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October 23, 2000 e-mail e-mail to a friend in need

Hollywood & Whine:
BG on L.A. and Mothers-in-Law

BG’s recent trip to LA had three purposes:

  1. To speak at a symposium at the esteemed/hospitable Geffen Playhouse about the relationship issues raised in their theatrical offering, the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Dinner with Friends." For BG’s column inspired by the N.Y. production — about the "blast zone" effect on the friends of a splitting couple — click here. (For this column, suffice it to say that the LA cast ruled, particularly my fave rave Daniel Stern, whom I have loved dearly since "Breaking Away," though not enough to have seen "C.H.U.D.")
  2. To hold a summit with the captain of Team LA from Glam-Quest 2000 to negotiate the possibility of a rematch. Stay tuned. (Meanwhile, post your own celebrity sightings on Gregoire’s new message boards!)
  3. To hate LA less. I’m...getting there. On this trip, three things helped:
    • Cactus. The cactus garden at the Getty Center juts out on this prickly promontory that combines Mondrian lines with Seussian surrealism (scroll to right here to see image). Now if those art restorers could somehow bring the view of the city forth from the smog.
    • Coffee. I feel like I’m cheating on Peet’s when I say this, but, well, "There is another." Urth Caffe serves the other best coffee I have ever had this side of the Mediterranean. (Try the "Spanish Latte.")
    • Closure. Get this: remember the movie star I just happened to write about, two years later, two weeks ago...the one who ended our Great Date by saying "See ya?!" Well, guess who I ran into at an LA party? Mmm hmm. He remembered my name, inquired after my work and our mutual friends, introduced me to his wife. Really, a lovely chat. And then, as the evening waned and he turned to leave, I took a deep, restorative breath and said, "SEE YA!" Roll credits.

Now. They say that in LA, it takes "30 minutes" to get…anywhere. But I’d rather not spend that long on some contrived segue between the above travelogue and my other topic for this week.

So here, abruptly, is my shoutout to the Mother of all Spouses -- Friday is National Mother-in-Law Day!

Surely you know that "mother-in-law," along with "stepmother," and heck, "mother" (not to mention "woman"), are among the roles that have dawn-of-historically gotten a bad rap. Surely I won't surprise you by noting that those stereotypes are mean, misogynist, and no fair (if you need to keep your term paper short, try a literary survey of evil fathers-in-law). Or by noting that when certain stereotypes are, um, apt, you should do your best to be tolerant. Why? Partly because "classic" in-law stuff comes from "classic" psychology stuff; I mean, look how cute your partner is -- you wouldn't want to let go of them, would you? And partly because, well, peace is better than war. It just is. So choose your battles. Make a mental distinction, before the doorbell rings, between "annoying," even "obnoxious," and "actually problematic." Resolve/remember that not arguing doesn't mean agreeing. Let go, if necessary, of "appropriately doting and cool in-laws" in your fantasy wedding package. And if you'd like a visit from a willing and delightful stand-in, Breakup Mom will tell you she's available. ("As long as you're not that 'movie star' who blew off my daughter.")

More resources-in-law:

BG on:

Meeting the Parents

"I miss my son's girlfriend!"

"My girlfriend's parents won't let me see her!"

"We live in my boyfriend's parents' house!"

"I broke up with my boyfriend -- and got in trouble with his parents!"

"His family insults me...and he doesn't defend me!"

"His parents don't want us to move in together!"

"His parents run his life!"

"His mom is mean -- would be nice if he cared!"


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