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BOOK REVIEW: He’s Just Not That Into You: The No - Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys

Thanks to Fakhara for introducing me to the Bible of relationship woes.

Author(s): Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

Published in Daily Times / 3 April 2010

Reviewed by Afrah Jamal

Relationships are complicated, not guys, but they would have women believe otherwise, at least according to Greg Behrendt. They would also rather be trampled on by elephants on fire than admit that they are not into you, again according to Greg. So with these two nuggets of wisdom — and that visual in hand — we proceed to meet these specimens at their worst, while they use work as an excuse not to call, are commitment phobic, never get back, pick fights, vanish without a trace - poof!

When they exhibit any of these symptoms or use a million other handy excuses, they are probably not that into you. And Greg observes that they, his fellow men, may not be saying it but they are absolutely showing it.

The book has compiled stories heard and questions asked in the form of a delightful little Q and A with the author. Greg is someone with an insight into relationships not just because he is a man, but because he was once that man — that man with the lame excuses. The book uses Greg’s wickedly funny, occasionally irreverent, mostly accurate observations to cushion the blow that this revelation is sure to deliver. It gives those unknowingly headed towards ‘happily never after’ land, a crash course to recognise that for every culturally distinct show of affection, there are universal signs of rejection. Instead of taking the hint, women almost always end up letting these guys off the hook, coming up with an alternate set of explanations — too intimidated, too scared, too busy, too shy, too crushed by divorce. “Not into me” seldom enters into the conversation. After all, who wants to live through or go back to the nuclear winter of a relationship?

Those who saw the movie version of this book know that, in the relationship game, it is all about rules and exceptions. If it works out despite everything, that one is the exception. But generally speaking, the ‘happily never afters’ are the rule. This is relationship profiling at its most shocking. Greg has cracked the code and gives it to the reader straight. Liz has been on the receiving end and believes he hits the nail on the head — most of the time. An “incredibly unscientific poll” included at the end of each chapter corroborates these findings.

Greg goes through all the classic excuses, and shoots them down one by one. Take the case of “maybe he forgot to remember me”, where the blackout of 2003 prevented a fellow from taking this female’s number — who worked for another branch of the same company — and they never got together. “The city blacked out, the guy didn’t,” lectures Greg, pointing out that, “If you can find him then so can he.” The verdict, of course, is that he is just not that into you. Because when guys want you, they do the work.

He opines that “just because you like to lead does not mean they like to dance,” adding, “some traditions are born of nature and last through time for a reason.” If you have to be the pursuer rather than the pursued, if they let you do the heavy lifting (picking up that phone all the time), if the idea of marriage sends them reaching for the escape hatch, then chances are that you are with the wrong person, and wasting time with the wrong person is just time wasted.

In this society another chapter can be added for our friends, especially when youngsters talk about guys who not only play all the cards mentioned in the book but also carry a trump card — the mama card, and personal commitments count for little. Tsk, tsk! So if the mama is not at your gate, the player should be shown the door. It is quite simple really. “Deal with us as we are not as you want us to be,” the master quips, admitting that “women are capable of running governments, multinational corporations, raising loving children, sometimes all at the same time. That however does not make men different.”

But the book is not just about spotting winners from losers, separating players from, well, real men, and ‘Ogres’ from ‘Charmings’. Or isolating relationships with the potential to succeed from those doomed to fail for that matter. It is also about being able to recognise unhealthy relationships. Yet Greg’s insightful analysis is meant to turn women not into sceptics but realists who might think twice before impulsively labelling their favourites as Neanderthals (when dumped) or knights (when rescued).

It is astonishing how many conservatives can fit into this contemporary mould.

Variations of the same plot are played out all over the world with depressing regularity. The urge to throw this particular book at affected parties gets stronger with every story one hears. This Bible for relationships (no offence intended) is a must read for it is a highly entertaining wake up call that allows women to take back control of their lives. Being armed with global trade secrets courtesy of the ultimate relationship guru, Van Greg the excuse slayer, can be empowering. The wisdom found within the pages heralds the age of enlightenment, which goes so well with this newfound female empowerment.

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