liberals: Franken Resigned Too Soon

Give me a gut check on this apparently unpopular opinion that I hold.

I think Franken’s resignation was premature. It shut down the opportunity to go ahead and have the ethics investigation, which I think would’ve been useful.

 
These allegations do not rise to the level of the other harassment we’ve been hearing about, and they also do not seem particularly well substantiated. I’m also very bothered by the fact the first allegation seems to have sprung from a Roger Stone acquaintance, and was first aired on a TV station partially owned by the Mercers. (Fact check me here if you want to … read something about this late last night.)
 
In trying to prove a point about how g-d moral we Dems are, and how we believe all women, I fear that we failed to do our due diligence on this one. So what happens now? Are we going to turn our circular firing squad on every other Congressional member who ever acted like an ass at any time in his past? Because this will happen again. And now that the GOP knows that the Dems will oust someone over unproven allegations, they most certainly smell blood in the water.
 
I always say that the only people dumber than Republicans are Democrats. Republicans are already looting our country. They’re not going to suddenly start holding their people accountable just because we are. As someone said on Twitter today, these are people who have shown they cannot be shamed.
 
Also, I think the #metoo movement is very powerful and I’m grateful these conversations are happening. But I don’t want to believe all women to the point where it is unacceptable to question a woman’s account of supposed harassment. People lie sometimes.
 
Look at the sting operation with The Washington Post and the woman who lied about Roy Moore. It’s just plain stupid to pretend that in this politically charged environment that everyone is honest all the time. Let’s not let the #metoo movement shut down the opportunity for reasonable and deliberate investigation. Feminism should be an intelligent enough movement that we can handle difficult and nuanced conversations without lobbing people’s heads off.
 
Is Franken a disgusting lech who was faking his feminist credentials all along? I just don’t know. But I sure would’ve liked to have had a better idea about it before seeing him railroaded out of Congress.
 

I welcome your dissenting viewpoints if you disagree.

HOW COULD HE?


Louis C.K. My Louis. My fake fantasy boyfriend

HOW COULD HE?

I am mentally throwing his belongings out onto the sidewalk below our imaginary New York City apartment right fucking now. Boom!

You like this shirt, asshole? Well now it’s toilet paper for the dog that just shit on it! What about this bullshit I’m-just-a-regular-guy-like-you sweatshirt? It’s taking a leap, motherfucker! You better get between me and your laptop because that’s next! Your porn collection is going out the window, dickhead!

I feel so betrayed.

But while I’m doing this, I am beating back the urge to make it OK. He didn’t actually assault anyone … that we know about so far. More women are going to come out of the woodwork, right? They always do. He has a problem ... some toxic mix of too much porn (which is a problem for society in general), too much fame, some deep-seated self loathing, which always comes up in his comedy, doesn’t it? And …

Do I hear myself? Am I actually saying all of this? Am I making excuses for this man? Why?

Do I now have to say goodbye to all that we had? Our one-sided, unrequited romance? My late-night confessions that only Louis, another single parent out in the dating world, would understand?

Did it all mean nothing?

Imaginary Trish in our imaginary apartment is now sitting on the bed, crying and sob-talking at Louis …

Remember when the psychic told me that I was going to fall in love with someone with reddish hair and then I came home and saw you on  TV and I just knew she meant you? Remember when I cyberstalked you on Twitter and you ignored me? Remember when I confessed that I had to do the walk of shame and then we (mentally) fist-bumped each other because … oh yeah!

Do we have to throw it all away? Baby … can you go to therapy? Would that matter? Or would it just be a Band-Aid that doesn’t quite fit over the pus-filled, sucking wound that it’s trying to cover? We’ll pretend that things are better, but we’ll both know they’re really not.

Because what you did, Louis, what you did is so deeply sick. To convince yourself that you’re walking around in your own personal porno … dude, you’re smart enough to know that you were taking advantage. You’re smart enough to know that this was not a mutual thing … these women were not getting off on what you were doing.

These are people’s daughters! YOU HAVE DAUGHTERS!

Of all the stories that have come out, the one I keep thinking of is the one in the hotel room with the two female comedians. I can imagine being in that situation … someone you admire invites you and your friend upstairs for one more drink. You’re having fun. You go. The man you admire asks if he can take out his penis. Thinking that, certainly, the guy must be joking because he’s a comedian, you go “Yeah, sure!” I don’t know what the women said, but I probably would’ve said something like that … thinking it would never happen.

Then you took off all your clothes. I can imagine meeting my girlfriend’s eyes like “Whaaaaat is going on here?” I can imagine trying to swim up through the shock that would have certainly overtaken my brain to start running calculations …. What now? Do we leave? Is this a joke? We’re all comedians … this is still funny, right? Funny? How long can we laugh about this? If we get up, will he try to grab one of us? He’s big. He’s bigger than us. Clearly, some switch has flipped in his brain and all assumptions of normal behavior are off …. is he going to get violent? And this is LOUIS C.K.! Louis C.K. is making the bald man cry right in front of us! Holy shit! What will this mean to my career? He has a lot of power … what about all the connections I could have through him? But this is so fucked up … and ohmygod it’s still happening …

The women said they held on to each other and laughed loudly until you finished. Then they ran.

