New Adventure? A Podcast! “Ask Me About” is Launched

On January 17, with my dear friend, member of  the bromance, “The Mentor”, we launched our podcast Ask Me About. We have spent a good deal of intentional discussion based on our past and current conversations about relationships and what we would like to share with others to create this podcast. Our goal is to share through our own experiences and research how to do better and be better in regards to relationships. 

First: please subscribe to the podcast in ITunes. And beyond subscribing, review it! 

Second: submit questions for us. We want to know what you want to know. Relationships, backgrounds, date ideas, appropriate undergarments (personal pet peeve of mine), ANYTHING!!! 

Third: listen and share. That’s all. Our podcasts will be less a than 30 minutes on average. Listen while you drive, getting ready for your day, cooking, or just chill out with it. 

The past two years have built up to this latest adventure. Your support is felt and very much appreciated. Many of you will get to hear my voice for the first time and that’s pretty exciting too! I look forward to speaking to you through an additional medium, and I hope you do too. 

“The Mentor” and I will be recording tonight so stay tuned. 

Just of note, I’m a huge podcast fan! Below are some of my favorites to check out as well:


Pantsuit Politics
Pop Culture Happy Hour
Death, Sex and Money

The Force of Love That Sings in the Rain

“The love of my life.” That’s what some say we should hope to find. Typically, I find they are discussing the romantic love we devote an entire lifetime to. Either, being in love, looking for it or fighting to keep it. I have even had justifying, sad conversations about the love of your life already passing by. Your first true love when you are 17 and stupid and let it go. Or 21, stupid and let it go. In the lowest of the low moments, I think I could have just stayed married and been miserable like a majority of people do. That sounds awful, terrible, a waste of time, a waste of life and a waste of love. No one should ever subject themselves to that, but they do. So the question is, the one I have, does “the love of your life”, have to be romantic?

Classic and Sci Fi movie lovers along with the entirety of popular culture learned this week of the deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Fisher passed away on 12.27.16 and Reynolds on 12.28.16. For me personally, I am also facing the birthday of my oldest daughter on 12.30.16. I was shocked when I heard of Fisher’s death. I had recently listened to her interview on NPR with Terry Gross A few things stuck out to me in that interview, but the main one being how Fisher has become a beside caregiver for her mother through her recent decline n health. During the interview, Fisher talks about a period of her life at 19 and the relationship she had at that time. She was also filming Star Wars and the relationship she discusses is the affair she was having with married co star Harrison Ford.  She kept a journal of her time while she filmed Star Wars. Her last book, The Princess Diarist has many excerpts from this journal. During the interview; Gross asks Fisher to read from the book how she described the relationship with Ford during this period.

GROSS: In your journal that you kept during “Star Wars” you write a lot about your relationship with Harrison Ford. And I want to ask you to read an excerpt of that journal. This is where you’re describing how Harrison Ford was like a fantasy for you, but the fantasy did not always work out. And it was – you kind of projected a lot onto him, so if you could read an excerpt for us.

FISHER: Sure.

(Reading) We have no feeling for one another. We lie buried together during the night and haunt each other by day, acting out something that we don’t feel and seeing through something that doesn’t deserve any focus. I have never done anything quite like this. I sit patiently awaiting the consequences. I talk, walk, eat, sleep, patiently awaiting the consequences. How can a thing that doesn’t seem to be happening come to an end? George says that if you look at the person that someone chooses to have a relationship with, you’ll see what they think of themselves. So Harrison is what I think of myself. It’s hardly a relationship, but nevertheless he is a choice. I examined all the options and chose the most likely to leave no emotional investments. Never love for me, only obsession. Someone has to stand still for you to love them. My choices are always on the run.

I have looked back on my relationships, recent and prior to my marriage and recall them as extremely formative and scarily similar to what she describes above. “If you look at the person that someone chooses to have a relationship with, you’ll see what they think of themselves.” I haven’t been seeing myself in a very good light if this is the case. Attributes like dignity, responsibility, honesty and devotion are becoming very, very attractive.

princess-diarist

 

Following the news of their deaths, I wanted to hear from Reynolds so I found another interview. During the interview regarding her recent memoir “Unsinkable”

unsinkable

I was reminded and just as shocked to find out that Reynolds first husband Eddie Fisher, Carrie Fisher’s father, left the family to marry Elizabeth Taylor, Reynolds best friend. Over the years Reynolds attempted marriage two additional times with Harry Karl (1960-1973) and Richard Hamlet (1984-1996). During the time of Reynolds relationships, Fisher has the affair with Harrison Ford. She then is married to Paul Simon for one year (1983-1984). She was also briefly engaged to Dan Aykrod. She then had a child with Billy Catherine Lourd in 1992. Lourd left the relationship to be with another man. Fisher had a very successful professional life not only acting, but writing eight books and producing films. She unfortunately struggled with drug use and mental illness becoming an advocate in these areas. Many called the mother/daughter relationship complicated but at the end, they proved to be a tremendous support for each other. Fisher talks about being at her bedside in recent interviews and Reynolds was supportive of her daughter. Son of Reynolds and brother of Fisher, Todd Fisher is quoted saying that some of Reynolds last words were of Fisher; “I just want to be with Carrie.” Is it possible to die of a broken heart? I believe in this case, it was. All of this, topped with a year that was far disappointing on so many levels-multiple celebrity deaths, an election that makes many of us question the sanity of the American people; no matter what side you are on, but I have had a discovery thanks to the this mother daughter tragedy.

I have participated in many discussions regarding a full life. In my life, I don’t define its success by being in a current and more than likely disastrous romantic relationship. People in marriages, either visibly or internally shake their head at me…most of the time. However, let’s pose a question. Looking back on the timeline of Reynolds failed marriages, and Fishers failed relationships along with her mental health status and substance abuse, is it possible that the men in their lives were to root of the estrangement? Was the battle based in the nonrecognition of the true love of their lives, eachother?

I will continue to respect myself and the relationships I have with men, but after this deep moment of thought and reflection, I may join the realization that a man will not be the love of my life and enjoy that the loves of my life are already in my life. Present and accounted for are my children. Two delightful young ladies who I adore. The heart of this mother is full of these children’s love. My family. The gift of good parents is a blessing not to take lightly. A brother and now a sister in law that’s presence is a joy. Their love and marriage was one of the best things of 2016. My girlfriends. I will admit, in the past year I have neglected these ladies. One of my resolutions will be to spend more time developing deeper relationships with my group of female friends. As I look back, I was devoting more time to men and received no benefits from my devotions and these women are still here even though they have been neglected. My bromances. My sweet devoted male friends. So much they know, so much the honor and so many times they have kept me from the edge of insanity.

After that kind of acclaim and review, now you see why I am more focused on a truer love, a force that defies romance, men and women. So, here’s to Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher and all the other single mothers successfully surviving in their Motherhood. They were complete and were given the gift of “the loves of their lives” when Carrie Fisher was born to Debbie Reynolds. The thoughts of I am not complete until I am remarried is so 2016.

Please watch the tribute below and remember their love.

May the Force Be with Us All.

Reynolds/Fisher Tribute

 

 

 

 

 

 

Universe Giveth…Universe Taketh Away

I have brief and spread, far enough apart, periods of time separated from the little ladies. Many, many, many times I have sat alone thinking “now is when I need someone.” Recently, that issue resolved itself…

I have been focusing on asking for exactly what I want. Very specific things. And it has finally, finally worked! The last time when I had a free week, I asked for someone to date during that time. I got exactly what I asked for. Then like there was an invisible, muted timer, he was gone. The evening after our last date, I received a message telling me that “we needed to slow down”, “it’s not you, it’s me.” ” I think you are beautiful, kind, sweet. And there’s no one else.” And….


I just want to point out I had specifically asked for someone to fill this time…the universe listened and supplied him. I asked for this?… Yes, yes I did! And in a strange way, I may have asked him to go.


Surprisingly, I’ve been totally fine with it. And I fear it’s because I was developing “FOMO: The fear of missing out”. This may be why so many of my relationships never work. I find myself by date three thinking is this just a waste of time? If the thought comes in then I might as well tell him so we can part without the drama. At this age, we can cut the bull…you have something better, you have hang ups, you have a manipulative tween, whatever-shoot me straight and don’t waste my time. I’ll do the same for you. 

