A long time ago, back when I was modeling, I had an audition in group interview format. A company was looking for promotional models in the Cleveland Metro area, and asked us what qualities that the city embodies. Almost in unison, we answered “resilience.” From the weather, to the economy, to our sports teams, we’ve been through a lot. It’s a collective Midwest experience, where the factories close, jobs evaporate, and there’s an exodus of people (feels like most of the people in Atlanta are actually from Cleveland).
However, Cleveland has been the butt of jokes for years– the Cuyahoga River fire, the “Mistake on the Lake” nickname, close playoff and championship losses, the LeBron James saga, the “Hot in Cleveland” television show, two viral “tourism” video parodies (“We’re not Detroit!”), and more have been fodder for comedians and haters nationwide. When I tell people I’m from Cleveland, some will respond with, “I’m sorry to hear that.” Most will ask how I feel about LeBron. It’s annoying every time. But, after years of collective disappointments and snide remarks, we’ve developed a thick skin. We also get up again and again, every time we get knocked down.
The last time I visited my hometown, I was proud to see a revitalized waterfront, vibrant downtown, and joyous people. With new businesses, attractions, and luxury housing, Cleveland is on the upswing. But, there is still a lot more work to be done. Job growth in Ohio still lags behind nationwide rates, and the number of unemployed increased by 5,000 persons from June to July, according to Cleveland.com. Hopefully, positive changes will be implemented and sustained by the politicians elected (or re-elected) in November. There are Clevelanders around the world rooting for the city to win!
There is something about alternative rock that has always spoken to me. The angst, passion, and indie roots of the genre are just as compelling to me now as they were when I was a teen. I felt that same magnetism while listening to Stolen Apple’s album, Trenches. The 12-track project was released in September, and is a wonderful demonstration of the art that has stemmed from 70s punk rock. Listening to Trenches all the way through is emotional, riveting, and necessary. “The only thing that matters is the free movement of ideas,” the album’s EPK reads. “Each song is an expression of the independent spirit of the band.”
Former Nest members Riccardo Dugini (vocals, guitar) and Luca Petrarchi (vocals, guitar, organ, synth) founded Stolen Apple in 2008, adding musicians Massimiliano Zatini (vocals, bass, harmonica) and Alessandro Patagani (drums, piano, percussion). Based in Florence, Italy, the Rock Bottom Records artists frequently perform throughout the region and connect with fans across the world through their music and social media. Trenches is available for streaming or for CD purchase on Bandcamp. Connect with Stolen Apple on Facebook, and watch the music video for their single, “Falling Grace,” on YouTube.
Shouts out to Alessandro for introducing me to his band via Facebook. Grazie!
Online dating was a second to last resort for me (last resort would be trying to find “love” on a reality show, lol). Dating prospects were few and far between, and the chances of actually finding someone worth my time seemed slimmer and slimmer. A couple of my friends had success online, and I figured I had nothing to lose.
I tried Plenty of Fish in September 2015 and almost immediately my inbox was full of men in New York, New Jersey, and beyond expressing interest in me. While hopeful, sifting through their profiles was exhausting. There is no way (that I know of) to check and respond to emails without appearing “online” to the rest of the users, so you never really dig yourself out of the backlog of messages. Also, the mobile app resulted in me appearing “online” all the time, so I quickly uninstalled it. Most men on the site, like men in real life, weren’t looking for a relationship. They wanted to date, hook up, or have a friend, but many were not seeking a commitment.
I was on for about a month before meeting a guy that I really liked. I didn’t deactivate my profile, but I stopped logging in while he and I were dating. When the relationship ended in February 2016, I hopped back on the site. This time around I met more guys interested in a relationship… but I really wasn’t attracted to them. Some were physically unattractive but had great personalities, and others were sexy but acted like jerks (again, just like real life).
I decided to try another site, but still refused to pay a membership fee. OKCupid was a site my coworkers had success on, so I created a profile and gave it a shot. It was more of the same regarding the number of messages I received, except if was 99 percent white men in my inbox. While I don’t mind dating outside my race, that certainly is not my preference. I gave my number to one guy on OKC, and we texted for a bit with no follow-through after planning a first date. I didn’t have interest in anyone else on the website, so I stopped logging in and went back to POF.
After a while, I started dating another guy exclusively enough to stop logging into POF again, and it took a while for me to get back in the game after he and I stopped talking. Online dating takes so much effort, and it doesn’t seem worth it sometimes. Whenever I was ready to throw in the towel, I asked myself, “Well, what are you doing to do now?” Meeting men organically wasn’t working, and time waits for no man. Besides, I had been on POF for less than a year, and with all the breaks I took, it was probably only five months of actual online dating. I needed to hang on a little bit longer. So I tried again. This time around, there were more quality men messaging me, and my hopes were lifted. I gave my number out to a couple of guys, and one seemed particularly interested. We began dating, and quickly decided to be exclusive. Yay!
