BY PAIGE WISER
Ashley Currie says she could write a book. She'd call it My Mom, My Pimp.
"She carries around pictures of me in her purse and whenever she meets a decent-looking single guy, she goes on the prowl," says Currie, who lives in Naperville and works in Chicago.
At first it was funny. Currie would get phone calls out of the blue from mom-approved men, and even met a few of them for coffee.
Then it got extreme. Currie's mom called her from the drive-through lane at the bank, and told her to hold for a moment. Currie heard a giant sucking sound, and some clanging; her mother had put her phone through the pneumatic tube so that the cute bank teller could say hi to her. "I was a bit stunned," says Currie.
Mom's latest target is a doctor from Rush Hospital. "My dad was there for surgery!" says Currie. "She called it multitasking."
Too bad for Currie, but Alix Strauss has beat her book to the bunch. She's edited the collection "Have I Got a Guy for You": What Really Happens When Mom Fixes You Up (Polka Dot Press, $14.95), which hits bookstores Tuesday. The free-lance journalist and fiction writer compared notes with her friends, and put down on paper some blind date horror stories.
One chapter is titled "Howie the Putz."
There was the mother who sent a series of letters to "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee" producer Michael Gelman, insisting he date her daughter. And then there was the mother who set her daughter up with a nice dentist who turned out to be Garnok, Dental Warrior, who brought a costume for her to wear to a Dungeons & Dragons convention.
Moms mean well, Strauss says. "I think what happens is that bad judgment is clouded by a swarm of well meaning. They want to see their daughters happy."
But what the mothers see in a cute guy often is vastly different from what their daughters experience. Out of the 26 stories in the book, only one has a happy ending.
For her part, Strauss had to finally tell her mother to stop giving out her number to random men.
Strauss, who is single, has some requirements for a future husband. He needs to be ambitious but artistic, a best friend, a team player, someone who wants to make her day better.
"Of course it's hard to have someone else find that person for you," Strauss says. "My mom is great at finding a great pair of black pants for me. But love is more complicated. Like a pair of jeans. Women love their jeans, but nobody can buy a pair of jeans for you."
That hasn't stopped generations of mothers from trying. Genesa Garbarino and her mother, who lives in Arlington Heights, went out to dinner in the city at Morton's, and then to Le Passage. Garbarino left to get some drinks, and by the time she got back, her mother already had picked up a nice spinal surgeon for her.
After an uninspired lunch date, the doctor took her home. "He was way out of line, groping, grabbing, eww!" remembers Garbarino. "Dr. McSlimy. Yikes."
Despite the odds, sometimes mother knows best. Alexandra Gorbokon watched when her mother pushed her 18-year-old sister out the door to go on a trip with a Russian youth group. Sure enough, her sister met a "nice Russian boy" and they began dating.
Now, 12 years later, they're married with two small children. "And my mother has refocused her efforts on me," says Gorbokon.
She "forced" her to go on a Russian Hillel camping trip, and sure enough, Gorbokon met a "nice Russian boy."
"It'll be two years in August!" says Gorbokon. "Needless to say, my mom is thrilled. Mission accomplished."