Universe Giveth…Universe Taketh Away


I was hanging out with a few of my “bro-mances ” (I needed to be with those men who love me). They were very proud and supportive of me for putting myself back out there and doing something without any buyers remorse after the deal had sunk in. I worry that over and over again the ends of a relationship doesn’t sadden me but is a source of relief. Over and over, this thing we call dating is a negative source of endless crap that is unnecessary. 

I have an announcement!:

“Men of Dimple-and surrounding counties, you have asked the universe for easy to date women…we are ready! But, are you?” 

So women of Dimple-how about us? Are we going to be ready? To drop the bull, the drama and the overthinking! I feel we can own the Universe so we give them what they ask. Let’s do it Universe of women. Don’t be sorry…just own it and remind them, you are exactly what they asked for. Beyonce Sorry

The Peter Pan Experience

  
That’s where I was last night when my phone rang at 12:48 am. Was I dreaming? Why is he calling me? What on earth? 

“I’m coming out there?”

“Why?”

“She and I just got in a huge fight and if we weren’t broken up before, we are now!”

“Wait…you told me you moved out!”

“Can I come out there? I just need somewhere to sleep. I gotta pick up my daughter at 6.”

“Fine, whatever!”

I get up, brush my teeth. Consider taking off the granny flannels, but decide to leave them on. I head to the kitchen and wait. 

He arrived and in a state.  

 “So, when I break up with her, do you want to date or what?”

This guy has lied, basically cheated, and manipulated me and most importantly wasted my time! 

“Look”, I said. “I can’t even get you to meet and talk to me. I don’t know what to do with you.” 

  
I feel like it’s a ultimatum. 

“You know me.” He says. “It’s not like we have to go through all that stuff.”

I tell him to hush and get some sleep. I didn’t even bother to ask what the latest fight was about. I’ve heard these stories for months now.  I guess he wanted some more attention…

With in 45 mins, he woke me up to tell me he was going to his mother’s! Are you fucking kidding me? Sleep vs. a 30 minute drive to his mother’s. 

“You do what ya gotta do.” I say. “Lock the door on your way out and call me when you get there.” 

I have received several apology texts this morning…well good for you “Peter”. My name is Sally, not Wendy! I shut and locked my window a long time ago.  “Peter” has been trying to #gethisshittogether for a long time. All the Wendy’s eventually grow up. Maybe it’s time “Peter” does too.  

   
 

  

We Should Be Ashamed!

LOVE

It’s Sunday and it’s beautiful. So much joy and beauty to be celebrating, but I am so angry right now I could spit nails! I just left a church service where I found myself holding and praying with a dear friend who is watching her marriage crumble. Her pain and suffering sent me into this rage. I am angry at her husband whose addiction caused this pain. It also makes me extremely ashamed! I am ashamed that I didn’t honor my relationships. I had so much opportunity to be a better part of them, I threw it all away. Also, I have not honored and respected others while seeking my own selfish joys and satisfaction. In the past 72 hours the hypocrisy of beliefs and heterosexuals around the world has become so apparent to me.

Since the beginning of time, the straight relationships have been given all the glory. Humans wrote vows uniting men and women for generations; even eternity. Modern society adopted their legalization of these unions to fit our needs and no other relationship has been honored until Friday, June 26th. This is when the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled that all unions will be recognized by the federal and state governments. Many homosexual couples headed straight to court offices all over the country to obtain a license to marry. When I went and got my marriage license, this was no big deal. But can you imagine, finally being able to legally unite with the one you cherish above all others being granted.

What do straight people do?  We mock marriage, we lie, hurt and ruin relationships. We cheat and disavow the very right we have taken for granted. We allow people to treat us unfairly. Men and women alike are committing acts of adultery even as I write this. These actions take place at work, phone conversations, texting, Tinder, Facebook, Kik, hotel rooms, cars, even in the bedrooms we share with another.

