Let’s get shallow for a moment. It’s Friday.
There’s a classic South Park episode called The List, where the girls make a list of the cutest boys in class, ranking Clyde (not especially cute) first and Kyle (cuter) last. Behind Cartman even. The List falls into enemy hands (the boys) where its contents set in motion a moral tale about looks and labels.
Knowing that the girls find him the cutest boy in class, Clyde wears it like a rock star. He walks taller, he flirts, he stops developing his personality. Meanwhile, Kyle plots to burn down the school. I suppose because arson goes hand-in-hand with being voted the ugliest boy in class. Sadly, I may not be far off there, but that’s a topic for a different blog.
Wendy, one of the girls on the List Committee, decides to investigate the voting to see why Kyle was crowned ugly, as a favor to her ex-boyfriend Stan. She discovers that the list was tampered with by Rebecca so Clyde would would reign supreme (during final deliberation of the list, Clyde actually only got a glitter rating of one sparkle from 6 girls), all so the girls could get free shoes from his Dad’s shoe store. When confronted in dramatic fashion by Wendy, Rebecca confesses, “A lot of us wanted to date Clyde to get free shoes but couldn’t because he wasn’t popular enough.” Hence List-Gate.
(I have to interrupt myself to share something Mr. Jackpot once said: “Without generalizations there would be no humor.” South Park is a perfect illustration of that premise.)
Back in Kyle’s bedroom, Abraham Lincoln appears. He’s come to share his wisdom on the benefits of being ugly with Kyle. (If you don’t have time to watch the whole episode – oh, but you should – you must hit up the 13 minute mark to fully embrace Abe in all his glory.) He takes Kyle on a ‘Ghost of Beauty Past Her Prime’ tour, visiting Nancy, the prettiest girl in school. Abe says, “The boys told her she was special, funny, interesting. But that’s only because she was hot.” Now Nancy is “40 and as interesting and special as a wet carrot.”
Then he takes Kyle to see his “new ugly friend” Jamal, (Friends by default – the ugly kids have to hang out together in the lunch room.) who is busting his knuckles on the keys of a piano, perfecting his craft. “Jamal,” Abe says, “has to work at making something of himself. But that work is going to pay off as an adult. He will have character. Something kids who are hot rarely develop.”
He then takes him to witness Clyde kicking it on the couch and chatting up a hottie. “Now that he knows he is good looking he doesn’t have to make any effort to be special. Now his life will be about girls. Chatting with them on the phone and buying them shoes. He will most likely marry very young and not realize until age 40 that he’s a total douche.”
Abe pauses to reflect. “So you see, Kyle, it’s actually the beautiful kids that are cursed.” Kyle realizes that he would have to endure the hardship of his new-found ugliness until he becomes an adult with character to realize his full potential.
“But I can’t wait to be an adult to be happy. That’s forever from now.”
(Dear Trey Parker and Matt Stone, I love you. Cleo)
Living beings are attracted to the shiny. Animals, people, male, female – on a primal level we are all attracted to the sparkly and glittery. When I met The Genius I fell right into that trap.
We were both in an exciting phase in our lives. I was killing it in my career, living in a swank little one-bedroom apartment in the heart of the city, driving around in my convertible Saab, with a share in a house in the Hamptons and a killer wardrobe. He was a musician. Dark curls, bedroom eyes, dreamy voice and the ability to make a guitar shudder just by picking it up. We collided at one of his shows. That night he left to go on the road.
10 weeks later we were engaged.
How’s that for being blinded by the shiny?
In the brief time we were together during those 10 weeks we talked. And talked. We wore each others glitter well, basking in the glow of an exciting romance in its infancy. We asked questions about each others beliefs, goals and dreams, but mainly we played. And then we decided we had what it took to marry for life. Because it all felt so very right.
That 50-50 shot I had at picking the right guy to marry didn’t fall my way.
