Wise Women Over 50 Series with Doryn's Mom, Arlene

EPISODE 15

This is the first episode of a larger series called “Wise Women Over 50”, where we’ll be joined by dynamic women who have successfully navigated the midlife transition and have come out stronger and wiser. They will be sharing their experiences, their knowledge, their ups and downs and the POSITIVE outcomes of their lives.

What better way to kick of the series, then with Doryn's mother, Arlene. This is without a doubt the funniest episode we’ve had so far. Arlene is an amazing woman, very youthful, open-minded and she’s sharing with us some of her life experiences including going through a divorce, perimenopause, dating in her 40’s and much more.


We really hope this episode will bring a smile on your face and even help you through whatever season you’re in right now.


Check out the Instagram Page Doryn has created for her mom: https://www.instagram.com/mymomarlene/

 

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Doryn Wallach:

Welcome to It's Not a Crisis, I am your host, Doryn Wallach. I'm an entrepreneur, a mother of two, a wife and a 40-something trying to figure out what is happening in this decade. Why is no one talking about it? I created this podcast to help women in their late 30s and 40s to figure out what is going on in our mind, body, soul and life. We may laugh, we may cry, we may get frustrated. But most importantly, my goal is to make this next chapter of life positive. I'm also full of my own questions, and I'm here to go on this journey with you. So, let's do it together.

Welcome to episode 15 of It's Not a Crisis, I am your host Doryn Wallach and today I have a very special guest with me, my mom. She's rolling her eyes at me. My mom is obviously very special to me, but I love to share her with the world. Because pretty much everyone that she meets falls in love with her. Not all of the time, but most of the time.


Arlene:

Except my first husband.


Doryn Wallach:

Right. She has a flair about her, a kindness that's infectious and brings light into a dull room. I constantly had friends as a child who wanted to come hang out with my mom and it made me jealous, but I totally get it now. You were fun, people just wanted to be around you. There were times as a child that maybe I didn't appreciate her individuality, such as showing up at school pick up in her Jaguar with matching parachute pants, custom sweatshirts, matching Reeboks and gold armband, oh and matching headbands. Every other mother in my own of Wellesley, Mass, where they were wearing sweater sets and pearls in their station wagons. My mom would also get dressed up for charity events a lot, and I would sit on the floor and just watch her and think about how beautiful she was and glamorous. We had this beautiful stairs in our home and she would walk down the stairs ready to go out for an event. And I can just remember being like, "Wow, that's my mom."

As glamorous as she is, I will never, ever be as glamorous because I don't care as much. But the most important thing that my mother taught me at a young age was to be me. Because my mom has always been who she is. She doesn't care what others think about her. She has her own style, she has her own opinions, she has her own way of doing things, her own way of talking to people. And as a young child, what better lesson than to learn that from your mother? One of the things I love is that my mom sort of always had this mentality, and I kind of do too, that if you don't like me, that's fine. I'm not for everyone. I'm a lot like that in a lot of ways. My friends last night were telling me that I got my sense of humor from my mom, which I was like, "Really? I didn't know, oh, that's good." I didn't know I was funny. My dad is also very funny.

Anyway, I started an Instagram handle for my mom and she hates it, she's so embarrassed by it. But I started it randomly because I just wanted to document all the funny moments of my mom and just let the world see her too and love her as much as I love her. It's called My Mom Arlene. I don't update it often, but the engagement is so amazing. People love seeing the pictures and I love getting the comments and it's ... When I have time to have a picture, it has to be something worth posting, I put it up there. And it just always puts a huge smile on my face. So, I thought, "Well, we need to bring her live." So that not only my podcast followers, but the My Mom Arlene followers can hear some things.

This also, I want to mention, is starting a series that I'm beginning. It's called Wise Women Over 50. And my mom is the very first one that I'm interviewing for this, but I have some other amazing women that I'm going to be doing this with too. This is episode one, or I guess series one or the first series of Wise Women Over 50. The most important lesson my mom taught me was to be a kind person, ask how people are, and really listen and be a good friend, give back to those in need, be independent, be competent.

My mom would pull over the car as a child and I would roll my eyes and she would make me stop and get out of the car and listen to the sound of the birds or smell the fresh air and just take in life's little beautiful moments. I'll always remember that. And by the way, I try that with my kids and they're like, "No, I don't want to get out of the car." And I actually appreciated it, even if I rolled my eyes, I actually really did. And there's so many other things that I'm forgetting, so without further adieu, mom, say hello to my audience.


