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44 Horrible Dates

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I wrote 44 Horrible Dates several years ago to vent after the insane dating experiences I had had in Los Angeles. I had been keeping notes on my computer, not to write a book but because I could not believe what was happening. I am an introvert by nature, and sharing such personal and horrible experiences was something I had never intended on doing, but friends constantly demanded that I write a book.

Thus, I am an accidental author. However, several years ago, famed medium, psychic, and author James Van Praagh predicted that I would become a successful author. We were both working on CBS' hit series Ghost Whisperer, and one day he stopped me in the hallway, asked me to come into his office, looked me the eye, and said, "I just saw your name on several books. You are going to be a successful author."

In 2010 I co-authored Days of Our Lives, 45 Years: A Celebration in Photos, which has become a bestseller, making a plethora of lists and achieving great critical acclaim. It is still selling strong here in the U.S. and in many other countries.

Last year I pitched a paragraph of 44 Horrible Dates to Sourcebooks, Inc. in Chicago. They are the nation's largest independent publisher, with over 14 New York Times bestsellers in the same year. Within four weeks they'd asked for the entire book for review. Within another four weeks they'd called me and said, "We want to publish 44 Horrible Dates." Van Praagh was right, and this is my second book, with more on the way.

The book is dedicated to the reader, as opposed to the many books dedicated to moms, cats, or best friends.

The first date in the book took place in 1994, and the last one happened in 2011, when the guy I was seeing for a first date was cruising for sex on a cellphone app appropriately named Grindr. For those of you unaware of what Grindr is, it is a smartphone app that shows photos and profiles of nearby men, arranged according to how many feet away from your current location they are. It is ridiculous, and no, I don't have that app.

Aside from the dating humor in the book, 44 Horrible Dates also pokes a lot of fun at the many idiots living in Los Angeles, and it is also a love letter to real communication, which is dying. People are becoming socially inept -- not just gay guys but everyone! For example, try talking to a teenager. You can't. All they can do is text.

People are constantly asking me what the worst date in the book is. That is a tough question, because there is such fierce competition, but I'd say the guy who picked me up 45 minutes late, called me stupid, took me to In-N-Out Burger, and then told me he was high on cocaine ranks fairly high. There was another date during which the guy told me he was an alien and that "they" were coming for him. I never saw him again, so perhaps "they" did come for him.

I am hearing from people all over the world who have been on horrible dates. The camaraderie of being single for much too long and meeting complete assholes seems to ring like Big Ben across the globe. One thing is certain: Even if you have never been on one horrible date, you know someone who has. In addition, I am sure you know someone who is tired of being single and would love a perfect date. Hence, the perfect date might very well be 44 Horrible Dates.

A woman in Alabama wrote me, "I peed my pants laughing at your book." Several gay guys wrote to me from New York and said they were having drinking parties and taking turns reading from the book and laughing their asses off.

I have learned a lot from my dating experiences. Ask a lot of questions on the phone before committing to a date. If you don't like cigarettes, ask someone if they smoke before you go out with them. I've certainly learned that lesson!

Don't dress like an asshole on the first date. Don't act like an asshole on any date. Don't wear a fake Rolex (or "Fauxlex"). Don't talk about your ex all night long. Don't cry on a first date. If you are male, don't wear tight, white jeans and white cowboy boots unless it's 1982 and you're in Texas. Don't dress like a gay pirate unless you are about to jump on board a gay cruise.

If you are on a date that is boring or horrible, pass the time making mental lists of the things you need to accomplish that week, or mentally separate your darks from your whites so that laundry will be a breeze!