Find a Husband After 35 Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School,
by Rachel Greenwald
LOVE FOR SALE
by REBECCA MEAD
An M.B.A. brings marketing methods to the mating game.
Issue of 2003-11-24
The notion that dating, mating, and marriage take place within a marketplace is a conceit universally observed by writers of comedic-dramatic television shows, directors of romantic comedies in Hollywood, and authors of “chick lit” novels loosely based on plots from Jane Austen or Edith Wharton. Objective measures of eligibility—appearance, earning power, age—are understood to determine whether individuals will be perceived as desirable commodities (the six-foot-two investment banker; the communications director with a good decade of childbearing years still ahead of her) or relegated to the remainder bin, shopworn by blind dates and disappointments.
Rachel Greenwald’s new book, “Find a Husband After 35 Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School” (Ballantine; $22.95), takes the notion of the marketplace literally, and addresses those single women who worry that their comparative value is dwindling with each passing year. “You, the reader, are the ‘product,’” Greenwald, H.B.S. Class of 1993, writes. “And The Program”—her fifteen-step course to matrimonial satisfaction, which she also provides in workshops that she conducts around the country—“is a ‘strategic plan’ to help you ‘market’ yourself to find your future husband.” There are twenty-eight million single women in America, Greenwald writes, and a dedicated husband-hunter should be no less zealous than General Mills in distinguishing her product from the competition. Greenwald urges women to embrace the business practices they know from the workplace and apply them to private life. “When you’ve finished this book, you will be able to devise and advertise your personal brand, know how to get out of your rut, be able to create a winning plan to increase the volume of men you meet, conduct an exit interview and much more,” Greenwald promises.
In order to establish that “personal brand,” a woman must submit to rigorous market testing. She should convene focus groups among friends, former boyfriends, and workmates to learn whether she should grow her hair longer or wear red instead of beige. She should reflect on her Physical, Personal, and Other characteristics, and identify three of them (“Witty, Easy to Talk To, Golfer” or “Architect, Charming, International”) which will distinguish her from the pack. She should reinforce this brand message through the proven techniques of consumer marketing, including online marketing via Internet dating sites (Greenwald warns against using a slutty-sounding screen name or betraying a taste for Virginia Woolf or Danielle Steel, to which no man is expected to warm) and direct mail. Greenwald suggests that a single woman send, to a hundred or more friends, greeting cards bearing photographs of herself being witty or playing golf, and include the message “This year, I would like to find someone wonderful to spend my life with. Do you know any single men you could introduce me to?” She should work on what Greenwald calls her word-of-mouth advertising by, for example, casually saying to a colleague, “I was talking to my friend Melissa last night, and she said, ‘I want to introduce you to this guy I met in my writing class. I’ve told him that you’re a charming architect with an international background.’”
Some of Greenwald’s suggestions for finding men are achingly familiar; she advises single women to take evening classes in such male-friendly subjects as log-furniture-making. (This remedy has been proposed by so many advice columnists over the years that to attend an evening class in order to learn about the advertised subject would surely be as misguided as stepping into a massage parlor and expecting to get a massage.) Other ideas are more original: one of Greenwald’s clients volunteered to teach a seminar entitled “Fifteen-Minute Meals for Bachelors” even though she had no particular expertise in the subject. In Greenwald’s view, every moment a woman is anywhere other than her apartment—a place where she should spend as little time as possible, except while updating her online profile—is an opportunity to meet men. Accordingly, she urges the reader, while at the theatre, to visit the ladies’ room during the performance, so that she might spend the intermission not in line but, rather, loitering brightly in the lobby, in the hope of bumping into Mr. Right. (With luck, he won’t recognize her as the woman who ruined the climax of Act II for the rest of the audience.) On Wednesday nights, Greenwald advises, a woman should haunt pizza parlors, where she might find a divorced dad with his kids on their midweek visitation. Jury duty should be welcomed as a venue for a chance encounter with a suitable man, though Greenwald does not recommend that her readers go so far as to seek him in the defendant’s chair.
Greenwald’s premise is that women over thirty-five have a harder time meeting men than they did when they were younger, while men find themselves, as their temples gray and their financial investments mature, confronted with an abundance of nubile prospects. “Many men experience a sudden popularity after age thirty-five because they are in short supply, and they start to expect it,” she warns. The years take a grim toll on women which must be faced unflinchingly: Greenwald suggests regular visits to the hair colorist (“There is plenty of time to look ‘distinguished’ after you are married”) and other strategic defenses against the laws of nature. “Always wear a push-up bra,” she writes. “After thirty-five it can’t hurt and can only help.” Escaping singledom will, Greenwald cautions, be costly in terms of both financial expenditure—she advises establishing a marketing budget of ten or twenty per cent of one’s annual income and setting it aside in a bank account labelled “Husband Search”—and time. One client took a year off from work to focus on finding a husband; another was nearly fired because of all the time she was devoting to the project. Humiliation will also be required, particularly when it comes to Step 10, Telemarketing. “You are going to call everyone you know and directly ask them to fix you up with someone,” she writes. No alumnus, Realtor, veterinarian, florist, travel agent, group-therapy colleague, or old boyfriend must go uninterrogated. By the time a single woman reaches Step 13, “Product Lifecycle: Recharge Yourself,” she may, as Greenwald says, “just need a good cry.”
This is about as close as Greenwald gets to the kind of empathetic tone that used to characterize self-help books for women disappointed in love. In the nineteen-seventies and eighties, such books were typically written by therapists. Robin Norwood, the author of the 1985 best-seller “Women Who Love Too Much,” begins her first chapter with a scene in which a client examines the framed counselling credentials hanging on Norwood’s wall before describing her inability to keep a man and saying, “I’ll do whatever it takes. I’m a really hard worker”—which, back in 1985, was a terrible thing to be if you were looking to couple. The examination of the inner self recommended by books like “Women Who Love Too Much” and “Smart Women, Foolish Choices” became increasingly obsolete during the nineties: the influential 1995 best-seller “The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right” was based on a strategic restoration of pre-feminist courting principles and advocated ruthless efficiency through exaggerated feminine deference.
Greenwald’s inspiration, of course, can be found not in the self-help section of the bookstore but in the business section, those shelves where you find “Who Moved My Cheese?” (Greenwald has a discussion headed “Who Moved My Altar?”) and the oeuvre of Tom Peters, who in 1997 wrote a manifesto for Fast Company entitled “The Brand Called You,” an early application of product marketing to people. One of the familiar publishing tropes of the self-help genre has been to advertise the author’s therapeutically appropriate academic credentials—M.D., Ph.D., M.S.W.—on the book’s cover; Greenwald’s name is accompanied by the letters M.B.A., and she is businesslike in dismissing any exploration of the reasons, personal or cultural, that might account for an older woman’s single status. “Whatever your baggage is, you can’t carry it around with you on The Program,” she writes. Indeed, a Program woman will already have her hands full, since she will, in accordance with the chapter on guerrilla marketing, be carrying around a “conversation starter”—a “physical item that is designed to prompt curiosity and provoke interaction.” She tells the story of one thirty-six-year-old client who met a man in a coffee shop while she was adding Equal to her half-caf vanilla latte; he noticed her copy of “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” and asked whether it was “any good.” Greenwald informs her readers that the couple, who have now been married for two years, served half-caf vanilla lattes at their wedding reception.
Still, as the sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild points out in her recent collection of essays, “The Commercialization of Intimate Life,” advice books don’t reveal much about what women actually do; they just show what women’s current cultural options are perceived to be. The eclipse of the therapeutic model of human relations and its replacement with a model drawn from business-management theory is a signature cultural shift of the moment, like the emergence of the half-caf vanilla latte. The woman Greenwald is writing to lives in a brand-saturated world, and it is while shopping among those brands that she finds the coördinates of her identity—an identity that, in Greenwald’s scheme, is merely another brand, jostling for attention on a crowded shelf.
What Greenwald’s metaphor rules out is the possibility that women might like the chance to be discerning consumers themselves. While she devotes about three hundred pages to telling a woman how to revamp her packaging, she has little to say about what sort of husband might be acquired by these means, beyond the age-old dictum “Don’t be so picky.” Greenwald tells her readers that within twelve to eighteen months they can be married to “someone wonderful,” a phrase that she suggests the reader adopt when friends ask her what kind of man she is trying to find, but the implication is that readers shouldn’t be holding out for a graduate of Harvard Business School. “Your future husband may be divorced, he may have kids of his own, he may be shorter than you,” Greenwald warns. “A key marketing goal is to sell your product to as many customer segments as possible.” That’s the thing about being a product, of course; a box of Special K is hardly entitled to an opinion about whose shopping cart it ends up in. One of Greenwald’s success stories is that of forty-seven-year-old Julie, a vice-president at a Wall Street firm, who, having failed to marry one of the smart, successful Jewish investment bankers she thought she was destined for, met her husband at Radio Shack, where he was the store manager. Another would-be wife, Kate, forty, quits her job in Manhattan and moves to what she thinks might be the less spousally competitive city of Minneapolis, where she has neither a job nor a home. “As this book goes to press, Kate has been in her new city for one month,” we’re informed. “She says her net is cast so wide that her only requirement is ‘a man who knows how to use cutlery.’” In Greenwald’s world, the customer is always Mr. Right.
