Linzenberg writes with the following HaBO (Stands for “Help a Bitch Out,” those who are like, HUH?) request. This, to me, sounds like a movie:
Back when I was, oh, I’d say 13 or so (so around the late-90s/early 2000s)
I managed to get my paws on My First Romance NovelTM. I knew it was a
Romance NovelTM, because it had S-E-X. How it ended up in my house, I have
no idea, because my mother took it out of the library and my mother is a
woman who says “Sugar” as a strong explicative. But somehow it made the
trip to our house and SOMEHOW it ended up in my room and SOMEHOW my eyes
bugged right out of my head at the delicious, sexy awesomeness of My First
Romance NovelTM. I’ve been searching for it for years now, for old time’s
sake, and cannot for the life of me remember what it was called or who it
was by. Luckily, I remember everything else:
The heroine is a successful English art agent in New York who’s positive
her reliable-if-dull boyfriend is going to propose to her. The book starts
with her getting all dolled up in a bright pink dress in her work bathroom
on the night of their umptieth anniversary, ready to meet reliable-if-dull.
Of course she is gobsmacked when reliable-if-dull breaks up with her (in the
nicest manner possible—this is important later) and asks her to move out.
She storms over to the hero’s townhouse (maybe in Chelsea? I seem to
remember the impression of there being trees on his street, so he wasn’t
in, like, the Financial District), breaking up a poker game. They’re
friends from back when they were young and broke (he’s now a writer, trying
to break out of the sophomore slump; she’s, as mentioned, English and an
art agent), and she somehow finagles staying in his guest bedroom until she
finds a place of her own. There’s a bet involved about meeting in a year
and it’s witnessed by the poker players about whom we immediately forget.
(Little Linzenberg: Describe the hero’s blond hair again!)
UST abounds as hero and heroine co-exist in the townhouse, both dating
younger people (she a very sincere actor boy [there’s a pretty hilarious
scene that skewers impenetrable off-Broadway theatre], he a hot-to-trot
young thing with a tongue ring from the creative writing class he teaches).
At one point all four go to Coney Island.
Meanwhile, reliable-if-dull ex-boyfriend has met heroine’s best friend
(Cat? Catalonia? Catatonic?) who is suitably Earth Mother-y and, after
giving him a tongue-lashing, tells him to take lichee fruit or something for
his allergies and falls in love with him. It’s actually kind of sweet.
The relationships with the young things falls apart as they usually do (if
only because the young things are not the hero and heroine, respectively)
and again, somehow, hero ends up going to England for heroine’s bratty
step-sister’s wedding. Of COURSE heroine cannot go stag, so they invent a
fictional relationship (Little Linzenberg: SQUEE!) and wing off to the
English countryside to climb through windows to get outside, play croquet,
and drink Pimms on the lawn. (Little Linzenberg: England is so classy!) As a
couple, hero and heroine have to share a room. (Little Lizenberg: Squee,
squee, SQUEE! Shhh! Mom might hear!)
Everybody buys the relationship, even hero and heroine, no more so than when
he ends up singing “Say a Little Prayer for You” in karaoke during the
rehearsal dinner festivities. They get drunk, stumble across the lawn
singing “You’re Sensational” from “High Society”, and he ends up
picking her up and carrying her up the stairs to their room where they make
out (Little Linzenberg: Oh. My. God.) only for her to freak and send him on
Horny and rejected, hero makes his way to the study where he remembers a bar
and gets a little more drunk. There, heroine’s step-sister finds him and
jumps his bones (Little Linzenberg: …) The next day, things get worse when
step-sister TELLS heroine about her little escapade.
This goes about as well as can be expected, and hero and heroine spend about
six months or so apart. Apparently, moping and being in love suit hero’s
muse, because he ends up writing his book in a cabin and having erotic
dreams about the heroine. (Little Linzenberg: She said “erotic”!) She
bumps into one of the poker players from waaaaaaay back in the second
chapter who then fulfills his duty by reminding her of the bet. She runs off
(in lace-up purple suede knee-high heeled boots [Big Linzenberg: Damn, that
woman had an excellent wardrobe]) and tracks down hero, they have their I’m
Sorrys and the book ends. It’s only until years later, writing a Help a
Bitch Out, that I realize there is absolutely no payoff and we never get to
see these two actually get together.
And that’s it. Clearly, I don’t actually need to read this book, since I
remember everything about My First Romance NovelTM. I’d ask my mother, but
she’d probably wash my mouth out with soap.
Wouldn’t you swear that was a movie, possibly with Ashley Judd or something? Anyone remember this book? With that much detail, I bet someone will know it instantly.