my_lost_mind: (hiding)
or.. "What's still really fucking weird in suburbia"

I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out how I can get out there in the big wide world and meet guys in my age group who are single, have similarly eclectic interests (or at least compatible interests) and are open to the idea of dating (vs. casual encounters).

I joined a few meetup groups and have been attending events in my local area but have found that at most of these events women outnumber the men (at least) 2 to 1.    While this is great for general socializing and getting out of the house "not being bored", it's been disappointing as far as meeting single guys is concerned.

Last weekend I attended a meetup event that was made up of mostly single men and women in their 50s and older.  I was lucky enough to end up at a table with several women in their mid-late 50s who were great to talk to - we bonded over experiences in the alt.(dating) realm.  I shared tales of dating in my 30s when it seemed like an endless string of one-night-stands, booty calls, and dating guys who were fun while it lasted but ultimately disappointing.   I explained that I never met anyone suitable on match or okcupid (both terrible experiences for me 10+ years ago) but I did meet a couple guys via craigslist back in the day.

We chatted a bit about dating sites in general, and they said they had some acceptable experience through POF and adultfriendfinder, but it occurred to me that the reason why they were successful is because they were not looking for a steady monogamous dating situation.  They were looking for no-strings hookups and were willing to accept married men, flaky younger men, and/or men who were just looking to explore the various ( urges they had to repress in their primary relationships.   These women accepted cheaters, players, and a grand parade of "unavailable" men just to be able to satisfy their urge to get laid regularly.

One of them said something that was actually a bit sad.  She wanted human touch, contact, and if it meant resorting to being someone's booty call she was willing to put up with it vs. going months, years without it.  Another woman said she routinely went for massages so that she could experience being touched in a way that felt comforting.

While I applaud their candor and sexual freedom, I found this appallingly disappointing.  Is the pool of available, acceptable men (over 40) really that small?

I decided to do a bit of recon, and spent a few hours researching various online dating sites.  As I stated above, my experience with online dating 10+ years ago was disappointing at best.  On one site the only "winks", smiles, pings, etc.  I received were from men 20 years older than me (old enough to be my father), or men that obviously had never read my profile and were just randomly clicking on the profiles of single, white females in a specific age range.  

I responded to many profiles, but never received a response back.   Far too many of the profiles of men in my age range were looking for the "slim" or "fit and athletic" females who were 10+ years younger than them.  This was 10 years ago when I was still in my 30s.    Guys in their 30s were looking for women in their 20s - in theory because the 20-somethings were not in a hurry to have babies, would put up with a more "casual" thing, and of course, women in their 20s are less likely to have wrinkles, grey hair, and less cellulite on their thighs. 

What I found while reading these reviews is that this world does not seem to have changed much.   In some cases, it's become worse. Some of the site reviews I found had a long list of complaints about less-than-ethical billing practices and a high percentage of "fake" or inactive profiles.  It also seems like the Nigerian money scammers have taken their primary targets from bulk email to trolling online dating sites.

Sounds like pretty poor return on investment, even if that investment is only time.

I have to admit that doing this research, and gaining that insight from talking to those women older than me made me feel pretty darn angry.

I never really felt that online dating sites were a viable option for me because my personality doesn't translate well in an online profile.  I also believe in honesty, and would never resort to posting a photo of myself from when I was "slim" (20 years ago!).  I'm not obese, but I'm certainly not built like a marathon runner.  If these men are only basing their decision on looks, and eliminating women who are even a bit overweight, then obviously they're not anyone I should be wasting even a second on.

I'll also admit to having a "type". This type is not really limited to a specific physical type.  However, if a man posts an online profile with one photo that obviously looks outdated, or he's got that fish-eyed gaze that makes him look like one of those guys from one of those terrible "true crime" news shows AND he cannot spell or cannot write, it's no deal.  My type has to (at the very least) have a functioning brain.

What this all boils down to is that I really can't go back to the online dating websites and expect to see better results than I did 10+ years ago.  The hard truth is that it's still more or less like an online shopping site where both men and women are flipping through profiles like they would flip through products on an online shopping clearance site.   I'd say it's probably like one of those stupid online "bid" sites where you pay so much for tokens to bid on shit only to realize, after wasting a bunch of money that it's just another form of online gambling.

