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Sex and the City Writers, Behrendt and Tuccillo Team up Again

Vanessa Marlin

Over winter break, a very good friend of mine called crying late one night, and left me the most pathetic voice mail. “I just read this book,” she began, her voice quivering, “and I think I might have to break up with my boyfriend.” I was mortified yet intrigued. How could this seemingly self-confident woman with everything going for her want to break up with her boyfriend because of all things, a book?

That’s it. I had to read He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo— not only because I promised my friend that I would, but because I wondered what kind of book could make such lofty statements that hold so much weight in my intelligent (so I thought) friend’s mind, that she would base such a life-changing decision on?

After a warm hug, the book changed hands. Two hours later, I was a convert. Written in a Dear Abby format, seemingly plausible and debatable questions from women were shot down one after the other by Behrendt.

In response to a letter from a woman wondering if her boyfriends repeated break ups with her means he’s really in to her, Behrendt replies:

Dear Yo-Yo Champion,

Funny how you notice how many times your dude keeps coming back to you, while I notice how many times he’s told you that he doesn’t ever want to see you again. For both of us the number is three, but I’ll put money down that the breakup isn’t over yet. Because, sadly this is what that guy is doing during your relationship recess: He’s sniffing around for something better, and when he doesn’t find it, he gets lonely and comes “home.” It’s not that he’s so into you. It’s that he’s so not that into being alone. Don’t give him the chance to break up with you the forth time. (God, even the idea of it sounds beneath you, doesn’t it?) Reset your breakup maximum to one and move on.

If you read this book for yourself, no matter if you are dating a man or a woman, you will get some crystal clear guidelines for those dark and confusing moments in your relationships. After all, you know “the one” is waiting for you out there somewhere (after all, you probably wouldn’t be interested in this book if you were happily in love.) Just think how much time you would save if you could identify early on those who fail to see how awesome you really are.

For example, Chapter 1: He’s Just Not That Into You If He’s Not Asking You Out. This may be the most sexist part of the book. The author insists that a woman should not, under any circumstances, be the one to ask for a date. That’s debatable. There must be some functional relationships that started with the women asking the man out, right?

The rest of the 10 chapters make perfect sense. Take Chapter 2: He’s Just Not That Into You If He’s Not Calling You. This is the most important chapter. If you’re smart enough to listen to the advice in these pages, then the rest of the heartache prevention is a breeze. All the information you need is in there to turn those so-called mixed signals that special someone is giving you into history.

Tidbits of useful information include the mantra: “’busy’ is another name for ‘asshole.’” It seems pretty simple. It’s not that hard to make a phone call, no matter how busy your love interest says he is.

Like the author says, “if he’s not calling, you’re not on his mind.” The author also wisely says, “If he creates expectations for you then doesn’t follow through on little things, he will do the same for big things. Be aware of this and realize that he’s okay with disappointing you.” And that’s just not good enough for you.

Many of the remaining chapters alert you to obvious red flags (although only obvious to some after a year—or lifetime of misery) such as Chapter 5 He’s Just Not That Into You If He’s Having Sex With Someone Else (extraordinary circumstances/ rare personality types notwithstanding) or Chapter 6 He’s Just Not That Into You If He Only Wants To See You When He’s Drunk (who needs that?) and Chapter 11 He’s Just Not That Into You If He’s A Selfish Jerk, a Bully, or a Really Big Freak (unless of course you like really big freaks.)

Even if you are lucky enough to be in a happy relationship or perfectly content alone, if you are the one your friends often turn to for advice, like me, you should read this. We all have great friends—beautiful, smart, compassionate friends one would have to be a total louse not to appreciate. After all, we hand picked them to be our friends. But you would be doing a great disservice to them by offering hope and encouraging patience in relationships destined to fail. Remember—just because you know your friend’s a catch doesn’t mean their date does. At the very least you can give sage advice that they may or may not listen to and look like the wise one when it doesn’t work out.

As for my friend who called crying because she felt she had to break up with her boyfriend—she didn’t. They talked things over and worked it out. But because of the book, the lines of communication have been thrown wide open and her boyfriend is all too aware that if one red flag raises, he may have lost a good thing.