Creating a Fight to Make Sure You Argue Effectively!

Well, well well …. you knew one day it would come to this, right? In my defense, the problem is that I read too much. If only my eyes hadn’t landed on the glaring headline, “All Couples Fight, but Here’s How Successful Couples Do It!”

ALL couples?? Gulp. I grew immediately panic-stricken when I realized there hadn’t been any arguments in the new relationship I was in. Not. A. Single. One. What was wrong with us? How would we ever know if we were a successful couple? We have been putting all this time and energy into having a stress-free relationship and now that was going to be counterproductive.

We’d never even had a slight disagreement about something as innocuous as our food preferences. One of us will say, “Mushrooms are a fungus and I can’t stand them or anyone who eats them.” And the other will nod empathetically and say, “The world will not be safe until mushrooms are eradicated!” and then we’ll order a plain cheese pizza to seal our bond over the common enemy.

At first I tried to calm down by reminding myself this article was just click-bait or an urban legend. But Snopes confirmed it to be true. In fact, there were links to other supporting evidence like, “Couples Who Argue Together, Stay Together, Research Finds.”  OMG! You cannot state, “Research Finds” blatantly in your title if research does not actually find it! My new boyfriend and I were doomed.

Unless I acted prudently and propelled us quickly and effectively down the road of quarreling. But how? And over what? It should happen organically and naturally, I thought. Fortunately that’s exactly the point when this surfaced in my newsfeed. “4 Fights Every Couple Must Get Through Because They’ll Actually Bring You Closer.”

Aha…a roadmap! We could make up for lost time by closely following the steps to these four recommended fights all in one day. I quickly committed the article to memory and dialed my boyfriend’s number. “Play it cool, Stephanie” I chastised myself. “Ease into it.”

Me: Hi. How are you? I don’t want to have any children. I think the world isn’t a good place to bring kids into.

Him: But what will you do with the six you already have? Also you’re 55 years old.

Me: (flustered) I am not.

Him: Are so.

Me: Am not.

Him: Are so.

Things were going along swimmingly like this for several hours until he finally conceded that I looked more like I was in my mid-forties and so obviously my Match profile must’ve had a typo — then he gallantly apologized. He hung up after saying he adored me. Well that qualified as completing our first official fight, but there still were three more arguments to get through. I dialed him back.

Me: I’m not feeling heard by you.

Him: Shouldn’t you say something first so I can hear it?

Me: That’s not how I mean the word ‘heard.’

Him: Oh! Herd? Where would you like me to herd you? We could go to dinner or a movie with a very large group of people? We could visit sheep? We could…

Me: (exasperated) I mean that you don’t listen to me.

Him: (Silence)

Me: Hello? Are you there?

Him: Yes. I’m listening.

Me: Our communication styles are totally different.

Him: Still listening.

Me: See? You never participate by volunteering your point of view. You just sit there quietly, only focused on listening to me.

This argument got completed and checked off the list in record time! He told me I wasn’t making any sense and then we were off to the races with things really escalating and it ended with him suggesting we see a therapist. Yes! We should go immediately and as luck would have it, tonight there was an opening. Because at this point, I was more than grateful to have a counselor guide us through the other two disagreements more professionally.

Me: I’m dissatisfied with the frequency we have intimate relations.

Him: Completely the first time I’m hearing this from her.

Therapist: Stephanie, would you like to have intimate relations more or less than you’re currently having them?

Me: (Damn my menopausal memory. Quickly trying to google that last article to find the answer) Uh, um….well… Give me just a second to decide.

Therapist: While she’s thinking it over, are there any other issues you’re having?

Him: None. Prior to today, we had zero trouble.

Therapist: Interesting. Stephanie would you agree that you haven’t had any problems until just now?

Me: Shoot. Don’t you get internet up here on the eighth floor? What’s your wi-fi password?

Therapist: Would you like to answer that last question, Stephanie?

Me: Well just going from sheer memory, there was one final 4th argument. Let me see….oh yes…one of us inherited a ton of money from the recent death of a parent and now we’re disagreeing on whether that money should go in our joint bank account.

Therapist: I’m very sorry for your loss. And that’s a super common argument for married couples to have.

Him: We’re not married.

Me: Are so.

Him: Are not.

Me: Are so.

Him: Are so.

Me: Are not . . .

Again, I was extraordinarily pleased with the expediency of our getting through all four of the recommended arguments in less than 24 hours, when suddenly the therapist intervened.

Therapist: I’m afraid you’ll have to continue this super UNcommon argument on your own time. Our session is over and I’m meeting my own husband for a delicious mushroom pizza!

In that instant my boyfriend and I both made equally intense expressions of disgust and revulsion. We linked our arms together and shot daggers with both sets of our extremely compatible eyes toward our mutual enemy, as we went home to partake in extremely satisfying intimate relations at just the right frequency.

READERS: What’s your opinion? Does every couple argue? And is how well you argue predictive of the future quality of your relationship? And most importantly, are you a mushroom lover?

How Can You Want What You Already Have?

Many readers individually messaged me to journey further into my last blog post “What Happens When the Honeymoon Phase is Over?”

So awaaaaay we go . . .

