Ain’t No Country for Old Women – Aging Broads in a bit of a Quandary

“Quit yer gazin’ ye olde geezer…”

NO bitching about aging. Seriously, not a word—unless you’re retaining water, sleep with an oscillating fan, and have to measure out food because of a metabolism gone awry.

Particularly you men out there, complaining that fifty sucks. Yeah, you! Just remember that most of you, (excluding chubby short men with receding hairlines) have the unfair advantage of aging gracefully. Yep, the old double standard is working for you, because at fifty, that gray hair and those facial lines will get you celebrated as a ‘distinguished silver fox’ while the pressure on us women to continue to look youthful, is intense, not to mention unaffordable for most. Let’s face it. In this society, women have had to adapt more than men. Um, yeah, they have.

Discrimination of aging women in the workforce is nothing new. Career opportunities have been taken away from women as they age for decades, but the entertainment industry takes the cake. Hollywood is fickle at best, catering to your every whim so long as you retain your youth and beauty—but god forbid you have the audacity to age five years, and they’re poking fun of you and your middle-aged sexuality. Suddenly you are out of work and told you are worthless.

You don’t have to look very far to see the rejection for leading roles of all but a handful of vibrant actresses past the age of fifty, yet the Hollywood studios routinely cast much older male actors with prepubescent ladies as their romantic costars. Bordering on creepy in my opinion. They’ll think nothing of pairing an out of shape 50-something Russell Crowe, as a leading man, with a 20-something stunner like Olivia Wilde, when clearly someone of a hotter caliber deserves the likes of her. Not to take away from the Aussie’s sex appeal, in a not-so-young-anymore-kind-of-way, but hasn’t he had his fair share on the set?

And really, all you big Hollywood producer guys—and you know who you are: Do we really need to look at even older gentlemen such as Michael Douglas, Nick Nolte and Sean Connery feigning torrid acts on kitchen sinks and such, which they would no more do at their age than eat…oh, I don’t know, Quiche Lorraine?

Naysayers, imbeciles—men who think fifty is past their prime and only date women whose ideal is so mismatched with the ideal of themselves. Take a look in the mirror chumps! And you wonder why women feel a wee bit angry when they receive the message, directly or indirectly, that they’ve crossed the finish line.

Look at “poor” Demi Moore. Once a former icon, sex symbol, and trailblazer for women in Hollywood—and not too long ago, labeled a “pathetic image of insecurity and self-loathing,” one that we can relate to. Losing the battle with Mother Nature and beginning to show her true age, particularly in a town like Hollywood, had to have taken its toll. Add the element of abandonment, rejection, heartache and public scrutiny, and it’s no wonder she turned to substance abuse. We live in a youth-obsessed culture that teaches us at an early age that we are valued by our beauty, and there is no industry that reinforces that sentiment better than the film industry. Those bastards are brutal and unforgiving. “Aging is bad. Plastic surgery is good. Stay young and thin at any cost.”

Well, I’d like to say, a big juicy FUCK YOU to you Hollywood! Do I sound bitter? Well, I’m sure I have plenty of company.

When it comes to aging, we ‘older broads’ are in a bit of a quandary, to be sure—because despite seeing the danger and futility of valuing beauty too much, we just can’t help ourselves and fall victim to it, thanks to American culture, and our bigger is better mindset. Women’s beauty is a strange beast. It’s as addictive as crack. It changes the way people deal with you, making it exceptionally hard to give up the ghost and gracefully accept that you are no longer 20, 30, 40 or…. ahem, 50. It doesn’t help that at 40-something, you’ve got a grounded confidence, or that at 50-something, you have a clarity of intent. No one gives a shit.

Until you’re injected with Botox, fillers, and a host of other youth-oriented products to transform yourself into the trophy woman, you’re simply an aging woman in the eyes of society, and that just won’t do.

…I might as well wrap myself in a hideously crocheted shawl and go meekly into bun-wearingdom…sigh”

Why? Because society has two attitudes on aging. One for men and one for women. Men are allowed to age and women are not. Pretty black and white, wouldn’t you say? An older man showing visible signs of gray is praised—is looked upon as refined, dignified and showing maturity and wisdom. A woman displaying the same signs of gray however, is predictably seen in different lighting—clearly fluorescent. Apparently her ‘touch of gray’ gets her one foot in the grave.

Ain’t no justice in this here country of ours. Maybe it’s about time we learn a thing or two from our European neighbors, where there’s a greater acceptance of aging—where a woman can be considered beautiful at any age without having to reconstruct herself from head to toe.

When I get old, I’m moving to Europe, where aging is embraced, and old women are not only respected, but are encouraged to become as goofy as they want.

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9/11 Remembrance: A Tribute to America’s Resolve – the Steel in Us

You see, the steel in us is not always readily apparent. That aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don’t know us well.

The tragedy of September 11, 2001 will be indelibly recorded in our visual consciousness―seared in our memory as if it were yesterday. Each one of us can remember with great clarity where we were and what we were doing as we focused on the most horrific attack ever on American soil. We can recount, in slow motion detail, how our hearts were ripped out as we watched the twin Towers collapse, killing thousands of innocent people and shattering America’s innocence. Many of us encountered recurring waves of nauseating visceral reactions of despair, incomprehension, fear, anger, sorrow, anxiety and vengeance. It’s not surprising that these attacks provoked a whole slew of emotions in a country that was forever changed.

No words could have been more inspiring or insightful in those first hours, than those of Leonard Pitts Jr, a columnist from the Miami Herald, who wrote an angry and defiant open letter to the World Trade Center terrorists, which circulated the globe via the internet. His passion and resonant voice gave our hearts words when we grappled with the shock and horror of that dreadful day. I hope his words are a source of strength for you, as they were for me.

We’ll go forward from this moment. It’s my job to have something to say. They pay me to provide words that help make sense of that which troubles the American soul. But in this moment of airless shock when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes, the only thing I can find to say, the only words that seem to fit, must be addressed to the unknown author of this suffering.

You monster…You beast…You unspeakable bastard.

What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward’s attack on our World Trade Center, our Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would learn? Whatever it was, please know that you failed.

Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your cause.

Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve.

Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together.

Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and quarrelsome family, a family rent by racial, social, political and class division, but a family nonetheless. We’re frivolous, yes, capable of expending tremendous emotional energy on pop cultural minutiae―a singer’s revealing dress, a ball team’s misfortune, a cartoon mouse. We’re wealthy, too, spoiled by the ready availability of trinkets and material goods, and maybe because of that, we walk through life with a certain sense of blithe entitlement. We are fundamentally decent, though―peace-loving and compassionate. We struggle to know the right thing and to do it. And we are, the overwhelming majority of us, people of faith, believers in a just and loving God.

Some people―you, perhaps, think that any or all of this makes us weak. You’re mistaken. We are not weak. Indeed, we are strong in ways that cannot be measured by arsenals.

IN PAIN
Yes, we’re in pain now. We are in mourning and we are in shock. We’re still grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did, still working to make ourselves understand that this isn’t a special effect from some Hollywood block-buster, isn’t the plot development from a Tom Clancy novel. Both in terms of the awful scope of their ambition and the probable final death toll, your attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of terrorism in the history of the United States and, probably, the history of the world. You’ve bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before.

But there’s a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making us fall. This is the lesson Japan was taught to its bitter sorrow the last time anyone hit us this hard, the last time anyone brought us such abrupt and monumental pain. When roused, we are righteous in our outrage, terrible in our force. When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will bear any suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of justice.

I tell you this without fear of contradiction. I know my people, as you, I think, do not. What I know reassures me. It also causes me to tremble with dread of the future.

In the days to come, there will be recrimination and accusation, fingers pointing to determine whose failure allowed this to happen and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. There will be heightened security, misguided talk of revoking basic freedoms. We’ll go forward from this moment sobered, chastened, sad. But determined, too. Unimaginably determined.

THE STEEL IN US
You see, the steel in us is not always readily apparent. That aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don’t know us well. On this day, the family’s bickering is put on hold.

As Americans we will weep, as Americans we will mourn, and as Americans, we will rise in defense of all that we cherish. So I ask again:

What was it you hoped to teach us? It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred. If that’s the case, consider the message received. And take this message in exchange:

You don’t know my people. You don’t know what we’re capable of. You don’t know what you just started.

But you’re about to learn.

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New York City Haters: Where’s all the Love?

We are the world…

Travel anywhere in our great country and tell people where you are from (your accent will probably give it away), and you’ll soon be paraphrasing Sally Field’s infamous acceptance speech: “You hate us right now―you really hate us!” The truth is, most people have more of a love-hate relationship when it comes to us, than one of pure hate. This includes many city dwellers, and I would know. I used to be one of them. Let’s face it, people in Manhattan often look down on the other boroughs (Google “B&T’s” or ask a city person) while those in the outer boroughs often gripe about Manhattanites’ snooty and holier-than-thou attitude.

Well, a little insight into this attitude could be explained by a series of New Yorker cartoons, which illustrate convincingly this center of the universe swagger of ours―that we are the self-centered, self-proclaimed capital of the world. Well?….. aren’t we?

Why this unreasonable hatred for New York City?
Curious as to where all this venom surfaced from, I started randomly asking friends and acquaintances over the last few years what they honestly thought about New York and New Yorkers, and their responses revealed quite a few recurring themes:

– Try saying good morning to someone on the street in Manhattan. They will avoid you like the plague.
– No one makes eye contact on the street―unless they’re trying to hit on you, or they are recent transplants from the Midwest. They either look straight ahead or down at the sidewalk.
– At the bus stop or subway, no one speaks to anyone else unless they know them. Everywhere else, people look you straight in the eye and smile. (well, maybe not LA)
– New York City inhabitants are self-absorbed individuals, who are always rushing somewhere and won’t think twice about mowing you down. (can’t argue there)
– Forget about that 30-second elevator pitch! You won’t get New Yorkers to talk to strangers on an elevator unless they know them, or the elevator is stuck mid-floors.

