I’m not kidding. That is the title.
To tell you the truth, I’m not a huge fan of the non-fiction, self-help, book about relationships. I have never read Men Are From Mars, or How to Snag A Man or whatever else people write about relationships.
Instead, I have always thought to myself: For centuries, people have muddled through all kinds of relationships either making them work – or not. That’s life. What can they tell you about relating to other humans that you don’t already know – or that you won’t figure out eventually?
Plus, it all seems like a lot of effort. I mean, knowing how to phrase things just right so you are expressing your needs, understanding that men are simpler creatures, caring, sharing, being open and all that stupid crap that becomes generic one-size-fits-all advice (which is stupid because no one person is exactly alike) and if there is any real stuff in there – everyone just figures it out on their own anyway – through experience.
Karin Anderson’s book is really different. She doesn’t give you one single solitary piece of advice about what to do on a date, or how to relate to the guy, or admonish you for being needy and super clingy. Instead, she glories in all the mistakes you make, in all the bad choices, the silly behavior, and the way we obsess about the mysterious ways of men.
Then she tells you to get the heck over it because there isn’t anything wrong with anything that you are doing, it just hasn’t happened yet.
After a lot of books about all the things that are wrong with us, Anderson’s book is a breath of fresh air. She tells us girls that essentially there is someone out there for everyone, and eventually, if you just keep living your life (going to work, hanging with friends, shopping at the grocery store, and so on and so forth) you’ll one day trip over him.
But even if you stay single your entire life, what so bad about that anyway? I can hear the hum of protest in defense of marriage and the joy it brings rising from you, but in answer I’m going to throw my trips to Europe, my pending M.A. degree, my friends, my family, my pet, and my whole, rich, interesting, diverse life I have had up to now in your face and say: What are you saying? Are you saying my life is pathetic and meaningless unless I get married and have a kid? I’m a big, fat, losery failure otherwise? That’s your narrow-minded opinion. (Besides it just hasn’t happened yet, so chill out.)
And its exactly why you should read this book.
Karin Anderson goes over all the cliches that people lecture us single girls with and debunks every one of them.
SOME COMMON CLICHES:
You need to get Out There more! You’re never going to meet anyone if you don’t Go Out! You aren’t even Trying!
Try Internet Dating! Internet dating myth: Stephanie Fleffanie met her rich, charming, handsome, husband on eharmony/match/whatever! And now they have three kids and a beautiful house on Lake Washington!
Whatever happened to Bill Schmill? He was sooo nice! Why don’t you give him a call?
You aren’t getting any younger, you know!
She debunks these. Really. She does. It’s awesome.
She gives us the guy’s perspective – men have such a different experience, don’t they? It’s weird. She offers us our own defenses in favor of those above tired cliches – and her rebuttal. She addresses a special chapter to our panicking mothers (who have visions of us dying alone with only a cat for company) and she talks about the exhausting social pressure women get handed every single day from the time they are twelve until they are eighty to be in relationships, to get married, to have children, and, most importantly, to do all these things by a certain age.
She points out the ugly truth of the culture we live in; one that de-values women for success in work, in school, in society, in personal life, and chooses instead to focus only on our relationship status, making us feel like there is something desperately wrong with being single. And its not just a sexist thing done by the big, bad men. Here, women are the worst culprits. We do it to each other.
Be honest. How many times have you and your friends debated a mutual friend’s single status? “She’s awesome and beautiful, but she just can’t manage to get/keep a man!” You and your friends shake your heads and mourn her single status, while ignoring her bio-engineering degree, her beautiful daughter, her work with the homeless, her genius for making people laugh. Or whatever. We don’t mean to put down our single friends, but that’s how it comes out. She’s great, but can’t land a man. Therefore not successful or worthy. I’m guilty of it, too. But it’s time we stopped doing it.
Above all the book offers you a nice shot of much-needed perspective – if it does anything.
Love has no age limit. Kids aren’t for everyone. Women don’t have a shelf-life of eighteen to thirty-five.
And, excuse me, but your married/or in a solid long-term relationship best friend, how did she get that way? Did she go out clubbing every night or frantically internet date? Did she start attending church when she’s secretly an atheist? Did she get set up on blind dates by every well-meaning, but short-sighted person in her life?
No. She did not. You know what she did? Very little.
She met him through mutual friends at a bar/party/camping trip. Or she sat next to him in a class. Or maybe he bought her a drink one night. Or maybe she bought him a drink. Simple as that.When you jive with someone you jive. That’s it.
Anderson has written fantastic book. I hope it will have an impact on the way women view ourselves and each other. I can only advise you to read it, because I’m sure you will like it. It will make you laugh. It will make you think. It’s not your typical self-help book at all. By the end of it, if you were feeling crappy about being your lack of love-life, you’ll feel differently about your single status, I promise.