Post Divorce: Where’s My Bubble Bath For Three?

Post Divorce

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Bravo is premiering it’s first scripted show in December called, The Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, based off the books by Vicki Iovine. It promises to shed light on the bright sight of being single.

I have not seen the show in it’s entirety, nor have I read the book. My opinions are based solely on the show’s trailer. But from what I saw in the preview, “Damn, divorce looks sexy, fun and au courant.”

Shit, I want to get married again, just so I can get divorced. Who wouldn’t when you see the main character in the show, living in a beautiful house with a pool in the Hollywood Hills, with a 360 degree view of the city of angels, with all of it’s sparkling lights and broken dreams.

Of course, this is where sexy fun lives, so of course divorce, (and being single) looks fabulous. Our lead is a famous author, with a series of published books, a literary agent, book signings and money.

One of her quirky funny best friend is played by Janeane Garofalo. That has to help with the depression and sadness that, from the looks of it, only lasted a week, because Janeane will bring the comedy and lift her best friend’s spirits.

Her other best friend tells her that, since she’s now single, (although she’s seen with a father from her kid’s school), she should have a threesome. So easy, and breezy, that it looks as if one simply has to open their front door, and poof, bubblebath for three! I wish it were that easy. What?

This recently divorced playground portrayed in the show is insulting to those of us who have been divorced, or have had a break-up from a longterm relationship (or both) because the fallout from these intense events looked nothing like this impeccably dressed and fit author’s life.

The show is like one big ass cliche.

This recently divorced woman is now free, and did what we all did when we found ourselves single again; we went to a dance club, and hoofed it up to ear bleeding thumping and pumping dance beats, screaming, “Yeah, I’m free!” Then we picked up a random young guy and made out with them outside of the women’s bathroom. It’s uncanny how this show mirrors my own life. How did Bravo know?

Our lead character is shown swapping saliva with a complete stranger. Ew! Double ew! What is this, Studio 54, circa 1982? Helloooo, Ebola? Is anyone watching the news?

If the gals in Sex and The City got divorced, that’s what this show looks like. I never watched SATC when it first came out, but I’ve seen the reruns, and it’s depiction of single life in New York is just a wee bit far fetched, or rather, identifies only a teeny tiny faction of the population.

So it is the same with The Girlfriends Guide to Divorce. Yes, it’s television. Yes, it’s eye candy. Yes, it’s fantasy, but I wonder if divorced women watching, might not feel worse than they already do, because their post-divorce, or break-up, lives (for the most part) and I’m only guessing, looks nothing like the ones in this show.

Do these women watching now wonder, “Where are my champagne wishes and caviar dreams, with the hot bartender at the cocktail party, hosted by my famous friends in their Malibu beach house?

One of the tag lines is, “Sometimes you have to start over in order to find yourself.” I have done nothing but start over again, and again and again, throughout my life; men, marriage, jobs, locations. Starting over is exhausting. Besides, wouldn’t it be romantic if you could find yourself while in the company of someone else?

 

Letting Go Can Feel like Extreme Weight Loss. 

PhotoCredit:OwningPink

PhotoCredit:OwningPink

One of the perks of getting older is being able to let go; of friendships, dreams, expectations, without guilt, remorse or anxiety. It can actually feel good, like you’ve lost those last five pounds.

I went to an comedy open mic the other night with a friend, in a dark, dank, basement in the west village. She needed practice for an upcoming show and I was happy to hold her hand.

I sat amidst 40 or so prepubescent hipsters, who thought that working anything to do with ass-licking into their set was funny. It must be generational.

My friend and I were clearly the elders in the room, but instead of feeling nervous and scared, like I used to when I was doing stand-up, I was blanketed in relief and freedom; and not only because I wasn’t performing, but because I also didn’t care.

Physically, I had let go of this life many years ago, but it wasn’t until I sat in the uncomfortable chair, sipping my ten dollar club soda, surrounded by kids, that I realized that I had emotionally let go as well.

How and when did this happen? I have a history of holding on to things longer than is probably healthy, but in this case, I was able to let go, without losing a piece of myself. It was easy. I like easy.

 

Parenthood Doesn’t Come with A Manual

parenthooddoesn'tcomewithmanual

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A surprising thing happened when I became the Girlfriend Mom. I started to see my relationship with my parents in a whole new light. A softer light. Maybe this is obvious to people when they become parents, but since I never thought that I would ever become a parent, or parent-like, it was like sticker shock for me.

