Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys

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Overview

For thousands of years, women have asked themselves: What is the deal with guys, anyway? What are they thinking? The answer, of course, is: virtually nothing. But that has not stopped Dave Barry from writing an entire book about them, dealing frankly and semi-thoroughly with such important guy issues as:

  • Scratching
  • Why the average guy can remember who won the 1960 World ...
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Overview

For thousands of years, women have asked themselves: What is the deal with guys, anyway? What are they thinking? The answer, of course, is: virtually nothing. But that has not stopped Dave Barry from writing an entire book about them, dealing frankly and semi-thoroughly with such important guy issues as:

  • Scratching
  • Why the average guy can remember who won the 1960 World Series but not necessarily the names of all his children
  • Why guys cannot simultaneously think and look at breasts
  • Secret guy orgasm-delaying techniques, including the Margaret Thatcher Method
  • Why guys prefer to believe that there is no such thing as a "prostate"

In this wholly original book--except for one classic column on testosterone--Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dave Barry explains why the American guy is not to be confused with a husband, father, hunk, or intellectual, and provides tips for women who want to better understand the species.

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Editorial Reviews

USA Today
Whether you're a guy—or attempting to share a bathroom with one—Barry has some wacky words of wisdom for you.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Unlike many previous books by Miami Herald humor columnist Barry, this is not a collection of newspaper pieces but an original work that poses the question, What is a guy? Barry's guy is given neither to macho domination nor to sensitive introspection (as a mere man might be); he likes mechanical things and pointless challenges for their own sake; he has no well-defined moral code but knows how to extemporize; he fails at communicating his inner feelings (if he has any). After presenting a scientific quiz with which a male can assess his ``guyness quotient,'' the author treats the biological nature, social development, medical concerns and domestic side of guys. He even provides a chapter for the woman who is contemplating having a relationship with such a creature. The dad who receives this winning piffle for Father's Day will ask, ``What'd you give me this for?'' (if he's a guy). Author tour. (May)
Library Journal
Books about women are published regularly throughout the year. However, books about guys (not to be confused with men) often are published just in time for Father's Day. This is because the guys who write these books suddenly remember it's time to earn a living. More likely, they are reminded by their editors (probably women) or their wives to earn a living. Barry's is an original work, not merely a collection of his columns. It's outrageously funny, fresh, and ribald. This is a real guy's book, covering the role of guys in history, their biological and social development, their medical concerns ("it's just a sprain"), and their domestic side, with a bonus essay on orgasms. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/95.] Comic novelist/screenwriter Friedman offers a witty but less hilarious book on the midlife travails of the slightly older guy (SOG). The SOG is concerned about enough bran, too many eggs, and when the medical profession will make up its mind about the prostate gland. This near-SOG reviewer is already uneasy with his new doctor, a mostly younger woman (MYW), whose attention is diverted annually to his prostate. Barry's book is destined to be a best seller. Friedman's may end up in the bargain bin sooner.-Joe Accardi, Northeastern Illinois Univ. Lib., Chicago
Bill Franzen
"Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys" is not a collection of previously published pieces, except for one on testosterone. It's an original work containing the zany, irreverent observations of a flippantly outrageous guy who won't stop spoofing until the nonstop yuks fracture your funny bone....he's best enjoyed in small doses; that is, after all, how he usually appears, in his Miami Herald column, which is carried by hundreds of newspapers around the country. -- New york Times
From the Publisher
"[A] laugh-out-loud book."
—People

"AN AVERAGE OF THREE TO FOUR LAUGHS PER PAGE . . . DAVE BARRY IS ONE FUNNY HUMAN."
—San Francisco Examiner

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345440631
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 4.15 (w) x 6.85 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Dave Barry

Dave Barry is a professional journalist.  In this capacity, he has test-fired a potato cannon, driven the world's fastest lawnmower, barfed in an F-16 fighter jet, played the part of a corpse in an opera, picked his son up at junior high school in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, and used a sparking Barbie doll to set fire to a pair of underpants on national television.  But he also has a frivolous side.

Biography

In the introduction to Dave Barry Is Not Taking This Sitting Down, the author addresses the desirability of his job as a humor writer and syndicated columnist. "It looks so easy!" he wrote. "...Every year, hundreds of thousands of people try their hand at this demanding profession. After a few months, almost all of them have given up and gone back to the ninth grade."

Yes, Barry is juvenile at times -- but he has achieved the kind of success that can only come from combining a juvenile mind with intelligence, timing, and a keen eye for the absurd. Favorite Barry targets include government inanity, dogs, guys, the Internet, and other oddities of life. He also specializes in weird news and urban myths involving UFO hunters, Pop-Tart science, and toilets. Many of these essays feature the line that has become his catchphrase, "I am not making this up." (Unless, of course, he is introducing something serious and daunting such as a book about the federal government, in which case he reassures that he has made everything up.)

