On this morning's Today Show, Lori Gottlieb sugarcoated the bile that Marry Him, claiming that her pro-settling message is really "about finding true love."
In what seems like an attempt to lure readers in with honey before she splashes vinegar in their eyes, she says, "This book is about looking at what really matters in love" and "looking for what's important in terms of long-term romantic happiness." As opposed to, say, "how easily people can end up alone by making the dating mistakes I did," or how being single is like being the victim of a drunk-driving accident, or how "one bad choice can make or break whether you'll ever marry," or how a woman who leaves her husband usually "ends up in a one-bedroom apartment with a Netflix subscription and no sign of Prince Charming" (this last being, as many commenters pointed out, not such a bad scene). Gottlieb can blow sunshine up Today viewers' asses all she wants, but her book isn't about love — it's about fear.
As Double X's Jessica Grose points out, this fear may be misplaced. The educated, successful women Gottlieb seems to be addressing are actually marrying at higher rates than their less-educated counterparts, marrying older decreases your chances of divorce, and getting married may actually make women less happy. Over at The Daily Beast, Liesl Schillinger has a less empirical, but no less articulate, rebuttal to Gottlieb. She writes of the single women she knows, non-settlers whose "achievements, (which include, for some, single parenthood by choice) are the result of abilities, motivations and ambitions so central to their self-definition that suppressing them would have been a form of suicide." And she concludes thus:
There's such a thing as luck, and there's such a thing as love. Sometimes the two forces combine, sometimes, they don't. If luck and love had combined for Gottlieb, today she might be a housewife in Teaneck with an SUV of her own, two kids and a mortgage, and she would not have had the need or the time to have built her fabulous career, or to have written this whining, corrosive, capricious book. Now there's a happy ending. But for anyone who dares order millions of people she doesn't know to sell out their dreams, regret their accomplishments, fear their futures and "Marry him," whoever he is, I have two words: You first.
That last seems to be the message Meredith Vieira gives, albeit gently, when she asks Gottlieb why she isn't married (answer: "I'm close"). And while this exchange may betray a bit of skepticism on the part of the otherwise impartial Vieira, Marry Him is likely to end up in the mailboxes of a bunch of singletons with "helpful" relatives. Gottlieb believes men can avoid the bloodbath that is single life by virtue of their later sell-by dates, but others aren't so sure. Reader "Joe" sent us this lament:
I thought the whole fracas with Ms. Gottleib and "Marry Him" was a lot funnier before my mother linked me the book and said "I just don't want you to be TOO picky, honey." It's worth mentioning here that I am my mother's oldest, 26 year-old, son.
Clearly Joe's mom hasn't read Marry Him, or she'd know that only women are picky, while men just want "someone cute enough, kind, warm and interesting enough to talk to." And to anyone who's ever been dumped by a dude for a bizarro reason: you probably just weren't settling hard enough.
Settling For "Mr. Good Enough" [Today]
Give Up On Mr. Perfect? [Daily Beast]
Is It Time To Stop Waiting For Mr. Right? [Time]
You Don't Have To Settle [Double X]