Check out this blog post over at 21st Century Relationships:
Always so great to hear a male perspective that does not include Red Pill/Hamster Wheel/PUA bullshit. Nathan is one of my favorite bloggers out there, male or female and always has insightful, things that make you go hmmm type things to say.
There are so few things in this world that are so completely cut-and-dried as domestic violence = WRONG. But over at the Brazen Careerist, queen of TMI (she once live-tweeted a miscarriage and talked about checking her cervical mucus during a job interview) Penelope Trunk has added domestic-violence apologist and victim-blamer to her resume. In her latest post about the immaturity and selfishness of those that choose divorce, she jaw-droppingly equates divorce with mental illness and for those that choose this path due to domestic violence she posits that they just suck at drawing boundaries because it “takes two people to fight.” Scoop your jaw off the floor because the worst thing about this is the fact that she has admitted, and has blogged extensively about being the victim of physical and emotional domestic violence in her own marriage, even going so far as posting images of her bruising at the hands of her husband.
“I am at a hotel. I think I’m dying. I have a bruise from where the Farmer slammed me into our bed post…The Farmer told me that he will not beat me up any more if I do not make him stay up late talking to me.”
I think that her premise, that divorce is too often entered into for reasons that are perhaps capricious and that people don’t work hard enough at making their marriages work, has a lot of merit. My parents’ divorce is a shining example of this. There was no “good” reason that it couldn’t have worked out except the two of them were miserable and refused to really work at it. I admit, there are times, even though they are both much happier than they were while married, that I secretly judge them for divorcing. There were no special needs children. No homelessness or joblessness. No illnesses to overcome. No overt abuse. Staying together for the kids only works if you do it happily and willingly. Hanging on in silent but obvious misery until most of your kids are out of the house however, is not. For situations like this, I fully understand why one might not be willing to give the parties a “free pass.”
However, it is inconceivable to me that someone like Penelope, who is in such a dire situation, who almost nobody would fault for ending the relationship, instead digs in ever harder and doubles down by calling the rest of us that bailed on abusive marriages selfish, immature, mentally ill, child-destroying shit-disturbers that are at least 50/50 to blame for our own abuse. What her husband did to her was wrong. I don’t care if she spit on him, called his mother a whore and set fire all his worldly possessions. I don’t care if she is an impossible nag, or won’t put out, or calls him names. There is absolutely NO GOOD REASON TO HIT YOUR SPOUSE. Full stop. That’s it. Period. End of discussion. Lest you think I am only talking about man on lady violence, this declaration is gender-less. There are plenty of men out there that are hit, struck and abused by their wives. That is so NOT ok either! (This is a whole other blog post, but I almost feel WORSE for men that are victims of domestic violence because of the shame surrounding them from a cultural perspective).
I understand the need the people have to justify whatever fucked-up situation they are in. I know because I myself was a domestic-violence apologist and a victim-blamer. Now I can’t get into the psychology of why Penelope Trunk not only allows herself to be abused but also defends her abuser, assigns the blame for the abuse on herself and subsequently slams anyone that chooses to leave their abuser. I’m sure it has something to do with her childhood of heartbreaking, breathtaking sexual abuse. However, the fact remains that it is 100% OK to divorce an abusive spouse. Black and White. No apologies necessary.
Unlike some of the other stories, this one has a “happy” ending. Get your minds out of the proverbial gutter folks, not THAT kind of happy ending! Ok, so it did eventually and indirectly result in THAT kind of happy ending, but on with my tale.
I met Roofie Guy via HowAboutWe. I must admit that I wasn’t really that
interested based on his picture and/or profile, but the date suggestion, go to a Burlesque Show, was intriguing and way more creative than some of the other ones out there (I’m looking at you “Let’s do it” and “Let’s go to a bar”. Get with it guys!). I should have known I was in for a Bad Date Chronicles kind of evening when his first email in response to mine talked about the favorable proximity of his residence in relation to the club we would be seeing the show at as well as the status of the bar in his living room (fully stocked, including absinthe no less). Against my better judgement, and because I was honestly excited about seeing a real-live burlesque show I ignored that massive red flag and went ahead with the planning. There was also an awkward email exchange about Tesla in which I thought we were discussing the heavy metal band and he thought we were discussing the father of commercial electricity. Really this thing was doomed from the start now, wasn’t it?
