How to Choose a Husband by Suzanne Venker – book review by Evan Marc Katz

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What I’m about to say may not be very popular with my readership. That’s okay. I’m not here to win any popularity contests.

I’m here to give solid reality-based relationship advice. Such advice is not based on what I want personally; rather, it’s based on what is most effective in relating to the opposite sex.

So it’s with considerable ambivalence that I decided to review Suzanne Venker’s “How to Choose a Husband” today. It’s an easy read – I finished the book in one night – and Venker’s got a decidedly colloquial writing style. The reason I’m ambivalent about it is that while Venker’s actual relationship advice is really good, her judgmental opinions may blind you to her wisdom. Which is a shame. Like Lori Gottlieb, who got raked over the coals for writing a book for smart women who want to get married and have kids, Venker has taken a ton of heat herself – some of it deserved, some undeserved.

She holds special contempt for feminists, Hollywood, liberals, atheists, and casual sex, and since I believe in all five of those things, I could feel the heat rising when I learned how folks like me are unable to have successful and meaningful relationships. This is, on the surface, not true, and it’s a shame that Venker couldn’t have found a little more subtlety and nuance in making her case. Because her case is actually quite a compelling one. And it’s one I’ve been making on the pages of this blog for six years.

Like Lori Gottlieb, who got raked over the coals for writing a book for smart women who want to get married and have kids, Venker has taken a ton of heat herself – some of it deserved, some undeserved.

-Marriage isn’t always a passionfest.

-Men aren’t bad, or even worse than women.

-Being too busy, too difficult, too opinionated, and too arrogant are big problems for women (and men) looking for love.

-There are many women who have spent so much time working that they’ve lost touch with what makes them appealing to men. It’s not that we don’t love your fertile minds; it’s that if you’re working 60 hours a week, training for a marathon, and telling us how we need to change for you, we might just choose women who are a little more available, warm and supportive.

Any arguments so far? No? Then you should have no trouble with Venker’s relationship advice either (except for the fact that it comes from a very judgmental conservative):

From p. 9 “Marriage isn’t a power struggle; it’s a partnership. Unless your husband’s a Neanderthal — in which case, why’d you marry him in the first place? — he’s not the least bit interested in seizing your identity. Most men don’t want a doormat for a wife. One of the greatest ironies of feminism is that it never even occurs to the average husband to do the thing his wife is steeling herself against. In most cases, all that energy spent putting up a shield is for naught”.

From p. 32 “People’s priorities change when they get married. When you’re single, life outside of work is largely without obligations or sacrifice. When you’re married with children, you learn the art of compromise and unconditional love…. Growth hand in hand with a like minded person is the point — not growth in order to meet a like minded person. Unless the goal is to marry a mirror image of yourself (with a penis), there’s no need to become the person you want to attract.”

From p. 36 “No other role in your life will require more selflessness than being a wife an mother. If you want to be successful at it, you need to start thinking about other people’s needs. You need to ignore all that coddling you’ve been given and stop thinking in terms of what you think you deserve or are entitled to. To have a fulfilling, beautiful life — the best life you can have — you don’t need to find yourself. You need to get over yourself.”

There is much to disagree with in “How to Choose a Husband”, particularly the author’s distaste for anyone who is not like her, but the one thing I don’t disagree with is her advice.

This is so true. And if this sounds offensive being told to women, if you saw this exact same advice for men, you’d say HELL YEAH. Wouldn’t you?

“Guys, get over yourself. Be self-aware. Don’t be so selfish. Communicate more. Give us women what we need!”

From p. 45 “Women have no idea how to use their femininity to their advantage, so they end up rearing their heads, trying to be something they’re not. Instead of becoming wives, they become competitors. This is the number one mistake women make… Men like to chase women and women like to be chased — that’s just the way it is. Don’t become the hunter. Don’t call a guy or make the first move. Don’t try to take charge or be in control. That’s what men are supposed to do. Let them.

A woman’s femininity is unique and powerful. It does not lower a woman’s status, nor does it preclude her from being an independent woman. In fact, many men prefer their wives are independent. So, go. Do what you want with your life — no one’s stopping you. Just don’t try to compete with your husband. He doesn’t want a competitor; he has plenty of those. At the end of the day, what a man wants is a partner and companion who’s concerned with his needs as much as her own, maybe even more.”

