Discussion #2: Flirting with Forty

Now that we’re really cruising through, why not go ahead with the second discussion on book #28, Flirting with Forty? While trying not to spoil the ending, here are some safe questions for chatting purposes:

  • Why do Jackie’s friends find her expectations about happiness disturbing? And at one point in the novel Nic even suggests that children should be taught not to want so much, do you agree or disagree?
  • Does age really make a difference? Why do you think most people find it easier to accept the idea of a romance between a younger
    woman and an older man more acceptable than a romance between a younger man and an older woman?
  • Are you optimistic about Jackie and Kai’s chances of successfully carrying out a longterm long-distance relationship? Why/why not?
  • Our children become part of the world so fast and it’s our job to prepare them, transition them, our job to love them and gracefully step back and let them go.” How do you relate to this as a parent? Do you think you’ll be prepared to let your children go when the time comes?
  • Jackie asks “Does anyone else ever feel like a faker? Does anyone else ever feel like a pretend grown-up, someone masquerading
    as a mother or the nice woman next door?” What’s your response? Why do people seem to think it’s important to play the part, wear the clothes, even when they don’t feel like they fi t into the role?

Thoughts?

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3 Responses to Discussion #2: Flirting with Forty

  1. maksbestfriend says:

    * Why do Jackie’s friends find her expectations about happiness disturbing? And at one point in the novel Nic even suggests that children should be taught not to want so much, do you agree or disagree?

    I think that part of it is that they are all settled in their lives and she is now the odd person out. I think that she is now divorced and in a totally different living situation, even at times, not having her children with her when they are with their father. A part of me wonders if some of them preferred that things had been kept status quo no matter how unhappy she was. That really saddened me when Nic suggested that children should not want so much out of life. I do not agree with her at all. That to me is the epitome of settling, something that I think a lot of them did.

    * Does age really make a difference? Why do you think most people find it easier to accept the idea of a romance between a younger woman and an older man more acceptable than a romance between a younger man and an older woman?

    I wonder if some of it is the daddy complex, a man is a caretaker and a woman is a cougar. I think if the person makes you happy and you are not doing anything illegal or immoral, then by all means have a nice life. You cannot live your life making everyone else happy.

    * Are you optimistic about Jackie and Kai’s chances of successfully carrying out a longterm long-distance relationship? Why/why not?

    Not sure. I think that Kai has preconceived notions of Jackie and her needs wants and desires and she has notions of him I am sure to, she has said about how he probably has other girls when she is not around. I think that each one is going to have to give a little. Will it work, who knows? Realistcally, not in my eyes, there are far too many miles and the lifestyles and he has not met the children, and the nasty ex, would he let it happen?

    * Our children become part of the world so fast and it’s our job to prepare them, transition them, our job to love them and gracefully step back and let them go.” How do you relate to this as a parent? Do you think you’ll be prepared to let your children go when the time comes?

    I am in the position of knowing that my son will never gracefully go out in the world, get a job, go to college, get married have children, any of that. I really do not know how you do that. I am going to be interested in reading your responses.

    * Jackie asks “Does anyone else ever feel like a faker? Does anyone else ever feel like a pretend grown-up, someone masquerading as a mother or the nice woman next door?” What’s your response? Why do people seem to think it’s important to play the part, wear the clothes, even when they don’t feel like they fi t into the role?

    No. I am a mother, even though A does not live with me. I am no more no less a mother than any other mother. I may not have the day to day responsibilities, but heavens, if that phone rang at 3 in the morning, I can get into mom mode very quickly. I have never felt fake. I just learn to live the life of a woman who has a situation that is different from some, but would not wish it on anyone.

    Great book!

  2. Dory says:

    # Why do Jackie’s friends find her expectations about happiness disturbing? And at one point in the novel Nic even suggests that children should be taught not to want so much, do you agree or disagree?

    I think they are stuck in a rut kind of people… going through the motions without having a lot of fun. So to suddenly find Jackie having a fabulous time, full of joy and excitement, it challenges them to see their lives in comparison. I don’t agree with Nic – kids need to have HOPE for their futures. Hope that they can have a happy fulfilling life, doing what they love.

    # Does age really make a difference? Why do you think most people find it easier to accept the idea of a romance between a younger
    woman and an older man more acceptable than a romance between a younger man and an older woman?

    I think when you’re really young, age does make a difference in maturity levels. After a certain level of maturity – age becomes irrelevant in my opinion. My husband is two years younger than me. 😉 I think it’s more accepted to be older man/younger woman only because that is what we see the most of in history. Way back in the pioneer days, it was common to see a teen woman marrying a 20-something or 30-something. (Crazy maybe, but common.)

    # Are you optimistic about Jackie and Kai’s chances of successfully carrying out a longterm long-distance relationship? Why/why not?

    Sure, why not? It happens all the time.

    # Our children become part of the world so fast and it’s our job to prepare them, transition them, our job to love them and gracefully step back and let them go.” How do you relate to this as a parent? Do you think you’ll be prepared to let your children go when the time comes?

    I agree…. it’s never easy to let them go. It is hard… but all I know to do is teach them what I can and pray that they’ll make the right choices. Oh, there will be mistakes and wrong paths chosen along the way – but if we teach them well enough, hopefully there won’t be more mistakes than good decisions.

    # Jackie asks “Does anyone else ever feel like a faker? Does anyone else ever feel like a pretend grown-up, someone masquerading as a mother or the nice woman next door?” What’s your response? Why do people seem to think it’s important to play the part, wear the clothes, even when they don’t feel like they fit into the role?

    I think the *fake* part comes from feeling like we’re struggling to hold it all together, to keep all the balls we’re juggling in the air… and yet, every one else we see seem to be doing it perfectly and we’re just putting on the show. Of course, in reality – the person we THINK is doing it perfectly is probably fighting with her own demons about the very same thing. What we see is not always the truth. I can play the role of a put-together mom as good as the next one, but I’ll tell ya, half the time I’m struggling to keep my head above water. I think we do this only because it’s all we know to do. Does that make sense?

  3. * Why do Jackie’s friends find her expectations about happiness disturbing? And at one point in the novel Nic even suggests that children should be taught not to want so much, do you agree or disagree?
    I think the reaction is normal for any mother/wife living a harried lifestyle, burdoning the responsibilities of raising children and maintaining a household. Although, I don’t agree with Nic’s comment. She seems to be operating in the opposite extreme by denying children the freedom to want for more. There must be a happy medium that result in spoiling a child, but Jackie isn’t a child in this case. So what’s Nic’s point?

    * Does age really make a difference? Why do you think most people find it easier to accept the idea of a romance between a younger woman and an older man more acceptable than a romance between a younger man and an older woman?
    I’ve never understood the thinking for/against either. I personally know a woman who married a man 12 years her junior, and the marriage has been going strong for over 15 years. But I must admit the relationship did seem odd to me in the beginning. Really though, how can you argue with that whole ‘soul mate’ theory? You just can’t.

    * Are you optimistic about Jackie and Kai’s chances of successfully carrying out a longterm long-distance relationship? Why/why not?
    When I think of Jackie and Kai, I’m reminded of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher… but long-distance? That’s a stretch in my personal opinion. As much as I’d like to think it could work… I can’t see it.

    * Our children become part of the world so fast and it’s our job to prepare them, transition them, our job to love them and gracefully step back and let them go.” How do you relate to this as a parent? Do you think you’ll be prepared to let your children go when the time comes?
    Yes, I’ll be prepared. (Knock on wood.) However, I won’t cut them off completely in their time of need. Everyone needs help getting started, which doesn’t mean eliminating all forms of support (whether it be emotional or financial) just to soften the blow for Mom & Dad. We’ll always be family, still living under the same roof or not.

    * Jackie asks “Does anyone else ever feel like a faker? Does anyone else ever feel like a pretend grown-up, someone masquerading as a mother or the nice woman next door?” What’s your response? Why do people seem to think it’s important to play the part, wear the clothes, even when they don’t feel like they fit into the role?
    I think yes, people tend to put on that ‘front’ in making an appearance for the world. Perhaps this conformity is a way to feel comfortable in the situation, to blend in and avoid sticking out like a sore thumb… become ‘beige’, so to speak. I’ve found this to be the case just about everywhere – in the office, school events, church, etc. “To one’s self be true” is a hard act for most people to follow, which is exactly what Jackie is confronted with in the novel.

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