Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Be Yourself

You all know how much I love and relationship experts.  I love them.  I especially love the way they give completely contradictory advice, with a straight face, and then expect people to take them seriously.  And sadly, people do.  Take them seriously.  Because so many of us are so freaking desperate to find love that we’re willing to listen to people peddle whatever nonsense.

Anyway, there is a target to today’s tantrum (I’ve been saving this one up, so watch out).  YourTango (a site I actually like) has partnered with Rachel Greenwald, the author of Why He Didn’t Call Back to do a series of videos based on her book (the whole series is available on , and yeah, I forced myself to sit through the whole thing).  I was actually supposed to go to the launch party for this book way back in April, but got caught up with something else. Now that I’ve seen the series, I’m extra, double glad that I didn’t make it.

In video number one, titled The Number One Reason Why He Didn’t Call Back, we’re told that over the course of a decade Rachel interviewed 1000 guys about why they didn’t call women back for second dates (although I’m guessing it wasn’t so much a “not call back” thing as just not calling).

Now here is where I get pissed off, because she insists that this number one reason is “surprising” whereas any woman with a brain probably figured it out a long time ago.  Her exhaustive led her to the startling conclusive that men don’t like the “boss lady” type of woman.  The type who will challenge their opinions or be argumentative.  She says that men come away from a date with these “fabulous” women thinking that they’d “rather hire her than date her”.

Her suggestion is that if a woman sees herself as a potential boss lady that she soften her image.  That she use qualifying terms when she speaks, like “I think” rather than “I know” and inserting “maybe” into her statements (thereby not challenging the guy).   Oh and that if she arrives first to a destination that she not use her blackberry or phone while waiting, as his first impression of her should not be one of her busy with business.  God forbid.  She says that this will allow the man to eventually “get to know the real you”.


First, am I the only person who thinks that this surprising number 1 reason is not a surprise?  Seriously.

I am queen of the boss ladies.  I am.  I know I am.  And guess what Rachel, I don’t do too much to hide it.  Because, and here’s the kicker, that doesn’t go away when I’m in a relationship.  I am who I am.  I could hide it for the first date, sure.  And the second.  But sooner or later the guy is going to realize that I am strong and confident and capable of taking care of myself.  And that’s either going to threaten him or it’s not (Because really, that’s what we’re talking about here, men being threatened by strong women – pretty it up any way you want.  If we were talking about argumentative/nasty then he wouldn’t want to hire her.  We’re talking about men wanting to “feel needed”.).

And her assertion that she wants women to be themselves, but to just show the softer side of themselves first so that the men will like them more – what a load of crap.  We are all multi-faceted.  Everyone has a softer side.  Sure.  But what she is telling women to do is to pretend to be someone they’re not, pure and simple (and if you have the stomach for the rest of the series she repeats over and over that she’s not telling women to pretend to be someone they’re not).   She is advocating a dating bait and switch – get through the first date as the soft and fuzzy version of you (the one who says maybe every 3rd or 4th sentence) and then bring out the real you.

I am not a dating and relationship . Nope.  But I do know that when I pretend to be someone I’m not I end up with men who like that other type of woman.  Not me.  And why the hell would I want that?  I’m not desperate for a guy.  I want a guy who likes me just the way I am.

Oh wait.  Maybe that’s the answer.  She’s peddling insecurity and fear.  She’s part of the machine that says, you’re and so you should be insecure and desperate.  You should be willing to do anything and everything to meet a guy.  You’re past your prime goddammit, what are you waiting for.  Start softening your image and saying “I think” all the time and put away your blackberry BEFORE the guy gets to the restaurant because you don’t want him to see you with it (it’s not enough to put it away as soon as he gets to the table) and start practicing your giggle, too.  Men like it when you giggle at all of their jokes.  Tee-hee.

Bite me.

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15 to “Be Yourself”

  1. sparklytosingle says:

    Amen to that.

  2. starangel82 says:

    “I want a guy who likes me just the way I am.”

    Completely agree. Like I said on my own blog not too long ago, “Acting like your someone your not will get you in trouble further down the road. Besides, why would you want your date to like you for something your not?”

  3. Hammer86 says:

    I’m not saying that I disagree with what you’re saying in this post, because I don’t, but I do think that the tone of this post illustrates a bigger trend that I’ve noticed in you. I know you’re very opposed to people giving advice, and that’s fine, but it seems to me that you should maybe be a little less stubborn and more open to advice, because it seems to me that you have to be one of the worst daters in the history of the world. You’re now 39 years old, which means you’ve been most likely dating for the last 25 years when you think about it. And from your blog posts it seems to me that you don’t have any shortage of men and dates, yet somehow you manage to have achieved your dating goal of finding someone you can be in a happy relationship with. Maybe you should take a little responsibility for your results.

  4. Simone Grant says:

    -sparklytosingle and starangel82
    Glad to see my reaction to this wasn’t entirely off base.
    Dear me. What on earth would make you think that I’ve been dating for the past 25 years? Yes, darling, I’m 39 and single (AND see nothing wrong with that). I’ve also been in many, many (many) relationships. And if I were a different kind of woman, the kind that was driven to marry and have kids then I probably would’ve married one of those guys. I didn’t even start to think about marriage until long after 30. And as to your assertion that “I should take a little responsibility” for my results. Where in this blog have you seen me not taking responsibility? I use this space to blame myself pretty much constantly for things that are completely my control. Oh, but that’s irrelevant. I know. You just wanted a chance to point out that as a single 39-yr old I should probably start taking someone’s advice. Bite me.