And what about the innocent bystanders like my friend. The one who is begging for answers and crying out that she wants her reality, even if it may have been fake, back! What about those who we have loved who have moved on but we carry feelings for them that never seem to waiver? What about the number of men and women who are deceiving complete strangers? This is the end of my rope on the subject. I will no longer tolerate being a part of your lies and your wretched example of what love is.

My first incident with lowering my standards was my relationship with Derek. Our first relationship he was single, well as far as I knew. Our two year on and off again, did involve his unresolved remarriage to his wife not once, but twice. My guilt was shadowed for my selfish thought that I was doing the right thing and when it was all over, we would be together. It never happened. His ability to lie to her should have showed me, he could lie to me too. It was some time before I was placed back in that situation again.

The phenomenon of me being “the other woman” didn’t begin until I started using Tinder. One of my first conversations involved a request to talk off Tinder by using either Kik or Snapchat. I was so naive. I mean, come on…I am smarter than this. Why couldn’t I have his number and why didn’t I hear from him in the “after work” hours. His communication with me started at 6:30 am and would carry on until 4:00-5:00 pm. Then he started asking to meet me for lunch. Finally, it came out. He was married. Disgust, horror, shame, this is how I felt. It happened numerous times then I finally figured out their game. Most recently, a very promising candidate gave me a fake last name…so I couldn’t find him on Facebook. He would say, “but I can see your stuff.” My response, “well send me a friend request…” Crickets now for about a week and a half.

How about the one you are friends with and his girlfriend?

“But you can’t kiss me… what about Mary(This is a Gilmore Girls reference).”

“But I’ve always wanted to kiss you. For years!”

Possibly the fact that I am not a “Mary” is what this was all about.

I got fed this line about how the relationship was all in “her” head and had been “off” for months. I believed him and we started dating, but only Monday through Thursday. See Mary traveled for work and came back to town. The first time he ignored me in public, I was hurt, honestly hurt.  This was on a weekend get a way with a group of friends. He explained, the opportunity to discuss with Mary just wasn’t convenient and the plans for her to attend were already set. “She had been looking forward to this trip for months, I hated to disapoint her and explain I was involved with you. And don’t worry, we have separate rooms.” What was his attempt at reassurance. The next week was the same, he and I until Thursday. I grew tired of it after a few weeks. Then I just got mad! I still am…especially when I still see them together. Was he lying to me or is he still lying to her? I do know he is lying to himself.

Then there are those we can’t let go of. The ones we think about, dream about and is dangerous as it is, even still talk to. Marco was caring, kind and a good person. But our worlds were heading in two total different directions. I called it off pretty quick, but we had the occasional re-connection over time. Then he met a really great girl and they moved in together. For sometime, I didn’t hear from him at all. Then it was the occasional, ‘hello’, ‘how are you?’ text. Then he asked to see me.

“Why, why do you need to see me.”  I ask

“There is something I still need from you.” he says

What is it about people that we only need pieces of? All of us, are whole beings. and the uniting of two whole people is so amazing. But what is  missing from one seemingly whole being, that we think another person has that the other doesn’t. The connection we long and search for in our actions of infidelity is not something we find in the other person, it is something we are looking for that is missing from ourselves. The one we are in relationship with doesn’t have it and the one we seek secretly certainly doesn’t contain it either.

If you want to deep dive into the current state of infidelity, check out Esther Perel’s Ted Talk.

Will the ruling giving all Americans the right to marriage make it any more of a mockery than it already is? I believe that the unity of more people, no matter the origin of their love, gives relationships strength. It gives me hope! All of these stories have set a tone to what I consider the future state of love is for humanity…and it’s not good. What happened on Friday, may have changed my perspective. Because not one of the stories above have done anything to strengthen the current state of marriage and relationships in our society. Let us try to love more and judge less.

kennedy_2.png.CROP.promo-mediumlarge

Peace to You All,

Sally

An Interview…An Intervention…a Convo with “Dated to Death”

Dated to Death: “It seems your blogs are becoming quite redundant about what we live everyday.”

After the “interview/intervention” was done, he gave me permission to create a blog about this. He asked that I call him “Dated to Death.” So let me introduce you to “Dated to Death.”

