Sunday, July 4, 2010

Men and Women Talk About The Ex, With Heartbreak and Humor

"She wanted to take the dogs. But the dogs liked me better."
Mickey Rourke, actor

"I was totally committed to Janet Leigh, she was the star of my heart throughout our marriage, although I did cheat on her constantly from day one."
Tony Curtis, actor. He explains in his autobiography that he was so beautiful as a young man, the girls hunted him down like a dog and he couldn't fight them off.

"He's an asshole, he really is."
Lorrie Moore, writer. Moore was married to a divorce lawyer.

"There's a Spanish saying for a certain type of cold, sadistic, punitive husband: 'He makes her eat ice.' I decided that forty years of eating ice was enough."
J.Z., a friend

"She said to me, 'I'm just not that into you romantically.' And I said to her, 'Then what is it we've been doing?'"
Laura R., about the woman she'd thought of as her lover, D.

"Live by the sword, die by the sword."
Ernest Hemingway, writer, said this about his second wife Pauline Pfeiffer. Hemingway had never forgiven Pfeiffer for being (as he saw it) a home-wrecker who pursued him when he was an innocent lad, and lured him away from his first marriage to sweet Hadley Richardson. He now gloated over the "prairie justice" aspects of allowing himself to be lured away from Pfeiffer by a much younger woman. Martha Gellhorn would become his third wife. However, Hemingway only fully learned about real prairie justice when Gellhorn left him for younger men and for her journalism career.

"I realized why she divorced me in the first place. I was in love with her, but she was not in love with me. For her, I was not the most beautiful thing on the planet."
Terrence Howard, actor

"He's a psychologist. He's also cunning. And what he did was stop talking to me. He withdrew, leaving me to stumble and tremble, to wonder what was happening. And when he did talk, it was to ridicule and threaten. He seemed to enjoy his immense capacity to frighten me...soon after our new baby's birth, there were moments when I confronted my husband, telling him I was lonely and frightened. 'Why are you so cruel?' I'd ask him. 'Why don't you hold your daughter? Why don't you hold the baby? Why don't you love us?'"
Marlena de Blasi, writer. She found a kind and loving second husband, thank God, and describes their courtship in her memoir, A THOUSAND DAYS IN VENICE.

"It was as if he'd been attracted to me for my exuberance, and then did everything he could to tone it down. Dutifully, I chucked my red shoes into the back of the closet and wore a lot of grey."
Laura Fraser, writer.

"I would never desert her, or let her feel that she was abandoned."
F. Scott Fitzgerald, writer. Fitzgerald never divorced his mentally ill wife Zelda, although friends urged him to do so.

And finally, this serious but somehow encouraging passage from writer Edmund Wilson's journal about a meeting with Mary Blair when they were in the middle of getting a divorce:

"When I finally left her in her apartment, after dinner, she gave me a human intelligent look, as she said good night, which made me feel her friendliness and her strength: a look of understanding between us on a level above our wrangling. I could count on her, she could count on me."


  1. Interesting comments. I don't know a couple of these people.

    Happy 4th!

  2. This is an interesting post. I can relate to Lorrie Moore, having been married to a divorce lawyer I'd describe the same way. [Note to self: do not marry a divorce lawyer. It makes divorce dreadful, but not nearly as dreadful as the marriage.] Oops, I read that note a few years too late.


  3. Great post Margaret! A little bit of every emotion in there...

  4. Ms Anthropy, I agree the comments are interesting. It seemed as though whether the people were rich and famous, or completely unknown, they had exactly the same human reactions to loss of love.

    Robyn, I'm sorry about your painful all-too-personal experience with the divorce lawyer! Thank God it is behind you and before you "a fair world beckons."

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  7. Hi Pat, I've been having trouble with the Comments section, as you can see! But it seems to be working (briefly?) now.

    Yes, the post was interesting to write, but also very poignant. So many of the people were changed forever--although not necessarily in an unhappy way.

  8. I found Ernest Hemingway's excerpt especially satisfying - maybe because poetic justice was involved. We can always choose not to pick up the sword I guess. There are always consequences and it is hoped that the consequences lead to justice. Jane

  9. Hi Jane, I agree that Hemingway deserved poetic justice, prairie justice, and any other kind of justice where his wives were concerned. Such a brilliant writer, and such a jerk with women!

  10. Margaret, Your writing and poetry has always slightly jingled a bell in the back of my head. Something was familiar, but I couldn't put my finger on it. As I was sitting on my patio just now, it popped into my head. I've read some of your poetry in a book I bought from a closing bookstore. Now I've got to find it...Am I correct?

  11. Hi Patrick, you must have an incredible memory. (I've also thought this when I was reading the posts on your blog, when your recollections seem almost photographic.)My poems have appeared in books from time to time, and I'm pleased you remembered the ones that you saw. I hope they didn't contribute to the "closing bookstore's" problems though! :^)

  12. Ah, hindsight is a wonderful thing, as they say.. What a fascinating post, I am glad I stopped by.

  13. Margaret, I'm happy to say that my mind isn't totally gone! It was a used book store. I bought several compilations as they were going out of business. amazing...
    Now I have to remember where they are!

  14. Shrinky - I'm always happy when Wonder Women visit. Hopefully it will be often!

    Patrick - you must have a houseful of books! I'm glad my poems are there somewhere.