Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Of Books for Women

The other night a friend was scanning the bookcase in my shared office.

“Are these books yours?” she asked.
“No, those are my mom’s. She’s really into Zizek, KRS-One, and cyborgs.”

Of course, I was kidding—my mom hates cyborgs. But is it that farfetched to believe that she’d be into Lacanian psychoanalysis and boom bap philosophy? Not when she (giver of birth) is currently reading the autobiography of an Olympic snowboarder, and I (finisher of marathon) am reading a book on the female brain.

Some might think this opposite book thing is cool—and it is cool to hear your mom’s take on 50 Cent’s new self-help title—but when company is over and spots a copy of Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough or The Go-Girl Guide: Surviving your 20s with Savvy, Soul, and Style, and they find out it’s mine, it can get weird.

“Wait, you’re reading that?”
“Actually, I just finished it.”
“You read the whole thing?”
“Yeah, I read the whole thing.”

At this point, I usually walk into trouble. I try to explain that I’m curious about how I, post-postmodern man, am being represented in this literature, something that is not targeted toward me, but which, in a way, is very much about me. Though it never comes out that way.

“I’m really into things that are not for me.”
“Like things that are for women.”
“Yeah, especially younger women and girls.”
“You’re into younger girls?”
“No…you…damn it...that came out wrong.”

Awkward justifications aside, I find these books very insightful. For example, in Marry Him, Lori Gottlieb writes that marriage is not about metaphysics. How true! Marriage should not be about some dairy guy who works out at the playground.

Throughout my savvy, soulful studies, I’ve also discovered three universal truths.

1. Males and females have different parts.
2. Only females can give birth.
3. Females tend to write more about the differences between males and females than males do.

Someday, if Mr. Barely Enough ever decides to show up, I plan to turn these truths into a book of my very own. And if the genre has anything to say about it, you can bet the cover will be painted with pinks and reds and that the title will not match the content inside. After all, according to Gottlieb and friends, I exhibit many of the characteristics of a stylish, independent woman—and stylish, independent women write books. Yay! And rawr.

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