My First Revenge Date

Going on a dating site actually improved my failing marriage. I didn’t tell him I was on it. But I figured I had a right, since he was the cheater. But when I went on Match, I stopped nagging my husband. My mind was more occupied with who “winked” at me and less occupied with, “What an asshole. How can he not know, after all these years, how to contact the kids’ school.”

“Just go online. look at the staff directory.”

“You don’t have to say it like that.”

I was sick of the excuse that he was a foreigner from France and didn’t know the system. Now that we were finally going to separate, I wanted to be done doing everything for everyone. To be fair, Maxime would disagree with that assessment. If you were our therapist, he would tell you, “I do a lot. All the lunches and grocery shopping.” And then I would complain, “Yeah, but I do everything that requires planning and thought.” And he would get pissed and just stare into space because he can’t ever do anything good enough for me.

I came to accept the burning, angry stares mostly because it was better than shouting. We didn’t want the kids to hear. So we just fought silently, mostly with eye-rolling. My older daughter especially was sensitive to any tension.
“Guys! Stop fighting.”

“We’re not fighting. We’re just disagreeing. Adults disagree. Then we work it out.”

The little one simply went into her imaginary world telling stories about her stuffed toys. Making them go on trips to some happy vacation land.

Meanwhile I had my secret dating site. And I was feeling bold enough to send some guy a message. Even though he looked a little douche-y in his picture. A shaved head and a purposeful, smoldering look into the camera, his screen name was OneInAMillion. Yeah, I know. But his face was good-looking, so I wrote:

“So I see you’re in Brooklyn too. Want to get a drink some time?”

He responded right away! Yay! I knew I was still cute. So there!

“Sure. Sounds great. Thanks for checking out my profile.”

Jeeze would I actually meet up with someone? Would I actually kiss someone? I hadn’t kissed anyone in ages, including my husband. And not including my husband it had been 15 freaking years. What if I didn’t know how to do it anymore? Should I practice with a pillow? It just wouldn’t be the same thing. Maybe me and OneInAMillion would just talk, and I could slip on home without him ever getting a chance to lean in. Or maybe I wanted the lean in to see what it was like. I wrote him back, “So what is your weekend looking like?” I felt like I just asked someone to prom.

Unmatched

After I found the text my husband wrote to his colleague saying he did not regret their kiss, I joined Match.com. I took a selfie in light that was not bright enough to show the worry wrinkles in between my eyes or the brown sun spot on the side of my cheek. Finally those stupid episodes of Top Model came in handy. (I knew there was a reason I actually watched that nonsense.) I followed Tyra’s advice and tried to think of something while smiling so I didn’t look blank. But here’s my modeling advice. Do not think of disappointment.  You’re match selfie should have a sly smile, not a quivering bottom lip and tears welling, “What’s wrong with me?” Don’t think of your husband telling you that you “cut his balls” and that you criticize his every move. (Thanks for grocery shopping, but this full-fat yogurt and the kids need skim…)  I thought of an imaginary cute guy at the end of the bar, making our first eye contact.

In real life, if I were to meet a cute guy I would not lead with, “Hi, I’m Roz. I’m a middle aged lady with two kids who is just separated.” But on Match you fill in your stats and it’s all right up front. I tried to put a little more personality into the next part:

Here’s what I like:
• singing along to the radio while driving
• friends who stay in touch outside of Facebook
• the smell of the ocean—salt air is good for the soul and the sinuses
• witty people
• true crime books (I know, sort of creepy)
• Blur
• the word “pumpkin”
Things I don’t like:
• the word “pupa”
• litter and the people who litter
• Tom Waits songs (It’s ok if you like them.)

“Mom!!!”
“What. I’m in here. Um, writing a work email.”
“Where’s my other unicorn slipper?”
“Ask your father!!”
(Yeah, let’s see if that asshole can try to find a unicorn slipper without me. Small doses of revenge.)

As far as the kids were concerned, we were still an intact family. But when I found the text, I told Maxime, “You’re going to have to explain to the kids! One day, they’ll know what you really are!” Of course, I wouldn’t do that to them. I would do the right thing and look up what to say to kids about divorce on Google.

