Mourning the Loss of Romance…

“Why don’t you ask one of your guy friends, are they single?” my mother’s voice sang a familiar refrain (like a tune I did not want to get stuck in my head).
“Mom, I know all of my friend’s friends pretty much, and really… I don’t care.” I said and I meant. The pleasant point of my period triggered a smile. And with that I knew I had finally reached the last and most important stage… Acceptance.

It’s well known and understood that the mourning process takes one through gradual and progressive stages. Until recently, I had not realized I was actually moving through those shifting stages myself. My grief involving not someone in particular, nothing physical, tangible, just the complete loss of a romantic notion of love. The very simple idea of boy meet girl, boy and girl fall in love and get married, boy and girl have little boy and girl. Throw in a yard, a puppy and some blueberry pie. That’s basically it. ‘Why is this so immensely difficult?’ I kept asking myself, beating myself, torturing myself with the evasive simplicity. A pinball of never ending possibility, popping back and forth between what could be and what wasn’t. Only in retrospect am I able to fully grasp that I was dealing with the inevitable death of something that maybe never existed in the first place. But now mid thirty, I can look back and see the obvious manifestations of each phase of grief.

First stage: Denial

Breaking up with someone I thought I would marry during my transition into thirties was tough. A long drawn out process where I just couldn’t tell if I was more miserable with or without the person. But ultimately hope (aka denial) prevailed and I latched onto the former idea of romantic happiness and giddy glee. Of explosive chemistry ad profound partnership. In moments, I reminded myself this breakup was really a disguised opportunity (and not to say that it wasn’t, but certainly not for the reasons I thought). I was now free to explore the farthest reaches of love’s potential. Plenty of men just waiting, hoping for what I was hoping for.

Second Stage: Anger

What I found in the dating world was progressively absurd. I don’t know what had misguided me into the assumption that men actually pursued women, or were sane, or trustworthy, but I felt myself suddenly stoned with a batch of bad eggs. I had broke dudes actually steal my bank card, I had rich CEO’s give me advice on how to do my hair, I had the Jack-in-the box, now you see me now you don’t guys, the “oh, I didn’t mention I had a girlfriend?” guys, the guys who love you too soon, leave you too fast, and spend a lot of quality time in a state of suspended indifference. I felt like I was playing a game of operation, trying desperately not to rub up against the stinging edges of reality that were surrounding me, waiting just on the periphery of each dating experience. But as I couldn’t quite extract those precious bones, I became angrier and angrier. ‘This is ludicrous!’ I thought… ‘It just can’t be. I see people getting married!’ (and divorced) ‘I see good guys being attentive to their wives needs!’ (and their sidepieces as well) Nooooo, there have got to be good men out there who are at least somewhat fun and smart with a relatively good job (or slight earning potential).

Third Stage: Bargaining

Was I simply asking too much? I used to have a long list of desirable qualities of a mate. Intelligent, fun, charismatic, caring, honest, confident, athletic, considerate, traits which when paired in real life were always oxymoronic. So I wheedled it down to a top 5 to strive for, then chopped to top 3 (intelligent, caring, good job). But the dating game was so bad, I really ended up with just a general sense of “I hope he’s nice.” That’s it. Just nice. Too much to ask for?

Everything was so far removed from what I ever imagined, that I started to figure it had to be me. All me. Maybe I’m just attracting the wrong kind of men. But wait, if that’s the case, then why are so many of my friends going through similar experiences? Well, they’re my friends after all and we’re reflections of each other, so maybe we’re all doing it. But wait, if that’s the case then why is the divorce rate so high? Why do we constantly hear about men cheating, etc.? Well, maybe my own experiences are just coloring my perceptions of men. Upon serious reflection, I concluded that it was partially my fault (at least 30%) but this is enough to tip the already disproportionate scales WAY out of balance. My only chance was to have a 0% fault margin. So I tried. I changed my attitude, my behavior, stretched my openness and patience to their limits. And…

Fourth Stage: Depression

Life as lifeless. Relationships as gray. The ‘nice guy’ patience rolled flat and the edges burned black with resentment and passive aggression. Goodness turned sour and hope burned quickly. Bad boys burst, and nothing settled in between. Cold bed lingered on and on into a cycle of inevitability. Everyone and everything was an outsider. Marriage and family around me was like a t.v. show, and I was the lone dummy in the audience, waiting… waiting… waiting for what? I finally realized one day, what am I waiting for? I thought I wanted a man/ boyfriend/ husband so that I could be happy? But why? Historically, the men throughout my lifetime have brought me pain and misery, and now I was miserable waiting for one? Just what kind of oxymoron am I?


