Chapter 40. It’s hard to win an argument with a smart person and impossible with an idiot

“Everything that I see happening here should be on a book. I simply cannot believe what is going on, how does he dare to talk to you like that? In front of me! “You don’t deserve this. You know, for a while I thought that you would be exaggerating, but this guy is not even a typical Spaniard, this guy is a freaking gorilla, a small town man. It’s not that he cannot be with you, he cannot be with anybody!” My friend sentenced.

“I don’t understand how you can put up with this and not say a word back. I am a bitch, I would say something back or make a scene. I swear. You are a good mother, you hear me? You are a good person with many good things and please don’t allow this small town asshole and his family to put you or your son down, they can kiss your global butt”. She kept going.

I knew she was right but said nothing back to crocodile when he accused me of not minding my daughter properly and accused me of her falling in the park in front of my friend, when he made me feel bad for not having a spare sweater for her when she spilt some juice on herself. I had everything else: underwear, long sleeve tshirt, spare pants, socks. She would be fine, she even had a wind jacket and it was 70 degrees. But he had to put me down, and in public.

I had decided long ago not to argue with crocodile. After all, winning an argument with a smart person is hard but winning an argument with an idiot is nearly impossible. When this incident happened at the park, I had spent four weekends in a row looking after my children alone while he was out having fun. Somebody smart would come home and at least try to show gratitude but this guy was just too sexist and too much of an idiot for that.

How many times one can waste time and energy arguing with someone who does not want to understand? Who has not hit a wall whenever explaining the reason and the point of things to someone who does not reason? How did it make you feel? Frustrated. Exhausted. Angry. Perhaps sick.

So that is my point.

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Chapter 39. Out of order

What happens when you live your life out of order? Meaning, when you have certain life experiences at the wrong time? Imagine, you build your house from the roof. The house won’t endure an upside down building process and it will end up in ruins. The same could be said about relationships or lives that don’t start where they should.

I went out with Mark a couple of times and I felt like I am too old for dating people, needless to say, Tinder. I think that due to my parents divorce, I grew up too quickly and that is why I got engaged at 21. Who does that? Nobody. Unless you have no place to call home anymore, because your parents are so busy moving on and hating each other that they have forgotten to cater to your needs. Yes, at 17 and 18, you are still a child that doesn’t know where is going.

Right about the time when I met Prince Charming I was feeling quite alone, the same type of loneliness that I felt when I broke up with the crocodile, that is, completely alone and with no place to call home. At 18, I was old enough to go abroad and look for a new horizon that made me forget about my devastated family, I was lucky enough to meet a loving guy who taught me about normal relationships and shared his normal loving family with me. At 36, upon leaving the crocodile I was in a tougher spot, middle aged woman with two divorces on her back and two small children, one from each marriage, with an unstable income in a slow economy, surrounded by a small town bourgois mentality, a narcissist mother, …not a great spot at all.

Luckily, I was able to get on a plane to the U.S. with my children and meet some friends in the West coast who helped me  a great deal. Then, I got back on my feet. I would put my children through middle school with a lot of effort. Most of my weekends where dedicated to them; their birthday parties, their sport events, their wishes and desires. And I, as a woman, dissapeared for a few years.

In my early 40’s I felt like Praticia Arquette in one of the last scenes of the movie Boyhood. I thought “so this is it?” I had had so many life experiences and I had traveled so much and I had had so many husbands and so many ex families (well, I consider two a lot) that I had no real motivation to get romantically involved.

So yes, Mark had it really difficult.

There was nothing particularly wrong with him. He was polite and trying hard to please me. But I just could not be bothered.

After a few months dating I started to see Prince Charming in him, which made me miss him a lot. I realized that he was and always would be, the man of my life.

During one of our dates, Mark also told me that in the movies, women always caused the trouble and the story to go down, which made me think of crocodile. He truly believed women were the origin and source of all men’s problems and considered women to be inferior to men. And yes, he actually voiced those thoughts to me. So when Mark made that statement, I stopped seeing him.

It had been a perhaps innocent comment on his end but before I knew it I found myself saying the cliché phrase: “I don’t think that we should be seeing each other any more, it’s not you, it’s me”.

He called a few times but I never returned his calls. And that is how Mark became a thing of the past, hunted by my own past’s ghosts.

I see this thing happening to too many divorcees.

I think I am getting a cat. No, two cats.

Chapter 38. Online dating

I am in love again, or at least I can say that I am infatuated, happy, excited, all good things.

It all started when I created my Tinder profile a few months ago. A friend of mine had introduced me to this app while on vacation so I knew that it was tested and trusted by people in my circle. She was very used to using it indeed and knew how to tell the good matches from the bad matches. I on the other hand, did not have her high standards and criteria. After the crocodile, they all look good to me!

