If you think dating is a simple process–meet someone, ask him or her for a date or get asked out yourself, try not to come off as a drooling moron, then arrange to get together for a second date or cut your losses and work to meet someone else–well, lucky you. For many people, it’s far more complicated than that, and Dr. Joy Browne addresses those complexities in Dating for Dummies.
Exactly how do you meet a potential date? How do you present yourself in the most favorable light? How do you negotiate that first date? (One interesting story Browne tells is of a couple who negotiated a weekend together, deciding whether or not they’d have sex, and under what conditions they’d consider marriage and children–all before their first date.) And how do you proceed from there? The process still comes down to chemistry, but Browne shows how many ways there are to make sure you get your best possible chance with Mr./Ms. Right.
While you wouldn’t want to be caught dead reading either of these titles on the subway, they offer a study in contrasts. Baber and Spitznagel seem to have set out to produce a humorous look at dating and mating, but they deliver a boorish effort that will confirm a lot of women’s worst fears about male dating behavior. While some might think that the “humor book” caveat makes everything okay, the overall Beavis-and-Butthead approach to the subject?which is, less dating and more sex in these authors’ minds?provides little in the laughs department.
Men and women should avoid this book like a blind date with a cold sore, and libraries can pass. By contrast and in keeping with the excellent “For Dummies” treatment of complicated subjects, psychologist Browne’s book offers a professional, insightful, and very readable examination of dating?real dating. Browne covers every aspect of the basic mechanics of dating in the 1990s, from making your own personal inventory to help you discover who you are and what you want, to finding appropriate people to date, to actually conducting dates at various stages of relationship development.
Nothing seems to be missed by Browne: she tackles breaking up, sex, and even the darker sides of dating, like rape and stalking. This excellent book’s biggest drawback for libraries is its numerous “work form” sections, an invitation to certain patrons to make it their own. But Dating for Dummies is worth the risk recommended for all public libraries.
More courses from the same author: Joy Browne