The Clooney Effect And Why It’s Good For Smart Chicks

George & AmalTo all my girlfriends lamenting the lack of men wanting intelligent, independent, self-reliant women, I say phooey! There are plenty of good men out there looking for good, substantive women. Don’t believe me? Just ask George Clooney.

If you didn’t notice last Sunday, George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin quietly celebrated their one-year anniversary, and I for one, couldn’t be happier – happy mostly because he married Amal in the first place.

Confirmed bachelor George had his pick of all kinds of Hollywood babes: from actresses to models, to a dancer with the stars. But Amal, the accomplished international human rights lawyer, eventually won out.

Score one for the smart chick – and score one for George too – who married someone probably smarter than him.

Call it substance over style, but Amal had a little something her competitors didn’t have: world-class brains. It doesn’t hurt that she’s also f-ing gorgeous, but clearly it was her f-ing gorgeous intelligence above all else that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. If this isn’t a thumbs-up for female brainiacs everywhere, I don’t know what is.

Thanks to George and others of his ilk who want women with some smarts, we have the Clooney Effect.

The “Clooney Effect” is a phenomenon coined by biological anthropologist Helen Fisher. In her fifth annual study on American singles for Match.com reported by The Atlantic, she surveyed 5,600 singletons across the country to see what they desired in a partner.

Her findings refute the age-old economic mating theory that men are afraid of “over-educated” women. They’re not, she concluded, and I happen to agree. Men really do want to meet/date/marry women who are smart and successful – and if they happen to be smarter than they are, so what? If they’re more successful, who cares? Substance is the new sexy.

But it gets better. According to Fisher, men aren’t just looking for their equals, but for their superiors. The vast majority – 87% – said they would date a woman who makes more money, is more intellectual, and is better educated than they are.

What the Match.com study shows us is that guys nowadays are attracted to women with lives and careers just as much, if not more than, stay-at-home wife types. There will always be domestic goddesses and homemakers and the men who love them, but the new trophy wife is someone who’s kicking ass everywhere, not just in the kitchen.

There are some people though, that think the Clooney Effect is full of shit.

In the cynical, but excellent article “Ladies, The Smarter You Are, The More Likely You Are To Be Single,” writer Lauren Martin presents a harsh counterview.

“Unfortunately, for women, intelligence many times hinders our travels and keeps us from the promise land. Because, for all you bright and educated women out there, what you feel is real…intelligent women are more likely to be single.”

Her article speaks to “the broad spectrum of woes women feel as they sit alone Friday nights with no one to discuss Nietzsche or read lines from Proust with.” Now, I don’t know too many guys who want to sit around discussing Nietzsche on a Friday night, but I get what she’s trying to say: men don’t want women with whom they can converse and who challenge them.

So what do men really want? Not smart chicks, according to this article.

What men want, Martin believes, is a woman who “isn’t ever going to let her career come before making dinner and pleasing them first.”

“Deciding what kind of woman you are is like choosing between a rock and a hard place. If you’re stupid, you’re not taken seriously, but if you’re smart, you’re taken too seriously. Women everywhere are flailing under this double-edged sword. A beautiful, attractive female isn’t desirable for her mind, and those with strong characters are seen as threatening, masculine and undesirable.”

TheWire.com financial reporter John Carney agrees in “Why Do Smart Men Date Less Intelligent Women?” that “successful men date less successful women not because they want ‘women to be dumb’ but rather because they want ‘someone who prioritizes their life in a way that’s compatible with how you prioritize yours.'”

Like I said earlier, there will always be men – especially high-powered, alpha types – who prefer to take the old-fashioned view on dating dynamics. They don’t want to be challenged, tested, or upstaged; they don’t want to have to think; they don’t want to compete. In other words, they don’t want their balls busted.

Sorry, but the last time I checked, having brains was right up there with having a nice rack. Guys dig it (just ask my husband).

Ladies, the truth is, the smarter you are, the more likely you are to make good choices, the more likely you are to have good self-worth, and you’ll set your bar higher – not just with men, but in life.

