My Start Into Online Dating After Losing My Husband Too Soon

So let’s get right to it. For the first 3.5 years after my beautiful husband died, the very idea of dating or “someone else”, literally made me sick to my stomach. It made me feel physically ill, and I couldn’t even discuss it without having a slight panic attack. The idea of someone else talking to me, touching me, or being anywhere near me, made me want to vomit. That’s just the way it was, and I didn’t spend much time thinking about it. I was in way too much grief to even come around to THINKING about how freakin’ lonely I was.

Then, around the beginning of year 4, there was a slight shift inside me, for no reason whatsoever, or because it was finally time for that shift to happen, that went from feeling physically ill – to feeling sort of “okay” with the idea, but still not willing to actively pursue anyone. Then, about 10 months ago, someone appeared out of the blue. This person was not pursuing me, and I was not pursuing them. But they appeared in such a way and at such a time that it felt like it was meant to happen. This person was not only a fellow widow(er), but also knew my husband. We started talking, and over time, building a budding and wonderful friendship. We met in person in March, and our connection felt more real, because now I could touch it. I could look into this person’s face, and in it, I saw not only kindness and a beautiful soul, but also being around this person face to face gave me this overwhelming feeling of protection and safety – like Don had specifically chosen this man to protect me, because he could no longer do it himself. The details of why I feel this way don’t matter here, because I want to protect this person’s privacy, but the time we spent together over those few days was meaningful, beautiful, and the perfect mix of familiar and brand new, all in the same moment.

25 Clueless Comments Said to Me as a Widow, and 25 Responses I Wish I Could Have Said

In the just over 4 years that I have been a widow, I have had to sit in silence and bite my tongue through an endless array of insensitive or just plain stupid comments coming from both friends, family, acquaintances and co-workers, and yes, even total strangers. As the person who is grieving, we are told over and over again by society that “people just don’t know what to say” and they are “only trying to help”, and that they “mean well”, so therefore, we are supposed to just nod politely, smile and get on with things. Okay. I can do that, if that is what the world wants from me. However, I do think that just continuing to brush off people’s hurtful and often rude comments as “not knowing what to say” is unhealthy. The only way that people will ever learn what NOT to say to someone who is grieving the life they had and the person they loved most in this world, is to educate them. And since I’m a comedian, I choose to offer up my education in a comedic tone. So if you are reading this and you have no sense of humor, please go out to Wal-Mart or somewhere and get one. Then come back and have a good laugh.

The following is a list of 25 (in no particular order) actual comments that actual people actually said to me after my husband Don died very suddenly, with zero warning or symptom, in July of 2011, from a massive heart attack, at age 46. Below each actual comment, I have listed what I wish I could have said in response at the time, but of course, didn’t. Some of these comments were said to me right away after the death, and others were said as recently as last month. So, what does this accomplish? Well, for one thing, it’s fun to come up with pretend, smart-ass replies that I could never actually say in real life to these people. And secondly, the next time me or any of my dear brothers and sisters in widowhood have to put up with one of these or other insensitive comments, they can now laugh their asses off, thinking of what they wish they could say in response; as they nod their heads politely like a good widow (er) should.

Here is the dialogue that I wish could take place as part of normal and acceptable society:

My Top 20 Excuses Why I Can’t Possibly Go to the Gym Today (from a Widow)

Do you feel like you just can’t? What’s your motivation to exercise?

Awhile back, before I had joined and then quit my 4th or 5th gym membership, I was at my gym; doing my regular swimming routine in the pool. This routine consists of many different exercises in the water; using weights, the ladder steps, and my own body. It also involves jogging, walking, and some light swimming. I was in the middle of one of my swimming laps, when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye; I noticed an older man, probably in his late 60’s, who was in a wheelchair. He pulled his chair over to the edge of the pool, somehow plopped himself out of the chair and into the water; and very quickly began to swim circles around me. The man who was IN A WHEELCHAIR who has to pull his own dead leg-weight while he swims, was lapping me. And it wasn’t even close. He was kicking my very fat ass.

Now, you would think that something like that would be an inspirational moment for me; that it would help to motivate me; right? You would think, that because I am 45 years old, a widow, and someone who is often on the dating sites and trying to find love again, that I would see this as a defining moment, and take stock of my life right then and there.  A normal person would see that moment as a turning point and say: “Wow! If that guy can find the motivation, than I have no excuse!” But I am not normal. I am someone who has always found any excuse to not exercise, and every excuse to eat more candy and Cape Cod potato chips. (they are amazing)

If You Are Hurting During Thanksgiving, Focus on the Love

When I was a kid and then a teenager, I had a simple and happy life. My childhood was great, and my family was supportive and wonderful.

Holidays were filled with laughter, traditions, love, friends, incredible food, and lots of joy. On Thanksgiving eve, I had a tradition of watching the Steve Martin and John Candy film: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. It is a movie about a businessman (Martin), who is trying like hell to get home to his family for Thanksgiving, and instead, gets stuck with an obnoxiously annoying shower curtain-ring salesman, (Candy) as his only companion. The results are hilarious. Back then, in my childhood innocence, I only saw the comedy in this movie, and not the sadder and much deeper messages that were present. My life was happy and pain-free, so I couldn’t really feel or understand the painful parts of that film. We see things from the foundation of our own experiences.

Years later, at age 35, I had finally found my soul-mate and my best friend for life. I was married, and we were very happy. We loved the holidays, and my husband and I had our own traditions. One of them was to put up / decorate our small Christmas tree in our apartment on Thanksgiving Eve, order take-out, and watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. My husband’s laugh was loud and infectious. It was my favorite sound. Back then, we both loved the comedy in the film, but also appreciated the sentimental themes about loneliness, loss, and love coming in many different forms. We appreciated the sadness and poignancy in John Candy’s character, (spoiler alert) who is a homeless widower, a fact that the viewer doesn’t find out until almost the end of the film. My husband and I had sympathy and empathy for him, but because our life was so happy and lacked grief or any real deep pain, we couldn’t ever comprehend what it was like to be him. We see things from the foundation of our own experiences.

I’m In Love With a Dead Guy

In the widowed community, the topic of “dating again” seems to be somewhat of an obsession by many.

When did you start dating? How did you know it was time? What did you do to “get yourself out there again?” Knowing this about others seems to fascinate everyone, and it usually begins with a list of probing questions and possibilities about wedding / engagement rings.

Some people continue to wear them. Others wear it but move it to their opposite hand. Some people keep their rings tucked away in a jewelry box or safe somewhere. A lot of widowed people add inscriptions to the rings, or add the rings onto a chain to make a special necklace. Some widowed parents might hold onto the ring to give to their son or daughter one day. The combination of things that people do or don’t do with their rings is endless. And really, it’s a highly personal choice, and everyone is different. I remember, awhile back, one widow friend telling me that after awhile, she took hers off, because she was no longer married, so wearing it “felt like a lie.”

I remember thinking to myself: That’s funny. That’s the exact same reason that I keep my rings on. Because taking them off feels like a lie. 

The truth is, 5 years and 4 months after my husband’s sudden death, I still feel married.  I still feel like Don’s wife. I feel that lifelong bond and that forever connection and promise and vow, and I don’t know how to figure out the rest of my time here, knowing what I know, (that he is dead and I can’t be with him anymore) yet feeling what I feel. How on earth do you just stop feeling thatIt doesn’t make any sense to me. None of this does. And it never will.

Ever since losing my husband, people have been constantly asking me about finding someone new. Dating. Everybody has to know if I’m dating yet, or when I will be, or why I’m not yet, and if I’m not, maybe I should get on that immediately in order to make them all feel better or more comfortable or less awkward with my existence. I have been asked and probed rudely about the dating thing by friends, non-friends, co-workers, family, and total strangers. Never was the very fine line between the comfort of the widowed community and the return to the harsh, brutal world more clear than on my return flight from San Diego to New York, after spending a week in the understanding company of a couple hundred other widowed “family” members at Camp Widow

Finding Your Ho, Ho, Ho this Holiday, When You’re Single

Happy Holidays, Fellow Single Folks!

