Saturday, May 31, 2008

Don't push the romance

Sue: Paul, you are so right. Last night I had a date with a different guy whom I met online. This was our second date. We discussed interests, opinions, experiences, our jobs, without getting personal. We had lively, interesting conversations. There was no physical contact -- we were just getting to know each other slowly and calmly, and neither of us has a preconceived agenda to make things romantic or to create a relationship. And why should we? We don't really know each other.

I don't know if anything will come of this, nor how many other women he's dating, nor if he's seeing someone else regularly. But I can say that I had fun, enjoyed getting to know him better, felt relaxed, and appreciated the lack of pressure.

Friday, May 30, 2008

A Man's Take on Too Much Too Soon

Sue, here is Paul's response:

Dear Sue,
I feel that your date is a very needy guy. He wants his wine before the grape is even harvested. I disagree with your daughter that the guy is a freak and a loser, but he may be an asshole. There’s something about you that he finds nurturing, or that reminds him of his mother. Otherwise he wouldn’t feel so at ease trying to hold your hand or kissing you on the first date. I agree that you should be apprehensive about his tendencies, especially because he seems to be a McCain supporter. But it’s only the first date, and if you find him interesting and intelligent, and you can set your boundaries, then it may be worth a second and third date. I don’t think that most men behave this way, even if they would like to. You may need to guide him along and show him that it disturbs you when he makes advances. If he responds, great, if not, dump him.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My daughter's reaction

I told her about his hand-holding request and remarked that he was an asshole. She disagreed, pointing out, "Not an asshole. Just a freak. And a loser."

The DUBIOUS Superiority of Online Dating

Linda, we can't underestimate the downside. Last night I had a drink with a guy whom I met online and with whom I'd had a few promising phone conversations. We sat on a sofa in the lounge and discussed impersonal topics, such as Hilary vs Obama vs. McCain. Our politics weren't even in synch. An hour or so into our conversation, he touched my hand and asked if he could hold it. I felt too awkward to say "No," but at the same time even more awkward about holding hands with a virtual stranger. When it was time to leave, he asked if he could kiss me. I gave him a closed-mouthed kiss, but again felt pushed into something I didn't yet feel.

Why would I feel like being physically affectionate with someone I've known for all of two hours? His overtures seemed so out of the blue, like a complete non-sequitor. Yet this is how many guys behave, especially those who are looking for love on the internet. They're intent on forcing the romance right away because they're armed with an agenda. It is NOT a natural way to try to get to know someone.

Now what do I do if he calls again? I found him interesting and intelligent, but I was very turned off by what felt like an encroachment of my personal boundaries. I should have explained this at the time. Do I explain it on the phone? Or the next time it happens? Or is he just a jerk that I shouldn't go out with again? Please advise and get the male viewpoint from Paul.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Unquestionable Superiority of Online Dating

Sue, I’m happy you’re having fun and you’re so right to be dating a few people at a time until something clicks.
My friend Nora was dating a guy she didn’t really like too much whom she’d been fixed up with by her octogenarian neighbor. On a really good day, she was lukewarm about the guy. He had a weird odor--like cat pee--in his hair and told the same stories over and over ad nauseum. Plus he was bankrupt, but she kept on dating him. Either she didn’t trust online dating--which would have brought her dozens of more appealing choices--or she just couldn’t say something like “I like you but I’m allergic to cats, so alas we have to call it quits.”
At any rate, each week, this charming fellow was available on either Friday or Saturday night, never both. And he never even called to ask her out until Thursday anyway.
Nora obsessively checked on him, calling his home and hanging up, at all hours on the weekend evenings when he was supposedly “busy with the kids”. She was not attracted to this man, dreaded the thought of kissing him, and even went so far as to stuff cotton balls up her nostrils to avoid smelling him. Yet, she hung around for his calls and practically stalked him.
If she'd been willing to get online and date a few other people, she would have had much more fun and she would have ditched this guy asap instead of waiting around until he announced he was engaged to a woman in New Jersey who was a foster mother to 13 cats and an un-neutered 200 pound Vietnamese Pot Belly Pig.

Online Dating

OK, at the moment I am enjoying Internet dating. (Thank you Linda for encouraging me.) Here's an important plus:

It enables you to date a few guys at one time, making it easier to keep your perspective and not get carried away by anyone in particular while you're getting to know them. You don't put your eggs in one basket, start fantasizing about someone, wait by the phone for his call, or act needy, because you're engaged with a few. That's a healthy way to date until you know you've met the right person.

Of course, the down side is that any guy you date is also juggling a few people, which may distract him from focusing on you. So this plus has its minus side. And I do think that with endless multiple profiles at everybody's fingertips, it's hard for a relationship to develop. But if nothing else, it's nice to get dressed up, go out, and meet new people -- especially at this time of year. I say everyone should try it now and then.