I met him as my very first Tinder date almost a year ago. He was older, early 40s but extremely handsome. He has amazing eyes and a killer smile. I was very optimistic! We had several really great dates, but it was obvious we had a major difference. I was dating to find a lasting relationship and he was dating…to date. Right after 4th of July we stopped seeing each other.  We ran into each other out a few months ago and we decided a friendship was needed. We forgot we were super fun together. Also, I missed his honesty which is exactly what I got a few weeks ago. (and the hugs, kisses on the cheek and cuddles.)

Sally: “Yep, I’m in a rut!”

Dated to Death: “You need something a little more…dirty. Just not the average everyday.”

Sally: “Are we talking about the blog or something else?”

D2D: “I want to read about what it’s like on the other side, really! You need to expand your limits.”

***MAJOR editing to avoid explicit texting content!***

(and then the honesty)

D2D: “You come across as needing a husband. You should project a hussy heir. No man wants a needy woman.”

Sally: “I gotta work on that. I’m really more interested in decency. I need something new for sure.”

D2D: “Men want confident, but sexy.”

Sally: “I’ll work on that.”

D2D: “I know I could be with you right now, but that doesn’t fix your problem.”

Sally: “I appreciate that, but you are so right.”

D2D: “Thus why I haven’t. You need to be comfortable being you. But you don’t need me.”

Sally: “I know what you are saying though. What about you? You can’t be alone forever.”

D2D: (avoiding my question) You need to be comfortable being you, before you can get a man. Men want a come up, not an anchor.”

Sally: “Explain?”

D2D: “A single woman, home with two kids is a big turn off. You have to make that a plus. I know it sounds cruel, but its the truth. You have to look bullet proof.”

Sally: “Honest vs cruel. I’ll take honest.”

D2D: “I love you and  your kids, but it’s society that makes the rules.”

Sally: “I hate the damn rules.”

D2D: “Let’s face it. You have things men don’t want. You need a man your age with kids.”

Sally: “Can I be honest, I know why women stay with shitty husbands…this sucks just as bad! I question my decision to leave in moments like this.”

D2D: “Honest: I thought you were too controlling. You spoke to me as a counselor. You are a great person, but you need to lighten up a bit. Men want to be in control. That’s what we do. So don’t be hating on men that have an agenda. Men our age know what we can deal with. We want one thing &^%$@…the same as you  &!%$. It’s a cycle! Play the game!

Sally: “Is this a big brother pep talk?”

D2D: “Kind of.”

Wow!!! In one conversation I was enlightened by Dated to Death. Honestly, it reminded me why I had feelings for him in the first place and then why it’s best that we remain friends.

Dated to Death First Date Rules:

1. Let him lead.

2. Make him feel like he has to pull info from you. It will make him feel accomplished.

3. Don’t over text him. Be unavailable.

4. Patience is a virtue.

5. Men like to be teased, not given an all you can eat buffet…one course at at time.

Sally: “Thanks love doctor.”

D2D: “You wanted good things to talk about on the blog. Think about how many single women you could help with this advice.

Sally: “Millions, we are helping millions of women.”

I’ll leave you with a bit of fun!

“And your next category…SEX” -Pitch Perfect

 

So This is Love? So This is what makes life divine?

A few Saturday’s ago, I walked past the TV and Fox news was on…wait, wait, wait…who in the world is watching this? Anyway, I was struck by the conversation they were having. A new release of Disney’s Cinderella has been out a few weeks. Two very blondand very beautiful Fox new “anchors” (I use that word very loosely) were talking about how we instill the Cinderella Complex into young girls. Like you two Barbie’s have any business discussing the topic anyway…which prince charming paid for your boob job? 

If you read in Wikipedia it states the followingThe Cinderella complex was first described by Colette Dowling, who wrote a book on women’s fear of independence – an unconscious desire to be taken care of by others. The complex is said to become more apparent as a person grows older. The complex is named after the fairy tale character Cinderella. It is based on the idea of femininity portrayed in that story, where a woman is beautiful, graceful, polite, supportive, hardworking, independent, and maligned by the females of her society, but she is not capable of changing her situations with her own actions and must be helped by an outside force, usually a male (i.e. the Prince).

