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Cruel to be kind? Or just cruel?
February 17, 2011 5:46 PM   Subscribe

TV writer (!) and memoirist Tracy McMillan breaks it down for the single ladies: Why You're Not Married. And in a particularly cruel twist, it runs the day before Valentine's Day. Some folks don't appreciate her advice; others mind it a lot less than they expected to. Oddly, Jezebel apparently has nothing to say on the matter.
posted by GrammarMoses (79 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I know it seems unfair that you have to work around a man's fear and insecurity in order to get married -- but actually, it's perfect, since working around a man's fear and insecurity is big part of what you'll be doing as a wife.

Is there a gender that you don't despise?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:50 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I dunno if having three marriages to jerks means you should be counseling anybody about marriage.

That said, at the core of this is some "Well DUH" advice that she's couched in hot-button terms like "slut" and "bitch" in order to draw pageviews and attention. You mean people like other people who are kind and unselfish? And we should be looking for a partner with depth? And it's not good to start relationships on false premises? Really, Tracy? It took you 40+ years to figure that out?
posted by schroedinger at 5:57 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fourth time's the charm, Tracy McMillan.
posted by stavrogin at 5:57 PM on February 17, 2011


don't feed the troll.
posted by The Whelk at 6:00 PM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


She is, by her own cheerful testimony in this article, incredibly injured. She has no more business advising in regards to amiable domesticity than Belle Gunness.

She has some points, of course -- "men of character" and so forth, but when you're spending your youth with the marks of abuse on you, you tend not to be the best judge of character in men, which she herself should very well know. I do agree about the "selfishness" business; I just don't consider it a character flaw. I'm generally single because I enjoy my company, and it doesn't generally occur to me to go out and seek some more. Once I realized that, it brought me a lot of peace.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:01 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


What if the reason you're not married is because the only guy you've wanted to marry so far turned out to be a serial monogamist who'd never gotten over a divorce ten years prior?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:02 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Her TV writer is showing - of course, the woman to be the selfless and lovely maintainer of the relationship to the fat lazy oaf. Has there ever been a more successful formula?
posted by palindromic at 6:02 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow that lady sounds like a reeeeeal winner. I'm glad she doesn't have a daughter to project all that onto. At least I'm hoping she doesn't, she alluded to a son but not a daughter in the article.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:05 PM on February 17, 2011


MaryDellamorte -- I noticed that, and felt it was even worse. The world does not need more young men who were raised to believe it is a woman's job to endure them.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:06 PM on February 17, 2011 [21 favorites]


The fact that her book is being endorsed by Diablo Cody is enough to kill it for me. I don't even need to read the article.
posted by Leezie at 6:06 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I used to look for intelligence in a mate. Now all I want is kindness.
posted by Faze at 6:07 PM on February 17, 2011 [16 favorites]


Maybe if she spent more time writing and less time getting married/telling other people how to get married I wouldn't have to wait nearly a whole freaking year between United States of Tara seasons. *grumble grumble grumble*
posted by phunniemee at 6:07 PM on February 17, 2011


While this is obviously a setup for page-views I still think there's a lot of truth here. For example, "The deal is: most men just want to marry someone who is nice to them." Absolutely true. All the weird books about dating game theory tend to miss this point.

Also, I have no problem with the following quote, but I edited it a bit to make it more universal:

I know it seems unfair that you have to work around a [PERSON'S] fear and insecurity in order to [HAVE AN INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIP] -- but actually, it's perfect, since working around a [PERSON'S] fear and insecurity is big part of what you'll be doing as a [MEMBER OF SOCIETY].

Ever person is sometimes fearful or insecure, it shouldn't blow any minds that men are sometimes so and that a woman might assuage their doubts.
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:09 PM on February 17, 2011 [13 favorites]


Because most of the time, your messy, farting, macaroni-and-cheese eating man will not be doing what you want him to.

