- I Don't Like Kids. There. I Said It.
- Where Do Old Broads Hang Out? (An Oldie but Goodie)
- I'm Single and Happy...Why Does That Make Them So Mad?
- What's Wrong With Separate Bedrooms?
- Why I'm Done With Online Dating!
- How Can I Be Happily Single When I Hate Being Single?
- The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone
The Spinsterlicious Life
Last week I attended Match.com‘s annual presentation of its survey results on single life in the USA. I went, not so much that I care a lot about the survey findings, but because it was hosted by my friend, Sherri Langburt of Single Edition Media, and her team always puts on a fun event. And this one was no exception. It was held at Toshi’s Living Room in the Flatiron Hotel in NYC, and the cocktails were flowing, compliments of Van Gogh Vodka. I got to mingle and catch up with many of my fellow singles bloggers and meet other interesting folks who are active in this “singles” space, including Mandy Stadtmiller of XOJane, who has a wicked sense of humor.
The 2014 Singles in America survey results were presented and discussed by a panel of folks with dating on their minds: Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger, Celebrity Blogger Perez Hilton, Dr. Helen Fisher – Chief Scientific Advisor for Match.com, Leading Sex Expert Dr. Emily Morse and Cosmopolitan’s Sex & Relationship Editor Anna Breslaw.
While I often look at surveys like this with more than a hint of skepticism (because they seem self-serving and I always wonder if the results are slanted in their favor), I offer a glimpse of a few of the findings:
-51% of people have imagined a future together on the first date (not that it worked out, but that they fantasized about it).
- Texting: men don’t want more than one text from a woman if they haven’t responded to an earlier one; women don’t want a sexy selfie from the guy.
- Most people don’t want sex every day.
During the Q&A, Patti Stanger told me that if I wanted to find a man, I should grow my hair and look in the suburbs. She might be right on the second point (lots of divorced guys there). I’m completely dismissing her first point. Any guy who thinks my hair needs to be different clearly is not the guy for me.
Here’s a link to the live stream of the panel discussion: http://youtu.be/hAizfmjcxOM
And Happy Valentine’s Day, my sweets!
When I say “yikes” about this impending Valentine’s Day, it’s not because I don’t like this ‘holiday’, because I do. I think it’s kinda sweet. When I’m in a relationship, it’s an opportunity to stress out one or both of us as we try to figure out if we’re sufficiently participating in this very important day. And when I’m not in a relationship, it’s an excuse to go out for drinks with another single girlfriend (as if I need a reason to go for drinks.) In a relationship or not, I always treat myself to a bag of Haribo gummy bears…which is my favorite part.
As a blogger, I’m inundated this time of year with all kinds of pitches and promotions around Valentine’s Day, from people who have a product or service to sell. For some reason, the pitches seem even more dialed up than usual this year. I’m wondering if any of it is related to a study that came out recently that said Americans will spend $37 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts this year. (Geez, that sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?)
So, rather than write another blog post on “How to Survive Valentine’s Day If You’re Single”, this year’s theme will have more of a Scratching My Head tone to it…because every day for the past month or so my inbox is hit with way too many ideas from others who want me to help them promote whatever it is they want to sell. I’m going to spare you most of them, but here’s a list of a few that really struck me:
The Good Stuff
- RedEnvelope.com invited me to write about designing a Valentine’s Day date using a gift idea from their website as my impetus, and then send it to them so I could be entered in some sort of bigger idea that they’re doing that I didn’t quite understand. I decided not to participate but am mentioning them in this post, anyway, because I have used them many times to gift others or myself. I like them.
- I received some really good cookies from IsabellasCookies.com. My favorites were sugar cookies in the shapes of X and O, and some surprisingly tasty Red Velvet vegan cookies (“surprisingly” because I don’t usually think of tasty and vegan cookies in the same sentence, but they pulled it off!)
- I also received two “love kits” from BunnyJuice.com, containing condoms, lubricants, and “adult toys” for…well, you know what they’re for. I haven’t tried them yet, though if I had, perhaps writing about it would fall under the heading of much-too-much-information. I must say they look like they could be fun, though my friend, B, (who was visiting at the time the box arrived) and I spent a few minutes examining one of the toys trying to figure out how it’s supposed to be used. We never really figured it out…though perhaps someday I will. (If I do, I promise not to write about it.)
The Stuff That Made Me Wonder…WTF
- A company hoped that I would help promote their website (and video) that features “adorable, over the top, crazy marriage proposals” because they thought my readers would love it. Have they ever even looked at The Spinsterlicious Life?
