Not Ready to Be a Cat Lady

In a weak moment, I posted on FB a week or two ago:

“I am not a cat person. I am thinking of getting a cat. Please, advise.”

 Well, truth be told I am not really much an animal person of any kind.

Bailey, my youngest son’s half-Collie/half-Golden, lived out the latter of his fifteen years under my roof. My divorce decreed me all three animals – my children’s pets. Along with Bailey, there were two cats: Lucy and Katrina who preceded him to heaven.

And at each pet’s passing, I had to admit that I was a whole lot more attached to these fur-coated creatures than I imagined. Well, not nearly so much to the cats as to Bailey.

Bailey and I had this quiet comfortable roommate thing going on. And then he was gone.

It has been three years now. It is Bailey I miss. That particular golden-haired member of my household. Bailey who was afraid of soda cans and squeaky toys. Bailey who I used to drag around the block. Bailey, the dog who barely knew his name.

But with Bailey’s departure, I have discovered the particular pleasures of the single life.

After work, I now go wherever I please. No need to rush home. On rainy mornings, I stay dry in my pajamas. No need to get drenched outdoors. Wardrobe wise, I can wear black and no longer need to stash lint rollers all over the place. No vet bills. No boarding costs. I have both the freedom and the funds to travel as I please.

Yes, I still get a little misty eyed when I think about Bailey.

But I do not miss having a dog.

Well, mostly I do not miss having a dog.

Rebounding from the election, I briefly reconsidered. I was tempted by a little Bichon Frise pup named “Posh.” But someone else rescued him before I got there. The timing of which may have rescued us both from the canine equivalent of a one night stand.

My desire dissipated like vapor. Faded in the blink of an eye.

You see, I delight in the solitude of my sacred space. The freedom to walk through every room dressed as I please. Curled up on my couch, befriended by books and accompanied by thoughts delicious and dark.  And visitors of the human kind, are welcomed from time to time.

I live on my own but that does mean that I am  lonesome.

Living alone is not the same thing as being lonely.

Yet even the Queen in her Castle, craves companionship of the intimate kind from time to time.

On the human side of this equation, for the past year, I have posted my endeavors here at Sex & the Single Vicar. Blog worthy. Humorous, disastrous and less than successful.

Meanwhile, well-meaning people, keep encouraging me to get a companion of the four-footed kind.

“Get a cat. They are so easy!”

“A cat to keep you warm!”

 So, a couple of weeks ago, I surfed the SPCA sites looking for a cat. Maybe a cat would better fit my “swinging singles” lifestyle. Ha!

 

Crowdsourcing feedback on Facebook, I posted:

“I am not a cat person. I am thinking of getting a cat. Please, advise.”

 And friends I did not know were friends – or friends I did not even know I had – commented, reacted, liked, and commented on the comments.

There was no shortage of replies:

  • Adopt a kitten.
  • No, kittens tear up your house.
  • Adopt a rescue cat.
  • Adopt a two year-old cat, already housebroken.
  • No adopt an old cat.
  • No, they have urinary tract problems.
  • Adopt a black cat because they get left behind.
  • No, adopt a special needs cat.
  • A deaf cat, a blind cat.
  • A cat with FIV (poor thing).
  • Better yet, get two cats. To keep each other company.
  • (Uh, aren’t two cats twice as expensive as one?)
  • Or adopt a Maine Coon cat, it’s almost like a dog.
  • Or a British Short Hair, Alice in Wonderland’s Cheshire cat.
  • Or maybe, just take my cat.
  • No, for heavens’ sake just get a kitten.
  • So cute.
  • So cuddly.

Hmmmm, no I don’t think so.

That’s really not the kind of cuddling I had in mind.

Apologies to all my cat loving friends BUT — getting a cat, feels kind of like giving up.

And I am cautiously confident that it is way, way, way too soon to give up.

So, One Fish. Two Fish. I might get a gold fish.

Or I might borrow a dog to walk once in a while – so that I can flirt with guys at the park.

Or I might just ask my friends to fix me up with a stray brother or coworker or a reasonably handsome (and stable) male friend they might recommend.

Such creatures have to exist somewhere, right? Though rare they might be.

If you find one, please send him to me.

I am not ready to be a cat lady.

Yet.

Singularly Yours:

Rev:Joani

Clueless

clue-game-cardsCatching my therapist up on my not so successful DCSingles dates, Sondra pauses and thoughtfully poses the obvious question:

“So, Joani, what do you want?”

“What do I want?”

Well, not Bernie Sanders. I already wrote about him.

