The ‘Classic’ or The ‘Old Faithful’
Probably one of the first books that you read of this kind, it highlights the differences between the sexes in a funny, engaging if slightly outdated way. (Well, it’s written by the Martians!) It was first published in 1992 (I was 6. Ouch) and it’s still being regularly referenced and spoken about. I’d recommend it for the fact that it’s not just full of fluff or clichés about men and women; there are some really interesting insights into how men and women communicate differently.
The ‘je ne sais pas’
This was a fun read. I am conscious that it’s written by an American woman (lovely sounding lady I hasten to add) who sounded as if she were perpetuating the coquettish, sophisticated stereotypes that the rest of the world may hold about French women. I read this at the height of my obsession with France, the French language and the gritty, yet romantic visions of Paris that I had had in my head after reading Perfume by Patrick Suskind and one of Jean-François Parot’s novels amongst others, including Collette. Ollivier has lived in France and so perhaps she is qualified enough that I trusted her powers of observation of French women. The overarching principle is that women should take a leaf out of French women’s books; letting their hair down and embracing their feminity without trying to hard. I particularly enjoyed the introduction to the idea of ‘jolie laide’ or ‘ugly pretty’, where the person’s beauty is non-conventional, nor does she confirm to standard ideals of beauty.
Wouldn’t we all like to think of ourselves as jolie laide?
‘The one that made it to Hollywood’
This is one that I would gift to a girlfriend. It felt like my best friends were talking to me and sparing no feelings. It had a great tone to it and it does what it says on the tin. It is definitely a no-nonsense guide and I feel that it is telling single or other women to stop. analysing. every. little. thing. If someone likes you, they usually find a way of letting you know, or they go away. As clichéd as it may sound, if it’s going to happen, it will happen. I’ve learnt this myself the hard way…
‘The Controversy Twins’
These two books go hand in hand in my opinion as being the ones that tended to spark the most conversation in the bookshop. The Rules seemed to make a lot of people angry. It is much like the female version of the equally controversial The Game by Neil Strauss. PUA-dom (that’s pick up artists to you and me – I’ve written about this in an old blog post as well) was established and it made my job as a bookseller very interesting. Many a heated conversation was had in the self-help section of the store which I used to look after, hence my having read a lot of these books. The rules give you do’s and don’ts which are sometimes crazy to apply to people as we don’t all respond in the same way to things. And who likes to feel as though they are part of an experiment? Very popular though!
WMLB on the other hand seemed like an exercise in female empowerment and that’s what I liked about it. That’s where the like ended. What I didn’t like was the use of the word ‘bitch’. Why can’t I be a strong woman without being a bitch? I don’t like the idea of being difficult and high maintenance for the sake of it. That’s not going to make anyone respect you any more. No it isn’t. Read it though, it’ll make you self evaluate. If anything, you’ll probably become a more assertive person, which I like. Just don’t treat people like dirt…
The ‘Smooth Talker/ Traditionalist’
Now I like Steve Harvey. And I liked this book. It seems a common sense approach to dating to me. Respect yourself and act like a lady but learn the ways in which men communicate and adapt your communication style accordingly. The ‘cookie talk’ thing threw me off a little though. Likening my lady parts to a biscuit and telling women that they should wait x number of days before ‘giving up the cookie’ seems perhaps a little outdated considering the world that we live in.
The poo or get off the pot world that we live in.
This would probably sit better for an older generation I felt. I still liked the respect theme of it and would also recommend it to a friend for a fun read.
The ones that made me laugh/ question my reasons for the purchase
There are also a couple of wild-card purchases which I can’t even remember what I thought of them or whether I liked them but would recommend for a laugh. One is written by a man and very light-hearted and humorous and I would flick through it if I wanted a little giggle. The other was a little stereotypical and I probably have to read it again to see what I was thinking.
See if you can guess which is which!
*Disclaimer. I’m not purporting to be an expert on such things and when I read these as a single gal, it was as part of my job, working on and merchandising the Self Help section but then I actually began reading these as entertainment. Because it’s funny to see the ways in which people’s minds work. So don’t judge me and my collection. They are still a source of amusement to me even today…
Which ones have you read? What are your thoughts?