Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Thought I'd Be More of a Slut

Here I am, a widow - three months short of three years and still no bedroom frolics. Are you surprised? No one is more shocked than I am. I though I'd be more of a slut.

Even when I was married and heard about women divorced or widowed waiting years for "the one" I hissed to myself...LOSER! Often I accompanied that with a mature gesture - my thumb and pointer making an L on my forehead.

Now I do it to myself in the mirror...the gesture, I mean.

It's not like I haven't had opportunities - remember 23 year old Hector? And, there have been others a bit older than him, (well, it's almost impossible by law to be younger) but still appealing enough to break the ice with, so to speak.

I never let it happen. Why? Why? and to show off my French "Pourquoi?" Well, one man was married...and I cooled learning this - after all I am Dr. Friendship and "the sisterhood" is all important. It certainly showed a lack of character on his part although, to be fair, his wife didn't "get him" - the poor boy...

Without the help of my ex-bereavement shrink, Gene, who would probably shrug and say,
"How am I supposed to know?" I realized that once I have sex with someone it breaks off my last bit of being married to Jimmy.

But, this realization came a month ago. In the meantime, something shifted. I'm very in tune to these shifts because they occur regularly in surprising moments of "Wait a minute...I don't need to hold onto his clothes anymore" or "It's not really relevant what Jimmy would have done...what should I do?"

So, here I am - having another "Wait a minute moment - I think I can be with another man and
not feel that disconnect with Jimmy...or I can feel it and it's time...

Applicants may apply.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Death vrs Divorce - The Final Verdict?

Many divorced people read this blog and say they can relate to it because after all,

"Divorce is just like a death."

This comment comes from my enthusiastic readers and I may be shooting myself in the foot (not literally) to quibble, but I must address it.

On the eve of the most profound and historic presidential inauguration in our country's lifetime I am struck with the reality that Jimmy is not alive to be aware of this monumental election.

Long sentence - simple thought. Basically, divorced people may not live in the same house with each other anymore but they continue to exist in the same world. Different TV's still report the same news. Same - same - same.

Unless Jimmy has been peeking over my shoulder while I read the newspaper he would not know the name Bernie Madoff. A bail out to him would mean a flood in the basement and even if word snuck up to heaven that a black man was our 44Th president - he'd assume it was Colin Powell.

Interviews with passengers of the Hudson River airplane accident revealed that instead of panic
everyone aboard was calm and helpful. Jimmy always said that under those circumstances people don't freak out...they chill. Well, if we were divorced you can bet that I would have gotten an "I told you so!" phone call from him.

No need to list all the personal changes in my friend's and family's life in the less than 3 years since Jimmy's been gone, but he and I can't share a burden or celebrate a milestone - even separately.

Please don't translate this as whining. The "not existing" part is just something I continue to have trouble with. Possibly, in a different way, yet just as painful would be fighting over who gets the end tables.

I can't imagine watching my husband grow the mustache I always nagged him to as he made himself marketable for other women. How would I deal with seeing his profile on match.com?

The friends who rally around me if given a choice would possibly choose Jimmy. Widows never have to face the fact that they may be the broken link in the circle of friends.

I have no clue what it feels like to be divorced. I used to tell Jimmy that if we were ever divorced and remarried to other people we could still have sex with each other. Our respective spouses should understand...we'll always belong to each other.

His comment was something like, "What are you nuts?"

He had a better handle on how bitter and angry and fed up he'd be with me if we were divorced. That always troubled me a bit. Anyway, it was nice to know he had more respect for his fictitious new wife than I did for my made up new husband.

I'm not sure if I proved that divorce and death are very different feelings. I may have. Lemme know. Perhaps, someone like Elizabeth Taylor is the one to ask. She divorced Richard Burton, then married him again and then he died...or were they divorced when he died? hmmmm?

All I know is divorce may be worse because I know plenty of divorced people who wish their spouse was dead. Actually, I know some married ones, too...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Last night I laughed all night long. Should someone dial 911? Have I flipped? Nope, not yet, anyway...I had dinner with Kathleen, a relatively new friend I met at a writer's conference exactly a year after Jimmy died. She, too is writing a memoir.

