First published August 2012
A few years back I found myself with an arm full of dating books and no clue when it came to dating. I wanted that magic formula to make my relationships work (or even just one of them!).
Sorry to report, but there was no magic, guys – though there was some much-needed clear-headedness which I thought was worth revisiting.
The books found their way into my mitts after I’d talked to a friend about my luck in love (or lack thereof). As usual I was lamenting how I hadn’t had a proper date in four years (for the record I don’t count getting drunk with a guy then staggering back to his place. In which case I’d been dating – girls gotta eat. Right, ladies? Anyway…).
She told me I needed to turn my ‘relationship karma’ around, gave me a handful of book titles (He’s Just Not That Into You, The Rules, Why Men Love Bitches and Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man) and sent me on my way.
I bought all the books she recommended, devoured each one in a couple of days and made notes (of course).
Here are my thoughts…
Of the four, I liked this one the best (Greg is a comic so I would say that). It’s scribed in the format of a very direct agony aunt replying to her lovelorn readers and pulls no punches. Read this then watch the film (it’s on Amazon Prime at the mo, in 2020) – I’ve watched it twice – and it’s an education all on its own. Really, the crux of the film and the book is: Men aren’t that complicated. If it looks like he isn’t that into you, he probably ain’t.
This title isn’t quite accurate. Exchange the word ‘bitches‘ for ‘confident women who aren’t looking for father substitutes‘ and it’s a damn fine read and a little gentler on the ego for the more fragile among us.
Now this is an interesting one because people who haven’t read it fixate on a few of the more controversial rules:
I.e. Don’t make a date with a guy for Saturday night if he calls after Wednesday.
I know many scoff at the idea of this but I think it’s OK. The thinking being, if you make late dates, he’ll always see you as the last minute gal. We’ve all had that set up where he rings or worse texts, after a night out telling you to come over. But because you’ve read this book, now you’ll say, Hard no but thanks all the same.
The Rules is a good way to bring a bit of discipline into your dating life but for me, it’s too rigid and marriage-focused. I just want a date not a bloody wedding (I’m lying, Bradley Cooper – if you’re reading this, It’s a Yes, I’d love to).
This leaves Steve Harvey’s Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man.
This was my least favourite love manual, mainly because Steve seemed to be addressing a type of woman I’m unfamiliar with: in it, he often referenced when you should introduce your new man to your kids and talked about juggling your ‘two jobs’. This seems to be more of an American obsession (why not get one good job? – I know why, I’m being flippant. Don’t @ me). Anyway, I found this book a little condescending but, the movie it inspired is pretty good, better than the book even.
All four books provided some vital, eye opening and eye wateringly honest insights into what it is us girls do ‘wrong’ when it comes to dating. So yes, I did learn something from all of them – and I think it’s worth having at least one or two of these manuals to casually thumb through – however, I would add, if someone is wrong for you, no tactics can keep them and if they’re right, no mistake can keep them away – except perhaps murder….
Ps – you might like to know the fate that befell one of the The Rules authors (no one died!) – check out the story in the link. Enjoy! Telegraph Article