1. A producer who found the blog contacted me. The show was doing a makeover segment for women who’d recently gotten back into the dating game. The entire show would be about dating.
2. After multiple email exchanges I determined it wasn’t for me. I knew I wasn’t a “fashion don’t” and they couldn’t guarantee the blog would be mentioned—the only reason I’d consider appearing. I respectfully declined.
3. I was contacted again and told the blog would be mentioned and the show wasn’t about fashion disasters, but women who wanted to modify their dating wardrobe. I agreed to appear with my fashion addition being color since I always wore black on dates (see blog post “The Uniform”).
4. I went to the “People Magazine” office and worked with the style editor (who appeared on the show) and a stylist. A colorful dress was selected and the “Katie” production assistant who met me at “People” stated that the dress was mine to keep. I was told there would be three of us appearing on the segment.
5. The morning of the taping I arrived (by car, courtesy of the show) in my “uniform” of all black for the “before” photos. I was told makeup wasn’t necessary for those pics. You bet your ass I wore makeup.
6. The stylist arrived with our clothing and after a wonderful hair and makeup experience (those ladies were fantastic) we dressed quickly then had a lengthy wait in the Green Room. Lori Zaslow from “Love Broker” was another guest and she waited, too. I loved her show and shared how much I enjoyed watching. She was incredibly nice and truly authentic.
7. Finally it was time for our segment. The all-male audience made me a little nervous. The three of us waited just off camera and I expected our introduction to be about our decision to modify our wardrobe with things we wouldn’t normally wear.
8. Imagine my shock when Katie Couric talked about our concern over a lack of dates because our clothing was “man-repelling.” I turned to the woman who would appear after me and said, “Who knew we were such fucking losers?” The first woman took the stage as I tried to figure out what to do. I was next. I felt mortified and frozen but decided that I was there for a reason and my goddamn blog would be mentioned!
9. I took a deep breath and waited for the introduction. My “before” photos in all black appeared and Ms. Couric and the style editor gave their evaluation. Katie said, “Looks a little like catwoman,” which was like a punch in the stomach. It’s bad enough that we were introduced as a group of women unable to get dates, but that statement was personal.
10. I was mean-girled by Katie Couric.
11. I walked on stage; she mentioned that I was online dating. She stated that online dating was hard and I agreed. Then I turned to the audience of men and said, “What’s up with you guys?” They laughed. Katie added that I blogged about my dating experiences. She didn’t say the name of the blog, so I did, then answered a couple of questions and my segment was over.
12. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough but as I rushed off the stage, Lori Zaslow came up to me and said, “You owned (or rocked, can’t remember) that stage. I knew I’d made the best of an awful situation and that was some consolation. I also had a great dress (DVF) for my trouble.
13. I quickly grabbed my stuff to leave. The stylist from “People Magazine” hurried over and asked me to change out of the dress, as she had to return it to the store that loaned it to her. I said we were told we would be keeping the clothes. She apologized for the misunderstanding.
14. As I waited outside the studio for my car to take me home, a man approached. He mentioned that I was back in all black. Yep, I had my uniform on since I had to return the dress. He said he was in the audience and had waited outside for me. He wondered if I would like to go out. I guess he figured I must be desperate given my man-repelling clothes that were catwoman-ish. I’m not sure what I said as I jumped in the car and slammed the door.
15. The producer said I’d get an email message letting me know when the show would air. After several months I was relieved to see it hadn’t and hoped it never would. Ten months after it taped, my daughter’s friend who lives in Philly, sent a text letting me know it was on. The show did not notify me. No surprise. I watched from the link on the website since it had already aired in NYC. I relived the experience and was embarrassed all over again. I was also incredibly disappointed to see the portions where I gave the name of the blog, and had my audience interaction, were cut.
I’ve always respected Katie Couric and identified with her in several ways. She lost her husband whom she loved very much—so did I. She raised her two daughters alone—me too. Her husband died of cancer as did mine. I also admired how hard she’d worked to be taken seriously.
What she said during the show was disheartening and beneath her. I was a guest and deserved to be treated with respect. Perhaps she was trying to be funny, but it was at my expense. On a level playing field I can roll around in the mud of insult slinging with the best of ‘em. Ask any woman who’s ever mean-girled me. I’m not one to start, but my retorts will make even the most vicious chick gasp. Obviously, National TV was not the place for my comebacks even if I could’ve gotten beyond the shock and mustered up a few zingers.
Several months after the “Katie” taping I was contacted by a producer from “The Steve Harvey Show” and was understandably gun-shy. It was the opposite of my first daytime talk show experience. The entire “Steve Harvey” team was amazing and he was wonderful. Whew.
Over a year ago, I was halfway through 1yearofonlinedatingat50.com and was approached by a television production team about the possibility of shooting a pilot for a reality show based on the blog. I contemplated their offer and decided it wasn’t for me. Not the reality show, but the premise: my online dating life. I knew it would end up being one bad date after another and I’d become nothing more than a bitch. I didn’t want to be cruel for the cameras and had no desire to humiliate the men I dated (for the world to see). Sure, I was tough on them in the blog, but they were anonymous. I changed names, neighborhoods, children, etc. to guarantee they wouldn’t be identifiable. The public shaming of anyone is not something I’d enjoy.
After my experience, I’ve surmised, Ms. Couric and I don’t have as much in common as I once believed.
“At least for me personally, I’ve always tried to do a really good job every day, with each interview, and treat each interview seriously, and make the person I’m speaking with feel comfortable, hopefully make it an ideal experience.” Katie Couric