Read an Excerpt
Light Bulb On!
How I Woke Up to What I Didn’t Know About Men
The other half of the people on the planet already know what you’re going to read in this book.
As newlyweds, my husband and I lived in Manhattan, and like all New Yorkers, we walked everywhere. But I quickly noticed something strange. Quite often we’d be strolling hand in hand and Jeff would abruptly jerk his head up and away. We’d be watching in-line skaters in Central Park or waiting to cross the street in a crowd, and he would suddenly stare at the sky. I started to wonder, Is something going on at the tops of these buildings?
Turns out, something was going on, but it wasn’t up in the buildings.
Have you ever been totally confused by something the man in your life has said or done? Looking at your boyfriend’s rapidly departing back, have you ever wondered, Why did that make him so angry? Have you ever been perplexed by your husband’s defensiveness when you asked him to stop working so much? Yeah? Me too.
But now, after interviewing and surveying thousands of men, I can tell you that the answers to those and dozens of other common perplexities are all related to what is going on in your man’s inner life. Most are things he wishes you knew but doesn’t know how to tell you. In many cases, they’re things he has no idea you don’t know. This book will share those interviews and those answers. But be careful. You might be slapping your forehead a lot!
I can tell you that the answers to dozens of common perplexities are related to what is going on in your man’s inner life.
How It All Started
Let me tell you how I got here. It all started with the research for my second novel, The Lights of Tenth Street. One of my main characters was a devoted husband and father. Because I had to put thoughts in his head, but had no idea what a guy would be thinking in a given situation, I interviewed my husband, Jeff, and many other male friends and colleagues. (“What would you be thinking if you were the character in this scene?”) It took me a while to figure out how to handle what I found.
You see, in many cases, what I heard stunned me. Not just because what the men were thinking was so surprising but because it was so foundational. These weren’t feelings that popped up every few months but were deep fundamental needs, fears, doubts, and thought patterns that occur in men every single day. It didn’t matter whether the man I was talking to was old or young; what his racial or cultural background was; whether he was married or single, a churchgoer or an atheist, a corporate executive or a factory line worker—I kept hearing similar things.
The character in my novel was a good guy who loved his wife and kids, was a devoted churchgoer and godly man, and a successful businessman. But he struggled with his thought life, especially the visual temptations that beckoned from every corner, from the secret traps of the Internet to the overt appeal of the miniskirt walking down the street. So, in short—and this is what shocked me—I discovered that instead of being unusual, my character was like almost every man on the planet. Including the faithful husbands I was interviewing.
That revelation led to a host of others, and following those trails led me to the thousands of personal and written interviews with men—including several professional, nationally representative surveys—that form the core of this book. I interviewed close friends over dinner and strangers in the grocery store, married fathers at church and the single student sitting next to me on the airplane. I talked to CEOs, attorneys, pastors, technology geeks, business managers, the security guard at Costco, and the guys behind the counter at Starbucks. I even interviewed a professional opera singer, a household-name movie star, and a former NFL offensive tackle with a Super Bowl ring. No one was safe.