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Mackerel
03-11-2011, 10:49 PM
What boggles my mind about this article (which you can find here (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tracy-mcmillan/why-youre-not-married_b_822088.html) on huffpo) is not how she nonchalantly airs misogynist views that belong in a magazine from the 1950s, but that she writes for the TV show MAD MEN. Let that sink in for a moment. How is it that she can write for a show that purportedly holds the misogynist, tragically outdated views of its characters from an ironic distance?? Perhaps she's not in on the joke and she writes some of the funniest lines for the show with a straight face? I don't know. My lady Mcmillan proceeds to give you an outline of why you're not married yet:

1. You're A Bitch


The deal is: most men just want to marry someone who is nice to them. I am the mother of a 13-year-old boy, which is like living with the single-cell protozoa version of a husband. Here's what my son wants out of life: macaroni and cheese, a video game, and Kim Kardashian. Have you ever seen Kim Kardashian angry? I didn't think so. You've seen Kim Kardashian smile, wiggle, and make a sex tape. Female anger terrifies men.

One of the more understated points of feminism is how insulting overt misogyny is to men. Really, men? Your limited mental capacity is such that all you want out of life is macaroni and cheese and a wiggling sexbot with too much botox? Something tells me this isn't the whole truth. It is also interesting to note that a.) Somehow society doesn't criticize men for being angry and b.) it is good (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/4902394/Showing-anger-is-good-for-career.html)for your career and personal life to express your anger, whether you are male or female.

2. You're Shallow


When it comes to choosing a husband, only one thing really, truly matters: character...
Instead, you are looking for someone tall. Or rich...Unfortunately, this is not the thinking of a wife. This is the thinking of a teenaged girl...And they never feel like cooking, either.

Although I'm sort of interested in her definition of a "shallow woman" (as though men don't exhibit ridiculous preferences out of all step with their own, ahem, physical endowments??) I'm particularly interested in that very last line-- as though a lack of interest in cooking were automatically grouped in with being "shallow." Maybe the woman doesn't feel like cooking? Maybe her spouse feels like he cooks better and enjoys it more? I should shut up before she labels me shallow.

3. You're A Slut


Hooking up with some guy in a hot tub on a rooftop is fine for the ladies of Jersey Shore -- but they're not trying to get married. You are. Which means, unfortunately, that if you're having sex outside committed relationships, you will have to stop. Why? Because past a certain age, casual sex is like recreational heroin -- it doesn't stay recreational for long.

That's due in part to this thing called oxytocin -- a bonding hormone that is released when a woman a) nurses her baby and b) has an orgasm -- that will totally mess up your casual-sex game. It's why you can be f**k-buddying with some dude who isn't even all that great and the next thing you know, you're totally strung out on him.

Bleh. While I grant that some women fall into this category and should therefore know themselves enough not to get themselves caught up in this kind of situation, should she really be speaking for all women?? There are plenty of ladies who happily arrange a fuckbuddy deal with a trusted friend and make it work, but according to her all-encompassing theory of female hoooorrrmones we should all keep our legs closed lest we later live to regret it and pick up the pieces of our shattered psyches.

4. You're Selfish


If you're not married, chances are you think a lot about you. You think about your thighs, your outfits, your naso-labial folds. You think about your career, or if you don't have one, you think about doing yoga teacher training. Sometimes you think about how marrying a wealthy guy -- or at least a guy with a really, really good job -- would solve all your problems.

Howevs, a good wife, even a halfway decent one, does not spend most of her day thinking about herself. She has too much s**t to do, especially after having kids. This is why you see a lot of celebrity women getting husbands after they adopt. The kids put the woman on notice: Bitch, hello! It's not all about you anymore! After a year or two of thinking about someone other than herself, suddenly, Brad Pitt or Harrison Ford comes along and decides to significantly other her.

I think this is one of the funniest quotes from her article. If I'm not married, I'm utterly self-absorbed and don't think about anyone else. This includes meditating on my career, self-interests, innocuous hobbies, and anything else that would be perfectly normal for a man to think about before, during, and after he spawns little children! woo woo!

A GOOD WIFE, on the other hand, is virtuous and barely devotes a thought to her own needs. This is the kind of attitude that lands you an excellent husband, because he'll look at your unwashed hair, sweatpants, and diaper bag and realize he's got a good thing going because you'll be able to devote all your time to baking him meatloaf and tidying up his bachelor pad while he goes and has all the fun you dreamed of having before you read Tracy McMillan's book and stopped being a shallow selfish lying slut.

5. You're Not Good Enough


The good news is that I believe every woman who wants to can find a great partner. You're just going to need to get rid of the idea that marriage will make you happy. It won't. Once the initial high wears off, you'll just be you, except with twice as much laundry.

