How to Remodel a Man: Tips and Techniques on Accomplishing Something You Know Is Impossible but Want to Try Anyway

Overview

From the author of the New York Times bestseller, 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter, a hilarious send-up of a perennial self-help subject—how to change a man

Why can’t men open a refrigerator and see the mayonnaise? This and other confounding questions about the male species are illuminated in How to Remodel a Man. The vast scope of the book is revealed in the chapter headings:

• Men Just Figure It Would Be Easier If Women Changed Instead

• Why Piles Are Invisible

• ...

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How to Remodel a Man: Tips and Techniques on Accomplishing Something You Know Is Impossible but Want to Try Anyway

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Overview

From the author of the New York Times bestseller, 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter, a hilarious send-up of a perennial self-help subject—how to change a man

Why can’t men open a refrigerator and see the mayonnaise? This and other confounding questions about the male species are illuminated in How to Remodel a Man. The vast scope of the book is revealed in the chapter headings:

• Men Just Figure It Would Be Easier If Women Changed Instead

• Why Piles Are Invisible

• Socks in Front of the Hamper

• Sports: Both a Metaphor and Substitute for Real Life

• When Men Shout at the Television

• A Cure for the Wet Sandwich

• A New Gadget Changes Everything

• When the Sink Looks Like It Needs a Shave

• The Horror of Feng Shui

This ground-breaking book is a essential for anyone who is related to a man in any fashion.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Syndicated columnist and popular author W. Bruce Cameron (8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter) turns his attention to the gender wars with a humorous guide for women who want to transform the men in their lives -- or, failing that, at least moderate their most exasperating tendencies. To show that he knows whereof he speaks, Cameron details his own makeover. The fact that he survived to write about it makes this book highly instructive and encouraging for any male reader who has ever had a long-suffering mother, sister, girlfriend, or wife.
From the Publisher
“W. Bruce Cameron is the Dave Barry of modern family life.”—John Temple, Rocky Mountain News
Publishers Weekly
Humor columnist Cameron follows his bestselling 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter (2001) with a somewhat scrambled but goofily satisfying parody of inspirational how-to books. While warning women that effecting real change in their men is nigh impossible ("Attempting to modify a man's behavior is like trying to talk cats into playing the tuba even if you can convince them to put their lips on the thing, they'll never understand why"), he does offer plenty of tongue-in-cheek hints: to get a man to exercise, for example, buy him cool new gear; to cope with a man who snores, "teach yourself to snore back in self-defense." As an ostensibly "Changed Man" himself, Cameron is free to paint a comically unflattering portrait of male behavior in sections such as "Male's Verbal Skills Are Slow To Develop, and Then They Stop." In other words, men are idiots, and Cameron offers numerous funny takes on that thesis only some of which might sound familiar to readers of Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys, a classic comic take on the male psyche. Agent, Jody Rein. (Oct. 1) Forecast: The success of Cameron's previous book and the ABC television show based on it should provide him with a sizable audience. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593975432
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio
  • Publication date: 8/4/2004
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Abridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 5.12 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

W. BRUCE CAMERON wrote a column on the Internet for friends that grew to 40,000 readers. The Rocky Mountain News hired him as a columnist, and he went into national syndication. He expanded the column into a book called 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter. When the book became a New York Times bestseller, Bruce developed it into a TV show. He is working on the pilot for "How To Remodel a Man" for David Schwimmer and NBC. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Read an Excerpt

1

Men Just Figure It Would Be Easier If You Changed Instead

Women are willing to purchase a man off the rack, but then they want to take him home and make alterations. They'll witness some adorable trait-such as a man's inability to stand be-fore an open refrigerator and locate the jar of mayonnaise within it-and want to fix it.

Men don't want to be "fixed." Men want women to love them just the way they are. Men don't want to adopt such unnatural traits as sensitivity or thoughtfulness. And when I say men want women "to love them," I mean, of course, "to have sex with them."

