Here comes the bride…and the minister, and the caterers, the florist, the wedding planner, the makeup artist, the dressmaker, the hair stylist, the photographer and the lists and lists of family friends. 30 days into this deal and you are both ready to jump on a love boat, sail to Tahiti and get married there. Wow…who knew?
Here’s the thing about your wedding…it is your wedding in name and you may even be paying some of the costs, but, your wedding and his wedding are the time in life when parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, everyone who ever had a hand in your upbringing and life get to celebrate their accomplishment – you. So, although everyone tells you this is ‘your day’ it is really their day, the payoff of all those years of, well, you know. So, let them enjoy your day that they (especially your mother) have helped to create.
Wow! Again, who knew it could be so expensive to get married? Let’s go over average costs.
How much does a wedding cost? A lot, it turns out.
Here’s what you should know about wedding costs and how to realistically estimate what you’ll spend to take the plunge.
Add it all up
Don’t bow to pressure from relatives, friends, social media or spending reports. Your wedding spending should align with your income, regular expenses and other financial goals.
Once you’ve established a budget, decided the kind of wedding you want and begun to compare costs, plug in the numbers.
What about a simple backyard wedding, reception? Can a lot of costs be reduced that way? Of course and during the time of Covid, more and more couples have been doing just that to minimize personal contact and maximize social distancing. So, before all the vendors start beating down your door, now is the time to have a talk with mom and dad, and/or the beloved, to see how much, realistically everyone wants to pay for this day. Yes, it is a very important day, however, it is one day and life does go on after. So, let’s pause and think.
Honeymoon and After
Best recommendation for honeymoon and after is to not spend too much time with mom, dad and family. They all mean well, they really do. But, try as they might, family simply cannot stop with giving advice. This is the birth of a new relationship, a marriage, and the two of you have to build that relationship. There will be fights and hard times. But, if every time there is a squabble over who takes out the trash, if you run home to mom, you are not building the steps to a strong relationship – with him. He needs to be your focus now, not your parents. Time to say good bye, (mom/dad/everyone) love you, and grow up. Growing up can be very difficult. However, you’ve had a good start, family and friends gathered around, lots of gifts, now it’s your turn. To use a corny over used phrase; ‘this is the first day of the rest of your life.’
Make it a good one.
Marriage and life ever after, well, material for another book!
As a writer I have joined a number of writing groups, some good, some not so great. Although I have met a number of men in the various groups, never anyone who sent a zing! through my socks. I became mildly interested in the leader of my last group. I made myself available by attending one of his poetry get-togethers and inviting him to one of my events.
It seemed like we might have had something going on…for about five minutes when he closed up the group and disappeared from my life. Coincidental? Probably not. Had he thought about this? Probably. I was a little sad…but in retrospect, how often do I even think about him? Actually, fairly seldom. Meaning what? I wasn’t really in love, interested if he was interested. And…well…apparently not. Is my heart broken? Not really.
Cast your mind back and think about two different group of guys (or guy); the one(s) you think about over and over again and the one(s) you never think about. I recently went to a church event and a young man was there who was always nice to me. For the life of me, I could not remember his name. I thought about it all the way home and decided it was a D name like Daryl or Darren. I knew I had it written down at home somewhere. So, hunting around I found a card. His last name started with the D and the first name was Bill. I was so far off!
What does this mean? Probably that I think about him so seldom I can’t even remember his name. Whew! Is it that easy? Could be that little inner voice telling you things your rational mind chooses to ignore? Don’t ignore instincts. They are very useful.
Cyber Stalking: Don’t do this. It’s not dignified and it’s not even respectful. Personally, I have been stalked at least twice and it’s a terrible feeling, like being a prisoner in your own home. Plus, you’re always looking over your shoulder when you’re out.
We need to respect others and their choices. We need to respect ourselves. This behavior does not make you feel better, it makes you feel worse and small. If he is on your Facebook, Twitter account, delete him and resist the temptation to keep signing on and staring at that face again. Stop. There are a lot of fish in the sea and you the longer you spend on a lost cause, the longer it will take to find Mr. Right. Hang in there and do the right thing.
Speed Dating vs Rejection
Rejection never feels good in any setting: romantic, work or friendships. However, we can reframe the rejection thing. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Does love at first sight exist?
“Yes, love at first sight can be an overwhelming sensation that feels like love but it isn’t, according to Robirosa. It is actually caused by a chemical reaction. “Basically, it’s a good match of endorphins between two people and in essence, it is an indication of strong physical attraction,” she says. “ By Lauren Levy Updated on 05/16/22
Love at first sight might not mean that you are destined to be together forever. However, psychologists also tell us that attraction to and from the opposite sex usually happens within just a few minutes. The way a person looks, acts, feels, sounds and even smells comes into our consciousness in a way that sends a message of “Yes! More of this!” or “No, thank you!”
Once again, we are learning to be guided by and to trust our intuition about who we have some real interest in or not.
A dating system that has gotten a lot of popularity recently is Speed dating. This is a get-together, usually in a restaurant or some public places. There you get together with a series of individuals and have a ‘speed’ date lasting about five minutes. Thereafter, you determine your interest or none in a person or persons you have met.
You can actually do this yourself if you think of life as a series of speed date situations. We can spend a lot of time nursing our wounds over individuals who have rejected us or appear to have no interest. We can also be thankful that those actions free us to move onto someone else who willbe interested.
Consider each interaction you have with a guy as a speed date. Trust me, if the male takes his time to interact with you and engage in conversation, he is interested. It is then up to you to decide, are you interested? Or not or maybe? You are conveying this information back to the guy with your expressions, your conversation, your smile and your willingness to ‘hang around’ a bit more. When you quickly leave the pool, the bar, the restaurant, the volley ball game, the whatever, you are conveying a certain message: not available, not interested. However, if you hang around a bit (not three hours) a different message is conveyed and the male will pick up on this quickly and understand it.
Don’t underestimate the power of attraction, it is important to a relationship the same way sex is important. Sex is often fueled by attraction. It’s not everything but it carries a lot of weight.
Shall I have sex with him?
Attraction is not always the same as compatibility. You may be sexually attracted to someone who is very much not the right guy. Be aware, if you become intimate with a man, it will be 50 times more difficult to bail out of the relationship than if you did not. Remember also, it is not just you getting hurt, the man gets hurt too. It can be a high price to pay on both sides. Sometimes it is better to deal with sexual frustration than a lot of lasting emotional hurt.
Is it that goober again?
How do you know there is some real interest there? A defining thing is consistency. He always smiles when he sees you, he remembers your name, he’s always friendly and nice to you. There is no hot-cold, on and off, back and forth and never knowing what the mood will be like today. If the guy is like that now, he will be like that….on going. You will never know where you stand or the true nature of your relationship. He may smile like a goober and that can be a very positive sign.
