Jul 11 2010

Insatiable

Insatiable.  What better wine to pair with “Naked Pasta?’  I quickly sent a text and photo to both “chef” and “date” – two friends in Tulsa rustling up veggies, salmon and pasta.   Caught in iPhone photo-taking mode by the Safeway wine sommelier, I tossed a bottle in my cart and pushed on.  The Chardonnay is currently “cellared” in my flat waiting for the right moment – kind of like me 25 years ago.  I was a 26-year old virgin waiting for “the one.” Once uncorked I had the abandon of a genie released from a bottle.    I was exclusive but insatiable!

Released a second time on the dating scene, a quarter of a century later, I wondered what to expect and how I’d react. How had time and experience possibly changed me? I knew enough to know I had set sail wanting it all but how would I steer my ship on the journey. Would I drift, would I seek safe harbors, would my itinerary include varied ports of call?

Questions expanded to include: What did men and women,  after years of marriage, think and expect? Were there still double standards for the genders?  Did mature adults “hook up” like today’s teens?  Was there license or a pattern of using someone  “casually” to buffer the ache of the initial bottomless hurt of a ended, long-term relationship? Could well-adjusted adults enjoy unexpected couplings without fear of such casual sex branding them with “a fear of intimacy?” Had sexless* or loveless marriages created pent up desire?  Were men and women “wired” differently? In my age group, was there an expectation of “serial monogamy ” or attitude of free-for-all exploration? Was a new biological clock ticking?

Nudes & Whimsy thru July 29th at Pearl Gallery Tulsa.

What criteria did a tender-hearted, romantic woman who the first time around waited for “the one,” use now to navigate dating at 51?

As I pondered, I listened to peers further along in the journey.  They had much to say. One discovery surprised me.  I guess some things never change; intelligent people are having unprotected sex.  To quote one of my favorite Arkansas sages, “I tell my kids when you are with someone, you are with everyone that person has ever been with.”  I raised a son who knows better than to take such risks.  On this front the brain should be captaining the ship through relationships.

As for the rest, there are as many “right” answers as individuals.  I personally still lean toward mind, heart and body working in harmony and not conflict.  I still want it all.  I thought I had it a second time as I found myself in a head-first free fall a year ago.  Turned out there was no water in the pool and even my optimism smarted from the impact but I learned I could fall again – much more than I imagined possible before the experience.  A year later I am further away from “married”, no longer madly in love and starting to date. A few experiences tell me I haven’t changed and I don’t want to rush or be rushed.  This time is an opportunity.  As I muddle through I know I will make some great male friends I’ll grow to love and if I’m lucky, when I least expect it, I’ll fall a third time.  Hopefully it will be the charm because if I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned I am programmed to desire and thrive with someone very special in my life. I may never marry again but in the days ahead my life won’t be just about work and staying home alone unless, like last night, a night in with a Papa Murphy’s pizza, wine and a tear-jerker episode of “Glee” fits the bill most perfectly for recharging my spirit so when I do answer those match.com emails I give each my best.

Just in:  Lots of fascinating fact and thought-provoking theory in this New Yorker article.  http://nymag.com/relationships/sex/47055/ I just found linked to a Times article a reader sent me. *Quantified in article!

Also – visit The Pearl Gallery! 1201 East 3rd St. Tulsa, OK 74120 918.588.1500
Hours: Tues.- Fri. 11-5 www.pearlgallerytulsa.com

As always, Tracey


Jun 29 2010

Ask me on the third.

“Big plans for the 4th?!”  he asked, with a Cheshire Cat grin.

“Ask me on the 3rd,” I muttered, my mouth full of dental instruments.  It was Monday. I still had my head cold, was getting a silver filling replaced and my Match.com guy was interested – in someone else.  Did I really want to think of my first major holiday alone?   No.

But today is Tuesday.  The table is set for a madcap, potluck dinner with seven dear friends – or at least six. The seventh guest is my co-host for the evening, someone who “friended” me on facebook while he was traveling in Athens last month with his nephew. We are meeting for the first time at 6 o’clock tonight, roughly the same time my overnight guest and her dog Sofi arrive.