And not the guy who is afraid of his own shadow — who I met for coffee on Friday — who has barely been out of his neighborhood for the past forty years.

And not the thrice married widower of just one year who I met last week. A sixty-eight year old guy who has no idea how to be on his own.

My social experiments — so far — are a net negative — negatively defining what I desire in a date.

I am not looking for Friday evenings at home in front of the TV.

I am not looking for someone to keep me company.

I am not hoping to set up house.

I am not looking to couple up monogamously  anytime soon.

I am just looking for someone who can keep up with me.

And there is nothing I find sexier and more attractive in a man  than the organ found between the ears.

So, let me describe an acceptable gentleman.

Intellectually curious, reads real books.

Forward looking, hope filled, expansive world view.

Funny, laughs freely, and delights in the absurd.

Earthy and unorthodox.

Open to surprise.

Hungry for life.

Someone who can light up all of my little gray cells,

and for whom I can do likewise,

like fireflies.

“Go on,” says my therapist.

Not a spouse.

Not a housemate.

Not a guy friend.

Not all the time.

Someone with their own house, their own life.

Happy and whole.

An intimate,

available for adventure,

available for dinner,

available for a weekend.

Someone who loves a good argument.

Someone who makes me very happy behind closed doors.

Someone who gets back in his car and goes home —

until I summon him back again.

Yes, that sounds heavenly.

“Hmmmm,” Sondra says. “Is that really possible? Most ‘older’ men are looking for something more comfy and conventional.”

“Well, someone younger then! But how crazy is that?”

Sondra is not telling me to settle but she does encourage me to think this through.

The depths of my desire add up to  having a mad affair — while dates in my demographic double down on domestic bliss.

Which leaves me feeling clueless, somewhat unsettled, and unsure of myself.

I definitely don’t want “that”.

Maybe I don’t want “this” at all.

And I will be damned — if I ever let some nonexistent man — make me second guess myself.

Matchmaking is madness!

It makes my manic mind spiral and spin, trying to puzzle this f*ing thing out.

The smartest girl in the class waves her hands in the air but she has no answers.

Navigating an ocean of emotion.

Unmoored.

Without a compass.

At sea.

And I guess for now, that is just how it has to be.

For now, I remain

incredibly

clueless.

Singularly yours,

The Rev: Joani

 

 

The Pseudo-Librarian, the Priest & Her Wardrobe

img_12891963. Open my wardrobe and what do you see?

Brown courdouroy smocked dress and white puffy blouse. Navy blue polka dot shift and  striped Danskins.  Parochial school uniform and Peter Pan collars.  Mary Janes, saddle shoes, and Keds.

1973. Open my wardrobe and what do you see?

Peasant dresses, halter tops, and army jacket. Denim cutoffs, bellbottom pants, and macrame belts. Parochial school uniform and Oxford cloth shirts. Platforms, flip flops, and saddle shoes.

1983. Open my wardrobe and what do you see?

Pleated skirts and cardigan sweaters. Padded shoulders and tailored slacks. Designer jeans, and tasteful flats.

1993. Open my wardrobe and what do you see?

Khaki trousers, corduroy jumpers, and denim overalls.  Cotton turtlenecks, kilts and tights. Embroidered vests and cable knit sweaters. Black flats, brown flats, and tennis shoes.

2003. Open my wardrobe and what do you see?

Target basics and Talbot’s work clothes. Cotton sweats and running suits. Clergy shirts and clerical collars. Random flats, Birkenstocks, and flip flops  — in every color under the sun.

And thirteen years on.

2016. Open my wardrobe and what do you see?

Funky tunics and interesting tops. Comfy leggings and skinny jeans. Prints, patterns, and primary colors. Autumn hues and basic black. Dressy dresses and dresses just for fun. Lululemon trousers and button down shirts. Bits of ribbon and bits of lace. TOMS, saddle shoes, ASICS, and a multitude of multicolored flats.

I have both lost and found myself in my wardrobe.

Middle child, parochial school girl, head of the class.

Flower child, high school nerd, and rebel without a cause.

Computer programmer, working mom, sometimes a wife.

Seminary student, kindergarten volunteer, and Del Ray mom.

Parish priest, divorcee, and mostly manic.

Half marathoner, storyteller, blogger, irreverent reverend, and pseudo-libarian.

I have lost and found myself in my wardrobe.

Clothes are the window dressing of the soul. Spiritual expressions of our psyches and personalities. Creative expressions of our passions and our moods.

In my darker days, my wardrobe was all solid colors. No prints. Basic and boring. I would buy three colors of the same pants and the same sweater.

