The Man-Tree

My friend Matt is having a good laugh at my expense today, and it’s all because of something I said to him a few years ago. I guess I should have known that this particular comment of mine was going to come around and bite me on the butt, but somehow I really thought he’d forget about it.

At least, I hoped he would.

He was going through a rough time back then, feeling bad about the fact that he was still single in his mid-forties. And I treated him with all the smug assholery of a married person who thought she had all the answers. I was a married straight woman who thought I had all kinds of helpful advice to offer to a single gay man.

“You’ll never meet anyone if you don’t go out once in a while,” I told him.

He replied that he didn’t like clubs, didn’t feel like taking any classes or joining any singles groups, and refused to join a dating service.

I offered to fix him up with a friend. “L– is only a few years younger than you,” I told him. “He’s really cute, has these beautiful green eyes, is really active in community theater. I have known him since middle school, and I promise you he’s a really good guy.”

Nope, Matt didn’t do “fix-ups” or “blind dates” because he was afraid of being fixed up with a serial killer. Because, apparently, Matt harbors a secret belief that I have lifelong friends who just happen to be serial killers.

And that’s when I uttered those famous butt-biting words: “So I guess you think you’re going to meet Mr. Right by planting a man-tree in your living room and just picking the one you want?”

Fast forward several years, and now I’m the single one. It’s been more than two years since the Big Guy and I split up, and I haven’t been on a single date. Not one. I’ve had a few men flirt with me, but I can never tell if they are joking or serious, and I don’t have a clue what to do about the ones who just might actually be serious.

I don’t want to be single anymore, but I don’t want to have to find Mr. Right. I’m too old to go to clubs, and I hate crowds. I don’t like the idea of joining an online dating site. It’s just too random, and I really don’t think there are a lot of men on those sites looking for 50 year-old chubby divorcees.

I want Mr. Right to just appear. You know, by planting a man-tree in my living room and just picking the one I want.

If you listen really hard, you can probably hear Matt’s laughter from wherever you are. Seriously, I think he may be on the verge of giving himself an internal injury.

A while ago, I made a joke to a new co-worker about being available for fix-ups. I told her the same thing I’ve said to many people over the last couple of years: “Hey,” I joked, “if you’ve got any friends who are interested in middle-aged, overweight women, I’m up for a little matchmaking.”

She didn’t laugh. She just smiled and told me she had the perfect man in mind.

Holy shit.

Okay, so I haven’t actually met him yet. Haven’t even talked to him. In fact, he probably has no idea at this point that our mutual friend has been telling me about him. And if he does know, he may not want to meet me.

But with Matt’s laughter ringing in my years, I just told my co-worker to go ahead and talk to her friend. Set us up.

This may go nowhere. Maybe he’s not interested in dating or maybe he wont be interested in dating me. Maybe he’s a giant jackass who picks his nose at the dinner table. I don’t know what to expect. But if I’ve learned anything from everything that’s happened to me over the past few years, I’ve learned that we all have to take chances in life every once in a while. Step out of the comfort zone, do something that terrifies us, take that first frightening step, because life offers no guarantees.

No man-trees, either.

Facebook Rant #2

I discovered Facebook when my youngest child was just a baby and I had finally returned to work.  One of the other girls in the salon showed me how to set up an account, but I wondered at the time if I wasn’t too old to be getting involved in something like that.

It’s been five years now, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m hooked.  Oh, I tell everyone it’s all about monitoring the kids and their friends, or networking for my writing career, or helping me keep abreast of school and athletic events.

Sure.

Okay, I’ve reconnected with old friends that I hadn’t talked to since high school.  I’ve found relatives who had drifted out of my life.  I’ve even found relatives I didn’t know I had!  I’ve got a fan page for my blog and my books, and I’ve even managed to buy and sell household items through a garage sale “page” on Facebook.  And it’s a great way to share pictures with relatives that I don’t see as often as I’d like.

But guys, we need to talk.

Parents, think before you shame your kid on Facebook.  Seriously, I am so appalled when I see mothers who get on their page to rant and rave about how lazy their kids are, or how ungrateful, or whatever.  Sure, we all feel that way about our kids sometimes, but how disrespectful is it to use your computer to tell the world such terrible things about your own flesh and blood!  Think about it:  if a fellow teenager dedicates 4-5 status updates per day calling Little Johnny a lazy bastard or an ungrateful little jerk, wouldn’t we jump all over that teenager for bullying Little Johnny?  And yet Little Johnnies all over the world have parents who do the same thing nearly every day and never think twice.

Here’s another way to think about it.  Let’s say Little Johnny gets on Facebook and calls his mother lazy or ungrateful.  Maybe he insults her cooking, too, because that’s just the kind of kid Little Johnny is.   Most likely, he’s going to be disciplined for disrespecting his mother on Facebook, right?

So why does his mom think it’s okay for her to disrespect him on Facebook?

And don’t argue with someone else’s kid on Facebook.  Adults should act like adults.

I also see people complaining about their jobs and co-workers.  Seriously, guys, you realize that you can get fired for that, right?  You really want to call your boss a name?  Okay, call him “Ex-boss” because that’s what he’ll be after he fires your stupid ass for gossiping about your job on Facebook.

And come on, guys; everybody knows who you mean when you refer to someone as “you-know-who” or respond to comments with “Send me a message; I’ll tell you who it is.”  I recently unfriended a woman because she was constantly kvetching about “that one certain person” in vague terms and I couldn’t get past my concern that she was referring to me.  Okay, so I’m a bit paranoid at times, but it was downright creepy.

Then of course, there’s my personal favorite:  women who slam their husband or boyfriends on Facebook.  I’m sure there are men who do this too, but I see so much more of it with my women friends than with my guy friends.  A woman will have a fight with her husband and then go on Facebook to announce to the world that he’s a cheater, an abuser, a gambler, an alcoholic, or whatever.    She begs for pity, getting hundreds of supportive comments reassuring her that she’s a strong and beautiful woman.  Her friends cluster around to agree that she’s too good for the guy, and sling around more insults about him.

Half the time, the poor guy didn’t even know they were having a fight when he left for work that morning.

I guess what I’m saying is that some people just have no common sense about what is and isn’t okay to air on Facebook.  Girls, nobody cares about your period or how long it’s been since you’ve had sex.  We don’t want to know  that you have a yeast infection.  Guys, we don’t care that your balls itch.  Just shut up, turn around, and scratch them, for God’s sake.  Don’t make a public announcement on Facebook that your freaking balls itch.

Ladies, if your man just cheated on you or beat the crap out of you, leave him.  Call the cops if you must.  Don’t get on Facebook to tell the world you caught him screwing the neighbor, or post pictures of your black eye and busted lip.  Rather than bitch about the situation, change the situation.

And Moms, think about what you are about to say about your own child.  Would you slap the stupid out of your own kid for saying that about you?  Then don’t say it about him.  Common sense, people.  Before you get out there and post a rant about your kid’s coach or teacher for all of your 600+ Facebook friends to see, take a second to wonder if that coach or teacher might not be offended and perhaps take it out on your kid.  In short, if you insist on calling the coach a dick all over Facebook, don’t expect your kid to get much playing time.

It’s been a rough couple of days here, obviously.   I am in a bad mood.  People are pissing me off, and that just never works out well for anyone.

So come on, everybody.  Talk to me.  What are some of the worst things that you see people do on Facebook?  What really ticks you off?