“Oh, I Think That I Found Myself A Cheerleader” Is My WTF Moment

Cheerleader. It has a catchy beat for sure. I often find myself tapping my thumbs on my steering wheel while listening to it on the radio.

But then I pause to consider the message. For some reason, it feels particularly heinous- a subtle form of narcissistic misogyny that instructs girls and women that they are tools or pawns to the ego of the man singing: If she knows her role, knows her place and remains subservient and responds to his every whim, she will be granted the ultimate reward- a ring.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking: Penny, what about all the rap songs about “hoes,” “bitches,” “sluts,” etc.?

Those messages are also insidious and overt “status” symbolism for the men rapping. They are usually sexually and physically degrading on their face. But rarely do these types of songs take the time they pinpoint and exploit the insecurities of young women in such a psychological fashion. Reading the lyrics really made me ponder the ridiculousness of this man’s message in 2015.

What do I mean by this? Consider the “Cheerleader” lyrics:

When I need motivation
My one solution is my queen
‘Cause she stay strong (Yeah yeah)-
She is always in my corner
Right there when I want her
All these other girls are tempting
But I’m empty when you’re gone
And they say

Do you need me?
Do you think I’m pretty?
Do I make you feel like cheating?
And I’m like no, not really cause

(Okay, so she’s strong because she knows about all these other women tempting him, but yet stays in his corner and plays her role to prop up his ego. Also notice the little insecurities of all the devious other women trying to get him to cheat. Apparently, he’s got to bat these women off with a stick!)

Oh I think that I found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her

Oh I think that I found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her

(She’s his cheerleader, building his ego, in her role and in her place.)

She walks like a model
She grants my wishes like a genie in a bottle (Yeah yeah)

(Objectifying, subservience and immediate response to his needs when he summons her).

‘Cause I’m the wizard of love
And I got the magic wand
All these other girls are tempting
But I’m empty when you’re gone
And they say

(So he’s so amazing in bed metaphorically and beyond, and although he’s thought about cheating enough to notice other women being “tempting,” he’s steadfast in his loyalty because she is there to fulfill his needs.)

Do you need me?
Do you think I’m pretty?
Do I make you feel like cheating?
And I’m like no, not really cause

Oh I think that I found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her

Oh I think that I found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her

She gives me love and affection
Baby did I mention, you’re the only girl for me
No I don’t need a next one
Mama loves you too, she thinks I made the right selection
Now all that’s left to do
Is just for me to pop the question

(Again, it’s a transaction. It’s what SHE can do for HIM. I mean, she is his cheerleader after all. Where’s the love? Just because she fulfills his immediate needs, that does not a marriage make).

Oh I think that I found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her

I’ll take the risk of sounding like a feminist. Hell, it’s in my bio so I’m going to embrace it. It would take years to analyze the misogyny of songs and the same degree in which women objectify men in their songs, so it’s an impossible task to do a comparison of one song to another.
My only purpose is realizing that this catchy, up-beat song that I find myself singing along with was my WTF moment as I paused to consider the message.
I think I’ll stick to simple, sappy love songs for awhile…
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4 Truths You Must Accept When Your Ex (and Co-Parent) Finds New Love (Great Article)

It’s rare to find a Yahoo Parenting article that provides real-life co-parenting philosophy. The author takes this approach to co-parenting that I can get behind: It’s not about you!

https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/4-truths-you-must-accept-when-your-ex-and-118708041603.html

By Cris Gladly

These days, complaining about your ex-spouse is as common (and cliché) as married people making snarky comments about their “dreaded in-laws”.

Talk for five minutes with any divorced person and you’ll soon hear a gripe about their ex: “Can you believe what he/she did now?! What a self-serving assh*le!”

You likely have a few gripes of your own about YOUR ex, right?

Well, I’m in that camp, too. At least, I was.

Between skipped child support payments and his propensity for frequent, nasty, overly dramatic emails, it’s safe to say I’m not a fan of my ex. But I didn’t feel true outrage until he started a new relationship.

