Are All Guys Assholes?

The Question on Every Woman's Mind...

by Amber Madison



            So, are all guys assholes?  The surprising answer, supplied by Amber Madison in her new book is: no.  Yeah, I could not believe it myself.  But Madison, a dedicated assholologist, spent a lot of time interviewing 1,000 men all across America.  Her survey, a copy of which is appended to the book, asked a number of probing questions designed to test a guy's asshole quotient (that's my own term) and it appears that the American male's AQ is not quite as high as just about every woman would expect.  True, a woman might merely be going on her own limited experience of the men who have moved into, and then with astonishing rapidity, out of, her life when she labels all men assholes, but Madison believes that much of the asshole stigma that adheres to men is derived from a popular culture that casts men as emotionless, sex-hungry assholes.

            But men are emotionless, sex-hungry assholes, I hear women shouting back as they read this.  That's not some media nonsense!  Good point.  There are times, when I too, a man, believe that (most other) guys are merely upright-walking dogs.  But Madison has some interesting things to say about the men that she met during her interviews, many of whom proved to be remarkably thoughtful in their responses to her survey questions. 

            Are All Guys Assholes? is aimed at young women.  Imagine a very long Cosmo article about what guys really think.  I am not a member of the target demographic, but the title itself was enough to pique my interest.  I decided to review the book much as a person with a serious illness (in this case, guyness) would review a book that explained the condition to those who are not afflicted (all women).  

            Women clearly need some help.  Women don't want to be angry and upset all the time at their men.  They may love their boyfriends, and want to know why their emotional lives seem so stunted.   Or whether men are really as commitment-phobic as they are portrayed in the media.  The pain women feel is easy to discern.  Talk to a woman about men and very soon the angst and ire pours forth, along with a boatload of scorn.  The word “asshole” is used by women to describe the young men in their lives almost as readily as “breathing.”  As a descriptive epithet, it is hurled with such frequency that I can't help but believe that it is deployed recklessly, and unfairly, such as whenever a guy breaks up with a woman, or merely displeases her.  Nonetheless, in those instances, I suppose, if a woman really believes that a guy is an asshole, then to her at least, the term fits.  But it would be better for a woman to learn how to avoid assholes in the first place.

            I have some reservations about Madison's methodology.  She handed out surveys to men in bars.  As a non-bar going guy, I wonder just how representative these men actually are.  Genuine men can be found in many other places, and they are not all the same.  I'd also advise women against looking for their soulmates in bars, which are not well-known for being places where you find men looking for long-term, romantic love relationships.  I am also suspicious of Madison's interview technique, in which she, a pretty young woman herself, talked directly, in-person, to her survey-takers.  This seems to me to be a flaw, in that any number of men might become unwilling to express their less noble personality traits and beliefs about women in a cute woman's presence. 

            Madison organizes the book around questions that a woman might pose about a prospective boyfriend.  Some of them are heartbreaking, or at least would be, if I, a man, actually had a heart.  I kid!  I kid!  Sort of.  For example, one question is:  How often am I gonna see this guy?  How depressing!  Others are:  How will I know if he really likes me?  Is he acting like he likes me just because he wants to get laid?  I've been hooking up with this guy for awhile, is there any chance of becoming his girlfriend?  We've been dating for a while.  So why isn't he asking me to be his girlfriend? 

            As entertaining as the book is, it also makes for some downbeat reading.  Shouldn't these kinds of questions be beyond or behind the concern of twentysomething young women?  Most seem to arise because of the weirdness that the hook-up culture on college campuses and in big cities have inflicted on young people, women and men alike.  If a woman isn't sure how much she will see a guy, or even if she is his girlfriend, what is she doing wasting her time on him?  Some questions are understandable.  The other gender will always be mysterious, being raised in different ways and treated differently from almost the moment of birth.  It can't be expected that women will find men any more comprehensible than men do women.  It is just sad that Madison has had to write a book full of answers for women so deeply troubled by all the jerks that the world has to offer. 

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