Saturday, January 10, 2009

He's just not that into you

I've never understood men. I was brought up in a very female dominated family and while I get women, I've never 'got' men. I don't understand what motivates them, what they are trying to communicate or any of the secret signs that some women seem to have an implicit understanding of.

So I was rather interested when a friend gave me a book called 'He's just not that into you' by Greg Behrendt and Lisa Tuccillo. Both authors have worked on 'Sex and the City' as writers and it's a frothy piece of work but the basic premise is that you should not waste your life and efforts on a man who basically is 'just not that into you' or think you can change a man to make him 'into you'. It just ain't gonna happen, so don't even try.

Three of us have read this book and all of us have had 'problems' with men. None of us is ugly (I flatter myself) and one of us is a shameless and incorrigible flirt who gets a lot of male attention as a result. I think I am the world's most useless flirt but find that I accidentally attract people I'm not interested in, whereas those I am don't even seem to know I exist.

The book tells you that if a man says he was too busy to call you, it's not because he is terribly under-pressure and important (I've made it sound rather English here but it's actually more New Yorkish) it's because - yeh, you guessed it 'He's not that into you'. If a man wants to be your mate, then again you are not going to convert this into a passion for you as if he was 'into' you, he would want to be more than your friend. Don't be fooled either by the 'I'm not ready' one because if he was 'into' you, boy would he be 'ready'. It also tells you not to ask a man out (as if!!) as if a man is 'into' you, he'll ask you and then you know he is.

I couldn't decide whether the book was depressing or liberating. It's depressing to think that it's all done and dusted in the first interractions and there is bugger all you can do about it. But it's liberating to think that you can save a lot of time and stop agonising about situations that are not going to reap dividends for you. Greg Behrendt spends a lot of time reassuring his female readers that they are beautiful and special and deserve to be treated well and should not twaste their time on men who don't treat them like they're special and gorgeous.

As someone who has spent not months but years on someone who didn't consider me special in any way at all and who I erroneously thought I could change by being somehow better myself, this last thought is attractive but somehow I can't quite believe it's possible. I can't imagine anyone at the moment thinking I was special or gorgeous. Indeed last night I dreamt that someone was in love with me (no one I knew) but he was constantly sneering at me and telling me that I wasn't doing well enough. At times he wouldn't even speak to me and I wondered if he was 'into' me at all. So you see, Behrendt's premise requires a huge paradigm shift for the walking wounded such as me.

His co-author Lisa Tuccillo definitely thinks the theory works:

'There is something great about knowing that my only job is to be as happy as I can be about my life, and feel good as I can about myself, and to led as full and eventful a life, so that it doesn't feel like I'm just waiting around for some guy to ask me out. And most importantly, it's good for us all to remember that we don't need to scheme and plot, or beg anyone to ask us out. We're fantastic.'

I am thinking I might bring out a rejoinder to this book called 'You're just an arsehole: what women are really saying'. If a woman buys you aftershave and deodorant she's telling you that you stink, if she offers you a mint or some chewing gum it means your breath smells, if she asks you if she looks fat in something, she wants you to bolster her confidence not look her up and down and tell her where her flabby bits are. Oh and if she says 'I'm really flattered that you like me but.....' she's 'just not that into you'.

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