My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands, by Chelsea Handler
Format: Paperback, 213pp
Pub. Date: June 2005
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
A beautiful photo of Chelsea, here
Chelsea Handler may look like she's being coy, but the author/comedian isn't afraid to tell all, especially when it comes to sex.
Monday, August 1, 2005
"I'm surprised you didn't ask first about the midget," says Chelsea Handler, backstage at the Punch Line Comedy Club, nonchalantly squirting the remaining contents of a plastic bottle of lemon juice into a glass of vodka and ice. The comedian/author licks a lemony thumb and grins. "Everyone asks first about the midget."
This refers to an incident in Cabo San Lucas involving a little person, excessive tequila consumption, a blackout and subsequent awakening to the pitter-patter of little feet. "I was so confused," Handler writes in her riotous memoir, "My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands." "At first I thought, oh great, I had a baby ..."
The rest of the anecdote -- and indeed most of her book -- cannot be further related in a family newspaper. But damn, it's funny. The 30-year-old Jersey girl has been causing a major stir in La-La Land this year for her TV stints (as a woman on the street for Jay Leno and a merry prankster on Oxygen's "Girls Behaving Badly") as well as for her book, which just came out last month on Bloomsbury and is already in its fourth printing.
"It's been bought in 18 countries now!" she exclaims, eyes wide, watching the clock so she can prepare for her Punch Line stage time. "My book tour was supposed to be just four cities, then it went to eight and now 12. I got an e- mail from a soldier in Iraq saying he loved my book and I was like, 'Dude, how did you get my book in Iraq? And thank you by the way!' "
Fame is knocking on the funny girl's door. She's been chasing it since she was just 21 and fresh in L.A., pounding on doors, auditioning and doing the stand-up rounds. Handler got her big break when she appeared at the Aspen comedy festival and was seen by bookers from "The Tonight Show" who were drawn to her sharp material. And let's face it: It didn't hurt that she is blond, gorgeous and utterly, completely fearless.
On "Girls Behaving Badly," Handler plays shameless pranks with a hidden camera and stealth interviews. "I went to the opening of the new 'Star Wars' and was hitting on guys in line," she laughs. "I asked them if they'd give up their tickets for sex with me -- and I got turned down right and left! I even put cinnamon buns on my ears so I'd look like Princess Leia, but it didn't help."
It's hard to imagine who might turn down the winsome, hyper-assertive Handler. Although, judging by her tell-all collection of sex stories, few others have. In "My Horizontal Life," Handler is a female Don Juan, careening from one alcohol-fueled mishap to another. Far from glorifying the urban sex- spree lifestyle typified by Samantha on "Sex and the City," Handler's stories are usually groan inducing. That she can laugh at herself draws our sympathy rather than our scorn.
"I made sure to pick stories that were humiliating because this was not about trying to make myself look good," she says cheerfully.
There's the middle-aged man she picks up at a bar who emerges from his bathroom in chains and leather, the 18-year-old cruise ship swabby who already likes to spank, the Vegas stripper she really likes (as long as he doesn't talk) and, yes, the midget. And oh, so many more. But is it true?
Handler sighs, stirring her drink. "Yes. It's all rooted in fact. The middle-aged S&M guy was true from start to finish. And yes, the midget, too. It's a classic Chelsea story. My friends, when they heard it, said, 'Girl, you've got to write a book. Put this on paper.' "
She says that some characters were amalgams of various friends -- and the same with a couple of the men. "And of course I changed all their names," she laughs.
Handler says she has not had any of the men in question confront her about their inclusion in her memoir. In fact, quite the opposite. "I've actually had ex-boyfriends ask why they weren't included. I just had to say, 'Hey, this is not an encyclopedia -- you didn't make the cut!' "
Handler darkens when asked if she has gotten flak for taking sex so lightly in this PC age. "Sure, I've been criticized for sleeping with men on the first date, told that they won't want to marry me if I do. But here's a news flash, guys: If I sleep with you on the first date, I don't consider you marriage material either!"
She frowns. "Women who go out for the purpose of getting laid are still stigmatized, where that's a given with men."
Handler's been approached about turning the book into a TV show, and her live TV appearances have caused enough of a stir that she is now in talks for her own late-night interview show. "But I've had three development deals, and I can tell you that the thing that makes people excited about you in the first place evaporates over time. So who knows where it will all lead."
Asked what her Mormon-raised mother and Jewish father think of the book, she chuckles. "My dad's hilarious -- he's excited and proud. My mom, too. They cruise all the small bookstores and make sure it's prominently displayed. "
Her five brothers and sisters are also fine with their portrayals in the book, although some were ruffled at first. "Even my Mormon sister checks my rankings on Amazon.com," she notes.