I recall hearing this phrase in the movie Tootsie when I was a little girl. Sandy, played by Teri Garr is finally explained the truth by Michael, played by Dustin Hoffman. The truth about their relationship and that he is in love with another woman. She goes into a rant…”I read The Second Sex! I read the Cinderella Complex! I’m responsible for my own orgasm; I don’t care! I just don’t like being lied to!

I’ll save my responsible for my…to another time. But even as a young girl I realized there was a negative connotation to these fairy tales. My girls and I are not fairy tale watchers. Now, we do plan to see Cinderella but we stick to Tangled and Frozen mostly. Honetly, they would rather watch Momma Mia. Tangled is about sacrifice for the one you love, not waiting to be saved. As much as I tell my girls, “be ready to take care of yourself” and “don’t think you will marry early”, “don’t get married until you are 30”, I still feel they are receiving these messages. 

Who is responsible for the Cinderella Complex anyway? Is it really the white night we are looking for? Do we get over the first fairy tale only to find there is another lurking right behind it? 

I think back to my own Cinderella Complex. I was 23, college was over. The weddings exploded in the last 2 summers with numerous friends and sorority sisters tying the knot. I was in a long-term relationship and he was finishing school in a semester. Both of us had good jobs and I loved him so why not…here comes the bride! A year later….here comes the baby  (and another) and five years later….here comes the divorce. I look back on that time when all I did was talk about weddings, go to weddings, be in weddings and then plan one and it hits me. My Cinderella Complex wasn’t that a prince was coming to save me, it was the culture of you go to college, you join a sorority, you date/marry either a frat guy or a football player and you pop out a couple of kids. You come back for homecoming and life is all good. I got a B.S., but I also got a M.R.S. That’s the Cinderella story I bought into hook, line and sinker! 

Below are my “What If Shoes.”

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If you notice…yeah…they are Kate Spades! I found them in my favorite shoe store in my college town. I visited “Roomie” and she actually found them. She told me, “you have to buy them…you never know-what if?!”  After I purchased them, I immediately began to imagine, what if…What if I meet someone (or have I already met him) and the stars align. Then there will be this amazing second chance wedding with our kids, our families, our friends. Lots of laughter, love, happiness…Happily Ever After right? I still want it. And don’t sit there and say you don’t want it either.

The main issue with the Cinderella Complex is it continues to develop past the fairy tale. Is the example I am setting for my young daughter’s the one I want them to follow? Fall in love…yes! But my dear darlings…be ready for disappointment, betrayal, lies and heartbreak!? Hell no! Or should we just be honest with ourselves and our daughters-fall in love…yes! But my dear darlings…it’s not all it’s cracked up to be and don’t be too upset when it falls apart. Damn it! I am forever upset that mine continues to fall apart and to hell with you if don’t understand why! Just like Charlotte said…”I’ve been dating since I was 15! I’m exhausted! Where is he?!!!”

I have missed several opportunities to thank and pay homage to the show that is the inspiration of the blog’s title; “Sex and the City”. Let us all bow down. Do you remember, because it’s one of my favorite parts in the first movie? Carrie is reading to Charlotte’s daughter. If I recall correctly, she is reading to her Cinderella. As she finishes, Carrie tries to explain: “You know this is just a story and this is not how it really is.” The little girl agrees, but asks; “can you read it again?” Yes, Yes, Yes! I will read it again and again. It may be false hope, but there is a prince, or a knight, even a thief, a cleats or cowboy…whatever form he is in…he’s out there.

At an early age, “This One” would sketch her wedding dress and bridesmaids.  She would name the members of the party…all the details. I noticed however, there was no groom. “Oh I don’t need one of those.” Proud Momma moment.