Is it him?
You have met the guy, somewhere. Maybe friends, maybe church, maybe a bicycle repair class, maybe school, perhaps on a trip…somewhere. He is consistent…he likes you. His face lights up when he sees you, he smiles, opens the door, brings you coffee. Then, it starts with little things, cards, small gifts, you meet his friends, he meets your friends. There are more small gifts, he does things for you, brings you things, fixes your car, offers to buy you Tylenol, cough syrup, orange juice, when you are sick. And so it goes. Things move on, he continues to tell you that he likes you and likes to spend time with you. You meet his family, he meets your family, they like you and you like them. Whoa.
When I was younger, I did not get the significance of meeting the man’s family. I just thought it was lunch (or dinner.) I really didn’t lock onto the significance of these meetings. Not until some years later did I realize that if the man has no serious intentions about you or the relationship, you will never meet his family, or children or close friends. I get that now and have learned it’s a serious sign. The family is sizing you up and deciding if you are okay for their son. Your family does the same thing. So, once again, listen to what goes on in these ‘casual’ meetings and take mental notes. You need to ask yourself, not just do I like them on the surface level, do we fit, mesh together? Are we cut from the same cloth?
Unfortunately, if the answer to these questions is no, not really, there could be problems down the line.
Yes, it is him
You have made up your mind. It is him, he’s the one. You fit with him and he fits with you. Ying and yang. You relax, you are ready for whatever comes next. And…
He asks you to get married. Wow! Then he stares at you with big puppy dog eyes and you want to start crying. You can’t tell if it is the puppy dog eyes or that you are so happy. Whatever, you say yes.
You call and tell your mother. She is hysterical, you father is proud, your older sister says something like “Oh, I knew it was just a matter of time.”
You sigh in a pink bubble of happiness. You and he go to your favorite French restaurant and celebrate and you are clothed in a warm, fuzzy pink blanket. All your dreams come true. For today.
Suppose for a moment that you have a nice extended family; mom, dad, sister, brother, friends, so on. Usually speaking, if something weird happens ( you get the flu, Covid, run out of gas, have a foot in a cast and so on) you can call on one of these people for gasoline, water, juice and so on , as needed. Great, right?
Let’s imagine another scenario. Mom and Dad are on vacation, your brother has moved out of state and your sister and her new husband went on the cruise with Mom and Dad. Your friends are all busy working. You run out of gas, break your toe, lose your house key – who do you call?
Someone who will help you out, willingly, no strings attached, without resentment and with no real expectations of payback (sexual or otherwise.) Do you have such a person in your life? I have found, more times than one, the people or person I could call was a gay friend, not a straight friend. I have had a number of gay friends in my life, both male and female. They have been uniformly the most giving and caring people I have met. When I really need a friend, and I hate to ask for this thing (whatever it is), my gay friends step up when I would never, ever think of asking a straight guy the same thing.
Unfortunately, straight guys seem to mix up almost everything with sex. The slightest effort at conversation at the gym is translated into some kind of pick up line. It had gotten to be so bad for me, I rarely speak to men anymore unless they speak to me first. I have been dancing at social mixers when my partner (of five minutes) is at pains to explain to me how married he is. I do believe the next time a man does that I promise to say “Oh, good, well then, you should certainly be dancing with her,” and just walk off the floor. Men confuse niceness with sexual aggressiveness all the time. Can’t tell if is fear on their part or wishful thinking.
Anyway, when you run out of gas, and need a lift, you don’t want to feel like you have to ‘pay’ for your mistake later down the line. Now, maybe you do have a friend you can call (of either sex) who is willing to help you out. Good and cherish that friendship because there aren’t many like that.
The Alpha Male – Sports
Let’s face it, what woman doesn’t crave a big, strong man-virile, husky? It harkens back to the cave hunter days when men used to hunt down dinner and drag it home.
Of course, these days we mostly don’t live on the veldt and big game hunting is sort of passing out of style…still. In modern day’s terms, how does the modern man recapture those he-man hunting days? Sports!
Any of you that spent time recently watching the Super Bowl would have to admit, I believe, that the rough and tumble of the playing field today is just about a brutal as any historic caveman would have wanted. Now, for the sidelines, us.
Tune into ESPN any day of the week (while you’re at the gym on the treadmill) and you will have a chance to enjoy a mind numbing array of programs, announcers, presenters, athletes, father of athletes, coaches, team members and on and on. Who can keep up with all the names and numbers? The entire field of sports, sports figures, their statistics and lives are daunting. Is this is what is required to be the good girl friend?
No. And neither would most guys expect you to go hunting in a duck blind or ice fishing in a hut. They love that stuff! Let them have it and enjoy, don’t be jealous. However, if you ever expected your boyfriend to go with you to a chick flick (The Proposal, The Notebook, Jungle Cruise, all Disney movies,) you need to give the Devil his due.
Important Dates: Super Bowl Sunday. Usually in February. This is the High Holy Days of sports. To miss (or dismiss) this day is almost sacrilege. Mark it on your calendar, make it an event. Someone almost always hosts a party; go, take a dish, invite your girlfriends. Make it an event and even you might learn a little about football.
Kentucky Derby Day (May) – big with horse fans. Again, host a party, women wear hats, serve mint julips. Have fun and while the men are screaming at the horses you can casually fan yourself and sip iced tea.
Opening day for baseball. (Summer) Do you have to go to everyone? No. But opening day is big. Get tickets for a local team, maybe college. The pro-games are priced for, well, pros. Again, make it an event, invite your friends, he invites his friends. Maybe one of your girlfriends will meet someone nice. Win-win. Check it off your list.
Football/soccer – opening day (fall). Again, every game? Not hardly, but how about at least one, he will love you for it. Go before it gets too freezing cold. Men love that stuff. Once you have done your duty, you can snuggle, guilt free at home with a good romance novel and paint your nails!
Sports for you – in the interest of keeping the weight down and the healthy flush to your cheeks, you too should have at least one sport. Something you like, not something you hate because then you won’t do it. Explore and experiment, what do you like? Walking, power walking, hiking, swimming, biking, bowling? Try your hand and see what you gravitate too. If you try to ‘stick’ to something you really hate, 10 speed racing, to meet men, you will get discouraged and give up. If you meet ‘him’ at one of these events, he will become disappointed that you don’t want to do this anymore. Give both of you a break, keep to what is real for you.
Too Good to be True?
He’s tall, blond, blue eyed, handsome, wow! He’s adorable, sweet, sends cards, takes you to dinner, lunch, breakfast, skiing, fishing, and, and, and. Too good to be true?
