Why Monica Lewinsky is NOT my feminist hero.


Last week was apparently the 20th anniversary of the Lewinsky-Clinton scandal.  I’m not sure why we need to celebrate or commemorate such a fiasco but this morning I discovered this tweet by Eve Peyser, a staff writer at



There’s a lot in this one tweet.  For starters I don’t how it’s very feminist to make negative blanket statements about two entire generations of women.  To encompass all baby boomers and generation X women in one sweeping generalization like that is really condemning most women in the United States.

I’m not a fan of broad generalizations about any group, and I have a more nuanced view of the Lewinksy scandal so this was my response to that tweet.


(I actually made a mistake when I wrote my tweet.  For years I always thought I was slightly younger than Lewinsky.  I only discovered when researching this article that Monica and I are actually the exact same age.)

For starters I didn’t learn about the Lewinsky-Clinton scandal from textbooks and news articles.  I lived through it.  I won’t delve into the minutia of the entire ordeal and I might get a couple of small details wrong but the basics go like this.  A young privileged woman (Monica Lewinsky) open and aggressively pursued a married man (President Bill Clinton) who had a long history of infidelity and womanizing.  The GOP leadership was already investigating Clinton for a past real estate deal when they stumbled upon evidence of the affair.  When Clinton denied it, Republican representatives filed for articles of impeachment on grounds that he’d lied under oath.  Every torrid sexual detail was exposed.  Several horrible people profited from tell all books and tabloid exclusives, but when the dust settled Clinton, although permanently tainted from the scandal, stayed in power.  In the upcoming years several of the men who lead the charge against Clinton, ended up in far more lurid sex scandals of their own.

Lewinsky received a disproportionate amount of negative press for her role in the affair.  She was called everything from a slut, whore, home-wrecker, and opportunist.  The press mocked her weight, clothing, and appearance.  Her personal life was dissected and analyzed and nearly everything written about her was negative.  Intimate sexual details between her and the president were printed for all of eternity in the special prosecutor’s report.  Her face graced the cover of newspapers and magazines for months.  Lewinsky tried to profit off of her notoriety by selling her own line of handbags, a venture which quickly failed and did nothing to improve her image.

After millions of tax dollars were spent on the investigation, the whole mess ended up backfiring for the GOP as the general public sentiment could be reduced to the simple question:

Was all of this necessary for a blow job?

Now back to the idea of Lewinsky being bullied and slut-shamed.  Regarding the charge of bullying.  Although the press was overly harsh toward her, most women I knew had mixed feelings.   Social media didn’t exist at the time and none of us could really have done anything but sit back and watch the train wreck.  I’m sure Lewinsky got mountains of hate mail but no one could tweet at her, make video rants about her, mock her online, share unflattering photos of her, or dox her personal information.  The general public wasn’t nearly as interactive in such affairs in the 1990s.   We just didn’t have the means to get involved.

As far as slut-shaming is concerned, that’s also a bit complicated.  There is a faction of third wave feminism that promotes the idea that anything sexual a woman does should be championed or celebrated.   For centuries female sexuality has been viewed as evil or something to be controlled.  There is nothing wrong of course with two adults in a consensual sexual relationship.  Things get blurry however when sexuality crosses over into unethical behavior.   A person can think whatever they want about the institution of marriage, but they don’t exist in a cultural vacuum where everyone shares the same belief system.  Knowingly having an affair with a married person is a high risk behavior.  When one enters into an adulterous relationship with someone they know is married they are suddenly involving other people without their consent.  Although they might get away with their affair, it could also have extreme negative consequences for both the spouse and children of the person they are sleeping with.  Infidelity is a selfish and unethical act that involves lies and betrayal.  Deception destroys trust in any relationship, and can cause untold damage to the faithful spouse.  Two atheists can tear each other apart in a marriage without the concept of religious sin or morality ever entering the picture.  Simply put an extramarital affair might be fun for the two people involved in it, but it might also wreck emotional havoc on an entire family.

I also don’t think Lewinsky is the best example for the #MeToo movement.  Clinton never threatened Lewinsky’s job.  There’s no evidence that he did anything of the sort.  He never told her he’d destroy her career, harm her family or ruin her reputation if she didn’t go along with his advances.  She has never testified to as much, and there’s nothing in the Starr report that would indicate it.  Lewinsky was much younger than Clinton, but he didn’t exactly coerce or force her.  If anything she was a starstruck girl who got a rush and sense of self-importance by having sexual relations with a very powerful man.  She openly bragged about their affair, about flashing her thong underwear during meeting with him.  She also boasted about “bringing her presidential knee pads to the White House” before she even met him.  Lewinsky probably did have emotional scars from a previous relationship she’d had with another older married man.  She probably had a warped view of relationships with older men because of her past.  Clinton had a long history of inappropriate behavior with women.  It was unprofessional and foolish to get involved sexually with a young subordinate.  As the POTUS he had more important things to worry about.  He used poor judgment, lied to his wife, lied to the American people and ruined his own legacy in the process.  He had far more life experience and more at stake, and should have used restraint.  He wasn’t the first president to have an extramarital affair, and Lewinsky if far from the first woman to have sex with one.

What also compelled me to reject the label of “feminist hero” toward Lewinsky are Lewinsky’s own words and actions since the scandal ended.  At first she tried to ride her notoriety with a line of handbags.  That wasn’t exactly a bold step forward for feminism or women’s rights.  It was a crass attempt to cash in on the media attention.  That venture failed quickly and she faded into relative obscurity.  When she returned to tell her story many years later she was contrite.  She took ownership of her mistakes and failings.  She started a platform to raise awareness of the dangers of public humiliation in the media.

The irony is of course is that although she was humiliated by a vicious press, Lewinsky’s actions also caused great humiliation to Bill’s wife Hillary and their teenage daughter Chelsea.  Hillary was far from unscathed from this whole mess.  Although Hillary has been long-suffering through Bill’s many dalliances she chose to stay in the marriage and forgive her husband.  She has also bore the burden of his actions and poor choices.  Bill’s past with women was constantly brought up during her failed presidential attempt.   Her moral center was questioned even though she’d done nothing wrong but try to defend her husband.   As much as Lewinsky might feel she has to endure a permanent scarlet A on her chest for her youthful mistakes, Hillary also wears the badge of enabler, doormat, or frigid shrew.

Lewinsky didn’t improve the plight of women, and she didn’t do anything heroic through her extended ordeal.  She did have enough personal strength and insight to take responsibility for her actions many years later.  She’s also tried to improve the lives of others through her anti-bullying campaign.  If anything she’s a survivor who tried to use her personal pain for good, but to call her a hero is a bridge too far.

If millennial women are searching for an actual feminist hero of the #MeToo movement the choice should be obvious.  Just a few years before the Lewinsky-Clinton scandal a young attorney testified that she was repeatedly sexually harassed by her boss Clarence Thomas.  She spoke up because he had just been nominated to a position on the supreme court.  Anita Hill sat alone in front of the all male senate judiciary committee and the world to describe her ordeal in brutal detail.  During her brave testimony she was viciously picked apart by the press and Thomas’s supporters.  She also endured an avalanche of scrutiny of every detail of her life, background and personal relationships.  She went through as much grief as Lewinsky if not more.  In the end Clarence got his seat on the court and Anita Hill never changed her story.  At time of her testimony 60 percent of Americans believed Thomas over Hill, yet after her testimony, the number of women filing harassment claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission doubled.  Anita Hill is a feminist hero in every way possible, in fact she’s a feminist superstar.

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Dating in NYC: How to use the Internet to Catch your Partner Cheating


A few of my friends have criticized me for what they view as “creepy” cyber sleuthing habits.  Well, as I often say on stage, “My fairy tale is dead, my heart is black”, so yeah I’m not the most trusting person. For the purposes of this article, I won’t get into the specifics of my divorce but as the not so eloquent former President George W. Bush tried to say:

Here’s the actual phrase he was going for:
“Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice shame on me.” 

The truth is painful, and can hurt temporarily, but ultimately we are better off.  The key to catching a cheater was almost always technology: phone, email, twitter, Facebook, and other forms of social media.  Since I’ve been divorced I’ve learned to find out as much as possible about a person BEFORE I get seriously involved with them.  The problem of course is that you can go too far, and misinterpret completely innocent things.

CAUTION:  I don’t recommend using any of these tactics unless you’re in a serious committed relationship, AND you suspect your partner is cheating.  Doing any of this for someone you are casually dating is total overkill and will just make you a neurotic mess. Cyber sleuthing is the nuclear option.  DO NOT do this with every guy or gal you go on a date with, if you do, you’ve entered a place called CRAZYTOWN.


Google is your best friend.  You can find all sorts of stuff about a person with this search engine.  Of course you should search for his or her name, but then you can go further with it.  Search for blogs, images, videos, even news articles.  You’d be surprised what shows up.  I once found a blog that was in some ways a love letter to a guy I was dating at the time.  In his case, it was a ex-girlfriend who was still completely obsessed with him.  She lived in another city, but the way he reacted to my discovery made me completely certain that he wasn’t worth my time.  He was clearly still infatuated with her, and it explained a lot of his non-committal behavior.  There are other search engines such as Bing, or Yahoo, which are also helpful.


It’s an invaluable resource, as many users post an incredible amount of personal information on their profile.  But again proceed with caution.  If you have just started dating, then none of the following is a reason to worry, but if you’ve been exclusive for more than six months or so, consider any of these a red flag.

  • Does he/she post photos of you as a couple? – If he or she posts other personal information and photos with friends, it’s strange if they aren’t posting photos of you together.  Why are they hiding you?
  • Have they changed their relationship status or is it blank? – Again, not everyone is public about these things, but if it’s a serious relationship that has gone on for a extended period of time and there is ZERO mention of you…that’s highly unusual.
  • Do they have tons of photos of themselves with an ex on their profile? – Of course there are mitigating circumstances with this one.  If they share children with their ex, you should expect to see photos of them on their profile, especially if the kids are in the photo.  If it’s a former spouse, that’s also more understandable.  But if it’s a virtual shrine to some woman or man who is supposedly no longer intimately involved with them, that’s troubling behavior.
  • Are you ever mentioned in a status update?  Do they make any public declarations about you? – It depends on how often they post, and how public your partner typically is on social media.  If your partner is constantly posting, yet you’ve never been seen or spoken about…that’s cause for concern.
  • Do they have a separate album dedicated to a former partner?  – This is just the height of tackiness.  Now if you have just started dating, it’s no big deal.  But if you’re at a point where you’re exclusive and you’ve been dating for an extended period of time, it’s just disrespectful to keep that on social media.

Backdoor tips when using Facebook – If you type a person’s name in the part where you search for something and just hold it, you will get a pulldown menu below, one of the options is simply called Photos of (Person’s Name)  I’m going to use my own account to demonstrate this:

Screen shot 2014-04-22 at 3.26.56 AM


If you select that, then you can search for photos the person has “liked” in the past year.

I won’t include any actual photos as to protect the privacy others.  But trust me, Facebook will show you quite a bit.