I've never been a lucky gambler.

I would rather go without, be single, and just take my chances with attending meetup events than risk my sanity and self-esteem by subjecting myself to the grand parade of players and scammers online and hoping to find a diamond in a sulfur mine.

Dream Recall

Thursday, January 17th, 2013 08:12 pm
my_lost_mind: (madmen)
I made the dubious mistake of drinking a few too many margaritas last night.   Got a bit wobbly and took to my bed early.   The tequilla, plus 10+ hours spent in a near comatose state brought about some amazing dreams!

Dream fragment #1

I was in an empty apartment.  It was similar to a place I had dreamed about previously.   A dusty, vintage building with high ceilings and hardwood floors. The place was in a state of disrepair with crumbling plaster and peeling paint.    It was also very dark, not a lot of natural light filtering through.

I was just wandering through this place, as if I had lived here at one point but now it's empty and sad.    I thought I was alone in this place until I wandered into a room where a man was working.   He was Hispanic and didn't speak English.   He sort of glared at me, to question what the hell I was doing in this place.   I quietly apologized and left.

Dream #2

I was outdoors in some urban area.   I'm not sure what I was doing prior to walking to my car, but once I got to my car I opened the door and put the keys in the ignition.   This car was not the car I drive today.  It was actually the car that an old boyfriend of mine had years ago, a crappy old Japanese car (a mid-80s era Toyota I think), gold hatchback with black vinyl seats.    For some reason I got back out of the car for a moment, leaving the keys in the ignition.

A strange man approached out of nowhere and (more or less) tried to steal my car.   He got in the car and motioned for me to do the same. I did not recognize this man, but I sensed that he was dangerous so I just started running.

I ran toward a shopping area and ran into a coffee house where I saw someone who looked familiar to me.  A man that I knew casually from a social circle in the city where I used to live.    I tried to explain to this guy what had just happened to me, but he seemed disinterested and/or was unwilling to help me.   He seemed more interested in having a conversation about anything else but what I just experienced.

I felt invalidated.

Dream #3

This one was craaaazy!

I went to go visit my most recent ex-boyfriend (who wasn't much of a boyfriend).  He was living in an apartment with 2 housemates (one male, one female).  The male housemate seemed friendly, was walking around smoking a pipe (read "bowl") and handed it to me.

"Want a hit?"
"um... sure..."

I started talking with my ex, and the conversation started out fairly generic until something came up where I felt I had to speak my mind.

I let him have it with both barrels, telling him how I felt about that email he sent, and how him admitting that he thought I could help him get over his ex-girlfriend was the absolutely worst thing he could have said.   I went on and on, was very angry, and cold as ice.  It was everything that I have wanted to say to him if I felt he would truly listen, as if speaking my peace would matter at all.

He got upset, emotional, seemed shocked that I was so angry, and got up from the chair he was sitting in.    

I can't remember whether or not he actually apologized or not, I just remember seeing his face full of pain and sadness.

I woke up soon after, feeling very odd but also with a sense of great relief.

Unfortunately, real life doesn't work out like our dreams (and dreams are just our subconscious working shit out so it can be sorted into file cabinets in our mind, or burned in the incinerator!) 

Feeling stronger every day!    Almost 2 weeks of NC.   I think I can do this.

Falling Down

Monday, December 31st, 2012 11:00 pm
my_lost_mind: (FML)
 I've been thinking about the whole notion of falling in love with someone, and how falling in love can at times, feel like falling down a flight of stairs.

Sometimes, it's those stairs on the front porch of your house, it's not a bad fall but you do end up with a bruise on your ass, or a skinned knee.     
Other times, it's like taking a tumble sideways, down a metal fire escape on an icy winter morning.
You're not quite sure how you managed to survive without breaking your neck, but you know that you've just donated some flesh to the iron gods and might need a few stitches to close the bloody gash in your shin.   
Ow!!  That fucking hurt!