Still, she says, there is a downside to airing one's dirty undies in print. "This pretty much shoots my chances of having a normal life," she sighs in mock consternation. "Or getting married anytime soon. Who would marry me anyway? I'm a handful."
Is she serious about wanting to marry? "I do think about marriage, but it's not the end-all goal. And as far as kids go, I think adoption would be the way to go. I don't think I should pass along these genes! I'd have a daughter, and she'd come out of me asking for a vodka cocktail!"
When Handler finally takes the Punch Line stage, her love affairs with sex and liquor are Topic A. She laments the growing popularity of coffee dates: "What can a Frappucino possibly lead to? A piggyback ride?"
And when the audience responds coolly, she ups the ante: "I have a question for you," she says languidly, arm outstretched on the mike stand. "Do you think it's OK to drink while pregnant ... if you're planning to give the baby up for adoption?"
As shocked titters and whoas of discomfort erupt from the audience, Handler grins wickedly, intoxicated by her own fearlessness.
Saturday, August 6, 2005
Lock up your husbands, the ho is back.
The world of fashion may be going into a state of mourning (watch for trendy black widow's weeds this fall), but beneath the stylish single girl's Victorian veil lies the sexually voracious heart of a hussy.
The time has come for a return to immodesty. After years of post-9/11 social conservatism, female sexuality is starting to seep through the cracks of the culture. How do I know this? First, because it is inevitable -- these things come in cycles. Second, because I have recently been bombarded by books touting the benefits of a lifestyle of excessive boozing, attachment-free sex and party tricks that would make Tommy Lee blush.
Retro titles such as Flirting 101 have given way to the recently published Sexy Bitch's Book of Finding Him, Doing Him, and Dating Him by Erin Kelly and My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands by Chelsea Handler, star of the TV show Girls Behaving Badly on the Oxygen Network.
The Hookup Handbook by Andrea Lavinthal and Jessica Rozler is another such manual. In 232 cleverly written pages, the New York authors define and promote a new kind of anti-romance that revolves around the instant gratification of sex without emotional ties. Their theory: Many young women today are either too busy or unwilling to take the emotional risk of having a relationship. Given this predicament, one can either choose to sit at home or learn how to hook up. They call it "defensive non-dating."
"You refuse to put yourself out there. Instead, you just put out," they write. "It may sound slutty, but when you remove the emotional from the physical, you end up making out with a cute boy without the whole 'Where is this going?' agony."
The book deals with the ins and outs of the hookup from how to execute one in the first place to how to deal with the boy who wants more. Their recommendation? Tell him you're gay, pawn him off on a psycho friend or drop him off at the local Kabbalah or Scientology centre -- the guy obviously has attachment issues.
It sounds hard-hearted, and it is.
The problem, of course, is that most single women (and single men, for that matter) would rather be in a functional relationship than endlessly hooking up. But how to get there? Dating, stilted as it can seem, at least offers the single person a compromise between drunken sex with a stranger and domesticity. Hookup culture offers no such middle ground.
Take your pick, it tells us: Be a whore or be a bore.
There are benefits, of course, to choosing the former. Namely, the promise of fame. Even if it's notoriety for being a tart, the lure of a public profile is enough to make many young women lift up their shirts and say cheese (check out Girls Gone Wild). Handler's one-night-stand book is a bestseller. She recently appeared on The Tonight Show and is reportedly fielding offers to develop a movie or television show based on her experiences. The fact that all of this material success may come at the price of personal happiness is not lost on her.
"Guys never approach me," she recently said in an interview with The New York Times. "I think they're intimidated. I haven't had a boyfriend in three years. Who's going to marry me now? The book is going to scare them away."
The truth is, while the post-sexual revolution supposedly brought young women increased sexual freedom, the culture remains frustratingly conservative when it comes to accepting girls who have openly slept around. Professional floozies such as Handler do little to change the system -- they merely benefit from it.
The crown princess of this brave new wave of heartless tarts is Jessica Cutler. Made famous by the outing of her blog, which recounted her sexcapades with various Capitol Hill staffers (often in exchange for cash), Cutler promptly cut a book deal with Hyperion to publish a memoir. The book, The Washingtonienne, is a unvarnished account of what it's like to be a pretty, sociopathic vixen living in a harsh world.
Say what you will about her, Cutler doesn't dress it up: "This world is no meritocracy," she says. "It revolves around looks and money. Period. . . . It was the age of Britney Spears and Maxim magazine. You could either miss out on all the fun, or you could make the most of the fact that people were so . . . shallow and take them for all they were worth."
Contrary to the ideals of the sexual revolution, Cutler doesn't hook up in order to "explore the limits of her own sexuality." She hooks up for money, status and attention. She admits to faking her orgasms and having complete contempt for almost all of the men she beds.
Herein lies the dark heart of hookup culture. While it pretends to be a progressive thing for women (dating is sooo over -- just go out and screw who you want!) it's actually a step in the opposite direction. Hookup artists such as Cutler use sex as currency. It's an easy way to trade up in order to one day score the big prize: a rich husband.
You thought socially sanctioned prostitution had gone the way of stirrup pants? Think again. It's hotter than black velvet Prada.
A Night Out With
Chelsea Handler: The Jokes Are on Her
By PAULINE O'CONNOR
ONE July evening at the NBC studios where "The Tonight Show" is taped, Chelsea Handler, who stars in "Girls Behaving Badly" on the Oxygen network, was holding court in her dressing room. She entertained her audience with anecdotes from a book tour of the Netherlands and Belgium.
"So many people ride bikes drunk in Amsterdam, once a month they dredge the canals and unearth a mountain of bikes that have been crashed," she said laughing. "I loved Amsterdam, but I wasn't crazy about Belgium. They're too serious. The first interview question I got there was, 'How do you feel about George Bush?' I wrote a stupid book about one-night stands!"
Ms. Handler's book, "My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands" (Bloomsbury), deals in sexual politics. In it she dishes the dirt on a decade's worth of booze-fueled bedroom escapades, sparing herself no humiliation and scorning the typical Hollywood ending. (In a typical Hollywood twist, she is fielding offers to develop the book into a film or television show.)
Someone rapped at the dressing-room door, summoning Ms. Handler onstage. Her segment, a report on the world of competitive square dancing, was a big hit. Afterward she zipped backstage and changed into a pink T-shirt and ripped jeans. Her manager, Mark Schulman, asked what Jay Leno was whispering to her. "I have no idea," she said. "He started talking, and I told him, 'Not now, I'm watching myself.' "
There was no time to rest on her laurels. Ms. Handler was booked to headline that night's show at the Improv comedy club on Melrose Avenue, but first she needed dinner. At the Improv she ordered a vodka on the rocks, then pulled a yellow plastic bottle from her purse. "I carry my own lemon juice with me everywhere," she explained, squirting some into her glass.
Between bites of fried calamari, Ms. Handler, 30, explained how she, a college dropout and former beauty pageant contestant from New Jersey, became a stand-up comic with a book deal.
"I moved to L.A. when I was 21," she said. "I thought I was going to be an actress. Then I started going to auditions with all these gorgeous women, and I realized I needed to do something different. I'd never even been to a comedy club before, but I figured you can drink on the job. I made a tape of myself telling jokes about waiting tables and sent it out and got a Thursday night slot here."
She was distracted by the arrival of a group of patrons in uniforms. "I don't believe this," she said. "The Boy Scouts are here." She fretted over how her act would go over. (Sample joke: "Is it O.K. to drink when you're pregnant if you're planning to give up the baby?")
After that the discussion turned to dating. "Guys never approach me," she said. "I think they're intimidated. I haven't had a boyfriend in three years. Who's going to marry me now? The book is going to scare them away." She reflected a moment.
"I don't know if I even want to get married. But if I do ever meet someone I like, they're going to know everything. They'll never be able to come back a couple years down the road and say I lied."
With perfect comic timing, a man came over to meet Ms. Handler. It was the scout troop leader.
Ms. Handler asked, "Are you with the Boy Scouts?" He said, "No, we're Adventure Scouts," adding, "It's like the Boy Scouts, but it's coed."
Ms. Handler said, "Now that's the kind of troop I needed when I was growing up."
July 4, 2005
Blaze Through Your Beach Reading
The perfect potboiler for every literary taste.
My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands, by Chelsea Handler (Bloomsbury)
Who needs a summer fling when you can have a whole seasonís worth of one-night stands? Stand-up comedienne and Girls Behaving Badly star Chelsea Handler has had more than most women care to admit, fueled by an extroverted personality, a healthy libido, and cringe-inducing quantities of alcohol, and sheís packaged her exploits as a not-so-cautionary tale that will make even the most jaded beach reader blush through her spray tan. With giddy, self-sabotaging wit, Handler works her slatternly charm at weddings, reunions, and the local dive bar, not to mention the Vineyard and the Jersey Shore. The endings of these sordid episodes couldnít be less predictable (for starters, Handlerís not one to worry about whether the guy will call the next day), and the supporting charactersóher 28-year-old-virgin roommate, her coke-addled male friend, and her politically incorrect dad, plus a host of wingwomenókeep things outrageous. Less smug than the typical naughty-girl confessional, raunchier than Bridget Jones, My Horizontal Life is chick lit that refreshingly swaps marriage momentum for mojo.
