The Decade of Blind Dates


"Think you've read read it before? You haven't... Peter has everything. A loving ex-wife, successful, happy and healthy children, financial freedom to pursue a career as a painter. But finding that one special person who would share his dreams as well as his blanket... Think you've read it before? You haven't. Not this story. Powerful passages left me breathless as Peter painted his fears and guilt, his painful memories. Strangely, now they seem my memories, too."

- Scott Wicks, Cornell University Library

"Provocatively funny, sad, yet genuinely joyful storytelling... of the ten years of intimate explorations of Peter Bauman, artist and admirer of beauty, after the occasion of his coming out. The author's beautiful command of the English language, coupled with his obvious sophistication, world-wise ways, and immense insight into human (and canine) nature make this book that begs the reader to forego dinner, forget work, and simply sit back and enjoy the ride. These things I did, after laughing with hilarity, crying so I could not read through my tears, and re-reading paragraphs and descriptions just to enjoy them once more. (Alther's) musings on the meaning of relationships are so enthralling as to drag the reader into a vortex of thinking, feelings, fearing, enjoying, regretting, impossible to resist."

- Rebecca's Reads

"In its way, revolutionary. The quintessential nice guy cast as a fish out of water allows readers to identify with him along this winding road to love. Topics such as how children deal with a parent's new lifestyle or how the loss of intimacy with a former partner of the opposite sex can unfold dominate the story. Alther is a talented author with a knack for creating beautiful sentences that reflect the protagonist's emotional state. Take for example: 'Mud season turned into May. The forsythia was in bloom; the crocuses had come and gone. Big bulbs shoved up and out of the ground. Steady sap from the sugar maples had produced a bumper crop. Juices everywhere were flowing; I was horny as hell.' Alther is telling his readers that this need not be a taboo subject, and that nothing in nature could be more natural than homosexuality. Rarely are such novels written from a gay man's perspective, let alone a gay dad's perspective. Richard Alther has certainly broken through stereotypes to produce a work as charming and funny and, in its way, revolutionary. One needn't be gay to enjoy this book, just as one needn't be straight to enjoy a novel told from the perspective of a man seraching for his lady love."

- Liam Brennan, ForeWord CLARION Reviews

"We are cheering for this guy. We are cheering for ourselves... (Peter) wants what we all want, happiness, and (won't) settle for less. This is a sexually explicit account that would probably be better appreciated by a male, gay audience, though I have to say it gives a straight reader, like me, insight into what that lifestyle is like, and as a divorced, middle aged person I found myself empathizing with this man who is starting over. Richard Alther is also smart to show many sides of gayness that go beyond the stereotypes: for example, a gay physician who believes in keeping a low profile. The writing is breezy and entertaining. The chapter on Peter's mother is heart-wrenching, and the ending is very satisfying. The scenes between characters and their dialogue are always credible. Along the way Peter must also deal with cancer and subsequent impotence. We are cheering for this guy. We are cheering for ourselves."


"No doubt... after the first couple of pages... Richard Alther is very creative and talented to come up with the zany characters in this novel. Richard has a wonderful sense of humor. You will find yourself laughing out loud. One word of warning: some of the explicit details must be there to create the stage that makes the whole scene hilarious. I can usually tell right from the beginning whether or not a book is going to be a good read. There was no doubt in my mind after the first couple of pages, because Richard Alther has a clever writing style that makes this novel very entertaining. There are also some serious issues such as AIDS and cancer, done in a compassionate, sensitive manner. I would love to see this book made into a movie! If you are looking for a read to make you laugh, add The Decade of Blind Dates to your list!"


"This well-written and engaging novel helps us clarify the difference between having sex and making love, and how to succeed in the search for a true soul mate."

- Brian McNaught, author of "Are You Guys Brothers?"

"Dispels many stereotypes... Readers will laugh and feel for Peter as he blindly searches to find love again. His journey is one of extraordinary relationships that involve comical situations, sadness, grief and loss. With each man he meets, Peter discovers more about himself. Whether straight or gay, readers will identify with Peter's struggles over love, companionship, friendship and acceptance. Comical and tender, The Decade of Blind Dates is an adult story that dispels many stereotypes and reveals the common dilemmas we all face."

- Write Field Services

"Spectacularly witty... The Decade of Blind Dates is a brave novel, a remarkable work of social and personal history. It is gay life as so many Americans lived it in the last decades of the last century, an alternately glorious and confounding picaresque of the mind and heart. It is also spectacularly witty. I started writing down lines that made me laugh out loud and soon ran out of paper."

- Richard Stevenson, author of the Donald Strachey series

"Hilarious... Pre-Internet personals, perseverance, and a strong swimmer's sturdy build all pay off for the narrator of this engaging episodic novel about a rural gay artist's decade-long-search, after coming out at midlife, for heart-connecting love, not just sweaty sex. Alther's word portraits of men met along the way, among them a Nordic-god New Age bodybuilder with a dull black toupee, a burly Bear with a bagful of erotic toys and a miniscule member, and a reclusive basket-weaver with magisterial forearms, are as humane as they are hilarious in a warm-hearted story."

- Richard Labonte, Books To Watch Out For

"A very serious novel about dating... The Decade of Blind Dates is refreshing in its realism about what gay men experience, friends who die of AIDS, gay men who marry in an attempt to convince themselves they are straight, only to end up divorced. It's not just about hot sex but rather a very serious novel about dating. Anyone who has suffered through years of dating to find a soul mate will feel empathy and humor over Peter's situation."

- Reader Views

"Whether you are gay or straight, Richard Alther exposes the hilarity and challenge of starting over romantically in midlife."

- The Bottom Line, Palm Springs

"Deep and optimistic... The search for love is always paramount, even when the sex is great, in The Decade of Blind Dates. (There are) letters with which first contact is made between our hero and his potential conquests. And what letters they are! Alther's first novel is both deep and optimistic. Instead of giving up, Peter is consoled by his own self-esteem, a lesson in which any single person can take comfort."

- Ellen Wernecke, Edge Publications

"I found a wonderful friend in Peter Bauman and got very involved in his story which made the book hard to put down. Richard paints such clear word pictures. I loved every minute, be it naughty or nice, and truly related to many of Peter's feelings and needs. I hated to have it end, and look forward to a sequel."

- Jim Hof,

"This is an excellent adventure. Peter, a divorced gay man, embarks on a scavenger hunt for his soul mate, struggles through a web of truly eccentric dates which will take you through many amusing situations; breezily written, very gay. (I am straight, so the explicit sexual imagery was interesting.) Relief came with Peter's conversation with his dead mother while painting her portrait. Opening up his past family relationships, Alther lapses into some beautiful, touching prose I hated to leave.

I loved the ending, and closed the book feeling entirely sated. You will, too."

- Alice Murdoch,

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