revelations of club life

In ALL, DATING & MATING, MARRIAGE by Stephanie Klein50 Comments

All the fights that seem big, all the arguments over respect and tone of voice, of power struggles, and money, all kind of disappear when you remember a past lived in bars with pick up lines and loud music. You remember all the men who’ve hit on you. All the times you’ve relinquished your number, all the times you danced when you felt like sitting down, all the times you got another round and shrugged the next day. There’s so much magic in a night, expectation mingled with hope, that in the end can feel like a waste of time. So when you remember everything it took, all the long ways of slow moves, it makes you realize that all the turmoil of now is nothing compared to what you lived when you were single, circling the bar, singing along with the words, going along with the life, wishing secretly you could leave and walk away without any of it, and somehow, with it all. And I realize, I really did just that. Even though he’s a pain in the ass, even though he gives me a hard time, at the end of the day, he’s the guy whose hand I want to hold and pull across a dance floor. He’s the one I want to break the sweat for, the one I want to buy me the drink, the one I want. That’s all.

Comments

  1. I have thought exactly this so often but never have I put it so precisely and so beautifully. I was also single in Manhattan and the Hamptons (though in the 80's) and have many colorful memories.

  2. I'm with you 100%! It's just great to be reminded that exactly what you have is exactly what you want. :-)

  3. it's comforting to know that this stage of my life will one day be over. it's not that i hate being single….i just hate the lifestyle that is almost expected of single women. gross.

    p.s.

    can't find moose at any of the bookstores around here!!!

  4. Well said. I vividly remember that feeling; being in a bar and hoping for some kind of connection, hoping that I look "right", hoping that the night would end already so I could just go home and have some peace. Happily, I am through with that, and my Suitor leaves crumbs on the counter, forgets to turn off lights, and washes my whites with his colors…and I would not trade him for all the world.

  5. Sometimes it bothers me when you post things like this. It bothers me for one main reason which has nothing to do with Phil (and people who want to try to ream me for this, take a shot!):

    Why must you paint your time before any man or without any man as this dreary waiting room of a life? As if you were waiting for some prince to swoop down and rescue you.

    It makes me cringe because I think this is exactly what's wrong with our gender. We're so caught up in trying to find that other person instead of just being our own person we lose ourselves in it. Then we wonder what happened to our life when it all falls apart.

    Whenever you do express your love for Phil, which I admit is very sweet and endearing at times, you often refer back to what he saved you from, rather than what you two have created together. I dont know. Maybe this doesnt make sense but I felt the need to express it.

    While I love a lot of your writing, it does make me wonder if you didnt have the problems with men that you did what would have been the basis for your first book?

  6. This stung a little today, since I just called off my October wedding. The groom-to-be liked to send "i love you" text messages. Just to someone who's not me.

    Nonetheless, as a longtime reader of the Wasband story, this gives me some hope. It's gonna be a while but hopefully I'll find a happy ending from all this like you did.

    In the meantime, I'm going to try to get through today without crying until I throw up.

  7. There were times as a single woman when I was miserable. As evidenced by the content of this blog though, there were also times where I preferred being alone to dating or any kind of romantic relationship. And clearly, when I wrote Straight Up and Dirty, I captured both sides of the journey.

    I'm not trying to be proto-feminist here. I'm sharing exactly how I felt in that club this weekend. That I didn't want to revisit those moments. The fact is, I never had to force myself into that world to begin with, as I touch on in SU&D.

    I was so ill after hearing over and over that you need to create your own fantastic sundae. That the man should only be the cherry on top. Or the whipped topping to top off how much you loved your life. I don't think the recipe is that simple. We're all wired a bit differently.

    Some of us will always feel that something is missing–no matter how full our lives are with friends, family, career, and even children–if that romantic, needed, wanted "someone" is missing.

