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Grooming Your Chops & Wiener Patch Bonus

“Manliness consists not in bluff, bravado or loneliness. It consists in daring to do the right thing and facing consequences whether it is in matters social, political or other. It consists in deeds not words.”
~Mahatma Gandhi~

As a very serious university student who prided myself in my ability to be objective, I wrote, and presented a paper on “Love” for a religious studies class. Love? what is love but a bio-chemical reaction and instinctual perpetuation of the species?  I focussed on evolutionary theories of male/female relationships.

Men were hunter gatherers, bred to be sly, silent and killers of beasts. Women were socialized to reproduce and  nurture the community through communication and preparing nutritious food from woolly mammoth bones.  In some cultures multiple partners ensured men never knew who their own offspring were, so they just provided for everyone. How lovely.

We’re in the twenty-first century now, and there have been a number of articles, studies and theories about the waning necessity of men. After all, women no longer need a big, strong, male with a larger proportion of muscle mass to go out and wrestle woolly mammoths to drag  back to the home fires.  Women have better educations, and although still fall short of pay equity, can maintain their own homes and provide for their children all on their own.

One could argue that because of the extinction (other than sperm to perpetuate the species) of the necessity of men, we’ve seen increased media pressure for men to meet an aesthetic ideal. After all, igniting wild pheromones in the opposite sex might actually ensure ‘his’ survival.

Looking at Details’ Special Grooming Guide, I will make an opposing argument. We are feminizing our men. We are waxing them smooth, selling them the equivalent of summer frocks in multiple ‘in style’ suits, ties and footwear.

I look at the short piece on”How to Get The Perfect Shave Every Time“, with no fewer than 16 man’sthetics. 16! Most women do with fewer accessories for a full make-up application.  The photo shows a tousel-haired man with shaving cream on his face, a razor poised to make the next swipe, and a white towel draped around his neck. Subtly sexy.

There are few things more sexy, more arousing than watching a man shave. It’s something we women don’t do. Well, except the bearded lady that was one of my great-aunt’s friends, but that’s another story for my therapist. Shaving is something very masculine. Kinda like standing up to pee in that macho one-hand-on-the-beast, the other hanging nonchalantly at your side, fly open, and pants hanging from your thrusting hips pose that only men can do.  These are two things that I will never be able to do, and that’s why I love you and want to kiss your freshly shaven, smooth, yummy smelling skin. I don’t want to kiss layers of moisturizer, fragrance and wrinkle cream. If I wanted that, I’d kiss the day care-lady. Bleck!

Then there’s waxing. Sure, I’m just like the next woman. The thought of seeing Channing Tatum take it all off in Magic Mike makes me tingle in the warm and lovely places that I wax. Hollywood has capitalized on his defined pecs, highlighted by a smoothly oiled wax job.

The reality of it is completely different. I have had the good fortune to snuggle next to very masculine chests ranging from smooth as a baby’s bottom to completely hair inhabited.  Do I have a preference? Of course. Just like I have a preference for circumcised or not-circumcised.

Most women’s basic preference is NOT CACTUS-PRICKLY. Cuddling next to a man who trims too close to the skin, or waxes, always results in a big ol’ prickly cactus. No woman wants to rub up against or snuggle that.  Special note here, same goes for your weiner patch. Groom, don’t shave. It’s like  humping a hairbrush.

Although the name “Nuxe Creme Fraiche de Beaute Formule Light” appeals to my vain nature, hearing a man sing the praises of the product would certainly affect how attractive he is to the opposite sex. Non Monsieur. Non, non, non. Merci, mais non.

So think about it gents. Think about the fine balance between making the most of your assets as you prep for a long weekend of hot summer wooing. We want yummy smelling, clean, strong, intelligent manly-men. We are feminine, and don’t need vain-girly-men  to balance out the energy in our lives. Don’t misunderstand me – do take care of yourself; work out,go for a massage, even a pedicure. Heck, we’ve evolved, and every woman loves a bit of a renaissance man.

Long, long ago, and far, far away, I dated a charming foreigner who dressed well, complete with cufflinks and coiffed hair. He was stylish and masculine. He, ironically wore the same ‘rare’ cologne of my previous beaux. I loved that he was tall, strong, and worldly. He had a wicked sense of humour, and took care of things.

