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

The Power of Language

I’ve been unusually mum about the whole Marry Him drama.  There’s one main reason for this.  I haven’t read the damn book, yet. I’ve been insanely busy lately and truthfully, if I were going to make time to read (which sadly I haven’t had time to do in weeks) I would read something for pleasure.

I did write about the original article in the Atlantic, but of course I can’t find that (sorry, still sorting things out from the move).

Here are some well written opinions on both sides of the debate.

Jezebel, Today:  Lori Gottlieb Claims Marry Him is About True Love

The Daily Beast, Give Up on Mr. Perfect?

Evan Marc Katz, Don’t Judge a Book By It’s Cover – In Defense of Marry Him:  Settling for Mr. Good Enough By Lori Gottlieb

Please note that I put the word ‘debate’ in italics.  That’s because I find it somewhat ridiculous.  She, or rather, her publishers chose a title that was sure to be controversial.  To sell books.  To sell lots and lots of books.  But I keep hearing, “it’s not about settling, it’s about realizing what’s important and finding true love”.

OK.  That may very well be.  Like I said, I haven’t read the book.  I have no opinion about what it’s really about.  But the title is the title.  That’s a pretty strong message slapped across the front of the book.

Regardless of the title, or even what’s inside, I’ve been kind of horrified watching this turn into yet another brawl about how feminism has ruined women’s lives. It’s disheartening.  It’s like we have to keep having this conversation, over and over. Because clearly there’s something wrong with well-educated, independent (EXCEPT THAT THERE’S NOT!!).

Anyway, that’s my half-assed thought.  I titled this post The Power of Language because I think that some of this nonsense boils down to people forgetting just how powerful language is. Or, maybe, just not caring about the power of words.

I’ve put a little Amazon link over their on the left for those of you interested in purchasing the book.  Please don’t see this as an endorsement, just a tiny effort on my part to make a little extra money as I’ll get a commission off of anyone who uses that link to buy their copy.  Yay money.


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17 to “The Power of Language”


  1. Terry says:

    Yes- underneath the rather hardened exterior is a soft romantic side. It is found somewhere beneath the cigar and the coffee.

    There is no “reason” to get married except to “want” to get married. And that doesn’t mean to want marriage — but to find some person that life is just better with than without.
    Society should make it easy for women to control their bodies – so they do not have to become incubators of an unwanted pregnancy. Society should make it easy for single women, who want kids -without a man hanging around– to do that. Sadly- much of society is NOT this way — and there are many cultural and religious backwaters that challenge such forward thinking.

    A woman, or a man, should not have someone to “complete” them– unless of course we become androids and have to plug into some socket somewhere. But since we are not– that entire notion of “complete me” makes me rather ill.

    Being with someone should be a matter of choice- should be easy- should be — but often is not. I don’t think I am a particularly easy person to be with – under some circumstances. Sure, I clean up well – am reasonably literate – am fairly liberal– but have a lot of bad points (don’t need to go through them do we?).

    That is my two cents– from a guy with a soft side- who has lived life a bit too fast and got away with it– and who no doubt is way off center from “normal” thinking.

    Bottom line– date if you want to. Enjoy the person you are with if you can. And if you find someone that you WANT to be with for an extended period of time– enjoy every minute of it– and go for it with gusto. One thing I can say for certain — as a doctor – -life is WAY to short not to go for it if you can see it.

    • Simone Grant says:

      This just might be my favorite comment of ALL TIME. In fact, I think I need to come up with some kind of “comment of the week” system so that I can make sure lots of people read it. Thank you.

    • Black Iris says:

      I think one reason Gottlieb ended up wishing she’d settled for an earlier boyfriend was that she became a single mother. She discovered that it was really too much work. I think she was also disillusioned to discover that as a mom she didn’t have time to date anymore and she began to wonder if she would ever find a husband.

      As a mom, I don’t think it is possible to really make it easy to be a single mother. Being married when you have kids makes life so much better. Before I had kids, I don’t think I realized how important it would be. So I can half understand where she’s coming from.

