Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Five good reasons to stay single

I know, I know.  You're a little lonely.

You're not getting any younger.   The biological clock is ticking, and  all your brothers and sisters are married.

So, you're beginning to worry.  Perhaps you've been to fussy.   Maybe you should lower your standards.

You know a few acceptable men.  True - none of them ring your chimes.  But maybe you need to revisit your former criteria.

Before you make that sows ear into a Gucci bag, consider these five romantic deal breakers.

If your guy falls into any of these categories, take a deep breath and step away from the man.

1. He doesn't share your spiritual values.  

He loves Krishna and you've got a serious thing for Mohammad. 

He  doesn't think old people have immortal souls and wishes men could get pregnant so he could have at least one abortion. 

When he was old enough for "Confirmation," he announced his affection for Satanism.  About the same time, he began to test the "nine lives theory" on several neighborhood cats.   

Sorry.   The handwriting is on the wall, toots.  When it comes to faith-systems, if he's not in sync,  it's as grim as you think.  Or worse.  A whole lot worse. 

2. He's emotionally vacant.

He never calls his mother.  He evades the IRS and is hounded by bill collectors.   And when his autistic son got too big for him to handle, he divorced his wife, put the boy in a county home for profoundly retarded children and began to hide his assets. 


3. He doesn't understand finances. 

His dining room table is covered with unopened bills from his creditors.   He confesses he doesn't believe in 401Ks, and doesn't trust an employer stupid enough to match his contribution.

He sends cash each month to a mysterious off-shore investment group.  And he asks you to pay for your own dinner.

 4. High expectations

He says he never wants to live in a "used" house, and he loves over-sized, leather furniture.  He wants veto power over any china pattern you choose, and he only drinks Perrier with a twist.  Of fresh mint.

He refuses to learn to iron his own shirt, and a former girlfriend to cleans his apartment.  For free.

5: Self Satisfaction 

He doesn't walk into a room - he saunters. He never asks directions, even when the two of you cannot find the movie theatre. 

At first you thought all of this stemmed from confidence.  Then, you began to notice his lack of imagination and ambition.  

And he might be lazy.  The weeks grow three feet tall in his garden, and he doesn't seem to notice. He refuses to walk his dogs - and insists on owning Irish Elk Hounds. 

Darling, dead "Dear Abby" would say (if she were still with us), "Wake up and smell the coffee, stupid"


Okay, okay, okay.  Maybe she wouldn't call you names.

But you get the picture.

The best thing to do with any of these bozos is run.

As fast as you can.

And tonight, when the stars shine through your tiny kitchen-for-one window, take a silent moment to count your blessings.

Make yourself a tall mug of green tea, light a candle and breathe a prayer of thanksgiving for your freedom.

Because here's the truth the fairy tales never share.

Having a man does not always mean living happily ever after.

Most of us are as happy as we decide to be.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Her husband is a cheater. Should you tell her?

My mother was twenty-five-years-old when she learned her husband Carlos was an adulterer.

Everyone in her small town of Fosston, Minnesota knew - but she didn't have a clue.

Later in life she told me how she misread the quiet signs.

"Everyone tried to tell me," she said.  "But I didn't want to know."

Everywhere she went, she said, picking strawberries, Ladies' Aid meetings, shopping for produce at the fruit market, the other married women treated her with a strange respect.

They stopped speaking when she approached.  They whispered as she departed. The ones who knew her best huddled around her, asking again and again if she had any "news."

Sometimes, my mother thought she saw pity in their eyes, worry.

But hindsight, she said, is always 20/20..

Then, one steamy August afternoon, Carlos came home early from the butcher shop and confessed.

He was sleeping with a seventeen-year-old girl named Phyllis.  Phyllis, he told my mother, was pregnant.

"And I don't believe her," Carlos pleaded. "I don't believe a word she says.  Give me six months, Bernice.  Six months alone, at the cabin with her.  I'll prove her wrong and come back to you."

And so it came to pass that  my mother moved her two children back to her father's house in St. Paul and became a "divorcee".

The year was 1938, and it was not easy rebuilding a shame-ridden life among  judgmental,  irritated Swedes.  Even so, my mother worked hard to remove the taint and scandal of abandonment.

Nothing was righted until nine years later when she married Hans, my father.

The power of lies.

Flash forward eighty-something years.

Carlos is dead.  So is his childless widow, Phyllis.  My mother and father are dead too.

But the lessons of all their intertwined lives continue to educate. 

Living in a family devastated by lies,  I learned the importance of always speaking the truth, no matter how difficult.

But sometimes,  the truth is wrapped in bad news.  And bad news is hard to deliver.

Still - if my mother were still alive, she would say what she always said.

The truth never hurt anyone.  And if it does, the pain is always worth the knowledge gained.

So, at midsummer, when I'm certain several of my women friends are unaware of the antics of their ne'er do well spouses, I offer . . . .

Five simple rules for sharing the worst news possible.

  1. Be certain your facts are correct.  Verify, verify, verify. 
  2. Before you contact her, contact him.   Warn the cheater.  Tell him you're about to blow the lid off his lies - unless he tells his wife the truth.  Give him a deadline - but be careful.  A trapped animal strikes out at anyone - so make certain you deliver this message in a bright, sunny place, surrounded by strangers.  And then - leave town for a few days.  Better safe than sorry.
  3. You're wondering what to say and how to say it?  Phone her - and say this.   "I have information about your marriage.  I want to share it with you, but I won't do so if you do not want to hear it." 
  4. She'll beg you to tell her - but never, never drop the bomb over the phone.   Offer to meet. 
  5. Bring flowers.  Bring a bottle of wine.  Bring a box of Kleenex and all your support. 
You will be surprised how easily the words come, once you see her.

Another thing that grows in the sunshine;  friendship.