Apparently, you later tried to apologize to some of the women you, uh, churned your own butter in front of. So, yes, you are smart enough to know that it was sick. You’re also smart enough to know that your success was the only reason you could get away with it. Did you think those women felt lucky to see your cock because you were famous? Because that same behavior by someone un-famous would be gross and weird.

Newsflash: It’s still gross and weird, even if you’re famous. And then it might be even worse, because you’re using your power as leverage against these women.

And I know—we all know—that YOU SO KNOW what you were doing because of this routine about how men are the biggest threat to women. I have quoted this so many times. I thought you got it. This bit was smart and funny. Now it just makes me sad.

So … fuuuuuuck, Louis. I hate to say it, but therapy isn’t going to cut it. Apologies aren’t going to cut it. In our imaginary relationship, I now have to face the fact that there’s something inherently wrong with you. Something dark and nasty and sick.

We’re over, Louis. Over.

 

Things You Should Not Do Today

Let’s be cranky this morning shall we?

Here’s a list of things you should not do today:

  1. Come downstairs after rolling out of bed, give me the onceover (in my too-big jeans, baseball cap, and sweatshirt that I threw in the dark so I could take a kid to school in the rain) and declare “That’s a look” while sporting just-got-up Heat Miser hair.
  2. Write an article about “insanely awesome” healthy after-school snacks and include things like kalamata olives with grape tomatoes and sea salt. You have clearly never met a child.
  3. Write an article about “insanely awesome” healthy after-school snacks and include things like apples and peanut butter. Is your next article going to be about “insanely awesome” breakfast foods and include things like cereal? How about “insanely awesome” things to pack in a lunchbox? Note: PB&J is still a PB&J even if you use terms like nut butter and fruit spread. Fancy breads also do not make this a more creative option.
  4. Write any article on any topic that requires me to click through a slideshow. It’s a big Internet out there. There’s nothing buried in your little list that I can’t find elsewhere.
  5. Have a school fundraiser that requires children to sell magazines. Magazines. Seriously? Is learning how to prop up a dying industry through guilt now part of the school curriculum? Why don’t you just have them sell coal?
  6. Prove me right that yes, you ARE a royal pain in the ass when you have to finish your homework in the morning, even though you declare that you will not be.
  7. Stagger school start times so much that it requires parents (or, more specifically, this parent) to spend a total of close to three hours getting people out out the door in the morning.
  8. Not feel like fall when it’s fall.
  9. Be my glasses and hide from me.

#MeToo — My Totally Ordinary No-Big-Deal Sexual Assault

During my sexual assault, I had a few minutes to think about how I wanted things to go. Sure, there was the distraction of the guy’s tongue in my mouth and his body pressing me against the wall … and the fact that one of his hands was on one of my boobs … but knowing that his mind was otherwise occupied meant I had a few minutes to plan.

I thought about grabbing a lamp and bashing him over the head. But the problem was, he’d smushed me against the wall the second after we walked into his parents’ condo. I didn’t have the chance to look around and case the joint. Hell, I didn’t even know if there was a lamp in the room. Plus, with my inherent clutziness, if there was a lamp I was likely to pick it up all wrong … what if it wouldn’t unplug from the wall? What if I hit him with the shade instead of the base and I just ticked him off more? There were about ten ways that could’ve gone comically bad.

Plus, instinct told me that any bold action I took was going to be rewarded with a solid punch to my face. I’d never been punched. I didn’t want to start then. Also, what if he knocked me out? What was going to happen then?

No, better to stay conscious, even if it meant just letting him do his thing so I could get the hell out of there alive.

Friend of a Friend—So Cliché

“Skippy” was the bartender at the Jersey shore club where two of four my roommates worked.

Skippy was the kind of guy you could give a nickname like Skippy to, and then continue to call him Skippy to his face even though he fucking hated it.

Both of my roommates were naturally funny, and they teased him mercilessly. But they were also both charming and beautiful, so Skippy took it.

Memorial Day weekend that year was cold and rainy. Business was slow everywhere in town. The five of us, all underage, were stuck inside our tiny apartment with nothing to do. Skippy came over for a visit. Someone floated the idea that he should go out and get us some booze.

He said there was a lot of alcohol at his parents’ condo, but he wasn’t going to go get it unless someone went with him. None of us wanted to.

Then someone volunteered me. The rest of the girls quickly got on board with that. Certainly, they were all happy that they were off the hook. I glared at all of them but I agreed to go. I figured I’d deal with him for 10 minutes or so and then we could all get drunk on his parents’ liquor.

I went downstairs to the street and got in his car.

He started heading toward the other end of the island … I watched the familiar street names pass … Youngs, Roberts,  Baker. As I always did when I was alone with a man I didn’t know well, I had become as alert as a deer in the forest—looking calm but ready to bolt at any second.

