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The Afterglow-Or Not; Keeping the Passion Alive, One Closed Bathroom Door At a Time

how beautiful our love isI don’t even know where to begin.

I guess I can start around 17 years ago when I got divorced.

At that time, I decided a few things about my next real relationship. I decided that I would really examine my own self and try to improve. I also decided that the only person that I would clean up after would be a human being whom I gave birth to.

Most importantly I decided that I never, ever….never, ever, ever needed to see my partner on the toilet. I never, ever needed to hear them or smell them. Oh yah. This is a big boundary for me, and my man knows it.

 

With three children in university and college, and all the stresses of merging two lives and two families, let’s just say our communication has been a series of to-do and to-buy lists along with griping about the others living habits. Our intimate communication has been less than five star. In fact, it’s been f-ing horrible.

The long and the short of it is that we committed to re-connecting, and after our hour-of-power-a-la-boudoir, we began to settle in to what I like to refer to as a ‘time of tenderness’. You know what  I mean ladies, when you feel all cuddly and want to talk, and reconnect to the awesome partner you fell in love with. With the bother of passion out of the way, it was clearly time to rekindle our friendship. This is also usually the time that your man falls asleep and you begin hating him again.

So last night, music playing in the background, stretched out feeling blissful, reliving our recent forray into, well, let’s call it the-glorious-climb-to-the-snow-capped-peak…. I awaited my man’s return from our en suite bathroom.

man on toilet

Do not leave the bathroom door open unless you’re sick.

In the candlelit quiet, my heart eased a bit, and I actually felt like a woman, not a domestic workhorse. From the bathroom;

“Hey – do you like The Killers?”

In my head; Sweet Jesus, does the man have a romantic drop of blood in his body?

Out loud; “Yes.”

He then passes gas, tinkles and says, “So do I.”

In my head; Brilliant.  He’s perched on the toilet with the door open. The romance is, officially dead.

…and back we go to the reality of life. Poop. Money. Who’s cooking dinner.

It really takes work to keep a spark alive. Trust me, keep the pilot light lit, it makes it a lot easier.

Remember that you’re friends, and always, always, always, close the bathroom door.

 

 

 

 

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The Pink Panther & Deep Purple: Remembering Your Sensual Self

orangeblossomcandleDeep purple. The Pink Panther. Randall.

You know what I”m talking about ladies – your BOB’s.

For those of you not in the 90’s know, BOB is a dirty acronym. Battery. Operated.  Boyfriend.

If you deny having one, either you’re missing out, or  you’re lying.

Recently I had the occasion to invite another BOB into my life. Not because I was jonesing for a new part-time lover, but for other personal reasons. And we shall leave it at that.

At mid-life sexuality is interesting. Just like everything else; our careers, our relationships, and our perspective on how-in-the-hell-did-we-end-up-here.

At this stage, when it comes to sex you’ve either giddy-uped, gotten-down and satisfied your every whim, or you’re spent shell of a person wondering how you missed out on it all. At this age, whether you really  ever need to see anyone else your age naked is a question you start to consider seriously.

Naked and sex are often poor substitutes for sensuality, when really, they are the pleasurable end-result.

Sensuality is Marc Broussard singing Do Right Woman.

You may think that BOB is going to make you feel sexual. For a while, and for a purpose, but more than BOB, you need to remember how to make love to yourself.

Too often the synchronicity of making time for our significant others feels like another obligation, rather than the joy of connection that it should be. Sensuality gets discouraged, because after all, wouldn’t it be nice to always end a hot bath or beautiful snack with some lovemaking? Alas, we are too often left alone feeling like a cog in a relationship wheel, unappreciated as a sensual being.

This is where your imagination comes in. Start with BOB if you must, but try to remember what it’s like to soak in a luxurious bath surrounded by the scents that make you exhale…orange blossom, vanilla, cinnamon. You need to remember how good it feels to pass the razor over your tired legs, and to massage your favourite shampoo into your scalp.

bath

Perhaps like me, you enjoy the cool, salty sensation of fresh oysters and creamy champagne, or a pungent blue cheese accompanied with port by candlelight on a crisp fall evening.

