Not So Helpful Dating Advice

advice

     Hello, friends! As my quest for a boyfriend continues through my “Mis-Matched to Miss Matched” series, many of you have offered well-intentioned advice. I appreciate that you all care enough to make suggestions. However, I believe some of the suggestions are slightly off the mark.
     The most common advice I have received is:
Continue reading

Advertisements

Finding My Way

     The last poem I posted, Harvest Day, was written during the darkest time in my life, my unexpected divorce. That’s right, it was worse than going through cancer. Not to minimize the hell that cancer was, because that ordeal was horrible. I knew I would beat cancer. But I did not think I would survive the divorce. I couldn’t sleep or eat. And although I lost a lot of weight, I do not recommend divorce as a weight-loss program!
     Eventually, I climbed out of the pit of despair and rejoined the land of the living. I wrote Finding My Way during that arduous climb.
Continue reading

Harvest Day

     In honor of National Poetry Month, here is one of the poems I wrote in Fall 2011. I wrote this poem, Harvest Day, on one dark day early in my divorce journey.
Continue reading

Drunk and Drunker

dont drink and drive
     Hello, Friends! Welcome to the ongoing saga of “Mis-Matched to Miss Matched.” Today’s dating tales of woe concern two men and their love affairs with alcohol.
     The first bachelor passed the email and phone call tests. When I met him, there were a few red flags, but he seemed fun and easy to talk to. So, against my better judgment, I went on several dates with him.
     He declared that he was working out 4-5 times a week, was living a healthy lifestyle and was going to lose more weight. He had already lost 100 pounds.
     Although I did not observe him making healthy food selections, it was his drinking that bothered me. He did not stop at one or two drinks.
     If you have been following me through this journey, you know I am a one-drink person when I am out, and I am the designated driver. I will not get into a car with someone who is legally drunk.
     During our last date, I met him at his favorite restaurant. This place carried a special type of wine just for him. I learned that on our first date. That was a red flag, but I chose to overlook it.
     He greeted me with a hello kiss. Then he proceeded to tell me how sick he was and how horrible he felt. The congestion in his chest was terrible. He held his chest and coughed. It sounded like bronchitis to me.
     Backing away, I reacted, “Yikes, no more kisses for you until you’re well.”
     He replied, “Oh, you’re one of those.”
     One of those? If you mean people who don’t want you contaminating them with all of your respiratory infection germs, yes, I’m one of those. Be considerate. Good Lord!
     I sighed as I sat across from him.
     Then he coughed and coughed, without covering his mouth.
     I am sure I cringed as I shifted to the right. At least that way he was not coughing directly on me. I mentioned that he should be coughing into his elbow.
     Eventually, he covered his mouth with his hand. But then he wanted me to hold that hand.
     Are you trying to get me sick on purpose?
     Thank God I had antibacterial wipes.
     While he enjoyed his third glass of wine, he saw I was agitated. He asked, “What’s on your mind?”
     Oh, buddy, you just asked the wrong question. I don’t think you really want to know. I’m thinking I’m going to catch this plague you have. And your drinking is bothering me. But since you asked…
