Middle Aged Dating

The Goose was raised in such a bland, 60s American household that he looks with distrust at anything that smacks of the exotic, such as bagels.  Croissants are suspect as well.  Goat cheese, avocados, Fiats, purple grapes and Brazil nuts are way out of his scope of well being.  God forbid someone suggest gelato, which he insists on mistakenly calling “spezio”, causing Cricket and me to snort water out our noses every time he does it.


For 18 years, while growing up, he knew to expect roast on Sunday, hash on Monday, Tacos on Tuesday, and chopped steak on Wednesdays.  You get the picture.  I’m happy to say this put no undue expectations on him marrying a good cook.  At 50, he still expects his food to be brown and white and finds brussel sprouts out of the question.

He is now trying to change his diet.  Not because he is overweight.  On the contrary, he is one of the lucky bastards who can awaken in the middle of the night, consume a sleeve of cookies and go back to dreaming the dreams of those with outrageous metabolisms and no body fat.  During the night, his calories creep across two dogs and a cat on the bed and over to me.  While I exist on the only foods that don’t cause me middle aged digestive trouble now, kale, gluten free rice crackers and chardonnay, he dives nightly into two bowls of ice cream, pans of brownies, and chocolate turtles all washed down with liters of Mountain Dew, the undisputed nectar of the gods.

All my preaching of vegetarian, water-drinking, low sugar lifestyle has fallen on deaf ears as I clench my jaws in a show of sheer will while I watch his free-wheeling sugar orgy.

Now, he’s read an article that says sugar isn’t good for you.  Oh, really?  You don’t say? And, in a turn of events as unexpected as him donning a dress, he has ventured into the organic and alternative section of the grocery store, without wincing.  Twice he has taken a walk and yesterday, just yesterday, he hiked with Cricket and me.


Middle age is a wacky time.  We’re both feeling a little confused as our parenting period comes to an end and we are faced with lots of hours to do what we want.  All these years our hobbies were our kids.  Yeah, there’s a lot of golf on his part and a good bit of running on mine, but now the horizon is wide and we are committing to taking a walk together most days.  I appreciate the fact that he suddenly cares about his health because I really don’t want him to die, causing me to have to go on a date.  Honestly, I am so thankful that he likes routine and has such ingrained inertia that he would never leave me.

I have several close friends who are dating again.  I have lots of questions about this that I am not too shy to ask.  Here are five:

  1. Are there bases at 50?  Are they the same as they were in high school, the last time I had a date?  I think there are new sexual things that have come into practice since then and so where do these fit?  Base second and a half?    Image
  2.  What about boobs?  I have a friend, Steve, who for years has said “Any boob is a good boob.” (Our mutual friend challenged this once by showing us her post mastectomy boob before she had a nipple tattooed on, but it’s all better now.) Middle aged bosoms though, are a little, um, changed.  Unless you were one of the lucky ones to get a boob job before you got old enough to know better, the rack might be affixed a little…lower.  Does one have to display it on one’s arm or, better yet, in a lacy number from the lingerie department? I guess this problem doesn’t just apply to women.  There are a lot of unperky manboobs at this age as well.  And along those same lines, do women have to lie only on their backs when naked so they can tuck the “extra” parts underneath them to look skinny and smooth? Image
  3. Just how truthful does one have to be?  I have a friend who has been married four times.  We only count two of them, though, because she was too young the first time and the third one was a rebound aberration whose name we don’t speak. Truly, these guys were jerks and she’s a remarkably normal girl.  In fact, she’s super cool.  I have another friend, twice married, who recently confided that he’s “PROBABLY” still married to wife number two.  This continues to make me laugh and I delve into this situation as often as I can without seeming creepy.  Apparently, they went their separate ways and just moved on without ever thinking about getting a divorce.  When should that come up in conversation?
  4. At what point can one pull back the curtain? My friend recently asked me when he should tell a girl how much he loves his cat.  Even I, animal person in the extreme, said NEVER.  A man also should not discuss the bathroom, how crazy his ex was, or the fact that he cries at movies.  I think, by middle age, women must surely be looking for normal and non-stressful, if it’s out there. Image
  5. What does one tell their kids?  If The Goose or I ever tried to date, our daughter would make sure every date failed.  She would be the step-daughter from hell.  Even though she’s almost 20, I can dig that.  I’m sure every kid wants their family to stay in tact.  Do middle aged daters spend as much time sneaking around behind their kids’ backs as we used to behind our parents’?  There really is nothing more disgusting than thinking of one’s parents, ANYONE’S parents, having a personal life.


Its scary out there.  Dating must surely mean that these friends are not able to put their jammies on at 6:00 during the winter.  While it does mean that they’re getting good food, in real restaurants, with waiters and bartenders, it also means that they’re having to keep their bras on during these dinners, I guess.  (Maybe not.  Those are the dates I really enjoy hearing about.)  What is exciting, though, is that these friends are putting their best selves forward, trying new things, going to concerts instead of just watching them on TV, making new friend groups, fitting into their “going out” jeans every day, not just twice a month.  I guess that’s what we old wives could take from this so we won’t become old wives.  Damn, I guess that means I should probably change up my flannels with the penguins on them.


