Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Review

I Don't Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I've Dated by Julie Klausner

I just finished this hilarious book, and I feel compelled to recommend it to anyone who has had their fair share of crazy men in their life. Whether you dated them, were friends with them, or just had the privilege to know them. (Who hasn't, right?)  Julie Klauser, a New York comedian, writes about her romantic experiences thus far (she's now in her early 30s), from the first time she saw a Penthouse magazine at a very early age to her days as a punky/goth high schooler to the absurd versions of "men" she came across in college and after. This is not your typical relationship book. In fact, she states this in the beginning. I've always hated when books were described as "romps," but I gotta say - if I've ever read a true "romp," this is it.

She's funny as hell and pretty crass, but honest and firm in her assessments of the dating world. Plus she's obviously very smart and knows how to write. I actually accessed my dictionary a few times. No lie.

With the diverse company I've kept throughout my life, I could pinpoint someone who reminded me at least a little bit of the guys she described, and I found myself everso thankful (even more so) that I had had the good fortune not to get involved with any of them. She writes about the "musician stage" every girl seems to go through, and I certainly can relate (thought embarrassingly enough, she asserts that it's usually an 'early 20s' thing, while I'm just now nearing the end of my phase at the age of 27). Regardless, I enjoyed this:

My advice to women who are habitually gravitated towards musicians is that they learn how to play an instrument and start making music themselves. Not only will they see that it’s not that hard, but sometimes I think women just want to be what it is they think they want to sleep with.

In the end, Julie has slept with and waded her way through far too many losers to seem acceptable at all (only in NYC, I guess... and she warns her parents at the beginning that this is NOT a book for them), but she finally finds peace. An assured feminist, she makes no apologies for anything she's done, and I was encouraged that time after time, she found herself saying "I'm better than this" in her search for true love. You won't find her crying herself to sleep over some idiot for years to come. She simply said "Next!" and moved on. (I wish I were more like that.)

My favorite chapter of the book is in fact the last chapter, titled "The House of No," in which she talks about the day she realized she had truly grown, matured, and generally gotten her crap together. When she learned to say "no." Those of you who know me well will understand why this excerpt is especially poignant:
I thought about how lucky I was to be different from how I was before. How I used to mistake "yes" for "yay!" and the pursuit of knowledge for the possession of it. I thought about how trivial people used to be better company to me than solitude, and how I'd finally earned the ability to shut out clutter - at least occasionally - and to leave self-sabotage to the kids who can't enjoy being alone now and then. The ones who do not believe deep down, even through the gauze of thick doubt, that they have what it takes to rise to the top, like cream. And I took relief that night in knowing that someone, somewhere else knew that too, and that he'd get me, once he finally got the chance to make my acquaintance.

The book can also be credited with being the first thing to make me not absolutely DREAD turning 30, a landmark that while still 2.5 years away, hangs over my head most days and makes me cringe. This amused me:
Your twenties are the worst part of your life that you don't actually know at the time is terrible. Being a teenager sucks too, but you're aware of every last second of it. I decided to write this book right before I turned thirty, as a way to say good-bye to saying yes to things that don't make sense.
Well said, Julie. Well said.

Title: I Don’t Care about Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I've Dated
 Author: Julie Klausner
ISBN: 978-1592405619
Pages: 272
Publisher: Gotham (February 2, 2010) - Paperback

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