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Oh, please - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Oh, please
From the front page of AOL, I linked to an article (I don't know whether or not it's a members only access), because I was very curious about what someone perceived as the top ten things you need to do to be the world's best girlfriend. The author claims to be Bob Strauss, but I think it's really Warren, from Buffy, who built a robot girlfriend to specs, then abandoned her because she bored him.

Among other things, the article advises a girl to learn about sports. Not because she finds sports interesting, but because, man, it's going to knock his socks off if you know the sports, stats and "he'll propose to you faster than David Beckham's latest Lamborghini." Because, hey, what could be happier than a marriage to someone whose interests don't coincide with yours at all, and who expects you to memorize the things he cares about anyway? (This isn't to say that a woman shouldn't learn about sports. Just that it should be her interest. And such a woman would be attracted to sporty guys, and they could have great conversations about sports. Nothing wrong with that. Or in giving it a chance if someone you otherwise like says, "Hey, do you want to go to a game?" But feigning such all-consuming passion in order to impress someone whose interests bore you... Um? What's that supposed to net in the end?)

We are also advised to avoid coasters (I'm not exactly obsessed with coaster use myself, but if there's good wood around the house, I'm not going to let it get ruined), laughing at jokes even if they're stupid because "a guy's jokes are an irreplaceable token of his manhood" ("Extra points if you fake a giggle fit in front of his mates"), share your friends with his friends, and wear a baseball cap.

And it even has my grandmother's advice, which I'll quote in its entirety:
6. Flatter his ego. Whenever your boyfriend tells his latest tiresome tale about slaying some work-related ogre — or starts wondering whether, deep down, he's really suited for life as an epic poet — just tell him he's terrific and you believe in him 100 percent. Even if you don't.

Of course, you have to be supportive. And you can expect the same in return, one would think. It's a two-way street, after all. But if you find his victories all tiresome... again, what the hell are you doing there? And if you don't believe in him on some level...? :head explodes:

There are a couple of useful things (again, useful for both parties in the relationship)--like recognizing a need to hang out with other friends from time to time and putting up with little foibles without going crazy about it--but they are couched in the most obnoxiously misogynistic assumptions...! I like getting lost. I only suggest asking for directions if the person I'm with is freaking, or if we're running out of gas/energy. And if I ever get on a boyfriend/husband's case about keeping a pin-neat house, I give permission to put me in stocks under a sign that says "hypocrite" and pelt me with rotten fruit. What's with this "women are neatniks" fixation?

AAAAARGH.

ETA: The article is
How to be a great girlfriend in 10 easy steps
By Bob Strauss

I'd link, but I think it may be one of those things that AOL has a license for.

Return of the Edit: siegeofangels found a copy online here.

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Comments
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buongiornodaisy From: buongiornodaisy Date: January 20th, 2005 03:51 am (UTC) (Link)
There's nothing else I can say about this but WTF?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 20th, 2005 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I know! It's two-fracking-thousand-FIVE!
ashtur From: ashtur Date: January 20th, 2005 03:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Ugh... I'd rather have someone who is honest and genuine. If my jokes are that bad... tell me.

That's the secret with me ladies, be honest and genuine... (of course, since the entire female half of humanity is smart enough to avoid me like the plague, that's not a major issue anyway)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 20th, 2005 03:59 am (UTC) (Link)
The problem with the online fan community is that we're too physically scattered. Most of the best guys I know are fen. Of course, the fen thing ignores too much of the other side of life, like the kind that involves a household, deciding what holidays to celebrate, not getting into screaming matches about politics, etc.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: January 20th, 2005 03:58 am (UTC) (Link)
????
Right - if those are the "rules", then I'm definitely going to be single for the rest of my life. And furthermore, if those are the rules, I'd rather be single!
buongiornodaisy From: buongiornodaisy Date: January 20th, 2005 04:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Fo shizzle!
miss_daizy From: miss_daizy Date: January 20th, 2005 04:04 am (UTC) (Link)
UGH! Very bad, bad, bad, advice. Yeah, I enjoy sports more since my husband is very into them, but when I want to know more, I ask, and when enough is enough, he knows it!
My husband enjoys books more since he can ask me about them, and yes, when enough is enough, I know it.

Partners, folks, we should be partners, not pawns, not tokens, not trophies, but partners!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 20th, 2005 04:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I enjoy sports more since my husband is very into them, but when I want to know more, I ask, and when enough is enough, he knows it!

That sounds like a different situation. More like, "Hey, this guy I'm kinda fond of really likes this. Maybe it would be fun to give it a shot!" That's a good thing and a good way to expand horizons, imho. And it's a little different from, "That guy's so cute, and he likes basketball, so I'll learn everything about basketball so I can impress him, even though I don't care."
ivylore From: ivylore Date: January 20th, 2005 04:09 am (UTC) (Link)
But feigning such all-consuming passion in order to impress someone whose interests bore you... Um? What's that supposed to net in the end?)

First marriage. ;) Then a divorce.
sophonax From: sophonax Date: January 20th, 2005 04:10 am (UTC) (Link)
"Bob Strauss"...well, that's one more I can add to my list of people never, ever, ever, ever, ever to date.
From: anatomiste Date: January 20th, 2005 04:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Ick!

I don't have AOL so I haven't read the article, but if I followed all that advice you've mentioned... I would shortly be lacking one fiancé.

