Snappy title, retread contents. Men are ""just desserts"" at the end of the feast, which is your own, self-directed life; and in choosing men, women get their ""just deserts""--so take care (and look to your own emotional health) in making your pick. You can see a man's limitations during courtship, says TV therapist Friedman, if you're not unduly blinded by romance: one of her clients married a man who drank to pick a fight whenever the subject of marriage came up, then afterward drank to divert her attention from other serious issues. Our mothers gave us messages to put our man first, to the extent of protecting him from the truth whenever it might hurt him. Marrying him with the idea of changing him is folly: ""you are taking on a task that's better left to therapists or social workers."" The mother who wants a career for her daughter fares no better here: her dreams inevitably stem from her own lack of self-worth, they blur the distinction between her identity and her daughter's, and they burden the daughter with tremendous pressures. Father is important because he provides the first adoring male figure, and thus affects the girl's sense of worth in relation to men; by his interactions with her mother, he controls how a girl will view assertiveness; and he usually stands as the model for a career. Friedman also takes a feeble stab at helping adults deal with their parents after years of tense relationships (""stop reacting according to the old patterns. . .""). None of this is new; and the book is not a particularly congenial example of its type. But the title plus the TV connection will doubtless exert a certain draw.