We get together every so often (what exactly does that mean?) All right, a few times a year. Anyway, not to give away her age she was single for many years and now she's married for a few.

Much of her memoir is about her dating years. Now that I've entered that arena our conversation naturally moved in that direction - before we took our coats off.

"So?" Kathleen said. Then she sat and waited.

These days many don't bother with "Hello" - They launch right into "So?"

Obviously, the translation of "So?" is: "How's the dating going for you? Met anyone special? If not, lemme hear the crazy stories."

We both had lots to say about specific men we met on dating sites. But, without any alcohol consummed (impressed?) we pinpointed the inherent flaw of internet dating.

The Kathleen and Carol A-Ha Moment

Simply put...it's unnatural. No slow unravelling of ourselves to another. Our past, present and hopes for the future are either generically checked for all to see or there's a tiny space to write "favorite foods" - God forbid we have no room to write Italian - someone might say,

"She doesn't like Baked Ziti? What's wrong with her? Next..."

Internet dating misses the sensual air of mystery when we eye someone attractive at a party across a crowded room or notice a good looking guard as we empty our pockets for him when we visit our Mom in prison.

We read a man's profile. We see that he has x number of children, he's divorced, or never married, widowed...etc...Everyone is "Very Active" and since most people are blah it's amazing that all are consumed with so many hobbies.

He ski's - that old man? (Liar!) We discover he's either grateful for his Upper West Side condo or his kids. True or not the wise man chooses "kids"

We get a overflowing capsule of the man - not to mention photos of him dancing at his daughter's wedding to show himself off in a tux AND pose as Daddy to Daddy's little girl...smart move, Mister.

The next shot is him on a boat (we're supposed to assume is his) holding high the stupid goldfish he caught.

So, we know all this information about someone and now we meet him or talk on the phone. Kathleen and I had very different takes on how to converse normally to this sorta kinda unfamiliar potential "friend."

"So often I met someone for the first time and I had all this information about him in my head, but I had to pretend I didn't know he was a Virgo." Kathleen said.

"Oh, I said, "I panic thinking I should know all this or he'll think I didn't care enough to read his profile carefully. Sometimes I print it out and refer to it..." "Oh yes, John," I say, "I remember you wrote you love peaches."

"How does that work in person?" Kathleen laughs. "Do you bring notes?"

So, we laughed a lot. But, as I mentioned, Kathleen and I are fairly new friends. Gradually, we've gotten to know each other revealing here and there. And, that's why our friendship will stick. It's a natural getting to know you process.

Good thing we didn't meet on line.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tony & Me

The snow is piling up. It's Saturday night. Must be a mad house for the movies...the ones who are brave enough to venture out.

Me? Well, I have my dog, Tony. True, Saturday night is not what it used to be. Friends are coupled off doing what they do...and I remember how it used to be.

I never used to eat alone and finish a bottle of Cabernet - the same one I started last night. I had a little head cold and it didn't taste right...but tonight - it's good and I drank the rest. The buzz made me talk out loud as I watched the snow fall from my front window. I held my Tony in my arms. He listened intently. He licked my face. He's the perfect man.

I remember how Mimi Scott, my partner in Manhattan Playwrights, Inc. insisted she hold the weekly meetings on Sunday. Our group met for 2 hours and I drove from Merrick, Long Island an hour each way to her apartment on the Upper West Side. I complained.

"Why Sunday? It's a family day."

She is 10 years older than me. She's a widow. She told me that Sunday is the loneliest day of the week. I understand now. Saturday night is no picnic, either.

I'm sorry, Mims...

Happily, Tony loves the snow. I put his little coat on and hooked his leash...He sneezed a few times. He sneezes when he's excited. I slipped on my snow boots and took my keys and my phone (in case I fell and hit my head and needed to let someone know I'm laying right on my block unable to move because I finished that bottle of Cabernet.)