From p. 55 “Please read this carefully: you can never, ever, change your man. Ever. Did I say ever? Ever. You can’t love a man so hard and so well that your problems will magically disappear. You can’t convince him to see life your way if he doesn’t… Bottom line: if you don’t love a man exactly as he is, even if he never changes a stinkin’ thing, get out.

From p. 70 “We must stop instilling in women this idea that their lives have in store for them something profound, something magical, something so great it belies description. Unrealistic expectations set up a false reality, and real life can only be disappointing.”

I said nearly the exact same thing in “Marry Him”: “If you didn’t have the fantasy, reality would be just fine”. It’s the “Eat, Pray, Love” model of relationships: holding out for some fantasy man who is perfect and transcendent and feeling that anything less is settling. It’s simply not true.

Venker continues about the principles of having a happy marriage.

From p. 119 “Unless you marry a cad, what you bring to the marriage table may very likely determine the fate of your marriage. Put another way: it’s not what your guy can do for you, but what you can do for your guy? That’s the attitude you need going forward…. (I would give this exact same advice to men, by the way – EMK) Being married isn’t nearly as difficult as you’ve been led to believe — most men are supremely easy to get along with. If you treat your husband well, he will be your greatest support and defender. If you treat him poorly, he’ll either bark or hang his head and walk away. Wives have much more power than they realize.”

From p. 122 “I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “you’ll attract more bees with honey than you will with vinegar.” This is the very aspect of human nature against which feminists have rebelled. To them, being sweet means being a doormat. They are wrong. Being feminine — kind, soft, nurturing, or whatever adjective you prefer — is only suffocating if you’re in love with a Neanderthal…. Most men are much nicer than feminists would have you believe. And if you treat them with honey as opposed to vinegar, you’d be surprised what you’ll get in return.”

From p. 132 “Bottom line: there are more important things in life than work. Like love. I have the most loving husband in the world. He’s as committed to the message of this book as I am (and to my writing career in general) but like me, gets frustrated with the lack of time to get it all done. Time —not men, employers, or the way the system is rigged — is the real culprit when it comes to having it all.”

There is much to disagree with in “How to Choose a Husband”, particularly the author’s distaste for anyone who is not like her, but the one thing I don’t disagree with is her advice.

You may want to shoot the messenger, but don’t ignore the message.

To read the book, click here.

Your respectful comments are appreciated below.

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Comments:

  1. 21
    John

    Evan,
    Since you are redoing your site, would you ever consider doing articles geared towards men? You describe yourself as a “prolific dater” in your heyday. I know that how you dated probably contradicts the advice you give to women. For example, you said in an earlier posting that when a woman you loved dumped you, you had your online profile up and ready to go the next day. That would make you emotionally unavailable at that time- the type of thing you tell women to avoid now.
      
    But  my point is that if you were emotionally unavailable, but still got action (a prolific dater would get tons of action otherwise he would just be an average dater), would you offer advice on how you did it?
      
    I know the answer is probably “no” because it might go against your bread and butter. But I am surprised at the amount of male commentators and am curious if there is a market for them too. Any guy who has been in the field and had lots of mini relationships certainly makes me have a high opinion on their methods that worked. For example, reasons why a girl didn’t call back when I just assumed she wasn’t interested in an article you wrote last week. That sort of thing.

    (John, thanks for the question. I coached men from 2003-2010. Finding the One Online is a unisex product. There are many parts in Why He Disappeared that can apply to Why She Disappeared. I still take on male clients from time to time if they apply for private coaching. I just don’t market to men. But yes, I can do this job just as well for men as I do for women. I understand men because I am one. I understand women because I’ve been talking to them every day on the phone for 10 years.)

  2. 22
    Nicole

    Seriously, while there are a lot of people who want to whine I like the comments section too.   It’s a huge part of my online reading experiences and places that are either total commenting cesspools or that don’t have any(or that have comments sections run like a highschool cheerleading squad) don’t keep my attention for long.
    Despite the background of the author, what she says is really true.   It just is.   I’m very assertive and direct and all of those things, but would welcome a space to not be those things.   After fighting lots of battles at work, I actually don’t need to be the same person when it’s time to clock out.
    I think the problem is that a lot of women get a lot of dates and get married in spite of being difficult, bossy, jealous, etc. so it can be hard for a lot of people to admit that those aren’t great qualities and that just because they found a man to tolerate them doesn’t mean it’s the way you should remain.

