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Still Hot, Why Not?

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MEN LOVE PINKING SHEARS

Pinking shears are scissors, the blades of which are saw-toothed instead of straight. They leave a zigzag pattern instead of a straight edge.

                                                            -Wikipedia

I’m not writing about how men our age love to sew.  Even the most credulous among you would not believe that.  Men may love to cook on the grill but when it comes to threading a needle, not only have they no interest, but their eyesight is going. 

Men our age love women with pinking shears.  That they apply.  To balls.  No, not balls of yarn.  Balls of self-confidence, ego and masculinity.  Men just love to get their balls snipped.

I hear the objections!  “That’s not so!” you shout.  I mean you, the handsome guy who is just out of a 26-year marriage, whom I’ve been dating.  Whom I met right here on JDate.

But you’re not the only one who’s objecting, you adorable but well-snipped guy you.  The ranks of All of You are rising up, that is if she hasn’t pruned that part, and proclaiming:

We want women who are kind, gentle, and understanding!

Bull-shlock, dear Men.  You want ball-busters.  Once you’ve had your kishkes chronically snipped, you become addicted.  You crave criticism.  You thirst for disapproval.  That hot & cold thing she used to do?  Where you never knew when she’d be nice, and when she’d take the flame thrower to your knaydelach?  You miss that.  It was exciting.  The cold cut of the shears on your warm tootsies.  And also: Then you could feel Guilty.  Yes, you can go home again! Home to Guilt!

My gentle Reader (or probably not so gentle, if you’re anybody’s ex-wife) may be saying, “You can’t go by that one guy.  That one sexy but beaten-down guy you’re dating.  He’s neurotic.”  Well yes, he is neurotic.  But here’s the fact.  Well, it’s not really a fact, but it is my opinion, based not only on my experience but that most dependable of references:  my girlfriends.     

Most middle-aged divorced men feel they were married to destructive women. Harridans.  Ball-busters.  Whether or not it’s true, it is how they perceive the women they stayed married to for ten, twenty, thirty years.  (And therein lies the fat bank account of therapists).

“She blamed me for everything,” my adorable but hen-pecked guy said to me on our second date, right after proclaiming that he really shouldn’t talk about it.  He went on to enumerate all the things she blamed him for, a list that included the breakup of their marriage, the wildness of their teen daughter, the thinness of their bank account, the mold in the basement, the burrs in the dog’s coat and the skeletal remains of a stegosaurus found in Siberia that were missing a thigh bone.

And I, of course, sat there, oozing gentleness and understanding, not only to stand in opposition to the evil ex-wife but also because I am gentle and understanding.  Something I am trying to rectify. 

And so I found myself, on a recent Sunday morn, in the open floor-plan kitchen of my brilliant but confused guy, watching his back as he fixed pumpkin waffles for brunch.  He seemed to have forgotten my existence.  I moved to the couch and read the Times.  Finally, he brought plates to the coffee table, and poured syrup, silently.  His eyes flitted to the window.

“I want to take my mom to a movie this afternoon,” he said.

I am two hours from home, by train.  And surprise, he wants to take his mom to the movies.  I have set aside the day to be with him.  Do I say so?  Do I object?  Do I even frown?  I smile.  How can I object to this great guy who wants to take his aging mother to the movies?  I say, “All right, honey, I understand.” 

And then, I hear myself say that we should chill this whatever-it-is we’ve got.  I’m really not the woman he seeks.  He wants someone who will snap his head off.  She would say, as a girlfriend told me I should’ve said, “That is so rude.  Obviously you don’t want me here.  I’ll go.”

But—is that reasonable?  I don’t think so.  Still, it would’ve given him a warm fuzzy feeling.  Of being home.  Of being drawn and quartered.   He would not have taken his mom to the movies.  He wouldn’t have wanted to.  He’d want to spend the day with me, winning my approval.  Which I would not give.  Which would eventually lead to marriage. 

There are lessons to be learned from this tale.  If only I knew what they were, I would surely tell you.   For the time being, I will burrow into my sewing basket.  I know there’s a pair of pinking shears in there: rusty, but hopefully can be sharpened.

Diana Amsterdam is a published and produced playwright, screenwriter, scribe and branding guru; and former ghost writer for the Emily Post Institute. She is the mother of two brilliant sons and five exceptional grandchildren.
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9 Comments »

  • David says:

    I am struck by the venom in these exchanges even allowing for the self-selecting nature of posting.

