Is it a Soul-Mate OR a Parole-Mate?

Breaking-the-Rules-in-Soulmate-RelationshipsHow will you know the difference between someone who’s supposed to be your partner for all time, and someone who’s just gonna be your partner in crime?

Some cultures and religions claim RIGHT HERE that you have only ONE SINGLE soul-mate out there because it literally involves the splitting of polarities from one intact original state of unity. I don’t write like that! What does that gobblygook even mean? In other words, the two of you were originally baked up together (but where? In some NYC bagel shop?) as one entire whole soul but upon birth, your soul was sliced in half (like an onion, poppy-seed bialy?) and you are therefore “incomplete” until you search far and wide for the one person in this world who possesses the other portion of your soul. And thus only when you both find each other (and a tub of cream-cheese!) will you actually feel WHOLE again.

I imagine going around town like the Duke in Cinderella, only instead of having every eligible fair maiden trying on a glass slipper to see if it fits, I’ll be awkwardly moseying up to strange bachelors, demanding they intimately press their half of their soul right up into mine (forget regard for personal space when soul-searching!) to see if our soul’s jagged edges align and interlock like two jigsaw puzzle pieces, and then exclaiming, “Hmmm, close but no cigar… Next?!”

Or instead you could simply pay more attention to my weird list of . . .

7 Extremely Subtle, Nearly Imperceptible Signs that You’re With the Correct Soul-Mate.

  1. NO MORE SQUANDERED FOOD! — You’ll suddenly notice nothing goes to waste because (since this individual is truly your other half) they’ll want to gobble up the other half of the morsels  you discard.  For instance, they’ll eat the yolk in the hard-boiled egg when you only like the whites … so the WHOLE egg gets eaten. They’ll eat the white meat while you prefer the dark meat in a chicken … so the whole bird gets consumed. Sensing a “wholeness” pattern here? That’s right, while you eat the banana, they’ll ingest the peel. (Or you could just be dating a human garbage disposal?)
  2. FINISHING JOKES! — Forget finishing each others sentences, that’s no big trick. But when you’re telling a really good joke (in front of your mutual friends you want to impress) and just as you’ve painstakingly outlined the entire set-up and have everyone hanging on the edge of their seat — in true soul-mate style, they’ll loudly chime in with the funny punchline, lovingly stealing your thunder. Then that’s your “better” half, for certain!
  3. INTENSE EMOTIONAL REACTION! — You cannot stand them upon your first meeting and never want to see them again. In fact you want to destroy them and wonder if their body might fit into a blender? This is because our higher selves know more than we do and can pick up the vital significance of this person before we’re even consciously aware of it. This triggers our ‘fight or flight’ response as we suspect there’s gonna be a very expensive wedding looming ahead, and we dislike someone shoving cake in our mouth while being photographed. It’s self-sabotage, baby! But this is your soul-mate.
  4. NEWLY ACQUIRED KNOWLEDGE! — When you’re around this person you’re suddenly speaking fluent Egyptian, inexplicably knowing that apples are evil, or ascertaining how to crack open a bank vault. This is a sure sign you were both historical soul-mates in a previous life — Cleopatra & Mark Antony, Adam & Eve, or Bonnie & Clyde. Bonus: Your next Halloween costume is already decided.
  5. BOOKS! — Join a book club where you must all read the same inept, boring novel. When you can’t stand it anymore, put a bookmark in. At the next meeting, ask members, “So who stopped at the beginning of chapter two?” If it’s Fifty Shades of Grey, (and they’re literate folks) most everyone will nod their head. You’re getting warmer. But to narrow down your precise soul-mate, shout out, “Twenty-six, middle of the third paragraph?!” and when someone else raises their hand, you’ve found them! Everyone knows being on the exact same page is always a match made in heaven, or at least in your local library.
  6. THEY COMPLETE YOU! Or rather they complete important things for you. The last of your gallon of cookie dough ice-cream . . . gone! The crossword puzzle you started and meant to get back to . . . already filled in. You paused Black Mirror right at the most exciting part until you’re back from the gym . . . it’s been watched to its ironic conclusion and the free Netflix membership promptly cancelled. (But they won’t complete washing the dishes, your joint taxes, or the Christmas shopping list because they know how you like those things done your own special way. Bless your considerate soul-mate’s heart.)
  7. CLAM CHOWDER! And lastly and most importantly, if you ever share a hot steaming bowl of chicken noodle, broccoli cheddar, or french-onion . . . Oh wait, that’s a blatant typo made when I couldn’t think of anything else to write and Googled, “Signs of a Soup-Mate.”  NEVER MIND!   (My best Gilda Radner impression below…..isn’t it amazing, the resemblance? She’s my comic soul-mate!)

Readers: Do you believe you have just one single, solitary Soul-Mate?

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Forget Renting Cars, Houses, Office Space, — Now You Can Rent Me!

for rent meIt all started when I recently read about Japan, (you can catch up on it too, right HERE) where you can hire someone to impersonate your relative, spouse, co-worker, or anyone else for that matter and keep them as LONG AS YOU WANT. Smart Asian single women are hiring male actors to portray the role of a lifetime – – – their loving husbands (and fathers of their existing children!) — until death do they part. (Or their lease is up!) In some cases, the children never find out their parent is just a loaner. Hmmm, shades of The Truman Show anyone?

I decided to Google and see if this bizarre social phenomenon was happening in the United States and to my surprise, I stumbled upon  Rent-a-Friend  which of course meant that I had to try it out immediately so I could blog about it pronto!

