Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
(I figured since my last post, I would offer up my own story on the subject.)
A few years back, I was at a bookstore when a particular cover, featuring a very colorful cartoon graphic caught my eye. Picking up the book to examine it a little more carefully, it dealt with getting over former relationships. I then noticed that the author shared the same name as a former girlfriend I dated in college. I started to laugh, thinking how small of a world it is that we live in, when I looked at the back of the book. All of a sudden, the world got a lot smaller.
There was a picture of my first girlfriend, the first woman that I ever fell in love with. Now we dated for less than a year, total, but typically as first real relationships go, it was a pretty intense one. Now, I am not a big enough egomaniac to think that this book, after not seeing this person for over 10 years, would be about me. Having said this, I, of course, had to buy the book. I mean, as a well-respected blogger, it is my duty to keep my readers in the know, in regards to the literary world.
This book will be reviewed in two ways. The first review is a personally unbiased point of view of the text.
Review No. 1
The book is a very funny expose of the dating world. Between the author's experiences and the stories that she has gathered from others, the book shows how difficult it is to try to have a relationship with men. Although, there is plenty of guy-bashing in the book, men will find plenty of humor and inside information of what it is like for women to deal with the male specie. Some men might even recognize parts of themselves in the book. I can definitely say I fit this category.
Overall Grade: A-
The Review No. 2
Now comes the review, which contains more insight on the book than the average reviewer could do. In the book, the author doesn't use actual names in describing how horrible her past boyfriends were like, but I am guessing that anyone who knows the author, can figure out who is who. Nowhere in the book is a place for these "losers" to tell their side of the story. Well, that is about to change, as here is a much-needed epilogue to her book.
The author will be from now on referred to as "Liza", as I will follow the same method the author did by not defaming anyone in the book, by using his or her actual name. I met Liza during my sophomore year of college at the University of Iowa. I was killing some time and some brain cells, at a local meat market called the College Street Club. Since it was Christmas break, the majority of the students were gone, so the bar wasn't as packed as usual.
Working on a pretty good buzz, I noticed a very sexy brunette, who was sitting by herself. Up until this point of my life, I had never approached a woman that I didn't know from a class. Actually, this was my mode of operandi, as I always took one course each semester to meet babes. My best course for meeting women was a class in Fashion Design. The ratio in the room was 47 women and 3 guys. Of the women, I would estimate that 40 of them were babes, while of the males, I was the only one that wasn't dreaming of designing a ball gown for himself.
Even less sexy courses like Spanish, always had a couple of cuties that I would focus my charm on, so by the end of the semester they might think of me as "el uno hombre las chicas wanted to take back to their los apartamentos. (Somewhere in this sentence is the concept of me going back to some chick's pad. Espanol was definitely not a strong course for me, in case you hadn't figured that out already.)
I bring this background information up to demonstrate how unlikely it was for me to approach a complete stranger, especially one like Liza who looked like she had a future as a dominatrix. Well, as I said before, I was pretty well lubricated, (a phrase that has two whole different meanings, depending on your gender), so I decided to go for broke. I soon realized how apt the phrase "going for broke" would be, as I was allowed to buy some very expensive drinks for Liza, which weren't part of my poor college student's budget. Despite this, I continued to go into debt, buying her Long Island Iced Teas (the "roofies" of the 1980's), just for the chance that I might be able to get her drunk enough to forget her initial plan of using me as ATM machine for her alcoholism.
Well, my plan seemed to work, as this night was the beginning of a very intense relationship. Liza and I spent pretty much every minute together, when we weren't at class or working. Liza practically became a new roommate, which caused some tension with my fellow housemates. You see, this particular year I shared a house with three friends of mine, who just happened to be women. Yes, I was Jack Tripper plus one. The living arrangement had went well, up until this point, as I had made the great decision not to get romantically involved with any of my roommates.
Well, when "4's Company" added a pseudo-roommate in Liza, the
dynamic of things changed. The other girls were not as big of fans of Liza, as I was. This dislike that my female roommates had for my new girlfriend, was a consistent theme, as women in general didn't feel warmly to her. The biggest reason for this had to do with her dressing like a hooker out of a Miami Vice episode. This is not a look the average woman appreciates, but it is highly popular with 20 year-old man/boys. (Note: On the back of the book is a picture of the author, which shows that things have not changed that much in the sartorial department.)
The deterioration of my relationship with my housemates was unfortunate, but steady monkey love is a powerful drug. Liza was funny, beautiful, and intelligent which seems like all you need in a dream girl. What I discovered quickly was that it is important to have some kind of trust in your partner. When you are working some night at "The Burger Palace" (actual place, actual name), it is important to be able to expect that the woman you are falling in love with is not out at some dance club taking "charges" from the basketball team.