Mar. 25, 2004 12:49
Finding Mr. Wonderful
By RUTH BELOFF
Find a Husband after 35: Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School
By Rachel Greenwald
336 pp. $22.95
A woman is walking along the beach and sees a dapper man sitting on a bench. Smiling, she walks over and says, "You look like my third husband."
Intrigued, the man responds, "How many husbands have you had?"
"Two," she replies.
That's the joke. But the reality is that finding a husband is serious business, and no one takes that more to heart than Rachel Greenwald.
A wife and mother with an MBA from Harvard Business School and an MA in psychology from Wellesley College, Greenwald has written a book on husband-hunting for women "of a certain age." First-time author Greenwald describes her self-help book Find a Husband after 35: Using what I learned at Harvard Business School as "a simple 15-step action program."
Simple? Not really. But systematic, insightful, and proactive? Absolutely.
Her stated objective for the reader is straightforward enough: To find a wonderful man to marry within 18 months.
To accomplish that, she sets out 15 steps. As Greenwald describes it: "You, the reader, are the 'product,' and the Program is a 'strategic plan' to help you 'market' yourself to find your future husband."
According to Greenwald, the book can be used by women of any age, but she explains that the over-35 group is a more concentrated "niche market." What Greenwald stresses is that the hunt is not just for a good man or an okay man, but for a wonderful man to spend your life with. A tall order, but according to Greenwald, many women have done just that, using her program.
Chapter by chapter, Greenwald develops each step in full, explaining it, giving guidelines, action plans, and case histories of her private clients or women from her nationwide US seminars. At the end of each chapter, there is a checklist. Here, Greenwald itemizes what you should have accomplished in order to proceed to the next step.
Thorough, sympathetic, and seemingly very sincere, Greenwald covers all her bases, presenting a comprehensive approach to finding the man of your dreams.
One of the factors she emphasizes is that what women think they want may not necessarily be what they should be looking for. So in Step 4, Market Expansion, she urges women to include men beyond their "perfect" list. She says she has seen time and again how women have found wonderful, loving husbands among men whose profiles did not fit their original conceptions but who had qualities that were far more compelling than ideal height, weight, jobs, interests, or age group.
Greenwald also advises women to take a good hard look at themselves, and to find out how others view them. The old "this is me, take it or leave it" attitude does not bode well in the search for a mate, she says. So in Step 3, Packaging, she explains why it is important to look your best at all times, and to do what it takes to present your most appealing self.
And throughout, Greenwald's advice is to network, network, network. Friends, relatives, old boyfriends, other women, high-school chums, neighbors, colleagues, travel agents, the Internet, dating services - any one of them might be the key to finding Mr. Right.
She also encourages women to put themselves out there - absolutely everywhere. As Greenwald says, the man of your dreams is somewhere, but the one place he is not is in your home, so go out the door and find him, because he is looking for you. Anywhere can be an opportunity: a lecture, the grocery store, a different coffee shop than the one you frequent all the time, a class or seminar. And, she stresses, don't just go to places that interest you, but go where the men are: sports events, car shows, lectures on topics outside your sphere of knowledge.
An innovative idea Greenwald suggests is to devise and teach a course in your community that would appeal to single men, such as simple meals for bachelors or a conversation course for shy men. Talk about a captive audience of single men, all focused on you!
In one of the final chapters - dealing with questions and answers - Greenwald lists what not to say to a man on the first date. She advises women not to say they are looking for a commitment - even though that's exactly what they're looking for. You don't want to scare the guy away on the first date. Four other first-date no-nos are: Don't ask about his income; don't be a complainer; don't talk about your ex-husband; and don't bring up your health issues. These are all turnoffs, she says.
From start to finish, Find a Husband after 35 is an intelligent, well-written how-to book. Although the work may be arduous, the results are well worth it, asserts the author. It takes real commitment to undertake and accomplish all 15 steps. But, says this marriage maven, even if you complete only some of them, you are already ahead of the game.
As the author says of one of the activities in Step 9, Niche
Marketing, "If you're thinking, 'It's too embarrassing to ask six women to fix
me up,' then go back to Step #1, Marketing Focus, and ask yourself if you're
truly committed to finding a husband. Nothing of value is easy, so you can
either take the plunge and ask away, or go back to your therapist or sympathetic
old friends - who, by the way, are sick of hearing you whine!... Am I mean
because I don't empathize with how difficult this may be for you? No. I do
empathize. I really do. But I have to tell you: 'Just do it!'"
approachable! I'm a two-in-one shampoo! Marry me!
In which the hapless author slavishly obeys a new bestseller that instructs husband-hunting women over 35 to market themselves like a brand.
Editor's note: This is part of our series on marriage.
By Cole Kazdin
Oct. 27, 2003 | Cole Kazdin is smart, funny, creative and very together. She's the kind of woman I never thought would date me, but was, in fact, waiting patiently for me to ask her out the whole time. "Cole Kazdin: Refreshingly approachable!"
My creative team has been working overtime on my ad campaign. After I conduct extensive focus-group testing, my pal Todd Levin, ad writer extraordinaire, turns my pages of research into a catchy paragraph and some suggested tag lines.
"Cole Kazdin: What you want. What your friends want for you."
"Cole Kazdin: Are you fucking crazy? I'm hot."
"Cole Kazdin: As reflective as a wading pool, not nearly as shallow."
I decide to go with "refreshingly approachable" because it's nonthreatening and brings to mind a glass of nice, cold soda. And everybody loves soda.
This is one of the 15 steps I am trying from the not-so-cryptically titled New York Times bestseller "Find a Husband After 35 Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School: A 15-Step Action Program," by Rachel Greenwald. Steps include packaging, branding, telemarketing and quarterly performance reviews, and I have agreed to give it a whirl.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am close to but not yet 35, and I'm not looking for a husband. I have a wonderful boyfriend who is good-natured and supportive, especially when I come home and announce I am writing an article for which I have to go through 15 steps toward finding a husband. The book itself is a little frightening in its directness. And that's just the cover. I look over my shoulder self-consciously in the bookstore as I pick up the book with "husband" in the title and a gold wedding band on the jacket. A man walks by and I reach for "The South Beach Diet" instead. I realize I must be in the "women's insecurity" section. "The South Beach Diet" promises you'll lose 8-13 pounds in the first two weeks. "Find a Husband" promises you'll find a life partner in 12-18 months. I look up at the sign overhead and discover I am not in the women's-insecurity section at all, but rather the "bestsellers." Scary. I get both books anyway. "It's a gift," I tell the man at the checkout loudly. "Could I get a gift receipt?" I want to convey to him and everyone in line behind me that I am married and thin. This is too embarrassing.
I learn in Chapter 1 of Greenwald's book, however, that this is entirely the wrong approach. The idea of her "Program," as she calls it, is to let as many people as you can find know that you're single and looking for a husband.
I decide to condense Greenwald's 12-18 months into a two-week crash course. This will be perfect because I can also do Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet right alongside it. No bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, fruit or alcohol. Skinny jeans and life partner, here I come! The first step is to make finding a husband my first priority. I want so much to do this in earnest, but it's difficult to keep a straight face. I can go so far as to make the experiment itself a priority for a couple of weeks and try -- really try -- to suspend my disbelief. Greenwald says that if you're serious about finding a husband, you must also create a budget and separate checking account devoted to your quest -- this money is for personal care, thank-you notes to people who set you up on dates, and the welding class at Home Depot you take to meet men (more on that later). I put $40 in an envelope and put it aside. That's all I can afford right now. Today is the first day of my new life and I don't miss bread and pasta one bit.
The following day I find a mentor. According to the program, your mentor should be a woman, preferably married, who will guide you and support you on your journey. You sign a written agreement with your mentor to contractually commit to meeting on a regular basis and working toward the common goal of finding you a husband.
"Are you crazy?" asks my good friend Jane. She can't believe this book exists, much less that I'm going through the steps. But she owes me big because I wore a floor-length green ball gown in her wedding last month. She agrees. We sign the contract for two weeks.
Rooted in marketing techniques, the core of the program deals with packaging yourself in an attractive, wifelike way, then literally creating a brand for yourself and, finally, saturating the market with your ad campaign.
"I wish I could tell you that your inner self is what really counts," writes Greenwald in the book. Which isn't to say that you have to be a supermodel, but she says you should look the best that you can look. In creating the "packaging" ("look") for my "product" (me), I approach male and female friends for feedback and criticism, as the book instructs. There is even a sample script to encourage honest answers:
Tim, I really value your opinion ... I have decided that this is the year I am going to find someone to spend my life with. Before I start, I want to make some changes in my appearance. This is really important to me and I need your sincere opinion ...
