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Part Sex & the City, part Bridget Jones’s Diary, Playing with Matches will make you laugh, cry, and thank the dating goddess that at least it didn’t happen to you.

Playing with Matches is the answer to every single woman’s wail of “Why does this happen to me?”

Honey, it happens to everyone. Women from all over the world have contributed to Playing with Matches, answering the call for tragic dating tales in all their nasty and delicious detail. And as a survivor of countless terrible evenings, Cameron is an expert. She’s dated an overweight manic eater who picked fights and an anaesthesiologist twenty years her senior who really did put her to sleep. Each new bad date made her swear off men forever. Until, of course, another hopeful possibility presented himself.

Bad dates happen. Every night, another woman returns home reeling from a missed match. But each evening spent with Mr. Wrong teaches us something about our own love limits. Can I cuddle with a man who blows his nose in a cloth napkin? Do I like to spank my lover? Do I have something in common with the director of a funeral home? Does a pierced nipple bother me? How about a pierced scrotum? We need to embrace our misadventures, share the pain, and find the humour. Playing with Matches will remind us all that no matter how awful a date was, there is always someone else with a worse story.

Four of us — the single women at the baby shower — are hunched in a corner drinking bloody Marys and ignoring a chorus of cooing over a Winnie the Pooh breastfeeding pillow. “All night long he talked to me through the bloody cat,” Julie complains. “‘Does Mummy like to snuggle? Isn’t Mummy funny?’” I snort my drink all over her winter white skirt. She brushes it off without thinking and continues, “I bought leather knee-high boots for this guy? ”
. . .

Everyone knows the recipe for an ideal date: one nice guy plus great hair day, a cup of good lighting, remove five pounds, a sprinkle of new perfume and a liberal splash of Stoli vodka. That someone actually manages to cook up a date like this is rare.

Playing with Matches is for women who, let’s face it, have much more experience with recipes of disaster than recipes for romance. We know that there are more bad dates out there than good ones. Intellectually, we also know that these misadventures build character. As Mom says, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
—from Playing with Matches

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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