The following is taken from writer (The Every Boy) and Oscar-nominated filmmaker (Murderball) Dana Adam Shapiro's You Can Be Right (Or You Can Be Married), a by-turns funny, wise, harrowing, and heartbreaking collection of interviews with divorcees.
Most PopularDo you think it's unrealistic that one could be happy with the same person for 50, 60 years?
While the idea of receiving sex advice from your grandma might seem a little uncomfortable, you should definitely listen to what this badass older lady has to say.
This week, Esquire published an excerpt from Dana Adam Shapiro’s You Can Be Right (Or You Can Be Married), a collection of conversations with divorcees. Splitsville is a social utility where you'll connect with others,swap stories, get ideas, solutions and much more. Know it’s been slower n slow around here these days—and thanks to Will for keeping a light on. I plan to be around for the season but at this point you’re getting your Yankee fix elsewhere. There’s a bunch of pressure too and no guarantee that Esquire Classic will pan out—with or without me. LS: By a truly bizarre coincidence, I was actually on West Seventy-second Street when the shooting occurred, having an after-dinner drink with a friend who lived across the street and a few doors west of the Dakota.
Thanks to the essential weekly newsletter, The Sunday Long Read (compiled with taste and care by Don Van Natta Jr. A private man when compared to professional celebrities, say, Mailer, he did not wish to pursue the subject any further.
A few months after he said that, Styron very nearly lost those years, and the talent that had produced Lie Down in Darkness and Sophie’s Choice collapsed to the point that he could not read and comprehend a simple newspaper article, let alone write anything. I was made aware of his breakdown last fall, when Styron called me at my home in Key West and told me he was suffering from a profound depression, which, he then thought, had been caused by tranquilizers prescribed to ease his withdrawal from alcohol.
The news shocked me because I had formed an image of him as a contented man—contented, that is, compared to other novelists I knew, including myself.
There was no other word until this spring, when the same editor telephoned with what might be called the good news and the bad news. Over the phone, we agreed to discuss the book’s radical transformation when I visited New York later in the month.
I remember Pong and I remember when my Dad’s friend Marty got Atari and had Space Invaders. Over at the Daily Beast, I curated a story that David Owen wrote for Esquire back in 1981 on the Asteroids craze. It’s lunchtime in Manhattan, and the Playland arcade at Forty-seventh Street and Broadway is crowded. Asteroids, at the moment I am writing, is the most popular coin-operated game—video, pinball, or other—in the United States. As impressive as the sales and collection figures are, one of the most intriguing facts about Asteroids is not how many people are playing it but which ones. A few years ago, he was picked up by the police in Long Branch, New Jersey, for the crime of walking in the rain, dressed in sweatpants and a hooded sweatshirt, and peering into the window of a home for sale in a dodgy neighborhood.
He was, of course, on his way to the stage when he passed her averted eyes—on his way to be looked at and listened to. According to statistics, more and more women are the ones asking for the divorces these days. Of course, he is not often challenged, and risks the fate of a fighter whose dominance is tainted by a lack of worthy opponents. At first, he found himself getting nervous—“freaking out.” What if the dog didn’t love him? There is the feel of a cold offshore mist to the hospital room, a life-is-a-bitch feel, made sharp by the hostile ganglia of medical technology, plasma bags dripping, vile tubing snaking in and out of the body, blinking monitors leveling illusion, muffling existence down to a sort of digital bingo.
The Ali Watch: how absurd that it would one day drop down here on a little hospital on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Ali poses a question, his eyes closed, his lips parting as if he were sliding open manhole covers. Still, a certain chiaroscuro grimness attaches to their surreal exchange and cries out for some brainless, comic intervention. Who wanted to ask the question back then, or even be allowed to examine in depth its many possibilities? Greatness trickled from the corpus of his image, his career now like a gutshot that was going to take its time before killing.
The public prefers, indeed seems to insist on, the precedent set by Rocky Marciano, who quit undefeated, kept self-delusion at bay. Two years after that last fight, Ali seemed as mystified as everyone else as to why he hadn’t ended his career earlier.
At his farm in Berrien Springs, Michigan, Ali sits at the end of a table in the living room. Why is it, do you think, that after all these years, the dominant sound around Ali is silence? The fact was that he was not cerebral; he was a reflex of confusing emotions and instant passions.