Arlene:

Hello.


Doryn Wallach:

There is no structure to this podcast, so we don't know where it's going to go. It'll be an interesting one. I think the first thing we're going to begin with before we get to your wisdom.


Arlene:

Oh, yes.


Doryn Wallach:

Tell us a little bit about where you grew up, your siblings, talk a little bit about your childhood.

Arlene:

Not in detail though, right?


Doryn Wallach:

Maybe not in all details.


Arlene:

Okay. Yeah. I grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, about 15, 20 minutes outside of Boston as a child in the '50s. When I look at it now, I think it was an absolute utopia that I grew up in. It was so the way you see in the movie in the 1950s. I just feel badly that my children never got the experience the same thing. Times are so different now. I had two older brothers, I was the only girl and the youngest, Mark and Larry. My middle brother died at 50, unfortunately. He was the one I was very close with, and my mom and dad. My dad worked a lot, my mother was very unusual. She was very unusual. She was about 5'8". In the '30s and '40s and '50s she did yoga five days a week. I was embarrassed to tell anyone she did yoga because no one even know what yoga was at that time.

I used to sit on the floor while she went to the acupuncturist once a week. She believed in the paranormal, so we used to go into Boston very frequently and meet with warlocks and mediums and mirror readers.


Doryn Wallach:

How old were you?


Arlene:

When I started doing that?


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah.


Arlene:

10.


Doryn Wallach:

That's normal.


Arlene:

I thought it was normal. I actually thought it was normal.


Doryn Wallach:

What else?


Arlene:

Oh, and she always loved to have her clothes made. Growing up, she and her mother, my grandmother, I used to always be with them all the time, we spent lots of time together. We'd go into Boston and we'd go to my grandmother's favorite dress maker. They would pick out fabrics and they would design with the designer their gowns for different events. I just loved it. I used to sit on the floor and imagine that one day I would be able to do that. I just thought it was very glamorous.


Doryn Wallach:

I have to say this, it's not because I'm her daughter, my mom chose to be a stay at home mom for most of her life and did a lot of charity work. But she is insanely talented at dress design. She used to design hats, you've designed interiors, you've designed jewelry, which is one of the reasons I learned how to design jewelry. Extraordinarily talented. Had you done any of those professionally, there's no doubt in my mind you would've been extraordinarily successful.


Arlene:

Thank you, honey.


Doryn Wallach:

You obviously learned that from your mother.


Arlene:

Yeah. Yeah, and I remembered a lot of things that my grandmother mostly, taught me about design. I really did. We're at a different time when I got married. I was married at 20, in 1967. And at that time, it was the beginning of the social revolution. But most of the women I knew wanted to stay home and have babies, that was our goal, which I cringe about now because I can't believe all I wanted to do was do that. And I did it very happily, but there was so many other-


Doryn Wallach:

But were you really happy?


Arlene:

Yeah.


Doryn Wallach:

Oh, that's nice.


Arlene:

I was. I really was.


Doryn Wallach:

That's good.


Arlene:

But later in life, like everything, you look back and I say to myself, "God I could've done something a little more artistic. I could've maybe designed clothes, I could've been an interior designer." I did work for an interior designer, but it's not the same. There were things I could've done with my life even later, but I just never did. I feel badly about that. But there wasn't the push for women to do that as much as now. It wasn't embarrassing if you didn't have a career. My son once said on the bus everyone was telling what their mothers did for a living and he said, "Oh my God, what am I going to say? Oh my God." So, I said, "Tell them I'm a nuclear scientist." And he was very young and he didn't really understand how moronic that would sound. So, he said, "My mommy's a nuclear scientist."


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah, I guess I've never heard that story.


Arlene:

Oh yeah. Yeah. I don't think David knew what he was talking about, but he was embarrassed that I didn't have a career. And of course now I feel badly thinking back on it. But what can I do? It was a different time. I'm sure-


Doryn Wallach:

Well, you shouldn't feel badly. You were-


Arlene:

I do.


Doryn Wallach:

... a mom, a stay at home mom, which is one of the hardest jobs. I've done both and it's much harder in my opinion than going to a job every day.


Arlene:

Oh, I understand. But there's other areas of my life I would've been fulfilled in, had I done those things. But it was never encouraged, never.


Doryn Wallach:

And today, women feel that they have to do both.


Arlene:

I know, which is impossible.