For now, I finished my Match profile. I felt like I was cutting school. Fun and dangerous. And once you’re on it, you’re sucked in. You keep checking. Who viewed me? Who liked me? How many? Sometimes it’s a lot. Sometimes it’s none. Your brain gets addicted like a compulsive gambler because after all the times you loose (no response) sometimes there’s a reward (a little message saying how cute you are). So you keep checking. One more time before bed and then you’ll put it away. Hold your breath as you click to check. Bam! A message. I already caught one. So there. See, people do like me.

Femos: Dear RZ Hi I’m new to match while reading profiles I came across yours and want to say hello. Most of them all say the same thing, you know the standard laundry list of activities yours was different. My name is James, I’m a filmmaker living and working in nyc. I would like to get to know you. If you’re interested please let me know I would love to continue. thanks
Yes! A filmmaker. So interesting. Why had I waited so long. In his picture, he kind of looked like Matthew Modine on a windy day.
Me: This is literally my first day on Match. Not so sure about all this yet. But you seem fairly normal. Wait, is that my main criteria? Ha Ha.  Thanks for getting in touch.
Femos: thanks for the reply not sure about all this either maybe we can figure it out together two minds are better than one
Wow! We were already a pair against the world of Match madness.
RZ: Ok good deal. Must go offline now. Final seasons of the Sopranos is calling. (Why not re-watch the really good shows? Enough time has passed.) Night.
A full day passes. Why was I so dumb to say I was watching tv? That’s so un-sexy. So boring. And he’s a filmmaker. Dumb!
RZ: So what kind of films do you make?
NO RESPONSE, JUST STATIC.

I later looked up the word Femos, and it has something to do with a mega-female orgasm. Ok maybe he was some sort of perv anyway. I’ll just keep checking my inbox. Did anyone new view me? Let me check again.

 

 

 

 

“Bisous” My Ass!

Last we left our heroine..she was considering getting a divorce, but let’s be honest, not really. If I really wanted a divorce, there was nothing stopping me. Besides children, money, and the prospect of dating with IBS.

But then the merde hit the fan. (Did I mention that my husband is French?) Maxime always leaves his iPhone face down when he charges it. Now why would anyone do that? ou would think that leaving it facedown would increase the chances of the screen getting scratched. All the talk-show hosts and outraged talk-show audiences would be moaning at me saying, “All the signs were there, you dumb ass.” So I did what any miserable wife would do. I waited until he was tucking in our daughter downstairs in her bunkbed and went through his texts.

A French name I didn’t recognize. Elodie. The word “bisous.” It means “kiss.” My heart feels punctured and heat is slowly leaking out. Anxiety spreading through my chest, up the back of my neck. I shouldn’t have looked. But I saw it. I get my computer. My fingers a little nervous, like I had too much coffee.

I type the address for the free online translator. He may stay downstairs a while. He may come back up now. I need to know before he takes the phone from my hand and comes up with some excuse. But I’m a fast typist and the translator gives me its robot version in time:

“Thank you for stop  the night ago. I can regret a circumstance. But I do not regret the kiss because of your beauty and charming.”

I barely finish. Trying to understand. Did they kiss? Did she stop it? Was he a sloppy kisser again, like with me, and she didn’t like it? Or did she say, “No you have a wife and children.” Or did she say, “Not now, the boss is coming.” Maxime is coming up. Computer in my lap, I’m double-checking the word “regret.”

“So? Who’s Elodie?” and I show him the phone screen.

He looks at it, somehow unable to read. He squeaks, “What?”

“I read your text.”

Again in a mouse voice, “Oh. What?”

Nothing gets by this cat-bitch. He is trapped. And he gets his little boy guilty look. Big brown eyes looking down and away. Like I’m supposed to feel sorry for him.

