The Gaggle: How the Guys You Know Will Help You Find the Love You Want

The Gaggle: How the Guys You Know Will Help You Find the Love You Want

by Jessica Massa


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The Gaggle captures the zeitgeist of today's “post-dating” world, where the rules for sex, dating, and relationships have completely changed. Instead of dating, women collect a “gaggle” of men who orbit around them, occupying both romantic and platonic roles, but ultimately revealing who and what they want.

Who cares if he’s just not that into you? You’ve got a gaggle.

It’s easy to feel like your love life is nonexistent. You know you’re great, so why haven’t you been on a classic dinner-and-a-movie date since . . . well, forever? Because as it turns out, you are now living in a post-dating world, where the old rules for sex and relationships no longer apply. Suddenly, everything and nothing is a date. But this means that you have much more going on in your love life than you realize.

Think about all the ambiguous interactions you have with guys: from a brainstorming session with a coworker, to a drink with an old friend, to a late night Skype session with an ex who’s still in your life. Once you open your eyes, you’ll see that you’re already exploring all sorts of connections with the men in your life via these non-dates. And who are all these guys you’re non-dating?

Say hello to your gaggle.

The gaggle is the group of guys in your life who play different roles, fulfill different needs, and help you figure out who you are, what you want, and what kind of relationship you ultimately desire. Though no two gaggles are alike, there are ten types of men a gaggle might include, such as the Ego Booster, the Hot Sex Prospect, and the Boyfriend Prospect. Romance, excitement, self-discovery, love . . . all this will be yours, once you stop stressing about dates, labels, and expectations and start thinking of each man you know and meet as a potential guy in your gaggle.

In this clever and groundbreaking debut, based on interviews with women and men across the country, Jessica Massa reveals the ways in which the potential for love is all around you. The Gaggle is the ultimate guide to figuring out what you want—and finding your match—in a world that has left traditional dating behind.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451657524
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 06/12/2012
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.84(w) x 8.62(h) x 0.97(d)

About the Author

Jessica Massa graduated magna cum laude from Harvard with a degree in psychology. Her work and opinions have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Variety,, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, and the UK’s Men’s Health and She lives in Brooklyn.
Jessica and her best friend-turned-business partner Rebecca Wiegand coined the gaggle concept, which has been optioned for film by New Line Cinema. Jessica and Rebecca are the proprietors of the post-dating website WTF Is Up With My Love Life?! ( In April 2010, they co-founded J&R Creative Media to develop WTF?!, as well as other multimedia projects. A graduate of Yale, Rebecca also lives in Brooklyn.

Read an Excerpt

The Gaggle

  • I think that the times are changing where you MUST “go out.” I used to ask girls on dates. I would be like, let’s get alone, let’s talk. Not to get in your pants, ultimately, but to get to know each other.

    But now I think that’s inappropriate. There are a bunch of girls who I would just love to cut to the chase with and go on a date, but I just don’t think it’s done anymore.

    What’s done instead? Fucked if I know!

    —Bryan, 30, carpenter, New Orleans

    Remember all the conventional wisdom that we just went over? Great. Now forget it! It was written for women who lived in a romantic universe that no longer exists. All that “advice” doesn’t apply to you—or the guys who you’re supposed to be “dating”—anymore.

    Of course, you may find yourself on a date every now and then. But what you need to understand is that dating, in the standard, explicit, traditional sense, is no longer the primary path to love. Flowers, chocolate, dinner and a movie, classy Italian restaurants, expectations, labels, timelines . . . these well-worn symbols of romance no longer signify our main opportunities to find love. Dates are now the exception, instead of the rule. They have become one very small piece of the huge, mystifying puzzle that we call “modern romance.”

    Look at your calendar. Do you have a date scheduled anywhere on there? Has a guy recently said to you, “It was great to meet you. Can I please take you out for dinner on Saturday night?” If yes, then, great! Make the most of it. Enjoy the free meal, and while you’re at it, have fun exploring the connection that you and this guy might have. But just remember, please, don’t look at him too intensely, order the spaghetti, or talk a lot. That’s just unladylike.

    But any upcoming dates that you may have on your calendar are likely to be outnumbered by other types of plans. Happy hours at work, parties, soccer games, networking coffees, reunions with old friends, ladies’ nights out, business trips, concerts, dinner gatherings, conferences, sporting events . . . you get the point. And you probably think of these plans as part of your social life, or professional life, or personal life—as opposed to “dates,” which are supposed to be the most important part of your love life.

    And here we have a problem.

    Let me make a comparison. These days, expecting to find love by going on dates is like expecting to get in shape by going to a really hardcore spin class . . . once every few weeks. Sure, spin class is a step in the right direction. Of course, it can only further your cause. But one spin class every other Thursday is not going to lead you to your fitness goal all by itself. You need to get the rest of your life together and adopt a healthier day-to-day perspective as well.

    Also, let’s be honest: spin class kind of sucks. Even though it’s good for you, some part of you is going to be dreading it, even as you get on that stationary bike and pretend to crank up the dial to whatever difficulty level the instructor is yelling about.

    Nowadays, it’s the same with dates. In this post-dating world, dates don’t happen very often. And even when they do, they’re not guaranteed to be all that fun—or lead you to love.

    There has to be a better method than dating for women to cultivate amazing connections with guys and find love. People are falling in love every day all around us. Often with nary an old-fashioned date in sight. So how are they doing it? What has replaced the culture of traditional dating?