  3. 23
    michelle

    And since this is such an open minded, non judgemental group, I’m suer there’s room for those that do agree with a pro family agenda, strong morals and values, personal responsibility, two parent families, traditional marriage, not having  children out of wedlock.     Personally, I think MORE of that message would make society better, not worse.  

  4. 24
    Tanya

    First, please don’t kill the comments section! I love reading them, and I learn a ton from them. In facts it was in the comments section that I learned to appreciate that this blog is to help women get the loving relationships they want. That’s not to say that men don’t need to change too, it just means that this blog is about women and what we can to do get what we want. I know some people get defensive and jump to conclusions-i.e.   when you say that a man doesn’t have to make more money than than their woman, you’re not actually saying marry a homeless bum. Instead you are saying that as a woman who is in the top 10% of wage earners, if I want to settle down I need to accept I’ll probably make more money-and as a feminist, that should be ok with me (and it is now, thanks to you!)
      While not a fan of the author, she makes valid points. Most of her points are pretty basic. Be nice. No one wants others to be critical of them. You can’t change anyone except yourself. Fantasy and reality are different things, and until you realize that you’ll be unhappy. It’s not a bad thing to do kind, unselfish things for the person you love, in fact it will strengthen your relationship.
    I do have to say most women don’t have someone to help them learn to be a smart successful, and still feminine woman.   I struggle to figure out how to put my work persona away, and let someone else be in control sometimes. Yet, when I’m with a strong man I trust with that role, it’s a relief to me because I don’t have to be in charge of everything. Not all women feel that way, but I do. Also feminists don’t hate men or think they’re bad. I’m a feminist and I love men-especially good men, who love women. I think women like the author tend to resent people who live their lives differently than she does.
    I think you respect women more than the author does, so I’ll just keep reading your stuff instead of buying her book.  

  5. 25
    Kimby

    Lady Z, I understand exactly where you are coming from. I too have had to deal with what I consider unrealistic expectataions even while knowing that my   expectations are unrealistic, they are still so hard to give up… (i.e. finding a tall, handsome, loyal,  ambitious guy that loves kids, makes 6 figures, is great in bed and isn’t a complete ass) I know, it’s the stuff of legend. The problem is that we are fed this prince charming garbage/ romantic comedy trash from a very young age that  it is deep rooted into our collective feminine psyche. It makes anything that doesn’t come close seem like we aren’t living to  our full potential. The only way I have been able to ground myself, is to continue to recognize my flawed thinking when I meet a potential good guy. And to realize that men don’t come both ways, sensitive and manly, ambitious and not a workaholic, very handsome and not full of himself…. I’ve had to come to terms that not having only the positive sides of characteristics  is not a flaw, it’s real life…

  6. 26
    Kathy

    Nicole@ 26
    “I think the problem is that a lot of women get a lot of dates and get married in spite of being difficult, bossy, jealous, etc. so it can be hard for a lot of people to admit that those aren’t great qualities and that just because they found a man to tolerate them doesn’t mean it’s the way you should remain.”
    I love this! I have been thrown out into the dating pool through no fault of my own(my husband died), but I have had to relearn how to date. Some of the things I read about are things that I might have done in my marriage that my husband tolerated. That doesn’t mean that I couldn’t have been kinder, wiser and more generous and I’m sure he would have  appreciated that too.
    Some of the women that I know in long term marriages  who have been bossy, domineering, etc. for 15-20 yrs,   their husbands have left them in droves for younger or older kinder women. I bet the women  didn’t see it coming, they thought they had “everything in control”. It was always the women who were making these blanket statements like “My husband would never(better not) do this or the other”. They were very bossy women. The men tolerated it for awhile and then got the heck out of dodge when they found someone nicer.