Unfortunately, men don't really understand why women would want to have sex with them. We sure wouldn't want to! It must be, we conclude, because we are so manly. And what are manly traits? How about strength and resolve? To have strength and resolve means to be unyielding and uncompromising. So men will be un-yielding and uncompromising in their belief that they shouldn't have to go grocery shopping, and somehow conclude that this makes them more desirable to women!

Yet paradoxically I wouldn't be a Changed Man today if it weren't for the feeling that I needed to adopt a new strategy when it came to attracting members of the female sex. After my divorce, I went through a long period of time when I didn't feel like dating any-one, followed by an even longer period when it seemed no one re-ally felt like dating me. I'd ask a woman out, and it would go very well-we'd get to know each other over dinner, with me relating my likes and dislikes, telling her where I stood on critical issues of the day such as the Instant Replay Rule in football. I'd considerately steer the conversation back on track whenever my date brought up a topic I didn't think she'd find interesting, like her job or her friends-stuff she already knew about and was probably sick of dis-cussing. My dates all seemed fascinated with me-by the end of the evening, most of them were so spellbound by my narrative they quit talking and just nodded appreciatively. Yet when I called these same women for a second date, ochthey all demurred, using excuses like, "I can't on Saturday, I'm joining the Witness Protection Program" or "I've come to realize I am a man trapped in a woman's body."

When my ex-wife got remarried, I was happy for her, but it spot-lighted my own dismal situation. Though I had gotten used to living on my own, I missed the sort of connection one gets from a long-term relationship with a female of the opposite sex, not just the physical part, but all of it. I plunged into a depressive, self-loathing state-and immediately got on the phone so that friends and rela-tives could assure me that there was nothing wrong with me at all.

You can't get enough of this sort of objective feedback, so one of the people I called was my sister, who didn't seem to understand the moral support that was expected of her.

"The way you're headed, you'll be single for the rest of your life," she suggested cheerfully.

I should explain that I have two sisters: a doctor sister, who thinks she is smarter than I am, and a teacher sister, who thinks the same thing. Both are younger and both are wrong. In this case, I was talking to my doctor sister, but it could have been the teacher; they're interchangeable, in my view.

"But all and all, women find me very attractive," I prompted, let-ting her know what she was supposed to be saying.

"Your experience suggests otherwise."

"Well, what's wrong with these women, then, that they don't want to go out with me more than once?"

"The problem," my sister said in a fake I'm-a-doctor-so-let-me—diagnose-the-illness tone, "is that you have a lot of character flaws and you aren't willing to change."

"Flaws?" I sputtered. "'What are you talking about? What flaws?"

"You want me to name them all?" she asked incredulously.

"I sure hope you never talk to your patients like this," I told her.

We hung up and I thought about what she had said. She had known me my whole life. She'd seen me grow up in a house mostly filled with women and had watched me experience a marriage and daughters and a woman boss and even a female physician.

From my unchanged man point of view, was it any wonder I had flaws? All my life I'd been surrounded by women!

I felt much better and was willing to let the matter go, now that I understood it. This is a typically male approach to problem solv-ing: All we really care about is determining who is to blame. Then I thought about my social calendar, which was strikingly bereft of any female company. I called my sister back.

"Well, okay," I told her. "What if I admitted that I had some of these semi-flawlike characteristics, and might be willing to. . ." I swallowed hard. "To change them a little. Nothing major! But if I did, what would you say are these so-called failings?"

Now, I don't know what I had in mind when I came up with this, though I am pretty sure whatever it was fell into the category of "Not Much." But my sister, who you'd think would have enough to do already, decided to take it upon herself to compile a list for me. Without my permission, she began inviting other women from my life to join her in the project. Soon the ranks were swelling, in-cluding my other sister, my mother, my daughters, and even my junior high school counselor!

I shouldn't have been surprised that she was able to find so many females willing to subscribe to the absurd premise that I needed some sort of group effort dedicated to fixing me. I believe women are often very enthusiastic about forming committees, par-ticularly if they can have meetings and eat chocolate. Men, on the other hand, prefer to form teams: highly integrated, collaborative groups that get together and argue about who gets to be in charge.

"We've decided you don't just need to be changed, you need to be totally remodeled," she chirped. "Sort of like, This Old House, only in this case it's, 'This Old Man.' Get it?"

