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Publication Date: September 2004
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For on-the-go pro shutterbabe Denise, one night of fun quickly turns into a life extraordinary as she assumes a new title: Mommy. Er, make that: Single Mommy. With a demanding career, a brand new baby girl, and very little breast milk, she needs all the help she can get, including that from Coby: Father of the Child. No one said motherhood was easy but single motherhood sure raises the bar!
Life was pretty colorful and spontaneous for dating maven Denise. But after spending most of her adult life openly and uninhibitedly painting the town red, the carefree main character of Have Baby, Will Date suddenly gets pregnant out of wedlock. With her life in shambles, the lens goddess finds that an unscheduled reshuffling of priorities is in order.
Now with a baby under her belt and a new mommy title to uphold, the adult in Denise finally glimmers through. Even when Cody, the father of her child, offers her a tempting walk down the aisle, she shies away, adamant that tying the knot is not an option when it's with the wrong guy - even if the guy in question is the father of her child. Instead, Denise opts to go on the quintessential quest for the perfect man and embarks on a journey to find her Mr. Right.
Have Baby, Will Date is a window to a world of single moms. The latest read from Summit Books unleashes the truth behind realistic non-fairytale relationships, and how the promise of forever is easier to keep when married to the right person.
"Denise didn't know what to expect. All Joanne said was that Martin was cute. What Joanne forgot to mention was that Martin was a hunk.
He walked her to the passenger door of a light blue Honda, closing the door firmly but gently behind her. So far so good, Denise thought. Cute guy, charming, previously married but heck, she was going to have fun tonight. He must be thinking along the same lines: cute girl, a bit chubby, has a kid but heck, it's only a date.
The rest of the evening went smoothly. The food was delicious. The party was perfect. Martin had sat next to her on the couch, whispering little anecdotes, explaining the legal puns that got thrown in with the jokes. It was such a nice and intimate evening that Denise found herself laughing with too much gusto.
They had a pleasant drive home. Afterwards, Martin offered to walk her up to her unit. He didn't have to, Denise told him but he insisted. So they stepped out of the elevator to the 18th floor.
'Thanks, Martin,' Denise said when they got to her door. 'I really had fun.'
'You're welcome. I really enjoyed myself. Joanne and Greg should have set us up sooner, don't you think?'
'I agree. Well, goodnight then.'
Martin then turned around to walk back to the elevator, waving as he did. Denise got her keys out of her purse to unlock the door. Inside, sitting on the sofa with his arms crossed on his chest, was Coby, a big frown on his face."
by Maan Geronimo
Please give the gist of "Have Baby, Will Date" for our readers.
Shutterbabe Denise becomes a single mom from living-it-up single babe when one evening of fun changes her life. She struggles with this new role, new body, and new baby, determined to do it all! Life is made more complicated by Coby, the father of the child, who volunteers to be "yayo", and Martin, hunky lawyer dude who is just too nice and too hot for comfort. Do these guys really like her? Denise is unsure. Once confident and sure of herself, Denise now has self-esteem problems. Can single moms date? Do men go out with single moms because they think single moms are clingy, needy and an easy lay? Just read the book to find out (he, he).
Is the story autobiographical?
There are parts of the story that are "autobiographical". The part about the lactation consultant, for example, is real. When I gave birth, I had very little breast milk and I wanted to breastfeed so much. Then a friend from law school, who is a breastfeeding advocate told me about... . I also
Is Denise based on your own character?
Denise is based on a lifestyle I want to lead. I've always admired people who lead a carefree lifestyle while doing something they love. I also think it's brave to be sustained by Art. I guess I'm a frustrated photographer/artist.
I work in a law firm in Ortigas, which has a very corporate environment. Although I like the work I'm doing and I am learning a lot from practice, it doesn't have the freedom something a profession like a photographer's or a painter's would have. I admire people who just get up and go to wherever they want to. So when I dreamed Denise up, I didn't want her to have to file for maternity leave when she gives birth - even if that wasn't part of the story. I thought to be constrained by things like that would be corny. Although, it is a reality that mothers now do have to work, that they do want to work and a lot of them excel in what they do. In fact, a lot of moms work and still lead exciting lives.
How about Coby and Martin, the men in Denise's life, are they real and based from your past? Did they really meet? Or are they a collage/combination of different men you've met through the years?
I think Coby and Martin are the ideal. I guess I tried to put into these two characters traits I admire in guys. Though they might be rare, I think there are single guys out there who would date single moms, and are serious about them whether they are the fathers of the kids or not.
What truly gave you the inspiration to write "Have Baby, Will Date"?
Tara FT Sering, the editor of Summit Books, suggested writing about a single mother during a party we both attended. I thought it was a great idea and I could thoroughly relate as I had just given birth myself when she suggested the topic.
