By Hannah Joseph

The MIXED MESSAGE MAN: He loves me. He loves me not… What is the big decision making process here? You either like me, or you don’t. You find me attractive, or you don’t. …Sometimes he likes you and sometimes he doesn’t care. It keeps you there longer because it’s unpredictable. Maybe, just maybe, this time… makes you search for ways to be hopeful. (Excerpt from Men should come with WARNING labels, by Sonia Torretto.)

Have you ever dated this guy? I know I have, along with “the MAMA’S BOY MAN,” “the 4 MINUTE MAN,” and “the GIMME ANOTHER CHANCE MAN,” with a few random “the IT’S BEEN 3 DATES, LET’S DO IT” men in between. Oh and those “Why don’t you want my hot body, ‘ARE YOU A LESBIAN’” men that are constantly flocking to bars. Okay, enough. You get the point – men need warning labels. And Sonia Torretto, LPC, has had enough experience to just about list them all. Her book is a collection of descriptions of the many men you may come across in your life.

Reader’s Notes

Who knew so many types of dysfunction existed? I had a lot of mixed emotions as I read through this one. Through the beginning of the book, I laughed uncontrollably. Some of the behaviors Torretto describes are stereotypical of men, and some seem completely situation-specific (the book is based on her own life). All of these descriptions are ridiculous, of course, and it makes one wonder if men actually come from the same planet as we do.

Two-thirds into it, I hit severe depression. Not only did some of her categories start to look familiar, but according to her, there are about 90 different types of insanity to look forward to in my dating future. Thank god I have a great boyfriend and don’t have to go through this! (I’m kidding, sort of.) But really, what do women have to look forward to if selfish, deceitful and noncommittal is all that’s out there? Torretto paints a bleak future, I tell you.

By the time I had finished the thing, it hit me – not all men fit neatly into one category or another. We only have to look at the good men in our life, whether they are our fathers, brothers, friends or lovers, to realize that. And while they might exhibit some bad habits like not calling when they say they will or staying on annoyingly good terms with ex-girlfriends, these flaws don’t usually define who they are as people. Keep in mind, we’re not perfect either.

Even with all the cynicism, it’s always a good idea to learn from the experiences of someone older (and licensed)! So give it a shot. You might find a few of your own exes in there. You might even find your current significant other with a page of his own – in that case, I suggest you run very, very fast. And if you want to turn a fun book into an even funnier activity, just jot down some notes on your own experiences in it, and have your friends do the same. Between a group of you, I bet you’ll be surprised by how much you learn about yourselves and from each other.

Originally published December 2008
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