Here is the link to my today show segment-Watch and then Read: Some people using Firefox have had trouble opening it, so use another browser: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/35237013#35237013
Just last week I had submitted a question via the Today Show website (linked on Twitter) about relationships to submit to their panel of men. I submitted a question related to widowhood and dating and what they thought I should/shouldn’t say as I have found when you drop the “widow” bomb, most men run! This week I was chosen to ask my question live on the Today Show.
Chef Curtis Stone, comedian Rick Younger, TruTV’s Chuck Nice and author Andrew Trees were the panel of men answering relationship questions on yesterday’s Today Show segment with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford. Originally, I was supposed to Skype in my question, but through a series of technical difficulties, I called in my question during the last 15 minutes of the “guys tell all” segment.
My great boss allowed me to do this at work, and because of that, I wasn’t able to watch the segment until I got home last evening. In the meantime, I read over 200 responses from friends and strangers regarding the Today Show segment and their outrage. The general consensus from all of you were that the men were idiots, jerks, and that Kathie Lee is well…..a bitch. Trust me, that WAS the kindest term used for her, so I’m trying!
Last evening I sat down with my DVR and watched the entire show. I wanted to give the panel of men a chance-see how they had reacted to other relationship questions. When it got to mine, I just held my breath. As I posted on Twitter last night after viewing my segment: Chuck Nice is an asshole, and Kathie Lee Gifford needs to get off the vino. As for Curtis Stone, I felt he honestly tried to contribute with a thoughtful response. Andrew Trees was by far the most qualified expert, and he had NOTHING to say. But Rick Younger…Rick Younger’s combination of thoughtful words and facial expressions is what forgave all. The look of outrage and embaressment as he sat next to Chuck Nice laughing and making light of a very serious topic, especially when asked by Hoda “what if you’re wife died” was priceless. I wanted to high-five Younger and slap Nice. Slap Nice-how ironic. What was most inappropriate, probably even above Chuck Nice’s response, was Kathie Lee’s incessant laughing through the entire answer portion of my segment: COMPLETELY INAPPROPRIATE. For a woman who has been through plenty of scandal in her life, you’d think by this point she would have a bit of grace or even a touch of character. But frankly, all I can see is a possible drinking problem and a cold heart and way too much botox (I’m sure you all noticed how throughout the entire segment her wine glass was emptier…).
Let me clarify a few things: Yes, my new blog is thoughtfully named ‘Crazy Widow’, which also happens to be my Twitter name (@crazywidow). Sometimes I do actually wear a name badge that says CRAZYWIDOW, but I swear it is ONLY at Tweetups, and it only leaves the Tweetup when I forget it’s still attached to my shirt. With all those things in mind: I DO NOT WEAR A WIDOW BADGE. However, even if I did, I earned that badge. You don’t just lose a spouse and not earn that badge-it comes with the whole new life package deal. When I meet new people, I do not introduce myself as ‘Brenda, Widow’. I am simply, ‘Brenda’, who happens to BE a widow.
On my attempts at online dating in the past few months, I choose the category of ‘widow’. Because I am technically not single, or any of the other categories that are options. Just as someone who is divorced should select ‘divorced’ in that relationship status category, I choose ‘widow’. To not do so, would be a lie.
I have not had the luxury of just happenstance meeting someone out and about to date: I have NEVER actually done that to be quite honest. I guess I’m just not the ‘picker upper’. But if and when it does happen, if it comes up in conversation, I will not fail to share who I am, and who I am is Brenda. Who happens to be a widow. Not going to lie.
Baggage. Ahh, baggage. Do you hold a grudge against a former best friend? Do you go into your job each and every day and nearly want to kill your boss or co-workers? Have you had your heart broken? Do you have unresolved issues with your parents? Do you have character flaws that you wish you could change? Weight you want to lose? Yes to ANY or ALL of these and YOU dear people have baggage. Mine just happens to be a dead husband, which may trump your baggage, but so be it. It is what it is (as much as I HATE that saying!).
The fact is, and I always come back to this, widowhood sucks. It is not an easy task, and starting to date again at 15 months out isn’t easy. To share my dating woes, and ooooo here opens a can of worms, I have managed to go on dates with former wife beaters, the man who stood me up twice, and a talks-too-much italian who bored me to death but still wanted to “come in for coffee” to my apartment. Um, NO. Needless to say, internet dating has not done me well. If I thought dating 5 years ago was tough, well ladies and gentleman, today’s dating is excruciating.
When you drop the “widow” bomb, apparently you get made fun of for being a black widow, or drunken women can’t stop laughing at you. Either way, welcome to the widow dating world. A subject I have been a bit fearful to share with my blog brethren, but this Today Show segment has opened up a whole new can of worms for this crazy widow. And it won’t stop here.
I watched the segment, and I do think they were idiots for making light of your situation. Disregard that nonsense, that’s what happens on national television, serious issues are reduced to fifteen second sound bites and flippant jokes.
As for you experience with men running at the mention of the “widow bomb” it’s hard to pinpoint why that happens. Dating is hard enough when there isn’t “history” like that. Many men are scared off by anything like that because they’re only looking for something shallow and almost purely physical anyway. (Despite what their online profile might say.) Mentioning that you’re a widow says to these men, “Hey, I’m going to be up front with you about who I am and what I’ve been through, and it’s not all going to be easy.” At that point the shallow boys check out.
