Review: Stuff Every Man Should Know

This is a book that most men will say they don't need. All men already know how to give a toast, hold a baby and throw a punch — right?

For those who cut class, there is "Stuff Every Man Should Know" by Brett Cohen.

This book, sized to fit in a man's suit pocket, is a how-to manual for the above and more: how to open a beer bottle without an opener, cast a fishing line, grill anything (mostly from supermarkets), buy a diamond ring and propose.

Among male-aimed topics, it includes a chart listing Twelve Famous Playboy Playmates and their histories. How to give a massage — with discreet diagrams including "Effleurage: (from the French 'to skim or touch lightly') apply soft and fluid strokes firmly with the palm of your hand." A "Good joke for Guys" starts with "A man enters a bar carrying an alligator."

A chapter titled "Simple Answers to Difficult Questions" covers "Do you love me?" Suggested Response: Yes. Question: "Do you think that girl was pretty?" Suggested Response: What girl? And most tricky — "Does this blouse/skirt/dress make me look fat?" Suggested Response: Are you kidding? I've never seen you look more beautiful.

You can get away with that one once, guys. Women remember.

There are tips on the tricky business of buying clothes for a woman. As Cohen warns, "If you're going to do this, it is imperative that you do this right." One suggestion is "dark colors are slimming. Unless you're a pro, avoid stripes of any kind." At the end he sagely advises "be sure to ask for a gift receipt (no matter how much you think she'll like it), and slip it into the gift wrap."

Look for the hidden jokes. In the copyright statement at the front is a disclaimer — "We do not guarantee that this information is safe, complete or wholly accurate, nor should it be considered a substitute for a reader's good judgment and common sense. In other words: Exercise caution when lighting a campfire. And never ever propose to a woman via a JumboTron."

Words to the wise (man) all wrapped up in a discreet little black book.

"Stuff Every Man Should Know," by Brett Cohen; Quirk Books, Philadelphia ($9.95, 144 pages)