Vanessa, the Reigning Queen of the strip club I worked at in the 90’s, had figured out the secret to the male/female dynamic.

She insisted that women can simply not get all their needs met from one man.

It takes three. We need one man for sex, one for money and one for love.

 

In my 20’s, I didn’t *look* for specific qualities in a partner.  I once fell in love with a man because of how he looked hailing a cab in the rain.

 

Now, in middle age, women have a roster of specifications. We want someone tall/smart/kind/successful/funny/sexy/fit/rich/woke.

We’re pushing ourselves right into the”die alone with cats eating our faces” sphere with these provisos.

 

And yet – why delegitimize my needs? Maybe it’s not about the size of his biceps or the car he drives, but it’s about making my soul sing.

 

Music Biz Guy is smart and kind and not only knows who Patti Smith is, he LOVES her. We share an appreciation for kitschy films and great books. He talks me down from the ledge when I travel to receive writing awards and can’t leave my hotel room.

He’s for Love. Platonic Love. I’m not attracted to him at all. I’ve tried. Even copious amounts of tequila, which is always a reliable kick starter for my libido, has failed me. No spark, no ignition.

 

Muscle Man – well, I’m not sure what he’s into. Like most men without body fat, he pursues very little outside of the gym. But he makes me feel safe.

He’s for Sex. Also possibly for High Contrast Photos. His skin is the most sublime dark chocolate. But not for Love – I could not love someone whose brain I didn’t want to lick.

 

Top Cop is smart and successful and fit. Perfect age for me – mid 50s. He has a summer house on the beach and can order a bottle of wine like nobody’s business. He is for Money. Possibly for Sex. Definitely not for Love.

He doesn’t know Iggy Pop from Iggy Azalea. My sordid past would worry him. He’s always been a Responsible Adult, even in his 20’s. He was having kids and passing out cigars while I was raising hell and passing out in clubs.

 

Rocker Dude is smokin’ hot. We have amazing physical chemistry. He’s super smart and very creative and basically perfect – except he’s crazy.

When I don’t respond to his texts he sends me 40 more. He’s intense and verbose and the male version of me, only I’m the male version of me, but either way he’s out of his mind and we can’t BOTH be like that.

He’s blowing my phone up right now. Remind me to never stick my dick in crazy, okay?

He’s for Sex. Maybe for Love? Definitely not for Money and most certainly not for Ever.

 

 

 

So many women place the majority of their identity into being the partner to one person. Twist their ankles stuffing their foot into that glass slipper.

I’m not looking to start a family with someone. Why shouldn’t I live at the apex of possibility?

 

If I could find everything in one man – one person – I would be with that person.

I want a man who will brew me coffee while I write. Let me sit on his lap and act like a little girl, even though my therapist claims that’s unhealthy. A man who will figure out why my kitchen cabinets don’t close and who will rotate my tires and that’s not a metaphor for ANYTHING except automobile maintenance.

I want a man to Pretty Woman the shit out of me. BUY ME THINGS.

Yes, I’m THAT woman.

Take me shopping on Madison Avenue, take me to Hawaii, get me a goddamn maid.

I’m the woman who wants to ride on the back of your motorcycle to a dive bar in Asbury Park. The woman who will tell you to get that neck tattoo, the woman who doesn’t give a shit what you earn or what you drive or where you live as long as you can carry me up a flight of stairs and fling me on the bed.

Yes. I’m THAT woman.

I’m the woman who wants NO responsibilities, to be in charge, to wear The Pants, to never wear pants, to do it all, to sit on the couch and just listen to the house settle and breathe.

I’m the woman who will steal your soul, heal your heart, serve you breakfast in bed, refuse to cook, kneel at your feet, smash plates when I’m angry and give you makeup sex so good you’ll always be looking for a fight.

I want a man who will love my roadmap of scars, my slaughtered dreams, my relentless need, my clenched fist, my hollow disregarded heart.

I want a man who loves me, not DESPITE the fact that I’m insane, uncivilized, emotional, unreasonable and unrealistic, but BECAUSE I am.

I want a man who knows that bliss is hidden at the center of our raw, aching parts.

I want a man who will love even the tarnished clichés of the paragraphs I just wrote.

 

I will build a collection of men to fill my needs, knowing that they can never be met.

Until then, I’ll slay dragons and kiss princes and dream of the day I can tell the difference between the two.

