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Thursday, 29 September 2005
Who Pays?
Topic: mid-life dating
Gloria Steinham at This Late Date?

If you are a baby boomer, you’ve experienced the diverse shticks of both Donna Reed and Gloria Steinem, and if that’s not enough to give you a permanent hangover, there’s a whole lot of confusion left over when it comes to dating behavior and who pays. Most women I know have wrist’s as limp as Mrs. Field’s chocolate chip cookies when it comes to picking up the check. These are independent, professional women of my generation, who know that women are equal to men, yet when it comes to paying on date, are mired with confusion, and in their hearts, suspect that Donna Reed had the right idea.
My son who is twenty-four, and oblivious the whole feminist movement, has been taking girls out and picking up the tab since he was fifteen, yet when I queried my daughter on the subject, she retorted, “Didn't the feminist movement teach you anything? It's about equality and economics. Both parties should either take turns paying or split equally-OR- if one party has more money and is WILLING to front the bill more often, they should. It has nothing to do with gender. It's nice to be paid for, but it's unfair to expect it.”
This appeals to my higher self, the one with really great ideals, but the truth is, that my quirky inner child, the one who was actually raised by Betty Crockstein, likes to be taken out for sushi. I believe in give and take, and of course, equality, but as a general rule, I think that the person in the higher tax bracket gets the bill, or at least a higher percentage of it. Just to be clear, this isn’t something you discuss on a first date, and if a man has any intentions of seeing a woman again, he should pick up the check.
First date behavior is unique. If, on that special night, a guy invites me to dinner and asks me to pay, he’s history. It’s simple manners that have nothing to do with feminism. If someone does the inviting, that someone is the host. I also just happen to think that that someone might want to make a good impression on the first date, because if not then, well, when? If I offer to contribute, and he ungraciously accepts, it’s the kiss of death. BUT if he has bored me silly, then I will INSIST on paying my share; telegraphing my message that this is a one time only event.
Besides being from Toledo, the same home town as Gloria Steinem, I have always admired her vision and forthright independence. That said, I do think that dating was much less confusing before she raised my consciousness. But her seemingly indelible mark is still a part of me, and in some cases like my daughter’s, the next generation’s too. Even with that, I admit to an occasional slippage into the Donna Reed comfort zone, and will tell you in no uncertain terms, the sushi there is great.

Posted by chavahudson at 1:00 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 29 September 2005 8:55 PM EDT
Topic: On Life
Adversity I’ve heard that “whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” If this were the case, I might look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, before he became governor of California. I don’t know if this is expression is true, but I can certainly attest to the fact that life has lots of challenges, or as some call them, tests. In fact, it’s a whole battery of tests, and maybe the trick is to think of them like they’re just pop quizzes, not major hurdles and frustrations. And if we are being tested, by whom? If it’s God, “final exams” have a whole new meaning, and if that’s the case, whatever doesn’t make you stronger, does indeed kill you. Perhaps in this middle stage of our lives, our trials are just mid-terms? If I pass my tests, am I acing my life? Maybe. But sometimes I feel like I’m not sure if I’m even going to make more than a middling grade. I used to watch my son play Nintendo and was always amazed that as soon as he negotiated one obstacle, another one would replace it. How totally unsatisfying! It struck me that in some sub-conscious, philosophical way, this was a great training for life’s frustrations. And, if life is like a very long Nintendo game in the way that if it ain’t one thing, it’s another, then perhaps we only have to hurdle that brick wall in front of us to be on the road again to the next test of our mettle. Maybe his current job of a navy cook on a submarine was only an outgrowth of his Nintendo days. I remember a conversation between my sister and brother-in-law. After a day of errands she returned home and was complaining about all the crazy drivers out there. My brother-in-law replied, “Mara, that’s what driving is.” I loved his reply because it was about changing her expectations, since she couldn’t change the drivers. Perhaps if when we encounter an unmovable mountain, we will calmly negotiate it by climbing over or walking around it. We will not honk at it or give it the finger, wishing that the mountain would go away. I can’t say I’m sure about how God works in all of this. What I do think is that it’s more about my choice in how I deal with my obstacles. Even though we complain about the rain, we know that there’s nothing to be done about it except use an umbrella. So today, on Rosh Hashanah, I will look at my “road of life” and clean off my hiking boots and take out my slicker, because with any luck, I have a few mountains left to climb.