And then there are the obvious gripes, about:
– too much traffic (yep), too many people (it’s a big city), and too many foreigners. (Oh, for god’s sake, it’s a melting pot and home to the United Nations. The variety is what makes it such a great city!)
– It’s a filthy, crime-ridden, rat infested hell hole (only the subway system.) Anyone who could remember what New York City was like in the 70’s, knows how far we’ve come.
– New Yorkers think they’re better than us. (Yes, we heard that one already)
– Damned bureaucrat S.O.B.s on Wall Street have royally screwed us over with their corporate jets, and lavish lifestyles! (no argument there)
– New Yorkers are cold, arrogant, selfish people. (Whoa! Now wait just a freakin’ minute!) Completely and utterly false. Self-absorbed we are, but New Yorkers are kind, giving people, always willing to help a stranger in need.

We have a whole lot of good, most importantly, our ability to laugh at ourselves, which all too often escapes the “New York haters.” We love offering guidance to our beloved tourists―it gives us a sense of pride. Even when they cluelessly shuffle along, taking up the entire sidewalk with six to eight of their friends, making it impossible to pass―or worse stopping short to look up at our skyscrapers, we still tolerate them!

When push comes to shove, New Yorkers are loyal and band together as one. Why? Cuz’ we are the freakin’ world.

Clearly many of these negative stereotypes about New York City haven’t strayed beyond the usual touristy areas in Manhattan, ie: Times Square, Rockefeller Center, 34th street, and 8th Street―all areas that city inhabitants steer clear of. You need to bypass these clusterf@#ks and step into the amazing world of New Yorkers’ people watching. It is effortless to stumble on the super stylish, trendy dwellers, nervous chain-smoking businessmen, fitness fanatics, and the infamous Naked Cowboy.

People visiting should make a point of taking the subway (that would be what we call our “mass transportation”) and visit some of our trendy neighborhoods in the boroughs, where they can eat great reasonably priced ethnic food, walk around, and be a part of this free entertainment, we call New York City.

For those of you who say you hate us “rude, cold, self-centered” New Yorkers, you really should take some time to actually get to know us. You may be startled to see the warm, sensitive, cuddly human beings we really are.

And if you don’t, well…Va fungool!

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Dater Beware: Not so New and Deadly Mutations of Men to Watch out For

“I’m just a good guy doing bad things…”

Even if you’re the most intuitive of women, with no fears of intimacy, co-dependency, boundary issues, or run-of-the-mill neurosis, there are those men that can slip through the cracks, ruin an otherwise good life, and make you wish you had been in a coma during your prime dating years.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell until it’s too late. Here are just a few of the most problematic men to steer clear of when diving into the deep sea of dating. This is far from a complete list―simply some of the most obvious choices. These guys may intrigue at first, but in the end will screw with your psyche, your sanity and your greatness―and for an encore, will give you some serious heartbreak. Do NOT neglect the warning signs.

The Ambiguous Guy: Most women have been in this situation at one time or another―wondering whether the guy she’s spending…er…wasting her time with, is interested in her as a girlfriend or just a buddy. And although there’s a good chance this guy is into you, there’s a higher probability that he’s just using you for ego gratification while he looks for women he wants to sleep with. Predictably, all it takes is for him to see you out with someone spectacularly handsome, and suddenly, he’s all over you like a tongue on a frozen lamp post.

Ambiguous guys don’t want to go on dates―they want to “hang out” so that they can capitalize on all the perks that go along with that kind of arrangement. They avoid the labels of “boyfriend-girlfriend” so that they’re in the clear to see (translation…mount) other women, without the guilt of feeling (appropriately so) like a dirt bag.

The Wandering Eye guy: This is the guy who feels the need to check out every woman in the room when he’s with you. I’m not talking about just looking here―we are visual creatures after all, but ogling and staring when you’re date/significant other is sitting right across the table is quite another thing. That sort of blatant disrespect is sure to lead to a slip of a business card, napkin or paper all inclusive of phone number, email, and text, and you can bet, that a wandering pecker is not far behind. This guy is a walking cheating hazard, so stay away.

The Aspiring-to-Be Guy: This is the type of guy that is as prevalent in NY as bagels and good pizza. There is something very swoony about this guy―you know, the artist type: waiter/actor, carpenter/musician, and housepainter/sculptor. This guy exudes a brooding depth, charisma and a certain vulnerability that you just can’t resist―not to mention that bewitching zest for sex anywhere and anytime, including stairwells and rooftops. (It’s New York City…our roofs are your beaches and field of dreams.) How can you not be taken in by someone who has written a song about you and serenades you on their guitar? Without these guys, NYC would have been a dating desert for us in our 20’s and 30’s.

But what drew us in then, isn’t doing it for us now, when in his 40’s and 50’s, he’s still clutching that guitar, insistent on moving to some grunge town like Boulder or Austin where smoking pot is the norm, and refusing to grow up is par for the course. This is a guy who will never mature, and you’ll be the one supporting him. He’ll always be an aspiring something and a dreamer, on a quest for eternal youth.

The Renaissance Man (self-proclaimed): Do NOT under any circumstances go out with this guy. Seriously. Been there done that, and the only relationship I have ever regretted. Powerful words, eh?

There is a big difference between being a Renaissance man (Machiavelli’s idea of the perfect man) and defining yourself as one. If you try and think of examples of Renaissance men, remember that it’s not enough that they have brilliant minds, or that they are fine sportsmen, or that they’re well hung and virile―nor is it sufficient that they are musically gifted. They must be talented in ALL these areas. Piece of cake right?

Well, this self-proclaimed Renaissance man with his overinflated ego, has deluded himself into believing he is that person. He’s the guy that initially magnetizes and draws you in with his dizzying intellect and witty repartee, charming you long enough for you to be privy to his self-serving narcissistic ways. He will present himself as one who possesses all-encompassing knowledge and no matter what you think you know, he will always know better than you. And don’t bother challenging him lest you be on the receiving end of a condescending chuckle, and a brutal tongue lashing. Without a thought, he will cut you down in front of friends like the prick he is. He doesn’t make any money ever, but that’s not his fault. He blames the system.

They are all like this, so don’t think for a minute that your Renaissance man isn’t. They all have entitlement issues that are off the chart. Drop the SOB!

The Married Man: If you are married, you suck for cheating on your husband. If you are single, then you should know better…really. It’s never appropriate to date a married guy unless he’s legally separated (and even that’s risky) Move out and move on! Why?

– If he’s cheating on his wife, you can bet your sweet sacred spot, he’ll cheat on you too. Don’t be a schlemiel.

– You only think you’re seeing his true personality.

-He’s a liar. Most cheaters are.

– Have you ever heard of adultery working out really well for everyone involved? Affairs are disasters―not some of the time, not most of the time, but ALL OF THE TIME.

– He won’t be able to keep up the lies and the deception and it will fester leading to a disaster of epic proportions. Divorce. He’ll lose everything: his wife, his house, half his income, his possessions, his kids…everything. And you know who he’ll blame, don’t you? Bingo! You are officially the temptress/slut that destroyed his life.

Leave him and be done with it.

The Loser Guy – The guy out of his freaking mind: No exceptions here. Trust your intuition. If you suspect any personality disorders, narcissistic or suicidal tendencies, manic depressives or even a tad of schizophrenia, run for the hills. Seriously. You won’t be happy with the guy in Cuckoo’s Nest.

Still hanging on to the damaged narcissist? Great! He’s beaten your soul out of recognition and you don’t know who you are anymore, but hey, hang in there, things might turn around some day. (NOT!)

What the hell! You’ve been devalued. Sadistically put down, robbed of any security, told you’re disposable, and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT! If you’re with a man who devalues you even once, get the hell out. If you give him another chance, the probability of him doing it again is 100%. Get out and find somebody sane.

Hell, just stay away from anyone that makes you chronically unhappy. And make it your business to never date anyone more mentally off than you are. It is way, way better to be unhappy on your own than to be unhappy with some loon.

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Distracted Like a Fox – Trapped in a Hurricane of Hormonal Suckery

Anybody have a fan? Oh never mind, I’ve called my cabana boy over…

You’ve probably been wondering where I’ve been the past ‘few’ months—why for two years, I’ve been consistent in spewing my ‘dogma,’ and then poof, I’m a one-hit wonder.

So where have I been? Good question. The details are a bit fuzzy and last week’s migraines did a real number on me. Pain and paralytic indecision are a dangerous mix, although despite feeling like a tortured, incompetent ninny these last few weeks—er, months, I feel compelled to purge my soul, or at the minimum give you the CliffsNotes version of my so-called life the last year. Some of the visuals may be inappropriate for small children.

It had all been so sudden. One day I’m walking on cloud nine, hormones surging, confident in my new found, ‘I’m 50 and fabulous’ mindset, and the next, BAM! My body was waging war against me. From the ringing in my ears to the slew of unfamiliar symptoms, my reptilian brain went into survival mode. WARNING. GET OUT NOW. EMERGENCY!

Nothing would have made me happier than for this episode to turn out to be one of those out-of-body experiences, one which I anxiously came out of with a sigh and a bit wiser. The fear of my 10 year old son finding me on the floor unconscious, terrified me and quickly grew into this gnawing, aching certainty. At a time when a little calming oil or a Valium would have done me good, there was none to be found. Not an ounce of zen within my reach. No Dalai Lama whispering insightful verses into my ear. Not even a damn quote.

What the hell was happening? Time seemed to stand still and speed up at the same time, and I didn’t understand any of it.

It went something like this. Wake up in middle of the night in sleep stupor. Walk into living room for something. Twirl feebly like expiring butterfly. Can’t remember what ‘something’ was. Go back to bed. Remember. Walk to living room. Rinse and repeat.

One minute I’m agreeing to stop by at a friend’s for dinner, “Sure, count me in,” I say. The next day, she calls (clearly agitated) to make sure I wasn’t dead, and I couldn’t remember what the hell I did the night before. After full throttle brain-racking, I remembered making dinner for my son in the evening, and about midnight, zoning out in front of my computer screen, with full-fledged writer’s block and a mind filled with useless clutter. No, not my proudest moment. I’m way too young for dementia or Alzheimer’s and I’m pretty sure I didn’t wander out of the house and commit any felonies—at least I haven’t had a need for any alibis yet.

My symptoms: memory lapses, loss of diction, easily distracted, absent-mindedness, walking into things (mostly walls and tables) and falling down a lot, among the others—were dangerously close to the ones I experienced during my second and third trimesters. And although it didn’t take me peeing on a stick to know that pregnancy was out of the question, given the many curve balls I’d been hit with in my life, Immaculate Conception would not be out of the realm, but that’s a TLC show in the making.

