How the World Makes Love

How the World Makes Love

4.1 9
by Franz Wisner

The bestselling author of Honeymoon with My Brother hits the road again to learn about love and finally finds it closer to home

When you’ve been jilted at the altar and forced to take your pre-paid honeymoon with your brother, it’s fair to say you could learn a thing or two about love. And that’s what Franz Wisner sets out

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The bestselling author of Honeymoon with My Brother hits the road again to learn about love and finally finds it closer to home

When you’ve been jilted at the altar and forced to take your pre-paid honeymoon with your brother, it’s fair to say you could learn a thing or two about love. And that’s what Franz Wisner sets out to do—traveling the globe with a mission: to discover the planet’s most important love lessons and see if they can rescue him from the ruins of his own love life. Even after months on the road, he’s still not sure he’s found the secret. But a disastrous date with a Los Angeles actress and single mom keeps popping into Franz’s head. While researching ideal love, could he have missed a bigger truth: that something unplanned and implausible could actually make him happy?

Uproarious, tender, and studded with eye-opening insights on love, How the World Makes Love is the story of one average man’s search for happiness—a search that turns into an improbable love story in the author’s own backyard.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In 2005, the author was jilted at the altar and turned the experience into the memoir Honeymoon With My Brother. In this follow-up, the bros decide to hit the road again, this time researching how countries around the world (including Nicaragua, New Zealand and India) value love. This quirky and charming book not only gives you insight into the male mind but also makes you want to explore your own notions of what love means.”—Redbook

"Here’s another provocatively titled book from the author of the unexpected hit Honeymoon with My Brother (2005). After he was ditched at the altar, the author decided to take his honeymoon anyway (hey, it was already paid for). He enlisted his brother, Kurt, to accompany him, and then he wrote a book about the experience. Now he’s written a follow-up, in which he and his brother visit various foreign countries— including Brazil, Egypt, India, and Botswana—and talk to people about love, romance, sex, and other related subjects. The book is all at once a travelogue, an exploration of the notion of love, and a story about a man who has somehow managed to turn a humiliating personal experience into a new kind of life. Wisner is a very funny writer when the situation calls for it, but he can also be tender, thoughtful, and wise. A must-read for fans of Honeymoon with My Brother, but the book works just fine as a stand-alone, too." —Booklist

Publishers Weekly

Wisner's earlier book, Honeymoon with My Brother, was based on the two years he spent visiting 53 countries with his brother after being jilted by his fiancée. This sequel follows the Wisner brothers on a quixotic search for "how people in different countries meet, fall in love, have sex." Chapters on visits to seven countries, including Egypt, Brazil and New Zealand, alternate with descriptions of Wisner's own on-again-off-again love lives back in Los Angeles. In the style of Dave Barry, the author relates his experiences with self-deprecating humor: "Only in America can a person get dumped at the altar and turn it into a career." The peripatetic siblings look for the meaning of love in such places as a market in Nicaragua and a nightclub in Prague, turning up such stereotypes as people in India favor arranged marriages. The earlier book is being made into a movie, and the sequel has cinematic potential as well. Both would be of interest to readers searching for love without commitment and a relationship without obligations. Like a television sitcom, this book provides more laughs than wisdom. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
9.48(w) x 6.34(h) x 1.16(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Professional Dumpee

Only in America can a person get dumped at the altar and turn it into a career.

I discovered this verity thanks to Jennifer Wilbanks, the wild-eyed Georgia bride-to-be who chose to put a twist on traditional prewedding festivities by shunning a simple rehearsal dinner in favor of a faked abduction and a cross-country road trip. The arctic-footed fiancée was picked up by New Mexico police after a nationwide manhunt and countless television stories featuring Runaway Bride's Julia Roberts on a galloping horse. I was one of millions of Americans mumbling to Jennifer's .fiancé, "You lucky SOB."

Then the phone started to ring.

We want you on our morning show to speak on behalf of jilted grooms, the television schedulers begged. Can you be in New York City tomorrow?

"Why me?"

"Franz," said one earnest producer. "You don't understand. You're the world's number-one authority on getting dumped."

My parents must be so proud. Four years of Tufts University, tutors and science kits and that thirty-volume set of encyclopedias my father lugged home—all so I could comment on failed engagements.

But so it was. The producer's words confirmed my fate. I had become a professional dumpee.

You see, several years prior, my fiancée had fled as well. She decided to do so just days before our large wedding at the remote coastal community of Sea Ranch, California. With guests en route and the wine on location, I decided to go ahead and enjoy all the festivities of the weekend, pretending, with zero success, to forget about the whole bride part.

Of the 150 people invited, 75 showed up—my entire side of the aisle. We had the golf tournament on Friday, the rehearsal dinner on Saturday, and even a mock wedding ceremony on Sunday, complete with a seaweed-clad friend who filled in for my absentee bride.

And you know what? It felt all right, even meaningful at times. Okay, for the other twenty- three hours and fifty- seven minutes it felt like somebody took a battering ram to my stomach and unleashed a martini hangover typhoon in my brain. I was humiliated and miserable and shocked enough to know the feelings had yet to fully sink in.