For a girl who likes to go deep, and I do, why did I not delve into The Genius? Why did I take him at shiny-value? Is it possible that I didn’t value my own self enough to thoroughly vet the man I was about to commit to for the rest of my days? Was I trying to make all the pieces fit together by remaining at the surface, afraid to discover that a major one might not, in an effort to keep the shiny all for myself?
If that’s true, that nauseates me. And now, seconds later, that makes me very sad.
Perhaps I couldn’t value what I didn’t understand. I had my head so far up my career that I’m surprised I could even manage to date someone. What I didn’t take the time to do was allow myself to question what was important to me. I did not make a list. And I should have taken the time to do that.
I received a private email from JP about the soul-searching, list-making journey she embarked upon after the demise of her first marriage.
“It’s a real eye opener to sit down and look at the type of person you’ve always tended toward and see how much (or little) that agrees with what you need fundamentally in a relationship.”
I read that sentence and can apply it to many areas of my life. I have a tendency to like certain things/people/places, and to like them in certain ways. But does it agree with my fundamental needs? (Not wants, needs. Not what I want it to look like but what my soul needs it to look like.) Do I even know what those needs are? More importantly, am I unwilling to compromise on them? Can you not compromise on that which you don’t know?
I have this feeling in my gut that the most challenging (scary) area of growth for me is going to center on shedding my attachment to what I think “IT” is supposed to look like and discovering what “IT” needs to look like in order for me to rise like a Phoenix from the ashes. Which is just the kind of coming out party I need.
Funny, I thought for sure that by bringing up South Park I wouldn’t get all heady and deep on a Friday.
PS: Get ready for the debut of the HGM Gallery next week. Miss Capture, a certain Pulitzer-prize-winning photographer who says it like it is, says, “For a blog that is so freaking personal you have to get rid of those crappy google images and start taking your own photographs.” I listen to her.
In so many ways I think we are socialized toward the wrong thing. From the time we are small we are taught happily ever after and that if you are not with someone there is something wrong with you.
The beginning of your relationship with the Genius sounds an awful lot like mine with my husband. It is always bright and shiny. We were engaged after 7 weeks and I remember thinking we are going to be married for 36 hours or for life. I do think that many people out there don’t pick the right partners, get married for the wrong reasons or don’t think it through. But I also think at least on some level getting a good marriage (or relationship, it doesn’t have to involve a ring) is a crap shoot.
Probably not what you wanted to hear right?
But I will say this. Knowing what you want and need will always be a good thing, whether you find another relationship or not. Knowing what you don’t want is a huge part of finding what you do want.
And the bright shiny stuff is great, it’s wonderful but you know this yourself, it doesn’t last. I do think you need to know what the tarnish looks like in someone and see if you can be okay with that. Everyone is great when they are bright and shiny but the real question becomes whether or not you can be happy with them when they are at their most unbright and unshiny.
“Knowing what you don’t want is a huge part of finding what you do want.” A truism, no?
I’m grateful to be in a position to make my list. I bet I discover exactly why The Genius and I came together 16 years ago as I make my way on from #1. And I bet I will eventually come to be grateful to him for what he is teaching me about myself. You don’t get to pick your teachers.
Tonight I aim to watch the sun set at Stinson Beach and watch the full moon rise over the Marin Headlands, with note pad in hand. As you may have discovered by now, D., I do my best soul searching by the light of the full moon. I hope you will all gaze upon it with me tonight.
Heyo Cleo, It’s fun to learn more about you and your life prior to Mr. Genius. You go girl! Sounds like you are getting yourself back and hey guess what? Bonus….you have two great little guys to bundle up in your Saab to reach the stars!
The new deal is and it’s taken me a while to figure this out post my own experience with double life/betrayal following 3 decades of marriage. We get to choose what IT looks like and from my vantage point 3 years out IT looks pretty damn fine and so much more in alignment with who I am. AND I LOVE that you are going to post your own photos…more creativity which I have found to be a healing factor. Yours in the fast lane next to the Saab, W
I had to sell the SAAB. My doctor said, “You can look cool and die of melanoma or look less cool.” I chose to look less cool. But I am mad about my 4Runner. Although I wish it ran on air.
