with Lynne and Leslie
Category Archives: Dating

The cringey awesomeness and cautionary tale of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

by SweetMidlife


About a week ago, I discovered this show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” a thing that everyone else already knew about and that has won a lot of awards, on the CW. I posted about it on Facebook and immediately a few friends, including Sister Lynne, responded that they’d enjoyed it but couldn’t commit to it because it, as one said, “hit too close to home.”

Oh, girl you got that right. And that’s why it’s so brilliant.

It’s about Rebecca, a successful but unhappy and apparently selfish and delusional lawyer who, after a chance run-in with the guy who dumped her after one perfect summer camp romance years ago, uproots her life and moves across the country to West Covina, Ca. where he lives, because it’s a big gesture and the kind of things that pays off in movies. Yes, it’s one of those plots that’s all over 80s and 90s teen comedies involving big fat lies that are told that compound to an uncomfortable but comedic degree until veering into some unlikely redemption of the liar where everyone forgets what a great big fat liar they are and forgives them because that’s what the script says. Except for with “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” a swirly musical created by star Rachel Bloom, the characters are actual grown adults in their 30s so their lying isn’t cute, and since it’s a television series, there’s no cute cutaway. It’s straight up cringe-worthy and hard to watch, because even with the peppy songs and all the bright colors and sunshine, we’re watching an unhappy and deeply self-centered person immediately shoot herself in the foot because she can’t get over herself long to really see what she’s doing.

You know. Like you’ve done. Well not you. Me. I have. But not you.

(It’s OK. We know you have.)

Last night’s episode saw Rebecca spin herself into a typical sitcom-y situation where she accidentally sends Josh, the clueless object of her affections who really isn’t good enough for her, a text meant for a friend confirming that she did move across the country to pursue him and had concocted a whole lie about it. So she leaves the deposition she’s in (with the support of the judge) and runs to break into Josh’s house to delete the message off his phone. But when he shows up, she piles on the lies that someone tried to break into her house, convincing her friend to throw a rock through her window so that Josh doesn’t find out she’s lying. Still, he realizes that the rock was from a set of decorative rocks from her OWN HOUSE, so of course she’s lying and he doesn’t even want to hear the next lie she will tell to get out of that previous lie and jets. And when Josh’s friend who likes her but is now dating her neighbor stops by and offers to help, he realizes that he’s just being pressed into service to literally clean up another mess that’s about Josh.

Although I swear I have never told that many lies at one time, I have bent myself into embarrassing situations that there is no real explanation for, largely for men who never wanted me in the first place, because I needed the validation of losers to feel good about myself, even though I’m a successful professional with lots of friends who should not need that crap. (I don’t anymore because I married an amazing dude who loved me and got really mad when I said bad things about myself because he was awesome like that.) So I look at Rebecca, who we know now has an overbearing and manipulative mother, and also a best friend who loves her but encourages her romantic delusions because she’s unfulfilled in her own life and wants to believe that true loves exists.

And I don’t want to be her. If you ever see me being her, tell me. Because the only thing worst than not knowing that you are acting crazy is thinking that your girls see you acting crazy and won’t tell you. Friends don’t let friends act crazy and not tell them.

Would you be “Married By Mom and Dad?” Probably not. But maybe….

by SweetMidlife


This is Leslie, and as you might have read, I was married until about five months ago, and then, completely involuntarily, I was suddenly not. (He was awesome but he passed away. It’s a whole thing. Read HERE for the sad story I don’t feel like telling over right now, because we were having so much fun, weren’t we?)

I’m only 44 years old, so I imagine that at some point I’ll hopefully meet some other suitable man – Unlike before I met my husband, I’ve got standards now! – but am still feeling so married to my other guy, and so weary of the whole prospect of falling back into the rancid sinkhole that was my pre-marriage Internet dating situation, that I’ve told my friends that when the time is right they’re gonna have to shake the trees and introduce me to someone. (Someone good. Again, I’ve got standards now!) I know now what a good marriage is supposed to be, and in what ways I’d gotten in my own way when looking the last time. I trust my amazing and brutally, brutally honest village of friends to steer me in the right direction.