 

Have you found your soul mate? Does that exist?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

 

Come hang out with me on Facebook and Instagram so I can have friends without leaving the house.

 

In some ways, it’s harder to hate your body when you’re thin than when you’re overweight.

Besides your own body negative narrative, you invite hate from others who think you are being an indulgent first world bitch.

 

I have always loved food. The taste of it; the experience of it; preparing it as an act of love. Sharing it with friends; digging into a holiday meal with family.

It’s sensuous and sublime and one of the great experiences in life.

Unfortunately, I was also an emotional eater as far back as childhood. Food was a replacement for love and attention.

 

I was a super skinny kid, before it was chic to be skinny. I had a big butt and a flat chest and  I hated my lopsided, pear-shaped body. I cried shopping for jeans that fit. If they fit around my waist, I couldn’t pull them up over my ass.

No boys ever liked me. In high school I was the smartest girl and I was in love with the smartest boy but he pined for a big-breasted girl with shiny hair and perfect skin.

 

 

In my 20’s I replaced a drug addiction with one to exercise. And so began my complex, deprived, unhappy relationship with food, exercise and my body. I worked out constantly and ate a very restricted diet. I was bone thin. My life revolved around the gym, sticking to my regimented way of eating, or bingeing as a reaction to it.

Every meal was a minefield.

A few years ago, I gave up exercise. I ate whatever the hell I wanted and gained a bunch of weight and was simultaneously miserable and ecstatic about it.

Breasts. I finally had them.
I could eat all the cake I wanted. I had much more time to do things I loved.
I looked in the mirror and LIKED what I saw. I only saw the voluptuousness, not the flaws. Breakthrough

Recently, I felt myself getting winded going up the stairs and knew I had to get fit. I didn’t want to drop dead of a heart attack before 50 like half the people in my family.

I’ve also been working two jobs and lost some weight as a result. Ironically, the combination of dropping a few pounds and going back to the gym has started the cycle of body hatred.

I don’t know why getting MORE fit and dropping some weight would make me despise my body to the point of not wanting to look in the mirror.

I just know that I choose growth and evolution of self.  I’m so many wonderful things, none of which matter because I look in the mirror to reflect my self worth and if that’s not being trapped in your own personal hell, I don’t know what is.

 

After I had my son, I was completely demoralized by the way my body looked. The physical perfection I had desperately and ineffectively sought was further away than ever. It wasn’t just that I had gained weight. I had transformed into an amorphous creature with baggy skin. It was terrifying – and I tormented myself to restore it to where it was before.

Almost 14 years later, that never happened. I know some women regain their gorgeous pre-baby bods. I don’t know whether it’s plastic surgery or Photoshop or round the clock private training but whatever it is, it’s irrelevant to me and the permanent kangaroo pouch I carry above my C-section scar.

 

 

I have had a volatile relationship with my body my entire life.

I’m closer now to a happy place with food than I’ve ever been. Those non-exercise, eat-everything years reminded me that life is too short to give up warm bread slathered with butter. Although I love the taste of healthy foods  – if I was a poet I’d write a sonnet extolling the magnificence of a perfectly ripe peach –  I’m in a committed relationship with cake.

And yet, I’m brainwashed by culture programming. If I have the perfect body, then I’ll have the perfect life. When you’re beautiful, people love you. We all want to be the beautiful people who everyone loves.

This is what is done to us. To all of us. It’s insidious and soul deep and reinforced every day, in every part of our lives. I’ve all but stopped reading my favorite writers online because I’m sick of being bombarded by The One Way To Finally Lose that Stubborn Belly Fat.

Just once I’d like to look in the mirror and see my body without cataloguing a litany of flaws.

I’m tired of being in a room full of people where the women all exclaim how beautiful each other is, while men greet each other with talk of work or family.

 

I don’t know how to change the narrative. I can’t tell you to start loving your bodies when I don’t love mine.

But there has to be a way to fight this, to reject the idea that we’re not beautiful unless someone tells us; unless our bodies are perfect – or even that physical beauty matters so much.

This is the prison women are in. It’s what that keeps us tethered to our own insecurities, too busy obsessing over our bodies to do the real work.

It’s why plastic surgery is a billion dollar industry and we don’t care if we die on the table from elective surgery as long as we die with big tits.

I will never understand the idea that women deserve admiration, above all other accomplishments,  simply because of the way they look.

