Tatiana Talks

Chicken Soup for the Single Person’s Soul

I love browsing books.

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in Rittenhouse Park with no sunscreen and pink shoulders. Unfortunately I had another hour before I had to meet Marie for happy hour, so I stopped into Barnes & Noble. In addition to giving me something to pass the time, B&N has a half decent bathroom where I could freshen-up on the off chance Mr. Tatiana would be out that night.

I started at the Jane Austin table they had set up in front. I then glanced at the covers of the magazines to see if there was anything I had to have, cruised the bestsellers and the new fiction, and eventually found myself on the second floor, facing the ”Relationships and Sex” section.

I appreciate that B&N is so progressive as to separate the two out like that. I imagine there was a time when sex books were just assumed to be in the Relationship section.

Anyway, thinking naughty thoughts I walked over, wondering if I would get up enough courage to pick up and openly read the Cosmo Sutra that was screaming my name. As I turned the corner I saw two teenage girls giggling over a copy of The Joy of Sex. Feeling I needed to set a good example and wanting to believe I was more mature than the two of them, I thoughtfully perused the titles, planning to walk away, “satisfied” that this section held nothing that would interest me.

That is until I came across Dating Makes You Want to Die But You Have to Do it Anyway.

It seems they finally wrote a self-help relationship book for me. I wondered why my Mom had never picked this one up for me as I pulled it down from the shelf and started reading.

With chapter titles like, “We Are in Love (Maybe)” and “It’s Not Me, It’s You -- and Your Erectile Dysfunction,” I could tell this book was like no other. That the back of the book compared itself to a Belarussian arms dealer, was just icing on the cake. I took my copy of the book, and headed to the cash register.

While I don’t know that I believe the premise of the book -- that we all have to date or we will die sad and lonely. I did agree that reading all these other relationship books was creating in me a pit of despair. So I read on.

I then took the first of the books many Cosmo-like quizzes -- am I ready to date -- complete with one correct answer, one brutally honest answer and one that you know (or rather hope) is the really wrong answer, and the answer key for the “mostly A’s” “mostly B’s” and “Mostly C.”

Turns out I am ready to date (or I have perfected my Cosmo-quiz taking technique). I read through the reasons why I am not having sex, and none of them seemed to apply to me (I do know how to dress, thank you very much), so I skipped ahead to the part about meeting my mate (but not before I learned that my (almost) long hair tells guys I am probably high maintenance).
Not too much in this chapter that I didn’t know either. Though, I did laugh out loud a couple of times, and aced another quiz “Do I Make a Good First Impression” (this one was all my quiz-taking skills because I know I make a really lousy first impression).

Then there was information about where to go on your first date. Of course, I am not there yet -- but still it was funny to note that the authors hold alcohol in the same high esteem I do. There was also a debate about whether or not he should pay for the first date or not -- not surprisingly, she said yes, he said no.

The rest of the book goes on like this. Advice you already know on the crucial third date, on saying “I Love You” for the first time, meeting the parents, breaking up, moving in together (though obviously not if you just broke up) and getting married. I stopped taking the quizzes (yes there was a quiz on how to know if you are in love), however I look forward to taking them in the future -- should I ever need to know definitively that I am ready to introduce my fella to my parents (and my Magic 8 Ball is broken).

A point the book made that was near and dear to my heart -- Don’t Cheat. They listed it in the final “don’ts” section, which included “Don’t Get Pissed Off” and “Don’t Kill Yourself.” Finally a book that doesn’t tell me how to deal when my partner cheats or how to prevent my partner from cheating.

After finishing Dr. Phil’s piece of crap book, Dating Makes You Want to Die is exactly what I needed. No, it didn’t provide any sort of insight into the male mind or answer definitively “Why Am I Still Single?” However, I did make me laugh a lot and feel less crazy.

I also found some comfort knowing that I am not the only one giving it up on the third date.