The meaningful part was having everyone who meant something to me in the same place for a long weekend. I realized then how few times we gather our entire group of friends and family in one setting—twice, in fact: your wedding and your funeral. And it's tough to enjoy the latter. Sure, we speak of their importance in monotone: "My friends mean everything to me." Really? Do we really feel their depth or embrace their warmth until we need them? That weekend, I needed them. My brother, Kurt, two years my junior, led the festivities. He jumped on the first plane from Seattle to California after I gave him the news.

When my fiancée dumped me, I pledged to marry my job, to become the workaholic's workaholic. Then, shortly after the nonwedding wedding, they demoted me. The two loves of my life, gone.

So I opted for the rational course—take Kurt with me on my prepaid honeymoon to Costa Rica. I told him about it the night before.

"C'mon," I said. "We're going on a honeymoon."

"With whom?" he replied.

"I have first- class plane tickets. I have honeymoon suites. I have champagne."

"Whoa, whoa. I love you, man. And I really want to help you out. But honeymoon suites have one bed. And it's usually heart-shaped. And I'm sorry you got dumped and all, but there ain't no way I'm going to spend two weeks in a heart- shaped bed with you in Costa Rica."

After I assured him I'd sleep on the floor, Kurt and I took off. He was a year out of a divorce. He hated his job. So there we were, two brothers, both dumped, both in dead-end jobs, on my honeymoon in the tropics.

Now, honeymoons are a big deal in Costa Rica. Those hotel managers have their places spiffed up and flower- laden, eager to hand room keys and PRIVACY PLEASE signs to happy couples for a week of tropical bliss. One owner took pains to meet us curbside.

"Meeester and . . . Meeester Wisner?" he said with a scrunched face.

"You're not half as surprised as I am," I said.

That lump of gray matter I used to call my head continued to swirl with guilt and regret and embarrassment and a gnawing question of whether she'd cheated on me. Aha! The other man grew in stature and riches each day. He must be a model. A Hilton heir. A tango expert with an American Express Black Card. I'll kill him.

I hurt. I was in a deep, dark hole, gasping for air, praying only to stop the fall, far from the day when I could even envision pulling up to level ground. Snap out of it, I scolded myself before realizing nobody snaps out of pain. Instead, I struggled with equally devastating forces—attempting to figure out where our relationship went astray and realizing I'd never be able to do anything about it.

Meanwhile, Kurt and I did something we hadn't done in years—we talked. It wasn't as if there had been a big issue that separated us. It was simply that we'd drifted apart, like so many brothers and sisters in our society. We went to different colleges, moved to separate towns to begin careers, began love lives, and shoved our relationship to the bottom of the priority list. I believed the occasional phone calls and tidbits passed from Mom were enough. I was wrong.

I discovered this in Costa Rica, somewhere between the Arenal volcano and Tamarindo sunsets. Maybe it was better to take a honeymoon with a brother I barely knew than with a woman who obviously didn't love me the way I loved her. I wanted the conversations to continue, wanted to learn more about Kurt. I also longed for a change of scenery to clear my head and thought the road may be a potential healer. So after two weeks of brotherly bonding, I suggested to Kurt we lengthen the trip.

"Great idea," he said. "There's a golf course nearby. We could stay there for a couple days, play a few rounds, eat some more fish."

"You have no idea what I'm talking about," I said.

Over dinner that night I convinced Kurt to extend the honeymoon for two years and fifty- three countries.

Now, this was not exactly how I dreamed my honeymoon would go. But the two years offered a world of discovery, enlightenment, and renewal, as well as a strengthened relationship with a long- lost best friend who just happened to be my brother. The planet made me a believer in many things— optimism amid chaos, soccer as a legitimate sport despite the grade- school playacting, green tea, siestas, the power of faith beyond the pulpit, Eastern medicine, a father's right to improve the lives of his children across all borders. The world showed me the importance of living life with my heart rather than just my brain, the need in all of us to follow passion wherever it takes us. It made me prouder than I'd ever been to hold a passport with the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA etched in gold, ever more so each time I met an aid worker with a Southern drawl or a villager whose dreams were fueled by a place he'd never see, a land I was lucky enough to call home.

This was the honeymoon of a lifetime . . . if you overlooked that whole runaway bride aspect.

There was one small problem. Herculean, as far as my mother was concerned. I'd spent two years traipsing around the world's most romantic destinations—Rio and Prague, African safaris and exotic islands—meeting affable women at every port of call, with ample time to invest in friendship and conversation and love. Somehow I'd managed to take this dream setup, one so laden with options even Borat could have filled a black book full of numbers, and come back single.

"Man, you're lucky," said my friends, most of them married. "You had the whole world to choose from."

"Are you kidding me?" I'd reply. "Have you been in the singles game in, say, the last decade? Don't you know how impossible it is to fall in love in our own country, let alone connect with someone in a place where everything is foreign—language, culture, fashion don'ts, political insults, or even what to order from the menu?"

