April 7th, 2012
The Right Way to Spot Mr. Wrong, by America's Sweetheart

The following is an excerpt from the first page of Jennifer Aniston’s debut collection of short stories and essays, titled “Mr. Wrong.” Aniston began writing the book on the set of the film “Wanderlust” in late 2010 – where, incidentally, she met her current boyfriend, Justin Theroux. According to Aniston, he hasn’t “done anything too weird yet,” but it’s still a little too soon to tell.

I’ve got to be honest: if you’re looking for a knowledgeable guide to finding the elusive Mr. Right, this is not the book for you. Nor, unfortunately, will it help you score a sexy fling with an artist who has trouble pronouncing his W’s. It also doesn’t serve as a guide to a successful career in the critically acclaimed and deeply respected Rom-Com film industry (Oh, go to Hell – at least it pays!), or teach you how to direct a short film (I pretty much just messed around with a video camera and light filters for 15 minutes).

The truth is, I can’t offer much, ladies, except maybe a few free bottles of SmartWater. But, after all my years of vast, expansive, and exhausting dating experiences, there is one thing I can pass on: I know way too much about the Mr. Wrongs of the world.

As it turns out, dating a terrible guy is a lot like pulling onto a highway using the off ramp – there are plenty of exclamatory signs all but begging you to turn around immediately. I’ve finally started to pick up on a few cues, so if you notice any of the following habits in your current partner, just picture me jumping up and down with a large sign that reads: “WRONG WAY!”

If he’s a mouth breather. He’ll tell you it’s his sinuses, seasonal allergies, nasal perforation from too much blow in the 80’s – whatever the reason, never date a guy who can’t breathe from his nose. I made this mistake with my high school boyfriend, Hank Foley (he’s the prom date who looks like he hid from the sun – and not in a creepy/sexy Edward Cullen sort of way.) Not only was watching a movie together excruciating, but his ability to kiss was affected considerably. As a result, it was difficult to tell the difference between when he was excited and when he was just plain choking – which was problematic for several reasons.

If there’s a bizarre level of incest that one or both of you finds slightly appealing. In my case, my next boyfriend, Charlie Schlatter, played my brother on TV. So we’d fight all day over annoying brother-sister stuff like who used the remote control last or who got the car, and then after filming ended, he wanted to make out with me? That right there should have been a psychological red flag – along with his weird affinity for collecting Beanie Babies.

If he looks like a pudgy, Jewish version of Bob Marley. I wish I could say I was going through a stoner faze when I (briefly!) dated that mop of wormy dreads, Adam Duritz. But, I have no way to defend my actions, other than the fact that I’ve always loved the song “Mr. Jones.” Plus, his Mr. Jones and me got along very well in the bedroom, if you know what I mean. ;)

If he cries harder than you do at the end of Titanic. Yes, Tate Donovan, it’s very sad. I wanted Jack and Rose to fit on that seemingly large enough raft, too. Maybe she just didn’t feel the same way– Yes, of course I’d let you on the raft, I mean, but you know, you might not have fit. Yes, I love you, too. No, you don’t look fat in that shirt. Yes, I’m coming to your Irish step-dancing class tonight. Sure, I’ll marry you — WAIT, WHAT?

If he tells you he’s just “really close friends” with someone who even remotely resembles Angelina Jolie. It’s like if your credit card statement reveals that your husband frequents topless bars when you’re out of town, and he tells you that he goes there for the lively music and stimulating conversation. Likely story, Brad Pitt.

If he uses humor to deflect just about everything. Vince Vaughn was funny and charming, but he joked with me so often that I couldn’t even tell if his breakup speech was serious. It went a little something like this:

VV: “London’s cool, though. I’ve officially embraced the girliness of the word ‘loo.’ I’ve been calling it the ‘lulu,’ actually: ‘Gentleman, I’m going to the lulu, could you help me hold up my tutu?’ ”

Me: “Ha!”

VV: “So, when news that we broke up hits the tabloids tomorrow, I say we just make up crazy rumors about each other. Like, I’ll say, ‘Well, Jen was so needy that she actually asked me if she could carry a vial of my blood around. I finally gave her some of my saliva from an old water bottle, just to shut her up.’ ”

Me: “Ha ha ha! That’s great, because wasn’t that whole creepy vial of blood thing actually — wait a minute, when did we break up?”

VV:  ….

If  he won’t let you kiss him after you give him a 20-minute blowjob session unless you brush your teeth. You’re a boy, John Mayer, not a man.

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