5 Ways To Know If Mr. Right Has The Right Stuff

IMG_4286Many years ago, my good friend Kathie Gordon gave me this needlepoint pillow for my birthday. It was in the 90’s, and I was in my late-30s. For the single girl who had everything, it was a perfect gift.

At the time I thought finding Mr. Right was right around the corner, and to be honest, I wasn’t exactly in a hurry to meet him, but I knew he had to be somewhere in the neighborhood. But as time went by and the 90’s turned into the 00’s, and I turned into an old maid, I realized that Mr. Right wasn’t right around the corner, but in fact, he was a million miles away.

That pillow has sat on my couch through countless dates, hundreds of fix-ups, tons more blind dates, boyfriends, break-ups and bullshit, and it always asked the same question:

“Star light, star bright, where oh where is Mr. Right?”

Actually, I’ve found Mr. Right many times – in bits and pieces, that is.

One Mr. Almost Right was professionally successful, but emotionally unavailable; one was age-appropriate, but had arrested development; one was great looking, but couldn’t keep his dick in his pants; one was a Harvard grad, but was a total idiot; one was a superior athlete, but had no moves whatsoever. It was very frustrating.

I would kick and scream, stomp my feet, and yell at the top of my lungs to the universe: “Fuck you Universe! Where the hell is Mr. Right!?”

While I was busy yelling at no one in particular, something happened: I wised-up and started dating smarter. I also became hardened and jaded, which comes in handy out there in the dating world.

Here’s what I’ve learned: Mr. Right comes in many different packages. He’s not perfect, and he doesn’t have to be. All he has to do is THE RIGHT THING.

The following is my MR. RIGHT CHECKLIST, five simple observations that will ascertain early on whether your new dude has what it takes to be your Mr. Right.

  1. He communicates early and often. He isn’t afraid to express his feelings, his thoughts, his values, and his plans. He’s open, honest, and authentic about who his is and what he wants in life.
  2. He doesn’t try to get to know you through texting. A real man who’s interested in you picks up the phone and TALKS not TEXTS. A guy who carries on an all-day conversation thread is simply hiding behind his texts. Too much gets lost in translation, and too much can be misinterpreted, so don’t tolerate it.
  3. He would move heaven and earth to see you, even if it’s for a quick coffee at Starbucks. Having real face time with someone is crucial, and if he means business, he’ll do whatever it takes to see you. Effort is everything.
  4. He pursues and courts you like a proper gentleman. He makes plans, asks questions, doesn’t wait till the last minute, doesn’t push or pressure you. And if he starts sexting too soon, you’ll know all he wants is to get inside your pants, not inside your mind.
  5. He does the right thing. Whether it’s bringing you flowers for no reason, being nice to your mother, or coming to your door to pick you up instead of calling you from the car, a guy who digs you will always do the right thing.

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So when you’re out there dating, keep your eyes open. Observe, maintain your standards, and always honor your highest good. Watch for red flags. Being a little cynical and skeptical isn’t necessarily a bad thing – in fact, it can weed out the riff-raff real fast.

Demand a certain level of decorum, transparency, etiquette, and protocol at all times. It may sound old-fashioned, but trust me, you’ll respect yourself much more in the morning.

Above all, don’t be in too much of a hurry. Love has a way of finding you when the time is right, and so will Mr. Right.

Same Footsteps, Different Paths

IMG_0003She was in her early 20s, just off the boat from Scotland; he was in his early 30s, newly transplanted from Brooklyn when they met and married in the 50’s.

Robby and I will be well into our 50s when we walk down the aisle for the first time.

They had a half a handful of relationships before tying the knot; Robby and I will have dated half the world before getting hitched.

They were young and inexperienced: she was an entry-level secretary at CBS; he was right out of the mailroom at William Morris; Robby and I are old pros with years of life experience under our belt.

They were just starting out, finding their way, not fully knowing themselves, or the ways of the world; Robby and I have been around the block, graduated from the school of hard knocks, and have the battle scars to show for it.

When they got married, they were building a life, planning for a family, and preparing for the future; Robby and I are already established and are looking forward to building on what we already have.

When my parents had sex, they made a baby; in about five minutes Robby and I will be sexy senior citizens.

When they moved in together, they had nothing, not even a pot to piss in; Robby and I already have our own sets of dishes, a blender, a hand mixer, a vacuum, AND a pot to piss in. We don’t really need anything, but we registered anyway because who couldn’t use a new pot?

They had goals and hopes and dreams for the future; so do we, but we’re also happy to be in the present.

They were early adopters; we’re late bloomers.

The comparisons and differences are many, but there’s one thing we all proudly did together:

WE MARRIED FOR LOVE.

Not for money, not for power, not for status, not for a green card, or because of obligation or pressure. Not for any other reason, just love.