I want to make the right choices. So badly. But I have to be willing to fail. Otherwise I will make no choices. I’m scared to fail. Really scared to fail.
I just discovered your blog. It’s bringing up so many thoughts for me.
First, congratulations on your divorce. I have been there, not long ago (discovered my husband of almost five years was having an affair with his student — awesome). I went through utter hell trying to keep my marriage together but it ultimately became obvious to me that he was trying everything to destroy it without ever manning up and saying he wanted out. My divorce taught me lots of things: Namely, that I can get through anything. It also completely obliterated my idea of what my life was going to be life. We were on the verge of that whole American dream: progressing in our careers, thinking of having a baby and buying a house. That rug was completely pulled out from underneath me. It was devastating. Suddenly I was single and living in a crappy apartment. But I have to say, I think that rug needed to be pulled. I see my friends in their 30s desperate to get married and have children, and I feel bad for them, because I think that urge blinds a lot of women into getting into unhealthy situations with unrealistic expectations. They put their whole worth on being able to find that perfect man and have that perfect family. Maybe I’m just jaded now. I don’t know. But I do feel like my expectations of what a relationship should be, and what my life should look like, has been completely freed. Two years later and now I’m buying my own house and fulfilling dreams that I never thought I’d achieve — and dating a great guy. Will it last? Probably not, I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers by any means. But I do know that I’ll be okay if/when we do. It doesn’t change the fact that my divorce was absolutely the best thing that ever happened to me, if only because it made me okay with everything being not okay.
I applaud your courage and your honesty. You were much braver than I in confronting the other woman (which I never did). I wish you all the best and I know you will be better off in the long run (and probably much sooner than you think!).
“…my divorce was absolutely the best thing that ever happened to me, if only because it made me okay with everything being not okay.”
Reminds me of something a trainer once said, “You have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable!” That resonates with me big time right now and I’m aware that I am doing lots of things that make me uncomfortable or would have made me uncomfortable pre-Pocket Call. I’m stretching in ways that I never expected to stretch. I’m slowly getting to a point where I can let go of all my fears. Slowly…
Thank you for sharing your story with us and for taking the time to read HGM.
Emily in Wonderland says
I’m so glad I found you!
I’m going to cry.
August 3rd, 2010, I found out my partner and soon to be fiance had been living a double life. The name I knew him as was fake. His life story was fake. The college he went to was not where he had attended. His family member’s names were made up. Where he lived was made up. His friends were made up. Everything he had told me about himself was made up, except two things: his first name, and the fact he was a cop. (That’s right, he lied about his name on-duty too.)The most important things he had left out was the fact he was married with a child.
I have been destroyed. Starting over is not easy. Finding people who can relate and sympathize with your broken heart is NOT easy. This has been a nightmare and feels like it just happened even though it’s been over a year now.
I’m just so glad I found someone else! I read about you in the Gate online. I don’t know if you are still in that area, but I was born in Marin. The very few women I have connected with have been scattered all over the country. I just don’t want to feel alone anymore…
Oh, E. Holy arachnid! The level of deceit is off the charts! Shocker that he balanced out that tendency with a career that is supposed to be all about doing what’s right. I’ve never felt the urge to say “I’m sorry” when someone tells me of their heartache or betrayal because I feel it’s presumptive. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I am hurting, for sure, but I’m so very grateful to have this opportunity to dig deep, deep down inside and rip up everything I thought I knew, needed, wanted or felt and reexamine it with eyes wide open. But, to you I say, I am so very sorry.
You may be alone in that you won’t run into a person who has a similar story to tell on a regular basis, but you’re not alone. Did you read about my date with me? I strongly suggest you go out with yourself. Fall back in love with you. You are never alone.
I’ll keep that between you and me. Thank you.