Anyway, although I could spend hours on the phone listening to the exploits of my friends’ dates and envying their active social calendar, I’m off to blend up some vegetables, put some unsalted nuts with antioxidants in a bowl and pour The Goose a big, refreshing glass of water in the hopes of keeping him alive.  Truthfully, I’m scared about the type of old lady I’d be if I was turned loose on the dating world.



I Love _____________

I just read a book that left me with two interesting ideas.  In the book, anyone with a pain, a wound, cancer, any kind of hurt really, experienced a phenomenon in which the pain would shine a light or glow.  Sounds kind of ridiculous, but, as I read, I adjusted to the silly thought and I started to think what a great idea this would be.  So many nights, as I rub on my Ben Gay, I tell the Goose that I wish he could feel how my knees hurt.  I think it would make us all so much more sympathetic.  The worse the pain, the brighter the light.  It would allow us to know what was going on inside those who we perceive as just jerks.  I can’t get this out of my mind.  It has caused me to question the snippy Kroger bagger, the complete ass of a teacher that has made both The Boy and me smack our hands to our heads.  It might explain those driving 10 miles under the speed limit in front of me.  Honestly, I have been a little bit nicer having considered this.

The other great thing that came out of the same book has caused a lovely trend in my own house.  I should have saved it to do around Valentine’s Day, but I couldn’t wait.  The man in the book left a declaration of love for his wife each and every day.  Not a big “I love you, you are my soul, my spirit” kind of mushy crap, but a lighthearted thought that let her know he noticed her.

Yesterday morning I left one for the Goose that said “I love the way your hands look”.  It’s true.  He could be a hand model.  I’ve never seen more beautiful hands but when, in our real life, am I going to look at the man and tell him that?  He would leer at me or roll his eyes.  Those of us with a man can well imagine the comeback comment. This was just a fun way for me to tell him that I’ve always thought he has pretty hands.  He turned it over and wrote to me that he liked my cute little nose.  The Goose has never, in great inebriation or in passion, mentioned my nose, especially as a “cute little nose”, although I guess it is a little cute.  Today, when I was at the grocery store, my most hated of chores, I thought about this and laughed out loud in the nut isle.  It has made me happy.

To my kids, it’s hard to say “I love your crazy sense of humor” without following it up with “but your room is no laughing matter”.  It is causing me to just say something nice without starting to whine and rattle like an angry tea pot about their cloud of mess that follows them around.  Today I told Cricket that I love that she loves school supplies.  That kid, a junior in college, can still get into a happy twist over new pens and notebooks.  She left me one that said “I love that you don’t wear mom jeans and that you smile when you’re yelling at someone”.

I love that the Goose says to me every day “this is my idea of the day”.  They’re not always great ideas, but I love that he has them and that he shares them.  He probably didn’t know I enjoy that as I usually just say “uh-huh”.

I love that Cricket thinks Peeps are the height of fine desserts.

This is a chance to tell my loved ones the quirky things I love about them that makes them interesting without having to make a big lovey-dovey smushy deal about it.  Wouldn’t it be fun if this trend took off?  I’d love to tell my friends the little quirks that make me love them. I love that the Empress twirls her hair when she talks, that the Trophy Wife draws out her “s” sound at the end of a word when she’s still thinking about what she’s saying and it makes it sound more important and sort of delicious, like a cookie.  I love the way the Sweet Talker says “awww” every time I mention any animal, just like I would, and gets a wistful look in her eyes, wishing she could get her hands on them.

I wish my parents were still here so I could tell them how much I love that they always held hands and that my mother’s favorite exclamations were “Land o Goshin” and  “Jumpin‘ Jesophat”.  That still cracks me up.   I love that their house smelled like Lemon Pledge and coffee.

Next month, I will start yelling about the mess again, but this month, I’m going to really enjoy all this mushy stuff. I think, in the midst of this gloomy weather and winter misery, it could make everyone a little happier.

Honey, I figured out what I’m doing off the TEE!

I know I’ve discussed men.  Most of us have one or have had one and some of us have had multiples.  There are several repetitive discussions that go on in most homes that have a man living within it’s confines.  The problem, as I see it, is that we women have failed to band together to formulate acceptable textbook dialogue for our part of these discussions.  I imagine that the amount of superfluous conversation that could be rerouted and redirected towards a happier and more productive man could increase as much as 65%.  It is our failure, ladies, not to take this situation in hand.

Here is a sample conversation as it stands in my home at least four days a week:


Goose: Honey, I’ve FINALLY figured out what I’m doing off the tee.

Me: Uh huh

Goose: See my wrist?  It was turned .007% too much towards my elbow.

Me: Uh huh

Goose: It’s all in the wrist. Look! (Displays same wrist position I’ve seen 6,798,444 times).

Me: You’re blocking the tv.

