Honorary “Singleton” Goes Global!

I’m international! I’ve crossed the pond!

For, fellow bloggers, Lia and Jules who hail from Ireland and England, respectively, have asked me to be a guest blogger on their site, Ramblings of a Singleton. Which is bloody cool, if you ask me.  And their blog’s name is very “Bridget Jones Diary,” wouldn’t you agree?

Bridget Jones, the original singleton, did a lot of rambling in her diary.

I just adore Helen Fielding’s book about Bridget Jones and her madcap adventures in love. So I’m excited to write for Ramblings because that makes me an honorary singleton!

This past Monday, the Irish Blog Awards were announced and Ramblings made the short list for Best Group Blog.  Quite a feat! Which makes posting on this site quite an honor.

Each week, Ramblings has a new theme, and this week the theme is, “Are you afraid to be alone?”  You can read my post below:

Am I Afraid of Being Alone?

Are you crazy?  Am I not from New York, the city of eight million people, where the Statue of Liberty welcomes swarms of  “huddled masses”? And where restaurants place tables so close together you’re rubbing elbows with complete strangers? How can I ever be alone—let alone be afraid of it?

Actually, these days, I find myself alone quite a bit and fear not, I am fearless when it comes to being alone. I need to be alone to decompress from the week. I need to be alone in order to write. After all, you can’t have any distractions when putting pen to paper or, in my case, fingers to keyboard.

Long ago, I embraced my inner being-alone side.  For someone who grew up with four brothers, two parents, one sister and a cousin living in our three-bedroom  brownstone, I had plenty of opportunities to be on my own. Alone in my room. Alone in the basement. Alone in the backyard. Alone and wide awake in the wee hours of the night, indulging in my favorite pastime: watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers marathons. Yes, being alone is all it’s cracked up to be.  Take it from me: It’s the bomb!

For me, being alone started with my parents, who banished me to a lifetime of alone-ness when they named me Monica, which in Greek means “solitary.” Thanks to them, my name relegated me to a lifetime of solitary purgatory and I’m convinced it’s why I couldn’t stay married. For better, for worse, I’ve lived up to my name more times than I can recall.

Any fear I had of being alone I lost when I was eight, and my parents sent me to live abroad. I stayed with relatives who spoke Spanish, a language that, at the time, I understood but could not speak. So I found myself alone in my own little world.  Then at 15, I was alone again, while my family lived elsewhere. But at least this time I was in familiar territory, my neighborhood in New York.  I spent a year living on my own, as a boarder in a widow’s home. (I wrote about that experience, which you can find here.)  With no one to talk to at first, I was most definitely in a singleton state of mind.

Today, I continue to enjoy my “alone” moments.  I’ve seen many a movie alone, and taken walks alone. I’ve even gone out for breakfast and lunch alone (although not on the same day).

Yet, here’s where I draw the line: dinner out alone. You won’t find me making a dinner reservation for one.  That’s a commitment. That’s a statement.  It’s also my Achilles heal, but don’t hold it against me. I don’t know why, but somehow dinner alone is tantamount to saying, “I’m lonely!” “I can’t get a date!” And while the latter may be true for some of us (ahem), I am by far, not lonely. Not one bit.

I accept being alone. My home is my sanctuary, and if it weren’t for my dog insisting on being walked, or the necessity of having to commute to work, I could bask in being alone for days on end. Given a little encouragement I could easily see myself becoming Little Edie in “Grey Gardens,” or Miss Havisham in “Great Expectations,” or simply a female version of Mr. Recluse himself, Howard Hughes. Ok, maybe that’s going a little too far, but you get the point. If I ever do show the traits of a recluse, you have my permission to shoot me or push me off a bridge.  In the meantime, I plan to continue appreciating my alone time, which I get to spend with me, myself and I.

So, am I afraid of being alone? No. Though, I’m not a recluse—yet. But if you do see me becoming one, call in the reserve!  And if you’re looking for Miss Lonelyhearts, then look no further than Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window.”  Now, if I could only muster up the nerve for dinner alone, then I could live happily ever after. Alone.

Dear Colin Firth, I love you!

It’s awards season! And what better time than this, to tell you that I love you. No, let me rephrase that.

I LOVE you, Colin Firth!

To be sure, I haven’t always loved you. But I imagine that’s because there was a time I didn’t even know you existed. Yet, once I saw you—as Mr.Darcy of “Pride and Prejudice” fame—I fell head over heels for you, succumbing to your romantic allure and steely stare. Indeed, sir, you had me at, “Good afternoon, Miss Bennet.” Do you recall?

Of course you don’t. I was probably one of millions of women who swooned and fancied you from afar. Totally infatuated with your onscreen persona then–and now. If you don’t believe me, all you need do is Google your name and you’ll find countless fan sites devoted to pouring their adoration upon you.

And I know Helen Fielding would agree with me! Helen, author of the bestselling novels, Bridget Jones’s Diary and its sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, was inspired by your Mr. Darcy portrayal to write these juicy tales, which I thoroughly enjoyed, if I say so myself. Not so much because Bridget was funny, but really because these books were, at heart, a tribute to you! Who can forget how deliciously appealing you were in “Pride and Prejudice.” You gave your all—and took off your shirt, to boot!—as the dark and brooding Mr. Darcy in the six-hour drama. Imagine! Six glorious hours! I was so envious of Jennifer Ehle, the actress playing the role of a lifetime—Elizabeth Bennet to your Mr. Darcy. You were so rude to her at first that I had to wonder, why couldn’t that be me? Why couldn’t you feel nothing but scorn for me? Were there no wise Latinas in early 19th century England? ¡Que tristeza!

Know that I’ve made it a point to see all your films, even the ones in which your part was rather small, as in “Shakespeare in Love.” That film could have been so much better if they’d expanded upon your character. I’ve also seen one or two that were not up to par, such as “Hope Springs,” which, I believe, went straight to video, at least in this country. No matter. I’ll see any of your movies, if it means getting a glimpse of you.

You were very clever in “The Importance of Being Earnest,” which happened to be the first time I heard you sing. Not bad, Mr. Firth. Not bad. And you delighted me to no end and made me feel all giggly inside when you sang again in, “Mamma Mia.”

I even shed a tear last year, when you didn’t win a Golden Globe or an Oscar for your performance in “A Single Man.” You were robbed! Heaven knows, you so deserved it! Thank heavens you’ve already won the Golden Globe for your stellar performance in “The King’s Speech.”  But I swear I will boycott the Oscars if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences fails to bestow its award on you come February 27th.  As far as I’m concerned, the Oscar is yours for the taking.

Let it be known, Colin Firth, that I humbly adore you. But this doesn’t mean you should trifle with my affections. Indeed, if on your next press junket, you find yourself in San Diego, please DO NOT look me up. No can do, my friend! Truth is, I’m afraid I’d fall to pieces in your presence.

So let’s just keep this going from afar. I’ll always have your next film to look forward to, and you’ll always have the pleasure of knowing that I’m one of millions, paying my $12 in order to sit in a theater for two hours so I can be enthralled by you. No need to thank me. Your brooding silence is enough. Indeed, sir, it is I, who should be thanking you, for allowing me 16 years of my utterly shameless devotion to you.

Oh and one more thing:  Congratulations, my dear Colin, on your Golden Globe win! Well played and well deserved! All that’s left now is a knighthood from the Queen. Let me know if you need any help in making that happen, as I’m happy to give you a reference. I don’t offer that to just anyone, you know.

Next Up: This is Chávez Country: The Little Bully That Could (Conclusion)