Part of my job is to promote this site by commenting on the at-least-peripherally-dating-related blogs of other people. It recently occurred to me that it might be a good idea to contact the people whose blogs I visit and ask them if they’d be interested in doing interviews. I’m curious about the lives and thoughts of the people who write the blogs I read, and it seemed reasonable to presume that others are, too. And I figured, you know, free publicity isn’t the least appetizing metaphorical carrot in the world.
So I dutifully emailed them all, and to my utmost shock and horror, more than a couple of them didn’t write back to tell me to fall down an abandoned mine shaft and die in fear and agony. The first of those individuals sufficiently indulgent as to grant my request for an interview was Mike/Weasel, who writes the blogs Why Women Hate Men and Psychotic Letters From Men, both of which, seriously, you need to read if you’re even remotely interested in laughing until your eyes are bleeding and your lungs collapse and your ribs puncture your internal organs and you drown in your own bile and pus and phlegm and effluent.
Here’s how it went:
Hey Mike. Let me just start by thanking you for your time. I can see from your web output alone that you must be obscenely busy, so I really appreciate this interview.
First question: What’s the story behind the handle “Weasel”?
That’s an easy one, and people will probably groan at it.
I joined a fraternity while in college at Arizona State University. Most, if not all, fraternities actually have “naming” ceremonies much like the famous scene from the movie “Animal House.”
I was bequeathed with the nickname “Weasel.”
Not only did it immediately stick within my fraternity, but it stuck campus-wide.
In fact, it stuck so much that eventually I didn’t even respond to “Mike”. I was introduced to others as “Weasel”, and I eventually just introduced myself as “Weasel.” It really stuck out, people always remembered it, so I just kept it and made it my own.
It was funny, because you could have placed 100 ASU students, including my closest friends, in front of me and asked if any of them knew my real name, and you’d undoubtedly receive 100 dumb, blank stares. Followed by some brave soul saying “Isn’t it Weasel?”
The name stuck after college amongst my close friends, and many still use it today. I love it.
But I’m in my 30s now, so when I meet new people, I’ve decided it’s best to go back to Mike.
Your sites (Psychotic Letters From Men and Why Women Hate Men) have at the heart of their humor the ridiculing of men. What inspired you to choose men as the prime satirical target of your online writing?
Honestly, it just came along by chance.
After looking at a variety of blogs, I realized I could best get my comedy writing out there by blasting readers with short, satirical comedy pieces. So I just needed a subject.
At the time, many people in my circle of friends were doing the online dating thing, and I heard absolutely endless stories from my female friends about how fucking awful the guys were online. Truly, unbelievably awful. You can not possibly imagine the things I’ve seen.
And then it just kind of hit me.
Here’s a subject- sex and relationships- that everybody is interested in. And the personal ads guys were posting were just … I can’t even explain it, it simply defies words how horrible they were. In fact, one of biggest problems I had initially was getting my readers to even believe they were actual personal ads rather than just part of my comedy writing.
So I started WWHM, a collection of posts every few days that featured really bad men’s personal ads, followed by my critical, and (hopefully, at times) humorous analysis.
And I felt no guilt at skewering these guys, because guys deserve it. They put in so little effort into actually understanding what women actually want and need from a man, and instead either a.) frame everything from their own porn-polluted male point of view about women, b.) post personal ads that unintentionally reflect nothing but their their own selfish, immature needs, or c.) have no qualms baring their utter hatred of women, yet still expect women to find them attractive.
And don’t get me wrong about “porn-polluted.” I love porn as much as the next guy, but porn is a simply a visual depiction of our fantasies about females, and has absolutely nothing to do with the reality about how women think and feel about men in the real world.
Women function on a completely different level than men, and to appeal to women you have to take the time to understand what truly motivates them to find you as an attractive partner- and believe me, it’s never, EVER, a picture of your cock. A cock is a means to an end, not a means to a beginning.
So basically, I call men out on their lack of effort in understanding women, and their ridiculous sense of entitlement when it comes to sex.
As for Psychotic Letters, that just landed in my lap as an offshoot of WWHM. The hypocrisy of men calling women “psycho bitches” all the time never ceases to amaze me. Guys are just as bad, if not worse.
I have to read and comment on quite a few blogs for promotional reasons, but yours rank among the very few I read purely for pleasure. To me, your writing seems effortlessly brilliant and completely hysterical, yet I see on your companion blog it takes you 10 hours to do three posts. What’s your process for writing? What do you find the most difficult part? The most enjoyable?
This is embarrassing, but I’ll be honest. Nowadays, each WWHM post takes between 15 and 20 hours to write because I’m so meticulous about every single word. Psycho Letters posts take about 6-8 hours until I’m happy with it. I know that seems like a long time, but I put a lot of work into each. Writers know what I’m talking about; the final draft rarely looks anything like the first.
I usually pick an ad or letter sent in by a reader several days in advance and mull it over. I come up with a few jokes and jot them down. Then I assemble them into a dialogue that hopefully has an ounce of flow to it, which is always the hardest part and the part I don’t enjoy. Then I weed out the jokes that don’t work and whittle it down to a post. I re-write them over and over until I feel it flows ok and it’s at least a little bit funny. I add jokes as I write, which are usually the best ones.
I know when I’ve nailed a good post, which is extremely rare. That’s solely the reason I find writing enjoyable, when I know I’ve absolutely hit a home run. But 95% of the time, I produce a complete bomb. Ironically, my readers seem to like the bombs, while my “home runs” rarely do well.
