A few of my closest friends in the public relations program (all seniors, all graduating, all the reasons for the teardrops on my guitar) and I recently decided there’s something we love to do more than drink red wine and discuss campaigns together: read.
One of these fine young women sent a screenshot in our group text of this book, “I Had a Nice Time and Other Lies,” insisting we just needed to read it. Within 15 minutes, we had established a pseudo-book club. #21stCenturyProblems
She promised it was hilarious, enlightening and a must-read for college women, so of course, I emailed Mary (my mom) immediately and requested $12.99 so I could purchase it on iTunes and start reading. I swear, the introduction was so funny I breezed through the first 50 pages of the preview in half an hour (in the back of my Global Studies class… whoops).
The gist is this: There’s a right way to date and a wrong way to date. Those who complain about not wanting to “play the game” just don’t want to win badly enough. It’s harsh, it’s irreverent and, at times, downright inappropriate, but it’s hysterical and dripping with satirical truths about our dating culture.
I totally recommend this book to people who (a) can take a joke and (b) are interested in learning a little bit more about why dating can be tricky and how to tackle some common problems. I wouldn't recommend this book to those who (a) have a super religious view of dating or (b) hate expletives.
One thing I really loved about this book is that it outwardly states that dating is not something we naturally know how to do. If you’re just incredible at dating on your own, congratulations, but this book reminds us that, much like any other activity, dating has some ground rules and “best practices” that will lead to far more success than if ignored. If you’ve had terrible luck in love, you’re in the majority – because contrary to popular belief, it’s not something we’re born knowing how to do.
I feel like every sentence I’ve said in the past week has started with, “So that book says…” because it’s so stinkin’ relatable and applicable to all situations! I want to purchase 100 copies and hand it out at fraternity parties.
To make a 360-page story shorter, the book is broken down into sections. The first starts out with a simple message: Before you can even think about starting a relationship, you need to get your sh*t together (I’m censoring for my own purposes, but these authors definitely did not). While this chapter served as an introduction, it was my favorite because it focused on the most integral aspect of any relationship: you.
In short, it made the claim that you need to have your own life, interests and friends before you can even begin to think about dating anyone else. You have to be someone who’s worth dating! That sounds abrasive (and to be fair, the entire book is), but it’s valid. Who wants to date a girl whose only interest is being someone's girlfriend? Yawn.
Overall, I think the reason I enjoyed it so much was because it said what everyone’s thinking but feels too politically incorrect to say. I felt like a radical right-wing conservative at a Trump rally (poor political comparison).
For example, it said there are three super basic aspects of being ready to date: look pretty, feel pretty and be interesting.
At first glance, you’re like, “Wow, that’s shallow, I can’t believe they’d suggest someone needs to be pretty to be attractive to the opposite sex.”
…but like, is it? Is it unbelievable?
Obviously beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think the overarching message here is that you have to put some level of effort into your appearance so your first impression isn’t totally blown. It’s not saying you have to be on Gigi Hadid’s level, but maybe run a brush through your hair and throw on some mascara.
It doesn’t matter if you’re objectively not very good-looking or the most beautiful girl in the world, putting a little effort into how you look (a) shows you respect yourself enough to care how others perceive you and (b) will inevitably lead to you feeling better about yourself and projecting genuine confidence (which, spoiler alert, is one of the most attractive qualities anyone can possess in any arena of life, whether it be relationships, business or otherwise).
I know this can be a controversial suggestion to make to young women who already feel the aesthetic pressure of a thousand burning Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows, but it’s not sexist or unreasonable. The same goes for men. If I meet a guy in a button-down with clean hair standing next to a dude in stained sweatpants and food in his teeth, it doesn’t matter how objectively good-looking either dude is – one’s outward appearance says, “I probably care about my wellbeing,” and the other’s says “I just finished up hour six of Halo.”
It also addressed the motivation behind wanting to date (which totally puts the brakes on the purpose of the entire book). It makes a few offhanded comments like, “If you’re bored, get a hobby,” and, “If you’re lonely, find a friend.” Neither are reasons to start dating.
It essentially boiled it down to this: If you’re happy with yourself and your life but think it could be fun to date, then you’re ready. Your boyfriend or girlfriend should never “complete” you, they should “complement” you – because you’re whole all by yourself.
Pick up a copy if you're interested and let me know how you like it!
The fine print: