Archive for March, 2010

Bitch.  Skank.  Homewrecker.  Whore.

It’s hard out there for a mistress.

At first, it’s fun to pore over the salacious details of love triangles, whether in popular culture or our real lives.  Wondering whether all men stray, contemplating whether a woman should take a cheater back; all strangely entertaining conversation topics for us ladies.  Besides, picking apart the “other woman” in order to confirm the myriad ways the wife is better offers gals both solidarity and a false sense of security.

Because the truth is, the mistress of Sandra Bullock’s old man, Michelle “Bombshell” McGee, and her counterparts in the real world scare the shit out of us.

Knowing there are legions of lusty, busty carnivorous ladies whose most desired romantic snack is some other woman’s husband or boyfriend is enough to make even the most poised female shake in her boots.  We see her coming from a mile away: the gal who gets her kicks from securing the attention of every male in the room, who relentlessly pursues attached men like a cat preys on mice, who uses her carefully constructed feminine wiles to manipulate some poor sap right out of his pants.  These are women without boundaries or a sense of propriety, girls who can’t seem to get their self-worth from anything other than boys.

We know they’re out there and know how hard it must be for a guy to tell them, “no thanks, I’m good.”

My Big Ex was tempted by a Bombshell McGee.  She was a hair-flipping, mini-skirt-wearing giggle monster who worked at his company.  Although the gal had a limited range of interests and considered TV Guide heavy reading, she was the wet dream of all the men in the office.  But Giggles only had eyes for my guy.  If he gave in, I knew the fling would mean nothing and he’d regret it.  I also knew we’d have a giant mess to clean up.  All I could do was stay out of his way and hope he did the right thing.

Still, it was no fun having Giggles talk over me at parties or follow my man around the room.  All I wanted was to pull her aside and ask, “Why are you doing this?  Do you know how bad this’ll feel when it happens to you?  Because believe me, girlfriend, this will happen to you.”

Man, I hate the competition between women.  Boy, does it stink.  I can’t stand walking alone into a dinner party and watching all the married women put their hands on their husbands’ knees, just as I can’t stand some chick elbowing me out of the way to talk to the guy I’m with at a bar.  I was as grossed out by Michelle McGee’s attempt to validate herself by stealing a seemingly nice person’s husband, as I was disappointed by her success.

My other woman “a-ha moment” came in college when I interviewed a local blues musician for a newspaper then got invited to one of his concerts.  Dancing at the foot of the stage was his girlfriend Nancy, a fetching groupie with a spectacular body and long, blonde hair she masterfully whipped around with the same jazzy rhythm with which she rocked her hips.

After the show, the musician, Nancy and their posse came over for a chat.  It soon became clear the musician had the hots for yours truly and was making an ass of himself in showing it.  After several agonizing moments, Nancy walked up to me with watery eyes and said, “Please don’t steal my boyfriend.”

Rumor was Nancy had made her way through a number of local band dudes, most of whom had been left completely annihilated by her mouth-watering charms.  And she was threatened by me?

Being the gal a guy wants to screw is flattering, sure, but not something to put much stock into. A man who’s open to betraying his woman may very well want to sleep with you.  But “you” could be any pretty, available female (which Jesse James is now proving).  We’re all just as apt to be the unbeatable Bombshell as we are the betrayed Bullock.

Weeks back, I read an article written by a girl who said she slept with someone’s husband because she could.  The writer felt “powerful” because she had the sexual muscle to sway him.  My only hope is that she, Michelle McGee and women like them, think of this notion of “power” when their future husbands come home one day smelling like snatch.  And I hope they imagine how much easier life and love would be if we women were nicer to each other.

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Sandra Bullock’s hubby has been cheating on her with a tattoo model / porn star.  Hollywood studs cheating on Hollywood babes isn’t shocking.  What’s weird is how often we find ourselves saying, “seriously?  Her?” whenever we see photos of the other women.  Some of our finest looking dames have been made a fool by their better halves – Halle, Sienna Miller, even Angelina supposedly got cuckolded by Billy Bob.  Tiger’s wife looks like Venus emerging from the half shell compared to the silicone-injected Plain Janes he bagged on a regular basis.  Boggles the mind.

One theory suggests men coupled up with women who outshine them beef up their egos by schtupping lesser females.  Hence, the male partners of A-list actresses bedding B-list bimbos.  However, it seems equally possible career-obsessed folks, whether male or female, are too obnoxious and neglectful to make their partners feel loved.  You don’t become a megastar like Sandra Bullock by spending a lot of time stoking the home fires.

Though I don’t know Sandra Bullock personally, I’d see plenty to commit to if I were her man.  All I’d think of when looking at his “Bombshell” mistress is dirty sex.  And therein lies the rub.  Chicks who work so hard to be sex objects – fake boobs, surgically enhanced lips – will probably do anything a guy wants, for as long as he wants and will buy his BS about his (non-existent) divorce and how his wife no longer gets him.  Unfortunately for these gals, men probably see them as little more than blow up dolls come to life.