All the better to hide in. All the better to disappear.

Those dark days are long — and hopefully forever — gone.

How do I know?

Because my wardrobe therapist tells me so.

My therapeutic fashion consultant, Stephanie Hernandez, helped me work through my closet issues.

Stephie is a very good friend of my awesome daughter Colleen. Stephie is a young LCSW with a passion for style and an entrepreneurial spirit. She’s the founder of  “Look Good, Feel Good”— “a therapeutic approach to finding your personal style.”

A brilliant idea! This bipolar soul signed herself up right away!

Personable, warm, and observant, Stephie first sat down on my couch and we had a chat. I walked her through a “regular day” so she could learn about my bipolar life — both at work and at play. I gave her a one minute tour of my condo and then we took a thirty minute walk through my wardrobe.

And then for the next half hour, we played dress up. Mixing and matching funky and flattering combos, Stephie helped me come up with outfits that  I can wear just about anywhere:  @LOC, @EEC,  walking Del Ray, or strolling DC.

Working with Stephie made me feel so much cooler and so much cuter than I actually am!

It was very therapeutic.

It was so much fun.

“Look Good, Feel Good Style”

It’s not just a catchy slogan, it’s fashion philosophy.

I recommend Stephanie Hernandez and her new enterprise most happily!

So friends, what’s in your wardrobe?

Singularly yours:

The Rev: Joani

Note: Also posted on Unorthodox & Unhinged: Tales of a Manic Christian

 

 

 

My Lover is an Open Book

bookish heart pages folded

My lover is an open book.

Quite literally.

Currently I am intimate with three:

White Noise by Don DeLillo. Hilarious, beautiful, and strange.

Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett.  “Lovely, lyrical, and deeply informative”.

and…

The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf.  “A big, magnificent, and adventurous book”.

Each is easy on the eyes, lovely to hold, and stimulating to my gray cells.

It depends on my mood which one I take to my bed.

I love a good conversation with a good book before falling asleep. Pillow talk is both provocative and conducive to interesting dreams.

My intimates are most passionate, as am I.

I am good with words. I make my living with words, but they often best me. Words drip like honey from their pens: quotable things describing intimate things — like this brief delight from Don DeLillo.

Babette and I have turned our lives for each other’s thoughtful regard, turned them in the moonlight in our pale hands, spoken deep into the night about our fathers and mothers, childhoods, friendships, awakenings, old loves,  fears (except for fear of death). No detail must be left out, not even a dog with ticks or a neighbor’s boy who ate an insect on a dare. The smell of pantries, the sense of empty afternoons, the feel of things as they rained across our skin, things as facts and passions, the feel of pain, loss, disappointment, breathless delight.  In these night recitations, we create a space between things as we felt them at the time and as we speak them now. This is the space reserved for irony, sympathy, and fond amusement, the means by which we rescue ourselves from the past. 

Such language, it makes me jealous.

Books are also a sensual thing to hold in the hand: smooth pages, ragged edges, the whiff of oak trees and earth.

And there is something evocative about the printed word, being engaged in black and white.  As sentences slither from left to right, my moods shift from dark to  light.

And books are a perpetual tease. Turn the page! Turn the page! Breathless, I dream of what is on the other side. It is so tantalizing to believe that if I just get to end of this chapter, I will be satisfied.

Deeply satisfied.

And the best of books, of course, make me think. They not only get into my bed; they get into my head. They puzzle me, challenge me. They expand my inner space and widen my outer world.

I will never be an astronaut but I have explored the cosmos. I will never be a philosopher but I have pondered by Walden Pond. I will never be a botanist but flowers and weeds both grow wild in my head.

All for the love of a good book.

Tumbled between the sheets, my lovers lie spent. Their covers lost. Their spines broken. Their pages torn. Their corners bent.

No man can possibly compete.

Or can he?

Next week I take the plunge and dive in deep. I start sixteen weeks of intensive training at the Library of Congress — where I will get to hear, see, and taste all of the delights this great Temple of Learning has to offer: its collections and its history; its rumors and its secrets.

Who knows who I might bump into in the hallways or meet up with behind the stacks?

There’s nothing like a sexy librarian to make me weak in the knees. The possibility of a literary assignation in the corridors of the LOC — lights me up like a firefly.

Yes,  a bibliophile’s dream.

Just one more week on S&TSV.

Singularly yours

The Rev: Joani

Politics Makes for Strange Bedfellows

IMG_1234

Looking for bromance?

It seems Trump and Putin have been playing footsie under the table.

