Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Year of Yes by Maria Dahvana Headley

Finally, this is the first book for February's theme of relationships, and I'm writing about it on Valentine's Day. In The Year of Yes, Headley decides that she doesn't make good choices about which men to go out with, so for one year she vows to say yes to anyone who asks her out (with a few common-sense exceptions, of course). I know women who should try this. They have very specific and somewhat arbitrary requirements for which guys they will go out with, so they are always complaining about not having dates.*

It seems like I've read a million dating memoirs by New York City women. Heck, this won't even be the last New York woman dating memoir I read this month. I'm glad I never lived there--I'm sure I would have eventually found myself humiliated in some woman's tell-all. At least Headley differentiates her book with a novel premise.

One line that I liked: "I could have looked at him for millennia and  been perfectly happy without any reciprocity at all. That's how appealing he was. That's how appalling I was." I never before recognized the similarity of the words appealing and appalling.

Headley doesn't include all of her dates in the book, nor does she provide any stats. I was left wondering just how many times a New York gal gets asked out in a year. She does succeed in showing those women I referred to in the first paragraph what they are missing: some of her most fun and unforgettable dates are with men she clearly would have no "future" with. A date does not have to lead to a commitment; just having a good time is reward enough. Ultimately, The Year of Yes is about opening oneself to possibilities.

* My wife once argued that many men are like this, too. But here's the difference. I know guys who have physical requirements for a woman (and I won't argue that isn't shallow), but these women have a full spectrum of requirements including looks, interests, income, education, and so on. It's like they want to order a custom model directly from the factory. And they won't bother with anyone who doesn't meet all of those criteria.

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