Was I jealous? Actually, no. Not in the least. He and I were not in love, so when we split, I felt pretty nonchalant about the idea of him meeting someone new. I truly wished him well in that department.

But, what I was NOT prepared for was how much my Mama Bear instincts would rear up and let out a primal ROAR when he introduced his new girlfriend (now wife) into our daughter’s life.

What’s crazy is that, at the start of our separation, my ex is the one who insisted on strict rules regarding how we could and could not introduce a new love interest to our daughter. Items on his “how to move on” list? Our daughter was not allowed to meet a new partner in either of our lives until we knew we were marrying that person (uhm, say what?!) and that (when that time came) the ex-spouse was to meet that “someone new” before our daughter ever did.

So, how ironic that despite all of his posturing about that agreement being necessary for the good of our daughter … my ex broke his own rules just three months after we separated when he started dating a kindergarten teacher at our daughter’s elementary school.

During the two and half years of their courtship, engagement, and subsequent marriage, I disapproved of just about EVERYTHING related to how my ex (and his new love) inserted their relationship into “my” daughter’s life.

From how I found out about them dating (the very drunk, very gossipy drama teacher ambushed me with the news at a social event in front of others). To him refusing to let me meet his girlfriend in person for a year and a half, yet allowing the girlfriend to spend time alone with our daughter (including driving our daughter around in her car). To the rather un-celebrated role our daughter played in their wedding.

And don’t even get me started on what happened to my daughter’s poor cat after my ex’s cat-allergic new bride moved in. (R.I.P. Maddie Cat.)

But, here’s the thing … even though I took HUGE issue with a lot about how my ex’s new relationship unfolded in our daughter’s life, I bit my tongue and kept quiet about 90 percent of it.

Why? Because, frustrating as it is, there are four harsh but vitally important truths we ALL must suck up and accept about handling life post-divorce:

1. If I don’t have legal grounds to complain, I need to shut up about it.

A very hard pill to swallow? Yes. But the truth is (as my lawyer explained) that unless our children are in clear physical danger (abuse, neglect, etc.) or either party “significantly or consistently” violates terms of our legal custody agreement (child support, visitation, information sharing, etc.) the court simply doesn’t give a f*ck about what upsets us personally. (Boo-hoo. Too bad. No one cares. Buh-bye!)

Our opinions and feelings on any matter outside of legally enforceable agreements are, in a word, irrelevant. So, even if I personally think my was wrong to let our daughter be alone with his girlfriend before I met her, I didn’t have one legal leg to stand on.

Like it or not, what my ex, or your ex, does and who they allows around our children during their visitation is his judgment call to make, just like the same is true when our kids are home with us. And that is perhaps the most terrifying reality a divorced parent must face. Is it not? No longer having full control over who is around our children anymore.

But the law is the law. So, if there is no legal recourse for addressing a matter that frustrates me, I’ve learned to think twice about picking a fight about it.

2. Not doing something my way does NOT make my ex wrong.

Oh, our big mommy and daddy egos — always so certain that the way we do something is the one and only right way. And, of course, our exes are vile villains if they dare to deviate from that way, right? I occasionally fall prey to this ego trip, too.

Uhm, newsflash: Our exes (and the people in their new life) don’t remotely care what we think.

So, if I think introducing a new relationship to our daughter should go differently, then the one and ONLY place I have a say in that, is in my own new love relationship. But I have no right to expect a say in my what ex does. He can court the new woman in his life, propose, and have a wedding ceremony any way he wants.

And getting over myself on this one allows wonderful benefits for our daughter. Because, as long as none of the “adults” on either side ruin it with unnecessary snarkiness, our daughter now gets to see multiple examples of how people choose to show up in relationships and show love.

3. How would I feel in his shoes?

Being a kind and gracious person is an important priority to me (yep, even when my Mama Bear temper is flaring up). So, one thing I make myself do every time I got annoyed at my ex and his new wife is imagine how I might feel in their shoes.

Sure, my ex made a big, ridiculous stink with the whole “good faith” new relationship rules that he immediately broke, but I’d like to think that occurred because he wasn’t in a new relationship yet. Our marriage was a very unhappy one. And I think when he suddenly did find new love, he just wanted to protect it. And while I certainly did not appreciate some of his choices, I understand his instinct to keep that new joy as safe as possible.

