Women, take heed. Male jerks, watch out. The Jerkline is ringing.
And Carol Rosen is standing by with a sympathetic ear, a feminist sense of humor and a typewriter she uses to pin labels on the jerks she hears about - from "Mama's Boys" to those who profess "I'd love to marry you, but . . ."Rosen became interested in jerks when she was scanning the titles in a bookstore's self-help section. "All the books were on how to please a man," she recalled. "And I thought, `Why isn't there one that says maybe he's just a jerk?' "
There will be if Rosen has her way. Since December, she's been working on a manuscript titled "Maybe He's Just a Jerk."
Rosen, of south suburban Calumet City, has broken the world of male jerks down into categories.
She said, "Each chapter is about a different kind of jerk: The Emotional Abuser, Naggers, Whiners, Martyrs, Complainers, Mama's Boys, Con Men, I'd Love to Marry You But, Liars, The Critic."
With men in that last category, Rosen said, "you could cook like Julia Child, look like Raquel Welch and perform like the Happy Hooker," but he still would find something to criticize.
Women who have been hurt by jerks can write to Rosen - a pseudonym - or call her on the Jerkline. She has heard from about 80 women from around the country.
One woman who talked with Rosen said her husband called her "half a woman" after she had a mastectomy and told her that he should divorce her.
Rosen also has heard from a few men, but none left a message that could be printed in a family newspaper.
That's why the free-lance word processor-turned-writer uses a pseudonym.