The Grrl Genius Guide to Sex (with Other People): A Self-Help Novel

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9780312316389: The Grrl Genius Guide to Sex (with Other People): A Self-Help Novel

Who better to advise you on sex and relationships than a woman who has consistently failed at both? In this laugh out loud funny "self-help novel", self proclaimed genius and author Cathryn Michon provides a how not to guide for anyone tackling the daunting task of finding romance in today's world (or at the local fire station.)

Chock full of instructive relationship tips-such as the Pros and "Cons" of dating a man in prison-The Grrl Genius Guide to Sex (With Other People) is hilarious and right on the money both as an instructional guide and an endearingly romantic story about a woman and her four best friends who form The Grrl Genius Club. Armed with the information from Cathryn's Wild Sexual Animal Kingdom research and her "Love is Important but Chocolate is Essential" Chocolate Fun Facts, her posse of Grrl Geniuses struggle with singlehood, married life, sexual preferences, widowhood, and friendship. Cathryn's journey veers from a "nails-on-chalkboard-scratchingly-awful" divorce and the botched kidnapping of her own dog, to pretending to be a lesbian, seeing her old lingerie sold on her old front lawn by her ex-husband's girlfriend, losing her job, and a tragic industrial accident-level bikini wax. And through everything, Cathryn searches for the answer to the most important relationship question of all: why are all the best men gay?

If you've ever been tempted to have sex with another person, this is an essential read. If you've ever felt inadequate to a task or a failure at love or in any way anything less than a genius and you've sunk so low that even a new pair of cute shoes won't help, Cathryn Michon can show you the way to relationship happiness-all you have to do is learn from her very funny mistakes. However badly you think you've done anything, Cathryn has done it even worse, and reveals lessons learned in the wryly witty and devastatingly honest style that has made her the favorite of aspiring geniuses everywhere!

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About the Author:

Cathryn Michon is an award winning actress, writer and stand up comic, in addition to being a self-proclaimed genius. Her stand up show The Grrl Genius Club has played at the Hollywood Improv, Caroline's, and Madison Square Garden to sold-out audiences. She was the star of AMC's cult favorite series Grrl Genius at the Movies. Her television writing credits include Designing Women, China Beach, Sisters, South Park, and Diagnosis Murder. She is the author of Jane Austen's Little Advice Book, and the critically acclaimed The Grrl Genius Guide to Life. She insists that's a picture of her butt on the cover of this book (try to prove it's not).

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

GRRL GENIUS GUIDE TO SEX (WITH OTHER PEOPLE)
Chapter 1A Grrl Genius Declares Herself to Be a Genius of Sex and Relationships, Regardless of Her (Dismal) Track RecordIt's the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.--Marlene Dietrich 
 
