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February 17 , 2008

How to be a Husband


While this book is indeed titled How to Be a Husband, please do not mistake it for a self-help book. Tim Dowling—columnist for The Guardian, husband, father of three, a person who once got into a shark tank for money—does not purport to have any pearls of wisdom about wedded life. What he does have is more than twenty years of marriage experience, and plenty of hilarious advice for what not to do in almost every conjugal situation.
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With the sharp wit that has made his Guardian columns a weekly must-read, Dowling explores what it means to be a good husband in the twenty-first century. The bar has been raised dramatically in the last hundred years: back in the day, every time you went out for cigarettes, it was simply expected that you came back. Now, every time you’re sent out for espresso pods and tampons, it is expected that you come back with the right sort. And being a father doesn’t seem to command much innate respect these days, either. When his first child was born, Dowling imagined himself eliciting a natural awe as the distant, authoritative figurehead; he did not anticipate his children hijacking his Twitter account to post heartfelt admissions of loserdom like “Hi, I suck at everything I try in life.”

Still, two decades of wedded bliss is nothing to sneeze at, particularly from a couple who agreed to get married with the resigned determination of two people plotting to bury a body in the woods. How to Be a Husband is a wickedly funny guide to surviving the era of “The End of Men” (hint: it involves DIY), and an unexpectedly poignant memoir about love, marriage, and staying together until death doth you part.

From the Hardcover edition.
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