This is the time when your mom is not your best friend. She wants you to get married. Your dad, maybe, but he may be very reluctant to say anything that interfer with that important walk down the aisle. If you have doubts, who can you really talk to and get the straight, skinny? Your very best friend is a good source. That is someone who loves you so much, they are usually willing to risk hurting your feelings to help you out. Also, your minister, priest, rabbi, therapist, etc. They are one step away from the problem and can be objective. Listen to those people. Once they have spoken, you need some alone time to process, mediate, get close to who and what you really are and what you want. Does this (male) puzzle piece fit? No one can ever really tell you what the truth is for you. You need to take some time to come to terms with your own truth. This can be meditation, walking the dog, going to church, riding a bike. Someplace where you can think.
That Really Important Question(!)
Once upon a time, it was common for girls to live at home until they were married. That age could be nineteen or twenty nine! It was also common for mom and dad to ‘vet’ the suitors for their daughter’s hand. Today, if a young woman lives at home, it usually has more to do with finances than some sense of morality or convention.
Somethings are gained and somethings are lost in these changes. The gains are in independence and freedom. The losses can be in having less support from family in the matter of dating. This can be good and bad. Good in that mom and dad are not breathing down your neck every minute asking you and him awkward questions. The bad can be that you lose help from people who care about you.
The old-fashioned question Dad asked was “What are your intentions toward my daughter?” That question still needs to be asked, however; reframed in modern terms.
The question/s that need to be asked are: Where do you see this relationship going? Do you see yourself in a marriage/or getting married? Do you want to have children?
These are very direct questions and it takes great courage to ask them. It also takes good people skills and intuition about when in the relationship to ask these questions. Obviously, these are not first date questions. However, if you have been dating the same person for six months or more, the time has come. It will be up to you to decide the best time.
Know this, if these questions aren’t asked, you will be setting yourself up for failure and hurt. The truth can hurt but, really, not as badly as misinformed ignorance. Likewise, if the responses are positive, he is interested in a long-term relationship, he is interested in marriage, etc. etc., then imagine the relief you will feel knowing that the two of you are, yes, actually on the same page!
It Didn’t Work Out – You Have to Move On
So, you ask the question and basically, the answer is a no. It can be an actual no or it may be framed in sort of avoidance terms like: Well, I don’t know, I’m not sure, Oh, not right now, etc. etc. In other words, no, or certainly not on your time schedule. If you want to wait ten years for some guy, that is up to you.
Still, we are dealing with a no response from him. Ouch! Boy does this hurt. Rapid recovery? Maybe not. Stay busy, keep up your friendships, and consider a vacation.
Don’t try to drown your troubles or try a quick hookup. You’ll end up feeling hung over and dirty. Start a garden, get a puppy, try to appreciate the good things in life and what you do have. Be open to the next step.
He asks you to go to Singapore. Or, Palm Beach, or Palm Desert or the beach or the desert or to coffee.
The point is, he is asking you if you want to do something, in the future, with him and perhaps with other people. In an abundance of caution, many men will structure ‘dates’ as group activities with other people. This can be church, choir, coffee groups, and movies, whatever. It’s okay. It takes off some of the pressure of too much togetherness, too soon. After all, what do the two of you have to talk about…yet? Group hikes and walks are wonderful ways to get to know other people. The atmosphere is relaxed, you’re outside, and the sun is on your face. A wonderful way for you and him to let your guard down and to be yourself.
There are numerous dating sites online that are good and have pretty good advice. On YouTube, I like Matthew Hussey Dating Advice, which is good listening for young women. For older women, I like Engage at Any Age – Jaki Sabourin.
Matthew is sincere, has been doing this for a while and is a very straight shooter. For older women, who face different challenges with men, it is a good site to review to realize other people are having similar problems and to not get completely discouraged.
Back to, he asks if you will be on the hike (board game, choir meeting, church service, etc.) next Sunday. You say yes and go.
Then what? Is this a DATE or a date? It is a date (small letters). This is a getting to know you date which is way different from a we-have-been-dating-six-months-and-it’s Valentine’s Day date.
This is a getting-to-know-you date. Let’s not overwhelm everyone with expectations and demands. If you go on the hike and get along, don’t turn into: let’s have coffee, let’s go to dinner, come over to my place, boom!
Don’t do it. Allow the date and the man, to process his thinking and feelings about you. Also, likewise, allow yourself some time to process your feelings. Are you interested? A little, some, a lot? None? Again, let’s stop thinking desperation, I have to grab the first guy I can get! If we think in desperation terms, everything is black or white, the end result will be a sure reflection of that thinking. Desperate!
So, if he is talking about coffee, say yes. You can casually ask some other people to go along, if you like. The presence of others softens the occasion so it doesn’t run the risk of becoming Too Important!!!!
You ask him
You ask him to go to a group breakfast, lunch (not dinner – too formal), a group hike, walk, volunteer event. You are in your natural element, you are with friends, and you are relaxed. The very best setting to be in. You are your best self. This is the perfect backdrop for conversation. It’s not too formal, not too dressed up and not too ‘special’. Unlikely that your parents or other relatives will be there looking over your shoulder and asking pointed questions like “Who is that guy?” Which then leads to more awkward questions and answers like “Just a guy,” “A friend.” At which point, someone (your mother) begins to roll Jher eyes and sigh. Jeese, who needs that pressure?
As a matter of fact, while we are on that point, keep most of your dates away from your parents unless you want your mother to run out and start buying all the latest issues of Bride magazine. Give everyone, including yourself, a break.
Is there such thing as love at first sight? Well, maybe. Personally, I think it is more like attraction at first sight and that can certainly happen. Love…hmm.
Men need to process.
I compare this to making coffee in a drip pot. You put in to ground beans, you pour in the cold water and then…you wait and let it drip. After waiting the appropriate amount of time, viola! You have coffee.
Compare this process of making coffee to the brains of really, a lot of men. You pour the information in, you let it sink in and then….they process and you….wait.
How can I miss you if you never go away? To quote that old song. How can he either miss you, think about you, consider the relationship, make decisions about the relationship if you never leave him alone to think? Again, don’t overwhelm the guy at any time. Allow him to process his feelings, about you, about himself.
It may mean that after two (little) dates he decides he is not interested. It may be after knowing you in the hiking group, the choir, the church group, the class, the whatever, he decides that he likes you but not enough. Not enough to take the thing to the next level, to continue seeing you, to make it more serious.
Wow! That hurts doesn’t it? It’s called rejection and that is why it is so difficult for guys at a dance to ask a girl to dance (unless they have been drinking). They are terrified of rejection.