Harmless hookups offer hot no-strings action, but still get a bad rap
by Rachel Kramer Bussel
March 11th, 2005 6:37 PM
Casual sex gets a bad rap, even in these supposedly liberated times. While books like The Hookup Handbook: A Single Girl's Guide to Living It Up (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2005), Brief Encounters: The Women's Guide to Casual Sex (Vision, 2005), and My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands (Bloomsbury, 2005) abound, several myths about casual sex still need to be put to rest.
Myth: People who have casual sex are selfish sluts.
People who have casual sex are usually the same people who have relationships, just not at the same time. Maybe they're between lovers, or on vacation, or just want a few hours of pleasure. Maybe, like me, they haven't found the right person yet. If all you're doing is fucking, it's OK if your paramour's slept with half of the city, is too busy to make plans, is in another relationship, or just wouldn't make good boyfriend or girlfriend material. Those who've never had casual sex were probably either lucky enough to have a constant stream of steady mates, or valiantly overcame their urges to go home with the latest hottie they met in a bar.
Myth: Casual sex is meaningless, animalistic, and only about sexual gratification.
When I've had sex recently (which, contrary to what some may think, usually happens about once a monthóif I'm lucky), it's been with people I'm attracted to, but for various reasons couldn't see myself in a relationship with. Yet that doesn't mean that our sex has only been about getting off. In fact, I've been surprised at how profound these brief connections have proven. During one- or several-night stands, I've gotten a glimpse into my lovers' minds and libidos, and have often continued friendships that go beyond sex. I usually sleep with people I truly care about, and while we may be in it for physical pleasure, that doesn't mean I leave my heart at the bedroom door.
Myth: Casual sex is automatically negative.
Even otherwise progressive folks have a chip on their shoulders when it comes to casual sex. In an essay proudly defending Janet Jackson's bare breast, Marianne Williamson decries the rise of hookups: "How many millions of us have learned the hard way that casual sex can deeply woundóthe heart, the soul and even the body? How . . . can we all be so complacent about popular comedies . . . that make having sex seem about as important a decision as where to go for dinner or to shop for a new pair of shoes?"
This either-or mentality argues that those who fuck outside the boundaries of relationships have no regard for anyone other than themselves. This disdain for casual sex, as if it marks the collapse of America's moral fiber, crops up again and again (including in a note from a reader who called me "shallow" and "reckless"). But what's wrong with lonely, horny people stealing some sexual pleasure and companionship where they can find it?
There are times when casual sex trumps relationships. I do things during hookups that I might hesitate to do with someone I'm dating. During casual flings, I don't worry as much about what they'll think of me afterward; it's all about living in the moment. So when a recent lover slapped my face during sex, I didn't launch into a mental litany of what this said about me as a feminist or potential girlfriend, or why he wanted to do it, but only took a second, after the shock wore off, to realize that I got off on it. I might not have allowed myself to enjoy his action if I thought we had a future together.
That being said, I'm not looking for another decade, or even another year, of just casual sex. I desire a relationship with someone I love, care about, respect, am compatible with, and want to fuck. But finding that perfect symbiosis isn't easy. There are flaws and complications, and it's much easier to forgive those quirks when you're not planning to spend every weekend together.
I'm picky about who I fuck, but I'm even pickier about who I date, because that person has to put up with a lot. I'm grouchy and mercurial, perpetually stressed, prone to mood swings and self-doubt. I can (and want to) be a fabulous girlfriend but am not going to waste my time. In a busy town, the work of dating and meeting people is often too much trouble. Besides the potential for pain and heartbreak, scheduling dates with near-strangers in which you struggle to make conversation and assess each other isn't as appealing as a hot no-strings night in the sack.
I have higher standards when it comes to relationships. I will offer my body much sooner than my heart, because I can walk away from casual sex, no matter how strong the connection, and not find myself crying, waiting for the phone to ring, or contemplating the other person's mind-set. If we both agree to keep things light and friendly, low on drama and high on nakedness, there's more short-term payoff.