Well, this love rollercoaster continued on for more than five months, until it was almost the end of the semester. Liza was set to leave Iowa City to do an internship for Harper's Bazaar magazine in New York, so we were both trying to figure out how to manage this long-distance relationship. Well, Liza being a real go-getter, decided to solve this dilemma by getting some "personal training" from her Weight Lifting class's T.A. (The definition of T.A. is another one, which means different things depending on gender. Example: This was one T.A. who wanted his student's T. and A.)
Let me share with you that nowhere in her book does the author discuss how she did the proverbial "bench press" with her instructor. You might ask how I knew they had been getting it on? Well, I was walking down the street when I saw Liza and "Body by Jake" motoring down the street in her car. Insane with jealousy and rage, I went to her house and demanded that her roommate tell me the lowdown. Being a woman, she was not that fond of Liza, so she told me what was up with my girlfriend.
Being naïve in the ways of relationships, I marched over to the apartment of the University of Iowa's most caring instructor. Ringing the bell, Mr. Physical Fitness came to the door in a towel looking like someone who had just had his own bell rung. I asked if Liza was there and he said he wasn't sure, which was the kind of answer that comes from the mind of someone whose academic pursuit is knowing the best way to spot someone. In the background of the apartment I heard my sweet lovebird tell me to just leave, as I had no right to follow her. Let me say, that nowhere in her book does the above story appear.
Obviously, things were looking kind of bleak on our storybook romance. Liza left soon after for New York to do a summer internship for Harper's Bazaar magazine. I, on the other hand, spent the summer in Iowa City, behaving like a sailor on a weekend leave. All the same, I couldn't stop thinking about Liza. When school started back up for the fall semester, I ran into Liza and we had a nice discussion. Liza mentioned that she had missed me and since this was her last semester of school, she wanted to know if I would give our relationship another go. Considering that I still felt consumed by her, I said that sounded great.
For a couple of weeks, our arrangement worked well, as we got along exceedingly well. (If you are curious, she apologized to me for her past fling with the T.A. and said he was real jerk.) It was at this time that I met someone who was just as beautiful and intelligent. Considering that no discussion of exclusivity had been discussed between Liza and I, I felt I should pursue this woman, whose name was Susan. We went on a date and I discovered that Susan actually seemed as interested in me, as she did in herself. This was never a behavior exhibited by Liza, who was so self-absorbed, that in our typical conversation, I hardly ever talked about myself. I know this is hard to believe, but it is the truth.
Well, I quickly figured out that this seeing two women at one time was great for the ego, but a logistics nightmare. After going to a movie with my new friend, Susan, I decided to tell her what was going on. What clinched me leveling with her that night was that the movie we saw together was "Fatal Attraction" and I had no desire to see any boiling rabbits. I told Susan I would make a decision about our future within a couple of days.
The next day, while chatting with Liza in my apartment, I got a call from Susan. We started talking and after a couple of minutes, Liza asked who it was. I said it was a friend of mine named Susan and she told me to hang up the phone. I asked Susan to hang on a minute and started discussing the situation with Liza. Liza asked me who this Susan was and I told her that I had met her a couple of weeks ago and liked her quite a bit. At this point, a can of Chunky soup, which had been sitting on a table, was flung my way, just missing my head. Liza then said that if I didn't hang up the phone, we were over. (This paragraph sounds more like a court deposition than a column, but, hey, at least it was kind of exciting.)
I was never sure why I couldn't get over Liza that past summer, but at this point the voodoo hex she had put over me disappeared. I realized then that I didn't love her anymore, but needed to put her through some of the pain I had suffered myself, to create some closure on our relationship. (Typical male, right ladies?) This was the last time I ever saw Liza and my choosing not to hang up the phone turned out to be a great decision for me, as my relationship with Susan has trumped all others.
You might be curious if the soup-can softball story is in the book? The answer is no and that explains why her book is an interesting, but flawed book for the reader who happens to be one of her her ex's. To me, a great book would contain some honest stories about you; not just "I have dated a ton of men and each and everyone of them turned out to be a loser."
Overall Rating: B-
(Once again, please don't play detective and post who you think this person is and what the book title is named.)
As a fellow University of Iowa " enrollee' of the mid eighties and College Street Club hanger ( top floor back where the pool tables and the good music was . I REALLY enjoyed this article.. No Guesses here , but more tales from Iowa would be cool.
Hopefully, everyone can learn from fanerman, if you want to edit something in one of my pieces, tell me you liked it despite the mistake.
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