A recent U.K. poll about life changing books revealed that most men name Camus’ “The Stranger,” while most women name Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

Existentialism vs. romanticism? Disconnection vs. relatedness? Is this really how we boil down? Does Mars vs. Venus hold water?

I guess it says something that I’ve only read “The Stranger.” And liked it.

Last night was one of those rare “Guy’s Night Out.” No, no, not strippers and scotch. Beer and burgers is more our speed. I met up with Chris and Mark at Hi Life around 7:30, and talked and laughed and tackled these and other major subjects until the wait staff started stacking chairs. I kept thinking, “I have to write about this!” But, no thanks to the four Stella Artois, promptly forgot just about every detail.

But in so much that our “Guy’s Night Out” relates to the aforementioned poll, I can tell you that we very likely confirmed the premise therein.

Chris is, of course, my brother, Jen’s husband, and Ethan’s dad. Mark and I, by contrast, are in our mid-thirties, unwed, and childless. Mark laid it out straight up, and I agreed.”

“Listen man, you’re my hero.”

“Yeah man,” I said (two beers in), “You took the leap of faith.”

And what a leap of faith it is. Assuming you’ve figured out all the interpersonal stuff with your intended, you’ve gotta tackle all the cultural b.s. Like the ring.

“I might as well have handed a fist full of hundreds to a perfect stranger,” Chris said. “I mean, you just gotta do it. It doesn’t do any good to think about it.”

Then he thought about it.

“I dunno where I saw it,” he said, he voice growing louder by the second, “but it was an ad for Harry Winston or something that showed a woman’s hand and said, ‘Is your daughter in law’s bigger than yours? Let’s talk.’ I mean, that’s just fucking ridiculous!”

I went to so far as to defend the concept — I think a gold band makes a lot of symbolic sense — but a ten k diamond? A thirty thousand dollar wedding? Where on earth does the impetus for that opulence come from? Jane Austen? Madison Avenue? The Prom? Mattel?

Maybe it doesn’t matter. A friend recently said to me, “It’s her day, man. Do whatever she wants.” I understand the impetus. But I don’t think it makes sense.

It seems to me that one’s wedding, and the negotiations therein, set a precedent. Are we a couple that collaborate? Do we value one another’s feelings? Do we compromise?

I wanna be all of the above.

So I guess it’s ok that men and women are different, and that we respond to different literature. Heck, it’s probably even a good thing. So long as we’re not strangers, and so long as a man can resolve his prejudice against De Beers, and a woman can reconcile her pride about a sparkly rock, well, I guess we’ll all be just fine.

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