Posts Tagged dating

book review: Labor of Love

labor of love

Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating by Moira Weigel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux| May 2016| 304 pages | $26.00| ISBN: 978-0-374-18253-3

RATING: ****/5*

Why do we date? How do we date? Who do we date? Where do we find dates? Dating can be exhausting. People can make dating a part-time job. You need to “put yourself out there” and make an “effort” to meet people. College provided a built-in social life. But if you weren’t ready to settle down then one found it increasingly more difficult to meet and pair off. Work and social life blur as technology makes it easier to feel connected to other people even in a virtual manner. In the past, dating meant marriage and a family. Today women want sex as much as men although women who remain single still garner negative judgment while men who remain single take on the cool bachelor persona.

Author Moira Weigel explores our quest for intimacy and understanding in this fascinating and illuminating read. Covering an immense time span from calling cards to going steady to hookup culture, Weigel answers these questions with thorough research and a keenly academic focus and tone. She writes: “Today, the average millennial spends no more than three years at any job, and more than 30 percent of the workforce is freelance. Hooking up gives you the steely heart you need to live with these odds. Like a degree in media studies, it prepares you for anything and nothing in particular.” She culls information from varied resources. She explores how feminism, civil rights, the HIV/AIDS epidemic and technological advances affected dating.

She writes of 1960s free love: “the sexual revolution did not take things too far. It did not take things far enough. It did not change gender roles and romantic relationships as dramatically as they would need to be changed in order to make everyone as free as the idealists promised. It tore down walls, but it did not build a new world.” In a story in the 1980s about video dating an author in Chicago Tribune stated the stark reality for women; it works “as long as you’re either (a) A gorgeous woman, under 35, with a glamorous career, or (b) An average-looking man, under 65, with an ordinary job.”

Attitudes haven’t changed since then. It’s just as difficult for women over 40 to find dates never mind finding the ideal match or a longtime companion. Online dating might seem easier but nothing compares to communicating with someone in-person, face-to-face. Texting and emailing can be misconstrued innumerable ways. Weigel explains present day dating: “The custom of dating developed under a particular order. It came from an era when life was supposed to divide cleanly into work and leisure. Even the word “date” comes from the idea that there is a point in time when you will meet up with a love interest. So too, does “going out” assume that there is a world of entertainment, separate from the world of home and work, for you to go out into.” Dating seems rather outdated in the Netflix and chill era. Smart writing and impeccable detail makes Weigel’s history of dating a provocative worthwhile read.

Author Moira Weigel writes about gender, media and culture. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Nation and The New Republic. She’s a PhD candidate in comparative literature at Yale. Moira Weigel will be at Harvard Book Store on Monday, June 23, 2016 at 7pm.

–review by Amy Steele

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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purchase at Amazon: Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating

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book review: It’s Not You

its not you

It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reason Why You’re Single by Sara Eckel. Publisher: Perigree (January 27, 2014). Self-help. paperback. 184 pages. ISBN 978-0-399-16287-9.

“But the myth that we’re 100 percent in control of what happens in our lives makes us extremely hard on ourselves, and single people especially, so eager to solve the riddle of Why, are often willing to accept the premise that some fatal personality flaw is preventing them from finding lifelong love.”

Finally, a book that will ensure singles over 35 that they’re not the last single person out there and there’s nothing wrong with them. They just haven’t met that someone. It’s okay to be picky, to have careers, to enjoy living solo, to travel, to be undecided about your future, to be a bet of a mess, to not smile all the time. Yes, someone will love you anyway. Some people are late bloomers and there’s no reason to beat yourself up over that. Sara Eckel wrote a wonderful article in NYT’s Modern Love called “Sometimes It’s Not You” which reassured many a single that his or her singledom wasn’t for being too ugly or too smart or not into sports or having too many cats or reading too many books.

“Single people aren’t on the fringe of society– they are society.”

In this book, Eckel extensively researched relationships, dating and the stigma of being single. She spoke with a plethora of experts. She uses a Buddhist-style philosophy to let it go, to let the universe happen, to be mindful, to feel what you feel and release it. It’s OKAY to be picky, independent, a feminist, older, sometimes sad, to not settle, and to be intimidating and not play games [remember the dreaded The Rules in the 90s?]. Sara Eckel debunks all those reasons everyone’s been hearing about why they’re still single: “you’re not playing the game,” you’re too desperate, you’re too picky, you’re too negative; you need to be happy alone. And many more. So with 27 of the wrong reasons why you could still be single, you should find solace in this book somewhere.

You Have Low Self-Esteem

“Research shows that people with high self-esteem are no more well-liked than those with low self-esteem, they only think they are more admired, says Kristin Neff, a psychology professor at University of Texas at Austin.”