And then it happened. It was sleep over time for an extended stay. I learned his dirty little secret. He panicked when he ran out of Clarins. I mean absolutely had-to-make-me-go-to-the-beauty-counter for him to buy the multiple products for his skin care regime. Having him tear up over his five step skin care regime was about as sexy as socks on a rooster. He was reduced to tears over the thought of showing his age. ‘Buddy’, I thought to myself, ‘I’ve seen you naked from the waste down. Skin cream isn’t going to save you.’

The bottom line – let yourself  be physically manly in a subtle, simply groomed way. Let yourself be emotionally available, and then, and only then gentlemen, will you be irresistable. Millions of products manvertised in your men’s mags won’t ever give you that kind of raw sex appeal.

Often, I have been complimented on my own skin. I believe it’s because I keep it simple. Soap, moisturizer and drinking lots of water. Ok, ok, the extra chub in my cheeks also smooths out the wrinkles. Oh yah, sex is a wonderfully fun and inexpensive way to get a little glow too. That’s the real secret.

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Screw You – I’m Running!

During my run the past two days, I’ve had some great tunes bring a smile to my face, and I want to share them with you.

Below is a list of  my favourites that shuffle on my  playlist, and below the list is a brief summary of  why I run. I hope you enjoy the tunes, and share your running songs and stories with us!

ANDSHELAUGH’s SUN RUNNING PLAYLIST

1) Don’t Worry Baby – Beach Boys

2) And Be Loved – Damian Marley

3) Bad as Me – Tom Waitts

4)Bittersweetheart – Soul Asylum

5) You Never Can Tell – Chuck Berry

6) Cry to Me – Solomon Burke

7) Who are you When I’m Not Looking – Blake Shelton

8)Raise the Veil – Lily Frost

9) Edge of Desire – John Mayer

10) New York City’s Killing Me – Ray Lamontagne

11)Into the Mystic – Van Morrison

12) Happy – Leona Lewis

13) You Make My Pants Want to Get Up and Dance – Dr. Hook

14) Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne

15)Queen of Denmark – Sinead O’Connor

16)You Can’t Fail Me Now – Bonnie Raitt

17)Heart of Mine – Blake Mills and Danielle Haim

18) I Second that Emotion – Smokey Robinson

19)If I Needed You – Townes Van Zandt

20) Mrs. Steven Rudy – Mark McGuinn

An aside about the YouTube links – I get a kick out of some of the videos, Smokey’s voice has improved with age, Bonnie is WAY better live, and you get the best of Van the Man on a recording. I hope you enjoyed a peek into my playlist.

A few of the zillion reasons why I run;

I started running last year. I started running last year when I could no longer run from a bad relationship. I also started dragon boating. Dragon boating and running. Better than crying, better than letting a critical, spirit-miser suck the life out of me, and way, way better than incarceration.

I remember saying to my very dear mumster, “If I don’t get myself focussed on something positive, this relationship is going to kill me.” It  did nearly kill me getting out of someone else’s sticky web of passive aggressiveness and misery. Yes, yet again, even at this age, I re-learned the lesson – you can’t make someone else happy if they aren’t happy themself.    So, I ran. I ran and paddled and ran some more. After a little while in my own head without someone criticizing my every move I realized something. I am pretty happy.

 There is a saying by George Sheehan that I keep on my desk on my refrigerator door; “For every runner who tours the world running marathons, there are thousands who run to hear the leaves and listen to the rain, and look to the day when it is suddenly as easy as a bird in flight.” That quote describes me pretty well.

Today, despite the temperature being well above thirty degrees (that’s celsius for my readers in the U.S.A.), and a humidex pushing temperatures higher, my run today felt easier than it has in a long time – not quite like a bird in flight, but a not-so-out-of-breath-bird. As I ran the shadiest route I could find, that Sheehan quote came to mind and I smiled. I am stronger than I was a year ago.