“I was considerably more pathetic than you are…” That is hilarious. I get what you mean there. You know what, B? We’re funny, flawed, filled with light, willing to laugh at ourselves, and happy to be alive.
Thank you so much for coming to HGM and for commenting. Do not go far.
I just found out about your blog from The Mommy Files, and I’ve spent 1.5 hours now reading your blog from the beginning. You’re strong and beautiful and a fantastically funny writer. I look forward to reading every entry. I’m sorry for the hell you’ve gone through, but happy that your new life has begun!
I’m sure that many divorces result from couples who are at the “shiny, happy people” stage of their lives when they marry, and when the shiny wears off, there’s nothing to sustain it any longer. I’m in the midst of buffing the shine back into my marriage, which has been at risk for a while. I’m fortunate to have married one of the kindest, most honest, and funniest men there is, and your blog has made me take stock how good I actually have it, rather than focusing on what’s missing or not great (sex, romance, the usual). So, thanks!
Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m betting you are just as fantastic. Especially because you have the buff cloth in hand, smiling into the beauty of your relationship, and grateful for its existence.
I think a funny man is the sexiest thing ever. I look forward to you commenting at some point in the future saying, “I’d share with you what went down last night but your site would be flagged for NSFW content.” I know that day is coming.
I think we all know what we’re supposed to do and that influences/dictates what we do. Wrong. Mostly. Sigh. we meet a boy. Fall in love. For real we do. Doesn’t mean he should be our partner. But we move forward because the timing is “right”. And. There. We. Are. We have to recognize and own and learn from our bad choices. But we did love. And that’s ok. We just need to take that education with us to the next moment
“But we did love.” Yes, M, we did. And we will again. Maybe our heart will break again, too, but it truly is about the education. How can you learn if you don’t experience? Thank you for sharing what you wrote. I am really moved by that sentence.
Go climb that mountain, Girlfriend….. for you, and for all the women who live vicariously through you that don’t have the courage to climb for themselves.
I will. And I’m taking you with me. C’mon. How hard could it be?
Whether it’s summiting Everest or Life, I absolutely have to do it. And do it with a fearless, lusting need to feel every step.
Cleo – I read through your entire blog tonight. I laughed, I had “ah hah” moments and I understood your quest to retake your life and make it all it can be. I understand why you want to figure out why you were attracted to/married and stayed married to Genius but I’m not sure that really matters now. You are no longer the woman you were when you met and married Genius and he clearly isn’t the man you married. You have been tempered by time, children and the realization that Genius either wasn’t the man you thought he was or had changed. I’m actually voting that he changed over time. His ability to live in denial may have been borne in childhood but it didn’t fully come into fruition until ten-plus years into marriage. I’m not making excuses for him because there aren’t any but I’m saying you have changed too. You are growing, learning and healing in healthy, productive ways. You aren’t the woman who married Genius. If instead of the self-examination you are doing you said it was all Genius’ fault, I would worry that another man could betray you by hiding his true self but you are smarter, stronger and more intuitive now so I believe it would be much harder, if not impossible, for you to be fooled. Life unfolds perfectly, even if we don’t understand it at the moment it is happening. Best wishes to you and the boys.
Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. “You aren’t the woman who married Genius.” Tis true. Yesterday, as I watched the massive full moon shine on, I became overwhelmed with gratitude for The Genius. Yep. For real. It’s tied somehow to the passing of my father. Both scenarios are so very painful, but both have changed me in such profound ways. I am the woman I am today because of them and wouldn’t bypass the heartache for anything in the world. Not even for an arachnid-free society with no repercussions.
Good points both Trekker and Cleo….we do grow, learn and change with the years and different people in our lives. I can relate to the loss of your father and husband…as well as the full moon and setting sun….even saw Orion’s Belt last night….summer is coming. Thank god for the seasons…in life and nature. W
The sky is my therapist. And while the seasons of life pose no challenging wardrobe issues, they do challenge us nonetheless. I trust I am up for the challenge.