Posted by chavahudson at 12:58 PM EDT
Saturday, 13 August 2005
The Harley
Now Playing: The writing and art of Chava Hudson. Copyright. May not be copied without my permission.
Topic: mid-life dating
The Harley
Joe watched Carli as she sashayed towards the cafe on the sidewalk. He enjoyed the way her legs meandered long and lean from her shorts for more than what should be legal. As she walked, loose as a jungle cat, he studied the very interesting fact that with each jutting forward of one of her wondrous limbs, her hips tilted ever so slightly from side to side. It was going to be a glorious day.
“Well good morning, beautiful,” he said, nodding as Carli approached the streetside table where he sat with David.
“Morning,” she said, not really stopping, since she had been anticipating her iced coffee. She planned to take it down to the beach where she would do a little reading while the morning air was still cool.
“You look lovely this morning,” said Joe, hoping to detain her so that he could get a close-up of her legs. “As perfect as this summer day,” he added.
She felt a little flustered. All of Joe’s efforts deserved more than just a hello, but she wanted to go to the beach. “Yes, it is a beautiful day, isn’t it?”
“I think he meant you,” said David. “Joe, this is the part where you’re supposed to introduce me.” He too gazed at Carli and his blue eyes filled with deep appreciation as he took in her legs, thinking for just a moment how nice it would feel to have those legs wrapped around him. He extended his hand. “I’m David.”
Carli shook it. "It's nice to meet you."
“So what brings you out on this wondrous morning?” asked Joe.
“Just thought I’d get a coffee, do a little reading at the beach, and clear my head,” said Carli.
“How do you clear your head?” asked David.
Carli pointed to the cafe. “Caffeine,” she said.
“You know, they say that caffeine is the Ritalin for adults who have ADD,” said David.
“David is a doctor, so he ought to know,” said Joe.
Carli felt David’s eyes on her thighs and thought that a doctor should have had seen enough legs that he wouldn’t be so fascinated by a new pair. She remembered her mission. “Well, it’s been very nice to meet you,” she said. “Very educational. I’m going to get my coffee now,” she said, waving her hand. As she did this, Joe caught it mid-air. “So, why don’t you join us?”
She was tempted. They were amusing and David was certainly charming and handsome. And a doctor! She would get her coffee and then she would see. She was already mentally reviewing her day to see if she could get to the beach later. They both looked at her so imploringly that she almost laughed. She had them drooling!
David said something but Carli couldn’t hear him over the approaching sputter of a motorcycle. Based on the volume, Carli thought it was going to a very big bike. It was a Harley, painted with orange and black flames and as wide as a horse. On top of it sat a woman, her huge flower tattoo branded like an emblem where the back of her low jeans gaped dangerously from her tank top. Locks of blond hair hung below her helmet and lay on her tan bare shoulders. As she rode by, both David and Joe rose to their feet as if they were going to sing the national anthem. They totally forgot she was there.
“That’s some bike,” said David, finally to Joe. “I’ll bet that thing cost $18,000.”
“I think I’ll get my coffee now,” Carli said, but neither one of them noticed as she slipped inside the cafe.
“See you later,” she said as she passed them again moments later sipping her drink. She was determined now to be on her way to the beach, no matter what they said. But they didn’t try to stop her this time. She was already a has been, and they hardly noticed.

Read more by Chava Hudson at writing and illustration of Chava

All writing and artwork is copyrighted by Chava Hudson. Glicee prints of artwork may be purchased through Chava Hudson: online

Posted by chavahudson at 9:39 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 14 August 2005 5:44 PM EDT
Sunday, 31 July 2005
Zagats for Men
Topic: mid-life dating
Zagats for Men

As I bushwhack my way through the dating jungle, I have often wished that men would come with ratings, kind of like restaurants, or that they be required to wear warning labels like prescription drugs. These labels would be color coded for quick identification of today’s single man; green for a commit-phobe, red for problems with anger, yellow for too much drinking. You get the idea. But unfortunately, like today’s herbal remedies, they are totally unregulated, so a single woman must do her best to assess men for herself. Like restaurant reviews that can help us find the best places to dine, I would like to share my rating system to help women in their quest to find a man.

Let’s start at the top. In my opinion, a four-star man has arrived at middle age and no longer whines about his divorce. Through prior training, he knows that if I cook, he cleans up. He knows when to arrive with flowers and even better, how to make reservations. More importantly, he has a generous and open heart and the only thing he would ever hit is a golf ball, or maybe the jackpot in Las Vegas.

The typical three-star man is similar to the four-star, but he is subject to lapses of belching and gas. The two-star man has not found himself yet, and is probably fifty years old, never been married, and looking for the lucky young women to bear his children. It’s easy to spot the one-star man. He’s about forty-five, lives with his mother, and can’t afford to take you out for coffee. I have laid it out ladies, and the choice is yours.

So how are you supposed to tell what a man’s rating is when you meet him? Unfortunately, many men will try to appear like they have higher rating. For instance, the dapper fifty-two year old guy who picks you up in his shiny BMW might appear like a four-star, but you then learn that he has never been married and is leaving soon to find a twenty-five year old wife in Columbia, and is about to go bankrupt. (If we had the mandatory labels, his would be green and there would be no problem.) Or someone who you think is a solid three-star may get demerits for spending your entire dinner telling you about his villainous ex-wife.

As you can see, this is all very unclear and ambiguous. What is a woman to do? As far as restaurants go, even though I do read reviews, I am always seeking those yet to be discovered little places with good food, good service, and reasonable prices that have modeled themselves on four-star restaurants. When it comes to men, it’s not all that different. The best ones may not come in a BMW or have all the answers, but if the guy is like those restaurants, maybe an undiscovered place with “good food” and “good service” and if the emotional “price” is reasonable, then bon appetite!

Reprinted from the Jewish Journal, 7/14/05
Read more by Chava Hudson at writing and illustration of Chava

All writing and artwork is copywrited by Chava Hudson. Glicee prints of artwork may be purchased through Chava Hudson:, or to see more, vistit her online gallery.
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Posted by chavahudson at 1:09 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 14 August 2005 7:57 PM EDT

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