Year of Romance has just two rules: read more books and write more books. While I was at the library, picking up whatever looked interesting, in addition to a couple of Harlequin paperbacks, I also grabbed WHY HE DIDN’T CALL YOU BACK, a dating self-help by Rachel Greenwald. It’s not a list of symptoms or a course for how to change your life. It’s actually a list of archetypes and personality profiles. I don’t know how helpful it is for women looking for better dates, but as a writer, I found it super-fascinating.

There are characters in here, waiting to be made real out of cutesy names, like The Bait & Switcher, The Sadie Hawkins, The Busy Bee. Greenwald is a dating coach, by way of Harvard Business School, so her gimmick is what she calls the Exit Interview. She calls up failed dates and asks them why, what happened, and what went wrong. Years of these interviews has resulted in an extensive collection of anecdotes (collected in another book, HAVE HIM AT HELLO) of reasons why some dates fail and some succeed. Some are basic (she wiped up her spill at Starbucks), some are predictable (“I just liked her ass”), but there could be a story in all of them. Who is the man and who is the woman who get together and stay together because “her hair smelled like summer camp”? I want to know.