It's a Nerd. It's in Pain. It's Superstud
Thursday, July 14, 2005
The first time Paul Feig was naked in front of a woman was 1986, when he was 24. After all those years, he was ready. More important, she was willing. But what followed was less a sequence from a Pat Conroy novel and more a spectacular NASCAR spinout.
Too fast, too slow, wrong way, back up, hold on. Pit stop, change the tires, keep your eye on the road. Zoom. Screech. Bam.
Ooh. That's gotta be humiliating.
And that wreck is a big chunk of Feig's memoir, "Superstud, or How I Became a 24-Year-Old Virgin," released last week. The section, an exhaustive play-by-play of Feig losing his virginity, is titled "The Book of Miracles." It's written in chapters and verses. Like the Bible.
Now you stand across from him in a mall in Silver Spring, barely able to look him in the eye because you know every excruciating, shrieking personal aspect of his epic adolescence from reading "Superstud" and his previous book, "Kick Me." Indeed, you know more about Paul Feig than you know about yourself. So, the question practically utters itself.
But first: "Maybe we can walk around," Feig says, looking down at the food court several levels below. "Malls make me kind of jumpy."
The man is 42. Still a self-proclaimed geek. Known best for creating, writing and directing "Freaks and Geeks," an autobiographical TV series about social misfits in a suburban Michigan high school. Married for almost 11 years to a woman who thinks geeks are sexy, though she begged him not to publish the more honest parts of "Superstud."
No luck. Feig is making the rounds across the country with "Superstud," not just promoting it but reading from it. Reading about how Woody Allen movies make him misty. About his clumsy pursuit of girls, and how Sherry, Stacey, Jill, Jeri and Maura considered him Just a Friend(TM). About how once, when he was 22, he was so desperate for love that he attempted to perform an act that -- well, it brings you back to your original question.
In the secure confines of a chain restaurant, away from the mall, Feig (rhymes with "league") makes his case.
"I'm not the guy who tries to shock an audience," he insists. "I turn down work for terrible teen sex comedies because I don't like that kind of stuff. But it felt like maybe this can help somebody by letting them deal with what they've gone through and, in the end, help them laugh at themselves and possibly go, 'This guy's even more of a basket case than I was, so I'm not so bad.' So I like to say I've kind of made it my job to throw myself on the sword so that others can at least not feel like such a weirdo."