Friday, June 26, 2009

Today's book, "In Couplehood, a New York Times bestseller for more than 40 weeks, Reiser reflects on what it means to be half of a couple -- everything from the science of hand holding, to the technique of tag-team storytelling, to the politics of food and why it always seems to come down to chicken or fish."

I know I complain a lot about how the description on the back of the book are too over-the-top, but in this case I'm going to say the opposite: Couldn't the publishers have tried just a little bit harder with this description? The description doesn't make the book sound good at all, and yet it was a pretty enjoyable book. It wasn't laugh out loud funny, but it was amusing.

Reiser doesn't just share amusing anecdotes about marriage in this book, he also gives out a little marriage advice. The first piece of advice being to let your spouse see your faults very slowly so you won't scare the crap out of them (I'm paraphrasing a bit here of course). And I read that and thought That's great advice Paul. So in other words, when first meeting someone perhaps I should hold off on the "I have the crappiest taste in TV and I never admit when I'm wrong no matter how wrong I am and I've been known to switch personalities more than 5 times per hour" stuff to myself at first. Instead I should start slow, first mention the more socially acceptable Dallas habit, then slip in the bit about how despite listening to a million lectures from Mike Brady I still never admit that I'm wrong, and then work up to mentioning that I own every season of Little House on the Prairie except for the last season because the Carters have no business living in the Ingalls' house and Nancy DOES NOT look just like Nellie no matter what anyone says. And then I can reveal the worst character flaw of all: that I have a really unfortunate habit of making Little House jokes and expecting other people to find them funny even though they're really not - so there's no telling how many times a day you may have to listen to me pretend like the seat heaters in the car are really baked potatoes in the covered wagon or play along at Christmas time when I'm wrapping presents in the other room and I say, "Don't forget to knock before coming into the barn, because after all Christmas is not the time for barging into the barn unannounced." That's good solid advice Paul, and I'll be sure to remember that in the future. So what do you think dear readers, should I e-mail Paul and let him know that I think his advice is great, or should I maintain what little dignity I may have left and pretend to be too cool for that?

My favorite passage was when Reiser was describing what it's like to house hunt as a couple, "And you always walk through the place imagining a life that has nothing to do with reality. Planning things you'll never do: parties with tantalizing guests and performers from other lands. 'This is great. We can have a dancer floor here, a cocktail area there, the orchestra can set up near the receiving line . . . ' And then you move in and spend the rest of your life eating corn chips out of a bowl in front of the TV." - I often mock the people on House Hunters because every couple claims they "love to entertain," even though probably only 10% of those people actually do - but then I go to an open house and smell that new house smell and suddenly I fall into the trap too. I begin to imagine that if I lived in that house life would be perfect, I would become like those people in fitness magazines who walk around all day eating sugar-free granola and somehow feeling really excited about it, I would never wear ugly clothes not even on the days when I was just lying around watching TV, but then why would anyone want to waste time watching TV while living in such a house. I just become ridiculously delusional - so maybe I should stop judging the liars on TV. Oops, that last little insult just slipped out.