I LOVE THIS POST! She sounds a bit like a coach 😉
Last night I heard the story of how my aunt Lina cut her hair.
It was 1981. She had had two children. She had lost all the weight and was as fit as could be. Had the look of shining health I imagine – even today she is the picture of a healthy life albeit with a cigarette. She walked into the salon one day and said cut it off! It was GORGEOUS she says. I was HOT!
She was telling me how she wore a pair of those sexy jeans that had a zipper at the bottom and a lacy top the day she met Mick Jagger. Her hair freshly cut. That was the first tour she went on. They became fast friends for life. She tells me that rock’n’roll keeps her young. But if you sleep with anyone they never invite you back. She’s glad she never crossed that line. Sometimes frigid is a good thing.
It’s a beautiful thing, a haircut. The best thing in the world to transition from one stage of life to the other.
Another thing she told me is that as a Scorpio I am a woman of power. The seat of our power is in the genitals… therefore scorpios make great prostitutes (and here I choked because I thought she was gonna say lovers!) but she discourages that direction. I am told that I will re-invent myself every few years (as I have been known to do to date). I have the nature of the phoenix – rising out of ashes as good as new with the power to do great things and soar above it all. She switched from astrology to numerology and made my head spin but there it was, the number 8. Near the number of God (didn’t know before that God had a number). But my allergy to numbers prevailed and the details left my brain as soon as it touched down.
At the end of it all I looked at her hair and I looked at mine and decided, there are worse things than being a woman alone. We could do worse!
Hollywood screwed up. I came out of the movie theater startled by the new fresh look on love and possibilities but as the lights faded in my memory and my brain reengaged all cylinders I began to realize how crazy and stupid Crazy Stupid Love is.
If you haven’t seen it and don’t want me to spoil it please stop reading here. Because I will spoil it. It needs to be spoiled.
It is a story of a middle-aged couple bored with their marriage – something I wouldn’t begin to understand – and a Man Whore that frequents a city lounge (meat market) picking up girls. Wife has an affair (I’m sure Ashley Maddison made a killing off this movie) and the Husband leaves, heartbroken that his wife would find him so boring and drinks for days at the meat market. He is badly dressed and embarrassing himself. When he drinks he rages on and on about the guy who seduced her away. Man Whore meanwhile is busy practicing his art. Early in the movie a pretty girl rejects him rudely and walks out annoyed at his advances but at this stage when Husband is drinking his sorrows away Man Whore is on his A game. Every night a new girl, some nights more than one. Annoyed at hearing the sob story across the bar, Man Whore decides to induct Husband into the Man Whore club. He dresses him up, gets him out there, and turns Husband into a fully practicing Man Whore. Yes ladies, it’s contagious.
The movie has other bits to it. Seems like everyone but the dog has an unrequited love. Long story short, Husband no longer bores Wife when she finds out about his new womanizing ways and they get back together. Pretty Girl who rejected Man Whore at the beginning turns out to be the eldest child of Husband and Wife (this town is too bloody small). She brings home Man Whore as her new-found boyfriend and love of her life. Turns out she saw through all his crap and he was so impressed by her wit that he decided to give up his whoring ways for this beauty with a brain.
What woman is there alive that can tame a Man Whore? Not one. The only woman who has any influence over his ways is his mother and by the time he becomes a Man Whore she has already spoiled him beyond repair, helped him become what he is, stroked his vanity and damaged his view of women. She cannot cure him and the time for prevention is past.
Only a Man Whore can truly cure a Man Whore. With a nudge from God or extreme circumstances like tragedy or illness. It’s like a bad addiction – you have to know it’s a problem, want to change it, take the steps you know to change it and seek help if it is beyond you. For a Man Whore it ends at step 1 – do Man Whores really think they have a problem? They get all the attention strutting around bright and gaudy like peacocks and see how much more action – no matter how meaningless – they get over the good guy. Most cultures teach them that their whoring ways are a sign of manhood. And what man doesn’t want a full helping of that?
There are examples in the smallest of communities and the largest of cities, some never told and others on the evening news, of attempts to cure a Man Whore gone bad. Politicians’ and athletes’ wives stand humiliated as he confesses to four full-blown affairs and twelve hookers, usually the tip of the iceberg. Behind her practiced game face I can just hear her screaming at herself “All this after I worked so hard to tame him”.
Honey it was never your job.
