Unfortunately, an already very shallow dating pool has been split in half. We now have a left end and a right end and our ideas are the rope floats keeping us apart. Websites are popping up all over, catering to this new polarization. On your right, you have TrumpSingles.com displaying a very upwardly mobile attractive couple out for an elegant evening. On the left, you have Maple Match catering to liberal U.S. citizens who, as a result of the election, are ready to exit the country.
So, the big question is: Can a pink beanie and a red baseball cap ever live happily ever after?
According to Grindstone, there are some political unicorn couples out there. You have Mary Matalin, a Republican political consultant, and James Carville, a Democratic commentator. Their diametrically opposing views seem to fuel the passion and perhaps their disagreements are a form of foreplay.
They are not unprecedented. Although, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt had 6 children, their marriage definitely had its rocky moments. During FDR’s presidency, Mrs. Roosevelt wrote This Troubled World, a book directly opposing many of her husband’s ideas.
There are other presidential examples as well. After the very conservative George W. Bush exited his presidency, his former first lady Laura Bush, proclaimed she was pro-choice and supported same-sex marriage, in direct opposition to her husband’s beliefs.
All three couples have differing values and opinions but managed to keep their marriages together. Of course, I suspect with very different levels of success. So, maybe it works and maybe it does not work but they do offer hope. If they can come together, compromise, and make their relationships work, shouldn’t our country, with all its collective resources, be able to do the same?
The Best Signs
I think we all need a little humor. These slogans were seen on Inaugeration Day and at the Women's March on Washington. (There are fewer pro-Trump slogans because he won.):
The Women's March on Washington
For my #2 No Fears I am invoking the First Amendment and joining the Women’s March on Washington.
For the record, I am nonpartisan. I have voted for democratic, republican and independent candidates. I have been pleased and disappointed with my respective presidential candidates' wins and losses but this time is different. It is so different, I am spending the equivalent of an Italian vacation to cross the continent and make my views known.
Before my right-leaning friends ditch me, I must say I do see positive changes, directly and indirectly, attributable to our president-elect:
After a great deal of soul-searching, I realize there is a whole lot contributing to my concern regarding Donald Trump and I can understand why the Women's March has had a difficult time finding a unifying theme. Which, of the many issues, does one choose? After more thought, I find a rather simplistic answer with two overarching loosely defined characteristics fundamental for a good president. There is much evidence Trump has neither. They are: truth and empathy. (Thanks to Meryl Streep for using this perfect word in her Golden Globes speech.)
Our president-elect has a very complicated relationship with truth. I have heard him connect Ted Cruz’s father to Lee Harvey Oswald via an article in a tabloid, say thousands of people in New Jersey cheered the collapse of the Twin Towers, tweet he would have won the popular vote if millions had not voted illegally, claim he could not release his tax returns due to an IRS audit , and other obviously ridiculous statements. Jane Mayer of The New Yorker interviewed Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter of Trump’s bestselling book The Art of the Deal:
Schwartz said of Trump, “He lied strategically. He had a complete lack of conscience about it.” Since most people are “constrained by the truth,” Trump’s indifference to it “gave him a strange advantage.”
Trump understands the power of the press and puts an extraordinary amount of time into managing it. He is the first president to adopt Twitter for conveying his message. On the surface, this does not appear to be a poor decision. After all, aren’t we receiving the undiluted truth directly from the source The problem is he, with his own interpretation of the truth, is his own fact checker. Isn’t this the job of our legitimate press and part of the checks and balances of our country? He does not appear to believe so.
There are factions alienated by this president:
Our 45th president is a complicated human being, unlike any previous president. Like all Americans, I hope his tenure is successful but do not see this happening without some major changes and there are a whole lot of us who are VERY concerned.
After pouring over press sites, both liberal and conservative, trying to distill my viewpoint into a slogan for my protest sign, I have finally figured it out. Superman’s mantra was: Truth, justice, and the American way. I’m changing it a little to fit the situation: Truth and Empathy are my American Way. I have designed the sign with super ”men” of all colors, sizes, and genders standing with capes waving in unity . For truth and empathy truly are my American way.
The Big Event!
Here’s how it went: The 2 marrieds and I arrive at the saloon and this good looking tall guy approaches me. I feel a little giddy until he tells me he’s a pilot and flying out in the morning. It’s very hard not to roll my eyes.
Me: No, you’re not. You’re drinking. Pilots don’t drink before flights.
Pseudo-pilot dude: Uh… the airlines have loosened up their restrictions.
I give him the “how stupid do you think I am” look. For some reason, this does not turn on my new “pilot” friend and he soon disappears.
Looking around the bar, we spot this guy who really stands out. He has grown his mutton chops into semi-moustaches sticking out six inches from both sides of his head. My friend is intrigued and asks if she can have her picture taken with him. He agrees. Later we notice he is groping her boob in the photo.
Everyone seems to know each other and I ask one of the regular gals if there are any guys who will dance with me. She pulls a cowboy aside and we two-step. I’m proud of my resourcefulness in talking to her but notice the guy assumes some non-existent intimacy.
The last dance is Sweet Home Alabama and my married friend and I rock out to it. After all, she is one half of my date! It is the best dance of the evening and everything ends on a high note.
Onto No Fears #2!
Regarding fighting my fears and going out dancing by myself this evening, I have two confessions:
Very much looking forward to the evening. Rumor has it the place will be packed! I'm sure I'll be witnessing a massive hit-on-a-thon upon my married friends!
Dancing My Fears Away!
The first week of 2017 and my first act of bravery! I'm putting on my big girl pants and going dancing Thursday night!
Happy No Fears!