On my road trip last weekend with the GMD, we talked about parents, our expectations of them, falling short and forgiveness. Listening to her speak about her experiences, I empathized, as I put myself in the child role. I shared some of the same feelings; disappointment, frustration, and anger.

She asked me how often I speak to my parents. I didn’t really know. There are times when we speak several times a week, and times a couple of weeks will pass before we speak. I wasn’t entirely sure why she asked but I didn’t push.

It made me think about how daily calls were never our thing. It used to confuse me. I thought that they didn’t care. I wondered why they wouldn’t call. Wasn’t it their responsibility as parents? Wasn’t this listed in the How To Be A Good Parent Handbook? The simple fact is, we weren’t, nor are we, that family; no judgement, neither good nor bad. Just is.

I told her that when I was younger, I didn’t speak to my mother for an extended period of time. I was angry, as I was still wrestling childhood demons. I couldn’t have known it then, but my silence was hurtful and painful for my mother. I can now imagine that pain and hurt because of my experiences as the Girlfriend Mom. P.S. Mom and I have since made up!

As we continued driving, and talking, I started empathizing with the parents. Hers and mine. I don’t know where my profound wisdom came from, or if it would help her on her path, but like I always say, I’m a sharerer, so I offered the following.

I told her that no matter what, her parents love her, and her brother, intensely and that she should never doubt that. Humans are flawed (even parents) and they’re doing the best they can. I also added that, sometimes, their best isn’t good enough, and it sucks.

I now know (many years later) that my parents did the best that they could with what they had, and who they were at the time. Yes, at times their best didn’t cut it. Yes, they fucked up. And yes, they royally pissed me off when they called my theatrical endeavors a ‘hobby’.

However, how can you blame someone for their limitations or abilities?

I never doubted their love and as the years wore on, I learned to accept their shortcomings and focus on all that they can, and do, offer. I’ve embraced what they’ve given me and not what is lacking.

A parent may be incapable of giving you what you need. They may not be skilled in a particular area. Perhaps they didn’t grow up in an environment where they learned from their parents.

To this I say, speak up. Give them an opportunity to hear what you need— trust me, they don’t friggin’ know. After my parents called my theatrical passion a hobby, I had a temper tantrum in our den, screaming at the top of my lungs, sounding (and looking) like a mental patient. “It’s not a hobby. It’s my LIFE.”

I’m not suggesting that you have a hissy fit (although they shifted their attitude but quick), but I am suggesting communicating.

I ended my, sharing is caring moment, by letting her know that, in time, she’d learn how to work with what people, including her parents, can give her. That, hell yeah, her parent’s will disappoint her, just like she may disappoint them.

I told her that it wasn’t easy and can take years of practice, but that if she’s kind, and is open to acceptance, and forgiveness, then she would be way ahead of the game. And for the record, I told her that the, How To Be A Good Parent Handbook didn’t exist.

Sex and The City and The Way We Were in Southampton

Katie Morosky and Carrie Bradshow Collide in the Hamptons

PhotoCredit:SNA

I spent a glorious weekend with my GM daughter, attending The Hamptons International Film Festival, eating, shopping, practicing handstands on the beach, working out, watching a Modern Family marathon, eating ice cream cake (or in her case, just the frosting) taking walks, endless talks, and birthday gifts.

We tied it up with a homemade Italian dinner at my friend’s house, complete with white wine, Zitti, pumpkin spice donuts, and laughs.

On Saturday night we decided to shake it up and watch a movie. Within seconds of opening the DVD cabinet, The Way We Were seemed to magically fall off the shelf and into our hands. Maybe it was an omen.

“I love Barbra and I’ve never seen the movie but I always wanted to,” she squealed. This was music to my ears. And how could I not know that she likes Babs?!

Being a huge Barbra fan, (to say the least) I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Maybe she did come out of me. Nay, I would’ve felt something. She was going to be 21 in a few weeks, and I saw this as a right of passage. I was honored to be her guide.

I warned her that there would be tears, (mine), even though it was probably the tenth time watching it. We curled up on the couch and hit play.

It was probably the only time that I allowed talking while watching a movie, which says a lot if you’ve ever gone to the movies with me. I demand absolute silence; no whispering, no checking the phone, no nudging, no nothing. I’m a purist. But with this movie, I allowed the occasional comment.

“Barbra looks so good. She’s so cute. Robert Redford really isn’t my type. What else has he been in?”

She told me about the Sex and The City episode that references The Way We Were. I told her that I hadn’t seen it but promised to do so post haste. I have since seen the episode.

