07 October 2008

If I ever see you reading this book, I will slap the shit out of you.

Well, maybe I won't slap the shit out of you. But at the very least, you'll get a look of Incredible Disappointment, combined with a shaking of my head. Because I just don't understand.

The source of my disdain today? A discussion on Jezebel on a book about tricking your boyfriend into proposing. The Get-Your-Man-to-Marry-You Plan: Buying the Cow in the Age of Free Milk is written by Lori Uscher-Pines, a 29-year-old public health researcher, so you know we're getting this from a very wise relationship expert.

In an New York Post article, Uscher-Pines reveals her top five dos and don'ts. The don'ts are pretty much common sense. The Do List, however?

No. 1: Do talk about expectations.

Uh, no shit.

No. 2: Do spend time with all those marrieds who seem so crazy happy in love. "You want peer pressure to work for your advantage," she says. "Men get turned on to things when they see their peers doing the same."

Oooh, peer pressure! That's bound to work. I surely don't know a single soul who has never regretted succumbing to peer pressure. Who wouldn't want to get married to a guy who wanted to get married because all of his friends are doing it? Lord knows I wouldn't want a man who does his own thing. Let's just hope for your sake sister, when he see half of your married friends divorcing he doesn't think he needs to follow suit.

No. 3: Do remove the "barrier" he's created, such as not being able to afford the ring, or the house, or the wedding, or you.

Look, if you weren't such a high maintenance bitch, we could have gotten married years ago. Those barriers? They sound like excuses. Don't you think that if you're with someone who truly knows you (and if you're marrying someone, don't you want them to truly know you?), he would know you don't give two shits about a ring or a house or a wedding? Then again, if you're buying this book and taking Uscher-Pines's advice to heart, you probably do care deeply about the ring and the house and the wedding. Sucks to be you.

No. 4: Do create some dependency, you scheming bitch. Ha ha, kidding. But really, do this. "Get him to depend on you a little bit," she says, "and then show him what life is like without this benefit." Cook him a gourmet meal every night and then stop. Pay bills and then stop. Get his car inspected and then stop. You're so bad, you're good!

Rampant inconsistency is fun! It doesn't make you look unstable at all. I swear! He'll think every day with you will be an adventure. But you have to do it long enough to make sure he's become used to your behavior and then suddenly pull the rug out from under him. It's the only way he'll ever learn to appreciate everything you do, and then stop doing, for him. And when he asks why you've suddenly stopped paying the cable/giving blow jobs/making dinner, you're going to have to lie, aren't you? Because I'm pretty sure, "I'm trying to trick you into marrying me," will not really be an acceptable response here.

No. 5: Do initiate a major life change. This means saying you might go to grad school or move to a new city or any kind of "fish or cut bait" decision-inducing measure. Basically, create a negotiation point. "An ultimatum isn't manipulative if you think about it," she says.

An ultimatum is absolutely manipulative. It is direct, for sure. But that doesn't mean it's not manipulative. How would you respond to an ultimatum? I imagine I would either say, "Okay then, fuck off," or I would say "Okay fine, I'll do X," and then grow to resent the person who gave me the ultimatum.

A few of my friends wanted me to give The Boy I Currently Like an ultimatum to ... ask me out or something last summer. I'm still not entirely sure how it was supposed to work. The World's Worst Wing Woman was the instigator, but she had backers. I threw out six weeks as the "Or else!" date because I just wanted to stop talking about it. I don't do ultimatums. They are so not my style. I really fear doing something that might cause someone to resent me down the line. So the six weeks came and went. Another sixish weeks passed and then I decided one day, "I'm just going to ask him." And I did and here we are.

If you need to manipulate and scheme to get your boyfriend to propose to you ... why on earth would you want to marry him? I cannot wrap my head around it. Why is getting married SO IMPORTANT? I'll never understand women who absolutely must get married or their lives will never be complete. Marriage is not the be-all and end-all.

