Forget Mr. Right. A new book, "Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough," says we might be setting our standards too high.
- Jenna McCarthy, BettyConfidential.comFor fun and escapism, most hot-blooded female bookworms turn to the latest titillating Twilight-type saga. But when we want to delve deep into our psyches - say, to discover why we continually date jerks or can't seem to drop a dress size no matter how many bread baskets we pass up - there's always a sparkling new self-help tome within arm's reach. And the most popular of the bunch, frankly, aren't all that kind or gentle.
Seems we gals love us some tough-love. We ate it up when the painfully spot-on He's Just Not That Into You essentially called us a bunch of fools who refuse to read the neon signs being flashed by the misogynistic chumps we choose to shower with our unrequited love. Then we cheered when those infamously Skinny Bitches informed us that the real reason we're fat and unhappy is because we repeatedly ignore common sense and "shovel the wrong crap into our mouths." Now, the just-released Marry Him: The Case For Settling For Mr. Good Enough aims to tell us - for our own collective good, of course - that if we're unmarried and of a certain age, it's pretty much all our fault. You know, for having the audacity to still believe we might meet a kind, handsome, intelligent man to whom we are sexually attracted and with whom we could conceivably consider breeding and sharing adjacent cemetery plots. What's that? You're alone with your 16 cats and your fertility has dwindled to paltry 3 to 12 percent of what was once a bounteous cornucopia of eggs? Well, says Marry Him, don't come crying to me.
Marry Him reflects the collected wisdom a 40-something woman, author Lori Gottlieb, who listened to her mom's "don't settle" advice - and then lived (alone) to regret it. It sounds obvious, but I'll go ahead and say it anyway: Nobody's perfect. Therefore, I agree with Gottlieb that saving oneself for the singular guy who fits into the arbitrary husband-mold you designed those many years ago would be utterly asinine. But how many women do you know who went into marriage thinking "Oh, he's good enough," only to find themselves dividing the assets and sharing custody a few short years later? Marriage is a marathon - not a sprint - and half of all couples who sign up don't make it to the finish line as it is. If you don't at least go into it feeling like Charlie Bucket when he found the golden ticket in his Wonka Bar, you're in for more than just a few blisters.
I have a dear friend who turned down a date from a perfectly nice guy - a nice, attractive guy with a car and a job, I might add - because he didn't have "floppy hair." What? She likes floppy hair, OK? She's 41, alone and bitter and I'm sending her a copy of Marry Him today. But I also know dozens of single, egg-depleted ladies whose husband criteria have been distilled down to a clean criminal record and a pulse. If these women lowered their standards any further, they'd happily shack up with the next inmate who asked.
Should you settle for Mr. Good Enough? Well, if your goal is to get married - to have the big party, hire the videographer and wear the freaking tiara - go ahead and legally bind yourself to the first dude who'll don the monkey suit. But if you want to be married - as in, share the rest of your life with a guy you think you might actually still like after 30 years of picking his stinky underpants up off your bedroom floor - you might want to consider holding out for Mr. Great.
Jenna McCarthy contributes frequently to magazines including Self, Glamour, Parents, Ladies' Home Journaland many others. She is the author of several parenting books and is hard at work on her next project, a practical guide to living with and continuing to love the TV-addicted, sex-obsessed, listening-impaired Neanderthal you married.To read more from BettyConfidential: