Post-Valentine’s Day Read/Watch

So…it’s Thursday? Yes, it’s Thursday. hmm… (insert comment about how fast the week flew by and acknowledge that I haven’t written anything for almost a week. Hang head low in silent shame for a second. And…done). It’s Thursday! Oh, Weekend, won’t you be mine?

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This past week, I paid a visit to my local library and borrowed the book that inspired the movie, He’s Just Not Into You. I know, I know. I was curious, all right?

All I can say is that some of us would have benefited from some of the things it talked about in college. So many hours/days/weeks/months wasted asking questions like “What did I do wrong? Why do we only communicate via text?” and settling for “I know he said he’s not into the ‘whole dating thing’ and he just wants to “hang out”, but hanging out is something, right?” Having something that looked like a relationship seemed better than having nothing/being alone/feeling lonely and dejected. We needed either a book like this, or caring guy friends/brothers who would lovingly tell us, “hey, he’s just not into you. You deserve better than that.” But who knows, maybe we wouldn’t have listened to them anyway.

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Which brings me to this little fun discovery last night. So, He’s Just Not Into You is co-written by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, who later wrote a novel called How to Be Single. Curiosity about this book led me to her website with the documentary-style clips about her journey to different cities in the world, asking questions about how different cultures handle relationships, dating, marriage and the single life.

If you have an hour or 2 to kill, it’s definitely worth checking out.

A caveat however: Do not take it all seriously. Liz is silly at times, which makes it hilarious. It deals with generalizations, so there is the risk of believing that all the people from the places she visited think about these issues the same way. I just took it for what it was: the point of view of various people in various parts of the world.

Now, I did notice that no African country was listed. I think it would be an interesting documentary to make. What do young people in the thriving/flourishing/rising  metropolises in Africa think about relationships, dating, marriage and being single. From Dakar to Nairobi to Addis Ababa to Johannesburg. In societies where the western way of living co-exists (sometimes, uncomfortably) with traditional ways of Life and Religion, it would be interesting to hear the point of views of young people of various age groups.

Maybe, there IS a documentary out there like that and I just don’t know about it. Quite possible.

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6 Responses to Post-Valentine’s Day Read/Watch

  1. Mwanabibi says:

    I also watched and read HJNTIY (is there an acronym for the book? Couldn’t be bothered to write it all out, though I’ve somewhat negated the time I saved by writing this afterthought). I recommended it to everyone at the time. After watching the French women, I’m kind of thinking to myself…duh!

    I haven’t watched all of them but I just finished watching the China trip and I had to comment on it. I thought it was really interesting to see a country on the cusp of a wave of change. To see how western influence and commerce are influencing the roles that men and women have in China.

    The fact that single mothers are frowned upon to the extent that they can’t give birth in a hospital was shocking and the phenomenon of successful women not being able to find a partner, although somewhat universal, was also quite telling.

    As you say it’d be interesting to see an African version of this because I believe the same changes are occurring there now, albeit at a slower pace. I’d love to see what the men of Africa really feel about increasingly independent women!

    • That African Girl says:

      Mwanabibi,
      I had similar feelings after watching her China trip. I had never heard of a “birthing” license. Let me know what you think after you watch all of the clips. One thing I did realize, after watching them is that, no matter where you go, women always have questions about men’s honesty when it comes to Relationships. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that too.

      I had “interesting” conversations in college with African guys about their thoughts on Independent women. If the fact that women of our generation are becoming more and more independent but aren’t necessarily having an easier time forming and developing lasting relationships, I wonder what our populations will look like in 50, 100 years, especially as health/population/economics experts continuing to preach the benefits of increased education and delayed marriage for women in developing countries, which increases their independence. (Not that I’m against it, I’m just playing the devil’s advocate in this case.)

  2. Mwanabibi says:

    Its interesting that you should talk about women becoming too independent. I was thinking just that when I watched the Danish trip. It was one of those, ‘is this what we have been fighting for?’, moments……I soon got over that feeling, but it did give me great insight into the effects of female empowerment on me. We are all always so busy talking about how the world has changed for women that we forget that men, are here as well, and they are being affected. So Danish men have become almost like passive observers of the world around them.

    You are right the issue of men’s fidelity was universal. Even in a country like Brazil where its apparently all about free love, the women wanted more stability, in fact all they wanted were men who would call them back the next day (could you believe the beach date!?). It almost got me thinking that maybe monogamy is just something we are imposing on ourselves and that is is not necessarily the ideal (I did say almost).

    Didn’t you think India was enlightening as well? I know people have forced marriages and all but some of the ones interviewed seemed truly happy. I once read something about how we are expected to make a life long connection when we are in a state of mind so clouded by weird emotions. It just seemed that the Indian way was, in some cases, a lot more sensible. Maybe we are attaching too many ‘western’ rules to relationships and dating, again an interesting topic for an African version.

    • That African Girl says:

      You’re very right about Brazil and India. If I had to pick “most intriguing piece”, these 2 places would be at the top. I was very surprised at how women in the Brazil piece were jaded about relationships. The way the location was described, I pictured it to be one of the most romantic places in the world. I just didn’t realize that people would have such a difficult time, not only falling in love, but staying in love.

      One of the quotes that stayed with me with the India piece was “Happiness is a state of mind. So, you make the best out of what you’re given.” I think, with a belief like that, it makes sense that people would be happy in relationships. Their happiness is not contingent on the other person. One of the women even said that you don’t have to love each other, but you should be friends with your spouse, a position that goes against what Western society believes.

      Now, it’s also important to mention that not all women believe this or have bought into it. Some of the women profiled wanted the love and the fulfillment and would prefer to remain single and independent, instead of being under a woman’s thumb.

      Now, I’m really curious to see if there are any documentaries set in contemporary African Societies that touch on the same topics.

  3. Nicole says:

    That book has so much truth in it. How I have suffered without it!

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