It’s that time of the year when we string the lights, decorate the tree, bake cookies, drink too much eggnog and overeat; but before we do all of that I’d like to first acknowledge the human who gave my life added purpose. My life always had meaning but I got a swift kick in the behind to make sure I do it right 15 years ago today when my obstetrician handed me a 10 lb bundle and said, “Here he is. What’d you think?”
Honestly, my first thought wasn’t, “Oh my gosh, he’s so precious. I’m in love.” Instead, my very first thought was, “Who’s baby is this? This kid doesn’t look like me. Why is he so light?”
I quickly got over the lack of resemblance when I took a closer look at the nose. Yep, he was mine alright, that nose is unmistakable. Blake didn’t scream or cry when he first got here, instead, he just stared, he actually seemed to look around the room, observing his new surroundings. Fifteen years later and by golly he still does the same thing, I’m always in awe when I watch him carefully observe his surroundings instead of just walking right in.
My next thoughts as I held him was “What do I do now? What I am I supposed to do with him now?” Blake seemed to read my mind as he nuzzled against my chest and started searching, he found his food supply, latched on and went to town, pulling and sucking and feeding hungrily. Damn, that shit hurt!
It’s been 15 years and Blake’s appetite has not changed. He still has a voracious, healthy appetite. The kid will eat anything.
It’s astounding how much Blake’s current persona mirrors my labor experience. I was scheduled to deliver the baby on December 4th, which I thought was kind of cool since it was rapper Jay-Z’s birthday; but Blake had other plans and arrived at 12:06 am the next day. He was not to be rushed and to this day, he still does things on his own terms and refuses to be rushed or cajoled into anything, which can be both good and bad.
My labor was fairly painless, I had a surge of pain for a few minutes, called for the epidural, which I had initially thought I wouldn’t want since I always saw myself as an Amazonian natural labor type of girl but when that indescribable pain ripped through me and I wasn’t dilated enough to push I quickly called for the epidural in order to get some kind of relief. Honestly, the only pain I felt during labor wasn’t more than about 15 minutes but it was the longest 15 minutes of my life.
Similarly, raising Blake, luckily, has been rather painless. Yeah, there are the usual ups and downs that come with parenting but thankfully he has made it relatively easy for me. The disappointments and WTF moments have been few and far between and for that, I am eternally gratefully.
Does he make me repeat myself too much? Sure! One day I decided to count how many times I had to tell him to clean his room before he actually cleaned it and it turned out to be 8 times, all of 8 times before I had to threaten him with the wrath of God in order to get him moving.
I am in sheer disbelief at how lazy my teenager can be. Like, seriously, how hard can it be to put your clothes in the laundry basket when you take them off instead of tossing them on the floor; and how many times do I have to tell my child to make his bed before he leaves for school in the mornings and for God’s sake why won’t he hang his wet towel back in the bathroom after he has used it instead of throwing it on his unmade bed?
The kid is as loving as he is lazy so even though I bitch at him to clean up after himself I still get all the hugs and kisses and “I love you” that I can handle despite him being at that age where it isn’t considered cool to do so.
It has been a tumultuous, loving, exasperating, sweet, mind-boggling and beautiful 15 years of motherhood. Blake was sent here to get me out of my comfort zone, the one where everything I did I got it right and was so self-assured and confident about all my endeavors. Motherhood has had me second guessing every decision I have ever made. Am I doing it properly? Am I getting it right? Am I too strict or am I too lenient? Should I impose a weekend bedtime or allow him to stay up as late as he wants as long as he gets all his homework done? Should I have the password to his phone? Or should I allow him his privacy?
It’s crazy that after all these years together, I am still not sure if my parenting method is correct. I figured by the time I got to child #2, I would have had it all figured out but it is obvious that child # 2 is not happening. Growing up I always thought I was going to have a few kids of my own, at least 3 or 4, but as faith would have it that was not in the cards. However, every day I thank my lucky stars that since I only got one I am thankful it’s this one. I couldn’t have picked a more ideal kid that compliments my own personality.
Blake is not perfect but he’s perfect for me. Happy Birthday to the biggest reality check I’ve ever experienced. The kid keeps me on my toes in a such a crazy, weird yet fantastic way. Not only do I love him but I like him too.
Here’s to Big Blake! My 6′ 2 15-year-old who makes me oh so proud to be his Mom.
I am a little late with my Reader Request Friday responses to the questions put forth by my treasured readers, two days late in fact, but I was assured by my dearest Heather over at https://www.hopelesslyheather.com that my readers would understand me not meeting my deadline, after all, it is Thanksgiving weekend.
Reader Request Friday was created by fellow blogger, the fascinating and intriguing https://www.bottomlesscoffee.007.com, who invited me to interact with my readers by encouraging them to ask me anything. I was happily overwhelmed with a lot of questions, which in the interest of brevity, I elected to answer in two parts, in case you missed part one of my answers you can find it at Ask Me Anything – The Answers (Part One)
Without further adieu, let’s get on with part two (Hey; that rhymed…Ha!).