She's totally right, the sooner you realize that marriage means you enter a life of domestic drudgery, the better. Never mind that you have another person to share your domsetic workload, you don't want to be a SHALLOW SELFISH SLUT do you?!?! Just shut the fuck up and do the laundry, slut.


The bottom line is that marriage is just a long-term opportunity to practice loving someone even when they don't deserve it. Because most of the time, your messy, farting, macaroni-and-cheese eating man will not be doing what you want him to. But as you give him love anyway -- because you have made up your mind to transform yourself into a person who is practicing being kind, deep, virtuous, truthful, giving, and most of all, accepting of your own dear self -- you will find that you will experience the very thing you wanted all along:

YES, MARRIAGE IS ABOUT LOVING SOMEONE WHEN THEY DON"T DESERVE IT. that's exactly right. Who cares if the vast majority of guys you date fart loudly and eat macaroni and cheese and don't respect your rules of cleanliness and force you to do all the chores and make you raise the children without any aid whatsoever?? Marriage is about being GRATEFUL for these things and being virtuous and giving and soon you're going to realize that your flatulent, selfish, immature, teenage-minded husband was what you wanted all along.

Kari
03-11-2011, 11:25 PM
Someone posted this on facebook a while back and I was like WHAAAAA??? It hurt my brain. It made me want to get a divorce in protest.

Summary: keep your legs and mouth shut and keep dinner on the table. nice!

Jezebelle
03-11-2011, 11:34 PM
Ug.... yeah, I read this and it hurt my brain with its one sided ignorance.

I also read a fantastic follow up though... I'll have to dig through to find it....

ETA: Okay, I can't find the original well written empowering "stop knocking us down!" article, but I found this (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tasha-gordonsolmon/why-my-cats-not-married_b_831151.html)instead which includes these handy bullet points:


Why My Cat Isn't Married:

1. She might be a cat, but she is a b-i-t-c-h. When people try to get close to her, she runs away. When they try to get space, she scratches them with her claws.

2. She has never had those claws manicured, nor has she had her excessive body hair waxed, lasered, or shaved. She hasn't even had her facial hair removed.

3. She doesn't wear clothes, which screams "I am a slut who is not wife material!"

4. She is very content to lick herself and appears to neither desire nor require a partner in this activity.

5. She is painfully antisocial. She never leaves the apartment. She doesn't have a Facebook profile. She doesn't even know how to text, let alone sext.

6. She only eats one thing: organic dry cat food. With such an unadventurous palette, she makes for a horrible dinner date.

7. She doesn't have any hobbies to make her an interesting person. All she does is eat, sleep and chase aimlessly after the light from a laser pen.

8. She has never held down a job, opened a bank account or paid her taxes. She is, financially speaking, a mess.

9. She only associates with men who are all wrong for her: my boyfriends (unavailable), the middle-aged super (not age appropriate) and handymen who show up once, never to return (clearly not looking for commitment).

10. Come to think of it, the closest relationships she's had have been with me and other female owners. And legally, kitty's not going to be able to swing a marriage like that.

;l

Kala
03-11-2011, 11:38 PM
My understanding is that the author of the article has been divorced 3 times, stating she was "born knowing how to get married." Absolutely someone I want to seek advice from when the marriage bug eventually bites!

Hannah.
03-11-2011, 11:44 PM
Ugh. Though the message is revolting, the thing that bothered me most was the writing. I mean, she expects us women to take what she says at face value while she's throwing out nauseatingly cutesy interjections like "howevs" and basing her argument on celebrity relationships and her own anecdotes. Plus, in a canned attempt to sound funny and relatable (and I see this in Cosmo all the time, too, if I have the right temperament to stomach reading it) she refers to her reader as "Bitch" - "Bitch, hello, it's not all about you anymore!" It's not hip. It's not cute. It's not funny. It's degrading that women suddenly refer to themselves and other women in such an obscene way. In short, what I'm trying to say is, this woman is just like a Cosmo columnist - she thinks she's some relationship guru but in reality doesn't know what the fuck she's talking about and sucks hardcore at writing.

fullofwish
03-11-2011, 11:58 PM
I think this is one of the funniest quotes from her article. If I'm not married, I'm utterly self-absorbed and don't think about anyone else. This includes meditating on my career, self-interests, innocuous hobbies, and anything else that would be perfectly normal for a man to think about before, during, and after he spawns little children! woo woo!


Really.

I mean, what is the big deal about being selfish and thinking about yourself? Who else is going to do it? Who else is going to understand me, satisfy me, drive me to achieve what I want in life?

I'm selfish, I acknowledge it and I like it. But I am also generous, compassionate and have empathy for others. A bit of a catch if you ask me! LOL

That said, I'm not really interested in marriage so maybe that speaks for itself ;)

Hannah.
03-12-2011, 12:06 AM
I mean, what is the big deal about being selfish and thinking about yourself? Who else is going to do it? Who else is going to understand me, satisfy me, drive me to achieve what I want in life?