Eckel embraces meditation and mindfulness and suggest this approach the next time you’re feeling rejected, less than or down about not having a date:

“Instead of assigning blame, simply take a moment and acknowledge the painful disappointment you’re feeling. You don’t try to talk yourself out of feeling bad—since feeling bad is a completely natural response to rejection.”

You’re too Desperate

Stephanie Coontz, author of Marriage, a History says: “Historically, desperate is agreeing to marry a much older man whom you find physically repulsive. Desperate is closing your eyes to prostitutes and mistresses and praying you don’t get a venereal disease. Desperate is having child after child because your husband won’t let you use birth control or covering the bruises you got last night when you hurry to the market to shop for the evening meal. Women today may be anxious about finding a mate, but most could not even imagine being that desperate.”

You’re Too Picky

“The implicit assumption –that I wanted perfection or nothing—infuriated me because I wasn’t entirely sure it was wrong. How could it be? I had failed my entire life to find this relationship.”

You’re Too Selfish

Not so fast! Oh the things you can accomplish alone. Sure being part of a couple can be great but I know some marrieds who have to do everything together or check with each other before doing something and that’s a drag to me.

“Single women and men are more likely to call, visit and help out their aging parents with daily tasks (doing housework, driving to the doctor’s etc.) than their married peers.” [Yes. My brothers rarely visit my parents and hardly ever visited my now deceased grandparents. I was the one to visit weekly and take care of them.]

“Single people are also more likely to lend a hand to neighbors and siblings. And never-married women attend more political gatherings and sign or petitions than their married cohorts . . .” [I’ve always been politically active and volunteer on political campaigns.]

You Don’t Know Love

I love this section because I never understand when people feel the need to say they’ve been “almost married” several times or to list the number of long-term relationships they’ve had. My long list of dates, short-term relationships and one-night-stands don’t count as experience? I beg to differ.

“Little credit is given to the person, who has the sensitivity and intelligence to avoid the near-engagement or divorce—who takes months, rather than years, to realize the partnership isn’t working. No due is given the person who refuses to be jerked around—thus compelling the jerks to move on to easier prey. It’s assumed there is some love gene that you lack.”

RATING: ****/5

–review by Amy Steele

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Penguin Group.

Sara will be reading at Trident Books on Tuesday, February 11 at 7pm.

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DATING: defensive misogynist on OKCupid [so awful I couldn’t make this up]

Frustrated Woman Using Laptop

A few days ago I received a message from a guy on OKCupid. And not just a “Hi.” or “You’re pretty.” He’s four years older than me but seemed extremely concerned about my purported preference for younger men. I will admit that I’m a young 43 both in looks and in my tastes– I favor alternative music and indie films and keep current on pop culture. I’m not stuck in my high school time zone.

Byron aka bradclif88:

energetic revealing profile. I am interested but cautious ; you seemed to carry a preference for younger partner. I used to be younger, but no access to time machines; if the technology catches up in the future……

Or we can meet and greet and take it from there
A little about me

I am a hopeless romantic and I love it ,
despite the pain which it sometimes causes. I am loooking for a good solid woman , to be the balanced partner I desire. Honest ,fun loving , and humourous.
I can cook. Love a great scotch wine herb,-420,; so much more to tell about me and to learn about you .
My emotional quotient EQ, is above average ; good listener and sharer.
At six feet, 203lbs (this morning ), I can certainly lift , if not sweep, you off your feet.
I work in health care, which I love, and i do have a flexible schedule so meeting should not be a problem. I am open to women of all races, sizes , relationship status,etc
Looking for a friend and lover, short or long term ;whatever clicks between us.Will answer all responders, gracefully and gratefully,

Byron Sent from the OkCupid app

my reply:

Why do you think I have a preference for younger guys? I don’t say that anywhere. What do you do in healthcare?


On the questionnaire section, asking about age difference you reply , I think , I prefer younger men. I may be wrong.
I am an internal medicine spec. PCP.

BSent from the OkCupid app
Jul 26, 2013 – 7:49pm

“How do you feel about age differences in relationship s”
And you answered as above : prefer younger men , but if you changed your mind, or whatever , hooray!

Sent from the OkCupid app

my reply:

Prefer doesn’t mean much esp when a question gets posed

–These OKCupid questions give you limited wiggle room. I probably DO prefer younger guys but that doesn’t mean an older guy might be respectful, communicative, smart and charming and that we might have enough things in common. However, I notice that he smokes and THAT is an absolute dealbreaker. Gross. Smelly breath, clothes, stained hands and teeth. Need I go on?


