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Free at Last!

My most recent ex-husband called me last Saturday. Oh yay…

We’ve been divorced for 6 years, 7 months, 1 hour and 3 minutes (not that I’m counting) and for four of those years, he called me at least once a week. Several times from my driveway.

Divorce Party Joke

So when he phoned last summer to tell me he was moving 150 miles away, I was happier than Dakota Johnson when they finally wrapped up filming on 50 Shades of Grey and she could go back to living a life without handcuffs and safe words. Not to mention eating solid food again.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my ex isn’t a crazy stalker. It was just the oxycodone, anger issues, and gun ownership that made him SEEM crazy and inability to recognize a boundary even if I drew it in red Magic Marker on his palm that made him SEEM like a stalker. So yes, absence does make the heart grow fonder — of the single life.

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He called to tell me that he was going in for surgery on a blocked artery and that he had removed me as his emergency contact person. The latter represents amazing growth on his part. He’s finally acknowledging that I am not going to cross often-snowy mountains in my Toyota Camry to hold his hand while he has a splinter removed from his knuckles or a balloon inflated in his neck. I’m not being mean here. In our less than 5-year marriage, I went with him to more than 150 doctors’ appointments. He’s a gun-toting, angry, pain med-addicted guy with hypochondria and weird sexual peccadilloes (isn’t that a great word?) — is it any wonder I fell for him? (Literally, as on our first real date, he rolled his Jeep with me in it down a mountain). I clearly needed a project. Perhaps I should have taken up clog dancing instead.

I’m not sure how people stay friends with their exes, especially if at one point in their lives they worried that their ex might shoot them. “I’m sorry you’re having health problems, but the idea that a little exertion might kill you is kind of a relief.” That’s probably not an appropriate thing to say, but how would I know? Clearly my penchant for niceness has gotten me into situations a smarter woman would have avoided by simply walking away from the overturned vehicle in the mountains.

The good news is, I don’t have to show up when he’s sick. The bad news is that I’m still his power of attorney, so I have to be there when he dies. I guess I’m okay with that.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to get his new phone number tattooed on my forearm, so I never accidentally pick up the phone when he calls again.

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I’m a Person, Not a Smudge

            Why are there so many creams for women over “a certain age” that have the word “blur” in them? There’s Miracle Blur, Opti-Blur, Magic Blur, 5-Second Blur, Victoria’s Secret Blur Bra for Boobs Over 50 (okay, I made that last one up, but it’s probably on the drawing board).

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            I don’t want to be a blur. I want to be high definition clear. That’s right, crows’ feet, soft jawline, broadening midsection, dangly boobies and all—I want those in sharp focus. I earned them and I want you to see them, dammit! It’s important that when you look at me, you see a 58-year-old woman who has clearly laughed often and well, not a grumpy cat or a Rubik’s Cube.

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            Notice there are no products for men that suggest they become a blur. Their creams firm, lift, harden and other words filled with sexual innuendo. (By the way, do NOT Google euphemisms for erections. Trust me on this!) No, the guys are told that each line and gray hair makes them more distinguished. Sounds like a problem with semantics to me. I think my master’s degree and 21 years as a comedy writer and performer makes me look distinguished. But what do I know? I don’t write ad copy.

I’m surprised the fashion industry hasn’t gotten in on the blurring trend for older women. Imagine the money to be made in selling camo wear to make sure we blend in with our surroundings: sweater sets with Bingo cards on them, velour track suits to match the walls for mall walks, and jeans and t-shirts the color of lumber for those days spent volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. Everyone knows once you reach a certain age, those are the things you spend all your days doing, right?

Or what about a new store called Forever 61 in which every item of clothing, every shoe and sock, every accessory was gray and fuzzy… a literal blur? That way younger people could quickly scan a crowd and avoid seeing anyone OLD and LAME. Unless, of course, they were looking for their grandparents in an attempt to make sure they’re still in the will.

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            All this is moot however, because most people today never look up from their electronic devices. We could all be naked and no one would even notice. Given the choice between naked or blurry, I opt for naked. It’s way more fun!

It’s “History” because Women’s Clothes are Uncomfortable

I walked out of my high school history class one day because I was tired of learning about men and the wars they started and the countries they “discovered” by taking them from other people when they weren’t paying attention. If that’s “discovery,” then my sister discovered my clothes every week when we shared a room growing up together.

Even at the ripe old age of 16, I knew that if women made up half the population, they surely must have contributed something more to the world than birthing babies, tending to men’s battle wounds, and dressing up purty in whorehouses. But the Texas educational system surely did not want me to find out what those contributions were ‘cuz I might get uppity and refuse to bring my future husband a future beer.

Fast forward to today when I decide to take a break from digging up crabgrass in my yard, so I turn on the Discovery Channel, only to find a marathon about extraterrestials and how they may be behind most of the bright scientific and artistic minds throughout the ages… and every example of those bright scientific and artistic minds was male. This contrasts nicely with a printout on my desk right now from WomenRockScience.tumblr.com that highlights women who made remarkable scientific discoveries only to have them co-opted by men who decided he who has the testicles gets to win the Nobel Prize.

Other than men taking credit where none is due and men controlling the media for millenia, is there any other reason women don’t show up as history makers? I think there is: uncomfortable clothing.

Throughout history, women were in so much fashion-related pain, it was hard to remember where they lived, much less take over a government or develop a plan for landing on the moon. Yes, I realize that in the past men also occasionally dressed uncomfortably but most of the  painful outfits and accessories are saved for women. Think bustle so large women couldn’t sit down, corset laced so tightly that the act of breathing was as challenging as sucking a strawberry through a straw, girdle, hoop skirt, skinny jeans so tight it took a stick of butter to get them zipped, crinoline cage (that’s right, cage), thong panty, and 6″ stiletto heel (or as I call them, training stilts.)

Yes, it’s true that women have often chosen these stupid options for themselves, but most were invented by men and the media helped perpetuate the myth that the only way women could be considered feminine was to also be weak and unable to get from point A to point B without stabbing pain, likely heart attack, or scaring the horses. Even today in our so-called enlightened and more gender-equivalent society, the thing most women do when returning home from work or a social event is to strip off the Spanx and breathe and kick off the heels and slip into an actual shoe meant for walking.

If the members of one gender have been brainwashed to think that they must be uncomfortable at all times in order to be considered attractive and socially acceptable, they aren’t going to accomplish as much as if they were wearing, say, sweat pants and sneakers. There’s a reason Wendy Davis didn’t wear heels to deliver her filibuster in Texas: She knew that women with barking dogs don’t get anywhere.

The next time you go shopping for something pretty, ask yourself, “Can I run up the stairs of the Capitol building in this? Will I be so preoccupied by the pain it causes that within a few hours I’ll be dying to go home and put on my robe? Will it scare the horses or will it scare the men with whom I can now compete on an even and more comfortable playing field?”Image