The kids are going to sleep so I can’t yell which would maybe use up some of the anxiety chemicals coursing through my body. I just whisper-yell, “It’s over!” I march into our bedroom with the computer in my hand, and promptly sign up for Match.com

 

 

School Lunch Sucks

I’m going to admit something. I don’t want to get divorced because I don’t want to make my kids’ lunches in the morning. That’s what Maxime does. He makes their lunches. It’s his goddamn job, no matter how hung over he is. Even if he got in from the bar at 3am and he still reeks of beer and his one eye is swollen because he slept on it, he make the lunches. In my opinion, he gives gives puts in too many carbs and processed granola bars, but I don’t say anything so I won’t ever have to make the lunches myself.

I also don’t want to shop for the lunch food. That’s right. He also does the grocery shopping. If you’ve ever been married with kids, you know that’s a huge deal. If I added just these two chores to my list of shit to do, I would do nothing but chores, household administrative crap, kid activities, and my actual paying job from 6:30 am to 10 pm every effing day without a break ever. Forget dating again. Forget taking up pottery or joining a book club. Forget getting my groove back or or traipsing off to India to eat, love, and pray.

Then I had a brilliant idea. What if the girls bought school lunch? Then I could go ahead and get divorced! They were sitting on the couch in the living room each intensely taking advantage of their daily allotted hour of screen time.  I asked them, “Girls? Girls! What do you think of school lunch? Do a lot of people get it?”

My ten year old, who is usually the spokesperson for the pair,  did not bother looking up from her iPad game. “Some people do.”

“Ok, good,” I said enthusiastically. “What do they serve? Does it look good?”

She continued connecting lines of colorful squares on a grid. “No.”

Maybe I could win over the six year old who was absorbed in a Netflix episode of Pokemon.

“Sweetie? Sweetie. Pause that for a minute. Do you like school lunch? Don’t they make peanut butter sandwiches?”

“The bread is too mushy.” She went back to Pikachu’s big battle. When she says something is too mushy or has too much of “a taste,” it’s not even worth a discussion. It will not be eaten.

I remembered the school lunches from the 80s. Tater tots on styrofoam trays. But then I rallied with another brainstorm. “Well girls, how would you like to make your own lunches in the morning! Wouldn’t that be cool? You’re getting so big.”

Disgusted, the big one looked up from the screen. “I like how daddy does it.”

Sigh. “So do I,” I said.

And now I’m doomed to stay in a marriage with a hung over Frenchman. He’s made himself indispensable in this way. Lunches and groceries. And I guess he earns half our income. And we live in the most expensive city in the world, so I would have to move to afford a place on my own. And it would be a nightmare to tell my older daughter that she has to change schools and that her parents are splitting. This is a child who at ten years old told me, “I don’t like change.” Just like that. She already knows that about herself. She cried when I said it was time to change the rug in her room and get a nice new one. “But grandpa got me that rug for my fifth birthday!”

Yes, I know intellectually know it’s not just lunches that keep me in the marriage. But I swear, when I picture myself divorced, I worry about the lunches. I think to myself, “How on earth will I do the lunches?”

 

 

Divorce Me, Divorce Me Not

You say you would never stay with a spouse who cheated on you. You shake your head at those suckers on Dr. Phil or whoever is the reigning talk-show shamer. Well, you say that now before you are forty-four with gastro-intestinal distress. You say that before you have two kids in the most expensive city in the world. You say that, but you won’t have to move back to Long Island and probably regain your accent—cawfee.

Listen, I totally agree with you. What’s the big deal about the accent? I love the ocean. Millions with gastro-distress date—probably. That’s why probiotics is such a big business. I already put up a profile on Match, with no picture and an alias. Baby steps.

Before I bust on my husband, Maxime, I might as well be fair and put in something from his point of  view. Please read in a French accent:

I am not the only one to be at fault. She keeps on me like a magnifying glass. She cuts my balls. I don’t want a roommate. I want a wife. It’s like Roz stopped kissing me. First she said it was because she had morning breath. Then it just stopped. If it is just to be roommates then I don’t think so. It’s not possible.

Maxime has a point. But remember two things: One, I told him that his kisses were too wet. And he said, “That’s how I kiss.” Two, I was pretty low after the first baby was born. We should never have moved to that house before she was born.