Got to know when to hold ’em, when to fold ’em

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The lyrics to Kenny Rogers’ song, “The Gambler,” looped in my head for weeks before my wedding.

“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run”

I’ve long believed the Universe communicates with me through songs. Also through billboards, books and seemingly “random” conversations. But mostly through music. I didn’t understand the message, though.

“You’ve got to know when to walk away, when to run.” So, my choices were to walk away — or to run?

But the song also said, “you’ve got to know when…

It’s not a hygiene thing.

Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

Even on the days when my partner and I are fighting and my brain screams “head for the hills!” my body tells me the opposite. He smells so… right. His scent is intoxicating to me. It’s like after-shave or cologne — except he uses neither. He, in turn, loves my scent first thing in the morning, after it’s had the night to marinate in me-ness. Our smells attract one another, our bodies are a couture fit. The rest we could work on.

My friend Jen and I used to talk about this in college. A guy could be the nicest…

“Boss up and change your life. You can have it all, no sacrifice.”


While rocking out to Lizzo with my 11-year-old, I think: I wish I’d had Lizzo as a role model when I was 25. She’s bold, brash and unapologetic. Her music inspires me to “be my own soulmate” and to feel “good as hell.” She’s the virtual girlfriend telling us, “Got to take a deep breath, time to focus on you.” I’m thrilled my Gen Z daughter gets that messaging. I wish I’d had it, instead of the fairytale crap I was fed as a Gen X-er.

I also wish I’d had a crystal ball, so I could have recalibrated some…

I want to know how the movie ends.

Photo by Vitaly Sacred on Unsplash

I came upon this meme the other day: “Retrosexual: Going back to an ex then blaming it on Mercury Retrograde.” Not usually a good idea, but I’ve been reviewing past relationships lately for insight into my wobbly marriage. Which is how I find myself across the table from Ed at Thai Dishes in Santa Monica. The waitress sets down our spring rolls and shrimp wrapped in fried noodles. I keep my eyes on Ed and get straight to the point.

“What happened?” I ask.

I’m referring to the brief romance Ed and I shared two decades back, before he vanished…

At least that’s what we’re taught.

Sarah Everard photo source

The murder of Sarah Everard, a British woman killed while walking home alone, shook women around the world. We’re concerned and angry. Mostly angry. We identify with her. I lived in London back when I was her age and walked home alone more times than I can count. How many times had something not happened to me that easily could have?

I’m reminded of a Louise Bourgeois drawing called “Spiral Woman” which depicts a woman gripped by what looks like a boa constrictor or a mollusk. The drawing evokes feelings of restriction, the essence of life as a female on…

Whose business is it anyway

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

Showmances are ubiquitous in Hollywood. During a film shoot, you’re isolated with a small group of people over a condensed period. There’s little time to see anyone outside of work, let alone date or pay your bills. The job becomes an alternate reality. A bubble.

But what if your significant other is inside the bubble and no one knows? Is it really anyone’s business who you sleep with at night?

I’d just met my boyfriend, Andreas, when he got offered a huge job as the production manager on a multi-million dollar Shall-Not-Be-Named Telephone Company commercial.

“It’s a three-month gig,” he…

It’s a blessing in disguise

Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

My daughter is on a Zoom bat mitzvah right now. The girl stepping into Jewish womanhood is the daughter of my ex-husband’s best friend, “Max.” Max and his wife “Sophie” used to be close friends. Max was the best man at our wedding. I’d known his wife before he did. In fact, he’d met Sophie indirectly through me.

My husband and I traveled to Tuscany with Max and Sophie, we had babies together. Underneath my seemingly ideal marriage, though, was a lot of heartache and unhappiness. Eventually, I decided to leave.

During the year of separation before my divorce, I…

A writer’s conundrum

Photo by Nirzar Pangarkar on Unsplash

“First, do no harm,” rasped my father from his hospital bed as we flailed about searching for solutions to save him. He’d quoted this part of the Hippocratic Oath as if to say, don’t let the cure be worse than the condition. Leave the patient better than you found him. It’s my credo as a writer as well.

For better or worse, I feel driven to share stories. Writing is my cure to processing strong emotions and memories. It’s how I make sense of the world and share insights, joys, humor and tidbits about the human condition. I wish I…

They say it’s inevitable in the teen years.

Photo by Bence Halmosi on Unsplash

You just turned 11. I’ve heard 12 is when you’ll start to push me away. The words, “I hate you” will pass through your lips more than once, especially when I’m doing my job correctly. Your tone may sharpen along with a snarky attitude and contempt for my very existence. I’m bracing myself and hanging onto the last year of little girlness before it’s all about make-up and friends and being cool. I’d like to think we’ll be the exception to the tween cliche, but already you’re hiding in the closet on the phone with your friends and applying mascara…

A new family and new traditions arose from the ashes of divorce.

Photo by @danelawing

“What are you going to be for Chanukah, Mommy?” my three-year-old daughter asked. She’d made a plausible connection to Halloween, which was still in the rear view mirror. I didn’t have a good answer and, to buy time, wholeheartedly endorsed her plan to be a fairy.

Chanukah eight years ago commemorated a fresh start for our family as I emerged from the ruble of a protracted divorce to build a new life in California with my daughter, Ruby, and my fiancé, Dane. Ruby did not yet comprehend the idea of being Jewish. This was the year I introduced her to…

Pam Suchman

TV writer, producer and author who writes about dating, marriage, sex, spirituality and Hollywood.

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