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Just Ignore Everything I Said

Good news, folks! I accepted a job offer today! I’ve only been out of a job for a month and haven’t really been looking, and BAM, a job. Buy me a lottery ticket, I’m a lucky, lucky girl.

The new gig? Well, funny you should ask. Remember how before, I was all “NO MORE SOCIAL MEDIA JOBS!” and how I was like “I don’t know what I want to do, but I know what I don’t want — social media!!”? HAHAHAHAHAHA you guys totally fell for that trick!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

So yea, I’m back doing social media!!

Look, I stand by what I said. I don’t know that I want social media marketing to be the job I retire from. I don’t know that I want to run Facebook pages for the next 30  years. Can you IMAGINE how horrible Facebook will be in 30 years?? God, it’s barely tolerable NOW. Hell, in 30 years, we will be posting our inspirational quotes via white blood cells or something, who the hell knows. Anyway, I want no part of that.

But I have to face the facts. I’m 36. I have a husband and kids and a damn picky cat that will ONLY eat Fancy Feast and a house and all that, so me playing MASH all day to figure out what I’m going to be when I grow up (hint: I AM OLD) isn’t really a viable option.

A Mercury Sable? Dude, Celia is not going to be seen in that.

A Mercury Sable? Dude, Celia is not going to be seen in that.

So when a former co-worker reached out to me about a position at her company, I knew I had to see it through. The more I learned about the position, the more I knew that, yea, they kinda needed me. Not that they are in dire straits, not at all. But my skill set I believe is the missing link to their social media presence, and I feel good about it.

Here’s the icing on the cake. The company is big, and in the entertainment industry. Very cool. The office is located in a city about 30 miles away from Knoxville, my home, in Pigeon Forge. Now, anyone from the South knows IMMEDIATELY what Pigeon Forge is. Some may call it a tourism mecca, others call it the Redneck Riveria (my apologies to Myrtle Beach, but I believe we earned that title fair and square). Pigeon Forge is the city that leads into the gorgeous Smoky Mountain National Park, the most-visited park in the U.S. But where the Park is made up of natural beauty and serenity, Pigeon Forge is made up of neon lights and fried foods. Pigeon Forge is … colorful. If you have never seen it, imagine the Vegas strip, but instead of casinos, there are go-karts and the Titanic. No, really.

An iceberg's got nothing on a mountain. Hundreds of miles from the coast.

An iceberg’s got nothing on a mountain. Hundreds of miles from the coast.

Pigeon Forge is also home to several dinner theaters. And the company I’m going to be working for owns some of the top venues in town, including the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show, the Smoky Mountain Opry, the Comedy Barn and the Blackwoods Morning Variety Show.

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t laughed several times at the idea of throwing myself into the culture surrounding Appalachian variety shows, but honestly, it’s probably going to be a great time. And the great news about all of this is that unlike my last jobs, this is a large company that has a marketing staff already working hard and working well to make their social media presence huge. I’m not doing the leg work here, I’m going to be overseeing what is already happening, which is intriguing to me.

This job also allows me to work from home (because let me tell you something about the commute. You’ve never seen traffic until you’ve seen 1 million Middle Americans trying to all make it to the outlet stores before they close) 90 percent of the time, and is part-time, which will allow me to still pursue some writing opportunities I’ve been working on.

So here’s to a new start, in a new industry with a new cast of characters. Here’s to following dreams. Here’s to providing for my family. And here’s to working at an office with a theatrical outhouse out front.

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NPH says it best.
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Let It Be

Recently, a friend asked me for some parenting advice (RAISE YOUR STANDARDS, PEOPLE) in regards to her young son, who will be attending a family wedding soon and wants to wear something “pretty and sparkly like his sisters.” She knows Declan is forever in a dress of some variety at my house, despite a 36-hour reprieve from doing so last fall, and wanted my input on the situation.

Even though Declan sleeps most every night in a dress and quite often puts one on the minute he walks in the door from school, we don’t ever deal with the issue of wearing one out in public. Granted, he is completely allowed to wear them outside to play (although I’m putting the kibosh on them when bike riding, because you can see his underwear, and it seems dangerous) or play dress-up at a friend’s house. But as far as wearing them to Target or school, it just hasn’t been an issue. In the beginning of this trend, we would just explain that dress-up clothes are for at home while we play, and we wear our regular clothes when we are out. Most of his dresses are old costumes, so this seemed to make sense to him, and that was that. We have allowed him to wear jewelry or scarves or whatever when he’s out, but other than that, it’s not allowed.

