Chapter 57. Crocodile is in love

Very in love, he says, he sold the house, the company, the racing car and wants to move to Puerto Rico with his 28 year old girlfriend that makes him feel X and makes him look Y. That is the key. He also wants me to tell his mother about his plans. This love he feels for this woman, this rush, makes it impossible for them to be apart which only proves how scared he is to be alone.

Crocodile and Miss Reggeaton (which is the term that I use to decribe a young girl that listens to that kind of music and postes pictures of her butt on Facebook) have been together for six months. During that time, they got matching tattoos and posted pictures on Facebook of their naked tattooed bodies, of them holding hands, at a spa, drinking champagne at fancy restaurants. They want to share with the world how happy they are. They travel each weekend, stay at 5 star hotels, go to Michelin Star restaurants,  announce their relationship, their engagement to be married. The beauty of social networks, the perfect life. Yet, every once in a while, I get a message from crocodile in distress:

“Miss Reggeaton is leaving me, all because of you. She says that I gave you everything, too much…and that she cannot deal with that…” A couple of days later they are off to a new destination.

“Miss Reggeton is coming to town on Sunday, it might be the last time I see her. She does not undestand that I have a daughter and that my daughter will always come first so I will make it very clear to her” A couple of days later he is gone and does not call or see his daughter for two weeks.

Manipulate and you might find yourseld manipulated by someone smarter than you.

So I called my best friend the other day “Hey what is going on, why do I feel so unhappy sometimes and what do you think people could hate the most about me?”

“No way, I cant´t hate you, you are perfect, and your life is perfect, I see it on Facebook. Everything that you do is amazing, and you look great all the time. So happy, so perfect. I coud not say….Rachel, please focus on your moments and truly enjoy them, they are nobody elses´business…my wife is obsessed with that shit, she spends three hours in bed looking at what other people post and she suffers if her friends´s kids appear on this blogger´s blog and ours don´t. I think you women are crazy”.

I have deleted my Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Chapter 52. So he sends pictures of his penis while you are at work?

“Yes, he did, and I was so happy with what I saw, he sent pictures from every angle and let me tell you that I had never seen anything that big before” Eva said.

I was driving my Jeep down to Baja to meet some old friends and put some distance between my day to day life and where I want to take it, that is, perspective. The long drive was giving me the perfect opportunity to make those touch base calls that you never get to make. I have a few important people in my life who don’t live  near me but whose souls are always with me because they have met mine along the way. Eva is one of them.

– What did you think about his emails? Don’t they put Fifty Shades of Grey to shame?

– Yes, indeed, but watch out Eva, I think this guy is a sociopath, didn’t you say that he is about to get married? I mean, I looked him up on Facebook, they seem like a respectable family but when I read the stuff he sends you…it just doesn’t add up. Something is off. I know that you need the rush and the excitement in your life and that you are not getting it from Luke right now, so as long as this remains virtual fine. I would not dare to take it to the real arena.

Eva is a bit younger than me, she and I come a long way and have done a lot of the same things. I remember the exact day that I met her, she had come late to class and she was wearing a white sweater with the American flag on it. I thought “She must be European” not that many college kids wear the printed flag on their clothes in the States, Europeans do.

She was from Córdoba, on exchange program to the US. It was 1997. We hit it off right away and I was immediately amazed by her ability to get the hottest guy in the club. She was very attractive but there were other girls more attractive that were unable to operate the way she did.

So a few years later she had married an incredibly hot Dutch guy, I mean really hot. Had the big wedding in downtown Córdoba and moved abroad to Shangai.

Now she was feeling like her husband was traveling too much and there was nothing left to conquer so she started flirting with a client via email…

– He has suggested that I fly to Hong Kong for a hot date. It would be a clean deal, back the same day, should I go?

– Whatever Eva, if that is what makes you happy do it. Nothing that I say would make you stop.

– You did it! You went to Milan for that guy!!!

– Yes, and how did it end? Me at his apartment with the flu, covered in a flowery duvet and watching his washing machine do the last cicle while holding a cup of hot tea. Reality strikes hard. Life is a lot more interesting in our heads at times Eva.

– I am going! Since I got those pictures I am on fire. Seriously, his penis is so big and it was not even totally hard. I am just worried that Luke will find those pictures of his huge penis on my phone. By the way, what were you saying about your August plans before?

– I forgot…

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 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.

Three years ago I had to let go of my childhood best friend, the truth is that she had been a bitch to me her entire life but she had always gotten away with it. Until one day I read a bitchy comment made by her on my FB and I eliminated her from my life. How do I feel? The same way I feel about my fake boobs, I should have done it earlier.

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 33. The crave

Early love is a drive. People live for love, kill for love and die for love. It provides great joy and great sorrow to those who dare to experience it. When in love your brain gets a rush, some say similar to a drug, and you feel invincible for a few weeks, maybe a few months, maybe a few years. Your obsesion for another person is powerful. Suddenly it gives sense to your life and all those inherently human feelings of insecurity, sadness, anxiety or lack of satisfaction disappear. You feel, you really feel everything in the air, you no longer think to much, at least you do not worry so much, and that not thinking and all that feeling makes you simply and wonderfully happy.

The bothers of everyday life, the feelings of emptiness at work or in general that we all feel at times, in sort, human despair, is gone while early in love. Your mind is now governed by the craving for another person, that you feel is there to complete you. The sole comfort of imagining that you might have a chance at being with that person is reason enough to forget about your worries, some say that this time of uncertainty is precisely the sweetest part of early love (infatuation). You get to fantasize for hours about the object of your desire, you can observe him or her from a distance, your look for that person’s car in the parking lot, at the gym, you go out with the hope of running into that person, you long for their number to show up on your telephone screen and of course you think about sex. Some say that this stage exists only to ensure human procreation, that is, to trick us into having babies… You try to find out everything that you can about that person, focusing on what you like and not seeing what you might not like because love, in that sense, is as blind as people say.

Many people (men or women) are known for not giving themselves completely into the madness that love is. You have perhaps experienced or listened to stories about guys that have commitment problems. Perhaps these people have decided (after a bad experience) that the rush is not worth the suffering, perhaps they never dared to go for it or perhaps they feel that their life is better when is them in control. Like death, love happens to everyone at some point, we can even say that love is life and love is death. The difference is that those who experience romantic love or love at all its stages, live to talk about it, to write about it, to make movies about it or like in my case, to blog about it. Sometimes people going through love don’t even need to talk, you can just see them go up and up in excitement for a while to then observe how they fall and hurt themselves badly. When that happens, it is only natural to remain cautious. Even Prince Charming broke up with me after a wonderful month of dating in France. I never understood his reaction. We were crazy about each other. Now, twelve years later, with a son across the ocean, a broken heart and a divorce on his back, I can understand his hesitance.

So is it worth it? Is it an intelligent thing to fall for someone that way to only find out  later that after some time, in the best case scenario, you will spend the rest of your life with the same person, putting up or tolerating all those things that you dislike about yourself with him/her? The very same things that you were unable to assess during the early love stage? Will you be happy having three kids, a dog and a mortgage? Will you be happy evolving into the love stage that civilized people call “mature or affectionate love” based on companionship and mutual respect? What will you do when those human feelings of anxiety and insatisfaction come back into your life?  What if after falling for that feeling/person and going through all of that you discover that you miss your former self? What if you fall for someone else after having started a family with another person? What if your partner falls for someone else and says ciao overnight?

If someone invented a pill to stop infatuation from happening once you get married would you take it? Would you take it in order to skip the craving or would you skip taking it and go again for the ephemeral  illusion of a happy human life?

Of course happiness can be found in the sense of family, watching your children grow, striving at your career, humanitarian causes, etc…but that is not what I am talking about.

Chapter 27. Changing standards

When we were young ladies, let’s say 17, our parents used to tell us to be sensible, to avoid going out with whomever and to wait for the right person to come along. This educational message changes with time, until it becomes absolutely contradictory.

At 37, your mother (who has spent the last 7 years showing increasing anxiety about your relationship status) will set very different standards for you regarding what constitutes a suitable mate. At this point, your fertility is not starting to decline, it’s dropping quickly, and she is well aware of the fact that unless you make a move, you will not become a mother easily and therefore, she won’t become a grandmother either.

Do not be surprised if your mother, your great aunt or your favorite aunt, feel that it is ok to ask you out loud at a family gathering (in front of all of your cousins, their spouses and numerous loud children) if you are ever going to have a baby because “they are so looking forward to see you become a mom, have grandchildren, etc, besides “all of their friends already have grandsons and granddaughters” they say while “they have got nothing to brag about”. At that point, the already embarrassing conversation can become even more so when they go ahead saying things like “You can have it with whomever, nowadays you don’t even need to be serious with the guy, tell him that we will raise the baby if need be, right? [laughter at the table]”.

These sort of awkward moments do happen more often than not. Is it or is it not a contradictory message to a woman who was previously told to have standards? Does she need to forget about them altogether now simply because she is aging?

We must be careful about the messages that we pass to our children because their standards for normality will be based on what we say or do.

