Illustration by Bob AulIf Mischa Barton's not dating MarvinDavis' grandson for his dead granddad's dough; if Kelly Gray is how women look now; if Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie can be just friends, what's left to be learned about the opposite sex?
How, for instance, does the sensitive '90s man—who's still with us, only older—get over a bad break-up in Long Beach—Garry Trudeau's "city of long-shots, of mothballed dreams"? And how does the successful professional woman negotiate the Orange County dating minefield when, according to dating expert Lisa Purdum, only 29 percent of first dates in Orange County yield second dates?
Purdum, who penned The It's Just Lunch Guide to Dating in Orange County, and the Game Doctor Clark Anthony of Long Beach, author of How to Get Over That Bitch And Grow Balls They Can't Resist, explain.
Their backgrounds couldn't be more different: Anthony is a much-pierced former male escort who's "sexperienced almost every ethnicity of woman ages 18 to 65," while Purdum is the buttoned-up director of the OC and LA offices of "It's Just Lunch," a meet-over-pasta-primavera guide for working professionals who, like herself, may have earned several college degrees—but not have found the perfect person to spend the rest of his or her life with.
Yet the two hew to a savage brand of honesty—which Anthony warns in 14-point type (his whole book is set in 14-point type) "may be too offensive for some of you wussies—but oh fucking well" (bold type his). Love is not pretty, this former sex worker writes from experience.
"The Pussy Monster will be your biggest obstacle in your battle to get over that Bitch," writes Anthony, who dedicates his work "to my wonderful mother, Jean Jenkins, whom I love dearly" and to his gorgeous wife and soul mate, Melanie—"love ya!" How to deal? Give it time, Anthony advises—and jack off. A lot.
"Soon, you'll find yourself completely desensitized and will care less about whom she is screwing," writes the Game Doctor, whose degree is in real-life experience, school of hard knocks. "Eventually, it'll become too boring to even get you off." And you'll be ready to hook up again: this is his advice for men with $16.95 or access to www.keepyourballs.com.
Purdum's book takes a softball, traditionalist approach aimed at people who've always wanted something more than a quickie—but were afraid to ask. "You've been dreaming about meeting someone special for a while now, but the idea of actually getting out there and doing it is a little scary," she writes. "You're busy and don't have a lot of time for trial and error." It's like she's known you all your life—basked for years in the glow of your inner beauty. The key, Purdum writes in tones tailored to work as well in Seattle as Stanton, is expressing the sweetness inside.
So "Smile," she says in her paperback, which retails for $9.95. "It lights your face and will make you appear more friendly and open. If your attitude projects 'speak to me at your own risk,' people will stay away." And you don't want that—just as you wouldn't want to judge a book by its cover, be too honest, talk too much—or set your expectations too high, she writes, illuminating the most common dating mistakes. Sound familiar? It should; our informal office survey showed that if you'd buy this book, you've probably been on the dating scene at least 49 dog years—and you've heard most of this before. Maybe it just hasn't sunk in yet. You're just slow.
Get Over That Bitch and Dating in Orange County both fall hard when they rely on generalities—Anthony with stories about his "friends" ("A college buddy named Terry slipped into a deep depression when his girlfriend dumped him." He went to college?) and Purdum with her do's and don'ts.
Her book's strongest points are its ZAGAT-like lists of dating hot spots—among them the Newport Starbucks on PCH, with its "singles crowd of beach businessmen and sexy divorcees looking for their morning fix of flirting and Frappuccino," and Costa Mesa's Shark Club, "a ferocious singles scene of leggy ladies and biceps-baring bachelors out to upstage." Yow.
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His interesting book facts: "While writing this book, the author consumed 420 Starbucks traditional ventis" or "An inmate in a California State Correctional Facility lent his book to another inmate. When the inmate refused to return the book to its rightful owner . . . he was forcibly gang raped and beaten."
Take either of these tomes too seriously (or keep them too long), and you're asking for trouble—the same way you'd be in trouble getting too close to someone in a relationship, Anthony says. Always keep your guard up, in a bookstore or in life.
"Communication and intimacy is a must if you want a good relationship," Anthony writes from his fortress of solitude somewhere in Long Beach. "But never let her know you inside-out to the point that she can read you like a book. When you know a book inside-out, it can become boring, predictable and will eventually get put away on the shelf. Or thrown out and replaced (get my drift?)" (italics his).
HOW TO GET OVER THAT BITCH AND GROW BALLS THEY CAN'T RESIST BY CLARK ANTHONY; GAME DR. PUBLICATIONS, WWW.KEEPYOURBALLS.COM. PAPERBACK, $16.95, 196 PAGES; THE IT'S JUST LUNCH GUIDE TO DATING IN ORANGE COUNTY, BY LISA PURDUM; 10 FINGER PRESS, WWW.10FINGERPRESS.COM. PAPERBACK, $9.95, 114 PAGES.