Screen shot 2014-04-22 at 3.34.52 AM

Another option in the same pull down menu is “Photos Commented on by (Person’s Name)”

Screen shot 2014-04-22 at 3.31.00 AM

Now of course, if your significant other is just liking another person’s photos that doesn’t mean much.  BUT if all of their likes are gorgeous, women or hot guys….you might want to keep digging.  The comments they make are even more revealing.  Again, one comment, or one photo is no big deal, but if you find an overwhelming pattern or hundreds of examples, that’s a reason to worry.  The handy thing about Facebook is that it dates nearly everything.  So an excuse about correspondence being ancient history, is easily debunked.

What I don’t recommend – making fake profiles and trying to friend people under false pretenses to find more dirt.  If you’re doing that, then you’re almost as bad as the cheater.  You shouldn’t lie and use other people to get information about your partner. You never know how you could unintentionally hurt someone else, and honestly you probably won’t have to go to such extremes.  Most people aren’t that skilled at hiding their philandering.



Do a hashtag search of your partner’s full name.  Trust me, you’d be surprised what you might find.  I did this once with a man who was trying to hook up with me.  When I did the hashtag search I found a photo of him with another woman. They looked very much like a couple.  I clicked on the photo and then it was even more obvious that not only was this his girlfriend, but they had been dating for a fairly long time.  On his account, he didn’t have a single photo of her.  He had also neglected to feature her anywhere on his Facebook, or even mention her once.  I felt sorry for her, as half of her account seemed dedicated to this relationship.  When I confronted him about it, he admitted everything.

You could also hashtag nicknames, or search for the name of a person you think might be involved with your partner.  Some more savvy users could block you from their account, but they’re only going to do that if they suspect your looking for information.  In most cases, if your partner is cheating on you, the person he or she is sleeping with might not even know you exist.


Most people wouldn’t be this stupid, but former Congressman Anthony Weiner thought absolutely nothing of sending obscene photos to a user on twitter. You can scan through your partners tweets to find conversations he or she might have had with other users.  Twitter isn’t even remotely private, so most skilled cheaters wouldn’t think of having incriminating discussions on that platform, but it’s worth the look.  If you see the same user constantly engaging your partner, and you already suspect that person, it could just add to your pile of evidence.  Yes, Anthony Weiner was this stupid…he thought sending this photo via twitter was a good idea.




Nowadays most people have passwords on their computers and other devices.  But the passwords usually take a few minutes to click in, if your partner just used his or her email you might be able to search it with no problem.  I don’t recommend doing this unless absolutely necessary.  Hacking into another person’s email is highly unethical but if you are 99% sure that there is infidelity going on, and you need solid proof, there might not be any other way.


A more savvy cheater knows to hide their viewing history when surfing the net.  However, people get lazy and forget to do this all the time.  I’ve met countless men and women who found out their spouse was cheating simply by checking their internet history online.  Visits to dating or hook-up sites are especially difficult to explain, you might even find their profile.

*Anything online leaves a trail, all written correspondence is subject to screen shots and photographs.  So email, text messages, twitter, blogs, etc. are all proof your partner is not being honest with you.

Always when in doubt use common sense and logic when dealing with a possible cheater.  There’s another old saying:

“If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, it’s a duck” 

  • Your partner is not being forthcoming about your relationship – they never mention you on social media
  • You haven’t met their friends or family
  • They are overly secretive in general, they tell you very little about their background or personal life
  • They are constantly breaking dates at the last-minute
  • You never go out in public
  • They always have strange elaborate excuses for some of their behavior
  • They are hyper secretive about their phone, email use, or internet searches
  • They accuse you of cheating, or need to know your whereabouts at all times – cheaters often suspect their partners.
  • They have relationships with opposite or same-sex partners that seem too intense or obsessive for a normal friendship

These are all huge red flags, that you’re dealing with a cheating partner.  DON’T LIVE IN DENIAL!  Use the cognitive part of your brain to drown out the fluttery, irrational, romantic emotions and learn the truth.  Everything you love and cherish could be a stake, don’t let someone treat you like a fool.  From my own personal experience with this, I have no regrets about finding out the truth in my marriage.  Both my former spouse and I are better off, and now we can both live our lives authentically.

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Facebook: Boys and Girls play differently

Danny & Alex on the See-Saw

Danny & Alex on the See-Saw (Photo credit: leekelleher)

In the title of this piece I use the terms boys and girls; but what I am really talking about is men and women.  Something about Facebook etiquette though makes me think of a school playground, so the title seems appropriate.  What is Facebook etiquette?  I don’t think any of us know yet, as social media is a relatively new forum.  It has been my experience that men and women behave completely differently on social media. As a performer I meet a lot of people and I used to friend just about anyone within reason.   I have learned the hard way that I can’t be so open.  Out of my 2700 friends, and I could have many more if I wasn’t so picky, the vast majority of negative activity has come from men.   I have had to deal with the following:

  • The Semi-Stalker – A male user who will comment on nearly everything, including completely mundane posts.  A true semi-stalker is someone who doesn’t know me well and who I may have met for an instant or is just someone I share multiple mutual friends.  Yet this virtual stranger will become fascinated by everything I post.  Most of the time, these men are in a relationship or married which makes their behavior even more unsettling.  I can’t help but picture them at their computer ready to pounce on my latest update.  Their behavior is unnerving and most Semi-Stalkers end up getting kicked off my page.
  • The Full on Cyber Stalker – A male user who goes beyond the realm of Facebook to harass me.  I have had several men exhibit stalking behavior engaging negatively on this blog, my twitter account and in my regular email.  The worst was someone who did all three and even set up two fake OKCupid profiles to torment me.  I had mutual friends with this person, he lived in New York City and was also a performer.  I thought he would be OK, but he got so crazy he resorted to threats of physical violence.  My crime:  I had kicked him off my page when he made a sexually explicit comment on my wall in a political discussion.  At the time it happened I foolishly told him why I was deleting him in angry email.   Now I simply delete/block without comment.  The less I engage the stalker the better.
  • The I want to tell you Missy –  I’ll post anything political and a man will respond with an extremely long diatribe.  Most posts from unfamiliar men are condescending and include disrespectful language.  They act as if I don’t know what I am talking about, haven’t bothered to do research or am acting purely from emotion.  These men obviously don’t know me well, and I don’t think they have ever been published anywhere.  Everything I have written for the Huffington Post goes through an editorial process.  If I use a stat or fact I have to include a hyperlink in my article to a non-biased a source.  I am not exactly a lightweight and this isn’t my first time at the political discourse rodeo.  I never started a fight with them, and I never posted on their wall.  I don’t see the point in getting into it with someone who is diametrically opposed to me politically.  The discussion is going to go nowhere, and will end up being a huge waste of time.  So to my more Libertarian, Republican or conspiracy theory friends I usually just leave well enough alone.  Everyone can post whatever they want.  I don’t have to engage in a Facebook war with them because I don’t agree with their point of view, instead I just ignore their rants.  Although I have kicked people off for posting racist articles or absolute nonsense.   I get plenty of detractors and would be critics on my Huffington post articles and on this blog.  I don’t need it on my personal facebook page.
  • The Negative Commenter – Again usually a man who I don’t know well, maybe I met them at a comedy show…I don’t know.  They will just post something negative for reasons unknown to me. Recently I was really frustrated with my memoir and I posted something along the lines of “man this is hard”.  Some guy I barely knew felt the need to write “First World Problems” as a comment.  I thought it was inappropriate especially since I didn’t know him well and he knows nothing about my life.  I quietly deleted the comment and he un-friended me.  I was happy he saved me the trouble.
  • The Pervert – I don’t feel like I need to describe this one, but I haven’t had a woman give me a problem like this yet.
  • The Bully – I once posted “Congratulations to SAG-AFTRA on our historic merger“.  This seemingly innocuous post ended in a comedian I knew calling me a cunt.  He then got on my wall with an alter-ego profile to try to keep fighting.  Again, I had no history with this man other than doing a paid show for him once.  We had mutual friends.  He had posted anti-union sentiments on my wall in the past and I had politely told him to stop saying something like “Look I come from two unionized parents and I am in two unions you aren’t going to change my mind please stop” he persisted.
  • The Scolder – No matter what I post, including things as controversial as “Being self-employed is difficult” the Scolder will point out to me that I’m being too negative. They are ALMOST ALWAYS men I barely know.  No one is always chipper and happy all of the time, and some people like to vent.  I would never dream of making some sort of judgment like that to a person I barely know.  It seems to me like just another way to put me in my place.

Are Facebook pages free speech zones?  I don’t think so.  Should people post long drawn out political rants on other people’s pages?  I would say no.  If they start the fight, they should expect to finish it.  But why start it in the first place.  In any given year I kick off dozens of men from my Facebook page, sometimes two or three in a day.  In contrast I have kicked off exactly one woman, and in her case she was doing all of her aggressive behavior via private message.  She was not posting anything on my wall. In my experience when women engage in political discussion they are ironically less likely to get emotional.  They don’t talk to me in a condescending manner and they certainly don’t call me a cunt.  To put it simply.

It’s not that all of my male friends on Facebook cause problems for me, but nearly all the problems I have on Facebook involve men.

I can’t twist my reality to conform to a politically correct narrative where men and women act the same.  I enjoy political discourse  and have plenty of close friends who don’t always agree with me.  I don’t mind getting in real debate, but that is rarely what happens.   I have male Facebook friends who constantly post inflammatory things and I don’t see them getting the same types of reactions.  But I will admit, I don’t know what a typical male goes through. Would men also post repeatedly on the wall of a man they barely knew?   I would love to hear men’s opinions on this.  Do men who barely know you pick political fights with you?  Is this a problem?  Do men engage in the same type of abusive behavior such as stalking, harassment and negative posts with other men?  Do women do it to men? I would never dream of engaging someone I didn’t know well in political discussion especially when I can tell they are already extremely passionate about their point of view.  I would never take the fight to someone else on a personal page like that.  Why do they feel the need to take it to mine?  As I have said to many  of my male ranters, ask yourself this question.

“When was the last time Juliet Jeske posted on my wall?”

The answer would be never….so please knock it off.

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Dating After Divorce: Disposable People

The above pair is my favorite pair of shoes on the planet.  Shoes, clothing, perfume, makeup all make me extremely happy.  The above pair I don’t wear often, but every time I step out in these I feel quite happy when they are on my feet.  Right after I got this pair of nearly perfect footwear there was a problem.  The sole of the heel broke off, and I didn’t realize it until I got them home.  The wear and tear of walking around on them like this had begun to grind down the heel.  I took them too my best shoe repair shop and for only $12 were repaired to a condition that was better then when I bought them.  The sole that the repairman placed on the shoes was thicker and stronger than the original.   Since my divorce, subsequent meltdown, massive depression and the recovery that followed I feel a lot like my favorite pair of heels.  Surviving my crisis and the hell that followed it has actually made me stronger as a person and a better potential mate for a partner, but the rest of the world doesn’t always see it that way.

I have written about this topic before in other blog posts.  In another article I called it “The Shiny Penny Syndrome”.  The idea that no matter how nice a partner you have in front of you, there might be something just better around the corner so why bother investing in keeping the partner you already have.   We have an epidemic of this mentality in New York City.  It only gets worse as we age and the older and more world-weary a person become the most banged up and tarnished they might seem to a potential suitor.  From the email and comments I get I have to think it is a common problem throughout the US, especially single people over 35.