 

I will tell this story, but I will not own it.

It is not mine. It’s not yours, either. This is because nobody ever told us the worth of our hearts and minds.

 

Body issues. Will this madness ever stop?
Talk to me. I’m listening.

 

Come hang out with me on Facebook and Instagram so I can have friends without leaving the house.

 

Is your middle schooler one of the popular kids? Then he’s an asshole.

Oh, not YOUR kid. YOUR kid is popular because he/she is a genuinely nice person – supportive, generous, always has a kind word for other kids, particularly the socially inept. He/she never makes fun of anyone for how they look – they know it’s what’s inside that counts.

He’s a goddamn Unicorn Kid, and your child is the only one in middle school who is popular for the right reasons.

Because for the most part? Show me a girl who’s popular in middle school and I’ll show you a backstabbing bitch whore from hell.

 

Jocks have the best shot at popularity. This does not mean all middle school athletes are assholes. It merely provides the platform. From there, a child must use true dickish behavior to catapult themselves into preeminence.

Middle school has a social structure closely paralleled by that of wolves. Popular kids maintain social order by establishing pack dominance. In the wild, fighting to the death is the time-honored way to express dominance. However, it is frowned upon in today’s suburban world.

Instead, here’s how the popular kids get and stay popular in middle school:

  1. Ridicule less popular kids; zeroing in on undesirable physical traits like being overweight or short.
  2. Make fun of kids who aren’t as wealthy.
  3. Bully kids on social media; gather groups together to do this as shitty little collective.
  4. Jeer at smart kids because getting straight As is lame.
  5. Disrespect teachers.
  6. General dickish behavior towards everyone but those exalted members of their clique.
  7. Taunt kids who love Lord of the Rings so much they perform traditional Dwarven Mining Songs for their music class project (okay, I probably had that coming).

 

Here’s other obnoxious behavior that makes kids popular. These traits don’t necessarily make them assholes, but SERIOUSLY WHY ARE THEY GETTING AWAY WITH THIS? ARE YOU HIGH?

  1. Not giving a crap about school.
  2. Get into LOTS of drama with other kids constantly.
  3. Hidden Instagram accounts with sultry “come hither” pouts. (we’re talking about 13 year olds, remember?)
  4. Drinking; doing drugs.
  5. Sexy times.

 

 

Little Dude has always been firmly tucked into the “Nerd” category at school. He was popular among the nerds, if such a thing exists. I was comfortable with him there. I knew these were the kids whose parents would not be getting phone calls from the police station.

This year, in seventh grade, he somehow stumbled into a friendship with a popular boy.

This boy, let’s call him “Dylan” because that’s his name, engaged in behavior that I found anywhere from annoying to appalling. He watched YouTube videos in class because he found the curriculum boring. He was always in a confrontation with SOMEONE. His idea of being entertaining was to make fun of other kids.

Gradually, LD grew disenchanted with Dylan. He didn’t find it funny that he openly mocked their Spanish teacher’s attempts to teach them. He wasn’t thrilled that Dylan was constantly ribbing him for only having 4 pairs of sneakers when he had 40.

Things went downhill from there.

LD came home one day, upset because he and Dylan had gotten into a fight. Dylan had amassed a posse of kids to harass an unpopular kid on Snapchat – for no reason at all.

OH HELL NO. Not on MY watch.

Their friendship ended that day. Kids KILL THEMSELVES over being tormented on social media. I didn’t bother calling this kid’s parents. I knew from prior experience that they had – let’s call it – a different world view than I did.

I went scorched earth on this little penis wrinkle. I notified the school, the school board, and the superintendent. He was suspended, which of course makes him even more popular among the losers  popular kids.

 

Things are a bit tough for LD socially right now. He finds himself stuck “in between” – not cool enough  to hang with the popular kids (thank GOD) but not quite content with the (lack of) social life of his nerdy friends.

I do what any responsible mom would do – I lie to him, and tell him it will get better in high school. I don’t want to scare him and tell him he might be like his mama, and have to wait until he’s middle-aged to hit his stride.

 

 

I wasn’t the least bit unhappy to find out that the “cool” kids in middle school are more likely to turn into adult losers. Being cool requires edgy, unpleasant behavior that doesn’t bode well into adulthood

If your kid is one of the popular middle school kids – observe their behavior in a pack when they don’t think you’re watching. You will be VERY surprised, and not in a good way. I’m sorry, and you’re welcome.