I have read Haruki Murakami’s What I Write About When I Write About Running, Sakyong Mipham’s Running with the Mind of Mediation, and Larry Shapiro’s Zen and the Art of Runing. I have a strong mind, and am committed to my continuing Buddhist practice.  Murakami’s line, something about pain being inevitable but suffering being optional, hooked me into running as a form of meditation – not just strengthening my body, but also understanding my mind. 

My dragon boating has benefited this year from my increased mental and physical stamina.  I’m still chubby, I still have a love hate relationship with food, BUT…..I’m more aware than ever that I have a strong, healthy body, and a strong, healthy mind. 

It took forgetting those things to remember. It took forgetting those things to hit rock bottom. It took allowing someone else to treat me poorly to remember. I remember, and now, I will never forget.

This is not a piece intended to guilt you into moving your body. This is not a piece intended to make you do anything at all. I’m just sharing my story with you and hoping it resonates with someone out there and makes a difference. I’m not an athlete by any means, but I started running last summer, and it’s been the cheapest, most effective, life affirming therapy ever.

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How to Pick up Beautiful Beach Babes; A Reflection on Bogus Beach Bag Essentials

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-15781-0011, Ahlbeck, Url...
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-15781-0011, Ahlbeck, Urlauber am Strand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Adam Levine’s glossy, seductive eyes look out at me from the cover of Details June/July issue. He’s looking down at me from a magazine rack at my local bookshop.

Mmm, tall, I like that. I am drawn into his gaze. What, with his thin lips parted as if his tongue is ready to caress my lips, I take the magazine from the rack, and hold it to my buxom bosom. Tonight you’re mine Mr. Levine, and I’m going to have my way with you.

In the “Getaways” section on page 54, the magazine expounds on, “The New Beach Essentials”.  There are 14 items on the list, and it does not include ice, a cooler, or beverages; three things that any wise man would take to the beach. Wisdom by the way gents, is the first step in being irresistible to the fairer sex.

I’m going to break it down for my very yummy male readers – the good things on the list, and the stupid things. After that I’m going to give you a few of ANDSHELAUGH’s own tips on how to be a Beach Stud, regardless of the abs you’re packing.  

Let’s start with the not-so wise suggestions;

1) A designer towel. Price tag – $145.00. No woman wants to spend time with a man who wastes $145 on a towel. Grow up.

2) Canvas slip-on shoes. I did grow up on the beach. Canvas slip ons are a great way to walk the boardwalk or sidewalk, but not the actual beach. Nothing is attractive about sand weighing down your shoes, making you walk like a penguin. Wear flip-flops or, if the sand isn’t too hot, let your footsies go naked. It’s a great way to smooth calluses so that when you snuggle under the stars later with your beach babe, you can flirtatiously rub her legs with your smooth feet.

3) Pleated shorts. N.O. No, because you should be in a bathing suit. What kind of man packs a freaking wardrobe for a day in the sun? Women don’t want to be with high maintenance. Women want to be cuddled and loved, and have someone to carry their bags.

4) A warm pull over. Why would you need a woman after the sun sets if you have fleece. Be careful of the signals you’re sending. Fleece=I don’t need you to come cuddle me with your soft female body. 

5)A camera that costs over $8,000. Are you serious?! You’ll just look like a geek with an odd camera because no one would ever know you’re sporting that kind of bling at the beach, and for $8000 wonderfully intelligent women would realize what a dork you are for not, at the very least, demanding it be water-resistant.

6) Casual button-down shirt. Again – please gents, don’t bring the wardrobe. Egomaniacs are not sexy.

7)Skin care, facial moisturizer and cooling mist. Hello man-purse. Sunscreen is enough. Not all three kinds they recommend, just one tube my lovelies, otherwise we will assume you are not looking for women.

Wise suggestions;

1) A beach towel – just not one that costs more than, say $30 at the most. It’s going to be in the sand all day after all. Plus, the goal is to get it a bit dirty rumpled  if you meet the right beach babe and she wishes to (ahem), share it with you.

2)An oversized tote to carry your gear in. It’s recommended here that you bring canvas, but women like ‘rugged’ men who come prepared. Try a waterproof kind from an outdoors shop. MEC for instance.