But the question that TLC’s “Married By Mom and Dad” asks is whether a modern woman or man would let someone else – their parents, specifically – not only steer you in the right direction, but pick the destination, park the car, carry you up the stairs, select the room and then lock you inside with a key you don’t have a copy of. Four singles – Mitch, Marivic, John and Christina – allow  their folks to narrow down a list of potential matches, meet them, winnow them down some more and then suggest they marry. The situations vary – all of them are between their mid-20s and early 30s, never married and with different expectations. Marivic is a nurse who lives at home and seems, honestly, brattier and less cool than her parents. Mitch is a super-pretty Ken doll wine rep, whose dad and stepmom have reluctantly teamed with his mom, who they all went to high school with (!) to find him a woman. John, like Marivic, is sort of a blur when compared to his outsized, outdoorsy parents, and Christina comes off kind of lame and immature, honestly.

The show reminds one instantly of “Married At First Sight,” another reality show about people leaving their romantic decisions up to someone else, except here that someone else is not the parents who raised and know you, but some complete strangers who do science math calculation situations to find you a match. And the stakes are way higher – at least with mom and dad, you get to meet the person before saying “I do” – but here you don’t meet your spouse until you’re at the altar, and then you’re in a legally binding marriage that’s not annul-able (the scientists seem practically giddy when they say that, like “What you gonna do now, girl? WHATUGONNADO?”). This of course leads to panic and drama and ridiculousness that makes great TV and horrible real life.

The producers of “Married At First Sight” maintain that they are a more scientific and therefore better version of traditional arranged marriage, but I think they’re full of this. This is like letting that EHarmony algorithm and the dude in the commercials with the glasses do your profile, have all the conversations online and then drive you to the wedding, and after you sign the release, because you’re an idiot, there’s nothing to do but settle in for the discovery and the humiliation. I actually prefer “Maried By Mom and Dad,” even though I cannot fathom a moment where I’d let, say, my mom and my Uncles Lester and Andre arrange my marriage. I can’t imagine what that person would look like, talk like, do for a living or explore in his spare time, but I know one thing – the pickers in question love me. They saw my heart break this year and would never throw me at some person they did not truly believe would be a great fit not only with me, but with my family, my culture and my life.

Understand: YOU GIRL IS NEVER GOING ON “MARRIED BY MOM AND DAD.” But I can see why one would. One who is not me.

Cohabitate-gate Part Two!: The blogger speaks! And is eventually half-way humbled!

by SweetMidlife


So yesterday I told you about this writer Hope Kumor, who wrote a not-cute column for XOJane about how she and her boyfriend were living with his folks to save money, and how this arrangement was harshing her sex life and ability to walk around someone else’s house half naked. Many readers on that site, on this one, and on our various Facebook pages, laughed at her.

As a person who gets paid to sometimes put my life out there for other people to judge, I do understand that it’s hard to see your personal choices judged, even though no one made you write about them. But if you’re in the mindframe to write something so…tone deaf, self-reflection might not be your superpower. So you won’t be surprised by her initial response on her blog. You can read the whole thing, but her take is that it was sarcasm and “a joke, but maybe you aren’t smart enough to decipher the difference.”

Wait, who what?

Hope goes on to write that her boyfriend not only pays rent but gives his folks so much money that “generally get mad at him because he spends so much money on them…It’s hilarious how you all think I’m an ungrateful bitch because if you actually met me in person, you’d see that I’m the sweetest and kindest gal.”

Well then.

Rather than just laugh at her utter lack of graciousness, I decided to post on her blog that her sarcasm wasn’t clear and that she shouldn’t blame the readers for her lack of clarity. And rather than delete me, she responded!

“Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. We do appreciate it.

Going back, yes I left some things out that I really should have added in, such as the rent, how much we help out around the house and underneath it all, how grateful we are for them.

Thanks for the advice! Truly. xo”

Wow! Graciousness! So far, Hope has yet to go on XOJane and respond and I hope she does. Do I believe that she was being sarcastic? Not completely. I think she misread how her story was going to play and then got defensive. I get it. But she needs to grow a thicker skin. I am pleased she responded, though.

And she should still save those pennies and move out. She and Brett’s parents will get along so much better if she does.


Dear blogging model: Your dating life is not over at 30

by SweetMidlife
Taken from XOJane.com

Taken from XOJane.com

Leslie here!