I was hesitant to delete my POF account, but it was time. When I finally completed the exit survey and bid the site adieu, it was bittersweet. I was happy to be in a relationship, but also dreading starting from scratch if it doesn’t work out. Of course, starting from scratch would mean a lot more than just creating a new profile. But deleting the account was symbolic. My POF adventure has come to an end (for now, at least), and a new chapter has begun! Wish me luck 😉
Once in a while I get random emails from publicists who clearly have no idea/do not care what I cover. I also get a lot of boilerplate messages that are inaccurate/do not apply to me. For example, one publicist this week emailed me saying we had worked together before and he would like to work with me again. Umm, we’ve never worked together and I have no idea who you are. Then I get the pitches for me to cover random things… like peanut butter. I cover nightlife events, celebrities, music, religious subjects, politics, lifestyle news, and a lot more… but within reason. If Matthew McConaughey came out with a new brand of peanut butter, OK. If Prince started endorsing Jiffy, OK. But not some indie peanut butter company (lol, “indie peanut butter”) that is trying to gain market share. There are plenty of food bloggers to whom you can pitch. There are plenty of bloggers in your hometown that might want to write about your company. There are plenty of bloggers based in the city where your factory is located that may want to write about the jobs you are creating. I am not interested. Sometimes I respond with “this is outside the scope of my coverage, but thank you for the information.” Most of the time I just delete the email. I don’t even like peanut butter.
This is certainly not the norm, but it does happen. You’re at a restaurant with a guy, and he decides to order your food for you. What? This is particularly bizarre when it’s a first date. Just because I say I like pork chops, doesn’t mean that I want a pork chop RIGHT NOW. Très bizarre.
However, I do like it when I tell a man what I want, and he places the order. Unfortunately, 99 percent of the time the guy either forgets something or messes the order up in some way, and I end up interjecting, and it pretty much ruins the whole thing. Once in a while I come across a man who gets it right.
I pretty much order the same thing from every chain restaurant I go to, and yes, I love chain restaurants. My fake ex-hubby used to give me crap about all the great restaurants in New York, and how he would never go to a chain, blah blah blah, but give me a chain restaurant any day of the week. I know exactly what I want, and I know how it will be delivered. If you order something from Olive Garden in Ohio, it will taste pretty much the same as if you ordered it from an Olive Garden in New Jersey. And I love Olive Garden.
P.S. Guys: It’s better to ask ‘Would you like the pork chop?’ to confirm it’s what I want before telling the waiter.
My faves, i.e., what I order from these restaurants pretty much every time I go there.
Olive Garden – Lasagna Classico, Strawberry Limoncello Martini
Red Lobster – Walt’s Favorite Shrimp, Mai Tai (seriously, the Mai Tai’s at Red Lobster are AMAZE)
Applebee’s – Artichoke & Spinach Dip, Double Crunch Shrimp
One recycled plot in sitcoms is the group staying in a cabin in the woods or somehow being in the wilderness. Sometimes there’s an avalanche, other times there’s a villain that holds them hostage or tries to rob them… anything that adds conflict and drama to the situation. Oftentimes they decide to go into the wilderness in the dead of winter, which is nonsensical, and something that blacks simply do not do. Then they end up running out of food or heat, are cut off from civilization, and someone exclaims “I don’t want to die!” Despite the ridiculousness, I do remember chuckling at some hilarious moments in these episodes, and will probably watch them again the next time they are on TV One.
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: “Boyz In The Woods”
Synopsis: Uncle Phil (R.I.P.) decides to take Carlton and Will camping. They end up getting lost, and have no camping equipment or supplies because Will secured the equipment to the wrong car. The car phone has no signal. Carlton and Will panic (“I don’t want to die!”). They end up on foot and come across a cave and a duffel bag full of money (part of some radio station scavenger hunt). They burn most of it, Will puts some in his pants.
Carlton (distraught and delirious): “For a long time it gave me nightmares having to witness an injustice like that. It was a constant reminder of how unfair this world can be. I can still hear them taunting him: ‘Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids.’ How come they just couldn’t give him some cereal?”
The Wayans Bros.: “Boyz In The Woods” (yes, again)
Synopsis: Pops misses hanging out with the boys, and wants to take them camping like he did when they were young. After trying to get out of it, Marlon and Shawn reluctantly go. Marlon ends up inviting Dupree, T.C., and a few girls, and Pops’ feelings are hurt. Pops leaves the cabin in the middle of a snowstorm, and Shawn and Marlon go to find him. The three of them are in a cave when an avalanche occurs, trapping them. Marlon and Pops: “We’re going to die!” Spoiler: They don’t die.
Funniest scene: Pops’ facial expression after Marlon slaps him. You can tell he wants to break character and crack up laughing.
Living Single: “Kiss of the Spider Man”
Synopsis: There have actually been a few “Living Single” episodes where one or more characters go to a cabin or into the wilderness. In this ridiculous story, Max defends an environmentalist/accused murderer (played by Giancarlo Esposito), and ends up falling for him. He owns poisonous spiders, and suspicion is renewed when it is found that the deceased was killed by a poisonous spider. The clan goes to Esposito’s cabin to save Max, and it is revealed that his assistant is really the murderer.
