I’m Not in My Twenties Anymore

You’d think that fact would be obvious.  You’d think the countless reminders with which I’m presented daily would permanently implant the message in my thick skull that I’m not in my twenties anymore.

Still, I forget.  Still, I sometimes engage in the behavior of a young woman.

Take the evening I met Brenda and Alexandra at a busy bar on a busy Friday night right after work.  This was when both my job and my separation from Alan were new and I was exhausted.

This made it much like the Friday nights straight out of college when, fatigued from my new world of 9 to 5 career building, I’d  head straight from the office to home to collapse in a heap.  The alternative, and this was a 50/50 equation, was that I’d go out drinking pitchers of cheap beer with my colleagues and then head home drunk as a skunk to collapse  in a heap.

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Too Sophisticated

I’m lying on a chaise lounge on the terrace of the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo.  Surrounding me are chic European men and women, gauche American insurance salesmen and their ill-at-ease wives.  I’m 36 years old, reading today’s issue of the French newspaper Le Figaro, basking in almost perfect bliss. (You encountered me in this same spot, on the same day, in Toying.)

Except.

Except that I’m thirsty.

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Toying

He smiles at me, shrugs his shoulders and says, “Ah, even when we were in college she was buttoned down.  My best buddy said, ‘Your girlfriend makes my old grannie look wild.’  That’s what she was then, and that’s sure what my wife is now.’”

That’s what makes me do it, makes me break my rule.  Never be provocative, never flirt, never cross that boundary.  He’s married, I’m not.  My rule is to absolutely ignore the chemistry between us.

But he’s laid down a challenge.  I can’t help myself.  His wife is conventional, unadventurous.  I’m anything but.  He just doesn’t know it.  Yet.

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Ecstasy in Paris

Note to self:  Never try a mind-altering substance while boarding public transit.

Good advice, don’t you think?

I wrote that note to myself 26 years ago because I foolishly swallowed a bit of Ecstasy right before climbing on a crowded bus on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Paris.

I recently found it in the side pocket of an old handbag I was about to throw out.  The note was slipped between a few used metro tickets and a business card from a restaurant.  I’d forgotten about that afternoon until chancing upon this yellowed slip of paper.

I blame Alan for what happened.  What good are ex-husbands if you can’t blame them for your follies?  His Swiss friend supplied us with the chemically pure formulation.  His knowledge of chemistry convinced me I wouldn’t hurt my mind or body with this pill.

We each popped one and then hopped onto the bus headed for Les Trois Quartiers, a chic department store  surrounded by the best food shops in Paris;  Hédiard, Fauchon, and Marquise de Sévigné.  None of these were places Alan had ever visited.  What better idea than to explore them on a sunny afternoon in September?

Les Trois Quartiers in Paris

Les Trois Quartiers to the left, the church of the Madeleine to the right, our bus pulling up right in the middle.

 

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Entangled

Gustav Klimt Death and Life detailI am one of the women in this painting by Gustav Klimt.  The other figures are of the readers who leave comments on my posts.  They are also their lovers, children, friends, spouses, all the people that they tell us about.

I am entangled in the web of words that they leave.  They are  my joy each time I dip into The Diary of the Vixen.

I’ve done this before, and I’m going to do it again – suggest that

 

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Some Enchanted Evening

Some enchanted evening
You may see a stranger,
you may see a stranger
Across a crowded room

And somehow you’ll know,
You’ll know even then
That somewhere you’ll see him
Again and again.

 Who can explain it?
Who can tell you why?
Fools give you reasons,
Wise men never try.

As often as I listened to this song as a child, as often as my young heart yearned for such a romantic encounter, I never believed love would come to me this way.

It did.  It came exactly like this.

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Invisible Women

In the middle of a trendy, hip, upscale restaurant a woman of 55 came unhinged, setting shock waves blasting through the affluent clientele.  I wasn’t there, but my friend, Marlys, was among the five women seated with the woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

With her flare for sharing dramatic details, Marlys painted the picture for me of what happened to her friend, Stephanie.

Stephanie, as envisioned by the artist Joan Miro

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Party Like It’s Christmas 2011

I want to take you someplace with me.  This journey is neither far, nor exotic.  Depending on your mindset, you might call it banal.  Or tacky.

I call it fun.

You and I, we’re driving down a back street in an industrial corner of my town on a Saturday night.  Make that last Saturday night, to be precise.

We pass factories, warehouses and cross railroad tracks before we come to a parking lot loaded with Harleys, pickups and SUVs.  We find one spot left for our little car.  We cross the street toward a cinder-block, windowless building.  Smokers crowd around the door.  The temperature tonight is freezing, but the men wear t-shirts or cotton shirts with the sleeves rolled up high on their tattooed arms.  The women’s arms are bare, as are their thighs, below their short skirts.

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The Cougar Pack

Brenda and I are standing on the edge of the dance floor, close to the band.  Our friends are gathered in a knot around a table, off to the side of the bar.  They’re the senior citizen contingent in The Rec Room, this group of 55 – 70-year-olds eating the cake Ellen brought to celebrate her husband Gary’s  birthday.  They want to chat with each other, rehash the old days and catch up on the new.  We’re all here because Gary
loves music, especially the blues, and a good local blues band is playing.

 But Brenda and I want to dance.  We always want to dance.  I’m thinking opportunities tonight are bleak.  None of our old codger friends want to do anything more active than move their mouths to talk and lift their plastic cups to their lips to drink beer.

Everyone else in the place looks to be well under 30.  They’re playing drinking games that involve flipping empty plastic cups or passing full ones boy to girl, girl to boy, without using any hands.

So here we stand, nodding our heads and shaking our hips to the rhythms of these young musicians.  I can’t read Brenda’s mind, but I’m guessing she expects some young blade to ask her to dance.  After all, she’s light-bulb-bright charismatic, confidant and has a history of affairs with younger men.  Guess that makes her a cougar.

How I hate that word.  Makes her sound like a predator.  She’s not.  She’s attractive, successful and fun.

Brenda and me, just hanging out around the dance floor.

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Where There’s Smoke

When Alan, my ex-husband, fell off the roof, I called 911. What happened next  planted the seeds for my first vixen divorcee fantasy.

 He struggled into the house as far as the living room, where he collapsed on the couch. There he stayed, unmoving, complaining of pain, for the next three hours, refusing to let me do anything, until I took matters in my own hands and made that call.

Within minutes, fifteen at most, our living room burst with big, muscular, handsome men.  All sporting the uniform of our local fire department.  All take-charge men who knew just how to shift my suffering husband off the couch, onto a stretcher, down
the steps of our house and into their emergency vehicle.

All the while flashing me magnetic smiles, reassuring me that everything was going to be just fine, charming me with their masculine confidence.  Of course I was worried  about Alan, but a corner of my psyche reeled with enchantment for these men.

Here they are, the firemen converging on our front door. Well, in my dreams this is how they looked as they converged on our front door.

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