Valerie Frankel's
Palace of Love

I got married!

12/04 - 11/04

October 31, 2004
The Vows column about our wedding has been subject to Veiled Conceit. Click on the link on the right. Read the whole thing, including the angry email from Steve's mom at the end. Here's what I wrote to the editor of the blog:

Dear Sir or Ma'am:
A friend came across this by chance, and sent to me. That's me in the photo and my fey Quint husband. Just wanted to let you know that your insight into our domestic violence had propelled me to shoot Steve in the heart. He's dead now, and good riddance.
Best, Val Frankel

Here's what the editor wrote back:
Hi. It's actually funny that you write, since I just had this email exchange with another reader: "actually, i really liked the announcement about the diminutive french horn player "quint": i thought they actually seemed like real people, not robots built by mckinsey & co." to which I replied: " for Quint, I agree. Although I made fun of their picture I thought it was one of the few I've seen where the couple seemed to have genuine affection and looked comfortable and normal together. None of that staged nonsense." I'm sorry that your relationship had to meet such a violent end, but I suppose it was for the better. Is he going to have his obituary in the Times, and if so, is it (in the words of Mary Beth Cahill) "fair game"? Hope you weren't too offended by the post. Best of luck to you and Steve, Zach

Cute, right? Steve is known now as my "Fey Husband." He is an evil manicurist for Halloween, and thinks his new nickname is swell. What a guy!

October 28
Watched Once Upon a Time in Mexico last night. I'd give it a solid B-. Like any red-blooded woman, I could watch Antonio Banderas for hours; I'm not complaining about the shiftless plot, excessive violence, etc. Johnny Depp is killer in this one.

A word on Johnny Depp: I've been on the ground floor with a few movie stars, seeing potential before they got huge. I loved Tobey McGuire in Pleasantville. I was dumbstruck by Heather Graham's beauty in Drugstore Cowboy (and was beyond thrilled when she optioned the rights to The Accidental Virgin last year; I told her as much and she was gracious about it and not embarrassed for my gush, bless her heart). Johnny Depp and I go way, way back. All the way back to 21 Jump Street, which I'm sure most people have forgotten. Well, I remember. I remember in my dreams, Johnny.
Anyway, Depp stole Once Upon A Time In Mexico from under the lanky legs of Antonio. His comic genius saved the night. Johnny should do more comedy! He should do romantic comedy! Obviously, he has a warped sense of humor (love his oddball choices for rolls). I'm sure he has a warped sense of everything. Romantic comedy couldn't possibly be bizarre enough for him. Too bad. I'll just keep dreaming of you, darling. With a playing card stuck to your forehead.

I also deeply admire Ben Stiller. If you haven't seen Mystery Men, please rent (I own). Along Came Polly: sap crap. Dodgeball: Now, that's a movie!

October 26
Cat Haiku
The food in my bowl
Is old, and more to the point
Contains no tuna.

I was sent a dozen of these by Elizabeth Crow, my main spam source. This was my favorite. I'll post a couple more later.

So we had a huge party Saturday night with, like, a hundred people in our apartment. A post-wedding, pre-Halloween thing. Steve called it a Marriage Alcohol Party. Of course he thought we'd never have enough, what with the wholely inadequate ten cases of beer, four cases of wine and eight full bottles of booze. To his credit, I can report that the entire two liter bottle of Jim Beam is gone. Steve drank half of it himself.

Steve wore a lab coat for the party which made it easy to point him out to friends who hadn't met him yet. It was reported back to me that, when asked why he was wearing the lab coat, he replied, "Because I'm operating at midnight." Not sure why this is funny. Just know it is.

When I get a chance, I'll post some photos. But, hands down, the star of the party was the son of my friend Mary Duenwald, a fifteen year old blond kid named Nick. His mom let me hire him to take coats, throw away plates, serve drinks (which might be illegal). Anyway, he became known as "the hired teen." Friends came up to ask me where I got him, and where can they get one. Now everyone wants a hired teen! I have started a trend!
Steve returned to me yesterday. I feel much better now.