      “The amount you drink bothers me. Every time we’ve gone out, except one time, you’ve had a lot to drink. Not just one or two glasses of wine, but multiple glasses. I’m concerned.”
      “I’m not an alcoholic.”
      “Do you drink every day?”
      “I usually don’t go out during the week.”
     Not sure what that had to do with the price of tea in China, I replied, “Well, I won’t ride with a person who’s legally drunk. If you’re always going to drink like this, I will always have to drive.”
     Defensively, he argued, “I am not drunk! Do I look drunk? Do I act drunk? Am I slurring my words?”
      “No.” Because you have built up a tolerance.
     He continued, “My friends drink hard liquor. I drink wine. It’s better. We’re here every Friday and Saturday night drinking at the bar. They drink hard liquor. I drink my wine.”
     Every Friday and Saturday? Drunk is still drunk, dude. Any cop will tell you that. So will a blood alcohol test.
     I stated, “It doesn’t matter what you’re drinking. Alcohol is alcohol.”
     “It’s just wine. And now you’re making me uncomfortable and self-conscious.”
     “Sorry, you asked, and I had to say something because it’s making me uncomfortable.”
     Dismissively, he responded, “You’re making something out of nothing. I’m not an alcoholic. You don’t drink wine, so you don’t understand.”
     What’s there to understand? Wine contains alcohol last time I checked.
     Then he stopped the waitress and asked her for another glass of wine.
     Are you freaking kidding me? Way to show me you don’t have a drinking problem.
     She emptied the contents of the bottle into his glass. This was glass number four.
     As he drank, I got the “you’re not the boss of me” look and vibe.
     I shook my head and ate my dinner.
     I am not trying to be the boss of anybody. But drinking and driving is a serious issue. And I do not want to be with someone who drinks to excess all the time.
     Then he said, “Next you’re going to tell me I can’t ride my motorcycle without a helmet.”
     Heavy sigh.
     Annoyed, I said, “No, you can do whatever you want.”
     Obviously, because nothing I say matters anyway.
     After he drained his glass, he asked the waitress for yet another glass.
     She answered, “I emptied the bottle last time. Do you want me to open a new bottle for you?”
      “Yes.”
     If you are counting with me, this was glass number five.
     Finally, dinner was over.
     After that evening, my texts to him were short.
     He texted, “So I’m assuming by your lack of communication and enthusiasm, you’ve lost interest and can’t get over my evil wine drinking ways.”
     You guessed right! That and your complete disregard for my welfare by spewing all over me and for not understanding why I would not want to put my life into the hands of someone who was legally drunk.
     I wrote, “You disregarded my concern completely. I understood finishing the glass in front of you. Then you had her open another bottle. And you got defensive and dismissive. I can’t handle being with someone who drinks 5 glasses of wine in that short amount of time and disregards my feelings.”
      “Actually it was 3 glasses and that hardly makes me an alcoholic…I wasn’t trying to dismiss you by ordering another glass but I was trying to make a point that I’m 52 years old and I’m pretty set in my ways.”
     I was not going to argue about the number of glasses or about anything else for that matter. I was drinking water and clearly counted five glasses of wine.
     So that was the end of that!

