Fearlessly funny

Marilyn debuts on our website Tuesday, July 23!

If you’ve not yet heard about WHOA! Network, you will. Co-founded by two FOF dynamos, Lynn Forbes and Darryle Pollack, WHOA! is the acronym for Women Honoring Our Age. Each wonderful video on the network is produced on the premise that “women should be seen and heard at every age and valued more as we get older, not less.” The videos shine the spotlight on us, the most accomplished, daring, smart, funny, opinionated generation of women in the history of the world.

WHOA! and FabOverFifty are joining forces to introduce a really funny lady, Marilyn Kentz, who will be doing an exclusive video series for us, starting Tuesday, July 23.  Here’s a sneak peek video of Marilyn’s comedy standup performance, followed by a lively conversation we recently had with her. (Wait till you read about her marriages.)

Where did you grow up?
I grew up as a young catholic in Santa Rosa, a little town in Northern California, about 50 miles north of San Francisco. I denounced my religion when I got to be a teenager and started doing acid.

How old are you?
I’m 65.

What did your folks do?
My dad was a referee for basketball and football. My mom was a homemaker.

When did you get married?
I got married to Larry when I was 18, just out of high school. When I was 28, I met and fell in love with my current husband, Richard. He was also married and we had an affair for a while, but I told Larry all about it. It was a free love era and Larry said it was ok. Larry was a firefighter and he was gone every other night for three days at a time, so I’d stay with Richard. I asked both Larry and Richard to have vasectomies, kind of like the buddy plan. Although I’m a female, I still have balls.

Why did Larry go along with it?
We had gotten married so young, we were outgrowing each other. Fighting was not our thing. We were pushing 30 and becoming different people. We were growing up and growing apart. It was just easier for Larry to ignore. On Independence Day, I woke up and I asked Larry, ‘Have you ever thought of separating?’ and he said ‘Yeah. Have you?’ And I said ‘Yeah, Do you want to do it?’ and he said, ‘Sure, let’s do that.’ We then made love and that was the end. I just moved on. Richard and I married two years later, the same day Larry remarried. We called each other from our receptions. We also went together to get our divorces.

Marilyn and her soon-to-be-married daughter, Marcy.
“Marcy thinks it’s her wedding,” Marilyn jokes.

I had Aaron with Larry. He’s now 39. I never asked Larry for any kind of child support. I left him and took my child with me. He shouldn’t have to pay for that. It was another version of getting divorced.

Richard had a girl and a boy, who are now almost 43 and 40. I got two wonderful, darling step kids. They lived with us since their mom was in the army, learning to be a nurse. Then I wanted another baby and asked Richard to have his vasectomy reversed and he did.

We had a little girl, now 27, who is getting married in September.

Were you working?
I was an illustrator [self taught] and I did illustrations for Richard, who was working in real estate and writing a book to help people sell their own homes. When we started living together, I worked for a foreign exchange student program for 10 years.

Tell us about your career in entertaining?
When I was about 10, I accidentally got the role as an extra in the old movie Pollyanna. I went to an audition with a girlfriend, Mary, and her babysitter, for the heck of it. They didn’t take Mary; they took me instead. I thought I was such a hot shot when I was 10. But when my mother and I went to see the movie’s first release I discovered I wound up on the cutting room floor.

When I was pregnant with my fourth child, we moved to Petaluma. At the time, I was teaching drama at a private school. We did Gone with the Petaluma Wind with kindergarteners to sixth graders. Moms did the choreography and other things. My husband and I wrote the play. I always had entertainment in my blood.

Petaluma is a dairy and egg Parade, a small cow town. A very funny woman named Caryl lived across the street from us. Along with a third woman, we created Comedy Camp for Mommies, a comedy show for women who didn’t want sex more than once a month. We played the Petaluma Women’s Club and there was standing room only for our very first show. Within two years, we were playing in comedy clubs all over the Bay area, San Francisco to Sacramento. We had a gig almost every night. I was 40.

How did this lead to the big time?
A manager approached Caryl and me in 1992 to play at a place called Club Soda at the Montreal Comedy Festival. Lily Tomlin was a host that year and Dave Chappelle was there. We didn’t understand that we were actually auditioning to get a TV pilot. So we did our thing and were a huge hit. We immediately got firm offers from NBC, CBS and ABC. We were so naïve, we chose NBC because ABC had Full House, which I thought was a stupid show. Caryl didn’t want CBS because she didn’t like Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. NBC had Cheers, which we both liked, so we chose NBC.

