February 8, 2010

Don't Settle For The Man You Want

marry him.JPG
I stopped reading The Atlantic when I wanted to stop cutting


Lori Gottlieb, in The Atlantic, writes Marry Him!, and describes a problem so pervasive and urgent it's hard to imagine Obama hasn't cleared his desk: what's an "independent," "feminist," "heterosexual" 40-something "woman" with a sperm-donor child to do when she can't find a man to marry her? 

My advice is this: Settle! That's right. Don't worry about passion or intense connection. Don't nix a guy based on his annoying habit of yelling "Bravo!" in movie theaters. Overlook his halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics. Because if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go.

Oh, that Lori Gottlieb, she's a kidder.  But she's not kidding.

There's a few ways to go with this, but here's a start: where is she finding all these idiots who yell bravo or have bad breath or poor aesthetics, or is this all the same idiot?  If you're 0/3 in a single paragraph, you need to consider the problem is you.

To be fair, my conceptualization of what a good relationship is may be very different from hers.  Here's hers:

In my formative years, romance was John Cusack and Ione Skye in Say Anything. But when I think about marriage nowadays, my role models are the television characters Will and Grace, who, though Will was gay and his relationship with Grace was platonic, were one of the most romantic couples I can think of.
Nothing characterizes The Dumbest Generation Of Narcissists In The History Of the World better than using throw away cinema as a template for life.  What kind of results did she  expect?

She thinks that Will being gay is an unfortunate coincidence, but it is actually the primary thing she wants.  She wants a gay man not because she likes them gay, but because gay men aren't real to her, they're props.  She wants someone who will see her the way she wants to be seen and fulfill various other roles she has planned for him, leaving herself free to "grow."   It's hard to get that to happen when his Staff Of Unreasoning and Hyperbole is pressed up against her coccyx while she's trying to go to sleep.

II. 

That Will & Grace speaks to her is completely by design.  The producers tweaked that show specifically for a certain demo, i.e. her. 

In its first miserable failure of an incarnation, it was called Ned & Stacey, and it paired Debra Messing with a good looking, heterosexual, womanizing rich guy.  Everything else was the same.  Here's the opening theme:

Ned: Why Stacey?
Stacey: Why Ned?
Ned: It was business.
Stacey: Strictly business.
Ned: Here's the deal - to get a promotion, I needed a wife.
Stacey: To get a life, I needed his apartment.
Ned: So what the hell, we up and got married.
Stacey: The only thing we have in common? We irritate each other.
Ned: Right! Enjoy the show.

The show lasted one season.  No woman could relate to his, no woman would want this, only this.  But make the main character gay, and you have a fantasy scenario: materialism and  safety, but the emotional freedom to constantly reinvent and reaffirm yourself.  The show should have been called, "The Non-Judgmental Dad I Never Had" or simply "Let's Pretend."  But I'm not in TV.

III.

There are really two questions: the first is where Lori Gottlieb went so wrong, and the second is why The Atlantic thinks this is a legitimate posture.

A short excursion through Lori Gottlieb's prior life is illustrative.

Her first book, in 2001, is about her experiences growing up to affluent but shallow parents (her description) in Beverly Hills in the 1970s.  Pause for effect.

This is what the Amazon blurb says:

In the image-conscious world of 1970s Beverly Hills, 11-year-old Lori knows she's different. Instead of trading clothes and dreaming of teen idols like most of her pre-adolescent friends, Lori prefers reading books, writing in her journal and making up her own creative homework assignments. Chronically disapproving of her parents' shallow lifestyle, she challenges their authority and chafes under their constant demands to curb her frank opinions and act more "ladylike.

Many of you may sympathize.  What's a budding intellectual, not to mention future NPR contributor, to do in such a dystopia?  Answer: she decides to become anorexic.

Somehow this has been characterized as a struggle with anorexia but you'll have to take my word for it: this is a struggle with anorexia the way Girl, Interrupted was a struggle with  inadequate access to healthcare.  It's all blamed on her parents, and secondarily on her social group.  This is from her website:

"Of course they aren't overweight," Lori told her psychiatrist when asked if she thought the girls at school who diet are overweight. "Didn't I already say they were popular?"

Before you call Bill Cosby, consider that this kid is having a conversation with her psychiatrist.  In the 1970s.  Whatever you may think about the overpopularization of psychiatry today,  there was a very specific demographic of kid that got to talk to a shrink in the 1970s, and that demographic is now in their 40s, unmarried and writing articles for The Atlantic.  If you think there's no connection, then Amazon.com suggests you may also enjoy The New Yorker.


IV.

The mistake is to take the writing prowess Lori (now and at age 11) has and assume it mirrors the quality of the ideas.  The writing is good (there, I said it) but the idea set is dangerously, catastrophically wrong.

Her next book, Inside The Cult of Kibu, was about her experiences at a failed dot.com.  This is the introduction:

In the Spring of 2000, Lori Gottleib was lured away from Stanford Medical School to become the editor-in-chief of Kibu.com.... but after her comically unceremenious "unhiring" three months later...
Work through the timeline.  This book was published in 2002.  Stick Figure was published in 2000, which means it was written before 2000, i.e. while at Stanford Med.  Meanwhile, she's hanging out at Whole Foods (not a joke) and joining Kibu.  Then she's fired.   So she hastily put together another book.

You can imagine this is how she dates.  No direction, no sense of self, just jumping from one scheme to the next, trying on different identities.  She actually laments how, while a med student, she was surrounded by more dot-commers than doctors.  At parties they wouldn't think her interesting enough as a med student; but when she signed with Kibu, she

heard myself saying, "I'm on the cutting edge!  I'm going to influence an entire generation!" Part of me even believed this.
Your problem is you believed it.  My problem is you were right.


V.

A reasonable question might be, what kind of a man is this woman looking for?  I defy you to answer this question.  She's two books and at least three essays into the topic, and still I have no idea.  What I do know, however, is what she's not looking for.  That's where her laser focus is pointed.

She titled one essay, "5 Traits In A Mate That Are Not Deal Breakers."  Take a moment to ponder the construction of that title.  If I wrote an essay, "5 Things You Can Do That Won't Make Me Stab You In The Teeth" how many condoms will I end up using?  You might counter with history: she was having trouble with mates before she wrote that essay.  True, but you know  that the type of person who would think to write an essay like this one reveals herself in other ways as well.

I've never believed that we should stop looking for Mr. Right (we shouldn't!) - but I do think that by changing our rigid idea of who Mr. Right is, we're more likely to find the right Mr. Right. You can't just order up the perfect husband á la carte - I'll take a little of this, a little of that, less of this and more of that. A guy is a package deal, as are we. Recognizing that isn't settling. It's maturity.
I actually had to pull my car over to the side of the road when I read this.  This woman is in her 40s.  And she has a kid.  What the hell did those halcyon hours at Stanford Med do to her?

...having found myself still single at 40, I'd come to an eye-opening realization: Had I known when I was younger what would make me happy in a fulfilling marriage, I would have made very different choices in my dating life.
This woman should have a scarlet "ME" on her shirt.  What makes me happy?  What do I want?  You can't run a relationship this way, you can't run a life this way.  But the longer she stays single, the more self-absorbed she becomes, the more she thinks about what she needs and wants.

