Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Amy DeZellar, Dating Amy

I’ve often thought about writing a book about all the dates I’ve been on –I'd have to classify it as tragic-comedy. I would start with the guy who showed up at my door with a rusty Dodge Dart that leaked carbon monoxide. We drove to New York City in the pouring rain with the windows rolled down so we didn't poison ourselves. Keep in mind this was long before Frizz Ease was invented. He called everbody “chief” and got us lost in Harlem. Fun!

There was the guy who parked his BMW far away from the club we went to for fear his precious baby would be broken into. That’s fine, but to make me walk along the highway at night, in the snow? Unacceptable. There was the guy who was cross-eyed, poor thing, and the one who couldn’t and wouldn’t stop talking about Star Trek. There was guy, who in the middle of the date bluntly asked, "Can I just take you home?" There were dates involving a suction-cupped Garfield stuck to the car window, men with missing teeth, lime green jumpsuits, a Harry Connick look-a-like and the list goes on. And on.

I think there’s something to be said about sharing these dates- the good, the bad and the funny. Because we’ve all had them. Amy DeZellar started a website vowing to go on fifty dates and write about each one. The site was so popular that soon she had a book deal and the result is the memoir, Dating Amy. I was hooked from page one, maybe that’s the voyeur in me, or maybe its because its been so long since I’ve been on a date. The writing is snappy, dialogue and descriptions are witty. The book will make you laugh and shake your head because lets face it, many men are cut from the same cloth.

Where do you fall in between the "call me for a good time kind of dating" and the "looking for a husband" kind of dating?

Believe it or not my "number" is still in the single digits and I'm a self-obsessed complainer, so I'm not much of a Good Time Girl in any sense of the phrase. Sadly I haven't been savvy enough to hone in on looking for a husband either. I wasn't kidding in my book when I said that I've dated strictly for my own pleasure with no thought to a stable future: My history is made up of cross-dressing musicians, circus performers and philosophy grad students. I definitely wish I had a husband now, because launching a writing career is a two-person job and it helps if one of them has an income.

Have you dated Teflon or Harry Potter since the book has been published?

I haven't seen either of them since the book came out a few months ago, but I've seen Teflon since I wrote it. Some of the other men from the 50 dates have come to my readings and one them actually started signing my book for people! I was so pissed on behalf of Teflon and Harry; if anyone has a right to do that it would be one of them. That's a lie, I'd be pissed if either of them did that too.

The Comedian (who didn't know I had written about him) showed up at a reading last week. God, in my book I compare him to the Pillsbury Doughboy, say he jumped and squealed like an 11-year-old girl at the slasher movie we went to and joke that he was more hip-replacement than hipster. He in turn said nice things to a reporter about me and later took me out for a glass of merlot and pointed out funny things from my book. He had to wear his bifocals to find the specific paragraphs, but still.

Tell me about your ideal future husband. Does he have the intelligence of Bill Gates and the looks of John F. Kennedy Jr.? Is he funny like Conan O'Brien or short like Danny DeVito? Crazy like Tom Cruise or serious?

In the intro of DATING AMY I talk about how I want to take the good looks of one guy and smash them onto the personality of a different one like a child putting the head of a Barbie doll onto the body of another. Am I too earthbound in admitting that I only do this with men I actually know, though?

Okay, how about if my intended has Brendan Fraser's looks and Brendan Fraser's personality combined with Brendan Fraser's likes and dislikes and Brendan Fraser's income.

What is an immediate deal breaker when it comes to guys? From your book I see that you don't mind paying for dates (perhaps only occasionally), clothes don't matter (didn't Harry Potter wear Tevas?) and the guy doesn't necessarily have to be a perfect specimen. So what's a big turn off?

Harry Potter drove a car that turned heads (in a bad way), Teflon wore Bermuda shorts to dinner, John Goodman was overweight -- I just adored each of them. You are right that I don't give a moment's thought to appearances, but I do have a huge problem with men not picking up the check. I was gritting my teeth when Harry Potter didn't pay for the Japanese garden tour and when Unrefrigerated Sandwich wanted me to pay even just the tip at that fantastic dinner at the Pike Market restaurant. I'd rather have a black coffee that the man paid for than a great-yet-Dutch meal.