October 16, 2004
This newfangled blogging business is starting to get fun. Thanks to Ron Hogan, my site is listed on, and that led to a completely unexpected and charming email from author Lani Diane Rich. I am connected! I toil not alone in my room! Well, actually, I do. But even isolationists need acknowledgement and reinforcement from peers.

On a personal note, my husband, who has been out of town for three weeks, returns on Wednesday. That gives me 3.5 days to shave my legs, wax eyebrows, plan an outfit and cook something. I'm taking suggestions (about the clothes and food).

October 10, 2004
Steve has been in Dayton, Ohio (a swing state, but not, according to his reports, swinging) for two weeks. He'll stay there for another week and a half. He's starring as Ko-Ko in a production of Mikado. Why it takes a month to stage a show that he and the other principal players have done hundreds of times is beyond me, and I'm filled with the usual resentment. Despite the quality time with the kids and friends, the excellent progress I'm making on The Good Witch (hitting daily page counts handily), I'm just biding my time until I see Steve again. Love is the selfish/​​selfless reason. No wonder my characters--pursuers of love and sex foremost, and sometimes money--are fixated on their romantic lives. No wonder I write about it. Wish he were here. It's not much fun making belittling comments about G.W.B. to a 9-year-old.

October 7, 2004
Saw Wilco at Radio City Music Hall last night. I have to say, without fear of sounding like a teenybopper (and what's wrong with that anyway?), Jeff Tweedy could be my honey. Okay, not the most classically handsome man alive. But neither is Steve. Tweedy is just so deeply, inplacably COOL. His voice, his guitar, his cute little asides about how much he loves his wife, son and father. It's enough to make a 39-year old long for the days of rock posters on the ceiling over the bed.

October 4, 2004
I see that 6 people have looked at this site so far. At least half of them are members of my family. Thanks Mom and Dad! Writing into the void (if you write in the forest where no one can read it, is it still funny?) is freeing, like waving a flag in space. Today, my deceased husband Glenn would have been 38. He's been dead for four years. That brutal night was a couple of days before the last general election. I'll be voting against the same asshole this time. I'm still a mom, still a mother. Still a wife, as of six weeks ago. But the tone, color, texture of my life now looks nothing like it did in November 2000. I'm using a different emotional palette. It's brighter, amazingly, oddly. I'm sure Glenn is happy and relieved to hear that, if he has Internet access where ever he is now. Doubt it. Happy Birthday besides, Glenn. I'll think about you a lot today, like everyday. But more.

Sept. 19, 2004
Less than a month since the wedding. Stephen Quint willingly became my second husband on August 21, 2004. He's a gutsy bastard.

I'm working on an article for Self on Sexual Satisfaction and Bad Body Image. My editor wanted me to discuss my own personal history. I did an article for O about my hate-hate relationship with my fat belly a year ago. And now, I've become the go-to woman for "Love sex, hate my stomach" stories. How do these things happen??

The Girlfriend Curse, my new novel, comes out in March, and I'm supposed to think about promotion ideas now (including a website). I am ON IT. I am PROACTIVE. Hello, Pam Jaffee! I DO AS I'M TOLD! And DAMN PROUD OF IT!

Anyway, The Girlfriend Curse is another novel for women who have a dirty sense of humor. Uptight humorless prigs should stay away. One fan send me an email saying how funny my books are, how she "gets it." I send her back a note saying, "A lot of people don't seem to get it." She emailed back and told me not to worry. DONE.

November 30
I'm still waiting for someone to send me a dirty joke. If I get more than one, the better-joke sender will get a copy of this new sex book FOR FREE. Bill Lum, this means you! Come on, people. I'm quite positive that each and every reader of his website knows at least one dirty joke. And that, God help us, we can all use a few new sex ideas. So e-me. I'm begging here. There's a book on my shelf crying every night for a new, better home!

November 26
I write from Short Hills, NJ, piggybacking on someone named Zuck's wireless signal on my laptop. To Zuck: I give thanks. If you sign off before I'm done and I lose my signal, I still give thanks.

I wish to thank the turkey we ate yesterday afternoon. Also, last night. Also, this morning. Also, five minutes ago for lunch. You, turkey, gave your life so a hungry family in New Jersey could eat you, nibble and feast on you, for days. What a way to go.

I give thanks to my parents for hosting, yet again. Next year at my place. I swear!

I must express gratitude to my parents' four dogs, even though I am disgusted by their incessant drooling. My kids love them, and they are fun in the yard. Stupid, but fun. So thanks, and keep your slobbering jowls away from me.

Thanks can also go out to (argh, signal flickering: stay with me Zuck!) the birds on my dad's two giant feeders. Forget fish. Staring at birds and sipping hot cider: Instand recipe for relaxation.

Better go now, before Zuck pulls the plub. Happy Thanksgiving to all! And to all, a good night!

November 22
Sunday purchases:
1. mildew resistant shower curtain liner
2. drain cover for bathroom sink
3. plastic gizmo so toilet won't run
4. rechargeable phone battery
5. ingredients for 3 pumpkin pies

In terms of profound life-affirming satisfaction, replairing one's own toilet, without the assistance of a plumber, ranks up there with multiple orgasm. I am lord of the bathroom. I can fix my own john. Using my bare hands (which were washed with anti-bacterial soap afterward until raw).

On Saturday night, I went to the opera. I am not joking. Steve and I saw "I Vespri Siciliani" by Verdi at the Met. I didn't fall asleep, nor did I do the head-bobbing nod of someone on the verge of crashing. The best part: The last thirty seconds when the Sicilians rise up and massacre French soldiers at a wedding ceremony. It was the only action in the three hour opera. Prior to that, duets and trios, singers standing in the same spot, saying the same thing over and over again ("You are accursed," "I'll hate you until I die," "My grief is everlasting," etc.). This is the fifth opera Steve had taken me to. No happy endings, but the body counts sure add up.

November 18
We ARE giving it away. See book sweepstakes below.
In other news, Steve has returned from his second trip to Ohio this fall. He was in Dayton doing Mikado for a month, then home with a cold for a week, then back to Toledo doing Pirates of Penzance for a week. They love their Gilbert and Sullivan in Ohio. Who knew?
He's back in Brooklyn, and I am finally getting the attention I have sorely missed. I feel much better now, thanks for asking.
I've also cleared the decks on that article for More magazine on the sex lives of women in their 40s and 50s. Can't reveal too much ahead of publication. But let me dangle a couple of nugget: Sex in the 40s, according to the survey respondents, seems like a continuation of the 30s. Sex in the 50s? The wild card years. Even the most sexually inclined among us may be surprised by what our bodies do. Sex experts (I interviewed half a dozen for the article) always espouse that women in good health and decent shape can have a satisfying sex life (orgasms, etc.) into their nineties.
At 39 (I've got two months to go until 40, and I'm not rushing), I can't imagine being ninety, let alone, being ninety and having sex. Most people that age have their food served to them through a tube. But the experts insist, red hot and nineties sex is possible. Something to look forward to.

November 16
My sex guide with Shannon Mullen has finally arrived in bookstores. This one was a true labor of love (lust, whatever). Shannon is planning a pre-Valentine's Day party as Lotus to celebrate. Should be swell. Maybe she'll give out special naughty prizes. Actually, this seems like a good time to do a give away.
Step One: Go at and browse.
Step Two: Send me an email with your favorite dirty joke.
Step Three: I'll pick a winner, and send either a book, or a item of $15 or less. Okay, okay, make that $16.
Contest ends Dec. 1st.

December 9
I have been lax about updating the blog. My top five excuses:
1. Lucy's 6th birthday party.
2. Shopping for gifts at Target.
3. Holiday concerts at school.
4. The Good Witch's looming deadline.
5. Laser hair removal appointments.

As you can see, my excuses aren't any good. But they're all I've got. I've also been busy attempting a bit of matchmaking, but since neither of the parties involved has informed me about what's going on (if anything), I can't crow about my success (or cower in failure). With matchmaking, perhaps it's best to aid in the phone number exchange, and then bow away gracefully.

Steve has been practicing the French horn everyday for his three-week orchestra gig in January. I tell you, I tremble at the sight of him with a shiny piece of brass to his lips. And what amazing sounds he gets out of his instrument. The tones, the sighs. He makes love to it, and it loves him back. I am not jealous. Not one bit. Althougth the horn and I both have moving parts and its curves are more streamline than mine of late, only I can cook breakfast. Take that, Frenchie.

December 13
Big night for the Frankel-Rosenberg-Quints. On this very night, for the first time ever, I have a date with Jon Stewart. A real, intimate, date with Jon, and the rest of the studio audience at a taping of the Daily Show. My pal Daryl Chen, a fellow Stewartophile, got the tickets many months ago, and the long-awaited evening has finally arrived. Hurray!

Maggie, my 9-year-old, along with the rest of the 4th grade at her school, has been invited to a screening of the Lemony Snickett movie, which I was looking forward to seeing. But, Jon Stewart means more to me than Jim Carrey, so Steve is taking Maggie to the screening.
I will report in with reviews of both events tomorrow.

Steve and I used the last of our wedding gifts Saturday night. We'd been given a dinner at 11 Madison Park by Bill and Lynn and have now consumed and digested their lovely gift, thanks. We got a corner table (me: "What about that table over there? Can't we sit there? Please, please, please???"; my father would have slipped the maitre d' a twenty, but since I have breasts, I didn't have to). The food was floating-on-a-cloud yummy. After taking one bite of root vegetable fricasse with goat cheese and caviar, I cried. I had an emotional reaction to a mouthful of food. Steve told me to get a grip on myself. Oh, how I tried. But I continued to salting my plate with tears for a couple mintues. Briefly, I feared that I was coming unhinged. Then again, spontaneous bursts for no apparent reason, in completely inappropriate settings, are among life's unexpected joys. Anyway, no one noticed, so I dabbed with a napkin and ate on.

December 15
Last day of Hanukkah. We've forgotten to do the candles for the past three nights, so we're going to light up everything we've got, burn through the remained until nothing is left but the pool of wax on the mantle. Something wonderfully satisfying about scraping up errant wax with a butter knife.

Re: Jon Stewart. I'm sorry, Jon. But our love affair has to end. I'm breaking up with you. That's right. It's over. I came to see you on Monday night, all hot and, you know, excited. I waited in the cold for you, Jon, ticket in hand, and you sent out some "theater manager" to announce that the last 20 people on line wouldn't get seats. The trailer losers would have to send an email to get tickets for some other night in late January. Well, if that's what I mean to you, Jon, if you can wait until late January for an audience with me (or me in your audience), FINE. Fine. I can wait. But don't think this means I still love you. I hate you! I hate you and your theater manager!

Seriously, Daryl Chen, her sister Wendy and friend Janet waited an hour on line—FOR NOTHING. And Wendy is from far, far away Boston. I watched the show on TV that night. Kevin Spacey, uninspired. A subpar show. A waste of time.

A lie. The Daily Show was as hilarious as ever (damn you, Jon). But we do what we can to live with our disappointments.

Steve reports that the Lemony Snickett movie rated a B-/​C+. The kids in the audience seemed to like it. And the cast was there. Not Jim Carrey, but Meryl Street and John Cleese showed up. Maggie was crowing about standing in the same "air space" with the actor who plays Klaus Baudelaire. Steve predicts a good first weekend, but no repeaters.

In other news, I interviewed Dr. Ruth Westheimer today for a Glamour article. It's a Q & A round-up of sexperts. I asked Dr. Ruth why so few women examined their own parts. She said the word "genitalia" about fifteen times in her polyglot European accent. I laughed. Couldn't help it. Sari Locker was very sweet on the phone, especially when she said "nipple" and then apologized for crassness. The article is for Glamour's April issue. Stay tuned.

December 30
Again, so sorry to have been lax. Holidays, etc.
I want to give a shout-out to Anna, my 13-year-old niece, one of the four people (hi, Mom, Dad, and Daryl Chen) who reads this site. In fact, Anna told me over Xmas in Vermont that she visits every day to make sure I get at least one hit. Is that love—OR WHAT? Anna, besides looking at this site, is soon to be the singing sensation of Sea Cliff, Long Island, as the star of the North Shore Middle School's production of Once Upon a Mattress. No, she doesn't play the mattress. She's the Princess. I've seen her already as Orphan #3 in Annie, and as the Irish mother in The Music Man. This is one talented kid, and I promise (threaten?) to be in the front row at OUAM whooping.

In other news, my sex book with the lovely and talented sexwares seller Shannon Mullen is doing brisk business at If one browsed for any and all sex advice manuals for women, The Best You'll Ever Have is ranked in the number three position, right after a book about anal sex, and one of Lou Paget's books. I have interviewed Lou Paget a couple times for magazine articles and she gets the Frankel Seal of Approval for her sense of humor and candor. She also called me once to tell me she liked something I wrote in Oprah that has nothing whatsoever to do with sex. Incidentally, I'm beginning to research an article for Parenting about spanking. I said to my editor, "Even the pieces I write that have nothing to do with sex sound raunchy." Anyway, I am in need of parents who spank to interview and quote in the article. Anyone? Anyone?

Just finished The Plot Against America. Closed it, thinking, it could never happen in 2005. But I suppose the point is to wonder.

Lucy is demanding food, must go. Why must these children eat EVERY SINGLE MORNING? And AFTERNOON? And NIGHT? For bloody sake. School vacations force me to become a short order cook.

For Your Amusement

Four women who'd otherwise have nothing to do with each other, join for a bogus 'Diversity Committee" school meeting, and wind up playing poker. Instead of playing for money, they play for secrets. Before long, these four women know EVERYTHING about each other's lives, and strong—not always smooth—friendships are formed. "Instantly addicting," RT Book Reviews. "Engrossing!"—Publishers Weekly. "Friggin' awesome!"—Snooki (she does say that a lot Not about this book, but WHATEVER)
Book #4 in the Fringe Girl series
Book #3 in the Fringe Girl series
Adora Benet is back. In the second of the series, true love doesn't runs smooth for Dora and Noel. Hurdles: a seductive substitute teacher, jealousy, a hot college boy.
A bride, a groom, her mother, and his father. Sex, kidnapping, wedding cake and a cabana with a towel warmer. Who could ask for anything more?
Adora Benet is on the fringe until she leads a revolution that turns her school's social hierarchy upside down.
Emma Hutch has the sexth sense. She sees naked people. Not that she minds...
"Wickedly entertaining."—People "Draws laughs."—EW First chapter, reviews, reading group questions
Three sisters, as many romantic plights
Stacy has a week to get laid or she becomes a virgin again. CAN SHE DO IT?
Smart sister, pretty sister, a murder mystery, a few hot guys, lots of caffeinated humor, and recipes
NEW!! CLICK FOR READERS GROUP GUIDE (Subversive Version) and AUTHOR Q&A Chronicle of my efforts to "get the hate out." Warning: If you love snobby neighbors, NYT bestselling debut novelists, loud cell phone talkers, social butterflies, scary doctors, bratty kids on airplanes, this memoir will OFFEND YOU with its OBNOXIOUS DENUNCIATIONS AND CONSTANT CURSING. Don't say I didn't warn you. "Refreshing! Entertaining! Funny! Warm!"—PW "Hilarious! Helpful, hard-won insight!"—Kirkus
The story of my life as a diet addict, and how I eventually overcame my compulsion to count carbs. People magazine: "Funny! Satisfying!" Kirkus: "Witty! Candid!"
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