Boyfriend University: Take Advantage of Your Man and Learn While You Can
In 1994 I was sitting around a bonfire in my combat boots and a thrift store granny dress, drinking homebrew and wondering how many years it had been since I’d used a razor, when someone handed me a pamphlet from the 1930s about how to be a “good wife.” And I couldn’t believe what I was seeing—it was demeaning and yet terribly serious all at once, and we laughed with a combination of horror and relief that the world had changed so much since our grandmothers were young.
This particular memory came flooding back to me when I received Boyfriend University by Jennifer Sander and Lynne Rominger. The premise is both insulting and intriguing: “Take advantage of your man and learn while you can.” The authors offer details of their personal dating history and all of the invaluable information they gleaned from the men they spent time with. Auto repair, how to smoke a cigar, how to play beer pong, kick in a door, fix a clogged toilet, and barbeque anything; these skills and many more are outlined so that you can take what they already learned and add it to your ‘masculine’ skill set. Also included are how to cry like a guy, how to bluff and flatter, and how to know if he’s a fixer-upper and worth keeping.
Not a big shock that the publisher happens to be the same one that gives us the “For Dummies” line of literature. The authors have done a lot of work on many other projects distributed by Wiley: Sander is also the author of The Martini Diet and Wear More Cashmere.
While I think that the opinions offered up in this book are materialistic, catty, shallow, and deeply disturbing, I must also admit that their "how to" advice is, for the most part, valid and not altogether useless. Still, while it’s true that I know a lot about cars because I once dated a mechanic, the tone of this book just feels too close to what made Paris Hilton a celebrity and took us from Dr. Martens to Manolo Blahniks in the nineties. It’s as though my grandmother wrote it with a nom de plume as the flapper’s response to the how to be a “good wife” pamphlet, and that was eighty years ago.