Q 43. Do you have Netflix? Yep. Doesn’t everyone these days?
Q 44. Do you eat beef liver or pork liver? Beef liver, yes, and I quite enjoy it too.
Q 45. Do you ice skate?
About a decade ago I decided I wanted to learn how to ice skate so I actually paid for a round of ice skating lessons.
I paid for a half a dozen lessons and was in the middle of lesson #2 when I fell down so hard on the ice I couldn’t get back up. It took 3 instructors to help me back up. The pain across my lower back after that fall was so intense that I couldn’t even finish lesson # 2. It took me at least 2 weeks to properly heal and feel like myself again. The pain was so severe every time I walked I felt the fall all over again. That was it for me…I never went back to the lessons and I never got my money back either.
I quickly deleted “learning how to ice skate” off of my bucket list. Not everything is for everyone and I painfully learned that ice-skating wasn’t for this island girl. 😒
Q 46. What is the best icing for cakes?
There are so many but if I could only pick one I would say chocolate fudge icing. Yummy!
Q 47. What is the best place to get a pizza you like?
So many places especially here in NYC, which is known for having some of the best pizzas. My husband and I like to head over to Harry’s, in Battery Park, for their brick oven pizza.
Q 48. Would you love to have a vegetable garden on the roof of your building? Nope.
Q 49. What is your favorite car to drive around to show off?
I’m not much of a show-off. However, if I had to choose to drive around in a car to show off in it would be a flashy, red, 2 door sports car; something like a Ferrari, although I have never driven one myself. I would opt for one that looked like this
My girl, River Girl, over at https://www.riversworld.live, a one of a kind travel blog I discovered here at WordPress had me thinking really hard about this one –
Q 50. You seem like a woman who has it all together. Strong, smart, independent. So what’s your deepest, darkest, irrational fear?
Firstly, River, thank you for such compliments – strong, smart and independent. I’d like to think I’m all that but we all have insecurities and unwarranted fears.
My biggest fear is that I won’t live much longer. This irrational fear surrounds dying before my son becomes an adult before I can live to see what he makes of himself before he gets married and has his own children. I would love to see the kind of woman he would choose to partner with for the rest of his life, I’d also like to see what kind of parent he would be but I’m not sure I’ll be around for it.
I am afraid of dying.
My friend (in real life), wedding photographer extraordinaire, Carmen at http://www.carmenrubiophotography.com, who I am surprised didn’t ask me something about the movies since we both share a love for the movies asked the following…
Q 51. Who (living or dead) would you like to meet and have a conversation with? And why?
I’d like to break bread with Oprah Winfrey and share some laugh out loud girl talk.
Everyone knows Oprah’s story, she came from nothing, born in poverty, she was dirt poor growing up. Talk about a self-made woman, she was fired from one of her first gigs in broadcasting and demoted yet she was able to come back from that to build a multi-million dollar production company and has been named Forbes first black multi-billionaire. Yes! Multi-billionaire, that is a billionaire (not millionaire) several times over.
It doesn’t matter how you feel about Ms. Winfrey one has to put that respect at the end of her name. She is one of the most influential people in the World. I don’t have enough words to express the sheer joy and excitement I would feel meeting and having an actual conversation with her. I bet I would leave a lasting impression too.😉
Q 52. What is your dream car?
Let’s go with the flashy, red Ferrari above. See Q & A 49.
Another real-life friend, Alicia, a couples’ therapist and published author, Alicia’s book, No More Fighting: The Relationship Book for Couples: 20 Minutes a Week to a Stronger Relationship, will be released on December 4th and can be pre-ordered on Amazon right now. You can also find more of Alicia’s words of wisdom and valuable tips for re-igniting the passion in your marriage at http://www.aliciamunoz.com.
Alicia asked the following question…
Q 53. How do you think writing your bestselling book is going to change the important relationships in your life, including your relationship with yourself?
Damn, Alicia! Could you think of a harder question…Hahaha.
Alicia, my darling, I am honored that you think I will one day write a bestseller. I love the way you believe in me, love the way you always encourage me. Let me see if I can do some justice to your question.
My relationship with myself probably won’t change much. Yes, I’d be more confident in my writing. I’d be encouraged to write more, tell more stories and I’d certainly feel more accomplished but I honestly feel like my humility and authenticity would remain the same. I like who I am and I am pretty sure I’ll remain the same. I would never be the self-acclaimed pompous author, I can’t stand those.
My relationship with my husband – I can only imagine how much greater this would be. Writing a bestseller means more disposable income for our family; which translates into more money to do whatever we want; more vacations, more adventures, even more, grand memories; our marriage would swell and expand with more happiness. It is said that money doesn’t buy happiness, but Greg and I would certainly like the chance to disprove this theory.
My relationship with my son – Like he needs another thing to live up to. Having a Mom, who is an attorney already puts a tremendous amount of pressure on him. Since the generation that follows is expected to outperform the current generation, my expectation of him would be even more than it already is. I am pretty sure me writing a bestseller would result in more tension between me and my teenager since my expectations of him would be even higher than they already are, especially regarding his academic performance.