I have read numerous articles about men getting so fixated on porn that real women do not measure up to the glorified standard of their virtual lovers.  A porn star is always young, ready willing and able with proportions and assets that few real women posses.  Never mind the porn star cannot actually be touched or embraced, or listen to a man’s problems, comfort him while he is sick or just sit quietly next to him on a sofa watching a movie.  The porn star is always the predictable and controllable.  She won’t call him with her own problems, won’t demand that he go to a party with her friends, won’t beg him away from a game, she won’t have a moody day when she wants time on her own, and she won’t nag him to do the dishes.   A porn star is always convenient, she does everything expected of her and nothing more.

Women also do this, expecting their perfect match to not only be kind, caring, and an amazing lover but also physically fit and taller than average.  The guy has to live close and have a good job, but not one that takes him away or causes him to work 14 hours a day.  He must respond to text messages, phone calls and always be emotionally available but not a wimp or too sensitive that he comes across as feminine.  He must love her friends and all of her interests and hobbies and never even think of straying or even look at other women.  Some women are hoping that the perpetually young, financially stable, quirky but masculine lover from their favorite romantic comedy will just bump into them on the street and change their lives forever.

Of course not every man fixates on idealized porn perfection and not every female wants some wealthy living breathing Ken doll with a stock portfolio to rival Mitt Romney.  But what gives?  Dating since my divorce has just left me feeling like a disposable girlfriend, good for an amount of time, then discarded without too much fanfare.  I have difficultly bonding anyway, so this type of behavior just makes me more wary, and more emotionally distant and distrusting.  Humans are more than the sum of our parts: a nice ass, pretty eyes, a good job or a decent apartment.   Why do we treat each other like this?  Why do I keep hearing stories from friends both male and female that sound the same.  Guy meets girl, gets really excited then drops her like a hot rock because he finds too many “deal breakers”.  Or girl meets guy gets really excited and then drops him when she realizes he isn’t exactly what she was looking for in a partner.

For some people in the dating pool, other human beings are nothing more than an object.  A new person is like a new pair of shoes thrown away when they don’t quite live up to their expectations.  The shoes looked so ideal at first, but once worn the shine is gone and the shoes tossed.   Meanwhile cluttering the universe are thousands of bright, shiny, new shoes that will surely fulfill expectations.  Perhaps it is our “You can have it all” consumerist mentality that is always preaching the gospel of never-ending search for perfection.  Why have a girlfriend with cellulite when you can have one with smooth thighs, never mind that you are 45.  Why have a boyfriend who is losing his hair, or is your exact height when you can date someone who looks like a movie star and runs a hedge fund to boot!

Are we turning into spoiled children who will never be satisfied?  Does our culture run on nothing more than pushing the next big thing down our throats?  And to get us to want more, more, more we have to feel bad about what we already have?  I don’t think we are quite there yet, and I hope we never get there.  After all we are human beings with flaws, dents, hang-ups and emotional baggage…and not just a lousy pair of shoes.

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Dating After Divorce: The What the Hell was I thinking? Stage of a break-up

Photograph of blue sky

Photograph of blue sky (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am adding the following disclaimer to all of my dating related blog posts.  I change details, and create composite characters when I write about dating archetypes such as “Mr. Houdini, Mr. Angry, etc.  I would hate it if someone wrote about a high energy blonde comedian negatively in a blog, so because of that I never include a person’s occupation or anything about their physical description.  I also change enough details that I doubt anyone I am referring to would even recognize themselves if they read one of my articles.   I have split one person into three, or taken several people and put them all into one example.  So simply put, I am very ethical on this blog.

One of the stages of a break up is my personal favorite the “What the hell was I thinking, I am trying not to laugh, why did I date you again?” stage.

I am using myself and a former lover here as an example but this of course applies to both genders and every sexual orientation out there.  The post breakup “see the light” moment is universal.  Everyone can relate to this.

Not every break up leads to this epiphany as some are just too painful.  And you probably will never reach that level in a divorce since most marriages are so much more overwhelming than a dating situation.  But when you finally reach that point post-breakup it is a bit exhilarating. And if you are able to reach this with a former spouse then kudos to you!

Since some of my regular readers know at least one person I have dated in the past I want to clarify that none of you know who I am talking about.  From my past mistakes I have learned to keep some things to myself and none of my friends actually ever met this man.  And that is all I am going to write about it.

But I just thought I would share this blog entry since last night, something reminded me of how wonderful the feeling is, and I know we have ALL BEEN HERE.  Men and women alike, gay, straight and bisexual we have all wasted time pining away for a lover that was just no good for us.  I also won’t comment further on the nature of the relationship or breakup but I don’t think he was really crushed when I broke things off.

Stages of a break up.

1. I really can’t be with you anymore, this has become toxic we have to break up

2. Did I do the right thing…maybe I want you back?

3. What if situations could have been different – run through all of  the scenarios in your head

4. I can’t see him, I don’t want to be around him too painful

5. What the hell was I thinking?  The man is a weirdo a loser and I am better off. 

You finally get to a point where you feel like nothing he says or does will touch you because you just don’t care anymore and it is wonderful.

No matter what stunt, or dig your ex tries to throw your way you just laugh it off and think to yourself…LOSER

No matter who he ends up dating, even if he tries to shove it in your face you think to yourself poor girl he is a …LOSER

If he insults you, to your face, you merely laugh…try to not insult him back and think again…LOSER

If he posts things on Facebook, Twitter or other social media trying to get you upset you only think…pathetic LOSER

You are finally free, free of the demon of regret that haunted your mind.  You finally woke up and decided that you broke up for very good legitimate reasons and you are truly happier and healthier apart.  And it wouldn’t matter when you dated or the place you were in your lives you are simply not compatible.  Or you realize your former partner was just not a very nice person and did not treat you well.  It may take a few days, it may take months it may even take years but once you reach that nirvana it is indeed pure bliss.  I hope if any of my readers out there are lamenting about a former lover that you one day end up at that special place.