You Can Smoke in the Mall in Florence

I started college almost 18 years ago!!!! Just typing that is painful!!!! I went to a good sized school over an hour away from “dimple of the universe.” Far enough away, but close enough if I needed get home I could. My roommate was a close friend who had been in my life since second grade. Oh my, we were so excited AND our older boyfriends had started classes there too. 18, away from home, started pledging a sorority…life was amazing!!! (Sorry for the over use of exclamation points, but I just got really happy thinking about that time of my life.)
We moved into a dorm on campus. We were so proud of our little spot. Down the hall were several sets of amazing young ladies with very similar stories. The main few we spent the most time with, were from another “dimple of the universe.” Also, by the grace of similar advisement, we had very similar class schedules. There were six of us, three rooms that were all out of class by three. Just in time to grab a snack before our favorite show came on. JERRY SPRINGER! Complete trash tv!
Every now and then, when Springer was a rerun, we would try to have adventures. Near our college town, was a large city. None of us grew up with major retail in our towns. We were thrilled to be close to our favorite stores-GAP, The Limited, Express!
On a great afternoon of shopping and girl time, we stopped at the mall’s food court to grab a bite. Now, along with our new found independence, we also had decided to start smoking. No lectures please, pretty sure none of us do now. One of the girls from the other town, pulls out her pack of cigarettes along with a lighter. She begins to light one up…”wait, wait, what are your doing? You can’t smoke in the mall!” I was in shock! “Well”, she said with a very thick small town southern girl accent, “You can smoke in da mall in Florence!” First I was in shock! We all were! After we finished rolling from laughter, I started to think, where is Florence? I had never heard of this place. I found out a few minutes later, it was in north Alabama. I had probably driven through it on my way to the beach. I have met a few people who have mentioned Florence before. University of North Alabama is there and…that’s about it. I had no attachment to this city, no family and no friends directly related to it. Aside from knowing “you can smoke in the mall in Florence”, never gave it a second thought except for a good college story.
Fast forward 18 years!
Tinder works with a few different specifications. Preferences are age, male/female and distance. That’s it. To be practical, I was interested in men less than 40 miles from me. South Nashville and a few counties surrounding. The only thing I wished Tinder would require is “what city do you live in.” It would have been clarifying. Once on Tinder and after a few really great match opportunities I was overwhelmed with Florence guys! I checked and rechecked my location. I emailed the “Help Me Tinder People”-no luck. There was a period of about 6 months that I believed God was trying to show me the dating promise land…Florence, Alabama.
The matches coming from Florence were some of the best I had seen. I still didn’t understand why if my distance was set on 40 miles, how I was connecting with matches from Florence way over 40 miles…but I began not to care.
“Rebel” was what I had been looking for! A bit older than me, but our girls were the exact same ages. Because of the distance and absurdly crazy schedules we had multiple dates over the phone. Seriously, we would plan days out, set a time and decide that we would be in a similar location at our separate houses. Kitchen, porch, bedroom, etc. The main reason we had to resort to phone dating was, he spent half his time in Florence and the other in Tupelo, Mississippi. Originally, from Florence, but that is also the town his family lived in. But, he had clients in North Alabama as well. When he was in Florence he lived in his family’s river house. Our dates in person were like being in a dream. Anytime we actually got to see each other was such a wonderful experience. One reason, it was baseball season. He was a longtime Braves fan and I follow the Cardinals. But that didn’t matter. We watched and talked baseball. For that matter we talked about everything.
Florence wasn’t too far, but Tupelo was. When “Rebel” started talking about me coming to Tupelo…I knew. Then he started spending more and more time in Tupelo for work and less time in Florence. We were on one of our last official phone dates when he began talking about what it would take for me to move to Tupelo! “Me, move to Tupelo?” Umm, over my children’s father’s dead body! More and more, our dates were canceled because he couldn’t get to Florence and more importantly couldn’t get to me. I was really disappointed when we decided to stop seeing each other. I still hear from “Rebel”. He still says, “Hey the next time I’m in Florence…” I do know anytime I am in need of a mid-day laugh, he will answer and we can pick up right where we left off. *(After I wrote this paragraph, I called him. Gosh I do adore that guy!)