But first I had to think up a unique angle, a niche, some clever way to corner the market! If the current website offered only Friendship rentals, my mind exploded with other interesting ways to fill the relationship gap/void in people’s lives — all while maintaining a witty rhyming title, of course.

For instance there already exists “Rent-a-Gent-a” (a male escort service) and “Renta-Yenta” (a female nag and busybody errand runner) but is there such thing as “Renta-Accenta?” (Someone who comes to your home speaking only the foreign language of the country you’re about to travel to, so you’re already accustomed to their native tongue when you arrive?) I think not! But there’s an overwhelming demand for that service nowadays, wouldn’t you agree? As well as my other suggestions below….

Presenting My Ideas For Renting People While Still Maintaining Cutesie Rhymes!

Lease-a-Police-a: When your neighbor throws a loud, obnoxious party and you need to break it up, but real law-enforcement takes so long to arrive because they’re too busy catching actual killers. For extra $$, Lease-a-Police-a will come to your home (after halting the festivities next door) and perform a hot bachelorette striptease as well!

Lease-a-Justice-of-the-Peace-a: For all these Japanese people who are faking their marriage with the rental spouses, (see above) they’ll also need a fraudulent officiant to conduct the pretend ceremony, no?

Lease-a-Niece-a: Because sometimes you want to go shopping, get manis-pedis, and attend a fashion show WITHOUT the hormonal commitment of raising a complete daughter.

Lease-a-Piece-a: When you open the door, they ask . . . “So ya wanna piece of me?”

Lease-a-John Cleese-a: Alright, obviously I ran out of rhyming words at this point, but who couldn’t use a real life reenactment of Monty Python?

Charter-a-Martyr: For all those who have yet to experience what having a Jewish mother is like.

Charter-a-Self-Starter: Short of a maid, I can’t think of a personality type I’d rather rent!

Engage-a-Teenage-a: For the regretful but masochistic Empty-Nester! A week’s rental will last you a lifetime, trust me.

Hire-a-Crier: Afraid your funeral will be rather sparsely attended? These people will show up on time to bawl, weep, and suffer up a storm at the news of your loss. Your surviving friends will be duly impressed.

Hire-a-Liar: No longer will you need to perfect your phony cough when you call in sick to work. Liars will attest to your dismal health with your boss as well as get you out of all social commitments with full-proof alibis that begin with, “I’m with him right now and trust me, he’s certainly in no condition to _fill in the blank_ !”

Hire-a-Squire, a Vampire, an Umpire, a LiveWire, a Ball-of-Fire, or a Pacifier: Alright admittedly these all need a little more work, but have great potential.

A Loaner Moaner: Remember the neighbor who had the wild and noisy party (above) but didn’t invite you?? A loaner moaner will make them equally jealous by putting Meg Ryan to shame from THIS SCENE IN WHEN HARRY MET SALLY,  And bonus — you don’t even have to be at home to elicit your neighbor’s complete respect and admiration cuz she just keeps going and going….

“Don’t Borrow Sorrow From Tomorrow!”: This isn’t a relationship rental, but it’ll make a hell of a bumper sticker for a different business I may start.

UPDATE: As I continue to fine-tune my above quirky brainstorms, I went ahead and made my own profile for that more conventional “Rent-A-Friend” website and have already become a pal to at least a dozen outcasts, hermits, and wallflowers! I’ve been handsomely compensated to accompany a lonely retiree to dinner and a movie, cheer a man on in his first tennis match, (he lost) go on a cruise with a woman who gets seasick easily, (I held her hair) and feed a widower some brisket while reminiscing about his late wife. (Yes, I was also the Crier for Hire at their lovely memorial service.) But in each and every booking, inevitably (before my friendship appointment came to completion) I’d find something they said highly disagreeable, start a heated argument, and end things by storming off in a huff shouting, “And don’t bother accompanying me to the the exit, I’ll gladly see myself out!” thereby slamming the door behind me.

That’s why I’m thrilled to announce my new (non-rhyming!) yet very sincere, FREE service service called simply, “Rent-a-Rival” —  because let’s face it . . . with a friend like me, who needs enemies?

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Scary Relationship Terms — Ghosting, Haunting, & Zombie-ing!

unnamed-file-2447In honor of the month of October (and Halloween!) may I present some relationship/dating terms that actually are commonly used nowadays, along with some words I’ve just invented — because I cannot believe the real ones actually exist! Let’s see if you can tell which ones I’ve made up?

Ready to play??  Go!

GHOSTING — One who simply vanishes, never to be heard from again, instead of having a mature conversation about breaking-up.

WITCHING — Someone who casts a magical spell over you, keeping you strangly compliant when they steal all the covers on cold nights or devour the last pint of your favorite Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream. (Yes, the Chunky Monkey you were saving to break your diet with!)

COBWEBBING — One who lies about his whereabouts to you because he’s having secret affairs on the side. This is where we get the famous old proverb, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when at first we practice to deceive!”

BROOMSTICKING— Someone who is terrified of flying so they always suggest a cross country road trip, playing up the potential to have a “great adventure” and citing, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey!”  You could get to Maine faster on a broomstick!

STEPHEN-KINGING — A tightwad with an elaborate DVD collection, claiming it’s so much “cozier” to stay in and watch a movie — which wouldn’t be so bad if it was Shawshank Redemption. (Hey, did you know Stephen King’s novella was the basis for that awesome movie??)

ZOMBIE-ING — After the person “Ghosts” you (see above) they suddenly return a few weeks later (back from the dead?) as if nothing has happened — sending a sly text, “Hey, how’ve you been? Wanna come over for some Chunky Monkey ice-cream?”

