Time for some fun! If you feel unusually courageous, and you don’t really care what people think about you, try this: Ask among your friends what they think about guidebooks. The closer friends might recommend you some, the less close ones might look at you with a confused glance, and some of them you might be seeing for the last time ever.
Reading guidebooks is often perceived as weird. I don’t quite get why – you can learn so much from them! About other cultures, about the faults of humanity, and the odd ideas society has for us. And yes, maybe even something you could use yourself. But I claim that’s not the main point.
I read a book a friend recommended that is supposed to boost self-esteem (her idea), or, in other words, get a ring on your finger real fast (the author’s idea). It is really funny. Not only because of the look I get from people that realize I am actually reading something called “Why men marry bitches”, no, all the wise insights this guidance gives! For instance, apparently the average American man’s only aim in life is to stay unmarried while having a committed relationship (because it means free sex and emotional stability). And an American woman’s only aim is to tie a guy up to her side with a wedding, which, as we all know, is the ultimate binding to each other that cannot be annulled ever again. The 53% divorce rate (in the USA) must be another one of those European-origin fairy-tales.
Reading this rises so many questions. For example, why do we still need to follow this overall aim of getting married? Our generation is offered so much more to explore and have fun with! Security can be given through insurances, and both partners in a relationship can freely choose whether they want to work, take care of kids (if they want any), or do both. If they don’t like each other anymore, or one partner abuses the other, luckily, nowadays they can just part and take separate ways and don’t have to deal with bullshit anymore because of kids, property, or the war. The more I think about it, the less I understand why people demonstrate for marriage rights for everybody – they should try to abolish marriage completely. But of course, then equally for everyone.
Back to the topic – this book also seems to suggest that the purpose of a relationship is to win a certain game: Who can screw the other person more, longer, and more unobserved? Does the woman “win” and get her ring, or does the man and get his free relationship without “final commitment”? Where is the aspect of caring about each other, and enjoying the time together – is that secondary?
Besides amusing you and making you ponder over life, guidebooks can also calm you down. In a reassuring way. Reading about examples and situations that you could connect to your own life makes you feel belonging to the big picture: You are not alone with your craziness! There are many more like you out there! And look, some of them are even crazier! How many times have you been told that you overreact? Or don’t react enough at all? Or simply react and act wrong? Well, here it comes, the explanation for everything: You’re just another human being. Feels good, doesn’t it?
And last but not least, the ultimate reason why reading guidebooks that aim at guiding you to a certain achievement is a good thing: You realize you don’t want this. When you start reading about all the different insights into human psychology, the dark conscience of those around you, and the practical and useful tips on how to manipulate your significant other best, you realize that if this is the price you have to pay, you don’t really want it. You don’t want to play a game with your partner that only one can win, and therefore both will lose.
And then you can happily continue with your life and enjoy the things you have and the friends who love you and the time you spend with people you like and who like you. Until the next guidebook tells you what’s missing in your life.