Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Divorced and Dating - Games People Play

When the women of the Posse hit the town, it's not to find Mr. Right; it's to have a good time. These girls have no interest in matrimony. When I asked them if they wanted to get married again, they responded:

"Never, from the bottom of my heart." - Regina

"Not now." - Grace

"I'd like a partner later in life, but I've put my kids through hell once. I'm not going to do anything else to unsettle them." -Bunny

So, Bunny, Regina and Grace don't go to bars in search of happily ever after; they're looking for fun. The women are witty, bawdy and entertaining in their own right, but the game is always livelier when there are men around to spar and flirt with.

The women have been hanging out on the North Shore for a few years, so they've begun to see the same familiar faces. The Posse assigns tribal names to regulars, such as the hot guy with poor conversation skills who they named "Man Who Should Not Speak." Once a name is assigned, it sticks. Sorry, dude, you can shave your head if you want to, but you'll always be "Man Who Needs Haircut" to the Posse.

Some of the men playing the field are playing a different game - they're pretending not to be married. One night, Regina met a hunky blond guy who drove her home in his expensive sports car. She invited him in for a nightcap and one thing led to another. "He swore he wasn't married!" said Regina. "The next day my friend saw him in Kenilworth with his wife, pushing a baby stroller."

According to the Posse, we wouldn't believe how many married men are out there hitting on other women. Of this, the Posse does not approve. "They take off their rings and tell you they aren't married," said Bunny. "They lie."

There are all kinds of hazards out there when you're single the second time around - fat, sloppy guys who think they've got a chance, guys who are too needy, guys who don't call, guys who can't get it up. Why do the Posse gals even bother going out?

Because it's exciting, it's silly, and it's a blast. This trio of divorced women doesn't apologize for going to bars or meeting men or occasionally bringing one home. Yes, they're mothers and they're over 40, but they're three vibrant, gorgeous chicks who want a little company once in a while - just for fun, not forever.

Towards the end of the night at Flight, a good looking, dark haired man entered the bar. "Armando!" said Regina, "What are you doing here?"

Armando (not his real name) explained that he was recently divorced and living on his own and sometimes dropped into Flight for a drink. Armando and Regina had gone to high school together. She introduced him to the rest of us.

"You need to give him a tribal name," I said, by now getting into the Posse swing of things. Regina sized him up. Armando was not tall.

"We'll call him 'Man with Eyes at Breast Level'," she pronounced. The rest of us cracked up.

Thus ended my night out with Bunny, Regina and Grace. But the discussion about divorce and dating is just beginning. Stay tuned, because next time I'm talking to the men!

Marriage Advice from Dustin Hoffman

Writing about The Posse and divorce and dating has made me think about my marriage. In this video, Dustin Hoffman, married 28 years, gives his perspective on what it takes to make love stay. Grab your spouse and watch this one, then check back tomorrow for Part 4 of The Posse!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Divorced & Dating - Out on the Town with The Posse

This is the 3rd part of my series about "The Posse," three divorced moms who live on the North Shore. These women share stories about dating and sex the second time around, and it's pretty racy stuff. (Click here to read part 1 and part 2.) Some of you relate to their experiences, others are appalled by them. A few of you think I'm making this up - but most of you want to hear more. While I refer to Bunny, Regina and Grace by their assumed "bar" names, they're definitely real people. Are they typical of most divorced women? Probably not. But that's what makes them so interesting.

When the Posse chicks head out for a night on the town, it's with a mixture of anticipation and skepticism. The women don't get together often - they have to work around their kids' visitation schedules and their exes aren't always reliable. So, when the stars align and the Posse is able to convene, these women are eager to catch up, cut loose and rustle up some action.

However, the women have been divorced long enough to be realistic about the suburban singles scene. Some of the guys are jerks, some of them aren't interested, and some are not who they say they are (more on that later.) But there's always the hope that the Posse will discover a good prospect. The odds of finding a man who's attractive, financially secure and unattached might be slim, but the Posse is looking hot, and hey, it's Saturday night.

The first thing the Posse considers is where to go. They want a reasonably priced place that attracts a big crowd - not too young- and lots of single men. Sports bars on game nights are good bets, like Trax in Deerfield; so are venues with live music or karaoke, such as Ravinia BBQ & Grill. Then there's well-known pick-up joints like Pete Miller's in Wheeling. "If you're single on the North Shore, at some point you're gonna end up at Pete's," says Bunny.

Once the women have ordered a drink and settled into their barstools, how do they meet men? While these chicks aren't timid, apparently there's an art to striking up a conversation with men which Grace has mastered. The night I interviewed the Posse at Flight, she agreed to demonstrate her skill.

"I'm going out for a smoke," she said apologetically, "but just watch that tall guy sitting at the bar."

I watched as Grace approached the bar and smilingly spoke to the bartender for a moment or two, then headed out the front door. I didn't see her speak to her "target" at all, but within moments, Tall Guy pushed back from the bar and joined Grace on the sidewalk where she greeted him by lighting his cigarette.

"Huh?" I said. "I don't get it - she didn't even talk to him and he followed her out there."

