Picks and Pans Review: The Secret World of Men a Girl's Eye View

UPDATED 02/15/1988 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 02/15/1988 at 01:00 AM EST

by C.E. Crimmins

There is a difference between what is funny at a slumber party and what is funny in a written book that a reader is paying for with money earned humorlessly. Crimmins, a Philadelphia free-lancer, doesn't know the difference. She claims to have just returned from a 10-year stay in Boyland, "a place where the natives grow hair in strange places, wear funny underwear and shun petrochemical facial enhancements." In other words, the author worked. With men. She cites the land's national bird as the vulture and notes the inhabitants' tendency to "sweat, fart and yell." Crimmins offers advice on how to talk, eat and drink like a native. Don't order drinks with parasols in them, she warns. The Boys will "be too distracted to accept you as an authority figure...because Mom used to bring them those micro-umbrellas from Polynesian restaurants when she and Dad left them with a sitter." Other words of wisdom: "Good-looking women are not as effective as homely women in the executive suite" and leave diet sodas, eyelash curlers and romance novels behind when you enter into Boyland. Crimmins dutifully hits the how-to-snare-a-man topic, although after her ridicule of men, it's hard to understand why any reader would be interested. Her most innovative suggestion is to try cryogenics—put yourself in a deep freeze until the odds improve. The puns don't come easily—Fear of Filing and My Mother My Elf are on Crimmins' suggested reading list—and every section has a "Babes in Her-story" note. The "Cesarean Section" listing, in a parody of a real estate column "for working women nearing forty who are still planning to have children," is typical of Crimmins' overuse of wordplay. Ultimately she decides that Boyland's not that bad. "It grows on you, like chin hairs or athlete's foot." The book never does. (Plume, paper, $6.95)

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