Review #39: Non-Fiction
I Had a Nice Time and Other Lies… by The Betches
I love The Betches. I follow them everywhere; I like, retweet, regram, etc. This was not a terrible book, but it was not a great one. I think, perhaps, even just two years can make a difference with subject matter like this. Many sections came across as a bit tone-deaf in relation to the social climate today.
I found myself cringing several times throughout. The authors routinely speak to finding love based on your level of attraction, and using your looks to catch a decent bro. They split no hairs making it known that being attractive means thin and conventionally pretty. They give advice in the same vein as dudes cat-calling on the street: if you’re not pretty, smile more, so people don’t notice how not pretty you. If you’re overweight, LOVE YOURSELF AT ANY SIZE, but also if you don’t like being fat, go to the gym and get thin and therefore pretty. Also, don’t get old. Getting old is ugly and your man will leave you. A general theme is basically be pretty and stay pretty. I understand these are jokes, I just don’t think they hold up well.
There is a male voice (The Head Pro) included in every chapter, side notes and insights, even responses to letters from people looking for advice. I like the idea of various points of view, a “guy’s opinion” if you will. Some of the commentary is fun and funny and interesting. Some is eye-roll worthy. Insights about how playing hard to get might mean different things to men and women – interesting. Dealbreakers that including being too short – eye-roll. The Head Pro calls out a lot of double standards between men and women. But then also asks you to just keep buying into and living them. Though he says it’s shitty that men are affording more leeway to be crass and vulgar and loud in public, women should definitely still tone it down or there’s a good chance it’s a dealbreaker for your bro. Though it’s stupid that men are seen as macho and breadwinners and protectors, women should maybe think about “appealing to male sensibilities” and let them drive/navigate on road trips. There’s also a section on how to keep your man from feeling “trapped” in your marriage. Eye-roll. This male insight misses the mark.
All advice is also completely heteronormative. Not that this is a real demerit to the book. It’d be impossible to include every scenario of romantic connection that exists today. Just a simple acknowledgement of that fact would have been nice.
The best thing about this book is that it’s almost an anti-relationship book. Yes, the main advice that lies within is to help you get out of your own way and find a romantic partner (and not just any partner, but one that treats you well and respects you and basically isn’t trash), but The Betches consistently hate on relationships in general throughout. They come back time and again to the idea that real Betches don’t need a man, and they can do bad all by themselves. And that’s, honestly, the best advice any woman can get.
Obviously, if you know The Betches – if you, too, follow them everywhere, or have read their other book – you know their humor and you know to take pretty much everything they say with a grain of salt. I Had a Nice Time and Other Lies… is not a typical self-help book. It’s humor. I laughed out loud a ton and shouted “YAAAASSSS!” into my living room. So if that’s all you’re looking for here, it’s a good read. It has nuggets of wisdom and some powerful and empowering moments, but mainly, it’s entertainment and that needs to be taken into consideration in the end.
3.5 out of 5 stars
*Cover image from Amazon