Tom Romita

Writer. Director. Frustrated Human.

Tom has been successfully (not) writing “unscripted” television shows for almost twenty years.  From the romantic comedy of “Blind Date” and “Matched in Manhattan,” to the family drama of “Wife Swap” and “Shalom in the Home,” to the workplace shenanigans of “Counting Cars” and “New York Ink,” Tom has crafted stories to the delight of millions of viewers over the years.  He’s reached a level of success that has allowed him to live in the city he loves, New York, and secure a wife and daughter so beautiful, people think he’s adopted.  But now, he’s doing it the right way. He’s writing stuff down. Right here. Please enjoy his website, and feel free to share, Tweet or contact Tom directly to say hi, exchange ideas, or introduce him to really rich people who might want to produce his movies.

Milk This

When a child is born, she only has one real task; eat. For whatever reason, my daughter just wasn’t that into it. She regarded my lovely wife’s boobs as really awesome pillows, instead of milk dispensers. We were immediately bombarded with opinions, advice, suggestions and schemes on how to get our uncooperative little nugget to effectively breast feed. We enlisteda team of hospital nurses, a night nurse, a day doula, three lactation consultants, two breast feeding classes, a state-of-the-art breast pump, another military grade breast pump, small breast flanges, large breast flanges, fast flow nipples, slow flow nipples, two different contraptions that involved a formula-filled bottle worn as a necklace and attached to two thin tubes taped to your nipples, syringes, cabbage leaves, and a daily regimen of something called Fenugreek and Goat’s Rue. Nothing worked.

The Arsenal...

The Arsenal...

My bullshit sensor started pinging about a week into this arduous adventure, when we were told of a “solution” called Craniosacral Therapy. As far as I can tell, CST involves pressing on the child’s skull bones to regulate her “cerebro-spinal rhythms” and awaken her “inner physician” in order to cure everything from bad boob sucking to back pain. To learn more about the merits of CST, you can click here: www.quackwatch.org.

After two more weeks of being “educated” by this cadre of nurses and nudnicks, I seriously began considering the possibility that not one of them knew what the fuck they were talking about. Don’t get me wrong, they were all very nice, and I’m quite sure they all meant well. Unfortunately, not one of their suggestions had any positive lasting effect on Sleeping Booby’s feeding prowess. Failures, however, did not dissuade Team Teat from telling us everything we HAD to do to ensure success. And, more often than not, the guidance we got depended entirely on which member of the Boobie Bunch was currently in the room. For example:

  • Our nurse told us we had to use spring water in the formula, the doula said tap water only. 
  • The doula said feeding our daughter formula would eliminate any chance of her breast feeding. The nurses in the hospital gave her formula on day ONE, telling us she would end up in the NICU on an IV otherwise.
  • The books all say to feed every two hours. The pediatrician told us to let her sleep for up to 6 hours. 
  • The latest literature says babies who sleep on their sides could suffer from a nasty condition known as death, while our nurse said it’s fine. 
  • Our nurse said Casey’s habit of sleeping on momma instead of breast feeding was a good thing. The lactation consultants said to splash water on her to wake her up if she dared take a boob snooze. 

This shouldn’t be this hard. Babies have been breast feeding for thousands of years. What if we were on a desert island without access to industrial strength breast pumps and cruelty free organic formula? We kept trying to no avail, turning our baby from a dream into a nightmare, and my wife from a confident, intelligent and happy person, into a self-doubting, depressed, confused one. On a desert island I guess this was the way it had to be; but on the island of Manhattan, it just seemed silly.  