My ex has every right to move on and be happy on his own terms. Just like I have the right to do the same (and have happily done so). I mean, isn’t moving on the whole point of divorce?

4. My job is to worry about MY relationship with our daughter, not his.

What I want most in this world is for my daughter to feel valued, safe, and loved. Did some of the choices my ex made in his courtship, engagement, and new marriage negatively affect her, even if unintentionally? Yes. She says fairly often that she feels left out and less important to him.

I want that to not be so. But here’s the thing: ultimately, she is safe at her dad’s. Her dad loves her. And his new wife is actually a really nice person. Are there some kinks in their father-daughter dynamic? Yes. But, that’s his job to notice and work through. And lord knows when the teen years hit, my daughter and I will likely face kinks in our dynamic, too.

My job is to focus on making my own relationship with my daughter happy, strong, trust-filled, and wonderful. Part of doing that is teaching her the conflict resolution and communication skills she’ll need for success in any relationship in her life (with her dad and even in her relationship with me).

The bottom line is, whether I wish my ex harm or wish him well, nobody cares. My opinion of my ex and his new life just doesn’t matter. The only opinion that does actually matter is the one my daughter holds in her heart about her life and relationship with me.

So, is biting my tongue and letting ex-drama slide easy? No.

But there’s an amazing benefit of taking the high road first, as often and as consistently as you can. It sets a precedent that keeping the peace is possible and that, for everyone’s sake (but most especially for our daughter’s) the right thing to do is end the nit-picky opinionated b.s. so that we can ALL (him, me, and) our daughter) truly move on.

Dating Prospect: Sapiosexual Single Dad

Taking a break from some of my more “intellectual” posts on society, this post is a nice segway to the date I have planned on Saturday. He’s a single dad I’ll call sapiosexual (someone attracted to intelligence) based on our common interests. We’ve been chatting for weeks but our hectic schedules have yet to align until this weekend.

Pros:

  • Probably smarter than me. He’s what I call an uber-intellectual because every text message is a psycho-analysis of our discussion. It’s clear he’s pretty self aware.
  • He does not look like a guy in his 30s. At first I thought he’d be too young at around 24 or 23. He has a lovely baby-face.
  • Tall and attractive. Oh how I hope this is true on Saturday.
  • Independent and lives alone. After my last boyfriend, I’m happy he’s not living with a mentally unhinged female roommate. No drama please.
  • Very committed to his family. He called me when he came back from upstate New York to care for his ailing mom.
  • Single dad. I love that he has 50/50 time with his child. He totally gets me.
  • Digital marketing specialist. We can talk shop!
  • He offered to get a babysitter since it’s his weekend. Oh gosh, I’m in love!
  • He works in the same area I work. Convenient.

Cons:

  • He lives an hour away. Dating logistics are not in our favor.
  • LONNNNGGG, lengthy text messages. I’m more of a logistics texter. His texts over share and ooze emotion.
  • I’m not immediately attracted to his pictures in an animal-esque way, but then again, I’m better in person too.

I’m also talking to another guy in his mid-30’s who is incredibly attractive but I’ve been kind of burned out on the dating scene and haven’t offered a time to meet.

This is one area in my life I don’t mind taking my time.

I’m Not A Checklist

I was chatting with a guy that seemed to have a promising personality- a gentleman and interesting. We escalated to WhatsApp within a week and found shared interests. Soon, he asked me out for Friday, but not before sizing up. In rapid-fire style, this guy asked me the following questions:

1.) Do you have higher education?

My answer: Yes, I’m in grad school.

His answer: Good. I’m Yale ’03 and Harvard Business School ’13.

2.) What’s you background?

My answer: WASP-y father and Jewish mother.

His Answer: Good. Jewish on both sides.

3.) Do you want more children?

My answer: Too soon to tell.

His answer: I’m not trying to chase shiny objects on the lawn. I mean, I do want children.

My answer: Well we haven’t even gone out yet!

