The making of a crusty pelican…

Despite my current status as “crusty pelican”*, i can’t say i’ve always been incapable of normal girl dreams.  Those pesky Disney Delusions  run deep.  For me?  It was Cinderella.  The Rogers and Hammerstein version – starring Lesley Ann Warren and a cast of unmemorable rabble**.  

Despite being a fat and dumpy special kid, i identified with her – the youngest, treated like pond scum by her family.  Now, we didn’t have a fireplace, and god knows they’d never let me in the kitchen to cook.  More along the ‘teasing’ route, for being fat and dumpy.  Hoping that there would be some bit of magic in my future that would transform me from ‘troll’ to ‘treasure’.  Singing along to the album – “In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be…”  Even then, what i really wanted to be was “adopted”.

Looking back on life?  Not exactly how it all went down.  Let’s take a look at my marriage proposals, shall we?  There have been two.  

The first was when i just turned 19, starting my sophomore year in college.  I’d been seeing TJH for about two years – one of several guys i “hung out” with.  TJH was perhaps the most special – well, i seemed to shed more tears on his behalf, so that means he was “Number One”.  Two years older, he’d enlisted in the Army and had already been through basic training and was moving up through the enlisted progression that year. 

Apparently overcome by a cresting wave of romantic intoxication, he popped the question:  “If I get married, I get an increase in my ‘basic housing allowance’.  We could get married, and then I’d split it with you.  We’d still be able to go out with other people, though…”.  The most surprising part of this story?  i thought about it for a couple weeks before saying “ummm…. i don’t think so…”.  i was worried that it would screw up my educational plans….

In hindsight?  My life might have followed a slightly different path.  If he’d sprung it on me at a different point in the ol’ PMS cycle?  Or if he hadn’t just started screwing one of my former roommates?  It’s within the realm of the plausible that i could have spent the last 30 years living in a trailer, near Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.  In classic “Vagina as Clown Car” style, i’d have probably dropped a bunch of little critters along the way… 

The second proposal is the one i accepted.  At the advanced age of 21.  i’d been living with my now ex-husband, EJR, since i was 19***, and spent my 21st birthday dealing with an early miscarriage.  Oops.  A bit unexpected, for sure, but at only about 7-8 weeks, it wasn’t physically difficult.  Once he was sure i was ok, he said “Guess we ought to think about getting married in case that happens again…”.

Hard to argue with that sort of logic. 

We were seriously committed to each other by then – having purchased major appliances.  When his family would visit, we’d  gather both sets of parents for a pleasant, but uncomfortable, dinner.  His parents spent the entire time apologizing to my parents because he wouldn’t make me an ‘honest woman’.  My parents sort of shrugged it off, mostly amazed that i had a steady man – with all of his teeth –  in my life****. 

After a particularly awkward parental visit, i gently suggested to EJR that perhaps his parents would chill out a little if i at least had an engagement ring.  He agreed, but we were poor students, so we didn’t have a lot of cash to burn.  A friend of mine came to the rescue.  Her dad “dealt” in gemstones, and she was pretty sure he could find me something cheap.

i went to visit her when her dad was in town.  He was staying in his camping trailer in her side yard.  i picked out a cute 1/4 carat diamond, mounted in gold, for $225.00 – cut the check myself.  It was beautiful.  At least to me. 

Whew.  That will appease the parents.  Problem solved…

The Dirty Disney Secret:  i wanted it.  i wanted something.  Not romance, not being swept off my feet, not being courted and cajoled.  Just a fucking ring.  Taking summer classes, i’ll never forget how good it felt to flash that thing during my Thermodynamics class.  “See, guys?  i’m not totally defective!  SOMEONE WANTS ME!”  

Well, at least for a little while…

"yeah, you gotta clean up the ashes, but they're gonna EAT my ass.. quit whining!"

"yeah, you gotta clean up the ashes, but they're gonna EAT my ass.. quit whining, and grow up!"

* a moniker recently bestowed by my drinking buddy, Pickles.  it will also be the name of my waterfront bar when i retire…

** i was a kid.  i didn’t know that Ginger Rogers played the Queen, Walter Pidgeon portrayed the King and Celeste Holm was the magical fairy godmother… i just thought Lesley Ann Warren was the shit…

*** Shortly after the failed marriage proposal, i split with TJH.  Met my now ex-husband in the laser test cells at work – geek love at its finest – and moved in with him after dating for a week.  He was 26, working full time and taking grad school classes at night.  Impulsive little thing, wasn’t i?

**** As far as my folks knew, i never dated until i met TJH.  And Mom loved him, because he had a pretty smile and was polite.  Dad tagged him as a shitheel, but didn’t say anything until after we split.

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20 thoughts on “The making of a crusty pelican…

  1. Eish Dais. The things I put up with to feel wanted. God, I thought I was strong and together and independent, but all I really wanted was someone who thought I was the shizzle. So I settled. More often than I should have. At the expense of so much. I still do it. Sometimes. Eish.

  2. Speaking from the male perspective, I must say that this is an interesting post, daisyfae.

    Each of us, as individuals, seem to go through varying learning curves and timelines to reach the place where we are finally comfortable in our own skin. For some, it’s sooner, and for some, it’s later.

    The experiences we have along the way all contribute to who we ultimately become.

    From what I can see, your experiences have brought you to a place where you know who you are and, more importantly, what you want from life/in your life. There are a lot of people who will never realize this in their lifetime, so good on you!

