At last‚ together in one collection‚ are Lisa Scottoline’s wildly popular Philadelphia Inquirer columns‚ in which Lisa lets her hair down‚ roots and all‚ to show the humorous side of life from a woman’s
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LISA SCOTTOLINE is the New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author of sixteen novels. There are 25 million copies of her books in print in the United States, and she has been published in twenty-five countries. A single mom, she has been named a "Fun, Fearless Female" by Cosmopolitan magazine. She lives in Pennsylvania with her daughter Francesca and an array of disobedient pets.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Of Dogs and Men
I’m old enough to remember Ozzie and Harriet, which means that my idea of the nuclear family was born in the 1950s and never quite grew up. By that I mean, a family has a Mommy, a Daddy, and two kids. And a dog.
Run, Spot, run!
We all know that the nuclear family has changed, but what’s interesting to me is that nobody has just one dog anymore.
I’m not sure when it started, but all of the people who used to have a family dog now have family dogs. I myself have a full herd—three golden retrievers and one Pembroke Welsh corgi, who rules us all. Multiple dogs used to be thought of as crazy. Fifteen years ago, when I used to walk two dogs in the city, people asked me if both dogs were mine. Now I walk four and nobody raises an eyebrow.
This is true on TV as well. More and more, we see two dogs chowing down in Iams commercials, side-by-side. The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan, spends many of his episodes trying to get all of us crazies with multiple dogs to live happily together.
So when exactly did people start acquiring multiple dogs?
Before you answer, consider another phenomenon, which I sense is related. What caused the nuclear family to blow up was that people started getting divorced like crazy. All of a sudden, the divorces began to pile up. I don’t mean across the country, I mean in one person. People I met had acquired second and third divorces almost as easily as they had acquired second and third dogs. At some point, the third divorce became the new second divorce. No one even bothered to count their first divorce. People didn’t tell their third set of kids about it. It happened so long ago, you could easily forget.
Nowadays, even normal people are on their second divorce. People like me, for example. I have two ex-husbands, Thing One and Thing Two. To be honest, I used to be embarrassed about being divorced twice. When people asked me if I was married, I would simply answer, “No, I’m divorced.” Okay, technically it was the truth, but lawyers would call it a material omission. Sooner or later, my pathetic personal history would spill out, and I’d be busted.
But recently, I was speaking at a library in California, and I met a lot of very nice women my age. And when I mumbled something about being divorced twice, one of them said, “Don’t worry about it, honey, I’m divorced four times.” And somebody else chirped up, “I’m on my third.” And another chimed in, “I’m on my fifth!”
Boy, did that make me feel great! Er, I mean, it made me feel terribly concerned for the future of our nation and the American family.
And the funny thing is, many of these women had multiple dogs. Everyone I spoke with who had more than one dog also had more than one divorce. Some women had more divorces than dogs, others had more dogs than divorces. It makes you wonder which came first—the dog or the divorce?
Is the new dog acquired as a result of the new divorce? In other words, do we trade our husband in for a dog?
Or does getting yet another Yorkie lead to your fourth divorce?
Are we replacing stable human families with stable dog families?
You may think I’m comparing two unrelated things, but this really isn’t so crazy when you consider that many women, myself included, sleep with their dogs on the bed. In fact, in my own case, three of my dogs sleep on what used to be my exes’ side of the bed. Plus, dogs do a lot of the things husbands do: snore, toss and turn, and fart. And I think my corgi has restless leg syndrome.
I believe these things are related. From my side of the bed, I’m smelling a connection.
The only thing that’s missing is the prenup.
I like to write about the differences between men and women, but this time I thought I’d bring up something we have in common. Namely, that we can’t always control our eyes.
For a long time now, men have gotten a lot of grief when they look at a woman’s chest instead of her eyes. Mostly everybody has made that observation, so that men are terrified to look anywhere but directly into our eyes. It’s gotten to the point that if a weird bony hand burst through a woman’s sternum, like in the movie Alien, the man she was talking to would be the last to notice. Or if he knew, he’d be too afraid to admit it, lest he incur the wrath of Sigourney Weaver.
It’s not really fair to men.
First of all, it’s only natural for a man to wonder what a woman’s chest looks like. Men have testosterone for a reason, and if they don’t use it up looking at our chests, then they’ll be causing wars and football playoffs.
Second, women are getting boob jobs left and right, so to speak. It’s a mixed message to spend all that money on a new and improved chest, then get angry when a man notices your purchase. Women can’t have it both ways.
Third, what’s happening now is that a man will spend so much time staring fixedly into a woman’s eyes that she’ll wonder if her eye makeup is sliding off or if he has a David Copperfield thing and is trying to mesmerize her. Hyp-no-tized!
It’s tough to be a man, with eyes, when breasts are around.
And women are having their own eye issues lately. There’s a male body part I always check out before I look at a man’s face. And frankly, if this body part doesn’t pass the test, I never get to his face. In fact, if this body part doesn’t go my way, I don’t even care if he has a face.
I’m talking about the ring finger.
It’s gotten to be a very bad habit with me. It’s not like I’m on the prowl, or that I want to get married again, because I don’t. My Future Ex-Husband will be very carefully chosen, because after Strike Two, well, you know. Still I find myself checking out ring fingers to see if a man is married, everywhere I go. At Staples. At a party. Even driving on the turnpike.
In fact, I’m pretty sure that if a man killed somebody in front of me and the police called me as an eyewitness, I couldn’t describe him at all if he had a wedding band on. Married men can get away with murder when I’m around.
I could give a detailed description of their ring, however.
Even weirder, I check out ring fingers as if there’s a doubt about the outcome, which there isn’t. Every man I see is married. Every man I know is married. Every man I don’t see and don’t know is married. Checking ring fingers is like watching The Godfather over and over, and hoping Don Corleone doesn’t die in the tomato patch.
And then the other day I found myself in the awful predicament that men must get into when they’re talking to a woman they’re attracted to and they want to check out her chest, but they can’t because the woman is watching their eyes to see where they go. I happened to be talking to this attractive man, having a conversation that was unusually entertaining, or at least not about his wife or kids for a change, when I realized that by some stroke of temporary insanity, I had forgotten to check out his ring finger first.
Then he kept talking and being more charming and getting handsomer by the minute, and I kept wondering, is he married or not? I kept waiting for the right moment to sneak a peek at his ring finger, but I knew he would see my eyes look down because he was staring so fixedly into my pupils, because he wasn’t allowed to sneak a peek at my chest. I knew I wasn’t supposed to reduce him to a finger anymore than he was supposed to reduce me to a chest, and for a time, we were almost in danger of getting to know one another.
What a waste of time!
But luckily, our eyes got teary from all that staring, and we both lost interest in the conversation because we couldn’t get the answer we really wanted.
So what happened?
He turned away first, and I got my answer. Married. So I wasn’t interested.
Then he got his answer. 34 A. So he wasn’t interested.
And don’t get me started on married men who don’t wear wedding rings.
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Book Description Thorndike Press, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Lrg. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX1410423220
Book Description Thorndike Press, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P111410423220
Book Description Thorndike Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1410423220 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1530458