Whenever I read books on dating, especially those giving dating advice to women, I invariably finish what I am reading, find my husband, and make sure I thank him for taking me out of the dating pool.
It’s hard out there, girls. And if you encounter half the “red flags” in the men you’re seeing that the three female authors of this book describe? It’s a wonder more women don’t just give up and join the convent.
The premise of “Big Red Flags” is that women see the signs that their guy is a loser, but they either don’t fully recognize them as big problems, or choose to ignore them. “You’ve done it before,” the back cover text accuses: saw something wrong and let it slide as no big deal. But, the three writers argue, women too often let things that should be deal breakers—bad grooming, signs of cheating, and mean behavior, to name a few—pass without much of a fuss.
Our authors bring three distinct points of view to the table. Natasha Burton is a “serial monogamist” and relationships editor of Glo.com, a women's lifestyle website partnered with MSN and ELLE magazine. Julie Fishman is recently married “former fan of flings,” who teaches at a college in Hollywood and writes for screen, print, and web, while Meagan McCrary is an Los Angeles-based yoga teacher with an adventurous spirit for romance, who has also written for a variety of local lifestyle magazines.
The book is full of very straightforward, no-nonsense and truthful observations. The authors use their combined experiences and offer “red flag stories,” real examples of the behavior they’re trying to warn against.
And the three writers pull together a pretty staggering list of red flags; if it were a single author I might be worried that the poor woman just had no common sense, what with the list of awful behaviors described in the “real life” sections. Besides, who among us hasn’t been in the position of trying to make a relationship work despite all the signs that it’s never going to happen? It’s easy to see in hindsight, as the authors fully acknowledge, but when you’re in the thick of things, it’s much harder to separate the occasional quirk from the big red warning sign.
It scares me a little to think that there are women who don’t know that a guy who treats you like a “one-night-stand” doesn’t want you to be his girlfriend, or, that a guy who keeps you a secret from his parents is never going to propose. Are these really things that aren’t apparent to single women? They’re examples of behavior the authors suggest you avoid, and rightly so.
Obviously, no woman wants to be in a relationship with a guy who just plain sucks. And perhaps women are more prone to overlook small foibles and personality quirks if they really like a guy, or if they see a future with him. For those women, this book, if they take the advice offered in its pages, could be a valuable resource. I hope the sequel to this book will give not just relationship potholes to avoid, but maybe some signs of a guy worth a little effort; surely sometimes there’s a diamond in the rough, who might be worth a little extra effort, no?
A small red flag for me reading this book (and remember, I’m old and married), was that the authors describe themselves as in their 20s. Are the guys we date in our 20s really the guys they’ll be when they grow up and settle down? I tend to think not.
However, my only real quibble with the book is that maybe the occasional overlooked red flag isn’t always a bad thing in the long run. No one should be in a relationship where she doesn’t feel safe, or where she’s being cheated on; that’s not even a question. But the authors themselves acknowledge in their dedication that “without the red-flag ridden bad dates, lame hook-ups and terrible boyfriends we’ve encountered, this book would not exist.” A not-so-great relationship can offer an awful lot of valuable lessons with the proper perspective.
But overall, the writing is fresh and crisp, with a genuine feel of wanting to help other women snap out of the relationship trance and see the reality of their situations. If you’re a woman in a relationship and not sure where it’s headed or, whether you should make a bigger deal out of that small bad habit, The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags is a fine user’s manual. The authors dated the awful guys, so you don’t have to.
Don't Forget to Check Out Kim's Bonus Interview with the Authors Coming This Week!
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