What do Led Zeppelin and Butt-Dialing have in common?

They both mark the end of another Jenny and McCain chapter. 

Yes, it's over.  Are you surprised?  I'm not.  In fact, I was actually very worried about this very thing happening.

I worried about it, big time, before the trip to Amsterdam.  I worried about it during the trip, and after.  When he first asked me to go there with him, I balked.  I refused!  I told him, flat out, "No way."

You know why?  BECAUSE I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN.  And now I have guilt.

While I was wrestling with the decision, the "should I go?" question, I kept thinking one thing over and over.  I even expressed it to my friends.  I did not want to accept this most generous gift, this once-in-a-lifetime experience for many reasons, but the biggest reason of all was this:

I didn't want to feel obligated to him.  I don't want to feel obligated to ANYONE.  Especially to someone with whom I share such a tumultuous track record.  That nagging little voice in my head kept saying, "Don't!!  You'll be sorry!!".  But for whatever reason, I decided to ignore that little voice.  I thought mayhap things would be different this time. Maybe I was ready to stop over-analyzing things and to just sit back and enjoy something special and amazing and wonderful. 

For a little while, that's exactly what I did.  When you find yourself "stuck" with one other person 4,000 miles away from home and with exactly $210.00 in your checking account, you'd be amazed at how quickly the doubts and worries take a back seat. While we were on our trip, I did have fun.  And I was grateful.  Grateful for the chance to step outside my stressful, hard-knock life for four days and see the world.  Grateful for yummy dinners and canal rides and the opportunity to suck down a dirty martini on another continent. It was magical and fun.  I wasn't Broke Ass Jenny, I was World Traveler Jenny.  And it rocked.

It rocked, and then it was over.  We came back home and reality rolled back in like a pea-soup fog.  I was Broke Ass Jenny again, working and parenting and fretting and doing all of those special things that make me who I am.  And McCain went from being Gentleman Travel Companion to...well, back to McCain.

We went out to dinner a few times, a movie, a couple parties and even a double date.  He hung out with me and a couple of my hens.  One gave her approval, the other one was on the fence.  And I started remembering all of the reasons we never "clicked" as a couple.

You know those gut feelings we get, as women?  Those hunches that cannot be ignored?  Well, my gut was full of hunches.  And they were the same ones that had been there the first time McCain and I dated.  And the second.  And the third.

One of the hunches was centered around my kids.  Despite the fact that he and I had dated, off and on, for almost five years, he and my kids had never met.  This was partly on me, because that's always been my modus operandi:  DON'T INVOLVE THE KIDS.  But, then again, he had never expressed an interest in them.  Granted, the thought of meeting four kids can be daunting to anyone, least of all a confirmed bachelor who never had children.  Still...it was something that was on my mind, and one night I decided to bring it up.  Long story short, the conversation ended with him telling me, in so many words, that he was in no hurry to mingle with my babies.  In hindsight?  A good thing.

Here's where Led Zeppelin came in: we were in his car one night, on our way to or from dinner, and for some reason I asked him, "What's your favorite Led Zeppelin song?".  He replied, "I'm not sure who that is.  I'd have to hear it."

Now, let me say this.  I'm not like some Zeppelin freak (although I have friends who are, and I love them).  I don't go see the cover bands, I don't have a kid named Jimmy and I don't have the lyrics of Stairway to Heaven tattooed on my back.

But it's Led Zeppelin, okay? Love 'em, hate 'em, ambivalent or superfan, most people born between the years of 1950 and 1975 know who they are. If you're lucky, you saw them perform.  Me?  I listened to my Led Zep cassette tapes on my little Sony boombox and wept over "Going to California" in my bedroom for pretty much my entire 15th year of life. I dreamed of meeting a skinny dude in patchwork bell bottoms with long curly hair. I sang along to Kashmir and Babe I'm Gonna Leave You and yes, of course, Stairway to Heaven.