With a casual hookup, it's easier to put aside life's daily dramas and let go in bed. I have trouble with that because in the back of my mind, I'm often thinking about a bill or a deadline, and while most of me is present, that small, anxious part can leave me too tense to fully relax. When I also have to consider my future with the person I'm fucking, not to mention how I look in any given position and what the other person is really thinking and feeling, the prospect can be daunting. I've spent the last year searching for someone who is worth the bother, with whom I can have mind-blowing sex and build something greater than the two of us, but every potential candidate has simply not been into me or otherwise fizzled out.
The main myth I want to dispel is that I'm cavalier about casual sex. It's a rare treat when I find someone attractive, smart, funny, and aggressive enough to lure me into bed, so when I do, I jump on them (literally). In my last relationship, I had a connection so powerful and intense, it made almost everything after it pale in comparison. But just because I'm on the prowl for a long-term partner doesn't mean I'm home alone humping my beloved Hitachi Magic Wand every night until I find one. My ideal is someone with whom I can blend the extreme lewdness of the best casual sex with the less racy, but perhaps more profound, promise of love, growth, and commitment. Until then, occasional, easygoing flings are an excellent second best.
BY JAY S. JACOBS
If Chelsea Handler isn't careful, her career may infringe on her time and opportunities to have trysts. The pretty New Jersey native has been quite busy making a splash in the world of stand-up comedy, doing sold-out gigs all over the US. She is one of the stars of the Oxygen Network comedy series Girls Behaving Badly. She also has a recurring gig as a special correspondent for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Now she has written her first book. My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands (Bloomsbury USA) is just what it sounds like; Handler's funny tour of the modern sexual minefield. Using her life as a guide, she spins hilarious yarns about past meaningless affairs, whether good, bad or ugly. Wonderfully tongue-in-cheek, she gives you a whirlwind ride of virile midgets, gay gynecologists, male strippers, closeted leather junkies and uptight roommates.
Chelsea was on vacation, but she took a little time to phone us about the book and her career.
How did you originally get into stand-up comedy?
I moved out to LA when I was about nineteen to become a famous actress. I realized that there was a lot more competition than I had bargained for. You know, with the perfect girls. There were girls that were prettier and skinnier and all Ė the whole thing. I was like, well, shoot; I better do something other than try and become an actress. I wanted to do something to kind of set myself apart from everybody. I figured Iíve always had a big mouth, so stand-up would be a good idea, although I was petrified. Itís not an easy thing to get up in front of complete strangers and just try to be funny. So, I think I had about 50 margaritas before my first set. The Improv on Melrose was the first time Iíd ever done stand-up. I sent a tape in of me doing stand-up in my living room about waitressing, because that was the only experience I had. I had been waiting tables for about two-three years in LA. They called me back and said, ďWe love your tape. Come down and do a set on Thursday night.Ē I did it and Iíve been doing it ever since.
How did you get into Girls Behaving Badly?
Girls Behaving Badly Ė they actually had seen me doing stand-up and asked me to come in and audition for them. It was kind of the perfect first big job for me, because itís all improv and itís all on your toes. You never really know whatís going to happen in any situation. Thatís my thing Ė I almost prefer improve rather than scripted stuff, because itís so much fun to be in the moment and you can say anything. Well, not anything. Sometimes I have to be told to keep it clean. (laughs) But, itís a pretty much free-for-all. Itís real fun, when youíre in the moment and youíre in these crazy situations trying to convince people to do ridiculous and ludicrous things. So it was a perfect fit for me. We just wrapped our fourth season. It ended up opening a lot of other doors. It also helps with your stand-up, too.
Was that how you caught the eyes of the Tonight Show and started being a correspondent for them?
The Tonight Show actually saw me at the Aspen Comedy Festival. They booked me to do stand-up on the Tonight Show. The people were familiar with Girls Behaving Badly and they thought this would be a great way to have [me] come on every couple of weeks. Because if you do stand-up, you go on maybe every three or four months. If youíre lucky. Itís great because itís all improv too. With the correspondence pieces Iím doing, you go out and you interview people on the street and itís very in the moment. Itís very improvisational. Itís really, really a good gig, all the way around. Plus, they serve you cocktails at the Jay Leno show, which they do not do on Girls Behaving Badly.
Well, thatís something right thereÖ
Thatís a BIG bonus.
Do you come up with the ideas for the pieces, or do they suggest them to you?
We kind of talk about it together. They come up with things that are happening around the country. Basically, their theme is to be a fish out of water. Put me in situations that I would never, ever be in naturally. The last one just did was covering a square dancing convention on Oregon. That airs this Wednesday night.
