There is some unwritten statute of limitations on how long one can whine about a crappy childhood, a negligent parent, a few too many chicken pot pies, summers with the grandparents, days spent on Greyhound buses and with dubious caregivers and creepy neighbors. There is just a moment in an adult’s life when the complaining and sad-sacking about how our parents got divorced, or lost custody, or bailed, or otherwise stank up the joint is just kind of pathetic. Let’s face it, that moment had come and gone for me.
I had to look inside myself, which was kind of like looking into my high school locker: moldy half-eaten sandwich, a few loose Starburst candies, heaps of notebooks and burrito-stained gym clothes obscuring the few things of value. Sure, there’s a book of Sylvia Plath poems and a valid bus pass, but good luck finding them while avoiding that festering tuna salad from yesteryear.
I was in seventh grade when my dad took me to see a Turkish movie exploring the lives of five prisoners given a week’s home leave in the aftermath of a coup d’etat.
Being pregnant for the first time I’m scared and I want my mommy. I just don’t want my mommy.
My chat with Pat has gotten far more feedback than any other interview I’ve done in my almost three years as co-host on The Adam Carolla Show.
Well, it was really more like Adam Carolla’s chat with Pat, and by Pat, I mean writer and political commentator Pat Buchanan
This moment that is supposed to be about eternal union is more about capturing eternal beauty in a photo that's going to be mounted in the living room so everyone can silently think, "Man, she used to be a lot thinner."
So, hopefully, despite the fact that I'm not suffocatingly lonely or in a relationship laced with toxic levels of resentment, I still have a fertile patch of pain from which insights can grow, like that brilliant one I had earlier about leaving the house. What a relief.
I would take my mom against Clint Eastwood in any movie. Sure, he usually plays a grizzled, gunslinger with cat-like reflexes and something to prove, but if you cross my mother, you will find yourself, like the title of Clint's greatest Western, "Unforgiven."
In my now perhaps exceedingly long life as a single woman, I've lived in both New York and Los Angeles.
If you've ever tried to split a Big Hunk candy bar -- the kind made out of brittle white nougat and peanuts -- then you understand a typical breakup.
I'm drinking at a bar called the Dirty Horse on Hollywood Boulevard. Well, that's not the real name, but I never got a look at the sign and that name seemed right.
Welcome to The Ten Minute Method, a new form of condensed counseling offered by a Chatsworth therapist that promises to be both fast and affordable at $18 a session.
My neurosis is like a Ferrari. I can go from 0 to 60 in under four seconds.
In a world of cryptocreative fitness classes like flamenco yoga and aerobic pole-dancing, Ping-Pong seems pretty old school.
At 72, Roth recently became the youngest living author to be honored by the Library of America, which issues hardcover collections of the country's most accomplished writers. The first two volumes, covering Roth's work through the early 1970s, are out this fall.
Another woman has come into my relationship with my boyfriend, and she's the best thing that's ever happened to us.
A week ago, a 22-year-old Japanese foreign exchange student named Mari moved in with us for the month while she studies English in the morning and hip-hop dances in the afternoon.
Back in the primitive days of male hugging, my dad was what trend watchers might call "an early adapter." When few of the other Little League dads hugged their sons, my dad clutched my older brother any chance he got, Mr. Focker-like, at the drop of a bat.
Is our culture trying to scam us into having kids?
This is an epic question and I only have 850 words, so let me start close to home, with my grandma.
"Listen to me," she said last week over the phone from Reseda. "You have to have kids. You'll never regret it. It's the best thing you'll ever do. Listen to your grandma."
Catch any celebrity parent on a talk show and you're likely to hear the same sentiment about the singularly life-changing effects of parenthood. When Jude Law, Eminem, Denise Richards and Esther Strasser agree on something, you have to give it consideration.
In one night, I had dinner at an all-you-can eat salad bar in Arcadia, met my father's first girlfriend in 25 years and weathered a nearly disastrous poetry emergency.
Sound the onomatopoetic sirens; this thing was a relationship 911. Free verse was about to cost my father the best relationship of his life. And it was my fault. What rhymes with "Zero tact"?
So there I was, sitting across the table from dad's new girlfriend, trying to impress her, using my best table manners, eating forkfuls of canned beets on my self-consciously dainty salad and thinking to myself: "This is just weird."
Love is a beautiful thing. That is, unless it happens to a couple of excessively famous people whose affair we can no longer stand.
What do you do when you lose someone? Someone you really hated?
I favor the type of acrylic French tip nails that are considered fashionable only by midlevel porn stars.
The term "boyfriend" is like the knee joint on someone who is morbidly obese. It is being asked to do way more than it was designed to do. It is buckling under the pressure. Where it once could do the job, it is now carrying too much weight
The List has taken over. If you are male, you may not be aware of this, but if you are female, you probably already have one.
My friend has a red velveteen frog that lives on the arm of her red velvet sofa. Her living room has become the gathering place for our little group, five of us, all single.
There's nothing inherently wrong with reading celebrity gossip magazines. If you can do it in moderation, I applaud you (and please let me know if Lindsay Lohan's dad ever gets his act together). In my case, however, I was a problem reader and I had to put the magazines down.
How do you spell crippling inability to connect? L-U-V. That's how I spelled it. After months of trying to make myself say the "L word," I finally managed only three of the letters.
It's Davidson, as in Ronald Davidson, my stepfather. He died yesterday at 62 and that's why I'm at a funeral home out on Charleston Boulevard in Las Vegas. My mom is here, too, and though there are copious boxes of proper tissue in the place, she is clinging to the roll of toilet paper she's had by her side since returning from the hospital with nothing but a bag of Ron's stuff: slippers, a stack of Louis L'Amour paperbacks, his watch.
I was headed into a pizza joint for a slice when I noticed a guy whose face looked eerily familiar. I couldn't place him but he gave me a subtle nod, frat-boy style.
Just as I snapped my head back to make sure it actually was the dude from "Average Joe," he was craning his head back, too.
It's been six months since I relocated for work, "taking a break" from the love of my life, Los Angeles.
Brad Pitt may have sustained an injury during the filming of his new movie, "Troy," but I sustained an injury during the viewing of the film.
I can't explain it any better than this. I think I've lost my mojo.
What little style I have, it's being cramped. New York will do that to you. My toaster is the perfect metaphor for life in the Not-Big-Enough Apple.
I used to want things. One day, I realized the seven pairs of Puma sneakers and the Pottery Barn rug and the 8-pound "Columbia
Encyclopedia," those were just things to pack, and I didn't want them anymore.
Women love bad boys. Nice guys finish last.
Welcome to the most damaging and far-flung myth ever to hit the dating world.
Moses begged God's forgiveness for 40 days and 40 nights, Kobe Bryant's going on at least that long plus a $4 million sorry ring. We all have our ways of expressing remorse, but what are we buying with our flowers, phone calls and fine jewelry? Maybe the more observant among us are trying to be "inscribed in the book of life," to obey strict talmudic laws, but people like me, we just want to feel okay about ourselves. We'd like our names erased from the Book of Guilt.
I'm sitting at a Mobil station in Minneola, my feet propped up against the bottom frame of my car door. The door is swung open so I can take in the desert air, exhale my Camel Light into the breeze.
What is it like to be one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People? I have no idea.
I'm drinking at a bar called the Dirty Horse on Hollywood Boulevard. Well, that's not the real name but I never got a look at the sign and that name seemed right.
I walk into each new hotel room, look at it suspiciously, shake its clammy hand and gingerly put my suitcase down.
I have no dating advice. None. I won't suggest clever phrasing for your personal ad or how to choose a photo to post on JDate. I'm not an expert on any of these things, but without bragging, I will admit I'm truly excellent at one thing: how not to date.
I knew better. I had about as much business being there as an elderly tourist has of being on Skid Row after midnight with a map in his hand and a blank cashier's check taped to his forehead. I was in grave danger of a psychological mugging, and I knew it.
I kept telling myself to walk away, hail an emotional cab and get out fast, but I couldn't. The pull was too strong. I had to know.
Am I annoying?
Here's the scenario: I travel for work almost 20 days a month. It's lonely out there on the road, one long Bob Seger song. Dating is almost impossible, but I've met a guy who seems to fit the suit.
Last week, before the premiere of my new show "While You Were Out," I got my first big national magazine review.
My ex-boyfriend is a star. Just when I thought he was securely fastened in my past, he is suddenly and jarringly in my present, whirring by me on the side of a bus, staring at me from the cover of TV Guide, cracking jokes on late night TV.
It's hard to imagine that I could have been less delectable.
When we were little, my brother and I realized that whenever we asked if someone was Jewish, my mother would answer by simply repeating their name, as if that said it all.
I admit, it doesn't sound pleasant. You enter a room that's been heated to above 100 degrees. The heat isn't as suffocating as the odor, a wall of smell that hits you like a thousand stinky shoes.
Crime does pay. Wait, no. I pay for crime. That is to say, I pay for books about crime because I can't get enough of serial killers, crime profiling, unsolved murders, exonerating DNA evidence, assassins, date stalkers, maximum-security prisons and forensics.
You know that obsequious guy on Bravo's "Inside the Actor's Studio" who asks that series of questions designed to probe the celebrity mind? When he asks, "What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?" I always answer to myself, as if syrupy James Lipton would care, "FBI profiler."
Secretly, I feel I'm already something of a profiler, making my own predictions about cases from Chandra Levy to the anthrax mailer.
It happened fast, like swerving out of the way of a stray cat.
I was driving toward the valet parking kiosk of a fancy-pants department store in Beverly Hills. As I approached, I saw clusters of press and well-dressed young women gathered to attend a charity brunch. A Mercedes was coming to a slow stop.
I don't know what made me do it; I took a sharp left, veering away from the valet kiosk and into an adjacent public lot.
Like grandma's pearls, handed down and worn in, I've inherited an opera-length strand of worries.
"I'd like to give you the keys to my apartment," he said. This was after our first date, if you could call it that. We met for a couple drinks at a bowling alley bar with all the ambiance of a Greyhound station in Lompoc.
I picked the bowling alley. You don't want ambiance when you're going on a curiosity date, more gawking than bonding. This guy wasn't my type, but he asked me out via e-mail and I'm a sucker for prose. We'd had only one brief conversation when I got his e-mail, which ended with this: "Don't dislike me because of how much I like you. If you do, we're doomed."
Do you ever bore yourself? I do. I am boring myself right now.
Rarely can one see the human struggle as simply and clearly manifest as it is in Olympic figure skating. I live according to its teachings.
You don't plan to become a trivia writer, it just happens. The next thing you know, you're a one-woman trivia carnival, packing up your trunk of battered almanacs and dictionaries and moving on to the next show.
Let the courts decide who gets custody of kids. What I want to know is, who gets custody of the coffee shop? The grocery store? The brunch place?
As I write this, I look like James Coburn eating a lemon in a windstorm. Drunk. Not only does my face look red and crackly, it must be covered at all times with a Vaseline-like lotion, thick and greasy, giving me the appearance of someone who has just eaten a pork chop with no hands. And I lack Mr. Coburn's panache.
Location is a huge relationship issue in this vast city with no feasible public transportation. It must be taken into account. Can a couple separated by freeways and 45 minutes survive? Allow me to submit that urban sprawl isn't just bad for the environment, it's brutal on dating.
Thanks, but no Thanksgiving. That's my motto for this year.
I'm in a Commerce outlet mall feverishly darting from store to store. A swirl of images plays across my frontal lobe.
Don't bother me with the guy voted "Cutest smile." That guy's gonna go bad on you. That guy will be of no use. Worse, someday soon he will bore you; he will frustrate you with his basic inability to understand human suffering the way a geek can.
In second grade, my alternative San Francisco elementary school gathered all the students together for a "share" session. It was a tiny school. We crowded into the library, where a teacher calmly announced that there had been a tragedy over the weekend.
Last night, I was watching "Big Brother," a show mocked for its lack of action. Call me crazy, but to me, it's Chekhov; it's all about the subtext. Anyway, a contestant named Bunky was voted out of the house last week. That's when I realized that slowly, quietly, the new breed of reality shows is causing a revolution.
I want to tell you about the "No Mas Date," but first I have to tell you about legendary Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran.
Perhaps you've heard of Duran, widely considered one of the 10 best boxers of the 20th century. His nickname was "Manos de Piedra," Spanish for "Hands of Stone." Those brick fists took him from the streets of Panama to the world lightweight championship. He won his first 28 professional fights, 23 by knockout.
What does this have to do with dating? I'm getting to that.
All I've done in New York is walk. I can't stop walking. I've rotated my shoes to disperse the blisters, but it hasn't helped much. Still, I walk.
I don't want to be petty. I just want my ex to be sitting alone in his room, turning a lamp on and off and wondering how he's going to live without me.
I ironed my bed skirt this weekend. I got out the can of spray starch and lovingly pressed that thing for an hour in the sauna-like atmosphere of my tiny kitchen. That's how much I didn't want to read "Why Can't I Fall in Love? A 12-Step Program."
Now, I know what you're thinking. When a guy comes over to take you out for a drink, and instead requests Aleve and a bottle of wine, perhaps he's not really going to work out.
I remember what I was wearing on just about every first date with every boyfriend I've ever had.
In comes the summer and out goes my latest boyfriend. He was a great guy, funny, smart and possessing what my mom calls "The Big Three": a job, a car and an apartment.
How did I find myself at the Beverly Hills Police Department, eating an apple and crying?
It's been far too long since I've consulted the Good Book. And by that I mean Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style." I've gone renegade and now I'm paying the price. Shut-ins all over this town are taking time out from entering sweepstakes and filing coupons alpha-numerically to inform me of my shortcomings.
Here's a definition of relativity: "Time stretches and contracts based on the point of view of the observer."
Girl meets boy. Girl falls in love with boy. Girl stops returning her friend's phone calls. Girl's world narrows. Girl loses boy. Girl starts calling her friends again. Girl meets another boy.
Things aren't going well. I know this because I come home from work, eat six bowls of cereal and climb in bed still wearing my clothes and shoes. The end is near, and I can feel it.
Bunny. Das-tardly Bunny. Stupid stuffed, fluffy gift from his ex-girlfriend. Bunny, you've enjoyed life on his pillow for awhile, but now you must die. Bunny must die.
This is what I thought as I tossed Bunny out the window of his bedroom last week. You see, there's something cute about a man with a stuffed animal, but when I realized they used to call each other "Bunny," it was all too much. Bunny, though cute, was a symbol of a love that had already hippity-hopped on by.
To all the people who've invited me to events with those two fateful words, "And Guest," I apologize. I'm sorry you have to look through your wedding or shower or Bar Mitzvah photos and say, "Who's that?" when looking at my date.
I'm doing my laundry on Christmas Eve. The Ebenezer Scrooges who own my building see fit to provide only one dryer for all the residents.
This weekend, my mom drove in from Las Vegas to deliver my Chanukah gifts. As I've mentioned before, the woman is a gift maven.
It used to be that you had to take a guy's word for it. Now, all you need is a good search engine.
It's a familiar story. Kids grow up, parents sell the family home and move to some sunnier climate, some condo somewhere, some smaller abode.
They say you can never go home again.
Well, you can. Only you might find yourself staying at a Travelodge, driving a rented Ford Contour and staking out your childhood home like some noir private eye just trying to catch a glimpse of the Johnny-come-latelys that are now living in your house.
It was an innocent batch of chocolate chip cookies that started what I've come to call "The Great Gift-Giving War."
Once you spill your guts, they're a little hard to mop up.
I didn't do much today but drive.No one died. No jobs were lost or won. I didn't run into an old boyfriend, have an epiphany or a traffic accident.
It's not every day your mother has a shotgun wedding at a Las Vegas chapel, so it was a special moment.
Something quite unexpected has happened to my musical taste. I've gone country.
When I have things to write, I suddenly seem to have things to read. Yahoo online stock profiles for example, of stocks I don't own, because I don't own any stocks.
First date. He agrees to see a movie about ballet instead of "Gladiator." You're heartened by this early sacrifice.
After the movie, he drags you along to a friend's birthday dinner at some Italian sounding restaurant on Sunset. On the way he gets aggravated about the traffic. This, you count against him.You try to be charming around his friends, as you realize you're on display and want to be seen as someone with good social skills. He reaches way across the table for bread. This, you remember your aunt used to call "boarding house reach." You also count this against him.
He sees to it immediately that you get a shot of ouzo, a Greek liquor he says will be good for your cold. It is. This erases the traffic temper and the reaching, which persists.
"I'm not crying for them," she whispers. "I'm crying for me. No one's going to make my heart their home.""I know," I confess. "Someone might make my heart their apartment, but they'll ruin the carpets and insist on a month-to-month lease."
I never thought I'd find myself in any place called "The Winner'sRoom," mingling with soap opera stars and clutching a huge gold statue.
I made my desert pilgrimage to see some pioneer town I read about in a book. I never made it, but I did have an adventure, which was all I really wanted.
Some days, you really don't feel like taking the high road.
Take today, for example, when I read a letter from a reader named Molly (not her real name). Maybe I just wasn't ready to deal with this total stranger who seems to have taken a keen but rather unpleasant interest in me. Maybe I just hadn't had my coffee yet, and my mind was like a dozen unmade beds and half-baked ideas and I wasn't standing firm enough not to be blown over by the sheer force of this person's meanness.
At that moment, the high road was looking mighty unappealing.
There will be no burning of photos, no vindictive giving back of stuffed animals, no late night hang up calls. This will be the best breakup I've ever had. "Let's just be friends" will ascend from cliché to reality.
Our family agreed to chip in to buy Mom a few days at a spa for her holiday gift, a plan that seemed suitable enough until she uttered the following words, plaintively, over the phone: "It wouldn't be any fun without you."
For the last two years, I've dreamed of a simple thing: I've just wanted to be able to say, "I'm in the other room."
According to the synagogue's rabbi, Daniel Bouskila, the idea of Cafe Olam is to "create an environment that's different than a synagogue or lecture series, a place where people intimidated by religion will feel comfortable.
The first time I went over to Jon's apartment, I thought it was so sweet that he had a framed black and white picture of his dad on the nightstand, smiling somewhat ruggedly in a flannel shirt. Only it wasn't Jon's dad. It was Don Henley.
have got to get my car registered before I collect any more tickets. But before I do that, I really should get around to changing the filter in my Brita water pitcher at home because I've noticed some black, metallic specks floating around that are probably doing my liver some long-term damage.
You go out. You talk to a lot of people you don't know. Maybe you gossip a little. Maybe you flirt. Maybe you try too hard and end up acting just a bit like someone else.
You wake up the next day with the uneasy feeling that you've just gotten drunk and had a one-night stand. But you haven't. You just have what I think of as a mild "shameover," that uneasy feeling that you've woken up with a stranger and that stranger is you.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I had occasion to peer into two almost antithetical worlds of matchmaking. The first: a do-it-yourself option courtesy of a Jewish dating service on the Internet. The second: "Old School" Jewish Matchmaking like a picture postcard sent through time from Anatevka.
There's something inherently sexy about a woman who owns a dog.
Phobia: 1. A compulsive or persistent fear of any specified type of object, stimulus or situation. 2. An exaggerated or persistent dread of or aversion to.
Sitting in the front row of the McCadden Theater in Hollywood was my personal pit of snakes. I would rather be buried alive, in the dark, on top of a skyscraper covered with mice than be reviewed. But there he was, a theater critic from Backstage West trade paper, perched right in the front row to review my one-woman show.
Here's the scene I most remember when I think about moving here from San Francisco: I'm in my $385-a-month apartment, which is furnished only with a monolithic file cabinet I rescued from my uncle's garage and a day bed suited for a small child.
It started out innocently enough. Some burning. Uncomfortable urination. A couple of weeks pass, and I'm starting to feel like my bladder is on fire and all the cranberry juice in Vons isn't going to put out the flames.
Busted flat in Barstow, I realize the desert is no place for an old Plymouth. The mechanic says something about "a machine shop in Victorville," and I think that is one phrase you never want to hear in a sentence with your name. That and "feeding tube."
We're about the same age and, from a distance, it almost looks like we could be sisters. But that's where the similarities end between Melissa and me.
I wanted to try it out. You know, take the old b-word out for a spin in a totally non-threatening environment where I didn't know anyone and, therefore, could be neither mocked nor held accountable.
Ever since I moved to Los Angeles, I've been completely lost.
No, I don't mean spiritually or emotionally. I mean literally. I've been lost for pretty much two straight years.
"This is an amazing book," said my friend Lynn, solemnly handing me my birthday present, a paperback she handled as though it were the Holy Grail. "But rip off the cover right away."
I don't know how to tell you this, but I think it's over.
I don't want you to take it personally. It's not you; it's me. I just need some time to get my head together. I just need to find out who I am without you in my life. After 28 years, I just need to move on.
One recent day, all was right with the world. I was the master of the details in my universe. I had arranged to pay my bills online, lugged five pairs of shoes in to be shined and reheeled, picked up my dry cleaning, bought stamps.
I meet a guy. I'm pretty sure I like him because I haven't erased the message he left on my answering message. I call my machine from work and listen to it a time or two, smiling and blushing and feeling like a complete idiot.
Krav Maga, the official fighting system of the Israeli Defense Forces, isn't about winning competitions like some of the other martial arts. It's about surviving a violent confrontation however possible, a philosophy which has made the training popular with both law enforcement officers and regular people looking for a way to protect themselves on the street.
It was a Saturday night, and after watching the Lakers defeat the Warriors, I had no plans.
Either the apocalypse is coming, or I've been living in Los Angeles too long. Last night, I woke up from the most vivid dream, the kind that feels like it lasted all night, the kind of dream that feels like a journey through every emotion.
Sandra Bullock, get out of my head. Look, it's nothing personal. I'm sure you're a really nice person, and it's not like you're untalented. And despite the fact that I'm not particularly a fan of yours, I seem to know everything about you.
You have three goals for your Sunday: wash your car, wash your clothes, wash yourself.
It is Saturday night, and I'm determined to have a good time.