- Another company thought I should write a blog post about “how to look like a top model” for Valentine’s Day, including what kind of control undergarments to buy, where to get your brows waxed/plucked/threaded, and what kind of bronzer to choose. Sounded to me like an awful lot of work –and costly– for such a nominal day. No thanks.
- And then there’s the woman who suggested “tips on how to be safe on Valentine’s Day”…I’m guessing in case you decide to go on a date with a psychopath. Her tips were good ones, but for every day, not just Valentine’s day (tips like using a valet to park your car instead of parking in a desolate spot, and letting someone know who your blind date is). Or you could take her self-defense course.
So, yes, Valentine’s Day is coming and, more than anything, it’s starting to be featured right up there with Christmas and Mother’s Day as another day whose meaning is likely to be overshadowed by sheer commercialism. Enjoy it, anyway. xoxo
I saw this cartoon in the Feb. 3, 2014 issue of the New Yorker and smiled. That’s me. Though I don’t drink straight from the milk carton, I have drunk directly from the juice bottle. And the mouthwash, on a regular basis. I can do this. You see, I live alone.
What else do I get away with doing because I live alone, that I would find obnoxious if someone I lived with did? This:
- Walking around the house in my smelly workout clothes for a couple of hours before I jump into the shower.
- Taking a break from whatever I’m doing and leaving it in the middle of the floor (or table), so it’ll be right there when I decide to get started with it again.
- Not brushing my teeth as soon as I wake up because I hate the taste of toothpaste on my tongue when I’m drinking coffee.
- Turning the TV up as loud as it’ll go so I can hear it when I’m in the shower.
- Not making up the bed.
- Walking around naked.
- Cooking and eating whatever I want because I don’t have to take others’ eating habits into consideration. (See this blog post for one woman’s take on this: http://eleanorewells.com/when-broccoli-rabe-freedom/)
I know that some of this could sound like I’m having an extended adolescence, but what I’m really having is an extended freedom-to-live-like-I-want. And what about you, dear reader? What are the things you get away with doing because you live alone? Please share.
(And, by the way, you can read about some of the things my single girlfriends love about living alone in Lesson 20 of my book, The Spinsterlicious Life: 20 Life Lessons for Living Happily Single and Childfree.)
Every couple of years, for the last decade, I start running again…against doctor’s advice. I was a runner for most of my adult life and it’s the only exercise I enjoy. But I had arthroscopic knee surgery in 2001 and was instructed that running wasn’t “helpful” to the situation. I was advised to find some other form of exercise that I could enjoy that is better for my knees. I knew that no such thing existed, but I gave it a shot anyway. Many times.
I joined a gym, went a few times, and then didn’t. Again and again. I took spinning classes at one of those fancy places where you spin in lovely candlelit rooms. For awhile. And I bought a bike, rode it a few times and then didn’t…except on a rare occasion, and not often enough to be considered part of my exercise regimen. In fact, once I stopped running, I didn’t really have an exercise regimen. I walk just about everywhere, and even bought a FitBit which would track my steps and let me know when I hit my 10,000 steps/day goal…but walking is slow and is really only a bare-minimun exercise, in my opinion. It’s enjoyable, but supplemental, at best. I’d do yoga from time to time, but I’m not sure doing so once a week is enough to matter. And it’s probably not a substitute for running because there’s no cardio…unless it’s that scary Power Yoga which was just too aggressive for me.
I don’t think an exercise exists that I could enjoy as much as I do running. Said differently, I hate all exercise except running. So every couple of years, I start running and then after awhile I stop because I’m afraid I’ll damage my other (unoperated on) knee. But the truth is, the “good” knee hurts on occasion whether I’m running or not, so what’s the difference?
But what really got me to lace up my running shoes again was my gut. Not the gut that = intuition, and is a good thing to have. I’m referring to the gut that was threatening to hang over the waistline of my jeans, and is not a good thing to have. Medical websites always have articles about the way the mid-section of women-of-a-certain age tends to plump up as the body goes through hormonal changes. I don’t like that. For most of my life, I’ve been pretty pleased at the way my stomach just lay there. I’ve never really had a gut (as in “muffin top”) before and I’m not interested in making friends with one now.
I’m really accepting of many bodily changes related to aging. I’m okay with my less-firm thighs, that funny crinkly skin on my underarms, the cellulite that’s starting to appear on my butt, my not-quite-as-perky boobs. But the gut thing pisses me off. I draw the line there.