    "Why must you paint your time before any man or without any man as this dreary waiting room of a life? As if you were waiting for some prince to swoop down and rescue you." Because that is exactly how I felt! Except I was over princes and frogs and didn't believe in being rescued. I did, however, view my life without a man as unfulfilled. Until I didn't. And in SU&D I write about how I went from one side to the next.

  8. THAT was so very cool!

    I circled the bars, did the same as others, loved it when a guy bought me a drink … somehow met Mr. Right in one of them… and married him. 15 years and three kids later, I'd choose him outta the crowded sweaty dancefloor still.

  9. I'm grateful for my hubby everyday. Yes, there are days when he's a royal PITA and I want to claw his hair out, but he' still a wonderful man and I'm very thankful. And I let him know it too!

    Some of my girlfriend's husbands treat them like dirt and others are still doing the dating scene. This makes me appreciate what I've got back home even more.

    I wouldn't trade it for the world.

  10. Well, as someone who has been doing Single for a while, I can relate to the "club life" that you wrote about so well. Your story gives me hope for finding a Suiter of my own one day. And his comment by the way? So cute.

  11. Oh, Eleanor. How I want to just envelope you in a big hug right now. How I want to sit with you on my couch and watch whatever marathon is going on that day and not talk at all, cause words seem to have lost meaning. How I want to make strong drinks until you numb whatever pain is going on inside and escape the world.

    These are all the things I have done with my friends when they, too, have been misled, hurt, destroyed by the men in their lives. It is, too, what I did just 2 months ago when I found – find – myself in the same position for the first time. Looking around at all the wonderful women I know, and all of the craptastic men who hurt them so, I really truly wonder if I'll ever be able to fully trust a man again. I didn't even know how deeply this went until I got a drink (which turned into a bottle of wine) with my ex last week and it all came out. I told him that I hated him for destroying us, that I was so devastingly mad at him for throwing it away. And he sat there and agreed, admitted it was a huge mistake. And I hate myself for still loving him. But the thing is, no matter what, I'll never be able to trust him intimately ever again.

    I guess all we can do is look to stories like Stephanie's and hope, with a full, heavy, devasted and longing heart, that one day we'll find that too.

  12. While i was out this weekend without my boyfriend, I opened up a fortune cookie and it read "Treasure all that you have." And that was all i needed to realize how important he was to me.

  13. That only applies if you're going out strictly to find men. My youth was spent simply having a good time, with no particular agenda other than to have fun.

  14. SK and other commenters:

    what did you think of the satc movie? it got a terrible two-page review in THE NEW YORKER.

    any thoughts?

  15. Stephanie, some commenters what feedback, so here is my 2 cents on SATC – It was great to see the girls again. There were some laughs & some surprises and I enjoyed watching the movie…BUT I was a little underwhelmed. It was so super-hyped up for so long, I guess that happens to a lot of movies. But I still enjoyed it.

  16. Beautiful sentiment, both from you Stephanie, and what the suitor left as a comment.

    What you wrote is so dead-on! Actually when I was single that last time, I just couldn't do the club scene again. Dark bars, too loud music and an overall feeling of depression whenever I would attempt it.

    Which is of course why I did the online dating. At least the meetings could be in daylight, outside in a coffee shop, etc.

    My favorite place to be now, is on our back patio with HIM, playing cards or chatting aimlessly. Nothing "out there" beats it!:-)

    3T

  17. I agree with Frannie, sometimes we need to be reminded of how great we have it at home, whether it's hearing of a friends cheating husband or spending the night at the bar with your single girlfriends bored to death – it's little things like that, that make me (and I think you as well) feel so thankful that we have great guys at home. Maybe they don't pick up their dirty socks or clean toilets, but I can live with it because well he's totally worth it.

