When it comes to dating, Amy Cohen says this: "We all need to be reincarnated as an older Jewish man with an apartment on the Upper East Side.” Natasha Lyonne ("Russian Doll") reads Amy's essay about the difference between her 76-year-old father's dating life and her own.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Oh the from the New York Times and WB. You are Boston. This is modern the stories of love loss and redemption. I'm your host Magna Chakrabarti the years. Problem. Most of us never have so many people want to date you and send you baked goods that you actually have to turn them away well that did not happen to Amy Cohen, but it did happen to her father, and Amy writes about the difference between her father's dating life and her own in the essay ah to be old, male and single it's red by Natasha Leone, she's, the star and
creator of the Netflix Series, russian doll. Manhattan may have a scarcity of affordable apartments and parking spaces, but apparently it has no shortage of older widows and comely divorces, many of whom want to date. My newly widowed father Never I visited him and his Upper EAST side apartment. It was not uncommon for us to be interrupted by the doorman calling up to say A lady just left a bundt cake downstairs what am I supposed to do with all these women. He would say: I feel bad, but there are just too many. To adjust to his new social life. My seventy six year old Father, whose old clothes were stained with bloody Mary mix from his evening cocktails, purchased
who wore wardrobe of bright crew, neck sweaters and khakis his dates. Often sport. Silky hair teased into virtual pillbox hat They were all very nice and charitably active but as my father would say after each one She's no mom. My friends and I marvel at his social schedule, Can you believe it? I said to my best friend it's his fourth date this week we all need to be reincarnated as an older jewish man with an apartment on the Upper EAST side exactly she said no one's leaving bundt cakes in my lobby. We, my father, would explain.
These, ladies, are just sell relieved. I can remember their names. I get bonus points for just being able to walk to the restaurant without an attendant. I was there Five and recently had been dumped by the man I had hoped to marry so my father wasn't taking a divorcee to a movie or escorting somebody's great grandmother to a hide in concert. frequently could be found with me. His lonely daughter. In fact, he and I now spend so much time together. Then, when people asked, if I was dating again, I often would answer apparently I'm dating my father, all my life. He and I had been distant, not just emotionally, but physically, he traveled around the world for work and during my childhood was often away for months. At a time. When
He returned. I would jump up and down trying to get his attention presenting him with side written with titles. Like look look I'm over here and my name is Amy illustrated with drawings of me now: with both of us single we finally were close and even I understood that my father needed someone when my mother, for became sick. He didn't even know how to order chinese food by phone or scramble an egg? I found my of growing nervous about the prospect of loose seeing him again yet I knew he'd be happier with a new love in his life. So I cheered him on just as he did with me. I'd ask eagerly after a day will you take her out again? I dunno she's nice lady, but we've only been out twice and she
asking me if I want to escort her to her nephew's bar mitzvah, while we're on the subject. It's time you started dating again ready she's not ready. He shook his head. You're, a beautiful, intelligent young lady get out of the house, because, if you don't It becomes a kind of a syndrome. Don't you think a syndrome. This reminded me of the time he told me that if I didn't clean out the cat litter, the films could make me go blind. Like an obsessive thing. He said it's time I'll think about it. the fact that I wasn't ready, didn't, stop well, meaning friends and family from trying to set me up. One day my sister called after dropping her son at Tennis Camp to tell me she had good NEWS, a free, His brother worked with a guy whose wife knew someone who said he would go out on a blind date with me.
Wasn't that great Fine, I said I'll go really yeah whatever the next time I visited my Father, he just stared at me, beaming until he couldn't hold it any longer. Your sister told me, you have a date, he said words travels fast. I said yes, next Monday, the egg has landed dad. It's just a dinner but don't you see he said one date will lead to another and another. He assumed that because he was being pursued by hordes of eligible women. I would we pursued by hordes of eligible men, but The hordes remained in pursuit of him alone.
