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During that particular time, after college, men and women sometimes found it difficult to find each other.The same was true for those who did not go to college in the first place.Such a rule did not hold in my time, at least not among the people I knew. The only women any of us ever saw were women that were dating our friends.If it were not permissible to date them in our turn, we would have had no one to date.

There was need for an organized way for young couples to meet for the first time. Way, way back in frontier days, men in the wilderness advertised in Eastern newspapers for a bride.

The advertisements in The Village Voice were different than those in the various Jewish newspapers and different, also, from those in the New York Magazine.

Someone answering ads in one place might be replying to an invitation to engage in some sort of sex. Others were directed at more sober individuals who were thinking of getting married somewhere down the line.

These precautions seemed less important after the first few times a woman responded to these published invitations to meet.

It turned out the men they were introduced to this way were no more or less dangerous than men encountered for the first time in a bar, or even men whom they met through the recommendation of a friend. (A somewhat older, recently divorced, woman told me she was sitting with her date at a fancy restaurant when he took out his teeth and put them in a wine glass.) Being pro-active, as I usually am, I encouraged men and women, too, to try dating this way, although, certainly, only after taking reasonable precautions.

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Answering advertisements was not yet entirely respectable, but I knew of some doctors and lawyers who married someone they met under these circumstances, (including a friend, who was a psychiatrist.

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  1. Just days before he died, he sat up in bed, finally awake after a morning of napping. Should I tell him it was actually a great place to raise kids? I still cried in the shower most mornings and clutched my chest at night when I wrote about our life together. “Maybe he is here,” she said, “and maybe he’s happy that you’re happy.” I thought about that for a moment. What did it even mean to be happy after Shawn’s death?