My Mom, yes you read that correctly, my Mom who reads my blog weekly, asked the all-important question…
Q 54. If you could go back to your childhood and change anything, what would you change and why?
This has to be a trick question, right?! My childhood was perfect and I wouldn’t change anything.😁
Seriously though, my honest answer to that would be that your husband (my Dad) was way too strict, like seriously, there was no need for all that. I would make my Dad more lenient and a lot less rigid in his rearing and discipline. I am 100% sure we would have still turned out alright despite all the rules.
Q 57. If you could sell years from your life with ten thousand dollars each, how many years would you sell and why?
Ha! Good one! I prefer living over money, I’m not inclined to sell any years off of my life. I figured once I’m alive and healthy I have the potential to make money.
Kimberley, my real life friend, asked the following –
Q 58. How did you find the courage and enthusiasm to continue dating as you moved closer to 40?
I met my current husband when I was 39 and I was a 42-year-old bride but it was so worth all the years of dating to finally come across my ideal and to have my feelings reciprocated; see My Guy.
Kimmie, I’m not sure if I’d call it “courage and enthusiasm”, I’m a relationship type of girl, I like being a part of a committed, monogamous relationship, more than I like being by myself so I was willing to do and give what it takes until I found someone I was compatible with. I knew deep down that “he” was out there and I never gave up on the hope of finding “him”.
Q 59. If your house was on fire what is the one item you would save?
Since you said item and not person, I guess I would grab my laptop, the very one I’m typing on right now.
While my new buddy and incredible long-distance runner PK Adams, who blogs over at https://www.eatthesky.com asked the following…
Q 60. How did you choose your career?
It’s more like my career chose me…All my life I was told that I argued like a lawyer, ever since I was a little girl. I guess I was contentious; I’m not anymore though 😉.
Wow…I’m up to question 60 and I’m still not done with all my questions yet. I guess there’ll be a part 3 to this Reader Request Fridays because this blog post is already way too long. I appreciate all the questions though and I promise to answer all of them, someday.
I’ll leave you with the colored version of my current WordPress profile picture, a photo I took last month while attending the Bruno Mars concert, which was one of the best concerts I have ever experienced. How come no one asked me to describe the best musician I have ever seen in concert? I would love to have answered that one. 😊
I am seated in a crowded airport waiting to get on my flight to JFK. I am tired and I am miserable. My flight has already been delayed more hours than I can count because of snow on the ground at home in New York. We were originally scheduled to leave at 6:15 pm, well it’s now 10:45 pm and we still have no idea when we will actually be departing. Not the most ideal situation for creativity and or writing but since I am committed to fulfilling my promise to participate in Reader Request Fridays I just pulled my laptop out of my carry-on and we shall now begin.
Thanks to all of you who took the time to ask me fun, interesting, provocative questions, some of the answers came to me quickly and easily, while others gave me food for thought. I was asked way more questions than I had anticipated, some of the questions even came from my Facebook friends and one Twitter follower, while others came from real life friends.
In the interest of brevity, I’ll be doing my Reader Request Friday responses in 2 parts, that is in 2 separate posts, I don’t want to make it too long and I especially don’t want to bore anyone so please note if you don’t see your question posted here this week, rest assured I’ll be responding to it in my next installment of Reader Request Fridays.
Without further adieu let’s get to the questions and, of course, my answers:
Reader Request Fridays was created by my fellow blogger the controversial https://bottomlesscoffee007.com, who provided me with the first set of questions to respond to:
Q1. I would like to hear the story of you growing up in the Islands.
I was born and raised in Jamaica. We were a typical middle-class family. We didn’t want for anything because my father worked hard and was able to more than adequately provide for his family. I am the eldest of my parents’ three children and I am the only girl.
My father, a former military man, was all about discipline and raised us in a very strict, rigid household with a thousand rules. My mother, on the other hand, was quite liberal in her parenting style (thankfully) so this kind of created a tolerable balance.
I think I might have been the toughest of the 3 children to raise since I was quite the opposite of everyone in my family. I was an extrovert growing up in a household of introverts. I always wanted to go out partying, socialize with the other kids next door, listen to all kinds of loud music with somewhat raunchy lyrics, namely Rock and Jamaican Dancehall, talk loudly and generally just hang out. My father didn’t think any of that behavior was very ladylike at all, so I just kind of kept in line so I wouldn’t get in trouble with him. Growing up I was very scared of my father. Truth be told I was still kind of scared of him even in my adult years, he was a no-nonsense kind of guy, who expected the best from his children, and I never wanted to disappoint him.
Q2. When and why did you move to New York and what was the transition like?
In the Summer of 1998, I was visiting New York and met a very, cool, confident guy that swept me off of my feet. We spent the entire summer hanging out and by the time I was ready to go back home to Law School I was in love. We did the long distance thing for a few years and every opportunity I got to come back to New York, during school breaks, he would send me an airline ticket. When I graduated Law School he encouraged me to move to New York to be with him so I did, much to my father’s displeasure. We later got married, had a child, then divorced.