Bingo. I've always believed in the whole "when you learn to love yourself you can be truly loved" schtick. If I wasn't "selfish", what the hell would I do with myself if my relationship suddenly ended?

Kala
03-12-2011, 12:53 AM
haha, this is precisely the kind of man I have been looking for all my life.


I LOVE THIS ARTICLE! For once, someone told the truth! When I was single I met soooo many women who acted the ways the article described. Almost the first words out of their mouths would be "So, do you own your own place or do you rent?" or "What sort of car do you drive?" Now, I'm a millionaire - probably just what they were looking for- but I would Never tell them that. Instead, when confronted with these questions, I would just tell them it was nice meeting them and move on. Or on a date, they would order the most expensive thing on the menu. Or they would fight with me to show me how independent they were. After YEARS of this, I concluded that this could just go on forever, I could waste more years and go on a million of these dates with angry crazy women. Instead, I went to Asia to marry the most lovely sweet pleasant woman imaginable. She is Not submissive, she is not my slave. She expressive herself very well, but she makes an effort to be pleasant and to make our life together pleasant. We've been married 6 years now, easily the happiest of my life. Meanwhile, many friends are still going on hopeless dates with women who just want to fight it out.

Yuki
03-12-2011, 01:22 AM
Disgusting. Yes, the points made in this article are incredibly stupid (and unfortch, a lot of the people around here think this way) but what puzzles me even more is that the writer assumes that not being married is some sort of developmental retardation, like not having permanent teeth or something. Like, marriage is a natural and necessary stage in the life of every woman, so by god, whether you want to or not, just be fucking NORMAL and subsume your identity and expectations into finding and keeping a husband.

It really irritates me that people (especially people in the First World, who I like to imagine are more progressive than this) can still be thinking this way.

Medusa
03-12-2011, 01:29 AM
I'm a shallow, selfish, slutty bitch- god, I can't even figure out how anyone can even stand to date me let alone consider marrying me.

Regina Phalange
03-12-2011, 03:08 AM
I can kind of get what she was trying to say. She was trying to be so post-Cosmo, aren't-I-hip, kind of thing. And while I can see what she was trying to get at, I think she was trying too hard and it rubbed me the right way. With a different writer being more delicate and actually funny, I think there could have been a good article. I mean, there are some women who do want to get married and have self-sabotaging behaviors, but this seemed to mock them instead of trying to gently tease.

What irritated me the most was
Because if you were looking for a man of character, you would have found one by now.

O rly?

It reminds me of an episode of Sex and the City where Charlotte had read a self-help book and did all its steps and went to a seminar with the author who was like "You're just not trying hard enough." It's not so simple to say to every single woman who wants a heterosexual marriage, "It's entirely your fault."

devnull
03-12-2011, 03:47 AM
I can kind of get what she was trying to say. She was trying to be so post-Cosmo, aren't-I-hip, kind of thing. And while I can see what she was trying to get at, I think she was trying too hard and it rubbed me the right way. With a different writer being more delicate and actually funny, I think there could have been a good article. I mean, there are some women who do want to get married and have self-sabotaging behaviors, but this seemed to mock them instead of trying to gently tease.

What irritated me the most was

O rly?

It reminds me of an episode of Sex and the City where Charlotte had read a self-help book and did all its steps and went to a seminar with the author who was like "You're just not trying hard enough." It's not so simple to say to every single woman who wants a heterosexual marriage, "It's entirely your fault."

Yep. I also think that the addressed woman here is not every woman, but a certain type. I know a few. The entitled, bitter diva type who swans around and eclipses everyone else's problems with her own, then complains to everyone within earshot how all the good men are taken and why oh why can't she just find a good husband. Well, duh. It's because nobody wants to put up with her shit! I know these women (they flourish in LA's ecosystem). I find them almost impossible to suffer gladly.

There's a certain "men are from mars" and "women are from venus" gender binary evident in the article that I find noxious, but if you remove the gender shit she actually has some good points mixed up in there. Being in any healthy relationship requires a certain amount of selflessness and kindness. The problem is she's addressing women, who are already told too often they need to sacrifice their wants and needs to men and that she ties her argument too strongly to gender. It comes off as tone deaf (best case scenario) and chauvinist (worst case). I get what she was saying though and I agree that if you WANT a long term relationship (and she never assumes you do), then the best thing to do is get over yourself, realize the world doesn't revolve around you, and be nice to people. Hell, if you just want friends that's a good idea.

I have major issues with some of the other points (like have kids if you want to attract a husband. YIKES) but I think on the whole she was just being provocative about something that's actually pretty common sense.

Mackerel
03-12-2011, 07:09 AM
There's a certain "men are from mars" and "women are from venus" gender binary evident in the article that I find noxious, but if you remove the gender shit she actually has some good points mixed up in there.

therein lies one of my biggest problems with her article. It would be one thing if she actually talked about managing your expectations, being selfless, and taking responsibility for yourself in a way that didn't egregiously insult both men and women--that would be an entirely different story. Instead she frames her advice in such a way that those aforementioned virtues are briefly named amid awful asides about cooking, doing your (and his) laundry, having a baby or two, and (wtf??) stifling your female anger a la Kim Kardashian. She needlessly and problematically conflates two wholly separate and unrelated models of female behavior--a responsible, kind female partner vs a lobotomized 1950s broodmare--and tries to tie them together like they're the same thing.

And she's no less insulting to men, either, alluding to a certain oafish, infantile brand of male we constantly see in commercials. The reason I sought the article out in the first place was because I was incredulous after hearing her on the radio telling women that they should start talking to their prospective husbands like they would their senile 98 year old grandmother. Are men so easily shattered that we need to start talking to them like they're three years old? Welll, she does say being a wife means "working around a man's insecurities and fears" so I guess for her the answer is yes. Consequently there's this odious recurring message in the language suggesting that women should approach their partnerships with adult men by thinking of them as big, messy, inept zoo animals that need to be managed, placated, and soothed with a feeding trough and a pair of boobs. The author may have had good intentions, but I think whatever good she was trying to convey was hopelessly muddied and crowded out by the egregious assumptions and stereotypes.

devnull
03-12-2011, 08:21 AM
I agree with everything you say, actually. I'm just not that angry about it. She's definitely being provocative (whether smartly or not) but the message is pretty common sense to my ear. Not having heard her radio interview or the comparison to a senile grandmother (which sounds awful, granted), I think you could also transpose the concept of "working around a man's insecurities and fears" to a gender neutral and/or same sex scenario. I think that's part of being a good partner -- you are sensitive to what the other is vulnerable to and you try to avoid hurting bruisy spots. It's part of being a good friend, even! But it's also critical to being a good wife/husband/girlfriend/whatever because that sensitivity is necessary for psychological and emotional intimacy. Those who don't want to work around the other person's fears may not work well in relationships or even want a relationship. I'm pretty sure she's addressing the former -- the kind who keep chasing down relationships then wondering why they never last.

The gender stuff is total bullshit but the relationship dynamic stuff is something surprisingly still very taboo and sensitive, especially in the wake of feminism. Personally, I'm caught in the middle in a lot of ways because while I'm often angry, self-obsessed and selfish, these are not qualities I'm proud of. However I am angry and selfish (thank fuck) BECAUSE of my education and awareness of iniquities. The hurdle is how to express it and what to do with it. If I just project it like a fiery blast onto anyone who opens a door for me or assumes I'm straight or whatever, I'm not doing anyone (or myself) any favors, you know? I'm also a woman in a long term relationship with another woman. In a lot of ways it's kind of old fashioned because there's nothing in the world more important to me than her, I'm happy to work around her insecurities and I know she tiptoes around mine, too, blahblahblah codependency blahblah. But in many ways we are all just thirteen year olds who want comfort food and to be treated nicely. There's nothing wrong with that in theory but saying it along side words like "wife" or "woman" does devalue the "feminine anger" for which feminists have fought and suffered humiliation in order to express. It's hard.

I think she's just trolling for attention, though. Her book about her messed up attachment disorders just came out in paperback. ;)

Mackerel
03-12-2011, 09:50 AM
But in many ways we are all just thirteen year olds who want comfort food and to be treated nicely. There's nothing wrong with that in theory but saying it along side words like "wife" or "woman" does devalue the "feminine anger" for which feminists have fought and suffered humiliation in order to express. It's hard.

I admire your valiant attempt to convert some of the offensiveness into common sense, though I think you give her too much credit. I wish she would have written the article that you're summarizing ;)


Because ultimately, marriage is not about getting something -- it's about giving it. Strangely, men understand this more than we do.

This sentence gets at the crux of the problem--point-blank, the piece makes a specific point of accusing and criticizing women, not men, for being selfish, angry, whatever. Considering the fact that women often get stuck with a disproportionate share of responsibilities, chores, and child-raising along with juggling a career, I can't imagine why women WOULDN'T want to be a little angrier and more selfish if the above sentence is the kind of nonsense they have to read. I think she's language-aware enough that she definitely meant to say all the ridiculous bits exactly the way they came out (esp on the radio). why she would do that is beyond me, though that brings me to your next point...