Crocodile used to say in front of my six year old “Go help mommy set the table” “Help mommy tidy up your room” “Let’s help mommy with this or that” as if anything that had to do with the house was naturally on my to do list of responsibilities. He would also use a scornful tone of voice whenever he disapproved of something that I would say or do and his tone and manners would only become more derogatory within our own house walls. Very concerning indeed and very bad example for a young boy setting his own standards on how women should be treated. But again, what can you expect from a crocodile raised in Crocodilopolis?

The way that we are educated is the way that we educate our children, unless we make a conscious effort to educate ourselves, set what we have learned to be wrong apart, and make new standards of what constitutes healthy.

Respect, discretion and gender equality would be a good starting point. Parenting and motherhood are a personal choice for men and women alike and setting the table or doing the dishes is no longer mommy’s thing because sharing spaces means sharing responsibilities. How simple is that?

Let bygones be bygones.

Chapter 26. Crocodilopolis

There was a place in Egypt called “Crocodile City” also known as Crocodilopolis. It was a city of worship of (you guessed it) the Crocodile God. The crocodile was adorned with expensive garments and jewels (so he had the largest part of the walk-in California closet), he had his own pond (that he would willingly share with others in order to scape from loneliness) but in his pond his name was written all over it. Since an early age, the Crocodile God had always had special food made for him by his servant, that had raised him and worshiped him in every possible way making sure that he would grow to become a confident ruler, empowered and entitled to all kinds of attention and favors, which he would of course, expect from servants later on.

He lived by false modesty saying things that were applicable to others, but never to him, he was a God after all. He expected perfection when he was indeed imperfect. He expected generosity when he was indeed selfish. He expected frugality when he was extravagant. He expected patience when he was restless.

Crocodile had it so nice that he never dared to go abroad, perhaps because of the potential inconveniences of discovering alternative political arrangements or worlds. This fact considered, Crocodile City never became a big metropolis. Despite being located in one of the most fertile regions alongside the Nile river, it remained a rather second class city until it was eventually replaced by a more modern urban formation.

The inhabitants of Crocodilopolis paid a particular reverence to their God, not because of his supremacy but because he made them dependent on him under false premises. Their jobs, families and prosperity depended on their obeisance. The Crocodile God was very good at buying favors and keeping his servants under control. Under him, servants could reach a certain status and experience an ephemeral sense of well being, but it was given or taken, never a thing of their own.

During their kingdom, which was passed from fathers to sons, Crocodile Gods recruited and surrounded themselves with the best artisans, minds and thinkers, they needed to be exposed to beauty and brilliance to make up for their own shortcomings.

Thankfully, under the pressure and forces of a stronger new Empire, Crocodilopolis ceased to exist.

Chapter 25. Impossible love is more fun

Eccentric couples are more interesting. Cross cultural marriages and different age unions no longer surprise us.

They came in vogue when Bowie married Iman, when Nicole Kidman started dating Tom Cruise. Michael Jackson, Priscilla Presley and Woody Allen consolidated this trend, setting the bar quite high for the rest. Katherine Zeta Jones married Michael Douglas, Aston and Demi did the same. The list is long and continues to expand today even amongst royalty.

From this I conclude that people are looking for challenging projects and “rare” animals to domesticate that make their lives more interesting, entertaining, unique and meaningful. We are looking for a meaningful existence.

Movies have always contributed to the trend of impossible love stories. Think of Tarzan and Jane, King Kong and Anne, Pocahontas and John Smith, Aladdin and Jasmine, and of course, Crocodile Dundee (Mike) and Susan, last but not least, Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Yes, impossible love stories make better blockbusters. We want to believe in their feasibility.

Most of those couples were unlikely to stick together and if they did, they probably had to work really hard for it. The reason, always the same: cultural differences.

You don’t need to marry into another country to marry into another culture. You don’t even need to marry into another culture to marry into another culture. Simply try marrying someone 25 years younger or older than you or marry into a family with different political views or different level of education or something as simple as a different zip code or region. Any of these factors suffice to have challenging family gatherings.

When choosing a partner some people are looking for compatibility of characters and hobbies and values while others feel more attracted to the opposite pole which explains why nice girls from nice families have always had a tendency to fall for the rebel kid in high school.

But when you are a middle age woman you understand that life is challenging enough, so your partner or the person that you choose to create a family should not add more stress to the party. Rather, the sensible thing would be for your family or couple to provide a sense of comfort and a refuge from the harsh outside world. But after a while, we find that boring and unfulfilling.

Charles Dickens, known as the urban writer, had a feeling for human character. He lived during the Victorian era and Victorians were great cultivators of family life. Dickens described the family as “the subculture where the distressed can ultimately find hope and refuge from the ruthlessness of society at large” so why would we want to take a crocodile home for that matter? or a guy like Tarzan? Why would we want to fall for the rebel of the class and expect him to become the perfect companion or father to our children later on? No, women at a certain age should know better than that. And yet we don’t.

