Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Why I'm glad I didn't get sick in Elizabeth Bennet's time, plus where to find guys hunting for cougars

It started around the middle of the afternoon on Friday: sore throat, swollen and tender lymph nodes in my neck, fever-chill.  I figured it was tonsillitis.

With the exception of getting up on Saturday to go to Josie's soccer game and birthday party (a mistake, though it would have been awful to miss it), and then going to the doctor on Sunday, I was in bed from Friday afternoon through Monday morning.  The fever seemed to peak at night - I was so overheated Friday and Saturday nights that I took to sprinkling water on my sheets and lying with freezer bags full of ice on my neck and head, and even then, I couldn't cool off.

At the doctor's office, they gave me a throat culture and the test for strep, which came back positive in seven minutes.  The doctor prescribed oral antibiotics, but was alarmed by the size (huge) and condition (covered with white abscess-looking spots) of my tonsils, so she also gave me a shot (in the ass) of a powerful medication generally used to fight bacterial infections, including life-threatening diseases like meningitis. Doc wasn't fucking around.

I appreciated her aggressiveness from the get-go, but particularly when, within about 7 or 8 hours, I was feeling so much better that I could hardly believe it.  Huzzah for western medicine, y'all.

Naturally, all of this got me to thinking about Jane Austen.

One of the things I always notice about Jane Austen novels - other than how fantastic they are - is how the characters are always inquiring into the health of other characters.

"And how is your family?  Are they in good health?  Are they well?"

Illness was greatly feared in those times, and rightly so.  Medicine was primitive, and illnesses that would temporarily knock you or me on our asses, to lie in bed drinking chicken soup and binge-watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix while waiting for the antibiotics to kick in, were often life-threatening.  Like Jane in Pride and Prejudice, when she gets caught in the rain going to Netherfield and ends up horribly sick in bed for days.  Or Marianne in Sense and Sensibility, who almost dies near the end because she gets really sick after neglecting her health upon hearing about Willoughby's marriage.  It was some serious shit.

Meanwhile, 200+ years later, I felt awful for a few days, but the fact that I would get medicine and recover quickly was never in dispute.  I didn't spend my time in bed worrying.  I spent my time in bed watching everything in my DVR and a jillion other movies, and trolling online dating sites.

Speaking of, it continues to be a fascinating process.  I've had a couple of pleasant dates with guys who were interesting and smart, but with whom there was no chemistry.  I've had a couple of dates that were utter fucking disasters - the best I can say is that they make for a good story when I'm out with my girlfriends.

I've learned that if you're a woman in your 40s and need a confidence boost, get your ass onto OKCupid, pronto.  Within 6 hours of putting up a profile, I had been propositioned by at least 15 men in their 20s and 30s (including one guy whose screen name was, no lie, "Hunting_Cougars69") telling me how gorgeous and sexy I am and begging me to overlook the age difference and would I consider something on a purely physical level pretty pretty please? Please?  I swear I never do anything like this and I'm nervous about even contacting you but you're so preeeettttyyyyyy...

Um, no.  But thank you for your kind words.

I also got a message from some poor schlub in Kansas who all but proposed marriage, a dude in England who insisted we could make it work because he's moving back to the States, a military guy who just moved to Colorado and asked if I would be his "first friend," and about 50 that were some form of "hey your (sic) hot."  I guess I should be thankful that no one sent me a picture of his dick.

But it is a numbers game.  For every 25 or 30 "ur sexy" messages, there's one from someone who is cute and smart and interesting and age-appropriate, and who knows how to write.  And sometimes there's a connection, and sometimes there isn't, but it keeps the hope alive.

It's a wild time to be 45 and dating again, that's for sure.

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