Andi Buchanan's Boyfriend List

Its_a_boyAndi Buchanan, managing editor of Literary Mama and editor of a collection of that same name plus Mother Shock: Loving Every (other) Minute of It, is on the GCC with me. Her boy book is rather different from my own.

Mine: The Boy Book (out in October) Ruby Oliver's continuing adventures in kissing, social leprosy and the horrors of high school.
Hers: It's a Boy: Women Writers on Raising Sons (out now) Essays on aggression, teenagers, and the relationships between mothers and boys.

Interesting, right? Her website has notes about the essays inside, plus links to like a zillion blogs on parenting and the like which reviewed her book.

Andi also has a fun and interesting blog that's good reading not just for mothers but for anyone interested in balancing domesticity and feminism, work and play, sexuality and ambition. (Not that those are all opposites!)
And she wrote us this educational and pithy boyfriend list!

Thanks, Andi!


What I Learned From My Boyfriends
by Andi Buchanan

The comedian
Timing is everything. Also, once you analyze the comedy, it's not funny anymore.

The basketball player
Work on your three-point shot.

The musician
When someone says he's a tortured artist who's no good for anyone and can't be saved, believe him.

The one that got away
When someone says he likes you and thinks you're smart and talented and beautiful, believe him.

The secret one
Love is possible, even when you are sure it's not, even when you least expect it.

The one I married
Love is choosing each other, again and again, every day.

Tamara Siler Jones Un-Boyfriend List

Threads Tamara Siler Jones is on the GCC with me, and she writes forensic procedural mysteries in a fantasy setting. So you can fulfill your mystery jones and your fantasy geekitude at the same time!

In her latest, THREADS OF MALICE a vicious killer stalks the quiet towns of the northern kingdom, kidnapping and murdering boys. With a score dead and two more missing, can Dubric Byerly, head of security at Castle Faldorrah, find the killer before he strikes again? For it's his curse to be forever haunted by the ghosts of those whose deaths demand justice...
Here's an excerpt.

Anyway, Tamara (clever gal that she is) wrote us a very UNUSUAL boyfriend list that ties in with her scary books!

Ten Serial Killers I’m REALLY glad I never dated…
by Tamara Siler Jones

10. Albert DeSalvo (Measuring Man, Boston Strangler) – Not only did he tie his victims up and strangle them, he liked to bite them, too. I’m just not into that.

9. Ted Bundy (at left) – A broken arm and you need some college co-ed to help you? C’mon. How wussy can you be? Cute can only take you so far.

8. John Wayne Gacy – Gotta love the general-contractor tool belt and the big guy strength, but that smell’s not from the roaches.

7. Henry Lee Lucas – Not the brightest crayon in the box, can’t keep a job… There’s more to life than rampant destruction and dismembering.

6. Edmund Kemper – He’s big, but a mama’s boy. At least until he took off her nagging head. I don’t nag, but, still… Rather not take the chance.

5. Jeffrey Dahmer – Now while I have to appreciate his culinary bent, the “living zombie sex toy” idea is just too freaking creepy.

4. Albert Fish – He’s the original “dirty old man” but I couldn’t handle his fetish for shoving needles in his privates. Eeew!

3. Jack the Ripper – The dude had style, and was good with his hands. He had real talent for surgery. Too bad he had a thing for disease-ridden prostitutes.

Charlesmansonjpg2. Charles Manson – (at left) Started a cult then killed people for kicks? You’re supposed to start a cult then make buckets of money off the easily led. And what’s with the swastika on the forehead. That is so not cool.

1. Richard Ramirez (Night Stalker) – Satan worshipping psychopath, just the kind of guy you want to take home to meet the folks.

P.S. Tamara has a blog!

Lola Douglas's Boyfriend List

In True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet Lola Douglas gives us the inside scoop on what (fictional) teen star and former drug-addict Morgan Carter did after rehab. She went undercover in a small town, trying to live a so-called normal life so that she can make a big-time comeback with a tell-all memoir after a year of quiet sobriety.

But normal life is harder than it looks, and Morgan misses her adventures in the Viper Room with Lindsday Lohan and people of that ilk. I read it, and thought it was a very funny page-turner will all the dishy charm of Star magazine, but a lot more depth. Romantic Times says: "this unpredictable tome is pure enjoyment."

