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    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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I Put a Spell on You*

Ilan is the one on the right. Visiting Auschwitz.

A little known fact about Betsy Lerner is that she rolls with a posse of young men who all worship her. To this day my hottest, youngest ex-boyfriend is always texting me, asking after Lerner. What would Betsy think of this? Will she come to my new girlfriend’s housewarming party? It’s eerie. She just connects with the young men in a way that I think eludes most of us. Or maybe it’s not just guys – she also worked her magic on me when I was a girl of 25, and she’s totally tight now with Yale’s best offering to America, the great publishing intern, Casey Blue. But my favorite of all her boys is Ilan Zechory, the young man pictured at left. He’s happily pre-engaged with a very capable girlfriend, but if I were even five years younger I’d try to show him my vulnerable side. That’s how funny and cool he is. Anyway, now we’re both just happy to be part of the Lerner Posse, and I thought ya’ll would like to hear from him about it.

Ilan, for the folks at home, how did you and Betsy meet? Betsy and I took a screenwriting workshop together at Yale. I was an undergraduate and she was the continuing education lady. During the first couple classes, every time someone said something stupid or bizarre, she’d desperately scan the room to see if anyone had noticed. I noticed, and we bonded. We quickly moved on to pre- and post-class chit chat, snack-sharing, etc.

Do you have other older-than-you woman friends or is Betsy the first? My grandma is the OG killer lunch date, but she’s a shrink, so she tells great stories. Betsy is, however, the first mature woman I can talk to about NSFMom content (nudity, violence, strong sexual content, my “art”). This has been psychologically fortifying. Betsy’s not going to like this answer at all…

I know, but I think it’s cool. She really is so down and gives the very best advice. For me, recently, we were talking about relationships and she said, “You know how everyone always says that you have to love yourself  before you can really love someone else or be loved in return? I’m here to tell you, you don’t.” She always says exactly the right think in the moment. Can you remember a piece of advice that BL gave you that was really good? With me it’s a lot of of “No no, no, it’s NOT shit” type stuff, trying to keep my self-loathing in check. I could look back through my emails and find something more aphoristic. One time she told me “Your twenties just suck…” and that I should hold out for a better decade. That’s a thought that’s sustained me pretty well for the past few years.

Your first job in NYC was with Google, right? Are you writing? What are you doing now? After college I went to L.A. to work as a writing intern for David Milch. After a while L.A. started to make my teeth bleed, so I googled “good job in new york” and ended up with a job at Google in New York. Betsy wrote me a killer recommendation letter littered with false statements. I quit that job at the height of the recession (baller!!), and now I split my time between practicing clinical hypnosis and running Rap Genius, a website that explains the meaning of rap lyrics.

See what I’m saying? Don’t you think Lerner should open a school for wayward youth?

Wonderful Commenters: Besides wanting to hear your favorite Lerner one-liner or advice, what I really wanna know is: have you ever been hypnotized? And what was it like? What does it do? Should we throw Ilan some business? Can I watch?

*Betsy Lerner is on vacation so this post was written by Erin Hosier

20 Responses

  1. As if I needed a bigger crush on Betsy. Hypnosis might help, I’m not sure. I’ve never tried it. I did get a good laugh watching my former boss get hypnotized. Of course, he swore he wasn’t, but I have the video.

  2. This does not come as a surprise. Betsy tells it like it is and uses her own voice to do it. There’s nothing more attractive in a person than knowing your BS detector won’t be going off every three minutes when you’re with them.

    Never been hypnotized but I’m always up for a new experience. 😉

  3. I thought I could never be hypnotized, but years ago, I did it 5 times with a certified hypnotist to explore past-life regression. I have it all on tape. It was pretty incredible. This weird phenomenon occurred: my left finger and then whole left arm gradually rose up into the air, so that it was pointing directly up, as if by itself. He told me this had a specific name, I forget what, and was a sign of a very deep trance. I especially enjoyed my life in Ancient Greece. It seems like I might have made it all up (it was like watching a movie), but it was very real at the time.

  4. Did he buy anything at the duty-free shop?

    I was hypnotized as a kid. Only once, but the session lasted 17 years.

  5. Oh, to be young, carefree and trust-funded. All the rich east coast kids hate LA because nobody knows enough to be intimidated by their Ivy League education.

  6. I have been mesmerized and I have been hypnotized :).
    Clinical hypnosis is not, however, the clucking like a chicken stage play hypnosis though. Real hypnosis is more like deep relaxation that helps you open to what you already know and want; just helps you get there without all the barriers we put in place in our minds to shield us from knowing and doing what is in our best interest.

    Ok, so enough about my mental health meanderings…lets hear more about the Betsy Lerner love and young men who split their time between hypnosis and rap–a killer combo!

  7. Why would I want to be hypnotized? (Unless maybe it were for free, in public, and guaranteed to produce some kind of entertainment, even if the entertainment were me.) Isn’t hypnosis what TV is for? I admit, some parts of TV are getting so good (e.g., currently, Mad Men) that it’s hard to be lulled into a trance by it: I feel like actually paying attention and even rethinking what I saw in a next-day recap. But still…

    One of my favorite Betsy comments (from her 6/14/10 post): “when my mother read my memoir the first thing she said was that it was a pack of lies. I told her she was welcome to write her own pack of lies anytime she liked.”

  8. “Next up, a naturalist I had a wicked crush on. He was cute and mean, a toxic combo for a girl with low self-esteem and high expectations. I made of fool of myself for around six months while he kept taunting me with pages that never materialized. And, yes, pages is a euphemism.”

    I Heard He Sang a New Song (April 26, 2010)

  9. The first sentence of this post is my favorite ever. I also suddenly feel like having a posse of any kind should be my new life’s goal.

    Thanks for all your interesting guest posts!

  10. “…we were in a jacket meeting and the publisher said he wanted something like “fuck me” pumps for the image. Then, he pointed to my Doc Marten’s and said not like those. Right, I said, these are “fuck you” pumps. Friends, my days were numbered.”
    Sept 8, 2009 “Naomi Wolf to write history of vagina”

    Hip mo tizing candor

  11. “Wait for a better decade.” I am totally stealing that.

    My 30s, 40s, and 50s were good; the 60s have started out rough. I’m going to wait for the 70s, but not passively.

    My sister was hypnotized one time and said it worked, but she’s still fat.

  12. What a fun guest post. Ilan seems like a cute kid.

  13. “Don’t worry about being good. You’re probably not. No one is at first except for the few geniuses among us and they have other problems. 3-5 pages a day, just get them down. In a few months you’ll have a partial manuscript that can throw half out and still have something.”

    That was a bracing slap. We’ve never met, but Betsy knows how to handle me.

    Erin, you’re awesome. This was a great blog post. But I miss Betsy like anything.

    OMG, I just visited Ilan’s hyp site. Why didn’t I think of hypnosis for writer’s block? And I’m a certified (but non-practicing) hypnotist myself! If he can’t do sessions by phone I’m heading to New York to get hypped.

  14. like the blog

  15. Salut les amis que pensez-vous de mon nouveau site sur l’immobilier?

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