Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dr. Ruth/Love Guru...I'm not...or am I?




Okay…I have this problem. Everyone who knows me can attest that I have more than just one problem, but the quandary I wish to whine…I mean blog about today is about people coming to me to for “love” advice. And if not for advice, they just want me to listen to their “love” confessions.

Now, let me clear something up, it’s not as if I really mind this. Okay sometimes I even like it because 1) I might be able to use it in one of my books (hey, I figure it’s fair game, they know I’m a writer when they start confessing) and 2) It gives me ammunition when someone tells me that my fiction is unbelievable. Seriously, my fiction is down-right tame compared to some of the stuff I’ve heard.

Mostly my problem with the Dr. Ruth situations rests in the fact that at times these people expect me to just squint my eyes, grunt, and produce a golden-egg piece of wisdom that is going to solve all their issues. Or they expect to drop some confession on me, something a bit whacky, and they think I’m NOT supposed to react. And pleeaase, how am I not supposed to appear shocked when a person I thought was semi-normal turns nuttzo—and since my idea of normal is already skewed, when I say nuttzo, I don’t mean they just dance to a different beat, I mean they are at least a dozen fries short of a Happy Meal.

Let me give you an example. A while back a neighbor, who’d read Divorced, Desperate and Delicious, and obviously related to Hunky, the flirtatious FedEx guy in the book, met me by the mailbox and casually—as if something like this could even be given casually—informed me that she’d once sent herself a FedEx package and when Mr. FedEx showed up, she answered the door wearing nothing but Saran Wrap.

Now, just exactly how did she expect me to react? I mean, first of all, I really didn’t know this neighbor too well, and second I now had this image being tattooed in my head. Let’s just say, I was hoping the incident had happened several years back, because if not, it would have taken the extra-clingy plastic wrap, and a lot of it, to keep things lifted and residing in the presumed spot of origin. (Hey, things naturally go south.) And if that image wasn’t bad enough, my mind went on overload trying to figure out how the FedEx guy might have unwrapped the package if he’d so desired to do so.

I won’t lie to you, while I was both shocked and overloaded, I was still curious to know how things turned out. And when I finally was able to stop laughing and asked, she actually looked at me as if I was some kind of a pervert. Was I not supposed to laugh? Or was I not supposed to be curious?

Then there’s my third cousin. (I’ll call him Billy, and yes I’ve changed the names to protect the guilty.) For some reason Billy thinks that because I write romance novels, I’m his go-to person for “love” advice.

Now, Billy only calls me when he’s having woman troubles—which means he calls a lot. Let me be honest with you, this guy is no catch. (He’s not the guy for you, Gemma!) His idea of wining and dining a woman is picking up three beers, not even a six pack, and a dozen hot wings—if he has a coupon. I swear, for his second’s wife’s first, and last, anniversary, he had a wild pig he’d shot on his latest hunt, stuffed and mounted for her present. (Hey, what says I love you more than a stuffed pig?) But as lacking as Billy is, his choice in women is even worse.

And when Billy calls me up, broken hearted, and asks, “Why does every woman I love leave me?”I try to explain to Billy that married women, women who work in establishments that require clothes removal—and I don’t mean a career in runway modeling—women’s whose arrest records require more than one single-spaced page, women who have borrowed money for bail, or women who have a hard time remembering if it was their second or third husband who accused her of shooting him, well, these women might be a factor in his terminal relationships.

Of course, my neighbor and Billy aren’t the only ones wanting me to offer insight into the world of romance and relationships. And after several years of loaning a shoulder, trying to react accordingly, and offering up bits of wisdom, I began to wonder. Does writing romance novels make me savvy on the subject?

Hmm, I don’t know. But this I do know: if people put as much time plotting their relationships as I do in plotting a novel, I think people would have better relationships. Sure, people can change, and bad stuff can happen, but mostly I think bad relationships are about bad choices. Bad choices in people we entangle ourselves with, bad choices in how we deal with problems, bad and hurtful choices in how we treat the people we love, and oh, let’s not forget, really bad choices for anniversary gifts.