I wish I could write these things in an hour, but I can’t. And like most writers, I absolutely abhor what I write. I post entries, and I never read them again, because I can’t. I’m my own worst critic. They just seem so fucking awful, so unfunny. As my readers frequently point out to me, I completely try too hard and overwrite everything. I’m trying to fix that, and desperately need an editor to help me figure out how to become a better writer.
Augusten Burroughs often admits he feels like a complete fraud, and that someday someone will figure out he has no writing talent whatsoever; I feel the exact same way every day. I don’t say that for pity or re-assurance, that’s just honestly how I feel. It won’t change. My work completely disgusts me.
I’ve found writing WWHM more enjoyable lately as I focus more on honest reflections of my own tragic sexual experiences as they relate to the day’s selected personal ad. I plan on continuing this, and I’m not sure how my readers will react. It feels too self-important, but it also feels like where I need to go with WWHM to keep myself involved in the writing. I have to check my ego at the door and admit to, and be honest about, my worst transgressions in life. While it’s painful to do so, it’s tragically funny.
I notice that there’s no advertising on either of your blogs. Do you have any plans to commercialize/monetize them in the future, or are you happy having them serve only as a place for you to showcase and refine your talent, and to attract “offline” work offers? Do you get many work offers through the blogs? Do you think running advertising on them would alienate your readership?
I’m not a guy driven by money. I’m only driven by truly funny writing, and entertaining my readers.
I’ve looked into monetizing both blogs, but the money rarely seems worth it to me. On an average day right now I get about 10-15,000 page views, so I’d probably only pull in about $150-200 a month anyway, if that. On the days when I get 40,000+ readers however, I think to myself “What am I, stupid?”
I just want my readers to come back and enjoy my sites. I want to know they laughed at something I wrote. I don’t want to pound them with ads. If they leave my sites in a better mood than they came in, I’ve done my job. That’s what I strive for. In fact, thats what I live for. If my writing is good enough, it will pay off in the end, and I don’t need to worry about cashing in now.
I get some work offers, but very few worth pursuing. Mostly, I get people wanting me to promote their products on my website, which I won’t do. Yes, it’s selfish perhaps, but I only promote my own writing on my website. I’ve worked hard to get where I am, and I need to work harder to get where I need to go.
Ultimately, I want to achieve two things from my websites:
Yes, I want a book deal. Yeah, I know, who fucking doesn’t? But the more I grow my audience, the better chance I have of securing one. I’ve only sent my stuff to two agents, and was soundly rejected by both. Obviously I need help in marketing myself, but I’m still trying to figure it out as I go.
Secondly, I want to write spot comedy for TV along the lines of Talk Soup, The Daily Show, a late night talk show, or something like that new show from Daniel Tosh. I have been contacted about a few opportunities, but nothing has come to fruition as of yet. That’s something I know I can do and do well. Something I’m 100% certain I will end up doing. I hope to move to LA soon, but I’ve been saying that for a while now.
I see from your online bio that you solicit for jobs writing “website or blog copy, promotional marketing, speechwriting, and tele-play or screenplay rewrites/ punch-up.” Do you have anything you’re working on or that you’ve published in any of those areas that you’d like to take this opportunity to tell us about?
No, nothing I’d be willing to share these days, lol.
I’ve written many spec comedy scripts, and had a sitcom I wrote called “24″ produced and shot in Seattle many years ago. What happened to that show I’ll never know because I was pretty much fired, which I fully deserved. At the time, I was much more dedicated to destroying myself with drugs and alcohol than any opportunity to better my life. I regret it to this day, but I’ve moved on.
I’ve started a few screenplays, which of course I’ve never finished. I would like to revisit one in particular, but I never have time. We’ll see. I have to focus on my websites now, as it seems to be my best avenue for recognition.
I’ve got some web copy here and there on the web, but nothing interesting enough to share whatsoever. Typical corporate bullshit.
Last question: what do you think you’d be doing for a living if you weren’t a writer?
I could not imagine doing anything else, ever.
I am simply not qualified to do anything else, and I write not because I want to necessarily (believe me, most of the time I DON’T want to write), but rather because I absolutely have to. I react to everything by writing about it, whether I’m just writing to myself or for the enjoyment of others. I can’t explain it sufficiently, but I have an innate need to write, just like my my desire for food, water and sex. If I think it, I write it.
I guess I originally saw myself as a lawyer or some type of corporate business monkey, but after working in banking, advertising, and the casino industry, I realized I hated them all with a passion regardless of how much they paid me. You can’t pay me enough to rob me of enjoying my life or feeling good about myself. The corporate world of ass-kissing, lies, self-important and meaningless business jargon, and the wholesale destruction of everything creative, constructive and interesting sickened me.
If the economy wasn’t so bad, I’d encourage everybody to strike out on their own and try to make a difference in the world rather than slaving to some bland, self-serving, dickhead fucking mega-corporation.
It’s risky, but at least I found I could truly look myself in the mirror when I woke up in the morning.
Thanks so much Janak!
Hah, wow. Thank you, Mike! I would have been happy with a paragraph response to each question, and here we are 2000+ words later. Beyond generous. The best of luck with your future projects and ambitions. Keep ‘em laughing.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, a few other intrepid souls have expressed interest in doing an interview, so this will be a quasi-regular series for a while. I’m not sure who’s going to be up next week (whoever responds first!), but I look forward to finding out.