  1. You’re eating your third pralines and cream ice-cream cone. It’s your favorite flavor and you’ve had a real craving because it’s been forever since you treated yourself to it. How many licks into it do you still really and truly have strong interest for it? Maybe a bag of salty Lays potato chips is starting to sound better right about now?
  2. You always wanted to be a novelist. It was your life’s dream. And now you’ve put out three books — congratulations on achieving your goal! Ho hum, now it’s feeling kinda old hat. What’s next on your bucket list? Becoming a literary agent … a professional who helps others reach their own writing goals. Now THAT sounds fascinating, right?
  3. You’re in a relationship with someone you thought was highly intriguing, rather mysterious, and definitely “hard-to-get.” But they finally noticed you and now you’ve settled in for a monogamous commitment. How is it then that your bedroom life has become a predictable yawn, and why do your eyes zero in on the next elusive stranger who happens to flit by?

Of course the common thread in all three scenarios is … Desire. What propels it and what causes it to dissipate? Is a burning desire as simple as wanting what we cannot have? “The grass is always greener” or “The Forbidden Fruit?” Lets take that last phrase literally for a moment. If you hear a newsflash that after tomorrow bananas will be outlawed, what will go through your head? Yes, it will soon be illegal to grow them, ingest them, or use them in slapstick comedy … so of course what will you suddenly want more than anything, starting tomorrow? Even if you never really cared for them in the first place. That’s right….get peeling! Cuz you’re about to go bananas for bananas.

Every failed dieter knows this lesson when their “Last Supper” on Sunday night consists of everything the new diet deems “off-limits” come Monday morning.

Impending scarcity leads to desire!

But what can lead to maintaining desire?? Is it as simple as remembering that “Variety is the spice of life?” Sticking with the banana metaphor here — let’s say bananas actually have always been your all-time favorite food. And some new wacky reality television gameshow will pay you to eat nothing but bananas. In fact each day that you consume only bananas, you’ll earn a hundred dollars. (Being paid to eat your favorite food? Piece of cake! Or banana cream pie!) But I’ll wager you won’t leave the show with anywhere close to a thousand bucks in your pocket. And what do you wanna bet that you split (banana split?) even sooner than a week? Yes bananas quickly became extremely Dole dull, didn’t they?

Feast or Famine!

So if desire (and lack thereof) is predicated on levels of deprivation and/or abundance, is it possible to sustain our hunger, yearning, aching, lusting, hankering, coveting something (or someone) once we secure it? I’m going to go out on a limb here by stating that we attempt to maintain passion and desire by the unconscious act of pushing away the things that we really want, keeping ourselves in a constant state of arousal? Psychologists take note: maybe it’s not the “fear of failure” that causes us to self-sabotage after-all? Maybe it’s just the brain’s way of keeping us interested.

Still not convinced? Why does a dog bury a bone when he knows it’s possible to indulgently sleep with the bone 24/7 in its bed or doghouse. But nooooooo. The dog hides the bone from himself so it has some distance from the bone and can sorely miss the bone. Later it becomes a thrilling surprise to happen to be digging in the backyard garden and whoa… would you look at that? It’s baaaaaack! Alright don’t go Googling this because you’ll find some silly explanation about how dogs need to instinctively protect their food from other predators because it hearkens back to the days before they were domesticated. Just do me a favor and stick with me on this.

However if you think my theories are for the dogs, let me get more human with you. On this blog it’s no secret my life romances haven’t sustained themselves longer than ten years. Early in my first marriage as a young and immature woman, I actually created arguments out of thin air with my new husband. I couldn’t figure out why I did this repeatedly until it dawned on me that our reconciliation was super exciting to me. I would bring myself to the brink of “losing something” so I could reawaken my desire for it once again and have the challenge (and satisfaction) of earning it back. Makeup sex anyone?

Only slightly more mature, I enter into a second marriage secretly thrilled that this husband travels frequently for business so I’ll have time and space to actually pine for him. Whenever he returned, things instantly became new and fresh again! Judaism understands how physical separation enhances a marriage, and actually will sometimes promote it as a side benefit to Family Purity Laws. Curious? Read more HERE.

In my next long-term relationship, (where I somehow manage to grow even more selfish and immature) I calmly ended things after they became overly predictable and lackluster some five years later. But this time, rather than trying to manipulate and trick desire into coming back . . . surprise (!) — desire had its own way with me when I least expected it. And was it ever painful.

Because another woman found my carelessly discarded ex-boyfriend to be the answer to her dreams and quickly nabbed him, my sudden reignited passion for him went through the roof, and let me just say that I became extremely physically ill realizing how playing mind-games and trying to control and manipulate had backfired on me big time. I then proceeded to (single-handedly!) help all the authors of books titled, “How to Get Your Ex Back, Even If You Were the One Who Broke Up” send their kids to college. Not a proud moment.

Does Stephanie ever stop riding a Streetcar Named Desire?

I will abruptly end here without telling you the answer (so your desire for me to post more about this topic stays heightened?) but I want to leave you with a terrific video from Esther Perel that has over 3.5 million views and counting. Click on THIS (but be sure and skip the ad, sorry!) and then leave me a comment with your thoughts. And I hereby promise to always want you as a follower, even if you already are one!

                                       Where did I purposely bury my heart’s desire????

When is a Dress Not Just a Dress?

I wanted to buy a new dress. I wanted the dress to be one I could go to work in, go out fancy in, or just lounge around at home in. I wanted to get compliments on it from others, but also feel totally satisfied wearing it just for myself. And above all, I wanted the dress to fit me perfectly, and be so well made it lasted a lifetime.

