Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

The Bookmobile: An Excerpt from "I Don't Care About Your Band"

MUST LOVE CATSOnce upon a time, our pal Julie Klausner went on a date with a man she'll call "Rob." This relationship is among quite a few quite vividly covered in her new nonfiction book, I Don't Care About Your Band, which is out today. Just now! This is where you can buy it on Amazon. Go ahead, we'll wait. You should know that this book's subtitle is "What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I've Dated." Highly descriptive, and also accurate! Anyway, back to Rob. We were quite taken with this excerpt because she manages to both memoir and meta-memoir simultaneously-a neat trick. Let's all hold hands and read together.

We went to a glorified diner called Bendix, and it wasn't a date, because I had a boyfriend. Rob wasn't initially attractive to me, but because he was so gooey and determined, I grew fond of him quickly. I think there's something beyond the grass being greener that fuels one's attraction to men who exist outside of a relationship you're in. It permits you to twist the reality of meeting what's merely a self-centered guy who wants what he can't have into a self-congratulatory progress tale. You think to yourself, "Well, I'm different now-I'm girlfriend material-so, of course he wants to be with me. If only I weren't in this dumb relationship with a guy who's already proven he wants to be my boyfriend, I'd be in the throes of what is an oyster-like world of pearl-paved streets. Dumb Guy Who Loves Me! Doesn't he realize how explosively the universe has changed since I've been cooped up being loved within the confines of reality?

After Bendix, and its ensuing meatloaf, Rob walked me home and kissed me. And as soon as he did, I felt every last cell in my body rush with guilt. I am too inherently neurotic to ever cheat on somebody without treating myself to a concurrent crucifixion, so the day after I was kissed, I broke it off with the guy I was dating so I could legitimately fall for Rob….

My on-the-marketness was like an unsolicited homework assignment for the guy who, twenty-four hours earlier, was falling over himself to charm me with compliments lavished over too-expensive loaves of meat. I saw his behavior flip a bitch. Clearly, Rob was freaked out that I'd actually gone through with the steps I had to take in order to date him with a clear conscience, and now he felt responsible for my being available.

After that, we would get together for what I suppose are technically dates to a twenty-two-year-old, which is how old I was at the time, but since he was thirty-one, I can't really call what we were doing "dating." We were hanging out and hooking up….

We would always sleep at my apartment. He was superprotective of his space, and also, as it turned out, paranoid about being seen with me around his friends, because, he explained, he was concerned they would "gossip." That's a double-threat of sorry-ass. It was quickly becoming clear, even to a self-congratulatory progress tale in her early twenties, that there was no fucking way in the world Rob wanted to be my boyfriend. He'd invite me to see one of his shows, then he'd have me meet him a block away once he got offstage, so nobody would see us leaving the theater together and speculate that we were an item….

I'd never had the experience of being anyone's secret lover-the girl who hides in the garbage can or shows up wearing a false mustache. "Dating" Rob was the closest I'd come to being with a guy who cared more about what his friends thought than the girl he was screwing felt. I didn't get that at all. Why didn't he just fuck his friends?

I chewed him out over that "wait for me around the corner" bullroar, because even with the self-esteem of a twenty-two-year-old, I was never a doormat. It had been a couple of months already-what was he hiding? I didn't know that this is just how some guys are, and that you should avoid them, like people with tattoos on their faces or relatives who want to borrow money. I just couldn't reconcile the way Rob was with the way he changed after I no longer had a boyfriend.

Then 9/11 happened.

Hey, don't you love memoirs? What other genre can footnote an unprecedented historical atrocity as a plot point in a fuck-buddy story?

"He made me wait for him around the corner, the asshole! Then planes hit buildings and people died just because they came to work that day, and it smelled like burning tires below Fourteenth Street for a month and people who believed in God all of a sudden had to defend their certainty after bearing witness to something so uniquely sensless and chaotic and cruel. I mean, yeesh! I can't decide who's a bigger jerk-Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or that prick I was dating!"