BOB may help you remember the end game, but it won’t love you the way you can love you baby.

Indulge in the sensual sights, smells and sensations that remind your body of just how sexy it is.  Trust me, someone will notice.

 

 

 

 

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Love & Other Fragile Things

birdbranchYou know that I’m writing this for you, right?

The woman who’s just had the news that her husband isn’t ‘in love’ with her any more. Maybe it was your wife, or your partner…whatever. It’s all the same soul-crushing-crashing-everything-to-a-halt-breath-stealing-change. And it hurts. Bad.

And it scares the hell out of you.

Trust me, I know. I’ve been there. But here I am, 17  years single, and not a-crazy-old-cat-lady…yet.

There will be times that you despair, and feel loneliness deep in your bones. You will lose sleep over how you will pay the bills, tell the kids, manage holidays, and ever manage to open yourself up to the wonder of everything that once brought you joy. But you will darling. I promise.

Your sense of self, your home, your routines, your comfort zone – these things make you fragile my sweet.

But you will crawl out of all of this muck. You will be a polished, shining, more resilient version of yourself. You will be more wise. You will appreciate the little things. And you will laugh from your belly.

You will also wonder what the hell you were so upset about in the first place. There’s a lot of energy that goes into loving someone – I mean really, feet-on-the-ground-all-hands-on-deck-loving, or as some people call it – active loving. You likely spent a lot of time doing stuff for your partner; maybe you cooked, did the laundry, maintained the vehicles, did the lion’s share of maintaining the kids, your family holidays, etc., etc.  If you’re like me, you put your own timeline and the little things that bring you joy  second to the priorities of your partner; boys’ nights, golf, their fitness and waking time preferences.

At first, time on your own will feel like a long rest after a marathon, and then it will feel eerily quiet. What will you ever do with this landscape of barren time?

Let me give you a few suggestions; pedicures, concerts, art galleries, boozy lunches with the gals, discovering favourite shops, more time with your kiddos, a bed all to yourself or not, reconnecting with friends, and eventually rediscovering the joy of  being treated like the precious gem that you are.

Love is fragile, but so is our sense of self.  As a woman who has had the luxury of time alone, I realize the cost of independence and the price of nurturing another. Love is fragile, Time is fleeting.

Lean on your friends. We will remind you of the fabulous person you have always been, even in the shadow of heartache.

 

 

 

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To The Loser Who Just Broke My Friend’s Heart

jerkYou suck. The end.

The rest of this post goes out to anyone who has been mistreated, lied to, cheated on, or taken advantage of.

Action, not words darling. That’s where the truth is.

For years I have been single. For years I thought I really, really wanted to meet someone to be my partner in life and I was convinced that I would have to make some concessions. Until this summer.

Just when I thought that my dream of meeting Mr. Right had come true, he shed his best-behavior-skin like the snake he is, and slithered out of my life. Good. Riddance. Jack-Ass.

I could say that I hate men, that they’re all liars and cheats, but the reality is that I love them. I love  men.

Just as there are pathetic flaps of skin who slither their way through life clinging to the ethical underbelly of society calling themselves men, there are women who do the same. They are primarily identifiable as neither male or female. They are sociopaths.

It seems that being a sociopath (aka jack-ass, jerk or douchebag) crosses all gender and age barriers. An asshole, is an asshole, is an asshole. Amen.

What my last foray into the world of broken hearts has reinforced is that my gut instinct is much wiser than the negotiated romantic deals brokered between my head and my heart. Intuition is a smart bitch, and I love her for her unflinching honesty during times of despair. My own mistake is not acting on what my intuition is telling me, and believing in  potential.

Listen here ladies and gentlemen, we are not school teachers sent here to point out potential. We are adults in relationship with other adults; each of us responsible for how we treat others.

