Learning to laugh off heartbreak
BY TARA SMITH
We’ve all been there. The “it’s not you, it’s me,” or “we need to talk.” Or maybe you’ve been dumped via text. Regardless of the how and why, breaking up is never fun.
Your friends remind you not to take it personally, that the right person is out there. Despite their pep talks, breakups and failed relationships can leave you feeling low. No stranger to navigating the aftermath of heartbreak, Kim Interdonato, 45, of East Patchogue has just published a book on dating.
It’s not a how-to or a self-help book, but a whimsical read that compares shoes to men from her past. “I’m the furthest thing from a writer,” Interdonato admitted ahead of a recent book signing at Stella Trattoria & Bar in Blue Point. “I was driving out east one day, just feeling sorry for myself after some bad dating experiences. The only common thing in the equation of all these breakups was me.”
This summer proved to be a time of healing and self-reflection for Interdonato, who grabbed her laptop and typed for hours in coffee shops, East End restaurants and overlooking the water. If she didn’t have her laptop in tow, she would jot down notes on scraps of paper or napkins. “I was cracking myself up while writing; it was very therapeutic,” she recalled. “Sitting around and feeling bad for myself wasn’t cutting it anymore.”
The first-time author wrote nonstop for six weeks and even self-illustrated the 42 pages. Those musings eventually became “Shoes Are Like Men,” a short, hysterical read published last fall by MindStir Media.
The idea to compare dating to trying on shoes sprung from a conversation Interdonato had with a close friend, Rose. While lamenting over dating woes, Rose offered some insight. “[Rose] told me to think of dating like trying on shoes. When it doesn’t fit, you don’t buy the shoe,” she said.
Interdonato’s love for shoes runs deep. “I was always a plain Jane,” she admitted, explaining that she has struggled with self-image in the past. “But I have great legs,” she said, attributing them to her 25-plus years as an ice skating instructor. “So shoes are a way for me to boost my self-esteem.”
In the book, Interdonato matches up various types of shoes to past dates. Ice skates, however, were purposely left out. “I wanted the book to be relatable for all women,” she said. If she were to compare a suitor to a skate, Interdonato said that he would be a well-balanced guy. “[The skates] are really comfortable, and you have to be able to balance,” she said.
There was a time she struck that balance with a fellow ice skater. The two were married for several years, and have a son, Luke, 8. Since divorcing her ex-husband, Interdonato has been on her fair share of dates, while adding shoes to her closet.
A few shoe similes she makes in her book are the hot shoe, the painful shoe, and the shoes you buy online. The shoes you buy online allude to online dating, a fad Interdonato explained is not for her.
“I am really sensitive, so it was a self esteem killer for me,” she said. “It works for a lot of people, but I went into it thinking negatively,” she added. “When you have a negative attitude going into something, you’re never going to have positive results.”
Positive thinking jump-started her journey into writing “Shoes Are Like Men.” It’s also the key to finding a partner who correlates to the shoe described as “the perfect fit.” Aside from offering a few laughs, Interdonato hopes other women can take away some lessons after reading it.
“We all look at dating differently. It’s something that should be really fun, but it’s also heartbreaking,” she said of the universal experience. “It’s nice to read something that you can relate to, knowing others have felt that way, too.”
The process of writing the book, she explained, has also been a time to confront her own weaknesses. Looking back on her dating history involved a fair amount of self-pity, but a degree of self-actualization as well. “I wasn’t always the greatest girlfriend or person to date,” she said, acknowledging that she hasn’t always been honest or loyal, or the most timely in calling dates back. “It’s hard to admit that you’re not perfect, especially in a relationship,” she said. “I hope that along the way, my next relationship will be a little more perfect and a little more honest.”
According to Interdonato, her last few relationships have been better, but in the end the timing was off. Those relationships are compared to in the book as the shoe that doesn’t accessorize with your outfit.
“So you can change your outfit,” she said, noting that timing is everything.
The first-time author is already thinking of topics for her second book. “I’m not trying to win a Pulitzer,” she joked. “But I want to send the message that we all go through this. That makes it hurt a little less.”
Though Interdonato has not yet found her perfect fit, she hinted at a new, but steady relationship. “I can’t say that he is or isn’t [the perfect fit.] Only time will tell,” she said. “But I’m happy. I have my own life and my own home. If someone comes along and wants to share and enjoy those things with me, then that’s great.”
In the meantime, she has been focusing on herself and raising Luke. “He has my sense of humor, thankfully,” she said. “He’s my favorite date.”
Kim Interdonato will be hosting another book signing on Saturday Feb. 25 at Toast in Huntington from 2-4 p.m.
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