Hear this: I am not saying that this was the moment I knew it was over.  What it really was, was a red flag, a flashing warning light.  You see, one of the things about me and McCain is this:  we don't have anything in common.  Other than the fact that we both love to eat, and to be honest, that's kind of a human being thing so it doesn't seem all that special.  We are exactly 10 years apart in age, but it feels more like 30.  I felt that way when we'd be out and he'd talk to me like one would speak to a child (walking behind me shouting out directions: LEFT! RIGHT! STRAIGHT AHEAD!), when he told me that the television I watch is "junk" and when he shared with me that he'd spent an entire Saturday (day and night) watching Christmas movies about single moms and widows on Lifetime (also known as The Vagina Network). I felt that way when he'd chastise me for looking at my phone.  Yes, just looking at it. 

It was the Led Zeppelin incident that made me realize we don't have enough in common.  I'm not looking for a clone of myself (dear sweet baby Jesus, never in a million years) but there has to be some common ground, some shared cultural "stuff" to make things work.  I'm not stupid enough to think that I'm going to find some sweetly aging John Cusack type out there, who loves every single movie and show and song and book that I do, but I do know that there is someone out there who, to sort-of quote my BFF Danielle, "Is going to rock my world."

Throughout the past month or so, while the walls around the McCain/Jenny romance were beginning to crumble, I kept hearing the words of another friend.  A guy friend, a man who is married to an eBay hen of mine and is an amazing husband and dad.  He sent me a message on facebook just prior to the Amsterdam trip and he closed with these words:

Aren't you ready for some security and stability in your life, Jenny? You deserve it.

I am ready for that.  Security and stability?  Yes, please!  Supersized, if you can.

But I'm not ready to give up being ME in order to have those things.  I'm going to continue to watch questionable t.v. shows, I'm going to keep doing trivia with my nerds, I'm going to keep checking in at places on my phone when I'm out and about.  Because that's who I am.

The Butt-Dial?  That was the clincher.  I had already decided to cool it with McCain when I made a stupid, foolishly middle-aged lady mistake with my phone.  Driving around one day, I had my phone jammed between my squishy thighs.  You know, so I could find it fast if it rang.  I also happened to have someone in the car with me, and we happened to be discussing the concerns I was having with the whole McCain relationship.  I was telling this person my worries about all of the things I babbled about already, and also about another aspect of the man that troubled me.  An aspect which I will keep to myself for now, but one that sent those red flags and warning lights into a waving, blinking frenzy.

You can guess what happened.  I got a text from him a few minutes later, expressing anger and shock about what I'd said.  At first I was all, "What are you talking about?" but then I saw that not only had I called him (I guess this could be called "thigh-dialing"?) but he had listened to me for 3 1/2 minutes.  I felt truly awful.  Truly.  My cheeks were burning, my heart raced.  I told the person I was with and together we pieced together what he had overheard. 

And it was bad.  Granted, he probably heard the gist of it out of context, but it was bad.  I felt like a huge bitch.  You can call me that, I'm owning this one.  It was a crass, insensitive and bitchy thing I did.  But it happened.

What else could I do, but apologize.  Which I did.  He was understandably pissed, hurt, offended...you name it.  I goofed. Big time.

But here's the weird part:  along with feeling all of those ashamed and awkward things, I also felt a tinge of relief.  Because the concerns I had been discussing were bothering me, bothering me something fierce, and I can't think of another way I could have ever brought those things up with him without the same end result.

We exchanged a few terse texts, I apologized again.  And that was it.

I feel shitty about the thigh-dial. If you know me at all, you know the last thing I want to do is intentionally hurt someone (yes, the two of you who are rolling your eyes, it's true...).  However, I am the kind of gal who tries to find silver linings in otherwise dark clouds.  I came away from this experience with one:

Silver Lining:  I could have gone for security and stability with McCain.  I could have sucked it up, ignored the red flags and the warning signs and hopped onto his coattails for a life of comfort.  I could have been one of those women who followed the dollar signs instead of their hearts.  When I first started seeing McCain again, one of my friends said to me, "Shit, Jenny, if he has money and he's into you, grab on and don't let go.  The first time you marry for love, the second time it's for money!".  Now, I love this friend and don't think I didn't consider what she said.  But if and when I marry for a second time?

