This week Catherine Specter starts off strong with a well-phrased dose of withering advice for a woman manipulating her husband with a “did he notice my haircut?” test. Nicely done. Could I be wrong about Specter's Carrie Bradshaw ambitions?
Not so much.
In the next letter, a reader asks whether a lack of compliments from a guy indicates a lack of interest. It takes THREE sentences for Specter to fall back into her superficial obsession with looks, clothes and makeup.
It's de rigueur to tell your girl how pretty she is, or how nice she looks, but sometimes shyness or inexperience or faulty logic about ego-boosting keeps the words from coming out. Try complimenting him and if the gesture is never reciprocated …
Wait a minute. Isn't this passive approach sort of the same manipulation she so tartly ripped to shreds in the previous letter? Why not talk with the guy? After all, even pretty girls have the ability to speak. Last time I checked, they don't even have to wait until they are spoken to.
What's worse is that this is the gussied up version of the mentality whirling through Mt. Lebanon these days — girls are objects who should be evaluated on their external characteristics. Maybe the PG should just print a family-friendly version of the Mt. Lebanon score card right next to Specter's column.
Why is being pretty or looking nice the default compliment Specter assumes this reader is seeking? How about complimenting her intelligence, wit or compassion? Maybe her work accomplishments? Or her strength, bravery, resourcefulness, loyalty, etc?
Because, in her own words:
Cat's Call: Never give a woman time to ruminate.