Originally posted on Can I Get a Man with That?
Name: Helena Andrews
Status: Single, Head of Household
In her new memoir, "Bitch Is the New Black", Helena Andrews pokes fun at the stereotype that says "successful" and "bitch" are synonymous. With the help of "Grey's Anatomy" creator Shonda Rhimes, her eccentric childhood as the kidnapped daughter of the town lesbian and subsequent roller coaster ride to single, overachiever approaching 30 is being adapted for film. Today the self-described smart-ass answers our 15 Questions on love, career and the modern bitch.
Who is your favorite couple, living or dead, real or fictional?
Lucy and Ricky. "Lucy Ricardo" was the most subversive Stepford wife in the history of the world. Being a wife and a mother was never enough for her even when it was supposed to be. And Ricky, despite being the stereotypical archetype of machismo, always gave in because he knew she needed more than a baby and a tiny ass apartment.
Have you ever offended anyone on a date?
If I have, I was totally oblivious to it. Once I showed up to a "date"--a lecture on volcanoes in outer space--in a Sesame Street T-shirt and black jeans. I was trying to fit in with all the other geeks, but apparently I was "under dressed."
In 140 characters or less, what is Bitch is the New Black?
In Tweet-speak, #BITNB is this woman's journey from Catalina to catcalls. It's about my dog Miles, getting mugged twice, loved up often and Michelle Obama.
The word bitch has obviously evolved from the time Queen Latifah demanded, 'who you callin' a bitch?!' in 1993 to when Tina Fey coined the title phrase of your memoir on "Saturday Night Live". How do you define bitch?
The Queen also said, "when we playing it's cool," which I always thought was funny. The first time I called another girl a bitch I was 12. She was like the coolest girl in sixth grade and I wanted to be friends. Go figure. Since then the word has evolved to encompass any woman who isn't cute and cuddly. I reject the Care Bear approach to life. Sure, I like to laugh, but I also like to laugh at people. I also think I'm way too cool for everything except making fun of myself, which is always a blast.
Lady Gaga told "Cosmo" earlier this year, "Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you're wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn't love you anymore." Is this 'hypothetical mumbo-jumbo' or a real choice modern women have to make?
Claire Huxtable really fucked a lot of girls up. Nobody can pop out five kids, run a brownstone, be a partner at a law firm, speak fluent Spanish and still have sex with her husband on a regular basis. It's just not done. That being said, I don't think my business cards will stop me from falling in love. But at the end of the day something's gotta give (my favorite movie btw), and although careers can't walk out on you (allegedly) they also can't put the curtains up.
The assumed checklist of a successful, presumably bitchy, modern woman: her guy must have an Ivy League degree, six figure salary, et al. You said in a previous interview that this list is outdated. What's in vogue?
I don't know many women who look for husbands on Monster.com. I'm not a headhunter. I don't match my resume to someone else's and then assume after a few prerequisite years of dinner and a movie we're on our way to the White House together. The new rules are that there are no rules. Do I want my man to have a job? Umm duh. I know plenty of folks with Ivy League degrees and Ivy League debt and no dates. Still, I don't subscribe to the Tyler Perry paradox--that someday I'll look up and the bus driver will be reading Toni Morrison and we'll live happily every after. Like attracts like and I seem to be a magnet for masters degrees.
A lot of women are stuck in the 'in between' referenced in your memoir --more than a friend less than a girlfriend. But the problem isn't that we're stuck in this gray area, it's how we got there in the first place. What are the telltale signs a woman is headed towards the in between?
You know you're in a more than less than equation if he introduces you to his coworkers as "my friend" at a work thing. The "work thing" is key. Not even a family thing can measure a man's seriousness for you as much as a work thing. The people you spend eight hours a day with know you better than the women and men who raised you.
Speaking of family, you're really close with your mom. How has having a hippie lesbian mother influenced your relationships with men?
Not all lesbians are Amazons with only half a chest and armpit hair. There were men around when I was a kid. Were they necessary? Sometimes. Either way being raised by a single woman who worked a thousand jobs so I could go on a ski trip with a bunch of rich kids meant that I appreciated the value of being spoiled. No man can pamper me better than I can pamper myself. At least no man I've met yet.
What message do you want women to take away from your memoir?
I don't have a PhD in anything but being me and I haven't even mastered that subject yet. If women take away anything from my book it's that "we" aren't a monolith--black women, single women, educated women are all different. We're all not die-hard "Sex and the City: The Movie" fanatics--but everyone hated the second one.
Who do you want to portray you in the film adaptation?
My head is huge--in size not like ego (okay, well ego too)--so whoever plays me should have an abnormally large cabeza. But not like Oprah big.
It's time for, 'Can I Get a Man With...' (we link the trend and you tell us if we can get a man with that)
Bedazzled Rainbow Louboutins -- Absolutely, but he might wanna borrow 'em.
Big Butts -- Big butts win championships, just ask the Kardashians. So yes if you're dating an athlete and no, if you're dating a Mormon.
Gay Best Friend -- Can't get one without it
Texting -- As long as you don't put an "s" in front of it, then you've got a 12-year-old boy not "a man."
What is the biggest obstacle keeping single women from getting a man with that (whatever that is for them)?
It's hard to get a man with a dog. My awesome pug, Miles, fulfills every and all of my unconditional love needs and all I have to do is feed him and pick up his poop. I don't have to be like a better person or anything. I don't have to be less selfish to get a very sincere lick in the face and for now I'm super okay with that.
Photo by Rebecca Lim courtesy of Helena Andrew's Facebook fan page