August 10, 2020
EP. 227 — Caught My Husband With A Sex Worker
A divorcée shares details from the ledger of the 35 men she’s dated since her marriage ended and some of them are wild. From hitting on someone else during a date to commitment issues, welcome to the “The Gong Show” dating game.
227 — Caught My Husband With A Sex Worker
[00:00:06] CHRIS: [music transition] Hello to all my unknown comic fans. Beautiful Anonymous one hour. One phone call, no names, no holds barred.
[00:00:19] THEME MUSIC: I’d rather go one on one, I think it’d be more fun, and I’ll get to know you and you’ll get to know me
[00:00:29] CHRIS: Hi everybody, Chris Gethard here, welcome to another episode of Beautiful Anonymous. I’m so lucky to do this show, it is keeping me going during this time of social isolation. My job is to have conversations, I’m probably the luckiest person in the world. Hey, first things first, if you hear a weird machine in the background of this episode, it’s because I haven’t had power in four days and I’m not going to have it restored for four more. So I had to figure out how to work a gas generator — change the oil. It is not in my wheelhouse, but I’m the one who moved out to the country, so… it’s on me.
Hey, I want to ask you guys a favor: this is me, Chris, the guy who’s been hosting the show forever, asking you for a favor. This is honest. Every podcast has taken hits since Covid. You guys aren’t in your cars anymore, when you are home, you know, a lot of people, your kids aren’t in school. So it’s not like you can put on a podcast in the background of your your daily busy work and chores. All these ways people used to listen — and it’s not just my show, it’s across the board. If you enjoy the show, it’s a few things you can do. And the big two are; one: If you hear an episode like it, tell your friends about it. If you hear an episode and you’re like “Oh, that reminds me of something that my friend has done or dealt with” Word of mouth goes the longest way. The other thing is subscribe! Alright? If you’re on Apple podcast, you hit subscribe. If you’re on Spotify, you follow. If you’re on Stitcher, there’s a little plus button and that’s how you favorite the show. And the weird thing about this is the marketing team over here at Stitcher. Ear Wolf, told me our show has a very large number of what they call “grazers”, which are people who don’t subscribe but who check in to see if that week’s episode appeals to them. And we have a lot of our grazers who actually do opt in, higher percentage than a lot of shows, people who aren’t subscribed but listen. I’ll just say if you’re out there and you’re one of those people, I love you to death, I am flattered that you check in so often. I’m even more flattered that you pull the… you know, you go for it and you listen to the shows. But if you have it in you to subscribe, it would go a long way right now. It really would. Thank you for listening.
Now, let’s talk about this week’s phone call. I’m going to go ahead and say it’s a very tough one. And then I would also argue one of the more funny ones we’ve done because our caller dealt with something that’s really just not… nobody wants… nobody… The caller had a marriage that ended. And when you hear the specifics of how it ended, you’re going to go, that’s just about the worst way for marriage to end. That’s not what you’ll want from a partner, a partner who really let the caller down. But guess what? She’s raising her kids. She’s moving on with life. She’s showing ownership of her life. She’s out there dating. And I’m telling you, listen, the second half of the episode, we play a version of The Gong Show, and it is some of the most fun I’ve ever had on Beautiful Anonymous, I hope you enjoy it, too.
[00:03:48] PHONE ROBOT: Thank you for calling Beautiful Anonymous, a beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host.
[00:03:56] CHRIS: Hello.
[00:03:57] CALLER: Chris?
[00:03:59] CHRIS: Yeah, that’s me. That’s my name.
[00:04:01] CALLER: Wow, this is so strange.
[00:04:05] CHRIS: I’m sorry to hear that.
[00:04:07] CALLER: No, it’s totally cool. No, it’s great. How are you doing?
[00:04:13] CHRIS: How am I doing? I’m doing… generally pretty well. You know, in the face of everything. What’s my my recent development? My recent development is that I am trying to lose weight out of boredom. I promise you that, I’m actually feeling pretty good about how I look lately, but I’m like, I’m just so bored I need something to do, maybe I’ll just download one of these apps that helps you lose weight. That’s where I’m at.
[00:04:42] CALLER: That’s kind of the opposite of what most people do when they’re bored. Isn’t eating kind of the go to? It’s good that you’re doing the opposite.
[00:04:51] CHRIS: That’s kind of where I was getting to, where I’m like, oh, I’ve had a pretty hefty dessert every night for the past nine nights, maybe I need to pump the brakes a little bit and go in the opposite direction so.
[00:05:08] CALLER: Well good for you, what app are you using? Is that personal?
[00:05:09] CHRIS: Well you know, here’s the sad answer — I think they advertise on podcasts sometimes and I’m not trying to give out free plugs, but it’s called Noom. It’s called Noom. It’s pretty, pretty good.
[00:05:23] CALLER: Oh I’ve seen that advertised.
[00:05:25] CHRIS: Yeah. Well you know, I wish they were advertising… hey, maybe now that Noom knows I’m actually using their product, they’ll want to get on board with this. What a gross way for me to behave
[00:05:36] CALLER: We should say Noom like every few minutes.
[00:05:39] CHRIS: What if it turns out that you work for Noom? What if this is all…
[00:05:42] CALLER: Could you imagine?
[00:05:43] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:05:46] CALLER: Wow. And you’re the lucky caller.
[00:05:47] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah,
[00:05:50] CALLER: Yeah, no, I don’t. But, you know, I’m sorry I let you down,
[00:05:57] CHRIS: So that’s how I’m doing. Let me return the question. How are you doing?
[00:06:00] CALLER: I’m doing pretty good. It’s beautiful here today and I got out of work early.
[00:06:09] CHRIS: Nice
[00:06:10] CALLER: Yeah, I got a coffee and it’s made properly, so that’s a plus. I’m pretty good. I can’t complain, I really can’t.
[00:06:20] CHRIS: Good. That’s a good thing I hear.
[00:06:24] CALLER: I mean, I can, I do, but there’s no real reason to complain right now, it’s all pretty good.
[00:06:30] CHRIS: Same here.
[00:06:33] CALLER: I feel like there’s only so much I can complain about.
[00:06:36] CHRIS: Yeah, and I don’t know if you feel this with everything that’s happening, I’m like, I just gotta let this be the new normal, because if I stress and complain about it every day, I’m going to tear all my hair out.
