MARRYING UP: An American Dream--and Reality by Joanna T. Steichen

MARRYING UP: An American Dream--and Reality

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How it's done, why it may not be for you--cagily strung out, like the author's own story, to keep readers guessing: is she crass, or isn't she? Steichen is a New York psychotherapist and the widow of photographer Edward Steichen; on both scores, she conducts a course called ""How to Marry for Money."" (A free, Network-for-Learning course, be it noted.) As a therapist, she thinks ""one's personal relationship to money"" shouldn't be hushed up; as the mate of a celebrity older than her parents, she advocates marrying for love. What's in all this for the reader is an unusual motley. Steichen cites various moneyed Gregs and Dans, and striving Samanthas and Hildas, and suggests that such marriages differ--in what each wants and gets. The bottom line, for strivers: ""What bits of skill and knowledge do I take for granted that someone else might value highly?"" ""How willing am I to offer what a worthwhile potential spouse needs rather than wait for my ideal admirer to come along?"" (Can you balance a checkbook? Be gracious to haughty in-laws? Cope with someone's tantrums or sexual inadequacy?) More conventionally, Steichen discusses the milieu of the rich: why they feel comfortable together, how you can acclimate yourself. She discusses how to meet money--through contacts, at work--and points out, bare-facedly, how to assess real worth. (""If a potential spouse is banking on a future inheritance, it is important to know a lot about the family."") But, throughout, Steichen also suggests that making money is one way to meet it; that making it is a viable substitute for marrying it--especially for women today; that doing-your-own-thing--expertly--may pay off in either or both ways. Thus, her story: still wearing budget clothes, adwoman Steichen splurged on a small, second-hand plane; through her firm's airline account, she met Carl Sandburg--brother-in-law of widower Steichen. (And, from an encouraging Madison Avenue saleswoman--whose dress she couldn't afford--she'd gained ""a sense of entitlement."") An eclectic teaser, then--with patches of diverse interest and a smooth delivery overall.

Pub Date: March 5th, 1984
Publisher: Rawson/Scribners