How The Learning Channel Helps Me Keep My New Year’s Resolutions

There’s is nothing quite like an episode of Hoarding: Buried Alive to get me to clean out my refrigerator. Perhaps you have not seen the show, so let me explain that Hoarding: Buried Alive on The Learning Channel TLC is another one of those reality television shows I watch that makes my husband question why he married me.

I made you go see Amores Perros, but you made me go to the symphony, so we're even.

I made you go see Amores Perros, but you made me go to the symphony, so we’re even.

“Do you remember when we were dating and you used to talk about poetry and art and drag me to all those foreign films?” he asked.

“Shh! She’s having a melt down over throwing out a used cotton ball!”

Anyway, keeping my fridge cleaner is one of my New Year’s resolutions. I’ve been trying to get my family onboard with my organizing and decluttering, but so far I’ve had only limited success.

For example, one night, over dinner, I approached them with an idea. “I’ve been thinking about all the clothes each of us has, filling up the closets. Why don’t we each pick one outfit we like best, and get rid of all the rest? Think of the space we’ll free up!”

While I think I got my family to consider the idea, the plan ultimately fell apart when my youngest burst into tears trying to choose between her “Everything is Awesome” sweatshirt and her Elsa and Anna hoodie.

“Why is she crying?” my older daughter, who has taken to watching reality shows with me, asked. “It’s not like we’re asking her to throw out a used cotton ball.”

As I scrolled through the listings on TLC, I found that there are shows that I don’t even have to watch to get me to keep my resolutions. For example, there’s one called My 600 lb LifeThe title alone keeps me training for the half marathon I hope to complete in 2015.

Last night a new show premiered that should help all the folks who resolved to get married this year. It’s called My Husband’s Not Gay, the most deceptive title since Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. The entire premise of the show is that the husbands are, actually, gay. For reals. Otherwise it would be a show about a bunch of married heterosexuals, and who wants to gawk at see that?

I guess I’m not surprised there are women who marry gay men knowingly (and I’m definitely not surprised that TLC would broadcast a show about them). I had a friend in college who found herself repeatedly attracted to obviously–at least it was obvious to everyone else–gay men. It got to be a joke that any guy she thought was cute had to be gay. Anyway, I do understand why some women might prefer this sort of arrangement.

Sex toy.

Sex toy.

I do wonder, however, what it’s like to be partnered with someone who doesn’t (and never did) desire you. For me, I was never able to connect with a man emotionally that I did not connect with physically. I’ve been married awhile, my relationship has weathered its share of storms, there are plenty of nights when I’d rather watch the Hoarders: Buried Alive marathon rather than swing from the chandelier with my husband, but I wonder how long my relationship would have lasted if I had married a man who never wanted to swing from the chandelier with me.


Royalty-free stock photos, including the images in this post, can be found at

A Different Sort of Hunger Games

I can’t decide what I find more amazing about the news story, Woman Sets Speed Record Eating 72-Ounce Steak: is it the size of the steak (four and a half pounds!) or the speed it took Molly Schuyler to eat it (four minutes!)?

There used to be a reality show on the Travel Channel, Man v. Food, in which the host took on eating challenges at restaurants around the United States.  On one episode he ate a bucket of chicken wings, on another episode he ate a gigantic burrito–you get the idea.  I first discovered the show when I was pregnant and ravenous and nauseous (all at the same time) years ago.  The show has since wrapped production but it airs endlessly in repeats so you can still catch it if you want to watch a guy eat a whole mess of not-always-appetizing food.

Here’s a bit from the episode filmed in Philadelphia where he ate a giant cheesesteak, natch.

I like burritos and chicken wings and steak as much as the next non-competitive food eating woman, but just last week at Outback Steakhouse® I dithered over whether to order the 6 oz. or 9 oz. filet.

My Patient Bloke Husband:  How hungry are you?

Sheila Me: I’m pretty hungry.

No Rules. Just Right. Wait, there is one rule. You have to eat it all in four minutes.

My Decisive Bloke Husband: The nine ounce.

Sheila Me: I may not be that hungry.

My Five Year Old Joey:  (pointing to the 20 oz. Porterhouse) I want this.

My Nine Year Old Joey: You can’t get that.  You have to order off the Joey menu.  (pointing to the 24 oz. ribeye)  I’m gonna order that, though.

Outback Server: Are you folks ready to order?

My Annoyed Bloke Husband: They’ll both have the Grilled Cheese-a-roos.  She’ll have the 9 oz filet and I’ll have the New York Strip.  And a Classic Steakhouse Martini.  Make it a double.

Needless to say, I didn’t finish the 9 oz filet (I knew I should have ordered the 6 oz!) and I can’t imagine a scenario in which I could scarf down 72 ounces of beef, like Molly Schuyler did. And she weighs 120 pounds, so she ate 1/27 of her weight!  She’s sort of like those ants who can lift 50x their own weight, only instead of heaving that grain of sand to the very top of the anthill, she eats it!

You can (still!) watch episodes of Man v. Food on the Travel Channel.  Check your cable listings for dates and times.

The image in this post comes from the Outback Steakhouse® corporate website and is believed to comply with fair or acceptable use principles established in U.S. and international copyright law.

The Daily Prompt today:

Click over to whatever website you visit most frequently to get news. Find the third headline on the page. Make sure that headline is in your post.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us a CURRENT EVENT.

Polyamory: Married & Dating

In the end, I couldn’t do it.

I know, I know.  Yesterday, I told you all that I was going to watch Showtime’s Polyamory: Married & Dating, but I just couldn’t.  I honestly intended to watch.  Yesterday afternoon, I got home from work, sat down with a yellow legal pad and two sharpened pencils, and I was ready to take careful notes as I watched each episode in preparation for this blog post.  There I was, watching Episode One when my husband came home.  Looking at me, he cocked his head to the side, obviously puzzled.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

These stains will never come out.

