2010. We might as well be talking about 1997 (kind of). These years seem so far. And then again, they don’t. I mention the first year off the bat because that was when Jennifer Love Hewitt‘s dating how-to The Day I Shot Cupid was released in bookstores. It was her first book and in it, Hewitt shared her personal opinions and advice on dating, monogamy, break-ups and self-esteem. If you didn’t grow up as a fan of Hewitt back in the late ’90s, you otherwise may recall her name from of course I Know What You Did Last Summer and her dating history. She famously dated Carson Daly (memories) and a handful of other guys, most also in Hollywood circles. But there’s more to Hewitt than that. Bubbly to a fault and one of the faces of ’90s teen idols, Hewitt since those days has actually turned in some impressive acting chops. Most notably through her roles on the series the Ghost Whisperer, Criminal Minds and The Client List.
Now back to why I read this book in the first place, six years later. It is because I’ve kind of always wanted to check it out. I’m still a fan girl of Hewitt at heart (this was confirmed when I searched her name in Apple Music and they actually have three of her past studio albums. #LIVING). I’m also currently in a phase where I want to re-affirm what I already know what it means and should appear when you’re treated right by someone who actually likes you for you and wants you for *Justin Bieber voice* “more than just your body.” I recently finished He’s Just Not That Into You, another aughts book that was published, in 2004, and was full of gems that I already knew. But damn, I needed to see the tough love in print. *stuffs another handful of Sweettart hearts into my mouth. Happy February*
After being indirectly roasted by the authors of HJNTIY, I picked up my personal favorite teen idol’s (other than Brandy, the cast of Dawson’s Creek, Aaliyah, Monica, Drew Barrymore…) book to read how Hewitt’s advice differed from Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. The writing of The Day I Shot Cupid is conversational and it feels like you’re reading her journal. Hewitt’s thoughts, however, are set up in chapters and it starts with the comparison of where the modern woman and man are at in society. As well as their communication habits. This part was cool and pretty factual in stating that for women especially, there is a battle within us (at least in heterosexual terms) in when to let a man be a man and allowing him to enjoy taking the lead; versus always or insisting on showcasing your (theoretically speaking) pair of balls too. Hewitt titled this chapter: “Balls, A Dress, Or a Dress that Hides Our Balls” (pg. 16). There’s a lot of that in Cupid. Debating or agreeing with yourself on when to let your boyfriend take the reins. As far where the relationship should ideally go down this bumpy road of love and dating, Hewitt subtly recommends that you should always leave clues along the way through dress, talk, and manner, and somewhat make him think that he’s in control.
There were times when I felt Hewitt was definitely catering to the idyllic expectation that woman should always be well-groomed which is another battle from within of when does getting dolled up become more for him than also because you just like it. Being presentable? Yes, of course. But always having to have your nails done? Now, that’s taking the fun out of it.
At the time the book was being written, Hewitt was dating her Ghost Whisperer co-star Jamie Kennedy (Malibu’s Most Wanted) and he contributed a chapter called “BuTTinkski, Or Does My Butt Look Big?” (pg. 84) Meant to be the comedic relief in an already pretty cheerful book, Kennedy’s chapter was solely focused on women embracing their big butts. I know what he was trying to do here. A kind of crying call for women to love who they are and to not feel pressure to be a size 2 or 0. But what if you are those sizes? What if you are more Jhene Aiko than Serena Williams? Does being on the thinner or slender size automatically certify low self-esteem status? Some women are naturally like that. And women who are curvier or fuller shouldn’t be regulated as mere walking circus acts of Barnum and Bailey Presents: Eye Candy Extravaganza. When any of us focus on highlighting a body type more than another, it’s just a slippery slope to micromanaging what all women should look like when they are so many different body types out there. Slender girls can have wider hips while a girl who is a size 12, though is full, can still be kind of narrow in that department. And the way that Kennedy spoke of why men like big butts were predatory. Here’s an excerpt: “Have you ever seen a woman who’s kinda big? She’s got big boobs, a big butt, and thick legs. She wears heels and pants a little too tight. I know girls look at her and say “WHO does she think SHE is with all that extra luggage? She better put THAT away.” Well, ladies, let me tell you, men look at her and say “Woooo! I wanna tackle that lion. I wanna tame that beast!” You know you’ve seen women like this, and you might be one. These women should be adored because they are confident in their size, and men love confidence” (pg. 89).
What Kennedy said wasn’t “wrong” but it’s just so focused on the women’s body and what men apparently preferred, I was over in a few paragraphs. I know that sexual attraction is huge in the beginning stages of courtship. That is a fact and a fact worth acknowledging as it should and hopefully will lead to a more fulfilling romantic connection. But all the “I like a fat ass” talk just got old real quick and women are more than their backsides. So guys are going to miss the chance to talk or get to know a girl just because she may not have, as Kennedy puts it, “a rump roast”? That’s too bad.
Further on in The Day I Shot Cupid, Hewitt does seriously suggest vajazzling your vagina (putting crystals on it) and admits while alone time can be great, a table for one at a restaurant is just too much to bear. And again, she advocates the allure of mystery such as not having your man see you wax your legs or you seeing him clip his toenails. She mentions that technology, which in 2010 consisted of text messages, MySpace, and Facebook, was affecting how courtship was handled in awkward ways. In the six years since it’s only gotten worse.
She recommends spray tanning as a tip to take her up on before a date (a tip some of us can skip over. A little bronzer on the face will do! And there are so many pretty ones out there). All in all, Hewitt proclaims that cupid isn’t real.
The Day I Shot Cupid is otherwise, a cute dating book and I’m sure readers didn’t expect anything less from Hewitt, or as her friends call her, Love. She talks to you like a friend and at times the writing is so informal, I found myself reading certain sentences twice because I felt I had read a typo! She just strongly believes that to win at love in the end, you just have to put your best foot forward and that while it hurts to look back or be in the midst of a relationship that has to end, that attempting or giving love a chance is always more of a good thing than an ultimately regrettable one. I see like this. At least after the fact, you can fully appreciate The Cranberries‘ epic 1993 song “Linger” even though listening to the entire track may induce an emotional panic attack.
I did like this part of her book, from the chapter “You Love Me, You Really Love Me…Or Maybe Not” where she stated:“Please know that slight nitpicking and teasing in any relationship is healthy, but breaking someone’s spirit it never okay. A bad love review does not mean you are a horrible person, it means you may not be right for them, and why would you want to be with someone who feels that way? It’s okay to ask more of someone or to be loved differently, but it’s never okay to damage someone’s heart. The ‘love slayers’ as we will now call them, learn of their destruction only by seeing it at work (pg. 117)”.
From one of the last chapters in the book, “10 Hard Core Truths About Men” (pg. 181), Hewitt got very real and insisted these truths to be self-evident. Here are a few:
#2 They don’t always want to know what we are feeling
#4 They don’t have a type of woman. (Guys who say, “Oh, she’s not my type…” are liars. A man’s type is a woman who is willing).
#6 Men don’t always want undying adoration (It puts pressure on them to keep up with the compliments) THIS ONE I FOUND TO BE VERY DEBATABLE
#10 Men don’t believe in romance (it’s not in their nature. They learn for you, but it’s not something to believe in).
As far as “What Women Should Know” (pg. 186):
- When not to be emotional
- How to choose her battles
- How to cook at least ten different meals
- When to not be a good girl
“What a Man Should Know” (pg. 184):
- How to pick a diamond
- How to make breakfast
- How to win over our moms
- When to listen
- When to just shut up and kiss you
As one of the “Twenty-five Things They Haven’t Written About Me In The Press”, Hewitt included at #18 that one day, she would like to have kids. Today in 2016, she has a boy and a girl with husband Brian Hallisay. So I guess she knew what she was talking about after all!