March 23, 2010
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elizabeth1BOOK REVIEW by Peter Bennett

Ah, the joys of journalism

Author  D.G. Elizabeth (who grew up in La Verne no less) has agreed to meet to promote her new book, “Diary of Dating: From a Beautiful Single Woman,” a heartfelt, thought-provoking romantic comedy that takes a contemporary look into the world of dating through the eyes of an available and attractive woman.

We’re both just doing our jobs, one promoting, the other reporting. But in doing my job, I wanted to learn as much about her and the dating tips she can share with me and LaVerneOnline readers as I do about her book and the characters in it. If my wife of 27 years ever decides to dump me, at least I’ll have a fighting chance in today’s new dating world of the internet, instant messaging and texting.

Not asking an author who has written a popular book on “Dating,” for some dating insights, even if the work is fictional, would be like inviting Masters and Johnson over for dinner and not discussing human sexuality.

First, some facts about Elizabeth. She grew up in La Verne and recalls riding her bicycle through our orange and lemon groves and buying donuts at Winchell’s (now Pick-Up Stix), as well as paying a couple of quarters on weekends to see new release movies at the Canyon Theater in San Dimas. She led an idyllic life in our happy hamlet with lots of friends until her parents decided in the middle of her freshman year at Bonita High School to uproot Elizabeth and her siblings and move to Lido Island in Newport Beach.

“It was very traumatic,” Elizabeth said. “I remember my first day at Newport Harbor and thinking I need a whole new wardrobe. I needed to fit in because that’s important when you’re young.”

She must have fit in because she won the heart of the prom king, who also happened to be one of the highest paid male models in the United States. They were together nine years, before different values, needs and dreams pulled them apart and led to divorce. Looking back, it’s easy to see how it could have happened. A jet-setting model’s life is tarmacs away from the traditional, unpretentious lifestyle that was so much a part of her La Verne upbringing. They were also very young.

Since that breakup, Elizabeth, now officially “a cougar,” has been dating ever since. Twice a year, she would regale (and still does) her tightly knit group of about a dozen girlfriends with her dating stories in their semi-annual BFF getaways to Las Vegas, Palm Springs and other ladies-only locales.elizabeth

Her tales were so painfully funny that they urged their very own West Coast version of Carrie Bradshaw to write a book capturing and chronicling her dating adventurres — the mishaps, misteps and and occasional success stories.

It wasn’t until her first breast examination at 40, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, that she decided that if she ever made it out of the hospital alive, she would write about her dating odyssey and cross it off her bucket list. She also faced the risk of mom revealing her unvarnished dating history to her two now adult sons.

“They said, ‘Don’t hold anything back.’”

And for the most part, she didn’t. “There’s no fluff,” Elizabeth insisted.

While Diary of Dating is a fictional and fantastic frolic about heroine Samantha Scott’s series of dating adventures and misadventures, it’s hard to know exactly where fiction and fact merge.

“It’s loosely based on my life,” said Elizabeth, dressed and coiffed immaculately the way you would imagine her character Samantha to be.

In the opening chapter, Sammy, hiding her puffy, bloodshot eyes behind dark sunglasses, drives through the entrance of her gated community to pick up some last boxes left behind in her elegant, but now vacant custom home. Making her way to the bedroom, the new divorcee discovers a small box left by her ex, wrapped in soft pale pink paper, with a small card and note attached, a final piece of paper to remind her of what once was:

“My love for you is never far. May you write in good health. There are those that ‘do’ and those that ‘review.’”

Inside the small box is an unfinished diary containing journal entries of past dates, offering a front seat view on the emotional roller coaster she had been riding the past two years. After flipping through the first few pages, realizing her journal is the best touchstone for connecting her to her past and pointing the way to the future, she decides to pick up her pen again. 

Samantha, although a romantic at heart, is a dating realist in search of Mr. Right. After one lost love, she writes, “You can’t have the rainbow without the rain,” quoting the old saying.