I think I see her problem.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:11 PM on February 17, 2011


"The bottom line is that marriage is just a long-term opportunity to practice loving someone even when they don't deserve it."

I can't even begin to understand this.
posted by vidur at 6:13 PM on February 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


So in one breath she uses her teenage son as an example of how men want women who are not angry, and then in the next she chastises women for using "teenage girl" thinking? Come on.
posted by brookedel at 6:13 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, she needs to quit feeding him macaroni and cheese. What does she expect?
posted by Countess Elena at 6:14 PM on February 17, 2011


The fact that her book is being endorsed by Diablo Cody is enough to kill it for me.

Diablo Cody is still alive?
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 6:16 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't even begin to understand this.

Much of this piece seems to be subtly paraphrasing Milan Kundera (who, of course, said it better).

Tracy McMillan:
The bottom line is that marriage is just a long-term opportunity to practice loving someone even when they don't deserve it. Because most of the time, your messy, farting, macaroni-and-cheese eating man will not be doing what you want him to. But as you give him love anyway -- because you have made up your mind to transform yourself into a person who is practicing being kind, deep, virtuous, truthful, giving, and most of all, accepting of your own dear self -- you will find that you will experience the very thing you wanted all along:

Love.
Kundera - Slowness:
"Love is by definition an unmerited gift; being loved without meriting it is the very proof of real love. If a woman tells me: I love you because you're intelligent, because you're decent, because you buy me gifts, because you don't chase women, because you do the dishes, then I'm disappointed; such love seems a rather self-interested business. How much finer it is to hear: I'm crazy about you even though you're neither intelligent nor decent, even though you're a liar, an egotist, a bastard."
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:24 PM on February 17, 2011 [16 favorites]


Why does anyone read these twits? If you want sex, love, etc. advice, just ask Dan Savage. Is anyone else writing on the topic like actually sane? Seriously folks.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:26 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, so on the one hand, I am all of those things except a liar, and on the other hand I am married. Only once. Very happily.

So I think people should listen to my advice about getting married rather than this lady's. And my advice has only five steps:

1. Be who you are.
2. Do the stuff you like.
3. Look for people of the gender(s) to whom you're attracted who think you're awesome.
4. Ask them on dates.
5. If the dating stuff is working well for both of you, ask them to marry you.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:27 PM on February 17, 2011 [27 favorites]


"don't feed the troll."

jezebel's smart enough not to take the bait. MeFi? Apparently, not so much.
posted by Eideteker at 6:27 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you want sex, love, etc. advice, just ask Dan Savage.

NOTE: THIS OFFER MAY NOT BE OPEN TO TRANS PEOPLE, FAT PEOPLE, BISEXUAL PEOPLE, OR THE STATE OF WISCONSIN.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:28 PM on February 17, 2011 [25 favorites]


In fairness, "Shut up, sublimate your desires, find a mediocre man who is willing to commit, and cater to his every whim," is probably a very good way to get married. Not necessarily to be happy, but you'll be married, definitely.
posted by Scattercat at 6:29 PM on February 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


Hmm. Kundera seems to be saying that unconditional love is "better" than conditional love. I don't think I have a problem with that line of thinking.

McMillan seems to be saying that marriage is a good thing because it gives you the "long-term opportunity" (whatever that means) of loving someone unconditionally and that this would somehow result in you feeling love.

Let me put it another way: I can understand marrying someone because you love them unconditionally, but I can't understand marrying someone because you want to "practice" unconditional love.

Anyway, I don't think I want to try too hard.
posted by vidur at 6:31 PM on February 17, 2011


Oddly, Jezebel apparently has nothing to say on the matter.

After the redesign, they may be having trouble using the site.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:34 PM on February 17, 2011 [11 favorites]


You know, she probably didn't mean all of this literally. And she was probably trying to be a little snarky, saitirical, and gettin' all up in your grill. As a matter of style and framing. There is more than just a little image making and button pushing going on, and it looks like some of us have had our buttons pushed :)

I think the last paragraph makes a lot of sense, and to me there is clearly a tone of earnestness, as if she were relieved to get to it.
posted by Xoebe at 6:36 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


The bottom line is that marriage is just a long-term opportunity to practice loving someone even when you sometimes think they don't deserve it.

After I fixed it, it really resonates with me.
posted by jnnla at 6:37 PM on February 17, 2011


I think it's hard to argue that each of these isn't accurate in isolated, anecdotal instances, but why is it so hard to believe that marriage just isn't for everyone?

Having a marriage and/or a family takes a lot of energy to make it work, and while that can certainly be rewarding I believe it's possible to obtain an equal (or perhaps greater for the individual) amount of life satisfaction through other channels. It's the same with having kids - it's been argued by Daniel Gilbert and others that an individual's average level of happiness decreases when having children. For some, the isolated moments of joy these bring make the rest of it worth it, for others they don't.
posted by bhamrick at 6:39 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Good god, this woman is a disaster.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:42 PM on February 17, 2011


If she's been married three times, and I've been married zero, and she gives advice like this, and I don't begin to understand it -- I can't tell if she's better or worse at marriage than I am.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:45 PM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


She's good at getting into bad marriages. She's advising women who are bad at getting into good marriages.
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:51 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I imagine the author reciting this in the tones of Alec Baldwin's Glengarry Glen Ross speech.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:53 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Don't go to Dan Savage with your LTR problems, either, or he'll just suggest you fuck other people. Lately, his answer to everyone who asks him for help with their long-term monogamous relationship is "don't be in a monogamous relationship." Apparently this works for everyone!

I've been reading his column since I was pretty young, but lately it makes me think that the only kind of long-term relationship I have to look forward to is one where I let the other person fuck other people and if I don't like that idea, I just need to suck it up and deal with reality.

Anyway. I like the idea of loving someone even when they don't deserve it a lot better than pretending to be OK with Dan Savage's sort of LTR.
posted by MadamM at 6:55 PM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


No, you entitled fucking cow, some of us aren't married because we're not yet legally permitted to have the same rights as you. So shut up your face.
posted by elizardbits at 6:58 PM on February 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


No, you entitled fucking cow, some of us aren't married because we're not yet legally permitted to have the same rights as you. So shut up your face.

Double overhead point miss with twisting flickflack ragespit dismount! 8.9 from the French judges!
posted by Sebmojo at 7:25 PM on February 17, 2011 [18 favorites]


Alec Baldwin's Glengarry Glen Ross speech

"Third place is you're married."
posted by ODiV at 7:32 PM on February 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Here, I thought the reason I wasn't married was because my state had yet to recognize my right to do so.
posted by gracedissolved at 7:47 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to think what the equivalent man's "pep talk" would be. I can't help but think it would be delivered by Jack Webb, and talk about the importance of proper grooming, gainful employment and sobriety. Life insurance and saving for college will be mentioned prominently.
posted by doctor_negative at 7:57 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Shut up, sublimate your desires, find a mediocre man who is willing to commit, and cater to his every whim," is probably a very good way to get married. Not necessarily to be happy, but you'll be married, definitely.

This describes a coworker of mine pretty much exactly - she wanted to be married by 24, and by gum, she did it.

She pretends that she's happy, and the guy did way better than he could have, but... yeah. No thanks, either way.

As a guy; what does it take to get involved in a relationship with a woman who thinks this way? Since anyone who remotely fits this mindset gets rejected by the end of the first date. Second, at most. Maybe I'm pre-selective, but I've not encountered this type of woman, ever. Then again, I'm ugly and shy.
posted by porpoise at 8:04 PM on February 17, 2011


I've been married twice, which could definitely imply that I'm doing it wrong, but I would like to point out for the record that neither of my husbands has had any great amount of love for macaroni and cheese.
posted by sonika at 8:24 PM on February 17, 2011


Just don't get married. It's not all that.
posted by wv kay in ga at 8:25 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm a shallow, selfish, lying bitch. Thank goodness I found someone foolish enough to marry me before the spell wore off! Mwahahahahah!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:27 PM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


Hey she's been married a lot, so she's doing something right.