The feedback is surprising and also encouraging. Everyone tells me they prefer my hair long (no one said anything two years ago when I was walking around with a bob -- the traitors!). They all independently agree that I'm smart, sexy and I laugh a lot.
"You have a big, beautiful laugh," says my friend Charlie. "It's more prominent than other people's, but it's part of who you are and I like it."
"You're feminine," says my friend Amy. "Not in a flowery, riding a horse on a beach, tampon commercial sort of way, but a cool girl living in the real world."
My friend Barbara tells me that if she had a girlfriend, she would want her to look just like me. But she did add that I obsess about my weight sometimes and I don't need to and it can be annoying. I decide not to tell her about the South Beach Diet.
My mentor, Jane, tells me I'm stylish, but suggests that I go for a more sophisticated look, and to shy away from the more playful, young styles that I admittedly favor. "I think sophistication reflects where you are in your life and career," she says. "Your personality is warm and playful. That, plus a more professional look is a nice package."
Jane is right; I decide to work that in.
This all goes toward defining and then refining my "brand" to three words. Three words to sum up my entire essence. Sort of a "Know thyself" geared toward people who clearly don't. This is surprisingly tough, though. "Fun, sexy writer," is the first thing that comes to mind. But Greenwald would not approve. "Fun, sexy writer" is the girl you date, not marry. Barbara tells me that a good wife is a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom. "Whore in the bedroom" isn't the right approach either.
I look over the notes of my friends' feedback. They see me as a lot more confident and put together than I feel most of the time. "Warm, fun writer." That's a little cozier. I'd marry me.
Still, it seems so generic. I think I am these things, but it's so nonspecific -- it's not who I am. "Even though you are tough and smart and a go-getter," says Amy, "the other side of you is so gentle, generous and warm, wearing a little apron while serving a homemade meal." I never thought of myself that way and I am touched. But she quickly shifts gears and offers her own pitch. She tells me that I am like two-in-one shampoo -- the kind with conditioner mixed in. "Or, one of those salad spinner/spaghetti strainer combos."
I appreciate her input, but I need to consult professionals.
Which brings me back to my creative team meeting. My friend Ken Grobe, another ad writer extraordinaire, notes that "Cole Kazdin" works perfectly to the tune of the "By Mennen" jingle. "Cole Kaz-din!" he sings. Catchy. In his 1983 advertising bible, "Ogilvy on Advertising," David Ogilvy writes that the one reason Procter & Gamble's strategy is so effective is that "They always promise the consumer one important benefit." Ken suggests, "Cole -- the perfect companion for you and your man-needs."
I fire Ken.
He sings the Cole Kazdin/By Mennen song, and I take him back.
Ken offers that my "current perception in the market" is as a woman who is attractive and successful, but maybe a little intimidating. (My firing him five minutes ago didn't help this.) He suggests, "Cole has looks, brains and a great sense of humor, and she is accessible enough for me to have a chance with her. She's the perfect girl for me to marry." He says I can tailor this to different markets -- men with beach houses, for example -- by addressing a need they may have. Too many rooms in your beach house? Try Cole Kazdin. He also suggests playing off the double meaning of my name.
"Cole -- she's looking for a diamond," he says. Too money-grubbing, I think.
How about "Let Cole keep you warm"?
I like that one a lot. It's comforting. I think Greenwald would be proud -- it's sexy, but with wifely connotations. And it conserves energy.
"I'm trying as hard as I can to fit this stuff into a marketing format without it sounding funny, but it's impossible," he says. "It's comedy gold." It's impossible because it's dehumanizing to think of a woman as a tube of toothpaste or a can of soda. Even if she is "refreshingly approachable."
I need to go to yoga class to clear my head, but then I remember that yoga's probably not the best place to meet men. Do I have to go flyfishing instead? I call Greenwald. Shouldn't I be doing the things I love? Like yoga?
"You can absolutely take the class next year," she says matter-of-factly. "This is a short-term focus of 12-18 months. I'm not telling you to say, 'I have always loved flyfishing.' Walk in the door with the attitude that you don't know anything and want to try it!" She is very positive and perky about the whole thing, and I realize that none of these ideas are remotely original. "Try new things" is hardly revolutionary.
I have a sudden epiphany that Greenwald's extraordinary success with this book has little to do with her program's validity. Rather, it's due to Greenwald's own brilliant marketing abilities. I decide to go to yoga.
Tomorrow: I take a look at Chico, as if for the first time
We want to make you a part of this series. What is the state of your union? Did you find the one and never look back, or has finding lasting love been a marathon of trial and error? Did you have a fairy-tale wedding only to watch things crumble once the reception was over, or have you glided along in marital bliss since Day One? We want to hear your stories of joy, romance, heartbreak and pain. After all, partnership, as we all know, is a complex concoction of all of those things. (Please remember: Any writing submitted becomes the property of Salon if we publish it. We reserve the right to edit submissions and cannot reply to every writer. Interested contributors should send their stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
About the writer
Cole Kazdin is a writer in New York.
Scoring a husband
The author of a new book says that branding is as important as romance in finding a mate. Part 2 of "I'm Refreshingly Approachable! I'm a Two-in-One Shampoo! Marry Me!"
By Cole Kazdin
Oct. 28, 2003 | A few days later ...
I keep repeating to myself that I am a unique individual -- with thoughts and hopes and dreams ... Still, I find myself unable to stop humming my name to the tune of "By Mennen" as I walk down the street. "Cole Kaz-din!" I sing.
I walk down the street with a hop in my step. I am no longer Cole Kazdin, unique individual who is happy and usually confident but sometimes unsure -- I stop myself mid-thought. Complexities, be gone! I am Cole Kazdin, Refreshingly Approachable!
I'm midway through the "Find a Husband" book, slightly disheartened by the idea that I have to strip away whole aspects of my being because they aren't in my marketing plan, or aren't wife-y enough, or can't be sung to the tune of a deodorant commercial. I decide that's bullshit, but I proceed in the interest of science.
Bearing in mind "Market Expansion," as author Rachel Greenwald calls it, I "cast a wider net" and attempt to open my eyes to men I would normally pass over. I walk outside of my apartment building and take a long look at Chico, as if for the first time. Sure, he appears to have no job and he spends his days sitting on a stack of milk crates. And yes, he has been wearing a beat-up plaster cast on his leg for the three years I have lived here. But he always smiles through his greasy handlebar mustache and says "Hola" as I pass him each morning. Maybe the man of my dreams was under my nose the entire time.
Chico notwithstanding, the concept of widening your net is valid -- especially for women who find themselves dating different incarnations of the same man over and over again.
I've never done a manhunt before in my life, but now that I'm "looking," I realize just how many of them there are. After a girlfriend and I have lunch downtown, we run into two very cute 35-40ish men she knows. In the two minutes we chat in the street, one makes an offhand joke about needing a good woman in his life, as he gives my elbow a squeeze. Huh?
Since I do in fact have a boyfriend, I give off the scent than men love but not even Calvin Klein could bottle: Unavailable -- a fragrance for women.
A few days later, after a creepy guy on Rollerblades tries to pick me up in line at the falafel cart on 46th Street, I decide maybe I appear too "Refreshingly Approachable" and maybe I should switch gears, to the more mature and comforting "Let Cole Keep You Warm."
Greenwald tells me in a phone interview that she considers dating to be a numbers game -- once you have your brand, the idea is to get it out to as many people as possible. For example, send beautiful note cards to friends, telling them you're looking for someone wonderful to spend your life with. Go through your entire Rolodex -- all personal and professional contacts -- and tell them of your quest. This strategy "is accepted in other arenas," Greenwald says. "Yet women are so reluctant to do it in relationships. If you were looking for a job, could you send out 100 résumés?"
Of course. But "husband" isn't a position you're trying to fill. I thought you were supposed to meet someone and because of who he is, you begin to imagine spending your life with him.
Greenwald has no patience for such romanticism. "The romance comes after the man is found," she says firmly. "But not in the search process."
Rachel Greenwald is a lovely, soft-spoken woman to talk to, but she is also savvy and strong and hardcore. And she is becoming a very wealthy woman. Her seminars sell out. Her bestselling book is being adapted into a movie (a romantic comedy about a woman who does the steps of the book and gets married). Match.com has asked to link to her Web site. They probably love her because she plugs them in the "Online Dating" chapter. She says she has no arrangement with them, or with the other companies that seem to pop up a lot in the book: Home Depot, as a place to meet men, or Starbucks -- where she suggests you go instead of making coffee at home. It's true and pretty obvious that your odds of meeting people are higher if you leave your house. In trying to follow her program, I've gone to four different Starbucks, four days in a row. I met no one, but I have taken a significant chunk out of my initial budget.