Putin flirts with Trump and Trump’s heart is all aflutter.

Tweet, tweet, Vladimir, strong leader. So handsome, shirtless and mounted on your horse.

Of course, we have much in common.

So Trump, a rank neophyte narcissistically plays the game — courting the love of a KGB thug.

Don’t cry over me, Crimea. The Ukraine? Take it. It’s yours!

NATO? You’re right. Too expensive. We don’t need it. Where is Estonia anyway?

The DNC and Hillary? Hack away, hack away. The server is in the basement.

What we won’t do for love.

Setting up my dating profile, my matchmaker asks me about my politics.

Liberal.

Definitely liberal.

Bleeding heart liberal.

Definitely a Democrat.

And in a mate, what would I find simpatico?

Definitely similar but not necessarily the same.

So in addition to all the above I add:

Moderates.

Centrists.

Slightly right of center.

Libertarians and reasonable Republicans are also welcome to apply.

“But NO Trump supporters,” I emphatically reply.

That would be a bridge too far, beyond the pale. A Hillary-Donald ticket is bound to fail.

My religious preferences, I should note, were broader than my political ones. This lady vicar checked “yes” next to:

Jewish. Check.

Buddhist. Check.

Christian. Check.

Muslim. Check.

Mormon. Check.

Spiritual but not religious. Check.

Atheist and/or Agnostic. Check.

I drew the line, however, at what I considered the outer limits.

Fundamentalist. No check.

It seemed best to steer clear of extremes.

Which, of course, leads me back to Trump — or should I say “Trumpism” – a blind faith that many embrace with xenophobic zeal.

Here I draw my line in the sand, so gentleman, please, play the political card early in the game. In this election cycle, there is no easier way for me to separate the sheep from the goats.

But my own choices make me wonder (Mary Matlin and James Carville aside) how is this election season  going down for all of those already coupled people out there.

The Civil War drove families apart: father against son; brother against brother; husband against wife.

Certainly the Hillary-Donald divide is putting a strain on relationships.

My therapist, without telling tales, of course, has confirmed that this is true. So who can I talk to? Who can I interview? It’s not like I am an actual journalist.

So, thank  you New York Times for putting a real reporter on the job. In the August 13th edition there was a great piece by Sridihar Pappu: He Likes Trump. She Doesn’t. Can This Marriage Be Saved?

This is the divisive tale of Dr. Stossel and Dr Maguire — husband and wife.

“If you vote for Trump, I will divorce you and move to Canada,” she tells her husband.

“He tried to laugh it off.”

“I am serious,” she replies.

“Before this spat for nearly twenty years of marriage, politics had never caused such friction. Then came the 2016 election, a political season that has made for some hot debates in the pubic arena has also seeped into private lives…”

In 2012, Dr. Maguire and Dr. Stossel planted opposing placards on their front lawn: one for Obama; one for Romney.

No problem.

Politics were very low on the list of priorities when we met,” Dr. Stossel says.”Therapists say you have the best relationships when you are clearly separate people. And I like to think we are emotionally centered, so that we can have a major disagreement and it’s not a big problem.”

But Trump? Trump is proving to be an insurmountable problem — a downright deal breaker, you might say, relationally speaking.

(I am pretty sure the supposed author of The Art of the Deal would not like being called “a deal breaker”.)

As a woman, I cannot even entertain the thought of dating a man who would vote for a man so misogynistic and vile. A man  who reduces women to their physical features. A man who has hurled at women the ugliest of epithets. A man who has alluded “to doing his daughter” if she were not his daughter.  A man who belittles his opponent as “not sounding presidential” or “not looking presidential” or “playing the woman card.”

This week Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster, was promoted to the top tier of Trump’s campaign. Part of her impossible job is to increase Trump’s desirability to women voters.

“The more people keep repeating the same insults, the more it invites him to very legitimately defend himself. Women, look at the full measure of the man and not just one comment.”

So a New York Times commentator, Anna North in Taking Note, did just that.

“In the last month, Mr. Trump has not publicly called women ‘pigs’ or insinuated that they treated him poorly because they were menstruating.”

He has, however, asked Russian hackers to break into Hillary Clinton’s email, doubled down on the insinuation that Ted Cruz’s father was friends with Lee Harvey Oswald, implied that gun-rights activists could respond with armed rebellion (or assassination) if they don’t like Clinton’s Supreme Court picks, and called President Obama the founder of ISIS.”

