I want to marry him but he won’t ask me(well ask him then!!!)

I reminded my friend that this is the 21st century, and of course she can propose to her partner……

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There we were 7 women sitting on the roof terrace of a London restaurant, in the glorious sunshine sipping cocktails, when the conversation drifts onto dating, as it so often does.  One in the group is in a relationship, 5 want to be in a relation and one (yours truly) is happily single at this time (as mentioned in my previous blog, my man in a white coat (??!!) is coming for me in November 2021 – https://wordpress.com/post/fortyfabulousandfumbling.com/212)

The lovely lady who is in a relationship, met her man online and she deliberately sought out someone older, 60, to be precise, because she says, men our age don’t want to date women in their 40s. However she wants to marry him, and he hasn’t proposed.

“Sooooo  why don’t you ask him?” I asked.  “No way, I need to know that he really wants to marry me”, was her reply with others chiming in with their agreement.

How depressing? Why in 2019, would a woman be reluctant to ask her partner to marry her  (he’s a 60 year old man, dating a woman in her 40s, surely the odds are squarely stacked in her favour that he will say yes).  Age aside, at this mature time of life, when women are Prime Ministers, MPs, Directors, etc… should a woman,  wait for a man to propose?  Does it really matter who does the asking?   Of course I understood where my friend was coming from, when she said she wanted assurance that her partner is keen, but if she has decided that he has the qualities that makes her want to marry him and spend the rest of your life with him, why does he have to go further to demonstrate that he is keen or more keen than her.  Isn’t that her insecurity?  If you want to get married, surely it doesn’t matter who does the asking.  If a woman is hell bent on being asked, possibly it’s not marriage she needs but counselling.

Just propose to him already, is what i told her. What’s the worse that can happen, the outcomes are finite, he can either:

  1.   Say Yes-  Great!
  2. Say No – not great but you’ll live;
  3. Say he’ll think about – not great but you’ll live
  4. Say I don’t want to get married – Great! This you need to know so you can assess if he is the man for you;
  5. Say you are pressuring him/he feels emasculated – he’s a dick, this is good news – you need to know this before you invest any further in him.

In the 21st century  when we demand equality, the very idea that a woman still holds the view that it’s a man’s place to propose is …..regressive.  If my friend’s partner doesn’t propose, there’s likely to be a cloud hanging over their relationship which cannot be healthy.

I asked a male friend what he thought about a woman proposing and he was passionately of the view that he wouldn’t like it because it would make him feel under  pressure.  See point 5 above.

When all is said and done surely if you want something, just ask for it- life is too damn short.

Stay fabulous x

 

 

Girls trip – not quite!

 

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So today is my birthday and I’m hanging on to my forties for dear life.  The lady assistant in Tesco’s must have known I needed a boost as she asked me for ID when purchasing my Merlot.  I’ll take compliments where I can get em but she was clearly nuts- not even on my very best day could I pass for 18. “I’m way older than 18 I beamed” and she said”  oh yes I see that now!”  Bitch!

Anyway I decided to celebrate my birthday in style, this was going to be the very best of my forties, so where else than New Orleans baaabbbyy.  My bestie and I had talked about this trip for 24 years and on the 25th anniversary of the Essence festival, we finally made it.  If you have seen Girls Trip, you will know that the Essence Festival is high energy, and with the best will in the world, I wasn’t confident that my 40+ arse would handle the pace, but fair play to me, with regular naps and flats, I held my own.  But a girl trip it was not, rather it marked the death of a 30 year friendship.

This trip which had been in the planning for 20 odd years was great in terms of location but as flat as a pancake in terms of female camaraderie.  We had been on holiday before when our kids were young, but now they are grown and we had this new found freedom, this was our first trip with just us.  We had spent our 30s immersed in Sex and the City and looked forward to the day when we would be ladies who brunched and enjoyed life.  However, life has a way of interfering with one’s plans and the life  we planned, never happened.  Instead the friendship grew stale. It never occurred to me that friendships, like any other relationship, requires attention, and I guess we took ours for granted.  At some point we stopped doing stuff, it became the norm to stop meeting up and planning things. So when the suggestion was made for a trip to New Orleans, what was not to love about that.

I think we both assumed that we would get on just fine. We were both crazy excited about the trip, there were conversations about how many shoes we needed, how many dresses were too many and the usual girly stuff.  So who could have guessed that by day 2, we’d be having a screaming row about ….wait for it….. make-up.  Two grown arse women giving it some about make up.  Instead of getting into the festival vibe, my friend wanted to browse MAC make up, a brand sold right here on every high street in London.  I was fucking furious.