Sometimes this whole discussion makes me feel like I'm crazy. Then I look back on posts like this, about awful marriage proposals, and I read the comments and I know I'm not alone, so I feel a tiny bit better. The whole situation still makes me weep for my gender, though.

PS: Blogger spellcheck recognizes "blow jobs." I never know if it's a compound word or two separate words. Blogger says it's two. Good to know.


Emily said...

"No. 2: Do spend time with all those marrieds who seem so crazy happy in love."

I like how she says they just "seem" happy (true for a lot of marriages I suppose).

Jess said...

I'm surprised there's no caveat about making sure it's couple-time only -- no letting him spend any time alone with married guys, lest they tell him the Awful Truth.

Becca said...

You've got to be fucking kidding me. I just read an article in one of my classes for my Masters in Public Health about how society keeps women down. Not just men, but that women do it too. Um this bitch is case in point. And if she's a public health researcher she took the same damn class.

Jess said...

Society keeps women down? You lie!

Anonymous said...

Oh, no. No. Hells no. Don't get me wrong - I like being married. But if I had to resort to any of those "tips" to "make" him marry me, I'd never be able to look at myself in the mirror again. Nor be able to respect the shithead that let me treat him that way.

Jess said...

That's what I just don't understand -- how could you even want to be with someone you had to manipulate into marrying you?

I really just don't get people sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I laughed at how you pointed out that the man will be getting divorced down the road because of peer pressure if his reasons to get married were due to peer pressure. Hah!

Did I wake up in the wrong century? Is this still 2008? I have to ask because if they're still printing books like this, I really have to wonder.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

jesus h. baldheaded christ on a pogo stick.

this is the same tripe the knot, and later, the nest (because once you are married you must immediately purchase a home and procreate) tries to hock.

fuck that noise. from someone who is married and has rugrats (and NOT because is was a requisite for anything, or because someone tricked me into it, but because it's my life and that's what I want), tricking someone into doing any sort of thing, of this magnitude, is a recipe for disaster.

i'm shocked this crazy bitch got someone to publish this.

watch: next she'll write the follow-up book about how to trick your dopey husband into cheating with your catty best friend so you have a valid reason to dump them both and bleed you man for all he's worth.

I hate people sometimes.

Little Ms Blogger said...

I was married for 12 years (lived with him prior for add'l 3), divorced person and am now getting married this Saturday.

Did I ever "need" to get remarried - NO. I didn't even want to until my fiance (and that was deep into the relationship). After my divorce, I realized that I'd rather be alone and happy then married and miserable.

I never would have accepted the proposal if it wasn't right for the both of us. We're both believe that a good relationship is based on accepting one another, not manipulating, tricking or changing the other.

The author of this book will probably have a best seller on her hands because many women still believe that marriage is the greatest thing in the world; even with the wrong person.

Jess said...

Once again, y'all save the day and restore my faith in women in this country.

Sadly, Christine, they are still printing books like this. And Little Ms. Blogger is absolutely right -- it'll sell like hotcakes. As will her follow-up.

And I'm very glad to hear that the married ladies agree. Not that I would have expected anything else from Classy Broads or anything.

You all make me glad to be a woman.

Jen said...

I bet you anything that Elizabeth Hasselbeck has read this book.

J'Ollie Primitives said...

Oh Mah Gawd.
She must have pulled all of her information and advice straight out of "Good Housekeeping" and "Women's Day" from 50 years ago.
What did polite ladies' magazines call blow jobs 50 years ago???
And why oh why would anybody want to marry a man doltish enough to fall for this b.s????

Jess said...

And really, if she was keeping with the theme, she should have included fake/accidental pregnancy. Isn't that a tried-and-true method of tricking your man into marriage or at the very least, not leaving you?

I'm disappointed, Ms. Uscher-Pines.

Just Roaming The Cities said...

Lame. Lame. Lame. This author sucks.

Jess said...

And sadly, she'll be raking in the bucks.