This is obv. a filler article. For internet and talk radio discussion. We'll hear it all again tomorrow if the news is slow or complicated.

But what do I know ---i'm the mac 'n cheese eater in my marriage.
posted by Kloryne at 8:40 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


But what do I know ---i'm the mac 'n cheese eater in my marriage.

CHEESE-EATING MARRIAGE MONKEYS!
posted by sonika at 9:10 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I read that as "Terry McMillan" and was seriously weirded out that the author of How Stella Got her Groove Back was writing for Mad Men.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:50 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oxytocin. Marriage and love is really all about the Oxytocin.
posted by happyroach at 10:12 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The more you ruv someone, the more you want to kirr them.
posted by PsychoKick at 10:15 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Nah, Dan Savage sucks too. Man hates bisexuals, thinks that some fetishes are totes normal and you should be expected to put up with them, and other fetishes are totes icky and you should dtmfa. (That said, DTMFA is super-useful for cutting through drama. It's all, 'look, do you want to find a solution, or do you want to out? You probably want out; just go.')

McMillan's article is another fine example of why I go to the Huffington Post to get my crazy-town forecast-- what is it this week crazy-town? Oh, The Rules again?
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 10:29 PM on February 17, 2011


View from the publishing house: New Book + Provocative* in-your-face" blog article/interview + Controversy = Profit!

Though this is just dressed up as provocative. Pro Tips for people who want a successful relationship: don't be an asshole; don't be shallow; don't throw good sense out the window when it comes to sex; don't choose unavailable partners; don't be selfish; don't use your partner to prove your self-worth.

Not so groundbreaking and edgy, despite using the words "bitch," and "slut."
posted by taz at 10:42 PM on February 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


What's so controversial about a shitty article?
posted by domnit at 10:48 PM on February 17, 2011


How much finer it is to hear: I'm crazy about you even though you're neither intelligent nor decent, even though you're a liar, an egotist, a bastard."

Yeah, we all want partners who are not intelligent, liars, egotists and bastards. That's something less than healthy.

As for the article, as a guy (who knows that the plural of anecdote is not data), sure, no need to alert the Pulitizer committee, and it may seem obvious, but there's a lot of truth in "The deal is: most men just want to marry someone who is nice to them."

From personal experience, those of lots and lots of male friends, colleagues, etc., the anger she speaks of or at least a tendency toward it has been the reason why vast numbers of guys have pulled the plug on relationships with women who had any number of good qualities and areas of compatibility.

It's not that the sex isn't thermonuclear, that she doesn't share an abiding love for David Foster Wallace, that she doesn't like disc golf, that her inclination to share chores and errands is not so great. It's that the frequency of anger gets damned tiresome.

And that's not to say there's an expectation that anyone will be joyful all or most of the time, that anyone will at all times have no snakes in their head--and it may well be that women find that too many men have too much anger.
posted by ambient2 at 10:54 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


You've touched on something there, taz. I missed the part where the article's raison d'être was to be groundbreaking, controversial and edgy, but to put it in another way, if you boil her advice for getting married down, you get: 1) Be nice. 2) Value character over superficial traits. 3) Only get involved with men you are seriously interested in. 4) Be honest about what you want. 5) Be less selfish. 6) Be realistic; don't expect a partner who can magically erase your feelings of inadequacy.

A number of folks seem to dislike the article, or Tracy McMillan, or both--fine. But if anyone thinks this she is giving bad advice to single women who want to find someone great and get married, I'm curious to know why.
posted by millions at 11:04 PM on February 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


She's right on the money. This is an excellent way to get married. It is a crap way to stay married, or to be happily married, but if what you want is a big dress and a party? She's got the goods. Shut up, smile, be grownup enough to not be needy but simple enough to not be a challenge, let the injustices of the world roll off your back, and settle.
posted by KathrynT at 11:09 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have no interest in reading the filler, but thanks to 2bucksplus for reminding me that it's been too long since I've read Kundera. Litost, anyone?
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:35 AM on February 18, 2011


I've always had trouble with definitions of love that are concerned with whether it's merited or deserved or whatever. If the love is satisfying for the person who feels it, isn't that what makes it "merited"? And if you require your partner to "merit" your love by not abusing you or supporting your kids or whatever, does that make your love less authentic?

It seems like McMillan-channeling-Kundera is just trying to say that any long-term relationship will involve putting up with a large amount of bullshit, which is a trivial truth of any type of relationship, including business relationships.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:52 AM on February 18, 2011


Should have included a warning that I would be exposed to the 'word' howev's.
posted by heatherann at 4:53 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]



In fairness, "Shut up, sublimate your desires, find a mediocre man who is willing to commit, and cater to his every whim," is probably a very good way to get married. Not necessarily to be happy, but you'll be married, definitely.


I don't really want to take sides on whether she's "right" or not, but she does mention a couple of times that people should stop equating marriage with happiness. Personally I see it as short term unhappiness for long term fulfilment, but what do I know? I'm 31 and the longest relationship I've been in lasted 3 weeks.
posted by gronkpan at 5:13 AM on February 18, 2011


she wanted to be married by 24,

Now, I understand 'wanted to be married to MrBoyfriend' but not simply 'wanted to be married'.
posted by mippy at 6:25 AM on February 18, 2011


1. Be who you are.
2. Do the stuff you like.
3. Look for people of the gender(s) to whom you're attracted who think you're awesome.
4. Ask them on dates.
5. If the dating stuff is working well for both of you, ask them to marry you.


#3 there, that's where I get stuck.
posted by JanetLand at 7:17 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


A number of folks seem to dislike the article, or Tracy McMillan, or both--fine. But if anyone thinks this she is giving bad advice to single women who want to find someone great and get married, I'm curious to know why.

Because she assumes that we're not doing that already.

It's like: say that you want to know how to make a souffle. You've tried a few times, but for some reason it isn't quite working out. You've followed the instructions properly as far as you can tell -- you've separated the eggs, blended the yolks with the bechamel sauce, whipped the whites separately and folded them in, but it still isn't rising too well. And you want to know -- is it something about how long you've whipped the egg whites? Maybe you're taking too heavy a hand when you fold them in? What?

And then along comes this article that says "I'm gonna break it down for you, okay? If you're trying to make a souffle, this is guaranteed to work -- separate the eggs!"

And you're standing there reading this in your kitchen thinking, "Well, I know that, dumbass, now what??"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:27 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


We are all geniuses at getting married thanks to a million romantic comedies and heroic tales (the secret princess gets married or the hero gets the girl after his adventure), but people continue to be largely ignorant of what marriage is actually is like. One of the reasons I thought The Kids Are All Right was so great last year is that it takes on that subject, so seldom portrayed on film. Living in a partnership with someone, sometimes, can be quite difficult. But having a partner, not merely a business partner or a roommate, can be quite awesome.

This article is largely linkbait, but it's got some truth in it. It's no stupider than most relationship advice that's given out there. The one she gets really right is about character -- seek it in other people, and cultivate it in yourself.

(Of course, I write this from my second marriage, judge my worthiness to speak on this topic as kindly or harshly as you please).
posted by artlung at 7:30 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Y'all know that you are not the intended audience of this piece, yeah? I mean, of course to us it's stupid, shallow, etc. But it's not for us. Kinda like Two and a Half Men.
posted by spicynuts at 8:13 AM on February 18, 2011


and I'm sure that a post about Two and A Half Men on the blue would attract a simlar level of snark.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:18 AM on February 18, 2011



...She assumes that we're not doing that already....you're standing there reading this in your kitchen thinking, "Well, I know that, dumbass, now what??"

