On the dust jacket of this delightful book are two caveats: "Boyfriend not included" and "The thing is, he’s not going to buy this book, so you’ve got to buy it for him." Aye, there’s the rub: for I suspect most guys would sooner put knitting needles in their eyes than read, let alone buy, a how-to book on how to be a better boyfriend — precisely for the reasons outlined in the book itself.
More’s the pity, but women who read this book will likely find themselves nodding their heads in agreement throughout. The authors — Felicity Huffman of Desperate Housewives fame and producer Patricia Wolff — make no bones about their central premise that "Men are from Mars, women are from Bloomingdales." Their claim that "women have more neurons connecting the right and left sides of their brain than men do — four times as many, in fact" lays the foundation for this hilarious study of socio-sexual dissonance. (For any naysayers out there, it’s easy to find hard evidence of the male/female behavioral dichotomy even in the most mundane of circumstances, like the supermarket aisle. A new study I just stumbled upon concludes that men have a lot of trouble grocery shopping because they get overwhelmed by all the choices and - who would have thought? - hesitate to ask for help.)
In any case, those extra connective female neurons do help explain why women are such an eternal puzzlement to men, and the authors do their best to help boyfriends navigate the complicated, often convoluted female emotional terrain. In Chapter One, "All Women Are Crazy," the authors take pains to explain why the "crazy" cliché — the flip side of "all men are jerks" — is not (exactly) true. Women are an everlasting mystery to men, they claim, because "reality is relative," and women’s reality is very, very different than men’s. Thus, statements like "I don’t want presents for my birthday" should be translated to read: "Get me something anyway — surprise me!" while "No honey, I’m fine" actually means "You’ve really made me sad/angry/upset, and let’s have a really long talk about it."