Anyway, Lola keeps her private life none of our business -- but she wrote us a little boyfriend list for her main character, Morgan!

Morgan Carter's Boyfriend List
by Lola Douglas

1. Frankie Muniz - My first on-screen kiss. He tried to slip me the tongue but I threatened to bite it off.
2. Rider Strong (at left) - My second on-screen kiss. He, too, tried to slip me the tongue, but this time I didn't mind so much.
3. Chris Marquette - My first OFF-screen kiss. And my second. And my third, forth, fifth ... after a while I lost track.
4. Brad Renfro - My date for the first Academy Awards ceremony I attended. He got wasted and threw up on the $15k Badgley MIschka loaner gown I wore. I guess I should be thankful he ralph on the Harry Winston jewelry.
5. Harlan Darly - BIGGEST. MISTAKE. EVER.
Aaron_carter16. Aaron Carter (at left)- Who hasn't dated this guy? We actually weren't together for real, but for photo ops and stuff - to help him get out of that nasty Hillary/Lindsay love triangle thing. (Could you believe I actually boosted HIS Q rating?)
7. Jason Dohring - Before he was Logan Echols, he was my soulmate. At least, for the two weeks we hung out before I OD'd outside the Viper Room and did a six-month stint in rehab.
8. Eli Whitmarsh - What can I say? I found true happiness with a Midwestern nerd.

Lara Zeises's Boyfriend List

Anyonebutyou_1 Novelist and self-proclaimed "certified pop-culture junkie" Lara Zeises (pronounce it to rhyme with Sarah) has a very fun, chatty blog and is the author of Contents Under Pressure and other good stuff, including the new Anyone But You. She's on the GCC with me.

Anyone But You is great. I've read it. It's about a pair of step-siblings, Seattle and Critter, who have always been best friends -- until the events of one hot, confused summer threaten to rip them apart.
Anyway, Lara made us a boyfriend list -- and it is adorably surprising! Check it out. And read her novel!

"Guys I'd Kill to Make Out With" Boyfriend List
by Lara Zeises

10. Giovanni Ribisi. Remember when he was Corey Kupkus on MY TWO DADS?
9. Ben Affleck. No, I'm not immune to the Affleckian charms.
8. Warrick from CSI. The eyes alone do me in, but the mouth! Yum.
7. Shia La Beouf. But only if I was ten years younger.
6. Jason Lee. Utterly dreamy, even when he's sporting "I haven't bathed in weeks" hair.
5. Corey Haim circa 1987. You know, before the heroin and all.
Piven4. Jeremy Piven. I would so hug it out with him. Many, many times.
3. Vincent D'Onofrio. If you haven't seen THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD, you should totally rent it. Like, now.
2. Vince Vaughn. Jen is so much better off with him than pretty boy Brad. Ear muffs!
1. Breckin Meyer. Don't ask me why, but I've had totally random dreams in which he is my boyfriend and I am more than smitten. This is over a series of years, people.

Bonus guy who almost made my list: the dude from PRISON BREAK, because he has the absolute bestest set of kissing lips ever.

Gayle Brandeis's BIRDfriend List

If you'reDeadbirds If you're a writer, you should definitely check out Fruitflesh, by Gayle Brandeis. It's a thoughtful guide to writing, specifically for women. With fruit meditations!

Anyway, Gayle is also a novelist and fellow member of the GCC, and The Book of Dead Birds won the Barbara Kingsolver Bellwether prize when it first came out in 2002. Now it's in paperback -- and Toni Morrison (Toni Morrison!!!!!!) said the novel "has an edgy beauty that enhances perfectly the seriousness of its contents."

The Book of Dead Birds centers on a young woman, Ava, whose mother was a prostitute in Korea who married a white American soldier, only to be abandoned by him in the States when she gave birth to a baby with dark skin. Ava tries to come to terms with her mother's difficult past while finding herself and volunteering to help environmental activists save thousands of birds poisoned by agricultural runoff.

Gayle, magically clever woman that she is, wrote us BIRDfriend List instead of a boyfriend list! That zebra finch is cuter than pretty much any guy I've ever met, that's for sure.
Anyway, it's lovely reading, and gives you an idea of her gently humorous, thought-provoking style.


