You're Married to Her?
Essays by Ira Wood
When I was sixteen years old I fell in love with a mysterious
yellow-haired girl from a prominent and affluent family.
Knowing she was a year older than me and there was nothing
that would remotely excite her to return my feelings, I told
her that my parents were dead.
It was never easy for me to be alone with girls and with a
girl like Allison it was impossible. We didn’t use words like “aloof ” in high school or “patronizing” to describe a girl who
never laughed at boys who made farting sounds in their armpits
but observed them with the detached curiosity due insect
specimens, as if wondering how long it might take them to
suffocate in a vacuum jar.
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“Charming and witty, thanks to Wood’s intimate tone and
keen gift of observation.” —Publisher’s Weekly
"Saucy, sexy stories of a young writer's life.... Wood wittily interweaves his sex life with his work as a writer, art teacher, book publisher, small-town government official and husband to writer Marge Piercy." —Kirkus
“You’re Married to HER? is a hilariously brazen memoir, a raucous and richly detailed
saga of one man’s erotic pratfalls en route to a marriage made in heaven inside a Garden of Earthly Delights. Ira Wood lets his delirious inner Portnoy off its leash, no
holds barred, and what a romp! His past life, loves, tribulations, and remarkable
sustainability are a blessed antidote to all that currently ails us. It’s really fun, laugh-outloud,
and I couldn’t put it down. It’s f**king delightful.”
—John Nichols, Author of The Sterile Cuckoo and The Milagro Beanfield War
As the anti-Vietnam war movement drew to a close, a 26-year-old unknown playwright
began an affair with a glamorous older woman, a feminist activist and acclaimed
poet/novelist. What she saw in a neurotic, sexually naïve, poorly educated but very
sweet guy was apparent to no one, especially him. In a wildly self-skewering but oddly
sympathetic narrative voice, Wood reimagines his early years with Marge Piercy in a
series of chronologically linked essays, never failing to raise the question that few failed
to ask, You’re Married to Her?
With the brazen candor of Toby Young’s How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, and
the wicked lunacy of David Sedaris, Wood tells tales of his first true love, who he told
his parents were dead; his disastrous affairs; his childhood dependence on speed;
running for public office on a lark—and winning—only to find himself responsible for the
government of a small town. Thirty years later he’s still married to Her, confident enough
to share, and laugh at, what men do when their behavior slips to the level of their self-esteem.
This slim collection of true accounts penned by a confirmed ne’er-do-well will provoke laughs, chuckles, and even the odd scream of outrage. The titular “her” is Wood’s wife, beloved feminist and novelist Marge Piercy. This book is a splendid detailing of his failings—those failings that prompt others to wonder about their marriage….
Wood’s writing is, as he might say, a trip. He is creative and free in his narration—yet his stories are much more than anecdotes. They have a strong arc while resisting moralism. He also has a gift for metaphor. He describes the act of writing, for a spectator, as “an activity with all the attendant drama of a sea cow grazing in a shallow Florida river.” In one essay his slacks “girded the soft flesh of my belly like piano wire.”
Although Piercy’s physical role is sparse, her presence pervades the bulk of Wood’s stories: After all, she is the love of his life….
The irony of this book and its title is that after reading a few of the stories, the discerning reader might wonder more than ever why she is with him. Perhaps it is, as he muses, that he is “a lucky young man she chose not merely to put up with but to love, and for slim rewards except being fiercely loved in return.” It’s a good enough answer.
More Advance Praise for You’re Married to HER?
“In his comic autobiography You’re Married to HER? Ira Wood takes us on a raucous,
hilarious, bawdy, no-holds-barred ride though the life of a mid-list writer tormented by a
catastrophic imagination and an nsatiable sex drive. This is not just a funny book: it’s a
darkly funny, wildly confessional, beautifully constructed description of an ordinary guy written as if it were a collaboration between Jean Jacques Rousseau, Robin Williams,
and Woody Allen. I laughed from first page to last and couldn’t put it down.”
—Mary Mackey, Author of The Notorious Mrs. Winston and The Widow’s War
“Ira Wood is the funniest essayist I’ve read since Woody Allen. He is delightful
company, wickedly observant, and capable of saying almost anything, though never
with malice. In You’re Married to Her? Wood targets everything from small-town politics
to the men’s movement to the publishing industry, but his favorite bulls-eye is himself.
He tumbles through a lifetime of misadventures—call it sex, drugs and safety roll--yet
somehow lands on his feet. Indeed, this is more than wit; this is hard-earned wisdom, a
memoir of rare intelligence, honesty and integrity."
—Martín Espada, author of The Trouble Ball and The Republic of Poetry
“In this ribald memoir, Ira Wood takes us inside his marriage to a famous writer. Along
the way, he makes it abundantly clear why a woman like Marge Piercy would fall in love
with him. Wood is a lively raconteur, and he has some damned funny stories to tell
about his life as the ‘younger man.’"
—Pagan Kennedy, Author of The First Man-made Man and Black Livingstone