It was always surprising to me how people can do that so quickly; going from one relationship to another with apparent ease.
With the mind of a gypsy moth they can get on with their lives as they leave another life behind. It’s akin to a light switch; one can turn it ‘on’ or ‘off’ with the flick of a finger. I’ve always been envious of such behavior or is it an attitude of such an obtuse, uncaring type that I should be glad I am without it?
But honestly, what’s their secret I wondered?
There’s probably only so much help available from self-help or relationship books but as I discovered at a local bookstore that avenue was almost nonexistent. Dealing with the after-effects of such an ordeal are the items which fill the shelves of every bookstore like Barnes and Noble. And, boy, I should know!
So, with a sense of curiosity, I went to my local B&N to see just how many books on the subject of divorce and getting over a broken marriage/relationship I could find. I took an improvised unscientific inventory of the types of ‘literature’ available and was surprised by my findings. Most of the stuff I found centered on how to repair the broken feelings and shattered self-esteem of women. The basic premise was how to ensure she would snare her man and then more books on how to make sure she keeps her man from the filthy paws of another tigress.
Then there were even more books on why women are attracted to men who treat them badly. The list just goes on forever! Gosh, as men, are we that bad? Are we really pigs?! Yeah, well, just keep reading.
This section of the ‘Relationship’ aisle left me thinking why men have been nearly shut out of ways to seek help to mend ourselves. What gives with this kind of attitude? I know we’re a marketable commodity. Hell, just look at how many books we can sell to help women sink their damn fingernails into our souls (if we had one, of course!).
So what could be the reason for this generosity, this ‘shutout?’
Oh, that’s right, I forgot. We’re just a bunch of dogs! Nothing bothers us. What was I thinking?
No sooner did I think of the comment about ‘men being dogs’ only to find as I turned to the shelves behind me the section entitled “DOGS”! I couldn’t help but shake my head and grin. Imagine my surprise at such an ironic twist.
Mere coincidence, perhaps?
“Is Barnes & Noble trying to tell us something with this ‘strategic’ placement of such literature?”
I just couldn't help the thought of literary sarcasm.
Or would the official explanation be ‘well this is the place where research dictated we place our books about the sub-species of Pets.’ They couldn’t put “CATS” on this side of the damn aisle? How about “Puppies”? I can now hear the other comments from the female peanut gallery: “Hey, how about ‘Rodents’ or ‘Snakes’? Hey, even ‘PIGS’ works!” Gee, imagine my surprise!
Nothing like a chain bookstore selling legal stimulants to make a man feel great about himself!!
Gee, throw us a bone would you?! Damn, sorry about the subliminal ‘dog’ reference—I got carried away.
My friend from college, Christin, read this part of the story. She said I sounded ‘pissed off’ which I found surprising to say the least. Pissed at what, I wondered. She made sure I knew that she harbored no ill-will towards men; in fact, she told me she loved them. Well, that’s especially comforting to know since she married one!
“We” she lectured, “all don’t think men are bad, you know!”
“Then explain the bevy of books helping women deal with us.” She gave me no response. Hmm, this is where I was reminded me of being married again.
I told her I understood her point but that in the larger scheme of this story she had missed a specific element.
First of all, I wanted to see if there was anything I could read that might help me feel better about myself. Though being self conscience about looking about the books in the “Relationships” section I still thought it was a positive step for me and I followed through on my task. Why should I care what others think of me as I peruse this particular aisle? I don’t know them and if I did, so what?
Maybe there was something I had not considered; another angle which may shed light on how best to heal my broken heart then how best to get on with the rest of my life sans a significant other.
How do I go from being a daddy and a hubby surrounded by a big family to just having no one in my home at all? For the foreseeable future, all I had now were three people in my life—me, myself, and I.
Could that be enough?
Certainly, to redefine myself was a daunting task. So that’s why I took the initial step to walk through the “Relationships” section. To put it simply, I was hoping to have my moment of self discovery; an epiphany, I guess. Instead, I discovered elements of humor all around me rather than a brooding sense of help from a specific shelf.
And secondly, I honestly thought it was humorous to find the “Dogs” section directly across mostly female oriented books. It was and is the caricature of men which I’ve heard so often which filled my mind and I thought it was a bit of irony or just good old fashioned poetic justice to be placed in this very spot where women could keep a watchful eye on us.
Either way, it made me laugh out loud and as others looked my way it occurred to me; that’s what will make me feel better about me—laughing.
And laughing as often as possible!
Other people have said it to me in the past and I just dismissed their comments as deliverers of old sayings, wives tales, and other such nonsense even though all they tried to do was help me feel better.
They were just being my friends.
And all their adages were correct! I just had to slowly realize there actually was a forest amidst the trees. Hmm, go figure. I find my epiphany on the shelves of a Barnes & Noble!
As I thought about Christin’s comments, I realized it wasn’t she who missed the point; I had missed it all this time! Laughing is the best medicine! That’s what I like about getting up every morning.
You never know when or where divine inspiration will strike.
Now it’s time for a good book and a tall Mocha Frappacino no whip!!
AJ Garcia; Professional Educator in the Greater Houston area
I have a Master's Degree in History from the University of Houston-Clear Lake
Daddy to 3 grown daughters who are all in college or about to be.
Future Grandad of a gorgeous baby girl named Logan Olivia Garcia to be born in early January 2013!! When this little thing gets her, let the spoiling begin!
For the last 2 years I've been in a relationship with a fabulous lady & loving our wonderful life!
Divorced since 2001; I've had many relationships in the last 11 years on my road to recovering from a devastating divorce.
I've cultivated a humorous way of looking at the things that have happened to me along the road to rebuilding & redefining my life.
I wouldn't have it any other way!
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org