So, far from the fun and frolics depicted on Girls Trip, the remainder of the holiday was marred by surliness and a burning wish (at least on my part and probably on hers too) that I had chosen a different travel companion.   To our credit, and without any discussion, we both reached the conclusion that the best way forward, was to spend the days doing our own thing and to meet in the evenings to go to the concerts.  My question is, why would a long standing friendship crumble at this time in our lives (over make up)?

Answer? Make up had little or nothing to do with it, the friendship never had any  substance and was based on habit and duration.  So what now? Take steps to salvage and repair or move on……?

P.S thoughts and prayers to the inhabitants of NOLA- may the hurricane be avoided and all be safe.

 

 

 

 

Are we snobs when it comes to dating in our 40s?

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A former colleague of mine, a lovely fabulous thing in her 40s, was telling me about yet another of her dating escapades.  Without shame or embarrassment, she proudly told me about a casual relationship she has been having with a guy on the Isle of Wight who was already in a relationship with someone else and  how she drives for miles to see this man when his partner was not around.  I am beyond judging a grown woman’s  choices, and if i’m honest, I quite admired the thought she had given to this state of affairs; she had rationally decided that it was an arrangement which suited her.  To some it may be a tad bit disturbing that she did not give a fuck about the other woman or to sisterhood, but like I said,  i’m not judging- let she without sin and all that.

This friend of mine has great credentials, she is a professional, no children, in her mid  forties she was possibly too old to be a concern to men that she may become broody and suddenly want children (she disliked children anyway) . She owned her own property and was reasonably well off.  As is the case with so many of us, she was finding it difficult to meet men the “conventional way” and she had been on several dating websites without success.  I asked her why she thought this was and she mentioned two things: 1 the guys tended to treat women with contempt, they were not serious about having a relationship; 2 and those that were, weren’t up to her standards- she was too old and had invested too heavily in herself to date the tradesmen and delivery drivers who expressed an interest in her: she said she would never date such a guy “ in a million years”.  NO JUDGEMENT!!!!!  I found her candour and honesty refreshing. It sounds harsh but in your 40s, with all the experience you have amassed and the knowledge you have of yourself, surely it is commendable to know what you want and have the confidence to express it?

It reminded me of a conversation I had with a male friend when he asked me if I would date a guy who was poor. The words “hell no” were on the tip of my tongue but even though I had known him for years, I was too embarrassed to admit this outright so I dressed it up by saying “look, you know I love to travel and I just want to meet someone who is in a positon to travel with me”.  He replied “yeah that make sense”.  The reality is, why at this in stage of my life, would i choose to date someone who can’t put on the table the same that i can?  I’m not asking a man to give me more than I can provide for myself.

However it’s not always about money, what about a man who can contribute and enhance your life in other ways? I met a guy not that long ago who is a handyman- useful indeed but poor as fuck.  I entertained him for a while but looking ahead, with all the plans I had in mind for myself as a single person, I couldn’t help but ask what the point was if he couldn’t share in my plans even if he could put together my IKEA furniture and paint the bathroom which has been crying out for a refresh for months.

I asked a friend of mine for her thoughts and it seemed to me that she may have already given some thought to this question as she responded as follows:

Let me tell you right now I am so happy in my own company.  I have compromised and twisted myself like a pretzel to accommodate the egos of underachieving men who are selfish and only for themselves.  Nope don’t need that.  I am no longer pandering to a man who does not please me.” 

What about a handyman who is well….handy? I asked. She replied: ”  you recall i dated **** he was useful but an arsehole and so was ****.  The price you pay for their handiness ain’t worth it.  If you want a handyman get one from the Yellow Pages” . HARSH!!!!

So I guess the message is that whilst it may be difficult to find love at this time of our lives, we don’t have to settle there is no shame in going for what you want…as L’Oréal says: you’re worth it.  Have a great weekend. (It’s worth mentioning that my Dad was a Carpenter and according to my mum, he was a catch -the same job as Jesus 🙂

I dislike my mother!

It’s taboo to say out loud that you don’t like your mother, but sometimes, that’s just how it is…….

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One of the blessings of being of a certain age I find, is that I am more confident than ever, to call things out, say it as I see it and to be true to myself. Which is why I feel able to say openly that I do not like my mother. Presumably I love her, but I do not like her.

I am told that to fess up to this is taboo. Is it? I don’t see why it should be if it’s the truth. Children being estranged from their parents is more common than you may realise. Often the estrangement is the result of a parent being an alcoholic, or they may have mental health problems or may be abusive. All of these are perfectly understandable; you reach a point in life where you have to decide for the sake of your own sanity, to detach yourself from toxic parents, particularly if you have children of your own.

