Richard Pictures

I turned my Instagram privacy settings to public activating a website to find my #bestnineof2017. I forgot to turn them back on. This morning….in my private messages… “A Richard Picture”!

While dating or initially getting to know someone, these could be sent at the beginning of a romantic relationship. Once even sooner than that. How do I explain the shock and disappointment of their first text that contains a picture of a man’s Richard?

I’m not blaming social media or online dating. I’m not blaming pornography or the over sexualization of society. I’m not blaming anyone. My intention is to draw attention to an unwanted harassment that women have been enduring for centuries…we don’t want to see it!

The art world has been full of “Richard Pictures”. The percentage of male nudes in sculpture and paintings far outweighs those of females. I find it interesting that we have been looking at “Richard Pictures” for 100s of years! Even the cavemen! That’s right since the beginning of time, we’ve had to put up with this.

2017 has been full of numerous assaults on far more than our eyes. Men and women are in a state of daily sexual assaults and abuses in all levels. In a recent interview with Sam Sanders, host of Its Been a Minute, Rachel Brosnahan, Star of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel made comments in reference to the #metoo movement and her role on House Of Cards with Kevin Spacey. Spacey was one of the first to be named in the sexual assault wave. She asked that we focus on the amazing people doing outstanding work in our communities and societies stopping our constant conversations about this matter. Brosnahan: “It’s been one of the things that has been the most frustrating about this. I’m on a show that is also a part, one part of a very multifaceted solution. As I said to you earlier, this is a show that is created, written, directed and produced by an extraordinary woman and an extraordinary man about an extraordinary woman. This is a show that lifts women up, that highlights their battles, that employs them in front of and behind the camera. And so let’s stop talking about these terrible men and start talking about women who are creating exciting content, the courage of the women who have come forward, the fact that Robin (Wright) is taking over this show and she deserves that.”

Thank you Instagram user anon861 for this post. I have put the matter to rest and will turn my focus to the fabulous upcoming year. Bring it on 2018! The past 12 months haven’t brought us the best examples of love, decency and humanity. I know 2018 has the potential to give us another opportunity to be more appropriate professionally, socially and personally.


And Your Tinder Match Received 4 Stars!

Many advances have helped the online dating sites. However, I need one more. I need a rating. I need the feedback of others who have been out with these guys. Especially those who don’t write anything in their bio. Who are you? I realize you like to hunt, fish, ride your Harley, skydive…and play the guitar but I need more.

Just a simple star rating is fine. I don’t typically eat at restaurants or purchase clothes with less than 3 out of 4 stars, so the same would apply here. But I also read the reviews. I realize there is always someone who can’t be pleased but the input is greatly appreciated.

For this development,  a few questions to be considered in the review section.

  1. Did he actually take you on a date? Yes, sometimes there is no intention of a date. I was asked recently to come over and snuggle. Ummm…I don’t know you, know where you live or know what your hygiene habits are! And further…what if you have bad breath, haven’t washed your sheets or your have like a million cats or dogs. Or, like to turn on the lights. I went to a guys house once and asked to use the restroom. He took me through the entire house in total darkness. Then I had to find my way back to the living room where there were no lights on except the TV. He asked if I wanted to stay.I said, no. I was afraid to see what the place looked like in the daylight.
  2. Did you have to plan the date or did he? yes, I am not kidding here either. He: Let’s meet. Me: That sounds like a great idea. Where would you like to go? When? What time works for you? He: Idk . . . . . . . .  Me: Well let’s meet at X on Saturday at 5. He: Idk. . . . . . . Me: Here’s my number, just text me. (123)555-7890. Saturday rolls around…and crickets. Why are you here dude? Why are you taking up space?
  3. Are you permanent to the area? Most apps are set up by location. My filter is set for less than 40 miles from my current location. So if a guy drives an 18-wheeler and I live 15 miles from the interstate, then he’s in my potential matches. And, they usually list their career as self-employed. I have learned how to spot a tractor trailer cab in a selfie in a snap! Or, are you here to visit your grandmother for 2 weeks or just stopped at the Cracker Barrell to eat on your way to or from the beach? I talked to a guy for an hour before I realized we matched while he stopped for gas and he was already home….in Cincinnati!
  4. Do you plan on actually meeting who you match with? I can text my friends, my mother, my brother…I don’t plan on texting you more than a day. Plan a date or move on buddy.
  5. Does he text you inappropriate things…immediately? To be perfectly honest, once in a relationship, a little fun t*(s)exting is really a good time. However….Well, just check out my message from this morning: tinder-postIt took 5 minutes for him to go there. And there are a variety of guys with fetishes. I am not judging them for it…you do you, but please don’t think that because I am on Tinder, that I would like to have a personal relationship with your dog! Yeah, wish I had that on a screenshot. And these are nice guys, with good jobs. They live in a nice area. On Tinder, you can’t judge a profile by its cover.
  6. Are they divorced? Are they in an open relationship? Does their significant other know they are telling women on Tinder they are in an open relationship or that they are already dating because their first meeting was with the divorce attorney is this week? “I’ll be divorced in a few months.” “I’m nearly divorced.” “She knows I am on Tinder, that’s why I put her pictures with me on my profile.” Yes, I am not kidding, they post pics of their significant others. Just wait until you recognize someone.
  7. And the kids. I will almost always swipe left, meaning a no, if there are any kids in the pics. Even the ones who say, “the kids in the pics are my nieces/nephews.” I don’t care! What makes you think, I am interested in how you smile with kids for pictures?
  8. Current/Previous Hang ups: Have you or are you currently in drug rehabilitation? No offense to the good people of a county nearby, but if a guys is on Tinder and from there…I immediately think he’s in a half way house staying sober. True story! And it all worked out. He was lovely, but still…really…is that a good idea to match with a girl who has a glass of wine in one of her pictures. Political status? Huge. One app, Bumble  will even let you put a filter around your pics. I appreciate that tremendously. Are you worried I may be taller than you? This is why they put their height on their profiles. Guess what? I will be taller than you more than likely. I like heels. Does it bother you that I am smart, carry on a conversation, live in my hometown, go to church…and enjoy it, etc.

