I have to admit that I am curious about people’s lives and why they ultimately make the decisions that they make, so when I heard about Will Marry for Food, Sex, and Laundry, my interest was definitely piqued. Why do men decide to marry, and can a woman really do certain things to increase her odds of a proposal? The reformed bachelor sharing his perspective, Simon Oaks, has divided his book into four sections: How to Find Him, How to Attract Him, How To Keep Him and finally, How to Stay With Him. In each section, he offers what he deems to be the most important pieces of the equation. Interspersed throughout the book are sections called “Straight from the Horses Mouth”, detailing pertinent experiences from Oaks’ own life, and at the end of each chapter he thoughtfully includes a box called “Wrap It Up”, where he gets to the heart of the matter and briefly summarizes key takeaways from each chapter in short and surprisingly astute sentences (more on that later).
I can’t say that I found much new information in any of the sections, instead there were the same tired cliches about the way to a man’s heart being through his stomach, do the chores that you are comfortable with (and those will most likely be in the kitchen), and be inventive in the bedroom. He even includes a sample menu of dishes that you can make for “your man” according to whether he is a big carnivore, vegetarian, or just your average garbage disposal eating anything and everything in sight. That was pretty much the long and the short of it. Picking up the latest issue of Cosmo and reading this book are essentially the same thing.
I waffled between being mildly amused and furious with the book’s blatant sexism. Oaks mentions at the beginning of the book that he will be largely relying on stereotypes because “stereotypes aren’t created without foundation.” It’s hard to come away from this book with much more than a woman’s need to be a slave to the guy she is with. All you have to do is anticipate his every need without becoming either boring or too much like his mother in order to achieve the big pay off—marriage. Easy Peasy. Part Two of the book is prefaced with, “Girl finds boy. Girl Likes boy. Girl needs to feed, satisfy and clean boy.” Eww. Are women looking for husbands or fully grown adult babies?
The most valuable section for me was the last, where the author seems to show some sense and say that relationships are a two-way street that requiring both compromise and balance. The short wrap-ups at the end of each chapter also show sense and seem to be at odds with the rest of the book. I often wondered who he was aiming for as an audience. A few parts were hilarious, whether because they were so outrageous or in some instances very familiar, and others were just plain offensive and off-putting. The common sense he started speaking at the end didn’t really save the reading experience for me. I got whiplash trying to keep up with all the contradictory tones and statements.