Your post brought back memories. Felt a deep, dark attraction to my first husband- shiny, glittery, like a drug- I needed him. 10 stormy years together, marriage, and a premature child. While the premature baby was in the hospital (he was in there for many months), I found out he was seeing a coworker and he moved out. He never did handle stress well. I felt stripped bare – marriage a sham, sick child. A year later- I made a mental list of what I wanted in a partner: good father, nice person, smart, good provider… sexual attraction had always been the driving force before…
Flash forward 12 years and I have been happily married for almost 10 years to that guy- someone I wouldn’t have considered before my shaky foundations were felled in the devastating earthquake of infidelity and prematurity. Oh, and we have had 2 more beautiful healthy children together…
“I felt stripped bare …” I know that very feeling. I am so happy that you are in a loving, supportive relationship. That your mental list manifested exactly what you desired.
I’m starting to really appreciate this “stripped bare” feeling. So much good comes from being completely open. I wonder if that feeling, too, can become addictive – like a drug. I know it’s been exhausting. Yet lately I cannot sleep. I am wide-eyed, laying in the dark watching my thoughts and feelings and trying to bring all the parts of me together into one whole, centered, happy woman.
Thank you for sharing. You’ve stirred things I will need to ponder.
Boy, was I ever taken in by “the shiny!” My “Prince In Shining Armor” was everything I wanted (note…not needed) in a man…that is…until we said the I do’s. Like you, I was caught up in all that was glittering…the tall, handsome good-looks, the sensitivity (which turned out to be pretend), the intelligence, and most importantly…the same interests as I (which also turned out to be faked). My shiny new husband and I just had our dissolution finalized on March 5 after 6+ years of marriage. I finally decided to rid myself of the most emotionally, mentally, and verbally abusive man I had ever encountered in my 60+ years of life. It hurts tremendously when you have to evoke the first law of the land…self preservation…over the love you have/had for another. It took landing in the hospital for four days for me to realize that I love myself, my 3 daughters, and my 2 grandsons enough to want to make a serious positive changes in my life. For me this meant facing the fact that my husband was not really my husband. We had been high school sweethearts years ago, so I thought I still knew this person. He pretended just long enough (5 months) to get me to say yes to marrying him. I just didn’t know that what my Prince Charming really wanted was a servant…not a wife. The wounds are still fresh…and to tell you the truth…I’m not so sure he wasn’t a cheater, too. However, I…like you…am now trying to rediscover myself. The freedom from being with a negative, controlling person is like being released from prison. Here I am at age 63 learning to fly again. Like you, I love to write…especially poems and specialized greeting cards. I’m even in the middle of writing what I call “My Country/Western Tune.” I started it years ago when my youngest daughter (now 37 ) was in high school. Ironically the title is…”Loving You Was A Mistake!” Go figure! One final note…my daughter works for the San Francisco Chronicle. She suggested I read your story/blog. It was a fantastic idea. Doing so has lifted my spirits and made me realize that I have lots of spiritual sisters out there. Keep writing…I’ll keep reading!
Your story sparkles even with the ugly details of a person not respecting the gift of love. I am so glad your daughter brought us together. I have to share this…shortly after the Pocket Call I started listening to country music. Now, this is significant because my favorite band of all time is Nine Inch Nails. Let’s say, not country. But for some reason I was drawn to it. Not the hokey country but the introspective country. Now I crave Johnny Cash. But I still lust for Trent Reznor.
I’m so happy that you valued your time here enough to take care of yourself. And I”m thankful that you took the time to read HGM and comment. It’s beautiful to have a place where there is so much love and support, no?
