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Book Review: The Worst Case Survival Handbook – Dating and Sex by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht

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The great Will Shakespeare said it best. “The course of true love never did run smooth.” But sometimes “not smooth” doesn’t quite cut the utter failures that plague the dating world. Sometimes, love is a train wreck of epic proportions.

So how do you protect yourself from fashion emergencies, bad breath and axe murders? From the creators of The Worst Case Survival Handbook comes the next generation of off-the-wall genius: The Worst Case Survival Handbook: Dating and Sex. Worst Case Scenario (W.C.S.) writers Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht teamed up with editor and author Jennifer Worick in 2001 to give young lovers a fighting chance. This Quirk Productions book is the ultimate how-to guide for braving the dangers of dating. Rather than add to the vast array of cutesy “how-to date” books, W.C.S. takes a raw approach to the harsh and bizarre realities of interacting with the opposite sex.

The facts are broken down into five easy-to-read chapters. “Defensive Dating” is great for starting over in the dating world. There is outrageous but admittedly accurate advice on how to determine the gender of your date. Maybe it’s just me, but if you need help deciding… it’s time to move on. I guess if “it” is witty, check the shoulders. The authors suggest that men’s shoulders are noticeably bigger than their hips. Women’s shoulders and hips should be around the same size.

Then there are more practical tips, such as how to get out of a bad date. The advice starts simple with classic examples of the “fake emergency phone call.” When that doesn’t work, more desperate measures are explored. Readers will learn how to disguise themselves without a fake moustache and, as a last resort, break bathroom windows to escape.

Chapter two, “First Impressions,” contains solutions to more common problems. Step-by-step instructions for curing bad breath and correctly popping a pimple are aided by detailed illustrations; just in case you are too panicked to read.

As in other subsidiaries of the W.C.S. series, there isn’t a situation too mundane or too bizarre for Piven and Borgenicht. If you’ve ever wondered, they’ve gone to the experts to find your answer. The most helpful advice is the simplest. They have a section on lifting stains out of clothes. It’s wonderful for the nervous first date when the glass doesn’t quite make it to the mouth. There are a few of my previous dates still out there who need to read how to correct bad kissing. I gave this book to one of them. I’m hoping it helped.

The best part of this book is simply the amount of precise information on ludicrous subjects. It boggles the mind to think about how the authors researched the best way to remove difficult clothing, stifle a snoring date, and fake an orgasm.

Equally entertaining but far more useful is the appendix at the very end. There is a pre-typed “it’s not you, it’s me” letter with a blank for your soon-to-be ex’s name. An updated, printable version is available on their website at www.worstcasescenarios.com. But with a guide to body language and an exhaustive list of pick-up lines to avoid, you shouldn’t need to use it.

The book’s greatest achievement is also its worst attribute. Along with the funny, awkward advice are tips that you’d never want the object of your affection to use. A highlight of the last chapter instructs readers how to cheat and not get caught. Where to go, how to pay, and how to keep your double life separate are explained over several pages. There are also instructions on getting away with a “dine and dash.” It’s all in good fun (mostly) but I still was disappointed to see it. To keep from lawsuits, a disclaimer fills the first page to remind readers to “carefully evaluate the situation before you act.” No one involved in this book will suffer if you get arrested or you are relocated to the couch for the next two months. Keep that in mind. 

The Worst Case Survival Handbook: Dating and Sex is a fantastic book for a friend freshly back on the market. As they say, the best defense is a great excuse, right? It’s also a great discussion instigator for anyone with a sense of humor. I’m betting some great real-life stories will come out, too; if you ask the right people. One thing is certain: you’ll never get caught with your pants down (figuratively speaking) after you’ve read this.

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About Stephanie Rasch

  • anonymous

    i agree the best part of the dating and sex worse case book is how to reove stubborn clothing . By stubborn they mean women’s undergarments. They did such great research. This part of the book is the most desired page to read . It will pique a lot of people’s curiosity.I loved this part so much . It was so provocative!

  • anonymous

    remove is misspelled