After becoming a #1 New York Times bestselling author last year with the publication of her first book, Drinking & Tweeting: And Other Brandi Blunders (which I reviewed here), the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star is back to do it all over again. This past week, Glanville published Drinking & Dating: P.S. Social Media is Ruining Romance, an equally candid and deliciously unfiltered book that acts as part relationship guide and part memoir about how she got her groove back following her infamous divorce.
Last week, Glanville and I sat down together after her book signing in Brooklyn, and chatted all things Drinking and Dating, her thoughts on Valentine’s Day, what fans cans expect from the upcoming Real Housewives reunion special, and more.
ALEX NAGORSKI: How do you feel you’ve grown as a writer between your first and second books?
BRANDI GLANVILLE: I don’t know that I’ve grown as a writer, to be honest. I think I’ve grown as a human being. I’ve moved forward in a lot of ways that have made me a better, stronger person. I always find humor in everything and that’s just how I roll, because if I didn’t, I would be in a straitjacket. And I honestly think that if you’ve grown as a person, it reflects in your writing.
Absolutely. Is there an added element of pressure now that you’re a #1 New York Times bestselling writer?
No. I mean, honestly, not for me. I know I do the right thing 97% of the time. There are things I do that I fuck up a lot, but I know that I’m a good person. I would have stayed here [at the book signing] until midnight if there were people here until midnight. I want to make sure everyone that comes to support me gets a personal experience, you know? I’m not just going to say goodbye once it hits 9:00. I’m not drinking my own Kool-Aid. I’m very blessed to be here and I’m very thankful.
Can you walk me through your creative process? How do you go about writing – do you have a set amount of pages that you like to write a day, do you have to listen to any specific music, etc.?
You know, my book agent – or my “gaygent” as I call him – calls it a brain dump. I sit there and I just write and I write. Then I have all of these pages that don’t make any sense and I send them to my co-author, Leslie Bruce. And she’s, like, “Okay, this can go in this chapter, this can go in this chapter,” and so on. I just write, and it is really what I feel. I have a recorder in my car so I can remember when I think of something slightly prolific, because otherwise I can forget. I make myself laugh all day long, which I think is so important in being happy. There was a time where I was unable to do that. That was a very dark time in my life and I’m just really happy to be back where I am.
As the subtitle suggests, the book goes into this in a lot of detail — but I was wondering if in a few sentences, you can explain why you feel that social media is ruining romance?
Oh, gosh. I think that we’ve lost the mystery. I can find out what everyone’s doing at any time of the day. If they don’t text you back and they said that they’re busy, you can check their Instagram, their Facebook, their Twitter and see for yourself. If you have time to tweet, you have time to text the girl you went out with last night. So it’s just ruining the mystique. And if you go out anywhere, people stop and they want to Instagram and take pictures and we’re missing the experiences. Social media is making us unsocial.
I completely agree.
It is! Everyone’s saying “oh, let’s do this,” and I just want to be like, “ok, but let’s have a good time and fuck the pictures,” you know? My girlfriends and I have started a new thing where you put the phones in the middle of the table and anyone who touches their phone first has to pay the bill – because like, let’s have a real experience! Let’s go to dinner and let’s hang out and do what we used to do before this took over our lives.
I really like that idea.
No, it’s true. Seriously.
Some of my favorite things about the book are the many (and often hilarious) stories of outrageous dating mishaps you’ve had over the years.
Oh my god, they’re all going to murder me. They’re going to know exactly who they are in there. I will never date again.
What’s one in particular that still resonates with you as a big “WTF moment” when you look back on it?
Oh, well, there’s one that I call “The Criminal” in my book, and that was definitely one. Everybody deserves a second chance. We all mess up. I’ve messed up a gazillion times, so how can I judge someone for that? But there really are so few men to pick from in LA.
In New York, too!
No, there’s a lot of hot guys here! I used to live here. There’s way more hot guys here. I go out and I’m like, “Ooh! Ooh!” I get distracted. It’s like glitter for a gay man.
