Quill and Quire

REVIEWS

« Back to
Book Reviews

Dating: A Survival Guide from the Front Lines

by Josey Vogels

In the best of all possible worlds people would never have to go out on dates. Instead, fate would finally start living up to its name and everyone would pair up naturally through work or mutual friends. Pick-up lines would be a thing of the past, going for coffee would be just that, there would be no agonizing over who pays for whom, and no one would ever have cause to read books like Josey Vogels’ survival guide to dating.

Unfortunately, destiny is not all it’s cracked up to be. Anyone who has ever dated can appreciate the need for a little help or consolation on the subject, and Dating certainly has plenty to offer when it comes to the latter.

The author, a syndicated sex and relationship columnist based in Montreal, draws on her readership, her own experiences, and those of her friends to reassure us that date-related disappointments are, unfortunately, the norm. For instance, who can top accidentally killing a date’s family dog as one unlucky fellow described here did?

Although detailing personal encounters and turning to experts and other books for further insights are the standard approaches for most self-help guides like Vogels’, the author’s “I’m no angel” demeanour offers a titillating diversion from the current glut of over-earnest relationship books that would have us believe a lousy love life is really a golden opportunity for self-discovery. An author who jokes about shag rug burns from too much sex in the 1970s would seem to have her readers’ best interests at heart.

Vogels’ book covers a lot of ground and intersperses snippets from the history of dating with the pitfalls and occasional triumphs of modern courtship, such as cruising for partners on the Internet and even advertising on billboards.

Vogels spends a lot of time trying to unravel the mire of confusion surrounding modern dating and often succeeds in making the reader want to give up on dating altogether. But, as she points out, giving up is one of the surest ways of actually finding someone, and her book provides some much-needed comic relief along the way.