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.



The Last One Standing Collects the Life Insurance (or, Secrets to a Happy Marriage)


I just got my annual anniversary letter from the pastor that married The Goose and me, so I’ve been thinking about marriage today.

This morning, my good friend called for our usual chat.  I could tell by her voice that she was not happy.  When I asked what was wrong, she replied, “My husband is a dick”.  This made laugh because she has one of the happiest marriages on earth and because she chose to call him that.  Her husband worships the ground she walks on and she adores him.  But, like any other human beings, they’re going to have moments where they look at each other and say, “what the heck was I thinking?”.

I’ve heard a lot of TV talk show hosts, psychologists, preachers, therapists and professionals dispense a big bunch of nonsense about marriage. If you want a good marriage, ask someone who has done time in one.  Most of the time I feel like I have a great one.  If I were to give a piece of my mind to a newlywed, here’s what I’d say:

  1. No one tells you you’re going to look at love’s young dream one day and say “ugh”.  It happens.  The good thing is it doesn’t last.  Sometimes, it lasts a day, sometimes a month.  It comes back around.  Just do something else (not someone else) until you like your significant other again.  Read a book, organize something, build storage shelves.  One day soon, you’ll look up and they’ll be ALL THAT again plus your closets will look nice.


  2. Don’t marry for passion. Oh, good sex never goes away.  It continues to be fun and great, but there will come a time when you won’t feel the need to pull your partner into a public bathroom for a quickie quite as often, you’ll almost never do it in the car anymore and, I know it’s hard to believe, you’ll occasionally think you’d really rather prefer that extra hour of sleep, even though it’s not nice to say so. You’ll begin to think of your back pain. One day, your husband will walk into the bathroom after the deed and you’ll notice he is still wearing black socks.  Eventually, he’ll throw a leg over yours and there will be a noise like the chirping of a cricket because your legs aren’t shaved. This is the reality of marriage. It’s not a bad thing, you’ll still do it, but you’d better have some other common interests. (Also, never, ever, ever google “naked man in black socks” when looking for a picture to post!)


  3. You can’t always get your way and some arguments aren’t even worth winning.  When I was young, I felt like it was my duty to make sure The Goose understood my point on everything and came around to my way of thinking.  Now I think, eh, who cares?  If we thought the same way about everything, one of us would be superfluous.  How dull.  While I do believe The Goose is wrong about plenty of things, I let him believe he’s okay.  I know the truth.


  4. Don’t tell them everything.  Sometimes, it’s good to have secrets.  I once got a speeding ticket and never told The Goose.  In this way he was spared yelling at me and I was spared his wrath.  I paid it, it went away.  Problem solved.  The Goose would have secrets about all the junk he buys on Ebay if he were smart enough to know that the emails come to me.  Still, I let him believe.


  5. Shiny things don’t mean love.  The Goose fully believes that if a man is constantly bringing jewelry and flowers home, he’s up to no good.  This is partially because he is not good at presents himself, but also because it’s the reality.  True love is handling my car tag and insurance for years so that I just became aware that there is such a thing as a car tag tax after almost 30 years. It’s him filling up a warm bath for me when I don’t feel good, it’s me buying key lime pie ice cream for him and grinning in the store because I know it’ll blow his mind. This is not to say special presents aren’t good and I’m still waiting for the greenhouse that he promised me for my birthday, but it’s the day to day stuff in the trenches that counts.


  6. NEVER discuss what goes on in the bathroom with your spouse unless you are in need of medical help.  Keep some mysteries.


    7. Never become a “mommy” or “daddy”.  When you have kids, for crying out loud, remember you are still a person.  Don’t put little stickers on your car yacking about your kids and don’t start wearing mommy clothes and then wonder why your husband found that his secretary in a garter belt understood him.  One day, surely, these kids will move out and your spouse will still be there.  It’s a lot harder to fall back in love with a fat, balding, 50 year old man or a woman in sensible shoes and sweatpants than it is just to stay involved with them. Remember, you’re on the same side and those kids, no matter how darling you think they are, are on the other.  One day, when you least expect it, they will turn on you and snarl.  You’re going to need backup. If it takes lingerie and sit ups to keep the team together, just buck up and do it.


    8. Learn your partner’s fighting technique.  I’m a talker and shouter, The Goose is a pouter.  I wish we’d figured this out earlier.  Now, he’ll just say “why are you raising your voice?” and I’ll yell “because I’m a girl and it feels good to be loud”.  When he pouts, I tell him to pull up his panties and get over it.  Our disagreements are cut short in this way.  After all this time, there isn’t that much to fight about anyway, but still, he is still wrong sometimes and it’s my job to point that out.  I have learned to use my inside voice and now things go much more smoothly.

    9. Sometimes, just take one for the team.  Occasionally, just admit things are your fault.  While I believe it’s always better to weasel out of a problem if possible, sometimes you can surprise your partner with a frontal assault.  Once, I just walked in and said “I backed the car into a pole at Mellow Mushroom.  I’m sorry.  I’m a big ol’ dummy.”  The Goose had nothing to say.  In the past, I have blamed scratches on the car on kids, shopping carts and objects from space.  Every now and then I say to him “I’m sorry for being so snappy.  I’m just grouchy. I am sad or worried.”  This immediately makes him feel sorry for me and, voila, I’m off the hook for acting like an ass.  It always works.

