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Cover Story: Passing the Grade

Can your boyfriend measure up?

By Katie Moser · February 8th, 2001 · Cover Story

My senior year of high school I was nominated "The most likely to have the most consecutive long-term relationships." For graduation, my best friend bought me a copy of The Rules inscribed with the message, "For the girl who has broken every single one of these and found good guys anyway." I was lucky.

Then came college and a series of mistakes. A few mistakes happened to have girlfriends, which just made them bigger mistakes.

I would cry on the shoulders of my guy friends and wonder where I went wrong. Some days I would be "Miss Empowered" and not need anyone. In my finest hours, I realized this alone time gave me the space to do some much-needed self-discovery and attitude adjustment.

I've been in a relationship for nine months now, and because of my non-single status I was chosen to read and take The Boyfriend Test: How to Evaluate His Potential Before You Lose Your Heart by Wendy Walsh. In order to keep the vomit factor down and express the sarcastic nature of our relationship in this article, I will refer to my love as "Boy." (If he chooses to write a counter-article, he is welcome to refer to me as "Woman.")

Walsh is a former news anchor and media personality who worked on Extra!, the Weekend Today show and Fox Sports. To top it off, she's also tall, blond, blue-eyed and smart.

But I knew there was something terribly array when in the first paragraph of the book she's making out with Dennis Rodman. (Can't you get some kind of disease?) Right then I reminded myself of a lesson I've been taught over and over: Even seemingly perfect people have issues I wouldn't want to take on.

Walsh has plenty of issues, which she openly shares with the reader. Not only does she claim her emotional baggage, she proudly displays the contents. She continuously name-drops or, more correctly, partial name-drops ("My friend represented the actor accused of being a pedophile." Or "When I was dating an infamous long-haired actor ... ") She's a huge fan of Gucci and Prada and other brand names not found at Target. She also refers to her readers as "girlfriend," and not in the lesbian way.

When Walsh suffered her relationship crisis, she went hiking in the Alps to clear her head. When I suffered my relationship crisis, I crawled back to the aforementioned high school boyfriends and asked what was so "unlikable" about me.

Walsh didn't just go hiking, she also studied human relationships, and several of her points are rooted in basic psychology and anthropology. But the focus of this book is the test. I decided to risk my relationship and put my Boy to The Boyfriend Test.

The pre-test material includes a "Self Test" for the reader, which asks women about careers and relationships with parents. OK, I'm at the beginning of my "career," and my relationship with my parents is between me and my therapist. The second part of the pre-test is a "Candidate Profile." Walsh says "Men Are Like Pizza," and "Profile" is where readers choose the toppings of the "Dream Man." This part was a little too weird for me. I don't really care if my "Dream Man's" wardrobe is "Grunge" or "Gap/Banana Republic."

The first tests are more like weed-out sections: "The Meet and Greet" includes questions about first impressions and pick-up lines and "The Telephone" scores candidates on phone etiquette and other subtleties. My Boy flew through these sections, losing points only for calling women "girls" (he claims it's fair because we're young women) and teasing me about my hometown (I'm from Kentucky).

The second and third tests -- "First Date" and "Fifth Date" -- tackle everything from transportation to goodnight gestures to pet names. My Boy aced the "First Date," even though our first official date wasn't until we'd known each other for six months. And I have no clue what our "Fifth Date" was, but he scored over 100 anyway.

"The Ninety-Day Probation" is the final test. My Boy's "people" not only know me, they hang out with me even when he's not around; he displays my picture alongside Anna Kournikova's; and he introduces me as "Katie," not just "girlfriend."

Honestly, I wasn't surprised by the results of The Boyfriend Test. My Boy isn't perfect, and I'm far from a "Dream Girl," but part of being in a relationship is finding new ways to drive one another crazy.

As for using a book to try to avoid losing your heart, Walsh says dating is a learning experience, and I prefer the traditional "hands-on" learning experience.

I touched the stove once when I was little and got burned. Similarly, I attempted to date a few jerks and got burned.

Once you get over the ugly nature of the scars, treasure them as battle wounds and then use the microwave.

Wendy Walsh discusses The Boyfriend Test at Books & Co. in Dayton at 7 p.m. Thursday.



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