If there was ever any doubt about the staying power of Ali, it is swept aside when you travel with him.
Plasmapheresis is a solid treatment for pesticide poisoning, which occurs more than ever these days. Mark Kram covered much of Ali’s career for Sports Illustrated, including all three of his bouts with Joe Frazier.
Drew Struzan is responsible for some of the most enduring cinematic imagery of the past thirty years, even if few fans recognize his name. I give you Thurman Munson in the eighth inning of a meaningless baseball game, in a half-empty stadium in a bad Yankee year during a fourteen-season Yankee drought, and Thurman Munson is running, arms pumping, busting his way from second to third like he’s taking Omaha Beach, sliding down in a cloud of luminous, Saharan dust, then up on two feet, clapping his hands, turtling his head once around, spitting diamonds of saliva: Safe. I give you Thurman Munson in the hostile cities of America—in Detroit and Oakland, Chicago and Kansas City, Boston and Baltimore—on the radio, on television, in the newspapers, in person, his body scarred and pale, bones broken and healed, arms and legs flickering with bruises that come and go like purple lights under his skin, a man crouched behind home plate or swinging on-deck, jabbering incessantly, playing a game. At the foot of a mountain in upstate New York, about 60 miles from Manhattan, there is an abandoned country clubhouse with a dusty dance floor, upturned barstools and an untuned piano; and the only sounds heard around the place at night come from the big white house behind it—the clanging sounds of garbage cans being toppled by raccoons, skunks and stray cats making their nocturnal raids down from the mountain.
The white house seems deserted, too; but occasionally, when the animals become too clamorous, a light will flash on, a window will open, and a Coke bottle will come flying through the darkness and smash against the cans. He runs down the steps, quickly passes the garbage cans and proceeds at a trot down the dirt road beyond the country club toward the highway.
One hour later Floyd Patterson was jogging his way back down the dirt path toward the white house, the towel over his head absorbing the sweat from his brow. In the smaller room is a large bed he makes up himself, several record albums he rarely plays, a telephone that seldom rings.
The final word: This 93-year-old ironically finishes off the video about giving advice by telling 91-year-olds, 'don't listen to other people's advice.
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. They hang up and we’re just crossing the railroad tracks, about seven minutes from getting home.
Jennifer Berman, co-founder of the Female Sexual Medicine Center at UCLA, orgasms increase your circulation, keeping the blood flowing to your genital area.
All I can do is keep the jernt open so you old timer’s can fall through and hang out.
You guys are aware of the preservation work I’ve done with classic journalism and criticism. Over at Esquire Classic, I curated a post featuring a Esquire cover story on Lennon which appeared in November, 1980. What happens is, if your life goes wrong, like with the breakup of The Beatles, then fame is a nightmare because you can’t escape it, and you’ve created it.
I have a joke with my daughter Mary: sometimes I won’t be in a great mood and we’ll go somewhere and the people will be all over me and she’ll turn to Nancy and say, “He likes a bit of adulation. Prying into a living writer’s personal life, he said, was “trivial, a degrading pastime that is best left to gossip columnists. Naively, I had persuaded myself that his stable marriage, affluence, and “literary gentleman” style of life had insulated him from the grave misfortunes that seem to befall most American writers. Standing shoulder to shoulder with Playland’s traditional clientele of Times Square drifters and truant schoolboys is what appears to be a full-scale assault team from the corporate tower of nearby Rockefeller Center. It jumped to the number one spot not long ago by out-earning Space Invaders, a simple-minded but wildly successful Japanese import that swept this country after ?creating something close to mass hysteria (not to mention a coin shortage) in Japan. Continuing a trend begun by its immediate predecessors, Asteroids has helped open up the coin-op market to a brand-new clientele: not just chain-smoking teenagers with time on their hands but responsible, well-paid men in their twenties, thirties, forties, and even fifties, who in some cases haven’t seen the inside of an amusement arcade since the days when pinball games had pins.
The news was greeted with a lot of predictable headlines—NO DIRECTION HOME, A COMPLETE UNKNOWN, etc.