The Birdfriend List
by Gayle Brandeis

I've had crushes on plenty of birds. Not romantic crushes—I haven't wanted to kiss a bird, or marry one. I'm not that much of a freak. But certain birds have made my heart soar. Here are a few:

1. The myna bird at Tally Ho restaurant in Evanston, IL. I met this bird when I was in utero. My pregnant mom was standing in the lobby of the restaurant when the bird, in a cage by the hostess stand, said to her "I know what's in there!" And it was me! That same bird liked to flirt with my dad. It would say "Hi there" in a very throaty voice that always turned my dad's head.

2. The little yellow bird that used to sit on the balcony railing of our fifth floor apartment when I was a girl. I never found out what sort of bird it was—an oriole, maybe?—but I was always excited to see it there. I was sure it came just to visit me.

3. The baby chicks in the incubator at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. That and the coal mine were my two favorites exhibits at the museum. I could stand in front of that incubator for hours, watching a hole form in an egg shell, watching a beak emerge, watching the wet bird force its way out. Another incubator was full of chicks who had dried off, puffballs of yellow. I wanted to touch them so badly.

Zebrafinch4. Zebra finches, the only pet birds I've ever had (before I found out I'm allergic to feathers.) We bought a pair when I was 10, and named them Romeo and Juliet. Then Romeo laid an egg inside their bamboo cage, and we re-named them Romiette and Julio. I loved the birds, and was so excited to see their little blue eggs. Their story ended in tragedy, just like the Shakespeare play, though--they pecked their babies to death. It was very traumatic (as crushes often can be).

5. Robin red breasts. My parents told me that robin red breasts were the first sign of spring. I was always excited to see them hopping around in the dwindling snow.

6. The birds who have used my dad for target practice. My dad must have a bullseye on his head. Birds love to poop on him; they seem to have a real sense of humor. It has provided hours of entertainment (especially when we were at Disneyworld, and he thought someone had sprayed hot mustard all over him.) Birds have it in for my dad; he's also been chased by a turkey. My son seems to have inherited the bullseye; he has been the target of several droppings already.

7. Crows. The biker boys of the bird world. I was always a little scared of them, especially after I read a story about how they could be a sign of death, but I've always felt drawn to them, too. West Nile Virus wiped out our local crow population a couple of years ago, and I missed them tremendously. I'm very glad to see their slow return.

8. Red tailed hawks. Birds of prey are plentiful in Southern California, but it's always a thrill to see them spreading their wings over the freeways.

9. Pelicans. Ever since writing The Book of Dead Birds, which features a lot of pelicans, I've had very warm, almost maternal, feelings for the strange pouched birds. We live down the street from a park with a small man made lake; for the last couple of years, pelicans have been making it their winter home, and it's such a delight to be their neighbors. I also have crushes on the Canada geese and snowy egrets that hang out in the park, too. The ducks are more like good friends than crushes.

10. The wild parrots on our street. Six parrots have moved into a redwood tree down the block. It is such a rush to see a flash of green over my head. They make me feel wild, myself, and isn't that what a good crush should do?

P.S. Here is Gayle's blog!

Cecil Castelluci's Boyfriend List

The most fabuloso Miss Cecil Castelluci, my online pal, spinster-celebrationist, and author of Boy Proof and the forthcoming Queen of Cool, has written a super-cool boyfriend list on her blog. Plus, she says nice stuff about my book. And I didn't pay her.

The list is superamusing and thought-provoking and you should go and read it now!

On another note, last night I went to teen author drink night, which is a regular event involving TEEN AUTHORS HAVING DRINKS. Meaning authors who write for teenagers, not actual teenagers. So nothing illegal was going on.
We were even given free drinks we didn't order by the bartender, which made me feel young and hot to trot, though I am neither. YANY! (young adult authors of new york! pronounced YANEEE. That acronym and its pronunciation are thanks to Cecil as well, actually. Can you tell she lives in California, where they get to be called LAYA, pronounced L-A-Y-A? ).

Megan Crane's Boyfriend List (kind of)

Mcrane140expmegan_crane13Megan Crane (doesn't she have great hair?) is on the GCC with me, and more importantly she's the author of a hilarious and romantic grad-school comedy, English as a Second Language, plus a new novel, Everyone Else's Girl, which promises to be just as thoughtful and funny as the first.

