The Happiest Valentines

Last Thursday, Hill House families and neighbors enjoyed cookie-decorating, holiday crafts and face-painting by Pizzazz the Clown. Children with freshly painted faces, courtesy of Pizzazz the Clown.

Perhaps you’ve been following the trials (liter­ally) and the tribulations of a tycoon named Ronald O. Perelman. Perelman, in case you don’t know, is the chairman of the board of Revlon, Inc. He is also the head of MacAndrews & Forbes, a company that owns a lot of other companies. Coincidentally, Perelman is one of the most frequent users of America’s court system, tying up judges and enriching lawyers. (As a member of a family with several lawyers, I want to thank quarrelsome people like Perelman for putting the food on our table.)

Perelman is a handful. He fought with his four ex-wives. He is now married to his fifth wife—we can probably guess how that will turn out. He sued a deceased ex-wife’s invalid father and lost handily. He’s now in a court battle with a former colleague.

Ron Perelman’s life and litigation are the stuff of soap operas. Despite his wealth and his apparent love of being married, he’s not a good catch. Friends and family members say he is not a nice person.

And a nice person, all you lovers out there, is what you need if you want to be happily married. It’s my St. Valentine’s Day message.

It’s not just me who thinks that. I polled some of my most happily married friends—five couples who have been married for five to 48 years from four dif­ferent states. (If I didn’t poll you, it’s not a reflection of what I think of your marriage. I just limited my sources.)

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