Stand-up comedian Ginny Hogan (Toxic Femininity in the Workplace) has reached a conclusion: dating sucks. She doesn't have a lot of nice things to say about relationships either. In the ceaselessly funny I'm More Dateable than a Plate of Refried Beans: And Other Romantic Observations, Hogan relives some of her mortifying, demoralizing and traumatic experiences on the dating scene and maybe--just maybe--makes up a few incidents for laughs.
The book is organized around themed chapters ("Early Dating," "Breakups and Exes," etc.) that are then subdivided into sections ("Overthink Piece" and "Textually Active") that include mock Cosmo quizzes ("What's the Right Dating App for You to Settle Down With?") and questionable advice ("You can't sleep with anyone who's ever slept with any of your friends. Not because of loyalty, but because they all have terrible taste. Why so many method actors?").
Occasionally Hogan takes a jaundiced look at romance classics of the screen and page. In "Phantoms and Prejudice," the narrator, sent back in time from the year 2022, has to break it to Pride and Prejudice's Lizzie Bennet that the reason she hasn't received a letter from Mr. Darcy isn't that he's busy; it's that he's ghosting her: "Look, Lizzie.... This is a Jane Austen novel. Everyone is just sitting around all day. If he wanted to write you, he would have written you."
I'm More Dateable than a Plate of Refried Beans is a faux self-help book like no other: it's hilarious, obscene and depressing--in the good kind of way. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer