I’m not sure why this somehow didn’t register with me before, but yesterday is when I realized for the first time that Thanksgiving is next week. Which meant I had to order a turkey — ASAP.
Holidays like Thanksgiving, where there are certain culinary expectations, means you have to detailed plans; what gets picked up when, what gets cooked first, etc. No one wants to deal with the crowds at the supermarket on the day before, so I ordered mine to be picked up on Tuesday — as if I am the only person who would think of that. Somehow, I have a feeling Tuesday will be as crowded — if not more — than Wednesday. Too late.
Which is what I think about tattoo artist Kat Von D’s reaction to the discovery that her ex-fiancee, Jesse James, cheated on her with 19 women in the past year of their on-again, off-again engagement.
Because given his history, you’d want to ask her, what were you thinking? Everyone else was thinking once a cheater, always a cheater.
Although, how many of us date or marry people who cheated on their spouse to be with us? Well, lots of us. What does that say about us?
Few people in online comments have been kind to Kat — in fact, most are downright cruel (of course, so many people aren’t kind in online comments, period!). If they aren’t shaming her, they’re asking, How could you think you were different than anyone else?
Beside the tats, that is.
But, of course we all feel like we’re different than everyone else to a certain extent or in certain situations: We’re never going to be the one who gets cancer, even though we smoke. We’re not going to get a DUI, even though we drive home after a three-martini happy hour. We don’t keep emergency supplies ready even though we live in quake-ridden Bay Area and The Big One is due. And we’ll avoid the crowds at Thanksgiving by picking up our turkey on Tuesday, not Wednesday.
Are we stupid? In denial? Irrational? All of the above and more?
I do not totally convinced of the adage “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” Depending on what drove a person to cheat, I think some people can change; I did.
I am pretty sure we’re capable of cheating on someone we truly love.
I am positively certain that we rationalize a lot of our actions because we actually believe we are different than everyone else.
What about you?
Oh, and see you at the supermarket …
“Was marriage what you expected it would be?” Mia asked, not quite directed to anyone in particular as we sat at Sam’s, enjoying the post-rain sun.
“No way! I had no idea how mind-numbingly boring it could be,” Sara said. “Like ‘Groundhog Day.’”
“Mine wasn’t boring, well it had its boring moments. We just stopped being nice to each other I think,” Mia said. “What about you, Kat?”
“I didn’t have many expectations. I don’t think I knew what I wanted it to be; I just knew what I didn’t want it to be — my parents’ marriage.”
“I hear that!” Mia exclaimed. “But, did ours turn out any better?”
Who’s happier? Our parents didn’t shake it up but we sure did at midlife. After divorce, we threw ourselves into our careers, our friends, our passions. Still, we all wanted love, too. And we’ve found our way, sorta kinda. Mia was happy with Rex, until that ended horribly and she’s been floundering since, including dating a man who’s newly separated. Sara has been floundering, too, striking out with Yoga Man, who was just too emo for her, but then she met Todd — a nice guy who wants a threesome (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and who has a pretty cool ex. I’ve been incredibly happy with Sean, a great guy whom I adore — and not just because he thinks my small breasts are perfect. But we don’t and probably won’t ever live together (which may actually be why we’ve lasted this long).
Our parents? As kids, then sharp-eyed teens and eventually cynical adults, we’ve seen a bit (or more) of their marital dysfunction — and who knows the secrets they’ve kept from us? But they toughed it out, for better or worse, probably without any of the expectations we had when we married. Of course, our moms didn’t have the same choices we women have today. Neither did our dads — a stay-at-home dad in the ’50s? I don’t think so!
I honestly don’t know who’s had it better or easier. Do we want too much from a marriage? Did our parents expect too little?
Experts are blaming our 50 percent divorce rate and the increasingly loud chorus of those who think marriage is obsolete on our unrealistic expectations of marriages.
I didn’t have those expectations, but I guess I had a picture in my head of what a happy marriage looked like. You know, a little Norman Rockwellish because I’m a sentimental romantic at heart. But my observations of my own marriage is pretty much like my observation of life — there’s a lot of mundane stuff interrupted by some really nice stuff. I embrace the nice stuff, accept the mundane stuff and try to make the mundane parts a little less boring and get more of the nice stuff. And, I can’t really count on someone else doing that for me.
I’m not sure if that’s a sustainable model for a marriage — you obviously have to pick the right person from the beginning and some of us really don’t. Plus, you really do have to want to be married — some of us are just not cut out to be in a long-term, monogamous relationships. And, that’s OK.
Maybe we need to go into a marriage with no expectations — then we’d be constantly surprised!
- What expectations did you have in your marriage?
- Were they “unrealistic”?
© Volker Gerstenberg – Fotolia.com
“I feel so bad for Demi,” Sara said as we made our way up Old Railroad Grade.
“Sara, you really need to stop obsessing about Demi and Kim and Leann. When did you become such a celeb follower?”
“It’s not that! I couldn’t care less about them. I care about the broader issues.”
“Like can we older gals live just as happily-ever-after with boy toys as old guys with hot babes do?”
“Other younger babes.”
“Of course — did you expect he’d cheat with someone older than Demi? She’s 48!”
“It’s not that.”
“You’re right. It’s that he’s a cheater, and that probably doesn’t have anything to do with Demi’s age.”
Or does it?
Guys go for youth. This is not rocket science. But older women get their share of interest from younger men because we bring quite a few things to the table — experience, comfort in our own skin, and a savvy sexual appetite.
Say what you will about cougars, but it makes sense that older women should hook up with younger men. Maybe not guys 15 years younger, like Demi and Ashton, but maybe a few years — 5 or so. Why? Because men die younger than women do, and that means there are so many more widows than widowers. It means women often spend a decade or more alone when they’re old and more likely to need companionship more than ever; that’s sad!
Marrying someone younger would lessen the chance of that.
Plus, 15 years is an awfully big gap; your interests and experiences are bound to be pretty different. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean a marriage wouldn’t work — lots of people the same age with similar interests and experiences get divorced! But being just 5 years or so apart in age puts you in the same generation, anyway. And, you’d also have similar aging issues.
Maybe that’s the biggest turn off of all. The body starts to wrinkle, sag and shift, the mind starts to wander and then what? I know that stuff shouldn’t matter —after all, we don’t know what illnessnes and accidents await us at any age. But maybe starting off with a “disadvantage,” it will — eventually.
So, maybe cougars and boy toys should plan on five blissfully happy years together, and then move on. There are always more young men out there, ladies …
Does a big gap in a relationship matter in the long run?