IMG_0002Like Frank Sinatra, we did it our way – on our terms, at our own pace, in our own time. And like Paul and Sonjia Brandon, we’re doing it with integrity.

Here’s how my mother describes starting out with my father:

SONJIA:

“He was handsome, he was nice, he was a good person, and he appreciated my humor. We didn’t have much money, but we had love, and we got by. We had a small wedding at a little shul on Beverly Blvd., and had to borrow a car to go on our honeymoon since his car was in the shop. In those days, you didn’t wait to get married. It was the thing to do, and I’m glad we did because, well, we had you.”

Unfortunately, their marriage didn’t last, but knowing their story and hearing how they met has always been a source of inspiration for me. Robby’s and my path to the altar may look very different from my parents’ path, but in many ways, we’re following exactly in their footsteps.

Eaton-Cox And The Great Hyphenate Debate

9ExY5TqTo hyphenate or not to hyphenate. That is the question.

If you’re Anna Wang and you’re marrying Brad Holder; or if you’re Katrina Busch and you’re marrying Matthew Hacker; or if you’re Kelly Long and you’re marrying Eric Wiwi, maybe hyphenating isn’t such a great idea.

Allow me to repeat: Wang-Holder, Busch-Wacker, Long-Wiwi.

Now, if your name is Treva Brandon and you’re about to marry a guy named Robby Scharf, most would say you’re safe from a life of hyphenated hell (and the uncontrollable snickering that comes with it) if you do choose to connect your last names.

Back in the dark ages, it was customary for a bride to adopt her groom’s last name and abandon her maiden name. No good bride ever questioned the practice; it was tradition. But if a bride dared to keep her maiden name, it was considered taboo.

Times have changed though, and in a few short weeks, so will I. Because on May 24th, I will officially become Treva Scharf…or will I?

I have options. I could keep my maiden name since it’s my identity – the person and persona I’ve proudly created and cultivated for over half a century. But what fun is that since it’s taken me over half a century to get married!? All that hard work and not have anything to show for it?! Screw that!

slide_227407_996144_free

slide_227407_996092_freeNo, I’m definitely taking my husband’s name, along with my own. The question is how should I do it?

Should I be Treva Brandon Scharf, or Treva Brandon-Scharf, with a hyphen?

Hyphenating feels very women’s lib, very feminist, very modern and ERA, but I’m still not sure it’s for me.

There’s a great hyphenate debate going on in my mind and I need help. To shed some light on the subject, I’ve turned to the experts: my married girlfriends.

Two friends chose to hyphenate, one kept her maiden name, one connected her maiden name with her husband’s last name, and one ditched her maiden name altogether for her husband’s last name.

Here’s what they had to say:

Meredith Gordon-Hochberg www.badsandy.com

“I hyphenated because changing my last name completely made me feel like I was going into the witness protection program. Not changing it at all didn’t sit well with my husband. I rarely use the hyphenated name, for work I use my old name. For kid stuff, it’s the married name. It’s all kind of a pain in the ass not remembering which names I use for what. You end up with a lot of aliases. But changing it completely felt very archaic to me, though it would’ve been far more convenient.”

Here’s what the other Hyphenator has to say:

Kathi Sharpe-Ross www.thereinventionexchange.com

“When I got married at 25, it seemed like a very romantic notion to take on my husband’s last name, but I was launching my own PR and marketing company at the time and thought my maiden name had more relevancy to the communications business. My husband had a nice short last name, so I decided to hyphenate it with mine. It seemed like a good compromise.”

get-attachment.aspxDaryn Kagan www.darynkagan.com

“As to changing my name after I got married, here’s how that conversation went:

Daryn: Are we going to start calling you “Bob” after we get married?

Husband: No, why? That’s weird.

Daryn: Well, if we’re not going to start calling you something else, why would we start calling me something else?

And that was pretty much the end of the conversation.”

Sharon Hodor Greenthal www.emptyhousefullmind.com

“I’m old-fashioned. I couldn’t imagine being married and not sharing my husband’s name. Maybe if I had planned on continuing to work, I would’ve felt differently. Plus, I don’t like my maiden name very much.”

Cathy Chester www.anempoweredspirit.com

“When I got married in 1988, I was in love and ready to say good-bye to my maiden name and embrace my new one. It was sort of a rite of passage that I welcomed because I loved everything about my new husband, and our lives together would be one where we’d share the same last name. I relished that idea, and have never, ever regretted my choice. I realize it’s a personal decision for women and there is no right or wrong. But this was my choice, and if I had to do it over again (which I won’t!) I’d make the same choice.”

And here’s what my fiancé Robby Scharf has to say:

“I’m happy to go with whatever you want it to be, and I’d be honored to have your name anywhere near mine.”

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slide_227407_996103_freeI’ve considered all of the above, and here’s what I have to say:

Sorry Chris Evert-Lloyd, but if it’s good enough for Hillary Rodham Clinton, it’s good enough for me.