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.

 

 

 

 

Flashback

Well, I mentioned the thing about moving to the house while pregnant and our first baby so I guess I have to get into it a little. But I don’t want to do a major flashback. Then again a flashback isn’t as bad as a dream sequence. And a memoir is one giant flashback, so I’ll go for it.

The gist of the flashback is that: 1. I didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood when my daughter was born. No one. And I sat in the house with a new born baby every day and had no idea what I was supposed to do. 2. I’m a pretty anxious person anyway. 3. I never met a newborn before. I mean, I’d seen them on the street, but that’s not exactly the same thing. 4. I was depressed. I would burst into tears. I cursed. I felt inside my own head with the same thoughts going round and round. “I don’t have anyone. What am I supposed to do.” It’s just what happens with me. It’s why I take Paxil on and off. And of course, while pregnant and nursing, I was off.

So that was the start of all the problems, or at least that was what surfaced the underlying problems. Even though we had a beautiful, perfect chubby baby with huge blue eyes and fat folds at the wrists. She wasn’t colicky, but she was a kind of whiney. And I was so fragile that I would get a surge of anxiety chemicals when she whimpered or cried. Hence, everyone had to everyone to be quiet when she took a nap!

“Shhhhhh! The baby is sleeping!” I would whisper-shout at Maxime. “Stop moving around!” The look I would give him if he sneezed!

You must remember that this was the time of “attachment parenting,” which was of course invented by a man. This Dr. guy had the nerve to say your baby wouldn’t be well-adjusted if you didn’t strap it onto yourself at work. You had to nurse or else you were doing emotional damage. You were supposed to sleep with the baby in your bed and nurse peacefully in your sleep! Well, my little sweetie, spit up prodigious amounts every time she nursed. Change of sheets, pjs, and swaddle clothes—every time.

Lack of sleep is not a good idea for a depressed, hormonal mom off her Paxil. Even though going back to work was the best thing for someone like me, this attachment nonsense made me feel like crap. I went back part-time for many years, which turned out to be great. But at the time, I dreaded the days at home. What would I do if I couldn’t find a library story time. Or another activity. Die of loneliness. My poor baby. She deserved better. I truly hope I kept a stiff upper lip for her most of the time. I remember wearing her in the Bjorn and kissing the top of her warm, awesome-smelling baby head as we walked and walked the streets of Brooklyn.

Let me try to remember where Maxime was during all this. Oh right. He was “working late.” When did it start? It’s hard to pinpoint. We met in a bar, so what did I expect? I guess I expected him to quit his pool team when the baby was born. That was my second mistake. Telling a man to quit his bar pool team.