thebitterbabe

never married, over forty, a little bitter

Month: March, 2012

benched

This past week I forced myself to go to a dance.  I love the idea of dancing– the dressing-up and touch and music and skill involved.  As I’ve written before, though, I’ve enjoyed it less and less over the years and resent getting dressed up and taking the time to go out and paying to get in somewhere, only to spend most of the evening on the bench.

Despite these misgivings, I made the effort once more.  The entire drive there I kept considering turning around and going home, as I was tired and feeling like I’d been down this road enough to know it probably wasn’t going to be worth the effort.  I will say there are one or two places where I do get asked to dance repeatedly and do have fun, but for the most part it’s been a losing endeavor.

I arrived and took a seat and a nice woman in a darling dress sat down next to me.  We sat and sat.  At some point she leaned over and said, “Look at all those men just standing around over there, not asking anyone to dance.”  Every one of them was a decent dancer but I guess preferred to sit out a bunch of numbers due to fatigue or fear of asking someone new or disinclination to dance with anyone they considered beneath them.  The woman next to me said she used to regularly attend this particular dance but had quit out of frustration and hadn’t been back in a long time.  I shared her frustration, as this is something I’ve observed numerous times– men standing around not dancing, oblivious (or not) to the long row of women who have been sitting, sitting, sitting, waiting to dance.

I kept thinking that this is why I only participate in  ballet and belly dance and other solo dance endeavors now– because when I go somewhere intending to dance, I want to dance!   Somehow this seems like a good metaphor for my whole life at this time.  If I want to do something, it’s entirely up to me.

gruel

I live in in a city with endless recreational and cultural opportunities.  Endless.

So it’s amazing to me how the social scene consists of such thin gruel.  Yes, I have a handful of friends (each living a half-hour to an hour away and only casually knowing each other), but I have nothing even close to what I would consider a community.  I once heard a man with an exciting career say on a podcast that the only time he felt a sense of community in this city was around his children’s school.  I wish he had elaborated, because honestly, if he feels that way, I am fucked.

Despite all, I have kicked my physical activity up a notch and with a renewed sense of energy and purpose am planning to take advantage of what this city does have to offer.

shrubbery

love this:

Right now, I have 28 men I’m ‘communicating’ with, which is to say I’ve approached them and all but two are apparently ignoring me. They haven’t written back to say ‘thanks, I’m very flattered but not interested’ and they haven’t ‘closed the match’, they are just refusing to respond. Like cactus or some small, terrified animal who has decided that if they stay very still and don’t make any sudden moves, the scary, size 10, age-appropriate woman who isn’t hideously unattractive or strangely deformed standing before them might take the hint and go away.

from:

http://redactthatblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/internet-dating-hell-civil-unrest.html

and further:

http://redactthatblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/internet-dating-hell-9-profile-writing.html

http://redactthatblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/internet-dating-hell-date-camp.html

meeting needs

Yesterday I was thinking about how difficult it can be to get basic needs met in our society and how the marketplace rushes into the vacuum, dangling carrots so as to make money off our confusion.

Take finding a job.  If you don’t have connections, you are at the mercy of methods that may or may not result in any kind of success and are sometimes money or time sucking scams.  Job boards on the internet, Craigslist, the want ads in newspapers, career counselors, job fairs, job placement agencies… all in the service of finding people jobs, but how often do they work?  I’ve been down those roads and after much trial and effort and time and money finally ended up with some temp jobs that eventually led to (low-paying) job offers, which is why I go back time and time again to the profession I am credentialed in.

I feel like it’s the same thing with intimacy needs.  Matchmakers, dating agencies, Meetup, singles events, online dating sites, dances, singles vacations… yes, you might get lucky, but considering those entities exist to bring people together, “you might get lucky” is not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Despite all this, I am going on another date from online today and hoping for the best.  If anything, he has thus far shown good manners.

correction

In my review of the movie Young Adult, I wrote:

I heard one male reviewer discuss the film with a female reviewer, and in his opinion, Mavis had a chance to change, failed to take it, and was doomed to a downward spiral.  I am guessing that he believes she needed to change to be more like the people living in her hometown.  The female reviewer had the opposite reaction, seeing in the final scene confirmation that Mavis did indeed have a lot to be proud of and that she just needed to see it.  From interviews I’ve read, I believe director Jason Reitman agrees with the male reviewer, but I fall somewhere in the middle, and I would bet so does Diablo Cody, the writer (also unmarried and childless). 

