Publication Date: June 2004
Price: P150.00
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She's all that...But if she's so smart and pretty, how come she's not with anyone?

Junior marketing executive Rudie Bermejo can't figure out why she's never had a boyfriend, and why no one seems interested beyond being friends. All her friends tell her she looks great, and her boss thinks she's got the smarts to make it big, and guys think she's a cool chick to hang with. That should make her a catch, right?

Determined to graduate from the No Boyfriend Since Birth Society, Rudie decides to take matters into her own able hands. And the dating spree is only the beginning...

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Synopsis

She's all that...But if she's so smart and pretty, how come she's not with anyone?

Junior marketing executive Rudie Bermejo can't figure out why she's never had a boyfriend, and why no one seems interested beyond being friends. All her friends tell her she looks great, and her boss thinks she's got the smarts to make it big, and guys think she's a cool chick to hang with. That should make her a catch, right?

Determined to graduate from the No Boyfriend Since Birth Society, Rudie decides to take matters into her own able hands. And the dating spree is only the beginning...

Prospect check!

Clark: an old high school could've-been fling

Mike: don't even think about him

Ben: hmm, artisty-type

Jay: guy best friend currently in troubled relationship - yes!

Edward: the movie-meeting guy (on the MRT, of all places!)

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Excerpt

By the time I got to Food Nood, I felt embattled: on the one hand, I was so kilig over the prospect of Jay being out in the market again. But on the other hand, I was worried over his state of mind; if he and Dette were really broken up, will he go mad? Years of togetherness can't be that easy to erase, right? And how does one console a seriously sad friend?

Jay was already sitting there, a cigarette in hand, looking morose.

Aha, evil-me thought. This is definitely a break-up. And then: Oh, Rudie, show some decency!

"Rudie, I'm so glad I caught you. It's been a rough morning," Jay immediately burst out, before I even sat down.

"Why? Why? What happened?" I took a seat across him, and signaled the waiter.

"Dette made out with another guy. I don't know what else happened, basta that's what she told me. She confessed everything," he said, numbly.

The slut! I instantly thought, outraged. Oh Jay, I would never do that to you! I bit my tongue, lest my amorous thoughts slip out.

Apparently, Dette-Dette got piss drunk in one of those house parties she frequented, and actually made out with someone she just met.

"She pulled me aside just this morning, told me the whole story. She admitted it," he said, his brown eyes gazing sadly at me. "I appreciate her honesty - I mean, at least, she didn't lead me on that everything was fine - but God, you can't imagine how it's tormenting me now. Ang sakit pala nito. I feel...I feel so betrayed."

"A-are you two breaking up?" I asked, mightily trying to keep my elation down.

"That's the thing, I don't know, I'm so confused," Jay said, eyes downcast behind the glasses.

We ate lunch in silence. Jay, seemingly lost in his thoughts, and me still searching for the right thing to say. Not finding anything sensible in my head, I plowed on through the food, just to keep myself occupied. We were halfway through lunch when I heard the door open.

"Dude! Jay!" I heard a voice call out from the entrance. "It's too early for the event, pare."

Jay and I looked up to see a tall guy with a slim but muscular body, and an angular face that I instantly recognized. WHAT THE....?!? Oh my God. It was Almond Eyes. I stared at him, open-mouthed. His lively demeanor, however, was a far cry from the serious - if not suplado - mood he was in when he offered me his seat at the MRT just a week and a half ago. I had to down a tall glass of water before I could decide that it really was Almond Eyes.

"Pare, kamusta?" In one motion, Jay collected himself, stood up, and extended his hand. I sat stuck on my chair, gaping.

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Author interview

by Maan Geronimo

Claire Betita graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines in Diliman with a degree in Journalism. She is currently the Associate Editor of Cosmo Philippines. And while she has always believed in making the first move, she also believes that love does happen at the right time.

Read on as No Boyfriend Since Birth takes you on a journey that shows you love does exist in all the right places.

Give us the gist of No Boyfriend Since Birth.

