Everybody has a secret love that they’re ashamed to admit. Maybe you can’t stop masturbating to old Hulk Hogan movies or watching "Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta"; whatever it is, I’m not going to judge you. Personally, I can’t stop reading trashy dating advice books even though I always end up feeling kind of bloated and nauseous afterward.
I’ve read "He’s Just Not That Into You" and "Why Men Love Bitches" and "The Rules" and "The Rules II" (I’m sorry) and "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" and "The Seven Love Languages" and some of Dr. Phil’s "Relationship Rescue" although I never really got into that one.
I have no idea why I enjoy them so much, even when they’re bad for me. Part of me reads them the way you would stare at a train wreck -- in total disbelief, gruesomely fascinated. Part of me likes the upbeat, DIY attitude, as if a perfect relationship were a deck you could build over the weekend. And part of me feels like I’m spying on a secret society I’ll never join, smuggling intelligence reports back to the feminist base.
Because make no mistake, there is something innately anti-feminist about nearly all of these books. Some of them are blatant, some of them are subtle, but all of them are a little bit gross.
Are you single? Are there problems with your relationship? It’s because of feminism! Obviously.
Be wary of the dating or marriage “advice manuals” that take themselves very seriously. You’ll be skipping along, happily nodding in agreement as the author encourages you to be patient or show gratitude or not expect your husband to be perfect, and then suddenly, BAM! It will be dramatically revealed that reason you’re such a bitch is because feminism has made you hate men while simultaneously convincing you that you can do no wrong!
Also, you expect perfect behaviour and have put yourself on a pedestal. Or maybe feminism has made you forget your “natural” role or your “innate” need to nurture and give affection and make doilies-slash-babies.
Damn those sneaky feminists! They were so busy making you believe that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle that you almost forgot that you’re useless outside of a relationship, potentially ignoring your “biological” urges to get HARDCORE MARRIED RIGHT NOW GO GO GO.
Good thing Dr. Laura (among others) was paying attention and totally decoded The Feminist Agenda to send you to your grave lonely, purposeless and covered in armpit hair. I’m a feminist, and that’s definitely what I want.
Are you single? Are there problems with your relationship? It’s because There is Something Wrong With You.
Blatant anti-feminism is easy to notice –- when you read a line saying “You’re unhappy because feminism has made you think that you can have a life outside of children and pot roasts” you can squeal with mirth and throw the book across the room. The problem is that dating and marriage self-help books operate on the same assumption that all self-help books use to some extent, which is that you must be wrong, sick, ignorant or making poor decisions, or you wouldn’t need help.
If you are single, therefore, it is because There is Something Wrong With You; the same principle applies if your relationship is unsteady. Unfortunately for romantic self-help, it is impossible to know what is keeping you woefully single, so they have to wing it a little.
If you’re single, it’s because you’re too clingy, or too independent, or too nice, or too bitchy, or too commitment-obsessed, or too commitment-phobic. It’s because you chase unavailable men, or because you try to mother them, or because you try to boss them around, or because you refuse to boss them around.
Whatever it is, being single is a) a problem, and b) something you can fix once you c) deal with the part of you that is too whatever.
My favourite "Inception"-crazy advice is the ever-popular “You’re single because you care too much about being in a relationship –- go out and build your own life and your own hobbies and your own success outside of a relationship, and then you will finally get that relationship you obviously desperately want.” Wouldn’t it be a shame if you just got a nice life? Definitely a total waste of time.
So don’t trust books that purport to tell you how to get love. The book that actually solves the riddle of romance will be the last one ever written, will sell better than the Bible and will not need to piss on feminism to work.
While we wait for that ultra-mega-bestseller, here are three potentially useful “relationship tips” that I have gleaned from countless hours of reading this questionable material. Please note that I have no credentials whatsoever other than going on occasional dates, being in relationships from time to time, and not hating women.
1. Don’t be cruel, and don’t let anyone else be cruel to you.
Behave decently and expect decent behaviour. If someone makes you feel bad more than good, or if you make someone feel bad more than good, stop seeing them. Full stop.
2. Have your own life because people who do nothing but worry about their relationship status are criminally boring.
Getting a life does not mean you will get a boyfriend (or girlfriend), but you will get something more valuable -– A LIFE. If all you do is go on dates and talk about dating and worry about being single, not only are you boring your friends to tears but you’re also wasting your time. Your life is valuable. Enjoy it, but not because you think you’re pulling a fast one on cupid and “building a life” in order to trick someone into loving you. That’s crazy talk and you know it.
3. Don’t listen to anyone who says you are too ugly to find love.
THEY ARE JERKS.
So, what about you? Do you have any good “dating tips” that don’t make you feel like a failure or reduce your existence to that of an over-sensitive uterus? Do you think dating books are crap, or do you think I am crap? Show me how to love in the comments section.