So here’s my question to you: Do people come to you for advice? And since most of you are readers, and some writers, of romance, do you think romance novels gives you insight into the world of “love”? Maybe you can share a bad anniversary gift you received. And if you’re brave and want to tell us about the craziest thing you’ve ever done to catch a man’s eye, go ahead. But please, no more Saran Wrap stories. I’m still trying to get that vision out of my head.

Crime Scene Christie



24 comments:

RK said...

LOL, Christie!

I had a similar problem when I was working as a reporter. Somehow the interview process creates a false sense of intimacy. I remember once interviewing a woman about her business, and she ended up telling me also about the bad divorce she was going through and crying on my shoulders.

Really hoping your August class makes b/c I could use the help!

Rashda

Christie Craig said...

Hi Rashda,

Thanks for stopping by. And yup, when you interview people and get them talking sometimes they just won't shut up.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

MsHellion said...

*ROTFLMAO*

Hmmm. I am in a business where people DO tend to tell me a lot more about themselves than I think they intended. But I'm not exactly a therapist. A therapist would not bark out, "Are you mad? You don't tell a husband/boyfriend you're shopping for shoes! You tell him you're comforting an old friend through a tough [breakup/layoff/period] and that you HAD to buy the shoes or it would have made your friend feel bad about all the money she was spending..." A therapist would not say, "Well, of course, he's an idiot. They all are. You're not going to make him smarter; you're going to have be smarter in how you deal with him."

terrio said...

ROFL!!

OMG!! Christie, this is too much. I'm not sure what's worse, that I too am curious how the special delivery went or that my suggestion would be not to let Billy procreate. LOL!

People talk to me and often tell me stuff I'd rather not know, but nothing like this. In fact, I'm probably the one telling other people stuff they don't want to hear.

I've been reading Romance for over 20 yrs and attempting to write it for 2. I am in no way an expert on love or relationships as a result.

Keri Ford said...

Oh, boy, have I ever. Not so much anymore since I stay home. But before I worked as a clerk. People have no problems whatsoever unloading their personal things off on total strangers.

I've been told about bowel movements, wife kicking out husbands, cheating husbands (most of my customers were men), and more problems than you can shake a stick at.

Christie Craig said...

Mshellion,

That's it, I'm coming to you for advice the next time I need any. I like the way you think. By the way, what type of job do you do?

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Terrio,

I'm a 100% behind your advice to Billy.

And . . . okay, I'm not the type to hold back either. Most of my confessions aren't in the bad nature, but crazy things that happen, most of my friends are constantly saying, "TMI...TMI." It took me a while before I knew what it meant. But I mostly ignore it.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

MsHellion said...

*LOL* Secretary for a Graduate Studies Office.

And depending on the day, I have a very brusque Mary Poppins way about me or a very bouncy Southern atmosphere. Probably depends if I've been watching Pride & Prejudice or not. People tell me their marriage problems--I however haven't dated a man long enough to buy a CD with him let alone anything else that would actually cause some debate when we broke up. (Though you can be darned sure *I* got the CD.)

Christie Craig said...

Oh Keri,

I prefer to be left out of the BM confessions. Too funny.

Thanks for stopping by.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Brusque Mary Poppins? Hmmm...Love it.

And I'm glad you're gettig the CDs. (smile)

Crime Scene Christie

bookmobiler said...

My sympathies are with the Fed Ex guy.
I hope he had some aluminum foil handy.
And I'll bet he (or any other delivery person) could top that story without breaking a sweat.

Kimberly Ivey said...

Christie,

I have people coming to me for advice nearly every day--but never on love matters. (Hmmm. Now I'm wondering what's wrong with me?) Most advice-asking is about kids and fevers/rashes, what to buy cousin Didi for her birthday, or what's the gestation period for housecats. I've been consulted on everything from school science projects to building a fire in the BBQ grill to how to handle neighbor disputes . . . The calls never cease!

But mostly, I run into people (strangers) who just want to spill their guts. That's right. Virtual strangers unload on the nice lady who didn't even see it coming. Right there in the margarine section at the grocery store. No advice wanted. They just want to dump it in my cart while I'm trying to decide whether "to trans fat or not to trans fat." So between the "smoothe buttery flavor" and "good for your heart," I'm hearing about intimate surgeries and offspring gone-bad.

