Why No, I Will Not Marry You When I’m 40.

11 11 2010

Last week was one of the worst weeks of my life.  After returning to D.C. on Sunday from the emotionally draining funeral of an old friend, I screwed up badly on a crucial day at work, my credit card information was stolen and used to buy gas and groceries in Florida, a woman I wrote about sent me about 25 emails threatening to sue me, my team lost our volleyball game that would have qualified us for playoffs and my train to NYC Friday afternoon was over two hours delayed.

Then Sunday night, after I had returned from New York and was just starting to feel ever so slightly less crappy about my life, I received a drunken phone call from a very old friend whom I haven’t seen in almost a year.

“Laura,” he said, loudly and slurring into the phone, “I just want you to know”… **sound of something crashing in the background**…”that you are the only girl in the universe that I would never have sex with.”

I hung up.

He called back.

“Okay, that came out wrong,” he said. “What I meant to say is, you’re my best girl friend, and if we’re 40 and still not married, promise you’ll marry me!”

“What??” I said.  “Dude. No.”

“I’m serious though.  When we’re 40.  I’ll buy you the biggest diamond I can find.”

…Because that’s exactly what I hope to have when I’m 40: a big, useless diamond and a husband who told me when I was 27 and still relatively hot that he would rather sleep with any other woman in the world than with me.  Fan me, I’m swooning.

I swear, if I had a nickel for every time a guy told me he wanted to marry me when I’m 40 and pushing menopause, I’d have like, at least 15 cents.  Do I have a “WIFE” sign on my forehead that’s so big it makes men want to skip over all the good stuff, where you go on dates and get salad dressing on your face and then nervously wipe your mouth the rest of the night until your skin gets all chapped?  Why would you ever want to go straight from platonic friendship to marriage?  I would seriously rather poke myself in the eyeball with Tara Reid’s severed toe.

I honestly think men have a lot more problems than women do trying to sort out their feelings for the women they want to be friends with versus the women they want to have sex with versus the women they want to date, and I wish that schools would offer some kind of seminar for that in junior high.  I’ve already got a multiple choice question for the final exam:

34. In order to have a successful, long-term romantic relationship with a woman, you need to be

A) Sexually attracted to her

B) Close friends with her

C) Satisfied with her cooking/cleaning skills

D) A and B, but not C

E) A and C, but not B

F) All of the above

I swear, at least 80% of the male junior high population would fail this test, and at least 50% of the male adult population.  So I’m gonna spell it out for you guys.  There are four kinds of compatibility you can have with a person: social, emotional, intellectual, and physical.  Any combination of the first three without the last is friendship, and if any of the first three is missing, your relationship is probably not gonna work out.  You must have all four.

So please stop telling your perfectly dateable lady friends you want to marry them after they have spider veins.  You either love them right now or you don’t. Assholes.


Liz n’ Dick: Romance of the Century?

30 06 2010

I was at National Airport a couple weeks ago perusing the magazine stand for something to read on my flight to New Orleans when I spotted the new issue of Vanity Fair.   There was a picture of a young Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor on the cover with the headline, “Romance of the Century.”  The sub-head promised to reveal never-before-seen love letters from Dick to Elizabeth over the course of their two marriages and divorces, and, since I wouldn’t really know what it’s like to receive a love letter, my curiosity got the best of me.

So I read the entire cover story, and sure, it was titillating.  Richard was very intelligent, passionate and well-versed in Shakespeare, so his love letters were quite well-written and intense.  And I guess some of them could by considered romantic– if by romantic you mean scary and aggressive.

So here’s the love story in a nutshell:  Liz meets Dick on the set of Cleopatra.  She’s married, but he’s charismatic, so he shamelessly hits on her until their movie love scenes begin to bleed into real life.  She leaves her husband after cheating on him and has this passionate love affair with Dick.  They’re rich actors, so he buys her diamonds and takes her on lots of vacations and they drink too much when they together.  Trust issues develop.  She hates his excessive drinking, he’s afraid that she’ll have affairs on the sets of every movie she’s in because, well, that’s how their relationship started.  He writes her a creepy, threatening letter while she’s on the set of her new movie in which he calls her “Twit Twaddle” and “Twitch”:

Dear Twit Twaddle etc.,

I have the shakes so badly that it would be fatal for me to come out to the studio. There is no power failure here so I am warm but still shaking. So come here tonight. I’m afraid that I had one drink but will drink no more until you come home. Try and make it early as we can then see the Cassius Clay fight together.… Also I love you and long to see you but I don’t want to shame you. I may even do—with trembling hands—some work. How about that? I love you and miss you and I think you to be the most desirable woman in the world and remember, NO KISSING WITH OPEN MOUTHS or breathless excitement and all that stuff. Otherwise, I will be down at the studio and certain girls will have a very rough time with certain husbands. I love you my little Twitch. —Husbs.

