Rebooting in Beverly Hills: A Wise and Wild Path for Navigating the Dating Worldby Marcy Miller
Rebooting in Beverly Hills is Sex and the City for the next generation. It's the witty, charming, and absolutely true account of Marcy Miller, a competent, attractive professional woman, as she struggles to re-enter the dating world after the esteem-killing divorce of an adulterous husband. Set in the opulent oasis of Beverly Hills, Marcy riffs on pickups,/i>
Rebooting in Beverly Hills is Sex and the City for the next generation. It's the witty, charming, and absolutely true account of Marcy Miller, a competent, attractive professional woman, as she struggles to re-enter the dating world after the esteem-killing divorce of an adulterous husband. Set in the opulent oasis of Beverly Hills, Marcy riffs on pickups, fix-ups, Internet dating, matchmaking, divorce, and all the other craziness—like psychics, girlfriends, and sex—that pop up along the road of leaving single life behind. This fun, engaging memoir, written by a loveable and slightly saucy storyteller, is for anyone who has faced rejection and the need to start again. It's for anyone who still searches for love. A hilarious look at the world of dating, Rebooting in Beverly Hills is full of great stories, helpful advice, Beverly Hills glamour, and fun.
- Bancroft Press
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REBOOTING IN BEVERLY HILLSA Wise and Wild Path for Navigating the Dating World
By Marcy Miller
Bancroft PressCopyright © 2012 Marcy Miller
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHIS MARRIAGE HAS A SHELF LIFE OF ELEVEN YEARS
It was December 5, 2005, and the mail arrived as it always does in Beverly Hills—on time and neatly stacked. In the inch or so of invitations and announcements of openings and events was an envelope from Bergdorf Goodman in New York, the Garden of Eden for shoppers. Having often received Bergdorf mail addressed to my husband, I ripped this one open to see what retail therapy was available today. What I read would change my life.
Dear Mr. Eagle,
Thanks so much for your purchase of the beautiful sable coat the other day. It was a pleasure meeting you and your lovely wife, and I look forward to seeing you both again on your next trip to New York.
Jack Kann Manager, Fur Salon
My first thought was, "Where's my sable?" My next thought was, "What wife is he talking about?" I checked the envelope and the name and address were correct. So what could this possibly mean? What should I do with this nuclear bomb that had landed in my lap?
I am a serial marry-er and this, my latest marriage, having lasted eleven years, was nearly a personal best—. Like any marriage, ours had lost some of its excitement, but I still felt as loved and protected and happy as I had on my wedding day. I had every reason to believe that my husband felt the same way. In fact, just two weeks earlier, in honor of his birthday, I had given him a celebratory dinner party at our home, catered by a celebrity chef, with a sommelier, a magician from Las Vegas, and a special birthday cake baked in the shape of his favorite dog. He had toasted me with such adoration that several guests teared up. I did, too.
This letter must be some mistake, I reasoned, although it dawned on me that my husband had in fact been in New York on business when the letter was sent. I just wanted to hear from the source that a mix-up had occurred. So I picked up the phone and called Jack Kann, employing my very best Nancy Drew snooping skills.
"Hello, Jack, this is Mrs. Eagle."
"How are you? Have you worn your fabulous sable in L.A. yet?"
"No, not yet. I wonder, do you really think it goes well with my hair color?"
"Of course! What could be prettier than red hair and sable?"
I'm a blonde.
In a prior life, I had been a high-powered lawyer, and one of the first women in a huge Wall Street law firm. In 1998, my husband of four years convinced me to stop practicing law and make myself available to him full-time—as a kind of Jewish geisha—and I embraced the new role.
But I smelled blood emanating from New York's Bergdorf Goodman, all my years of being a shark in the courtroom had trained me to go in for the kill, and it was time to cash in some professional chips. So I called the managing partner of my old New York firm, a well-respected ex-politico who always had a fondness for me.
"I need a favor, Mark, but you can't ask the details. Do you still have a private detective on staff?"(Big New York law firms often keep a detective as a consultant for due diligence investigations and as a service to their clients—a Michael Clayton type).
"Of course. Why?"
"No asking 'why,' but I need about four hours of his time 'on the house.'" I could not take the risk of alerting my husband to my espionage through a charge on American Express.
"He's yours—call and tell him I adore you."
So I sent my new operative (or Private Dick, as I preferred to call him) to the scene of the crime to interview Jack Kann. I requested that he employ water boarding to get to the truth, but no Bush torture techniques were necessary. In fact, by the next day, thanks to advanced technology and a few well-placed Franklins, I had more information than I could stomach.
On the week in question, my husband had taken a suite at the St. Regis, not the small room at the Peninsula that we always stayed in. He had not been alone. He had gone on a shopping spree at Bergdorf's with our community property—a black AmEx card—and spent more than $75,000 on a woman named Therese de Compte, who turned out to be a red-haired former "escort." Several years ago, she had moved from Las Vegas to the San Fernando Valley, obtained a real estate license, and begun "brokering" her way into numerous bedrooms.
