Friday, April 16, 2010

The Perfect Day

Rarely have I experienced absolute perfection in my life, but it happened to me today.

We took a parasailing trip today. There I was on a boat in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. I had already taken my turn, so my nausea had passed. It was sunny, warm, but not hot, and the boat skipped along the gentle sea. I sat at the bow, my back to water, and looked at group I took the trip with -- people from my mom’s work. They were all smiling, laughing, taking pictures and planning the rest of their days.

It could have been a scene from a J.Crew catalog -- except none of our models were starving. Just then, Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” (a personal favorite) came on the boat’s stereo and the captain turned it up just a bit.

There it was -- perfection. Even my outfit felt right for the occasion. It was as if some cosmic Martin Scorsese had planned it all. I relaxed back into the sea breeze and tried to just enjoy it, because I knew it wouldn’t last forever.

And, of course, it didn’t. The song ended, the trip ended and back in the hotel room, as I logged onto my computer to upload my pictures from the day, there it was, sitting in my inbox -- the last of my grad school rejection letters.

I doubt even Marty could have planned it so perfectly.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tales from the Caribbean Islands

I was standing in front of a mirror this week, in a bikini, thinking to myself, man, if only I were 10 pounds thinner, I would look awesome in this bikini.

And then I laughed. Because last year, at about this time, I was 10 pounds thinner and no, I didn’t think I looked awesome in a bikini. Actually I thought pretty much the same thing -- if only I were 10 pounds thinner. I started to wonder -- how much of my life have I spent wishing I was thinner?

I’m in Aruba with my folks -- I know my life is so hard -- it is a trip they take almost every year with a group of people with whom my mother works. In this group of 30 or so people, my parents are on the younger side of the median age. I didn't mind being the youngest person on the trip, however, because I love old people.

I remember once, in bed with Wharton, we were talking about an assignment I had to interview this 80-something-year-old man that just finished a novel. I remarked that I was really looking forward to meeting him because I love old people. Wharton rolled his eyes and said, “yeah, right.”

But, I actually meant it. I really do like old people. Old people, and perhaps that is not the nicest way to label them but I’m sticking with it, have a really grounded sense of reality. They have lived through so much. They know what is important and what doesn’t matter.

Not to mention they have the greatest stories.

So, after a couple of minutes staring at all my least favorite parts, I pulled on my cover-up, turned off the lights, grabbed by bag and headed for the pool. On my way, I stopped at the float/fresh towels hut. See, it was hot as balls already, though, because I was in paradise there was a warm, gentle breeze, so I decided instead of frying myself on a lounge chair, I would bake while floating in the pool.

I set up a base camp and breathed a huge sigh of relief that the pool was blessedly free of children. In fact, it was completely empty. I looked around at all the other sun bathers as I slowly took off my white linen sweater and picked up my float.

I laid on top of the water, with my eyes clothes, repeating my mantra, “tan fat is cuter than pale fat” when two old biddies that were sitting on nearby chaises started talking. “Oh, doesn’t that look refreshing,” said Biddy One.

“Oh, that’s Natasha’s daughter,” replied Biddy Two.

Biddy One then sat up and looked closer. “Oh, you know, you’re right. She looks just like her mother.”

“You should go get a float and join her,” offered Biddy Two.

Biddy One replied, “Oh yeah right. Maybe if I had a body like hers I wouldn’t mind showing it off like that. But I think I’ll stay right here.”

I had to smile. Not just because of what she said, but because I knew she was right. Well, sort of. I knew that when I'm her age, I will look back to this vacation and wish I still had this body that was so disgusting to me earlier that morning. I relaxed into my float and stopped comparing myself to all the other woman that were hanging around.

A couple of hours later I even felt good enough to walk to the bar without my cover-up. Of course that could have been the three pina coladas I had.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Where Did I Put that Push-Up Sports Bra?

Ladies, have you ever noticed how many catcalls you receive when you are working out? Well, I have. I will be out for a run, sweaty and gross, no make-up, hair pulled into a bushy ponytail (that gets bushier by the minute because of all the sweating I am doing) wearing running pants or shorts and a sports bra that makes me flatter than I naturally am and all these guys will be giving me double takes or slowing their cars down to smile at me.

All the attention makes me worry that there is a hole in my pants or I have sweat so much one can now see through my top because it never occurs to me that I look good -- though maybe it should.