At least they have the legs for it.

At least they have the legs for it.

I have to admit, when this habit of his started, I used to wonder how exactly to handle situations like the one my friend asked me about. If this wearing dresses phase was an actual THING for him — an outward expression of something he was feeling internally about his gender, etc. — I didn’t want to quash that or assign any shame or judgment to it. I would stay up at night worrying about how to handle it. How do I allow my child to be his true self AND conform to societal norms? If this IS his identity, was it fair to only allow it in the confines of our home and street? And if I DO allow him to express himself in this way, how do I protect him from outside reactions?

Deep stuff, I tell ya.

My concerns are valid, I know, after we’ve seen recently the stories of these poor boys who were bullied and tormented over liking My Little Pony, of all things. The huge debate among my friends and others centered on the concept of sending a young child out into the world with a huge target on his back, literally, by carrying a MLP backpack, knowing that the world is cruel and he would be ridiculed. And I get that concept, I really do. I don’t agree with it at all, though. I don’t believe putting any blame on the victim is ok, ever. I do think, as parents, we have to prepare our children for the bullies of the world and we can’t always protect them from the bad guys. That means sitting down and explaining to them that they are taking a huge risk by going against cultural norms, and letting them know that they may face ridicule or insults from others for their choices. That ALSO means explaining to them that it doesn’t matter if what they like is cool or popular, and letting them know that no matter what, they will be accepted fully and wholly by the people that love them. We can’t change the bullies of the world, but we can always be armed with a comeback.

NPH says it best.

NPH says it best.

I finally had to stop worrying about the what-ifs and how to handle every moment as if it was a life-changer when I realized that maybe, just maybe, the fact that Declan likes dresses or other boys like shows about horses might not mean a damn thing. Maybe Declan likes dresses for the EXACT REASON that he has always said: “Mommy, I’m a boy that likes dresses.”

Oh.

Or maybe Grayson Bruce likes MLP because it’s just a damn cute show.

Huh.

Once I realized that everything doesn’t have to MEAN something, I just let go of my worries. And if other people would do the same, maybe kids that express themselves in a quote-unquote different way wouldn’t get bullied because WHO GIVES A SHIT ABOUT WHAT A KID LIKES? Kids aren’t known for their great judgment or stellar taste.They are known for being one click above wild animals. So why are we so torn up about what they put on their bodies or watch on TV? They have no sense!

Anyway, with my friend who asked what to do about her son and the wedding, I told her that I think a boy wearing a dress to a wedding is inappropriate. Not because of gender norms or perceived sexuality or anything else. It’s because it’s a day to focus on the bride and groom, and having to explain every 34 seconds why her son was in a dress would take away from that, so don’t do it. Instead, I suggested buying him a tie to match his sisters’ dresses, or even his own new “fancy” watch to wear, just like a grown-up would wear.

Because everybody likes to feel fancy sometimes, even boys. And there’s nothing else to it but that.

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You Jezebel!

Um, I don’t mean to BRAG but my latest post can be found at a little tiny website called freakin JEZEBEL.

No biggie.

Yea, I’m pretty stoked. I threw my hat in the ring to be a contributor to Jezebel’s new sub-blog, the Powder Room.  It’s basically just a place where frequent commenters on the Jezebel/Gawker, etc. sites can publicize their thoughts more than just in the comment section. Anyway, I was pretty thrilled to be chosen just to do that, and had no real hope of ever making it to the main page. Even after posting this, I was reading some of the other Powder Room writers, and they were covering such meaty topics as gay rights, depression and an always-popular topic, Game of Thrones. I thought “Well, here goes nothing” and waited on the lead balloon to be a dud.

The next thing you know, I look at  my notifications this morning, and I had 250+ comments.

So yea, I’m in shock.