It had occurred to me, the genius that I am, that given my depleted egg supply and lack of hormones—not to mention the sudden mood swings, hot flashes, random weeping and insomnia (naturally, I’m a Jew), that I was the next baby-booming sap to suffer the  shameful plight of menopause.

” You can no longer make babies? Why are you still alive?”

As if the symptoms weren’t bad enough, the looks of dread I’d get from those wretched 20-somethings, would put me over the edge. Talk about vitriolic hostility. Just about brought my Naomi Campbell phone throwing rage to the surface. Good thing my coordination was off.

Somehow, my pseudo-rational side would prevail and I’d manage to laugh it off, but under that sweet sarcastic exterior, I was muttering obscenities—and I wasn’t holding back.

I knew this bitch of a change was inevitable, and on a path of destruction. But like so many of us who look good for our age because of hard work, dedication and suffering,  the mere thought of my body going to shit, was hard to swallow—even in bite-sized chunks.

Apparently you are not officially experiencing menopause until you haven’t had your period for a full year. Lucky for me, my uterus is a team player and was willing to put in the extra mile for me to get the job done. So as I approached the ten-month mark without my period, my loyal friend revisited me. And God said, let there be blood—and all was good.

And just like that, I was able to stave off early menopause. The way Crocodile Dundee would stave off a rattle snake attack. Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky the next year. Twelve months had come and gone with no period in sight. Damn uterus went the straight and narrow! Menopause was here and showing no mercy. Striking  like an unpredicted tsunami and sucking me into an endless funnel of confusion and terror. A bit over the top, but true.

It really puts you to the test when the symptoms not only affect your outward appearance, but your inner motor has lost its torque. When your psyche and self-worth take a hit, you feel depleted and useless, despite the fact that others see you in the brightest of lights—as a champion… a sassy power keg of ideas. If you’re not feeling it, all the wisdom of Deepak, Oprah, and Dr. Oz combined, ain’t gonna do you much good.

Nothing like the darkness of an unfamiliar experience to shake you up. One peek into your future is enough to instill that fear of regret needed to push forward, persevere and keep that fire alive. That, and a pair of cojones.

Lucky for me I have a spare. Along with brass knuckles and a few black ensembles. I’m so glad I’m from New York.

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The Dire Consequences of Falling in Love

“Anyone who’s not happy for me, they’re just not invited to the party,”

There is nothing worse than listening to the incoherent ramblings of a good friend when she’s fallen in love. Euphoric-walking-on-air-state-of temporary-bliss, kind of love, when all her hopes and dreams have come true, the stars are aligned, birds soar in unison and the world is in harmony—because she’s in deliriously-happy-fucking love……again. Okay, that sounded bitter, but it’s not.

It’s the type of friend whose neurosis, self-doubt and self-sabotaging ways translate into this exhausting monologue of, “OMG, I never knew life could be like this!! Oh Jesus, what am I doing…who am I kidding… Do I really want to put myself through this again… I know how these things end… I was doing fine alone…was perfectly happy, had a good job, friends…but, then again, my life now has this whole new dimension, and I don’t want to lose it…Oh god, what the hell’s wrong with me…I’m so screwed up…I know I’m screwed up…you think I’m screwed up, don’t you?”

I’ll bet your blood pressure just peaked, didn’t it.

This one-way conversation, especially when repeated ad infinitum, is not enough to keep the average mind alive—and as I’d like to think of mine as being well-above average, I imagine if subjected to enough rounds of “so then he said…and then I said…and then he said…and then I said,” they’d be reading my last will and testament as my brain started to turn to jello.

A bit harsh, maybe—but after twenty-five years or so of this manic mindset, how patient and forbearing am I expected to be? I think I’m the one who needs consoling. Don’t you?

It would be desirable for the manic friend, prior to entering this manic state, to monitor her conversations somewhat before they turn said friend’s brain into a useless bowl of cold lumpy oatmeal. Just sayin’.

Look, there’s no denying that with crazy-in-love or lust, comes the stammering speech, sweaty palms and a whole lot of OCD. How many times have you triple-checked for missed texts…voicemails? (guilty) The brain in love can push us into the throes of mental illness…seriously. It’s taken less than that to push me there. Besides—you can’t argue with psychological studies.

With all those cursed chemicals coursing through our bodies, it should be no surprise. I’d imagine not much different from overdosing on testosterone.

Do you remember the scene from Moonstruck, where Nicholas Cage is standing out in the snow, and proceeds to explain fully just how dire the consequences are to falling in love with Loretta ?

“It’s dangerous for a woman like you to play it safe.”

Falling in love, while it has its exhilarating moments, also has a full supply of fear and dread. One minute you’re living your life, minding your own business, and next thing you know, you’re a runaway train slamming blindly through stations at a hundred miles an hour. Everything’s turned inside out and backwards, all your priorities and peace of mind are in disarray. Your heart is pounding, your hormones surging, you’re walkin’ on air, then you trip over a curb and knock yourself unconscious. Yep. The perils of love.

Giddiness, confusion, turmoil, misery, heartache—hell, the nutritional aspects alone (eating, not eating, eating everything in sight, puking) make you a basket case. And let’s not forget, the sleep deprivation and the utter terror. It’s not all bliss, but it sure is lively.

Is it all worth it? Well, naturally. Life-changing love doesn’t sashay your way every day. And what’s the worst that could happen? That you will lose them? Well, okay. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?

Besides, isn’t the weight loss alone worth the risk?

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Maladjusted and Dysfunctional: The New Frontier

 

“There’s been an accident. The new hearse is totaled. Your father is dead. Your father is dead, and my pot roast is ruined.”

 

–Six Feet Under

As much as we try to sugar-coat them with terms like “eccentric” or “unique,” let’s face it. Some of us have downright dysfunctional families. Nothing to be ashamed of. They happen to the best of us. Particularly my tribe.

As Jews, dysfunction is in our DNA. We’re a wounded people, persecuted from the beginning of time. It’s part of our history. It is our history. So, that should entitle us to carry our wounds around with us through life, until they eventually kill us, right?

Things happen in life that leave marks on us. We’re all wounded in some way—bi-products of our whacked-out families and our tortured history. Dysfunction has ruled our families since the beginning of time. More than likely, someone in your family was living with some deep dark secret as you were growing up. Something you probably didn’t understand at the time, but in hindsight, made sense when you considered the odd behavior or that nobody was allowed to talk about anything or someone would come up and smack you in the mouth.

Maybe like mine, your grandfather and grandmother were the Jewish equivalent of Edith and Archie Bunker—repressed and their operating principles based on fear and hatred. Don’t go out with the Spanish or Blacks. Stay away from homosexuals. Don’t masturbate, or you’ll go blind. Don’t smoke marijuana or you’ll turn into a crazed junkie. Above all, don’t be weird.

So okay, we were Jews. Neurosis was in our blood. These women deserved some sympathy. All Jewish women who lived through World War II had every right to be insane, depressed, wildly overprotective and abundantly afflicted with all sorts of maladies and psychoses. At least for several decades. Only thing is, we weren’t from Eastern Europe. But we were Jews, and the mere threat of excommunication from the family was constantly looming—particularly if you strayed from the tribe (ie: dated a Gentile, fraternized with a black boy)

It was a fucked-up decade with an abundance of even more fucked-up family dynamics. Dynamics which would ultimately lead to resentments of epic proportions. Interfaith marriages, divorces and family feuds would result in your decapitation in the family photo album. Heads cut out of pictures without a mere thought. One minute you’re just a curious kid perusing some photo nostalgia, and the next, you’re stumbling upon faceless bodies of relatives and strangers and traumatized for life!
What the hell!

I blame the fifties entirely for this behavior. Those postwar conformity-obsessed conservatives, turned our land of the free into a repressive and judgmental country. One that loathed anything different and feared everything but the status quo. If we’ve learned anything from the slew of daytime talk shows in the last decade or so, it’s that repressive parents turn their kids into timid, ambivalent, screwed up creatures riddled with neurotic self-loathing, isn’t that true Oprah?

So here we are sixty years later, and this fine country of ours has now become a larger dysfunctional family in search of a twelve-step program. At least it might help you understand why you’re so screwed up; why your parents were taught at an early age to repress major obvious shit and suck it up in silence—to take those family secrets to the grave.

When repression runs this deep, families caught up in the petty, juvenile bullshit, end up in an uncomprehending, festering, cancer-causing  resentment. And then take it out on the kids.

“Thanks for making my life just that much more difficult. Thanks for undermining my authority with our employees. And thanks for making so clear to me that my choice to dedicate myself to this business and to this family was really stupid, because apparently I would have been rewarded just the same for wasting my life.”

“Oh, my life is a waste? Well, fuck you. At least I enjoy it.”

“Well, lucky you.”

“Fuck you!”

“No, Fuck you!”

“Fuck you!” *rolls eyes*

–Six Feet Under


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Oh America: Ye Prudish Prigs!

Those stuffy Brits…

What’s all the fuss about exposed willies and ta-tas?

Unless you’ve sworn off all media recently, you’ve almost certainly heard that back in August, the royals got their knickers in a knot when nude photos surfaced of one very fine Prince Harry—and then again last month, when the lovely Duchess of Cambridge, found her naked breasts the topic of much discussion when they found their way into a French magazine (no thanks to Mr. sleazy cameraman who got the best of her)

And while the buff Prince let down his guard and neglected to keep his willie tightly under wraps and hidden from view during a friendly game of strip billiards in his Vegas hotel suite, Ms. Middleton was simply enjoying some semblance of normalcy on her few off days while vacationing on a private island with Prince William.

Needless to say, Buckingham Palace was up in arms over this. Surely Harry must have known that a camera or two would be camouflaged as a pen or a nipple pastie and used to expose his crown jewels to the common people. Outrage! Breaking out in cold sweats over the Prince’s shenanigans, and desperate for some damage control, it’s likely the royal family had to summon their own version of “The Wolf” to clean up this mess.

