Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Judy Blume Taught Me About Sex

I was up early to meet my Pilates client on the upper east side. I hopped on the 6 train, and just for the record, getting on the subway during the morning rush hour, is like the running of the bulls. You can easily get gorged in the ass if you’re not careful.

I sat down across from a boy who must’ve been 11 or 12-years old. He was reading, The Doomsday Conspiracy by Sidney Sheldon––a twisting plot of a worldwide government conspiracy that could lead to the end of the world. I thought it was an odd choice for an 11 or 12-year old. Not that I know what your average, less than average or above average, 11-year old reads, because I don’t.

What I do know is that Mr. Sheldon created the television masterpieces, Hart to Hart and I Dream of Jeannie. The way I see it, Christina Aguilera owes Sidney big time. I also know that Sidney didn’t start writing books until after he turned 50. Whew, I still have a few years to crank one out.

I couldn’t imagine how an 11-year old boy found his way to Sidney Sheldon, but I admired this pint sized rebel. It reminded me of myself. For once upon a time, I was a rebel. I stepped out of my fifth grade reading curriculum by studying and memorizing Judy Blume's masterpiece, Forever, thanks to my neighbor and fellow Yonkers street gang member, Stacy Dominguez, who gave her copy to me.

Forever was the story of Katherine and Michael’s first time having sex. That book was my sex education. God knows my parent’s never sat me down and explained anything. Either they were in denial or too hung over. Anyway, that’s what the World Book Encyclopedia was for.

I underlined the dirty parts in Forever, or what I thought were the dirty parts, and I brought the book to school to share with my friends, because I’m a giver and a sharerer. My friends and I gathered on the blacktop at recess, and being the public speaker that I am (read: attention monger) I read the dirty parts out loud with the confidence of a prepubescent Tracy Lords.

“Then he was on top of me and I felt Ralph, hard, against my thigh.”

In the book, the Michael character named his penis Ralph and ever since then, whenever I hear the name Ralph, I think cock. Ralph Lauren, Cock Lauren. Cock Machio. Cock Waldo Emerson.

“Just when I thought, Oh God…we’re really and truly going to do it, Michael groaned and said, “Oh, no…no…I’m sorry…I’m so sorry.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I came.”

Write what you know, Judy. Write what you know.

My friend Jennifer, okay, that’s a lie. I don’t have a friend Jennifer, I was just trying to protect the innocent. My friend Leslie (sorry Leslie) wanted to borrow the book, so I lent it to her. The following day in school, I was called into the nurse’s office. And there was Leslie, Leslie’s mom, my mom, and the school nurse.

Leslie’s mom was pissed. She was appalled that her daughter was reading a book about sex. Clearly she was in denial as well. I was such a smart ass at the time, not like I am now, and thought the whole incident was funny. I’m sure the expression on my face said, “Bite me.”

The nurse looked at me and said, “Forever is inappropriate reading for someone your age.”

I looked at her. “Inappropriate? My parents roll joints before family car trips. My dad wears nut huggers, and carries a man bag. I think we have different definitions of inappropriate.”

Then she looked at my mom, waiting for her to say something parental. All she could say was, “I’m just glad she can read.”

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Are You A Girlfriend Mom or Do You Know One?

My dear and faithful readers,

I'm doing research for a book that I'm currently writing about women in my situation. I live with a divorced man with kids, and I don't have any biological children of my own... at least that I'm aware of.

There must be women out there in similar situations. As a friend so eloquently noted, "Stepmom's were Girlfriend Mom's at one point." So true.

If you, or someone who know, fits the bill, please forward this post. I'll never share any personal information without permission.

I'm looking for women's personal experiences, struggles, and conflicts. I'm hoping to find a community of women. 

Please leave a comment, leave an email address or contact me. Thank you mucho.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I'm a Size 4 In A Straightjacket

I'd like to think that I am a relatively sane person, although 'insane' has been bandied about every now and again when describing my behavior. However, in the insane/sane production credits last night, insane definitely got top billing.

My boyfriend went into the city yesterday, that's New York City yo, for work. He was going to pick up his daughter at her college dorm afterwards and they were going to have dinner, and then come home. She was spending the weekend with us. Easy breezy.

I had the whole day to write (lucky me) and went to my new favorite coffee shop, Turnstile. I'm still having trouble focusing and physically (no joke) putting my fingers onto the keyboard, and typing sentences and paragraphs. Instead, what I've been managing to do is, check Twitter for stories and Facebook, to see if anyone's commented on my posts. All so very important.

After a few hours of painful procrastination and nursing a cold soy latte, I drove home. I managed to do a killer workout called, Insanity, and let me tell you, the workout lives up to its name. I planned on taking advantage of being alone in the house to write, but I realized that I hadn't eaten very much all day, and it was already four o'clock in the afternoon. A sandwich and Ellen it is. Oh, and I put in, what would turn out to be, one of three loads of laundry. I might as well be productive in some way.