The other hilarious thing about this is that I am normally so completely unafraid to pimp my writing, but I had completely chickened out of posting this on my own platforms for fear of offending, which is something I almost never care about. But I was afraid this was a bit of a scorched earth piece, and I’m not looking to hurt others. The piece is about people who go into those MLM sales positions and how they are EVERYWHERE right now thanks to social media. And it’s tough, because I know people that do these jobs either to sincerely make money or because they really love the product or whatever, and that’s great. Truly. Do your thang. But in this day and age, with FB and Instagram and everything, it’s just, well, EVERYWHERE. Even if you aren’t the stalkery, harassing type (and those people… don’t even…), you are just one of probably 20-30 people DAILY posting the same exact formula about whatever it is you’ve got, and it’s a lot of noise. And I hate that, because if you have a product you really love or you really need the money, it’s gotta be tough to compete with every other voice out there saying the same thing about their product. So I feel for ya.

But I’m over it. And a lot of others are, too.

So what started as a little rant after chatting with girlfriends just blew up all over my face and I’m thrilled but not trying to offend. That is probably the biggest #sorrynotsorry on earth, but so be it. It’s the truth. I may be a Jezebel, but I’m no liar.

 

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When I grow up…

During a play date this morning, my two friends and I were discussing careers and how none of us have one (OTHER THAN RAISING OUR CHILDREN WHICH WE KNOW IS THE GREATEST AND MOST REWARDING JOB ON EARTH, haters), and how none of us have a clue what we should be doing. Which is a cute concept when you are 19, but we are all in our 30s, and just like short shorts and beer bongs, it just doesn’t work at our age.

Ya know, it’s not so cute at 19, either…

I’m at a real sticky place in my life right now. I don’t even know if sticky is the right word. Messy? Befuddling? Cloudy? I dunno. But it’s not desirable, whatever it is. I was let go yet again from my latest job a couple of weeks ago, and while it sucks to be facing the thought of job hunting AGAIN, I am very relieved. It wasn’t a good fit for either of us, and after two stints in the social media marketing world in the past year, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I have ZERO interest in making that a life-long career. It’s a shame, because really, I love social media. I have fun on it, I like participating in it as a user and a consumer, and I believe in its power in today’s business and personal world. But I want to stay on THIS side of the Facebook page, I know now, and want to stay away from the other end.

So at least of ALL the careers in the world, I can check that one off. Progress?

My background is in journalism, specifically newspapers, more specifically page design and copy editing. I was good at that. I enjoyed it. I loved being in a newsroom. There’s not a weirder group of people in the world, outside of maybe magicians or bird enthusiasts, than a newspaper staff. Shockingly, I fit right in. The police scanner screeching in the background, the furious clicking at a keyboard and the occasional outbursts of some of the raunchiest cussing you’ve ever heard was the soundtrack of my mid-20s. I’ve driven through a hurricane to get a paper out. I’ve been at work til 5 a.m. waiting on election results. I was there on 9/11, barely a month into my first real job, and it made me feel like I was a part of something huge.

I’ve also worked Christmas and Thanksgiving and New Year’s, and more weekends than I care to remember. I got off work at 1 a.m. I made just enough money to be functionally poor. But when I switched to the Lifestyles department so I could work the day shift, I was never more miserable. Breaking news would happen and I was left formatting a recipe page for the food section. The Pope died and I was editing news briefs about celebrity birthdays. It felt empty and hollow, and I knew that if I couldn’t be happy working days, and I couldn’t fathom starting a family working nights, I had to jump ship. So I did.

And now, years later, I’m still floating around aimlessly, looking for my port. (God, enough metaphors.)

I’ve done communications writing for a community college, but lost that position due to the recession. I’ve worked for a leading local PR firm, but lost that position after clientele dried up. I sold Estee Lauder at the mall, which was shockingly rewarding at times, but the drama of working with that many spackled and shimmery women was too much for me to handle.

So here I am again. 36 years old, and no clue what I want to be when I grow up. And I don’t think I’m alone.

My friends today commented that after working for a while and then leaving jobs due to kids or cut backs, going back means we see things differently than we did the first time we entered the work force. First of all, the stakes are way different. I know for me, I want to work outside the home but I want the time I spend away from my family to be meaningful. I want some flexibility but am not afraid to work full-time. I want to be challenged and guided, and want to grow my strengths.