Of course this is all very amusing to us, given our prudish tendencies. Thanks to English royalty, nude photo scandals have become a family affair and Prince Harry, has assumed the role of quintessential bad boy—the Dirty Harry of royalty. The perils of free love have come and gone for us. We had our chance to be considered cool and madly casual about sex—to be branded the “slutty nation,” but now that the sixties have passed, we’re simply a bunch of prudish prigs living vicariously through British royalty and their indiscretions.

Stickin’ it to the prudes…

In all fairness, the royals do tend to ask for it. Wasn’t it a mere 20 years ago, that Sarah Ferguson, wife of Prince Andrew, was featured on a tabloid, topless and having her toes sucked by her American lover…while she was still married? You’ve got to hand it to those Brits, they’ve got us all fooled. Toe sucking, mistresses, divorces, confessions, gaffes, Prince Philip, Diana, Charles, Camilla, Fergie, Edward….Fuck! It’s exhausting!

Stuffy my ass! Americans are the prudes by any measure. We should be thanking the royal family for relieving our prudish sentiments with all these fascinating stories. The mere visual of the royal Prince buff naked, pool cue in hand, covering his family jewels—Diana must be turning in her grave.

I’m just a guy doing guy things…

Clearly her cheeky chap of a son was enjoying himself, and why shouldn’t he be? He’s 27. He’s a freakin’ prince. He’s loaded. He’s single. He’s just a guy being a guy—having a bit of  consensual fun. Ok, yeah, so he’s a prince. And he’s naked.

Sin City? H e l l l l l o!

And Charles, not a sound out of you—prancing around with Camilla whilst married! I say, let freedom reign. The poor lad has had a stifled enough childhood living under the world’s scrutiny. No child should have to endure that. What good is a Prince without a playground?

I say, let that willy hang, Harry. The world will get over it. And we all need to get over our prudishness.

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Being on the Other Side of Young Just Means, Being on the Other Side of Young

It’s my nature. I’m a giver…

We all have to come to that epiphany at some point—either cower at the notion of aging or embrace the fucker. And occasionally, a bitch slap is what it takes to put our heads in the right place.

Screw women in their 20′s! Being a woman is not cool, it’s fucking hot!

For those of us who stare enviously at clueless twenty-somethings with the baby-fat still in their youthful cheeks, we need to keep this in mind. It’s the women twice their age that are having all the fun, thanks to pent-up lust and unexpressed emotions. Because of our experience and renewed self-confidence (not to mention our raging horny hormones), we’ve become more indulgent and less inhibited on a quest for a superior sex life.

We are in a more fabulous era, where one can be playful, flirtatious—even a bit brassy and it’s all taken in jest. You can show a bit of vulnerability without the fear that you’ve given it all away. At this age, we’re on a more even playing field, so the yin and the yang coming together is more feasible. Men and women ultimately want the same things—to be valued, respected and loved unconditionally, so taking risks becomes a lot easier.

For years we’re consumed with insecurities about our bodies. The size of our tits, our tummies, our nose and thighs—our brain. Were we smart enough or were we boring them to tears when they looked at us in that slack-jawed way? Of course now we know better. We know it wouldn’t have mattered if we were wearing a potato sack reciting the encyclopedia. We know that they were just picturing us naked. Sneaky bastards!

Well, here’s a new fresh hell of an insight.
Women want to get laid as much as men, only we’re a lot pickier. So why are we so scared of being on the other side of young?  If we can afford to be picky, then why must we go to such extremes  to hide any evidence of middle-age?

How we feel about ourselves is often how we are perceived, and nothing is sexier than confidence and a “who gives a shit” attitude.  When you enter your 40’s, you’ve been there, done it and have zero tolerance for bullshit or games. You get straight to the point and skip the niceties altogether—and that no-nonsense sensibility comes in handy when weeding out the rejects and riffraff. Having maturity on your side is a great thing, because you’ll spare yourself the dumb-ass mistakes that only a novice is likely to commit.

There is much to be said about learning what really matters and then putting that into practice to use our time most efficiently—to skip over the bullshit that holds us back. Life is intense enough. Death, and the notion of aging, needn’t hang over you like a heavy cloud.

Clearly our society is plagued with the misogynous gene—that it feels compelled to ridicule any woman passed the age where she’s deemed sexually desirable to men and therefore disposable. (When I grow up, I’m moving to Europe where old women are not only revered, but encouraged to be as goofy as they want!)

We should all aspire to be the hot, amazing and courageous creatures we are and learn to not only accept the inevitable, but to embrace it—to see our later years as a new chapter full of new possibilities.

Different doesn’t mean bad. Being on the other side of young just means, being on the other side of young. It doesn’t mean anymore than that if you don’t let it.

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It’s my Party and I’ll Smile if I Want to!

"Make me!"

There is nothing more offensive and more likely to bring out the Cinderella bitch in you, as a virtual stranger saying to you, “Smile! Things can’t be THAT bad!” Are you kidding me? Who are these clueless clods to think that everything is rosy for everyone all of the time; and how dare they make that assumption about someone they don’t know?

With even the most basic, entry level insights into feminism, one would think that men would stop their compulsion to cheerfully insist that women smile. At the very least, it’s rude, unsolicited and sexist; not to mention a rather lame attempt at conversation or interaction. Does the man feel he is entitled to order a perfect stranger to smile on command—dictate her mood to satisfy his own comfort? Are we not allowed a grimace every now and then?

Don’t men realize that a smile is not a natural expression? Unless you’re the Joker…or from the south?

Try that in New York, where you’ll never get an undeserved compliment, a begrudging smile, or direct eye contact, and you’ll get nothing short of a well-deserved “WTF! How freakin’ dare you” attitude—and that may be sugarcoating it. New Yorkers have a tendency, when being verbally assaulted by an outsider or stranger, to band together as one. Yes, we are the effin world.

My point being, whatever your mood, you’re entitled to it. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for a frown, grimace or an uncomfortable leer. You smile when you have reason to—when you want to. Not when ordered to by a random ‘smile Nazi.’

It would appear, in my opinion, that because we are women—curvy, soft, sensual and sometimes scented, that we are looked upon as delicate flowers intended to brighten a room like decorative works of art…but only if we are smiling. Newsflash.

Can you say E S T R O G E N?

Why the resentment, and what is so bad about smiling? Absolutely nothing! But from now on, I’ll smile when I damn well please.

So to the man who says “smile,” how about you frown for an hour and get back to me.

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Boundary Issues – the Hot New Malady Du Jour

A Dangerous Method..... "Sometimes you have to do something unforgiveable, just to be able to go on living..."

You know that sappy-eyed look you get when someone is falling head-over-heels for you? You know the look. The soft, runny, weak, and worshipful, I’m-crazy-in-love-with-you-and-will-put-up-with-anything-because-I’m-a-doormat look, that annoys the shit out of you? Yeah, that’s the one.

You hate the look, because despite your being all consumed with attraction and lust over this guy, not to mention your wired, over-excited and neurotic behavior over whether or not he liked you, ( ie: trying-too-hard, laughing-too-much-at-his-jokes), it means you’ve found yet another sap who will put up with all your bullshit. So you back off, hoping things get better but they only get more intense. You get the questions and the phone calls in the wee hours…
“I love you. I don’t understand. Why are you pulling away?” he asks.
“It’s not you. It’s me,” you spew, and off you ride on your horse like the runaway bride.

Then you’re wondering “What’s wrong with me? Why am I so fucked up? Why do I keep attracting these spineless saps?

You’re plagued with boundary issues, and the thought of letting people get near you sends you into a tailspin. You know that look that makes you cringe? That look you so criticize? It’s not a look of weakness or sappiness. On the contrary, it’s a look of someone who has let down their defenses and made themselves vulnerable to you. It’s a look of someone who is embracing another person getting close to them.

The boundary-challenged
A person with boundary issues can’t tell where they stop and the other person begins—which makes it pretty hard to differentiate between appropriate interactive behavior and a pontificating control freak sadistically putting you down. Instead of “using your words” when someone hurts you or offends you, you’ll more than likely question what you did wrong and apologize to them.

When you don’t set boundaries, you have no sense of yourself apart from other people, and you don’t know how to keep others out. Or, you don’t know how to make sure your needs are met because you’re always putting everyone else first. Case in point:

“I disappear into the person I love. I am the permeable membrane. If I love you, you can have everything. If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and…I will give you the sun and the rain…I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else”

— Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat, Pray, Love

"My stepfather had boundary issues..."

Are you a “permeable membrane?” Think you have boundary issues?
Does the mere thought of confrontation give you agita?

Do you think that if you confront anyone about the slightest thing, they’ll fly off the handle and beat you to a bloody pulp?

When asking for something you need, does your voice become softer, more tentative and apologetic?

Do you think it’s normal for a strange man to knock on your window at 3am with bizarre requests?

Do you jeopardize your own safety to help creepy window-knocking guy because of his puppy dog eyes and a plausible story?

Do you have magical freak attracting powers?

Do unstable people sense that you won’t be mean to them and manipulate you into listening to their bizarre stories?

Do you give sketchy people more leeway than you should and then find yourself caught up in their strange alternate realities and can’t shake yourself free?

Have you ever been stuck in a room with someone mentally off, and soon become convinced you, yourself are mentally whacked?

Do you still hang on to the damaged narcissist, even though he’s beaten your soul out of recognition and you don’t know who you are anymore?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then congratulations. You’ve crossed into the world of the boundary-challenged.

So where do these boundary issues come from?
What we know, we learn from our families…or fail to learn from our families.  In a healthy family, members respect each others’ needs. Unfortunately most families fall way short of this ideal and cross that line into emotional trespassing.

Did you have an overbearing, overly controlling parent who never allowed you the room to blossom into your own identity—the parent who never respected your boundaries, and turned you into a fearful and distrustful human being? Maybe you had a parent who was more an overgrown child than a parent, or more interested in being your BFF and under-concerned about your welfare (Dina Lohan comes to mind)  Were your parents overly rigid and untrusting as a means of hiding their own family dysfunction from the rest of the world? Did your father blame you for his miserable life? Did your mother force you to live out her dreams? Did your parents search your room for drugs when you weren’t around? Read your personal diary? Your private letters?

It wasn’t that long ago that parents thought of their children as mere reflections of themselves. Not as individuals with their own uniqueness but as blank slates that they can control—shape in the image of their own ideals. The idea that children have the right to their own feelings, opinions, wants, needs, bodies and souls is extremely modern.

