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LAist Interview: Authors of Dating Advice Book 'Red Flag Rulebook'

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Cheryl Anne Meyer, left;Tara Landon, right (Image provided by Amy Levy PR)

Cheryl Anne Meyer, left;Tara Landon, right (Image provided by Amy Levy PR)
Would you take dating advice from an actress and a model? Maybe not right off the bat, because it seems like their point of view on snagging a man might be a bit...well...skewed. But actress Cheryl Anne Meyer, 25, and model Tara Landon, 25, have set out to change that.

Their recently published joint effort, "The Red Flag Rulebook," is a pocket-sized guide to recognizing potentially fatal flaws in a would-be suitor. And lest you still have your doubts as to what kind of dating troubles you may share with two such ladies, they didn't just rely on their own experience. They gathered their friends and family, women whose ages span at least a decade, and identified 50 flags that, should they wave, should be considered as red and counted against the young man in question. Their flags include the more subjective -- "Bad Reputation" -- to the downright dangerous -- "Temper, Temper."

Originally from Toronto, the ladies joined forces after meeting while filming a reality TV show. Each holds a day job at an advertising firm, acts and/or models on the side, and in their spare time, writes books.The two are now on tour with "The Red Flag Rulebook."

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LAist: How did you get the idea for the book?
Cheryl: Tara had just broken up with this guy, and I had just gotten out of a bad relationship. We were starting to date again, and we started to write down all these flags and talking to our friends, because we didn't want to keep dating the same kinds of people over and over again.

LAist: What was the process like for coming up with the list of red flags?
Cheryl: We had a couple of girlfriends over, and we were all supposed to write down the things we liked the least of everyone we had dated. Some of them were in agreement with us, and some gave us new ideas.

LAist: What are each of your worst dating stories?

Cheryl: This one is in the book, under "Cowardly Lion." I went out to a restaurant with a guy I had just started dating, and when we left the restaurant these two men confronted him and they were like do you remember us, and he was like no, and they were like well you made a fool of us before, and when I turned to ask the guy what was going on he was running away down the street, and he left me there with these two angry men.

Tara: I went out with a guy I had been on a couple of dates with already, and we decided to go out drinking at a bar. All of a sudden, at the bar, he decides to show off. He started to get really rowdy - and this guy was always kind of a little obnoxious and attention seeking. The drunker he got the more barbaric he started acting, and he got to this point where he started humping the corner of the bar.

LAist: Did you ever see him again?
Tara: No.

LAist: In the book, you say that every guy is allowed four red flags before you advise that a woman let him go, so to speak. How did you end up with the number four?
Cheryl: We actually had an original list that had six. But we thought, let's be reasonable. Five is still kind of a lot to allow, so we thought four was being strict, and then we thought some women might try to go past four anyway.

LAist: What do you each think is the worst red flag?
Tara: Mine was baby talk. I absolutely cannot stand that.
Cheryl: Cell phone obsessed! It's my personal pet peeve. Although my boyfriend has that right now but it drives me insane. But something that would cause me to break up with someone is shady behavior.

In the book, you also have green flags -- signs that a woman should move forward with the relationship. Tell me about that.
Cheryl: We had 10 green flags. It's really how to tell if he likes you. So let's say you go through the whole process and the guy ends up hitting five flags, and you really like him, and you've decided that he's worth your time. Then you can see whether he's reciprocating, if he has any of the ten things that guys do to show they like you [these include "Talks to you about meeting the family" and "He surprises you with a gift for no special reason"]

LAist: You also include a section on "Dealbreakers," including "Disrespectful to Women" and "The Controller."
Tara: There are no dealbreakers allowed. Once he gets one of those you need to cut him out.

LAist: Are you considering yourselves experts on this topic?
Cheryl: I would say yes, because we aren't just going from what we've experienced. We also pulled a lot of women and did a lot of field research with other women in order to create the book.

LAist: Did you consult with any psychiatrists or psychologists?

Cheryl: We decided it might be better to talk to people who are actually experiencing it firsthand, so everyone we talked to were either in the dating pool or had recently gone through a bad break-up.

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Tara: A lot of other books [about this subject] focus on what you need to change about yourself in order to snag a man, whereas we don't think you should change anything about yourself.

LAist: What's next for you two?
Tara: We have another book in the works that's going to be focused on break-ups: how to break up, what's the best way to go about it, how to deal with a break-up. We're also gonna have some real life stories in there.

LAist: Do you see yourselves continuing down this road of relationship advice?
Tara: Yup. I think it's going pretty well so far.