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Dear Susan Patton: Take Your Advice and Shove It!

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Susan, I know you really think you’re helping out young women by encouraging them to nab an eligible bachelor while they’re still in college.  Interestingly though the divorce rate is much higher for women who marry for the first time under the age 25.  If women actually take your advice they might pick what you think is a brilliant mate, but if they marry him before age 25, they’ll battle the same genius in divorce court later.

Here are your eight reasons why women in New York City can’t get a husband.  I know this article was published back in March, but a friend just sent me the link and I felt compelled to respond.  I left my husband nearly five years ago, and haven’t had a serious long-term relationship since.  You claim to know WHY women like myself are still single, so I’m going to answer each one of your reasons with my own personal experience.

1. We drink too much – I actually don’t drink alcohol often, and do absolutely no drugs.  I’m a vegetarian and you would probably encourage me to seem less complicated and start eating meat.  Well that’s not going to happen.

2. We spend too much time on iphones and other electronic devices – My ipod has been broken for the past several months.  I miss it.  The earbuds drowned out the constant cat calls.  I live in a less gentrified area of Brooklyn, and it never stops.  Am I supposed to stop and engage an intoxicated gentlemen the next time he makes a comment about my ass?  Maybe that’s why I’m not meeting Mr. Right!

3. We wear too much black – Of course that’s it.  Black makes us look like witches and men hate witches.  I know Angelina Jolie gets no attention and she wears black all the time.  She even plays a witch in Maleficent and everyone knows, men can’t stand the sight of Angelina Jolie.

4. We are dating too many guys at work – I’m self-employed and have no co-workers so I’m not sure how I’m doing that.  I guess I’m dating myself too often.

5. We spend too much time with our gay friends – This is New York City, are you out of your mind?  I don’t just have gay friends.  I’ve got transgender, gay, bisexual, pansexual, polyamorous and several who identify as gender-flexible.  I’m not giving up my non-heterosexual friends.

6. We are ignoring our biological clocks – I know I’m 41 and am well aware of it.  Am I supposed to get pregnant by any random man?  That would seem a bit reckless.  How about I just accept it’s not going to happen and focus on something else.  Adopted kids need homes too.  I don’t have to grow one in my womb.

7. We hook up too much – OH HOW I WISH THIS WAS TRUE!  Honestly I’m fairly picky, I’ve got trust issues, and I just don’t feel safe hooking up with most of the guys who offer it.  It’s not their looks so much as its how they treat me.  If a guy is rude, I have very little interest in sleeping with him. I also don’t like bad sex, and hookups are like rolling the dice.  I don’t know the last time you hooked up with anyone but it can be absolutely dreadful.

8. We overly rely on NYC conveniences – Actually I don’t. Take out is pricy. You also implied this lifestyle is making us fat, but New York City women are some of the fittest in the country.  And Susan you are a full-figured gal, I would just celebrate it and stop blaming General Tso’s chicken.

So that’s your eight reasons, and I answered every one of them.  Now I have a few questions for you.  Susan you’re divorced.  How did that go? My divorce pushed me to the brink of madness and into a literal death spiral.  I had massive depression, anxiety attacks and suicidal tendencies.  I eventually went on antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication.  I’m fine now, and drug free but, It was a regular horror show.  I’m sure your divorce wasn’t easy.  Since marriage is about a 50/50 chance nowadays why would you promote anyone to enter into a legally binding relationship that could end in a catastrophic divorce?

Here are my five reasons, why I doubt I’ll ever say “I do” again.  

1. I never want to combine my money with another person – This is the MAIN reason I never want to get married again.  I used to work with my husband, and when my marriage fell apart my income evaporated.  Now I make my own money and decide how I spend it.  It’s amazingly liberating and I never want to go back to even a joint checking account.

2. I don’t want to move – I like living in Brooklyn.  If I choose to move, it should be my choice.

3. I’ve accepted I’m never having my own children. – If I do decide to have a child, I’ll probably adopt.  The adoption process is long and expensive but having a baby at my age is not without problems.  I’ve also accepted that I might never be a parent.  A lot of women never want to have kids.  I did, but my life didn’t work out as planned.  I don’t feel like a failure because I won’t be a parent.

4. I feel complete and fulfilled as a single person – I know this might shock you.  I don’t know how you manage as a single person yourself.  The daily torment must be getting to you.  You must be so miserable that you write books encouraging young women to desperately get what you don’t have.  I would love to date someone special but the longer I’ve been single the more I’ve grown to love it.