It's gonna be for love.

And if this were a cheesy Lifetime movie, I'd end it with this:

We'll always have Amsterdam.


  1. I was wondering what happened so thanks for sharing your story. I didn't know you had so many differences but I'm glad you figured it out and ended it. Happs my friend.

    1. We'll have a longer chat about it sometime soon. Happy New Year to you and yours, old friend!


  2. Always follow your Heart. Wishing you many prosperous things in 2013.

    1. Thank you Sil. I think if more of us followed our hearts, the world would be a happier place. I wish you and your loved ones a really awesome 2013!!

      Thank you for reading!


  3. Hey! Sorry things ended the way they did. I think you and I are close in age and I will say this for me personally, I can't and won't ignore red flags...ever. It's just not worth it in the end. I think I ignored red flags with my ex(3 kids with 3 diff women and never married) and I'm now a mom parenting primarily on her own; something I never wanted to be. If you are really open to a relationship, you'll have the one you're supposed to have.

    1. Thanks Mommy. I think you get it. I LOVED your last blog post and it really got me thinking. Thank you for that. At this point, I'm thinking a relationship may be too much work...but you're absolutely right: we'll have the one we're supposed to have. I guess that holds true even if we're not supposed to have one? Wow I'm getting deep...

      Thank you so much for reading, hope you and your sweet boy have a wonderful year.


  4. Jenny, dear, you MUST stop beating yourself up for the "thigh-dialing" incident (OMG, that is EXACTLY how my late, great mother would have started this message...). That you felt bad about possibly hurting McCain's feelings even accidentally shows what a genuinely kind and compassionate person you are...but listen, it was an ACCIDENT. You had no idea your thighs were calling him (sorry, there's no way I can put that that doesn't sound very funny), or that he could hear your conversation. You are NOT in any way a bitch, a mean girl, or any of those awful things. You are guilty of NOTHING except honesty. And frankly...if he had no idea that you had these concerns, then he is out of touch with YOUR feelings, and hopelessly insensitive.
    You have absolutely done the right thing by listening to your intuition, paying attention to those red flags, and ending it. His not knowing who Led Zeppelin are is only the very tip of the iceberg, indeed...even his rather questionable politics are. He doesn't like dogs?? Has NO interest in meeting your kids?? What kind of a heartless turd is this? And if that didn't gall me enough...I REALLY hate that he was so condescending to you. Barking directions at you? Getting mad that you looked at your phone? Cutting down the TV you watch? Listen...we very rarely watch TV because we just have no interest in most of what's on, and have things we'd rather do, but all the same, I think your TV taste is far better than most...I mean, you like the GOOD shows! So who the hell is McCain to act like his shit doesn't stink?
    I'm gonna answer that question myself, actually. I think he was such a jerk because he felt threatened by you. He's not so stupid that he couldn't tell you are far smarter, kinder, and light-years more interesting than he is (no doubt you have many more friends, too), and he couldn't handle that. NO ONE needs someone like that in their life -- that is a sure recipe for toxic soup.
    I am VERY VERY proud of you for figuring out what was wrong with the relationship, for being so honest with yourself, and for having the sheer courage to get out. (That, and for having such an elegant way with weaving Led Zeppelin song titles into a story. And for being such a great person, but I digress...) YOU DESERVE WAY BETTER. I have known, and known of, other people who have married for money and security -- and been thoroughly miserable. It is never ever worth it. And now you'll never have to know it firsthand!!
    Hope the New Year brings you much happiness and good luck in every way...and relationships only with guys who truly cherish and value you for the awesome person you are.