LEAVING MY husband was easy. Leaving my dog broke my heart.Most people know that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. (I suppose the other 50 percent end in death, and there was a time I would have considered this to be the better option, but it's not as easy as you might think.) I have a lot of friends who have gotten divorced, and normally, when the couple first separates, it's the man who moves out of the marital house, gets an apartment, a sports car, and a blond girlfriend, while the soon-to-be-ex-wife stays in the home and takes sleeping pills and loses weight.But my separation wasn't normal at all, although the blond (with long dark roots) girlfriend did show up in pretty short order. My Napoleonically short, German,1 soon-to-be ex (let's call him Kurt, because in another one of those "so strange it must be fiction" coincidences, that's his name) had refused to leave the house, even though I was the one paying for it. This had perplexed me at the time because everything I knew about divorce I had learned fromthe TV show The Odd Couple which began with a woman handing Felix Unger a frying pan and telling him to go, so naturally I thought that once you handed them their pan, they would leave.Instead, within two months of my leaving, his towering, freakishly large-boned Hawaiian (with bleached-blond hair)2 girlfriend whose name I didn't even know (let's call her the Triceratops) moved in.3 Even worse, I didn't manage to lose a single pound!"No, you leave," Kurt sneered at me after a record-breaking six-hour fight during which I accused him of never really listening to me, to which he replied, no lie, "I don't have to listen to this!" No trace of irony crossed his cruelly handsome face as he marched dramatically around the living room I had bought and paid for during his ten-year, chronic, terminal unemployment. "I'm the only one who does any work around here!" he proclaimed joblessly. "You think you can live without me, fine, go ahead and try, but I'm not going to let you ruin my house," he announced with a flip of the pretentious long blond ponytail he wore to somehow compensate for his ever-expanding bald spot. "If you stay here, you'd let the place fall apart, and we'd be bankrupt in a month."Bankrupt!What you need to know about Kurt is that he considered himself to be an expert on managing money, of course by "managing" he means "hoarding, confiscating, and refusing to spend a nickel" unless it was on golf. The mere earning of money is something he leaves to lesser little worker bees like me.Yes, I was one of the thirty-five percent of American women who earned more money than her husband. In my case, when I say "more," I, of course, mean some.And I had to wonder what our maid and gardener would say about the "I'm the only one who does any work around here" crack.I was numb as I packed, numb when I woke up my best friend, Kim (at 4 a.m.), and told her I was leaving Kurt. She'd never said a bad word about him, but on hearing the news she barked, "It's about time you left that loser!" and offered me the keys to her guesthouse, because she's that kind of friend. I was completely numb as I loaded my car with the handful of items that Kurt let me take.But when I threw my arms around Thor, our giant, goofily affectionate Doberman pinscher, I wasn't numb at all. I sobbed."I'll come back and walk you every day, I promise," I choked, while Thor licked my face in what was his usual desperate attempt to cheer me up. I whispered into the dog's velvety ear, "It's better for you here in your big yard, Thor. But when we sell this place, I'll get a house for just the two of us, okay?"I knew that my husband wouldn't want our pet. Kurt, who was defensively diminutive at five feet six (an inch taller than I, as he constantly reminded me) had always longed to be physically intimidating and wanted Thor to be a menacing guard dog, willing to attack on command. Instead, Thor was a clumsy affable drooler who adored me and whose only attack behavior would have consisted of driving intruders mad by relentlessly demanding they "play fetch." In fact, the only "trick" that Thor had ever learned was that whenever he sat, he would pass gas. So I trained him to sit by shouting the command, "Thor! Fart!" and he would obediently both sit and fart simultaneously. My friends and I found this hilarious. (Kurt thought it was "immature," which was technically true, but in my opinion missed the point entirely.)Kim was waiting up for me in her giant kitchen when I arrived. She was a successful TV executive who had been my boss for a number of years and remained bossy around me thereafter. She lived on a large country estate, with many outbuildings, raising her three boys with her husband, Barnaby. Kim had wavy, shoulder-length dark hair, and the same long, coltish, lean legs as the thoroughbred horses on which she spent a fortune and kept in a largebarn at her giant cozy suburban home in Hidden Hills. She also had a brittle and sarcastic personality