Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Death of Chivalry

Chivalry: the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, especially courage, honor, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak……and courtesy to women. (Compare courtly love.)

Yeah …… what happened to that?!?! Apparently, it has died.

I’ve been quiet lately, or perhaps it’s best to say I haven’t been writing publicly.  I have eight million thoughts in my head and yet I find myself struggling to express them. But, I started this blog with the intention of telling my stories, expressing my thoughts and sharing my experiences, because oftentimes other people are as amused by them as I am. So, let’s be honest and talk about dating…..when you’re 38…..and in Alaska ….. and what you’ve done in the past didn’t seem to work out quite right.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve always dated older. 5 plus years to a maximum of 16 ….. and it should be noted the 16 was probably closer to 20 and I do believe he was lying…..but he had a fabulous …… wine cellar.

Dating older when you’re in your twenties means you are, or at least you should be, dating someone who is secure in their career. They’re ready to commit, thinking about building a life and sharing in all the excitement that has yet to find you both. Dating older when you’re in your late thirties means you’re dating someone who has been there, done that, it didn’t work out, and now they’re bitter and like their own space. Or, on the other hand, they’ve never been there or done that, say they never found the right one, and that means they’re set in their own ways and they like their own space. When I reentered the dating world, again, it was with the hope that I would get it right this time around. I want to find the person to share and build a life with, but now perhaps it’s a little more complicated because we bring parts of our pasts to the table. That does not mean I should not be allowed to find that, that I need to settle for what someone is willing to give.

I had this brilliant idea, encouraged somewhat by a friend of mine who is a Tinder-holic, to date younger. Suddenly I am the one with the “good” job and a life plan, capable of supporting myself and standing on solid ground. (It appears that way, anyway, to the younger male ……) I won’t name names ….. he was an environmental scientist, smart, cute, slightly awkward and his pictures were of him in the Arctic with penguins ….penguins. He had me at penguins.

First date, divey bar because they served popcorn. I drank beer and the conversation was easy. He seemed nervous and I felt ….. old. Sexy, but old. The age difference was only three years, but I think it’s safe to say he was a young 35. As one person put it, a boy-man. I like a man-man …… but I was going to try, damn it. He loosened up and we moved on to another bar and eventually kissed goodnight. He paid for the 3 beers ….. the chemistry was good. He was shorter than I normally like, wore a plaid shirt, and looked like he should ride his skateboard home. In my mind I was 19 again and I had a crush ……

Second date ….. a bottle of wine, chips and salsa, strawberries, conversation. We were in the discovery phase and he said all the right things. He’d stop mid sentence and tell me I was beautiful.

Third date ….. he accompanied me to a comedy event I was judging. He met me there and we made our way to the bar. After ordering drinks, I told him I’d get it and he said, “Thanks.” Wait, what?!?!?! I didn’t really want to get it, I was testing him ….. and he failed.

I decided to talk to one of my younger, single, actively dating co-workers about the current state of courtship. He told me in his opinion, women, or perhaps we should say girls, are insulted when a man always pays. He said he lets them pay because he doesn’t want to make them feel insecure. Ummmmm ….. no. Ladies ….. you are killing chivalry!!!!!! (And men, you aren’t putting up a good fight!) When speaking with my older male friends, they agree with me 100% that the man should pay and can’t fathom not doing so.

My message to the ladies …..

Someday you will most likely birth a child. It will grow inside of your now tight abdomen and make its way out through your vagina. If you are on a date right now, there is a possibility the man sitting across from you will be responsible for helping to create that child. For that reason, he should pay. (You will also cook most of the meals, clean the toilets, dust, schedule all of the doctor’s appointments, and work a full-time job …. and make twenty-two cents less an hour than he does while doing it.)

Now, I’m not saying the woman should never pay. I’m just saying courtship is a lost art. Women want to be pursued. Gender roles are alive and thriving in so many ways, and I’m ok with most of them. (For example, the man should always take out the trash and kill the spiders …..in exchange, women will follow you around picking up your junk that ends up in the trash you will place by the curb.) If I swipe right, and he swipes right, I want him to say hello first. I’m not shy. I have no problem making the first move. I just don’t want to anymore.

In the 2+ years I dated George, he almost always paid for date nights. (And he ALWAYS opened the car door for me.) I almost always paid for groceries for “family” meals, and dinners at “home”. Vacations, activities with the kids, and weekend getaways were often shared expenses.

My message to the guys ….

If you can’t open her car door because you have to get in on your side and reach across to unlock it, it’s time to stop dating or get a new car. (This may not apply to boys under the age of 27.)

My message to me ……

You hate dating. You don’t want to do it anymore. But, you have to or you’ll end up alone with a bunch of cats.

You really, really, really like penguins. You also really, really, really like wine. You like wine more.

You hate cats.

Polka dots, plaid, and hygiene …..

I haven’t written in quite some time …. well, not anything I would publish anyway. ¬†I have felt uninspired. I’ve sat down numerous times and attempted, but nothing happens. Until now.

The kids are all back east and I am not. Cameron and Cassandra were so excited to see their dad and we had a countdown going for about two weeks before they left. My countdown was probably a little different from theirs.

Thirteen days until we see daddy ….. thirteen days until you don’t brush your teeth for two months.

Twelve days til we see daddy …. twelve days til swimming in the pond counts as a bath …..

Eleven days til we see daddy ….. eleven days til you wear the same socks for three days straight.

Ten days til we see daddy …… ten days til you probably don’t travel in a booster seat …..

You get the picture. It’s not easy letting them go. I spent seven years with their dad and was very proud of the home I created. The kids had fun ….. the house was well decorated, their clothes matched, and I have many memories of fabulous holidays and parties, and quiet nights of game playing and movie watching. And then we got divorced.

This past weekend I was back home. (By home I mean CT ….. I really don’t have a home …. I’m always in limbo.) I stayed at George’s …. a home that is not mine but houses some of my furniture and boxes of clothes. I drove my mother’s car and made my way back to Killingworth to see the boys my first afternoon there. If you’ve read my posts before you’ll recall my ex husbands live eight houses away from each other ….. I moved 4000 miles away. After some alone time with the big boys we stopped by the “big” house to see the twins…… partially because I missed them, partially because I wanted to see if Cassie’s hair had been done in the two weeks since I put them on the plane with Andy to leave Alaska.

As I pulled onto the street my heart rate soared and the anxiety crept in. I used to love turning onto this street … it meant I was home. Now, I start¬†hyperventilating and want to close my eyes. The yard is always a mess, there is mildew on the siding, and my once beautiful house is unkempt. In the driveway there are four old cars …. not sure who they belong to …. and I’m pretty sure I saw a spare tire, some garbage, and possibly a small boat in the backyard. I won’t even begin to describe the garage. (It also houses some of my furniture.)

Her hair had not been done. The same two poofs I had carefully crafted the day before she left were still there. He had hastily thrown in a couple of clips to keep down some of the loose pieces, but I knew it was just for show. My prized dresser is now a sofa table with scratches, the former office/quiet room is now a bar/storage room, and the brown and orange shag rug that should be under the kitchen table is under the table in my once beautiful purple dining room. (I think the purple rug that belongs there is in the basement somewhere …..) I didn’t dare venture upstairs because Aidan told me I shouldn’t ……

The kids were happy. Isn’t that what matters? They had new shoes and chatted about going out on their dad’s girlfriend’s boat. They hugged me and went back to watching tv while Andy talked about putting the house up for sale. (If you’re looking for a six bedroom house on a quiet cul-de-sac in the woods, let me know.) I asked him if he had conditioner and a comb.

This is not how I pictured my life. I think divorced parents everywhere go through this. It’s so hard to hand your children off to the other parent and have to trust them to do the right things and make the right choices. I have several proven circumstances where the twins’ dad has not, but I know his intentions are good. I try to be firm, yet not stir the pot, but it’s getting harder to hold back. When I brought the kids back to him on Monday I reminded him to please get her hair braided. Today, he sent photos and her hair is how I left it. On the phone he said he planned on getting it done next …. what day is today ….. Monday, no Tuesday, maybe Wednesday. Ugh.

But, she had glasses on in the picture. I didn’t ask him to take her to the eye doctor. He said this week she had headaches and was squinting at the tv, so he took the twins and she needed glasses and Cameron does not. Next week he’s taking them to the dentist. I’ll try not to think about the fact that they’ll be wearing plaid shorts, polka-dotted shirts, and striped socks when they are out in public and just be happy they’re being cared for by a man they love very much.