  7. 27
    Rose

    I personally would not   take or ask advice from someone who spoke to me in a way that felt totally disrespectful by saying things like, “you don’t need to find yourself you need to get over yourself”
    To me that does not feel like a healthy grown up way to talk and relate to someone. So why on earth would I take realtionship advice of someone who is not communicating in a healthy adult, intelligent articulate way. And resorts to childish attacking unhealthy communication style.
    I believe the author s misinterpreting the meaning of what finding yourself means. As if you are not connected and do not know yourself it is impossible to be in a real healthy loving adult realtionship with another person.
    Feels best to give that book a miss from the excerpts and communication style   which have been quoted.I only want advise from a great realtionship communicator who communicates to   in a healthy way.
    A great relationship coach adviser is able to offer different perspectives not just their perspective or one perspective   helping the clients discover their own answers. A great realtionship adviser does not tell people what to do, but gets them to look at different perspectives and think for themselves what to do in their their best interest for their individual circumstances. Not tell them things like ” get over yourself”
    Is the author a qualified trained relationship Councillor and adviser? I feel curious about what her qualifications are.

  8. 28
    Dria

    It has been awhile since I visited the comments section, but the reason is because I got engaged in December and have been busy planning my wedding to an awesome guy. I NEVER would have found myself in this wonderful relationship had I become offended by Evan’s direct, candid communication style. Yes, the author may come across as being a tad self-righteous, but her advice is invaluable. I followed Evan’s advice, devoured Why He Disappeared and became engaged to a man who makes me deliriously happy. I will be jumping the broom in August while some of you ladies will still be wasting time attempting to justify your ill-conceived dating theories. Listen to Evan, and find your happily ever after.

  9. 29
    Michelle

    I hope you don’t get rid of the comments section Evan. I get a lot from reading about other people’s opinions and dating experiences as they pertain to your posts.

  10. 30
    Evan Marc Katz

    @Nathan:

    You seem endlessly frustrated with those of us who disagree with you on anything, and spend an inordinate amount of time “proving” us wrong, instead of leaving ground for differences to simply stand.

    I take that personally. There is a TON of dissent on this site. The only times you see me post are when my words are twisted, when a reader makes an egregious logical error, or when someone insists that all opinions are, in fact, equal.

    They’re not. You know that.

    In fact, although everyone has the right to his/her opinion, some people have a better grasp on truth than others. And when it comes to giving good dating advice, I trust my opinion over many readers.

    If a woman thinks she’ll be more effective in relationships by prioritizing her career, waiting until she’s 40 to find love, holding out for the perfect man, and thinking in terms of what she’s getting, not giving, she’s going to struggle.

    If a man doesn’t see the importance of asking a woman out, paying, following up quickly for another date, initiating physical intimacy, and demonstrating through actions that he’s boyfriend material, he’s going to struggle.

    Alpha females and beta males struggle in dating. This is not news. It’s when the alpha females and beta males insist that their way is as EFFECTIVE as mine that I bristle. Because it’s not. You’re ALLOWED to be that way. You’re not “wrong” for being that way. But don’t pass it off as good advice for others. It’s not.

    There are better ways of conducting oneself in the realm of love; that’s what I explore here. And whether a woman insists that her boyfriend stop looking at other women or a man insists that his girlfriend have a lower “number” than he does, I’m going to call them out on the facts: they’re insecure, they’re ineffective, and they’d be better off trying things my way.

    You’re a bright guy, Nathan. A reasonable guy, even. But you’re not a dating coach. And as long as you insist on things like “it totally works when women ask out men because I, Nathan, like it,” you cease to speak for the majority of men. Men who routinely ask out a woman if they find her attractive, and if they haven’t asked her out, probably aren’t interested in her.

    I’m not interested in validation for everyone’s feelings: I’m interested in helping alpha females soften up a bit and beta males step up a little bit. Sorry if that doesn’t work for you.

  11. 31
    Henriette

      
      
    Evan, it’s your blog and of course I accept any decision you take regarding the comments section.   I do enjoy it and read it with every bit as much amusement and interest as I do your writing.   However, I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for you to address some of the more thoughtless comments.   I have to admit that even I ~   a mere reader ~ am often taken aback by the tone and content of some of what I find here.
      
    Those of us who’d like to see the comments section maintained: perhaps Evan’s idea of disabling it will remind us to “play nice” in the future.   This is Evan’s site and when we disagree with him (or with other posters, for that matter), we can make an effort to do so in a respectful manner.     Sure, Evan’s blog is a part of his bigger, money-making empire but it still provides many of us with insights, entertainment and ideas (whether we agree with them or not) FOR FREE.     We are all hiding behind some kind of internet-derived anonymity but that doesn’t give us permission to behave boorishly.
      
