Guys, I read this book, and I’m pretty sure I wrote it. Or else this bitch stole my diary.
In the opening pages, Katie introduces her dating theory: there are two types of people, Lighthouses and Bermuda Triangles. The first group is a radiant bunch, never without a boy for long, at least on the back burner. On the other hand, there are people like Ms. Heaney:
“[A Bermuda Triangle] doesn’t mean to do any harm, and it’s actually pretty nice once you get to know it. It’s just that Bermuda doesn’t know how to handle itself when somebody sails into its territory, because that hardly ever happens. It hasn’t had much chance to practice, and it’s used to things going a certain way. So if a sailor DOES come around, it gets a little nervous, freaks the fuck out, and creates hurricane-like devastation around it. And then it gets embarrassed and sad and calls its friends.”
If only I’d known that spilling all my lack-of-love stories would get me a book deal, I wouldn’t have started this godforsaken blog. Instead I’d be in St. Tropez right now, with a bed made of money and a pet diamond. Alas.
Over the course of her book, Katie tracks her history with boys from kindergarten to the present day. She describes the archaeological treasure that is her childhood diary (containing inexplicable entries like, “I have a very cute boyfriend. He is funny. I love Jesus. Oxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox.”); lighting a chip on fire and then eating it to impress a boy at her first high school party (unsuccessful); and a five-hour Internet date with a dude who said “buckets” instead of “fuck” (as in, “what the buckets”).
Reading all this, I was overcome with déjà vu. Like Katie, I was obsessed with following the rules and terrified of my parents. Once, in third grade, I forgot to write my name on my homework, and I cried. (This, while humiliating, did get me out of having to go to Homework Accountability a.k.a. Basically Pretty Much Detention, You’re Not Fooling Anyone.) I also had crushes on one boy or another throughout my entire education, though they were fodder for daydreaming more than anything else. In middle school, I was desperate to get to freshman year because I was sure a boyfriend awaited me there. Tell 12-year-old Alison that 26-year-old Alison still hasn’t been able to lock it down, and she’d probably retreat further into her love of Hanson and musical theatre, destined never to be kissed.
Like Katie, I have some amazing Lighthouse friends, who are beautiful and smart and hilarious and independent. Though thankfully none of them are boy-crazy (a phrase which never fails to remind me of Stacy from the Babysitter’s Club), their single-time is full of guys asking them out, them being like, “Ugh, I don’t know, I’m still getting over whats-his-face,” before one of their suitors inevitably turns out to be solid BF/GF material. On the other hand, my last date was a blind set-up that got downgraded last-minute from an actual restaurant to a Corner Bakery. I REPEAT. My only date in the past seven months was at a place the dude referred to as “the Panera of downtown.” Uh, pretty sure PANERA IS THE PANERA OF DOWNTOWN, GUY.
Clearly, I’ve had poor luck in the love department. Actually, “poor” is probably too dramatic. If anything, I’ve had non-luck. It’s been a series of spread-out Situations that start with varying levels of promise, but fizzle after about a month. And that’s pretty much it. I’m comforted by Heaney’s story: it’s nice to know that I’m not the last lonely singleton out there, and that frankly, there’s someone out there with even less experience than me. She’s had a distinct lack of any Situations whatsoever. It’s like finding the Chupacabra.
Now, I don’t mean to get too off the rails into the Land of the Sad Sacks. I’m not sitting at home pining away about finding “The One”—I really like my life, everybody. And importantly, while the comedy of this memoir is much stronger in the beginning, as she describes the shenanigans of her youth, its heart shows up in the second half. The book transforms into a story of female friendship. Like how she “calls an emergency cabinet meeting” a.k.a. individually texts all her friends for advice in times of Great Boy Uncertainty. I’m not super proud that I, too, have this tendency. In fact, such texts are usually followed by something like, “Ugh sorry that I’m the most annoying.” But my buddies are spread across the country, and sometimes I need everybody to chime in on pressing questions like “Does this Tinder guy look like he’s actually gay?” or “Does this Tinder guy look like he will murder me?” or “Should I get off Tinder because it’s full of gay murderers?” I wish I could ask them in person, over a glass of Malbec.
And in that spirit, let these words from the introduction encourage you to please, please read this delightful book:
“My absolute favorite thing in the world to do is sit around a room with my friends and some wine and remind each other of our worst-ever dating stories…That’s what I hope this book feels like. You and I are hanging out, and I am drinking too much and talking to you—about my most embarrassing adventures in flirting and kissing and liking boys—for a really long time. You are such a good listener. I mean it.”
And that’s exactly what it feels like.
BREAKING NEWS, Catzilla and I both swiped right, so maybe things are looking up.