Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Why You're Not Married...Yet: Chapter One

Welcome to our very first BLOW OFF Book club.  We're kicking things off with the book Why You're Not Married...Yet by Tracy McMillan.  Every week, myself and 20 LA Wannabe will give you our take on the book, chapter by chapter.  

20 LA Wannabe: When I first read the title for the 2011 Huffington Post article of the same name I was disgusted and angered. It conjured up all of the feelings of hate that I have for The Millionaire Matchmaker, Patti Stanger. I hate when she tells women to straighten their hair or get extensions because that will make them more attractive to men. I proceeded to read the article so I could discuss how these so called relationship consultants like Patti and the author, Tracy McMillan, are perpetuating these modern day “rules” and are actually making things worse for single women in the dating world. The ten reasons listed (that became the chapters for McMillan’s future book) have provocative titles like “You’re A Bitch”, “You’re Shallow”, “You’re A Slut.” I read the article and quickly forgot about it as I dismissed it as a bunch of bullshit from a woman who has admittedly been divorced three times.

Then over the holidays I was commiserating with a girlfriend over the status of our romantic lives. We had to answer the daunting questions about why we are still single at family functions and the article popped into my head and I’d recalled hearing that she had since then written a book further detailing her theory. Then it dawned on me. Do I have LC syndrome? For those of you that aren’t aficionados in early 2000 MTV Reality shows, LC syndrome refers to Lauren Conrad’s multitude of struggling relationships on The Hills. Both her friendships and romantic relationships always hit bumpy times and she never took responsibility for anything. I wondered if maybe I was in denial and instead of trying to fix things about myself I was blaming the Heidi, Spencer, Audrina, Brody, and Jen Bunney’s in my own life.

So, I checked out Why You're Not Married from the library. I may have acquiesced on my stance to read it, but I certainly wasn’t going to pay for it. So the next few weeks Saaara and I will be reading each chapter and giving you the single girl’s perspective (me) and the married girl’s perspective (her) on McMillan’s advice and if any of it has worked. Enjoy!
Xoxo, Wannabe

Chapter One: You're a Bitch

The single girl's perspective (20 LA Wannabe)
Before Reading: Is anyone intentionally a bitch? Aside from when you are in the middle of a huge fight? I don’t think that most women would identify themselves as a bitch. They might say that they are strong or empowered but you would to be hard pressed to find women that truly believe that they are bitches. Well according to the author, Tracy McMillan, bitch is also synonymous with the word anger. And anger, whether conscious or subconscious is keeping women single.

The gist of this chapter is that basically men want a woman to be nice to them. I thought men just wanted blowjobs every night, but apparently they want someone to smile and treat them well just like women do. Female anger terrifies men and most men will avoid it at all costs. McMillan even goes as far to use Kim Kardashian as an example…only as a non-bitchy woman. She doesn’t want you to go out and make the next RedTube hit. But she is right. Have we ever seen Kim K actually get angry with a beau on camera? While her monotone pitch may annoy me, apparently her resistance to scream at a man at the top of her lungs is appealing. Interesting.

Being a bitch, or angry, is not limited to screaming and shouting like will.i.am and Britney BITCH (pun intended), it can be from body language or physical movements we don’t even realize we’re doing like rolling our eyes or making jokes that we think are funny but translate as snarky in the male mind. And snarkiness is a precursor to anger. McMillan suggests that women smile more as men are visual creatures and that women need to deal with their issues and insecurities, forgive, and learn to be nice, goddamnit.

After I read this chapter my heart sank. I am in fact a bitch. Okay, I’m not actually a bitch but I have definitely acted in ways which I now know can be perceived as bitchy by men. My defense mechanism for vulnerability is generally making some kind of joke that I think is witty but I’m now seeing has probably cost me a lot of potential dates and relationships. And when I was forced to look at myself I realized that I was angry about my career. I was bitter that Ms. X had the exact life I want and I didn’t understand why I wasn’t lucky enough to live that life despite my hard work. While my anger isn’t caused by men or relationships, it was definitely poisoning them. The book that I wanted to write off as a joke has one of my major problems pegged in twenty pages. Will I also find out that I’m a slut and shallow? I’m now completely invested and curious in what McMillan has to say and I'm *gasp*even going to make a conscious effort to nip my “bitchy behavior” in the bud.  

The Married Girl's perspective (Saaara)
Before reading: I was probably even more skepitcal than 20 LA Wannabe before I cracked this book open.  The original Huffpost article rubbed me the wrong way as well-- mostly because there never seems to be tips and posts about why MEN aren't married yet.  We always assume that if a guy is single, it's by choice-- but if a woman is, then she's definitely doing something wrong.  Then, I had to guzzle even more hatorade when I found out that Tracy McMillan had gotten a freaking book deal from her one blog post.  Um, we've done almost 1,000 posts on TBO and have gotten zero book deals.  So, I was totally ready to hate all over this book.

And then I had a watershed moment reading the first chapter.  You might think that it's weird (or obnoxious) for a married girl to read "Why You're Not Married...Yet".  I thought it was weird too.  But once I started it, I realized a lot of the points she made in the first chapter about finding a relationship totally applied to maintaining one.  

I will definitely admit that I'm a bitch.  Well, it's not that I'm a bitch all the time, but I definitely have bitch potential.  Maybe it's the writer in me, but I can be really good at coming up with mean things to say in moments of hurt, anger, frustration, etc.  McMillan says women are bitches, because they are angry, but also because they want control.  And they don't want to be vulnerable.  And that we kind of enjoy expressing that anger through our bitchiness (guilty!  It can be fun to be mad)  And this is all because we have a tendency not to forgive men for wronging us.  This was where the water-shedding happened.  So, sometimes-- when I'm mean to my husband about X, I'm really still just angry with him about Y that happened four years ago? Shit.  And, truth be told, I'm still pissed off at all the guys that came before him that hurt me in some way.  McMillan says that the best way to forgive is to change your story.  To put a positive spin on things.  When I told all this to my life partner, he said: I'm really glad you're reading this book. 

Example: Yesterday, there was an incident that got me really stressed out and frustrated and I bitched about it and we had a mini-argument and then I put a positive spin on the whole thing in my head and I got over it.  There was a time (like two days ago) where I would have been pissy the rest of the day, giving him one word answers to everything-- but then I remembered to ask myself: what would Kim Kardashian do?

But  I don't totally agree with McMillan on every point-- being a ball buster always helped me in my dating life.  It was my thing and dudes were into it.  At the end of the day, I want banter.  When I was single, there was no better foreplay than sarcastic cynical witty semi-fake conversations where we're both just constantly one-upping each other with our harmless sexually charged insults.  Yes, guys like sweet-- but I think they really like sassy too.  I guess it's just a matter of tone.  Sassy with a smile.  Not sassy with a scowl.

Anyway, the first chapter of this book totally won me over.  And so far, I recommend it for the married ladies too.  McMillan wants us to be nicer to men without being a doormat.  I can do that.  I can't wait to read chapter 2: You're Shallow.  It's not too late to order the book and read with us!

2 comments:

  1. Sassy with a smile! Trademark that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kayolks! Where have you been all my life. I'm sending you a long email this week. Love you!

      Delete