Archive | Musings by Dalma

In HeynSight #7: The Myth That Breaking up is Easier By Text or Email

In Heynsight: The Myth That Breaking Up by Text is Easier

Thinking of breaking up with someone by text or email because you won’t have to witness or experience pain? Think again. If there’s anything more cowardly, inhumane and just tacky, I don’t know what it is….except possibly breaking up on Facebook. Or leaving a phone message.

Please, ex-lovers: You are not beasts. A person whom you liked well enough to date and make love to deserves more. And by the way, if that’s how you handle your love affairs, your mistreatment will get around fast: and, when someone decides to cast you off, you will surely get treated the same way. So, when you hear that phone message saying “Um, well, hey, it was great, but we’re through. See ya!”, remember: In love as everywhere else, you reap what you sow.

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In HeynSight #6: The Myth That Passion Cannot be Revived

The Myth That Waning Passion Cannot Be Revived

Has there ever been a magazine cover that doesn’t promise to put the “spark” back into your sex life? And do you ever think, after reading the same advice month after month, “What are they talking about? If it were as simple as whispering sweet nothings into his ear, or going out to a cozy dinner, we’d have solved the problem already.”

To know how to get sexual passion back, you have to first know where it went. Desire isn’t a faucet that flows eternally; it is a complicated psychic mechanism as individual as each of us.

Whether it’s temporary anger, hurt feelings, depression, fatigue, or deeper cultural issues that play a profound role in dampening desire, in today’s In HeynSight show, we’ll go past the easy answers and the blame, and look deeply into where desire can get lost–and found. Enjoy the show!

Discussed on today’s show: Marriage Shock: The Transformation of Women Into Wives

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In HeynSight #5: The Myth of Femininity


The “feminine” woman, the theory goes, is good, kind, giving, loving, soft-spoken, pleasing, gentle, soft in voice and character, charming, demure, pretty, delicate, deeply caring of the sick and the elderly, nurturing, a great cook and housekeeper, frugal….and, most of all, selfless. Men love her.

The “unfeminine” woman, the theory goes, is assertive, aggressive, and ambitious; she’s “strident” and “shrill” and selfish. Men don’t love her.

Why do we still worry that without these fake virtues, we won’t be loved? With women flooding the workplace but not getting to the top of any profession; not getting paid the same as men for identical jobs; and barely getting by in a difficult economy; is “femininity” the way to go? Or should we instead whip out all the aggression, ambition and selfishness we can muster?

It’s the topic of this week’s In Heynsight. Listen and let us know your thoughts!


In HeynSight #4: The Myth That True Love Is Unambivalent

In Heynsight Episode 4

Today’s program examines the myth that true love is unambivalent; that if you’re in love, you’ll feel that love consistently and without conflict, and will be happy.

But we shortchange our own emotional natures when we think that our feelings should be constant and unwavering and singular, when in fact they’re always mixed. The coexistence of positive and negative feelings toward someone, or something, simultaneously drawing us in opposite directions, is our psychic makeup.

Whether you find Mr. Right or not has nothing to do with a woman’s complicated yearnings for many things at once. And vice versa. We’re just not simple creatures. We don’t want to be alone, but we don’t want to be invaded. We want to win someone, but when we do, we also long for the time when he was unwinnable.

It’s called being human, and it’s the topic of this week’s In HeynSight. Enjoy!


In HeynSight #3: The Myth of the Divorcing Man


In our cultural consciousness, marriages end because men tire of their wives and marry younger women. In our real world, though, women initiate 65 to 70 percent of divorces. I stated in my book Marriage Shock: The Transformation of Women into Wives, that younger women were leaving; now, older women, in long-term marriages, are leaving as well.

In today’s show my main question is: If over half of all women were leaving college, wouldn’t you ask, “What has to happen to make women want to stay in school?” I’m asking, What has to happen to make wives want to stay in marriage? Tune in….


In HeynSight #2: The Confession Myth: Should Spouses Always Tell The Truth?


We have become a culture of compulsive truth-telling; we spill our feelings and our actions in the name of “complete disclosure” and “being honest.” We announce long-ago affairs to our partners; reveal details of our sexual pasts; confide the deepest reservations we have about our partners to them, as if they will all say, Wow! Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

We have decided that truth, rather than discretion, is the moral way out of everything from a bad thought to bad behavior.

In today’s episode of In Heynsight, Dalma discusses a big myth: That a in “good” relationship, partners should always tell each other the truth.


Dalma Does Liquid Lunch with Tessa Smith McGovern

I was interviewed recently on a new online show about writers, for writers, called Liquid Lunch. The brainchild of Tessa Smith McGovern, founder of eChook digital publishing, and Eileen Winnick, founder of The Winnick Group, this unique show gives writers the chance to speak about their work, and their thoughts and advice about writing, all the while concocting a cocktail in Tessa’s own kitchen and being interviewed by Tessa herself.

