Screw the Self-Help Book — I Know He’s Not Into Me.
By Nishita Gupta
I bought He’s Just Not That Into You when I was in Class Eight and had an enormous crush on a guy who liked my then best friend.
I loved the book so much that I recommended it, and even passed around my copy, to help those who weren’t sure as to what was going on in their lives.
Yes, I bought the book. I was 14 then. The book was intended to empower girls to stop waiting for disinterested guys. And it did emancipate the 14-year-old me from unending pain! I realized that if a guy liked me, he would make it obvious by telling me so, calling me regularly, taking me out, etc.
And if he does not do all this, he is not interested in me. My world was suddenly black and white.
Today, I am 21 years old and I can say without any second thoughts, I don’t need to read a Self-Help category book elaborating on how he is not that into me. In fact, I don’t even need to seek advice from my friends on this topic because when somebody doesn’t like me; I just know.
I am raking up the past because while travelling in the metro, I saw a girl, who I presume my age, was reading it with intense attention. If you’re reading this, please don’t try to implement the suggestions in real life because it might spoil your ability to find or maintain a relationship.
There are certainly times when women and men alike need to be snapped out of wishful thinking and move on, but life is not as black and white as the book suggests!
This book is an easy read and provides nothing new to the readers.
Not dating someone who doesn’t do what he says he will, who belittles you in public, who has sex with you and doesn’t call up the next day, who doesn’t want to marry you, etc. are some of the numerous banal advice given by the authors to the readers.
The authors have, other than giving stale advice, made scheming and plotting look necessary in a healthy relationship where the man respects the woman.
I remember reading one of the plentiful examples mentioned in the book in which the guy gave his number to a girl who wanted the authors’ advice on whether she should call him or not.
According to them, she should roll his number in a newspaper, pour milk on it and make it disappear. They say so because although it seems that the guy gave the girl the control of the situation, in the reality of the authors’ world, this means that he gets to choose whether to pick up her call or not.
However, on planet Earth, the girl could have just called to fix a date.
And then there were dodgy suggestions like how a woman should never ever ask a man out because men are conditioned to lead. The guy could be as unsure of your feelings as you are of his, or he could be shy! I say, why not ask a man out?
Many women play the martyr in relationships with men who don’t treat them well because many women feel so devoted to their partners that they are afraid of losing them.
They sometimes delude themselves with fantasies about why the partner still loves them despite all the signs pointing otherwise.
This isn’t gender-specific. Guys are just as delusional as women when in love! They too would try to save the relationship by playing the martyr.
Real life is not so black and white, and this highly sexist, misogynistic book assumes that it is. Unluckily, relationships are perilously perched in the grey and that’s what makes them hard and complicated. We are humans after all. We hurt and shape each other all the time.
It is unfair to hold men responsible for initiating all hetero relationships, casual or serious. Men are equally affected by work pressure, family environment and heart-breaks!
What disappoints me the most now is that Oprah Winfrey promoted this book when it came out and I enjoyed its movie adaptation.
Oh, and the book was written by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, writers of Sex and the City. Aha! I just didn’t want to give away the conclusion in the very beginning.
Nishita Gupta is a bibliophile, through and through. An avid writer who writes for self-satisfaction, a reflective person who seeks beauty in the depth of the words of poetry, a believer who believes in the magic of words and a reacher who wants to reach out to people through her pen and shake them out of their comfort zone.