Random Lessons About Men, Emojis and My Birthday

clipart-winky-girl-smiley-emoticon-256x256-a667IN THE GYM

Last month, my 24-year-old personal trainer dumped me. We’d been working out together twice a week for six months until one day, as he was counting my reps on the rowing machine, he abruptly told me, “Thursday is our last workout.” He then texted me a few days later to say, “I have to ask that we stop communicating on a regular basis. Sometimes our communication is too personal, with the use of winky faces and an occasional midnight text. It’s starting to put a strain on my personal life.” His “personal life” is a 22-year-old beautiful but insecure girlfriend who, in no way, should feel threatened by his not-anywhere-near-22-year-old client. Ahem. Former client. And for the record, I’ve always thought winky faces mean “just kidding,” not “I want to fuck you,” and any midnight texts I had sent simply said, “I need to cancel/reschedule our next workout.”

Not “I want to fuck you.”

Lesson learned: Emojis are subject to interpretation. Midnight texts are only appropriate for booty calls. And (I guess) I should be flattered if I’m doing anything at midlife worthy of “putting a strain” on a hot 24-year-old’s personal life. At least, that’s how I’m spinning this. Do not burst my bubble; my birthday is tomorrow, and this is getting me through it.


Last week, I met up again with Ted, the subject of my last blog post. So handsome. Sexy. Smart. And brutally honest. He’s been my crush from afar as he lives 1800 miles away from me in a city I visit frequently. I have, without any shred of dignity or doubt, developed feelings for this man who is, in almost every respect, emotionally
unavailable. He’s not married nor does he have a girlfriend, but otherwise he’s terribly bad dating/boyfriend material. He may be good fuck buddy material, if that’s what you’re looking for (I’m not). This is what he said to me while we had a drink at a bar on my first day in town:

“I’m absolutely against long-distance relationships. And sex to me is just sex–I can easily separate it from emotions. In fact, I’m paranoid of anyone getting attached to me. We could have amazing sex tonight, and tomorrow you could tell me you’re engaged and I’d say, ‘Congrats!'”

I’m still picking out shards of metal from the knife he dug into my heart.

Lesson learned: Before you go plunging heart-first into feelings territory with a man you have a crazy intense attraction to, be sure he’s willing to plunge with you–not just in your wishful thinking, but in real life. If I’d been honest with myself six months ago, I wouldn’t have been around for his brutal honesty last week. It would have been one date and done because I would have heeded the emotionally unavailable red flags. And I would be celebrating my birthday tomorrow without this nagging twinge of sadness.


I have two male coworkers-turned-friends who have been a part of my life for almost 10 years and though I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like, I love them madly–and they prove Harry dead wrong. I don’t want to bang either of them, and I’m sure the feeling is mutual, contrary to this famous dialogue from When Harry Met Sally:

Harry Burns: You realize of course that we could never be friends. 
Sally Albright: Why not? 
Harry Burns: What I’m saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form – is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way. 
Sally Albright: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved. 
Harry Burns: No you don’t. 
Sally Albright: Yes I do. 
Harry Burns: No you don’t. 
Sally Albright: Yes I do. 
Harry Burns: You only think you do. 
Sally Albright: You say I’m having sex with these men without my knowledge? 
Harry Burns: No, what I’m saying is they all WANT to have sex with you. 
Sally Albright: They do not. 
Harry Burns: Do too. 
Sally Albright: They do not. 
Harry Burns: Do too. 
Sally Albright: How do you know? 
Harry Burns: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her. 
Sally Albright: So, you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive? 
Harry Burns: No. You pretty much want to nail ’em too. 
Sally Albright: What if THEY don’t want to have sex with YOU? 
Harry Burns: Doesn’t matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story. 
Sally Albright: Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then. 
Harry Burns: I guess not. 
Sally Albright: That’s too bad. You were the only person I knew in New York.

The three of us recently spent an evening together, and these men stole my heart, in a very platonic sense. Sometimes friendships transcend all that male/female bullshit and you simply enjoy each other for who you are as individuals, not as sex organs. They gently tell me the truth when I need perspective, encourage me when I’m flailing in emotional turmoil, and make me laugh at the ridiculousness that is my dating life.

Wait. I think that’s them laughing at my dating life.

My point is, they’ve walked with me through a difficult divorce, a blistering toxic relationship and a slightly bizarre move across the country, as well as a smattering of regular old trials, tribulations and stupid shit. And to this day, whenever I get to see them, my life is sweeter because of it.

Lesson learned: Men can make valuable friends for us, ladies. And they don’t even have to be gay. I know I have two who’d buy me a birthday drink tomorrow if they could. And nothing goes down smoother than a drink from a man with no ulterior motives.


I’m texting right now with an adorable younger man who just moved to my area from Rhode Island and is in the market for new friends. I can’t wait to meet him–tomorrow we’re going to make a plan for that to happen. He seems smart and funny and witty. If his pics are accurate, he’s hottie hot hot. He’s charming, but not in a smarmy-player-“hey baby” way. We have many things in common. He’s also full of compliments and flattery and keeps questioning my age (as in, “you look at least 10 years younger”), which won’t get him everywhere, but if he keeps it up and we’re attracted, he’s got a good shot at getting somewhere.

The older I get, the more I appreciate that a man 15 years younger thinks I’m sexy. I mean, I still feel like I’ve got it going on, but a little affirmation never hurt anyone, amirite?

Lesson learned: At the end of the day, I’m a hopeful optimist, and a nice word from a charming man can still make me smile.

Oh–and age is just a fucking number. That’s always a good thing to be reminded of the night before your birthday.

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