Having tea recently with an incredibly accomplished writer in our business, a hero of mine actually, I described myself as sooo DOLLY Levi these days, with all NY tuned in and tap dancing to the romantic ins and outs of our collective mid-life dating. I was certainly enjoying the attention I was getting from my guys… Karen and Tool Man were crazy about each other… Paley was keeping busy with a tennis-obsessed dentist smitten beyond while waiting for Mr. CEO to be available weekends… Emma’s guy wasn’t coming back until his business could support him in a lifestyle a notch above mooch … and JB was spending most of her time in her city apartment, focusing on business and avoiding conflicts at home.
It was time for a weekend getaway with the gal pals.
The ex and I alternate ownership of our beach house in the Hamptons until it sells, with only the occasional conflict. On one such conflict weekend, JB offered her home on the Gold Coast of Long Island as an alternative destination and we took her up on it. Scrambling into Paley’s car, we motored through Friday summer traffic to be greeted less than an hour later by JB in the most gorgeous suburban setting in a “manor” of speaking: tennis courts and swimming pool, ok … but a soccer field in the backyard?? Oh yeah…
We unloaded our overnight bags in the guest wing and stopped long enough in the kitchen to concoct cocktails on our way to the pool. Settling into over-stuffed loungers, we passed around sunscreen, filling each other in on the fine details of our escapades, talking, laughing, and toasting next year’s TONYs, confident our show would be a contender. Five women on the verge of reawakening, testing our wings and trusting each other to hold the safety net as we jump from the life we thought was secure into a singular and collective will to soar. Maybe because of the emotional high of being together – or was it the daytime drinking?? … But we also had our moments of low, taking turns at the box of tissues, upchucking old memories we needed to let go of that were haunting our movements forward:
Tool Man liked his drink and Karen was enjoying it more than she ever imagined, but too reminiscent of the life she left years ago … or maybe what wasn’t okay behavior during child-rearing years, is ok now? … The dentist was sweet but coming on too fast while Mr. CEO was moving too slowly… did he really want her dating other guys? Emma didn’t like the image of herself as a woman-in- waiting, breathless for her man … should she officially drop him? The only one of us with a child still living at home, JB was torn between continuing the role of the good wife she’d been or morphing into the seriously independent woman she was becoming.
I was in a relatively happy place, living in the now surrounded by these amazing women, all of us feeling so connected and yet there I was, with pangs of “scared” … the reality of my situation seeping through: is there “the guy” and “happily ever after” at this age? “For better or for worse” congers up a not-so-pretty picture when you’re writing that quarterly check for long-term health insurance…
Amazingly, we really were listening, softly opinionating, comforting … we are each other’s “family” now, a cohesive unit of think-alike/play-alike peers reminding each other that the end goal is to have as much joy in our lives as possible and reassuring each other that our relationships were growing towards that, even if they are ridiculously tough. We concluded there were no answers to any of the issues we were facing and truth be told, anything less than what we’re experiencing would be boring. If you buy into the spiritual conceit (three of us are on that path), we live in a perfect world and everything we do, everything that happens, is perfect …We lived, loved and lost, so what?
There were globs of fabulous things we gained along our individual journeys that led us to be where we were, sitting by the pool at JB’s on a beautiful summer day… some miracles even, including children (so what if a couple of teens aren’t talking to us at the moment), careers (ok, producing live theater is income-challenged), the collectibles (wardrobe, jewels, a couple of lamps). We’re healthy and living now to love again … adults, responsible for our own lives, writing the new chapter on life as a grownup inside and out, no one to blame if we do anything wrong… is there a “wrong”??
We relaxed and the afternoon passed on a somber but sweet note. We showered, gussied up for dinner and took a funky group photo for posterity before heading off in JB’s BMW for the hottest restaurant in a strip mall on the north shore of Long Island… “Party time” in the suburbs and we were gals on a mission to have us some fun. We strutted into the restaurant with all the confidence of Goldie, Diane and Bette dressed in white and singing “You Don’t Own Me”… I was the last to shimmy up to the bar – the girls had already moved in next to an “older guy,” earmarking him for me. No thanks … but I did wind up standing next to a tall handsome fisherman type in polo pin stripes on the co-ed restroom line. A few minutes later and on my way back to my table, much to everyone’s shock, I stopped at his table, inviting the group to join ours for dessert. I forgot I knew how to do that …
NOTE TO SELF: Single is (sizzle) HOT !