Drop by and have a drink with Britt at Forever Fest this weekend! She'll be right outside The Highball from 5:30-6:30 on Saturday and again during the Pajama Party, starting at 10pm. Forever Fest attendees get an exclusive sneak chapter of her book!
It feels really surreal to type this, and even stranger to step into the shoes of professional self-promoter, but here I am: roughly eight months after I was sitting at a table at SXSW with my dearest of dearests Meredith Borders and Sam Zimmerman and a few other friendlies, recounting a particularly heinous and hilarious bad date story. I had shared many bad dating stories with my close friends over the previous year, and had been told several times that I should write a book about them. I shrugged it off, just as I'd always shrugged if off when people would suggest that I write about anything that had happened to me in my life because who wants to read about my boring particulars? I shrugged it off the way you do every time people tell you that you should really watch The Wire and you're like, ugh, but it's such a commitment, and yeah, yeah, I know, I'll get around to it. (You should. It's the best show ever made.) Even my mom told me I should write a book about my bad dating experiences, and my mom is more invested in Facebook casino games than she is in my career choices, so that's kind of a big deal.
So I decided to write this book, and I knew I had plenty of material for it. I wouldn't have to agree to go on more dates just for "research" because I'd spent the previous year casually dating and every single date had been Bummer City, Population: Me. So don't think that I'm some a-hole Yes Woman who looked at every guy who messaged me online as some potential opportunity for a gold mine of literary entertainment/my misery. I am not one of those creative types who actively enjoys suffering for "my art" and I did not delude myself into thinking that I was crafting some poignant masterpiece over here. It's not like I wrote a book about bad dates that will give you pause or inspire a moment of revelation, but if it does, please tell me because after all I am a writer and I have a pale, sickly little ego with bird bones curled up inside me that would devour that compliment eagerly and use it as nourishment for at least a few months -- at least. I did continue to occasionally go on dates while writing I Should Just Not, and those dates did make their way into the book, for the record.
You may think that I am exaggerating, that there's no way that I was dating for essentially a year and a half and had zero good experiences, and you would be sort of, kind of correct, and also wrong. You'll have to read the book to see what I mean, but basically, I did not successfully date anyone at all during this time period, and every experience I had was not great. Some are funny, some are awkward, some are just kind of lame, and some will make you want to collapse into yourself like you've been meticulously folded by some friendly khaki robot at the GAP.
This book was a... I hesitate to use the word "journey" because that sounds very pre-menopausal, but that's kind of what it was. It's intended to be humorous and honest and relatable, and I hope that it's all of those things for you. Dating can be unpleasant and it can make you feel bad about yourself, especially as you get older. But writing this book was therapeutic, and maybe my friends didn't realize that's what it would do for me, or maybe they did, but either way, I am so grateful to each of them for pushing me to do it. The more I wrote and continued to date while doing so, the more perspective I gained. This sounds like self-help or group therapy, but I promise that I wrote something that is the total opposite of that.
If you're looking for advice or answers or what not to do, you're probably looking in the wrong section of the Internet. I have nothing for you. The best advice I can give is probably to know what you want, which is great universal advice, especially at restaurants or at the grocery store.
I started writing I Should Just Not in May, which is when I ran into my friend Brandy, who handles publicity and promotions for the Alamo Drafthouse, Fantastic Fest, and the upcoming second annual Forever Fest -- I told her about the book and how excited and nervous I was to be writing it, and she asked if I might have it done in time for this year's Forever Fest, so that we could share it there. This was an amazing idea, and it also gave me a deadline to work with, so I'm thrilled to announce that I Should Just Not will go on sale on Amazon this Friday, and on iBooks soon afterwards, and I'll be at Forever Fest this Saturday to hang out with all of you rad humans who are coming out for this super awesome fest. I'll also be giving away a free sample chapter when you stop by my table, or you can just hang and have a drink (boozy or otherwise) and we can chat about bad dates and pizza and books and The Wire -- or whatever you want to talk about. Life and stuff. I'm here for you.
One more thing! Between now and Friday, hop on Twitter and tell me about your worst date using the hashtag #IShouldJustNot. The best, most cringe-inducing dating story will win a free copy of my book! Because if you've had a date that's worse than the ones I've been on, you deserve a present. It is the least I can do.
In addition to thanking Meredith and Sam and all the other friends who encouraged me to write this book, I'd like to thank BAD's own Phil Nobile Jr. for coming up with the concept for the cover art, and Kelsey Spencer from the Drafthouse art department for designing the very lovely cover.