So be proud, smart chicks of the world. You’re the new trophy.

 

 

Photo credit: Eastfjord Productions / Shutterstock.com

Burping And Farting: Marriage Is A Gas!

Wedding Pic #6I’ve been married for a little over six months now, and as comfortable as I am around my husband, I still can’t bring myself to burp or fart in front of him.

I will do anything to avoid anything intestinal in his presence. This includes holding it in, sucking it up, breathing through it, and running into another room to blow it out.

Am I old-fashioned, or just too much of a lady to let it rip? Aren’t some things better kept a mystery like bodily functions? Or once you’re married, are all bets off?

Sorry, but I’m mortified at the thought of any gas passing through my cheeks – both sets. And now that I’m entering menopause, it’s getting harder to hold back. I’m gassier than ever.

Early in our courtship, Robby and I were watching “Behind The Candelabra,” and I laughed so hard at Michael Douglas impersonating Liberace that I accidentally farted. I was so embarrassed I could have died. He, on the other hand, died laughing.

My husband is a guy, and guys LOVE gas, as I’m finding out. They burp and fart with abandon, and think it’s hysterical. When Robby has something to share, he bombs away with a gust of air and a blast of laughter. Marriage be damned!

Much to my surprise, every one of my married friends has a story about their spouse’s penchant for pooting. Most go like this: “Phil is just a fart looking for a place to happen. After he cuts one, he’ll say: ‘Thank you I made it myself, aren’t you proud?”

HA HA guys are SO funny! Groan.

I try not to encourage Robby, but the truth is, flatulence IS funny and even I can’t help cracking up (besides, if I held it in, it would come out somewhere else and we can’t have that, can we?) With the right timing and tenor, belching and breaking wind can be comic gold. I personally can’t do it, but I appreciate the talent it takes to pull off. For this reason, Robby’s a comic genius.

One night we were watching TV and Robby farted without saying anything, so I called him on it.

Me:                 Did you just say something? 

Robby snickers like a mischievous 10-year-old.

Me:                 I thought so. Please use your words next time. 

Robby:            You live in Beverly Hills, don’t you speak FARTSI?

Fartsi. See what I mean? The comedy comes out everywhere in our house.

Between never cohabitating with a guy before and never having brothers, I’m relatively new to gas passing in front of the opposite sex.

And then there are those flatulating couples who’ve turned gas-passing into a competitive sport, trying to one-up each other with every expulsion. I have a girlfriend who’s so gleefully gassy, her husband proudly describes her as a Union Carbide plant. If he farts down a grocery store aisle, she lovingly calls him a “crop duster” and high-fives him for his efforts.

The question is: Do love and gas mix?

While researching the subject, I found an AskReddit message board offering the following answers:

  • “After many years together, we have seen (and smelled) each other at our worst, whether it was nursing each other through food poisoning, the flu, post-surgical recovery, or just the aftermath of a big chili dinner. The odd fart or belch has to be something spectacular to make it onto the marital radar, and then is more likely to be the source of amusement than disgust. Helps if you keep your inner 10-year-old alive.”
  • “This sort of situation is both appealing and disturbing. I want to be so comfortable with my husband SO that I can fart in front of him and he can still think I’m sexy, but I also fear that after a while, the stench I am capable of expelling from my anus would eventually kill our relationship.”
  • “I don’t get people who hold in their farts forever. I totally do for the first several months of a relationship. Then one squeaks out after tacos or whatever, and opens the door. I particularly can’t imagine voluntarily holding your farts in for YEARS of marriage. Talk about uptight.”
  • “My wife still holds it in most of the time, but sometimes she will let one out and i find it incredibly endearing when she lets me in behind the “no-fart” curtain. It’s an honor, and a privilege.”
  • “Trust me, farting in front of someone doesn’t kill the romance of a relationship, having a stick up your ass does though.”

It’s been said that love means never having to say you’re sorry. I say love means never having to say you’re sorry for having gas.