     A friend attempted to help me in my quest for “Mr. Right.” She invited a friend, an extremely wealthy businessman, to meet us for drinks and a light dinner. We were sitting at the bar when he showed up three sheets to the wind.
     Obviously, that was extremely disappointing, in and of itself.
     And did I mention that he looked older than my parents? So, he had nothing working in his favor.
     I was polite at first. But after I had heard the exact same story for the third time, I was mentally done. I tried to ignore him the best I could, but he kept hanging on me.
     I caught the eye of a young, handsome guy a few seats away. I gave him my “help me” look. He laughed and looked away.
     Damn!
     Without another option, I disappeared to the ladies’ room. And I stayed in there entirely too long. When I returned, “Tipsy” was sitting in my chair.
     Thank you, Jesus!
     I quickly sat next to the handsome guy.
     He looked up at me and smiled.
     I smiled back. “I need you to save me.”
     “I know. I saw the look.”
     Exasperated, I threw up my hands. “But you didn’t save me.”
     “Trust me, we’ve got your back.”
     “Who’s ‘we’?”
     “As soon as you left for the bathroom, I watched your drink. I was convinced that guy was going to put something in it.”
     “Really?”
     “Yes. He looks like that kind of guy. A real creeper.”
     I laughed.
     He continued, “And the bartender is watching out for you too. And the piano guy hasn’t taken his eyes off you all night.”
     “Good to know I’m covered. Thank you.”
     “Don’t mention it.”
     He wore a wedding band.
     Of course, the gorgeous ones are always married!
     I said, “I know that you’re married, and I’m not hitting on you. I just need someone to talk to until he leaves.”
     “No problem.”
     We had a nice conversation. And when his wife and teenage daughter showed up, he introduced me to them. He explained the story. His daughter got wide-eyed when he said he thought the guy was going to drug my drink.
     Glad I could provide a teachable moment. Hopefully, she’ll remember this when she goes to parties.
     This nice family even asked me if I wanted to join them at a booth for dinner.
     “No, thank you. I don’t want to intrude.”
     “If you change your mind…”
     I shook their hands. “Thank you.”
     My friend and Tipsy went out to smoke.
     The bartender said, “You look like you could use that dessert now.”
     I nodded. “Yes, please.”
     I ate my chocolate dessert and talked to the bartender and the pianist.
     Finally, it was time to leave.
     My leather jacket was on the back of the businessman’s chair. He insisted on helping me with it.
     As he slipped on the coat, he commented, “Oh, the leather is so soft.”
     Then he reached around and grabbed my right breast.
     Let me tell you something, dear readers. I have never, ever hit anyone. But at that moment, I really wanted to hit him.
     It took every ounce of strength I had within me not to hit him.
     I hear you screaming, “Why the hell not? Hit him! Slap him! For God’s sake, knee him!”
     I was almost a head taller than him. He had been drinking steadily since he walked in. So, he was drunk as a skunk and unsteady on his feet. And I knew that if I hit him, his sorry geriatric ass would go down hard, very hard. And with my luck, he would have broken a hip. Then he and his army of lawyers would have had me arrested.
     Friends, I would not do well in jail. Not for a single minute.
     Instead, I will let karma take care of him. He will get what’s coming to him in the end.
     In the meantime, I might kill him off in one of my books. Or not. I guess you will have to buy my next novel to find out…

