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Hi, I'm Jenny Mollen, an actress and writer living in Los Angeles. I'm also a wife, married to someone more famous than me, which is especially annoying because all the free clothing he gets never come in a size small.
This is my book, an assortment of stories about not doing the right thing. Yes, it's about me. But it's also about women, who all come in two types: those that are totally batshit crazy, and those that are liars. It's a book about acting on impulses, plotting elaborate hoaxes, and refusing to acknowledge boundaries in any form. Like hiding in the trunk of a car to get a look at the girl who used to fuck my husband. Or pretending to have a seizure on a red-eye to New York in order to explain why my dog is balls-deep in a bag of Pirates' Booty burrowed in the lap of a sleeping child.
Life is too short for bullshit. I'm 33 and my tits drop half an inch a year. Someday very soon, ladies, you and I are going to be whatever fetish comes after "cougar," unable to wear shirts without sleeves, and full of cell phone cancer. It is our obligation to be honest with ourselves about who we really are and what we really want. Which more often than not is someone else's email password.
So let's embrace it. I Like You Just the Way I Am is a book about taking the high roadas long as it intersects with the train tracks my ex-boyfriend is tied to.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.68(w) x 8.18(h) x 0.72(d)|
About the Author
JENNY MOLLEN is an actress and writer, called one of the funniest women on Twitter by The Huffington Post. She writes for The Smoking Jacket, has appeared in "Wilfred," "Suits," "CSI NY," "Crash," the WB series "Angel," and HBO's "GIRLS."
Read an Excerpt
Behind Every Crazy Woman, There’s an Even More Batshit Mother
My mom was always more of a friend than an authority figure. But not like a laid-back friend who comes over to watch Homeland—more like an annoying friend who comes over with two dudes you don’t know and starts doing body shots off your sleeping roommate at 3 A.M. on a Wednesday.
Everyone’s mom is fucking crazy to some degree, and my mom is no different. Except that she’s completely different because she is infinitely crazier than your mom. She is a product of Ashland, Oregon, in the 1960s, a reaction to a generation of Betty Homemakers and Goody Two-Shoes, and a man-eater with a serious penchant for partying. In her youth, my mom looked like a real-life Barbie. She has blond hair, one green eye and one blue eye, and tits that I inherited only after surgery. Though she always emphasized brains over beauty—by talking shit about any woman who didn’t make her own money and own at least one copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull—my mom’s identity was heavily wrapped up in her physical appearance, and attention from the opposite sex was a prize I could never compete with. After dissecting her psychologically over the years, I feel I understand why she never stayed in one place for more than a year, why she’s been married to every name in Paul Simon’s song “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” and why after a summer at sleepaway camp, she sat my sister and me down to tell us we needed to go live with our father because she didn’t “know how to be a mom anymore.” (All of this was a step up from her mom, a lady who allowed my sister and me to sleep in cribs when we visited up until age nine.)
At times she felt like my child, especially when she would remind me that in another lifetime, I was the parent and she was the daughter. But mostly she felt like an older sister I was always trying to keep up with.
And according to everyone around me, I had it great! My mom was the “fun mom.” She was the woman who had her nipple pierced in front of my eighth-grade boyfriend. The woman who one time disclosed to a table full of dinner guests that I had recently taken a Bic razor and accidentally given my pussy a mohawk. And the woman who, when I was fifteen, told me I needed to get a fake ID if I wanted to keep hanging out with her.
* * *
“It’s just the way it is. You have one week to figure it out before your spring break,” Mom threatened through the phone. At this point, I was living with my dad in Arizona, but every March I went out to visit my mom in San Diego for a week of mother/daughter debauchery.
“I’m serious, Jen. I had like three IDs when I was your age. Maybe four.”
“You were dating a drug dealer! I live in Scottsdale.” I tried to contain my barking so as not to let my father hear our discussion.
“Just figure it out. Okay?” I heard the click of her thirty-pound cell phone hanging up.
There was no way I was going to figure it out. I was a sophomore in high school in one of the most conservative states in the country. I was a prep who wore business suits to school and carried a briefcase. I took myself incredibly serious and always threw big words around to let my peers know I was destined for a better life than them. The downside of elitism in high school is not having access to any illegal shit. I was on student government and the president of FACS (Fine Arts Community Service, a fake club I made up strictly for college applications). I had a gay boyfriend who claimed to be straight but was still on the tumbling team, and the two of us spent our wildest nights dancing around my bedroom acting out the Aladdin soundtrack. I would never even have seen marijuana if it weren’t for my mom having gotten me stoned the summer before eighth grade because she felt it might prevent me from smoking cigarettes.
I decided the easiest route would be to look for an older person I resembled, then ask them if they had a spare credit card, license, or gym membership with their birthday on it that I could possibly borrow. Unfortunately, everyone I approached seemed uneager to help.
So I arrived in San Diego the following week empty-handed.
“Unbelievable,” my mom moaned as she handed me her coffee mug filled with Coors Light and flipped a U-turn out of the airport.
For the first two days, we lay low. We saw a few movies, tried to talk about periods, and even played a couple rounds of “Which of your husbands had the most money?” But by the end of the week, my mom was restless and in need of a bronski. She decided our only option was to cross the border into Mexico.
“Nobody cards in Mexico!” she said, slipping into a bikini.
“I still think you have to be eighteen.”
“You’re basically eighteen. Want a thong or a full bottom?” she asked, holding up two equally slutty bikinis, the kind I imagine she got for free with her last six-pack of beer.
Within the hour, we were headed south. We stopped to pick up Mandy, my mom’s manicurist, and Mandy’s cokehead sister, Cody. Mandy was petite, redheaded, and surprisingly not Asian. She met my mom at a Shirley MacLaine “past lives” seminar in La Jolla several years prior and had been doing her acrylic French manicures ever since. She had a boyfriend I still don’t believe existed and a secret tattoo of flames just above her vagina, which she constantly flashed to strangers as if it were the most hilarious thing ever. Mandy was one of those seemingly innocent, shy girls from a wealthy family who mysteriously ends up stripping in college and having eight abortions and an annulled marriage to a guy named Feather.
Her little sister was a different story. Cody looked like she’d been hanging on to the back of a motorcycle since the late ’80s. She was at least six feet tall with teal hair and a bald spot near her bangs, which she used to pick and eat. She was thirty, which to me at fifteen meant her life was pretty much over. Cody was a bad drunk before she started drinking. She was brash and sloppy and always had one nipple peeking out of her lace halter top. It was hard to believe she and Mandy knew each other, let alone shared the same parents. My mom, Mandy, and Cody all had college degrees, financial stability, and the right to vote. But looking around the car, it was obvious that, even without a license, I’d be the driver getting us home.
* * *
After a thirty-five-minute ride past the border, we were in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. Rosarito is a coastal town on the Baja Peninsula notorious for fun, sun, and underage drinking. Tourism dominated the Anglo-friendly economy. You couldn’t walk ten feet without accidentally getting your hair braided or having someone write your name on a grain of rice. The lobster tacos and ocean views were without comparison, but the real reason everyone congregated there was to drink their body weight in cervezas.
The girls and I pulled into Papas and Beer around twelve noon. By twelve fifteen, I was being turned away for being underage.
“But she forgot her ID in the car,” my mom insisted to the bouncer.
“Then go back to your car. Isn’t that it right there?” He pointed to the convertible we’d just hopped out of, no more than twenty feet from where we were currently standing.
Busted. She took a different approach.
“Fine, we’ll go in. Jen, wait in the car.” When the bouncer wasn’t looking, she whispered in my ear for me to meet her behind the club. “I guess she’s just gonna wait in the car,” Mom announced, as if the thought of me not having fun was somehow going to guilt the bouncer into breaking the law.
I wandered around back and saw a large fence covered in black tarp separating the club from the rest of the beach. I tried to look in but saw nothing. Exhausted, I bought a mango on a stick, sat down by the fence, and considered getting a caricature of my head riding a whale while I waited for my mom’s plan B to go into effect. I fantasized about ditching my mom and her posse and disappearing into the streets of Rosarito. Maybe my mom would think I’d been kidnapped and frantically search for me. Maybe I’d meet a new Mexican mom who made tortillas from scratch and loved doing my laundry.
