Nimrods are everywhere. You can find them at the gym mesmerized by their own reflection, in bars chirping obnoxiously about the complexities of their trivial existence, even on their crusty couches at home, where they seem to be perpetually married to the thrilling phenomenon known as "television." But that's just a specific faction of the male species. Not all men are necessarily nimrods... Right?!?
LaRonna DeBraak isn't so sure. In her new book Nimroddes (Men): A Field Guide for Women, DeBraak attempts to codify 36 types of male nimrods while explaining how each plays a separate role in the evolution of the female species. To learn more about this spectacular scientific revelation, Westword caught up with DeBraak to gain insight into her findings and inquire about the possible existence of a mysterious "anti-nimrod."
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Westword: In terms of creating this book, how did that happen? Was this something you wanted to do for a long time or did it just come to you one day?
LaRonna DeBraak: Well, I had just finished a road trip with my friend. I said I wanted to write a book and she said she would illustrate it. The field guide thing came to me when I was thinking about how to put this all together and get my friend involved as well. And it worked! It's a comedy thing. The men who have read it have tried to look for themselves in there and they've laughed, which is good. I'm not trying to insult anybody here. I want people to enjoy it.
In the beginning of your book you talk about how men were created as this sort of science experiment for women to learn from. Can you talk about how you came up with that idea?
I was just trying to come up with a theory for the reasoning of doing this. When you write a Ph.D., you have to come up with some theory to have a reason for doing what you did. That's what it was. It creates a storyline. You can't just jump in and start doing a field guide, because then there's no reason to write it. If I started saying this is what happened and this is why we have relationships to men, then it explains why we needed them in the first place. It's like that book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. This is kind of like that same thing. They're from two different planets. And because of that, they need each other. We need them to evolve and they need us. So that's what the book is about: We need each other.
So you don't actually believe men are from a different planet, do you?
It's just part of the book so that there's a theory. It's supposed to be funny. I really can't imagine anybody taking that seriously. [Laughs] It just gave it a reason to be written. I think it makes the book more entertaining.
There are 36 different types of nimrods in your book. What's your least favorite type of nimrod that you tend to encounter on a regular basis?
I don't think I have a least favorite, because if you look at all of them, you learn something from them. In the book at the end of each one there's a learning opportunity. You learn different things from sharing a relationship with each type of person. There's not a single one that I have that's my least favorite. When I look at my past relationships, I've learned something from every single one of them. Even the ones that weren't healthy, I learned something from.
What types of nimrods have you dated in the past?
Every single one in the book. [Laughs] And some of them are jackpots. Some in the book I call "evolutionary jackpots" because there's so many things you can learn from them. They're evolutionary jackpots when you date one of those. !--break-->
You have two daughters but no son. Judging by your personality -- and you have to be completely honest here -- if you had a son, what type of nimrod do you think he would have been?
All of them.
So he would have been an evolutionary jackpot?
The names of your nimrods are hilarious. How did you come up with those?
Thank you. I tried to do it like a regular field guide. I just put in names, then definitions, and tried to break them down that way. I had so much fun writing them and the book in general. Even if I don't make a dime from this I'll be perfectly fine, because of how fun it was.
It's been rumored that there's a mystical 37th type of nimrod in your book. Do you care to expand on this possibility?
Well, number 37 was basically when I decided there might be a perfect nimrod. We named him "X" because he's perfect and the only way we know he exists is through fairy tales and stories about Prince Charming. For his field guide section I talk about how we heard of him and when we got to where he was supposedly at, he'd already disappeared. So we don't have any proof. We have not physically studied him like we have all the others. According to witnesses, he's compassionate, he's a good listener, he's helpful around the house, thoughtful, self-reliant, he can talk about a variety of topics, he's mentally and physically stimulating -- but we really haven't run into him yet. He's more elusive than Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. All we have is reports that he exists.
I read that this is going to be turned into a play. How did that come about? It's going to be a musical. When I was younger I really wanted to do this. I'm sure everybody wants to be a singer, dancer and an actress, but I had children and I needed to take care of them, so you know how that goes. Even if we only have one show, it's still going to be fabulous.
Any last thoughts on the nimrod phenomenon or your book in general?
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In the press release they put something that was really kind of neat. They said the book would make you laugh out loud, not because it's factual but because it rings so true and that it may prove after all author John Gray's claims in Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus that men and women are from different planets. I thought that was hilarious.