    I found the ideas that you shared with us from How to Choose a Husband sound and helpful; I could definitely stand to put some of this into practice in my own life.     I appreciate that you chose to overlook your philosophical differences with the author to give credence to her valid points, just as many of us do when reading your blog.   Humans ~ be they liberal; conservative; atheist; devout; promiscuous or prudish ~ can learn from each other when we bother to listen.
      

  12. 32
    Jen

    Evan, your dating advice is indeed reality-based and smart, but I’m not sure how smart it is to get yourself all upset at logical errors and to get defensive.   The value of what you write speaks for itself; you don’t have to defend it against every inane comment, which also speaks for itself and can be deleted, or ignored by anyone who can think.   You don’t have to validate anyone’s feelings, so then don’t post their comments if they are so bad.   I think keeping up the one’s that are not awful is a service that can help your readers but you are not required to be so selfless as to maintain that if you find it so draining on balance.
      
    Speaking of selflessness that is the worst advice in dating or any other facet of life. If you have to give up yourself to have a relationship what is the point?   A lot of the other points have merit but I would have a hard time taking advice from that viewpoint because it is so wrong on a fundamental level and leads to so many contradications.

    1. 32.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Thanks to those who’ve posted kind words. I do appreciate it and I’d love to respond to you all individually – but it’s much more fun reading controversial stuff than sweet stuff, isn’t it? 🙂

      So, to Jen, who will get my last reply before I turn in:

      “Don’t post their comments if they are so bad.”

      Easier said than done. See, for all it seems to my readers that I am impossibly thin-skinned, you have to understand, I let all of the things that bother me through because I don’t want to be the guy who censors opinions. That’s not how I roll. Every opinion – no matter how wrongheaded – should have the chance to see the light of day and then get shot down. When Karl R was policing the comments, I didn’t have to be as vigilant about colossal misrepresentations and logical errors. Now that he’s happily married (and presumably just as fed up with fighting illogic as I am), I have been forced into action. Maybe that’s all in my head. Maybe I can let Tom10 and Karmic Equation do my bidding for me.

      But your original point about not letting thru comments that irk me so that I won’t feel compelled to respond to them… I’ve thought about it before, and it just doesn’t sit right. I want people to feel free to post anything that’s not directly insulting to me or my other readers. And I want them to know, full well, that their posts will be eviscerated by the people who “get it”. But, the fact is, there are thousands of lurkers who never post – they just like to watch me mix it up. I can see why. I’m just at a bit of a crossroads with this blog and feel that I’m giving a lot of free advice and getting far more aggravation than joy (and money) in return.

      All in all, I may be happier with the blog if I stop posting opinions that twist my words; I just won’t be as happy with myself. It’s a real dilemma.