If you or a loved one has a drinking problem, please get help. Here are a few organizations that can help you on the path to wellness.

AA http://www.aa.org/
Al-Anon http://www.al-anon.org/
SADD http://www.sadd.org/

Copyright © 2016 by Suzanne Purewal

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

hands in heart formation     Why can’t we all just get along?
     This question seems to be on everyone’s mind these days. Arguing and discord have taken over entire aspects of daily life.
     What happened to the concept of agreeing to disagree and moving forward? Instead, people want to create drama, and lots of it. It is totally unnecessary, divisive and destructive.
     I am not suggesting we all join a commune and sing “Kumbaya” all day. But can’t we have a dialogue without fear of retribution?
     For instance, I recently went to a Chevy dealership to have my car serviced. I sat in the waiting area reading through a manuscript when an older gentleman sat next to me.
     He greeted me, “Hello there, Miss Teacher.”
     I smiled. “I’m not a teacher. I’m an author. I’m reading through a draft of one of my books.”
      “That’s very interesting.”
     Then he asked the usual follow-up questions. We bantered back and forth for several minutes. Then, I returned to editing.
     The television was tuned in to a morning show. Someone mentioned the Pope.
     Then the guy next to me made a derogatory comment about Catholics.
     I said, “That wasn’t very nice. I’m Catholic.”
     In hindsight, I should have kept my mouth shut.
     He accosted me, “Well, they don’t teach you Catholics anything. I’m a retired Baptist minister. I know what I’m talking about. Your Bible is even wrong.”
     Ugh. Here we go.
     Defending my upbringing, I said, “I went through twelve years of Catholic school. In my opinion, I received an excellent education.”
     Shaking his head and wagging his index finger, he attacked, “I’m talking about religious education. All I know is that you people don’t know your Bible at all. And you certainly don’t know anything about religion because they didn’t teach you anything right.”
     Seriously? I just want to edit my pages in peace. Why can’t I do that? Because you opened your mouth, Suzanne. That’s why.
     At this point, two people who were seated near us got up and moved to another part of the waiting room.
     Chickens.
     I was now sitting all alone with this guy.
     Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
     Trying to defuse the situation, I replied, “I understand that that’s your opinion. You are entitled to it.”
     Looking for a fight, he challenged, “I can prove it to you.”
     Heavy sigh.
     Almost daring me, he said, “You just have to answer a few questions.”
     My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
     I resigned myself to answering his questions because he was going to ask them no matter what anyway. And honestly, I wanted to prove the pompous ass wrong.
     With a gleam in his eyes, he questioned, “Are you ready?”
     Annoyed, I responded, “Go ahead.”
      “What’s the definition of ‘Catholic’?”
     I quickly replied, “Universal.”
      “Hmm. Okay, you got that one right.”
     I waited for the next question.
      “What does ‘ritual’ mean?”
     Happy the question was easy, I said, “It’s something you do over and over again.”
     Disappointed, he admitted, “You got that one too.”
     Of course I did. I’m not a moron.
     With an almost sinister look and tone, he asked, “Where do you go when you die?”
     “We were taught that if you’re good, you go to Heaven. If you’re bad, you go to Hell. But there’s also Purgatory. Some call it Limbo…”
     Interrupting, he yelled, “There’s no such thing as Purgatory! Show me where it’s mentioned in the Bible. You can’t. You know why? Because it’s not there! There’s no Purgatory in the Bible.”
     I don’t know about Purgatory, but I am definitely in Hell right now! How do I know? Because I’m sitting in an auto repair service waiting room defending Catholic teachings to a former Baptist minister. If that isn’t one of Dante’s circles of Hell, it should be!
     I countered, “You’re asking me questions based on what I was taught. So, I am telling you what I was taught.”
     Goading me, he questioned, “So do you believe everything you were taught? Even if it’s not in the Bible?”
     Friends, I am way too smart to answer that question.
     I stonewalled. “Purgatory isn’t mentioned by name, but some passages describe such a place. But it doesn’t matter what I believe. I am answering your questions based on your premise of that I wasn’t taught anything. Next question, please.”
     He demanded, “Tell me what you believe.”
      “I’m not going to argue with you. Next question, please.”
     Clearly not happy that I would not debate him, he asked, “What’s a cathedral?”
      “It’s a special type of church.”
      “Not good enough.”
     As I pondered what to say next, a male voice behind us shouted, “Purewal?”
     I have never jumped up from a chair so fast. I waved my hand vigorously. “Here!”
     The guy looked a bit startled at my reaction. No one is ever that enthusiastically happy to talk to a service technician.
     I swept up my belongings in both arms. Clutching my stuff against my chest to keep it from falling on the floor, I headed in the technician’s direction while bidding the retired Baptist minister a very hasty, “Adieu.
     The technician informed me they cleared out the trouble codes. However, they could not duplicate the condition.
     Of course not. So I’ll have to come back again.
     I can only hope and pray that former Baptist minister will not be there the next time I visit.
     I still do not understand why a perfect stranger felt compelled to antagonize me. He wanted a fight, and he was clearly disappointed that I would not argue with him.
     What is important to me is if you live a good life and are a giving, caring and loving person. Do no harm. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
     Instead of trying to find ways to divide and conquer, I ask you to find ways to include and unite. Love one another, and be good to one another. It’s just that simple.

     If you have questions about Purgatory, here’s a blog that goes into detail: http://www.catholic.com/blog/tim-staples/is-purgatory-in-the-bible

#loveoneanother #trytogetalong

Copyright © 2016 by Suzanne Purewal

Will You Be My Valentine?