Doryn Wallach:

It's impossible to do both.


Arlene:

I agree.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah, it's really unfair. So, my daughter is 13 and she definitely thinks I'm embarrassing. But my mom was embarrassing, yes, but really immature in many ways. For example, I can remember we went to a hotel once in San Francisco and my mom was walking around changing everybody's do not disturb to please make up the room, switching people's shoes that were to be polished in different areas. And then I think, I'm almost positive you bought water balloons and threw them over the balcony.


Arlene:

No, they were just regular balloons.


Doryn Wallach:

Oh, they were just regular balloons.


Arlene:

That I filled with water.


Doryn Wallach:

I was mortified, and I was nine.


Arlene:

I cannot believe I did that.


Doryn Wallach:

Or we would go to a restaurant and she would unscrew the salt and I'd be like, "Mommy, what are you doing?" And she'd say, "Well, it's going to be funny because the next person who comes, they're going to pour the salt on and all the salt's going to fall out on their plate. It'll be so funny." And I'd be like, "Mommy ..." I was a little bit of a rule follower. I'm like, "You can't do that." I was like, "That's not okay." And she'd be like, "Oh stop, Doryn." You used to call me square. "You're so square."

Or the time we drove by the Ritz Carlton in Boston on Newbury Street, I grew up outside of Boston, I was with a friend of mine and my mom said, "Watch this, watch this." And she opened the window, and she said to the valet or whatever, she said, "Oh sir, I'm looking for directions on how to get somewhere." And she reached out while he was speaking and took his hat, threw it in the car, and was like, "Go, go, go!" And she just starts going and driving down the street.


Arlene:

It was this high with a feather.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah, it had a huge feather on it. I mean, it's amazing that I was a relatively normal teenager.


Arlene:

Oh, very normal.


Doryn Wallach:

I think I was mortified.


Arlene:

No, I'm not proud of it. Actually at my age now, when you tell me these stories I absolutely cringe. And I said, "Oh my God, I was so crazy when I was young." I wasn't young, I was in my 40s.


Doryn Wallach:

You weren't that young.


Arlene:

I was 12 at the time, but I was in my 40s and a mother of two. I can't believe I did those things. I don't know what-


Doryn Wallach:

Why did you do those things?


Arlene:

Because it was funny.


Doryn Wallach:

You were having fun.


Arlene:

But as a teenager I did things like-


Doryn Wallach:

You were always-


Arlene:

I'm not proud of it, but I did.


Doryn Wallach:

No. But I mean, imagine growing up, it was interesting. But my mom's always been very adventurous and spontaneous and immature. When I was talking to a few of my childhood friends last night they also said you get your adventure and spontaneity from your mom. You were always up for something. I don't know, we'd randomly go do things together. I can't even think of anything specifically. But the other thing is, mom has this amazing sense of style, gorgeous sense, and it's her own style, it's nobody's style. I appreciate that so much.


Arlene:

Because nobody else wants it, that's why it's only my style, no one wants it.


Doryn Wallach:

But she, from the time I can remember, she would walk down the street with me and people would either stop her and say how fabulous she looked or they would look at her or stare at her. And sometimes I didn't know if they were staring at her in a negative way or-


Arlene:

Boston's very conservative.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah, Boston is very conservative, so you definitely stuck out.


Arlene:

I mean, I didn't wear gold and things like that.


Doryn Wallach:

No, she was ... just really fashionable, amazing taste.


Arlene:

But honey, if you dress any way ... if you deviate from the norm at all in Boston, the Boston I grew up in, everybody stared at you.


Doryn Wallach:

In every capacity, by the way, it's not just in clothes.


Arlene:

No, but it's true. I don't know if it's still like that.


Doryn Wallach:

I don't know, it was like that when I-


Arlene:

But it used to be. I literally was the only person in my entire family that wore any makeup whatsoever, it's the truth.


Doryn Wallach:

Really?


Arlene:

Not one person.


Doryn Wallach:

And it's so good that you don't wear any now.


Arlene:

Oh, yeah, I don't believe in it. It's very cheap. I don't empty garbage without makeup on.


Doryn Wallach:

That's true, she puts lipstick on before she goes into her garage where nobody sees her. She'll come from dinner and put lipstick on.


Arlene:

My mother always told me, "A woman can just wear beautiful dark sunglasses with red lipstick and you look like a movie star. No one else knows what's going on." And I think she was right.