I think she's just trolling for attention, though. Her book about her messed up attachment disorders just came out in paperback. ;)

I've been trying to think why this article gets on my nerves especially, and it goes back to the fact that she wrote on Mad Men--someone sophisticated enough to write for a show like that obviously knows what she's doing when she's deploying something like this to the public, so I can only conclude the piece arose out of cynical motives. (I suppose it's working, since the post is at number ten on huffpo's most discussed or something.) It's difficult to say whether that makes it better or worse, though there's something particularly awful to me about a Mad Men writer who writes an article with an offensive undertone that frankly wouldn't be out of place within that universe, and who gets pages and pages of comments from men smugly discussing the 'decent' wives they picked up from Japan.

devnull
03-12-2011, 10:18 AM
Ha! I'll shut it, you're absolutely right that she doesn't need me to explain things for her; it was designed to provoke and it has. Success! But I do believe there's nothing radical there at the core. Even the thing you just mentioned. She's right that a relationship is about giving and not receiving, it's just that she ruined her own point by making it about gender and blame.

Mackerel
03-12-2011, 10:35 AM
;) there are far more offensive things out there, don't get me wrong, that's why I was thinking over my visceral reaction. I think a really naive part of me feels extra-disappointed when artists of really cool projects use their superpowers for what I perceive as... badness. It's pretty silly, but there it is!

Regina Phalange
03-12-2011, 02:15 PM
Because ultimately, marriage is not about getting something -- it's about giving it. Strangely, men understand this more than we do.

Speaking from personal experience, the last relationship I was in was EXACTLY like this. He knew it was all about giving, all right. I give, he takes takes takes takes takes. :rolleyes: I don't want to say all guys are like that (I know they're not), but there is no fucking way that men in general understand the giving thing more than women. I'll give ya equal, but not more.


I've been trying to think why this article gets on my nerves especially, and it goes back to the fact that she wrote on Mad Men--someone sophisticated enough to write for a show like that obviously knows what she's doing when she's deploying something like this to the public, so I can only conclude the piece arose out of cynical motives. (I suppose it's working, since the post is at number ten on huffpo's most discussed or something.) It's difficult to say whether that makes it better or worse, though there's something particularly awful to me about a Mad Men writer who writes an article with an offensive undertone that frankly wouldn't be out of place within that universe, and who gets pages and pages of comments from men smugly discussing the 'decent' wives they picked up from Japan.

Maybe when she writes for Mad Men, she's not being ironic? And she really might be being deliberately provocative here for the attention. I think that it wasn't well-written, so maybe non-fiction isn't her thing. If it gets super blown out of proportion, there'd be a "I was misunderstood" thing going on, I bet. I think she wanted to do something cheeky and controversial, so pulled stuff out of her ass.

And again, why should we listen to her? She's been divorced three times. She certainly knows how to get married, but thereal key is STAYING married. If it was "learn from my mistakes," or even deliberately said "do as I say, not as I do," that'd be one thing, but it just seemed like haughty advice. But again, she's divorced 3 times, didn't seem to grow up with a strong nuclear family, and writes for a show where women are treated like shit.

Kari
03-12-2011, 02:28 PM
She's right that a relationship is about giving and not receiving, it's just that she ruined her own point by making it about gender and blame.

I think a lot of marriage articles are like this, though. It's like "o hay! Let Sassy Old Married tell you whipper snappers what's up!", and while it is definitely true that marriage is a huge give and take proposition, all these articles are peppered with ridiculous gender stereotypes and not-so-subtle shame. This one was particularly nauseating, though, because it played the blame game so hard.

What makes her article especially infuriating is that she writes for an amazing television show that explores these gender issues in an intelligent and stylistic manner that has created all new conversations about misogyny and what progress women have made. She basically hocks a loogie all over it with this drivel. I know some smart ladies (AHEM COUGH SPUTTER) who might want to write for television someday who wouldn't write this bunk.

hollerskates
03-12-2011, 03:27 PM
i understand that i haven't been married for a full year yet, but we were practically married for almost 3 years before we said i do. something that bothers me about a lot of marriage articles i've read is the "marriage is hard" and "marriage takes a lot of work" statements. i understand that LIFE isn't always easy, but being married to the person i want to be married to makes life better. maybe i'm taking those statements too literally, but whenever i hear someone say, "marriage isn't easy." i find myself thinking, "it isn't?" i mean, if our relationship had been hard or a lot of work, i probably would have taken that as a sign that we weren't meant to be married.

Zippo
03-12-2011, 04:19 PM
Where is #6, "Because you don't want to be married"?

I have an aunt who is the most selfless, kind, generous and understanding person I have ever met... at the age of 47, she is not married. The reason for that is simply that she doesn't want to be married. She has been proposed to by three different men and turned them all down, although she remains in a relationship with one of them (a relationship which has lasted for eleven years). Some women just aren't interested in marriage.

