I wrote this last March, so I’ve made a few small changes. I was actually working on a book I’ve recently finished. Between that and health issues, I couldn’t pick a time to publish this. Now, with three major surgeries ahead of me…in four months, beginning just before Christmas…a finished novel I need to write a proposal for and try to get published, I thought what the hell…now is as good a time as any. Three surgeries and who knows, anything could happen. So…here goes.
It’s been a roller coaster world for almost two years, filled with fear, loss, sadness and isolation. It was a time when writing seemed trivial with the real life drama of the pandemic playing out, a time I felt I had to get back to the grass roots of who I am. My heart broke for all the losses, death, pain and suffering. I was fixated on the news, the negativity enveloped me like a shroud…I was like everyone else in the world. But one thing it gave me was time to reflect. And reflect I did.
I realized exactly what and who was important in my life, and all the outside chatter didn’t matter. For the last several years, I have grown increasingly alarmed by the success movement; you can always do more, success is what matters, you can be an influencer, you can become a member for X amount of dollars. You have to be a bully and not take no for an answer. You have to invade peoples privacy with unwanted emails, texts, private messages and phone calls. We’ll teach you how to make a fortune like we did, and still are, off of you…oh, but wait, if you really want to be a success, you need to withdraw your savings and give it to us, and we’ll help you work and slave your way to the top. You need to grow your social media…Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Reddit, Tumbler and LinkedIn. You have to grow followers and more followers…yada, yada, yada! Scams, Scams…everywhere a scam.
Okay, I’m going to admit, I’ve tried a lot of it. I’m a writer…and evidently you’re not going to make it if you don’t hustle, hustle, hustle. I’ve lost count of how many writers groups I’ve joined on Facebook and elsewhere. Well, I call bullshit. Seriously! What about standing in the silence and breathing. Taking time to be in touch with your inner self, your family and friends…that should be your inspiration…your creativity should spring from that. I got worn out. Totally! My mind became boggled and my creativity smothered. My anxiety levels rose, and I felt a deep sadness for the way things used to be.
I miss the days when writing was an art, and it stood on it’s own. I was told by a New York agent, years ago, that she loved my writing…that I wrote like the old classics, and she couldn’t put my 700 page book down over the weekend…but things had changed, it was too literary, it wasn’t commercial enough. No one wanted sweeping sagas anymore. More recently, another agent told me she wouldn’t look at anything over 70,000 words, anything above that wouldn’t sell. It’s all about instant gratification.
Well, alrighty then! So, years later, after the first agent dashed my dreams of being Hemingway or Margaret Mitchell, I ventured into the very commercial world of erotica. Instant gratification…I learned how to publish on Wattpad, via help from my granddaughter, Rhiannon, who threatened she was going to write a book titled, My Grandma Writes Porn, (I thought it would be a best seller). Though she never did and has now graduated from college and is working, I couldn’t be prouder. Anyway, I ended up winning a couple of awards (Raunchy Reads) and acquired a pretty decent following of amazing young people. They did interviews with me, even honoring me by making my ‘not commercial enough’ book one of their featured favorites in romance for a few years…the caveat…I didn’t make a dime from my popularity. However, others have made quite a lot off of me.
Next, I self-published, and that’s what drove my mind into a creative wasteland. I could have written a dozen books while trying to keep up with all the BS that went along with promoting it. Then, during the pandemic, my abyss grew darker. My computer got a virus and every file I had was corrupted. It had automatically sent my editing and rewrites into the cloud, but everything there also became encrypted as soon as they were downloaded.
A reader friend had edited the sequel to my self-published novel, made suggestions and emailed it back to me. I was halfway through doing the rewrite when I lost everything…except for her email attachment. Was it a sign from God? Was I suppose to listen to the not so subtle hints the universe was sending me? I didn’t know what to do. I was alone, 69 years old, and felt so tired and isolated. I had fantasies about how nice it would be to find someone to share things with…to ask advice from…to hold me when I wanted to cry…
That’s when the reminiscing started: of coffee dates, single’s dating sites, past relationships, marriages… SCREECH!!!! That was the brake slamming on! I forced myself to stop the unpleasant thoughts, to relax then drift to happier memories of my friends and girl talk…sharing relationship and dating experiences, most horrifying or degrading, some humorous and ribald. Then the delightful conversations about newbies (recently divorced or widowed men) needing training…like Widower Whisperers.
Men, if you’re reading this, it is in no way meant to be offensive. I’m sure there are many of you out there quite capable of taking care of yourselves and starting over…but, wow, there are tons more of you who aren’t. Many men don’t understand grief and the process they need to go through. We have girlfriends to talk to and their shoulders to cry on. Sadly, a lot of men don’t have male or female friends they can do that with. They’re terrified of being alone and, the universe, as they’ve known it, has collapsed around them. It all takes time. Too often, a Widower or newly divorced man will jump right into a new relationship while still shedding tears for their lost love. We talked of providing a service to teach men how to do everyday things like laundry, dishes and cooking….to dealing with grief and understanding it, and when the time is right to move on, in which case, they need to learn how to talk to and act around women…to be gentlemen and date again.