Ho, ho, ho …. you’re alone!!! Do you ever feel like the holidays put a great, big, exclamation point on the sad fact that you currently aren’t with anyone? Does all that mistletoe, tinsel, and Christmas cheer make you feel all kinds of lonely? Yeah. Me too. Whether you are divorced, single, nursing a broken heart, or even widowed, like me – the holiday season can really do a number on your ability to feel joy. In fact, it can be downright depressing.

But it doesn’t have to be. Sure, singing Christmas carols and harmonizing by yourself, or making a gingerbread house for one, doesn’t sound like loads of fun – but there are ways that you can turn the holidays from a time of “woe is me” to a time of something special and meaningful. And perhaps even have some fun and do something a bit different in the process. Really. All it takes is thinking a bit outside the box. Here are a few ways to have a purposeful, meaningful, joyful holiday – while being single:

Get Outside: 

Maybe in past years, you have done the same tired thing, over and over and over again. Perhaps its time to change it up, do something new. If you’re single, guess what? You don’t have to answer to anyone, so if you feel like spending Christmas week in a casino, seeing a Broadway show, or on a beach in Florida, who says you can’t? Sure, you’ll still be alone and single, but suddenly that doesn’t seem so awful with a coconut rum drink in your hand while floating along in a pool. Also, when you do something completely different and new with your holiday, think of all the stories you’ll have for the rest of your friends and family. They might even end up being jealous, and that’s always fun.

Start New Traditions:

So you watch “A Christmas Story” on a loop, every Christmas Eve, every single year, for your entire life. That doesn’t mean you have to keep doing that until the end of time. If you want to do that, then great. But sometimes all it takes to feel new joy is a little bit of change. If you normally have hot cocoa with marshmallows, be a rebel and switch to whipped cream! Perhaps you could even gather together with other single friends, and together, create a lovely holiday dinner or evening, complete with your own brand new traditions. The good thing about new traditions, is that they feel very personal, because YOU created them. And now, you already have something to look forward to next year!

Help Out:

It is very easy to get caught up in all the ways that your own life kind of sucks during the holidays. One good way to help take the focus off of that for awhile, is to find ways to give to other people whose lives probably suck a lot more than yours does.The Thanksgiving after my husband’s death, I volunteered at a women’s shelter serving food for the holiday. The people there were so nice and so appreciative of everything, it took my mind off my own stuff for awhile, and it also helped me to engage in something that was far outside my own life circle. I actually had fun, and ended up doing more things like that going forward.

Be a Kid, Play with Kids:

Just because you’re officially an adult, that doesn’t mean you have to be serious all the time. Children love the holidays, because they get to be kids and just have fun! Who says you can’t do the same? If you have kids in your family, play with them. Build a snowman together. Build a fort. Make Christmas cookies. Make silly videos on Instagram and make each other laugh. If there are no kids in your life (I have a niece and nephew, so it’s always fun to be silly with them), bring back the kid in YOU, and have some fun this time of year. Go sledding, or snowmobiling. If you’re in a warm climate place, take a swim or a stroll.

Whatever you decide to do this holiday season, being single isn’t the end of the world. Yes, it can be sad and it can certainly be frustrating when everyone around you seems to be part of a couple. But, if you can focus on the celebration of love in all it’s forms – the holidays will start to become much more enjoyable.

So Happy Holidays, Fellow Single Folks! Here’s a toast to you, in all your awesomeness!

What 2016 Taught Me About Love: A Widow’s Perspective

If there is one thing I have learned and continue to learn from my husband’s sudden death, it is that Love Heals. It’s true.

In the summer of 2011, I thought I already knew everything about love. After all, I was 35 years old, and very happily married for 4 years, 9 months, and counting. It had taken me such a long time to find my soul-mate, my best friend, my everything – and I had already been through traumas and past relationships an boyfriends that were absolutely awful and that weighed heavily on my heart.Most of the men previous to my husband that I had been with, did not treat me too well. And then there were the ones I wasn’t with. None of the good guys were ever interested in me. They always wanted my skinnier, blonder, smaller friends. I had been through rejection so many times – un-returned love – that phrase: I love you as a friend – it could have been my bumper sticker. So after all that, I was finally gifted with this beautiful and loving and decent and kind and inspiring man, who wanted nothing more in life than to spend every day finding more ways to make me safe and happy. And we would love each other and laugh together and grow old together and live in NYC and then retire in Florida, and live happily ever after. Well, that was the plan.

Yeah. I knew everything I needed to know about love.

Until I didn’t.

On July 13th, 2011, everything that I thought I knew about life and about love, got tossed into a blender on high-speed, and hasn’t stopped spinning since. For that was the day that life, as I knew it, stopped. My beautiful husband of 4 years and 9 months, who was just 46 years old and had zero symptoms or warnings, left for work and never came home. He went into cardiac arrest, and they found him collapsed on the floor. Massive heart-attack. His life gone, and mine forever changed. I was about to learn so many new things about love, whether I wanted to or not.

2016 was my fifth year without him. It was, by far, the year that was filled with the most amount of changes, transitions, emotions, and questions. I had a lot of “firsts” in my 5th year of life without my husband. For the first time since his death, I could actually begin to see and feel what it might be like to consider the possibility of someone else. I met someone in a completely unexpected way, where neither one of us was pursuing the other, but there was a very natural connection between us as we continued to talk and get to know one another. We met in person this past spring, and face to face, that connection was undeniable. Because he is also widowed, we shared special moments together such as going to visit his wife at the cemetery, and going to my husband’s favorite beach in Florida, where I had scattered his ashes. I had my first kiss since my husband’s death, with this person, and it was really quite lovely. I was so afraid that kissing someone else would feel weird, wrong, or incredibly sad. But it was none of those things. It was special and in the moment and somehow in slow-motion, and I could feel my husband’s presence there, and he was insanely happy for me. I think I heard him breathing a sigh of relief for me. All the things that I had feared, about having feelings for someone else, turned to dust. Like I said, I thought I knew all there was to know about love. But before my husband’s shocking death, I actually knew very little. Here are just a few of the bigger lessons I learned about love, in the year 2016:

It’s Possible to Get Butterflies Again 

Remember that feeling of being 16 or 17, and going out with a boy that you really liked a lot, and your stomach did these sort of flips and went upside down and back around again, and you felt like you were floating on a cloud? Yeah. I had no idea that it was possible to feel that again at age 44, and as a widow, to boot! When I met my widower friend in Florida this past spring, I felt exactly that, and it was magical. It was also kind of hilarious. After spending almost an entire day together driving around to different places in his truck, and being treated like a lady by the most genuine gentleman I had ever witnessed, he drove me back to my parent’s friend’s house where I was staying, and we stood next to his truck and said goodnight. The front light went on as we were out there, which I found hysterically funny. Even funnier was walking into the house, where my mom’s friend anxiously awaited my news. “So … how was it? Was there that same connection in person? Did he kiss you?” – “I think I kissed him!”, I responded, giggling like a teenager. I can’t explain it, but something took over that night, and that week, inside me. It was like I had this courage in saying and acting upon how I was feeling. I had no problem at all telling this person that I wanted him to kiss me, and I had no problem being flirtatious and slightly forward, in the hopes of that happening. The “other” me would have never done something like that. I would have been way too afraid, too shy, and too concerned with what he would think about me. But let me tell you something – nothing is as terrifying as losing your love and the life you knew, and having to start over again, when you don’t even want to. Having to live life again, when everything inside you just wants to lay down and stop the pain. Everything else pales in comparison. So taking a chance and going in to kiss someone, because I really like them, and it feels nice? Sure. Why the hell not?

Modern Day Dating is a Shit-Show 

So, as it turns out, this wonderful man who I still have this beautiful connection and growing friendship with, is not yet in a place to label us as something, or to take that risk on love or a relationship. So, we continue to build and marinate in what we now have, and we see what happens. In the meantime, spending time with him in person opened me up to the realization that I no longer wish to be alone in this life. I will love my husband forever and he will always be my soul-mate, but the heart expands for more love, and humans were not meant to be alone. The thought of not having someone to share life with, ever again, just makes me feel awful inside. So, on the suggestion of my grief-counselor back in April, I joined a couple of dating sites, in the hopes of having some light-hearted and casual fun again, and maybe going on some nice dates again, and feeling attractive and wanted again, because those were things that were now awakened inside me. I wanted more.