Fifth Stage: Acceptance

It was a decision. A mere decision. I decided to be happy. And the more I committed myself to that, the more it came. And the more it came, the more I realized that being by myself actually allows me to be happy! Who knew?! Acceptance has come with such freedom. I’m not saddled with the burden of checking my phone, wondering about his whereabouts, pleasing anyone, being ignored or offended, having to do things I don’t want to do… and that’s not saying that I don’t want a positive, healthy, supportive relationship one day, but until then, I am truly enjoying MYSELF! I’ve accepted my antiquated romantic notion of love may not exist, that chivalry is dead, that so many men I’ll never be with lie, and cheat, and tell you how to do your hair. It is what it is. I’m not going to settle for that! Just to ‘be with a man.’ Never. Love or bust. The real thing, or nothing. And until then, I’m happy and free with myself.

What’s the point of being hot?

It finally happened the other day. I pulled up a photo of myself from about 12 years ago, and had that awful moment of former-self jealousy and lament. “Awwww!!! Dang, I used to be hot…” my insides cried, noticing every single detail that had been even slightly revised by time’s insistence. But then I started thinking about my life as it was then compared to now, and it dawned on me… what really is the difference between now and then?  How did my youthful appearance work more towards my advantage? Did I have a much greater quantity of guys back in those days? Mmmmmm, no. Did I enjoy a greater quality of man while I was younger and prettier? Let’s see, nope again. Sooooo, wait a second, what’s really the point of being hot?


Well, of course you could say, we try to look good for ourselves so we can feel our best, but does anyone ever really put on their best clothes, primp in the mirror, and look hot so they can go sit on their couch alone? I don’t think so, so we’re not doing it just for ourselves. We’re doing it to be seen, and have our ‘hotness’ validated by others so that we can feel good.

Women spend obscene amounts of money on looking hot! From basic primping, pricey hundred dollar hair cuts, thousands for a weave, the deep conditioning, single processing, bleaching blonds, the do it yourself rinse, holding gels, the $30 hair sprays from Aveda, the nourishing leave in for thickness, for curls, for straightening, for moisturizing, mousse for body, hot curling irons, rollers, blow dryers. hot waxing on the brow, chin, stahce, underarm, leg, arm, and don’t forget the trip to brazil, the perfect colors, the day and night shadows, the overpriced mascaras that come in different clumping consistencies each time, the eyeliner, gloss, bronzer, blush and highlights, the coordinated earrings, bracelet, necklace, rings, the creams and concealers, the moisturizing anti-wrinkle foaming rinse, exfoliating micro-beads, tourmaline, retinol plumping, floral scents and french eu de whatever, push up bras, clip in the front, cross in the back, strapless, backless, sideless, v-neck, comfortable, formal, under-wire, skin-toned, skin softening, manicure, pedicure, slip into a sandal, high heeled pump, handbag, leather, coach, kate spade, name spills, all over the department stores, belts and scarves, sunglass rims, and shiny accessories, fur coats and tiny matching dogs, and when stores are not enough, doctor trips to stuff plastic into the body, turned into a living doll with unmoving silicone parts, everybody looks like Michael Jackson skin t-shirts, expressionless laughter and a starbucks iced latte… for what?

What’s the point of the whole thing? What does being hot really get you?

Men:

While being hot might make it easier to attract men initially, what would they stick around for? There’s got to be something more. Being hot only lasts so long, and goes so far (like to the bedroom). Even men who are image driven and completely shallow, it only lasts until the novelty wears off, and/or someone hotter steps into the picture.

