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by Christine Whitmarsh
Apr 28, 2012 | 1763 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In the book “The Predatory Female: A Field Guide to Dating and the Marriage-Divorce Industry,” author Rev. Lawrence Shannon, a retired airline pilot married and divorced many times over, fires a series of warning flares to potential grooms everywhere, describing the characteristics of the bride likely to be more trouble than her nonexistent dowry is worth. The book begins by describing “traits of the predatory female” (I’m sure none of my fellow ladies reading this would fall into this category of greed, narcissism and selfishness) and closes with a survival guide, featuring instructions for the hapless, naïve groom-to-be to “engineer” his own “dumping.”

The book’s publisher is listed as Banner Books here in Reno, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard of a local book signing with the author. As a matter of fact, I would be surprised if there have ever been any public appearances by Rev. Shannon, promoting his book about the unavoidable path from dating to marriage to divorce. Women, who typically enjoy book signings, are the good reverend’s target audience — not the marketing type of target, but the round striped kind.

According to personal stories from the airline industry, “The Predatory Female” at one point was an underground cockpit cult phenomenon, with copies being passed from pilot to pilot in flight patterns across the country. There was the occasional comedic scare, of course, when an unwitting stewardess with feminist tendencies would come across the book and screech foul on men everywhere and everything that men stand for as a species. But for the most part, the underground air railroad of Rev. Shannon’s gospel for bachelors everywhere ran uninterrupted and without incident.

When I was first handed a copy of this book, I saw two possible ways to react. On one hand, as a literary type, there was the chance I might enjoy the book’s humorous take on marriage and appreciate the author’s unique point of view. On the other hand, as a woman, there was the chance that I would follow in the flight path of the screeching stewardess. I got the joke, enjoyed the book and got married anyway. I was eager to find out if I was a predatory female and just didn’t know it yet. When would the predator in hiding emerge?

Ever since then, I will admit that I think of “The Predatory Female” whenever I see bridal warning signs that many grooms, unfortunately, fail to spot. It all starts with the planning of the wedding. The warning signs I see might not necessarily be “predatory” (loosely defined as women who get married for the money, the thrill of the catch and lifestyle of no work and free stuff), but there are signs and symptoms to consider from the standpoint of “ ‘til death do us part.”

There is the mega money spent on the mega wedding, which might inspire a groom to wonder if his pockets are deep enough to support his new bride in the matter in which she seems accustomed. Then there is the pre-wedding anxiety, which can be jitters for men and all out psychosis for women. It would be easy for a groom to write off his bride’s pre-marital nervous breakdown as a worst-case scenario, assuring himself that at least he’ll have seen the worst of it. This groom would, of course, be wrong. It can always get worse.

But the worst-case pre-marital warning sign I recently became aware of truly takes the partially digested wedding cake. In order to lose that last 10 pounds prior to “I do,” some brides are taking a trip to their gastroenterologist’s office to be fitted with a nasogastric tube, otherwise known as a feeding tube. Attention grooms: Your brides are voluntarily undergoing risky medical procedures to look good — and not for you! Everyone knows that the groom is by far the least important person at the wedding. These brides are pouring cans of mysterious multi-colored liquid into a tube in their nose that empties directly into their stomach — not unlike sewage into the ocean. They are doing this so that their mother, who has cracked jokes about their weight and general chubbiness since they hit puberty, will finally muster up one tiny little compliment, thus making the bride’s life complete.

For many grooms in our area, it’s too late. Once the tube is in the nose, the wedding is a go. But for others, perhaps the designated grooms in fall weddings, there might still be time to find a copy of Rev. Shannon’s gospel.

And with that, I will close my gastrointestinal editorial columnist’s swan song. Thank you to my readers, it has been a pleasure writing for you all — onward and upward.

Christine Whitmarsh is the owner of local writing firm Christine, Ink. She can be reached at
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Run Groom Run by Christine Whitmarsh

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