“I may even do some work with trembling hands– how bout that?”  Or how bout you not drink yourself into a coma at work at then write to me about it, you dysfunctional scrub?

So Liz gets fed up with his shaking hands and obsessive letters.  They get divorced.  He threatens to kill himself, writing her more disturbing letters that say things like, “I worship you.  There is no life without you, I’m afraid.”

A couple years pass, she can’t find anyone else who is willing to call her “Twit Twaddle” and buy her 20-carat diamonds and write her threatening, obsessive love letters, so they get back together.  His drinking continues.  They have loud, violent fights.  They get divorced again, both of them remarry other people, and right before he dies of alcoholism, he sends her one final love letter that basically says, “It was you all along” (my paraphrase) to prevent her from ever fully moving on.

Now, is it just me, or is that definitely NOT the romance of the century?  I mean, VF presents this story like it’s supposed to be the divine model for mortal relationships.  Elizabeth Taylor, who’s really hot, we get it!, has this passionate, obsessive affair with an alcoholic coworker who writes her letters about how hot she is and then croaks, and we’re all supposed to swoon?

I’m sorry, that romance sounds pretty shitty to me.  I don’t need my boyfriend to buy me the Hope diamond and then tell me he will beat up my male coworkers with his shaky hands.  Love letters are great, but it’s really easy for them to border on creepy.  One time I got the following Dick Burton-esque love text from a dude I had met the day before (after I ignored several of his previous texts): “Why are you playing distant goddess to my humble mortal?”

Yes, he seriously wrote that.  But was I swept off my feet?  No.  I threw up in my mouth. Because he clearly had some severe mental problems.

No offense to Vanity Fair, but it’s definitely a sign of the times that they picked this particular relationship as the “romance of the century.”  Couldn’t they have picked a couple that’s still together, maybe a couple that stood by each other through hard times and addictions and grave illnesses and severe weight gain?

John Travolta and Kelly Preston come to mind.  He may or may not be gay, but at least they know what commitment means.

101 Uses for Your Ex-Wife’s Wedding Dress

18 05 2010

Use #17: An Icepack

I really like this: Some guy’s wife left him, and as she was moving out of the house, she packed up all her belongings except for the wedding dress.

“Don’t you want your wedding dress?” he asked her.

“No,” she replied.

“Well what am I supposed to do with it?” he said.

“Whatever the f*ck you want,” she replied.

So he started a blog to document the 101 practical ways he plans to use his ex-wife’s wedding dress, including as a pasta strainer, a scarecrow, a homeless blanket, a sporting event banner, and a plug for the hole in the Gulf.  Well, I think it’s ingenius.


The blog has caught fire (I saw it on Jezebel this morning), and there’s some buzz about this guy getting a book deal.  His ex-wife is probably fuming, which only makes the whole thing sweeter for him.

Let’s be honest: If he actually plugs up the hole in the Gulf with his ex-wife’s wedding dress, I’LL marry him.

Are Computers Ruining Our Lives?

7 05 2010

This man probably has testicle cancer.

I read an article in the UK Telegraph a couple days ago entitled “Women Blame Blackberrys and iPhones for Poor Sex Life,” about the issue of modern internet-phones distracting people’s husbands in the bedroom.  I mean, Blackberrys and iPhones are definitely taking a little away from relationship intimacy these days, but I think it’s silly to blame it on the men.  Men, stop checking your Blackberrys while your little lady waits in vain for your full attention!  No.  Women are just as guilty of this– but it is becoming a problem.

I know that I get really annoyed when I am in a conversation with someone or at dinner or sitting around a living room drinking wine and they check their email on their phone– I find it insulting and worrisome.  Really?  Am I boring you so much that you would rather see what’s going on on the little screen on your phone then focus on this conversation?  Then I get all nostalgic for the days when people would sit around on their porches, talking, drinking, knitting, churning butter, whatever it was they did, without any form of cell phone or computerized distraction.  Once the conversation dispersed, people would go home and read their books for entertainment.  Seems much healthier than the way things are now, doesn’t it? Not to mention much more romantic.

Unfortunately, I’m just as guilty of the computer addiction.  I sit at work all day staring at a computer screen, wishing I were outside enjoying the beautiful Spring weather.  Then lunch break happens, and as I step out the building, I call my mom.  Then the work day ends, I get on the bus and start playing Boggle or Scrabble on my iPhone to pass the time on the ride home.  I get home, plug my computer back in, and check it and my iPhone periodically thoughout the night to see if I got any more emails, to see what the weather’s gonna be like tomorrow, to make flight reservations, to search for adoptable dogs, to check out my fourth grade teacher’s new pictures on Facebook.  What’s wrong with me?  Why can’t I be content to sit in a park with my book and a blanket?

I find it alarming, and I think internet addiction is going to be the next alcoholism.  I think we’re going to have to be really careful to coach our kids to spend at least as much time doing actual physical activities and bonding with people in person as they do texting, gchatting and playing video games.  It’s bad for our mental health as well as our physical health– we don’t know what kinds of cancers we’re exposing ourselves to through laptops and phones and the whole wireless environment.  I actually just googled “man cancer testicles laptop,” and the first three links that came up were all the same panicked question: “Will resting a laptop on my lap cause testicle cancer?!”

What’s funny and ironic about this is that this man is so worried about the connection between laptops and testicle cancer that he probably put his laptop on his lap to type in that question.  The internet may be slowly killing us, so let’s get on the internet to find out all the ways that can happen!

I’m not sure what to do about the impending cancer, but I think at least the intimacy issue can be solved if we just sit down with our friends and significant others every once in a while and say, “Tonight we’re gonna ditch our phones and computers and just enjoy hanging out with each other.”  Maybe we could go for a walk and leave the phone at home, or just put it on silent once we get home from work so we’re not tempted to check it every time we hear a text or email come through.  We may never return to the days of churning butter on the porch, but at least we can try to unplug ourselves for a couple hours a night.  Right??

The Relationship Checklist

26 04 2010

In an article in yesterday’s Times of London, reporter Shane Watson gives young single women a little dating advice so as to avoid the kind of predicament that has befallen Elin Nordegren, whose husband, as we all know, has cheated on her approximately a dozen times.  Watson’s main argument is that women should stick to a rigid “shopping list” of qualities a man has to have in order to be considered for life partnership.

Her suggested checklist:

“1. Must genuinely like women (as in all women, not just fit under-thirties). You can test this. Your fat single best friend will help. Also, he should totally get Sue Perkins, Miranda Hart and scary Sue in Glee.
2. Must have some men friends from way back (and, no, footballers do not count).
3. Must be kind. Without exceptions. Mean cracks about SuBo or Patsy Kensit or Rebecca Adlington are a giveaway.
4. Must not be gay. (Seriously. I know at least three people who married gay men thinking they were just artistic. It doesn’t end happily, ever). Can be almost gay and should genuinely enjoy Mamma Mia! and Alan Carr.
5. Must be capable of equating love with responsibility. Owning a dog is a start.
6. Must have a passion besides you (his work would be a good one).
7. Must have the same attitude as you to sex, money and family. (How much of each is desirable. The best use of it, and so on.) Shopping together and agreeing on what the word “holiday” means is a bonus.
8. Must have some pride.  Note: infidelity is not a deal-breaker for everyone (see Jude and Sienna). But being willing to sell your last ounce of self-respect definitely is.”

Now, I think this is a decent checklist.  With the exception of the man having to genuinely enjoy Glee and Mamma Mia! (we’d all be single forever), these qualities are all definitely necessary for a successful relationship.  Problem is, these qualities are pretty broad and definitely wouldn’t guarantee against infidelity as the article suggests. It’s very possible that when Elin met Tiger, he genuinely liked women, had man-friends from way back, was kind (from what Elin could tell), was clearly not gay, owned a dog, was passionate about golf, had the same attitude as her about sex, money and family at the time, and had plenty of pride.  Maybe there were some warning signs that she overlooked because he was a rich, famous golfer, but it’s also possible that he completely pulled the wool over her eyes.