So, upon returning from Greece I started to think about a good introduction story to upload (I was not going to talk about the two divorces and the two kids upfront right? or should I?) I looked for some decent pictures, they needed to be sassy and interesting, not the typical upclose and full body pictures that most people use. And they needed to reflect the way I look now, not ten years ago…

So I went with a photo that I took skiing this year and a picture that my 6 year old took of me while I was waiting for him to get dressed at home one morning. He started to play with the camera and caught me by surprise. I suppose I picked them because in those two pictures I show two important parts of me: that I love to travel and sports and that I can sit and wait patiently around the house with my children if need be while looking natural (no make up) and real. But I was missing one, the sassy one, and since this online dating app was well known for helping singles get laid, I decided to look on the Internet for a nice picture of someone’s rear on jeans and pretended it to be me. I found the perfect picture and I included it in the portfolio. Just for kicks.

The day I uploaded the complete profile I had so many likes on it that I had trouble managing the account. Most guys made a comment on the third picture, only a few liked the first and none liked the second. Oh well…

Amongst the guys that liked my ski shoot was Mark, a really attractive guy that reminded me of Ewan Mc Gregor.

We started to chat on Tinder and he said: “I love the way that you make the snow look”. I said thanks and waited for him to make a comment on the third picture. If he was really worthwhile he would say something about it, after all, that pic was there as the tricky one…the honesty test. So I waited a few second seconds. Then his text hit my screen “The other shots are quite nice also ;)”.

Okay, he had prequalified.

We continued to chat for a few weeks until one day he suggested going on a trip together to meet in person. At that point, I mentioned my two kids and he did not seem to be bothered at all. Minutes after I had mentioned my family status and restraints he had booked a plane ticket to Santa Barbara.

Mark is from Wisconsin, a really flat state located in the Midwest. Midwesterns are known for being kind and family oriented like me so I really had my hopes up for this guy. Besides, he had moved to San Diego recently and did not know a lot of people so that would also mean that we could have more time to ourselves without prior commitments and relationships getting in the way.

After my experience with the crocodile, I was conviced that couples are able to flourish better when they are far from close relatives. And that seemed to be the case with Mark. He was divorced himself, after ten years married to a Spaniard. No kids.

All my judgemental attitude towards online dating services and telephone applications dissapeared the minute I saw Mark getting out of the airport cab. He was taller than Crocodile, well, that was easy since Crocodile is only 5.9″. Mark seemed well built, stylish, he had a European thing going because his clothes did not look very American. A guy like that in America is rare, most American guys in their late thirties still keep their college clothes and what is worse, use them. If they look too kept or fashion conscious they risk to be taken for gay.

But Mark looked like a true heterosexual fashion forward man, and he smelled good too!

God had responded to my prayers.

Chapter 37. In a while crocodile!

Living with a cold blooded animal is very stressful. That is why if I had to think about one word that described the time that I spent with crocodile I would say: restless. My therapist had said to me “Girl, you are living in a state of permanent alert. You must be exhausted”. She was right on. I was so exhausted that for the very first time in my life I did not have to diet to look skinny. I would not have to fight sleepiness while watching a movie late at night. I simply wouldn’t fall asleep. And that is how I knew about insomnia, which by the way, I do not recommend.

Crocodile on the other hand would take frequent naps by the pond. Watching him sleep so peacefully at all times would only make my insomnia increase. I was so frustrated. But you know, crocodiles spend most of the time sleeping, looking so still that you just want to kick them to see if they are still alive. And you know that they are, what is more, you know that they are good pretenders and that they are only half asleep, while their other half is watching you now and then with that intimidating yellow glance…

So very soon after moving to crocodile’s pond I understood that a pond is not a place for a lady to remain. Simply because you can’t invite your friends to dinner there, or have a normal life, or feel comfy enough to take a nap on the couch. No. You risk however being taken on a tour under water by playful crocodile who would, from time to time, find appropriate to scare you to death just to remind you about your prey status, just so you know that the pond is his element, and not yours.

So when a lady is in that position, given women’s adaptive nature, there is no option but to learn to survive while figuring out a good exit strategy which might involve having to learn how to breath under water. You start taking quick dives under water when crocodile is not watching and put your lungs to test time and time again, then you breath deeply. You rest for a while, then pretend nothing happened, then when the opportunity presents itself, you try again. Soon, your pulmonary capacity will increase and you will become almost amphibious. Why? Because you are a woman. Why? Because you are a fighter, a surviver and you know that your best  place to be is other than where you are. So you look for a good chance to scape and discover that that moment is the moment when crocodile pushes you under the water and relaxes his jaws, confident that you will stay put until he brings you back to the surface. Then you sleep away and laugh to yourself while thinking:

See you later alligator! In a while crocodile!

