The first thing you need to know about today’s book is that it isn’t actually called My Dear Woman, Are you Cognitively Impaired? The real name shall be revealed in due time, but it’ll be under the cut. I’m not joking when I say it’s offensive–perhaps the most offensive title for a dating book this side of UNDER THE FLOORBOARDS: FIFTY PLACES I’VE HIDDEN MY DEAD GIRLFRIENDS.
The author of our tome du jour is Carlos J. Lee, who, by his own admission, used to be a “dog.” In atonement for the pain he caused the “hundreds of women” he dated, he wrote a book on how to deal with crappy dudes. Parts of it are problematic and parts of it have merit, at least in spirit. I’ll start with the not-so-great stuff.
- Women and Power
Our buddy Carlos kicks off with the assertion that women have all the power, both in relationships and in society. I think this is meant to encourage his readers, but it’s true only for a dangerously narrow definition of the term “power.” The way Carlos sees it, women are more powerful than men because they are able to hurt a man’s sense of self-worth.I’ve got news for you, friend-o: everyone is capable of hurting everyone’s sense of self-worth. We humans are nothing if not insecure. The fact that young straight boys tend to get more butt-hurt about it doesn’t make women powerful–it makes young straight boys pathetic. The idea that women have power over men because they’re able to hurt a man’s itty bitty wittle feelings by rejecting him is the foundation of the whole Men’s Rights movement.
- The Innate Immaturity of MenThere are indeed plenty of men who act like little boys. I used to live with two of them. One had no idea how to clean, the other spent each day whining about his mythical butt cancer. The danger of applying this stereotype too broadly, however, is that it suggests that men are innately immature and, by extension, not responsible for their own crappy behavior. When a woman is mistreated by a man, then, it becomes her fault for placing herself in his path in the first place. It’s “boys will be boys” in a slightly different package.
- Jerry Maguire
Why are we talking about Jerry Maguire, it’s 2015.
THE BIG REVEAL
Now we’ll discuss the book’s better points. But first: here’s the actual title.
Before you ask, yes, it’s available on Amazon. There’s your go-to gag gift for the next several years. You’re welcome.
- The Broke Dude
Lee’s disdain for men who leech off their women is very palpable.
I don’t know about “most men,” but there are enough such men to make this a genuine issue. The first guy I dated seldom worked, infuriated his co-workers when he did, and bilked me out of who knows how many thousands of dollars, all while spending the majority of his life with a Playstation controller in his hands. I once spent an entire ten-day Spring break watching him play Knights of the Old Republic, and let me tell you, the air was so ripe with stagnation that I could barely breathe. It was such a bad time that I found myself living out that scene from Wayne’s World.
All you young women just entering the dating pool, do yourselves a favor: date someone with interests beyond spending your money and playing video games. I know you’ve been trained by society to live in mortal terror of criticizing your boyfriend’s lifestyle, lest you stop being considered a “chill girlfriend.” But really, why carry the dead weight?
I remember visiting my mom at work one day and her co-worker asking me about my “fiance.” Her first question was: “Does he have a job?” At the time, I was affronted. No, he didn’t have a job, but it wasn’t his fault! She didn’t understand! Why was she getting so hung up on it, anyway?
A few short months later, I KNEW WHY.
- The Whiny Dude
There’s no greater turn-off than someone who constantly complains. I think that’s true in any situation, but the habit is especially troublesome in a relationship. He whines about your music. He whines about your clothes. He whines about his boss and his co-workers and how they treat him unfairly. He whines about his butt cancer.
Wait, that last one’s just me? Dang. I’m so alone.
- The Racist Dude
DO NOT DATE A RACIST. I don’t care if he’s actively burning crosses or if he plays his racism off like he’s being ironic. I don’t care if he claims that he’s “not actually racist,” and I don’t care if you believe him. The difference between behaving like a racist on the outside and actually being a racist on the inside is so vanishingly small as to be practically non-existent. For all intents and purposes, if he behaves like a racist, he is a racist. I’m speaking from very personal experience here.Carlos J. Lee explains racist dudes this way:
- The Dude You’ve Got to Fight ForWhen I first told my mom that I was married (which was two months after I’d actually gotten married, incidentally), she took me out for lunch and a private chat. I expected her to dispense all sorts of advice about how to keep my marriage happy. What she actually said was: “If you’re unhappy, even for one second, please get a divorce.””It’ll be fine,” she elaborated. “You can move back in with me until you find another place. I won’t be mad at you. There’s no point staying in a relationship if it makes you miserable. Relationships are hard, but they’re not supposed to be that hard.”
Two years later, I still think that’s good advice. Maybe I’m just romantically indifferent–okay, I know I’m romantically indifferent–but I think a relationship should be nuked the second it becomes more trouble than its worth. My advice to anyone with relationship issues is basically always: “Break up with them.” I mean, who needs the headache?
This book is reductive, unpleasant, and occasionally sexist, but it has an overarching message I can get behind: walk away. It’s just too bad that message has to be sandwiched between so much stereotyping and mansplaining.