download     Recently, my parents started cleaning out their basement. As a result, I received a few bags of what I will call “stuff.” In one of those bags, I found all sorts of treasures. No, nothing that would make me rich monetarily. However, they will provide a wealth of blog article topics.
     Appropriate for this time of year, I discovered stacks of Valentine’s Day cards. You know—the kind you trade as kids. They were from Kindergarten through 4th grade.20160208_104652
     And before you think this should be the beginning of a hoarding article, we are not hoarders. We are pack rats. There is a big difference. And our stuff fit neatly in the basement.
20160208_102757
     As I reflected on these tokens of friendship, I read the names on the back of each card. I tried to remember all of those friends. Some were from school or Brownies. Others were from my neighborhood.
20160208_103736
     I laughed at how the handwriting improved over the years too. Barely legible Kindergarten scrawl to 4th grade cursive writing. Thank you, Sister Mary Carmel, for teaching us to write in cursive.
     Sister Mary Carmel wore the complete habit. I clearly remember one June day when the boys were rolling up their long-sleeved shirts, due to the heat.
     Sister said, “If I can be dressed this way and tolerate the heat, so can you. Roll down those sleeves.”
     Amid theatrics and heavy sighs, all of the boys rolled down their sleeves.
     Okay, back to the Valentine’s Day cards. The girls tended to decorate the envelopes with hearts and smiling faces. The boys just stuck to names, plain and simple. I was amazed that there were not many duplicate card designs in a single year. Obviously, there were a couple. But overall, each card was unique.
20160208_101136
     One of my favorites was a paper doll that you cut out and dressed in paper clothes. Hey, don’t judge me. It was the 1970s. Times were simpler then.
     In addition to the discipline and guilt taught in Catholic grammar school, we were also taught the importance of including everyone, so no one was left out. During the year, some of the kids teased me and called me, “nerd” or “teacher’s pet.” However, I still received a Valentine from each and every one of those kids. At the end of the day, we were all still friends.
20160208_102011
     Once we entered our dating years, Valentine’s Day became less about friends, and more about the subjects of our romantic affection. Naturally.
     Fast forward to present day. Primarily, adults buy things for their significant others and their kids. Which reminds me—Thank you, Mom and Dad, for the Valentine’s Day card. I just got it in the mail. It’s very pretty. And I love you, too.
     The question I pose is this: Why don’t we acknowledge our friends on Valentine’s Day anymore?
     We have ample capacity to love our significant others, parents and children as well as our friends. So, why not share the love with our friends?
     We can partially blame advertisers who bombard us with ads urging us to buy gifts for our significant others. I have not seen a single ad telling me to buy Valentine’s Day gifts for my friends.
     Many unattached people dread Valentine’s Day. All of the fanfare and hoopla are huge “in your face” reminders of their single status. As if single people need a reminder. We do not need reminders, people. We know.
     Some lonely hearts resort to throwing anti-Valentine’s Day parties. I’ve seen invitations that declare, “Love Sucks,” “Love Bites,” and “Love Stinks, Let’s Drink.”
     Well, in my opinion, those parties just create a lot of negative energy. So, that’s not for me. Instead, I look forward to February 15th, when chocolate is half-price.

     What I am challenging you to do this year is to remember your friends on Valentine’s Day.

     I am not saying you have to run out and buy everyone flowers, candy or a card. Although those would be nice, and I would never turn them down. But a simple text, phone call or shout out on Facebook could really brighten someone’s day.

62059-Happy-Valentine-s-Day-My-Friend-600x250_c

     Be a good friend this Valentine’s Day, and share the love!

Copyright © 2016 by Suzanne Purewal

When Will I Be Loved?

broken-heart-clip-art-635689     Whether you prefer the Everly Brothers’ version or Linda Ronstadt’s version of the song, the question remains the same—when will I be loved?

     Originally, this was slated to be my very last “Mis-Matched to Miss Matched” article. I even completely cancelled my Match subscription. But, life happened as I was making plans, and I had to change the title, the content, and sadly, the ending.

     First up was a bachelor who proudly proclaimed he was into minimalistic living.
     I replied, “Okay. I can deal with that. I don’t need a bunch of electronic gadgets or toys. I’m content with what I have now.”
     Then he declared, “I will never live in a house again. Ever.”
     At first, I thought he was kidding. I laughed. “But if the woman you married had a house, then you could move into her house.”
     “No. I will never live in a house again, no matter who owns it.”
     Huh? He can’t be serious. “So, you’d rather pay rent and have nothing to show for it? Even if you have a viable alternative?”
     “I’m committed to minimalistic living.”
     At that point, he showed me a picture of the living space in his apartment. There was one chair and a lamp. That’s it. Nothing else. I’m assuming there was a bed somewhere. Perhaps not.
     I commented, “There’s no place for visitors to sit.”
     “I don’t want visitors. Ever.”
     Shaking my head in disbelief, I said, “I have visitors a few times a year.”
     “No. I won’t allow visitors.”
     “It’s just my parents.”
     “No. Visitors don’t ever leave.”
     “My parents do. They have busy social lives. They don’t want to stay here.”
     “No. No visitors ever.”
     “They’re my parents.”
     “No. No exceptions.”
     Then, he finally admitted that he was unemployed. That might explain the whole minimalistic living thing. It was more out of necessity than principle.
     Don’t get me wrong, I believe there are times in one’s life where living in an apartment or a condo makes sense. I’m not at that point yet. I like the peace, quiet, and privacy of a house. No noise from upstairs or downstairs neighbors. I like independent living. Thank you, very much.

