Dating advice books

One funny and one disturbing story for you today. I’m working all weekend, 6am-6pm, getting ready for a big event in a couple of weeks, so I have lots of time to kill. It’s not often that the moon is up when I arrive at the office.

I’m taking advantage of my time to respond to my backlog of work emails, get stuff done that never makes it to the top of the priority list, and uncover the pictures and screen shots I’ve taken with the intent to write a post.


My son is closely bonded to my step-dad, who has him overnight once a week. They go exploring frequently and have all kinds of adventures together.

He also regularly takes him to swimming class, which is close to my house. One night, they walked by a stack of stuff that someone had put out on their sidewalk for people to take. There was a pile of books. My son picked three – one for his Dad, one for himself, and one for me.

The one for his Dad? Frommers Guide to Egypt 2009.

The one for himself? How to Train Your Bulldog. Looks about 1970s era.

The one for me?

the book my son got for me

Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples.

I never asked my Step-Dad, but I’m wondering if he “assisted” my son in picking that book.

The irony for me is I already have it. My Mom gave it to me over a decade ago because of issues I was having in my marriage. One of her cousins was a therapist and suggested it was one of the best books out there. I haven’t read it in ages.

Anyone want a copy?


Several weeks ago my son and I were at my friend Katharine’s house for a backyard gathering with our kids. There were some other women there with their children. We spent a few hours hanging out, talking about husbands / ex-husbands, relationships, and the like.

Near the end of the party, one of the women says to Katharine – “oh, wait, I have those books and videos I brought for you”. She goes out to her car and comes in with this box:

Advice Books

I know the scale may not be clear…but the bin is one of those huge plastic tubs that you get at hardware stores. This woman (who is single, it should be noted), has spent thousands of dollars on books and DVDs / CDs on how to get and keep a man.

I was horrified. Example of one (in the photo) is Mastering Make or Break Moments with Men, which is a whole CD series. Really?

I dunno…I’m all about furthering myself and growing as a human being, but this seems crazy. I can’t imagine spending all this time trying to make myself something I’m not.

Am I off base? Do women really consume this stuff in such quantities? Men, how would you feel about finding out that a woman you’ve dated has read all this content on how to get what she wants from you? 

0 thoughts on “Dating advice books

  1. Yeah, those management-style relationship self-help books really creep me out. I seem to remember GtLYW:AGfC being not bad, but irritatingly couple-centric if you’re trying to foster any kind of unconventional relationship.

    • I try to be my “best self” when I’m meeting someone, but I definitely don’t think I should be coming up with strategies about how to find a partner. That just feels weird.

      I will say, it does help me to understand some gender differences and how men see / perceive things. It might make me think twice about some of the things I do… but somehow that feels different to me. What do you think?

      • Well, to me, books like this are kinda pointless because no two people are the same. The way I perceive something is different from the next guy in line. Likewise, the way you perceive something is different from a LOT of woman I know. So there’s no book out there that’s going to help you get a woman or man. I think the best thing to do is make yourself the best YOU you can, and then let the chips fall where they may.

        Then again, I’m a stormtrooper. What the hell do I know?

    • Totally. I think it would make me worry about whether I’m doing the “right” thing…and although there are commonalities, I don’t think there’s a playbook. Although I’m sure others will disagree.

  2. I’m not opposed to self-help books — the key being “self”. I’m really working on myself and I’m interested in different perspectives on dealing with the past, living in the moment, living without fear, etc. Then I can choose to incorporate things into my life that make sense or resonate with me. My goal is to be OK with me — to love myself and be more compassionate with myself.

    I imagine that when I’m in a good place with myself, everything else will follow — including relationships. However, if not, then my hope is that I would be OK with that and that other areas in my life would be full and rich, so a man would not be the be all and end all. I’m not going to make myself into someone who I’m not or someone I imagine a guy is going to want just to get a man — if I guy doesn’t think I’m fabulous when I’m being authentically myself, then any relationship would be doomed anyway.

  3. Relationship books are the new diet books…there’s always someone hoping to get a new insight or technique on how to “win” the battle.

    It should be noted I am overweight and single, but I haven’t bought any books on dating. Yet. 😉

  4. If women use techniques that they’ve learned from books/CDs/websites, is that really a loving relationship that they want? Seems to me that it’s already starting out on fake pretenses.

  5. Make or break a man haha. like we a bunch of dogs you can train with a cookie.
    Ooh that’s right we are.

    I smiled at the little bulldog one, makes me miss my Bull. You do know he is saying he wants a dog right 😛
    At the help book to funny.

    Most of us do pretend to be what we are not. And the result like her is being single in the end. It is not real after all.
    Being my best on first meet. No just me. a beer belly burping guy LOL No I do not burp. I do have some class.

    You with the dating should know that a first date can be about lots of personal question and how much one can talk about work.I bet you could make a list of big NO, NO’s for a first date.
    We think it is not us that drives the other away. so people will read those books, watch those self help DVD’s.
    Playing into the fear of self doubt of ones mind is a million dollar business. Just like all those diets and training DVD’s

  6. My mother use to read those books all the time when I was little…she’s still single and 52. Waste of money but more importantly WASTE. OF. TIME. I have better things to do than read about how to “make” myself into something different so men will like me better…fuck that.

  7. I’m pretty fortunate when it comes to stuff like attracting/keeping men, but my mom still bought me a copy of “the feeding and caring of a husband” when it was clear I was a shit wife in the fidelity department. I guess men come naturally to me (as I sometimes feel more like a man). If anything, I need a tub on navigating difficult female relationships!!!

    I did go over to a guy’s house once an stumbled upon this awful book on mastering the art of seducing women. He was mortified. I found it hilarious but blew it off out of compassion.

    I enjoy reading you older posts along with your new ones. You’ve got me hooked.

What do you think?