I went online and felt myself responding to lots of ads for a classic LBD (Little Black Dress) and soon became overwhelmed and rather frightened at what I was finding out there. After all, buying the perfect dress was a huge commitment. Each day I’d pore over the descriptions and photographs and send my specific questions to the advertisers who would respond with very generalized answers like, “It’s one size fits all.” or “The sleeves can be worn off or on the shoulders.” This went on for months until I realized this wasn’t getting me any closer to my dream of actually WEARING a real dress.

Perhaps choosing a dress in person was a more organic and natural way of achieving my goal. A longtime mall-hater, I braved the traffic to get to a crowded department store and immediately found a fitting room where I told the personal attendant in great detail what I was looking for. “I’ll fix you up,” she said and returned holding a blue dress (mostly matching my description) and hung it in the tiny little room with all the mirrors.

Something came over me and I decided to take it home without even trying it on, even though blue wasn’t the color I had in mind. In my bedroom I admired it from all angles, then shoved it in the back of my closet. Around 2 am, I grew restless with insomnia and decided to slip it over my naked body and immediately knew it was all wrong for me. Disgusted with myself, I flung it over the little table next to my bed (my one nightstand) and vowed never to lay eyes on it again.

Thoroughly ashamed, the next morning I faced the same lady who sold me the dress as I sheepishly explained I’d been impulsive. This time I elaborated even more about what I was looking for and she said, “That’s a lot to ask from a single frock.”

“Oh so it’s a frock now?” I said amused. “Yes, I’m aware. I’ve had two that didn’t work out for me in the past.”

“You’ve already gone through more than one frock? What a crock.” she said, looking at me critically.

“You can mock the frock, but my first had a lot of baggage.”

“Does that mean it came with a matching purse?”

“Not exactly. And my second one was really clingy.”

“Stay away from polyester and spandex,” she warned.

“Look, I’m just looking for a frock I can rock, as they say. And I don’t really want to settle.”

Without hesitation she brought a different kind of dress in and immediately I was drawn to the plunging neckline, the sexy slit up the thigh, and the sparkly material. Could this be The One? “I’ll take it!”

“Try it on this time,” she admonished. I listened to her sage advice and it was love at first sight. Much wiser from my prior experience I inquired, “How long do I have to return it?”

“Sixty days with receipt and tags attached,” she stated.

No problem, although I felt slightly anxious with the time limit. Would I know in only two short months?

“I’ll just wear this dress everywhere and tuck the tags under my long hair, so nobody will be the wiser.” I thought.  I was anxious to get friends’ and family’s opinions. This was a big step.

“Wow! That’s a real Bad Boy dress!” Tiffany told me that afternoon at a fundraiser party.

“What are you saying? You think this dress could cheat on me?” I asked feeling worried.

“Are you kidding? I’d let that dress press up against my breasts in a New York minute,” my friend whispered seductively, which really disturbed me, so I left to meet my family for dinner.

“What were you thinking? A dress like this? How can it be practical?” my mother was having trouble controlling herself. “It’s not like you’ll wear it in stormy weather. And you’ll trip in the high heels needed to keep that hemline from dragging on the floor and you’ll break something.”

My mother was always exaggerating. My children would feel differently.

“We liked the nice dress you wore everyday when we were born,” my kids chimed in together. “Please, mommy?”

“But you know how I feel about that ratty old thing. Besides it’s been given away to Goodwill. Who knows what other woman could be parading around in it these days,” I reminded them. They looked disdainfully at the new dress I had on and slowly shook their heads.

Back at the mall I sat forlornly watching other women walk happily around in their basic dresses. I asked a few of them how long they’d had theirs and was given answers that ranged from many years to six decades. How in the world were they all able to do this?

“Gentle cycle only,” one elderly woman confided in me. “And I mend it as soon as any threads unravel.” I nodded with appreciation. But that still didn’t explain how one dress could meet all their every day needs. And how they didn’t become bored with it.

More determined, I went into a bookstore and read up on fashion for hours. I became so knowledgable, I felt like I could even design my own gown, but I had a better idea. I found a resale consignment clothing store and bought a simple dress that looked like it had been well cared for by a previous owner. I drove, holding the dress in my arms to a dry-cleaners I knew did alterations.

I had photographs of all the revamping I wanted done. Much of it was rather drastic, but the dress would be more versatile and exciting when I needed it to be. And I wanted zippers added to attach and detach parts of the dress to really change it up!

“You vant excitement?” Olga, the Russian seamstress asked me, “You do exciting things vearing this dress. That’s all. I not alter this dress. You vill tank me later.”

Rude much? Unbelievable. I stared at the dress but to my surprise, I suddenly felt a strong attachment for it welling up inside me. But still I kept the tags on — I was no dummy anymore. Plus I had a real case of the jitters, like I should buy several others as back-ups in case this one didn’t come through for me, but something prevented me from doing any more shopping that day.

Throughout the months to come, I wore the dress everywhere and discovered a big secret. Accessorizing! I added a belt and the dress became perfect for editorial meetings. Diamond drop earrings and my hair in an updo and the dress took me out dancing. I put on a string of pearls and dark sunglasses and my dress saw me through a heartbreaking funeral. And really, when you think about it, not many dresses can do that. This dress obviously had my back, literally.

One day while walking past the consignment store where I’d found my beautiful garment, I noticed a sign in the window. “Make sure you like it. All sales Final.” Gosh, I’d kept the tag on all this time as a precautionary measure, just in case. But I felt no panic. This time there was something very reassuring about the word — ‘Final.’