      • Simone Grant says:

        Black Iris,
        I can totally see that. I know several single moms (some by choice and some by circumstance) and I see how hard it is for them). I can totally imagine how a single mom might wish she’d done things differently.

        And I probably would be far more sympathetic to her if she was saying, strictly, I wish I’d done things differently. I should have focused on marriage when I was younger so that I could have had a partner to raise my child with.

  2. Miss Alpha says:

    Regardless of the old adage, books are judged by their title and cover. To stand out from a veritable ocean of books about how to find love/marriage/sex, their choice in title was savvy marketing. Sometimes you have to piss people off to get them to listen… and to buy.

    There is no difference between the feminist media-storm this book’s title has ignited and your attempt to capitalize on it via Amazon. Everybody is just trying to make a buck.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Yes, everybody is just trying to make a buck. However, I don’t really think my sticking a little widget (or really anything) on my tiny little blog affects anyone in any way.

      I think it’s a horribly sad commentary on our society if the strategy for selling anything is to say, “Ignore the name I gave it, I didn’t mean it. I was just trying to get attention and make a buck.”

  3. Kelly says:

    I agree—the publishers knew exactly what they were doing in choosing this particular title, which even Gottlieb herself called “ironic”. It does sensationalize her basic message, which is not really all that new (loosen your standards, girls). I’m going to her book signing in L.A. next week and want to hear what she says. I’ll report back.

    • Simone Grant says:

      I’ll be checking you blog to see your post about it, but honestly, the more I read about this book the less I’m looking forward to reading it. It sounds like she was a ridiculously shallow and picky dater and needed to loosen her standards just to bring them in line with reality. Doesn’t sound all that relevant to those of us who’ve been dating all kinds of men (shapes, sizes, heights, professions) for years.

      • Black Iris says:

        Yes! That is exactly what I thought after reading the essay. Gottlieb needed to change her standards, but that doesn’t mean everyone else in the world should take the first guy they can get.

  4. Well done! I was going to blog about this one, but couldn’t muster the energy to ever complete the post. It made me tired just to think about having to delve into the title over the premise. Thanks for your thoughts. Agreed! Bottom line – get married when you meet someone you cannot live without (not just someone you can live with). Now I’ll just pass on your post. :-)

    • Simone Grant says:

      Thanks, but I didn’t really do much other than pass on some links to good posts. Like you, this subject saps me of energy. And well said, “met married when you meet someone you cannot live without”.

  5. datehater says:

    Obviously the book and the title were carefully thought out to create controversy and promote book sales. Having said that, although I get the point and don’t completely disagree with its premise…..it also sorta makes me want to down a bottle of pills! Ridiculous I say. To think a woman’s chance is up or over once she’s 40. Gimme a break!

    • Simone Grant says:

      Well, there are plenty of people who people that women over 40 are “too old” and others who think that the whole point of marriage is kids… Anyway, they got the controversy they wanted.

  6. D says:

    I read the original Atlantic article when it came out, but the book. I’ve always liked her writing and thought she made a pretty good case. There were a ton of letters in the following issue taking her to task, kind of like the dead-tree version of a blog war.

    Anyway, once you get around to Marry Him, read it back to back with Against Love by Laura Kipnis. She basically argues that love is a fleeting feeling that is constantly undermined by reality, and that monogamy is a dead end street.

    • Black Iris says:

      I hated the book by Kipnis. I thought it was mean-spirited and sarcastic. Why attack people who are happy with love and monogamy just because you aren’t?

  7. Black Iris says:

    I think the book’s title is insulting to guys. I would hate to be married to someone who said they “settled” for me and that I was “Ms. Good Enough.” I like getting e-mails addressed to “love of my life.” I consider my husband my best friend and the perfect man for me. I was attracted to him the first time I saw him. I can’t imagine staying together this long and through so many ups and downs without love.

    I guess I’m a sap for love. But I just want to add to the conversation that a woman who got married in her late 20s and has been married a zillion years, DOES NOT think that single women should just settle.

    • Simone Grant says:

      There’s nothing wrong with being a sap for love. I am , too, in my own way. I’m not particularly interested in having a relationship with anyone I’m not deeply in love with. I also know that love is not enough, but I won’t settle for less than love.