On what would be my wife’s final visit to a breast feeding clinic, upon hearing our plight, the lactation consultant told my wife she now would need to INCREASE her pumping to make up for time we lost by following our parental instincts. I gently guided my wife out of the room to avoid the first ever death-by-breast-pump bludgeoning, and went home. After making the little one a warm batch of formula, I pulled out my abacus and did some maths, because things were not adding up. Below is breakdown/schedule of breastfeeding an uncooperative baby:

Baby needs to feed every three hours, 15-20 minutes on each boob. Then, because uncooperative baby is not actually eating anything during these sessions, baby must be bottle fed, which involves mixing, warming, feeding with a slow flow nipple (to make the baby sucks the actual human nipple better) and mid-bottle burping which takes about 20 minutes in all. Then, because baby is not sucking any milk out, momma’s breasts must be artificially pumped and the pump parts must be cleaned and sterilized each time, taking an additional 20 minutes. Somewhere throughout this process the baby needs to be put down, and if you are lucky enough for that to happen, it usually takes about 15 minutes. Of course because the baby is now actually eating formula, it will be peeing and pooping which requires around 8 changes a day at about 5 minutes each, barring cataclysmic volcanic expulsions.

BOOBS 8x30+ BOTTLE 8x20+ PUMP 8x20+ PUT DOWN 8x15+ CHANGING 8x5= 12 HOURS OF ESSENTIAL UNCOOPERATIVE BABY CARE PER DAY

Now you might say, “12 hours? That’s not so bad, you still have 12 hours to do what you need to do. Welcome to parenting, stop whining, suck it up, and take care of your kid.” Point taken. I’d first point out that a baby that actually HAS figured out the breast feeding thing gives mom an extra 5.3 hours a day, or as is known in parenting, an eternity. But here’s the real catch - the 12 hours denoted above don’t happen IN A ROW. Not twelve, or six, or four, or three consecutive hours. You see, each breast/bottle/pump/put down/change cycle takes almost 2 hours. Then, in about an hour, it starts again. Can someone please explain to me how my wife, without an army of assistants and three or four extra boobs, could possibly last, utilizing only 12 one-hour intervals per day to sustain herself as a human being? Do you sleep for one, eat for the other, and use the bathroom in the third? If anyone out there is experiencing the same feeling of failure and hopelessness as we were, stop. What we were being asked to do is not possible. The numbers don’t lie. I swear, as much as these people pushed the merits of breast feeding, I started to wonder if they weren't part of some dark Similacian conspiracy to force new moms to the formula aisle.

I am a proponent of breast feeding. The simplest, most natural solutions are usually the best, in my opinion. In most cases, breast feeding is probably better for the baby. But in our case, it became a matter of how much stress we were willing to put our family under, in this all new and completely daunting environment. At what point is THAT unhealthy?

4 1/2 years later, our daughter is big, healthy and cool as shit. I’m not saying this is because we chose to formula feed her. I’m not saying everyone, or anyone necessarily should. Did we do the “right” thing? No way to know. All I’m saying to new parents is you are going to hear a LOT of advice and opinions from a LOT of places. There’s only only one opinion that matters; yours. Follow it. You might be right. You might be wrong. You might end up with an awesome little monster like we did. 

 

SO I TRIED CYBERDATING…

So I’m a 30 something, eligible bachelor in the big city. I’ve always thought of myself as relatively charming and savvy on the dating scene, and have been with my share of beautiful, wonderful women. Finding myself in a bit of a dry- spell lately, some friends have suggested online dating. Actually the conversations go something like this:

ME: “Can you believe the new democratic congress is bulldozing out interim UN ambassador John Bolton after acknowledging that he was finally bringing the necessary accountability and reform to the outdated and obsolete organization?!”

FRIEND: “Dude you need to get laid. I find lots of whores on MySpace.”

To tell the truth, the idea of experiencing someone’s mind before seeing their outer packaging is both intriguing, and frightening as hell. I decided to conduct a little social experiment with myself, MySpace, and my wallet. I joined the sites. ALL of them.

