Barefoot is Better (aka: Online Pairing)

Two days ago, I decided it was time to go shopping for a package of socks. It’s not that I really felt that I needed to wear socks. I’m quite content to pad around the house in my bare feet. There’s a lot of freedom in going barefoot, in fact. My feet are always cool and comfortable, and my toes have all the space they need to wiggle around. I can dig my toes into the sand, or let the grass tickle the soles of my feet, just like when I was a little girl. I can even get creative with my own feet, painting my toenails any fun color I want, without an oppressive pair of socks coming along to cover them up.

It is liberating, being sock-less.

barefoot is better

But every so often, I glance around at the feet of other people. And I realize something — many, many people wear socks. And the ones who are not wearing socks are often out shopping for socks, or lamenting over their lack of socks. Some people even seem to wear a different pair of socks every day.

Sole-Mates Socks

Going barefoot all the time, it seems, is rather unusual in the world of grownups. Everyone else acts like the purpose of life is to find a sole-mate. (See what I did there?)

I have also noticed that there are certain things that one doesn’t do without wearing socks. At least, not as well. For example, I do not ever go out to restaurants in my bare feet. Nor to concerts, or live sporting events, or out-of-town fun trips, or wine-tasting, or a number of other things that sound like they would be really, really fun to do one day. But not barefoot. That would just be…awkward.

And so, I signed up to go shopping at a popular (and expensive) virtual store that specializes in socks for the sock-less. Just as advertised, after I answered a series of questions ranging from silly to deeply personal, the site’s algorithms selected a variety of socks for me to consider, some of which were selected as being highly “compatible” with my feet.

At first, it was amusing to sift through the socks. They came in every imaginable size, and lots of patterns. There were some with serious, no-nonsense pinstripes, some with goofy, rainbow-colored polka-dots, and even a couple of plain ones filled with so many holes, I wonder how on earth they made it past quality assurance to wind up on my dashboard.

lots of different socks

I even got a couple of messages from some of the socks, and responded politely (because apparently, exchanging polite chit-chat is something socks can do on online stores). Some of the messages made me smile, and a couple, well, made my bare feet want to run away. I wondered, though, what was supposed to happen next. Was I supposed to utter some magic words in order to check the socks out of the store? Is there some point when I’m supposed to wear them around once or twice, maybe to a restaurant,  or a sporting event, or a concert? Or is it up to the sock to make that happen?

And would it be frowned-upon to write “I don’t know what the heck I’m doing,” on my profile? I feel clueless, like a child who has just wandered into a casino, and is overwhelmed by the loud, clanging, buzzing machines, and choking on the smoke of cigarettes.

It also occurred to me that a large number of the socks were silent. No polite conversations. No peeks at my barefoot profile. Part of me understands that this is normal. That it’s all part of the sock-and-foot matching world. And that its only been two days. But another part of me feels indignant, certain that it has something to do with the toasty-brown shade of the skin on my feet. Because, I’m guessing, not a single one of my chosen matched socks has ever been worn by a toasty-brown foot before. Peachy-tan feet, probably, or rosy beige, or creamy ivory. But perhaps they see toasty brown feet and get nervous, their little sock minds filling with all kinds of ignorant ideas about what I must be like, due to my brownness.

I am halfway tempted to create an identical profile to my own, but put up pictures of a woman who looks similar to me, but with lighter skin, just to test that theory. But I won’t. Because if that really is the issue, then whatevs. Any er…sock who is unable to look past the color of my skin in order to see the kind, intelligent, thoughtful, witty, talented woman I am does not deserve to grace even one of my feet.

