June's stupid life

The man in the moon on my floor

For a long time, I’ve admired men. Not the part where they try so hard to not cry on TV that they look constipated.

I admire that they have other interests.

I mean, I know there are women out there with other interests, as well, but not nearly as many of them. Most women I’ve known when I was anywhere from age 14 to the present are mostly consumed with, you know, meeting a man. That’s their hobby. They’ll say it’s ceramics, but it isn’t.

When I was a kid, I used to write shows and reenact them into a tape recorder, a hobby that drove everyone around me absolutely berserk, mostly because I was often sticking my microphone into the adults’ faces at family get-togethers to ask things like, “Are you happily married?”

But somewhere around 7th grade, the grade where all things fall to shit, I lost interest in doing anything but “getting a boyfriend.” That was my big goal in life, to “get a boyfriend.” It was always “get,” like a trophy or mumps.

The coolest girls, like Tammy Chelenko, had boyfriends in 7th grade. In high school, she scored the richest and handsomest boyfriend available. She also had a fabulous wardrobe: Even though she wasn’t rich herself, she had a sister a year older and what I assume was a young, single mom, and they all shared excellent late ’70s/early ’80s clothes. There was a lot of Espirit and Candies shoes.

I was convinced that if I had cool clothes like Tammy Chelenko that I, too, could “get” a boyfriend. The fact that I looked like a man was irrelevant.

(Maybe that’s why I managed to score all the gay guys as friends, because I looked like a young boy. I’m just now having this epiphany.)

Anyway, it took till 9th grade until I “got” a boyfriend of my own, and I think that first one lasted six weeks. Then in 10th grade I fell in love with Giovanni Leftwich.

Well.

No one told me how great that was going to be. Being in love was better than the best dramatic play I ever wrote and performed into my tape recorder. Being in love was better than kittens. [Disclaimer: No, it isn’t.]

Sadly for me, Giovanni lost interest and I was shattered and right there describes the next 37 years of my life. I spent all my time chasing the feeling of “falling in love,” getting it, losing it, and seeking the next one, to the exclusion of really anything else.

And I knew it was fucked up. I hated it about myself. Why wasn’t anything else nearly as interesting? And that’s when I started to admire men. Because as much as they might be into me for six weeks to 14 years, depending on who we’re talking about, each man also had a burning outside interest: Art. Music. Cars. The Civil War. (The Civil War guy didn’t last long. Our relationship got dysentery.)

I realized I needed to be not obsessed with men, so I started trying to find things that I liked better than, you know, obsessing about men. And I failed. I really did. This whole time, that’s been my number-one goal.

And I’ve hated it about myself.

So, as you know, from your Big Book of June Events, for the last 7 years I’ve been on and off with a man named Ned. For the first three and a half years, we were very much on and I don’t think I’ve ever been quite as obsessed with anyone as I’ve been with Ned. Oh, he was elusive. You’d see him one night and he’d be charming and attentive and you COULD NOT WAIT for more, and then he’d be busy for the next 11 days.

There are rats in labs that they give treats to, and to get the treats, the rats have to pull a lever. The rats who ALWAYS got a treat when they pulled the lever weren’t nearly as obsessed with pulling the lever as the rats who only got treats intermittently. The intermittent rats cyber-stalked the treats and did a lot of Tracy Anderson to be alluring. At least it did in my book.

But for the last three and a half years, Ned and I have been mostly off. And I don’t know if it’s that I’ve had no choice but to fend for myself or because menopause gave me the brain back that I had pre-7th grade or WHAT, but here’s what’s happened.

I don’t think about men anymore. I mean, I do, but it’s not my goal to meet someone. To “get a boyfriend.” I think about my cats and my credit score and refreshing my curls between washes and the royal family and I’m not saying I’m profound, over here. I’m just saying that something in my brain has shifted these past three years.

I really thought when I moved out of Ned’s place in 2015 that I’d meet someone else fairly fast, but I never did … and I never got very sad about it. There was a time (1979 to 2015) I’d have dated anyone just to not be alone. Now I like being alone so much that I wonder if I’ve turned into the Hermit card from my tarot deck.