MASKING — A partner, (usually female) who will not be seen without any make-up on. She awakens at 4 am, sneaks to the bathroom to apply Maybelline rouge on her cheeks so she exudes a natural sex-appeal glow when her partner first opens his eyes and glances at the rosy-cheeked female on the pillow next to him. Why do you think Nars brand blush has a color called, “Orgasm?”

HAIR-RAISING — Someone whose tresses seem to grow straight up, like the author of this blog, who looks like she’s been frozen in time from the 80’s when hair was big and vertical.

Little Miss Menopause demonstrating “Hair-Raising” style.

 

JACK-O-LANTERNING — One who is overindulgent with pumpkin flavored products this time of year while expecting you to share in their excitement that pumpkin spice deodorant is now being marketed.

VAMPIRING — A woman who still remembers what it means to be on Team Edward and if you never saw the Twilight movies, you’re outa luck in the bedroom.

HAUNTING —  After someone Ghosts you, (but BEFORE they Zombie you) — they can HAUNT you by suddenly inhabiting your online world, such as following you on Instagram or friending you on Facebook. Constantly reminding you that, “I still exist!” seems to be the sole purpose of this particular spooky tactic.

BONE-CHILLING — This is when the chef of the relationship decides that the latest trend of making you eat daily bowls of Bone Broth would be enhanced by serving it ice-cold, straight from the refrigerator in gazpacho form.

DYING — One who relies on the excuse that their cell-phone battery is running out of juice to end conversations with you abruptly.

DEVIL-ING — The chocoholic of the relationship who chooses “the dark stuff” over having sex every time. Example: You shoot your mate that familiar “come hither” look and instead of responding, “Why you little Devil, you!” they reach for a slice of devil’s food cake.

TRICK-OR-TREATING — A generous date who treats you to a night out at the movie theater and then (as you eye the Hershey’s Kisses at the concession stand because you’re into Devil-ing!) proceeds to trick you into believing that all candy is pure evil. Don’t even get them started on what they put in the butter on the popcorn!

MONSTERING — This person drops subtle hints that once you marry them, you’ll have monster-in-laws — frighteningly loud, controlling and bossy. Get out while you still can!

ELVIRA-ING — A female who always dresses to show off her two prominent assets, even if you’re just bringing her home to meet your mom–Morticia Addams.

So how’d you do, Readers? Actually the only real terms are the ones in the blog title. Check out their legit usage right here.

I’ve made up all the rest to have a little pre-Halloween fun. Booooooo!

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Personality Practicality! (Can a 12 Minute Test Actually Peg Who You Really Are??)

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I’ve always known about the Myers–Briggs Personality test and thought it was just a fun little quiz like, “What Your Pasta Preference Says About Your Favorite Sex Position.” Certainly I put zero stock in the reliability or accuracy of it until a recent conversation with Bethany my bossy older sister, (never mind that my mother would name us Stephanie and Bethany!) during which she casually suggested I change the title of this blog to “Once Upon Your Grime” and give housecleaning tips.

BETHANY: Wow. Calm down. You’re so sensitive to constructive criticism. Does “ENFP” mean anything to you?

ME: Is that the spin-off of the TV show WKRP in Cincinnati? Is Loni Anderson still blonde and perky?

BETHANY: I have no idea. And no, it’s the initials which I would stake my life on you getting if you were to take that famous online personality test.

ME: Really? ENFP??  Lemme guess. That stands for Effervescent, Naughty, Friendly, and Perfect? I always wanted to be termed as a little bit “Naughty.”

BETHANY: Err, not quite, Sis. Why don’t you take it yourself and find out. Here’s the link. But I’m absolutely certain I’m correct about you!

So I gave honest answers to all the official nosy questions and sure enough, (much to Know-It-All Bethany’s prediction!) I DID come out with exactly the initials ENFP — which I read stood for Extraversion (E), Intuition (N), Feeling (F), Perception (P). Only mine had a little dash and another letter too. Like this:  ENFP-T

Upon further research I found the “T” was for turbulence. Oh c’mon now. I’m not an airplane! So the implication was that I create Turbulence in life? Why don’t Myers and Briggs just come right out and say, “T is for Tasmanian Devil?”

I refused to be labeled as such and so I took the test again, this time choosing all different responses. And once again, within five minutes, my results ENFP were emailed to me. But this time followed by another dash and two letters — TM (Test Manipulator!)

I took that darn test eight more times, completely switching out my answers, using different computers, wearing different clothes, and changing my hairstyles, not to mention while eating shiitake mushrooms — and each time my fate was sealed with those same four initials getting emailed back to me. Branded as a permanent ENFP, I slowly began to accept my destiny (and order monogrammed towels!) while exploring what career choices were good for me and who my ideal mate should be.

Finding out I would make a superb Horse-Exerciser, a Bingo Caller, and an Elevator Inspector was not the worst of it. Far more upsetting was that I should never have walked down the aisle with the two men I had married. But the most devastating news of all? Apparently an ENFP like like myself is biologically incapable of producing children with the different logical, (normal!) initials all my offspring have! So now I must question whether or not I am really their mother, or were all six kids switched at birth?

My obsession didn’t stop there. I wanted to know how the test could know I was someone who made up jokes with no punchlines to test people’s authenticity (if they still laugh at my nonsense, they’re insincere!) and that instead of buying whole bottles of perfume, I rub magazine pages (with samples of Channel #5 embedded in them) on my wrists and neck.