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Samantha Brick – Too Beautiful? Too Delusional?

A regular reader suggested I write about this so I thought I would give it a shot.  Samantha Brick, a columnist for The Daily Mail a newspaper in the UK created a bit of an internet firestorm with her article

The Downsides to Looking Pretty

I have a lot of mixed feelings on this very topic.  For starters I know that women can sometimes be cruel to other women for no other reason than another woman is younger and more attractive.  This does happen, and I experienced it when I was a much younger woman.  Disney movies come to mind with the perfect and beautiful princess and the older less attractive jealous queen or witch hellbent on destroying her younger rival.  The Disney films and many other pop culture references get their inspiration in part to the many of the classic Grimm fairy tales where this plot line is a common one.  However I don’t think it is as big as a problem as Samantha Brick espouses and I really don’t buy much of her story.

Too much of anything will invite envy, if someone is too smart, too rich, too physically fit, too confident, too funny, too talented, too lucky…someone will resent them for it.  Jealous is unfortunately a part of human nature for all genders and all ages.  We can all remember situations from our childhood when we were on either side of that fence.  When I was a child I was hated by some my bright platinum blonde hair, while others loved me for it and would make a big deal out of my ice blonde locks.  When colored contacts became common I was suddenly constantly asked.

“Are your eyes real?”

Of course my eyes are naturally blue, so this question always confused me.  Accused of both dying my hair and wearing colored contacts by people who barely know me, or think they know me well I can feel her pain.  What I don’t agree with her on however are some of her wild claims.   I won’t break down all of her tales of free alcohol, flowers and gifts from total strangers as they may or may not be true.   They do sound a bit fantastical to a taller than average, slim blonde who gets no such perks.   Here is one statement she makes in her article that might be the reason she is getting so much hate mail.

But there are downsides to being pretty — the main one being that other women hate me for no other reason than my lovely looks.

Perhaps as this happened to me from my late teens to early twenties.  Most of my friends in college were male, but that was only for the first two years or so, once I got more confident with who I was a person I gained more female friends.  The men hung around me hoping I would eventually sleep with them or date them.  I didn’t get along with women as well due to my own insecurities and awkwardness, not any overwhelming beauty although I think my looks played some part.  In most instances when I encountered a negative attitude once I opened my mouth and started talking to these hostile women it went away, not in every case of course but in most cases.    When the woman saw that I didn’t take myself very seriously and that I wasn’t obsessed with my appearance their impression changed instantly.

I’m not smug and I’m no flirt, yet over the years I’ve been dropped by countless friends who felt threatened if I was merely in the presence of their other halves. If their partners dared to actually talk to me, a sudden chill would descend on the room.

Personally I think she is projecting a bit.  If she is sitting there obsessing that this is happening, then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  But I have never met Ms. Brick and I have no idea what her personality is like, she may be quite lovely or she could just be so self-obsessed that women just find her annoying.   We don’t know but we start to get an idea from the rest of the article.

And most poignantly of all, not one girlfriend has ever asked me to be her bridesmaid.

I have been a bridesmaid once…only once but I don’t think it has much to do with my looks as most of my friends didn’t have huge weddings.  And I can’t imagine any bride thinks to themselves…wait that blonde woman will upstage me…it is nearly impossible to upstage a bride.  The bride is in a huge white dress that probably cost a fortune and the whole entire day is about her.  At my own wedding my extremely attractive tall and curvaceous sister was my maid of honor and two of my bridesmaids were my college aged, and drop dead gorgeous petite cousins…all of which were blonde.  Their appearance had absolutely nothing to do with their selection, the fact that they were all related to me and near to my heart had much more to do with the process.

You’d think we women would applaud each other for taking pride in our appearances.

I work at mine — I don’t drink or smoke, I work out, even when I don’t feel like it, and very rarely succumb to chocolate. Unfortunately women find nothing more annoying than someone else being the most attractive girl in a room.

Now we really see some of the self-absorption.  By making this statement about working out, eating well,  she is implying other women don’t.  And that is simply crazy.  As we all know women who never work out and are blessed with perfect figures anyway, just as we know women who work incredibly hard with diet and exercise and still struggle.  And the rarely succumb to chocolate line is a bit much…so any overweight woman is just a lazy pig who shovels chocolate down their throat all day?  Or perhaps she might have a few children that have affected her body type or made it difficult to maintain the daily work out routines.  Maybe some women might have a genetic predisposition to being slightly larger and are perfectly healthy at that weight.  Body type has more to do with genetics than any workout routine or diet regime on earth and avoiding chocolate might help but it won’t turn a curvy shorter gal into tall slender one.  When she makes this comment it just reeks of arrogance.

Take last week, out walking the dogs a neighbour passed by in her car. I waved — she blatantly blanked me.

Again even more self-absorption.  Why is everything about her?  People blank other people all the time, most people are lost in their own thoughts thinking about their own problems not obsessed with their neighbors overwhelming beauty.

I approached a mutual friend and discreetly enquired if I’d made a faux pas. It seems the only crime I’ve committed is not leaving the house with a bag over my head.She doesn’t like me, I discovered, because she views me as a threat. The friend pointed out she is shorter, heavier and older than me.