However; let us think about this rejection thing. Does it hurt? Yes. Were we interested, yes? What has it really done to us other than make us feel badly (for a while) and get our feelings hurt (some?) If the ultimate goal is long term relationship, engagement, marriage…do we really want to throw ourselves (physically) into a relation where, ultimately, we get dumped? Is that not harder on us, more socially embarrassing, more difficult on family and friends who were thinking… Maybe she found someone this time? Does it not really take less of a toll on our emotions and physic?
There are all kinds of movies and books that catalogue the lover who can’t take no for an answer (Fatal Attraction – Mike Douglas). Books and movies too numerous to count. Don’t be one of those very sad people. Learn to take and accept reject as just part of the dating game. Also remember, that probably more than once you have dished it out too. So, adopt a philosophy about it, such as, Not Meant to Be or your own version. We don’t always see the total global plan and something better just might be around the corner.
The Bootie Call
And I’d really like to see you tonight – England Dan and John Ford Coley
Look it up girls, it’s on YouTube. It’s a very famous and very romantic song about having a relationship with no ties and no real future, but, he would really like to see her tonight. Of course.
Is it a booty call? If you are asking yourself that question, it probably is. Now, if you are really in the need of a bootie call, you know the guy, you have taken proper precautions (you know what they are, you learned this in junior high,) then enjoy the time together. You might feel really good and energized for days after.
Still, girls, do not engage in endless romantic fantasies about this guy and what it really means. Do not start shopping for rings and white dress fabric. This is the time to confide in your best friend. Ask her questions. “Do you think this is just a physical thing?” Your best friend (not your mother) is probably the one who will be straight with you. She is the one who is mostly likely to say “Yes, sweetheart, that is exactly what this is.” Ouch. Once again, slightly hurt feelings.
Let’s go back to the idea of, is he really interested? Ask yourself: does he talk about the future, does that future include you, you and him together, does he make plans that include you? Are you meeting his friends, his co-workers, his family? Do you only see him at night, at his convenience and mostly, at your place? Do you ever go out to eat, go to the movies, walk in the park, etc., normal things that normal people do? Do these get togethers almost always exclusively revolve around sex and perhaps, a fair amount of alcohol?
Okay, girl. Put on a few Band-Aids. You have had some fun. Don’t confuse this ‘relationship’ for a real relationship and don’t spend a lot of time with this guy. Be prepared to move on at a moment’s notice. You are after all looking for Mr. Right and not Mr. Right now. If he keeps calling you, ignore the calls. He will get the message. After all, he wants what he wants and if not you, then, he will find someone else.
If he is particularly persistent, you might have to change your phone. Sigh. Ah me. Keeps life interesting.
1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8a A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
Meeting Mr. Right – The Five best places – good and bad
Meeting Mr. Right through friends: This can be a very good thing, often. It can also be….not so great. How many times have friends with good intentions insisted on setting you up with a friend? And, to accommodate your friend(s) and to keep everyone happy, you go along with the date(s) and have a smile frozen on your face the entire time. Then, try to explain to the well-intentioned friends, “He’s just not the one.” It seems like no matter what you say, it’s the wrong thing. He’s their friend, right?
What’s the answer?
Maybe, the answer is just a few words beforehand with your friend(s) that you agree to go. However, if things don’t click you will let them know and please, maybe, no hurt feelings? At least, aim for that.
Meeting Mr. Right at Work:This is often a great place to meet the right guy. Why? It’s a neutral backdrop, you are both usually on somewhat the same footing. You can have a sense of security that the individual has been vetted, to an extent. Still, that is not an iron clad guarantee that everyone you work with is a poster child for mental wellness and health.
Dating the boss: Wow! Hot potato, this one.
Can real love occur between the boss and the worker? Yes, it can happen. It can also be a case of infatuation, also hero worship, seeing the man at his best, in his best clothes, shoes, haircut, teeth brushed, with the professional face on. The same can be said for you – the best clothes, hair done, makeup on, best shoes, etc. When you feel the love bubbles coming up, take a moment to image the same man, just getting out of bed, sleep in his eyes, bad breath, rumpled clothes, unruly hair and maybe grumpy. Hold that mental image for a moment for a brief reality check.
Is he married?
Many men don’t wear wedding rings for whatever reason. Most women wear wedding rings in the US, although in some other countries, even women don’t wear wedding rings. Also, many men are really good at hiding the fact that they are married. Examples: no wedding ring, no pictures of her or them on the desk. Also, no conversation or comments about her or them. And, this can be particularly the case when they are speaking to a single woman.
So, now what? Probably if you have real feelings, I would suggest putting on the brakes before doing anything (sleeping together) and work at getting either transferred to some other unit or maybe another job. And if there is really something there, you need to have some meaningful conversations with this individual. You both need to discuss the issues and how to resolve them before things blow up and you (and he) end up as the center of cafeteria gossip.
Lastly, many companies, institutions have written guidelines about these situations. The end point being that one or two people could end up losing their jobs over this stuff. So, walk with care.
Meeting Mr. Right in Social Settings:
Meeting at church:
I go church every week. I frequently go on Saturday evenings because that lets me either sleep in on Sunday or to get out and go hiking before it gets hot.
Almost every week I see a threesome sitting ahead of me. Because I observe people, I quickly figured out that this is a mom and dad with their adult daughter. The daughter is the one I find the most interesting.
This young woman is in her twenties, somewhere, and resembles the mother very much. The mom and the daughter get up at the end of every service and do the collections together. Very commendable. Then the young lady sits down again with her parents and at the end of service, they all leave together.
Now, question. What chance does this young lady have to ever meet anyone when she is so glued to her parents? What is this about? A) try none and B) don’t really know.
If you are in your teens, it is perfectly understandable to sit with your parents. Maybe even on holidays like Christmas, High Holy Days, etc. But the rest of the time? Chart your own path – different church, different times, so on.
Going to church is often not enough. Get involved. Do go to coffee, do go to dinners and mixers. Do go on retreats and conferences. Engage in activities that allow you to do more than just say “Hello” and “Goodbye.” What else are you doing with your time? Watching the next series on Netflix?
Bars and Restaurants that serve alcohol:
Okay, drinking. Well, it is true that not every person who drinks in a bar is an alcoholic. There are people who go to bars to have fun and socialize. And, it is also not true that every marriage that had its start in a bar is doomed to failure. However; many people in bars and particularly, who are in bars on a regular basis, are alcoholic. Bars are their home away from home, maybe even their true home. If you find yourself out with the girls on a Friday night after work, looking to relax and unwind, it’s okay. But….is it every Friday night? Saturday night, Sunday night, Thursday? Now, this is what we start to call a pattern. For you.