We’re not talking general everyday personality traits like when horoscopes say Pisces people are creative. (Duh!) No, this thing was eerily Twilight Zonish spot-on for me, and so I put in a call to Myers and Briggs immediately, wanting to know how they could figure this all out from questions like, “Do you prefer to stand in the center of a room or close to the walls in a crowded party?” I was told Myers and Briggs were a nice mother/daughter team who had passed away a long time ago.  Hmmmm.

Only when the I reread the end of my test results and it said, “Recommendation: Start a blog called, Once Upon Your Grime and offer cleaning hints!” did things start to come clear for me. It was Bethany all along.

ME: Hi! I’m sure having fun with the link you gave me. Good thing I don’t take it very seriously though. Just curious, what are your own initials?

TIFFANY: HTBW

HTBW = Hates To Be Wrong.  (Naturally!)

Dear Readers, Why don’t you take the test right HERE and see if you agree with the initials you receive and Bethany’s assessment of your personality! Post a comment about it so I can see what my busybody sister has to say about you! 😉

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10 Reasons You Should Text Instead of Call!

31CULTURALSTUDIES-jumbo-v2I know, I know…. most articles have the opposite viewpoint of this one, emphatically claiming technology has gone too far and there are huge benefits to returning to real human interaction with real voices in real time. But here’s the other side of the coin err pay phone!

10 Reasons Why Texting is Superior To Calling!

  1. The “Just One More Thing-er” — Do you know anyone like this? After you’ve reached the conclusion of your conversation and you say, “Gosh, I really need to go now,” the other person suddenly remembers 26 CRUCIAL things they must impart to you. Let’s take the example of my mother…

Me: Oh! Look at the time, I’m going to be late to pick the kids up from school. Love you, Ma!

My Mom:  You better scoot then! Scoot, Scoot! But did I ever tell you I was almost voted homecoming queen at my senior prom?

Me: Uh, no mom, that must’ve been exciting. But if I’m late, the school charges me $1.00 per minute.

My Mom: Only $1.00? Have I mentioned that First American Bank charges me a $3.00 service fee every time I use another financial institution’s ATM machine.

Me:  Oh, that’s a shame. Bye bye!

My Mom: Yes! Bye Bye Birdie is opening at the Actors Alley Theatre near me. Why don’t we go see it?

Me: Sure Ma, get the tickets and I’ll reimburse you. But right now I’m gonna hang up!

My Mom: Hang-up!?? Ugh. Your father had such a hang-up about crying in front of other people. Did you know he never shed a tear in front of me? I certainly hope you don’t have that trouble, dear.

Me: (Sobbing) Mom. Pleeeeease let me disconnect from this telephone call!

2. Evidence! — With verbal calls, you have no proof that someone said something if they deny ever uttering it. With text? Just screenshot it and resend. Ba-Bam! Their text message is staring them in the face. Pass the salt because now you can make them eat their words.

3.  No Awkwardness! — Phone calls have three uncomfortable scenarios: A) Both people start to talk at once followed by both parties politely offering the other person the chance to speak first. This is also said simultaneously! B) Both of you run out of things to say at the exact same time and a lengthy silence ensues. C) You cannot hear the other person because their voice is garbled (or they’re a mumbler) and it’s embarrassing to have to ask them to keep repeating things so you just start agreeing with whatever they’re saying — and lo and behold, suddenly you’re a Trump supporter! Not happening with texting. None of this. Nada.

4. Non-Intrusive — Ever hear anyone request, “Would you mind not texting me during the dinner hour?” or “Bad timing on your part, your text interrupted some really fantastic sex!” And IF they can hear an innocuous notification during their “fantastic” sex, it deserves to be interrupted!

5. Clever Comebacks! — You have as long as you need to text back something witty. No need to think fast on your feet during a phone call or have second thoughts lamenting, “Ugh! Why didn’t I tell him to ‘Kiss my grits’ just like Flo from the old Alice sitcom?” (It’s like the difference between playing Scrabble at your kitchen table with an egg-timer versus Words With Friends online when you have all day to use your “Q” without any “U”!)

6. Tone Deaf— It’s much harder to decipher someone’s tone during texting. But this IS a good thing! No longer will you be subjected to your ex’s voice dripping with sarcasm on the phone. You’ll receive accurate information, minus the drip. And the same idea works in reverse, so use it to your advantage! i.e. You can say whatever you want (venting anger or resentment out of your system!) via text. When the person expresses hurt feelings or calls you on your sh*t, simply type, “My goodness, when they say tone gets misconstrued with texting, they’re absolutely right. Surely you knew I was joking?” (Note: If they’re like my ex-husband, they may respond with, “Please don’t call me Shirley!”)

7.  Efficiency! — Some of us hate all the details and niceties leading up to the main point. We just want to get in, get out, and get on with eating avocado toast. Small Talk is for Small Minds.

8. Multi-Tasking!– Talk about your time-saver! I wrote this entire blog while texting with my mother. What will you accomplish while texting your own mother?

9. Eliminates Annoyance: With text you won’t hear their gardener’s leaf blower or their children fighting in the background. You won’t hear them stutter/stammer, saying “Um” all the time or be subjected to their excessive use of the words, “like” or “ya know.”

10. Analysis: You’re in a new relationship and you’ve documented your entire text conversation. Great! Now screenshot it and forward it to your most experienced married friends for their insightful feedback. Be sure and ask, “What do you think he actually meant by his third sentence when he wrote, “I’m not interested in you romantically, so let’s just be friends?”

  • Bonus Reason #11: Rectify Regrets! — It happens. You’ve texted something you wish you hadn’t. Simply follow up the unfortunate text with, “My brother just grabbed the cellphone out of my hands and typed that last remark. You know what an impish practical joker he can be! Hehe.” Then find an emoticon that looks like something you would use on April Fool’s Day.

