Stuck at Seventeen

This review was originally posted at Kiss & Blog. I wonder whether I’ll be asked to review another book from this publisher again.


Stuck in the Passing Lane

The story is common enough. A middle-aged man accepts that he will be divorced. His wife no longer wants him around, their children likewise. Upon moving out of the family home, what’s the first thing he does? He goes online to find a woman.

Once he observes the number of women who might fulfill his sexual needs, he begins to indulge himself. Rifling through the profiles, the ones that catch his eye are selected for pursuit and, eventually, a real-life meeting. Sex, if he’s bluffed successfully.

This is how it works. If you want a book go to Amazon. Looking for a bargain? Try Overstock. If you are jonesing for a woman, check out Match or Tinder. The world is now on the screen in front of you, ready for your consumption.

Except that people are not books or watches or beds-in-a-bag. Relationships of any kind are not commodities. That printer you bought doesn’t have an opinion about your moodiness. As much as you might want it to, that Lands’ End shirt cannot be supportive on down days.  When we couple-up with someone, it’s an interactive endeavor; success depends upon how well you mesh.

And if you’re Jed Ringel, author of “Stuck in the Passing Lane: A Memoir” you are depressingly normal at meshing. I say depressing because Mr Ringel catalogs his coupling failures as if he has no control over his behavior. Just like every other dopey guy. Having already chosen one woman poorly, he compounded the mistake by creating chaos in his children’s lives. Dissolving his marriage and family appears as an annoyance, an opportunity to modify of his daily life that allows more time for self-indulgence; namely drinking, cooking, eating and searching for trim.

There are three parts to this book. We get to see the drinking divorcé who chases sex with vodka. To his credit, his vodka habit falls to the power of AA, but now he pairs sex with instant shack-ups. The last part of the book appears to be written at a later time, with a pinch more self-examination. The common thread is that this otherwise accomplished man lives a life unexamined, shallow, self-indulgent and destructive, informed by the impulses of a teenager.

Which is why everyone with an online dating profile should read it. Go and buy this book now, especially – especially – if you are a woman. This is what waits for you on the other side of the pics and profiles.


Stuck in the Passing Lane: A Memoir, by Jed Ringel.

Published by About Face Press LLC.