Despite the divorce and circumstances that caused the divorce, I have no regrets about giving up my solid life in Jamaica and moving to NYC. I love living in New York and I enjoy being a mother, which I don’t think I would have been if not for my Ex, so zero regrets here.
The transition from Jamaica to New York was fairly easy, the only thing I had to get used to was the Winters; but I am so in love with Winter fashion; coats, knee-high boots, gloves, scarves etc., that not even the Winters bothered me much.
Q3. What do you miss about the Islands and how often do you go back there?
I miss my Mom, who still lives there. My Dad passed away a few years ago so in some strange way I miss him too.
I miss the food, the freshness of the food. The way everything tastes light and organic, as opposed to being heavily chemicalized or fertilized.
I miss the greenery, the lushness of the backdrop of the Blue Mountains as I drive through certain parts of the island.
I miss listening to our dialect every day. I also miss the very special way in which we (Jamaicans) create and invent new words all the time to perfectly fit any given situation and circumstance. Gosh, I love my people. 😂
I go home at least once a year. A trip I always look forward to.
Q4. Also, have you taught your children about the culture and traditions of the Islands?
Child – not children – just one. Yes, I most certainly have. My son has been going to Jamaica every year, sometimes twice a year, since he was only six months old. He will be 15, in a matter of weeks, and you can’t tell him he isn’t Jamaican himself. He understands the dialect and speaks it better than most American children born to Jamaican parents. He loves the food, the music and the dances, which he surprisingly does very well. My son has claimed Jamaica as his own and doesn’t like it when I refer to him as a “fareign pickney”. 😂
Q5. Do you spread spaghetti sauce all on top of your noodle or mix it all together?
Mix it all together.
Q6. What was your favorite snack as a kid? When did you last have it?
Chippies Banana Chips, which, of course, is from Jamaica. However, I find it in New York from time to time. I recently had some.
Q7. Do you have a monthly subscription box? If so, which?
Q8. What’s your favorite perfume?
Good ole classic Chanel No. 5.
Q9. Top pet peeves.
i) People who spit in public.
ii) People who act like they know everything.
iii) Unsolicited advice.
iv) People who talk during a movie.
v) Long recorded messages that ask you to press a thousand different numbers before you can actually talk to a real live person.
Q10. Do you own a dishwasher?
Yes. Believe it or not, I hardly use it though, I like doing my dishes the old fashion way.
Q11. What would the warning label to your life say?
Combustible! She goes from 0 to 100 in under 60 seconds.
Q12. If you could meet anyone who would it be?
Q13. What food can you absolutely not eat?
Frogs. I hear it’s a delicacy in some countries but I’ll pass.
Q14. If you weren’t in the profession you are in right now what would you choose to do for work?
A Writer, of course. It’s my dream to get paid for my writing.
Q15. If you could use one superpower for a day, which would it be?
Ha! I’d want to be invisible. Imagine the things you could find out if you were invisible. 👀
Q16. What allergies do you have?
Q17. Do you read magazines?
I use to but in this day and age of the World Wide Web, I don’t really read print magazines anymore. I use to have subscriptions to O (The Oprah Magazine), Essence, Cosmopolitan, and Parenting Magazine.
Q18. What has been your hardest challenge this month?
A particular case I have. Well, it’s not even the case, it’s really the client that has been challenging.
Q19. Do you have a Thanksgiving tradition? If so, what?
Not really. We usually eat Thanksgiving Dinner with another family at their house. I rarely ever host Thanksgiving, I did it once and I don’t think I want to do it again.
Q20. What’s something you do without realizing it?
Raise my voice. I do it out of excitement, annoyance or anger and don’t even realize it until I’m asked, “Why are you yelling?”
Q21. What would be in your self-care kit? Lip-gloss, mint-flavored gum, movie tickets, a pair of dumbbells, a great book and my debit card.
Red!!! I adore everything red. Red cars, red dresses, red sofas, red walls, red lipstick, red cell phone covers; I always go with red. All kinds of red; fire-engine red, apple red, brick red, wine red…Red! Red! Red!
Q23. If you could go to any play or musical what would it be?
Hands down Springsteen on Broadway; mezzanine tickets are going for at least $1,200 a piece. Of course, I can’t afford to go at those prices but oh how I wish I could.
I also have an interest in seeing Hamilton, another ridiculously priced Broadway play.
Q24. Who would you invite to a dinner party? Ahh, let’s see…
Serena Williams, and
Q25. Where would you like to vacation? I’d like to go to Egypt to see the pyramids.
Q26. Can you recommend any good books?
Of course! Here are some favorites:
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Defending Jacob by William Landay
A Time to Kill by John Grisham
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
The Stand by Stephen King
11/22/63 by Stephen King
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseinei
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Black Boy by Richard Wright
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul
Q25. What pets do you have or would you like? I wasn’t blessed with a love for animals.
Q26. What types of music do you like?