Searching for my man obsession, fmr.

This past weekend, Ned and I had drinks to celebrate the anniversary of our first date seven years ago. I’d spent all day deep-conditioning and air-drying my hair, a thing he didn’t notice, nor did he notice the skirt I’d picked out special because he likes me in skirts. I mean, we are so not dating.

I look like an aging blowup doll.

I decided, at the end of that get-together, that we should give each other some space. “You should meet someone you’re more compatible with,” I suggested. I don’t know if I’ll ever want to meet anyone at this point, but I know he does, and us being best friends is muddying the waters.

That was Saturday, and I haven’t talked to Ned since. I’ve watched the eclipse and I’ve bought that Marie Condor or whomever book on being tidy. I grocery shopped for all Mediterranean-diet food and on my way back from the store got a Big Mac.

I bought a plunger at the really great hardware store in my neighborhood with the 86 deer heads on the wall. I did Tracy Anderson and bought a new bra.

I’ve done all those things, but I haven’t talked to Ned. I think it’s the best thing for us right now.

Last night I was getting ready for bed when I walked into my dark kitchen and noticed this:

The full moon was streaming through my kitchen window. I really wanted to take a picture of it, but the only way it’d show up was if I turned the brightness up on my phone. I was messing with the settings when, at 10:25 p.m., my phone rang.

It was Ned.

And while I knew he was calling because he was sad, or maybe angry, I didn’t answer. I didn’t answer because we’d just go back to how we were before and get in the way of the rest of each other’s life, and I also didn’t answer because I was in the middle of taking a freaking picture of the moon on my floor and I really wanted to get it.

It wasn’t till I climbed into bed that I realized I’d finally done it. After all those years of wishing I’d be someone who thought of anything else except winning over the next man, I’ve become, you know, someone who thinks of things besides winning over a man.

And maybe you’re someone who ran track and loved insects and married the first person you ever dated and never had this problem, so it seems like no big deal.

But for me? It’s a very big deal.

78 thoughts on “The man in the moon on my floor

  1. That is a fabulous picture of you – your curls are rockin’!

    Also too, this recently blew my mind: That whole “gotta have a man” feeling? It is part of the CURSE that God gave to Eve for eating the fruit of the tree. Genesis 3:16 says “Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you.” If you read that in the context of the chapter, you can see that it is part of the curse (right next to painful childbirth).

    I know you aren’t a big Bible reader, but I found that fascinating. It really makes you think, donchathink?

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  2. I didn’t have time to comment yesterday but I had to come back and say that I’ve been thinking about this post for two days. You’ve mentioned that you’ve been considering writing a book. This post would be great in the proposal. It’s beautiful and the photo of the light streaming in your new house is gorgeous. That could be the cover photo.

    My mother thought that a woman was nothing without a man. She used to brag about having seven proposals of marriage and she’d say to me, “What good is it to be smart if you can’t get a man?” She’d warn me about the horrible fate of dying alone. She and my dad were married for 70 years. There were some happy times but as my dad got older, blinder, and deafer her patience was wearing thin and I’m sure she felt some relief when he passed away in 2015. You can be married to the same man for 70 years and still end up dying alone.

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  3. It’s definitely a big deal. I was boy obsessed earlier—3rd grade…one specific boy. I might still have a crush on him.
    But I’ve always hated that about myself too. I’ve been married 23 years, but I still feel it in myself and it makes me exhausted. Because I get all upset that he’s not as obsessed with me as I am with him.
    I’d like to believe that if something happened to us I would never be interested in anyone again because it’s too damn much work. But, I still think in the back of my head that I’m that girl that just wants to get a boyfriend.

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  4. Typical June post… making me crack up, careening between laughing at your silliness & admiring your cleverness ((The Civil War guy didn’t last long. Our relationship got dysentery.)), recognizing myself in your writing, rooting for you, crying at your profoundness, and a big smile while I root for you!

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  5. I rarely comment, but this post just made me sooooo happy for you! I truly believe 2019 is your year to shine!