"She's so pretty, she doesn't have to say anything," said Bunny. "Guys love her, we don't have a chance."

I was confused. Grace is super cute, but so are Bunny and Regina. "It's not the way she looks, it's something she does," I said, watching Grace and her new friend share a laugh on the sidewalk.

"She sticks 'em like a wasp every time," grumbled Regina.

When Grace eventually returned to our table, I asked her how she'd connected with Tall Guy.

"I just asked the bartender where I could smoke," she said, "then I said loudly, okay, I guess I'll just go out front all alone and smoke all by myself. He (Tall Guy) must of heard me."

"She acts stupid and men love it!" hissed Bunny.

Grace rolled her eyes while Bunny went on.

"You've got to dumb down to get a guy - don't talk too much, don't act too smart or confident. Just listen and giggle and say 'oh my god' and flip your hair. Regina and I are too challenging, too opinionated - we scare men off.""

"Come on." I said. "Men don't really want women to act like that."

"They do." said Regina, "I've had men tell me they would never date me because I'm too intimidating."

"And besides, all the divorced men want to date 30 year-olds," said Bunny. "It would be easier for me to pick up another woman than a man my own age."

Things might have seemed a little dismal at this point if it weren't for all the interested glances being sent The Posse's way by several other men in the bar. Not to mention the free round of champagne Flight's owner delivered to our table. And the night was still young....

Next time: Games people play
Coming soon: the guys' side of things!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

After the Divorce - Rediscovering Sex

This is my second article about The Posse, a trio of hip, funny, attractive divorced moms living on the North Shore. To read my first post introducing them, click here.

Sex with their husbands had been bad for a long time, the Posse told me. It ranged from infrequent to icky. At the end, the women were merely going through the motions, not participating mentally or emotionally. They felt detached from the act, cut off from their bodies. With the divorce, all that changed.

"I was dead, dead, dead for years." said Regina. "Coming out of my marriage was like coming out of the desert." Bunny and Grace nodded and grinned in agreement. I signaled the waitress to bring us another round.

Fresh from the trauma of ending a marriage, the last thing the Posse chicks wanted was a serious relationship. They wanted to have a little fun, they wanted to feel alive again. Hell, they wanted to get laid.

And there were plenty of willing partners.

Bunny slept with her process server on the night he was supposed to deliver the final divorce papers to her husband. Grace hooked up with a hot parking valet who chauffeured her to her car at a friend's country club. Regina did the bump and grind with not one, but two 23 year-old guys (separately, not at the same time.)

These encounters made the newly single women feel reawakened, rediscovered, liberated! After years of sexual drought, this wasn't love, honey, this was therapy. The Posse women laugh when they tell these stories. They laugh at their audacious naughtiness, the unexpected thrills, and their newfound right to screw whoever they want, damn it, just to please themselves.

But the Posse isn't only out for casual sex, as refreshing as it was initially. These gals spend most of their time as hardworking single moms, not sex kittens, and they need meaningful adult relationships to sustain them. That's why Bunny, Regina and Grace all agree that the first fix-up a newly divorced woman needs is with other women in the same situation. To hang with, to laugh with, to support one another.

Next up - the suburban & single bar scene. Where to go, what to expect.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Meet 'The Posse' - a group of gorgeous, witty divorced chicks with dirt to share

Last night I laughed so hard I nearly wet my pants. I was at Flight, a surprisingly chic wine bar/bistro in Glenview, where I met three members of "The Posse," a group of 40-ish divorced women who hang out together on the North Shore.

They agreed to share some of their stories about dating the second time around on the condition that I wouldn't reveal their identities. So in this article (and articles to follow) I will refer to them by their self-chosen "bar" names. Let's meet the Posse.
Bunny - an athletic, confident blond with a body to kill for and a take-no-prisoners attitude. Her drink of choice: "Grey Goose Martini with blue cheese olives - very, very dry."

Regina - an angel-faced earthy chick with a wild mane of dark blonde curls. Drink of choice: "Something cheap and red. We divorced people are on a budget."

Grace - a chic brunette with a husky voice and a sultry smile. Her drink: "Kettle One on the rocks with splash of soda & cranberry."
These women all have kids and have been divorced for 4-5 years. And before we get into the seamy and scandalous sex stories (and trust me, they're good ones), they have one piece of advice for those of us with husbands that they want to communicate loud and clear - "STAY MARRIED!"

Bunny and Regina, who both initiated their divorces, have been surprised at how difficult divorce has been, both financially and on the kids. Even though she was "suffocating and drowning" in an unhappy marriage, Regina said she would do it differently if she could.

"I would have just stayed in the marriage and made sure my needs were met," she said. "I would have taken what I needed and not worried about him. That's what he was doing anyway."

Why? I asked her. You were clearly miserable.

"Because now I have no financial security and my kids have been raked over the coals. And he's still in my life! You think that you'll be free of your ex, but after the divorce he's stuck to you like some awful third breast - some appendage you have to carry around. The only difference is that now he isn't on my side."

Bunny agreed. "Divorce sucks," she said. "Unless you're independently wealthy or have a great job or he's beating you, I say stay married."