Then he saw what was on the TV screen: an overhead shot of a squirming pile of very white people on a red satin sheet covered bed  (Really, who has those sorts of sheets?  They probably have to be dry cleaned). With that eyeful he got from the TV screen, his curiosity was replaced by alarm.

“What are you watching?”

“It’s a reality show on polyamory.”

He nodded.  Of course I was watching a show on polyamory.  That does sound like something I would do.  Relieved, and slightly bored now, he asks, “Orgies, you mean?”  His eyes wander to the day’s mail on the table by the front door that was now drawing his interest.

“Well, no, they’re all in love with each other.”

“They just seem to be having sex.”

And yes, there is a lot of sex in Polyamory: Married & Dating.  There’s a lot of women running around in panties, slapping each other’s asses, kissing, pressing their breasts together, rubbing lotion on, and there’s also a lot of pale white asses shoved into the camera.  But no penis (and believe me, I was looking), at least not in either of the episodes I saw.  Yes, that’s all I could take, just two episodes.    I almost didn’t make it through the first episode and considered abandoning this whole endeavor, but I couldn’t think of another blog post topic, so I was stuck.  Damn my lack of imagination.

Ultimately, I decided to watch only the first episode and the season finale, as sort of bookends.  That way I avoided all the crap in the middle.  It was like reading a mystery novel that you’re bored with by the second chapter, but you need to know how it ends, so you cheat and turn to the end to find out who did it.  In Polyamory: Married & Dating (which is such a misnomer.  They aren’t dating, they’re fucking.  No one is holding hands at the movies, or going bowling), everyone did it, and is doing it, all the time, with multiple partners.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Mila Kunis, Chelsea Clinton, and Gary Oldham (photo courtesy Showtime®)

So what did I learn?  Yes, I’m determined to make this an educational experience, instead of just a wallow in soft core pornography.  The series follows the sexcapades lives of two groups of people: a triad that includes one effete male, Anthony, and two gorgeous women, Lindsey and Vanessa, who are obviously way more into each other than they are into him, and what is referred to as a “pod”: two married couples, Kamala & Michael and Jennifer & Tahl who decide in the first episode to live together communally. Here is what I learned:

  1. Polyamory is a full time job.  Only two of the six people had jobs, and one of those jobs was as a “sex and relationship coach” and I’m not believing anyone actually gets paid for that until I see W-2 forms.  The other four were full time students.  This sounds about right.  There is no way these people could fit employment into their hectic sex schedules.
  2. Polyamory has lots of rules.  My husband and I are monogamous and we have one rule:  Don’t fuck anyone else.  Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe we have two rules:  Don’t fuck anyone else, and make sure the garbage gets to the curb on Wednesday nights. Polyamorites (is that a word?) have lots, and lots, and lots of rules for a way of living that they all argue is so “natural” and “perfect.”  Here are some of the rules from the triad of Anthony, Lindsey and Vanessa.

    The Polyamory Handbook is four inches thick.

  • “Honesty.  You tell everything to each other no matter how hurtful before it happens.”  Apparently, people who practice polyamory not only get to fuck lots and lots of people, they’re also clairvoyant.  I may give polyamory a try just for the lottery numbers.
  • “Safety.”  They don’t elaborate on what this means.  Could it be to always wear your seatbelt when you’re in the car?  Maybe don’t eat yogurt past the expiration date?  How about don’t bring home any fucking disease that makes my lady parts turn black and slimy like that head of iceberg lettuce in the crisper drawer that I don’t even remember buying?
  • “Permission ahead of time.”  Yes, because as a member of a polyamorous relationship I am in such total control of my sexual impulses I will most assuredly text you from the parking lot of the Shop N Save to ask if it is ok to hump the bag boy who just helped me to the car with my groceries.
  • “Veto.  No date, no night of sex with someone else. No little romantic moment is worth hurting the partner if one of the partners says, ‘I can’t handle it right now, please don’t.'”  See how free we are?  Except for that part where I get absolute, ultimate control over you.

There were other rules.  In fact, most of series finale involves drama in the “pod” when one of the husbands, Tahl,  sneaks off to have sex with the other couple in violation of one of the rules he’s established with his wife.  There is much hand wringing and furrowing of brows as to whether or not the “pod” will survive.  Such is the commitment of this polyamorous foursome that Michael quickly decides, “I won’t live in a pod that has a lot of conflict.”  In the end, Jennifer, a total doormat of a woman, who had misgivings about the living arrangements in the first episode and still hasn’t resolved them here in the last one, agrees to remain in the “pod” on the condition of adding (you guessed it!) one more rule: Tahl can have one night a week to be with Michael and Kamala, but he must get Jennifer’s approval and schedule it ahead of time.

Oh, just go ahead and get divorced already.

You can catch up on Polyamory: Married & Dating on Showtime On Demand through 11/06/12.

Royalty free stock photos including the images in this post can be found at Stock.XCHNG.  The photo of the cast is courtesy Showtime®.

Set Your DVRs! Showtime’s Polyamory: Married & Dating Season Finale Tonight

Between work and writing this blog, Polyamory: Married & Dating on Showtime somehow slipped under my radar.  I can’t believe it!  I’ll have more about this show and my thoughts on polyamory later or you can go back and read about Meredith and Kevin, the polyamorous couple in the People Who Just had Sex post.  Until then, here’s a link to a preview of tonight’s season finale: Episode 7.

Sex perverts disguised as normal people: the cast (exhibitionists?) of Polyamory: Married & Dating (photo courtesy of Showtime)

Showtime’s Polyamory: Married and Dating airs Thursday nights at 11pm ET/PT.