By Heather Buchanan
I moved from Angeles to New York with only three things: my laptop computer, my Bichon Frise, and a feather boa. Never one to be called practical, I salvaged from my former life only that which I deemed essential. I know the adage is, "Go west young man," but let's face it, the gold rush is over. I missed the East. I wanted seasons, I wanted culture, I wanted repressed men. I was in search of places I could order cream and sugar in my coffee without being looked at like a criminal.
After a 10-year tour of duty in Los Angeles, I realized it was time to go. Any husband who is given a hand-written love sonnet then declares no one ever got rich writing poetry is best left. And a business that considers Sharon Stone over the hill is no place for a girl past 30 who believes the only appropriate place for plastic is the recycling bin.
F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that there are no second acts in American lives. I'd like to buy him a drink at Bobby Van's on a Friday night.
My second act began with the search for a Victorian house in historic Sag Harbor. I knew I had found my home when it was described the same way I often was - nice curbside appeal, but in need of an entirely new foundation. The floor plans were essentially unlivable. The engineer's report on the house was almost as bad as my facialist's pronouncement of my skin. I wondered if I could get power washed along with the house. The guys said no but did offer to tape down my fingers and spray paint me a manicure. Love them. Then I discovered we do not call it "renovation" any more, but "rehabilitation." Bring on Betty Ford, baby.
The moniker of gay divorcee only happened to stick because of the unfortunate timing of meeting my neighbors in my black miniskirt and high heels with a scotch in one hand and my Bichon in the other. Silly me, I thought it was okay to drink before noon back East. I promised to order loads of Girl Scout cookies from their granddaughter . . . if they would ever let her near my house.
So here I sit on my finished porch wondering how to navigate the dating world with a lot more wisdom but less firm butt than the last time. Note to those leaving husbands: Get off their health insurance before receiving contraceptive counseling which usually isn't covered and comes back rejected on their statement. Remember the old "I don't want you but I don't want anyone else to have you" philosophy.
The trick I find is to focus on the positive. There are businesses that will chew you up and pick you out of their teeth, and there are ones that create homes. There are men who will leave you over one bad meatloaf (was it really the worst he EVER had?), and then there are men you just met who will make your dreams come true.
But for those with broken hearts who try to pick up the pieces of their war-torn souls and voyage to strange and distant lands to start second acts, I offer you solace. The Bible recommends peace, hope, and love. I recommend new shoes. (P.S. I am looking for a sponsor and still have firm, attractive ankles.)