I whipped out my mouse and my credit card and started filling out profiles- MySpace, Nerve, True, Yahoo, E-Harmony, Match.com, Date.com, SingleFlyfishingJugglers.com, you name it, I joined it. I posted a nice back-lit, high-angle picture that hides my double chin, and wrote some witty, pseudo-obnoxious, 90% honest stuff down. (I don’t think my baby horse-like calves relegate me to an “Average” body type. I’m going with “Athletic”. They don’t ask the really important stuff like “are you are a transsexual crackhead serial killer?”- so I don’t feel compelled to warn the ladies of my lightbulb-esque physique). Here’s my experience with each:

E-Harmony: I spend a week and a half and a few hundred bucks filling out a million question profile to find my “perfect soul-mate”, another month exchanging thoughts with women who don’t post their pictures. I eventually land a date with an aspiring actress who looked like the love-child of Ernest Borgnine and Yoda. A second date did not we have. E-Ya-Later... F-U Dr. Neil Clark Warren, should never trust a guy with three first names...

Yahoo Personals, Match.com, Date.com: Hundreds of pictures of beautiful women who don’t respond to me. Sometimes I would log on, light a few candles, have a glass of wine and just click around by myself…

MySpace, Nerve, and True: These are the sites that apparently have not figured out how to keep international “ladies of the evening” from using their sites to generate business, with the help of an electronic English translator. Here’s an example of a typical MySpace response I get about once a week:

Big Booty in Djibouti writes:

Deer Mr. Tom:

It is pleased to make your happy MySpace friend! My profile are much hot and delicate to you! My like American men, write back or visit in so lovely Africa! For seven cows and Casio clock radio to my family, my booty see for you like Jay-Z MTV video show! Yes you do! Ok- tell to soon! Burger King!

Severely,
Mhgcldkajaklb 7 Fd (pronounced click, click, cluck, tsk, tsk, fffsst, cluck, apparently the '7' is silent.

As much as I admire the fair Click cluck’s resourcefulness and determination, and I'm all for expanding one's horizons, I'm not sure I can make this work. The travel, the language and cultural barriers, where to get the cows…

For all the trouble “live” dating is, the alternative is really, well, weird. I’m going to the bar. Or perhaps give I’ll give “SexySudokuSingles.com” one more shot…

“NICE BREASTS”

So if a girl wears this out to a bar and you walk up to her and say “Nice breasts,” what is likely to happen?

open-dress-amateur-cleavage-cutie.jpg

If you survive the stiletto strike to the groin, three retired NFL linemen will swiftly escort you from the bar by your tongue, and you would deserve every bit of agony and embarrassment, right?

Why is this? Because it’s rude. Ok, but why? When you say something positive about someone- that’s a compliment isn’t it? If you had said, “Those are some ugly breasts,” that would certainly be rude and universally frowned upon because you are stating an opinion that will no doubt hurt the recipient’s feelings. “Nice breasts” is an opinion stated, intended to make the recipient feel good. So why is a painful counterattack the appropriate response? If you had said to our Snooki in training “Nice shoes, hair, fingernails, hands, arms, or eyes”, the expected response is a pleasant “Thank you.” Why does complimenting some specific body part (or parts) open you to verbal and physical violence?

I know, I know, it’s because we’re talking about a sexual organ, and its creepy to say anything about someone’s private parts. But, when you wear this out of the house

imagesCAXU65NI.jpg

your private parts are no longer private. You are doing everything the law allows to insure their publicity. They are unquestionably out in public, by your own intention, as you chose to don a top that puts them on full display. You have reached an all new level of naïve if you think that wearing something like this

monster-braless-boobs-in-a-tight-dress-.jpg

is not going to cause men to look at what you are offering up for their perusal.

So my point is this; no matter what the air temperature, season, occasion, venue, or latest trend you are following, YOU decided to show off your private parts to the public. You did so because you consider them attractive. If you are correct, they will attract men’s attention. Men who think they are worthy of compliments. You should not be allowed to retaliate when the target of your attractive efforts agrees with your self assessment and expresses his appreciation. If you don’t want your attractive private parts to receive public accolades- cover them up. Or the next time a guy compliments them, instead of kicking him in the balls, feel free to compliment them.

