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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The DRESS

Lots of women have asked me about “THE DRESS”.  I don’t blame them.  It is, frankly, awe inspiring.  It’s the piece de resistance in my dress up box, a pink confection of such magnitude that women who see it sigh from both happiness and jealousy.  This beauty weighs about five pounds and possesses a train that’s over six feet and so frothy it’s about a foot high.  It’s a quinceanera dress, a dress 15 year old hispanic girls wear for their coming out.  I am not only delighted to be able to squeeze, albeit uncomfortably, into it and never contemplate the fact that it was probably a chubby youth who wore it originally.  ImageI

I’ve worn it to several parties, numerous Friday night cocktail get togethers on my porch or around the fire pit and once, to the feed store. I wore it as a zombie this Halloween.  If you’re going to have to be a zombie, might as well be a fashionable one. I still have all my own puffy prom dresses and, believe me, my friends have, on many occasions, put them on as well.

One might think such perfection would be a stand out at the feed store, but that would be incorrect. I had a book club luncheon at my house once.  The book was the YaYa Sisterhood book.  We all came dressed, well, big.  After a long lunch someone mentioned that they had to go home and change and go to the feed store.  Then someone else mentioned that there were baby chicks available at the store and somehow, we all ended up in the car, big dresses and hair, on the way.

Walking in, we expected exclamations and fawning, such as we deserved.  We got NOTHING.  Not a raised eyebrow, not a leer, not one question as to why we were dressed thusly.  I can only assume that the feed store man has a wife at home who has him so thoroughly beaten down that nothing surprised him or that he had been taught southern manners by his mama and just didn’t want to say the wrong thing.  Either way, we got our 6 bags of horse food, a box of chicks and left.

The one bright spot was that the evil neighbor who lives between The Trophy Wife and me did see us getting into the car and, again, standing at the mailbox dressed beautifully and we know it only goes towards the many reasons why she hates us.  We love that.

So many people have called or messaged me about the dress.  I’m not kidding.  Nothing I’ve done in a while has spawned so many questions and comments.  At least not to my face.  Next election, I’m lending it to Ron Paul in the hopes that it will help his cause.

Ladies, you too can find your special princess dress at Goodwill or your fine Hispanic supplier.  I’m telling you, when you feel down, nothing will pick you up like going through your day with a poofy polyester train.  When your husband comes home, he’ll know you’re up to something, but just not what.  It’s good to keep your man on his toes.  Send me your pictures.  We’ll start a movement of sorts.  We’ll be the princesses we forgot to be AND get to hide a multitude of sins under those diaphanous layers.  We could form clubs, open restaurants where hoops would be a requirement.  I’m seeing that this could be the sparkle that’s gone out of many of our middle aged lives.

Let me know how this works out for you.  As for me, I’m going to take an aspirin as my tiara is giving me a headache.

Old Friends

ImageWhat is it about old friends?  I have lots of friends, some close, some acquaintances, some “uppity”, some downright hillbilly.  I enjoy all of them.  I can pull myself together when the need arises to be as uppity as I need to be and, heaven knows, I can sink to some depths best not remembered.  There’s something about OLD friends, though, the ones we make when we’re young, that cause all of us to let down our guard and regress right back to our youth.

I have a friend from fifth grade that I see maybe once a year, the Hollywood Glamour Girl. When we get together, we spend about an half an hour discussing what’s going on and telling each other how great we look and then one of us throws out a name from fifth grade, we both lean in and we’re off.  We are still verbally dissecting that big bully, Brett, to smithereens and we still laugh about the time she stuck out her foot and tripped a boy named Fitz into the fireplace.  Once, I looked down and she was wearing knee highs under her jeans, which made her ankles look tan, pink pom pom socks and new Adidas tennis shoes and I almost swooned with fashion jealousy.  We still have to talk about that.  Every time.  When she reads this, she will contact me and we’ll talk about it again.  You’re laughing because everyone does this.  It just feels comfortable, like often washed jammies.

(In a total aside, spell check told me to check the spelling of Adidas and I had to go back to school in my mind in order to spell it.  Remember when people said it stood for “all day I dream about sex?”  I once wore a t-shirt with Adidas on it and a boy pointed and yelled that and I almost called my mother to bring me another.  Now, of course, I’d just smack him but my fifth grade self was not as confident, what with the headgear and such!)

Last night, the Empress came to stay with me.  I met the Empress when we ended up in the same beach house with a bunch of mutual college friends.  Our old college group calls each other “our decent friends” said with a sneer and an accent. I despised the Empress on sight.  I mean, I loathed her, that bitch.  By the end of the first night, we were hanging all over each other and singing.  I believe there was some table dancing in spandex skirts.  She showered me with abuse about my clothes and I told her how she could improve upon her hairstyle.  There are photos of our 80s glamour, our giant earrings, enormous hair, shoulder pads, swim suit tops that could stand alone on our frail 100lb. bodies and these should remain hidden.  In typical 80s fashion, there was a LOT of time spent in hot tubs with this group. Those pictures have hopefully been burned (right Empress?).

When the Empress arrives, we circle each other for a minute or two and immediately start in on a conversation that does not take a breath for the entire time she’s here.  The Goose loves the Empress and especially likes to hug her, often, needlessly, and a little too long, with a little too much caress, but even he has to make a retreat from us after a while.

We made our hair as large as possible and squeezed into our glitzy pants, put on heels and and went to a bar to watch our friend’s brother’s band last night.  This friend was there when I met the Empress.  Our diminutive best Lesbianese friend (she is not gay, but there is someone from Lebanon way back in her history and somehow, this whole thing got twisted) was in our group as well and I will not take the opportunity here to say that I once saw her and the Empress so altered that they were eating chips with ants on them off the sand at the beach.  I would never do that.

ANYWAY, what is it about old friends that causes us to regress?  The dancing we did last night has left us sore and achy (but not achy brakey). I know we did NOT look as good on the dance floor as we did in our minds, but who cares?  The Goose sat and laughed at us all night, shaking his head like the old man that he is. My decent friends are my only group of friends who know that when someone yells out “boom boom” you immediately shout out loudly, and with gusto “out go the lights” and think it’s poetry.  I’m sure I saw a glint of a tear when the band pulled out AC/DC.  This was our music and our time. We say the same old things, talk as little about our kids and jobs as possible, revert to the same college behavior and crude humor and still see each other as wildly attractive, even though we are 50ish. It’s possible this is because of our diminished eyesight, but I’m choosing to believe otherwise. There are a lot of suggestive comments bandied about and it causes me, for one, to toss my hair around and bat my eyelashes.

You know fantasy football?  I have a fantasy retirement compound that I’m constructing in my head.  I am slowly filling it with those I love and would like to circle the wagons with when we get to retire. Pretty houses and gardens, lots of animals and, as the Goose likes to tease me, opossums and martinis hanging from trees.  I am definitely filling it with my old friends, and only hope we can survive it and that those others around us that weren’t there back in the day will either join in or choose to be tolerant.  Disclaimer: Were not as young as we used to be and there DEFINITELY won’t be any hot tubs!