An Interview with a Dignified Woman
The Dignified Devil is proud to bring you a conversation with Anna David, author of Party Girl, Bought, and Falling for Me; and editor of the anthology Reality Matters. If this is your introduction to Ms. David, she is a professional member of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. She hosted the Playboy Network’s Swing, served as the sex and relationship expert on G4’s Attack of the Show, and has been featured on The Today Show, Hannity, Red Eye, and CNN’s Showbiz Tonight. Anna is currently the Executive Editor of the addiction and recovery website The Fix. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The LA Times, Vanity Fair, Cosmo, and Esquire UK among many other publications. We sat down with Anna to talk men, sex, perceptions and reality; this is a dignified woman in her own words.
You are known for sex and relationship advice and you are very upfront; how do men in your personal life respond to that?
Anna David: The men in my personal life aren’t all that impacted by what I do in my career life. I wouldn’t say I’m outrageously outspoken it’s just I don’t mind doing it on TV or in print. That’s really no different than doing it in your personal life. What I do for a living comes up with men I’d never date. They say things like, “If we go out, are you going to write about me?” I’m a writer, first and foremost. I don’t see any point in writing something that’s not the truth. It wasn’t interest in sex, dating and relationships that got me writing about the topic, those were the opportunities that arose and I discovered I was comfortable writing about my sex life. The men I date get that it’s just a job.
Men you would date: Confident men? Ambitious men? Funny men? Or is it about the look, the suit, and the car?
AD: I’ve got to be attracted to a guy to want to date him. I’m not the girl who’s going to care about a car, but a guy’s got to have his shit together. As for a suit…I’m not even sure I’ve ever dated a man who wears suits…besides at weddings and funerals. My definitions of what’s attractive tend to be… creative at times. Not traditional.
Please, do explain…
AD: Creative definitions of attractiveness: big, brawny men leave me cold. A lot of muscles: ick. Ditto: hairy chests. Those so-called traditional things aren’t what I like and aren’t what a lot of women I know like.
You see a guy in public, you find him attractive. What are the first thoughts that go thru your mind?
AD: I almost never see a guy in public I think is attractive. It’s rare, this attraction thing! Exceedingly rare. If and when I do, the first thought is, “Wonder if he’s wearing a ring.” If he is, the second thought is, “Let’s find something else to look at.” If not, “Do I have broccoli in my teeth?” Funny trumps all for me to a fault. I’ve been crazy about terrible men for the simple fact that they were hilarious.
Guys will roll their eyes at the it’s always the funny ones answer.
AD: Guys should learn how to be funnier; they could save themselves a lot of eye rolls.
I think the traditional male response to that is, “Brad Pitt must be one funny son of a bitch!”
AD: Yeah there are exceptions to the funny rule, Mr. Pitt being a notable one.
Let’s talk about the universal Modern Man.
AD: He’s not all that great…in my humble opinion.
Describe him in one word?
AD: Men are timid today. A lot are confused about how they’re supposed to behave, that manifests itself in timid behavior. They don’t feel comfortable asking women out and if they do, they have trouble making moves/moving forward. Women still want to be treated like women. No matter how powerful we are, we want men to act dominant to a degree.
If there was one thing you could inject into the Modern Man’s DNA, what would it be?
AD: Courage. An ability to truly appreciate women. The ones who do are incredibly captivating. Men today give off the vibe that no woman is special, that there’s always another one behind her. It’s just as true for some women, but we don’t act like it is. Women tend to be good at making men feel special.
Does the Modern Woman have any blame in this evolution in men?
AD: I’m sure “she” does. We’re all a bit mixed up and we all must be to blame; I think we’re confused about our role. Are we supposed to behave like men, asking out the ones we like? If we sleep with a man we like, will he lose respect for us? Are we supposed to do a fake wallet reach when a guy who asks us out to dinner reaches for the check?
With every generation the Modern Man loses more true male role models. Men no longer have someone to tell them WHY you open a door for women, WHY you stand up when she leaves the room.
AD: Why do they need a why?
They shouldn’t need one, but the more someone understands the more they respect. The whole idea of the social contract between men and women has disappeared in that regard.
AD: How about this as a why: women dig it.
You would think that is all a man needs to know; sadly we are much lazier than one would think.