It's almost unnecessary to list the 5 Things About A Man Lori Is Only Pretending Not To Care About, but here they are anyway:  1. His height. 2. His Match.com profile. 3. His occupation.  4. His age. 5. How he compares to "my type."  None of those are jokes.

Indeed. I ended up falling hard for a 5'6", balding, bow-tie-wearing guy I almost didn't e-mail on Match.com. He wasn't who I had in mind, but he was who I wanted to be with. And that, of course, is the thing that matters most.
Indeed, indeed.

VI. 

Back to the article.  There's absolutely no chance any woman will benefit from reading this article; I'd argue that it would even make her impossible to be in an elevator with. 

I referenced Will & Grace, above, but the real star of the article is Sex & The City. This article is written about, and for, Carrie Bradshaw.

It's equally questionable whether Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw, who cheated on her kindhearted and generous boyfriend, Aidan, only to end up with the more exciting but self-absorbed Mr. Big, will be better off in the framework of marriage and family. (Some time after the breakup, when Carrie ran into Aidan on the street, he was carrying his infant in a Baby Björn. Can anyone imagine Mr. Big walking around with a Björn?)
She doesn't get it, at all.  Are you asking whether I could I imagine a big producer, like the one that Mr. Big is based on, carrying a baby?  Sure, why not?  Or do you mean a guy like Chris Noth, the actor who plays Mr. Big?  He just had one, so yes.  Or do you mean...?

Meanwhile, the real Carrie Bradshaw (Candace Bushnell), the actress who plays her, and heck, even the character Carrie Bradshaw, are all in solid relationships exactly opposite to the ones she is looking for.

Mr. Big wouldn't carry a baby because that's the character.  If you're looking to hook up with a two-dimensional character, you'll get what you pay for.

VII.

Gottlieb figures that because she's attractive and intelligent, the problem must be her standards are too high or men are threatened by her.  Wrong.  The problem is she is daring someone to like her.  She has a Match.com profile-- fine-- but meanwhile, she publishes articles in major magazines that men are going to read, right?  that say things like,  "I'm at the age where I'll likely need to settle for someone who is settling for me."  How do you like me now!  "It's not that I've become jaded to the point that I don't believe in, or even crave, romantic connection. It's that my understanding of it has changed."  Who's up for role-play?  You think I'm pretty?  Bam! Now I have a kid!  What do you think of that?

All of this is what an adolescent girl might do, who puts her worst features front and center.  She's not sure her best features are going to be good enough, but if you can like her despite the bad ones, then you must be The One.  (Never mind that immediate next thought will/should be, "what kind of a loser would like me?")

All of this is a game to elicit a specific response from the man: "oh, baby, those things don't matter to me because I know that's not who you are, I know the real you."

The guy is irrelevant. As long as he delivers his lines, on cue.

VIII.

You may wonder why I am focusing on The Atlantic article and not the book that just came out, Marry Him: The Case For Settling For Mr. Good Enough.   First, I didn't read the book.  HA!  Take that, required reading list. 

More importantly, a book contaminates only its readers, but an article in The Atlantic makes it ok for intelligent people in general to think like this.  That makes her wrong ideas dangerous.

You want something uplifting, so here you go: you can never have a good relationship with anyone when your focus is the relationship.  There's a human being there who existed well before you got to them, and they weren't built for you or your needs or your parents or your future dreams as an actor.  If you want to be happy with someone then your body and mind have to instinctively adapt to their happiness.  If you're not ready for this kind of sacrifice, then you're simply not ready.

---

Lori Gottlieb becomes a Therapist: The Cult Of Self-Esteem


http://twitter.com/thelastpsych











Comments

Yikes!! As always, great s... (Below threshold)

February 8, 2010 1:39 PM | Posted by pj1280: | Reply

Yikes!! As always, great stuff. But please change "marry him" to "marry her" in 1st paragraph. Random oversight, I'm sure, but I hate to see great writing go unread because of minor blemishes like this.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -6 (16 votes cast)
"If you want to be happy wi... (Below threshold)

February 8, 2010 1:42 PM | Posted by Chris: | Reply

"If you want to be happy with someone then your body and mind have to instinctively adapt to their happiness."

I would argue that it's also possible to consciously adapt to them, supposing one is the sort of person who actually exercises control over their actions. Granted, if one is the sort of person who only acts by instinct and emotion, then your only hope is for your instinct and emotions to be 'right'. I think that that's just hoping that you get lucky, though.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 16 (16 votes cast)
Between stuff like this and... (Below threshold)

February 8, 2010 1:50 PM | Posted by SDC: | Reply

Between stuff like this and Sandra Tsing Loh's exercises in rationalization and over-generalization, the Atlantic does seem determined to achieve complete and utter un-readability.

This blog post, on the other hand, was a nice thought-out and effective skewering. Bravo! (typed, not shouted).

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 13 (15 votes cast)
Very enjoyable read - BUT -... (Below threshold)

February 8, 2010 2:43 PM | Posted by Mh: | Reply

Very enjoyable read - BUT - you read while driving?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 8 (16 votes cast)
I actually had to pull m... (Below threshold)

February 8, 2010 3:05 PM | Posted by Jered: | Reply

I actually had to pull my car over to the side of the road when I read this.

Do you frequently read essays while driving? How do you manage?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (11 votes cast)
RE: reading while driving.<... (Below threshold)

February 8, 2010 3:34 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

RE: reading while driving.

He must live or have lived in LA. The traffic is so bad you have to read while driving.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 13 (15 votes cast)
An interesting quote from <... (Below threshold)

February 8, 2010 3:49 PM | Posted by Basil Valentine: | Reply

An interesting quote from The Recognitions

"...In and out dodged that vagrant specter, careering through conversations witness to the disinterested kindness which people extend to one who doesn't threaten them with competition on any level they know"

It's a sort of double bind; on one level, you're looking for someone you're genuinely attracted to, yet that's exactly the sort of person who might be able to deliver a narcissistic injury. So you can either grow up, stay single, or "settle", which I take to mean "find someone whom you believe far enough beneath you that nothing they could say or do will ever really matter".

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 25 (25 votes cast)
Is there a difference betwe... (Below threshold)

February 8, 2010 4:26 PM | Posted by Nadia: | Reply

Is there a difference between the narcissistic pursuit of someone who will "see the real me" and wanting to find someone to share a mutual understanding?

I'm afraid there isn't and I've been harboring this narcissistic behavior in all of my relationships with people.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
Interesting take. My first ... (Below threshold)

February 8, 2010 4:30 PM | Posted by Matt: | Reply

Interesting take. My first thought when I heard about the book was, "Proudly sponsored by the American Association of Mediocre Men." Sure, it ostensibly speaks to women, but it does just as good a job providing assurance to men who aren't successful romantically -- "Yeah that's the problem, they're just unreasonably picky."

