With a Spooky Girl Like You…

Mark Twain made an interesting observation that may or may not be true, but these days it certainly makes sense. “Man is the only animal who blushes…or needs to.” The “…or needs to” is the key phrase here. We do some pretty crazy things, that’s for sure. When it comes to sex, crazy can get even crazier. A case in point is a 27-year-old English woman who claims to have such mind-blowing sex with ghosts that she has given up having sex with men.

Amethyst Realm (yes, that’s her name – I couldn’t make this up any better if I tried), of Bristol, says that she’s had sex with over “twenty ghosts.” The first time was 12 years ago when she felt a “presence in the house” which, naturally, just escalated to doing the deed. At which point, she was hooked. This ethereal affair lasted for three years until her husband came home early from work one day and caught her. Or rather, caught the shadow of her lover on the wall of their shared home. While no details were given about this “unveiling” of the truth, presumably the marriage ended at that point because her husband isn’t mentioned again in her story. If you ask me, I think that her infidelity would have been the least of her husband’s concerns. But hey, that’s just me.

Undeterred by this turn of events, Ms. Realm apparently let the spirit world know that she was available for some spectral shenanigans, because over 20 ghosts have since stopped by. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m not slut spirit-shaming by any means. The sex is so good, she claims, that she’s given up on living, breathing men altogether. Hey, to each their own, I guess…?

To take it one step further, she even wants to get pregnant by one of her ghostly companions. I’m not sure if she’s discussed this with her spectral buddies or not, but I can’t help but think that ghosts aren’t exactly up for co-parenting. I could be wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time, won’t be the last. But I’ve always assumed that hauntings and otherworldly goings-on would take up a huge chunk of their time. I’m also really curious as to how child support would work in that scenario…or, if the baby took after dear old Dad, how she would even keep track of her spawn offspring (cause, you know, it would be invisible), but, whatever. I’m not even going to touch on the intricacies of childbirth. If horror movies have taught me anything, it’s that ghost-human pregnancies are nothing if not a very, very bad idea.

Now, I’m not saying that Ms. Realm has lost it. That’s not my place. I will say, however, that I hope she gets the help she so desperately needs. Whether that’s from a shrink or a demonologist is up for grabs.

Some psychiatrists believe that she suffers from “sleep paralysis.”  It’s a condition where one gets stuck between a sleeping state and wakefulness. You feel immobilized. You can sense a “presence” near you. You can feel as though someone is touching you. I guess at that point, anything can happen. Our minds are strange, complicated things.

If, per chance, her story belongs in the true-romance section of the bookstore, instead of the horror section…it flies in the face of everything I’ve ever learned about paranormal activity and my entire life has been a lie. With the one exception of “The Entity,” I’m much more accustomed to ghosts and other demonic entities trying to murder people in incredibly creative ways instead of searching the earthly realm for hook-ups.

Truth be told, maybe she’s just having a bit of fun with all of us. Then again, maybe it’s just a spooky kind of love.

 

A Brief History of Online Dating

I know I’ve been talking a lot about dating lately, but as I have ventured back into the scene over the past year, I find myself doing what I do with a lot of new subjects of interest – overanalyzing. Hey, what can I say? It’s what I do best.

So, anywho, speaking of dating, let’s take a look at a phenomenon that generates over $2.5 billion in revenue per year: online dating sites. Online dating sites are used by 15% of Americans (don’t ask me to prove those figures, but I swear, I found them somewhere, I didn’t just make them up).  Our society’s demands on our time make the opportunity of finding a dating partner or, heaven forbid, a mate, problematic. Dating sites have become the cattle calls of personal interaction. This is not, however, something that sprang from the loins of the Internet.  The concept has been around for a long time. In fact, for thousands of years. Here are some of the more notable sites from my vivid and bored imagination history, yeah of course, history.