     My next suitor was a daredevil and a party animal. He was the most ruggedly handsome guy I had agreed to meet thus far. He entertained me with lots of stories about drinking, drugs, and death-defying feats. I could have done without some of the drinking and drug stories. However, the daredevil stories were fascinating. I was impressed he’d lived this long. But I am not looking for Evil Knievel.

     The gentleman who followed was the polar opposite of Mr. Knievel. He was nice, polite, and conservative. But he was as boring as they come. I do not go on dates to hear myself talk. I want the guy to tell me about himself, engage in a conversation. How can I get to know someone if he does not speak? He was the king of awkward silences. Check, please!

     Next up was a bachelor who had interesting ideas concerning food. He was thinking about becoming a vegetarian. That’s fine with me, although, I would not become one myself. Granted, I do not eat a lot of meat. But every once and awhile, I need a nice juicy steak!
     As the conversation progressed, he said, “If we live together, you can’t have chocolate or sweets in the house.”
     Wait. What? I can’t have chocolate in my own house?
     I pictured myself sneaking out of the house under the cover of darkness. I would wear a black trench coat and escape to a clandestine meeting with a perfect, medium-cooked filet mignon and a warm, gooey, decadent chocolate dessert.
     My car’s glove box would be under lock and key. I would have installed a temperature controlling device to prevent my Hershey’s bars (with almonds) from becoming misshapen melted blobs. Oh the humanity!

     Lest I forget, let me throw in a not-so-random observation. Fall must be the time of year for men to be exhausted and take mandatory naps. Three, count them, three different guys fell asleep during dates while watching movies. I am not referring to a quick head nod. I am talking about deep sleep, complete with snoring. Hard to discuss the movie afterward when one of us slept through it. Anyway…

     Late in the year, I thought I had finally found “The One.” He was everything I had dreamed about and prayed for. He was good-looking, kind, fun-loving, generous, and financially secure, among other things. And did I mention he was hot? God had finally answered my prayers.
     I liked his kids, and they liked me. And I quote, “She is the best one we’ve ever met.”
     High praise coming from a teen and pre-teen. When they hugged me, they meant it. They were not giving me the “I’m being forced to hug you” type of hugs. They were great kids. Everything was picture perfect.
     The two of us went on a vacation. It was fantastic, and we had a great time. Or so I thought.
     A few days after we returned, he called me on the phone and broke up with me. Just like that. Out of the blue. No indication of any issue or problem prior to the phone call.
     He said, “You didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t say or do anything wrong. It’s me. I haven’t been in a relationship in a long time. I thought I was ready. But I’m not. I’m sorry.”
     Stunned and dumbfounded, I asked, “Do you want to slow things down and not see each other as much?”
     His answer was plain and simple. “No. I just want to end it. I’m sorry.”
     I will spare you the crying details and the amount of Kleenex I went through.
     So, here I sit with a broken heart. Again.

     As I mentioned in the beginning, this was intended to be the last article in my dating series. I completely cancelled my Match membership because we had discussed marriage.
     I apologize to you, dear readers. There’s no way for me to make the last section funny and entertaining. Because it’s not.
     However, I am choosing to look at the bright side. The relationship was wonderful while it lasted. And I got a really great vacation out of it.
     So, I will leave you with the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson: “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

Copyright © 2016 by Suzanne Purewal