This frankly sounds like better advice for getting your crush to sleep with you, than for encouraging any sort of long-term serious relationship.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 20th, 2005 06:24 am (UTC) (Link)
This frankly sounds like better advice for getting your crush to sleep with you, than for encouraging any sort of long-term serious relationship.

Hit the nail on the head--that's exactly what it sounds like. As long as you allow for having stupid taste in crushes and no wish at all for a long term relationship.
shezan From: shezan Date: January 20th, 2005 04:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Marie Curie wept.

(Have already posted this line a couple of days ago, about the Lawrence Summers quote on women's brains not being suited for science, sort of. Who died and put Phyllis Schlafly in charge?)
lessthanpie From: lessthanpie Date: January 20th, 2005 04:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I feel vaguely nauseated.

Good thing I'm happy single. I don't do "fake" well.
siegeofangels From: siegeofangels Date: January 20th, 2005 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Found a copy of the list here. (First Google match. Link may change.)

Bob Strauss never, ever had a girlfriend in his life, did he?

Why would I want a boyfriend who wanted a girlfriend who "fakes a giggle fit in front of his friends?"
eir_de_scania From: eir_de_scania Date: January 20th, 2005 04:39 am (UTC) (Link)
How sweet...and how long are you supposed to keep pretending? Are you allowed to become your own sport-hating self after you've married or are you stuck with reading the sport pages for life? It could explain the divorce rate.



chibisophia From: chibisophia Date: January 20th, 2005 05:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I actually did a search for it online because I wanted to see what the heck the guy was on, and I found a copy of it on this page. The first part is a dating ad and then there's some blather on how someone became "the luckiest woman in the world", but underneath it, the article is reprinted. Strangely. that is the only place online I can find it. And that article is ...very strange.

It sure likes it's 2 dimensional stereotypes, that's for sure. You know, I'm glad to know that I'm clingy, clueless about reading moods, clueless about any traditionally masculine activities, and a shrew. Wahey, thanks for telling me that, article. I'm sure it holds true to every woman, ever. Except, you know...Not. >_<

mafdet From: mafdet Date: January 20th, 2005 06:11 am (UTC) (Link)
I have AOL so I was treated to the sight of this page as I logged on earlier. I rolled my eyes and said, "oh puh-leeze!" to my happily single self.

Note to Bob Strauss: you know that my mom, married to the same man for 50 years, has coasters? And my dad seems perfectly content - he even uses the coasters! Don't you have nice furniture? Don't you want to avoid getting marks on your tables when you set drinks on them? I keep thinking this has to be some kind of satire because - coasters?!

I'm put in mind of books like The Rules and all those magazine articles full of the most hairsplitting "do's and don'ts" to follow if you want to Catch A Man. Always wear high heels; don't decorate your bedroom with too much pink; don't let on you read your horoscope but do feign interest in the sports pages; and my very favorite, from a book a friend thought would be "helpful" (coughcough) to me years ago called How To Marry The Man Of Your Choice, "Have hair at least as long as your thumb." Well, my hair is longer than my thumb, and I'm still single! I should have shaved my head, darn it.

My feeling is that a relationship based upon a tissue of manipulation and deception isn't going to last very long or, if it does, won't endure in a healthy state. There's something unsavory about getting someone to marry you based upon false pretences. I'm put in mind of Harry Potter and Cho Chang. No, this relationship got nowhere near marriage, BUT it was based upon the false image each had of the other, and it bombed.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 20th, 2005 06:20 am (UTC) (Link)
don't decorate your bedroom with too much pink

Thing #1 wrong with our current social scene: Advice on bedroom decor in how to catch a man? Shouldn't he be pretty much, you know, caught by the time you get to intimate interior decorating???? (Unless you're just in it for the casual fling, in which case, what do you care what he thinks of your color scheme?)

Ms. Head, meet Ms. Desk.
myf From: myf Date: January 20th, 2005 06:36 am (UTC) (Link)
That article was horrifying. Somehow I don't think a solid relationship is built on establishing my 'cool-chick credentials' by buying his mates a round of Cosmopolitans.

I hate being single, but if that's what it actually took to land a guy I'd enrol myself in a convent tomorrow. Luckily that guy had his head up his own arse.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 20th, 2005 06:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I hate being single, but if that's what it actually took to land a guy I'd enrol myself in a convent tomorrow.

Right there with you. I'd love a relationship. On something resembling honest terms! Alas, no Jewish convents. I'll just have to join the Ancient Sisterhood of Stereotypical Spinster Librarians.
silverhill From: silverhill Date: January 20th, 2005 06:51 am (UTC) (Link)
How to be a great girlfriend? Those things are not the mark of a great girlfriend. They are the mark of a weak-willed person who is willing to capitulate to the man because OMG having a boyfriend is more important than smudge-free coffee tables.

It should be "10 tips for the incredibly desperate (who are so desperate to have a boyfriend they are willing to throw all self-respect out the window)."

Personally, if I were to do all those things, I wouldn't want the guy who would want to date me. I wouldn't want to date a guy who thinks it's cool if a girl is a total fake just to please him.

And what's the point anyway? Sure, relationships involve compromises and sometimes giving in on some things. But pretending to like sports? My husband wishes I were more into sports, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with how much he loves me.
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