I first heard about Jenny Mollen from my boyfriend, who read an article on one of his “guy” sites about how she bought her husband of six-and-a-half years, actor Jason Biggs, multiple prostitutes for his birthday.
He thought she sounded awesome. I thought she was crazy.
She is, actually, a perfect blend of the two, and she doesn’t shy away from admitting it.
“I think people are freaked out about [the prostitute story] because it sounds so lewd and lascivious and just so out there,” she tells me on the phone from Los Angeles while picking up lunch for Jason. People like Candace Cameron Bure outwardly criticized Mollen’s decision after hearing the story. “But when you read it, you realize that there’s a real innocence to it, and it’s a more comedy of errors. It’s a more naive and innocent attempt at being sexy and young to preserve a marriage that has just begun. My parents have been married multiple times each, so the idea of being committed to somebody was scary. I was just trying to—I don’t know, I was young and I just wanted to keep things interesting. It can be misinterpreted so often by people who haven’t read the story because it was like ‘Let this hooker come and fuck my husband!’ I’m too goofy for that.”
Goofy is the best adjective to describe Mollen’s new memoir, I Like You Just The Way I Am, an uncensored account of her life thus far, encompassing everything from getting a fake ID at 15 (per her mother’s request), to stalking down and befriending her husband’s ex-girlfriend.
Mollen, an actress, first got her literary start by way of a humorous incident, naturally.
“The prostitute story happened first,” she explains. “I went to Vegas, had this crazy experience, came home, and decided I was going to write it down just for posterity because it was so hilarious. Then I sent it to this guy at Playboy and lied, [saying] I was friends with somebody who worked there who thought it was a good idea that they publish the piece. And he went for it. After that, the editor of the magazine called and said, ‘That was really funny, you should do something for us again.’ So I went back and lied again, saying the editor of the magazine thinks I should have a standing blog for you. Next thing you know, I was writing a column a month.”
Following the success of her Playboy column, Mollen realized that the hooker story (aptly titled “The Birthday Whore”) was “probably the most tame out of all this shit [that happened to me],” she says, leading her to write 14 additional, and equally humorous, essays. “All the Best Men Are Either Gay, Married, or Your Therapist” recounts her graduate school infatuation with her engaged therapist, Dr. Carl. In “Show Me Your Teets,” Mollen writes about pretending her pet, Teets (who is featured regularly on her Instagram account, @jennyandteets2), was a service dog, to avoid paying airline fees (and the time Teets went missing on a flight from L.A. to New York City). She details the time Biggs purposefully hit on her friend, Simone, to determine her loyalty in “Chicks Before Dicks.”
Her stories, aside from being laugh-out-loud hysterical, are relatable. The situations, regardless of how embellished they may be (in the author’s note, Mollen warns readers, “The stories you are about to read are basically true. Though I tried to do my best in depicting the events as I remembered them, there are exaggerations, some characters are composites, and some time periods are condensed), are situations that most women could find themselves in at one point or another. It’s not chick lit, really, but rather an empowering piece of work for women without being too serious.
“I know it’s a memoir of sorts—but I also wanted it to be a manifesto for women, specifically my age,” she says when asked about the books’ potential relationship to feminism. “So I wanted a chapter about Botox, about the fucking annoying bachelorette parties, about sex when you’re married, about your fucking husband’s ex. I needed to cover those bases and I really hope that other women will look at it and say ‘Yes, I’m crazy, and I’m not ashamed of that.’”
And if there’s anything that readers will take away from Mollen’s book, it’s that crazy is definitely the new cool, that women shouldn’t be afraid to show their true colors.
“I think that they think that men are afraid of [women’s] crazy,” she says. “And I think that women are trying to be what they think men want them to be. When you’re around a bunch of women, they’re honest. But when I get them in front of their boyfriends—I think it has a lot to do with men, unfortunately… It’s so much more fun being crazy. Otherwise, think of how boring your life would be. Sometimes you need to just get into a K-hole on the Internet and spiral out of control, stalking some girl you don’t know. It just needs to happen.”