In the modern-day world of dating, it seems like most everyone thinks they have the right guy for you.
“And I always say, ‘do you?’ ” said Alix Strauss, author of Have I Got a Guy For You, a collection of comical and at times horrifying mother-daughter fix-up stories.
Have I Got a Guy For You, which debuted on Mother’s Day of 2008, is Strauss’ second collection of published shorts. The New York-based writer is well-known nationwide for her writing, with articles published in The New York Times, Time Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, and Esquire to name a few.
With the successful release of Have I Got a Guy For You, Strauss has been touring around the country promoting the book, and her next stop will be at the Weehawken Public Library on Oct. 22, at 7 p.m.
“What’s been amazing is that New Jersey seems to be the best place to go and read. I have had more bookings to read here,” said Strauss. “It’s charming just to think that New Jersey is such a reader state. We love Jersey. They have been our champions.”
Bad blind dates
Have I Got a Guy For You is a collection of 26 true stories about mothers trying to set their daughters up on dates. Unfortunately, as readers will see in the collection, mothers don’t always know best.
“Sadly the inspiration did indeed come from [personal experience],” said Strauss, who has been on her share of fix-ups courtesy of well-meaning mom. “It’s your mother so you want to stay optimistic and you try to stay open minded,” said Strauss.
However, Strauss is not alone, as most women can identify with similar disaster stories of their mothers meaning well, but setting them up on the worst blind dates imaginable.
“The last guy was married,” said Strauss. “She is not a member of the CSI Unit. She can walk into a murder scene, see the body, and ask, ‘so what happened here?’ ”
“[Mothers] can come in with the best of intentions, but I think all [they] hear is ‘man,’ we need one of those,” said Strauss.”
Over the years, Strauss can remember about six ‘memorable’ dates set up by her mother, including a guy with an eye patch.
“[My mother] is not big on the follow up questions,” explained Strauss, who added that her mom doesn’t seem to know the kind of guys she would be interested in dating.
Lucky for women everywhere, moms can find these prized gems anywhere. They can even be the brother of a storeowner, where mom gets her wine, or even her dentist.
“What I realized is your friends try to set you up once, maybe twice, but mothers never stop,” said Strauss. “I had written some of these woes down in an essay – [titled] ‘Where have all the good men gone?’ What I really had was a collection of essays and when speaking to writer friends [I found out] that they had been set up on disastrous dates by their mothers.”
It was a concept that had not been written about before.
“Nobody had done it before and this is such a specific nitch,” said Strauss. “Every mother wants to see their daughter happy and they think if their daughter is with someone she’ll be happy.”
“This is Carrie Bradshaw in 26 flavors,” said Strauss of Have I Got a Guy For You. “It’s a buffet of dating stories.”
Sharing battle stories
Strauss rallied women from all over the country to share some of their stories about mothers and dating.
“We had a good time, the stories are funny, and they are stories everyone can understand,” said Strauss. “Most women know what it is like to get fixed-up, and men get a kick out of it too or [at least learn] what not to do.”
In one of the stories, a woman’s date started spitting salad dressing into a cup during dinner.
“He liked the taste, but didn’t want to swallow it,” said Strauss. “We had one mother going on the Internet posing as her daughter without her knowing. We had some really interesting mothers, it was just a riot.”
The book includes women from all over the country including Los Angeles, Chicago, Texas, and Florida, who range in ages from their 20s to 60s.
“It was a wonderful mix,” said Strauss. “It was multi-generational and multi-religious.”
The book is filled with dating horror stories including one woman whose daughter was left on a ski mountain by the guy she was fixed up with after suffering an injury.
Out of over 100 submissions, Strauss selected 26 entries to use in the book. Many were writers, while others worked in various creative fields
But Strauss adds that they had one thing in common: “They all knew how to tell a story.” As for Strauss’ own accounts, she has included some of her experiences in the book’s introduction.
“The introduction has a sprinkling of my stories, but I really wanted these women to shine,” said Strauss. “The biggest goal I had [for the book] was I wanted the readers to meet three people in each story. The mother, the daughter and the date.”
On tour with mom
Strauss and her mother have toured together and appeared on TV and radio shows, and they both will appear in Philadelphia next week.
“My mother wanted to be an actor, but she had terrible stage fright,” said Strauss. “[However] the moment she’s up there she’s fine. It’s like a Liza Minnelli moment.”
Strauss started out as an actor as well and discovered writing through play writing.
“It was so evident and so crystal clear to me that I was a far better writer than an actor,” said Strauss. “I really fell into something that I was good at and it’s been difficult because I’m dyslexic. God bless my proofreaders.”
Her first published collection The Joy of Funerals was published in 2003, followed by the well-received Have I Got a Guy For You.
“It’s so hard to be a writer and there is something truly lovely about leaving a mark,” said Strauss.
Strauss has made guest appearances on Good Morning America and Live With Regis & Kelly, as well as other TV and radio shows. She also has another novel making the rounds to different publishing houses.
“I’m actually quiet dark,” said Strauss. “I am a very dark writer with a lot of humor. I’m black comedy all the way.”
“I would love to do a book from a guy’s point of view,” said Strauss about possible works to come. “We did find in doing many speaking engagements that a lot of women not only fix-up their daughters, they also try to fix-up their sons.”
Have I Got a Guy For You is available at local book stores, Amazon.com, and on Strauss’ website www.AlixStrauss.com.
“Love is out there,” said Strauss. “Meeting people is easy and falling in love is hard, but love is out there. It better be out there.”
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