I send him this message:

You smoke. I can’t date smokers; it’s disgusting. Doubly so that you’re a doctor who smokes.
Sent from the OkCupid app
Jul 28, 2013 – 3:18pm

–now he gets defensive because I said I don’t like smoking. Perfectly in my right. Do you know how many guys won’t date a vegan, a feminist, a woman who voted for Obama, a reader, a writer, a liberal, an animal lover, a recycler, a yoga fan, a liberal arts major, someone with depression, a woman with an advanced degree? Online dating and online communication doesn’t give you carte blanche to attack someone, to name call or to be so inappropriate.


“Doubly so?”- why so?
My,you are so open minded!

Smoking may be disgusting , smokers are not

Prefer dies not mean much? Then why did you use the term? You were not forced to use the term. And stating in your first text, that you never said that you preferred younger men, when you did say it, and now yiu are trying to then it around, indicated your own instability and mean spiritedness. God, go pursue younger men, they can teach an old dog like you new tricks . Ugh
Sent from the OkCupid app
Jul 28, 2013 – 6:59pm

my reply:

You’re defensive because I don’t like smoking. That’s mature. I don’t re-visit those questions I answered and you’re harping on one I prob answered a year ago. In my experience younger guys have cooler, open-minded attitudes and are interested in current music and film not stuck in a classic rock/ what I did in high school phase.
I feel sorry for your patients.

Sent from the OkCupid app
Jul 29, 2013 – 8:52am

Bradclif88 says:

I am defensive dealing with an offensive human idiot. Younger dudes love trannies like you – but , which? Yiu say preferences don’t count!
My patients are fine; I can’t help you ; I’m not a psychiatrist . Thank you for going away

Sent from the OkCupid app
Jul 29, 2013 – 11:12am


It’s interesting that you must resort to calling me an idiot and a “tranny.” Wow. What a conservative, awful person because I answered one question that I “prefer” younger. Look at the ugliness and ignorance you’ve shown through messages.
Sent from the OkCupid app

Jul 29, 2013 – 1:52pm


You feel sorry for my patients”

You don’t know me , nor my patients, yet you make ignorant statements like that one.
“Dating a smoker is disgusting ”
Smoking may be disgusting to some. Only ignorant people call the person disgusting . ( sure you will deny writing that, just like you initially denied your saying you prefer younger men)
You never admitted, nor apologized for your error. Classy people would have said ” oh I am sorry , I did write that I prefer younger men”. Not you . Yiu just slid back and said the question was at fault, and your answer was not that important anyway: shows your inability to take responsibility for your actions , amongst other flaws you show in this exchange. Open minded ? You? Don’t think so.
Honest ? Like a republican.
Tranny? Oh yeah, that’s the term universally used and recognized to describe desperate old women who fear aging and their own worth. Screw younger men, after one drops you ( slam bam , thank you ma’am) , you move onto another, ready with excuses as to why it didnt work out. Repeat.
Inevitably you return to Okcupid, saying you’re looking for a ” mature” gentlemen, flattered by posts from young men, but thanks , you may be as old as my son( ugh), but not interested. Read all these women’s ads , you will be there soon enough.

FYI, I’ve never been a conservative; only an idiot could conclude that based on brief letter exchange!
So now, see the last sentence of my last email to ya

Sent from the OkCupid app

Jul 29, 2013 – 3:09pm

–Not sure why I’d engage with this guy. I guess I can’t believe someone who claims to be a PCP would be this cruel and disgusting.


You’re so ignorant and conservative-minded you don’t deserve my time. I don’t like smoking. Period. Smokers have bad breath, smelly clothes, stained teeth and fingers.
Calling a woman a tranny is disgusting and misogynist. I don’t have to apologize for preferring younger men. You’ve done zero to prove you’d be cool enough to date me. I don’t date 20somethings. I’m far from desperate or I’d grovel for someone as awful as you to accept and date me. . .

Sent from the OkCupid app

Jul 29, 2013 – 5:48pm


On your knees, bee-atch!
That’s why you keep replying to me, when I told ya to go away!

You r old, sagging, and can only get young ones for a few dates NSA and FWB.
Tranny is not misogynistic, it is accurate. Only the truly desperate Woman objects to a valid term by saying its “M”!
Getcha knee pads ready, it’s gonna be a long haul for you!

LTiP movie quote: ” get the butter “- Brando
Sent from the OkCupid app

Jul 29, 2013 – 5:58pm
Your patients should read your disgusting messages. My age range is 33-53. You’re mad bec I dislike smokers and smoking.

