Pimping Out the Digs

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Life in the Third Degree.

“Excellent!” declares my writer pal, Kathleen. “This is the best news I’ve heard from you all year.”

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Huh? The fact that I’ve been repainting the interior of my house in purple and green is the highlight of my year, as far as she’s concerned? The announcement that I’m scouring wallpaper off the bathroom wall is fascinating to her? And the news that I felt well enough today to order the new tiles for my kitchen and bathroom, instruct repairmen to tear up all the wood laminate flooring I’ve come to hate, and stashed new light fixtures in the closet until I can hang them—all this is enough to make Kathleen giddy?

“God, yes, sweetie! You don’t know how happy it makes me to hear that you’re pimping out your digs! Not to mention the quality men you can meet in a Home Depot or Lowe’s store!”

Kathleen and I see each other only at national writers’ conferences. She’s never seen my digs. And she has no idea how they were previously decorated. But, she says, it doesn’t matter. It’s that I’m fixing things up to make my home “mine” instead of “ours.”

“It’s definitely one of the best signs that you’re regaining your emotional health after the break-up of your marriage: the fact that you can be comfortable making a home for yourself.”

Kathleen would know, I suppose. She came through one of the nastiest divorces I’ve heard of when she was in her early 40’s. She’s now a few days shy of 50, still movie-star gorgeous with nary a touch of surgery or Botox, and the epitome of the Alpha Female. She takes regular cross-country and international vacations alone, going wherever she wants and doing whatever she wants. And she has her pick of men from 30 to 60.

Then she tells me that the number one physical manifestation of emotional health in the men she dates is in whether or not they’ve “pimped out their digs.”

Before she’ll consider a more-than-lunch relationship with a man she’s dating, she insists on seeing where he lives. This, she says, is especially important if he’s been divorced for more than six months.

She describes at least a dozen “quality” men she’s ditched because of their home environments. No matter how well the guy cleaned up or how intellectually stimulating or just downright sexually magnetic, none of these men showed any sign of being able to make a home for themselves. Too many were on-hold in their personal lives, waiting for a potential wife to come along and fix it all.

One 40-year-old company president who’d been divorced for three years lived in a furnished apartment with hotel furniture and a daily maid service. It was all temporary until the right woman came along to make him “whole.”Life Coaching Tips

A 53-year-old stockbroker, divorced for two years, drove a big Mercedes and took Kathleen to the most expensive restaurants in town. But he never bothered to buy new furniture for his new apartment. He brought his favorite chair from his marriage. He set up brick and board bookcases and apple-crate tables. Kathleen thought the place belonged to his college-aged son. The man explained that he hadn’t planned to stay single, so why bother fixing up the place?

“It never failed to surprise me,” she says, “how many otherwise together men who had the whole public image down pat weren’t interested in their homes and weren’t comfortable with themselves. If they couldn’t be happy being alone, they weren’t likely to be happy being with me either. They had to have that little problem licked before being able to share themselves with me.”

I promise Kathleen that I’ll keep these things in mind in my romantic relationships.

However, I’m not sure if pimping out my digs is a good sign for future male companionship. I love my house now. I can’t imagine changing it to compromise with a new man in my life, so maybe it’s a sign that I’m not that interested in a new, permanent relationship. I don’t know.

But I do know it’s a good sign that I’m surrounding myself with the things I want.