Hollywood should fix this. Can we please see some more movies where the nice man gets the girl? The one with a job, with no crazy ex-wife or children, who no longer lives at home with his mother, and who is waiting for this girl and only this girl to have crazy stupid love with him?
And believe me, they are out there. Not in the meat market but in the grocery store, the book club, the church, the charity organizations, education, sports. They are out there doing things, not just taking things. If Hollywood lights came off the peacock every once in a while I’m sure many more of us would know our eagle when we see him.
Finally ladies. One thought for you. A peacock is earth-bound. It is the eagle that flies.
Good girls know they will not find the man of their dreams in a club. And so they bring home their nightmares. No matter what their mama teaches them or their daddy warns them away from on pain of death, at some point in their single-and-seeking days they find themselves under the flashing lights dancing dirty on the drink splattered floor of the Meat Market.
This girl was no exception. There were nights I came home flush faced and seventeen with echoes of shouted sweet nothings replaying in my head. And then there was the night I met, after several years, the love of my
highschool life and brought him home a few days later to meet my mom. He was beautiful and troubled and I was determined to save his life. A year later we were tired and bruised and parted with sweet sorrow over differences we both wished we could overcome. Differences we wished we had been able to communicate over the noise of the club. And that was one of the happy endings.
There are girls in my generation who went home pregnant on one of those nights. Others still went home black-eyed and battered. But every single one of us came home on at least one night with a broken heart.
Last night we revisited some of the local meat markets. They all looked the same as I window shopped with no intention of buying. Two friends of mine turned 30 and because of this the crowd was more mature than usual – none of us are frequent visitors anymore. Looking out from the safety of their company I struggled with a mix of sadness, relief and the memory of my young bashful self. As it has been for years, the place is filled wall to wall with beautiful bodies just bursting out of their teens and single men of a certain age who no one in their generation have deemed fit to take home and domesticate. The two levels rock with insecurity and awkwardness not yet rubbed off the newly minted adulthood and predatory lust lurking behind still, practiced eyes. In market terms, there is the healthy red gleam of fresh clean cuts intermingled with the greying edges of reeking old meat gone bad.
It made me glad to get old! To no longer be unwitting prey. To be over the battle of accepting who I am. Yes, I am in a battle with a body that needs to fit into a Trinidad Carnival costume by next February, but I have won the war with loving myself.
I came away excited to be off the market – top shelf and not for sale. My night is not defined by a gaze held across a pulsing room. The life I lead does not follow the path of the frustrated from date to date seeking personal purpose in a meaningful relationship.
Another thing I came upon was a strong desire to quit drinking. Why numb senses that are designed to enjoy music and disciplined enough to avoid harmful encounters? I am so much fun and so very brave without it! My budget would look great and so would my body. I am going to work on that… perhaps a new resolution. After the wedding party tonight. Another trip to window shop in the Meat Market.
try tosleep with your ex boyfriend. Your boyfriend. Your cousin. Your brother.
- They cannot make a single decision by themselves. They will call six girlfriends and the man they are sleeping with to find out what to wear. They will call ten girlfriends to find out whether to date such and such a guy. They will call 15 girlfriends to determine what the “He” of the moment meant when he said “xyz”. And then they go ahead and do the opposite of what they have been advised by the panel.
- They enjoy being the victim. In order to maintain victim status they get into bad situations that they know are bad situations (because all 15 friends in point 2 above have TOLD them they are bad situations) and then cry about it later. Bring on the violin.
- They bore you to tears for ten years about the mistake they made in point 3, usually dating someone who they knew was going to treat them badly and then proceeded to treat them badly (surprise surprise – string quartet). All at the same time as sneaking behind your back and sleeping with your ex boyfriend. Your boyfriend. Your cousin. Or your brother.
- They get jealous of the friendships you have with other people. Other women. Particularly good-looking ones. Men. Particularly (but not limited to) good-looking ones.
- They insult you in front of others to make themselves look stronger/better/prettier.
- They gossip. Usually in the form of “can I trust you with this?” or “can you keep a secret?”
- They are always in competition with someone. Mostly you. To the point of embarrassment.
- They comfort you when you have been hurt by your ex boyfriend or boyfriend (or cousin or brother), let you vent, agree on what an asshole he is and then go home and call him up to “comfort” him too.
- When confronted with their weakness the only response they’ve got is tears.
Cry me a river.
I’ve travelled the world
And learned what I could
I’ve been more adventurous
Than they said I should
But if on one morning
I find myself dead
I’m sincerely hoping
It’s in my own bed.
Love has come and gone
And left me all shook
My own fragile peace
I have often forsook
And learned the hard way
There’s much to be said
For the sweet solitude
Found in my own bed.
Still though I roam
Seeking all earthly good
Venturing far from
My own neighbourhood
Betrayals lay waiting
Down paths I’ve been led
Leaving me deeply longing
For my own gentle bed
So I’ll let myself be
Wined and then dined
And choose for my company
Life’s best refined
But when time winds down
To rest weary head
You best be believing
It’s in my own bed
Vodka makes you pregnant
Bile makes you wise
But the truth of the moment
Lies hid from one’s eyes
Fight hard dear one against
Games played with your head
And escape from all danger
To your sensible bed
Pick sense from nonsense
And do not be fooled
For the bed of another
Is only a tool
Employed by the best
Who will see your soul dead
You’d best be retreating
To your own honest bed
There you’ll find a dear sister
In sweet solitude
And her gentle companion
A charmed interlude
That lures a dear lover
With words yet unsaid
And a heart that finds passion
And home in your bed
In my own bed
Overlooking the sea
I’ll rest in the peace
Of me doing me
And no matter the poison
Whether thought, done or said
I’ll sleep easy knowing
I’m in my own bed.
This morning I have to take my hat off to a brilliant piece of art, a brilliant thread of thought, and a brilliant delivery.
This week I came across an article that had me hissing and spitting before I’d even made it to the end. It was Why You’re Not Married by Tracy McMillan (please read). And she had steam shooting through my ears. In the article Ms. McMillan has taken the single and yearning woman by the ear and explained her to herself. In neatly cutting points she has told this woman “You’re a bitch. You’re shallow. You’re a slut. You’re a liar. You’re selfish. And You’re not good enough”. She took no prisoners and allowed for no arguments and pissed me off.
As a lady should, I took a few days to cool down and decided to pick the piece apart. I gave it to a male friend of mine who laughed the whole way through saying “oh my goooodnesss this is so truuue!” here and there. Then I had a very balanced girlfriend of mine read it through and she, after a little while, saw some value in the piece.
I still don’t like it. McMillan is accusing and absolutist and belittles the demographic she is attempting to help. I mean, how would YOU feel if someone called you a selfish, slutty, lying, shallow bitch who isn’t good enough? And, by the way, if you aren’t married and you someday want to be, you aren’t just one of these horrors. No you must be all of them. So no. Cooling down didn’t help much. And her personal qualifications (three divorces neatly packed into one paragraph) impress me none at all.
But. There are points I would have to say make sense and would be instructive from another angle. Not just to a woman seeking marriage but a woman looking for fulfillment and growth. And so, let me re-phrase for the benefit of those who might want to pick sense from nonsense.
Picking Sense from Nonsense
1. You’re Angry. (as opposed to “You’re a Bitch”)
So yes. Anger scares people. It isn’t just that female anger scares men. All anger scares people. Period. Anger affects every human relationship – it is hurtful to parents, damaging to children, ends friendships and tears apart homes.
But what I don’t see in this article is where it comes from and how to fix it. In fact, many an angry woman will see this article as a call to faking it. After all “most men just want to marry someone who is nice to them”. McMillan is essentially saying “be nice” not “stop being angry”.
At the risk of sounding like another horror (selfish) my advice to women who are angry would be “learn how to deal with your anger” or “practice forgiveness” or “take a yoga class”. Otherwise, you fake it. And if you fake it to
trap catch a husband you really haven’t gotten rid of it have you? It can still scare him later. Into the arms of lawyers and the “D” word. And if it happens more than once you might end up like the lady herself with three divorces in the rearview mirror.
So ladies, let’s clean the house before we invite anyone in. Take a year, start a blog, cut your hair, let’s practice being joyful and contented where we are. Because marriage is no cure for anger.
2. You don’t want to be bored (as opposed to “You’re Shallow”)
Now let’s be honest, women get tempted to cheat too. Not all of us do (I for one don’t). But we do get bored. We feel trapped. Hubby goes to fat and doesn’t make the earth move like he used to. Is it really shallow to try to head some of that off with a few shallow requirements on your checklist?
Yes. I agree that character comes first. But wanting someone with enough body weight to lift me to the kitchen counter isn’t always shallow. Its practical. What if I fall down or have an accident or something?
If he has no brawn but is brimming with character I’m afraid it won’t be enough to keep me in his bed for life. So the muscle requirements stay. Therefore ladies, in picking sense from nonsense, let’s not volunteer for a life of boredom without the occasional earthquake.
3. The Oxytocin factor (as opposed to “You’re a Slut”)
Sure. Now this one I understand! You meet a guy who checks off your “shallow” requirements (see #2 above) and you jump into the steam without checking the rest of the list. Oxytocin (aka cupid, or the devil) kicks in and bonds you like a man-eating vine.
Does it make you a slut? I don’t think so, Love. Let’s look at this again. This article was written for the woman who is single but very badly wants to be married. If marriage is what you’re after then that list is very very important. The shallow stuff you find out in an instant. The stuff that moves from a moment passion to a lifetime of compassion is found in the rest of the list. The things that can’t be rushed.
Let’s be frank about the jungle that today’s single woman is expected to survive in and find a match. There are predators out there who are in constant pursuit of access to a woman’s body. They scheme about it, discuss it with their boys, write blogs on it, all in search of the V and closing the deal. That is one side of the market.
On the other side is the millions of women in the world guarding their Virtue (ahem) who spend their time, their conversations and their blogs on trying to tie the knot and closing a whole other kind of deal.
Both sides have their goal – to close the deal. The problem is when both sides meet and they confuse their deal with that of the other. And so many a woman will find herself in the rooftop hot tub with no ring on, in much the same way as many a man will find himself rushed and buffed at the altar with no idea how he got there.
The solution? Be mindful of the Representative. Women keep in mind that the first few months of knowing a man is you getting to know his Representative – the guy he shines up and shows in public in the hopes that you will be convinced enough in his value to let him close his deal. Three months or so in, without letting him close the deal, you’ll either see cracks, he would have disappeared, or you will find that maybe you are actually looking at the same deal after all.
So STAY AWAY FROM THE OXYTOCIN!
4. You are dishonest with yourself (as opposed to “You’re a Liar”)
Unfortunately I have to agree with almost every word McMillan says here. Women, in their fear of “scaring him away” will close his deal at the sacrifice of her own. Girl, some men NEED to be scared away. Just… just drop the oxytocin and walk away.
There is nothing wrong with wanting what you want and being honest about it. The first step toward it is to be honest about it and accept it within yourself. That will translate to you accepting nothing less from a man than what you want. And you will be much better at picking sense from nonsense.
5. You are focused on you (as opposed to “You’re Selfish”)
At this point I completely abandon McMillan. To be single and focused on self-improvement is not to be selfish. When the time comes to give all of your life for someone else it would be better for those children and that husband to have a woman who has built for herself a foundation of selfhood. To be their partner and to be their example. There are seasons in life when it is healthy to be focused on one’s self. Seasons of healing, seasons of working towards specific goals, seasons of anger. What man wants to come into the life of a woman singularly focused on snaring him? Certainly not a man of substance nor of character. She needs to not need anyone to be her, to be complete. He is going to want the freedom to be him without having to complete her. He is likely to fit more smoothly into the life of someone with her own girlfriends, her own place, who buys her own clothes and sets her own goals.
Do you darlin’. If he finds you doing you and likes it he will find a way to fit into to your life as you fit yourself into his.
6. Low self-esteem (as opposed to “You’re Not Good Enough”)
Looking for someone to better you is not what marriage is about – I would have to agree here. But how many people actually do that? Isn’t it far more common to find the smart girl with the deadbeat boyfriend? Much more frequently you will see women go for guys who look up to them, or live off them, or disrespect them while living off them. Guys who are several steps behind them in the development of the brain. And the bank account. And the social graces.
But this is also a symptom of the “I’m not good enough” disease. It extends to “no one on my level will want me” or to the impatience of “there are so few guys let me grab the first one that flirts”.
“Mejor sola que mal acompañada. ” That’s my answer to that. Better alone than poorly accompanied. Some women fear the bliss of solitude. They fear that they might like it too much and get stuck in it. They fear that holding out too long will leave them forever alone. My advice – face your fears! When you have found fulfillment in yourself the pressure is off. You won’t WANT to give up your freedom for someone who isn’t worth your time! Your power to pick sense from nonsense will develop and seal you in a place of strength. Real strength. Not powered by anger.
There are millions of amazing, talented, giving, generous, dignified, honest single women out there. Most of them want, at some point, to be married. If Ms. McMillan was honest with us she would have defied her own theory with many examples in her acquaintance – as we will all have – of women who are angry, slutty, shallow, lying bitches who are… you guessed it!… MARRIED.