Hate:
Probably more than anything else, looking ‘hot’ will get you hated by other women. This is a fascinating phenomenon. Women who try to look hot will obsess over details, the right shoes, the hot bag, etc. But when is the last time you caught a man staring at your feet? They could care less that your shoes are by Jimmy whoever, but you know whose eyes are all over it? Other women. Many with poison in their glare.

Self- inflated importance:
You just slid on a little gloss, you have on something soft and fresh, your hair is done to kill, you give yourself an obnoxious wink in the mirror, and you head out… are you more approachable now or less approachable? Do you continue to look for somebody better, or do you enjoy the guy that’s currently talking to you? Exactly. The hotter you look, the more you end up alienating yourself from others by holding on to an inflated sense of ego.

RECAP- It seems that the point of looking hot is to inflate one’s own ego by inspiring temporary lust from a man, and/or vicious hatred from women. It doesn’t make you more likely to get married (I’d say maybe less) or win you any friends, but could that really be it?

Aesthetics
Is there some aesthetic quality to ‘hotness’ that has it’s own inherent value? Sort of an artistic appreciation, that women glamorize themselves the way artists paint masterpieces, just for beauty’s sake? I like the idea of this, but if this is the case, why do we all seem to be painting the same picture? What are the images we are forced into that have us trying to recreate the same qualities and characteristics? What if the selves we created through our own beautification rituals were truly unique and artistic (like if couture styles were normal). How awesome would that be! Until then, we have a nation of women trapped into a certain paradigm of beauty that is recreated again, and again, and again….

Let it go already!
And it seems like so many women can’t let it go. What happened to growing old with grace? Grace is getting botox, liposuction and a hair weave with all those other bitches. Women who are in their 50’s and 60’s who legitimately look 29 SCARE ME! I sat next to a couple of women at brunch who had the whole glammed up, fabulous, mimosa brunch, long hair, chitty chit chatting, designer having, nonsense and I really thought about how much I didn’t want to be like that. False. Caught up. Hot at fifty? The thought is maddening. Of course I’d like to be beautiful forever, but there’s a broad line between beautiful and hot post daggone 50. Isn’t there?

Does My Attraction to Gay Men Make Me a Lesbian?


After watching all of these fashion shows on t.v., I’ve realized that I really, really like the free spirited gay men who are gorgeously attractive, stylish, and interesting (not the overly flamboyant types… but pretty anyhow). It’s a weird, but legitimate attraction that makes me wonder…. If I like such a womanish type of dude…. Does that mean that I’m actually attracted to feminine qualities, and as a result… gay myself? Or am I attracted to what I see as a reflection of myself, and in that case just narcissistic?

I write this after an episode of  The Fashion Show with the robotically dramatic Iman, and the super sweet Black dude just won, weedling the contestants down to the final four. He cried, and I was swooning for him, wanting to hug and hold him. Feeling a sort of undefinable attraction that made me think. Am I really attracted to certain feminine qualities? And does my attraction lie in the fact that these are manifested through men, and therefore pleases the acceptable image of candidate that I have been inundated with since birth? Like an actual woman would be too much? But a man exhibiting the same qualities is okay? Except he turns out to be gay or in the closet? Am I actually attracting gay men this whole time accidentally and that’s what the problem is?

After more than half of my encounters with men, I am left wondering about their sexuality. My friends are the same. My beautiful friends whom I love and admire. In thinking about them, I don’t have a single friend that I’m not attracted to. Who I don’t think is absolutely gorgeous, smart and stunning. Does this make me gay? Well, if the question is purely sexual, I’m as heterosexual as f*kin power drills and Barbie dolls. But when it comes to greater qualities of attraction, maybe I’m as gay as a basket of berries at Disneyland… What defines attraction anyway? The closeness I have found in my circle of friends has outmatched the intimacy I have ever found in a romantic relationship.