I gingerly patted the soft sleeve and reached inside to pull out the cardboard tag that had been feeling kinda scratchy against my arm all this time, and gave it a tiny tug. It came off easily in my hand and I saw there was handwriting on the back where the price was stamped. “Sewn with Love by Olga. Wear in Love for Life.”

I’m keeping my dress. And the tag. Forever. Because I finally understand what it means to be all in.

 

 

 

You’ve Heard of Ghost Writing Before, But Ghost Dating??

A ghostwriter is hired to write literary works that are officially credited to another person as the author. There is normally an included clause for anonymity so the ghostwriter can never steal the person’s thunder, which doesn’t seem quite fair since he/she is the person doing all the hard work!

I’ve ghostwritten material before, in fact even other blogs. Consider this: You may have just come from reading another post on WordPress that I am secretly the author of? Hey, it could happen!

But in the online dating world? You betcha! I’ve created many profiles for people who pay me to compose a creative ad because they’re at a loss for words as to how to best describe themselves or what to say to captivate someone to be interested enough to respond.

I charge a fee for this, which gets rather tricky when my friends approach me and ask me to write one for them “as a favor.”

In instances like this, bartering seems to be the best approach. For instance, I recently did a complimentary profile for a local eligible bachelor acquaintance who just happened to be a renowned surgeon. In return, he took my daughter’s tonsils out for free. That’s a great deal, right? (Especially when you consider that my “chatty” teenager had to be quiet for days ….yay! — and his new cool profile might procure him a wife who births bunches of children with more unnecessary body organs he can operate on all he wants!) That’s a win/win if ever there was one.

By the way, I created his profile headline to go something like this:

I’m Good With My Hands, So Can I Grab Your Heart?

Nobody had to know it involves anesthesia, right?

The big game-changer in all of this was when my female best friend not only asked me to write her a stunning profile, but begged me to go one step further and also compose (on her behalf) any replies to interested respondents. In return she would trade a month’s worth of homemade meals since she was a professional chef. Yum! (Cyrano de Bergerac  without the big nose anyone??)  Game on!

In the beginning it was easy because my friend didn’t attract many intelligent potential suitors. These dullard men were impressed by anything I wrote that went above “Hey there, Handsome!” or “Wow, you have a nice smile!”

Soon she wanted me to modify her profile so she WOULD draw in a higher caliber of man. Yep, she wanted me to (gasp!) lie about her appearance, her profession, and her hobbies. Within minutes I took her from a mousy brown-haired receptionist in a law office who enjoyed scrapbooking — to an alluring raven-tressed attorney with a passion for naked chess.

(Hey if there can be strip-poker, why not a more intellectual game also played in the nude?)

And by the way, I crafted her profile headline to go something like this:

If You Can Sustain an Objection, Let’s Adjourn to the Bedroom Cuz I’ve Got a Great Rebuttal!

Soon the responses began to pour in like crazy and I was very busy fielding them back with clever, smart retorts. The first week I got paid in lasagna, chicken cacciatore, beef stroganoff, and cobb salad!

I met with my girlfriend to show her all the people I was corresponding with “as her.” She was quite impressed with the lively conversations I was able to develop. But one online dialogue stood out the most for her. It was with someone in the medical field and our messages were full of volleying sexual quips back and forth and our tremendous internet chemistry literally leapt off the screen. Here’s an example of one of our initial communications:

Me: Hi! I’m sure you’re a doctor with a lot of patience. Maybe you’d like to give me a shot?

Him: That depends. Would it all be in vein?

Me: Oh you’re so funny. I can’t wait to hear what you’ll prescribe for my relief from this excruciatingly painful experience of online dating.

Him: Well I’m actually a surgeon, so I hope I make the final cut. You might say I’m The Wizard of Gauze.

Me: Haha. You have me in stitches, Dr!

“Ohhhhh! That’s the guy I want to be with,” my friend announced matter-of-factly after reading page after page of our witty rapport.

“Are you sure he’s the one?” I asked. “Maybe one of the other men would be a better match?”

“Nope, I’ve made up my mind. Can you set up the initial meeting date?”

“Okaaaaay. I’ll write to him tonight,” I hesitatingly confirmed. “Should it be in the day or evening?”

“When are you available?” she inquired.

I stood there incredulous. “Wait! You want ME to go and meet him for you?  Am I supposed to sleep with him too??”

She deliberated a moment, then told me that wouldn’t be necessary because she’d take it from there. I looked at her skeptically, but she threw in a fettuccine alfredo PLUS key-lime pie, so at that point I had no choice but to proceed.

The night of the big meeting approached and I was nervous at how to explain this entire complicated predicament. The doctor and I got along famously, just as well in fact as we did when he first hired me to write his dating profile and then again in the recovery room after he’d taken out my daughter’s tonsils.

Handsome, smart, funny. I almost wished I was available to date him. But then I remembered what was happening.

Him: So thank you again Stephanie for handling all these many email responses for me. Boy these women sure like to type, huh? It’s been a really busy week in the hospital and you’ve responded to these even better than I could.

Me: Yes well, I guess that’s what happens when you have a son who breaks his leg in football and needs a cast. Thank you for your medical barter —  Can you give me a quick eye-lift next week too?

Him:  You’ve earned it, Sugar. And I love how you had me say, “All in vein.” Ha ha. I wouldn’t have thought being so punny could turn a woman on so much. And look at her response about being in stitches after finding out that I’m a surgeon…boy she can certainly hold her own, eh? She must kill the jury in the courtroom.  Please write to her immediately and tell her I want to set up a meeting with the woman who entertained me so much!