I made a list. A few days before I was about to get married, I remember vividly a sudden onset of panic attack while driving down the busy I-5. This was it, my brain told me–I’m committing forever to one man. My first serious boyfriend. Who does that in this day and age? Shouldn’t I play the field a little bit? Kiss a lot of frogs before deciding this one was the prince??? So, I got home sweaty, and panicky, and I wrote out a list why I was marrying this guy, why I’m ready to be tied to him forever. It seems that to my practical self the “we love each other” was not sufficient enough. It should be but I’ve seen a lot of marriages fail to know that love is rarely enough. At the time, I felt guilty making the list. How can love not be enough? When I told my best friends I made the list, they looked at me as if I’ve lost my mind. It was perhaps the most un-romantic thing I did. Twelve years on I still have the list. Once in awhile I look at it. It keeps me grounded that even when times are sh*tty (we’ve had our share), I can still check off the items on the list. The shine is now gone, replaced by that wonderful texture of patina because patina protects against corrosion but most of all its a badge of honor on how we’ve evolved as a couple and as individuals.
“The shine is now gone, replaced by that wonderful texture of patina because patina protects against corrosion but most of all its a badge of honor on how we’ve evolved as a couple and as individuals.” Beautiful.
I wonder when I will need to make my list…
A Husband_Father_Man says
I am a man, husband, father – and read through your posts with interest. They say that ~70% of married men have cheated and ~40% of married women – so do the math, and you come up with a lot of body parts being put in places they are not supposed to go! At the very least, perhaps everyone should assume they are “severely at-risk” of being cheated upon – and get on with what the heck *we* are going to do about it.
I have seen many loving modern marriages fray when the kids are small. Typically, women loose their inner-selves to taking care of the kids – and men become frustrated at no longer having that strong attractive woman around with whom they fell in love. I have seen men bend over backwards to help relieve mom with the drudgery – to help her get back to her “happy place”. And I have seen women often refuse these offerings and instead come back with demands that he accepts their changing roles into mommies and daddies – instead of unencumbered men and women. I honestly do not know how our previous generations had more patience (acceptance?) than us to get through these difficult family years – but suspect that the vast inequality of women’s roles made the expectations more “standard practice”.
I feel that you and your readers need to accept that this is a really hard time for both partners – and that by denying your partner sex, touching, attention, and 1-to-1 love, you are doing damage to them and your marriage. I noted during this time that I dropped instantly from my wife’s #1 to her #3 spot. (Child, person taking care of Child, and friendly support staff.) Yes women, I *did* say it’s really hard – but do you expect that you can second your husbands needs/wants/desires (for years) and have them not fall off even a short pedestal? While Genius should have encouraged you to write creatively to help regain your former self – perhaps it was difficult for a hard-working man and pitching-in (devoted?) father to see that “indulging” you this time-sink would in-turn help his marriage and himself.
In reading about your fathers death, it is clear that you accepted your Dad for himself and any faults he carried with him in his life. Did he ever seriously let you – or your mother – down? And would you feel different about the men in your life if your father also had a great mistake in his past? I sincerely hope that you reach a place where you can accept Genius’ giant mistake as just that – a huge, human, colossal, dumb mistake of a man with unmet needs. When you can accept it as a mistake (instead of a deliberate stab into your heart), I feel you will be much better equipped to go forward and climb your future mountains.
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I truly appreciate the thoughts you have shared.
The Genius once said, “I am not your father.” Never truer words have been spoken. My father was not perfect but he was honest. I definitely expected that from The Genius. Didn’t get it. I might have had a different outlook when I got married had my father or mother failed me in some way. Less Disney, perhaps. But I hope that my moral compass would have still been showing me the way. Even though I hoped for the long-term love affair, I knew marriage and raising a family was work. I have an amazing work ethic, thanks to my parents. I was down for the labor of love.
But I don’t think working at our marriage was ever important to The Genius.
It’s true, the toddler years create huge opportunities for growth within a marriage, but couples need someone to show them the way. This stuff just does not come naturally to us. If there was a baby in the cave, the man was out hunting and the woman was feeding. They weren’t focused on their own needs emotional or sexual needs. They were focused on survival. It takes some time to move on from that primal way of being. Time and encouragement and empathy.
I read your whole blog, tonight , is was sad, it was funny, It was Real. Never been, never been married, but sometimes, just being in a relationship , I can related to what you are saying ,love is love, sometimes it is the greatest thing and sometimes it sucks. It is easy to blame Other guy, or girl, the hard part is looking at yourself, and understanding why it all happen, what is the lesson, who has the answer, I don’t. Like someone once said, the choices you make make you. I say his choices, made your choices you choices will make your children choices, you made the right ones from a wrong choice. Keep writing, and believe me there will be more choices,
Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems. Thank you for taking the time to comment and for reading HGM. I love having choices, but I need to be freer to make them knowing that I may make a wrong choice. I’m working on it!
It’s possible to beat yourself up too much for these decisions. I played my life the way everyone says you should — I married a man I’d known for 10 years, after a year’s engagement. I had a list, and he checked nearly all of the boxes. He seemed solid, not glittery, a smart computer programmer who had ambitions of being the next Bill Gates. We discussed all the big stuff up front: fidelity, children, money. Our families got along. I built my career before having children. The children were planned and wanted. And guess where I am now? The same place as you. Go figure.
Thank you for your thought-provoking comment. We’re in the same place, and took different paths to get here. You took the conservative route, I took the risky route and we both were betrayed. Our lives upended. It’s like being asked to hang a picture. The first time you get no tools and no directions, the second time you get all the tools and detailed directions. But you fail to hang the picture both times. What gives?
Did our relationships fail because they had to in order for us to complete our journey?
This is the very idea that has the potential to keep me awake all night. Thanks!
No, really. Thanks.
I had the same sort of thing happen to me 10 years ago. While I love reading your posts…. and I processed the same way in my diaries, I cannot remember much. Thank goodness! The great thing is that I don’t have to, it’s all there in my notes taken as it happened. That’s what this is all about….dumping! What you have done differently, is sharing and inspiring….thanks for all your efforts!
Thank you for taking the time to comment. I always regretted not having kept a diary. Now I can be grateful that I am. And I have the gift of having so many people take the time to let me know they care. They get my sense of humor. They appreciate that I can fess up to an ingrown thigh hair.
Honestly, what more can a girl ask for?
I’m so glad I found about your wonderful blog, Cleo (although not the way I did, but a competitor paper That Shall Not Be Named). We have a few shared experiences.
Don’t beat yourself up too much about not having a list — what you wanted then would look a lot different than what you want now. Although questioning oneself is essential.
I, too, was attracted to good-looking men although I didn’t know that about my first husband, whom I married just a few months before my 21st birthday, until a few years into coupledom, when he shaved off his beard and mustache and cut his long hair (we were hippies). Thankfully, he was quite the hottie.
I was not that attracted physically to husband No. 2 at first — I was in my late 20s, he was in his late 30s and he looked old to me. Plus, he had crooked teeth and not such great skin. But, he made me laugh, and when he sent me photos he’d taken (he’s a photographer), I liked the way he saw the world. Because I’d been married before, I thought I had it all figured out, knew the red flags, etc. Since I’m divorced again, you can pretty much figure out how that worked out!
I am still a sucker for attractive men and I make no apologies for that. But — a big but — attractive is more than just looks; it’s wit, honesty, smarts, a kind heart and a moral compass. Other stuff is negotiable (well, the sex has to be good, too. Just cause …)
You are right — the challenge ahead is figuring out what you need now, at your age, with kids, a divorcee, your experiences. You will no doubt make some mistakes. But the fact that you are questioning yourself is a great start, so appreciate yourself for that.
And, sure, sharing a Cabernet would be lovely. Thanks for asking
You’ve got a new fan.
Thanks for taking the time to comment and for your patience! I am happily ripping through comments, but not as fast as I would like.
Here’s something I would have never put on my list before: must be vulnerable.
I haven’t started the list, but when I do it will be posted for all to weigh in on. I’m thinking I need ‘group think’ on this one!
Barbara Owens-DeWitt says
I relish the quiet moments and I have and the past month or so I have filled them with reading your blog. Every, single entry I savour and The List references moved me from loving your blog to idol worship. My image of The Firm I spent countless hours at for 14 years was completed tarnished after learning our male staff (not partners-as far we knew) had compiled a List daily of the women in our office. Might I state that this was a Firm comprised of 250 professionals and even our administrators carried initials after their names. I remember sitting in my corner office decked out in a navy/tweed Chanel suit, Guiseppe Zanotti pumps adorned by a $350 foil job on my perfectly coiffed hair and I was immediately transported to 4th grade in my plaid Catholic school girl outfit bursting at the seems of the bust with my new found boobs. But, the worst part? I was worried about seeing the list (as partner in charge of new hires, it was my job to handle the ‘soft’ stuff). Was I on the list? Where did I rank? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It was true-not much had changed. Boys were ranking girls and I was worried about my score. After I threw up in my mouth a little bit, I mustered up the strength to review the list. Not on it-partners didn’t make the cut-we were too old, I was told by the author of the list and the LEADER of the daily coffee run tally! We squashed the list with heavy restrictions. However, I know the list is active and well today-iPhones just have reduced the risk of us getting our hands on a hard copy.
Keep up the writing Cleo and cannot wait until the Blog’s cover photo no longer reminds me of an LL Bean Catalog!
Oh, the photo will be changed soon! Hilarious! An LL Bean catalog! Once I catch up with the comments I will work on the gallery. It will only serve to bring us all closer together. The South Park List episode is classic. Oh, gee, they do that at a law firm, too? Why am I not surprised?
One day I would like to wear a Chanel suit. I don’t need to own it, just wear it. With some killer heels and the finest stockings made. Perhaps if I sell my wedding dress…:-) You rock.
JP D says
I have a slightly different take on the theory of How the Hell Did We EVER Think We Were Right for One Another.
My husband and I have been in marriage counseling for about a year since the discovery of his affair.
I asked the therapist how it could possibly be that I am trying to claw my way back to a point where I can understand why we are together in the first place. Since we have been married, it’s like I don’t exist, don’t matter, only fulfill the role of head nanny and chief housekeeper and wife only when he sees fit. How could it be that we were EVER compatible? She said that sometimes, people mature differently and obviously he is so shut down that he matured and evolved very little while I changed a lot (someone had to take care of the kids, house, dog, etc.!!!). Obviously it doesn’t take maturity to make money (as evidenced with Investment Bankers and A list actors and other professions with cheating douchebags in high proportions).
For the past year, my husband has been working on himself, making a lot of changes. He definitely has made progress. But is it too little, too late? I’m trying to figure this out.
When did you KNOW it was time to abort the mission of Marriage Counseling (or at least when it turned from Rescue to a Recovery in the context of co-parenting? Maybe I have not yet read far enough.
Cleo Everest says
Thank you for taking the time to comment and for bringing me back to this post – one of my favorites. That episode of South Park is riotously funny. And profound.
Your therapist and Dr. E, my dear friend, say the same thing: We were attracted to each other at a time when we had the same emotional maturity. I continued to mature and he did not.
When did I know for sure? When I came to find out that although he said he was ‘so relieved he didn’t have to lie anymore’ he was STILL LYING. I don’t want to spoil your journey so I’ll steer clear of plot lines and instead urge you to listen very carefully to what he says and match that up with what he does. In my case there weren’t any actions except defensive ones. But when I reflect back on the things said in the moment I eventually came to know without question that he didn’t know how to have a healthy relationship, and if he wasn’t mature enough to be in a marriage, he wasn’t going to be mature enough to repair one.
Here’s the real key tho – he didn’t think he had anything to work on. I caused him to have the affair. That was a deal breaker. I hope that helps. Use this as an opportunity to develop your intuition. You’ll be able to hear from within the right choices to make. Stay close. I’m always here.