And return for a moment to sheer attraction. Consider… all the pop boys, Justin Bieber, New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boy types, who teenage girls die for. As an adult watching I’m like, “Hello?! They’re raving homos!” But the naiveté of youth simply overlooks this. The teenage girls are attracted to the boys who look like… teenage girls. Are we all narcissists? It makes me wonder about the concept of femme gays or butch lesbians being attracted to one another. If you’re a gay man, wouldn’t you be attracted to something manly? And if you’re a lesbian, wouldn’t you want a girly girl? Why be a lesbian and go for the guy-like girl? If you’re going to go for the guy, you might as well have the best part…

But if I’m a female and a fag hag, am I really just an unknowing gay myself? Is it my masculine qualities creating some sort of balanced relationship with gay men? Or what? And is my growing disdain for actual men causing me to consider such things? Or are such things causing me to actually consider my growing disdain for men?

Committed to Partying…

Men past 30 are fucked up. Let’s just state the plain and simple truth. Okay, maybe 35. If your 35 and up and you are single, never been married, and you are a man, you have issues. Maybe women also, but to a lesser extent. It’s easy for a woman to become loyal to a man who evades marriage, and when she turns around, she’s mid-thirties. With a dude, on the other hand, 9 out of 10, he’s the perpetrating commitment-phobe.


So what’s going on with the post-35s? There are certainly hordes of this group who are emotionally unavailable (see top ten signs to his emotional unavailability). Male ego walls are made of alloyed steel, and any trauma to the sensitive tissue of the inner ego, even from years ago, is likely to result in an unbreakable fortress of defense (and subconscious revenge). The manifestations are wickedly brilliant. A fascinating array of conflicting behavior and gut wrenching indifference. Misleading us all.

Some are just haphazard. Crazy. Beyond repair. Others are hurtful. Spiteful. And many more without knowing they are. The post 35s in ‘da club’ with sad guppy targets, easy and numerous. (I long for a time when gray hair was dignified).

Men in ‘da club’ have never earned stripes. This reminds me of the classic Coming to America moment, where Miley from Miley’s Barber Shop (played by Eddie Murphy) was talking to Prince Hakim (also played by Eddie Murphy) and says something like “Nooooo son, you can’t go to no bar to meet a good woman! You got to go to a good place… like library… there are good women there, and church… there are good girls there, oh! And this place I’m going tonight, the Ms. Awareness pageant… there’s gonna be some fine women there!”

This was a gem of advice! But sadly, there is no Mr. Anything pageant with half naked adoring men on display (if you don’t get this reference, go watch Coming to America immediately… )

So where should women go to meet men? Church? Mmmmm, I go to church to praise God, not look for men. I’m not looking for men at the gym or the bookstore either. And men who are trying to pick up women they don’t know while out randomly running errands are creepy! I met a guy at the gym once, and he kept on working out behind me and texting me about how I looked (aaaaagggghhh! Yick! I had to change my gym schedule…)

Places where social interaction is inherent are the places we happen to meet the most people. If you’re out of school and working, then lounges, parties, bbq’s, and other social functions seem like your best opportunity. But in this scene as a post 35 is precarious. Some are truly caught up in this lifestyle, a non-stop party addiction to “pleasure.” In it’s extended longevity looms a needy abandon, continually spiting itself.

The last guy I started to truly care about (they come few and far between) began his reign of marked distance just as thing were about to bloom. Why? He was busy. Sooooo very busy. With friends parties, and Vegas trips, and well… more parties that he was “committed” to. His words. The irony of those words in that context was striking. I’m all for friends and good times, but a commitment to partying? Is this okay? Is this the new normal? Am I abnormal for expecting anything more at this stage? Or am I subconsciously setting myself up? Are we men and women “of a certain age” really just committed to not being committed?

Have Black Women Earned the Right to an Attitude?

Have Black women earned the right to an attitude?

“Reality” media continues to rule the airwaves, giving the world a glimpse into the intentional interaction of anxious exhibitionists with conflicting chemistry. Recently the show Celebrity Apprentice amuses us with a hodge-podge blend of actors, rappers, country music singers, musical legends, sports stars, televisions hosts, you name it. This cast of characters without much in common outside of their celebrity status and jones for the limelight (justified with occasional donations to charity) is thrown together amid circumstances that breed tension and conflict in order to give us (the viewing audience) exactly what we want…. drama. But of course. What else is television for?

