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January 09, 2006

The "Year of Yes:" Exasperated, Woman Agrees To Date Anyone Who Asks Her

...over 150 different men in a single year.

She did manage to meet her future husband. But then, she cast a pretty wide net.

Like many dispirited single women, Maria Headley feared that her taste in men was sabotaging her quest for love. The bookish, intellectual types she favoured seemed to offer nothing but awkward coffee dates and graceless passes - never romance, nor the spark she craved. Such serial disappointment, she concluded, could only be evidence that her modus operandi was seriously awry.

So the budding playwright set about devising her own unorthodox matchmaking scheme. For 12 months, instead of following her instincts, she would go out with anyone and everyone who asked her, regardless of their age, appearance, profession or even sex.

She abandoned her preconceptions and began dating everyone from the homeless man she tripped over on a Manhattan street to the handyman who came to fix her shower.


"For the first year, I dated PhD and film students, a lot of writers and actors. But they weren't really what I was looking for. I wanted a real man, but one who had read all of Shakespeare. Instead, I was getting all these wussy guys…"

News of Headley's project left her female friends fearful and her parents appalled, but she was convinced her approach was worth a shot. "I guess it was a kind of extreme dating," she says. "All my male friends were very excited by it, though. They said, 'I so wish all women were like this.' "


Soon, the dates came thick and fast. Over coffee, a man from Cyprus asked her to bite his penis. She declined. A 70-year-old neighbourhood eccentric took her salsa dancing. A lesbian she nicknamed "Wonderwoman" asked her to have her baby. She slept with an actress, dated taxi drivers, psychics and carpet salesmen.

Her book about this is now a bestseller:

Headley has now turned her experience into a book, The Year of Yes, which has been a bestseller in the United States - despite being dismissed by one literary agent as "the memoirs of a slut". "People assume it's all about sex, but it's not," she counters. Many of the dates were platonic, although around nine of those featured end up in bed.

And Headley insists that she did not set out with the intention of using the experiences for a book: the scheme was simply borne out of desperation. "I didn't necessarily want to get married," she says. "I'd never even been in love where it was reciprocal. It was more a case of, 'What if I never find someone?' "

If she didn't have the intention of writing a book, she's a idiot. But she's not an idiot; she's just disingenuous.

Good idea, though.

In related news, coffee may act as an aphrodisiac for women. Or at least on female rats. Close enough, I guess.

As they say, "having coffee" never really means "having coffee."

The A-Man strikes again.

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posted by Ace at 03:09 PM

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