Hollywood options movie about a single mom who settles

by singlemomseeking on April 10, 2008

lori-gottlieb.jpgWhen I first read Lori Gottlieb’s Atlantic Monthly article “Marry Him! The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough,” it make me think a lot about not settling. Been there, done that.

Now get this: Lori’s article has just been optioned by Warner to become a movie. She got a book deal out of it, too — sold to Dutton for the mid-six figures, to be titled “Marry Him: Finding Mr. Real.” (Do I sound envious? Me? No!)

As you might recall, Gottlieb, a single mother who conceived her child with donor sperm, suggested that rather than continue to date ceaselessly, single women might consider settling for the next decent guy who comes along. Maybe, if you let go of your high expectations, you’ll be happier in the end. Lori wrote:

“Don’t worry about passion or intense connection… Overlook his halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics. Because if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go.”

BuzzSugar.com wonders “what Hollywood will do with this one:”

“On the one hand, I could see it as an extremely conventional romantic comedy: Single woman resolves herself to marry the next OK-enough guy she meets, still has to go through a slew of schlubs, finally meets a good one, marries him — and ends up falling hopelessly in love after the fact, living happily ever after [insert eyeroll here].”

But BuzzSugar goes on to wonder “if there’s some kind of movie — heck, even a documentary — that would more accurately convey” Gottlieb’s points.

Let’s hear what you think:

If Warner decides to make a real life documentary on single moms searching for Mr. Right, would you invite the movie crew into your living room?

If “Marry Him” is going to be a sappy Hollywood love flick, what do you think the plot should be?

Hmmm… A single mom who settles for Mr. Drip because she realizes that being cared for is more important than being in love? I’m not so sure.

Photo from LoriGottlieb.com

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Kat Wilder April 13, 2008 at 7:54 pm

Part of the “settling” issue is addressed beautifully (if perhaps unknowingly) by Colleen, who brings up a wide definition of “settling” — “All the time I hear from married friends how their husband never does any work around the house, doesn’t care for the children, isn’t supportive or kind, etc.”

A man who “never does any work around the house” but puts in a nine-plus hour day supporting his family is a very different thing than a man who isn’t “kind.”

No one should ever “settle” for someone who isn’t “kind,” but any mature couple should be able to agree upon who does what around the house. I think you have to decide what matters to you, and what doesn’t.

I don’t “get” the movie concept, but I also don’t get a lot of what passes for entertainment nowadays …


Ms Single Mama April 12, 2008 at 6:05 pm

This just makes my stomach roll. Completely ridiculous. We settled by not leaving hour husbands or wives – sticking around – trying to make it work – and some of us were brave enough to take the plunge into single parenthood.

We have millions of miserably married people who are settling as we speak – and look at them.

Perhaps Gottlieb is writing this b/c she had a sperm donor. Has she ever been married before?

This is ridiculous. I can see why ever person should get real about what they expect from a partner – that I can easily understand – there are no perfect people. But – settling just to be cared for … finanically and to not be alone – ridiculous!


Dr. Leah April 11, 2008 at 12:02 pm

Are we talking man or project here? Settling is rather a broad term, although she kind of lost me with the halitosis . . .

If you are going to be lonely, it is really better–infinitely better–to be by yourself.

Colleen: ANYONE can be in a relationship/married who sets their sights low enough. The question is how low do anyone of us really want to go?


Colleen April 11, 2008 at 11:10 am

I think that the point about settling is a subtle one. It does not mean accepting anyone or any bad treatment, it is about being realistic.

However, I think some folks who are not out there dating assume that there are lots of acceptable partners who are being rejected for silly, meaningless reasons–the people who are single are unnecessarily picky or selective.

If anything, I think a lot of women settle too much rather than too little. (A good friend says, you know, you could be married in a few months if you lowered your standards enough…). All the time I hear from married friends how their husband never does any work around the house, doesn’t care for the children, isn’t supportive or kind, etc.