“It’s not that Mr. Trump’s insulting remarks about women don’t matter anymore. Rather they now look like evidence, not only of sexism, but of a broader tendency to malign anyone he sees as standing in his way — with no regard for the truth or the consequences of his statements.”

Trump is most definitely a deal breaker for both myself and my country.

Politics makes for the strangest of bedfellows…

or no bedfellows at all.

Singularly yours,

The Rev: Joani

 

Bipolar Love: The Tale of Archie & Amelie

archie and amelie book cover

“On December 5, 1900, the New York Herald headlines screamed:”

 

“CHANLER ESCAPES

Amelie Rives First Husband

IS OUT OF ASYLUM

Search Fails to Find Wealthy Demented Man

Who Left Bloomingdale Institution…

Former Wife, Princess Troubetzkoy, Also Insane.”

This is the dark and delicious tale of doomed passion: meticulously researched and wonderfully told in Archie and Amelie: Love and Madness in the Gilded Age by Donna M. Lucey.

 Archie is John Armstrong Chanler, born in 1862, and heir to the estate of his great –grandfather John Jacob Astor of New York.

Amelie Rives, born in 1863, is the goddaughter of Robert E. Lee and descendant of a storied first family of Virginia.

Archie’s family fortune was built on the fur trade, clear-eyed capitalism, and Presbyterian rectitude. Orphaned at a tender age, Archie and his siblings were raised by committee. “A wild and willful bunch” they were tamed by “nannies, tutors, and distant guardians.”

The eldest and legally responsible for his younger siblings, Archie, at Eton honed a refined and reasonable self-control — while underneath simmered his literary and artistic appetites.

A nephew of Julia Ward Howe, a progressive scion of the salon, Archie was intellectually curious and cautiously broad-minded. A romantic and eccentric soul, he was also an inventive young man full of ideas and boundless generosity.

Amelie Rives of Castle Hill was a gifted young writer  — gifted — with a dark sensuality. The provocative prose of her first novel, The Quick or the Dead?, garnered her both notoriety and the notice of the literary lions of her day – including the likes of Oscar Wilde and Willa Cather.

Amelie’s Virginia home had “an air of civilized taste and ancient leisure.” Her noble ancestors included revolutionary war heroes and ambassadors to France. But the “War between the States” left the family homestead in tatters. Her father, a civil engineer, like a nomad wandered from post to post to keep his family financially afloat.

And so women, strong women, ruled the roost at Castle Hill. Captured in an 1880 photograph “Amelie, a young beauty at seventeen, stands behind the powerful figures of her grandmother and her granite faced Aunt Ella – as if she were next in line in a dynasty.”

Seductively, Ameilie wielded both her pen and her person to woo the men in her life. Though a woman of the Gilded Age, she boldly bucked the constricting conventions of her time.

Amelie cast aside her corset and wore exotic flowing gowns. Described as “a sizzling vessel of molten lava”, she was also surprisingly religiously devout. Most passionate and erotic in her prose, she made her reviewers blush and made her suitors swoon.

Archie madly, deeply, hopelessly pursued her. After three persistent marriage proposals, Amelie accepted and they were engaged.

Hot and cold, like fire and ice, their eight-year love affair was doomed to failure. The first two years the couple skipped across Europe — settling down long enough only to become unsettled.

Amelie seemed to love Archie the most when he was absent. And when he was absent, Archie was a tortured soul never quite knowing how to rekindle Amelie’s ardor.

Eight years after their nuptials at Castle Hill, Amelie runs off with a dashing and penniless prince, a Russian royal named Troubetzkoy.

Divorced and disgraced, Archie, still hopelessly in love with Amelie, supports her  until the day he dies.

The truth be told, they drove each other mad.

Separately they suffer bouts of insanity. Some real and some feigned.

Amelie is prone to melancholy and takes up some unusual cures in the sanitariums of the Gilded Age.

Archie, wrongly committed by his scheming siblings for seven years, escapes the asylum only to descend deeper into a manic kind of madness. He becomes a prolific automatic writer of the self-published kind. A most generous and penniless philanthropist, he ends his days scribbling his name on the walls.

Bipolar love.

Archie, posthumously, is believed to have come by his bipolar disorder quite honestly. It runs in the family. A gift that keeps giving.

Amelie’s madness is of a similar kind. Euphoric, grandiose, verbose, and highly creative, she cannot help but crash from time to time.

Their marriage was both heaven and hell: Brief episodes of bliss, bright bursts of passion. Disrupted by storms, overwhelmed by sadness.

It could not possibly last. And indeed, it did not.

The madness of such love, is it worth it?