If you’re ridden with boundary issues, you’ll have a difficult time having any kind of healthy relationship, because you won’t know how to choose your friends. Chances are, you’ll migrate to people with nastiness issues—the callous, rude, narcissistic and nasty. The kind of person who will ask what could have possessed you to buy that outfit…or worse, berate the outfit you wear out with friends on the eve of your birthday. Yeah, nice.

And God forbid you say “Bite me” or “Shove it up your ass,” which is really what you’re thinking. No. You’ll probe the depths of your memory, analyzing, cataloguing, and cross-indexing anything you ever said to this person that may have provoked them to insult your outfit. And even then, you’ll decide it’s better to just not say anything so as not to aggravate the situation. Then you’ll get down on yourself, get really depressed, feel like shit, and bury yourself in two king-sized bags of M&Ms.

Sadly, there are many people in this world who prowl around on a quest for those amazing, wonderful and preferably care-taker types who are gullible to their charms. They are masters at catching you off guard with their grandiose display of charisma, cheerfulness and perceived intelligence and adept in stripping you down to a sickened sense of worthlessness. Should you ever find yourself in the company of one such narcissistic SOB, trust your instincts. Get away while you are still sane.

If you want to cure your boundary issues, learn to ask for what you want. Stop projecting, panicking and worrying that the guy won’t like you if you are vocal about your needs. Being clear about your boundaries is a sign of self-respect. It’s how we establish who we are and how we want to be treated.  If you don’t respect yourself, how do you expect someone else to?

Speak up and speak out. Loud and proud. Practice in front of the mirror if you have to.

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On Valentine’s Etiquette – So, What’s a Guy to do that Ain’t got a Clue?

"What's a boy to do?"

Ah, Valentine’s Day―another holiday that manages to inspire warmth and contempt in the masses. Whether you’re stupid crazy in love, in a new happy fog, or unwaveringly single, there apparently is some form of Valentine’s Day etiquette to abide by so that you don’t offend or piss anyone off―or worse, single-handedly take the fall for all failed relationships out there.

Recently my 9 year old son asked me if he was my Valentine, to which I emphatically replied, “Yes, of course sweetie. You are my one and only,” which as a mom of a young boy, naturally made me beam. It also precipitated my next question (in the form of a post) as to whether I should hint at the chocolate. Now, of course I was kidding (or was I?) He is barely nine.

A few comments later, this post turned into a tangled thread, masking itself as dialogue, but resembling more of a game of telephone gone awry. The point was that my nine year old son seemed more aware of a holiday that I rolled my eyes at the mere mention of. This over-commercialized day that I didn’t buy into―a day associated with heart-shaped candy displays, chocolate, red roses, and more chocolate; not to mention all the disgustingly happy, giddy in love couples, all of a sudden appealed to my senses. The sweet innocence of my son’s question, apparently stimulated my palate, and made me wonder if this wouldn’t be the perfect time to teach him some early holiday etiquette―if for no other reason, to learn what chivalry used to mean before it bit the dust!

In my sassy attempt at humor, I seem to have struck a chord with a male friend, who is as opinionated as I am (if not more) and possibly my male equivalent when it comes to defending our gender rights. Being challenged is never a bad thing, but a never-ending pissing contest over an opinion, only makes you more opinionated, plus my aim sucks. My friend seemed concerned that I teach my son, “that men receive Valentine gifts too! It’s not a one way street” he said. “It is the teaching of Valentine etiquette that is the issue.”

Good point Confucius, and very true.

So in an effort to listen more openly, “focus, and stay on the issue at hand,” I decided to do a bit of my own research on Valentine etiquette. Here it is, straight from the experts, the Emily Post Institute, an organization that’s been teaching etiquette, civility and raising polite kids since 1946. Granted Emily Post is now dead, but nonetheless, the wisdom of Peter Post, one of her four great-grandchildren, carries on.

According to Peter, author of the Emily Post Institute, and Essential Manners for Men, whether you’ve been married to the same woman for 25 years or have just started dating, rule number one, on Valentine’s Day is: “It’s all about her, not you. The smart man plans ahead.” (ahem…ahem)

So, what’s a guy to do that ain’t got a clue?
•  Single? You are hardly alone. Love the ones you’re with. Get a group of friends together and go out for dinner & drinks. Don’t feel like being around smug couples? Host a dinner party of your own.

•  Newly dating? Something simple is better than nothing, but don’t overdo it, or you may be bordering on creepy-clingy territory. A simple floral bouquet or a long stemmed rose has the same impact. Imagine how irresistible you’d be looking like that.. (see above) The wide-eyed look would need some practice.

•  Long-term relationship? Cook a romantic dinner at home. Candles, chocolates and the right mood music in your own environment can set the tone for a romantic evening and be even more enjoyable than going out. Love notes and texts, don’t hurt either.

•  Can’t cook? Make reservations…the sooner the better.

•  Mind your table manners. You know what that means. ie: chewing with your mouth open, bodily sounds, holding your fork like a medieval weapon. Impress her with your fine self―a little finesse, hold the door, pull out her chair, order a nice wine. Get out of your comfort zone. It’s one day, for god’s sake!

•  Not into the traditional romance? Do simple things for each other around the house. They are good reminders that you still care.

•  Just because she doesn’t drop hints about flowers, it doesn’t mean she isn’t expecting them, and although she may tell you not to worry about it, c’mon now…we all know that’s not what she really means. If you’re not sure, err on the side of caution and order some flowers.

•  Valentine’s Day not your thing, but it is for your significant other who is drooling all over the chocolate and candy heart displays? “Your job is to be considerate,” according to the Emily Post Institute. “Getting her some flowers and taking her out to dinner won’t kill you.” (and if it does, at least your eulogy will be nothing short of  honorable..that’s got to be comforting.)

•  Care about someone deeply, and haven’t told them how you feel? Now’s your chance. This is as easy as stealing a kiss under the mistletoe. 

•  Love someone and can’t be with them? Tell them via phone, voice message, text, email.  

While embraced as a day for all lovers, let’s face it. Valentine’s Day has always been more about women. Many women try to reciprocate their love and respect to their men, and they mean well, but most guys could easily do without the teddy bears, roses, or anything with the word, “love” on it. Most would rather you didn’t bother at all, but for those of you men who do appreciate gifts, it wouldn’t hurt if you came back with a hint of your own…as long as it didn’t involve a big screen TV!

Bottom line, if you’re a decent guy, good manners and proper etiquette should go hand-in-hand. There are no rules to study here. If you think before you act, (constantly telling my son that), act selflessly, and you’re sincere—you will empower and enrich your relationship.

Think intimacy. Think romance. Think love. A little extra effort goes a long way, so why not make it count.

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Year of the Woman: Purging the Stigma and Flying Solo

Let's call a ceasefire...I need water...*pant*

Too many of us broads seem to have gone astray, so at the risk of sounding like a Gloria Steinem groupie, I need to reiterate something here. A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Yeah, yeah, I know…how very seventies of me. Though the meaning now is a bit gentler than the deeper “gender bashing” of the feminist era.

Back in the throes of Women’s Liberation, we thrashed around, exclaiming, “That’s right!” “Men: Who Needs ’em! What’s the goddamn point!” We realized in astonishment that while men are perfectly nice creatures, and good for some things (ahem), they are not the point of our existence. We didn’t need to depend on them financially or emotionally, nor did we need them to feel complete. It was a time when we called each other, “sisters” and felt a sort of kinship.

Somewhere down the line, it occurred to us, that although men weren’t necessary to our survival, life could be a lot more fulfilling with a man in your bed…or hooking up your stereo..or whatever..

The much publicized Year of the Woman, was a fabulous thing, but in all the hooplah and consciousness raising, we seemed to have forgotten the true status of men. Too many of us were feeling desperate to find someone, settle down and marry for fear we’d look ridiculous! The pressure was on again and history was repeating itself.

In my last post, Ode to Guilt and Shame: The Stigma of Solo, I emphasized that too many of us who are alone, feel absurdly bleak and covert about our loneliness―we’re all secretive and tight-lipped because of the stigma society puts on single people. If you’re alone, you’re miserable and your life is tragic…”

For one of my readers, this post was especially hard to process. Michele Loreto-Chase at Ghost Executive Group wrote: “I’m really trying to understand why anyone would feel less if not in a relationship. Why is flying solo taboo? Personally, I have always felt proud to be a single woman who is empowered and strong―comfortable enough being alone without the need for a filler. My belief is that if a person is afraid or anxious about being single and alone with themselves, it’s an indication that they’re looking for someone to distract them from a little healthy introspection or worse looking for someone else to fix their life for them…To fill a void.
I think it has to do with self- acceptance, esteem, realization, love―using my time alone to learn about me, so I could arrive at a place where I could articulate exactly who it is that would compliment me best and I compliment them in the same way. I was never willing to spend time with someone who I felt wasn’t someone I wanted to spend my life with. For me, my singleness has lasted for 13 years and for the most part, I’ve been truly happy. For me, being in a temporary or bad relationship is far worse than not being in one at all. I simply haven’t found the person who I believe is my perfect other half. Do I want it? Yes. But it has taken me years to learn to love ME enough to bring to the table the very best I have to offer.”

Frankly, I blame the fifties entirely for this behavior. Well maybe not entirely, but Jesus! Look at what they were subjected to―an era of repression, propaganda and taboos, not to mention that cruel instrument of torture, the panty girdle, which were forced onto prepubescent bodies. (and we wonder why Feminists were angry) It was a scary and controlling decade, where mantras of “a perfect little lady” were drummed irrevocably into their little heads. They were terrified of ending up in the chubby section, or never being pretty enough to ever find a husband.

It was a matter of time, before shit would hit the patriarchal fan and ball-busting militant feminists would take the country by storm (justifiably after that constricting, thigh hematoma inducing chamber!)

The other thing adding fuel to the fire, was that allegedly scientific study done in the mid-eighties about the male shortage…Yeah. Remember that “male shortage?” The one that had every post-pubescent female (lucky me) severely traumatized, and indulging in Dexatrim, TAB, and Kit Kats…not to mention thongs, baby dolls and lace teddies…Enough said.