I wanted to tell him, “Uh, You’re actually having it right this very moment.”

Instead I went home, quickly gathered up my recovering son and daughter, (plus all my deliciously pre-made meals!) and absconded to a deserted mountain cabin.

Whether the both of them finally figured out they were simultaneously paying me to write their emails and that all along, I was actually just talking to ….. myself, I’ll never know. But that will be the last time I dabble in ghost-writing!

Do You Recycle, Reuse, Repeat Yourself in Future Relationships??

 

“I used to have a lot of close connections. But they lived in Connecticut so I cut them off. Get it? Connect-I-Cut?”

Noooo! If I EVER hear that stale old line uttered again, I may have to pour grated parmesan over the head of the speaker, because that’s how cheesy I find it.

Unfortunately the speaker was my 1st husband. This was a husband who told the exact same jokes and one-liners for the entire decade of our marriage and expressed great disappointment that I didn’t giggle just as heartily after hearing them the millionth time as I did when we were first dating. But I was the dutiful wife and thus we had an agreement —  at any get-together, party, or date-night out with another couple, I’d laugh hysterically at his stuff, dab my eyes with a napkin, pretending to catch my breath so I could sputter, “Ohhhh. Isn’t he hilarious? Such a card!”

This set him up for his next line which was, “Yeah, but instead of the Jack of Spades, I’m the Jack of all Trades!” And he’d launch into his many talents and skills. Pleeeease!

“Look, either get some exciting new material or get a new audience,” I’d say, stifling a yawn once we were home together alone in our bed. (Note: I may or may NOT have been referring to his comedy routine.)

He chose the latter option. We divorced.

My second husband and I were together for many years and like any couple we developed our own routines and distinctive little ways of relating to one another that I called, MMM (“Memorable Marriage Minutia.”)

Examples would be a) Taking a Selfie of ourselves with our eyes closed while each person held up a number of fingers behind the other person’s head. When we’d look at the photo, if we each had the same number of fingers we “won” and rewarded ourself with a nice dinner out or a picnic on the beach. b) If there was just one piece of our favorite food left on a plate, we’d split in half, in half, in half and so on until there was the tiniest of crumbs too infinitesimal to split in half — and then we’d play rock/paper/scissors to see who got it. c) I’d write messages to him on the outside of his banana peel in his lunch.

(Hey! I didn’t say these were sane rituals, just OURS.)

Fast forward to our breakup and I’m walking down our same favorite sandy shoreline exactly one year later (What? It’s not like he was awarded the entire beach in our divorce agreement!) when I spot two people taking a Selfie by their picnic basket. Wait! Are they actually holding their fingers up behind each other? As I suspiciously head closer, they sprawl out on their blanket and a lively game of rock/paper/scissors ensues. Really??? I wait until my ex loses (he always picks “paper!”) and run up to them shouting, “Noooo! That’s mine. I copyrighted that. What do you need, a patent? A registered trademark? You can’t steal that!” I am (of course!) pointing to the banana with the Sharpie scribbled writing that’s grasped in her hand as they look incredulously at me.

Sheesh. C’mon folks! Don’t recycle. Can nothing be reinvented for the new person in your life? Maybe I should teach a class called, “How to Have an Original New Relationship!” I’ll walk around during test days and chastise, “Don’t look at each other’s papers, ya bunch of copycat romantic wannabes!”

Fittingly, last night I was dining in a quiet Italian restaurant at a secluded booth with a date of my own (trying to create a new fun little tradition between us regarding the bill the waitress had just set on the table!) when what familiar snatch of dialogue should I hear floating through the air?

“Did I ever tell you about my close connections in Connecticut?”

That was it! I couldn’t help myself. As my 1st ex-husband’s latest girlfriend stared with astonishment, I proceeded to dump powdered parmesan cheese all over his head. She burst out laughing and said, “Ugh. Thank you for finally silencing the “Jack of all Trades.”

I have a feeling I just laid the groundwork for their own future unique ritual — albeit a remarkably cheesy one.

READERS: Do you have secret little rites or actions you do with someone special in your life? Don’t share them in the comments section….someone will surely refurbish, revamp, and reclaim them as their own! 🙂

Happy Vow-entines Day (I Vow not to let this day impact me)

February is just a month. 14 is just a number. It’s all about commercialism anyhow.

These are the things I’ve told myself ever since I was in the 4th grade and Mrs. Gerson had us craft little mailboxes out of empty tissue boxes, (the open slit at the top was perfect for dropping notes inside) paint cute red hearts on them, and then distribute valentines to our classmates. Note: There was no rule back then that you had to give everyone a valentine. I received exactly three. One was from Mrs. Gerson.

Lesson learned? Only cry if you have a second tissue box that hasn’t been converted into a mailbox.

But here’s some big Valentine news to me. It’s not just a single day I’m dealing with anymore, now it’s an entire week! Did anyone else know this?  Click HERE

Starting on February 7 the official days are called: Rose Day, Propose Day, Chocolate Day, Teddy Day, Promise Day, Hug Day, and Kiss Day.

Oh my god. Can I add another week of days to follow after Valentine’s Day?

Feb 15: “What the hell just happened?” day. Feb 16: “Argue and Fight” day. Feb 17: “Makeup Sex” day. Feb 18: “Presidents” day (contemplate what sleeping with Washington or Lincoln would be like) Feb 19: ” Back on Diet” day (Chocolate Day got a little out of hand) Feb 20: “Flirt with others” day. Feb 21: `”Discuss whether the above mentioned ‘Teddy Day’ was supposed to just be about an adorable stuffed bear or something more like this” day.