I listen to just about anything but I do have an affinity for Rock, Reggae and Jamaican Dancehall. I even enjoy some of the rap music my son likes to listen to.
Q27. Did you enjoy school? If yes what subjects?
For the most part, I did. Favorite subject, hands down anything to do with English Langauge Arts; both English and English Literature were favorites of mine.
Q28. Were you ever a girl guide? Nope.
Q29. Do you like fun fairs? Yes, I like fairs. b) Favorite fair food? Cotton Candy.
Q30. Do you prefer wine or cocktails or soft drinks? I like red wine but I prefer a tangy tasting cocktail and if I opt for soda, it’s usually the diet version, like Coke Zero. My favorite drink is water though.
Q31. What would your favorite dinner be if you could pick anything?
Well, since I’m a carnivore I’d have to go with a porterhouse. Next up would be a nice roast chicken complete with stuffing.
Q32. Kiss, Kill, Marry; who gets what?
Kiss – Bruno Mars/ Kill – (I can’t think of anyone I want to see dead)/ Marry – Chris Hemsworth.
Q33. Is there anywhere in the US you’d like to live more than where you are now?
Nope! I love living in New York. I might opt to move around in different parts of New York but I really like it here. My favorite thing about New York is its diversity and inclusivity, all are welcome, everyone has a home here.
Q34. What TV shows do you like?
I like laugh out loud comedies. I’m a big fan of The Big Bang Theory, Black-ish, Modern Family and I always watch The Jeffersons re-runs.
I can also sit and watch endless hours of Law and Order.
Q35. What are your favorite clothes shops?
Lord and Taylor
Q36. Who is your favorite historical man and woman?
Bob Marley and Rosa Parks.
Q37. Do you prefer to fly or drive?
Flying gets you there quicker but considering that I am still waiting around in this damn airport after 7 hours of checking-in for my flight, I am not feeling flying right now. 😟
Q38. Baking is important to me. If I was to bake for you, what cake would you like me to make most?
I’d probably go with anything chocolate, with chocolate fudge and chocolate chips.
Me, right now, in the airport trying to get this Blog done.
I’ll just keep going until they call my flight – Up next we have questions from the illustrious Claudette over at https://writerofwordsetc.com
Q39. Favorite Bon Jovi song
The irony here is that my favorite Bon Jovi song wasn’t even done by Bon Jovi, the band, but by Jon Bon Jovi, as a soloist, when he recorded Blaze of Glory for the movie, Young Guns II.
My favorites from the band would be Bad Medicine and I’ll Be There for You.
Q41. Do you have a phobia or aversion to something?
I freak out around creepy, crawly, slithery things. The give me the heebie-jeebies.
Like you, Claudette, I went down the rabbit hole called the Internet and found out that my phobias have names – Ready for this? Entomophobia is the fear of one or more classes of insect while Ophidiophobia describes the abnormal fear of snakes, and herpetophobia relates to the fear of reptiles in general.
I suffer from all three.😒
Q40. Did you ever watch the Walking Dead and if yes do you have a favorite season or character? If no, why not?
So I got hip to the Walking Dead when it was already well on the way to becoming one of the most popular shows on television. Me being me tried to get in on the excitement and watched the first couple of episodes of Season One but I wasn’t feeling it. I thought the zombies looked fake and they weren’t scary, not that I like scary, but it just looked like a B-rated 90s Horror film to me. I couldn’t get into it.
I have agreed to participate in Reader Request Friday and I am nervous already. My fellow blogger, who you can find at https://bottomlesscoffee007.com has created Reader Request Friday, where his readers suggest topics they want him to blog about on the upcoming Friday. He has asked me to join the party and of course, me being me, I had to oblige. 😉
How it works is that you, my dear and wonderful reader, get to ask me anything your heart desires and I am supposed to answer your questions in my blog post for Friday, November 16th.
I am willing to post on damn near any topic and answer any questions except those on Politics and Religion. Those subjects are way too divisive and I am not here for that. I am here for the light, funny, non-controversial topics. I am not about the acrimony. There is enough acrimony in my line of work, I can certainly do without it here. Sorry! Not sorry!
Some topic suggestions are fashion (my all-time favorite topic), entertainment, movies (my second favorite topic), books, humor, music, life in general or anything really. I am okay with answering personal questions too but you all know I have a fear of oversharing, see my previous post, BLOGGING FEARS.
With that said, I invite you to ask me anything. I look forward to your suggestions, questions, and queries. Please leave your questions or topic suggestions (be specific with the topic suggestions please) in the comment section below and I will do my best to adequately answer them this coming week on Friday, November 16, 2018.
Side note for my real life friends– This one is not only for my fellow bloggers but also for you guys so feel free to participate, if it’s in your pleasure.
Any good attorney should be able to argue both sides of a case, right?! Undeniably, I’m an advocate of online dating; I even wrote a blog piece on the benefits that flow therefrom 5 Reasons Why Online Dating Works but I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that there are some real challenges that come from trying to find love on the infamous internet.