It's a smart and sassy story about going home to live with your parents.
Megan says:
"I wrote the bulk of EVERYONE ELSE'S GIRL while involved in what I like to call an "extended move" from York, England to Los Angeles, which really means I spent six months hidden away in my parents' attic finishing up my dissertation, something I felt I was unlikely to do once I escaped west.
What, I thought at the time, was more likely to make a grown women revert to her absolute worst than an extended stay right smack in the middle of her adolescence? I knew what that was like, after all. I spent most of my twenties living in short term housing in random cities (four months in Hoboken, NJ, I'm looking at you), student housing (as detailed in my first novel, English As A Second Language - that communal kitchen cured me of being a slob where years of my mother's tutelage never could), or crammed into my childhood bedroom on the second floor of my parents' house. Complete with twin beds, rules concerning the use and placement of towels, and all those surround-sound memories of my hideous teen years. And that was just in the bedroom."

Everyone Else's Girl is in stores now now, and Meg Cabot says this about it: "Megan Crane rules! Cancel your evening plans. You won't want to stop reading until you've devoured every delicious word."

Oh yeah -- Megan and I went to the same college! And studied the same thing in graduate school!
Though sadly we do not have the same hair.
But if you want to read a long, literary type conversation Megan and I had last year on the website Beatrice, you can. Note: Beatrice prints the last part of the conversation first, because it's a blog. So you really should scroll to the bottom, read that bit, and then read on up.

Anyway, I heartily recommend Megan's books, and she wrote us a vair vair amusing boyfriend list that has an interesting lesson at the end of it.

by Megan Crane

Mcrane140everyoneelsesgiI would like to write a boyfriend list, mostly because I would like to have a boyfriend list. Unfortunately, there are only three men in the world who ever admitted publicly to being my boyfriend, and one of them lives with me. This is, obviously, a pathetic tally.

So let me present the true guiding force in my life: The Epic Crush. An Epic Crush requires dedication. Pining. Patience to last whole years in between sightings, and the ability to live for long stretches of time with a Wound That Will Never Heal-- that wound being, generally speaking, said Epic Crush's usually equally epic disinterest.

MY FIRST EPIC CRUSH started in the sixth grade. M. was tall and sweet, and I think he had blue eyes. M. dated the one Popular Girl I was actually friends with, a friendship which ended when I felt she treated M. poorly. Naturally, I made speeches concerning her general selfishness but I was really just feeling righteous on M.'s behalf. M. was the first to inspire Epic Poetry, the less said about which, the better. (Many years later, I would be extremely drunk at my high school reunion, where M. would ask me why I wasn't yet published, I would confess my crush of years' past, and the resulting humiliation would force me to vow never to attend another reunion as long as I live.)

THEN THERE WAS J2, for whom I wrote whole books. No less than fourteen black and white notebooks, filled with the riveting tale of the pudgy girl who underwent a miraculous transformation one summer, thereafter winning widespread popularity and--more important-- the heart of one thinly-veiled J2. Much was made of J2's beautiful silver eyes. My obsession with eyes, often commented on by my agent, started here. So did my tendency to create entire fantasy personalities for boys I liked. My feelings for J2 raged on for years, until the dark day I met up with him outside a local brewery to discover that a) he didn't remember me, which was crushing but, more to the point, b) he was gay.

WHICH BRINGS ME TO S. Oh, S. I still feel a little pang when I think about S., who I met at my second summer camp and just adored, from the age of seventeen until twenty-two. (The pang I feel now is not so much love lost, mind you, but severe shame for my atrocious behavior, but I'm getting ahead of myself.) I remember with perfect clarity the first time I saw him: he walked into a crowded party my first night in Maine, I looked up, and just like that I loved him. Of all the Epic Crushes I'd had, S. was the worst because I actually got to know him. I spoke with him. At some points we were sort of friends. So my poor heart had to contend with the knowledge that he really was as smart and funny and cool as my imagination wanted him to be. S. was how I discovered the dark side of the Epic Crush: Psychotic Stalker Behavior. Oh yes. I went there. No one needs to know that they can act so crazy, for so long, that they will eventually inspire the object of their affection to shield his new girlfriend with his own body, to protect her from you. I wish I was kidding. (I also wish I could tell you that this was an overreaction on S.'s part, but I can't. I was literally driven mad by my feelings for this guy. For years.) I'm ashamed just thinking about it. There's no clever ending to this tale, either. I heard he became a doctor.

MY FINAL EPIC CRUSH occurred in graduate school. I met R. within days of arriving in England, and I was captivated. He looked the way that guy had always looked in my head. He sounded like Mr. Darcy. He could talk about philosophy and religion and books and dreams. R. was the first Epic Crush who I actually had some form of romantic interaction with-- which is probably why he is my last Epic Crush. He was the man I'd always dreamed of meeting someday, perfect in every respect, except for one, small thing: he didn't like me enough. I don't have any idea what went on in his life in between those endless, breathless times I was near him. I do know that the situations I agonized and wept over, the ones that meant so much to me and came to nothing, wrung the last of the Epic Crush Feelings right out of me. I guess R. kind of broke me.

But see, that's a good thing, because when the Real Thing came along, all these Epic Crushes taught me how to recognize it. He's everything they weren't: accessible, enthusiastic, and (here's the kicker) interested in me from the start. He's Real.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Epic Crushes, as a kind of Relationship Boot Camp. Be careful, though. Between the weeping and the bad poetry, they tend to stick with you for a long, long time.

P.S. Megan keeps a blog! --E

Jennifer O'Connell's Rock Star Boyfriends

Jennifer O'Connell is on the GCC with me.  She writes most excellent, super funny girly books, and I know you'd love them.

Her new book, OFF THE RECORD,  hit stores last month.  It's about a responsible, upstanding young woman who finds out she was the girl about whom a huge one-hit wonder song was written: "Janey 245." And former pop sensation Teddy Rock is actually her childhood sweetheart.  Sounds fun, yes?

And here's another list, as entertaining as the last. With pictures!


My list of “Rock stars I would loved to have had as my boyfriends…at the time,” in chronological order.
Jennifer O'Connell

ShauncassidyShaun Cassidy. (at left) Does singing a cover of the Beach Boys’ “Da Doo Ron Ron” make you a rock star? If so, Shaun makes my list. There isn’t a single other song I could tell you he sang, but I could describe in intricate detail that blonde hair and its ability to create a perfect feathered fringe around his face. So what if Kristy McNichol had the same hairstyle? Shaun captured my heart, and I would have taken his as a boyfriend in a second. And his mom is Shirley Jones, and who wouldn’t want a boyfriend with Mrs. Partridge cooking dinner in the kitchen?

Jim Morrison. He was moody, he drank too much, and he wore leather pants. His songs were dark and depressing. But he had a mane of hair and a way of moving that hooked me. Besides, I like the alliteration of ‘Jennifer and Jim.’

Simon LeBon. He was so pretty and looked so sweet, even if he was hungry like a hungry wolf. Besides, he had more than enough hair products for both of us.

Billy Idol. (at left) So what if he snarls and has to make regular appointments at the hair salon to keep his roots from showing. He was bad. He was British. And he made me think that any day was a nice day for a white wedding.

Jon Bon Jovi. Big hair, shredding voice, and the normal-guy charm of a neighborhood kid from New Jersey. I wanted him, dead or alive.

Mark Slaughter. So what if he was the lead singer for a group that was also named Slaughter, which means he changed his name to front a band. “Fly to the Angels” is one of my all time favorite songs, and he looks pretty good singing it.

Brett Michaels. (at left) He played the lead man for a band named Poison. His hair was a fire hazard. He looked better in a pair of spandex pants that I could ever dream of looking. Every rose has its thorn, and I would have accepted a dozen thorn-laden roses from Brett Michaels in a heartbeat.

Eric Clapton during his unplugged days. Wire-rimmed glasses that made him look like a shy professor, coupled with those Armani suits, gave him a sensitivity that so many rock stars lack. But put an electric guitar in his hand and he was wicked.

Dave Matthews. The song Crash. ‘Nough said.

I’m holding this spot open until my husband achieves his dream of becoming a rock star. He has the black electric guitar, the big Marshall headers, and a repertoire of classic rifs. And, if you count me, he even has a groupie.

P.S.  Jennifer has joined with other chick lit authors for the “Fictionista Chick Lit Tour,” happy hour events with women, wine and a few well-chosen words. Here are the upcoming dates:
Washington, DC Monday 10/10 – 6:30pm @ Hard Rock Cafe
New York, NY Friday 10/14 - 5pm @ Sugarcane, 245 Park Ave S. (connected to Sushi Samba)
Chicago, IL Monday 10/24 - 5pm @ Liquid Lounge, 171 W. Randolph St.
Memphis, TN Tuesday 10/25 - 6pm @ Hard Rock Cafe
Atlanta, GA Thursday, 10/27 - 6pm @ Aiko, 128 East Andrews Dr.


Melanie Lynn Hauser's Boyfriend List


Melanie Lynne Hauser is on the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit with me, and she sent in one of my favorite boyfriend lists so far. As you'll see when Fly on the Wall comes out, I love superheroes, and Melanie's book, Confessions of a Super Mom, should entertain the teenage and the parental among you, both.

The gist: a mom becomes a superhero due to inhaling the fumes of many household cleaning agents mixed together -- and aided by her teenage son, she attempts to save her daughter from heartbreak and her neighborhood from destruction.

"Forget the laundry, forget the dishes. Escape into the world of Super Mom for a few'll be glad you did. Melanie Lynne Hauser's quirky characters sparkle brightly as a newly Swiffered floor, and her writing shines like freshly polished glass."
Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries and Every Boy's Got One

Anyway, though I do think Melanie overlooks the superlative hotness of Wolverine and the super-sensitivity of The Thing, her superhero boyfriend list made me laugh.

"Why You Should Never Date a Superhero" Boyfriend list....
by Melanie Lynne Hauser

Since in CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM, my heroine, Birdie Lee, becomes a superhero, she is naturally curious about her fellow superheroes. She is also, currently, single. (Although she has a perfectly wonderful nerdy scientist boyfriend.) But still, you can't blame a girl for wondering what it would be like to date an actual superhero...and I feel, as her spiritual guide, that it's my duty to try to prevent this from happening.

First rule of dating a superhero is, never date a superhero. There is a huge potential for loss of limb, not to mention life, due to the very annoying habit of the superhero's archnemesis to continually try to put the superhero's loved ones in dangerous situations. (Remember poor old Mary Jane dangling off that bridge in the Spiderman movie?) But if you are a thrill seeker and don't mind risking life and limb, I ask you to further consider the neuroses and general emotional train wrecks that come with the following:

1) Batman. OK, get over it. He may be dark and brooding, and yes, we all like dark and brooding, but please. The man lives in a cave. He likes bats. Now, I admit the wealth and the butler are both highly attractive, but there's simply no way a woman can penetrate that man's gloominess. Besides which, there's the whole relationship with Robin which we might want to question, if we are thinking with half a brain.

2) Superman. Granite jaw? Check. Perfect little curl on the forehead? Check. Ridiculous obsession with one particularly lame, whiny girl reporter who can't prevent herself from being in the wrong place, at the wrong time, over and over? Check.

3) Spiderman. He's a little juvenile, if you ask me. He's prone to whininess, and all that self-doubt about not being a normal teen, and then there's his clingy Aunt May. I think there's a mess of baggage that comes along with that whole package, don't you think? Plus, well, spiders. Yuck.

4) Aquaman. He talks to fish. I really don't think I need to say anything further about that.

5) The Flash. OK, there's some potential here. I think that he's actually one of the more well-adjusted superheroes. He could also be very handy when it comes to running errands. His costume isn't bad, either - not really tights, more like an aerodynamically engineered skintight suit, which with those pecs ain't a bad thing. I really can't find anything to dislike here. Let's mark him as a "maybe."

6) The Green Lantern. Anyone who claims he was visited by aliens and given a decoder ring can I say this? - nuts! And while a man who's that interested in jewelry can't be all bad - I mean, it's an awesome ring, and so a girl might be forgiven for thinking that she could get some really nice Christmas gifts from a man like this - the alien thing really gives me pause. Sure, I know there are some women who swooned over Fox Mulder from The X-Files, but there's a difference between a man who's convinced aliens abducted his little sister, and a man who's convinced aliens have tapped him to become a Guardian of the Universe. And that little thing is called ego. Run, girls, run!

