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Warming up with word porn

It was a cold November evening, and I was obligated to an annual Christmas related fundraiser. I decided to don a tan wool dress once owned by my nonna. It’s a long sleeve cable knit turtle neck with a fun straight knit skirt. It had a touch of a seventies vibe happening as it hugged every curve of my body accentuating everything from my narrow neck to my round bottom, then blossoming out to the knee. I looked in the mirror and thought, “did I gain weight? Maybe it’s a little too clingy in the wrong places?” I added a pair of black patent leather pumps. The kind that strap on around the ankle. It lended the appeal I was looking for and suddenly extra weight was no longer a concern. I felt sexy. Jewelry and makeup applied, I put on my coat and headed for the car.

I invited the guy I was dating, Bill. He said he may come, but if he did he would be late. My ex had never come to these functions, so I had become accustomed to attending alone while secretly wishing I wasn’t. Bill was not the most reliable or trustworthy person, therefore I assumed he wouldn’t show. The usual attendees for this event are older local philanthropists whom I knew I would have zero interest in attracting. But that didn’t matter. I was dressing to please me now, and I was feeling pretty pleased. To my surprise, halfway through the event Bill came strolling through the door. It was a shock and a bit of a thrill. I showed him around and explained the different auction items. Then, I stood to the side and watched him work. He looked over everything, bantered with other guests, and actually placed bids on a couple things. Not only did he show up, but he seemed to be enjoying himself. I was a bit elated, and it was a welcome feeling.

The auction ended and Bill followed me toward the coat check. Usually I would stick around and help clean up, but I had decided this would be my selfish year. So I would be leaving with a man on my arm tout de suite. As he helped me with my coat a sideways smile emerged from his lips. His deep voice in half whisper escaped, “You’ve got a little jiggle when you wiggle.” I felt a sin worthy grin happen as a warm blush moved through my body. Never had I been so happy to be feminine. Never had I been so satisfied to have a jiggle. We ventured to my car where we sat steaming up the windows for a bit. Until that night the word jiggle meant very little to me. It will now forever make me wet.

via Daily Prompt: Jiggle

There Are Plenty of Fish

“Heyyyy! Just trying this thing out.” or whatever.

I’m convinced we all have some sort of fire in us. If I lived in a war torn country my fire would be focused on survival. Because I’m living in a first world country my fire or struggle has been focused on overcoming a youth of abuse while dragging myself out of a bottle. My plan of attack included continuing my education. It helped me to further my career while proving to myself that I am as smart as I’ve always known myself to be. I must admit, it felt good to be the first person in my family to have earned a master’s degree. This little fire inside of me has always been there, but I never took it into consideration when entering a legally binding relationship with someone who was complacent to ignore his fire and stay deep in that bottle. I followed that person to this rural conservative Christian town in Pennsylvania 10 years ago after a short lived career in DC as a Graphic Designer. Not to be barefoot and pregnant, but to switch my career to teaching. Living through 9/11 reminded me that I am a helper, and I thought teaching was my path to helping. And so I taught, and so I learned, and so I grew. Now we’re separated and I’m stuck. I’m a city girl science believing feminist living in what is about to be dubbed the “Post Truth Era,” and I’m about to be very alone out here. Better yet, I’m about to turn 40 and that is really fucking with my head. Deciding to end the marriage was a choice that in no way was black and white. It involved a long struggle, a lot of growth, and some shoddy therapy. We never stopped loving each other. It’s so hard to explain, and I know I’ll be processing it for a long time. As for the idea of regrets, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Time changes people. I don’t know quite how else to put it, but that very statement frightens me when I think of the idea of getting into another relationship. Yet, there’s something in me that is demanding I try dating. Demanding! Maybe it’s my hormones. I can’t be alone in this, can I? I guess I’ll lift my head off the pillow, dive into some sort of healthy exercise, and try one of those dating apps before I get my appetite back. But which one? Tinder kind of freaks me out. Is it really just for sex? People have told me that it can be used however you want, but I’m apprehensive. Plus I live in such a small area it would probably only show the same 5 haggard men. And it links to your Facebook account? I’m not sure how I feel about that either. I don’t exactly want the people of this tiny town to know I’m doing the whole online dating thing through Tinder. Match costs money. Hmm… I’m not ready to spend money. Okay, my friend Annie mentioned Plenty Of Fish. It’s free, I’ve never heard of it, I’ll give it a shot. Oh dear, I need some photos! AND I have to talk about myself? 😳

Let me fill you in on the Plenty of Fish dating platform. Plenty of Fish, or POF as it’s often referred to, has a splash page that assumes you are a man until you sign up. Which means you are bombarded with images and profiles of woman. There’s a ticker running on the top telling you how many people are currently using the site. When you register you are given a generated anonymous name that you can change if you want or keep to maintain some sort of anonymity. Next you are led through steps to put your profile together. You’re asked to add photos of yourself. The photos are approved before going live to make sure nothing too inappropriate gets out there. Then you have to write about yourself. I had some difficulty with this and made my intro pretty vague and short. I think it was something like, “Heyyyy! Just trying this thing out.” or whatever. I read through some from the men on the site, and they range from short and awkward to long and in depth. I’m just not comfortable talking about myself so I took the easy way out. The easy part came next, picking out the multiple choice questions. What are your hobbies? What’s your income? Really? People don’t actually put that on here do they? Wouldn’t that attract the wrong kind of person? Hmm… I’d prefer not to say and luckily I have that option. It was tough finding photos of myself that didn’t have other people in them. I’ve got a few up there, but they have all been cropped oddly. Regardless, I went live (you have the option to hide yourself). I now have a couple messages. But what am I supposed to do with “hi?” How do I respond to that? And why aren’t any of the men I’m interested in sending me messages? No, I haven’t written to them. What would I say? I don’t want to approach anyone who isn’t interested. So this is online dating. This is tough stuff!

Lovely Little Getaway, Part 1

And I’m off to the Dominican Republic. I felt compelled to do something special for myself. I have enough in savings that I figured I could splurge on some sort of vacation. I had a deep desire to sit on a beach, especially since I had dropped a bunch of weight and was feeling like I could possibly rock a bikini. I bought and paid for the excursion in June. The trip was taking place at the end of July. Was this too cliche? …a separated middle aged woman going to sit on a beach and think about life? It’s not like I was getting a tattoo. Um, I already did that months ago when my ex disappeared during an ice storm to go on a month long cross country bender. Oh if only I had read Amy Poehler’s book sooner. It was my first tattoo and my own design. I like it enough and it’s not like it’s on my face or anything. But regardless, sometimes I wonder if that was too hasty of a decision. Anyway…

I filled my family in, and my brother David expressed an interest in joining me. We didn’t have a chance to bond after his divorce, so I thought this was the perfect chance to get caught up. So he got a ticket and joined me. Considering I’m still feeling manic when I’m alone, he should help to keep me sane.

We connected in Miami, caught our flight to DR, and the vacation began. David was instantly pounding drinks by the bar and hitting on an older woman. This was a side of him I had never seen. I think he was trying to hook me up with her son who was close to 20 years younger than me. No no no no no what was he thinking no.

The resort was great. We spent a lot of time laying by the beach. I tried to run every morning except one where I slept in a little late, ahem. Okay, I was hungover. I spent the previous evening demonstrating to David why tipping on an all inclusive vacation was important. Let’s just say it is a lesson he will never forget… and I will never remember. Ouch. This trip was helping me transition. There were moments where all I could think about was getting home to get back to painting, but I fought those moments.

I chatted occasionally with a couple friends from home. I was still in that weird space where I didn’t know if my friends were picking sides and I felt like I should disconnect and let them approach me when they felt ready. That way they could decide. I love my friends, but they were people my ex and I shared and at times they added stress to my life. I had already distanced myself from them years before in order to slow down the fast paced drinky-party-time lifestyle to focus on being better at my job, getting my masters and basically growing up. It would only make sense if they chose him over me. Then again, we had all gone through so much that I couldn’t imagine that they would disconnect from me all together. In the meantime, it was uncomfortable and I really didn’t know who to turn to, so I had been internalizing everything. But that was also a bit empowering. I can take care of myself…all of myself…all by myself.

Real Talk

Well, I did learn something from the first date. It was the first time I have had to reject someone. That was uncomfortable. It helped remind me that I can trust my intuition. It also left me questioning whether or not I will be alone forever? I am stuck in this tiny town with nothing but couples. Time to get out the paint and continue to work on the house.

In a few days, or a week? Or two? I was back online. I started chatting with a guy who I was intrigued by, so I let him have my number. He immediately called me. Is this something that will happen all the time? If so, I give up! I HATE talking on the phone. HATE! It is one of my least favorite things in life. Don’t get me wrong, I had the preteen must-be-on-the-phone-with-my-best-friend-until-one-of-us-falls-asleep thing too, but as an adult I somehow had developed phone anxiety. I embraced texting and any other form of written communication. I don’t know if it’s the dropped calls, the years of cell phones with poor connections making it difficult to hear the other person, the occasional echo of my own voice throwing me for a loop, or not having confidence in my own words. Whatever it is that caused my hatred of phone calls, it ran deep.