P.S. Check out our tips on the DOs and DON'Ts of online dating in today's Huffington Post:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Back in the Dating Pool

Linda: Sue, so glad to know he isn’t Quasimodo or an ax murderer. And on top of that, he’s intelligent and nice. Your radar is working well. On the other hand, we know for sure that history does repeat itself and if you’re looking for an eventual commitment, you seem pretty clear that this isn’t the guy. If you bring up the friend activity partner option, he’ll most likely demur. By this age, most of us already have enough friends. And men seem to want at least the potential for romance as part of the initial picture. He may agree to be your pal if that includes sex or--who knows??-- he may be patient and just wait it out figuring you’ll fall for him. My friend Mitzi started out being coffee buddies with a guy she met in singles group and slowly over time, they’ve formed a really nice bond which lies somewhere between romance and friendship.

But back to your date trashing his ex-wife-- that’s bad news. No woman wants to hear that. It just reminds us that our exes could be out there badmouthing us to anyone who will listen and that thought makes us cringe!
I’m proud of you -- you mustered the courage to jump back into that dating pool. God knows it’s not easy, but at least it was pleasant. Onward and upward! Or maybe it's more like Tally-Ho!


Sue: Linda is right. We had a pleasant time, and it was fun to get out and meet someone new. He is a nice, intelligent guy, though he didn't reveal anything that exonerated his relationship history. Other than his six-year marriage, his longest relationship lasted five years, when he was in his twenties. The reason he finally got married at age 45 was that his wife was pregnant. He also badmouthed her -- bad form.
On the other hand, he made some interesting points: that most men are superficial and judge women on their looks, and that women are deeper and, in his opinion, more admirable. I think he'd make a better friend/"activity partner" than potential bf, but I haven't yet met a man who is interested in assuming that role. I think that between any man and woman, it's more natural to develop a friendship first and see where it goes, rather than look for romance right away.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

To Date or Not to Date That is the Question

Linda to Sue: It’s just that if you don’t go, you’ll never know. We wrote all about being solo on Saturday night, and maybe it’s sort of fun for a while --in a twisted kind of way--playing Internet Scrabble and sitting around with green mud on your face but it’s not the same as human contact. So I reiterate—go for it. Let’s discuss on Thursday. Hindsight is always 20/20.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Doesn't dating history repeat itself?

Sue: So when I didn't hear from any guys on JDAte (except for one man who was 5'7", 220 lbs and walks with a cane), I complained to customer service. They insisted that I have to contact the men. I'm skeptical, but I comply. One guy responded and we had a phone chat. Here's his history:

Got married at age 45 for the first time
Got divorced seven years later (marriage produced one child)
Has been divorced for ten years, still looking for Ms. Right

Which means he has spent more of his adult life dating than he has sustaining a relationship. I'm having drinks with him Wed night because Linda told me to, but I am leery. This guy has a dismal relationship history, and every shrink and self-help book warns that you should pay close attention to a person's history. Well, ya never know -- maybe I'll meet someone else at the bar.

Back on JDate

Sue: Well I reactivated my old JDate profile. But this time I posted less revealing photos (no miniskirts) and listed my true age (57). I figured this way I would weed out the jerks I heard from the last time -- ie the guys who emailed because of the miniskirt I was wearing, and those who would only date women younger than them.

So guess what: this time, with my dignified photos and true age, I didn't hear from ANYBODY. I guess I really succeeded in weeding out the jerks!

Monday, May 12, 2008

When You Talk to the Kids about Dad

Yes Robin Williams is divorcing his second wife who was indeed the nanny for his son from his first marriage. She then became Robin's personal assistant and then-- ta-da-- his wife.

It is sweet and considerate and very important that they are keeping a lid on the animosity for the sake of their children. We all try to do that, and we often fail. We recommend that you bite your tongue when discussing your ex with the children.

Remember your mother’s age-old advice when you talk to the kids about Dad’s shenanigans: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.” We would add, “Lie through your teeth instead.” Then give yourself a pat on the back for being a great mom.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Great last-minute mother's day gift recommends STILL HOT in its Mother's Day newsletter. Check it out:

Still Hot: The Uncensored Guide to Divorce, Dating, Sex, Spite, and Happily Ever After
by Sue Mittenthal and Linda Reing

Enough about those Sex in the City girls already. It's easy to live the glamorous life when you're single, independent, and haven't gone a little crazy satisfying the demands of a husband and kids. But what might Carrie Bradshaw be like 18 years from now when Mr. Big decides to trade up for the latest model?

You don't have to speculate - just pick up Still Hot and see how a couple of smart, attractive, yet cheated-on wives pick up the pieces after their marriages deep-six.

