Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Dating Pool

I estimate that there are 850,000 unmarried white women aged 32-52 within a 60 or so mile radius of my home. I'm ruling our married women as part of my Don't Be a Douchebag commitment. And I'm ruling out ethnicities other than white because I am physically attracted only to white women, and I want my next relationship to be physical to make up for the virtual sexlessness of the last 15 years of my loveless marriage.

Of the SWFs, I reckon 42,500 are lesbians, leaving 807,500 in the pool. I'm going to want to date someone from the right side of the bell curve (although exceptional hotness may be substituted for smartness up to a point), so the pool of potential partners is reduced to 201,880 women.

Then I have to figure in my subjective preferences. I have a type (Catherine Zeta Jones, Tanya Memme, Nigella Lawson, but a woman doesn't necessarily have to be a curvy brunette to be attractive to me. Hell, I was married to a scrawny blonde woman for 26 years. Based on a very unscientific survey consisiting of my keeping loose track of the times I have thought to myself "I'd tap that" compared to the total number of women who come into my field of vision, I figure that I could be attracted to no more than 20% of women. I'm not saying 80% of women are unattractive, just that they don't do anything for me. This gets me down to 40,376 women whom I would consider dating.

Of these demographically and subjectively qualified potential partners, I reckon that about half of them will have dealbreaking personality or character flaws. They may have voted for McCain/Palin, for one example. Or their kids could be such unbearable shits that I'd have to question their mother's judgment as a human being for letting them get that way. Now I'm down to 20,188 women who might be acceptable to me.

Of these acceptable women, given that they are intelligent and attractive, at least half of them will be in committed relationships and therefore unavailable. That leaves 10,094 ladies.

By far the largest winnower of remaining potential mates will be whether they will want to have anything to do with me. Will I meet their criteria? I'm guessing that at least half, especially on the younger end of my acceptable age range, will not be able to get past the fact that I'm 52 years old. That leaves me with 5,047 ladies. I'm not a bad looking guy, and I won't always have the paunch I'm sporting now, but I figure at least half of the remaining ladies will not be attracted to me in the least for one reason or another. I'm not their type; they like long hair or beards; whatever. They'll take one look at me and say "hell no". So, I'm down to 2,523.5. Half of these ladies just plain won't like my personality after talking to me for two minutes. Now I'm down to 1,261.75 potential mates.

I will encounter only a small fraction of these remaining ladies. They'll be on an on line dating site, or they'll be members of my church, or a mutual acquaintance will introduce us, or I'll pick them up in some singles venue. Most of the potential mates will never even know I exist. I'll probably encounter no more than 50 women in the next six months.

Maybe I should look into those Russian women who are so keen to meet me.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Still Working on Scripts

Another script that keeps coming up is "You're lazy!"

My defense? No contest. I am lazy. I know it. I really like limin' and doing nothing.

I'm not sure there's anything wrong with that as long as I get my work done.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

More Scripts

Another script that runs in my head is "You're an ingrate!"

My answer these days? "No, I am a person who happens to have been ungrateful at times." I'm not immutably ungrateful by nature. If I were, would I even be aware of my ingratitude or capable of the gratitude I feel right now and which grows stronger every day?

I have not always been as grateful as I ought to have been, indeed as I would have been if I knew then what I knew now. In many cases, there is time to make amends and to express gratitude belatedly. In other cases, I can pledge to pay forward what I received, and I can take comfort in knowing that in most cases the gifts I received were freely given with no expectation of thanks.

There are other scripts to which I may make analogous retorts. I am NOT inconsiderate; I just haven't always shown the consideration that I ought to have done. I am NOT selfish; I just happen to have failed to seize on all the opportunities I have had to be generous. I don't need to internalize every misstep and failure as a character flaw. I can confess my faults and move on knowing that I am capable of improvement.

In the past, I always failed to distinguish between what I had done or failed to do and who I am. Then the scripts had me. If I denied being an ingrate, a bill of particulars consisting of a series of instances of ingratitude could be brought against me. If I denied being inconsiderate, then here would come the indictments in the form of every little instance of inconsideration. And so on with every human failing. I was not just a sinner; I was sin itself.