If you suspect there may be a problem, get out a calendar and chart, for a month, all the days you seem to gravitate to bars and restaurants where you and your friends drink. If it is a really regular pattern, you are starting to swim in deep waters and the water will only start to get deeper.
Break up the pattern and find other things to do. If your friends only want to go ‘hang out’ at bars, maybe you need to find some new friends. When I was working in South Korea, I went out many Friday nights with a group of teachers. We’d end up in any one of a number of bars available in downtown. Even though I don’t drink, I would wake up on Saturday morning with a headache. The rest of the day I felt like I was swimming underwater. I can’t really explain it. Maybe it was all the cigarette smoke or just getting home at 2 am. Whatever, I just didn’t like how I felt the next day.
When I started to resist going out to bars Friday after Friday, my betsy teacher friend dropped me. What was that all about? Well, clearly, it wasn’t about me. I ended up hanging with another group of friends who were also non-drinkers. This group wanted to go out, eat somewhere and chat. In the end, I wound up having a much better time. And, no hang over and guilty feelings!
Lastly, if you feel like you just cannot resist the lure of the bright night lights and the call of the drink, you may want to think about that and evaluate just how big a chunk of your life this is taking. It might be time to talk to someone about it. And by someone, I don’t mean your mom or your girlfriend. They will just pat you on the arm and tell you not to worry. I mean someone who deals with addiction issues. There are lots of people and institutions like that in the phone book.
Social dancing of all kinds is a really great way to meet new people. Generally, dance lessons at many places are group lessons and can be had for as little as $8 a lesson. You will need a pair of dance shoes (smooth soles) and a good attitude. You will be dancing with any number of instructors and students who have been dancing for many years, and will be a lot better than you. Don’t be discouraged, hang tough, keep coming back and you will improve.
It is an excellent way to meet new men and again, it is a ‘neutral’ setting (not yours and not his) and gives people a bit of social distance to decide if they have any real interest or not.
Gyms can be a great place to lift weights, take a swim, a sauna or take an aerobic dance class. They can also be good places to meet men. However, don’t go there just because you need a date. Gyms can get expensive and you don’t want to invest a bunch of money into something you are not really interested in. Find a sport or activity (swimming, tennis, racquetball, Zumba) that you like to do and pursue that. You are more likely to find like-minded people who share a common interest with you.
Well … It’s okay but not my favorite. Why? Have I done online dating? Yes, I have. And, don’t believe the rumors that Prince Harry met Meghan online, they were introduced through friends.
I have done online dating, and what have I learned? For starters, about 40% of men online are married and are looking to ‘fool around.’ Many men online are looking for quick, cheap (no strings attached) sex. There are men online who are not who/what they say they are. I have met any number of men who post photos of themselves taken twenty or thirty years previously. Then, you meet the man and think Is this even the same person? Online sites are notorious for spawning online money scams. I met such an individual: tall, good looking, French, engineer, hum….interesting. It was all interesting until he asked me for $500 to help bail out his daughter who was stranded somewhere.
These schemes are so common that they have made most of the magazines and periodicals. You would almost be better off with your Dungeons and Dragons nerdy Thursday group.
There are always other ways to meet people-male and female. John Lennon met Yoko Ono at an art gallery showing. You can met people in the grocery stores, at concerts, in the mall, in galleries, walking your dog, etc. One of the best ways to meet people that ensures a bit of light conversation are volunteer opportunities.
Last Thanksgiving, I volunteered to work at the Salvation Army dinner for two days. There were tons of guys working those shifts. Many were married, but not all of them. And, you are there together working for a common cause, the common good and it all feels right. It can also be a lot of fun!
According to research by the Pew Research Center, Catholics had one of the lowest incidences of divorce, with 19 percent having been divorced out of 4,752 interviewed. The Gospel Coalition noted there is a somewhat significant difference between those who are actively practicing Catholics and those who consider themselves nominally Catholic. The coalition found nominal Catholics are 5 percent less likely to divorce than non-religious persons, while Catholics who are actively practicing in their parishes are 31 percent less likely to get divorced than non-religious persons.
The Pew Research Center found Protestant individuals (anyone who identified themselves as non-Catholic, but Christian) included 74% of all Christians, and had a divorce rate of approximately 51 percent out of a sampling of 4,752 individuals. However, these were broken down by Evangelical Protestant, Mainline Protestant, and Historically Black Protestant. Of this 74%, the highest number of divorces among this group were the Evangelical Protestants at 28 percent. The Historically Black Protestants had a divorce rate of only 9 percent according to the study.”
Mormons had a divorce rate of about 1 percent. Many studies attribute the low divorce rate among this group to the strong emphasis on families and a powerful religious affiliation.
Muslim Divorce Rate
The most comprehensive study on divorce among Muslims was conducted in the 1990s by Dr. Ilyas Ba-Yunas, a professor of sociology at the State University of New York. According to his research, the divorce rate among American Muslims was slightly more than 31 percent. Top reasons for divorce among Muslims, cited by a later Sound Vision survey, include pressures and issues with in-laws, adultery and harem sex, and incompatibility. However, in 2018, the Pew Research Center listed Muslims having an 8 percent separated or divorced rate out of a sampling of 234.
Jewish Divorce Rates
The most recent available study on divorce statistics among those of Jewish faith states approximately 9 percent of those surveyed have been divorced or separated. A 2017 article in The Jerusalem Post reports the divorce rate among members of the Orthodox Jewish faith is on the rise. The reasons for this include changes in society’s values, the desire for instant gratification, and a disconnected world.
So, actually, the chances of meeting someone special are not usually through online dating sites. Most people met future spouses through friends, at a social gathering and either work or school. So, it helps to have friends!
Many of you have taken the Meyers-Briggs personality test. If so, you may have scored an N on your test which is a measure of your intuitive ability. Again, this is not a ‘mother’ quality, necessarily. Good mothers probably have a fair amount of this quality; however, so do gamblers, lawyers, negotiators, stock brokers, real estate agents, salespeople and general con artists. But, I am not suggesting that anyone become a con artist!!!! However, your intuitive skills and abilities are very important in inter-relationships with others, especially men.
Aagain, in relationships with men we frequently have to let go of the skills, abilities and go-to places that are so familiar. The Guide, the Counselor, the Helper, the Nurse and the Mother roles feel familiar and safe. Like a heavy winter coat, we need to take off that coat and bring forth other skills and abilities that are there, maybe latent, or underdeveloped. That said, we don’t have to stand naked and shivering in the cold light of day, there are other supports to be developed which we will discuss more in later chapters.
What is my job here if it not nurse, helper, guide, counselor and helpful Hannah?
What is my job in this dating game if it is not these familiar roles? Think of it like a light spring coat, in my mind, it is multi-colored with shades of green and other spring colors. You can imagine your coat anyway you want.
