Monthly Archives: September 2009

Find me a date. No, seriously.

Perhaps its time for me to start dating again.  I don’t mind being single and I don’t care about eating alone or being alone or doing anything else alone. Except for vacations.  I do prefer to travel alone, but once I get where I’m going its usually twice as expensive to be by myself than it is to stay a deux.  Particularly at my age, when single friends are dwindling in numbers, it gets ever harder to convince someone to go someplace with me on the rare occasion that I’m sick of myself and want some company.  Then there’s scoring a date for all those weddings people insist on having so I won’t get all weepy and wistful during the new marrieds’ first dance or the other slow songs the DJ is obligated to play.

But how does one find a suitable date, let alone a suitable mate?  Honestly, I don’t know how people get together.  Sometimes it seems like lightening striking or an act of God, which is how people who’ve found each other generally describe it.  Now how is that supposed to help me?  I’ve met men at parties, bars, clubs.  Nope, nope, nope.  I’ve turned friendships into relationships, which nobody recommends and me least of all.  Internet dating is the worst of the worst.  Everyone knows couples who met online and fell in love and got married and are living happily ever after.  I do as well and I’m sincerely happy for them. But for me, let’s just say that I’ve dated a good many men I met on Match or eHarmony or whatever, and there’s a reason we never crossed paths before, and a reason we never will again without the information superhighway.  29 dimensions of compatibility my eye!  Lots of you will tell me I’m wrong so right on ahead.  Like the MBA that I am, I’ve done the research and run the numbers, and internet dating isn’t a good investment at this juncture.

I could always go out with some of the random men that hit on me daily, pass out my phone number a few times, except for the fact that I don’t want a bunch of random men walking around with my number.  Or I could act like a man and ask every somewhat attractive male that I see to go out with me.  First, I just don’t have that kind of game because, though well socialized, I’m still a dork.  Second, I don’t really see anyone who looks so good that, hot damn, I gotta get him and fast.  If you want to know the truth, and I know you do, I have flipped the script before.  No, not that one.  There was a time not so long ago when all I wanted was to get laid.  Not exactly dating, but bear with me here.  Now you have to understand that at that time, I looked a lot more like the stereotypical male fantasy of beauty than the rotund, natural-haired woman I am today.   Don’t get me wrong, I’m still the shit no matter how much I weigh, just that some people don’t see it that way.  Anyhow, I trolled the bars, had the obligatory public drunken make-out sessions and put myself out there like a tramp.  Know what happened?  Nothing.  Apparently I fell into the alternate NY universe where men want relationships and not casual sex.   So much for men wanting only one thing: turned out that my mother was actually wrong about something. Only once, though.  I mean, who did I have to sleep with to get laid in this town?  That would make a catchy title for a book if I could stomach enough sexual free-for-all to do the research.  It turns out that I can’t.

Some time later, after another annoying relationship that started out okay (yeah, I met him on the internet), I decided to give the men-for-sex-only thing another try, but in a classified ad kinda way.  That’s right, kids, I went to craigslist, purveyors of the one night stand.  They probably own stock in condom companies.  Here, one can have all the sex they want, but it turns out that I didn’t want it at all.  I was just bored and oddly intrigued by the kind of people who photograph their genitals and post them on message boards.  It seems that penises, like casual sex, are better when they’re attached to a man you like.  Or at least one whose last name you know.  I got nothing from that period of my life but funny stories and a pin from a Naval Officer during Fleet Week.  Come to think of it, I did complete my “Men of the Armed Forces” collection with that Marine from St. Patricks Day.  Happily I have no other souvenirs, hence my comment about owning stock in prophylaxis.

But back to my original topic and my potential journey from singledom.  I’ve looked everywhere for men, with the exception of church and prison.  Jail is a no-go, and quite frankly so is church.  To me, the sanctuary is a sterile environment, hence the name, and I’m really not thinking about men when I go in there.  Besides, extending the Right Hand of Fellowship doesn’t include copping a feel or slipping someone your number.  I have been hit on in church, mind you, and with all manner of Christian kindness I say to men looking to score at the 9:30 service, keep your hands to yourself and God bless you.  Now if you want to strike up a relevant conversation in the vestibule and dovetail that into “would you like to continue this fascinating discussion about Pastor’s interpretation of Luke?”,  I can dig it.  Just don’t let the rest of the single women in the church see us ’cause I don’t like gossipy whispering while I’m on the tithing line.  Amen.

