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Pretty girls are like cars that need a lot of oil.
December 3, 2008 1:37 PM   Subscribe

"Pretty girls are like cars that need a lot of oil." Alex Graven, 9, has had How to Talk to Girls, the runaway hit of the Soaring Hawk Elementary School book fair, picked up by HarperCollins. How do you spot these oil-guzzling cars? ""It is easy to spot pretty girls," Alex writes, "because they have big earrings, fancy dresses and all the jewelry."

Alex's techniques are already landing him the ladies: he advises his guys to "comb your hair and don't wear sweats" and to "control your hyperness (cut down on sugar if you need to)." Alex tells his fellow guys that "[t]he best choice for most boys is a regular girl. Remember, some pretty girls are coldhearted when it comes to boys. Don't let them get to you." (Unfortunately, Alex still may be naive in some areas, as he tells his readers, "Girls like the smartest boys.") How to approach them? "If I say hi and you say hi back, we're probably off to a good start." When asked why he wrote the book, "Well, I saw a lot of boys having trouble to get girls to like them, so I thought this book will like probably help them."
posted by WCityMike (100 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Speaking of which, sorry for the "boyzone" post (wah wah wah waaaaaaaah).
posted by WCityMike at 1:38 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Do you suppose he watched that show, the Pickup Artist?
posted by msali at 1:43 PM on December 3, 2008


From the article, the picture at the bar seems to indicate that he belongs to the "get 'em drunk" school of meeting women.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:43 PM on December 3, 2008


"Pretty girls are like cars that need a lot of oil."
Boy, he's got that right. And new rings won't help a bit.
posted by Floydd at 1:44 PM on December 3, 2008 [7 favorites]


This is a movie. In X years he's going to get all the chicks. In X+Y years he's going to have that denouement and realize he's all alone because he controls his relationships and he won't let anyone in to see the real Alex. In X+Y+Z years he's going to go back to the first girl from X-A who he really wanted but couldn't get with and he's going to try to establish a relationship but she's currently with someone but she's not happy with that person. Finally in AA they get together and roll credits.
posted by cavalier at 1:45 PM on December 3, 2008 [7 favorites]


The girls are only after him for his allowance.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:46 PM on December 3, 2008 [6 favorites]


It's Alex Greven.

Here's his interview with Ellen DeGeneres. His book publishing deal resulted from an earlier appearance with her.
posted by ericb at 1:46 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


The best choice for most boys is a regular girl.

You heard the boy. Men, please form an orderly line to my right.
posted by piratebowling at 1:46 PM on December 3, 2008 [27 favorites]


I feel quite sure that somewhere in LA people are talking about optioning this book for film. sigh.
posted by cal71 at 1:48 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Do you suppose he watched that show, the Pickup Artist?

Judging from that stable of hos in the video, I'm guessing American Pimp.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:48 PM on December 3, 2008


It's Alex Greven.

Meant to say: his name is actually Alec Greven, not Alex Graven.
posted by ericb at 1:50 PM on December 3, 2008


he wants to be a full-time writer when he grows up, with a weekend job in archaeology or paleontology.

Finally, somebody gets the order right!
posted by katillathehun at 1:51 PM on December 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


CNN's interview with Alec.
posted by ericb at 1:52 PM on December 3, 2008


"Girls like the smartest boys."

Some girls do.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:53 PM on December 3, 2008


Do you suppose he wears a child-size fedora?
posted by emelenjr at 1:53 PM on December 3, 2008 [16 favorites]


Sadly, fame has already turned him into Hugh Hefner.
posted by katillathehun at 1:53 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dating - which he defines as going out to dinner without your parents - is for "kind of old" people, who are 15 or 16.

Adorable.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:59 PM on December 3, 2008


I bet you he's gay.
posted by sciurus at 2:00 PM on December 3, 2008 [6 favorites]


Sadly, fame has already turned him into Hugh Hefner.

Nah, the girls pictures haven't all dyed their hair platinum blonde or gotten breast implants yet.
posted by gyc at 2:01 PM on December 3, 2008


Heh, the NY Post has the Miss World 2008 Beach Wear Competition listed under the "News" heading.
posted by smackfu at 2:01 PM on December 3, 2008


In his interview with Ellen on Monday he mentioned that he has a deal for three more books aith HarperCollins: How toTalk to Mom, How to Talk to Dad, and How to Talk to Santa.
posted by ericb at 2:02 PM on December 3, 2008


At least this kind of gendered "wisdom" is coming from an actual grade schooler.
posted by availablelight at 2:03 PM on December 3, 2008 [12 favorites]


the girls pictures haven't all dyed their hair platinum blonde or gotten breast implants yet.