3)A hat. Not the Henry-Fonda-from-On-Golden-Pond-bucket-hat that is in the magazine, but a ball cap. Please avoid the over-done, ultimately red-neck-tacky straw cowboy hat. Cliche.

4)A soft crew-neck T-shirt. Yes. We like  to snuggle into a fresh, clean shirt after spending the day in the sun.

5)Sunglasses.

6)A good book. Nothing is a better conversation starter than; “What’s that you’re reading? Is it any good?”

7)Fast drying swim trunks. Yes, we do not want to see a clinging silhouette of your shriveled, fresh from the sea wiener. We like the illusion that loose and flowing fabric lends to your man-pack.

8)Lip-balm. Keep’em soft and supple boys ’cause if you do it right, you’ll be using those babies later.

Other beach must-haves for men at the beach who wanna get with the girls;

1) Music. Something you can play later if the mood is right.

2)Shower kit – you know soap. So you can rinse off between daytime in the sun and sand and a night on a blanket under the stars listening to the waves. A small, clean towel is handy too.

3)A blanket that you “keep in the car for emergencies”.

4)Lighter – so you can build a fire in the dunes. Safely of course.

5)A cooler filled with ice, water, and perhaps some lovely bubbly, you…”…happened to pick up on the way, but don’t mind drinking now”. If you don’t have cups, you’ll find a way to get it to one another’s mouths.

6)Your phone, so you can program her number. That way, if you must, you can break out a bit of the man-wardrobe on a real date to let her know you are stylish AND ruggedly practical.

7)A ball, or frisbee, or other sporty piece of equipment you can play a game with. What better way for us to see you in action, and you to see us?  I hear working up a sweat is a powerful aphrodisiac.

There you have it my fabulous, gorgeous and lusciously sexy beach boys. That’s the list. Follow it, make some small talk, and I guarantee you’ll be a hit with the ladies at the beach this year. If that fails, call me. I’ll be at the pool.

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10 Things to do When Life Sucks

“You know it’s a bad day when you put your bra on backwards and it fits better.”
~Anonymous~

Most days are wonderful. I’m happy, I enjoy my home and my work. I like my friends. And then, there are other days. I’m not happy. I’m stressed, my job stinks and my friends are selfish. You know – those days when the words ‘gratitude’ and ‘passion’ make you want to gag, bundle them up in a burlap sack and send them to the bottom of the river tied to a cinder block.  So, my darlings, I offer you a  list of ten things to do on those days when you  find your gratitude tank empty, and your passion gasping for air; 

1) Take off all your clothes, and have a nap. Naked. With ear plugs in. You’ll be shocked at how much you needed a rest, and what a solid sleep a la mode will do for perspective. Get up and dance. Naked.

2) Run.  After half a kilometer or two your shoulders will relax, your breathing will go from angry warrior to focussed tiger, and the world will be right again.

3)Go out. Visit someone. Do not hole up in your home alone and continue hating the world. Go knock on your friend’s door, sit down, have a brew (beer or tea), and catch up. Pretty soon you’ll either a) be enjoying your conversation or b) realize how much you like time by yourself and leave, thereby regaining that drained gratitude – feeling grateful you are alone again.

4) Drive. Get on the highway and just flipping drive – your favourite music blaring, and no one in the world to bother you. Once you feel like you’ve ‘gotten away’ you’ll be surprised at what treasures you find in places close to home that you’ve never visited before.

5) Walk a dog. Once, during a really, really crapola day at work. I stopped on my lunch hour and visited a shelter. I told them that I was interested in adopting a dog. I picked one, and took it for a walk. The dog loved it. I loved it, and best of all, no long-term commitment.

6)Shut the door and put your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’. If someone comes to your office door and asks why you don’t want to be disturbed, instead of looking at them and saying , “Duh!”, just say, “I’m doing very important work in here.” Close the door again and continue your quiet, solitary, work.

7) Meditate. Set your little smart phone for 30 seconds three times a day. You’ll be shocked at how long the thirty seconds of breathing meditation seems,and how centered and calm you feel afterward. Combine this with #6.

8)Buy yourself a yummy bottle of your favourite vino or bubbly and arrange for a very adult, very sweaty rendezvous at the end of the day. Precede that by a long, hot soak and the bottle of bubbly. Voila – instant stress relief, AND if you play your cards right, you’ve had a complete full body massage thrown in for good measure.  AND, you done something kind  for someone else, and doing a good deed  is supposed to be a top mood booster.

9)Put on your comfies and watch a good old-fashioned tear jerker if you need to facilitate some pent-up tears ( I hadn’t cried since November, and the flood gates opened last week). This is a pressure valve, and you need to loosen it once in a while. A sappy movie can be just the right medicine. Be sure to have tissues on hand  because blowing your nose into toilet paper or napkins isn’t very soul-cleansing or girly.

10) Read a romance novel. Oh don’t give me that look! Harlequin is the top-selling publisher in the world. Our lives are full of demands, work, kids, family and some not-so-satisfying relationships with the opposite sex. You deserve a little romance, and if you don’t have romance, you deserve to keep the hope alive that one day, you will have a little just for yourself.

Stay cool ladies; read, drive, dance, be naked, make love….and remember, life may suck some days, and it’s ok to give it a huge lollipop when it does.

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Turn out the Lights and Be Beautiful

An 1889 Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec painting of ...
An 1889 Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec painting of a woman applying cosmetics to her face (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, dressed in spandex capris and an oversized orange “VOLUNTEER” T-shirt, I bumped into an acquaintance of mine.  I was gob-smacked when she said, “Wow! You look terrific. It’s like you’re ten years younger!” I was taken aback. I’d been up since 6am, and out in the sun all day encouraging 160KM GranFondo cyclists  just after the 100km mark. I even went so far as to massage one rider’s cramping gams.

My eye make-up had settled into the laugh lines around my eyes, and I’d skipped my foundation and rouge altogether. We remarked it was likely dumping the 170 lbs of baggage of my last relationship, laughed, and carried on our way to sit next to a team of very handsome, very lithe and muscular cyclists. Seeing as her compliment gave me a confidence boost, I wiggled in between two of the cutest, and started a very engaging conversation about the ’cause’ we were there to support. I certainly wasn’t in a hurry to go anywhere, and I lingered, enjoying the conversation and the view.

You see, Sundays are usually my newspaper days, but this weekend was different. Saturday my volunteer duties were pretty light.   That meant that I had time to read the newspaper. On a Saturday. Imagine that.   The Globe is my weekend paramour. So much my sweetheart, that if I were a man, she would definitely be my Saturday night girl.  I would buy her sparkling jewels and make love to her into the wee hours of the morning….

Alas, the Globe is simply a newsrag, so there is no lovemaking. I settled in on my little patio with the Arts section and a nice glass of a new Scottish Ginger Beer that’s struck my fancy of late.  An article about the new Sarah Polley film, “Take This Waltz” caught my eye. A large photo of starlet Michelle Williams centred the article.  It was a well written piece in which Williams waxes philosophical about the deeper meaning of her acting, discussing how romantic love has replaced spiritual love in our life and times. But let’s not discuss that. I’m sure my wee little double x chromosome brain would become overwhelmed, and I would succumb to a case of the vapours.

In “Take This Waltz”, Williams’s character Margot is a woman, “…in the midst of realizing that the person she once was is not the person she wants to be.” No kidding. Really? Don’t we all arrive at that barren crossroads at least once or twice in our adult lives? I know I’ve arrived at the corner of  Where-the-heck-am-I and How-on-earth-did-I-get-Here, at least twice.

Isn’t it just when we realize we are alone at this crossroads, that we have a feeling of both physical and emotional nakedness? Don’t we feel vulnerable, a bit shabby, and insecure? Say yes ladies. You know it, and the big bad consumer munching wolf knows it, hence, the Style section of the newspaper.

I almost choked on my Crabbies reading about  Lise Watier’s nod to the boomer generation who may be needing some extra ‘illumination’ at this crossroads.  They are marketing (very brilliantly I might add) nail polish and lip gloss complete with built-in lighting.   Playing right into the hands of all of the women out there who, despite being, “…in the midst of realizing that the person she once was is not the person she wants to be” still want to hussy up the gifts that the good lord gave them and be perceived as a woman who is exactly who she wants to be.

