Thursday, May 26, 2011

Buy you a drink?

As the 45th year rapidly approaches, I find myself increasingly frustrated with my own physical limitations.  In sheer defiance of aging cells and waning hormones, I want nothing more than to kick-start my sex drive and recapture the vivacity of my 30s.  I wouldn’t mind ironing out some wrinkles and subtly lifting parts of my anatomy, but really I’m much more focused on revving up my energy level and turning up a slightly dimmed porch light.  I want this for myself, I want it for Sig Other, I want it for my marriage. 

So what’s a girl to do?  Where is the magical elixir meant to rocket body and soul back a decade?  In search of answers, I went to various shrinks and doctors, had hormone checks and blood work done and started talking to girlfriends of similar age.  My malady, it turns out, is not at all unique.  And there is no magic pill, no special formula.  Almost every woman in her 40s feels the exact same way – we like the idea of sex.  We just like the idea of sleep more.

But surely this has to be resolvable.  Surely, I can overcome.  And so, a hit and miss combo of potions and pills, trial and error have become part of a life spent trying to recapture something I likely wasted years ago.  Mornings now begin with massive handfuls of vitamins and supplements, washed down with a vile shake of protein powder, super greens, flax seeds, chia seeds and a magic potion called “maca powder” which is meant to kick start the libido.  I try to work out regularly and fail miserably as something else (anything else really) always gets in the way.  I’ve seen shrinks to determine what deep-rooted pathological disturbance is clearly hampering my sex drive.  But frustratingly, head doctors, vagina doctors and general doctors all agree – there is nothing wrong with me.  I love my husband.  I’m attracted to my husband.  I like sex.  I’m like sex with my husband.  I’m just tired.  And middle aged.  And overworked, overwhelmed and overscheduled.  Even more frustratingly, these shrinks and doctors and soothsayers all have the same advice: make a date night, check into a hotel, get away for the weekend.  Are they kidding? When would I possibly find time for any of those things?  Sig Other and I are lucky enough if we get to spend one whole day on the weekends together.  Between his travel schedule and mine, between schlepping children and realizing our precious time with them is ticking away, between being engaged in the world in a way we feel both responsible and life affirming, WHO HAS TIME FOR DATE NIGHT?  Add to this the special cherry on top of my particular situation: a career spent sublimating my femininity in a business gone deaf and blind to women of a certain age.  I am neuter – a sexless dame in a young man's game. 

I never understood women who were offended by wolf whistles and catcalls.  One of the things I miss most about living in New York is walking down the street and getting a look or a smile or even a whistle from a construction worker, a truck driver, a guy in a three piece suit.  I don’t mind having a door opened for me.  I don’t mind a jeer every now and then.  I’m a girl and want to be treated like one.  I am certainly the girl at home.  Sig Other is flawless in his recognition of my femininity and never fails to notice, to compliment, to support me as a woman. 

But every now and then, a girl needs to feel cute to someone other than her husband.  Every now and then we need to be reminded that we are sexual objects to someone who still finds us mysterious and alluring and doesn’t know what we look like when we sleep or that we snore or don’t look cute when we cry at bad movies.  Every now and then, we need a flirt.

So it is with great gratitude that I send a thank you to the young man who offered to buy me a drink in a bar – who wasn’t daunted that I was waiting for a male friend, or that I’m married or that I’m much, much older than he and who, in spite of my protests handed me his card.  I will find him a girlfriend – an age appropriate, single girlfriend – as a token of my appreciation.  But he will never know that, at least for a day or two, he was much, much better than a cocktail of maca powder or a facelift could ever be…

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


“My stomach really hurts,” Child Two declares as he gets into the car.  Its 10:30 on a Saturday night and we’ve just picked him up from the third in a series of what is known as the Bar Mitzvah Circuit – the social season for the tween set.  Every private school kid in southern California inviting every other private school kid to his or her bar or bat mitzvah.  They don’t all go to the same temple or even the same school.  And these temples are not close together.  Like every other activity in a Los Angeles child’s social calendar, there’s a lot of schlepping - weekend after weekend of driving to the temple for services, back from the temple after services, to the party in the evening, picking up after the party.  On and on, an endless cycle of sweaty, nervous hormones in khaki pants and blue blazers – an endless cycle of pasta bars and photo booths, of disco bands and empty dance floors. 

“My stomach hurts,” he says.  “No,” he continues, “it’s more like my kidneys.  My kidneys hurt. “  He pauses and then, “Actually, I’m vibrating.”  Child Two did not eat a bad piece of sushi.  He did not hit the dessert table one too many times.  And he wasn’t stealing sips from the grown up’s table.  No.  Child Two had just asked a girl out.  His first girl – the girl he’s been pining over since the beginning of the school year and the most sought after girl in his class. 

For thirty-five minutes – the time it takes to drive from the temple at the beach all the way to our house in the valley – we hear, in detail, the blow by blow of the approach – what he said, who was around, the specifics of the physical manifestation of hormones and nerves as only a love torn twelve year old can describe.  And what does she say?  This vixen, this whore?  “I’ll let you know on Monday.”  Monday!  Seriously.  A 48-hour wait for a twelve-year-old boy who has worked up the nerve to ask a girl out.  Torture.  

He proceeds to tell us what it would mean if she said yes.  Apparently, “will you go out with me” means more than just a date.  It means a date AND it means you’re now a couple.  So we spend a few minutes talking about what they’d do together (I suggest a movie, he counters with “we should start slow – I’ll take her to the Coffee Bean”).  And we talk about what it would mean if she says no (social suicide, everyone will know about the rejection and there’s no one else to ask out for the next six years).
When we return home, Child One is there with a gaggle of her friends – all seniors – boys and girls who had their own experiences on the circuit and who listen raptly as Child Two shares, once again, the story of exaltation and humiliation.  The boys offer up congratulations and words of advice.  The girls high five him – tell him how cool he is.  And Child Two trundles off to bed still jittery but a little more sure of himself and with a little less of a stomachache. 

Now, we all know what “I’ll let you know Monday” really means.  Nothing good ever comes with a delayed response and an answer on Monday.  If something is exciting, intriguing, enticing, you jump on it right away.  If you need a moment – if you have to sleep on it – if you delay the inevitable until Monday likely you are just cruel.  And so I hate her.  I hate this little twelve-year old bitch I’ve never met.  Just as I imagine I will hate girl after girl who might disappoint my sweet boy.  But I’m so proud that he asked – so proud that he had the presence of mind, the confidence and the balls to approach a girl at all (much less the most sought after girl in 6th Grade).  And now I’m buckling in for a year full of Saturdays, and battening down the hatches for the rest of the tweens, the dreaded teens and what I hope is a future of more yeses than Mondays…

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


It turns out that the best way to start writing again is simply to start writing again.  The 45th year approaches rapidly and I realize I’ve abandoned computer for pursuits all work related.  And while work is a flourishing and happy place at present, my inner life may be atrophying at a pace too rapid to notice.  Certainly I am less interesting at a dinner party than I was in the blog prolific days of the 43rd year and when hours were spent contemplating navels and books and articles rather than screenplays about superheroes and monsters.  Still though, Child One and Two grow and remain fascinating fodder – the world of being the Evil Step challenges daily and Sig Other remains the present and entertaining love of my life.  So I will attempt, in spite of the continued onslaught of work, to return to The 43rd Year, as I approach my 45th