Points, by I. Glebe (Paperback, 2007)|
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)
Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
This small book is squarely aimed at a specific demographic (television-addicted male who believes domestic work is entirely the woman's domain). The examples and context won't ring true for all guys (myself included). For guys who fit the profile, the examples and context will probably cause them to laugh aloud because they recognize themselves.
One example of something where the intended audience and I don't match would be Glebe's repeated references to wanting to go to Las Vegas (meaning the strip). The Las Vegas strip does not make my "Top 500 Places to Visit" list. In fact, the Las Vegas strip does not even make my "Top 500 Places in Clark County, Nevada to Visit" list. Different strokes for different folks.
Another example is his perception that men are clueless in grocery stores. Men who care about what they eat (and we all learned when little that you are what you eat) are quite familiar with grocery stores. In certain cultures, this whole aspect of life is a priority for men.
I could give other examples, but the point is the specifics of this book apply to a specific group and not to men in general. The author hints that men don't read books (I read at least 50 per year), and it's probably to these men he is writing. Which may be why they have those other characteristics that I can't relate to.
For the rest of us, Points does provide some general principles and food for thought. These can be very useful. And the details don't really matter--the principles are the same. Glebe's general thesis involves three major platforms:
- Women keep score.
- The woman's score is the only one that matters (unless a guy
enjoys being miserable).
- A guy can do things to improve his score.
While his advice is tongue-in-cheek and often couched in examples I don't relate to, some things jumped out at me. For example:
- When women talk, they want you to listen. They are not asking
you for your advice, even when they tell you their problems.
- A little affection goes a long way.
- A little respect goes a long way. A little disrespect goes an
even longer way--in the wrong direction.
- Men and women place different values on things. Don't assume
she'll understand your values.
- Inappropriate gifts don't make her happy.
- Arguing from a point of logic when you have hurt her feelings
doesn't smooth things over.
- Women don't think they are asking a whole lot from their men.
- Women have one set of rules for themselves, and another set for
Glebe boils down the male-female relationship into a game where the man must earn points and the woman keeps track of them. She is the banker for these points and can wipe them out at any time for no particular reason.
In reality, there is always a reason. Unfortunately, men seldom see things from the woman's perspective. For example, men like to offer unsolicited advice. We do this with the best of intentions. Women have a very low tolerance for this, and very quickly become annoyed or offended--usually without our noticing it at the time. The man, thinking he's given her something of value, feels pretty good. She is steaming inside. She may stew for days. Finally, she unloads on him and he has no idea what he did wrong.
Glebe's point-keeping system is probably a good approach, as we men generally like to work with numbers and keep lists. We also have a different focus than women do and a point-keeping system can help us stay aware of our behaviors so we can avoid mistakes. Without a system of some sort, we will do what we are comfortable doing. Certain things seem wired into us guys; offering unsolicited advice is just one of them. Having a system that helps us keep track of such things makes it less likely we'll keep pushing the wrong buttons.
Going with Glebe's particular system is probably not a "best practice." But looking at his system and applying the concepts to create one of your own sounds like a good idea to me.
While Points is aimed at a very specific kind of guy, there is something in it for every man to learn from or at least think about. Being able to replace some of our irritating behaviors with positive ones, in the absence of specific feedback from the person being irritated, is a key theme in the hundreds of relationship books aimed at men. It seems to me that the methods prescribed in most of those books aim to change our nature. Which doesn't work. Glebe's approach embraces that nature. Sometimes, you have to work with what you have. While I can't relate to many of Glebe's examples, I can relate to this underlying concept in his light-hearted but insightful book.
(167 pages, totaling 190 pages with appendices)