Readers: Do you prefer text or phone calls? Please tell me why in the comments below!

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Timing is Everything in Life!

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If everyone got rid of their clocks, watches, calendars, hourglasses, (and oven timers!) and there was no way to keep track of the elapsing minutes, would our bodies still age? (And our cakes still burn?)

The passage of time plays such a huge part of our lives physically, psychologically, professionally, and socially that I wanted to get reader input to see if there was a general consensus about the amount of time you should wait regarding certain life experiences.

It should be noted that when I started to type the phrase, “How long should you wait….” in an internet search, the first thing that came up was the rest of this sentence: “To date again after a break-up?” That makes sense given there doesn’t seem to be a standard protocol we all agree on for a confusing life event like that. But surprisingly, the second most prevalent question that overwhelmingly popped up after typing in, “How long should you wait….” was “To go swimming after eating a full meal?” Seriously folks?? Are we all still fretting over that silly age-old dilemma? (There are NO cramps people! That was just my Jewish grandmother’s clever way of keeping us out of her pool after she fed us so she could put curlers in her hair.)

The following are the things I often wonder about with time so please chime in if you have an answer. Meanwhile my little (snide?) remarks will be in red font after each question.

How Long Do You Wait?

  • To announce to friends and family that you’re in love? (I think immediately after you tell people this exciting news, your new lover will confide in you they have a criminal record.)
  • For someone to finally come out of their house and get in your car after you’ve honked your horn loudly? (The worse part about carpooling!)
  • To tell people you’re pregnant? (Religious Jews believe this should NOT be divulged until the first trimester is over, when the chance of miscarriage goes tremendously down. Do you wait?)
  • To submit your writing elsewhere if you haven’t heard back from an editor/publication? (I think giving someone 48 hours to have it dawn on them how clever/funny I am is PLENTY of time! Okay, 3 days if they’re super dense.)
  • To get remarried after the death of a spouse? (My mother tells me lots of women in her age group bring homemade meals to a newly widowed man (at his wife’s funeral!) as a way of saying, “I’m a great cook. Can I be next in line for you??” This is referred to as the “Brisket Brigade!” Oy.)
  • Between applying coats of paint on your walls? (Yes, I really wanna know this! Shouldn’t it be the same as fingernail polish??)
  • Until you set a date after the marriage proposal? (the trend for staying engaged for a long time is a confusing one!)
  • Before tossing bread/muffins/tortillas in the refrigerator after the expiration date? (These date stamps are something we routinely ignore in my house in favor of color-coding. In other words, a red-flag with baked goods would be discovering it’s now green!)
  • Before sending a second text asking, “Hey! Did you get my first text?” (This dilemma drives me crazy because maybe they received it but are purposely ignoring me. Or maybe they texted back and I am the one who NEVER got their response. Where does it end??)
  • Before calling the police if your teenage daughter is not answering her cellphone and none of her friends have seen her? (This will only make sense to someone whose kid routinely retorts, “If I’m grounded, I’m running away from home!”)
  • To nudge someone if they’re not taking their turn in Words With Friends?? (C’mon already. And don’t just resign or forfeit — I don’t wanna win that way!)
  • How long should you date different people before becoming “exclusive” with just one? (It should be the same answer for “how long do you traipse through furniture stores before deciding on a couch?” Won’t there always be a more comfortable, nicer looking sofa?!)
  • How long should you wait after a child is born to have a second? (And God help you when the adults are outnumbered.)
  • Between brushing your teeth and eating? (A conundrum I could never figure out. Brush after eating, makes sense. But then if I get hungry again? The whole cycle repeats itself 80 times a day??)
  • For the sex to get better with your new partner? (Alright, you’ve given them “the initial tour” and they kept getting lost. How long are you expected to wait for them to feel at home in your strange little “town?”) 
  • For a late professor to show up in a classroom at college before leaving? (He does NOT wait for you to show up before teaching!)
  • How long should you wait in bed to drift off to sleep before deciding, “It’s obviously another night of insomnia — those poor online readers are getting another idiotic blogpost from me about timing.” (I have absolutely no comment/opinion on this last one, other than to apologize.)

Readers: Can you answer anything I’ve asked here or do you have your own question about how long to wait for something? Leave either or both in the comments section below! 

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Funky Facebook Friend Faye Fiercely Focused on Flaunting!

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Ever have an irritating family friend from childhood whose sole purpose in life was competing with you? You know those kind of “pals” — you don’t choose them, but they’re part of the deal because both your parents are good friends? I thought I’d seen the last of Faye in my teenage years until she suddenly surfaced on Facebook, or rather “Faye’sbook,” requesting her entrance into MY WORLD. Noooooooooo!

Now whenever I post an update that’s a happy one, Faye immediately posts her own “Ecstatic” status. And being the type who detests people portraying their lives as all rainbows, butterflies, and sunsets, I’ll often type out something extremely honest but depressing. And in the blink of an eye, Faye will elaborate on some catastrophic personal tragedy on her own newsfeed. She keeps an endless supply of cousins with cancer for this very purpose.

So basically if I’m happy, she’s Happier and if I’m downhearted, she’s Fantine from Les Misérables. 

When I wrote about my daughter going to her first prom last June, Faye’s daughter went to her first prom AND was crowned Prom Queen. I got in a car accident and was taken to the ER in an ambulance? Faye was sandwiched by two semi-trucks and airlifted to ICU in a coma. I made a crème brûlée and caramelized the sugar with a cigarette lighter? Faye made baked alaska flambé with a culinary torch!

