Saturday, April 7, 2012

WAITing for Mr. Right

Last weekend I knew I wouldn't have much time for reading due to my new job, so the e-books I borrowed from the library were things I could skim through in a hurry.  My favorite of the lot was The Inner Bitch: Guide to Men, Relationships, Dating, Etc. by Elizabeth Hilts.  At only 92 pages, many of them cartoons and every one full of humorous good advice, it was the perfect antidote to commuting stress.

This is actually the sequel to an earlier Inner Bitch book, which I have not read but will look for.  The first book apparently proposed the theory that many women's problems in life are caused by Toxic Niceness, or saying "yes" to others' demands when we really mean "no, no, a thousand times NO!"  (Been there, done that.)  Hilts believes the best way to avoid a life burdened by Toxic Niceness is for each of us to unleash her Inner Bitch.  This does not, as the word "Bitch" may imply, mean that we become selfish, surly curmudgeons in our dealings with others; it simply means that instead of automatically saying "yes" when asked to do something, we ask ourselves "What Am I Thinking [WAIT]?"  If the Inner Bitch is thinking, "I would rather smear my body with honey and lie on a fire ant hill," then she says "no" instead of "yes."  Politely, but firmly.

This book extends the WAIT technique to dealings with men.  You are attracted to a gorgeous guy already in a committed relationship?  WAIT.  You are tempted to totally remake yourself in order to fit the fantasies of the man you are dating?  WAIT.  The fellow you've dated for a month wants to move in together so you can both save money?  WAIT.  You've spent 10 years of married life as your husband's lackey and are now ready to bean him with a cast-iron skillet?  WAIT.

Most of the advice in this book is the same advice you would get from your best friend or your older sister - when in crisis, take a deep breath and really think about the situation - but advice like that is easier to take when the giver has no emotional stake in your life and throws in plenty of apropos jokes and cartoons.  If you are ready to laugh about every bad relationship you've ever experienced, want to avoid ever being in one again, or both, this is the book for you.

"[Toxic Niceness] leads to doing things you don't really want to do, which in turn leads to resentment, which tends to leak out in all manner of bizarre ways: snappish behavior, smashed dinnerware, prolonged periods of pouting...This is not a pretty picture." ~Elizabeth Hilts, The Inner Bitch: Guide...

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