His answer: I like to cover things ASAP. I find that many people don’t like late disclosure of things known all along.

I refused to answer this question. The honest truth is that I don’t know, it depends. But my main point is why even date and get to know someone romantically if you are going through a list? There are TOO many variables that may change my mind or actions in the future. My current life’s path isn’t solely defined by my future life’s path- it may change. I respect that he wants biological children, however I’m just trying to get through the days as a good parent with the one I have. Also, this is a better question asked in person.

I don’t want to waste anyone’s time either, but people rarely find a partner based on a check list because a person’s character shouldn’t be defined by a set of “asks.” Unless he wants to get married tomorrow (which there are plenty of girls out there who want that) I advised him to take things slow. Dating is a risk of your time, effort and resources. If you’re not willing to take the risk, then don’t date! I have practically no time or resources to date, but I take a risk every time I do. In my mind, so should the guy who is interested.

Any thoughts?

Drink That Cool-Aid Baby! Outcome Independence Last Word

I believe that if you can’t take your own advice, better that you don’t give any at all. If your curious as to what outcome independence is, you can back-track here.

So without further adieu, here’s the cool-aid (I’m the blue bubble):

Eric OK1Eric OK 2

Before you cry foul over my “game” playing, I did make plans for dinner with a friend of mine on Thursday. Although he intimated that he was too busy to make concrete plans, he must have forgotten that I can see when he checks out my online dating profile- which he proceeded to do every morning for three days straight.

Dating Troll or Dating Clueless? You decide.

If Hugh Jackman Was A Lawyer…

Garry was very tall (he didn’t lie) leaning against the entrance of Firehouse bar. He was playing with his phone, probably texting me directions. My phone had died and I was in Northeast D.C. pretty close to lost. But there he was. I got this tingly feeling. I get it when I see an attractive man I’m about to go on a date with.

He looked like Hugh Jackman, he sounded like Hugh Jackman, but alas, his personality was not that of Hugh Jackman. It was of a stereotypical, Hollywood lawyer: dry and boorish. Now, don’t get me wrong- my mom is a lawyer and she an animated woman. But this guy…typical.

It was all so inconsistent. We had perfectly fun, witty banter online and via text message, but in person, he was kind of a drag.

So I pressed on, drank on, and tried to entertain myself…talking to myself. His pothead roommate stopped by mid-date and chatted us up a bit (?). Even he had more personality in those brief few minutes.

The times he did talk, it was about his insatiable wanderlust mentality. He didn’t expect to live in D.C. more than two years. Great! That’s exactly what’s going to score you points in the D.C. dating scene.

The date didn’t last long. I was out of there by 11:30 p.m. and grateful. I got a few texts the next day (YouTube links to the kind of music he likes). I was nice but not too interested.

Hugh Jackman was a HUGE disappointment.

How To Break-Up Like A Boss

After my birthday dinner, my best friend and I got on the topic of break-ups. By sheer happenstance, we were both undergoing simultaneous break-ups with very similar personality types- selfish and emotionally immature- older men (35+). The emotional fortitude of Shelia is something that I admire the longer I know her. She is truly unbreakable.

I’ve probably been in about 10 short and long-term relationships in my life. As I take my life’s inventory, the broken relationships I rebounded relatively quickly from involved one action and two words:

“NO CONTACT.”

Here are some tips I’ve learned on how to reduce the amount of emotional energy spent on a break-up.

How To Break-Up Like A Boss:

1. Pedicure (indulgence) + dating app (validation) = Happiness.

No matter what I’m doing, I take some mommy maintenance time right after a break-up. I schedule it as soon as I have a free moment and allow myself to be pampered. I also remind myself that I am still desirable and have plenty of prospects by perusing my dating app visitors and messages. It’s okay to feel a little vulnerable right now.

2. Clean house.

I mean this figuratively of course. No one likes to fucking clean their house. I go through my text messages and delete the ex’s sweet nothings and mean ramblings. I delete his messages and block him from the dating app. I also permanently delete his number from my phone. There will be no desperate texts from this chick at 1:00 a.m.!