As is typically the case on The Apprentice, the men are pitted against the women, which is one of the reasons I watch. It’s fascinating to examine the differences in how groups of men and women interact. Both team have conflict. The men face relational problems and issues just as the women do. But the character and depth of those issues, and how they handle, react and relate to each other, particularly when it counts, is vastly different.

Cultural and racial variety is evident on both teams, and an integral part of the ensuing discord that makes the show somewhat interesting. This season, on the women’s team there are 3 and ¼ Black women. I’m not sure how to qualify Latoya Jackson, so she is counted at the fourth. Not necessarily referring to the “Black” part either. Perhaps the woman part. Or maybe even the presumption of “human” that is derived from the term woman, but I digress…  (slow down, this is totally not meant as disrespect, “humans” are overrated anyway).

So of the remaining 3, there are some strong personalities. Star Jones, Dionne Warwick (which was a mind blower for me), and Nene Leeks (Atl Housewives). In the second episode, the teams were tasked with writing and performing a children’s story for a group of 4 and 5 year old children. I must say, when I found this show on television, I was no less than baffled, having to take a series of pauses to thoughtfully digest who and what was racing before me on screen. After forcing Lisa Rinna (the girl with the oversized collagen lip, who had to actually have a ‘lip reduction’…. (sorry for the double parenthetical, but c’mon man! Ridiculous. And pure irony given all the lip she got right back from Star & Dionne)) to act as the project manager, and thus be potentially ‘fired,’ 2 of the 3 (& ¼) Black women literally nailed her ass to the floor. It was horrible.

Shining in the stench of her own ego, Star began calling the shots. Asserting herself as a true saavy business woman who knows what to do and how to do it, and by necessary circumstance, making Rinna look bad. Truthfully, she was patronizing, demoralizing, cunning, hard, manipulative, and mocking, with just a dash of stank. Rinna might not have been the brightest camper on the bus, but she knew enough to know Star and Warwick had their guns blazing. I thought she did a good job of shielding herself from their largely uncalled for attacks during their process (although she floundered in the boardroom).

Sadly, legendary Dionne Warwick revealed herself as… well, pretty much a bitch. Which means, her previous image is completely fake, which in my estimation makes her akin to a minstrel. It’s one thing if you’re truly happy go lucky with a big bright smile on your face, but if that’s only an act to please the masses, if you’re just shucking and jiving for their delight, while harboring some other deep contradiction in terms of who you really are, then you’re a minstrel show for the masses.

But, as minstrel shows and other forms of Black entertainment were an important stepping stone in the standing and progression of African Americans historically, can we really place blame? Black women in particular have been gravely demoralized, subjugated, dehumanized, and made to bear the brunt of displaced anger from Black men, White men and White women (and that’s putting it mildly). Can we blame Black women for the resulting ‘attitude’ that is stereotypically seen and felt?

In the boardroom scene of the show, both Star and Warwick ripped into Rinna. Hate seething in their eyes, they manipulated the whole conversation. Trump himself saw that they were playing Rinna, and gave her every opportunity to defend herself. He spoon fed her the defensive line of arguments that could have saved her, again reminding me (and probably Star and Warwick) of the gross advantages that White women mindlessly enjoy in relation to so many Black women. Yet even despite this, I found myself unable to muster any camaraderie or sympathetic connection with Star or Warwick. Although they were the stronger more saavy competitor, I found myself disgusted.

But is it the case that Black women have earned a right to this type of attitude? Have I have sold out? Turned a blind eye to a traumatic legacy that may lay the foundation of stone resistance and brash determination? Or is this heinous attitude a farce to begin with, largely perpetrated by media? Or is it just the case that despite it’s anthropological roots, if it walks like a duck and talk like a duck…. it’s probably just a bitch?

Is This an Abusive Relationship?

Is This an Abusive Relationship?

