Lori Gottlieb, an author and commentator on NPR, has come up with a controversial theory. She presents this theory in a new book titled “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough.” Not very appealing, is it? The more I read about this book and about Gottlieb herself, it became even less so.
Gottlieb is a single woman who says she threw away perfectly good relationships in her 20s, only to end up alone in her 30s, according to The Atlantic. Gottlieb states that as women hit their late 30s and early 40s, possibilities for good husbands simply dry up. She is suggesting that instead of holding out for Prince Charming, we accept a guy who isn’t exactly everything we want, even if he is smelly or unattractive.
I think it’s an insult to a partner to only consider him “good enough.” I realize that as women we grow up watching Disney movies and have seen “Pretty Woman” and “The Notebook” too many times, but I think she is not giving women enough credit with these ideas. We know Mr. Right isn’t going to ride up on a white horse. Most women would just be happy to find a man they can enjoy being with and can see having a family with someday.
Gottlieb seems to relay the message that marriage is the end-all and be-all of a woman’s life. Interestingly enough, she herself decided to have a child with the aid of a sperm donor after giving up on finding a husband to have biological children with. Is she bitter about this? Perhaps.
This is 2010, and many women now have fulfilling careers, lots of friends and many other exciting things going on in their lives. The notion of having to find a husband to be happy seems antiquated and outdated. Should a woman be so desperate to couple up that she ends up with a man who would rather watch TV than talk to her or has horrible kids from a previous marriage? According to Gottlieb’s essays, this is what settling is all about.
Settling is unfair to both partners. While I don’t advocate waiting forever for some fairy-tale guy who meets a whole list of qualifications in your head that could never be realistically met, I think it undermines the actual feeling of love and chemistry if you just marry your best male friend or partner with a gay man, a la “Will and Grace,” as Gottlieb talks about in her book.
She seems a little desperate, and although I know there is some truth to what she says, I still don’t buy it. We all know that our marriage prospects are limited as we get older, but Gottlieb says if we wait too long these men will become “damaged goods.” This seems really unfair because we all know the divorce rate, and as you get older there’s a higher chance you could end up with a man that has already been married and has children. These men shouldn’t be discounted.
I’m wondering if the media has made it seem not cool to be single. Even in this day and age, the strongest, most feminist women are depicted as desperate and needing a man. Even some of the most beloved single characters, such as Liz Lemon from “30 Rock” and Miranda and Samantha from “Sex and the City” don’t want to end up alone. I remember an entire episode of “Sex and the City” being about ending up an “old maid” and how undesirable it is.
Bridget Jones was afraid to end up single; she might die alone and get eaten by dogs. This may seem humorous, but is it really reflecting women’s desires to settle for any man since being alone is so unfathomable? This book is feeding into those fears and that desperation. I think ending up alone might just be preferable to living with a man I don’t enjoy or am not attracted to, and no, I will not date a guy who doesn’t like horror movies or read. Call me picky, but I won’t settle for less than that. You shouldn’t either.
Christi Aldridge is a senior strategic communication major from Hillsboro.