This obviously wasn’t the first time I’d gotten wrapped up in one of her harebrained schemes. As children, my sister and I watched her almost get arrested in the middle of the night for public nudity after the three of us were caught doing something she fondly referred to as “butt waving” on Coronado Beach. Butt waving is where you go to the beach late at night, strip off your clothes, and basically moon the waves. The result feels like a cross between a bidet and a freezing cold colonic, but as a kid, or a heavily intoxicated parent, it was thrilling. Then there was the time she broke her leg, drunkenly trying to climb the cupboards in our kitchen. She claimed she was fine, sober, and totally didn’t need a doctor, suggesting instead that we pour dish soap and water all over the linoleum floor and turn the room into an indoor bubble lake. After seven minutes, she was in so much pain that my sister and I had to raft into the living room and call an ambulance. I was used to my mom being nuts, but like all kids, my willing suspension of disbelief made every time feel like the first. (Except when she misjudged and waxed off my right eyebrow before my freshman formal; that time it felt like she needed to die.)
Fishing mango hairs out of my teeth, I heard struggling on the other side of the fence, then vague whispers, followed by my mom’s hands popping out and pinching my ass.
“Mom? What are you doing?” I asked her hands.
I could hear Cody’s voice in reply. “We are digging you in!” she said, overly excited, confirming my suspicions that she was a total coke whore.
“Jesus!” I whispered through the fence. “You guys are a disaster. Please, just leave me out here. I’ll meet up with you later.”
These three weren’t exactly the Viet Cong when it came to digging tunnels, but they seemed determined to make their plan work. I stood up with my back to the fence, looking around once more for my future Mexican mother, when two sets of hands gripped onto my ankles and pulled my legs out from under me. Once I was on my stomach, it was too late to fight it. Half my body was inside the club.
“Okay, Jen! Now push the rest through!” coached my mom, a regular Bela fucking Karolyi. I couldn’t push. I was buried in sand, and there was nothing to grip on to. I tried to rock back and forth, but it was useless.
“I’m stuck!” I shouted loud enough that the guy selling mangos came rushing over to see if I was okay.
“¿Está todo bien?”
I looked at him hard, sending the universal look that translates to “my mom is unstable,” and reached up to him for help. While at the same time, my mom and her weird friends started tugging on me from the other side.
“You guys, let go! I’m not coming in!” I shouted through the fence. My legs kicked and squirmed until they had at last emerged and rejoined the rest of my body on the beach.
About half an hour later, my mom and her posse came out to meet me.
“We were gonna leave immediately, but they wouldn’t let us take our drinks,” explained Mandy.
“Should we try a different bar?” my mom suggested.
“No! I’m done! This is stupid!” I said. I began walking away.
“Just remember, you chose me, Jen! You could have just as easily reincarnated yourself into a family with a normal mom, but how boring would that be?” she rationalized in true narcissistic form.
Before I could gain any real distance, an American couple stopped me.
“Excuse us, do you guys know where Papas and Beer is?” asked the man.
“It’s—,” I started, before my mom cut me off.
“You wouldn’t by chance have an ID we could buy off you for my daughter, would you?” I took a second look at the woman and realized she did kind of resemble me.
Karen Bryce Masters was five feet six inches and 120 pounds, with sandy blond hair and green eyes. Everything about her matched me more or less perfectly, aside from the fact that she was fifteen years my senior. I don’t remember much more about her except that she was a Leo, lived at 2454 Mango Way, Del Mar, California, 92014, and didn’t plan on donating her organs.
“Umm. Well, I don’t need your money, but I did just get a new license and I still have my old, almost-expired one if you want it.”
“We totally aren’t weirdos,” Cody inserted in a creepy weirdo voice. She was dripping in post-coke-binge sweat and, after only an hour in the heat, starting to look like the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock.
“I just want my daughter to be able to hang with us, you know?” said my mom, flashing her perfect, capped-tooth smile.
Karen and her boyfriend lightened up once they realized my mom was, in fact, my mom.
“Wow, you are so cool! My parents would never take me out to bars,” said Karen, handing me the ID and shooting me a look that implied she too hated her mother, but for the opposite reasons.
“Kinda the coolest.” My mom smirked. I could see her landing a perfect backflip in her mind.
