Lea Lane

Lea Lane
Florida, USA
August 26
author, Travel Tales I Couldn't Put in the Guidebooks, available at Amazon.com and on Kindle
“I’ve discovered the secret of life,” Kay Thompson, the eccentric entertainer and “Eloise” author, once said. “A lot of hard work, a lot of sense of humor, a lot of joy and a lot of tra-la-la!” And that's been my life: As a travel writer for over 30 years, I've been around the block (more like around the world), and I write true stories about interesting people and places. (Check out my travel site, Travels With Lea.) I've lived an unconventional life in conventional trappings. Been a corporate VP, worked with foster kids, acted in an Indie ("Nurse 1"), was on Jeopardy!. I've been managing editor of a travel publication, written for the Times, and authored books. OS is my home, but I also blog on The Huffington Post, and I've contributed (mostly anonymously) to everything from encyclopedias to guidebooks. Married young, divorced late; married late, widowed early, I dated lots in-between -- and survived a scary illness. After being happily, peacefully solo for many years, I'm now happily married again. I founded and still edit www.sololady.com, a lifestyle Website for single women. I'm truly grateful for each precious day, each well-earned wrinkle, my family, my cat. Truth, laughter, friendship, late love. And this blog -- on this wonderful site!

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Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 28, 2008 12:44AM

One Snowy Dud, One Sexy Stud

Rate: 24 Flag



Two memorable New Year’s Eves both involved a missed turn-of-the-year ball drop. They were back-to-back in my Heavy Dating Period between marriages, in the mid-‘90s in New York.

The first started on a cold, windy night when I drove into Manhattan to meet a Long Island guy for dinner and a Broadway show. The man was a good, generous person, but by the tiramisu and espresso it was obvious this was both a first and last date.

We had planned after the show to experience the ball drop in Times Square, a first for me, but the thought of standing amid throngs of shivering twenty-somethings in my three-inch spiked boots with someone I hardly knew did not appeal. And what if I had to pee? So we hugged good night (and goodbye) around 11, and I headed to my car very much alone, and then north into Westchester County on a dark and winding parkway as snow started falling. In minutes the evergreens along the side of the road turned white, and I weaved my way around icy patches, afraid of spinning out of control. Cars were few, of course; in those pre-countdown moments all but the craziest of New Yorkers had the sense to revel in place.

Just as the radio announced that the ball was dropping, “10, 9, 8 …” I discerned a road block through the falling snow. A policeman motioned me to stop and roll down my window. He poked his head into my car. His mustache was dappled with snowflakes, only inches from my face.

“Happy New Year," he said softly. And for just a second I imagined someone was going to kiss me at midnight, after all.

"Why are you driving in this snowfall all alone?"

I was tempted to tell him that I had left a date and that I wasn't a total loser. I wanted him --hell, I wanted somebody -- to be with me right then. And he was the only fella around and he seemed really caring. He leaned in closer ... and sniffed.

He cared all right -- if I was sober. The first seconds of this infant year and I was being inspected for drunk driving.

“Take it easy, ma’am. It's going to get even worse out there.” I pulled away through the now blinding whiteout and inched my way for an hour, back to an empty house, quite miserable and as alone as I had ever been in my entire life.


The very next New Year's Eve was another snowy one, and my favorite, ever. The guy I was newly dating was smart, funny, and hunky; my son called him “The Studmuffin.” We flirted like teenagers, finished each other’s sentences, harmonized “Imagine” while tickling each other and decided that everything the other did was just adorable.

I was hot for this man in that intoxicating way when you’re still longing and teasing but you know you will soon become lovers; a tantalizing, tantalized state that can’t last very long. We had both wanted to make love but had held back, liking each other more and more, just letting the heat rise.

So this New Year’s Eve we hunkered down at my cozy suburban house by a crackling fireplace, kissing and laughing and conversing. He sprung for the Beluga and the Cristal champagne and I cooked his dream meal: chili, coleslaw and chocolate cake.

As we nuzzled and talked and fired up, I teased him that he would be sleeping in the guest room and he looked a bit puzzled. But when I took his hand and led him there I closed the door, with me inside. And we celebrated the New Year by celebrating each other, very slowly.

I missed the ball drop for the second year in a row but this time in decidedly better fashion. We had our countdown in bed at midnight. I always wondered if it were possible to greet the year in such a rousing fashion. Forget the Fear of Flying “zipless fuck.” I had hoped for a climactic, heavens in harmony, “three, two- ONE,” all’s-right-with-the world," karmic, “come together right now” explosion my whole life.

And -–drum roll please and ring them bells -- it was. And the only one I ever had that spanned two years.

For breakfast I whipped up shirred eggs and the remaining caviar in little porcelain cups I had never used before, which we spooned lingeringly to each other. And we lazed away the day all touchy, watching the snow fall, listening to the cool jazz station with Sade and Dave Brubeck and Mel Torme, feeling the sweet start of a new relationship as well as a new year.

Ah yes, Studmuffin and I were together about six months, but what delicious months they were. It was too hot not to cool down, and that was ok for me at that point in my life. I got happily married a couple of years later. He met and still is a loving partner of the ex-wife of a famous columnist I read every week. But we still keep in touch now and then and reflect about that harmonic New Year’s Eve back in the ‘90s. He refers to it as “precious as gold.”

Two successive turns of the year. Two totally different outcomes.

Keep the faith.

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My own most memorable New Years was many years ago, beaten and robbed outside the Horseshoe in downtown Vegas. This year will be a much more sedate and placid affair.
So,so nice.
Best wishes for this New Year.May it be the best ever.
Nice post. I'm looking forward to fireworks at the Marina in the middle of the night and deciding whether or not to leave my cozy home to see them.

Loved your list of solo women too!
Mick, that sounds awful. May you have only placid or exciting or whatever you wish from now on. Just no violence.

Peter, best New Year wishes to you and all OSers as well.

Without a Paddle, thanks for the comment on the solo women post. I worked quite hard on it. As for NYE, I say do whatever is comfortable. From my balcony I can see fireworks all over the city, so I can both stay at home and see them. No brainer for me.
This was a wonderfully written twin tale. I most enjoyed the fact that you were concerned about getting caught out and having to pee, that cracked me up. The second part got me, ah, well, very interested, I guess I will say. Rated
I hope this NYE is just as memorable.
idahospud44, so glad you liked both parts. I know what you mean about the second part. It was, um ... interesting indeed. (Didn't need fireworks that year.)
Nice. Your time with Number 2 reminds me of Joan Baez's "Love Song to a Stranger"
"The hours for once they passed slowly, unendingly by
Like a sweet breeze on a field
Your gentleness came down upon me and I guess I thanked you
When you caused me to yield
We spoke not a sentence and took not a footstep beyond
Our two days together which seemingly soon would be gone
Don't tell me of love everlasting and other sad dreams
I don't want to hear
Just tell me of passionate strangers who rescue each other
From a lifetime of cares
Because if love means forever, expecting nothing returned
Then I hope I'll be given another whole lifetime to learn "
catamite, I adore Mel Torme. He just got better and better with age. Saw him perform live a few times. Just the best interpretations of love songs, ever.

Peter, Same to you and all on OS. I have hopes it will be better in many ways.

Charlie, that is beautiful, thank you. I love Baez and the song did remind me of lots of past stuff, including that yummy NYE #2.
I read this earlier and wasn't really able to make a comment. (a rarity for me) Your post is so personal, I almost felt like a peeping Tom reading this. I'm glad it all worked out for you. All your work seems very personal. I shudder when I think of throwing it all out there the way you do.
Michael, glad you came back. Yes at this point in my life I am sharing just about all (although as you may have noticed I did not participate in your beaver projects). Reasons I am open -- as many are here-- include that I'm on my own and my kids are grown up and my granddaughters are too little to read this, I have nothing to hide, I am looking back in memoir mode, and if I can't blog it I wouldn't be able to book it.

Also, it feels good to remember and to let people know you can have fun dating and even a wonderful new marriage quite late in life. That's something most of us don't realize much as we're all about the moment. So I'll be letting lots out and feel so fine about the chance to.
This is a very charming and tantalizing read!
thanks for sharing the emotive aspect of your romantic journeys.
Really nice post, Lea. Sexy and cozy and warm.

Happy New Year.
Yeah, I would have much preferred the second one, including (but certainly not limited to)the chili, coleslaw, and chocolate cake
Thanks Gary and m.a.h., and Happy New Year to you, too.

Roger, I made that meal from scratch!
sazizzle! That's the kind of experience that puts the word 'wistful' in its proper context.
Yes, wistful is a good term here. And grateful, maybe!

And speaking of sazizzle Sandra, how's married life?

of course my favorite line was "And what if I had to pee?"

nice contrast. i've had both as well, though i'm not sure about back to back. i sort of had them both in one night:

i was visiting chicago, drove into the city way too late, and got to BoysTown around 11:30. i spent over an hour trying to park. nothing. i felt pathetic at midnight, too. yes, i had somewhere to go. damn.

but who cares about the stroke of midnight? it's a dumb holiday and dumber to get all a titter about that being a magic moment. magic comes unexpectedly.

i got there eventually, danced at Hydrate until it closed at 4 or 5, and had a wonderful, exuberant time.

i can't remember whether i went home with someone, but i do remember going home happy.
Yeah, Dave I know it was kind of silly, in a sexy way. Kind of like the mile high club. But a the whole night was a great memory. And I agree, the main thing is to end up happy.
Lea, I really enjoyed this.
Thanks, Man Talk. I did too.
Lea this post officially certifies you as the "OS Woman of Fire 09".
A beautiful post, not to mention hawt.... has anyone ever told you you can write lovely, tantalizing soft core? ;) We can see fireworks from our bedroom balcony, which is what we do each year, then make our own.

I wish that for you again, when time and the fates provide. Happy and Healthy New Year, Lea!
Harry, I guess you got the point, so to speak. Thanks, even if it should be emeritus.

Sally, another connection. The fireworks from the balcony. I will think of you two on NYE with a big smile when I watch the fireworks from mine.

And thank you about the soft core compliment. I did write some once when I was writing anything and everything, but it was "too much plot" for the company that paid. I do, however, have a romance novel I co-wrote with a friend up on my website.

But this one was for real. I was single for 15 years between marriages and whew. I guess that's part of why I can deal well with solo now.
Right now it's all sunny skies, whizzing down mountains, deep powder to cushion the fall, and falling asleep in front of a burning fire, so I know that you will understand when I answer, it is pretty good, my friend, pretty good. And may you encounter even better, lovely lady.
Lea, you never disappoint. Two great twin stories...you never cease to amaze me. Thank you.
I quite enjoyed reading this. Thank you
Very well written. 50,000 more words, and you could have a best-selling memoir!

My most memorable New Year's Eve was with my first husband in the apartment in Rome that we rented from a marchesa who had moved in with her lover in Portofino. The apartment was in an old palazzo and overlooked the Tiber. We were warned not to park on the street on the 31st and told to save broken crockery. At midnight on New Year's Eve, the most fabulous fireworks imaginable exploded over Rome, creating images of its famous landmarks and many other scenes. Afterward, apartment windows opened and residents threw into the street the broken crockery they'd saved for this moment. By dawn, the street had been cleared; then we all moved our cars back. The astonishingly artistic fireworks followed by the explosion of pottery on ancient streets was as grand a start to the new year as it was a satisfying end to the old.

As for Westchester, I consider it my home county. I was born in and spent 11 happy years in Bronxville. As an adult, I've lived in Katonah, Briarcliff Manor, and Yorktown Heights (in the woods on the Croton reservoir watershed). My son was born in the Mt. Kisco hospital. Interesting that we have Westchester in common.
fun post. I think I made love across 2 years once, too, now that you mention it. or if I haven't, maybe that's a goal for this NY Eve....
New Year's Eve, in my experience, is often anti-climactic...obviously not true for you!

Your last line made me smile.
Sandra, I'll live vicariously through the true loves, like yours, that I read about.

Mary, Jewaira, thanks so much.

Hawley, that Roman New Year sounds incredible. I was in Seville Spain on NYE in the 70s and we counted down the year by eating 12 grapes. (I liked my studmuffin countdown better.)

Silkstone, tonight's the night!

L not L most of mine (especially lately are anticlimactic as well.

Brian, thanks. You're right. ;)
Whew, it's getting hot in here.