Lisa Craig, writer, author, web designer sat down with Bruce to ask him about his book, How to Remodel a Man
Q: What has been the reaction of women to the idea that men can be remodeled?
A: It's been very similar to the reception the Beatles received when they first came to America. There's been a lot of screaming, plus crying and passing out.
Q: How about men, how do they feel about it?
A: You'd think that men would feel threatened, but they love reading about what women would call their "faults" and what men would classify as their "adorable quirks." They think no one would seriously want to change them, so they find the whole concept of remodeling a man to be a big joke. Women do not agree.
Q: Let's take an example. Why do men resist asking for directions, even when they are lost?
A: Well, there's a problem with your terminology. Men are never actually "lost," because deep down we are all explorers. Were Lewis and Clark "lost?" Do you think Columbus should have asked for directions so he could avoid finding America?
Q: Alright, let's say men are "exploring," and they are late to an appointment. Why won't they ask someone for directions?
A: Asking for directions means giving a complete stranger a higher status than you, so he has permission to burn your crops and pillage your houses. Who wants that? A man would rather pull over and yell insults at a stranger than to ask him how to get somewhere.
Q: Can you explain the physical phenomenon of "male selective hearing?"
A: Sorry, I wasn't listening. Ha! Just kidding. Actually, this is a misconception, because it implies that men somehow have a choice, make a selection, in the matter. There are some things a man can't hear, and some things he can. For example, if you say to a man, "you just took off your clothes and left them on the floor," he won't be able to hear you. But if you say, "that woman just took off her clothes and left them on the floor," he'll be all ears. The secret is learning to communicate with a man in such a way as to bypass these pre-set biological impediments to hearing. For example, if YOU are the woman who just took off her clothes, you can bet he'll really be listening!
Q: In your book, you provide a comprehensive test to see if a man needs to be remodeled. Can you describe this highly scientific process?
A: Sure. The first step is to determine if he is a male. If the answer is "yes," you plug it into the scientific formula, and you'll discover that he does need remodeling. If the answer is "no," then he doesn't.
Q: Sounds complicated.
A: Yes, well, I'm an expert.
Q: In HOW TO REMODEL A MAN, you describe going to an opera in order to become more cultured. How did it make you feel to do this?
A: Extremely nauseated.
Q: What was the opera about?
A: Heck if I know.
Q: Then what was the point?
A: In my book I explain that if you want a man to enjoy opera, you're asking too much. Most men would more enjoy a vasectomy. What you want is for him to go to one, maybe talk about it intelligently afterward. What I did is go to Madame Butterfly and take down careful notes for men everywhere to read in order to be able to discuss opera intelligently.
Q: Yes, but you don't seem to be able to talk about it very well.
A: Those who can't do, teach.
Q: You act as if going to one opera was like going to all operas.
A: Well look, an opera is like a boxing match, except in opera it's the audience that gets beaten into unconsciousness. Do you really need to see more than one boxing match to get the idea? It's a bunch of people wandering around signing in Italian about what it is like to be Japanese.
Q: But what if the plot is different than Madame Butterfly?
A: There was a plot?
Q: What are some of the other tips in HOW TO REMODEL A MAN?
A: I describe a couple of proven techniques that can be used to combat refrigerator blindness. I tackle the issue of leaving the toilet seat up, of socks that land in front of or on top of but not IN the hamper, how to get a man to eat right, dress better, exercise more, how to make a man more sensitive, and the horror of feng shui. Plus snoring, sports, listening-stuff like that.
Q: What makes you such an expert?
A: I've spent a lot of time studying men. I've been to their "man houses" and eaten their "man food." Then I turned myself over to the women in my life in order to become a Changed Man.
Q: It sounds very comprehensive.
A: Well, a Changed Man doesn't brag, so let me just say it is perhaps the most important literary work in the history of literature and that I am an absolute genius for having written it.
Q: How is that not bragging?
A: Hey, I said "perhaps."
Q: Why are men so bad at dating?
A: Dating is the process during which two people share stress, awkwardness, and disappointment in order to determine the degree by which they each need to lower their standards. Men and women have different goals in dating: for women the goal is sharing, intimacy, and relationship. For men the goal is women. You'd think it never works, but oddly, it does. Not for me, but I've heard of successful dating relationships.
Q: In the book you describe a true piece of Americana, a 1970 Aerosmith concert sweatshirt. Apparently, your daughter didn't understand the historical significance of the event, and wound of getting rid of this treasure. It seems that women just don't appreciate the emotional component of certain articles of clothing the way men do. What made your daughter decide to throw out this fabulous collector's item?
A: The cat peed on it.
Q: How did you conduct your research into the faults of men?
A: It wasn't easy. First I made a list of my own faults, and it was quite lengthy-I came up with four, which I've included in the book. Then I asked my sister to come up with what she thought were my faults, but she must have misunderstood the question because she came up with one hundred and seventy eight. So then I turned to my readers, asking them to write me an e-mail and tell me what it is about men that they thought needed to be changed, if anything. I thought if I got three or four more, I could add them to my four, and there would be enough to write a book about.
Q: Did you get any?
A: The first month I got 3,000 responses. It is very alarming. Some of these women are kind of mad. So HOW TO REMODEL A MAN includes tips and techniques on changing male behavior for things I never thought of as being a problem, like men shouting at television during sports games (how can this be a problem when it is a necessary part of being a sports fan?) and men walking around clad only in their underpants (if women did this, I promise you no men would complain) and men eating a sandwich over the sink-like where would you rather us do it, over the toilet? Anyway, though I disagree that these are "faults," I've included tips on how to change men so they don't do them anymore.
Q: It sounds like you've given away all the secrets of your gender!
A: Yes, I'm sort of the Benedict Arnold of men, except I don't wear a hat with a feather in it.
Q: Aren't you afraid some men will want to form a mob and come after you?
A: I figure I can escape while they're still arguing about who gets to be in charge of the mob. Besides, I'm telling people this is an instruction manual for remodeling the male of the species. Men don't read instructions. Ledger (MA)