Archive for February, 2012

Single women: it’s okay to look before you leap

Can’t believe I almost let Leap Day go by without making some mention of the only holiday that actively encourages women to proposition men. Oh wait, that’s propose to men. Gosh, I need to get those two straight one of these days. ; )

I actually wrote a column about this venerable holiday back in 2008 when I was doing the Single Shot column for the dearly-departed Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  The holiday (and the column) both came out on the heels of an infamous story in The Atlantic by Lori Gottlieb, entitled “Marry Him! The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough.” Here’s how it starts:

Happy Leap Day, everyone, especially all you single women.

Whether you know it or not, Feb. 29 is your special holiday, the one day every four years when you’re “allowed” to propose to a man.

And, no, I’m not kidding.

The whole thing actually started as a joke, back in the fifth century. As legend has it, St. Bridget asked St. Patrick if there could be one day out of the year when women could legitimately propose to men and he chose Leap Day. From then on, it has become what you might call a backhanded holiday, proffering a bit of independence for women but mainly poking fun at their predilection for wedlock.

Leap Day postcards from the early 20th century are rife with images of nervous bachelors being pursued by wart-nosed old maids and portly matrons, each with a hungry bridal gleam in her eye. “Help, they’re after me!” shouts a man being chased by a desperate female with one grossly oversized hand. “Rope him now or never!” reads another featuring a lasso-wielding bride on horseback.

Although they’re pretty horrible, these musty old stereotypes are also kind of a hoot. Except when you stumble across one in a current publication, such as The Atlantic, which is where I read Lori Gottlieb’s retrolicious “Marry Him! The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough.”

As you can imagine, reading Gottlieb’s arguments for marrying the overlooked “alcoholic who doesn’t always go to his meeting” just so you can have somebody in your bed (and bank account) every day and night didn’t sit too well with this happy singleton.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the matter if you’d care to share. If not, simply feel free to peruse this oldie but goodie (and yes, I’m talking about the column, not me) as you enjoy your extra day of fun and freedom. Take care and have a great Leap Day, people!

 

What’s new in the world of romance?

Incredibly, it’s February 14 today, otherwise known as International Quirkyalone Day. And oh, yeah, Valentine’s Day. To celebrate the holiday, I thought I’d throw out a few of the (hundreds) of fun stats and news items that have been stacking up in my email box since, oh I don’t know, Christmas.

Our survey says …
Pure Romance, a direct sales company specializing in relationship enhancement products and “intimacy education,” conducted some type of survey (although, they failed to provide any information as to who — or how many people — they talked with). Whatever the case, here are some of the tidbits they dug up about love, sex, V-Day, etc.

 Regarding Valentine’s Day …

  • 27% of men said their romantic resolution this Valentine’s Day is to have sex with the lights on
  • 38% of people would buy themselves a sex toy because they’re single on Valentine’s Day
  • 80% of people believe they will be getting lucky this Valentine’s Day; less than 50% of people had good luck last year
  • 40% of women want to try something new and kinky this Valentine’s Day

 Hmmm … am wondering if  “new and kinky” might include “leaving the lights on.”

Regarding sex and relationships in general …

  • 85% of women surveyed own a sex toy
  • More than 40% of people in a long-term relationship (3+ years) have sex at least twice a week
  • 57% of people in a new relationship (less than one year) talk about sex every day
  • For better sex in 2012, 37% of men would be willing to gain 10 pounds but only 10% of women are willing to pack on the pounds for better sex

Wait, you can have better sex by gaining 10 pounds? Bring on the chocolate!

Missed connections … 
A PR representative from www.bestpr.net took the time to compile and send along the “Best Missed Connections Posts of 2012″ from everybody’s favorite freak fest, Craigslist. Looks like the ads are from all over the country and some of them are pretty fun. Not to mention romantic, particularly this first one.

So … fess up. Are you the woman in the minotaur mask and underpants?

  • I felt like I was attacked by locusts: m4w (Burning Man): You: beautiful person in the tail end of a Snuffleupagus outfit on the playa. Me: Stilted clown hobo next to camp earth mad max 2046. We met in a sandstorm, and you poked your head out of the costume. It looked like the miracle of birth. I think you had rainbow hair, but couldn’t tell in the alkaline flats. Maybe 2 septum piercings? Maybe it’s the mescaline talking, but it would be nice to meet again. We never talked, but I think you saw me and the earth shook. Then I threw up in front of you next to the naked bicyclist orgy. Coffee???
  • Midnight girl in PJ bottoms and slippers at Walgreens – m4w – 24 (lower Haight) You had blond hair and a turtleneck sweater. I had just woken up and was trying to remember what I had come in for. You were playing with the singing kung fu hamsters at the register waiting to buy your items. I was watching you from over by the Cheetos. I made some rustling noises with the bags to get your attention and we had a brief moment of eye contact before the woman started ringing you up. I made some more rustling noises with the chips but you didn’t look over, I started really going at it with a couple of Doritos bags hoping maybe you’d come investigate but you still didn’t look and walked out. I was going to follow you but I was unfortunately and unlawfully detained by a Walgreens employee before I could get out. Maybe we could meet at the High Tide some time?
  • Minotaur, Halloween, downtown – m4w – 22 (Santa Cruz) You were a tall blonde girl wearing a creepy minotaur mask, walking down Pacific Avenue with the sexiest strut I’ve ever seen. It’s nice to see a girl that can actually walk in high heels. Given, you were in your underpants, but I think even if you’d been dressed more modestly it would have had the same impact. Just….damn.

Yes, this really is a new online dating site
Apparently, the current glut of online dating sites aren’t cutting it when it comes to “serious” relationship people. So now we have MarryMeAlready.com, a dating site “solely for people seeking marriage long-term relationships.”

