Shauntay L. Dunbar is this generation new Carrie Bradshaw. However, instead of being a fictional character, she is a very much a real person. A very much real woman who has dated her “Mr. Big,” “Aiden” and a slew of other characters with Manhattan as the background. On a partly sunny day in Seattle, I jumped on a Skype call with Dunbar about the creation of her first novel, Diving In Stilettos First: Memoirs of Dating Mr. Right Now.
Dunbar’s first novel starts in the summer of 2015, four years after her annulment was finalized. She was 34, working two jobs, had her place and asked herself the question that most women ask themselves; “Self, what are you doing with your life?”.
Insert the first guy…”Vegas”. Each chapter is dedicated to one guy. Each guy has a nickname, out of respect for their privacy. However, my first question in our conversation was about the why. Why write a novel? Why give the men the satisfaction that they were important enough to be written about?
“It made me face my truth. If others read it. I couldn’t hide from the truth anymore or pretend like these things didn’t happen. I put it out there and open myself up to it,” stated Dunbar.
Dunbar realized that the only common denominator in her relationships was her. The novel became her self-reflection of what she was putting out there and what she wanted.
“You think you’re the shit. You tell yourself, “I’m a great catch” but I started to realize it’s the same guy just in different forms,” stated Dunbar.
Dunbar didn’t fancy herself a writer before the novel. In fact, she just thought of writing as a pastime. Something she did in school and didn’t she could do it as a profession. But when one is facing their truth, they start to think about what makes them happy, and Dunbar realized that writing made her happy.
Diving In Stilettos First: Memoirs of Dating Me. Right Now has now become a relationship book. Each chapter discusses a different type of relationship. From “in another life” guy, to the one-night stand guy, to the guy that lies on his online dating profile, and more. Which was a great example of dating and relationships as not every relationship is a great love story? But I had to ask, did she put every relationship in there.
“I pretty much put everyone in there. I didn’t touch too much on my ex-husband, as that is more of a sensitive topic. But not so much for me, but more for him and his family,” stated Dunbar.
She allowed two of the characters, “Superman” and “Framed” to read their chapters. Both men were supportive. “Superman” was her long-time “FRIENDS with benefits.” They connected on so many levels, but the timing was always wrong. “Framed” was a nice, sweet guy who just had to deal with his life insecurities and just couldn’t give his all to Dunbar. Both men were personal favorites of my in the book.
The novel ends with her going to a dealership to purchase a new car. She went into the dealership with no makeup on, and her hair a mess, and she was in sweats. She wasn’t looking for a guy. Then the car salesmen asked her out. A very simple lesson we all need to remember from time to time. When you are not looking for what you want, it comes to you.
The novel inadvertently caused Dunbar to become a dating “expert.” She was starting to a get a slew of questions she decided to use social media to answer them.
“On my Instagram, I now do this thing called, “Ask Shaunie.” It was because people kept emailing me or sending questions via direct message,” shared Dunbar, “So I take those questions, and I think about what would I do in that situation, but I try to keep it as light as I possibly can. I am not trying to tell you what to do, but I want to give them another perspective.”
It is not just females asking her questions. The men are asking too and sometimes a little too, “candidly.” Dunbar has found herself cleaning up the questions for social media.
Shauntay L. Dunbar is still living in the city that never sleeps, and has a new boyfriend. Has the new boyfriend read the book?
“He has, but I think he stopped after the Superman chapter,” laughed Dunbar.
As our called end in giggles and revelations, I came to one conclusion, Shaunie is a breath of fresh air in the self-help genres. Her honesty about men and dating is the type of honesty we should all strive for.