Does every male now know this type of lingerie is called a Teddy?

I would now like to offer some alternative solutions to this confusing holiday of Love. We could simply change the V to a P and it easily becomes “Palentine’s Day”– Honor the friends who are there after each heartache we suffer.

Or change up the ending of the word. “Valentwine Day” — Tie up those we love with rope until they say “yes” when we ask, “Will you be mine?”

Or we could pay tribute to five overlooked letters of the alphabet that need a little more attention because they’re constantly reminded they’re not consonants. A-E-I-O-U and Y. That’s right…..

 “Happy Vowelentine’s Day!” 

(Hallmark, listen up!)

A — is for “Adore” which is always much easier to say instead of the L-word.

E — is for “Everything” that I put in my dating profile that I am looking for in a match. And you decide to pretend to be all of those things to win me over in the beginning and now you’re feeling put upon. But when you try to go back to being your real self, I’ll cry out, “You’ve changed!” in an accusing sort of way, but really you just went back to being who you originally were in the first place. Gotta love E.

I — is for “Ice-Cream.” Any flavor works after what E stood for.

O — is for “Overwhelmed” which is something you can say (“I feel overwhelmed!”) anytime you want someone to give you space.

U — is for “Unite.” But also for “Untie.” Which is very scary in a relationship if anyone has dyslexia.

Y — is for “Yawn.” Are you feeling bored in your relationship? Console yourself by remembering that Y is only sometimes a vowel! Occasional boredom you can live with, yes? Y is also for “Yes!”

Readers: Feel free to leave me a comment describing the worst thing that ever happened to you on Valentine’s Day. 

Object of Affection Vs. Object of Obsession?

Have you seen the new Netflix television series called “YOU?” It’s based on the novel of the same name and it’s unsettling, to say the least. But the concept can also be confusing because . . .

Falling in REAL love can make you act irrationally and exhibit emotional and physiological instability. Don’t believe me? Click HERE for scientific research. That’s right! You become focused solely on the person you’re head over heels with, and think of nothing else for weeks on end. It closely mimics obsession.

How then can you tell the difference between someone exhibiting the above symptoms (especially with love at first sight, or the beginning stages of becoming smitten) and an imbalanced type of personality who may even have stalker potential?

Obviously certain cases of the latter are extremely easy to identify. Having lots of experience in the single, online dating world has earned me more than my fair share of horror stories.  One man I messaged with (a mere two times!) is an example of someone who needs to wear one of those tee-shirts that proclaim, “I am the guy your mother warned you about!”

 

Long story short, my dating profile made the mistake of mentioning I was published on The Huffington Post. Somehow he ascertained my real last name and found my articles there. From that point he was able to find my cellphone number and then (utilizing a kind of “reverse caller ID location app”) obtain my home address and show up that night ringing my doorbell. You can imagine my shock. Especially because he wasn’t holding a large cheese pizza since that was what I’d just ordered.

But let’s not write-off these Creeper types as ignorant or unintelligent. They read! They google!  All they need is one article like this “17 Signs of Falling in Love that Make it Real and they can adopt every single one of these traits and voilá … you’re likely to be fooled!

That’s why you have my blog to demonstrate sure-fire ways to discern the difference (using examples from a wide variety of categories and behaviors below) just by examining subtle nuances. Stuff you’d never even think about if it weren’t for me. You’re welcome!

Level of Observance

With Love — They’ll watch you doze

With Stalker — They’ll watch you decompose

Favorite Veggie

With Love — Heart-shaped red radishes

With Stalker — Celery Stalks

Social Media

With Love — Finds you on Facebook

With Stalker — You find yourself on How to Use “MaceBook.”

Telephone Etiquette

With Love — “You hang up first. No YOU hang up first. Okay, let’s both hang up together. 1, 2, 3 Go!”

With Stalker — They hang up on your voicemail message. 123 times a day.

Thoughts

With Love — You’re always on my mind.

With Stalker — You’re out of your mind.

Favorite Dessert

With Love — Raspberry crêpe with whipped cream

With Stalker — HarrassBerry Creep with unzipped scheme

Gifts

With Love — Flowers, mementos, cards, candy, concert tickets

Stalker — All the above, but given as Stalking Stuffers — even though it’s not Xmas!

Favorite Scent

With Love — Calvin Klein “Obsession”

With Stalker — Victoria’s Secret “Love”

 

I know that seems reversed just to throw you off track — but never fear, “The Nose Knows!”

Favorite Song

With Love — “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles

With Stalker — “Jeepers, Creepers, Where’d Ya Get Those Peepers?” 2nd Fave – “Every Breath You Take” by the Police

Favorite Quote

With Love — “Love means never having to say you’re sorry!”

With Stalker — “Love means never having to say calamari.”

This means when you’re in a seafood restaurant with a Creeper type, you won’t be forced to order the squid. And that’s a pretty redeeming trait!

Readers: I’ve made light of this topic in this post, but stalking is a serious crime. If you or someone you know is a victim, there are resources for help HERE.

Are You Out There? I Imagine You Are . . .