I ran into all kinds while trying to find someone I’d be compatible with. Thankfully, my online dating horror stories are in my rearview and are now even considered laughable but there were several times I thought I would give up on my quest to find love. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to find my life partner; but truth be told it wasn’t easy and it took a whole lot of patience, patience I didn’t even know I had.
Anyone who has ever attempted online dating will tell you that the physical disparity that exists between a lot of potential suitors profile pictures and the actual suitor himself/herself is so common that one must always have their guard up. This happened to me countless times.
Take, for example, the seemingly attractive English professor, who in his description of himself stated that he was a fitness buff, who ran 5 miles every day and was keen on kale and every other healthy food out there. We decided to meet for dinner one evening after work and I made sure to wear black since black is a slimming color and this guy was such a health nut I wanted to show off my healthiest, svelte physique.
When I entered the restaurant I searched the bar several times looking for the sexy, toned, lean professor. We had agreed to meet at the bar and he had texted me that he was already there. I stood there thinking for a quick second that I had been catfished when a guy, who easily weighed at least 400 pounds turned around, his eyes met mine, and he smiled at me with some recognition. Oh dear God!!! This couldn’t be English professor guy, who ran 5 miles every day. Half this guy’s backside was hanging off the bar stool. Nooooo!!!
English professor guy had grossly exaggerated his healthy habits. As I sat across from him, while he chowed down on his dinner of fatty pork chops soaked in gravy I realized that the profile picture he had up on the dating site was, in fact, really him; both the profile picture and the guy in front of me had the same eyes, nose, and mouth but the photo he used was obviously taken at least a decade ago.
Here’s the thing, if you’re going to venture into the world of online dating please use a recent picture, like maybe one only weeks old or even only a few months old. It makes no sense pretending to be the guy or gal you were 10 thousand years ago. People are attracted to what they’re attracted to. I strongly believe that there is someone out there for everyone, and online dating is supposed to help us initially weed out who or want we don’t want.
We Like What We Like
It is such a colossal waste of time to tell untruths and pretend to be someone you’re not or pretend to be interested in something you’re not in order to try to get someone to go out with you; and for the record, I’m not a health nut and I enjoy pork chops but I am attracted to a guy who takes care of himself, even in a minimalist manner.
So here is the reverse – At another time I started chatting with another guy during my life partner search and hit it off with a biker guy, who worked on Wall Street. He was intelligent and funny and for a few weeks, we talked until we decided on a time convenient to both of us for our first date. We had really good conversations.
I was looking forward to meeting Biker Wall Street guy and was painstakingly picking out my outfit for that evening’s date when he called. The conversation started off light and easy when he suddenly said, “I’m over here looking at your profile pictures and I can’t really tell.”
“Tell what?” I asked. I was a bit confused.
“Your bra size.” He said without hesitation.
“My what?” I knew I had heard correctly because he spoke clearly and concisely, but I was in disbelief.
“What’s your bra size?” He asked.
“Huh? Wait! What! What did you just ask me?”
“I only date double ds or girls with at least a D cup.” He said.
For a few seconds, I really didn’t know what to say. Whoa! I wasn’t prepared for this one. After the uncomfortable pause, he asked again my bra size and then explained what his preference was and that he “liked what he liked”. He didn’t want to waste “his time or mine”.
Well! Well! Well! What was I going to say to that? The truth is that based on the several meaningful conversations I had with Biker Wall Street guy, there was a point when he was calling daily, I felt a sort of connection. I liked his wit and intellect but the reality is that at that moment I was so turned off. I wasn’t about to reveal my bra size to this guy.
Biker Wall Street guy and I never made it to our first date and that was our very last conversation. Admittedly, I was initially peeved about the situation and went into the entire “how dare him” spiel with my girlfriends but the reality is that the guy liked what he liked.
Unsolicited Dick Pic
I have heard that these days the unsolicited dick pic has become somewhat of the norm, but back in my day, when I was first doing online dating, it really didn’t happen that much, or maybe it just didn’t happen to me; however, it was only a matter of time.
I hadn’t even had a real conversation with “Sweet Sal” (that was his profile name) when I got the unsolicited dick pic from him. Sweet Sal looked like a real gentleman in his profile picture, he was wearing a tuxedo and had the cutest little girl hugging him in that photo, who I later found out was his niece and that the picture was taken a couple of months earlier at his sister’s wedding. We exchanged a few emails followed by our phone numbers.
Sweet Sal didn’t call, he just text. At the time, that wasn’t my favorite mode of communication but I figured what the hell. I swear Sweet Sal and I may have exchanged only a dozen or so text messages when boom he sent me a picture of his penis. I was stunned! There was absolutely nothing in our very short text exchange that warranted an unsolicited picture of that nature. Unbelievable! I guess Sweet Sal wasn’t so sweet after all.
After several minutes when I didn’t respond to Sweet Sal picture he dared to text me asking; “So what do you think?”
“Is that all you’re working with?” Was the only insulting thing I could think of saying. I proceeded to block Sweet Sal from further contact with me and that was the end of that.
