Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Invisible Boyfriends, Dance Cards and Kanye West



It was too cold for men and mice to be outside but being a woman who had run out of Boulder’s Ancient Grains Chips---quinoa, millet, teff, sorghum and chia---I had no other choice but to brave the brutal, single digit temperatures. The long range weather forecast didn’t include a break from the cold anytime soon, except for Tuesday when I already had a full dance card lined up at the senior hall. So it had to be Monday when I picked up a few can’t-live-without-them things at my friendly grocery store and I got home in time to feed the greedy squirrels and my sweet rabbits before dark. They think I’m their downstairs maid and I guess I am. I’m the only one in view who doesn’t drive themselves crazy trying to keep the wildlife out of their bird feeders. The tracks in the snow in my back yard look like spokes on a wheel with my deck as the hub. It’s a regular highway system sculpted in white.

Does anyone even know what a dance card is this day and age, or has my knowledge base crossed over that line where no one under my age understands references like having a full dance card? I remember my first dance card. It was a small, folded card with numbered lines on it and it attached to my wrist with a pink ribbon and at the beginning of a party boys came up to the girls to ask to be penciled in for a dance. I couldn’t have been more than ten or eleven and it was a formal ballroom dance, a graduation of sorts from a class at the Arthur Murray Dance Studios. I think Mom wanted me to be the next Shirley Temple. She enrolled me in every kid class offered at the studio. Where do little kids go, now, to learn how to dance? Do they get plopped down in front of a Beyoncé video where they learn how to do booty pops instead of the steps to a box waltz or tap routine? I could shuffle-ball-chain with the best of them by the time I was six and we kept our butts tucked in. Butts were not pretty when I was a kid.

Speaking of Beyoncé I wish someone could explain Kanye West to me. I have eclectic tastes in music from Bach to Bono but I don’t get that guy’s popularity. At the Grammys he was arrogantly saying that Beck “should respect the artistry and give his Album of the Year award to Beyoncé” and then he was on the SNL 40th anniversary show rapping a “song” while lying flat on his back, a camera and microphone overhead. If that’s his idea of artistry then I’m glad I grew up when rock-and-roll first hit the proverbial fan. You could dance to it, you could sing along and you could drive you parents crazy with it when you played the same record over and over. Kanye West’s so-called music makes me feel like I’m my mother yelling up the stairs, “Turn that record player down!” The more things change the more they stay the same.  

There was a segment on Inside Edition the other day about a new company that provides a service called Invisible Boyfriend and Invisible Girlfriend. The company gives you “real-world and social proof that you’re in a relationship, even when you’re not.” You create a profile, name and back-story for a fake boyfriend or girlfriend and he/she sends you text messages you can show your friends. I had a fake boyfriend when I was a teenager. His name was Kelly Sailor and that name is plastered all over my diaries. I even had a set of pilot’s wings that I wore to school a few times---borrowed from my mother’s jewelry box. She actually did date a guy in the Air force before marrying my dad. My fake boyfriend was conveniently stationed in Japan. I don’t remember where I got his photo but I do know for sure I would have loved getting text messages from him. I might even enjoy it now. Maybe I could sign up and have Kelly Sailor find his long lost love fifty-five years later. Our back-story could be that my mother had forged 'Dear John' letters to both of us to break us up because she thought we were getting too serious. Gosh, “Invisible friends” also has a link to apply for a job. Wouldn’t it be fun to be the fake friend, writing text messages under assumed personalities created by their clients! For $24.99 clients get 100 flirty texts, 10 voice mails and one hand written postcard. I wonder if Kelly Sailor could send me a postcard from Japan. 

The company also plans on adding the option for you to get gifts from your fake boyfriend or girlfriend. I want a silk kimono. I had one once, sent to me by an actual guy I knew who was stationed in Japan. Sadly, it got downsized out of my life after my husband’s stroke and I could use it now. The largest Japanese tea house and garden outside of the orient is opening soon in my town---at a cost twenty-two million dollars---and I could wear the kimono there where I could get stood up by my fake boyfriend. Not to worry, he’d send a text that would have me laughing as I enjoyed my green tea and chinsuko cookies. ©

16 comments:

  1. So funny! The fake boyfriend/girlfriend. A brilliant idea! A lot cheaper than a boyfriend or girlfriend for hire, and no worries about STDs. This lonely widow would be jumping too far into la-la land to sign up for it, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

    I'd love to see that idea expanded to friend for hire. Seriously, this could be quite therapeutic for Alzheimer's patients, or elders with dementia.

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  2. It could be that 2013 movie, Her, where a man fell in love with his computer's operating system that was designed especially to fill his every needs. It actually appeals to me in a quirky sort of way because I really do love getting text messages. One time both my nieces and my nephew and I were texting at the same time, none of them knowing I was carrying on three conversations at once. It was really fun and intense. If I didn't have anything else to do with my time, I'd seriously consider applying for a job at the company.

