Author's Note--Dr. Freudine is a psychiatrist character I created, not me. She was being a good, little counselor when that rascal Jan threw a couple of sex surrogates at her. One she threw back, but she doesn't know if or how she should get rid of the other one in this review. Go to my profile page for all the links.
Miss Cunengonde, being closer to the kitchen, leads the way in and switches on the light. It's an untypically clean place for a bachelor pad with cheery blue curtains and a vase of silk blue and white daisies that reveals the hand of a helpful mother. I catch the beautiful blonde's crinkled eyes on me.
"You're glowing in that dress, Dr. Freudine," she remarks, pleased about something. I wait for her to go on, but she maddeningly takes a seat at the table with a satisfied glance at me. I flick a look over my yellow summer dress, wondering why I shouldn't glow in it, even if I'm an uncool psychiatrist compared to her, a sex surrogate! She pulls out a book from her shoulder bag and slides it across the two-person table.
"What's that?" I ask a bit warily and sit down when she simply smiles back. She isn't one for words, is she? I read the title. The Surrendered Single: A Practical Guide To Attracting And Marrying The Man Who's Right For You. "Is this a joke, Miss Cunengonde? We're discussing sex therapy for David, possibly Irish..."
She bursts out laughing. "Let's get real, okay, Dr.? You know Irish doesn't need sex therapy, but you're trying to act like a professional and like you know what you're doing when you're scared sh!tless."
"Oh, really!" I fume. I grab the book and open to its contents. "We'll just see all the ways I'm not trying to attract him or anybody for marriage. Okay...
Introduction: The Way You Always Wanted Things To Happen (not me, I never have expectations, what's the point?)
Take the Quiz: Are You Attracting the Man Who's Right For You? (Shut up, blondie!)
1. Surrender to Your Desire to Be Happily Married (not happening, sorry)
2. Give Up the Idea of the Perfect Man (well, that's easy)
3. Stop Male-Bashing and Start Admiring Men (only if they deserve it, really!)
4. Flirt With Every Man You See (hahahahahahahahaha)
5. Ask Men To Ask You Out (oh, I suppose this means dropping hints and giving your phone number? How cute! Not.)
6. Rethink Your Negative Beliefs About Dating (what negative beliefs?)
7. Your Fears Are Holding You Back (I'm a psychiatrist doing my job)
8. End Friendships With Ex-Boyfriends (He's married, okay?)
9. Make Yourself Happy Every Day (now that's profound)
10. Receive Graciously (does this mean being a doormat? Yech!)
11. Jump-Start Your Love Life With A Dating Service (I don't have a computer, thank you, and am not buying one just to please you)
12. Accept Dates With Men You Normally Wouldn't Go Out With (what a recipe for disaster! This author, Laura Doyle, is sadistic, not masochistic as she implies)
13. Decline Dates With Dignity (accept, decline, make up your friggin' mind)
14. Surrender on the First Date (not very Christian, is she? Oh, she means control, not my body? Same thing, isn't it?)
15. Make All Your Dates Fun (now who would've thought of that if she hadn't told us? Make sure you smile!)
16. Keep Flirting With Every Guy You See (are you sure this isn't your sex surrogate's training manual? Dr. Defiance would love it)
17. Stay in the Moment (will these chapters ever end?)
18. Separate the Good Guys From the Bad Boys (no, really? After the first date? Do I have ta?)
19. You'll Recognize The Man Who's Right For You...
Suddenly David flies in like a drunk bird to stumble into the refrigerator. It's like he's been pushed and I notice Irish casually waiting by the entrance as David scoops up a couple of beers. Irish nods to us both and our host has a dopey grin. "We're manly men who like sex, beer and shooting hoops...outside...we'll be outside," he finishes lamely as Irish stomps over to yank him away with him. Miss Cunengonde and I look at each other and collapse with laughter.
Wiping my eyes with a cloth napkin (mom's handiwork again), I resume with the chapters. Tears start forming again at the next title.
20. Don't Use Sex To Control The Relationship (oh, wouldn't dream of taking control of sex away from men! You say it's a nonissue until you're going steady? What control!)
21. There's Nothing To Fear But Your Urge to Control Him (that's her problem, not mine)
22. Trust His Capabilities (and if he mentions he wants sex therapy, should I?)
23. Express Your Hurt Without Making Demands (sounds sneaky to me)
24. Keep Your Life Even Though He's In It (oh darn and I was going to kill myself, geesh!)
25. Becoming Your Best Self Will Bring Out The Best in Him (sounds like a Hallmark card)
26. Make A Commitment Before You Move In (that takes all the fun out of it, sorry)
27. Honor Your Desire to Be Married, but Never Make Ultimatums (we'll just keep them guessing what we want, right? No? We'll drop hints then?)
Epilogue: The Miracles of Surrendering (I've read how life-changing it can be to discover S & M) And that's it! Do you still think I need to read it, Miss Cunengonde?"
"Dr., that's up to you. If you want to risk scaring Irish off with being too bossy, too chatty, too independent and too disrespectful, that's your choice. Maybe he loves you so much like the author's husband-to-be loved her that he won't mind. Maybe."
I sigh. "For heaven's sake, why would I be those things if I cared for him or any guy? This book is for adolescents as far as I'm concerned."
"Dr. Defiance recommended it, but it wasn't our sex surrogate manual. Ah, ah, ah! But even though some of it sounds pretty weird, I've learned a few things. Yes, really. I have learned most of this dating stuff the hard way and Doyle is right that guys in the mood for marriage like you to be feminine. What I learned from her, one example, is to just tell a guy you're not available anymore instead of hurting his self-esteem by saying it's not working out. Guys will always get upset and demand an explanation or a chance to defend themselves."
"You must know how to give sex therapy to David then. I'll leave it to your best judgment. Good night, surrendered single. You can keep the book." I smile with my lips, stand and walk out, surrendering myself to whatever happens the rest of the night.
The Surrendered Single by Laura Doyle, also author of "New York Times Bestselling The Surrendered Wife. 297 pages. Amusing read with lots of examples of what she means.