Your job is to listen and absorb information. Then to be open to your own feelings and reactions;, not to guide, counsel, improve, inform, redirect, help, the other person. Your job is to take care of you. If you do establish a relationship, there may be time to be the helper, to an extent, but regardless, you should never act as the man’s mother unless you want an adult child on your hands.
So, you are having a conversation with a man and you think, I might be interested! You may find yourself slipping into a fantasy about the potential of the relationship with hearts and flowers, la-la-la. Give yourself a mental slap, get back into the now and pay attention to what he is saying.
What is he saying? Talking about the ex-wife, the ex-girlfriends, what happened in the relationship (s), relationships with parents, brothers, sisters, friends, co-workers and others? How does he feel about family, friends and work? Is he happy or unhappy? Is he successful or not, even in relationship according to his own value set. Success does not necessarily mean a big house and a fast car. A man may feel contented with an apartment or condo and a used car. If he is in a serene place with children, ex’s, family, job and his own body, he may a person with room in his life for a relationship.
They had no tail, but a head at each end, and sharp horns on each head. They were very shy and terribly hard to catch. The… men get most of their animals by sneaking up behind them while they are not looking. But you could not do this with the pushmi–pullyu — because no matter which way you came towards him, he was always facing you. [The Story of Doctor Dolittle](Lofting, 1920.)
Every relationship has push and pull components. You push, he pulls – he pushes and you pull. Your job is to use your intuitive self and your 6th sense to recognize these natural back and forth pulls in the relationship.
Particularly in the beginning of a possible relationship, you need to recognize the point at which the man either advances or he pulls away.
Wow! Oh, my God! He is pulling away! Hit the panic button and the red lights are flashing!!!!!! What now????????
The more you chase, the faster he will run the other direction. This is the time when you pull into yourself, center yourself, do your meditation and let go and relax.
How Can I Miss you if you Never Go Away? (1969) Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks.
We can utilize our intuitive sense to feel that the man is pulling away. We can be intuitive but we are not mind readers. We don’t know exactly what the man is thinking during this phase. Too often, as women, we conclude that it has something to do with us. We are too tall, too short, too fat, too skinny, too smart, too stupid, too educated or not educated enough, too rich or too poor. We are less than in some terms and that is why he is leaving.
Stop. You don’t know that and stop trying to figure it out. Refer back to the paragraph about men and their fears. The man may be reacting to the fears in his head and it may have little to do with you. However, that said, chasing after the man like a hungry carnivore looking for lunch will not dispel his fears. More the opposite.
Let go. Trust in whatever Higher Power that you believe in that things will work out the way they should. Relax and focus on you and not him.
This is the time to do You work and take your focus completely off him. Relax that grip you feel in both hands. Relationships are a process. You must let him process his feelings. He may like you, he may like spending time with you. However, like is not love. It can be the beginnings of love or not. He might like you, sense that you have feelings for him and pull away because he a) doesn’t want to lead you on or b) doesn’t want to get tangled up in a relationship, any relationship or c) he doesn’t love you, knows it and wants to cut his losses. Lastly, he may be confused about his feelings for you and distance can be the great clarifier. As he has distance, he is able to sort his feelings out and determine if he wants to reconnect or to disconnect. Either way, you are going to need to be accepting of his decision. The last thing you want is being trapped in a relationship with a man who feels trapped.
Allow the man time. He knows how to reach you. Let him reconnect, if that is what he wants on his own time schedule. If he doesn’t…oh well, sigh. If he does…whee! Imagine your surprise and delight when he re-enters your life and you didn’t have to do anything except sit there!
So, while you are contemplating your navel, feeling down and a little sorry for yourself, contemplate something else. How many times have you been pursued by men you had absolutely no interest in? And have they been relentless and obnoxious in their pursuit? Have you had to take steps to avoid certain men? All the time thinking to yourself, why is it always the ones I have no interest in?????? Maybe that is the point. Men frequently want the very thing they can’t have. The more you say no (and mean it) the harder they pursue.
So, are we playing games here? Not really. Games require work and effort instead of relaxing, letting go and allowing ‘the game’ to unfold without controlling, manipulating, coaxing, threatening, demanding, following, and all other activities that are so time consuming and fatiguing.
We let go and work on the Me inside.
Your favorite movies are: The Proposal (Ryan Reynolds, Sandra Bullock), The Notebook (Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves), Somewhere in Time, and the list goes on. Your favorite books are all things: HEA (Happily Ever After), you wanted to be Cinderella when you were a kid, your favorite colors are pink or red, you love Valentine’s Day and Christmas (shades of red and pink).
You believe in happily ever after; however, it doesn’t quite seem to be coming true for you. Hmm. How can some women catch the brass ring and others not? What is the difference?
Sometimes it is luck. Sometimes timing. Sometimes, our pickers are a little bent and we tend to pick Mr. Wrong, again and again. Sigh. I want off this terrible merry-go-round she says. Is it possible? It is possible but it does take some work.
Meditation, friends, family, exercise, diet and having a life. Being the best you.
Skills and Hobbies
One of my favorite hobbies is social dancing. Unfortunately, due to Covid, most of us were not able to participate in this sport for some time. Gradually, as people become vaccinated, more people are returning to the dance floor.
I want to talk about one young lady who caught my eye several times. Young, in her twenties, she is not very tall, maybe 5’3” and slim. Not a pretty face either, one might describe it as ‘interesting,’ but certainly not beautiful. She dyed her hair a deep red color and usually spends a lot of time on the dance floor when she is there.
Why? This young lady is a very good dancer and makes a good dance partner. She has clearly been at it awhile and the men are pleased to dance with her. Now, has she gotten a husband/boyfriend off the dance floors? I have no idea. But I do know that she was having a lot of fun while in the studio and probably left feeling good about herself.
Isn’t that the point? Claiming the prize (a man) needs to stop being the all-encompassing motive for our activities. And, by the way, good for her!
The very opposite of that attitude is one held by a close friend of mine. A woman my age who has given up on diet and exercise. Again, why?
According to her, since she has given up on relationships (romantic) there is no need to exercise. Because, of course, the only reason ever exercise is to secure a man, right? My friend has steadily gained weight over the years and is miserable.
We all want relationships, otherwise, why read this book? However, the eye on the prize thinking has to change. We don’t get it together to get a man and then quit. (What is Mr. Wonderful going to think about us then?) We take responsibility for ourselves and our bodies and stop whining about it. Our lives and existence do not have to be, nor should be, all about ‘getting a man.’
So, what are men afraid of? I will pull in some psychological data to demonstrate to you, dear reader, that men are actually afraid of many things. Research into the field indicates that men are actually much more controlled by the emotions of fear than are women. They feel fear more often than women, feel it in greater intensity and more often.