A promotional poster for the 1993 sitcom, “The Mommies,” with Marilyn and Caryl Kristensen

The show was called The Mommies and it was on Saturday nights for two years. Then we got an ABC talk show, called Caryl and Marilyn: Real Friends, for a year. The most exciting part was meeting Rosa Parks during Black History Month. My daughter’s whole 5th grade class came to the Green Room to ask Rosa questions. Then Barbara Walters wanted our time slot for The View. She was more powerful than we were, so we lost the show, even though the ratings were good.

Caryl went back to school after that. I co-wrote three books, including The Mother Lode, Not Your Mother’s Midlife: A 10-Step Guide to Fearless Aging and Fearless Women, Midlife Portraits, a photo essay of women over 40 who made a difference in the world. I’ve also made a living as a book ghostwriter. Right now, I’m doing a book with the fabulous Ann Lopez, who was married to George Lopez and gave him a kidney.

When I worked on Not Your Mother’s Midlife, I offered a 10-week course in Fearless Aging. About 12 women joined the group. The same women are still together 10 years later. It just worked. Today, we have three Fearless Aging women’s groups, two in LA and one in Santa Rosa. They’re support groups. When a women enters midlife there are certain distinctive challenges that come our way, such as empty nests, aging parents, and trying to find ourselves. We help one another through crises.

Now you’ve re-launched your comedy routines? How did that happen?
A year ago, I was asked to do a speech to a group of women about aging. I decided to use the interesting, little journal entries about aging that I’ve been writing all along. First, I practiced it on a group of women in a room in back of a restaurant, to get the timing and flow right. Over 50 women came, so I decided to do another, when over 100 women came. This is really catching on, I thought.

Then I work-shopped the routine all over Northern California and brought it to Southern California.

What’s the focus of your shows?
I talk about the changes and challenges that happened to us as young teenagers, when hormones started running the show, and how the same things are happening on the opposite side of the spectrum. Our bodies are changing. We have emotional challenges, some hormonally driven. I go over the changes and challenges that are universal, from middle age spread to some good things. I use pure honesty, plus humor, plus pathos.

How long are the shows?
45 minutes

So you book the space, promote them and sell the tickets?

What do you charge for the tickets?
$20. I don’t want to overcharge women.

How often are you doing your shows now?
I did about 30 shows in the last year. A couple of women have come five times. Now I’m taking a break because I have my daughter’s wedding to produce in September. I say ‘Move over, Martha.’ I’m doing things that Martha Stewart has never even thought of.

-3Such as?
I’m making 10-foot long runners, made out of vintage silk and cotton crocheted doilies, for 20-foot long picnic tables. I’m gluing them together in patterns. I’m also making paper magnolias, which will go on either side of the stage.

What’s been your biggest challenges since entering your mid 50s?
The aches and pains that have come along. But I’m a happy person (‘I’ve been on Prozac for 10 years’) and I love to drink at night. The minute I turned 60 I got arthritis. You can’t bend over without making some kind of noise. I’m also making the same kind of sigh that my mother used to make, but I never understood what it was then.

Are you a grandmother?
I have one little grandbaby but in a certain way I’m kind of a bad grandma. They call me and make me talk to two-year-old Amelia on the phone, but she doesn’t even speak yet. They say, ‘Say hi to Amelia’ but I don’t want to be foolish. Amelia is a mama’s baby. We babysat one evening when she was about six months old, and she cried the whole time and would not take a bottle. At one point, I said: ‘If you’re not going to drink, Noni is going to drink’ and I took the vodka.

Now you know why we’re so excited about the comedy of Marilyn Kentz. Don’t miss the debut of Marilyn on WHOA! Network and FabOverFifty next week! 

Who Should Date Stan?!

Eligible bachelor Stan Frantz, FOF’s 59-year-old email programmer, is looking for love. So this February, we posted Stan’s bio and invited you to tell us why you’d like to date him. Over 40 fab FOF women wrote us to say they’d love to date Stan. After much (fun) debate, we’ve narrowed it down to the three lovely FOfinalists, below. Now, it’s up to you: Vote for who you think is the best match for Stan! (Click here to see his dating profile, if you need a reminder.) We’ll send the winner and our bachelor out on a romantic date. Help us make a love connection!


Bachelorette #1: Laura Wilson
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Age: Over 50
Profession: Nursing Coordinator

From her note to Stan:
“I am a true Southern girl. Now that my children are grown, I want to find my soulmate if possible. I love nature and all creatures, great and small, furry and feathered. I have an almost childlike natural curiosity and love to marvel at the beauty in the world. My own dream, if I had a man (wouldn’t be much fun to do alone), is to have a very small farm with a few pet farm animals and a nice sustainable garden with both veggies and flowers. I also love to paint, so would be painting along with canning on my little farm. The place you have created for yourself is not too far off from mine.”

