This is the second half of me ripping apart someone else's writing instead of writing something of my own. This is really so much easier. The first half is here. The article I'm ripping apart is here. It is supposedly Beautiful Advice From A Divorced Man After Sixteen Years of Marriage but it is really just a bunch of shallow meaningless words. He wrote twenty pieces of advice. I took on the first ten in part one and will now start on the second ten.
Eleven: Be present
If you read part one you know there was a bit of a trend where I said his advice was good until he felt the need to explain it and then he reveals how shallow his view of love, and how chauvinistic his view of women, really is. The trend continues. He says that you should give of your time and attention to your wife which is one of those "no shit" pieces of advice that some men do need to hear over and over because it doesn't sink in. Then he goes on to write "Treat her as you would your most valuable client. She is." Way to go man. The only people that have reduced love and marriage to a business transaction more effectively are those guys that run the Russian mail order bride websites. Seriously, treat my wife as my most important business contact? I don't think she wants me to get her shitfaced and take her to a strip club.
Twelve: Be Willing To Take Her Sexually
This one is so terrible that I'm having trouble deciding how to mock it. Do I mock him for seeming to think that every woman enjoys the same type of sex or for thinking sex should be the same everytime or just for being a sexual zombie? Yes, zombie. Seriously, he says to carry her away with your power, consume and devour her with your strength, and penetrate her until she melts. Sounds like the perfect description of zombie rape or a snuff film to me. This whole list has been embarrassingly stereotypical of women but he outdoes himself with this section. After sixteen years of marriage this guy hasn't even learned that women are people too. Instead she is just a pretty thing that will "melt into her feminine softness" when you take her. Obviously, this guy hasn't been having sex with the same women I've been.
Thirteen: Don't Be An Idiot
In breaking news science has discovered you also shouldn't be a moron or an imbecile. Did it really take him sixteen years of marriage to learn not to be an idiot? That would explain why his writing is so horrible.
Fourteen: Give Her Space
This is again good advice until he attempts to explain himself. Then he claims he's being poetic after writing a bunch of stuff that isn't poetic and mutters some patronizing bullshit about how a woman "gets lost in serving you, the kids, and the world." Instead of just criticizing, this time I'm going to try to be constructive and restate his advice in a way that actually makes sense and that most guys might understand.
Look some days she comes home from work, finds your dirty underwear on the bathroom floor, hears the kids screaming, and wonders why the hell she even bothered coming home. You know those days where all you want to do is have a beer and make everyone shut the fuck up? She has those days too. If you don't want her to to resent you too much you have to give her times where she has peace and quiet or times where she can escape from you and the kids and get out of the house. If you don't do this often enough she will hate you more than she already does. Here's the kicker, though. Women sometimes actually feel guilty for wanting to escape their families. Why? Hell, I don't know. I'm a guy so it doesn't make sense to me either. Still, it means sometimes you're going to have to encourage her and maybe even force her to get the hell away from you and the kids. An added bonus is that this gets her the hell away from you and the kids for a little while. It's a win, win for everyone.
There, makes more sense that way; doesn't it guys?
Fifteen: Be Vulnerable
After exhorting men to be strong for almost the entire list, he now says to be vulnerable. Makes sense I guess. Sometimes a woman needs a strong man and sometimes she needs to know you're just as frail and faulty and human as she is. Actually, she probably wants to know you're more so. Still, he doesn't give any advice on how to know when is the time for which. He seems to subscribe to the same theory most women do. That men should be mind readers.
I'll admit that I'm not the best guy to comment on this one. I think that I've lost the women I've lost because of the moments I've allowed it to show how frazzled and weak I can be sometimes. I don't think women trust tears in a man. So maybe just on this one bit of advice this guy knows more than I do. How's that for vulnerable?
Sixteen: Be Fully Transparent
This sounds nice but it is the worst bit of advice, for both men and women, on his list. Look, we all like the whole two become one mantras but I think we all know it's bullshit. It sounds so romantic to say that you've lost yourself in someone but if you've lost yourself what do you have to give someone? Everyone needs a private place inside themselves that is them. You and your partner should trust each other enough to allow each other to have this.
Seventeen: Never Stop Growing Together
This is actually good advice but I wouldn't be me if I didn't mock his writing. "The stagnant pond breeds malaria." Really? Really? Dude, that disease you gave your ex wasn't malaria. No one is buying that excuse.
Eighteen: Don't Worry About Money
He actually says this. He doesn't give advice on how to deal with money difficulties. He says "money is a game, find ways to work together as a team to win it." A game? Foreclosure is fun. Being in the dark if we don't pay the electric bill will just be a fun adventure. Just because we have to choose between Jane's diapers and John's shoes, we shouldn't let that get us down. It's just a fucking game. I wish I was rich enough to say this.
This is the whole problem with his list in a nutshell. His advice doesn't reside in the real world. It lives in some clean tidy world where the only problem in a marriage is two people getting along and there are no outside influences whatsoever. It's banal and trite and shallow and simplistic. Love is none of these things. How this is being called beautiful advice and being read by thousands of people is beyond me.
Nineteen: Forgive Immediately
So don't be human? Don't take the time to be mad for awhile and get it out of your system? Just say everything is okay and let the anger build up inside you until you're snapping over burnt toast of a crooked picture. If it weren't for advice like this I could have just left this list alone and laughed at it without saying anything. This, though, is another dangerous piece of advice that will ruin a marriage not save it.
Twenty: Always Choose Love
Since when is love a choice? I woke up everyday and chose to stay with my wife but I didn't choose to love her. I didn't choose to love her when I started loving her, I didn't choose to love her everyday of our marriage, and I didn't choose to stop loving her when she finally hurt me enough that I couldn't love her anymore. Love is an emotion and emotions aren't choices. We can choose to acknowledge emotions or ignore them, control them or let them run wild, but we can't choose whether to have them or not. Love is not something you choose or something you force and while we're at it, it isn't something you're in either. There is no such thing as I love you but I'm not in love with you. That just means you're sorry you're going to hurt the poor smuck you're about to dump. It has nothing to do with love.
So that's his list and it's terrible but like I said it's far easier to destroy than create. So I won't be the Joker who just wants to watch the world burn. I will have my list in the next week or so. It probably won't be beautiful because the truth is that love and marriage are often ugly. It will be realistic and complicated lessons I learned from my marriage and divorce and it will be, at least, a whole lot better than this guy's drivel.