How a Feminine Badass Found Love
Susan Jane Gilman is the New York Times bestselling author of four books: “Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress ”; “Kiss My Tiara:” ; “Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven;” and most recently, her first novel, “The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street,” published this year by Hachette. Gilman has also been a commentator for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered”; she’s written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Ms., Us, and Real Simple, among others. She recently joined me for a fun interview on Last First Date Radio to reveal how a feminine badass found love. Following are loosely transcribed highlights of the show.
Your first book, “Kiss My Tiara,” is subtitled: “How to Rule the World as a SmartMouth Goddess,” and I see there are several chapters on love, sex, and relationships. You’re considered a literary fiction and nonfiction writer: Can you tell me how you came to write this book first?
I had broken up with a guy I was living with, moved to Washington DC and started my life over. A friend who didn’t know me very well sent me “The Rules”. I was 30, and had a high powered job. I didn’t want to “catch” a husband by being a fake (as “The Rules” suggests). I wanted to catch a life. I wanted good practical advice about dating. It should be short, in your face, and a little profane. As my grandmother said, “You shouldn’t trade your hymen for a diamond.” I couldn’t find that dating book, so I wrote my own.
In “Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven”, you wrote about a German exchange student, Eckehart Grimm, a man you met while backpacking in China after college. You say that he saved your life and that he was sensual and kind, a rare combination. Why do you feel that those two traits combined are so important to a good relationship?
What you really want are the kinds of things you can live with. You want a man with kindness and trustworthiness. You want someone who has your back. You’re taught to love with your heart and your groin but not with your head. When I met my husband, I realized he was an onion and not a firework. Because of his kindness, I fell for him slowly over time, not the instant I met him.
What is some of the advice that you give to women in “Kiss My Tiara”?
1) When you’re with someone, look at their bad qualities and see if you can live with them. One guy I darted was a pathological liar, one didn’t pay taxes for 20 years. See their worst and ask yourself if you can live with those.
2) See if you want the same things. He could be a great person, but do you both have the same vision for the future?
3) Does he bring out the best in you?
4) Don’t be needy. Desperation is a repellant. When I met my husband, I didn’t really care if I ever got married.
5) Know when you’re willing to walk away.
If you could go back in time to tell your younger, single self dating advice, what would it be?
I’d say, “Oh honey, don’t worry. There are a lot of “he’s” out there. Don’t sell yourself out in order to just be with somebody. Take your time, it’s going to be okay.”
To listen to/download the entire fabulous episode of “Kiss My Tiara: How a Feminine Badass Found Love” click here.