What’s your favorite thing about Stan?
“I like that he has a good sense of humor, laughing is fun! He also has a nice open face, too, and I appreciate a man who can fix things!”


Bachelorette #2: Elisa
Location: Portland, Oregon
Age: 59
Profession: Retired Teacher (“everything from Pre-K to High School!”)
Married once and divorced.

From her note to Stan:
“I am also looking for a life partner, and hopefully a soul mate. In the interim, I am living my dreams. Currently I am on a 5-week vacation in the Cook Islands, meeting people both local and international, making friends, learning and experiencing. I am a friendly person and make friends wherever I go. I am also financially secure but not materialistic. Experiences and laughter mean a great deal to me. I also have a passion for travel, and it sounds like we have much in common.”

What is it about Stan that attracted you most?
“I really like Stan’s smile!  It tells me that he is genuine, caring, vivacious and interested in life.  I am the same way. Additionally, I was surprised by how many mutual interests we have!”

What’s your idea of a great first date?
“Laughter!  And conversation.  A first date is about getting to know each other, yet it is not an interview. I would love to go somewhere quiet and romantic to talk–or walk and talk!


Bachelorette #3: Carolyn Diamond
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Age: 55
Profession: Makeup artist, medical aesthetician, public speaker and writer
Married once and divorced.

From her note to Stan:
“How refreshing. A man who is down-to-earth and appreciates the important things in life. Brains, handsome, and if he works for FOF he must know a woman’s heart. I’d love to throw my hat in the ring.

Tell us more about what you do.
I’m a makeup artist in the beauty, entertainment and media industries.  I also volunteer my time to help women facing breast cancer so they can look their best when it’s needed most. From experience I know, to look good is to feel good. And, as Coco Chanel said ‘All it takes is a new tube of lipstick to lift your spirits.’ This really does hold true.”

What’s your idea of a great first date?
“One that has laughter and a sense of comfort.  I’m down to earth and not one for flash. Not to say I don’t appreciate the finer things in life. I just have a greater appreciation for integrity, honesty, intelligence, kindness, and a great sense of humor.”


Who is the best match for Stan?

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{Poll} Cougar couples… delightful or doomed?

Cougar, Mrs. Robinson, Cradle Robber … the nicknames may make you laugh, but FOFs dating younger men is a serious trend. A 2003 study by AARP revealed that 34 percent of women over 40 were dating younger men, and 35 percent preferred it to dating older men. “This generation of over-50 women has more energy. They want to go out, travel, exercise and have fabulous careers,” says FOF dating coach Cheryl Savage. “Men in their 30s and 40s are a better match for their energy.”  Read about 4 FOF celebs and their significantly younger beaus. Then, share what you think: Are “cougar” romances delightful. . . .or doomed?

Was Lance Armstrong FOF Sheryl Crow’s favorite mistake? Maybe… and more likely, her youngest. Sheryl is nine years Lance’s senior. The Grammy-award winning singer and the pro-cyclist met at a charity event in 2003 and fell fast for each other. “I’ve never had anybody be so completely positive that I’m the person that they want to be with,” said Sheryl in an interview with ABC News.  “I can be myself with Sheryl, she can be herself with me, so we relieve each other of pressure.” Lance told Oprah in 2005. But, ultimately it was pressure that tore them apart. That same year, the two were engaged and shortly after broke it off. It was just two weeks before Sheryl’s 44th birthday. “She wanted marriage, she wanted children; and not that I didn’t want that, but I didn’t want that at that time because I had just gotten out of a marriage, I’d just had kids,” Armstrong, reveals in his biography Lance. “Yet we’re up against her biological clock — that pressure is what cracked it.”

Cheryl says: “A lot of time when a woman gets to that age, it puts pressure on the relationship. Lance had been married and had children, Sheryl hadn’t. That is a discussion that needs to happen up front because it could break a relationship. I’m not talking the first, second or third date, but early on in the relationship that conversation needs to happen.”

