Saturday, October 29, 2011

What Makes Men Tick -- A Highly Dated and Insulting Guide to Understanding Your Man

Women, let's face it: You don't really understand your man, do you?  You think you do.  You think he likes the hamburgers you make.  You think he likes your cute little nickname for his penis ("Hello, Mr. Jones!").  You think he likes that purple thing you wear to bed. 

You are dead wrong!

As luck would have it, Aldus Books London put out this nifty hardcover guide in 1972 to help ladies around the world figure out their men.  Did it work?  Just look at the cover.  It had to work.

Author Portia Beers (her last name is a siren call to the frat boy in your man), tells ladies that men can bet "tough-minded and tender-hearted, foolish and wise, stubborn and impulsive, thoughtless and considerate -- they can be maddening and they can be marvelous."  Men, this looks good for us.  Apparently we can be everything. 

Anything you can do, I can do better ...
After this puzzling introduction there is a "picture essay" on "The Male Animal."  This is great.  A few of the examples of the male animal you will find: the caveman, a man beating a woman, Casanova, Mick Jagger, football players, homosexuals, and Steve McQueen.  Sprinkled throughout the book are more fascinating '70s-era photos of nude men holding naked babies, men in dapper suits with a line of subservient women, men in pink aprons holding cakes.  One thing you get from looking at all these manly photographs is how bad haircuts were in the '70s.  Seriously.  I grew up in the '70s.  It sucked.  The hairstyles should not have been preserved in a book that women from now until the end of time will be referring to in order to understand their sperm maker.

The advice the book shills out is, as to be expected, scientific and rational.  In a section about why men marry, Beers has this to say, "While a single woman over 40 may be given up as a hopeless case, a single man of the same age is still considered prime marriage material, not only by his family and married friends, but also by single women as young as half his age."  It's statements like this that make you wonder for which sex the book was written.  "[W]omen usually feel safe, more secure, with a man who has everything under control."  And ladies, if you want to get married, just wait.  Eventually, they have to come to you.  Why?  You're ugly.  "[T]he competition for attractive girls is fierce among single men, and keeping pace with every other unmarried Tom, Dick and Harry can make it difficult to keep up with an increasing work load, especially as a man gets older."  So once he tires of chasing attractive women, he can settle for you.  Oh, Ms. Beers (I'm assuming she was single then based on the advice in this book), thank you for giving those forty-one-year-old spinsters hope.

When your old and do get that tired man, Beers has some great advice as to what makes a wife.  "Ideally, an exciting sexual partner, an expert cook and housekeeper, a charming hostess, a patient mother, and above all, a loving and devoted companion."  Need I say more?  Yes.

If only she wouldn't ask for sexual bliss...
Women are also painted as if they are sitting on the bench at the Salem Witch Trials.  "Although wives often direct all kinds of accusations at their husbands about sexual orgies and whatnot at their conventions, these meetings are less marked by depravity then they are by the escapades and tomfoolery of grown men released for a while from the pressures of supporting a family, paying the mortgage, and meeting their wives' demands for everything from new appliances to sexual bliss."  So, ladies, continue to demand that new toaster and G Spot orgasm.  Yes, it will drive your man to tomfoolery and escapades, but at least he won't be involved in some depraved orgy.  Got it?  His tomfoolery (which you have mistaken for a bukkake party) is your fault.  Duh.

I could continue, but why bother.  It's obvious this book is less about what makes men tick and more about women feeling bad about themselves and excusing men for some truly assinine behavior.  I wonder how many women read this and thought, "Wow, this really makes sense.  This advice hits home.  I'm gonna please the holy Hell out of my man so he doesn't want tomfoolery and I can still get those appliances!"  I understand it was 1972, a time when everyone was trying to get in touch with everything (except, apparently, barbers).  Self-help books were the rage, the new opiate of the Me Generation.  They were bought by the boatload by people who had so little understanding of themselves that they turned to books that had even less understanding then they did.

A book on understanding men wouldn't be complete without a section on pedophilia.
So how did I get this book?  Well, that's a funny story, actually.  I got it at work.  There are a few of us who find wildly strange books and then give them to each other, usually in secret.  This ended up in my mailbox.  No note.  No knowing glance from a co-worker who would be waiting for my reaction.  What?  Did you think I bought it?

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