old enough to know better, young enough to do it anyway

I’ve been trying to save money lately. Between being in a long distance relationship, attending several weddings this year and the high cost of living and playing in New York City, I spend way too much. However, I am not going to stop going out to dinner because I love trying new restaurants and most of my socializing revolves eating/drinking. And I’m not going to break up with my boyfriend because, well, he’s awesome. So, I’ve been trying to save money in other, smaller ways.

For instance, there was a time that I would buy books I wanted to read regardless of price. Now, I am waiting until the cost of some of the bigger named author’s books come down a bit before buying them and I might (brace yourself) actually start taking books out of the library rather than purchasing them. I still haven’t read Emily Giffin’s “Where We Belong” and it’s killing me but, seriously, $12.99 for a Kindle download is ridiculous.

I’ve also downloaded quite a few free reads on my Kindle lately. I started reading a few of them this weekend, but had to put them down. Not because the writing was bad, but because I couldn’t relate to the characters and, further, they made me feel bad about how my generation is being portrayed in books. The main characters in each of the books complained about gray hairs, and sagging bodies and boobs that were beginning to hang down to their bellies. In most cases, their husbands left them for someone younger or they were jealous of their younger counterparts and, in general, they didn’t seem to have any youthful spirit left in them. I assumed they must be at least in their fifties and was shocked to read a bit further and discover they were only in their late 30s-early 40s (my age range)! Unlike the characters in these books, I do not feel old and I don’t look old. Because I’m not old!

I’ve definitely matured in many ways since my 20s. My career has progressed, along with my salary. I’ve written three novels and published (almost) two. I still party, but I’ve learned to do so in moderation (mostly). Instead of staying out till 5am drinking cheap beer, I stay out till 1 or 2 drinking wine or prosecco. And I still drink cheap beer while watching football with friends on Sundays! I still have the same taste in television, movies and books, but instead of crushing on the teenage boy character, I like his dad. (Actually, sometimes I still crush on the teenager. When he’s played by Zac Efron…) Intellectually, I’ve become much more self aware which has enabled me to appreciate what is important and let go of what is not. I am definitely wiser and more “adult”. However, I am in just as good shape, if not better, than I was in my 20s. My boobs are not sagging. My face is not full of wrinkles. I still get hit on by men, both younger and older. And the night I met my current boyfriend who is a few years younger than me, a very cute 24-year-old girl was basically throwing herself at him, yet he only had eyes for me. I am still “young” at heart. Scratch that, I am still “young” – period, however, I am not a “girl”, I am a “woman.” Most of my entire circle of friends is just like me: we’ve grown up but we haven’t grown “old”.

Unlike most of the books I read, not all women in my age range are married with children. And not all of the single ones are divorced. Like our younger counterparts, some of us are in relationships that have not yet led to marriage, others are still looking for “the one” and some are simply happy playing the field. While I am sure that many women in my age range can relate to the characters in the books I read, I would love to read a novel that better represents me and my friends. The only one I’ve read that comes close to capturing that spirit is Erik Atwell’s “Thank You For Flying Air Zoe.”

I started writing my third novel about a 39 year old woman who personified my social circle but I temporarily put it aside to write something else. Now that I am in revisions of my work in progress, I am thinking that I might try again to write a novel that is neither about a young teeny bopper starting out in adulthood nor an aging woman who fears her best years are behind her. I would like to write a book about that undefined place in time when you’re old enough to know better but young enough to do it anyway.

Bachelor Pad Jamie/Chris

Does anyone else watch Bachelor Pad? It’s so ridiculous and most of the time I am only half watching while doing other things, like writing or switching the channel to the Olympics or baseball. The participants have the biggest egos ever and I really can’t stand any of them. Almost none of them have the same personality they had while contestants on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette (not that they were much better on those shows) and, yes, I know it’s scripted. But still. Anyway, Jamie has a crush on Chris and they’ve made out a few times. As far as I know, that’s all they’ve done but I’m probably being naive to assume they haven’t had sex just because it hasn’t been broadcast. Chris is playing both sides of the fence – he knows that Blakely is a good competitor and he wants to remain her teammate because of it (and probably also because she’s a bit psycho) but he’s not interested in her on a romantic level. He assures Blakely that he’s loyal to her but he also wants to score with the ladies. Initially, he seemed to like Jamie – when they were just flirting and shared a mutual crush. But Jamie made the mistake that so many of us women do and assumed that just because he showed some interest in her, he owed her a relationship and just because they made out, he had deep feelings. A kiss does not equal a relationship and an initial spark of chemistry does not come with the promise of a true emotional connection. And beyond that, even if Chris did like her at first, he might have changed his mind. It happens in the real life dating world so why wouldn’t it happen on Bachelor Pad? Just as a women’s prerogative is to change her mind, a man can do it as well. And regardless of his initial intentions, Chris has now made it clear that he’s no longer interested in her. He told her it wasn’t her, “it’s me” and she responded by accusing him of never initiating, never pursuing her, making her do all the work, blah, blah, blah. Duh, Jamie – he just told you he wasn’t interested. If a guy is not interested, he is not going to initiate or pursue. It’s totally normal to feel bad and maybe even shed a few self-pity tears but don’t let him (or the rest of the world) see it.  You’re a cute girl – hold your head up high, stand up straight, stick your huge boobs in the air and move on. Game over. Except that the coming attractions for next week show them hooking up again! Chris rejected her on national television and she’s coming back for more. My stomach cringes in agony as I imagine Jamie explaining away or simply shrugging off Chris’s previous rejection and playing right into his hands. STOP IT!!

OK, I’ll admit that I’ve given some guys more chances than they deserved in my past due to wishful thinking on my part and some denial of reality but it wasn’t on television in front of millions of people and I felt beyond stupid after the fact. I’ve also made the mistake of assuming that some expressions of interest would ultimately morph into something more, like dating or a relationship. And I felt completely rejected when the guy seemingly lost interest and started dating someone else. It hurt, but even then I knew I had no hold on the guy, no basis to yell at him or even confront him about it because he didn’t owe me anything. All he did was express interest but he was never mine to lose. It’s not easy to get over someone you feel a connection with, especially when he dangles the goods in your face and then pulls them away without warning. When someone shows no interest at all, it’s much easier to accept than when something seems to start and then never takes off. It makes you wonder “what did I do wrong?” but the danger there is you start to give the guy more credit than he probably deserves, you start to romanticize what could have been, and you lose complete sight of reality. I’ve been there. Jamie is making so much of this “relationship” with Chris when in truth, all they shared was a casual hook up. She doesn’t even know him, other than that he looks amazing with his shirt off. He blows hot and cold with her. She saw him with another woman in his bed and most importantly, he already rejected her. He’s not worth her emotions. I really hope she sees him for what he is before she wastes even more time and makes an even bigger fool of herself on television but if I was a betting woman, my money would, sadly, be on Chris.

I still have to ask myself – why do I watch this show???