If you were an alien visiting Earth (perhaps some watching TV adverts and looking inside suburban homes) you might conclude that middle class humans in The West prize comfort above all else….above passion, above achievement and certainly above freedom.
Why else would so many people trade decades of their lives working for more cushions, curtains and sofas? For fluffy white toweling robes on expensive mini-breaks? For cake, candles, cosmetics etc etc?
This is a puzzle and I’m always interested when I find a book that helps explain this. I’ve just read No More Mr Nice Guy by Robert Glover and was struck by the similarities between what he calls “Nice Guys” and what Steve Biddulph calls “Walking Wallets”.
Walking Wallets are middle class men who’ve given up on living with soul, risk and adventure and have become only The Payer of the Bills. They’ve been subdued and emasculated by debt, sedentary living, money worries, keeping up with The Jones and suburban conformity.
Here’s the opening to Biddulph’s book which hit me like a Mustachian face punch when I read it ~15 years ago:
“Most men today don’t have a life.
What they have instead is an act. When a man is deeply unhappy, desparately worried or utterly lonely or confused, he will often pretend the opposite, and so no one will know.
Early in life little boys learn – from their parents, from school and from the big world outside – that they have to pretend. And most will do this for the rest of their lives.
Thoreau [author of Walden and one of the founders of the financial independence movement] put it best:
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”.
Most women are not like this. More and more, women live from inner feeling and