If the woman pictured above thinks that she’s an old unlovable hag at 30 who should just stop dating because all the good catches want women younger, less demanding and “less impressive” (her words) than herself, then the rest of y’all might as well pack it in and back your UHauls up to the local pet shelter, because you’re gonna need some cats.

I came across an XOJane column titled “30 Is The New 50: ‘Old Age’ Is Killing My Dating Life” by model/writer Jenny Bahn and was intrigued, because I did a lot of dating between the ages of 15 and 38, when I got married and never, as Carrie Fisher says in “When Harry Met Sally,” never have to be out there again. But I needed to know why a gorgeous young woman living in New York would believe that her age is a problem. Of course, her experiences are her own, and who am I to say she’s making it up, but it didn’t make sense to me. I had to know more.

She tells the story of a disastrous conversation with a 38-year-old upwardly mobile dude she’d dated a few times, where he explained that he was also dating a 23-year-old because she was undemanding and wasn’t looking for anything serious, unlike 30-year-olds like Bahn whose biological clocks are ticking so loud that they’re harshing his fun buzz. (Boo-hoo dude.)

This douche that she calls Alex, who says douchey things about how Bahn is unloveable, speaks a sad truth – women who think they might want a biological family do face time constraints that men who can keep making babies into their dusty dotage do not. And sometimes those men do want to date younger women because they might not want those things yet, or because by the time those men do want kids, the women their age might not be able to. Boy that sucks.

The thing that struck me about Bahn’s reaction to this – that she’ll maybe never find anyone if 30 makes her too old to be desirable by the kind of successful guys she sees herself with in the “brutal” NYC dating scene – was that I kept looking at her photo, where she’s posed melodramatically in a nasty-looking bathroom in front of the serial killer-looking words “Love Me OK Don’t” and thinking “What the heck are YOU complaining about?”

That’s because she’s beautiful, looks five years younger than she is, and would appear to check all the boxes that the average dater, certainly the ones online, seem to be looking for. (I also get itchy because that’s a really nasty bathroom and I worry that she needs a tetanus shot, because if dating doesn’t kill her, them germs might.)

Again, her experience is her own, and I don’t mean to tell her she’s lying. But it made me sad that she seems to have given up at her age, because those of us who have never looked like Bahn and dated for a lot longer than the relatively age of 30 somehow found a reason to live. Bahn admits that she is looking for someone as successful as she is, and, I imagine, on par with her attractive-wise. What I started to wonder is if she’s only dating douches and might want to expand her dating pool. Like, out of Douchetown.

A lot of the comments on the site were from women like me who were older than 30 and didn’t deserve into Spinster Dust the minute the birthday cake was finished, who advised her to take a deep breath and move forward. She also got some nastiness from women in their 20s who took umbrage at her inference that their age automaticaly made them less smart, mature and impressive, as well as a few so-called Men’s Right’s Activists who lurk on women’s sites like this just to remind the readers that yes, they’re undateable hags and no one wants them. Oh, those guys.

I come from the demographic – black women – that is least searched for on dating sites ( ) by men of any race. And when your inbox is collecting dust stats like that can make you feel extra lonely, particularly when you are getting older and do want to have kids, and when you don’t look like Jenny Bahn, or Olivia Pope.

I understand that since I am not a model, whose career depends on people wanting to look at her and think she’s pretty, it wasn’t the end of the world to assume that I couldn’t get every man I wanted. But The thing that I want to tell the Jenny’s of the world is that a) Don’t waste time on people who don’t want you, because they’re not for you and probably dumb and b) you don’t have to be awesome to everyone in the world. Just the right someone.

How I learned to stop worrying and stop hating Valentine’s Day

by SweetMidlife

Leslie here!

In the film “Valentine’s Day,” starring apparently everyone on director Garry Marshall’s email list, Jessica Biel’s character throws an “I Hate Valentine’s Day party, because she’s single and fed up with the glaring pressure to be coupled up, at least for that evening, and the disgusting displays of happiness and cannoodle-ness of the stupid happy people rubbing their stupid happiness in her face.

I, too, was glaringly single for most of my adulthood, so when this guy from high school I had been hanging out with as friends asked me out for an official first date for that Saturday night, I did some quick math and screwed up my face.

