What to Shop For
We get it. It's easy to get stuck in the "dressing room of dating."
Sure, at first, shopping for a husband can be lots of fun. There are so many different shapes and sizes for a girl to try on! But just like any other shopping trip, if you don't get lucky right away, shopping for a guy can get pretty tiring, pretty fast.
Here's how it usually goes: this one doesn't quite fit around the hips, that one makes you look seriously frumpy, and the other one is waaaaaay too pricey. Before you know it—can somebody bring me a latte?—you've tried on more than you can even remember, and you're ready to call it a day. The pile on the dressing room floor has reached mountainous proportions and you've begun to feel as if you'll never hear the register go "ka-ching!"
Well, that's where we come in.
Ladies, it's time to shop smart. Just think of us as your very own personal shoppers in this, the most important shopping expedition of your life. We're here to teach you how to get a great buy on a guy—and to get you to that checkout counter, pronto.
So, listen up: step number one to becoming a wise shopper in today's dating marketplace, what we call the "meet market," is learning exactly what to shop for in a man.
This may seem simple, but believe us, it's not. Finding perfectly good husband material is no easy stroll through the mall these days.
A hundred years ago things were much more straightforward. A girl's parents chose for her, or she selected an eligible man from a small group, narrowly circumscribed by social class, geographic location, and the value of her dowry. Period. This is still the tried-and-true method for finding a spouse in many cultures today, including parts of India, the Middle East, and Japan (although nowadays the arranging often takes place by cell phone and instant messaging). A family meeting, a few chaste dates, and then wham! A walk down the aisle.
Are you thinking, Lucky them?
We hear you. The state of dating in America today is enough to make a girl wish that the fine art of marriage arrangement weren't a dying practice. A meddling yenta or a courtly coming-out party may sound pretty good if you've become a luckless, long-term Match ficom constituent. Okay, sure, a quick perusal of Anna Karenina's or Madame Bovary's miserable marriages will set you straight about the good ol' days, but there is something to be said for rules, criteria, parameters, and traditions when it comes to dating.
Unfortunately, in our world, all bets are off. Here's the harsh truth: it's a free-for-all out there. After all, anyone is possible dating material, you can meet that special someone anywhere, and when you do, anything can happen. Sure, your choices are almost limitless, and the male marketplace is global. This should be a good thing, right? Age, race, and social background may be a consideration, but they are definitely not the insurmountable boundaries they once were. This newfound freedom in dating is not something we're really willing to give up, but it certainly does make dating more baffling than it has ever been.
The questions abound: What should you be looking for in a man and how will you know him when you see him? What makes a guy a keeper, and who should be tossed out with yesterday's half-eaten Caesar salad?
Okay, no freaking out allowed! Let's think rationally. When the sky's the limit in choosing a husband, then you have to make your own criteria. So, let's look at this as wise consumers:
Q: What do you do when you're setting out on any other important shopping spree?
A: You make a list. A shopping list.
If you're willing to put pen to paper to make a trip to the supermarket, why in the world wouldn't you do it for a husband?
Our advice is this: make a list of the most important characteristics you are looking for in a man. Sounds good, right?
Before you start, read on. We don't want you to make just any list. We've seen that one: smart, funny, and handsome. Blah, blah, and blah. Just wake us up when you're done, OK?
We want you to make a list of qualities that really, truly count—your very own PGHM (Perfectly Good Husband Material) shopping list—and we're going to help you out.
We've done the legwork for you, ladies, and we've uncovered exactly what it takes to be PGHM. We've also discovered why we women so often don't recognize PGHM when we see it. Let us help you write your very own shopping list that will help you get married to the right guy, on the double.
First, we're going to tell you why you are stuck in the dressing room of dating and not hearing the register ring. Then, we'll show you what really makes a guy a keeper.
PERSONAL SHOPPER TIP: Check out the PGHM (Perfectly Good Husband Material) Meters throughout Part I of this book—they'll tell you what to look for in a guy. The higher the number on the meter, the better the husband material. Got it? Think of us as Consumer Reports meets the Love Guru.
Once you learn what really constitutes PGHM, you'll be ready to make your own shopping list in the space provided.
Then you can hit the stores.
You don't have to thank us. It's our plea sure to shop with you!
HERE'S HOW TO SCORE ON THE MEET MARKET
If you want to get out of the dressing room of dating, you have to learn what makes a guy PGHM. Then make your own shopping list and get ready for the most important shopping trip of your life. Before you know it, you'll hear the register go ka-ching!
Excerpted from How to Shop for a Husband by JANICE LIEBERMAN with Bonnie TellerCopyright © 2009 by Janice LiebermanPublished in May 2009 by St. Martin's Press
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher. JANICE LIEBERMAN
has been the featured consumer reporter on NBC’s “Today” for ten years and was previously the consumer correspondent on “Good Morning America.” Lieberman also anchored “Steals and Deals,” which appeared nightly on CNBC. She is the author, with Jason Raff, of Tricks of the Trade: A Consumer Survival Guide
. She lives with her husband and two children in New Jersey.