Anna Faris has advice for you. And it's great advice, because she's been through it all, and she wants to tell you what she's learned.
After surviving an awkward childhood (when she bribed the fastest boy in the third grade with ice cream), navigating dating and marriage in Hollywood, and building a podcast around romantic advice, Anna has plenty of lessons to share: Advocate for yourself. Know that there are wonderful people out there and that a great relationship is possible. And, finally, don't date magicians.
Her comic memoir, Unqualified, shares Anna's candid, sympathetic, and entertaining stories of love lost and won. Part memoir—including stories about being “the short girl” in elementary school, finding and keeping female friends, and dealing with the pressures of the entertainment industry and parenthood—part humorous, unflinching advice from her hit podcast, Anna Faris Is Unqualified, the book will reveal Anna's unique take on how to master the bizarre, chaotic, and ultimately rewarding world of love.
Hilarious, honest, and useful, Unqualified is the book Anna's fans have been waiting for.
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|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||8.90(w) x 12.00(h) x 7.10(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The Fastest Boy in the Third Grade
Remember when you first spotted him sprinting across the playground, schooling the other boys in a heated game of tag? Or the moment you noticed him at his desk, brown spiky hair sticking up in all the right places?
He was the first boy to make you crave the male gaze; he made you wonder what it would be like to have a boyfriend; he inspired you to start a diary.
You've been there, dear reader, haven't you?
For me, that boy was Jason Sprott.
Jason Sprott was the fastest boy in the third grade. You know how in elementary school everyone is known by their first and last name? Jason Sprott was always, and only, Jason Sprott.
He had the most adorable freckles and a great smile and spiky brown hair that I couldn't resist. We were in the same class, but we were nowhere near each other on the social hierarchy. Jason was a sweet, confident kid who totally knew his own charm-the top of the social food chain. I had more of a C-level social status. It started when I moved to Edmonds, Washington-a suburb thirty minutes outside Seattle-when I was six. I went from a blue-collar community in Baltimore where everyone was friends and had barbecues and family get-togethers to this faux-upper-class neighborhood that felt incredibly superficial. I know that's counter to the perception of Seattle, but my brother and I both felt like it was different in Edmonds. When I say I'm from Seattle it always feels misleading-moving to Edmonds felt a little bit like moving to Anywhere, USA. It did not live up to the Seattle stereotype.
We arrived in Edmonds in the spring, and on my first day of first grade, my mom put me in a really dramatic sheepskin coat. When she buttoned me up that morning, all I could think was, I cannot wear this to my first day of school. I was six, and even then I knew this was not good. A six-year-old in sheepskin does not have the makings of social success.
Sure enough, the other kids completely mocked me. It stung, but it also planted the seed for a weird clothing rebellion that emerged in middle school. During those years, I wore the most hideous sweater, Charlie Brown but in reverse: it had more of the dark color than the light, and it was totally disgusting, but I embraced it for its ugliness. That sweater was my early fuck-you to the mean girls and the popular kids and the mundane existence I thought Edmonds offered. Then, in ninth grade, I wore a Christmas tree skirt like a cape, which of course got me lots of suitors.
Looking back over the years, I've always gotten a lot of strength from being the underdog, or what felt at the time like the underdog. Maybe that started with Jason Sprott. He had a twin brother, David, but unfortunately for David they weren't identical. All the girls had a crush on Jason.
We were in the same class. Jason sat in front, as did his girlfriend, Michelle. I preferred to sit in the back and stare at my crush and his little hair spikes. I recently found the diary I kept in third grade, with pages of scribbles about Jason Sprott. I love Jason Sprott. I hate Jason Sprott. I love Jason Sprott. He smiled at me today. We were assigned our Greek gods and he was Eros, the god of love, and I was the unsexy Hera but he shot me with his arrow.
One day, I was in the cafeteria and Jason was behind me in the lunch line. After buying my lunch, I spent the thirty-five cents I had left over on the ice milk dessert. Ice milk was imitation ice cream before frozen yogurt was a thing. I guess it was better for you, but to us third graders, it was all the same. At least, it was appealing enough to get Jason's attention.
"Man, I wish I could get an ice cream," I heard him say behind me.
"I'll buy you one!" I offered eagerly.
This transaction-my using my extra change to buy Jason Sprott ice cream, Jason Sprott letting me buy him ice cream-went on for a couple of weeks, until finally he said, "I'll go out with you, but you've got to know that I'm also going out with Michelle." He was a real class act: he told me about Michelle and was honest that he wanted us both. Sounds good, I thought. I'll take what I can get!