  18. I was thinking I totally agreed with Julie, but then I also can appreciate what was in your response. It's interesting timing. I was just journaling on want this past weekend – after watching the movie Dan In Real Life (great movie, for the record). Anyway, for what it's worth, here's what I was musing about:

    There’s such beauty in the pain of that moment when you realize you want something you can’t/don’t have. When desire, a hot angst felt just beneath the surface, meets the cool touch of reality, it leaves you with a smoldering ache that won’t quite diffuse. The tension of the resulting discord in your body lets you know that without a doubt you are alive. It feels as though your every cell reminds you.

    To want is human. Animals live by need, by instinct, hard-wired urges to find and fulfill what is necessary to stay alive. Humans have the power – or curse – of want. Those who meditate encourage living in the moment and accepting what IS. But to truly live, I wonder if it’s necessary to want…and never quite get? Because once you have everything you need AND everything you want, what is there? Transcendence, yes, I suppose. But often times, the wanting is better than the having. And what if that’s true of transcendence, too?

  19. Sorry to be such a cynic, but I read this as, "went to a club, did not turn heads, so lovin the one I am with."

  20. This is both lovely and depressing to hear. I am in that position now… the "single lurking" phase. I think you said it best, "expectation mingled with hope." So true.

  21. I secretly hate single (well not anymore), but I do. I hate people telling me that I have to love myself first, that I have to find some hobbies… I do love me and I DO have hobbies. In fact, I have amazing extended family, wonderful friends, a good job and a special gift with children…oh and I am a modern feminist by choice and by profession, but I can't deny that it just doesn't feel complete when I crawl into my big bed all alone. For someone that knows in their soul that they are supposed to have a family, well I just won't feel complete until it happens!

  22. "Some of us will always feel that something is missing–no matter how full our lives are with friends, family, career, and even children–if that romantic, needed, wanted "someone" is missing." -SK

    I TOTALLY AGREE. And I think the people with that crap of a "sundae" analogy are totally full of sh*t. I think most people are looking for someone. I have MANY single friends, and I don't know a one that I could say is truly happy being single all the time. They may not be sad and depressed over it, but I am positive, if asked and answered truthfully, they say they'd rather be coupled (to the right person, not just anyone, of course) and in love.

  23. It’s sort of refreshing to hear women honestly say they won’t be complete without a man. It’s almost reverse honesty. Society tells us we should be strong, independent, confident women without men, but it also tells us we are weird or “old maids” if we don’t have a husband and family. But how many of you “smug marrieds” are willing to admit that you also think fondly about being single, sometimes (not in a ‘thank God I’m not single,’ way)? It feels as if some married people refuse to admit how hard marriage is b/c they have to lord over someone and it might as well be single people. “Poor girl, she’s still single.”

    I just worry about the “need” to be a twosome, whether its b/c we don’t feel complete without another, or b/c we don’t feel it’s appropriate to have a family outside the traditional structure (mom, dad, 2.5 kids, dog…) or whatever. I’ve seen the need translate itself into plenty o’ bad marriages.

    I’m in my mid 20’s and I’ve been to 4 weddings (soon to be 5) in the last 12 months, but I’ve also seen a surprising number of divorces from some of my friends. In being so wrapped up in the want, want, want, need, need, need a partner some people found themselves, 2 years into marriage saying “crap, this is not what I thought it would be. This isn’t what I need. This isn’t who I want.” And that’s just 2 years in…I always wonder who’s going to be divorced, or have gone through a cheating “spell,” or whatever in the next 10 or 15 years.

    I had a male friend who was separated within a year of marriage and divorced within two tell me, when asked why he got married, that it feels like you get on this train, and it’s moving and moving, faster and faster and everyone around you says this is great and this is right and it’s natural and it’s hard to get off that train.

