I was doing some research on relationships recently and I picked up a copy of He’s Just Not That Into You. I know I’m very late on this purchase, but time did not affect the ongoing glee I experienced as I read it cover to cover, laughing all the way. If you hated the movie or liked the movie, it matters not. This is a true work of genius that every young woman should be gifted upon her high school graduation. After reading it, I looked up and announced to my girls: “I wish this book existed 30 years ago, it would have saved a lot of time, energy and heartache in my life.”
The book is mostly written from the point of view a guy, Greg Behrendt. He’s caring, insightful and hilarious and he totally gets women—how we behave, how we act and the ridiculous excuses we go out of our way to concoct when men are either a) not interested or b) behaving like jag offs.
It’s a very simple, go-to bible for gals. If you have a question about a guy you know and maybe like or wonder if he maybe likes you, just read this book and you will know what’s what and with great clarity forever more. Sometimes the brutal truth, as it says in the Old Testament, sets you free. Of course, it doesn’t say this in the Old Testament—heaven forbid there would be something directly applicable in there that didn’t involve sheep. The truth will still hurt, but it will hurt a lot less if you cut your losses early and have someone else’s wise perspective to dust you off.
Anyway, as I look back at my history which contains …well let’s see, a drunk, two gay men —my brother Muzz was so right, by the way, when he told me I was a slow learner—and a serial cheater. (These things alone are covered in the following chapters: “He’s Just Not That Into You If He Only Wants To See You When He’s Drunk”; “He’s Just Not That Into You If He’s Not Sleeping With You”; “He’s Just Not That Into You If He’s Having Sex With Someone Else.”) Even more pathetic about that summation is that for me, those men were at one time the A-list.
My inability (until the fortuitous purchase of this book) to really get it when it comes to men is tremendously surprising because I grew up in a home filled with them. I have three brothers and we spent our formative years in a house with a lighted outdoor basketball court. My brothers and many of their friends were all ways around, bouncing the round ball when it was warm enough, playing backyard street hockey during the colder months, and occasionally throwing the football at intervals in between. The toilet seat was always up.
The result was that I grew up in a locker room. I could hang with guys, I could talk sports with the guys, I could have fun with the guys and I could hold my own on a basketball court, but it’s clear now that I was clueless to their true inner workings. I think I walked around for almost the entirety of my dating life with a “DUH” sign over my head.
There are many clear and sad-but-true messages in this book. Peppered throughout are “incredibly unscientific polls,” that I’m sure offer the same information that incredibly scientific ones would. This one stood out: “We polled 20 of our male friends (ranging in ages from 26-45) who are in serious long-term relationships. Not one of their relationships started with the woman asking them out first.” Times have so NOT changed. Of course, this lack of change is not easy to swallow if you’re a gal who likes to take the law into your own hands—if you’re strong, assertive, otherwise intelligent and well, sometimes feel like you need only push fate a tad in your direction. But alas, we cannot overcome biology. We need to read the writing on the scoreboard. We women are like the field of dreams, if they want us, they will show.
Sometimes you will be thrilled at what shows up, sometimes not. Sometimes you will be saved from a train wreck you didn’t see coming. The point is if they’re into you, they will make it clear. No need for interpretations, excuses, or phone machine message playbacks. If they’re not, go dancing with your girlfriends, watch an episode of Friday Night Lights or Modern Family or take a walk in the sun and crank up the Nicki Minaj. If you really pay attention to this book you will accept the signs fast enough NOT to be crushed. Not everyone is smart enough or wonderful enough or DESERVING enough to get the amazing person you are. And if they aren’t, you don’t want them in the first place. Life is not to be spent waiting. My friend Kate Ross and I often quote from the movie version of Neil Simon’s “Chapter Two,” (okay I’m embarrassed that we quote from this because it dates us, but never mind): A Girl Who Sits Waiting By The Phone Sits Waiting By The Phone.
If they want us, they will work for it and we need to let them. I knew all this on some level, but until I read this book and felt like someone was holding——with great compassion, humor and no bull shit— a mirror to womanhood, I didn’t get it. We women explain and analyze and rationalize and oh honey, it’s all for naught.
A few years ago, I was out with a friend whose daughter was in her late teens and who, my friend suspected, was beginning to have sex. We talked about at what age we really thought we were ready to have sex. I said, “46.” The sad thing is, I meant it. Physically I was ready in my late teens, but emotionally— 46. Did I mention: SLOW LEARNER? I’m glad I didn’t wait until 46, though I should have held out longer than I did. I will say that growing up in that locker room of boys made me curious to know what the fuss was all about. Unfortunately, while I saw myself as one of the boys and could curse with the best of them, I also thought I was tough like one of the boys and that sex meant the same thing to me as it did to them. It didn’t. I’m also so glad I didn’t wait until 46 to actually have sex because I have two amazing daughters who—thank god—are so much smarter than their mother. My gift to them very, very soon will be this priceless book.
(For more gems like this, check out Kate’s wonderful blog, iamminivan)