Doesn’t this chick have anything better to do with her life than to concentrate on outdoing me on a daily basis??

“Stephanie,” you might say, “Will you get over yourself and your big ego? It’s not always about you, you know? Sometimes it’s just pure coincidence.”

Oh yeah? I’ll prove it. Look at my Facebook from last night. It’s so utterly specific.

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Suddenly on her Facebook appeared this status:

Gosh, my husband (the most incredible ophthalmologist in the world) says the crazies are coming out of the woodwork after the eclipse, claiming they’re going blind. What are you gonna do? It puts our kids through the best Ivy league colleges!

 

Fluke?  I think not.

But just to be sure it wasn’t a chance occurrence, I found Faye on Twitter and clicked “Follow.” Then I tweeted this:

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And needless to say a new Tweet from Faye soon went out like this:

Daughter has Lice, Dog has fleas, Kitchen has Ants, Basement has Termites! #The10Plagues!

 

See, she even outshines me in pestilence. What petulance!

So I went to Instagram, searched for Faye there and was successful in locating her right away. This called for a new clever tact. A “fluffy strategy” to be exact, because I make the most adorable memes in the world, featuring my two kittens. Here’s my latest Instagram post:

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How can it possibly get any cuter, (or cleaner!) than two kitties in a sink?? Well not even twenty minutes later, her Instagram showcased her bathtub!

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Needless to say on Pinterest, I put up a bunch of pins on turning a spare bedroom into a movie theatre. Then I clicked on her Pinterest account and she’d newly added photographs of a long, narrow hallway, remodeled into a bowling alley!

After friending her on LinkedIn, I made sure that my title prominently stated I was a published author. And instantaneously she got promoted from a boring “Technical Writer” to “Award Winning Screenwriter!”

Alright, this means war! And that’s why I’m writing this WordPress blog and then I’m gonna find Faye’s WordPress blog and become a secret new follower. There’s only one problem, I just found out Fay is on the East Coast, where she’s apparently three hours ahead of me in everything she does. And so this is HER latest post on WordPress:

Ever have an irritating family friend from childhood whose sole purpose in life was competing with you? You know those kind of “pals” — you don’t choose them, but they’re part of the deal because both your parents are good friends? I thought I’d seen the last of Stephanie (who now weirdly goes by “Little Miss Menopause”) in my teenage years but my mother insisted I find her on Facebook, so I grudgingly did so for old time’s sake. After that, she’s been stalking me on every social media in existence trying her best to upstage me. Can we say, “CREEPY??” Ewwwww. Get a life.

 

READERS: Do you have an online “competitor?” How about in real life….maybe at the gym?

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Be Careful Answering “Why Did Your Relationship End?”

break_up_ripped_photo_600X369Longtime readers may recall that I’ve had two marriages end, but they don’t know why. Actually nobody is EVER privy to the real reason(s) that a love relationship concludes — we only receive the limited information that the couple (one or both parties!) willingly imparts to us. And depending on which side of the story you hear, that will differ vastly!

The most accurate explanation is “I guess you just had to be there!”

Being acutely aware of all this, and also knowing that the question (“Why did you divorce?”) would be asked by future prospective partners once we were in the single world again, I tried to exert a little control during my split-ups. (Shocking, right? Me and “control” in the same sentence!)

ME: Let’s both be on the same page when our friends all ask us why our marriage failed.

HIM: Oh goody, let’s!

ME:  Alrighty, so we want something that’s not embarrassing or shameful for either of us…but it should be fairly compelling.

HIM: Okay so I guess, “She refused to pack my bento box for work even though she was already making our other children’s lunch-boxes for school, and besides what’s another turkey sandwich?” isn’t what you had in mind.

ME: That bento box was a fricking nightmare . . . since when is food so pretty?  No, I was thinking something more along the lines of The War of The Roses movie where both parties are equally at fault. But you never ran over my cat in your car and I never served you paté made from your dog. Ok?

HIM: Did we both end up dangling from our chandelier?

ME: Yes, that’s riveting!

So here are my suggestions for people who need to come up with acceptable justifications because the truth simply will not do.

WHY DID YOUR LAST RELATIONSHIP END?

  1. JOB RELATED — It’s pretty easy to dodge this question when a future employer inquires during an interview why your last position ended. So just borrow some basic terminology. “I was laid off when there was a merger and a major reorganization.” Or simply go with, “Micro-Management.”
  2. BLAME — Don’t be a finger-pointer. Own up and share responsibility equally like this: “He was a philanderer, an alcoholic, unambitious, and he beat me. Oh, but I had my part in it as well — I kept forgetting to pack his lunch.”
  3. LIFE HAPPENS! — For the kindly, romantic divorcing couple who sugarcoats. “We finally realized that Love just wasn’t enough.”
  4. CHEATING? — Just say this . . . “Being solely with one person is very unrealistic in this day and age when people live to be 80 years-old. Monogamy during caveman days? Piece a cake!”
  5. OFFSPRING — “He touched me first! She looked at me after I told her not to. He grabbed my ice-cream cone when I set it down but wasn’t finished.” No, that’s not your kids arguing. Those are legit reasons cited by parents (about each other) after they’ve endured having multiple children. (If you can’t beat ’em . . . )
  6. DIETING: No, don’t use the cheesy line, “I just shed 180 lbs by divorcing my husband.” Instead say how you lost 22 lbs in a month but unfortunately that triggered your spouse’s insecurities and . . . trust me you won’t get past that point because you’ll be so busy answering the question of exactly how you accomplished this incredible weight loss (carb cutting??) in great detail and nobody will ever even care about your split-up again.
  7. CANDOR:  Here’s my spouse’s phone number. I have nothing to hide. Ring her up and ask exactly why it ended. (sing to the tune of Ghostbusters…”Who ya gonna call????”)
  8. REFRAME: Again borrow the technique from job interviews when they ask you for a personality flaw and you say, “I am too perfectionistic and don’t know when to stop working.” So in this case you say, “Unfortunately my spouse had very low self-esteem and could never believe she deserved someone as awesome as me so she realized she had to leave.”

