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The new black

November 12, 2010

Have you heard? It’s a hit to be split! Start shedding that wedding! Saying “ciao” to your vow is so now!

And so forth.

If you haven’t heard, on Monday The Huffington Post launched a section (and requisite Twitter feed) all about divorce. Yes, divorce, that hip new lifestyle, officially has its own space in life’s menu bar, right there between Health and Arts. It’s like having a Sports page, only it pays not to care too much about the standings.

Ms. Huffington herself inaugurated the section with a post about her own life as a divorced mom, and how she dreamed up the idea with other divorcées Nora Ephron and Alessandra Stanley. And the HuffPo staff has graciously invited Moxie and me to contribute. My first piece went live yesterday, and Moxie’s is forthcoming.

Initially, I was ambivalent toward the assignment. I mean, it’s a great thing to write for the web entity with the highest authority in the known universe (whatever that means), and the exposure is steering lots more eyeballs our way. (Hello, new eyeballs!) But I’m already living the fractured life of a half-parent; do I have to spend so much time writing about it? Am I venting steam or picking a scab?

I had another misgiving, one that first presented itself when we began this blog, about sensitivity to people whose experience with divorce was far different from ours. People for whom divorce will never be anything close to a laughing matter, or even a civil one. People like Joanne, who just revealed that her first husband attacked her with a butcher’s knife.

We’ve all heard way too many stories like hers, and every day I am grateful that my divorce, while shitty, was far more benign that it could have been. I’m grateful, too, that I can look back with perspective and mine whatever humor I can find in my situation. Cracking wise has always been my knee-jerk defense against the darkness, and if I couldn’t do that, I’m not sure how I’d cope.

This, ultimately, is why I’m glad HuffPostDivorce exists, and why I’m proud to write for it. Coping with divorce and all its concomitant baggage is, unfortunately, a way-too-prevalent shared experience. And when your life takes such a broadside hit, you need your peeps. I know that, if this section had debuted three years ago, I would have read it voraciously and likely shortened my healing time.

I don’t know what HuffPost’s long-term plan is for its new section, but I don’t believe it’s to make divorce seem glamorous. They’re merely fulfilling a publisher’s main imperative, to give the readers what they want and tap into a market is, unfortunately, large and burgeoning. I know they’ve asked many people of myriad backgrounds to contribute, and as it finds its voice, I don’t doubt that the spectrum of the discussion will widen and perhaps plumb the depths of true despair. The hope is that the advice and humor of the community can help us all whistle past the graveyard and make that despair, however deep, a bit more manageable.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2010 4:09 pm

    Perhaps it is easier to find the amusing aspects of divorce once you are on the other side of it. The HPD section looks like a mixture of helpful information and advice with a bit of mocking jabs at celebrities. I think that’s okay (unless you happen to be the celebrity in question) because when you are actually going through a divorce you need to know that it will get better, and the celebrities’ stories usually make your situation look less horrific (although the money issues always look better for them…)

    My ambivalence about the idea of having a dedicated section for divorce mirrors yours – I don’t like the idea of portraying a serious and often traumatic event as a Kicky Trend – but it helps to know that you aren’t alone. I got divorced almost 10 years ago, and most of the advice offered to me was dire warnings about how the men I dated probably wanted to molest my daughters and that they would probably end up on Jerry Springer for the ‘My Daughters Are Great Big Hos’ show.

    None of that has happened, by the way.

  2. November 14, 2010 7:51 pm

    I’m not divorced, nor are my parents. However, my mother’s parents and my wife’s parents are, and my wife’s brother came dramatically close. I came across your blog while putting together a presentation for my graduate studies. I was looking on Google image search for a picture of an ‘angry face’ and it took me a site where a business woman in a suit was photographed from above with a suitably angry face for my needs. On this website, I managed to read a brief quote from your blog and followed to the main link. I’ve strolled through several of your past posts and I’ve enjoyed each read. This world we live in is in a state of dis-repair not easily overcome, yet here you are trying your level best without excuses .

    Just wanted to say thanks for that.

  3. November 18, 2010 7:13 pm

    You are both my new inspiration! Thank you

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