And this New York rendezvous had not been their first trip. The week before, he had taken Therese and her out-of-wedlock five-year-old son to the site of her wildest dreams, her personal Disneyland—the Mall of America. The three had flown first class from L.A. and spent thousands of our dollars on tacky miniskirts and fishnet stockings for her and overpriced Snoopy gear for the kid.
I wanted to believe that this was all some kind of horrible mistake—that a credible explanation would soon be forthcoming, or at least that my husband's midlife crisis had played out and he had returned to sanity, full of repentance and unconditional future devotion to me. Maybe I could still salvage my "Beverly Hills bubble" of a life and avoid a thunderous pop. I needed to get the slut out of my husband's life, enroll in marriage crisis counseling, and try to mend this massive breach of trust before it became too much for me to forgive.
So that night after we made love and while he was still in his post-coital daze, I gingerly raised the issue.
"Honey, a very peculiar note came in the mail from Bergdorf's the other day."
"It appeared to be a thank-you note for a fur coat that you bought with your wife."
"What on earth are you talking about?"
"Just what I said."
"It must be some sort of mistake. How dare you open my mail!"
There it was—the defensive maneuver that men always employ when caught cheating. Some super-secret male manual must set forth specific instructions on how to respond under such circumstances. Even if you catch him in bed making love with another woman, he will blame you for driving him into her arms. Chapter Two of the same manual must state that, even if a black lace bra falls out of the glove compartment of his car, you had no right to open the latch.
Or, for those men not given a copy of the manual, perhaps this is a male reaction programmed during childhood: "I'm rubber and you're glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks on you."
Ludicrous denial is the grown-up version. Everything is your fault and now, as the faithful wife, you must beg for forgiveness for being inconsiderate and untrusting in order to stop his pouting and maintain the peace.
This time, however, I just rolled over and pretended to go to sleep. After all, I knew the truth, he did not know that I knew it, and knowledge is always power, particularly when you need to devise an intelligent strategy.
Chapter TwoTHE WAY WE WERE
My ex was a charming man. Tall, handsome, and five years younger than I, he was also intelligent, endearingly funny, and beyond quirky—eccentric, even alien, at times. As a foreigner living in the United States, he spoke with an accent so cute that my friends asked him to record the outgoing messages on their answering machines.
He ate unusual, exotic foods. He loved rugby and Formula One racing. He had a vast knowledge of trivia, especially scientific facts and information about animals. He loved television, particularly the ads, which he often found hilarious. He had trouble remembering the names of business associates, concluding that if he called everyone Mike, he would be correct enough of the time.
He was attentive and generous towards me. Even before he was established and successful, he would buy me extravagant gifts for my birthday, particularly diamond jewelry or furs. He respected my advice and allowed me latitude to run our social life while he grew his business.
But most importantly for me, he and my young son (from a previous marriage) bonded and became instant best friends. They would spend hours studying baseball cards and their individual value. They would visit luxury car dealerships and test-drive their dream cars. They would go-kart race, watch sports on TV, barbecue on summer evenings, and talk business. My ex was, for my son, the male role model I had always wanted.
One day while we were still dating, my ex took my son out of school for a surprise. Unbeknownst to me, he had located a breeder of golden retrievers in a nearby county, and the two of them went on a road trip. When they returned home with a large, adorable puppy, I never saw my son so excited. I alternated between feeling thrilled and feeling angry that I had not been consulted, but the dog turned out to be one of the loves of my life and a perfect addition to our family.
My ex and I shared common values, lots of laughs, an enjoyment of watching and playing tennis, a mind for business, a love of travel, and passions for classical music, wine and food, opera, and raising one smart, hilarious kid. My ex even decided to convert to my religion after observing holidays with my family and me for a few years.
Although we had so much in common, no amount of similarities could temper his short fuse. Because he spoke English as a second language, his slip-ups could sometimes lead to fights. But even some of those missteps were quite amusing. James Taylor's "You've Got a Friend" was one of his favorite songs. Whenever he would sing, "Winter, spring, summer, or autumn," my son and I would roar with laughter—the correct lyric is "fall," not "autumn"—and he would furiously accuse us of mocking him.
His language mix-ups were not my only memories relating to his foreign upbringing. Several involved his brother, who lived in South Africa but was a frequent part of the steady guest stream that flowed through our home. A jovial, sweet guy, my brother-in-law was supported financially by my ex and could never quite find himself.
He often invested in hare-brained schemes. One such nutty venture involved enlisting a Zulu tribe in a remote part of South Africa to make a particular type of basket for export. In order to impress the tribe's leaders, he arranged for two Zulu princes to visit us at our home in rural Baltimore County, Maryland. My ex somehow forgot to inform me of this plan, and my brother-in-law walked into our house one afternoon with two tall tribal leaders dressed in full African regalia. They had gold and black wrapped turbans, flowing robes in bright clashing prints, lots of beaded necklaces, and what turned out to be elephant-hide sandals. My son, who was fourteen at the time, was thrilled and fascinated by these guests, but after the princes sat down and started barking orders at me, I found myself less than enthralled.
"Why are you allowing guests in our home to treat me like a servant?" I asked my ex.
"This is cultural," he replied, "so don't take it personally. They have no respect for women, and they have never been outside their village in the African plains. Brewing some rooibos tea for them would be very hospitable."