It rains a lot in “Diary.” In the chapter, “Heartbroken,” she lusciously describes her “Not Your Match.Com” date, a bodybuilder who on their first (and final) date tries to win her affections by handing her a picture of himself standing naked in the shower covered by only a few soapsuds and bubbles. When he asks if she likes the photo and she says that she finds it distasteful, he shoots back, “Well, do you really think I would date someone who’s had breast cancer?”

In her spectrum of dates, some sizzle (“Dr. McSteamy” and “The Dancer”), many more fizzle. She goes on boring (“Go Team Go, Make a Goal”) dates and snoring dates (“Mr. Luau”). Throughout her dates, Samantha retains her sense of humor, however. Often surprised by dates who appear in person much older than their fuzzy online photographs, Samantha muses, “I mean I have a great medical plan, but I’d like to use it on myself.” 

 In one of her last tales, “Lunch by the Misty Sea,” in a setting that appears to be the not too cleverly disguised Las Brisas Mexican restaurant in Laguna Beach, her date sprays her with little spitballs. “Who in the world doesn’t know they’re spitting when they’re talking?” Samantha asks. “Couldn’t he see the tiny spitballs that landed on my hair? If I had stayed any longer, I would be in need of an umbrella and a raincoat.”

D. G. Elizabeth still believes in the fantasy.

D. G. Elizabeth still believes in the fantasy.

When perusing internet descriptions of potential mates, she often comes across the description, “I’m between jobs,” to which our sexy, spirited gal, responds,“No job! No, thank you!”



In chapter after chapter, Samantha slips on sexy dresses, matching handbags and fabulous sets of heels only to usually find disappointment, not Mr. Right, at the end of the evening. But she remains resilient. She doesn’t care how many frogs she has to kiss to find true love.

“Giving up in the world of love is not an option for me,” Samantha journals. “I will never settle for anything else than a fairy tale, no matter what my fairy tale shall be. I can only wish, hope and pray that someday, someone will love me with the same passion that I have to give.”

Despite Samanth’s, err, Elizabeth’s protestations, that she is hardly an authority on dating, based on her record, I couldn’t let the interview end without tapping into some of that worldly experience. I’m told a third of her readers are men, and I was clearly now in that legion.

I had a million questions:

Q. Many women who have gone through what you have would just say, “To hell with men,” and go their separate ways. Why not you?

A. I’m very traditional. I think if women didn’t push the whole women’s lib aspect so much, more couples would be together. If a man leaves the toilet seat up or dishes in the sink, who really cares?

Q. What are women most guilty of on dates?

A. We evaluate guys before we get to know them. We size guys up thinking he’s the one, then four or five dates later, we realize he’s not the one. We have these grandioso, fairy tale dreams. We should really just sit down and really get to know someone. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the evening and taking it from there.

Q. How long should you correspond with someone online before actually meeting that person?

A. If you want a serious relationship, you should meet after a couple of weeks.

Q. Why do people who meet on “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette” rarely make a love connection?

A. It’s very unrealistic for a lot of people. How many people do you know who have flown on a private jet or been taken to a private island?

Q. What’s a good place to meet for a first date?

A. It shouldn’t be any place too over the top. It’s okay to meet at Starbucks or for lunch somewhere. I think going to a movie defeats the whole person of getting to know somebody. Try a bike ride, an activity you can share together. Keep your first date under two hours. That gives you an escape if you want to get out of the date. And if it’s a good date, you leave that person wanting more.

Q. Who should pay for the date? After all, this is 2010.

A. If a man expects a woman to pay or wants her to pay half, I think he’s cheap. That’s the bottom line. I think a man should pay for the first, second, third and fourth dates. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a woman sending a little thank you note after the date.

Q. How do you feel about having sex on the first date?

A. I know people who have had sex on the first date and have been married forever, and I know people who had sex on their first day and they’re like, “Oh, my God, why did I do that?” and that was their last date. If a womangoes out, let’s say, on a third date and has sex and never sees the guy again, chalk it up to having good sex. It’s healthy. Sex is good.

Q. How much should you reveal about yourself on a first date?

A. Keep a little bit of mystery. I don’t think you need to spill everything on the first or second date. You don’t have to put everything out there on the table. You want to stretch things out to get to know somebody.

Q. Do you believe in love at first sight?

A. I do believe in love at first sight. They say we women actually know within 15 minutes whether we want to sleep with someone and see that person again. We know right away.

Q. What should you order on a first date?

A. Just be yourself. Don’t just order a salad if that’s not who you are, because on the next date, he’s going to be shocked when you order a hamburger, fries, a salad and a shake, so just be yourself.

Q. How is seeking love different in your 40s than in your 20s?

A. The love I have now is more passionate. I’m much more open emotionally and physically. If you feel safe and confident with your partner, it’s okay to say, “What do you think about this? or “Let’s try that.” You communicate on a completely different level.”

Q. Dating can tougher than looking for a job. Would you agree?

A. It’s a lot of work to get dressed, do your hair, put on your fake eyelashes, fake hair, etc. It’s physically and emotionally exhausting, but it goes back to what I’m saying. People want to find someone, and believe that right person is out there for everyone.

Q. What’s the worst date you’ve been on?

A. I had been corresponding with a guy for three months, and he finally flew out to meet me. When he got off the plane, I was absolutely mortified. I’m not kidding, the guy looked like Charles Manson. He had long hair and blue eyes, but they were creepy-dark. I dropped him at his hotel, then called him to say, “I can’t do this.” He was livid, but he had been deceitful. None of his pictures looked anything like him. They were all a little blurry, so I was partly to blame. But he was like a murderer. I probably could have found him on America’s Most Wanted list, he was really that creepy.

Q. I can’t believe you didn’t tell that story. Will there be a sequel?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you still keep a diary?

A. I still have a small diary with a lock and key. It’s fun to look back.

To order Diary of Dating, enter the title in your search at any of the popular online book sites, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble,, etc. There is also a Diary of Dating pages on Facebook and MySpace.


  1. Great article!

  2. Peter,

    Loved the article!!!!! You did a awesome job reporting!!!
    Thank you!

    DG Elizabeth

  3. First of all, I’m a guy and I heartily agree with everything in the book! I’ve read it several times and think MORE guys should read it to learn how NOT to behave on a date! It’s the perfect primer for anyone in the dating world, female or male. Eloquently-written and just the right amount of humor that’ll have you nodding your head in-agreement!!! Great article!

  4. The best Sunday read ever .. I can’t wait for the sequel!

  5. OMG loved the book!

  6. I think this has the insight of most women of today. DG has all the passion one can have and it shows in her writing. She is truly an inspiration. I find a little of myself in her!

  7. and I thought i was the ONLY one………hahahahaha……thanx for making me feel more ordinary during my dating life……..i thought it was only me!

  8. Great casual reading and I laughed outloud at a few of D. G. Elizabeth’s dates gone wrong.

  9. i am so glad my girlfriend gave me this book! it’s hilarious and witty! it’s a perfect bday gift to give a single (or married) girlfriend!!!

  10. Loved DG’s book, buy it, find a comfortable chair, a glass of wine and be prepared to laugh along with DG as she shares her quirky dating stories in this “feel good” novel!

  11. I loved your book and can’t wait for Part 2. I also love the photos of you attached to the above wonderfully written article. I am way past the dating age but do remember some dates I couldn’t wait to end.

  12. Fantastic and scintillating – what a book – you’ve got to buy this book; I put myself in D.G. Elizabeth’s place – it was and is exactly my life today; I’m going to tell all my friends; I’d love to meet D.G. Elizabth in person some day; this will make a great birthday gift for all my friends . . . J. Smith

  13. Loved reading this book! I would recommend this book to all my friends. It was a fun and easy read that every girly girl would love! I cant wait for the next book!


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