The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

He’s Just Not That Into You – for Men

Written by: Beth Woodward, CC2K Books Editor

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ImageIn 2004, Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo shot up the bestseller list with their book, He’s Just Not That Into You.  This self-improvement book told women—in no uncertain terms—how a man will act when he’s into a woman…and what he will do when he’s not.  For the most part, this book advocates a no-nonsense approach to dating, telling women that they should stop making excuses for guys who don’t ask them out/call them back/commit to them/etc.

But having re-entered the dating world recently (and knowing a lot of women who have been in the trenches a lot longer than I have), I’m beginning to think this approach is a little too one-sided.  While women sometimes misread the signals men give them, the same could be said about men and the signals that women give them.

It’s with that in mind that I propose a new self-help book: She’s Just Not That Into You, Either.

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Behrendt and Tuccillo’s book advocates a do-not-pursue approach for women: if a guy is into you, they say, he will call you.  And while this rankles me to the core of my feminist heart—why should women let the guys make all the decisions—it’s more practical than philosophical.  Most men like to be the pursuers, and if a guy likes a girl he’ll do whatever he can to get her.  I’m not sure whether this is always the case: many of the guys I know fall on the shy side.  However, I do know if someone is willing to take the time to pursue you—rather than the other way around—it definitely does signal that they like you.  Whereas if you call them, you’re taking the risk that they don’t.

But the fact is, even when a woman allows the man to be a pursuer, the woman still gets to decide whether she likes the guy or not.  And what I’ve discovered in my—albeit limited—experience is that there are guys out there who misread these signals.

ImageMy book would talk about these signals, but it would go beyond that.  Even if we’re going on the assumption that the man should be the pursuer—which, again, I don’t totally buy—there is a not-so-fine line between pursuit and stalking.  Because for every ten John Cusack wannabes who show up on their intendeds’ front lawns with a boom box over their heads, nine get arrested for trespassing.

I think one of the things that bothered me about Behrendt’s passages in He’s Just Not That Into You—and about his television show as well—is the smug, self-satisfied tone he assumed at times.  You women are so stupid.  You let men walk all over you.  You misread their signals and you make excuses for them. But I’m all about equality here, and I think someone needs to point out that men do the same thing.

So here’s what my book would say: if a woman doesn’t return your phone calls, she’s not that into you.  If a woman turns you down for a date and doesn’t reschedule, she’s not that into you.  And of course, if a woman explicitly tells you it’s not going to work out, she’s not that into you.  Don’t degrade yourself by pursuing a woman who doesn’t want to be pursued.  And don’t insult her intelligence (or your own) by insisting that she doesn’t like you because she’s not into nice guys, or because she’s not over her ex, or because you support the wrong political party, or whatever lame-ass excuse you can come up with.  Sometimes you have chemistry, and sometimes you don’t.  It happens.

But somehow, the self-help books out today—of which He’s Just Not Into You is the most prominent example—don’t seem to acknowledge that side of the equation.  But maybe they should.


Selected Book Releases, May 18-24

May 19

My Remarkable Journey by Larry King

The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith

Who’s Got Your Back: The Breakthrough Program to Build Deep, Trusting Relationships That Create Success—and Won’t Let You Fail by Keith Ferrazzi

The Sign by Raymond Khoury

The American Future: A History by Simon Schama

Lost Boy by Brent W. Jeffs with Maia Szalavitz

In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing by Matthew E. May

Go Ask Your Father by Lennard J. Davis

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child

Seducing an Angel by Mary Balogh

Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization by Jeff Rubin