How on earth do you meet someone? How, on this earth, do you fall in love? The questions rumbled around throughout the honeymoon with my brother, especially when we found ourselves in a romantic setting, at sunset, as real couples strode off for their sidewalk café dinners. I'd go to sleep in, say, Lake Como or Los Roques, look over at Kurt in the other bed, and think, "What in God's name am I doing here with you?"

As the honeymoon ended and I came back to California, I concluded love was unreachable for the masses, and especially for a sap who ate his wedding cake alone. Their love stories were just that, stories.

It's not that I didn't believe in love. I just didn't believe in the odds. It's like Powerball. We see people who win the mega- jackpots on television. They wear muumuus or cowboy hats. Played the same numbers for thirty- eight years. They hold five- foot checks and promise to buy houses for their children. We see them, but we don't know them. And we certainly aren't one of them.

I'd been afforded my single shot at love. I'd blown it. Just the way it is. I'd invested a decade. Not all investments pay off.

Truth is, I can't say my life was completely devoid in this arena. Humans are a creative species. Bedouins can sense water under a sea of sand. Pacific Islanders know when storms are coming despite cloudless skies. So, too, with love. If one source dries up, we'll find it elsewhere. The mind convinces itself time with friends and family will suffice. We get creative. We get pets.

Excerpted from How the World Makes Love by Franz Wisner

Copyright © 2009 by Franz Wisner

Published in March 2009 by St. Martin's Press

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Meet the Author

FRANZ WISNER got dumped at the altar and turned the experience into a career. Wisner has written for a variety of publications, including The Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. He lives in Connecticut.

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How the World Makes Love 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
ClaudineDC More than 1 year ago
I was transported to foreign countries, invited to eavesdrop on conversations with people who shared their secret desires, private feelings, and outspoken opinions about sex, dating, love, and romance, as I traveled with a man who took all this to heart. "How the World Makes Love" is about heart. Beautiful, wise, practical, touching, and funny insight opened my eyes to new perspectives on relationships, from the Indian acceptance of learning to love another over time as the result of an arranged marriage, to the Brazilian concept of conducting some serious smooching upon meeting as being the best way to size up a potential partner. There are thought provoking lessons in this book, although it never feels like anything more than a friend sharing fabulous stories about his travels, and his life - with tidbits and statistics thrown in that made me laugh out loud, like the list of "The World's Worst Pickup Lines", or momentarily experience his dismay as when I read the reasons for "The World's Ten Worst Places to Be Gay". This amazingly feels like a bonus too, as the catalyst for the book becomes clear; the author's desire to sort out his own feelings, and to make decisions in his life, which may, or may not, result in his own romantic relationship. We're invited to discover what love is, and how to incorporate the people we love into our lives, as he goes through this process. And we are introduced to people and events in Franz' life, (like fort building four year olds and being pelted with paint as part of a Holi celebration), as he picks up where he left off in "Honeymoon with My Brother", and travels once again with Kurt, honeymooning brother extraordinaire. This is a great light read, which makes you think without even realizing it! This book is an appreciation of the differences between people and cultures, and a celebration of love. I recommend this book to everybody.
HauteCake More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed both of Franz Wisner's books. But I actually liked this one more than the first. My favorite parts of the book are the insights into his relationships. I think he has unique views and insights that are far more enlightening than the travel parts. I would love to see Franz write a book that has nothing to do with being dumped, or travel. He transcends those narrow constraints, which I think hold him back. This is an enjoyable read that I expect to see on a number of beach towels this summer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i_love_to_read More than 1 year ago
I was quite surprised when I got this book. Definately not as good as the first book by Franz. I had trouble getting into this story and staying with it. I put it down quite a few times, but made myself finish the book. It's not horrible but not as funny or entertaining as "Honeymoon with my Brother" was for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you read "Honeymoon With My Brother" and now it's sequel, you can see how life's obstacles can bring about adventure, surprise and happy endings. In this day of uncertainty you are brought to remember the truly important things. Nothing is better than true love and companionship. Sometimes we just have to reach beyond ourselves and trust the process. Also, allowing people who love us to share the journey when time are really tough is the greatest gift of all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having enjoyed "Honeymoon with my Brother," I've been looking forward to the sequel & was not disappointed. I've been trying to decide whether Wisner's books classify with Bill Bryson & Paul Theroux, two of my favorite travel writers, or pit him against Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love.) He doesn't quite fit either of these molds...which is a good thing. Wisner's mapped out a place for himself which is informative & humorous (Bryson's forte.) He has an honest free-flowing style that engages the reader & takes one along for a very entertaining ride. Having traveled & lived abroad, I have visited many of the countries surveyed. Wisner's perception of the people & their customs seems to be pretty much on target. While it may be that loves takes work, commitment, & the right attitude,"the potential for love remains," no matter if one is left at the alter, divorced or preceded in death by a loved one. What a wonderful heartwarming message! I do hope both books will be made into movies. They'd be terrific!