[00:06:52] CALLER: Well, and that’s a thing like everybody’s got shit going on. So we could all just sit around and complain, really. I mean, that’s no different than before the C word either. But, you know, it could be much worse.
[00:07:05] CHRIS: So you’ve reclassified the C word because there used to be a C word. You’re saying covid is now the C word that it has usurped that other C word that I will not say.
[00:07:17] CALLER: I think so! Why not? I mean, I’m pretty sick of it. I’m pretty sick of hearing about it.
[00:07:24] I mean, it is what it is.
[00:07:23] CHRIS: Me too
[00:07:26] CALLER: But yeah, no, it’s totally the C word to me. I don’t want to talk about it. I check the news and I see what’s going on in my area. But, you know, life keep going over here and you know, it’s there, but it’s definitely not something that I like chatting about all the time anymore.
[00:07:51] CHRIS: Well, then let’s let’s not chat about it. What should we chat about instead?
[00:07:58] CALLER: I don’t know. You know what? I’ve always thought about calling in and then I’m like, ‘my world isn’t that interesting’. But, you know, maybe there’s a lot of your listeners who think that too. And so I’m just going to represent the average suburban working moms. How about that? Single mom! I’m single mom…
[00:08:24] CHRIS: Oh, single mom…
[00:08:25] CALLER: Who’s just like keeping everything afloat. Even despite the C word. It’s not that interesting, but… go ahead
[00:08:36] CHRIS: I was just going to say right out of the gate — hearing that you’re a single mom, now that I have a kid– I always had a lot of respect for single parents, always, always understood theoretically that that must be hard. But I tell you, our little guy, he’s coming up on 16 months old. My wife, you know, we’re very lucky she’s able to focus on him without working right now. I’m home most of the time because of the C word. And we still like every night we go to bed and we like fall into bed, like we got hit by a bus and that’s with the two of us. And that’s with the two of us both being here and hands on. So kudos to you. I don’t know how you do it.
[00:09:30] CALLER: I have many children as well. I’m like the old woman in the shoe. Like, I don’t have just one.
[00:09:36] CHRIS: How many are we talking?
[00:09:40] CALLER: Four.
[00:09:41] CHRIS: Four. And what’s the age range on this?
[00:09:44] CALLER: They range from eight to 19, almost. There’s a decent spread.
[00:09:51] CHRIS: 8 to 19, wow. And do they still live at home?
[00:09:56] CALLER: Yep, my older one is off to college, but still living at home and then, yeah, they’re just really spread out. It just happened that way. There was no oops, I get that a lot, like “oh that last one” but I’m like, no she’s not. But yeah, it’s busy. But the older they get, it’s a different kind of busy. So you’re 16 month child, that seems like more work to me. I couldn’t imagine having a little one, that’s crazy.
[00:10:31] CHRIS: I mean, you’ve done it four times. Were you in a position where your older kids were able to help with the younger ones as they came along? Because of the age difference.
[00:10:43] CALLER: Well, no, I wouldn’t really put that on them. I mean, they’re all at different ages, so when my youngest was born, like, it’s not like my oldest was pristine and ready to be a Duggar sibling and help raise the young ones. Like they have their own world and no, I just managed, I mean, I was still married when I had all four od them.
[00:11:07] CHRIS: Yeah. So there was help.
[00:11:12] CALLER: Yeah, it was busy. But now that they’re older, it’s easier in some sense. And then like a whole new ball of wax in another sense, like the worries are much more intense with the older one. But the busyness that you have where you fall into bed at like nine and you’re like, ‘oh my God, that day!’ it’s like Groundhog Day and then tomorrow it’s just gonna start again. It gets easier. But then you have to worry about like drugs and vaping and…
11:42 CHRIS: Right.
[00:11:44] CALLER: But whatever, I don’t want to burst your bubble yet.
[00:11:47] CHRIS: No, no, I’ve heard that. I’ve heard that there’s these stretches like, I had a friend tell me that when his kids hit the age of four, he felt like that was a golden age because they were still young and innocent, but they could now have like actual functioning conversations. And he was like that gave us a couple of years, that was just great. And then he says, and then they get older, they fall into this phase that’s really worrisome. And then they come out of it in this age is pretty great. And then middle school sucks for everybody and then puberty sucks for everybody. But you get these little stretches in between. So I’ve heard that.
[00:12:26] CALLER: Yeah. And you know what? It’s really nice to get to know them as like human instead of just being their caregiver, you know what I mean? Like, their personalities come out and you’re like ‘I actually like this person’. So the older they get, the more I like them. And, you know, if I think too much about how fast they’re growing up, yes, that’s sad. But in the same token, I really like like their personalities, so I’m glad they’re growing up because, like, I’m learning who they are. I mean they still drive me crazy sometimes.
[00:12:58] CHRIS: I’m like… I get a sense of who my son is. I think he’s very sweet and funny boy. He’s got a lot of energy, I have a feeling he’s going to be like an athlete, which will be weird for me because… like this kid will fall down and his head will bounce off the edge of a table and then he gets up with a smile on his face and never cries. I’m like, ‘are you going to be like a rugby player or what is up with you?’ I was a baby about everything! So it’s cool.
[00:13:32] CALLER: Or like a hockey kid.
[00:13:34] CHRIS: Yeah, I know. Imagine if my son is like a lacrosse player. Can you imagine?
[00:13:39] CALLER: Lacrosse is crazy.
[00:13:43] CHRIS: Yeah. And those kids were not the nicest to me growing up. That’s OK, I’m sure there’s good players, I’m sure there’s good lacrosse players. I’m sure there’s kind souls.
[00:13:51] CALLER: Oh no! If he turns out to be a stellar triple-A star then you can get over some of your childhood.
[00:13:57] CHRIS: Of course, and whatever he wants to do, I’ll have his back. But but it’s like you’re saying, like I don’t have a relationship yet. I don’t really know him. I get a sense of him, but my job is to change diapers and then try to shove food in his face. That’s my job.
[00:14:13] CALLER: Right, like you’re still trying to keep him, like you’re sustaining him, keeping him alive and like his essential needs are still sort of your responsibility. And I’m just like ‘ah, they’re fine.’
[00:14:28] CHRIS: Yeah. He’s gotten real into hugging us recently, though. And it’s such a gift, even that is like, oh, you’re giving something back, that’s awesome. What a beautiful feeling.
