Excerpt: 'The Ropes'

After 24 years of playing the perfect Hollywood housewife for comedian and filmmaker David Steinberg, Judy Steinberg was dumped for a 40ish casting agent who wrote the book "Surviving My Boyfriend's Divorce." Surviving that book, finding a new career and re-entering the dating scene at 60 inspired Judy Steinberg to pair with author and radio personality Rachel Donahue to write "The Ropes: Girls Have the Rules, Women Know the Ropes."

The book is full of woman-to-woman advice about staying youthful, fit and dynamic. Donahue and Steinberg touch on everything from wardrobe makeover and workouts to important questions to ask your doctor before considering plastic surgery. There is also a complete guide to dating younger men.

You can read an excerpt from "The Ropes: Girls Have the Rules, Women Know the Ropes" below.

Introduction

Even as a young woman, I dreaded growing older with every year. I spent my thirtieth birthday (and every subsequent natal celebration that ended in a zero) alone in bed with the covers over my head and the drapes drawn. It's not that I'm shallow, but living the high life in Hollywood's celebrity society is a constant Iron Woman race against Time, with glamour nipping at your heels like a pit bull with a taste for Stuart Weitzman mules. Being pretty -- or even beautiful -- could never be good enough. One had to be on the cutting edge of fashion, have an encyclopedic knowledge of who was who, who was hot and, most importantly, who was on the way out.

It was stressful in a superficial sort of way, but I thrived on it because I had perfected being the celebrity wife. My clothes were outstanding yet not overstated; my dinners were well thought out and flawlessly executed, whether for two or twenty. Believe me, it's work to keep a dinner conversation going among twelve people who only want to talk about themselves.

I don't want to sound bitter, because we had some good times along the way, but there were other times I sat in the bathtub for hours, running more and more water, not to create more foam with the Giorgio bath gel, but trying to drown my unhappiness. I think the pain was sharpest when I realized that what I was feeling was loneliness. And that was when I was still married to my husband, David Steinberg, before he dumped me for a fortyish casting agent who wrote a book called "How I Survived My Boyfriend's Divorce." After that, my life became about surviving my husband's girlfriend's book and learning to live life on the skids of sidelined celebrity. I was dropped like a hot potato by all except a few old friends who were amazed that it lasted twenty-four years.

Then came the drama of entering the singles scene later in life. What a cruel awakening! It was not the scene I had left behind at thirty. I felt like a fish out of water, flopping about and gasping for oxygen. It was not an experience for the faint of heart.

One bleak afternoon as I wallowed in the deep, dark abyss of menopause, I caught Cybill Shepherd on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" discussing her menopausal experience. She said something I found quite inspiring that changed my whole outlook (with a little help from hormone replacement). She said that any woman over fifty who has a body part that still looks good should be flaunting it every day. Her attitude made such an impression on me! She seemed so free and unencumbered, so alluring and sexy -- what a dynamic presentation!

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