I first met Barbara Flood at one of the many vintage shows in NYC. A couple of months ago Sonia Boyajian, a friend from Los Angeles, invited me for lunch with Barbara and her longtime partner Stanley Dorfman. Barbara and Stanley have been together for decades, maintaining a long and happy relationship, while living across the country from one another. Stanley lives in Los Angeles and Barbara, New York. Stanley joked that they could have bought a mansion with the amount of long distance phone calls they have had over the years. After our lunch I made a date to come over to Stanley’s home to take some photos and interview them about their long distance love affair.
How long have you and Stanley been together?
B:Well we’ve been together a very long time, but I never do age and I never do numbers, but we definitely have been together longer than 20 minutes.
Can you share a little bit about how you have managed to have such a beautiful relationship long-distance?
S:I have a huge phone bill and I do everything she says I should do.
B:I think we have such a beautiful relationship, long-distance. First of all we have something called the telephone and we are on it maybe 20 times a day. We talk to each other in the morning and we go right through til four in the morning the following day. So we have that intimacy of being together, even though we’re not, because we talk about everything on the phone and we also have email and we will have pictures. So we can connect with those mediums.
What are some the thing you share and have in common?
B:We love to travel. We travel all over the world, when we can, and we love to go to different places. We love seeing movies, we love traveling to museums, we love all our friends. It’s a very hectic life, it’s a very busy life and when I’m in California especially.
S:I love to hang out and she likes to race around like the energizer bunny. After I’m with her and she leaves I have to tune up two weeks of rest because it’s too much. She loves theater musicals and I’m not crazy about musicals. Otherwise we have pretty much everything else in common. Our food tastes are hugely different but when we are around I have to eat what she wants.
Some favorite memories together?
B:Our most favorite memories are traveling together. We would like to go to the south of France. I have a huge amount of friends from all different ages, from all different lives. We have a very fantastic social life in California and in New York. From the music industry because he did so many wonderful television shows as a director of music and he knows everybody from the 60s and 70s. Me from my modeling career which combined everything together with people of all ages, styles types, and we put them altogether. We spend a lot of time seeing people we spend a lot of time with my family. You know I have two grandchildren here, I’ve got a delicious daughter-in-law, I have a superb son and we have wonderful times together.He has wonderful family in England and we go every summer and we spend a lot of time with them. He’s got granddaughter that he loves and we just hang out it’s what we do. We hang out with people and we just love it
How do you get through the difficult times together?
B:I’m a big fighter and if we have difficult times together I’m about to start yelling and screaming and carrying on and Stanley’s about to do the same thing but somehow after huge fights, or whatever it is, we start laughing and the laughter changes everything, but it might take a couple of days.
How would you define love?
S:Define love, fucking hell I need to think of something really clever to say otherwise… OK definition of love is what I feel for Barbara.
Any tips for a long-lasting relationship?
B:Yes! Live apart, live in different countries, live in different cities, but talk on the phone a lot and get together as much as you can, but have different quarters and different lifestyles and then when you’re together you can try each other’s life style out and then it always works.
Having Stanley, for me it’s like having a best girlfriend. Somebody that you can say everything to, tell everything to, even when they understand it or not, because you know guys are much different than girls.He is my best friend and I can tell him anything and he’ll respond to it and I think that’s one of the most important things in the relationship. Whether its long distance or togetherness, you just have to have a best friend.