I am trying to mix up my routine a bit, as she instructs -- take the long way home, walk into a man-friendly store I would normally pass. The other day I walked 11 blocks out of my way to take a different subway. I pass four gorgeous guys in a row. Then a fifth. This is fabulous! Then it hits me -- it is fabulous. I've crossed over the rainbow and into Chelsea. The next two men who pass me are holding hands and I realize that nobody here wants to marry me.
I contact friends to try to get a sense of how many available men they are aware of. I go on a "date" with a woman -- Greenwald suggests that women invest time going on "dates" with helpful, well-connected women who could potentially introduce them to single men.
By Week 2, I am exhausted. I'm tired of thinking about this stupid book all the time, and I have other, more important stuff to do. One night, I'm feeling particularly moody and probably PMS-y. My boyfriend tiptoes around me -- "Um, Cole?" he asks sweetly but tentatively. "Is this a 'step'?" I find that hilarious and we both start laughing. The poor guy is paranoid he will become a guinea pig in this story.
I could also be a little hungry, even though I feel like I'm eating a lot. I'm still doing the South Beach diet concurrently and I haven't had a processed carbohydrate in my body for at least 10 days. I feel fantastic. I've probably lost at least five pounds and I'm in the skinny jeans. Jeans I can usually only wear when I'm depressed and not eating, or battling stomach flu. Of the two books, South Beach is a hit.
Because of all the energy the husband program takes, the book mandates time off. Indulgence. Finally, a step I can sink my teeth into. I promptly add $100 to my "husband budget" and get a pedicure and a new sweater.
This period of rest is merely preparation for the toughest part yet -- Performance Review. Here, you evaluate your results: Are you meeting men? Are you in a relationship? It is here that the "Exit Interviews" are conducted. You have a friend or your mentor call men you have dated but, for whatever reason, stopped calling you. The idea is not to put them on the spot but rather get constructive criticism.
"I would be very civil," says Todd Levin, a 30-something bachelor imagining getting such a call. "I would try to be as helpful and civil as I could be on the phone and as soon as I got off the phone, I would change my locks." The whole idea creeped him out.
Like most of us, he has had postmortems after a relationship has ended -- talks about what went wrong, regrets, and so on. But from someone you just dated once or twice, as Greenwald suggests, it's ridiculous.
"It seems silly to ask someone's opinion when it already hasn't worked out," he says. "My issues with [a woman's] appearance, for example, are subjective. Then you're already trying to change yourself for something that hasn't worked out." But maybe if you keep getting the same feedback from different people, there might be something to consider.
Greenwald knows the exit interview isn't easy, but she does say it's necessary. In my research, I found not one man who was willing to go through with this, and not one woman who would allow me to call a man she's dated on her behalf.
"Most people put in that position would be doing anything they could to get off the phone," Todd says. A lot of times in dating, you just don't connect with the person and that's all there is to it.
"Doesn't it make you sad?" asks my mentor, Jane, referring to the entire program. "It's so sad, it makes me want to cry. That someone would be that desperate..."
Greenwald doesn't call it desperate; she calls it proactive. And the women she caters to -- women she instructs not to wear power suits on dates -- are women in crisis.
"I have women who told me that years ago they never would have touched this program," she says in an interview. "Years later they call me up and say, 'I'm ready. I never thought I could make telemarketing calls to my friends. Now I'm doing it. I chose happiness over pride.'"
Because she's a businesswoman, the idea of using a marketing plan to get men makes sense.
"I think it works for her because that's who she is," Jane says. "That's how her mind works. If you're not like her and you try the book, you're going to find a guy that's right for her. [Then] you're supposed to live the rest of your life with someone you tricked."
But Greenwald maintains that "program" marriages are some of the strongest she's seen, and she goes to brises and christenings and anniversaries on a regular basis.
She is married, of course. She says she did the program years ago without even knowing it, which translates as: She didn't exactly do the program -- this is just her personal style. Greenwald says now that so many fields use a marketing model -- healthcare, education -- maybe one day 10 years from now, we won't be able to imagine a time when we didn't telemarket for dates.
"You shouldn't need a focus group and a creative brief and flowcharts," says Todd. "Whatever happened to romantic walks on the beach?"
There was a time when online dating seemed shocking and now it's common and acceptable. Years ago, in a simpler time, Jane suggests, you lived someplace where everyone knew you were a single woman. There was a social network -- the village or your church. "There was a system in place that took care of you," she says.
Dating is moving in a colder direction. But Greenwald says that most of her clients are married in 12 to 18 months.
Of course her system works. If you focus on anything 100 percent of the time, there's virtually no way it will not happen.
Which brings us to the final step -- sealing the deal. This is expressly for people over 35. Greenwald admits she would never give this advice to a 22-year-old: Always Be Closing. If a man is truly in love with you and over the age of 35, she says, after six months he knows if he wants to marry you.
If you don't want to marry him, you should break it off. If you do want to marry him and he tells you he's not ready yet but he loves you, you have to pin him down or leave. In the book, Greenwald suggests a "catalyst" -- something to accelerate your answer. Tell him you are contemplating a job in another state, that a new man has asked you out, or that your gynecologist has suggested you freeze your eggs. Something dramatic that will start the discussion.
"Why can't you just be honest?" asks Todd. "If marriage is that important to you, say, 'This isn't going anywhere and I'm old.' I don't think it's OK to say, 'I have brain cancer.'"
He finds it frustrating that the book puts the business plan before feelings. "She's not making relationships about emotion at all," he says. "She's proposing a dating world where people carry comment cards and suggestion boxes around their necks. The most unromantic thing in the world is to imagine myself as a commodity and that's what you're left with after you've stripped the emotions out of it."
I can't help thinking about something both Todd and Ken said to me when they were formulating my mock ad campaign -- it's an advertising in-joke, apparently, that advertisers create a problem that people didn't know they had and then offer to solve it with stain remover, pain reliever, baked beans or whatever they're selling. On the one hand, there are a lot of people who for whatever reason are single, and they want nothing more than to find a spouse. That's fine. But there are also a lot of people who for whatever reason are a little lost and not sure what they want. And there are a lot of books that tell women in particular that there is something wrong with them and offer a 15-step solution. The most tangible result is that Rachel Greenwald -- pleasant and smart as she is -- is merely another person getting rich off them.
Incidentally, after two whole weeks on the South Beach diet, the skinny jeans are starting to feel loose, so I'm going to cool it.
I can't imagine meeting someone this way or, for that matter, marrying someone this way. Could you ever tell him that's how you landed him?
"What if I told a woman after six months that our meeting wasn't an accident," proposes Todd. "That I had been sitting in a van outside her house for six months" prior to that.
He has a point. At the same time, if you think of this book merely as a way to meet people, it seems harmless. The problem is, that's not all the book purports to be. It sells itself as a solution. Simple, clear-cut and guaranteed. And anyone who's ever been in love knows that those three little words have absolutely no place near the other ones.
We want to make you a part of this series. What is the state of your union? Did you find the one and never look back, or has finding lasting love been a marathon of trial and error? Did you have a fairy-tale wedding only to watch things crumble once the reception was over, or have you glided along in marital bliss since Day One? We want to hear your stories of joy, romance, heartbreak and pain. After all, partnership, as we all know, is a complex concoction of all of those things. (Please remember: Any writing submitted becomes the property of Salon if we publish it. We reserve the right to edit submissions and cannot reply to every writer. Interested contributors should send their stories to email@example.com.)
About the writer
Cole Kazdin is a writer in New York.
The Miami Herald
Posted on Sat, Mar. 27, 2004
Hunting for a husband the business-school way
BY JOHN BOUDREAU
Ladies, here's a proposition for you.
Make that a business proposition.
If you're over 35 and still on the hunt for a husband, Harvard Business School grad Rachel Greenwald thinks she has the answer. Years ago, the 39-year-old wife, mother and author devised what she calls ''The Program,'' a 15-step process whose sole objective is to land the user a spouse.
You'll have to learn to package yourself -- become ''the product,'' as Greenwald calls it -- and do some marketing. There's even a performance review. But follow the Program and the Denver resident practically swears you'll soon be marching up the aisle to an eagerly awaiting groom.
Last year Greenwald published Find a Husband After 35 Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School (Ballantine Books, $22.95). She has appeared on The Today Show and been featured in magazines from People to the New Yorker.
Unlike the typical pop-psychology self-help book, Greenwald's is short on therapy. Her advice is uncommonly blunt, some might say uncommonly sexist. Singletons won't find any tea and sympathy here. It's time to think about push-up bras, she suggests, as well as magnifying mirrors ``for seeing and correcting makeup mistakes and for finding tiny hairs that need to be plucked off your face.''
Further, ''whatever your baggage is,'' she warns, ``you can't carry it around with you on the Program.''
''Goal-oriented'' women must understand that the post-35 dating scene is a classic supply-and-demand situation, she said.
