MY 1,000 AMERICANS: A Year-Long Odyssey Through the Personals
No stranger to the personal ads, Morton, who described her blind dates with more than 700 Englishmen in Eat Your Lonely Heart Out, decided to find out if "men are men the whole world round," and placed the same ad—"English female, 30s, slim and attractive, seeks professional male for fun times"—in papers in Florida, Atlanta, Chicago and New York City. Using the "meet one, delete one" rule, she quickly filled her calendar for breakfast, lunch, drinks and dinner for the next year. More than half the men she met were married; some even brought their children along ("This is the secret we can't tell Mommy"). Many were Anglophiles who expected Morton to know their favorite Monty Python skits. Others were just weirdos: one guy dressed up as a king for their date and another hid dead animals under his raincoat. Whether single or married, most of Morton's dates showed a comical lack of decorum, merrily divulging their sexual fantasies over beer or pasta primavera. (Not surprisingly, the briefest chapter chronicles the handful of "nice guys" who were actually interested in getting to know her.) Most women, particularly those fed up with the singles scene, will laugh at the men's blatant inappropriateness and Morton's witty and icy replies, yet her litany of puerile male behavior grows tedious and somewhat repetitive. Moreover, Morton's repeated indignation about all the "lonely penises" she encounters seems less convincing after several hundred dates; one begins to wonder if she isn't a bit of a tease. Still, like her popular fictional compatriot Bridget Jones, Morton offers a lighthearted—and ultimately optimistic—diversion from sober, instructive dating books. (Aug.)
Forecast:With a 20-city morning-drive satellite tour and advertising in the personals sections of several major weekly newspapers, Morton's book should have no trouble reaching its target audience.