Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Why You're Not Married Yet: You're a Mess (chapter 6)

Welcome to the sixth week of our BLOW OFF book club. 20 LA Wannabe and I have been reading the book Why You're Not Married...Yet by Tracy McMillan and giving you guys a play by play of the advice she offers. This week, we're going to take a look at whether or not you're a mess.

A Single Girl's Perspective (20 LA Wannabe)
Here we go again. Another chapter I was dreading merely from the title. You’re a mess. I noticed she didn’t go with the title “you’re a hot mess,” which is much more socially acceptable. So obviously being a mess is about having issues. You know, those things that have been with us for so long that they aren’t cute idiosyncrasies or quirks anymore. They are things that actually prevent us from getting what we want. And in McMillan’s world they are things that contribute to our “singleness.”

I can get behind that. If you’re a drug addict or alcoholic you should probably go to rehab. If you have much deeper seeded issues you need to work them out. She says that you can’t decide to stop drinking or smoking or partaking in your vices when the right guy comes around, you have to do it before you meet “the guy.”

While I agree with a lot of the things McMillan says in this chapter, I don’t agree with the “why.” I feel like she makes these recommendations to examine behavior and basically get our shit together because they are keeping us from being in a relationship or being in a relationship with the right person. Yes, if you’re reading this book you are doing so because you want to be in a relationship, but you should still make these positive life changes for yourself! Changes made for other people rarely stick. I also think that doing things to “get a guy” is kind of pathetic. We should want to be the best version of ourselves for ourselves. And yes, when we are operating at that capacity, men usually find us more attractive but again, men shouldn’t be the reason that we incite the change.

The rest of her advice is pretty solid. McMillan says you’re going to have to do the things you don’t want to do and fix your bad habits, because a man isn’t going to think of you as the mother of his children otherwise. I say get on board with McMillan’s advice but get yourself healthy for you!

A Married Girl's Perspective (Saaara) In this chapter, McMillan explains that if you major issues in your life and bad habits you're not dealing with, then it's going to be a lot harder for you to find a healthy relationship, let alone a guy that wants to marry you. A good way to know if your "issue" is a major one is if it's something you're keeping secret from your friends and family. Here are some of the things she references as problems: any sort of reliance on drugs or alcohol (including pot, guys), financial debt, weight problems, mental illness, etc etc. According to her, these things are making you undateable.

McMillan's right. Chances are, if you're a hot mess, a solid guy isn't going to want to date you. Bachelor fans: Would Sean Lowe date someone with any of the above issues?  Probably not. And even though he has his own issues (being a born-again), I think we can agree, he's a pretty good guy.  Hot messes tend to attract other hot messes.  The chapter kind of brushed over this point and I think it's a really important one. The thing is, most of the people I know who just can't seem to get their shit together-- ARE NEVER SINGLE.  This is for a couple reasons.  The first: they generally have low standards-- probably stemming from self-esteem issues.  Second: I think there are some guys out there who enjoy playing the role of the protector and are attracted to women with problems (for about two years and then they bail). And there's probably even more women out there who are attracted to fucked-up men, so they can try to save them. It's the whole miserly loves company phenomenon.  I wish McMillan would have focused on this aspect of being a mess a little more.

Ultimately, McMillan's advice is basically to deal with your crap, so you can let go and fall in love with a good person. Yes, true. The only thing I would add as a married person is shit usually gets really real the longer you're with someone and that also means finding a guy that isn't going to run away at the first sign of hardship.  We're all a little bit of a mess and we shouldn't have to go out of our way to hide that from the people that claim to love us.

Side note: In this chapter, McMillan makes a reference to "Reese Witherspoon in that pink lawyer-girl movie." COME ON. You know she knows it's called Legally Blonde.

One of the things that I did find a bit unsettling about this chapter is that we got more information on the McMillan's own relationship history. Between the ages of 22-29, she had fallen in love, moved in with, and broken up with three men. Keep in mind, she'd also been married and divorced by the age of 22. On one hand, it's good to get advice from someone that's been a train wreck in their own relationships, but I have to admit, it made me a little suspect. Now would be a good time for her to be more honest about her current relationship status. We know she's a single mom. And that her baby-daddy is a really great guy, but that for various reasons (mostly b/c of her, she claims) their marriage didn't work. But what about right now? If all of her past fuck-ups make her a present-day expert, then I think it would also be more comforting to know she's in a healthy happy relationship today.

PS there's some really random non-sequiters in this chapter. One about how the male ego cannot be repaired. And one about a study done in Stockholm that revealed men who had two copies of the gene variant allele 334 had a weaker bond with their partners. Guys, you can get a saliva test for allele 334 online. McMillan says all you need to do is look at how happy you are with your partner to know if you're dating a guy with two copies of allele 334. I say, fuck that. Order your saliva test here.

 Anyway, until next week when we read Chapter 7: You Hate Yourself.

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