[00:14:39] CALLER: Aww, that’s cute. I’m gonna see if any of mine will give me a hug, especially the older one.
[00:14:47] CHRIS: Now, can I ask– and if you don’t want to dwell on it, I get it — but how old was your youngest when you became a single mom?
[00:14:55] CALLER: Gotta do the math here… Well, it’s been just over three years.
[00:15:00] CHRIS: Oh, so pretty young.
[00:15:02] CALLER: So I guess five. I don’t think that one really remembers us together. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t like sit there and we sit around and talk about the good old days, but I doubt she has too many memories because, you know, the new normal is their lives. I mean, they spend time with their father and they are primarily with me, so, like, I try to just keep life as normal as possible. And I mean, it wasn’t normal in the beginning, no way, no shape or form. But now I think, it is what it is, everybody’s divorced. It seems like, in my area.
[00:15:49] CHRIS: It was messy at first, huh?
[00:15:53] CALLER: Yeah, so I was like… we had a big life in suburban suburbia and it was a community where everybody knew everybody and our marriage looks amazing from the outside because, big trips, big everything, big social circle. And so it came to like a bit of an epic ending and just like shocked the shit… my language, I’m sorry. I’m actually like a nice person, but sometimes my filter goes. It’s like it shook the community, which I thought was really stupid because we’re not like celebrities, we’re just another upper middle class couple. And nobody knew, you know, you don’t know what’s going on inside those four walls. And I do give myself a bit of a pat on the back for keeping it together because nobody knew how bad it was. Like everyone was so shocked. It was awful. Like I felt like I needed to, like, send out condolence cards to people, like ‘I’m sorry that we divorced and our couple friendships are now not a thing. And we can’t go and have tailgate parties or, you know, travel as a couple.’ Like, I think people were really heartbroken that the couple friendships had shattered. So, yeah, it was not a fun time at all, the breakup,
[00:17:31] CHRIS: Sorry to hear that.
[00:17:33] CALLER: I was happy that it happened. Well, no, no, no, like I wanted it to end, but there’s this whole thing that it’s like the divorce flag, like nobody was divorcing back then and then our’s imploded and then everyone was like, ‘oh my God, what do we do with this? Like, one of our nice uppity neighbors is divorcing’ and like, people didn’t want to like… it was kind of like Covid, it felt like people are like walking on the other side of the street if they saw me coming, because it’s like, ‘oh, we don’t want that to happen to us.’ Like, it was totally the divorce C word, or like the divorce plague. So that part really sucked because we had a big social life and I think people were either like, ‘oh, shit, like what happened here’ or, you know, ‘kind of unfair, like we used to do things and we had stuff planned and now they’ve gone and wrecked it all, and we’re not a couple of friends anymore. And how do we navigate who we’re going to be friends with?’ And it just was like a shit show. That part was a shit show.
And I definitely lost some friendships over it. Which I didn’t see coming, so that sucked, but it’s been three years and I feel like I’ve been spit out the other end of it and I can look back now. I’m like, ‘oh my God, I can’t believe I kept it together’ between all that shit and all my kids and working and like… Yeah, so there’s that angle. Yeah. I think I juts rambled.
[00:19:14] CHRIS: That’s OK. That’s OK. I asked. I will say I’m never one to pry. But you’ve described the end of your… some of the words you used as far as how things ended: epic, you said an implosion. This is a big tease as far as you know… If you don’t want to get into what happened, I get it. But I will just put out there, you described it as both epic and an implosion, so I feel bound to at least say that it sounds interesting.
[00:19:51] CALLER: Yeah. Oh, it was interesting. I caught him using a sex worker.
[00:20:04] CHRIS: Oh, wow,
[00:20:07] CALLER: Like a hooker. Which… I didn’t know that like that actually happened, I mean, in my planet, it didn’t. In his I guess it did. And so that’s… like that was kind of like the icing on the cake. That was my line in the sand, like I’ve been pushed through a lot in the marriage. But then I’m like, OK, so like using prostitutes, that’s my line in the sand. I’ve taken all this shit for so long. But that? Yeah, no. And he was kinda mad, he’s like “you’re not going to throw away all this.” And I’m like “Me?! You’re using hookers!” And like it was risky, that’s risky behavior, especially because I didn’t know it was going on and for how long, and I’ve had many pregnancies and giving birth to children. And I’m like, you, all of us at risk. Like, what the fuck?
[00:21:13] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:21:14] CALLER: So, I mean, it happens everywhere, I guess, even in uppity suburbia. Would you like to comment?
[00:21:27] CHRIS: Well, I mean, there’s so many reactions, right? I think the thing that breaks my heart the most is hearing you say that there’s all this other stuff that you’re fighting through and you’re clearly putting in a lot of effort to hold things together. That makes it feel… that’s never going to be a good thing for a partnership, but that makes it feel particularly cruel that you’re sitting here going, we’re already sorting out all this stuff and then you’re gonna pull this thing that’s just a very undebatable… Don’t do that! Like so what are we fighting for? You know what I mean, like, what are we fighting? Why are you putting me through all that tension and drama and headaches of fighting through all the other stuff? And then you’re doing that? It must feel like so unbalanced.
[00:22:33] CALLER: You know, I never looked at it that way
[00:22:37] CHRIS: Oh, I’m sorry to throw another mental wrinkle in there.
[00:22:42] CALLER: Like just for the record, like my life is so much better now. Like, it’s like a lightness to it. As stressful as it’s been, like ending the marriage is something that needed to happen. And because our life was so big and complicated, ending it just seemed impossible, like ending the marriage. And so I didn’t look at the indiscretion, the prostitution usage as… It was terrible, but then I’m like, OK, so now I can do it, now, I can go, well he can go. But you’re right, like now I’m thinking like, dammit, I did go through a lot of shit and then to just like do that when I’m trying to keep everything going for all of our kids and our lifestyle and working, you know, managing his moods and then to have him just like shit on me like that, you know? I’m kinda mad.
[00:23:47] CHRIS: Of course.
[00:23:49] CALLER: I thought it was almost like a gift when I found out because it was like it was that final straw. And I don’t know if I look at it that way because it wasn’t like a typical affair where there’s emotions involved because, I mean, I can’t think he had an emotional connection to any of these women. But I think that… I would have thought if he had, that might have hurt more. But having it go this way, I was just like, ‘wow, that’s it, OK, so, like, you’re gone, we’re done.’ And it made it like a clean break on my side like that. There is no gray area there. You can’t have paid sex with people and then come home to our suburban, happy, blissful lifestyle. So it made it super easy for me. But yeah, he did put me through the wringer for no reason, I guess. I mean, I got my kids and that goes without saying, like anyone I know whose marriages ended, that’s one of those things like “oh do you wish it hadn’t happened?” Well, no, obviously not, because here I am and I have my children and my life is good. So it’s the fork in the road I took. But he didn’t have to put me through all that shit and then blow it or be blowed.
[00:25:21] CHRIS: And we got to take a break there, right, because I’ve had so many people going, wait, did she just say I think she said?
[00:25:29] [AD BREAK]
[00:25:43] CHRIS: [Music Transition] OK, everybody, break’s over, let’s dive deep into this phone call.
[00:25:49] CALLER: It’s the fork in the road I took, but he didn’t have to put me through all that shit and then blow it, or be blowed.
[00:26:00] CHRIS: Wow.
[00:26:02] CALLER: Sorry.
[00:26:04] CHRIS: No, please. I mean, didn’t see it coming, but [laughter]
[00:26:08] CALLER: Yeah, I’m totally just railing here. You’re making me think a bit, I haven’t really thought about that in a long time. I kept it a secret for a long time. He was like, “we’re just going to tell people we grew apart.” And I’m like, yeah, yeah. Because it was kind of mortifying for me. Like I wasn’t going to take out a billboard and be like so-and-so used a prostitute on this day, but, you know, now I’m like, ‘well that’s not my secret to keep,’ Here I am broadcasting it over a podcast.
[00:26:43] CHRIS: Well, it also I got to say, it’s also, on your behalf, getting me upset because he’s saying,”hey, here’s what we’re going to say,” which protects him, and then you’re telling me that it became like like a scarlet letter where your neighbors and your friends started giving you, like, these crosseyed looks. And that that sucks that he kind of set the terms in a way that protects him, and then you have to deal with all the social fallout, that sucks.
[00:27:14] CALLER: You nailed it. Like that was the part that really hurt the most, because I was keeping this illusion of, you know, we were this happy, happy family, but we grew apart and then nobody understood what the F happened because it came from nowhere as far as they could see. And I think people thought I did something. I don’t know. I don’t know what he was saying. And I was keeping that going because we had so many mutual friends, like our whole community. And yeah, I was covering for him and getting the stink eye for it. So I don’t know what the alternative would have been. I definitely didn’t want my children to find out anything derogatory. So I kept the charade going. Now, I mean, it’s so old news to me that I’m like ‘eh.’ My closest friends know, but anyone who we were in a couple of friendships with, it died and I let it the secret die with it. Then I would look like some crazy woman who was going around saying, ‘but wait! But wait! You can still be my friend! He’s the one that used a prostitute.” But I’m not that kind of person, so I just let it die. But it was a tough pill to swallow, like some of my friendships couldn’t survive it. I just didn’t see it coming.
[00:28:42] CHRIS: Yeah. I guess it’s easy to say, it’s kind of trite to say like — any of those friends who couldn’t find a way to stand by you, even if they found a way to balance it, with standing by him for whatever reason, are probably people who were shallow on some level and you’re better off. But that’s so much easier to say than to actually live through.
[00:29:11] CALLER: Yeah. And I mean, there was a lot of “we’re not picking sides, we’re going to be friends with everyone.” But for me, that was like them saying, we’re picking him because like in the grand scheme of things, he’s the one that caused this. So for me, I’m like, “well, how can you just be friends with both of us?” Even like the ones who suspected some indiscretion still were trying to keep up the Switzerland’s gig, and I’m like, ‘that’s not fair, you know that he was an asshole and you’re still trying to be friends with everybody? Is there no integrity here?” I don’t know. So, I had to let it go, and you know what? I think everyone needs to thin the herd sometimes with their friends, and that probably was needed. I don’t know, but one or two of my good friends, I told and they were like “no, never gonna talk to him again.”
[00:30:20] CHRIS: Yeah, that’s good you got that.
[00:30:21] CALLER: Like it wasn’t something we had agreed on, like it’s OK to step out if you’re paying for it every once in a while. That wasn’t… that’s a no. Hard no.
[00:30:30] CHRIS: Do you think– because you said things have been tense, you had that reaction of like, ‘oh, I can finally get out of here,’ do you think on any level, consciously or subconsciously, he was trying to blow it up? If that was kind of where the marriage had gotten to?
[00:30:50] CALLER: Maybe? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know because I think if he didn’t want it to end because it was making his life difficult not having — like I took care of everything, so when I asked him to leave, like, suddenly he’s like, “whoa, whoa, like who’s going to buy my stuff? and who’s going to feed me? and who’s going to make my dentist appointments?” and like, I think he… I don’t know. I don’t know if he did it to implode it, I think honestly he was doing it just to sort of… I mean, to make himself feel good. I don’t mean that in the literal sense. I mean, like I think it was a way to escape maybe our busy reality and go somewhere where he could feel adored and just push aside the fact that he was paying for that and just have 100% attention on him. Because my attentions certainly were diluted with, you know, four kids, and a job, and a house, and family and… My thought was that he just he needed to feel special and so he wasn’t feeling special at home, so he paid to get it. That’s what I kind of looked at it as. Which I mean, fair enough, because I had checked out already. So I’m sure I wasn’t being the best wife.
[00:32:30] CHRIS: Yeah, but then do the straight up thing, you know? Sit down and talk about it and figure out what the best option is.
[00:32:37] CALLER: Yeah, I mean we spent thousands on marriage counseling [laughs]. So that didn’t work, but I don’t think anyone was being really honest in it. You know what I mean? Like I think we were both kind of like coming up with issues, but the real issue probably was just that we shouldn’t be married. I don’t know
Yeah, there’s a lot that went on. I’m very happy it’s done. But yes, ending a marriage like that is a lot to unravel. Three years now, and I’m good! It’s unraveled!
[00:33:18] CHRIS: And you do, you feel good? You feel like you’re on the other side of it? You’re better off?