Usually, though, he's not making it up. What he's doing is making it very funny. Whether the target is Congress or commercials, Barry refuses to take anything seriously, least of all himself – but he manages to convey some pretty indicting truths in the process. He's a master of irony and visual punchlines, sometimes interrupting himself with lists, snippets of dialogue, or other on-topic digressions. On the subject of turning 50 and dealing with waning eyesight (a "good thing" about aging, because "you can't read anything"), Barry describes finding restaurant menus suddenly printed "in letters the height of bacteria." He continues: "For some reason, everybody else seemed to be able to read the menus. Not wishing to draw attention to myself, I started ordering my food by simply pointing to a likely looking blur.

ME (pointing to a blur): I'll have this.
WAITER: You'll have "We Do Not Accept Personal Checks"?
ME: Make that medium rare."

Barry has had the most successful and prolific publishing career of any working newspaper columnist, and his humor never seems to go out of style. In 1999, he decided to try his hand at fiction. The result was Big Trouble, a comic thriller à la Carl Hiassen (though filled more with gags than guns) that Entertainment Weekly proclaimed "... not only very funny, [but] sure-footed, even-handed, levelheaded, and other leading book review adjectives." In 2004, he and Ridley Pearson collaborated on Peter and the Starcatchers, a clever prequel to Peter Pan that spawned two additional novels and a series of spin-off children's chapter books.

Along with several other published authors, Barry is a member of the musical group Rock Bottom Remainders. In assessing the band's talents, he has been quoted as saying: "They are not musically skilled, but they are extremely loud."

Good To Know

The Rock Bottom Remainders was originally organized by a publicist to perform at the 1992 American Booksellers Association convention. The members -- which include (or have included) Barry, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson, Barbara Kingsolver, Mitch Albom, and Matt Groening -- even took their show on the road at one point, turning it into the now out-of-print Mid-Life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America with Three Chords and an Attitude.

Some things never change: Barry was elected class clown by his Pleasantville High School class in 1965.

Barry got his start in journalism at the Daily Local News in West Chester, Pennsylvania, then worked as a business writing consultant before joining the Miami Herald in 1983.

Attempts to convert Barry's humor to the screen have been less than memorable. The early '90s CBS sitcom based on two of his books and starring Harry Anderson, Dave's World, was short-lived; the spring 2002 release Big Trouble, starring Tim Allen, didn't fare well at the box office. Barry did, however, get a cameo in the latter.

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    1. Hometown:
      Miami, Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 3, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Armonk, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Haverford College, 1969
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

The Role of Guys
in History
Men Went to the Moon,
but Guys Invented Mooning

Guys have played an important role in history, but this role has not been
given the attention it deserves, because nobody wrote it down. Guys are
not conscientious about writing. Take thank-you notes. When a couple gets
married, the bride very quickly—sometimes right after her new husband
passes out in their honeymoon-suite hot tub—starts composing personalized
notes thanking their wedding guests for all the lovely gifts (". . . I
didn't know they even made a traveling case for the Salad Shooter").
The bride will keep this up until she has written every single guest; if
it was a really big wedding, she may still be thanking people after her
divorce ("Aunt Esther, the meat fork is beautiful, and I expect to get
many happy years of use from it once the surgeons extract it from Roger").
Very few guys write thank-you notes, or any other kind of note. Guys would
probably commit a lot more kidnappings if they weren't required to write
ransom notes.

My point is that, because guys don't write things down, they are not well
represented in the history books. You'll find countless references to men,
however, because men like to record every detail of their lives, for
posterity. Alexander the Great, for example, kept a diary, so that today
we can read, in his own handwriting, exactly what he was doing on any
given day, as is shown by these actual excerpts:

327 B.C., Nov. 4—Cloudy today. Conquered Asia Minor.
324 B.C., Jan. 6—Note: Find out what "B.C." stands for.
323 B.C., May 17—Died at an earlyage.

But what about the average guy in Alexander the Great's army? What about
his contributions to history? Yes, it is important that Alexander extended
the influence of such legendary Greek philosophers as Aristotle throughout
most of the civilized world, thus significantly affecting the development
of Western thought and culture to this very day; but is it not also
important that, at the same time, some of his lowly foot soldiers were
perfecting the Rubber Spear Trick, or determining that the letters in
"Aristotle" can be rearranged to spell "A Tit Loser"?1
That is the kind of historical guy accomplishment I'm going to explore in
this chapter, starting with a discussion of:
Prehistoric Guys

Prehistory was a very difficult time for humans. Hostile, vicious,
person-eating predators roamed the Earth. Disease was rampant. Mortality
rates were horrific. The automatic bank teller was still only a dream.
Back then the clan was the basic unit2 of society, with the roles of males
and females clearly defined. The females cared for the young and gathered
roots, which they would soak in water,
1Also "Tater Silo."
210 clans 5 one tribe.
then peel, then painstakingly pound for hours between two heavy rocks, and
finally throw away. "We may be primitive, but we're not stupid enough to
eat roots," was their feeling.