Tessa, who teaches at Sarah Lawrence, publishes (and pays for!) short stories (she and her authors just won, respectively, a gold and silver medal in this year’s eLit Awards). When she wears her Liquid Lunch hat, she becomes that rare interviewer, one who knows her guest’s work and audience; and she asks unexpected questions. Did I see a connection, she wondered, between my nonfiction work—three serious books about women —and the more lighthearted novel I co-wrote with my husband? I hadn’t considered any connection, since my nonfiction work starts with surprising facts, unexpected statistics; while the fiction started with a man and woman who might or might not fall in love. But of course they are deeply connected: even if genres are disparate, facts and character are always related. To be asked serious questions like this opened up so much that was fun to share and, best of all, didn’t require me to come armed, as I have on many television and radio interviews, with facts and stats and proof.

I had a wonderful time, made a delicious cocktail, (called, after our ebook, “A GODSEND,”) and hope you’ll take a look at and enjoy both. As always, I welcome feedback.


Westport Magazine: A Godsend is “The Perfect Summer Read”

We’re delighted to join other Connecticut authors—among them, Stacy Bass (the photographer of In the Garden, a pictorial journey through beautiful Fairfield County gardens, and John Cavi, author of the political thriller, The President’s Ultimatum, in this month’s Westport Magazine “Local Voices” column about local writers.

You can read the article here.

Wonderful is the fact that the article calls our book, A GODSEND: A Love Story for Grownups, “the perfect summer read,” and also wonderful is that it goes on (in its online incarnation) to publish the recipe for our perfect summer drink–called, not surprisingly, “A GODSEND.”

If you like your love stories to have adult—over 45–heroes and heroines, with adult feelings and adult baggage, read the book! And if you like your summer drinks with bourbon, try the cocktail! Better still, do both: Read and drink…..and enjoy!


In HeynSight #1: The Challenge for Stepmothers

My work has for so long been about busting myths about women, marriage, love and dating, stories that keep us from writing our own unique scripts about our own relationships, so I’ve started a Blogtalk radio show (see the player, below) on the subject. It’s all about learning what these stories are; how they live in us; and how to ditch them when they interfere with our happiness.

The myth this week is about stepmothers: Why are so many of the roughly 14 million stepmothers in this country dreading Mother’s Day? Why do we keep perpetuating the myth of the Evil Stepmother, a myth that’s guaranteed to make everyone unhappy? Why does this ancient story have the power to guide our present beliefs? The answers may not be uplifting, but they explain why 65 percent of couples in stepfamilies divorce!

I hope you’ll tune in to the In HeynSight program and let me know what you think. This is the debut episode; I’m sure we’ll improve as we go. In the meantime, I’m excited to be able to connect and share conversation and ideas on a regular basis. Enjoy the show!


Shades of Women’s Power

I’m late on weighing in on this, but I wanted to get past the din of everyone’s ridicule of the book, Shades of Grey; to move beyond the predictable bewilderment and hostility that accompanies monster success like this. That it’s terribly written. That the heroine is silly, dumb, ignorant, naive. That the book isn’t even “real” porn, it’s pretend porn– “mommy porn,” which, apparently, means soft stuff for silly mothers who wouldn’t know good hard serious porn if their bodices were ripped by it. 

These assaults are not new. Erotic books are easy targets, but for hundreds of years the target was literary fiction– if written by women, that is. (I don’t see E.L. James has yet been accused of being “shrill” and “strident,” words historically used to belittle women with a voice, labels that deny women writers a right to power. I suspect Ms. James opted to let her heroine and herself be accused of idiocy, lousy writing and silliness over shrillness and stridency, due to the demands of Mr. Grey.)      

Women are eating  up copies by the hundreds-of-thousands. Why? It doesn’t matter; no one will believe their reasons anyway!  Freud’s contention that women don’t know what they want lives on, leaving critics and experts to jump in to guess. We’re tired of being the boss at work; we want to be bossed in the bedroom!  We need to be submissive because that’s our inherent nature! We miss the masterful man of yesteryear! We’re masochists at heart! The old “Dark Continent” idea about women’s desires prevails. As the late Carolyn Heilbrun wrote in her masterpiece, Writing a Woman’s Life, “It is hard to suppose women can mean or want what we have always been assured they could not possibly mean or want.”  

Nevertheless, I say it’s about power. Not power over (who is bigger, who is more dominant, who is richer, who is male), but power to….power to have her own narrative; to tell her own story of her own pleasure. She isn’t just chosen; she chooses; she does what she wants and she writes it. Here’s a woman who chooses to have sex that thrills but scares her. She chooses excitement, not marriage, as traditional dead-end plots would have young women do. She chooses to take very good care of herself too, which in this case happens to mean allowing herself to be very well cared for. She chooses to depart with the conventional, to go with her gut on some of Christian Grey’s sexual demands, and to reject those that repel her.  She negotiates her own desires carefully, and knows how to assure that they’re honored. (Whether we like her pleasure choices is beside the point, as is whether she signs that contract. It’s her story, not ours.) If power is “the ability to take one’s place in whatever discourse is essential to action, and the right to have one’s part matter,” and I’m quoting Heilbrun again, then the awkward little Anastasia Steele has, in choosing excitement and pleasure, wielded sensational power. 

Stories about women having power and control are pitifully few. Most—in porn as in life– are about pleasing, and the price paid for failing to please. Here is a woman’s story about mutual pleasure, which in my experience is how women define power in the first place.