Married People: Who’s F**king?

iStock_000005058065LargeWhen I was single I used to wonder about my married friends’ sex lives. How often do they do it? Is it good? Does it stay good? Is married sex better? I always wondered, but never asked– maybe because I didn’t want to pry, or maybe because I didn’t want to know if the news was bad.

I worried. What if married sex WAS bad? What if it’s boring? What happens if it can’t be sustained, or the excitement wanes?

Is it normal for sex to change once you’re married? What IS normal anyway?

Well, it’s been a few months, and here’s what I can tell you. Even though Robby and I are newlyweds, we’re not in our 20’s and just starting out. We’re in our 50’s and our bodies are changing. For one thing, I’m entering menopause, which definitely adds a new dimension to my sex life. Don’t get me wrong, things are just as hot – it just comes in flashes these days. Read more

I Like Big Rebuttals And I Cannot Lie

IMG_4549And now a few words from Robby Scharf, my late blooming husband:

Ah, my wife Treva. I love her like I’ve never loved anyone before. As beautiful as she is talented, she possesses a wonderful ability to convey in words what many of us think, but may not express.

Her last blog post, “Women Are From Venus, Men Are From Costco,” http://thelatebloomingbride.com/2014/08/05/women-are-from-venus-men-are-from-costco/ is so great, that I literally did LOL, and mean it for what might be the first time ever in history. As funny as it is, I feel there are a few points that need rebutting.

It’s true what Treva said about my gear. Guys have a lot of it and I’m guilty as charged! There was quite a bit of stuff I needed to get rid of when I made the move to Beverly Hills. Along with my office stuff, I also had recording equipment, many computers, about 20 guitars, power supplies, gadgets, and lots of cables – all of which I had to keep.

Also in her blog, Treva mentioned LED light bulbs and her love of the environment. Well, one of the first things I noticed when we first started dating were the large outdoor floodlights inside her apartment. These overly bright, heat-inducing, very inefficient lights are great if you’re shooting a movie in your living room, but not if you’re using them for recessed lighting.

I knew that these were going away as soon as I had any say about it. I purchased some great LED light bulbs that got just as bright (and even dimmed) but Treva hated them as soon as they turned on. She was “gracious” enough to give them a chance (for about 3 ½ minutes) but that was it!

We actually got in to a couple of rows over this. We’re presently in a semi-state of compromise as we have the old lights back in the hallway and the new LEDs in the bedroom (but that could change any minute).

As for Costco, there’s nothing wrong with shopping there! Costco is a mecca for good stuff (Who doesn’t know this? Oh, right, my wife).

And while you’re getting a half a year’s worth of toilet paper, a couple months of Skippy, 3 lbs. of coffee, 48 AA batteries, and two dozen bagels, you can also enjoy samples of Luigi’s Chicken Parm cutlets, Bernie’s Gyozas, and Mamma Joe’s Lowfat Chocolate Pudding, and then get a delicious Costco hot dog and drink for $1.50!

And the booze selection and prices at Costco are excellent! Anejo Tequila for $19? Alright, it’s Kirkland, but it’s really good! (Mixed with Simply Lime makes a great Tequila Gimlet).

See? You don’t have to be a father with kids to love shopping at Costco!

Sure, I’m guilty of overbuying things every now and then, but Treva will go to the market today for something today, and not think about anything else she may actually need tomorrow or for the rest of the week. So she ends up going to the market multiple times in a week (sometimes just for one item). This causes me to scratch my head.

I was quite surprised to learn that Treva grew up not having some “basic” staples in her household. For example, early in our relationship, I went to her bathroom and asked where she kept the Kleenex. She answered, “I don’t use Kleenex. Use toilet paper instead.”

I scratch my head again (good thing I bought that gallon of Head & Shoulders at Costco!)

Some other things Treva never had in her house growing up: ice makers, electric fans, Saran Wrap, and toaster ovens. I recently walked into our kitchen and saw Treva remove a piece of burnt toast on a paper towel (which she was using as a plate) that was on fire from the toaster oven!