Thus the basic food-gathering responsibility fell on the shoulders of the
males, who would go off for days at a time to hunt the mighty dinosaur.
This was hard work. They had to dig an enormous deep hole, then disguise
it by covering it with frail branches,3 then hide in the bushes, waiting
for a mighty dinosaur to come along and fall into the trap. The hunters
often waited for long periods, because, unbeknownst to them, dinosaurs had
become extinct several million years earlier.

So the males sat around a lot. Some of them eventually became fidgety and
went on to develop agriculture, invent primitive tools,4 etc. But some
males—these were the original guys—really liked sitting around. Eventually
they stopped bothering to dig the hole. They'd just go out into the woods
and sit.

"It's not easy, trying to catch dinosaurs," they would tell people,
especially their wives. "But if we don't do it, who will?"
3Sometimes they would also use a false beard.
4Such as the stone Weed Whacker.
They never helped with the roots.

Sitting around for no reason under the guise of being engaged in
productive work was the first real guy contribution to human civilization,
forming the underlying basis for many modern institutions and activities
such as fishing, sales conferences, highway repair, the federal
government, and "Customer Service."

This is not to say that prehistoric guys did nothing but sit around. They
also invented an activity that has become one of the most dominant forms
of guy behavior, now accounting for an estimated 178 trillion guy-hours
per year in the United States alone.5 The activity I am referring to, of
course, is guys scratching their personal regions. And when I say
"scratching," I am not talking about a couple of quick, discreet swipes
with the fingernails to relieve a momentary itch. I'm talking about an
activity that guys spend way more time and energy on than they do on, for
example, home maintenance.

Walk around any populated area and you'll see dozens, maybe hundreds, of
guys engaged in scratching themselves. Some will try to be subtle, but
usually once they get going they completely lose track of where they are.

Before
5Source: Phyllis Schlafly.
long they're rooting around in their pants using both hands, garden
implements, etc., totally oblivious to the world around them. This can
lead to trouble.

first mate on the titanic: Sir, don't you think we should do something
about it? Maybe change direction? Sir? Sir?
captain: (. . . scratchscratchscratchscratchscratchscratch . . .)
One time in the 1970s I was watching a Philadelphia Phillies game on
television, and at a key moment the Phillies' manager, Danny Ozark (who
looked exactly like a guy named "Danny Ozark") walked to the pitcher's
mound for a conference. Danny had his back to the camera, and his right
hand, seemingly acting on its own, sort of moseyed around to his rear-end
region and started exploring, really probing, looking as though maybe
Danny had lost some vital documents in there. The hand became so energetic
that finally even the TV announcers had to start laughing. This was a guy
in the middle of a baseball stadium and on TV, with the game at a critical
juncture, and still his number-one priority was scratching himself. He was
a guy's guy, that Danny Ozark.


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Table of Contents

Introduction xi
Guys vs. Men
Are You a Guy? 3
Take This Scientific Quiz to Determine Your Guyness Quotient
1 The Role of Guys in History 13
Men Went to the Moon, but Guys Invented Mooning
2 The Biological Nature of Guys 33
Important Scientific Reasons Why They Act Like Jerks
3 The Social Development of Guys 55
Nature Alone Should Not Take the Rap
4 Tips for Women 75
How to Have a Relationship with a Guy
5 Guy Problems 93
The Pain. The Anguish
The Men's Room
6 Special Medical Concerns of the Guy
Or: "It's Just a Sprain" 123
7 Guys and Violence 151
The Curse of the Noogie Gene
8 The Domestic Side of Guys (With a Side Discussion on Orgasms) 171
Or: The Secret Truth About Why Guys Are Better at Math
Or: Where Standards Came From
Or: Perfectly Legitimate Reasons Why a Person Might Elect to Blow His Nose on His Laundry
Or: Let's Not Be So Darned Critical of Tapeworms
9 Guys in Action 193
Conclusion 221
The Aging Guy: Settling Down and Hurling Buicks
Future Guys of Tomorrow: Is There Hope for Humanity? (No.)
Index 234
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Not quite what I was expecting..

    This book sounded so funny based on the other reviews; but when I got it, things were quite to the contrary. It was a little bit funny but really not worth your time or money.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 9, 2011

    Loved it!

    If you read in public, get ready to be embarrassed. This book will start uncontrollable laughter to the point of tears.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Quite possibly the funniest book every written

    I've read this book several times and it always makes me laugh. (There's nothing like sitting on the NY subway, reading an book, and laughing like an idiot with everyone looking at you.) Dave Barry has truly boiled down the sexes, especially males, to their essences. The chapter on men's public bathroom etiquette is particular hysterical...and true.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2000

    Oh so true

    This is one of the, if not the, funniest book I ever read. I was laughing aloud in public and was in tears at some points. If you enjoy Dave Barry, and you either are a guy or know one, you'll love this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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