As simply Lisa G., Lisa Glasberg made a name for herself as a regular on The Howard Stern Show and as a member of the news team at SiriusXM. In “Sex, Lies & Cookies,” Glasberg speaks candidly about her rise to the top (and throws in 25+ cookie recipes). Here’s an excerpt.
I’ve had my heart crushed a few times. There’s nothing like a man to reduce a strong woman to tears. But when I found true love—the kind of love that really breaks your heart—it wasn’t in a relationship. It was in a job. That love was for real, and I cried when it was over the way I had never cried over a man.
I’ve wanted to be on the radio ever since I was old enough to turn the dial. I would lie in bed at night listening to the crackling voices floating out of the AM radio, dreaming of adding my voice to theirs—to have someone listen to me with the same kind of interest.
Maybe it’s because I’m a middle child. We’re attention seekers by nature. None of us believes we received as much notice as our older and younger siblings. Scratch a middle child and you’ll find a well of insecurity. And I am pretty much a textbook example. I recently read there’s even a psychiatric disorder called “Middle Child syndrome” that can actually result in psychotic behavior.
Just to answer two obvious questions you may now have:
1. No, I’m not psychotic.
2. Yes, I’ve checked with a professional.
Now you may wonder, why the radio? Why not move to Hollywood, like so many other wannabe starlets? First of all, I never had the kind of confidence in my own skin that I think most performers have. Not to mention, this was my idea of fashion:
That’s right, my favorite outfit for many of my formative years was a very large pair of denim overalls. I wore them to death.
If I’d really wanted to be an actress, I suppose a good stylist could have addressed my fashion ineptitude. But showing myself off on-screen wasn’t my interest. My three shining seasons performing with the Hewlett, Long Island, high school musicals were spent playing violin in the orchestra pit. I didn’t want to be seen—that was my perfect older sister’s job (she was always the Marsha Brady to my Jan). No, I wanted to be heard. My voice—as Long Island Jewish as you could get—would be my fortune.
The nice thing about having people love you for your voice is that you don’t have to be anywhere near them while they’re listening to you. You can be far, far away. And that’s how I liked it. Unfortunately, I carried that fear of intimacy into my personal life. I loved men, and I loved sex with men, but that whole relationship give-and-take thing? I wasn’t such a fan of that. My idea of a giving relationship with a man was to bake him cookies and take them over to his apartment while wearing a fur coat and nothing underneath. And that’s not giving—that’s giving it away.
I made a lot of cookies during my days of romantic flailing around. And I had a lot of boyfriends, but none of them stuck. It took me a long time to figure out why: I’d spent my childhood compromising my wishes and feeling like I always came last. So as an adult I’d gone to the opposite extreme. To be happy, I thought that I had to come first, and I had to be heard all the time. Over time, I became so focused on being heard that I really didn’t know how to listen.
My relationships suffered as a result, but hey, work was great! And that’s nothing to sniff at. Men get rewarded for going after their careers single-mindedly. And if they get married at age forty-eight, and their wife happens to be fifteen years younger (so she’s conveniently still well within her baby-making years), no one even raises an eyebrow. But if a woman spends decades on her career, doesn’t get married, doesn’t have kids . . . well, I don’t need to tell you the kind of reaction that gets.
But I never felt like I’d missed out by following a less traditional route. I had a different dream, and I put my heart into achieving it. Then one day I realized that my dream had come true, but I needed something else—something more. And that something wasn’t going to come from a guy or a job or anything else that I could chase or scratch off a list. That something had to come from inside of me—a place that I had been ignoring while I was so busy grasping for the brass ring in front of me.
Some people are born knowing the secret to happiness. The rest of us take a little longer, and we do a lot of living on our way to figuring things out. Call us the late bloomers. And this book is for us. We don’t necessarily operate on the usual schedule or follow anyone else’s tried-and-true formula. But what’s the big hurry, anyway? Why is everyone in such a rush? If you have life all figured out by age twenty . . . or thirty . . . or even forty, what are you going to spend the rest of your life doing—knitting? Watching TV? Personally, I think trial and error is a lot more interesting than knowing how your life is going to look before you’ve even lived it yet. Some of the best cookie recipes I’ve ever invented were the result of a few massive failures on the way to figuring out the right formula. We late bloomers are like that. And we’re worth the wait—and the trial and error. Because once we hit on that magic combination of ingredients, we’re delicious.
This is an excerpt from SEX, LIES & COOKIES by Lisa Glasberg. Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Glasberg. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.