''There are 28 million single women over 35 in the United States and only 18 million single men,'' said Greenwald, who now provides one-on-one husband-searching counseling for ''a lot'' of money. ``Sadly, the odds are in the man's favor. As women get older, the market gets smaller.''
Find a Husband comes across as a combination of a business school case study and Dear Abby:
• On wearing revealing clothes: ``Having a reputation for wearing sexy clothes might suggest that she is a one-night stand and not a future wife. Again, you want your brand to appeal to marriage-minded men.''
• On how to get a man thinking about the ''M'' word (which some men might call a 'hostile takeover''): ``Create a catalyst to bring the issue of marriage to a head. This is a `crisis' situation where the outcome will give you better information about whether he is or isn't going to propose.'' Examples include ''You are contemplating a job offer in another state,'' ''Your old boyfriend wants you back'' and ``A new man has asked you out.''
• On the importance of improving the packaging: ``You are likely to have problem body areas after 35.''
Before getting into the husband-snaring business, Greenwald held several senior marketing positions in education as well as the beverage and jewelry industries. She began her new career after successfully finding her own man at 28, then coaching friends to apply the principles of business school to their romantic lives.
Love it or hate it, women find a certain fascination with Greenwald's book, which is being translated into 16 languages (Paramount Pictures has bought the movie rights).
''People react so strongly to what she has written,'' Palo Alto, Calif., therapist JoAnna Watson said. ``People are embarrassed. People are angry.''
Alfred Mandel, who is 46 and single, believes women (and men) who solely rely on a process such as Greenwald's risk missing the most important aspect of a relationship -- self-contentment.
The chances of meeting the right person ''increases exponentially the more you are happy with who you are,'' the Palo Alto investor said.
But Beverly Hills, Calif., psychologist Jenn Berman said Greenwald has created a new vocabulary for dating. ''The matchmaker on the corner closed shop 100 years ago,'' she said. ``You have to be your own matchmaker these days. Drowning your sorrows in Hagen-Dazs is not empowering.''
The book is reflective of an era in which people live independently, isolated from the kinds of communities that in the past made mating easier, therapist Watson said.
While Greenwald's business terms might be ''ridiculous,'' her book is a good tool, she says. ''In order to have a good relationship, you need to have a book like this,'' she says, ``as well as the books that address the deeper issues, such as how to sustain a relationship.''
Watson, in fact, believes that couples need to continually ''sell'' themselves to each other because the competition for interest from others does not stop with marriage.
Although she's not in the target audience for Find a Husband, 25-year-old Wendy Nguyen of San Jose, Calif., thinks Greenwald is speaking to her generation, too. She plans to buy the book.
''Today, everybody is so exposed to so many things, especially guys,'' Nguyen said. ``Guys have way-short attention spans. You have to package yourself and make yourself as marketable as possible, or you don't catch anyone's attention.''
mating for over-35s
Mergers, acquisitions, takeover bids... that's the vocabulary as would-be wives take a business approach to relationships, report Paul Harris in New York and David Smith in London
Sunday September 28, 2003
High heels clicking, designer handbags at the ready, the women walk purposefully into the lecture room. They are a varied cross-section of New York's well-to-do Upper East Siders, from the glamorous blonde in her figure-hugging skirt to the woman in her sixties taking a seat near the front. All are united by one thing: they are here to find a husband. And they believe Rachel Greenwald can help them.
Greenwald is the hottest thing to hit America's dating scene since Sex and the City. She is a slick graduate of the elite Harvard Business School who believes the ruthless rules of commerce can be applied to the hunt for a mate. Out go roses, chocolates and eyes meeting across a crowded room. In come 'branding' and 'marketing'. Romance may not be dead inside this room, but it certainly seems to have gone corporate.
Greenwald is promoting her book, Find a Husband After 35 Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School. Promising to 'teach you a simple proven 15-step program to find a wonderful husband', the book roared into the bestseller lists last week, and Greenwald has even sold the movie rights. Now she is doing the rounds with the talk-show hosts.
She will arrive in Britain in January when the UK edition is published. Curiously, its title will be rounded down by five years to become The Program: How To Find a Husband After Thirty. Tara Lawrence, editor of the British edition for Time Warner Books, explained: 'We went for 30 because it has more resonance for people here. In the States they don't bother with big 30th birthday parties, but in Britain the age has impact, especially for women.'
She said the book was distinct from the self-help guides that have flooded the shelves in recent years. 'Rachel Greenwald has a direct and bold way of talking to the readers, balanced with humour. It's absolutely practical on how you can create opportunities to do something about being single.'
Government projections suggest half of British women aged between 30 and 44 will never have been married by 2021, compared to 13 per cent in 1981.
Those who are bothered by that may wish to heed Greenwald's message that a Thatcherite devotion to market principles is the key to finding a husband. The 15 steps include advice on how women can 'package' themselves as a desirable product and shop around for a suitable 'buyer'. There are also sections on 'guerrilla marketing' and recruiting an 'assistant' to provide support.
Greenwald's tactics include telemarketing, or ringing everyone in your address book to ask if they know of any potential partners. She also advocates 'auditing' and conducting 'exit interviews' - getting a third party to contact unsuccessful dates for feedback. She insists that around 70 per cent of men, if asked, will be candid.
Greenwald, a married woman who lives in Colorado with her three children, argues: 'If you were searching for a job, you would devote enormous time and effort to finding the right one. If you wanted to lose weight, you'd abide by the required sacrifices and rules. The Program is like a combination job search and strict diet: there are commitments, sacrifices and rules involved.'
At the 92nd Street Y, a prestigious New York lecture hall that has played host to Presidents and royalty, Greenwald is in full flow. For the Observer correspondent, trying to sit unobtrusively at the back, it is an unnerving experience. These women are about to get a three-hour lesson in how to devote yourself to one task: snaring a husband. Even in America, where dating is a national sport, Greenwald is brutally upfront and honest. She promises a mate within one year to 18 months. All it takes is iron discipline and the will to carry it out.
The figures she quotes tell a grim story. In America today there are 18 million single men over 35 - but 28 million single woman in that age bracket. She rapidly dispels the last lingering sense of romance from the room. 'This book is not about the fairy tale. It is the realisation of being a woman and single and taking matters into your own hands.'
Her book is written in the style and language of countless management guides that litter American bookshelves. She consciously avoids any analysis as to why people may be single, focusing instead on making sure they do not remain so. 'It doesn't matter why you are single. It matters what you are going to do about it,' she said.
She cuts an elegant figure in black trousers and a fashionable jacket. She looks every inch the serious and successful businesswoman she is. She admits that, once her lectures are over, only about half of those present usually feel they can commit to The Program. 'Are you willing to do things that are illegal or immoral?' she asks. The audience laughs nervously. Greenwald is only half joking. 'There are some tactics that will make you feel uncomfortable,' she adds.
The first big intake of breath comes when she talks about spending money. Lots of money. 'It does cost money to find a husband,' she says. Greenwald says those following her method must create a separate 'find a husband' bank account. She recommends putting 10 per cent, or perhaps even 20 per cent, of total income into it. This will pay for new clothes, gifts, a hairdo, a computer for internet dating... the list is endless. It is at this point that many in the audience seem to grasp how big a commitment Greenwald is asking for. Suddenly a 50 per cent dropout rate after the seminar looks about right.
Marketing is Step One of The Program. This involves maximising any chance to meet men. It means cancelling subscriptions to newspapers so that you have to go and read them in public. It means never staying in when you can go out (that's where the 'find a husband' budget will help). It means joining evening classes (and signing up for fly-fishing, not cookery). 'I don't know where your husband is, but I know he is not at your home,' Greenwald said.
Greenwald gets angry when she is accused of making women look 'desperate' for a mate. She says that it is chauvinistic to refer to her tactics in that manner. She is being honest and empowering women to go and get what they want. There is nothing wrong in wanting a husband, and therefore there is nothing wrong with going about it in the most efficient and effective way. 'I want to eradicate the word "desperate" from the dictionary,' she said.
The steps continue. Step Three involves finding a 'mentor', a friend who will be honest in an appraisal of how things are going. Step Four is about improving the packaging. Step Five is about branding. 'A woman without a brand is like a pair of designer jeans without a label,' Greenwald tells her audience. She talks about successful brands like Coca-Cola and FedEx.
Then she asks about effective human brands. What do you think when you hear the word Mother Teresa? 'Saintly,' come several replies before one woman pipes up: 'She was single.'
There is a burst of laughter. 'Only in this room could Mother Teresa's brand be seen as being single,' Greenwald said.
After a break, the steps continue, including a 'quarterly review' of progress made in the previous three months. Found a husband yet? No, then change tactics and improve your performance.
Greenwald met her own husband when she was 28, but says she was already using The Program to find a mate. 'I was precocious. I knew I didn't want to be single after 35, so I planned ahead,' she said. She had concentrated on her branding, had found a mentor and was maximising any chance to meet members of the opposite sex. She found Brad at a 'Program Party' in Boston that she had organised and asked all her invitees to bring unattached friends. They were married a few years later.