For anyone (male, female and everyone in-between),who is suffering a broken heart, I urge you to read my ‘Why I Stopped Dating’ articles, Part 1 and Part 2.

loveagainI do not believe that love hurts. If it hurts or if it makes you ‘less than’,  it isn’t love. If you are not joyful, but instead, full of anxiety, self-doubt and fear, it definitely is not love.

What you may need to do is re-evaluate what love actually is, and what it looks like in your life. Let me give you a hint, it does not involve a Disney prince or princess. Quite often the greatest of all loves come from friendship.

Wishing a plague of vicious crotch-crabs and a shriveling, fungus infested pee-pee on the loser who just broke my friend’s heart.

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Dear Emotionally Ambivalent Male & You too Girl!

poke the bearTonight one of those smarmy articles popped up in my newsfeed. The hook was, Dear Emotionally Ambivalent Male.

I almost read the damn thing, but stopped short. You see, all women have experienced the emotionally ambivalent male. Read; emotionally unavailable, angry, fearful or man with his head up his arse. I do concede that men have experienced the same of women, and everyone else who has entered into relationship with another human being.

As a passionate Scorpio, ambivalence is akin to sporting tangy, unbreathable B.O., that makes your eyes sting and your throat close. Ambivalence is lazy, without passion, or any kind of zest for life that is attractive or sensual. Ambivalence is a sin against the nature of our spiritual selves.

Ambivalent Men; We know them, and we love them, just as they know us for all of our strengths and weaknesses.

But hold on here.

All men are not emotionally ambivalent, unavailable, angry or  fearful of showing emotion. Nor do all men find themselves breathing the stanky air of their colon when they become verklempt.

Ladies, when was the last time you bumped in to one of your school chums? You know, the male kind who used to do all kinds of silly stuff in school, didn’t mind getting muddy at recess, or that his sock was soaking wet and dangling off his foot like a dead sea creature. These are the men whom you will always remember as the class clown, the boy who carried your books home, or was single during everyone else’s double-dates.

Well, of late I’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with an old school chum. Ironically, it’s at a time when the man-o-my-dreams is doing a smashing job at clamming up.

If you’ve had the good fortune of having a good chat with one of your little-boy-all-grown-up-into-a-man classmates, you’ve known them since you were a kid, pre-bra, and pre-adult-life-sure-isn’t-all-it-was-cracked-up-to-be. They remain in the platonic way, completely emotionally available and not emotionally ambivalent at all. They are generous with their time and opinions, sharing their life stories, and they give you the old go-get’em pat on the ass that we all need sometimes.

After some chats with men you’ve known since they sported Underoos, you can rest assured that one thing is for certain; Men and women both struggle with regard to having the courage to be vulnerable. For my pals out there who do not relate to binary relationships, let me be crystal clear; Anyone involved in a romantic relationship is afraid of rejection, stripping themselves down to their emotional birthday-suit, and standing in the spotlight of authenticity.

When I’m faced with an emotionally ambivalent, unavailable, man-cave-dwelling partner, my instinct is to poke the bear. If he comes out on his hind feet pawing at the air and growling a frothy growl, I fight back. In a loving way of course. Some people run like hell, but that’s not gonna do any good now is it darlings? Nope.

So here I am, all ready to get naked (in the existential sense of course), waiting

I don’t have the answer to emotionally ambivalent partners. I don’t have an answer because I don’t think that there is one. There is no such thing as emotional ambivalence. Emotion is what makes us fully human. To not feel is to despair, and in the words of the great L.M. Montgomery, ‘To despair is to turn your back on God’. If you don’t believe in God, it’s the same thing as turning your back on humanity.

For those going through the dark-night-of-the-relationship-soul, do not despair. Feel what you feel deep down to your bones until it seeps from the soles of your feet back into the earth where it will be filtered and washed away by the rivers of life.

If there’s one thing that my conversations with my old chum have taught me this week, it is that there are people out there who believe in love, in life, and that the best is indeed, yet to come.

Ambivalence, schmivalance, someone get me a stick!

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Dining Alfresco

eggcrackingThere are two types of people, those who prefer to dine al fresco and those who don’t.

Those who truly do, know the glory of stretching out on the grass and delighting in the most simple of food while watching the world go by. These types of folks like wild, rambling conversations, a good drink, a solid sleep and the company of like-minded people.

I’ve been known to be one of those people. Often, and without reserve.

This morning, after having been swatted away like an irritating insect by my loveliest of lovely men ever, I decided I’d forgo further snuggling, suck up the fact that I was not living with a cuddler, and head to the office early.

As you all know, lengthy, relationships with the less fair sex have never been my strength. Relationships of purpose and pre-determined length (preferably no longer than three hours at the outside), nonetheless meaningful however, have been my go-to preference. I’m a woman with diverse tastes after all.

But since having nestled into a loving, long-term relationship, my own gifts to give have been called into question by a relentlessly ironic universe. As I was propelled through morning traffic my mind wandered to wonder what exactly it was that had me feeling unsettled, unsure and quite frankly, a bit like hitting the accelerator in a panic and turning off onto the highway to faraway-parts-unknown. Parts that would surely include a beach, icy gin, and quiet sunrises.

My first email of the day was a monthly or bi-weekly or quarterly, or whatever-the-hell-time-frame-they- plop-it-out newsletter from an employee assistance program. This month’s topic? Relationships.

I.Kid.You.Not.

Oh, the irony, and before 8:00 a.m. no less. Le sigh…black coffee and silence pleases plebs, momma’s got some thinkin’ to do.

At the top of the newsletter were the politically correct number of Caucasian, African-American and Asians (three in total, sorry Native Americans, Drag Queens and everyone else, you remain represented and marginalized by the ‘big three’). However, someone in marketing goofed (or not), because they were all women.

Excuse me?

All women? Only women need this information about relationships; professional, familial, friendships, romantic? Say it ain’t so.

For a moment I thought about the lovely handsome man who was slumbering in our bed, oblivious to having tossed off the morning-snog bowline and giving me the equivalent of a one-legged-flat-footed send off from shore after having taken my paddle, map and water and shoving me out into the pre-dawn,swampy, wilderness.

Ok, ok, I might exaggerate a little bit, but I’m a woman of great imagination, and I want to be sure you understand the depth of my feeling. But I digress…

The irony of the morning send off and morning email was not lost on me. Not lost on me because women so often are the gatekeepers of relationship health. My mumster’s wise words of wisdom have always been, ‘Men will treat you how you allow them to treat you“. In other words, don’t take any shit, and be prepared to reel in your line,go to another fishing hole without haste, on your own steam, without looking back and wearing something that makes you feel wonderful. Thanks Ma.

But why did it bother me this morning? Most mornings, I’m happy to leave my delightfully delicious man-steak peacefully slumbering with his light snore and adorably messy hair, knowing he’s safe, resting, happy, and refueling his manliest of manly love-machines.

It wasn’t until this afternoon while I was driving around, finding (or losing, depends on how you look at it), my religion that it dawned on me.

My ah-ha moment? There was this beautifully haggard, out-of-time man sitting, back against one of the only trees generous enough to provide shade. His legs were stretched out in front of him, one laying long against cool grass, the other bent, over which he rested his arm. He was chomping on a sandwich and watching the world go by. It could have been 2015 and it could have been 1815. It didn’t matter. He was in the moment, being fully alive and human.

This man was the answer to that nagging question the bitch of insecurity had followed me with from my bedroom to work this morning. I am that man. Well, I’m really not that man, but you know what I mean right darlings?

I mean, I’m the kind of woman who does that kind of thing every day. I’ve never given it a second thought. I come home and revel in being naked, sliding on a pair of undies after my after work soak, pulling on a t-shirt, and drinking, writing, or entertaining the less fair sex into the wee hours of the morning.

I’m that guy!!! I’m the Alfresco diner for Christ’s sake!!!

