Author Transforms Himself From Schlub To Stud They may be considered clumsy and unattractive, but one author discovers that schlubs aren't necessarily losers.
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Author Transforms Himself From Schlub To Stud

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Author Transforms Himself From Schlub To Stud

Author Transforms Himself From Schlub To Stud

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Actor Seth Rogen is on the cover of this month's GQ Magazine. Rogen, best known for his slovenly characters in "Super Bad and "Knocked Up," is not your typical GQ man. He's chubby, he has a big fro, and he wears his natty suit with a big dose of irony. Yet there is something endearing about him, a messy, everyman quality, kind of like the post-adolescent guy next door, who never moved out of his parents' basement. He's a schlub.

In fact, Seth Rogen is king of schlubs. Now, few people have ever had this thought. Seth Rogen is going to improve my sex life, very few women and, probably, even fewer men, if any. But Max Gross did have that thought. He's the author of, "From Schlub to Stud: How to Embrace Your Inner Mensch and Conquer the Big City." Hey, Max.

Mr. MAX GROSS (Author; "From Schlub to Stud: How to Embrace Your Inner Mensch and Conquer the Big City"): Hey, Mike. How are you?

PESCA: Good. So, what's the Seth Rogen tie-in?

Mr. GROSS: Well, basically, when "Knocked Up" came out, I basically had the thought that you said, you know, that Seth Rogen is going to dramatically improve Max Gross' sex life. I'm a writer for the New York Post, so one of my colleagues said, oh, you should totally write that up.

PESCA: Because you look like Rogen? You...

Mr. GROSS: I look exactly like Rogen. In fact, several people have, over the years, or since "Knocked Up" came out, so over the year, stopped me in the street and said, are you that guy from "Super Bad" or "Knocked Up" or something like that?

PESCA: And your first assignment when the editor said, hey - did he say go around and be Seth Rogen, or, do a poll, will Seth Rogen help me?

Mr. GROSS: Well, I was planning on just doing it as, like, kind of a think piece. Like, you know, because when I'd seen "Knocked Up" there were so many, like, dew-eyed women in the, you know, movie theater who were just, like, oh, he's so sweet. I need a dependable loser like that. And so I - you know, my initial thought was, here, come to papa, you know? This is - I'm your guy. And so my editor thought it was a really funny idea, and then he said, you should take it a step further. You should go down to Bryant Park, and just go up to attractive women and, you know, ask them if they'd seen the movie, if they liked him, and then hold up a picture of Seth Rogen next to you and say, well, if you'll go out with him, would you go out with me?

PESCA: Yes. It would be odd if that weren't for a magazine or newspaper piece, if that was just your gambit to meet women.

Mr. GROSS: Yeah, no, I don't think that - well, and, also, I had the advantage. I went with a photographer with me.

PESCA: Yeah. Some legitimacy. Now, from the article itself, the book, to an extent, well, it sprang from your life but it sprang from the article, but did you get any dates out of it?

Mr. GROSS: Oh, I did. I met my girlfriend through the article, actually.

PESCA: Really?

Mr. GROSS: My now, unfortunately, ex-girlfriend.

PESCA: So, actually, even though it's from schlub to stud, it's a little in - you know, truth be told, it's a little schlub to stud then semi back to schlub again.

Mr. GROSS: Well, yeah, I actually do think the title is very, very slightly misleading, in the sense that I think you can channel your schlubbiness (ph) into studliness (ph).

PESCA: Yeah.

Mr. GROSS: Is, like, kind of - but that's like, kind of, an unwieldy title.

PESCA: All right. Now, I know the book is about your journey. But I really want to get into - spend some time examining the schlub phenomenon. First of all, where does the word come from?

Mr. GROSS: Well, it's a Yiddish word, and you know, it basically means, like, a hapless or sort of, like, clumsy person.

PESCA: But they have the word klutz for that, too.

Mr. GROSS: Well, I think that klutz just refers to your, like, physical, like, you know...

PESCA: Like manual dexterity, things like that.