I should have a wall of trophies for all the times I've fallen and bruised my ego so badly that she threatened to call the cops and file charges of abuse.
The real problem is that I always let my heart top my head, and my brain is a very bad sub because she never seems to remember the safe word until that moment just before she blacks out.    The words never make it past her lips, and when she wakes up, heart has already gone and ruined things by falling for someone who is either crazy, cold as a freezer-burned roast, or has no interest in having a relationship with someone who seems boring compared to their last girlfriend.
...but my heart knows what she wants
I've already droned on about this particular subject in another post so I'm not going to bore readers with it again.
yawn.. yeah.. get on with it already...
I guess the real problem is that I'm a total head case.   I always seem to pick the guys who fall into the category of "he's just not that into you", but instead of running in the other direction I just twist myself into some impossible pretzel shape that should qualify me as lead acrobat in the Cirque du Fruitcake.
I've also been known to get involved with men who seem one crisis away from taking a leap off some tall building or running off to join a cult. The last long-term relationship I had (explained in gory details via previous posts here) was with a guy who had to get drunk the first time we had sex.   Why on earth would any sane woman choose someone like this?  He was my physical type,  appealed to my geekier interests, and I needed to get laid.   What should have been a short-term fling turned into a four year codependent nightmare.
You must remember this... a kiss is just a kiss
fucking  does not equal love
the fundamental rules apply
that there are no fucking rules...
Ten years ago I dated a guy eight years my junior who I fell for after dating him for only a couple months.   I don't think I gave the poor bastard time to realize what hit him before I attached myself to him like a barnacle and started showing up at his apartment several times a week.   He wasn't very good at telling me what was on his mind, I just automatically assumed that if he wasn't telling me to get lost  that I must be his girlfriend.  Most men appreciate free sex provided the woman is at least moderately attractive, fun, and doesn't place too many demands on them.
After 5 months he did tell me to get lost, but only after I had gone off and purchased a condominium in the same housing community where he just purchased a condo.   I had some deranged notion that  it would be fun to be his neighbor.    Oh yeah, it was great fun after we split up and he started dating other women.  The fun turned into dysfunction when we would continue to hang out as "friends", getting drunk together and watching old Star Trek TNG episodes, sharing tales of our latest romantic mishaps.
My girlfriends should have had me committed at that point - I had gone round the bend and couldn't figure out where I had left my big girl pants (let alone my self-worth).
This was indeed, an amazing feat of stupidity - a fall down the most rickety of fire escapes.
Did I learn anything from this particular fall?
Only that I continued to suffer from some weakness for musicians and that some mysterious virus they transmit infects my brain with a dangerous form of amnesia.
I only seriously dated one musician after that disaster.   He was a strange impish fellow who was a mediocre painter obsessed with his own importance, working as a trolley driver for a local tour bus company.  He was a fairly decent singer / saxophone player who would also practice the didgeridoo on weekends at some inhumane hour of the morning. 
He and I didn't have much in the way of chemistry, nor did we share a ton of common interests aside from art, politics, and some of the same music.     What we did share was boredom, lack of money, and a shared interest in not being bored and broke.  The dude was sufficiently weird to hold my interest, and I think my presence fed his ego and need for someone to tell him how cool he was.  He and I lived together for a handful of months before he started disappearing for longer hours into the evening.  Eventually he just announced he was leaving and that, was that.
I was more rattled by the loss of the second income than I was at losing him.
Come on, surely you must have ended a few relationships in your lifetime!  Otherwise you're just bullshitting us!!
Of course!   There were a few:   One physically abusive guy, two alcoholics, one guy that lived 250 miles away, one guy who was not only a hoarder, but did not own a bar of soap (truth!), and a couple of guys I dumped because "something more interesting" came along.    No, I'm not proud of this track record.
So here's where I get to my point in this whole sordid mess and try to make a very long and convoluted story a bit shorter.
“I've been thinking with my guts since I was fourteen years old, and frankly speaking, between you and me, I have come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains.” 
― Nick Hornby, High Fidelity