He has already written two poems for me. See if you can find me in this one:

Tulsa is where she says she comes from.

Really, she comes from everywhere…

Always, has, always will.

Creating her own sense of place

Each and every whistle stop of her journey…

You’d think she’d settle down by now.

Continue reading


Apr 19 2010

It’s okay to look.

April 19th, 2010

I have always intended to broach the subject of online dating services. I was going to round up the statistics, read accounts and opinions online and conduct interviews with those I knew to have had success with eHarmony and match.com.  Then one night a web banner ad caught my eye.

“It’s okay to look,” it beckoned ever so innocently.

Ha! I hope the ad copy person who thunk that one up made a mint.  I muttered out loud, “it’s okay, it’s okay” like a mantra as I clicked and clicked and clicked again.

My iPhone buzzed.  “Walk the Whippets in five?” queried my neighbor Kim.  “Give me 10,” I replied as I zipped through application questions.  For a marketing professional I won’t pretend I did my best work throwing together my own profile but I posted my facebook self-portrait, some basics and dashed for the elevator.

“GUESS what I did?” I told Kim as soon as our three Whippets finished their usual high-energy, over-the-top enthusiastic greeting for each other.  I don’t remember much about our following conversation.  I wanted to get home and look – again!

Ball caps, bikes and beards.  That’s how I’d sum up what I found.   “Of course.  That’s Portland,” a friend told me.  “Hmmm… Tulsa, too,” I answered.

I began to learn the vernacular and considered posting a comment that “winks” weren’t really welcome.  How does a girl my age respond to a wink from someone in North Caroline, Ohio, Minnesota, New Mexico, Tennessee, Florida … when she lives in Portland, Oregon? “Flirt back right away with a wink, or even better, an intriguing email. He picked you out of millions,” match.com urged.

I wasn’t buying it. I hit the delete button as swiftly as I did late one night last July when I changed my facebook relationship status and Jake popped up immediately asking, “Single?”

At the time, economics, logistics and a long-term, deep connection kept Joel and I from acting impulsively but in June we had turned the first corner, or two or three.  As I sat at my desk responding to emails I pondered my profile details. I didn’t feel “married.” The facebook relationship options were limiting.  “single” wasn’t accurate.   “It’s complicated” promised to invite too many questions and “divorced” would take some time.  Why wasn’t “separating” an option, as it is on match.com?

As I waded through match.com messages initially, I experienced the gambit of emotions: dread, fear, hopelessness, interest, and compassion.  Whatever their level of honesty or motivation, on my computer screen were the faces and messages of men seeking relationships, risking rejection but taking a chance.  As days passed I found it bit easier to delete the fellows with 3 cats, 5 kids at home, 50 extra pounds, four-digit incomes and no common interests but I bought into the process.  In a week over 700 chaps had viewed my profile.  I’ve asked the question before:  “It’s a big world out there.  When it comes to something as important as finding a life partner do you limit yourself to the haystack in your backyard?”

I had beginner’s luck.  The first person I wrote back to was Buz.  A sane voice with sage advice and a great sense of humor.  We arranged to have lunch at a restaurant in South Waterfront.  I texted Joel with my plan and timetable, caught a cab and spent a delightful afternoon getting to know a new friend in Portland.  I had planned to take a cab home (good advise) but didn’t.  Please don’t tell my mom; I’ll never hear the end of it.

Buz brought to my attention the challenge my two-city schedule created for anyone interested in me.  I also hadn’t given much thought to my in-transit status: separated but not officially divorced.  When a friend suggested eHarmony was a better choice I spent some time completing their questionnaire.  It was indeed a more impressive approach than that of match.com but they rejected me! Their message was crystal clear.  eHarmony is in the business of match making, claiming credit for 2% of marriages in the United States.  When I become officially available, it will be okay to look at their membership rolls.  Not before.

Expand your horizons, Trix

Visit these sites:

http://www.eharmony.com

http://www.match.com

http://chemistry.com

Consider this:

Online Dating Magazine estimates more than 20 million people visit at least one online dating service a month (2007) and that more than 120,000 marriages a year result from online dating (2007).