Any woman who's married or been married, or has/had a boyfriend — or a father, brother or male roommate for that matter — will read Stephen Fried's Husbandry: Sex, Love & Dirty Laundry — Inside the Minds of Married Men (Bantam, 177 pages, $18) and be reminded of every annoyance that goes along with such living arrangements.
It's a good thing Fried has a self-deprecating tone and a sense of humor because that's what makes this book accessible to both genders. Men will read, laugh and nod in agreement at Fried's observations culled from his own life...
Fried is a journalist — his work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Glamour, GQ, ROlling Stone, to name a few — and author of several acclaimed books. Husbandry is a collection of his Ladies Home Journal essays.
In the essay, "Men Who Diet and the Women Who Love Them," Fried writes: "Any husband who claims he doesn't care about his weight is just flat-out lying. (If the Tony Sopranos of the world weren't embarrassed about their guts, they wouldn't be wearing oversized, untucked shirts.) I've always known this to be true, but I also thought that the percentage of men willing to admit it would always be fairly small. (Actually, the percentage of men willing to admit anything is fairly small.)
In "Clothes Unmake the Man," Fried writes about his wife's displeasure at his increasingly casual way of dressing as the years go on, which he attributes to the fitness craze (sweatsuits are OK), rap culture (baggy pants OK) and "casual Friday," which eliminated the need to dress up for work.
"This all led to that watershed moment in men's fashion: the invention of casual clothing," he writes. "Khaki pants with a stretch waistband, jeans with extra 'comfort' built into the waist and crotch. Increasingly male casual clothing became 'supersized,' until there was no longer any small, medium or large — just extra large, extra extra large, and 'tarp.'
"Sociologists may ponder for years how all these trends came together, but ask any man and he'll tell you why. To guys, it all amounts to the same thing: easier access for scratching."