which wasn't helped by the fact that she'd been trying (unsuccessfully) to quit smoking for the past three years. But the look on her face as she stood there in her doorway--before sunrise--was only kind and loving and understanding, and the hug she gave me let me know I was welcome to stay as long as I needed.I don't know if other people do this, but I always think about which famous TV or movie star would be best to play the major players in the (blockbuster) movie of my own life. For example, my friend Kim would be played to sardonic perfection by Barbara Stanwyck, just as she was in the Preston Sturges classic The Lady Eve.After a few months spent metaphorically licking my wounds (while physically licking my Hershey bars) I moved out of Kim's guesthouse and got an apartment in the hot and hideous San Fernando Valley, Studio City to be exact.I kept my promise to Thor and still went back to the starkly modern, Bauhaus inspired Beverly Hills home (that I paid for!) daily, to walk him.On a sunny California Friday, I was driving in my old neighborhood and saw a giant fluorescent sign proclaiming SATURDAY! YARD SALE! EVERYTHING MUST GO! Like any normal urban vulture, I eagerly looked for the details on the address and time of the sale, knowing fully that the domestic failures of others often resulted in absurdly low-priced barely used Cuisinarts, or delicate little cashmere twin sets whose only crime was having been purchased by some castrating mother-in-law with a big Neiman's credit limit and no sense of emotional boundaries.Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the yard sale in question was to be held in my very own yard. The EVERYTHING that MUST GO! was EVERYTHING I HAD PAID FOR!This called for an emergency meeting of the Grrl Genius Club.My Grrl Genius Club consists of four strong-minded women who understand the importance of wine, chocolate, and talking a thing to death. The one rule of the club was this: We called ourselvesgeniuses no matter what. Our genius status was irrevocable, even when we ended up situations like the one I currently was in--contemplating having the emotional detritus of my marriage, in the form of old toaster ovens and used lawn chairs, laid out on the manicured lawn I worked fourteen-hour days to buy and have lovingly groomed by Guillermo, who in his disaster-plagued home country of El Salvador was a medical doctor, but here in L.A. was a gardener.In thinking about the yard sale that was going to be held on the yard I had paid for, to sell things I had paid for, I contemplated the difference between my gardener Guillermo and my soon-to-be-ex-husband. Kurt was a man for whom no job was good enough, a man who believed the only reason he wasn't a show-biz millionaire was because people were out to get him. He once tried to tell me that people in Hollywood were prejudiced against him because he was Lutheran. He theorized that Hollywood was a town run by Jewish men, and they all hated Lutherans.I should have learned (from little things like World War II) that when bossy Aryan guys start blaming Jews for their problems, logic goes out the window. Kurt truly believed that the reason he hadn't made a success of a career in show business was due to this horrifying prejudice. As the only child of a cloyingly doting mother, he simply couldn't believe that Hollywood had failed to hand him a brilliant career that required no effort beyond his mere existence. I would occasionally make the crazy suggestion that the reason he didn't have a successful career was because he didn't have, well, a job. I thought, foolishly, that a "job" would be a good place to start something like a "career."On the other hand, Guillermo, my gardener, was grateful to work at any job, no matter how lowly, in order to care for his family. I never heard Guillermo say that the reason he wasn't a doctor in America was because he wasn't Jewish. He said he wasn't a doctor in America because he needed to pass his medical boards, which he eventually did. This leads me to my first relationship tip.Grrl Genius Relationship TipWhen you have more respect for the man you pay to mow your lawn than you have for the man you married,. it's time to end the relationship.Grrl Genius Relationship Tip Corollary(With the husband, not the gardener.)Besides Kim and me, the Grrl Genius Club consisted of Vonnie and Amelia. Like many Grrl Genius Club meetings, this one was held in Vonnie's incense-infused cozy Hollywood Hills cottage. Over pinot grigio and homemade chocolate cupcakes, this matter of the Divorce Yard Sale was discussed with the grave attention it deserved.Vonnie lounged on a pillow-strewn divan, casually running her finger through the thick, deep, dark icing on the top of her cupcake, allowing it to make furrows and ridges not unlike those that marked the acreage of her family farm back in Iowa. "Go know," she said. "That ex of yours doesn't have the good sense God gave a squirrel."Vonnie was a widow and a TV actress in her fifties