The last one I saw was when you went to the line waiting for Star WarsÖ
Right, that was very fun.
Youíre doing some serious multitasking right now Ė you have the stand-up, the TV appearances, the book and now a book tour. How hectic is your life right now?
The last six weeks have been pretty insane. Itís been the busiest time of my life, so far. Iím grateful for it, because Iíve been working for it for so long. The book tour has just been amazing. Iíve been going to cities that I never normally would go to. Iím able to incorporate my stand-up. Iím able to go do stand-up and then do book signings after. Most authors just do book signings at Borders and Barnes & Noble. Luckily, I can go and do a club in front of 400-500 people, as opposed to a Borders, where sometimes only 15 or 20 people show up. So itís a huge advantage to have the stand-up. I never, ever dreamt of being a stand-up comedian. By doing it, itís opened up so many doors for me. Itís been just an amazing experience. Itís something Iíll never stop doing. Well, I mean, hopefully when Iím not that cute anymore, I won't put anybody else through that torture, but... (laughs) now itís okay. Thereís nothing attractive about a 75-year-old up on stage telling jokes, especially a woman. Iíll have to stop at some point.
Well, Phyllis Diller still does it, doesnít she?
Actually, somebody just gave me her CD. Thatís funny you say that.
The book is very funny, but does it feel a little weird letting people in on some very personal experiences?
Yeah, I mean itís obviouslyÖ probably postponed anybody proposing to me any time soon. But, I just wanted to write a bookÖ Like I was writing the book and there were definitely some chapters I thought twice about putting in there. Because I thought I donít want to just write this book and make me look funny or make me look cool or like I just get guys Ė whoever I want. I wanted to put the most humiliating things that have happened to me, because I wanted it to be an honest book and I didnít want to be tooting my own horn. I wanted it to be very self-deprecating, because thatís how I am. Very self-deprecating. The stories were all storiesÖ you know there are stories that arenít in there. Iíve gotten calls from guys that arenít in the book, going, ďwhy arenít we in the book?Ē Itís like, listen, this isnít a free-for-all. I have had plenty of experiences. I wanted it to be, above all, a funny book, because Iím interested in reading funny books and I didnít want it to be one of those romantic play-by-play books that you read about lovemaking. Thatís not interesting to me. I wanted to do something that I would be interested in reading.
When guys have a lot of one-night-stands it is considered a badge of honor, but itís not the same for women who usually hide it when they do it. Why do you think itís such a double-standard?
I donít know. I think thatís changing a lot. I think thereís a stigma that goes along withÖ You know, the funny thing is that men think that when they have sex with a woman on the first night, that oh, well, sheís not marriage material. Or maybe thatís not the type of girl I want to go out with again. What guys donít understand is that weíre doing the same thing. If weíre having sex with you on the first night, weíre probably not that interested in seeing you again either.
My experience has been that when women donít want to see me again, they usually donít want to sleep with me, either. So I must be doing something wrongÖ
Because youíve written a book that is greatly about sex, do people suddenly treat you like youíre Loveline or Dr. Ruth and come to you with all these sex questions?
Yeah, itís funny. I mean, a couple of the events Iíve been doing on my book tour, Iíve been to like eight different cities in the US and Iíve been getting a lot of questions. A lot of times, if itís a speaking engagement, when itís not at a stand-up club like I had an event at Henry Bendels in New York, when itís a speaking engagement I had all these girls asking me what to do. One girl was fooling around with her boss, and she didnít know what to do. Another girl had a one-night-stand with one of her best friends and was asking advice. Then, my sister was sitting in the background going, ďOh, my gosh. This is so funny that youíre giving people advice.Ē (laughs) It is not meant for an advice book at all. I donít feel like Iím anybodyís role model. God forbid. If Iím youíre role model, then youíve got bigger problems. I didnít want it to be like that. I just wanted to share some of my stories. I just wanted it to be about the stories that happened to me, and share them. If anything, itís like, okay, Iíve had all these one-night-stands so that nobody else has to go through what I went through. (laughs again)
I know you said you are in New Jersey now. Are you visiting home?
Yeah, we just had our family summer vacation in Marthaís Vineyard. Iím back in New Jersey today and fly back to LA tomorrow.
How has your family reacted to the way they were portrayed in the book?