I can’t waggle my finger and look over the top of my glasses at women who want to look their best. After all, I rarely leave the house without make-up, and my wild hair is often the worst part of my day. I like to go out feeling confident too, but being confident, truly confident, is tangled up pretty tightly with  being happy.

So, today when my gal-pal gave me that compliment, it wasn’t because my hair was freshly salon coiffed, or I was sporting a coveted logo. I believe my joie de vivre morphed into something that has become part of my physicality. Simply put, when she saw me today,I was happy.   

This morning I left my house at 6:45am, and arrived home finally just after 8:30pm. Laundry on, my teenager scrubbing the dust of practice off, and lunches yet to be packed, I scrambled into my running gear and did a quick 5km. Nazareth came on, reminding me of my university days when my roommate used to get up early and drive me to the varsity gym to do my daily circuit workouts. A picture of me from our last Christmas together as roommates flashed through my mind; long, strong legs in a pair of shorts and my hair wrapped in a towel in front of our Christmas tree striking a silly pose. I looked young, healthy, strong and beautiful. I was all of those things then, but I didn’t feel them. 

Time works a strange magic though. Although my legs are still strong, they’re not as shapely as they once were. My face has filled out, as has every other part of my body. My skin isn’t as radiant, but I feel, at this age more strong and more beautiful than I did  16 years ago.  Still, my friend’s  compliment today perked me up. Just think, today I didn’t even need to use my emergency make-up lighting.

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Sixteen times a Bridesmaid Only a few times a Bride

“I’m glad he’s single because I’m going to climb that like a tree.”
~Megan from the movie Bridesmaids~

‘Tis the season for prettily packaged invitations, light summer frocks and days spent in sweltering churches as we watch our friends and acquaintances tie the knot. What  great way to waste a beautiful summer day.

Yes, wedding season has arrived. It arrived enveloped in high quality stationary yesterday morning. I gave them marks for that ( my friends that is) good paper stock is the first sign I look for which indicates whether the event will be tacky or not tacky.  The invitation was gorgeously designed and very traditional. There was a postage-paid envelope included.  I noticed that the invitation included myself and ‘guest’. Guest who? They knew I wasn’t bringing a guest. In fact they were already prepping me for the set-up with the best man, a well-to-do lawyer who lives in the city. Apparently we have a lot in common, like pushing 40 and still being single.

With the invitation came a wash of gratitude. I was not standing  up in this wedding. Well, not having to wear an ugly dress anyway. I would be the Mistress of Ceremonies. Perfect. The last wedding I stood up in I was the Maid of Questionable Honor.

This time I could choose my own dress, and what fun that was going to be!  I’m looking for a dress that looks good with a glass of champagne and a slice of their yummy lemon wedding cake.  My only job at the wedding shower was to show up with a gift. My only job on the wedding day is to give a speech and get them to the first dance. Woo-hoo, a wedding I will enjoy! 

A number of years ago, I sat in a country church next to one of my colleagues and watched a wedding party solemnly walk, step, by step up the aisle to altar. It was hot and already I, and the people around me were using their order of service as fans in the close air. I missed the beach and felt a little bit cheated having to spend my day in the restraints of obligation. This was not fair.  A drop of sweat trickled from between my shoulder blades and slowly, made its way down the middle of my back, and finally, most uncomfortably down the crack of my butt . Soon another followed.  

I was trying not to squirm in my seat, when one of my colleagues leaned over and said, ” I can’t believe she’s marrying this douche-bag.” He said what everyone on her side of the church was thinking. I didn’t crack a smile, just nodded, and looked straight ahead at nothing in particular as I continued to wave my order of service in front of my glowing face. I was somewhat a professional at this, having sat through at least a zillion Italian funeral masses. But the heat was getting to me, and I knew that when I stood up I’d have to pry my dress off the back of my wet thighs and away from my damp panties. I thought of the court room in to Kill a Mockingbird and wished at least there were ceiling fans in this church.Despite my physical discomfort, I was honored to be invited to the wedding. I mean they had to choose only 250 of their closest pals to share their special day with them.

