Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I was trying to think of a sappy, syrupy blog to write today in honor of Sade's new cd dropping, but nothing came to mind. With Valentine's Day coming up, I thought I could conjure up Cupid's spirit and come up with something to read along to the lyrics of "No Ordinary Love."
But nothing sugary came to mind...at least not today anyway...(ask me again on Friday).
But what DID come to mind was this book I've been hearing about for a couple of weeks now. It's called Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough by Lori Gottlieb.
I can hear women now..."Oh hell naw!"
This woman has been everywhere with her book, from The Today Show to O Magazine to Dr. Phil. She's not just peddling her book, she's defending it. Something about the word "settle" seems to unnerve some women - enrage them even. But I think I get what she's saying.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not advising my soldiers of love to marry a man who they're not attracted to, or who they aren't compatible with. But I don't think she's saying that either. I haven't read the book, so I can't be sure - but she argues that all she's doing is giving women insight that she wishes she had in her 20's and 30's. And she's only giving this advice to women who want to get married one day.
The women who seem to be up in arms about her book say things like, "I don't need a man, or want one, to be happy" or "I deserve Mr. Right."
Well, if you don't need or want a man - then don't read her book and go on your merry way. And for the women who DO want a husband, I think what the author is saying is that women confuse "Mr. Right" with "Mr. Perfect." Guess what ladies (and gents) - "Mr(s). Perfect doesn't exist - so be realistic about what you want in a partner - and I think that's the gist of her message.
Within the past week, I've had two conversations with 2 women who said something very similar to me about men and preferences. One woman said she wanted to date a tall man - a man taller than she is - which shouldn't be too hard considering she's only 5'3.5". But a man who was say, 5'7" was too short for her. Hmmm....ok.
The other woman and I were talking about my "My Best Friend's Ex" blog - and she mentioned that a friend of her's dated her ex even though "he wasn't even her height." That sounded silly to me, because as tall as I am, I never really cared about a man's height as far as dating criteria. I've dated men shorter than I am, my height, and taller than I am - it never mattered to me. That's not to say that I may not have dismissed a man for other shallow reasons in my day, but hearing women say out loud that they wouldn't date a potentially great guy because he's short, or shorter than she is, sounded utterly ridiculous to me...and it makes you think.
I look at some of my friends who are in great relationships, and I look at their men. Their men aren't 6 feet-plus, God-like Alpha males who make six figures, have perfectly straight teeth with megawatt smiles, are smarter than Bill Gates and can put any super model to shame. They aren't moguls like Diddy, they can't sing like Maxwell, or run a ball down the field or on the court. But they're all great guys who make great husbands and fathers...or who will one day.
Successful, wonderful women feel that a perfect mate is their birthright. And I think I'm a catch for any man who wants to catch me. We all should feel that way. But great men and women aren't the things of fairy tales or romantic comedies. If a person has 80% of what you're looking for in a partner, then snagging him or her isn't "settling." It's actually quite lucky!
And that's only if that's what you want. Like the author says, "If I'm not interested in golf, I'm not gonna read a golf magazine." So if you're not interested in possibly getting married one day, then maybe her book isn't for you to read. I'm not even saying her book is on point or that I'm gonna read it myself.
But there's nothing wrong with wanting a husband or a wife. There's nothing wrong with relaying your experiences to other women so they can get out of their own way. There's nothing wrong with not wanting to get married, and there's nothing wrong with settling for "Mr. Good Enough." All of our experiences are different.
I'm not out here trying to sell you on books or magazine articles on love, dating and relationships. After all, they have their audience, they're playing us most times and most of us eat it up - and they make their money. That's what it's all about.
But the topic of this book has caused so much controversy, it was worth taking a look at why. Ms. Gottlieb says, "I'm not saying don't fall in love. I'm saying learn to compromise so you can." That makes sense to me. Maybe our fairy tale love involves the guy who just may be an inch or so shorter than we are, or who isn't as athletic as we'd like, or doesn't make the six figure salary we hoped for. But just because he's not perfect doesn't mean you're settling. "Mr. Good Enough" just might be no ordinary love - but EXTRAordinary.