I'm not claiming that I have conquered the scripts, not by a long shot. But recognizing them for what they are should be a big help to me in practicing self forgiveness and being open to self improvement.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It Ain't About Deservin'

In my solitude of late, I have been able to identify a number of the scripts that run in my mind and unconsciously affect my behavior and mood. The most persistent of these is "I don't deserve to be loved/I'm not worthy of love" or some variation on that theme.

I'm confronting the script with a big fat "so what!" Of course, I don't "deserve" to be loved and am not "worthy" of love. Nobody is. Love is not an entitlement. It is freely given, an act of grace which cannot be earned or demanded. It wouldn't really be love if you could cash in your chips in exchange for it.

My very existence is testament to the love that God has for me. He so arranged the universe that I would come to be in it and live in it. What an amazing gift. And He sent Jesus and claimed me as His own, all before I was even born. There's no issue of deserts or worthiness with God.

The same goes for people. I don't have claims on their love. Nevertheless, I find it freely given and coming from unexpected quarters.

The script can run all it wants but its power over me is fading. It is true that I am unworthy and undeserving of love, but is also true that I am, in fact, beloved. This is a powerful and important realization for me.

Now my focus is turning away from wanting to be loved and more to wanting to love. The prayer of St Francis comes often into my thoughts and as part of my prayers. The salient portion in this case being:

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I Emote

So I'm off sertraline which I've taken for 12 plus years (I took something else before that but don't remember what and Prozac before that). I've been on some kind of anti-anxiety, mood regulating medication for a couple of decades, and now I feel like Commander Data after his emotion chip was installed.

The anxiety has not returned so far. Sure, I get anxious, but it seems to be the normal response to normal anxiety provoking contexts, and it does not persist after the stimulus is gone. Also, excessive caffeine consumption has the expected results.

What I am having difficulty with is the intensity of the mostly positive emotions I am experiencing. I can't talk about the incredible outpouring of love and support that I have received without shedding tears. I get weepy over moving song lyrics or bathetic moments in movies or books. I cry over starving children and the victims of war in newscasts. I tear up when I feel gratitude. I weep tears of joy when I feel joy. WTF? Shouldn't I have some other mode of emotional expression in my arsenal?

On the other hand, I have been enjoying full on, unreserved laughter like I have not experienced in decades (sometimes, you guessed it, until tears run down my face). I feel love, hope, peace and joy like I have not felt them before.

I want this to wear off to the extent that I don't totally wear out my tear ducts, but I also want to keep on feeling deeply. If I could do it without the waterworks, I'd be better than OK. If I have to keeop the waterworks, I'd rather live with that than go back to numbness.

How do you humans cope with these emotions and control your physical responses?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Crazy Day

This was my "day off", so I tried to cram as many appointments in it as I could. First thing, I see a urologist who diagnoses me with "hypogonadism". I knew it! I had been fatigued, gaining weight, unable to increase weights at the gym, and lacking in the libido department. I got a prescription for a testosterone gel. Then labs to see why my earlier liver function test was abnormal. Then stuck in traffic while a downed power line was fixed. Then an allergy shot, Then a $20 sandwich to fo from Panera. WTF?

I made a quick stop at Blue Seal to get bird seed (Neat Feast, the birder's secret) and some woodpecker cakes. I hit the pharmacy to fill my new rx only to discover that my shitty insurance prefers a different brand and won't pay. So it's back to the urologist for a new scrip which I return to the drug store. Then home to check in on the dogs and activate my "Androgel Savings Card".

Then a massage. Ahhhhhhhh. Don't forget the liquor store since the former Mrs Vache Folle is coming over to pick up some of her stuff.

Then go to church and meet with a "Stephen Minister". I didn't expect this to be helpful but it was. I'm meeting him again next week. I was exhausted from weeping and dealing with issues I had been avoiding.

Then back to get my precious testosterone and some tomatoes for the salad I'm making for the former Mrs VF. She's gotta eat doesn't she? I finally decompress a bit and check my work e-mails. Deal with a crisis and then go for a "jog" (60% power walk).

Feed and medicate the dogs. Relax a moment. Former Mrs VF is effing here already? Make her a salad, pour her some wine. Pack her some cookware because her lover's ex took all his. Make her take the goddam frozen duck that I had bought for a special dinner for the weekend before she left.

Take her to the train (Jasper comes along for the ride) and try to explain to her how badly I felt about how I had acted when she dropped the bomb on me and why I had done so. Got weepy. Gave her the mini bottles bottles of wine I had bought her for her train ride. Helped her carry the bags up the platform and onto the train. Wished her a fond farewell.

Got back to her car, which we had taken and which she was leaving at the house and realized I did not have a key to it. Pit bull and wallet were inside. Convinced Mexican limo driver to risk reaching into window cracked for pit bull to unlock car and take pit bull and dumbass home.

Blogged about big day. Wished had kept some mini bottles of wine.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Where I grew up, a lot of folks reckoned that dancing was sinful and incited youth to lust. So nobody ever taught us how to dance. Sure, we had dances in high school. Homecoming, the Sweetheart Dance, the Junior-Senior Prom. But nobody actually knew how to dance. We'd just "freestyle", i.e. wiggle and hop around as the music moved us and like we saw in movies. Slow dancing was just hugging while standing up and shuffling around. There were just the three dances all year, and none of us ever got any better. I certainly didn't. Even Baptist weddings didn't involve dancing.

By the time I got to college, the disco era was in full gear. So we learned a couple of stupid moves involving swinging our partners around a little and emulating the dancers on Saturday Night Fever. The dance floors in the clubs were usually too packed for most people to do much in the way of moving around, so we usually just reverted to winging it like we did in high school.

Only by then I was considerably more confident, no longer being a total dateless loser, and I felt free to innovate in my dance moves. This consisted primarily of looking disinterested most of the time while barely moving or getting really creative. My creativity generally involved pantomiming in a highly stylized fashion some sort of activity, such as fly fishing. I'd cast an imaginary line and reel it in, reel it in. Sometimes, if the music moved me, I'd catch a fish. Other movements I would deploy included "starting the mower", "rowing the boat", and "calling the dog". Later on I moved up to "riding the pony" and "sailing the sunfish". Throughout my career as a very bad dancer, I could always fall back on the old familiar "pancake breakfast".

I was blissfully unaware that I was not an excellent dancer until my wife and I and another couple went to a swing dance at Glen Echo back in the mid 1980s and saw what real dancers looked like. My wife couldn't dance, either. I thought she was worse even than I was, although I never had the heart to mention it.

Last year or the year before, I signed us up for a group dance class at my gym. I missed the first class because of a business trip. At the second class, the instructors kept referring to me as a cautionary example for the other students. I was so humiliated I didn't want to go back, and Mrs Vache Folle didn't press the point. I think she was embarrassed to be the partner of the spaz.

Now I'm single again with a lot of free time of the evenings, and I've signed up for private dance lessons with Lyudmilla and Yevginniy. I don't have a partner, and I don't know that dancing with another non-dancer will help me much, so I decided not to go the group lesson route. I hope that I am teachable.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

2000th Blog Post

It's hard to believe that this is post number 2,000 on this blog.

The next 2,000 posts will find me in changed circumstances now that I'm single again and now that I am embarking on a whole new phase of my life. I am excited and optmistic about being a happier, more loving person now that my zombie marriage has been put down.

One thing I'm finding out about myself is that it can get pretty lonely. Don't get me wrong. I'm not the kind of person who has to be with other people all the time, but I do miss having someone to cook for and watch movies with.

I want to start dating again and take a chance on finding a friend and lover to share my life with. This time I aim to do it right and to be more demonstrative about my feelings and more sexually engaged. I'm still getting my sexual equipment repaired even though I have no immediate prospects of putting it to use.

I'm hoping friends will try to set me up and that I will meet women as I get out in the community more. I'm thinking of joining community theatre, taking yoga classes, dance lessons, getting a life.

I've also signed up for Match.com and Chemistry.com, the online dating services. So far I'm a real hit with Nigerian scam artists and women who look like they could be my mother. The scammers contact me and claim to like my profile and set up on line chats in which they are way too friendly and in which they reveal that they are currently in Nigeria/Ghana/Malaysia to buy stuff for their businesses. Of course, they are entrepreneurs. Their poor command of English and evasiveness give them away, and I have not been scammed out of any money. I did some research on line and discovered that the next step is to get your pathetic lonely ass hooked and then ask for you to deposit a money order for them and send them the cash. Fortunately for me, I am not that pathetic and desperate, and I'm not stupid, either.