Whenever I suffer from writer's block, I find that redecorating my workspace or writing in another room, helps with my concentration. Changing up my surroundings allows me to refocus. Yesterday, I felt compelled to work upstairs in our bedroom, because it faces the beach, and if you look straight ahead, and ignore the neighbors' hideously trashy backyards, you can actually see the ocean.

I turned around a desk, that will ultimately find its way down in the basement, where all of our odds and ends furniture, that we don't know what to do with, go to die. I was excited about my new digs. I plugged in my computer, had a notepad at the ready, and zeroed in on the water. And lo and behold, I started to write.

Moments later, I got a text from my boyfriend, "Probably won't be home until later... going to a lingerie show." WHAT? I pulled a Jekyll and Hyde so fast, I got dizzy. The shift was swift. I bought my ticket to ride the anxious and senseless train, and strapped myself in. Control? What's that? Before I had a chance to process, I was losing it one nerve at at time.

The plans changed, and as my inability to exercise restraint suggested, I clearly saw this as a problem. Come on, a lingerie show? Really? With his daughter? Has everyone lost their minds?! Oh, I went there, people. Not only did I go there, but I bought a house, got a dog and joined the church choir, and I'm not even Catholic. THAT'S how wacko I was becoming.

I felt my entire relationship unraveling. A part of me knew how irrational I was becoming and how grossly over the top I was acting, but it didn't seem to matter. I started to scare myself.

Why Girlfriend Mom? Why did I sit on the toilet, head in my hands, a tear in my eye, becoming unglued, unhinged and unbelievably reactive? Well, given some of the inappropriate behavior (which I've regaled you all with in past posts) I thought it was inappropriate for my boyfriend to attend a lingerie show with his daughter! I tried to calm down and come in off of the ledge, but I was stuck in a hailstorm of hysteria. I was lucid enough to know that I had to get to the bare-assed bottom of what was causing my inability to deal with this situation rationally.

I regrouped and did some think talking with myself about what to text back. I wrote, "Whose," as in whose lingerie show were they going to. He texted back, "Victoria's Secret." I blew my gasket. I was apoplectic. What the f? Where? What is going on? I've seen those shows! They're all half-naked! You can't do this without me!

And then the gates flew open. He's in NYC having a great time at a show, and I'm doing fucking laundry. He's having fun and I'm redecorating our bedroom? He and his daughter are going to see a Victoria's Secret lingerie show? I can't take any more inappropriateness. I can't take this 'mother' thing. I might be overreacting but I don't care. I should be at the show with him. Fuck it. I want to be at a lingerie show in the city. F' it.  I want to be in a lingerie show.

Clearly I have some unresolved issues in need of resolving. A hot button was pressed that happened to address said unresolved issues. I decided not to respond to the text because I didn't know what to say. What could I say? I've learned (the hard way) that nothing good or productive ever comes from reactive behavior, oh, and I was mother f'in reacting.

I felt left out, like a loser, and all alone. It was like high school all over again. For the next two hours, and I'm talking balls to the walls honesty here, I Googled 'Victoria's Secret lingerie shows in NYC'. I learned that it's fashion week in the city, but other than that, I came up empty.

And what, pray tell, would I have done if I had found out where the show was taking place? Call the venue and tell them to track down my boyfriend and his daughter and throw them out? I was possessed and on a mission, and becoming more and more embarrassed by my behavior with every click of my mouse.  

I looked up at Anderson Cooper on the television, who was reporting on the bloodshed in Syria and I stepped away from the computer. Reality check. Finally. I had spent enough time on something inconsequential and idiotic. I was ashamed but I didn't beat myself up either. I realized how deranged I was acting but I also knew that something else was going on with me. I went downstairs to get something to eat. I had forgotten about food (again) while I was setting up shop on the corner of enraged and crazy.

My boyfriend called a little while later, and I picked up the phone with an attitude, that I tried to hide until I had more information. I asked, "So, how was dinner?" I was trying to play it cool, to see if he would bring up the show. And here's the kicker. It was eight o'clock and they were already at the dormitory. It turns out the so-called 'lingerie show' consisted of a couple of women, wearing tasteful lingerie, walking around a store, in honor of Valentine's Day. A store that his niece manages.

I was both relieved and I wanted to strangle him. He had no idea the affect of his little jokey joke had on me, although he does now. When he got home, I asked him if the VS text was on purpose, knowing that he might get a rise out of me, which at times he finds amusing. He told me that he didn't, and that after he sent it, he meant to text me back where they were, but that he forgot.

What was my paranoia, and furious behavior about? Jealousy? Maybe. Envy? Perhaps. Trust? Could be. I think it goes deeper. At the end of the day, I believe that my emotional distress had more to do with how I was feeling about where I am in my life, both professionally and personally. Or it could be the beginning of The Change, in which case, God help us all.

I cannot blame nor attribute the entire episode on hormones or illogical and irrational behavior. There is a truth lurking beneath the surface, and it is my job to figure out what that is. Great, like I have nothing better to do.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Happy Anniversary The Girlfriend Mom!

In honor of the first anniversary writing as The Girlfriend Mom, I'm re-posting my first entry as the G.M. I hope you enjoy, and I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart who has read, commented, and supported me during this ride. L'Chaim!

My boyfriend’s twelve year old son asked me to put his hair in a ponytail last night. He thought it was hysterical that he looked like a girl, as he modeled it for the five friends he was talking to on ooVoo. For those not in the loop, it’s like Skype. For those not in that loop either, it’s video chatting.

I didn’t think anything of his request. I was just flattered that he saw me as someone who knew how to make a ponytail. My mother used to put my hair in a ponytail, and would pull it so tight, that I got headaches and an unnecessary facelift. Not so unnecessary now, I’ll tell ya.

I’m calling myself, The Girlfriend Mom. My boyfriend and I live together, we’re not married, and he has two kids. However, I do step-mommy things, I suppose, like his son’s laundry. Sidebar: Sometimes, when I’m folding his tiny pair of jeans, it feels weird, dare I say ‘unnatural’. I’m convinced that it has to do with what I associate being a ‘mom’ with (which sometimes I find unattractive) and laundry seems to be on the list.

I help him with his homework and I consistently nag him about the television volume. I swear, it’s like living with the deaf (or my grandparents) How can you NOT hear that?! Well, this just smells of ‘mom’ (girlfriend or step) doesn’t it? I feel myself getting uglier by the minute.

So I’m not just a girlfriend, who’s boyfriend has kids. There are expectations of me, some being easy and ‘natural’ to pull off, like making up his bed, pouring him ice tea when he’s parched, teaching him how to apply Orajel to a sore, or eating at Chili’s for a less than nutritious meal. Other times, the expectations feel as ‘unnatural’ to me, as doing fractions, or wearing make-up and like folding his tiny fruit of the loom tidy whitey’s.

I say ‘mom’ things, but I can’t be sure of my modus operandi. Sometimes it’s because I think I’m supposed to say them, but how the hell do I know what to say. Other times, I think it’s imbedded in my DNA. Can that be?

My boyfriend’s son got a laptop over the weekend and he took it into our bedroom, which is one and a half flights up from where we were in the kitchen. Oh, no you don’t. I watch Dateline and Primetime Live. I told him to get where we could see and hear what he was doing. It was a knee jerk reaction. I’ve watched enough Lifetime Movies to know what can happen if you’re not paying attention. My request sounded like it came right out of, Mother, May I Sleep with Danger.

I want my boyfriend to know (and I’m not sure if he truly does) what it’s like to go from not wanting children and not sure if I even like children, to bringing a 12 and 17 year old into my life. They’re his flesh and blood. He was there at the beginning. He’s watched them grow and journeyed with them. I’d imagine with each passing year, a parent adjusts to the plethora of changes, and then, eventually, if you’re lucky, you can’t imagine your life without them. Me? It felt like two minutes in the microwave and BEEP, instant kids. Ready! (no) Set! (no) Go! (no, wait!)

I used to hear stories about a great aunt of mine who was a lesbian. She used to be a dancer and she had been with her girlfriend since WWII. I think they invented Lesbianism. They traveled the world, had several homes, and they didn’t have children. Their life sounded exotic and it had a profound effect on me.

The effect in this case being the possibility of a fulfilling life without children... not the girl on girl part. Although... My point is, I got the message that I had choices, and it was okay not to want what others wanted. I’m not sure I can directly attribute my ambivalence towards kids to my Great Lesbian Aunt (that sounds like a superhero) but I know she had played a role.

I’m sure that my parents made a contribution, unbeknownst to them I’m sure. By the time my parents were 24 years old, they had two kids under the age of 2. My mother wanted to have children, at least that’s what she tells me, but she wasn’t your typical mother either. Personally, I think she was in way over her head. Kids raising kids people! She rarely made breakfast and by the time I was twelve, I was babysitting, taking the train into the city alone and doing my own laundry. (What is it with the laundry?)

I can spend another lifetime researching and analyzing why I feel the way I do, but I don’t have that kind of time, and I’m not sure that it matters. What matters to me now is being honest about my feelings and not judging them. They are what they are, and since feelings change from one moment to the next, I think it’s unwise to give them too much power.

Instead, I’ve decided to forge a relationship with my boyfriend’s kids, based on who I am now, and who they are, as individuals, with all of our unique personalities. We’re not going to be defined by should’s, supposed to’s or societal constraints. And I have to say, so far, so good.

“Sweet baby Jesus, can you PLEASE turn that television down?!”