Sim Tiare

White Sim Tiare

And anyway, it’s okay if nothing comes of my browsing around the online sock store. In fact, it would be a bit of a relief. Then I will not have to reveal myself as a fraud — one who is so perfectly comfortable going sock-less, and so horribly out of her element with socks on her feet. They will be expecting me to love wearing socks and shoes, like so many other people do. Then I will have to wear them, because I am committed to do so, and will have to go back to tiptoeing around my home in discomfort, my poor toes squeezed and pinched, my feet blistered from friction…

It is oh-so-easy for me to talk myself out of visiting the sock store. Maybe it means I am still not ready, even after years of being sock-free. Maybe it means that I will never be ready; that I am a rare individual who simply was not meant to wear socks. I guess I will go and take a nice long, barefoot walk in the grass and think it all through. Because that is what I do best.

A Hot Not-Date (aka: Spring Cleaning)

I have a hot date this weekend.

But first, let me explain. You see, spring is about to spring. And spring, with its warm, sweet weather and flower-tipped trees, has a way of turning one’s thoughts toward love, and frolicking in meadows, and sunshiny fresh air.

And so, I have a date this weekend, with this tall, well-built, bald man. You’ve probably heard his name before: Mr. Clean.

Irresitible Mr Clean

That’s right. What can I say? Thanks to a super-busy schedule of work and college classes and kids’ activities and sports, I have had very little time or energy to devote to cleaning house. And so, my not-quite-Martha-Stewart but still passable housekeeping levels have slipped to a not-quite-reality-TV-hoarder but still-needs-major-improvement levels.  When I saw Mr. Clean in the store, I fell hard. I couldn’t resist his twinkling eyes, or his promise to turn our messy house into a shining, spotless home. Mr. Clean is just the guy to turn my spring-cleaning dreams into reality.

Wait –you thought I was talking about going out on an actual date? What, me, leave behind my cozy cave of Netflix and books and computers? Me, venture out alone into the real world and try to make sense of human relationships? Very funny. It’s nice to know that my readers have a sense of humor.

Okay, I get it. No one expects a smart, talented, and fairly attractive 40 year-old woman to stay single for very long. The world expects me to get out there, place an advertisement the way one sells a used car. Join a dating site! Flirt with real, live men who are not cartoon models for cleaning products! Start a romantic relationship that doesn’t happen only in your imagination!

zodiac killersBut here’s the big problem: that whole world of mean and dating and relationships is frightening. Like, scarier than Children of the Corn frightening (and let me tell you – those were some creepy little kids). I’m more the type of woman who avoids eye contact or conversation with strange men than the type who looks forward to going out on dates with total strangers, all of whom are probably the Zodiac Killer (no offense to Ted Cruz).

How ridiculous! You say. Cleaning house is far more nerve-wracking than dating. Just think of what fuzzy blue horrors await you at the back of the refrigerator!

Ahh, this is true. Cleaning out my fridge is a frightening challenge. It’s…um…been a while. And yes, the food in the back has probably become an entire new species of living things. But hey – I have Mr. Clean to tackle the dirty work, and even cleaning out my icky fridge seems far less daunting and much more fun than dating.

online-dating no way

See, here’s another big problem: I am bad at romantic relationships. After a failed 17-year marriage and one attachment-free post-divorce fling, I am convinced that I was not made for relationships. Men apparently have these expectations of what a woman should be like, or how we should perform or behave or respond, and I tend to do everything the opposite. Blame it on my alien roots, I guess. But there was nothing rewarding to me about any of it, and a lot of messy emotions and expectations and drama that don’t mesh well with my INTJ personality.

Ugh.

And so, I am spending one of my kid-free weekends cleaning my house, because scrubbing toilets is a lot less confusing than dating. Vacuuming floors is a lot less stressful than the reality of romantic relationships. Organizing my closet is a lot more gratifying than sex ever was. And teaming up with Mr. Clean is far more rewarding than searching for Mr. Probably-Doesn’t-Exist-Single-Guy-Who’s-Right-for-Me. Because after all my effort, my kids and I will get to enjoy a cozy, clean home that smells like fresh, sunshiny air.

Happy (Almost) Spring!