If all else fails, hold up a Bento Box (below) and say, “How’d you like to pack one of these every morning when neither of you is even Japanese?!”

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READERS:  How honest are you about why your relationship ended? Please leave me a comment responding. And if this subject interests you, I wrote more for The Huffington Post in their Divorce section right HERE.

Zuko Marriage Ending Faster Than Greased Lightning!

Drive-InWe join the famous pair during couple’s counseling:

Therapist:  Just a quick reminder that anything discussed in this room stays highly confidential.

Sandy: Tell that to Danny here.

Danny: That’s my name baby, don’t wear it out!

Sandy: OMG seriously? Did you even listen? He said no more bragging about our love life to that hoodlum gang of yours on the football bleachers.

Danny: Yes, Miss Goody-Two-Shoes.

Sandy: Ugh. What happened to the Danny Zuko I met at the beach?

Danny: Well I do not know. Why don’t you take out a missing person’s ad? Or try the yellow pages.

Therapist: Mr. Zuko, you seem very concerned with appearing cool. Has that always been the case? (Tousles Danny’s hair with hand)

Danny: Hey! Would ya watch the hair? Ya know, I work hard on my hair a long time and then you just hit it. He hits my hair!

Therapist: I don’t think that’s the correct line for this. I’m confused.

Sandy:  He’s obsessed. (Wipes hand on husband’s oily scalp to remove her wedding ring) And you can take back this piece of tin (Throws diamond) Danny Zuko, you’re a fake and a phony and I wish I never laid eyes on you! (Stomps toward door)

Danny: Sandy! You can’t just walk out of a drive-in!

Therapist: Um, technically this is a shrink’s office. Wow folks, things sure escalated quickly. We don’t name-call in here. And we always use “I” statements. Danny, why don’t you tell Sandy how you’re feeling right now?

Danny:  I got chills. They’re multiplyin’. And I’m losing control. Cause the power you’re supplying . . . it’s electrifying.

Therapist: That sounds very familiar.

Danny: Music loud and women warm, been kicked around since I was born. Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother, you’re Stayin’ Alive, Stayin’ Alive. Ever hear that before?

Therapist: Many times. Nothing shocks me these days. Even movie character swapping, which I see you like to do. It’s like wife-swapping, only more illicit. But let’s get back to your relationship. How deep is your love? I really mean to learn. Cuz we’re living in a world of fools, breaking us down, when they all should let us be. We belong to you and me.

Danny: You got it, dude. Saturday Night Fever and the Bee Gees rule!

Sandy: If you boys are quite finished? I’d like to say I knew right away Danny and I were not a good match from the moment we met. My parents invited him to tea. He said, “I don’t like tea.” I explained he didn’t have to drink tea. He said, “I don’t like parents.”

Therapist: Is that the only problem, Sandy?

Sandy: It’s Miss Sandra Dee to you. And there are other issues. He’s always crooning to his grease-ball friends, “Well she got friendly down in the sand!” I hate that expression. He’s got a one-track mind.

Danny: I did letter in track just to get inside her pants.

Sandy: Keep your filthy paws off my silky drawers. Would you pull that crap with Annette? And how about that night you tried to feel me up inside your souped-up car!

Therapist: Well sex is a very important part of a relationship.

Sandy: Tell me about it, Stud.

Therapist: (Blushing) Uh, let’s hear about this souped-up car.

Danny: Why this car is auto-matic. It’s system-matic. It’s hyyyydro-matic…why it’s greased lightn….

Therapist: I get the picture.

Sandy: I wasn’t finished. There’s another woman. Cha-Cha Di Gregorio, a bad girl from a worse neighborhood with good dance moves.

Danny: Aw c’mon Sandy. We go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong.

Therapist: Well said. Any other compliment you might give your wife?

Danny: Ain’t nobody who can mash a cigarette into the ground and then kick me in the chest with her high heel like Sandy can.

Sandy: That’s not going to excuse all your Scientology cult stuff.

Therapist: The what now? Did I miss something?

Sandy: And the cross-dressing. He’s actually Edna Turnblat!

Danny: You can’t stop my happiness, ‘cuz I like the way I am. And you just can’t stop my knife and fork when I see a Christmas ham. And if you don’t like the way I look, then I just don’t give a damn!

Sandy: You better shape up. Cuz I need a man. And my heart is set on you!

Therapist: Well you both definitely seem “Hopelessly Devoted.” But unfortunately that’s all the time we have for this session — so you should both fly off in that magical car of yours and everyone will live happily ever after. Except I do have one final word of advice.

Sandy: What’s the word?

Therapist: “Grease” is the word. That’ll be $150 please.

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How NOT To Plan a Summer BBQ in 15 Easy Steps (Plus Bonus Swimming Pool Etiquette! Uh, NOT!)

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Yup, Summer is Upon Us! Here’s how NOT to Plan a BBQ Get-Together!