It was so fun to watch through her eyes, listening to her interpretation.

When it was over, as promised, I was crying, and through my tears I said, “Why? Why wouldn’t he see his daughter? Why wouldn’t he want to? I mean just because he and Katie didn’t work out, wouldn’t he want to see his own child?” She looked at me, and without missing a beat said, “Because he’s an asshole.”

Holy crap, had I been defending Hubbell’s actions all these years? How could I excuse his absentee father behavior? Did his good looks throw me off? Maybe his behavior added to the mystery and romance?

I didn’t want to see Hubbell in that light because their love and passion was so intense, that if I reduced him to being just another a-hole, it would’ve soiled the whole relationship for me.

Theirs was not a black and white relationship, but it was interesting to hear a 21 year-old’s point of view, because it seemed that, for her, it was pretty cut and dry. Asshole. Period. End of conversation.

I need deeper reasons and explanations, because I feel that that is more like real life. Our different interpretations probably speaks to our age, wisdom and experience.

Relationships are hard and I’m mad at Big and Hubbell for walking away because they wanted simple. Carrie and Katie are complicated women, with curly hair, and I can relate.

Katie Morosky and Carrie Bradshaw Collided in the Hamptons

PhotoCredit:Pinterest

Katie Morosky and Carrie Bradshaw Collided in The Hamptons

PhotoCredit:Stylishthought.com

 

 

 

 

 

I was full after our weekend together, and not just gastronomically. I was full of joy, pride and a whole lot of love. Sometimes it feels as if sharing, especially with the kids, is my purpose; to bring Barbra Joan Streisand into the lives of young adults, one movie and hit song at a time. For example.

When Do You Let Your Child Pay for Dinner?

Whendoesthe kid pay?

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There’s a commercial running for Mass Mutual that shows a married couple out to dinner with the husband’s parent’s. The waiter places the check on the table, and both men reach for it. Notice that the women pretend not to see the check, as they mime talking to one another.

This post isn’t about antiquated gender roles but rather, what does a Girlfriend Mom do when she’s out with the kids.

Does the parent always pay, even if the child is 55 years-old? What does the divorced step-parent do when they’re out with the step-kids? Does everyone Dutch it? I realize that every relationship is different and I am only speaking for myself.

I never knew what to do when I was out with the kids alone, when my ex and I were first dating. I wasn’t the kind of person who would ask for money, so I paid.

I certainly didn’t want him to think that I couldn’t afford a few rounds of The Claw at the arcade or a movie ticket. And I was happy to do it but I remember feeling awkward because protocol was never discussed.

Was I expected to pay for the kids? Was I supposed to ask for the money, like I was the friggin’ babysitter? Would I be insulted if he didn’t let me pay, signaling that it wasn’t my responsibility because I really wasn’t a part of the family?

In my current situation, there have been times when I’ve paid the bill, let the ‘young adult’ pay or we’ve flown Dutch. The only time it feels natural (and authentic) is when I pick up the tab. The GM daughter, unlike the wenches in the commercial, always offers to pay, and while I appreciate it, I don’t want her to.

I can’t imagine her mother or father asking her to throw down some bills for her Cobb Salad, and I suppose a part of this conundrum is because I want to be a member of the parent club.

Shit, my parent’s still pick up the check.

She and I were out the other day, and after I had insisted on paying, she told me that she didn’t want me to think that she was being ungrateful or that she expected it.

I told her that I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t want to, or if I thought that she was taking it for granted. This was exactly what my father used to say to me when I offered to pay. I told her that it gave me great pleasure, also something that my father used to tell me.

This simple act makes me feel like the adult, and do I dare say the parent. I have precious few opportunities to feel this way, so when I do, I relish them.

Marriage and kids can be seen (and felt) as markers or guideposts, that help to identify oneself, and ones place in the world. If you’re single, and without children, it can feel as if your GPS is searching for your current location, while you flail about adrift.

And before you start ranting in the comments section; objecting to the notion that societal constrictions such as marriage and children define a person, or anti-traditional roles, the idea of feminism, gay marriage, low self-esteem, working for the man, and your feelings about the Ebola virus, I’ll say it again– I’m ONLY speaking for myself.

Moving on.

I feel directed when I’m out with the kids, if only briefly. I like it. Most of my time is spent in free fall, where anything can (and does) happen. I’m grateful, but having some good ol’ fashion, garden variety normalcy is a welcomed addition that provides balance.