Due to my unfortunate abundance of experience, I’d be happy to serve on a panel to have post date interviews and award a rating. The earning potential for time management alone would be worth it. I am sure there is money to be made or it is hopefully already in development. Until then, I will keep taking screenshots and texting these to my friends. Here is a thought.  If you are interested in being in this little experiment, go to my Facebook or Twitter profiles. Let me know you’d like to “judge” my matches and I’ll send you their profiles.

Facebook: @sexandthemotherhood

Twitter: @satmotherhood

Why even bother, you may be asking? For starters, the amount of laughter these incidents create is immeasurable. I’d give some of these conversations 4 stars. The issue is, without appropriate guidance, you can waste an evening, up to months with a guy whom, if you had had a little review, all of this waste of time could have been avoided. Two weeks ago, I fired up the ole Tinder again and I haven’t regretted it once. I’ve been out on three dates in two weeks. That was better than I was doing, right? And, just to be completely transparent, the fall is coming and the season of hiberdating is upon us. I’d really like to be settled and snuggled on a couch by the first frost…but not on the first date

Is It Better to Burn Out or Fade Away…Current State of Current Relationships

I have recently fired up the online dating again. Thought it would be good to distract me from others I have been thinking of often. So far, I am yet again fairly popular. I have no trouble setting up dates and further more, having good dates. I showed up Monday to one in my workout clothes, ponytail and mostly sweated off make up. And again…success! He loved me. What happens next is what I struggle with the most. These great dates lead to burn outs or the relationships just fade away.

High Fidelty…Is it better to burn out or fade away.

I would really like to know how to keep the momentum going after a great date.  Am I blowing it all on the first date and they are done with me? That’s the burn out. Worse I think is if the momentum continues through multiple dates and then-“fade away”. Conversations change, lose excitement. Tones change, become boring and not even worth my time.

But is it worth my time? Today as I was explaining my frustrations to a work friend, I realized I was describing a relationship that I had been wanting and asking for. I hear from him on a regular basis. We have casual dates on a regular basis. He is caring and smart. He can talk to me and lets me talk.

I may possibly be okay with the current situation if it weren’t for the fact that I feel something is missing. When I was in college and dating my now ex-husband we were hanging out at a friend’s apartment. One of the girls said, “hey-who has my Baby Makin Music CD?” And so it begins…an entire CD solely based on 90’s and early 2000’s R&B. Those old school slow dance or slow “whatever” songs. The ones the boy put on when he drove out to Albert Matthews Road. This is where the girl acting like she didn’t know what was about to go down. “Where are we going?” as she finishes her 2nd Bud Ice. One of my favorites; LL Cool J. “Doin It and Doin It and Doin It Well” Remember this one?

Doin It

Where did that kind of excitement go?

Here’s my point, is it me or is it him or is it us? No sparks and I continue or give up and wait on sparks? And always, always, in the back of my mind-IS THIS WORTH GETTING HURT OVER?

I was driving home tonight, damn Adele came on. When will her music stop being my biography?! The hurt and pain is still there. I survived a damn divorce while I was pregnant! I came out strong and ready to love again. Where did those feelings go? I avoid relationships that matter like a stomach bug!

“If, this is my last night with you, hold me like I’m more than just a friend. Give me a memory I can use. Take me by the hand and do what lovers do. It matters how this ends, cause WHAT IF I NEVER LOVE AGAIN.”-Adele

“Designing” a Community of Man Children

I have considered a relationship with a long time friend. There was always something about him. He approached me several months ago about this possibility. I never really took it very seriously because he was currently in a relationship. Not a marriage, but had a girlfriend. However, this week he texted me. He explained that the relationship was ending and did I feel there was any chance for us. I told him that I would like to discuss it. He said he had sometime this weekend. Well, today I got impatient waiting so I texted him and asked if he was busy today. He responded: “Sally, I’ve got shit to do for a while today…maybe later on.” I called “bullshit” and explained “I find that hard to believe.” Then he said, “Football is on…” His proposal of discussing a potential relationship with me had to wait on football? And I like football, would have been a lovely companion. Through this process, I have adopted a new practice; I don’t give second chances. I hope he likes his football and a relationship with his hand.

Friday afternoon a guy wanted to make plans with me. We will call it a date. The plan was he would call me when he got off work. We had really been struggling to set a date, so it appeared that our early afternoon plans would finally happen. I didn’t hear from him again until Saturday night at 9:21 pm. “I fell asleep on the couch and woke up at 6. Figured you were already out.” I responded today, Sunday morning, “OK”. No second chances.

I have a friend, you may call our relationship a “bromance”. He is recently divorced, I honestly don’t think the ink is dry. Since his marriage crumbled, he and I have mentored each other. So, let’s call him what he is, “Mentor”. He is the one that introduced me to Neil Strauss and “The Game.” He now has me reading “Mate” by Tucker Max and Geoffrey Miller, PHD. I’m supposed to be reading it from a women’s perspective…that’s a little difficult, but anyway. We were having one of our marathon conversations today and I made a statement I have been wanting to say for a while. “I am extremely disappointed in the culture and community of men to date these days.” And the “mentor” agreed. Then he, a man, a single man said, “We have a huge abundance of man children running around.” YES!

The married community doesn’t understand the difference in dating and hooking up. I was asked, “so what are you looking for?” My response is what it always is. I want someone to go to dinner with one night a week when I don’t have my girls. I want plans with said person every other weekend. A date to special events and if things go well, I’d may like to travel with this person. “So, you want a hook up?” No, that’s not it at all. Hook ups are easy. I have at least 5 numbers right now I could call and make that happen. If I were bored a ten minute trip to a bar and an hour later, you can have that. What I want is incredibly difficult when you have man children to work with. There is also this notion that because I have a mid level of professional success, along with an abundance of confidence and that I am the mother of two children, I am “difficult to date.” What about the statement above of what I require makes me difficult? If anything, it would seem to be dumbed down to a way that even a mere child could comprehend. But I digress, we are dealing with man children.

Some may say, I am man hating or bashing men. You could say that if I didn’t have research and experience to prove my case. I have made this challenge before. I dare you to date me, just as I have requested above. Just what I thought…it’s too easy. Man children aren’t accustomed to easy…well not that kind of easy anyway.

I will accept my fault in the role of creating man children. I’ve attempted to make myself easy to date like many single women and we have ruined men in the process. The continued participation and acceptance of the practices for online dating is not helping either. And let me be clear, it doesn’t matter if you pay for the site or not. It doesn’t matter if you spent hours on a questionnaire or just put the best selfie you have on the profile. Man children are there too. Again, making ourselves easy to date. Her is some very fundamental advice from southern belle extraordinaire-Suzanne Sugarbaker. Too bad I wasn’t listening to her in my more formative years.

Notes: a man in intensive care doesn’t sound too bad these days. Also, I don’t play hard to get. “Advertise and then withhold.” Now that’s something I can work with. “It never hurts to hurt them a little bit in the beginning.”-Suzanne Sugarbaker

Now, I do realize this will lower my success rate, but it can’t get any worse. Just like last night. I was at a party…could have made a phone call or two (or five). Instead, I just sat back and watched others, went to bed early. Woke up and spent the day in bed with my friend “Grace”. Ate pasta and chocolate while watching hours of Designing Women episodes.

All, I’m saying is that would it hurt the man children if we said less “yes” and maybe more “not this time.” The men are like spoiled children and maybe a little discipline won’t be too bad. Parents always say, “this is going to hurt me more than its going to hurt you.” Boy, at this rate, I’m going to need a pain pill. I’ve wasted so much energy on man children.