That's a fair criticism. Sincere kudos to you for behaving maturely in the dating world and not treating it like a big experiment in game theory; I hope you find someone worth your time and attention soon.

In the author's defense, however, I believe there are a lot of people who might benefit from thinking about her advice. I don't care for her presumptive, sassy tone, but whatever--the advice seems solid. From personal experience, the issues she mentions have played a role in pretty much all of the stunted relationships I have been in. I don't pretend that my own present and past issues haven't had a part in the breakups I've been through, but it says something to me that I have encountered all the traits she mentions on a regular basis whenever I tried to figure out why a relationship wasn't working.
posted by millions at 8:27 AM on February 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Charlie Brooker covers the subject of love in this week's edition of How TV Ruined Your Life. 1 2

It's not altogether unrelated, and I prefer it to the FPP. So.
posted by Grangousier at 8:43 AM on February 18, 2011


Incidentally, his misanthropy on this subject is somewhat undercut by the fact that he married someone who most of his core audience (or at least the parts of it that are attracted to women) have had a crush for over ten years.
posted by Grangousier at 8:47 AM on February 18, 2011


I thought it was a pretty funny article. I’m not sure what all the hate was about. There seems to be a lot of "I’ll skim it quick so I can get right to my snarky comments" going on here.

The part I disagree with is that men are afraid of angry women. Not afraid of, irritated with.
posted by bongo_x at 9:11 AM on February 18, 2011


I will say that a little bit is truthful--people who are going for wayyyyyy out of their league. An aquaitence in our group of friends is divorced and 2 kids. Great sense of humor, decent job (lawyer), and doesn't yell. But thats about it. His wife left him because he video games too much, is a complete slob (saw his apartment--OMG), is really a bump on the log when it comes to conversation or disciplining his kids, and goes for the "Kim Kardashian" type--tall, hot, thin. He however looks very similar to the old version of Kevin Smith. He's frustrated with dating because he's going after the wrong kind of women. He wants the hot, young model. He gets the average, his age woman interested in him then he dumps her because she's 160lbs and not 120lbs.

There's something about a good match then there is something to be said about the impossible match. If you go for the latter, yes you will be alone.
posted by stormpooper at 9:53 AM on February 18, 2011


The level of snark getting directed at this article is mindboggling to me. I agree completely with millions; if you ignore the snark, which was obviously put there to make it more entertaining, she is full of damn solid advice. If you already know it then why does it piss you off so much? As millions pointed out, many people may find this sort of reality-check useful or enlightening; but you are not being forced to read this or respond: flag ignore it and move on. All I can think is that a lot of folks aren't liking how it sounds when they reflect on their own behavior.

Seriously, very few of you are being the least charitable towards this woman and her article. I recognize snottiness is the default reaction from MeFi for 80% of the stuff that pops up on the front page, but here it's exposing some bizarre levels of resentment for something that is, more or less (surprisingly so), dead on. As far as I can tell this is the pop-culture version of How to Be an Adult in Relationships: her most cogent understanding about marriage and long-term relationships, which I'd hazard to guess comes from making more mistakes in marriage than any of us will during a lifetime, is that you must on some level not assume you'll get a payback from the mere act of loving someone; strings cannot be attached. You have to do it because you are invested, because you accept and love yourself, and because you love the other person, despite both of your faults and weaknesses. This is not the same as pathologically sacrificing yourself and your goals, and both partners have to invest equally. But if you are going to have a real adult relationship this is what you gotta do, and frankly I think it's wonderful seeing something so full of substantial truth in such a flimsy piece of crap as the Huffington Post.

If you are resigned to living your life this way there is still no guarantee you'll find anyone, of course, but if you are resigned to living your life this way no matter what, you certainly won't be holding onto that resentment. So I am skeptical of all of you angry people. I'd say the antagonism directed at this piece is hilarious if it didn't make me sad that so many folks are so damn bitter and clueless.
posted by dubitable at 11:18 AM on February 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


I agree completely with millions; if you ignore the snark, which was obviously put there to make it more entertaining, she is full of damn solid advice. If you already know it then why does it piss you off so much?