“Thank you so much,” Cody added. “We promise she won’t get caught with it, or get you in any kind of trouble, or say that we ever met, or that her mom offered you money, or that you were kind of totally fine with a kid having it, knowing she was underage and probably using it to—,” she nervously babbled before Karen’s boyfriend mercifully cut her off.
* * *
That day we went everywhere. And after several hours of sun and margaritas, I probably did look twenty-seven. Granted, most of the time it was hard to see my face because some guy with a whistle had me bent over a barstool, funneling tequila down my throat. Before I had Karen, I was more or less apathetic about going to bars. Growing up with alcohol being not only suggested but encouraged, I never had a deep desire for it. My only real objective was to appease my mom. But once Karen was secured under the plastic window in my wallet, she felt kind of empowering. She allowed me to sort of step away from myself. When I walked into a room as Karen, the weight of being my mother’s keeper was lifted. I could detach and almost have a modicum of fun. It wasn’t my problem if my mom and Cody were on top of the bar, swinging their bras around like lassos. Karen knew those strange women only peripherally, and she was far too mature to judge others.
I went home to Arizona the following week like a conquering hero. Whispers of Karen were all over school, and before lunch, I’d earned the approval of five different cliques, who all asked if I’d buy them beer. I was too scared to actually use Karen on American soil, but I did practice signing her signature at least ten times a day, just in case. The truth of the matter was that I had no real need for her. My gay boyfriend didn’t want the carbs, and all my other friends were prudes. Eventually, I passed Karen off to my friend Sky, who just transferred to another school and needed an ID to hang out with her Mexican drug lord boyfriend. Even after Karen expired, Sky claimed to have used her successfully all through college.
I’m thirty-three now, and I can calmly walk into a bar through the front door. Though I have been known to tunnel out on occasion. Especially when my mom’s bra is in sight.
Copyright © 2014 by Jenny Mollen
Table of Contents
Author's Note ix
1 Behind Every Crazy Woman, There's an Even More Batshit Mother 1
2 Whine Kampf 11
3 All the Best Men Are Either Gay, Married, or Your Therapist 29
4 I Need Everyone to Love Me 51
5 Show Me Your Teets 91
6 The Birthday Whore 107
7 Hand Jobs: The Fine Art of Getting a Mani-Pedi Next to Your Husband's Ex (Who Hates You) 121
8 Chicks Before Dicks 129
9 "You Aren't My Real Father" 141
10 One Shade of Grey 161
11 Nobody Wants to Be Your Fucking Bridesmaid 173
12 Botoxic Shock Syndrome 191
13 You Were Molested 207
14 Everyone Wants to Kill Me 217
15 The Bloody Truth About Hollywood 237
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I Like You Just the Way I Am is a great book. It caught me right out of the gate and just kept getting better. Jenny Mollen has a great sense of humor and it shows in this amazing book. One of the best books of the year.
I like you just the way I am by Jenny Mollen Seriously, This was an uproariously fun memoir to read!!! It would be sad to have missed it! Within my life’s motto, lie the words, “Devour Books”! Jenny Mollen’s memoir made me live up to those words, as I swallowed this book whole. This memoir is told with complete “blunt-force trauma style” honesty! Every morsel was hysterically candid!! She overuses the word “Gravitas”, but; in her memoir, it is a necessary adjective. I am laughing as I write this review, because it would take some spoilers to really express the hilarity to you, and I don’t give out spoilers. The chapter names are all the spoilers you need. There are not so many A-Ha moments, but plenty of OMG moments. I would find it hard for a reader not to see a bit of themselves within some of this story! I was thinking I wanted to be her best friend, I wanted to hang out with her, I wanted to help her stalk her ex-boyfriend and his ex-girlfriends. I wanted to drive past her husband’s ex’s house, until they met in person. I would have led the charge! Maybe this means I have a bit of an issue, and need counseling like she does! Realizing I wanted to text her, I knew I had fallen in deep serious like with her! She was a Facebook stalker, but; aren’t we all at one point or another. She has a colorful family life to share with us, and I am grateful she does; because I felt less alone in that. I did not know who Jenny Mollen was, and a few pages in to the book, I wanted to google her; I chose not to. I would ask you to do the same, so that when you find out who she is, and who her husband is; the insanity that is her mind (I say this playfully)…..makes more sense. She is more talented at humorous story-telling than Chelsea Handler, which is a huge accomplishment. I see a bright future for her; sure she has more stories to tell. I sure hope she goes for it! I will wait patiently, or better yet; stalk her until she does! 5 Stars (on steroids)
I was laughing the whole time!
Found myself laughing out loud many times while reading this book. Just as honest as it is crazy. Kudos to Jenny for putting it all out there and not holding back. Can't wait to read her next book!
This book was hilarious. I've never read an author who is more honest about her brand of crazy. I related to her, so it made me feel better about MY crazy. Read it! You won't regret it.
Money well spent. Take it from someone who spent $11.99 on Dogs With Old Man Faces.
I loved reading this book up until the slapstick sentence stating she was offended she was never chosen to be molested. Is this suppose to be funny. Say this to someone who HAS been molested and see if they laugh. I am so sad she ruined my reading enjoyment. Think, before you print people!
Hilarious and well written!
I suspect the following telephone conversation may or may not have occurred last fall:. PUBLICIST: “Hey Jen … listen, we have to get a guy to read your book and give an early review, too. Marketing says we can't go with a 100% female group unless we expect to shut out the male buyers, as well. We've lined this one guy up, middle-aged, reads a lot – but there's a problem. He's never heard of you.” JENNY MOLLEN: “Damn … I guess that's OK from a reviewer standpoint, but I HATE it that there's actually someone in America doesn't know me!” PUB: “You think that's something? Believe it or not, he doesn't know your husband , either. He's heard of him, but had to sneak out to IMDB just to figure out just who he was. Oh, he checked you out while he was there, too. Thinks you're cute.” JM: “What? He didn't know who Jason Biggs is? Is this guy a moron?” PUB: “No, he just doesn't go to the movies, or even watch them much on television.” JM: “Hey … at least he'll know me now! And he'll have seen something I created while still never seeing anything Jason did! Did you get him a copy of the book? Did he read it? What does he think?” PUB: “From what I hear, he dove right in and loved the first part – said that it was funny. Chick-lit or not, it was funny no matter what your gender. Loved your choice of phrases, thinks you have a real gift at painting an image using words. Appreciated your ability to discuss your issues with your parents with honesty and humor intermixed.” JM: “So if he was so impressed, why'd he take so long to finish it?” PUB: “Apparently, he has a real job, and some stuff to do that doesn't involve reading. Plus, he got really hung up on that “stalking your husband's” -ex- section. He thought it went on way too long, and it creeped him out so badly that he only read it a page or two at a time – took him 3 days at that rate!” JM: “Everyone's a critic.” PUB: “Well, that IS pretty much what we asked him to do, Jen! Hey, he got past that part – and he's happy YOU'RE done with it for good, too. He enjoyed the next section where you talk about Mr. Teets, in fact, he enjoyed most of the rest of the book – except maybe the part where you tried to get Jason a date with a hooker for his birthday. He did say that you got away from the stalking chapter, that you'd got back to the pace and the expert phrasing that you used in the beginning of the book. Even the parts he was uncomfortable with were quite well written.” JM: “Look, if this guy loves me, great! But if he doesn't, let me know and I'll get in touch with him and help him understand why he SHOULD love it! And me.” PUB: “Jen, I'm not sure that's the best idea … let's just let your words hook him. I've read your book – you must have gotten him back, and I'm SURE he'll love you.” JM: “There you go … maybe this 'book club' thing WAS a good idea after all.” Follow-up. The things I loved most about this book also turned out to be what I hated most about it – the author's unabashed openness and honesty about embarrassing situations. Sometimes, they were funny. Sometimes, touching. Unfortunately, occasionally, they were really creepy and made me so uncomfortable that I had to take a break from reading. Overall, I enjoyed the book – but there were enough downsides for me to grade it down a little.) RATING: 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 stars. DISCLOSURE: I was given this book by PR (not sure if it was the publisher's or the author's publicist) in return for promising to read it promptly (within 2 1/2 weeks) and contribute my honest thoughts along the way with a book club of other readers working under the same agreement. Their failure was to forget to make me POST my review promptly, as well – this is about 6 months late! (And by the way, I WAS put in touch with the author via conference call, and I DID love her for her honesty and openness – even if I only liked her book.)