Just one more thing….“And I don’t mean that bitchy.”










We Should Be Ashamed!


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.

Peace to You All,


Sex and the Fatherhood?

First of all I would like to thank Sally for asking me to guest write in her blog. I thought about how to get started, and I think the best way is to tell you a little about me and my past. I am 44 years old, single with two kids. My daughter will be 15 shortly after I send this to Sally, and my son’s 18th birthday is in about 6 weeks. I have been married twice. About 6 years to my kids mom, and briefly to my soulmate, about 11 years ago. My first marriage didn’t work out, but we have stayed friends and we have raised our kids together. She is happily married to a great man that loves my children and treats them as his own. I  feel very blessed that she found a good guy.
The second marriage is the hardest to explain to people. I was actually trying to be set up on a blind date by my cousin. When I finally realized who she was talking about, my heart jumped up into my throat, and I couldn’t believe I was hearing this name. You see, wife number 2, was someone who I had been “drawn” to my whole life. We had crossed paths a few times and in every instance, I felt a wave of “something” come over me. I sat in front of her for a whole year in study hall when I was a sophomore and she was a senior. I was very shy. She was two years older and I tried not to stare at her blue eyes, but she would catch me every now and then and flash that awesome smile. I for some reason summed up the courage to tell her that I was going to marry her one day. Needless to say, I got a weird look from her, and although she smiled, it was a very awkward moment for me. I have no clue what made me say that.
We met at our matchmakers house, and we instantly hit it off. I was on cloud 9. We married shortly after, ummmmm..we eloped on April Fools Day. We knew nobody would believe us and it is a great story that we tell and laugh about. She is the one responsible for my writing. She opened up my heart and made me comfortable with speaking my true feelings, without fear, without holding back anything. She was my soulmate and I was hers. I remember telling her a story about a day I saw her at the lake when we were about 16 and 18. She asked, “How do you remember that?” My answer, ” I remember every time I ever saw you.”
Do you watch romantic movies? I know you probably do. I do too. I am one of those hopeless romantics that get caught up in the story and I always seem shocked at the tragic ending. My story doesn’t end in tragedy, other than the fact that our relationship only lasted a year.There was a 10 year gap, with no contact. I gradually got over the crushing heartbreak and sort of moved on. Then last year, our paths crossed again by chance. I had another “greatest year of my life.” It ended the same way. Nothing really bad, just maybe we are not meant to be with our soul mates forever.
I recently went out with a girl I met on Tinder. She told me up front that she was searching for her soulmate, and would not stop until she found him. We had a great day in North Alabama. We went to eat early, walked in the park, I went with her so she could get a pedicure, and somehow, I got talked into getting one. I really liked it! It was really nice having someone just to spend the day with. We ended the evening with a movie. I really liked her honesty, even though she promptly let me know that she didn’t feel that “spark”. I wanted to inform her that when she did find him,  the word “spark” wouldn’t come close to describing the feeling.
So there is some of my past. This blog is about dating in today’s world. The struggles we all face, putting ourselves “out there” again. This time we all have different challenges facing us. Kids, jobs (I work third shift) and everything else, and it is so hard to date in 2015. I have run into the same things as Sally has, and we share stories sometimes. (no names)
Sally and I actually met on Tinder shortly after my second break up, with “soulmate”. I was so tickled that this beautiful woman had “swiped right” I was a mess  The thing is I didn’t realize it at the time. I read her blog, scrolled though and caught up on her past entries. I realized suddenly that there are two people involved in this dating thing. I knew I wasn’t ready. I thanked her and went on my way to heal, fully. Can we do that though? I am in a good place now and I feel like I am ready to put myself out there, with no looking back.
Now, I stand here, peering out over the vast sea of fish wondering if one of them is the right one for me. The right one for me at this stage of my life.I am sure there is, but finding her is going to be a challenge. I look forward to that journey, it has already been tough though. I have had a “no show Jones” after weeks and weeks of texting, Facebooking, playing Words with Friends. I don’t know what happened, and I haven’t asked.I have had a “cold feet” reaction after asking a girl out and getting a yes. I don’t take it hard though, because they are like me. Insecure about some things, protective of their hearts, and probably have the same  feeling of standing on a ledge and scared to take a leap of faith. That’s what putting ourselves out there really is, isn’t it? Maybe I will share some of my adventures in the future if Sally will let me.Who knows? I might have only one more first date to ever experience. Is that likely? I am sure I will have
plenty to talk about as I continue down this new fork in the road.

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.