Not long after he and I attended a lecture given The community centre on the Upper EAST side, the crowd. It can slow moving was composed. Mostly of men and women wearing wool sweaters in eighty degree, weather. For the over sixty five crowd, this was the equivalent of Woodstock and while there wasn't free love, there was free food which had caused our exit to be clogged by people, stuffing sandwich cookies into their bags. Downing, free grape juice. This is why we were at a standstill when we heard someone yell Mari from across the room we took and to see an elderly woman moving toward us each step followed by a brief, but noticeable pause, she wore an elegant red suit, woven with gold thread and
calves so thin. They looked as if broom Those were rising out of her swayed tip saregama shoes. hello, Mary, she said in a throaty voice by the way she was straining to maintain her composure. I could tell if had gone on a date with my father and that he had never called her again. I knew this look myself, the look that said I'm devastated, but I'm going to pretend not to care that you didn't want me As she stared at him eyes, pleading I could tell she was hoping he would give her another shot my father called out her name and from. way. He said it warmly, but without passion I knew she didn't have a chance. I felt
She had done all the right things marry the right person, Also, this would never happen and even though this woman- and I were forty years apart, biology had rendered us equally vulnerable. It had left her a widow as add so many women, her age and left me anxious to meet someone, as I hope, have a baby within the next few years I assume that as a teenager, she thought, as I once had, that she held the upper hand. and now we were reduced to this feeling Fraid and bewildered wondering whether to blame the stars or ourselves. She seemed nice. I said as we left Are you sure you don't want to go out with her again, she's lovely just
lovely lovely lady, but not for me. I think you should give her a chance. I said, and I did. I realized in some magical way. I was hoping that if I could persuade him to give her another chance, I might get one myself just thinking about this made me annoyed at my father. All you care about is looks, I said he shrugged hey, I didn't choose this. I'd rather have mom, want me to be alone for the rest of my life. Do you? I didn't didn't want either of us to be alone for the rest of our lives, but things to be considerably more promising for him, then, for me,. Among my recent dates was a guy who told me I have had sex in six weeks and it's making me really edgy a man who Hooper to be blind, so we could take his dog onto the subway.
And an investment banker who asked me over dinner how many men I had slept with and if I owned a vibrator at least I still had my father or so I thought until a phone call from my sister who, after. advertising for giving some guy my phone number without telling me asked out of the blue. So what do you think about? I've girlfriend I swallowed his girlfriend. I knew sooner or later this day would come, but now it had I Suddenly abandoned If he had moved without leaving a forwarding address hidden, tell you he has a girlfriend. My sister said you too. So much time together. Yeah? Well, he told maize, been on a few dates with this one woman, but no, he didn't call her his girlfriend. I said this with
announced casualness, but in truth I was hurt. Why had any confided in me. My sister made a sound, not quite a laugh, it's so funny. Ever since your big break up he's been saying to me, I hope may meet someone first. I hope she meets someone first, That's why you didn't tell you. Maybe I said. The next day, I met my father at Zach's to help him shop for a new suit. What's wrong, he has. You seem upset about something. my mind was racing. Nothing try to make conversation. I'm about the guy who asked me if I had a vibrator. I said if he wanted a vibrator so much he should get his own. Well,
I think you should have stood up, your coat and said. Yo may talk to other young women. That way, but I don't care for that sort of behavior good. so a pair we, my father, thought my date took place in nineteen fifty three one I'm telling you he went on as if can't let that. Then, because you need someone who's going to be good to you and take care of you. You have I had such an easy time lately, but remember any young man would be very fortunate to get you don't forget that okay, okay, I said, but I couldn't get the idea of his new girlfriend out of my mind Before my mother died, she told me she wanted me to welcome whoever my father found into our family.
Little did she know that in her absence, my father and I would instead find each other. although I felt lucky about our new relationship, I also felt guilty that we'd grown close only because she died. Then it occurred to me. Maybe that's how my father felt about finding someone first lucky but guilty I wanted to tell him that it was all right, then I have to worry about me or feel guilty that one day I would meet somebody second cousin twice removed, or maybe not the point was I felt happy for him. Whether we were able to keep what we had or not. As it turned out. My father was able to stick by both of us. his new girlfriend and me now years later,
She and I trade recipes for butter cake Natasha LEO reading Collins essay are to be old, l and single will catch up with Amy after the break. and I.
I love spelling bee my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed sorry that may have happened again today. I have one friend who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that was my dad. We like the spend time together and I wish her out. I think I got it- see it J, a c k, p o t jack, but we hit the jackpot panicked, yeah, Elrond, nice, I'm same as earth sky. The digital pulses editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee in all our games at n, one times dot com, slash games,
Cohen's essay came out twelve years ago, this past summer her father passed away. He had had really pretty serious dementia for the last year of his life, and I think that it was interesting because I think dementia simplifies people's, I was in Turkey was just reduced to like his sweet ass, much loving self. It was a different relation ship than they had when Amy was growing up back. Then she felt criticized by her dad. He would say, like you, know, you're so incredible if you would only fix your hair and maybe you know like calm down a little bit. You know I call at the complex old, because that was the compliment. You like an insult chaser near the decline, probably happened over a good three years.
