BOOKS | GETTING IT RIGHT
Sorry: How to Choose a Partner won’t necessarily help you if you’re trying to determine whether a prospective partner is going to be a good lay. It’s not going to literally tell you how to choose a partner, either. But it could be massively helpful in suggesting why you’ve got it right (if your partnership works OK) or why you keep getting it so terribly, terribly wrong. In order to enlighten the serial bad picker, Susan Quilliam (author of The New Joy of Sex, and whose sage advice often graced the pages of ER) uses examples from popular culture, philosophy and her own experience as a seasoned writer on relationship issues.
She does not, however, refer very frequently to religion. And here Quilliam raises an interesting question: as we rapidly become a more secular society, has our quest for the perfect partner become a substitution for seeking answers or contentment from God? In other words, are we seeking romantic perfection? Maybe. Despite the amazing array of social media, dating sites, ever-increasing informality between the sexes and a general social flexibility, modern-day relationships have a poor success rating, indeed the fail rate is astonishing.
With great charm and without patronising, Quilliam gently pushes us into a self-awareness of what we are looking for in others and what it is that others might expect to find in us. The success of this compact and useful relationship guide is that, unusually, it doesn’t concern itself with sexual harmony, but focusses much more upon attraction, connection, compatibility – and finally – arriving at an informed choice.