“Aaaaaaaah.” That’s me screaming. Wait, I’m not done. “Aaaaaaaah.” OK, that’s better. Why all the yelling? Six little words: “He’s just not that into you.”
He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys, the book by former Sex and the City affiliates Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, should be red-flagged as played-out, bad advice.
The idea for the book came about from one episode of Sex and the City, and is the brainchild of publishers Simon Spotlight Entertainment, (an imprint of Simon and Shuster) who are seeking out the hottest and newest demographic. Publisher Jen Bergstrom said in an interview with mediabistro.com, readers “can be married or single, but they are thirsting for a new voice or a new attitude.”
Naturally, Oprah likes the idea. She featured the book on Sept. 22, telling viewers, “Greg [Behrendt] says that he’s written this book now because he wants women, first of all, to get it and to free themselves…”
I’ll free women. Try this out for size: “I’m just not that into him.” It is much more freeing for a woman to say she isn’t into a man than for her to place the blame on herself as Behrendt and Tuccillo’s catchy phrase does.
There is nothing new or freeing about chick lit. It was made famous with Sarah Jessica Parker and her ability to replace men with Manolo Blahniks, but like any trend, chick lit and Manolo’s are so last season.
Sex and the City became famous by creating a new image for women. Through Parker’s escapade of dating wrong men, female viewers were able to establish an identity as women who don’t need a man to define them. By these new standards, women should be liberated, single and career driven.
However, this book keeps women in the subservient role in relationships. After all, if a woman takes the advice of the book then she is the problem in the relationship and the man has no accountability. He can leave a situation with no explanation and somehow, according to Behrendt and Tuccillo, it’s freeing for a woman to say, “He’s just not that into me.” Then the man walks away scot-free and the woman wonders what she did wrong. How liberating.
To add insult to injury, women of the new millennium are really paying $20 for this book to reiterate what they should already know from 94 episodes of Sex and the City. As of early October, rankings show the book was No. 2 on The New York Times best seller list for advice books. Recently it was No. 3 on Amazon.com, and after the Oprah show, it was backordered on the Web site.
A Barnes & Noble sales associate in Center City said that the copies have been flying out the door. Borders Books and our campus bookstore concur. The point of the book is for women to stop wasting time on men who are not interested and start wasting their energy and money beating down bookstore doors instead.
News of this liberating chick-lit novel swept across North America, being touted in papers such as the Chicago Sun-Times, The Washington Post and the Toronto Star. The real trend is the visage this book creates. It avoids the reality that every relationship is contextual.
Saying “He’s just not that into me” does nothing but create a temporary solution to a problem. This quick fix will only make women wonder what’s wrong with them further down the road. The book promotes that women repress their feelings, while offering no resolution to relationship mishaps. That six-word phrase is an avoidance tactic and it suppresses communication.
Bergstrom said that the demographic for chick lit is the type of women who “are hooked on at least one reality TV show, they own an iPod, they can’t live without TiVo.” Chick lit, like reality TV, can hardly be categorized as reality at all. And certainly the products are not sources of deliverance for women of the new millennium. Here’s some advice for women really seeking liberation: Close the book, turn off the television and communicate.
Nicole D’Andrea can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.