I have had the distinct pleasure and honor of standing up in a plethora of weddings throughout the years, and I have, despite having been married for a brief time myself, always been one of the token single girls prodded to go out and take part in the catching of the bouquet. Just to be precise, I have caught the bouquet 6, yes, count’em, 6 times. I’m not sure what 6 means in this case, the only thing that remotely relates is the advice given to a friend of mine by her very cool father that  good girls wait 6 dates before hopping in the sack with a guy and absolutely blowing his mind, or whatever else she decides to blow.

I have worn pink shiney dresses with puffy sleeves trimmed in lace. I have had to coax small children dressed as fairy tale characters up the aisle to fulfill their duties as ring bearer and flower girl. I have danced with bad-breathed, drunken ushers while wearing some of the ugliest clothes on earth. I have had to manipulate bra straps and cups to hide underneath cubist dress back designs.

Ironically, in all cases, I have been told by the bride to be that, “I’ve chosen something you can wear again.” Yah, right, I thought to myself wondering what nutbar bride might like me to wear an iridescent cocktail length teal skirt with a cotton chintz bodice to her wedding too.  I have worn a pink dress one size too small and felt like a giant piece of chewing gum. I wore navy blue when I was three months pregnant and spent most of that day, a very hot August 1st finding places to vomit. I’ve worn red, light blue, more pink, and was quite satisfied to deliver every single one of those dresses to my local charity shop.

I have organized wedding showers with lingerie themes, wine themes, and a traditional shower with over 200 people and more potato salad than a mid-west hoe-down. I have obeyed the bride to be and taken them to their first ever strip joint – with the end result being that I now have seen more paid-homosexual-dancers be spanked by my married girlfriends than anyone should ever have to witness. “Oh, if Dave EVER found out…tee-hee-hee,” one of my friends said teetering inebriatedly on her stiletto heels after an hour in the VIP lounge spanking some Asian guy named Gary. “Holy cow woman!” I thought to myself, ” After what I just saw you do in there, don’t tell me you just lay on your back, put your heels in the air and do if for the flipping queen with poor old Dave!” And my friends wonder why I’ve been to therapy.

I have had to save money for an entire year to afford a flight, a dress, a gift, a shower gift, my satin shoes dyed (thank  the good lord that trend is over everywhere but Redneckville), a hotel room and spending money. I have had to buy super-duper-suck’em in underwear for weddings to make the dress look decent, and masses of silky stockings.  I have had the night-before-the-wedding-I’m-scared-shitless-to-do-this talk, at least  a dozen times.

Everyone who knows me well enough to ask me to stand in their wedding knows me well enough to know I fly solo. Unless someone ‘puts a ring on it’, I will not be taking a date to a wedding. If I’ve had to buy the ugly dress, wear it in public, and spend a small fortune to send my pals off in style, I want one hell of a party at the end of it all, and I don’t want someone I’m not committed to dependent on me for a good time.

Since my marriage biodegraded, I have only ever had wedding talk with one man, and we were pretty clear about the simplicity of it all. We knew where, what time of day, what we would eat, the music we’d like, and the general ‘atmosphere’ we wanted.  In the end, I decided that a wedding wasn’t such a bad thing, it was the forever and ever that made me  sweaty and shifty, just like sitting in a sweltering country church in mid-July. 

Times they are a’changin’ though. My friends are at an age where weddings don’t take on a life of their own, the relationship does. Despite my little rant about being a bridesmaid, I love very simple weddings, because I think they represent simple relationships, and in my experience, simple relationships are the strongest. It shouldn’t be that hard to meet someone and treat them the way you wish to be treated.

So, here’s to the wedding season – ugly dresses, neurotic brides and single bridesmaids pining for a groom; old churches with no air-conditioning, and my personal favourite – vocal soloists. The piece de resistance and icon of everything that is tacky.

Sacred marriage vows be damned! Nowadays it’s all about the ‘wedding’. Someone please bring me more champagne, and that man, yes, that one over there…..

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Put your handbags in the air! This is a SET-UP!