  5. queenieNYC says:

    I feel like the subtitle of the article should be: “5 Easy Ways to Guarantee a Divorce Within Two Years of Marriage!”

  6. drumdance says:

    I don’t have a problem with you being single at 39 or gating the advice. Those are your choices and you’re obviously happy with them. But it does seem that you spend way more time talking about the flaws of each of your dates than any particular mistakes you might’ve made. What have you blamed yourself for? I must have missed some of those posts.

    I mean, it’s fine to be yourself, but have you ever thought about changing anything about yourself? For example, I used to be a lot more sarcastic when I was in college until I realized that a lot of people weren’t catching the humor. So I changed.

    Then again I’m an INTJ, and we tend to morph our behavior over time as we figure out how the world works.

  7. Veka says:

    From my personal experience, I’ve had many guys tell me that they hate it when women use the word “maybe.” They want either a yes or a no, and they hate games and they hate being misled (in any situation, including regular conversation). I personally love the word maybe, but that’s because I’m very indecisive and have a hard time committing to something that I would rather not do. But the guys really can’t stand it.

  8. sfsingleguy says:

    Crazy video. I actually like the boss ladies, so there crazy video producer.

    If you’re wondering why that guy/girl didn’t call you back, there are three possible reasons that I see:

    1) They found someone they are interested in more than you

    2) They lost interest in you for a reason other than #1. Let’s face it, a lot of people have strong interests in life – work, blogging, athletics, having fun. They might like you, but they are still too interested in something else (not someone else).

    3) They thought you weren’t interested in them. So there’s an excuse to chance rejection and give them One Final Call.

  9. Simone Grant says:

    I think there’s a certain type of insecure guy who likes to be around indecisive women. I don’t know. That kind of guy would never get past date 1 with me.
    Thank you so much for the way you answered this. Many women (probably most, and I fall into this category sometimes) forget that sometimes a guy’s behavior has nothing to do with us. Sometimes it has to do with what’s going on in their head or their life. We chicks do have a tendency to make it about us and what he thinks about us.
    It would be hard for me to reply to you w/o getting defensive, but I’m going to try. Frankly, I don’t really think your comment has that much to do with me.

    For months I dedicated a whole section of this blog (the ex-files)to my last major relationship and just how screwed up it was and I clearly stated from day one that I was as much to blame as the guy. He was the “evil ex-boyfriend” because of how he behaved after it was over but I was a crazy shrew while we were falling apart. I’ve also posted several accounts of first dates that went poorly because my head/heart just weren’t into it, and how I felt bad about that. But whatever.

    Whether you missed all that or not is not really the point. You seem to want me to fall on my sword and beg forgiveness for my disgraceful track record. How dare I still be single? How dare I not apologize for not morphing myself to someone’s desires? How dare I happily chronicle my dating adventures from my own perspective? I should be ashamed of myself. Bite me.

  10. drumdance says:

    “You seem to want me to fall on my sword and beg forgiveness for my disgraceful track record”

    Nope. I was just asking the question – does “be yourself” mean never change? I gave an example of how I’ve changed. I haven’t seen you discuss that much here, that’s all. Could be that I just missed it because I’ve only been reading for a couple of months.

    I don’t think your track record is disgraceful at all. In fact, I don’t even think of you as having a track record.

    And BTW defensiveness is one of the things that I’m trying to change about myself. :)

  11. drumdance says:

    Speaking of the ex-files – are they still up? I tried to read them the other day but they cut off rather abruptly. The last post said they would all be consolidated on a single page instead of a category, but I couldn’t find that page.

    The stuff I read was very tame – early stages of the relationship stuff. Nothing that hinted at the pain I assume came later (and for which I’m sorry you had to go through – I know what that’s like).

  12. aguy says:

    I don’t really think that’s what Rachel Greenwald was saying at all. It’s possible to be strong, confident and capable of taking care of yourself without being bossy, blunt or standoffish. I don’t think she was suggesting anyone attempt a “bait and switch” — I think she was advocating some people learn TACT.

  13. drumdance says:

    Having dated someone who has Asperger’s syndrome (which is basically defined as a complete lack of tact or social grace), I’ve seen the extremes and can say that there is something to the notion of being tactful. Doesn’t mean you have to change who you are, but tact is part of the art of conversation.

  14. Simone Grant says:

    Just returning this now because it was retweeted today. I’d forgotten all about this conversation. The ex-files was moved to it’s own blog – it was linked to this. I eventually abandoned the project because it became painful. And also because the evil ex-boyfriend was still lurking in my life. Which made it more painful. It was a nasty cycle and the easiest thing to do was to minimize the pain.

    My interpretation of the video was not that she was advocating tact. The examples she gave, there and elsewhere, were not of women who lacked tact. Just of strong women who were being asked to soften their image. And really, it’s such and old song most of us know it by heart: “men want to know feel needed”. But if you want to call that lacking tact – whatever.

    What the fuck has that got to do with Aspergers? Part of the art of conversation is keeping things relevant. Wild do nothing but draw attention to a person’s own issues.

  15. Simone Grant says:

    Oops- that’s supposed to say “wild tangents”. That last sentence makes so sense w/o the word tangents. Which is kind of hysterical.