Hemo-tab-ra’s Sphinx Sylphs – Giza, Plateau of Giza, Kingdom of Egypt – 2497 BC

Hemo-tab-ra, an enterprising naturalized Hittite, gained a lucrative contract from Pharaoh Khafre to provide the workers who had just finished The Sphinx, and were now hard at work on the pyramids, with women. For a jar of beer, a worker could attach a short note to the base of The Sphinx that described himself. Local women could peruse the ads for 30 minutes in exchange for a small basket of wheat.  They would take their chosen ad to Hemo-tab-ra, who would set up the meeting at sunset. Egyptologists have even found and translated one of the ads:

“Jaru-al-tep, I am NOT near death.  I have all my arms and legs

and most of my teeth.

 I have eighteen toes and eight and-a-half fingers.

Only three open sores.

I love small animals and crying.

Looking for a woman.  That’s it.  Just a woman. PLEASE!

Balderic’s Beauties – Château d’Ainay-le-Vieil, Cher, France – 1301

Balderic le Lubrique saw an incredible marketing opportunity when the local women complained about the lack of men due to the fact that they were still on their way back from the Third Crusade. For the sensible price of 6 Denier (the same amount you’d spend on a fat capon), village ladies could put up notices on the wall of the Château. For an extra 2 Denier, Balderic would attach a drawing of the lady. In reality, they looked more like French cave dwelling pictures of Mastodons being speared, but hey, whatever works…and this apparently worked. This ad was found in cellar of the Château during renovations.

Angélique la Salope: I am 22.

My parents are worried that I will never marry and remain an

old maid forever, thus draining their finances and patience.

Cuddling in front of the fireplace to read a book would be wonderful

except for the fact that I can’t read or write

since women cannot go to school in our village.

My parents want grandchildren…

As for me, I just want a man who will not relieve himself on the kitchen floor.

“Do You Want Your Ashes Hauled?” – Advertisement in the New York Tribune – 1912

“Hauling Ashes” was a post-Victorian euphemism for “doing the nasty.” This was the first co-ed dating site. Someone would place an ad and ask for a response to a Box at the newspaper…”serious inquiries only.” The New York Public Library Archives reportedly has this ad on file in their vast records:

Proper Gramercy Park woman, widow

seeking discreet gentleman adorned with stately head of hair for social intercourse.

I have my own home that features window shades, and my own Victrola.

I prefer afternoon or early evening tea-time “meetings.”

Of note – a meal of any sort should not be presumed

Only those gainfully employed and with clean finger nails need apply.

Of course, the internet has changed the game. Some modern dating sites require the completion of exhaustive questionnaires. You’re simply too tired to date afterwards…or at least you need a nap first. Others feature the convenient “swipe left or right” feature to secure a furtive assignation. Not that I’m dismissing the whole “swipe left or right” thing outright, but let’s just say spur of the moment decisions in the love arena have never exactly boded well for me. Well, except for that one time…oh, nevermind, I digress.

One thing that has definitely changed over the years is the move away from simple facts and requests, and more towards flowery mendacity.  I mean, I know we all live for the moment when we enter the coffee shop to meet our online date, only to hear them chuckle and say, “Oh, I guess you can tell that my profile picture was taken about 20 years ago. When I was sober. And had hair. And showering was more of a thing.”

Hemo-tab-ra!  Where are you when we need you?

 

Dating Games

Most of us haven’t been lucky enough in love to have found our soulmate while we were playing in the sand box during recess in Kindergarten. How nice would it have been to cross off “Find the One” on our list of Life Goals back before we could read? No, for 99% of us, we weren’t so fortunate. We didn’t find “the one” before getting a driver’s license. We weren’t flaunting our promise ring at pep rallies.

As much as we’ve tried to fight it, most of us regular folk have had to wade through the dreaded social purgatory known as dating. Some of us have been thrown back into the dating pool more than once. As you are probably aware, the entire process of dating is a very difficult and often scary endeavor.

Meeting up with someone you hardly know? Terrifying. What if the date goes poorly right from the start? What if he shows up drunk? What if he makes a stupid joke? What if his breath stinks? Hell, what if HE stinks? What if he’s an ax murderer? There are so many valid fears that can flood the brain as you walk through the doors of the restaurant/café/zoo/bookstore to meet your date.

Nowadays, we have online dating. It’s supposed to make everything easier, but in fact it comes with its own series of perils. Getting to “know” someone online is so much different than meeting face-to-face. (“Know” is in quotations because the anonymity of the internet doesn’t really allow two people to get that close physically or emotionally. So how well can you actually get to “know” someone online? I mean, it’s all predicated on the parties being honest, and well, in this day and age, we all know how that can go.)

In some cases, having that digital distance between yourself and your suitor can be a good thing. I personally find it easier to speak my mind when I have a little time to formulate a reply to questions. My written responses have more depth to them and I represent who I am better in the written word. In person, there’s always the chance that nerves and anxiety will get the best of me and I’ll blurt out the first thing that comes into my head, and that’s not always a good thing, trust me. Such is the life of a raging introvert.

Those of you who are familiar with the online dating process know that in most cases there are only two roads to go down when you’ve identified someone you might want to get to know better. Option #1: Either you or the person you’re corresponding with loses interest after a while and—POOF—one day they’re gone. No explanation. No reasoning. Just gone. Try not to take it personally. It happens to all of us. Option #2: The dreaded meet-up. Now, this is where it gets tricky.

Everyone gets nervous before a first date, but I’ve found that the things we’re scared of are usually completely different depending on one’s gender.  Men are often afraid they’ll show up and find that the woman sitting across from them looks nothing like their pictures. Yes, the chance that she might be 20 or even 30 pounds heavier than she claimed to be is usually the biggest fear that keeps many men up at night. Or so I’ve been told by the men I’ve discussed this topic with (yes, I did my research).

In fact, in what seemed like a moment of kismet, just as I was finishing up drafting this entry the other day, a member of a group I belong to on Facebook posted about the anxiety he was feeling over getting the number of a woman at work – apparently a colleague of his thought that he and this female coworker would hit it off. Well, since the colleague couldn’t describe this woman to his satisfaction (or else, he didn’t trust the description), he asked said colleague to surreptitiously take a photo of her and text it to him, you know so he could see that she didn’t resemble “large Marge,” a character from Pee -Wee’s Big Adventure. Only then would he be interested in even getting her number. I’ll leave it to ya’ll who don’t know the character to Google it.

Women, on the other hand, are mostly afraid they got suckered into a date with an ax murderer itching to use the new tools he has stashed in his trunk, and that their body will be dumped into a garbage can before the night is through.

Dating games. Aren’t they fun?

The Man I Knew as Grandpa

I never got the chance to meet my biological grandfather, Arbrie Emil Mills. He was killed when a coal car cut off both his legs when he was working in the mines of West Virginia in 1942. It was the definition of a tragedy. My Grandma Jimmie was pregnant with my Mom at the time and it took my Grandmother many, many years to recover from her loss and move forward. Eventually, Grandma Jimmie did remarry — my mother was married herself and had a family of her own by then. My brother was 7 and I was 5 the year we met the big hulking bear of a man we knew as Grandpa Walker. Everyone called him Clark but his name was Champ. And he was as big as a mountain. He must have really loved my grandmother to plunge headfirst into the craziness that was my family. That, or he was already crazy to begin with.

I can’t say what kind of man Arbrie was since he had passed long before I ever existed, but I can say with certainty that Clark Walker seemed tailor-made for my Grandma Jimmie. My only wish is that they had found each other sooner so my grandmother wouldn’t have been alone for so long. She was a firecracker who loved to argue and thanks to her sharp mind and quick wit, she was good at it. Clark put up with all her quirks and shenanigans — in fact, he seemed to enjoy smoothing her ruffled feathers. The household walked on eggshells — make that quilt-covered eggshells — all morning until she woke up, which was usually around noon. (I tell you what though — looking back on it now as an adult with kids, my Grandma Jimmie spent the better part of her life busting her ass to put food on her family’s table, shoes on her kids’ feet, and did everything she needed to do to keep her family together in the mountains of West Virginia, so if she wanted to sleep till noon later in life, I say, more power to her.)  But, my Grandpa never questioned her need for sleep, never tried to change her routine. He just accepted it as the way things were and put up with it because he knew it made her happy. The sun rose and set around my grandmother as far as Grandpa was concerned.