I was wrong.  Diablo Cody is married (for the second time) and has a son.  Whether that changes where she falls on the ending, I can’t say.

on birthdays

Nice post here:

http://fromfortywithlove.com/2012/03/15/great-expectations/#comments

I recently had a birthday and shed a few tears of my own.  I guess many of us need to get over the feeling of failure that living in alone in an apartment at this age brings.  It seems it is becoming a new normal!

single men

One of my best friends here is a gay man, and it’s been interesting observing his life up close.  He lives in an undecorated apartment, doesn’t cook, doesn’t work out, doesn’t participate in social groups, and only occasionally goes to cultural events.  On his time off he watches TV and porn, reads a little, and has hook-ups.  Perhaps his lackadaisical behavior is somewhat unusual for a gay man, but I don’t think it is all that unusual for a man.

It’s funny for me to reflect on all the things women do to keep themselves up and remain attractive, while men often do quite little.

practicality vs. psychology

I share Olivia’s despair (http://readinginthebath.com/2012/03/20/childless-reflections-on-lifes-longing-for-itself/) at this psychiatrist’s quote in the book “Childless: Reflections of Life’s Longing for Itself”:

“ ‘I think when people make a decision not to have children it’s really important to think about where that has come from, because the female body is designed to reproduce … At a very basic level that’s how we’re built. Therefore the conscious decision to override that basic biological given is often related to things that have happened since birth.’ Among those things could be a difficult, ‘dyssynchronous’ parent-child relationship, a significant death in the family, or severe emotional, physical or sexual abuse – the latter in particular, she says. All are examples of what might contribute to a decision to negate our natural tendency towards motherhood.”

What really annoys me about the quote is that while women may have a “natural tendency towards motherhood” (and even that is debatable for many women), there are numerous practical constraints against it– lack of daycare options, lack of healthcare options, lack of flexible work schedules, lack of decent partners, and on and on and on.   I’m sure there are many, many women who decide against having children because the circumstances just don’t support it.  I think it’s quite judgmental to assume they have all come from severely dysfunctional backgrounds!   One of the things that has always made me wary of therapists is my fear that they will view everything as a personal problem or failing and ignore the larger societal context, and her quote certainly feeds into that.

mirror (look in one)

I was listening to an interview this week in which the man being interviewed, who is married and the father of daughters, said that he looks at his wife’s friends “who used to be hot at 35” and now they are 41, 42 (his age) and just… “not.”

“They’ve had a couple of kids, and it’s sad to see them still trying to get by on their looks,” he said, “but I feel kind-of vindicated now because it was hard for me to get girls when I was younger.”

“And I feel like we, as men, get better-looking as we age,” he said.

So of course I had to immediately google his photo, and naturally he is your average, flabby and pasty, middle-aged dude.  Compared to photos of him ten years ago, he is not getting better-looking.  I won’t be cruel enough to post his name because in other respects he seems like a decent person (although perhaps that makes his comments all the more insidious).

Personally I think he is confusing objective attractiveness with the fact that men are still seen as attractive by society when they are no longer young while women are not.  It is reminiscent of the way that women are expected to have exceptionally slim physiques while men are acceptable at any weight short of obese.   And just as an aside, from all the reports I’ve heard of school reunions, it’s the women who have aged better than the men, since they have worked harder at keeping themselves up.

And don’t get me started (again?) on the middle-aged men who are still bitter that they couldn’t get the head cheerleader in high school, conveniently ignoring the fact that they quite likely bypassed the average girls who may have been in their league.

What depresses me even further about his comments is that he has an over-40 wife and a couple of daughters.  I know lots of women who are married to men with these kinds of attitudes;  I guess they feel like being married is worth it, and I guess I just don’t.

I think it’s a good thing to be aware that these attitudes exist, but I’m trying hard not to let them ground me down.  The stress of my job and the depressing economy is enough for that.  It does make me hesitate about getting involved with an older man though because I hate to play into this mindset.

I’ve decided that all I can do is continue to pursue those activities that make me feel good about myself and my body.  That way  there are areas in my life where I am still growing and learning and improving, despite some of the attitudes that exist about women my age.

song break

I recently saw a show in which a comedic female musical duo (Garfunkel and Oates) performed a number like this: one of them played a woman at 29  and the other one the same woman at 31 (unfortunately I can’t provide a link to the performance).  At 29, the woman sang of finally coming into her own and being able to meet men on equal terms.  She felt she was no longer worried about meeting someone, that she had plenty of time, and that everything would work out in the end.  She was finally enjoying dating for its own sake.  At 31, essentially, she had one refrain– there’s no one left!  And the men want to date younger, and she never gets invited to dinner parties anymore.  She had blown it and her younger self was both dumb and smug.

Well, that cut close, despite the humor.  I do feel like I was at a real peak in my early thirties (on every level) and that I was a much better relationship candidate than in my twenties, but yes, I did feel frustrated that by then it felt as if there was no one left.