Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me

The Most Harmful Book of the 21st Century?

I’ve referred you to Human Events Online’s list of the “most harmful books of the 19th and 20th centuries”. I’ve also referred you to the counter-list posted on the blog Ghost of a Flea, which lists what the Flea considers to be the most helpful books of the past 200 years. For the record, I agree far more with the Flea’s picks.

However, the books on both sets of lists are about Big Ideas:

large-scale concepts that often touch on our lives in a rather indirect

fashion. “Yes, John Maynard Keynes, Charles Darwin and John Stewart

Mill have all been important thinkers,” you’re probably thinking, “but

will they help me find a new job, get in shape or…you know, meet chicks?

Okay, maybe you’re not thinking that. I’m not (anymore). But those of

us who are still eligible bachelors probably are. Looking through their

C.S. Lewis, they’re probably screaming “Dammit, Clive! Less tape, more screw!

A friend of mine — a charming, perfectly nice, well-educated gentleman

to whom I’ll refer to as “Diego” — if asked to compile a list of

candidates for most harmful books of the 21st century (yes, it’s a

little bit early, but why wait?), would say that this book deserves the

number one spot:

Book cover: 'He's Just Not That Into You'.

Diego claims that He’s Just Not That Into You

has poisoned the dating landscape. The basic premise of the book is

sound: if a guy doesn’t put much effort into the relationship, it means

that he’s not into you. The problem, Diego says, is that the book

(whose popularity was no doubt helped by the fact that one of its

authors wrote for Sex and the City) has raised the bar on what one has to do to prove that he’s truly “into you”.

“Returning her calls, dinner and a movie — those used to be the

baseline,” he said, “but not anymore. Everything has to be a event. If

you haven’t somehow planned a date to be some kind of production, they think you’re just not trying hard enough anymore.”

After saying this, he put a bid on a hot-air balloon ride for two at the auction at the singles charity event we were attending.

A couple of women approached me at that point and asked if they could

touch my accordion. This led to a conversation to which I invited

another single gentleman friend of mine — whom I’ll call Bilbo — to

join. These days, I use the hook-up powers of the accordion to benefit

my single friends. The Universal Code of Dudes demands it.

Without the accordion, that conversation never would’ve happened. Yes,

I like to think I’m a sharp-looking fella who was snappily dressed at

the time, but it was a singles event where another fifty or so guys

were — depending on your tastes — equally handsome and stylish. If

the accordion didn’t give me some kind of edge and the ability to turn

ordinary evenings into unusual events (here’s an example), I wouldn’t drag its thirty pounds of bellows, reeds and mechanics whenever I went out on the town.

Maybe Diego’s right.

2 replies on “The Most Harmful Book of the 21st Century?”

Oh, man, so disappointing. I’ve seen Greg Behrendt’s stand-up and it was very good, and he told fewer relationship jokes than most comics. My faith is shaken to know that he had anything to do with Sex and the City, but then, some very funny comedians have written for SNL, too.

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