Pulizie di primavera - Spring Cleaning

 

Who is this Girl From Jupiter Anyway? (aka: 10 More Things About Me)

Concept image of the six most common questions and answers on a signpost.Okay, let me begin by saying that I usually never, ever participate in these blog nomination/chain-letter type games that a lot of other bloggers seem to be into. It’s just not my thing. But I am feeling a bit uninspired this week, so I guess answering these ten simple questions may make for an interesting blog post.

Second thing you should know: I have no intentions of playing by the rules. What rules, you ask? Well, apparently, I’m supposed to follow these rules:

The rules are as follows:
1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you and answer their 10 questions
2. Add the badge to your post
3. Write your own 10 questions and tag 10 bloggers to do the same

Okay, I’ll follow rule #1, because it’s only fair. I was nominated to answer these questions by Sandra G at http://datebynumb3r.com/ . So yes, by all means, click the link, check out her blog, and share a piece of life with an honest and sincere blogger who’s stumbling through the ups and downs of single life like so many of us.

As for #3, well, I have no clue whatsoever which bloggers I would nominate to answer any questions I come up with. So that’s not going to happen, either. But to be a good sport and to share a little of my cave-dwelling, clueless life with you all, I’ll answer the questions. Ready? Here we go:

10ThingsAboutMe

10 Things About Me

  1. How did you choose your blog’s name?

When I was young, other kids (and people in my family) used to tease me and call me weird, because I spoke funny (aka: English with proper grammar), read a lot of books, had a huge imagination, and was much younger than the other kids in my grade. So I laughed it off, and explained to everyone that the reason I was weird is that I was a changeling child from Jupiter. That probably didn’t help me to fit in, either.

  1. Do you have any other blogs? What are they?

Yes, two other active blogs. But I prefer to keep them segregated.

  1. What’s your day job?

I am a full-time IT student and a part-time IT assistant. It’s a nice little job, and I get a cubicle and dual monitors and everything. I love working in the IT industry and am learning lots of great stuff about the OSI model and Active Directory and network architecture and other things that most of my readers could probably care less about.

  1. What has been your favorite place to live and why?

It’s a toss-up between the San Francisco Bay Area, where I grew up, and a tiny town in the Sierra Nevada mountains, where I spent my first year of college. The first, because those are my stomping grounds, and the Bay Area is just so cool, you know? (Hella cool, even). The tiny mountain town, because I used to wake up every morning to this amazing, gorgeous view of deer running across a meadow, and mountain peaks in the distance. And the smell of pine trees, and the slow, quiet pace…I loved all of that. But I missed things like Target, and movie theaters, and open-minded tolerant people.

  1. What is the last thing you baked?

Oatmeal raisin walnut cookies.

  1. Be physically perfect but feel constantly sick or be obese but feel amazing?

Hard to answer. Because when I used to be really overweight, I was healthy, but I did not feel amazing. I felt far from amazing. My knees hurt, and I felt heavy and slow and not pretty. When I lost 60 pounds, I felt amazing. I’m still healthy, but I love how my body feels now. So it is hard to imagine the reverse being true.

  1. What is one thing about dating that you know now, but wish you had known 5 years ago?

*Blushes* Umm…I still know pretty much nothing about dating. I have gone out on very few dates since becoming single again, and even those were mostly platonic, so truly, I’m kind of clueless. I did not date anyone before meeting my now ex-husband when I was 19 years old. (Well, unless you count the three sweet Christian boyfriends I held hands and giggled with during high school, but we never saw each other outside of school, never went on any actual dates, and I only lightly kissed one. Do you count that as dating?)

Five years ago, I was not thinking about dating, as I was still married. I didn’t enjoy being married at all, but in a way if felt safer than the dating scene. It was like a prison, but at least it was a low-risk, predictable prison (except during the last two nightmarish years). Now, I am single and wonderfully free for the first time in my entire adult life. But now I’m walking tentatively down a strange road, shielding my eyes and ears from the freak show that is the singles dating scene. I’ve tasted enough of it to know that it is just as scary and pointless as I once feared. No thanks. I don’t need it.