but the last year in particular, you know who's kind of losing everything. He couldn't really see couldn't lie here, and I was just happy to to be there for him a note to let him know how loved he was think I kind of came to understand him in a new way. He's father and his girlfriend stayed together for years before their relationship ended. But Amy didn't. the partner that she'd been looking for. Instead she two children on her own. She made that decision after finding out that her sister had stage four breast cancer. I kind of you know, wrap my head around the fact that I was losing my best friend and someone I absolutely adore and looked up to in every way and when I kind of process that a little bit more and realise that she just wanted to live her life, and I decided I was going to be a mom
as I felt like you can't wait, you just can't wait. You just have do it and it's you know it had been something that scared me for years And I wish I'd known how, much stronger. I was then I realized Amy. As her father was with her for every sonogram and when she gave birth to both her children. He was there to sort of. I was Hebrew for like thirty six hours and you now live again. He was like I'm not going to stay or thirty six hours, I'm hungry, I'm going to go to a restaurant. If you give birth call me, but I'm not going to stay here cause I have other things to do. That was very much my dad. And so he actually they came back from dinner minutes before I gave birth, I ended up having a c section and he just like waltz, then you know, like darling and, like a nice, veal, Bokassa came in As it moves new grandchild, Amy's children are eight and three years old. Now she says that raising them on her own has showed her how strong she is and though her life now
hectic and crazy. She wouldn't, have it any other way. People are trying to fix me up I have no interest, I am in no interest one might you know they said im really tired. Our house, is so messy. I I'm just come barely getting through, but I don't really have an edge attire to meet anyone right now, which is pretty incredible. Considering how much time I devoted to it for so long and how much It was so ingrained in me that that was the biggest deciding factor of your worth. No, do you If anyone is there, someone who is standing there saying that they have chosen you now No one! No one shows me and I'm fine, fine, fine, fine, that's it! Colin she's the author of the late Bloomers revolution and she live.
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I love spelling my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see, but you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in sorry. It may have happened again today. I have one friend who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that when my dad was like the first time together- and I was it out- I think I got it- see it J, a c k, P, o t jack. We hit the jackpot, panicked, yeah, Elrond nice, I'm same as earth's sky. The digital pulses editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee in all our games at n, one times, dot, com, slash games, we asked Amy, Cohen
She felt about Natasha Leone, choosing her piece to read on the podcast and she told us when we reached out to her. She was in the of binge watching Natasha New Show russian doll. Amy says it helped her get through some of the grief around her father's dementia and death I think I felt like I said goodbye to him when he kind of stopped knowing really who I was or what was going on and so when he died in June. I felt like I guess I already grieved. when in January I started to think like I don't think I agree for my dad like I think I thought I I didn't. I hadn't and I started having a really hard time and so February. First, when russian doll came out, I was not sleeping at night, and I thought oh, my gosh rush and all my favorite actress and totally own I'm going to watch it and then I could not stop watch it was so many things that I've been thinking about. It was grief
It was the complicated relationship people have with their parents something about it. They come. Lee and says to me: Natasha says she connected with Amy story to tell funny. You know this one has really great comedic rhythms and you know I also did not have a risk of me sounding too to which is a accidental fall. Place. I go to as a result of being raised on the Upper EAST side and attending Shiva, I'm afraid so There is no hiding it, and sometimes I read like my old rabbis. So She is a wonderful, wonderful writer is the point of what I'm trying to say and it's an honor to read her peace. Thanks again to Natasha for reading this week's piece, you can watch russian doll now on Netflix.
Here's, Daniel Jones Editor of the modern love column for the New York Times, I'm always interested in what happens when, when one of our parents dies or there's divorce or there's any those things where apparent parents end up single and dating and its impact a story is that here all the time of how children so prove united. It doesn't matter how in love there father is. Their mother is with someone some stranger, the children, the you know and that's not mama. That's not dad and I dare you and what one thing that I just love about: Amy's pieces, how they bond over being single together and trying to find some together but they're, just so percent, lovely together and he's so funny and they cheer led for each other and I don't know I'm in a sense of humor can rescue almost any day Our situation and Amy brings all the humor to this one and I think it's just really a sweet, sweet, peace,
Modern love is a production of the New York Times and W B you are Boston, NPR station, its produced directed and edited by Caitlin O Keefe original scoring and sound design by Matt Reed. Adler our executive producer, Daniel Jones is the editor of modern love for the New York Times, an adviser to the show special. Thanks to you. Where the Hennig on your streamline and merely at the New York Times the here, for the modern love had cast was conceived by LISA Tobin. Additional me, which currency of a p, DOT M old, male and single by Amy Cohen, is adapted from Amy's book to lately. Revolution, check it out. Meghna, Chakrabarti, see you next week.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-16.