“Farmer” wasn’t from Florence….well sorta! He lived 45 minutes from me. Talk about a good time. I never knew what we were getting into! It was smack in the middle of summer and we needed to be on a boat! (And it was so hot, he couldn’t golf!) Golf!!! How many times were our plans put on hold so he could golf! Anyway, back to the boat. We were talking one night after dinner and he said,
“Let’s go to the river, my Mom has a boat!”
“That sounds perfect, where on the River?”
“Just outside of Florence, where I grew up!”
Wait, I thought you were from…? Nope, he lived there a long time but really grew up in Florence! We headed down to the river and all the memories of “Rebel” started coming back. I had a good time with “Farmer”, but I kept wondering about “Rebel”. Along with golf, horses and the river, “Farmer” also really preferred blondes.
Now…let me tell you about the best time I had in Florence!
My best friend “Deb” couldn’t believe I was going to drive to Florence all by myself and meet a guy I had never met. On top of that, she couldn’t believe I had planned to stay down there. “I’m going with you; you are not going by yourself! Tell ‘Squirrel’ to get me a date!”
“Squirrel” was the cutest thing I had seen on Tinder in a while. He was a frat boy-still at the age of 36 . And, one of my favorites. Oh, and he had those “Bama” boy bangs. Born and raised in southern Alabama, he went to college at University of Northern Alabama and never left. Now, let me explain, I am not a University of Alabama fan, but I could listen to him say “Roll Tide” all day long. He also called me darlin’ which just melted my heart! He was a talker and good at it.
“Deb” and I headed to Florence and had been out of town for about 30 minutes. “Deb” turns to me and says, “I can tell you now, I brought my gun!”
As we headed down the highway, of course I had my rollers in my hair we talked about all the things I really liked about “Squirrel”. In 3 weeks, he had become my go to “what are you doing” random text person. We stopped at a Dollar General near his place so I could take my rollers down and touch up my make-up. The plan was to meet, have a cocktail and head out to dinner.
We pull up, my heart is in my throat! It’s like the car is in slow motion. We park, and I can’t get out fast enough. I turn to get my purse and I hear, “Hey darlin!” There he is! I did this unfortunate but uncontrollable clapping, hopping thing! (shaking my head to this day!) You could tell we were both really happy to see each other! “Squirrel” came through and had an equally cute date for “Deb”. Drinks, chatting and we were off!
I guess “Squirrel” and I saw each other off and on that entire summer into the fall. He came to ‘dimple of the universe’ and my friends, along with “Deb” really liked him. We went to dinners, events, just hung out, day drank, Handy Fest, etc. He even met my parents! Yeah, I know! And my girls, AND my ex-husband! Everybody liked him! He was the big winner all the way around. This was really going well! And then I had to think about it. Why, oh why did I have to think about it?
Then I did something I hated doing, even worse than thinking-I stood him up!
Tailgating in the South is a fine art. “Squirrel” was responsible for his fraternity’s alumni tailgating at UNA. He asked me to go with him to Homecoming! Equivalent to being asked to a formal. I already had the perfect tailgating outfit ready! And then, I didn’t go! “Squirrel” was mad, like really mad. I felt terrible. I tried to explain and even did the ill-advised “it’s not you-it’s me” that never makes anyone feel better. I wondered if he would ever speak to me again.
I was so sad, upset, and angry at myself! “Deb” basically forced me to a fish fry-UT football party that Saturday. Most of the day I thought about “Squirrel”. But fate is funny…I met “Cleats” at that party.
This is why “Squirrel” rocks. He has become one of my dearest friends. I probably don’t miss a day or two without talking to him. Bless his heart, he even came to my birthday party months later and stayed the next day while I recovered. I even consulted him prior to writing this blog. He has been there post break up many a time for me and I have been there when things don’t go well for him either. He is a joy to my life and I hope we remain dear friends for years to come.
All of these events and my connections to gentlemen of Florence and other “dimples of the universe” or big cities have made me the person I am today. These events have formed chain reactions in my brain that cause me to make decisions-good, bad or I may not even know yet. But the simple truth is without them all- the joy, the sadness, the hurt, the love; I couldn’t possibly be who I am today.
“Squirrel” and I still don’t see each other often, but I know if I needed to get away…Florence, here I come! Hey that’s not a bad idea! Wonder when “Deb” (minus the gun) and I can head that way?” Hmmmm! Maybe we can go to the mall? “Squirrel” just confirmed, you can’t smoke in the mall in Florence anymore.

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