He’s Just Not That Into You, by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, Read by The Authors, Simon & Schuster, 2004
I should start by first explaining how I even know about this ridiculously venal, self-important, obvious asshole who clearly believes he is god’s gift to women. My wife works an intellectually draining job, and when she comes home after it all, she needs time to unwind and does this by unplugging her mind for an hour or so with the final dregs of daytime television before the news cycle kicks in. In our house, that means Oprah. Since this is our first time of the day together, I spend it with her, sometimes reading, sometimes watching and sniping at the guests—to my wife’s great irritation (usually).
Look at this picture. No, go ahead and look at this one. He’s an asshole. You know it, I know it. Quite possibly the only person who is unaware of it is the man himself. Clearly an asshole.
Blow-dried turdbowl comic, Greg Behrendt, one-time writer for Sex and the City (now there was a show whose premise grew rather stale rather quickly), peddled an incredibly schlocky one-size-fits-all bullshit answer into a lucrative career. His every Oprah appearance no doubt leads to thousands of more in book sales. What is his one size fits all answer? It’s the title of this teeny tiny book of crap in which every possible scenario of dating complication is reduced to this little nugget: he’s just not into you.
- He doesn’t call when he says he will? He’s just not that into you.
- You had a one night stand then found out he was married? He’s just not that into you.
- Shark ate your dream man? He’s just not that into you.
- Within two hours of meeting him, you were performing analingus on camera and in front of a live audience of his friends, then he gave you one hundred bucks, told you to split, and never actually called like he promised? He’s just not that into you.
Seriously. Are there so many absolutely brain dead women in America that this shoehorn approach to romance trouble seems like revolutionary advice? From the two (!) times I’ve seen this jerk on Oprah, there is a segment of the show in which women relate their dating follies, and as the women speak you can see his mind shutting down. He’s not listening, he’s just waiting to speak — and you know he’s gonna lay out his six word phony baloney. He stares unblinkingly at them with his “Oh, I know what you need, baby” look on his face and it’s all I can do not to smack the television itself.
But this is only him in person, as it were. Let me enchant you with some of the more imbecilic phrasings, jokes, chit-chat, and utterly foolish thinking that is the sole matter of this volume of “advice.”
Firstly, there’s the advice part. “Women can’t divorce sex from emotions,” we are told. Wow, that old chestnut crock of shit. Yes, some women can’t, but there are, surprise surprise, women who, just like men, enjoy sex for the sensation of it, and not for their feelings. And just as there are women who can’t, there are men in that same category as well. There’s no gender-based monopoly on emotions. Greg’s got quite a racket going on when he gets to insult women and have them pay him for it.
“Don’t ask men out,” is another one of his gems. Do these even count as original ideas, these first two? Haven’t women been hearing this for years, nay decades, centuries even? Christ, not only does Behrendt get to insult women and have them pay for it, he also gets to peddle old fashioned tripe. The notion here is exactly what you think it is: men will be scared off if you have initiative, interests, desire, a longing for human contact and/or romance. Jesus, who wants that?
Other sage advice includes dumping guys who cheat on you. This is in the “it’s so obvious why didn’t I think of that” category. I mean, imagine, men who cheat on their girlfriends should be dumped. Brilliant. I’m just astonished that there are women who need to buy a book to know this. Behrendt clearly has little respect for women or their intelligence if he feels he needs to say such things. Nowhere is this lack of respect made clearer than the gob-smackingly asinine “dictionary” at the end of the book in which a phrase book is compiled of things men say, all of which to Behrendt mean “I’m just not that into you.” Period. “Call me” means that. “I’m busy” yes, that too. “I lost your number.” “You have some food caught in your teeth.” “Help, I’m having a heart attack.” Yes, yes, yes.
Then there is this knuckle-dragging, lust-crazed portrait of men throughout the book, the easy and comfortable answer in the subtext is that men are not complicated and have no other motivations but sex. Is that what women really want to hear? We are driven by sex, unlike you ladies, who only submit to The Sex because we simple, knuckle dragging horndogs — I don’t know — force it on you or trick you into doing it or something.
And so we are treated to, “Guys don’t mind ruining the friendship if it leads to sex.” Uh huh. The book is filled with such blanket statements as though there were this cookie cutter guy we are all stamped from, not one of us different in respect to our dicks. Just because he’s tried to get into the pants of every female friend he’s ever had doesn’t mean we all have.
And if a man claims to be too tired for sex, look out, buddy. “Are there men who have issues and are really tired from their jobs? Yes, but they’re so rare as to be urban legends,” Behrendt wisely clues us in. I suppose when you are some pampered little showbiz prince who sits around writing bullshit tracts like this, it’s easy to not be exhausted at the end of the day. I wonder what we’d hear from men who spend all day digging ditches, jailing violent criminals, or unloading trucks. Women can be too tired for sex, but if a man says he is, it’s cause he hates you, bitch!
Then we’re told that if a guy doesn’t have much money and doesn’t want to get married, it’s not perhaps that he might have older, traditional ideas of a marriage in which he should do the bulk of the supporting of the family financially and doesn’t want to get married until he feels he can do so, but he’s just not into you, ya skank. And, likewise, if he’s rich with family money and has dated a number of women who saw him as a meal ticket, so he’s marriage gun-shy, then he’s just not that into you, ho. There is no possibility of any kind of psychology going on here, regardless of the scenario. There’s no possibility things will ever change. Either he’s into you from the get-go one or he’s not into you from the get-go and he will never enter into a different category. If a man doesn’t want to fuck your brains out from day one until day infinity, and he doesn’t propose on the first date, move on, ladies, move on.
Or as Greg so kindly puts it, don’t waste the pretty. That’s right, girls. Your sole value lies in your physical attractiveness so get hitched while the hitching’s good. Who’d want to marry some old bag?
My favorite of all is when this smug asshole tells a woman who’s attracted to a recent divorcee who just started AA, that the reason he doesn’t have his hand down her pants 24/7 is because…well, you know. Behrendt doesn’t seem to understand that many recovery programs recommend not getting into relationships right away, nor does he seem to understand that getting divorced could make you a little, oh, I don’t know, jaded about commitments. As an ignorant ass, he simply puts it into his handy-dandy formula. “If he’s into you, he’ll get over his issues fast,” is how he puts this conundrum in its place. The absolute lack of insight into human beings in this book is stunning in a rather sociopathic fashion.
The format of the book is idiotic “Lessons” with little “Exercises” at the end of each chapter, interspersed with the even more annoying “Letters to Greg,” all explaining how the relationship is faltering etc. and summed up and dispatched with six half-witted words. This grows rapidly, rapidly, rapidly tiresome, somewhere before the middle of chapter two. Then there are the “Greg, I Finally Get It” letters which are even more stupendously chuckle-headed. These are the success stories by women who dumped that man in their life because they did as Greg wished and they all all all all had unimaginable happiness afterwards.
The duncical, preening egotist himself reads the book with his co-author, some fatuous nitwit he worked with on Sex and the City, but he himself takes the lion’s share of the vocals. What else would you expect? Just go look at his website. Read his self-felating autobiography. Any buffoon who refers to his products as “Merch” should be burned at the stake. Preferably surrounded by copies of his work.