Are men afraid of women? Frequently the answer to that question is yes. Fear of what? Rejection, failure of the relationship, commitment, being taken to the cleaners by a woman, being used and primarily, being hurt. Men do not want to be hurt, especially ‘again’ if they have been hurt before. Why then is dating so ‘easy’ for the 19-23 year old group. A lot of it has to do with active hormones and energy levels, and a fair amount has to do with the fact that most people in this age group have never been married, never been divorced and never had long term relationships of any kind, married or unmarried. Because a guy is not divorced, does not necessarily mean he has not been in a (or several) long term relationships. We have certainly gone from a culture where all ‘respectable’ people got married to one where the social norms and rules for relationships have relaxed quite a bit.
All this means, to the uninitiated, is that public records of relationships may not exist for your current love interest. The best you may be able to do on that score is to listen to what he tells you about his past relationships. Also, pay attention to people that you know who know him and may have known him in the past. What do they have to say about him? Friends of friends can be invaluable sources of information. Does this mean you are checking out your current love interest for his past?
Yes, it does. And you should be. Past behavior is the best indicator of future actions.
So, keeping in mind that men are more fearful, especially of being hurt ‘again’ we can understand their more cautious and skittish behavior around women. When faced with cautious, colt-like behavior, being women, we frequently reboot to behaviors (roles) that are familiar to us. Such behaviors as: the Big Sister, the Nurse, the Confident, the Helper, the Guide and worst of all, Mom. The roles are familiar to us and also to men. They do recognize these attitudes/behaviors in women and do react to them. Frequently in a bad way, such as running fast in the opposite direction. So, what are the biggest fears if men in general?
We want to know that we have what it takes. We want to be useful, to feel needed. If we don’t have what it takes to accomplish a task, again, what does that say about us? That leads right into the next point. One of the triggers for this is when we lose our jobs and struggle to provide for our families. Know this, we all have certain talents. Find your talents and use them; pour into them in order to help others.
We all want our lives to mean something when all is said and done. If you are struggling with this one I would suggest two things. First, find out what you do best and then use it to help others. People are in need of love and care and if you provide that to even one person, you will never be irrelevant.
5. Looking Foolish
“The more you step out and risk, the more you are going to misfire. But you will also have more success.”
This is that thing that keeps us from speaking up in meetings or taking on a challenge. Ultimately, it minimizes our impact in the world.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
So, recognizing that men in general are afraid of looking foolish, incompetent, weak it therefore follows that they won’t want to look ‘stupid’ in regards to affairs of the heart. So, as women, we need to ‘lighten things up’ and to stop heaping expectations and demands on the men in our lives.
Additionally, we need to drop the helper role. They are men after all and it is important to keep that uppermost in mind. If you want a perpetual child, get a puppy. If you want a man, you will need to learn to behave as a woman and not as an overgrown nanny – care taker. More on that in the next chapter.
I went out the other evening to do a spot of grocery shopping. There is a Dollar Tree store in this parking lot. As I pulled into the driveway, I paused and had to look again to be sure what I was seeing. There was a half naked man behind the Dollar Tree, using the side of the dumpster as a toilet. Then, he was trying to clean himself up with whatever he had available.
The emotions of surprise, shock, disgust all flood my mind. I went and got my items and drove out the same way. The man was still out there, doing what ever.
It is a black eye on our society where people are doing things like this public. This a middle-class neighborhood and I have never in my life seen things like this before. The homeless population grows by the day. The City refuses to fund public toilets because they ‘cost too much money.’ How much are things like this costing us in depreciating the value of our neighborhoods, creating filth, disease and mess that some unhappy worker will have to clean up?
The unemployment and housing crisis in this town is threatening to bring all of us to our knees. We need to address to cause of much of this. Covid of course is out there; however, the escalating cost of housing is outstripping most other problems. We need to try to grasp the fact that commercial real estate transactions have crippled our economy and that goes back to the recession on 2008. The fact that some people get rich while others go into the toilet is not helping. Why do you think that many extremely rich people are moving to New Zealand and remote islands off the coast of Africa? Maybe they remember their history lessons about the French Revolution and want to get out of the way. Here are more articles about the effects that commercial real estate have had and are having on our economy.
Domino Effect: Market Research
2017 – Andrew from DJA, Sacramento “…(we do) careful market research to deliver fair prices….in relation to the area.” (Retrieved from the Internet, 2022.)
What this phrase ‘careful market research’means is that property management companies do market research for the area where their rentals are located. If you remember your statistics or math classes; the rental prices from a geographical area are gathered, (example – one bed room apartments,) the prices of all units are added and then divided by the total number of units to give the average market price for units in that zip code. This appears to be a fair system, until….one owner raises his price, then another does and another and, so on. In a domino effect, as more and more owners raise their prices, this same system therefore creates a rising average price. And this is whether or not the rise in prices is truly justified or not. For example, as seen in recently rising cost of gasoline and other inflationary costs.
Landlords are never required to give an accounting to their tenants for the increased rent and the reasons for it. They simply raise the rent and justify the cost with such market research tools that support their case.
An antidote to rising prices can be that potential renters, when they see a property that they like, when presented with the usual twenty page lease agreement containing endless Thou Shalt Not clauses, add one of their own stating “It is agreed between the parties that a rental increase of not more than (3-6%) shall attach each year.” When the rental company tells the potential renter ‘we can’t do that’ the renter can say, ‘and I can’t rent from you.’ If enough people did that, it would help curb the mad-dog escalating system that is now in place.
The Great Recession was the sharp decline in economic activity during the late 2000s. It is considered the most significant downturn since the Great Depression. The term “Great Recession” applies to both the U.S. recession, officially lasting from December 2007 to June 2009, and the ensuing global recession in 2009.
The economic slump began when the U.S. housing market went from boom to bust, and large amounts of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and derivatives lost significant value.
The Great Recession refers to the economic downturn from 2007 to 2009 after the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and the global financial crisis.
The Great Recession was the most severe economic recession in the United States since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
In response to the Great Recession, unprecedented fiscal, monetary, and regulatory policy was unleashed by federal authorities, which some, but not all, credit with the subsequent recovery.
Understanding the Great Recession
The term “Great Recession” is a play on the term “Great Depression”. An official depression occurred during the 1930s and featured a gross domestic product (GDP) decline of more than 10% and an unemployment rate that at one point reached 25%.
While no explicit criteria exist to differentiate a depression from a severe recession, there is a near consensus among economists that the downturn of the late-2000s, was not a depression. During the Great Recession, U.S. GDP declined by 0.3% in 2008 and 2.8% in 2009, while unemployment briefly reached 10%. However, the event is unquestionably the worst economic downturn in the intervening years.