Maybe the wife isn’t the person with whom you do certain sex acts, so you find “a bad girl.”  Maybe you and the wife are regularly apart, so you screw some brain-dead hottie who won’t threaten your relationship.  Are these desirable solutions to relationship challenges?  Probably not.  But I can imagine this Jesse person thinking Sandra Bullock is the greatest thing since sliced bread yet still screwing some gal he doesn’t give two shits about on the side.

Of course, these are famous people.  They’re vain enough to want the entire planet to know their names, believe themselves deserving of $25 million pay checks and have an endless line of tail offered to them on a daily basis.  Famous people are aberrations and nothing like us.  Drawing conclusions about relationships based on the behavior of celebrities is like basing financial decisions on what the Rockefellers might do.

But what’s unsettling is how often I hear normal men call their own gender out as canine.  “Men are dogs,” some of my male friends say.  “We’re basic, weak, can’t be trusted.”  The other night I heard a dude at a bar say, “Guys will always go after other women.  We’re men, that’s what we do.”  Last Tuesday, I saw a Henry Rollins show.  He said men would even screw trees if they had breasts.

And there’s the sinking feeling every woman suffers.  The fear that no matter how loving and supportive we are, no matter how much we stimulate men’s minds and ravish their bodies, no matter how much freedom we need for ourselves and thus are ready to give them, there will always be some chick with a nice rack he’ll cast us aside to bone.

So, if, as Chris Rock says, “a man is only as faithful as his options,” what are we supposed to do?  Decide the dog myth is true and become bitter and suspicious?  Decide it’s not true and risk being naïve?  Decide it doesn’t matter and turn a blind eye?

I kinda don’t believe it.  I’ve known plenty of men who’ve turned down hot, easy ‘tang because they’re devoted to their main squeezes.  I also appreciate the inevitability of temptation so rarely let it get my panties in a twist.  I even think I could get over my man admitting to a meaningless fling, even if the girl was a tattooed, former stripper, porn star, fetish model who poses in Nazi gear (really, Jesse?)

But the last thing any of us should do is blame bad behavior on anything other than choice.  We aren’t animals, none of us are dogs.  If we’ve got seemingly unquenchable desires mucking with our ability to form healthy relationships, we may want to work on them.  If you’re a career freak who neglects relationships or a booty hound who can’t keep it in his pants, you should probably do something about it.  Relationships are good things.  The people we let into our lives are decent folk with fragile hearts who are just trying to love us.  Why not put our egos aside every once in a while and try to love them back?

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My friend Rebecca and I noticed something strange about men when we were living in Spain.  Despite the care we took to cultivate our respective “looks” whilst on the prowl (I went artsy, sex kitten Boho, Rebecca was a naughty tomboy), our greatest romantic triumphs never happened when we were all dolled up.  During one sweaty afternoon, my friend and I came to realize we were most attractive to men when we were, of all things, jogging.

Rebecca and I made it a habit to run around Madrid’s Retiro Park on sunny days.  Always, we went without makeup.  Unshowered.  Hair in messy ponytails.  Mismatched, though admittedly snug, running shorts.  Not exactly the most glamorous of looks, but from the cat calls given to us by male passersby, you’d have thought we were Halle Berry and Julia Roberts on Oscar night.

Back in the States, men seem to be equally bowled over by female joggers and, in general, get googly eyed around exercising women.  Of course, when women work out, our cheeks are flushed, our lips are moist and we’re panting.  Plus, everything female and pretty on our bodies bounces around.  Doesn’t take a Freudian scholar to figure out the fantasies the sight might stir in the male mind.  Maybe we’re running slo-mo in guys’ heads as they imagine us like Pamela Anderson, Baywatching across a Malibu beach rather than hoofing it on a Bally’s treadmill.

The other day, I went to pick up my one exorbitantly priced beauty expense: a $35 bottle of shampoo.  In my world, this is costly but I know there are legions of women who would spend three times that just for the bottled water with which they wash their overly pampered manes.

Anyway, I hadn’t done much to pretty myself up that afternoon.  My face was naked save for a line of lip gloss, my hair was in a tight, somewhat fuzzy bun, and I was wearing a bland T-shirt over a boring ol’ pair of leggings.  Still, I got checked out more than I had the previous night painting the town red.  Two men asked for my number.  By the time I got to the store and held that $35 bottle of shampoo, I couldn’t help but ask, “Why in God’s name am I spending this money?”