"Totally remodeled? I thought you were just going to give me a list of my supposed faults and send them to me so I could see which ones I disagreed with."

"Well ... why don't you make your list, and I'll make mine, and then we'll compare?"

This suggestion contained an element I found very distasteful: personal effort. But I saw her point-who knew my minor imper-fections better than I? I worked on it for a while, and here's what I came up with:

W. BRUCE CAMERON'S LIST OF SUPPOSED FAULTS

1.Often times I'll sit down to make a list of things I need to get done, but I never seem to do anything on the list. Obviously, I need to learn how to delegate.

2.1 really need a sports car of some kind.

3.Usually when a woman is telling me her problems, I will interrupt her and give her advice on how to fix them. I think what women really want is not for me to jump in with solutions, but for me to wait until they are finished talking before I tell them what to do.

4.1 can't afford to run out and buy every shiny new gadget that comes on the market. I need to make more money so that I can.

"I made your list," I told my sister. "It's a little long."

"We came up with a hundred and seventy-eight," she replied, "but we haven't heard from Mom yet. Also Mrs. Bunting said she has some."

Mrs. Bunting lived across the street from us when I was in the fourth grade.

"What? A hundred and seventy-eight? You're supposed to be counting my faults, not my, my. . . "

"Remaining hair follicles?" my sister suggested innocently.

"I think it's a little excessive to run up the score like this."

"I forgot that one: 'Always uses sports analogies."'

"Would you cut it out? You are turning this into way too big a deal."

Feeling that she had lost all perspective and was behaving in a fashion so irrational she might wind up losing her license to prac-tice medicine, I decided to turn to an impartial third person-my friend and coworker Sarah-who I knew would be on my side.

Sarah works in the lifestyle department at the newspaper where I am a columnist. She's a couple of years younger than 1, and I would probably consider her attractive if it were not for the squat, ugly wedge of a boyfriend she lives with, an unpleasant, thick-skulled guy named Doug. I've pledged to Sarah I'll keep an open mind about him, but he's a real jerk.

I apparently failed to explain the situation adequately, because Sarah immediately became excited about the whole process. "Tell your sister I'm in!" she enthused.

"What? There's nothing to be 'in.' What's happening is that my sister has gone overboard and you agree with that."

"What would be so bad about changing your behavior a little? Maybe if you addressed your failings, it would be easier to find someone to love you."

I pondered this. "When you say, 'to love,' do you mean what I think you mean?"

"I think I've told you before, it wouldn't hurt for you to be a lit-tle more communicative," she reminded me.

"Ah." I waved my hand.

"And what does that mean?" she asked impatiently.

"Just, you know, I'm already communicative."

"Or more sensitive," Sarah plunged on. "Remember when you told Maria she had an 'old baby'?"

"What? It's just that Mallory had a newborn, a fresh baby. So Maria's baby wasn't the number one new baby anymore. I can't help that," I protested. "But hey, didn't I go to a movie with you that was French?"

"You complained the whole time! People kept telling you to shush! "

"Which just goes to show how idiotic it was," I argued smugly. "Why did they need me to be quiet? It was in French. What, I was interrupting the subtitles?"

"And that's your idea of being sensitive," she stated flatly. "To tell Maria her baby is somehow past its expiration date, and to sit there in a French movie and speculate on how long it has been since the lead actress has had a bath."

I thought about this. "Well, maybe you've got a point."

"Breakthrough!" she exulted. "So are you saying you want to be more sensitive? You want to be more in touch with your feelings?" Her voice softened. "Hey Bruce, are you really saying you want to be a Changed Man? Because if you are, I'm your friend, I can help."

This made me pause. Sarah was touching on something deep and personal here, inviting me to open up about my feelings of loneliness and frustration, offering me an intimate confidence that men rarely experience. I cleared my throat. "How do you think the Broncos are going to do this year?"

0"What? Why would you ask something like that?"

"Well, because of the quarterback situation, duh," I responded logically.

"I thought we were talking about making profound changes in the way you do things, to be less self-centered and more consider-ate," she countered.

