How to Remodel a Man: Tips and Techniques on Accomplishing Something You Know Is Impossible but Want to Try Anyway
By Bruce Cameron
(St. Martin’s Griffin ISBN: 0312333188)
Before we get into the interview, Bruce Cameron he warns me that he’s very ill. Some sort of bronchial pneumonia thing he must have picked up from a recent trip to the east coast. “I’m only operating at about half capacity,” he says between coughs from him home in L.A. “So what I will do, is I’ll tell you a bunch of set ups for jokes and you’ll have to fill in the punch lines.”
Very ill and still hard at work. Funny, he doesn’t sound like the typical man who turns into a whiny baby when he gets sick. But then again, Bruce Cameron has been remodeled. No more whiny, but still lots of funny.
Maybe his name doesn’t ring a bell, but chances are you know Bruce Cameron’s work. He’s the guy who wrote the New York Times’ bestselling book, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, based on the widely circulated column of the same name. A few years ago, the book was made into a popular sitcom starring the late John Ritter. It airs Fridays on ABC.
8 Simple Rules was loosely based on his experiences parenting three teenagers. Emphasis on “loosely”.
“They claim that I am taking journalistic license with their lives and misrepresenting them,” Cameron says of his son and two daughters. “And they feel like I’ve kind of exaggerated for comedic effect.” He laughs. “I don’t know where they get that.”
Maybe his kids don’t think he’s funny, but America certainly does. He’s been profiled by CNN, People Magazine, USA Today Weekend, and the CBS Early show. His humor column is syndicated in more than a dozen newspapers, and his email column has boasted as many as 40,000 subscribers at its peak. And his most recent book, How To Remodel A Man (St. Martin’s Griffin), just came out in paperback.
Clearly, Cameron is an expert at parenting teenagers (because he has three). But if there’s anything he knows better than teenagers, it’s men (because he is one).
In fact, he’s so knowledgeable he recently appeared on “Oprah” with comedian Jay Leno, singer Brian McKnight, and Sports Illustrated writer Rick Reilly.
The topic of the show?
“’What’s the deal with men?’” Cameron explains. “I pointed out that I wrote this book that gives you all kinds of insight into how men think.”
Yes, ladies, they do think, and in his latest book Cameron offers tips and techniques for altering the behavior and thought patterns of men.
Let’s say your man is incapable of like putting dirty socks in the hamper. Cameron lets out the secret that men actually feign ignorance at performing even the simplest household tasks, knowing that their wives will eventually give up and do it themselves. They’re not lazy, just unmotivated. To correct the behavior, Cameron suggests turning the task into a competition by putting a scoreboard over the hamper and marking 2 points for every sock that ends up inside.
Tired of your man not listening to you when you speak? Try sprinkling your conversation with words like “nudity” and “lingerie” and you’ll have his constant attention.
Can’t get your man to replace the toilet paper? Turn it into a task involving a list of 50 tools and you’ll never find an empty cardboard tube on the holder again.
Warning: Attempt at your own risk, because even with insider information, truly changing a man is an almost impossible task.
That’s because “we love all the things we do,” Cameron says of his species. “We think all of our faults are hilarious.” That explains why women send him emails listing the things their husbands do that drive them crazy and men write to say, “Hey! Here’s something else funny that we do!”
Was he labeled a traitor to his sex for letting out their secrets?
“Nah, we think we’re adorable,” he says, adding that whether they like it or not, every man is constantly being remodeled by the women in his life. “At least they’re trying to give him hints on how to behave and what to do.”
Most men resist attempts at remodeling, but Cameron willingly let his mother, sisters and co-worker have a shot at remodeling him. Did it work?
He thinks so, although he admits “everybody says I’m not truly as remodeled as I think. I tell them to read the book again. [They] must be missing something, because I really truly feel remodeled.”
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