Blogs for women 40+ need more sex, fewer labels

I was trying to expand my blogging community recently so I went looking for blogging sites for women over 40. But I kept running into online communities that were downright depressing.

I came across one blog where the locals were discussing their preference for being addressed by age-defining labels such as “ma’am” while eating in restaurants.

One participant noted that this was the “polite” term for a grown-up female.

I’m just Kathy

If that’s polite, give me rude any day. I’m nobody’s ma’am; I’m just Kathy, always have been, always will be. Even when I’m 90.

Kathy on the ledge 851 x 615

I know, unless a server is writing “Kathy” on my coffee cup at Starbucks, he or she is unlikely to know that.

If anything, I’d rather be called, “hon” by a certain male voice. That pretty much undoes me but being labeled based on some linear, age continuum before I can order my lunch, not so much.

Respect is just — respect

I don’t need a gender-specific, age-defining label to know that my server is treating me with respect.

A polite, “What would you like to order?” with some direct eye contact, will do.

I’d rather talk about sex

The other thing I noticed about some of these blogging sites for women 40+ was that they didn’t talk much about sex and how awesome it can be.

There was lots of information about nasty medical issues related to it but not much about the fun stuff.

Many women over 40 are having the greatest sex of their lives and trust me, they’re good at it. 

I’d rather talk about that — and be called “hon” by someone who could serve me lunch anytime…

c 2016 Kathy Barthel

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You can’t play it safe, in mid-life love

How many divorced women have fantasized about asking their boyfriend’s ex-wife what he’s really like?

Sure would save time. Maybe years!

You’d avoid the breakup anguish too because you’d have the goods on the guy before you got emotionally involved. And who knows him better than his ex?

That’s the irresistible opportunity presented to Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) in “Enough Said” when she accidentally meets and then becomes friends with Marianne (Catherine Keener), the ex-wife of her new boyfriend Albert (the late James Gandolfini).

Middle-aged TV historian

Albert is a TV archivist with an incredible passion for old TV shows going all the way back to Sid Caesar and Jack Benny. “I was kind of raised like a veal,” he says. “I was put in a dark room and fed and told not to move.”

Albert is also overweight and balding but that doesn’t make him any less attractive to Eva (or to women in the audience, including this writer).

Middle-aged love is sexy

Eva says that Albert is kind of flabby but she admits that “our middle-aged-ness is comforting and sexy to me.”

That’s one of the best things about the movie; it’s realistic. Anyone who has ever fallen in love after having been married, raised kids and divorced, knows that it is the sweet imperfections of their new partner that are the most irresistible.

. Enough Said kiss-1

(the late, great James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus)

Albert is very dear, very sexy and he makes Eva laugh. They have a wonderful time together, including in bed, until she gets the lowdown from his ex, Marianne:

Albert is clumsy in bed, terrible in bed. In fact, Marianne was “completely repulsed by him sexually.”  She got the bedside tables in their divorce and he has yet to replace them, which shows that he is not building a new life for himself. He doesn’t even eat guacamole the right way! He is a “loser.”

In spite of her attraction to Albert, Eva starts to become critical of him, turning into a mini-Marianne. Things get even worse when Albert discovers that the two women are friends.

Albert was really hurt by Marianne (she never respected his job and she cheated on him) so this is just too much. “Sounds corny,” he tells Eva, “but you broke my heart and I’m too old for that.”

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it

Turns out when you get the scoop on your guy from his ex, the information can be a tad negative.

Eva was trying to avoid getting hurt again (something any divorced mid-life woman can understand) but she got hurt anyway and wounded a wonderful guy.

There are no shortcuts and no safety nets when you date after divorce. But that’s a good thing. Allowing yourself to feel again is part of it.

The best middle-aged love stories are as sweet and tender, as wild and raw and as unpredictable, as anything you experienced at 20. It can get messy but you’ll never feel more alive.  

If you get as lucky as Eva and Albert, go for it.

c 2014 Kathy Barthel

If you’re really in love, break some furniture ;)

If you’re in love and having the time of your life, go ahead —

  • break the couch
  • bust your zipper
  • kiss till your lips peel
  • practice reaching high C

Blistex on the headboard

(Blistex on the headboard is always a good idea;)

When you get tired, cuddle up and listen to the rain outside your window, and to him, breathing beside you. There’s no better lullaby.

If it’s love, go deep.  

You will never be more blessed than you are right now.

c 2016 Kathy Barthel

Mid-life love is a blessing — even without the happy ending

When you throw your whole heart into something, it’s hard to pull your whole heart out. It takes time, sometimes a long time.

Sometimes you can’t muster a big, bratty smile; you can’t rip the rug out from under heartbreak. And that’s OK. Sometimes a brat just needs a little time.

A few years ago, a friend of mine made a video to celebrate his milestone birthday. He decided to interview his former girlfriends and those of his closest buddies because he and his friends were turning the same age. He wanted to get the women’s perspective on who the guys had been, back in the day.

Deepening your heart

I was a former girlfriend of one of his friends so he interviewed me. When he asked if there was value in reflecting on your past and how relationships change you, I said yes and that, “You’re the same person you were but hopefully with everything that happens you become a lot more comfortable in your own skin, a lot less self-conscious and your heart gets deeper…too.”

Those last few words are especially poignant for me now because I recently broke up with that friend, after dating him for several years.

What happened to cause it, is not something I can fix. That is what makes it so hard. This is one of the biggest losses of my life. It is not the outcome I want but maybe it’s what he wants. Regardless, it seems I have to let it go.

