If you’re like us, you probably never heard of Joel Derfner until he appeared on the new reality show, Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys. We chatted with him on the phone about the series and soon learned that he had written a couple of books. A Google search later, one e-mail to a publishing company, and faster than we could say, “Perhaps it was the sixteenth Vodka Tonic that sent us over the edge,” we had a box filled with copies of his latest book, a collection of essays titled, Swish.
The tagline sums it up nicely: “My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever and What Ended Up Happening Instead.” Immediately, we knew this was going to be a fun read. We just had no idea how fun.
From his exploits into the world of casual sex and hookup web sites to going undercover in an ex-gay ministry and a short-lived career as a go-go boy, some situations just happened naturally, while others he put himself into just for the experience. It’s his uncanny ability to find the universal truths in these situations that elevates the book from being simply a funny read into one with deep, philosophical relevance. (That’s the quote we expect to appear on the back cover of the next reprint, Derfner.)
In our opinion, Joel is poised to be a universally beloved author. He’s cuter than David Sedaris. Slightly less neurotic than Augusten Burroughs. And more honest than James Frey. Though, sadly, not nearly as insightful as this guy.
In fact, his book has gotten such high praise across the board that even Sir Elton John stepped up to write the foreword for the paperback release. You know, because he thought it was the best book about being gay that he’d ever read.
Yeah, Derfner. Big deal. We have high-profile fans, too. Kirstie Alley’s pool boy is very well connected.
Oh, whom are we kidding? Invite us over for drinks and “Candle in the Wind” sing-alongs next time you hang out? Please? We promise not to upstage you or steel his crazy glasses.
So, even though we’re a few years behind the curve on this one, we’re glad that a reality TV show actually turned us on to something more significant than the proper technique for flipping over a table at a restaurant. And we hope the rest of America discovers this book, as well.
Just don’t forget us when you’re famous, Derfner. When our memoir comes out, it’s up to you to put us in touch with Elton’s hairdresser for his endorsement of our book.
$10.29 at Amazon.com
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