Thursday, 6 January 2011

Deafinitely Girly and the self-help books

Well, would you look at that: I go to bed in England and wake up to some very helpful comments on my blog about the subtitle situation. Apparently, Apple is not to blame – it’s the film companies I need to get bothering. So I intend to do just that and report back. Although, wouldn’t it be nice if Apple could put its foot down about only allowing accessible content with captions on iTunes? But then I guess there’d be nothing on there and it would be crap for business wouldn’t it?

Anyway, today as I have nothing more than that to report back until I do some research, get some email addresses and get asking questions, I have other things on my mind.

Last night Friend Who Knows Big Words came over for dinner. We had stir fry and cherry pie and chatted about my woeful dating situation. Friend Who Knows Big Words is married to French Boy. They got together 10 days before she was due to go to Central America without him for three months, and after that, well the rest is a happy ever after.

For Friend Who Knows Big Words, it is very simple. No games were played. French Boy liked her and she liked him. Now they are married.

Friend Who Knows Big Words and I were chatting about this last night and we were working out whether there was anything I could be doing to improve my dating track record. I decided it was time to venture to a little visited section of my bookshelf: The Self-Help section.

Now, apart from one exception (Women Who Worry) I have never bought a self-help book – but I have been given rather a lot of them over the years. Quite what this says about me I do not wish to imagine, but the two books I grabbed for Friend Who Knows Big Words to peruse were Stop Getting Dumped and She’s Scared He’s Scared: Understanding The Commitment Issues That Sabotage Your Relationships. The former is quite frankly the crappest book I have EVER read and was given to me by an ex work colleague 7 years ago. When I first got it, I thought it was a tongue-in-cheek look at dating, offering hilarious advice at how to get through the minefield that is relationships. But then I realised it was completely serious, shut it immediately and it’s been gathering dust ever since.

This book says things like ‘Get your hair done and look nice at all times’ and ‘To stop yourself from sleeping with someone on a first date, wear skanky pants and leave your legs hairy’ – which one is it? Look great or skanky? Or is it ‘Look great on the surface but skanky underneath’?

It also says that you should never call a man (I don’t but still get dumped), never make the first move (I rarely do but still get dumped), and eat healthily and exercise (what the hell has that got to do with getting dumped?). After 30 hilarious minutes of reading this book last night, it got dumped… in my recycling bin. But the weirdest part is, it promises your money back if you’re not married in three years. What kind of scary marriage-obsessed people are being cultivated as a result of this book? It all sounds like a lot of manipulation to me.

The other book, the commitment one, was given to me by French Aunt. She knows me well. She knows my commitment issues – I can rarely commit to myself, let alone anyone else, and actually this book might have something useful in it. But I can’t commit to it right now, so that is the end of that.

I think the thing is with me is that I don’t take dating seriously, nor do I think that dating should be taken seriously. I mean, the idea of making finding a man a project HORRIFIES me! It goes against every stubborn strain of independence in my body, and that’s from a girl who still has her childhood teddy bear!

I’m not going to actively go out there and seek Mister Right, because if I do, I might accidentally shoehorn Mister Wrong into Mister Right’s erm… shoes. I don’t actively go out looking to make friends and yet, I’ve done OK in that I’ve made some excellent ones, in the most unexpected places. And what’s also interesting was that when I met those friends for the first time, I didn’t instantly decide we were going to be best friends, nor did we share the intimate secrets that we now do. It’s a slow process. And I think the same should apply to falling in love.

Don’t get me wrong though, I have friends who work very successfully from self-help books – I am sometimes envious of the fact it works for them – but these books just don't seem to suit my personality. I want to kick against them in the same way as a teenager you wanted to kick against well-meaning advice from your school guidance counseller – when mine told me to have smaller ambitions on account of my deafness, I certainly kicked against that.

What's more, I don’t want to know why some men can’t love or why men are from Mars and women are from Venus. I am interested in the now – and there’s probably some self-help book about that that I should read – but I am not going to.

I don't doubt that there is most certainly a nice guy out there somewhere who I could probably date quite successfully without freaking out about whether I have enough room in my life for him. And in the meantime? I am here. I have my own life, my own friends, my own ambitions and my own dreams. If he rocks up somewhere along the way, then great – I hope he too has his own life, his own friends, his own ambitions and his own dreams. And if he doesn’t show up? Well I don’t want a self-help book to tell me how to deal with that. I just will.

1 comment:

MM said...

Many years I wrote off for a self-help book I read about, because Iwas going deaf and needed to know what strategies might help, I got back a hard cover book with ONE page in it and ONE sentence written...It read "Get a life..."... not really helpful lol