There was also the guy who showed up to meet me, who had a severe limp, one leg was literally shorter than the other. He spent the entire date sobbing and complaining about the freak accident that led to this limp, which happened when he was 12 years old, the guy was in his 40s and still detested his childhood friend that caused the accident.
I sympathized with the guy, believe me, I did; but he might have mentioned his “shortcomings”, no pun intended, during our telephone conversations. Plus, when was he going to stop being the victim? It had been 3 decades since the doctors saved his leg, you’d think he’d be thankful he still had the leg but instead, he wanted to spend an entire first date bemoaning an accident that happened 30 years ago.
There are so many stories I could share but I will save some for later. Who knows maybe one day I’ll write a part 2.😃 Truth is online dating is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna to get. 😁
In the midst of it all, while you’re going through the miserable, unpleasant dates, out of the blue s/he will show up. The one who, in the beginning, you were sure you’d meet, but during the horrors, you forgot even existed. The one who will smile so gently and warmly at you you’d swear s/he is too good to be true. The one who will laugh at all your corny jokes, ask you how your day was and take a genuine interest in your reply and make you feel like the very special person your Mom always said you were. The one who will be worth your time and all your effort. All it takes is patience, lots and lots of patience!
It was a stabbing pain to the left side of my forehead, my temple throbbed, as I opened my eyes and blinked and tried to focus on my husband, who was standing at the side of our bed with a tray in his hand.
“Wake up…It’s your birthday breakfast, Sweetie.” He said as he smiled and handed me the tray with the plate of bacon and eggs. “It’s your favorite.”
The left side of my head was throbbing unmercilessly. “My head hurts…Noooooo…Not today…Babe…Motrin, now, please.” I rubbed the left side of my forehead as I sat up in bed.
I couldn’t figure out why today of all days, on my birthday, I woke up with a headache. I was not amused as I looked up at the ceiling and issued a warning to the imaginary Gods of the Universe. “Today is my day and you’re not going to screw with it. I will enjoy MY day!”
Damn, I’m Determined
My husband suggested that it might be the “wine from last night” that was causing my headache. My thoughts went back to the night before; we certainly started the birthday celebrations off with a bang. Greg, my husband, took me to see the Donna Summer Musical on Broadway, which was excellent. I was singing and dancing with the rest of the audience, especially with the gay couple who sat directly in front of us and who were having the time of their lives. By the end of the night, one half of the gay couple and I found ourselves in the aisle of the Lunt-Fontanne Theater dancing up a storm to Hot Stuff and Last Dance. Oh, what a fun time it was!
After we left the show we walked the 6 blocks to Gallagher’s Steakhouse, me in my high heels strutting my stuff pretending not to feel the start of the inevitable high heel ache that comes on after a few hours of wearing stilettos. Oh, how I miss my youth! I used to be able to rock those babies all night long; but not anymore. I made a mental note to slip into my sandals as soon as we sat down in the restaurant, but for now, the birthday girl in her birthday outfit needed to keep moving along gracefully in those 5-inch heels. Yes, people, I walked 6 NYC blocks in 5-inch heels! My Mom always said, “Beauty feels no pain.” Someone should have added to that saying “until the next day.”
The high heel wearing ache was nothing compared to the migraine that was trying to force me to spend my birthday in bed. I wasn’t having it though, I swallowed some Motrin and hopped out of bed and started getting ready for the gym. Greg thought I was crazy. I tried explaining that for the past decade I have been going to the gym on my birthday every year and I wasn’t about to break the tradition. Besides, my gym gave away a free protein shake to everyone on their birthday. I had waited 365 days for my free shake and I was going to get it.
Greg looked at me like I was insane!
“It’s my birthday, Babe. I have to go to the gym. How else am I gonna see my gym buddies so I can get my well-wishes and birthday hugs? Greg just stared at me in disbelief and walked out of the room. He was clearly fighting a losing battle trying to convince me to stay in bed until the headache subsided.
So I donned my birthday button and left for the gym. 😃
I have been wearing my button every year for longer than I can remember. It’s so much easier than telling everyone I run into that “today is my birthday.”
By the time I arrived at the gym, the Motrin was taking effect and I was feeling good.
At the start of the Aerobics Step class, the instructor had the class sing “Happy Birthday” to me. I loooooved it!!! It was a scene right out of grade school, the only thing missing were the cupcakes. I couldn’t be happier. The day was headed in the right direction.
As I walked out of the gym sipping on my free protein shake I noticed the morning clouds had cleared, the sky was a gorgeous blue and the temperature was a lovely 75 degrees. Afternoon showers had been predicted but the Universe knew it was my birthday and gave me the best day weather-wise.
Greg and I had planned lunch and the movies – since going to the movies is one of my favorite pastimes, what better way to spend the afternoon. (Check out my blog piece on the movies here Let’s Go to the Movies!)