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  6. Such a great post, as many have noted! I think we all identify with this in some way. I like being on my own, and deciding when or when not to see/do something with anybody. I do have a boyfriend right now, and it’s great, but I know that if he disappeared tomorrow I would be fine being alone.
    It’s nice to focus on me after a lifetime of focusing on others. And I mean that in the most unselfish way.

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  7. The biggest boost of self confidence I ever got was when I realized that if anything ever happened to my husband, I’d be just fine. Financially, emotionally, and mentally totally fine. I just had that realization last year.

    I swear if our society knew how badass women over 40 really are, we would be REVERED.

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  8. I’ve been reading you for over a decade and this is one of the best things I’ve read from you. I was obsessed like that when I was single, both times. Congratulations on finding a little peace.

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  9. I think I am a man. I have never had that obsessive yearning to have a boyfriend and be married. It baffles me. I sometimes question my girlfriends because I truly never had that. I kinda wanted a boyfriend when I was young, but never obsessively or was consumed by it. I always wonder if there is something kinda wrong with me for never having been so relationship orientated. But I HATE that anyone could value their self worth by their relationship status. That is so wrong. So I am so happy for you that you don’t anymore. Being content in your own value is a good thing.
    Side thought, I wonder if you could use the intermittent treat concept to train Edsel to stay of the couch?

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  10. That photo is wonderful. I am so happy that you are happy! I am married to my high school sweetheart, but I had this same shift and it is freeing. I do my own thing and he does his. I wonder what it will be like when our kids are all grown up and no longer here. Will I even see him? Who knows. It is so much better now that I am not worrying about him all the time. What a waste!

    Lovely post, lovely June!

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  11. This comes with menopause and nobody ever told me? Dang it. Hurry up, menopause! I’m so ready to reach this point in life. I’m 50 so it can’t be too much longer. This was a beautiful post, Juan. I’m super duper happy for you!

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  12. Yes! Such a fabulous post. It was all important to have a boyfriend back in the day. Why wasn’t just being together with our friends as important as the chase, the hunt, the acquisition of a boyfriend? And how many of those things lasted more than 2 weeks? As I get older and more relaxed and more cynical I think back to failed relationships and I am beginning to believe that it is NOT the initial feeling of falling in love that KEEPS couples together, rather it is what breaks people up when it evolves. I truly believe if I had been more in love with myself and my needs and how to handle my own stuff, and my partner was at that same level of meeting his own needs, I could still be in a relationship with any one of them. There is no ONE right person for us. All that said, I think my husband and I are settling in to a new level of comfort and respect for each other. And yesterday was the 40th anniversary of our first date way back in 1979. We have definitely had our ups and downs through the years but this is a good place for us right now. My sister and I have talked about how if our husbands pass before us that we will probably never date or marry again. It just seems silly and unnecessary.

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  13. I love this post. I identify with it completely.

    I’m 49 and at this point I couldn’t care less about finding a man. Ten years ago I couldn’t have predicted this change in me. I had always been boy crazy.

    Once in awhile I’ll go on the dating sites and then remember why I’m single. I am just not up for the drama.

    One thing I’ve always liked about dating men is that they do have a lot of interests and I always enjoyed learning from those that would share their interests with me.

    I was in a five year relationship with a man that loved skiing. He had a lot of money so he got me equipment as a Christmas gift and taught me. Omg! I loved it. I still do. It’s just not as much fun going alone and it was always our thing. It was the glue that held us together.

    I go to meetup groups and spend time with other women my age. I recently became friends with someone that I really hit it off with. We love England and all the royals and we’re planning a trip to England.

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  14. Beautiful and honest post, old lover. I can imagine a long breath of peacefulness came over you last night as you turned away from your phone.

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  15. I love it when you write stuff like this. I like the other stuff too, but you know. Anyway, high five, or whatever the kids are doing these days.

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  16. Everything about this post is beautiful… thank you for sharing such a pivotal moment in your life with us. It really is inspirational for anyone who may be struggling with figuring out the next stage of their life.

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  17. It is a great post. But my favorite part, to show how superficial I am, is the intermittent rats doing Tracy Anderson.
    Also our doctor “Wolfman Jack” says people, or I guess mainly women, tend to get fewer migraines when they’re older. (Not OLD, older.) Along with being beautiful and a good writer and knowing what you want.