Doryn Wallach:

Do you remember the days where I'd miss the bus and I'd be like, "Mom, you have to take me to school." And you'd be so angry because you'd still be sleeping and you'd hop out of bed and you'd put on a fur coat, red lipstick and sunglasses to drive, to drop me off at school.


Arlene:

I learned that from my mother, yeah.


Doryn Wallach:

And I'd be like, "Why are you putting lipstick on? No one's going to see you. I'm going to get out of the car." And you'd be like, "No, no, no, no, no." I have such a vision of your big sunglasses. By the way, I go with that theory on red lipstick. I can be in a bad mood and I put it on, and it makes me feel better. I can not have any makeup on at all, but I put red lipstick on, I love red lipstick.


Arlene:

I agree.


Doryn Wallach:

And I haven't been wearing it because of masks.


Arlene:

I think red lipstick is a woman's special secret. I think it makes you feel very glamorous.


Doryn Wallach:

I just watched the video you sent me on the history of red lipstick, which is really interesting. Because it used to be considered kind of slutty.


Arlene:

Like a trollop, they used to say.


Doryn Wallach:

A trollop, right.


Arlene:

That's an old fashioned word my mom used to use.


Doryn Wallach:

And I do think there's probably a generation of women that still think that.


Arlene:

Oh, I'm sure.


Doryn Wallach:

I've seen the look when I wear red lipstick from older-


Arlene:

Are you serious?


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah, it's funny.


Arlene:

May I say one thing here?


Doryn Wallach:

You may.


Arlene:

You were saying how I embarrassed you so much because I spoke to your teacher about body building.


Doryn Wallach:

Oh my God. Oh, no, no, no, no. You didn't just speak to my teacher about body building, you used to have coffee with her, my first grade teacher to talk about body building. We haven't talked about the body building part yet.


Arlene:

I was just saying, my daughter thought I was so embarrassing. She doesn't know the meaning of embarrassing because she never unfortunately knew my mom because my mom died in her 50s unfortunately. So, Doryn never knew her. My mom was really tall, she always wore capes and she wore her hair in a french twist and big tortoise shell glasses, and she carried ... This was the most embarrassing, a very long cigarette holder. I can't even begin to tell you the embarrassment, especially as a teenager. She'd wear black, if she was wearing a black outfit she had tortoise shell to wear with camel's hair and white to wear in the summer with linen. It was so humiliating.


Doryn Wallach:

And gold lame, right?


Arlene:

She never wore gold lame.


Doryn Wallach:

As bathing suits. Didn't you say she-


Arlene:

No, her cigarette case was gold-


Doryn Wallach:

I thought you said she wore gold lame bathing suits.


Arlene:

Oh yeah, oh my God. Right. Yeah, that was the only-


Doryn Wallach:

So, she didn't have a traditional mommy either.


Arlene:

Oh my God. And she'd come into the school, into high school like this with a big camel's hair cape on and a wide brim hat with a long tortoise shell cigarette holder. Oh my God. I used to cringe. I used to run into the bathroom and stand up on the toilet seat so no one would know where I was. And if she thought she saw one of my girlfriends she'd go, "Darling, how are you?" And I'd just go, "Oh my God." So, I didn't even want to be seen as my mother's daughter. Now, of course, I would think it was fabulous. But when you're 15, it's beyond humiliating.


Doryn Wallach:

I kind of understand what you're talking about.


Arlene:

I was not like my mom.


Doryn Wallach:

My mom went through a stage in her ... What were you, 40?


Arlene:

No, before then.


Doryn Wallach:

A little before 40, where she decided to start-


Arlene:

From 32 until 41.


Doryn Wallach:

Okay, so she was in that age that we're all in now or a little past, my mom and dad had gotten divorced and she decided that she wanted to get into shape. Back then, personal trainers weren't really a thing.


Arlene:

There was no such thing.


Doryn Wallach:

They just didn't have them. How did you find body-


Arlene:

Oh, I'll tell you-


Doryn Wallach:

... a body builder to train you? I actually don't know this story.


Arlene:

Oh, it's really funny. I'd never even heard of a trainer, I didn't even know what it was. It was like in 1980. So, that's 40 years ago. I went into a weight place to buy free weights and a treadmill and some stuff that I would need to put in my house. And I was talking to the man there and I said, "I'm a little bit afraid because you can seriously hurt yourself if you don't know what you're doing. So, I'm a little afraid to start training myself." He said, "Yeah, I know, that's a big problem." I said, "What would you suggest I do?" He goes, "I don't know, read a few books on it or something." And there was a younger man in there buying some platelets, weight plates. And he said, "Well, why don't you get a young man or an older man, whoever, that's just wants to earn some extra money and they can give you some pointers on working out when you first get your equipment?"