Mr. GROSS: Like, yeah, you're a klutz. You drop things. You're clumsy, blah, blah, blah. I think schlub is also just, like, an attitude. Like, it's also, like, kind of, like, bewildered and befuddled by, you know, the everyday instances of life that everybody can, sort of, deal with. Like, a schlub, sort of, doesn't deal with it very well, doesn't know how or never learned those lessons.

PESCA: How does a schlub differ from a slob or a nerd, or a combo, slurd (ph)?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. GROSS: Well, in terms of a slob, I think that goes to the klutz thing a little bit. I mean, I think that a schlub is also, you know, I think all schlubs are slobby (ph), but not all slobs are schlubby (ph).

PESCA: Right.

Mr. GROSS: I think that, in terms of a nerd - I mean, I don't think of myself - I mean, I am definitely a nerd, but not all schlubs are nerds. And I know that, you know, there are certain, you know, interests that I have that are not, you know, nerdy. I mean, like, you know, I think that a nerd, you know, likes something like "Dungeons and Dragons," where a schlub will like something like the Flaming Lips, or something like that.

PESCA: One reason I feel really bad for the schlub - and it's easy for people to say, get up off your schlub butt and do something.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: But I think society gives the schlub such mixed messages, in that beautiful people are always consciously going for the tousled-hair look, model-type guys are walking around in distressed jeans and with their shirt un-tucked. But those things, for those people, they're more calculated, is the point, and the schlub, though he comes to it naturally, it's actually achieving a different effect.

Mr. GROSS: I think you're right. I think that there definitely is that. And I guess it's just one of those things that, you know, you know, you know, instinctively, I mean, like, you know, there's something in our brains that could tell us when it's the genuine article and when it's an affectation. And the people who can affect it, you know, are genuinely cooler.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: Yeah.

Mr. GROSS: Than the people who just do it naturally.

PESCA: So, many of the great comedies are essentially slobs versus snobs, "Caddyshack," "Animal House," all the Kevin Smith movies, all the Judd Apatow movies. So, it seems like we like this story. If that's the case, why does the schlub have it so hard in society? If we love that story? If we hate the snobs and love the slobs or the schlubs?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. GROSS: Well, you know, it is one of those things. I mean, like, you know, to a certain extent all those movies are fantasies. I mean, you know, they - I think that there are subsets of, you know, women and, you know, people in society and stuff like that, who do love the schlub.

PESCA: Mm-hmmm.

Mr. GROSS: You know, who see it for, for, for its worth. But, you know, a lot of people are, you know, superficial and, you know, and, you know, a lot of women, you know, wouldn't look twice at me. But, you know, some do.

PESCA: Before you went to the stud?

Mr. GROSS: Right, exactly.

PESCA: Yes, pre-stud.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. GROSS: Pre-stud, exactly.

PESCA: There's a very attractive girl on the cover of the book. Is this meant to be the girl that you've got as the stud?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. GROSS: Symbolically, yes. That was not my girlfriend. And it actually did cause a very, very big fight with the - when, when she saw this.

PESCA: Your real girlfriend.

Mr. GROSS: My real girlfriend.

PESCA: She didn't like the girl who's posing as your girlfriend.

Mr. GROSS: Exactly.

PESCA: Why's that?

Mr. GROSS: Well, I mean, I think she was a little, like, jealous. I think she was, like, you know, wait, what happened to me? But my publisher and I were discussing it, and they were, like, we need a hot blonde. And they, because they wanted somebody blonde and very clearly un-Jewish looking.

PESCA: Un-huh.

Mr. GROSS: You know, and so, so hot blond, and my girlfriend is dark haired. She's gorgeous, you know, but she didn't look like, you know, the shiksa, like, you know.

PESCA: The shiksa goddess.

Mr. GROSS: Right.

PESCA: Anything, any advice for the young schlubs out there who maybe want to stud-up themselves?

Mr. GROSS: Well, harness your schlub, never forget your schlub roots but, you know, it's very healthy to embrace them, but also take a look at yourself.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. GROSS: You know what I mean? It's a good thing to be a schlub, but sometimes you have to, you know, realize that the world is not composed of, completely of schlubs, and you know, you have to think about the way your presentation hits others.

PESCA: Max Gross, author of "From Schlub to Stud." The book comes out on August 1st. Thanks for stopping by, Max.

Mr. GROSS: My pleasure.

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