"Find a Husband After 35 (Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School): A Simple 15-Step Action Program" is not only the year's longest book title, but yet another in a seemingly endless series of books designed to help people find mates and, in the process, learn to understand and interact with the opposite sex.
In it, Rachel Greenwald lays out a man-catching strategy that utilizes sophisticated marketing tactics employed in the business world. So as not to spoil it for you, let us begin this edition of Jim's Book Club by touching on just a few highlights from Greenwald's "action program."
- Always put your best foot forward. Wear your hair long, wear a skirt instead of pants, and buy a push-up bra to maximize your visual appeal.
- Cancel your newspaper subscription and read the newspaper every day at Starbucks.
- Call 200 people (or just about every person you know), including your doctor, dentist and ex-spouse, and ask them to fix you up.
- Let the man make the first move (except, we assume, the move above).
- Test a man for spontaneity by calling him on Thursday and "demanding that he take you on a romantic trip to a bed and breakfast that very weekend -- even though men hate staying at bed and breakfasts."
- Expand the criteria so you are merely looking for "someone wonderful" rather than a particular "type."
- Take rejection in stride.
The idea behind all of this is to make finding a mate your top priority because, after all, if you're over 35 and not married, "it's an emergency and needs to be treated as such."
Of course marketing isn't free, so Greenwald expects you to commit 10 to 20 percent of your net income to the chase.
According to one critic, following Greenwald's entire regimen would also take you about 60 hours a week.
Here in the Rim country -- the land big business forgot -- Greenwald's wisdom seems a tad foreign. And doesn't it also sound a bit sexist?
Telling readers to wear a skirt instead of pants because men are usually more attracted to women in skirts is a case in point. If this comes from the business world isn't it yet another example of women being judged by their bodies instead of their brains?
And being a Rimaroo, I'd like to know what's a skirt anyway?
The part about long hair and push-up bras is also sexist. And if we're talking about applying the principles of marketing, what does a push-up bra say about truth in advertising?
I guess the part about reading your newspaper at a coffee shop is OK (as long as it's the Payson Roundup), but calling 200 people, including doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs, to let them know you're ready and willing seems a bit over the top. And asking your dentist to find you a date seems a little akin to your mother wanting you to go out with someone who has a great complexion and nice teeth.
The part about letting the man make the first move also seems a bit archaic in a world where all men and women are allegedly created equal. This is one male who doesn't have a problem in the world with a woman making the first move.
I'm not saying Greenwald isn't right on some things. The bed and breakfast part is a case in point.
I'm not especially fond of them, especially when you have to share a bathroom with the room next door and there's no TV. Most guys I know feel the same way.
But what is this spontaneity testing all about? In fact, when did spontaneity become such an all-important attribute that a woman needs to find out through subterfuge whether you have it or not?
It would seem to me that spontaneity can also be a big negative, as in impulsive. Given a choice between someone who is spontaneous and someone who is steadfast, give me the latter every time.
Finally, we come to Greenwald's admonition to lower your standards from perfection to "someone wonderful." In Payson, where choices are limited, we might take that down another rung to "someone tolerable."
While Greenwald's book is written for women, much of it could also be employed by the eager, aggressive man over 35 in search of a mate. As for me, just reading about her 15-Step Action Plan makes me tired.
I think I'll just sit on my deck and wait for lightning to strike.