Chapter 36. Once a bitch, always a bitch

Bitch: a female dog or other canine, your (so thought friend) who smiles flirtlily at your husband, ex-husband or soon to be ex-husband behind your back, thinks is ok to whatsapp your partner, ex-partner or soon to be ex-partner and offers him help and/or support during your divorce. A good bitch may even offer your ex help decorating his new bachelor place at your birthday party. Nice.

It is the same kind of friend that you used to have in High School, the one that dated you ex behind your back while you were still trying to get over the break up. Except now she is older and wiser and more astute and ups!, that thing that grown ups become, civilized.

Ahhhh there are so many bitches in the world indeed! I love them, I have met them all throughout my life because as I have mentioned earlier in this blog, I have lived the high life with a good looking man who adored me and with whom I had the opportunity to travel around the world and do amazing things. And that lasted many years! Can you imagine how many bitches I collected along the way? Then, to their own pleasure, I met crocodile and fell and bit the dust quite hard while many of my surrounding bitches were swimming in an ocean of joy thinking…about time!

When I was a teenager I got a scooter for my birthday. Since I was the first to have it I taught all of my friends how to drive it and shared it all the time. I was really happy when I was able to teach my friends in my parents parking garage. What reason could they possibly have to hate me? Suddenly, some friends became hostile and started to act weird towards me.

From those early experiences I concluded that those who are there watching your every move from up close and who you make a part of your life with an open heart sometimes don’t witness your life with love but with envy, waiting to see you fall, waiting to have what you have, waiting for their turn to shine. If they spend part of their lives criticizing what you do, what you write, how you fold and keep your baby clothes (yes, that goes for you former sister in law, I heard you from the downstairs baby monitor while you and your mom were upstairs critizicing the way I keep my daughter’s clothes, you bitch) if they do that, they are nothing but your fans.

Yes, those who talk badly about you, those who purposely wait until the last minute to wish you happy birthday (they call them friendnemies these days) those are your biggest fans. I have unmasked them many times (whatapps sent to the wrong person = me, and other hilarious moments). I have at times pretended to get offended when in reality, I no longer get offended by most bitches moves because I’m used to having to live with them and because they serve a purpose: to reinforce my personal brand. I can smell them from a far and I know exactly who they are.

As of late, I simply act oblivious to the whole bitch move  when it occurs. That doesn’t mean that I don’t acknowledge it, that doesn’t mean that unmasking a bitch doesn’t hurt at times when you discover that a woman that you thought to be strong and  genuinely friendly with you ends up being another simple bitch.

I smile, seem happy and act stupidly cool, naive and oblivious to the whole bitch episode, just like true bitches do.

Do you know what I mean?

Chapter 35. About Prince Charming

“They are all Prince Charming” she said to me, “until one day, without any notice, they stop acting like Prince Charming and they turn into toad, not a todd, a toad. That is what happens when reality hits”.

So let me get this straight: Prince Charming doesn’t exist? “Not really, men worry, mostly about themselves, but will only be happy with a woman that does not complain about her day, her needs, a woman that looks great and dresses well of course without spending too much, but above all, a woman that seems content, someone without problems, a woman that never ever complains about her day”. “That and no other is the secret behind happiness for most guys” she kept going. Why do you think 50 shades of Gray was a best seller? Because if men want a woman that doesn’t complain, women want a man that makes them their priority, worries about their well being while respecting (or learning to respect) personal boundaries and who doesn’t have to worry about making ends meet. If you have ever met a guy like Grey you are a lucky girl. Why? Because women want to dominate while getting the sense that they are being dominated. Just like it happens in the book.  In the end, she  (Anastasia) is the one who is in charge.

But as we know, the reality is that most women don’t spend their lives with a man like Grey and that is why they like reading a book about what it would be like to have that kind of life.

I know, it is heart breaking, we spent our childhood watching Disney movies and believing that the day would come when we could relax and live oblivious to evil. The thing is, when we watch those movies again (and most of us with children do just that on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon) we look at the Prince and go “Mmmmm…I am not so sure about him”. You can’t help wondering about their life after the happy ending. Did she get a job or did she stay in the castle? Did he go hunting every weekend? What about her? Was she happy in palace? Did she get along with the in-laws? After all, she came out of nowhere…and then, their background, so different…Did they really live happily ever after? Who did the dishes? The animals from the forest? They barely knew each other!

There are gentlemen out there in the world that want to be knights and that will come up to girls wearing their (fake) armour, riding their horse and showing off their power. They go after their princess and go for as good as it gets as they work on delivering the expected dream.

The problem is that we are no longer fulfilled by the “happy” ending. Women want more these days. We are not exactly sure about what that is because sometimes trying to do it all results in madness, stressful lifestyles that make us always feel half way there, professionally and/or personally. There is a general sense of confusion about the role of women in the modern world, business and family wise.

For example, when it comes to family management, are we doing it right? And what constitutes doing it right for you? Just wondering…