An article I read said women spend $13,000 on makeup alone in their lifetime.  Imagine the green we’re spending on haircuts, bikini waxes and, Lord help us, clothes.  Used to be all the luxury makeup and beauty products were for rich, old gals, the rest of us went to CVS.  Nowadays, entire cosmetic lines and boutique shops have opened up to sell us $50 eye shadow kits and $120 moisturizing cream.  Lots of gals feel they can no longer get away with lip gloss and a cute haircut; they gotta get their eyebrows sculpted, teeth bleached, foreheads Botoxed, biceps and thighs yoga’ed into oblivion.  The American cosmetics industry makes over $20 billion a year, while beauty salons alone gross $72 billion of our hard-earned cash.  And for what, if dudes can just as easily drool over us doing downward facing dog?

Still, there are two dazzling conclusions to be drawn from this discovery.  First, maybe we don’t need to spend the money and time to look like we’re walking the red carpet with Halle and Julia when we’re living normal lives.  Men want us to look good, but they seem to like us just as much when we look real.

Perhaps the more fun conclusion to draw is that men no longer have a leg to stand on when they complain about the money they spend on dates with women.  These days, a guy may spend $150 bucks on dinner, drinks and a movie.  Jack that up to $200 if anyone wants a snack at the theater.

While some of us gals look decent without breaking the bank, think of what those trendy, über-stylish women spend to go on that same date: mani/pedi ($60), facial ($90), eyebrow sculpting ($25), bikini wax ($70), hair style ($65) and pre-date yoga class ($20).  A $330 price tag for one night.

Dudes, you so need to be the ones putting out.

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I keep dreaming about my ex.  The Big Ex, everyone’s got one.  Y’know, the person with whom you had the longest, most emotionally labyrinthine romantic attachment?  My Big Ex keeps sneaking into the theater of my mind, hassling me while I’m trying to dream about cream pies and booty calls with Lenny Kravitz.

In the dreams, Big Ex wants me again or I’m asking if he still loves me or we’re making out like teenagers.  In a dream the other night, we were at an amusement park in Tokyo.  He was wearing a police uniform and I was riding a camel (my dreams have always been colorful).  He comes over as I’m doing a tap dance on a picnic table and asks if we can become reacquainted in the biblical sense.  I say, “Man, you’re married now.  I don’t think you should be putting your thing anywhere near my situation.”  But I do it anyway.

Strange, because my relationship with Big Ex is ancient history, it’s positively Byzantine in its ancientness.  Besides, I was the one who left on account of his workaholism and mélange of personal issues.  So why has he suddenly popped back into my psyche?

A few weeks ago, I dreamt of my college boyfriend, a handsome, erudite gentleman whose greatest flaw was a slight problem with gas.  In the dream, we were drinking coconut milk out of a cantaloupe and fighting about the woman with whom he was also sleeping.  A few nights later, I had a quite amorous dream about a 22-year-old hunk o’ burnin’ love I was crushing on back in ‘07.  In it, we were in Spain and he was my boyfriend.  As we walked the streets, all the Spaniards looked skeptically at us as if they knew I shouldn’t be dating a dude whose greatest accomplishment in life thus far was turning legal.

After months of ex-boyfriend dreaming, I finally phoned a friend getting her PhD in psychology.  ‘Why,’ I wanted to know, ‘were these men assailing me in my sleep?’

“Other people in your dreams are not actually themselves,” said my friend.  “They’re aspects of yourself you’re unwilling to face.  The dreams help you figure out what you want from the current challenges in your life.  When you dream about Big Ex, you’re really dreaming about you.”

Dreaming about these men shows me what I want at this moment in my life.  So, I want to be a manic workaholic who cries every morning during winter?  I want to become a snotty academic with irritable bowels?

My friend suggested there were deeper issues I had to extract from the plots of these nighttime reveries.  She invited me to consider what qualities these men symbolize.  The qualities I came up with were anxiety, fear and immaturity.  For certain, these qualities have been some of the jewels around which the treasure chest of my relationship life has thus far been built.  Even more certain is my current resolve to steer clear of any human being who would bring said qualities into an interaction with me.

Generally speaking, I’ve never felt more on the verge of a breakthrough.  The last couple years, I’ve seen people come and go, seen some windows close while others stay open ajar, had fresh insights and spiritual discoveries, new dreams replacing worn-out ambitions, unhealthy patterns exposed and toppled to the ground.

So lately, I’ve been enjoying one of those delectable moments when you watch the book called “The Past” close for good.  Ever have those moments when you feel the direction of life changing because you want different things, because you feel yourself drawn to new kinds of people?  You know something’s changing, some day soon life will no longer be the same.  The moment is pregnant with possibility.

Maybe this is the point of these boyfriend dreams.  I don’t want to rekindle things with Big Ex or cozy up to the flatulent professor.  Maybe I’m revisiting the past so I can step away from it once and for all.  Maybe these men are visiting so I can say one last goodbye.  A door is opening and though I’m unsure of what’s on the other side, I know few of these people, these bad habits or old ways of doing the business of life are coming through it with me.


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