But in all seriousness, you want to give people the benefit of the doubt. The LA dating pool is so small and everyone that is anyone is dating a twenty-year-old supermodel and it’s difficult. It’s not easy to say, “Oh guess what, I’m over 40 and I have kids.” You know what I mean? It’s like, “Oh, welcome … and I’m an asshole on TV, so do you want to hang out?” And I’m an asshole in general, in real life, as you saw tonight – but I think it’s a fun thing. I always want to have fun, and that is the number one thing that I think keeps you young. It’s important to know how to laugh and make fun of yourself and not take yourself too seriously. It’s like, it is what it is.
So what’s something that you think readers of Drinking and Dating will learn about you that they don’t already know from the show and/or your first book?
I think everyone knows everything about me but I hope that through this book, they’ll see a little bit of a vulnerable side of me. I do share with them my trust issues and the fact that I sabotage things because of the heartache and the hurt and the mistrust that I’ve had in the past. And so, I want to share that with people, because all my friends and I, we sit around and talk about it, but no one puts it down on paper because everyone’s embarrassed. Like, listen, I’m sharing about my HPV — although I talked about that in the first book, so I don’t know why everyone’s so excited about it this time.
I honestly just want people to say, “guess what, it happened to her, and I relate and I’m not embarrassed anymore.” It’s a really big deal for me. Just look at Michael Sam, that football player who just came out. I get the chills every time I hear about it. That news has been out for nineteen hours, and I’ve already seen like eighty-five stories about it. I truly think that honesty really heals the heart, and that’s all we can ever give people. It’s the second that you become a fucking liar that you start to suck.
That’s not very prolific, but mama’s had two glasses of wine now. Maybe three.
I’m on my third, too, don’t worry. You’ve now written two books, both of which have titles beginning with “Drinking And.”
Right, Tweeting or dating.
So if you were to write a trilogy, what would the third installment be called? “Drinking And” what?
Drinking and being in love.
No, that would … that’s hopefully my endgame.
Well, that actually leads in well to my next question. Your first book acted as a tell-all about what happened between you and your ex-husband. This book, in contrast, chronicles your dating life after your divorce.
I was very angry back then. I even read it now like, “Ooh, yikes. Mama was angry.” But listen, breakups are breakups. Heartbreak is a universal thing. It’s a disaster. It’s a universal …
Yes. Thank you. It is. It affects everyone. You can be Anna Wintour, or you can be like, a person that does your nails. No matter what walk of life you come from, we are all affected by heartbreak in the same way, and that’s what makes us all human, you know? Listen, you don’t think that the biggest movie star in the world is not devasted because of heartbreak? They are. It’s something that we … it’s a universal epidemic, you’re right.
Generally speaking, what are the main things you look for today when selecting a potential new love interest? In other words, how would you describe your dream guy?
Hotness? No, I mean, I definitely have had a problem that I’m attracted to the hottest boy in the room and that’s always been my problem. Because everyone likes pretty things. And all my friends are gorgeous. I like pretty things, I can’t help it. But really, I try to find beauty in everything, and if I can’t, it’s hard for me. I don’t want to move forward in life with that person as my friend or in my life. Because there’s a little bit of beautiful in everyone … even in the shittiest people.
I’m curious as to how writing a guidebook on romance has impacted your personal love life. Was there ever any point during your writing process that you thought to yourself, “wow, I should take my own advice more often?”
Oh, absolutely. I give the best advice to my girlfriends. I can tell anyone what to do and I’m dead spot-on, but do I follow it? I don’t. If I did, I would be on cloud nine. But I don’t. I follow my heart and my heart is generally wrong. My brain is generally right. Generally. It is what it is. It’s a learning curve. No one’s perfect. I was listing … no, that’s awful. I won’t even get into that but I have a whole ‘nother story for you at some point.
Well I’m definitely looking forward to that! Both in the book and the on the show, you talk about how you don’t have a desire to ever get remarried, but that you would still like to settle down with “Mr. Right” someday. That being said, do you have someone special to share your Valentine’s Day this weekend? The way your book ends, it seems like you might not be celebrating alone this year …
Well, I’m here until Thursday night, and then I fly home on a red-eye and then I get my little babies. I’ll be with Mason and Jake on Valentine’s Day, the loves of my life, and we’re flying to see Nana and Pap-Pap in Sacramento. We have a book signing there. But I think Valentine’s Day is an asshole day.