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  18. So happy for you, and yes, it is a big deal. I very much look forward to hitting that sweet spot of quite content with self and life.

    As the mother of a 16-year-old girl, I am fascinated by the contrast of today’s social mores and those of my youth (the 80s). Like you, we were ALL ABOUT THE GUY. A girl’s social and self worth depended completely on getting and having a guy. And if you and the guy broke up, you’d better either have another one waiting or find one very quickly.

    Today? Not so much. Daughter (who has never dated or even been kissed, as far as I know) told me last year that if a guy fit into her schedule and didn’t try to take over her life and butted out of her time with friends, she’d consider dating him. Otherwise, pfft!

    I’m so proud of her, even as I have trouble comprehending her.

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  19. Honestly, I think some of this comes with menopause. See what I did there? Menopause = men are paused. Seriously though, I mean it. I am married and have lived many a year for my husband. Over the last couple of years there has been a distinct shift. And I’m getting more of an attitude like Elaine R. I know what kind of life I want, and if he fits into it, fine. But if he doesn’t? Well, I’m going to go for the life I want anyway.

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  20. Wonderful post! I’m glad you’re moving into a new place/direction, etc. You’ll like it so much, and do *very* well. Plus, so much to look forward to…

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  21. Its funny as one comes to this realization – how much better everything else gets – I used to envy my friends marriages and now not so much as I see the cracks, the downsides not just the partnership – I so prefer to be by myself in my house and my environment is all about me – not seeking anything – it is glorious – also I did step one Marie Kondo clothes and the swedish art of death cleaning and it felt great – step two next weekend which I just realize will have to look up what it is. Also good for you – it is hard to know oneself and what makes one happy when ones own perception is looking for fun in all the wrong places…

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  22. You go, girl! After my second(!) divorce, I was about 40, a guy I’d casually known for a long time asked me out. I really wasn’t that attracted to him, but I was starting to get a bit bored, so, what the hell. We dated for about 6 months. I wasn’t “in love” with him and I knew he wasn’t “in love” with me. One day I ran into the wife of a friend of his who asked me, “Have you met Al’s fiancée yet?” I calmly said no, as I bravely kept my face as neutral as I possibly could. She then told me that apparently the fiancée was coming from Texas in a week or so. I tore over to Al’s house to confront him. His response was, “I was going to bring you some flowers and tell you.” I told him what he could do with his flowers. After crying and feeling sorry for myself for about a week, I felt as though something “shifted” inside of me. I knew I was never again going to let a guy have that kind of power over my feelings again. And I haven’t! About a year and a half after that, I met my current (and keeper) husband. I told him up front that I like my life; I know how I want to live, and he wants to fit into my life, great. He has. We’ve been married for almost 15 years, have retired, and, at my suggestion, moved from frigid Edmonton to beautiful Vancouver Island. Anyway, I spent so many years trying to be what I thought various men wanted me to be. What a waste of time and energy, when I could have discovered what I wanted to be instead.

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  23. It is a big deal and I’m proud of you.

    I think as we grow older things shift (and I’m not talking about my hoots). Even though I’m still married there is definitely something settled within me in the past few years. I’ve let go of some important people in my life because I finally had enough of their negativity in my life. I’m comfortable in my own skin for the first time ever and comfortable in speaking my peace without being damaging to others or mean. I feel like I’ve finally grown up.

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  24. Remember that episode of Seinfeld where George announced it was the year of George? I think we all come to a point where it is our “time”. We realize how important we are alone, without a man to identify us. So in the words of Helen Reddy, “You are strong, you are invincible, you are WOMAN!”

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    1. I sang this to my brother-in-law twice this past weekend. He insisted on calling me girl, says it is a term of endearment in WI and AK where he has lived. I told him this is the Northeast and I don’t care for it. I’ve been a girl, at 59 I’m a woman. I hope I become an even stronger one in the future when I am alone for the first time in 39 years.

      I admire you, June. I am very glad you feel so good inside your own skin now. I have tons of interests, probably too many but I molded myself around the people I had relationships with too. It’s much better to know who you are and please yourself.

