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John Edwards and Me

October 29, 2009

Vickery Eckhoff

John and Rielle

Dear Fellow Spinster:

It’s hard knowing where to start a story as long as mine: my first memory of lying in a crib in the childcare room at the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Huntington, Long Island, wrapped in a blanket and staring up at a mobile that hung like a branch just beyond the reach of my tiny fingers? My need to forgive my dad, who charmed nearly everyone with his mad genius and good looks, and who I lost nearly three years ago? My dream last week of a certain philandering Senator otherwise dubbed “the little Breck girl” back when he tossed his hat into the presidential ring and the name “Rielle Hunter” still meant nothing to the public?

Hmmmm. They are all related, these stories: my upbringing as a church girl, the senator’s infuriating penchant for affairs, my dad’s infuriating talent for charming ladies far and wide and the way he cheated on my mother right up to the day she died of breast cancer and I sat at her bedside at our home on Lake George, holding her hand until her eyes closed forever.

Let’s have fun, shall we? John Edwards for five hundred, please. Read more

Prude and Prejudice

October 21, 2009

Vickery Eckhoff

Vickery-Forbes_1999-small Dear Fellow Spinster:

There is a lot wrong with the world today, but I have an antidote that has so far escaped mainstream media attention: more modesty. Sneer if you like! Modesty — or prudery — has been too long out of  fashion. And while we’re extolling the virtues of the financial and economic variety, let me make a bold suggestion: we should be wiser in our estimation of Love and stricter in our demands upon it. Or, as Jack Hubbell, a beloved teacher of mine,  once said, “it is not important whether or not you are loved, but whether or not you are loving.”

Strange thought! What does that mean, exactly? What is this thing called, Love? And why, despite the ever widening acceptability of activities not-long-ago-deemed scandaloso, is everyone acting as if they have been shortchanged? Isn’t it about time that we elevated the discussion to something a bit more joyful and exalted?

That is what I am proposing: a modern-day prudery for women and men, one that enables us to stop cheapening ourselves until we no longer have anything to hide—whatever it is. I bring to this my own little secrets: a history of mischief, Latin Lovers, motorcycles and—until recently—five years of teaching Sunday School. My parents and one sister are deceased; I don’t have kids, a spouse, or  job; I dream constantly about movie stars and politicians. I am, in other words, a modern-day spinster, always curious about the world and frequently cranky about what it offers as explanations and role models. That is what The Modern Christian Spinster’s Guide to Love in the 21st Century is about: things deemed proper and things deemed not and why it all matters. Welcome and please try and behave yourselves!