It sounds like a paradox typical of Bob Dylan, worthy of Bob Dylan, but it’s really pretty straightforward as an exercise of star power. Tom Junod is an expert at this kind of celebrity writing and Clooney is a gracious, professional subject. The Champ, Muhammad Ali, lies there now, propped up slightly, a skim of sweat on his lips and forehead, eyes closed, an almost imperceptible tremor to his arms and head. For twenty years, while he turned the porno shop of sports into international theater, attention was paid in a way it never was before or has been since.
He himself had long been a specialist in such relief when he would instantly brighten faces during his favorite tours of prisons, orphanages, and nursing homes. It was too serious for the carnival, immediately at odds with the cartoon bombast that swirled around Ali, the unassailable appeal of the phenomenon, the breathtaking climb of the arc.


Ali knew the importance of a clean farewell, not only as a health measure but as good commercial sense. Others seem to be trying to assuage a guilt known only to themselves, and a few are out to keep Ali a player, a lure to those who might want to use his name in business; though the marketplace turns away from billboards in decline. What and who was behind the new Ali, the wily Washington lobbyist who had the ear of everyone from Strom Thurmond to Orrin Hatch?
But he dispels that notion when asked how seriously he considered a dangerous brain operation in Mexico before his family talked him out of it. Look at the cataract of noise caught by TV sound men, look at the verbosity that snared some novelists into thinking he was a primitive intelligence capable of Ciceronian insight. He fades in and out of the conversation, has a hint of trouble lifting the fork to his mouth.
Though his work has met with some skepticism in the medical community, Medenica is respected in South Carolina. I am not exactly sure what he thought of it; he was the last person to go to for an opinion on any of his work. But mostly the animals are undisturbed until daybreak, when the rear door of the white house swings open and a broad-shouldered Negro appears in gray sweat clothes with a white towel around his neck. He lives alone in a two-room apartment in the rear of the house, and has remained there in almost complete seclusion since getting knocked out a second time by Sonny Liston.
The larger room has a kitchen on one side and, on the other, adjacent to a sofa, is a fireplace from which are hung boxing trunks and T-shirts to dry, and a photograph of him when he was the champion, and also a television set. After three marriages and an affair, Pauline has plenty of love and sex advice to dispense.
Oh, it’s a long story but I got job eliminated last December after 13 years at Time Inc. I do recall watching the news and seeing the footage of the crowds of people outside of the Dakota and in Central Park–singing and crying. Its current name is clinical depression—a cloak of despair that falls over a man or woman and makes every waking moment so painful that the victim loses all desire to live. The bad news was, he’d been so ravaged by his bout with depression that he had abandoned The Way of the Warrior. You can hardly move from one end of the place to the other without grinding your heel on somebody’s wing-tip shoe.
Introduced in December 1979, Asteroids quickly became standard equipment in bars, arcades, and airports all over the country. And now these men—these sober minions of the gross national product—are backing out of expense-account lunches and sneaking away from elegant restaurants to play Asteroids.
If he can’t win you over with his fame, his charm, and his good looks, he will win you over with preparation.
He is a dog guy—a little sign about men and dogs adorns a living-room wall otherwise dominated by signed photographs of dignitaries—and he set about to get another, preferably hypoallergenic. That he tells it again—that it’s the first story he tells—serves to announce what is essential about himself: that he’s a man who will do what it takes to win you over, even applying bacon as an unguent.
For all his claims to the contrary, his surface romance with immortality, Ali had a spooky bead on his future; he never saw it sweeping grandly toward him but bellying quietly along the jungle floor. Before him, the ring, if not moribund, had been a dark, somber corner of sports, best described by the passing sight of then-middleweight-king Dick Tiger, leaving his beat-up hotel wearing a roomy black homburg and a long pawnshop overcoat, a black satchel in his hand, heading for the subway and a title fight at the Garden.
After watching some of Ali’s films, a London neurologist said that he was convinced Ali had brain damage.
His ring classicism had always argued so persuasively against excessive physical harm, his pride was beyond anything but a regal exit.
Not long ago, a piece in The New York Times Magazine pronounced him the Ali of old, just about terminally perky. He’s battled his appetite (two, three desserts, meals back to back) and sedentary lapses for years.