  13. 33
    Lady Z

    Wow! Where do I begin? Let me start with the person who mentioned me by name: Nathan, I did not feel that Evan was giving a negative “rebuttal” to me. Please speak for yourself. HE simply shared his story with me.
    Jen @ #36- You said:   “…Speaking of selflessness that is the worst advice in dating or any other facet of life. If you have to give up yourself to have a relationship what is the point?…” Perhaps the issue here is a faulty definition of selflessness in context of relationship. But the above sentance sound like a person is advocating for selfishness. You see, in our society everyone (men and women) are taught to look  for how to get THIER needs met, it’s an All About ME, culture. Two people show up to the table seeking what they can snatch, we evalute humans  PRIMARILY, on what they can do for US. So of course a concept of being selfless makes people mad. Doormat? Co-dependant? Is that what comes to mind? A woman in a abusive relationship? Used and beaten? Guess what you guys- being a doormat does not comes from being selfless, it comes from being selfish- a warped selfishness that causes insanity. A person had become DOMINATED, by thier DESIRE to HAVE love. To GET something. That they become a slave to it. They empty thier souls to aviod lonliness, or to prop up a false self-sense of identity.
    If anyone had a true concern about being “weak” – then the best route out of it is to place your main focus on what you have to give- your gifts, charachter, and purpose of being alive in this world. Thats what true selflessness is. It simply a shift in focus from: “What about me? What can I get from you” to :This is what I have to offer..” It puts a person truly in the power postion. One can then CHOOSE FREELY if they want to give to another or not. I have been there. And when I was in the worst emotionally abusive relationship of my life, it was only because I was trying to GET something. And I think all humans have this drive. Its nothing to be ashamed of. Even though somehow the shame still exists.
    While I now struggle with “getting over myself” this may be a process that will unfold for the rest of my life.
    And that is because I wasn;t instilled with the idea that LOVE= Work, sacrifice, experiecing uncomfortability, and that its not “All About ME”- I grew up believing that love was going to be a freaking non-stop PASSIONFEST.
    Did you know the death of dreams is one of the greatest pains a human can endure? The death of the fantasy. I am in the middle of MOURNING, the lie. I have to mourn the fact that   like Kimby so well put. “…not having only the positive sides of characteristics is not a flaw, it’s real life…”
    This may strike well-adjusted individuals as ludicrus, but many of us are just now beginning to grow up, to realize that there is an aspect of suffering in love. What do I mean by suffering? I mean holding my tounge when I want to lash out, getting up early after being up all night partying to make my husbands lunch for work ( I am a stay at home wife- no kids!) Not always having to have the last word…. Self restraint is PAINFUL! Does that mean that because I “love” him that I should not have to show him respect?
    The best book in the world for this is (Evan I am sure you may have peeked at this one) is: The Road Less Travelled by: M.Scott Peck
    Waking up, growing up, is HARD. And I dedicated my life  to this work. I was an orphan who grew up in 26 foster homes. But I have reliazed that people who have come from thier own familes can identify with my issues! I have chosen the road less travelled, of acceptance, love=work, mourning the fantasy, learning gratitude (will do the journal thing- Thanks Fusee!)
    In the end though, I would not fault anyone for wanting to stay in the fantasy, for some they might actually realize it. But I reached the point of no return, I could not go back even if I wanted to. At this point for me its” GROW OR DIE. And I choose life.
    Good night all……………..

  14. 34
    Rose

    At the end of the day the author is basing her opinion solely on her INDIVIDUAL experience as a MOTHER and WIFE, which makes her opinion as no more VALUABLE or QUALIFIED than any other wife or mother.
    What would make me value or listen to her derogatory   rantings. ravings opinions over any other wife and mother and actually pay money for it?
    Her actions have shown me nothing of any value. So why would I value it?
    Plenty of wives and mothers out there who are more than happy to give there advice from the individual perspective on what work’s to make a happy family life and marriage. Personally feels better to me to like i said earlier to be more selective and   to only take SERIOUS advice from better more qualified people than this individual author.

  15. 35
    John

    Evan @37
      I can see why. I’m just at a bit of a crossroads with this blog and feel that I’m giving a lot of free advice and getting far more aggravation than joy (and money) in return.
      
    Don’t look at it this way. Your blog probably does more for your marketing than anything else. Giving away free content is a proven path towards sales. Look at the music industry for example. There are many free videos on YouTube or $1 songs on iTunes. Many musicians felt like they were giving away their stuff with this model. But the free/inexpensive stuff introduced a new audience that otherwise would not have given it a chance. And those new fans account for CD purchases, concert tickets and merchandise. Musicians today make more money now than 10 years ago and yet they give away so much more content.
      
    So your website is like the $1 song on iTunes or the free videos on YouTube. It gives you exposure and credibility to a new potential audience. Your clientele probably does give you good marketing through their word of mouth.   And that’s measurable in your business. But don’t disregard the amount of traffic this website brings to your consulting pipeline.
      
    You are doing well for yourself. This website is part of that equation. Don’t change it if it aint broke.

  16. 36
    Speed

    Evan, you are (like your counterpart Moxy in NYC) a dating coach, a businessperson, a scholar, a human brand and an advocate for realism over idealism. Those are a lot of hats to wear. I recommend   either (1) closing the comments section (do you think Oprah gets down in the mud with anonymous haters and bomb-throwers on her sites? ) or   (2) getting   some young interns who “get it” to police your blog. Choosing either of these options would further your core missions.
      
    Some commenters above are directly or obliquely challenging you to keep the comments section open, which not incidentally gives them a free soapbox to holler from.   But   let’s be realistic: this is not some Agora. Every site or blog polices its content to some extent ( especially in supposedly “free-thinking” Academia, where the PC Police run rampant).
      
    Let the haters migrate over to Jezebel, PUA blogs, where they belong.
      
    Yes, it’s ironic that I’m a semi-lurker encouraging you to close the comments section, and I’d personally miss it. But my advice above still stands.