One of the things I struggle with in my book is when does it become a dealbreaker that a man still wants to continue seeing other women? As you've seen I wavered on it, miserably. Now I just expect to be the only woman right away, certainly after anything gets physical, and if not it's a total dealbreaker. My ex, who I met after I finished the book, has become my template for how things should be done. He was microwave-hot and had more options than most with women, yet just expected that we'd be exclusive. Never again will I buy into a man saying "I need to sleep with you for awhile longer before I make up my mind" or "I need to date a few other women before I can tell how I feel about you" or "I'll probably stop seeing other women after dating you for a few months."

It's laughable to hear men use the excuse that they have too many choices to limit themselves to one woman. If Paul McCartney can commit to having just one, Joseph Schmo of Seattle certainly can too.

Another thread that runs through DATING AMY is this question of "How much is it okay to ask for from a man?" In the beginning of the book I don't ask for that much, maybe that the guy pick up the check and not ogle other women (especially if he's blind), but as it goes on my demands get bigger and more personal. I figure men are natural negotiators, so ask for the moon and they'll probably talk you down to accepting undying devotion, maybe dessert.

Why do you think its so easy for some people to find a spouse and for others it's like digging for a diamond in a coal mine. Or finding a sapphire encrusted needle in a haystack- impossible.

It's not a diamond or sapphire, it's a neon sign flashing "Intentions." I knew a woman who had to be careful with whom she accepts a date, because every first date she's had ends up as a longterm relationship.

The other night I went out with a guy who has to keeps an Excel spreadsheet since he dates so many women. He's at #123 for this year alone and he's still nowhere near cohabitation. Neither is more unique or special than the other, it's just one wants to be in a relationship -- yesterday -- and the other doesn't just now. It's easier to be selfish and alone, but a lot of times we don't feel too pretty admitting this, so we do online dating and mew about not being able to find anyone a lot.

I took a swipe in the Seattle Weekly at never-married men over 35 who pretend to be earnest about finding a relationship when really they just want to play the field, but I may have unwittingly done the same thing. In the back of my mind I've always wanted to have a tangible success in the arts before I settled down. I met my last boyfriend as I was literally finishing up the edits to my book at a coffee shop and it was a whole different feeling from when I was going on The Dates. I suddenly adopted the point of view of 'what's good about this relationship?' rather than 'how many things can I find wrong with him to bitch about... or mock?'

What kind of publicity have you done for the book and have you had a lot of weirdos come out trying to meet you? What is it like to meet your fans or the people that have been with you since day one?

I have male groupies. Some of the more notorious ones are old and can't drive to my readings if they're too far away, but when I'm in town they rock it at Barnes and Noble until sometimes as late as 8:30. I don't mean to sound slutty, but I've been accepting dates with a few of those who are under 55. '

How did it go over when you asked for donations on your site? I did that once and people went crazy telling me how selfish I was to be looking to make money off my site. Ever get any rude emails?

I've gotten death threats over asking for money. One would think that the fact that I wrote about intimate relationships with men, sometimes without their knowledge, would be more upsetting for people, but no, my saying "If you like my writing, feel free to send a few bucks" incurred much more hostility. Most professional writers know there's not a lot of money in writing, still I think it's an hilarious social comment that someone said he wanted to see me dead because I suggested being paid for my work. But enough about my publisher.
Seriously, to answer your question, yes, I have gotten rude emails.

There could easily be a sequel to Dating Amy, we could call it Courting Amy. Or Marrying Amy. Or anything ---ing Amy. How would that book play out? What is your ideal fairy- tale happy ending if you could write one for yourself?

My fairy tale is that I'm still in Seattle in a beautiful house with a handsome husband who adores me. We live in the city and not some suburb with a name I don't currently recognize. I don't have to take the bus or do temp work anymore. We have a garden with olive trees and magnolia. Sometimes The Dates from my book stop by to hang out. It is beautiful and copacetic and not at all awkward. None of the ones I liked have married other women.


Anonymous Disney Channel Stars said...
Thanks for the writing!

http://www.disneychannelstars.info @ 6:00 AM  
Blogger Christina said...
This book sounds like so much fun! I am definitely going to have to check it out :) @ 6:45 AM  
Blogger Trish Ryan said...
What great dating advice - Amy should have her own show! @ 11:54 AM  
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