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‘Worst-Case Scenarios’ books now address dating

  • Chicago Tribune
  • Published Wednesday, June 26, 2013, at 10:03 a.m.

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The following excerpts are reprinted with permission from “The Complete Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating & Sex” by David Borgenicht, Joshua Piven and Ben H. Winters (Chronicle Books).

How to survive running into your ex

Running into your ex at a party can be problematic for many reasons: lingering affection, pain over being dumped, unresolved emotions, passionate memories or poor selection of your current date.

Do not avert your gaze. Look him in the eye and smile. Shying away from eye contact only diminishes your power. Keep someone’s gaze and you keep control.

Be nice.

Do not sit. Do not let yourself get stuck in a corner or on a couch with your ex. Remain standing and be ready to move.

Take charge of the conversation. Start by mentioning something that you noticed earlier in the day. This keeps the dialogue fresh and superficial and in your control, and helps you to avoid complimenting or talking about the ex. Be upbeat — enthusiasm is a handy tool. Breezing by someone indicates you are not fazed or upset.

Introduce your date and send clear signals that this is who you are with now. Touch your date as you converse with your ex, making it clear that you have moved on.

Keep your conversation short and sweet. Tell your ex that you are “meeting friends,” but that it was nice to see him. Or, tug your date’s arm and say, “Oh, look, there’s Sally. I want you to meet her.”

Move on.

How to dance on a bar

Find a crowded bar with music playing. Seek out a bar with an inebriated, appreciative crowd, a laidback bar staff, and a jukebox full of good tunes.

Drink the right amount of alcohol. Enough so that your inhibitions shrink, but not so much that you cannot climb up and stay on the bar without falling.

Dry off the bar where you intend to dance. Use napkins or a dry bar rag to dry the bar and prevent slipping.

Wait for a song you genuinely like. Load the jukebox upon your arrival to ensure that you will hear music that excites you. Choose upbeat songs that you know how to dance to.

Enlist two people to help you up onto the bar. Place a hand on each of their shoulders.

Prop the knee of your dominant leg on the bar stool. If the stool swivels, instruct your helpers to hold it still.

Hold your supporters’ hands. Remove your hands from their shoulders and grab their hands.

Swing your nondominant leg onto the bar. Continue to hold their hands until you find your balance.

Dance. Keep foot movements to a minimum.

Sing along. Lip-sync if you do not have a great voice.

Smile. Enjoy yourself.

Take a bow when the song is over. Do not overstay your welcome.

Grasp your supporters’ hands and step down from the bar. Do not “stage dive” into the audience.

Be aware. Be mindful of your short skirt when climbing onto the bar.

How to make your online profile more alluring

Post a flattering photograph. Pose with children or animals if you are male. Look like you are having the time of your life if you are female.

Use euphemisms. For instance, avoid the word “unemployed” by saying that you are currently enjoying a sweat-free lifestyle while you search for a new challenge.

Seem rich. Refer to signs of affluence such as luxury brands, cruises, extended vacations, resorts in exotic locales, and tax shelters.

Seem interesting. Discuss a variety of interesting hobbies such as rock climbing, photography and wine.

Seem cultured. List “favorites” that present you as educated and sophisticated, yet not pretentious. Mention highbrow and mainstream books, movies, TV shows and musicians to create the impression that you have eclectic and wide-ranging taste.

Keep it positive. Avoid mention of your breakup.

When it comes to dating and sex, there are so many worst-case scenarios.

The wedding that needs to be broken up. The passed-out date who must be carried somewhere. The minefield that one encounters while living with an ex.

Sadly, many of us have been there.

Luckily, we have David Borgenicht.

He has written “The Complete Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating & Sex” (Chronicle Books). With co-authors Joshua Piven and Ben H. Winters, Borgenicht presents some 400 pages of potential disasters — that bout of excessive gas on a date, for example — and suggests ways to overcome the problem. Or at least minimize the damage.

“Surviving any worst-case scenario comes down to not panicking, having a plan and ultimately being prepared,” he says. “And this applies to the realm of dating and sex.”

The book is the latest in the “Worst-Case Scenario” series, now numbering more than a dozen. Other topics include travel, parenting, weddings, college, the paranormal, golf and survival.

The “Dating & Sex” version has topics ranging from innocent (how to treat a pimple) to more R-rated (how to bring up your fetish or kink with your partner). It’s also nicely organized. The section on how to fend off a competitor for your date is followed by sections on how to treat a black eye or a broken nose.

Borgenicht says the basic approach of the authors is to put themselves in the subject zone and start brainstorming all the things that could go wrong. Then they find experts to work things out.

“We have a scenario on how to escape from a bad date. We wanted … tips on how to disguise yourself. We went to a master of disguise, a former CIA agent, Tony Mendez (who was portrayed by Ben Affleck in the 2012 film ‘Argo’). So we interviewed him for tips on how to disguise yourself in the bathroom. The best thing to do, if you’re wearing sunglasses, take them off. If you’re not, put some on. Change your hair. Reverse your jacket. Change your walk.”

Among the most universally welcome advice is “How to Survive if You Forgot a Birthday.” The four key steps: Apologize; accept responsibility for your error; acknowledge your partner’s feelings; and plan a special event to fix the mistake, you cad.

Perhaps less universal but certainly entertaining: How to have sex in a small place (including tips for a successful fling in an airplane lavatory).

Although the books in the series are sold in the humor section of stores, Borgenicht says they have changed people’s lives or the lives of loved ones.

“One woman was hiking with her daughter in California and remembered our advice on how to fend off a mountain lion,” he says. “We heard from someone in Seattle who was there during the earthquake and remembered our advice. A guy said he saved his girlfriend from a burning building by using our advice on how to break down a door.

“It’s kind of gratifying to know these books we wrote for entertainment maybe saved a few lives over the years.”

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