Dating sites are not for the faint of heart. I learned this pretty quickly after joining them. People communicate differently today. To me, it’s barely communicating at all. Most of the men don’t want to actually TALK – they just want to get your phone number IMMEDIATELY, and then text endlessly until one of us dies. Whenever I would mention meeting up in person, they would run away like little boys and disappear forever. (I’m guessing most of them were probably married and looking for a discreet side-piece. Yuck.) You run into all types on there. Lots of liars. Lots of guys who don’t know what the hell they want at all. Guys who will talk up 4 or 5 women at the same time, then just stop contact with the ones who probably won’t sleep with him immediately. There are mean people, nice people, weird as hell people, people with unbelievably strange sexual fetishes that they feel comfortable telling you about after a 5 minute chat on the site. (I could have done without knowing that Jerry from Long Island wants to sniff my dirty feet and panties, for example. Eewwwww.) There are people who will hurt you and say mean things, just because they can. My very first date from the dating sites, sent me a text the day after our date, to inform me that we will not be going out again, because “I don’t date fat girls, and you’re fat. You don’t look fat in your profile pic, but you are.” I told him that he didn’t look like an asshole in his profile picture, but he is. It wasn’t all bad though. Really. I grew a thicker skin being on those sites, and I realized pretty quickly that none of it was about me. The way people act, the way they treat women, how they behave – all of that is a reflection on them, not me. And for all the jerks and the guys who were mean or just disappeared entirely, I met many more both in person and in chatting, that were simply just nice and down to earth people. I had a couple of really nice dates, and one that blossomed into a great friendship that I think will be a life-long one. There were quite a few guys on the sites who genuinely thought I was beautiful, and who found me attractive. This did wonders for my ego, which was so wounded by my husband’s death, and by going 5 years without anyone wanting me or saying I look pretty or that they miss me or love hearing my voice or seeing my face. In the end, going on the dating sites gave me evidence that other men in the world, besides my dear husband, would find me desirable again. It gave me some of my confidence back, and that is a beautiful thing.

Having Your Heart Broken Really Sucks 

So after a couple of months on the dating sites, I met someone. Another widower (I’m sensing a pattern here) here in NY. We began talking, and then met in person a few weeks later. Things went well. I knew early on that this was not a person I would end up with long-term, for several reasons, but he made me feel good about myself. He couldn’t keep his hands off me, and for a girl who was told her whole life I love you as a friend, it felt kind of amazing. I got lost in it. I let the tiny little red-flags that I felt pinging in my heart about him slide, because it felt so damn good to feel wanted and sexy again. My heart cried out for him and felt for him, because he is a widower, and his loss was so sudden and tragic, and his story tugged at my heart. I treated his heart with extra gentle care, always being 100% honest with him about my intentions and where we were headed, because I never wanted to be the person that caused him additional pain. We drifted into a relationship with each other, and for the first time since my husband’s death, I was intimate again. The sex was new and exciting and often, and I brought him into parts of my life that are special to me. He met my friends. He met my widowed community, and I took him with me to the support/social group I run for widowed people through Soaring Spirits International. We continued our relationship for about 5 months, and then things ended rather abruptly and badly. He lied about a lot of things. He tried to make a fool of me. He replaced me in a hot second, with another widow even, and in the cruelest of ways. I’m pretty sure he was seeing her while he was also with me, which means he was cheating and not being honest with me for months. The worst part of all this, is that he refused to acknowledge ANY of it, and didn’t respond to my attempts to get some clarity on why he would do this to me. I was not in love with him, but I did love him. As a human being. As a friend. As my first relationship and intimacy after my husband’s death. All of those things were special to me. Thinking they were special to him too, and that I was special – and then finding out otherwise, really hurt. And whenever things really hurt for a widowed person, it just makes us long to have everything we lost, back again.

Good Things Take Time 

So as 2016 comes to a close, I have learned so many things about myself, about others, and about love and dating after loss. One big thing I learned is that you can’t force someone to see something or feel something, when they just aren’t there yet. Sometimes its simply not possible to see something that’s right in front of you, until you are truly ready to see it. Just 2 years ago, if you had told me that someone would have given me butterflies in my stomach or that I would be having my first kiss soon, or that I would be in my first relationship, and suffer an awful heartbreak – I would have laughed in your face. I couldn’t even picture myself in any of those positions at that time. I have come to know and believe that good things take time, and you can’t live someone else’s grief or pain or process for them. They have to do it themselves. But you CAN offer support and friendship, let them know that you truly care and that you aren’t going anywhere. And then you just say that over and over, and find ways to show them, and then you sit back and hope that they can hear you.

If there is one thing I have learned and continue to learn from my husband’s sudden death, it is that Love Heals.It’s true. Love is the great healer of all things, and all good things are born out of love. If there is someone out in the world that feels like there is no point, or feels like they are not worthy or capable of a joyous life, the love of another person, when accepted, can heal those wounds. Simply loving another person for everything they are, right this minute, today, without expecting them to be anything additional or anything different – can heal even the most damaged of hearts.

I heard something soon after my husband’s death, in the days where I felt darkest and most hopeless, that resonated with me deeply. A married couple who had been been together for decades, were dealing with the husband’s illness. As he lay there dying, in his last days, his wife cried to him and she asked: How am I supposed to live without you? 

He replied: Take the love you have for me, and spread it around. 

That’s it right there. Grief is just love, with no outlet. It is love, with nowhere to go. When you open your heart and continue to let love in, that is what brings the person you lost feel closer than ever, and that is how you can live again.

Happy New Year, and Happy Loving!

Real Life Dating vs. “The Bachelor”: Two Different Journeys

So, as we approach a new year of 2017, and season #847 (I lost track long ago) of The Bachelor, which began this week with 30 women competing for the love of a mop-haired dude  named Nick who mumbles and has a lisp –  I thought it might be fun to do a humorous but accurate comparison of reality-show life in the dating world, vs. real life in the dating world. Hey, I’m a 45 year old widow who just moved back in with her parents because I can no longer afford life as an adult in NYC. What else do I have to do right now, besides create comparison articles that give me another excuse to lightly mock the hilarity that is The Bachelor? Answer: Nothing. So here we go ….

Meeting for the First Time: 

The Bachelor In real life
On The Bachelor, a first meeting with your new guy starts off by pulling up to a literal mansion, in a limousine, followed by 29 other women who are also meeting your guy/their guy for the first time. You get about 20 seconds or less to make your first impression and say hello – and on this week’s premiere episode, we saw everything from girls feeding Nick maple syrup from their fingers, to a girl dressed up in a dolphin costume. (although everyone on the show insisted she looked more like a shark, but whatever.) Also, if you really impress your new man, you just might receive a “first-impression rose” from him. But, there’s only a 1 in 30 chance of that happening, so the competition is fierce. You also have to worry about what all the other girls are doing, wearing, how they are behaving in comparison to you. In this week’s premiere, more than 15 of the 30 women showed up in red dresses. This was a major cause of trauma and stress for them, and caused them to drink more wine. (what doesn’t on this show?) Also, when meeting your new man, and sharing a moment with him outside laughing or kissing, there is a very good chance that you will be interrupted mid-conversation, by one of the other 29 wine-swilling, red-dress wearing, determined ladies. Just trying to complete a conversation with your new love interest, in reality-tv land, is a huge challenge. Lastly, the first night you meet, might also be your last. If he doesn’t find you appealing enough, he will send you packing on night number one. Harsh. In real life, a  first meeting with your new guy might be the result of friends hooking you up, or of taking a chance on one of the many dating sites offered to us regular folk who don’t go on television to meet our future partners. If you live in a major city, your date probably doesn’t have a car, and you might not want him knowing where you live anyway, in case he’s a serial killer. So it’s really best to meet in the city and just jump on the subway. If you live in the burbs, I still think most people when meeting for the first time, probably meet at said date location. Again, he might be a serial killer. If you really impress your new guy on your date, he may or may not buy you dinner. Where this dinner takes place is another fun mystery! It could be The Ritz, or it could be McDonald’s. Or he could be really cheap and take you for coffee. Either way, there’s no guarantee that he will buy your dinner, (or coffee) as sometimes you meet ungentlemanly dudes who slide the bill over to your side of the table after dinner, and say with a smirk: “Time to settle up.” (not that that’s happened to me personally or anything).If you make a good impression, you may or may not get a goodnight kiss, or sometimes you may mutually decide to go much further, and turn it into a goodnight “hookup.”  Then it may get all kinds of awkward the next week, when he never calls you back or texts you even, after exchanging bodily fluids and drinking way too much wine. So, the first night you meet, might also be the last night you ever hear from him again. Or, he might turn out to be a serial killer. Harsh.