Since this is my first contribution to this website, I feel the need to preface this “article” with a few things: 1) I am not a prolific or poetic writer 2) I don’t mean to be self-indulgent, but…I, like you, am a woman trying to figure out some things about myself, men, relationships and life; therefore I will regularly speak to the things that are currently going on in my life, that maybe you can relate to or have wondered about yourself.

So with that said here we go…

It was about 2 weeks ago that I was sitting on my best friend’s bed at about 11AM on a Saturday. I sleep over there every weekend and usually spend the first 2-3 hours of my day rehashing my most recent breakup, all while apologizing for “obsessing” or “ruminating,” while she nods, contributes her thoughts and assures me that “he’s not worth it.” (She’s a good friend for that). So as I’m rambling on, I asked her

“Is this abuse?”

She already knew about the time that my boyfriend of 2 years came home to his house (I would always stay in his apt when he was out cheating on me with the money he didn’t have, while I researched and worked from my computer, on his air mattress… true story) drunk and not wanting to talk to me about another lie he told. I was badgering him, I will admit. “Why did you tell me that you didn’t go anywhere that Friday night?, when clearly YOU DID because I see a picture on your desktop that has that date on it, and you’re wearing a shirt that says ‘causal sex is ok’.” He begged me to leave him alone because he was drunk, I was ‘trippin’, ‘he wasn’t lying’ and ‘you really have issues with snooping’. I kept at it even when he was hitting me in the arm harder than I felt comfortable. Yet, I continued asking ‘why are you SUCH a LIAR????!!!!!!’ (not yelling…just indignant). At that point, he grabbed me by the neck and “guided” my body down to the bed.

Was that abuse?

I also asked her about the time that we had gotten in to an argument that lasted a day or two (I think he created these arguments so that he could spend time with his other women) and I came over to his house to “make up.” We talked it out, had sex and started to watch TV. As we’re watching TV, he starts slapping me in the face. Now, he wasn’t slapping me hard enough to leave a bruise, or hard enough to sting but JUST hard enough that it didn’t seem playful. But then again, who playfully slaps a woman in the face. I tell him to stop “STOP hitting me in the FACE, FOR REAL!!! Don’t hit me in the face again.” He keeps doing it and saying “ohhhhh what are you going to do?? What are you going to do?” But he wasn’t saying it in a threatening way, so I was confused. I was baffled really. Again, I said “DON’T TOUCH ME IN THE FACE!!!” He kept on though. I eventually started crying because I got scared and this “playful game” was beginning to make me feel uncomfortable. When he saw the tears, he immediately stopped, cuddled me from behind, and said “I forgot how sensitive you are! I was just playing with you and I was getting ready to do the whole ‘aggressive sex’ thing”. We dropped the conversation and didn’t have sex. I told ONE friend who responded with an “ehhhhhhhh.” Yet, I always wondered…

Was that abuse?

Then I asked her about the time that we were sitting in the living room with his boys. I was sitting up and he was lying down so that his feet were touching my thighs. He began to kick me. He had been mad about something earlier but I thought the argument was over. He kept kicking me in the thigh, enough that it was hurting, but not enough that it seemed overtly threatening. I told him to stop kicking me, but he kept doing it, probably about 5 times. After the 5th time, his boy was like “YO…Chill with that!!” I felt stupid because his boy noticed that there was something wrong about the interaction and intervened before I could even process what was going on.

Was that abuse?

As the number of stories accumulated during this conversation I really had to take a good look at myself and ask if I had been in an abusive relationship.

There was the time that we got in an argument about his infidelity and he didn’t want me to leave until the conversation was done. He held me up against the fence to the point where I had bruises on my arms the next day. He jumped in my car, broke the lock off of the door and wouldn’t get out of the car. To be completely honest, he put his hand around my throat that night too. Again, he didn’t “squeeze” my throat so I was able to rationalize this as not being abusive. I eventually called his roommate to come and get him, he got out of the car, threw the keys at my back and called me a “stupid fucking bitch.” After that time, I had visible bruises on my arms from the fence and my mom asked me “is someone hitting you?” and she laughed… because we BOTH knew that those types of things don’t happen in our family. It wasn’t even a realistic question on her part. Yet…was it?