Continue bringing up the fact that you are a widow early in the dating process. When you find a man who is willing to go farther knowing that part of you exists then you know you’ve found one of two men. A desperate one who is willing to hang in there for any reason, or a man who has real strength and is in it for the purpose of getting to know you for who you are and developing a relationship based on more than just sex. You can be pretty sure it’s the desperate guy if he’s got no prospects and looks like a reject from a zombie film. Chances are you don’t want to date that guy anyway.
If/when you find the guy willing to get to know you beyond the first mention of widowhood you should celebrate. These guys are unfortunately rare, and thus tough to find. But if you find one interested in you, hang on to him. You being a widow is actually something of an advantage in the dating scene, because you don’t have to waste your time with shallow jerks. Revealing that part of your life is a like a litmus test for discovering if the guy is a real man, with real depth. If he runs, count your blessings that you didn’t have to waste time on someone who was going to turn out to be a loser anyway.
Best of luck!
I watched the segment and I read your post. I don’t have anything to comment on the idea of dating as a widow because I don’t know what that’s like and I couldn’t possibly imagine the difficulty in the hope and pain that must coincide.
I would like to comment on you, however.
Having talked with you on Twitter, having met you since in person, and having read this blog post I want to say one thing:
I am so proud of you.
What you have been through is something that very few people can imagine, especially at this age. To lose someone you’re so close to at any age is difficult — but something so unexpected when you’re just starting your lives…And yet you remain strong and you smile and you put yourself back out into the world. It can’t be easy, and so for all of this, you’re so admired.
Don’t let people who don’t understand get you down. It’s their own immaturity and lack of empathy that creates such reactions. You’re a strong woman with a lot of love to offer and a life to share.
Hearts and hugs to you.
I kept missing all of your tweets, (because I follow too many people to keep up with), and I’m sorry that I missed this segment. I did watch it from the link, however, and Supa was right: I am disgusted by the flippant, glib approach to a very serious dating issue.
My first thought, (because I am an ANGRY widow), is that those who laugh at things they haven’t the depth to understand, usually get a harsh lesson in order to gain that sense of understanding. Kathie Lee is just a lucky fool, devoid of talent and obviously unhappy.
And that Nice jerk is probably like the millions of Americans that we deal with everyday. You know, the ones who think: “This will never happen to me…”
I would never wish this on anyone, whether I hated them or not. But I wish there was a moment of clarity for our generation that keeps them from walking around with a dumbass stick shoved up their rectum, and expecting those that walk this journey to accept their sense of humor. Entertainment purposes aside; Karma is known to be a bitch.
I’m proud of you, and the direct approach you have to your widowhood. It may not BE who you are, but it’s part of what makes you as powerful as you are. THAT is what I think makes the weaker man run.
Brenda- proud of you too.
Glad…I mean super glad I know you.
I follow @freshwidow on twitter and saw the link about your question on “Today” I didn’t turn it on in time, so was really curious to see it and watched it online. I was appalled! I’ve always known Kathie Lee to be shallow and pathetic (that’s why I rarely watch) but this is a new low. I really wanted to know what the advice would be because I’m considering dating. (My husband died unexpectedly in April 2008.) I just don’t understand why men would be so afraid of dating a widow. There are so many divorced women, with or without kids, and single moms who have never been married out their that bring ‘baggage’ to a relationship, yet they are considered the norm. WHY? Why is a widows ‘baggage’ so much worse? It really made me mad to see these men and Kathie Lee laugh and say such stupid stuff. Thanks for having the bravery to ask.
Someone sent me your link concerning my comments on the Today Show and I wanted to respond to you directly. I will make no excuses for my words, they were inappropriate, insensitive and wrong. In my attempt to be humorous I failed to allow common sense and decency serve as my filter; for this, and more importantly for hurting you, I apologize. I do not blame you for being angry or calling me a few choice names; I deserve it. Please accept my sincere mea culpa.
If this is really Chuck, bravo. Kathy Lee is still a dumb c#%t. That is all.
Like Chad said, if that’s really Chuck, then good call for manning up and owning your words. I see I’m not the only one who realized Kathy Lee was clearly drunk and inappropriate during that segment. I think she was inappropriate throughout the entire show. I seem to recall she and her co-host making fun of several people before it even came to the question segment. She just needs to go back to Delaware…
Brenda, be true to yourself and make no apologies! In the words of Paul Stanley: Stand up for what you believe in. As one who tries to do the same, it’s not always easy, but your conscience is clear at the end of the day.
I wish I had known about this episode! Quick review–Husband shot and killed during home invasion. One behind bars (can we say parole hearings)they others need more evidence to convict (can we say more court preceding and of course more parole hearings)! You are not suppose to mention any of this to your next hopeful because heaven forbid it would be baggage. But wait! What about his CHILDREN(S) and EXWIFE(S)–I mean considering that he’s descent he would be actively envolved in his CHILDREN(S) lives and therefore he would most certainly be communicating with a real living and breathing EXWIFE(S)?
Have tried to date and minute they find out about how my husband died I no longer hear from them.
Thanks for letting me get it off of my chest!