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The Advice Goddess: Hope fiend Once a cheater always a cheater?
Thursday, 12 March 2015 01:28


Q: — I met this man a few years ago, and it was like a thunderbolt struck us — the stuff movies are made of. He told me that his female roommate was just a friend. We went on a few dates before I realized she was actually his girlfriend. He promised that they were going to break up, so I hung around for a bit, but of course it never happened. Last year, I ran into him, and he said he was no longer with that woman and wanted to date me. I turned him down flat because I figured that if he was going to lie and cheat on her, then he would do the same to me. I’m kicking myself now because I have never met anyone like him. Is it really “once a cheater, always a cheater,” or could it be different for us? I have to put this to bed in my mind because I can’t stop thinking I missed out on “the one.”

— Opportunity Lost


Sure, your encounter with this man was “the stuff movies are made of” — the ones in which Godzilla comes clomping through town and puts his big clawed foot through the roof of some poor villager’s house. 


What you should be doing is tiring your arm out by patting yourself on the back. You showed presence of mind in drop-kicking “the one” — the one who, before long, would have been in a bar telling some woman that you’re just his “roommate.”


But now your loneliness is telling your logic to put a sock in it, luring you into a common error in evaluating risk that behavioral economists call “optimism bias.” This is best explained as the “I’m special!” bias and involves the unrealistic thinking that the bad things that befall other people will see us and go, “Nuh-uh…no way…not her!” 


Though we know — usually from painful experience — that character change is hard (and rare), optimism bias leads us to flirt with bright ideas like “Maybe he’s done with the cheating!” It’s probably easier to think that now, not having seen him for a while.


And the reality is, even serial killers sometimes go dormant. This shouldn’t be taken as a sign that they’ve grown weary of cutting up the neighbors and storing them in Ziploc bags in their freezer. 


Real change, when it happens, comes with signs there’s been a transformation — like expressions of deep remorse about being unethical and a sea change in a person’s moral standards. And these are just the preliminaries.


Character change is revealed through action — over time. Sure, you could keep this guy at arm’s length for a year while you observe his behavior.


Or, instead of hoping against hope for character change, you could opt for a change of characters, as in getting out there and meeting new men. Should you fall back into feeling wistful about this guy, remind yourself of German psychoanalyst and philosopher Erich Fromm’s thinking that love isn’t just “a feeling”; it’s something you do (in this guy’s case, to more than one woman at a time). Or as one of my other favorite 20th-century philosophers, a Dr. E. Fudd, put it, “Good widdance to bad wubbish.” 




Boys will be decoys

 I often come off needy and desperate, so I’m trying to play it cool with this great new guy I’m dating — a new and difficult tactic for me. There are two other guys who are into me. I’m not into them, but I’m tempted to keep them on the back burner — you know, throw them a few crumbs now and then to keep them hooked so they can be a distraction from the new guy. I know this is user-y, so I haven’t decided to do it, but I also haven’t come clean about where I’m really at. And I have to admit I don’t mind the validation they give me. Ugh. 

— Torn




If you’re going to turn men into emotional support knickknacks, why not go all the way? Cut their hearts out and stick them in Mason jars with cute labels written in glitter pen.


What you’re contemplating is romantic fraud. Sure, stacking up irrelevant men like firewood so you can climb into the arms of the man you want is easier than exploring why you “often come off needy and desperate.” A wild guess: Because you are? 


Typically, this comes out of trying to use a guy for jobs he can never fill, like making you feel okay about you. If that’s the problem, get to work on fixing it. In the meantime, avoid coming off needy and desperate by acting like a woman who might end up wanting a man but doesn’t need him. That woman doesn’t barrage him with calls, texts, and surprise visits — or text back with an immediacy that suggests she’s been hovering over her phone like a starving hawk circling the den of the last prairie dog on earth. Get your restraint where you can, like by responding to a text from him by giving your phone to somebody to lock in a drawer for an hour. Waiting to text back will help you come off like the woman you should try to be, one who embodies the understanding that emotional security comes from within — and no, not from within a bunch of other people.



(c.) 2015, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or 


‘Venus if you will....’ Ex-teen idol Frankie Avalon still charms
Thursday, 12 March 2015 01:04
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FRANKLIN — Former teen idol Frankie Avalon, now 75, still can rattle the rafters, as he showed with his music, choreography and joke-telling, coupled with his uncanny ability to connect with the crowd, during a rousing Feb. 13 concert at the Smoky Mountain Center for Performing Arts.

Highlights of his performance included a pre-Valentine’s Day rendition of his signature mega-hit “Venus” and a mind-bending medley of three Everly Brothers’ hits in a vocal duet with Don Everly’s son Edan.

Also memorable were a doo-wop song medley and a salute to four other top singers of his era who died early.

Another delightful aspect of his show was the carefully thought-out interweaving of film clips from the past, providing invaluable context and depth of knowledge to the audience. People, conceivably, could leave Avalon’s show knowing more about the man and the music than when they entered.

The 75-minute, single-set show drew about 700 people. In addition to Avalon as lead singer and Edan Everly as guitarist and backup singer, another notable member of the 10-piece band was Avalon’s son Frank Jr. on percussion. The band also included a bassist, pianist and a talented six-piece horn section. 

A visual that seemed to resonate with crowd was the younger Everly and Avalon — with the good looks of their fathers in their prime — performing on stage, with obvious familial pride.

Avalon has had a career that spans three generations of music, television and movies. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, Avalon has said he is proud to be known as a musician, actor and, most of all, a family man. He and his wife, Kathryn Diebel, have four sons and four daughters — and numerous grandchildren. 

The show started with a voice-over accompanied by film clips showing Avalon’s early career highlights, his classic performances on the now-defunct TV show “American Bandstand,” and scenes from the movie “Beach Blanket Bingo,” finishing with a rendition of “Venus.”

Looking dapper in a dark suit, with a light-colored shirt and tie, Avalon opened the show by noted that “this is my first time in Franklin, North Carolina.”

He quipped, “I’ve been coming to North Carolina for a lot of years — since Moby Dick was a minnow.” 

As the crowd laughed, Avalon added, “I was really a skinny kid.” He said he was given an Italian nickname, which translates to “pipe cleaner.’”

Early into the concert, as the crowd cheered, Avalon asserted, “You’re a terrific audience. You make me happy to be here. Of course, at my age, I’d be glad to be anywhere.” 

He noted that “my oldest son is now 51. Isn’t that something? We happen to be the same age. My youngest is 41.”

Continuing in a jocular vein, Avalon triggered much audience laughter when he said, “This next song I recorded in ‘59 — 1859!” He then sang “Why,” which was the last No. 1 hit of 1959, he said. Avalon walked back and forth in front of the first row during the tune.

Between singing songs, Avalon joked, “They’ve now combined country and rap — and they call it crap.”

At that point, he noted that Valentine’s Day was the next day and “this next song put a lot of people together,” as he and the band launched into “Venus.”

He then told a joke about a man encountering a naked woman — finally telling her, “Funny thing. My wife has an outfit just like that.”

Avalon sang Rodgers and Hart’s moving “Where Or When.”

“You know I haven’t been in the recording business for many years.... Like I said, I don’t sing rap.”

In his doo-wop medley, Avalon sang a verse or two of  “Silhouettes,” “Twilight Times,” “ Blue Moon,” “ Cherry Pie,” “For Your Love,” “ Earth Angel” and “Goodnight, Sweetheart.”  

In his salute to fellow idols of his time, Avalon performed Ricky Nelson’s “Hello, Mary Lou,” Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock,” Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife” and Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock.”

Avalon and his band began and ended the segment with a rendition of The Righteous Brothers’ 1973 hit “Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven,” emphasizing the lyric fragment:

 “If there’s a rock and roll heaven / Well you know they’ve got a hell of a band ....”

With most of the audience on its feet and cheering, Avalon told the crowd members that, if they had a good time, “tell them you saw Frankie Avalon. If not, tell ‘em you saw Fabian” (a rival teen idol from Avalon’s early days.)

At that point, Avalon and band performed the encore, “Mickey Mouse Club March,” after which he repeated the lyric fragments, — a cappella-style — slowly and sincerely at the end:

“See you real soon... /

Why? Because we love you!”

Avalon’s final flourish triggered even more frenzied applause from the audience, as the former teen idol bowed, waved and left the stage.



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