It’s hard to read Amy Cohen’s memoir TheLate Bloomer’s Revolution without nodding your head and laughing, a lot. The New York Times Best-seller, set to be a major motion picture starring Sarah Jessica Parker in 2011, is a raw and hilarious account of a reforming relationship addict's attempt to navigate dating hell, get to know her dad and to find love after the death of her mother. Cohen considers herself someone who will eventually, however late, come into bloom but until then she'll be moving forward, embracing the life she has.
How do you describe your work? "I think my work is always an attempt to find out if anybody else feels the same way that I do and I always come from that place. That’s how I started writing my dating column. It’s so nice to find out hundreds of people feel the way you do.”
What three adjectives best describe you? “Determined. Stubborn, I think, and constantly surprised.”
Cats, dogs, birds … describe your pets? “Nothing. I have a plant. And I didn’t every really like plants. My cousin gave me this plant when my book came out and now we’re buddies.”
Favorite season? “I would say Spring."
Name a city you’d love to visit.Why? “It’s called Thimphu. I’ve been dying to go to Bhutan for a long time. There’s just so much about it that fascinates me. Bhutan is still relatively untouched and seems like such an incredible place and I love adventures so much. People say it’s a life changing destination.”
What’s the best thing about being single? “I think for me the best thing, in addition to the kind of answers you hear a lot, like the freedom, being able to go on adventures…I think the best thing is knowing that I had an idea of what is possible and I’m still holding out for it. I don’t fault my friends who are in relationships that aren’t great, but for me I always had this idea that there is someone out there you can have a great life with. I think we (single women) get a bad rap but in a lot of ways we’re very optimistic and romantic people. We’re not too picky or unwanted. I think we need to redefine ourselves. Single men don’t really get the baggage we do.
Describe your ideal “Girls’ Night Out.” “I spent a weekend at my niece’s dorm at the University of Wisconsin and those girls, they know girls' night out. I was a much more studious student. I thought I’m going to go to her college and feel like I missed out. We went out and we drank and went dancing and we were out until 5 in the morning. When I came back from that weekend, I have never been so happy to be 43. You forget when you’re 21, it comes with the craziest amount of drama.”
What’s the nicest thing a friend (or friends) have done for you? “My whole family has the BRCA1 gene mutation. I decided to get a Prophylactic mastectomy and when I was getting my reconstruction, my friend made me this amazing boob cake. I was so afraid to tell people and I was so afraid people were going to pity me. I wrote about it. It was really important for me to tell my story so that someone going through it could know they could got through it and emerge victorious.”
What do you do for “Amy” time? “I love going to movies and I love reading really junkie books and I have like, a secret sci-fi side which no one expects from me – sci-fi and crime. I love to cook and I spend a lot of time with my family. We’re very close. I think a psychology student would have a field day with how much time my family and I spend together.”
What’s the best advice you ever received? “I think I go back to what my mother said and I mention this in my book. In terms of being single she said, `people who want to be married are married.' You have to figure out what that means to you. I was the least likely person on the earth to be single. I could have been voted the least independent member of American society. It’s amazing to me that I decided to go it alone. I’ve always been trying to figure out when that happened. It was really a choice. Again I come from a family of almost disgustingly happy marriages and I just always believed that was out there for me. My mother was so proud of that advice. She thought it was genius."
What quality do you admire most in a man? “I like men who really respect women. I like men who I think, feel the same way I do. I like people who kind of retain a sense of child-like wonder but also optimism. This man may not exist. I feel like he’s not in New York.”
What quality do you admire most in a woman? “I really admire a sense of humor in women and I admire strength and that can have a lot of different definitions. It’s being able to hold your own and say, this is my life and it’s not what I thought it was going to be but I’m going to enjoy every minute of it even thought I thought it would turn out completely differently.”
Who are your real life heroes? “My mother. I have a lot of heroes. I really do. I’ve been lucky. A lot of my heroes are people who have been through breast cancer.”
What is your guilty pleasure? “Basically, just so you know, iTunes and BRAVO both think I’m a gay man because I like house music so they send me alerts for gay pride. I love The Real Housewives. I love Work of Art. I love Top Chef. So basically my gay brothers, I’m one of you.”
What is your biggest fear? “I think my biggest fear is becoming cynical. I think that’s something that is easy for anyone. I think you can become very disillusioned with your life. I think one of the things about being single is you always have the possibility of something amazing happening. You have a lot of freedom and so you never know. I think it’s one of my bigger fears because I’ve come close a couple of times.”
If you could change one thing in your past, what would it be? “I don’t know if this really applies but I wish so much I’d had more confidence in my 20s. I look back and I wish had more because I had none, zippo. I wrote a screenplay years ago about this woman who goes back in time to meet herself as a teenager and the whole point was trying to create a more confident you, younger. That’s what I would change. I wish I could have talked to myself and said if you don’t like your thighs now, wow – it’s going to get way worse. Go skinny dipping. Enjoy.”
Other than your own talents, what talent would you most like to have? “I don’t know if it’s a talent but the thing I try to conquer every summer is I’m maniacally afraid of heights and I try to do something that conquers my fear. Last summer drove through Yellowstone Park, by myself, not realizing that there are parts of Yellowstone like the Grand Canyon. The good news is that I still have a colon that is intact. I would love, love, love not to be afraid of heights. I would love to climb mountains and jump out of planes. I don’t know if it’s a talent but I feel like to live without fear is the greatest goal you can have.”
What is your motto? Or what words do you live by? “I think you can live the life you wanted or you can live the life you have. I think I got stuck for a long time in the life I wanted. That’s what my whole book is about, about embracing the life you have.”