By Stacey Small

The road to love is sometimes littered with potholes, and the bumps don’t always end once you’ve entered a committed relationship.  From the beginning stages of courtship all the way through marriage, men and women often find themselves in conflict with their lovers.  Howard J. Morris and his partner Jenny Lee were no different when it came to being brandished with insulting credentials like “major nut bag” and “total dunce.”  But they took the age-old claim that women are crazy and men are stupid, and examined its relevance in their own love life.  The result? A laugh-out-loud, he-said she-said book that chronicles personal and identifiable love troubles in a completely honest, absolutely hilarious, and very practical way.  In Women Are Crazy, Men Are Stupid, Morris and Lee take readers on a wit-filled journey to help them figure out things like why men suck at being romantic, and why women view even the most mundane events through some emotional prism.  Ultimately, they reveal ways for couples to break dysfunctional patterns and become more happily in love together.

How can you avoid coming across as stupid or crazy in your own relationship?

Cupid’s Advice:

When it comes to dating and marriage, communication is key – which goes beyond voicing frustrations about your partner’s bad habits and annoying flaws!  Cupid got the inside scoop from Howard J. Morris himself in a recent interview.  Check out what this co-author had to say about how writing the book with his partner affected their relationship, and how communication, self-awareness, and a sense of humor are crucial factors to making any romantic connection last.

This book is written in a he-said she-said format between you and your partner, Jenny.  Can you describe the actual writing process, and what you think were the advantages and disadvantages (if any) of co-authoring this project?

The writing process actually ended up benefiting our relationship tremendously.  Not at first!  And yes, it was difficult and brought up issues we weren’t always too keen to deal with.  In fact, Jenny was positive writing the book together would break us up.  As she says to me in the book, “It’s not like a relationship isn’t hard enough when you’re just in denial about everything.  But to actually bring stuff into the open and write about it –”  And there were some tense moments for sure.  But once we hit on the structure of the book we were on our way.  I write the first half of the chapter, unedited by her, and she writes a response to what I’ve written for the second half of the chapter, unedited by me.  So we got to go off and read the other’s pages, which had the effect of forcing us to hear the other person’s point of view.  One of the big things we learned from writing the book was how incredibly different our brains worked: How we could literally hear two different things even when the same words were spoken out loud.  But when you’re able to really see something from the other’s point of view — and not just give it lip service — suddenly everything isn’t as stupid and crazy as it first seemed.  For instance, I finally understood the subtext to all Jenny’s crazy, no-win questions like “Am I fat?” or “Which one of my friends do you find most attractive?” or “Why did you do that mean thing to me in my dream?”  What she was really asking was asking me was one simple question: “Do you love me more than anyone else?”  And I know how to answer that question (for guys reading this who may still be unclear, the answer is “YES!”).

Women Are Crazy, Men Are Stupid is a great read for couples in committed relationships.  Would you say that there are also lessons to be learned for those involved in rocky romances or casual flings?

Absolutely.  Understanding that men are idiots and women are insane (when it comes to each other!) helps in any kind of male/female interaction.  Especially when trying to figure out on a first date if you’re sitting across from an “Irredeemable idiot” or just a “normal numbskull”: Or in a man’s case, whether his date is “wonderfully nutty” or a “Total Whack Job.”   We have a whole chapter in the book about “signs” and how women see them in everything (crazy!) and men never see them in anything, even when they’re staring them right in the face (stupid!).  Being able to pick up on signs on a first date is crucial.  But again, your ability to see from the other’s perspective helps immensely.  And this general rule for men never hurt in any relationship: “Don’t get between a woman and her crazy.”  Crazy will burn itself out.  I wish I had known this when I first started dating…

Were there any eye-opening revelations about your own romantic partnership that materialized in the process of writing this book?

Romance has always been one of our toughest issues.  Jenny’s a die-hard romantic and I’m no Richard Gere (in “Pretty Woman,” “Officer And A Gentleman,” “Runaway Bride”…).  No man in America has done more to make regular guys look bad than Richard Gere.  But one eye opening thing that we learned about this subject as we were writing the book is that I believed that love and romance were basically the same thing.  I kept saying, “You know I love you!  Why do you need all that carriage through the park and horses running on a sandy beach stuff?”  I thought showing her I loved her was being romantic.  Turns out it’s not.  Romance is a whole other thing that involves suspense, panache and possibly chocolate or flowers.  Guys don’t really understand because we never really wanted romance.  At least not in the same way.  When I mentioned that our minds are wired differently this is one of the things I’m talking about.  A woman will often have romantic fantasies about, say, her wedding day, from a very young age.  But most guys have never thought about the actual wedding part until they pop the question.  And even then not so much.   But again, if you look at it from her point of view, it shouldn’t matter that a guy doesn’t need romance.  In fact, isn’t that one of the points of romance?  That it’s something you do unselfishly for someone else and not yourself?  In fact, it’s even more romantic when it comes at a cost to you!  Why am I sitting here talking to you?  I need to go plan something romantic!  (Actually, I have something planned for August 14.  Jenny doesn’t know so don’t tell her!  But we had kind of a disappointing Valentine’s day this year so I decided we’re going to celebrate “Half Valentine’s Day” on August 14.  We’re going to lunch at her favorite restaurant, then seeing a show and ending up at a hotel for the night.  Shhhhh.  It’s a surprise!)

You have written for a variety of television sitcoms; did those on-screen prototypes of the dumb husband and nutty wife influence you to write this book?

What’s interesting about your question is that on most sitcoms (certainly the ones I’ve written on), it’s usually just the dumb husband and the woman plays the finger wagging, “I told you so” role.  I’ve always felt that the crazy wife gets short shrift in these shows.  Jenny and I sold a sitcom based on our book to ABC and promised to give equal time to the crazy.  I think most sitcoms are written by men, who are stupid, yes, and more importantly terrified of their wives, so maybe that’s the reason.  But if our show ends up moving forward, we guarantee equal crazy opportunity.  Crazy can be funny.  It’s an untapped market.

Have you received any opposition to the book or title, and what advice would you give to a reluctant reader?

Most people, with senses of humor at least, love the title and understand we’re not saying women are crazy about everything, or men are stupid about everything, just each other.  But some women, and initially Jenny too, were concerned about blatantly calling women crazy.  Jenny still insists she’s “situationally crazy” not “blank check crazy” whatever that means…  And I’ve noticed that none of these women who object to being called crazy are at all offended that we call men stupid!  To anyone who is offended by the title, I would respond, “Lighten up!  Read this and you’ll get some great laughs and maybe even learn something!”