Part of the fever of the times; if the Black Panther Huey Newton, posing with a rifle and spear, could be written up as a theoretical genius, and his partner, Bobby Seale, interpreted as a tactical wizard, then how much a symbol was Ali, the first to tap and manifest glinting black pride, to dispute with vigor erosive self-laceration. His desk is rimmed with pictures of prominent people—a senator, a Saudi prince, an ambassador—patients for whom he has retarded death by cancer. Then, ready to go out, he puts that famous upper-teeth clamp on his bottom lip to show determination and circles the doctor with a cocked right fist.
He spent 13 years at SI (1964-1977), during which he became one of the signature voices of the magazine. The set is usually on except when Patterson is sleeping, or when he is sparring across the road inside the clubhouse (the ring is rigged over what was once the dance floor), or when, in a rare moment of painful honesty, he reveals to a visitor what it is like to be the loser.
Juan of Words is the Leading US Hispanic Lifestyle Blog on Mexican Living, and we're all about celebrating our cultura. I arrived there in the spring of 2002 as a temp having spent my twenties working in film cutting rooms. All I can say is that I’m happy to have you and I hope you dig whatever it is I can offer at any given time. I knew John was a Beatle, of course, but oddly, I thought of him more as an Upper West Sider. But what you’re saying is, some people it kicks in anyway, even if they’re doing all right.
All my life I’ve been trying to win a school prize or trying to do OK in an exam or trying to get a good job.
Over near the Seventh Avenue entrance, a tall thin man with a briefcase pressed between his knees is hunched over a flashing pinball table called JAMES BOND. Tavern owners who had previously been scared away from coin-op games by pinball’s underworld reputation now began to clamor for Asteroids. It’s wonderful for women, of course, but if they become more successful than their husbands, it can be bad because then the man loses respect for himself. He saw a black cocker-spaniel mix on the Web site of a rescue organization and called the number.
Kids scaled the wings of jets to get a glimpse of him; thousands, young and old, tailed him in masses during his roadwork. The nurses roll their eyes and smile, struck by his innocence; it has nothing to do, they know, with morbidity. But the heavyweight champions—as they always will—illuminated the image sent out to the public.
For a good while, most of these senators, and others, knew only the voice of Ali on the phone. Several months before, he had been almost sleek, thanks to fourteen-mile walks and his wife’s efforts to police him at the table. He sits there, his hands shaking, his movements robotic, the look on his face similar to what the Marines call a thousand-yard stare. But he’s a bit petulant with Lonnie, who aims to see that he keeps his date at Hilton Head Island. He had sensed that Ali would be quite low when the day was over, and he wanted something to pick him up. It blends his characteristic impressionistic style with exquisite reporting, grim humor and an undercurrent of compassion born of their long years together.
In honor of his prolific and peerless career, we present a look back at thirteen of his most compelling creations.
We were craving buffalo style chicken strips again and Edgar and I left without telling her where we were going. Married in 1923, 1941, and 1959.Advertisement - Continue Reading BelowDid you have lots of boyfriends growing up in the 1930s? I had a good, long run at the company—saved money, got married, saw a parent die, and created this site. This information was more than distressing; I refused to accept the idea that Styron’s voice could be silenced by anything short of death.
At a change station near the center of the room, a portly lawyer type is converting the contents of his wallet into enough quarters to bribe a congressional subcommittee.
He’ll walk through neighborhoods undetected and talk to people on their front porches. Even when his songs stood up for the powerless, he was always pioneering new ways to use the power of his fame, of which the two-way mirror of his privacy is the ultimate expression. The woman who answered said she’d be happy to bring the dog to his house, but then she explained that the dog had been abandoned and picked up malnourished off the street. He wanted that dog and the trainer to like him so much that it was more important than giving the dog the home it needed. For a contemporary, but very different, glimpse of Ali, check out Davis Miller’s story about his day with the champ. If he could root back through the maze of moment and incident, would he find premonitory signs sticking out like dire figurations of chicken entrails? Ali is hooked up to an electrocardiograph and a blood-pressure monitor; there is always some risk when blood is not making its customary passage.
