Trouser Snakes

Two guys go beyond lad lit in explaining the peculiarities of male behavior in shopping and sex.

In case you were wondering, Peter Hyman and Richard Herring are both straight. That’s right—not a homosexual, ahem, bone between them. This point must be clarified immediately because both authors spend so many pages of their two new books explaining how inherently not gay they are.

To be fair, Hyman (despite his female-genitalia-sound-alike name) does come off as fairly fey in The Reluctant Metrosexual: Dispatches From an Almost Hip Life (Villard, $13.95), so I can see from whence his need to clarify might spring. Then there’s the fact that he’s a self-billed metrosexual, which, as every breeder broad knows, is a straight dude who’s only two cosmos and an International Male catalog away from gay. (Kidding! Sort of.)

An ex–Vanity Fair peon and erstwhile stand-up comic, Hyman fully cops to using the “M” word as a marketing tool for his book. In his overly long introduction, he defines the term as “a dandyish heterosexual narcissist in love with not only himself, but also his urban lifestyle; a straight man who is in touch with his feminine side.” The intro comes off a bit disclaimerlike and takes away from what is actually a very funny read.

A collection of autobiographical essays, much along the line and tone of David (gay!) Sedaris’ Naked, Metrosexual describes what it’s like being a young man whose tastes far exceed his income. And yes, his quest for flat-front trousers and Herman Miller chairs on an unemployed New Yorker’s salary are all very amusing, but it’s when Hyman steers away from his raison d’être and delves into relationships that he hits his stride. His run of vomiting dates is something the nonseasoned daters among us might disbelieve and suspect Hyman of putting in for effect. Those of us who’ve been out in the trenches for far too long will know that these things happen. And while cleaning another person’s puke off your shoes isn’t anyone’s idea of fun, it sure is when they’re somebody else’s Prada bucks.

Speaking of men who submit to Brazilian bikini waxes (a procedure that Hyman endures), Herring’s book, Talking Cock: A Celebration of Man and His Manhood (Thunder’s Mouth, $15.95), isn’t so much a memoir as a treatise on all things penile. Touted by The Guardian as “Man’s answer to The Vagina Monologues” (a play that isn’t half so entertaining), Cock will tell women things they never would’ve guessed about “Jack the Dripper.” (Such as that despite their immense size, most gorillas’ members measure only 2 inches—and that’s erect!) More importantly, the book sheds light on what men get up to with said willies. Apparently they’ll stick it anywhere for gratification—including, but not limited to, a shampoo bottle, Jell-O spooned into a toilet-paper roll (!), between a mattress and the metal frame of a bed . . . I’ll stop.

Relying on extensive library research, myriad interviews with penis professionals, and a highly unscientific Internet survey, Herring’s observations will probably be a bit shocking to those of us who don’t possess a “moisture-seeking love dart.” Men, well, I have a feeling you guys will just be relieved that there’s always some mook out there who’s weirder than you are (e.g., the fella who owns said dart, or the guy who wouldn’t stop farting until his girlfriend agreed to fuck him).

While there are other books solely devoted to “Spurt Reynolds” (I love this book!), I highly doubt any are as hilarious as Herring’s. Not only is it informative (smoking damages penis tissue—who knew?), but I’ve found that reading a tome titled Talking Cock will make a gal many new friends on her morning bus commute.

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