Tuesday, September 04, 2012

7. You Get Defensive When You Read Articles That Try To Wedge You Into A Category ...

I have a love-hate relationship with magazines. I imagine most people do. The prospect of them is interesting but the reality of them is cluttering. They tend to stack up. I pay for monthly deliveries of glossy pages that, over time, convert themselves into guilt.

I have a specific love-hate relationship with O, The Oprah Magazine. I really adore Martha Beck. She has a knack for writing about some quirk – trait, neurosis – of mine that I was sure was my own personal failure, so it's nice to know that there are people out there who are just as screwed up as me. My affinity for the rest of the magazine varies from month to month, but I usually tear up the subscription cards into makeshift bookmarks and stick several of them in between pages to return to later. I don't "pre-read" any other magazine, but flipping through and marking articles in O makes sense to me.

And so it was yesterday. I sat on the couch with a design show playing in the background and flipped through two issues. I marked a feature on fashion. Not for the fashion. Oh, don't be silly. But for the authors who were featured as models. I thought I might like to look into their books.

Most were novelists and I'm not much into novels of late, but two were non-fiction writers and one in particular stood out because her book stemmed from a blog post that had gone viral. (Which this one will not do, but maybe another one will, someday.) Her post, "Why You're Not Married," was expanded into the book Why You're Not Married ... Yet.

Now, I'm not itching to get married. I'm really not. But as a woman and non-married person, I can't help but be intrigued by books that attempt to explain me to me. (I had a little bout of blogging about such books in 2009. My post about Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man still brings the most traffic to this site. And then there was It's Not You, It's Him and then I brought it on home with Why He Didn't Call You Back. They were fun posts to write, I must say.)

Of course, I haven't read Why You're Not Married ... Yet, but I have read the post/premise, and I would just like to say, in the most ladylike way I can muster:

Bullshit.

Apparently, there are six possible explanations for why I – or any single woman who may want to be married someday – is not yet married. You may be one of them. One of us. Part of a collective "we." Are you ready for the insight? Oh, good. (What follows is a mix of commentary and paraphrasing and quotes. I quoted obvious phrases.)

1. You're a Bitch.
Oh, that's right: You're angry. And men don't like angry women. They scare men off. "Most men just want to marry someone who is nice to them."

2. You're Shallow.
You should be looking for a man with character, but you're not. (No, you're not. Don't argue. That'll make you appear angry and you don't want to appear angry. See 1, above.) You're looking for someone rich. Or tall. "This is not the thinking of a wife."

3. You're a Slut.
Stop hooking up with guys already! Also, oxytocin is ruining your life because it makes you want something more from the guy of the moment but he probably lacks character since he's hooking up with you so for the love of God, woman, put an aspirin between your knees.

4. You're a Liar.
You may tell a guy that you don't want to get married but you secretly do but you can't tell him that because he'll freak out and stop calling but then oxytocin rears its ugly hormonal head and you want more but you don't tell him that so you're a liar. And possibly a slutty, shallow bitch.

5. You're Selfish.
Um, newsflash, bitchy, shallow, slutty liar girl: "... a good wife, even a halfway decent one, does not spend most of her day thinking about herself."

6. You're Not Good Enough.
Hope you're not reading this on a bridge. What she means is not that she thinks that you're not good enough or that a man thinks that you're not good enough but that you think that you're not good enough.


So, which one are you?

None of them?

Hey, me either!

I'm not saying every single woman I know, myself included, is a paragon of perfection but what the hell is with the perpetuation of "You're broken, you need to be fixed" books for women in the name of "self-help"?

I appreciated "It's Not You, It's Him" expressly for that reason. Yep, sometimes it's the guy who's the reason a relationship doesn't work out.

Of course, both parties are usually culpable. It takes two to tango and it takes two to be incompatible.

But posts (and ensuing books) that lay the lion's share of the blame at the feet of the women?

Please.

I may get married someday. I may not. I may end up in a relationship but not get the piece of paper. (Though I have friends who have been in a relationship for a long time who got married on the advice of their financial planner. Apparently, having the piece of paper staves off a whole host of legal hassles. Something to consider.)

And I am by no means perfect. But nor am I able to be reduced to an item on a list. Except for the one I added, as the title of this post:

7. You Get Defensive When You Read Articles That Try To Wedge You Into A Category ...

At least I didn't buy the book.

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