Soulful connection

It is also hard because I was extraordinarily blessed by that relationship and so was he. We had a connection that many people search their whole lives to find.

If you are smiled on by the gods, you may connect with someone you love in a way you didn’t even know was possible. Somehow, the deepest part of you, the soul of you really, connects with the soul of the other person.

It’s not an emotional, mental or physical connection and you don’t instigate it. You have nothing to do with it; you are just a witness. When it first happened I phoned to tell him but before I could speak he said very softly, “I know Kath, I felt it too.”

The lesson

Before this happened, I never knew that some people are blessed to have that kind of connection. After it happened, I thought that a relationship with that at its core, could never fail. But there are no guarantees, no fairy tale endings. 

The blessing

The blessing is that it did happen. I have the memory of that tender, sweet, extraordinary closeness and that is a lasting gift.

Being a brat is about going deep, not just skimming along the surface of life. It’s about having the courage to be vulnerable, to offer your whole self with faith that you will be loved, flaws and all. Maybe that’s why the gods give you a blessing like this once in a while.

The little girl in me still hopes for a fairy tale ending, but the brat in me will wrestle that out of her.

What he and I had was real and that will have to be enough.

c 2013 Kathy Barthel

How to reframe the hurt and move on

Some days you don’t feel like being a brat, especially if you have recently ended a relationship. It may be hard to move on because you keep remembering the good times. You long for them.

But you wouldn’t be out of that relationship if it had been truly good for you.

On days when you wonder if ending it was for the best, remember one thing:

You are no longer in a relationship that is hurting you.

Recurring hurt

This is especially important if what hurt you was the result of a recurring issue that was never addressed.

If something was hurting you on a regular basis but never dealt with, then it was only a matter of time before things reached this point.

Yes, there were many great times and it’s going to take a while to stop being pulled back, by their memory.  

But the happy times will never make up for the fact that you were repeatedly hurt because of something that was never addressed.

Reframe your sadness. Reframe your longing with these words.

I am no longer in a relationship that is hurting me.

That relationship is in your past. Not your present. Your past.

What was hurting you is back there too.

If you find yourself longing for your former partner, yet feeling the relationship could never move forward, repeat those words several times.

Some days you don’t feel like being a brat

Some days you don’t feel like being a brat; you don’t feel much like stirring things up and pushing out there to make yourself heard, to make positive change.

Sometimes the change comes slowly, quietly, even painfully. Sometimes you are living in the shadow of the sun and regrouping some of that energy.

This is one of those times. But reframing the hurt can help you get out past it.

You’re no longer in a relationship that is hurting you; you’ve left it behind.

That is huge.

(P.S. Don’t throw something away if there is a chance it can be healed. If you think your old relationship has that chance, investigate it by all means.)

c 2013 Kathy Barthel

My new anti-aging skin care regimen: Sex, sleep and sardines

I hate anti-aging skin creams and I am a nasty customer when I go out to buy them. All those bogus potions do is fleece your bank account — and they do nothing for your face and who-knows-what to your health.

They make me mad.

And I hate that I’m embarrassed to have them in my shopping cart. I wonder if people are looking at me more closely. Oooh, you’re buying wrinkle cream? You must be older than I thought. 

So I decided to create my own cheap, all-natural, anti-aging, skin care regimen.

It’s a three-step system called, “Sex, Sleep and Sardines”. The first two steps will cost you nothing and the third is only $2.99.

Here’s how it works—

1. SEX:  In addition to being a fabulous use of your time, sex brings a rush of blood to your skin, gets everything circulating and really gives you a youthful glow. And that burst of cardio is a lot more fun than the one I get from my elliptical. Try to break a sweat if you can. It takes 10 years off my face every time.

Frequency: Three times per week and build up from there

2. SLEEP: Segue right from the sex to the sleep if you can. Getting enough sleep is so important: the less you get, the older you’ll look. I know there’s always dim lighting but that’s a little awkward to pull off during the day. Besides, sleep rejuvenates and repairs your skin for free. If you have trouble nodding off, follow step one first, but take it easy; you want to wind down, not rev up.

Frequency: Seven or eight hours per night

Millionnaire Sardines can

3. SARDINES: This is where you run into some cost because the only kind of sardines I can stand are called Millionnaires, although at $2.99 a can, they’re still a good deal. They’re a little slippery going down, but you won’t throw up if you chase them with something tart like cranberry juice. Sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep your skin cells flexible, plump and full of water and nutrients. They also keep the cell membrane healthy so that all the good things stay in and the waste products go out. That means softer, younger-looking skin.

Frequency: Minimum of three times per week

This little regimen was working quite well for me until I ran out of the first ingredient; I broke up with the boyfriend and I’ve been really upset but it’s been especially hard on my face.

You may have this problem too so I’m working on a solution. As soon as I have it, I’ll let you know.

c 2013 Kathy Barthel

Don’t cry over chipped teeth

I chipped a piece off one of my back molars several weeks ago. It was bound to happen; I eat so many seeds and nuts I’m basically a squirrel.

But that wasn’t the cause. Nope. I bit down too hard during an orgasm.

No, no one else was injured.

I know I should go to the dentist and have my tooth fixed but I don’t have any insurance.

So I look on the bright side; every time my tongue slides back there, it reminds me of something awesome.

And every time I put money away for the dentist, I’ll have a smile on my face. That’s not so bad.

Besides, there’s a lesson in everything. This one is, don’t clench…your teeth.;)

c 2013 Kathy Barthel