I was going to think up a "pubic hair" joke here until I realized I was grossing myself out.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:03 PM on December 3, 2008


The best choice for most boys is a regular girl.

You are eating your Wheaties and Grapenuts, right?
posted by bonehead at 2:04 PM on December 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


I think the story is cute and all, but...

Those pictures of the kid in the bar, whispering to the gal with the beer bottle in hand - is it me, or do you think that if it was a nine year old girl whispering to a 20-something guy with a beer bottle in hand, well, there would be something closer to a shitstorm kind of response? We live in a weird society, is all I'm saying.
posted by dbiedny at 2:04 PM on December 3, 2008 [20 favorites]


I could have used this book when I was a teenager.
posted by robtf3 at 2:05 PM on December 3, 2008


I could have used this book when I was a teenager.

It's probably better than the one I stumbled upon.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:07 PM on December 3, 2008


"Girls like the smartest boys."

Some girls do.


This girl does.
posted by aliceinreality at 2:07 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


FFS.
posted by jokeefe at 2:10 PM on December 3, 2008


comb your hair and don't wear sweats

I am now combed and pantsless.
*waits for girls*
posted by rocket88 at 2:13 PM on December 3, 2008 [33 favorites]


do you think that if it was a nine year old girl whispering to a 20-something guy with a beer bottle in hand, well, there would be something closer to a shitstorm kind of response?

Adult male with underage female = Disgust

Adult female with underage male = Titillation

Hope this helps.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:15 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Am I wrong for wanting to punch this kid (or his parents)?
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:16 PM on December 3, 2008


s it me, or do you think that if it was a nine year old girl whispering to a 20-something guy with a beer bottle in hand, well, there would be something closer to a shitstorm kind of response? We live in a weird society, is all I'm saying.

What's weird about that? Are you saying it's unusual for there to be double standards for different genders, or that society is strange for having them?
posted by delmoi at 2:16 PM on December 3, 2008


This is surreal, because on the one hand the whole idea of a nine-year-old writing a dating book is very HURF DURF PRECOCIOUS PICKUP ARTIST, but on the other hand, the things he's saying in that book make a lot of sense, and he does seem to be very much aware of his...kid-ness ("dating's for people who are older...say, 15").

So this is somehow both weird and adorable at the same time.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:16 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Both weird and adorable at the same time
posted by Joe Beese at 2:17 PM on December 3, 2008 [7 favorites]


Seems relevant.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:18 PM on December 3, 2008


Am I wrong for wanting to punch this kid (or his parents)?

I don't really understand why you'd want to. He wrote a book, it was funny and interesting, and it got published.
posted by seagull.apollo at 2:18 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Man, even 9-year-olds know more about dating than I do.
posted by box at 2:19 PM on December 3, 2008 [7 favorites]


So this is somehow both weird and adorable at the same time.

This is exactly the response he wants. Wow, this kid is a genius.
posted by naju at 2:22 PM on December 3, 2008


Am I the only one that finds this icky and creepy as all fuck?
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 2:26 PM on December 3, 2008 [8 favorites]


This is exactly the response he wants.

For now, maybe.

I suspect that by the time getting laid becomes his main preoccupation - as it does for every 9 year old boy sooner or later - he'll find the "weird and adorable" niche much less satisfying.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:27 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dear Alex:

Don't hate on pretty people. Hate on assholes, whether they be pretty or regular.

Sincerely,

The Society for the Advancement of the Notion that People can be Both Attractive and Pleasant
posted by 23skidoo at 2:30 PM on December 3, 2008 [10 favorites]


"Am I wrong for wanting to punch this kid (or his parents)?"

Probably.

We suspect you're externalizing a self-directed anger at never having been published yourself, and projecting it against this kid (or his parents).

But we've never been published either, so we could be guilty of the same thing.
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 2:30 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hey, some parents have their kids do catalog modeling or whatnot when they're young, to bank some cash for college later -- but most of those kids don't end up with a career as a model in their adulthood.

Here we've got a 9-year-old kid who is banking some cash for college by actually doing what he wants to do in his adult life, and the odds of being a successful writer are higher than being a successful model -- especially since he's apparently a very good observer.

