This article belongs to Self-help theme.

So, the other day I was in my favourite Coffee/Book shop, don't you just love it when those two things combine? Comfy sofas, that new book smell, folk music drifting gently through the air, it's a dream come true and probably the best place to spend a few spare hours. Heck, if they had Sky Sports HD on a widescreen in the corner, I'd probably move in!

Anyway, I digress. I was in there the other day gently sipping on a Grande Cinnamon Latte with Cream in as manly way as possible, and getting lost in whatever whimsical folksy charm was filling my ears beneath that gentle drone of chit-chat and that 'Wooooosh' sound that those milk frothing machine type things make, when my eyes landed themselves on the 'Self Help' books section of the shop.

I am beautiful both inside and out, and today will be a special day!
A women was browsing these books and eventually picked up a copy of 'Chicken Soup For The Soul' and had a flick through the pages. She paused, read something, then muttered something to herself and then to my astonishment, and oblivious to everyone around her, she gave the book a little hug then marched off to buy it with the confident air of someone who had just had an epiphany.

Surely not? I thought. I mean, can that one paragraph or so that she read had that much of an effect that she feels like she has to abandon her inhibitions and embrace a book? I've got check these books out! See if I can find one which explains to me my I'm such a lazy goat.

I finished my drink (somewhat regrettably, I sometimes wish those Cinnamon Lattes could go on forever) and decided to have a wander over to the Self Help section to maybe have a little epiphany of my own. I had a look at some of the titles and they all seemed a bit schmaltzy to me, 'Love Yourself, Love Another', 'Going Turkey - End Your Addiction To Love' and 'Shout Out The Devil In You' were some of them. All of the books I saw seemed to be aimed at Ladies, and stupid ones at that.

I am beautiful both inside and out, and today will be a special day!
I picked up a book called 'The You Within You - Fall In Love With Your Inner Self' and after having a quick glance round the shop to make sure nobody was looking, I had a thumb through. I stopped a few pages in and had a look at what the so-called 'Doctor' who wrote this thing had to say. 'Before you leave the house, stand in front of any mirror in your house and repeat this mantra 5 times, while taking deep breaths: "I am beautiful both inside and out, and today will be a special day". What's this going to achieve? You could do this every day for a year and not feel anything other than embarrassed, especially if you live with someone. Plus, and I don't mean to be cruel here but not everyone is beautiful on the outside, I know I'm not, what are these people going to do when the penny drops and they realise that despite this little mantra, they are still ugly?

A little further on in the book, and the author advises to reader to make sure they smile at everyone they see whilst walking down the street. Now, I'm not sure that's not a typo or something. It's perfectly reasonable to smile at everyone you MEET, but everyone you SEE? That's a lot of people, even on a quiet day, and is frankly encouraging the kind of behaviour which after about an hour will see you approached by two men in white coats, asking you what you make of their Inkblots.

Do people actually fall for the stuff that they read in these Self Help books? From what I saw, they're just a tool for some failed psychologist to make money, probably because they weren't good enough to open their own practice. Almost all the authors of the books had the title Dr. which I'm sure you have to work pretty hard to get, so why waste it by writing books aimed at people who are clearly in need of some guidance, but nothing a sit down and a good chat with a close friend won't fix.

I guess it must be that the women who buy these books are simply attention seeking
So that led me to think about the women that buy these books. Obviously they must feel some sort of need to, but why? Because I've always thought women were pretty clever and insightful when it comes to themselves, surely if a women had a problem which was serious enough, she would seek out real help? Either from a real shrink or by simply having that chat with her best friend. How many times have we heard a women say she felt much better after 'a good cry'. I guess it must be that the women who buy these books are simply attention seeking, and their problems really aren't that bad, they just want people to think they are, but it's o.k., she's in control, she has a book.

So, in all, I don't think I'm fond of this Self Help phenomenon, it's clearly just a way to get women to spend money and books and tapes and god knows what else. And it is Women, because in that book shop, I didn't see a single one of these books aimed at men.

And I think I know why. See, us blokes have got self help covered. Sure, we get down, we have days when we just don't feel good, but we men have one simple cure for the blues or whatever ails us.

Forget Self Help...Try Self Abuse!

Honestly, Masturbate. I Guarantee you'll feel loads better. 'Love Yourself, Love Another'? Nah...just love yourself.