My sensible side says “NO!”, of course. Who wants to end up on the shores of life an emotional wreck?

But my bipolar soul, the manic-depressive me, screams “YES!”

Let me have a mad, deep, intoxicating, engaging, infuriating, invigorating, reckless, mad, mad love affair…

at least one, or two, or three.

Good for a novel, a movie, a play, a memoir. Good for some crazy tall tales to tell my grandchildren some day.

And maybe good for a blog post — or two, or three.

Who knows? Stay tuned.

I’ll keep you up to date one week at a time – right here – at Sex & The Single Vicar.

Singularly yours,

The Rev: Joani

Truth or Consequences

 

vintage-dating-game-board-game-tv-show-1967-39536de1cb4709f405743f90b74693b6-2

I am dating myself in more ways than one.

A child of the sixties, I grew up in the heyday of game shows. Before Match.dot.com,  Cupid worked his magic on The Dating Game.

 Remember?

Three handsome, groovy guys sitting on stools behind a screen; one wide eyed young woman in mini-skirt and go-go boots; a list of cute questions written down on index cards.

Bachelor #1 “First date: burgers, barbecue, or beef bourguignon?”

Bachelor #2 “Which describes you best: knight in shining armor, handyman, or boy next door?”

Bachelor #3 “Tell me about a time when you were a bad, bad boy?”

Cue the fizzy pop music and the tick and the tock of the clock. Sixty seconds later, she chooses and its love at first sight.

From the technology of TV to the app on your phone, the dating business is still pretty much a game show.

So pick up your TV Guide, friends, and come along for the ride. I am filing my field report for the last seven days.

To Tell the Truth aired first in 1956. Remember? Three guys claim to be astronauts. Two are lying. One is not. Hmmmm, dating app, how do I tell the difference?

Well, read between the lines.

The profile says he lives in DC but he messages you from LA. FAKE.

The profile is erudite, witty, and well written but in his messages he can barely write a sentence. FAKE.

His profile picture appears to be clipped from a Calvin Klein ad in GQ. FAKE.

Will the real astronaut, please, stand up?

Uh, oh. Sorry, he never showed up. He was never really here at all. FAKE.

Queen for a Day was first a radio and then a TV show. One lucky lady gets flattered , and pampered, and showered with gifts. And we all know that flattery will get you ___________?

“Hey Beautiful. Hi Gorgeous. You look younger than your age. How is it possible that you are still single?”

“So you’ve looked at my picture, I see, but have not read my profile.”

“O yes I have and we have so much in common.”

“Really? What?”

And they respond with adjectives and generalities copied and pasted from a script somewhere.

They pledge their undying love after a text or two.

Flattery will get you NOWHERE.

FAKE.

The Gong Show was an amateur hour that first aired in 1976. Remember?

Contestants get up on stage and it starts out well. And then very, very quickly it goes south. Very, very quickly, the act gets really, really bad.

Attractive, well read, doctor guy goes from attractive to creepy to scary in just three texts. GONG! BLOCKED!

Middle school music teacher and bandleader turns out to be just a sleazy guy looking for sex. GONG! BLOCKED!

Soldier guy serving in Kabul is really a sixteen year old on his computer in his basement. GONG! BLOCKED!

As I said at the beginning, I am dating myself. Not just showing my age, but I am learning to know and value the datable me.

I am learning very quickly to weed out the scammers, to discern who is genuine and who is not. Sadly it seems that equates to practically everyone on these sites. You’re left pretty much left scraping the bottom of the barrel to discover anyone real at all.

The bar gets set very, very low.

This kabuki theater is not worth my time.

There is virtually no TRUTH here but the potential for dangerous CONSEQUENCES is very, very real – especially for romantic types in my demographic.

The Internet is full of “Digital Lotharios”. To learn this, you need only go the Internet and Google it.

Read all about it at Consumer Affairs or at The Huffington Post.

“Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves,” scripture says.

Face the truth.

Avoid the consequences.

Love is not a game.

Singularly yours,

The Rev: Joani

 

Practice Makes Imperfect

Sorry to disappoint but S&TSV is not about “kiss and tell”.

Hopefully you will find it wickedly funny, brutally honest, but not indiscreet.

And well, so far there has been no kissing so there is no need for telling.

But I have been practicing. No, I have not been practicing kissing myself in the mirror! I have been practicing communicating with the opposite sex.

Online mostly at OKCupid and Zoosk.

First Zoosk.

Advertised as the dating site for the over 50 crowd, Zoosk might better be described as the senior site for the over the hill crowd.

