Why You’re Not Married… Yet by Tracy McMillan

Have you heard of this book? It was featured in O Magazine and stemmed from a very popular article in the Huffington Post (which then spawned a funny Twitter account with a large following). For as popular as it was in article and Twitter form, I was surprised about the controversy surrounding it as a book. And the only way to form an opinion about something is to read it, right? As reluctant as I was to read a book cataloguing why I’m not married (that’s a winning way to boost one’s self-esteem), and my disdain for books about dating (I am, admittedly, a cynic), I decided to get the sample on my Nook. If it started badly – I promised myself I didn’t have to finish it and could have a (very small) opinion about the book.

It didn’t start badly. So, I bought it and read the entire thing. First piece of advice that I would give to Tracy McMillan and her team? If you actually wanted to help people and not just stir up controversy… you chose a terrible title for your book. In fact, I think it’s a misleading title. If I had to sum it up quickly, I’d say this book is about being a better person and a better partner rather than how to get a husband.

I know Husband Hunters (my affectionate term for them). I’ve been very well acquainted with a few of L.A.’s finest actually. And while I feel morbidly awkward watching them in the act, and have a natural desire to flee, I can understand wanting to have a partner to go through life with. My friends who have good marriages have a lot of fun, and who wouldn’t want to have a lot of fun? But here’s the deal (and this is part of what I loved about McMillan’s book), those couples are made of two loving, well-matched, sane people. McMillan’s main argument throughout her book is that women, who want to get married,  need to focus on becoming the healthiest (we’re talking brain not body) they can be before they look to hitch their wagon to someone else’s life. She points out ways that we can be bitchy, shallow, slutty, crazy, selfish, messy (as in, you need to get your shit together type of messy), self-loathing, liars, dude-ish, and godless (aka- prone to worshipping men instead of something else – be it a religion or not). So obviously this is not only a book for single women. In fact, this is the PERFECT book to start with if you are already in a relationship and experiencing rocky times (or just want to be a better partner in general). Hell, this is a great book to read if you just want to be a better person in general.

By the end of the book I forgot it was about romantic relationships – instead I had a list of things I hadn’t realized about myself that I could work on to be a better daughter, sister, niece, friend, self… and, yes, if I choose to someday – wife. I don’t agree with everything McMillan says; frankly some of it’s a bit schmaltzy for my taste, but I do think that the premise (and many of the solutions) are good. Being a better person is always a good thing, no matter your stage of life; if for nothing other than it will make you happier to be a better person. It will. Because who ever got happy by being a shitty human being?

So, I recommend this to all women (it’s written pretty exclusively for women, sorry to those of you who have husbands who fall into the above list of nasty traits). If you’re married and your husband asks why the hell you have that book on your dresser, just ask him if he’s interested in you being a nicer, happier, better person – and if so to shut up and let you read (or whatever your equivalent of that statement is — I’m obviously still working through the “be nice” chapter). And if you’re dating and your boyfriend freaks out because you have this on the nightstand… I have nothing for you. Honestly, you should hide this shit if you are dating because it’s probably a guaranteed way to freak out your boyfriend. Single ladies, rejoice. You can read this book anywhere in your house you want… and you can also do all of this. Enjoy.

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