un.mar.ried (un-mar¢-`ed) n. 1. a couple united legally, but not necessarily emotionally or in the same physical vicinity. 2. separated but not divorced –adj. 3. divorced, but constantly haunted by their ex, as in the undead.
Craig’s List Personals Listing under North Bay WOMEN SEEKING MEN - Divorced bitter white female late 40s of average build with superb sense of humor seeks mysterious, independent nature lover to share good laughs, movies, books, museums, camping, great food and wine and occasionally marginal sex. Must love dogs and kids and on general principle abhor cell phones and related PDA devices. Control freaks, married horn-dogs, and vegans need not apply. Ditto for those sporting pinkie rings, class rings, ridiculous mustaches or affected facial hair patterns, multiple piercings, visible tattoos, or tasseled loafers. Must possess good personal hygiene, including flossing and toenail clipping. No crystals, but a little yoga and herbal teas are okay. Limited interest in televised sports a plus.
People ask me if I’m happier being divorced. “You seem happier’, most of them say. Then again, whenever anyone overhears me singing or humming they always chirp “Somebody’s happy!” not realizing that often when I’m singing or humming, I’m on the verge of wanting to commit homicide, just a quick little beheading with a large machete, and humming’s my audio Thorazine, quieting my inside-of-the-head voices.
My answer to the question, is both yes and no. Yes I am happier not having to live with X’s bullshit, and no, I’m not really happy-er, for for that to be true, you had to have been happy in the first place.
The first year was pretty blissful (save an occasional crying jag when missing the kids, usually assuaged with KFC) - catching up on years of lost self-time. Mass amounts of books were read, mass amounts of movies were watched. Long, luxurious baths, manicures, pedicures, facials, journal writing, and long walks were common place, as well as social occasions of various kinds – lectures, wine tastings, trips to the city, etc.
Best Things about Living Without a Man:
You can bend over without inciting lust
You don’t have to cook if you don’t want to
You can sleep nude without being woken by a pole in your lower back
You get to decorate exactly how you want to
You can bend over and scrub the tub without inciting lust, even naked if you want
You don’t have to supply a running commentary on where you’re going or what you’re doing
You can go to the bathroom without interruption
You don't have to go find something in the fridge which was there all along
Worst Things About Living Without a Man:
You have to take out your own garbage
You have to call someone to come help you move heavy things
You have to watch scary movies in the daytime (and even then sleep with a blunt object next to the bed)
You rarely come home to an already cooked meal
There’s no one to take care of you when you’re sick
According to statistics (which I don’t believe are true) the average married person has sex about 2.5 times per week. I happen to like it about 2.5 times, too, but per month, about as often as I shave in winter. In summer, I can be a bit randier than usual, thanks to the regular consumption of cold alcoholic-laced beverages to quench my thirst. However, I’m bitchiest in extreme heat, in which case I lie around on the couch and swing at anything that comes near me.
Close to beating my old record of how long it had been since I’d last been laid, I decided to concentrate my self-time on getting out and meeting people of the opposite sex, because, even though I detest many men, it hadn’t yet reached the point as to get me to switch teams.
I had one date with a person I met off match.com. He was cute, but not a good match. I acted like a school girl, but he wasn’t much better, spitting his olive pits into the garden area adjoining our table, and having a discourse with the waitress over the quality of that establishment’s tap water that made Meg Ryan’s character in ‘When Harry Met Sally’ seem like a person who just points at the menu to order.
Months later at a wine tasting, going for ‘almost-a-virgin-again’ status, I got into a discussion with a group of folks about a Bay Area radio show with Jon Carroll that had ‘cats versus dogs’ as its premise. The group discussed pros and cons of each. I proudly and willingly came out on the side of the dog people. One gent I had found initially intriguing turned out to be not only a cat person, but also a total dickwad.
“You prefer dogs because they acquiesce”; the affected wine geek purported to me. “Truly confident people are cat people, who, like cats, value their independence.” This kind of rhetorical punditry fires me up. “You’re damn right they acquiesce!” I vehemently replied. “I’m buying their food, I take them to the vet, I let them shed all over everything… I take them for walks, I buy them toys (even after they’ve destroyed my sunglasses, headphones, my favorite Charles Jourdan handbag, three pairs of shoes and 12 Barbies), and I damn well expect a little unconditional love and loyalty in return! Dogs get that, that’s why they don’t call cats man’s best friend!”
Mr. Superior Cat Person sat smugly and sneered at me. “Well, all I’m saying is, I can love something without requiring it to love me in return in order to feel whole.” “Yeah, well that’s because you’re single and don’t have grown up kids! Talk to me in about 15 years!” I retorted, quaffed the last of my Pinot, set my glass down firmly on the table and left, seeing as how most in the group were cat people, so my prospects for ending my sexual fast didn’t look too good.
On the way home a thought came to me. Part of my problem in the relationship world is that other people see me as more of a cat, whereas I think of myself as more of a dog, with an inner cat. I liken myself to a mid-energy level dog from either the sporting or hound group – I am a loyal companion who likes to snuggle up on the couch at home, but also likes free run of the land. Relatively low maintenance, affectionate but not needy, like strangers, love other animals as well as kids, love the water and the entire great outdoors, and am an excellent watchdog, but have relatively low protection ability.
On the other hand, most men I meet are like dogs from either the working group – not that fond of strangers, but possessing great protection ability, or the terrier group – fun loving, but hard to train (this is why they’re not like the herding group, something that you gals might be thinking of, regarding those who try to fence you in). Kids generally start out like dogs, become cats during adolescence (also hard if not impossible to train), and with any luck from the infinite powers that be, turn out to be a mixture of both, though hopefully mostly dog (I am bias).
More months go by. Record is officially broken. A friend and I decide to try speed dating. The inner cat in me decides to be calculating and come up with a list of 10 can’t stands and 10 must haves to make the most of my 4-minute conversational interludes with 18 strange men. One that wasn’t on the list to begin with, but made the can’t stands count climb to 11 by the end of the night – men who come to a speed dating event totally unprepared, with seemingly little to say.
CAN’T STANDS (my son would say that by listing these first, it cements his accusation that I am a negative person, that my glass is half empty. I do it because it will likely draw the most laughs).
1. Arrogance – and don’t give me that ‘when you point a finger at someone there’s three fingers pointing back at you’ shit either!
2. Environmental disregard (litterers are the lowest of the low)
3. Anti-social behavior (as in - your ass is usually on the couch at home)
4. Control Freaks (see Arrogance)
5. Passive Aggressiveness (can you say - sneaking around the block to go next door?)
6. Low ambition/motivation (not to be confused with procrastination, a perfectly acceptable trait, to a point)
7. Jealousness (insecurity disguised)
8. Slovenliness (I’m no Joan Crawford, but c’mon, we’re adults)
9. Workaholism (got a life?)
10. Apathy (huh?)
1. Sense of humor (ala old Simpsons, Al Franken, original Ren & Stimpy, Michael Moore, Molly Ivins, David Sedaris, Ira Glass, Sarah Vowell, evened out with a little Garrison Keiler)
2. Left-leaning politics (see above)
3. Honesty & Integrity (are they exclusive of each other?)
4. Nature Lover (must included camping)
5. Culture Addict (all kinds, including trashy)
6. Independent Social life, complete with own friends and hobbies and trips away (maybe this should have come first)
7. Dog & kid lover (best judges of character)
8. Meat eater (yes, that’s right, I can't get down with someone who can’t dig into a BBQ’d rib!)
9. Social drinker (had enough of the friends of Bill W., but equally will not tolerate those who drink to excess)
10. Love of travel (not just out of your own county)
Fast forward. Record still holds, but I pray the end is near when I move to a much bigger pond with more fish! Sounds promising, right? Show me a large town where it seems everyone is already hooked up, too young, gay, or not a good fit and I’ll show you a town that does a booming adult video rental business and has a mail truck laden with silicone toys and plastic bagged magazines in plain brown paper wrapping. So what's a girl to do? Get more pets. Currently - two dogs and two cats. Thanks be to God for their unconditional love. Looks like I will be a crazy old celibate woman with a houseful of cats after all.
Obituary listing Nov 4, 2048 – Lara Maxwell, formerly of Salinas, beloved mother of Forest Zero (lead guitarist of the rock group ‘Bus Full of Asians’) and Claire Moots (actress, New York) died ALONE of cardiac arrest on Nov. 1st in Charlottesville, VA. Her coronary was brought on by swinging a broom wildly at a young boy who had ridden his bike through the sweat peas surrounding her mail box. Local animal shelter authorities are doing their best to find new homes for the 7 cats and 2 dogs she leaves behind.