Last year, I talked my friend into crashing a party. We heard all this great music and laughing and did not want to miss out. Unfortunately, it did not go well. Mortification has blocked some of my memory but there was confrontation, outrage, and kicking-out involved. Looking back, we should have grabbed a bottle of wine, offered it to the hostess, and said the party sounded like a lot of fun and to enjoy the wine with our compliments. We might have been invited to join in the festivities. Invitation or not, it would have been a classy way to handle the situation and is exactly what I will do next time. You, dear reader, may use this graceful option for any of your upcoming party-crashing opportunities.
Upon returning, tails between our legs, my friend’s husband was shocked by our new party crasher status and even more shocked I was the instigator. I was chastened but also a little proud of us. We did not stay home listening to all those people having a good time. We put on our party pants and went for it! Of course, we went down in flames but we STILL went for it!
In the same vein, my overarching goal for 2017 is to be more bold. I know a life well-lived requires one to be courageous and I am ready for the challenge. I aspire to tackle one fear-inducing activity each week and blog about it. I’m going to talk to that guy at Peet’s. I’m going to go to that event by myself. And finally, I’m going to crash that party… but this time with a bottle of wine. You, dear reader, can learn from my mistakes and forge your own courageous path. Together we can lead emboldened, richer, opportunity-filled and more productive lives because we decided to be brave.
Happy No Fears!
P.S. Click on the Happy No Fears image for the downloadable PDF.
The Sage Advice of Kenny Rogers
I decided to get a head start on this “fighting my flirting fears” thing and made a b-line for a local bar with dancing. I had already vetted the place. It’s not a 20 something hang-out and there are no cars in the parking lot worth more than my condo.
Upon entering, a guy catches my eye because I’m certain he has not caught anyone else’s eye. He is unattractive; thus he is not intimidating and the perfect man for some flirting practice! Also, I figure he might appreciate the attention, so I head over his way. Couples are pulling some complicated esoteric dance moves and I turn to him and crack, “How come you’re not dancing?” He pauses and looking slightly panicked, points to the opposite end of the bar and responds in a squeaky voice, “My girlfriend is over there.”
I consider this guy for a beat, a whole lot of dialogues running through my head, and decide to take Kenny Rogers’ sage advice: You've got to know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away.
Flirting and Happy No Fears!
Do one thing every day that scares you. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
There is something very empowering in throwing caution to the wind, getting down and dirty, and battling your fears. You walk away, with your back a little straighter, knowing you had the grit to take on those demons. With time, stretching your fear-fighting muscle can become a habit creating an emboldened you. With each new challenge, you become a cage fighter yelling, “Bring it on!” with new found guts and determination propelling you forward, making you more and more unstoppable.
Flirting is my terror trigger If I see an interesting man in a coffee shop, I can’t start a conversation. I would never approach a guy at the grocery store or go to a sports bar by myself to watch a game. If I see a man looking at me with interest, I always avert my eyes. I worry about being embarrassed or looking stupid or being rejected. That, dear reader, is a life based on fear and a recipe for a whole lot of missed opportunities. My New Year’s Resolution is to get out there and not be so darn fearful. I want to figure out a way to meet that guy in the coffee shop or grocery store. Right now, my only strategies are dumping coffee in his lap or knocking over a fruit display. I may need more help than I thought…
And then I’m going to blog about it. You can offer me suggestions because I sure don’t know what I’m doing! You, dear reader, can sit in the judge’s booth displaying your number cards: 6 for technique! 2 for creativity! 10 for tenacity! And maybe this little blog will inspire you to get out there too!
My business partner Patty, whom I call Wordsmith, came up with the perfect catch phrase for this resolution. Instead of Happy New Year’s, we’re calling it Happy No Fears!
The Gutsy Spinster
I seem to keep wondering off on tangents. I started this blog thinking
I would write about the funny parts of dating as some objective observer. I felt more comfortable addressing the singles’ scene as a science experiment run amok, rather than allowing myself to become emotionally involved. Unfortunately, in this continued social distancing, I’ve veered off track and written of cats in Airbnbs, Mary Queen of Scots, decisions in writing my book, hiking and a whole lot of extraneous stuff.
The truth is: I’m not very brave. I thought writing a very funny book about dating and having a website would force me to get out there and at least socialize but I’m having a rough time. Even with all the bravado of Spinster’s Guide, I’m a little embarrassed about being single. I just don’t feel like I fit. As my mom has said, she thought I would be the stable one with 6 kids. Instead, I’m divorced (a born-again spinster for you semanticists out there) and navigating the singles’ scene in my 50s. If that were not enough, there is an added complexity: I’ve been single for years. All this “me time” has created a monster who is not great at compromising and has a list of dealbreakers a mile long. Sometimes, I wonder if I haven’t lost my stomach for dating.
An example of my social failure happened the other night. I noticed one of my favorite bands playing at a local bar and asked several friends if they would like to go. (That’s also the thing about being single. You must plan everything ahead if you’re going to spend time with others. You have no built-in social life.) My pals all had packed calendars. I did not have the guts to go by myself (it’s humiliating to be the old lady at the bar) and stayed home. I am embarrassed to say, I have no idea if I would have had fun because I was too afraid of being alone.
I needed to take a page out of Shonda Rimes’ book: Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person. She talked about her year of saying yes to everything and all the opportunities that came as a result. Maybe you can join me, dear reader. Maybe we can be the proverbial roller rink stars, pulling each other forward through the morass of potential loneliness, embarrassment and heartbreak and coming out on the other end, not to a whooping crowd, but perhaps with our heads held a little higher in living a life not compromised by fear and perceived expectations.