According to a 2011 report by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the Great Recession was avoidable. The appointees, which included six Democrats and four Republicans, cited several key contributing factors that they claimed led to the downturn.2
First, the report identified failure on the part of the government to regulate the financial industry. This failure to regulate included the Fed’s inability to curb toxic mortgage lending.
Next, there were too many financial firms taking on too much risk. The shadow banking system, which included investment firms, grew to rival the depository banking system but was not under the same scrutiny or regulation. When the shadow banking system failed, the outcome affected the flow of credit to consumers and businesses.3
Other causes identified in the report included excessive borrowing by consumers and corporations and lawmakers who were not able to fully understand the collapsing financial system. This created asset bubbles, especially in the housing market as mortgages were extended at low interest rates to unqualified borrowers who could not repay them. This caused housing prices to fall and left many other homeowners underwater. This, in turn, severely impacted the market for mortgage-backed securities (MBS) held by banks and other institutional investment companies.
Conclusion: this country has gone through a fantastic financial drought caused primarily by the housing and mortgage lending industries. People have lost jobs, money, retirement funds, the where withal to live and some, their lives.
Once again, the tail that wags the dog, the commercial real estate industry is spreading its tentacles throughout this state. The end result will be systems in place that consistently raise the cost of living to the point it is unaffordable to the average person. People give up saving money, taking vacations, repairing their cars and teeth. The owners increase in wealth and power and exert increasing control and pressure on the economy. While sitting in their Cadillac Escalades, making appointments on cell phones that affect the lives of the ‘common people’ who they have neither a connect to nor any care for. Essential, the middle-class and our way of life rots under the heel of designer boots.
The solution to these problems is for individual cities to be given the authority to place a cap on the percent increase per year, allowed to landlords. An increase that is in line with the ordinary increases in salaries would be fair. Since most salaries increase per year by about 3 to 3.5%, so should rents. It is understandable that inflation this last year has out stripped those amounts, but why should renters be responsible for those numbers? An investment company with $20,000,000 in assets can better afford to take the ‘hit’ of inflation than the renter who has less than $2,000 in the bank. Pressure needs to be put on lawmakers in the State capital to make this a priority issue.
It is time to take back the economy from commercial real estate interests. This dog needs a muzzle.
Thirty years ago when I was pregnant I was very amazed at the responses, unexpected, that I received from any number of people. I learned that in pregnancy, somehow the whole world seems to own you.
Firstly, I got a referral to an OBGYN from the medical board and went in for a visit. After suffering for 30 minutes with an older male doctor cracking jokes about sex and older women, I had to go to the counter and speak to the nurse. I did that, got my brochures and was told that “pregnancy was a disease” and I needed to treat it like that. Shocked, I rapidly found another doctor.
I was getting my hair cut at an inexpensive salon. The young man cutting my hair told me he thought I was too old to have a baby. I should have reported him to his boss, instead I changed salons. At an outdoor gathering/barbeque with ‘friends”, a friend advised me that ‘she knew someone who could help me out of my problem.’ I looked at her like the Angel of Death and quickly moved away. In addition to that remark, other ‘friends’ (mostly male) worked hard to make me feel ashamed and embarrassed about my condition. Because I was 38 years old and not 18 years old; I was not embarrassed, I got angry, finally.
Recently, when that baby turned 30 and got married, I was again faced with some similar comments. The baby, now a young lady, was engaged to a fella who got a job offer overseas. He could go but she couldn’t go unless they were married. So, the engagement was followed quickly by marriage.
I shared this good news with a ‘friend.’ Her first response was “Did she have to get married?” Unless you have lived under a rock for the last 50 years, you understand that translates into “Was she pregnant and they had to get married?” In other words, my daughter isn’t good enough to get a guy without being pregnant. A year and a half later, I’m still not a grandmother. I am also not talking to that ‘friend’ much these days.
Since I’m the age that I am; I can remember the days before Roe and the days after Roe. I have known girls who ‘had to get married’ and I have known girls who gave up babies for adoption. In addition to that, I have known women who have gotten pregnant and have been ordered by husbands and boyfriends to get an abortion. I have known the ones who resisted the man’s wishes and said “No, I’m having this baby.” Also, those who buckled under the man’s pressure and got the abortion. Guess who, after all these years, are the happiest and the most unhappy? Spoiler alert, the women who stuck up for themselves and their babies are the happiest.
So, what does this all mean? After centuries of men having children whether they wanted to or not and often more children than they wanted; we have situations where men are not getting the children they want. Women are using birth control, the birth rate has dropped dramatically. Add in abortion rights, the number of unwanted children around has dropped to almost nothing. The worm has turned. Men are having to take responsibility for wanting to have children. They are having to ask, for the very first time ever, asking the woman to please carry their children. How different is that?
Famous couples that broke up over the child issue: Here are three very famous couples that broke up and then remarried, apparently over the child/childless issue. Bruce Springsteen and Julianne Phillips; they got a divorce when she wanted to focus on her career. He remarried Patti Scialfa and has three children now. Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johanssen, they got a divorce and he remarried Blake Lively and they have three children. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston; they got a divorce, he remarried Angelina Joie. They have 3 adopted children and 3 natural children.
My feeling is that if there are 3 very famous couples who have broken up over this issue, there are probably hundreds and hundreds of other couples who have broken up over the very same issues.
For hundreds of years, girls who ‘got into trouble’ were sent away to homes for unwed mothers to have their babies and then shamed into giving their babies up for adoption. These numbers of unwed mothers and ‘unwanted’ babies, at least in this country, have dropped to almost zero. I personally know of couples who are unable to conceive. Couples who desperately want children and are faced with a country where ‘free’ babies are virtually impossible to find. I have seen couples suffer through fertility clinics, surrogate mother scams and painful adoption proceedings.
Roe v Wade will make a lot of people very unhappy. The one sector of our population who are heaving a secret sigh are married couples looking to adopt a baby. I don’t know, maybe the universe is calling out for more babies.
As a society we need to consider why it is that so many young women of childbearing ages don’t want to have children. Why? Is it just the cost? Well, the cost is of course part, but not all. Could it be that we are still caught up in the shame-blame cycles of shaming and blaming pregnant women for their ‘condition’? Do we ever consider that men (of all ages) use women to satisfy their sexual needs? Does it take two generations of women refusing to bear children for men to finally realize that, yes, they too want children? It’s like a thousand country western songs, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.
Pregnancy is not a curse or a disease. It is a gift. A lot more people need to start thinking that way. If you don’t believe me, sit down and have a chat with a childless couple. If we supported women and their children more as a society more, maybe there wouldn’t be such a rush to the abortion clinics.