And let us not forget the creators of the trend-setting TV shows, like “thirtysomething,” “Northern Exposure,” and the like, who couldn’t help but cast their main character as some ridiculed, forlorn singleton. Of course the creators were all men…

So as we attempt to purge all these negative role models from our bruised and shaken psyches, let us return to a more empowered time―the Year of the Woman. A time when women are much farther along than we were in Steinem’s day. A time when feminism is no longer considered passé. A time when feminism has morphed itself into something much bigger and bolder (that doesn’t involve the demise of the male gender.)

We’ve come a long way in the last few generations, overcoming decades of challenges—so if we’re a bit cocky, we’re entitled… If you never would have called yourself a feminist in the past, consider it a part of your future.

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Ode to Guilt & Shame: The Stigma of Solo

You’re alone! You’ll always be alone! You suck!

For those of us who have ever experienced an unusually long dry spell in between Mr. Rights, the humming and tapping of our feet, waiting for that special someone to trip over us can feel like an entire decade.

Millions of women each year, in a fit of post-New Year’s resolution fervor, vow to get healthy, lose weight, etc., but what they really crave is to be in a fulfilling relationship―despite their insistence that they’re never lonely, they love their life, the only fulfilling relationship they need is the one with their friends, and if romance happens to come along, well, great, but they weren’t holding their breath.

“Oh, bullshit,” I say to that! Just makes you want to slap them, doesn’t it? They can’t be serious?

We can all think back to a time in our lives, preferably in another galaxy, when we felt empty without a man. Add in the reptilian need to get laid, and this made our desperation for a steady boyfriend that much more agonizing. The shame of being solo would push us to our lowest.

Those damn voices in our heads, which lacked even the most elementary self esteem, would do a real number on us, convincing us that we weren’t good enough. Nothing was worse than emitting a stench of shame when there was nothing to be ashamed of.

You would have this unexplainable hatred towards someone, for no reason, other than the fact that deep down, she reminded you of an aspect of yourself that you abhor. You would harbor jealous resentment of anyone in a relationship, or that was happy for that matter―especially friends with mates, who would smugly smile at you, damn them!
And you knew what the smile meant. I’m getting’ laid and you’re not. You knew the smile because you yourself were guilty of the same smugness, on the occasions you had a boyfriend.

“Why don’t I have a boyfriend…why can’t I be fabulous like everyone else?”

Sadly, it’s a common trait among us. Many of us wear our men as proudly as badges. It all comes back to social acceptance.  When one girl chimes, “Oh, my boyfriend this,” the others chime back, “Oh, well my husband that…my husband…my old man…my sweetie…my honey..” It’s enough to push you deeper into the shit hole of shame when you’re alone.

Now, maybe I’m being a bit harsh here, but too many of us who are alone, feel so absurdly bleak and covert about our loneliness. We’re all secretive and tight-lipped because the media presents singlehood as an illness that needs to be overcome. If you’re alone, you’re miserable and and your life is tragic. If you don’t have anyone, you don’t have a life. “Bah, humbug!

And then there are those annoying “Ah, the joys of singlehood”- type pieces. These are the stories that inevitably end up with the writer having some sort of revelation that she used to feel disgustingly desperate about being alone, but hey, it actually wasn’t all that bad! Now she was all spiritual and had become one with the Earth Mother, the sun and moon were aligned, peace was guiding the planet and love was steering the stars!

Oh! For cryin’ out loud! It’s these passive-aggressive stories that induce enough worriment and angst to force you into therapy, or at the very least, self-medicating. When they’re not torturing you with articles meant to make you feel like a lifeless bum, these magazines and their, “Lonely But Not Desperate!” or “I’d Rather Be Alone Than Be…” pieces, are overtly shaming you. It’s just another way for these huge corporations to make money off our misery―traumatize us into buying shit that promises to make us look younger, thinner, hotter, smarter―hell, even emit pheromones and become irresistible to all feasible sex partners.

As if it weren’t bad enough that we’re forced into panic and anxiety by reminders that our biological clocks are (stampin’ foot three times) tickin’ like this, you can count on the media to finish us off with their blatant messages that women, if they’re not attached to a big strong man (translation, have a resident penis on hand), they must off themselves immediately.

Granted, that may have been more ten years ago than now, but clearly the shame of being solo still remains.  Just look at the size of bridal magazines, with their BIGGER is BETTER advertising. Clearly, this propaganda is working overtime to keep girls half my age panting after the matrimonial state.

Maybe it’s time we threw off this stigma of solo. Any hindrances that once were, are now gone, and singlehood is a valid lifestyle choice. So, it would be apropos given the New Year, for us to point the finger and poke back at those bastards who imply that we are less than if we don’t have men in our lives. Maybe it’s time we look shame squarely in the eyeball, and say:

“FUCK OFF! (or “PISS OFF” if you’re English) There is NO shame in being alone, nor is their shame in being lonely. It is okay to want a mate. A mate is a good thing. Mating is a good thing.

I’m lonely, I’m horny and I’m proud!

It’s that overriding feeling of shame that will destroy you―make you sick and full of self-loathing. So ward off the bad mojo. Own your loneliness. Laugh in your loneliness, and share your loneliness with others.

The truth will set you free.

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When Crazy is Wrapped in Beautiful, it’s Hard to Keep on Walking

(inspired by July post, “The Enticing Breed of the Psychopathic Woman”partial excerpts of previous comments by Minka Fieldstone & Karen Catalan)

''You're young, you're crazy, you're in bed and you've got knives.''

Like moths to a flame, we are seduced by that which can kill us. We all want to dance with the devil…or want to fuck the devil…or whatever.

Beauty almost always attracts the beast. The good girls find the bad boys, and the bad girls inevitably win the best and smartest men. It’s fatal attraction and Russian roulette at best. We know that the relationship is self-destructive, we know we’re headed for the danger zone and carnage is expected, yet we hold on to the notion that maybe, just maybe, we can come into this messed-up person’s life and change it for the better.

It’s that need to “fix” or tame the wild beast, although I doubt men want to “fix” the batshit crazy bitch―more likely, they want to semi-tame the wild, beautiful beast, and have the bragging rights. Men love to be heroes. They love to fix things. It makes them feel needed, important and it feeds the ole’ male ego. Who makes a better damsel in distress than a poor defenseless lunatic?  (I highly doubt the crazy wench is defenseless) But in you come, to save her, tame her, condition her…own her ass (keep dreaming) You’re thinking, “Fuck! I did this! I have control of this insanely wild, dangerous sexual dynamo and the rest of you suckers don’t!”

So sadly human, it’s simply the female equivalent of wanting the “bad boy”― a way of trying to experience some naughtiness. All they really want is a small bite of that apple, but sadly, they end up choking when the whole damn thing is shoved down their throat.

And then they get fucked―literally and figuratively, because by then they are imprisoned in a dysfunctional relationship that may have crossed into the danger zone, which more often than not, is what we crave… that element of danger.  After leading an utterly domesticated life of goodness, we’re bored to tears and need an edge, a thrill, a wild one as a partner who will be as challenging and exciting as they are fucking mental…and by then it’s too late. We have this self-destructive urge, we act on it―then figure out it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Let’s face it. It’s the sex. Primordial-ooze sex dominates our rational minds. It makes us crave a little crazy now and then. We are all totally animals when it comes right down to it. Animals with a surface layer of consciousness that tells us all sorts of shit about what’s right and wrong, logic, and reality verses fantasy―yet despite all that we know to be true, we still don’t seem to be able to heed its wisdom and warnings. We want instant gratification, and when we feel sexually unfulfilled at home, we find our gaze straying towards the “bad boy” (all inclusive of long hair, goatee, tattoos & Harley) and the “bad girl” with her unfettered nipples, plunging neckline and long wraparound legs.

It’s the classic “madonna-whore complex,” a widespread problem plaguing our menfolk. Men want the best of both worlds, a princess on the street and a slut in the bedroom…a tomcat in heat between the sheets. Sure, they’re instantly aroused by the Pamela Andersons of the world, but they know they could never tame…much less trust a “bad girl” like this…

And it’s not all that different for women…

Women want men to rock their world—yes, of course in the bedroom! Women want a challenge, a backbone…someone who will take charge. The “bad boy,” with his rugged, rough around the edges and maybe even tattooed looks, make him appear stronger, less wimpy, and more protective of his woman, and that confidence clearly works in his favor. Showing confidence, occasional arrogance, and not being a doormat are always helpful in keeping us stimulated and on our toes. It’s less about being a “nice guy” or being a “bad boy,” and more about losing inhibitions, throwing caution to the wind, and embracing your wild thing―which by the way, doesn’t mean,”you’re young, you’re crazy, you’re in bed and you’ve got knives.” (Angelina Jolie in an interview explaining her scars)

A sensible guy would be thankful not to be involved with a woman whose toys involve knives and pointy gadgets, but then again, there aren’t a lot of sensible men out there. To most men, crazy equals sexy. Behind the wild-eyed look and uninhibited behavior, men fantasize, must lie a crazy libido. That it could lead to emotional turmoil, bankruptcy, and public spectacles is beside the point. At the time, it seems irresistible. Like a moth to a flame, this stable “nice guy” has momentarily lost his faculties and is smitten.

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Next Stop, Intercourse―Pennsylvania, that is

Amish, shoofly pie, Intercourse..oh my!

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock the last few decades, you’ve probably heard of the slew of oddly named Pennsylvania towns in or around Lancaster County.

There’s a story about a traveler who is looking to Mount Joy in Intercourse, but she already left to find Fertility and Lickdale. The traveler goes off to try his luck in Virginville but gets lost and ends up in Blue Ball, only to find Climax in Bird-In-Hand.
Hahahahahahaha. Ha.
Ok. Not my story, but too good not to steal―and that’s not the only thing stolen.

Generations of feeble pranksters have been coveting and carting away those infamous town limits signs of Intercourse, Pennsylvania (that was me 20 years ago) as well as some other towns with knee-slapping names. The fact that Intercourse is in the heart of zipperless Amish country, and the generally conservative, pious Amish apparently are unbothered by the name, makes it more ironic and that much more amusing. The locals even got in on the joke, producing a postcard of the Intercourse sign, with an Amish buggy airbrushed in the background, reprinted for many decades. (Damn Capitalists!)
Laugh, world. Laugh at our funny town name. The joke is on you!

