Monday, January 03, 2005

Stupid bloody Oprah

On television last week was a program I thankfully missed: "Oprah's Hollywood Exclusive: He's Just Not That Into You". The show promoted the book of the same title.

A recent Sydney Morning Herald article said,
When you hear that Oprah Winfrey has declared it a book that "should be on every single woman's nightstand", you know it's something worth reading.
What?!! In what woman's twisted universe is that true? Oprah promotes bloody everything. Have you ever seen her critically interview someone and ask a hard question (and I don't mean a question about a celebrity's love life)?

The gist of the book,
which is currently number four on the Amazon bestseller list, is that if he's not calling you or paying enough attention to you, you should move on and stop making excuses for him, because he's just not that into you. This sounds like it might be somewhat empowering, but it's not.

The above article contains an edited extract of the book:

The 'maybe he doesn't want to ruin the friendship' excuse

Dear Greg,

I have this friend that I've known platonically for about 10 years. Recently he was in town for work, so we met for dinner. All of a sudden it felt like we were on a date. He was completely flirting with me. He even said to me, as he was checking me out, "So, what, you're working the whole 'model thing' now?" (That's flirting, right?) We both agreed that we should get together again soon. I'm disappointed because it's been two weeks and he hasn't called me. Can I call him? He might be nervous about turning the friendship into romance.


Dear Friendly Girl,

Two weeks is two weeks, except when it's 10 years and two weeks. That's how long ago he decided whether or not he could date a model or a girl who looks like one. If your dinner/date did feel different to him, it's been two weeks and he's had time to think about it and decide he's just not that into you. Here's the truth guys don't mind messing up a friendship if it could lead to sex.

That whole "I don't want to ruin the friendship" excuse is a racket. If we're really excited about someone, we can't stop ourselves we want more. If we're friends with someone and attracted to them, we're going to want to take it further.

The 'maybe he wants to take it slow' excuse

Dear Greg,

There's this guy who calls me all the time. He's recently divorced, and in Alcoholics Anonymous. We got back in touch recently, had lots of phone calls, and then hung out twice in one week and it was really cool. No flirting or making out or anything, but fun. He calls me all the time but doesn't ever suggest we see each other in person again. I would understand if, because of the divorce/alcoholic/starting-a-whole-new-life stuff, he wanted to take things slow. But he still calls me all the time to have long heart-to-heart talks. What the hell should I do with this guy?


Dear Pillow Talk,

Sadly, not wanting to see you in person is massive as far as dating obstacles go. And as far as the recently divorced/newly sober/starting-a-new life parts, blah blah blah, I'm getting sleepy, I'm going for a nap. When I wake up I'll probably thrill to the news that your friend is taking control of his life. You, however, will still not be going on a date, because despite all your excuses for him, he's still not asking you out. If you're a person who enjoys a phone relationship, talk on! But at this point it seems like he's just not that into you.

If a guy truly likes you, but for personal reasons he needs to take things slow, he will let you know that immediately, because he'll want to make sure you don't get frustrated and go away.

The 'maybe I don't want to play games' excuse

Dear Greg,

This is dumb. I know you're not supposed to call guys, but I call guys all the time because I don't care! I don't want to play games. I do whatever I want! I've called guys tonnes of times. You're such a square, Greg. Why do you think we can't call guys and ask them out?


Dear Nikki,

Because we don't like it. Some guys might like it, but they're just lazy. And who wants to go out with Lazy Guy? I didn't make the rules and I might not even agree with them. I just think you might want to be realistic of how capable you are of changing the primordial impulses that drive all of human nature. Or maybe you're the chosen one.

I'm sorry, what?

In the first two cases, the women should of course just ask the men involved what's going on. The response to the third letter says that this is the last thing women should be doing because men "don't like it".

Is it not crystal clear that women should do their utmost to completely avoid men who want them to be submissive and inexpressive? I'm not suggesting that women need to be noisy, assertive and dominating (I'm not suggesting they shouldn't be either); I'm suggesting that women need to be themselves, and need to be supported by men who will embrace them as people, not as passive followers or trinkets. Any man who actively doesn't want women to be up front is certainly not a man one wants to have a relationship with.

Moreover, men who don't call or don't ask you out might just be the best men in the world. Yes, I'm referring to nerdy boys.

Honestly, why can't men and women just talk to each other as people? And what about homosexuality? If all women stuck to the advice in this book, there'd be no lesbian couples, and most heterosexual couples would have dysfunctional unequal relationships.

Thankfully, a brief feminist response can be found in Bitch Magazine. The comments are also, for the most part, articulate and positive.