  17. 37
    Selena

    Evan,
    I was drawn to your blog back in ’07 because I enjoyed the humor in your writing back then. I ended up hanging around for so many years because I enjoyed the different perspectives presented  in the comment section. In fact, there are specific commenters I actually look for because I’m interested in what their “take” is on the current blog topic. And I just skim/scroll through comments and commenters I find I don’t relate to.
      
    I’d like to nominate both Helen and Tom10 for Comment Section Police.  They are in different stages of life- Helen is married with children, Tom is currently in casual dating mode – both present balanced viewpoints and show tolerance of others.

  18. 38
    Mary

    Hi EMK,
    I’m a so called lurker here like a few others and that’s because I’m a dating coach for lesbians. I enjoy your writing and thinking style. Your analysis of the book is spot on.   As dating coaches, we both approach our female clients from a reality-based perspective. Getting and being real is a far more powerful place to live and love from than hidden, clouded and exaggerated expectations. For that reason alone, I love the work of Byron Katie for helping individuals embrace and love reality. That single change in mind set about love and dating can totally change how both men and women approach relationships.
    As a dating coach who is single and has been for a while, I agree with your strategy of finding someone who accepts me and isn’t trying to change me. That’s also the reason we need to learn to love ourselves more fully, then we are able to show up for any dating opportunity as authentic individuals. That’s a really great breeding ground for finding lasting love.
    You’ve mastered your approach to the dating business and your voice is consistent, clear and always respectful even when calling someone out on her sh*t. You’ve been a mentor to me in many ways. Keep doing what you do. I may not be your ideal client but I truly appreciate your presence in this niche.  
    Thanks for all you do to create more love in the world.
    Mary
      

  19. 39
    Ruby

    EMK
      
    I happen to agree with a great deal of your advice, but not all of it. But I think I can disagree with your choice to promote Suzanne Venker’s book, and still appreciate your advice. Plus, since you’ve already blogged about Venker’s writings in a post that also engendered some controversy, it’s difficult for me to believe that you didn’t think that her book might be equally controversial. And as you say, “it’s much more fun reading controversial stuff than sweet stuff, isn’t it?”
      
    As far as the comments section goes, it certainly seems to draw people to your site, and you never know when someone is going to purchase a product or a service, or tell their friends about what they’ve read. Seems like a pretty good marketing tool to me. But only you can decide if it’s worth your efforts.
      
    As far as your wealthy, “alpha” clients who don’t actually follow your advice, maybe when you’re making 250k/year, it’s easy to throw your money away on things you don’t actually use? Maybe the person who springs for your books or services when it causes more of a financial bite might actually be more motivated to follow what you say. Just a thought.
      
      

  20. 40
    Tom10

    Fusee #14
    Great post (again).
      
    “I can tell you, it’s not pretty out there”
      
    I agree, life can be very cruel and tough, but it can be great as well — it’s up to each one of us to make it great.
      
    I like your suggestion of radical gratitude. Everyday I wake up and remind myself that I won first prize in the lottery of life: I was born in the West, was given an education and I’m healthy. Everything beyond that is a bonus. I’m accepting of almost everybody — except moaners: the people who complain about their lot rather than doing something about it.
      
    Evan
    Some kind words there, but I don’t think you need to worry about the “noise” too much — your message shines through regardless.
      
    For what it’s worth I really enjoy the comments and find them a great contribution, not just to the blog, but to the collective wisdom in general. I particularly like hearing from the slightly older (than me) commenters like Goldie and Helen (no offence!) who have been there, done that. That way I can learn before I make mistakes.
      
    Dating for me, like politics and art, is a spectrum which has no defined ‘right’ or ‘wrong’; there’s just the zeitgeist, and the zeitgeist moves slowly. All we can do is influence it through rational discussion.
      
    When politicians are trying to espouse why their beliefs are the way forward they can only explain their principles rationally and calmly, and hope that others take the time to  listen carefully before either accepting or rejecting them. Over time their message seeps into the cultural landscape and defines it in the process. That’s why I always like to listen to and analyze the message being espoused by politicians whose beliefs are diametrically opposed to mine. Sometimes I take on board what they are saying, but usually they just confirm why I believe I’m right in the first place.
      
    The same thing applies in dating — reading irrational comments just confirms why I believe you’re right.

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