If the fall is too messy, the national psyche will rush toward it, then recoil; there is no suspense, no example in the mundane. With his preening narcissism, braggart mouth, and stylistic quirks, he was viewed as a vandal of ring tenets and etiquette.
He appeared to have a hard grasp on politics, current states’ rights issues, and federal judgeships being contested—a scenario that had seemed as likely as the fusillade of laser fire Ali said Muslim spaceships would one day loose on the white devils. Dave Kindred, a columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who has known Ali since his Louisville days, concluded that it was most likely Ali’s attorney, Richard Hirschfeld, widely regarded as a brilliant impersonator of Ali, who had made the calls.


He likes to swing his long arm near a person’s ear, then create a friction with thumb and forefinger to produce a cricket effect in the ear.
Although my father took some swipes at Ali in his 2001 book, Ghosts of Manila: The Fateful Blood Feud Between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, I think he comes at his subject in this piece with his lance sheathed. After Liston hit me in Nevada, I felt, for about four or five seconds, that everybody in the arena was actually in the ring with me, circled around me like a family, and you feel warmth toward all the people in the arena after you’re knocked out. There are so many distinct voices: John Sack, Sally Kempton, Bill Zehme, Norman Mailer, David Foster Wallace, Tom Wolfe, Nora Ephron, Pete Dexter, Mark Jacobson, Richard Ben. I wrote him a letter, a somewhat embarrassing letter, for it was full of tough-guy, gung-ho attempts at reinspiring him, the sort of thing a corner-man might say to an exhausted fighter, but inappropriate when addressed to a sixty-year-old author recovering from a nervous breakdown. There are now sixty thousand Asteroids machines on location worldwide, most of them in the United States and most of them?astonishingly popular. My father, he always said to me, “If I was married to a woman like you, I’d own the world.” He used to tell me that. Does he remember King Levinsky, one of the many heavy bags for Joe Louis, in the corridor after the Miami Beach weigh-in?
The captivating, aspiring sociopath Sonny Liston had a primitive hold on the equation of greatness. Besides, they said, he couldn’t punch, did not like to get hit, and seemed to lack a sufficient amount of killer adrenaline. Over the years, he has been easily led, told by any number of rogues what his best interests were. He crumples the paper, pretends to put it in his mouth, then billows his cheeks until he regurgitates tiny pieces all over his chest. When he died, the funds were cut off and Medenica was left with bills and criminal indictment by the Yugoslavians and the Swiss.
He had always told me he had been of fond Ali personally and I think that comes across here.  It is a tender glimpse at a once extraordinary athlete who has been thrust by age and illness into a state of sad fragility.
We weren’t famous in Greece, and I’d hung out with the hotel band and was chatting to them: “I’m in a band, too, you know? The gist of it was that writers sometimes need as much courage as warriors, courage of a different kind.
But the densest agglomeration of gray wool by far stands at the very front of the arcade by a long bank of thumping, thundering machines, where a veritable legion of young executives is lined up three deep to play Asteroids.
Machines in hot locations have been known to bring in as much as one thousand dollars a week, enough to pay for themselves in a little more than a fortnight.
A young Libyan student in London sat on his bed, kept him up half the night with dithyrambic visions of Muslim revolution. Boldly colored ties draped Levinsky’s neck (he sold them on the street), his synapses now like two eggs over-light, in permanent sizzle, as he tried to move into stride with a young Cassius Clay. Though he is very much a mystic, there is a part of Ali that has always found security and a skewed understanding of life in the quantifiable: amounts, calibrated outcomes, the creaking, reassuring machinery of living. If the advisors were friends who appealed to his instinct to help them move up a rung, he was even more of a setup. Why they like me?” He is not trying to be humble, he is genuinely perplexed by the chemistry that exists between himself and other people. And you want to reach out and kiss everybody—men and women—and after the Liston fight, somebody told me I actually blew a kiss to the crowd from the ring. Operators who tend fleets of machines are finding they have to make extra trips to their locations just to empty the coin boxes of the Asteroids machines.
The night before in the hotel lounge, with his wife, Lonnie, beside him, bemusedly aghast, he grilled a pleasant waitress until he knew how many tips she got each week, how many children she had, the frequency of men hitting on her, and the general contour of her reality.