    10. The grass is almost never greener on the other side.  I never see men I think are cuter than The Goose, except possibly Johnny Depp, and only when he’s a pirate.  But, I know lots of people look around when they’re grouchy with their mate.  Listen, that hot guy you see in the bar?  He’s still a man at home, leaving hair in the drain and clothes on the floor.  That smokin’ girl with the ridiculous boob job who’s happy all the time?  At home she bitches just as much as your wife and you’re going to have to pay to replace those whoppers every 12 years.  You never know what psychosis lurks beneath a person.  Once you have determined your spouse is not a psycho, best to stick with them. At least their problems are known.  Just learn to overlook their foibles and focus on what’s great.  In time, you may not even notice the fact that your husband is incapable of cleaning up after himself or that your wife may be a pet hoarder.

My advice all the way around is, make a decision to be happy, keep your eye on the finish line and realize your spouse isn’t you, you have differences and that’s what makes it fun.  The one that lives the longest collects the life insurance, so relax and keep your blood pressure down. Sometimes arguing is fun but never say something you can’t take back.  Only once was I so mad that I said “well, maybe you just need to move away from me”.  The Goose said “absolutely not” and I almost wept with relief.  If he ever tried to leave, he’d do it with my arms wrapped around his leg, with my teeth clamped on his pants and the dogs holding on to me.


Close the Door, PLEASE!

I had a funny situation last weekend that has caused the Goose and me to laugh repeatedly.

I saw an article the other day, written by a recently divorced man, giving advice to married men.  Ironic, I know.  Most were nice, hold hands more often, open doors, etc.  One, however, caused me to blanch.  It said, “do not use the bathroom in the same room as your spouse”. Actually, it was more descriptive than that.  WHAT THE HECK???  Please tell me who, in the world, would do this?  Does this actually go on?  Even my dog, Matilda, will not “use the loo” with anyone looking.

There are certain subjects that are not broached in my house.  I grew up that way, my children grew up that way, we’re just that way.  The bathroom is one of those subjects.  Until I had babies, neither the Goose, nor I, had ever mentioned any bodily function that goes on in the bathroom.  We’d already been married eight years and had traveled to strange countries and eaten a variety of unsettling foods and had still managed not to make any bathroom references. If someone feels the call of nature, we seek out the farthest, most secretive and unused restroom in the vicinity.  Jiminy Crickets!  There are just some things that don’t need to be discussed or announced.

Our drama began when I took NyQuil the other night.  It’s my sleep drug of choice when I need one.  I adore that velvety blackness with a lack of hangover then next morning.  NyQuil is more than welcome to call me for a paid endorsement. The Goose is a nighttime grazer.  I can’t imagine a scenario when I would find the call of cookies more important than sleep, but the Goose gets up every night and eats.  This night, I was out of it.  I awoke in the night, after several glasses of water and had to visit the powder room.  Since it was dark and I was groggy, I didn’t even look for the Goose in the bed.  I slipped, zombie like, into the bathroom and there most likely continued what could only be considered a drug induced trance.  It’s warm in there.  There’s a heat vent and the room is small.  I might have dozed off for a second. The Goose was coming back from the kitchen and saw the light on and opened the door to turn it off.  He didn’t know I was in there, of course.  I was quiet.  I am lucky I wasn’t in a coma.  Seeing me, he tried to quickly close the door but his movement caught my eye and I issued the longest, most blood curdling B movie scream that’s ever been uttered at my house.  At any house.  I mean I wailed. Loudly and for a long time. I scared the Goose into screaming too.  It was a confused, nighttime terror as we looked anywhere but at each other, both bawling and bellowing like when Drew Barrymore sees ET for the first time. The Goose, still hollering, slammed the door and I continued my shrieking for a good minute or so.  By the time I got to bed, though, we were giggling like a couple of stoners.

Then, the Goose got a text from our daughter, Cricket.  The kids’ rooms are far away from ours and we didn’t think they could hear us.  Apparently they can. This brings up other questions that we are choosing not to address.

Cricket called the Goose from her room and the Goose, genius that he is, clicked decline.  She called again, he accidentally did it again.  Then she texted: I am hiding in the troll door in my closet.  I’m scared!”  This caused us so much enjoyment that we were literally limp, cackling and howling.  During the time we ignored her, she called her boyfriend to tell him that we were being murdered downstairs and he got up ready to come kick some burglar ass.  Finally, we managed to text her what had happened to which she texted back “freaks” and it was over.  We still lay there giggling for a good half hour though.  I might interject that during this entire episode, which went on for a while, Cricket did not go and make sure her brother wasn’t being killed, and for this, I will tell him that he is the favorite, for at least a week.

My point, and to bring it back around, according to the divorced man’s article, I would say that there are apparently weird people out there with no shame whatsoever.  Some things are private and I am pushing the bounds of privacy by even writing this. If this is you being disgusting, stop it.  It’s not nice.  It’s gross. If you wonder why the zip is gone, this could be the reason.  Close the door, LOCK it!