As the lecture
ends and the women disappear back into the Manhattan night, they depart with the
knowledge they think they need. They certainly depart with the dream that out
there - somewhere - another Brad is waiting. They just need to develop a
business strategy to find him.
15 steps to a profitable husband
1 Marketing focus: make sure you really want to find a husband.
2 Marketing support: seek the help of a best friend.
3 Packaging: improve your appearance and always look your best.
4 Market expansion: hunt for a man in as many places as possible.
5 Branding: show what makes you stand out from the crowd.
6 Advertising: Ask anyone if they know of a possible date.
7 Online marketing: use an online dating service.
8 Guerrilla marketing: get out of the daily grind.
9 Niche marketing: ask your married friends if they know any suitable men.
10 Telemarketing: call everyone you know and ask about possible dates.
11 Mass marketing: think of everywhere you might meet men and try them all each week.
12 Event marketing: throw a party and invite single men and friends who can bring some.
13 Product life cycle: if it's not working, take a break to recharge your batteries.
14 Quarterly performance review: take a hard look at why you're still single.
Exit strategy: how to decide if you are going to dump him or marry him.
Finding a Husband …
… The Harvard Business School Way
By Jill Serjeant
— Over 35? Still looking for Mr. Right? Feeling left on the shelf?
Perhaps it is time to repackage your assets, take a hard look at your personal brand and start telemarketing yourself.
Sounds a bit like launching a new laundry soap, or marketing yoghurt as an aphrodisiac? That's precisely what former marketing consultant turned find-a-husband coach Rachel Greenwald is suggesting in her new book Find a Husband After 35 Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School.
"It's not very traditional to hear the words 'dating' and 'Harvard Business School' in the same sentence. But I believe this is marriage 911 — an emergency — and I think it requires proven business techniques to get results," Greenwald told Reuters in an interview.
This is no book for the fainthearted, for die-hard romantics or wilting wallflowers. Finding a husband ain't easy in the United States where there are 28 million single women over 35 compared to a mere 18 million men.
Greenwald, who used to market Evian water and Carolee jewelry, has put together a 15-step program that shows women how to package their assets, develop a personal brand, use telemarketing to get the word out, establish a husband-search budget and hold performance reviews to assess results.
She even tells women how to conduct a toe-curling "exit interview" with a man who has just dumped them to find out what went wrong.
These are tactics which Greenwald successfully used herself 11 years ago when she determined to marry before 35, and she started using herself to help her single friends, all "smart and fabulous women" who for some reason had reached their late 30s or early 40s but hadn't found the man they wanted to wed.
"I realized I was giving them the same stuff I was saying in my day job as a marketing consultant — packaging, branding, niche marketing — and it struck me there was a connection between brand marketing and dating tactics that really made sense," Greenwald said.
Greenwald married her husband, Brad, 11 years ago at the age of 28 after meeting him at her own "event marketing" party (step 12 in her system). The couple has three children and Greenwald describes her husband as "the most incredible man on this Earth."
If phoning literally everyone you know and asking them to fix you up with a date, growing your hair, buying a push-up bra or moving in order to meet new men smacks of desperation a generation after women's liberation, this book is not for you.
"I don't even use the word desperate. It is not in my dictionary. I think proactive and empowering are the words that describe the steps," she said, adding that women will need a "strong dose of mental Viagra" to stay on the program.
She has clearly found a market. The book, which assures the majority of serious students that they can find a husband in 12 to 18 months, was already in the top 50 best-seller list on Amazon.com a week before it was published in the United States.
It has also been optioned for a movie by the studio behind How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days as the basis for a romantic comedy about a woman who follows the program.
Greenwald, who will work as a consultant on the movie, is anxious to ensure that the "woman is portrayed with respect in this movie instead of the stereotype that there must be something wrong with her."
The book spends little time asking women to analyze why they are single, although Greenwald notes the high divorce rate, the fact that men tend to remarry younger women, and suspects that some women may have let their dating skills slip while pursuing a career.
Overwhelming feedback from men has proved that men looking for wives could also brush up their marketing skills.
"It surprises me that women say they can't find any men, and men say they can't find any women. So really it is a marketing challenge of how to connect these two entities.
"Just change the pronouns in the book and it is the exact same advice. This book is universal for men for women, for gays and lesbians, and for people of any age," she said.
But not apparently for the French. Although the book is to be published in at least a dozen other countries, there will be no French edition.
publishing representative said no one in France would buy this book, because
everyone there wants to get rid of their husband, not find one," the author
November 10, 2003
BY AMY KLEIN
'Why are you single?" I'm standing with a glass of champagne at a baby shower when another woman -- whom I'd only met at the bridal shower and wedding -- hurls this accusation at me shortly after we say hello in that sweetly phony way that only two strangers can muster.
She probably means it not as an invasion of privacy but as a compliment: How could someone as ---------- as me not have a husband? She's tilting her head and smiling flirtatiously, and asks me the question that many family members would die to know the answer to but are too afraid to ask:
"So, why are you single?" she says again, actually waiting for an answer.
I bite my tongue on a snappy comeback ("Why are you married?"), and in the name of not causing a catfight at a baby shower, I smile politely and say, "I just haven't met the right guy."
If only I had read Rachel Greenwald's new best-seller, Find a Husband After 35 Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School (Ballantine Books), I could have told this woman what Greenwald writes in the opening of her 311-page book: "Why are you still single? It doesn't matter."
What matters, Greenwald writes, is what you are going to do about it.
A Harvard M.B.A. who worked as a marketing executive at companies like Evian, Greenwald proposes that women devote the next 12 to 18 months of their lives to her "Simple 15-Step Action Program" and market themselves down the aisle. This "Program" -- the latest but certainly not the last tome on husband hunting -- requires you to package, brand and advertise yourself, as well as conduct market research, employ event planning and perform quarterly reviews to your dating life, just as any successful company would create, plan and launch a new product into the marketplace (see related article). No. 7 on the New York Times best-seller list, with press from People to the "Today" show and a movie development deal from Paramount, Finding a Husband is a perfect gimmick for the new millennium, where everything from religion to education to politics comes down to good marketing.
Greenwald frames her arguments in simplified business models, and argues her case that the single woman as a low-demand product in an increasingly competitive world. It's a world with 28 million single women over the age of 35 in the United States, compared to 18 million men of the same age.
And you have to make yourself stand out.
"Dear --------," you are supposed to write to everyone you know. "Are you still enjoying your new job? It sounds wonderful! I have a special favor to ask you. This year, I would like to find someone special to spend my life with. Do you know any single men you could introduce me to? I would truly appreciate your help!"
By this point -- after your mass marketing, telemarketing, guerrilla marketing campaigns -- if you aren't so completely mortified by this panhandling that you can actually leave your house, you have to actually go out with everyone available. The point is to "cast a wider net," which, Greenwald says, is the biggest problem for women over 35. By putting yourself out there as prominently as the Golden Arches, you are supposed to increase your odds of meeting "someone wonderful" -- not to mention of meeting "someone horrible" as well.
As any woman in the "meet" market has asked herself -- or as "Sex and the City's" Carrie might ponder: "Sometimes I wonder, 'Is dating simply a numbers game?' "
If you go out with 100 guys, are you more likely to meet someone than if you go out with 10? Certainly, in the business world, those figures seem likely. But the capricious world of romance isn't quite as linear. I have been out on about 100 blind (Internet) dates, yet I'm dating the first guy I was randomly introduced to at a party last month.
Tell me this: Must I abandon my carefully constructed life -- the career, the traveling, the sports, the free-lancing, the parties, the friends, the fun -- just to find a husband?
Greenwald thinks so. "You've tried that all before and it hasn't worked," she says. And the recent pro-mommy media blitzkrieg (which I think is secretly sponsored by my parents) seems to show Greenwald is right. The New York Times Magazine's Oct. 26 cover featured "The Opt-Out Revolution," about Ivy-League, Type-A women who stepped off the corporate ladder for motherhood. And Time magazine recently weighed in with a cover on the epidemic of childlessness due to devotion to careers, based on Sylvia Ann Hewlett's Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children. Almost everywhere I turn, it seems like the feminism I took for granted -- the one that said I could be anything I wanted to be, and I could have a career and a family -- is being turned on its head. So maybe Greenwald is right. Forget living; start dating. Shortly after I read Finding a Husband, I find myself in an alternate universe where the world is a stage and I'm on it. I find myself inhabited by strange Greenwald-like thoughts such as, "Is that guy who is throwing onions into his supermarket cart single?" Or "Maybe my mailman really is an intellectual, you never know."
I imagine what would happen to me if I were to follow "The Program" for the next year and a half: Everything I do would be geared to the pursuit of a man, from my morning coffee (go to a Starbucks where you might meet a cute guy), to my extracurricular education (take a carpentry class instead of poetry). All my friends, family and colleagues would be involved on my crusade, and even my career would be up for review if it were getting in the way of my full-time job of dating.
