Watch CBSN Live

'The Bastard On The Couch'

Will men and women ever understand each other?

There's an endless list of books that attempt to explain women to men and men to women. Now, new insights come in the book, "The Bastard on the Couch: 27 Men Try Really Hard to Explain Their Feelings About Love, Loss, Fatherhood and Freedom."

The book editor, Daniel Jones, talked about it with The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith along with contributors Manny Howard and Trey Ellis.

"The Bastard On The Couch" is the other side of the story that Cathi Hanauer began in her New York Times bestseller "The Bitch in the House." Hanauer's husband, Jones, says her book revealed the thoughts of contemporary women in a world of redefined roles and responsibilities.

"Women described stresses of their lives. And among these stresses were their husbands, who did not quite seem up to the task of modern marriage," Jones explained. His reaction, therefore, was, "We need the other side of the story."

So he sought out some of the country's most talented writers, several of them husbands of contributors to "Bitch," to produce "Bastard."

Jones said, "To my great surprise, and delight, they revealed their deepest, darkest secrets."

Writer Manny Howard, for example, talked about his essay, which focuses on the disparity between his income and that of his wife. What does it mean (if anything) when the woman makes more money?

"I thought it would do a lot more than it actually does. We met each other at a point where both of our careers were established. She loved what she does, and gets very well compensated for it. I love what I do, and I never expected to get compensated for it because I write magazine stories for a living," Howard said.

But the key in their relationship is that they both appreciate what the other person does. He explained, "I get to be really the sort of corporate wife that we've all read about in the past and I get to talk about what's important and what to focus on."

He also finds himself talking about household projects. "Sometimes she hears about a Costco trip," he admitted. "I like to divide my day between actually writing magazine stories and Costco and the electrician and that stuff."

Ellis' feelings are quite different. After his "forever" marriage ended, and he and his wife decided to share parenting on a daily basis, he says he has endured many trials and tribulations of being the primary caregiver for his 5- and 2-year-old kids.

"My house is a sewage treatment plant these days," he said. "I'm also working at the same time. Working mothers, they're working. I've talked to single working mothers. There is this sense of pity, 'Oh, you're so brave.' I wanted some of that. I wanted at least some dates out of it or something."

But that hasn't been the case, he said. "If you have one kid, it's a babe magnet. Two kids, magnet gets reversed."

Jones noted, "In my experience, men don't talk about these things. But when people ask me about this boom, men, at a cocktail party or whatever, they just start unloading to me about their marriage in a way that's never happened before so there is hope."

The book consists of 27 essays, all written by men on a variety of topics. Jones also wrote an essay on chivalry and its relevance in today's relationships.

And he is also the author of the novel "After Lucy," which was a finalist for the Barnes and Noble Discover Award.

Read an excerpt from "The Bastard on the Couch" - Chapter One.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome browser logo Chrome Safari browser logo Safari Continue