As we sat having lunch at the restaurant across the street from the Cinema, I felt the migraine coming back. Truth be told I felt the headache trying to make a comeback while I was getting ready to go out to lunch, but I refused to stay indoors, I refused to take more painkillers and go back to bed. I was fighting the good fight, I wanted to be out and about on my birthday. I tried helplessly to ignore the throbbing pain on the left side of my temple. Then it happened – A cough followed by a sneeze and that’s when I knew I had no more fight left in me.
“Take me home,” I whispered to my husband.
The poor man look worried. He could not believe his ears. No, I did not want to go to the movies anymore. No, I did not want the “birthday” chocolate mousse dessert I was offered by our nice waitress. Yes, I was sure I wanted to go home. Then I sneezed again and I almost cried. I was getting sick…On my goddamn birthday!!!! What kind of cruel joke was this?
I had dinner plans that night with my best friends, another birthday tradition. I couldn’t afford to be sick. When I arrived home I got under the covers swallowed some flu medication and dozed off to Kavanaugh’s voice vehemently denying the allegations levied against him. Yes, my birthday was the most historical day of the Senate Judiciary Hearings.
Never underestimate the power of a nap! I woke up a whole new woman, got dressed and headed out to meet my girls for my birthday dinner. It was a fun evening of great conversation and loads of laugh but I dare not touch a drop of alcohol because I could feel the migraine waiting in the wings to make a nasty comeback.
The Birthday Party
I am sure it doesn’t come as a surprise that I have a birthday party every year. This year the party was planned for the Saturday night, 2 days after my birthday.
The day after my birthday, that is the eve of my birthday party, I spent most of the day in bed. I was miserable. The day should have been spent delightfully running around doing last minute prepping for my party, which thankfully was a small party, a very intimate affair, this year; but instead, the flu-like symptoms came on full force and I spent the day in bed cursing at the untimely onset of my illness and trying to decide whether or not I should cancel my party.
I was sneezing and coughing and headachy for most of Friday but woke up on Saturday morning, the day of the party, feeling like I could conquer the World (thank you God for Tylenol Flu and Cold tablets). The party was on, and when Greg came home with my birthday cake the party vibe hit me even more.
I spent the better part of Saturday busying myself with party preparations, I thoroughly enjoy doing stuff like that, and was content with hanging balloons and strategically moving around stuff in my house to facilitate my guests until the endless coughing and sneezing came back just 4 hours before my party was supposed to begin. I was livid! What made it worse was every time I coughed or sneezed, the cough or sneeze triggered a ruthless headache that lasted at least 10 minutes.
I even tried to bargain with God, I promised him that if he would keep me in good spirits for the rest of the evening he could make me bed-ridden all of next week. God wasn’t having it though and at 3:30 I had to crawl back into bed even though the party was scheduled to start at 7 pm.
Again, never underestimate the power of a nap. I still wasn’t a hundred percent when I woke up but I took a look at my cake and my dress (one must draw inspiration from wherever one can😉), turned on some Donna Summer music while I was getting ready and willed myself to feel better; and oh yeah took some more of that magical Tylenol Cold and Flu tablets.
In the end, the party turned out to be a success, I remained “fierce and fabulous” in true Racquel form for the entire night. However, this birthday taught me that I can’t do it like I used to, now I need to take naps in between in order to keep going. 😃 After all, I am a year older; but I won’t give up though, I will never settle into being old, I will never readily concede. I am never ever going down without a fight.
Today is my favorite day of the year because today is all about me. Today I get to be unapologetically selfish since today is my birthday.
I love birthdays because it’s a time of celebration and reflection. It’s an excuse to celebrate yourself and to examine strides you have made, no matter how small, and to plan goals for your next 365-day orbit around the sun.
One of the things I like to do on my birthday (or during the week of my birthday; since the actual birthday itself is always chockful of activities) is to write down all the things I am grateful for that occurred during the past year followed by another list with a few goals I would like to achieve during the upcoming year. Doing this gives my life intention and even though things may not go exactly as I planned all the time it does give me some purpose and a lot to look forward to.
My husband loves my enthusiasm surrounding birthdays and has confessed that his birthdays have gotten so much better since he’s known me.😊 I not only make a big deal about my own birthday, but I also make a big deal about everyone else’s. I use to wake up my son with a dozen or more balloons every year on his birthday (while singing him “Happy Birthday” in my tone-deaf off-key voice) simply because when he was little he loved balloons.
I cannot emphasize how special it is to experience a healthy, stress-free birthday. Life should be celebrated. Always! We get so busy with our everyday existence and obligations that we run the risk of not celebrating ourselves. The least we can do is to take a day – at least one day – where we indulge ourselves with our whims and fancies; and what better day to do it than on your birthday. You are so worth it!
To each his own, but as long as I live I will never understand those who tell me that their birthday “is no big deal, it’s just another day.” Yes, of course, it’s another day but it’s your day a day that should be acknowledged, recognized or celebrated even if in the smallest manner.
My celebrations started last night with the Donna Summer Musical on Broadway followed by a nice dinner with my Love. The birthday is off to a great start, and I am truly excited to continue celebrating, not only today but also the remainder of the week. Happy Birthday to Me!!!!! 🎂🎉🎁