Canoodlefish
03-12-2011, 06:29 PM
Haha, hijack:

Here's an article titled "You Should Date An Illiterate Girl"

http://thoughtcatalog.com/2011/dont-date-a-girl-who-reads/

Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you’ve seen it in film. Remark at its lack of significance. Take her to your apartment. Dispatch with making love. Fuck her.

Let the anxious contract you’ve unwittingly written evolve slowly and uncomfortably into a relationship. Find shared interests and common ground like sushi, and folk music. Build an impenetrable bastion upon that ground. Make it sacred. Retreat into it every time the air gets stale, or the evenings get long. Talk about nothing of significance. Do little thinking. Let the months pass unnoticed. Ask her to move in. Let her decorate. Get into fights about inconsequential things like how the fucking shower curtain needs to be closed so that it doesn’t fucking collect mold. Let a year pass unnoticed. Begin to notice.

Figure that you should probably get married because you will have wasted a lot of time otherwise. Take her to dinner on the forty-fifth floor at a restaurant far beyond your means. Make sure there is a beautiful view of the city. Sheepishly ask a waiter to bring her a glass of champagne with a modest ring in it. When she notices, propose to her with all of the enthusiasm and sincerity you can muster. Do not be overly concerned if you feel your heart leap through a pane of sheet glass. For that matter, do not be overly concerned if you cannot feel it at all. If there is applause, let it stagnate. If she cries, smile as if you’ve never been happier. If she doesn’t, smile all the same.

Let the years pass unnoticed. Get a career, not a job. Buy a house. Have two striking children. Try to raise them well. Fail, frequently. Lapse into a bored indifference. Lapse into an indifferent sadness. Have a mid-life crisis. Grow old. Wonder at your lack of achievement. Feel sometimes contented, but mostly vacant and ethereal. Feel, during walks, as if you might never return, or as if you might blow away on the wind. Contract a terminal illness. Die, but only after you observe that the girl who didn’t read never made your heart oscillate with any significant passion, that no one will write the story of your lives, and that she will die, too, with only a mild and tempered regret that nothing ever came of her capacity to love.

Do those things, god damnit, because nothing sucks worse than a girl who reads. Do it, I say, because a life in purgatory is better than a life in hell. Do it, because a girl who reads possesses a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent as a life unfulfilled—a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder. A girl who reads lays claim to a vocabulary that distinguishes between the specious and soulless rhetoric of someone who cannot love her, and the inarticulate desperation of someone who loves her too much. A vocabulary, god damnit, that makes my vacuous sophistry a cheap trick.

Do it, because a girl who reads understands syntax. Literature has taught her that moments of tenderness come in sporadic but knowable intervals. A girl who reads knows that life is not planar; she knows, and rightly demands, that the ebb comes along with the flow of disappointment. A girl who has read up on her syntax senses the irregular pauses—the hesitation of breath—endemic to a lie. A girl who reads perceives the difference between a parenthetical moment of anger and the entrenched habits of someone whose bitter cynicism will run on, run on well past any point of reason, or purpose, run on far after she has packed a suitcase and said a reluctant goodbye and she has decided that I am an ellipsis and not a period and run on and run on. Syntax that knows the rhythm and cadence of a life well lived.

Date a girl who doesn’t read because the girl who reads knows the importance of plot. She can trace out the demarcations of a prologue and the sharp ridges of a climax. She feels them in her skin. The girl who reads will be patient with an intermission and expedite a denouement. But of all things, the girl who reads knows most the ineluctable significance of an end. She is comfortable with them. She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness.

Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are the storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the café, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so god damned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life that I told of at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being storied. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. I hate you. I really, really, really hate you.


While the piece is satirical, some took it in earnest:

http://themonicabird.com/post/3273155431/date-a-girl-who-reads-date-a-girl-who-spends-her

"Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilightseries.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes."


But one of the better responses I love is: "reading - even reading “good books,” even reading a lot - does not actually prevent you from being an asshole. it also does not automatically make you interesting, sorry. do you know how many boring-ass book-lovers i have met in my life? so many, oh god, so many. and meanwhile: some of the funniest smartest most fundamentally decent and interesting and sharp and wise people i know don’t read, like ever, and definitely not fiction."

http://isabelthespy.tumblr.com/post/3088226995/the-rhetorical-you-should-date-an-illiterate-girl

devnull
03-12-2011, 07:01 PM
Haha, hijack:

Here's an article titled "You Should Date An Illiterate Girl"

http://thoughtcatalog.com/2011/dont-date-a-girl-who-reads/

That was fantastic.

Medusa
03-12-2011, 07:12 PM
something that bothers me about a lot of marriage articles i've read is the "marriage is hard" and "marriage takes a lot of work" statements.