There was an hour or so to kill before the show started, so I bellied up to the bar and ordered myself a drink. Little did I know that I would be, more willingly than ever, buying all of my own drinks that evening. He arrived just as I was draining my first cocktail and upon first glance I thought he looked like Patton Oswalt. In other words – he looked a lot like I was expecting him to look based on his profile, but I actually have a soft spot for quirky looking dudes so this was far from a dealbreaker. That’s where the similarities ended. This dude was dead SERIOUS. I guess growing up a bit short, pudgy and liberal in the Bible Belt will do that to a fella. By the time he started telling me about how he was really from outer space, I had checked out and decided, as I am wont to do, to try to enjoy the evening anyway. So I didn’t even blink when he asked me if I did drugs.
“No” I replied as he started to rattle off every substance known to man and how much he enjoyed/didn’t enjoy each of them. For the sake of conversation, I admitted that I had always been curious to try X but had been just too much of a chicken shit to try it. That’s when, gleeful smile spreading across his face, he pulled a small airline-sized bottle of vodka out of his pocket. He announced that its contents were vodka mixed with X. Well now, I’ve just hit the jackpot I can see him thinking. I am not exactly a drug expert but luckily have watched enough 20/20 and after-school specials to know that when a man pulls a vial of liquid out of his pocket it usually means one thing and one thing only – roofies. This was confirmed for me when I asked some friends with more, ahem, experience with this sort of thing if it was possible for one to mix X with alcohol and they looked at me with horror. Apparently X is not water-soluble so the alcohol would have rendered it inert. Or something like that.
Just before the show started, I ordered myself another drink (Ok, I did it while he was in the bathroom just to avoid the “can I buy you a drink” conversation) and settled in for the show, which was FANTASTIC. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. During the performance, he mentioned no less than 3 times the fact that he lived just blocks away from where we were and that we could very easily head over to his place after the show. I guess my half-smile, nod, change-the-subject maneuver didn’t convey my meaning well enough because afterwards, he brought it up yet again. At this point, I was tired and hungry and more than a little bit creeped out and just wanted to get the hell out of Dodge. I thanked him for a lovely evening, gave him a hug and then experienced what can only be described by watching this (warning – you will never be able to erase this from your memory). I will say no more about that.
I’m ashamed to say, in the haze of post-kiss awkwardness and just general I-can’t-fucking-believe-this-ness, I told him I had fun and to call me. Yes, I know, I know that was so wrong of me. But my goodness, the dude was practically BEAMING and I could tell that he thought he had knocked this one out of the park. A few days went by and I thought I was out of the woods, meaning he was going to pull “the fade” but the emails and texts began coming in earnest. Just one, then another and then another until I finally had to email him back with the got-back-together-with my ex excuse.
He seemed fairly devastated, and asked me what he had done wrong. I guess the last 2 dates he had ended exactly the same way – with the girl going back to her ex. Kudos for him on picking up on the fact that he may be doings something wrong. Note to self – come up with more plausible excuse for not going out with someone again, like, oh I don’t know, the truth! I admitted that the multiple attempts to get me back to his place starting with the INITIAL email put me off (which he denied doing, by the way) but didn’t mention the fact that I was fairly certain he was going to drug me. We traded a few emails more back and forth and wished each other luck.
So what’s the happy ending? Well I didn’t get roofied and wake up in a sex dungeon for one. Two – it was my initiation into the wonderful world of burlesque and the great neo-burlesque scene happening in and around San Francisco. It’s a world that I have fully embraced and become a part of. Plus, I met Mr. Monogamist at a burlesque show (as well as this guy, which is its own deliciously awkward story) so there have been many, MANY happy endings as a result of this edition of the Bad Date Chronicles.
Whatever your status – single, divorced, slightly divorced, poly, paired up, shacking up, sick of each other, etc. etc. have a great day. Or not. Your choice! Make of this day what you want to make of it. Assign as much or as little importance to it. Hell – celebrate it tomorrow when all the red and pink shit and flowers go back down to their normal everyday prices.
Celebrate the romantic love in your life. Celebrate your children and your family. Celebrate those awesome friends that listen to you drone on endlessly about your dating life. Celebrate yourself!