They all have very good senses of humor. Weíve all grown up with each other, and theyíve known me my whole life. Theyíre not really surprised by anything I do. People are always asking, ďWell, what do your parents say?Ē My parents think itís hilarious. My sisters couldnít be any more different than they are from me. They are very quiet and conservative. My father thinks itís so funny that Iím so out there and just have no qualms about letting all my dirty laundry hang out. He thinks itís great. Heís like, ďGood for you. Good for you for being a woman and not being timid about it.Ē I think he feels also that I can get away with a lot more because itís a funny book, and in my stand-up, when I talk about men and one-night-stands; itís all in a funny tilt. Itís not serious. I think that he likes that aspect of it, because heís a very funny person. He likes the fact that I can take a humiliating experience and make it funny.
One chapter I really enjoyed was the one where you went home for your sisterís wedding, because it is kind of rare for women writers to acknowledge that they really arenít having a good time at a wedding. Why do you think that weddings are of such mythic importance to many women?
I know what you mean. Everything has gotten so carried away. Itís so about the attention put on the bride. Itís not just a wedding anymore, itís the year leading up to the wedding. The big bachelorette weekend, then itís the wedding showers, of course and then itís the speeches at the wedding. It seems to have lost some of its sheen. I feel like, if youíre getting married, youíre so blessed to have found somebody that you like so much, someone that you can spend your life with Ė donít push it. (laughs) Donít go register for your own gifts. Buy us gifts. Weíre still single. Go buy me a ceiling fan or a bottle of vodka. Whatever. I feel like itís gotten very carried away. When I get married, if I canít afford to pay for everyone to come out there to the wedding, then Iím not going toÖ Iím not going to do it until I can do it the right way, until I have the money to do it. Because everybody who goes to these weddings ends up bitching about it. It totally backfires. I donít want to get married having people at my wedding talking about me behind my back. Going, "Can you believe we spent this money or that money." No, I want everybody to be happy to be there. Thatís why every year I have a huge birthday party and I make sure everything is included. I donít want anyone complaining. I donít want any gifts. No gifts. Just come and booze it up with me. Thatís all I care about. Good quality alcohol time.
What would upset your father more, if you brought home the midget or brought home George W. Bush?
Ummm, I donít know. Would the midget be black or white? (laughs)
It doesnít matter. Okay, why not blackÖ
I think heíd be more upset by the midget. Even though heís not a Bush supporter, I feel like he may be a little bit closeted about his support for the Republican Party. Heíd never admit it to any of us, butÖ He definitely didnít vote for him. I know that. I donít think he voted for anybody. I think he just stays out of it. But thereís definitely a gray area with him, because he wonít come out and Bush-bash, like, you know, a lot of other people will. Iím very suspicious. (laughs)
I noticed that you had a tendency to refer to a lot of the guys by nicknames Ė the midget, the Turtle, Thunder. Were you protecting the innocent or just forgetting the names?
No. I mean I did have a lot of nicknames. I did definitely have to change names. I changed everybodyís name except for my ex-boyfriend Peter, who personally requested I use his real name. I changed all the names. Legally, I had to. I mean, some of these people I havenít spoken to since. Most of them. So you canít have them coming back and suing you and saying very clearly, obviously you were describing me. You have to kind of do that legally. But the nicknames Ė Turtle, Dumb Dumb; all those nicknames are true.
I think one of my exes may have roomed with Dumb Dumb (the nickname Chelsea gave to a former roommate). How do two such different people end up living together and how did you keep from going crazy?
I think eventually I did go crazy. I think we both went crazy. We were the odd couple. We were so different. We met waitressing at a restaurant. We had a very sisterly relationship. Weíd fight like cats and dogs and the next minute be like, okay, letís go to dinner or go to the movies. It was very sisterly like that. We could be yelling and screaming at each other and the next minute weíd be talking like nothing happened. I felt kind of like she was this little inexperienced person and I tried to help her with her social life and bring her out. So sheíd come see me perform all the time at the Improv or wherever I was performing. We got on well for a period of time. It wore out, obviously, because we are so different. And we arenít related. So at some point, you have to be like, okay, this is not working out. Itís ridiculous. But it was a fun experience. She gave me a lot of material.
Were there any experiences that were just too weird or embarrassing to write about?
No, I think I put the weirdest and most embarrassing stories in there. There is definitely a couple that I didnít get to put in and Iíll probably put in the next book. But I wanted it to be the most outrageous stories.
Bad girl's horizontal past gives her vertical career
By Lauren Beckham Falcone
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Can you handle Chelsea Handler?
The 20-something actress and stand-up comic tests the limits of social graces on her WE TV show, ``Girls Behaving Badly,'' but now the bold blonde has taken pen to paper to reveal many a young woman's big bad secret: The One-Night Stand.
Once verboten, Handler puts the spotlight on the anonymous romp in ``My Horizontal Life,'' mostly because, well, she's done it more than a few times and she's pretty good at it.