But then I say to myself “you’re willing to risk your knees for vanity’s sake? Just because you don’t have a flat stomach anymore?” And I feel a little shallow. Like those stupid women’s fashion magazines that make having a flat stomach seem like one of the most important things in the world.
Then I remember I was also diagnosed with high blood pressure. Well, that’s a much better reason to start running, right? Cardio exercise has been proven to be good for people with HBP. So while I’m out there pounding on my knees, it’s not because I’m tired of having to suck in my stomach, it’s because I’m strengthening my heart and all those other organs that can be weakened by HBP. That’s a much better story. One that I can be proud of. And good for me if the by-product of all this running just happens to be a tighter mid-section.
I don’t love Christmas. It’s just too much. The season is two full months long. The stores start the Christmas carols and decorations the day after Halloween and it’s like too much candy. What would be great in a small dose loses its appeal because it’s so overdone.
I do like the decorations and the festive feeling in the air. I also like the parties and social gatherings that allow me to catch up with people I like but haven’t seen in awhile. But I really hate the over focus on gift-giving. I wish I could make that part go away. And after the third week, “Deck the Halls” starts to get on my nerves.
My sister feels the same way so this year we decided to do something different. We didn’t want to escape the holiday, but we thought it would be great to do Christmas with a different twist. And we both immediately knew what would do the trick: Paris! A city we both love.
We’re both single (I’m a spinster, she’s a divorcee) and we
have no kids, so getting away was easy. We did have to give a heads-up to our brother who hosts Christmas breakfast every year but, other than that, we didn’t need permission from anyone.
We immediately booked ourselves two airline tickets and a room at the W Paris Opera hotel for Christmas week. Yay! And it was perfect. The weather was warm (for December) and mostly great. (It rained one day).
The entire city was beautiful, the food was great, and so was the shopping. (What? Who goes to Paris and doesn’t shop?) We didn’t go crazy with the shopping. I bought a pair of ankle boots and some of my favorite Annick Goutal perfume.
We slept in every morning, getting up around 10a, and would stroll to the cafe around the corner for breakfast. After a long walk taking in the sights, we’d return to the hotel to dress and head back out for more sightseeing, shopping, eating, and wine-drinking. And then, repeat it the next day. We went to the movies on the day it rained.
We loved it. It was a great way to spend Christmas week. I did miss our traditional Christmas breakfast with the family…but I got over it. :-)
What a great Christmas it was. Now…what should I do next year?
I was cruising through Facebook a little while ago and I was moved to write this post. I laughed out loud at one of the entries and wished I could slap the writer a “high five”, even though I know she didn’t mean for her post to be funny.
She’s a single mother, and she and her young son are both sick at the same time, and she had the “audacity” to complain. One of her annoying –and apparently self-righteous– friends responded that “she should count her blessings because things could be worse”. Sick-and-tired Mom told her friend to STFU (“shut the eff up”, for the Un-Facebooked). And more:
I love it and was happy to see her no-b.s. response. That exchange reminded me of a whole host of platitudes that are tossed around all the time and how empty they always sound to me…especially because they’re just. not. true.
“Live every day to the fullest, like it’s your last!” This just sounds exhausting. And suppose I just want to take a nap? If I knew today was my last day I probably would be too anxious to take a nap but since I don’t know if it is, maybe I just want to waste 45 minutes getting some beauty rest. Or chilling on the couch watching some mindless tv. What’s wrong with that?
“Always do your best!” All I can think is unnecessary stress. Relax. Sometimes really good is good enough.
“God won’t give you more than you can handle“, usually said to someone who’s going through a really hard time. And, yet, we all know (or know of) people who just couldn’t handle it and cracked up, broke down…or worse.
“What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger“…except when it doesn’t. Similar to the one above, sometimes it can break you.
“There’s a lid for every pot“, usually said to some single woman who the speaker thinks needs encouragement about her plight. How about introducing her to the lid for her pot? That would be more helpful.
And let’s not forget “you’ll find him as soon as you stop looking“…which I’m sure has happened for lots of women, though I’m not sure it’s because they stopped looking. And what’s a woman really to do with that information? If you want something –or someone– you probably should be looking. Otherwise, you might walk right past it.
There are so many more of these probably well-meant but empty cliches that make my eye glaze over. What about you? I can’t be the only one.
This week I –like millions of others– celebrated Thanksgiving Day, my very favorite holiday. I love this holiday because it is so uncomplicated: just sharing good food with people you love (hopefully) and being grateful for all of life’s goodness. And gluttony gets a pass on this day.