    1. Thanks JSC! The more I analyze this relationship the more I realize how much fun a therapist would have dissecting it. Someday soon we'll get together and toast the new year and all the new beginnings it holds.

      Thank you for your steadfast support and friendship!

  5. JCS says it all the way I would've, so I wholeheartedly second those emotions! :)

    (And yeah, any woman who digs Buffy has EXQUISITE taste in TV!)

    Onwards and Upwards babe,


    1. Yeah Buffy! That reminds me, I need to find time to watch Angel now :o) I got sucked into Game of Thrones and it's all haughty accents and filthy beards. I need some vampires!

      Thanks Salish. I would love to enjoy a glass of wine or whatever with you one day.



    Talking honestly with girlfriends about men is what we do. We HAVE to do it, like breathing. You were doing what you have to do. That fate and physics intervened seems deliciously serendipitous! Maybe he was SUPPOSED to hear those things about himself! As my mom told me, "Men are here to grow and learn, too, you know. Not just to be what you want them to be."

    This man's purpose in your life is to show you how incredibly important it is to truly be yourself, and how wonderfully fine yourself is.

    Safety and security are illusions.

    I used to get actual visions of traffic signals, with certain guys, like your warning lights! It's a cool system ... I think God uses it.

    Maybe you are ready for The List! I made a list of 12 qualities a man that I could marry must have. Twelve years later I met him. Honest, Jenny. Aim high.

    In the meantime, you are gearing up for some of the best times of your life. Keep watching the signals!

    1. Becky...I am going to start my list today. Did I mention that McCain doesn't eat vegetables? Like, EVER? I didn't realize that until this round with him. And funny, that was a bigger turn off than a few of the other "quirks".

      So, somewhere on my list will be: Must eat veggies. I used to say that I'd know when I met Mr Right when Walter (my dog) didn't try to eat him. Maybe I'll have to change that to "Must like Brussels sprouts".

      Thanks for all of your insights, support and laughs. I appreciate all of them! And by the way, I do love your blog. Someday, when I have time and money, I'm going to cook like you.


    2. FOOD IS MEGA-IMPORTANT!!! My ex considered a can of Spaghettios to be dinner, whilst I raised garden-fresh produce and made everything from scratch. While working full time! One night I said, "I grew everything that's in this spaghetti sauce, and everything in the salad is from my garden, too!" He was like, meh. Basically, eating to him was like putting gas in the car.

      So yes, it is perfectly acceptable to put "Must like vegetables" on there! My list had "Must appreciate fresh, healthy food" or something akin to that. Food is BIG.

      Hint: Don't put anything on the list that would require the man to have the qualities of a girlfriend. It is the secret to marital happiness: Do not expect a man to be a girlfriend.

    3. Dang it Becky..if you weren't married already, and if one of us was a guy....

      Sorry. You had me at "I grew everything that's in this spaghetti sauce".

      I'm going to have to pick your brain about starting a garden here. I haven't attempted to grow veggies in YEARS but you've inspired me.

      And YES I love that part about the list. McCain had way too many girlfriend qualities. He even drank margaritas. I need a man's man.

  7. Bummer. Sucks that it didnt work out but if your gut was telling you from the start that it wasnt meant to be then it just wasnt meant to be. Ha, I guess you could say when your gut wasnt getting your full attention it asked your squishy thighs for help.

    Yeah, I'm a nerd. As tempting as it would be to marry for money, there needs to be love there. Im a cheeseball so love's always a must in my book. Dont worry though, I doubt you'll have trouble reeling in another fella ;)

    1. You are a FABULOUS nerd, Lin.

      To be honest with you, I did think deep thought about sticking with it just for the security. I thought how nice it would be to not freak out about money on the first of every month, about how cool it would be to be able to maybe afford an extra car for the teenagers, to be able to get off the reduced price lunch program, etc. But then reality kicked in and I knew I'd go insane.

      Thank you for chiming in! I've been keeping up on your blog but have been a shitty commenter. Have to catch up today.


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