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Divorce Shower Puts China Back in Man’s Cupboard

November 20, 1985

NEW YORK (AP) _ The invitation read, ″Come to a shower.″ The gifts included a set of dishes, flatwear, crystal glasses for 16 and an electric juicer - perfect presents for a bride.

But the guest of honor was a man, and the party was a divorce shower.

When Andy Hoffmann split with his wife 18 months ago after two years of marriage, he lost the china, the silverware, the pots and pans, the towels and sheets, the stereo, even the bed frame.

Since then the 28-year-old Manhattan attorney has eaten a lot of take-out food directly from the cardboard containers. He’s borrowed towels from his health club. And his mattress and box spring sit on the floor in his one- bedroom apartment on East 27th Street.

Friends who heard that his cupboards were bare decided he shouldn’t have to wait to get remarried to eat off real plates again. So they threw him a divorce shower to celebrate his new freedom and help him set up house as a bachelor.

″I didn’t feel motivated to go out and refurnish my home by myself,″ said Hoffmann, whose divorce became final this fall. ″... Now, with all my new gifts, it will be nice to have my life return to normal.″

Showers aren’t only for brides-to-be these days. In fact, Bloomingdale’s, the trendy department store, reports that it’s broadening its bridal register to encourage single people to sign up for the home furnishings of their choice, as well.

″Why wait to get married - or remarried - to have nice things to entertain with?″ said Anne Keating, director of bridal and gift services for the 14 Bloomingdale’s stores.

″If you’re registered, your friends will know what gifts to get you for birthdays, Christmas and housewarming parties,″ she said.

Barbara Freedman, a psychotherapist and director of the Divorce and Remarriage Counseling Center in New York, says it’s very important to pick up the pieces and start a new life after divorce. ″And that includes indulging yourself with nice things and creating a place that’s home,″ she said. ″You shouldn’t deprive yourself just because you’re suddenly single.″

Hoffmann sat in his living room on a recent Friday night surrounded by 30 friends and ripped the wrappings off his presents. ″I’m not too good at this,″ he said as he struggled to open a large red box. ″Mywife opened all our wedding gifts.″

Kevin Lipskin gave Hoffmann assorted kitchen utensils. ″I knew Andy needed almost everything,″ he said. ″When I came to his apartment once to watch a baseball game I brought a half-gallon of ice cream and we wound up eating it out of teacups.″

Divorce counselor Freedman recommends that couples write a prenuptial agreement spelling out the division of assets in the case of divorce. But Hoffmann finds that unromantic.

″Instead of preparing myself that way, next time I’m going to make sure I marry the right person and stay married forever,″ he said.

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