My friend Diana, who has 3 kids and a background in non-profits, knows she wants to do something creative and to be her own boss. Her two main interests — photography and cosmetology — require going back to school, however, and that is a daunting prospect for her, and for myself.

I often regret my degree in Communications, only because it was never something I felt passionate about. The first time I’d ever even heard of a degree in communications was from our high school chorus’s pianist, who was at the time in grad school (which meant he was SUPER worldly and knew EVERYTHING, according to 17-year-old me) and who told me on a field trip my senior year that “you should major in communications so you can have a talk show one day. You could be the next Oprah!” Now, remember, this was the 90s, so the hierarchy of the world at that time was basically The Pope, Bill Clinton and Oprah. My eyes lit up at the thought of spending my life sitting on a comfortable couch interviewing celebrities, so I was all for it.

I COULD DO THIS

I got to college, though, and was overwhelmed by ALL THE CHOICES. I wanted to be ALL OF THE THINGS. A teacher! A therapist! A sociologist! But then I was like “ew, college math is hard” and then I was like “OMG, college science is even harder,” so a Bachelor of Arts it was. Basically, my junior year I HAD to declare a major, so I was like “meh, Mass Comm seems alright…” so my overall-wearing self ended up there. Real inspiring.

Anyone dressed like that shouldn't be making major life decisions.

Anyone dressed like that shouldn’t be making major life decisions.

I did well in my classes, but at graduation I still couldn’t have told you what I was going to do. I had never stepped foot in a newspaper’s office. Had no clue how one worked. I knew I didn’t want to be a reporter, but that was about it. I mean, I literally have never had a career goal. How is that possible?

What now, then? A few people are telling me “You should WRITE!!!” and I’m like “I totally should but I don’t know how to make that a job!!” because believe it or not, no one pays me for churning out this garbage. I’m looking into some freelance stuff, but honestly, it’s overwhelming and I don’t even know where to start, so I tend to just not do anything, which is MEGA helpful.

Anyone else having a career crisis? Or ever started over? What tips do you have? And do you want to hire me???

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Don’t be afraid of worms

Remember the movie Roxanne? Where Steve Martin has that huge nose and he’s in love with Darryl Hannah and there’s a hot firefighter and I’m not really sure what else… something about Cyrano de Bergerac. I’m not Ebert, ok? RIP, by the way. Anyway, there’s a scene that I do remember, and that’s where Hot Firefighter is trying to apologize for something stupid he said to Madison the Mermaid, and Steve Martin is feeding him the right thing to say, but he mishears him and proclaims that he’s “AFRAID OF WORMS, ROXANNE! I’M AFRAID OF WORMS!” Laughter ensues and I’m sure many, many Oscars were won because that is a stellar freaking line right there.

Here it is, in case you somehow managed to forget this moment of cinematic glory:

Roxanne | Movie Trailer | Review

 

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about this clip after reading about this new #BanBossy campaign started by Beyonce and Sheryl Sandberg and the Girl Scouts. In case you missed it, the premise is that girls that are viewed as assertive or born leaders at an early age are often called bossy, which can lead to them stifling those traits as a grown woman. So we ban the word, therefore allowing them to flourish and become CEOs all over the place, I guess. And as a feminist and a strong woman, I suppose I’m should be all over this, signing petitions and hashtagging it and all that.

Instead, I’m kind of meh.

I don’t get it. I mean, I GET it, I’m not a moron like that hot firefighter in the movie, but I don’t GET the point. Why ban a word? It’s not a slur. It’s not a compliment, no, but it doesn’t carry the weight of oppression or anything. It’s just a word that to me holds about as much weight as a worm does.

I’m sure over the course of my childhood I was called bossy about a million times. I’m an only child, a Capricorn and the offspring of loud-mouthed career politicians. Bossy should literally BE my middle name.

Some of my finer traits, on display in my bathroom.

Some of my finer traits, on display in my bathroom.

I can recall trying to line my kindergarten friends up in order so that we could play school (I was the teacher!) and being called bossy. I remember talent show practice with friends that involved me sighing in frustration and stomping my foot like we were preparing for Broadway (I was the choreographer!) and being called bossy. So I was called bossy by other kids on the regular and I don’t think it has affected my life negatively, like, at all. Because I’m still pretty much that way in adult form.