It puts pressure on people. A lot of my friends break up before Valentine’s Day – especially the guys. They do it so they don’t have to buy a gift … and then they get back together in a week. Having male friends has taught me so much about dating and social media and the internet. Like, they’re all on every dating website that there is and it’s a smorgasbord for them. And they all say that they want relationships now, but then they’re like, “I like her on Monday, she’s Tuesday, she’s Wednesday, she’s Thursday.” I think we’re ruining ourselves with everything that is available to us.
You’ve had quite a busy few years. In addition to writing two books and starring in a reality show, you’ve also designed your own dress line, started a weekly podcast, and have even forayed into the acting world by filming a small role on 90210 and in movies like Missing at 17 and The Hungover Games. Is acting something you’d like to do more of?
I don’t act. I’m just saying. The people that have asked me to be in their movies have been amazing, and I said, “yes, but I can’t act.” I’m not an actress but I do love making fun of myself, and if people want me to come in and don’t want me to necessarily say my lines right, then I’m happy to do it. I feel blessed to be asked to do anything.
My podcast is so fun and so amazing. Like, I just fan out. I had Bret Easton Ellis on it and I had a Backstreet Boy, I’ve had Robin Antin, Beth Stern’s coming … I just feel so lucky. I’m interviewing them! While at the same time, throwing myself under the bus. But I’m learning. No, I’m not an interviewer. And I’m also one of those people that’s like, “bleh, here you go.” So it’s gotten me in a lot of trouble but I can’t change who I am. So I can apologize when I fuck up and that’s really all I can do.
So what specific creative itch does writing scratch for you that none of these other outlets do?
Oh, my gosh. Writing is my literal Xanax. When I go to write, everything I’m thinking just comes out onto my computer when I type. I like my nails to be long stripper nails when I type. I took them off for a while and then when I started typing, I didn’t hear the click and I was so upset, so I got them back. I know that sounds weird but …
No, no. I get it.
It’s the truth. I need that. It’s such an outlet for me. I do it and it’s like, ok, I can go to sleep now. I don’t have to take a Xanax to go to sleep.
Last year, you were a fashion correspondent at the Oscars – but it was your dress that actually seemed to be the headline generator. Will you be returning to the Oscars again this year? And if so, what will you be wearing?
Well … that’s a great question. I’ve been told that if I come back, they have to approve my outfit, so we’ll see. I’m so very blessed to be very busy and I would like to go, but I want to still be me. I don’t like to be censored, and when people tell me what to do, I want to do the exact opposite. So if they say, “You have to do this,” I will do the … you will see everything, you know what I mean?
I’m a middle child, and my mom said to me, “I hope you have a daughter or son just like you.” And then she met Jakey, my son, and she was like, “good luck with that.” It’s true! I have a little Brandi and his name is Jake. And then I have the sweetest boy in the world. His name is Mason. He’s ten. They’re the loves of my life. They’re both amazing.
I bet. Speaking of having more Brandi, what I’m really dying to know is when are we going to get your spin-off show?!
Well, I mean, I’m not allowed to say. But …
I will be watching!
Yes! Thank you!
I understand that the reunion for the current season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was filmed a few days ago. How do you feel about how everything went down that day?
There’s a lot of crying, a lot of screaming, and, ultimately, I think, besides Jacqueline’s outfit, it all went well. She had her ice skating outfit on and I’m like, “Sochi’s calling, bitch.”
Was it that one that she wore earlier in the season? It had like, giant rhinestones and the, like …
No, no, no, no … You will see. Six weeks, you’ll see.
What else can you tease that viewers can look forward to in this special? Are any of the conflicts resolved?
I have to be very careful what I say here. But there’s, you know, a lot of emotion. I mean, we’re a modern family, to be honest. We are very similar to that, and we love hard and we fight hard. It’s kind of like Survivor meets Housewives.
Are you and Lisa (Vanderpump) on speaking terms again now after the reunion?
We … you know, she’s an amazing woman. I love her hard and I have issues with her hard. She’s fucking perfection. I love her, you know? But we definitely have our issues.
Cool. Well, thank you so much, Brandi. It’s been a blast chatting with you. Is there anything else you’d like to add about the book or the show or anything else that we didn’t talk about?
Please get the book! It’s awesome!