  1. What dating sites or apps have you tried (if any)? How were they?

I signed up for eHarmony and Match.com once out of curiosity. It was pointless, because without paying a bunch of money, you can’t even read any messages from men or see their complete profiles or anything. So it was a mildly entertaining waste of time. I deactivated both profiles without ever pursuing anything. Really, even the idea of using one of those sites in earnest makes me feel much more frightened than curious. Maybe it is like skydiving – some people see it as a thrilling and fun adventure. But to me, it is more like dueling with Death and hoping you’ll win. Super scary, and not at all worth the risk.

  1. What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?

Read fiction, marathon-watch TV shows on Netflix or Hulu, watch movies, play The Sims (or other computer games), bake, lie in a hammock under the trees, do handicrafts, write. Add a glass of wine or a cup of earl grey tea or chai, and ahhh…relaxation.

  1. Would you be interested in writing a guest post for my blog? (No pressure here, just curious)

Thanks, but probably not. You’re welcome to reblog whatever you like, though.

 

The Strange World of Kids and Crushes (aka Clueless)

very young lovers

How young is too young for dating?

I feel entirely lost when it comes to the subject of kids and dating. At what age should I allow my children to go out on dates, or have boyfriends or girlfriends? Should boyfriend/girlfriend relationships even be encouraged? What about setting limits on physical affection? What about the inevitable hurt feelings that come with rejection and breakups?

Funnily enough, I did not start to worry on account of my oldest son, who will be starting high school this fall. In fact, he apparently has next to no interest in dating (although he did admit to having a crush on some girl at his school last year). Nor did I begin to think of this subject on account of my daughter, who will begin 7th grade. She apparently has zero interest in boys or crushes or dating. Such a relief! However, I was surprised to learn recently that my youngest son, who is almost nine years old, had a girlfriend at school.

“She is so pretty and nice, Mom,” he told me with the cutest puppy-love expression, pointing out every one of her photos in his yearbook. “And look – she drew little hearts all around my picture. Isn’t that cute?” Half of me wanted to melt into the floor from the overwhelming cuteness. The other half of me wanted to melt into the floor from shock. 8 years old? 8 years old? My brain screamed at me. Surely the boyfriend/girlfriend thing isn’t supposed to start so soon! Well, luckily (for me, not for my son), he will be starting 4th grade at a different school, far away from this so-called girlfriend. teenage_love

I really did not date much during my youth. Partially because I was really never the type of girl that boys wanted to date, and partially because I was scared out of my wits of boys. (It’s true. I pretty much never talked to boys during high school unless they were obviously gay or even more shy than I was). I had a couple of passing crushes, which were rejected (“My parents would never let me date a black girl. Sorry.”). My first boyfriend, my freshmen year of high school, was gay, I later learned. He was kind and shy, and never tried to kiss me or even hold my hand. That suited me just fine, because the idea of kissing a boy scared me to death, too.

kids kissing

I first kissed a boy in eleventh grade. His name was Joe, and he was blonde, blue-eyed, and geeky. He was my boyfriend for three weeks, during which we barely had time to hang out, due to my busy activity schedule, and during which we exchanged perhaps a dozen quick pecks on the lips. Then I dumped him, because I found the whole thing boring and pointless. What was the point of being so permanently attached to someone you barely knew? Where were the dates – the actual dates where two people go out and do things together, like bowling or movies or the batting cages? Was the only point of having a boyfriend to kiss and hug and hold hands like all the sappy, shallow girls around me? Why the focus on exclusive couples during such an age of youthful exploration? Is that still the way things work for teenagers today? I honestly have no idea. Nor do I know what the best advice is to give my kids.

“I think that she seems very cute and sweet,” I told my 8 year-old. “But next time you have a crush, please tell her that your mom says no girlfriends until college.”

“Seriously?” My son stared at me like I was completely nuts. After all, college is probably unreasonable. But then, who knows? I am a great parent when it comes to baking homemade cookies and helping with schoolwork. But the world of dating and crushes is something I never learned to navigate well. For the first time ever as a mom, I do not know the right answer.