who played a plain-talkin' secretary on a famous 1970s sitcom and now made her living lending her folksy, "vaguely familiar but I can't place it," voice to ads for everything from floor wax to dessert topping. Vonnie was sassy, frighteningly honest, and enormously tall, with flame-red hair that she wore in a short, defiantly spiky hairdo. She was like an Amazonian Lucille Ball, but the kind of Lucille Ball who wouldhave told Ricky she didn't care what he said, she was going to be in the show! Vonnie never lost her Iowa good sense, which she coupled with the fatalistic detachment she learned in her chosen religion of Buddhism. She was an inspiration to all of us, because after a long time searching, she found her true love, Eldon, when she turned forty-three. Ten years later, Eldon had the temerity to "up and die on her." Three years after his death, she still grieved his loss on a daily basis."I just can't believe he moved his frigging girlfriend into your house that you bought and paid for," said Kim, nervously fiddling with a cigarette as she manically chewed on both cupcake and a double dose of Nicorette gum."Well, I'm going to that yard sale," Amelia announced."I think we should all go," agreed Vonnie with typical loyalty."No, that's a bad idea. He'll recognize you and Kim," Amelia said. "He doesn't know me--I can be a more effective spy if I go alone."Amelia was an exotic-looking black woman with dreadlocks, who favored starkly stylish clothing. She was a very high-end interior designer to the stars, specializing in the postmodern houses of Richard Lautner, who was the most favored architect among the wealthiest people in L.A. She had dramatic features and impeccable posture and always carried herself like deposed African royalty. In the movie of my life, she could be played by none other than Angela Bassett, who is so beautiful and interesting that she just makes everyone else (me) embarrassed to be white and dull and Midwestern. Amelia was Texas-raised, and had been for ten years the domestic partner of one of America's top female performers, the stand-up comedienne and talk-show host Clarissa McDaniels. Amelia's relationship with Clarissa had broken up over a year ago, in a flurry of tabloid coverage. I learned from Amelia a critical piece of Grrl Genius relationship advice I am going to pass along to you, gentle readers.Grrl Genius Relationship TipIf you must get a divorce, try to get divorced from a woman.Grrl Genius Relationship Tip CorollaryThis may not be practical for everybody.I took another hit of frosting. I swallowed the chocolate and looked at my Grrl Genius friends. Their love and support for me was overwhelming and almost, but not quite, as comforting as the opiate of Valrona 70 percent cocoa solids cocoa mixed with sugar, butter, and pure cream. I was a rich woman to have friends and frostings like these."I can't believe you would do that for me, Amelia. I can't believe that you would be willing to infiltrate my yard sale," I gushed tearfully, feeling very emotional because there were only two cupcakes left."Well, of course. It's the least I can do. Besides, you have good stuff. If he's unloading those gorgeous wicker chairs, I want to get my bid in.""I can't believe I am such a loser, I can't believe I'm such an idiot to have married him," I wailed pathetically."Sweetie, you've got to buck up, I can't hear this from you. You're supposed to be a Grrl Genius, and to me that means having the genius to admit when you've been an idiot and then learning from your mistakes," Vonnie insisted. "Now eat your cupcakes and stop blubbering."She was absolutely right. About the cupcakes anyway. 
I have a brain and a uterus, and I use both.--Patricia Schroeder 
 
On the morning of the yard sale, I was on a breakfast date with a man named Ben. If my life were a movie, I imagine that Ben would be played by the pasty-faced and weasely but nonetheless brilliantly talented Philip Seymour Hoffman.Now, I wasn't a relationship expert at the time, but my instinct to make a breakfast date with Ben was excellent. Now that I am a fully credentialed (by me!) relationship expert, I can tell you that breakfast dates are the easiest way to dispense with a man who insists on asking you out, even though you know for a stone-cold fact that he is gay.Ben was a TV sitcom writer I'd known for years who would insist on greeting me every time he saw me at the bar in the Hollywood Improv with an enormous hug, an unwelcome smack on the lips, and the following phrases: "This woman is the most amazing woman in L.A.! If she weren't married, I'd marry her, whether she wanted to or not!""Yeah, Cathryn is totally pretty and smart," agreed Tyler, the adorable twenty-four-year-old bouncer at the club, "but she's totally married, so, you know, back off."Tyler was one of those people who just loved his job. He loved being a bouncer, whether it was for the club or for people's failing marriages. It wa...

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