I Almost Married My Father Three Times [that’s why I never married]...

Jun 17, 2011 by

There’s a platitude which, like most platitudes, turns out to be mostly right.  And that’s that most women marry their fathers.  Peek in at anyone’s family reunion and it’s almost ludicrous to observe how many women have spouses or boyfriends who are dead ringers for Papa Bear. Both my sisters married men like my passive, dependent, self-pitying father.  After therapy, the younger sister stopped all that and hooked up with a go-getter who was grown up enough to stand on his own two feet. Me?  Three times I became seriously involved with mirror images of dear old dad.  The man I actually became engaged to physically resembled my father, right down to the shuffling way of walking.  Wisely, I never married.  In 2003, I finally did have the kind of therapy I needed.  Since...

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My Life Will Be Different From My Mother’s...

May 6, 2011 by

During the 20th century, it was a common goal of determined females: That our lives would be different from that of our mother’s. I was hell-bent to take the road less traveled for females from ethnic blue-collar families when I packed my trunk and took the train from Jersey City, New Jersey to Seton Hill College, Greensburg, Pennsylvania.  It was 1963, before the women’s movement, so none of us at that all women’s Catholic college articulated what we were after.  But, you bet we were after not being our mother’s daughters. In the new book Art And Madness, Anne Riophe records the same fierce conviction.  In 1962, she recounts, “I lived near her [mother], the economics ruled. But I would have a different life from hers, I told myself.” That different life turned out not...

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Royal Weddings: The Agony And The Ecstasy...

Apr 29, 2011 by

Royal weddings can be for the single woman what Christmas tends to be for everyone: The agony and the ecstasy. The magic is being played out on the small screen of a young golden couple who found each other, adjusted to each other, and made it to the day when they would commit themselves to each other for life.  We watch and wonder how come we couldn’t pull that off. We couldn’t even manage the feat with a commoner. Of course the old chip on the shoulder returns that we weren’t born to the noble class.  Had I been, heck, I could have had a shot at my special day being gawked at by millions around the world.  The times I had been engaged, relatives on both sides would have had to have a...

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Invisible

Apr 26, 2011 by

“Old age takes everyone by surprise, and no one really ever comes to terms with it.” That’s what Jill Lepore writes in THE NEW YORKER’s March 14th article on aging “Twilight.” Lepore is referring to the thinking of G. Stanley Hall.  Ahead of his time, Hall was looking at aging from all kinds of angles in the early 20th century.  Back then, aging was still a novelty. Most people didn’t live long enough to experience it. Today, as the first wave of the 76 million Baby Boomers hits 65 years old, aging has become embedded in society.  Of course, as Hall observed, it does take us by surprise.  Since most of my dysfunctional family dies young, I never anticipated being around much after 50.  Yet, here I am.  And unlike what Hall says, many...

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Did We Become Nuns, After All?

Apr 19, 2011 by

It was part of the whole enchilada of growing up Roman Catholic and female in the 1950s: The longing to become a nun. Nuns, who were our teachers, were brides of Christ.  You didn’t have to be genius to figure out that meant they were without the angst of the groom returning home drunk.  They were educated, something most of our own mothers weren’t. And they didn’t fear getting pregnant, over and over again.  Come on, that looked good, compared to where we considered we were likely heading.  Most of us didn’t shake that neatly packaged fantasy until we went boy crazy in the eighth grade. Not for years would any of us ever admit wanting to be a nun. After all, it wasn’t necessary in order to escape our female destiny.  The pill...

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Lonely: A Professional Plus?

Mar 16, 2011 by

Back in high school, guidance counselors and teachers hammered into us Baby Boomers how difficult it was for the 76 million of us to get into college.  Early on we learned to game the system by presenting ourselves on our college applications as the well-rounded, social young people we were expected to be. Most of us learned that too well.  Right up to today, so many of us struggle to conceal that we were and are, well, one-dimensional loners.  Of course, pop culture, ranging from Bette Midler to the Beatles, reinforces that stigma about being one of those many lonely people. And it doesn’t matter a bit, does it, how successful we Apart People might be, compared to those who never bowled alone. Then an unusual book comes along.  It’s Lonely: Learning to Live...