“That’s Valentine’s Day!” I said. “That’s not a good idea. That’s too much pressure for a first date. Can we do it some other day?”

What I didn’t know was that this guy had decided that he was in love with me for months, since we met for a friendly drink and he’d laid eyes on me for the first time in 20 years. He says he knew he was going to marry me in that moment. He also decided to keep all that to himself, aware that this could sound a wee stalkery, and because he correctly identified me as a skittish tiny fawn with a sketchy track record who was just looking for a reason to flee out the back door and run far. Far. Away. He also says he knew that I might balk at having a first day on a such a traditionally loaded date, but took the chance.

And so did I. And now we’re married, so I guess he was right.

Here’s the thing – just because I’m now a wife doesn’t mean I forgot all of those years of being solo on the supposedly most romantic day on the calendar, right up there with the anxiety-inducing New
Year’s Eve and its all-important midnight kiss, and Every Wedding Where The Line For The Bouquet Toss Gets Whittled Down To You And The Bride’s 10-Year-Old Niece. I have tried very hard not to be a so-called “smug married,” as Bridget Jones would say, because I was single way longer than I’ve been married and would never assume that having a ring on my finger qualified me for knowing anything more than my single friends. I hate those people and I’m determined to never, ever be one of them.

I noticed that a bar when I spent about a year as a regular in my single early 30s was having the Jessica Biel special, the anti-Valentine’s Day party. And if they’re going to make a lot of money on it, I wish them well, because times are rough and any occasion that can draw more business to you is awesome. And if you’re single and need an extra special reason to go drink, or a fun night out with single friends who don’t wanna be alone, or don’t want to face the smoochers, I get it.

Then again…I wish that when I was single I had not let some arbitrary day get to me, like it was extra-illegal to be without a partner that day, or the Pathetic Police were gonna show up and cart you out while slapping a scarlet “S” for single, or spinster, or sadsack, on your chest while the villagers mock and laugh. It’s just a day. You were single yesterday. Maybe you’ll be single tomorrow. Maybe you’re good with that, and maybe you rue each day. But rather than allow Hallmark and your coupled friends and your mama make you feel bad, remember that while it may be a bummer not to be included in something that seems to welcome all your friends and their partners, that its better than being thrown into depression, or maybe even talking yourself into some sloppy kissing situation you would have avoided on any other day.

I’m not going to say “Be your own Valentine” or anything like that, because that’s condescending. And I’m not going to say “Just buy something for your cat, or your Grandma,” because while those folks deserve something good, it’s not the same. So just know that you’re awesome, no matter what the date. Focusing hate on a fake holiday doesn’t do anything but make you want to drink and eat chocolate, and possibly hate-dial your Xs. You’re better than that. And tomorrow is another day. Maybe there’s a nice non-stalker around the corner waiting for you. One could always hope.

Why “Sleepless In Austin”‘s site actually is racist, not just particular

by SweetMidlife

This fussy gentleman is looking for love. But in very specific places. Sorry, Halle!


When I was single, I did a lot of online dating. Some of it was awful. Some was nice. Most of it was just “meh.” Most of it was navigating what you thought you wanted and trying to match that up with someone else out there who not only matched most of your criteria but who thought you matched theirs. Some things were negotiable and others were deal breakers. My basic requirements were a guy up to five years younger than me and ten years older, who was either Christian or Jewish, had a job, enjoyed some physical activity and, after a disastrous long-distance relationship, had to live within a couple of hours of me.

I was very clear about my must-haves, and on the odd chance that I got queries from people who didn’t match them and asked me why, I didn’t say “Because people of different faiths than what I mentioned are evil, and old men suck and I would never date one, and because I hate lazy people and want to punch them in the throat.” I don’t believe those things. I just said “These are my preferences.”

Likewise, there were many people that Match.com actually matched me with who were resolutely looking for anyone but black women – I mean, they had checked every box on the screen but “black.” Studies have suggested that black women are the least searched-for on dating sites. Seriously. That was hurtful because no one wants to think of themselves as the pariah of online dating (and kinda stupid for Match to suggest someone who was basically inventing new races to avoid mine), but they were their preferences, and it wasn’t my business. Better to know and not waste my time. Those preferences don’t make those men racist any more than mine made me anti-atheist or anti guy-who-lives-in-Pittsburgh. I just didn’t want those things in someone to date.