And then I snap back to reality. Have you ever been on more than two dates in a week? The endless string of coffee dates with strangers takes its toll on the soul. Suddenly there's nothing to talk about because all the things that make you you -- your law job, your hiking craze, your secret science-fiction obsession -- are all gone, replaced by a desperate, man-hungry monster. "ME WANT HUSBAND! GIVE ME HUSBAND NOW!"
While many a lonely older woman wants a husband badly enough to join the program proscribed in Finding a Husband After 35, there are still a few of us out there who believe that the only way to find your soul mate is to find -- and love -- yourself.
So the next time I'm standing alone at a baby shower (won't God save me from these wasted Sunday fetes?) and some yenta asks me, "Why are you single?" I'm going to slide my lip into a mischievous grin, raise an eyebrow and my champagne glass in a toast to my fine life, and say, "Why not?"
Amy Klein is a Los Angeles writer. She is working on a book about Internet dating.
THERE ARE STILL A FEW OF US OUT THERE WHO BELIEVE THAT THE ONLY WAY TO FIND YOUR SOUL MATE IS TO FIND -- AND LOVE -- YOURSELF.
What French girls
Young girls in France learn early in life that happiness is not as important as passion.
By Debra Ollivier
Jan. 12, 2004 |
"I've seen the way you behave with women. In that
respect you are totally unreliable, but we could have an interesting life
-- Pauline Potter, proposing to her future husband, Baron Philippe de Rothschild
My girlfriend Natalie is not classically pretty, but that's never been a problem. She has a little belly, but she flaunts it. She has a little bit of extra butt. She flaunts that too. She's had her share of romantic encounters, but she's still single, over 35, and has lots of baggage, including a 5-year-old from a previous marriage who's earned the nickname of Rasputin. In many respects Natalie is the perfect candidate for Rachel Greenwald's new book "Find a Husband After 35 Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School." She's perfect except for one thing: Natalie is French.
"I feel sorry for American women," she says over the phone. Natalie is in Paris; I'm in Los Angeles. We're talking on the phone about love, lust, girlhood, womanhood. Somehow we touch on Greenwald's new book, which exhorts women to use the same marketing techniques to find a mate as they would to, say, launch a new brand of tennis shoes. "You, the reader, are the 'product,'" Greenwald writes.
I hear Natalie sigh over 6,000 miles of fiber optic cable. "Only in America could you get away with this type of lunacy. There is so much pressure on American women to be happy. To sweep away all traces of loneliness, to forget who you are in your search for a lover or a spouse. In France young girls learn that happiness is elusive; we learn that happiness is less important than passion."
Natalie's comments remind me of a salient little metaphor: As girls we Americans sit in our field of daisies and pull off petals with, "He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not." Meanwhile French girls sit in their meadows with their marguerites and pull off petals with: "He loves me a little. A lot. Passionately. Madly. Not at all." Why does the little French girl innately think in nuances and increasing levels of passion while we're mired in the black-and-white of total love or utter rejection?
According to Christophe, a French journalist with a seriously lush history of romance on both sides of the Atlantic: "Everything in your culture is defined like a contract, even the business of love. That's precisely the opposite in France. I've dated French women for months before I ever really knew who they were or what they wanted from me. After the first or second date, the American woman wants everything spelled out: 'Are we dating? Are you my boyfriend or just a friend?' A French woman doesn't do that. She doesn't give much away. She's comfortable letting things evolve naturally, but the ball's almost always in her court."
Natalie concurs with this assessment. "There is a culture in France of the 'non-dit,' the not-spoken. What you don't say in France is as important as what is said. There are boundaries in language that create tensions. Even sexual tensions. The simple act of saying "tu" or "vous" is a boundary that invites intimacy or precludes it. We learn that we have more power when we keep things to ourselves than when we give things away. We learn that the art of seduction is based on innuendo and silences."
Innuendo and silences? This sort of quiet, coded game of love is entirely baffling to us buffoonishly direct Anglos, and it's partly what's kept French women in the sexiness hall of fame for centuries. Never mind haute couture or racy lingerie. French women are a bundle of alluring contradictions that seem to perfectly coexist, like the unlikely mélange of sweet and sour. They're often annoyingly coy and darkly wanton. Many of them are not great beauties and yet are gorgeously compelling in the way they reconcile their imperfections. They tend to be more concerned with experiencing pleasure than with being liked and far more passionate about having a life than making a living. (Multitasking does not rank high on their list of positive attributes in a woman.) Plus they all seem able to walk gracefully in high heels on cobblestones the size of grapefruits. Talk about poise.
This amalgam of qualities has given French femmes a singular sophistication that makes the dictates of Rachel Greenwald seem almost bizarrely childlike. In her classic "The French and Their Ways," Edith Wharton had already singled out this sophistication back in 1919. The French woman "is in nearly all respects, as different as possible from the average American woman," Wharton wrote. "Is it because she dresses better, or knows more about cooking, or is more 'coquettish,' or more 'feminine,' or more emotional, or more 'immoral'? The real reason is not nearly as flattering to our national vanity. It is simply that the French woman is more grown-up. [Wharton's italics.] Compared with the women of France the average American woman is still in kindergarten."
Excusez-moi: Did you say kindergarten? I suppose if Wharton were comparing French and American women over the long course of history, then we Americans would be the innocent toddlers. When I was a girl I used to marvel at French women in history books precisely for this reason. They led armies of querulous men. They were burned at stakes. They got their heads chopped off for being petulant little queens. They were sexy and bellicose and bare-breasted. Even the symbol of the French Republic, the fair-haired Marianne, stormed Paris with (if we take Delacroix's depiction of her as our reference) her impudent and perfectly pulpy breasts exposed. French girls grow up with this legacy of women who were utterly feminine and totally kick-ass; a legacy of bare breasts, revolutions, royal courts, sex, death, blood, guts and great hair. Meanwhile, my generation of American girls grew up with Betty Crocker, Girl Scouts and training bras -- and Julia Child was as French as it got. How unfair is that?
Perhaps American women are ahead of the French when it comes to liberation. "You Americans were grown-up feminists," Natalie says when I bring up Wharton's comments. "We took all of our cues from you. We were incredibly old-fashioned and repressed compared to American women when it came to feminism. But we never confused the power of feminism with the power of femininity, the power of the femme. Being a grown-up to a French woman means being complete, with or without a man, but still being in love with love."
Christophe looks at the question differently. "We're a grown-up culture. America is a super power but historically you're barely adolescent. We were dismissing the Church because of its corruption hundreds of years ago while you Anglos were naively embracing it. History has taught us that you can't rely on dogma or doctrine. Relationships burn brightly, then die. We have our passions, our human tragedies, our loves and our losses. We have a couple of centuries of living and dying over you Americans."
I suppose you have to call a historical spade a spade. We Americans are big, hormonally super-charged 13-year-olds raiding the fridge in quick-fix binges. The French are wizened denizens sipping Bordeaux and plumbing the depths of passion and pathos. To their credit the French, who can be exasperatingly pig-headed and irascible, do have a certain ripened maturity and an insatiable appetite for the harsh realities and curious lusts that characterize matters of the heart. This is partly why the myths of the French mistress and the Latin lover have endured over the centuries. It might also explain why the French are so iconoclastic, even quixotic, in their interpretations of love.
I'm reminded of this sexy, baffling quality about the French time and time again. Most recently, it was while watching the Claire Denis film "Friday Night": Two strangers meet in a car in a traffic jam. They spend nearly the entire film in silence, end up in a hotel, make love rhapsodically, exchange a few words (barely) over pizza, make love again, then say goodbye. What just happened? Our leading lady -- who's not a great beauty but still lovely in an ordinary, je ne sais quoi way -- runs through the streets of Paris at night after her affair. All we know about her is that she's going to move in with her boyfriend. She's just left her mysterious lover in the hotel. Who is he? Will she see him again? Was it a one-night stand or the beginning of a long-term relationship? Our heroine runs down the street toward an unknown future, a liberating and strangely happy glow on her face. She doesn't seem to care. Clearly, Rachel Greenwald would not approve.
Debra Ollivier has written for Harper's, Playboy and Le Monde. She is the author of "Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl."
The rules for finding the right soul mate
Sept. 22 - For many single women over the age of 35, the rules for finding the right mate have changed. There are fewer eligible men and fewer opportunities to meet them. Now dating coach Rachel Greenwald shares her proven 15-step action program based on the marketing tactics she learned at Harvard Business School. Here's an excerpt of “Find a Husband After 35":
Why are you still single? It doesn’t matter.
The important question is not why are you still single, but what are you going to do about it? I have created a proven, proactive, assertive program that I simply call “The Program.” It will help you find a husband. The Program uses powerful marketing tactics that I learned at Harvard Business School, in my professional marketing career, and in coaching single women just like you. It will jump-start your dating life and get you married.