In my case things are a little different, my mother is not an alcoholic, she doesn’t have any mental health issues (at least none that have been diagnosed) and she is not, nor has ever been, abusive, in the true literal sense of the word. She is however toxic and unpleasant and I truly believe she doesn’t know it. The first impression upon meeting her, is that she is a pleasant lady. She truly is nice when she is being nice. However it is difficult not to question, how it is, that she is the mother or 4 children, yet has only bonded with one. I find these stats odd, yet I doubt she has ever questioned them. Her position is “ I don’t know what the problem is, I haven’t done anything”.

My fall out with my mother has been gradual, it started when I was in my teens when I could see that that she had a bitchy tendency; she liked to talk about people behind their backs, normally putting them down. She, a grown woman, was not unlike some of my teenage companions. She would act as though her comments were a joke, but I could see even then, that they came from jealously of other people and discontentment of her own life.

For example, I had a spendthrift aunt who often could not pay her bills, yet could find the money to have beautifully manicured nails and matching shoes and bags. How she spent her money, was no one’s business, but for some reason, this irritated my mother. Comparatively, my mother could have afforded manicures, and matching accessories, but her mind set has always been that to spend money on non essentials, was a waste. Though she could have these things but chose not to, it irritated her when others, particularly those close to her, spent money on themselves.

Because i would never laugh when she made these comments, or i would challenge her when she did, a sort of friction developed between us. Although she never said it to my face (but undoubtedly said so behind my back), she thought of me as a snob, she believed that i thought myself better than her. I went through my life not discussing my choices, successes and failure with her; there was no point, she didn’t get me and i was wasn’t bothered. She used to accuse me of being secretive but that wasn’t the case, i was just being private. Even though we weren’t close, she would discuss my sister’s private business with me, even though they were close (isn’t that fucked up?!)

This pattern of behaviour continued, even though both of my older brothers had decided, when they were barely out of their teens, that they would rather not spend a moment longer in her company, and they left home. She asked no questions as to why they did so- after all, it wasn’t her fault. As far as she was concerned, there were no lessons to be learnt to ensure that her relationship with her two remaining daughters, did not suffer a similar fate.

It so happened that even my sister fled when our mother became too tiresome, but she was soon to return when she realised that independence wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

It’s now been around 5 years, since shit hit the fan with my mother and I. Years before, she and my dad had moved to live abroad, and this made our relationship easier. I had gone over to visit her and had a really nice time. She was frustrated that i was still renting, and out of the blue offered to help me with a deposit. I was shocked, surprised and grateful for the offer, but i cautioned her that my sister would not take too kindly to this. My mum poo-pooed this “it’s my money, she can’t tell me what to do with it…..” was her general response.

When I returned home, I set about looking for a place, and found a great shared ownership property. With the money she had offered and what savings i had, this was easily affordable. I discussed this with her, asking her if she was sure, and she assured me that she was. I paid a non refundable holding fee for the property, got my mortgage agreed in principle, when my mother announced that she had spoken to my sister and had now changed her mind.

I decided then, that i would follow the path of my brothers and leave my mother (and sister) to her own devices. She had called me a few times and i didn’t take the call; i was still fuming and knew that if we spoke, my tone, manner and language would have been entirely disrespectful and i did not want to go there.

Sadly, my dad, who had been ill for some time, died on New Year’s day last year. It was my niece who told me the news, and regardless of my feelings, i felt it was the right thing to do, to call my mother. I was dreading it. The past was the past and i didn’t want to have a conversation about what went on, i had moved on from that. Anyway, she was a nice as pie, she behaved as though we were friends of old. Dad’s death, opened a tiny door for us to start talking again, but it was really only very tiny, as in the odd call her and there. She mentioned that she would be coming over for a visit around November time, and planned to stay for Christmas. Oh fuck! It seemed likely that i would have to extend an invitation to meet up. Mercifully, i always go away for Christmas so it was a blessing that at least i could enjoy a toxic free Christmas.

I wasn’t sure when she was due to go back home, but having just been told when she would be arriving, i couldn’t very well ask, when she would be leaving. ” I’m sure we’ll find some time to catch up” was the best i could offer.

She stayed with my sister and this in itself presented difficulties, as we weren’t talking and I refused to call at her home. This left it to my mother to communicate with me. The conversations were awkward, i was careful not to discuss my life, as she would inevitably share the details with my sister. Therefore the talk was small, mostly about my forthcoming holiday and how she was finding things without my dad. The elephant in the room, was that one of us was expected to say something about us meeting up.