I have exchanged some e-mails with some actual nice ladies who really exist and are looking for guys like me, and I have spoken on the phone to a couple of them. I have a "date" to call a woman on Monday. I've gotten some polite rejections based on geographical distance and my legal status (separated, not divorced). Mostly, my "winks" and e-mails just get ignored. It's been just a few days, so I'm still hopeful.

I think I'm a pretty good prospect. I'm smart, a professional, not bad looking (if you discount the belly fat I'm working on losing), and funny. I'm not especially nutty. I'm not controlling. I'm not even that picky. I'll date women with children, women my age, women who are not beauty queens, women who are flawed.

Maybe this will be fun. If it isn't, I'll just have to go the mail order bride route ;).

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Got Better

Prayer, fasting, soul searching, letting myself feel and crying like a baby, receiving prayers and words of comfort from friends. All these things have helped me realize that I will get through this. I find that I'm not only getting through this thing, but I am growing and learning.

I was in a panic about being all alone in the world. I have enjoyed an outpouring of love and support from friends and from my church and even readers of this blog. I have been prayed about and comforted and loved, and I have been moved to tears by it. I'm not alone.

Getting this panic out of the way has helped me acknowledge that my marriage has been in a zombie state for a long time. Mrs Vache Folle had the strength and courage to pull the plug, and I admire her for it. I have come to accept and to affirm her decision, and I aim to do anything I can as a loving friend to help her in this transition. I love her enough to know that letting her go is the most loving thing I can do.

I'm learning about gratitude. I'm thankful for the good times we had together and for her lovingkindness and solicitude over the years even when things were rocky. I'm thankful for the friendship I expect we will have in the future. I'm thankful for my friends and loved ones, and I aim to be a better friend, return love more freely and openly and pay it forward whenever I can. I thank God for my life and for the plans He has for me, and I am optimistic about my prospects for happiness and a fuller life. I thank Mrs VF for having the courage to to move on.

I'm learning about fear, how being afraid all the time is sucking the life out of me. I don't even know what it is I'm afraid of; it's just the default setting of my emotions since I was a child. I'm definitely afraid to feel, and the profound feelings I have been experiencing lately have allowed me to see that my feelings aren't going to destroy me. In fact, suppressing them will kill me if I keep it up. When I was a boy, I lived in a household where fear, dread and anxiety were constants, and I wonder if I somehow got stuck.

Thanks to my blog readers who offered words of encouragement and the rest of you whom I know have prayed for me. I'm getting better, and I expect to end up a better man, a better friend and closer to God out of all this.

Friday, June 04, 2010

I am Bereft

Despite promises to go to counseling and to work things out, Mrs Vache Folle left me this morning. She thought I would be gone, but my carpool companion was late. It was as if her feelings for me had totally switched off between breakfast and 9:00 am. Seriously, I am lower than whale shit as far as she is concerned, utterly undeserving of any consideration. Needless to say, it was a kick in the balls, and I have been on several crying jags since this morning. This is the first time I have felt seriously suicidal in my life. If I didn't think Mrs Vache Folle would gleefully cash the insurance check and spend it on her lover, I would have eaten a shotgun by now.

I feel as if I never knew the woman. She was always so decent.

I just want to disappear.

Thursday, June 03, 2010


Last year I was told that my testosterone level was low, but I didn't do anything about it. Now I have come to understand that low testosterone can lead to low energy, depression, weight gain, incomplete erections and problems with orgasm. I have all these issues in spades, and now I am trying to become sexually active again. Therefore, I am going to see a urologist. Perhaps he can tinker with my medications and give me hormone supplements so I can make love again without the frustration of marathon sessions with belated or no happy endings for me.

I changed my primary care physician and was advised by him that the sertraline I have been taking for ten years kills your sexual sensitivity. I am lowering my dose and weaning off it to see if I can come to full attention and cope with my anxiety neurosis.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

My Memorial Day Weekend

I arranged a weekend getaway for Mrs Vache Folle and myself in the hope that a change of scene might help us talk things out. We had a very nice time, but I don't know if it did any good in the marriage saving department. We'll see.

Meanwhile, I have to rave about our terrific experience in the Berkshires. Every aspect of the trip was wonderful, and I would like to publicize to the world (or at least to my three or four readers) how much we enjoyed the bed and breakfast, restaurants and other amenities in the area.

First off, let me state that I chose our B&B based on its very helpful and professionally designed website. The same went for the horseback riding stable and one of the restaurants where we dined. Being able to transact business and make inquiries by e-mail is important to me, and the businesses I chose had that capability.

We drove up the Taconic to Route 23 to Route 7 on Saturday morning. Although the day was overcast with intermittent rain, it was a lovely drive. We drove through Great Barrington and stopped for lunch in Stockbridge at a little bistro called Michaels. We shared a bleu cheese burger. The staff was attentive, and the sandwich was enjoyable. Stockbridge was quaint and picturesque as just you'd expect from a New England town.

It was too early to check into our B&B when we got to Lee, so we decided to take in some attractions. We were turned away from the Mount, Edith Wharton's mansion, because of a private event, so we made our way to the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield instead. This is a well preserved example of a once thriving Shaker community with extensive gardens and buildings and lots of Shaker artifacts. Knowledgeable docents are positioned throughout the site. I bought a Shaker style straw hat which came in handy when the sun came out.

We then checked into The Applegate Bed & Breakfast in Lee. This is a 1920s Gatsbyesque structure situated on 6 acres of gardens and manicured lawns. We were booked into the carriage house in a well appointed suite with modern conveniences and antique charm. The television was hidden behind a wall painting. There was a very comfortable king sized bed, a kitchenette, a sitting area with a gas fireplace, and a huge bath with a walk in shower and oversized jacuzzi tub. I had arranged for wine and cheese in the room, and the innkeepers supplied brandy as a matter of course. The room was very comfortable, and I could imagine spending a great deal of time in it.

Wine and cheese are served in the parlor of the main house at 5:00, and this presented an opportunity to mingle with the other guests and share stories about our holidays and suggestions for sightseeing and dining. A delightful breakfast was served from 8:00-10:00 in the dining room. In back of the main house is a heated swimming pool which we enjoyed on a very hot and sunny Sunday. The innkeepers, Len and Gloria Friedman, and their manager, Pam, were hospitable and helpful in every way. We enjoyed our stay very much and will (if we don't get divorced) return.

On Sunday morning, we made our way up to the town of Lennox and the Aspinwall Equestrian Center. This riding stable abuts Kennedy Park, a square mile or so of bridle/hiking/biking/jogging/dog walking trails on the former site of a luxury hotel which burned down in the 1930s. Our guide, Dan, was a local man who was both amiable and capable. Based on a phone converation we had had some days earlier, he had selected a pair of horses, George aka Jumbo for me and Shadow for Mrs Vache Folle. He rode the lead horse Lucky and I followed on George with Mrs VF's taking up the rear on Shadow. George was an enormous beast, and I towered over my wife and her steed. Both our horses were well mannered except for trying to stop to eat all the time if we did not check them, and we had an enjoyable two hour ride through the park, up and down hills, and in the woods. I liked it so much that I booked another one hour ride for the next day.

The stable boasts a number of Icelandic horses which look like living versions of My Little Pony. All of the animals, even down to the Manx barn cats, appeared to be well looked after.

We dined Saturday at Chez Nous in downtown Lee. This was a very busy French restaurant. The service was excellent and the food was remarkable. The atmosphere was a little crowded and bright for my liking, but I would definitely eat there again. Mrs VF had pan seared scallops with a heavenly sauce, and, unheard of for her, she cleaned her plate. I had a very nice locally grown Berkshire pork loin with truffle mashed potatoes and a bowl of seafood soup.

On Sunday we dined at Perigee, a continental restaurant in South Lee on the advice of some of our fellow guests at Applegate. Mrs VF had scallops again, this time with shrimp with risoto and a delicious cilantro pesto. I had the jamabalaya and would place my meal in the top 100 meals in my lifetime. The lighting was more romantic at Perigee than at Chez Nous, although it was just as busy.

For lunch on Monday, we ate fish and chips and fried oysters at Salmon Run in Lee. It was quite nice.

We finally toured the Mount on Monday on our way to the stable for our second ride. The house and grounds have been very nicely renovated, and the tour affords an opportunity to learn a great deal about Edith Wharton. The nearby Morgan mansion Ventfort, which is in the early stages of renovation, provides an interesting contrast to the elegant simplicity of the Mount.

Our Berkshire weekend was a great success on a number of counts, not the least of which is our belated discovery of the existence of the Berkshires as a destination not an hour and a half from our home. I did not give a moment's thought, however, to the war dead.