      You look VERY pretty in your picture, a strong woman in full bloom. Do yourself up for YOU. If others like it that is an added bonus. I plan to do it much more again when my current situation changes.

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  25. Beautiful picture of you, the moon and a beautiful post. You have a true gift with words, June, and I’m so glad you are using it!

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  26. I love everything about this post. But mostly the hermit card. I’ve saved that to send to a friend. And I like his lantern… and everything you said so eloquently. Seriously.

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  27. Yes to absolutely everything you said.
    It took me a long time to reach the same point. I feel like I’m making up for lost time now and finally feel happy with myself and my life.
    You are beautiful in the photo, June.
    The moonlight photo is stunning.
    I love those perfect images that literally stop you in your tracks.
    I’m glad you captured it.

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  28. A few years ago, I tried to reassure a younger woman that things change, but of course she couldn’t relate. The brain comes back and because of that, I feel calmer now compared to the previous decades. My husband is almost ten years older than I am and the decreasing hormones have softened his edges, too. He’s not nearly as difficult as he’s been for decades. Culturally, we worship those hormones, but I’m enjoying the lack thereof. We should have a ritual goodbye party.

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  29. Good for you. I’m that way and love it, married to a wonderful man right now but will never marry again, almost didn’t this time. You look FABULOUS in that picture, love the darker hair!

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  30. I am truly deeply happy for you. I finished reading your post, then scrolled back up to look at little June and her interest in the world. Doesn’t coherency feel good?

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  31. That’s Great! You are so right about the other interests thing too. Most womens hobby is housework and feeding people. Lots to think about in your post.
    Lovely post, old lover June.

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  32. I can so relate! Congratulations, that’s a big leap! I read a book long ago “Men Are Just Dessert” the focus being they aren’t the whole meal and not something you need to be healthy. It took decades for me to “get it” and then everything fell into place. Thanks for sharing. Yes, you are lovely and the hair that drives you nuts is the envy of many.

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  33. I remember that feeling when it first hit in sixth grade. My first real crush, that culminated into a complete obsession with landing this particular boy for a boyfriend. It didn’t work, but it was like a spark was ignited deep inside me that made it my life’s mission to find a boyfriend. My studies suffered, my friendships with other girls suffered, and my hobbies and interests took a backseat to my one goal of finding a boyfriend. Of course, then once I found one, my mission flipped over to *keeping* the boyfriend. I would do anything – and I mean anything – to make a man love me, even if he was a jerk who was mean to me. It makes me so sad when I look back on how much of my youth, energy, and tears I gave away to boys and men who didn’t deserve it.

    The part about the moonlight and not picking up the phone call really touched me. I hope this new beginning brings you a comforting joy so deep and so solid that nothing can unseat it. I find as I’m getting older, a lot of women my age who I admire are hanging up their dating shoes. Not because they’ve given up hope, but because they just don’t need the complication in their lives. I listen to a great podcast called “Death, Sex & Money” and the host has interviewed a handful of my favorite older actresses, and it seems every single one of them, when asked if they would get married or live with a man again, respond with a very firm, “HELL NO.” It makes me smile every time it happens.

    You totally rock, woman.

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  34. I love this so much. I did run track and I married the first man who asked (well, the first one to get me pregnant anyway) but I can relate as someone who spent a lot of years being interested in the things my kids were interested in, making sure they got where they needed to go, keeping them fed and clothed and happy, and being friends with the parents of their friends and teammates. Now that they are all grown and it’s just me and that same guy who knocked me up all those years ago, I have found myself wondering what it is that I like to do. It’s nice to have the brain space to wonder.

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  35. Good lord. This speaks to me so much I can’t even really digest it. I hope you know this is a turning point in your life. You are actually taking care of you. I don’t think there’s a woman on the planet that couldn’t take something away from what you just wrote. If they say that they’re already there I would venture to say most of them are lying to themselves about being ” strong, independent women”. I love that you are aware enough to recognize you have changed and are changing and not staying the same. That’s huge. You have been my hero ( in so many ways) over these last years but never more so than right now.

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