They must be up to here with our juvenile snickering.

All churlish quips aside, let us dispense with the part of the story that has droves of tourists by the busload making a beeline for Intercourse, Blue Ball, Bird-in-hand, and if they’re lucky…Climax. Of course there are other stranger sounding towns: Coldplay (synonym for foreplay?), Lickingville, Pleasureville, Puseyville, Rough & Ready, Standard Shaft, (really bad porn) Black Lick, Two Lick (don’t want to know), Virginville (not with the way those Amish women are pumping out babies), Balls Mills, Gringo (the only town populated exclusively by Mexicans) and Hosensuck……Jesus…that was a mouthful!

You’ve got to wonder what the hell they were thinking when they named these sexually-suggestive sounding towns. Was it pent-up lust? Repressed sexuality? Are the Pennsylvania Dutch a religious group of horndogs?

So let’s clear this up right now. Intercourse, PA has nothing to do with intercourse. (*giggle, snicker, smirk*) so get your minds out of the gutter. There is nothing dirty about this wholesome town, population just under 5,000. In fact, it offers a historic Old World sort of charm―the kind you and your family would actually want to flock to. Even as my own curiosity gets the best of me, and I venture out on a five mile walk to Intercourse, I am reminded instantly of Harrison Ford in “Witness,” (my first introduction to Intercourse…the town silly) and the various scenes filmed in and around this quaint little village. Okay, I admit I let out a few chuckles as I entered the town.

So how did it get named THAT really?
A few theories. The town was named after a “noted old Tavern stand,” according to a sign, and not for sexual activity. Some say Intercourse got its name from an old race track on Old Philadelphia Pike called Entercourse (pre-spellcheck days), which later evolved into Intercourse. (how convenient)

Another theory pertains to the use of language in the early days of the village, in which the term “intercourse” was used to describe social interaction, fellowship, and friendship in small rural towns (close friendship…I’ll say!)

Regardless, it doesn’t get much more wholesome than the village of Intercourse, right? (*giggle, snicker, smirk*)

One of the biggest giggle provokers comes from the popular Intercourse Pretzel Factory with a wood-carved sign that boasts “Soft, Stuffed & Hard” Intercourse pretzels. Of course, most find that hilarious, as well as the “Welcome to Intercourse” sign. How many men have thought they were entering that very town after they got married only to find it was a one-way-trip to Blue Ball, PA down the road, but I digress.
A good thing the towns are close by.

The sign thefts are another matter and have precipitated some tough Intercourse love. The town, from what I hear, no longer posts these “Welcome to Intercourse” signs, although I did find them on both east and west approaches—the mounting post now a solid metal, anchored in concrete. (Ha! They’ve really shown us hoodlums!) And although Intercourse and Blue Ball, PA often get attention for obvious reasons, it has got to be better than living in Spread Eagle, Wisconsin, a city that albeit tough on crime, must leave you feeling invaded.

Next stop…Climax, PA.

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City Girl Amok in Amish Country

I’m giddy with excitement. Environments are changing…the mind cleansing.

This sassy, snarky, city slicker has shoved off to Amish country. Complicated and befuddled ex-New York woman, now residing in an uncomplicated, farm-ridden, Amish livin’ country. Wait. I think I hear you asking yourself, “What the fuck? What’s a girl like you gonna do in conservative, backwards, non-progressive Amish country? You’ll be bored to tears, won’t you?”

I don’t know! My brain is fried, goddammit, and hoarding way too much clutter!

This move has not been about a midlife crisis, (isn’t 50 the new 40?) about finding the meaning of life, or about trying to come to terms with menopause in all its glory―although, the relentlessly slowing metabolism, failing vision, and increased sex drive, should serve me better in the country than in the midst of suburban obnoxious turmoil.  It is also not about my sudden need to date blue collar men and stray away from the metrosexual. Yes, didn’t you know…women are into rough trade now. It’s become the new trend.

All I know is that back in suburbia, I was bored to death. I was approaching that slippery slope toward a life as a soccer mom and drill sergeant, adorning whistle and clipboard as I drag my son’s butt out of bed and haul him to games. My network of friends seemed to be getting farther and farther away, thanks to social media. In a traffic-ridden, congested, suburban town just north of DC―one that had become so painfully ethnic, yet lacking the “melting pot” dynamic, it became readily apparent that if I didn’t get the hell out, my life would forever be a sea of shopping centers, McDonalds franchises and Payless shoe stores―and to a shoe-obsessed New Yorker, this is devastating!

A far cry from the city life I once lead and the spontaneity I possessed, I would often ask myself why the hell I left the city in the first place. Ah yes, to be a big fish in a small pond―to experience something other than a fast-tracked and self-absorbed New York City lifestyle. Hard to believe that an opinionated, insatiable New Yorker like myself would ever give up ethnic food, pizza, bagels, and all the accessibilities. Aw, who the hell am I kidding, why would I leave those goddamned shoes! Sigh….I still mourn my coolest one-of-a-kind-finds, and to this day, can’t bring myself to part with any of my brooding black ensembles. It must be Attachment Disorder.

Call it a craving for peace and tranquility―a desperate need to remove myself from what was becoming an overpopulated county with more rudeness than this New Yorker was accustomed to, but I woke up one day and said to myself, “Get the fuck out, NOW. Leave suburbia. It’s horrible here. So I left.

Now, as I sit here lost in a sea of straw hats, black suits and bonnets, I find myself pathetically trying to score points with the Amish, practicing my wave to the bearded men in buggies as they dash by and glance up long enough to acknowledge this stranger in their midst. There is a technique to waving at the Amish, clearly one I haven’t mastered yet.

Like most people, I know almost nothing about the Amish except for what I’ve read…okay, Googled―and my fascination of these private people comes almost entirely from the Harrison Ford flick, Witness. Could it be that growing up in NYC, I’ve been so saturated with modern conveniences, accessibility, status and comfort that I welcome something different and maybe not so mainstream?

They choose simplicity and self-denial over comfort, convenience and leisure. I admit it. My curiosity is aroused and I find their bizarre behavior somewhat refreshing―but because you won’t catch me traveling anywhere without my paddle brush and blow dryer, you probably won’t see me converting to the Old Order Amish any time soon……nor will I be adorning bonnet, unless of course it’s bright scarlet.

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The Enticing Breed of the Psychopathic Woman

You and I have unfinished business...

Remember when sex couldn’t kill you unless you lost control of the car?

What is it that makes the seemingly sane man seek out the certifiably crazy? These otherwise smart guys can’t seem to stay away from those shiny poisonous berries in the forest, that enticing breed of the beautiful psychopath. What at first appears exciting, refreshing and different from their usual dating fare, they soon discover, is the metamorphosis of a crazy girl…a messed-up, demented, crazy ass bitch. And they fall for them continually, wasting years of their lives, being abused, tormented, chewed up and spit out.

Why? Because when crazy is wrapped in beautiful, it’s hard to keep on walking. The consensus of these wounded men appears to be, that you’re willing to forgive a lot if a girl is beautiful, and beyond that willing to have sex with you. Most guys assume, “If she’s crazy, she must be crazy in bed.”

And that’s exactly right. Most crazy women are crazy in the sack. They love sex, have no inhibitions, and are willing to do things the so-called “nice girls” wouldn’t do. Now I’m not the kind of crazy we’re talking about here; though I am a bit off-balance and could use some therapy, I’ve never been known to throw a guy out of my house after sex, nor have I lunged at his throat or threatened his manhood. You can breathe now.

We’re talking clinical sense, bona fide crazy girls. The beautiful nymphos―super conductors of sex, who toy with men’s minds by showing up at their doorstep in the wee hours demanding wild, dirty sex, and then never calling again. Incidentally, an inordinate number seem to live in New York and Miami, (presumably because they are actresses, models or dancers) have at least one substance problem, and they like to throw and break things when they get mad. (I’ve been known to slam a few cabinet doors)

My friend Jerry, decades ago, told me of a woman who asked him to pee on her on their first date and another who liked to smother him. Yes, he is still with us. Another friend went out with a woman once who he had met at a trendy club―her “friends” had bailed on her so he gave her a ride home. One thing led to another. On their first real date, she tells him if she sees him looking at another woman, she’ll rip out his lungs and wear them as a hat. Charming!

(No second date for you, ya nut crusted cheese ball…and holy fucking hooray for caller ID!)

Part of the appeal of these psychopathic women, is this self-delusion, that lets you tell yourself, “She’s crazy, but only because I make her this way.” (pathetic that you actually believe that) And once you realize your looks had nothing to do with her putting out, you try to win her over (even more pathetic) and an impossible task of course. These women aren’t interested and frankly are bored to death with any guy that would do them twice. The fact that they don’t want you in ‘their club,’ just makes you want to be a member that much more.

Most of these girls struggle with their own beauty, having been valued for their looks and sex their whole life.  Now they use it to manipulate men, get what they want and then they get angry when it works. It’s no wonder so many of these deranged women have rage problems.

Speaking of camera-punching pissed off wenches, Naomi Campbell’s rage can be explained by her “abandonment issues,” or so she told Oprah recently—or maybe, just maybe it’s because she doesn’t eat….and why do that, when clearly everyone loves to watch a hottie go batshit crazy with mobile devices!

Look…whether it was you that drove your wench crazy, or whether she was prone to crazy to begin with, or an unfortunate combination of the two, women will always maintain over the course of their lives that they were slowly and methodically driven insane by stupid men. (stupid = clueless) And of course men will maintain that it’s impossible for a man to act intelligently when he’s with a woman who’s out of her freakin’ fucking mind.

They say every cloud has a silver lining, although it’s difficult to find one when you’re on the receiving end of a sharp object.

Be the stable, discerning and intelligent guy you are, and walk away. I know the sex is crazy good. You’ll find that again…with a sane person. You’ve heard the awful stories. Run while you can. Distance is the best policy. Plenty of distance.

DANGER AHEAD!

FALLING ROCK!

DO NOT ENTER!

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Men do Love a Bitch – Crossing the line from Passive to Bitch-hood

“Don’t make me go Xena on your ass bee-otch!”