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    1. At least that would be better than having a blow-up doll as a friend as the 2007 movie Lars and the Real Girl had. It was very creepy.

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    2. LOL, Dean. I agree, life-sized blow-up doll friends ARE creepy.

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  3. Kanye West has no talent in my view. I'm with you there. He's awful. And we know how his wife got her celebrity. Pretty much the same what he performed.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Did you see his fashion show? It was the most boring set of clothing I've seen since---well, ever.

      He's sold 21 million albums, 66 million digital downloads and won 21 Grammys and supposedly is the world's all-time best selling musical artist (the latter of which I find hard to believe). Someone must like and I'd like to understand what his message is that attracts so much attention. All I see is an arrogant person with a chip on his shoulder and who doesn't know how to smile.

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  4. Funny post, Jean! Dance cards were before my time and I got a little queasy just thinking about the pressure to have a full one -- or ANY names on it at all! I was not the most popular girl in the room -- not shunned by any means, but my dance card would have been only half-full no doubt. As for Kanye...I don't "get" him either. His arrogance turns me off in spite of a talent I just might not appreciate. I can accept that some think he's great and a true talent; I can't accept that he's his own biggest fan. Did you mean to write his name as Kenya West in the title or was that spell check?

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  5. Thanks for pointing that out! That was all me, can't blame it on Spell-Check. I have the auto correct part of Spell-Check turned off.

    I think the whole purpose of having the dance cards at those dances was to teach little boys not to be afraid to approach little girls and we little girls were not supposed to turn down a boy if we had a free line on our cards. The number of dances matched the number of couples so no one got left out. I don't remember ever going to a dance away from the dance studio where cards were used.

    Well said, about Kanye. I can accept it, too, that others find him talented but at what is what I want to understand. I suppose he's like a poet of our times only he's found a way to market it and make money. And since the themes of his music doesn't relate to me, I don't see the talent?

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  6. LOL You had a fabulous imagination in high school.

    I do remember dance cards even though I never had one. I saw them in movies.

    It's been cold and snowy here. We've gone nowhere for a couple of days. High tomorrow is going to be 17 degrees, low tomorrow night will be minus 3, which is a record for us. We're not used to this anymore. Our winters have gotten much warmer over the past couple of decades.

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    1. I wonder if I really fooled anyone with my fake boyfriend. LOL

      Wow, that's cold for where you live! I have to out tomorrow and it's only going to be 6 degrees and falling though out the day 13 below.

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  7. I was amused by your first comment about the ancient grains. A while ago, I mentioned to someone that I have tried it several times but don't really like quinoa. She stared at me in amazement and said " but it's an ancient grain". There wasn't much I could do but laugh! I think that is something your squirrels and rabbits would like!
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. That's funny, like very thing old we should like automatically. I was introduced to quinoa in a healthy eating cooking class. They were used in a salad and now I say I actually do like it. I add it to soup but in those chips I mentioned, remind me of the taste of hummus.

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  8. I love the fact that your fake boyfriend was named Kelly Sailor, and that he wasn't a sailor at all but a pilot (unless maybe he was a Navy pilot :-) ). I'm so glad that dance cards had petered out by the time I got to dancing age (high school). Since I was one of those wallflowers who never got asked to dance, the empty dance card would have been just a concrete reminder that I was never going to be one of the "popular kids." -Jean

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    1. Me, too. The only place I ever ran into dance cards was in the movies and at the dance studio. I wasn't very popular either.

      That's funny. I've "known" Kelly Sailor almost my entire life and that never occurred to me that he should have been a Navy pilot, not in the Air Force. If I should bring him back to life, I'll change his backstory. LOL

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  9. Please accept my apologies for not recalling from whence I gleaned the URL to your blog, Jean. I put the URL away (in Favorites) a couple of weeks ago. I'm guessing that it was from a comment you may have left at Ronni Bennett's?

    Loved your fake boyfriend. At age 14 or 15, I had one of those for a few weeks - complete with a dime store engagement ring. Oh, yes, I was so worldly! *laughing* I cringe to recall.

    You surely believe that I am still worldly when I tell you that, until you wrote "him", I thought that Kanye West was a woman's name. Oh, me!

    The knit child's cardigan shown in your next posting is luscious. What a knitter you must be!

    I just wanted you to know that I enjoy your writing and that I intend to return.
    Cop Car

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    1. Yes, I recognize your "Cop Car" name from the comment section of Ronni's blog. I'm glad to have your here!

      And I'm glad to meet someone who also had a fake boyfriend in their youth, what fun that was...at least for me.

      Honestly, that baby sweater is quite easy to make. If you can do increases and decreases, a stocking stick and ribbing that's all it takes. For those who knit and want to try it, the pattern book is still available. It's a "Jenny Watson Babies Book 103.

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