On the up side, Zoosk verifies profile pictures via your smartphone.Via Facebook, it verifies  your identity – if you can call that verification.

On the down side, their clientele seems to be older than dirt. That’s not very nice of me, I admit. I know that I am 61 and I am totally down with that.  The men they match me up with though are definitely from the geriatric demographic. Grandfatherly types, some use stock photos from central casting or pictures of themselves golfing on the green. Others take scary selfies of themselves reflected in restroom mirrors or with their buddies drinking a beer at the bar.

So attractive.

While these gentlemen may be genuine and appear to be real, they are really not what I am looking for at all.

Zoosk, you disappoint me.  I want my money back. I am breaking up with you.

Ok, off to OKCupid.

In seven days on OKCupid, I have had more success than in all my  earlier attempts combined.

And by more success, I mean more practice: the more imperfect art of practice.

And so far, who have been my practice partners?

The Rabid Libertarian. In a stream of very long texts, he  made the case for small government and argued for fiscal restraint. He debated the culture wars and quoted Ayn Rand. A compassionate conservative, he cited facts and figures against the welfare state.

Such a romantic.

Okay, I see that you are very passionate in your beliefs which I passionately do not share. Bye-bye and thank you for the conversation.

The Eager Evangelical. As an Episcopal vicar, I am sworn to love Jesus. And yes, I do love Jesus but this guy loved Jesus way too much. He loved singing about Jesus. He loved teaching about Jesus. He loved volunteering for Jesus. There wasn’t much room in the conversation for anybody but Jesus.

While I work for Jesus, in my free time the last thing I want to talk about is Jesus. (Sorry Lord!) And I am pretty sure that his Jesus was not the same as mine.

Okay.  Bye-bye and thank you for the conversation.

The Flirty Egyptian. Now he happens to be Muslim, so I know he doesn’t love Jesus too much. Handsome and just 47, he is both a flatterer and a gentleman. After friendly texting for a week, I am definitely intrigued. I am not naive and I am certain he flirts with all kinds of older women online. I really have no expectations of any kind but I DO want to lay eyes on this man. So yes, I said yes to coffee at Carluccio’s.

If it doesn’t go well, I will let you know how it goes.

If it does go well, I won’t.

One week down.

Practice makes imperfect.

Singularly yours,

The Rev: Joani

 

 

Anonymous Advice

the winning dating formula book cover

What is a bibliophile to do who knows zilch about dating?

She reads a book, of course.

So bibiliographically, I do a little research to discern who is the current expert in the field.

Which means I googled: “book dating over 50.”

Up pops a popular blogger on the Huffington Post: Lisa Copeland  of www.FindAQualityMan.com. On my Kindle account, I happily download her e-book for free. Good thing because  “Spoiler Alert!”  this reviewer counts it not worth a dime.

And what is the name of this best selling book?  “The Winning Dating Formula for Women Over 50: 7 Steps to Attracting Quality Men”.

Published in 2013, it’s schlocky; it’s simplistic; and its retro advice rings of 1970’s sensibilities. Or maybe the 1950’s.

I confess I have only read a quarter of the book (24% according to my Kindle) and I am not sure I can stomach the rest. It seems to be written for women who have not poked their heads out of their houses since they first dated in their teens.

Here’s sort of how it goes.

Ladies, set aside your worn out wardrobe and freshen yourselves up. This includes ditching your K-Mart underwear and your Crocs, of course. (If you ever catch me wearing the latter just take me out and shoot me. I have totally given up.)

Step #1. Long done.

Feminists, you need to get in touch with your frilly feminine side. If you are an Alpha at the office, you need to play Beta to snag an Alpha man. He needs to know he is needed so play a little helpless if you can. (Yuck, I am not making this up.)

Step #2. Ew.

Okay, this is as far as I have gotten and it’s really as far as I think I will get. But glancing over the table of contents, the final step, Step #7 stymies me. In part it’s about the etiquette of whether a woman over 50 can email a man! Apparently you have to read the entire book to find out. You have got to be kidding me!

I am not sure what Lisa Copeland’s credentials are. There are no impressive letters after her name like LCSW or Ph.D. She styles herself as a professional dating coach, dishing out  expert advice. She has a considerable following on the Huffington Post.

Interesting because many of the experts she quotes are anonymous — “author unknown.” For good reason I believe. No self respecting author would lay claim to some of these quotes.

“The Perfect Guy is the not the one who has the most money or the most handsome one you’ll meet. He’s the one who how to make you smile and will take care of you each and every day until the end of time.”

Gag! I think I just threw up a little.