Somewhere along the way during the past few months I’ve lost him her.

Immediately I decided to ditch my suit, and cling to a patio chair while being administered cold gin and tonics and listening to Jimmy Buffett.

Instead I came home, mumbled the residue of the angst that has been holding me prisoner, collapsed into bed for two hours and awoke looking like the Pillsbury Dough-boy in a coral-coloured tunic.

Tomorrow I’ll do it with more flair and a double G&T. I will welcome my self back gently and with wonderfully tacky beach music.

Ah yes, sometimes it just takes a slow drive, a few weeks of madness, and a true love to rock a lady to her core.

Sometimes all it takes is, having a long, slow meal outdoors with some great wine, the delightful company of your lover,  tossing our worries to the wind, and taking in the world just as it is, no more and no less.

Here’s to dining Alfresco and always finding a soft shady spot to land.

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Being ‘That Guy’

ghandiAs luck would have it recently, I was in a comfortably horizontal,  inebriated state of bliss, tangled in damp sheets next to a younger,  almost completely competent man.

We were spending a little time catching our breath, and contemplating the state of the universe from our newly rejuvenated points of view.

As with most lover-like situations (please see the ANDSHELAUGHS definition of lover) our conversation was much like a jazz- fusion-bass-riff; pleasant, light, and easily forgotten.

As is the case with younger men (again, refer to the ANDSHELAUGHS tribute to younger men), wise women realize that in all likelihood, they won’t be around asking, “Remember when…” with us in twenty years.

Despite the suspect shortfalls, it is always imperative to remain graceful and polite. These lovelies are our guests after all, and should be treated and entertained as such. My one-too-many-sauvignon-vocabulary got the better of me in this case I’m afraid and the truth came out.

I said something along the lines of, ” I certainly don’t want this relationship forever. ” and continued with, ” I’d like a real man in my life who…”. The rest of the sentence isn’t important is it? No. I’d already done damage to my darling man’s ego.

After some discussion about being honest with one another, and clarifying just where exactly we both stand and what we understand with regard to how we relate to one another, he said, ” I never want to be ‘That Guy’. I’m not ‘That Guy’.”

Um, yes sweetie, you are indeed, ‘That Guy’.

You know what I’m talking about ladies, the unique refreshing one who’d chase a woman if he caught any scent of the possibility of getting laid or capitalizing on whatever benefit he might gain from the relationship. That rare species of man spotted only on every-freaking-single-street-corner-of-the-universe. How refreshing.

Newsflash folks, whomever you choose to be in the moment is who you are. That guy, will always just be the stereotypical, ‘That Guy’, because that’s the extent of his behavior in relationship with me. That’s the only guy I’ve ever known him as. Unless he has a spiritual epiphany and has what I like to call, a-come-to-Jesus-meeting with his inside voice, he will always only ever be, ‘That Guy’, whom he proves himself to be.

Knowing what I know, that’s ok with me. After all darlings, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, “If a man wants to be part of your daily life, he is.”  I will accept this physical joy while I have the opportunity, and I shall have deep gratitude for it. I shall also have bourbon, maybe a slightly cracked heart, and a sick day if my little wee girl-feelings gets tangled up with ‘That Guy’.

He’s never been; ‘That Guy Who Sends Flowers’, ‘That Guy Who Sends Thoughtful Texts Every Morning and Evening’, ‘That Guy Who Cares How I Am’, ‘That Guy Who’s Dying to Cook Me Dinner and Hold My Hand”.  He’s only ever acted like, ‘That Guy’. Like the bazillion ‘That Guys’ we all know.

I suggest walking your talk and being authentic, even if it’s being an authentic a-hole.

When you tell the world you want great things, but act like you’re not worthy of those things, you never achieve them, whether it be family, career, education or anything else.

So, if you don’t want to be, ‘That Guy’, or ‘That Girl’, don’t. Be who you want to be. That takes incredible courage, and courage my juicy, thick slices of man-steak, is very, very sexy.