I’m not sure that a universal “shopping list” can ever fully cover what we are supposed to look for in a life partner. Sure, you want a man that’s kind and not gay, but that still allows for any manner of psychological problems and relationship incompatibilities.  So I would add to my personal checklist:

9. Makes a strong effort to bond with my friends and family, male and female.
10. Deals with conflicts in a mature, rational, problem-solving sort of way.
11. Doesn’t take himself too seriously (i.e. can both dish it and take it).
12. Is adventurous and open to trying new things (food-wise, travel-wise, etc.).
13. Is genuinely compassionate towards people who are less fortunate than him (this goes beyond simple kindness)
14. Is emotionally available (i.e. can be affectionate and express his feelings towards me without difficulty)
15. Takes pride in executing certain basic house maintenance issues, such as changing lightbulbs, opening that stubborn jar of pickles, plunging/trouble-shooting non-functional toilets and shoveling snow off the steps.
And finally:
16. Has great taste in music, because I’m just not sure I could respect someone who didn’t.

Tiger may have sailed through the first checklist, but you can bet your ass he didn’t make the cut on mine.

What’s on your list?

Rehab for Cheaters

5 04 2010

You know what’s stupid?  Cheating on your celebrity wife with numerous hookers and strippers, getting caught, and then checking yourself into a sex rehab in rural Arizona as a last-ditch attempt to save your “marriage” (public image).

David Duchovny did it.  Tiger Woods did it. And now Sandra Bullock’s future ex-husband Jesse James is doing it.

I love how celebrities feel like the rules of morality and fidelity don’t apply to them because they’re rich and famous, but then when they get caught, they blame it on some compulsive psychological disorder that’s beyond their control to deflect blame.  I couldn’t help it, Sandra– I saw that stripper with tattoo sleeves and my medically-diagnosed sex addiction reared its ugly head.  It was all I could do to get a condom on before the crippling psychosis took hold of my brain. Don’t worry, all I need is a few days of talking about my feelings in a posh rehabilitation facility and I will forget how easy it is to cheat on you, I swear.

Give me a break.  Going to sex rehab when you cheat on your wife is akin to pleading insanity in court after getting arrested for a DUI.  What do they even do in sex rehab?  Show you pictures of your grandmother and movies about baseball to get your mind off that barista with eight face piercings that was eyeing you the other day?

Imagine being able to check yourself into a luxurious rehab facility for all of your personal vices.  I’d be in rehab for addiction to food products that contain high fructose corn syrup, for my acute psychological tendency to park too close to fire hydrants, and for this rare disorder that causes me to compulsively lie to people about being too busy to hang out when in actuality I am on my couch watching “Teen Mom” marathons.

Celebs need to grow up and face the music.  Apologize to your wife and try to keep it in your pants. End of discussion.

Internet Smackdown: Online Dating vs. Porn

26 03 2010

Some of the facts in this internet dating study posted by OnlineSchools.com are really, um, interesting.

Do I believe that the online dating industry, which combs in over a billion dollars per year, is bigger than the porn industry? No.  Not even close. I don’t think the porn industry can even be measured it’s so big.  Really interesting, though, that the porn industry blames its recent $74 million decline on the online dating industry.  Hm, should I look at porn today, or should I fill out a 400 question compatibility survey and seek out a lifelong mate?  Only have time for one! …No.  The porn industry is losing money for the same reason the newspaper industry is– free content.

Am I surprised that men lie about their incomes while women lie about their bodies?  No.  But it’s really sad what that says about gender relations.

Is it infuriating that a woman’s online desirability “peaks at age 21,” and that by age 48, men have twice as many online pursuers as women?  Yes.  It’s kind of sick that men see women as having an expiration date.  But I’m not really surprised about that either.

My favorite statistic: eHarmony boasts that  236 of its members are married each day.  But have they ever counted how many of their members get molested each day by the 1 out of 10 sex offenders using their site?

I doubt it.