An Insight into the Average Idiot Male Mind by Andy Jones
If you love Bridget Jones, you’ll love Fisher and Ivy, the couple in The Two of Us, an unconventional love story from author Andy Jones. Jones takes us into the mind of the average idiot male, sharing his thoughts on love and marriage.
Marriage isn’t for everyone. Detractors of this fine institution are fond of declaring: “We don’t need a piece of paper to prove we’re in love.” Or, “I’d rather spend the money on a new car.” Good for them, I say. And I mean it sincerely. Love is the important thing, and new cars smell amazing (so I’m told).
Personally, I love marriage. I love proposals, weddings and three-tier cakes. I’ve been married to my wonderful, wise and very tolerant wife for eight years and my only regret is that it hasn’t been longer. Because it could have been. Should have been.
I have a theory – and it’s not going to endear me to any feminists, but here it is: A lot of girls (not all, okay, Mrs. Jones, for one, denies this), but a lot of girls dream about being married. Maybe even fantasise about it. Blame the fairy tales, I say – princes, princesses, castles and all that happily-ever-after – but the majority of girls love the idea of putting on a white dress and chucking a bunch of flowers over their heads. Boys, not so much.
If wedding days represented the realisation of both partners’ childhood fantasies, Men’s Warehouse would go out of business overnight. Instead, you’d see a lot of wedding photographs featuring ladies in white dresses standing next to men in Spiderman/Superman/Batman costumes. It’s why we wear cummerbunds – so we can pretend we’re James Bond for an afternoon.
But before the wedding, before the proposal even, there is love.
Women (most of them) run towards love in slow motion with open arms and a breeze lifting their just-washed hair. Men, on the other hand (some of them), kind of panic. They laugh it off, trivialise it or, in some cases, freak out. You need only look at the way our friends react to news of newfound love to see the truth in this. Women are happy for you; they hug, kiss and say ‘Yay!’ Men take the piss. They say you’re under the thumb, they mime a lashing whip, they say it was nice knowing you.
I freaked out.
Mrs. Jones laughs about my silly behaviour now. But if I could go back in time I would punch myself in the ear and tell myself to wise up and wise up fast.
William Fisher – the hero of my novel The Two of Us – is a shit boyfriend. (‘Write what you know’, don’t they say?). The funny thing is, despite me giving William a hundred ways to screw it up, readers seem to like him. Unlike me, William has mitigating reasons for being an idiot, so that helps, but I think it’s something else.
The book is written entirely from William’s viewpoint (first-person present, if you care about that kind of thing). Another comment that I hear a lot is that it’s fascinating reading about romance from a man’s perspective. The story takes you right inside William’s head; you see everything panning out in real time: the insecurities, doubts, desires, disappointments, frustrations, snap decisions and instant regrets. What it’s like being a bloke, in other words.
Inevitably, people have asked me: Is that you? Is that what you did? Is that how you think? Well, without trying to be cute, the answer is both yes and no. I’ll give you an example:
In the book, William moves in with Ivy – into her flat. Then one night, in the heat of an argument about an inconvenient guest, Ivy snaps: “It’s my flat!” It’s a shitty thing to do – to pull rank like that – and she is immediately contrite. But she has revealed a thought that was best kept to herself, and the damage is done.
I did that. I said it to my not-then-wife when she first moved into my flat. I don’t remember what we were arguing about, but I remember playing that card and feeling like a total shit about it.
As a rule, I don’t use events from my life in my stories. Besides being lazy, I think it cheapens a real thing when you pass it off as fiction. That’s not to say I don’t take inspiration from my life – I do it all the time – but I try hard not to plagiarise myself too blatantly. But this one (“it’s my flat!”) slipped through the net and it worked so well I kept it. Probably it’s a form of confession. An apology. And it’s ironic, I suppose, that I gave this real-life regret to Ivy, not William.
But like I keep saying, he’s not me. William is just a normal, flawed, idiot bloke.
No, he’s not like me at all.
Andy Jones lives in London with his wife and two little girls. During the day he works at an advertising agency; on weekends and horribly early in the mornings, he writes fiction. Follow Andy on Twitter: @andyjonesauthor.
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