It's vaguely irritating as it implies that a serious, committed relationship may somehow be "less work." Mine certainly takes a hell of a lot and probably wouldn't magically take more/less if we got married, though I concede that marriage gives it an air of permanence. That aside, I think people want to say that it takes work not just because it's true for some couples (my parents work hard, my grandparents have never had to try since they're madly in love with each other at every moment of the day) but in the interest of giving an accurate picture of marriage since the divorce rate makes you wonder if people just give up the first time they get in a significant fight.

Kari
03-12-2011, 07:30 PM
Marriage does take a lot of work, but yes, so does any serious long term relationship. My marriage has never felt like work so much as it has felt like a long negotiation. You can't do whatever you want without considering another person. I am okay with that, because the benefits of my marriage far outweigh the bad stuff. Some people feel differently, and that's probably because they married the wrong person/got married for the wrong reasons.


That aside, I think people want to say that it takes work not just because it's true for some couples (my parents work hard, my grandparents have never had to try since they're madly in love with each other at every moment of the day) but in the interest of giving an accurate picture of marriage since the divorce rate makes you wonder if people just give up the first time they get in a significant fight.

Yeah, basically. I've had good friends leave their spouses/significant others because the romance had dwindled and things got "too hard". Hey, guess what? People get the flu. People don't feel like fucking five days a week. People have issues and obstacles. No one is perfect. We're taught "you cannot settle!" and that life should be a hearts and flowers explosion at every moment or else things are omgterrible and you have to leave. It's such crap. Life is hard. I am madly in love with my husband but I would be lying if I said that I was super happy every second. That happiness (whatever that stupid word means), 99% of the time, has fuck-all to do with him. It's stress from other areas that leaks into our relationship.

My mom gave me a great piece of advice before I got married - "the problems you have now are the same problems you'll be having 20 years from now", and it's so true. Things you don't like about the other person will survive your big day with the big white dress. If there are things about your partner you cannot deal with, and you think marriage will change those things, guess what? Not only won't they change them, they will magnify them. Marriage is not a fix.

Lágnætti
03-12-2011, 07:42 PM
Honestly, this kind of stuff is what the British mag Private Eye satirizes as 'Polyfilla' - stupid, patronising 'lifestyle' and 'relationship' puff pieces aimed at female readers by daft, self-obsessed female writers. The tone is always incredibly insulting to invoke as much outrage as possible in order to keep people reading. It's simply space-filling, time-wasting nonsense and honestly, from what I've seen the HuffoPo is full of it and other types of pointless crap articles, usually featuring some kind of credulous woo. It's the Daily Mail of American liberalism in this respect as far as I can make out.

The writer may have written for Mad Men but there's certainly nothing to stop her cynically exploiting what seems to be the vast market (certainly bigger and more profitable than the one for intelligent writing) for women berating each other about how crap they are with a small side-order of the usual YOUGOGIRL self-help bollocks. Every shit magazine and newspaper features this kind of thing - in fact any section aimed at female readers will consist almost solely of this kind of thing. It's the reason I barely ever look at anything in the mass media marketed at 'women'.

Churumbela
03-12-2011, 08:30 PM
That was fantastic.

Seriously. It made me cry.

Regina Phalange
03-13-2011, 01:07 AM
All of my relationships failed, and they were all hard work. I don't think a relationship is supposed to be hard work. I think if you're in a healthy, respectful relationship, then it's not going to feel like work to compromise, share. It might not always be fun, but it doesn't have to be an ordeal every second of every day. I think now if it's that hard, then it's not right.

Medusa
03-13-2011, 01:11 AM
There's clearly a point where it's not worth the work, no. It could be purely my personality since I'm a depressive, anxiety-ridden screwball but I have to work at things if I want a decently smooth relationship.

Autumn
03-18-2011, 02:13 PM
A response I read last night, and thought you guys might like:

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-02-22/living/why.not.married_1_men-and-marriage-second-divorce-healthy-dose?_s=PM:LIVING


Tracy McMillan has gotten under my single-status skin.

I'm not sure how it took nearly a week for her Huffington Post column, "Why You're Not Married," to land in front of me, but it finally did. And now I'm fired up -- not in an angry way but in the sort of way that made me skip to my desk, excited to type.

To hear it from the thrice-divorced McMillan, I'm 41 and not married because of one (or more?) of six reasons: I'm a bitch, a slut, a liar, shallow, selfish or not good enough.

Wow. Is that all? Maybe I smell, too.



I'll be the first to admit I've got issues (c'mon, who doesn't?), but I'm not owning these. Perhaps she was talking about why her own marriages failed or was simply setting out to get a rise, which she did brilliantly. And while I've been guilty of occasional transgressions that might fit in some of those unflattering boxes, McMillan doesn't touch why I'm not married.

Based on the buzz surrounding her conversation-starting piece, I'm laying down and lining up behind reason number seven: Life happens.

