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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

GAMBLE: Leave perfect 8s and 10s for the Olympics

This week’s column has been a struggle. I have hit delete, stuttered words to myself and nervously leaned back on the legs of my chair more while writing this than I ever did writing any philosophy or theology paper.

All of this inner conflict is about one little book with a red cover that hits shelves today. In the book “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough,” author Lori Gottlieb advises women to get real.

While the main topic is marriage and the target audience is women in their 30s, Gottlieb doesn’t forget to call out the twenty-somethings. She says we miss romantic opportunities while “shopping” for the “perfect 10.” The solution is just t0 be happy with an “8.”

This theory, first introduced in an article of the same name that Gottlieb wrote for The Atlantic in 2008, created a storm of controversy. Women across the country were outraged. Now, Gottlieb has fleshed out her bold statements in this book, examining everything from socio-cultural forces to biology. She spoke with divorce lawyers, neuropsychologists, clergy, sociologists and single men and women.

She anticipates that the idea may not be warmly accepted by 20-somethings, and she’s right. This whole concept made my stomach churn. My girlfriends have listened to me relay the message with wrinkled noses, like I was shoving a year-old block of Parmesan in their faces.

So I e-mailed Dr. Amelia Zurcher, director of Marquette’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program, for some insight.

“What strikes me as especially problematic about it is the consumerist model it relies on,” Zurcher said. “As if finding a spouse (husband, really) is like buying some product, and you have to make sure to calculate exactly what you can afford. A woman needs to think hard about whether a ‘10’ is really worth it for her to hold out for.”

Recent reads like “He’s Just Not That Into You” have told women to keep standards high, to hold out for guys who chase them. Even worse was “He Just Thinks He’s Not That Into You: The Insanely Determined Girl’s Guide to Getting the Man that She Wants.” Yikes.

At a glance, Gottlieb’s book seems to go against this trend. Instead of telling women to wait for white knights because they only deserve the best, she humbles them, telling them to get real. You aren’t that great. You’re human, and so is he. Her message is an egalitarian one. Flawed and flawed: a perfect match? It almost makes sense, but something still feels off.

“It’s so bizarre to think we can quantify the worth of people on a 1-10 scale,” said Zurcher. “I also think that the fact you hardly ever see books or even articles like this addressed to men about women is telling of sexism. There’s still a double standard about marriage and relationships, where they are still seen as something women have to achieve in our culture in a way different from men.”

Ah-ha! That’s it! The good old double standard. That is exactly why I hated this book after hearing two sentences about it, and I can’t believe it took me so long to articulate why. The same book would sit on the shelves, collecting inches of dust, if it were written only for men. This book is about “achieving” a man by settling. It’s an oxymoron.

Maybe if Gottlieb weren’t so concerned with her 10s and 8s, she’d know her basic rhetorical devices a bit better by now.

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  • C

    Curt PesmenFeb 5, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Enjoyed the piece. And I wasn’t going to “settle” for a quick snark review. Plus, I’m a guy who took till age 36 to NOT settle for a female “9.”