What's the old saying? If you're watching, it's for you.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 16 (18 votes cast)
Alone, will you marry me? <... (Below threshold)

February 8, 2010 6:23 PM | Posted by demodenise: | Reply

Alone, will you marry me?

I'm getting old and need to redefine my sense of self based upon a newly created personal myth so that I can continue to feel like I'm in control. And remind myself that the world really is all about me and my experience of it.

When that stops working, we don't even have to get divorced. You can just write me ever-increasing scripts for Valium.

sheesh. Articles like Gottlieb's make me feel like humans have totally forgotten how to connect with each other at all.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 29 (29 votes cast)
Great conclusion, but like ... (Below threshold)

February 8, 2010 6:49 PM | Posted by bryon: | Reply

Great conclusion, but like Matt quoted "If you're watching, it's for you."

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
"A proportion of people hav... (Below threshold)

February 8, 2010 7:42 PM | Posted, in reply to Basil Valentine's comment, by CC: | Reply

"A proportion of people have taken to the practice of dating other people who are inappropriate and untrustworthy as a method of precluding the anxiety and pain of developing trust or closeness and having it betrayed. By preemptive betrayal of themselves through engaging in inappropriate or destructive relationships, they have a warped sense of control and invulnerability in their lives which precludes betrayal by others. Self-betrayal provides immunity to outside betrayal. Preemptive self-betrayal reduces anxiety over uncertainty over whether eventual betrayal will occur....
"Many people eventually become prisoners of themselves in their successful emotional self-protection." http://members.mountain.net/theanalyticpapers/polam11.htm

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 6 (6 votes cast)
Alone,I really lik... (Below threshold)

February 8, 2010 9:32 PM | Posted by Sasha: | Reply

Alone,

I really liked this article. You put into words so many of the ideas I had and more. Thank you.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
One correction: Lori starte... (Below threshold)

February 8, 2010 10:31 PM | Posted by I was there: | Reply

One correction: Lori started Stanford in the fall of 1999, after she had finished Stick Figure. (She flitted into med school after quitting what most people would consider a dream job at NBC.)

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (3 votes cast)
I havent read the atlantic ... (Below threshold)

February 9, 2010 12:47 AM | Posted by gen y: | Reply

I havent read the atlantic for a couple years, so I am hoping that there are other women contributors to the magazine aside from Gottlieb and Oh.
Speaking as a 20 something woman, it is sad to me that a) these women are featured in this publication, b) they are so unsure of themselves at this age. They have fine writing style maybe, but there are no ideas present. I am bored with this. As a young woman, it is uninspiring to read these mid-life personal narrative pieces by uncertain directionless women who think it's cool to have their identity struggles be exploited as cheap copy. It is supremely embarrassing to the gender. but also leads one to conclude that the Atlantic kind of sucks. Why include such low quality filler?
20 bucks says that the managing editor is male, 40's, never been good with women or is gay, as journalist missed out on the dot com boom, this is his first shot at a managing editor position, and probably suffering from narcissistic self injury as he slowly realizes the atlantic peaked in 1957, can't be the new yorker much less have a solid identity like the new republic and now it must settle...for shit women writers (who really just need to have a good f$ck, I am sorry to say, but you know its true.) so the magazine can afford to keep Andrew Sullivan from jumping ship.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 5 (19 votes cast)
Who hires for The Atlantic?... (Below threshold)

February 9, 2010 1:04 AM | Posted by Claudius (Staff of Unreasoning and Hyberbole): | Reply

Who hires for The Atlantic? Seriously. One is an accident, two is a mystery but if there is one more female writer like this we need to find out who is behind all of this.

And I hate to do this after such a great post but...Nature of Altruism II...it's time, especially in light of the response to the disasters in Haiti.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 7 (7 votes cast)
you can never have... (Below threshold)

February 9, 2010 2:38 AM | Posted by OMG: | Reply

you can never have a good relationship with anyone when your focus is the relationship. There's a human being there who existed well before you got to them, and they weren't built for you or your needs or your parents or your future dreams as an actor. If you want to be happy with someone then your body and mind have to instinctively adapt to their happiness. If you're not ready for this kind of sacrifice, then you're simply not ready.

OMG, I'm screwed. This describes my girlfriend to the T. Minus the actor part. Ahhh!

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
Today my girlfriend had the... (Below threshold)

February 9, 2010 3:13 AM | Posted by Aurini: | Reply

Today my girlfriend had the exact opposite conversation in her Graphic Novels class.

The story was "Face the Facts of Love" by Carol Lay (she made me read it halfway through the article). It's a short story of a white baby raised in Africa, and beautified in the traditional tribal way - only to be rejected by the men for her white skin. She then leaves for America, an heiress to her dead parents. There, here stretched lips and pock-marked skin alienate not only the gold diggers, but even a blind man she dated for six months before letting him feel her face. The story ends with a sardonic "Maybe I should have told him about my wealth."

The post-colonial, beauty-myth messages are subtle. What really stands out is a strong, intelligent woman with character trying to make her way through the world, but constantly having the label of 'Ugliness' weighing her down - and how tragically suckful that is.

How did the class respond? They thought she was an idiot for trying to "define herself by a relationship" - completely missing that she courted a broke blind man, because his blindness allowed him to acknowledge who she was on the inside... at least until he touched her face (and for the record, she felt guilty for the deception).

These same kids would think that Gay & Straight Wife (or w/e) was beautiful, but called this diamond a cubic zirconium. I have nothing but contempt for these little shits. That's why I'm not a psychiatrist.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 8 (10 votes cast)
It's hard to get that to... (Below threshold)

February 9, 2010 8:11 AM | Posted by fraise: | Reply

It's hard to get that to happen when his Staff Of Unreasoning and Hyperbole is pressed up against her coccyx while she's trying to go to sleep.

This woman should have a scarlet "ME" on her shirt. What makes me happy? What do I want?

Demodenise beat me to the punch with the marriage proposal! But I'm proposing for the sense of humor used to deride heart-numbing nonsense, not for the Valium.

Yeah, joking with the proposal (given the subject matter it's meant as a compliment), serious with the appreciation.

Most online dating sites promote the very self-centric problems you rightly criticize, because you know how searches for compatibility work? Age, height, weight, eye color and body type are the main criteria. It's asking for superficiality. Of the numerous personality traits you can choose on meetic (Europe's Match.com), you can only select ONE. Hobbies? Types of music? Movie genres? Choose as many as you want. Personality traits? Just one! *headdesk* So it's useless to search for them. Most are practically meaningless anyway. ("Calm", "lively", "cheerful", "timid", "funny"... big differences between high on pot funny, Saturday Night Live funny, Staff of Unreasoning funny, et cetera.)

What was supposed to be a filter to help give a boost for real-life relationships to form, has instead turned into a filter through which people see relationships. Sigh. Wear dark sunglasses long enough, and you start to forget how to adapt to true sunlight; goodness forbid they be tinted, you start thinking those grey mountains really are purple...

(It comes down to the individual; this one here finished her short swim in the waters of the major paid online dating site here a couple weeks ago, 78 euros lighter, that was the most basic option, but ah well, such was the price of a clearer realization of some important interpersonal values. I'm happier single, in real, live human interactions. Great single guy's and my paths converge someday, we hit it off, he thinks I'm awesome, I think he's awesome, Something Something Coccyx enjoyable, then, awesome.)

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 8 (10 votes cast)
I like the discrepan... (Below threshold)

February 9, 2010 8:30 AM | Posted by Mark Tyrrell: | Reply


I like the discrepancy between what people (men/women) think they should find attractive or feel to be important and what they actually do. Don't bother about his height, wealth, animal magnitism etc.

Unrealistic utopian ideas of chivalrous shining armored macho/sensitive rich, happy ever afterism VS settling for someone because they happen to have a pulse and be vaguely aligned to the gender you’re interested in.

The dangers of simplistic utopianism VS being with someone who doesn't really do it for us. DO these simple ideas really warrant a book?

This isn't a book I'd want to settle for if it really doesn't have any more sophisticated ideas than the ones outlined above.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 12 (12 votes cast)
But . . . but . . . isn't h... (Below threshold)

February 9, 2010 10:50 AM | Posted by John Doe: | Reply

But . . . but . . . isn't her article mainly about the need to move AWAY from being too picky and self-centered? About the need to accept other people for who they are, without being perfectionist about it?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (6 votes cast)
As they say, "epic win." <b... (Below threshold)

February 9, 2010 11:09 AM | Posted by Mae: | Reply

As they say, "epic win."
I'm seeing more of this from my mid-30's female friends, who are starting to get that wild-eyed desperation. I suppose I am, too, but articles like hers just make me want to stab things.
Still, the last paragraph of your post does cause me some introspection.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 10 (10 votes cast)
"It's going to be a grim da... (Below threshold)

February 9, 2010 12:40 PM | Posted by Dave: | Reply

"It's going to be a grim day when the world is run by a generation that doesn't mean anything but what it's seen on TV."

Sow how can this be fixed? Would it be prudent to raise children without access to television for the first decade or so of their lives?

I mean, it seems to work well for the few people I know who weren't raised on mass media. There was one woman (whom I must admit has a great personality) whom I've gotten to know over the past few months. She was exposed to so many different things as a child (religion, science, literature, art, music, etc) and was taught how to perform and utilize them to enhance her life, rather than simply absorb facts.

Is that the key to breaking narcissism?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 10 (10 votes cast)
fscking awesome man! i love... (Below threshold)

February 9, 2010 2:07 PM | Posted by the0ther: | Reply

fscking awesome man! i loved this: "Your problem is you believed it. My problem is you're right." i have a lot more i could copy & paste in here but what's the point in that?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (2 votes cast)
I remember liking Ned & Sta... (Below threshold)

February 9, 2010 2:18 PM | Posted by John: | Reply

I remember liking Ned & Stacy

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (2 votes cast)
"a book contaminates only i... (Below threshold)

February 9, 2010 3:55 PM | Posted by the0ther: | Reply

"a book contaminates only its readers, but an article in The Atlantic makes it ok for intelligent people in general to think like this. That makes her wrong ideas dangerous."

i also wanted to rant briefly about this. it's so true. can we actually call these types of folks "intelligent" though? a bunch of credentialists. a bunch of signifier-waving asshats. i bet these people quietly masturbate while gazing deeply into the eyes of their doctoral degrees.

i like the debate and i like that there are people on the other side, but eventually they need to wake the fuck up and admit they're wrong.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 16 (16 votes cast)
<a href="http://jezebel.com... (Below threshold) My guess is that the online... (Below threshold)

February 9, 2010 10:00 PM | Posted, in reply to fraise's comment, by demodenise: | Reply

My guess is that the online dating sites grew in popularity as a symptom of the narcissim Alone is describing, not a cause of it.

If people weren't turned on by the idea that we *could* pick our mates a la carte, even just a little, there'd be no need for online dating sites at all.

We'd be meeting and falling in love with the people that we encounter in our daily lives. . .because love is something that takes more effort than picking someone out of a line-up.

My guess (and I'm absolutely not a math/statistics person, or I'd go find some data to back this up) is that the marriage rate has decreased over the same period of time that the enrollment in online dating services has increased.

By extension, the divorce rate hasn't decreased because fewer people's marriages are breaking up, it's probably decreased because there are fewer people getting married in the first place.

Why are fewer people getting married? Because they haven't found the "right" person yet. Or, to quote Gottlieb, they haven't found "the right Mr. Right."

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (4 votes cast)
Wow, she is a pretty fcked ... (Below threshold)

February 10, 2010 12:14 AM | Posted, in reply to Jezebel's comment, by Just Read Jezebel link: | Reply

Wow, she is a pretty fcked up individual.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
Wow, this is insightful and... (Below threshold)

February 10, 2010 8:38 AM | Posted by mamacrass: | Reply

Wow, this is insightful and well written. Thank you for taking a look at this crazy person that people for some reason are actually listening to.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
For the purpose of redefini... (Below threshold)

February 10, 2010 9:39 AM | Posted by GT: | Reply

For the purpose of redefining ourselves in these uncertain times, I propose the following:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlGIVt8BqUo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=youLDkgkBms&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTt6Fqrj-8A&feature=related

I don't know why, but these commercials struck a chord with me.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -2 (2 votes cast)
Good thing The Last Psychia... (Below threshold)

February 10, 2010 11:08 AM | Posted, in reply to Jezebel's comment, by anonymous coward: | Reply

Good thing The Last Psychiatrist is more inclusive of the comments he publishes than jezebel or yours wouldn't appear here. He even publishes comments that disagree with his position -perish the thought- and comments sans expletives. The horror! To whit, I think it is Jezebel that could teach Gottlieb a thing or two about controlling media messages to say nothing of providing one-sided discourse.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Awww, I wasn't going to rea... (Below threshold)

February 10, 2010 7:13 PM | Posted by Lexi: | Reply

Awww, I wasn't going to read the book anyway, but only because I interpreted the content to be something I already knew based on the title-- that we should give up the crush on the day dream marriage and settle for a real person with flaws with whom which a relationship would take *gasp* work to make it satisfying for both parties. I guess I was wrong about what she meant by settle.

As for "you can never have a good relationship with anyone when your focus is the relationship." and "There's a human being there who existed well before you got to them, and they weren't built for you or your needs or your parents or your future dreams as an actor. If you want to be happy with someone then your body and mind have to instinctively adapt to their happiness. If you're not ready for this kind of sacrifice, then you're simply not ready."

The way I conceptualize things, I'm not sure the two are mutually exclusive. I get that to focus on whether or not you are in a relationship is bad-- ie if being in a relationship gives you value of some kind. But in some ways the relationship is a third entity. There is you, there is this other person, and there is you and this other person together, ie the relationship. What is best for you or the other person isn't always good for the relationship, and what is good for the relationship may not be good for one or both of you long term. But it may be too, depending on goals.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 6 (6 votes cast)
Hm. As a hypnotist, I have... (Below threshold)

February 11, 2010 2:20 AM | Posted by Conrad: | Reply

Hm. As a hypnotist, I have a similar-but-different perspective. I find your take a little hostile, although I substantially agree with your values. (My name links to my post on Gottlieb's article; an online friend there linked here.)