Rooibos tea in Hunt Valley, Maryland? Sorry, but the local Giant Food does not stock Zulu treats, especially those made from a plant found only in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Instead of pointing out this fact, I bit my tongue and made them Tetley's.
My ex turned to my son, who was still staring in awe at the visitors, and asked, "Where shall we take our honored guests to dinner tonight?"
The biggest treat for my son, and for many Marylanders, is hard-shelled crabs. Seasonal, expensive, and spicy, they are served on long tables covered with brown paper, or even newspaper, to soak up the mess and to permit easy clean-up. The crabs are ceremoniously cracked open with wooden mallets. So my son, thinking we should treat our guests to a genuine Maryland delicacy, suggested a crab feast.
"Great idea," said my ex.
You've got to be kidding, I thought. How would Zulus from a tiny village in the middle of Africa react to exotic regional seafood not even considered palatable by most Americans unless it arrives in the form of a baked crabcake sandwich?
That evening, our entourage arrived at the crab house and, needless to say, all eyes were on our party of five. When the steamed crabs were dumped onto the middle of our table, my son began to give the princes his crab-eating tutorial—how to crack, open, and pick through the inside of a crab to get to the edible meat. The princes eagerly whacked away at the hard shells with their mallets, pulled out the lump-fin crabmeat, and tried to swallow it with a swig of Budweiser. They immediately spat the entire mouthful out, which was not a shock to me but a hilarious development to my son.
"What would be a delicacy in your tribe?" I asked, trying to make conversation as I stifled my own laughter.
"Mopani worms," they said.
Now my son was practically rolling on the floor.
"What are they?" I asked.
"We shake the trees during only two months of the year and they fall to the ground. We fry them and eat them for special celebrations."
I wanted to make them feel at home, but inasmuch as there is a dearth of worm restaurants in Baltimore, I ordered two juicy steaks for my guests, which pleased them far more than the crabs.
The foiled crab feast was just the beginning of their memorable visit. We checked them into the local Courtyard Marriott, whose opulence awed them, and told them we would return in the morning to pick them up for a traditional American breakfast (pancakes at IHOP, of course). Unexpectedly, we received a call at 6:00 a.m. from a local hospital.
"Please come and pick up your Zulu guests immediately," the nurse demanded. "They came to the ER stating that they were both ill, but we quickly discovered that they are just fine. They only wanted to be examined by American doctors so they'd have photographs to show their tribe how respected they are in the U.S." Being treated by white doctors is a sign of high status in South Africa, and these princes had taken advantage of their proximity to a local hospital to increase their own popularity back home.
Again, my son and I burst into guffaws at the lunacy of using the hospital staff for a photo op, when my ex handed me a bill. "Our guests do not have insurance!" he shouted. "And here is a bill for $3,700 for their tests!"
I just continued to laugh. It was simply another day of married life with my charming alien, and I loved all of the chaos.
When we were not chasing down Zulu princes, one of our favorite pastimes was to load the dogs in the back of the Jeep and drive to the public tennis courts to hit balls and play family matches. My son became adept at hitting the court's corners and running us side-to-side until we lost every point. He showed so much talent that my ex hired a full-time coach for him. Ultimately, my son became such a proficient player that he earned a high ranking as a junior in the mid-Atlantic region.
This passion for tennis quickly turned into the theme of many a family vacation. We would travel to the U.S. Open or other major tennis tournaments and cheer for our favorite players. Our healthy obsession kept us fit and kept my son out of trouble as an adolescent.
My ex was also close with my mother. An extraordinary pioneering woman, she raised three accomplished children while earning her PhD, then became a tenured professor, a White House Fellow, and an accomplished administrator. She was also warm, easy-going, a great listener, and a wonderful cook. When I would break up with boyfriends, they wanted to stay friends with her, and craved her scrumptious butterscotch brownies. After my father died suddenly of a heart attack at age fifty-nine, she rehabilitated a two hundred-year-old house on the harbor and started a new life. She was my hero.
My ex and I were married for four years when my mother, then age seventy, was diagnosed with leukemia. He made it possible for me to skip work every Monday so I could take her to the doctor or just spend time with her. These were precious days that I will always treasure. In her last few hours of life, she asked my ex to take good care of me. Through his sobs, he promised to do so from the bottom of his heart.
I felt secure and cherished. I truly believed three was the charm for my marriages, and that I had finally found my true love.
Excerpted from REBOOTING IN BEVERLY HILLS by Marcy Miller Copyright © 2012 by Marcy Miller. Excerpted by permission of Bancroft Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Marcy Miller is a jewelry designer who practiced and taught management labor law for twenty years. She received degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University Law Center. She has served on more than fifteen local and national boards, and is currently dedicating her volunteer efforts to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art, both in Los Angeles.
She resides with her new husband in Beverly Hills.
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I loved this book. It was incredibly helpful and funny. I think that anyone hoping to "Reboot" after a tough divorce or break-up will draw a lot of inspiration from this book.
What a fun read! It's funny, well-written, deeply human, full of information and tips. Buy it for your girlfriends and then compare notes.