When I am lucky enough to meet someone who rings my chimes for any number of reasons, especially if there's chemistry and common interests shared, I tend to get emotionally attached to these folks at a fairly early stage in the relationship.   I suddenly find myself feeling like a giddy teenager, ignoring the fact that the whole teenager thing was over more than 30 years ago, and I should really be more grownup about the way I manage my emotions.
It's a strange manifestation of some addictive personality traits.  A feeling that is a bit like standing in line for hours at the all-you-can-eat buffet of life only to find that what's left is some cold roast beef, some stale rolls,  sushi that smells like the beach at low tide, and one perfect slice of chocolate cheesecake.
Do you wait for the buffet to be refilled?  Or do you take the cheesecake knowing that it will cure your hunger temporarily, give you a great sugar rush, but make you feel guilty and nauseous after you've eaten it.
Too often I've wandered off with the cheesecake, gobbled it down, felt the sugar rush and then promptly passed out face down on the empty plate.
I need to engage my brain in more of these decisions and learn to sit with my hunger a bit longer.
One-sided relationships, booty calls, and other forms of ambiguity have only resulted in spectacular falls down those mystical fire escapes.
I'm bloody tired of scraping my brains off the pavement and tucking them back into my skull.  
my_lost_mind: (unhappy)
My Beloved Ghost,
I am sure you have long since forgotten that this was the day we met, October 2nd 1989.
It's a day that I will never forget as long as I live, because I find it impossible to forget you even after more than a decade of not being a "couple".
I'm not even going to dive into sentimentality about how I thought you seemed weird to me, and that I was not immediately attracted to you, but something about you drew me in.   You were one of the most passionate (opinionated!) intelligent human beings I had ever met and it didn't matter if I thought you looked like Raul Julia with your dark hair and eyes, angular features, and that funky black turtleneck you wore.  I wanted to get to know you.   I remember wearing some hideous red sweater vest, my hair was all wild and 80s fluffy.  What a sight.     Do you know that it was you who inspired me to give up eating red meat?  Haven't touched it since that night we met.
Do you remember that old pickup truck you were driving around in back in those days?   You had borrowed it, or bought it off your brother.  It had been previously owned by a pest control company so it still had random catch phrases painted on the side like the phrase "home and industrial".  That thing always used to make me laugh, but not quite as much as the "Elvis" hearse you had parked in your driveway.
So many things I have wanted to say to you over the years, but have never had the chance.   The first thing I would say to you is, I'm sorry.
I'm so very sorry for giving up on you, giving up on us, but by 1993 we were living on emotional islands unable to process all that we had gone through 3 years before.   I still have a hard time getting a grip on that, what happened in the summer of 1990.  At the time it seemed like such an "obvious" thing to do, but what I didn't realize at the time was how much that decision would haunt me to this day.  This was the beginning of the end of us, and we hadn't even moved in together at that point.
This decision was our undoing, but it also set the course for the rest of our lives.
Just know this...  I never stopped loving you.  I still think of how different our lives would have been if a different decision had been made.
My dear old friend, I know you love your wife and children.   I'm not stalking you and I would never dare tell her about what happened between us  You know that you would not have met her were it not for me.  Somehow we're all connected in this lifetime whether we choose to accept it or not.  Fate has bound us together for one reason or another.   (Yeah, I know you're an atheist, so maybe it's just dumb luck eh?)
 I just wanted you to know that you, my dear, are the benchmark.  You are the one that I have compared to all others that followed.   I've not experienced the magic of staying up half the night watching funny shit on tv, running out for ice cream at 2am, and sitting in the car parked in the driveway so we could hear the name of the piece of classical music that we both just experienced on the radio.   Slow dancing in the kitchen, me standing on your toes.   Prowling through bookstores on a rainy weekend afternoon, or spending hours at the archives doing family history research.   I've shared none of these things with anyone else.
This is the part that hurts the most.
In those months I was planning to leave, that time I was so angry and confused, I pushed all of those beautiful memories into some dusty corner of my mind.  I felt like I was in a purgatory, trapped between where I was supposed to "go" in my future, and where I felt that I belonged (with you).    I've never met another one like you and I'm not sure that I ever will.
Still, I wish you nothing but happiness.   You got the wife and kids, the house in the suburbs, and a career that you always aspired to.
I got the "cynical and drunk, and boring someone in some dark cafe".    