When I was writing the story, I wanted the reader to think that after a woman has given birth she doesn't stop being what she was before - she still has fun, still fixes herself, and if she happens to be single, still dates. Also, I was very conscious of the fact that giving birth changes you, you become more responsible, maybe a little less giggly but you don't stop being who you are, you just grow up. Ha!
Aside from Denise, which character in the book were you able to relate to the most and why?
When I was writing the story I could imagine myself as Denise's best friend, ____. I love matchmaking although none of my matches have clicked so far. Aside from the obsession with matchmaking, I'm also a new mom so, like her, I've learned to run a household, do some cooking, plan family outings, and all those things mommies and ates do.
What do you love most about Pinoy men?
I like it that Pinoy men know how to make "ligaw" and are "cariñoso". They also understand the Pinays' need to make "pakipot" unlike foreign guys who, when you say "no", will not ask you a second time. And, although we're into women's lib, they still think women have to taken care of. I think that's sweet.
What would you change about Pinoy men when it comes to love, sex, courtship and marriage?
If it's possible to get rid of the Pinoy machismo, I think that would be fantastic. Imagine a Pinoy who doesn't think that having affairs or mistresses is something to brag about. In courtship, it would be great if Pinoys were flattered instead of turned off when Pinays make the first move or are a little more aggressive than they are.
Are Pinoys still into having virgin wives while it's okay for them to play around?
That double standard should be banished. The worst thing is if Pinoy women agree with this double standard. If a guy thinks that you're the best thing that ever happened to him even if you're not a virgin is a guy for keeps, especially if he has a sense of humor. But if the guy starts out as a typical Pinoy with all the hang ups of Pinoy men but is open, not judgmental, and is receptive to new ideas, he might not be such a bad alternative.
What can readers learn from "Have Baby, Will Date"?
It's important to practice safe sex (is it okay to say that in cyberspace?). Also, I think having a baby out of wedlock is not the end of the world. One must still pursue her passion. Neither does it mean that you're stuck with the guy who got you pregnant. If the guy isn't for you, then do not marry him even if you're carrying his child. You have options. Lastly, at whatever age, shape or status it's important to...
If ever a movie version of your book was done, who would portray the main characters and why?
Maybe Claudine Baretto can play Denise because I hear she's a good actress and has a tremendous following. For the guys, maybe Piolo Pascual for Coby and Dominic Ochoa for Martin. Piolo because he can act, Dominic because he always plays the perfect guy (who doesn't get the girl).
Are you doing a new book or a sequel to "Have Baby, Will Date? Wedding bells soon for Denise and Coby?
I'd like to do another Chick Lit book. I need a compelling topic/subject though. I'm also trying to work on my short stories to try and put together a collection. All this while I work and be a mom and wife, so it's a slow going.
When did you start writing? Is writing a passion for you?
I started writing seriously when I joined the UP Writers' Workshop in Baguio in 1996 I think. That workshop made me want to get into the M.A. Creative Writing Program of UP, where the Institute of Creative Writing (then known as the Creative Writing Center) is, where all these wonderful fictionists and poets like Butch Dalisay, Gemino Abad and Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo taught. You guys must get a hold of their stuff. It was while I was in the M.A. Program that I thought my writing really improved. It was as if before then, I didn't know how to write.
What books are you currently reading? Who are your literary influences?
I just read a lot of new Filipino fiction in English, short stories in particular. A friend of mine gave me a whole bunch published in a local magazine. I think I read more than thirty stories. It was a really pleasurable experience.
As for my influences, aside from the Filipino writers I mentioned above, I like Kerima Polotan, Charlson Ong, Rosario Lucero, Alice Munro, the Latin American writers and Gabriel Garcia Marquez especially (his short stories are fantastic), Jhumpa Lahiri, Joyce Carol Oates, and so many others.
How do you see yourself carving a niche in Philippine Literature?
A lot of great storywriters tell only "one" story or have only one theme told in different ways and make their niche that way. I'm not sure I've found that one story I'd like to echo in all of my stories. Although, I've noticed that I tell better women's stories than when I try to tell a guy's story. I guess that's obviously because I know about women more. So I guess I'm looking for the Pinay's story, the Pinay of this generation's story. Is that vague enough? (He, he.)
Are you part of the "Chick Lit" Genre?
Yup, I think that can't be denied since I have a Chick Lit book. I think it's something to be proud of. In fact, I love it that Summit came out with Chick Lit and brought fiction to so many - an unimaginable feat in Philippine Literature. They deserve an award for that. Maybe sometime soon a body will recognize this accomplishment.
I think that most, if not all, of the chick lit writers so far are good literary writers as well. Check out the short stories of Tara FT Sering, for example, they're wonderful. Look out for Mabi David's and Melissa Salva's poetry and fiction, too.
What are your tips to aspiring writers?
Reading everything you get your hands on. Write and re-write. Join writers' workshops and get great tips from veteran writers.