Straight Up and Dirty

Straight Up and Dirty

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by Stephanie Klein

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Marriage fit Stephanie Klein like a glove . . . but unfortunately it fit her husband like a noose. She thought she had the perfect marriage, but just like that, Klein found herself "divorced when you're firm, fashionable, and let's face it—fetching."

Celebrated bloggist, photographer, and freelance writer Stephanie Klein lets it all hang out in this juicy

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Marriage fit Stephanie Klein like a glove . . . but unfortunately it fit her husband like a noose. She thought she had the perfect marriage, but just like that, Klein found herself "divorced when you're firm, fashionable, and let's face it—fetching."

Celebrated bloggist, photographer, and freelance writer Stephanie Klein lets it all hang out in this juicy tell-all tracing her jump back into single life following her divorce. On the dating advice of her therapist, Klein attempts to keep "a pair and a spare" of men always at hand and has lots of bawdy fun along the way. But when the anniversary of the devastating breakup from her "wasband" forces her to revisit what happened, she finds herself wanting more than her therapist's recommended gimmick to keep her emotionally safe.

Straight Up and Dirty demonstrates that the true measure of success isn't what's crossed off life's to-do list. It's having the grace and fortitude to move through change, curls intact and smiling.

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Editorial Reviews

“Stephanie Klein is so gut-wrenchingly honest that it’s embarrassingly entertaining to read her oh-so-real stories, even if you haven’t experienced what she’s gone through—from divorce to hating tuna fish to attending weddings alone (”Something to really look forward to, you know, like a Pap smear”).”
Marie Claire
“Stephanie Klein’s raw account of divorce at age 29 is refreshingly honest and funny, without delving into cheesy chick-lit territory. You’ll easily relate to Klein—even if you don’t have a “wasband.”
Daily News
“Masterfully intertwines the breakdown of her marriage with postdivorce dating exploits…Her confessional, intimate writing style has a magnetic and often voyeuristic appeal that transcends the gloss of her Sex and the City-styleescapades.”
New York Post
“Stephanie Klein’s hilarious Straight Up and Dirty is perfect beach-blanket reading.”
New York Times
“Nothing, it seems, is too private not to share with . . . Ms. Klein’s legions of followers. And that is exactly how they like it. . . . [She is] the Carrie Bradshaw of New York bloggers.”
The Independent
“Fearless. . . . Her adventures take her from Soho to the Hamptons—looking for love, with a cocktail in her hand.”
Marie Claire (UK)
“Beneath the wisecracking tales of solo supermarket shopping, phone therapy and Hamptons houseshares, the raw emotion about her divorce and nightmare mother-in-law rings true. Plus, any girl who can pen such gems as, ‘I wanted to verb his noun’, deserves respect.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

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Straight Up and Dirty

A Memoir
By Stephanie Klein

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Stephanie Klein
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060843276

Chapter One

It was April Fool's Day, 2003 -- fourteen days from tax time -- and the biggest joke of a day. I sat on the floor of his closet, my head between the hems of his pants. His suede loafers made imprints on the backs of my thighs. I'd bought him those herringbone pants at a Zanella sample sale, that reversible leather belt, and all those fine sweaters and tailored shirts. I'd shop with an index card of his sizes so he wouldn't need to return things. I wanted to make him happy.

He'd said pleats were outdated and told me to return them, but you can't return samples, so they remained, tags intact, toward the back of his closet. I could touch the grain of his wooden shoe trees, finger his cashmere sweaters, and cry into his shirts. I still had his things. His smell was still there, but he was a stranger.

The ties were the hardest part to leave. I'd bought more than a handful of them for him in Paris, when he'd proposed marriage to me at the Eiffel Tower in June of 1998. Charvet, Ferragamo, and Hermes were all he'd wear. I didn't know from any of it. Unlike him, I wasn't raised on a diet of designer. So I made an effort by introducing him to Etro ties, hoping he'd tell people I'd turned him onto somethingnew. But he didn't like Etro -- he liked what he knew. "I'm sorry Stephanie, but your taste, uh . . ." he said shaking his head in disproval, "it's from hunger."