As my friend and I continued rehashing the experiences of subtle physicality in the relationship, I STILL couldn’t figure out if this was in fact an abusive relationship. Yet, it is SO clear that it was. I mean, I broke up with my last boyfriend when he grabbed a fork out of my hand. At that time, I felt that him even beginning to intrude upon my personal space was a clear violation. Yet, with this boyfriend I couldn’t quite figure it out. His pathological lying and passive aggressiveness clearly was playing out in his subtle ability to use physical force to control me. He could put his hands around my neck and lie to himself that he didn’t actually “put his hands on me” because he didn’t use force. Clearly, I bought that lie too.

I was convinced.

I am STILL not sure if the aforementioned anecdotes “count” as abuse. However, I do know that if it was you writing this and me reading it, I’d be wondering WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS CHICK???????? Hopefully, one of you may be reading this and beginning to recognize, that you need to ask yourself … “Was that abuse?”

I hope you ask yourself this question before it turns to blatant and overt abuse that leads to actual physical harm. My situation ended when I caught him cheating AGAIN and he slashed my tires. The tire slashing illuminated the fact that he was in fact an emotionally unstable and violent man. Again, some of us are reading about this tire slashing and wondering “is that really considered violent?”

Well…The police sure thought it was.

Moments a Husband Might Come In Handy



It’s morning. I mash the 1-4 cups button on Mr. Coffee once again and notice a truck pull into my driveway. Big Bob’s Garage Door Repair the sign promises. I glance at the clock. Precisely 8-4pm, right on time. With the presence of a strange man just outside the door, I rush to put on a bra (over my pajamas), sweater and snowboots, take my hair out from the crazy bedtime bun spouting from my head, and step outside to show him what was wrong with the door. Or really, with me.

“I can’t figure out what the problem is.” I explain. “After that blizzard around Christmas, I couldn’t get it to close, it just wasn’t responding.”

Rewind for a moment to the day after last Christmas (2010). The raging blizzard created countless battles that left me feeling frustrated, sad, and annoyed with my alone-ness. Here’s where being a single girl can get thorny (especially if you live in a house).

The Aftermath of the Christmas blizzard:

  • Battle #1- The driveway. Going outside after a snowstorm and seeing a monstrosity of snow blocking you, piled up along the only road you have to freedom is daunting to say the least. Not to mention the damning ice wall at the end of the driveway that has formed because the plows have conveniently cleared all of the snow from the main road by moving it in front of your personal road. This ice wall is the most rigid, frigid, non- cracking, back breaking, stubborn obstacle of all. It can feel like trying to move a mountain with a toothpick. Snowblowers can’t even tackle this thing. You need a semi-automatic, or some form of explosive. (Hmmm… so perhaps a nuclear physicist instead of a husband)
  • Battle #2- The man who wants to ‘help.’ I’m no stranger to shoveling a driveway. It was one of the rare things we used to do as a family, but for one single girl by herself, it’s more than a bit much.


On the post blizzard morning of 12/27/10, I climbed outside into my yard simply unwilling to process the task ahead of me. Instead, I just stood for a while and enjoyed the tranquility. The glistening whiteness everywhere. The profound silence. As I’m deep into the poetry of the moment, 2 dudes walk by and see me by myself in the fresh sea of snow surrounding the yard.

“You wan we do you house?”
I snapped out of a wonderful trance and stared at the two men.

“Huh?”

“You need shovel?”

I looked around. Help? Jesus, yes…

“Uhhh, maybe” I played it slick and put on my haggler hat. (I was slick… slick like a sliding seal trying to climb up a water slide).

“We do whole house, driveway, door, everything for you.”

“How much?” Let’s get right to the point gentleman.

I stood in lament of this new world. Who were these grown men?! Gone are the glory days of shovel toting neighborhood kids who came around offering help, wanting to get their little hustle on to make money to blow on candy (myself included).