Your worth does not revolve around what others think. Your worth is what you put in yourself and know in your heart.”

Thank you, anonymous. I already knew that.

“We were given two hands to hold, two legs to walk, two eyes to see, two ears to listen, but why only one heart? Because the other one was given to someone for us to find.”

Cue the violins. Disneyesque, don’t you think?

Okay, not all of of anonymous’s advice is so bad. Here is one which I like very much:

“There’s a guy out there who’s going to be really happy that you didn’t get back together with your crappy ex-boyfriend.”

I would like that one on a t-shirt. Yes, that one is gold.

But I do doubt some of Ms. Copeland’s anonymous sources. They don’t seem to come from scholars of the human heart or even from Psychology Today. They sound a lot like she looked them up in “1001 Inspirational Quotes on Life, Love, Work, Truth and Motivations With Questions to Ponder”.

It’s also available for 99 cents on Amazon Prime.

And while I am far from being the expert here, I think it might prove a better investment.

At least that’s my anonymous advice.

Singularly yours,

The Rev: Joani

 

Reach out and touch…

Reach out and touch someone ad

Professional cuddling.

No, I did not make this up.

Yes, this is a real thing. How do I know?

No, not from personal experience.

I know because I read it in the June 19th New York Times: Pillow Talk with a Professional Cuddler.

Besides dog walker, barista, and bookshop clerk, this apparently is the latest and greatest way for newcomers to make their way in NYC.

“…billed as therapeutic, nonsexual touch on sites like the Snuggle Buddies and Cuddlist — professional cuddling has become the latest thing in wellness, beyond yoga and meditation.”

News to me, the movement dates back more than a decade. The nonprofit group Cuddle Party, organizer of snuggle mixers, “has morphed into a cuddle-for-hire industry of one-on-one sessions.”

“For $79, practitioners who sign up receive about 10 hours of training.”

Yes, for less than $80 and in less than a day, you too could become a Professional Cuddler.

And what do you do exactly?

“Once trained, pro cuddlers promise a physical and psychic salve through spooning, arm tickling and deep embraces. Think of it as a blend of talk therapy, yoga and improvisational bodywork, the free jazz equivalent of massage.”

Full body, totally clothed, on a yoga mat, with pillows and blankets.

And what does this cost?

About $80 an hour.

And where does this happen?

In yoga studios, conference centers, hotel rooms, and people’s bedrooms.

So just about anybody can hang out a shingle and call themselves: a “Professional Cuddler”. No background checks. No regulations. No accreditation of any kind.

Trendy, treacherous, and sad, yes? But I believe it’s also very believable.

Alone and lonely in a city of eight million strangers, one’s desire for intimacy can long go unfulfilled. Yet the simple longing for human touch, a basic human need, is the same everywhere. Its as real in small-town Mannassass as it is in downtown Manhattan.

“Being touched and touching someone else are fundamental modes of human interaction, and increasingly, many people are seeking out their own professional touchers and body arts teachers – chiropractors, physical therapists, Gestalt therapists, Rolfers, the Alexander-technique and Feldenkrais people, massage therapists, martial arts and T’ai Chi Ch’uan instructors,” writes Sharon K. Faber, Ph.D. in Psychology Today.

“And some even wait in physician’s offices for a physical examination for ailments with no organic cause – they wait to be touched.”

I don’t know what all of those things listed above are. I, like you, will have to go to Google to figure that out. But I do know that many of these make sense: physical therapy for wounded shoulders; a deep tissue massage to decompress from stress; a chiropractic adjustment for an aching back.

Supportive, therapeutic touch.

But professional touch is not the same as personal touch. The former does not suffice to satisfy the human heart. All God’s children have a deep-seated need to reach out and touch that special someone’s hand.

Personal, intimate, relational —  human touch is sacramental and sacred.

I am not talking about marriage but I am talking about something deep and holy – something that I believe I wholly deserve:

Something that no “Professional Cuddler” could ever deliver.

So this woman is on a quest. I will be borrowing a friend’s dog to hang out at the dog park. I am signing up for “Book Talks” at Mount Vernon and wine tastings at Grape and Bean. I started volunteering on occasion for Story District and also on Saturdays @LOC. I am changing my traffic patterns. I have uploaded my profile to Zoosk.

”Sex & The Single Vicar” is a very personal quest that I will very publicly post one week at a time.

A personal quest maybe not unlike your own? So dear readers,  I invite you to click “follow” and come along on the search.

I promise not to disappoint — at least I’ll try.

Singularly yours,

 The Rev: Joani