There are way too many successful middle age women dating impossible projects and adding more stress to their naturally stressful lives. There are way too many women complaining about the lack of rush in their marriages, the lack of excitement and claiming more individuality in their relationship. The same can be said for men who have beautiful loving wives and still feel the need to have an affair with pretty much whomever.

Could it be that we want the excitement and the comfort at the same time?

 

Chapter 24. Marriage after love

Watching a 60 year old couple dancing happily or holding hands after many years of marriage is the most conforting thing.

I was watching my great aunts’ favorite tv show and there was this couple who had met 47 years ago at a ball and there they were, on a prime time tv show for retired people, performing together while looking into each others eyes. Normally this could be considered an example for all of us who struggle to just keep the same pace when the song starts.

This couple was nothing like that, they seemed to really enjoy each other and that is more than most couples can say nowadays.

Many couples stick together for the sake of their kids or for their own well being. They base their marriage on patience, mutual respect and understanding that their union, once sealed, must be preserved in spite of their own needs or feelings of boredom and apathy towards one another. They justify their marriage on religious or moral beliefs, whatever works. They enter the universe of marriage after love (by love here I mean infatuation). They find happiness on watching their project (family) grow in a safe environment. Because the truth is that family as a whole does better when the family sticks together pushing and pulling in the same direction.

Perhaps there are couples who are able to put all of this together while keeping the flame alive, those are the really blessed ones. But the large majority settle for the comfort of having someone else calling the same place home. To pick up the mail, to collect the kids, to help pay the bills, to look after the dog, to have lunch on Sundays when the kids are gone, to be better off, to go to dinner parties with other couples who are on the same boat, in short, to grow old more comfortably in a more bourgeois setting. Because there is something worse than being alone and that is to be alone and not have enough to make ends meet, and there is something worse than to grow old and that is to grow old alone.

So is marriage after love a matter of convenience or an act of love by itself?

In many cases we could say both. All human beings are looking for happiness and in many instances, that means personal satisfaction and convenience as well. Convenience sometimes means staying in an otherwise dead end marriage, they experience (as Charles Dickens calls it) the clash between the individual and society. They go with society, so that a mutual project can unfold, children can have the bigger house or take that family trip, to make sure that they go to a good university when they graduate high school and still have a place to call home.

If you are unable to settle for that conventional lifestyle or you don’t feel like doing the family/couple thing because you are more of an individual, or if circumstances force you to live your life differently, do not panic, you can be just as content, if not more.

Chapter 23. Under the crocodile spell

Being infatuated is a state of grace. You can spend countless hours thinking about the other person. You die in anticipation to see him or her and you feel like you are floating. Nothing bothers you, you are at peace with the world and the only thing that matters is your obsession towards the object of your desire. They call it cloud nine.

We rush to call that feeling love when in fact is sexual attraction, infatuation. The same reason that makes you feel that that person’s body odour is pleasant or inexistent. We pay little attention to how important BO is when in fact, it plays a very important role in this thing that we call “love”. When you are “in love” you find your partners natural odour delightful and when you are “out of love” you find it disgusting. It is as simple as that so take good note of that sign.

They say love makes you not only happier but better looking. Whenever you are in love “you glow”, your teeth are whiter and you look great in all the pictures.

Perhaps you have to go back to those first days or months of infatuation to justify your relationship today. You may find yourself wishing to feel the way that you felt back then or you might have to admit that thrill is gone and you feel bored and anxious because you are lacking some excitement. Or the day might come when you have to admit that your partner has “fallen” for someone else.

Love is in that sense, ruthless. They say it plays by its own rules or lack thereof and that we must simply admit that it is the way that it is.

I recently read the following sentence “The death of love is life and life without love is death” and I am not sure if the author was referring to rational mature love or crazy infatuation. Perhaps humans have always felt confused and writers, when writing about love, have referred to both concepts indistinctively, which has caused great confusion amongst readers and what constitutes love.

Some people are more romantic than others and are able to live and preserve a romantic lifestyle. Others, like crocodile, think that romantic love is silly and unnecessary. They will feel infatuated because after all, they posess the animal instinct that it entails, but they will fail at developing romantic moments that go beyond sexual encounters.

Don’t try watching a romantic love movie with a crocodile. If by the end you are crying and feeling sad or happy for the main characters, crocodile will look at you and start laughing at your face.

“I am sorry for you. You are frozen for love” I said. “Maybe, but I’m a good fuck”.

Fair enough.