When he was a young fighter, a doctor had to chase him around a desk to give him a shot, and chaotic mobility to him is at least as important as breathing. Ali eventually had to materialize (with Hirschfeld hard by his side), and many on Capitol Hill were unable to match the man with the voice. I thought, “This is OK, if the fame gets too much we can always come to Greece.” Then, of course, the next year it was like, “Oh, no, you’re famous in Greece, too. Incredibly, fourteen months later, in 1981, his ego goaded him to the Bahamas and another fight, the fat jellied on his middle, his hand-speed sighing and wheezing like a busted old fan; tropic rot on the trade winds.
Thinking of all of this, how could someone so alien to ideas, and thought, who communicated privately, in scraps and remote silences, be capable of fooling Washington politicians? She was a little girl who lived across from Ali’s old Louisville home when he was at the top. It would not have surprised me if Styron had not bothered to reply to such rah-rah, but I received an encouraging answer in early April. He stood there watching the bloodred sun drop into Manila Bay, then took a visitor’s hand and guided it over his forehead, each bump sending a vague dread through the fingers. She is a woman of wit and intelligence, with a master’s degree in business administration.
His pressure once jumped twelve points while he watched a TV report on Mike Tyson’s street fight with Mitch Green in Harlem.
Afterward, Angelo Dundee, who had trained Ali from the start and had to be talked into showing up for this one, watched him slumped in the dressing room, then turned away and rubbed his eyes as certain people tried to convince Ali that he had been robbed and that a fourth title was still possible. She plans his trips, is the tough cop with him and his medicine, and generally seems to brighten his life. He might come in from a golf match, all filthy dirty, and then all of a sudden you're in bed and you're having a hell of a time!Be spontaneous.Spontaneous, right!What's the strangest thing a man has asked you to do?
Does he remember the Bahamian cowbell tinkling the end of his final, pathetic fight, a derisive goodbye sound stark with omen? Soon after, he checked out in Vegas, the suspicion of murder hovering over the coroner’s report. Even so, it took many years for Ali to ascend to a preeminent light in the national consciousness. If you don't want to do it, you say, "No, I'm not interested in that." That's how simple it is.
In the Sixties, as a converted Black Muslim, he vilified white people as blond, blue-eyed devils.
I used to meet him on Saturdays and we'd go to a suite at the Waldorf Astoria.So you've had three husbands and one lover. They never called me nigger”—was innocent at first, but then taken up as if he were the provocateur of a national crisis. The politicians, promoters, and sweeping sentiment converged to conspire against his constitutional right to work; states barred him from fighting. Though he had defeated heavyweight champion Sonny Liston and defended his title nine times, Ali had never had a dramatic constituency before. Now a huge one awaited him, liberals looking for expression, eager literati to put it into scripture, worn-out hippies, anyone who wanted to see right done for once. If he wants to go dancing and you don't want to go, well, that's okay occasionally, but don't do it every night because you can be sure that he'll find someone else to dance with.
The margins of dominance compressed perilously, and the head shots (negligible before exile) mounted. He once bought her a diamond heart, and the next day he brought me a gorgeous diamond bracelet, very expensive. Nothing was too good for me.So we need to make our marriages more like affairs—is that your advice?
One day, they were on their way up there and they stopped by my work—I worked in a shoe factory at the time. And she came into my office and said, "Would you please come with us?" And I said, "Hell no.
It's wonderful for women, of course, but if they become more successful than their husbands, it can be bad because then the man loses respect for himself. I've been wrong plenty of times in my life.Do you think the men are more like women these days? Because she said to me just a short while ago: "I knew about the affair between you and my father. He was crazy about you."Were you hoping that he'd leave his wife for you?Oh, when something belongs to me, I want it.
Now, the women have to keep up with them!Would you like to be a young woman in today's world? All the men from that generation who came to this country and made a few bucks, they all ran around.How about the women? My father, he always said to me, "If I was married to a woman like you, I'd own the world." He used to tell me that.
I don't know how much she loves him, but I know he's very good to her.Did any of your husbands run around? Oh, he was wonderful.Advertisement - Continue Reading BelowWhat made that marriage so good? Nothing.What advice would you give to a couple that's been married for ten years and is looking to spice up their sex life?




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