As Treva and I continue to navigate this thing called marriage, I’m sure there’ll be more to write about – and lots more to rebut – so stick around.

(For more of my views on marriage, sports and politics, please feel free to follow me on Twitter: @Robby525)

FILED UNDER:

Guys,Husbands,Married Life

My Vows: A Dream Writing Assignment

Treva Brandon and Robby Scharf WeddingFinally getting the chance to write my marriage vows was more than just this bride’s dream come true. It was this freelance writer’s finest hour.

The dream assignment that had previously been out of reach for so many years, was now mine. I had waited patiently and worked tirelessly, but I finally got the job. Without delay, I immediately put pen to paper and began crafting my vows. God knows I had a lot to say.

Truth is, I’ve been writing my vows in my mind for 50 years so I already knew what they were going to include: expressions of my love and affection, my hopes for marital bliss, and tons of heartfelt promises and praise for my future husband. My vows would also be tear-jerking and knee-slapping all at the same time.

All I would need was the right guy and a mic, and I’d be good to go. I got both: Robby Scharf and a great Sennheiser microphone (P.S. Robby works for Sennheiser so I got the package deal).

That’s right, not only did I finally get to write my marriage vows, I got to read them aloud too! What a gig!

My vows weren’t fancy or flowery; they were just a 439-word count of my love and delivered right on time – just like a good freelancer.

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MY VOWS

“As a writer, I’ve written all kinds of things: from copy to content, branding to blogging, but I’ve never written marriage vows – a dream assignment I’ve waited a lifetime for.

And the most wonderful part of this assignment is that I get to write about an amazing product: Robby Scharf.

When I first met Robby, I knew I dug him; when he told me he liked sports, I knew he wasn’t a pussy; when I heard he was a Jewish rocker, I knew he was no ordinary Jew; when I found out he watched MSNBC, I knew it was a match; when my father gave him thumbs-up, I knew he was something special.

And when I watched him volunteer with the disabled athletes at Special Olympics, I knew I had to have him.

But when I fully experienced the depth of his caring and character, I knew it was love.

Robby, you are my champion, my protector, my BFF, my favorite comedian, my trusty ad court partner, my own personal IT guy, and my new emergency contact number.

You are my Mr. Right in every way.

You are the Ashford to my Simpson, the Burns to my Allen, the Kool in my Gang, and the Earth and Wind to my Fire. You are music and laughter, safety and comfort, strength and support, everyday of my life.

Treva Brandon and Robby Scharf WeddingI vow to you: my love, my heart, my soul, and my spirit. I vow to keep my racquet head up, and keep my eye on the ball. I vow to keep my only child tendencies in check, and I vow to keep the spare toilet paper in the bathroom instead of in my office closet. I vow to keep an open mind about moving to the Valley, and I vow to learn how to make a brisket and spend more time in the kitchen.

As your wife, I vow to keep you happy, healthy, and fit – whether you like it or not. Remember, you are marrying a personal trainer so deal with it.

To your father Eddie, I vow to make a good daughter-in-law. Good, in that I will never stand in the way of you and Robby and Major League Baseball.

And finally, to your mother Fran who is not here with us today, I vow to make her proud. I promise to take good care of her son, and honor the extraordinary man he has become.

E052414A-0605I’ve dreamed of writing these vows all my life, and now, this moment is here. Thank you Robby for making me your Mrs. Scharf, and for making all my dreams come true.”

Welcome To Registry Hell

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Robby and Treva enjoying a day of registry shopping.

I never thought shopping could be such torture until I got engaged. Suddenly, something I previously found fun, and maybe even therapeutic, has become pure torment. Registry shopping is like retail waterboarding – cruel and unusual.

The selection is overwhelming. There are so many choices, so many decisions, so many brands, models, gadgets, and so many different tastes and opinions, you could almost hit someone over the head with a frying pan – and Robby almost did.