    I think SK touched on it in her first book. It’s not as if I feel these people get married too young, but it seems sometimes they are blinded by their wants and their needs. “I want to have a family and if I wait any longer, I’ll die!” “I want to be married to have someone to take care of and take care of me.” “I deserve to be married and damnit, if I want it enough, then it’ll all work out.” “I want to be in the club.” I went to that last one’s wedding last Saturday. All statements uttered by educated women. Technically there’s nothing wrong with any of these things, but it’s like if it doesn’t happen by 26 or 28 or 30 then it won’t happen at all. Sometimes when I’m around friends, all I hear are alarm clocks, behind that glazed look of desperation. It’s true that I’ve seen some women walk down the aisle to meet the “you’ll do,” man. That person who is average to them in every way, but he’ll do, b/c god forbid you hit 30 and not be in the club. “He’ll be a good father, a good provider, he looks fine enough…I’m just tired of being single.”

    I’m sorry, but that’s just not good enough for me. I’d rather have a dozen passionate, highly charged affairs, raise a tot or two lovingly on my own, travel the world and pay 100% of all my bills on my own than meet a “you’ll do,” man at the end of any aisle. Or the man that’s great on paper, or the man that my parents love, or the man that is everything I want, but I know, deep down, will never be as invested as I am…I want more for myself and I’m proud to be single b/c of that.

  24. Becca,
    You are sooo right, that movie is AMAZING. Definitely a must-see.

    Loved the post Stephanie and Phil is too adorable! PS: I remember peeking back at him and the kiddos while you were at Borders in NY and it was so sweet to see how he looks at you. I want to have that some day.

    For now, I have to settle with my 4 month non-relationship with an amazing guy who has been hurt badly twice in the past (hence, the 'non' in 'non-relationship). So basically now we're "dating" except really we're not seeing other people so I guess we're "exclusively dating", if such a thing exists. It's frustrating and we've had a couple of arguments over this…I was not necessarily trying to push him to do anything he doesn't want to do…but basically, I want to know where this is going. It's so frustrating that I decided to stop seeing him so that he can have some time alone….that lasted about 2 days because I have no willpower and mostly because he wanted to keep seeing me.

    I really do not want to get stuck in this limbo stage, but I also don't want to rush him. We're already planning a vacation together this summer. I think we're doing things out of order here.

  25. Then maybe think twice or three times before you diss him publicly on your blog? Thinking that is your intention with this post.. to redeem yourself?

    I have been married almost 16 years and have learned, what you say aloud can never be taken back. To post your complaints on a public blog must feel a million times so..

    Be good to him. Deal with things WITH him. Hurting one another never helps. Hurting one with an audience must hurt so much more….

  26. Phil, Phil… are you such an asshole you deserve these constant public humiliations? Starting to wonder…

  27. I loved this post. For me it always takes a night out without him to remind myself how much I want, need, and just absolutley love him. I find it odd how many people want to bash Stephanie for putting her TRUE feelings on this blog. This is what she's always done, and Phil married her knowing that. I'm guessing he's never been too surprised by anything that's been posted here.