Austin-area wedding photographer Larry Busby, also known as Romeo Rose, has a lot of things he wants and does not want in someone to date, detailed on his Web site called “Sleepless In Austin,” because of his love of the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie and his quest for romance, and maybe because he’s a hopeless romantic, or because he has no imagination. The site details his search for love, and his offer of $1,500 to anyone who can help him find that certain woman.

And when he says “certain,” Brother is not playing around. I shouldn’t probably say “brother,” because Larry is emphatically not down with the brothers, or at least any woman who has ever slept with one. Nor is he down with the sistas, meaning black women – and he’s clear about this. He’d date absolutely anyone but a black woman, even if “she looks like Halle Berry” and he will and did go on for quite a bit about that. And about how blacks and whites shouldn’t mix.

But he swears he’s not racist.

Larry also has some fascinating things to say about women who weigh more than 130 pounds, women with kids (babies stretch the private lady areas out too much so that they don’t look good anymore and he would not like to have sex with them anymore), women who have tattoos (icky), women who have had more than a “normal” number of sex partners or are a “promiscuous slut,” and women who are friends with their exes (just forget about that dude now!) Also he would like to remind you that he has a very high sex drive, which I am totally sure means that he’s decided to expend that sex drive within a “normal” number of partners.

Because we wouldn’t want anyone to think Larry is a promiscuous slut.

Larry, obviously, is very particular, which is his right. And hopefully the right thin, white, non-slutty woman with acceptably unsullied lady parts will find him. I mean that. Crazy needs crazy, and when it finds it, that’s crazy’s business. My issue is not with his particular nature, but with the emphatic nature with which he expresses it. It is OK for you to not want to date a black woman.

But to be all “I will not ever date a black girl, however I will date any other race” or “I would NEVER, EVER, EVER date a woman if I found out she had EVER been sexually active with a Black man” is not just about who you want to, or don’t want to be with. It’s “Cooties! Black people have cooties! Having had sex with a black person before you met me gives you cooties!” That’s expressing that you think something is emphatically undesirable, dirty or cootie-filled about black people sexually or otherwise.

And that’s kinda racist.

But good luck with your search.

Five Minute Fridays: Red

by SweetMidlife




My husband and I got married in the fall of 2010, and one of our first married date nights was to go see the movie “Red”, about retired spies. Loved the movie, and I loved the evening. I love what it represented, which was an early intentional foray into dating one’s husband. We went to my now-favorite restaurant in and ate ridiculously, and had mimosas, and stupidly good Churros, which I ate in the car on the way to the movie. And we held hands, and we laughed, and at the end of the night, we got to go home together, which was different for us at the end of a date, since we didn’t live with each other until after we got married. In the 3 years since then, we have bought a house, and had a son, and we have to be even more intentional about spending time together. We, as a we, are the foundation of our family, so having those moments, as other smart married people have told me, is SO important. Maybe the Red sequel is still in a second run theater somewhere. That would be a good date.

Five-Minute Fridays: Last

by SweetMidlife

Leslie here! Here’s my Five-Minute Friday entry, which is the word “last”.


“My First, My Last, My Everything” is one of those wedding songs that you think about because of the commitment in the title, but don’t really examine. Maybe it’s that you hear it so much. Maybe it’s because “Ally McBeal” ruined it. I don’t know.

But it’s one of my favorites, in a giddy, almost surreal way, because it’s real. When you say that to someone, you should mean it. I always thrilled to such a manly man as Barry White and his big booming sexy voice making such a vulnerable declaration, because he was, you know, a man, and imagining that someone was his “first” at the age he was singing it…what does that mean? First sexual encounter? Not likely. First girlfriend? Nah.

Wait…it’s more powerful than that. Maybe it means that this person is so mindblowing and momentous that time started over. Clocks have no meaning. Every other person before this is a wisp, a figment, a thing that does not matter, because now you’ve met your someone and time has restarted.

And this person is the first. They will be the last. They are all-encompassing.

They are everything.

And that’s something to sing about.


I’m Uncomfortable

by SweetMidlife

It’s Lynne!


