I recently tried to read Rachel Greenwald’s Find a Husband After 35: (Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School), but couldn’t due to all the ridiculously absurd advice. I would love my time and my ten bucks back. Like the equally horrible Meeting Your Half-Orange: An Utterly Upbeat Guide to Using Dating Optimism to Find Your Perfect Match by Amy Spencer,this book wants you to make searching for a husband your “#1 priority” and “most important goal in your life” — more important than your job, your friends and anything else you do. It asks that you “do anything to find a husband”. This is where they lost me. I’m not sure that any man wants to find a woman whose focus is searching for a husband to the detriment of all else. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think men like a woman who has a life, and has passions. If she’s just on a desperate quest to find a husband then does she really love him, or does she just love the idea of getting married. Does she see the real him, or just see a husband?
The book talks about why searching for a husband after 35 is different than when you are in your twenties, and mentions: Urgency, Fewer Single Men, Changed Bodies, Baggage, Habits, and Insular Life. Granted dating after 35 is much different. I could definitely tell the difference immediately. I think it’s something inside of a woman that changes — perhaps the ticking clock, and men perceive you differently. They know that there is that urgency, and that a woman of that age will be looking for something more serious. And men also see women over 35 as less fertile, and therefore more of a risk, and less attractive.
The book really plays on the single woman over 35′s sense of urgency and the ticking clock, and just like any used car salesman knows decisions made out of urgency are usually poorly thought out. I’m not sure that giving women a sense of desperation and urgency is a great idea. I think that baggage can be just as great in a 25 year old as in a 35 year old. It all has to do with experience. As for the baggage, Greenwald suggests “just bury it!” What? You want women to bury their issues rather than deal with them? This is not great advice.
In Step #1 – Marketing Focus: Make The Program Your #1 Priority, the reader is supposed to forget who she is, and do everything so that you improve your chances for meeting men. Don’t save money by making coffee at home on a Saturday morning! Go out to Starbucks and spend $5 because you could meet a guy there. Don’t take a knitting class! Take woodworking so you can meet a man! She wants you to forget everything you know about what you like, and live for men.
In Step #2 Marketing Support, she suggests finding a mentor, and in Step #3 Packaging, she suggests creating your best look. OK, not a horrible ideas. But in Step #4 Market Expansion, she suggests you forget everything you know about what you prefer in men, which is great since you’ve already forgotten everything about yourself, and are living for finding men anywhere and everywhere. She shows in an expansion grid how one poor woman went from liking men over 6 feet tall, but was now searching for men over 5’6″. She went from liking men who were funny and outgoing, to searching for men who were serious and quiet. NO! You can’t change your type this drastically. We learn over the years what works for us, and if you like an outgoing man, you will not be happy with a serious quiet guy. This advice his horrid!
Step #5 is Branding. I think our society has gotten a bit crazy with all the personal branding talk, but whatever the chapter is fine. Step #6 is Advertising, and this is where I threw the book across the room laughing. There is a whole section on Direct-Mail Advertising where she suggests a woman send holiday cards for a holiday like say Bastille Day or Halloween — not a holiday like Christmas as it wouldn’t stand out. The card is supposed to include three photos which “brand” the woman – laughing with friends, playing golf, or perhaps in that woodworking class. Then the book suggests sending these out like you would a Christmas card and including a note like:
Are you still enjoying your new job? It sounds wonderful! I have a special favor to ask you. This year, I wold like to find someone wonderful to spend my life with. Do you know any single men you could introduce to me? If so, I would truly appreciate you help. Please call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx
Happy Bastille Day,
I mean really? What would you do if you got a Bastille Day card from a single girl friend with a bunch of photos of herself asking so desperately to be set up? She goes on to suggest that you include a little card similar to an RSVP card in a wedding invitation that allows the receiver of the crazy Bastille Day card to check off if the person is her doctor, neighbor, ex-boyfriend, plumber, etc. I’m sorry but if you cheapen love to something that you are doing direct-mail campaigns for, you may get married out of your sheer desperation, and focus, but I’m not sure it’s a marriage that anyone would ever want.
Again, this is where the book was hurled into the trash, and I thanked my lucky stars that I didn’t waste time or money on a Harvard MBA! I can not believe that Fortune magazine gave this book a positive review. I swear the only thing that explains this nice review is that mysterious, ever-powerful Ivy League network. Harvard Business School should forbid their graduates to associate the school with a book this tragic. An MBA can’t buy you love, but it may just help you dupe desperate women over 35 into buying a book bursting with worthless advice. Ladies, do NOT waste your money!
- Miss A