FOF newscaster Katie Couric made news when she began dating a man 17 years her junior. “I was reading the New York Times and I look up and there are six paparazzi,” she says in a People magazine article. “All I could think was, Where is Britney Spears?” The paparazzi were actually snapping shots of Katie, 54, and her boyfriend, Brooks Perlin, the 37-year-old CFO of Eco Supply Center on a recent trip to Florida. The two met at a fundraising event in 2006, according to People, but Katie has only spoken about the relationship recently. “I thought he was really cute,” says Katie of their meeting. “He asked me if I wanted to have dinner sometime, and I liked that it was so direct and natural.” She confessed that she considered canceling the date when she found out his age. “I knew he was younger but I didn’t think he was that much younger!” Luckily, she didn’t back out…and the two have been together ever since. “I’ve been called all kinds of things. I’ve been ‘cougared,’ which was just obnoxious. But if its good enough for Demi right?” says Katie who takes the criticism in stride. “He’s incredibly kind, caring and sensitive,” she says of Brooks. “He challenges me in ways I wouldn’t be challenged otherwise.”

Cheryl says: “I’ve been in that situation. I was on a date with a man seventeen years younger and I started judging myself. I was like “Ohmigod, why am I here? I was seventeen when he was born.” I calmed myself down and asked myself the four questions I encourage all women to ask themselves when they are unsure on a date. Do I like him? Is he interesting? What can I learn about him? How do I feel when I’m with him?” I felt good, and I just let myself have a good time. Thank goodness Katie went out on the date with Brooks and didn’t judge herself. Katie says Brooks challenges her. I get the impression he challenges her physically as well. A younger love interest can push us to take better care of ourselves.

“I never thought I’d be the marrying type, really,” said New York socialite and Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell, who “once declared marriage a male institution that leaves women alone and unhappy,” according to The New York Times. But, even she got struck by cupid’s arrow. Candace met her hubby Charles Askegard, a principal dancer for the New York Ballet, at a $3,000-a-plate benefit in 2002. Candace was 43 and Charles was 33 at the time. “At first he seemed too young,” says Candace. “But then I looked into his eyes and it was like. ‘Whoa!'” The couple tied the knot just two months later, barefoot on the beach in Nantucket. ”It’s the end of an era, definitely,” said Candace’s longtime friend Jay McInerney. “Candace Bushnell gets married — it’s like Johnny Carson retiring.” Perhaps it was the end of an era, but for Candace and a whole generation of Sex and the City fans, it started a revelation — true love can strike at any age. “I waited for the right person, and I encourage other women to do the same,” says Candace. And to those who call her a “cougar”: “[It’s] a derogatory term used to make a woman feel uncomfortable because she’s not keeping up the status quo,” says Candace. “When have I kept up the status quo?”

Cheryl says: Candace found love because she went to the charity dinner with no expectations. Her mind wasn’t on finding a husband. She was also in tune enough with her emotions to realize that there was a connection between her and Charles. So many women don’t get dates because they are not paying attention to the men who are out there interested in them. I constantly teach women how to go to a function, get rid of all the judgment and be open. One woman asked me why her hands get sweaty when she talks to certain men. I said, “that’s chemistry!” If you are in a room and feel something, always, go towards that chemistry.

Married…with Children star Katey Segal has had far from traditional experiences with marriage and children. Three times married, the 57-year-old actress had multiple complications with fertility. During her second marriage, to musician Jack White, she was able to conceive two children but only after multiple miscarriages. Katey and Jack divorced in 2000, and four years later, Katey was introduced by a friend to her third and final hubby, director and producer Kurt Sutter. She was 50, he was 44. “He asked me if I would have coffee with him sometime, and I said yes, and then I was kind of out of touch,” said Katey in an interview with E! Online. “And then he called me like a couple months later and asked me to coffee, and we went and kind of never left each other after that.” The couple welcomed their daughter Esmé, born via surrogacy, in 2007. “My thing about having another child was, time’s-a-wasting!” said Katey in an interview with People Magazine. “I was unable to carry a child, so we were always looking at alternative approaches. Our surrogacy situation just fell into place really easily….I held Esmé, and Kurt cut the cord. It was a beautiful experience.”

Cheryl says: It sounds like Kurt pursued Katey, which is good. I always suggest to women that when you are asked out, go! It doesn’t matter if you think he is too old, too young, too short, too tall or has a hole in his jeans. When Katey met Kurt she was probably thinking “I don’t know, I was unsuccessful at marriage two times….” But, bless her, she finally gave him a chance. They probably had a conversation very early in the relationship that he wanted children and they had to figure out how to do it and they did. Again, with an older woman and younger man, that discussion about children should come up at some point early on.”

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Images via Zimbio { Sheryl / Katie / Candace / Katey }

Sources: ABC News / Oprah.com / DailyMail / New York Daily News / People / New York Post / New York Times / E! Online / People

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