As I have previously pointed out, it’s useful having a blog, because unlike a diary you can search for things and they pop up. So today daughter was asking me which Don de Lillo book I’d read and I searched my blog, and hey presto! I found it. I would not have had a hope in hell of remembering the title, even though it was last year. Because, you know, last year is just so – well, so last year.
This year I’ve been reading – well, lots of stuff, but most recently ‘Yes Man’. Danny Wallace is an engaging, hilarious and completely off-the-wall writer; a bloke whose idea of a campaign is to stick ‘join me’ on a placard and see who comes and joins him – for no other purpose than to stand together and see who joins them. Another idea he has is to place posters everywhere saying ‘call me’ and asking people to phone him for a polite conversation.
But by far the most interesting project is his year of living dangerously by saying Yes to everything that comes along. Yes to adverts, yes to chuggers, yes to spam emails, yes to special offers, credit cards and – most significantly, yes to having a pint with his mates.
You see, Danny, just like the guy in the film that was made from the book, had gotten to be a bit of a ‘no-man.’ He inhabited, if you will, a no-man’s land*; a place of sitting alone at home and refusing offers of drinks, meals, bowling games, cinema, you name it. He had gotten to be a bore – and when he got into a conversation on a bus with a man who ended it with the words ‘say yes more,’ he took it as a sign. For a whole year he said yes to everything, and ended up going to Barcelona, Stonehenge and Australia as well as having some pretty hairy experiences.
He also ended up marrying the woman he had previously given up.
So that’s all good – but as I read it I was struck, not only by his experiences, but also by how impossible it would be to do this as a woman. I don’t know, if you’re a bloke, how many offers of unsolicited sex you get in a week – but if you’re a woman of his age, you’re likely to get a lot. Plus, there’s the fact that women tend to say yes to things they’d rather say no to. So maybe as well as Yes Man somebody ought to do No Woman? Like, someone who’s really stuck in life, doing things they don’t want to do?
I’m not sure that would be altogether great either. It’s a bit of a minefield, this gender thing, ain’t it?
I’ll have to go away and do some more thinking about this. Meanwhile, here is some light music….
*see what I did there?