I love to read books about dating. Not so much for advice, but because of what they say about how women today think and feel. Most dating books are written with a berating tone and a crusade-like point of view intended to make a woman doubt every instinct she ever had about human connection. The title of Rachel Greenwald’s book say it all: “Have Him at Hello: Confessions from 1,000 Guys About What Makes Them Fall in Love . . . Or Never Call Back.” (He never called back cuz you f–d up!).
Another one by the same author, “Find a Husband After 35: (Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School)” assumes the audience – – mature, financially independent women – live in a state of desperation. How about a book about how to get rich writing best-selling dating books! Maybe contrived interactions actually prepare a woman for marriage, but I can’t imagine a fun relationship starting with me sitting there in silent submission on the first date (“Don’t act aggressive, independent or ‘masculine'” is a BIG recommendation). CUZ WE WANT DADDY.
In my experience behaving in ways in order to “please a man” might not attract a man with a lot of respect for women, or a man at the center of the universe looking for a satellite to orbit him. But what fascinates me about these books is that they are usually written by very powerful women. Ms. Greenwald not only went to Harvard but has made a fortune selling her recipe for matrimony.
I found this book “Always Ask A Man” in a used book store years ago. Arlene Dahl, an actress from the 50’s is simply OUTRAGED that women dress and primp for themselves and each other. It reads like camp, but she’s absolutely sincere. She says things like, “Be a good listener. No man enjoys the company of a chatterbox who boasts of her own conquests.” She’s so indignant and serious in her internalized sexist beliefs that it’s hard to take offense. The tone isn’t abusive or condescending but genuinely concerned. Again Arlene Dahl, a financially successful, once powerful movie star, trying to help women reclaim their femininity by taking us down and reminding us of our purpose to endlessly seek male approval. That book was written almost 60 years ago.
Oh, Arlene, do not worry. We have not veered too far from your line.
A friend suggested I option the book. It would make a great TV show.
Just for today, I want to be a dating guru.