Need an example? How about this…ever heard of a Jimmy truck? They don’t make them anymore, but they did back in the day. Grandpa bought one of these trucks (in cash!) just because it had my Grandma’s name emblazoned on the back. Well, slightly misspelled, but still. His heart was in it.

Perhaps the clincher that proved just how much he adored my grandmother was the fact that on top of living with her and her persnickety ways, he also lived with my great-grandmother, Grandma Mooney. I’m sure you remember her. Yup, Grandma Mooney of the Vinegar Valentines and the Spooky Charades was in the house as well and she had quite the attitude. She was also a little instigator. No, really!  Nothing pleased her more than starting something between my grandparents and then sitting back to watch the resulting chaos, coffee cup in hand and a smile on her face. In spite of all this, my grandfather took damn good care of her when she got sick later on. All because he loved my grandmother with a love that was fierce.

Grandma Jimmie and Grandpa Walker looking cool

Growing up, I thought Grandpa Walker was IT. I remember he gave me a kitten when I was little that I wasn’t supposed to have. (He gave my brother one too, but my brother was deathly allergic — which made shoving the kittens in his face really, really fun, but I digress.)  We couldn’t take them home of course…thanks Keith, for that. But we enjoyed them each summer.

While I was small, most summers found me by his side, when I wasn’t chasing lizards or looking for crawdads or swinging from grape vines. When I was still a little girl, it might’ve been the first summer I met my grandfather even — so maybe 5 — I remember trying to cut my fried eggs with a fork and knife just like my dad. My dad was amazing with a knife and fork — he could cut anything and everything slick as butter while being quiet as a mouse. It was truly impressive, and I always wanted to be like him. But, I could never come close to being as fast and neat as he was and most of the time I just ended up making a big racket. It was certainly annoying for everyone in the kitchen. So anyway, here I am cutting my fried eggs like a maniac and my father ummm…chastised me, yeah, we’ll go with that, chastised me for making so much noise. And sitting in “my spot” next to my grandfather as I was, he yanked my chair closer to him and told my dad in no uncertain terms to “leave her be and let her cut her eggs however she wants” — which was awe-inspiring really because I was little and my dad was…well DAD. You simply didn’t talk back to him.  Clearly Grandpa didn’t get THAT memo. Or if he did, he didn’t care one bit.

As I’ve written about before, for a part of his life my grandfather drank beer like some people drink soda, or coffee. He basically just drank the stuff all day long. It took an enormous amount (about the size of a silo) to give him a buzz, but eventually he would start feeling the effects, and when he did, he’d get on a musical bent. When this creative urge came across him, out came the banjo which he was really quite good at playing. The tunes he chose? Yeah, well, those started out pretty good too, more on the bluegrass side but that was okay, and then it would slide into gospel, getting faster and zanier the more he drank. Verses would eventually repeat themselves, words would slur or get mixed up. Sometimes it was an outright free-for-all of different songs thrown together as one. What verses he couldn’t remember, he made up on the fly.

I remember my mother made a recording of one of his more off the rails lively sessions and took it to my Aunt Bunny for her to listen to — back when cassette recordings were still the rage. I got so angry because by the end of the impromptu concert they were in tears laughing at his madcap musical antics. I snapped at them over it and ended up paying the price. And of course, looking back on it, it WAS funny…hilarious even. But this was my grandfather they were laughing at! No-one was supposed to be laughing at him!

Hey, he had my back – I had his.

my favorite picture