Funniest scene: When the assistant emerges from the bathroom armed, Regine yells “Gun!” and falls to the floor. She doesn’t get up. In a reunion special, she said that she just didn’t feel like being in the scene anymore. Hilarious.
The Jamie Foxx Show: “Uncle Junior’s Cabin”
Synopsis: Since the employees are stressed out, Uncle Junior and Aunt Helen offer them a weekend getaway at their friend’s cabin (?). After saying they don’t want to go because they want private vacations, it ends up being Jamie, Fancy, Silas, Braxton, Cameron, Junior, and Helen in the cabin. They get snowed in, the bridge is out, they have no food, heat, or supplies, and Jamie (the only one with a cell phone??) forgot to charge his cell.
Jamie: “Braxton, why don’t you get that breath kicked up and jump start the fire?”
Martin: “The Cabin Show”
Synopsis: There were a few “Martin” episodes where they were in a cabin or ski lodge or in the wilderness. This time, Pam, Gina, Martin, and Tommy stay in a cabin, and take a hike through the woods. Pam sprains her ankle, Martin volunteers to take her back to the cabin (so he can watch the Pistons game), and they get lost. Pam and Martin exchange jokes about her winter fur and bad breath, and his big ears and short stature. We all know the jokes.
Martin: “You know when I said your breath smelled like old bus seats?”
First wives have a lot of pressure. Pressure to be superwoman, pressure to have kids, pressure to hold the marriage together when you really can’t stand each other anymore. After all, marriage is supposed to be forever…
Well… the two of you realize that you can’t stay together just for the kids, you hate being around each other, and you decide to throw in the towel. Maybe the divorce is messy, maybe you keep it civil, maybe the kids aren’t too damaged. Either way, he’s glad it’s over and he’s back on the block. That’s where I come in 🙂
You can’t remember the last time you had so much fun or were so happy. You feel reborn! Haha! I have this guy who I used to date years and years ago. He’s married and divorced now and has a daughter that’s 23. He’s 53. He’s fantasizing about me being his second wife, and I can see why. His first wife was his age, dull, and suffocating. I’m exciting, 20+ years younger than him, and you can have all the space you want cuz I need space too. And I can still talk to him about the educational system and politics (his interests), and be completely comfortable around his executive friends. We also have a lot in common as far as our personalities and the way we view the world. (I have no interest in settling down with him, btw).
Then there’s this guy I’m friends with who is separated from his wife, living in different states. She’s not dull but older, and doesn’t share his interests. His interests being 19-year olds, drugs, and clubbing (smh). He’s not looking to get married again any time soon (hasn’t divorced the first wife yet), but he wants his next wife to be someone he can share girls with. An open marriage, or at least swinger/threesome-friendly. I’m sure he’ll find a girl more than happy to oblige, because he’s loaded.
On the second marriage, a man goes after the type of woman he realizes he really wants. Maybe she’s younger, has a similar personality to his, and is adventurous. Or maybe she’s submissive and is ok with the affairs. Or maybe she’s super hot and doesn’t speak English. Whatever tickles his fancy, he’s gonna make sure he gets it the second time around.
Some great generalizations about divorced men:
They take life less seriously. One day at a time, live for the moment, carpe diem type of attitudes. This means traveling, adventure, and less petty arguing (minor irritations don’t bother them as much). This can also mean that they don’t really want to get married again and have to deal with female drama.
They see their flaws. They know their strengths and weaknesses, and are better at communicating them. Marriage is like emotional boot camp for a lot of men. Take the fake marriage I’m currently in: When we used to argue, he would ignore me, not admit guilt, and let it fester for days. Now, we argue, he’s mad for a few hours, then we talk it out and apologize.
They know women. Similar to the way that older men in general know women, know how to treat women, and understand that sometimes she’s going to be hormonal, irrational, emotional, etc. because he has spent years living in the same house with a woman.
I could definitely do the step-mom thing. Most of the divorced guys I meet have kids around 7 years old. I skip out on the 4 a.m. feedings, potty training, and the terrible two’s (sorry, first wife). The kids are just around weekends (maybe) and school breaks. During that period we could do fun things, hang out, build a friendship. Hopefully the kids are well-trained and not complete brats, but who knows. By the time they become rebellious teenagers, hopefully we already have a good relationship and can survive those years.
Potential problem: The kids are complete jerks and the father doesn’t want you disciplining them.
Potential problem: The first wife is Satan’s daughter or psychotic or keeps the kids from their father or damages property or otherwise makes life difficult for you.
Potential problem: Divorced man is a single father, raises the kids full-time. Does he expect me to be a step-mom and a housewife? Hmmm.
Potential problem: The second wife starts having kids, and turns into a different person. She’s not as fun or submissive. Now she’s irritating and mouthy like the first wife! Oh no! LOL… keep that divorce attorney on deck.