5. I never want to get divorced again – If someone wants to get married four or five times good for them.  The prospect of going through another divorce though is so terrifying to me, I think I’ll avoid doing it again.

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Dating in NYC – A city of SLUTS

New York City

New York City (Photo credit: kaysha)

 

This is the earlier version of a post that I submitted to the Huffington Post.  So it might seem familiar to you if you read the shorter more streamlined version.  I just wanted to point that out in case anyone was confused.  Basically after I wrote this one, and got overwhelmingly positive feedback from it I was encouraged to submit to HuffPo.  Although I have posted in the comedy section before the divorce editor did not know me from Adam, and I didn’t even know if they would publish me much less feature me.  So to any bloggers out there who want more traffic and a larger audience, just do what I did, and you might get lucky.  I love how the internet has a level of democratization to it.   You don’t have to go to an expensive Ivy league school or know the right people…anyone can self-publish!  So do it!  I had to cut this post in half, as the Huffington Post suggests 500-800 words, this was something like 1600.  🙂

 

It seems since I left my husband I have been unable to do a number of things, I won’t list them all here, but the most frustrating lost skill is the ability to date.  That is, date anyone for any significant length of time.   Admittedly it is a bit of a problem because I am out of practice as I was with my husband for a total of nine years.  And after nine years together in a committed relationship I have extreme difficulty navigating the nuanced dance that is dating.    One can not be too direct, overly eager, needy, desperate, clingy, emotional, commitment pressuring, or baby daddy seeking.  And at the same time not be too cold, aloof, bitchy, mean, shallow, negative or distant.  And never shit talk an ex in front of anyone, or even talk about an ex in any capacity, even if the past nine years of your life was living and working with him!!!!   Then there are the crazy games of when to text, email or call, when not to get back to a person and when to answer immediately, when to act interested and disinterested and when to completely blow them off in the hopes that they will come running back after you have ignored them a while.  The last tactic being one I absolutely loathe as it goes against everything about me.   As a person who is by nature very direct and to the point, dating is a mystery wrapped in an enigma to me.

 

I am also straight edge in that I don’t drink alcohol often and I do absolutely no drugs.  Now mind you I hang out with a bunch of artistic types so this can really make life difficult for me, as the majority of my friends use at least one if not more substances on a regular basis.   I am not judging anyone, and I have no problem with my friends that are regular pot users or heavy drinkers.  I am perfectly comfortable for the most part hanging with my friends, but it can make me a less than attractive partner in some eyes because of my drug and alcohol-free lifestyle.  Add to that my vegetarian diet of over 20 years and my two cats, and for some that is just too many deal breakers to handle for many men.

 

But the most distressing behavior that I really can’t justify or figure out in New York is the casual sex hook up mating habits that I frankly have no desire to engage in.  Yes, I know I get on stage and joke and tell a blue streak of obscenities and adult themed humor, but in my personal life I am a committed relationship type of gal.  I make no illusions to being anything but this, and I do not judge others for their behavior.  If a poly amorous life of multiple lovers works for a person, then I say go for it.   Or if a string of emotionally detached one-night stands with perfect strangers is what makes a person happy then great.  But I know there are others like me that aren’t wired this way, and seek something more substantial and with some level of greater commitment both emotionally and sexually.  I have a myriad of friends who complain all the time

 

“I am not slutty enough for this city”. 

 

And I can relate.

 

I have made failed attempts at living a Sex in the City style life of hooking up with partners for something casual, and every time I have tried it the results have been disastrous.   I either am disgusted by the man, or the man won’t stop calling.  I had one man who kept calling me for months afterward, another who rudely told me about his other women, and yes there is a polite way to handle this, and yet another who had what I would call a mild breakdown in my apartment about how he couldn’t handle the “gray area”.  So I realized, I am not this person, I need to be true to myself so I went back to my serious relationship commitment roots.   But no matter how much I keep trying to go for a traditional path, the hook-up scenario keeps rearing its ugly head.

 

Just the other night an attractive man was coming on to me HARD.  He was so obnoxious and obvious about it that a bunch of my friends noticed and even some of his friends were trying to set us up.  But I had never met this man in my life and to be quite honest his overly aggressive approach was off-putting.  He was also over a decade younger than me and was a bit of a jock.  Not exactly the brainy nerdy guys that I normally find much more compelling.  I like a man who can intellectually stimulate me, plus pretty boy jocks tend to get women easily, and as I always say….