And I wasn't intending to use it all the time, I thought it would just be once. So, he had a friend, so he gave me the name and I called him. And when I got all my equipment he came over and it was such a massive, massive help. Because I didn't know what I was doing. And women really didn't lift free weights then. I mean, I was lifting a lot of weight, a lot for me, like 150 pounds squats, like 48 squats really lifting heavy weights. And I would've seriously hurt myself. So, it was very beneficial. But I didn't even tell anyone that I had someone coming. Because I never heard of having someone coming and I was very embarrassed. But eventually a few of my girlfriends did it also, so I wasn't embarrassed then.


Doryn Wallach:

Always a trend setter.


Arlene:

No, that's not a trend setter, Doryn.


Doryn Wallach:

Needless to say, my mom with her fashion style decided to incorporate that into her gym wear. And I know I mentioned this before, but had Reeboks of every color in the rainbow, parachute pants of every color, matching headbands, matching sweatshirts. And every day, we talk ... Moms of today, we'll wear our Lululemon or whatever to pickup or drop off, but they didn't have that back then. So, she would come into school sometimes like that. And I'd just be like, "Ugh, why can't you dress like the other mommies?" And then-


Arlene:

Girl scouts.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah, yeah. So, I have a very funny story, I was in second grade maybe. I was in the brownies, you weren't very involved in school. And you know what? I'm guilty of that too because I'm like, "I just ..."


Arlene:

Well, I couldn't stand the mothers.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah, I ... And I like the mothers at my kids' schools, but I just don't have any interest in doing too much, I've done a little bit.


Arlene:

No, no, no, I wanted to do it.


Doryn Wallach:

Oh, your reason-


Arlene:

You didn't want me to do it.


Doryn Wallach:

I didn't?


Arlene:

No because you were embarrassed by me.


Doryn Wallach:

Oh, okay.


Arlene:

You didn't want me.


Doryn Wallach:

This is why this story's going to make a lot of sense. Oh yeah, because I can remember vividly when you signed up for this and me thinking, "Oh God, oh God, oh God." The mothers would come every week the brownie troop meeting and they would do an art project.


Arlene:

Teach them homemaking.


Doryn Wallach:

We would cook, we would take leaves and crayons and mash them between wax paper and we would do all sorts of crafts. And it was my mom's week to come in. I knew she wasn't going to do any of those things. And I was just ... the anxiety I had leading up to it was ... I can't even explain.


Arlene:

You were cringing in the corner.


Doryn Wallach:

Cringing.


Arlene:

Cringing. And really embarrassed, which actually made me continue.


Doryn Wallach:

And I get that, because I'm like that with Tatum, with my daughter.


Arlene:

It struck me so funny.


Doryn Wallach:

I love embarrassing her, it's so funny.


Arlene:

Well, I didn't want ... You just looked so embarrassed that it made me laugh.


Doryn Wallach:

It's funny. Yeah, I get it.


Arlene:

I came in, in gym clothes. And I had hired a young girl that I knew that did aerobics, she did aerobics. And she came in, in the aerobic outfit and I came with a big boombox. It was early '80s and I had a big boombox. And I also brought matching terrycloth headbands for all the little girls. And then I brought-


Doryn Wallach:

We were seven.


Arlene:

Yeah. And then I brought health food bars for the children.


Doryn Wallach:

And remember, this is before any of that stuff was a thing. It really, it was very unheard of. No one knew what power bars were.

Arlene:

My grandmother, by the way, was a vegan in the 1920s up until she died, which is pretty amazing.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah.


Arlene:

I didn't know it then, I thought she was very strange. But I was very aware of these type of things, only because of my mom and grandmother. So, I came into the class, were there other mothers there? I don't remember.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah.


Arlene:

Oh, God. Oh, did they not like me. Anyway, so I came in, in the workout clothes. And then I came with the young girl, I don't remember her name anymore, and a boombox and the headbands.


Doryn Wallach:

In one of your outfits.


Arlene:

Well, it was ... Girls wear outfits now.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah.


