There I am, studying in my room. Then, whammo, he hits me with the news that he's dumping me for someone he met in his Human Sexuality Class.

Lorna’s boyfriend/husband-to-be dumped her right before college graduation. What now?

I couldn’t believe my luck. Gloria Gaynor’s song, “I Will Survive,” was the #1 hit that year (1979). I sang that song day and night like my life depended on it. My life did depend on it–that and my family, my Old English Sheepdog, and my drinking (not necessarily in that order).

Can you blame me for wanting a drink and some company?

Surprise 1:His Lorna-Replacement was the anti-me: short, stocky, dark, had kinky hair and she probably liked sex. She was, he said, “exotic.” I took this to mean she didn’t graduated from the same high school as he did.

Okay. This is not quite an accurate depiction of Sheba Boyfriend Stealer. I'm pretty sure she wasn't that athletic or didn't have that sophisticated a fashion sense.

I’ll admit I had let myself go after several years of dating the same guy. It happens. All that drinking, being passed out, and lifeless sex doesn’t do much for a girl’s figure. I tried to hide my growing assets as best I could with acceptable dress code for those times–jean overalls. But just like black, which is supposed to slim a hot air balloon down to look like a stealth bomber, jean overalls do not cover over all there is to cover.

I can't believe he would dare break up with me. This is the definition of a woman who an bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan (then use that pan as an "incentivizer" if need be). His loss.

After I got the news that he had been seeing Sheba, Exotic Hussy, I went home to cry on my mom’s shoulder.

Surprise 2: Mom did not provide the soft landing I had hoped for. Coming from the “Tough Love” school of parenting, her reply to my sniffling singlehood announcement was, “Well, no wonder he left you. Look at you! You’re dressed like a farmer and you’re fat.” She was kind enough not to mention my blotchy face and unkempt hair. We shared a glass a wine and talked. I felt marginally better and understood the importance of dressing for success in places other than the farm equipment store.

Tough Love: It was enough to make a grown politician cry--and I was just a 22 year-old drunk girl who just got dumped for a short girl with kinky hair..

It was time for a reassessment of my life. Up until that point, I hadn’t given much thought to my future because I figured it was all figured out. It wasn’t like all the rules of the game changed; I was in a whole different game. Two things hadn’t changed, though: my obsessive need for others’ approval and my compulsion to drink to oblivion. Can things that are hardwired be unwired?

Surprise 3: If I was going to make myself over, I had to start big. I cut my long blonde hair. It was, along with my blue eye and ample chest, one of my best attention-getters. My hair that landed me my 6-year boyfriend. He was asked in class what the line in a poem “…long blonde beauty…” remind him of, and he said, “Lorna.” So the hair that hung down to the middle of my back vanished.

Whoa! Focus on the hair, people. And my blonde locks were a bit shorter even before I cut them.

Focus not just on the shorter hair, but the whole package. This was my goal (even if Diana didn’t come on the scene until a few years later). A girl can dream, can’t she?

I was speeding up my consumption of alcohol, too. What else did I have to do with the long nights and weekends?

Oh, that’s what she could do on those long nights and weekends…More surprises to come.