Grace just shrugged. Her husband had been the one to leave, so she wasn't in a position to have the same regrets.

Bunny told her, "At least your ex-husband feels responsible for you and wants to take care of you and make sure you and the kids are okay."

Grace said, "I think he still kind of likes me."

Married women, you've been officially warned. The Posse doesn't want to glamorize their situations, okay? Divorce is tough stuff that doesn't end once the papers are signed. But there is one result of ending their marriages that all three women agree was very fun - the sexual reawakening.

That's what I'll write about next time. So stay tuned....

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Aging doesn't bug Isabella Rossellini

I love what Isabella Rossellini, 57, has to say in this month's O Magazine (see below.) I'm not past the point of wanting to prove myself, but I'm beginning to see a glimmer of compete screw-it-all freedom in my future, and it looks damn good.
One of the things Rossellini does for fun is act out animal mating rituals on film. The chick is wild! For the complete "O" article, click here.
"When you're young, you need to prove to yourself that you can succeed, have a career, and be financially independent. Now I can just do what I always wanted to. What seemed frivolous, but isn't.
This is a time in my life when a lot of things have lifted. Nobody talks about that! I've had a lot of aha moments, but the big aha about growing older is the mental freedom. I'm older than my teachers. It's fantastic—I was always afraid of teachers, but now I'm not. I just like to study. I plan to get a BA and probably a master's degree.

In interviews, the first question I get in America is always: "What do you do to stay young?" I do nothing. I don't think aging is a problem. What irritates me a little is growing fatter. It irritates me that if I eat what I want to eat, it shows. Yes, my face has wrinkles. But I don't find it monstrous. I'm so surprised that the emphasis on aging here is on physical decay, when aging brings such incredible freedom. Now what I want most is laughs. I don't want to hurt anybody by laughing—there is no meanness to it. I just want to laugh." - Isabella Rossellini

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What's in for Fall - at Splurge and Steal Prices

Stylist Kate Shifrin presents the hottest trends for Fall: leather, grommets, leggings, leopard and more. Can real women wear these rock glam styles? See for yourself in this video as my friend Tricia and I model the looks of the season at both high and low price points.

Melanie Oudin inspires tennis players of all ages, shapes, & sizes

There was only one woman featured in the Chicago Tribune's Sports section yesterday, and it was tennis player Melanie Oudin, just 17. Tonight the unseeded 5'6" teen will face off against the ninth seed, Caroline Wozniacki from Denmark, in the U.S. Open quarterfinals. At 5'10, Wozniacki will be one the shorter opponents Oudin has faced in the tournament.
"Melanie Oudin isn't just the biggest thing to hit U.S. tennis since the Williams sisters began winning big a decade ago. She could be the fresh face that helps reinvigorate the sport in this country." -Tim Dahlberg, Chicago Tribune
With her positive attitude, competitive spirit and friendly demeanor, Melanie Oudin makes for a much needed role model for girls in sports. But she's an inspiration to older women too. Yesterday was the first day of the indoor season at my tennis club, the North Shore Racquet Club, and Oudin was the name on everyone's lips.

"Oudin gives me hope, because she plays like me," said Denise, an attractive, fit woman with two kids in college. "She's not very tall, she doesn't have any big weapons, but she just hangs in there and wins." My sentiments exactly, Denise (who by the way, is at least 3 inches taller than I am.)

Today, women's tennis is dominated by Russian women who are close to 6 feet tall. Oudin's opponent in the 4th round, Maria Sharapova, is 6'2" for crying out loud. I may not meet many Russian amazons in my 4.0 matches, but I certainly come across women who are stronger, faster and younger - and at 5'3", I'm usually the shortest one on the court.

What Oudin's surprising success at the US Open demonstrates is the most important trait for success is believing in yourself. And we're never too old for that.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Confessions of a Real Housewife

I hear through the grapevine that Bravo TV is looking to cast The Real Housewives of Chicago. Hey, I'm a real housewife, they should cast me! Although my life isn't quite as colorful as many of the "Housewives" - no arrests, nude photos, or implants (yet) - I've got some dirty little secrets that I'm willing to spill on camera, and here's just a sampling:

1. Even though I have a set of expensive All-Clad stainless cookware, the pan I use all the time is a cheap T-Fal non-stick frying pan.

2. I've never had a flu shot or taken my kids to get one.

3. I know my kids don't always pick up the dog's poop when they walk her, but I turn a blind eye so she gets some exercise.

4. I don't even try to balance my checkbook.

5. I want to love the ultra hip show "Mad Men," but it puts me to sleep.

6. The only food I don't eat is veal, because years ago I saw a program on how miserably the little calves are kept. I'm happy to eat any other animal, however.

7. I buy a Streetwise paper from the homeless guy every time I go to the grocery store, but I resent him for it.

8. I do a bad job on my husband's laundry on purpose so he'll keep doing it himself.

9. I have a crush on Kid Rock, even though I think he's skanky. It's my Detroit roots.

See Bravo - I am very naughty. Don't you want to put me on your show? Or are the real confessions of this real housewife too tame for TV?