AD: But wait, not the standing up when she gets up, that’s antiquated and weird. But making a woman feel like she’s being taken care of, she’s in good hands. It can be a subtle thing, like walking up to the host at a restaurant first and not letting the woman do it. Men don’t need more of a reason than women dig it; it’s just that you guys don’t believe it’s true. Too many mixed messages out there.
What does the modern man carry with him; what does he abandon in terms of etiquette?
AD: I think the only one to abandon is the standing thing.
Men are going to ruin a lot of coats covering puddles in Anna David’s world.
AD: I like when I’m walking with a guy who says he likes to walk on the outside, or whatever the gentlemanly thing is. When the girl offers to split the bill on the first date, say no.
Back to you, where did you grow up, what did your parents do?
AD: Marin County, outside San Francisco. My Mom was an English professor and my father was an entrepreneur.
Did your mother being an English professor push you to writing?
AD: My mom was–is–my idol. I used to walk in to her office and ask her a questions and she’d look up from her typewriter and answer them without having to look at the keys. I’d think, I need to do that. Now I can!
Did you have any other ambitions?
AD: No other ambitions. Writing is all I ever wanted to do
What was your first success where you said: I’ve made it!
AD: Hmmm… Maybe my first real magazine byline.
The books of Anna David: Falling For Me, Reality Matters, Party Girl, Bought, and her new Kindle Single: Animal Attraction
AD: Regional magazines and then at Parenting magazine (my first job), but I think the first real one was People magazine. Then, when I started writing for Details magazine. I had wanted to write for them for so long, sent them my clips for years, and then one day, the Executive Editor called me. Of course I thought I’d really made it when I sold my first book.
You have written multiple books, basically about your sex life, is that correct?
AD: No, Have published five, have my sixth coming out next year. None of them are about my sex life. I did two novels, an anthology, and a memoir for HarperCollins; I did an Amazon single that came out two months ago. Now I’m doing a biography on an actor. Honestly I have written about many other things besides sex. People who know from me Attack of the Show don’t seem to know that.
Honestly that where I was first introduced to you, so I’m un-dignifing-ly guilty.
AD: Book people don’t know about AOTS and vice versa. As I said, it was no great passion for sex/dating/relationships that had me talking/writing about it. That’s where the opportunities were and I’m not uncomfortable doing it.
Does that bother you?
AD: It bothers me in that I’ve written five meaningful books that took more than you can imagine out of me. It’s honestly a bit of a heartbreak to think that anyone would think I’ve just done five books about my sex life. Heartbreak is a strong word. Disappointing is the word. I’ve done hundreds of interviews about them so there’s no need to do it now. They’re good! That’s all you need to know! And, they don’t have all that much sex in them.
Tell me about your process as a writer, do you have a routine?
AD: Not really. Depends on what I’m writing. For the novels I would try to write three pages a day. The last book I did was much shorter (the Kindle Single) so I sort of did that all at once. Writing the biography is happening in fits and starts.
What makes you say, “That’s not just a good idea, that’s a book, and I’m going to see it through?”
AD: Aside from my first book, I’ve been contracted for the other ones. The publisher came to me with them to a degree.
The newest one falls under that category?
AD: Yes. Both the Kindle Single and the actor biography came to me.
What about the biography, how did that come about? Who is it?
AD: It’s on Tom Sizemore.
That’s has got to be one hell of a story…
AD: I interviewed him for the Daily Beast. He really liked the story so he read two of my books and asked me if I wanted to do his book.
What level of completion is the process in?
AD: It’s due next month. It’s not coming out until next year, takes between 6 months and a year between turning it in and release.
Can you tell us anything to look forward to? Anything that would surprise us about Tom Sizemore?
AD: He’s incredibly brilliant and well read. Most people I interview don’t care that I’ve written books, let alone go read them! He can quote from any number of other books. He has an MFA and is just very, very intelligent.
To wrap up tell us what we can expect from Anna David besides the Tom Sizemore book?
AD: I’m doing another Kindle Single once I turn in Sizemore but I can’t talk about it yet.
You can connect with Anna David on her website, Facebook, Twitter and as the Executive Editor of Thefix.com.
Ms. David will be writing an ongoing, bi-monthly column for the Dignified Devil, beginning next week. We are thrilled to welcome Ms. David to the DD family.