This just flat out didn’t ring true to me.  I can’t imagine that someone would say to another person.  Especially the specifics, shorter, heavier and older.  I know this might be shocking but not every man prefers someone taller, thinner and younger.  Especially in the height department.  As someone who is slightly above average in height I have found it has caused me more problems dating than being petite would, as some men don’t like dating women who are taller than them, or close to their height.  Put me in a pair of heels and well…it can get tricky.  Some men don’t prefer skinny or thin women either and the age thing varies from man to man as well.  Models are tall in part because they are walking clothes hangers.  Sounds harsh but in the fashion industry, the emphasis is on the clothing, not the models.   And a thin woman with few curves actually draws more attention to the clothing and less to herself.  So taller, thinner, younger is not always more desirable, just ask any man.
And women don’t want to hang out with someone more attractive than they are.

I would have to disagree strongly with this comment as a person who works in the burlesque scene in New York city all of my female friends are dressed to the nines nearly every time they leave their apartments.  Form-fitting vintage dresses, false eyelashes, makeup, hair, heels, fishnets, even glitter and they are all gorgeous.  No one gets excluded because they are “Too pretty” it is just unfathomable.  I am sure it happens, but I don’t see a lot of examples of it in my circle of friends, none actually.  I have seen women who are self-obsessed, bitchy or mean, get excluded though so again…she very well might get shut out of things, but it may have nothing to do with her beauty.  Since none of us know Ms. Brick personally we can’t really surmise, but I am finding some of her claims to a bit silly and her stories to a bit fabricated.

What I really found depressing about this article was that I think women trashing other women based on their appearance is a real problem, however I don’t think Ms. Brick makes a very good case of it.  She comes across as so arrogant and full of herself that she is just an awful spokesperson for this dilemma.  And I know nearly every critic has said this about her, but I would have to agree, she is moderately attractive and no stunning beauty.  And I say that not to knock her down a peg but because I know so many absolutely drop dead gorgeous women and most of them don’t seem to have this problem. Most attractive people both men and women usually have an easier time in life, not a more difficult one.  Here is an example of just one study that finds that attractive people have an easier time finding a job and another study that claims they earn more at their jobs.  If anything what is more destructive are articles like Ms. Brick’s just pit women against each other.  Do we really need more of the Disney stereotyping shoved down our throats?  And are jealous women really the main problem to women in the workforce or in our society? For instance to argue that female jealousy is the cause of the current birth control and abortion right debate would be lunacy.   I would argue most of the negative assumptions, prejudices and stereotypes towards women have to do with a boy’s club mentality, the constant sexual objectification of women and deeply engrained cultural traditions.  It would be nice to instead focus on strong women who are changing the world and are not obsessed with their hair, make up or avoiding chocolate.  Our current Secretary of State comes to mind as do many other powerful women.
And here is a photo of yours truly compare it to the one of Ms. Brick, we are close in age and in appearance yet I don’t get free perks of booze and train tickets wherever I go nor do I seem to have these same problems….which is the main reason I wrote this article.  Surely the lady does protest too much.
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Dating after Divorce: How NOT to use Social Media


facebook (Photo credit: sitmonkeysupreme)

I would love to write that post-divorce I handled my online social media profiles with grace, restraint and dignity, but that it would be a total and utter fabrication.  What I did instead was to vomit my personal hell and torment over the internet, and was unapologetic about it.  In some ways I regret it, but not completely as I was mad, extremely mad at my husband who had been lying to me for years and living as a closeted homosexual.  I had nine years of sacrifice and struggle to keep a relationship together that was ultimately a fraud at its core.   The torrent of emotions was overdue and I had this new forum called…FACEBOOK.

This type of  social media is relatively new to everyone and correct Facebook etiquette, manners and rules haven’t been firmly established.  However I have learned quite a bit from my mistakes and I would love to share them.  I didn’t do everything on this list, but from my own and others mistakes I have discovered the hard way what is just a bad idea.

1. Don’t use your Status Updates to seek and destroy – Never post a status update hoping that your ex will see it, or as a direct attack against your ex – they might see it, they might not, but you will just make most of your friends concerned with you and your mental health.

2. Get rid of old Comments – Remove any and all comments that were made on a the profile or photos or your ex of a loving, kind or playful nature.  Comments such as “There is my sweetie!” or “I love my husband” can come back to haunt you when starting a new relationship and the new boyfriends stumbles upon these little notes.   It can also cause problems for your ex and his new relationships.   Basically it is confusing for everyone involved and if you can easily remove things, remove them.

3. Learn to love the BLOCK Feature  – If you are on horrible terms with your ex or your ex is using Facebook to attack you or taunt you personally…BLOCK THEM.  When you block an ex they can’t see you or anything you do on Facebook.  They can’t even see a comment you make on a mutual friend’s wall or even see a photo.  The only way they can see you on Facebook is if you appear in a photo of a mutual friend and the mutual friend is also in the photo.  Otherwise you are invisible to them.

4. Don’t look up their profile – Blocking them helps make this easy, but don’t be tempted to look up your ex’s profile.  You are usually better off not knowing.

5. Don’t assume it’s about you – Also if you see something on an ex’s profile that says something to the effect of “I am so happy right now in my life I can’t stand it” don’t assume that your ex posted it there to piss you off.  He or she may have, but you have to assume they are not using Facebook as a weapon of your personal destruction.  That is why the BLOCK feature is so handy.

6. Don’t use friends walls for your grief –  If you are going to vent, use your own wall to do so.  Or better yet, think twice about it and don’t post!

7. Don’t create fake accounts to spy – I never did this, but I know people who have.  Sometimes I think there might be a good reason if you have children with your ex, or some other type of pending legal matter.  Otherwise when you have to create phony profiles to see what is up, you are entering place called crazytown.

8. Don’t broadcast new relationships – There is nothing wrong with changing your relationship status, however I did make the mistake while rebounding of putting too much out there about my new and short-lived relationships.  There  is nothing like telling the universe “I found love again!” but you may not get what you are hoping for.  You can scare off the new partner, start a war with your ex, and is it exactly worth it?

9. Beware of Twitter – Don’t follow your ex on twitter unless you have children in common with them.  Also don’t look at their tweets and if you can, lock your own account so that your ex would need permission to see your tweets.  Also be discreet about what you put on twitter, if you have friends in common your ex may know everything you are writing.

10. Shut down your Facebook account temporarily or don’t have one in the first place.  Facebook allows you to shut down your account for as long as you want and start it up again with the same friends and contacts.  I did this on multiple occasions to give myself a break and I found it somewhat wonderful.

Basically you are bound to be slightly insane after a divorce, and you are better off not making matters worse by publicly pulling everyone else into your drama.  Easier said then done, but you will get through it.  Eventually social media will just be another way to talk to friends from high school, not a way to exorcise your demons.   Things will get normal again, it just takes time.

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Dating Online – The Insult Approach

insults [default recourse of the ignorant]

insults [default recourse of the ignorant] (Photo credit: the|G|™)

So online dating is a window into a portion of humanity that both fascinates and repulses me.  I have met people from walks of life I never would have normally.  Some of the interaction is positive as I get a fair share of compliments from men from all walks of life.  That part is extremely interesting to me, but since I am dealing with human beings of course there is a negative side as well.

The Insult Approach

I really don’t understand this one.  Here is a recent email I got on  The website I joined with the fewest members yet where I am most popular.  I guess it is the Shiksa effect.  I removed his name to protect his identity, but really what the hell was he thinking?

I just love everything you have to say, well perhaps not the 2 cats in a small apartment … and although being a classic liberal jew, not a big fan of unions … I can explain 

Would love to speak to you about it.

I mention in my profile, that since both of my parents were union for most of their careers, that I am a lifelong democrat.  And I am extremely pro-labor, probably more pro-labor than most democrats.  I also briefly mention that I live in a small studio apartment with two cats.  Meant as a slight self-deprecating joke, but true.  I actually prefer to live in a small space if I am living alone anyway.  I am not exactly a materialistic person.  I buy most of my clothing off of ebay and I ALMOST NEVER PAY RETAIL. I also don’t have cable, have a working television or a car.  I live simply and I like it that way. 🙂

So what is this idiot thinking?  If this was his attempt at humor, he missed the mark completely.  I have learned the hard way that sarcasm is difficult to pick up on in written form.  TRUST ME!  I still get in trouble with this all the time.  HA!   I have what I like to call “Foot in mouth disease!”  And I couldn’t even count how many times an attempt at a joke on Facebook or in an email missed its mark.  So when I communicate with complete strangers online, I try to leave the sarcasm out!

So what is he doing? Insulting me for living in a small apartment?  Insulting me for owning cats?  Well I am not giving them up for anyone, the only exception being if I had a child that was allergic.  I certainly wouldn’t give them up for a relationship!  I did that once and I would never do it again.  I am sorry I am not wealthy, I guess I need to step it up and get that bigger apartment in this dreadful economy as a working artist.  And then he bashes unions?  Well sir I don’t care if you are a big fan of them or not, I put that on my profile to weed out the libertarians and republicans.  Sure I have plenty of friends that are both, but I would usually avoid dating one.  I can’t say I would never date someone with different political leanings, but relationships are hard enough, and I am passionate about politics, so there is no way I am going to have THAT fight repeatedly for the rest of my life!  And what did he mean that

“I don’t like unions…I’ll explain”

What was he planning on some lecture on his view of economics?  SNORE!

I have also gotten things like, and these were all from men I DID NOT CONTACT in any way, these comments just showed up in my inbox.

  • I can’t believe you like the Beatles, that is so typical (I have nearly every song memorized!)
  • I guess you are just one of those bitches that only emails the mean boys – (I wasn’t even sure what this meant)
  • Why would you like nerdy smart guys?  What is wrong with you? (There is a problem with liking smart people?)
  • Why are you so uptight about your age range? – My age range is 33-43 (That is 10 years!)
  • I guess you have a basis against older men, you should really be more open-minded. (From a 55-year-old)
  • Vegetarians are losers! (Wow, well now that you said that total stranger bring on the bacon!)

I have heard that men get the same treatment.  Does this ever work?  Do men or women respond positively to the random insult?  Are some people secret masochists that think,

Hey now this is my kind of woman/man!  They already hate me!

Or maybe some folks out there who like a dominating partner, and this kind of

  • Let me tell you something sister…
  • Let me tell you how to live your life…
  • Or what you don’t understand is…

I guess some people like that sort of treatment, I can’t stand it. Generally speaking, if I want advice I ask for it, I absolutely hate unsolicited advice as I think most people do!

The passive aggressive approach of men and women who, resentful of a person they think may not respond to them otherwise, figure that getting a negative reaction is better than no reaction.  Sort of like the man on the street who will cat call a woman and then immediately insult her.  I remember one such instance, as I was crossing the street in Washington Heights, no makeup, my hair in a pony-tail while wearing big baggy jeans and a puffy coat, I hear this from a car waiting for the light to change.

Hey Sexy!”

When I don’t show any response, about 5 seconds later I hear

“Fat Ass!”

And  I am certain he couldn’t even see my ass, as my coat was covering it.  But whatever, sort of the same effect.  I did respond to Mr. let me insult your apartment, your cats, and unions.  I won’t print my response here, but it was something to the effect of

Sir, if this was your attempt at humor, you blew it.  You are blocked.

Oy Vey!

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