2 out of 4 stars
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I chose to review this book because, like many people, I enjoy comedy and like being made to smile and laugh. The Chauvinist’s Guide to Modern Romance is subtitled ‘a real-life comedy about men and women’. In my view, that puts author Morris Rollins under some kind of an obligation to make his book funny. Given that humor is a very individual thing, and that one person’s idea of side-splittingly funny can be markedly different from the person next in line, one might settle for mildly amusing at the very least. So, how did he do?
This is a short book, consisting of only fifty-seven pages. It is also illustrated with over eighty photographs, charts, and drawings, all of which cut down on the space left over for text. The basic premise of this book is that womankind and modern morality have conspired to make the modern male into a eunuch. The author tells the reader: ‘Your average guy sleeps alone a thousand times more often than he beds a sexy woman’. The author’s purpose in writing this tongue-in-cheek book is to share his wisdom and thus help men ‘get the upper hand on the weaker sex’. He goes about the task of educating his male brothers with unbridled sexism and chauvinism, which is the explanation for the book’s title. He sketches out a nostalgic view of days long gone when men were men and women knew their place. He gives us an overview of how chauvinism works in practice and outlines a strategy by which men can actually win the battle of the sexes.
Without a doubt, there is humor to be found in the whole male-female sexual dynamic. There is also a rich, comic tradition of being outrageously, scandalously non-PC. It was probably a combination of these two aspects that the writer of this book was trying to capture on paper when he sat down at his desk. However, there is a very thin line between being scandalously funny and being just plain offensive, one which aspiring satirists must tread with care. I am not convinced that the author manages to negotiate this line successfully. At times, indeed, I am not sure if he knows that there is a line there at all. He gives us separate sections devoted to ‘nice girls’, ‘bad girls’, ‘blondes’, ‘fat women’, ‘ugly women’, ‘horny sluts’, ‘bitches’ and ‘nymphos’. There are references to ‘titty bars’. ‘Nice Guy’ men are lampooned and described as ‘half homo’. Real men, on the other hand, are categorized as ‘tough guys’, ‘sharp guys’ or ‘smooth guys’. The sections are punctuated with illustrations that are themselves borderline offensive.
It is clear from the first page that the book is aimed very much at young, single men. Being middle-aged and married, I tried reading it with my younger self in mind. Would this book have made that young man smile or laugh? I’m reasonably certain that the answer to that question is a resounding ‘no’. Moreover, the reasons for that are much the same as they are now. The book is just not funny. In places, for example, it has long passages exploring the relationship between men and women in terms of half-baked evolutionary psychology. It is difficult to find the humor in these lines. One is left with the impression that the author has momentarily forgotten that he is writing satire and is, instead, simply sharing his views on life with us.
There is not much I liked about this book. It has only one redeeming feature, namely that it is well-edited. I picked up one solitary grammatical mistake. In acknowledgment of this fact, I would give the book two out of four stars, rather than the one I would otherwise have awarded it. Women should avoid this for the sake of their blood pressure: believe me, there is nothing here for the female reader. Given some of the topics discussed by the author, I would also judge that the book is unsuitable for children.
The Chauvinist's Guide to Modern Romance
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