Off we went - down the steps and free to romp in that white stuff still lightly adding to the one inch of accumulation. (some snowstorm) I put my hood up. That told me I'm not too drunk to NOT care about my hair. To not care about my hair...I'd have to be unconscious.

We ran. We lifted our leg...well, Tony lifted his leg. He did a number 2 and I covered it with snow. Am I a rebel? Jimmy hated the snow, the cold and so often said,

"Why are we living in a refrigerator?"

I was so grateful that Tony loves the snow. I told Jimmy.

" It's invigorating. The cold, the weather you can see...it makes you feel alive! What do you know about staying alive?"

No answer. Never an answer. I wiped off Tony's paws with a dry towel and we kinda sorta smiled at each other.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What a Charmer!

Granted, I haven't been out in the world for very long as a single woman, but I have been out in the world period. When Gene, my ex-bereavement shrink told me:

"Now, Carol, when you begin dating you will be emotionally at the age you were before
you were married."

I knew then that SHE needed a shrink. Come on. I was 15 when Jimmy and I met. I know I'm a bit on the immature side (I like to think "Playful") but 15?

Even with my limited dating experience I know I'm emotionally right on track for my age - which TODAY is exactly 58 and a half. Please, no cards or letters for my half birthday...

Yesterday I called a man from the dating site plenty of fish (good name, isn't it?) and our conversation PROVED to me that I am far more mature than 15.

He is a widower for almost 2 years and he's 54 years old. I printed out his profile and had it in front of me to give him the phony impression that I cared enough to remember his "fun facts."
Somehow, though, reading it I reversed his age and his height. I thought he was 57 years old and 5'4" tall. (or in this case 'short')

In my mind I was telling myself "Oh, my God - I'm talking to a midget. I like short men, but I don't want to be able to balance a drink on his head."

He was extremely chatty so he didn't notice I wasn't contributing a fake interest, like "Oh, really? I, too, need coffee in the morning to wake up. We have so much in common!"

When I realized that he wasn't a midget I told him my mistake and he didn't laugh. Could this be a RED flag? Oh, dear - or worse...maybe I AM immature! So what? Jimmy would have giggled...the big baby.

Anyway, he told me he had a "soft spot" (Viagra should cure that) for widows because he is a widower himself. However, he went on to tell me about all the "crazy widows" he's met (good empathy) and one he called a "disgruntled widow."

This woman's husband left her for another woman and then about a year later he died. We both wondered if that counted. Technically, I suppose it does although if Jimmy had left me for someone else we would have been divorced before the year was up.

And, here is the compliment that makes me believe that I am not as immature as Gene says I am. This man, with relief in his voice announced "You sound like a normal person."

There you have it. It's best we don't meet. He may change his mind.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Profile This!

On my profile page for dating services I had to choose...

1. dating

2. long term relationship

3. marriage

4. marriage and children

Children would be a miracle so that ruled out number 4. Looking for "marriage" sounds like I ought to present a resume. I'd be forced to divulge: Are my teeth all my own? Do I have mood swings? If so, are they controlled by medication?

Must I hand over a notorized letter of recommendation from my past employer? Wait, that would be my husband. Fortunately, he's unable to challenge the high marks I give myself in the only real category that counts - sex. Let's face it, all else is forgiven if your bedroom score is a ten.

I considered checking "long term relationship" but I don't want to be exclusive right out of the gate. I need to figure out who I am as a single woman and how it feels to be part of a couple again. Do I even know who would fit?

So, I circled "dating," But, what is dating? ... a chance to practice flirting - is batting your eyes still popular or will he think I have a twitch? Do I offer to split the bill with him?... an empty gesture and a deal breaker if he says yes.

I'm not the type to take long walks on the beach. Must I confess this? It's Winter. Hot tubs are noisy and overrated... it's like sitting in a huge toilet that's constantly flushing. I don't ski, play golf or like to go over 30 mph in a convertible.

I'm quite a catch. Call me.