I'm about a decade younger than Gottlieb, and it's been very interesting to watch the power dynamic in dating change over time. It took a great deal of work to get women's attention when I was a kid. Now I find they work to get mine.

I tend to date young. Not always. But when women hit 35 they do get that desperate latch-on-to-any-warm-body gleam in their eyes, which isn't really what I'm looking for.

Ladies, the ugly politically incorrect truth is that you're at your most beautiful between the ages of 17 and 24. Enjoy it; make use of it; get married young and have lots of babies if that's your thing. Young mothers are beautiful in a way that 40-year-old sperm borrowers aren't quite.

And you'll get to see more of your grandkids and tell them about the romance you had when you were young and beautiful.

In my opinion, Gottlieb's generation of feminists really does suffer from deeply flawed instruction. And it has hurt the idealistic ones the hardest. Nothing to be hostile toward her about. She's doing her best.

Conrad.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -22 (46 votes cast)
[After reading the Jezebel ... (Below threshold)

February 11, 2010 2:41 AM | Posted by Conrad: | Reply

[After reading the Jezebel interview with Gottlieb's ex]:

Or maybe she's not doing her best.

Hm.

Anyway, this is what I think she missed:

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Carol Burnett kinda nailed ... (Below threshold)

February 11, 2010 2:20 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Carol Burnett kinda nailed this in "Mildred Fierce." Hilarious.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP_UtPcjvp4

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
"I actually had to pull my ... (Below threshold)

February 11, 2010 2:52 PM | Posted by ETR: | Reply

"I actually had to pull my car over to the side of the road when I read this..."

Seriously? I hope you weren't actually driving and reading.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (3 votes cast)
Totally off topic, but I wo... (Below threshold)

February 11, 2010 6:19 PM | Posted by Iron: | Reply

Totally off topic, but I wonder if you could write about the dangers of EXCESSIVE validation?
I think websites like this one :
http://eqi.org/invalid.htm#Introduction

Do a disservice for mankind saying that we should validate every feeling, that every person has. The author and his following goes as far as suggesting this as cure for abusive relationships. Obviously he never withnessed/lived with a narcissist or a borderline, or is one. Since your have a keen eye for psychological dynamics I wondered if you could read about the theme and write about.

In any case keep the good work!

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Please e-mail this post to ... (Below threshold)

February 11, 2010 10:25 PM | Posted by Sean: | Reply

Please e-mail this post to Gottlieb. And post a link to it in the comments for the Amazon.com entry of her book.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
"There's a human being ther... (Below threshold)

February 12, 2010 10:04 AM | Posted by brainchild: | Reply

"There's a human being there who existed well before you got to them, and they weren't built for you or your needs or your parents or your future dreams as an actor. If you want to be happy with someone then your body and mind have to instinctively adapt to their happiness. If you're not ready for this kind of sacrifice, then you're simply not ready."

Good post. However I'd add that both people in a relationship need to be willing to make that kind of sacrifice. When one person in a couple is a narcissist, instinctively adapting to the narcissist's happiness and being willing to sacrifice can be pretty destructive to the other person (not to mention confusing). One can definitely argue that the person adapting to the narcissist isn't loving (or seeing) the real person but narcissists do go to a great deal of effort to create a false persona that can take a while to be revealed. If one has a healthy narcissism/self love or self respect, you'll get the hell out when it becomes apparent that the other person doesn't actually care but that can still take a while. Are we all vulnerable to narcissists? Or is there always a narcissistic disturbance at work in those who fall for a narcissist?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
"I actually had to pull my ... (Below threshold)

February 12, 2010 12:01 PM | Posted by Tourniquet Sobriquet XIV: | Reply

"I actually had to pull my car over to the side of the road when I read this."

What were you doing reading in your car?

(1) Did you mean this, perchance?

"I actually had to pull my car over to the side of the road when I heard this in the audiobooks version."

(2) Or does your answer run something like this?

"I was using a metaphor."

If (1), then you might want to modify your piece so as not to be nonsensical.

If (2), then you of all people (since you presume to judge others' writing) should be aware of the comical effect of using a simple action metaphor in the middle of describing a simple action:

*She made her own bed and then had to mount that stage.*

Similarly, to apply this potentially grisly error to places:

*It would be a cold day in Hell before she'd join her mother in Heaven.*

Your entries are often commendably informative and insightful, which is why I try to read them. But they could use a bit of editorial care. Also: a moment's perspective would prevent you from sometimes painting yourself into corners.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -10 (14 votes cast)
Alone, why do you read the ... (Below threshold)

February 12, 2010 1:40 PM | Posted by purpletempest: | Reply

Alone, why do you read the Atlantic if it's so awful? You haven't mentioned any articles in it you actually like. Is it just for blog fodder?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
I agree. Knowing whether or... (Below threshold)

February 12, 2010 2:47 PM | Posted, in reply to Tourniquet Sobriquet XIV's comment, by Details: | Reply

I agree. Knowing whether or not Alone was reading and driving or not is extremely relevant. Not because I care about Alone's safety, but because he needs to keep posting material for my reading pleasure. And it needs to be perfect. I don't care if he has a lightbulb moment about a post and tries to put his thoughts together as quickly as possible before they disappear. Even if you're typing something on your blackberry after 5 rum shooters while waiting to board on an airplane, you have no excuse not to make grammatical errors. All in all, structure is always more important than content.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (6 votes cast)
Uhhh, "at you're most beaut... (Below threshold)

February 13, 2010 3:28 PM | Posted, in reply to Conrad's comment, by KWL: | Reply

Uhhh, "at you're most beautiful"? Sorry but I've soul searched often to avoid kissing the arse of a "politically correct" sympathy in this arena and I still just don't agree.

I'm in my early 40's and have known this for at least the last 10 years, but I just don't find a women younger than 33 or so to be more beautiful than a beautiful women older than this urban myth of a Golden Mean of beauty.

Or, perhaps more accurately, this urban myth based on biological studies that are lifted inappropriately far from their basis and specific context and served up as a fundamental therefore overarching truth.

Are younger woman beautiful? Absolutely. Is that a part of evolution? Absolutely. In this age of care and health are women after 24 less beautiful or even past their prime? Absolutely not.

Perhaps more importantly, if the entire society wasn't fed this repeatedly as a categorical truth I think we'd see far fewer desperate 30 or 40 something women.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 21 (25 votes cast)
I'd agree with KWL here, si... (Below threshold)

February 13, 2010 8:52 PM | Posted, in reply to Conrad's comment, by brainchild: | Reply

I'd agree with KWL here, simply being young doesn't make a woman beautiful - there are plenty of ugly young women and beautiful older women. It's a bit like guys who think all blonds are beautiful, even the hideously ugly fake blond girls. It's object worship that's all about what the signifier says about the guy accessorizing their identity with a blond object and which has nothing to with the actual person who happens to be blond. It's just more narcissism.

Also, Gottlieb is hardly a feminist.