  28. Danielle – well said! What an intelligent mid twenties you are! Sure we would all rather be mated and married [it is natures way isn't it? that is why we don't feel "complete" without a mate – nature wants us to propogate! – nature is not necessarily a woman's friend!]. To be married is more comfortable in every way [who enjoys taking out their own garbage or going to the theatre, or sometimes even for a walk alone or eating and sleeping alone every night – not to mention sharing expenses or lifting that heavy piece of furniture!!].
    There certainly are married women who wish they were single. There are many widows who are living for the first time in their lives! There are married women who take a lot of shit and willingly give far more than they take [does this make female synonymous will fool?]. In fact I can't think of a married friend who doesn't give far more, emotionally, than she gets. It seems to be the norm. Seems to me the trade off goes something like "You pay the mortgage and I'll do the crying." Now women are often paying the mortgage AND doing the crying!
    Not that men have it easy and aren't taken advantage of [what a bitch to be married to an impossible woman and have to leave your kids in order to leave her]. However, men may have become spoiled [I am chasing my ancestors – my great grandfather inherited the farm even though he had 4 older sisters – this is what men are used to and it must be very hard to give up] and they are rather lost at this time in their evolution. Men are in love with their work and women are in love with their men. I find few men who truly LIKE women – once they are married to them. Hell, men don't even know that their mate is unhappy let alone why she is unhappy! We are different animals and allowance should be made for that.
    In my opinion [I am 74 and I live alone – well, except for an adorable little dog – made my own money, travelled alone, put out my own garbage and paid my own mortgage] Life is hard for everyone – a decent marriage makes it easier just as a partner makes owning a business easier if it is the right partner. If it is not the right partner it becomes hell.
    I believe loving and being loved is the best thing going. However, I am not sure that we are made to look at the same person over the breakfast table for 40 or so years [I am sure that isn't what I was made for!]. I also believe life is very worth living alone – well not really alone – simply living as a human being along with a lot of other human beings. Being part of a neighbourhood and contributing to your corner of the world. Sure you miss things but no matter how we live we miss things. As I used to say to my kids "life is not a bowl of cherries". No, dear, it is not.
    To young women I say – make your own money, learn who you are, what you want and why you want it. Then go for it or maybe I should say wait for it because it will come to you. Don't settle for less and be sure you look it right in the eye. If you only find pieces of it here and there do not despair – live a full life anyway. If you find it prepare to work at it.
    Thanks Danielle.
    Betty

  29. Why is it, that a married woman writes about the joys of her marriage and (some) single women see this as "lording it over" single women.

    For the record, of course there are times as a wife we roll over in bed, without covers, cuz he stole them all during the night; and fondly think of the days when it was OUR bed alone. And we slept in the middle if that's what we wanted.

    As far as Stephanie's post, and those of us married women who appreciated what she had to say; hate to say it, but it has absolutely nothing to do with those who are not married yet, or who have chosen different paths. It's simply taking a moment to say we're happy with what we have.

    Simple logic says that Stephanie is married, so of course she will write about the good and the bad that is part of daily life as a MARRIED lady.

    It is just like the SAHM's and the working mothers. Why the subtle animosity? Single or married, as far as a blog diary goes, it is hardly a personal attack on those who are not _______ fill in the blank.

    Life is full of work, married or single. Working mother or stay-at-home-mother. Is it human nature to cattily attack the opposite of what choices we're living? And sometimes the grass does look greener on the oppostie side of our choices. Regardless of married, single, kids, no kids, SAHM or working mother, we write from where we are personally. And it's not meant as "lording it over" someone who made different choices.

    There are merits to both being single and being married. Once again though, if we make the commitment to marriage, it benefits us to find all the good in our choice. And do our best to enjoy it.

    Stephanie's post was simply an observation on her life, coming from where she is at NOW, as opposed to two or three years ago. Those of us who left comments appreciating the reminder to love where we are NOW, are not lording it over single women. Some of us at that moment may very well have been looking at our mates irritating habits and were grumbling about them. Her post? A reminder of what we love in our life and spouse, NOW. Which only serves to make our day (and life) happier.

    3T

  30. Hey, I didnt take it as her lording it over me.

    I expressed something that recently has bothered me when SK talks about her past with men, and as I stated, it hasnt got shit to do with Phil personally.
    She posted her thoughts to my initial post and they were well received, and not just be me but others as well.

    Seems to me the only (few) people getting up in arms about it are the married women in here claiming those of us who express how we feel about men/a significant other/the need for a companion are sour.

    I thought the discussion was going quite well myself. Well, except for Amy's post (what the fuck was that about?) and Janey's. I had even debated posting again with my opinion of being a single mother, and if I didnt have a child, would I feel differently about the need to have someone in my life, or pressure to find "the one" much like my single gfs are experiencing now.

    Danielle, I thought your post was insightful and sharp. Betty, I thought your post was excellent advice for any woman, married or single. Joanna, I thought your post was very honest and brave.

    Why this particular subject is such a sore spot between women is beyond me, so much a sore spot that if it's being discussed women just naturally assume it's with ill intent when it's just general perspective.

    Where has Barb E. been these days? I miss her funny comments.

  31. Danielle, I think most married women feel envious of single women at times. Maybe you haven't met married women secure and mature enough to say so. I'm happily married and still love to hear my single friends' stories about dating, or not, travels, etc. All of the things I wish I'd done more of pre-husband, pre-kids. I'm really happy for my single, independent friends. And guess what, they're happy too.

  32. 3T,

    I think your feathers are too easily ruffled. I've never, nor will I ever personally attack SK for her choices. Maybe for putting her kids in those pumpkin outfits last October, but that's a whole other topic. In fact, I openly and honestly give her props for admitting in SUAD that she was one of the women who wanted and felt that she deserved to be a wife and a mother so badly that she took on the work of 2 people in the relationship and that it wasn't the wisest of decisions.

    I also, have never said a bad word about her husband, even when some (sometimes most) do, when she writes something that isn't so Phil friendly (He's a yeller, He doesn't like when she pees with the door open, sometimes he doesn't appreciate that just b/c i'm home, i'm working too, etc). I love those posts b/c they don't seem so glossy. Not so pumpernickel prim with prose, pictures and discriptions.

    What I posted was what I see around me, similar to what she posts about what is around her. I love my friends and hope to God they don't end up in Stephanie's first situation. If they do I'll always be there to help them up. This is just my observation of the topic.

    Julie and Betty, A thousand thanks for your kind words.

  33. 3T; beautifully stated. I understand what you're saying. Especially since I was on the single side of the fence far longer then I've been on the 'married w/ kids' side of the fence. I certainly don't hold where I am above anyone. As an example, I have a few married friends who have chosen not to have children. Those same friends are sooooo often cornered asking 'when' they will have kids, how 'empty' their lives will be if they don't, etc, etc, etc. If I catch the tail end of that conversation, I've often offered my two cents by saying that personal choices are just that… personal choices. I wanted kids, always. Now that I have them, I truly admire women who know deep in their souls whether motherhood, (marriage, relationships, single-life, chastity), is for them. The reality of our dreams is ALWAYS such a shock compared to what the fantasy was. Ulitmately, it's about compromising our principles. I sooooo admire women who don't compromise because it is truly a gift to be able to have that instinctive drive to not just survive, but thrive. I love people, where they come from, how they think, what drives them; so much to learn from others. I do have a theory on those who hold/lord their status in life over others. It's called justifying. If those who do that were truly happy, they wouldn't have to expound constantly on the benefits of their choice… how much happier they are then the people they judge. So 3T, yes, I believe you meant this post was just about visiting a personal memory and being grateful for where you are now. I often forget to do that. Then I read my old journals and realize I have acquired so many of the things I used to crave and how dare I take them for granted when I wanted them so fiercly. I find it humbling more than anything.

    Eleanor's trousers: Ouch. I read your blog and I feel just heartsick for you. Please be well. I never, ever had the emotional courage to deal with things the way you are doing. I was sooooo weak. Courage and success to you.

  34. And this was merely my "general perspective." Some of which I addressed had absolutely nothing to do with this particular post. (ie; SAHM's and working mothers, etc) I was stating my observation, that maybe I should have made more clear. There does seem to be a mild animosity between women who choose different lifestyles, at times. I see a lot of it on different blogs. Including Stephanies.

    And I'm certainly not sour by any means. And Danielle did in fact suggest that some married women don't like to admit that marriage is hard work, out of a need to lord it over others. And it might as well be single people. I just simply refuse to believe that, and stated why.

    And my post was not directed specifically at you Julie, or even Danielle. Again, just my perceptions. I love my single g/f's as much as the married ones. I'm just questioning WHY there is this sense of them and us. Whether single/married or SAHM's/Working mothers, those who choose to have kids, those who don't…

    If you felt that I was insulting in any way, I deeply apologize, Julie. But do stand by my own perceptions.

    3T

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