Goodreads asked Christopher Noxon:

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

Christopher Noxon A few years ago, I came to a crossroads in my career and creative life. I’d published a book, had a piece in the New Yorker, appeared on The Colbert Show and pretty much satisfied pretty much every journalistic ambition I’d ever had. Meanwhile my wife Jenji’s career had taken off and the income I brought in as a journalist was no longer a real factor for our family.

And so I did what many partners of successful spouses do: I got domestic. I handled carpools and home repairs and travel plans. I helped out at school and got serious about diet and exercise. I spent many blissful mornings at a coffee place with a small and exotic cohort of men married to women whose success, income and public recognition surpasses their own.

I was having fun and enjoying my time with the kids, but I found myself dogged by insecurities. I felt embarrassed that my wife bore the burden to support our family. I got twitchy and defensive when people asked what I “did.” I was prone to odd outbursts of aggression – peeling out in the minivan at carpool, mowing down kids at a Lasertag birthday party, getting whiplash after leaping off a rooftop into a swimming pool.

Then I did something really stupid: I considered opening a bead store.

Don’t get me wrong: I like beads. They’re nice. I could wax lyrically about the loveliness of a tub of polymer-glazed beads, as glittering and colorful as fish eggs. For all I know there may be a woeful shortage of retail opportunities in the beading community; it could be that given the right push, a boutique bead outlet would grow into a thriving crafting powerhouse.

But I had to face facts: I had no business opening a bead store. The bead store was my rock bottom, my cry for help.

And so I started writing again. And for the first time in my life I wrote without an assignment or editor, without any idea if what I was writing would be published. I just knew there were funny, true and deep stories to be told about men learning how to hold a house, women who win the bread, what it’s like to be arm candy at the Emmys and how it feels to ease off the professional pedal and settle into a support role. I wrote about men who cook and caretake and sing backup for their front-and-center provider wives.

Along the way, I returned again and again to the question: how do men act out against the societal and even biological pressures that can feel conspired against them?

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