[00:33:25] CALLER: Yeah, I mean it’s hard, it’s definitely hard to do stuff on my own all the time. I have a great social network and like girlfriends and their husband and family who, you know, if I need some manly task done that I can’t, for whatever reason do on my own, I have like people who will help me with that. But sometimes it’s just like, ‘ugh, it’s garbage night again’ or, you know. It’s exhausting, so I fall into bed not because of the strains of parenting young child, but more just like finally I can just like exhale and like sleep. And I’m just drained from the constant juggling, like it’s just juggling, juggling everything. But if I take that aside, because that’s in every life, everyone’s busy. Like not having him in the house is amazing. That is like a dark cloud of gloom and moodiness and, you know, trying to fake through it so that the kids don’t see it and just try to be uppity, uppity all the time to keep his mood bolstered. Having that out of my life… I don’t know if I could ever have someone live with me again, if I would be very scared of having to do that. It’s like drowning, looking after someone like that. So I feel much lighter, absolutely. Definitely given me a little of baggage.
[00:35:14] CHRIS: I can imagine I mean, it kind of sounds like you had five kids at the end of the day.
[00:35:21] CALLER: Yeah, no. I’m kind of like jilted because I’ve dated, but I’m like, ‘oh, he’s going to want too much from me, nope!’ Like, I’ll shut it down before anything can even start if I get the vibe that someone wants me to be their mommy and not… that sounds gross. But don’t want too much for me or I will get the hell out of there. And I think it’s from, you know, a twenty plus year marriage that I was just like constantly looking after everything and everyone and making everyone happy. I expect to do that for my children 100%. But to do it for my spouse? I would I start to realize towards the end, my friends don’t have this, like, from what I can see they don’t have to look after their spouse in this way, like they’re allowed to go out for a walk. They’re allowed to not come home at dinner and go for drinks after work. They’re allowed to, you know go for a manicure. But if I did it, I was selfish, like “when are you coming home? And what about me? And I’ve been at work, too.”
And I’m like, “OK, OK, I’ll come home and just make you happy.” So now I’m like, my freedom is very, very precious to me. It’s causing me problems sort of moving ahead with a relationship, because I’m super paranoid about it. I don’t want another child, especially one that’s like an adult
[00:37:08] CHRIS: I think the the cliche is that someone with four kids, if you wind up in your situation, it means that you’re kind of now drowning and to hear you say, “no, I have my freedom finally, and that feels good.” It feels very empowered to me in a way that’s good to hear and to hear that you’re out there dating, even if there’s some scar tissue you’ve got to fight through, and even if even if your guard goes up really quickly– to hear that you’re out there, you got four kids and you’re out there and you’re going for it and you feel like you have your freedom back, that’s pretty bad ass. I want to note that, it’s pretty badass.
[00:37:57] CALLER: Doesn’t feel like it, feels like a Gong Show. Kind of.
38:03 CHRIS: Did you say The Gong Show??
[00:38:03] CALLER: It feels like a Gong Show sometimes, the dating and the baggage and then finding the time to date and keeping it from my kids because I don’t want them knowing too much about my personal life. But I’ll go with that, I’ll take it.
[00:38:25] CHRIS: I want to be clear. Did you did you say it feels like The Gong Show? Like the game show from the 70s where people would come and perform and if they weren’t doing good, a big gong would get hit? And one of the guys was known as the unknown comic with a paper bag on his head.
[00:38:39] CALLER: Yeah, a gong show! Like the big gong.
[00:38:41] CHRIS: Are you saying, like, you date these guys and the second you get a sense they’re not bringing it, you hit the gong and they’re out of your life?
[00:38:51] CALLER: [laughs] Maybe, I guess… I’m enlightened. Yeah, I think I’m carrying around an imaginary gong and yeah there’s a bunch of different qualifiers that would get the gong. And one is being needy, I can’t handle that. Yes, you get the gong and you know, there’s tons of interesting people out there, and there’s tons of less so. But just juggling it all feels like a shit show. But yeah, like dating, it could be likened to a gong show, like the one you’re speaking of for sure. I’m carrying a gong around.
[00:39:34] CHRIS: To hear someone compare their dating life to The Gong Show, tickles me in a way that I cannot express. Because The Gong Show was a piece of my childhood and it was so campy and ridiculous, thinking of your dating life like that makes me…
But let me ask and again, maybe I’m buying into the cliches here — the stereotype would be that a single mom of four kids doesn’t have the opportunity to date too much just because of time, but it sounds to me like you’re saying, “no, I’m out there testing the waters, figuring things out.” How often are you going on dates?
[00:40:15] CALLER: Well, my kids see their dad, kind of part time, so that frees up, you know, some weekends and time. So in that respect, that’s like the secret gem of a divorce is that, if you have an amicable parenting schedule, you kind of do get a little bit of reprieve and I have more freedom as a single mom than I did when I married. For example, like tonight, I don’t have my kids and I can go do whatever I want. I mean, notwithstanding the C word, but when I was married, forget it, like if I came home and said, “Oh, I just ran into so-and-so and I’m going to go over there and catch up,” like that would have been a hard no. So I do have more freedom as a single mom with an ex-husband who parents. Absolutely. I didn’t date for a long time, probably a year and a half, because I went through the like, ‘I can’t even imagine doing this again, like I never need to have a man in my life like, no!’ And my friends were like, “just settle down. You know, you’re going to change how you think about it eventually, and you’re just coming out of a long, you know, sad situation.” And I was super happy to not do it. There was a couple of times that people wanted to set me up with a friend or coworker. And I’m like, “oh, God, no. Like, no!” And I wish now that I could go back to that version of myself and say, like, ‘yeah, give it a shot’ because when I was finally ready to, like, test the waters and see what was out there, it was online and that is a medium that I don’t love, but it certainly got me lots of days. But if I could go back to the friends who had single friends back then and try that out, I think that would have been much more organic and maybe a better outcome. But online dating for me is just like it is The Gong Show.
[00:42:43] CHRIS: And a pause, because I’m telling you guys — do not turn off this episode, it’s about to go in a direction that you’re not going to believe. [AD BREAK]
[00:42:57] CHRIS: Alright everybody, that’s the final break, buckle up for The Gong Show, it’s about to get pretty wild.
[00:43:09] CALLER: But online dating for me is just like, it is The Gong Show. But I know lots of success stories too, so like I give up on it and then… like, I’m on a hiatus right now because I just… it’s nice weather, and I just I just want to enjoy my vacation time and my kids and my friends and my backyard and stuff. But, you know, I don’t want to be forever uncouple. It just has to be the right combination, and I have not found that yet. And I’ve got quite a laundry list of dates I’ve been on.
[00:43:49] CHRIS: Well, I would love… you say you have a laundry list, I want to start here in, like, it’s been 20 years, all of the sudden you’re going on dates. There you must there must be these dormant feelings that are coming back of nervousness, of getting ready, and that’s both exciting and stressful. Who are these guys? I want to know. Like you say, you got this laundry list. What are some of the things that stand out? Because you said you have a short list, you have a gong show. What are some of the things that these guys have done to get the gong?
[00:44:21] CALLER: [laughs] Well, I guess you could say that everyone has because I’m still single.
[00:44:24] CHRIS: Right.
[00:44:27] CALLER: I just want to preface this by saying, like, it’s not like I’m like, ‘well, you know, you need to have a six figure income in this range, and I want you to be six foot one with broad shoulders’… like it’s not a physical thing at all for me. It’s not like I’ve got this vision of Mr. Wonderful in my head. But there’s some, like, baseline things that just have to be there and in the beginning, you know, I kind of like, ‘oh, you know, nice guy’ has to have his life together or whatever, and you really can’t tell that from an online connection. Like people that I thought might have had their shit together, like it’s a very gray area when you meet them and they’re like, “well, I do live with my parents”
[00:45:23] CHRIS: Gong!
[00:45:24] CALLER: Like, is this a temporary thing? Because everyone has shit happen. “Well, it’s been like 18 months.” Well, that’s not a temporary thing, that doesn’t meet my low bar expectation of having your shit together. Or… Gosg there’s been so many where there’s been an audible thrown into it, and I’m like, ‘wait, what like what did you just say? Like you you don’t know how to drive?’
[00:45:53] CHRIS: Gong!
[00:45:53] CALLER: Or you don’t actually have a job?
[00:45:56] CHRIS: Gong!
[00:45:57] CALLER: Or you don’t actually see your kids?
[00:45:59] CHRIS: Gong!
[00:45:59] CALLER: Like these are all basic… it’s the gong!
[00:46:03] CHRIS: You’re gonna get the gong, baby! I love that you just let me make the gong. I love this. Are these real examples? I want to hear more examples so I can keep making that gong noise. Somebody is like, “oh, I’ve never held down the same job for more than two years.” Gong! Goodbye, thank you, I’ll pay the check on this one. Good night. You’ve been gonged.
[00:46:23] CALLER: I seriously could have a book on it, I think. I have a huge list and I stopped keeping track because it was getting really long.
[00:46:38] CHRIS: Wait, you have an actual list?
[00:46:40] CALLER: I have an actual list.
[00:46:41] CHRIS: You have a list of like notes on the guys you’ve dated?
[00:46:46] CALLER: No, no, not notes. But like it was like a ledger, and they’re not even their real names because I can’t even remember some of their names. But it’d be like… I’m just going to look around where I am like… you know, hockey player or investment banker or… Some of them are bad. It’s just like whatever the spur of the moment call sign came to me when I was like after a date I need to update my list, ‘oh, I went out with a trucker’ or ‘lived with mom and dad,’ like they all have these aliases. And I would be hard pressed to tell you– there’s maybe five or six who I connected with who I would know their names
[00:47:36] CHRIS: And do they get like a gold star in the Ledger next to the name?
[00:47:39] CALLER: No, the one whose names I would remember, those are the ones where it stung. Like maybe there was a bit of a zinger to it, maybe I let my armour come down a bit with. There’s things that aren’t negotiable with me, so, you know, like one who I thought was a pretty decent connection, like he admitted that he had cheated on his wife and like– say it, Chris, make the sound.
[00:48:11] CHRIS: Gong!
[00:48:12] CALLER: Yes!
[00:48:14] CHRIS: That one for you in particular. Gong gong gong gong gong!
[00:48:17] CALLER: Yeah! So, like, that one stung because I liked him a lot and we’d gone out quite a bit. And then he told me that and I just was like, he could see it on my face. And I just like I’m like, there’s no… no!
[00:48:35] CHRIS: That’s like that’s like the ultimate deal breaker for you right now. I gotta ask more about this ledger. You have an actual written?
[00:48:51] CALLER: Yeah, it’s in my day planner. Yeah.
[00:48:53] CHRIS: And you list their occupation, and what? Like a sentence or two about each of them?
[00:48:57] CALLER: No, hold on, let me see if I have it in my… I’ve got my planner here. It’s not as exciting as you think. Like there’s no summaries. No, it’s just numbered with, like a nickname.
[00:49:15] CHRIS: So wait, you have it in front of you right now?
[00:49:17] CALLER: Yeah, just pick a number.
[00:49:21] CHRIS: What is the range?
[00:49:23] CALLER: Between one and thirty five.
[00:49:24] CHRIS: One and thirty five: twenty eight.
[00:49:28] CALLER: [laughs] OK, well his callsign actually has his name in it. So its got his place of work and his name, there’s a few like that. He is who I called my lazy dater because he would want to get together and we would get together and then I wouldn’t hear from him for like a week and a half gone.
[00:49:56] CHRIS: Gong!
[00:49:58] CALLER: And he’s like, he’d pop up like “hey, what are you doing?” And I’m like, “I’m busy. Like, I have a busy life.” And then he’d want to chat for days at a time and then finally I’d be like, “are we going out?” And he’d be like “Oh yeah, let’s go out.” And I even told him to his face, like “you’re the latest date ever” like you’re not putting any effort in and I expect like some return on my time investment. So he was my lazy dater. Nice guy and seemingly had his shit together, so that was there, but he was lazy with dating.
[00:50:39] CHRIS: Seventeen
[00:50:41] CALLER: So to any of your listeners out there, if you’re going to be dating, unless you’re doing it solely for casuals, like if you want something to come out of it, you need to put some effort in. He was super lazy, like at the end of the date, if it’s a good date and you want to see the person again, I feel like you should say, what are you doing next Thursday? But he’d be like, “OK, bye.”
[00:51:00] CHRIS: And then it’s on you and you don’t have the time for that. And that’s why you get the gong. Now, how about number seventeen? This is also, I have to say, if you’re OK with this, this is about as much fun as I’ve ever had on this show, having you… the random number dates and then I get to yell Gong! This is so fun for me. Thank you for that.
[00:51:23] CALLER: I wonder if you’re going to have any where you’re like ‘he might not have been a gong,’ but there are a few. OK, number 17: that was a one date wonder I have at least two thirds of these are one day wonders. He had never been married, successful, had a nice house because he would send me pictures of his renos and… he wasn’t super tall, which, again, I don’t care. We met for drinks and he’s like, “oh, you’re the perfect height.” And I’m like, “Ohhh, OK.” Like, is it because I’m shorter than you? You know what I mean?
[00:52:14] CHRIS: Gong!
[00:52:16] CALLER: Like, is that your low bar? And we had drinks on the patio and there’s a woman that he knew, and she came over and I felt like saying like, honestly, I think the two of you… she was with someone too, like she abandoned her date and came over and the two of them were just interacting. And he introduced me to her and I was like, “oh, hi.” And then they just start reminiscing about that time that they were somewhere and they ran into each other and they had the best bagels. And I’m like, am I even here?
[00:52:51] CHRIS: Gong! Gong gong gong gong!
[00:52:53] CALLER: So nice guy, but no. I left that and I’m like I would have rather gone out with my girlfriends, you know? I wasted time, I can’t get back on that. Well, I looked at least, but anyway, pick another number.
[00:53:07] CHRIS: Four, let’s go four.
[00:53:10] CALLER: This is such a trip down memory lane. This guy– and I should say some of these aren’t in chronological order because I would forget about my list for a while and then I would just add to it. He was nice, he was a professor, so he had his shit together, but he talked about his ex-wife the entire time
[00:53:41] CHRIS: Gong! Gong gong gong
[00:53:41] CALLER: Yeah, like I mean, I try to avoid that subject as long as possible. I feel like getting into that sort of territory would be like third or fourth date. And I knew so much about her. I knew how she screwed him over. And, you know, some things that were like super obvious, he was like “I should have seen that.” And like, well, yeah, actually, like I don’t know how you missed that, but yeah, like, she was screwing you over and it just went on and on. And I was giving the the server like the… I’m like, you know, please, let’s wrap this up and finally I just took up my visa and I’m like, “OK, so here’s my visa, I need to wrap this up.”
[00:54:26] CHRIS: Gong
[00:54:28] CALLER: And I paid and got the hell out of there. But yeah, I just I think I should have charged more for that because I felt like a therapist. Not worth the drink.
[00:54:41] CHRIS: Mhm, 31, let’s go 31.
[00:54:45] CALLER: Ohhh, Ok. This one… this one was a bit of a setup, sort of. We had come across each other online and recognized each other, we had a mutual friend. And I think we went out maybe four times, maybe three or four times. And also, like this number one through thirty five — I did not sleep with all these people just saying, like I did not… or him, I didn’t sleep with him, obviously. But he told me on the last date that I went out with him that he was into some really interesting stuff and I just was like, “whoa!” And he’s like, “you know, what do you think?” I’m like “No.”
[00:55:50] CHRIS: You’re talking about stuff he liked doing in bed?
[00:55:52] CALLER: Yeah, like kink, big time.
[00:55:55] CHRIS: Gong! Gong, well listen, not a harsh judgmental gong…
[00:56:03] CALLER: But shouldn’t that wait until you’re intimate? Like no, not at all. But like we’re at the movies and went for drinks after. It wasn’t even like we were close to being intimate and he’s like so by the way, like he was I think he might have been qualifying me like maybe I got the gong because he was like testing the waters to see if I was into the same stuff as him, I wasn’t. Maybe he gonged me.
[00:56:25] CHRIS: Look, there’s going to be… you almost applaud the guy, because if he’s someone who understands that he can only enjoy a sexual experience, if you like– I try to be crass on this show, but if he’s like, “I really need somebody who’s going to step on my nuts with a high heel, are you into that?” Like, you almost almost have to applaud him for going “before we get too deep into this, this is what I’m going to need.” And then you have to just sadly go elsewhere. This one was working. But hey dude, gong, you get the gong.
[00:56:59] CALLER: So I think I got the gong. Maybe, you’re right, it was good that he got it out there. We didn’t invest a lot of time in it.
[00:57:05] CHRIS: I don’t know if you got the gong. I think he just… you know, there’s almost a part of me that’s going, good on him for not putting you in the position that it develops sexually and then he reveals, hey, I need this to be something that you maybe didn’t sign up for first. You know, there’s a part of me that applauds that.
[00:57:31] CALLER: You have to step on my balls.
[00:57:32] CHRIS: Was that… did I nail it? Was that actually what it was?
[00:57:34] CALLER: No. No, it wasn’t. No, no, I don’t… that sounds really painful. I don’t know. Yeah.
[00:57:42] CHRIS: He’s like, I can only get off if you call me Ray Romano while we’re doing it. You’re like “gong! gong.”
[00:57:50] CALLER: Well the problem is that the person that we knew, knew that we’re going out. And she was like “how’d it go with so-and-so?” And I’m like “you know what, it’s not a connection.” Like, how much does she know? I don’t think she would know that, I’m just going to back away.
[00:58:09] CHRIS: And fair. Fair for him to put it out there, fair for you to say it’s not my business to share it, it’s not going to work, though. How about 12? Have we done 12 yet?
[00:58:20] CALLER: Ooo, 12. We haven’t done 12. And 12 is one of the ones whose name I remember. Because we dated… I can’t believe I’ve got all these in the short amount of time I’ve been dating, but he and I dated for maybe like six weeks? Two months?And I was sort of dating someone else at the same time, not sleeping with anyone, but kind of like I think a bit of my strategy was if I have, you know, a few dates going, then I will get attached to any one of them. Which I’ve learned now is just harming myself. But back then, it kept me at bay so I wouldn’t get hooked on one, you know, and thinking like, ‘oh, is you’re going to call me’ or, you know, if I had a couple going, then I could just step back and be like, ‘it’s fine, like if I’m not going with this one, I’ll go with number 17’ or whatever. And there’s a term for that, it’s another podcast, but maybe I shouldn’t say it..
[00:59:31] CHRIS: Oh no, go for it.
[00:59:32] CALLER: Oh, it’s manterage dating. Anyways, I liked him a lot, and we had a good time every time we went out and I was dating number 13 at the same time, who I also liked.
[00:59:50] CHRIS: And who was he?
[00:59:51] CALLER: Uhhh, I can’t say it, I’m sorry, that’ll give him away. Assuming anyone I know listens.
[1:00:00] CHRIS: OK, that’s ok, no appologies.
[01:00:02] CALLER: Just number 13, lucky 13. And I like them both, so it turned into a bit of a problem because I didn’t want to be dating two people at once. And frankly, like, I wanted to take things beyond just going out on dates and I wasn’t going to let myself be with two people, unless the other one knew. That wasn’t something I was going to allow myself to do. And so I actually, number 12, I had a conversation and I was like, you know, I assume that everyone is dating someone else in the early dating round like I think that people are. I said “I’m dating other people, I’m assuming you are.” He said, “yeah.” And I said, “I wouldn’t mind seeing where this goes and I would stop dating other people for now just to give this a run.” And he, like, freaked out. And he’s like, “oh, you know, can’t we just let it happen?”
[1:01:07] CHRIS: Ahhh, gong!
[1:01:08] CALLER: And I said, Oh yeah, like I’m not looking for a ring. But I can’t keep dating other people if we’re going to have sex. And I don’t want to sleep with you if you’re sleeping with other people. So I’m not asking to get engaged, I’m just saying like can we see where it goes and just set aside the dating apps? For like a minute? And, you know, be exclusive-ish. I’m definitely not the person who wants to latch on to someone, because that’s part of my I have no freedom baggage. So I just was kind of like, “can we just see where it goes?” And he totally freaked out and I didn’t hear from him for a while. And then he popped back up. He’s like a zombie. So he goes away and then I think whatever he’s working on falls apart, like I’m pretty sure he had a relationship for a few months, I had one for a few months. And they pop back up like, “oh, hey, how are you doing?” And I’m drawn back into it because I liked him, but I think he’s a player.
[01:02:14] CHRIS: Gong!
[1:02:16] CALLER: So I’ve had to block him, like I blocked his number, which is kind of sad. There’s only like five that I was sad about blocking their numbers.
[01:02:26] CHRIS: Yeah, that one had some potential. That’s a heartbreaking gong, it got right there where it needed to go and then fizzled
[1:02:34] CALLER: Not a heartbreak, like don’t get crazy, it wasn’t heartbreak.
[01:02:37] CHRIS: No, a heartbreaking gong. I’m not saying you were heartbroken. I’m saying as a listener to that story, I’m going, “oh, this is great… ohhh he freaked out.” Heartbreaking like that. Not like your heart was broken.
[01:02:51] CALLER: No, and he was like, “oh, you know, I always get hurt when I let myself get close to someone, so I just want to go slow.” So I’m like, “I’m not asking you to give me your heart. I’m just saying, like, I don’t want to keep dating a bunch of people at the same time.” And he just bolted. So not meant to be
[01:03:10] CHRIS: Yeah, bummer. I gotta hear about thirty five. We got one minute left, I gotta hear about thirty five.
[01:03:16] CALLER: Oh my God! The last one. So this is the last one of 2019, I’ll talk fast and he’s called S.O.S. That is what thirty five is called. And it was an S.O.S., like it was the only time that I’ve ever frantically texted under the table for one of my friends to call me.
[01:03:35] CHRIS: Gong! gong gong gong gong gong
[01:03:38] CALLER: The guy was crazy! And he even like he, he wasn’t the name that he calls himself. And that came out and he kept thanking me profusely for showing up because he’s like “most people don’t show up.” And I’m like, oh my God, what have I gotten myself into? And he was eating like poutine with his fingers. And it was so messy. And I was just like, “Ah! Help me!” And then we left and he’s like “I’ve got a work thing coming up, would you like to come with me?” And I’m nooooo. And I texted him right away to say “sorry, not non-match.” I blocked his number and I drove home like the longest way possible because I was terrified that he would follow me. That was the last one: S.O.S.
[1:04:26] CHRIS: Well, that’s a hell of an ending. And I just want to say, first of all, thanks for having fun with that and opening up your ledger. And then I just want to reiterate something from before, which is that first of all, your ex-husband put you through hell. I’m really sorry about that. And I know you said you don’t feel like it, but I bet for a lot of our listeners to hear that you are only a couple of years out from a divorce. You got four kids, but you’re still owning your time and defining what it is. And you’ve been on all these dates. And not only that, but you’re feeling empowered to draw your own lines. It is badass. It’s really badass. And I bet there’s a lot of people out there feeling that way. And I bet I bet there’s some other people who maybe are in similar situations who are going, “oh, I can go out there and be the empowered one and moving on.” I think it’s cool.
[01:05:20] CALLER: Alright, well, I hope I’ve inspired some people, and I do think there’s some merit in keeping a ledger. Keep track.
[01:05:24] CHRIS: Everybody keep that ledger track. If anybody else has a ledger and wants to play the gong game that we’ve now established. If you don’t mind caller, I would love to play the gong game again.
[01:05:39] CALLER: Well, thanks for taking my call, Chris. This was entertaining and not at all as stressful as I thought it would be.
[01:05:44] CHRIS: Good. And next year we’ll do a follow up. You keep that ledger going and we’ll have another hour of The Gong Show.
[1:05:54] CALLER: Oh God, The Gong Show 2021. Alright, take care.
[1:05:58] CHRIS: OK, thank you so much for opening up.
[1:06:00] CALLER: You’re welcome, bye.
[01:06:05] CHRIS: [transition music] Caller, thank you. Thanks for sharing the hard details of your story. Thank you for telling us how you have decided to move on and find the agency to live your own life. And thanks for having fun with me as we discussed it. I think that goes a long way.
Thank you, of course, to Jared O’Connell, to Anita Flores, to Shell Shagged. To know more about me, what I’m up to you go to Chrisgeth.com. If you want the entire Beautiful Anonymous back catalog, check out Stitcher Premium. You can go check it out there, stitcherpremium.com/stories for all the details on how to access our back catalog and a bunch of other stuff. And thank you so much for listening. See you next time.
[1:06:52] THEME MUSIC: Catch me, face to face.
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