Book review: Women are Crazy, Men are Stupid

Women are Crazy, Men are Stupid
The Simple Truth to a Complicated Relationship
By Howard J. Morris and Jenny Lee
Published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2009
ISBN: 9781439109748
Review copy provided by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

Oh boy, talk about Venus and Mars! This literary labor of love was written by a co-habiting couple in Hollywood, both writers of popular TV situation comedies, both divorced, both crazy about each other, but not so crazy about the little differences between men and women that keep popping up whenever they try to have a serious discussion.

You know, the way she keeps asking “Am I fat?” and getting mad whether he gives her an honest answer (which is insulting) or a flattering one (which is a lie, because people in love should be honest with each other). Or the way he tries to deal with her problems logically (telling her what she should have said or done), when all she really wants is for him to sympathize with her to prove he’s on her side. All the things that drive you crazy in a relationship, that make you swear the opposite sex is either from another planet or just evolved differently from your own sex.

I’ve been there, done that, gotten the tee shirts emblazoned with feminist slogans like “Men just don’t get it!” and “A Woman without a Man is like a Fish without a Bicycle”. I even acquired a man of my own, nine years ago on December 30th, who keeps moaning and groaning that I’m driving him crazy whenever we argue, and who seems too stupid to understand that I wouldn’t be driving him crazy if he hadn’t driven me crazy to begin with!

That’s what makes this book so much fun, yet so frustrating, because I get it, I really do. My problem is that I understand where both sides are coming from. I understand Jenny Lee’s gripes about her man because my man does so many of the same stupid things, as well as every other man I’ve ever met, yet I’m sure these same men will all swear with their hands on the Bible that I’m the crazy one.

I sympathize with Howard Morris because I’ve learned to control my emotions to the point where I can stand back and watch other women acting crazy, thinking “Stupid bitch! I would never say a thing like that in public to my husband.” But when these same women confide in me about the stupid things their men do, I find myself nodding sympathetically and agreeing with them that All Men Are Fools, and if it weren’t for us women, they wouldn’t be able to walk without tripping over their untied shoelaces.

This whole book is a study in “He Said, She Said”, where both sides give you their point of view and demand that you agree with them. And you either agree unconditionally with one of them, because you’re the same gender, or you disagree with both of them, because this kind of emotional upheaval is foreign to you–which means you’ve either never been in love, or your own relationship is so angst-free, O lucky man or woman!–and you don’t understand why these people, if they’re so in love with each other, just can’t get along. Or, you’re like me, able to see both sides of the coin, which makes it both funny and sad that two people in love can’t seem to understand each other.

Take flowers, for example. Jenny devotes a whole section of one chapter to flowers and how important they are to a woman as a token of her man’s affection. She even compares flowers to blowjobs in an effort to demonstrate to men how important they are, though she does replace the word “blowjobs” with the word “pizza” for the benefit of the squeamish, italicizing the word so we’ll know what she really means: “Men love pizza. Most men don’t feel they get as much pizza as they would like. Men would like to have pizza every day. I’m pretty sure if men got pizza every day there would be fewer wars and you could look out your window and see grown men skipping down the street and singing. As we women know, men rarely get pizza every day. In the beginning of a relationship men may get pizza a lot, and may even get pizza a few days in a row or even twice a day if they are lucky, but in general, I’m willing to climb out on a limb and wave to you from above and say that men don’t get pizza as often as they would like. Men in relationships want more pizza.”

You see, guys? We long for flowers the same way that you long for pizza! We both know that flowers and pizza are not essential for survival and are sometimes inconvenient and messy to give, but you still love getting them! As much as we women love to get flowers, unless we’re allergic, in which case we expect you to remember this little fact and shower us with some other lovely and colorful tokens of your affection, like candy or jewelry. And yes, I admit we women are guilty of expecting you to read our minds when it comes to love. Consider it a compliment that we love you so much we take it for granted that you are as sensitive as we are, so of course you would automatically know what we like.

But guys in love make a similar mistake, thinking that the women they love are so much more sensible than other women are. In other words, they expect us to think like men, be as logical, rational and hardheaded as they are. Sorry, guys, we’ve made many advances in the Women’s Liberation Movement, and we can do the businesslike thing when it comes to business. But when it comes to romance, or just plain day-to-day living under the same roof with someone of the opposite sex, we just can’t think like you. Howard laments about this in a section entitled “Why Can’t A Woman Be More Like A Man?” after the song that Rex Harrison sings in the musical “My Fair Lady”. Howard claims that what Rex was really asking was “Why can’t a woman be consistent like a man?” In other words, he expects a gender that is ruled by our emotions and our hormones (yes, even those of us undergoing menopause are affected by hormones, mostly artificial, but still hormones!) to behave in the same boring, logical manner day after day. Why should we? Not all problems are simple enough to be resolved in an emotionless manner; if they were, then there’d be no point in making movies like “Old Yeller”, because nobody would cry at the thought of shooting your faithful family dog after he gets rabies, because it is the logical thing to do when your dog gets an incurable illness that threatens the rest of the livestock, as well as your family.

But I digress, another thing that Howard complains about in my fair sex. We women are capable of jumping from one seemingly unrelated subject to another during a conversation, because all topics are related from our point of view, while men narrow-mindedly insist upon sticking to the original topic. How stupid is that? I’m sorry, Howard and Jenny, but you’re both right, and I refuse to get in between you two. Fight it out in the final draft of your book, since this is only a review copy and you both have plenty of time to change your minds. And don’t remind me that changing one’s mind has always been a woman’s prerogative: men have the right to change their minds too, especially once they’ve realized how stupid–oops, I mean misinformed they’ve been. So long, guys, and good luck storming the castle!