I look at women I know in relationships who are suffering and I know I am better off by myself than with the wrong person. I think we get the message that being in a couple is better, but realistically, it is not “better” it is a different set of benefits as well as a concerns/problems than being alone.


Leslie April 11, 2008 at 11:10 am

The next 50 years would feel a whole lot longer if I settled on someone. No thanks. I’m sure Hollywood will make the premise even more ridonkulous trying to make it funny or “touching”.


dadshouse April 11, 2008 at 10:53 am

Works both ways – single dads don’t need to settle for Ms. Drip… Single parenting is an art form, and if you and your kids are happy, it’s tempting to NOT mess with what’s working by bringing someone into the mix.

I’ve been a single dad (half-time custody) for 8 years, and I’m not looking to settle anytime soon. (Though I will admit to a cup of drip when my espresso machine is on the fritz…)


Andrea April 11, 2008 at 6:11 am

Yeah, the overwhelming impression I got from this is still: “You’re still not good enough without a guy.”

And I beg to differ.


Shannon April 11, 2008 at 5:32 am

I don’t think we should “settle”. I’ve always been very opposed to that whole concept, BUT I do think that as single parents we get very idealized versions of what we are looking for and super, super high expectations of the love we want to find. Life just isn’t like that. There are definitely fairy-tales (I actually have one to share about why I married my husband after 5 years of single motherhood), but the reality is that day to day living in a blended family will not be all bliss and wonderful connections and deep soul searching moments. But they are there. You have to adapt your expectations and learn to appreciate more of the little things and see what there IS. And who better to adapt than single moms? The champions of adapting and versatility!


VJ April 10, 2008 at 11:23 pm

We can start with the discussion of the actual underlying biology here in a recent Slate article: [http://www.slate.com/id/2188684/], which is useful even w/o the math required to prove it from fellow academics here:

But yeah, probably much less appealing than having that simple ‘dude’ get the ‘big score’ with the pretty gal on screen.

Cheers & Good Luck! ‘VJ’


VJ April 10, 2008 at 10:58 pm

Sure it was a ‘controversial’ article by Ms. Gottlieb, and it did get plenty of discussion on a topic of perennial interest to Jewish mothers everywhere. Still, I’ll say it’s a silly premise for a movie, and one that’s not only been done, we’ve seen a positive spate & evidently coming deluge of same. Unremarkable, underachieving lay about single bloke ‘gets lucky’ and garners the attentions & affections of the beautiful gal. The pure wish fulfillment of many mere ‘ordinary guys’ everywhere. Especially the ones with not much going for them and not especially good looking. So there’s your market right there. ‘Momma says there’s still Hope George, see this movie!’ Hope in a bottle, all the movies ever offered at base in most plotting.

But hey, who am I to rain on anyone’s parade? I’m glad she sold the premise to Warner. I think I know what they’ll do to it in ‘treatment’ but this is a minor quibble. It was not a novel after all and was seemingly in fact thinly sourced (something I’ve noted previously), so there’s any number of directions they can take it.

For a book we can only hope it’ll be more seriously researched. That might do a bit of good somewhere. But possibly the fastest pick-up non disaster book I’ve heard about in years. Obviously the secret is to PO enough people (preferably single moms!) with your idea, and the world will come knocking on your door with wads of cash.

It’s the perfect Cinderella story retold. Traditional male centered stereotypes happily reinforced and reformulated for the new age. Marry that semi-promising prospect, who knows he’ll probably make a better dad than the football/movie/film/vid/commercial star you’ve been running after for years! We can only hope. And for many a gal her life and fortunes are tied to that one momentous choice for years. Which was the original impetus behind the thought & movement that the gal should be able to make this choice willingly and on the basis of her priorities. But hey, what do kids today know about much, right?

I’m imagining another ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ minus all the messy & confusing community relations. Really. Cheers & Good Luck! ‘VJ’


judy April 10, 2008 at 9:01 pm

Looks like a set-up for the next poorly executed reality TV show entitled “Tolerate or Mastrubate?”

Or better yet, which talk show will not be jumping to host “you and the man you settled for” in front of live television. Of course Divorce Court will have the stage doors surrounded by their crew at the end of that taping now won’t they.