I’m not saying that words can’t hurt. They can. And as children, if we are told something over and over, it CAN shape the people we turn into. But I think the BIGGER lesson in the #BanBossy campaign should be to take the power away from those words. Let’s go back to “sticks and stones” instead of removing words from our lexicons. Let’s use words as conversation-starters about appropriate behaviors rather than ignoring the situation. Let’s put the power back on ourselves instead of on how others define us.

If you have daughters and someone calls them “bossy,” take a step back. Is she being bossy in the sense that she’s being a my-way-or-the-highway brat, or is she just being assertive in a way that only an 8-year-old can? If it’s a bad behavior moment, deal with that. Because putting all the blame on the word takes the responsibility away from the behavior.

HOWEVER. If your child is not being bossy, or a poophead or a dummy dummy dumbface or any other thing that kids say BECAUSE KIDS SAY ALL THE THINGS, do what I do with my kids when someone has said something they don’t like. Say “So?” “So what if little Johnny said he’s allergic to you?” “So what if Annie wants to sit with Suzie today?” “Mary said you are bossy? So?”

I’m not trying to minimize my children’s experiences and feelings. Instead, I’m trying to teach them that they are not defined by the people around them. Rather than banning words said by OTHERS, let’s turn the focus on self-awareness. “Are you being bossy?” I might ask. Or “It’s great that you know what you want. Let’s make sure we aren’t hurting others while we get it.”

What do you think about the #BanBossy campaign? I think the premise of #BanBossy is a good one. Let’s encourage girls to lead. Tell them they are valued. Tell them they matter. But more importantly, the only opinion that counts is their own. If you can focus on being proud of your choices, the words of others are meaningless. Like yourself, believe in yourself, and don’t be afraid of worms.

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Living Single — The B Side

So yesterday we all had a good laugh at the fact that my whole life is a lie and my marriage is a sham. Good times. And while I have to say, as far as shitty things go, this IS a pretty funny experience, in that it’s so unheard of, so random and so nonsensical that laughing is the only reaction that seems to make sense.

YOU’RE LIFE IS SO FUNNY BECAUSE IT SUCKS!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

But there is a flip side to this coin; a more serious, a slightly romantic (ugh, I know) and somewhat poignant story that goes along with the laughing and the absurdity of it all. And I’d be remiss not to talk about it, too.

When I got the news from old Haggy McStinkbreath that our “marriage wasn’t valid,” I absolutely did not laugh. Like, at all. I felt panicked. I felt the floor fall out from under me. I started sweating and I’m sure I went pale. I actually hung up on that miserable woman and immediately went out to my car and screamed and cried. And not even because my trip to London was up in the air (although I’d be pretty upset at that, too). I was devastated to be told I wasn’t married.

To say I had taken this fact for granted is an understatement, but really, who could blame me? I mean, I was proposed to, filled out all the forms (OR NOT APPARENTLY) and said “I do,” so why wouldn’t I think I was married? We SHOULD take that for granted, really. And if this had never come up, if I had never needed this form, we could have potentially lived happily ever after never knowing the difference and maybe no one would have been the wiser.

Totally my house until Tuesday when that old woman ruined my life.

But that’s not the case, and it’s a horrible, horrible feeling.

To be told by this horrible woman that “you may feel married, but you aren’t” was one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard (and once this is resolved, she will be HEARING FROM ME ABOUT THIS). Because I DO feel married. I DO feel committed and loved and part of a team of two members: Me and Paul. That is a REAL thing and no, no piece of paper can change that. Except for when it CAN, and the feeling of invalidation is, well, yucky.

And this brings me to the poignancy of this whole situation.

I am a huge believer in gay rights. Huge. I’m that annoying person on Facebook that celebrates every new state that allows gays to marry. I turn my profile photo to red. I will argue with ANYONE who thinks this denial of civil rights is ok, or not that big of a deal. And not because I’ve even been that personally affected by the lack of equal rights int his country. I have some gay friends, but not even THAT MANY gay friends. I have no close family members who are gay. It’s just one of those things that seems so OBVIOUS to me, so IMPORTANT to me, because it just DOES. It’s my heart and my soul speaking and I can’t even see the other side. Like at all.