To go back to m souffle analogy above -- it implies that separating the eggs is all we need to know, and if we just remember to separate the eggs it'll be all sunshine and happy and work just perfect. But we know that there is another step beyond separating the eggs -- and that step is beyond our control. And the article doesn't even acknowledge this.

If the article had implied in any way, shape, or form that "okay, some of you may know all of this already and it still isn't working. And yeah, you're right, that sucks, but at least you're trying your best, and let's all cross our fingers for each other," that'd be different. This is all "just separate the eggs and everything will magically work!"

In short -- the people who are annoyed by this know well that in our case, it's just dumb luck, and being told our luck is our own fault is offputting.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:26 AM on February 18, 2011


So I wasn't going to read this, because I didn't want to give it the pageviews, but after recommendations from here I took the plunge. And you know, part of it's right. She's being provocative, but there's solid advice in there about selflessness, knowing your own self-worth, etc.

But then it basically all boils down to what's either a massive stereotype or an incredibly ugly world: The idea that men don't ever want relationships, would never willingly choose to spend their lives with someone, and must therefore have their every whim catered to, and the idea that women inevitably want to walk down the aisle with someone, anyone (she doesn't explicitly say that, but saying that "oxytocin" will invariably cause you to fall in love if--and only if--you're a woman gets pretty close.)

If this is true, then why would you even want to get married? If you're a man, why marry someone who considers you a burden to be tolerated for the sake of a ring (especially if, as she claims, you'd rather be playing the field with your "free-agent" penis); if you're a woman, aren't there plenty of other ways to practice selflessness or have a kid? The basic problem is that she's giving advice for something that she manages to make seem fantastically unappealing, with no long-term payoff.

If nobody had ever written an article about marriage before, this would be groundbreaking stuff. But as it is, I can read any number of pieces that say the same thing, without the side of gender war. It's difficult enough to get along with people when you're not saddling them with a load of preconceived characteristics that you learned from watching sitcoms. Advice like this has rarely helped me, but it's done a great job of making me paranoid.
posted by Tubalcain at 11:46 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


He wants the hot, young model. He gets the average, his age woman interested in him then he dumps her because she's 160lbs and not 120lbs.

There's something about a good match then there is something to be said about the impossible match.


There's also something to be said for not being a complete asshole. In fact, there's rather a lot to be said about it.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 12:50 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Guys, it's SEO bullshit content from Huffpo. Why are you treating it as though it were real content?
posted by dejah420 at 1:14 PM on February 18, 2011


"We've got four failed marriages between us, Dave, we've got to be experts at something."

--Thomas Gibson as SSA Aaron Hotchner, to Joe Mantegna's Agent Rossi, Criminal Minds. (The look Rossi gives Gibson in exchange is priceless.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 2:30 PM on February 18, 2011


"It's not so hard to be married, I've done it three or four times."
posted by interplanetjanet at 2:37 PM on February 18, 2011


Guys, it's SEO bullshit content from Huffpo. Why are you treating it as though it were real content?

Because it's got enough truth in it to be provoking?
posted by dubitable at 3:20 PM on February 18, 2011


No, because it's super obvious stuff — for anyone, not just for women — and the gender bias is incredibly irritating.

All that stuff she lists once you dig it out of the trash talk and shake it off a little bit? That's Decent Human 101; there's nothing new or startling about the idea of being nice to your partner, not screwing around with other people if you're serious about one person (in monogamous relationships), not being shallow, etc.

I can give you my expert opinion, because I've been married twice, the second time happily for 20 years: here it is ... get ready ... do all that decent human stuff for sure, but pick a partner (you love) who also does those things, if you're lucky enough to find one. WARNING: This is the hard part.
posted by taz at 4:19 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even briefer - care. And find someone else who cares just as much.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:19 PM on February 20, 2011


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