3. Exercise!

The best revenge is living well. Feeling fit and getting a nice rush of endorphins to improve your mood is invaluable.

4. Getting lost in the moment.

For me it’s writing and reading. For others it might be gardening or home improvement. Getting lost in activities that nurture the mind and body is how you let go of fear and loss.

5. NO CONTACT.

No matter what he/she says, it’s broken. It won’t be fixed. It’s probably not worth saving. Don’t. Respond.

6. Letting go.

The most important tip. Only you have control of how you respond or don’t respond to your break up. Good relationships should be effortless. Spending time trying to fix the same issues is energy better channeled elsewhere. Take a deep breath. Succumb to what isn’t and what will never be. Stop over thinking. Let go. Move on.

An Amazing Dinner With A Cameo From Lizzy The Roommate Who Is A Little Bit Crazy

I’m a little late, as usual, while I drive almost a half an hour away in Friday afternoon traffic. My make-up is nearly perfect but I am a little disappointed in my outfit. My apartment is a little bit of a wreck right now- a variable clothes explosion- I couldn’t find the outfit I was going to wear to save my life!

I pull up to his house, effortlessly yuppie with a well-manicured lawn, and hear Hipster’s music blasting from the window in the kitchen.

The screen door was propped open, inviting me in.

“Helloooo?” I called.

A half balding, older man popped his head in the hallway, “Hiya. Come on in.”

I walked into the kitchen and was greeted by Liz, a very petite blonde in ass-hugging jeggings, a white blouse, nude pumps and a white Chanel handbag.

“Hi I’m Liz,” she said and shook my hand.

So far so good. The three of them were downing moderately priced champagne. It was a bit early for me to drink so I nursed the glass while Liz went about the kitchen tidying (it was already immaculately clean). Poor Hipster looked agitated at the roommate and boyfriend intrusion.

Liz certainly didn’t get the hint and made herself at home on a bar stool.

“So Penny. Tell me about yourself.”

“What would you like to know?” I asked pleasantly.

“Hipster tells me you’re a single mom. So like do you have baby daddy drama? Are you friendly? Do you guys talk? Were you ever married? Do you miss your kid on weekends?”

I kid you not, this woman asked about 20 inappropriate questions in one breath.

I’m not the kind of woman to divulge my life’s story after knowing a person for five minutes, so I answered some of the more mundane questions.

She then went on to tell me about her impending divorce to a man 15 years older (in his fifties) who was a psychopath and a sex addict. I then learned she was trying to settle for spousal support and the house but the divorce process had taken two years.

“Do you ever want to get married? Was your pregnancy planned? Why don’t you and your ex talk? Even to co-parent?” she kept yammering.

After about an hour and a half of interrogation, I wasn’t sure that I liked this woman. She acted like someone who snorted too much Adderall, running around the house, chasing her dogs.

Finally she and her boyfriend left. I was relieved. Hipster went on to plate our first dish: perfectly cooked gnocchi with pickled artichokes, asparagus and a pesto sauce. The second course was even better: seared scallops on a bed of cauliflower puree (tasting surprisingly nutty) and sun dried tomatoes with flecks of bacon. The first two courses were so big that neither of us could stomach the other three he planned to cook. The desserts were cheese plates, delicious mulberry jam and chocolate-covered, fresh coconut.

We had amazing conversation, plenty of wine and those “come-hither” glances you see in movies. No more than two hours later, Lizzy and her boyfriend came home to make yet another cameo, drunker than before.

The two of them plopped down next to us and restarted our previous conversation. Liz rambled on about her female and male houseplant’s love connection (?!) and said things like “I know we probably shouldn’t be friends, but I think we will be,” “You should bring over your son next time- I love to babysit!” and “you have an intimidating type of style” because I wore black and white and dark makeup.

Our night ended after WE excused ourselves to Hipster’s room. I’m not quite sold on this chick, but their body language didn’t portray any hint of a past, romantic relationship.

At the end of the night, I am happy to report that we are now exclusive :-).

Should I give her the benefit of the doubt and loosen up or is something somewhat unhinged?