“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”
~Albert Einstein~

Yesterday I thought I got theeeeee worst advice about men everrrrrrrr. That’s pretty bad considering I’ve had a whole lotta advice throughout the years by a whole lotta women. And men for that matter.

Yesterday, a well-dressed and well-meaning woman about 25 years my senior sat across from me and said, “What you need to do is fall in love with money first, and then try to fall in love with the man later.”  It may seem that the only appropriate  response was to screw up my face like I’d just smelled a skunk and said, “Are you for real sweetheart?!”, but I just looked at her, and with a straight face smiled politely.

You see, I know on which side my bread is buttered, and it’s on her side. To be less general and more specific, my bread is buttered on the side of acquaintances who are sincere in their efforts to add pieces to my dating game. You see, at this age, it’s not so much a game, but it’s still pretty fun.

When I first started dating after my marriage went up in smoke, more often than not, I ended up in the washroom, locked up in a stall desperately thinking of a way to end the evening in a hurry. I faked hives, food poisoning and a sick child. I declined offers to walk me to my car, didn’t pick up phone calls and did crazy things like go out without my hair done so he’d be turned off.

I remember spending the intermission of a live theatre production in the marble floored and chandaliered bathroom of a beautiful theatre thinking to myself, “OH. MY. GOD. I’m hiding in a place where people poop.” Now, ladies, when your dates are worse than spending time where people do their doody-business, you know you need to step it up a tad. So, after that date, I did. Many, many years later, I can honestly say that the men I date today are better than stranger’s doody places.

Last night I thought a lot about what that  woman had to say about falling in love with money first and the man later. Naked, except for my thin jersey knit nightie, nursing a dirty martini and a book about a landmark lesbian relationship between Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas, I decided the woman with the tainted advice about love wasn’t so bad after all. I mean, hiccup, she had my best interest at heart.  I finished my martini, swallowed my last olive almost whole, closed the book and drifted off to sleep.

A few hours later, I woke in a cold sweat, swatting at Richard Branson. “Oh good,” I said quietly into the darkness. I was alone in my room, my nightie damp from the effort of trying to get away from Sir Richard’s teeth and senior-citizen sunken chest. I walked to the bathroom and rinsed my mouth.  I’ve gotta stop looking at the cover of Zoomer magazine I thought to myself, looking at my sweat-curled hair and pillowcase scarred complexion in the reflection in the mirror. I switched off the light and shuffled back to bed.

I think it was a combination of the terrible Zoomer cover featuring a topless Mr. Branson and my friend’s advice to fall in love with money first and the man later that caused my nightmare. Could be that, and a couple of dates I had a while back with a man who was low-ded, but older and, well, looking older. Much older than the low-ded-much-too-young-27-year-old who courted me during the holidays….ahh, the memories, “What are you doing New Year’s Eve,” indeed! When I was 27, I loved dating older men – they knew where to eat, where to dance, where to make love, and how to make you feel like a woman. Now, however, I am the age of those older men, and the thought of seeing much older men naked has me concerned that I might turn to booze, drugs, or even worse,  inappropriately younger men to soothe my lonesome nights. 

Not if my gal-pals and gal-acquaintences have anything to do with it though. This morning over breakfast, one of my colleagues was talking about an event she attended and wouldn’t you know it? She knows someone who knows someone who is looking to date. I just happen to have some knowledge of that second someone, and would at the very least enjoy an evening of his company. After all, what have I got to lose?

This wouldn’t be nearly as dangerous as meeting the friend of a friend while I was chin high in a hot tub, one bottle of bubbly down, with only my bathing suit holding my middle-aged-rage-of-hormones back. Not nearly as dangerous at all!

So, ladies and gentlemen, when your friends give you really crappy dating advice. Just nod and smile. After all, they’re the ones who will be your conduit to greater things…or at least a few really good memories. As I get older my list of the three “BIG W’s of Dating “has been whittled down from wiener, wallet and wit to just one ‘W’ – wonderful.

So bring’em on ladies, the someone who knows someone, the ugly awkward guy who is loaded, the brother-in-law with tickets to a Broadway show and the cute guy you know who roller blades on the same trail that I run. My bet is they’re better than spending time in the loo.

It’s summertime, and this is a set-up!