We don’t need a special day to remind us that if we just stop to look, we DO have love in our lives. Lots of it. But if it helps, I’m all for it. Now go out and get yourself some loving, and give it out in return!
About 6 months ago I met “Kent” on OKCupid. He was new in town and had just moved here from the South to follow his soon-to-be ex and children. I agreed to meet him at a bar for some pizza, beer and football.
Maybe it was the 3 Blue Moons I drank, or his Southern accent, or his utter devotion to Morrissey, but I was hooked. Before I knew it we were furiously making out right there at the bar, much to the amusement of the bartender and other patrons that we gleefully informed of the fact that this was our very first date. When I found out he lived just 3 blocks away from me, I was SURE that this guy was perfect for me.
A few nights later, we made plans to meet at his house to “watch movies” which, as you all know, is code for pretending that we are not just going to hook up and that this is a “real” date. I got to his house and he greeted me at the door wearing a pair of old sweat pants and a t-shirt with holes in it. I wasn’t impressed, especially since I had made it a point to dress casually nice and a bit sexy. Also greeting me at the door was a menagerie of animals – a couple of dogs and cats that belonged to his roommate.
I’m a total animal lover. In fact, I was just a cat or two shy of officially becoming a crazy cat lady in my 20′s so I had no problem whatsoever with the fact that he shared his space with a small petting zoo. But these animals were….special. His roommate was a collector of down-on-their luck types, the ones that got left behind in shelters or weren’t adoptable. Admirable. But not conducive to sexy time.
While we sat there on the couch and started the movie, one of the dogs came and practically sat on my foot. It was an adorable chow mix type, all fluffy, and I swear to god, smiling. I reached out to pet it and he warned me not to because IT DOESN’T LIKE BEING TOUCHED. All right then. I withdrew my hand, but the dog didn’t move. It sat there, smiling, on my foot just staring at me. Awkward.
It was about this time that one of the cats (who did let me pet it when I walked in) started meowing. Not just conversational meowing, but this long, drawn out, PAINFUL sound. Cat lovers around the world know this type of meow very well. It’s the one you get when you haven’t cleaned out kitty’s box and they are getting ready to drop a deuce. Figuring that the roommate, who just got home would take care of it, I gave the poor little guy another scratch behind the ear and focused my attention back to my date and the horrible movie he had put on for us to “watch”. Kitty threw me a “What the FUCK lady” look and proceeded to walk over to the entertainment center. There, right in front of me and my oblivious date, who was trying like hell to round second, the cat took a giant, steaming shit, all while LOCKING EYES with me.
Disengaging myself from my date, who had miraculously formed several extra sets of hands sit we sat down, I pointed out what had happened. I then saw him go through all the stages of grief :
- Denial – “No. There’s no way he just did that. Are you sure?”
- Guilt – “Maybe I should have offered to clean out the cat box while I was home today doing nothing.”
- Anger – “That piece of shit. He did that on purpose.”
- Depression – “ I’m so, so sorry that just happened.”
- Acceptance – “I guess I better go get my roommate to clean this up.”
The roommate was appropriately apologetic and cleaned up the mess and got the hell out of dodge in as speedy a manner as one can. The moment she was out of sight (or maybe even a slight second before) he had his tongue shoved down my throat, sweat pant clad leg draped over my lap with the expectation that we would just pick up where we had left off. You know – before the fucking cat had shit on the floor right in front of me. For the life of me, I just couldn’t let go of what happened. That, combined with his sloppy, artless kissing, the fact that he was literally dry-humping me, and the creepy don’t-pet-me dog STILL sitting there staring at me, caused the untimely loss of my lady boner (moment of silence, please).
As much as I wanted to stay and be mauled and finish the end of the riveting movie “Trick or Treat” I just had to go. It was super late. (10:30 on a Friday night is late, isn’t it?) Anyway, I pulled the old yawn-stretch-boy-I’m-tired move and made my way to the front door. He walked me there and went in for one last fantastically awful kiss and I practically ran to my car and drove the 3 blocks home.
For the next couple of weeks, I avoided his calls and texts. Yes, I know. I employed the fade but how in the world do you tell someone you don’t want to go out with them again because you now associate them with cat shit? So fellas – please for the love of god clean out the litter box before you invite your lady over. A cat shitting on your living room floor may be a casual, everyday occurrence to you, but it just might keep you from getting laid.