Goose: See how straight that is now?  (Shoots imaginary ball across the bedroom)

Me: Uh huh


Now, as I see it, men are only interested in telling us things we’re not interested in hearing. Do they ever talk to us about upholstery fabric?  Shoes?  Our deep thoughts and feelings?  He’s only blabbering on about this because he’s not getting a reaction.  The other day, I feigned interest and the conversation went like this:


Goose: Honey, I’m going to go to the club and use my new swing.  I’ll probably shoot a 30 or something.

Me: I’d like to go along! I have a new golf skirt! We can hit the range for a while and then walk (for the exercise) 18 holes.

Goose:  Uh, yeah, that sounds…

Me: And then I might like to look at some new clubs myself…

Goose:  Well, actually, someone already asked me to play…


And this “off the tee” conversation has not been repeated in two weeks.  This is because men are really talking to themselves and don’t want us in their stuff.  In the same way that I ask him to run with me, I’m really thinking heaven forbid I have to drag his lazy fanny around with me. The one time he went with me this summer the moaning and complaining was biblical in nature. Still, I ask to be nice.


Men, no matter how great they are (and the Goose is a truly great husband), are simple in the way a good dog is simple.  They want to be acknowledged, they don’t want us to know what they’re up to all the time and the just want a pat on the head when they do a good trick.  And then there is Jeff Foxworthy’s take on what men want that is the Goose’s standard answer when I ask him what he’s thinking, “I just want a beer and to see something naked”.


I love it that men don’t come with all the drama that goes along with women, but if  a man gets sick, we all know how that goes.  Recently, I’ve had the first cold in years.  It has been pretty miserable and has caused me to snore.  Snoring is something I’ve heard for years.  Now that the tables have turned, the Goose is walking around, pale and wan, from loosing a few moment’s sleep.  I could literally be giving birth and the man would ask the doctor about his own suspicious symptoms .  Once, I had to see an infectious disease doctor and when the doctor was through examining me, the Goose actually said the sentence “now, back to me…” while I reclined on the table, close to death.  This has become a code sentence in our family and I think it sums up men in general.  Maybe people in general.  We care about our loved ones.  We really do, we just want to talk about our own stuff and figure out what we’re doing off the tee. 

Not Tonight, Deer

Everything has a season.  As a native Atlantan I come by this knowledge naturally.  I was lucky enough to have a mother who knew the right way to do everything and did it better than anyone else, bless their ignorant northern hearts.  Not just the rules about white shoes and not only how to work a seating chart and correct place settings.  I’m talking the subtle things like what to wear at the funeral of a second wife that may or may not have been hanging in the wings shortly before the demise of the first.  When frosted lipstick is okay (never), when to take someone a casserole (at the first sign of a sneeze) and when a glass of wine is okay (never, it’ll send you straight to Hell).  Obviously, though I was reared properly, some of this just didn’t take.  Still, I love the idea that certain things belong at certain times of the year.  June, for me, means straw purses, Lilly Pulitzer skirts and fawns.  I get calls from well meaning people who find “orphaned” fawns.  “It was all alone, it’s mother left it!” they bleat over the phone.  They call after the poor little thing is weak and sick and after they’ve crammed milk down it’s throat for days and wonder why it’s sick.  Mother deer leave their babies alone all day.  The babies have no scent and can’t run fast yet so they snuggle up under a plant and just blend in.  They are so camouflaged that sometimes when I’m standing right next to one even I miss it.  So, I received these sick little kidnapped babies while I envision their mothers pining for them and wondering what happened.  Still, I enjoy the little sweeties and get a kick out of raising a healthy wild buck or doe to be released in the fall.  I’ve raised lots of babies and all have gone well except one.  Every mother knows her weak link.  This is the brilliant kid who will climb up into your skirt when a sweet little old lady talks to her at the grocery store.  The kid who follows you constantly, breathing heavily by the bathroom door until you’re done.  The one who wants you to come eat lunch with her at school – in 10th grade.  I had a deer like that named Zippy.  She just couldn’t separate.  While the others romped and played reindeer games, she walked from door to door around the outside of my house, just trying to catch a glimpse of me.  When the others left to go live their lives, she would sneak back in through the gate, climb up the stairs and flop down in deep depression by the door until I emerged and she could gaze, rapt, at me.

The final straw came when my husband, The Golden Goose, came home from work in suit and fabulous tie and flopped down on the bed for a moment.  Everyone knows that if a man remains horizontal for any amount of time, without a woman present, he will immediately go to sleep.  Zippy, ever on constant vigil, saw an opportunity through the french doors, maneuvered them open with her nose and crept into the bedroom and onto the bed to spoon with him.  The Golden Goose puts up with a lot, I’ll admit.  Life is, well, unusual at our house.  He tries so hard to stay unaffected and above it all, but this occasion proved to be too much.  Although he remained stoic while I heaved and pushed the full grown doe off our custom bedding and across the pristine carpet, he did have the wherewithal to mummer “not tonight, dear” before he closed his eyes again.

Zippy was soon trailered off my property and happily released elsewhere.  Although she doesn’t write home often, I know she’s thinking of me.