If you’re reading this book, you are probably between the ages of 35 and 105 and looking to get married for the first time, or maybe the fourth time. You probably have experienced waves of resignation, thinking that you will never find a wonderful mate. You may be divorced or widowed, or never married after spending time on your career or with the wrong boyfriend. Maybe you’ve had weight issues or you’ve been distracted by a sick parent. Maybe you’re shy and have trouble meeting men. It makes no difference how you got here: You’re single and ready to make a change.
What this book is not is an analysis of all that has gone wrong in your life, who’s to blame, or why society is the way it is. You’ll see zero quotes from famous psychiatrists, sociologists, priests, or rabbis about the plight of the single modern female.
Women frequently ask me how to change their patterns of the past. They spend too much time on the job, they are attracted to the wrong types of men, they can’t get over a lost love, their dates don’t turn into committed relationships, their committed relationships always fizzle, or a dozen other common patterns. These are areas that The Program does not address in its 15 Steps. The Program is about action and moving forward: It will help you find a husband, but it assumes that at your stage in life, you have a pretty good idea about why you’re still single.
For some of you, being single has been by choice. You are fundamentally happy except for the frustration you feel about not having met a great partner. You’ve had other priorities and you have a full life with your friends, family, activities, and career. You have been too busy to focus on getting married. If you are reading this book now, perhaps you’re ready to shift your focus.
For others of you, being single has not been by choice for any number of reasons. To understand those reasons, you may have tried therapy, read self-help books, or had friends and family counsel you on your issues. Hopefully, you are now enlightened and ready to break out of any damaging patterns. You want action, not more psychoanalysis.
Of course, you don’t want to find just any husband. You probably could have done that by now. You want a wonderful husband, whatever that means to you individually. This is understood throughout The Program. When I say that these tactics will help find your husband, know that I mean “your wonderful husband.”
And those wonderful husbands are out there. Every time I go to a new city to teach my seminar “Find a Husband After 35,” the seminar registration operator inevitably calls me in advance to ask, “Do you allow men in your class? We’ve had so many calls from men who want to attend your seminar.” I’ve called back many of those men, and I can promise you they’re not looking to “hit on” the single women in my class. They genuinely want to learn how to find a wife. Some are shy, some are busy with their jobs, some are busy with single parenting, and most just don’t know where the wonderful single women are. These men are lonely and out there looking for love, too. You’re going to learn how to find them in this book.
The Program allows you to take matters into your own hands with 15 action steps. It is designed for women later in life with unique challenges, such as fewer eligible men and more insular lifestyles.
Let me be clear. This is not a program for the uncommitted. At times, you will feel this plan requires too much effort and is too contrived. But reading this book is like dialing “Marriage 911”: It’s an emergency. And you do what you have to do. You’re lonely, maybe your biological clock is ticking, and you want a loving husband more than anything else. If you were searching for a job, you would devote enormous time and effort to finding the right one. Finding the right husband is certainly more important than a job, since hopefully the husband will be with you for a lifetime. If you wanted to lose weight, you’d abide by the required sacrifices and rules. The Program is like a combination job search and strict diet: There are commitments, sacrifices, and rules involved.
What is The Program?
Throughout this book I will frequently refer to “The Program.” The Program is a simple 15-Step action program to help you find a husband that uses marketing tactics I learned at Harvard Business School and honed in my professional marketing career. You, the reader, are the “product,” and The Program is a “strategic plan” to help you “market” yourself to find your future husband.
When you first hear the words product, strategic plan, and marketing applied to you and your dating efforts, perhaps you will bristle. This is normal. You are learning about a radical new approach. I assure you that The Program will be an empowering experience for you. It will allow you to take control of your unmarried situation and learn how you can do something smart and effective to change it.
You may recognize some tactics in this book that you’ve already put into practice. But my guess is that you’ve been doing only a few of these things, and doing them sporadically. Most of the dating activities that women initiate lack focus and coordination. They pull in different directions and don’t produce the desired result. The trick is pulling them all together into a comprehensive and systematic strategic program. This is key. Just as in an orchestra, you may have violins and flutes playing, but until a conductor comes along and brings all the instrument sections together, the music doesn’t deliver impact.
There are several tried-and-true methods by which 35 singles meet each other today: fix-ups, organized activities, parties, “chance” meetings, and many kinds of dating services. While several of the 15 Steps advocate these familiar methods, what you’ll find in The Program is an abundance of new and creative tactics to make them effective for you. I don’t want to change you, I want to change what you do.
There are many tactics in this book that are just plain common sense. But I don’t assume that you have necessarily been practicing them. In any case, what you’ve been doing so far hasn’t worked, so what have you got to lose? Read on.
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
You will learn a whole new approach to looking for a husband. Your mind-set will change as you practice The Program Thinking Method in Step #1 and start looking at the world through Program lenses. You will start to see the problem of finding a husband through the eyes of a marketer: a problem that can be solved with creative solutions. You will understand why the scene changes after 35 and why you need to cast a wider net as you search for Mr. Right. When you’ve finished this book, you will be able to devise and advertise your personal brand, know how to get out of your rut, be able to create a winning plan to increase the volume of men you meet, conduct an exit interview, and much more. So stop obsessing about being single, and let’s do something about it!
WHO MOVED MY ALTAR?
It really is different looking for a husband after 35. It’s as though someone moved your altar: You weren’t supposed to be standing here. Maybe you are part of the group of women whom I call the “Lost Cinderella Generation.” You broke the glass ceiling, but broke your glass slipper along with it. There are six major differences to take into account now:
1.Urgency: If you’re over 35 and looking to get married, you probably have a great sense of urgency. Your biological clock is ticking if you want children. Your friends and family are hounding you with: “Why aren’t you married yet?” And you’re sick to death of floating single in a sea of married couples. If you’re divorced or widowed, you have other urgent issues, too: the stress of being a single parent or the burden of loneliness after years of having a partner. Urgent matters require action. You can’t sit around, feel sorry for yourself, or wait until fate knocks on your door. You need to take matters into your own hands quickly and efficiently, using the proven search tactics from The Program. The tactics in this book are probably very different from the ones you used in your 20’s.
2.Fewer single men: It’s a math equation that’s hard to grasp. There should be roughly an equal number of single men after 35 as there are women, right? Wrong. There are 28 million single women over 35, but only 18 million single men over 35 (U.S. Census, 2000)! The difference is due to a number of factors, including the fact that many men marry younger women. You must accept the reality you’re given and figure out how best to address it. This means no more narrow criteria about what kind of man you’re looking for. Accept the possibility that your future husband may have many wonderful qualities, but they may come in a different package than you’ve imagined. He may be divorced, he may have kids of his own, he may be shorter than you, or he may work in a profession completely different from that of men you’ve dated in the past.
3.Changed bodies: Another cold reality. You are more likely to have problem body areas after 35. You may have had them before 35, but maybe they’re worse now. Double chins and cellulite are the enemies. Your friends are talking about botox and plastic surgery. There will always be some perfect older woman out there who looks like she’s 25, but for the rest of us, we need to make some changes to keep looking our best to attract men. The Program’s Step #3, Packaging, addresses this issue, and it’s very important. You don’t need to be beautiful and thin to find a husband. In fact, the most important success criterion is your level of commitment to the search. But you need to do some research and figure out what improvements you can make to your overall appearance. As they say, you only have one chance to make a first impression.
4.Baggage: By the time you’re over 35, you will probably have more “baggage” in your life than you did at 25 or 30. You may have the shadow of an ex-husband or ex-fiancé, the memory of a deceased husband, or worse, a therapist from whom you desperately seek approval. You may have a more demanding job, young children who require all your energy, teenage children who devour your patience, an ailing parent who consumes you with guilt, or a beloved pet who never leaves your side. Maybe you have personal issues with weight, shyness, or self-esteem. The Program will show you how to focus on your goal without being burdened by your baggage.
5.Habits: The older you are, the more difficult old habits are to break. You may have recurring patterns of choosing the wrong type of men, or being too picky and not giving new men a chance. You are probably more rigid and set in your ways. You may work too many hours at the office, or have a firmly entrenched routine at home. To really break these habits-which have been forming over many years, and are preventing you from finding a husband-you need a shock to your system. Using The Program’s marketing tactics for your dating efforts may be just what you need to help you make a change.
6.Insular lifestyle: After 35, your life is more insular. You aren’t on a college campus where thousands of single men hang around. You aren’t going out all night with your friends to parties and bars where chance meetings with single men are bountiful. Your job may be in a smaller office environment as you’ve risen higher in your position, or in a smaller city where it seems harder to meet eligible men. Or maybe you’ve earned the “right” to work at home and you rarely see your colleagues. Most of your friends are married with kids, and socializing means being a third wheel. You’re probably in a personal rut, doing the same things over and over with the same circle of people. The Program’s Step #8, Guerrilla Marketing, will give you the tools to do something different and change your lifestyle.