Remember the excuse some women used in years past to get out of a date with a man I d love to, but I just washed my hair?
The popular phrase was used in many a film and in literature, and in reality was probably borrowed by more than a few ladies.
Fast forward to modern times, and the excuses used by both men and women to get out of a date, or even a relationship, have gotten more creative, blunt, and believable.
Pim Pauline Overgaard takes a funny look at the subject in her debut book released last fall, 50 Sure Ways for a Girl to Stay Single (Andrews McMeel, $10.95), a book full of one-liners and brief suggestions on ways to ditch a guy.
Ms. Overgaard, 36, a textile designer for the Pottery Barn Kids catalog, drew the comic book-like graphics in her new publication, which suggests a range of man-discouraging behavior, including not shaving one s legs or calling out another man s name in the throes of passion.
[The book] started out with me just thinking of ways to actually get a boyfriend, says Ms. Overgaard from her home in San Francisco.
It might seem that the single native of Ronneby, Sweden, is bucking a trend by offering tips on how to stay single, while there are a plethora of how-to books and online match-making Web sites giving advice on how to find a spouse.
But Ms. Overgaard, who says she moved to America in 1991 to follow a boyfriend here, says many of her contemporaries are single and often deal with issues of dating and relationships.
I don t want to say the book is a biography because that would be pathetic, but I asked all my friends about relationships and they all wanted to share some of the worst things that have happened to them . . . it turned into a collection of ways they were [using] to get out of the date," she says.
"There has been plenty of my own experience in that book, some intentional and not so intentional," says Ms. Overgaard, who half-jokingly adds that she seldom dates these days and wonders if her book has anything to do with that.
While emphasizing that she's no expert on the subject of dating, Ms. Overgaard says she has observed some of the reasons people, especially women, use so many excuses to ditch a date or end a long-term relationship.
"I think in many ways it's a combination of what's out there and our expectations. I think the more independent we get, the more it's a hard balance between staying with our dignity and surrendering to love. And we don't want to compromise," she says. She adds when it comes to women, "It's hard to surrender to love and to lean on a man for support. We think it makes us weak and we don't want to be weak."
Comical tips in the book include: Never laugh at his jokes. Tell him you love him on your first date. Only invite him over if your house is a mess. Let him know you live only for him. Make long-term plans on your first date. Give him a detailed description of everything you bought on your shopping spree.
She adds that many times the sexes resort to excuses for all the wrong reasons.
"A lot of times they start out on the wrong foot and don't want to really communicate, and think there's somebody that they might want that's better," says Ms. Overgaard, who adds that her parents are divorced but remain friends.
When asked whether the new author, who is working on her second relationship book with another publisher, would like to get married, she pauses before replying: "You know, I don't know."
She then adds that deep down she would eventually like a husband who is more of a partner, a man she loves but also can have fun with, and openly discuss her ideas.
"In the '50s, if you were single you were a loser. Today, being single doesn't mean you can't find anybody too many of us have gone through our parents' messy divorces, or experienced our parents staying in a loveless marriage."
People create excuses, Ms. Overgaard adds, when they detect a relationship or date isn't working sometimes because they are unable to compromise.
"I have to admit, I like my shampoos in the perfect spot and I don't know if I want his deodorant in the way. By a certain age we often get set in our ways, that's what's tough," she says laughing.
"I say we [never-married people] should all skip the first marriage altogether, and move to the person who really fulfills and completes us.
"What I really think is that we have to find what's perfect for us and take it one day at a time. Find out who you are as an individual and then you can find out who you can spend the perfect life with."
And then, there will never be any excuses to get out of the relationship, Ms. Overgaard adds.
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