Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Why You're Not Married...yet: Chapter 2

Welcome to our second installment of our first BLOW OFF book club.  20 LA Wannabe and I are reading the book Why You're Not Married...Yet by Tracy McMillan and we're bringing you our thoughts every week with a new chapter.  Don't be afraid to read along with us!

This week we are on chapter 2: You're Shallow.  

The Single Girl's perspective (20 LA Wannabe)
You’re Shallow.  This thought had crossed my mind prior to reading McMillan’s book and I examined my own depth in another BLOW OFF post. I mean, I am shallow in some ways.   I love Birkins, Bellinis and Beverly Hills Housewives.  But I also want a long-lasting, meaningful relationship too. Back to McMillan’s book. She defines shallow as perfectionism. As in only paying attention to men who have what we want or what we think we want e.g. the substantial salary, the nice house and the great body.  Here’s my first red flag.  Is it wrong to want any of those things? Of course there needs to be substance behind them but does any little girl daydream about having to work three jobs because her husband doesn’t make enough money? Or living in a one-bedroom apartment forever? Or making love to the Hunchback of Notre Dame? Dream big. It’s like calling someone shallow because they aspire to be a CEO instead of a life-long assistant.

I want to be clear, nothing is wrong with any of these things. People that do whatever they need to survive are brave. But aren’t we encouraged to dream big? And if we’re encouraged to dream big with our careers, why can’t we dream big about our life partner?  Now back to the men.  McMillan gives us some relevant facts about men in relation to shallow women. They really don’t care if we are wearing the latest fashions or if we know how to French braid our hair. If a man is obsessed with your appearance you’re most likely a trophy wife trotted out at cocktail parties instead of a partner. And if you’re reading this book you want a partnership, not a Girl’s Guide To Gold-digging. She also references a study from UT that men looking for short-term companionship showed more interest in a woman’s body while men looking for long-term relationships were more interested in a woman’s face so get to your esthetician ASAP- kidding!

McMillan recommends that women give up the idea of getting what you want and instead getting what you need. So maybe Mick Jagger & Co. knew what they were talking about. Next time someone asks me what flavor I’d like I’m going to reply Cherry Red without hesitation. But here’s where I really disagree with McMillan. She claims that the shallow girl is often ruled by her need for chemistry. And what exactly is wrong with chemistry? I wouldn’t want to live in a world without it and would never date someone I didn’t have it with. I think McMillan downplays chemistry because she considers it to be juvenile and superficial. That’s where I call bullshit. Chemistry is an important part of the physical world whether it be between chemicals in a lab or two people meeting. No reaction is perfect. You just need to accept the flaws that come with chemistry and understand that you may create an explosion until you find another element that completes the perfect compound. My assessment is that it’s okay to be a little shallow as long as you leave room to grow and create depth in your relationships. I’d rather that than a partner with no chemistry. I think we all know that no one is perfect. Don’t date the guy because he’s driving a Beemer, Benz or Bentley. But if you are attracted to a man physically who’s to say that you couldn’t fall in love and grow old together?

The Married Girl's Perspective (Saaara)
There were a lot of good takeaways in this chapter.  Not only does McMillan chide women for being shallow, but she points out that some of the things we *think* we want in a partner stem from how focused we are on how others will perceive us based on the person we're dating.  This was an important thing for me to hear as a married person.  I've definitely been one to fixate on whether or not other people like my significant other.  Even though the life partner and I have been together for over seven years and are on our second year of marriage, I'm still always worried about how my friends and family members will perceive him.  I even brief him before we go to parties and double dates on conversations that are off limits, etc so that he doesn't accidentally rub someone the wrong way.  I need to let go of this shallow side of me.  I know how lucky I am to have him as my husband.  I see all of his wonderful qualities on a the daily.  It's actually really liberating to allow myself to stop worrying about how everyone else feels about him. 

Now back to the more typical definition of shallow.  I've honestly never been the type of girl that cared about the salary of the guys I've dated.  Maybe because most of my dating life was in my early twenties when I wasn't as concerned with settling down or with things like mortgage payments.  I've also been attracted to the artsy type and most of those guys make no money.  It mattered more that they were passionate and ambitious and less that they were rolling in it.  BUT I ended up with a guy that's not an artist and has a good job with a good salary (and don't get me wrong, that's really nice too).  For what it's worth, he's always said that one of the things that attracted him to me was that I didn't care about material things as much as other girls he'd dated.

I've also dated a lot of guys that wouldn't be considered universally attractive.  If you looked at a photo of them, you might be: really??  But their personalities won me over and made them way more attractive in time.  I remember one guy I was super into for a long time, I was super iffy about in the beginning in terms of his looks.  (my one caveat is that I do want them to have some sense of style.  If that makes me shallow, so be it.)  That said, I totally agree with 20 LA Wannabe that we shouldn't lower our standards or forgo chemistry all together.  But I don't think that McMillan means to tell women not to dream big-- I think she's telling us to dream deep.  (omg, that sounds so cheesy!)

One of the best pieces of advice I thought she gave in this chapter was in regards to physical attraction.  She said there's three types of people for everyone.  #1 the "oh, hell no" --the person you're flat out not attracted to at all.  #2 the "oh, hell yes"-- the person you would totally get naked with.  #3 the "hmmm...I wonder" -- the person you're not totally sure about.  You can't really picture kissing them, but you're not ruling it out completely.  McMillan's advice is to date more #3s.  "go for a guy you're interested in, not necessarily super hot for."  I'll be honest (and don't hate me for this)-- I ended up with a #2 (who I thought was just going to be a fling) But, and I'm not being insecure by saying this-- just stating the facts: before we hooked up, I was a #3 for him.  And I'm proud of that.  I'm glad I was a "hmmm...I wonder" that turned into a "Oh, hell yes." So, the shallow thing goes both ways guys and gals.
Until next week when we tackle Chapter 3: You're a Slut.

4 comments:

  1. Lots to think about. Although I don't think I'm shallow so I don't think I could relate to this chapter.

    And I totally feel you on the "prep talking points" before going out on a double date, etc. Although for me it's all about reminding J of people's names, and their histories, since he forgets EVERYTHING. Haha.

    Question: is this book for girls who WANT to get married but are unsure of why they're not? Or is it more informational for women not married in general?

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  2. I think it's mostly for women that want to be married or in a serious committed relationship. Because she is providing a lot of tips and suggestions for things they could be doing differently. I think the notion of writing a "how to" book on getting married is really stupid, but i don't find her tone condescending or in the vein of a cosmo-article. And i like that her advice can be applied to being in a relationship too.

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  3. You were actually a 2.25...

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