So, friends, here I am.  Single and looking to mingle.  And by “mingle” I mean dating where sex is not expected at the end of it, or in lieu of it, but could probably be worked in at an appropriate time in the future if both parties are amenable.  I’ll probably regret this but I’m offering a challenge:  Date Me or Find me a Date.  If you’re a single straight man reading this, and you’re as intrigued and amused by my ramblings as you should be, let’s go out for a drink or coffee.  If I’ve tagged you in this note on Facebook, a witty and/or hilarious explanation will be the only accepted form of rejection.  Or that you’re kinda seeing someone.  I may put it all out there, but not that far out there.

If you’re not single, or are a woman, you are obligated to find me a date that you think I might like.  There’s plenty of written fodder you can use to figure that out.  No fair being married and setting me up with your only single male friend who still lives with his mother and collects Princess Diana dolls.  And no fair introducing me to the only Black man you know, even though he has no sense of humor, didn’t finish high school, and his last 3 girlfriends have looked like Gwyneth Paltrow.  Use some discretion, okay?

As an added bonus, I have many single female friends/cousins/coworkers/classmates of all sizes and colors and I’m willing to introduce them to some new fellas.  You know, pay it forward.

If I were to write a 1980’s-style personals ad for myself, it would go something like this:  “Sarcastic, sexy smartypants seeks similar for scintillating conversation over coffee or drinks.  D/D free.  Age, race unimportant, but opinions and height are.  Democrats preferred, but willing to argue with M.O.R. Republicans.  No prudes.”

What do you have to lose?  Worst case, you’ll have stories to tell your friends.  Best case, I’ll have stories to write for my friends.  Don’t worry:  I won’t use real names.

Is Steve Jobs Better Than Me?

"Someday, baby, someday..."“Someday, baby, someday…”In a rare moment of humility, I’ll admit that I’m not the smartest person in the world.  Whew!  Even further, I may not even be the smartest person I know, but I’d confidently put myself in the top 5.  And as one of the smartest people I know, I can recognize brilliance when I see it, and Steve Jobs is a brilliant guy.  He founded Apple, left, then came back to the tune of $1 a year and stock options worth a gazillion dollars.  He deserves the money, says she who types this blog from a shiny new MacBook while gazing lovingly at her iPhone 3G.  Apple has killer products, killer branding, and everyone knows this – even Bill Gates (who is also brilliant and deserving of my compliments).

But does Steve Jobs deserve better healthcare than the rest of us?

He announced this week that he got a liver transplant during his 5-month leave from Apple, and thank God he’s doing well and getting back to work.  The rest of us aren’t always so lucky, considering that Steve all but bought his new liver.  I don’t really have a problem with that because, well, he can afford it, and because he’s now promoting organ donation and registry to everyone who follows him, all quintillion of us.  The philanthropist in me, and the person who is herself an organ donor, applauds the use of personal illness as a social movement.  And I’m about to do the same thing right here.

When you have a bunch of money, or work for a corporation that has a bunch of money, you get the best healthcare money can buy.  Look at Magic Johnson.  But when you have some money, or no money and no job or a random job with no health insurance, you might not look as shiny and happy as Magic or Steve.  You’re probably waiting at the emergency room or the free clinic right now, or somewhere praying that you and yours never get sick.  And I’m not talking about flu and stomach virus sick.  I mean really, chronically, I-need-a-specialist ill.  Cancer, diabetes, heart attack…car accident.  It can happen to anyone at any time, no matter how well we take care of ourselves, and most of us really don’t.

I’ve been that sick, and I suppose that I still am, and I kinda have health insurance.  After a 5-month medical leave, I didn’t go back to work like Steve Jobs, I got sacked.  Canned with no severance, only some unused vacation time and the option to use COBRA to continue my medical coverage to the tune of over $600 a month for an individual!  Unemployment only gives you $1600 a month, so where do food and rent fit into this picture?  Luckily I could move in with family until I get back on my feet and cut back on a few things, but what if I didn’t have that?

