This Is How It Works: You’re Young Until You’re Not
I have that Regina Spektor song "On the Radio" playing in my head as today I start another round-robin national radio tour. Watch out, North America (I have my first ever Canadian interview in fifteen minutes and I cannot wait to discuss the Louisiana Purchase. Or graduation gifts. Whichever the DJ thinks is more relevant.)
Male interviewers, whether on radio or television, tend to take a sort of offensive approach to talking about The Girl's Guide to Absolutely Everything. When I'm being interviewed by a male/female team, the woman always asks the hard-hitting questions about the book, the man sits back and cracks jokes about how uncomfortable he is with discussing body image, how he doesn't know the first thing about the changing nature of friendship and doesn't care. The guy typically becomes this fratty, mischievous sidekick who undermines the interview. I tend to joke right back with the uncomfortable guy and this, not surprisingly I guess, throws them off and they get sort of petulant. I've learned, however retrograde it is, that male interviewers need to be the funniest, they need to mug for an audience, and the interview will go much more smoothly if you just laugh politely and agree.
Men have told me that they cannot possibly walk into a bookstore and buy a book with "Girl" in the title because it's just not done, because the salespeople will think god-knows-what -- the most "liberated" men I know feel their masculinity could be questioned if they buy a book targeted at women. Most women I know would buy any book, no matter who it was "geared toward," no matter how "embarrassing" the title. Do men still feel emasculated buying tampons? Does this account for the shock jock morning show hosts who use "Whatever!" as a response when they can't come up with anything clever to say to a female author?
The true professionals, and maybe this comes with age or experience, have no problem talking about the book, its girly intricacies, and comfortably say "This is a book I could use!" or "I'm going to get this for my daughter and my son! I've been interviewed by many fantastic radio hosts (I wish I could remember the cities, because I fell in love with this male duo who interviewed me on the radio somewhere out there in some city, they were just so funny without being mean, it was amazing).
One guy this morning asked me what was up with everyone being so PC in the northeast and why had they fired Imus? He gave a good interview but I was struck once again by how easy it is to wander around New York and assume the rest of the country agrees with us or doesn't exist. Not that I didn't think that there were people who protested Imus' firing; I just like to pretend we're all aspiring to be more liberal and politically correct, and it's easy to forget that smart people disagree with us. This is why people tend not to wander too far from their own backyards -- "People out there disagree with me, but I don't plan to meet them."
"On the radio, we'll hear 'November Rain'..."