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book review: I Don’t Care About Your Band

Title: I Don’t Care about Your Band
Author: Julie Klausner
ISBN: 978-1592405619
Pages: 272
Publisher: Gotham (February 2, 2010)
Category: memoir
Review source: publisher
Rating: 4.5/5

And there are so many guys. I remember the first time a friend referred to a guy I liked as a “man,” and I made a face like I was asking Willis what he was talkin’ ‘bout. A man is hard to find, good or otherwise, but guys are everywhere. That’s why girls go nuts for Don Draper on Mad Men. If that show was called Mad Guys, it might star Joe Pesci, and nobody wants to see that.

But I know way more women than girls. There’s a whole generation of us who rode on the wings of feminism’s entitlement like it was a Pegasus with cornrows, knowing how smart we were and how we could be anything. The problem is that we ended up at the mercy of a generation of guys who don’t quite seem to know what’s expected of them, whether it’s earning a double income or texting someone after she blows you. And that sort of sucks when you want a boyfriend. There are no more traditions or standards, and manners are like cleft chins or curly hair—they only run in some families.

I Don’t Care about Your Band delivers amusing, maddening, melancholy, and extremely relatable stories about her hook-ups and dates with complete honesty, self-effacing humor and rawness that make you want to be author Julie Klausner’s galpal. Julie, a writer [her writing has appeared at, in The New York Times, in New York Magazine on-line among others], actress, and comedian [who worked as a staff writer for VH1’s Best Week Ever] and has also performed with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Using her writing skill and comedic timing, she may have written the best break-up/relationship book I’ve ever read. Julie writes in a conversational style and throws in pop-culture references. I’m older than Julie and I was a late-bloomer sexually, but [I know my mom is reading this] I made up for lost time and it is okay for women to have fun sexually. Men have been doing it for decades. A woman is entitled to one-night-stands as much as men are but that does not mean that women also do not want to find caring, wonderful boyfriends. So how far is too far on a first date or when you first meet someone and want him to call again? It’s such a balancing act for women. For men, no problems. No rules. Because you know most guys will take advantage and push you as far as they can go. He’s got boobs and a vagina in front of him.

I Don’t Care about Your Band stands apart from other “relationship” books because Julie talks with few boundaries and many details about sex with every type of guy imaginable. Julie also dishes about what happens before and the aftermath and her feelings about the entire experience. She tells it like it is just like any good Jewish New York woman does. Yes, once you pick it up, settle in because you will not want to put this winning and refreshing memoir down. Julie discusses her childhood and how she was Daddy’s little girl and that he took her to Broadway shows. She also admires Miss Piggy’s gusto though was confused by Kermit’s rather lukewarm attraction to her [weren’t we all?]. She learned early that you give a guy a blow job and you aren’t getting anything in return [have we EVER heard of a case of boys going down on girls in the back of a school bus anywhere?]. We both found our gay friend. And she had a crush on Mike Nesmith [the turtleneck-wearing Monkee and not Davy Jones]. Check. We have SO much in common. She too strongly disliked the advice of The Rules [“that shrill creed designed to make women feel bad about their own desires…”]. And then we got the equally banal He’s Just Not That Into You [‘which provide women the tremendous relief of knowing that they were simply not terribly liked by the objects of their affections’], and to my appall, received an hour of attention on Oprah.

My advice to women who are habitually gravitated towards musicians is that they learn how to play an instrument and start making music themselves. Not only will they see that it’s not that hard, but sometimes I think women just want to be what it is they think they want to sleep with.

Some of the experiences chronicled in I Don’t Care About Your Band: Colin, the vegan heavy metal band guy who wants to do snowballing [see Clerks for clarification] for starters; Rob, the actor, who fears showing her his apartment so they spend all their time at hers [he’s nine years older than her] and he never wants to be seen in public with her; Greg, “the ugliest person” Julie has ever had sex with; Josh, the rather low-key porn-industry guy who used sex toys on her; another rocker named Jonathan, a fan of Julie’s [he made her meet her at his place in Brooklyn]; Alistair, an ex-con she met in an adult-ed writing class she was teaching. He made her split the check! ON HER BIRTHDAY! Tacky. And he had a small penis. Of course, Julie elaborates on all these guys in I Don’t Care About Your Band. I don’t want to give it away and spoil your reading.

But I only know that kind of peace since I’ve given myself a break. All of a sudden, at some point, it became no longer necessary to punish myself for every transgression I made, like eating candy before noon or not writing a feature screenplay every week. Once I rid myself of the chemicals in my brain that canceled out patience with anger, I could start making more informed choices about what makes me feel good and whom I allow to make me feel bad. I other words, I could start liking myself. And I began letting myself like people who have that in common with me.

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