Being single people for most of our lives, Robby and I aren’t exactly fluent in the language of housewares. Not that we don’t like nice kitchen stuff, it just hasn’t been a priority for either of us. I know as a single girl, I’d rather spend my money on a cute pair of Kate Spade sandals than on a set of expensive Kate Spade dishes.

So you can understand why this registering for gifts thing is a little confusing, and at times, combative – in a loving way, of course.

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It’s Blender-Rama with Robby Scharf!

Welcome to “Registry Hell,” where couples go head-to-head in a battle of the blenders, a clash of the coffee makers, and a war of the wine openers. You can catch all the action not inside a boxing ring at Staples Center, or inside a mixed martial arts cage at Caesar’s Palace, but at Bloomingdale’s, the place for true hardcore fight fans.

Bloomingdale’s was our first stop on the registry hell ride, and where Robby and I nearly had a knock-down-drag-out, right in the middle of the home furnishings department. Over what you ask? A cheese board: a really fancy, very expensive, slightly ornate, heavy black granite designer cheese board with silver chalice handles and a matching cheese knife that I was convinced we HAD to have.

There was some light sparring a few minutes earlier over a hi-tech toaster oven, a multi-piece knife set, and an overly-complicated espresso machine, but nothing compared to the main event: a fight over the cheese board.

Here’s a little snippet of the heated discussion:

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The cheese board in question.

Treva: Honey, look at this cheese board we should get. We definitely need this.

Robby: A cheese board for what?

Treva: For when we entertain with cheese!

Robby: We don’t need a dedicated black granite cheese board with silver chalice handles!

Treva: Yes we do!

Robby: What else can you do with it?

Treva: (Thinking…thinking…thinking)

Robby: Unless someone’s gonna cut some coke on it, which isn’t going to happen, we don’t need it.

* * * * * * * * *

I love my fiancé. He’s so practical and sensible, and yes, he’s right. We don’t need a $199 cheese board.

We didn’t get much accomplished in our first outing, but I did learn some important things about registry shopping:

• Don’t ever go on a busy Saturday at the mall.

• Don’t ever go at the end of the day, around 5pm.

• Don’t ever go when you’re hungry and cranky.

Next time, we’ll either get liquored up before we go, or we’ll go first thing in the morning when we’re both rested and fully caffeinated.

A few days later, with the help of some strong Urth Café coffee, we hit Crate And Barrel, and hit it good.

Armed with a game plan and a merchandise scanner, we zipped around the store and zapped barcodes on items we really needed: glassware, a good set of pots and pans, silverware, and a nice set of dishes. We managed to get Crate And Barrel done in one fell swoop, without any punches thrown. It was fast and furious, but without either one of us getting furious.

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We survived Registry Hell!

In the end, we managed to turn Registry Hell into Registry Heaven, and now we can’t wait to go again.

Bed, Bath & Beyond, here we come!

And Now, A Word From The Late Blooming Groom

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you Robby, my future better half. Since I’ve been doing all of the talking on these blog posts, I thought it might be time to hear another perspective on finding love later in life. So here he is, former bachelor, current fiancé, and fellow late bloomer Robert Ira Scharf, in his own words.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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Robby trying out wedding rings with his bass…comfort is key!

A year ago, I was a single guy. My last “relationship” ended a year before that, and since then, I had settled back into a somewhat dull single life. I knew if I ever got involved with someone new, I’d need to be much more careful and selective.

I never before felt I needed to get married. There were some girlfriends in the past I got close to, but none close enough to propose. Being in my mid-50s, I had a somewhat Zen philosophy about relationships; I felt if something was meant to happen, it would.

Treva and I both graduated from Beverly Hills High School, but didn’t know each other at all back then (I’m six years older, so I was long gone by the time she was a freshman). But with our similar backgrounds, we had over a hundred mutual friends on Facebook (some of them actually “real” friends). One of these friends was a guy I was very close to when I was young. He had been going through a tough time and I felt the need to reach out to one of his friends to see if we could help.

That friend was Treva.

At the time, she was hesitant and kept her distance as she didn’t know me or necessarily trust me. We had a few pleasant Facebook messages, but that was it. Months later, I received a message from Treva inviting me to her 50th birthday party.

