In the July 28 Seattle Weekly, you responded to a dilemma a woman was having about a love interest. You ended your response with this quote: “Within a year of leaving me, he was diagnosed with brain cancer, and she spent the following year and a half cleaning his dirty man-diapers and watching as his formerly brilliant brain turned to mush. Then he died. You might say she won. I’d beg to differ.”
When I finished reading that I was physically sick. I just can’t understand how someone can be so callous when describing someone who is battling a terrible disease such as cancer. I was in complete shock and deeply saddened that you felt so much anger toward this man that you chose to belittle and devalue the courage he had while fighting for his life and the courage he showed when he took his last breath.
As far as the woman who cared for your ex-boyfriend, I have nothing but the utmost respect for her; she stayed with him and showed him compassion when he needed it the most.
I understand that you are still hurt by the betrayal, but I see no reason for you to be so spiteful and petty toward a man who died in such an excruciatingly painful way. I beg you to be more compassionate and remember the printed word is a very powerful weapon that is capable of wounding more than one person.
Carmelita, we’re talking about a guy who, upon learning his diagnosis, started answering the phone, “Tumor Boy!” Dead Lou (my posthumous nickname for the deceased) was my boyfriend for six years. Sometimes it was great, other times it sucked, but I’m not sorry for or bitter about a single day that I spent with him. I was devastated when he dumped me, but the second a friend told me about his cancer, I called him to make peace. Even though I wasn’t particularly ready to bury the hatchet anywhere but in his head at the time, I sucked it up and made nice—mostly because I knew I’d eventually get over it, and if we went according to my schedule, he might’ve died feeling crappy about how he treated me. I didn’t want that. So we chatted, I told him all was cool between us (even though that might’ve been stretching the truth), took him to lunch, and visited him in the hospital.
One of many things Dead Lou and I had in common was a very morbid sense of humor, so I feel safe in saying that not only would he not begrudge me my callousness, he would heartily encourage it.
I’m not of the school that deifies the dead or dying—there is nothing innately courageous about dying. Dead Lou was a good, albeit flawed, man. Just like I’m a good, albeit flawed, woman. Normally I wouldn’t even bother addressing your letter, except several people wrote in to say the same thing you did. Dying is an inevitable part of life. Better to laugh in its face than to fear it.
As I’m on a roll of responding to columns past, here’s one from a woman generously offering to sleep with the 21-year-old who asked me to help him find an older woman (DG, July 21):
Don’t know if you do matchmaking, but I’m a gorgeous older woman who loves to dance and am in search of a sweet, libidinous young male. Would you give Ryan my number? [1-900-I-Don’t-Think-So!] If you can’t pass on my number for whatever reason, please tell me another way to connect with him. Hint: I’ll meet him at the Century Ballroom on any given salsa night.
For his information, I have been a model, dancer, and actress; worked in film; and wrote a book about working in Hollywood. I’m currently a psychotherapist and writer. I don’t give a hoot about how Ryan dresses or his conversational prowess. I’m just eager to imbibe his youthful passion.
Because despite being a callous bitch, I’d feel awful if something bad happened, I never play matchmaker with strangers. So no, Junior Mint won’t be getting your phone number, but maybe he’ll stop by salsa night. Please let me know if you get the chance to imbibe his youthful passion!
Can’t connect? Write Dategirl at firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.