Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Roe v Wade

On January 22nd, 1973, my grandmother and namesake turned 42 years old. By that time she had 5 daughters ranging in age from 18-26 years and had already been a grandmother for four years.  Her five daughters were the light of her life and, in turn, their children brought her great joy. Gramma was a bright and loving New England woman with a razor sharp wit and a ready laugh. Her gift for puns, innuendo and double entendre was greatly admired. She was ageless. On one of her daughter's 35th birthdays she was asked. "When will I start feeling like an adult, Mom?" To which Gramma, herself only 55 years young, replied. "How the HELL should I know??!!"

Before you think that this is some nostalgic romp down memory lane, you should know that this same woman attempted to abort during her third pregnancy...the baby that would become my mother. She told me once that after the birth of her 2nd child she went before a board of doctors to plead her case for a tubal ligation, as was the norm in Massachusetts in 1950. It goes without saying that this board consisted of all men. Not surprisingly, they denied her plea and told her "Sweetie, you're still young and healthy. You could go on to have many more children." Her own physician sided with her because he could see her frustration, anxiety and exhaustion that came with being 20 years old, married to a disabled vet and poor. (I should mention that this same physician despised my grandfather..."Tell him to leave you alone!!!") When she became pregnant for the 3rd time in four years, she took matters into her own hands by the only means available to her. She jumped from the roof of her home. The zany, full-of-life woman I knew during my childhood does not mesh with the young woman who was distraught enough to risk two lives that day. I hope I'll never know that kind of desperation.

Granted there were far more births in our family than abortions but I don't remember her lecturing any of us about our reproductive choices. This may have been due, in part, to her intimate understanding of the topic and also how intensely personal the choice really is. She welcomed every baby as if it was the most precious creature ever created and cried with those of us who made a different choice for our lives.

On this 41st anniversary of Roe v Wade and my late grandmother's 83rd birthday, I am reminded about how far we've come....and how backwards we still are. I look at my beautiful, fiercely independent daughters and fervently wish for them to never have to make the choice their great-grandmother made over 60 years ago. I want them to be in charge of their bodies, to respect themselves and to only have children when and if they choose.

(Before someone goes on a rant about how-grateful-you-should-be-that-she-was-unsuccessful-because-if-she-wasn't-then-you-wouldn't-be-here....yes, I'm grateful...I have a good life, great family, gorgeous children blah blah blah. But really if you think about it....HOW. WOULD. I KNOW.???)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Online Dating

When I started to check out dating sites, it was with the intention of just cutting through the BS and finding some people to hang out with. I wasn't looking for any No Strings Attached kind of scenarios...just a buddy to go to the movies with or maybe dancing. Besides, I was 'separated', not officially divorced. In this day and age it's getting harder and harder to find dates. I'm not a bar fly, do not attend church and my work scenarios do not lend themselves to finding available men for social outings. So that leaves the internet. The stigma that used to accompany this new fad is slowly fading which is a good thing. No one should be ashamed to admit that they're lives are so busy that the only viable dating option is meeting someone online. 

I tried one of the more popular sites first, to no avail. Don't get me wrong, I went on some nice dates and a few clunkers but the site itself just didn't do it for me. Its name honestly escapes me at the moment...THAT'S what kind of impression it made, I guess. But I totally remember the second one. They all want you to write a biography of your age, height, weight, interests, goals, blah blah blah. Mine started out as innocuous as the rest which I quickly learned was a HUGE mistake. In this realm of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) it's best to be totally honest in your bio...this is your one chance to show who you are (or a reasonable facsimile thereof within the confines of a 300 word report). When you're not, you are not allowed to complain that "there's no one out there". 

If you've never had the opportunity or the pleasure of reading hundreds of men's bios, let me enlighten you. It's a very safe bet that there will be pictures of at least 3 of the following:

1. man with dead animal (fish, deer, moose, bear etc)
2. man bare-chested in bathroom mirror taking pic with cellphone
3. man with anonymous buxom woman/women at a bar
4. man at sports event
5. man with his mother (wtf? Ok, I get it, you're a devoted son, but still)
6. man with his kids (seriously??? Do not put pics of your kids on these sites!)
7. man in high end sports car that he probably doesn't even own
8. MAN ON HARLEY (personal bio is complete without it)

So after a few more dates (very few), I chose to update my bio. A couple friends swore that this new version was "social suicide". I disagreed and defended it by pointing out that anyone brave enough to slog through it and still think that a date with me was a good idea was probably a 'keeper'. In the interest of full disclosure there was a period of about 2 weeks after I posted that all you could hear were crickets chirping. But then ever so slowly came the responses...only about 5, if memory serves. That proved to be four more than necessary, but I digress. :)  

I know my profile says I "want to date but nothing serious"...that's because I couldn't find an option for "I'd-like-to-date-for-now-because-I'm-not-in-a-rush-to-dive-into-another-longterm-relationship-but-if-we-really-hit-it-off-then-I'm-sure-I'd-change-my-mind-so-let's-just-take-it-step-by-step-and-see-what-happens-ok?" (Are there any sites that have that? Because THAT would be awesome.) It also USED to say "Divorced" because that's what I was supposed to be by if the fact that I seem to be living in limbo (for a little while longer anyway) is an issue for you then please pass me by, thanks. You should also know that if your profile says "must not be married" I will take this literally and NOT make first contact with you.
I stay busy with my photography, part-time jobs and kids (50/50 custody) and yet I manage to still make time for fun. I like spending time with friends, camping, traveling, attending live theater, going to concerts (rock, country, Latin, zydeco etc)....actually I'm up for just about anything. I WILL draw the line at spelunking, noodling or wrangling cats.
I live my life with no regrets. Plenty of mistakes...but no regrets. I'm ok with the reality of something not working out but find the idea of not even trying unacceptable. I'm fairly blunt in my opinions on things and not terribly shy about sharing them. I lean hard to the left in regards to politics...with a few notable exceptions. I want this known upfront just in case this is an issue for anyone. I'm the type who says things most people just think. I won't make concessions for who I am and would like to find a guy who isn't scared off. That being said, I'm also generous, outgoing, compassionate, romantic and upbeat. I'm thoroughly comfortable in anything from an evening gown and heels to my favorite jeans and boots. I can hold my own on a construction site as well as a formal event.
I'm looking for someone who's confident, intelligent, witty, romantic, fun-loving, trustworthy, secure, honest and a REALLY good conversationalist to spend some time with....that's not TOO much to ask, is it? If you can cook then your stock just went up...I could stand to gain a few pounds (not many women will admit THAT). I've just ended an 15+ yr relationship so I'm not 'fishing' for a husband....just a guy with SOME similar interests who's not afraid of a strong-willed, outspoken woman with a wicked sense of humor.
Please be employed and not living with your parents (unless it's a fairly recent AND temporary thing that we can blame the economy for). You don't have to be a fitness zealot but someone who takes care of himself and is in good shape would be great also. If you possess, even the slightest, misogynistic, racist, sexist or homophobic qualities then please do NOT contact me. "Victims" and men with entitlement issues should avoid me as well. Just being honest, gentlemen.
After reading this some of you might consider me a challenge and you may even feel that you're up for it. Just make sure that the little voice in your head isn't your ego throwing you under the bus. I'd really hate to see someone get their feelings and/or pride bent out of shape because they thought that all I really needed was a good man to set me straight. What I NEED is a "partner in crime".

Suffice it to say that the online dating medium is a quagmire of scary, interesting and/or downright amazing experiences. But if you're dedicated and honest about yourself, you CAN end up with a happy ending. You'll hear more about mine some other time.  

You're calling it what?!?

"Well, THAT'S an uncomfortable title for a blog." Yes.  "No one will read THAT." We'll see. "What's the story behind the name?" I'm so glad you asked...

The short version is that "unremarkable" is a term used by medical examiners when they've found nothing to remark on during an autopsy.  It's usually preceded by the name of the body part they've just examined. In MY situation, the term "Vagina Unremarkable" was written on my mother's autopsy report. In normal (read-uptight, boring, humorless) families, an autopsy report is NOT something to find humor in. I'm grateful every day to not be a part of one of those. My, predominately female-oriented, family is the type that has no qualms about irreverent humor. We've been finding it in everything for as long as Kinsey has been searching for the G-spot. This is not to say that we're mentally deficient in any way and are incapable of sadness. When the situation warrants it we can be full of woe just like everyone else....but that can get tedious rather quickly. We love life and know how short it is. Plus we're freaking there's that.

Believe me when I say that I was not looking for anything funny in Mom's autopsy was actually my husband (now ex) who pointed it out.  It arrived in the mail a couple months after her unexpected death. I was looking for answers when I scanned it quickly, found the cause of death and tossed it aside. I was angry at her and truth be told, still am. He picked it up and after a few moments I heard a soft chuckle.

"What the hell is SO funny?!", I hissed.
"Read this part", he said as he pointed to the M.E.'s notes.
And there, big as day, were the words, "Vagina Unremarkable".....I started to giggle...
"Oh my god.....she'd be SO pissed!!!!"

At this point, I should mention that not only are the women in my family hilarious, we also like sex and fancy ourselves quite good at it. I think it's safe to say that my mother would be horrified to have someone call her vagina unremarkable..."I HAVE REFERENCES, DAMMIT!!!", is probably what she proffer.

So, yes, it's an odd title and yes, referencing my mother's intimate anatomy isn't polite cocktail party conversation fodder but it strikes me funny and in the end, that's all that really matters.

***Disclaimer: I've been encouraged by more people than I care to count to start this is my chosen vehicle for that. Future blog posts may contain pretty much anything that would have made your great-grandmother blush. We're all adults so what's the big deal? If you're not an adult, then you've probably heard worse things on the playground. But then there may be times when I decide to "behave" and just write about kittens and duckies. Doubt it....but it could happen. Basically, if you're prone to walking oddly due to your panties being all twisted up in your nethers, then please....move along.  There's nothing for you to see here.