Review of “The Four Man Plan: A Romantic Science”

The Four Man PlanCindy Lu has written a funny — albeit gutter-language-laden — book about systematically classifying the men you date. So if you don’t like to read language you’d hear in most comedy clubs, you’d best pass on this one. She is an actress and stand-up comedian, which is where this book got its start.

She lays out a plan to always have at least four men in the dating hopper. However, her mathematical formula for how to count each man (some are 1/4 men, others 1/2 men) is convoluted. I never caught on, and I won awards in math in school! (Nearly all knowledge of math is now forgotten due to under use.)

What I like about her philosophy is that she encourages you to juggle more than one man so you won’t be in the position to stick with a guy just because he’s the only one around. When you have more than one to choose from you don’t do those silly things we do when we’re desperate — like sleep with a guy we barely know just because we want some attention or affection.

She also has a rule about sleeping with more than one man at a time — don’t! In fact, if you sleep with a guy, then you sleep with another guy, you can never sleep with the first guy again. He is now off the table (so to speak). This is a good rule to live by, but sometimes if you are being seduced by two men it is hard for some women to have the discipline to say no. Especially if too much alcohol is involved.

I also liked her story of how she dated losers and abusers and finally — thanks to therapy — saw she was trying to recreate her dysfunctional relationship with her father. After she healed that she was able to be with more stable men, and eventually fell for her husband. I think the message of being willing to examine your patterns in dating is a good one.

However, I don’t agree with her advising readers to encourage men who you aren’t really interested in just to be able to tell other men that you’re being pursued by several. I think leading someone on is a cruel act, even though in retrospect I can see that I have continued seeing someone when I knew I didn’t have a long-term interest in him.

She says by the middle of the third date you have to tell the man you’re with that you’re seeing others. That way you know he has some interest in you, but if you wait until the end of the date it will sound like you are using an excuse to ditch him. She says men love competition and that by telling him there are others he’ll step up his game. Sounds manipulative to me, although I do like a time line for telling him you’re seeing others. It is a hard thing to bring up. She says to do so lightly, with something like, “You are so much more fun than the other guys I’ve been seeing.”

She presents you with a grid, into which you draw icons of each man — up to 16 — with whom you are toying. She gives you 14 pages of blank grids to track your dating life.

While I applaud Cindy’s attempt to lighten up the dating process with humor, and get women to understand they don’t have to only see one man at a time, I can’t say I can recommend her plan. That said, it’s a fun read, if you aren’t offended by the language, but read it more for entertainment than education.

Got a topic on dating after 40 you want Dating Goddess to address? Send your issue to