“How much you pay?” They put it back on me. I thought.

“20 dollars” my honest reply.

The guy laughs.

“We do whole thing for 150.”

One word. Extortion.

It was a smack in the face. A friggin back handed pimp style blow to my solo ego. $150 to shovel the f*%kin driveway dude? Really? That’s more than disrespectful, that just blasphemy. I waved him away and climbed back through the snow towards my garage, newly bitter.

  • Battle #3- Machine Malfunction. So one thing that makes the whole driveway thing a lot easier is a snowblower. If it works right. Mine, however, is temperamental.  It has issues. (Most likely due to my own neglect, not feeding it the oil and gas it needs) Having lost the manual some time ago, I have to re-figure out how to use the machine each year and then hope that it works. After telling the extortionist shovelers to go shove it, I was determined to get the blower on my side. I switched the levers, jiggled the gears, pushed the button, and maniacally pulled on the start chord, but it just grumbled at me. So, being the wise resourceful person that I am, I remembered (or stumbled across) the electric start cord. So I plug it in and PRESTO! It starts! I let the engine run for a while, just until I am slightly nauseous from the fumes, and when I reach that magic window between dizzy and unconscious, I push the machine out of the garage. Alright! Whoo hoo! Wait a minute… Struggling to maneuver the blower, I looked down and noticed it had a flat tire.


Crrrrap.

Stubborn broad that I am, I figure that if I can lean it over a bit, displacing

the weight on the good tire, I can make it around the driveway…. Worth a try. I leaned in with all of my weight, slipping and pushing, moving in small slow increments, but enough to keep going. My arms became sore, so I began using my leg muscles, pushing the machine around with my foot against the bar. Ridiculous. I got two rows done this way, when suddenly, as I’m turning into the 3rd row, the good tire gets tired and comes off of the axle. Great. I finally give up.

After dragging the machine back into the garage and myself back into the house, I ‘click’ to close the garage door, but the door doesn’t budge. ‘Click click’ Nothing. I feel empty inside. I go stand under the garage door machine staring up as if it was going to say something, mention what was wrong. I try to pull down the door instead, but it wouldn’t budge. Super.

  • Battle #4- Customer Service. What else can I do but call for help? Good thing I have a warranty for these rude machines. I call about the blower first.

“We can have someone out to you…. Januray 20th.”

“Uhhhh… that’s like a month away.”

“That’s the first available date. There are a lot of requests.”

I would think more requests would lead to more technicians, but what do I know. I make the appointment for the 20th, sometime between now or never, and move on to the garage door people. Which brings me back to where I started.

The handy dandy garage repair guy listens to my story, and goes into examine the problem. He presses the inside button, looks at the wall and simply says “It’s not plugged in.” I gasped, realizing then that when I had plugged in the snowblower, I must have unplugged the garage door machine.

“That’ll be $75 please…”


How ridiculous that I should have to pay $75 for someone to stick a plug in a socket! But would having a husband really help with these problems? I guess it depends on the guy, but somewhere in my ever romanticizing head, I always imagine that I wouldn’t have to deal so much with those kinds of situations. But what are those situations? And am I being completely sexist or old fashioned in harboring such thoughts?

Over the summer, my friends and I were laughing at an experience we all had finding a bunch of maggots in the trash can (something about the extreme humidity of the summer). My friend pointed out “We need husbands, cuz I shouldn’t be dealing with that shit.” But are there things that are a man’s responsibility? I certainly wouldn’t want to be told that cooking and cleaning are my responsibility (unless I can fulfill that responsibility by hiring a maid service and making decisions about where to go for dinner).

Or is the whole notion of gender roles irrelevant nowadays? Now that women are making bank, should women and men be able to just buy whatever they need? For example, if I had enough money to throw $150 at the extortionists and have them clear my whole yard, would I care? Would I have felt less alone? Was it the inability to do something by myself that made me feel lonely, or was it something else? Are there things that a husband would bring to the table that can’t be bought? Love, intimacy, yes of course, but beyond that. Should women look to men to provide safety, stability? Or does having more money take care of that?