  1. Feel guilty remembering last July when you were grilling steaks in your backyard, the newly moved-in next-door neighbor popped his fat head over the fence and yelled, “Mmm, something sure smells good!”
  2. Resolve to invite anyone who lives within “Wafting Aroma” distance.
  3. Rethink leaving notification flyers under everyone’s welcome mat on their front doorstep because that’s what pushy realtors and obnoxious cable companies do. Instead hang “Everyone is Welcome to Our Backyard Cookout” posters on group mailboxes.
  4. Hide your shock when the postman personally delivers bills/letters to your porch and then asks if it’s okay to bring his cousins and their kids?
  5. Overhear through your open window two mothers chatting on the sidewalk below, “Do you know her? I don’t either. How lame. Maybe she has no other friends.”
  6. Realize you wrote “Potluck” on the invites to promote camaraderie and teamwork, but now everyone will probably just think you’re cheap. Also since you didn’t do that organized Martha Stewart trick where you divide the alphabet into A-L = side dish/drinks and M-Z = main course/appetizer, there will now be 17 containers of Costco white chocolate macadamia nut cookies on your dessert table.
  7. Knock on individual doors because you forgot to put RSVP info in your flyer. Act surprised when the first neighbors (The Coopers?) thank you for inviting them, but then they remark they’ll only come if they’ll know someone else there. Reassure them that the O’Donnell family will definitely be attending, because you know they like them. Break a sweat running to the O’Donnell house and casually mention the Cooper family will be at your BBQ and you hope they’ll come too?
  8. Pray that the Coopers and the O’Donnells never EVER bring this topic up in conversation with one another.
  9. Go in your backyard and fret that your plants are dying, your lawn furniture is tattered, and everyone else’s property is surely a better place to hold a BBQ than yours. And what’s there to do back here after scarfing down burgers? Absolutely nothing.
  10. Re-landscape, buy patio seating, and put in an underground swimming pool with a built-in waterslide.
  11. Make the case to your husband that you need to repaint your home’s interior as neighbors need to walk thru your entire house to get to the backyard because if they go via the side gate, it stinks due to trashcans. Keep talking about Benjamin Moore “Swiss Coffee Shoreline” color palette when he interrupts and says he’ll simply relocate the garbage barrels inside your garage.
  12. Phone a marriage counselor when the divorce papers are delivered.
  13. Field phone calls from your siblings and parents who complain they were looking forward to a quiet family reunion BBQ but now you had to go and invite a bunch of strangers so now they’re not coming.
  14. Traipse around the entire neighborhood canceling your event when the local weatherman claims an unseasonable rainstorm is hitting San Diego this weekend.
  15. Ask what looks like your mailman’s grandma to please pass the butter for the corn-on-the-cob and then tell the mailman’s cousin’s children that you’d appreciate if they’d use their indoor voices while sitting at your formal dining room table.

Do’s And Don’ts To Get Along Swimmingly At a Community Pool!

This season you may be visiting a group swimming pool, so here’s my official list of Do’s and Don’ts, which you are encouraged to take with a grain of salt. (Or if your pool isn’t a saltwater based system– a capful of chlorine.)

  • DO arrive at the community pool with proper identification and whatever keycard you need to get through the gate. DON’T shout out to nearby sunbathers on lounge chairs from behind the bars, “Listen! I really do live here. I can prove it. Maybe you know my neighbors, The Coopers or The Odonnells? You can call them to verify my residency. Ready? 760 – 944 …” And DON’T rattle off a list of neighborhood trivia (like previous fires, burglaries, times car alarms go off in the morning, or who the mailman is sleeping with) as further evidence. If you’re desperate (and you really do reside in the development) DO make your best puppy dog expression at the individuals sitting under the umbrellas nearest the fence and offer to share your oatmeal cookies or fudge brownies with them if they let you in.
  • DON’T bring oatmeal cookies or fudge brownies to a pool! It will exacerbate the current ant problem. But DO bring “Ants on a Log” (the old peanut-butter on celery sticks with raisins to get kids to eat healthy) because the ants will view this snack as a prophetic bad omen and march off the premises.
  • If it’s forbidden to play “Marco Polo” (and it should be!) DON’T tell your children it’s okay to start shouting “Parco Molo!” at the top of their lungs instead. Just DON’T. Also while swimming, DO offer friendly salutations to people you recognize strolling by, but if they casually inquire, “So how’s the water today?” DON’T automatically answer with that tired cliché, “Like a bathtub!” There are many other ways to describe a warm pool so DO be creative. DO say, “Like a beach in Hawaii” or “like toasty hot cocoa.” DON’T say, “Like about 85 kids recently peed in it.”
  • Remember license plate holders that proudly declared, “My other car is a Porsche?” DO post a sign on your chest claiming, “My other bathing suit is a string bikini!” DON’T recline on your back overtly reading scandalous books with inappropriate covers for others to gawk at. But DO make phony dustjackets that say, “Dog-Paddling for Dummies” or “10 Wholesome Short Stories to Read at Public Swimming Pools” to slip over your provocative novels, because you shouldn’t have to miss all those juicy chapters!
  • DO use the outdoor shower that’s usually provided before you jump in the pool because that’s its primary purpose, to clean off your yuckiness. DON’T assume the shower was built for your personal grooming habits after your swim, which means DON’T bring a deep-conditioner, a razor, a loofah brush, an acne facial mask, a fogless mirror, and a luxurious bathmat. DO bring a rubber-ducky cuz that’s just plain cute.
  • And finally, DO let that family (with the really sad eyes and a bag full of oatmeal cookies and fudge brownies) with no key or ID into the community pool, because it’s probably my six kids and me. And I swear (on my other bikini) that we really do live here!

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