Michelle was supercool and popular and had a fountain in her house, which was a big deal. The next year, in fourth grade, I invited her over to my place, and she actually accepted and came to my home. That was a shock. My mom had just bought an inflatable boat from Costco. She blew it up, and Michelle and I put it on my bed and played white-water rafting adventure. We were laughing and really getting into it, riding the make-believe waves and capsizing onto the bed. I'd never seen that side of her. I thought we were having so much fun. A week later, the popular girls all made fun of me because I liked to play boat.
But back in third grade, when my romance with Jason was blossoming, Michelle and I didn't have much of a relationship. Shortly after I bought Jason that first ice cream, she came up to me and said, "I know you're going out with Jason too, and I just want you to know I'm cool with it." She walked away before I could even respond.
Jason and I didn't speak to each other during our courtship. I mostly saw him during recess, when everyone played tag, and of course he never got caught, since he was such a fast runner. It was the hottest thing about him. But even at recess we were G-rated. There was a big moment on the playground when Amy Gray and Sean Bryant were going to have their first kiss and everyone crowded around them and they exchanged the tiniest little peck. That was a pretty huge event-I remember it more than any actual education I got in third grade. The non-kiss was a monumental moment in my social education. But with Jason and me, there was no peck. There was just the lunchroom, where I continued to bribe him daily with ice milk. I knew, on some level, that I was buying this guy. I wasn't getting his attention on my own merit. Even at eight years old, I was a realist. So while it was exciting that he went out with me, it felt like what I imagine it feels like when you win the lottery but you only win, like, $5,000.
Still, I envisioned myself as the third-grade Seattle equivalent of a scrappy Boston fighter. All odds were against me-I shouldn't say that, because I'm a blond white American person-but when it came to Anna versus Michelle, there was no comparison in the eyes of the elementary schoolers. I was the short girl who wore a sheepskin coat to her first day of school; Michelle had a fountain in her house. That pretty much said it all, and yet there I was, sharing Jason with her. For the first time, when it came to social status, I was A-list-adjacent.
Jason dumped me a couple of weeks later. He confronted me at recess and said, "I don't think we should go out anymore, I'm just going out with Michelle." It was a stab to the heart. I was devastated. I had nothing to give him but my thirty-five cents and he didn't even want that anymore. Maybe Michelle got in his head. She was supersassy and played her cards right. I, on the other hand, was a true sugar mama.
So I did what any heartbroken eight-year-old would do: I went home, grabbed an orange from the fridge, wrote Jason's name on the peel in black marker, and threw it off the deck into the forest outside my house. When I was a kid, I wanted to live in the Yukon, so I spent a lot of time in that backyard forest relishing my loneliness. I was dying to live a more dramatic life than Edmonds offered, even then. And this weird ritual, which I deemed "the orange ceremony," seemed like a start. I don't know where I came up with it. I certainly didn't read a book that said to pick up an orange and write a boy's name on it in order to get over him, but I ended up doing it with a few different love interests. I must have thought it was profoundly symbolic: that by casting this fruit into the abyss, I would somehow rid myself of the hold these emotions had on me. Even at that age, it's so surprising the intensity of feelings you can have for somebody. I felt the need to be liked and the need to be popular, but I was tortured by that neediness, because I was also proud and wanted desperately to be confident and independent. I thought the ritual would help. I remember throwing the orange out there and thinking, "Now I am complete! Now I am over Jason Sprott!"
It didn't work; I was not released. The next day I went to school and saw Jason, and saw Michelle, and was just as devastated.
That episode began my long and complicated journey with the idea of closure. Basically, I don't believe in it. I believe in the concept; I get why people crave it, and I understand why I, even in third grade, sought it from the orange ceremony. It's frustrating to feel so powerless against your own feelings. But as an adult, I've learned that closure is unobtainable. I think it happens at death, maybe. But remembering the pain is a good thing, because all those experiences that you can't close the door on make you a more empathetic person, and that should be embraced.
I have a pattern-it takes meeting a new guy to help me get over the old one. In the case of Jason Sprott, it was another Jason. He was the newspaper boy, supercute and a little bit brooding. I left him sodas outside my house every day so he could have a drink while he was delivering papers. I was totally into bribing these guys. What can I give him out of my fridge that will get his attention? I think there are five pages in my diary that read: I am so over Jason Sprott, I am totally into Ryan Berry. He is soooooooooooooo hot and such a mystery! But one day he didn't take the soda, and I think that was his way of saying, "No more, you sad girl."
Despite our tragic end, Jason Sprott will always be my first crush. We ended up going to different high schools, so I lost track of him after eighth grade. He has probably changed a lot in the past thirty years. But to me he'll forever be Jason Sprott: lover of running, subsidized ice cream, and spiky bangs.
List to Live By: The Professions of Men You Should Not Date (I Broke My Own Rules)
Before you read this, a caveat: I am attracted to all these types of people. And in large part, have dated them. Or married them.
The idea that someone gets off on tricking you is just fucked up. I dated a guy in college who loved scaring me. He would hide behind the door and pop out just as I entered a room. Of course it freaked me out, but then I'd get mad. He'd giggle and I just wanted to punch him so badly. I didn't, because I don't have strong fists. But magicians have that similar desire all the time. To be clear, I love the idea of magic and the beauty and artistry around it, but the desire to trick people and never let them in on how you pulled it off? That seems to me like a person who will never fully reveal himself to you. I don't mind magicians as people, but in the realm of dating, the tendency to trick is very confusing to me.
Here's my theory on musicians: when you have an audience of more than ten thousand people worshipping you, how do you go home to your partner at night and be like, "So how was your day?" There's got to be an intoxicating head rush when you look into a sea of fans and know that you could have sex with any of them, no matter their gender preference. After that, can you ever be satisfied with anything less? Plenty of musicians don't achieve that level of success, I know, but even unsuccessful musicians are looking for that kind of attention. People who follow their creative passions are fascinating but also complicated, and they all have a tricky combination of narcissism and insecurity. The one thing that keeps some actors in check is that the crew is not laughing at their dumb jokes. The key grip is checking his phone and rolling his eyes, and he just wants to go home at the end of the workday. When you ad lib a joke, the boom operator, who has undoubtedly worked with much bigger stars than you, is probably thinking, What a narcissist, and you feel that, and it's humbling. But being a musician on a large stage? How do you separate yourself from the rockstardomness of being a rock star? So don't date musicians, except maybe a classical one. Second-chair oboe. I would stay away from first chair. And definitely not a conductor.
My experience dating doctors has been that they've pretty much been dicks. Also, I have never dated a doctor. Plus, I saw that Alec Baldwin and Nicole Kidman movie. What was it called? Malice? The one where she's complaining to her husband, played by Bill Pullman, that "I hate our new neighbor" but of course she's screwing him because he's got a total God complex. That seemed realistic enough.
Not necessarily because they cheat, which I know is what you're thinking. But because if they're getting older or there's a new recruit or they have massive injuries, you have to spend a lot of time stroking their ego. "Honey, don't you worry about Brock. I'm sure he'd tear his ACL too." After a bad game, you have to be so emotionally supportive, and the exhaustion will just burn you out. Plus, during the season, what are they going to have left to give you?
Table of Contents
Forward Chris Pratt 1
Introduction: I Rote a Book! 7
The Fastest Boy in the Third Grade 17
List to Live By: The Professions of Men You Should Not Date (I Broke My Own Rules) 25
Ich Liebe Dich 30
Unqualified Advice: Squad Goals? 38
Losing My Virginity, and Other Horrible Sexual Escapades 48
Listener Advice: I Was the Short Girl. What Were You? 59
Proud and Angry 69
Turning the Tables: Not-So-Rapid Fire 74
Waiting … 81
Unqualified Advice: Should You More for the Guy? 84
The Wedding Hoopla 88
Unqualified Advice: Not Enough Soul 98
Meet My Parents 104
Playing House 117
Listener Advice: How to Get Over a Breakup 128
Take Me Home Tonight. Literally. 135
Turning the Tables: Deal Breakers 145
Just Friends: A Conversation Between a Man and a Woman Who've Been Pals for Fifteen Years and Haven't Slept Together 154
Scoliosis Check 164
List to Live By: Sex on the Beach and Thirteen Other Things That Sound Better Than They Are 174
Listener List: Things That Sound Better Than They Are, Part 2 180
What's Your Number? (And Why Do We Reveal It?) 182
Comedy, Fame, and the Gross Words 187
Unqualified Advice: The Bush Is Back 199
Can I Marry You? 203
Unqualified Advice: Unicorns Aren't Found, They're Made 206
How to Deal with Jealousy 220
Turning the Tables: How Would You Proceed? 225
Jack Pratt 230
Unqualified Advice: Protect Your Heart 246
Listener Advice: More Love Mantras 251
Unqualified Advice: How to Tune Out the Noise 270
Friday, January 6, 2017 274
She Said, He Said: What It's Like to Be a Couple in Hollywood 280
Unqualified Advice: I Don't Know What I'm Talking About, but Here's Some Other Free (Or Only the Cost of This Book) Unqualified Advice 288
This Is the Chapter That Will Make You Vomit 295
Don't Call It Closure 300