By the age of 20, I already been on at least two dates that I didn’t think I was going to get home from.

We kept driving. Bennett … Hildreth … Cresse ….  Cresse was where the boardwalk ended. I didn’t know the street names after that. The houses became nicer and the hotels higher …

Just as I was starting to get nervous, we ended up at the gated entrance to a large condo community. Skippy parked and then went to one of many doors on the bottom floor. I don’t recall seeing a number on it. We entered to an empty hallway and lots of apartment doors. It was silent. Due to the rain, I imagined a lot of people had forgone the holiday weekend at the shore.

I followed him upstairs to his parents’ place.

He unlocked the door. I followed him inside and that was it.

He was on me.

He backed me up against the wall and shoved his tongue my mouth.

Oh shit, I thought. This is totally happening. No one knows where I am. I don’t  even know where I am. How am I gonna get out of this?

Obviously, this was long before cell phones.

I managed to pull my face away. “We should get back …” I said.

“No, let’s stay here a while …” he said before resuming licking my tonsils. I can still picture his face moving in to crush mine. He copped a feel.

“No … come on,” I said as I managed to wriggle my face back and to the side a bit. I smiled. I wanted to show him everything was cool. Everything was chill. I rubbed his shoulder a little—doing the same little dance women have probably been doing since the beginning of time.  “They’re going to wonder where we are … ”

“It’s fine,” he said. “We can have our own party here.”

Fuck.

He was bigger than me. He was insistent. His ego had already been bruised by a roomful of women calling him Skippy for the last half hour. It was also pretty likely that he realized that his only value to our group was a booze mule.

After running the calculations on bashing him over the head vs. just getting this whole thing over with, neither option was very appealing. Diplomacy also did not seem to be getting me anywhere. But still …

One more try.

I’m not sure how … but I managed to duck under his arm quickly, while also scanning the condo for possible items with which to bash him in the head, just in case. “We really need to get back. Let’s go,” I said. There was new firmness in my voice. It was clear that I wasn’t playing along any more. I grabbed the doorknob and opened the door. I stepped halfway out. “Come on,” I said.

“Fine,” he spat. He huffed off to get some bottles from his parents’ liquor cabinet. I stood in the open door. I wondered if I should just run, but I had no idea where I was. I could’ve probably found my way home, but it would’ve taken an a few hours to walk there.

We didn’t speak on the way back to my apartment. We both walked into the kitchen, where all my roommates were hanging out. I kept walking, straight through to the bedroom and threw myself on the bed.

I can’t remember how long he stayed after that. After he left, I think I probably stomped out to the rest of the girls and said something like “Thanks a lot, guys. That asshole made a move on me.” I think they laughed and apologized and spent a few more minutes making fun of how Skippy seemed gay, so maybe this confirmed that he wasn’t. Haha.

And that was it.

It was summer. We were young. There were parties to be had. Cute guys to flirt with. I had gotten out unscathed … no need to turn it into a whole thing.

My roommates continued working with Skippy. I let the tides of summer wash it all away. I never saw him again.

 

The Unshocking Truth

Men who would never do this cannot believe that there are men who would.

I once casually mentioned to Joe that any woman who has spent any time in the dating has been scared on a date at least once or twice. “Really?” he asked.

“Absolutely.” Doy. I couldn’t believe he didn’t know this.

The conversation moved on but a few minutes later he stopped me. “I need to go back to what you said a few minutes ago. Is that really true?”

“It is absolutely true,” I told him.

“That is so upsetting,” he said. He was quiet. Hearing that when you have three daughters is something to think about.

 

The Silent Epidemic

 

The Skippy story is the one I selected to tell. I have others. There was the married male colleague I was traveling with who wouldn’t stop calling my hotel room and propositioning me. There was the disgusting pig of a man I used to work with who sexually harassed three of my friends over many years, and then finally got around to me with a series of extremely graphic Facebook messages.

As I sit here right now, without too much effort at all, I can think of two women I know were date raped, one who was rape-raped, and another friend of a friend who passed out at a college party and woke up with no pants on and her tampon shoved way up.

This shit happens all the time.

But on the other hand, let’s be clear: most men are not like this.

I have traveled with men for business in which there was zero inappropriate conduct. I have been alone in cars with male colleagues and male friends. It has been fine. Easy. I have not felt threatened.

I once explored an abandoned house on some random, rural road near my college with a car full of guys —I was the only female (so dumb, right?). But no one made a move.

As a teenage girl, I sometimes worked a late shift at the Pizza Hut Delivery with male managers. There was a skeleton crew. There were probably times when we were the only people in the store when the drivers were out. Nothing happened. I never felt unsafe for a second.

We can’t live our lives in fear. And we know that most men are not these disgusting creeps, and this is what allows us to move through the world without our guards up all the time. Unfortunately, that also sometimes puts us in situations that are suddenly awkward or dangerous.

So I take immense comfort in that. This is not most men. Unfortunately, the small percentage of creeps more than make up for it.