Arlene:

And power bars. And then I told the girls, "We're all going to do aerobics." And they weren't very excited, I don't think they knew what aerobics was. And we gave them all headbands and they put them on and then I pressed the button on the boombox and then the girl started jumping around doing aerobics and the kids were supposed to be copying her. I don't know if they did even, I don't remember, it was so long ago.


Doryn Wallach:

I don't remember.


Arlene:

It was like 40 years ago.


Doryn Wallach:

I don't remember either.


Arlene:

No, like 35, I don't remember. Anyway, I do remember the few mothers were there, they were appalled, and they were giving me dirty looks and whispering to each other. That also made me laugh. Then at the end of it, when everything was done I said to the girls ... I could see how mad the mothers were, so I said to the children ... Because I had to come the next week too. And I can't believe I said this-


Doryn Wallach:

No, you didn't say it to the children, you said it to the mothers.


Arlene:

Oh, I said it to the moms.


Doryn Wallach:

They said, "What are you going to be doing-"


Arlene:

"What are you going to be doing next week?" And I said, "Next week, birth control." That didn't go over well. I was kidding obviously. They did not like me at all.


Doryn Wallach:

But this is what I love about my mom, this is what I mean, she didn't care. It's so funny because I can remember wondering why you weren't friends with anyone at school, like why didn't you talk to-


Arlene:

I had lots of girlfriends.


Doryn Wallach:

No, no, no but at school, like you never talked to the mothers. And I get it now, looking back at knowing some of the mothers.


Arlene:

I'm sure they were very nice.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah.


Arlene:

They just-


Doryn Wallach:

You just didn't click with them.


Arlene:

... didn't like me that much. No, they didn't like me.


Doryn Wallach:

Let's fast forward to me as a teenager. Her eyes just blew up. What was I like as a teenager?


Arlene:

Brutal.


Doryn Wallach:

No I wasn't.


Arlene:

You know, the funny thing with Doryn is, she's always, always been very loving and sweet and just a really kind little girl. But there were times when she couldn't stand me, like all teenage girls.


Doryn Wallach:

And I'm talking about this because many of us have teenagers, so I wanted to-


Arlene:

I think I looked fairly well when I was going out and she goes, "You're going out like that? Are you kidding?" Oh my God, do you think you look good, mom? You think that's a nice way to go out?" Or, "Look at your makeup, oh my God." I mean, it was just one thing after another. And you really want your daughter to think you look nice. I mean, you do, whether you admit it or not. I didn't think she did. She never said, "Oh mom, you look so nice." She may have thought it, but she didn't say it.


Doryn Wallach:

I think I was a little jealous of you.


Arlene:

No.


Doryn Wallach:

I was, yeah.


Arlene:

Maybe, I was jealous of my mom at one point.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah, I know I was. We would walk down the street as a teenager and men would look at my mom and not look at me. And they would talk to my mom, and they wouldn't look at me. Or everyone would think we were sisters and I used to get so mad.


Arlene:

And what would you say to any men or boys that talked to us? What did you say? "Do you know how old she is?"


Doryn Wallach:

Oh yeah.


Arlene:

"That's my mother. You have no idea how old she is. You should feel ridiculous." And I'd go, "Oh my God." Do you remember that?


Doryn Wallach:

I do.


Arlene:

Do you remember when my teeth fell out?


Doryn Wallach:

Oh yes, oh this is a great story.


Arlene:

Not all teeth-


Doryn Wallach:

No, this is so great. We were in Bloomingdale's-


Arlene:

In the city.


Doryn Wallach:

No.


Arlene:

Yeah, we were in the city.


Doryn Wallach:

We were? So, this is-


Arlene:

Because I had to go to your dentist.


Doryn Wallach:

Okay, so this is when I was in college in New York. And we're walking through Bloomingdale's or something and she lost a tooth, which was ... Was it a cap?


Arlene:

It was a fake tooth put in until the implant tooth was ready.


Doryn Wallach:

Right, and it was her front tooth.


Arlene:

Literally my front tooth.


Doryn Wallach:

She had her mouth closed and we're walking through the store and a couple of men ... This wasn't ... I think they were gay, they were just like, "Oh, I love your look, you look amazing." And then somebody else said, "You look amazing." By the third person, I was like, "Why don't you smile for them, mom? Show them how amazing you look."


Arlene:

I had no teeth in the front. She goes, "Oh, why don't you show them how great you look, mom?"