Everything is in it's place.  Life goes on.  I never did have kids of my own, but you already know this.
The one thing I'm not sure of is how happy you are with her.   I know that you would never leave her, or leave your kids, because you don't want your kids to go through what you did growing up (divorced parents) but I do wonder how much you gave up to get where you are.
No matter what, just know that I will never forget you, and all that we shared more than 2 decades ago.   I will always be there for you if you ever need a friend.  
No matter where I go, I will always see your face.
That Girl.

A Darling Monster

Saturday, September 8th, 2012 11:00 pm
my_lost_mind: (hiding)
 This post is largely for myself, to make a list and throw a handful of coins into a wishing fountain...
First I want to tell a story that may or may not have ever happened.  If you ask my mother, it's truth.  However, I honestly don't remember this (and I remember a ton of weird random things from my childhood)
When I was a kid, walking through some shopping mall with mom and my siblings, mom handed me a few coins to toss into the mall fountain.
Back then, fountains were for "wishing", and if you tossed a coin or two into one you might just see your wish come true.
I tossed in the coin, and wished as hard as I could (most likely a wish to be pretty, popular, or to meet some favorite pro baseball player I had a crush on).   Mom asked me what I wished for.  According to her, my response was "I wished for all the money in the fountain".  
She claims that this is why I've never achieved wealth.
I disagree, because I don't recall a time in my childhood when I was ever obsessed with money.  Maybe it was my sister who wished that wish - she's the one who turned out to be financially successful (because she was not the lazy ass student slacker that I was)
What's to follow is sentimental romantic nonsense, throwing a few metaphorical coins into the cosmic fountain
I believe when I fall in love this time it will be forever.. (yes. I borrowed that from a Stevie Wonder song)
In the back of my mind I keep getting this feeling that someday I might actually get the relationship thing right.
To that end, I'll write down a list of qualities I would like to find in a potential mate, whenever he happens to show up in my life.
A smile that makes everyone around him feel comfortable because he's comfortable, happy in his own skin.  A warm and approachable persona, someone who wears his "geek" or "nerd" pride well, whether that nerdiness is from a love of books, history, music, science, cooking, science fiction, or art.  He's figured out who he is for the most part and is okay with it.  He's had his midlife crisis, sown his wild oats, and is now ready to deal with settling down in one form or another.
A love of learning.  

Someone who is passionate about something other than just professional sports or reality television.  

Don't get me wrong,  I enjoy watching football, hockey, and baseball but not to the point of obsession.  There are plenty of women who love sports to that level of obsession, but I'm just not that woman. I hate reality tv, there's just no free pass on that.  

Ideally this guy would be into something I find interesting, and that they would find some of the random crap that I'm into interesting.  It would be really fun to find someone who was a huge Star Trek fan, loves 20th century pop culture, classic muscle cars, cooking, politics, maybe into genealogy research or can name every album ever recorded by the band "Sparks" (and Sparks isn't even my favorite band, it's just something random and geeky).  

Again, doesn't really matter what it is - just be into something that is fuel for conversation.
A true love of conversation.  

Someone who enjoys real conversation, and not just what you would think women want to talk about.   I'm not one of those women who wants to sit around talking about "feelings".  In fact, I would probably start to get a bit squirmy if that's all he ever wanted to talk about.   I want to talk about random stuff,  current events, funny stories about our families, our life experience, stuff we're passionate about.  I just happen to enjoy talking with friends, and having someone that I can actually connect with on an intellectual level is the greatest turn-on I can think of.  

It would also be wonderful if my mate is into something I enjoy learning about.  See above ("love of learning")
Self-sufficient, both financially and psychologically.   Someone who manages to keep a roof over his head, food in the fridge, and can do a pretty good job of taking care of himself and keeping himself and where he lives in decent condition.   He's kicked whatever demons haunted him years ago and does not need a woman to look after him.   Someone who is not in a constant state of crisis or upheaval, has settled stuff with the ex wife, ex girlfriends, kids, etc.  

In other words, someone who is fairly drama-free and lives a rather ordinary life.  Profession isn't important, as long as what he does makes him reasonably happy.
Looks are not as important as how he carries himself, and the "vibe" he gives off.  I realize this is a really vague statement, but I've dated men who were 5'4" (ie. just a hair taller than me) and weighed less than me, and I've dated men who were almost a foot taller and more than 100 lbs. heavier.  I've dated men with hair longer than mine, guys with buzz cuts, and guys who would be bald by 35 (one of the guys I dated ages ago is still rockin his David Crosby style ponytail - gotta love it).  