In the meantime, you may want to dismantle the pedestal they have themselves on. Once they enter the real world, it’s a long, long way down – and the splat at the bottom is a bitch.

 

How bad was middle school for you?
Are your kids in middle school now? Can I offer you a Xanax?

 

Come hang out with me on Facebook and Instagram so I can have friends without leaving the house.

 

 

I was born into a family of musical impressarios. My oldest brother sat down at the piano when he was only three years old and delivered a perfect rendition of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” At 3, my son was still pooping into a diaper and the only thing he would have done at the piano was give me a splitting headache.

I’m the least musically talented person in my family. I wouldn’t even go so far as to call myself a musician. The brother who is closest to me in age argues that I “am musical,” which sounds like the spoken equivalent of a participation trophy.

That particular brother and I have a multi-layered relationship regarding music. I have always been in awe of his talent; envious, proud and completely daunted by it.

When he was just 11 years old, he picked up a guitar and musical artistry poured forth. He was able to hear things the rest of us didn’t and could recreate songs note for note. He could rock 2-chord simplicity, making the song “Horse With No Name” sound amazing, but he could also carve out complicated, curving, epic solos.

HOW DID HE DO THIS? It seemed ludicrous for me to continue. His genius was too strong a contrast to my mediocrity and I gave up playing instruments.

That’s what happens when you are born into a family of musical geniuses. To be average is intolerable.

 

About a year ago, I started playing guitar again. I’m not great; I’m not even good. I’m fair. If I play a song, its recognizable.

It’s common for people over forty to take the “fuck you” pill. I’m heavily medicated on that prescription, and consequently, asked my brother to come over and jam with me.

Have you ever googled “what it’s like to be a musical genius?” There are no first hand accounts. People are loath to speak about themselves this way. But one night when we were jamming, my brother divulged to me the story of his musical genius.

He knew the minute he picked up the guitar that this was some kind of “gift from God.” He almost felt as if he was channeling. A force he couldn’t control took over, guiding his hands to greatness.

And therein lies the rub. He couldn’t control it.

He was in bands most of his life, but none worked out. Most of his childhood friends were incredibly talented musicians, and many went on to pursue careers in music.

But people shied away from playing with him on musical projects because his “gift” was so unpredictable.

He’d be in the middle of an extraordinary guitar solo onstage, the kind that people tout as ‘legendary’  – and then hit a sour note. Or three. He never knew when it would happen nor how to fix it.

He tried to harness his gift and devoted himself to the mindful execution of music. But musical training seemed incompatible with the “gift.” To work in this way would make his head ache to where he could not continue.

At one point he studied guitar with a prominent NYC jazz guitarist, a man who required an audition to even study with. During the audition, his musical voodoo poured out and the  jazz guitarist thought him much more advanced than he really was. After a handful of lessons in which my brother had no idea what was going on, he quit.

My brother’s entire life he never discussed his “gift” because he felt that talking about it would jinx it. It took him 40 years to tell me how he felt that day when he picked up a guitar and the heavens opened up.

 

 

He’s able to finally talk about it, because these days, he’s no longer afraid of jinxing outside forces. At 50, my brother has decided that he needs to start over and learn music from the ground up.

Yes, it’s grueling and draining, but it’s also feeding his soul, to finally reconcile technique with genius.

 

I always knew there was something magical about my brother; about all of them, in fact, when it came to music. Like most things, it was terrible and wonderful. They intimidated me, but I was raised with a love for music so profound that without it, life would be monotone. One long, silent birthday celebration with just candles.

To hear that this gift I’ve always envied was in fact a curse, something that has prevented him from pursuing his dreams of playing out in public his entire life, was an epiphany.

We’ve both arrived at our own musical epiphanies; simultaneously, but independent of one another. He’s starting at the beginning. And I’m finally playing again.

I stayed up all night the other night playing guitar.
My hands ached; my face was smeared with fatigue but my heart was buoyant. As the room was bathed in the streaky light of dawn, I finally realized that all that matters is how I feel when I play music, not how I sound to other people.

And that’s MY gift.

How much do you love music?? Do you play?
Doesn’t it suck to have a sibling SO much better than you at something?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

 

Come hang out with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, so I can have friends without leaving the house.

 

I was engrossed in a ‘Sons of Anarchy’ episode when I heard the rustle of paper sliding under my bedroom door.