Based on what I’m reading out there in the blogosphere and what I’m hearing from my lady friends, getting pumped and dumped is the very worst thing that can happen to a woman. What is a pump and dump you ask? Well, it’s when a lady and a gentleman go out on a date (or two, or three or however many it takes) and get down to the sexy time and then the gentleman fails to call the lady back. Or fades out. They never see each other again, no more sexy time happens and the lady runs to her friends/the internet to cry FOUL.
Obviously this happens to men as well. I am ashamed to admit that I am guilty of perpetrating a few pump and dumps in my time. (Why? Well that’s a whole post on its own. I’ll give you a hint: It rhymes with “Rad Mex”). It’s not something I’m proud of because EVERYONE deserves at least the courtesy of a “thanks, but no thanks” text/call. However I don’t see a lot of men, either online or in real-life, complaining quite as vocally as women do about this phenomenon. So this post is mostly aimed at the ladies.
So ladies – I’ll let you in on something. This is so, SO far from the worst thing that can happen to you. I don’t need to go into all of the various disasters and calamities that life throws our way, but in the grand scheme of things, having someone not call you back after sex is just not a big deal. In fact, it’s a GOOD thing. A good thing? What? No I’m not high. Lemme explain…
This guy did you a FAVOR. He did you a huge solid. Because this was not the dude for you. And aren’t you glad that you found this out early rather than 6 months down the line when you’ve become all attached and lovey-dovey with him? You are now free to roam about the country to seek another victim. Uh…man. Of course I meant man.
It doesn’t even really matter WHY he never called back. He just didn’t. And that is perfectly OK. You can’t control the actions of others. There is no strategy, no trickery or magic you can use to make the dude call you back. In fact you don’t WANT a call back, not from someone who is not the right fit for you!
What you can, and should do (yes I am going to tell you what to do) is ask yourself one question – WHY am I so upset about this? Why is this person, that you have known for maybe a couple of weeks, that has invested NOTHING in you, having such a profound effect on you? Why are you letting this virtual stranger dictate the way you feel about yourself and your worth as a human being? STOP. You don’t have to do this to yourself. Be disappointed. Joke around with your friends, complain a little bit. But then realize that you are mourning the loss of something that was never there. This guy was never real. He owes you nothing. But guess what – you don’t owe him anything either! Not a thought, not a word, not a text. Forget closure. His not calling back is all the closure you need.
Today I am feeling nostalgic. I want to look back at the fine young gentleman that I spent time with over the past year-and-a-half. You were all so very lovely and I will remember each and every one of you fondly. This is my love letter to all of you.
The French Boy
You taught me exactly what NOT to put up with in a relationship, and how to stand up for myself and what I need. Self-respect was a stranger to me the entire time we were together but I have found it once again by remembering how low I felt when I was with you. You taught me the importance of letting go when something is not working, of paying attention when one’s words and actions contradict each other, of honoring the little voice inside that is screaming that things just ain’t right.
However, there was also so much good that came out my time with you. Being with you showed me that I have the capacity to open up and love someone, even if I didn’t choose very wisely when I gave that love to you. Your feedback that I was too cool, too detached and too busy protecting myself was spot-on. Allowing myself to be vulnerable, to let a man know how I’m feeling has brought me to the wonderful, peaceful place I find myself in today.
You are truly how I got my groove back! You reminded me that I wasn’t just a mom – I was a woman. A fucking sexy one.
While our time together was cut short by the fact that you accidentally got your ex-girlfriend pregnant right before we met, I still enjoyed you. Sneaking into your house, where you lived with your parents was exhilarating and made me feel like I was back in high school again. You had a rockin’ ass body and I hope you’re enjoying fatherhood!
Supporting the troops took on a whole new meaning when you allowed me to buy you several Jack and Cokes and then take you home for a 21-gun salute. I learned more about the war in Afghanistan and Iraq from spending a few nights with you than I did from reading countless news articles over the years. I saw the pain and the haunted look in your eyes when you spoke about your time there, a pain I knew existed in abstract but never saw so up-close. You were also the first Republican I ever went on a date with. You taught me that I can never, ever again go on a date with a Republican. I thank you for your service, both at home an abroad. You made me feel so very patriotic and proud of the fine young men and women representing us around the world.
