Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Getting On the Road To Marriage

Last year Tracy McMillan wrote a column about why women can’t find husbands.

Feminists hated it. I loved it.

McMillan wanted women to take control of their love lives, to empower themselves and to find a pathway to the altar.

Naturally, feminists hated it. Naturally, I loved it.

Not only was McMillan right in all particulars, but her counsel offered a path to better character. Even women who just want to keep the husband they have would do well to take heed of McMillan’s precepts. So would women who have no interest in marriage at all.

This year, McMillan is back, with another column about why women cannot find husbands. In addition, she has written a new book on the topic: Why You Aren’t Married… Yet.

I haven’t read it … yet… because it was published yesterday, but I recommend it wholeheartedly.

If you read through some of the hundreds of comments that follow her article, you will discover that while many women are grateful for her advice, many others find that McMillan offends their ideological commitment to feminism.

It’s yet another reason to read the book.

McMillan’s first new precept tells you that you can’t find a husband because you have a major character flaw. She means that you do something in excess and hide it from everyone, even your mother.

In her words:

You overdrink. You overeat. You overspend. You under-earn. Whatever it is, there's (at least) one big thing in your life -- an attitude, a behavior, a vice -- that you absolutely, for sure, under-no-circumstances want to let go of. And the bad news is, that is the ONE THING you absolutely, for-sure, under-no-circumstances WILL NOT be able to keep. 

Aristotle could not have said it better. Self-indulgence is a vice. Self-discipline is a virtue. 

You might think that your self-indulgence is a sign of passion and that passion will attract men. It will not. 

If you develop more self-discipline and less incontinence you will quickly become more attractive and engaging.

Even if no one knows about your vice, it is still yours.

If you lack self-discipline in one area you will likely lack it in other, more obvious ways. You will never be able to keep it a secret so why not dispense with it now.

McMillan continues to her next point: You’re crazy. She means that one of the reasons you are not on the road to marriage is that you are living your life for the dramatic intensity.

In her words:

Crazy is where you LOVE INTENSITY. You want life to bring the exclamation points!!!!!!! Normal people, and relationships? Big, noisy YAWN. You think of yourself more like Angelina Jolie when she was with Billy Bob. Crazy is where you use your cell phone like an automatic weapon. You meet, have sex, fight and break up -- all by text message. Another sign you've got the crazies is if you are constantly telling long, involved stories in the break room about what happened this past weekend.

If you think that INTENSITY is a sign of authenticity, now is a good time to get over the idea.

Marriage is routinized, organized, and controlled. If you want to be marriageable you should learn how to get along, not how to dramatize. You should seek harmony, not drama, getting along, not fireworks.

McMillan’s next point is directed at women who have been suckered by the mania about gender-bending and have decided that they have a constitutionally protected right to play what has traditionally been considered the male role in a relationship.

Yes, I know, this principle was the basis for that much reviled book, The Rules. Still Rules girls are right and so is McMillan.

She describes the anti-Rules girl well:

…when it comes to relationships, you want to hunt them down and kill them. You call guys, you text guys, you ask guys out. You have sex like it's a temp job, hoping that if you rock a guy's world, you'll get hired full-time. And it's not working for you, because right now, you are in a long-term, committed relationship with EXACTLY NONE of those dudes.

It almost seems too obvious, but considering how much everyone hates the Rules, McMillan correctly feels a need to explain the point.

If a man is interested he will find a way to get in touch and he will find a way to spend time with you. If he doesn’t, he isn’t.

If you throw yourself at him he might take advantage of the opportunity to receive some free love. That does not mean that he likes you, wants you, or loves you.

McMillan explains:

But you might want to see what it's like to let the game come to you. Because there's one requirement above all others a guy needs to possess to be your man: he has to REALLY WANT to be in a relationship with you. (Duh!) Fortunately, there's a foolproof way to find out just how much of a crap a guy gives: he will 1) ask for your contact information, and 2) HE WILL USE IT RIGHT AWAY. (Do not try to tell yourself he waited two weeks to call text you because he probably had to visit his grandmother in Milwaukee! Guys bring their phones to Milwaukee.) Prequalifying a man like this will prevent the mortgage meltdown that is your love life. Because at the end of the day, you don't need to know if a guy wants to donate his sperm to you. (The answer will probably be Oh, hell yes.) You want to know if he's willing to send your egg to college. And if a guy doesn't feel like taking you on a date, THE ANSWER IS NO.

To me that’s pretty clear.

In her final point McMillan says that you are not married because you are godless, thus, becauset your life lacks a spiritual dimension.

Believing in something higher than yourself is an excellent antidote to narcissism and self-absorption.

Believing in a higher power will prevent you from being led around by your personal needs.

Believing in a higher power will allow you to put another person’s interests ahead of yours, and to accept it when that other person puts your needs ahead of his.

Believing in a higher power will make you more humble and more modest, less full of yourself.

Tracy McMillan has set out a series of moral principles and precepts that will serve you well even if you are not in the market for your fourth husband.


Anonymous said...

My mother gave me the same harsh advice not to call boys (or men). If they want you, they'll call you, she said. If they don't call, it's not because they were hit by a bus or their grandmother died. If they don't call, it's because they're not interested.

I ignored her advice to my peril.

Judith Lown said...

I'm pretty old. When I tell young women that when I was dating, I didn't even know the phone numbers and addresses of the men who asked me out to dinner and the movies, they can't believe it. The thought of calling one of them never occurred to me.

Judith said...

Ms. McMillan's tough love is a welcome antidote to much current nonsense, although I do have a couple of footnotes: I have met plenty of married people (men and women) that had what I considered to be significant character/psychological flaws. It may well be that single women have certain specific kinds of flaws that are an obstacle to marriage (and need to face this honestly if they want to change their status), but that doesn't mean that married people are all fine & dandy.

Then there's this: I'm single, old enough to classify as a spinster, my sister is on her second husband. I wouldn't have had either of hers on a silver platter (I assume they wouldn't have had me either, so everyone's satisfied).