Give it as a comic–funny, haha–gift… give as a semi-comic–funny, ahem–gift… give as semi-serious… give as completely serious… give as a deadly-serious, ‘learn this or else’ kind of gift. It’s inexpensive, but also gives the reader the most invaluable advice of all. And if they–the reader–applies it… then the giver might be the one who ends up with the greatest gift… of all.
Before you look at the cover and title and form an opinion—what you think it is about—please, read the following from the book. [You can also read more about it here and how the title came about here.]
As you now know, the author—Jack Carpenter—chose to treat the topic of love and relationships with humor and yet with honest and sage advice (in spots some of my own has been interjected). I think that approach works in the main thrust and believe it’s the perfect tone needed to put things in context and to give some of the soundest advice possible when it comes to developing, maintaining and nurturing a relationship.
I know something about that. As a young man, I was a sailor and sowed my wild oats in places far and wide (domestic and foreign, across many seas) with ladies fair. But then I found the one that made the others pale in comparison. And so, we’ve been together for 35 years now, truly through thick and thin: early tough, lean times and days (into decades) of comfort and plenty.
With age comes reflection and with parenthood comes the desire to pass on what I’ve learned to my children (four daughters: two of which are adults and two that are approaching late-teens so, on the cusp of adulthood). Of course, a book… a guide such as this expressly intended to instruct on what women (be they wives or girlfriends) truly desire, is of tremendous importance to me. What’s in this book is what I wish for my girls—how I want their partner, companion, boyfriend or husband to treat them.
Life. When we’re young, it stretches out before us almost to eternity. At 10 years old, 30 looks ancient. At 20, it pushes back to 40; that’s old to us. As we age, we slide that benchmark farther away from our current age because we realize it’s all relative. It’s something we learn along the way in life. We also learn about context and how that plays a larger role in how happy we are, or what we become…or fail to become.
And so, I reflect on my life. I think of what Thoreau said: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with their song still in them.” I should modernize his thinking to include women. And modify to say that I’m not sure if most humans live that way. I do know that most of us have felt that at times in our lives and that, thankfully, it passed. But I also know that many do feel this way every day. They want… and worry that they’ll never receive or get… they search and hope… and begin to despair and feel that they’ll never find love. And their song—the hope for or reality of love—is dying.
Often, as we get older, we look for things to make our lives better, more meaningful. We prefer it to be a simple formula—a shortcut, an easy recipe; five minutes to a German chocolate cake that feeds a dozen people or in any situation just pressing a button to get instant answers. We buy cookbooks that support the latest diet fad because we want quick results. We go for the seven-minute workout, pushing a high-burn regimen into the smallest amount of time possible. That’s all good and can work to make select improvements in our lives. But what we really want is the big picture, widescreen high-definition life that we dreamed of when we were young. Deep inside we still want this big, colorful life, no matter how old we are. But there is no seven-minute workout for the entirety of life; there is no quick, easy-bake solution for life; there is no simple formula for life. Life is about form and substance and in a figurative sense, it is performance art. Having the life that makes us happy and content can be quantified logically, but to make it manifest—make it a reality—it must be orchestrated and choreographed.
I know with absolute certainty that what you just read, if practiced, will lead to a better relationship now or one you find in the future. It can enable you to have a love that lasts, that brings you pleasure each and every day. And while the past can’t be changed and you’ll have to move fast to affect the present… with what you’ve learned from reading this book, you now have what you need to prepare for relationships in your future.
There’s a moment in my short story ‘Wings’ that captures perfectly an important realization. I’m going to share it here because it’s apt and relevant:
Not wanting to give her pity that would hurt more than her cuts and abrasions, he said. “In my life,” stretching his legs he stood with a groan and a crackling of joints. “I thought I was trapped between what had happened and what could never be.” He looked at her across the fire, the flames dance of light and shadow on the stone wall, as she sat with her head down. He turned his back to the fire and looked out into the night. “The road seems so much longer when we have no dreams to believe. And we have no destination… life has no purpose.” He heard the steady sound of water running down the mountain and knew it would wear away more rock. “It stayed that way until I decided one day to start walking and not stop until I found what I sought.” Turning around he stepped back to the fire and could see she was now watching him.
“Have you found it?” She asked.
“Not yet.” He could hear the yearning in his own voice.
“Why do you go on then?”
“Because.” He smiled at her with knowledge that only comes from experience. “Because I deserve to find what I’m looking for.”
No matter how you came to read this book. Whether some subconscious tickle prodded you to buy or someone thought it a fitting gift. I hope that you take the advice within it to heart and that you use it to find and hold onto the one thing that most humans are looking for that is most important. Love.
You deserve it.