I’m gonna share this with y’all because it’s just too rich to not tell someone. I am chatting, right now as I type, with a dude who claims to be interested in dating me, another Facebook friend who is enamored by my apparent ability to be charming in the few lines of a status update. Real life, eh. But social media, I’m slaying ‘em. Anyway, he just told me that among the other qualities I appear to possess, I’m pretty, but not too pretty, and that’s one of the things he likes about me.

Join me in a long, blank stare, won’t you?

It’s not that I think I’m gorg. Far from it. But is that the kind of thing you say to a woman when you’re trying to win her over? Can’t fault the man for keeping it really real, I guess. 

That leads me to the original intent of this post, which is not to divulge secrets about socially clumsy come-on lines. I stumbled across an email a friend sent like three years ago, six pages of findings from 2,000 interviews and research that were part of a book outline by author John T. Molloy. The title of the book itself was inflammatory: Why Men Marry Some Women and Not Others.

In true Janelle fashion, I’d printed out the email with the intent to read it later. But it’s funny that it should reemerge now, considering Molloy says, statistically, women who are a) over 35 and b) overweight are much less likely to get married.

(Looks at my birth certificate. Looks at the bulge hanging over the waistband of my Hello Kitty pajamas. If both of those are true, seems like my chances are pretty slim. I, on the other hand, am not. I mean, I’ve got a few years until I’m 35 but it doesn’t look like I’m riding on the fast track to romance. That and I love starches far too much to ever be considered thin.)

There are other guidelines Molloy says women should take into consideration in order to get hitched.

1. Insist on it.
2. If you find yourself in a dead-end relationship, move on.
3. Love yourself first.
4. Commit yourself to the idea of getting married.
5. Keep in shape, watch your weight, and take care of your appearance.
6. Time is running out—use time wisely in your search for the marrying man.

I guess for us gals approaching and beyond that 35-year mark, #6 should be boldfaced, highlighted, and set apart in strobe lights.

There’s more age-based pandemonium. Molloy also attests out that a man is less likely to marry after the age of 37-38, even less so after he turns 43. Another time-crunch kicker: most men propose after 18 months, he says. If at the end of 22 months, he hasn’t coughed up a ring, chances start to dwindle, and they plummet after 3.5 years. Beyond 7, you might as well pack up those white-gown-wearing dreams and move on.

Then there’s this: If a woman is convinced that marriage is essential to her happiness, she is more likely to marry. Oh. And yet I’ve heard so many stories about a gal—living her life, not hating her singleness—just stumbling across The One. If you’re convinced that marriage is essential to your happiness and then you never wind up getting married, does that mean you’re destined to be incomplete? Or sad? Or sad and incomplete? Awww.

Basically, these “reasons” why some men marry some women boil down to a thin, young woman finding a dude who’s at a point in his life where he’s ready to settle down. And really, did anyone really need a book to tell them that? A show of hands, please.

I’ve already bemoaned the overwhelming number of folks, particularly guys, positioning themselves as relationship experts just so they can make a killing off of telling women what’s wrong with us and what we need to do better in order to get married. The book was published back in 2004—well before this influx of know-it-alls started capitalizing. I’m just way late reading my notes. But really, is any of that information news to you?

What makes someone marriage material in your book?


Image via Maggiejumps/Flickr