“Love is a Fallacy” is a short story by Max Shulman

“Love is a Fallacy” is a short story by Max Shulman. It’s about an arrogant man who wants to marry a woman who is at least intelligent. He is interested in Polly Espy, a girl who lives in her own world and is quite pretty. However, she is dating the narrator’s roommate, Petey Bellows, who really wants a racoon coat. The narrator provides the coat to the roommate in exchange for Polly. In the dates, he teaches her lessons about fallacies and make her worthy of his wife. However, in the end she doesn’t like him and goes for the roommate who has the racoon coat. This short story is anti woman as equally is it antiman.
There are many factors as to what makes an individual intelligent. In the beginning of the short story, the narrator assumes that Polly is unintelligent based off of very limited amount of contact, he just had an intuition that she wasn’t intelligent. Once he actually talks with her to let her express herself, he analyzed her as unintelligent based off faulty reasoning. For example, because Espy uses slangs such as, “terrif” he views her as a simple minded woman who may not have the ability to rationally think. However, she may truly be brilliant, but the narrator jumps to harsh conclusions based on her use of her language. Shortening words does not mean that Polly is unintelligent, it means she is hip and is up to date with trends in society. His quickly jumped to conclusion that Espy is not intelligent is based off of unjustified reasoning. However, the narrator was proven wrong when she excelled in logical fallacies. She then uses what he taught her to pick out the flaws in his argument, and even proves the narrator to be the unintelligent one. The narrator’s false assessment of Polly and his condescending tone in regards to her, is the main reason this short story is anti woman.
Some people prioritize things in life differently than others. The narrator calls Petey, “dumb as an ox” just because he wanted to have a raccoon coat. Just because Petey wants to be like the “big men on campus” and fit in does not have anything to do with his intelligence at all. The narrator made a conclusion with faulty premise, jeopardizing his argument. Similar to Polly, Petey likes to be aware of trends and wants to part of it, this doesn’t mean that he is isn’t intelligent. Lastly, Petey could have based his priorities off of reasoning and justifications that the narrator may not be aware of. His patronizing view of Petey also contributes to the piece being anti-men.
One doesn’t need to think logically to find love, it just happens. For an example, opposites attract is an illogical statement. Study shows that people who have similarities are more likely to be compatible with each other. The narrator does not understand the notion that you don’t need to use logic to explain who to love. Due to this, when Polly chose Petey because he had a raccoon coat, she didn’t need a reason at all. In the end, the narrator is left shocked and jumps to the conclusion that Polly and Petey are not intelligent at all.


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