When I log in to write a new post here, it’s like putting a message in a bottle and tossing it out to sea. Maybe nobody will ever read one single word, and therefore it’s as if I haven’t written anything at all.  Or maybe a certain someone (that the bottle was secretly meant for!) will be be surfing (the ocean or the internet?) and analyze it closely, looking for hidden codes or puzzling underlying messages to decipher and then act on what they’ve read between the lines and track me down in the real world. Maybe they’ll find my phone number and call me with important similarities that can’t be just coincidences. Maybe . . .

So these words are for YOU . . . I imagine you’re out there somewhere and things will go down just like this:

  1. You’re a woman around my age who always longed for a sister. My weird words make you laugh and you strongly identify with things like chronically being out of style, becoming a librarian who shouts instead of whispers, and recreating slumber parties you didn’t get invited to as a teen where you stay up all night and eat Twinkies while doing impersonations of Rizzo in Grease singing, “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee. You’ll leave me a comment and we’ll plan to meet on a cruise ship to Alaska because….well because we’ve both always wanted to dance on a glacier.

  2. You’re a single guy who finds my wordplay to be foreplay. My puns, double entendres, and euphemisms drive you to distraction. When you read my work, you fantasize about having unprotected syntax, premature articulation, and propositioning me with prepositions. If you peruse my blog at your office, you’ll urgently need to take a break in the lunchroom where you’ll eat other employee’s food because you’re hungry for that which you know not how to pack yourself. You’ll contact me and we’ll instantly fall in love and go on a talk-show discussing couples who were destined to be together because of Linguistic Lust.

  3. You’re a literary agent who receives ho hum query letters by the hundreds from would-be authors, but you’ve always preferred to extract the diamond-in-the-rough from the blogosphere quite by accident, just like Lana Turner was discovered drinking a soda in Schwabs drugstore, even though that’s just an urban legend. So 26 blogs ago, you’ve been following me and saying to yourself, “Her Words! I must have Her Words. On coffee mugs or on tee-shirts — they’ll make an absolute fortune. And I’ll take 25 percent.” Then you’ll contact me, exploit me, and find a publisher for my humorous recipe book. Because food should always be funny.

  4. You’re a college student who doesn’t exactly know what you want to do with your life but somehow my blog about turning rock songs into news articles greatly inspired you. To cheat. That’s right, you thought to yourself, “If she’s out there literally transcribing the lyrics from Stairway To Heaven into a breaking news story (and not getting into copyright trouble) then I’m lifting the words to “C’mon Baby, Light My Fire” and typing them up for my next English essay.

You know that it would be untrue

You know that I would be a liar

If I was to say to you

Girl, we couldn’t get much higher . . .

5.  You’re a grandmother type who doesn’t have anybody to spoil but you’ve discerned from reading my blogs that I have six kids and thus you think you’ve hit the jackpot with knitting sweaters, baking banana bread, dispensing advice, treating them to frozen yogurt and in general starting every sentence with “When I was your age…” Next you fly to San Diego and stay in our guest room, insisting everyone call you “Grammy Goldie” but once you get slightly senile, we put you in a maximum security home for the aged and visit you only once a year because we’re not really related. Sorry in advance,

6.  You’re another author and you’ve been looking for that perfect writing style, (that would complement your own brand of genius) and also a team player who bestows actual unique titles on book chapters, rather than just assigning them a boring number. You contact me and we collaborate on a new novel about librarians who shout — which will become a NY Times bestseller, or should that be a “BestYeller?”

7. You’re a fellow insomniac who notices the timestamp on my blog posts and either wants to share with me some personal tips about falling asleep at a reasonable time, or else you want to play me in Words With Friends into the wee hours of the night. My username is OneQuoteGal. I sometimes try putting any letters together to see if they’ll go through. Is that cheating? Find me anyhow.

8. You’re a retro television show watcher and have seen how many posts I’ve written on The Brady Bunch and I Love Lucy. You’re compelled to feel sorry for me that my hairstyle is still from Charlie’s Angels and my idea of a good time is straight out of Bewitched even though I cannot twitch my nose. You contact me strictly to discuss who shot j.r.? And also the twist ending of Newhart. You’ll leave a comment right now telling me your favorite Twilight Zone episode and we’ll bond immeasurably.

9. You’re looking for a place to live in sunny San Diego and you think I’d make the ideal housemate. Okay, “ideal” might be exaggerating just a tad. You think I’d be the type of roommate that mystery thriller movies are made about — the kind who has a secret locked door in her house that leads to? And plugs flashing night lights in the baseboards of her living room so the mice can have their own discotheque, and designates two whole shelves in the pantry and refrigerator in which to store your private food but then insidiously eats it all because it looks better than my own. That kind of housemate. C’mon….write to me, I’ve got a spare room and you just know we should be cohabiting.

10. You’ve got sadness and fear deep down in you that you also try to disguise (or avoid completely!) with humor. You found this post of mine right HERE buried within all my quirkiness and wondered, “Is this fiction?” It’s not. You contact me and we talk depression and anxiety and instill hope within one another.

11. You’ve battled an eating disorder once upon a time (or now) and you understand that it’s not really about food, weight, or body size. You find me on Facebook and we support each other during the times life closes in and threatens to shut us down.

12. You’re a mid-life individual wondering, “Is THIS really all there is? This hamster wheel world that continually goes round and round with the same old thing? And why oh why can I not learn to be more grateful?  Or just meditate and stay in the present moment? How on earth is everyone else DOING this? Hint: They’re not. We need to talk.

13. You kinda already know me in real life and come here specifically because you think I’m a wild card or a loose cannon who might impulsively write something about you. And it might be far more interesting than the real you. And maybe, just maybe you’ll let me know you’re more than just an acquaintance, that you feel a real connection with me, and we can go the distance in friendship.

14. You’re someone else entirely, (not previously mentioned above) because I am afraid if this goes on for too long, nobody will ever read it. Even if they’re the one the message in the bottle is specifically meant for. But rest assured, I also write this blog especially for YOU. And you know who you are. So tell me!

 

Dear Reader . . . Won’t you finally reveal to me who you are? 

Stephanie Debra Lewis, AKA Little Miss Menopause

25 Things To Do In Bed That Are Non-Sexual But Still Intimate!

woman-in-bed-with-man

For the sake of this list, let’s presume there are some very good reasons why you’re looking to implement it. Let’s also assume you’ve already thought up basic cuddling/snuggling and watching movies. Great! Now it’s time to depart into some odd, quirky, playful, and unique little activities that may not have occurred to you simply because you’re not me.  Without further ado . . .

  1. Play Truth or Dare with one another.
  2. Plan a vacation just by talking. A real one, or a dream one, doesn’t matter.
  3. Take turns drawing on each other’s back. Start with letters. If you’re good at guessing those, advance to words. Slip in a few erotic words but when he guesses them, tell him he’s wrong and accuse him of having a dirty mind. Advance to sketching actual pictures on each other’s backs. Don’t forget to sign and date your portrait just as all artist’s do. Note: Do not auction off his back in an art gallery.
  4. *Use the flashlight on your phone (assuming everyone brings their cells to bed download-9these days!  And if you do, check THIS OUT!  ) to make cool shadows on the ceiling with your hands/fingers. Bonus if you can create witches or goblins which lead into this next one —
  5. *Tell each other your best campfire ghost stories. You do NOT need S’mores for this.
  6. Have an old fashioned pillow fight.
  7. Read aloud from the same book to one another. Alternating paragraphs. Use dramatic voice tone. Resist the thought that this is how you used to get your stubborn children to enjoy the act of reading. But it backfired and now they hate it.
  8. *Sing, hum, or whistle a few notes and challenge the person to guess the song. Your own “Name That Tune!”
  9. Share a list of pet peeves (it’s okay if it includes being in bed with someone but not getting any sex)
  10. Practice mind-reading skills. Concentrate hard and work on thinking of a number between 1-20 and the other person guesses. Then test your soul-mate connection by transmitting the number “69” instead.
  11. Have a staring contest. The prize is a massage for the person who doesn’t blink or look away.
  12. *Jump on the bed!  (Seriously? What are you, five??)
  13. 12. Here’s the real number 12. Brush or braid each other’s hair. Don’t imagine lice.
  14. Give one another a very bizarre survey. Ask questions like, “What’s your favorite type of flying insect? Do you prefer salted or unsalted butter? Which is worse, being hungry or thirsty or nauseas?” After you get through those basic questions, start on the bizarre ones.
  15. Share your bucket lists. (Shovel ’em all out!)
  16. *Foot massages. Skip this if someone can’t stand the thought of touching anyone’s toes. Also pass on this if one of you has a foot fetish, though how that can possibly be I will never know. (Note: I did not think up this one)
  17. Tickle fest. Find the spots you are both the most vulnerable. File this info away for future use.
  18. Shave her legs. OMG I am so completely joking about this one. But would you believe some male folk are not. Click HERE and read #2 on their list. But come back here and finish mine!
  19. Look at old photo albums together. Make fun of how his mother wears her hair.
  20. Play the “What’s Poking Me In The Back?” game. Best done in pitch darkness or eyes closed and using distinct grooming objects like combs, toothbrushes, but not razors because it might lead to #18.
  21. Meditate (or just deep breathe) together. Practice inhaling something you want more of, like sex. And exhaling something you wish would leave your life. I once exhaled the lice from my daughter’s hair.
  22. Do art together. Yes, in bed. I don’t mean the Patrick Swayze and Demi scene from the movie Ghost, unless you have a potter’s wheel and clay under your bed and he can hum that Righteous Brothers song. See #8. No, I mean those terrific adult coloring books which surely you’ve seen because they are literally on every cashier’s checkstand now. Okay not the artsy fartsy type? Fine. Play hangman. Note: Playing Tic-Tac-Toe is liable to lead to #16 and the Toe Hater won’t be happy.
  23. Play this game. I have no idea what it’s called, but it’s intimate. Have your partner close his eyes and extend his arm. With your fingers, lightly touch/tap/crawl up the inside of his arm starting from his wrist. He has to shout “Stop” when he thinks you are exactly on the crook of the inside of his elbow. You’ll laugh when you see how far off he is. But stay in the relationship anyhow.
  24. Explore “too bad you’re missing that special gene” challenges like A) Who cannot download-10trill their R’s when speaking? (trying to do this has become the bane of my existence and the amusement of many)  B) Who cannot curl their tongue into a sideways roll-up? C) Who puts their left or right thumb on top when clasping hands? D) Who has attached ear lobes? E) Who can encircle their own wrist using just their pinky and thumb?  F) Who can take their thumb and excruciatingly bend it all the way backward, touching the wrist on their same hand?
  25. After the extreme pain of the ridiculous double-jointed thumb task above, the conversation might veer into S & M (sadomasochism). But no, you still may NOT have sex. Instead think of other things to add to this novel list until you both get bored and fall asleep, which is the most practical and intimate thing you should be doing in bed anyhow.

*Credit for these goes to my fiancé!

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/silence/