Mr. Right, Mr. Perfect, Mr. Good Enough

Recently, author Lori Gottlieb sparked controversy, thanks to her advice to women about choosing “Mr. Good Enough” instead of waiting for “Mr. Right”. After the onslaught of women accusing her of advocating “settling”, she answered that what she really meant was that too many women have stupid requirement and expectations, making it completely impossible to find a life partner. (See original article here)

She was right, really. Some women are too picky. How many of us know people (including ourselves) who have ditched a guy after the first date because of some odd quirk? At the same time, we complain when we’re on the receiving end of such quick judgment. The truth is, you need to give someone a chance before you can really get to know them.

Let’s look at an example:

James and I had a lot in common. We grew up in the same town and knew a lot of the same people. We had never met as kids, but later on, towards the end of college, we met online. Here comes the first date. We had a nice time talking over milkshakes for about an hour. At the end of the date, he walked me to my car, gave me a little hug and got the door for me. I said my polite “this was fun,” and I meant it. I just wasn’t sure if I would give him a second date. Sure, he was nice. He was a gentleman. He paid the bill and opened the doors. We had a similar childhood and had the same religious beliefs. To top it off, he was extremely good-looking. What was the problem?

I wasn’t sure if I felt a spark. I wasn’t sure if we would have much to talk about. I wasn’t sure that we would enjoy the same things. I wasn’t sure if his good manners were just a show. I wasn’t sure if our different levels of education would become a problem down the road.

Still, I was intrigued. I did want to find out the answers to my questions. I knew he would probably be a nice friend to have. I just wasn’t sure that I could date him. So what did I do?

I decided to tell him that I wasn’t ready for a relationship. But, we enjoyed each other’s company so we went out a few more times, as friends. Then came “date” number 3, when the sparks finally hit full-force and we ended up kissing goodnight and planning DATE number 4. We’ve been very happy ever since.

I’m not 100% perfect, and neither is James. We’re human, after all. My mom always told me, don’t look for the guy who is without fault. Look for the guy who has faults that you can live with. Give a guy a chance. You never know how happy can be until you try.

(Of course, many women, especially young ones, make the mistake of dealing with WAY too many faults in a partner, thanks to their insecurity. See Are College Relationships Detrimental for Women?)

Chick Lit

So I finally got caught up enough to allow myself to go to the library. It was a very short visit; within 10 minutes I had picked up more books than I could carry and was on my way home. I used to read a lot when I was little, but stopped during college. Before college, I used to stay up til 4 AM reading Jane Austen, Edgar Allan Poe, Alexander Dumas, and other dead guys. My post-college literary tastes have grown ever-more sophisticated; I just read How To Be Single, a novel by Liz Turcillo.

I know, I know, but please, don’t jump to conclusions. It was research, I swear. And don’t worry, I got what I deserved for opening a novel with a title as stupid as that. The book was awful, really. The writing style was so cliche, I felt like I was reading something by the author of Twilight. The story itself was so contrived and devoid of real emotion, it truly was painful. The first chapter was so horrible, I almost quit right then, but I decided to stick it out. I’m sorry but seriously, Jane Austen must be turning over in her grave if she saw some of the crap her genre has produced.

I’m really not against “chick lit”, to be honest. I just read two books by Jane Green which made me cry (in a good way). Her characters were believable and their stories were realistic, but with the right touch of good luck fantasy that makes you giggle with excitement (like a ron-and-hermione-are-finally-together giggle).

So I’m going to keep reading my girly books, to see if I can find anything better. I just started something by Emily Giffin, and it seems promising. I have a feeling though, that if I want a satisfying story, I’m just going to have to write it myself.