Dating can be rough, sex can be rough, relationships can be rough -- but life-threatening? The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating and Sex by Joshua Piven, David Borgenicht, and Jennifer Worick gives advice for those who have a Murphy's Law approach to dating -- such as telling if your date is an axe murderer, or what to do if your cut your jugular while shaving to prepare for the date.

This book is divided into five sections -- Defensive Dating, First Impressions, Restaurant and Survival Skills, Bedroom Survival, and Relationship Survival -- and each section has multiple chapters, with advice from the authors and experts on how to evaluate and handle the potential problems before, during, or after a date. (The appendix includes a generic breakup letter, useful excuses, pickup lines to avoid, and a guide to body language.) The subtopics in each chapter are bright red, and there are often illustrations.

I'm uncertain of the necessity of this book. The authors do lighten their advice with humor frequently (after describing how to dine and dash, the book notes, "Stiffing the restaurant is illegal and may land you in jail, where the food is not very good"), and everything the authors advise makes sense. However, while the introduction says this is to help deal with problems instead of finding the right partner, this is quite a range of problems, from fashion difficulties to surviving snoring to dealing with a cheating partner (and the next chapter ironically covers how to have an affair without getting caught) to life-threatening situations and how to fight (and treat a black eye). Were this less serious, The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating and Sex might be a parody of the potential pitfalls in the world of dating. Given its serious advice, however, the result is an odd blend of how to handle minor mishaps and devastating difficulties. In one place, that's an uneven blend.

Overall grade: C+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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