If you read my intro, you may remember that I am thrilled when I find a truly funny book. ’Cause I love to laugh. In deference to Patton Oswalt’s bit on this topic, it would be quite disturbing to see someone laughing who didn’t love to laugh, but I do love a book that makes me Laugh Out Loud.
Having given up again on The Areas of My Expertise to make me outwardly chuckle, fate smiled on me by dropping this new book in my lap. Actually, the book was dropped in the return bin at the library and the cover caught my attention, but you get my drift. I started reading it Saturday night, coming out of my over-indulged, late-night, no-sleep, sucky-workday malaise to grin, then giggle, and finally LOL. I started calling bits across the room to my husband, barely able to read through my laughing. Ah, I’m With Stupid, where have you been all my life?
The full title of this book, by Gene Weingarten and Gina Barreca, is I’m With Stupid: One Woman. One Man. 10,000 Years of Misunderstanding Between the Sexes Cleared Right Up. Gene Weingarten writes a humor column for the Washington Post Magazine, and sometimes pairs up with Gina Barreca for an exchange about men and women. This book includes those columns and more. It is incredibly funny, but there are some real truths in here about men and women that make it better than just a joke book. As well as being outrageously funny, Gina Barreca is a scholar of feminism, and her intellect adds to the quality of the book.
I have one complaint. I didn’t like the last chapter because it got a little serious for the tone of the book and left me on a down rather than an up. Here’s my suggestion: Read the intro chapter, then the last chapter, and then the rest of the book. Or read the the book in order, but then immediately turn back to Chapter 4, “Men and Women are Funny, Just Not to Each Other,” to end on a high note. Nothing like going out on a high note, like... now.
For those of you who want to stay for the touchy-feely part of the post, hang on. Everyone else may go back to the preceding paragraph and leave after the word “now.”
Okay, in the last chapter the authors talk about when they are going to meet in person, which they never have done to this point. Gina is uncomfortable meeting Gene sooner then need be because she is worried how he will feel about her when he sees her and realizes that she is just average in looks and a little fat. He doesn’t care, but she doesn’t want to ruin the illusion they have of each other, the chemistry they have, with appearance. And this is the feminist scholar talking, so what hope is there for the rest of us women who worry about our appearance and our weight? Also, she talks about the nature of the man/woman friendship and how tenuous it is, which made me think about my own friendships with men and how each of those started, evolved and/or crashed and burned. So, I enjoyed this book very, very much, but it caught me off guard that it made me thoughtful about my own life and issues when I just wanted to Laugh Out Loud.
Plus, now I felt invested in these people. For the publicity of the book they did finally meet. What happened? I had to drag myself downstairs to look online, where I found Weingarten’s Post column on the topic. But at the time I was reading the book, I felt like they left me hanging, and I am a little bitter about it. Oh yes I am.