Yes, Virginia, there's life after divorce; but there's no pity in this short, page-turning read - just the kind of laughs that will have even your most fragile going-through-a-separation girlfriend snorting into the book as she recognizes every cliche that describes her errant soon-to-be ex.

Part stand-up routine and part tongue-in-cheek extended rant, Still Hot is a survivor's guide that forces you to giggle even when you feel like crying.

It's a book women buy for women, and laugh over together.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Robin Williams: divorcing "with love"

From Sue:
Robin Williams is divorcing his second wife. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure she was the nanny when he was married to wife #1. (What goes around comes around?) He says they are divorcing "with love" and that it will be totally civil for the sake of their kids. That's a far cry from the people who are ranting on YouTube about their soon-to-be exes-- with absolutely no regard for how the public airing affects their children.

But is it possible to bid au revoir with amour? Usually the legal process is so horrific that it only heightens the anger and resentment. I think three conditions are necessary for a loving split: 1) the separation is mutual and not due to infidelity, 2) there is PLENTY of money to go around, and 3) the moneyed spouse doesn't mind parting with it. These days, that's what we call true love.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Chinese Wives and Adultery

Going back to the Chinese perspective on adultery… Check out the You Tube posting of Hu Ziwei, wife of famous Chinese sports caster Zhang Bin, publicly exposing her husband for two-timing her. Two hours after she learned of his “improper relationship” Mrs. Hu grabbed the microphone from him while he was on-air launching China’s Olympics Network, and outed him for having an affair with another woman. She makes it pretty darn clear that not all Chinese wives meekly accept that it’s fine for their husbands to carry on affairs.

Which brings up the subject of publicly airing your dirty laundry. Lately, the actress Tricia Walsh Smith has been using You Tube to publicly embarrass her husband who is divorcing her. I’m put off by her crazy vindictiveness and lack of any sense of privacy- she’s got absolutely no style .

Monday, May 5, 2008

Great review from!

"A book that makes women cackle and men cringe must be hitting some kind of nerve, right? Still Hot is that kind of book. It's a quick, fun read that feels like GNO (girls night out) at an open mic night for divorcees at a comedy club ; the zingers just keep on coming."

for the full review, go to:
click on "life transitions"
click on "divorce"

A Chinese perspective on adultery

From Sue:
At my high school reunion this past weekend, a former classmate, who lived and worked in China for many years, asked me why I got divorced. When I explained that my husband was having an affair, he asked incredulously, "That's why you broke up?" He said that in China, all husbands have mistresses, and that these girlfriends are very young. Apparently the wives accept this and no one ends a marriage over it. He was under the impression that the wives don't reciprocate, either. A bum deal every way you look at it, except for the men.

Friday, May 2, 2008


From Linda:
I wonder if the Hillary- haters are equally ticked off at Silda Spitzer, the wife of New York’s former sex-scandal- plagued Governor, for not hitting him over the head with a frying pan and then showing him to the door. And what about Jackie Kennedy? Is she detestable as well for not dumping JFK?

Sadly, it seems it’s part of the deal that many political wives accept cheating as something that comes with the big-ego territory of elected office. Or maybe they just figure that their husbands’ brains are located in their crotch, and that’s all there is to it.

I bet Hillary has never for one moment felt really threatened by any of the phalanx of skanks that Bill chose to skulk around with over the years. After all, we know it’s way different--and devasating--when your husband announces he’s in love with another woman. If, say, Bill fell in love with Monica or any of her big-hair predecessors, I bet Hillary--whose career and talents are worlds above just being a “wife of” --wouldn’t stand by her man. And this is not a political endorsement!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Why do some women hate Hillary?

From Sue:

The other day a friend mentioned that lots of women loathe Hillary because she stayed with Bill after the Lewinsky/blue-dress affair. Should you stick with a spouse who cheated?

I say you can't judge others on this -- especially if there are kids involved, and if your h grovels for forgiveness. When I discovered my husband's affair, I campaigned to save our marriage. I asked that we go into marital counseling (he refused), I demanded that he end the affair (he agreed, then continued to cheat), and I tried to please by looking sexier, acting romantic, and giving him tons of (undeserved) support. I waited vainly for the famous "fizzle." Finally I gave him the boot. To my surprise, my teenaged kids -- whom I'd been trying to protect -- were greatly relieved.

Had he given her up and we'd stayed together, would I be able to forgive him? I'll never know for sure, but I doubt it!

Great mention in April 30th USA Today!

"Lighten up with Still Hot: The Uncensored Guide to Divorce, Dating, Sex, Spite, and Happily Ever After by Sue Mittenthal and Linda Reing (Running Press, $12.95). Written by two first wives, this humorous paperback with its racy tips about finding a B.O.B. (battery-operated boyfriend) is like a push-up bra for the divorcee's mood."