There have been a few articles in the national press in the last week or two about a book by Lori Gottlieb called Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr Good Enough. In it, she apparently says, that if a woman hasn’t found Mr Right by the time she’s 30 she should give up and accept Mr Good Enough because Mr Right isn’t out there.
This is bullshit for many reasons. The idea of Mr Right suggests something mystical and magical about a partnership as if only one man can ever fulfil this – and if you don’t find him you will be unfulfilled. One of the reasons that this idea is nonsense is that people grow and change as they age, so Mr Right then might not be Mr Right now.
Relationships should be based around mutual happiness and sharing, providing comfort and security. The presence of excitement and exhilaration is a bonus, but not an essential for everyone. Some people are simply boring and won’t even notice those things are absent! Mr Right is actually and abbreviation of ‘Mr Right for You’, and we shouldn’t forget that. There isn’t a One Size Fits All mould of the right man for every woman. We all want someone different.
But, I’m not sure Gottlieb is as harsh as she is being painted (and I must admit I have read about her book, but have yet to read the work itself. Is her PR machine good or what though?!). Perhaps she is merely suggesting a bit of realism in our lives? There is still too much fairytale, romantic twaddle being peddled at us about the right man coming along and sweeping us off our feet and everything being perfect. Few people achieve such relationship ‘perfection’ though because humans – men and women alike – are awkward, difficult, selfish little creatures and they excel at making a single disagreement into something momentous and letting it ruin everything – either forever or for long enough to make both parties so miserable that they want to run away and hide.
To find out if you’ve found Mr Right you have to have a relationship with him first. The proof of the pudding and all that. You have to talk with him, sleep with him, get to know him, argue with him, say yes to him, say no to him, compare his company to that of your female friends, discuss him with your female friends and countless other things to see if he is the sort of man you could even live with, let alone spend the rest of your life with. But you know all that already don’t you?
So, maybe Gottlieb’s book is just trying to prepare us for the reality that men and women really are quite different and Mr Right isn’t necessarily a synonym for Mr Perfect (who honestly doesn’t exist!). Where I think she’s got it wrong though is that she thinks a woman over 30 should settle (and that’s the key word here) for Mr Decent, who you can get on with well enough, and live with and you’ll get a relationship that is supportive and secure because you’ve made a realistic choice.
The better option would be to shack up with a woman friend for decent company, conversation, emotional support etc and just nip out/look on the internet now and again when your vibrator becomes too boring and you fancy a go on an Actual Penis.
But, the stop looking at 30-thing is bollocks anyway. I didn’t even bother to lose my virginity until I was 32, when my libido waxed and my vibrators were still good, but I was in need of something extra. I made use of the internet. At first I was primarily scratching a sexual itch, but I decided I wanted something more. So I tried a few men out, encountered some duds (and some not-so-duds-but-not-actually-availables) and now I live with a man who is Mr Right for Me.
Gottlieb’s book is the latest in a long line of books aimed at ‘singletons’ still searching for a partner. It might be worth a read or it might only be good for propping up a wobbly table leg, but it’s got people talking.
If you want to find a man to share your life with, just keep an open mind but don’t settle for any old bloke with a working penis. Men are splendid, but once you’re in a relationship with one the differences between the sexes become very apparent. Just be sure that there’s enough to love in your Mr Right For You that you can overcome them.