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Post Great Recession: Our Mothers, Ourselves...

Mar 1, 2011 by

There was nothing my mother loved more than scanning the economic horizons and finding possible signs that The Great Depression was going to again happen. Family members, neighbors, and even the parish priest had down cold every one of my mother’s floor ladies in the factory and how the owner played had cute with her. That went on and on until she died in the mid 1980s, with a pile of money socked away for us three daughters. Of course, the three of us ran out and bought houses and cars we couldn’t afford.  Rebellion against all the tales we had heard about how degrading working was in a factory during The Great Depression had been was bound to happen.  Giving money importance, we were convinced, would make us our mother, ourselves.  It wasn’t...

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Single: Addressing the Professional Stigma...

Feb 22, 2011 by

The single state, at least for women, is a mixed bag professionally. Sure, on the one hand, employers discriminate favorably in hiring and promoting single women.  They recognize the advantage of having on their team those of us who have few pressing family obligations, bring in that paycheck, and a strong work ethic. There are now a number of discrimination employment lawsuits in professional services such as law contending the employers demoted or terminated those who acquired family responsibilities. On the other hand, once we’re hired, the workplace can be a tricky environment for single woman.  Some of us are resented because we have the scheduling freedom to accommodate the employers’s or clients’s needs, even whims. The hostility can be palpable.  Some are treated with condescension.  One boss invited me to be “with his...

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Power Couples: That wasn’t possible for single women...

Feb 17, 2011 by

At one time, to constitute a Power Couple, like the Clintons or Obamas, you had to be married.  That left a single woman like myself out.  The Establishment simply wouldn’t have tolerated power shared between a man and a woman who were unmarried.  Of course, that’s changed.  Look at the current Governor of New York and His First Lady. The positive development from being unable to become part of a Power Couple has been, for many of us, a focus on continually improving our Emotional Intelligence [EI].  Long before psychologist Daniel Goleman brought that concept mainstream in 1995, we recognized the importance of understanding how others processed their world.  Those others included just about anyone who could hire us, send business our way, mentor us, and open doors to the next level in our...

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While Fun, The Drama Does Drain...

Feb 17, 2011 by

I can cut onions and talk,” was how Kelley Connors, head of KC Health and builder of healthcare communities for women, entered the conversation on All The Single Girlfriends [ATSG] podcast February 14th.  And, that three-hour talkfest was how Toby Bloomberg launched ALSG, a digital community for women over-40 who are not in traditional marital relationships.  The Connors pragmatism captured exactly how we women had managed to buck convention and still blossom on every front, be it work or holding onto our health.  Regarding the latter, we were a hearty bunch. The lion’s share of the podcast, no surprise, focused on new economic realties.  The wife of a fireman [married women can be honorary members] made those very clear in her observation: “Everyone needs a Plan B. Only Plan B is yourself.” For her,...

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Single (For Girlfriends) Usually Means Self-Supporting: The Implications...

Feb 12, 2011 by

Since I have always been single, I have no idea what the financial pressures are in the married state.  What I do know is that being self-supporting from my early 20s has meant I have pushed myself to learn how the world of work operated.  I didn’t seek to change it, either from within or externally through movements. The lessons learned aren’t pretty.  However, once I accepted the first premise that human beings, not carefully created systems, operate the workplace, I could live with the realities.  After all, humans have their shadow side, what Christians call “original sin” and Shakespeare called “cankered in the grain.” That shadow side demands that whoever has the power exerts the power.  No workplace is a democracy.  It’s up to us to figure out the rules and if we...

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Starting Over, Over and Over

Feb 11, 2011 by

The shock for me – and now for more and more of us – was that I was older, yet I had to start over again.  In 2003, my communications boutique had collapsed.  My personal life hadn’t been too hot either. [My free e-book GeezerGuts].  African-American bestselling author and Yoruba priestess Iyanla Vanzant puts this way in her new book Peace from Broken Pieces. You need to start over when you “trip over the fallacies and fantasies that you have created or inherited. You slip on your dysfunctional puzzle pieces and your distorted sense of self.” It took longer than I expected but I did get on the other side of all that.  By trial and error I discovered that my talent and the market were right for social media.  Finally I found out...

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