Big C (and Not-So-Little C)
I think I will miss you most of all. Your charm, your wit and way with words, your amazing cat, your amateur gangster rap (which was actually quite good) and of course, the ridiculously mind-altering sex. Had you been a few years older, I would have seriously considered trying to turn our once-a-month marathon sessions into something more. You are more talented that you realize, and it makes me more than a little sad to know that we have eaten our last basket of french fries at 1 o’clock in the morning. You taught me that casual does not have to be disconnected and disrespectful. You put the “Friends” in Friends with Benefits. But please – do not EVER grow back that horrific mustache. That thing almost prevented you from getting laid once and it will prevent you from getting laid in the future. Trust.
Thank you for giving me the experience of being aggressively pursued. Nobody in the history of all the men I’ve known has come at me with as much swagger, confidence and persistence as you. No matter how many times I told you that you were “too young” for me, you wouldn’t give up and you made a great case for the old adage that age really doesn’t matter. You showed me that a mini-van, although dowdy on the outside, can be turned into a first-class shag-wagon with the flip of a switch. You’ve got some serious game little man. Now go forth into the wilderness and use it!
The Last Boy (for the foreseeable future, that is)
Thank you for giving me the chance to be the pursuer and to fully live out the cougar fantasy. You resisted me for months and right when I was about to give up, you finally gave in to my advances. The way you looked at me – a mixture of fear, fascination and lust, was intoxicating. Never have I felt so powerful, so in control. You handled me in bed with a skill and tenderness that was astounding for someone as young as you are. I felt like a total goddess in your hands! Our time together was short, and I bet you’re kicking yourself for not surrendering to my many attempts at seduction much sooner than you did. You’re gorgeous, sweet, and musically gifted. I’m so very glad that you were my last stop on the cougar express. What a fantastic way to close out this chapter in my life! I know we’ll be running into each other many times in the future, but I have no doubt that you will handle things with maturity and respect.
My last foray into normal, society-approved monogamy ran concurrently with the 2010 baseball playoffs, in which my SF Giants were, at long last, victorious in the World Series. For those that don’t feel like doing the math, this means that my last traditional, exclusive relationship lasted all of 6 weeks. It happened in the usual way – girl sees cute boy in bar, goes up to him and tells him he looks like Matt Damon. Boy tells girl she looks like Christina Ricci and buys her a few drinks. They end up back at boy’s apartment where, shirtless (because he works out obsessively and wants to show it off), he serenades her with alternative music from the 90′s with his beat-up but gorgeous acoustic guitar while she lounges on a balance ball in just her underwear until the wee hours of the morning. Sex happens. Several times. Boy drops girl off at the front door of her hotel, so she doesn’t have to participate in a pre-dawn walk of shame and promises to call. Girl is indifferent because while the sex was fairly good, the 9-11 conspiracy theories were not.
A mere 6 months had passed since the end of my decade-long marriage and I had absolutely no intention of getting into a relationship. Turns out, he was in the same boat. Just a few months out of a serious relationship in which he had been living with someone. This thing had rebound written all over it – for both of us. So why, in the name off all that is holy, did I say yes when he proposed we start seeing each other exclusively? Looking back I realize the following:
- He asked the question while were laying in bed, having just completed the pole vaulting portion of that evening’s bedroom Olympics. I was in a good mood, full of hormones and dopamine and all kinds of nice orgasm-y feelings.
- We had only been dating a week or two. I was caught completely off-guard and thought for sure that he wouldn’t bring it up that quickly. And I had no plans to have the DTR talk.
- It was so damn nice to have someone in my life again, even if I felt the timing was off and that there were things about him that gave me pause.
So when he asked me if I was seeing anyone else, I lied and said no. Be honest dear reader – you would have done the same thing! Who the hell wants to tell the sweet, naked man lying next to them that less than 24 hours ago some other dude had zambonied the ice rink? You know, the one that is telling you how amazing you are and that he doesn’t have any desire to see anyone else? We became a couple right then and there. Yet there was so much reluctance in my acceptance of his offer.