I'd propose that younger women are generally using older men - for cash, self esteem, to horrify their parents - and don't actually seek a real or lasting relationship with an (emotionally unavailable, possibly narcissistic) old guy most of the time. Hence no demands or desire for anything other than the cash, boost to the self esteem or parental horror. An older woman may be seeking more from a man around her own age and ones who are just looking for fun are probably dating younger guys because it's a better sexual fit. (A woman hits her sexual prime and peak desire in her early-30s, guys in their early 20s.)

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 13 (13 votes cast)
Nothing intrinsically wrong... (Below threshold)

February 13, 2010 9:13 PM | Posted by brainchild: | Reply

Nothing intrinsically wrong with being blond, of course. It's just weird that some people want to date a hair colour/age/shoe and not a person. It's an object fetish.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 6 (6 votes cast)
Mr Alone, I am a young kid ... (Below threshold)

February 14, 2010 6:49 AM | Posted by Boy: | Reply

Mr Alone, I am a young kid who reads your blog frequently, and I have to tell you something. The time will come soon for my teacher to ask me to express my form of idealism in this world by asking me to write a composition on 'my hero', and if you get a chance to read it, you will find you, the mysterious last psychiatrist to be the only contender as the writing subject. I thank you for your existence, my hero.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 9 (9 votes cast)
while your criticism of her... (Below threshold)

February 14, 2010 9:27 AM | Posted by Trei: | Reply

while your criticism of her and her writing is very good, as always, I'm not sure what your point really is here. why do you think she "failed"? other than "she's a horrible person"...

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (5 votes cast)
Love the articles, and I th... (Below threshold)

February 15, 2010 9:19 AM | Posted by Marcos: | Reply

Love the articles, and I think you're right but i can't help but asking... Do you actually read while driving?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -3 (3 votes cast)
This article is full of bia... (Below threshold)

February 17, 2010 9:18 AM | Posted by Jon: | Reply

This article is full of biased crap. It takes a lot of things out of context and forms an argument against a point that was never made. ie, strawman. Not that anyone will care, but check out this link:
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/Finding+Right+Front/2562816/story.html
I'm a guy who you may think is unnatractive and hopes a hot girl will settle for me. Not so, I can actually relate strongly to all you females who have standards too high. I dont think I'll be changing this anytime soon either... I will still chase the tall slender brunettes with long arms, a tall neck and a million other criteria that needs to be met... Thats why I found that link to be a good read.

ps. if there are any tall brunettes with long arms and a sexy long neck out there, let me know.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -12 (12 votes cast)
Jon - You're kind of provin... (Below threshold)

February 17, 2010 10:25 AM | Posted, in reply to Jon's comment, by brainchild: | Reply

Jon - You're kind of proving Alone's point. You're more interested in chasing a specific type of object than you are in actually having a relationship with a person. It's kind of interesting that you know that this object you're chasing is out of your league ("standards too high") but choose to chase a fantasy object than have a real relationship with a person. What scares you about intimacy and being human so much? And why would any "tall brunette with long arms and neck" be at all interested in you since you're not interested in actual intimacy or them as a person?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 14 (14 votes cast)
Brainchild, You missed my p... (Below threshold)

February 17, 2010 1:12 PM | Posted by Jon: | Reply

Brainchild, You missed my point completeley. I was trying to convey the flaws in our human nature that make us try and chase something better all the time. I merely acknowledged the weaknesses I have that come from being human that make me want something that is "good enough for me" when in fact I would be more happy with someone that suits me. I was being ironic when i implied my strict criteria... ironic because such a girl does not exist (come on... tall neck???) and even if she did, it does not mean we are compatible. Hence, I should forget about my ridiculous standards as Gottlieb says and look for a girl who I am attracted to, and I get along with. And if its right, love will follow. To answer your question about being "intimate and human" I think everyone is scared of that because it makes us so vulnerable. But thats why it feels so special and hard to break once you get there...

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (5 votes cast)
This post is fantastic. Ple... (Below threshold)

February 17, 2010 4:13 PM | Posted by Jane: | Reply

This post is fantastic. Please, please write some books or articles so we can buy them and spread the word about this wonderful thing you have to offer called "good sense."

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
Jon - Ah, it wasn't at all ... (Below threshold)

February 17, 2010 6:41 PM | Posted, in reply to Jon's comment, by brainchild: | Reply

Jon - Ah, it wasn't at all clear that you were being ironic. I think you've misunderstood Gottlieb and why she's being critiqued as being narcissistic. She's not advocating actually appreciating someone and loving them for who they are rather than how they make her look, she's advocating using someone you don't really care about or appreciate to get what you want (not being older and alone/unmarried). She's still viewing the guy as an object to be used, not a person to be loved and appreciated. She's just becoming aware that her own powers to manipulate and attract a man have diminished as she's aged. (Which is mainly because she's not offering something real, only a surface.) Also, like all narcissists she's blaming external factors for her own inability to have achieved what she wanted (feminism and society, for instance).

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 6 (6 votes cast)
The scare quotes around het... (Below threshold)

February 19, 2010 9:33 PM | Posted by ackackadios: | Reply

The scare quotes around heterosexual and woman are a nice touch.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
I do agree that it's stupid... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2010 12:54 AM | Posted by Rome: | Reply

I do agree that it's stupid to focus more on what you don't want than on what you DO want.

Having said that, where do you draw the line between "deliberately using someone as an object to fulfill your needs" and simply being attracted to someone because they push your buttons, some of which will be the needs we all have?

Let's not kid ourselves, we use people to fulfill our needs all the time. For most of history, marriage was less about romance than about survival/economic advantage. Should we pretend this isn't true? None of us should approach our lives with a plan, love should just find us when we're ready to be altruistic? In a perfect world, sure...

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 5 (5 votes cast)
An amusing and interesting ... (Below threshold)

February 27, 2010 10:26 PM | Posted by Nivek: | Reply

An amusing and interesting essay on Lori Gottlieb's various publications, with some terrific black comedy moments (I love to read while driving). Having once been married to this "type" of person I can say that it is best that she does not find a mate. Some people are just too self absorbed to be married. On the other hand, I think that Gottlieb's writings are more of the "train wreck" school, than of serious self-help literature. Publishers choose to publish her work, and to some extent she choses to live it and write it bravely, to sell magazines and books. So in defense of Ms. Gottlieb, who is obviously a bright women, perhaps in exhibiting her public persona she isn't writing this as a guide to finding a mate, as much as a "how-not-to-do-it." And I would further venture that most intelligent readers would see it this way as well.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (4 votes cast)
i have not read the book or... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 11:01 PM | Posted by otisred: | Reply

i have not read the book or the atlantic article but am pretty confident that my catch phrase of the month "i'd want to scratch her eyeballs out" would be evoked if i were to get more than the taste that your commentary provides. it sounds as thought gottlieb has transformed a notion i love into a self absorbed business transaction. i prefer the notion proposed by one of my most favorite postmodern philosopher's andrew boyd:
Loving the wrong person

Let our scars fall in love.
--Galway Kinnell

We're all seeking that special person who is right for us. But if you've been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there's no right person, just different flavors of wrong. Why is this? Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way. But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness. And it isn't until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems--the ones that make you truly who you are--that we're ready to find a lifelong mate. Only then do you finally know what you're looking for. You're looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the right wrong person--someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, "This is the problem I want to have."

