“Don’t ask”

love-affairs   “Lasting love, when it happens, is much more visceral than either Nate or Hannah imagines.” Maria Russo

Waldman does a great job of portraying women (Nathaniel’s past girlfriends, lovers, one-night stands) in an almost villainous way to her poor male protagonist, an literary intellectual. With all these women expecting and wanting so much from you, what is a guy suppose to do. As he notes of women particularly in their 30s, when their career-focused 20s makes way for a relationship becoming the number #1 priority. The women spend so much time asking questions that shouldn’t be asked. So much time making one feel guilty and bad about actions that are almost, from a biological point of view, out of Nathaniel’s control. What are these women expecting when you corner an ex and ask, “Why were you such an asshole?” or writing long emails wanting to talk more about a relationship that ended.

So what is the visceral that Waldman alludes to and the characters don’t even realize themselves? Well, first you have Hannah, the nice, sweet girl who is Nate’s intellectual equal and whose writing he respects but her butt looks flat in certain jeans and her career is a bit frustrated. In Nate’s opinion, she isn’t serious enough about her book deal and by the end of the relationship spends more time trying to appease him than actually working on her book deal. Then you have Greer, whose breasts are Nate’s ideal shape, large enough to fill a red wine glass and her ass, heart-shaped . . . her body is literally the shape of romance. And the girl is happy! Really happy and goes around making other people feel as though she has been wanting to see them all day. Her personality is a positive exclamation point (!) and although she may or may not have slept with people to get her book deal, what she lost in respectability, she gained in $ signs. Her book deal is larger than Nate’s and although he doesn’t care much for her style or content of writing, he respects the “social savvy” required to attain a certain kind of success. Since Greer is well sexy, happy, and successful, Nate tolerates, even loves, her “crazy.” This summary has paraphrased and used characteristics as lifted from Waldman’s novel.

As I like to tell all my good girl friends, every douche has the potential to be a good guy and every good guy an douche.

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