“DONNA”

About ten yrs. ago, my friend shows up at my place with a pretty, young blonde. He introduces his new wife, gives a quick explanation of a hazy Vegas weekend, and their plans to move to Los Angeles to become movie stars. This would sound impulsive and crazy, but it would appear he had met the perfect woman. She was a gorgeous singer/ dancer/ actress/ computer scientist/ law student millionaire, with homes in Malibu and Arizona. She also claimed to be bisexual. And a virgin. If even half of these claims were true, he would be crazy NOT to marry her.

When the divorce was settled two years later, it was learned that the perfect woman was actually just an insane stripper. My friend summed up his error in judgment thusly- “I’m from a small town in New Hampshire. I’ve never met a crazy person before.”

I experienced Donna's (let’s call her ‘Donna’, shall we, just in case she ever completes that law degree…) less than conventional behavior first hand, when I also moved out to Los Angeles to pursue my own dreams in the entertainment business. I moved into their apartment in the valley and set up my computer so I could get busy typing and sending out letters and resumes. One day, Donna asks me if she can surf the web on the computer while I’m out. I say, “Sure”. She is a computer scientist right, what’s the harm?

When I arrive home, my inbox is overflowing. In addition to numerous requests from friends and business acquaintances asking to be removed from my emailing list (Donna thought it would be cute to "introduce herself". The recipients of the infantile diatribe did not agree), there are about a half dozen messages from various medical websites. They all read something like this:

“Dear MR. Romita:

If you are experiencing extreme pain and persistent menstrual bleeding, we strongly urge you to go to the emergency room immediately.”

I must have stared at the computer for a day and a half. Horror, anger, confusion and yes, I think even some breakthrough bleeding.

I finally mustered the strength to inquire if she had possibly visited any medical websites and sent out any emails. She denied everything. So vehemently that I eventually had to read the responses aloud, to which my friend, her husband, giggled, then immediately aged 10 years in the realization that this weird web of deceit and male menstruation was spun by his life-mate.

I wrote her off as bonkers and moved out as quickly as possible. Last we heard, Donna was moving “down south.” Or joining the army. Or a professional soccer player.

THE BREAST TEST

Having been privy to, and participant in, thousands if not millions of conversations amongst men, I have discovered an interesting yet relatively worthless fact:

You can identify a woman's exact breast size by the conversation men are having about her when she is not around.

If men are referring to a woman as flat, scrawny, skinny, "built like a 10 yr. old boy", or say she has nice feet, hair, job or personality- the letter embroidered on her frilly underthings will more than likely be an "A".

If men are having a conversation about a woman and make absolutely no reference to her breasts whatsoever- her pectoral protrusions are without question a "B".

If men are talking about a woman and speak of her breasts in a positive (translation: lustful) way, she writes "C" on the Vickie's Secret order form. "C" is the threshold cup size when men begin to take a personal interest in a woman's breasts. These will be referred to in conversation as nice tits, sick tits, great rack, awesome boobs, cute puppies, fantastic ta-tas, sweet knobs, or sweater meat.

If men are discussing a woman, and the beginning, middle and end of the conversation are about her breasts- she is a "D". Men will refer to her hooters, gozangas, righteous yabbos, knockers, jugs, melons, funbags, basketballs, breastketballs, papayas, tetangas, tig 'ol bitties, fucking huge tits, crazy shirt pillows, monster mams, airbags, male entrapment devices, milksacs, an insane set, floaties, National Geographic tits, huge ass boobs, honkers, the Guns of Navarrone, boulders, marshmallows, golden winnebegoes, mountains, McGuffies, norks, hogans, grenades, the dairy section, whoppers, massive mammaries, tittaaaaaayyys!, torpedoes or towel racks. The conversation will be interspersed with utterances of "Holy shit did you see (insert woman's name here)'s(insert term from above list here)(insert last time the men were in the same room as well endowed woman here)!?!!