Doryn Wallach:

Here I am at like 19 years old in the prime of my young youth and looks and everyone's looking at my mother, who's-


Arlene:

They weren't looking at me.


Doryn Wallach:

Who's in her 50s.


Arlene:

But that was in her mind they were looking at me. But she told me, "Why don't you smile for them, mom? Show them how great you look." Oh my God. I wanted to die.


Doryn Wallach:

I was jealous.


Arlene:

You weren't jealous.


Doryn Wallach:

I was. And when people said we looked like sisters I thought that meant I looked like I was in my 50s. I'd be like, "I don't understand."


Arlene:

When I was much, much younger people would say, "Oh, are you two sisters?" She'd go, "Sisters, are you crazy? I must look worse than I ever thought I looked. I must look horrible. How old do I look to you? 50, 60?" And she was a teenager. Oh my God. And people don't know what to say. She'd go, "Well someone sensed that someone ..." I was obviously the older sister, but it just drove her crazy. I forgot about that.


Doryn Wallach:

By the way, at 43 nobody looks at me like that.


Arlene:

Yes they do, you just don't see it.


Doryn Wallach:

No, they don't.


Arlene:

Yes, they do.


Doryn Wallach:

Okay, okay. Let's talk a little bit, since my audience is late-30s and 40s, let's talk a little bit about that time of your life. I know that ... This is a touchy subject because my mom went through a divorce with my dad when you were 40?


Arlene:

39.


Doryn Wallach:

39.


Arlene:

To 41.


Doryn Wallach:

I'm sure I have listeners who are going through divorces as well. What were the pressures or what were you feeling as you went into your 40s as far as feeling that the type of support you had of being that age. Did you feel like women talked about that age, did you feel transitions happening in your life? What was it like for you?


Arlene:

Can I say one thing about the generation I grew up in? Do you mind?


Doryn Wallach:

No, yes.


Arlene:

I grew up in the '60s in Boston. The big saying in the '60s was never trust anyone over 30. That was literally the saying. Once you were 30, you were part of the establishment, which was absurd, but that's what was thought. So, 30 was really considered over the hill, which is insane because 30s are wonderful. But here I was, 39, my husband left, I had two children, which thank God I had. Because it made my life so much better. But yeah, I remember men that I knew that were my friends, "Oh, I know someone to fix you up with. Oh no, he won't go out with you because you're almost 40, he only goes out with girls in their early-30s." I said, "Who were you talking about?" And they'd tell me somebody that I went to high school with. I went, "I wouldn't even look at him in high school. Are you kidding me? He doesn't want to go out with me?" "Oh no, he doesn't go out with women your age." That's all I used to hear from everyone. I thought I was so young, which I was.


Doryn Wallach:

You were.


Arlene:

But it was the first time it was pointed out to me that men close to my age wanted women much younger, which I just couldn't believe. Because I still thought I was young. But yeah, that was a really unhappy thing that people were telling me, that men were telling me. That I remember very well. I thought I was so young, but I guess other people didn't look at me as young.


Doryn Wallach:

Did women talk about the transitions that were happening, which they're happening with us, which is hormonal transitions, our kids are getting older and it's becoming a little bit about like, "Oh, I'm going to have to start thinking about myself a little bit more." Unfortunately for you, besides your dad, your mother died very young. But I think also our parents, you, are getting older, and that's also a different chapter of our lives. Did you talk about those things with girlfriends back then? Was it anything discussed? I mean, it's really not discussed that much now, which is why we're here today.


Arlene:

No. It actually was never discussed. Never.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah. Did you find that to be a lonely decade?


Arlene:

Yes.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah.


Arlene:

I did not like my 40s at all. At all. It's not a happy time to me. Perhaps partially because I was getting divorced I hated dating, I hated it. I got married at 20 and Doryn's dad was my boyfriend since I was 16 years old. So, you can only imagine all the vast experience with men I had. It's laughable. It's totally laughable. It was very difficult for me. I felt so awkward and so inept. It was just not a good time for me. I didn't like it at all.


Doryn Wallach:

Well and listen, I think that's ... I mean, that's why I started this podcast, I think there are a lot of women at this age who feel that way. Whether they're divorced or married or whatever it is, I think it's this very weird decade that no one's talking about and nobody's saying how they feel. And yet, there's a lot of changes that happen in this decade, a lot. So, I don't think it was just because of what you were going through. I think it was like it is now, right?


Arlene:

I started going through perimenopause very young, and went through menopau