- What's the book about?
- Tell me more!
- Marjorie, does anyone besides you like this book?
- Where can I buy the book?
- So, like, is this book feminist or anti-feminist?
- Who's the incredible illustrator?
What's the book about?
The Field Guide To North American Males, by Marjorie Ingall, is a parody of and homage to the Audubon guide, with over 50 different species of boys instead of birds. Each listing leads off with the species' common name and scientific name, then describes its plumage, habitat, diet, sexual and agonistic displays, courtship behavior, mating rituals and mating calls. Once we understand that men fall into discrete species, with different physical traits and biological imperatives, we can learn to recognize their quirks and foibles. This keeps the clever female from becoming prey. The book's pocket size and illustrations make it easy to carry into the field, whether you're scanning the specimens of Pissy Pierced Punks at a favorite mosh pit or surveying the flight of the Cyberdorkus perpetuum across the exhibition floors of Comdex.
What's the point? Well, women are bombarded with directives from shrill media sources saying they are nothing without a man. The Field Guide argues that it's fine just to watch instead of dating constantly. Why try to domesticate any given species? Ignore those societal messages telling you to put out nets, snare your wildlife and drag it home. This is environmentally unfriendly!
Tell me more!
In the past, only men were allowed to look. Today women can leer and dissect as much as boys can. But since female ogling has only recently been socially sanctioned and is still not often encouraged, women may need a little guidance, a little direction to the appraising stare. The Field Guide's tone is reassuring (you can develop your skills!) as well as inspiring (you'll learn something!) while offering enough common sense warnings (certain species are dangerous, and here's how to tell which ones) to prepare the emerging naturalist. It would be great if we could take a confirmed sleazy male and put a tag around his leg, the way the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does to wild Hawaiian nenes, so that other women would know to avoid him. Unfortunately, this is illegal. Likewise, it would be good to use Doppler radar to measure how quickly a given male runs away when threatened with a commitment, or how quickly he runs toward a recording deal or Twinkie or fashion model. Unfortunately, this is impossible. Females therefore need to learn to distinguish the different species and their foibles, and SHARE THE INFORMATION with other women. You can start by emailing me, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marjorie, does anyone besides you like this book?
"This unashamedly hilarious book detailing male behaviors is the perfect antidote to books telling women how to behave. Instead of contorting yourself to fit his idea, The Field Guide suggests that you find a guy who best fits you--and the best way to do that is to discover who is out there, what they like, where they hang out, and what the pitfalls are. A funny, irreverent, and original look at mating in captivity."
--Regina Barreca, Ph.D., author of They Used to Call Me Snow White, But I Drifted and Perfect Husbands (and other fairy tales)
"Hysterically funny and yet frighteningly useful. I carry my copy with me everywhere."
--Jane Pratt, editor-in-chief of Jane magazine
"I dated all these guys, and she's right."
--Cynthia Heimel, goddess, author of Sex Tips for Girls and If You Can't Live Without Me, Why Aren't You Dead Yet?
Where can I buy the book?
The Field Guide is officially being published February 14, 1997. It's available in fine bookstores everywhere; you can also order it now through Amazon.com , the online bookstore."
So, like, is this book feminist or anti-feminist?
Who's the incredible illustrator?
The Field Guide is illustrated by Ellen Forney, who has her own superb comic book called Tomato (Starhead Comix/POB 30044/Seattle, WA 98103) and is perhaps most renowned for her brilliant piece "My Date With Camille Paglia."