Henderson’s House Rules, by E.L. Henderson and David E. O’Connor. East Quincy Publishing. $12.95.
Moving from intelligent escapism to the stern practicalities of partnership, I also recommend a small volume called Henderson’s House Rules: The Official Guide to Replacing the Toilet Paper and Other Domestic Topics of Great Dispute. The logic behind this book is impressive. By providing authoritative answers to common domestic questions, it removes the need for bickering and/or compromise. “From where does this authority come?” the authors ask. “Who cares?” Their goal is to be a rational, knowledgeable, and amusing referee whenever two parties don’t agree on [insert here any major bone of contention, from the correct way to load the dishwasher to whether it’s permissible to clip your nails in the living room].
Many years ago, a handsome, funny, smart man declared (with great sadness, I like to think) that he and I could never marry because “we both believe that our way of doing the laundry is, empirically, the best way of doing the laundry.” If Henderson’s House Rules had been published a decade or so sooner, I might be living in Kansas City today.
Elise O’Shaughnessy was Tango’s founding editor.