October 2003

Michael Schaub

propaganda

The Complete A**hole's Guide to Handling Chicks

(Warning: The sixth paragraph of this article -- not counting this one, or, if you're counting this one, the seventh paragraph of this article -- contains graphic and offensive descriptions of sexual violence, quoted directly from this horrible, horrible book. If you are easily offended, or are my parents, please, for the love of God, don't read it. It will cause you to vomit and lose your faith in humanity, though not necessarily in that order.)

Yeah, that's right: a**hole. For the record, Bookslut has no problem publishing profanities in all their obscene glory. Check it out: Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! But evidently the sensitive folks at St. Martin's had a problem with slapping the word "asshole" on the cover of one of their books, so we're left with this bowdlerized title -- which might have been fine, if it weren't for the fact that this is quite possibly the most offensive book ever written.

Seriously. This isn't just garden-variety offensive, either. It's so offensive, if a left-wing feminist happened to touch it, both activist and book would instantly disintegrate. It's so offensive, it would make Howard Stern and Arnold Schwarzenegger weep with shame as they considered how they have wasted their respective lives (and they have). It's so...you know what? There is no possible way to prepare yourself for how offensive this book is, so I'm not even going to try to convince you. This book is so hatefully misogynistic, it makes the Malleus Maleficarum look like Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Here's the thesis: Women are only attracted to assholes, and never genuinely nice guys. Sound familiar? Of course it does. This little sexist bromide has been around since the beginning of time, and you've no doubt heard some lonely guy express this sentiment in a whiny tone of voice more than once. I have known several women in my life, a few of whom are actually straight, and they have all expressed in no uncertain terms their preference for good guys over assholes. The men they've chosen to date bear this fact out. I'd suggest that if you're prone to making statements like "Women only like jerks," that makes you a de facto asshole, and perhaps this is the reason you spend Friday nights alone with a video game system and a stack of well-thumbed Maxim magazines.

But back to Indante and Marks. You might have guessed by now that those are not, in fact, their real names. The two authors are evidently too cowardly to stand by anything they've written, although there is a tiny picture of them on the back cover, drinking beer, ogling centerfolds, surrounded by women with large breasts. We're told that Indante is a lawyer and Marks is a comedian. You can just insert the words "corporate" before lawyer and "crappy stand-up" before comedian, and you'd probably have a pretty good grasp of what we're dealing with here.

There are, of course, many kinds of assholes. There's the whiny asshole (see third paragraph), the self-absorbed asshole, the hateful asshole, the misogynistic asshole, the violent asshole, the angry asshole, the frustrated asshole, and so on. Indante and Marks, to their credit, somehow manage to blend all these different types of asshole into one big uber-asshole, which we may safely term "frat-boy asshole," for lack of a better term. These are the people who unironically shout "Wooooooo!" in bars while shotgunning beers, and employ lame, unsubtle pick-up lines that invariably involve references to their genitals. ("Your father must have been a jewel thief, because my penis is erect!") Frat-boy assholes are actually kind of a sad lot. Even their friends don't like them. They get laid frequently, or claim to. They also tend to get a lot of venereal diseases. This serves them right.

You can sort of imagine, then, what territory The Complete A**hole's Guide covers. It's basically a how-to book for the sexually frustrated, offering advice -- often in handy chart form -- on how to have as much meaningless sex as possible. I think it's supposed to be funny, but I've laughed more at books about genocide. It's offensive in the ways you'd expect, but also in new, exciting ways. For example, the authors include a list of sexual positions that tends toward the violent and abusive. For example, the "Jelly Doughnut" is defined as "When a woman is giving you head, right before you blow your load you punch her in the nose and cum on her face." This is slightly less offensive than the "Donkey Punch": "While in the doggy-style position, right before you cum, pull out and insert it in her butt while punching her in the back of the head." Then there's...you know what? Even typing this makes me want to vomit. All you really need to know is that the authors sound a lot like apologists for rape and sexual violence -- though they do state at one point that they don't advocate violence. (Remember, Indante is a lawyer who, one would think, understands the importance of covering your ass.) Lame disclaimers aside, they deserve to have their testicles crushed in an industrial press every minute of their lives.

And that's not the worst part of this book. Oh, wait -- actually, it is. But the book is chock full of unspeakably offensive passages, and you can find them by simply selecting pages at random. Watch:

(Page 35) "Be prepared for women to screw you over at the drop of a hat. ... If you try to grab her boobs at the wrong time, she'll claim you're a rapist."

(Page 93) "If we've said it once, we've said it a thousand times: chicks are catty, jealous bitches."

(Page 120) "We don't advocate any type of physical violence, so put away the brass knuckles and tire iron. However, a couple of strong smacks to the ass is acceptable. ... And, most importantly, you'll be engaging in all types of dirty, filthy sex talk which will likely include words such as 'fucking bitch,' 'goddamn whore,' 'no-good slut,' and the like. Your girlfriend must understand that her role in your life is to deal with these displays of affection with the utmost charm, humor, and acceptance."

(Page 162) "Feel free to bang as many pigs as you can get your hands on."

And so on. You might be tempted to think that Indante and Marks have presented a caricature so exaggerated, so unlikely, that nothing in this book is meant to be taken seriously. That might be true, but the authors are so completely tone-deaf to irony, the effect is pretty much lost. Take a look at the Amazon customer reviews for this book. If the whole thing is a joke, their intended audience doesn't seem to notice.

But since it is a "humor" book, both authors and publisher are provided with a handy built-in excuse: If you're offended, you're either hopelessly politically correct, or you just didn't get the joke. Of course, there's no joke to get, and you don't have to be P.C. to find descriptions of sexual violence repulsive. The most frightening thing about The Complete A**hole's Guide is the prospect that it might actually make money.

It was my original goal for this column to track down the true identities of Indante and Marks. But I'm not an investigative journalist, and I'm also kind of lazy, so that turned out to be a fruitless mission. That's too bad, because I love the idea of a bunch of enraged readers contacting these guys and telling them exactly what they think of this book. I suppose the only other option would be to write St. Martin's Press at 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, 10010, and ask them why they've chosen to publish this hateful little screed. Or call them at (212) 674-5151. Or maybe send a fax at (212) 674-6132. Not that I'm advocating that. After all, I'm not an asshole. I've learned it's best to leave that to the professionals.

The Complete A**hole's Guide to Handling Chicks
by Dan Indante and Karl Marks
St. Martin's Press
269 Pages
ISBN: 0312310846