7) The Hulk. Temper, temper! That's all I need to say.

8) The X-Men. I refer to them collectively. They're mutants, and they have tempers, and most importantly, there seems to be a bit of a superiority complex among that group. It probably comes from being shunned by society for so long. Plus think of the competition, girls - they already have several luscious female mutants among them. I'd be worried if I sent my boyfriend off to work every day beside that Storm, you know? Girlfriend has moves. Snap!

9) Captain America. Just a bit of a Dudley-Do-Right, you know? Kind of a square. And probably a little too much into NASCAR for my tastes.

10) Robin, the Boy Wonder. Well, right there, I'm not so sure. Boy? Wonder? Seems like someone's really trying to assert his manliness, if you know what I mean. (See entry #1, Batman.)

P.S. Melanie's blog offers both unsolicited parenting advice and interviews with indie bookstore owners! What could be better? /E

Natalie R. Collins's Boyfriend List

UnknownNatalie R. Collins, who is on the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit with me, wrote Wives and Sisters, which is just out in paperback.

For any of you who followed the cases of Elizabeth Smart and Lori Hacking, this is the book for you: a thriller set in Mormon country, about a woman whose father tyrannizes and torments her as the self-appointed messenger of God. When a brutal attack makes her desperate to escape Mormon bonds, Allison finds herself on a collision course with community leaders as they cover up the steps of a sexual predator. (You can tell this book has adult content, right?)

Kirkus Reviews called Wives and Sisters "“a white-knuckles ride all the way. Expert depiction of a young woman's struggle with the oppressive 'family values' of one kind of fundamentalism."

The backstory of how Natalie came to write this book is here, on M.J. Rose's Backstory site, and it's really interesting and terrifying, too. She talks about her separation from the Mormon church and the scary crime attempt she survived to write about.

Meanwhile, Natalie wrote us a boyfriend list, in which she brings up that oh-so-fascinating question of love and religious affiliation.

Boyfriend List—Good Girl Dates Bad Boys
by Natalie R. Collins

Stan O.
Stan was the popular boy, the football player, the “it man.” I really thought I was in love. My heart broke when he asked someone else to prom. Especially after he asked me to “hang out” that night when his girl of choice turned him down. I wasn’t worth the cost, I guess.

He’s the boyfriend-who-won’t-go-away-but-was-never-really-a-boyfriend. We danced around each other for years. Met at the local amusement park, where we both worked. I still run into him. He’s still hot. He’s a cop. Something about those guys with guns. My first GENTILE (non-Mormon) boyfriend. Moving on.

I can’t really remember his last name. Good thing I’m not putting last names. He was a band geek, a military brat, a bad boy, my second GENTILE (non-Mormon) boyfriend. I was just getting started. At this point, my parents started to worry. Lucky for them, of course, he moved away. Military brats do that. Their luck was short-lived.

Oh dear, another Gentile living in the land of Mormons. I’m not sure if he found me, or I found him. And how did I find all these non-Mormons in Mormonville? Kev and I weren’t a good match. He was a redhead with a rather explosive temper. I still wonder where he ended up. Maybe jail.

Well, well, lookee here. FINALLY a nice Mormon boyfriend. Nice too look at, too. Too bad he was b-o-r-i-n-g. Moving on.

I’m not putting his last name, but as you might have guessed, my bad boy Gentile streak was continuing. Pepper was my entrance into the real world. He was an Italian Catholic who found his way to Utah to ski. He never left. He should have. The women of Utah would have been safer.

Why, oh why, was I attracted to these bad boys? Tim was a recovering alcoholic I thought I could save. He’s a beautiful man, inside and out (hot, hot, hot) but just doesn’t know it. Probably never will. And back 20 years ago, I thought I could save him. He’s an incredibly talented artist and he’s also very stupid. Like most men (if I say all men, which I really mean, I will have torrents of hatemail, which I don’t need.). Like most men, Tim has been lured by the dark side of the evil voodoo woman. The one who is gorgeous, and vain, and ruled by some other moral code we don’t understand.

Younger man, irresponsible, Momma’s boy. Waste of time.

Difficult, high strung, temperamental, father of my two kids. Good most of the time. We’re still together.