Why You’re Not Married . . . Yet – The Straight Talk You Need to Get the Relationship You Deserve by Tracy McMillan is based on the ubiquitous article Tracy wrote for the Huffington Post in February 2011. The piece unleashed a firestorm of conversation, special comment threads and a counter article on CNN Living.
McMillan doesn’t claim to be an expert, yet she believes that the fact that she’s been married and divorced three times, has experienced three live-in relationships, and had a large number of boyfriends yielded her a great deal of practical wisdom. She also claims that she has messed up in relationships to such an extent that she has a good idea of what works and what doesn’t. [Christelyn barging in here–Terry will co-star with my buddy, Matthew Hussey on a reality show coming this fall!!]
McMillan’s original article listed six factors she attributed as causes for women’s perpetual single statuses:
1. You’re a bitch
2. You’re shallow
3. You’re a slut
4. You’re a liar
5. You’re selfish
6. You’re not good enough
A follow up article posted by McMillan in May 2012 added four additional reasons:
7. You’re a mess
8. You’re crazy
9. You’re a dude
10. You’re godless
These 10 reasons form the chapters in McMillan’s new book. The book begins with a 38-question True/False quiz. The object of the quiz is to show the reader how much she needs the book (I scored an 8, which meant I “sort of” needed the book even though I probably already know everything in it).
Each chapter features a consistent format:
- Three reflective questions
- McMillan’s personal insight regarding lessons she learned
- An illustrative example of the chapter using one of McMillan’s friends or acquaintances
- Discussion regarding how the chapter relates to “some relevant stuff about men”
- Advice concerning what the reader needs to do to change
- In-your-face statements that summarize the chapter
Using this framework gave the book a nice flow and made each chapter easy to read.
Here’s a chapter-by-chapter breakdown. Per McMillan’s definitions, you’re not married yet, because:
Chapter 1 – You’re a Bitch
A “Bitch” is someone who freely unleashes angry energy and secretly enjoys doing so. A “Bitch” wants total control and is unloving, manipulative, judgmental, and spiteful. This bitchiness stems from a fear of hurt, rejection, and vulnerability. The bottom line? A Bitch just hates to be nice.
A woman needs to tame her inner Bitch because, according to McMillan, “Inside every man is a very simple creature who just wants to enjoy a woman, not do battle with her.”
I know a few “Bitches” (who doesn’t?) and I can certainly understand why chopping men off at the knees would not be considered . . . well, endearing.
Chapter 2 – You’re Shallow
Being shallow means that a woman is “more concerned with how a man looks than how he is.” Shallow women give factors such as a man’s outward appearance and financial status more importance than his character.
McMillan took a lot of time explaining the pitfalls of shallowness and her points made sense. One thing stressed by BB&W is “character over color.” It doesn’t hurt to choose character over other external factors.
Chapter 3 – You’re a Slut
Basically, sluts engage in casual sex with men who aren’t committed to them, or engage in prolonged sexual relationships with men who won’t commit to them. This behavior is an antithesis to a woman who wants to be married.
McMillan’s premise is that quality men don’t fall in love or marry because of sex; they marry if and when they want to. A woman who uses sex as a means to getting a man to commit may find herself on the short end of the stick – pun intended.
Chapter 4 – You’re Crazy
Women who are “cray cray” (yes, McMillian actually uses this term) are intense, carry a ton of drama; are needy, easily hurt, jealous, insecure, dependent, and out of control.
McMillan advocates getting professional help and developing a hobby to help women develop relationships with themselves. While I agreed with her advice, it came across a bit weakly on providing practical help.
Chapter 5 – You’re Selfish
A selfish woman approaches men largely in terms of what they do for her – how they make her feel, how they make her look, and add to her life. Selfish women take and don’t give.
McMillian advocates that women combat selfishness by engaging in service – giving – rather than constantly seeking to receive. Her pointers were noble and made sense, but may be perceived as somewhat simplistic when considering someone who is selfish to the core.
Chapter 6 – You’re a Mess
In a nutshell, women who are a mess have “issues.” McMillan defines marriage-hindering-issues as those factors that we try to hide – alcoholism, eating disorders, out of control spending habits, OCD. McMillan makes good points, but is weak on offering concrete solutions.
Chapter 7 – You Hate Yourself
Women who self-hate never think they’re good enough. Self-hatred foils attempts at finding true love because it constantly sabotages and becomes a self-fulfilling negative prophecy. The subject matter of this chapter can be a deep one for BW on a number of levels. We’ve all heard and know that we have to love ourselves before we can truly love someone else; this chapter holds to this principle.
Chapter 8 – You’re a Liar
Liars aren’t honest with themselves or with the men they date. Liars also aren’t honest with themselves or with men about what they want out of a relationship. If what you really want is marriage, then don’t lie and say you’re ok being a friend with benefits.
I view this reason as one of the strongest to consider for those who truly want to be married. Facing and denouncing the lies you tell yourself and those you date helps you to zero in on what you want and will cause you to adjust your behavior accordingly.
Chapter 9 – You’re a Dude
This chapter encourages women to tap into what McMillan calls their “inner feminine.” At first glance one would think that inner feminine refers to being girly; it doesn’t. Instead, it references being attuned to your inner power as a woman and knowing what makes you uniquely attractive. This is a valid point, yet I think it’s an intrinsic one that may be hard for some women to grasp.
Chapter 10 – You’re Godless
This was one of the most interesting chapters. Women who are “godless” make a man their “source.” Placing this level of importance on men scares them and thus causes them to run in the opposite direction. Bottom line: The status you would normally give to a “higher power” should not be attached to your relationship or your man.
This book should be approached with the understanding that McMillan is not placing all the relationship blame on the shoulders of women, or looking to bash women for their single status. Instead, the purpose of the 10 reasons is an attempt to help women examine their lives and possibly change their minds about men, marriage, and themselves. The book is more robust than I expected it to be and it exceeded my expectations. Overall, it provides a great deal of food for thought and is quite worthy of consideration.
My rating: B+