Living Unscripted: Game Change: Adding ‘Play’ to a Date

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By Shaz

I had cupcakes with Paley’s “ex” (husband) to celebrate his birthday after bumping in to him at a cabaret. Poor ole “ex” wasn’t looking so good. Sobbing in his scotch over hurting the woman he’d been seeing for a long while, he bemoaned, “I’m not that kind of guy”. . . but as it turns out, he is that kind of guy. After months of eating only her cheesecake and massaging only her toes, he lusted for another and was caught making out with Lady #2 near where Lady #1 actually lives. Okay, so the fact that Lady #1 stood there watching for half an hour is scary, but he could have saved the public display of affection for some place other than Lady #1’s hood.

Our cupcake date was a couple of weeks later and despite his earlier achingly visible mea culpa at having destroyed her life, Lady #1 was definitely toast — and he was on to Ladies #3,4 and 5 (#2 dumped him when he told her how much money he was saving by cooking dinner, rather than taking her out).

He and I laughed at our foibles and agreed on how technically deficient we are relative to some of his much younger dates (who knew there’s an app for dating DNA on an iphone??). By the time he finished noshing (he ate, I salivated) I had a pocket full of good insight into the male perspective on mid-life dating, i.e.:

1. He can have sex any time he wants it — and he’s thoroughly enjoying the entertainment factor.
2. Women text him all the time. LONG texts. He keeps his responses short.
3. Women email him his horoscope — and theirs.
4. He now never dates the same woman more than five times unless he’s ready to commit (which he can’t imagine he ever will be), and
5. Women are Brazilian waxed you-know-where.

Ironic that the couple voted least likely to have had sex in the last 10 years a year ago, are out there now as singles, humping like hounds looking for the fox. Each of them works out regularly, eats healthy, smokes pot and leads an uber social life. What is it about marriage that squelches our inner hippie?

I get that we all like our independence and, after being locked up in a loveless marriage, howling at the moon can be fun. But you know that sooner or later you’ve got to get to the office, review the advertising buys and pay the bills. There’s no law against wearing short shorts or adding blonde highlights to your fall coif but unless all rings are off, the motivation isn’t there to spice up our down time.

And now that we’re out there, it’s looking like a free-for-all with men having the home court advantage. So many of us; so few of them . . . They play and we plot.

I disclosed recently, in a phone conversation with Bond, James, that “I don’t get mad, I get even,” suggesting he “file that” along with other fun facts about me he might want to be aware of — like how much I like grapefruit. It wasn’t long after that when he stood me up on a phone date for an in-home movie with FF’s best friend. He “forgot,” he texted too late, “be home soon, will call in 10.” I texted back “don’t cal.l” He texted back an hour later “is the coast clear for us to talk now?” I didn’t respond.

I wasn’t about to place a booty call but I know he thought I did (if anyone knows how to, clue me in please) and that was enough for him to get clarity. Despite a few one-way texts and emails over the next 24 hours, I didn’t budge until I was ready to talk — when I felt I could articulate what I was feeling without the hurt or the anger. We set aside phone time for the tête-à-tête and after a few minutes of yin-and-yang, we decided to keep it going (hey, 109 orgasms in four days, wouldn’t you? Just kidding! However my skin cleared up when I was in Tampa last time and it wasn’t from tanning). Non-exclusive still, but primary . . . give it a chance to grow — which he quickly reinforced by purchasing two sets of round-trip plane tickets to NYC a day later.

Relationships are challenging; long distance relationships have multiple triggers that can set off hideous mind games. But there are things we can do to help the good ones last longer (in addition to totally respecting each other, being honest and keeping the batteries charged on your Magic Wand).

Bond, James, and I devised “remote date night” once a week, taking advantage of the Internet and unlimited phone minutes:

1. One of us picks five movies off the Netflix “download now” page.
2. The other picks his/her top two from those five.
3. Whoever picked the first five, picks the movie we’ll see from the last two.

The first Tuesday was PANIC (from his five thrillers); the following week we watched FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (from my five romantic chick flicks). Phones on speaker, a glass of wine and dinner all set to micro . . . we chat first and then download the same movie at exactly the same time, keeping our phones within voice range so we can comment throughout.

(Extra fun: With our date set for 7 p.m., he texted at 6 p.m.: are we going casual tonight, or dressing up? My reply: dressing up . . . commando. His reply: Mmmmmmm.)

Mine is not the only incurably romantic mind plotting play dates: Paley sent her boy toy in Texas a “treasure chest” filled with massage oils, handcuffs, love coupons and a home-made “Executive Suite CD” (a compilation of her favorite songs to make love by) in lieu of a thank you card after he hosted her reawakening last spring . . . Karen sets up late night dinner picnics in the living room with candles, gussied up in her disco skirt and highest heels. Tool Man bought a plastic kiddy pool for Karen’s terrace and invited her to a private “Pool Party,” serving margaritas in his bathing suit . . . (We got the i-Phone snaps). When Emma’s guy is in town, they get up in the middle of the night and head out to a nearby park with a couple of beers. He apparently makes her coffee every morning dancing a strip tease as he delivers the brew.

We’re all trying not give up on these new relationships too quickly while we figure out when to push forward and when to push back (our frisky encourages their frisky). And as we navigate around the potholes in our lives, it honestly doesn’t matter whether it’s the guys or us behind the wheel with one foot on the gas and the other ready to break, there’s always something to see out the window, especially when you’re sitting in the front seat. We’re all going somewhere; we just don’t know where . . . yet.

NOTE TO SELF: pack snacks and ditch the GPS

About Shaz

I’m 59 and never expected to be divorced and, having raised a big family in the city I grew up in, to be still living there now completely on my own. My parents are gone and my grown children have opted for smaller towns. My father passed away this past February and my children suggested I take off and make a world tour of all my friends overseas…In piecing that together in my mind, I imagined taking a boat across, as I did the first time I went to Europe with my grandmother, as a teenager – and in that vision, I imagined taking those first five days and writing. Writing about where I’d been, writing about what I want, writing about the crossing over from my past to my future.

In reestablishing myself as a single woman, I’ve made new connections with some fabulous women and realized I’m not the only one going through this; there are other women out there who are also on a journey to becoming whole again. I hope my personal adventure will help us all find humor in the aging process –and confidence in following our hearts.