 

He who gets the pussy easily, does not treat the pussy well.

 

And that tends to be true.   So I was mildly deflecting his advances when a much younger and age appropriate woman arrived on the scene.  Eventually Mr. Meathead instantly moved on to her, I had no idea if she knew the show he was putting on in front of me or how aggressive he had been.  Would it have mattered to her?  I doubt it.  She was young, she hadn’t learned some basics about men yet.  That any guy who is that attractive and that aggressive towards women is not what you would call relationship material.  And maybe to her credit that wasn’t what she was looking for anyway.  I couldn’t care less.  I knew I wasn’t going to sleep with him or do anything else with him that evening so if she wanted the pretty boy jock she could have him.  And part of my ego was stroked anyway in that he approached me first, and I was 16 years her senior.  So for bragging rights, at least I have that!  She went up to him.  He went up to me!  I have to take what I can get!  HA!  The same girl was chatting up another male friend of mine earlier in the night.  So much so that I thought they might be dating.  Little did I know, it seemed she may have been looking for whatever was the best option available that evening.  Or maybe she just met her future husband last night.  I don’t really care.   Whatever works for her!!

 

I find this all the time when dating.  It is just sort of expected by many that you start the physical part of the relationship first, and then see if either partner wants to continue after you have had sex.  Sort of a try before you buy situation.  Sex before emotional attachment, sex before any form of relationship, sex before everything.  Or  what I like to call how to be treated like something in between a booty call and a girlfriend.   And as a person who doesn’t like being treated poorly, these setups are not usually to my liking.

 

  • The guy will call or text when he wants to hookup but that is about it.
  • You are supposed to be on call to wait for the opportunity and then run to see him
  • Don’t reveal too much about yourself, but listen to him complain about his trials and tribulations
  • Don’t expect commitment, or exclusivity
  • Don’t expect any emotional bonding
  • Don’t expect much effort on his part to impress you, or make you feel like you are important in his life.

 

Not exactly what I call fun, but again everyone is different and for some people this situation is ideal.   What I find frustrating is that if you really want to get to know a guy first before having sex with him, it seems like there is no end to the women who will jump into bed with them.   And this isn’t to say that only men do this, as women engage in the same behavior.  But I didn’t think that in order to try to have a healthy sustained relationship with a person I am supposed to have sex with them hours or even minutes after meeting them.  It seems more like long-term relationship suicide.   Sure the sexual relationship might be great at first, but sex doesn’t really hold much together as far as compatibility in concerned.  Sex is usually the mortar between the bricks but the bricks have to line up or the whole thing collapses.

 

I know there a plenty of men and women who are frustrated like myself out there.   I hear it all the time from my friends, sometimes they think the fast life of hookups and one-night stands, friends-with-benefits, or fuck-buddies is working for them.  But they soon grow tired of it and want something steady with one person.  But what are we supposed to do when everyone around us seems to be whoring it up?   If a guy can so easily get no-strings attached sex, and then never see the woman again if he chooses, then why would they try for anything else?  And when a man is tired of the hook-ups himself, how does he then make the transition to getting to know a woman when he has been hooking-up for years?  Of course the same goes for women, and people of all sexual orientations and persuasions.    When do you decide to stop and settle down?  And when you do settle down, then what?

 

And in the online dating field, I will occasionally get a man from out-of-town send me an email announcing he will be in New York city in a couple of weeks and would love to “have coffee” with me.  As if “having coffee” has turned into the ultimate euphemism for anonymous sex with a stranger.  Funny how drinking a hot caffeinated beverage is somehow the equivalent of sex with no strings.    Again I am sure some women will go for it, but what kind of women? How likely are they to look like their actual photo? Or not be a total psycho?  Or not be a scam artist?  I bet some men have tried these arrangements only to wake up in a strange hotel room hours later missing their computer, their wallet and anything else of value.

 

Is it survival of the sluttiest?  I have friends that are in committed relationships and seem happy and most of them didn’t meet by having sex with total strangers.   There are no real rules with relationships and sometimes sleeping with a someone you barely know leads to years of coupled bliss.  This city doesn’t make things easy and I have trust issues on top of everything due to my divorce.  I ask myself this question almost daily…

 

Do I have to change who I fundamentally am as a person in order to survive the dating scene in New York city?

 

I keep answering, no, but I am not so sure how much longer I can live like this.