Accidental Agony Uncle

450px-AntonioCanova_PsycheRevivedByCupidsKissOne of the curious side-effects of the publication of my latest book has been that it’s made me an accidental agony uncle.

The Pick-Up Artist is what might be called a sex-comedy, though there isn’t really any sex in it. It’s a mostly light-hearted book about relationships, what the Americans call ‘dating’, which is a nice neat term which covers a multitude of sins.

I doubt there’s anyone less suited to the role of dishing out advice in this arena than me since I can’t remember the last time I dated, having been happily married for about a thousand years.

But I can understand that, having written a book about something, people might assume you know about it, though in fact I just made it up or pinched it from people who did know. Appearances can be deceptive, for example, part of me believes that the guys who sell AA subscriptions outside shopping centres really can fix my car. They are wearing the uniform, they look the part – I would expect them to know about carburetors.

So sometimes, people who have read my book and enjoyed it will contact me through social media – they will chat about the book a little then hit me with a revelation from their personal life, a funny story or telling anecdote maybe, some hiccup or misstep or calamity. It tends to be women who do this, though not all of them of course, plenty just want to discuss writing tips and reading lists.

I’ve not had a man confide in me in this way yet. Not surprised really, most of the men I know would rather stick their head in a wasp’s nest than do talks about feelings. That’s why I chortled when I heard Adele’s song Hello when she asks her ex:
“I was wondering if, after all these years, you’d like to meet to go over everything.”
Hmm, yeah, let me just check my diary and get back to you on that.

I don’t usually know what to say when people tell me their stories, I’m not in the advice business. I find the best thing I can do on the whole is listen rather than try to offer half-cocked solutions. I’ve not learned much over the years but I do believe that when women tell you things they don’t really want to listen to you mansplaining the problems away. They aren’t sharing these slices of their life in the hope I can supply them with answers, they are telling me so they can refine the questions.

Perhaps I’m hearing confession in these secular times? If there’s one role I’m less suited to than agony uncle it’s priest. Maybe it’s easier to talk to someone you don’t know personally, who’s writing you know, that’s all.

Listen, I don’t mind when people want to talk, I don’t judge and in fact I’m fine with it. Because, one of the greatest gifts you can give a writer is to tell them your stories.

puacoverIf you want to read my latest story – my latest book The Pick-Up Artist is out on Kindle and paperback. If you have enjoyed this post please take a look, try a free sample, and see what you think! To take a look click here 

‘Loved this book, a bloke’s view of the dating game, made me laugh out loud.’

4 thoughts on “Accidental Agony Uncle”

  1. Welcome to the club! Just because you write a story does not mean you have first hand experience with the subject. It called fiction for a reason. I may need to take a page from your book and explain that, as you just did, but sometimes I think people believe what they want to. 😉 ~Elle

    1. Funny thing is, the first book of mine which was published is about a man who wants to become a god – and nobody expected me to be an expert on deities. Must be something about this particular subject. Everyone has a dabble but nobody has all the answers 🙂

  2. This made me chuckle, Chris. But I think you’re right. Women don’t want answers. They want a sympathetic ear while they explain things to themselves. Other women are sometimes critical, so a man is a better bouncing board simply because he won’t get too involved -mostly anyway. I do know a couple of guys who just love trying to psychanalyse their girlfriends…maybe it’s why they don’t keep them! Your book is probably a trigger for the women’s own feelings or memories. As you say, nod and smile…all good grist for the writing mill!

    1. Nod and smile – wise advice Val! I think you are right and I do take it as a complement that people want to talk to me having read the book. 🙂

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