Tag Archives: Elizabeth Gilbert

because I think you should know what you’re getting in to

I love the story in Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed in which she talks about making a list of her greatest faults for her beloved, to ensure he knows what he’s getting in to. And so, below, I think I’ll give it a crack…because…

In the case that you were the one, I’d want you to know some things about me. I mean, I’m far from perfect. And I think you should have a clear idea of what you’re getting in to before we talk commitment:

  • I like a lot of attention. A lot! And when I don’t get it, I have been known to become sulky and surly and childish and petulant. And I behave like a brat. And the best thing you can do at this point is hold me in your arms and tell me (and the little girl inside) that you love me and don’t mean to neglect me and ask for forgiveness.
  • I am impatient. I want it done yesterday…or several months ago. When I want something, I’m not particularly good at waiting for it. So if I ask you for something, it means I’ve been thinking about it and analyzing this desire inside and finally determining that I really do want it and, by this time, I’ve wanted it for quite some time and the likelihood of my having any patience is slim. Act decisively!
  • I’m vain. If you don’t tell me that I’m beautiful or that I look nice or that you like my figure every so often, I’m going to feel hurt.
  • I am opinionated and vocal. I will state my opinions as fact, as though they are the very word of God. And you will not want to touch that statement with a ten foot pole, you will want the conversation to be over, to let me have the last word. And the truth is that, the more strongly I state an opinion, the more desirable your challenge is. I want you to ask me to open my mind, to see another perspective…I want intellectual discussion and banter — it’s a huge turn on. This is not to say that I enjoy fighting or to create tension…I’m just looking for a man who can “stand up to me” intellectually, is willing to call my smart chick bluff and can read the playfulness through the serious tone. Our life together would be so incredibly dull if you simply agreed with me all the time!
  • Yes, there is a “tone.” I don’t mean to nag or scold; yet, when I’m feeling misunderstood, I slow my speech and enunciate extremely clearly and this is most often interpreted as a cold or harsh tone that means something which does not at all match my intention…which is only to be heard and understood.
  • I can be inappropriate. The filter between my brain and mouth is either malfunctioning or non-existent. And I’m okay with that, because I like blurting out what everyone’s thinking, but no one has the gonads to say aloud.
  • I can curse a blue streak. I am genuinely kind and loving to the humans in my life and around me, unless you are the a$$h*le who can’t step on the gas as I race to pick my children up by 6pm. When tired, irritated or stressed, the string of expletives that can come out of my mouth would shock a longshoreman. The subjects of my rated R rants are typically inanimate objects (misplaced/hiding theatre tickets for the show that begins in 30 minutes, for example) or traffic (let’s be frank, I’m talking about other drivers here…slow and/or bad drivers — and aren’t they really the same thing, after all?). And sometimes these expletives make appearances in front of little ears, and my children know better than to use that sort of language anyway and they make me put money in a piggy bank for it, which they think will one day pay for a fabulous vacation. We should all be so lucky!
  • I’ve been known to judge a book by its cover…or, rather, a man by his looks. In my defense, I shall once again blame the stars and offer that, as a Libra, I am drawn to beauty. I wish that I could simply look into a man’s heart and feel love for the way he treats me. Those things are incredibly important, but he also has to earn a decent living and be attractive to me. And spend quality time with me and touch a lot and give gifts…
  • I hate dishonesty! I think it is perhaps one of the very worst shortcomings a human can have. And because I feel so strongly, I am positively sure there must be some mirror effect at play and that there is an element of dishonesty in me. It sucks to even have to consider or confess it. And then I would swear that, if it’s true, I would only ever be dishonest to protect another…which is probably also bullshit.
I’m sure I could go on, but I’m already exhausted!
Who could put up with a woman like this? Actually, I see a lot of men every day who are putting up with much worse…and that gives me hope. Still, I continue to try to evolve. I truly do desire only to love and do good in the world…but I’m hoping I can do that and retain a little bit of my edgy wit!
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book report: Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

I’ve been trying for a long time to review or comment on or find some way to share with you the delightful gooey yumminess that is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed:  A Love Story. It’s been out for a while now and, having appreciated Eat, Pray, Love and had my own reservations and struggles with the whole concept of marriage, I was really eager to dig in.

And yet I cannot make sense of this book for you. I mean, I can tell you that it’s a study of the history and issues around marriage from the perspective of a reluctant bride. Yet there is no way for me to boil it down into a condensed and sensible takeaway because, frankly, there is just too much amazingly juicy history, research, revelation and personal drama — and that’s just in Chapter 4, Marriage and Infatuation. I’m kidding; there are many great chapters. But, in the paperback copy I bought at the local discount retailer (you know the one with the big red bullseye), pages 96 through 134 cover so much — from enlightenment to infatuation, chemistry to philosophy, addiction to personal revelation, vasopressin receptor genes, walls and windows, prenuptial agreement and confessions.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Aristophanes mythical story of why humans so long for union with one another.
  • “I can no longer do infatuation. It kills me. In the end, it always puts me through the wood chipper.” Who wouldn’t appreciate this oblique reference to the Coen brothers’ Fargo?
  • Oh, the wisdom and revelations of the older and wiser on her second time around! The maturity with which the (very necessary, in my opinion) prenuptial agreement is discussed!
  • The listing of her own most deplorable faults, which she shared with her fiancée (as if he didn’t know) to ensure he knew what he was getting in to. I may attempt to do this myself here in this blog.
There is so much more in this book that makes it worth the read, particularly if you’ve tried and failed, particularly if you’ve struggled with the very notion or institution of marriage, particularly if you’ve ever felt bare, broken or vulnerable.