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All the single ladies, all the single-lady memoirs

April 25, 2010 | 11:32 am


“What’s the best way to approach a woman?” asks a nervous (and obviously single) middle-aged man to the attractive female panelists at Saturday's Festival of Books panel “Memoir: All the Single Ladies.”

Just say hi, they all seem to chime in harmony.

Beyoncé may not have been present to sing her “Single Ladies” anthem to the male and female attendees at the session but Julie Klausner, Giulia Melucci, and Sascha Rothchild did a great job of standing in.

The room was abuzz with a feminine vibe, and all topics were game -- from cringe-worthy dating mishaps to divorce to the art of pick-up lines. Moderated by author and Advice Goddess Amy Alkon, who wrote “I See Rude People,” Klausner, Melucci, and Rothchild respectively introduced their memoirs about life and love. 

Klausner’s book “I Don’t Care About Your Band” chronicles the ups and downs of her twentysomething life. Candid and blunt, she confesses that she discovered that the nice, sensitive guy isn’t always so nice. Melucci jokes that her book “I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti” is about cooking for those guys while Rothchild says her memoir “How to Get Divorced by 30” is about marrying one of those guys and then divorcing him.

Alkon then steered the discussion towards the infamous dating book "The Rules,” to which all three politely and impolitely said they experimented with and ultimately didn’t follow in their dating lives. Melucci admits she was a bit guiltily obsessed with the book, but Klausner said she went out of her way to break all those rules.

So why does the “Mad Men” character Don Draper hold such appeal? It isn’t called “Mad Guys” for a reason, Klausner quips, in explaining the allure. The guys she dated in her twenties happened to be particularly shady, but she says that wasn’t her fault. 

The conversation moved to the age-old art of pick-up lines, which Alkon noted these days have become more insulting. Rothchild feels this plays off of women’s insecurities. She recalls being in college when a guy essentially called her “dumb but hot.” In that moment, she rejoiced in victory feeling like she’d finally won the lottery -- clearly more insecure about her looks than her intelligence. 

Alkon asked Klausner about a chapter in her book where she was asked to “turn down the glamour,” which Klausner declares was her very own “Legally Blonde” moment. The faux sensitive guy these days, she says, is into the au natural look a la Pam from NBC’s “The Office.” Rothchild chimes in and interjects that straight guys especially don’t want the six-inch high heels with all the makeup. 

Then Alkon brings up Lori Gottlieb’s controversial book “Marry Him: The Case for settling for Mr. Good Enough.” All three panelists heavily criticized Gottlieb for her antiquated take on relationships and dating. Applause erupts after Klausner suggests “Marry Him” is perpetuating the myth that women panic and embrace the idea of settling the closer they get to turning 40.

What’s up next for these ladies? Melucci is working on the film script for “How To Get Divorced By 30” and Klausner’s memoir “I Don’t Care About Your Band” is in talks of becoming a television show.

-- Casey Chan

Photo: The panel of Memoir: All the Single Ladies at the Festival of Books on Saturday. Credit: Casey Chan