Back in my mother’s day, if a man was widowed (or divorced), there were twenty women with casseroles standing on his doorstep before the funeral was over. But today, so many of us are still working, taking care of grandchildren or parents, traveling and enjoying some independence. We’re tired of being caregivers and have absolutely no desire to be a nurse or a purse. We’ve given ourselves up to take care of everyone else. It’s our turn now. Plus, we’re evolved…we know what we want and don’t want sexually and have no problem taking care of it ourselves.
No, what we’re looking for is companionship, someone who is there with us and for us, who doesn’t just support us financially but supports our wants and needs, our goals and desires (and not only sexually, cause rolling on and off does not cut it). We need someone we can lean on who lifts us up and doesn’t tear or wear us down. Being Macho and a Man means being kind, honest, supportive and humble. We quit wanting bad boys a long time ago. The truth is, we quit wanting any boy at all. We want a grown ass man who is responsible, caring, forthright and stable…not superficial and childlike. Sexiness is showing an actual interest in us and what’s important in our lives…cause really, guys, it’s not just all about you. And, dudes, you have to be able to laugh, not just at others, but at yourselves, cause that is totally hot and endearing.
So, as for myself and my amazing group of single ladies, which I’m quite blessed to have, by the way, we’d like to share just a few things that we find appalling, as opposed to appealing, because we think some men are a little confused on the meanings and need to know…
On first meetings, texts and phone conversations
- We don’t care or want to hear about how much sex you had with your 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th wife
- If you’ve been married that many times, admit up to the fact that you maybe could have done some things differently
- The fact that you’re putting your exes down is a sure sign that you’ll do it to us. If you say she was crazy, we’re wondering what the hell you did to make her that way
- If we agree to meet you for coffee, it is not to hook up…Really! Bringing up sex 7 or 8 times before we can get a cup down, probably because we’re nauseous, is not the way to get to know us
- Try asking us some questions and quit talking for hours about yourself…pretend to show some interest in us
- Save the mushy stuff until after we’ve agreed to meet you, or maybe don’t do it at all. It’s a turn off to have a man talking about kissing, cuddling, back rubs, dancing and holding each other tight when you’ve never met that person and have no idea if you could even stand a minute in their company
- Romance is not the above…romance is getting to know a person, sharing stories and laughter, common interests
- If you tell a woman, “I know I can have any woman I want”…we’re thinking, not this one…
- If you think it makes you appear hot and virile to tell us how all these other women want you, even your exes…and you see our eyes well up with tears, it’s us trying to keep from bursting out laughing (or hurling)
- If you’re on a dating site, the above is a great picture…as long as it’s current. If it was taken 20 years ago, you will understand ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ when we actually meet you
- “Hey, I like the way you look. My number is 1-800-asshole, call me if you want to hookup,” is not usually the best way to start a conversation
- You might want to rethink, “I don’t have any problem with a woman wanting to go Dutch or pay for things.” That Dutch thing translates into Douche…give it at least one coffee date before hitting her up for money
- Quit holding your phone in your lap and taking selfies…all we can see is double chins and nose hairs between man boobs
- Speaking of hair…if you’re going to post a pic, try combing it…and pluck the ones out of your ears and elsewhere…really
- Obviously, many of you are on dating sites to attract other men…because that’s all you’re going to impress with the pictures of you in a dirty t-shirt, standing next to your pickup truck or golf cart. Or how can we forget the pics of your big old hog (motorcycle), followed by you holding up that giant trout or crappie you caught 15 years ago in front of your boat…granted, you might be proud as hell of all those things…but you’re more likely to attract a boyfriend…
- One last thing…references to your penis…Please, in the name of everything holy…DON’T!!! Your appendage has absolutely nothing to do with us wanting to forge a meaningful relationship. Example…if you talk about having a third leg…from past experience, we’re just going to assume you borrowed it from a Chihuahua…sorry, but true…life is hard enough without a visual of your privates.
Well, I’m going to save some things for the book I’ve written, Unrequited. But, ladies, (and gentlemen) if you have some favorite stories or humorous antidotes about dating and/or dating sites, or a past relationship, please feel free to contact us at WidowerWhispers@gmail.com. We’re curious if the same things drive you all crazy or not. Plus, the Widower Whisperers always appreciates advice on what issues men (and women) could work on when it comes to dating.
And to the gentlemen out there, if you’re single and this relates to you and you’re offended, my apologies…if not, I think a lot of us would like to get to know you.
I love this!!!! Yes!!! Very well written!
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What a good read, Tina. All so very true. Well written, and likely wlecomed by so many in the same boat.
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Thank you so much!