Good on this kid, more power to him.
posted by davejay at 2:33 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


From this...

"Product Description
This is the true story of the pimp. The story of the smells, the sounds, the fears and the petty triumphs of his world. Told without moralising and with no pretence of bitterness, Iceberg Slim relates his twenty-five years in the Game, from the building up of stables to losing himself on scag."

mmmmm... the Smells.
posted by secondhand at 2:33 PM on December 3, 2008


Look, the little boy is talking like an adult! Isn't he precious?
posted by Nelson at 2:33 PM on December 3, 2008


he'll find the "weird and adorable" niche much less satisfying.

In a few years, he can work the "Yeah, I wrote a best-selling dating book when I was 9, but that part of my life is over now" angle.
posted by naju at 2:35 PM on December 3, 2008


i smell a hoax. have no proof, just a tingling in my bullshit detecting gland :)
posted by liza at 2:36 PM on December 3, 2008


Am I wrong for wanting to punch this kid (or his parents)?

Why don't you punch Ellen DeGeneres? After all she gave him the platform to get his hand-written book which he had distributed at his school to get noticed by HarperCollins. His thanking her for doing such is adorable.
posted by ericb at 2:37 PM on December 3, 2008


I recently came upon the cookbook of kid's recipes that the school put together back when I was in kindergarten. Now I've always wanted to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Five sticks of butter for a dozen cookies seemed like a lot, but hey, I'm no chef.

Well, I'm certainly not going to make that mistake again. Screw you, kid!
posted by malocchio at 2:39 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Saxon Kane : No. Just queue to the left of me, please :)
posted by liza at 2:41 PM on December 3, 2008


"How to Talk to Girls began life as part of a creative writing project in Greven's 3rd grade class. The resulting handwritten pamphlet was sold for $5 at the Soaring Hawk Elementary School book fair in Castle Rock, Colorado.

Greven's success snowballed from there, after his dating tips and advice were picked up by local news outlets. Ellen DeGeneres then invited Greven onto her talk show [on February 20, 2008] and a book deal was sealed with HarperCollins. The 46-page hardcover version hit shelves across the US last week."*
posted by ericb at 2:43 PM on December 3, 2008


"Am I wrong for wanting to punch this kid (or his parents)?"
posted by Saxon Kane


Yes.


Am I the only one that finds this icky and creepy as all fuck?
posted by Cat Pie Hurts


No. I don't, but others willl.


You heard the boy. Men, please form an orderly line to my right.
posted by piratebowling


Jak se máš? (Noticing that you've been to Prague...)
posted by IAmBroom at 2:43 PM on December 3, 2008


Am I the only one that finds this icky and creepy as all fuck?

Nope. Add stupid, unnecessary, and demeaning to everyone involved to that list and we can start a club.
posted by billyfleetwood at 2:44 PM on December 3, 2008


Just watched the Ellen clip on him. The little bro is donating some of the proceeds to a cancer foundation.

Jeebus.

My new hero is 9.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:46 PM on December 3, 2008


Writing a book is one thing. I'd like to see this kid use his "hi" gambit on a female two set in even a halfway decent club. I doubt he'd even get a kino, not to mention and IOI. AFC.
posted by hellbient at 2:47 PM on December 3, 2008 [6 favorites]


Dear Alex:

Don't hate on pretty people. Hate on assholes, whether they be pretty or regular.

Sincerely,

The Society for the Advancement of the Notion that People can be Both Attractive and Pleasant


Interestingly though, he defines "pretty girls" as the ones that have "have big earrings, fancy dresses and all the jewelry," and not as, say, blondes or slender girls or girls with symmetrical faces. Which implies that the girls he's talking about are not necessarily the very attractive girls, but the wealthy, stylish, or "girly" girls.

Which brings up the issue of how socially determined our ideas of beauty are. To what extent can beauty be "bought" as a luxury good? To what extent is being a "pretty girl" about a certain set of behaviors and dress that can be put on and taken off? To what extent are some girls are socialized to be "pretty girls" and to both act and dress the part?
posted by bookish at 2:48 PM on December 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Oh dear. Am I in the wrong thread? Isn't this Dmitri Orlov's Stage 5, Cultural Collapse?
posted by terranova at 2:49 PM on December 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


So. Fucking. Creepy. In this picture, it looks like the little girl he is chatting up is leaning against a lamp-post.
posted by ShameSpiral at 2:55 PM on December 3, 2008


i smell a hoax. have no proof, just a tingling in my bullshit detecting gland :)

Your bullshit gland? Wouldn't that be... your anus?
posted by delmoi at 2:56 PM on December 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Those pictures of the kid in the bar, whispering to the gal with the beer bottle in hand - is it me, or do you think that if it was a nine year old girl whispering to a 20-something guy with a beer bottle in hand, well, there would be something closer to a shitstorm kind of response? We live in a weird society, is all I'm saying."