According to the press release I received from this mom-and-pop dating operation, “when it comes to conventional online dating, separating recreational daters from those sincerely looking for love and meaningful relationships can be tricky.” People jump from person to person (literally and figuratively, I’m assuming) and “too many online daters are also looking specifically for one-night stands or casual relationships, which can be frustrating for someone looking for a real relationship and not wanting to waste time.”

Aside from being a 100% free dating site (albeit one that aspires to become a paid site one day), MarryMeAlready.com includes member spotlights (and no, we’re not talking about the type of member spotlights you might find on Grindr), video links, and personal blogs where you can include your laundry list of must-have qualifications for your future spouse and/or post pictures of your wedding dress/groom suit and china. (I’m assuming members have already planned the date and purchased the basics and are just looking to fill in a gap here or there).  

That’s it for me, folks. As always, thanks for stopping by for the read. Have a great Valentine’s Day everybody. You’re all sweethearts in my book!

My Q&A on dating with breast cancer

While I’ve been trying to keep most of my breast cancer stuff over at http://doublewhammied.com/, I was recently asked to do a Q&A for TalkAboutHealth.com, a website “where patients and caregivers get personalized, helpful, and accurate answers from experts, survivors, and partner organizations.” Since some of the questions they tossed my way had to do with dating and breast cancer — and living with breast cancer as a single woman — I thought it might be appropriate to post about it here. 

For those who might be curious, I’m all done with treatment now and am spending the next few months writing, recuperating and researching the next phase of my exciting cancer adventure: reconstruction. I’m also trying to figure out what to do with my new hair (it’s growing in much darker and curlier than it was before). And — who knew? — starting to realize there’s a whole segment of men who like really, really short hair. ; )

As always, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my thoughts on the single life and that crazy thing we all call dating.

How did you get started dating after breast cancer? What was the most difficult aspect?
Oddly enough, I never really stopped dating through my whole breast cancer ordeal. I had just started seeing someone when I was diagnosed and that relationship (which was rather tenuous anyway) bowed and finally broke under the pressure of the cancer and a host of other things. After that, I went out with a couple of other guys (and even reconnected with my ex for a bit) but most of my time and energy was spent on doctors’ appointments and tests and of course freaking out about my upcoming double mastectomy. I thought losing my breasts would mean the end of my dating life, my sex life, etc. But as it turned out, I recovered from surgery much faster than I expected (both emotionally and physically) and ended up going out on a date just two weeks after losing my girls. To read more, click here.

What advice would you give to other survivors about dating after cancer?
Dating after cancer isn’t really all that scary. Seriously, after being pumped full of poison and having our bodies blasted with radiation, I think most of us can fake our way through an hour or two of coffee and conversation with a potential love interest. Sex after cancer, on the other hand, can be a bit daunting. Especially if you’re missing some essential body parts. And all of your hair. And the feeling in what used to be your chest.

What worked for me was to try to “rebuild” myself (paging the bionic woman!), to put myself back together using a wig and fake boobs and makeup. That helped me feel like myself so I felt more confident going out there meeting and interacting with men. But everybody’s different so trying to “pass” may not work for everybody. And dating so quickly after treatment (or even amid treatment) may not work for people, either. I was lucky in that I only had four infusions of chemo and I seemed to endure it pretty well (as long as I took my meds, anyway). Same goes for radiation. To read more, click here.

As a single woman, where did you get the support you needed while going through cancer treatment?
I’ve been single for most of my adult life and have even developed a bit of a writing platform regarding the single life with a book (How to Date in a Post-Dating World), an anthology of essays (Single State of the Union) and a humor column (Single Shot), published by the now-defunct Seattle P-I.

For me, singledom is a natural state. Instead of being cloistered away as one half of a couple, I have a huge circle of friends — people I’ve worked with, people I’ve gone to school with, fellow writers, gal pals, neighborhood buddies, drinking buddies, old boyfriends, sources that turned into friends, the list goes on and on. I also have four sisters, all of whom I’m close with. I had so many people I needed to tell about the breast cancer, in fact, I eventually started an email newsletter (the Cancertown Gazette). And then a blog (http://doublewhammied.com/).

My sisters probably did most of the heavy lifting when it came to day-to-day support during my breast cancer treatment. They were there for me before and after surgery, even helping me with drain duty (and an apartment makeover). They also went to some of the early doctors’ appointments, when things were still very dark and raw and scary, talked with me daily via phone, sat through a couple of sessions of chemo (and chemo recovery) with me and prepared a ton of meals for my freezer. My friends were equally supportive, doing everything from bringing me food (pie! lasagna! homemade soup!) to giving me lifts to radiation to sending flowers and other gifts to taking me on weekend getaways. Friends and family both chipped in financially to help me pay for a wig made from my own hair (and those are not cheap). They also stayed in contact with me regularly, took me for walks when the chemo knocked the legs out from under me, and in general, made me feel loved and appreciated and cared for at all times. To read more, click here.


What’s the story?

Meet Diane Mapes, your friendly neighborhood freelance writer. My regular beats include health, lifestyle and singles issues, but I also love writing about history, natural history, pop culture and TV/film. On this site, you'll find links to my latest stories, media appearances, and, yes, a bit of social commentary on the single life. Also here, info on upcoming classes and events, a library of clips, and a few shameless plugs about my books (hint: see links below). Have fun, glad you're here and hope to hear from you soon.

Oh! And if you're looking for my breast cancer blog, go to Double_Whammied

Check out my books!

How to Date in a Post-Dating World A dating manual for the modern, mangled single.

Single State of the Union
Single women speak out on life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

Follow me on Twitter!

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