by Carole Markin
It’s hell enough to struggle through a bad date, but it can be worse to read about one.
Markin, a filmmaker and writer, has collected bad-date stories from nearly 100 celebrities, and they’re pretty ordinary stuff.
These are mostly B-list celebs (and some lower on the alphabet), such as interior designer Barbara Lazaroff, chef Wolfgang Puck, drug guru Timothy Leary, TV personalities Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford and Devo founder Mark Mothersbaugh and his sweetie Nancye Ferguson. They recount stories that are either mildly amusing and/or portray the teller as a martyr stuck with a pathetic partner. Typical are the forehead pimple that afflicted Robert (Nightmare on Elm Street) Englund during a teenage date and Julia (Pretty Woman) Roberts’s first beau’s cutting one in the car.
There are two good tales. Actress-singer Lainie Kazan recalls dating an unnamed star whose dog began to chew on her hairpiece. “Excuse me, your dog is eating my hair. And my hair isn’t mine,” she tells her date. “Neither is mine.” he gallantly replies, doffing his toupee. Also worthwhile is a vignette from Frank Snepp, the ex-CIA agent who wrote Decent Interval. He tells of an affair with a mysterious French woman while he was posted in Vietnam. She turned out to be a spy who was pumping him for information between bedroom romps.
Essentially, Bad Dates is an exercise in dip and skip, with the emphasis on skip. Tales of minor angst are tales of minor angst, no matter how famous the angster is. (Citadel, paper, $9.95)