I will find that special person who is wrong for me in just the right way.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 9 (9 votes cast)
"Or, perhaps more accuratel... (Below threshold)

March 12, 2010 11:18 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"Or, perhaps more accurately, this urban myth based on biological studies that are lifted inappropriately far from their basis and specific context and served up as a fundamental therefore overarching truth.

Are younger woman beautiful? Absolutely. Is that a part of evolution? Absolutely. In this age of care and health are women after 24 less beautiful or even past their prime? Absolutely not."

While makeup and plastic surgery and pampering the body with creams and whatnot can go some distance, at the end of the day youth is the single most constant factor in male sexual attraction towards women around the globe in all sorts of varied cultures, which makes sense when you realize that 17-30 or so is a woman's peak reproductive age, whereas male reproductive fitness generally doesn't decline with age. It's too bad Nature couldn't read the feminist pamphlet.

Humans are animals. Their preferences and sexual strategies are heavily, heavily shaped by evolutionary forces. Humans are also sexually dimorphic just like a ton of other mammals thanks to sexual selection. Its always amusing to see people who would smugly deride creationists deny the power of evolution themselves when it conflicts with their ideology.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -2 (12 votes cast)
Anonymous - "Humans are ani... (Below threshold)

March 12, 2010 1:05 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Anonymous - "Humans are animals. Their preferences and sexual strategies are heavily, heavily shaped by evolutionary forces."

While this is partly true, human sexual preference is also shaped by factors other than just procreation since procreation isn't the only function of sex for humans. (Once again, it's worth looking at our ape cousins to see what role sex plays for them - bonobos use sex for reasons entirely unrelated to procreation.) That's why some people have a sexual preference for their own gender (though there may be evolutionary factors at work here), for people their own age or even older, for women with tiny feet, for children and infants, and so on. It's not "feminism" to recognize that human sexual preferences are also shaped by culture/environment and other factors, and not only some crude idea about evolution and simplistic ideas about the function of human sexual preferences.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 11 (15 votes cast)
No, i cn't believe you... ... (Below threshold)

March 24, 2010 8:35 AM | Posted by HERTHA: | Reply

No, i cn't believe you... humans are not animals at all. who else can agree with me?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -9 (11 votes cast)
waau,, this sounds interest... (Below threshold)

March 24, 2010 8:47 AM | Posted by nelago: | Reply

waau,, this sounds interesting! U are definitely correct Hertha;people are not animals, if that could be the case than we suppose not to have control over animals. how that could be?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -4 (6 votes cast)
This post is beautiful, and... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2010 10:50 AM | Posted by Lesath: | Reply

This post is beautiful, and I thank you for writing it. The last paragraph especially resonated, and reminded me of an E-mail I sent to an ex-boyfriend who threatened to break up with me over something trivial:

"There are not three entities here. We are not two people who equally love a pet called 'our relationship' and I will not acquiesce to you if you hold a knife to its throat or threaten to stop feeding it."

Pardon the self-aggrandizement; I just want to emphasize how much of a relief it is to see that sentiment expressed by someone else, against the tide of vapid "relationship tips" and generalizations about the sexes that are somehow supposed to help you relate to individual human beings.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (4 votes cast)
I think Gottlieb's book has... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2010 4:23 PM | Posted by Davor: | Reply

I think Gottlieb's book has a great deal of value.
Along with Evan Marc Katz on his blog, I find it hard to disagree with Gottlieb's assertion that, for women who want their own kids, it may be a better long-term decision to snap up Mr. Good Enough at 32 than to hope for Mr. Perfect at 42.
Mr Perfect will be looking for a younger woman, no matter how perfect you think you are...And of course there are exceptions in my own family and with Mr. Katz himself, who married a woman older than himself.
For women who don't want to marry and for women who don't want their own biological children, Gottlieb has no real argument, and gives no advice for settling, beyond painting a picture of her own dissatisfaction with dating and singledom; however, her discussion of arranged marriages, of the sense of entitlement shared among her friends/cohort, and of the hazards of trusting 'chemistry' are and should be chastening to women I know who are not especially focused on having their own kids but do want a long-term relationship. And perhaps some women participating in this discussion without having read the book....
Some of the most important points in Gottlieb's article -- and her book -- address the failure to understand one's own essential NEEDS not wants in a relationship, and that expecting _all_ needs to be met is fine, but not all wants. The unbelievably depressing and hilarious recitation of reasons she and her friends dumped various men constitute a proof positive that she and her sources were indeed too picky -- in the pursuit of inessential qualities and in a delusionally impractical way, given the age-associated decline of a woman's desirability to "good men."

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -3 (7 votes cast)
Except women can have their... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2010 6:14 PM | Posted, in reply to Davor's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Except women can have their own biological children without marrying someone they don't really care about or like (let alone love). I guess the question starts to be why the woman wants her own biological children? Is it pure narcissism and all about what she wants - a child object - with no consideration for the actual needs of the child (who isn't just an object)? And what if she gets married and finds out that she can't have children with the guy she married only so she could have children? And why's getting married important? Is the guy just a sperm machine and money dispenser? An object to be used to get another object that can be used as a source of narcissistic supply? The world may just be a better place if people like Gottlieb don't actually get to reproduce themselves or bring children into the world they're simply going to use as a narcissistic supply. Pity the poor child (particularly one born a boy) that grows up in a family with Gottlieb as a mother and the poor abused sap that was convinced to play house with her.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
Sarah Jessica Parker plays ... (Below threshold)

May 14, 2010 5:17 AM | Posted by H.S: | Reply

Sarah Jessica Parker plays Carrie Bradshaw; Candace Bushnell is the writer of Sex and the City (originally a book.)

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Oh yea, I almost forgot to ... (Below threshold)

May 14, 2010 5:23 AM | Posted by H.S: | Reply

Oh yea, I almost forgot to mention why this desperate woman should not be bashed.
1. Letting go of stereotypical ideals in terms of marriage and relationships open up the door for good hearted simple people to stand a chance.
2. Childish dreams of scoring a buff rich romeo to spend forever with are just that; childish.
3. In this modern day world women do not have to be impregnated by the strongest male of the pack to have a successfull and secure family. 5'6 baldy can pay the mortgage and install an alarm system in the same way that Tito Ortiz can.
4. Happiness may really be brainwashing yourself into thriving off of your own "new found way of life." Let her be, she's probably more stable than any of us reading this article.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (1 votes cast)
Conrad, there's one problem... (Below threshold)

May 21, 2010 3:17 AM | Posted, in reply to Conrad's comment, by DarkLayers: | Reply

Conrad, there's one problem with your rx: some marriages are more likely to succeed when people are a bit older. You cite the age range of 17-24 as most appealing. There's solid evidence that getting married young is not always the route to a healthy marriage.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_23/sr23_022.pdf

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (4 votes cast)
Lies! There are no women on... (Below threshold)

July 9, 2010 4:45 AM | Posted, in reply to gen y's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Lies! There are no women on the internet!

