Thursday, September 12, 2013

She isn't capable of human speech...but she's excited to see you

I just read The Last Girlfriend On Earth by Simon Rich. This book is a collection of humorous short stories (on average 5-7 pages long) about dating, based on every negative stereotype about women you can think of. Not in a subversive way. In a "all women are irrational, needy, jealous, gold diggers and being in a relationship with one is akin to being in prison ISN'T THIS HILARIOUS?" type way.

I don't really know what to say beyond this. I wanted to like the book. I even found a couple of the stories funny. But then as it went on they started to get meaner and meaner and I got angrier and angrier. But I finished it because I wanted to write about it. And it was a super quick read. So how's this. Instead of me writing down a coherent review I'll just write down some quotes I highlighted and my notes I took (heart you, Kindle) with a brief description of the story.

Boy Meets Girl section
From "Unprotected"
It's the story of a condom that spends its life in his wallet.

Other than the way the condom talks ("I born in factory. They put me in wrapper. They seal me in box. Three of us in box.") this story was pretty funny. Except I spent a good amount of time going "Are you mad? You can't keep a condom in a wallet! That is going to be unusable. This is why we need better sex ed."

From "Magical Mr. Goat"
OK, this is one of the few stories I liked. A little girl conjures up an imaginary friend who goes on adventure with her. But eventually Mr. Goat wants to be more than just friends and is hurt the little girl doesn't feel the same way and just sees him as a friend. Even if I think the "friendzone" is the stupidest thing ever, this was still pretty funny.

From "Occupy Jen's Street"
"It's outrageous," he muttered through gritted teeth. "She refuses to go on a single date with me. Meanwhile, the fat cats on Wall Street just sit there, getting richer and richer."
I was confused.
"What do the fat cats have to do with Jen?"
"It's all connected," he said vaguely.

This was around the point I started to get worried about this book. This story is still pretty funny, but in a bit of a creepy way. It's about how this guy who is GREAT at leading protests decides to lead a full-scale protest outside of Jen's apartment until she agrees to go on a date with him. Overall the story is pretty funny, although you sorta just go with the idea that the woman in this story (and the women in ALL the stories) aren't actual characters. They're demonized or idolized. Cos then you get lines like this from the same story

"Ninety-nine percent of men are in love with the top one percent of women. And yet they often refuse to date us. It's a complete injustice."


Boy Gets Girl section

I pretty much hated every story in this section and got angrier and angrier as I read on.

From "Scared Straight"
"His name is Dan Greenbaum. And he's been in a long-term relationship with his girlfriend, Sarah, for seven years."
For the first time all day, Kyle felt his shoulders tensing up. He'd never actually met a real inmate before.

My note:
"ahaha yes, I get it. Relationships are a prison. And these boys are being shown what horrors could be in their future if they don't change their ways, a la Scared Straight. HILARIOUS. We're breaking some new ground now."

From "Center of the Universe"
The story is about God having a needy girlfriend that gets annoyed with him for not showering her with enough attention cos he's busy making the world.

My note:
"ahaha, look at women being so demanding. Even God is whipped by them. If you try to have a relationship with them they will cut off your nuts. Why, this is even more hilarious than the last story"

From "Girlfriend Repair Shop"
His girlfriend would be diagnosed with some mental problem: depression, possibly, or something menstruation-related"

My note, immediately after that quote:
This fucking guy

This story is about a guy that goes to couples counseling with his girlfriend, but DON'T WORRY, he's fine. See all women are actually robots and she's not unhappy. She's just malfunctioning slightly. Tighten a couple screws and she'll forget all about her feelings. Hmm women as robots so they'll be perfect wives/girlfriends. Well isn't that just a TOTALLY ORIGINAL IDEA.

From "The Adventure of the Spotted Tie"
Sherlock Holmes has a gold digging girlfriend that's cheating on him (AS WOMEN DO) and even though he's a genius he can't see that she's obviously just using him for his money. This fucking guy.

From "The Last Girlfriend on Earth"
A disease wipes out all women on the planet except this one woman. Now all these guys want to hang out with her and her boyfriend is jealous because they all want to sleep with her and she is surprised these guys don't want to just hang out with her. Then it turns out there's a second girl and the first girl gets super catty and jealous LIKE WOMEN DO.

OK, at this point I pretty much just started writing "This fucking guy" after every story. So maybe these quotes thing won't work anymore. But I'm sure you get the point.

There's a final section called Boy Loses Girl with stories like the one about the secret agent that who uses the invisibility serum he's supposed to be using to track and take out a terrorist to spy on his ex girlfriend and fun stuff like that. There was one other story I liked called "Man Seeking Woman" that is funny and is also something like 50 words long. But it was too little, too late.

I don't think all the stories should have nice to women or couldn't play off stereotypes (offensive and not) for the plot. But all of them? They all had to?

Title quote from page 52, location 488

Rich, Simon. The Last Girlfriend On Earth and Other Love Stories. Regan Arthur Books, 2012. Kindle edition.