I toyed with the idea of not having COBRA, but I take medication every day which would cost over $600 a month on its own.  Plus regular Dr. visits to the tune of about $600 a month sans insurance.  And its time for my yearly gyno exam and related tests, which likely cost $1000 for the visit and the labs if you have to pay out of pocket; can’t do that yet.  Then there’s the ear infection that I have, which needs a specialist visit then some medication and follow-up.  I haven’t seen the ENT yet because I’m waiting for the COBRA to kick in, but my neck now hurts, my ears are ringing, and my ear canal is swollen shut – no, I’m serious, it really is.  So I’m not homeless, old, uneducated, an immigrant, or a parent and I could be looking at some potentially bankrupting healthcare costs.  There but for the grace of God go you or anyone you know.  Of course I signed up for COBRA, and thanked God that Obama put a subsidy in the stimulus plan: I now pay 35% (under $200) of the original out-of-pocket cost, which used to cost me about $65 when I was working and could honestly have afforded to pay the full premium.

So it kills me that when President Obama reveals a healthcare reform bill that could make my situation better, all some people can do is BOO him and call him a liar.  Or harp on one small provision in the plan that will allegedly turn us into socialists.  (Some of these folk probably went to State colleges, which is the public education option, so I think they should have their education costs pro-rated for inflation and increased to the costs of a private university, then have to pay it all, TODAY, into Social Security and Medicare just for being selfish and ridiculous and short-sighted.  I got your death panel right here, Joe Wilson!  On a side note his website is “temporarily unavailable…[d]ue to exceptionally high traffic”.  Or due to the fact that he’s a rude jackass.  If I didn’t have to save my money for medical bills, I’d be in his face right now…)

But wait a minute: I forgot to mention that the majority of my medical bills are for mental health.  You know, the sickness you can’t see so you can’t really prove it.  I should be lucky that my care is covered under insurance at all.  I’m not saying that operations and chemotherapy and radiation aren’t serious.  But I am saying that my disease is serious and should be covered too.  I’ve already said my peace about antidepressants and the like, and that they do work.  But the meds that I take aren’t covered at the dose that I take because some accountant at United Healthcare decided that it costs too much.  So even though I have a scrip written by a doctor, and even though I’ve been doing better than ever at this dosage for the last 6 months, I still have to pay over $200 a month with insurance for my pills.  That is, when they let me have them all at the same time.  The insurance company sometimes refuses to pay the whole amount at once, and I have to go back to the pharmacy every 2 weeks.  Compare this with the fact that I think my dad went to the V.A. for a non-essential Viagra prescription and probably paid less than $20 for it.  Insert appropriate outrage here, then request a personal refund on all the penis pills issued this year.

For those of you who say, “how about therapy instead of drugs?” let me say that I’m in therapy and my insurance plan (which is actually “Cadillac” compared to others I’ve seen) only covers 20 or 30 mental health visits a year, not the once-a-week sessions that are needed to monitor meds and get the full therapeutic effect.  Plus the copay is higher than for other specialists- $50 or $60 a visit.  Its a little thing called “mental health parity” which Ted Kennedy was working on, with his son Patrick (who also happens to suffer from bipolar), before he died.  This is why we all love the Kennedys:  they’re just as screwed up as the rest of us, but they turn it into something really great for the public.  I sorely missed Teddy’s voice during this last round of reform discussions.

Even though I rant, I’m not that bad off compared to the folks President Obama mentioned in his speech last night.  People who have been bankrupt by medical costs, or kicked off insurance for using it too much and eating up profits in Hartford, or having kids so sick that they can’t work even though they need to in order to afford treatment.  I’m incredibly lucky.  And thankful.  Thankful that I still live in a country where we still have choices and would continue to have them under Obama’s healthcare plan, no matter what Charles Boustany and the rest of the GOP want you to believe.

By the way, the good Dr. Boustany has degrees from good ol’ public schools University of Louisiana and Louisiana State…guess someone forced him to go there instead of Tulane!  The Democrats in Louisiana should ask for a refund on his education.

(T. Lynn Lloyd steps carefully off her soap-box, trying desperately not to trip on her way down.)