Anyway, I remember being uncertain whether to call Rob that day. Like everybody else who lived in the city, I was getting concerned emails and phone calls from everybody I knew, and I remember being unsure if it was OK to get in touch with the guy I was sleeping with, or whether that wasn't too forward. As in, maybe, if I wasn't casual enough, he'd make me wait for him two blocks away next time….

This is the compromise I made about contacting Rob during what I decided, because I am Einstein, was an unusual circumstance. I sent him an email message with the subject header "ARE YOU OKAY?!?!?!?!"

There was nothing in the body of the text. That kept me mysterious. I sent that message off to Rob and patted myself on the back. I thought my email was a great balance between concern about whether my friend with benefits was all right after a terrorist attack, and nonchalance, which I figured would, one day, make him treat me better. Among the unfathomable multitude of things I did not know at the time is that a "friend with benefits" is like a unicorn that shits cupcakes-fun to imagine, but not actually real.

Julie Klausner is not going to tell you right now that things with Rob don't actually, in the end, work out very well. No, not at all! I know, right? That's the sneaky way we have here at The Awl try to get you to buy her book.

39 Comments / Post A Comment

jolie (#16)

I'm going out in exactly 21 minutes and buying this book, and I cannot wait to crawl into bed tonight clutching it, a glass of wine with 30 ice cubes in it, and a joint. BECAUSE I KNOW HOW TO LIVE, PEOPLE.

Screen Name (#2,416)

Me too, except for the buying the book part and the ice cubes.

jolie (#16)

I think I might not trust people who don't cube their wine?

Bittersweet (#765)

Even red?

Exactly how big are your wine glasses?

sunnyciegos (#551)

This sounds delightful!

kingdiamond (#3,211)

Fuck's SAKE. I thought the whole not-that-anyone-asked-but-here's-500-pages-bout-my-dating-life thing had died a well-earned death by the close of Seinfeld. Or by the 15th minute of Emily Gould's "career". Yet, here I sit killing time at work, and, lo, a fresh batch of basketcases are still pulling Michener-sized volumes of solipsistic blather out of their navels.

Unbookmarking The Awl now, KTHXBAI.

Bye! It was nice to see you!


"Pure autobiographies are written either by neurotics who are fascinated by their own ego, as in Rousseau's case; or by authors of a robust artistic or adventurous self-love, such as Benvenuto Cellini; or by born historians who regard themselves only as material for historic art; or by women who also coquette with posterity; or by pedantic minds who want to bring even the most minute things in order before they die and cannot let themselves leave the world without commentaries."

–Friedrich Schlegel, 1798.

Eureka Street (#1,349)

I Don't Care About Your Bookmarks


Also, I don't have The Awl bookmarked either. I simply type http://www.theawl.com into my browser.

Eureka Street (#1,349)

I have my ways, but

Google.com –> "Aaawwwlll" "yeah" "motherfuckers!" –> I'm Feeling Lucky

isn't one of them :(

Flashman (#418)

I have to blow through my writing tube at the letters a…w…l.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

I think I have actually had this window open since they handed me this Dell piece of shit.

Matt (#26)

But wait, is this the real King Diamond? If so, I may have to reevaluate some things. I mean, the man wrote "A Corpse Without Soul."

Dude, respect the ecosystem. Or did Avatar teach you nothing?

Clip Arthur (#2,024)

Treading lightly on this since I'm a fan of Julie's comedy, but there have been some online semi-personal kerfuffles-mixed in with dysfunctional gossip from an abusive asshat I worked with that we mutually know-and must say this (directed to "kingdiamond"):

Why the $@!%& do people take it so personally when anyone who has not achieved mega-fame (one side, mostly white males) or mega-pain (the other side, often filled with non-white males) decides to take pen to paper and write a book, make a film, paint a picture or do anything? It's baffling. Its not like one book pushes out the shelf space of others. Heck, ever been in a bookstore: Most shelves are overflowing and there are cats sleeping on the piles books!

So whatever. You don't want to read this. Whoop-de-do. You know what? I never wanted to read James Frey because the second I heard the reviews and summary of his supposed "hard life" I knew it was B.S.; I grew up with enough real people who went through real pain to know that guy was a liar. Yet that guy got a deal, got a best-seller, got busted, got scoled by Oprah. But guess what? His book is still on the shelves. And still sells.

Also, King Diamond? Really? It's 2010. At least graduate to some Celtic Frost. It's 2010; not 1986. Yeesh.

Tyler Coates (#451)

I Don't Care About Your Band is the best book I've read all year!

Ken Layne (#262)

Bought it. Bought it for this alone:

"Hey, don't you love memoirs? What other genre can footnote an unprecedented historical atrocity as a plot point in a fuck-buddy story?"

Bittersweet (#765)

Yep, hooked me too.

KarenUhOh (#19)

All Art is solipsism. All solipsism is Art.

Anyway, that's my rules.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Is it mansplaining if I have visions of Klausner as a fill-in on Hollywood Squares?

JulieKlausner (#1,143)

Um, no. It's THE BLURB OF THE SECOND EDITION. (from your mouth to the Ghost of Paul Lynde's glorious ears) x

Antonia Capet (#2,372)

I have read this book and it is WONDERFUL. It is better than any "dating" book out there because it is funny and true and painful and true and funny. I actually paid my own money for it.

PS I don't know Julie Klausner but I WISH I DID.

JulieKlausner (#1,143)

Thank you, mom! Just kidding. Let's get burritos some time! I eat them constantly. For she-rious! x

Antonia Capet (#2,372)

Hello! Also, you never call.

Antonia Capet (#2,372)

For serious, though, it is so rare to find a book that tackles not only the awkwardness of dating but also the implied reasoning into/out of weird situations and the relationship to childhood dynamics but in the FUNNIEST possible way. I was underlining shit like it was Habermas. It was geeky. But worthwhile! My journal thanks you.

MatthewGallaway (#1,239)

Excited to read the whole thing!

starbex (#3,144)

I love this book so much. I love it so much that I want to do dirty things with it on the first date even though it will never call me again. and then I will drunktext it even though it will never write back.

eg (#1,137)

When, at your delightful urging, I went to order this book on Barnes and Noble.com (bn.com), it was suggested I might also enjoy:

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell
The Bro Code
The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love: A Fallen Southern Belle's Look at love, Life, Men, Marriage, and Being Prepared
Drink, Play, F@#k: One Man's Search for Anything Across Ireland, Las Vegas, and Thailand

Best-seller-list here you come, Julie!

Jenkins (#1,696)

Holy shit, this was amazing. I am buying the book first thing tomorrow.

Jenkins (#1,696)

I'm also recommending this book to a friend of mine who dates the WORST guys in the history of New York, so that she knows that she is not alone, and that other intelligent, attractive women have been there…something that should be obvious, but sometimes isn't…

Daisy (#2,667)

I was just about to order this from Amazon, but I don't want to wait for shipping so I'm actually going to the store tomorrow.

6h057 (#1,914)

I bought this book and all I got was to make this lame comment reply.

Stray Bullet (#3,237)

Do I really need to learn about someone else's foibles in the big wide dating world? I think not. My friends and I have just as many screwed relationship stories that we relate to each other in unproariously funny short stories over drinks. Or coffee. Or dinner. Or on a walk. But maybe everybody else doesn't have friends like mine, or can tell a story as well as we do. Maybe we should write a book about it. Yeah….that's the ticket. So did I ever tell you why my first wife asked me out? No? Oh god, you gotta sit for this one….


I've never bought a book about "the big wide dating world." But this one seems to have been written by a sharp wit with a sense of humor, so I'll bite. Much like your comment!

Stray bullet@ Stray Bullet.

GailPink (#9,712)

Even if the book blows, it has the best title ever.

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