So when this horrible woman told me that my marriage doesn’t count, all I could think is how horrible it must feel for the many, many fellow citizens of ours who are told that every. single. day.

All I could think of is the millions of couples who have committed decades to each other, going through life’s ups and downs as a team only to be told by society, by laws, by our leaders that “You may feel married, but you aren’t.” And I wish this situation that I’m in could happen to those people, honestly. That they could feel the urge to defend their marriage to someone who can’t change a thing. That they could say “But look at the life we’ve built! Look at what we have done! We are married! Isn’t it obvious?”

But no, it happened to me. And lucky for me that at any time and at any location in our country, I could remedy this problem by filling out other forms with my opposite-sex partner in tow and Bippity-Boppity-Boo, married. But not so lucky for our gay friends and family members. At least not yet.

The good news in all of this is that the mere thought of not being married to Paul made me sick to my stomach. The fact that we were suddenly faced with an actual OUT, a loophole, a trapdoor, made me recoil. Despite the monotony of life after 8 years of marriage and 2 kids and jobs and mortgages and car problems and grocery stores, I saw an escape route and wanted to puke. Not a chance would I take it. And that is an amazing feeling, really, that I hope in the not-so-distant future ALL of us can experience.

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Living Single

You ever have one of those days where things just go so laughably wrong that you almost can’t believe it? Like, you are running late for work already and then you spill coffee on your shirt AND THEN there is traffic?  Or, in my case, you are trying to get your passport expedited for a trip in 11 days and you find out in the process that your 8-year marriage is ACTUALLY INVALID because of a paperwork error? Don’t you hate days like that? Ugh, so frustrating, right?

I’m alone in that one, aren’t I?

Well, in case you too get that bombshell dropped on you by some bitch with a desk job in county government that she hates, let me tell you how it goes.

First of all, when you call to get a certified copy of your marriage license for a wedding that took place nearly a decade ago, expect the worst. Sure, you may have photos and a dress and tons of memories of the day you said “I do,” but none of that matters. According to Haggy McBitchFace, and I quote, “You may feel married, but you aren’t.” Your first reaction will probably be disbelief. You may do as I did and say “That makes no sense,” or “What in the sweet HELL are you talking about?” This is normal!!

What is also normal is to expect absolutely ZERO sympathy from the Old Hag Down at the Courthouse. She doesn’t care that you have been living a lie. She is worried about a paper trail and that is IT.

She’s not helpful.

So at this point, you will probably begin asking for clarification. “How am I NOT married?” you may ask. You may think of all the dumb, inane and POINTLESS fights you’ve had over the years that prove without a shadow of a doubt that you are, in fact, married. And The Wicked Witch of the Bureaucracy will tell you that a crucial form that your ordained minister (not shaman or witch doctor or homeless man you found on the street) was supposed to fill out never made it into their records. AND YOU WILL SCOFF AT THIS. Because you will remember, in your Bridezilla state of list-making and OCD levels only seen in the highest-level-of-security mental hospitals, that you gave your priest this form and you know he signed it and you know it was turned in.

But that won’t matter. If Cruella DeFormLetter says it’s not there, you are at her mercy.

Now, at this point, you will feel defeated. Beaten. Humiliated. Let these emotions happen. Cry. Scream at your “husband.” Kick something.

Once you’ve sobbed yourself hoarse, it’s time to look at the bright side.

You’re a single gal again. And your “husband”? He’s single, too. No messy divorce, no drawn out court battles. You are free!

My “husband” posted this on my Facebook. He’s lucky we aren’t married or I’d divorce his ass.

Once you are aware that you aren’t actually on a new reality prank show and that this is real life, go with it. Accept the new, single you. Isn’t that what Cosmo would tell you to do? (I have no idea because I haven’t read a Cosmo in 10 years as I recognize none of the fetuses it features on its cover.) So wipe that smeared mascara off your face, take down your Mom Ponytail and get ready for all the men to form a line at your doorstep (that you still share with your “husband,” but whatevs. It’s not like he can stop you now!). Because if there is one thing that I’m sure of is that dating life in your later 30s is easy and fun, right? Hold on, let me ask my single friends….

They say no.

Fine. I’ll stick with the one I’ve got, paperwork be damned.

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