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90% Chivalrous 10% Caveman

90/10.  That’s the ideal ratio for my idea of the perfect guy.  90% chivalrous, charming, thoughtful, laughs at your jokes, just because flowers, remembers your mother’s birthday, does his own laundry.  10% drags you, consensually of course, to the bedroom like a caveman.  This balance is delicate and necessary albeit hard to find.  If you have found that 90/10 hold on to him tight, you may not ever find a second one in your lifetime.  There may not be 2 of them in your town.  90/10s are scarce, but they are out there.  I found one in rural Kentucky so that should give you hope, especially for those of you in more populated, fewer Super Walmart type towns.

I watched season 1 of ‘You’ on Netflix a few weeks ago.  It was good, frightening, but that is what made it entertaining. Because my phone is listening to me and maybe my television is watching me, I log into Twitter and in timely fashion, begin seeing several people tweeting about the show, mostly about the main character, Joe.  I begin scrolling through; reading, judging, rolling my eyes.  Most of the tweets are from girls who liked Penn Badgley from his ‘Gossip Girl’ days.  I missed that trend.  However, thank you Netflix, I did look it up and watched a few episodes.  I watched ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ when I was a teen.  ‘Gossip Girl’ felt like the New York version of 90210 only I’m several years older than all the characters, which took the fun right out of it.  I do understand the Dan vs Joe comparisons, however there is one big difference.  Joe is a sociopath/murderer.  Around the time that he, spoiler alert, kills Beck’s boyfriend his charm dissipates.  Joe is a 10/90, as in 90/10 flipped which is a bad freaking deal.  This is what makes the show so scary.  10/90 men should make you feel that uneasy feeling that makes you want to run in a parking lot when you are semi-certain the man behind you is following you to your car.

I’m mostly concerned for the girls on Twitter who are in love with that 10/90 character. What the #@%!

The age of the Joe lovers certainly plays a part.  I get it. I still have a soft spot in my heart for Jason Priestly, but come on!  Maybe they haven’t been alive long enough to have experienced the effects of toxic masculinity.  Perhaps they have daddy issues, I don’t know, but it’s not healthy.  As a mother, my protection mode kicks in and I feel the need to DM each of these stalker-doting girls and remind them they deserve a man who is better, so much better, than Joe.  A man who is not quick to anger.  That as soon as he waves a jealousy flag, or you discover he has checked your emails, run, run as fast as you can.  His jealousy will restrict your freedoms. For the love of God the moment you discover he has kept a bloody tampon in the ceiling of his apartment, the romance is over.

Be on the lookout for the 90/10 not the 10/90.  Or, don’t be on the lookout at all, just be, but know the difference when you see it.  I’ll absolutely be watching season 2 of ‘You’ because I must see what that terrible kid, Paco, has to say for himself.  I need for him to at least carry some guilt for being complicit in Beck’s death by not opening the damn door for her.  However, I’ll be better prepared this time for the girls who cause feminism to take 2 giant steps backwards by adoring Joe on Twitter.  I have my DM responses prepared.

Until then, may I suggest watching ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ next.  That will flatten your affections for Joe quickly. Or, perhaps, consider turning off Netflix, logging off Twitter and going outside.  It might help.

Outwardly Calm, Inwardly Turbulent

Outwardly calm, inwardly turbulent.  I took this pic from the window of an airplane yesterday. It was a beautiful, mild, spring day with blue skies and a spackling of fluffy white clouds. The sky looked calm and peaceful, yet the flight was riddled with turbulence. We were instructed by the pilot to stay buckled up as the plane rocked back and forth, up and down through the picture of serenity that I watched pass by through the airplane’s tiny windows.

Only a short time before the roller coaster ride of a flight began, I had been sitting at the crowded gate waiting for my turn to board. The voice from behind the ticket booth said in a muffled tone over the speaker, “1st class passengers, passengers with disabilities, those traveling with children under the age of 2 or active military are welcome to board now.” It is a great time for people watching. Since I always buy the cheapest ticket to get me from point A to point B, I’m normally in zone 4, last to board, and can be found seated no more than 4 feet from the crapper.  I sat and waited as all 120+ people boarded, one by one. I observed as some shoved their way through, as though there was a prize for being the 1st to get on the plane. I saw the ones with rambunctious kids I prayed I wouldn’t be seated near, the panicked person, the one who slows the line by oversharing with the man scanning boarding passes about when, where or why they are traveling despite his obvious disinterest of their unsolicited explanation, the vacationers in Nike shorts and the business people in suits with iPhones to their ears on conference calls. It’s a social experiment I always find entertaining.

This time, a young boy and his mother caught my attention. He was among the 1st in line. I noticed he was holding a carry-on bag and she was not. I also saw that she couldn’t quit touching him. Hug, back rub, hug, kiss on the cheek, hug. The ticket agent scanned the boy’s ticket. The teen then turned to give her one last hug and walked away.  The woman stood waving at him until he was out of her sight. She turned around, wiping tears, and walked back into the hustle-bustle of the airport. As a mom myself, my heart sank in my chest for her. I could feel her pain as she walked away without him…away from her protection…away from her reach.

As usual, I was among the last few to board the crowded plane. I walked to my seat all the way in the back, threw my laptop case into the overhead, and plopped down in my seat. I looked up and saw that the boy I had just observed at the gate was sitting next to me. He seemed uncomfortable. I make it a rule to immediately pretend to be in a coma-like state of consciousness the moment I buckle my seatbelt to help set the expectation to the traveler next to me that I’m not interested. This time, I couldn’t do that. “I saw you at the gate. Was that your mom? Are you okay?” He kept his head down, looked up at me by only moving his eyes, and shook his head yes. “You look 15. I can spot a 15-year-old because I’m a mom of a 15-year-old,” I continued. He finally lifted his head and laughed, “Yep, I’m 15.” I let him be for a while and sat quietly beside him.

We had a bumpy takeoff, which turned into a turbulent first half of the flight. I saw that he began fidgeting and rocking in his seat. “Is this your 1st time flying,” I asked him? “No, but it’s the first time I’ve flown by myself,” he replied. I started engaging him in conversation in effort to help distract him from his anxiety, much in the same way I do with my son when he’s about to get a shot at the doctor’s office. We talked about his dad that he was going to see in Michigan, what he wanted to do after high school and how his parents make him take choir at school even though he hates it. The plane finally found some smooth flying air and the knocking about stopped. Sam, I discovered was his name, seemed to relax and began playing a game on his phone for the rest of the flight. After we landed and walked off the plane, his dad was there waiting for him. Sam looked at me and said, “It was nice meeting you. Bye.” I smiled and nodded as we walked in separate directions within the airport.

Today, when I looked at this photo of the blue sky and thinking of the teenage boy with a wide smile, one wouldn’t guess the turbulence that was going on inside. The sky. Sam. His parent’s divorce.  His unhappiness at school.  Me. I think most all of us at some time or another. Sunny and warm on the outside, but deceivingly peppered with turbulence on the inside. Reminds me of how we are all not that different from each other.  Reminds me how human connection is sometimes all we need to relieve the turbulence. Reminds me to be kind. Reminds me that one day I will be in a zone 1 boarding group and those people will be turbulent too because all zones of people are.

But zone 1 still sounds nice.