The legitimacy of having a significant other that is conferred upon you by society is a heady thing. I was wrestling with feelings of guilt, shame and just plain feeling like a failure from my marriage breaking apart and this was an easy way to say “see – I’m not a loser after all!” This made all those bad feelings go away. The cute little back-and-forth messages that we posted on each other’s Facebook walls, the good morning email that was always waiting for me when I got to work, the goodnight call if I wasn’t staying at his place, the little shelf that he cleared out for my stuff – all of this felt so familiar and affirming.
Not so nice – the suffocating, frantic feeling that I was trapped. TRAPPED! The one weekend during our short relationship that we didn’t spend together (he went out-of-town), I literally had to have a girlfriend cock block me when we went out that night. She had to confiscate my phone so I didn’t text the French Boy or the Tortured Artist. If she found me at the bar talking to a man, she would come right up between us and pull me away. She did all of this at my behest because I just didn’t trust myself not to cheat. I didn’t even have the balls to tell the others that I was seeing someone, you know, just in case. I knew there was something terribly wrong. I knew that he was not a good match for me and I also knew that I didn’t want to be in a relationship.
He dropped the bomb on me right after the World Series ended. It’s almost as if we were under some kind of spell, and once all the excitement was over, the fog was lifted. That and his ex-girlfriend had called him to “congratulate” him on the win. I wasn’t with him that night. Not that it would have mattered. The call would have come at some point and it would have made him pause and think about what he was doing.
There were so many reasons that he was wrong for me. He was an addict that had a few years prior, lost everything due to his addiction. He had anger issues and would punch and throw things. He regularly trashed his ex-girlfriend. He was a lawyer. All of these things and more were revealed to me in the short time we were together. But despite all this, I was still devastated when the call came. I had seen it coming. Sensed him pulling away. It didn’t make the blow any easier to take.
Fast-forward a couple of weeks and I was feeling mostly OK about things. Never gave in to the temptation to send just one little text, or email. Didn’t check his Facebook page or check if he was on IM. Just when I started to feel balanced again, he emailed me to invite me out to dinner and a show. Just as friends. Stupidly (and I knew it at the time) I agreed. That’s when the flirty drunk texts started. Again, stupidly, I played along. Dinner turned into sex of course. Only this time, I made it clear that I had the right to date other guys and vice versa. He agreed. What he didn’t know is that I already was.
The next month or so I spent chasing the dragon, trying to get back to that high I experienced when we first met. Trying to get the cute good morning emails started again. Trying to get my stuff back on that shelf. All the while I’m banging the French Boy again. Everything came to a head one night when he, drunk again and alone (which I think is probably a terrible idea for someone with a past addiction to drugs) he texts me, telling me to come over. I tried to be discreet, really I did. But he wouldn’t let up. I finally had to be blunt with him. ”I am at another man’s apartment right now. I can’t come over.” He was furious. I never heard from him again.
I have since come to realize that I had always been in relationships for the wrong reasons, not just this one. For validation. For status. For feeling like I was “worth” something. I would completely give up myself, ignore what I needed, and accept any and all faults in the other person just to keep that precious thing alive. No wonder when around the 2 year mark (which seems to be the magic point in time when all of my relationships start to fail) I would start to feel restless, and resentful and unhappy. You can’t pretend forever. You can’t sit by with your needs un-met and expect a relationship to last.
It’s not easy to navigate in a world that values and supports a lifestyle that hasn’t ever worked for you. So I have two
choices – 1) Figure out how to operate within the existing system of monogamy in a way that doesn’t completely crush my spirit and make me feel trapped or 2) Define my own way of being – of loving and living that allows me to be myself. And no, I don’t mean allows me to fuck whoever I want at the expense of someone else’s feelings. The past 2 years has been my attempt at following the 2nd path, the one where there is no guidebook, no support from society at large, no “rules”. As you have read, I’ve stumbled along this path. I’ve gotten hurt. I’m sure I have hurt others, although it was never my intention. But I just don’t know if I can see myself taking that time-worn and well-traveled route. Can’t see myself stepping in line again and giving up all that makes me unique just so that I don’t make people uncomfortable.
For now, as I encounter situations that Emily Post certainly can’t help me with, I stumble along, always trying to behave ethically and always trying to be up-front with the men that share my time and space with me. And maybe – just maybe, I can find someone who understands me and shares my worldview. I know it won’t be easy. But I’ll continue to search. And have amazing, awesome sexy experiences while I do.