I answered the phone. He had a great voice. I mean really great. He asked if it was okay if he called. I said of course. Ha! I wanted the call to end so badly. I couldn’t stop thinking of ways to get off the phone. As I’m looking back, he was probably thinking of how he could get me to get him to get off, period. I had no idea what he was doing, or what I was doing, so I rambled on uncomfortably until the conversation ended. I had recently splurged on one of those all inclusive trips to a Caribbean destination. I was leaving in just a couple days. I promised to be in touch when I returned. I wondered if he really wanted to hear from me again. Then I tried to put it out of my head. What a surreal encounter.

The Line Is Cast, The Story Begins

Steve? Eric? Russell? Who can remember the name of the first guy to make virtual advances on them after a long relationship? Obviously not me. We’ll call him “Number 1.” What I do remember is this… I was so fresh out of my marriage that I had no idea what I was doing or what I was looking for. I had never used the internet to date before. I had never dated in a rural conservative Christian environment before. Too be honest, I’m not really sure I had ever even truly dated. I was of a suburban group of semi attractive young adults who would just couple up at the end of a long night of partying. That’s the only dating I really knew. So this… I didn’t know up from down. Side note, I was so freaking horny. Is that some sort of unspoken phenomenon; a divorce induced extreme horniness? It seemed to have taken over my body. That and an intense need to paint and clean the entirety of my home not to mention give up eating. So, here I am, horny, skinny, nesting and full of angst. The first guy that put his line in, I didn’t hesitate. I took the bait. I asked him to suggest where he would like to eat. I may live in a small town, but that means we have some delicious farm to table restaurants around, and I wanted to see what he might choose knowing it would give me some insight into his personality. He chose a chain, which I recognized as something that was going to bother me. Whatever, it was a meal, and I wouldn’t fault friends or family for making the same decision (okay, yeah maybe I would, but I would get over it).

So, to a chain I went for my first internet date feeling very nervous. I mean, I had never met this guy. What did I know about him? Was he going to try to harm me? Does this fall under “stranger danger?” Was there a class for online dating safety that I missed? How were people doing this all the time and not ending up dismembered in a ditch? Then I calmed down and remembered, this is a public place. And, because of my community connections, I likely knew someone on staff.

So we met, we sat, we ate, and we talked about ourselves, of course. I may have teared up while talking about the end of my relationship. After all, it was still fresh, and even though I had been the one to end things, my feelings for him never ended. I was up front with my “separated” status on my profile, so in my opinion it was fair game as a topic. He filled me in on his divorce as well. He had a big government job that gave him some great stories to share. He talked about his big house, his big property, his four wheeler, etc… Then he started sharing photos of himself with his brother. It seemed he wanted to show off his gigantic heavily blacked-in upper arm tattoo. Yikes! I already knew that this was not going to go anywhere, but that sealed the deal for sure. His brother on the other hand…how could I get introduced to him?

When he discovered that I was half Italian he asked if I could cook. Is that a joke? Do men expect all women to cook? Or just Italian women? Is it how our worth is measured? What’s the deal? Mid date “Number 1” begins to tell me all of the things we’re going to do together in the future. Yep, he’s planning our future and we haven’t known each other an hour. When will this be over?

As the meal started to wind down he gave me a look. It was like that look that a confused puppy gives when it knows you’re talking to it but has no idea what you’re saying. It was one I had seen before on a man, but where? It seemed to say, “Look at me, and know that I am imagining jamming my tongue down your throat right now.” And with that look, I was completely skeeved out. Seriously, I hope to never see that look again.

When the date came to an end he insisted on paying for dinner. Wow! That was so not what happened in my past not-really-dating history, and it felt great. I was still skeeved out by him, but it truly felt good to not have to pay for my meal. Then he told me he was excited to tell his dad that he had met a nice Italian woman. Good grief!

As would become my m.o., I gave him a hug goodbye and left him with a glimmer of hope for a second meeting. I texted him the next day to say I wasn’t ready to move on yet. I was certain that wasn’t the motivation for my wanting to not see him again, but I couldn’t help wonder if there wasn’t some truth to that. Now, how do I go back onto the same dating site without hurting his feelings?…

Lesson learned; next time hesitate before taking the bait.

via Daily Prompt: Hesitate