What I notice first about a man is his eyes and his smile.  Does he look AT me or do his eyes dart around the room.   When he smiles, laughs, does it look like he's trying hard not to fart in public, or does he genuinely seem to be having a good time?    Does he look comfortable in what he's wearing and/or are his clothes at least clean and not full of holes?  I am not a fashion whore, but I'm tired of dating guys who cannot bear to throw out their favorite t-shirt with the beer slogan, riddled with stains and holes.  THAT shirt is for working on the car, building something in the garage, or hanging around the house on a Sunday afternoon, you don't wear that shirt when you're going out for dinner.   I will admit to having a weakness for men with blue eyes and at least some hair left.   He also has to be within 5-10 years of my age.   I'm really not going to be happy with a man approaching 60 unless he looks like Brian May (who is actually IN his 60s, yes I know).
Must be able to put up with an independent, passionate, stubborn, eccentric, slightly scatterbrained 46 year old woman who looks younger than her years, often dresses like she just stepped out of 1978, and carries 30 lbs. more on her petite frame than she should.  Someone who can deal with a little dog or cat hair on their clothing, isn't bothered by the fact that their female companion is mostly vegetarian, puffs away on an e-cigarette (gave up the cancer sticks years ago), and is a certified beer snob.  

My ideal mate also must be able to challenge me on occasion to think outside my own cranium, to help me pry my mind open when I am stubborn and stuck.  Someone who encourages me to be a better person (which means he's going to have to be one patient dude).
I clean up well, and know how to behave around suits, but I prefer not to (behave, that is).  Obviously, I'm not the type of woman for a man who is looking for arm candy, or a younger mate who can still produce offspring.  That bus left the depot years ago.
Chemistry is important, in fact it's critical.  However, in my strange little world, chemistry is one of those intangible things that just sort of happens.  Like spontaneous combustion, or the zombie apocalypse.  Sometimes people just explode.  Right, scatterbrained.  Got it.

Seriously, some of the most magical chemistry I've experienced in my life has happened under really ordinary circumstances.  I remember listening to the Love album "Forever Changes" for the first time, with the guy who introduced me to that album.  Listening to those amazing songs, with that guy, in his tiny basement apartment, looking at him looking at me, was brilliant.  I fell head over heels in love with him.   On a different day, different guy, I remember standing outside of a very ordinary neighborhood bar, at twilight, looking into the eyes of someone I had previously only seen as a "friend".  I noticed the flecks of gold in the blue of his eyes, staring at me as if I were made of light.  At that moment in time, I knew that something would happen between us (and it did, and it was wonderful while it lasted).  
Chemistry is random, but when it happens, when I feel that spark with someone, it's like being given a dose of the absolute best drug in the world.  The only catch is, you're Alice in Wonderland and are not quite sure if what you're taking is going to make you feel taller, smaller, or send you on some mad chase after a white rabbit only to wind up at a tea party with Johnny Depp in crazy makeup.   Sometimes you get lucky, and what you get with the dose of chemistry is a lovely gentle high that lifts your spirits and just makes you feel good.    Well, there's good sex as well.
I'm not looking for a husband to support me, a father figure, or a caretaker.  I don't need a man to buy me expensive gifts, pay for everything, or feel that he is anything more or less than equal to me.  What I do demand is honesty, kindness, and respect.   When I say "respect" I mean, respecting boundaries, respecting "no", respecting differences in opinion, remembering that even in a couple, there are 2 unique individuals who must be able to maintain some sense of themselves in order to preserve their sanity.
This brings up an interesting point, and it's something that brings out my inner cynical girl.
I'm wondering where, how, when I might actually meet a compatible companion without having to resort to one of those hideous online dating sites.   Do I really need to pay $45 a month to feel the same sort of rejection I can get for free by hanging out in a crowded hipster bar on a Saturday night?
I know that if I get too caught up in that whole crazy carnival of circuitous thought I'm just going to wind up feeling bitter and foolish.
Someday it will happen, I can feel it.  I believe it.  If there is one thing in this world that I still have faith in, aside from the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, is that love can and does happen to anyone.
Random, strange, beautiful, crazy love.  

This is my wish.

March 2013

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