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ah the twisty-turny roads of life. I recall gal I studied psycholinguistics with in college who also wore a ring and was unbetrothed. Seemed silly to me but hey, whatever blows your hair back ….. CHEERS

  4. dolce – someone who thought I was the shizzle. yep. and sometimes even that was too much to ask. i’d rather die alone, and have my corpse gnawed on by my pack of feral poodles that i will acquire as an old lady than settle again…

    kyknoord – i tried really hard to tie the ‘ring’ to the ‘carnot cycle’. failing that, i took to writing left handed, just to make sure the sparkle was where it could be seen.

    rob – i’m generally happy with all that. life is improv, and i am what i am (me and Popeye…). but that self-awareness can be a bitch. i’m pretty damn sure that i’m incapable of accepting/giving that kind of love. even if i wanted to… excepting my dog, of course…

    now – dolce and kyknoord. front and center. This is great. Just fucking great. The two of you breaking up in my comments box. Cut it the fuck out, will ya? Only 6 weeks, that’d be 42 days, until you can swap DNA again. You are both a shining example of love/lust that works, so don’t be gettin’ all pissy with each other now…

    WTG – i stopped wearing the ring, as well as my wedding ring, shortly after my first child was born. i’d tell people “it doesn’t fit”, but i wasn’t talking about the physical fit. Now? no rings. no jewelry, in general, other than metal in my ears…

  5. Oh, man. I loved Lesley Ann Warren. I knew every song in that Cinderella play/movie, and my sister knew them too, so we sang in harmony whenever the mood struck. I was such a Cinderella, too, caving in to a guy who loved me but just wasn’t right for me. I settled. And worse, I have settled a time or two since. This time, I hope to get it right. No settling!!

    Wait, did I just commit to that?

  6. but do you ever find yourself yearning for that life in that army post duplex, smoking luckies, swilling cheap beer, with the 7 kids grown up and you taking care of the 13 grandbabies (3 of whom live with you permanently), watching one of your kids ‘guest star’ on “COPS”, all while scratching your bits in a Sears special cotton dress? [sigh] wouldn’t that just be great?

  7. The ring story: At least you knew what you wanted, and you didn’t sit back and just wait for it – you did it yourself, a trait you still posess and lots and LOTS of us don’t ever figure that out. The first story: wow. Just wow. The pelican thing: (I think I’ve watched too many Spongebobs, if that’s possible – I find all my latest references are nautical) in lieu of royalties, I want an eternal stool saved at that bar someday. (giggle…eternal stool)

    I have to add: Kyknoord – Rude? Depends on where the ring that you’re showin’ is located.

  8. unbearable banishment – Honey West. Oh, my… the ocelot. that was just beyond cool at the time, and beyond hysterically funny in retrospect…

    annie – pretty sure i’ve set myself up for no future attempts. if i were a man? i’d be absolutely terrified of attempting anything ‘sweet’ with me… i’m pretty sure that my adopted persona assures a future of being taken to ‘battle bots’ for dates. which was pretty cool, now that i think about it…

    fragrant liar – you did just commit! for homework? go listen to Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Passionate Kisses” over and over until it sinks in!

    gnu – i may get some of that dream to come true, yet…. The Boy could land that ‘guest appearance’ on COPS someday… he’s not partial to wifebeaters, or sitting around in his boxers, though, so i might miss out. stay tuned…

    pickles – you shall have an eternal stool (*snicker*). i definitely am not one to wait for someone else to do things… gots to be intimidating to the men folk to find me working on the jeep, and all that. i will however, graciously accept any and all offers for spider homicide…

    alex – a classic. i usually prefer the more recent “shit weasel”…

  9. men are romantic… listen like if we get hitched i gets a raise, i’ll even split it with you, damn, do you know what happened to that gentleman, is he currently running Citibank or something… i may have to post about my first marriage proposal Ms. Daisyfae, i’m sure you’ll enjoy it… as well as the Mozzer concert review coming soon.

  10. Yeah, I think my marriage proposal came the same way yours did, and ended the same way. I never did get that “submissive” gene either. I’ve pretty much decided never to marry again. Fortunately, The Boyo has always said he would never marry, so we are suited to each other. But don’t discount romance. As a Libra, The Boyo is just about the most romantic man I’ve ever met.

  11. when I told my first serious boyfriend it was over he heaved a big dramatic sigh and said “Ok, I give in. I’ll marry you. now will you stay?”

    What the fuck? we’d been “living in sin” for four years and the word marriage had never crossed anyone’s lips. we were hardly out of our teens for god’s sake. all this time he must have thought I was harbouring some secret dream…….

    It still makes me shake my perplexed little head when I think about it.

  12. kono – looking forward to the view of mozzer from the pit… and yes, men are sweet. TJH eventually went on to be mayor of the little burg where i went to high school. and he became less of a shitweasel. and we’ve stayed in touch from time to time. because i’m a doofus…

    dolce – don’t make me tell you again. less than 6 weeks. you can do it…

    silverstar – while i can’t say ‘never’, i can say that i currently cannot envision a scenario where i’d do that thing again… no point…

    uncle keith – oh, shit. that was a glass slipper? i thought it was a fucking shot glass… big ol’ “D’uh!” for me, huh?

    nursemyra – people don’t live in the ‘real world’, but live in the world as perceived. he was living on a parallel plane, in an alternate universe, where he wasn’t a douchenozzle.

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