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February 8, 2010

Lori Gottlieb Needs To Keep The Faith

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/lori_gottlieb_needs_to_keep_the_faith_20100208/

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I wrote a blog last week about a book written by Ms. Gottlieb.  She says women should be settling for Mr. Good Enough, instead of holding out for Mr. Right.  I got a lot of emails telling me I misunderstood the message, and needed to read the book to be able to properly speak about it.  Well my darlings, I read large sections of the book this weekend and I want to say, clearly and with complete conviction:  this book is ridiculous.

First of all, I want to point out that if you order the book on Amazon.com, the first review is by a gentleman named Evan.  Important to note that he is Ms. Gottlieb’s dating coach and has a vested interest in sales of the book.  He also wrote me at The Jewish Journal, to tell me I was unfairly judging a great book.  I think for him to write anything about this book, without saying who he is upfront, is unethical.

This book makes no sense to me.  I think it gives mixed messages and encourages women to settle for something less than what we have always thought we wanted.  Why do we need to settle?  I am 43, single and searching.  The only thing I will not budge on, in terms of finding a partner, is religion.  I want to marry a Jew, and other than that, I am open.  I have written several times that I am smart enough to know that the man of my dreams may come in a package that I am not expecting. 

As for women holding out for a certain height, weight, or eye color, that implies that we would not give a man a chance because his eyes were brown, not blue. That is offensive to me.  Ms. Gottlieb’s book is written with the assumption that women are stupid.  This is a woman who dumped a man because his name was Sheldon.  Why would we listen to dating advice from someone so shallow?

Evan wrote me on my blog to tell me that Ms. Gottlieb never told anyone to settle, and that the publisher made her use the word “settling”.  In the Huffington Post, Ms. Gottlieb herself writes: ” I suggest settling specifically for women in their thirties who don’t want to be alone for the rest of their lives.”

Perhaps Evan contributed to the book, but never actually read it himself.  He spends a lot of time defending a book that makes no sense.  No matter how you try to explain the book, the bottom line is that Ms. Gottlieb tells us that women, who are not willing to settle, will be alone.  She is alone and in her 40’s, so how great of a dating coach in Evan?

You are alone Ms. Gottlieb.  If your book has truth to it, why have you not settled for Mr. Good Enough, and having a healthy relationship right now?  Dating is hard.  The older you get, the harder it becomes in some areas, yet easier in others.  You seem to be buying into your own rhetoric, and there has been so much press and success around the book, that even if you were willing to admit that some of it was silly, there is nothing you can do now to take it back.

Bella DePaulo wrote a book called “Singles Out”.  (I have not read this book.) She wrote an email to Ms. Gottlieb questioning the validity of her article in The Atlantic, and Ms. Gottlieb responded with an article in the Huffington Post.  She writes to Ms. DePaulo:  “If your definition of a fulfilling life is one that consists of three cats and physical contact only with uncommitted partners or the masseuse at Burke Williams, then put down the Atlantic and go stock up on kitty litter.”  Ouch. 

Ms. Gottlieb sounds a little angry and bitter.  She is not married, has no real prospect to get married any time soon, and she has decided that because she is miserable, every other woman who wants to get married and is not, must be miserable too.  At the core of her book, she is giving the message that it’s better to get married to anyone, than to not get married at all. 

There are some things in the book that have value, but they are hidden under all the silly things.  I invite Ms. Gottlieb to be interviewed for my blog.  Let’s have lunch Lori.  If I am wrong, and have judged your book unfairly, I will be the first to admit it, and I will write on my blog saying so.  Perhaps we can learn something from each other.

In my humble opinion, I think perhaps the key to you finding love, and getting married, is to stop settling, and focus your energy on keeping the faith.

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