There were four generations of us eating and laughing and reminiscing and debating and drinking and sharing stories…and it was just great. One of the topics that came up –as often happens when there are lots of women and wine around– was men. It started out as a “can’t do with ‘em, can’t do without ‘em, can’t kill ‘em” kind of conversation. It eventually evolved (or digressed) into “what should a young woman do?” And that’s when it got tricky. Lots of women, lots of opinions.
Marriage? At what age? Maybe never? Then what?
Of course, there’s no one right answer. This is not a one-size-fits-all conversation. Or is it?
I know that most women do want to get married and that most women still think that marriage should be every young woman’s end-game.
I’m not anti-marriage. But I don’t think marriage is for everybody. Done right, marriage can be a really good thing. I get a warm gooey feeling when I watch some of my friends with good marriages interact with their mates. It’s nice.
I’m a fan of having “important” relationships, but “’til death do us part” just seems so dang long. And if it’s not going to last forever, why walk down the aisle? There’s a reason the marriage stats are in decline. And divorce is expensive.
And, yet, I do wish I’d put more effort into some of my relationships. I didn’t want to be married, but I do like being part of a couple when it’s right. There’s one or two where I wish I’d tried harder.
I think that pairing off in a loving, healthy relationship is a good thing. Emphasis on loving, healthy. I just don’t want young women –anybody really– to think that they should settle for anything less. Having any man is not better than having the right man. Although when I look at some marriages, it’s clear that not everyone agrees with me.
One of my best friends and I argue occasionally about when a young woman should settle down (if ever). I think that the 20s are for exploring: traveling, dating lots of boys, trying new things, doing stupid stuff, learning who you are. If it was up to me, no woman would be allowed to get married before age 30.
My friend disagrees with me. She thinks that finding the right guy while in college might be the right move; there’s certainly no other time in life when the supply of men is so plentiful and readily available. And, of course, she’s right on that point. Where we differ is I think all those men means more to date. I just think college is too young to lock-it-down on any one guy.
What would life be without at least one gut-busting heartbreak, getting caught with the “other” guy, doing that early morning walk-of-shame still in your party clothes from the night before, a hot but short fling, maybe a one-night-stand thrown in there. These are what young women in their 20s should be doing. And learning good lessons on what not to do again. And these behaviors are much less attractive when you’re older. Do it now.
But what do I know? I’ve never snagged a husband. What advice would you give to a young woman?
I hate online dating…most of the time. Too many of the guys who contact me clearly haven’t read my profile, or maybe they just assume they know more about what I want than I do. So, when I say I want a non-smoker, the smoker reaches out to me, anyway. Though my profile says I want a monogamous relationship, that doesn’t stop those who are looking for someone to “play” (which I’ve learned is what those in-the-know call sex with more than two people at the same time.) And then there’s the guys who turn out to be much older than their profile indicates or are not exactly divorced, but are thinking about it. I’ve lost the will to wade through all the nonsense. How do I find that needle-in-the-haystack when the haystack keeps getting bigger?
But sometimes I really like online dating. Or should I say “I used to really like it”. I’ve met some great guys online and a couple of them turned into long(ish)-term relationships. It’s been awhile since that happened, though. But, about a month ago I decided to give online dating another ‘go’ because I was stuck in a hotel during a blizzard in South Dakota and was running out of ways to amuse myself. So, I responded to a couple of guys who sounded interesting and normal. And we had a couple of nice phone conversations, then…nothing. They stopped calling/writing. Whatever… (So, to Nissa, who asked for an online dating update, this is it… but you can find more on what I think about online dating here and here.)
So, if I don’t like online dating, where do I meet men (asks, Dee, another Spinsterlicious babe). I don’t have a particular place to meet men, though I have learned that my chances of meeting someone increase tenfold when I’m out alone. And then I’ve met them almost anywhere: at the grocery store, walking down the streets of NYC, on airplanes or in the airplane lounge. Social events are another good option, except I don’t like going to social events alone. I’m an introvert and get easily overwhelmed if I’m around too many people for too long, especially if I don’t know them all. So, even though I know I should do more things alone when I’m hoping to meet someone, I usually don’t. I’d rather have a good time at the event with a friend, than go alone and not have as much fun just because I might meet someone.
Here’s how I met the last few guys I’ve gone out with for longer than a few minutes:
- introduced by a friend
- at a party
- at a restaurant bar
- while walking my dog
- at a funeral
It all seems so random, doesn’t it? I get a lot of requests to write about meeting guys, but I think I’m out of material…so I’m calling on you. (Apologies to my readers who hate when I write about dating.) I’d love to hear from you on where/how you met the last guy (or woman) that you kept around for awhile.