I settled on the Ford focus because I knew I would be trading it in. I settled for pizza tonight because on Sat. I am hitting a great Asian rest. I settled on the light blue sweater because the red didn’t come in my size. I settled on the Swiss cheese because it was on sale and the Salmon because it was fresher than the tuna. I settled for the aisle seat because the window seat was taken on the 11:40 fight and the strawberry cheesecake because they were out of the coconut cream pie.

Honestly now, I am settling into bed, by myself, content enough to say I am not regretting, rethinking, realigning, revamping, dismissing, delineating, redesigning, denying or defying the person I am waking with tomorrow.


Crazy Computer Dad April 10, 2008 at 5:53 pm

I guess it never ceases to amaze me how much we are influenced by the media.. A certain role portrayed in a movie can create a stereotype that can last a decade or more.


Crazy Computer Dad April 10, 2008 at 5:50 pm

🙂 I know. I’m a little thin skinned at the moment because someone I’m close to was insulted this week. I get a bit riled up when I come across people that look down on others because of a job, gender, race, birthplace, income, eye color, wardrobe, car, home, hobbies, etc. Diversity is a grand thing and we all have so much to learn from each other.


singlemomseeking April 10, 2008 at 4:05 pm

Angie: I hear you about having a ball when you’re single… I am!

Yes, Dan, passion is fleeting. But if there’s not a little taste of it at the start — as Angie says — then I guess we’re just like apes in the jungle… Hmmm, maybe we are.

CCDad: I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings re: Mr. Drip. I wasn’t aiming to put men down.

You’re absolutely right about a TV show or movie never being able to honestly represent what single parents go through. Even a blog doesn’t cover it. Media gives you a glimpse of what single parenting really is, that’s it.


Crazy Computer Dad April 10, 2008 at 2:28 pm

Why not Mr. Fantastic settles on Ms. Drip Single Mom? Or incredible guy and fantastic single mom settle on each other even though they are not really all that compatible? Or two average single parents meet and settle?

Gottlieb’s deal has been explored in the movie Knocked Up. An unmarried woman is going to have a child, so does she settle on the father, or does she become a single parent and continue to date and look for the ‘ONE’? I guess if one studio does a movie about it they all have to do one right?

The reality is that a tv show or movie could never truly capture what single parents do or go through daily. It will either be a drama, comedy, or romance that will either push people to being single parents or push them to settle on relationships that might not be ultimately fulfilling.

You only have your children for a brief time. You settled with someone that could help you through that time. What do you do when that time is over? Will you be with the person that you want to share the next 20, 30, 40, or more years with? You may be able to walk away from that relationship, but what about the person you settled on? Did they feel the same way too? Would you or could you be completely truthful with them up front and later? Honesty is not the same thing as truth so it is important to be truthful and not just honest.


Dan April 10, 2008 at 1:09 pm

passion is fleeting – having someone around to dial 911 is case you get hurt – priceless


Angie April 10, 2008 at 11:52 am

OK, so I went and read the article in it’s entirety. It’s a shame really, this woman will be adding to the single parent stigma. “Marry, or else!” – “Single is not as good as coupled, even if you ARE only coupled for the sake of a live-in house and child helper”

Yes, life gets a little tough when you have young children in the home. Having the balance of another in the house to give you 20 minutes of peace is a blessing. However, to get a marraige through the tough times, don’t you need that initial passion teasing your senses? Don’t you?


Angie April 10, 2008 at 11:05 am

Very, very interesting.

I like BuzzSugar.com’s plot idea. It reminds me of the trashy romance novels my mother always filled her library with. However, I’d like to change the end – to be a little more thoughtful. She doesn’t fall in love with the drab heart-faking man she marries. instead, right after she settles she meets the one who makes her weak in the knees. Uh, then what?

Silly women, don’t ever settle! Life is more fun enjoying solo than with some unmatched partner!

Oh, and no way would they step foot in MY living room! uuuh-uh.


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