A fun read in hard times.
During this year’s lockdown in Adelaide, writer and editor Tina Morganella heard stories of people dating. Fascinated by how people might go about this activity with the restrictions, she decided to gather stories. Bringing on board Maria Jimenez, a Facebook page was set up asking for contributions. No prizes for guessing that they were inundated with tales from around Australia and further afield.
Wear a Mask, Cupid! is the curated collection of these stories, along with comics drawn by undergrads at the University of San Francisco.
The pieces are gathered into chapters with loose themes: Virtual Lust; Heartbreak Hotel; The Friend Zone, and so forth.
Morganella clarifies in her introduction that most of the pieces are not by writers: they are the basically unedited stories of a wide selection of people who have dated during COVID. Although this gives a freshness and authenticity to the work, it also sometimes makes for some painful reading. Apparently the three-exclamation mark ending is still quite popular in these parts. Generally, the choice of pieces is good, with a broad range of sexualities, ages, stages-of-life and so forth. However, there are a couple of questionable choices. For example, the author of Catfished, clearly doesn’t know exactly what cat-fishing means, and displays the kind of entitled, shallow, behaviour that gives men on dating sites a bad name.
Overall, this is an enjoyable, often humorous, and fascinating glimpse into other people’s love lives, which – let’s be honest – always seem more interesting than one’s own.
The book ends with a selection of good news stories where people have (or think they have!) found true love. It’s a nice, positive way to end a selection of otherwise fairly depressing, albeit amusing, stories. Although Rekindled Love’s assertion, re his passionate affair of some months, that “I’m planning to leave my wife” is inadvertently hilarious. Readers may want to go get popcorn…
Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Distributed by: Self-published
Released: December 2020