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Straight Up and Dirty

Straight Up and Dirty

4.0 16
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


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.

Editorial Reviews

"Always date at least three men at once," Stephanie Klein's therapist told her, "It will prevent you from latching on to the wrong relationship out of neediness." In the wake of a painful divorce, the shrink's "pair and a spare" guideline initially sounded sensible, but gradually Steph realized that managing an entire team of suitors offered more challenges than gratification.
“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

Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:

Read an Excerpt

Straight Up and Dirty
A Memoir

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 Hermès 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 something new. 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 atanything."

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 cliché 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?"

Straight Up and Dirty
A Memoir
. Copyright © by Stephanie Klein. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Blogger and author Stephanie Klein was born and raised in New York. She now lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and children.

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Straight Up and Dirty 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
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Sess-Jooner More than 1 year ago
The book is supposed to be about regaining the love for herself. It's very sad and depressing, the way it should be, but it shouldn't linger with a person once they put the book down. It could be just me, but this book is more about lies and betrayal [negative], rather than her actually going after what makes HER happy, just her being alone [positive]. The summary on the back was a bit misleading. It was funny in the beginning with wit and one night stands, but then it started going downhill towards the end. I was expecting something like Chelsea Handlers Horizontal Life, but it wasn't anything compared to what I thought it was going to be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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everythingsbigntexas More than 1 year ago
I am not much of a reader but i watch the Chelsea Latley show and i read both of her books, she is so funny!! and i was looking for another book like her books and came across this book and its was so funny and real!! i loved it!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be a boring detailing the offenses of her evil ex in-laws, a selfish yet spineless ex husband, superficial friends and uninteresting dating escapades. It seemed like the author wanted to be honest, tried to be witty, but couldn't pull it off. After I finished reading this book, I was left wondering why I wasted my time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down..... Witty, Funny, and Truthful ..'If Dulce were a scratch and sniff sticker, she'd smell like birthday cake.'..(pg, 83)
Guest More than 1 year ago
While reading this memoir, I felt right there with Stephanie through all her experiences...many of which I could relate to. She did a great job of captivating my attention as a reader. There's more than a moderate use of profanity...which I didn't mind. It made the book seem incredibly candid...as though she wrote down exactly what she thought/felt and kept it that way with no apologies. I'm glad it wasn't overly edited. It's not a sugar-coated 'oh look at me I'm perfect' memoir. It's what it is...'Straight Up and Dirty.' LOVED IT!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Couldnt put it down! I actually laughed out loud! This is a must read especially if you're a Manhattanite!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Loved the honesty -- the humor of this book! I definitely recommend it
Guest More than 1 year ago
When you come across a book like this that is so personal, and heart breaking, you can't stop reading. I found myself almost feeling alot of what she went through. There were parts that were funny, familiar, and completely gut wrenching. There was emotion and heart put into the book, and for that it's one of the best I've read this year. It's definately given me new insight for dating. The only part that let me down was her abortion after trying so hard to conceive. At that point the book changed for me, so I gave it 4 stars.