The Living Environment:

On The Bachelor, your new love interest lives in a mansion, paid for by a television network. There are lots of cocktail parties and pool parties at this mansion, and there are always lots and lots of other girls at these parties too. YOU also live in a different mansion, or sometimes in various beautiful hotels, whenever your man decides to travel somewhere “amazing”on this “journey” that the network also pays for. You do not live by yourself though. You live with all the other women who are also desperately competing for your man’s love. There are lots of roses given out at random times, and also, during a “ceremony” where multiple girls receive roses. If you get one, you get to stay longer in the mansion or hotel.

The living environment you will be in is extremely emotional. You will be living with loads of women, and these women are hormonal, have periods, and have been cut off from the internet and television while on this reality show.

In real life, your new love interest hopefully lives on his own, in a house or an apartment that he rents or owns himself. This is not a guarantee, however. You may be dating a guy who lives with his mommy, or who is “separated” from his wife, but in reality, he’s “never going to leave her.” Your alcohol situation is up to you in real life, so the amount of wine you choose to drink is optional. If you receive roses or other flowers from your man, it is because he really likes you, and you should thank him. You will not be living with multiple women, unless you live in NYC – then you may live in a 2 bedroom apartment with 21 people. If you go on a date with your new man, at least you know that at the end of that date, you won’t be asked to leave your own home. Its pretty much guaranteed that as awful as your date is, you will still be allowed to return home when it has ended. No sad rejection limo necessary. In fact, no limo at all.
The producers also supply them with endless amounts of wine and other alcoholic beverages. They drink wine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Whenever food appears, nobody eats it. They only drink more wine, and they drink it out of the hugest wine glasses you have ever seen in your life. Your roommates will walk around sometimes in bikini tops, towels, mini-skirts, and sometimes they will make innuendo comments about not wearing underwear. There is a lot of crying. Endless amounts of sobbing coming from all of these women, and you may find yourself sobbing too, should your new man not be paying enough attention to you on a particular day, or should you find yourself out of wine for an hour or more. In between dates, you will spend a lot of time at the mansion, gossiping about other people’s dates with Nick, and making assumptions and probably crying. There is also a lot of sitting around and staring longingly out various windows, like in those commercials for depression medication.
Your roommates will also do a lot of the same, because apparently nobody on this show works, or they have fake jobs that allow them to take 3 months off to film this ridiculous show. You will be rooming with a lot of dental hygenists (there are a minimum of 3 in each season – I think its in the contract), spokesmodels, “dolphin-enthusiasts”, small business owners, and other made up careers that don’t actually exist. There will be a lot of sitting around in hot tubs, holding your giant glass of wine. You may go on a date one night, and come back to find your suitcases sitting out by the front door of the mansion. This means that Nick has sent you home, and you have to go ride in the sad rejection limo.


The Dates:

The Bachelor In real life
On The Bachelor, you should be prepared emotionally and physically for some pretty bizarre dates. You will or will not be chosen for the honor to go out on a date with your new guy, via a “Date Card” that is send via host Chris Harrison. Should you be chosen for a date, you may be lucky and receive a “one on one” date with your man, where you actually get to be alone together for a few hours, or you may be selected as one of a dozen or so others, to participate in a “group date”, which sounds like an orgy but it’s not. Group dates often involve silly activities such as pretending to be comedians and telling jokes about your man onstage, playing a sport of some kind to compete for more time with your man, or other silly-ass things. You will have to find a way to stand out in the crowd on this group date, like maybe pretending to fall ill or faking an injury during the sport playing, so that said man-meat will come running to your rescue. Your man, and other women on the show, may use words to describe the date or to describe anything at all, like “journey”, ‘amazing,” or “terrified.” Please know that in the world of this reality-show, everything is always amazing, and everyone is always terrified. Terrified of getting their heart broken, terrified of rejection, terrified that they won’t get the rose tonight. Terrified, terrified, terrified.

If you are lucky enough to get a one-on-one date with your new man, who, in this case is a mumbling fool named Nick who says stuff like: “I don’t know how to sit sideways on a couch” – you will be in store for an incredibly cheesy, manufactured romance-filled day. It may start out with a picnic on a beach or in a park. You may be taken on a helicopter ride over some exotic island somewhere (this show looooves helicopter rides almost as much as they love the word “journey”), or you may be asked to jump off a cliff or skydive or some other risky thing, with your new man, to show that you can trust each other and take chances together. Because everyone knows if you can skydive together and not die, that means you are compatible for marriage and for life. Your date may include dinner, which nobody in the history of the show ever eats. You will drink wine, because not a day goes by without wine drinking. Cameras will follow you everywhere, and you may or may not receive a rose on your date. If you do not receive a rose, you may be asked to get into the rejection limo and go home, because your new guy doesn’t see a future with you. Sorry.  If things go well, your date may end with a “private performance” outside somewhere, by some random country artist that is supposedly famous but that nobody has ever heard of. You may make out during this dance, because you get so lost in the moment of thinking that any of this is real in any way, shape, or form.  You may tell the cameras that you felt so special and that this was one of the best nights of your life. Then, the very next night, Nick will go out with someone else, and it will probably involve a helicopter or picnic or rock climbing, and you will be sad and jealous. Enter more wine. If you should be one of the lucky ladies to make the top three choices for Nick’s heart this season, your last date with him will be an ‘overnight date”, that comes with the option of staying in the “fantasy suite”, where they turn off the cameras so the two of you can sleep together.  If you are the third girl of the three women on dates, you should be aware that this man-whore has probably just got done sleeping with another chick, and then another chick before that – just hours before you sleep with him.  In the morning, you will enjoy breakfast with your new man served in bed, and then you will leave promptly so he can get ready for his next date soon. Nothing like feeling special!

In real life, you should be prepared for some pretty bizarre dates. You never know what you’re getting into on the dating sites, or through friends, or out at singles bars. Once you are dating your person for awhile, and have gone on some dates together, you will probably decide to see each other exclusively, and so you will not be competing with a bunch of other women. Yay! You may decide to stay home one night as a date, and rent a movie together and cuddle. No cameras will be following you on your date, so you can do as you please. You can keep getting to know each other, and let yourself be adaptable to different things happening on your dates. Explore new places and conversations. You may get lost in the moments, and there may be intimacy. Enjoy it. When you date someone, whether its two times or for 7 months, try to think of it as getting to know someone new. Making a new connection. If you look at it that way, then no connection will ever feel pointless or like a waste of time. In real life dating and in life, every connection serves a purpose. As for intimacy, I prefer the real life way to the reality show one. Both parties involved in the relationship shall decide if and when the time is right for intimacy. You will not receive a creepy invitation from TV host Chris Harrison, inviting you to stay overnight and supplying you with a key. Instead, you and your partner will make these decisions together, like adults. Real life sex is very complicated and messy, and not as seamless as they make it look on TV. Sometimes you might be having your period. Or the condom doesn’t work right. Or he can’t perform right with the condom. Or you aren’t sure if this guy is really worth you starting up a whole new birth control plan (its a huuuuuge pain in the as, and expensive!) for. Or one of you just isn’t in the mood. Or one or both of you has children, so you have to figure out WHERE to do it and when the kids won’t be around. And then after you have sex, a whole new set of emotions emerges. Things become closer. More intimate. In real life relationships, there are no producers or cameras or manipulating tactics going on. Its all up to the two of you, and where you want to go next.



















The Proposal: 

The Bachelor In real life
On The Bachelor, should you survive the creepy and tacky “Overnight Date”, and make it into the top two choices for the best wife, you will then have to wait around anxiously, wondering if you are the one that Nick will propose to, or if your love story will end with a sad limo ride to the airport and nothing to show for it. Your man will meet some key members of your family, on television, in a contrived visit where they all get to know him in the course of an hour or two. You will meet his family as well, and they will all pretend as if this is all a perfectly normal way to meet the person you choose to spend your life with. Your man will be visited by a man representing an expensive jewelry store, and he will choose engagement rings, not only for you, but also for the other woman who may become his wife if you don’t. You will get up on the morning of your proposal/non-proposal, and you will stare longingly out at some gorgeous ocean or misty skyline, as you sip your coffee in your silk bathrobe and cameras film you pondering life’s events. Eventually, a limo will pick you up, you will be all dressed up in an elegant gown, and you will walk down a ridiculously long and complicated path to get to your future fiance or your future ex-boyfriend jerk who dumped you on national television. He will take your hands in his, he will review your entire few weeks relationship so the TV audience has a nice build up, and then he will keep us in suspense just a bit longer before either letting you go, or proposing.


In real life, a marriage proposal can happen anytime, in a number of ways, places, circumstances. Real life families are messy and dysfunctional, and their involvement will depend on your relationship with them. A proposal can be planned or spontaneous, and can happen in so many different ways. My husband proposed to me the Sunday before Christmas, in NYC, underneath the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. It was magical, and meaningful for us, because I’ve always been a christmas freak. A friend of mine proposed to his now wife while they were sitting on the couch together watching a movie. He just decided in that moment that he wanted to be with her like that every day, so he turned to her and said casually: “Would you do me the honor of being my wife?” She said yes, and they went out ring shopping the next morning after breakfast. Every kind of proposal in real life is beautiful to me, because it is so real and it is two people deciding to blend their lives together. There are no cameras or pomp and circumstance (unless you want that), like on a TV show, but to the two people involved, it’s the biggest and most important thing in the world. And it should be. Love IS the biggest thing in the world, and it always will be.
 If you are proposed to, you should know that literally 5 minutes earlier, he just dumped the other chick.  You should also know that as soon as just a few hours ago, he wasn’t even sure which of you he was going to choose TO BE HIS WIFE. Again, way to make someone feel special! If you are proposed to, sweeping music will play under you as you kiss and he picks you up and spins you in the air and you laugh and laugh. Three months later, you will be all over People magazine, there will be some weird cheating scandal, and you will break up.

So, after this humorous look at reality-TV dating and love versus real-life dating and love, what do you think? Which sounds better to you? For me, I think I will stick with real life. I don’t really like wine enough to stand around drinking vads of it on the daily, I cant see living in a giant house with 29 other women, and there’s no way in hell I’m going skydiving to prove my love for someone. Even though there is a lot of risk in real-life dating of getting your heart broken, or getting rejected – life is all about risks, and taking a chance could often lead you to the most wonderful, beautiful thing in the world. Everything beautiful starts with somebody making that first move, and then it just grows from there. I think that most of the audience for The Bachelor is young women. At least from what I have seen, a lot of women watch the show. I don’t think they watch it because they WANT what they see on the show. I think they watch it because it’s a form of escape, its a form of fantasy, and it’s a form of silly, meaningless fun. This might seem like a strange comparison, but I think that a lot of women watch The Bachelor for similar reasons that men watch porn. We KNOW none of it is real, we know its all fake and manipulated and that most of the couples that get engaged on the show end up breaking up later anyway – but watching it is a turn-on anyway. It brings to life that image of the knight in shining armor, coming to rescue us. More importantly, we see ourselves as that final girl that was chosen. Out of all those women, he chose HER. We see ourselves as HER, and then we think about the relationships we have in our own lives, and consider how lucky we truly are – because that person, my person, chose me. Out of everyone in the universe they could have chosen, they chose me.

Limos and roses and exotic islands and hot tubs aside, give me real-life romance and love any day of the week. Fantasy is fun and a nice escape to look at, when you don’t feel like thinking about anything. But real life, true, intense, beautiful, all-encompassing love??? That’s hot!!! And I don’t even have to rush out of the Fantasy Suite the morning after, so they can prep it for the next girl.

Sex After Loss: The First Time After the Last Time

When it comes to living your life after the death of your partner, everyone is different. There is no “How To Be Widowed” Handbook, and even if there were, it would probably be filled with endless contrived catch phrases and cliches.

The truth is, none of us have the slightest idea what the hell we are doing, and we each take different paths to get there. Love, after the loss of your partner or spouse, is a very tricky and individual thing. It is also not what this article is about. This article is about what it’s like, in the moment, when you lose your “widow virginity.” And yes, that’s our term for it. When your husband or wife or partner dies, the time after their death that you spend NOT sleeping with anyone, is referred, to in the widowed community as being a “widow virgin.” Now, keep in mind that one can hold widow virgin status for weeks, months, years, even forever. On the opposite end of the spectrum, others may lose their widow virginity in the time it takes me to type up this piece. We all grieve and cope differently.

For me personally, the first 3 years after my husband’s sudden death, I didn’t even think about sex. I’m completely serious. I was too busy crying, grieving, and being in emotional pain 24/7. Also, the very idea of someone other than my husband even touching me, made me feel physically nauseous. One time, a man in a security uniform that looked a lot like my husband’s old EMS uniform, was hitting on me and asking for my number as I tried to walk home from work. When he was finally out of my sight, I turned the corner of the street and threw up. So, for a long time, just the sight of any man showing any interest in me, and him NOT being my husband – gave me a terrible, very physical reaction. It was also a very long time until I could practice in “self-love” again. This is how that would go: In order to get turned on, I would try to have thoughts about my husband, and I would try to picture us together again and our loving and wonderfully fun sex life. I would try to pretend that it was him touching me and making me feel amazing. It would work pretty well for the first few minutes, but then somewhere in the middle, I would have this realization that I would never be with him again in that way and that he would never be touching my body again or making me feel good again, because he was dead forever – and then that thought would depress the hell out of me, and I would have to stop with the self-pleasure. I could never “finish”, and then I would either get incredibly annoyed, pissed off, or extremely sexually frustrated because I was beginning to think I would never again have an orgasm. Every masturbation session would end up with me sobbing my head off for 30 minutes straight, or beating the shit out of my pillow while I screamed to nobody: “WHY THE F**K ARE YOU DEAD???” Talk about a buzz-kill.

A Widow on Valentine’s Day (A Video Experiment)

Valentines Day is tough for a lot of people. For the widowed, it puts a magnifying glass and then a spotlight on the fact that our person is no longer here with us. Often, just getting through a normal, ordinary day, can be challenging. Getting through Valentines Day can be incredibly upsetting and even depressing.

A couple of years ago, I came up with an idea of something I could do on Valentine’s Day, to make people more aware of how tough this day might be for people like myself, while at the same time making them laugh or smile, hopefully. I decided to film myself standing on the streets of NYC, in front of a store that sells flowers, holding a sign that asks people if they might buy me a rose or some flowers, because Im a widow on Valentine’s Day. While doing this, I would react in an overly-dramatic way to the couples walking by me, letting them know over and over again that I would not be receiving any flowers or candy on this holiday.

I wanted to see if a total stranger would actually buy flowers for me, and how many others would ignore me altogether. What happened, was somewhere in between. At first, I was starting to become disheartened, as person after person walked away from me, or didn’t seem to believe that I was telling the truth about being a widow, so didn’t take me seriously. If I went home with no flowers, it would be a depressing experiment, and I would not have wanted to release the video at all. But that is not what happened. Strangers talked with me, cried with me, laughed with me, hugged me, and yes, gave me flowers. The last bit of the video is very sweet, and it brings back my faith in humanity, and reminds me of the kindness of strangers, whenever I should forget. I hope you enjoy this fun and “feel good” video.

How to Annoy People in Love on Valentine’s Day: Top 10 List

Inspired by “I left the grocery store a few days before Valentine’s Day, in tears.”

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, life can be rough. Sometimes a routine trip to the grocery store can feel like an attack on every emotion. Aisles filled with red and pink everything. Plastic, tacky heart decorations and large teddy bears holding cheap chocolates permeating the shelves. Love and Hallmark wafting in the air:  Rows of cards with messages like:  “Marriage Means Growing Old Together.”, “I Want to Grow Old With You.” The final straw is: “We Will Be Together Forever.”

A couple years ago, I left the grocery store a few days before Valentine’s Day, in tears. When I got to the register, there was a couple in their 70’s or 80’s in front of me paying for their things. The husband was lightly teasing the wife; they were bantering and joking around. It was very sweet, and I was so jealous of them and their time together. As he put all the heavy items onto the counter for her, she looked at me lovingly and said: “My husband is so good at that! He always makes sure I don’t have to use my muscles.” She laughed warmly, meaning no harm. I smiled with my lips, and cried my way right out of the store and back into my car. She looked at me with confusion as they left the store, leaning on one another, literally.

That night, I remember going home and just crying for a really long time. After awhile, you kind of grow tired of crying, and you want to start taking action. So, this year, as we come up on about a week and a half before Valentine’s Day, I have decided to make a wish list of all the things I would LOVE to do on that day, but cannot, because I would surely be arrested.

Here are my Top 10 Ways to Annoy Those in Love on Valentine’s Day: (this is just for fun, and no people in love were harmed in the making of this Top 10 list. Thank you.

  1. Candy-Policing: 

Go into Walgreen’s, CVS, and other drugstores that sell cheap, stale candy like “Whitmann’s Sampler” – and wait for men to pick it up to purchase. Each time a guy picks up a box, look at him and say: “Really? This is what you’re going with? Seriously? If I were you, I wouldn’t even bother with the red tacky heart shaped balloon on a stick. Now you’re just being insulting.”

  1. Call Out the Cheapskates: 

Stand at a bus terminal, or the grocery store, or gas station, where men go to buy last-minute flowers. Stand in front of the display and yell out in a sales-pitchy voice: “Get your discounted, non-personal, I don’t give a shit about you at all, flower arrangements right here! These flowers are guaranteed to live for your entire car ride home – up to 10 miles. Tell your girl to ignore the weird, musty smell coming from inside the bouquet. We don’t know what it is either. Please don’t ask. She can water these, but it won’t help. These flowers WILL die, suddenly and without warning. Just like my husband!”

  1. Party of One: 

Go to a restaurant, put name on reservations list with the last name “Widow”, so they have to call out: “Widow – Party of One. Widow – Party of One???” Get a table in the center, alone, and wait for all the couples to show up together, celebrating Valentine’s Day. Once the place is filled with happy couples; start loudly talking and giggling to yourself, as if there is another person there with you. Act extra giddy. Laugh loudly, pull out a rose from under the table, present it to yourself, and say: “Oh baby! You SHOULDN’T have! For meeeee?” Bat eyelashes. Unbutton  top two buttons on blouse, look across the table and say: “Oooh! Here? Right now? You naughty, naughty boy!” Then get up, holding hands with imaginary lover, and exit, leaving them all completely confused and stunned.

  1. Depressing Hearts:

Start your own line of ” Anti – Valentines Day Conversation Hearts”, and replace all the normal ones in stores with them. They would have messages like:  “Everyone Will Die”, “Love Ends When One of You Dies”, “I Am Completely Alone”, “This Heart Was Made With Real Tears”, “Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m Dead!”, “Will You Be My Valentine … Cat?”, “Be Mine – Until I Die Unexpectedly”, “All We Are Is Dust In the Wind”, “You Might Choke on this Candy Heart and Die”, “There’s a Good Chance One of Us Will Get Sick Someday”, “Nobody is Promised Tomorrow” “Text Me! No Wait – Never Mind. My phone Is Disconnected Cuz I’m Dead.” Okay, most of these most likely wouldn’t fit onto a tiny little candy heart, but this is a fantasy, so let’s just pretend it does.

  1. Romantic-Tragedy:

Get a hold of every romantic comedy ever made in the history of time, go through and at the very beginning, add a shot of yourself saying into the camera: “SPOILER ALERT! None of this matters! Everybody Dies!” This way, each rom-com will now end the same exact way. With death.

  1. Hallmark Moment: 

Go through every card aisle of every Hallmark store on earth with magic marker, and put sad faces and giant penis drawings on all of the Valentine’s Day cards. Hide behind display and laugh.

  1. Chocolate-Covered Poop:

Pre-chew all of the Valentine’s Day chocolates, then put them back into their little wrappers. Replace identification signs like “Vanilla Cream” and “Rasberry Filling” with signs that say things like: “This tastes like Ass”, or, “Unidentifiable Orange Disaster”, or, “Smells of Poop.” Laugh loudly at the thought of candy victim eating this nasty chocolate later on.

  1. I Love You, Mommy:

Be the person in charge of the messages that get attached to all of the flower deliveries. Mix them all up so they go to inappropriate people. Send a dozen roses with the message: “I can’t wait to be alone with you tonight. You make me so hot!” to some dude’s mom, from her son. Creepy.

  1. Wedding Crasher:

Crash a wedding. Wait for the priest to say: “If anyone here does not approve of this marriage, speak now or forever hold your piece…” (Okay. Nobody actually says that in weddings. Ever. I have never once heard it in my entire life and I’ve been to a lot of weddings. But again … this is a fantasy, so let’s pretend.) When he says that, yell from the back of the church:  “I DO NOT CONDONE THIS UNION!!!” Then drop your pants and blast the Benny Hill theme song over the loudspeakers. When it ends, leave slowly and awkwardly; sans pants.

  1. Widow Card: 

Bring spouse’s death certificate all over the place, and keep presenting it at stores as if it’s a gift card or discount card for items purchased. “Excuse me, do you offer a Widow Discount? I have this death certificate …. ” “Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day, and my husband died. I’d like to buy myself some flowers and chocolates. What is your policy on Widow Discounts? Here is the death certificate … ” “Can I just get HALF of a banana split? I have nobody to split it with, since my husband is dead and all. Please give me the Widow Price. Here’s the certificate…” Watch store clerks and others go insane with bafflement.

As much joy as all of these fun examples would bring to my life, I will mot likely not have the courage to do such silly things, and perhaps instead, sit home and stare longingly at the wall. I will remember years past and try to re-capture what it felt like, to be loved by the best man I ever knew. I will think about the future, and about the feelings I now have for someone else, and how those feelings will hopefully be reciprocated in the way that I want them to be soon. I will think about how my husband would want me to find some joy in life, and also how he would find this Top Ten List pretty hilarious. I will think about how incredibly lucky I was, that he chose me, and that I know what that kind of love feels like, and then I will try really hard to not be too sad, and to know that love grows more love, and that there will be more love in my life, because I loved and still love him, forever.

Anyone wanna get a nice widow girl some flowers?

My Complex Life and Lessons Around Valentine’s Day

I wish you were more romantic. I wanted to feel special today, and you forgot.

On Superbowl Sunday in the year 2005, my then “boyfriend”, soon to be fiance and then husband, drove a Penske moving truck with his cat in his lap and his life in boxes, from Florida to New Jersey, to begin a new life with me. We had been through a 7-year long-distance relationship together, and after saving lots of money and doing lots of planning, the love of my life decided to finally make his move and leave his friends, family, and job as an EMT in Florida.

Ten days later, it was Valentine’s Day. Our first one as a couple, living together. Don was still unpacking his 50,000 boxes and thousands of various random items, life was chaotic, and we were both still getting used to the idea of being each other’s new “roommates.”

When Valentine’s Day came, the hopeless-romantic girl part of me took over, and I guess I expected my man to do something epic. I was picturing beautiful hand-written poetry or cards, gorgeous floral bouquets, a romantic gourmet dinner made by him (even though the man couldn’t boil water, literally), spontaneous slow-dancing in our living room, chocolate-covered strawberries (my favorite) being fed to me as we gazed into each other’s eyes; the works. I don’t know why, really. Maybe all the years of this Hallmark, commercial holiday had finally gotten to me. Maybe the pressures of society and seeing endless girls getting roses at the office and none for me, played on my heart. Maybe I was so depressed and sad in past Valentine’s Days, because I pretty much never had a Valentine, that I was convinced THIS was my year to finally reap the rewards of true love and romance.