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
When I read the article, I ... (Below threshold)

July 16, 2010 8:47 AM | Posted by Amanda: | Reply

When I read the article, I read that she basically says women can settle so they can have babies. She wants a traditional family. She wants kids. Thus, she has to settle.

I guess those of us who don't want kids get to find the person who actually works with us rather than someone who settles for us, and us for them.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 6 (6 votes cast)
What's interesting is not o... (Below threshold)

February 4, 2011 12:51 PM | Posted by Tim: | Reply

What's interesting is not only that this is narcissism, but that it's precisely Ovid's myth of Narcissus from the Metamorphoses. Narcissus is unable to love Echo (she actually gets the "narcissistic injury", not him... I suppose she was short, balding and poorly dressed). Eventually one of his injured women comlains to Nemesis who entraps Narcissus in his own solispsism... the longer he's there the harder it is to leave... he withers (per Ovid, per older authors he kills himself). The most important (and postmodern if you will) detail is that Narcissus is not in love with himself, but that he is in love with the image of himself. It's this dilemma which entraps him.

We've known this for 2000 years, that's why some monk bothered to rescue this text from his burning monastery while Vikings were sacking his village... repeat scenario annually for fifteen centuries. What's interesting is how little we read Ovid and how much we develop systems of psychotherapy which poorly approximate his insights (it's a personal thing that we need another grand therapeutic system like we need another theocracy in central asia or another hole in the ozone layer). I recall Marx commenting that everything in history happens twice, first as a tragedy and second as a farce. Nota bene: we're the farce.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 7 (7 votes cast)
This is an amazing article,... (Below threshold)

February 23, 2011 3:12 PM | Posted by Jon: | Reply

This is an amazing article, you'd be surprised (or maybe with such keen insight you wouldn't be) how much of this applies to relationships where the members are in their mid to late 20's and have suddenly found themselves with married friends for the first time. Ridiculous and obnoxious questions about "settling" for someone abound more and more frequently.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
TLP, I enjoyed reading this... (Below threshold)

March 2, 2011 9:34 PM | Posted by AJ: | Reply

TLP, I enjoyed reading this essay. I wondered if you've ever come across a book called,"Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl - A Woman's Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship," by Sherri Argov

http://www.amazon.com/Why-Men-Love-Bitches-Relationship/dp/1580627560/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299118612&sr=1-1

This book is the antithesis of the one you speak of here. It teaches woman in a matter of speaking that the only way to get a man and keep him is to be a bitch.

It's a popular book that has been featured on The View and The O'Reilly Factor. If you have heard of this book, please consider writing an opinion piece on it. It's not just that I'm interested in what you have to say about it but I think other readers of your blog would too. Thanks.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (3 votes cast)
The whole notion of "settli... (Below threshold)

July 1, 2011 6:27 AM | Posted by Loiora: | Reply

The whole notion of "settling" is unbelievably condescending. The best way to make people interested in you is to be interested in them. And the best way to be genuinely interested in others is to value them at least as much as yourself. The problem isn't personality or perfectionism; it's values and perspective, both of which Gottlieb apparently lacks.

And as for wanting "to have the infrastructure in place to have a family," there are all kinds of ways to have "infrastructure" that don't include mediocre parents in a bland marriage. Perhaps Gottlieb should just find her kid a couple of gay "uncles" and call it quits.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 9 (9 votes cast)
straight from rush limbaugh... (Below threshold)

August 14, 2011 1:26 AM | Posted by kirkj: | Reply

straight from rush limbaugh bitchfest about the liberal media sprinkled with a psych 101 informed lecture about how everything's really your/her/someone else's fault

how many hours did you spend researching this lady you're so disgusted with and why did you go to such lengths to share your obsession with us

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -7 (9 votes cast)
I was surprised that people... (Below threshold)

November 7, 2011 10:03 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Jay: | Reply

I was surprised that people didn't mention this earlier. If she's that self-absorbed, the probability of her being a good parent to her child is not high.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (3 votes cast)
So here's Lori Gottlieb in ... (Below threshold)

December 5, 2011 12:24 AM | Posted by Emily: | Reply

So here's Lori Gottlieb in a nutshell:

She has a strong desire for a relationship; she wants love and companionship. I respect that, I feel the same way.

When she talks about "settling" she's really talking about letting go of some of your shallow expectations so you might have a real connection with someone. She's not perfect at this but she's working on it. She's not saying to marry someone you don't love.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -4 (6 votes cast)
"If you want to be happy wi... (Below threshold)

February 28, 2012 1:03 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"If you want to be happy with someone then your body and mind have to instinctively adapt to their happiness."

Really good.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (3 votes cast)
Read this interview by Gott... (Below threshold)

June 16, 2012 11:16 PM | Posted by Ray: | Reply

Read this interview by Gottlieb's ex http://m.jezebel.com/5467630/email-interview-with-lori-gottliebs-ex-tim

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
Keep telling yourself, that... (Below threshold)

November 8, 2012 11:44 PM | Posted, in reply to brainchild's comment, by iknowexactly: | Reply

Keep telling yourself, that young/same age millionaire is coming..any week..any month now...

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -2 (2 votes cast)
I'm sorry. The dissonance. ... (Below threshold)

November 9, 2012 8:29 AM | Posted by Rajan: | Reply

I'm sorry. The dissonance.

Some of the things you write are for me living proof of a mind working out of love. So that one is fixed. You spend a fair share of your space on truth and justice. The quote following is quite true.

But you don't know who I am. So why would you embarrass yourself by making ridiculous assertions about what you cannot know?

You're touching something important. I should stop it and you should?

As you stated yourself, it's the refusal (to touch it). You are devaluing someone, every day. Not that I claim to be speaking from the higher ground, but nevertheless it is true.

It doesn't fit. Should I make it fit?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -2 (2 votes cast)
You want something... (Below threshold)

November 9, 2012 1:13 PM | Posted by Никто: | Reply

You want something uplifting, so here you go: you can never have a good relationship with anyone when your focus is the relationship. There's a human being there who existed well before you got to them, and they weren't built for you or your needs or your parents or your future dreams as an actor. If you want to be happy with someone then your body and mind have to instinctively adapt to their happiness. If you're not ready for this kind of sacrifice, then you're simply not ready.

Has it occurred to you that 'adapting your body and mind to their happiness' is the precise definition of focusing on the relationship?

You are falling into your own trap: confusing focus on an imaginary construct for focus on the real thing; what most people mean when they 'focus on the relationship' is that they obsess over their little fantasy construct, when in reality it means to prioritise your collective happiness over your personal narrative.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -2 (2 votes cast)
Nice words.It wou... (Below threshold)

November 9, 2012 1:45 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Nice words.

It would be encouraging if you stepped forward. I'm not looking for an ending, but that is what I see.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)

Post a Comment


Live Comment Preview

December 20, 2014 11:26 AM | Posted by Anonymous: