Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dating for Dummies, I mean Widows

     My mother-in-law, Fanny used to say, “It’s a couple’s world. I feel like a fifth wheel.” The first year I was widowed each time I was seated with couples in a restaurant I was convinced that the waiters winced in pity when they took my order. The husbands always split the bill which I accepted without arguing knowing that Jimmy would never let a woman alone pay.

     Gradually I became more comfortable being the only single and less comfortable not contributing my share. I was waking up from the delusion that being a widow was just a phase. If I was going to continue my life husbandless I needed to be counted as a whole and not a half.

     This is when I began dating. I dated because I didn’t have to. I was okay on my own. We tell our kids that a relationship flourishes when two fully formed, emotionally healthy grown-ups meet. We may not phrase it quite that way. More likely we say: “All this you complete me stuff is crap and you’re my better half is more stupid than sweet.”

     At first I dabble dated and babbled to Jimmy continually in my head as I tried not to twitch if my date announced that, “My wife was a dud in bed” or “That bitch was always up my ass about something.”

     I had half a dozen dates and four of them called to see me again. I told them, “It’s not you. It’s me. I’m not ready.” Of course it was them. Who’s going to argue my readiness?

     Most widows I’ve talked with either don’t date or are obsessed with finding a new husband. I found myself somewhere in between. I liked the excitement of not knowing how the evening would go. Would there be chemistry? A photo can’t measure that. A sexy, raspy phone voice can turn out to be a sore throat from yelling at the game.

     I wanted to practice flirting. My goal was to learn to be seductive, a skill I never needed before.

     I met M at almost the three year mark. We clicked. We laugh and enjoy each other every time we’re together. We became “exclusive”. Now he has a drawer in my house. He also has six inches (of closet space). I’ve heard that’s a big step. Friends snicker.

   The driving force for many widows to date is their need for physical contact, not necessarily sex. Once the emotional connection feels right, though, most of us smoothly transition.

Friday, January 22, 2010


     For the last few weeks I've been thinking about how we're wired to expect and to count on all things staying the same.  This is crazy when the only real constant in our lives is change (not pocket change).
     The holidays are over but it's never more evident than when we're asked "What do you do on Christmas Eve?"  Not, what are you doing THIS Christmas Eve?
     A line in the song Have Yourself A Very Merry Christmas is:
Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow. What if the fates don’t allow? Ouch!
     Most of us fear change and are comforted to know “Every
Thanksgiving we go to Aunt Peggy’s and Uncle Tommy’s. Uncle Tommy is the only one who likes pumpkin pie, but we bring it, anyway. It’s tradition.”
     Suppose that Uncle Tommy dies? We’d panic. There’d be lots of
confusion and questions among the Thanksgiving goers. Should we ask Aunt Peggy if she’s going to host it alone or just wait to see if she says something?
     Maybe one of us ought to take over, at least, for this year. Should we still have Pumpkin pie?
     Holidays are all about traditions and these traditions last only as long as life stays the same. Damn. As many have said, death is inconvenient. The dead guy is gone, and he’s not making any more plans, but we’re left to re-arrange our plans...forever.
     But, new traditions begin for happy reasons, too. Babies are born,
children get married and friends move closer. Maybe Uncle Tommy left Aunt Peggy a fortune and now our Thanksgivings are an all expense paid for vacation in the Bahamas.
     In a nutshell, we’ve got to readily adapt new ways and even oddball occasions to celebrate. Our goal ought to be that someday we’ll look back to these days as the good old days.
     It's possible...and it can only be possible if we keep telling ourselves that it is. 

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Old Stuff/New Stuff

I've spent all morning waiting for the garbage truck.  Yesterday I cleaned house - literally.  I threw away old stuff to make room for new stuff.

It felt great, not sad, to toss boxes originally from Jimmy's office filled with letterhead and envelopes and correspondance from 2002.  A year ago I would have kept them because there were a few notations here and there in his handwriting.

I got rid of two framed prints that we bought three houses ago in Fortunoffs. I miss Fortunoffs.  Now where can I go to buy the new stuff?  

Those prints are hanging on the wall behind us in family photos. Our family is broken and the broken frames are sitting on the curb.  I guess I should be grateful that we're not sitting on the curb.

Tony barked when the garbage picker guy came by at 8 AM. Even he took a pass on the Mama Zebra nuzzling baby Zebra print.  I figured maybe it clashed with his color scheme, but then I realized...black & white.  Should I question Jimmys' and my taste?

An hour ago I called the Sanitation Department to check if the pick up schedule was the same...he said it was but it was slow because it was a heavy day.  I told him I, too, was feeling a bit bloated.  The guy didn't laugh.  He hung up.  

After the holidays lots of curbs are overloaded, I guess.  January brings old treasures newly classified as junk.  Lives evolve and so do we.  

My number one resolution for 2010 is to continue to clean out the cobwebs while I hold on to the memories.

P.S. The garbage truck just came. 
      Just in time for me to run out and give the men
      a few sheckles and make my one 'clock hair appointment. 
      Life is good.  Happy New Year, my friends...