Oh, don't be silly. A male child still has more power than an adult woman—that makes it OK!
posted by klangklangston at 2:57 PM on December 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Agreed this sounds like a hoax. At the very least EXTREMELY stage-managed by the parents looking for a book/movie/TV deal.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 2:59 PM on December 3, 2008


My interactions with girls improved dramatically when I stopped thinking about it as dating and started treating it as improv comedy.
posted by Araucaria at 3:04 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Um, so when can we expect the obvious sequel, "How to talk to black people?"
posted by mano at 3:04 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Um, so when can we expect the obvious sequel, "How to talk to black people?"

Who would ever want to do that?
posted by Krrrlson at 3:06 PM on December 3, 2008


I read that as "pretty girls are like cars and need lots of oil."

While I don't disagree, I had to wonder what this nine-year-old had been up to.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:16 PM on December 3, 2008


From the NY Post link:

Alec....just finished a children's book on the Watergate scandal

Awesome. Next, the Florida recount, please, Alec.
posted by longsleeves at 3:24 PM on December 3, 2008


Approves.

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posted by turgid dahlia at 3:26 PM on December 3, 2008 [25 favorites]


it looks like the little girl he is chatting up is leaning against a lamp-post.

Pimp hands come in all sizes.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:30 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


The time will come
posted by mippy at 3:35 PM on December 3, 2008


Agreed this sounds like a hoax. At the very least EXTREMELY stage-managed by the parents looking for a book/movie/TV deal.

I don't know... Sometimes kids are just funny/weird. When my daughter was 7, she showed me the first edition of "Fashion Princess Magazine," something she had put together for her fashion-forward, second-grader friends. The table of contents read: "Fashion, Animals, Global Warming, and Tips for Taking Care of You." (I suppose I fell down on the job as a parent by not immediately trying to book her on Ellen, but them's the breaks.)
posted by mothershock at 4:01 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


The thing I never like about "dating advice" in general is that much of it sounds like a lesson in insincerity. "To show that you're listening, furrow your brow as she talks, nod from time to time." That it's coming from a nine-year-old is even creepier. Yes, teach other boys to feign interest and seek easy targets, while they're still young.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:04 PM on December 3, 2008


Approves.

………………….._,,-~’’’¯¯¯’’~-,,
………………..,-‘’ ; ; ;_,,---,,_ ; ;’’-,…………………………….._,,,---,,_

sup /b/
posted by MikeMc at 4:09 PM on December 3, 2008


Remember kids, you can practise sex at home with your G.I. Joe action figures.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:10 PM on December 3, 2008


*furrows brow, nods*
posted by oneirodynia at 4:12 PM on December 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Bitches be trippin'.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:13 PM on December 3, 2008


delmoi, i thought the anus was a muscle, not a gland :)

PEDOBEAR LIVES!

mothershock, i wouldn't be shocked if the kids parents were indeed connected to the publishing or entertainment business.
posted by liza at 4:29 PM on December 3, 2008


His next book, "How to Convince Your Parents to Pay for an Abortion," has been opted by Miramax. Look for it in 2010.
posted by not_on_display at 4:36 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


From the article, the picture at the bar seems to indicate that he belongs to the "get 'em drunk" school of meeting women.
posted by Ironmouth


I wonder if he's learned about going ugly early?
posted by Eekacat at 4:51 PM on December 3, 2008


I know I'm supposed to find things like this cute, but it just irritates me when kids try to act like adults.
posted by Nattie at 4:56 PM on December 3, 2008


"Remember kids, you can practise sex at home with your G.I. Joe action figures."

I DID! But they would always wind up getting stuck up m...oh..forget it.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 4:56 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


His next book, "How to Convince Your Parents to Pay for an Abortion," has been opted by Miramax.

