book review: Will Marry for Food, Sex, and Laundry

by Simon Oaks

Here we go again. Another book for women on how to snag a guy. As if all women want to get married. As if all women are clueless on how to attract men and keep them interested. Apparently, the publishing industry feels there is a market for these books because He’s Just Not that Into You was a bestseller and is now a film (which makes absolutely no sense and is a ridiculous, sexist film) and comedian Steve Harvey’s book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man is on the NYT Bestseller’s List and Oprah planned an entire show for Harvey with an entire female audience asking Harvey questions as if he were a relationship guru.

So this guy who is married Simon Oaks wants to put women back where they belong: in the kitchen, doing all the “female-oriented” chores around the house and sexually pleasing their guy (never mind that he needs to rock your socks off as well or the relationship will never work—to Oaks’s credit he does mention that in passing). This book is so offensive it’s beyond anti-feminist. Also, most of what Oaks states is really obvious. Women know what they should and should not do in relationships. Men also know what they should and should not do in relationships. That is how women and men learn from past and current relationships to make a relationships work.

To take away his commitment-phobia, you have to take away the risk factor. Make him confident to walk through that minefield blindfold for you by standing on the sidelines and directing him to safety.

Oaks discusses four phases:
1. How to Find Him
2. How to Attract Him (here’s the Food, Sex, Laundry draw)
3. How to Keep Him
4. How to Stay with Him

I didn’t learn anything new and found myself speed-reading the final few chapters of the book (the How to Stay with Him part). Will Marry for Food, Sex, and Laundry just does not disseminate any new or essential or secret information that women need to understand men any better. We know that guys like sports, food, sex, and being the strongest, wealthiest, most attractive guy in the room. Oaks says of sex: “Your man seems perfectly normal, but he has plenty of fantasies bouncing around in his head.” Oh, really. Is that why so many guys look at internet porn? C’mon. Tell me something I don’t know. He goes on to list what some of the fantasies guys have are: stockings, nurse uniforms, role play, outdoor sex, sexy underwear, bondage, and three-way. Oh, I am so shocked! (total sarcasm) Perhaps someone in a small town in Tennessee or South Dakota might learn something from this book but for someone living in an urban area, sigh, most of us have probably already experienced at least a few of these things ourselves. Some of us may be more experienced than our boyfriends. It is 2009. We have the Internet, Craig’s List, HBO, women’s magazines and Oprah.

Then without being subservient, cook like his mother would and do his laundry and “go that extra mile” because “Women tend to be nurturers. It’s your skill. A man in a stable, loving relationship will live longer because there’s a woman looking out for him and he’s looking out for her.” Okay, first, we may be nurturers but that could make us be nurses or care more about our cats than our boyfriends. Second, women are not responsible for the longevity of men.

In the chapter on getting a ring from a guy, Oaks suggests allying with his mother, giving an ultimatum, and reminding him what he’d be missing (sounds like another way of giving him an ultimatum). For me, an ultimatum is terrible. Deciding on marriage should be mutual. Of course, I suppose there is something terribly wrong with me because no guy has every proposed to me and I’ve never been married and I’m over 35! Shocker!

Oaks says, “Treat him mean to keep him keen. If he’s taking you for granted, shake things up. Let him discover that there is no such thing as a self-emptying dishwasher.” But then a little later he says, “Stop annoying him, he’ll stop annoying you. Contrary to popular belief, men can do things without women correcting them all the time.” Okay so what do you want us to do, let the man be independent or coddle him and guide him along all the time? It’s unclear. Apparently either might work okay to “get” and “keep” a man.

One last thing that Oaks shared courtesy of the National Institutes for Health:
“Divorced men are more likely to suffer from depression, die in a car, commit suicide, and indulge in substance abuse than married men. The reason for this is marriage and relationships come with responsibilities and obligations, which suppressions risk taking.”

You know what else comes with responsibilities and obligations?
• a career
• a pet
• a child
• a house/condo
• a car

So read Will Marry for Food, Sex, and Laundry at your own risk. If you are independent, perhaps steer clear. If you really need a guy at your side all the time, this may be the guidebook for you.

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