If the conversation amongst men goes like this: "Yo man can I borrow $40? I just blew my last dime in the champagne room!" This lady's breasts are a "DD". Or bigger...

MEN WHO CHEAT- AND THE WOMEN WHO DESERVE IT

Cheating is always bad. When there is a breach of sacred trust in a loving relationship it is never a good thing. And it is always someone’s fault. And it’s not always the man’s. Even when he’s the one cheating.

I would guess the majority of infidelity involves a man’s inability to control his urges when heightened by alcohol, accessible breasts or a lethal combination of the three. I would think a very small number of unfaithful encounters occur when a man or woman is in a decent relationship and stumbles upon a ‘soul mate’ outside the relationship. I’m not going to talk about either of those scenarios. The Spice Channel and Lifetime Network, respectively, have covered them fully. I'm here to talk about sex. And the lack thereof.

Women like sex. They don’t NEED it. It’s not like oxygen or shopping to them. Men need it. It’s their life's goal to get it. The roots of this phenomenon are biological, involve a woman’s nine months of infertility during the reproductive process, and are the subject of a different essay.

There are a number of women, who, once married, realize they can have everything they want and need in life, due to their new founded legal status, and not have to deal with the messy ritual of sex; protection, companionship, funds, shelter, food, friends, a social life, children etc. An unsatiated man would give up all of this for a great roll in the hay. Once these women realize that they can have everything they want in life, and sex is no longer a factor in getting these things, they stop having it. How does this work in practice? Like this:

Sue meets Tim, and in him sees an opportunity for everything in life she wants. Sue has sex with Tim because she enjoys Tim’s company and the opportunities he can provide her. She may be enjoying it, or she may be enjoying how much HE’S enjoying it, further insuring his fidelity, and her benefits that accompany it. Tim marries Sue, because he enjoys her company, AND the great sex. Sue marries Tim, because she enjoys his company, AND all the opportunities and comforts a husband like Tim will provide for her. After marriage, Sue, for whatever reason, decides she doesn’t want to have sex anymore, so she stops. (It doesn’t just happen in sitcoms). At this point, Tim has three choices, divorce (which will cost him half of his money), a lifelong intimate relationship with himself, or cheat, which could cost more than money, if he gets caught. In every scenario, Tim loses, Sue WINS. You say she loses by losing the man she loves? Bullshit, if she loved him she’d be giving him the ONE thing he needs. She is in complete control of her life at this point, and Tim is not.

This is how women trap men. I don’t believe it’s always a conscious action. A woman who doesn’t particularly like sex can one day just decide to stop having it. A man’s genetics won’t allow him that freedom.

Women reading this will likely have a disgusted reaction because they think marriage is some kind of magical event that transcends something as trivial as getting off. It’s not. If it were, there would be no strip clubs, pornography, prostitutes, and a divorce rate of 50%. Marriage is basically an arrangement between two people that states they will be having sex with only each other- forever. Women have two options in this arrangement, have sex with their husband or have sex with no one. Men have only one option; hope and pray their wives continue to have sex with them, or they face the possibility of kissing their money, house and children goodbye.

So this is why some men cheat. Is this the right thing for these men to do? Perhaps the more important question is- Is marrying a man and then denying him sex the wrong thing to do? Some women think that their company is so amazing that it will make a man forget that he is not getting any. It’s not. When a man meets a beautiful, smart, witty, charming, sexy, engaging, perfect soul mate- he thinks, “This is the woman I would like to have sex with for the rest of my life!” But when that beautiful, smart, witty, charming, sexy, engaging, perfect soul mate cuts him off, the dentally challenged,  ditsy cocktail waitress at the corner bar becomes the soul mate of the moment.