I've been told I have one of those "faces" that says -- "Go ahead--spill it." And maybe I do. I do have a big heart and I can be a sucker for a sob story or a stray cat or hungry homeless person. That's why my change purse is always empty and I have cat hair on my clothes.

But seriously, virtual strangers have told me some pretty wild tales that made me blush/squirm in place (torrid threesomes, felonies committed, etc). And I could have lived my entire life in my innocent bubble without even knowing this stuff, although some of it WAS pretty juicy! (Good thing these folks didn't know I was a writer!)

Looking back, I think I know where my problem originated. My aunt Lorene (who was a regular patron of Las Vegas) taught me how to play Poker, Black Jack, and a serious game of Dominoes when I was nine. She and I played it every Saturday night like clockwork. I suspect that's where I honed my "poker face."

So back to my earlier revelation. Why DOESN'T anyone come to me for love advice? You know, I'm tired of hunting recipes for pot roast. And how should I know if someone's cat's about to give birth? I'm not lifting the tail to take a peek back there!

I'm a romance author for crying out loud. I've written love scenes that have made even ME blush!

So Christie--O Doctor of Love, take comfort in the fact that others trust you for your love advice.

It's more than I'm getting.

Christie Craig said...

Bookmobiler,

LMAO. Okay...now I have another image of an aluminum-foil armed FedEx guy whipping out a convinient roll of extra sturdy foil and running around her like Speedy Gonzales.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Tessy said...

Interesting, Christi! I think we all have a Billy in the family. Now, your next door neighbor is a different story! I'd be keeping my blinds closed!

Great blog!!

Christie Craig said...

Kimberly,

Love it, girl. I'm laughing so hard I can't eat my lunch.

And believe me, you're not missing anything. This said, your knowledge of rashes might come in handy with some of the very strange, more desperate seekers of "love" advice. And you know, I wasn't willing peek either.

Thanks for laugh!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Tessy,

I'm safe. She moved. And you can bet I didn't get a forwarding address. I don't think the FedEx guy did either.

Crime Scene Christie

Tori Lennox said...

Hmm. I can't think of a single person who's asked me for advice or told me way more about themselves than I could possibly want to know. Though I keep thinking the latter has happened at some point. But I don't remember what it entailed or who it was. *g*

But now I'm kind of worried that people might start asking me for advice on killing people since I'm writing a murder mystery. *g*

Christie Craig said...

Tori,

The whole murder advice business can get tricky. For legal purposes, I don't give a lot of murder advice out, but I generally suggest people listen to the song, "Earl has to Die." There's some great tips in that song.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

catslady said...

When I worked outside the home I had people tell me things all the time. I'm thinking because I never repeated it again. As far one of my best gifts - a rug cleaner. Oh, come on ladies, we all want one of those as a gift and because of a cat with a problem we now have one area rug - anyone one to buy a twice used rug cleaner cheap? (the funniest part is he really thought I'd want to even use the thing) and oh, yeah, I'm still married to him!!!

Ciara Gold said...

Hmmm, I guess that would require coming out of the cave to actually interact with folks. LOL. But seriously, nah, they don't ask for advice but they do want to know if DH is the model for my heroes. Hmm, well, of course. We all know that our lovely, hunky husbands help us with "research." Nope, I get asked advice on lots of stuff but never sex, not yet anyway. Give it time.

Christie Craig said...

Catslady,

Too funny. Men! One year for Christmas I got a toilet brush. I swear, I did. But . . . attached was a note that said, "One all-expense-paid-trip to the writing conference of your choice."

It turned out to be a darn good gift. And oh, he paid dearly for it. Those conferences don't come cheap.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Ciara,

Give it a little more time, those advice seekers will be tapping on your shoulders soon enough.

And yup, hubbies love to take credit for all the research. Gotta love 'em. But in all honesty, I think there's a lot of my husband in all my heroes. Especially when the heroine is mad at him. :-)

Crime Scene Christie

Jana DeLeon said...

Jeez, Christie, now I want to know how your neighbors saran wrap adventure ended too - the bitch!

People do ask me for advice, but not on love...mostly on how to kill someone and whether or not alligators will eat an entire body. :)

Christie Craig said...

Jana,

Too funny.

You are the alligator queen. The scary thing is, I think you have the answer for them, didn't you?

Crime Scene Christie