So last night, I was watching the end of “The Voice”, when I got a text from Good Friend Elicia asking if I was going to watch “Ready For Love”, NBC’s entry into the dating show world. It looked harmless enough from the promos, with matchmakers (and not casting agents?) finding women for 3 busy guys who are now ready for love in their lives, so I set up my DVR. I was just about ot turn the TV off when I saw a “Here’s what to expect from the season” blurb, and it was women LITERALLY fighting for one of the dudes in a boxing ring, and screaming and threats and a woman professing her love for a dude who is also considering other women at the same time and I canceled the Tivo.


If you watch “The Bachelor” or other “reality” shows where people are looking for a husband or wife (or job or anything, actually), I guess you can watch them either believing that these are people really looking for love, or believing that all of these people are fame-hussies (men and women included) who are just using this as an entry into a TV-career. It’s probably somewhere in between, and I won’t judge anyone who watches for either reason, because people probably have issues with some of the stuff I watch. That being said, though, I can’t watch for sport women (or men, because I know of “The Bachelorette”) view each other as the enemy while trying to get the attention of one dude who has his pick. They have nothing to focus on but him, and getting picked to go out on a date, and getting more time with him, while he sees the whole picture, and controls the show. I can’t remember which season it was, but I remember a Bachelor cutting one of the ladies because “I just felt like she wasn’t giving me her whole heart”. Umm, maybe because she knew that you had about 10 other people in the other parts of your heart and she wasn’t trying to get stomped.  And I know that people will say that it is their fault for being on the show, and that they knew what they were getting into, but then I ask what the takeaway is from watching people, even in jest, get their hearts broken. I am not being holier than thou, because I have watched too. I just can’t anymore. Just can’t.

Old weird love: Celebrating the romance of aches and pains

by SweetMidlife

Grown and sexy. With Spanx!

Leslie here! One of my favorite things about “30 Rock” is Tina Fey’s ability to sneak a surprisingly poignant moment into the most goofily surreal scene. There’s an episode where nutty egomaniac TV star Tracy Jordan has supposedly taken off to Africa (we find out later he’s hiding out in New York), propelling his wife Angie to seize the spotlight with her wacko Bravo reality show “Queen of Jordan” (“HAAAM!)

Angie protests that Tracy’s absence is a good thing because it allows her to come out of his shadow. But in the middle of the wackiness, she admits something to de facto confidante/boss/bewildered observer Liz Lemon – the things about Tracy that drive her insane, like him showing up drunk at their wedding or basically being a crazy person are the same things that draws her to him.

“I miss my weird love,” she wails, and I remember clapping in recognition at that line, because I, too have a weird love. And an old love, relatively speaking – not older than me, because we’re both old. A love that I found at the relatively advanced age of 38, past the age where I was my youngest or cutest or skinniest, at the age where 10 p.m. is the time we’re coming home exhausted rather than headed out. Sometimes, he’ll lovingly point out when I have an old-lady whisker (Don’t worry, 20-somethings. It’s coming for you one day) and I’ll kiss him on his bald head.

And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have the luxury of knowing what my husband looked like at 15, when he was all dark hair and swagger and high school hallway card games in his Camaro. And he sure was cute. But he was just some guy in my class. He wasn’t mine. What he looked like from 23-37 I know from photos, and he was cute, but he wasn’t mine. The 41-year-old with the bald head who falls asleep early and is a proud baseball and wrestling uncle to his nephew, who’s as confident in the Spongebob aisle at Toys-R-Us as he is in a silk shirt at a casino? He’s mine. I would cut a skank over him. And I am madly, passionately, girlfriendly in love with him. I sometimes wish we’d gotten together sooner, but only because that would have given us even more time together.

The woman that he fell in love with was 20 pounds past her marathon weight, not as fly as she used to be and given to crankiness, as well as to karaoke binges, true crime shows and stuff about wedding dresses. And he fell in love with her anyway. I’ll look wistfully at my skinny photos and say “Don’t you wish you’d met her?” And he’ll look at me and say “Why? I love you!” And then Billy Joel comes into my head and we love each other just the way we are, crankiness and cellulite and baldness and weird whiskers. And then someone falls asleep on the couch.

I don’t love him in spite of that stuff, or vice versa. We fell in love with the old, weird versions of each other. And that makes me smile. And then wanna take a nap, because I’m old.

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