Tip #1: Hope your parents aren't Sarah and Todd Palin.
posted by ericb at 5:08 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure it was another 9 year old who first invented the "neg".
posted by dgaicun at 5:22 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Society for the Advancement of the Notion that People can be Both Attractive and Pleasant but Still be Totally Clueless When it Comes to Constructing a Pronounceable Acronym.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:43 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


The best choice for most boys is a regular girl.


I should substitute bran muffins for roses?
posted by Calloused_Foot at 6:18 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ellen is so awesome. And yeah, this is kindof weird.
posted by lunit at 6:39 PM on December 3, 2008


I should substitute bran muffins for roses?

hehe - i thought that was a metaphor!
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:49 PM on December 3, 2008


How to To Talk To 9 Year Old Jilder (A Girl):

Boy: Hey! Let's go ride bikes!
Jilder: Cool!

*goes rides bikes*
posted by Jilder at 6:53 PM on December 3, 2008 [7 favorites]


IAmBroom, I'd approve but you should have used the polite form. Just what kind of regular girl do you thing I am?!
posted by piratebowling at 7:06 PM on December 3, 2008


But we've never been published either
 posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys

Not even as Shakespeare?
posted by me & my monkey at 7:29 PM on December 3, 2008


Kids pretending to be adults isn't cute. It's just terribly creepy. I hope this doesn't spark a trend in 'how to do things I won't need to do for another eight years' books. I look forward to reading a ten year old girl's view on how to raise children while working in an office environment.
posted by BabySeven at 8:22 PM on December 3, 2008


I hope this doesn't spark a trend in 'how to do things I won't need to do for another eight years' books.

I know I wanted to know how to talk to girls when I was nine. (And not just in the regular way, but the "talk to girls I 'like like' way, not just a 'like' way.) I certainly didn't wait until I was 17.
posted by Snyder at 8:33 PM on December 3, 2008


Pretty girls are like cars that need a lot of oil.

e.e. cummings felt the same way.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 9:25 PM on December 3, 2008


Oh, Jesus Christ. Volguus Zildrohar, the Pedobear, has come. We have chosen and will now perish. Grab your rifles and run; this place has gone tits up.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:26 PM on December 3, 2008


Kids pretending to be adults isn't cute. It's just terribly creepy.

I disagree. Today, my 3-year-old son brought my 3-year-old daughter a blanket and stuffed animals, and helped her get tucked in on the couch, told her to go to sleep, and sang her a lullaby while she pretended to be a baby. It was so cute my brain melted.

Kids pretending to be adults in the context of dating doesn't need to be creepy either; a nine-year-old giving another nine-year-old some flowers, asking her out on a "date" and holding their hand isn't creepy at all.

However, kids pretending to be adults with adults is most definitely creepy as fuck. Case in point: when I was a teen, a friend and his older brother opened their house to epic drinking parties when their parents were out of town. Thing was, they also had to take care of their 9-year-old brother, and (since we were all around fifteen years old) they didn't see any problem with the kid hanging around. That meant he sometimes got hold of and drank alcohol remnants from glasses, and observed the wacky drunk behavior of the partygoers.

So I'm at one of these parties, and the kid is being shooed out of the party rooms as per usual (and as per usual sneaking back in) and he's got himself worked up. He sees this girl standing in the doorframe of a bedroom, nursing a drink. So he runs across the room, slams into her, knocking her drink on the floor and her onto the bed. She's trying to shove him off, and he's trying to stay on top of her, shouting "it's okay, I'm not as young as I look, I'm really eleven!"

Creepy as fuck, and happily, that was the final straw for several partygoers, who left and then told the parents when they came back to town.
posted by davejay at 12:02 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


oh, so those were the assholes who spoiled my fun!
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:14 AM on December 4, 2008



I'm pretty sure it was another 9 year old who first invented the "neg".



"You're really pretty. It's too bad you have all those cooties."
posted by louche mustachio at 8:42 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Kids these days. Sheesh.
posted by flipyourwig at 10:29 AM on December 4, 2008


Perhaps I should channel my nine year old self and write something for bookish not so girly girls on how to talk to boys.

Lesson one: no matter how cute they may be, don't bother with the boys who hang around the girls who wear pretty dresses and sparkly earrings because they won't be interested in you until your 10th high school reunion and by then you'll have moved on. Or so I've heard.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:15 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


"You're really pretty. It's too bad you have all those cooties."

I first read that as "too bad you have all those clothes." Which would be oddly endearing if one had consumed enough alcohol and was not alone.
posted by The Whelk at 4:06 PM on December 4, 2008


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