Gettin’ your bitch on doesn’t need to involve bustin’ a cap in someone’s ass or hittin’ up some hot bitches. “Shit did you see Kayla last night? Dat bitch had her hood on!”

Okay, so I may not be that in-your-face-finger-snappin’ ghetto bitch, but I do reserve my inner bitch for those instances where placating and submissive postures will only get my ass kicked. And for those of us with an urban upbringing, survival tactics, attitude and a little bitchdom go a long way.

Basic Bitch 101
Let me preface this by saying that the words bitch, biyatch, and bee-otchnot to be confused with my bitch-slut, hussy, she-devil, meangirl, vixen, wench, or the “c” word, are used quite loosely in my vocabulary and never take themselves too seriously. In fact in my world they are quite complimentary. They connote: confidence, sassiness, feistiness, and a no-nonsense attitude. The bitch I’m referring to is never rude or abrasive, nor is she the classic cut-throat office bitch who is hated by her co-workers. She is a strong spirited woman who can stand up for herself. She is compassionate, has an inner strength and a presence of mind. She knows when to pull back and she doesn’t lose herself in a man. She has a certain moxie about her―sugar and spice and not always so nice. Her spice is an intriguing quality that keeps men interested. A woman who is “too nice” or too needy, will keep giving until she’s depleted.

We’ve all had those moments in time, when our inner-bitch revealed itself―maybe in a fight-or-flight response to an altercation in high school with the ‘mean girls’ (the true bitches), or maybe you embraced your inner bitch when you stood your ground or showed a strong will. I can remember a time, in dating mode, when I was perhaps a bit soft, too appeasing. Somewhat timid. You’re thinking to yourself, there is nothing timid about you bee-otch! Well, in my younger more insecure years, I was a yellow-bellied, spineless follower, trying to fit in with the coolest. I did a pretty decent job faking it, ‘cuz guys were calling me.

When I’d be interested in a guy though, fear would settle over me like a stubborn cloud, and when he’d call at the last minute and casually invite me over, did I say, “Oh hey..I’m sorry, I’m busy, but give me a bit more notice next time.”
Hah! No.
“I’ll be there in a bit,” I’d say, and I’d madly rush in and out of the shower, throw on some clothes, slather on makeup, spray a generous cloud of perfume and dash through it and out the door (I hate perfume). I’ll spare you the play-by-plays, but after many years of an on-again, off-again romance with my college buddy and love of my life (the 20’s felt like my life), feeling more often like an over accessible  needy suspecting fool, I had finally had enough. A calm came over me. I was done. Jerks, dicks, and heartless SOB’s in my life, no more! A small stubborn voice buried deep within the essence of my soul finally got some cajones and shrieked, “Fuck this! I am not taking any more fucking shit. I’m finished. Fuck you. Fuck off and good night!

And lo and behold, the bitch was born. A holy terror on dates, matter-of-fact, and always expressing my opinionI just didn’t care. And holy shit, they started flocking. All of a sudden, things began to make sense. Men go for bitches―feisty, bold, opinionated women who spare no feelings biyatches. But why?

“No more living for you..”

The definition of unforgettably sexy, taken right from the male rulebook: A woman who can function on her own and take care of herself. She won’t let me always have the upper hand. She’s a straight shooter, and doesn’t take shit from anybody. That’s the woman I’ll work harder to be with.

The fact that men prefer strong sexy bitches should come as no surprise. Apparently according to hundreds of men polled, confident women are in very short supply, and a confident woman is the sexiest kind of woman. Is it that shocking that confident women are hard to come by? Nearly every freakin’ fashion magazine has the skinny bitches convinced that to keep their man they need to play the servant role. “Can you serve a cold beer in trashy lingerie and stilettos? Are you givin’ it up doggie-style over the kitchen counter, the tub? ‘Cuz if so, he’ll drop to one knee and propose right there.”

All women are learning from this shit is how to be needy and desperate. “Pick me, choose me, love me,” (barf..puke..tossing my salad and then my cookies) one of the sappiest Grey’s Anatomy lines ever (clearly an off day for the writers) is the most certain death of a man’s desire. Being extra nice to your man will NOT make him more devoted. Begging never works, and over-pleasing is just pathetic. When you are too worried about a man’s approval, you lose all respect.

Imagine if our roles were reversed and men cooked and cleaned for us, picked up our dirty clothes, and couldn’t wait to get married. Imagine your boyfriend getting all emotional every time you strolled past a Baby Gap, or left wedding hints around the house in post-it form. Maybe he would greet you at the door at the end of the day in nothing but an apron and cowboy boots, ready to do a chippendales replay. Add in a few ultimatums: “Where’s my ring? Why haven’t you asked me yet?” and you’d come down with a sudden case of WTF??? Then, planning a quick escape, you would spew the inevitable, “It’s not you, it’s me. I’m just not ready.” And with that, you’d blow out the door in a New York second.

Bottom line, men need a mental challenge, and like it when women have a bit of an edge to them. Men want to commit to women who exude confidence and are in control of their lives. Men prefer sassy verses sappy. They also view a bitch, as synonymous with mental challenge, a characteristic that above all, they find sexiest. A woman who is seen as particularly kind or selfless doesn’t come off as that hard-to-get. Once a guy falls in love however, his game-playing mentality melts away and he can appreciate those qualities.

But until then, go ahead. Ditch the nice girl and embrace your new and improved bitch. Go on…Don’t make me go Xena on your ass bee-otch!!

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Fifty is the new “Fuck You, Who Cares How Old I am, I’m Fabulous…or at Least Working on it!”

The big day has come and gone, striking like an unpredicted cyclone and sucking me into an era of senior quips, early bird specials and a whole slew of new annual exams and procedures. HAPPY FUCKING BIRTHDAY to me!

My mindset at this particular moment, is neither good nor bad. Just sort of in limbo―and while I’ve had enough time to prepare myself for this, ie: stock up on vitamins, book kegel classes, counteract my hellish hormones with exercise, sex, or dope, I’m just not there. I will be, but at the moment I’ve  got my “don’t fuck with me, I’m in denial” look intact, (reserved for AARP associates) and I may be “accidentally” celebrating the same birthday three years in a row…or ten. (Hey, it worked for my mom who apparently passed for age 33 for a good decade while she was dating after my dad’s passing, so why should the apple fall far from the tree?

Despite all the good I hear about getting older (sex…and more sex), I find I’m still in denial and just not ready―so as I fight fifty kicking and screaming, despite the comforting inspirational quotes, I ask that you give me some slack and let me have my  regurgitation period to rant and rave about my biggest fears. I promise the tirade will be over by the end of the year.

Why the resistance?
I had only a few short years ago, embraced my fabulous forties (thank you Sex in the City and the myriad of articles that followed.) I had started dating online, regrouped, and gotten naked again, all in the spirit of midlife sexuality―and after a seven year hiatus due to single parenting, I was loving it; or maybe it was the multitude of orgasms due to pent-up lust and unexpressed emotions. This unbridled freedom to have a sexual existence again was exhilarating. It awakened my raw sensual side, making me feel as alluring as I had been as a younger woman. I felt hot again…and then BAM!…Countdown to hell.

Just when I was getting used to rockin’ it in my 40’s, (not to be confused with being rocked and impregnated at 41), father time has to go and steal my thunder―or was it his wife, that jealous biyatch! Yes, I know, age really is just a number and it doesn’t determine your life or how you live it, and yes, I should be proud that I’m living life to the fullest and not letting old stereotypes keep me down. But am I really…living life to its fullest?

I am so much cooler than most lame twenty-five year olds I know. I’m smart, sassy, “funny as shit, off-the-charts sexy, and somehow managing to raise a great kid and still be my own person. Hey, how many of the youngsters can claim those kinds of accomplishments?”

Okay, you can stop rolling your eyes. That last part  sort of morphed itself into a testimonial; And just so you don’t think I’m a complete narcissistic bitch, let’s just say, it’s a summation from more than one credible source…or it could just be a generous birthday compliment taking into consideration my vulnerability, hormones, and a rather erratic mental and egotistical state of mind hours before turning HALF A FUCKING CENTURY!!

Yeah, that must be it. Hey, when you’ve made it this far, you too get to toot that horn, and your friends get to chime along. It’s in their job description.

With aging, you get the good, the bad, and those unexpected bitchslaps that come out of nowhere, even when you’re relatively well adjusted to the fact that you’re no longer 21, and haven’t been for decades. It suddenly becomes apparent that you’re occupying an entirely new category of human being.

“People only get ‘old’ if they get lazy and just let it happen,” my friend Minka told me. “Being young, in and of itself isn’t a good thing. There are plenty of young unhealthy rather boring dumbasses out there who probably have the life expectancy of a new TV pilot.” (she’s a screenwriter…go figure)

There are also a fair share of thirty-somethings that are already “old” and boring.  And me―well, I’m vibrant, healthy and still have plenty of time left to feel old if I choose to…which clearly I don’t, but these annuals, procedures, and potpourri of vitamins I currently take, are constant reminders that my body, for better or worse is the one I’m stuck with; dropped bladder, not quite as perky breasts, and far from the six pack of abs I never had.

Something about a milestone birthday, makes you more self critical than when you’re in between decades―especially when you’re constantly exposed to child prodigies on You Tube, and the likes of the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world…not to mention Ms. Winfrey and all her damn achievements. I had hoped to be out of the country for my fiftieth, having traveled quite a bit in my younger years. Not having crossed the Atlantic in 11 years, I was feeling stale and restless. The travel bug was gnawing at me. Single parenting can do that….or maybe I had simply been sucked into another Julia Roberts film, and been having an Eat, Pray, Love moment. Would that be so bad…or would it just be the equivalent of some balding middle-aged guy speeding around in a red convertible with a twenty-something blonde all sprawled in the front seat? Who the fuck cares! Italy, India & Bali take me away!

Whatever it is that my mind, body and spirit need to transition to becoming half a freakin’ century―whatever my mood, I’m entitled to it. I don’t owe anyone an explanation but I DO need to give myself a good bitchslap now and then and say, ‘Fuck it―I’m gonna be THAT fifty-year old that other women look at and say, “I wanna be like her. She is fucking cool!”

I just may need more time to scramble out of the ‘you’re above the half-century-mark abyss,’ and into that ‘Year of the fucking fabulous Woman…’

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