    I think the poetic license in these posts are a bit off base. First, having been both divorced (short marriage) and widowed (much longer that would have gone on forever except for a series of unfortunate events) I have learned that a bit of kindness goes a long way. Second, without knowing all the facts, Diana’s man friend was caught between loyalties which is, from his point of view, a losing proposition. Third, the metaphor of mutilation and then the conclusion that if you acted this way would he would feel better is nutty. We get out of marriages and relationships precisely because we feel poorly in them.

    Finally, for those who think women over 50 have issues that they can’t manage I suggest you look at yourselves a bit more closely. Speaking for myself, after 50 years there are scars that will last a lifetime but it is not up to your partner to heal them or make them go away. However, a bit of appreciation and understanding might make your dating life a bit more pleasurable.

  • Mike says:

    WOW; Diana Amsterdam, what a horror you profess in believing that men, especially Senior Men in your dating pool want nasty ball busting horrors who want to cut off their “balls”. If you had the “smarts” and some empathy you would have said; ‘great, I would love to go with you and your Mom to the movies’, but then you would get yourself into a Real Relationship which I think you are scared of. “Bruce” was Right On and you called him a “small man” for telling the truth. And Dave was also Right On. You encouraged the psycho babble response from “Patricia” the “therapist” who implied that you should have literally ‘cut the man’s balls off’ which of course was what you were implying also. Hostile single women stay single and just love to rant and listen to other hostile single women who stay single!

  • Dave says:

    Perhaps less mind-reading should be attempted, and more weight given to actions?

    Without knowing more about your relationship, maybe a compromise could have been him, mom, AND you going to a movie. You know, letting you into his life a little bit.

    Unless, that is, he doesn’t want you in his life, just in his un-committed time. And if you are both OK with that, why are you writing about it? And what’s the reciprocation like?

    There are no right answers, other than being honest with yourselves, with each other, and with being true to your own values, priorities and goals. If you are both seeing progress towards what each of you wants, then no need to reach into the sewing basket yet, right?

  • @Karen, I’d like to see your YouTube show, please go to my website, and send me the link. http://www.dianaamsterdam.com

    @Bruce, I am so sorry you are such a small man.

    @Patricia, I know they are not all like that! That’s why I’m on JDate, because hope springs eternal.

    @Rosemary, Thanks! Several women have written me off-JDate to say that they’ve realized they are too kind to men, as well. Can we really be too kind?

    @KZ, I hear you, girlfriend.

  • Karen says:

    You are a very gifted insightful writer. I’d love for you to see my YouTube show about second chapter relationships. I discuss some of the issues described in this blog on the show. I’m interested in hearing your impressions.

  • Rosemary Loar says:

    Wow! This is an amazingly ‘right on’ observation and with so much wit and yes, heart. You see right past the insanity and have so much compassion and gentleness. Even though it stings to know that if you were a “ball buster” you may get the man eating out of the palm of your hand, how classy of you that you took the high-comedy road!

  • Bruce says:

    I am so sorry you are such an unhappy woman.

    Should your article actually be a truthful story then I think you deserve to be with your sewing kit.

    As an over 50 guy there are way too many fun 40 thru 50 women who are not using a sewing kit and feeling sorry for themselves.

    You will be well served by owning a cat and not dating.

    Hope your type does not cross my path. Life is way too short.

    Ciao

  • Patricia says:

    Dear Diana,
    First let me say that you are truly the Carrie Bradshaw of the over 50 set! So glad we have your voice!
    As a therapist, I have to agree that I often hear dating stories like yours.
    However, I also do want to say that THEY AREN’T ALL LIKE THAT!
    Just a little message of hope..at the same time , I’m glad for you to tell others not to accept that crap! Who wants to engage in all that snipping and crimping? Just cut ‘em off altogether and move on, I say!
    Wishing you and all of my 50+ sisters a warm heart and some sharp shears!
    P.

  • KZ says:

    Hmmm…Pinking Shears? Those special shears I know, because I sew quite a bit, are used to prevent fraying of the material…used to prevent the seams from coming undone…used to keep things nice and neat and lasting. Maybe pinking shears are just what’s needed!

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