``My stories are so funny and so ridiculous,'' she said in a phone interview. ``I thought, why not write a book? So I wrote 10 down and sent them to my agent who sent them to an attorney, and the next thing I know I have a book deal.
Which I thought, great, God this is easy! Until my agent told me I had to write eight more stories, which made me wonder: Do I have to sleep with eight more guys?''
But the subject matter is certainly dicey, and sleeping and telling is usually reserved for the erotica section of the bookstore, not comedy.
``I could have made it a lot tamer,'' Handler said. ``Some of the details are so humiliating. But I decided if I was going to write this book, I was going to embrace my shortcomings. It's not about trying to make myself look good. But when the editors decided to keep (some details in) saying, `Believe me, you're not the only person this happened to,' I still thought: No one is going to marry me after this book comes out.''
And the way she tattles on friends and family, it's surprising anyone's picking up the phone to chat. For instance, we meet Chelsea's parents when she is 7 years old and walks in on them naked, her mother in a nurse's hat and her father wearing only a bandana around his neck.
``My parents are really supportive,'' she said. ``Although they say I have an `interesting' memory. I call that a good memory. Even my sister and brother don't remember things, but I (expletive) do, I remember it clearly. I haven't heard from men I've written about, although I don't think the stripper can read. But I have heard from guys who aren't in the book. I just tell them they didn't make the cut.''
No matter. The way Handler's book is being embraced (she's going on a European tour and working on a TV pilot), she may have more outlets to out her conquests.
``We'll see,'' said Handler, who is also a correspondent for ``The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.''
``This isn't a how-to guide for girls. I'm just telling true stories. I'm so sick of those girls who do it and lie about it and two weeks later you find out they've been (insert sex act here). It's ridiculous. Everyone is doing it. If you live in a big city, you pretty much are hooking up once, twice, 15 times a week. Who cares?
These are funny stories and I enjoy a good laugh. It's not a life-lesson book. One warning? Don't overdo it on the Mexican food.''
from Linda Rubright
Imagine being a
seven year old witness to, "your mother naked and jumping from one side of a
king-sized bed to another with a nurse's hat on while your father, who is also
naked, is chasing her with a bandana around his neck."
For the majority of us in the sane population, this would result in spending the rest of our lives in the loony bin, vomiting all things ingested and / or desperately seeking a lifelong prescription for consta-therapy. Chelsea Handler however, uses these parental pornographic Olympics as the springboard for spending a decade or so combing the United States in search of her next one night stand. The varying results of these sexual hits and terrifyingly close, misses are described via a collection of short stories in her new book, My Horizontal Life. A book that is for the brave, the voyeuristic, and surely the hard to offend, but also prime reading material for anyone looking to laugh their hiney off.
reader understands the visual assault that Handler begins childhood with (I will
not repeat for fear of causing someone to seize) she fast forwards to her
post-high school years. A time that involved a gamut of questionable men such as
a non-English speaker wanted by the law, a stripper, "the type of blue-collar
alcoholic that you could have a solid fling with", a prostitute and a slue of
men ranging from king-sized to puny.
And, no folks, she does not stop there. Handler, with her side-splitting humor shows readers, that in order to be successful at one-nighters or at least to exit them with a wee amount of self respect you need the talent to: lie, lie, lie. For example, if you want to gab your way into or rapidly exit out of the lives of strangers you could: acquire a lisping, illiterate Cuban father that arrived in the United States via inner tube; pretend that you are pregnant and then justify your excessive drinking by declaring that you are giving the baby up for adoption; discuss your family's 100% ownership of American Airlines; or pretend a pyromaniac child at the Boys and Girls Club (where you donate the majority of your waking hours) burned your bangs off, to explain a haircut gone awry.
Horizontal Life, Handler was not going to be incriminated alone in the play
back of her sexual big hits and botch jobs. She also lets loose all the Handler
family malfunctions. Including her mother who spent Handler's "entire childhood
taking naps" and who would "rather set herself on fire" than attend parent
teacher conferences. A father that was a jalopy collecting racist whose
relationship with Handler turned south after she called the police to report he
had molested her - simply because "she wanted to have a party that weekend and
needed him out of the house." A brother that had their mother send him porn and
a sister that decided to be a Mormon. I will leave the descriptions of her
friends for something not rated PG-13.
My Horizontal Life, at times, borders on being entirely unbelievable to the citizens of the world that are not wanna-be disciples of Jenna Jameson, but when you are laughing yourself senseless - who really cares about reality? Not me.