Before reading on, know that I am not and refuse to be woe-is-me. Like Jennifer Aniston, minus the killer body and bank account, I'm happy. Really, I am. I skipped to my desk, dammit.

Of course I'd love to meet and marry that one and only, but in the meantime I'm living my life, and I'm taking everything that's been given me on the journey.

Maybe, like me, that's where you are, too.

Maybe you spent your adolescence clashing with a stepfather who didn't get you emotionally. And maybe the father who did get you had been relegated by the courts, when you were 2 and your parents divorced, to every-other-weekend access. Maybe your first love cheated on you, just around the time a second divorce rolled through your family. So maybe your faith in men and marriage was a little shaken before you teased your hair for the prom.

But that's nothing some therapy and better hair sense can't fix, right?

Maybe you're a searcher with a healthy dose of wanderlust, someone who needed time to commit to furniture, let alone a man, because there was so much you needed to see, do and become.

Maybe you were and still are a hopeful (I refuse to say hopeless) romantic who for years held a candle for the one you thought was The One. He'd changed your life, after all, when he lured you to Israel (though it could have been Thailand, for all you cared) -- allowing you to claim that Jewish side of yourself you'd never embraced before.

And maybe he slipped and called you his soul mate at one point, a statement you caught and remembered. So even after you read the diary he'd left out, oops, learned about the Brazilian woman with amazing eyes, broke up and dated others, you still held out hope for him. You stupidly took the crumbs he tossed you from time to time and thought they had meaning. Finally, you got through your thick noggin that the guy just wasn't that into you. Hell, he wasn't even all that nice to you. You learned he wasn't the one who got away. He was the one who got in the way.

Then, maybe you met the one who was that into you. He loved and respected you like no man had before. And the dog -- how could you not fall for the man and his dog? One day, while taking a break from kayaking, when you least expected it, maybe he pulled out a ring and asked you to marry him.

Maybe you said yes but then freaked out. You couldn't eat dinner, and you love dinner. Maybe you snuck out of the B&B in the middle of the night. You found a pay phone and called your father, with whom you'd grown profoundly close, sobbing. Maybe you were seized by fear. But everyone around you, including your therapist, said they expected nothing less, given your family history. They even said it would be weird if you didn't freak out. So you were engaged to be married.

But maybe after you moved to a new state and settled into engaged life, you still worried. That fear, that inkling that something was missing or wrong, grew stronger. Maybe you became a genius at dodging wedding questions. Maybe you lost countless hours of sleep, watching him and the dog as they slept peacefully, struggling with what you felt. You didn't want to quit the race, but at some point you knew with painful clarity there was a hurdle you two couldn't clear. So maybe, out of your love for him and yourself, you handed back the ring and left. Maybe you wished you could share custody of the dog.

Maybe, even as you licked those wounds in your pathetic little apartment, you began to appreciate your courage. You learned to trust yourself more. You realized your past didn't define your future; you did. And then, maybe when you were finally prepared to date again, you woke up a single Jew living in Utah.

But being a single Jew in Utah wouldn't matter, because then life tossed you a doozy that put the pain of a called-off engagement to shame.

Maybe you suddenly lost your father. Being emotionally available for someone else wasn't something you could even entertain. Now you had an excuse not to date.

But maybe you knew that your dad -- not to mention your amazing mom and stepmom, and your now-gentler ex-stepdad -- wanted nothing more than for you to love and be loved. So when you were ready, with a fresh start in a new city, you were excited to put yourself out there again.

Maybe you were approaching 40 when you arrived in the South. Maybe you were slapped across the face with the reminder that most people your age are married with children. Maybe you went to a singles event and became convinced you were the oldest one there, so you ducked out early.

But maybe you held onto hope and optimism. You sucked up your pride and whipped up an online dating profile. You found out that men in Belgium, as well as men with odd fetishes and offensively bad grammar and spelling, have a thing for you. You received horrifying -- yet hysterical -- notes from suitors that made for great Facebook status updates.

Maybe you agreed to go on dates you dreaded because you were determined to have an open mind. Maybe you learned you had good reasons to dread those dates. You wolfed down a nice piece of salmon as one man told you, within the first hour of meeting, that he cheated on his wife, still loves his ex-girlfriend and didn't go to his own father's funeral. Maybe you thought you should charge him for therapy.

But maybe you still believe there's someone great out there for you. You're ready, you know you have so much to give, and you look forward to meeting him -- wherever and whenever that might be.

And in the meantime, you know you have a lot to be grateful for. Maybe you have a career you love, and through the stories of suffering you hear, you know that if still being single is your biggest problem, you are damn lucky.

Sure, you might be a bitch, a slut, a liar, shallow, selfish or not good enough. Maybe, though, you happen to be 41 and single because life, real life with all its complications, has just worked out that way. So far.

But, hey, what do I know? Maybe that's just me.