"What the hell does that mean?"

"You know how when you're starving you'll eat anything?"


"Well," then he closed the lid on the tie box and pushed it toward me as he said, "you're looking at anything."

My twenty-eight-year-old husband Gabriel Rosen never pretended to be a retrosexual. I mean the boy was a hardcore metrosexual before its emergence in the lexicon. He always knew from hair product and thread count. Then he joined a new gym and never missed a tanning appointment. For the five and a half years we'd been together, I'd occasionally joke when he revealed his chest at the beach: "Oh look, you decided to wear a Gap sweater." Back then, he was too fixated on his bald spot and Propecia to ever contemplate hair removal. But suddenly, after two and a half years of marriage, his Palm calendar included laser sessions for his arms, chest, and back. A foreign cologne hung heavy in the air, clinging to his new Prada button-down. His new shirt wasn't red, but the flag was. The signs were there, an article straight from a woman's magazine:

  • joins a gym
  • visits a tanning salon
  • sports a new hairstyle
  • wears hair product and cologne more often
  • purchases various new and different clothes
  • suddenly and inexplicably changes his clothing style

He wasn't gay. He was cheating. I didn't say adultery. I didn't say sex. I said cheating as in living as if I weren't in his life.

when I confronted Gabe, he swore. not "shit" or "oh, fuck." He swore, "Nothing . . . happened." In his pause between "Nothing" and "happened" he was devising the next lie. "Nothing," I would later discover, consisted of movie premieres, courtside seats at Madison Square Garden, Bungalow 8, text messages, late night phone calls, meeting her friends, and a string of missed electronic pages. "Happened" was a forty-three-year-old socialite. If recklessness were currency, he could have purchased all of Prada. When tax season approached, he had nothing left to expense. I'd already written him off. Dependents: 0.

Enough with his designer closet; none of it was mine anymore. I needed to finish packing. As I sat cross-legged on our hardwood floor, I smelled packing tape and was surrounded by brown. Brown packing boxes, brown shadows cast on barren walls, left only with brown rusted picture hooks and sun rings, revealing what was no longer there. Depleted from a day of instructing movers which boxes would go to storage and which would go to my new smaller apartment across town, I sat alone. All I had were the keys I'd need to turn in and the last wheel of brown tape in my hands. I sealed my last box, the Gabe box -- full of vacation itineraries, smiling photographs, our certificate of marriage, old tax returns, printed e-mails, and folded notes signed with xxx's, ooo's, and Always. The box was leaving the Upper East Side and heading for storage. I was heading to the Upper West without any of it. I closed the door behind me.

"I have to start my whole life over. again."

"Please, your life was for shit before," I could almost hear my younger sister Lea say over the phone in my new apartment a week later. Instead she responded, "Oh, stop. Starting your life over is a good thing; it's an opportunity." Lea spoke in semicolons.

"Don't do that. Don't bring up the whole door-window thing."

"Well it's true; it's a makeover. I know it doesn't feel like it now, Stephanie, but this is a blessing in disguise."

She went there, like everyone else, reaching into their heavy bags searching for the appropriate cliche to smack on my condition: betrayed. I wanted time to fast-forward, so I could awake happy and over it. So I ate Benadryl and cried into the buttery neck of my shorthaired furkid Linus.

"You get to redecorate and cut your hair. You get to go and buy new clothes. Oooh, and new bedding. I need to hurry up and get married, so I can get divorced too. You're so living A Fashion Emergency; I should send them a tape."

"Lea, I'm serious."

"Wait -- Steph, have you seen the show? It's sooooo good; you can get a free wardrobe."

Lea, if not reminded she's still talking, can easily talk the shit out of a livestock auctioneer. "Seriously, enough with your pity party over there. I bet you're still in that white bed wearing yesterday's clothes. Have you even walked Linus?"


Excerpted from Straight Up and Dirty by Stephanie Klein Copyright © 2006 by Stephanie Klein. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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