It’s been a busy time in my world, some satisfying, some funny, all frustrating. So, here goes…
Happy 87th Birthday to my mom — a week late. Thinking myself to be organized, I bought her a birthday present in
August, sat it on a chair in my bedroom, and am fairly certain that it was still sitting there two weeks ago. I checked the size of the box the week before the Big Day and bought wrapping paper for it. The day of her birthday, it had vanished. I mean, vanished, as in not to be seen anywhere in my house. I checked every square inch of my bedroom, including under the bed, under the chair, and in my closet. Nope. Nada. No gift. Not in the guest bedroom, my daughter’s old room, the living room, dining room, garage, attic, or sunroom. In desperation, I had to stop at Rite Aid and buy a lame Panera gift card to give her from my BFF Fiona. Is that not embarrassing?
I had the wrapping paper, tissue, ribbon, box, and card ready to go with nothing to give the sainted woman from whom I get my middle name, curly hair, and lack of stature; my sarcasm, temper, frankness, and stubbornness; my hypertension and high cholesterol; my sewing and typing prowess; my love of reading, old movies, fashion, and history; my fear of heights and being hurt (physically and emotionally); my righteous indignation and survival instincts, not to mention my quest for perfection.
Of course, what would be perfect enough for the only person who is always behind me, even when she thinks I’m wrong? Who made me clothes and costumes, convinced my dad that a liberal arts degree was acceptable, sheet-rocked a veterinary clinic, helped me hang wallpaper, loved my husband and adopted daughter, my dogs and cats, and let me move away to Maryland without complaining?
Well, there’s always Christmas. I love you, Mom!
This happened the very same day that I had my last post-op visit with the plastic surgeon, and, no, I wasn’t as prepared as I hoped I would be. Yes, I hit my weight goal, the day before my visit (thank you very much) and decided that I needed to lose another five pounds so I’d have a “cushion”. You know, with the holidays coming up and all that rich, festive food. I’d rather have a cushion of pounds that I could maybe, possibly gain without notice, than that big cushion of fat below my navel.
Anyway, during the exam, I had my last prodding. “Yes, sir, I have feeling there and there.” I thought he unnecessarily kept referring to the “rigid necrotic fat” in my right breast and said that I should call him if I ever decided that I couldn’t live with it. What? It’s not painful or even visible beneath my clothes. Did you see the black banded dress that Miley Cyrus wore to the amFAR fundraiser this week? Well, I couldn’t wear that with my new breasts, but, if the sequins were properly placed, I could probably wear the gown that Rihanna had on. (Google them for your laugh of the week.) Tom Ford of Gucci, give me a call.
I told the doctor that no one would see it but me, and he said, “Well, you might change your mind.” He’s so inscrutable that I’m not sure what he thought I was going to change my mind about. Letting someone see it? Touch it? Well, my match.com experience continues to be dismal, so that isn’t likely, if you know what I mean.
After the exam, it was time for the dreaded “after” photographs. And even with as much entertainment as I have given hundreds of people with my experience of the “before” photographs, I still came close to tears. Don’t get me wrong. The doctor is a very kind and gentle man. There’s a nurse there, holding up a blue backdrop, and my abs are looking pretty decent for a woman my age, but there’s just something about standing upright, naked, and having photos taken. I stared at the ceiling, turned a quarter to the left, full left, a quarter to the right, and then full right, smack into my reflection in a mirror!
“OH, DEAR GOD!!!!” I shrieked. Really and truly and most hideously, I shrieked at the unexpected sight of little pale me, naked except for a pair of black tights. The doctor and nurse laughed. I don’t know if they laughed because it’s their little joke to stand a naked senior citizen under fluorescent lighting in front of a mirror, or if it’s because the joke was finally on me.
“Oh, Suzanne, you’re always so funny!” the receptionist once told me.
Oh the humanity—er—I mean, the humiliation. Not only had I seen the gruesome situation in my mind’s eye, but there it was in front of me, like a grotesque Picasso painting of one of his naked ex-wives.
“Really,” I mumbled, completely defeated. “I’ve spent the last six months preparing for this moment, losing 15 pounds, flattening my abs, and this is just awful.” They continued to laugh. I hope they were thinking, “Isn’t she charming?” and not “Silly old lady! What did she think she looked like?” Looking at the pale wrinkles and folds from my forehead to my waist, I understood why the doctor wanted me to call him if I “need anything.” Silly man! Only a magician could save my dignity now! Of course, I’m not really happy with my neck…
This all gives new meaning to my continuing misery with match.com. It’s the same old-same old. The interesting men who are my age don’t want a woman my age. The rest look like Santa Claus or worse. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of them has a present in his pack exciting enough to induce me to sit on his lap. [Sudden thought: Maybe my profile should say that I’m the woman you want sitting at your death bed praying like mad for you and making you laugh. Naw. Probably not.]
Last week, as I was forced to go through my “Daily Matches”, clicking the green check for “Interested” or the orange x for “Not interested”, I started to feel sorry for them. I reminded myself that they, too, have the same angst about the process that I have. Looks aren’t everything, you know. So, I carefully read each of the 11 profiles and decided to click on one man who “caught my eye”, as they say in the online dating game. He had a tremendous smile and twinkle in his eye (ok, ok, it could have been pixilated by my poor internet connection). His profile was downright funny and, the real clincher, it was beyond LITERATE! True to form, he (my age) didn’t want a woman my age or height but claimed to be looking for an intelligent, funny, beautiful woman.
“Well, hey!” I thought to myself, “three out of five is a pretty close match. We all need to be realistic about this, buddy” and clicked “Interested”.
Imagine my surprise the next morning to find an email from him! He gave me a story about how he was so sorry that he was already dating someone else because I was just what he was looking for and that I should hang in there, blah, blah, blah. Why did he even write me? Makes no sense. I responded, thanking him for his kind remarks but telling him that I was done with the whole degrading, demoralizing process because I can’t be taller, younger, or any more fabulous than I already am. I also referred him to this blog for my real feelings (see “Righteous Indignation” above, sometimes a bad move). And he replied AGAIN, with the same drivel about “hanging in there” because I was so “fabulous.” WTH? What have I ever done to you? Whine, whine, whine.
Yesterday, 10 days later, his profile popped up on a generic list of men who were online and ready to chat. Really? What happened to that woman you were dating last week? I hope you do read this. I thought you had possibilities. If you’re reading this, you should know that I was thinking Daniel Craig, not Sean Connery.
Finally, this week, I received an unsolicited email from an attractive older man (I would have said “gentleman” but read on). He liked my witty, literate profile and commented kindly on my looks (which no one has done yet and is considered an online dating etiquette “no-no”). Being a sucker for compliments, I went to his profile, reminded myself to be generous and open-minded, found his favorite hobby, and commented on it. It was something that I find thrilling and that not a lot of people have done (but I have, twice). He responded within 24 hours and asked me to do it with him (no, it’s not illegal or immoral, and I’m not going to say what it is because maybe, just maybe, I’m wrong about him, although I don’t think so, but I’d really like to be delightfully surprised, and I wouldn’t want to jeopardize anything). I replied that his offer was “irresistible” and told him a tiny bit more about myself and how I came to be familiar with his hobby. I also gave him the few days that I was unavailable and waited to hear from him.
I waited 24 hours. And another 24 hours. And I’m still waiting. I think it’s kind of odd that a man would ask a woman out, that she would accept, and that then he wouldn’t follow up. Maybe he compared notes with the other men on match.com and found out about my blog. (Damn you, Righteous Indignation!)
On a satisfying note, I completed a state grant that I was writing for the Deer Creek Chorale, with whom I sing. The writing part is enjoyable. I love bragging about our wonderful artistic staff, dedicated board of directors, and the tireless and talented singers with whom I perform. I hope the grantors appreciate what we do for the arts in our underserved community, because we are stellar! For an English major, that’s a no-brainer. Sadly, it also involves a whole lot of freaking data (like 19 pages of it), which means numbers, numbers, numbers. Writing this grant is about 20 hours of work (including interim and final reports), hoping to get at least $1,000 and, at most, $2,500. Last year was our first attempt at a grant from the state, and we were awarded $1,500. So, who am I to complain? Life is good, mostly. Soli Deo Gloria!