As it got closer to my holiday, i suggested that when i got back, we could meet up and i would book a restaurant. She agreed and that was that. My heart wasn’t in it if i’m honest, but i hadn’t seen her in 5 years or so and there was no telling if or when i would see her again.

No sooner had the discussion taken place, she was on the phone to my niece, who had become the unwitting go between. Apparently she was incensed that i would suggest meeting at a restaurant and not my home.

I was gobsmacked! She gave no indication of being upset when we spoke. She is entirely unwelcomed into my personal space; a restaurant was neutral territory where if either of us said something we didn’t like, we would have to restrain ourselves. But that’s not the point; she had recently lost of her husband, was nearing 80 years of age and was only on good speaking terms with one of her children – surely she should have seen this as an opportunity just to say hello, face to face.

So now i’m done, i will have nothing more to do with her. I’m sure she will visit again, but only this time, i will not feel any guilt or pressure to see her.

Honour thy parents? Yes but not the toxic ones

Stay fabulous x

New Girl At The Office(what a f***king drag).

Changing jobs when you’re in your 40s, can be daunting, when virtually all of your colleagues are half your age…..

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So after 9 years at my last job, I am now the new girl at my new job and it is great and infuriating in equal measure.

I find myself having to smile all the damn time, whereas before, this was something of a treat for my colleagues.  It’s irritating (and fake), and at a time when I am trying to avoid wrinkles, this isn’t helping.

In addition, I’m having to be over polite.  I am of course a naturally polite person, but now I feel I am having to overkill.  All of my colleagues are younger than me, including my boss, and I feel I have to go out of my way to ensure that I am not perceived as chippy or a know it all.

And then the worst thing of all, is that on my very first day, my charming young colleague declared “ you’re gonna  love being in this team, we’re the most social, we’re always doing stuff”.  Naturally, I beamed, when in fact I was thinking how fucking depressing.

At my old place, it was a running joke that no one need ask me if  wanted to go to the pub etc ,and I think I made history by being the only member of staff who had never gone to a Christmas party throughout their career.  I don’t think i’m boring (a raised eyebrow emoticon would be good here) but during a working week, I really cannot be arsed to socialise and to be honest, I don’t want to; my working day is long, and at the end of it, I just want to go home.

Also, I have a thing about keeping a clear distinction between work and my private life- never the twain shall meet.  This is quite possibly an age thing, but my work colleagues will NEVER EVER be my friends, and ergo, I don’t want to spend my spare time with them (as lovely as they are).

So in keeping with my theme of being true to myself at this amazing stage of my life, in two short weeks, I have turned down every invitation for a social.  These happen almost daily, and sometimes at lunch time.  There is a risk, that I will be perceived as a on stick in the mud, but truly I don’t give even a gram of fuck.

Today I left the office on time, time enough to come home and write this blog.  My colleagues who all went out for yet another team lunch, had to stay behind to catch up.

I’m sure that when I was in my 20/30s I would have felt pressure to sign up to every event, but now it’s so great to have the confidence to say no (with that damn fake smile).

It is entirely possible that I won’t make it through my probation period on account of being a boring shit – but hey i’ll cross that bridge……

Stay fab!

 

 

 

Goodbye Heels (and good riddance)

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As I have said before, being in your 40s is fabulous for so many reasons, not least of which is that it is ok to admit that comfort trumps fashion.

The fabulous monstrosity pictured above, is actually a pair of my shoes which I bought when I was in my late 30s/early 40s.  Even then I wondered how I would walk in them and how my fives toes, plus bunion could possibly fit.  But who cared? As long as I looked good, which I did!

Almost 7 or so years later, they are immaculate because I hardly wore them, I could not walk in the buggers even then, and now I have decided that it is time to get rid.

Every year or so when I have a clear out, I kid myself that I will wear them again some day, but finally, I am ready to admit, that will never happen.

I am relieved not to be part of the Instagram generation where how you look is everything, where you get likes for contorting your feet into shoes which were plainly designed by a man, for braving the elements in a dress made with barely enough material to cover your behind, in winter, without a coat (I remember it well).

Middle age has its advantages and finally being able to say, “fuck it, I’m wearing my flats and my coat”, is one of them.  So it is then, that I have hired a  stall on a well known London street, to sell all bar 2 of my heels, to make way for more practical foot wear.  I feel certain that the 2 I have retained, will never be worn (not by me at any rate), but you never know,  with my fumbling state of mind, anything is possible.

Embrace your pumps. Stay fab and 40s