Book Review: Finding The Perfect Pair Of Jeans

20 Sep

A couple of weeks ago, Twitter friend JustSewTired suggested a book she thought I should read. As soon as I Googled it and saw that the author, Andrew G Marshall, is a marital therapist with RELATE – the UK’s leading counselling charity – I just knew that this was a book I needed to buy.

The cover blurb:

  • Are you tired of casual relationships and playing ‘the game’?
  • Do you want to settle down, but can’t seem to find the right person?
  • Have you just come out of a long term relationship, or had your heart badly broken?
  • Do you worry that nobody will love you again?

If any of this sounds familiar, you may have fallen into the Single Trap. You are not alone. For the first time ever, the number of single-person households in the UK us about to outnumber those with families.

In this book Andrew G Marshall draws on his 25 years experience to help readers to free themselves from the trap and to find ever lasting love (hmm, we shall see). I’ve only just started reading, but already I  am finding his take on ‘the single epidemic’ to be extremely interesting. He likened it to choosing the perfect pair of jeans. No really, he did!

An excerpt from the book:

Barry Schwartz, Professor of Social Theory and Social Action at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, believes that unlimited choice is just as bad as no choice and could be at the root of our high levels of unhappiness, dissactisfaction and depression. He got the idea for his groundbreaking book, The Paradox of Choice , when he went to buy some jeans. He had wornd out his old favourite pair and simply wanted to replace them. Instead, he was offered easy fit, relaxed fit, baggy or extra baggy. Did he want them stone-washed, acid-washed or distressed? the assistant asked.  While the professor looked at her blankly, she asked if he wanted zip or button fly and faded or regular. It is easy to laugh at an academic out of touch with fashion, but when it comes to dating we are in exactly the same dilemma. The internet provides almost endless choice – with countless dating sites each boasting thousands of members. If you are prepared to travel, there are literally millions of people waiting to meet you. Our gut instinct tells us that this is a good thing – surely, we are increasing our chances of a date. But could our guts be deceiving us?

Not only does unlimited choice make it harder to choose, it makes us believe that somewhere there is the perfect product. The assistant conferred with her colleague to try to decide what he meant by regular jeans, ‘you know, the kind that used to be the only kind’, and pointed him in the right direction. So far so good but Professor Schwartz began to wonder if one of the other options would be more comfortable, a better fit and ultimately look better on him. Somewhere in the piles of merchandise was a more desirable pair than the jeans in his hands. Previously when he had brought ‘regular’ jeans, they had become ‘perfect’ jeans as he wore the stiffness out of the fabric and they had given a little here and there and moulded to his body. It is the same with contemporary dating. We would like to believe that somewhere there is the ‘perfect’ partner, a soul mate with whom we can live harmoniously forever more. Unlike with the old-fashioned ‘regular’ partner, there will be no need for nasty rows or rough edges, but an immediate magical union. In reality, jeans and relationships have a lot in common. There is seldom and instant fit but, over time, we grow into both and before too long we would not wish to be parted from either.

I’m only 10 pages into the book but already I’m liking what I’m reading. It’s not great for reading on bus/train journeys because it involves ‘exercises’ that requires a notepad and a pen. I’ll be sure to report back once I’ve finished and will definitely share any interesting revelations. Until then… back to the book!

~ The Single Trap (The two-step guide to escaping it and finding lasting love) by Andrew G Marshall

7 Responses to “Book Review: Finding The Perfect Pair Of Jeans”

  1. Hilarity in Shoes September 21, 2011 at 5:16 AM #

    Interesting. I just read a post on a guy’s blog about this same thing ( and I wrote one myself after a similar article came out a few years ago ( I tend to think that men are more guilty of this than women, but then I think maybe I just don’t have high enough expectations for myself. Let us know if the book holds your interest!

  2. Dazediva September 21, 2011 at 6:31 AM #

    I’m not surprised the author has compared relationships to the perfect pair of jeans ! I’m sure you know as I do – it’s freaking difficult to find the perfect jeans especially when your comfy-been-there-through-everything pair has worn out !!

    I might just have to pick up this book (even though I will confess I never read any dating advice related books) but this sounds like it would be fun .. and my brain needs a diversion so the notepad exercises should be worth it 🙂

  3. Nikki B September 29, 2011 at 6:03 PM #

    Hmmm… yes… and no.

    I agree that sometimes having overwhelming options is difficult, and we keep thinking MAAAYBE the better bet is just… over… the … next… page of profiles… or whatev.

    But.. really? Does that sound right? I know I’m not letting go of people because I think “well maybe someone better will come along!”. I don’t personally relate to that at all. Instead, I feel like I take each person for who they are, and if we connect, if I’m interested. I never feel like I’m comparing them to some ideal of what I *could* have… you know?

    On the flip side, I do see the influence of pop culture and rom-coms in making us stay with people we shouldn’t – because we’re trained that drama in relationships is not only normal, but somehow the best way to “test” the relationship and how much the other person cares about you, and because they tell us people will change, if we’re awesome enough and they love us enough.

    But that might be a tangent… ?

    That said… I may not be the best person to ask, as I’m not really looking for a relationship.

    Regardless – very interested to see where this goes…

  4. Liz October 8, 2011 at 5:28 AM #

    I totally see the correlation…once I find the perfect pair of jeans I’m SO loyal-but until then, not so much

  5. Skinny Dip October 26, 2011 at 10:47 PM #

    This is really interesting. I do think too much choice is sometimes a bad thing. I both agree and disagree with the author. Here’s my take:

    I think it’s way easier to find the perfect pair of jeans because THEY EXIST (J Brand Skinny fit jeggings!) but humans are rarely perfect. Jeans you can pick up off the shelf & they’ll be the perfect fit…humans are rarely perfect and relationships require a bit of give and take. When you start treating dating like jean shopping, it can be problematic.

  6. Muslim Speed Dating | Matt February 7, 2012 at 4:27 AM #

    “The assistant conferred with her colleague to try to decide what he meant by regular jeans, ‘you know, the kind that used to be the only kind.”

    If there is a sentance that better summaries the modern era of online dating I’m yet to discover it. I had a little chuckle 😛

    P.s. – RELATE do absolutely magnificient work; if any of your loyal blog followers (of which I am fast becoming 😛 ) are looking to donate some money this year they are a supremely worthy cause!

    Matt x


  1. The Perfect Fit « Cat's City Life - September 22, 2011

    […] was reading a friend’s blog the other day and she (via a book she’s reading) compared dating to finding the perfect pair of […]

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