I had no reason not to attend, but without knowing her at all, what was I going to bring? I decided on champagne, and realizing that first impressions are everything, I got the good stuff: Veuve Clicquot. I think it worked.

Was it love at first sight? Very possibly. We hugged each other hello and something clicked. It felt natural and good, and unlike anything I’ve ever felt. Our time together has always felt that natural, and after 6 months of dating, I realized I was done looking – and what was I waiting for anyway?

I didn’t want Treva Brandon to go one more minute knowing that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with her.

A week after I proposed (and she said “Yes!”) I became acutely aware of a few amazing things that I would’ve never been able to experience prior to becoming engaged:

1. While waiting for a table at a restaurant with friends, I realized that not only was I thrilled to feel a love I’ve never felt for someone else before, but I also had a feeling of euphoria come over me thinking that someone as incredible as Treva could possibly feel a similar love for me.

2. I knew I was in the right relationship when “compromise” was the first thing I wanted to do, not the last.

3. Even though my life has changed completely (for the better), I don’t believe Treva and I have changed to please each other. We’re exactly who we are together, and that’s the best affirmation that we’ve both found the right person.

As for that mutual friend, well, he’s still unable to shake his issues, but Treva and I are far past that and can’t wait to start our life together.

Marriage And Midlife: A First For Us Both

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Robby and me at Rite Aid, our new favorite date place.

Getting married for the first time at this age is a little weird.

When most people our age are looking at colleges with their kids, we’re looking at wedding venues.

When most of our peers are preparing to be empty nesters, we’re preparing to co-habitat for the first time.

While most folks in their 50s are dealing with the trials and tribulations of having teenagers, we’re dealing with the hardships of aging parents and in-laws.

Friends like Sharon Hodor Greenthal, also in her 50s, writes a blog called Empty House, Full Mind www.emptyhousefullmind.com. She talks about getting older with someone she’s been married to for 26 years.  The good news is that Robby and I are getting to know each other AND get older at the same time.

Everyone’s life may look different, but we all have one thing in common: we’re all middle aged. And that’s weird too. When you’ve been single for as long as Robby and I, it’s easy to forget about age. You’re too busy working and living and dating and moving at warp speed to notice.

Then one day you stop, and it hits you.

Your hair is a little thinner, your middle is a little thicker; what was tight is a little looser; what was firm is a little softer. Your teenage hormones have lost their rage, and your college six-pack has become a keg. You hit fifty and your body morphs right before your eyes. Oh, and your eyes go too. I can’t see shit anymore. But maybe that’s a good thing – at least now I won’t be able to see all the new wrinkles forming on my face.

There are more aches and pains. You either have high cholesterol or low T. You may play as hard and run as fast, but you pay for it the next day. You learn to love Aleve, and ice packs become your new best friends.  Your memory isn’t what it used to be either.  I’d go into more detail on this, but I just forgot what I was going to say.

Getting married at this age is sometimes tough. Like, when I’m the dressing room at a bridal salon surrounded by girls half my age. They’re young, perky, and I’m as old as the hills. I look at them and think, you have your whole life ahead of you, and I’ve already lived half of mine. You’re probably going to get pregnant in a few months, and I’m five minutes away from menopause.

These young brides and I may be walking down the same aisle, but our route couldn’t be more different. They found the man of their dreams in their 20s, I found mine at 50. They partnered early, I bonded later. They have youthful exuberance, but I have confidence that can only come with age.

When it comes to finding love though, isn’t age just a number?

There’s something weird about getting married for the first time at midlife – weird, but wonderful. And Robby and I are embracing age– and each other– with the kind of open arms that can still hit the hell out of a tennis ball and lift me over a threshold. Yes, we may be a little creaky and kvetchy, but that’s okay because we’re in this together. We have a long life ahead of us, filled with romance, adventure, and visits to RiteAid to get our Lipitor prescription filled, and a scoop of ice cream too while we’re at it.