"Wouldn't it be easier just to give me a list of women who would like 'to love' me?"

"You know why you won't change? Because you don't have to. A man can behave any way he wants, and women are expected to ac-commodate it."

"Sounds like one of those if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it situations," I agreed.

"It all started when women decided to let men be the hunters," she fumed. "Men went out to look for something to throw a spear at, and when they couldn't find anything, they started throwing spears at each other. Then it was about who had the biggest spear, then later, the biggest gun, the biggest missiles ... of course, we both know what we're really talking about, here."

"In high school I was called Bruce 'The Cannon' Cameron. Just saying," I interjected.

"If you really remodeled yourself, and wrote about it, women everywhere would thank you."

"I'll pass, thanks anyway."

"Most women feel like they have to use psychological tricks to get a man to change," my friend continued. "But that wouldn't work with you. You're incapable of change."

"Not incapable, just not motivated," I corrected, feeling a little insulted.

"No, it would be too difficult. Impossible," she insisted.

"Actually, no, that's not the issue. I could do it if I wanted."

"No, you can't."

"Yes I can!"

"You're afraid," she sniffed.

"What? That's ridiculous." Now I was mad.

"Then prove it."

"Fine!"

af0 Feeling under siege from everyone-my sister, Sarah, even Mrs. Bunting-I decided to give this Changed Man thing a try, if only to prove that I wasn't afraid, which I think we can all agree is a really ridiculous idea. Your man, however, may not be as open-minded as I am. To break down his resistance to change, you may have to em-ploy the sneaky psychological tricks to which Sarah was referring.

Obviously, I'm not perfect. I started with (a lot fewer than 178) faults. But I have changed, and I honestly feel that I am a better man for it. What you'll learn from my story is that often changing a man is a matter of using certain techniques to make him feel that it is all his idea. Ask him point-blank to alter his behavior, and he'll turn you down. Apply a more subtle strategy, and you, too, can re-model your man.

Let's get started!

Copyright 2004 by W. Bruce Cameron

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2004

    Still Laughing!

    My sister gave me this book a week before Christmas and I immediately bought copies for all my friends...gals and guys. What a wonderfully entertaining story!! I've read excerpts to everyone in our office and we all start laughing (until the boss begins to throw frowns our way). Cameron exposes MEN in such a fresh and funny way that we women are flabbergasted by his insight. Hurrah! is all I can say.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2005

    Hilarious and a Must-Have

    This book was perfect!! I couldn't stop laughing when I read it. I think everyone would enjoy it...mothers of sons, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, etc. Just the thing to make your stress disappear.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2004

    WANT A NEW IMPROVED EDITION?

    Remember when your mother told you to never marry a man with the intention of changing him? Good sound advice. Now, along comes humorist W. Bruce Cameron with detailed, laugh provoking instructions on how to do just that (Just remember, ladies, you're not laughing at your man, you're laughing with him). Once Cameron admits that men can't really be changed the fun begins. Who knows why the traits he focuses on are so often found in the male of the species? Take the ever present empty toilet paper roll. When he uses the last little bit, why, oh why, doesn't he simply put on a new roll? This is not too complex for a guy who has a garage full of the latest tools. Those wobbly things on either side of a man's head are made for listening - hopefully to you. Cameron will tell you just how to turn that cavalier 'Sorry, honey, I didn't hear you' into one who hangs on your every syllable. (If you believe this, do I have a stock deal for you!) Gift your guy with this CD - bet he'll laugh as much as you do.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2004

    Finally a Self-Help Book That Really Helps!

    I bought this book because I saw the author on Good Morning America and he was so funny about my favorite topic to complain about, which is of course, men. The book is so hilarious, but what surprised me was that there actually were some good tips on how to get guys to stop doing stuff that is so annoying. This seems like the perfect book to give a friend who is frustrated by her husband or boyfriend, or maybe if they've just been through a bad break up. The best thing about it though was that in the end, it made me think that, hey, guys aren't bad, they're just kind of less evolved than us, and in some ways that's kind of adorable. I bought the book to rag on men and ended up liking them more by the end. Plus laughed the whole way. Seriously, I loved this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2010

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