I picked it up. It was a note from my son: “I can’t find my band hoodie.”

 

In my house, we have a rule. I mom the fuck out all day and night – until 9 pm. Then, I officially close shop. I go into my room to chill. If my kid needs to speak to me, he can slip a note under my door.

Don’t judge! I got this idea from my therapist.

She also is responsible for me letting my kid have ice cream with all the toppings for breakfast on Sunday mornings – as long as HE DIDN’T WAKE ME UP.

Little Dude used to wake at the ass crack of dawn. To keep him occupied for a few hours on a weekend morning, he was allowed to fix himself an ice cream sundae for breakfast. When I got out of bed at 8 am, the kitchen was a disaster and it was worth EVERY BIT OF MESS.

 

My kid is a chatterbox, and that can be exhausting. By 9 pm, I’ve been up for 15 hours, dealing with all the interactions that are necessary to make it through a day of being a human. I’m spent. By 9:00 pm, I find myself getting irritated by conversation, unless it’s “mom, you’re so pretty.” While other jobs have a more clearly defined endpoint, the mom gig does not. It’s 24/7. Which makes it the shittiest paid job in the multiverse.

So began our 9 pm rule. At 9 pm, I need to relax to Gemma Teller stabbing Tara in the head with a carving fork. If you absolutely must speak to me – slip me a note.

 

I should have said, my kid WAS a chatterbox. Because the times, they are a changin’.

At 13 and a half, Little Dude is firmly entrenched in his teenage years. He’s changing, and it seems to be happening at warp speed.

He sleeps later now, sometimes til 9 am on a weekend.

His hair is cut in a trendy style, shaved down on one side with a deep groove cut into it.

He is obsessed with sneakers, and how he looks at school.

He’s really into basketball. Hashtag Ball is Life. He plays on the rec team and we watch it a LOT. This is one thing we have in common, although he makes fun of my Big Love for the Knicks, because he wasn’t alive for the golden era of Patrick Ewing.

He uses Axe body spray, which is nauseating. I won’t even buy it. It’s like an insidious Google redirect virus; it just keeps showing up no matter what I do.

He speaks in slang. (“Okay mom, that’s Gucci.”)

He hangs out with co-ed groups now. They go to the mall, to someone’s house. Often mine.

He’s on his phone constantly, face timing, often with girls.

He isn’t so anxious to talk my ears off every night. Many nights, he’s in group chats and laughs uproariously at the ridiculous memes they send each other. (Yes, I look. Hell yes.)

He has a girlfriend. 

This one really threw me for a loop. A few weeks ago, he asked my permission to start dating.

I was happy he chose to ask me, but all I could think of was how this truly is the end of his innocence. Will she break his heart? I’ll KILL her. How long before they start exploring sexually?

I told him that I prefer he see her in group settings; that he respect her and not take it to a physical level yet. I told him he is not allowed to go to the movies with her BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE ALL THE KIDS START GETTING BLOW JOBS okay I didn’t say that, but that’s where it happens. Ugh, my head hurts.

He was always a reluctant tooth brusher and his breath could melt my eyeglasses. Saturday, when he left to go to the mall with his friends, he breathed on me and asked me if his breath was fresh.
It was.

“Fresh enough to kiss a girl?”
Ugh why why whyyyyyyyyy

 

When my kid was little, we used to cuddle at bedtime and he’d share with me his “sads and glads” that day.

Now his bedtime is around 9 PM. As a lingering vestige of that ritual, he’ll occasionally ask to snuggle with me and tell me a tidbit or two from his day. 9 PM be damned, I want those moments now. So as of last week, I officially lifted the 9 PM rule. I’ll let him watch a little SOA with me, while he remarks on all the ways in which I remind him of Gemma Teller Morrow.

He’s got one part of that right (besides the similarity in our wardrobes and our love of tats) – like Gemma, I’ll go to any lengths to protect my son. The irony of that is, at the exact time when I feel the need to protect him more than ever, he wants to take care of himself.

We’ve always been a tightly knit unit; he always chose to be with me above anyone else. Now, he would rather be with his friends or even alone.

My son is more his than mine, now. I know this means I’ve gotten it right so far, preparing him for independence.

But who prepares me?

 

Is your kid growing up way too fast?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

Come hang out with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, so I can have friends without leaving the house.