It's the story of Rudie, who is single and hasn't had a boyfriend, well, since birth. She's dying to know how it feels like to have one, to be part of a couple, but more importantly, she wants to find The One and experience true love. To do this, she decides to take matters in her own hands and pushes destiny a little. So she attempts to "search" for the The One herself by going on a series of dates, asking guys out, keeping her eyes and ears wide open for potential boyfriend material.

Is the story autobiographical? Is Rudie based on your own character?

Unfortunately, it's not autobiographical. Rudie's story is inspired by some friends and officemates who have been telling me stories about their single-ness, and how they would really, really like to have someone that they can love and be with someday. A lot of these girls I've talked to actually haven't even dated and kid each other about belonging to the "No Boyfriend Since Birth Society."

When did you have your first boyfriend?

I had my first real boyfriend at 18 years old, during my sophomore year in college. He was one year older than I am and taking the same course as me, Journalism, in UP. Very intense relationship. We were together for two years. He is married now and lives in Hong Kong, I think. I've had several relationships after that, all of which taught me a hard lessons about life and myself.

What gave you the inspiration to write NBSB?

Dear friends who confide to me about their life and their views on love have inspired me to write the book. I see so much hope in their eyes-that they will surely someday find The One, but at the same time, I feel their frustration over society's rules...that guys have to court girls and that the other way around is simply not acccepted.

Which character in the story do you identify yourself with and why?

I think I identify most with Viola, Rudie's best friend-mildly kikay, sweet (!), a bit quiet, hopeful, and always there to help a friend.

Was Mike a part of your life? Or he still is?

No, Mike wasn't a part of my life at all although I do wish I had an officemate as cute as him, and who was also crazy about me! Since I spend a lot of time in the office, I decided to daydream a little and create that kind of character. Besides, it really would be fun to have that kind of guy, don't you think?

Are the men in NBSB based on your past?

Some of them, yes. Like Alfredo, the Italian guy, was based on a foreigner I met by chance and eventually dated. I also had a best friend whom I was crushing on, but with whom I maintained a purely platonic friendship to the very end.

If ever a movie version of your book was done, who would portray the main characters and why?

I would like Rudie to be that French girl who played the role of Amelie. Then Matthew Goode (that cute guy from Chasing Liberty) to play Mike. Then Luke Wilson to play Jay. Janeane Garofalo to play Yoj. Debra Messing to play Viola.

What can readers learn from NBSB?

That it's okay to break society's rules, that you CAN take matters into your own hands, and if things don't work out, you can always learn something from it.

Are doing a new book or a sequel to NBSB? What will happen to you and Mike? That's what we're dying to find out!

I'd love to do a sequel! I guess Rudie and Mike will probably click and be a couple, but then their personalities are on opposite poles so I guess that's where conflict can arise. Rudie will probably learn that being in coupledom isn't exactly smooth sailing. She'll probably learn that the journey is the destination.

When did you start writing? Is writing a passion for you?

I started writing in Grade 4. My teacher asked me to write a poem, and I did, and I loved the feeling of putting words together and creating something beautiful. I've also kept diaries and journals since that time, until now. I have boxes and stacks and stacks of notebooks at home-all filled with stories of my life. Writing's a passion for me. I know no other skill as well as I do writing. I want to move people with it. Writing is all I want to do as long as I live.

What books are you currently reading? Who are your literary influences?

I am reading The Dalai Lama's Book of Wisdom...a newfound friend recommended it and I've been toting it along with me. I've also read and loved The Bitch in the House, edited by Cathi Hanauer. It's a collection of essays by women about love and life, and what was expected of them. The greatest influence in my writing is Margaret Atwood. Her writing in Cat's Eye, The Robber Bride, and The Blind Assassin is very grim and intense, but mind-blowing. I also like Ernest Hemingway--his prose is straightforward, but holds a lot of meaning.

How do you see yourself carving a niche in Philippine Literature?

I'd like to write more life-affirming articles for women. I want to be an influence to them, to liberate them from whatever rules society and moralists impose. I feel that i can do this through my writing in Cosmopolitan Magazine, and writing progressive-themed books that celebrate the Pinay woman.

What are your tips to aspiring writers?

Live in the present. Enjoy each moment. Appreciate small mercies. And always, always dream.

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