What do these TV shows have in common: M*A*S*H, Seinfeld, Cheers, Dallas, Cosby? They were all popular television shows that had a series finale. They weren't just yanked from the air. The audience and the actors were given closure, a chance to say goodbye with all the loose ends tied up. This is my series finale.

Although I've been a diva since birth, it was 318 weeks ago that I began sharing my dating adventures with someone other than my steaming diary. Every boyfriend, lover, one-night stand and husband has had his dirty laundry aired. I've run out of them. There was a finite number of exes, and eventually I would cover them all. Of course, it didn't help that I got married, which didn't make dating less fun, just more exclusive.

Indeed when I got married, many expressed that it was time to pass the dating diva baton. I didn't because at that time I still had a lot more to say and still had the romantic adventures of my friends to blab about.

I was recently talking to a friend who asked if I still had some of my outfits of yore. The vinyl jumpers, gravity-defying bustiers, lace enough for a Victorian wedding gown. When I look in my closet now, the practical cotton pants and suits are taking up the majority of the space. I'm no less a diva. Maybe I'm a diva emeritus. I don't have to do it anymore because I've done it all.

Another thing the aforementioned television shows have in common is they all ran a season or two too long. The staleness was evident. It's definitely better to go out while people still have nice things to say about you. Sometimes I'll sit down and think, "Did I already talk about him?" "Will M be pissed if I spill the details of something she thinks she told me in confidence?" It's a very difficult thing to know when to censor yourself and when to quit. Luckily, no one has tried to get back at me, although there have been times when I clearly deserved it.

I'll especially miss all the letters I've received over the years. One of the reasons I started this gig is that, for my whole life, people have enjoyed hearing me tell stories. Consequently, there has been an openness when they tell me what's going on in their lives. I like to hear a good story as well. People have related to my dating stories, and I have related to theirs. The names and locations might change but, except for those who don't date at all, the dating experience is the same roller coaster for everyone. The smile comes from being able to say to yourself, "Yeah, that happened to me too."

I am as sad as I can possibly be. But it's time for me to move on. When I started, I thought I would do it for 10 years or until I ran out things to say. Alas, the latter came before the former. Yeah, I could keep going, but then I would end up in the dangerous territory of constantly writing about my marital ups and downs. My man might like to brag that his wife is the Dating Diva, but he'd really prefer not to be the primary source of material, since he's seen how vicious I've been to other men who've done me wrong.

Goodbye, good luck and good dating.

Love always,

Erma the Dating Diva

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