Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Cowgirl's Guide to Love

What can I say? It was a short book with big type and lots of bulleted lists.

The Cowgirl's Guide to Love
by Ellen "Lil" Patrick is your basic "Only the best man deserves fabulous you - BUT - make sure to have hobbies, know how to cook, pretend until you actually like sports and don't dress like one of those harlot saloon girls." Each bit of advice on how to recognize, then snag, then be with the aforementioned "Best Man" is peppered with piles of references to John Wayne, Calamity Jane, Annie Oakley, horses, ridin', shootin' and yer darn tootin' the West was won by women!

What the Wild West can teach us about love and relationships is an interesting concept I think, and handled delicately could make for beautiful commentary. (Actually, for a perfect example of this, I highly recommend Peace Like a River - one of the most intensely touching stories I have ever read; it is a truly a love lesson in so many ways, set in the Dakota badlands and with a storyline tied literally and figuratively to such legends as Butch Cassidy and Wyatt Earp.)

This Cowgirl's Guide however is choppy - the ideas are bounced around and off of each other at what seems like breakneck speed, just barely hitting upon a piece of what might actually be good advice to the single lady before racing off to some other comment on dealing with the mama-dependent or mama-deprived man in your life, leaving no opportunity for concept development.

While the feminist in me rages against idea that all men can be categorized this way, I have found myself silently but inadvertently judging every man I meet and imagining I know what his mama was like. The author encourages readers to first know which kind they prefer, and provides tips for the training of each. Here are some gems:
Page 58:

"How to Manage Mama-Dependent John Wayne...
  • If you often have delicious homemade snacks on hand, so much the better...
  • If he leaves items of clothing at your house... return them promptly, washed and pressed...
  • When you are at his place, always clean up tidily after yourself, and leave the place a little cleaner overall than when you arrived... "
How to Manage Mama-Deprived John Wayne...
  • If he is mama-deprived, he will be alarmed by too much can comfortably follow your instinct to not vacuum the house or bake a pie before he comes over...
  • Don't feel you have to call him. You don't...
  • Avoid independently contacting members of his family..."
Intuitively, women know how to behave around guys we like - so books of this nature should be unnecessary, unpopular and unpublishable right? Well, sometimes it's nice to be reminded that all relationships have elements of game playing and that to win at love there are rules to follow, some to bend, and sometimes break. Like that whole not dressing like a saloon girl thing - dammit those old gals were hot - and classier than half the dames I saw in Scottsdale last night!

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