See, Theresa and I were out enjoying a couple of adult beverages on an especially lovely afternoon recently when two girls walked in wearing running shorts, tank tops with built-in sports bras, their hair pulled back into ponytails and running shoes. Now, they were also wearing make-up and jewelry and carrying pocketbooks so it was clear to Theresa and I that they didn’t just come from a workout, but that didn’t matter to the men in the bar. These two girls in workout clothes were the female equivalent of a tall man sitting in the park reading poetry with a puppy at his feet.

Now Theresa and I aren’t ugly. Truth be told, Theresa is hot and I’m at least a six, but as we sat there not a single guy approached us. These two girls, sans their Nike shorts, were nothing special, but guys were tripping over themselves to talk to the two of them.

This got me thinking. Was this just a matter of having an opening or was there something bigger going on here? Are men wired in some weird way to pant heavily whenever they see sweat-wicking fabric in neon shades of pink? Is there some magical, hypnotic quality to the ponytail? And if this is the case, why do I spend so much time getting ready to go out and torture myself wearing uncomfortable, strappy wedges and a dress that is just a shade too tight, when I could be wearing yoga pants and sneakers?

I mean, I know Clinton and Stacy would never approve, but landing a boyfriend (or even a date) would make my mom and dad (not to mention my friends) very happy.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

You Can Only Be After One Thing, Old Man

There has been a lot of discussion about online dating in my circle of friends recently. And one of the questions that came up was whether or not to put your age on your dating profile. While one would never want to lie about one’s age, there is a certain stigma attached to women of a certain age. Specifically, that women in their late 30s are desperately looking to get married as soon as possible so that they can have kids before it’s too late.

Or, as one drunk guy friend of ours slurred so eloquently, women over the age of 35 are “aging out of the system.”

Being under 35 I have noticed a different sort of phenomenon. A lot of much older, single, never married with no kids (if you are to believe their profiles) have been poking and winking and sending me ice breakers even though my profile clearly states I am looking for someone closer to my own age.

At first, I just thought this was another case of older men thinking they are much hotter than they really are and looking for someone much younger than them to play into that delusion. But then I started to really think about it and focus on those words: Single. Never married. No kids.

Huh. Could it be we are seeing a whole crop of male grasshoppers that sang and played all summer and are now scrambling for a home to keep them warm and safe for the long cold winter?

Stay with me here. These guys, some of whom were closer in age to my dad than there were to me, are sending me e-mails, trying to sell themselves as young and fit and fun, but really how much can we possibly have in common when there is close to a 20 year age difference? Why aren’t they trying to find someone closer to their own age that they might have more in common with? Could it be because they have decided that 50 is a good age to settle down and have kids, but unfortunately women their own age can’t give that to them and so they must seek the company of younger women -- in some cases, much younger women?

I was out with Theresa and Marie, both of whom wanted to know how my online dating life was going. I told them about these old guys and added, “Here’s the thing. I’m not sure I want kids. But if I did, I wouldn’t want to have them with a much older man.”

Is that terrible of me to say? Maybe. But I’m just trying to be practical. If I go out with a guy that is 50, today, by the time we have a kid, he’ll be what? 52? 55? Which means, by the time our kid is graduating from high school my husband would be in his 70s.

Not to mention the whole sexual aspect of it. Let’s pretend he is a really hot 50-something (and yes, there are some of you out there). All the erectile dysfunction ads on TV lead me to believe there is a good chance he might not be able to perform without a little help. And what if he has a heart attack while we are, you know, doing it? My mom knows a lot of doctors and nurses in the area and they know me -- not to mention the ones I dated at one time or another. How embarrassing would it be to walk in an emergency room and see Dr. Bill, a guy that I thought I could love my whole life? What would I say? "Oh, hey, Dr. Bill. Yeah, that's my boyfriend. Yeah, he's a lot older. Oh, no, he's not supporting me and before you ask, no he didn't pay for my breasts to be augmented -- it's the new bra from Victoria's Secret. Oh, right, well, we were doing it and he had a heart attack and (reading from the back of the box) I'm suppose to advise you not to use nitroglycerin because he took a little blue pill just before we got to making the beast with two backs.

Yes, this is how my brain works and, yeah, okay, maybe this is why I am still single. But on a going forward basis, I will now assume when a guy, over a certain age, who has never been married tries to pick me up that he is desperate to get married and have kids because he is aging out of the system.