Jakarta, 26 September 2005
Written under Miss Sassy (3)
I was watching Oprah one day when she introduced a new book by screenwriter Liz Tuccillo and screenplay consultant Greg Behrendt from the hit show Sex and the City. No, the book isn’t a sequel to Carrie Bradshaw’s life, but a straightforward advice for women to cut through men’s typical excuses—from another man’s perspective.
I’d read many books in my exasperating attempt to understand men, but they’re all written by women. A man’s perspective would be refreshing.
I finally saw it in bookstore when I was stranded in Hong Kong airport due to a flight mixed-up. It turned out to be such a page-turner it kept me away from duty-free shops until I boarded my plane.
In blunt, snazzy fashion Behrendt delivered one silver bullet after another to defeat various sad excuses that Tucillo heard from men all her life. According to Behrendt, the too-busy-to-call, just-out-of-a-relationship, strong-women-intimidates-me, but-it-was-just-sex-with-her, and other imaginable excuses men say, only mean that the man isn’t that into the woman. Because if a man is really into a woman, he’ll decently come through no matter what.
I tried to retrieve some old memories of the long line of scoundrels I’d met, and was surprised to see them scattered around the pages.
Take that boy in college freshman year. He was adamant not to use the term ‘boyfriend’, and I thought it didn’t matter as long as we’re spending quality time together. My positive attitude was crushed when I accidentally found out that he was still seeing his high-school ex who was attending college in another town. Behrendt’s answer to this was on Chapter 3: He’s just not that into you if he’s not dating you, and ‘quality hanging-out time’ doesn’t qualify as dating.
The preppy banker during post-college work. After pursuing me intensely for months, we eventually dated, and he later proposed. He left anyway, since his bourgeois parents didn’t see me having the appropriate pedigree and wanted him to marry a family friend who had the right last name. Behrendt’s Ch. 7: He’s just not that into you if he doesn’t want to marry you. Plus, he’s a spineless materialistic mama’s boy – that’s from me.
This is an eye-opener, I thought, had I read it years ago it would’ve saved me hours of analyzing, crying, self-blaming and getting frustrated. To my credits, I always managed to move on at the end, but I’d admit of having this lingering thought that if I’d done it just a bit differently, the men would’ve stayed. Behrendt said it wouldn’t matter, because nothing would stop a man from being with the woman he’s really into, and if there’s a problem he’d discuss it maturely in order to stay with her, instead of just using lame excuses to leave.
My friend KD, a well-connected PR exec and attractive single mom, called. She’s confused about a foreign TV ad director she romanced briefly last year, who since seldom contacted her, but suddenly called today, announcing his presence in town to shoot an ad, claiming to suffer from colds and coyly pleading her to console him in his hotel suite. I assured KD that hotel-staying colds-having grown-up men are perfectly capable of ordering chicken soup from room service, requesting painkillers and extra blankets to housekeeping, and if must, calling a doctor through concierge. And since he’s not regularly calling, mostly disappearing on her, plus acting like a selfish jerk, he can’t be that into her.
Or my brainy investment analyst pal Viola, who’s been entangled with a colossal jackass she met at work. The man has since got another job and engaged to another woman, while Viola still faithfully tended to his every whim in hope that one day he’d return to her. When she called me for her usual pity party, I told her I wouldn’t preach this time and instead would send her a book to read with special attention to Ch. 10: He’s not that into you if, after so many years, he’s just unavailable for whatever reasons.
God, this feels so liberating. I need to grab whatever copies still available out there, because this book will just make a fantastic Christmas present for my girlfriends. Hail Behrendt.