I don’t know what made me expect and picture those things, but those things were not what I got. The spontaneous dancing never happened, and the flowers never came. Instead, my guy parked himself down on the worn-out couch, let out a big sigh, and exclaimed: “Damn. I’m exhausted.” I proceeded to run into the bathroom and cry.

“How could you forget Valentine’s Day?’,I selfishly wailed to him through the door. “I wish you were more romantic. I wanted to feel special today, and you forgot.” I continued to cry for way longer than was necessary, and then I made him feel really bad and really guilty for forgetting, on our first Valentine’s Day together. Now, looking back on this moment that I am NOT proud of, this would have been the perfect opportunity for my beloved, to grab his 500 million boxes and his cat, and run screaming away from me as fast as he possibly could, and into the arms of a normal woman, who is sane. It also would have been the perfect time for him to call me out on being a total whiny bitch about nothing. But he didn’t. That is not who he was. Ever. Instead, this dear man said very sincerely and genuinely and with a bit of a smirk: “Oh boy. I think I’m in trouble here. I’m sorry, sweetie. I just moved in and I was so tired from the move, it just slipped my mind. I promise I’ll do better next year. I won’t forget. I’m sorry.”

Later that year, we got engaged, and in 2006, we got married. Him forgetting Valentine’s Day became an ongoing joke with us throughout our almost 5 years together, and each year from then on, he would get me 2 cards instead of one, 2 bags of candy instead of one, and 2 bouquets of roses instead of one – all to make up for the “one” he forgot the first time around. When we laughed about it, which was often, I would ask him why he didn’t pack up his shit and leave me right then and there, to save himself from a life of living with an unappreciative girly-bitch. He laughed it off and said: “I will admit to getting a bit peeved when you said I’m not romantic. All I could think was: ‘Not romantic? I just packed up my entire LIFE and moved to freakin’ NEW JERSEY, for you!!! Who moves to New Jersey? This place sucks! You don’t get more romantic than THAT, woman!” This theme became such an inside joke for us in our time together, that he repeated that question as part of his self-written wedding vows to me. “My love for you sometimes defies all logic. After all, who moves to New Jersey? On purpose?” Our friends and family roared with laughter.

Now, today, five and a half years after my husband’s sudden death, it is Valentine’s. I can’t help but think about all the many ways in which I have changed since losing him, and all the many things I wish like hell I could tell him I’m sorry for. Before I knew my husband, I spent way too many years being upset and sad that I didn’t have anyone on Valentine’s Day. And then I DID have someone on Valentine’s Day, FINALLY! Not only did I have someone, I had someone who changed his life for me, changed where he was living for me, took a risk on love for me. And I didn’t appreciate it. Not that first year. I was too focused on my perception of what Valentine’s Day meant, and what I should be “getting” as a result of it. The whole time, the greatest gift of my life, was sitting right there on my couch, exhausted from just moving his entire life – for me. For us. From that day forward, the entire idea of Valentine’s Day, and love itself, changed for me. I started caring less about why he didn’t spontaneously get me flowers, and started seeing all the incredible things this man did for me every single day – things that matter. Now, I’m not going to bullshit anyone here. I am STILL a hopeless romantic. I love flowers, I love spontaneous dancing in the living room, and I’m still waiting for my gourmet romantic dinner – made with love from a person who cares about me. I still get giddy and silly-happy from all of those things.

But now, I appreciate those things with a fire I can’t quite explain. When the person I have feelings for sent me roses on my birthday this past fall, I couldn’t stop smiling. I also must have thanked him 17 times, minimum. It just never feels like enough times to say thank you or show my appreciation, because I can’t ever thank my husband again for all he did for me, and that breaks my heart.

I believe, truly, that one of the ways in which the people we love who have died, stay with us, is when we take on some of their best character traits. My husband was kind, big-hearted, and appreciative and aware of doing the small things that were actually big things. I have now become this way, and I am truly thankful whenever someone does something nice for me, especially when it is unexpected. He gave that gift to me, and that piece of him has stayed inside me, literally. My husband was not “romantic” in the way that most people would define that word. He was not the type of guy that would pick up flowers for no reason, or make me dinner. (Again, he was the worst cook in the universe, and he would often joke that if anything ever happened to him on the job and he didn’t come home, he promised he would send me my own personal chef.) But looking back now, the things that my husband did on a daily basis, were absolutely beyond incredible. Everyday that I’m alive, I wish I could thank him for doing these things. I wish I could tell him how much I appreciated all of it. I am honestly not sure if I told him that enough. It feels like I didn’t, and I hate that. All I can do now, is see what’s in front of me going forward, and recognize the kinds of things someone does for you, when you are their priority. When your happiness, is their priority.

This Valentine’s Day, I would love it so much if I were to get some flowers, and I would once again appreciate them on a whole new level. I would love some chocolate-covered strawberries or a thoughtful little card, letting me know I am being thought of by someone important to me. But even more than that, I will be looking for those little things that are actually the big things – and I will feel lucky to know love like that, and to have had love like that. I miss my husband every single day of my life, and this time of year it feels more raw, because we were jut starting our life together, and now that is a life that cannot be. I cannot ever tell him that I saw and I felt all the little, big things he did for me. But I can tell you. On this upcoming Valentine’s Day, I would like to list just a few of those unromantic, romantic things, that my beautiful husband did for me, every single day.

Maybe if I tell you all, he will somehow know, that he has forever changed my definition of romance, love, and Valentine’s Day, and that I am grateful for it. Thank you.

1. Always handed me the keys to his car with a full tank of gas, and the oil checked, so that Id be safe.
2. Often left himself with NO money in his wallet before work, so that he could give his last $10 to me.
3. Reminded me that I was beautiful, often, and meant it.
4. Helped me to the bathroom, and waited on me hand and foot for a whole week, when I threw out my back.
5. Held my hair and washed my face off with a washcloth when I was puking my guts out from a bad reaction to Percacet.
6. The way he looked at me when I was performing or speaking onstage, like he was in awe of me.
7. He asked for my dad’s permission to marry me.
8. The way he would do things he didn’t want to do (like taking 8 weeks of ballroom dancing lessons so we could do a Foxtrot at our wedding reception), just to make me happy.
9. The way he made me feel safe from everything scary in the world.
10. Holding my hand and explaining things in a calm voice to me, when I would freak out on airplanes.
11. I trusted him with my life. He would have taken a bullet for me, or given his life for me. No doubt.
12. Held my hand until I was asleep, and then longer.
13. He moved his life from Florida to New Jersey, one week before Valentine’s Day, because that’s what it was going to take to be with me.

I love you, sweet husband. Thank you for changing the way I see everything.

The 7 Most Frustrating Types You’ll Meet on Dating Sites

Of course, there are many amazing single men out there looking for love but here are…

Five and a half years ago, at age 39, I was widowed suddenly. For a long time after that, I absolutely detested it when anyone would refer to me as being “single.” It was insulting to me. Single people hung out at singles bars and went out at night looking to meet other single people. Single people had a choice, or some version of a choice in their single-ness. Not me. My husband was dead. My life was ripped apart from me in one shocking second. I was widowed, NOT single, and there is a huge difference.

I didn’t want anything to do with the single life. I wanted no part of it. I just wanted my husband back. Now, years later, I still feel that way, because I still and will always want my husband back, and want that life that I had and never got to fulfill. But, I’m also human. And humans get lonely. Humans need to feel loved. Humans need companionship, and to spend time with other humans whose company they enjoy. So, sometime last spring, I attempted something I didn’t think I would ever attempt in my lifetime. And after my experiences, I honestly cant really see myself ever attempting it again. Dating sites.

To say this experiment has been interesting, is the understatement of the century. It has been downright weird and bizarre. Now don’t get me wrong. I have met some very nice people on these sites over the 10 months or so that I did it, here and there. But the weirdness and the confusion far outweigh the “nice”, at least in my experience. And the whole concept of meeting people this way, is extremely strange and foreign to me, still. Maybe because I am 45 years old. Maybe I’m just old school. Maybe this just doesn’t work for me. Or maybe its just weird and that’s just the way it is. I don’t really know. Yet here I am, stuck in this world of “unwillingly single.” And although I don’t have much interest in continuing to meet people this way currently, I have remained on 2 of the sites, mostly for comedic purposes (it sure gives great material for articles like this one!) If you are new to dating sites, one thing to take note of is that when you first join, you are like “fresh meat” for all the members. The responses are overwhelming at first, and yes, flattering. You start to think: “Hey, a lot of people think I’m attractive! This isn’t so bad!” Then you realize fairly quickly, that a good portion of those people are completely off-their-rocker-bonkers. After you are on the sites for a few months, the novelty wears off. Unless you are blonde and skinny with a perfectly sized body, all those multiple messages per day you were getting, telling you how gorgeous you are, start to wither away. So, even though I have remained on 2 of the sites, its mostly due to laziness of deleting my account. (I do the free ones. I’m not PAYING for this shit-fest!!!) The sites have been mostly silent as of late, aside from a random message now and then from a complete weirdo.

The Strange Romances of “Dancing With the Stars”

In the world of television and reality-TV, it is expected that one would find many examples of contestants finding romance or chemistry whilst in the midst of filming.

After all, shows such as “The Bachelor” are created so that people can find love. But what about a show like the very popular hit: “Dancing With the Stars”? As season 24 is set to begin on Monday, I thought it might be fun to take a look at the possibilities for matchmaking that exist in this season’s new cast. This “chemistry between dance partners” thing has happened on multiple occasions throughout the show’s run, so either there is something in the air on that dance floor, or host Tom Bergeron is secretly matching people together behind the scenes with his witty charm.

In past seasons, there was the pairing of pro dancers Emma Slater and Sasha Farber, who announced their engagement on the show live in 2016. Mario Lopez and pro dancer Karina Smirnoff had an immediate attraction during their 2006 pairing on the show. When their romance fizzled just months later, it was rumored that Lopez had been cheating. Very soon after, Smirnoff then ended up dating fellow pro-dancer Maksim Chmerkovsky, and the two got engaged. Then, the two split, just a few months later, calling off their engagement.

Are you confused yet? I am. Actress Shannon Elizabeth fell hard for pro-dance partner Derek Hough, and the two were an item in 2009 for more than a year. And then they weren’t. One of the most obvious attractions I can recall on the show happened between Maksim and Meryl Davis, during season 18. The two never admitted to a romance, but the sparks were hot and heavy from the start, and the judges commented on their sexual tension almost every week. (To be fair, Judge Bruno Tonioli could find sexual tension in a chunk of plywood). And in another twist, that Maksim sure gets around! He was also rumored to be dating dance partner (and winner) Erin Andrews, who later became co-host of the show. NOW are you confused? Because I still am.

Basically, everybody dates everybody, because the Rumba is kind of hot, and when you are rehearsing sexy moves together for ten hours a day over a few month period, things tend to get a little bit touchy-feely. Unless you are Judge Len Goodman. Then you just drink some prune juice and take a nap. Sometimes in the middle of the show.

In any case, will romance be in the cards for any of these pairings? Here is a look forward at the upcoming cast, and some entertaining romances that would be fun, or just plain weird, to see, starting this Monday …..

BONNER BOLTON is the world’s former Number One Bull-Rider, and will be paired up with pro-dancer Sharna Burgess. But how hilarious would it be to see him in a budding romance with off the charts, crazy, always seemingly horny Judge Carrie Ann Anaba? The season hasn’t even begun yet, but I guarantee it will be filled with endless innuendos from Anaba about Bolton “riding it” or “getting on top of that bull”. She really enjoys saying things such as that, and having her own little fantasies about the male contestants while she sits behind that judges table.

CHARO is on the show this season (with pro-dancer Keo Motsepe), and really, this needs no further explanation other to be hilarious, because it’s Charo. She has one name. She is actually listed that way on the cast list. No last name. You may remember her dancing from “The Love Boat”, or from other TV shows she appeared in over the decades. She is a pop culture icon who dances, sings, and is just generally entertaining, and she has GOT to be in her 70’s or older by now. Perhaps her and Judge Len Goodman should pair up, since he is also older, and her charm and sparkly personality could fix up his crankiness and moodiness. Seeing them as a couple would be hilarious.

MR. T is on the show this season, as is former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Chris Kattan. Although they are not paired together as dancers, since neither of them are pros, I would pay a lot of money to see them as the new, power, gay couple of the season. Mr. T could yell at Kattan: “I pity the fool who says no to me!”, and Kattan could do one of his many wacky characters in response.

Olympic ice-skater Nancy Kerrigan is dancing this season, which begs the question, where the hell is Tanya Harding? If Harding was on the show and didn’t win the Mirror Ball Trophy, I would hate to see what kind of action she would take in protest. Not pretty.

Nick Viall just finished his run as “The Bachelor” this week, and he got engaged to Vanessa Grimaldi. Starting Monday, he will be paired up with pro-dancer Peta Mergatroyd, and history has shown from past seasons, that this is NOT the best way to begin your engagement – by spending 10 to 15 hours a day dancing all sweaty-like with another beautiful woman. Let’s see if Nick and Vanessa can survive the jealousy of the Tango or the Salsa, or will Nick succumb to the gorgeous Peta, and leave Vanessa in the dust?

Perhaps Bergeron and Andrews can up their co-host game and start flirting with one another. Or maybe the two male judges can take turns dating Carrie Ann, the female judge. Or perhaps Mr. T and Charo will have a little fling, and then Maksim Chmerkovsky will break them up so he can have Charo all to himself, because apparently he dates every single dancer on the show. The possibilities are endless, and quite humorous. I can’t wait to see what surprising couples emerge out of this upcoming season, and the many ways that love (or lust) spring to life. To see what happens, tune in this Monday, March 20th, on ABC.

DWTS Premiere: “LoveTV” Rates Each Couple’s Chemistry on the “Love Meter”

This Monday, “Dancing With the Stars” premiered, and as per usual, it was a blast.

The show, even after 756 seasons, (I could be exaggerating slightly on that number) is still just as relevant, just as fun, and just as surprising. Host Tom Bergeron still sports his wonderful mix of warm and witty, the judges panel is as fiesty and hilarious as ever with their strange comments, and each season’s new cast seems to beat out the one before it, when it comes to complete randomness. As Bergeron pointed out on his Twitter page (@Tom_Bergeron), “this year’s cast has plenty of charisma, and plenty of cray-cray!” (slang term for crazy, for those of you watching who are from the Len Goodman era.)

Now, while the judges panel is known for judging and critiquing each couple’s dance movement, choreography, performance, and technique – the show seems to be lacking over the years on having someone there to judge each couple based only on their chemistry, or lack thereof. Nobody has ever judged or critiqued the pairs, based not on the dance itself, but on how they interact with one another, their chemistry as a dance couple, and their likability (or obvious distain) for each other.

Until now. This season, for the first time ever, LoveTV will rate each couple’s “love meter score”, using a very specific and scientific formula (I made it up), to determine that couple’s chemistry, in a weekly piece right here. The judges on the show use a simple number system of 1 through 10 when it comes to scoring. The Love Meter score, will be a lot more complex and fun, using different catchphrases and awesome metaphors and things, to determine from week to week where each pair stands when it comes to their chemistry. And it’s not only the dancers! Using this special formula, I will also point out any other noticeable chemistry bonds, including feuds and friendships between judges, hosts, and anyone else that seems interesting that week. Are you ready? Because this is going to be epic!


So, the pop-star from the group “5th Harmony”, and her pro dance partner, opened the show with their Quickstep, which was more like a “medium-fast step.” Bergeron called it a “high octane start” to the season, and I mostly agree. Grumpy Judge Len Goodman said: “It was long-winded. Carrie Ann Inaba said the couple should practice “more partnering”, which I think means that they should go out and maybe join a swingers club. I’m not sure. In any case, their chemistry for me was pleasant, but nothing off the charts. Definitely no love potential there, but a friendship may indeed blossom.

Judges Scores: 7/6/7/7

Love Meter Score: I give them a “WARM AND FUZZY”, like an old raggedy blanket that you just can’t make yourself throw away. Ever.