    The mainstream media has recognized that some kind of transition is taking place, with everyone from The New York Times to The Wall Street Journal to Glamour calling out the chaotic shift in the romantic landscape and shaking their heads at those crazy young’uns and their crazy cell phones. Those kids and their booty calls! And delayed marriages! And cross-sex platonic friendships! And refusal to be realistic and accept that relationships are mostly work and sacrifice and, let’s face it, drudgery! Haven’t they seen the reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond?

    The complaints, judgments, and unhelpful warnings about modern-day romance are unending. But what about clear insights from within our generation? Where is the tangible advice for how to make the absolute most out of it? All that has been nowhere to be found.

    Until now. Because luckily, you picked up this book.

    We need, and we deserve, a coherent explanation of this new post-dating landscape. And we require a useful set of tools, language, and tips to clarify the confusion and help us navigate the post-dating world.

    Let’s start with non-dates.

  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: The Problem That Has Been Misnamed xi

    Part 1 Welcome to the Post-Dating World

    So Here's My First Question… 3

    Dating 101: A Crash Course 6

    Ding, Dong, Dating Is Dead! 8

    Part 2 To Date or Non-Date?

    Introducing the Non-Date 13

    The Group-Non-Date 16

    The E-Non-Date 21

    The Friend-Non-Date 25

    The Play-Non-Date 32

    The Networking-Non-Date 38

    The Surprise-Non-Date 43

    "To Thine Own Self Be True…" and Then Let's Find Some Love, Shall We? 48

    Part 3 The Gaggle Inventory

    Fact: You Have a Gaggle 53

    The Ex-Boyfriend Who's Still Around 60

    The Super Horny Guy Who Happens to Be Around a Lot 71

    The Accessory 79

    The Hot Sex Prospect 89

    The Unavailable Guy 101

    The Ego Booster 111

    The Guy Who Just Blew You Off 118

    The Career Booster 134

    The Boyfriend Prospect 144

    The Prospect You're Not Sure Is a Prospect 153

    WTF (Where the F*ck) Is My Gaggle? 161

    Part 4 The Guy's Gaggle

    Brace Yourself: Guys Have One, Too 169

    But First, a Public Service Announcement 173

    The Girlfriend Prospect 175

    The Work Wife 180

    The Short-Term Investment 185

    The Last Resort 195

    The Girl Who Is Out of His League 202

    The Friend He's Just Not That Into 207

    The Challenge 214

    The Crazy Girl 220

    The (Maybe) One 228

    The Possibility 235

    Part 5 Love in the Time of Twitter

    It's Not Sexting … It's Techno-Romance! 243

    Techno-Romance: Use It for Good, Not for Evil! 245

    To Mom and Dad (and the Rest of Your Generation) with So Much Love: Thanks, but No Thanks! 249

    The Relationship of the Future 252

    In Conclusion… 262

    Acknowledgments 265

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    The Gaggle: How the Guys You Know Will Help You Find the Love You Want 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
    RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
    Posted on Romancing the Book's blog Reviewed by Marissa Review Copy Provided by the Publisher I admit, it was the title that caught my attention. Since I have many men in my life – who I am not romantically involved with – I thought, “Why not read it and find out how all these men can help me?” Not quite how it works though. Turns out that your Gaggle is made up of men who have the possibility of being romantic interests. There are ten types of men who can end up in your Gaggle, and each of those must appear attractive in one way or another. Not superficially attractive but attractive to you, whether it’s because he’s intelligent, fun, or a great storyteller. So. Back to my (lack of a) romantic life. In viewing the possibilities for my Gaggle, I find I have The Super Horny Guy Who Happens to Be Around a Lot, The Guy Who Just Blew You Off, The Unavailable Guy, and The Ex-Boyfriend Who’s Still Around. Hmmmm… Not looking too good here. But the beauty of a Gaggle is that by using each of the men in yours, you can increase your Gaggle. For instance, let’s say The Guy Who Just Blew You Off brings a friend to your next softball game and you two hit it off. Bingo! The Boyfriend Prospect! Or maybe he’s The Hot Sex Prospect. Wherever he falls, you’ve filled another place in your Gaggle. And it doesn’t stop there. Each member of your Gaggle has the potential to turn into The Boyfriend Prospect. Let’s say you have a good connection with your Accessory (he’s the guy you call when you need a plus-one for that business dinner or your cousin’s wedding). You laugh, commiserate over past loves, you like the way he makes you feel. The Accessory could turn into The Boyfriend Prospect. What don’t I like about The Gaggle? First off, it’s geared for something called “the Millennium Generation”. The oldest person mentioned in the book was 34; the youngest was 19. (I happen to be 50.) Yes, I know, self-help books are geared toward one faction or another but the advice here is applicable to all age groups, not just young professionals. Which brings me to number two. All of the interviewees quoted were young professionals. There was not a single waitress, construction worker, barista, or store clerk among them. Not even an office administrator. I found that very biased. Let’s face it; we all need advice in the romance department at some time or another. The basic idea of The Gaggle is to get more men in your life. They may not necessarily be The Boyfriend Potential, but they could introduce you to one. In my day, we called this widening your circle. Now it’s a Gaggle. But the advice given seems, to me at least, solid and well founded: Increase your Gaggle and you increase the possibility of finding the right man for you. So now I’m on a Gaggle hunt!
    Lillianne More than 1 year ago
    This book is an excellent book about the modern dynamics of relationships and dating. I recommend this book to both men and women. I received this book for free from a goodreads giveaway.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    What great insight into modern dating! Massa clearly thought out her concept and conducted great research. Definitely a good read.