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

My Life As A New Wife: The Year In Review

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Farewell newlyweds, hello old married couple.

Celebrating my first wedding anniversary made me feel kind of like Miss America coming to the end of her reign: triumphant, honored, and just a little bit sad to give back the tiara and say goodbye to my title of newlywed.

But I must, because now at end of Year One, I am officially a wife – with a new title and new duties. If longtime pageant MC Bert Parks was still alive, he’d be singing me a new tune.

What a difference a year makes.

No longer a swingin’ single, no longer subsisting on Trader Joe’s frozen entrees, and no longer letting my laundry pile up until I run out of underwear, life looks a lot different now that I’m Mrs. Scharf than it did when I was Miss Brandon.

For starters, I now shop at Gelson’s, I do a load of laundry every few days, and I have more food in my pantry than I know what to do with. The year has had much personal growth, changes both big and small, and lots of groceries to put away.

Yep, I’m a real housewife of Beverly Hills, alright.

Year One has been nothing short of a mind-blowing, eye-opening, waist-expanding experience and here’s why:

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Robby Scharf, a most fascinating creature.

I NOW HAVE THIS FASCINATING CREATURE CALLED A HUSBAND

I don’t know about all husbands, but mine is so interesting, I find myself observing him like an exotic animal. He’s sophisticated and elegant, but he loves to burp and fart like a 10-year-old; he’s strong and stoic, but tears up when watching CBS Sunday Morning; he’s an alpha dog, but he loves funny cat videos; he’s a manly man, but he loves to shop; he’s never been married, but he’s got some serious game as a husband.

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Say hello to my mac & cheese.

I LEARNED TO COOK

As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, I was raised by a working mom who excelled more in the office than she did in the kitchen. Not that Sonjia Brandon couldn’t cook; she just preferred to make deals rather than make dinner. So when I got married, I donned my apron (a bridal shower gift) and got down to business.

It’s been a year of “firsts” in the kitchen for me. I made my first short ribs, my first macaroni & cheese, and my crowning achievement as a wife (drum roll please) MY FIRST BRISKET. I can’t emphasize the importance of this major milestone for this Jewish girl.

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Good news! Nina and Nancy didn’t throw up from my lasagne.

I can’t take all the credit though. I have to thank my friends Nina, Nancy, and my many Facebook friends for their recipes and culinary guidance.

It truly takes a village to make a meatloaf.

Yeah, I made that too.

 

 

 

I WATCH A LOT MORE SPORTS

I’ve always been a sports nut, but I definitely met my match when I married Robby. The guy is a total sports junkie, particularly when it comes to televised sports. It’s not unusual for him to have a few TVs going and a couple of iPads tuned in, especially during playoff season.

He may be the bigger sports fan, but I’m the sports bettor in the family. I say who needs to watch the game when all you need to know is the spread?

THERE’S ALWAYS MUSIC IN OUR HOUSE

This is the benefit of marrying a guy who plays the bass, attended Berklee College of Music, and has been performing with The Cowsills for over 25 years. It’s almost daily that I’m in earshot of a rehearsal or treated to an impromptu jam. And when I want some peace and quiet, I put on a pair of incredible Sennheiser noise-cancelling headphones (shameless plug – Robby works for the company).

But what really makes a Robby a rock star? He does the dishes.

NEWS FLASH! OOPS I MEAN HOT FLASH!

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Year One…and they said it wouldn’t last.

Poor Robby. Two seconds after we get married, I hit menopause (or rather menopause hit me). Great timing Mother Nature thanks a lot! Nothing like having to navigate your new married life with night sweats and mood swings. Plus, between the hormonal brain fog and the occasional senior moment, I can’t remember shit.

Has it really been a year already?

It’s true what they say: Time flies when you’re having fun, watching sports, eating a lot, and making beautiful music together.

Now if you don’t mind, I must attend to my next wifely duty: making my first turkey.

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. Continue reading

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,” https://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)

Women Are From Venus, Men Are From Costco

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Robby’s happy place: Costco and me.

It was either me move into his man cave/bachelor pad in the heart of gritty, urban downtown L.A., or him move into my charming, old French Normandy apartment on the Westside. Downtown L.A. is cool and groovy if you’re a guy, but not if you’re a princess from Beverly Hills.

We had just gotten married and needed to consolidate and start cohabitating, so Robby came out West. Just like Jed Clampett, he loaded up the Prius, and he moved to BEV-ER-LY. Hills, that is: swimming pools, movie stars, and me.

As he proceeded to cram the contents of his 1,850 square foot loft into my teeny two-bedroom, something occurred to me: MEN ARE FROM COSTCO. They are different animals. They don’t live like us women. They have lots of man stuff: junk, supplies, gear, equipment, electronics, toolboxes, miles of cable and cords, unexplained wires, and gadgets of all kinds and sizes. If men aren’t from Costco, then they’re from big box stores for sure.

Maybe I’m just not used to a man around the house, or maybe I’m too used to living alone, all I know is that Robby moving in has been a fascinating study in how men live and function. Remember, I’ve never even lived with a guy, so this is all new and intriguing. I feel like I’m Marlin Perkins of Wild Kingdom, observing a most unusual creature: my new husband.

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A little light shopping.

My Baby Buys In Bulk

If you’re single and anything like me, you buy just enough food for a week. A couple bags of potato chips, a loaf of bread, a few frozen Trader Joe entrees, some wine maybe, and not too many perishables lest they go bad (single people dine out a lot).

Robby, as I’ve discovered, likes to buy in bulk – everything from bulk paper goods to bulk food. This I don’t understand. What single guy without kids shops at Costco? Where exactly are you going to put those 24 rolls of paper towels?

You should see my pantry now. It’s now stuffed to the brim with industrial size jars of peanut butter, and crammed to an inch of its life with canned goods. I get claustrophobic just looking at it.

If you ever run out of toilet paper though, come on over. We’ve got enough to cover everyone for the next two years.

Guys Like Projects

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Drill baby drill!

Robby loves a project. The minute he moved in, he started retrofitting, wiring, re-wiring, installing, hooking up, dismantling, and assembling. He tossed out all my ancient cordless phones, and replaced all my light bulbs with energy-saving LEDs, which I hate, but marriage is compromise, and I love the environment, so the bulbs stay. He’s outfitted our place with lots of other much-needed things, which as a single woman, I never thought to buy.

For this reason, he’s made up a song for me. It’s called “The Absence Of A Man,” (sung to the tune of “The Shadow Of Your Smile”).

Robby is very handy. He loves to build shelves, organize stuff, and hang things. And I let him because I love a Jew with a drill.

Men And Their TVs

Robby wasted no time in giving away my old TVs, and installing his new big screens into every room of my apartment. You know the fancy kind with all the bells and whistles and super complicated remote controls? The HD quality is fantastic, but now I don’t know how to change the channel.

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Welcome to NASA West.

He also promptly renegotiated my cable bill, which was way too high. Who knew?

Hey Time Warner, stop ripping off your female customers!

Robby loves his TVs, and his laptop, and his iPad. His office looks like a cross between Mission Control and Command Central.

Houston, we have a problem: NASA is now in Beverly Hills.

So now we’re all settled in, but the debate still rages on whether women are from Venus and men are from Costco. As soon as I get back from shoe shopping and Robby returns from stockpiling jars of relish, the discussion will certainly continue. So stay tuned (to one of Robby’s TVs of course).

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Need. More. Condiments.

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.”